Facts to fit the theory? Actually, no facts at all!

It just keeps getting better and better. Now we learn that the CRU has admitted to throwing away the primary data on which their climate models were based. I quote: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

This means that even the CRU itself has no idea how accidentally corrupt or fraudulently altered its data might be. And the IPCC reports used the CRU’s temperature reconstructions as a gold standard. So did other climatologists all over the world. And now they can’t be verified! Without a chain of provenance tieing them back to actual measurements, every single figure and trendline in the CRU reconstructions might as well be PDOOMA, a fine old engineering acronym expanding to “Pulled Directly Out Of My Ass”.

Words don’t often fail me, but this is beyond ridiculous. How could anyone who calls himself a scientist allow the primary data and metadata to be destroyed? I’ve long thought the AGW case was built on sand, but it’s worse – it’s built on utter vacuum. Somebody will have to do the work of collating raw historical data from the weather stations and time periods the CRU mined all over again before we will know anything about the quality of their results. A significant portion of the climatological literature — everything that used CRU reconstructions or models as an input — will have to be outright scrapped.

While I still think the leaked emails and code make a strong case for active fraud, the scale of this disclosure makes that almost irrelevant. It is, at the very least, procedural incompetence on a breathtaking scale — the most astounding case of my lifetime, and I’m hard-put to think of a parallel in the entire history of science.

UPDATE: High drama! There’s a strong argument, based on the CRU dump, that the CRU’s claim to have lost the data in the 1980s has to be a falsehood. If so, we’ve moved from an incompetence-centered explanation back to a fraud-centered one. But then, a counterclaim that the reporting was bad and they’ve only destroyed 5% of their data. Pass the popcorn…

397 thoughts on “Facts to fit the theory? Actually, no facts at all!

  1. And what’s amazing about this, is the fact that the dog ate the data is old news. It came out back in September, to a big yawn. I think I saw one article in the Telegraph about it, zero in any US newspapers. But hey, it’s not like they have any budget, they only got $22m in grants since 1990, nowhere near enough budget to pay for a tape backup and a few tapes in there.

  2. >How could anyone who calls himself a scientist allow the primary data and metadata to be destroyed?

    Copies of the primary data.

    >Somebody will have to do the work of collating raw historical data from weather stations all over again before we will know anything

    If only someone like NASA had also been keeping an instrumental record, we could check to see if they agreed with the HadCRUT record.

  3. Skip – most of the climate data the CRU disposed of was hard copy, and one of the reasons it WAS disposed of is because they felt that the digitization efforts of other climate research teams covered it adequately.

    For example, the open source data sets put out by UCAR include the raw and adjusted data, and is gathered from the same sources that the CRU massaged data comes from.

  4. >they only got $22m in grants since 1990

    The data was lost in the 80s. If you can build a time machine for $22m, I’d be very impressed.

  5. I’d like to make some distinctions here.

    Do I understand why the hard copy data was chucked? Yes – they ran out of storage space, and there were digital records going together. (I don’t know when the data was chucked; I do know that throwing out old reams of file boxes happens routinely.)

    Does HARRY_README.txt blow holes in CRU’s credibility? Yes.
    Does the text of email exchanges blow holes in CRU’s credibility? Oh hell yes.
    Does the attempt to prevent competing theories get published, by making a ‘gang of reviewers’, so they could be shut down in peer review anger me? More than words can state.

    Is CRU the entirety of climatology? No. While CRU is influential, it’s not the be-all and end-all.

    We can continue picking at roadkill, or look at the data that’s actually out there. I’d rather look at the data that’s being shared and independently check it. I’ll leave the circling of carrion crows aiming for soundbite news organizations that are so deeply mired in the 24/7 news cycle that they don’t even know what the word ‘retraction’ or ‘correction’ means.

  6. >For example, the open source data sets put out by UCAR include the raw and adjusted data, and is gathered from the same sources that the CRU massaged data comes from.

    The trouble with substituting the UCAR data is that we don’t know how to relate those datasets to the “homogenized” data the CRU still has. The difficulties here are the exactly the ones that the HARRY_READ_ME.txt document points out – incompatible grid references is just the start of it.

    If the science had been properly done, there would be documentation of every transformation step from raw temperature measurements on up. It would be possible to reconstruct the “value-added” data from the primary datasets, and write independent modeling code to check against the possibility of reduction errors. But with the raw data lost, the base of the pyramid is missing — the confirmation status of everything above it is nil.

    Even I, as skeptical as I am, wasn’t expecting this.

  7. Ken, erm, no, that’s not correct. It can’t be, if you think about it for even a few minutes. The data had to be in digital form for them to run it through the mishmash of fortran and idl code that they used to adjust it. And in fact the linked article says “stored on paper and magnetic tape” confirming that there were digital copies.

    And of course, when viewed in context, it’s very much not believable.

    1. Dr. Jones, in response to a request for the data in 2005. “We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”
    2. From the leaked emails shortly after this: “The two MMs have been after the CRU station data for years. If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone.”
    3. A FOIA request for the data is turned down, not because they don’t have the data any more, but because of confidentiality agreements with national meteorological organizations.
    4. FOIA requests for those agreements fail to turn much up at all.
    5. After a series of requests for individual countries raw data for countries that turned out to have no such agreements, then the story switched to the present one.

    When viewed in that context, it’s simply not believable. Jones threatened to delete the data, and followed through on his threat. If they’d really not had it since the 80s, that would have been the response at step #3. Because the FOIA requests that came in steps 4 and 5 were easily foreseeable by anyone with half a brain, so if they had lost the data as of step 3, they weren’t saving themselves any embarrassment by not reporting it right then.

    Now, I’m going to make a prediction – there’s going to be an intense effort to replicate the CRU ‘adjusted’ data, and it will fail. They will come close, with a number of ad-hoc steps, but not be able to replicate it exactly. And the claim will be made that because it was ‘close enough’ there hadn’t been a problem with all this.

  8. So what is the real deal? It does not seem as cut and dry either way…I’m kinda confused about this.

  9. >So what is the real deal? It does not seem as cut and dry either way…I’m kinda confused about this.

    It means that the CRU’s output can no longer be considered part of science, because it can no longer be replicated in the way science has to be replicable.

  10. >Words don’t often fail me, but this is beyond ridiculous. How could anyone who calls himself a scientist allow the primary data and metadata to be destroyed? I’ve long thought the AGW case was built on sand, but it’s worse – it’s built on utter vacuum.

    Yes, a real vacuum indeed.

    I think it is impossible for humans to adversely affect the earth’s climate.
    Since humans are part of the nature of the earth, the AGW science is absolutely vacuous.

  11. Ah, I see…thank you.

    You state that the data might be accidentally fraudulent or corrupt. Has any proof surfaced that this is the case?

  12. We can continue picking at roadkill, or look at the data that’s actually out there. I’d rather look at the data that’s being shared and independently check it.

    OK, so this is my impression so far. Please tell me where I am wrong:

    The existence of anthropogenic global warming is deduced in one of two ways: either from paleoclimate reconstructions or from the current climate models requiring it to match the data.

    The first is now essentially gone, as the paleoclimate reconstructions are all based on work from the CRU/Mann group and therefore have no credibility. Recall that this group stonewalled Macintyre for several years before admitting that his critique of the original reconstructions was correct, and even though the problem brought up by Macintyre was something that any minimally competent signal processor would have seen in an instant, nobody in the climate science community noticed it.

    Therefore, the existence of anthropogenic global warming is now based entirely on the current global climate models, which seem to require it in order to match past data. Unfortunately, these models have never been validated against real data (data from the past does not count, since you can and should tweak the model using it). In fact, these models give incorrect results for the last decade, a point that is being explained away as being the result of “decadal variations.”

    So, if I understand properly, we are supposed to completely reshape the global economy because a set of models that are all based on the same historical data and have never been validated against real data predict disaster.

    Is that pretty much it?

    ESR says: Yup. That’s pretty much it. Predictively, AGW has so far failed utterly.

  13. The existence of anthropogenic global warming is deduced in one of two ways: either from paleoclimate reconstructions or from the current climate models requiring it to match the data.

    Existence of AGW is deduced from first principles (the science for this is about 100 years old). You need climate models to get the magnitude, regional distribution etc. Paleoclimate provides context.

    The first is now essentially gone, as the paleoclimate reconstructions are all based on work from the CRU/Mann group and therefore have no credibility. Recall that this group stonewalled Macintyre for several years before admitting that his critique of the original reconstructions was correct, and even though the problem brought up by Macintyre was something that any minimally competent signal processor would have seen in an instant, nobody in the climate science community noticed it.

    McIntyre was stonewalled because he was making a nuisance of himself; e.g. repeated requests for data that he already had. McIntyre’s critiques of the reconstructions don’t actually affect the final results.

    Therefore, the existence of anthropogenic global warming is now based entirely on the current global climate models, which seem to require it in order to match past data. Unfortunately, these models have never been validated against real data (data from the past does not count, since you can and should tweak the model using it). In fact, these models give incorrect results for the last decade, a point that is being explained away as being the result of “decadal variations.”

    Hansen made accurate predictions in his 1988 testimony. Models could not predict the last decade because solar variations on that scale are unpredictible. Solar variation on longer timescales is constrained, so longer timescale predictions are more accurate.

    So, if I understand properly, we are supposed to completely reshape the global economy because a set of models that are all based on the same historical data and have never been validated against real data predict disaster.

    A price on carbon isn’t a complete reshaping of the global economy.

  14. >Hansen made accurate predictions in his 1988 testimony.

    Hansen’s predictions? Accurate? It is to laugh…

    Only, as a previous commenter pointed out, in the universe where substantial portions of Manhattan are already underwater.

  15. >Hansen’s predictions? Accurate? It is to laugh…

    Hansen’s predictions from his climate models were accurate. I’m more interested in his published scientific work than in some second-hand throwaway lines to a reporter.

  16. Existence of AGW is deduced from first principles (the science for this is about 100 years old). You need climate models to get the magnitude, regional distribution etc.

    Fair cop. I should have said “non-negligible anthropogenic global warming.”

    Of course, the toxicity of mercury in vaccines is also established by first principles; it’s just the magnitude that we don’t know. The two arguments are actually quite similar; they both posit a small effect that is just barely detectable above the noise, and they both seem to inspire an almost religious fervor in their supporters.

    McIntyre was stonewalled because he was making a nuisance of himself; e.g. repeated requests for data that he already had.

    OK, so addressing a scientific criticism is only necessary if the person making the criticism is polite about it. Sorry, that doesn’t even begin to wash. You still haven’t explained how a basic error in principal components analysis could go completely undetected by the climate science community (the “domain experts” who understand far more about these things than the unwashed masses) for more than 5 years.

    McIntyre’s critiques of the reconstructions don’t actually affect the final results.

    Here you’re either being disingenuous or you don’t understand principal components analysis. I lean toward the latter. McIntyre’s critique of the reconstructions should have significantly affected the results. The flaw he found was actually quite significant; it essentially created the “hockey stick” all by itself. That you now claim it didn’t affect the results is pretty clear evidence that you believe the results would be the same no matter what data and analysis was used. As I said, the paleoclimate reconstructions are useless.

    And the claim that predictions made in 1988 worked for the 1990s (a time scale that you now claim is too short), was a validation of the model? The very same models that then failed to predict climate during the next decade?

    I’m sorry, but your response, along with your continuing <ad hominem arguments, only serve to reinforce my skepticism. I’ve only really been looking at this field since the CRU emails leak, but what I see is not very encouraging.

  17. >OK, so addressing a scientific criticism is only necessary if the person making the criticism is polite about it. Sorry, that doesn’t even begin to wash.

    There’s a difference between “addressing a scientific criticism” and “answering every email and data request sent to you”.

    >Here you’re either being disingenuous or you don’t understand principal components analysis.

    The principal components aren’t the final result. If you change the method for McI’s critique, then you get a different rotation for the PCs, but the final reconstruction is the same.

    >And the claim that predictions made in 1988 worked for the 1990s (a time scale that you now claim is too short), was a validation of the model? The very same models that then failed to predict climate during the next decade?

    They worked in the 90s because the sun wasn’t doing anything funny (and Hansen made a lucky guess of 1 major eruption). The last decade has had an unusually long solar minimum.

  18. Dave, in no way, shape or form has Pete issued an ad hominem attack.

    He has disagreed with you, he has given alternate interpretations. He has not said “You’re a goober, therefore your arguments are invalid.” Heck, you and he have both been reasonable and polite to each other; it hasn’t even devolved into abuse or name calling. (Not that I’m requesting this, mind…)

    I deal with accusations of ad hominem attacks in other forums, and have gotten very persnickity about how the term is used.

    I’ll point out that OTHER DATA SETS also show significant rises in temperature in the last quarter of the 20th century as well; Mann, while highly prominent, isn’t even 1% of the published papers or data on this subject.

    As to “Scientists who don’t know signal processing and make basic errors” go download the models, run them, and see if you can improve on them. Warning – you will need to know FORTRAN 90.

    EG, we can pick like crows at roadkill, or we can look at the data sets that are out there. I know it’s easier to carp about something than to actually DO something…but hey, I’ll keep pointing people at this URL on the off chance that more of them will do what I’m trying:

    http://www.ccsm.ucar.edu/models/ccsm3.0/#src

  19. “There’s a difference between ‘addressing a scientific criticism’ and ‘answering every email and data request sent to you’.”

    Where’s that in the FOIA? The FOIA isn’t just for handing data over to people you like, but rather quite the opposite.

    “They worked in the 90s because the sun wasn’t doing anything funny”

    It’s answers like this that are meant to defend AGW/CRU, but only serve to make me more skeptical. If the models can’t account for the sun properly, then they are bad models. This is another “Divergence Problem” answer just applied to the Sun instead of to to trees. Rather than recongnizing that the model is flawed because the real world results didn’t match the hypothesis, rationalizations are made instead to keep the flawed hypothesis.

  20. >Hansen’s predictions from his climate models were accurate.

    Ah. Did he, in fact, predict that global average temperature measures would be flat for ten years after 1998, then crash abruptly in early 2008? Or are you describing predictions in the alternate universe where the East River Drive is underwater already?

  21. >Rather than recongnizing that the model is flawed because the real world results didn’t match the hypothesis, rationalizations are made instead to keep the flawed hypothesis.

    That’s the best one-line summary of the entire history of AGW I’ve ever heard.

  22. Dave, in no way, shape or form has Pete issued an ad hominem attack

    There has been no ad hominem attack on me; thats not what I said. Pete has used the term “denier” and has frequently dismissed the work of others because of who they are, not the content of their criticisms.

    I deal with accusations of ad hominem attacks in other forums, and have gotten very persnickity about how the term is used.

    Then I assume that you understand why Pete’s dismissal (for example) of McIntyre’s results amounts to ad hominem.

    I’ll point out that OTHER DATA SETS also show significant rises in temperature in the last quarter of the 20th century as well

    Do you not even understand the issues here? Nobody sane is denying that the mean global temperature has risen; the question is whether that rise is primarily a result of human activities or not. Claiming that those who remain skeptical about anthropogenic global warming must somehow deny the rise in temperatures is completely fallacious. Either that, or an attempt at “poisoning the well.” Another fallacy with which I am sure you are familiar.

  23. From HARRY_READ_ME.txt (Go to line 5332) :

    It’s the same story for many other Russian stations, unfortunately – meaning that (probably)
    there was a full Russian update that did no data integrity checking at all. I just hope it’s
    restricted to Russia!!

    I’m beginning to wonder if any of the available data sets could yield anything that would not tempt even the most noble to apply ‘artificial’ corrections to dismiss superfluous anomalies.

    This, starting on line 5434 is what really hurt to read:

    Here, the expected 1990-2003 period is MISSING – so the correlations aren’t so hot! Yet
    the WMO codes and station names /locations are identical (or close). What the hell is
    supposed to happen here? Oh yeah – there is no ‘supposed’, I can make it up. So I have :-)

    If an update station matches a ‘master’ station by WMO code, but the data is unpalatably
    inconsistent, the operator is given three choices:

    You have failed a match despite the WMO codes matching.
    This must be resolved!! Please choose one:

    1. Match them after all.
    2. Leave the existing station alone, and discard the update.
    3. Give existing station a false code, and make the update the new WMO station.

    Enter 1,2 or 3:

    You can’t imagine what this has cost me – to actually allow the operator to assign false
    WMO codes!! But what else is there in such situations? Especially when dealing with a ‘Master’
    database of dubious provenance (which, er, they all are and always will be).

    I’ve given line numbers so anyone can look up the full context of the quotes, though doing so only reinforces the solid gold WTF?? that strikes your being.

  24. >>Rather than recongnizing that the model is flawed because the real world results didn’t match the hypothesis, rationalizations are made instead to keep the flawed hypothesis.

    >That’s the best one-line summary of the entire history of AGW I’ve ever heard.

    This is exactly how science is meant to work! We didn’t ditch Kepler’s laws when they couldn’t predict the orbit of Mercury. We (by ‘we’ I mean ‘Einstein’) worked out where those laws went wrong and adjusted the theory. And before GR, we could still get a better estimate of the orbit by applying Kepler than by assuming it would stay where it was.

  25. On the question of dismissing McIntyre. Note that many people do it, but few do it when it actually counts.

    First, McIntyre provides a script of his code in the first comment of every post where code is relevant. His readers check and complain when some thing doesn’t work for them.

    Second, McIntyre only censors the anti-AGW crowd. He freely admits he snips venting, piling on, and policy whining. But he gives his challengers free rein for as long as they are actually up to it. Note that RealClimate, Stoat and the others actually rewrite people’s comments to “win” discussions. McIntyre never does that. They feel like they have to. He doesn’t. One can infer meaning from that.

    Finally, note how those who all for Mann’s approach change their tune when they are no longer able to do so without consequences. For example the testimony of Gerry North when perjury rules applied:

    “CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?
    DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report. But again, just because the claims are made, doesn’t mean they are false.
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that you can have the right conclusion and that it not be–
    DR. NORTH. It happens all the time in science.
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, and not be substantiated by what you purport to be the facts but have we established–we know that Dr. Wegman has said that Dr. Mann’s methodology is incorrect. Do you agree with that? I mean, it doesn’t mean Dr. Mann’s conclusions are wrong, but we can stipulate now that we have–and if you want to ask your statistician expert from North Carolina that Dr. Mann’s methodology cannot be documented and cannot be verified by independent review.
    DR. NORTH. Do you mind if he speaks?
    CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, if he would like to come to the microphone.
    MR. BLOOMFIELD. Thank you. Yes, Peter Bloomfield. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his coworkers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.”

    McIntyre often strikes me as rude when he corresponds with the team. But that is hardly relevant to anything that really matters. Those that are unimpressed with McIntyre have a perpetual forum to show that their math and stats skills are better than his. Pity that so few choose to do so.

  26. >Ah. Did he, in fact, predict that global average temperature measures would be flat for ten years after 1998, then crash abruptly in early 2008?

    A climate model isn’t designed to predict solar variation, volcanic eruptions, or anthropogenic emissions; it has to take these things as input. The solar physicists couldn’t predict the extended solar minimum, so it wasn’t included in the model input.

    >Or are you describing predictions in the alternate universe where the East River Drive is underwater already?

    Are you still having trouble distinguishing published scientific predictions and throwaway lines?

  27. >Second, McIntyre only censors the anti-AGW crowd.

    Not entirely true; I’ve had comments moved to “unthreaded”. Of course, censoring is necessary on a blog like climateaudit or realclimate. You can’t avoid being swamped by Sturgeon’s law when you have that volume of comments unless you do a lot of moderating.

  28. Pete, defending the models by pointing out that predicting the climate is impossible is shooting the patient. If the climate can’t be predicted, you can’t use those non-existent predictions to extract an AGW signal, because no matter how clever your model you can’t have any confidence it’s actually correct. You have to be able to make some sort of prediction that comes true, or you’ve got nothing.

    Now, I would readily accept a contingent prediction. I would readily accept a computer program that allows you to feed in the solar parameters and the volcanic parameters and if that program, fed the real data, is still accurate ten years later, believe me, I’m listening, and ready to start talking about what it means if we run that program out a hundred years with further realistic assumptions. However, I have seen nothing that rises to this standard.

    You still basically have this presumption that the default truth assumption is that the modelers are correct, but the default assumption is that they are not. It is up to them to prove their accuracy by making accurate predictions, and I’m still waiting for someone to show me the graph from 1999 that accurately describes the past ten years. Or the contingent prediction where I can poke in the solar minimum and see the past ten years. Until I see accurate predictions of this nature, I’m not sold. If you know of it, please do point me at it, because I’m totally serious; show me the correct prediction and I’ll flip on the topic.

  29. pete, moving a comment to unthreaded isn’t censorship, the message is still there and visible. Things get moved to unthreaded when they’re clearly non-topical to the post at hand. If the non-topical messages are interesting enough to him they’ll sometimes get moved into a thread of their own.

    I very rarely see single posts moved to unthreaded though, they’re typically a whole series of non-topical posts replying to each other.

  30. >Not entirely true; I’ve had comments moved to “unthreaded”.

    There’s a huge difference between moving a post in a (usually fruitless) attempt to keep a thread on-topic and rewriting the post to change what the writer actually wrote.

    Realclimate’s rewriting of 3rd party comments is a key reason why I wasn’t the slightest bit surprised by the email scandal. If they can’t even have a discussion without feeling the need to keep complete control, there is precious little reason to believe they have the right makeup for the task they have been assigned.

  31. Two significant problems with this whole idea of “adjusting” the temperature readings are (1) a reliance on the possibly biased, but in any event, unreviewable, case-by-case judgment of the data analyst, and (2) the fact that the results obtained do not account for the uncertainty introduced by trying to guess at what the temperature at point A is based on the temperature measurements at point B. Together these make the results seem more certain than is warranted by the data.

    The right way to do this would be to create a statistical model of spatial temperature variations (or whatever other factors might necessitate an adjustment) and then run a Bayesian MCMC analysis. Then check for sensitivity to the most debatable assumptions, prior distributions, or model details by varying these and seeing how the results vary. This will give you a clearer picture of the level of uncertainty in your results.

  32. Sorry, I left out an important point in my previous comment. The result of running a Bayesian analysis using MCMC is a sample of values from the joint posterior distribution of the quantities of interest. (The posterior distribution is a probability distribution describing what you can known given your prior assumptions and the data at hand.) That is, it’s not just a point estimate — it’s a spread of possible values. This is why it’s so useful in quantifying the degree of uncertainty in your results.

  33. >A climate model isn’t designed to predict solar variation, volcanic eruptions, or anthropogenic emissions; it has to take these things as input.

    I read this as “Hansen’s predictions were incorrect and I’m making lame excuses”.

    If Hansen’s model is so fragile that a tiny, unforseen variation in insolation can make it unpredictive, it’s useless. Or useless, anyway, for anything but demonstrating that solar forcing trumps every other driver in the model. Which is exactly what I have been saying since, oh, about 1990. Guess that makes me a more capable climatologist than Hansen — which, alas, doesn’t seem to be very difficult.

  34. Now, I would readily accept a contingent prediction. I would readily accept a computer program that allows you to feed in the solar parameters and the volcanic parameters and if that program, fed the real data, is still accurate ten years later, believe me, I’m listening, and ready to start talking about what it means if we run that program out a hundred years with further realistic assumptions. However, I have seen nothing that rises to this standard.

    Contingent prediction is what I was trying to get at, thanks for stating it more clearly.

    How about if the program takes a month on a supercomputer? Is that still okay?

  35. Absolutely OK. I would hardly expect anything less of a serious model that can go ten years in the future. For verifying the next ten years I’ll check it on my home computer if it’s still working.

    I would probably suggest that it should be run by somebody other than the original predictor, though, and it should come from archived tapes from the time period. But I also understand that I’m unlikely to get all that, and I’d settle for pretty much anything that meets a “reasonable person” standard.

  36. I read this as “Hansen’s predictions were incorrect and I’m making lame excuses”.

    If your reading comprehension is really that poor, then Jeremy Bower’s comment explains contingent prediction much better than I have.

    If Hansen’s model is so fragile that a tiny, unforseen variation in insolation can make it unpredictive, it’s useless. Or useless, anyway, for anything but demonstrating that solar forcing trumps every other driver in the model. Which is exactly what I have been saying since, oh, about 1990. Guess that makes me a more capable climatologist than Hansen — which, alas, doesn’t seem to be very difficult.

    I’ve explained this already, but you ignored the explanation. I’ll copy and paste:

    No climate scientist would disagree with you that in the short term (intradecadal) solar variation (and plenty of other things, such as ENSO style configuration changes) has a greater influence than changes in CO2. But solar variation stays within certain bounds, while atmospheric CO2 can keep increasing, so on decadal scales CO2 forcing is more important.

    Consider a function f(x) = sin(x) + x/100. Which term “swamps” which?

  37. >Absolutely OK. I would hardly expect anything less of a serious model that can go ten years in the future. For verifying the next ten years I’ll check it on my home computer if it’s still working.

    Good point, Moore’s law should let us run a 10 year old model in about a day. This sounds like a great project for Ken’s blog?

  38. Do you not even understand the issues here? Nobody sane is denying that the mean global temperature has risen; the question is whether that rise is primarily a result of human activities or not. Claiming that those who remain skeptical about anthropogenic global warming must somehow deny the rise in temperatures is completely fallacious. Either that, or an attempt at “poisoning the well.” Another fallacy with which I am sure you are familiar.

    Oh, I’m quite aware of the issue here. I was calling for open sourcing this stuff before Eric was to improve transparency.

    Here are some numbers:

    CO2 PPM from roughly 1680 to 1920: 270
    CO2 PPM from roughly 1920 to 1940: 280
    CO2 PPM from roughly 1940 to now – it’s risen from 280 to 380. A ball park estimate of total energy output from fossil fuels used in the span of the rise is that we’ve put out enough CO2 to have raised it to about 420 PPM; the rest has been absorbed by the oceans.

    If you look at area under the curve (basic calculus) for the Earth’s IR absorption and retransmission window, that rise can account for a large amount of energy being absorbed by the atmosphere. This is just CO2 absorption; it doesn’t rely on nonlinear feedback effects, or magically making CO2 hold 4x the energy that it’s supposed to (which some early models did). It doesn’t rely on specifying a CO2 to water vapor feedback loop. it’s just area under the curve.

    I think it’s some mix of CO2 trapping energy and some mix of solar variability, and some mix of oceanic flow models which can conceal or amplify a change. I also think that any attempt to try to ‘solve’ the problem by stifling CO2 outputs is doomed to failure. I think our best bet is to focus on ways to pull that CO2 from the air, and gathering better data.

    I am very much opposed to running uncontrolled experiments on the only habitable planet we have, thank you. At the very least, let’s run these uncontrolled experiments on Mars and keep Earth as a control. :)

    All that said – my point is this:

    CRU has had its credibility blown. Look at the other data sources, or be a carrion crow fishing for sound bites. I could care less about the personalities involved. Steve McIntyre or Michaal Mann, both are flawed, both do things that irritate the other side.

    Step above the irritation. Look at the data. Run the models that are open source so they can be made better by our input.

  39. “But solar variation stays within certain bounds, while atmospheric CO2 can keep increasing, so on decadal scales CO2 forcing is more important.”

    Except, of course, for how solar radiation’s overall impact on the system appears to be orders of magnitude greater than that of atmospheric CO2, making CO2 forcing comparatively irrelevant even on decadal scales.

    Put that in your function and consider it.

  40. I’ll ask you, Jeremy, what “JessicaBoxer” failed to answer in another thread…

    To you, what would constitute an “accurate” climate model?

  41. A climate model isn’t designed to predict solar variation, volcanic eruptions, or anthropogenic emissions; it has to take these things as input.

    I read this as “Hansen’s predictions were incorrect and I’m making lame excuses”.

    Actually, it’s worse than that. He is basically stating that the models can never be compared to real-world data because the real-world data will always contain some effect that has not been accounted for. In other words, the theory is impossible to disprove.

  42. At Climate Audit (http://camirror.wordpress.com/2009/11/29/press-coverage/#comments) AJ Strata says:

    “Well I ain’t buying the CRU’s claim they lost the data in the 1980’s. The CRU data dump included a very important file of results created in July 2009 and called idl_cruts3_2005_vs_2008b.pdf. It seems to show to me CRU had the data within the last 18 months, how else did they create the file?

    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/11630

  43. >No climate scientist would disagree with you that in the short term (intradecadal) solar variation (and plenty of other things, such as ENSO style configuration changes) has a greater influence than changes in CO2. But solar variation stays within certain bounds, while atmospheric CO2 can keep increasing, so on decadal scales CO2 forcing is more important.

    But the prediction that CO2 forcing swamps insolation changes on a decadal scale has already been falsified by a decade of rising CO2 accompanied by flat temperatures. Or is this a case of you saying “Wait! Wait! Any decade now!”?

  44. >But the prediction that CO2 forcing swamps insolation changes on a decadal scale has already been falsified by a decade of rising CO2 accompanied by flat temperatures. Or is this a case of you saying “Wait! Wait! Any decade now!”?

    This decade was warmer than last decade, despite a sustained solar minimum.

  45. >This decade was warmer than last decade, despite a sustained solar minimum.

    A result easily predicted from long-term trends, probably driven by Milankovitch cycles, that don’t involve anthropogenic CO2 forcing at all. They can’t, because humans weren’t screwing with the CO2 level before the Industrial Revolution. So that mere observation does nothing for your theory. What you need to explain is why changes in CO2 concentration wildly overpredicted termperature change between 1750 and 1975, then the correlation was just right for AGW theory until 1998 — after which it plain disappeared and hasn’t come back.

    And if your answer is to whine that the sun wasn’t cooperating, the poster upthread who said you have a panchreston rather than a predictive theory is right.

  46. >A result easily predicted from long-term trends

    Although too difficult for you to successfully retrodict two posts ago.

    >probably driven by Milankovitch cycles

    Probably? Show me a model that explains 20th century global temperatures using Milankovitch cycles, that fits observations at least as well as current models, and has no physically implausible parameterisations.

    >What you need to explain is why changes in CO2 concentration wildly overpredicted termperature change between 1750 and 1975, then the correlation was just right for AGW theory until 1998 — after which it plain disappeared and hasn’t come back.

    I have no idea what you’re getting at here. Climate models explain 20th century global temperature quite well.

  47. I have no idea what you’re getting at here. Climate models explain 20th century global temperature quite well.

    And you understand why this statement says nothing about the predictive ability of the climate models, right?

    Right?

  48. >And you understand why this statement says nothing about the predictive ability of the climate models, right?

    It also says nothing about the location of bigfoot.

  49. From what I’ve read of the CRU data, what has been lost is a fraction of the rawest data. Probably most of the raw data can be recovered since it was also used at NASA NOAA etc. but some certainly cannot because that data was never stored there.

    The “raw adjusted” data – which is as I understand it minimally processed and adjusted – is available somewhere at CRU and could be released. I think – but this is from my reading of HARRY and not from other sources – that the adjustments are interpolations of short spaces of missing data (e.g. days where there is a Tmin but no Tmax) and removal of what seem to be scribal related errors (digit transpositions etc.).

    However there are two problems. First is the metadata fustercluck. You only have to read HARRY to note that they have huge problems with metadata regarding station location. Without the metadata being reliable we really have no idea if we are comparing apples with other apples, or oranges or bananananananas or kumquats.

    Secondly some of the infill appears to come from model data rather than direct interpolation. Some of the raw model assumptions are also lost (Harry mentions stuff about cloud cover where all he has is the output) and possibly worse we don’t know what data is real and what is model.

    Finally I recall from earlier ClimateAudit discussions of GISTEMP that the NCDC “raw” data has actually had some adjustments made to it so it isn’t as raw as it is claimed to be.

  50. Just to throw a little bit more material into the debate from one of the couple important German climate researchers (Stefan Rahmsdorf): (in english of course)

    There is more than just the CRU dataset to look at: http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/5datasets_rahmstorf.pdf

    Nice summary of what he believes about AGW: http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/Publications/Book_chapters/Rahmstorf_Zedillo_2008.pdf

    And as a discussion point: To battle CO2 emissions is estimated to cost 500 Billion USD per year until 2050 (http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/epri-co2-cuts-will-cost-a-lot-more-without-nuclear-and-clean-coal/), which sounds a lot but compared to the world economy of 50 trillion GDP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_economy), that’s just 1%. Doesn’t look like a big change to lifestyles in my book.

    So why not take the cautious route? If AGW turns out bogus in 10/20 years, we might have invested some money in not polluting the environment, big deal. But if AGW turns out to be real, then we rather not wait and get acting.

  51. 54 posts later. Have we come to a conclusion whether this is either an unforgivable crime against science, or a misunderstanding, or a mere venial sin yet?

  52. >So why not take the cautious route?

    I am much less concerned about the monetary cost than I am about the downstream effects of giving politicians and bureaucrats more power to screw with the global economy. If I thought the money would go to CO2 scrubbers and remediation it wouldn’t bother me as much — but what’s going to happen is graft, patronage, and huge deadweight losses as markets are disrupted by political fixers and parasites.

  53. An accurate model is one that makes predictions about “interesting parameters” with error bars, then reality conforms to those “interesting parameters” within the error bars, and, since being “in the error bars” isn’t really a binary distinction but is a continuum, it should ideally not result in the prediction spending “too much time” at the extremes of the error bars, either, which could be statistically characterized even if that sounds fuzzy in English. The error bars should not be so large that the model boils down to predicting “Well, something will happen…”, as I don’t need a supercomputer to tell me that.

    “Interesting parameters” includes global temperature, but given the nature of the simulation, it also ought to be making accurate predictions about a wide variety of more local things since there is no way to get to a correct simulation without that, including where the heat builds up, how hot the oceans get, etc. Getting the global temperature right could be done by coincidence, especially over the short term with generous error bars. Predicting all of those things with some degree of correctness would mean you have a good model, and the more you predict, the more the evidence that you have at least a good model would accrue. I probably still won’t trust the output of your “good” model run 100 years into the future, but if you can accurately predict 10 years in advance, I’m very willing to start listening to the factors in your simulation; at that point you could probably nail down the AGW component with a reasonable error bar. (And the usefulness of running that model 100 years into the future would be limited anyhow, as the “point” would be made without making up scary-looking junk data.)

    Again, let me emphasize I’m not talking about perfection. I am aware that it is impossible. My problem is that from what I’ve been reading, the models have not reached this level of accuracy. They predict a heat buildup in the upper atmosphere of the equator that apparently has not manifested. They predicted the oceans would get warmer, and instead they’ve gotten colder, which is no small thing. Again, if I’m wrong, please do let me know… but I rather suspect that if the models were getting this right I’d have heard the rebuttal by now, because if the models were this accurate we’d probably hardly be able to have a discussion without this fact getting brought up every three seconds. Which would be the correct thing to do. In fact, I’d probably be joining in the chorus doing it.

    All the prediction (singular not a typo) I’ve been able to find from the late 1990s that has a prediction of global temperature with error bars, we just fell out of the error bars sometime around last year. That’s a Big Deal (TM). Unfortunately, I have tried to find a link to it again in the past and I can not, as I get buried in graphs of temperatures with no error bars, which incidentally I consider a complete joke, albeit one I’m perfectly ready to believe is a problem with the publicity associated with the science rather than the science itself. (There’s a world of difference between predicting a 2.0C rise with an (accurate) .5C error bar, and predicting a 2.0C rise with an (accurate) 5.5C error bar.)

    That’s an accurate model.

  54. “So why not take the cautious route? If AGW turns out bogus in 10/20 years, we might have invested some money in not polluting the environment, big deal. But if AGW turns out to be real, then we rather not wait and get acting.”

    This isn’t cautious, it’s reckless. I’m a former college CEDA debater and the way debates are won is basically claiming something seriously bad will happen – no matter how tenous or unlikely the connection – so you’d better do something major about it now, but it isn’t real life. If policy decisions are made based on who has the best apocalyptic claims, it just leads to bad policy. If making serious financial/political decisions without proof based on whoever has the best harms is the way to do things, why not have the government promote people take Pascal’s Wager as you could claim to be saving people from eternal damnation which would trump the harms of GW? If this reckless fearmongering approach is the new way doing things, then you’ll have someone else come along later who will claim more harms – without proof – unless we do X instead right now ad infinitum. I’ve literally played this game before and it is poor real world logic (which CEDA debate is about winning an argument, not coming up with the best public policy).

  55. CO2 is “easy”. As Ken Burnside wrote at 12:12am, we know how it has changed over the last few centuries. We know how it affects temperatures as a greenhouse gas: not very much (a fraction of a degree). And we know that increasing CO2 has a diminishing greenhouse effect.

    So CO2 is basically irrelevant as a greenhouse gas.

    The alarmist scientists are talking about a (postulated) indirect effect of CO2 levels on the greenhouse gas that matters: water. The alarmists say that increases in CO2 will produce much greater increases in water vapor levels. They had a testable theory for how could happen. The test (troposphere temperatures) failed: that theory is false.

    Could CO2 drive the greenhouse effects of water in some other way? The fact that global warming stopped in 1998 while CO2 levels kept rising creates a strong presumption that the answer is no.

    Unless someone suddenly produces strong evidence of such an effect, allocating huge amounts of money to fighting CO2 increases would be crazy. (Spending not-so-huge amounts to mitigate non-climate effects is a different story.)

  56. Could CO2 drive the greenhouse effects of water in some other way? The fact that global warming stopped in 1998 while CO2 levels kept rising creates a strong presumption that the answer is no.

    The paleoclimatological record is clear: The temperature goes up or down, and CO2 follows ~800y later. They claim that it helps to feed back and amplify the changes, but they never have dealt with the fact that the greatest rate of temperature decrease occurs when CO2 and temperatures are at their highest. If high CO2 causes runaway warming, why has it never run away before? Why do temperatures eventually fall for 800y before the CO2 follows?

  57. Speaking of facts, I posted this on another thread, so forgive the redundancy:

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

    Now, it seems that CO2 accounts for 3.618% of the greenhouse effect, and that man-made additions to the CO2 concentration are around 3.225% of that. Multiplying that out, I get man-made CO2 accounting for 0.00116% or so of the greenhouse effect. Anyone want to check my math on that?

    What I want to know is, even if we embark on a draconian program of eliminating all carbon emissions, and let about a billion people freeze in the dark for the cause, does removing 0.00116% of the greenhouse effect achieve the stated goal of preventing climate change?

    AGW promoters love to talk about how our cars are “spewing megatons of carbon” into the air, but they rarely mention how the CO2 is dwarfed by the water vapor.

  58. >I am much less concerned about the monetary cost than I am about the downstream effects of giving politicians and bureaucrats more power to screw with the global economy.

    One thing that’s pretty obvious to me is, if the worst doomsday predictions of the Hockey Team are true, we’re going to need our freedom to cope with it. Can you imagine the Roy Nagins of the world trying to handle the evacuation of most of our coastal areas?

  59. AGW promoters love to talk about how our cars are “spewing megatons of carbon” into the air, but they rarely mention how the CO2 is dwarfed by the water vapor.

    I’m sure that’s because “water vapor” doesn’t sound very scary and AGW is more about fear mongering than science.

    Looks to me like AGW = Al Gore Worship.

  60. > Multiplying that out, I get man-made CO2 accounting for 0.00116% or so of the greenhouse effect. Anyone want to check my math on that?

    Sorry, you’re off by a couple of orders of magnitude because you forgot to convert back to a percentage after multiplication. It’s 0.116%. Still an awfully small amount, though.

  61. Now, it seems that CO2 accounts for 3.618% of the greenhouse effect, and that man-made additions to the CO2 concentration are around 3.225% of that. Multiplying that out, I get man-made CO2 accounting for 0.00116% or so of the greenhouse effect. Anyone want to check my math on that?

    We’ve increased CO2 by very close to 50% since 1920. The CO2 parameter on total radiative heat transfer varies depending on who’s study you read, but it’s dwarfed by water vapor in general. Nobody has an accurate model for cloud formation in their model, because the computational intensity is something that turns multiple core Beowulf computers into unresponsive space heaters. Cloud formation is one of those places where fudges are hand entered specifically to make these amenable to computation with modern computers at all.

    I contend that it’s a mix of insolation, cloud cover, CO2, water, and thermo effects from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

    As Dr. Pielke has been quoted: “Multi-variate problems in chaotic systems are very rarely amenable to single variable solutions.”

  62. In the rush to blame everything on CO2 one of the main guys let something slip out, which actually reminded of Gaia. They blamed the inaccuracy on the tree rings on the fertilizing effect the C02 is having on trees – CO2 improves plant growth. That would seem to be both a positive side-effect as well as a feedback loop preventing runaway warming. With Gaia it is always explained as humans being outside of nature, but we are a part of nature, so if we take it as red that C02 does have some impact, it also goes as that nature responds by having fauna grow better thereby reducing CO2 rather than this being something out of control. Also in regards to fossil fuels being burnt releasing CO2, you release more water vapor than you do CO2 when this happens, yet there is dodging around with water vapor trying to treat it like isn’t a “greenhouse gas”…if we take it as true that there is AGW, couldn’t the case be from low-level water vapor caused by agriculture, industry and cars with CO2 just being a minor tag-along? Also couldn’t increased water vapor/CO2 just be part of a feedback loop that speeds up the carbonate-silicate weathering cycle? This seems like way too complex a process to just blame it on CO2 in a linear fashion and that we would be in more danger of global cooling than from global warming.

  63. I am much less concerned about the monetary cost than I am about the downstream effects of giving politicians and bureaucrats more power to screw with the global economy.

    You’re barking up the wrong then. That ghost was given up in the 1970s. Maybe you should start railing about the money supply and fiat money in your spare time as well?

  64. I went for a job interview at a DNA-sequencing place in Edinburgh and, apropos of an explanation of a very shiny machine, I said, “Wow, that’s a lot of raw data, even in this day and age. How do you store it?” “We don’t, we only store the processed data.” He seemed quite taken about by what must have been the look on my face. I think it’s safe to assume scientists don’t bother with keeping the raw data nowadays. They rely on the magic of computers.

  65. >Sorry, you’re off by a couple of orders of magnitude because you forgot to convert back to a percentage after multiplication. It’s 0.116%.

    Oops. At least I didn’t throw away the data. ;-)

    >Still an awfully small amount, though.

    Exactly. Is the cooling we could get by totally eliminating man-made CO2 emissions worth a couple million lives? I say no.

  66. Using Norway/Nordic raw temp data from a post at WUWT, and overlaying it on the Norway graph in that CRU file I have been researching ,I think we can safely assume that 2008 -2009 file does contain pre-’corrected’ temp data – and still shows no significant warming

    http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/11643

    And that means the file, generated between 2008 and July 2009, indicates CRU does still have its base data!

  67. ‘- also made contact with a radical cleric. Anwar alAwlaki was an imam at a mosque in suburban virginia where the gunman [Major Hasan] worshipped; before that he was an imam at a mosque in San Diego, where two of the September 11th hijackers sometimes worshipped- a connection that has set alarm bells ringing in some quarters. . . In a blog after the attacks, Mr al-awlaki called Major Hasan a hero.’

    Old news, November 14 Economist.

  68. @esr

    A result easily predicted from long-term trends, probably driven by Milankovitch cycles, that don’t involve anthropogenic CO2 forcing at all. They can’t, because humans weren’t screwing with the CO2 level before the Industrial Revolution.

    But…wait! Eric, haven’t you heard?! Cows cause global warming, too!

    Wait, maybe I should read the whole thing…yep…*skips to bottom*

    Conclusion: Eat less meat and dairy products

    Oh, there it is. Leftie vegan hippies again. Nothing to see here, move along.

  69. “And that means the file, generated between 2008 and July 2009, indicates CRU does still have its base data!”

    I think it indicates that their “We moved in the 80s and threw out the data then” cover story is a lie, but it doesn’t prove they still have it. Given the cavalier attitude to data destruction expressed in other FOIA emails, it would not surprise me in the least to learn that they relatively recently destroyed the file for the purpose of willfully being non-compliant with a FOIA filing.

    To prove or disprove their cover story, I think there would have to be a FOIA filing requesting all paperwork authorizing the destruction of their raw data. If they destroyed their crown jewels without any documented authorization that would point to their cover story being false, while if they did present written authorization, then I would look for proof of that being a forgery. Based on what they said in their other emails, I think they are lying about the date and reasons for the document destruction, which I do believe they did destroy the documents in order to illegally not honor a FOIA request. It could have been destroyed as recently as this year. I get the impression these guys are used to destroying files that are inconvenient to them.

  70. # Ken Burnside Says:
    > We’ve increased CO2 by very close to 50% since 1920.

    Or more precisely, CO2 has increased by very close to 50%.

    > The CO2 parameter on total radiative heat transfer varies
    > depending on who’s study you read, but it’s dwarfed by water
    > vapor in general. Nobody has an accurate model for cloud
    > formation in their model, [because it is computationally too hard]

    So what you are saying is that they model a relatively minor variable well, but don’t model the major variable which “dwarfs” this other.

    Isn’t that like looking for your keys under the street light because there is more light there?

    To say you can’t compute the major contributing factor is simply another way of saying you can’t compute the effect.

  71. Or more precisely, CO2 has increased by very close to 50%.

    Or even more precisely, it has increased by very close to half. An increase to 0.116% can’t be a 50% increase and have “%” mean the same thing in both places. The language gets very confused. Since “close to 50%” sounds like a lot more than “0.04%”, the headlines will always use the former to make it sound scarier.

  72. >Or more precisely, CO2 has increased by very close to 50%.

    The increase is anthropogenic, we can tell by the isotope ratios.

    >So what you are saying is that they model a relatively minor variable well, but don’t model the major variable which “dwarfs” this other.

    Ken said that cloud formation was not modelled well. He also said that total radiative heat transfer from water vapour ‘dwarfs’ the same from CO2. Water vapour is well modelled.

    Water vapour is basically dependent on temperature. If the amount of water vapour is increased, it will return to equilibrium in days or weeks. Therefore water vapour can be treated as an endogenous variable. CO2 otoh takes about a century, which is why increased CO2 concentrations can have a long term effect on the climate.

  73. Or even more precisely, it has increased by very close to half. An increase to 0.116% can’t be a 50% increase and have “%” mean the same thing in both places. The language gets very confused. Since “close to 50%” sounds like a lot more than “0.04%”, the headlines will always use the former to make it sound scarier.

    Scientists resolve this ambiguity by distinguishing percentage increases from percentage point increases.

    e.g.

    If you increase 20% by ten percent you get 22%
    If you increase 20% by ten percent points you get 30%

  74. “To say you can’t compute the major contributing factor is simply another way of saying you can’t compute the effect.”

    After they get control by spending trillions of dollars along with increased government interference in our lives, they’ll up it again by then having a Water Tax in addition to the Carbon Tax. They are power-mad theocrats:
    “Beyond governments, it is essential to mobilize a range
    of other communities that are natural or potential
    supporters of UNEP’s mission. This way, UNEP works
    not with one agenda but with a series of parallel or
    interwoven agendas, and multiplies the potential
    sources of support. UNEP has a large natural
    constituency and this constituency needs to be
    harnessed to the UNEP mission without appearing to
    make an end-run around the member governments.
    This includes finding the right way to interact with,
    and draw the best from, the university and student
    community, and think tanks. In this respect, it has an
    asset in the Executive Director, whose background and
    experience spans several of the key constituencies.” (Sounds like “plans within plans” from Dune. I remember in the past the big fear of the UN was militaristic in nature, but it turns out these power-mad people are instead going through schools to make kids tools of the UN.)

    “The fact that
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
    is only occasionally associated with UNEP is a scandal
    and a tragedy.” (Don’t worry, people are catching on)

    “The environment should compete with religion as the
    only compelling, value-based narrative available to
    humanity.” (Since when was UN doctrine supposed to compete with the religions practiced in its member states? Be whatever religion you want or have no religion at all, just don’t have some world government trying to put its own religion all over the world – that’s just so Dark Ages. Give me that UN religion is not good enough for me.)

    “As one member of the group expressed it: economics
    has great theory but lousy data while environment has
    great data but lousy theory.” (I’d at least as far as AGW is concerned they are batting 0 for 2 – lousy data combined with lousy theory)
    http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/113009_IISDreport.pdf

  75. A good addition to the discussion: Climategate: Why it matters. Some quotes:

    CRU was founded in 1972 by the ‘Father of Climatology’, former Met Office meteorologist Hubert Lamb. Until around 1980, solar modulation was believed to be the driving factor in climatic variation.

    Lamb (who died in 1997), however remained sceptical of the greenhouse gas hypothesis to the end.

    The gas theory is based on an elegant ‘energy budget’ model, but it leans heavily on positive feedbacks resulting from greenhouse gases such as CO2 in order to produce the warming CO2 cannot do by itself. Yet no simple empirical laboratory tests are of use here. Nor is there a ‘fingerprint’ or tell-tale signal that anthropogenically produced gases are the primary forcing factor. Hence climatology’s increasing reliance, since 1980, on a range of anecdotal evidence and computer modelling.

    The first IPCC report in 1990 used the established temperature record created by Lamb. It’s very different to the one we’re familiar with today – and that’s the work of CRU director Phil Jones, CRU’s pioneer dendrochronologist Keith Briffa, and their colleagues in (mainly) US institutions.

    You can see the difference here.

    [Two charts, from the 1990 and the 2001 IPCC reports. The 1990 chart is a MUST SEE for everyone in this discussion.]

    Although Lamb’s version is supported by historical accounts, archaeology, geology and even contemporary literature, two key differences are the decreased significance of the Medieval Warming Period (CRU and its allies prefer the term ‘MCA’, or “Medieval Climate Anomaly”) and a radically warmer modern period.

    Jones and his team began to produce work that contradicted the established picture in 1990 – and CRU was able to do so from both ends. By creating new temperature recreations, it could create a new account of history. By issuing a monthly gridded temperature set while making raw station data unavailable for inspection, it defined contemporary data. So CRU controlled two important narratives: the “then”, and the “now”.

  76. Or more precisely, CO2 has increased by very close to 50%.

    The increase is anthropogenic, we can tell by the isotope ratios

    Pete is correct here. The isotope ratios indicate that the recent CO2 increase is primarily made up of carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere for a very long time. Such carbon is depleted of C-14, which is created i the atmosphere. The natural interpretation is that it comes from fossil fuels.

    Of course, as usual, it is not as simple as Pete says. Anthropogenic carbon increases do not necessarily have to have this isotope ratio; carbon from burning forests, for example, would look just like the carbon in the atmosphere. And carbon from volcanic sources would be indistinguishable from that from burning of fossil fuels.

    But still, I think the evidence is pretty solid that the increase in CO2 is primarily anthropogenic.

  77. Another goody: GIStemp – A Human View, an interesting look at the uncertainties in creating a temperature history.


    Eventually, about 1900 A.D., there are sufficient thermometers on the globe to get a partial idea what is happening. But climate is subject to cyclical changes. Some, like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, have about a 40 to 60 year full cycle length. Others, like solar cycles that run 178 years, and Bond Events – a 1500 year cycle, are a bit longer. A 100 year record is inadequate to allow for these events.

    At its core, GIStemp tries to bridge this gap, both in time and in space, between the one thermometer and the globe, and between the 100 years and the 1500. This is a noble goal, but is just “A thermometer too far” to bridge.

    One final note: There has been A Great Dying lately for thermometers. Since about 1990, there has been a reduction in thermometer counts globally. In the USA, the number has dropped from 1850 at peak (in the year 1968) to 136 now (in the year 2009). As you might guess, this has presented some “issues” for our thermal quilt. But do not fear, GIStemp will fill in what it needs, guessing as needed, stretching and fabricating until it has a result.

    In Japan, no thermometers now record above 300 meters. Japan has no mountains now. For California, where we once had thermometers in the mountain snow and in the far north near Oregon; there are now 4 surviving thermometers near the beach and in the warm south. But GIStemp is sure we can use them as a fine proxy for Mount Shasta with it’s glaciers and for the snows and ice of Yosemite winters.

  78. >And carbon from volcanic sources would be indistinguishable from that from burning of fossil fuels.

    Hm, you know, I was just about to post agreeing with pete’s point about the isotope ratios…then I read this and I’m no longer sure it’s sound.

    Does anyone have decent estimates on CO2 from volcanism?

  79. I admire Pete’s stamina.

    By the way, some posters here (you know who you are – hint: those who’ve never bothered reading even the fact sheets or summaries published by IPCC over the last 15 years or so, but still have very firmly held opinions on the matter) apparently might be surprised to learn that there are in fact several greenhouse gasses with varying warming potential.

    Co2 is often used as a proxy for those other gasses (strictly this is expressed as co2-e (for equivalent).

  80. >Co2 is often used as a proxy for those other gasses (strictly this is expressed as co2-e (for equivalent).

    On the one hand, I know this is objectively true. I have not formed my opinions in ignorance.

    On the other hand, I know that one of the diagnostic signs of junk science and pathological science is playing a sort of three-card monte with technical categories. I learned this from watching the CDC change its criteria for what counted as AIDS in press releases several times during the great “Gahh! AIDS is going to break out of the gay and IV-druggy population and kill us all!” scare around 1990.

    Conveniently, these changes always made the problem look like it was getting worse. But after about 1989 it wasn’t, really; the disease in this this country followed the expected pattern for a pathogen with very low infectivity, ravaged its reservoir population, and never broke out. Different things happened in Africa because other STDs that cause ulcerating sores are endemic there; combine those with AIDS and suddenly its infectivity isn’t low any more. Here, not so much. Sure built a nice empire for CDC while the panic lasted, though.

    Is co2-e a similar bit of flim-flam aimed at depriving any particular criticism of CO2-centered models of a target? I don’t know. I mean that; I don’t know. But given the CRU’s known shenanigans I’d say the odds of it just went way up.

  81. > Nobody has an accurate model for cloud formation in their model …
    As I said above, CO2 is “easy”. The problem is that pretty much everything else in climate studies is hard. Very, very hard.

    Modeling climate is hard. People make guesses about causal relationships, encode them as a model with configurable coefficients and run various combinations of coefficients until they get something resembling historical data. (This is useful for getting a feel for which causal relationships are real, but useless for prediction.) But we don’t know enough to write a model from first principles, and even if we did it would require enormous computer power to run it. (Remember weather prediction programs which took longer to run than their forecast period?)

    Getting historical data is hard. Our records only cover small parts of the world over a relatively recent timespan, and those records have to be corrected for changes in equipment, site, urbanisation, etc, etc. To get useful data, you have to go to indirect data (proxies such as tree rings) and try to disentangle the signal you want from the noise.

    This does not mitigate any of the inexcusable actions of the alarmist ‘scientists’. It’s just something to keep in mind.

  82. “SpanishInquisition Says:
    November 30th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    In the rush to blame everything on CO2 one of the main guys let something slip out, which actually reminded of Gaia. They blamed the inaccuracy on the tree rings on the fertilizing effect the C02 is having on trees – CO2 improves plant growth.”

    So what happened to the bristlecone pine trees? Circa 1960 most of the few that were sampled took a dive in growth. Extra CO2 apparently wasn’t boosting their growth, which is just one area where “Harry” ran into problems.

  83. I wonder maybe that the human race is going exactly where Gaia wants to go: destroy all these pesky mammals who in their massive diversity have not provided miniature-near-live (AKA Viruses) a uniform and global spread vector. Maybe Gaia’s plan was to create a smart monkey that would wipe out all other mammals (and fish evidently) to provide an unvaried specie as canvas. Maybe it knows complex cells can’t survive the trip through space on fragments kicked up from large asteroid strikes and needs to prepare the next batch of smart viruses to send out in space…

    Back to reality: it’s a golden opportunity for another data-gathering entity to come forward as the True Data.

  84. In response to the feedback mechanism, Acksiom said:

    “But solar variation stays within certain bounds, while atmospheric CO2 can keep increasing, so on decadal scales CO2 forcing is more important.”

    I think this actually the most damning feature of not the catastrophic AGW theories. I’ve been following this for several years and very little has been made to actually evaluate the structure of the feedback mechanism against the data. The early scientists essentially predicted a power-law increase in temperatures based upon the feedback mechanism. A decade of flatness, despite significant increases in carbon, is incredibly significant. Even throwing out the oft-used shibboleth of “natural variations,” I think many people are starting to be concerned with the magnitude of the discrepancies between what a power-law dominated feedback function would output and what we have recently seen.

    But my most serious objection to the AGW scaremongering is that it isn’t falsifiable. THAT isn’t science.

    I forget–but I believe it was either Mann or Jones who refused to give a falsifiability criteria for IPCC predictions. This is significant because if you compare the various revisions of the IPCC reports, they contradict each other on the predictions in big ways. Every IPCC report updates the algorithm and the data parameters using the newest available data!!!! Every report predicts hyperbolic increases “just around the corner” and every report adjusts the algorithms to be compatible. The old models with their data are discarded. Their justification for this is something along the lines of “we need to use all available information to gauge what our options are in this serious…. serious issue.” The premise is that there is no point in evaluating the old models for falsifiability criterion as policy is more important.

    This is junk science. If a theory doesn’t have a set of observable data that would make it considered false, it’s a religion.

  85. @esr:

    Does anyone have decent estimates on CO2 from volcanism? …. Is co2-e a similar bit of flim-flam aimed at depriving any particular criticism of CO2-centered models of a target? I don’t know. I mean that; I don’t know. But given the CRU’s known shenanigans I’d say the odds of it just went way up.

    As far as volcanism goes, there’s a nice chart from the USGS that shows the most prevalent gases in volcanic eruptions. For example, Kilauea shows 48% of its gas emissions are CO2. However, since water vapor is consider a greenhouse gas, they’d likely count the H2O emissions as being a “CO2 equivalent”.

    I imagine some volcanoes may emit methane as well, since there’s lots and lots of it underground. That would probably be a “CO2 equivalent” as well.

  86. “apparently might be surprised to learn that there are in fact several greenhouse gasses with varying warming potential.”

    Yeah, like water vapor.

  87. May I observe that I have once again thrown down the gauntlet of “Show me the true predictions” in a forum where somebody ought to be able to do so, and once again met with resounding silence?

    (That’s what always happens. It’s always the end of the thread when I say that.)

    As far as I’m concerned, both sides can just continue throwing whatever dust and mud up that they like. (I am well aware that the very-broad category of “skeptics” have not entirely covered themselves with glory the past couple of weeks either, but that doesn’t matter.) Until the standard I laid out is met, I will not accord the status of “scientific fact” to anything climate related; without accurate models, it’s all just human word-game playing and political posturing. Computer models can say anything, they are only interesting when they say true things.

  88. @Jeremy, you’re kidding right? If you want predictions, see the four IPCC assessment reports. Available at ipcc.ch.

  89. “Until the standard I laid out is met, I will not accord the status of “scientific fact” to anything climate related; without accurate models, it’s all just human word-game playing and political posturing. Computer models can say anything, they are only interesting when they say true things.”

    I would tend to agree with you as far as AGW is concerned. Until there are accurate models, you can’t speak with certainty. The more I look into this, the more uncertainty I see that there is. It shocks me in particular we can’t even agree what the temperature has been in the last few years using modern equipment, so it doesn’t surprise me to see we can’t pinpoint earlier temperatures and combining those two things alone it should come as no surprise that we can’t accurately model 10 years out into the future. To accurately model the future there is just so much complexity that I don’t know that we have the computing power at the present time to do it even if we had a solid understanding of each of the individual sub-components that would go into it. Treating CO2 in a linear way is definitely not the answer.

  90. @Jack Williams:

    You might be interested in this analysis of one part of the code that shows there are two bugs inside the critical loop of the main gridding program from CRU.

    Indeed:

    for i=0.0,nel do begin
    x=cos(a)*(xkm/110.0)*(1.0/cos(!pi*pts1(i,0)/180.0))+pts1(i,1)
    x=x(-179.9)
    y=sin(a)*(xkm/110.0)+pts1(i,0)
    y=y>(-89.9) & y=y<89.9
    catch,error_value
    ; avoids a bug in IDL that throws out an occasional
    ; plot error in virtual window
    if error_value ne 0 then begin
    error_value=0
    i=i+1
    goto,skip_poly
    endif

    polyfill,x,y,color=160
    skip_poly:
    endfor

    I saw that right away before I read any of the article text. It’s a typical newbie programmer mistake. I wonder how many other such errors are in this code?

  91. Even “accurate” predictions isn’t enough. There are so many models with so many different predictions out there now that I would not be surprised if someone managed to turn up one that came reasonably close to reality just by chance. I am not sure that **anything** could convince me now, in the short term. In the longer term, if some model **continued** to be reasonably accurate, that would be pretty convincing. The situation is similar to the stock market, where someone is “right”, but no one stays right.

  92. On further thought, the situation is worse than the stock market, because of the softer measurements. Anyone actually able to model the climate should be rich from playing the stock market since the models should be easier there.

  93. > Gary: Which? I see models, not confirmation of accuracy. I know models exist!

    Examine the different data available, particularly for the 20C3M runs, and compare against your favorite observational data, using whatever criteria you choose.

    Then you can decide on your own if climate models are accurate or not.

    Might be a nice paper coming from your work, too.

  94. Sorry, Gary, it’s not my responsibility to show the science is correct. The burden of proof is on the scientists. Like I said, given that the correctness is not being rammed down my throat at every turn, which would be the correct answer, I’m pretty satisfied they aren’t correct, on human grounds.

    That’s not just a rhetorical dodge either… it really is their burden of proof. Just like the burden of proof is on me to show that the code I write on the job works, not on you to prove it doesn’t work.

  95. @Jeremy, by all means make up your mind on what you’re asking for. You asked for predictions, you got them. If you want proof, you won’t get them. Science isn’t about proof, it’s about constructing models with predictive power.

  96. “Like I said, given that the correctness is not being rammed down my throat at every turn, which would be the correct answer, I’m pretty satisfied they aren’t correct, on human grounds.”

    Are you familiar with the IPCC AR4, the papers that went into it, and the papers that have come out since it was written?

    If not, then I recommend lots of reading.

  97. That’s not just a rhetorical dodge either… it really is their burden of proof.

    And if you don’t actually read the documentation in question, nothing will persuade you.

    Rhetorical dodge. If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism, whether it’s “We Must Save The Planet Now!” or “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!”

    The more I read on this subject, the more appalled I am that it’s been hijacked by the sound bite media on both sides. Hence my project to run the models, run the data through together, and make things happen.

    I will say to both sides: “Multi-variate chaotic systems are seldom amenable to single variable solutions.”

  98. I say we just nuke the planet from orbit – it’s the only way to be sure.

  99. >If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism, whether it’s “We Must Save The Planet Now!” or “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!”

    I CAN HAZ LOJIX?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

    [Carrie-Anne Moss voice] Rhetorically dodge THAT.

  100. Can you give me some assurance that these papers actually have what I’m looking for? I have read some of the IPCC reports (not the latest one) and I do not recall seeing anything like what I’m asking for. I’ve made my criterion clear. After all, Ken, it sounds to me like you plan on doing exactly what I’m asking for, which implies to me that either you do not have something that you can point me at right now, or you do not trust it.

  101. BTW, I acknowledge in advance that the assurances are irrelevant; I’m asking on general principles, not because I think it’s a counterargument.

    I will read that section tonight. Well, probably more than that, but at least that.

  102. Anyone got a file of infra-red pictures of the Earth for the last fifty years?

    We’ve had satellites watching that long. And the Earth as a whole should be a big target.

    Anyone on either side?

  103. May I observe that I have once again thrown down the gauntlet of “Show me the true predictions” in a forum where somebody ought to be able to do so, and once again met with resounding silence?

    This is hardly a forum ‘where somebody ought to be able to do so’.

  104. Jeremy – I’m doing my project for a number of reasons.

    One of them is that if I’m going to claim to be a skeptic, I should, at the very least, try to replicate what they’ve got.

    The other is that by providing a narrative of how a bunch of clueless N00bs can do this (albeit some very talented clueless N00bs), I can make a stronger case for transparency, and show places where that transparency can be improved.

    I also hope to run a three test series.

    1) Data and model ‘out of the box’
    2) Data from another set and model from say, 1950 to see how much changing the data set matters to the outcome, and to hopefully identify what forcings do what.
    3) Data and model ‘out of the box’ changing a single parameter in a known direction and seeing what the model predicts.

    However, if you haven’t read the AR4 report, and you’re in this debate at all, you owe it to yourself to do so. Flawed or not, it’s the point of reference everyone can agree on and will form the centerpiece of discrepancies.

  105. Downloaded data from NASA website for average monthly temperatures since 1880. They said this about the data:

    “sources: GHCN 1880-10/2009 (meteorological stations only)
    using elimination of outliers and homogeneity adjustment”

    Not sure what homogeneity adjustment means but they say this:

    “Our analysis concerns only temperature anomalies, not absolute temperature. Temperature anomalies are computed relative to the base period 1951-1980. The reason to work with anomalies, rather than absolute temperature is that absolute temperature varies markedly in short distances, while monthly or annual temperature anomalies are representative of a much larger region. Indeed, we have shown (Hansen and Lebedeff, 1987) that temperature anomalies are strongly correlated out to distances of the order of 1000 km. For a more detailed discussion, see The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature.”

    They also explain another modification to the raw data they obtain this way:

    “The GHCN/USHCN/SCAR data are modified in two steps to obtain station data from which our tables, graphs, and maps are constructed. In step 1, if there are multiple records at a given location, these are combined into one record; in step 2, the urban and peri-urban (i.e., other than rural) stations are adjusted so that their long-term trend matches that of the mean of neighboring rural stations. Urban stations without nearby rural stations are dropped. ”

    This is just information I thought would be useful. I still wish they would provide the raw data.

  106. Gary Strand Says:

    November 30th, 2009 at 12:25 am
    I’ll ask you, Jeremy, what “JessicaBoxer” failed to answer in another thread…

    To you, what would constitute an “accurate” climate model?

    And Ted answered very nicely in the other thread, thus:

    How about: one that can do better than a naive model; i.e., for each year’s prediction of the global average temperature, use last year’s actual temperature. My understanding is, the naive model has tremendously less error than any other proposed CO2-based model.

    Ken Burnside, I nominate the naive model to add to your stable of models. It should be the easiest to run.

    Yours,
    Tom DeGisi

  107. Interesting, and a little scary. This from Professor George Lakoff, a Democratic political strategist:

    “fewer people quote – believe – that climate change is real and caused by human beings, and as a result the administration has decided not to worry about that, not to take that on and have the debate over whether it’s real, but to just assume it’s real and go on.”

    This in relation to the climate bills currently relevant in the House and Senate. Source.

  108. “This is just information I thought would be useful.”

    It seems very weird. They look for anomolies, but they exclude outliers. I don’t understand the logic in excluding an outlier – as the only reason I can think of to exclude an outlier is that it isn’t on earth because other than that the “outlier” is an additional data point. Also homogenization sounds like something done to milk, not weather data. Their talk about doing the two step sounds like they are dancing around to tweak the data to how they want it.

  109. “This in relation to the climate bills currently relevant in the House and Senate”

    …And I thought Bush was a big spender.

  110. # Gary Strand Says:
    > I’ll ask you, Jeremy, what “JessicaBoxer” failed to answer in another thread…
    >
    > To you, what would constitute an “accurate” climate model?

    I did give you a very good answer: which is to say, it is the AGW crowd’s job to make a convincing case their model is sound, not mine.

    Nonetheless, let me give you a simple test that would convince me.

    Choose fifty locations around the globe. Have the climate model predict the average annual temperature at these places for each of the next ten years. Have them get that temperature correct to within 0.5 degree celsius, for at least 50% of the 500 data points, and within 1 degrees celsius for 50% of the remainder. I want them to run the model and publish the 500 data points before the test starts, no fair fiddling with the model as you go.

    Since they claim to be able to predict the average climate fifty years from now to within plus or minus a few degrees, and I am looking for an average annual temp, not a weather forecast, this seems a reasonable test for their claimed capability.

    If they can do that I will start recycling my trash, and buy a Prius.

  111. Jessica, why specific locations?

    Climate models aren’t weather forecast models.

    Have you read IPCC AR4, WG1, Chapter 8?

  112. SpanishInquisition, you exclude outliers because you’re looking at data that was hand-recorded in a log book somewhere, and then hand-entered into a data table, and there’s a good chance you’re going to end up with a few entries that are very obviously wrong. Like say you’re looking at February temperatures for a northern hemisphere station, and you see for daily highs:

    15.0
    16.5
    75.0
    16.4
    15.3

    etc. You know the 75 is bad data. It’s just not plausible. So you have a few options. You could just eliminate any series with problems like this. You could ignore it, counting on the errors to offset each other on average. You could eliminate days and just divide the month by fewer days for a monthly average. You could replace it with the average of the days to either side, or the rest of the month’s average. All of those are defensible choices. But that’s one of the reasons that all this should be made public. That way other folks can try the other choices and see if it makes a difference, and if so, how much.

  113. Statistical physicist E. T. Jaynes argued against throwing out outliers, saying that sometimes most of the information in a dataset is in the outliers. (He also argued strongly for always keeping the original data to allow reanalysis under different assumptions or models.) If you suspect that your data include some bad measurements, the honest way to handle this is to create an error model. That forces you to think about why the measurements might be goofy, it forces you to make your assumptions about outliers explicit, and it leaves open the possibility of later reanalyzing the data with a different model that explains the outliers in a different way (e.g., power law instead of Gaussian).

    Here’s a simple example of an error model. Assume that each measurement may be erroneous with unknown probability p. Use a beta prior for p with E[p] being some small value. Assume that erroneous values have some unknown mean mu.err and variance sigma.err^2. Create suitably broad priors for mu.err and sigma.err. You would code this up in BUGS something like this:

    p ~ dbeta(1, 1000)
    # E[p] = 0.001

    mu.err large variance

    sigma.err ~ dexp(some_decay_rate)
    # a slowly decaying exponential
    tau.err <- pow(sigma.err, -2)

    for (i in 1 : num.observations)
    {
    z[1, i] ~ dnorm(mu.err, tau.err)
    # z[1, i] is the reading assuming some screwup in measuring or recording the data

    z[0, i] ~
    # z[0, i] is the reading assuming no screwup

    idx[i] ~ dbern(p)
    # 1 with probability p, 0 with probability 1-p

    y[i] <- z[idx[i], i]
    # y[i] is z[1, i] with probability p, z[0, i] with probability 1-p
    }

  114. Gary Strand, explain this to me. Look at the two graphs on this page: from the 1990 and 2001 IPCC reports. The first shows the accepted wisdom of the time, with a large and hot Medieval Warming Period. The CRU team produced the second graph. Knowing what we now know about the statistical and other shenanigans of the CRU team, why should we believe the 2001 (and later) graphs are more accurate than the 1990 IPCC graph?

  115. I am reading the linked Chapter 8. I will still be reading it tomorrow, and it is clear that by the time I’m done reading all the chapters I am interested in, this thread will be dead. So, thanks for the link.

  116. Look at the two graphs on this page: from the 1990 and 2001 IPCC reports. The first shows the accepted wisdom of the time, with a large and hot Medieval Warming Period. The CRU team produced the second graph. Knowing what we now know about the statistical and other shenanigans of the CRU team, why should we believe the 2001 (and later) graphs are more accurate than the 1990 IPCC graph?

    The first graph is Lamb’s reconstruction of Central England temperatures; the second is the Mann, Bradley, and Hughes (not CRU) ‘hockey stick’ which is a reconstruction of Northern Hemisphere temperatures. Local/Regional temperatures are more variable than Global/Hemispheric temperatures.

  117. “All of those are defensible choices. But that’s one of the reasons that all this should be made public. That way other folks can try the other choices and see if it makes a difference, and if so, how much.”

    Precisely as when you start modifying or deleting things it opens up a can of worms. If you are getting scrivner’s errors that raises a whole host of issues, like how for instance do you know someone didn’t make mistakes in a less obvious way (being off by a few degrees repeatedly instead of isolated large errors for instance) or that since you see human errors in one area that it hasn’t gone over to other areas (like poorly calibrated equipment that generates bad data) or alternatively if you are using a mathematical model to determine what an outlier to be excluded is, that your model isn’t flawed in some way. Once you modify the raw data in any way, you’d better keep the raw data around and have a good explanation for any and every change you made…you can’t just be arbitrary.

  118. Johnny

    I went for a job interview at a DNA-sequencing place in Edinburgh and, apropos of an explanation of a very shiny machine, I said, “Wow, that’s a lot of raw data, even in this day and age. How do you store it?” “We don’t, we only store the processed data.” He seemed quite taken about by what must have been the look on my face. I think it’s safe to assume scientists don’t bother with keeping the raw data nowadays. They rely on the magic of computers.

    I’m guessing you are not a biochemist? DNA sequence is basically digital information, and once the electrophoresis results have been interpreted, i.e. converted to the best estimate of the sequence, there is not much point in keeping the raw data that came from the instrument. Sure you could keep it for future re-interpretation, but the base calling is highly unlikely to change. The digital signal (the sequence) pretty much is either clear or it’s not. If the original sequencing reaction/electrophoresis was garbage for some reason, trying to reinterpret the data is not going to help. And, at least in the case of genomic DNA, the botched parts can be always be sequenced again. In the case of sequencing, the size of the raw data is several orders of magnitude larger than the sequence (a single read with conventional methods is usually less than 1000 characters), so keeping it would be a big cost for next to no gain.

    This is fundamentally different from climate data and e.g. the data obtained from the detectors in particle colliders, where keeping the original raw data is essential. This is why analyzing the Large Hadron Collider results requires such massive computational and storage resources.

  119. Pete: Fine, but there seems to be plenty of evidence that the Medieval Warm Period happened all over the world, not just in Europe. And since we know that the CRU crew was intent on suppressing evidence of it, I am suspicious of graphs they produce that don’t seem to show it. I suspect ARTIFICAL corrections have been applied….

  120. >Pete: Fine, but there seems to be plenty of evidence that the Medieval Warm Period happened all over the world, not just in Europe. And since we know that the CRU crew was intent on suppressing evidence of it, I am suspicious of graphs they produce that don’t seem to show it. I suspect ARTIFICAL corrections have been applied….

    The second graph isn’t from CRU.

  121. Maybe this thread is dead by now, but I’d be interested in how esr or others respond to this:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/12/quote_mining_code.php

    In summary, it asserts that esr’s analysis of the hacked emails is guilty of exactly what it is accusing their authors of: data-cooking.

    I’m no data-miner, but I know that curve-fitting does not necessarily equal fraud. And I’m no climatologist, but it beggars belief that the desire for celebrity of a few crazy scientists could fuel a worldwide “Piltdown Man”-style conspiracy capable of defeating the combined forces of the transport, agriculture and energy lobbies.

    Even if one is underqualified to assess the actual evidence in any complex debate, the money-trail usually leads to the liars.

    And another thing: the comfort Piltdown Man afforded creationists was temporary.

  122. John O’Hagan:

    “In summary, it asserts that esr’s analysis of the hacked emails is guilty of exactly what it is accusing their authors of: data-cooking.”

    esr is guilty of nothing but raising questions. Isn’t that what “true” science is all about?

    If you don’t agree, file a FOIA on his ass. LOL!!!!

    esr doesn’t have to defend himself, the climate carpetbaggers do.

    But let’s follow your logic for a minute, esr is guilty of “data-cooking” then what?

    That makes CRU, EAU & IPCC all good in your eyes?

    This just reinforces how this is about politics and vested interests, and not about science.

    Sad really.

  123. Even if one is underqualified to assess the actual evidence in any complex debate, the money-trail usually leads to the liars.

    As an AGW skeptic, I wholeheartedly agree, and point out that government grant money supplied to the warmers totals several tens of billions of dollars, whereas grants given to skeptic research from evil carbon spewing industry can be measured in the few millions.

  124. John O’Hagan Says:
    In summary, it asserts that esr’s analysis of the hacked emails is guilty of exactly what it is accusing their authors of: data-cooking.

    ESR can make his own comment if he chooses but here’s my personal post-mortem.

    My reading of it sees 3 points.

    First comes the titular point of the article. That “the code is commented out so it doesn’t matter”. From my perspective, this doesn’t really hold a hell of a lot of water. Just because the code is commented out now doesn’t mean it’s never been used, it just means if you run the code now it won’t run. The fact that if you uncomment all the commented out code it makes a meaningful program says to me it probably WAS run at some stage.

    I’ve read speculation that valadj was a placeholder for other data. Sorry thats nonsensical as well. If you put a placeholder in you put in something that leaves the values unchanged (so an array of 0′s would be a valid placeholder in that code’s context).

    The second point of the article is talking about the usage of the data. It quotes an article and shows a graph positing that it is “basically the graph plotted by the code above and it does not include the “corrected MXD” data”. For starters, the graph doesn’t mention either instrumental temperature or MXD (thought mean could technically be either, leaning more towards instrumental because of the “april-september” link). So i’m dubious as to whether the quoted graph is meaningfully at all.

    The second part of this is a text quote justifying the correction for decline. The question that this just begs is “doesn’t this invalidate the use of MXD as a temperature proxy?”. If we have to use a seemingly random set of numbers to make it correspond to a temperature record we have, how can we be sure it doesn’t require a different set of seemingly random sets of numbers. (Note: I’m not necessarily saying this isn’t dealt with in the literature)

    The third part is almost entirely ad homenim as such I don’t really feel a need to respond beyond that.

    Having said that my opinion (after all is said and done) is that if you give the maximum benefit of the doubt to the defendant then while it may not be a smoking gun, it is definately a skeleton in a closet with a gun in its lap. And the ballistics on the gun matches some pretty ugly stuff. I think Eric believes there’s enough probable cause that they don’t deserve that consideration.

    I find myself in agreement with Ken Burnside in that whether or not they actually did bad things is now mostly irrelevant. The only thing that will hang or exonerate AGW is the data, so working towards getting the data and models into a “policy neutral” state is about the only realistic positive step I can see.

  125. “Gary Strand, explain this to me. Look at the two graphs on this page:”

    The 1990 graph is hand-drawn by Lamb from a single station.

  126. Gary Strand Says:
    > Jessica, why specific locations?

    “Location” doesn’t have to be a specific weather station. It could be a broader area, like California, or South East Asia, or Southern Africa. All we need is the climate guys to actually make a falsifiable prediction with the level of precision they claim, in a timeframe we can measure, with a reasonable level of correctness.

  127. Until you finish Chapter 8, let’s just leave the discussion at that.

  128. # Gary Strand Says:
    > Until you finish Chapter 8, let’s just leave the discussion at that.

    Instead, how about: until you make a series of falsifiable predictions and are proved substantially correct we will leave the discussion at that.

  129. Jessica: Until you read chapter 8, you won’t understand what form a falsifiable prediction will be in.

    Second, the longer term averages have much less variability than shorter term variations. Over the long term average, stock prices have an average rise of about 7-8% per year after inflation. On any given year, they may vary by as much as -33% to +25%.

    Same applies to climate data.

    All we’re asking you to do is read what’s actually been put out there. If you aren’t willing to LOOK at the evidence given to you, of which the CRU material is a tiny percentage, why should anyone pay attention to your further requests?

    Particularly since you can’t articulate by what statistical basis you would consider a prediction to be valid by. 50 data points? 50 geographical regions? How do we adjust data collection points moving? Are we comparing daily averages, daily minimum temperatures, daily maximum temperatures? You are asking for one data point per year – what day of the year are we using as our mean?

    This experiment could be run – but until those questions are answered, and are answered before it is run, you’ll just call shenanigans on it. The reason why we know this is because it’s already been done, and been done with 500 data sets with weekly temperature averages feeding into it, using Tmin and Tavg.

    This is in the IPCC 4AR. There is a section where they check the numbers of predictions made against what happened in the ’90s and middle ’00s.

  130. As an AGW skeptic, I wholeheartedly agree, and point out that government grant money supplied to the warmers totals several tens of billions of dollars, whereas grants given to skeptic research from evil carbon spewing industry can be measured in the few millions.

    Know where most of those billions are spent?

    NASA satellite data gathering and monitoring. You see, it’s much easier to say “We’re innocent, they spend saganbucks and we spend pocket lint trying to get the truth out” when you conflate the operating costs of every damned weather satellite into the umbrella of climate research.

    Data analysis of this material generally costs about ~30 million per year. Most of it is done by graduate students making 15K per year.

  131. “NASA satellite data gathering and monitoring”

    Ah yes, the other divergence problem.

  132. Ken Burnside Says:
    > Second, the longer term averages have much less variability
    > than shorter term variations. Over the long term average,
    > stock prices have an average rise of about 7-8% per year
    > after inflation. On any given year, they may vary by as much
    > as -33% to +25%.

    I think this is a fair point Ken. I think the stock market is an interesting comparison in many ways. I don’t have much time to write on this however the fact is that many a fortune has been lost on stock market prediction software than works perfectly on historical data, but fails miserably on extrapolated data. Simply because the model does not factor in the dominating variables that control stock prices, much the same way climate models, by your own statements Ken, do not factor in the dominating variables. Looking for your keys under the light post might be easier, but it is unlikely to be fruitful.

    > If you aren’t willing to LOOK at the evidence given to you,
    > of which the CRU material is a tiny percentage, why should
    > anyone pay attention to your further requests?

    You don’t need to pay attention to my requests. I am not even making a request. Gary asked me what I would find convincing, and I told him. However, I don’t need to be a climate scientist to know that for most of my life I have been told the earth is in a broiler, and then look at the evidence and see the earth got cooler for the past ten years. Any sensible person would smell bs under those circumstances. Any person would also look at the direction of politics associated with this whole thing and smell funny shenannigans. And any reasonably numerate person would bristle when told (as has happened in these threads), that they are too much of a rube to understand what is going on. In my experience when something can’t be explained the fault is usually with the explainer not the explainee.

    I haven’t made it my mission in life to find out the truth about anthropogenic global warming, I will leave that to other brave souls, however, I have made it one of my missions in life to call bs when I smell bs, and demand that those who want control over my life have a darn good reason for having it.

    The truth is it is not the Phil Jones’ type of people that worry me, they are just pawns in a political game. And it is not the truth or lack thereof of AGW that I particularly have a concern with, but the politics that follows on from it (as I have stated at least half a dozen times in the various threads associated with this here.)

  133. Read a bit of that blog, the recent posts and comments only. It is all comes across as badly paranoid and nihilistic, but lets ignore that for a second. Lets assume that all you have written is true and that the baddies comprise everyone you write they comprise. What would then happen in the next 50 years, regarding the climate, CO2, oil, economy etc., if no action is taken? What action should be taken, if any, given your answer?
    Because if you answered those two questions, even for yourself only, you’d either
    1) contradict yourself badly
    2) have to invent more wacky stuff to justify your answer (fudge the data some more, if you will)
    3) realize that you are a green-shirt (you are, and you’ll have to rename it :)

  134. Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room:
    “Water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas, but scientists see our influence on its concentration levels as negligible and therefore data on water vapor are not collected.”
    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/energy_in_brief/greenhouse_gas.cfm
    If it is true that greenhouse gasses are leading to the apocalypse unless we spend trillions of dollars, it looks quite silly to ignore “the most abundant greenhouse gas.” If all these claims about AGW are true, this sounds like they are saying they are defending themselves against a charging pitbull by pretending just a flea is there. If we’ve got the apocalypse coming without greenhouse gas action, you’d at least think they’d collect data on the most abundant greenhouse gas data in order to improve their climate models. Focusing on some minor greenhouse gas instead of the largest one of them all seems rather shortsighted if we truly wish to understand how the earth works.

  135. >pdb Says:

    >>Even if one is underqualified to assess the actual evidence in any complex debate, the money-trail >>usually leads to the liars.

    >As an AGW skeptic, I wholeheartedly agree, and point out that government grant money supplied to the >warmers totals several tens of billions of dollars, whereas grants given to skeptic research from evil >carbon spewing industry can be measured in the few millions.

    Like 95% of the world’s people, I am not in the United States and was not referring to U.S. government funding levels, but to the small likelihood that fraudulent science could be more lucrative – and therefore influential – than say, the oil industry. All the former has ever produced is a couple of sideshows; the latter has generated countless wars and other disasters.

    Equally unlikely is the proposition that the media is somehow under the spell of these hoaxters and en masse defies its big-end-of-town owners. News flash: Fox is not left-wing.

    But even it it were, climate change is not a political issue, but a scientific one. It has only become politicised because a lot of high-rollers could lose out if it turns out to be true.

    This explains right-wing opposition to the idea but I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to what the left are supposed to be gaining from it.

  136. It is abundantly clear that anything coming out of the CRU is hopelessly tainted or muddled or fudged. Whether it’s by innocent mistake or deliberate fraud — my money’s definitely on the latter — is at this point irrelevant.

    The only solution is to throw out everything the CRU has done and start over in an environment where data sources and computer models are open to inspection (and dispute) by everyone.

    And a watertight wall needs to be put between the CRU (and its fellow-travellers) and all data-recovery efforts.

  137. John O’Hanagan:

    The basic argument for why the left wants AGW to be true is that if it is true, and is true within certain parameter values, the only way it can be stopped is by massive government intervention and regulation of business, all for the betterment of mankind.

    Or, put another way – Eric doesn’t object in the least to efforts to cut back CO2 on a scientific basis, and would welcome an initiative, even by our current President, to put a thousand megawatt Thorium reactor in every town of 50,000 people or more in the US before the next Presidential election cycle…but he DOES object to the idea that the government gets a tool by which to favor or dissuade businesses on the basis of carbon emissions.

    The best immediate argument for CO2 reduction and atmospheric extraction, including artificial carbon sinks, is oceanic acidification…

  138. John O’Hagan Says:

    > I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to what the left are supposed to be gaining from it.

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
    -H. L. Mencken

    Some on the Left argued that 9/11 gave GWB an excuse to expand State power, some on the Right seem to be arguing that AGW gives BHO an excuse to expand State power.

  139. SpanishInquisition:

    The reason why water vapor isn’t broadly treated as a forcing factor is two fold.

    One – Water vapor stays in the air about 14 days on average. CO2 stays in the air for decades or longer. Water vapor doesn’t change on a global basis very easily – when it gets past its supersaturation point, it precipitates out. Er. Rains. :)

    Two – Because water vapor’s global atmospheric component is fairly stable, it can be treated as a constant factor. Where there’s room for debate is whether or not it’s being treated as the right constant (cloud modeling is pretty intractable with modern computation assets) and whether or not CO2 warmth will trigger increased global atmospheric water uptake.

  140. I think this is a fair point Ken. I think the stock market is an interesting comparison in many ways. I don’t have much time to write on this however the fact is that many a fortune has been lost on stock market prediction software than works perfectly on historical data, but fails miserably on extrapolated data. Simply because the model does not factor in the dominating variables that control stock prices, much the same way climate models, by your own statements Ken, do not factor in the dominating variables. Looking for your keys under the light post might be easier, but it is unlikely to be fruitful.

    And until you look at where they’re looking, how can you be certain that they’re looking for their keys under the lamp post?

    FYI – I’ll ask this again:

    What climate predictions has the hockey stick graph made?

    I’ll also point out that models for stock markets have to deal with an abundance of ‘irrational actors’. Truly random and chaotic effects can be modeled with stochastic means. Stock markets really can’t. You can make guesses on what herd-think investing will do (and I do this as a side business…), but in a lot of ways, market analysis does NOT lend itself to quantitative measures.

    I’m not sure that climate modeling does. I’m willing to poke a stick in and see.

  141. “…I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to what the left are supposed to be gaining from it…”

    Was that a really subtle, nuanced joke?

  142. Ken, your argument is hopelessly fallacious – and an affront to reason.

    The burden is entirely on those that wish to make the case for concern over man-made global warming.

    They must state their position clearly for all to comprehend – what is the problem? How do we know the problem exists? What is the ‘correct’ environmental state? How can we, if at all, adjust our current state? And above all, document a complete paper trail of hard verifiable data along with the reasoning & processing involved to produce answers to the aforementioned questions.

    Until they do this, there is no obligation on anyone else to give them the time of day. They do not have any right to our attention simply because they wish to babble.

  143. The burden is entirely on those that wish to make the case for concern over man-made global warming.

    They must state their position clearly for all to comprehend – what is the problem? How do we know the problem exists? What is the ‘correct’ environmental state? How can we, if at all, adjust our current state? And above all, document a complete paper trail of hard verifiable data along with the reasoning & processing involved to produce answers to the aforementioned questions.

    In order:

    What is the problem? We have raised the CO2 percentage in the Earth’s atmosphere by about 45% since 1920. We are seeing effects from it – ocean acidification is way up and causing problems. We think, with some statistical references, that this is influencing the climate.

    What is the correct environmental state? There isn’t one. However, our temperature baselines were set from 1950 to 1980 and we’re measuring variations from that baseline because it’s what we’ve got the best data sets from.

    How can we adjust our climate? Not within the purview of observational science. Many methods have been proposed. I don’t agree with all of them. All will probably be tried.

    Until they do this, there is no obligation on anyone else to give them the time of day. They do not have any right to our attention simply because they wish to babble.

    Document, with a hard paper trail…see the IPCC 4th Assessment Report. Yes, I know, it’s an affront to reason to actually have an agency produce a report and expect people to read it. Why, you’d think people are actually expected to read documentation for computer software, or the instructions for their DVRs, too. How unreasonable of me…

    You see, the 4AR gives links to about 80% of the data sources and methodologies used to generate it its assessment of past climate, and its predictions for future climate.

    Ken, your argument is hopelessly fallacious – and an affront to reason.

    Until they do this, there is no obligation on anyone else to give them the time of day. They do not have any right to our attention simply because they wish to babble.

    Sorry – they have documented it. The IPCC 4AR can be found here. Yes, I know. It’s babble. With footnotes and links to source code and many data sets.

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html

    Clearly it’s an affront to reason.

    I know, it’s effort and work to actually read this stuff. (I’m not being sarcastic – it is.) But your argument that it’s on them to prove their case that there’s a problem, when you won’t read the documentation submitted, is kind of hilarious.

  144. “One – Water vapor stays in the air about 14 days on average. CO2 stays in the air for decades or longer. Water vapor doesn’t change on a global basis very easily – when it gets past its supersaturation point, it precipitates out. Er. Rains. :)
    Two – Because water vapor’s global atmospheric component is fairly stable, it can be treated as a constant factor. Where there’s room for debate is whether or not it’s being treated as the right constant (cloud modeling is pretty intractable with modern computation assets) and whether or not CO2 warmth will trigger increased global atmospheric water uptake.”

    But this is about understanding complex process involving many different variables, some of which the variables influence one another. Treating water vapor as a constant is way too simplistic when there is continually variable changes and localized differences. It’s again trying to combat the flea on the pitbull instead of the pitbull itself. If there isn’t accurate tracking of water vapor (willfully keeping yourself blind) you don’t know what you are missing in lost knowledge and you just hoble yourself.

  145. “…But your argument that it’s on them to prove their case that there’s a problem, when you won’t read the documentation submitted, is kind of hilarious…”

    I have never refused to read anything. I am happy to read and listen and debate, but as soon as I see the fundamental aspects of science missing, the conversation is over until you put your big-boy pants on.

  146. “What is the problem? We have raised the CO2 percentage in the Earth’s atmosphere by about 45% since 1920. We are seeing effects from it – ocean acidification is way up and causing problems. We think, with some statistical references, that this is influencing the climate.”

    You presume ocean acidification is being caused by human released CO2 into the atmosphere. The ocean is a very complex place (as well much of it unexplored) and we understand less about that than we do what goes on land. Correlation does not mean causality and there could be any number of things both influencing ocean acidification as well as the clmate.

  147. “…Sorry – they have documented it…”

    As with much in academia, and its bureaucratic entanglements, when you dig into it, you reveal the same old incestuous circle-jerk.

    IPCC documentation to-date should be considered thoroughly poisoned from the roots up, thanks to the recent revelations. If the IPCC and fellow travelers wish to redeem themselves, the burden is on them to produce new documentation demonstrating that all corrupting influences have been expurgated, and that their science withstands scrutiny regardless.

    What we are actually witnessing is the opposite of scientific integrity – a nonchalant whistle, gaze averted, and business as usual….onward to Copenhagen! Cap & Trade FTW!

    You are not party to science, you are party to a perverse environmental occultist zealotry masquerading as science. Insisting that I have no right to criticize and walk away simply because I haven’t wasted my life reading every last scrap of bullshit documentation is simply childish. Unfortunately, this childish gaggle-mentality has convinced itself that it is serious intellectual debate, and is happy to march humanity off a cliff.

  148. # Ken Burnside Says:
    > And until you look at where they’re looking, how can you be certain that
    > they’re looking for their keys under the lamp post?

    I did. Some guy wrote this:

    > The CO2 parameter on total radiative heat transfer varies depending on who’s
    > study you read, but it’s dwarfed by water vapor in general. Nobody has an
    > accurate model for cloud formation in their model,

    > What climate predictions has the hockey stick graph made?

    I don’t understand this question, unless it is directed elsewhere.

    > I’ll also point out that models for stock markets have to deal with an abundance
    > of ‘irrational actors’.

    Without descending to far into metaphysics, isn’t rational or irrational thought simply a process of nature, in the same way cloud formation of sun spots are? I presume you agree all those water droplets, and trees, and concrete surfaces, and cosmic rays are irrational actors too?

    > Truly random and chaotic effects can be modeled with stochastic means.
    > Stock markets really can’t. You can make guesses on what herd-think investing
    > will do (and I do this as a side business…), but in a lot of ways, market analysis
    > does NOT lend itself to quantitative measures.

    By “NOT lend itself” what I think you really mean is that the variables that affect markets are hard/impossible to measure or quantify. But how is that any different than a trillion clouds composed of a quintillion water droplets finding a quadrillion nucleation sites? A butterfly flapping its wings, so to speak.

    However, FWIW, I very much respect you for taking a truly hard, honest view of the data. You are completely right that that is the best way to determine it, and I wish you well in your quest. I hope you can give us all your educated opinion to confirm or deny my gag reflex.

  149. Dan:

    As with much in academia, and its bureaucratic entanglements, when you dig into it, you reveal the same old incestuous circle-jerk.

    Demonstrate a better way to fund public research, one that involves more research, better data gathering and even a 10% reduction in the need to kiss ass to get grant proposals funded, and the research community will move at a speed that astonishes you.

    I’ve seen physics, chemistry, biology and medical research close up, in both the academic and the privately financed world.

    IPCC documentation to-date should be considered thoroughly poisoned from the roots up, thanks to the recent revelations. If the IPCC and fellow travelers wish to redeem themselves, the burden is on them to produce new documentation demonstrating that all corrupting influences have been expurgated, and that their science withstands scrutiny regardless.

    While you can make the argument that adding a cup of sewage to a barrel of wine, and adding a cup of wine to a barrel of sewage both result in a barrel of sewage, the end result of the 4th Assessment Report is a good overview of what the current literature and documentary sources have to say about this.

    Much of it is annotated with places where you can look at the data, look at the methodologies used, and so on.

    Can you tell me what portion of the 4AR – what chapter, even – the CRU data reconstruction occurs in? Or is it “It comes from source X, it’s all bullshit?” for you?

    It is largely written for the technically minded layman (AKA – the two staff aides for a politician who have to explain it to him in a 30 minute briefing).

  150. Jessica:

    Refusing to read the 4AR because you feel (as Dan does) that it’s tainted by reflexive recirculatory fellatio is very much akin to saying that because Richard Stallman is a crank who has managed to leech off of the MIT endowment rather than work in the real world, that Open Source/Free Software is tainted by socialist claptrap.

    There is far more to the 4AR than the dendrochronologists, which is the ENTIRETY of what the CRU leak is about.

    The reason why I asked about the hockey stick graph is because it makes no predictions. Nor does it attempt to, and using it to make a prediction is roughly akin to trying to use a web browser to compile the Linux kernel by going to YouTube. (No doubt someone will point to a plug in for Firefox that does exactly this…)

    As to water vapor and CO2, the one that’s changing is CO2. There is a measured temperature rise that’s going on in the 20th century, confirmed by many, but not all, of several, noisy data sources. There are a lot of “End of the World” predictions based on the CO2 rise triggering a water vapor uptake increase. There is a lot of speculation about cloud models.

    Right now, there are no climate models that are computable using modern current hardware that can realistically model the atmosphere without some form of simplification, and the art of ALL research is finding simplifications. Most of the beefs that are coming up are people saying “If you’re simplifying, you’re not doing it right.” No doubt, someone will next complain that we used Boyle’s Law as a simplification for temperature and gas expansion rather that stochastically predict where every atom in an air column is…

    If you don’t simplify it, you can’t do it at all.

  151. By “NOT lend itself” what I think you really mean is that the variables that affect markets are hard/impossible to measure or quantify. But how is that any different than a trillion clouds composed of a quintillion water droplets finding a quadrillion nucleation sites?

    @JessicaBoxer: He’s saying that random/chaotic systems can be measured or quantified because we have stochastic models, but stock markets can’t because stock markets are driven by some factors that are a given and other factors that are driven by irrationality and unpredictability. Which, come to think of it, they’re not very different are they? But does that mean that stock markets can be measured or quantified, or that climate/weather systems can’t be? ;)

    I have a bit of unique perspective here because I have the advantage of living in Florida and watching the hurricane seasons. AGW predicts that the number of named storms and the number of hurricane strength and major hurricane strength storms should be increasing along the hockey stick curve! Yet, while there was recently a peak around 2004-2005, since then the number has dropped significantly in the past 3 years. Additionally, this chart from NOAA shows that hurricanes actually peaked higher in intensity between the years of 1945 and 1955 then in any other years studied by climatologists.

  152. @JessicaBoxer >by your own statements Ken, do not factor in the dominating variables.

    I pointed out your error earlier, but in case you missed it: the ‘dominating variable’ which Ken was talking about was water vapour, which is factored in. The hard-to-model part is cloud formation.

  153. John O’Hagan wrote:

    >And I’m no climatologist, but it beggars belief that the desire for celebrity of a few crazy scientists could fuel a worldwide “Piltdown Man”-style conspiracy capable of defeating the combined forces of the transport, agriculture and energy lobbies.

    Boy, you don’t know much about academic science or the history of science, do you?

    To take your own example, Piltdown Man did fool a number of paleoanthropologists for quite a few years, even though the fraud was probably due to only one or two people.

    And try reading the old classic by Broad and Wade, “Betrayers of the Truth.” A depressing number of scientists have fudged results or committed outright fraud simply to advance their careers.

    An intellectual community that does not have adequate checks on its work (e.g., firm predictions confirmed by unambiguous empirical observations) can easily wander off into hyperspace. That is in fact the normal situation in human history.

    Remember “cold fusion”? Few of us physicists believed it – we wanted independent verification for an inherently implausible claim. But a lot of non-scientists took it seriously.

    The GCM’s are looking an awful lot like cold fusion.

    Yes, if the CRU work is typical, the whole world GCM community may have been talking nonsense for years. Happens all the time, indeed it is standard operating procedure, in fields that do not follow rigorous scientific procedures.

    PhysicistDave
    (Dave Miller in Sacramento)

  154. Whatever the truth may be – regarding the quality of the ‘science’ remaining outside this exposed fraud – it is abundantly clear that “climate science” is a field very much in its infancy, and whatever science there is is very far from “settled”

    Probably wisest not to go hanging multi-trillion dollar economies on it. n’est ce pas?

  155. Gary Strand wrote:
    >I’ll ask you, Jeremy, what “JessicaBoxer” failed to answer in another thread…
    > To you, what would constitute an “accurate” climate model?

    That gets to the heart of this debate, doesn’t it?

    The defenders of the GCMs are basically saying, “If you critics think the GCMs have errors, point out those errors and improve the GCMs.”

    On the other hand, a lot of us who are skeptics simply doubt that a successful GCM is possible. We are not willing to spend our time “improving” the GCMs, because we do not think there can be an adequate GCM, given the current limits of science and of present-day computers.

    A few years ago, one of my close family members was seeing a fortune teller (and paying good money for the privilege); I was told that the fortune teller’s abilities were “amazing.”

    I had a simple response: “Please ask the fortune teller to tell us who will win the World Series and the Superbowl for each of the next five years.”

    I was, of course, told that the fortune teller did not make *that* sort of prediction: no, she only predicted fuzzy “personal” sorts of things that could be interpreted in various different ways as the listener chose.

    Right.

    At that point, I knew I did not need to investigate in detail the fortune teller’s past predictions, the scientific basis for her supposed powers, etc.

    I knew she was a fraud.

    That is the beauty of science: we do not need to argue about whether the Holy Spirit truly inspired our fellow scientists, whether they have shown saint-like powers, etc.

    No, all we need is some new and quite unambiguous predictions that actually turn out to be right (or wrong), and we can thereby judge the quality of their science.

    As a Ph.D. physicist (Stanford, 1983) who has worked on computer simulations in fields ranging from satellite-communications systems to subatomic physics experiments, I am pretty sure that an adequate GCM is not possible because of the enormous complexity of cloud physics (my best friend from high school worked on cloud physics back in the ‘70s, before the GW hysteria – the field has always been intractable), because of the huge problems with the historical data sets, because of the enormous year-to-year variability in climate, and because of the daunting difficulties in getting huge computer programs to be bug-free.

    But the GCM guys could always prove my skepticism wrong.

    Jessica has made some suggestions as to how they could do it. There are numerous plausible variations on her suggestions.

    But the predictions from the GCM community have to be made before the fact (no retrospective tweaking), they have to be *utterly* unambiguous, and it needs to be *utterly* clear what data would falsify those predictions.

    Until the GCM folks do that (and I am pretty sure they never will), I will view the GCMs as simply very large, very amusing, very expensive, and very badly coded computer games, rather like SimEarth, but bigger.

    PhysicistDave

  156. Ken Burnside wrote:

    >Sorry – they have documented it. The IPCC 4AR can be found here. Yes, I know. It’s babble. With footnotes and links to source code and many data sets.
    >http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html
    > Clearly it’s an affront to reason.

    Ken, your sarcasm is not enough.

    One of my (slightly bizarre) hobbies is reading theology. Any decent university library has shelves and shelves of this stuff, with the reasoning all carefully and transparently laid out for skeptics to investigate. Many of those theologians are clearly very bright in the sense measured by IQs, verbal SAT scores, etc.

    Yet, it is all clearly nonsense: no serious attempt is made to make contact with empirical reality in a way that might clearly disconfirm their brilliant cogitations.

    Until the GCM folks meet the requirements of normal science, to argue over Chapter XYZ of some IPCC report is like arguing over what St. Paul really meant by “justification by faith.”

    (If anyone wants to defend theology and point out that the GCMs are just as valid as theology, be my guest.)

    Even if the GCM community had been completely transparent, even if *everything* were laid out in the IPCC reports, their work would still all just be theology until they prospectively make clearly, unambiguously, falsifiable predictions about the real world.

    I suspect they never will.

    Dave

  157. Dan, you’re conflating an interest in the science (and a desire to move the science out of the sound bite realm) with a belief that one side or the other on the political spectrum is right.

    I can already tell you what will happen – it’s obvious to anyone who has a passing knowledge of macroeconomics and history.

    We’re going to ignore the problem and hope it solves itself, because anything else will be too difficult on a political scale. Even the alarmists acknowledge that if we call all human induced fossil fuel CO2 emissions to zero that it would take at least 50 years for natural processes to get us back down to 280 ppm.

    If it turns out that this problem has economic costs other than scenic glaciers melting, there’s going to be strongly localized efforts to solve the specific symptoms.

    Cost-benefit wise, you can make a case that solutions now will be less expensive than solutions in the future, much the same way that paying cash for something costs less than using a credit card and making the minimum payment over the years.

    You can also make a case that that argument ignores the value of expanding economies (when that can be clearly discerned from inflation) and the benefit of compound interest, and that government deadweight would eat the benefits of earlier action ten fold.

    And my answer is that neither of those cases matter, because they involve decision groups well past the paralytic groupthink level.

    Look, it’s been in our national best interest to convert as much of our energy and transportation sector to electricity since the ’73 oil embargo. We put in feel-good measures like CAFE standards that produce cars that the vast majority of Americans don’t want, and we continue to spend more funding Islamic kleptocracies by buying oil from them than we do fighting wars on the other side of the world.

    We don’t spend money on fourth generation Thorium-breeder reactors, because doing so requires that we mobilize against the level of decision making that gets past paralytic group think. The reason why renewables might have a chance is because it’s a lot easier to convince your neighbors to let you put up a windmill or solar collector than it is to convince the entire city to put in a nuclear reactor.

    I have faith on one of the great constants of mankind: Human stupidity when the decision group exceeds 10 people, and procrastination.

  158. That is, they’ve been quite willing to interpret a short-period temperature rise between 1975 and 1998 as indication that we’re on a long-term trend with that slope, but when we get a decade of flatness after that they ignore it. It’s not responsive and not honest to point out that a decade is too short to mean anything unless you’re also willing to dismiss the previous 23 years.

    Northern Hemisphere temperature trends (K/y):

    [1999, 2008]: 0.018 +/- 0.016

    [1976, 1998]: 0.021 +/- 0.0084

  159. “Cost-benefit wise, you can make a case that solutions now will be less expensive than solutions in the future, much the same way that paying cash for something costs less than using a credit card and making the minimum payment over the years. ”

    In other words take Pascal up on his Wager because cost/benefit wise he’s got it in the bag. Nevermind that Pascal might be wrong on one or more points and that if he’s wrong, you could be worse off taking him up. Spending trillions of dollars before the science is settled is doing a Pascal’s Wager with the world’s economies.

    “Look, it’s been in our national best interest to convert as much of our energy and transportation sector to electricity since the ‘73 oil embargo.”

    I agree, but that doesn’t mean things should be done because of the stated reason of science, which in fact the science is far from certain and is in its infancy. I drive a fuel effecient car and I will continue to buy fuel efficient cars irrespective of AGW.

    “The reason why renewables might have a chance is because it’s a lot easier to convince your neighbors to let you put up a windmill or solar collector than it is to convince the entire city to put in a nuclear reactor.”

    Actually whenever you do large-scale anything energy related there’s a whole host of problems…namely the environment: Wind farms can kill loads of migrating birds; tidal power wrecks coastal ecosystems; solar wipes out desert habitats; etc. Small scale things are fine (like putting solar on your house), but whenver things get scaled up, you create problems. Then you are in a situation of doing quantifiable environmental damage (ecosystems) in order to prevent environmental damage (global warming) that might or might not happen because the science is less certain. Things are not black and white, like I support nuclear power (which earlier was meant to reduce the importation of middle eastern oil), but I see why there is resistance to it.

  160. Sorry for coming late to the conversation. I’d like to respond to some comments from early in the discussion.

    Pete said” “Hansen made accurate predictions in his 1988 testimony. Models could not predict the last decade because solar variations on that scale are unpredictable.” And later said: “They worked in the 90s because the sun wasn’t doing anything funny (and Hansen made a lucky guess of 1 major eruption). The last decade has had an unusually long solar minimum.”

    First of all, even though I disagree with Pete, I very much appreciate his (and other’s) willingness to engage on these issues.

    My understanding of the general disagreement is that AGW proponents say that CO2 (and perhaps CO2 equivalents) are the primary driver of global warming. I.e., it’s man’s influence more than anything else. (IPCC says, IIRC, that it is “likely” man’s influence – CO2, methane, aerosols, and land-use changes – caused more warming over the last 50 years than anything else.)

    The AGW skeptics claim that the natural forcings – primarily the sun – are more dominant, in some cases much more dominant. One of the primary pieces in support of this hypothesis is the variability of the last 1000 years … i.e., the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the Little Ice Age (LIA).

    I’ll summarize to keep it brief: Hansen and others, using models, showed that the 90′s would warm due to CO2 in the atmosphere; skeptics said the sun is the cause. In the 90′s temperatures did go up. We reached a solar maximum in 2001. In the last ~10 years temperatures plateaued and started going down. We are now in a solar minimum.

    The CO2 dominant models – and hence Hansen’s predictions – didn’t predict this recent cooling. As Trenberth said in one of the CRU emails: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” What this tells me is: solar forcings actually are much stronger than CO2 forcings. They are stronger than AGW proponents have claimed in the recent past, and the skeptics were right: the sun drives the climate. CO2 dominant models simply can’t reproduce these ~20-30 year trends.

    (And yes, it is “unusually long” for a solar maximum. However, in this case “unusual” means it’s been going on about ~1 year longer than normal. And it hasn’t been unusually low, but rather right about normal. So it’s not clear that this would indicate “something funny” that would make much of a difference on the decadal scale.)

    Secondly, as Michael Mann’s “hokeystick” has been discredited, and Briffa’s tree-ring studies require throwing away some 60% of tree-ring data, I find it likely that other studies – the ones using tree-rings, bore-holes, and contemporary records – are most likely correct … the MWP *was* warmer than today.

    Pete also said: “Solar variation on longer timescales is constrained…”

    I don’t think I can agree with this point. Certainly the sun’s output is “constrained,” but not in a way meaningful to the current discussion. There are annual variations, decadal variations, and variations at (at least) three more orders of magnitude (100 years, 1000 years, and 10,000 years). This is why temperatures in the 30′s were as high as today; it is why the MWP and the LIA existed; it is why we have had ice ages in the past, and probably will again.

    Pete said: “McIntyre was stonewalled because he was making a nuisance of himself; e.g. repeated requests for data that he already had. McIntyre’s critiques of the reconstructions don’t actually affect the final results.”

    In regards to point one, I’ll just let McIntyre defend himself: http://camirror.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/dirty-laundry/

    Cheers, Ted

  161. Sorry … last post should have said “hockeystick.” I wasn’t actually trying to make a lame pun. -tc

  162. Quoting myself:

    “…climate change is not a political issue, but a scientific one. It has only become politicised because a lot of high-rollers could lose out if it turns out to be true.

    “This explains right-wing opposition to the idea but I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to what the left are supposed to be gaining from it.”

    The several constructive responses I received to this all presuppose that the goal of the left is to expand government power for its own sake.

    This is a straw man. It is possible, and common, to be left-wing and anti-authoritarian, or right-wing and authoritarian. The left-right axis and the authoritarian one are orthogonal.

    I realise that in North America there is a focus on the latter, but politics, like climate change, is a global phenomenon.*

    A constant, however, is the nexus between the right and big money. Which brings me back to my point that the right has far more to gain by denying climate change than the left has by inventing it.

    *(As a footnote: while I am gratified that my esteemed opponents on the right have eschewed their historical advocacy of obedience to king, church, and tradition, I am a little piqued at their more recent co-option of the traditionally left-wing notions of liberty, fraternity et al. Next they’ll be claiming they invented racial equality, or that Pinochet was a liberal!)

  163. John – Lincoln was a Republican.

    (Admittedly, a Republican from 1860 and a Republican from 2010 would be bewildered by one another…)

  164. What this tells me is: solar forcings actually are much stronger than CO2 forcings.

    Of course they are, if the sun doubled it’s output that would be much worse than doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere! The point is, the sun’s going to stay within about 0.1% of its current output, whereas we might actually double CO2.

    There are annual variations, decadal variations, and variations at (at least) three more orders of magnitude (100 years, 1000 years, and 10,000 years).

    I think you might be talking about variations in Earth’s orbit rather that variation in output from the sun itself.

    This is why temperatures in the 30’s were as high as today; it is why the MWP and the LIA existed; it is why we have had ice ages in the past, and probably will again.

    United States temperatures in the 30′s were about as high as 2000 temperatures. Wasn’t a worldwide thing though.

    In regards to point one, I’ll just let McIntyre defend himself: http://camirror.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/dirty-laundry/

    I was referring to the recent stonewalling by the CRU (Michael Mann doesn’t work there). McIntyre got into the business quite late in the game, and it looks like Mann was already in full circle-the-wagons mode.

  165. John O’Hagan says: “A constant, however, is the nexus between the right and big money. Which brings me back to my point that the right has far more to gain by denying climate change than the left has by inventing it.”

    Also: “It is possible, and common, to be left-wing and anti-authoritarian, or right-wing and authoritarian. The left-right axis and the authoritarian one are orthogonal.”

    I’m not sure how well the left-right divide works for much of anything. One might say: The left tries to legislate fairness, while the right tries to legislate morality. Both of these could be viewed as ‘authoritarian.’ And there are vast exceptions to both.

    Personally, I’m a life-long Democrat, and I find myself becoming (slightly) more liberal as I get older. But my undergraduate degree is in Economics, and I’ve been a skeptic on AGW for about 10 years now, ever since I really started to delve into the science.

    But the original premise – that the skeptics are motivated by money and the pro-AGW folks by some sort of idealism – I find to be wholly unsupportable. Both sides, in the vast majority of cases, truly believe what they argue. The pro-AGW guys, even in the leaked CRU emails, really do believe that the world is in danger. If the world really was in danger, the skeptics would be willing to spend whatever it takes to fix it. No one wants the world to end for humans, even if it’s “only” 100 years from now.

    I suppose, John, that you would argue that money interests are causing the skeptics to be blind to the truth. But clearly this could apply to the pro-AGW researchers as well, considering the billions in research grants, carbon-taxes, “green” industries, etc.

    There may be a few on the fringe “right” that truly don’t care, and just want to make money now, damn the consequences. There may also be some on the fringe “left” who think – for a host of reasons – that 6 billion people is too many, and would like to squeeze that down and have latched onto AGW as the way to do it. But these are the exceptions.

    Most people are honest in their opinions, right or wrong. The great lesson from the CRU data release is that openness and transparency in the science is better. It may take awhile, but the science – the truth – wins out in the end. By doing the things they did, Mann, Jones, Briffa, etc., have only undermined their cause and hampered our search for the right answer.

  166. Pete said: “Of course they are [regarding solar forcings being stronger than CO2 forcings] if the sun doubled it’s output that would be much worse than doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere! The point is, the sun’s going to stay within about 0.1% of its current output, whereas we might actually double CO2.”

    And: “I think you might be talking about variations in Earth’s orbit rather that variation in output from the sun itself.”

    I’m not sure if you’re misreading me on purpose or not, so I’ll just explain a bit more. What I believe, and what the data/models/records show, is: The possible range of solar influences is much more important to global average temperatures than the possible increase in CO2. No one is talking about the sun “doubling in output.” That seems a silly point.

    And yes, the Earth’s orbit can also vary how much influence the sun has. Everything from daily orbits and yearly seasons, to ~12,000 year long changes. I was focusing on the effect, in terms of what reaches the Earth, not the method of these changes.

    More specifically, I don’t think the 0.1% change in solar irradiance is as important as the cycles of sunspot activity. Briefly, high sunspot activity block more cosmic rays. Cosmic rays – and there is good evidence now to support this – can create clouds. More cloud cover, generally, will cool the Earth. Therefore, when sunspot activity decreases, giving us more cosmic rays, the Earth cools.

  167. Ted, my personal, gut hunch is this:

    It’s a mixture of multiple variables. We have three variables we’re changing.

    1) We’re putting more CO2 out there.
    2) We’re really changing the climatology of cloud formation around urban areas and coastal areas with urban heat island effects and large localized concentrations of CO2s and particulates
    3) We’re changing a lot about how the rain cycle works around farm land.

    We have a number of variables we aren’t changing:

    1) The value of the oceans as a thermal transport system
    2) Solar irradiance variations – the figures I’m aware of say that there’s been a 0.01% increase since data started being recorded circa 1965, and that might be an instrumentation error.
    3) The sunspot cycle/GCR/Svensmark Cloud hypothesis. (Which, I might add, has had actual repeatable experiments run – they found that particles hitting an atmosphere jar comparable to cloud height at CGR type energy densities triggered clouds in the jar. I find this amazingly cool, even if it needs a few repetitions..)

    And there are a number of things we just have no clue about.

    I repeat: Multi-variate problems in chaotic systems are rarely amenable to single variable solutions.

  168. But the original premise – that the skeptics are motivated by money and the pro-AGW folks by some sort of idealism – I find to be wholly unsupportable.

    Agreed. The extent to which the debate over AGW has become dominated by ad hominem — by both sides — is appalling. I have seen no evidence of intentional fraud on either side. I am most disturbed by the accusations by supposedly professional scientists against those who disagree.

    The history of science is littered with “consensus” views that turned out to be wrong, as well as “consensus” views that have survived prolonged attack from skeptics. In no case that I can remember were the opponents actually motivated by anything close to the base motives attributed to each side by the other in this debate.

    As I wrote in a previous message in another thread, I have personally been privy in my own field (physics) to multiple results that the discoverer truly believed in, and which were later shown to be wrong. Subtle statistical errors are very easy to make and can lead to fallacious results with impressive statistical significance.

    It’s my impression that the enmity between the two sides in this controversy is at least partly responsible for the bizarre treatment of “peer review” as a talisman implying correctness. That is certainly not the case in physics; I personally have approved papers for publication that I knew had to be wrong, but whose results I thought important enough that the community as a whole needed to see and discuss them.

    It is almost unimaginable that the editor of a physics journal would resign over the publication of a single paper, as apparently occurred over the Soon and Baliunas case. That it actually happened is, to my mind, clear evidence that something is rotten in the climate science community, completely independent of the recent email leaks.

  169. Skeptics schmeptics.

    Until a few more of you actually follow Ken’s eminently reasonable exhortation to go and read the actual goddam science (or even one of the many IPCC summaries) reading you “anti” types is a little like watching a roomful of teenagers arguing. Lots of heat and firmly held beliefs. Not much substance.

    I know some of you are tetchy about realclimate.org (gosh! Moderation policies! On a science blog!) but it really is worth going over for a look at what climate scientists themselves actually have to say. You know, rather than relying on the evil meeja empires.

  170. Dave wrote:

    >As I wrote in a previous message in another thread, I have personally been privy in my own field (physics) to multiple results that the discoverer truly believed in, and which were later shown to be wrong. Subtle statistical errors are very easy to make and can lead to fallacious results with impressive statistical significance.

    As a physicist myself, that also has been my observation — lots of lousy science gets done (and published) and it often takes years to sort it out.

    And, conventional physics is *easy* compared to climate modeling.

    The truth is, no one yet knows what is going on with the global climate; given the scientific difficulty of the research, that should surprise no one.

    But the subject is so politicized that it is very difficult for a lot of people (some “deniers” as well as most warming enthusiasts) to say, “We just don’t know, and may not know for a long time.”

    Dave Miller

  171. Tom wrote:
    >Skeptics schmeptics.
    > Until a few more of you actually follow Ken’s eminently reasonable exhortation to go and read the actual goddam science (or even one of the many IPCC summaries) reading you “anti” types is a little like watching a roomful of teenagers arguing. Lots of heat and firmly held beliefs. Not much substance.

    I take it you are not a scientist, Tom?

    A lot of us know enough about the underlying physics that we have good reason to doubt that their models can possibly be adequate.

    In any case, our doubts are irrelevant. Science does not work by carefully poring over each other’s analyses and engaging in Talmudic arguments over the finer details.

    Science works by the people who make a positive claim coming up with clear, unambiguous predictions such that it is clear to everyone what empirical data would suffice to falsify those predictions.

    Jessica has pointed out how this could be done.

    I know the predictions Jessica requested are unfair, unreasonable, etc.

    Yeah, that’s how science works: it makes inhumanly stringent demands on the researchers.

    And when, as so often happens, the researchers simply cannot meet those stringent demands, the scientific community renders a verdict of “Theory not proven.”

    It is amazing to me that so many people want to make an exception for the GCM guys. If I come up with a brilliant theory in physics, I do not get to rope my colleagues into poring over thousands of lines of code, thousands of pages of documents, etc. to try to prove me right or wrong.

    No – I myself have to prove I’m right with solid, utterly convincing predictions.

    And, if I cannot do that, I just don’t win that Nobel prize.

    I find it amazing that so many people want to extend privileges to the climate modelers that would never be extended to most of us real scientists.

    Dave Miller

  172. > And, if I cannot do that, I just don’t win that Nobel prize.

    Well, I guess the IPCC has you beat then.

    > It is amazing to me that so many people want to make an exception for the GCM guys.

    You do know that discussion of climate models and their evaluation occupies one (that’s 1) of the 11 Chapters of the 4th IPCC Assessment Report.

    Have a gander at page 600.

  173. Ken Burnside Says:
    We have a number of variables we aren’t changing:

    <snip>
    2) Solar irradiance variations – the figures I’m aware of say that there’s been a 0.01% increase since data started being recorded circa 1965, and that might be an instrumentation error.
    3) The sunspot cycle/GCR/Svensmark Cloud hypothesis. (Which, I might add, has had actual repeatable experiments run – they found that particles hitting an atmosphere jar comparable to cloud height at CGR type energy densities triggered clouds in the jar. I find this amazingly cool, even if it needs a few repetitions..)

    By “variables we aren’t changing” do you mean “variables that are changing without us having any control over them” or “variables that we don’t think are changing”? I’m assuming the first since while it’s definately true that we’re not changing solar irradiance/sunspots, it would be a hard sell to convince me we can truly consider them to be “unchanging variables” if (as was mentioned earlier) we’ve been at a solar maximum for about a year longer than known history would be considered normal.

  174. Dave Says:
    It’s my impression that the enmity between the two sides in this controversy is at least partly responsible for the bizarre treatment of “peer review” as a talisman implying correctness.

    That I can’t agree with. The “peer review” talisman is a staple of academia in pretty much any given field. At a minimum i’ve seen first hand evidence of it in both history (via observation of friends) and IT (via my own studies).

    If you think whatever field you have experience with is immune, I propose this experiment. Ask your lecturer, supervisor, principle investigator or department head (depending on academic level) if they would accept either a) wikipedia quotes or b) website links. My money says you’ll either get a vehement “No” or the more diplomatic “be very careful with that, sometimes its ok, usually it isn’t”. If you find someone who is truly cynical about the state of peer review maybe you’ll get “Make sure it’s reputably peer reviewed and it’s been quoted in other reputable peer review journals”.

    I’d be very interested to know what your field is if you get an unconditional (or even mostly unconditional) yes.

  175. # Ken Burnside said:

    John – Lincoln was a Republican.

    Personal pet peeve — people should read more history books. The Republican party was formed by anti-slavery activists. The issue wasn’t a moral issue per se (though moral outrage (esp. from Lincoln) at decisions like Dred Scott certainly played an important role), but more of a practical one: the Republicans believed that slavery was a threat to American republicanism (the ideals of liberty and rights and whatnot present in our founding documents) and they also figured (rightly so) that slavery was economically inefficient compared with free market labor.

    @Physicist Dave: First, you’ve said a lot. So let me start with:

    It is amazing to me that so many people want to make an exception for the GCM guys. If I come up with a brilliant theory in physics, I do not get to rope my colleagues into poring over thousands of lines of code, thousands of pages of documents, etc. to try to prove me right or wrong.

    The heart of the problem is what logicians and psychologists call a logical point of vulnerability. Humans are emotional animals; we all have the potential to think like scientists, but we have the propensity to think like children. We spent the last half of the last century figuring out that if there are any other planets like ours, they’re very far from here and given our current techology, getting to one would be practically impossible. Furthermore, we recognized that even colonizing other planets in our own solar system would push our technological boundaries to the extremes. And the consequence of learning that is that we now know that this is the only planet we’ve got, and if we fsck this one up, we’re all dead.

  176. “I know some of you are tetchy about realclimate.org (gosh! Moderation policies! On a science blog!) but it really is worth going over for a look at what climate scientists themselves actually have to say.”

    It was reading RC’s explanation for “hide the decline” that turned me into a skeptic!

  177. Physicist Dave/Dave Miller

    I’m a mathematically literate layman; I can do simple calculus if I have to, I know how to run real basic stats.

    You appear to assume that all science works by “hypothesis-experiment-error bar analysis-refined hypothesis”. This is largely true in physics, and physics reductionism is lovely.

    It’s not always true in observational science. For example, how many experimental neutron stars have we gotten to play with and run serious controlled tests on?

    In observational science, the process is “observe, document, observe, document, filter noise out of data, make hypothesis to explain observation, filter more noise out, clarify hypothesis, isolate simplifying assumptions, simplify, filter out noise, clarify hypothesis.”

    Sometimes, this results in a tightly wound field where the noise removal parameters and the simplifying assumptions are opaque to people who don’t follow it. I have reason to suspect that that’s a large part of what’s going on in climate science, which is why I (again) urge everyone to read the IPCC 4AR; even if you disagree with it to the point that it makes your teeth ache, knowing their terminology and why they do the things they do will educate you on the process they are following, rather than bitching at them for not following the process YOU’D do in YOUR field.

    If, say, quantum electrodynamics were as political as this subject is (or likely to result in attempts to rebuild the world economy), we would have people bitching about “Feynman’s scribbles are clearly being used to hide what’s really going on…”

    Imagine Fox News explaining Feynman diagrams showing antimatter going back in time and a commentator saying “Are you willing to risk that the world won’t blow up because some egomaniac who hung out at strip clubs drew an arrow going left, instead of right, indicating time travel?”

    And then interrupting every time your typical Physics post-doc tried to get two words in to explain about how he was being mischaracterized.

    That ain’t skepticism. That’s a mad drive for ratings and ad revenue.

  178. My background is particle physics, which also involves detailed and careful analysis of a data set. Nothing I’ve seen in the leaked emails or code looks indicative of scientific fraud to me – all of the alleged “smoking guns” are similar to things that I’ve done myself for perfectly legitimate reasons. For example, I’ve deliberately embedded fake signals into raw data (including “insert fake signal” comments in the code) for the purpose of testing and verifying the analysis and code implementations, and for conducting sensitivity analysis – if parameter changes, how will that affect the output? I would be astonished if an analysis of this detail *didn’t* do that at some point – understanding the behaviour of your methods is essential to establishing their reliability. But taken out of context, any of that could look like falsification of data.

    The scrappy, informal code is also par for the course – mine wasn’t as big but ad hoc inclusions were typical and notes of which version did what to which data for which results were noted in my notebook and elsewhere, not in some elaborate source control system. And why bother creating a huge volume of code just to fake the results? I can give you a fake, plausible looking graph in a few lines.

    My initial response to seeing some of the offending emails and code was “that looks normal enough, I’ve done things like that myself”. To be blunt, I think you’re guilty of confirmation bias. You expect some deviousness or conspiracy and are too quick to seize any evidence that supports that view without subjecting it to necessary scrutiny. Note, I’m not making any pro or anti AGW claims here, just an opinion of most of the assessment of the leaked emails by the sceptic side.

    Without wanting to sound smug, most non-scientists seriously underestimate the level of detail and care required in a scientific analysis, especially one with as many poorly-understood influences and uncertainties as there are in climate modelling. It’s hard to appreciate until you’ve got significant experience in it, complete with more senior researchers telling you exactly what you did wrong and why your analysis isn’t good enough to support the conclusions that you’re drawing. I certainly didn’t understand the issues well before doing my experimental physics PhD.

  179. I’d like to imagine someone not using the Fox News boogeyman.

  180. Okay, Ken, then what is it when you present people with a laughably blatant false dilemma that excludes all the social meta means that people use to determine the reliability of a source of information?

    Because refusing to acknowledge that you did it, and that it was wrong, when someone calls you on it, is itself a FAIL marker for those social meta means, and no, that isn’t being “a sheep. . .led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism”.

    It’s being prudent. And I know which side has tried far more consistently to blow smoke up my aft, and I know what that tends to say about their ability to make their case objectively and replicably.

    And I know what it means when I have to try to drag argumentative accountability out of someone who’s attempting to position themselves as a provider of behavioral standards.

  181. I’d like to imagine that Fox News hadn’t pulled this stunt. I’ve met Ed Begley a couple of times; he probably thought that by being nice and friendly, he could avoid being set up…and this is very much an ambush interview.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIl2gdDtbCg

    I don’t *agree* with Ed, but just because I disagree with him doesn’t mean he deserves that idiocy.

    Sadly,w e’re in the grips of a 24/7 news cycle that cares less about actually getting stories right than getting the most salacious headlines and ratings grabs possible. Having people discuss AGW with, oh, data, analysis and more takes time – and doesn’t generate ratings like the above clip does.

  182. Not that the other side of the debate is girding itself in laurels either.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/science/12/03/shishmaref.alaska.climate.change/index.html

    The ‘island’ that they’re talking about here is a permafrost sandbar. The village is there because the US Bureau of Indian Affairs built a mandatory school there in 1900; they aren’t living there because it’s how they’ve always lived.

    But when you build a village on a sandbar on a fucking river estuary, one would think – just maybe – that erosion might be a serious concern. Nobody who lived in Louisiana would’ve put that village there, for example…

  183. Ken, are there or are there not valid concerns involved here about State force versus individual autonomy and the right to self-determination?

  184. Ken Burnside said: “We have a number of variables we aren’t changing:

    [snip]
    3) The sunspot cycle/GCR/Svensmark Cloud hypothesis. (Which, I might add, has had actual repeatable experiments run – they found that particles hitting an atmosphere jar comparable to cloud height at CGR type energy densities triggered clouds in the jar. I find this amazingly cool, even if it needs a few repetitions..)”

    Yes, I also think this is WAY cool. I’m excited that physicists are doing this sort of research. -tc

  185. A few links to add to the discussion. I have no opinion on either, but would like to see what people here think: Was James Hansen the Climategate leaker? He does oppose any likely Copenhagen agreement, being in favor of a carbon tax as opposed to cap and trade, and (interestingly) none of the leaked emails implicate him.

    And what if the entire “greenhouse gas” idea is based on false physics? Short article and the paper (PDF) by Gerlich and Tscheuschner. The abstract:

    The atmospheric greenhouse eff ect, an idea that many authors trace back to the traditional works of Fourier (1824), Tyndall (1861), and Arrhenius (1896), and which is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrated to the atmospheric system. According to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist. Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a firm scientifi c foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying physical principles are clari ed. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse e ffects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned diff erence of 33° C is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsi ed.

  186. A few links to add to the discussion. I have no opinion on either, but would like to see what people here think: Was James Hansen the Climategate leaker? He does oppose any likely Copenhagen agreement, being in favor of a carbon tax as opposed to cap and trade, and (interestingly) none of the leaked emails implicate him.

    Could be. He opposes Copenhagen, but OTOH, would he really be willing to wreak this kind of havoc upon his entire profession to thwart Copenhagen? Just like Glenn Beck, he hasn’t denied these rumors, after all.

  187. Acksiom:

    I’m a generally apolitical conservative, not an anarchist. “The gummint can’t tell me not to buy no damn incandescent bulbs” is, to me, sort of like saying “The gummint can’t tell me not to buy me no damned paint with lead in it.”

    The situation in Alaska is one where the US Bureau of Indian Affairs chose to make a migratory community a fixed one by providing them a valuable service at a fixed location, and then mandate that the children be educated. The Feds built their school on a large, frozen sandbar. Even if there weren’t a temperature rise, the waste heat from the homes caused enough problems on that place that it was going to be a problem.

  188. I regard the Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper as an intelligence test.

    If you can’t tell it from a real physics paper, you need to remedy your ignorance on physics. It is about one step removed from the Creationist argument that the second law of thermodynamics disproves evolution.

  189. Just to make this clear: CRU is a university department. Much of it’s research is done by Ph.D. students and PostDocs that stay for a few years. Even for tenured faculty, the job is to do research (and to teach). They are not an archival site, and the climate record is only one of many things they do. “Reproduction” does not mean that you obtain all the data and code from the last link in the chain, but that you can use the described methods (writing your own code, if only to avoid common source errors) on the raw data (that you can collect in the same way CRU did – by talking to the national climate archives and local weather stations and getting them to release their data – often, especially in the past, just for your research, not for republication.

    Of course I’m sure Eric still has all of his old data and programs from 1985 or so…

    I’m all in favor of making data and code public. But this has only even been technically feasible since about the mid-90s at the earliest (I know the university had neither the hard drive space nor the network capacity to store and serve all the data I used in the research for my master’s thesis – it was generate, analyse, delete, beg the sysadmin for more space, rinse and repeat), and even in science it takes a while for a new idea to catch on. Even now, I’d be very surprised if you could get raw data and code for half the applicable publications in any science. And there are good, selfish, legitimate Randian reasons for that, too. Often, obtaining and organizing data in the first place is a lot of hard work. A researcher may need to get more than one publication out of a data set to make it worth his effort. Since there is no protection, playing it close is his only protection against others mining the data he collected in parallel. Unfortunately (or not), we live in a competitive world.

  190. Was James Hansen the Climategate leaker? He does oppose any likely Copenhagen agreement, being in favor of a carbon tax as opposed to cap and trade, and (interestingly) none of the leaked emails implicate him.

    Hansen works at NASA, not CRU.

  191. >Of course I’m sure Eric still has all of his old data and programs from 1985 or so…

    Actually…I do. Storage media has gotten so much bigger and cheaper that I’ve got essentially all my stuff from 1985 in a few directories. Not the object code, of course, but the C source code and my writings from that period both forward-port OK. It helps that I never fell into the DOS/Windows trap – have been using Unix systems pretty continuously since ’83 or so.

    There are a few exceptions to my keep-everything policy, mostly projects I’ve handed off to other people for which the revision-control masters consequently live elsewhere.

  192. “I regard the Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper as an intelligence test.

    If you can’t tell it from a real physics paper, you need to remedy your ignorance on physics. It is about one step removed from the Creationist argument that the second law of thermodynamics disproves evolution.”

    Oh dear, where have we heard this before?

  193. Tom wrote to me:
    >[Dave] > And, if I cannot do that, I just don’t win that Nobel prize.
    >[Tom]Well, I guess the IPCC has you beat then.

    Somehow, Tom, I suspect that even you know that the Peace Prize has become a joke.

    Tom also wrote to me:
    >You do know that discussion of climate models and their evaluation occupies one (that’s 1) of the 11 Chapters of the 4th IPCC Assessment Report.
    > Have a gander at page 600.

    No, thanks, Tom: I do not waste my time reading papers on astrology, creationism, or other forms of pseudo-science.

    The sad thing is that climate science should be, and could have been, real science. These jokers have probably actually succeeded in killing the field for quite a while.

    Dave

  194. >Hansen works at NASA, not CRU.

    Besides, he’s one of the two or three people with the most to lose from full disclosure. Only Michael Mann and Phil Jones are at higher risk of losing their careers and reputations.

    My money is on Harry Harris — the hapless programmer — to turn out to be the leaker.

  195. Enough sciencey stuff for now.

    What are the political implications of this alledged fraud?

  196. PhysicistRick wrote:
    >My background is particle physics, which also involves detailed and careful analysis of a data set. Nothing I’ve seen in the leaked emails or code looks indicative of scientific fraud to me – all of the alleged “smoking guns” are similar to things that I’ve done myself for perfectly legitimate reasons.
    [snip]
    >The scrappy, informal code is also par for the course…
    [snip]
    > My initial response to seeing some of the offending emails and code was “that looks normal enough, I’ve done things like that myself”.

    Really???

    My Ph.D. is also in particle physics (Stanford, 1983). Yes, academic software is not up to the standards of comp. scientists in industry.

    But, look, these CRU guys had an integer overflow problem – and *they* couldn’t figure out that they had simply exceeded the well-known two-billion-plus integer limit! Undergrads know this stuff better than they did.

    Are you yourself really that bad of a programmer?

    If so, I seriously hope you have abandoned technical fields and gone into sales.

    You also wrote:
    > And why bother creating a huge volume of code just to fake the results? I can give you a fake, plausible looking graph in a few lines.

    No, I don’t think anyone thinks they simply created the simulation intending it to be a complete fraud from the start. They were incredibly poor programmers, they had little idea of how to do proper controls in using observations to control their models, etc. And, worst of all, they were extremely disingenuous in their public pronouncements about how solid their simulations were.

    Probably not intentional, pre-meditated fraud.

    Just pseudo-science.

    Dave

  197. “You appear to assume that all science works by ‘hypothesis-experiment-error bar analysis-refined hypothesis’. This is largely true in physics, and physics reductionism is lovely.
    It’s not always true in observational science. For example, how many experimental neutron stars have we gotten to play with and run serious controlled tests on?
    In observational science, the process is ‘observe, document, observe, document, filter noise out of data, make hypothesis to explain observation, filter more noise out, clarify hypothesis, isolate simplifying assumptions, simplify, filter out noise, clarify hypothesis.’”

    That is not what is going on and it in fact the apocalyptic AGW claims that are engaging in reductionism – AGW is going to kill everyone, so we must redo the world’s economies! However, they just sweep things under the rug, such as the “divergence problem,” which quite easily lends itself to hypothesis testing…or at least not pronouncing with such certainty that the apocalypse is coming. You can’t just say “the divergence problem has been publicized before, so enact trillion dollar legislation” (which seems to be amongst the things being said). If you state tree rings provide accurate temperature reconstructions, that is something that is open to hypothesis testing, but that isn’t what is being done (hence “hide the decline”). Physics by the way is tested and for that same reason I’m not on the String Theory bandwagon until it is falsifiable. Tree ring methodologies have been invalidated based on observation, but rather than going back to the drawing board, the same bad data as a result is selectively kept while trying to fearmonger people with it.

    This reminds me a lot of the Iraq war where the data was made to fit the theories rather than the other way around and inconvenient data was hidden away, but this is fearmongering to a much higher level and much more costly. Actually the more I think about it, the more it reminds me of Iraq with people being so convinced they were right about Sadam and his alleged WMD, but now have more of the info reach the light of day with a public peer review showing that bad analysis was done and the data was substandard in order to reach the conclusions to justify going to war…just this time instead of WMD we have AGW and as more of the data used to sound the alarm bells becomes public, the data and techniques are falling under similar suspicion as the Iraq war.

  198. “No, I don’t think anyone thinks they simply created the simulation intending it to be a complete fraud from the start”

    They were practicing “post normal science.”

  199. Ken Burnside wrote to me:
    > I’m a mathematically literate layman; I can do simple calculus if I have to, I know how to run real basic stats.
    >You appear to assume that all science works by “hypothesis-experiment-error bar analysis-refined hypothesis”. This is largely true in physics, and physics reductionism is lovely.
    >It’s not always true in observational science. For example, how many experimental neutron stars have we gotten to play with and run serious controlled tests on?

    Well… in effect, quite a few.

    Jessica and I are not demanding literal controlled experiments, you know – just solid, non-weaselly *predictions* to test the models.

    Astronomers actually do what we are suggesting all the time – read up on the history of stellar-structure modeling, for example. What we are suggesting is standard operating procedure in *all* areas of science I know of – even paleontology. I think it was Haldane who pointed out a simple and obvious prediction of evolutionary science: no rabbit fossils in pre-Cambrian formations – a prediction very well confirmed by observations.

    You also wrote:
    > If, say, quantum electrodynamics were as political as this subject is (or likely to result in attempts to rebuild the world economy), we would have people bitching about “Feynman’s scribbles are clearly being used to hide what’s really going on…”

    No, no, and no.

    Look, Feynman was my own mentor in physics: I knew him well over a period of four years. I know a great deal about him personally, about Feynman diagrams, about QED, etc.

    QED made *predictions,* extremely detailed, precise predictions that were confirmed by experiment.

    Look, I know you are a layman, but I’m not.

    The truth is that there is a great deal of basic science, ranging from modeling the atmospheric circulation to the physics of cloud formation that go into global climate modeling. There is a great deal of applied math and computer-science expertise that goes into issues involving coarse-graining across the grid, etc. A number of us who are not, as you call yourself, a “layman,” actually have some scientific understanding of what is required to deal with such issues. Those problems are so scientifically difficult that the claims that have been made over recent years that all this is “settled science” are simply fraudulent.

    But don’t take my word for this: read what MIT Professor of Meteorology Richard Lindzen says:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703939404574567423917025400.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read#articleTabs_comments

    http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762.pdf

    Incidentally, I reached these conclusions based on my own knowledge of math and physics and forty years of watching the global modeling efforts, before I had ever heard of Richard Lindzen. But, I do find it interesting that Professor Lindzen’s conclusions agree in detail with my own.

    You described yourself as a “layman,” and you have proven that that is indeed accurate. As to your claim that you are “mathematically literate,” I’ll simply be polite and say that I may have slightly different standards for mathematical literacy than you do.

    Dave

  200. Gary Strand wrote:
    >One thing about some physicists – they’re insufferably arrogant.

    But obviously not as arrogant as GCM modelers!

    I don’t know any physicist arrogant enough to try to restructure the entire global economy based on some poorly written computer programs unconfirmed by empirical observations.

    Dave

    (Technically speaking, meteorology is actually part of physics, and so the GCM guys actually count as physicists. Practically, I think we can draw a distinction.)

  201. PhysicistDave: I was referring to the “VERY ARTIFICAL CORRECTION” and “fudge factors” when I meant things that I’d done myself for valid reasons, which were the things that people were using to claim that there was some fraud going on. Regarding code quality, my final code may not have been terribly pretty but it did give the correct answer, which is after all the most important thing. Which integer overflow are you referring to? If it’s the sum of squares thing, they did figure that one out. I did have one or two bugs of a similar nature but they were discovered in testing (it was pretty obvious).

    I’m not sure what you base their other claim on, but to assess it I’d need to look at their published work rather than scraps of leaked code. I do know they were quite open about the divergence problem in the literature, and didn’t attempt to disguise it in their graphs.

    Robustness of conclusions in science is done in not an entirely dissimilar way to in engineering when reliability is essential – redundancy and diversity. i.e. multiple independent (i.e. different data, code, researchers…) analyses of the same thing and variation in the types of experiment done to investigate a theory. I believe this has been done – temperature analyses have been done by means other than tree rings and this sort of historical temperature reconstruction is only one of many pieces of evidence put forward to support AGW. And none of this verification requires the release of raw data and code – if you suspect fraud, that wouldn’t be enough anyway as raw data can be faked too.

    Don’t forget also that one out of place data point isn’t automatically grounds for throwing out a theory. The data point could be faulty or not correctly understood, particularly when we’re dealing with the kind of indirect measurements used here. I’ve seen that kind of thing quite a lot, with the anomaly subsequently explained and the theory surviving. On the other hand, it can’t be just dismissed either. So I’m not immediately jumping to throw out the entire AGW hypothesis because there are a few aspects that aren’t so well understood.

  202. Gary,

    I did read A. S. Smith’s post that you link to.

    I agree with him that Gerlich and Tscheuschner’s paper appears to be obvious nonsense. Of course, the greenhouse effect exists: the physics behind it is almost trivial.

    The point of debate is whether anyone understands the secondary physics – all of the positive and negative feedback loops involving cloud formation, aerosols, etc. – well enough to make serious quantitative predictions.

    The real arrogance lies with those who are certain they have all of this under control, and yet are unwilling to put their claims to the test through the normal scientific process of making serious testable predictions.

    That is indeed “post-modern” science and betrays exceptional hubris.

    I also disagree with Smith on the whole American Physical Society statement: it was a political statement. There is no evidence that the people who approved it had the scientific knowledge required to responsibly make such a broad, public statement.

    That was exceptional arrogance, and the APS should learn enough humility to stay out of politics.

    Let individual physicists spout off as we wish, but the APS should not falsely pretend there is a consensus among physicists when there is not.

    Dave

  203. “This reminds me a lot of the Iraq war where the data was made to fit the theories rather than the other way around and inconvenient data was hidden away,”

    Christ on a pogo stick.

    Look, the cease-fire from Desert Storm REQUIRED the Iragi government to allow inpections. South Africa (http://www.fas.org/news/safrica/baeckmann.html) didn’t pull the bullshit that Saddam’s government did.

    Unless you are postulating that there is some type of rabid intelligence behind global warming, there is no parallel at all here.

  204. No, I don’t think anyone thinks they simply created the simulation intending it to be a complete fraud from the start. They were incredibly poor programmers, they had little idea of how to do proper controls in using observations to control their models, etc. And, worst of all, they were extremely disingenuous in their public pronouncements about how solid their simulations were.

    It looks like you’re don’t understand the differences between climate modelling and paleoclimatology. Have a look at Steve Easterbrook‘s paper on the programming done at the Hadley Centre.

  205. Rick,

    I think if you check out the integer overflow issue, you’ll see that they thought it was due to some data problem: they were not able to figure out that it was due to using an int where they should have used a float.

    Real dummies.

    You also wrote:
    > Robustness of conclusions in science is done in not an entirely dissimilar way to in engineering when reliability is essential – redundancy and diversity. i.e. multiple independent (i.e. different data, code, researchers…) analyses of the same thing and variation in the types of experiment done to investigate a theory. I believe this has been done – temperature analyses have been done by means other than tree rings and this sort of historical temperature reconstruction is only one of many pieces of evidence put forward to support AGW.

    If you look into this in detail, you will find you are mistaken.

    The different data sources often *disconfirmed* each other, and then the modelers had to make choices.

    Maybe they made the right choices; maybe they didn’t.

    Most likely, a bit of both.

    The problem is there is really no objective way of judging – they just want us to take their results on faith.

    That is not science.

    In one respect, I suppose my next-to-last statement was wrong: there is indeed *one* objective way of checking: they could make prospective (no later tweaking), detailed, non-weaselly *predictions,* as all legitimate areas of science do.

    This thread, and the whole world-wide climate debate, keep going around in circles on exactly how bad the CRU programming skills were, exactly how they massaged their data, whether PhysicistRick or PhysicistDave is really as bad a scientist as the CRU guys, etc.

    None of that really matters: all they have to do is satisfy Jessica’s and my demands, and, if their detailed predictions prove to be wonderfully accurate, as judged by normal scientific and statistical standards, they will shut us up for a very, very long time.

    The problem, of course, is that everyone knows they cannot do that: anyone with any knowledge of the general circulation models knows that the models just cannot give accurate predictions of the sort that we expect in all other areas of science.

    And that is the problem: post-modern, politicized pseudo-science.

    Dave

  206. Pete wrote to me:
    >It looks like you’re don’t understand the differences between climate modelling and paleoclimatology. Have a look at Steve Easterbrook’s paper on the programming done at the Hadley Centre.

    You’re just being gratuitously insulting to try to defend these incompetents.

    What did I say about paleoclimatology that is relevant to this?

    Dave

  207. “I don’t know any physicist arrogant enough to try to restructure the entire global economy based on some poorly written computer programs unconfirmed by empirical observations.”

    Don’t sneak in potential policies as a means to smear the science.

    “None of that really matters: all they have to do is satisfy Jessica’s and my demands, and, if their detailed predictions prove to be wonderfully accurate, as judged by normal scientific and statistical standards, they will shut us up for a very, very long time.”

    How would you know since you categorically refuse to read the appropriate literature on the subject?

    Ignorance is one thing; deliberate ignorance is another.

  208. Pete,

    The paper you link to is behind a wall.

    The abstract describes it as an “ethnographic study.”

    Considering that we can, thanks to the noble hacker(s), actually look at the CRU code, I don’t think we need an “ethnographic study.”

    We can judge the code for ourselves.

    These guys were dummies.

    Dave

  209. Gary Strand wrote to me:
    > How would you know since you categorically refuse to read the appropriate literature on the subject?

    I don’t need to read it: They can make the (detailed) predictions without my help. If they are confirmed, we will all hear about it.

    No one one really claims that has happened. Look through this thread: maybe their predictions for the ‘90s weren’t so bad, but they didn’t work for the last decade, maybe because of variations in insolation, etc.

    “Maybe.” “Maybe not.”

    Not clean, unambiguous, detailed predictions.

    Look, I don’t read even most papers in my own field of elementary-particle physics (no one does – too many papers). That does not mean I am not entitled to say that I do not take some crack-pot theory seriously unless it makes testable predictions!

    You also wrote:
    >Ignorance is one thing; deliberate ignorance is another.

    As you yourself demonstrate so clearly.

    You can bait me all you wish: I am not going to waste my time reading pseudo-science.

    Can you really not understand that legitimate science does not work by scientists poring over thousands of pages of code, analyses, etc. without any detailed, testable predictions?

    No, I guess you really cannot.

    I have never heard of any field of science that works the way you seem to think science works.

    Science is not Talmudic study.

    How weird.

    Dave

  210. >The paper you link to is behind a wall.

    I’m on the right side of the wall, so it’s hard to tell what’s blocked or not. Can you get to this one or this one?

    >What did I say about paleoclimatology that is relevant to this?

    You’ve been attacking the CRU’s paleoclimate and temperature record code. You realise this isn’t climate modelling code right?

  211. One thing that is coming through loud and clear in this thread is that no one is seriously saying, “Look – the GCM guys made a number of clear-cut, detailed, and unambiguous predictions – A, B, C, D, etc..—and these predictions have been confirmed in stunning detail. Therefore, we should believe their models.”

    No one.

    Instead, the pro-warming true believers here are attacking Fox News (yeah, I agree: a bunch of scientifically illiterate dummies on Fox – just like on CNN, MSNBC, etc.), lecturing those of us who are actually scientists on our supposed lack of understanding of science, giving excuses for why the CRU guys probably were not self-conscious crooks (yeah, they probably were not – most people justify their own unethical behavior to themselves), etc.

    The pattern is clear.

    No real science.

  212. Pete wrote to me:
    > You’ve been attacking the CRU’s paleoclimate and temperature record code. You realise this isn’t climate modelling code right?

    Pete, I’m attacking the whole international GCM effort, to the degree that many of its practitioners claim that it is “settled science.”

    Yes, I do understand the difference between gathering past data and using that data as part of the modeling effort.

    And, yes, I am tarring the whole process with the same broad brush – from what I have seen, the whole thing smells very, very bad.

    As I have made clear, I am not going to allow myself to grab hold of the tar baby to the degree of trying to suggest how the whole mess can be improved. Rather, I’d take the tack the Gipper took with the air traffic controllers: fire the whole lot and start again from scratch (I actually didn’t think Reagan could make it work – I wasn’t an admirer of his – but it did work).

    Dave

  213. “I am not going to waste my time reading pseudo-science.”

    You’re as credible as those who pan a movie without seeing it. Thanks for playing!

    And, since you’re not willing to read even the most basic literature on the topic, why should anyone take your

    “No real science.”

    comment as having any credibility?

    PS – Getting confused between CRU and climate models doesn’t help you, either.

  214. >Pete, I’m attacking the whole international GCM effort, to the degree that many of its practitioners claim that it is “settled science.”

    So, GCM modellers are “real dummies”, based on the quality of paleoclimate code.

    Wouldn’t it be more scientific to judge the quality of GCM programmers’ code based on GCM code, rather than on code written by someone else for some other purpose?

  215. Ken, every time you dodge my questions you further demonstrate my point.

    “I’m a generally apolitical conservative, not an anarchist,” is not a meaningful answer to the

  216. >are there or are there not valid concerns involved here about State force versus individual autonomy and the right to self-determination?

    No, because you don’t have a right to pollute if it’s going to affect others.

  217. Bugger.

    Ken, every time you dodge my questions you just further demonstrate my point, which is the same general continuing point here regarding what the behavior of AGW proponents indicates about the validity of AGW theory and conclusions.

    So again: what is it when you present people with a laughably blatant false dilemma that excludes all the social meta means that people use to determine the reliability of a source of information?

    Because refusing AGAIN to even just acknowledge that you did it, and that it was wrong, when someone calls you on it A SECOND TIME, becomes EVEN MORE of a FAIL marker for those social meta means, and makes skepticism towards AGW because of the dishonestly irresponsible behavior of its proponents being even less of being “a sheep. . .led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism”.

    Instead, it’s being even more prudent, on the basis of further confirming evidence. And I know which side has tried far more consistently to blow smoke up my aft, including your now-repeated refusal to even just acknowledge that you tried to force a false dilemma frame onto the subject, and what that says about YOUR ability to make your case objectively and replicably.

    And I know what it means when I have to KEEP TRYING MULTIPLE TIMES to drag argumentative accountability out of someone who’s attempting to position themselves as a provider of behavioral standards.

    And “I’m a generally apolitical conservative, not an anarchist,” is in no way a meaningful answer to the query of whether there ARE or are NOT valid concerns involved here about State force versus individual autonomy and the right to self-determination. So are there or aren’t there?

  218. >No, because you don’t have a right to pollute if it’s going to affect others.

    No; unless and until you provide objective definitions for “pollute” and “affect” to which we freely agree, YOU are not entitled to use force to change our behavior. Our rights are limited only by consent; you don’t get to start with the false assumption that you’re legitimately authorized to tell us what to do.

  219. You’re putting CO2 into the atmosphere. The balance of evidence demonstrates that doing so harms me. Therefore you have “initiated force” and I am entitled (through whatever means society currently endorses) to use “force” against you in “self defence”.

    (I’m not a native speaker of libertariandoublespeak, I hope that makes sense).

  220. “No, because you don’t have a right to pollute if it’s going to affect others.”

    Well. Stop farting then.

  221. “You’re putting CO2 into the atmosphere.”

    What, and you aren’t?

    “The balance of evidence demonstrates that doing so harms me.”

    Proof or it didn’t happen. It may very well be benefiting you overall, by providing you with a longer and better life than you would have had otherwise.

    “Therefore you have ‘initiated force’ and I am entitled (through whatever means society currently endorses) to use ‘force’ against you in ‘self defence’.

    Except, of course, for how you’re putting CO2 into the atmosphere as well, and likely more than I am.

  222. >Proof or it didn’t happen.

    You can’t “prove” that CO2 emissions are safe, we can’t “prove” that emissions are dangerous. So it comes down to the balance of evidence, which is tipped very heavily towards harmful AGW.

    >Except, of course, for how you’re putting CO2 into the atmosphere as well, and likely more than I am.

    Did I suggest I should be exempt from paying for carbon taxes or emission permits? No.

  223. > You can’t “prove” that CO2 emissions are safe, we can’t “prove” that emissions are dangerous. So it comes down to the balance of evidence, which is tipped very heavily towards harmful AGW.

    Of course, this point is in very much dispute. During the Eocene, which in the history of the earth is just an eyeblink ago really, CO2 concentrations were 10-15 times what they are today, with no apparent ill effects. Was the physics somehow different then?

    > Did I suggest I should be exempt from paying for carbon taxes or emission permits? No.

    No, you suggested that use of force to preven someone from emitting CO2 (ie, breathing) was acceptable.

  224. >Of course, this point is in very much dispute.

    I’ve seen a lot of people weigh the evidence for AGW against some arbitrary gold standard of scientific certainty. Not so much anyone suggesting that the opposing viewpoint is based on better evidence.

    >During the Eocene, which in the history of the earth is just an eyeblink ago really, CO2 concentrations were 10-15 times what they are today, with no apparent ill effects.

    Maybe the Eocene was a lovely place, but if we’re going back there I’d rather we do it slowly enough that the ecosystem has time to adapt.

  225. >No, you suggested that use of force to preven someone from emitting CO2 (ie, breathing) was acceptable.

    I put “force” in scare quotes for a reason. No one’s suggesting putting a price on breathing.

  226. >So it comes down to the balance of evidence, which is tipped very heavily towards harmful AGW.

    Except, of course, for how that “balancing” fails to include the evidence of the benefits from the practices resulting in CO2 emissions, such as providing literally billions of people with longer and better lives than they would have had otherwise.

    And how those “harms” are actually at best ridiculous exaggerations of merely potential extreme outlier occurrences that might possibly happen at some time centuries from now and only under the necessary yet ludicrous assumption that the ongoing exponential rate of technological advances will somehow, magically! fail to provide comparable improvements for repairs, let alone just sufficient ameliorations, in this one specific area.

    Sorry, but the actual benefits to your life and even greater ones to people around the world still massively outweigh the relative pittance of “harms” done unto you by humanity’s CO2 emissions. We’re on the verge of EXPONENTIALLY lifting more people out of poverty into healthy affluent freedom faster than ever before in history.

    And you AGW proponents want to slow and even stop that.

  227. >under the necessary yet ludicrous assumption that the ongoing exponential rate of technological advances will somehow, magically! fail to provide comparable improvements for repairs, let alone just sufficient ameliorations, in this one specific area.

    We want a price on carbon so that there is an incentive to develop and deploy these technological advances.

    >And you AGW proponents want to slow and even stop that.

    Who’s making ridiculous exaggerations now? We’re talking about a couple of percent lower GDP in 2050

  228. Three particle physics PhDs in one thread. Interesting. FWIW, mine is Princeton 1986, although I did the experimental work at Los Alamos.

    So I’m not immediately jumping to throw out the entire AGW hypothesis because there are a few aspects that aren’t so well understood.

    Rick, I think you have this backwards. Unlike, say, quantum field theory, I can’t find any serious, testable predictions about anthropogenic global warming made by the climate science except for predictions of future catastrophic warming. Thus, absent actual compelling evidence, the burden of proof for the AGW hypothesis is on those who promote it.

    On the other hand, I have actually seen several statements by people identifying themselves as climate scientists defending anthropogenic global warming that look like this: “Three of the last 10 years have been record highs,” and “The north polar icecap is smaller than it has ever been since its size has been measured,” and “The Greenland icecap is melting.”

    A competent scientist familiar with the issues would understand why those statements say exactly zero about AGW, and would leave those out of public statements on the issue. The fact that such statements by prominent climate science researchers are easy to find is quite worrisome.

  229. “I’ve seen a lot of people weigh the evidence for AGW against some arbitrary gold standard of scientific certainty. Not so much anyone suggesting that the opposing viewpoint is based on better evidence.”

    Now who is the one being arbitrary – since when did science become a showdown at the OK Corral instead of someone having to actually prove their science? I could say String Theory is the physical embodiement of the metaphysical Flying Spaghetti Monster and then Shift the Burden of Proof on someone else to disprove me, but that wouldn’t be science. Usually when scientists wish to spend tons of money it is for hypothesis testing (like the supercoliders and various space probes), rather than saying they’re so sure of their theories are “settled,” that they’re ready to spend trillions of dollars on them or with the space race there was testing all along the way rather than going right from Kennedy’s speech to launching the first moonwalk flight.

  230. Who’s making ridiculous exaggerations now? We’re talking about a couple of percent lower GDP in 2050

    After all, that probably amounts to less than 10 million premature deaths each year in developing countries, right? Apparently a small price to pay for insurance against sea level rise.

  231. >After all, that probably amounts to less than 10 million premature deaths each year in developing countries, right? Apparently a small price to pay for insurance against sea level rise.

    A price on carbon will transfer a lot of wealth to developing countries. They tend to be the ones with small carbon footprints.

    >when did science become a showdown at the OK Corral instead of someone having to actually prove their science?

    Since around about the time of Kuhn and Lakatos. Philosophy of Science didn’t begin and end with Popper.

  232. “A competent scientist familiar with the issues would understand why those statements say exactly zero about AGW, and would leave those out of public statements on the issue. The fact that such statements by prominent climate science researchers are easy to find is quite worrisome.”

    I can’t take AGW seriously until things like the “divergence problem” are cleared up. If AGW can’t even show it has the ability to get accurate past temperatures, how can I expect it to do the much more challenging thing of predicting future temperatures. Saying the “divergence problem” has been published doesn’t make the problem go away and that’s not the only problem. I find it rather silly the claims of this being “settled” while things like the “divergence problem” remain unsettled. Heck, I remember that one email complaining about how the lack of warming was a travesty and it wasn’t known why…not exactly someone speaking like things were “settled.”

  233. >We want a price on carbon so that there is an incentive to develop and deploy these technological advances.

    Then why aren’t you establishing positively reinforcing X-Prizes for them instead of attempting to create a negatively reinforcing economically repressive regulatory scheme? Virtually no one would meaningfully oppose X-Prizes; it would be much less difficult and even less wasteful to set those up.

    >Who’s making ridiculous exaggerations now? We’re talking about a couple of percent lower GDP in 2050

    No; we’re talking about at least of couple of percent lower GDP in the immediate future, and thus the consequences for literally billions of powerless innocents in the developing world who are on the doorstep to the kind of healthy affluent freedom that people such as I (and, presumably, you) enjoy. I want them to have it. You apparently can’t even conceive of them getting it, let alone how your actions will deny it to them.

  234. >You’re putting CO2 into the atmosphere. The balance of evidence demonstrates that doing so harms me. Therefore you have “initiated force” and I am entitled (through whatever means society currently endorses) to use “force” against you in “self defence”.

    This would be true if we were talking about cyanide or chlorine gas, but we’re not. We’re talking about CO2, so the second part of your syllogism fails.

  235. >So it comes down to the balance of evidence, which is tipped very heavily towards harmful AGW.

    This is called “assuming your conclusion”, and is horseshit.

  236. >This is called “assuming your conclusion”, and is horseshit.

    Nonsense.

    There are mountains of evidence for AGW.

    Where is the comparable evidence that our emissions are harmless?

    Your rhetorical stance is based on arrogating default status to the emissions-are-harmless theory, which, ironically is “assuming your conclusion”.

  237. >WTF? You’re just saying things at random now.

    “The fallacy of the onlookers’ argument is that they considered only the benefits of purchasing a new window, but they ignored the cost to the shopkeeper. As the shopkeeper was forced to spend his money on a new window, he could not spend it on something else. For example, the shopkeeper might have preferred to spend the money on bread and shoes for himself (thus enriching the baker and cobbler), but now cannot because he must fix his window.

    Thus, the child did not bring any net benefit to the town. Instead, he made the town poorer by at least the value of one window, if not more. His actions benefited the glazier, but at the expense not only of the shopkeeper, but the baker and cobbler as well. Moreover, the benefit to the glazier is relatively small, because most of what he charges is to compensate him for his tedious and strenuous labour, as well as the materials he uses.”

    I.e., forced transfers of wealth through this “carbon credits” boondoggle will take the place of much of the EXISTING funds transfers to developing nations, minus an even greater amount of “administration” fees than already exist.

    To say nothing of http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,363663,00.html .

    And you STILL need to explain why you aren’t working to establish positively reinforcing X-Prizes for them instead of attempting to create a negatively reinforcing economically repressive regulatory scheme. Again, virtually no one would meaningfully oppose X-Prizes; it would be much less difficult and even less wasteful to set those up.

  238. >Where is the comparable evidence that our emissions are harmless? Your rhetorical stance is based on arrogating default status to the emissions-are-harmless theory, which, ironically is “assuming your conclusion”.

    Except, of course, for how your “balancing” STILL fails to include the evidence of the benefits from the practices resulting in CO2 emissions, such as providing literally billions of people with longer and better lives than they would have had otherwise.

    And how those “harms” are STILL actually at best ridiculous exaggerations of merely potential extreme outlier occurrences that might possibly happen at some time centuries from now and only under the necessary yet ludicrous assumption that the ongoing exponential rate of technological advances will somehow, magically! fail to provide comparable improvements for repairs, let alone just sufficient ameliorations, in this one specific area.

    Sorry, but the actual benefits to your life and even greater ones to people around the world still CONTINUE to massively outweigh the relative pittance of “harms” done unto you by humanity’s CO2 emissions. We’re STILL on the verge of EXPONENTIALLY lifting more people out of poverty into healthy affluent freedom faster than ever before in history.

    And you AGW proponents STILL want to slow and even stop that.

  239. Acksiom:

    Not sure how I’ve evaded you earlier, my answers to the following question:

    “ARE or are NOT valid concerns involved here about State force versus individual autonomy and the right to self-determination.”

    My – can we phrase that any more polemically? Whatever happened to “So, have you stopped beating your wife?” Questions from a gentler, more civilized age, when we had nuclear bombers flying overhead ready to end Western Civilization on 40 minutes notice…but I digress.

    Here’s your answer:

    No. There aren’t.

    Look at the Kyoto protocol. 2/3 of the nations that signed up for it couldn’t abide by it. The ones that could did so mostly by accounting tricks and shoving their ‘carbon footprint’ out into the Third World. The major exception was France, which runs 75% or more of its grid off of nuclear power plants.

    Look at the mugging going on trying to get Copenhagen up and running. I firmly believe that we will see Richard Stallman as head of licensing at Microsoft before we see ANY meaningful carbon emissions restriction come out of a multi-national political process. And if there is one, I’ll bet that it’s so riddled with loopholes, exceptions, ways to cook the books, political pork and outright bribes that it’ll be as meaningless as Canute decreeing the waves to stop.

    Does this mean I think it’s a good thing if it passes? No. I don’t think it will pass at all, which is why I don’t consider it, in your exhortorary terms, a ‘valid concern i about State force versus individual autonomy and the right to self-determination.’

    There are far greater threats to individual autonomy out there than this. The people trying to wind you up know what buttons to push, just like the people winding up the alarmists know what buttons to push there.

    I’m not trying to push buttons – I’m trying to find out what the models actually say, why they say what they say, and whether that has any validity.

  240. PhysicistDave

    I’m familiar enough with QED to understand what a Feynman diagram is; I even sell a tee shirt with one on it. I never got far enough to actually have to use them as tools…but as someone who does UI design, I appreciate the brilliance of them.

    Feynman and QED made some really outside the box predictions that proved to be both true and elegant. I also know that Feynman, more so than any scientific mind of recent memory, was an amazingly FLEXIBLE thinker. He’d read everything, he’d look for patterns others missed, he’d be inherently distrustful of any patterns he spotted until he could justify why the pattern was happening.

    You got to work with him? Awesome!. One of my personal heroes, because in his public persona, he always felt that if someone didn’t understand him, or what he was talking about, it was because he needed to work more closely with them. He strikes me as being the sort of professor who loved having a student come up and say “I have a question…”

    Now, on to the point of the Feynman Diagram that I was making.

    It’s almost impossible to explain a Feynman diagram to someone in a 5 minute sound bite. It’s entirely possible to use a Feynman diagram BADLY to make someone who IS trying to explain it sound like a sputtering nabob. Just because it’s physics doesn’t make it irrefutable; take a look at the paper linked to earlier, which runs the second law of thermodynamics backwards.

    My reading on climate science so far (and yes, I’ve slogged through the 4AR and a number of the linked papers) is that it is also not really amenable to a five minute sound bite. And unless you’re actually doing the research, using the models, or otherwise doing validity checks on it, your opinions are going to be shaped by the five minute sound bite attempts.

    I can tell you that there are hundreds of falsifiable predictions in the 4AR. There is also an assessment of predictions made in the 3AR that were categorically proven to be wrong, including breakdowns on statistical methods, breakdowns on forcing factors that needed further refinements, and so on.

    The CRU team isn’t running GCMs, they’re doing paleoclimate reconstructions. Saying that the CRU data leak discredits the dendrochronology field is a reasonable statement. Saying that it discredits global climate models is akin to saying that noisy archeological data in Crete invalidates Bernoulli and dynamic lift models for aerodynamics.

    Multi-variate chaotic models are seldom amenable to single variable solutions; this applies in a lot of things. It applies in climate science too. The reason I’m a skeptic about the warmists is because they keep insisting on single variable solutions driven by political agendas. The reason I’m a skeptic about the ‘skeptical’ side is papers like the G&T paper linked to above, or the Soon and Baliunas paper that got published in Climate Research, which are sputteringly incoherent.

    And the reason why I’m trying to run the models myself is because I want to actually see how transparent the process is.

  241. And you STILL need to explain why you aren’t working to establish positively reinforcing X-Prizes for them instead of attempting to create a negatively reinforcing economically repressive regulatory scheme. Again, virtually no one would meaningfully oppose X-Prizes; it would be much less difficult and even less wasteful to set those up.

    Because you need a market to set the appropriate price in order to generate the optimal incentives. A carbon market will reduce emissions more efficiently that arbitrarily set prizes.

  242. >Because you need a market to set the appropriate price in order to generate the optimal incentives.

    The proposed carbon-offset “market” woluldn’t a market at all but a kabuki parody of one. In real markets, people trade voluntarily because they think they will gain by doing so. In this “market”, companies would buy certificates that have no value to them solely to escape political compulsion – and, if actual experience with such “markets”, is any guide, most of the certificates would be counterfeits anyway. Expecting the right incentives to operate in this situation is nearly as silly as expecting tender romance to evolve from an episode of violent rape.

  243. >and, if actual experience with such “markets”, is any guide, most of the certificates would be counterfeits anyway.

    It worked for CFCs.

    I also expect it will work better than everyone in the world suing everyone else in the world.

  244. >Not sure how I’ve evaded you earlier

    And AGAIN, Ken, every time you dodge my questions you just further FURTHER demonstrate my point, which is the same general continuing point here regarding what the behavior of AGW proponents indicates about the validity of AGW theory and conclusions.

    So YET again: what is it when you present people with a laughably blatant false dilemma that excludes all the social meta means that people use to determine the reliability of a source of information?

    Because refusing YET again to even just acknowledge that you did it, and that it was wrong, when someone calls you on it A THIRD TIME, becomes EVEN YET MORE of a FAIL marker for those social meta means, and makes skepticism towards AGW because of the REPEATEDLY dishonest irresponsible behavior of its proponents being even less of being “a sheep. . .led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism”.

    Instead, it’s being even STILL more prudent, on the basis of TRIPLY further confirming evidence. And I know which side has tried far more consistently to blow smoke up my aft, including your now-TWICE-repeated refusal to even just acknowledge that you tried to force a false dilemma frame onto the subject, and what that says about YOUR NOW-THREE-TIMES DEMONSTRATED INability to make your case objectively and replicably.

    And at this point I think pretty much all the rational people here know what it means when I have to KEEP TRYING MULTIPLE TIMES to drag argumentative accountability out of someone who’s attempting to position themselves as a provider of behavioral standards.

    >My – can we phrase that any more polemically?

    You would pretty much have to if you changed it significantly, since it’s hardly polemic at all.

    >Whatever happened to “So, have you stopped beating your wife?”

    I wouldn’t know, since I don’t use those; where was the last place you put yours down?

    Oh wait — isn’t that it up there previously in the thread, inside that false dilemma casing of yours? I can tell what they look like, because I’ve seen so many of them over the years, but I’ve never owned one myself.

    >No. There aren’t.

    Thank you for FINALLY providing ONE direct answer. Maybe someday soon you’ll get around to admitting that you tried to force a false dilemma frame on the subject, too.

    Anyways, I appreciate knowing where you stand. You believe that Kyoto managing to achieve partial success is a reliable predictor of Copenhagen achieving no meaningful success whatsoever. You admit that Kyoto did result in 1/3 of its signatories “abiding” by it, mostly by accounting tricks and shoving their ‘carbon footprint’ out into the Third World. And that any Copenhagen result would be riddled with loopholes, exceptions, ways to cook the books, political pork and outright bribes. . .

    . . .which, historically, both tend to do more to validate concerns about State force versus individual autonomy and the right to self-determination than to invalidate them. So I’m not exactly following your reasoning there, as your evidence appears to support my view that there are valid concerns here more than it does yours to the contrary.

    >There are far greater threats to individual autonomy out there than this.

    [shrug] So? And the mere fact of their existence is supposed to invalidate that of the lesser threats involved here. . .how, again, exactly?

    Oh wait. They don’t. Because that’s another fallacy.

    >I’m not trying to push buttons – I’m trying to find out what the models actually say, why they say what they say, and whether that has any validity.

    And you’re also still trying to force a false dilemma frame on the subject that fallaciously excludes the social meta means of determining the reliability of a source of information, which nevertheless remains the same general continuing point here regarding what the behavior of AGW proponents indicates about the validity of AGW theory and conclusions. Which is itself the kind of behavioral signifier that those social meta means use to arrive at negative evaluations and estimations of trustworthiness and reliability.

    Also, your attempts to push the presumption that my concerns, or those of anyone else, are primarily the result of my buttons being pushed by FUAD-mongers are both condescending and conceited. It’s the same kind of behavior as that of the pseudo-scientists involved in this flim-flammery when they pretend to lecture the rest of us from on high.

    You’re behaving like they do, which makes you look just as unbelievable as they do.

  245. The Spanish Inquisition said: “This reminds me a lot of the Iraq war where the data was made to fit the theories rather than the other way around and inconvenient data was hidden away.”

    What a perfect analogy! I remember in the run-up to the war: all the hand waving about WMD’s, aluminum tubes, yellowcake, the constant conflating of Al Qaeda and Iraq, the so called “consensus” of intelligence.

    There were a few (oh, so few) ‘skeptics’ who did actual reporting – such as McClatchy and a few others – who didn’t just transcribe talking points. The real data and analysis was out there, from real reporters who discovered there was no “there” there. You could find them if you really looked, but it was hard. They were drowned out by all the drumbeats and fear mongering.

    Yeah, the AGW seems to be almost the same. The models prove it! The paleoclimate records prove it! Look at the polar bears! Florida will be underwater! We’re all gonna die!

    One by one, real scientists are grabbing hold of a few threads of these storylines and pulling. Each time the excuses are the same: “The results are robust – taking out one or two flawed studies doesn’t hurt the consensus.” But then a few more fall. Urban heat island effects skew some key thermometers; bristle cone pine trees don’t predict temperatures; polar bears are doing fine (aside from the ones hunters keep killing); Antarctica is gaining ice and snow; the MWP was actually warmer than today. And not a single one of these CO2-dominant models can explain the last ten years.

    And the best part about the CRU leak? Skepticism and transparency have now made a comeback.

  246. Ken:

    >Do you consider me an AGW proponent?

    Jury’s still out on that.

    However, I can say that you’re currently demonstrating a level of intellectual integrity that’s only about average for the internet, which is far more important to me than labeling you. Behavior != Identity and all that.

    pete:

    >Because you need a market to set the appropriate price in order to generate the optimal incentives.

    Except, of course, for how you don’t need to generate the optimal incentives ITFP, since X-Prizes are more than good enough already and don’t have the horrible drawbacks of a negatively reinforcing economically repressive regulatory scheme.

    >A carbon market will reduce emissions more efficiently that arbitrarily set prizes.

    Except, of course, for how the prizes won’t be set arbitrarily, because there already exists a market in which people choose to expend their resources that will provide feedback.

    And how X-Prizes are more inherently efficient than negatively reinforcing economically repressive regulatory schemes because virtually no one will oppose them.

    And, to reuse Ken’s criticisms of your carbon “market”, how they won’t be anywhere near as riddled with loopholes, exceptions, ways to cook the books, political pork and outright bribes, due to their nice clean shiny transparency.

  247. Ken Burnside wrote to me:
    > Do you consider me an AGW proponent?

    Uh, Ken, to tell you the truth, I’m not really keeping score like that.

    I do think that some of the people here, who may not be actual AGW proponents, are making a mistake in thinking that the current GCMs should be taken seriously.

    In a sense, I suppose that I myself (and almost everyone here ) is an “AGW proponent.” The physics that shows that our CO2 emissions are warming the earth at least a bit (compared to what it otherwise would be) is very straightforward. The issue is how much quantitatively is the total warming when you take into account all the feedback loops.

    I think the real subject I have been debating is whether it is necessary or fruitful to pore over the GCMs to find out if they are doing that correctly.

    I think it is neither necessary nor fruitful. If the GCM guys are doing it right, they should show it the way normal science does – make significant, testable predictions.

    If they can’t/won’t do that, I consider their work pseudo-science.

    Perhaps that point is orthogonal to who is and who isn’t an AGW proponent?

    Dave

  248. Pete, you’ve said this before: “Who’s making ridiculous exaggerations now? We’re talking about a couple of percent lower GDP in 2050″

    This isn’t correct. The Stern review recommended 1% of GDP be spent *per year* to reduce CO2. They have since increased that to 2% to account for “faster than expected” climate change. Other estimates are as high as 5% a year. The UN now says – in advance of Copenhagen – that costs will be 3% of GDP by 2030. (source: http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=2436)

    That doesn’t mean the world GDP will be 3% less than otherwise in 2030 (or 2050 for that matter). It means: that’s how much they want us to spend *each year* to get CO2 concentrations down.

  249. Acksiom:

    Assertion: Both sides are lying for political gain.
    Evidence: An Inconvenient Truth on one side, the incoherent physics paper linked to above on the other.
    Observation: I am tired of being lied to.
    Resolution: I will try to run the models, look at the forcing factors, and come to my own conclusion.

    To me, that seems like individual autonomy.

  250. Ken – I’m not really familiar with the Feynman diagram, but I do know the Feynman problem-solving algorithm.

    Step 1: write down the problem;
    Step 2: think really hard;
    Step 3: write down the solution.

    Cheers. -TC

  251. Does anyone have a good cite on the effectiveness (pro or con) on the ‘Acid Rain’ Cap & Trade solution that was implemented in the 1980s and 1990s in the US, including good numerical analysis?

    I know it was implemented; I remember a grand hue and cry when it was being debated about how it would destroy American industry utterly.

    I’m not sure you can isolate the destruction of American industry to that piece of legislation, as opposed to NAFTA. It does seem to me that you can have either good environmental regulations or unfettered globalization, but that both at once appears to be a suicide pact for American business.

    I am willing to look at the evidence and read the source cites.

  252. @Ken >An Inconvenient Truth on one side, the incoherent physics paper linked to above on the other.

    There’s enough noise here without equating G&T with An Inconvenient Truth.

    @Ted Carmichael >he UN now says – in advance of Copenhagen – that costs will be 3% of GDP by 2030. source: http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=2436

    The link says “no more than 3%”. The actual estimate is 2.5% (which is close enough to “a couple” that we’re just quibbling).

    >That doesn’t mean the world GDP will be 3% less than otherwise in 2030 (or 2050 for that matter). It means: that’s how much they want us to spend *each year* to get CO2 concentrations down.

    The two statements are equivalent as far as I can see.

    [nb. putting links in parentheses seems to break them here]

  253. Ted:

    You missed some steps at the beginning and end:

    Step 0: Define the problem, including what simplifying assumptions are being used. Note them.
    Step 1: Write down the problem. Solicit information that might or might not pertain to the problem. This may involve changing parts of Step 0.
    Step 2: Think really hard. Possibly alternating with going to a go-go club and playing drums.
    Step 3: Write down the solution. Have other people double check the solution to make sure you aren’t fooling yourself.
    Step 4: Think about how to explain this solution in the clearest way possible.

    Feynman was brilliant at both steps 2 and 4. By his own admission, he was very fortunate to work with people who were good at Step 0, and liked to do step 1. (Step 1 involves interesting arguments, which Feynman could nearly live off of.)

  254. >To me, that seems like individual autonomy.

    That’s nice, but still yet again for a fourth time now: what is it when you present people with a laughably blatant false dilemma that excludes all the social meta means that people use to determine the reliability of a source of information?

    Anyways, I’m going to go ahead and conclude here that your refusal to even just acknowledge the merely mere existence of virtually everything I’ve just posted is a tacit concession of total and complete and utterly supine surrender on every point.

    Good luck with your pointless busy-work, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

  255. Ken wrote to me:
    > You got to work with him [Feynman]? Awesome!.

    Well, it would be more accurate to say I studied under him – I was an undergrad. Feynman went out of his way to make himself very accessible even to freshmen (obviously, this was *extremely* unusual for a Nobel laureate), so I knew him pretty well from my freshman year on, and I took classes from him my junior and senior years. At the end of my senior year, I had an oral final with him – which I was really anxious about. Turned out to be a pleasant experience. While he was a pretty eccentric character, at heart he was a really good guy.

    For obvious reasons, he had a greater impact on me than any other professor I ever had, including my Ph.D. thesis advisor.

    You also wrote:
    > It’s almost impossible to explain a Feynman diagram to someone in a 5 minute sound bite. It’s entirely possible to use a Feynman diagram BADLY to make someone who IS trying to explain it sound like a sputtering nabob.

    Sure. But Feynman diagrams are routinely used to make testable predictions, and often those predictions have failed and killed a theory. (Strictly speaking, Feynman diagrams themselves are just a calculational technique, not a scientific theory in and of themselves.)

    You also wrote, referring to the GCMs:
    > And unless you’re actually doing the research, using the models, or otherwise doing validity checks on it, your opinions are going to be shaped by the five minute sound bite attempts.

    I strongly disagree. That is the true-believer line, all right, and it is used in religion, astrology, etc.: if you cannot cast a horscope, if you have not studied theology, etc. then you are not qualified to judge their validity.

    That is what kept all the lies alive for thousands of years.

    What makes science so revolutionary is that it cut through all that. Instead of learning all the details of astrology or theology or whatever, we just ask the con artists to make significant, testable predictions.

    When they fail, we laugh at them, make fun of them, turn our backs, and walk away.

    I know that sounds cruel, and, in a way, it is.

    But it works to separate the lies from the real science.

    You also wrote:
    > I can tell you that there are hundreds of falsifiable predictions in the 4AR. There is also an assessment of predictions made in the 3AR that were categorically proven to be wrong, including breakdowns on statistical methods, breakdowns on forcing factors that needed further refinements, and so on.

    For the work to be scientifically credible, the predictions have to be specific, significant (including statistically significant), and they have to turn out to be *correct.*

    It’s not science just because it makes predictions, if the predictions fail.

    The whole point of science is to ruthlessly wipe out false theories as fast as possible, wipe the slate clean – we do not try to fix creationism, geocentrism, phlogiston theory, etc. We just laugh at them as disproven theories.

    Just like we laugh at the GCMs – failed attempts at pseduo-science.

    When a GCM is proven wrong, the GCM gang views this as justification for *more* funding to spend even *more* effort on the model whose predictions just turned out wrong!

    That is the exact opposite of science.

    You also wrote:
    > The CRU team isn’t running GCMs, they’re doing paleoclimate reconstructions. Saying that the CRU data leak discredits the dendrochronology field is a reasonable statement. Saying that it discredits global climate models is akin to saying that noisy archeological data in Crete invalidates Bernoulli and dynamic lift models for aerodynamics.

    I’ve tried to make clear that I had the utmost contempt for the whole global-modeling community before the CRU story broke: I think the CRU story is a rather minor thing. But it does help illustrate why so many competent scientists have had so much contempt for the whole global-climate-modeling community for so many years.

    Look, there are a lot of parameters in the GCMs that can be adjusted. Of course, if their predictions turn out to be not so hot, they can go back and twiddle the knobs and “explain” why the predictions did not work out so well this time.

    That is not science.

    They will never admit that their models are nonsense: they will always just say that they need to fine-tune the model parameters a bit further, jiggle their models a little more, etc.

    Theology (as I admitted above, a strange little hobby of mine – I actually know the difference between Arianism and Nestorianism) has been doing the same thing for millennia.

    Neither one is science.

    The GCMs are just eternal-employment plans for the modelers.

    You also wrote:
    > The reason I’m a skeptic about the warmists is because they keep insisting on single variable solutions driven by political agendas.

    Fine, then we agree. It’s not science. Perhaps, I am more skeptical than you that anyone can ever turn the GCMs into science.

    But by all means prove me wrong: use the GCMs to make a slew of firm, iron-clad, significant, testable predictions that you are willing to admit are make-or-break predictions for the GCMs. If those predictions turn out to be correct (and to stand up under replication), I will cheerfully concede that someone managed to turn a GCM into real science.

    I don’t think you or I will live to see that.

    But, by all means, prove me wrong – with real science.

    Dave

  256. Good luck with your pointless busy-work, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

    Thank you – I have, at a guess, about a 50-60% chance that we’ll run into an unresolvable show-stopper before we can even try running the models. We’ll try and document as much as we can. Enjoy reading, even if only in the ‘rubbernecking at a car accident’ way. Or, you know, do the sensible thing and ignore me if I irritate you this much.

    If – and only if – you feel that this is worth your time to answer, could you reply to the following?

    I don’t claim to have won the argument with these if you don’t; this is merely satisfying some curiosity in my part, because we really appear to be talking past each other.

    What ‘social meta means’ would satisfy you? Example, please?

    I cited two examples – one on either side – of attempts to use the debate for propaganda purposes. With respect to pete, while An Inconvenient Truth is more more pleasingly put together, it’s got comparable signal to noise ratios to the G&T paper.

    Do you feel the alarmists have an agenda that they seek to get political gains from?

    Do you deny that opposing the alarmists counts as political gain to the skeptics, even if a realistic assessment is that the US Senate will never ratify a global carbon treaty?

  257. @esr > The proposed carbon-offset “market” woluldn’t a market at all but a kabuki parody of one. In real markets, people trade voluntarily because they think they will gain by doing so. In this “market”, companies would buy certificates that have no value to them solely to escape political compulsion

    I assume your misdescription is not intentional.

    To clarify:
    - certain enterprises covered by the relevant scheme will be required to surrender enough certificates to cover their greenhouse gas emissions for the relevant period
    - enterprises will therefore adopt a strategy of some combination of:
    (a) buying certificates; and
    (b) reducing their emissions,
    to (as Eric puts it) “escape political compulsion”.

    That, indeed, is one side of the ledger.

    Other enterprises who achieve greenhouse gas abatement (for example sequestration (either forestry or geo-) or destruction of certain flurocarbons) can create certificates and sell them into the market.

    That’s another.

    Then there is the secondary market, the active trading of certifcates as a commodity.

    Then there is the knock-on effect that a carbon price signal (the cost of certificates) has for significant investments such as power stations,

    > and, if actual experience with such “markets”, is any guide, most of the certificates would be counterfeits anyway. Expecting the right incentives to operate in this situation is nearly as silly as expecting tender romance to evolve from an episode of violent rape.

    If you’re referring to the collapse of the carbon price in the European market, I think you’ll find that this was a product of massive over-allocation of permits, not “counterfeit” certificates. A political failing, certainly – but not a necessary consequence of a well designed carbon market.

  258. @PhysicistDave

    > No, thanks, Tom: I do not waste my time reading papers on astrology, creationism, or other forms of pseudo-science.
    > The sad thing is that climate science should be, and could have been, real science. These jokers have probably actually succeeded in killing the field for quite a while.

    Well, you seem to have your mind made up on this without needing to bother reading anything at all. (Judging from other posts here, you are most certainly not alone on that score.) You are welcome to your opinions of course. If you’re not willing to even look at the published science (or the IPCC’s synthesis of that science), though, one wonders why anyone should pay any attention to what you might have to say?

    > I don’t know any physicist arrogant enough to try to restructure the entire global economy based on some poorly written computer programs unconfirmed by empirical observations.

    Sorry, couldn’t pass this up. You seem to be confused about the public policy process involved here. Climate scientists (including the “GCM guys”) are not trying “to restructure the entire global economy based on some poorly written computer programs unconfirmed by empirical observations.”

    First, public policy proposals to minimise emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are one (not the only) policy-maker response to the science of climate change. Climate scientists aren’t out there designing cap and trade schemes (even if they may personally endorse those schemes as good policy). That role has largely been left to the economists.

    Second, (and I assume you know this but have been having a little lend of us all) climate models are an important, but not the only, tool in climate science. There certainly are empirical observations that support climate science and to suggest otherwise is mendacious at best.

    If you would like to understand a little more, might I suggest you throw caution to the wind and actually peruse some IPCC material? For starters, you could try the Working Group I Fourth Assessment Report (Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis).

  259. Ken: And the strip club! You forgot the strip club … very good place for physics.

    Pete said: “The two statements are equivalent as far as I can see.”

    I’ll clarify. Saying “the global GDP will be 2.5% less in 2050″ would mean: instead of, say, $20 trillion, the total GDP would be $19.5 trillion. (These numbers are made up just to illustrate.)

    But what folks are actually talking about is spending about 1-2% of GDP every single year; an amount that will have to rise to 2.5% (per year) by 2030.

    It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s actually a huge amount. And then you have to factor in compounded interest. Global GDP increases by about 5% a year on average. At this rate, in 50 years the world’s economy would be ~11.5 times bigger than today. At 4% a year, it would only be ~7 times bigger.

    It’s worse 100 years out: ~131 times bigger vs. ~50 times bigger. And that’s at *only* 1% per year being spent to reduce CO2.

    The world’s economy is currently (2008) either ~$55 trillion or ~$70 trillion (depending on which of two ways it is measured). For simplicity, let’s assume it’s $50 trillion today. That means 50 years from now it will either be $575 trillion (without CO2 reductions) or $350 trillion (with 1% of GDP towards CO2 reductions each year).

    So … you can say: in 2059, we will *only* be spending 2.5% of GDP … or you can say: in 2059 the world’s economy will be $225 trillion less than it otherwise would be. Both are technically correct, but the second way illustrates the total costs much better.

  260. >The whole point of science is to ruthlessly wipe out false theories as fast as possible, wipe the slate clean – we do not try to fix creationism, geocentrism, phlogiston theory, etc. We just laugh at them as disproven theories.

    Philosophy of Science did not begin and end with Popper. Do we laugh at General Relativity or Quantum Theory? Both are false, but we’re not likely to improve on them by wiping the slate clean and starting over.

    >it’s got comparable signal to noise ratios to the G&T paper.

    G&T has negative signal to noise. The world is stupider because it was published.. AIT wasn’t aimed at people like us, so it’s not particularly information dense, but why would you compare it to something as bad as G&T?

  261. Ken,

    Two points that I may not have made clear in my previous post:

    First, it is not enough for *some* predictions to turn out correct.

    Science is not a baseball game where if five predictions turn out correct, and four turn out incorrect, you win the game.

    The whole point of science is to ruthlessly and brutally eliminate theories that are wrong.

    Therefore, the predictions of the theory all have to be right – or it dies.

    I realize that the GCMs can probably never satisfy anything even approaching that standard.

    That is my point – pseudo-science.

    Second, what really makes the GCM effort (with CRU only one small part of the total effort) a huge fraud tantamount to a criminal activity is that so many of these guys go around the globe claiming that their models really do show (“settled science,” as we keep hearing) the magnitude of AGW and prove that that magnitude is large and dangerous for the human race.

    That is a lie: their models are not very good. Their models prove no such thing.

    It’s the lying that really irks me.

    You ever played the computer games SimEarth or SimLife? They’re pseudo-science: no one (at least no intelligent person beyond early grade school) would believe that they could be used to really predict the course of development of a real planet.

    But they are harmless: the creators do not pretend that they are real science, just computer games that may get people interested a bit in real science.

    If the whole global-climate-modeling community were just a bunch of private hobbyists doing this for fun, as a lark, making no claims that their hobby had anything to do with the real world, I would have no gripe with them. Indeed, I might even join in.

    It’s the lying, the oft-repeated claim that their little pseudo-scientific hobby should be used to restructure the economy of the whole world, that really irritates me.

    I was a young kid when “Gulf of Tonkin” occurred (or rather didn’t occur). I believed it – would our government, our military, lie to us? I was angry when I learned the truth.

    I’m less naïve now, but it still makes me angry when people lie on important matters, indeed matters that affect the entire human race. The members of the GCM community who claim their “results” are “settled science” are lying: their “results” are neither “settled” nor “science.”

    And, I am very glad they are being publicly exposed as liars.

    Dave

  262. @Ted:

    I’ll clarify. Saying “the global GDP will be 2.5% less in 2050″ would mean: instead of, say, $20 trillion, the total GDP would be $19.5 trillion. (These numbers are made up just to illustrate.)

    That’s why I phrase it that way, it gets you to the correct result.

    At this rate, in 50 years the world’s economy would be ~11.5 times bigger than today. At 4% a year, it would only be ~7 times bigger.

    It’s worse 100 years out: ~131 times bigger vs. ~50 times bigger. And that’s at *only* 1% per year being spent to reduce CO2.

    You’re confusing GDP with GDP growth:

    no AGW: GDP_50 = GDP_0 . (1 + g)^50

    emissions reductions: GDP_50 = ((1 – c) . GDP_0) . (1 + g)^50

    c is the cost of emissions reductions as a proportion of GDP, g is the growth rate. If the cost was a few percentage points of growth then, yes, it would be huge, and adaptation might be cheaper than mitigation. But that’s not what those reports are saying.

  263. PhysicistDave

    Here’s what I hope to do with my busywork, assuming we can get it to compile, assuming we can understand how to operate it well enough to do anything:

    1) Run the model with the baseline data set
    2) Attempt to run the model with a 1900 data set and see if it can get within ‘close enough for nukes’ distance on the historical record for 1930, 1940 and 1950
    3) Attempt to turn the model with the baseline data set and change one variable: Halving the solar input parameter. This should, pretty reliably, trigger an ice age. If it doesn’t, there’s a problem with the model.

    While documenting it in language for a layman. (Well, actually documenting it in the language of “We’re amateurs. We’re bright amateurs, but we’re acknowledging the likelihood we’ll be out of our depth. Come along for the ride, and high probability of seeing us make fools of ourselves and getting really frustrated.”)

    Sound like a reasonable skeptical inquiry?

    As to AR4, and their demolition of earlier models, they’re pretty ruthless about it. There’s an entire family of tropospheric models that were highly regarded in the AR3 series that got taken back behind the shed and put out of their misery because they didn’t match the recorded satellite data. EG “This model is no longer used, here’s what it predicted, here’s what the measured data said, there’s no correlation between the two.”

    If that isn’t ‘testing your hypothesis and winnowing out the bad ones with ruthless abandon’, I’m not sure what is.

    FYI – I have a stalled game design project that I need a particle physicist for, ideally one who understands Feynman diagrams. Double points if you’re primarily a spatial mathematical thinker rather than an algebraist. If this sounds interesting – and you don’t mind a very slow development loop – email Eric and have him forward your contact information to me. (This also applies to the other physicists here.)

  264. Pete wrote to me:
    >Philosophy of Science did not begin and end with Popper. Do we laugh at General Relativity or Quantum Theory? Both are false, but we’re not likely to improve on them by wiping the slate clean and starting over.

    Boy, Pete, you are really betraying your extraordinary ignorance of physics here!

    Please share with me the experiment that shows that quantum mechanics is false, and you and I can share the resulting Nobel Prize (I’m not kidding – I’ve always wanted that trip to Stockholm).

    If this is what you know about physics, I can certainly see how you cannot see the problem with the physics in the GCMs!

    Dave

    P.S. No predictions of GR have been falsified either, but the experiments testing GR are enormously fewer in number than those testing QM. I, and many physicists, therefore consider GR not nearly as well proven as QM. But if you have an experiment that falsifies GR, share that with me too – we still might win the Nobel.

  265. Pete – my choice of examples – albeit comparing a film to, for lack of a better term, used toilet paper – was largely to illustrate that both sides exaggerate their claims for political expedience.

    My apologies if this conflation caused your bile to rise.

    And yes, the G&T paper really makes me go “So when did Stephen Colbert start writing parody physics papers? And given how ruthless he is at branding himself, why isn’t his name on this? And really, with an entire room full of comedic writers, he couldn’t find one that understands you don’t do B-K equations in Celsius?”

  266. >Enjoy reading, even if only in the ‘rubbernecking at a car accident’ way.

    Uh, no. Unless something truly remarkable happens, it’s way below the value threshold for my time and attention. Because, see, I can already estimate the validity of the AGW position sufficiently well just by observing the behavior of its proponents.

    >Or, you know, do the sensible thing and ignore me if I irritate you this much.

    Yes, because, you know, god forbid that you should improve your behavior.

    >If – and only if – you feel that this is worth your time to answer, could you reply to the following?

    Not unless and until you answer my question, presented once more still yet again for a FIFTH time now:

    >That ain’t skepticism. That’s a mad drive for ratings and ad revenue.

    Okay, Ken, then what is it when you present people with a laughably blatant false dilemma that excludes all the social meta means that people use to determine the reliability of a source of information?

  267. Ken wrote to me:
    > As to AR4, and their demolition of earlier models, they’re pretty ruthless about it. There’s an entire family of tropospheric models that were highly regarded in the AR3 series that got taken back behind the shed and put out of their misery because they didn’t match the recorded satellite data. EG “This model is no longer used, here’s what it predicted, here’s what the measured data said, there’s no correlation between the two.”

    But, Ken, that’s like a phlogiston theorist coming up with one phlgoiston mdoel after another, but never giving up on phlogiston (incidentally, that is what actually happened historically with phlogiston – at one point there was the negative-mass phlogiston theory, for example.). The real scientific progress came when people stopped trying to fix the phlogiston theory and admitted it had failed and chucked it out.

    The problem is that the GCM guys are never willing to say “This GCM thing isn’t working; let’s chuck it all.” Their refusal to do so means they are not doing science. They just want to leech off the taxpayers for the rest of their lives, playing computer games – not a bad gig, if you can get it.

    Of course, the much bigger problem is that, even though the GCMs obviously are not working yet, they go around the world lying and claiming that their results are “settled science.”

    You also wrote:
    > Sound like a reasonable skeptical inquiry? [referring to Ken’s detailed plans to try out a GCM himself]

    Well… perhaps an interesting hobby. But a “reasonable skeptical inquiry”?

    No.

    Look, what you have described will surely not give actual concrete predictions that turn out to be correct for the real planet earth.

    You’ll just be playing around with a more complicated version of SimEarth.

    That is not a “skeptical inquiry.” It’s computer gaming.

    “Post-modern science” = GCMs = computer gaming.

    Dave

  268. >But that’s not what those reports are saying.

    And what you’re not saying is why you insist on imposing by force a negatively reinforcing economically repressive regulatory scheme instead of establishing a positively reinforcing set of X-Prizes that would face virtually no opposition. Hell, you might even gain greater support.

    But you won’t even display the minimal lowest-common-denominator bare rock bottom integrity of acknowledging that your previous rationalizations were trivially eviscerated.

  269. @Ken

    My apologies if this conflation caused your bile to rise.

    It looked like a nasty Overton window trick, but that would have been inconsistent with your usual style! It does raise an interesting question though, does the alarmist[*] side have anything as bad as G&T?

    [* Is there a reasonably value-neutral way to describe the two sides? Sceptic describes you well enough, but is completely inappropriate for anyone credulous enough to believe, say G&T. I don't even know what the alarmist synonym for alarmist is.]

    @Dave

    No predictions of GR have been falsified either, but the experiments testing GR are enormously fewer in number than those testing QM. I, and many physicists, therefore consider GR not nearly as well proven as QM. But if you have an experiment that falsifies GR, share that with me too – we still might win the Nobel.

    Last time I checked we don’t have a Grand Unified Theory yet. GR doesn’t predict quantum effects, QM doesn’t predict gravity.

    That said, “last time I checked” was probably years ago.

  270. Tom wrote to me:
    >If you’re not willing to even look at the published science (or the IPCC’s synthesis of that science), though, one wonders why anyone should pay any attention to what you might have to say?

    Ah, but Tom as I keep trying to point out to the ignorant non-scientists here like you, that is not how science works. I do not need to peruse their pseudo-scientific nonsense: *they* have to make significant, clear, easily testable predictions that turn out to all be true.

    I already have a hobby of reading theology. I do not need another such hobby.

    And, Tom, remember, the GCMs are not science.

    They are computer gaming.

    Dave

  271. >That ain’t skepticism. That’s a mad drive for ratings and ad revenue.

    Okay, Ken, then what is it when you present people with a laughably blatant false dilemma that excludes all the social meta means that people use to determine the reliability of a source of information?

    I’m sorry – what do you intend to say with the phrase ‘social meta means’ I do not speak your particular dialect of ideological shorthand.

    On the off chance that this means ‘social signals for non-BS interactions’, since after two requests, you still haven’t proffered a definition of what you mean:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIl2gdDtbCg

    is an acceptable way of conveying information to you?

    As opposed to this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz8KiA-YMt8&feature=related

    Near as I can tell, if I compared 1 to 2 and said that the second was larger than the first, you’d consider it a false dilemma.

  272. @Acksiom

    I have determined by social meta means that you are not worth engaging with.

  273. >2) Attempt to run the model with a 1900 data set and see if it can get within ‘close enough for nukes’ distance on the historical record for 1930, 1940 and 1950

    This looks suspiciously like an attempt to kill Hitler.

    We’re watching you!

  274. Pete wrote to me:
    > QM doesn’t predict gravity.

    Pete, you read badly.

    I never said that a scientific theory had to predict everything in the universe. I said that it had to make significant, testable predictions that turned out to be true.

    QM does that spectacularly well. It has never failed. Not once.

    And, believe me, a lot of us physicists have wracked our brains trying to come up with experiments where QM might give the wrong predictions.

    Again, it has never failed.

    This is actually a bit depressing, because it make it hard for us to figure out how to go beyond QM (some physicist have concluded that there is no “beyond QM”).

    Pete also wrote:
    > That said, “last time I checked” was probably years ago.

    Indeed. Pete, you’ve just proven you’re in way, way over your head when you try to talk science.

    Science actually has right vs. wrong answers. I take it that you are in a field that is a bit more, I’ll be diplomatic, flexible?

    Dave

  275. PhysicistDave:

    Fair point. And I may come through the GCM ‘experiment’ going “There’s so much fudge on these factors that the only thing you’ll do is get your fingers sticky.”

    I’m largely of the opinion that the science at this point is “We really don’t have much of a clue on how to quantify any of this.” I may be surprised by the GCM. At the very least, I can see what simplifying assumptions they’re using, and ask questions about them. And, once again, multi-variate chaotic problems are seldom amenable to single variable solutions.

    “First, we’ll begin with perfectly spherical cows of uniform density…”

  276. >I said that it had to make significant, testable predictions that turned out to be true.

    Non-existence of gravity is significant and testable.

  277. Pete said: “You’re confusing GDP with GDP growth:
    [snip equations] If the cost was a few percentage points of growth then, yes, it would be huge, and adaptation might be cheaper than mitigation. But that’s not what those reports are saying.”

    Well, GDP and GDP growth are rather intimately related. They are talking about spending 1-2% of GDP per year, and scaling that up to 2.5% by 2030.

    For simplicity, let’s say current world GDP is $50 trillion. They want to spend 1% of that to reduce CO2, which would be $500 billion. Growth will be, on average, 5%, which is $2.5 trillion. But if you spend 1/5th of that – 1% – on CO2 reduction, your growth is reduced to $2.0 trillion because the rest was used on CO2. In other words, GDP growth is reduced from 5% annually to 4% annually due to this spending.

    Now, I’m fully aware that there are 2nd and 3rd order effects and so on. I understand that the 1% that is spent will provide jobs and tax revenues and so forth. But ultimately these things don’t matter, because that 1% will be spent on wasted production.

    I am using “wasted” in an economic sense here, meaning: CO2 will be directly reduced by that money, and spending that money on CO2 reduction is less efficient – by exactly 1% – than NOT spending it on CO2 reduction. If, instead, that 1% is spent on more productive things, these other things will ALSO provide jobs and tax revenues and so forth … AND will increase efficiency, allowing for future GDP growth.

    So, spending 1% of GDP year in and year out directly reduces the GDP growth by 1%, because you have to “throw it away” on CO2 reductions.

    Is that what you were looking for?

  278. Wow. Ok, I admit it. I’m an ignorant non-scientist, Dave.

    (There, feel better now?)

    All I suggested was that you might want to take a peek at what climate modellers are actually saying (in their published papers) and what the IPCC synthesis authors are saying about what the climate modellers are saying.

    You know, rather than making it up as you go along and calling the whole thing a fraud.

    For the record, and to save you the trouble of clicking on links yourself, here’s a little taste:

    There is considerable confidence that climate models provide
    credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly
    at continental scales and above. This confidence comes from the
    foundation of the models in accepted physical principles and from
    their ability to reproduce observed features of current climate and
    past climate changes. Confidence in model estimates is higher
    for some climate variables (e.g., temperature) than for others
    (e.g., precipitation). Over several decades of development, models
    have consistently provided a robust and unambiguous picture of
    signifi cant climate warming in response to increasing greenhouse
    gases.

    (Link) IPCC 4AR, Working Group I, Chapter 8, p 600.

    ESR says: I’ve edited in the link you included in your corrections.

    ESR also says: I think the positive claim of predictivity made in the cited paragraph is blatantly false.

  279. >Well, GDP and GDP growth are rather intimately related. They are talking about spending 1-2% of GDP per year, and scaling that up to 2.5% by 2030.

    Now I see where the confusion is. The 2% is the cost of mitigation. It’s not money spent.

    i.e. in 20XX we could produce $500 trillion worth of stuff, but we’d have to burn a whole lot of coal. The best we can do without all that burning is $490 trillion worth of stuff. So the cost is ($500t – $490t)/$500t or 2%. That’s what the economists mean when they talk about the costs of mitigation; it’s the opportunity cost of not emitting so much carbon, not a direct spending cost.

  280. Tom quoted: “There is considerable confidence that climate models provide
    credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly
    at continental scales and above. This confidence comes from the
    foundation of the models in accepted physical principles and from
    their ability to reproduce observed features of current climate and
    past climate changes.”

    Reading that carefully, I don’t see where it says “These estimates of future climate change then came true.”

    They even say outright that the confidence comes from reproducing the past and present. Hell, my cat can make a model that reproduces the past; she can even keep improving it every year as more data is collected. (She still can’t use the toilet, though, but what are ya gonna do?)

    What we need now is to run these models for 5 or 10 or 20 years and see what happens. My understanding is, every time that’s been done in the past, the models failed. (And were then made “more robust.”)

  281. >I’m sorry – what do you intend to say with the phrase ’social meta means’ I do not speak your particular dialect of ideological shorthand.

    Fine, I’ll break it down into simple steps for you.

    First, Is the following assertion of yours –

    >If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism, whether it’s “We Must Save The Planet Now!” or “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!”

    – a false dilemma, or isn’t it?

  282. Pete said: “That’s what the economists mean when they talk about the costs of mitigation; it’s the opportunity cost of not emitting so much carbon, not a direct spending cost.”

    Now I’m confused … is there a way to read “opportunity costs” and “spending costs” that are not functionally equivalent? I think the math works out the same:

    1) $500 trillion + 0.05 * $500 trillion = $525 trillion; $525 trillion + 0.05 * $525 trillion = $551.25 trillion

    2) $500 trillion + 0.05 * $500 trillion – 0.01 * $500 trillion = $520 trillion; $520 trillion + … and so on.

    -Ted

  283. >At this rate, in 50 years the world’s economy would be ~11.5 times bigger than today. At 4% a year, it would only be ~7 times bigger.

    If this was what economists had meant, they’d have said the cost was ~39% of GWP[*]

    >Now I’m confused … is there a way to read “opportunity costs” and “spending costs” that are not functionally equivalent?

    Yes … spending buys you something, usually worth more than what you spent, and even more usually with at least a positive value. So if you spend $x you don’t lose 100% of $x worth of value.

    Costs, on the other hand, are 100% gone.

    [* just occurred to me that 'world gross domestic product' contains an oxymoron.]

  284. Sorry, that was a crap explanation, I’ll try again.

    Suppose I spend $2 trillion on geothermal power plants, and get $3 trillion worth of electricity over their lifetimes. I could have spent it on coal fired plants, and got $3.1 trillion worth of electricity.

    I have spent $2 trillion.
    But my cost is $0.1 trillion.

  285. Dave says:

    That is not a “skeptical inquiry.” It’s computer gaming.

    “Post-modern science” = GCMs = computer gaming.

    Since you’re not willing to even peruse the literature on the subject, then your opinions can be safely considered non-credible and thus irrelevant.

  286. @PhysicistDave:

    But, look, these CRU guys had an integer overflow problem – and *they* couldn’t figure out that they had simply exceeded the well-known two-billion-plus integer limit!

    Minor nit: The 2-billion-plus number is a 4-byte signed integer limit inherent in that particular 32-bit representation. There’s really no practical limit on integer sizes these days: you just have to find some other way represent them. There are plenty of math libraries that do that.

    @esr:

    I think the positive claim of predictivity made in the cited paragraph is blatantly false.

    As witnessed by the decade of flat temperatures that CRU was deliberately trying to hide. Do you have any other examples?

  287. @PhysicistDave:

    This is actually a bit depressing, because it make it hard for us to figure out how to go beyond QM (some physicist have concluded that there is no “beyond QM”).

    Hmmmm…what do you think the about the work of Henry Stapp? Specifically, can you comment on on this talk he gave in Paris in 2001 or this paper by Welsh physicist Brian D. Jospehson? I think people are trying to go beyond QM, but I think it becomes difficult to follow traditional scientific methods once you really understand what QM is saying about our world.

  288. Pete said: “Yes … spending buys you something, usually worth more than what you spent, and even more usually with at least a positive value. So if you spend $x you don’t lose 100% of $x worth of value. Costs, on the other hand, are 100% gone.”

    I think you are confused by how they stated it. You are correct that there are spending costs associated with lowering CO2 emissions, and spending this money has an “opportunity cost” because you can’t spend that money on something else. These are two sides of the same coin. If something costs more to produce – or you get less of it for the same money – then your expenses go up, and hence your opportunity costs.

    Your example of the geothermal vs. coal plant is correct in that geothermal is more expensive per unit of electricity. But your interpretation of that fact is off a bit … electricity, production, driving – all of it will be a bit more expensive, and it will all add up to 1% of GDP per year (or more). All you get for that money is lower CO2 … other than that, the money is, as you say, “100% gone.” That’s why GDP growth will be 1% less than otherwise.

    1% a year, compounded over 50 or 100 years, *is* a huge amount … much more than the sum of dollar amounts. This, by the way, is not a controversial point, so you should ask an economist if you are still having trouble with it. (BTW – I have a BS in Economics, but don’t consider myself an ‘economist’ … I’m a computer guy now.)

    Pete also said: [* just occurred to me that 'world gross domestic product' contains an oxymoron.]

    Hahaha … yeah. Words are funny like that. I guess you can go tell that to the ‘jumbo’ shrimp … just ‘roll up’ your car window and ‘dial’ them on your ‘cell.’

  289. >If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism, whether it’s “We Must Save The Planet Now!” or “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!”

    – a false dilemma, or isn’t it?

    Not in the least. Your dilemma:

    You are either reading what these people are saying

    OR

    You are basing your opinions on what other people are claiming about what these people are saying.

    Nothing false in this dilemma.

    I respect – even if I disagree with – PhysicistDave’s response. His contention is that until they make a prediction that proves right, they should be ignored. I respect that position; it’s a time saver.

    Right now, a lot of climate science – both historical recreation and GCMs – is very much in the ‘we don’t really know what we don’t know” phase of exploration. Lots of the problems are very hard (cloud dynamics is one example). We have a series of models that even physicists agree with, and then a lot of input variables into those models that should change them in knowable and predictable ways. We’re now trying to figure out what tweaks of those input variables produce what results.

    And in the mean time, there’s a position saying we must Change The World Now Or We’re All Doomed, and there’s a political position saying “These Liberals Will Do Anything To Layer More Regulations On Your Freedoms.” Neither one of these positions even passes the test of pseudo-science.

  290. Neither one of these positions even passes the test of pseudo-science

    @Ken: That’s because politics and science make strange bedfellows. The very term ‘political science’ is an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.

    Politicians do not understand science and probably never will. Just like they don’t understand the Internet, computers, medicine, or any other discipline they try to get themselves involved in. They’re bumbling idiots driven by self-interest: The Intarwebs is a series a TUBES!

    The bottom line is this: science should quit involving polticians and politicians should keep their dirty, filthy, slime-infested hands out of the scientist’s labs.

  291. Morgan – all science that gets grant money is, in its fundamental form, political.

    Inside research departments and universities, it gets even more political.

    Once you get an actual paid professorship, the job descriptions of most academic scientists boil down to “learn to write grant proposals” rather than “conduct research or data analysis.”

    Private funding of science doesn’t seem to do much for basic raw research, until the funding source gets large enough that it effectively becomes a political microcosm.

    Admittedly, you can do a lot of physics with white boards, a couple of coffee pots and a group of the right people in not too comfortable chairs. But you’d be hard pressed to get, say, Apple, HP, IBM, Microsoft or Red Hat (all of which fund a respectable amount of basic research as part of their shareholder statements) to fund – even jointly – the LHC.

  292. >You are either reading what these people are saying OR You are basing your opinions on what other people are claiming about what these people are saying. Nothing false in this dilemma.

    Except, of course, for how very, very different that is from what you actually, originally, said.

    So again.

    First, Is the following assertion of yours –

    >If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism, whether it’s “We Must Save The Planet Now!” or “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!”

    – a false dilemma, or isn’t it?

  293. Probably banging my head against the wall, but some more about the actual science that is being done:

    IPCC’s AR4 (see earlier links) spends quite a bit of time and effort on the uncertainties involved in climate science. One example is the careful calibration of expressions used when discussing predictive quality etc.

    “Three different approaches are used to describe uncertainties, each with a distinct form of language. Choices among and
    within these three approaches depend on both the nature of the information available and the authors’ expert judgement
    of the correctness and completeness of current scientific understanding.

    Where uncertainty is assessed qualitatively, it is characterised by providing a relative sense of the amount and quality
    of evidence (that is, information from theory, observations or models, indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or
    valid) and the degree of agreement (that is, the level of concurrence in the literature on a particular finding). This approach
    is used by WGIII through a series of self-explanatory terms such as: high agreement, much evidence; high agreement,
    medium evidence; medium agreement, medium evidence; etc.
    Where uncertainty is assessed more quantitatively using expert judgement of the correctness of the underlying data,
    models or analyses, then the following scale of confidence levels is used to express the assessed chance of a finding
    being correct: very high confidence at least 9 out of 10; high confidence about 8 out of 10; medium confidence about 5 out
    of 10; low confidence about 2 out of 10; and very low confidence less than 1 out of 10.

    Where uncertainty in specific outcomes is assessed using expert judgement 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%."

    Link See box 1.1, p11

  294. >As witnessed by the decade of flat temperatures that CRU was deliberately trying to hide.

    CRU were not trying to hide the last decades temperatures. You don’t have to take my word for it — check the date on the ‘hide the decline’ email.

  295. @Ted

    Stern Review FAQ (pdf)

    Have a look at number 11, in particular:

    These costs are not trivial in absolute terms, but they will not disrupt economic growth.
    The overall impact can be thought of as equivalent to a one-off increase in the average
    price level of 1%. Since it may be interpreted as a cost or price index we should see the
    1% as applying to either consumption or income.

  296. Morgan Greywolf wrote to me:
    > Minor nit: The 2-billion-plus number is a 4-byte signed integer limit inherent in that particular 32-bit representation. There’s really no practical limit on integer sizes these days: you just have to find some other way represent them. There are plenty of math libraries that do that.

    Sure. But most compilers I know of (and I really may be way out of date here – I don’t update my compilers regularly) have built in 4-byte integers, and so people tend to use that.

    Anyway, of course, that is what the CRU guys seem to have done.

    An honest question: do you know any modern compiler that makes it trivial to use integers greater in size than 4 bytes?

    As I say, I may be way out of date here – my VC++ code still tends to look a bit like Fortran IV, since that was my first language (one reason I actually do have a bit of sympathy for the CRU guys – I’m an old antiquated programmer, just as they seem to be!).

    Dave

  297. Morgan Greywolf wrote to me:
    > Hmmmm…what do you think the about the work of Henry Stapp? Specifically, can you comment on on this talk he gave in Paris in 2001 or this paper by Welsh physicist Brian D. Jospehson?

    Well… Josephson is well-known to be crazy. He is also a genius. That makes it difficult to evaluate his stuff.

    I actually thought the paper you linked to by Stapp was very good, the best thing I have read by him. It is basically a description of how all of us physicists actually do quantum mechanics in practice, with an explanation of why QM is nonetheless incomplete.

    Of course, quantum mechanics bothers me, as it bothers anyone who thinks about it carefully. And, yet, as I said in an earlier post, it has never given a false prediction; indeed, empirically, it is the most successful scientific theory ever created by human beings.

    It’s strange that there is so much argument among scientists about the “real meaning” of a theory that is, in fact, the most successful scientific theory ever created!

    I myself have developed an alternative, realist-deterministic, mathematically-consistent version of quantum mechanics, which reproduces all of the experimental predictions of quantum theory. That my little theory reproduces *all* the predictions of QM is actually unfortunate: it means that there is no way I can propose an experimental test to distinguish between my theory and QM. (Incidentally, for aesthetic reasons, I actually do not “believe” in my theory, but it is kind of curious that it exists.)

    This does connect with the larger point of this thread. I have never bothered to publish my own little theory precisely because it is impossible to empirically test it. If I tried to publish it, my colleagues would, quite understandably say, “Where’s the science here?? No empirical predictions.”

    And, that of course is the same point I have been harping on with regard to the GCMs. The difference is that I am not arrogant enough to try to convince the world that my cute but untestable theory is “settled science.”

    Dave

  298. Ken Burnside wrote:
    >I respect – even if I disagree with – PhysicistDave’s response. His contention is that until they make a prediction that proves right, they should be ignored. I respect that position; it’s a time saver.
    >Right now, a lot of climate science – both historical recreation and GCMs – is very much in the ‘we don’t really know what we don’t know” phase of exploration. Lots of the problems are very hard (cloud dynamics is one example). We have a series of models that even physicists agree with, and then a lot of input variables into those models that should change them in knowable and predictable ways. We’re now trying to figure out what tweaks of those input variables produce what results.

    I pretty much agree with the comments I just quoted, Ken.

    I do not object in principle to people honestly and seriously playing around with GCMs to see what they can do. I’m doubtful this will prove fruitful, at least for the next few decades, and, if I were in charge of funding, I might not give them too many bucks.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t really cost all that much.

    What I do object to very strongly is the “settled science” lies. I know that it may be only a vocal minority in the GCM community who are responsible for all that, but their more honest colleagues had an obligation to speak up and shoot down the lies. They didn’t. That is a very big problem with the whole GCM community.

    I know enough about academic science to know that such honesty is harder than it sounds: the ruling clique can basically destroy the career of someone who speaks up against the “official line.” I’ve seen it happen myself. Nonetheless, the fact that there has been so little willingness within the global GCM community to tell the truth is a very serious indictment of that community.

    Of course, maybe the CRU leaker was someone who finally decided to do the right thing (I too strongly suspect the leak was an “inside job,” maybe from the anguished “Harry”).

    The other substantive point is that, if there is going to be any GCM-type work at all, it should be focusing at this stage of the game not on making “official” climate predictions but rather on exploring the more basic computational and physical difficulties involved in trying to do GCMs. Perhaps they actually could get far enough to, say, rule “cow flatulence” in or out as something that needs to be in the models. Incremental steps like that might eventually lead to real progress.

    I know that this is what you yourself are interested in, and, as I indicated in an earlier post, I am honestly skeptical that even that sort of approach will be all that fruitful. But, if they are going to play that game at all, they should recognize that they are in those very preliminary stages of the work, they should stop trying to make predictions that can be used to base policy, and, above all, they should stop lying about “settled science.”

    Dave

  299. Have you considered open-sourcing that theory? As in, “Can you make this into something falsifiable?” At very least, it would probably be an interesting mind exercise for your peers.

  300. if there is going to be any GCM-type work at all, it should be focusing at this stage of the game not on making “official” climate predictions but rather on exploring the more basic computational and physical difficulties involved in trying to do GCMs. Perhaps they actually could get far enough to, say, rule “cow flatulence” in or out as something that needs to be in the models. Incremental steps like that might eventually lead to real progress.

    Since you’re not willing to read the literature, or even a summary of the literature, how do you know they’re not doing exactly that? Social meta means?

  301. Acksiom,

    Thank goodness you are trying a little harder to be comprehensible. You keep shouting nasty demands at Ken in your own peculiar jargon which is very difficult to follow. (It’s much, much worse than the fine print from the IRS.) When he doesn’t reply you get nastier, and more demanding. Try writing like Hemingway. Use short sentences. Use short words. Avoid jargon.

    It’s very possible that I am entirely mistaking your intent, and you are not being intentionally nasty or demanding.

    As nearly as I can tell you are convinced by their behavior that AGW proponents are lying. You also seem convinced that Ken is an AGW proponent. Based on everything he has written that I have read, this is false. He seems to be both a sceptic of AGW proponents and a sceptic of AGW sceptics.

    That is a rare beast. Like a black swan, Ken confuses all who view him.

    Furthermore you seem convinced that Ken is behaving like a deceiver by presenting what you believe to be a false dilemma.

    But Ken answered your question. He does not believe he presented a false dilemma. Did you present a false dilemma? You asked whether Ken’s statement was a false dilemma or not. Could that be a false dilemma? For example, could it simply be false and not a dilemma?

    In any case, Ken – in the very same response showed that he does not believe his own either or position that you call a false dilemma. He said:

    “I respect – even if I disagree with – PhysicistDave’s response. His contention is that until they make a prediction that proves right, they should be ignored. I respect that position; it’s a time saver. ”

    This is a third possibility.

    And it is interesting because PhysicistDave is also a rare beast – although not as rare as Ken. PhysicistDave has provided the single best brief justification for not reading a scientific paper I have ever seen. It utterly destroys Gary Strand’s argument by providing a truly principled response. It distinguishes nicely between scientific papers and movie reviews. They are utterly different, and the movie review analogy utterly fails. I salute him, and Ken!

    And if you take my writing advice I may soon salute you as well!

    Yours,
    Tom

  302. Since you’re not willing to read the literature, or even a summary of the literature, how do you know they’re not doing exactly that? Social meta means?

    Oooo! Oooo! I can answer that, because I understand PhysicistDave’s points!

    It’s because they keep saying it’s settled science, when, in fact, it’s not. Ironically, if you read the reports, as Ken has done, you can see that it’s NOT settled science. If it were, AR4 would not have thrown out so many things in AR3. In fact, if it were settled science we would have had paper after paper for about a decade saying things like this, “We tried to prove it wrong and we failed.” But we haven’t had that. Instead we have emails which complain that their hypothesis cannot explain the last decade of no real warming.

    No social meta means needed.

    Yours,
    Tom DeGisi

  303. Oh, I skipped an importand point. When it’s settled science you are past the point of “exploring the more basic computational and physical difficulties involved in trying to do GCMs”. Sorry.

    Yours,
    Tom

  304. First, Is the following assertion of yours –

    >If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism, whether it’s “We Must Save The Planet Now!” or “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!”

    – a false dilemma, or isn’t it?

    If you remove the emotive language from Ken’s original statement, the two statements are equivalent.

    “If you are either reading what these people are saying, you’re basing your opinions on what other people are claiming about what these people are saying.”

    compared to

    “If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal opinions.”

    I believe the point you’re getting caught on is that you’re reading his statement as

    “””
    You are reading the scientific papers on this

    OR

    You’re a sheep being led by people claiming “We Must Save The Planet Now!”

    OR

    You’re a sheep being led by people claiming “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!”.
    “””

    That is not what Ken is saying. What Ken is saying is that you are either reading the papers for yourself or you are working from someone else’s reading of the papers. (Or you’re pulling information out of your ass but I daresay he’s making the assumption that anyone who does that isn’t going to last long in the conversation anyway so they can be safely ignored)

  305. PhysicistDave Says:
    This is actually a bit depressing, because it make it hard for us to figure out how to go beyond QM (some physicist have concluded that there is no “beyond QM”).

    This is pretty OT but my dumbed-down-for-a-non-physicist understanding of QM is that the one gripe about it is that it can’t unify the four forces (gravity, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, weak nuclear) into the one system. The same source (a TV program) gave string theory as a hope (given the expected lag, it wouldn’t surprise me if this hope has been destroyed by research) at a unified field theory.

    At any rate isn’t that at least one “beyond QM”, a QM that plays nicely with GR.

  306. Tom deGisi wrote:
    > And it is interesting because PhysicistDave is also a rare beast – although not as rare as Ken. PhysicistDave has provided the single best brief justification for not reading a scientific paper I have ever seen.

    Thanks. Of course, in a universe with a transfinite amount of time, I’d just read everything – as I’ve already confessed, I actually do read books on theology, which is surely a slightly strange way of wasting time.

    But, I just cannot read everything, any more than anyone else can.

    Incidentally, I think that all scientists apply a filter similar to the one I’ve described (and a number of other filters also) in deciding what papers to read.

    To use a concrete example, a couple decades ago, when Pons and Fleischmann claimed their “coild fusion” results, all physicists I know immediately dismissed it as nonsense without bothering to read the paper. Of course, we knew that someone would try to replicate the results, and if it proved truly replicable, we were willing to change our minds.

    But we were almost completely certain that would not happen – and, of course, we were right.

    There is a huge myth among non-scientists that doing science consists of being “open-minded.” Quite the contrary, in a very real sense, good scientists are among the most “close-minded” people there are. As I was taught by my mentor Dick Feynman, the key to good science is to rule out the bad ideas as quickly as possible, in the hope that what survived might be good. I don’t think he was just plagiarizing Popper, but rather describing how he himself had succeeded at science.

    It’s weird how many non-scientists are quite eager to tell us scientists what science is ‘really like”: some kind of liberal, tolerant, open debating club where everyone listens carefully to everyone else, no matter how stupid or bizarre the others’ opinions may be, and no matter how laughably wrong those others have been proven in the past. Science is not like that at all, and a few minutes thought shows why it cannot possibly be like that.

    Incidentally, I have constantly had this problem with creationists – who are even worse than Pete or the other Tom! – who will constantly tell us scientists that if only we would carefully read Dembski or Behe (or worse), we would see that evolution is false. When we explain that Dembski et al. have been proven wrong so many times that we will not waste even twenty minutes of our time looking at more nonsense from them, the creationists tell us that we are intolerant, close-minded, and, of course, not “real” scientists.

    Indeed. Just like Pete and the other Tom.

    Dave

  307. >But, I just cannot read everything, any more than anyone else can.

    If you only spent as much time reading about climate modelling as you did pontificating about it here you could have learnt enough to avoid embarrassing yourself by repeatedly confusing the paleoclimatologists at CRU with climate modellers working on GCMs.

  308. Pete,

    He should not be embarrassed because he has shown no confusion that I can see. I think you are misreading him. You, OTOH, have seemed confused on occasion. Were you, or was I?

    Yours,
    Tom DeGisi

  309. Pete wrote to me:
    > Non-existence of gravity is significant and testable.

    Ah, Pete – displaying your ignorance of science again in public! Didn’t your mom teach you that certain things are best done in private?

    QM does not prove the “non-existence of gravity.” No one has yet figured out how to apply QM to gravity (though there are lots of promising ideas – superstrings, LQG, etc.).

    Do you see the difference?

    No, of course you don’t!

    Dave

  310. Tom wrote to me:
    > Wow. Ok, I admit it. I’m an ignorant non-scientist, Dave.
    >(There, feel better now?)

    Yes, Tom, I do.

    Now, if we could just get you to learn something about how science is really done, instead of your fantasy that competent scientists waste their time looking at pseudo-scientific, overtly-politicized nonsense like the IPCC reports…

    Ah, I’m dreaming – I’ve got a better chance of winning the lottery!

    Dave

  311. Tom,

    From PhysicistDave’s first comment: “Yes, if the CRU work is typical, the whole world GCM community may have been talking nonsense for years.”

    My reading of that is that PhysicistDave thinks that the CRU work is climate modelling. It’s as if I’d said: “Yes, if PhysicistDave’s comment’s are typical, the whole world Outer-Mongolian Literature community may have been talking nonsense for years.”

    If I’ve have seemed confused by anything, feel free to point it out. Always looking for a chance to learn something.

  312. >No one has yet figured out how to apply QM to gravity (though there are lots of promising ideas – superstrings, LQG, etc.).

    So they’re trying to fix QM so that it can do gravity? I thought real scientists didn’t do that? Shouldn’t they just scrap the whole thing and start over?

  313. Pete wrote to me:
    >If you only spent as much time reading about climate modelling as you did pontificating about it here you could have learnt enough to avoid embarrassing yourself by repeatedly confusing the paleoclimatologists at CRU with climate modellers working on GCMs.

    Ah, Pete, Pete, young boy, I have said quite explictly and clearly that I am not *trying* to distinguish among them – I view them as all part of the same corrupt, dishonest, lying enterprise and am quite intentionally tarring them all with the same broad brush. I think the released CRU e-mails back up my belief that Jones et al. were indeed part of the same attempt to deceive the public as the GCM guys.

    Now, if they’d all follow Ken’s plan, I might doubt that they would have much success of getting really useful results (after all, science is like that – much research never amounts to much), but I’d stop lighting into them for being lying, thieving crooks.

    It’s the lies about ‘settled science,” when all the discussion here, and reams of discussion in the published literature and across the Web shows that the science is most assuredly not “settled,” it is that lying that really, really irritates me.

    And your citing of a dishonest summary paragraph from the openly political IPCC report, as if that has any salience, simply proves my point.

    And, Pete, considering that you have proven that you know less than nothing about science, your lecturing *me* telling me that *I* should learn something about some area of science is… well, just plain weird.

    I’ve been following global climate modeling since the late ‘60s: I do know more about it than most scientists do.

    But I am certainly not going to get down in the mud with the likes of you and argue the scientific details anymore than I will argue scientific details with creationists.

    I learned long ago (from Richard Dawkins, in fact) that that only encourages people like you.

    Dave

  314. >But Ken answered your question.

    No, Ken only *replied* to my question. He answered a very, very different question than the one I actually, originally asked. As I pointed out. Explicitly. With quotes.

    Ken didn’t answer my question. He changed the words from the specific to the general enough to provide himself with an alternative interpretation allowing “plausible” deniability, and then tried to use that to avoid admitting the truth.

    >Did you present a false dilemma?

    No.

    >You asked whether Ken’s statement was a false dilemma or not. Could that be a false dilemma? For example, could it simply be false and not a dilemma?

    No. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma . See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation for what you just did by improperly splitting “False Dilemma” into two separate identities with different meanings.

    >In any case, Ken – in the very same response showed that he does not believe his own either or position that you call a false dilemma. He said: “I respect – even if I disagree with – PhysicistDave’s response. His contention is that until they make a prediction that proves right, they should be ignored. I respect that position; it’s a time saver. ” This is a third possibility.

    [shrug] So? The issue is Ken’s unwillingness to be held accountable for his own behavior. He presented a false dilemma, but he refuses to acknowledge it until it’s been repeatedly scrubbed in his face, and even then he tries to pretend he didn’t do it through blatant linguistic weaseling.

    Now, if that’s too peculiarly jargonlike for you, here’s a simple analogy: if someone spills the coffee while pouring it, and then later successfully moves a slice of pie onto a plate, how exactly does the latter absolve the person of responsibility for the original spilled coffee mess caused?

    Because that’s basically what you just suggested: he spilled the coffee, but he plated a slice of pie later, so he therefore didn’t intend to spill the coffee, nor did he actually do so.

    The problem is, yes, he did. He spilled it right in our laps. And he still won’t admit it. And it took me multiple posts to get him to even acknowledge the mess existed. And now you’re trying to pretend he didn’t do it either.

    And that’s what I mean by social meta means of determining the validity of a source of information. The way you two behave tells me what I need to know about the trustworthiness and reliability of your information to a sufficient degree to discard it without in-depth consideration.

    Just as is the case for the AGW community, because it’s just as PhysicistDave explained it:

    “I know that it may be only a vocal minority in the GCM community who are responsible for all that, but their more honest colleagues had an obligation to speak up and shoot down the lies. They didn’t. That is a very big problem with the whole GCM community.”

  315. @Pete

    Thanks for the link to the Stern review.

    I agree … a 1% cost “would not disrupt growth.” We will still have growth, just a bit less of it.

    I know this is hard to accept, because compounded out, the numbers get gigantic. There is a natural inclination to say, “Whoa … those numbers *can’t* be right.” But the money being spent to reduce CO2 is not being spent on anything else. In that sense, it is “wasted” because it is money that otherwise would go towards production, and hence efficiencies, and hence GDP. At the end of the day, you get less CO2 and nothing else.

    Now, this particular fact says nothing about whether less CO2 is good or bad or doesn’t matter. The math doesn’t make a judgement on that. It’s simply a direct, extra cost that directly impacts growth. Not enough to “disrupt” it, because it only reduces growth by 1%. But it does make a difference.

    The money we spend on national defense – about 5% – is also wasted in exactly the same sense. (Well, by “we” I mean the US … I’m not sure what country other folks on this forum are from.) This is a larger amount, and therefore has a greater chance of “disrupting growth,” which is why I am for reducing military expenditures by about half. But that’s a whole ‘nother debate.

  316. Pete wrote to me:
    >So they’re trying to fix QM so that it can do gravity?

    No, Pete, they are really, really not.

    You are just really, really, really confused again.

    But you tire me.

    Maybe someone else here would be willing to correct your incredibly ignorant misconceptions about physics.

    Look, if you were willing to be polite and nicely ask questions about areas of science in which you are grossly ignorant, I might be willing to answer them. But, instead, you keep being very assertive in posting statements about physics that are hilariously, laughably wrong, and when anyone points out your errors, you are quite unapologetic about your ignorant behavior.

    Are you in middle school, perhaps?

    I give up on you – you’re just someone who has been proven to know nothing about science but who keeps trying to pretend otherwise.

    Dave

  317. >I know this is hard to accept, because compounded out, the numbers get gigantic.

    I get compound interest. So do economists like Stern. If the numbers were gigantic, they’d have given us those gigantic numbers.

    >But the money being spent to reduce CO2 is not being spent on anything else.

    Depends on how you account for “spent to reduce CO2″. In my example you could say I “spent” $0.1t reducing CO2 or you could say I “spent” $2t.

    >Not enough to “disrupt” it, because it only reduces growth by 1%. But it does make a difference.

    As I said, economists know compounding. No way they’re gonna describe a whole percentage point less growth as “would not disrupt”. Re-read the part about a “one-off” change in the price level.

  318. >I have said quite explictly and clearly that I am not *trying* to distinguish among them – I view them as all part of the same corrupt, dishonest, lying enterprise and am quite intentionally tarring them all with the same broad brush.

    Fine, in that case I’ll tar you with the G&T ignorant gibberish brush, and we can happily ignore each other.

  319. Ted Carmichael wrote:
    > I know this is hard to accept, because compounded out, the numbers get gigantic. There is a natural inclination to say, “Whoa … those numbers *can’t* be right.” But the money being spent to reduce CO2 is not being spent on anything else. In that sense, it is “wasted” because it is money that otherwise would go towards production, and hence efficiencies, and hence GDP. At the end of the day, you get less CO2 and nothing else.

    Ted, it’s worse than that.

    A lot (possibly most) of the money used to reduce carbon emissions will be counted by business as “investment,” so it might be more accurate to subtract it not from GDP as a whole but from net investment.

    That makes it a much bigger hit.

    Also, you need to look at what the economists call “real” factors, not just monetary.

    The goal is to dramatically cut down on actual, physical burning of fossil fuels. But current industrial society is *physically* very heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Cut out a big fraction of those fuels, and you simply physically shut down a lot of industrial society – looked at technologically and not with some naïve computer or financial model, the hit could be much greater than anyone imagines.

    To make this concrete, suppose that next year some new Mideast/Eurasian/South-American oil embargo knocks out half of the fossil fuels used in the US (and that there is no alternative source). The hit to the US economy would be enormously greater than just the monetary value of the lost petroleum – it would basically shut the USA down.

    Of course, the longer that the damage is spread out over time, the more opportunity there is to adjust. Fossil fuels will presumably peter out over the next few centuries, and, if we behave intelligently (i.e., nuclear power), it should not be a disaster.

    But, still, you have to be cautious about accepting the “monetary” figures at face value – the hit can be much, much worse than the monetary figures alone indicate.

    Of course, as you say, this does not prove that drastically cutting carbon emissions is not worth the cost – for example, if the alternative were the extinction of the human race, then of course we would simply have to accept the gutting of the US economy.

    (I apologize if these points were made earlier in the thread and I missed them.)

    Dave

  320. >If you remove the emotive language from Ken’s original statement, the two statements are equivalent.

    [facepalm]

    No. No, they are not. See my previous post.

    “What these people are saying,” could potentially include statements other than their scientific papers, and that is in fact exactly what I AM basing my opinions upon: their statements OUTSIDE their scientific papers. Ken needed to expand that from the specific to the general to provide himself with a safe exit from the trap in which he put himself.

    “If you are either reading what these people are saying, you’re basing your opinions on what other people are claiming about what these people are saying.”

    compared to

    “If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal opinions.”

    >You are reading the scientific papers on this OR You’re a sheep being led by people claiming “We Must Save The Planet Now!” OR You’re a sheep being led by people claiming “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!” That is not what Ken is saying.

    Actually, that is almost exactly what Ken did post.

    >What Ken is saying is that you are either reading the papers for yourself or you are working from someone else’s reading of the papers.

    Yes. And that’s a false dilemma. Because it excludes reading what these people SAY about their papers, and about the subject, and about the skeptics, and so on, and so forth. It excludes the reasoning of people like me, and, I believe, PhysicistDave. That is why it is a false dilemma.

    And that’s why Ken tried to expand his revisionist history statement from the specific to the general; in order to continue to plausibly deny to himself what he’d done. And it’s why Tom tried to fallaciously split “False Dilemma” intonto two separate identities with different meanings; in order to continue to plausibly deny in general what Ken had done.

    It’s just like pete and the X-Prizes. It’s more important to him to defend his negatively reinforcing economically repressive carbon scheme than it is to solve the problem. If he was really more interested in preventing AGW harms than establishing control over other people’s behavior, he’d be all, “Hey, that’s a good idea! We should have X-Prizes TOO!”

    It’s the same thing with all the stuff you guys ignore. Tom, do I see you calling Ken out on his failure to acknowledge that I took his “evidence” against the validity of concerns about the State-Citizen balance of power and showed that it actually supported such concerns more instead? Jon, do I see you calling pete out on his failure to acknowledge that I did something similar to his arguments?

    No. Because it’s more important to you to defend the status quo in your minds than it is to be intellectually rigorous and, well, scientific.

    Again, Just as is the case for the AGW community, because it’s still just as PhysicistDave explained it:

    “I know that it may be only a vocal minority in the GCM community who are responsible for all that, but their more honest colleagues had an obligation to speak up and shoot down the lies. They didn’t. That is a very big problem with the whole GCM community.”

    And it’s a very big problem with you guys as well.

  321. Pete said:

    >”I get compound interest. So do economists like Stern. If the numbers were gigantic, they’d have given us those gigantic numbers.”

    Well, either: 1) he thought it was clear enough, or 2) he doesn’t want emphasize was a tremendous cost it is, long term. Probably it’s (2) because he is concerned about preventing what he believes are long-term costs and damages of AGW.

    I should note here that if I agreed with him on the damaging effects of CO2 – and that reducing CO2 by the amounts they are talking about would be as beneficial as they seem to think – then 1% a year would be a good way to pay for this program.

    >>But the money being spent to reduce CO2 is not being spent on anything else.

    >Depends on how you account for “spent to reduce CO2″. In my example you could say I “spent” $0.1t reducing CO2 or you could say I “spent” $2t.

    Ah – here’s part of the disconnect. I’m not counting ALL the money – from your example – spent on ‘clean’ energy production. I’m only counting the extra cost. So is Stern. The extra cost is equal to 1% of GDP per year.

    >>Not enough to “disrupt” it, because it only reduces growth by 1%. But it does make a difference.

    >As I said, economists know compounding. No way they’re gonna describe a whole percentage point less growth as “would not disrupt”. Re-read the part about a “one-off” change in the price level.

    Well, part of the problem, IMO, is that many pro-AGW folks don’t understand the complete costs. They simply say “1% isn’t much at all. We can afford that.”

    Sure, we can afford it. We can afford lots of things. But – as you clearly know from compounding – these costs multiply into the future. The effect is slight, for any given year; hence, the “would not disrupt” statement. Stern knows the effect is small each year, and I agree. It’s only the big picture where the effect is large.

    Probably, a lot of pro-AGW folks think something like: “We can just tighten our belts a little bit. Eat out less often. Carpool. Not a big deal.” Unfortunately, economics doesn’t work that way. Again, we *can* afford it. We *can* spend a little less on everything. But it would be at the expense of future growth.

    As for the “one-off” statement, I presume he means that the additional cost of energy and production is only indirectly related to the “price index” of finished goods and services. The following sentence – “Since it may be interpreted as a cost or price index we should see the 1% as applying to either consumption or income” – shows two ways of considering the 1% additional cost, each being functionally equivalent to the other in terms of GDP.

    This is becoming a bit tedious, I’m afraid. As I said, this is not a controversial point. You are arguing against the math by the logic of “they just wouldn’t say that.” To that I can only say, it is what it is. If you are truly trying to understand the effect, then I’m happy to spend more time on it. However, if you simply don’t believe me – which is fine – then probably the best thing would be to ask someone else with knowledge of economics about this. Ask them something like: “If everything were exactly the same, except costs went up a bit – equivalent to 1% of GDP per year – what would the effect on GDP growth be?”

  322. Oops. I failed to snip out the copypaste of “If you are either reading. . .” to “. . .appeal to your personal opinions.” My apologies for the error.

  323. >Ah – here’s part of the disconnect. I’m not counting ALL the money – from your example – spent on ‘clean’ energy production. I’m only counting the extra cost. So is Stern. The extra cost is equal to 1% of GDP per year.

    No, Stern is counting it the same way I am.

    Stern Review, Chapter 9 (pdf)

    The costs of doing so amount to under $1 trillion
    in 2050, which is relatively modest in relation to the level and expansion of economic output
    over the next 50 years, which in any scenario of economic success is likely to be over one
    hundred times this amount. They equate to around 1 ± 2½ % of annual GDP – with the IEA
    analysis suggesting that the costs could be close to zero.

    >However, if you simply don’t believe me – which is fine – then probably the best thing would be to ask someone else with knowledge of economics about this. Ask them something like: “If everything were exactly the same, except costs went up a bit – equivalent to 1% of GDP per year – what would the effect on GDP growth be?”

    I have a Masters in economics, I understand the maths. We’re not looking at increased costs equivalent to 1% of GWP per year. We’re looking at a one-off increase in costs of 1% of GWP. The former compounds, the latter does not.

  324. Response to PhysicistDave:

    No, Dave, you’re absolutely right. These costs structures are complicated, and can compound in ways that are hard to predict.

    I’m presuming – for the sake of argument – that Stern has studied and accounted for these things, and is advocating a system that can be fine-tuned to be as un-disruptive as possible. I think probably scaling up a carbon tax, until revenues from that tax are equal to 1% of GDP, and spending ALL that revenue on carbon scrubbing and sequestering, is the simple case. Clearly, there are LOTS of fine details that could complicate things.

    But clearly Stern isn’t talking about simply increasing energy production costs by 1%. He’s talking about increasing energy production costs until ALL the subsequent effects are equivalent to 1% of GDP. And he’s actually pretty honest about that.

    Coincidentally, raising a gallon of gas by a dollar sort of approximates this – about $150 billion per year for the US. An amount that is – economically speaking – wasted. Obviously, we “weathered” that in the recent past, so it wasn’t “disruptive.” The effects aren’t one big shock; rather, they are a constant downward pressure. But it certainly could be argued that it either exasperated or caused the recession we are currently in.

    Anyway, I don’t worry too much about the fine details. I’m against anything that adds cost simply to get the CO2 down. There are much better ways to spend the money.

    (I would actually support a small gas tax … say, 5 cents a year added each year for the next 20 years. But this would be to: 1) put more pressure on fuel-efficiency gains; 2) encourage public transportation infrastructure investment; and 3) reduce dependency on oil. All this would have only an indirect effect on CO2, which I don’t care much about.)

  325. Pete said: “I have a Masters in economics, I understand the maths.”

    Dude, are you serious?? All this time, I thought I was talking to a high schooler. I am frankly shocked that you don’t understand this stuff. I simply don’t know what to say.

    If Stern – and by extension, you – thinks you can spend 1% of GDP each and every year on an economically wasted effort without affecting GDP growth, then his analysis isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

    If a company’s costs go up by 1%, all else being equal, then it’s growth is reduced by 1%. For a country, or the whole world, same thing. This is basic stuff.

    Are you sure you aren’t punking me with that “Masters in economics” stuff? I don’t mean to sound insulting, but I think you must be pulling my leg.

  326. >Are you sure you aren’t punking me with that “Masters in economics” stuff? I don’t mean to sound insulting, but I think you must be pulling my leg.

    I felt the same way about your BS in econ.

    >If Stern – and by extension, you – thinks you can spend 1% of GDP each and every year on an economically wasted effort without affecting GDP growth, then his analysis isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

    It’s not “wasted”, it’s just marginally less efficient (compared to a no-AGW scenario). So you’re spending 2% but it’s only costing you 0.04%age points in growth.

    >If a company’s costs go up by 1%, all else being equal, then it’s growth is reduced by 1%. For a country, or the whole world, same thing. This is basic stuff.

    You did Solow growth models as some point right? Remember what happened with a step change? One-off effect with growth undisturbed?

  327. Pete wrote to me:
    >Fine, in that case I’ll tar you with the G&T ignorant gibberish brush, and we can happily ignore each other.

    Except, dear boy, facts actually do matter.

    I have made quite clear that I do *not* agree with G & T (I doubt any competent scientist does) . On the other hand, the CRU e-mails make quite clear that Phil Jones and the gang at the CRU are in up to their necks, along with so many of the GCM scamsters, in the crooked game of “let’s lie and pretend that massive, dangerous global warming is ‘settled science.’”

    Reality counts, Pete. Facts matter.

    Oh, I forgot: reality does not count for you, does it? That’s why you could make up all those lies about physics, and not blink when I and others pointed out that they were not true.

    Pete, I had thought you were just a not-very-bright, scientifically illiterate middle-school student.

    I now think you are also a liar.

    You just make up whatever you want, and when anyone points out that it is demonstrably not true, you just don’t care, do you?

    Yeah, I know that some people are reluctant to use the word “liar” to describe someone who just makes up falsehoods without any regard to whether they are true or not. But, to my mind, the word “liar” fits such people pretty well.

    Yeah, a liar. Just like the CRU and GCM liars.

    Did I mention that I deeply hate liars?

    Dave

  328. >Did I mention that I deeply hate liars?

    >I have said quite explictly and clearly that I am not *trying* to distinguish among them – I view them as all part of the same corrupt, dishonest, lying enterprise and am quite intentionally tarring them all with the same broad brush.

    You were saying?

  329. Ted wrote to me:
    >No, Dave, you’re absolutely right. These costs structures are complicated, and can compound in ways that are hard to predict.

    Yeah – after my criticisms of the global climate modeling, I’m certainly not going to claim that I or anyone can accurately model this sort of economics problem!

    Pete’s claiming to have an MS in econ does explain some things, though.

    I have seen some economists who blithely flung around math symbols seriously thinking they were saying something about the real world, without any attempt to actually see what it means in the real world.

    If Pete were that kind of economist… well, it would explain his bizarre attitude to the GCMs, his bizarre attitude towards what real science is, etc.

    I’m of course not claiming all (or even the majority) of economists fit that mold. But some do: “we know more math than the poli sci guys, so we can ignore the real world!”

    Of course, Pete did not tell us where he got that MS! And, often (at least in math and science) an MS is used as a consolation prize for a guy who flunked out of the Ph.D. program.

    Dave

  330. >Of course, Pete did not tell us where he got that MS! And, often (at least in math and science) an MS is used as a consolation prize for a guy who flunked out of the Ph.D. program.

    So the third-rate student from a first-rate university is resorting to ad hominems now?

  331. One last try.

    Dave, its clear that you don’t like climate models. Fine. You posts indicate you are leaving their scientific evaluation to others (although you haven’t been shy about sharing your views in the meantime). Also fine.

    One of the things you would have learned if you had bothered reading any of the IPCC material I had linked is that the IPCC reports are a synthesis (or an assessment) of published, peer-reviewed science relating to climate change.

    The IPCC reports are written by (to use one of Eric’s expressions) “domain experts” surveying the published science, including, as earlier posts have indicated, evaluating the current state of climate models. No IPCC report I am aware of states that climate models are “settled science” as you allege, but do state (with formal parameters indicating certainty) the usefulness of climate models in understanding climate and climate change.

    Assertions on a blog that failing to avail yourself of that knowledge (while asserting that the whole thing is a fraud) somehow makes you a better scientist than your peers whose relevant research has been reviewed and published might convince some I suppose.

    But to me it just sounds like old fashioned horn-blowing arrogance. (Wrong in fact, too)

  332. “PhysicistDave” is doing his darndest to validate the perception that physicists, especially older ones, are insufferably arrogant.

    He won’t even deign to read the relevant material, because it’s all lies. Now, he judges that it’s lies because, well, it just is. Note that he has never provided any evidence or facts to support his view that the folks who work on GCMs are liars – which is a very strange position to have for someone who hammers on the subject of “real science”.

    How “real science”-y is it to have an opinion without facts or evidence to support it?

  333. All I have to say is:
    18 U.S.C. § 2071 destruction of federal documents with pending FOIA $500 fine and or 2 years in prison and loss of job

    18 U.S.C. § 371 : US Code – Section 371: Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States Misdemeanor version same as above

    The offenses of Jones, Mann, et al are NOT trivial and they should be prosecuted and imprisoned as an example.

    These doods are criminals PERIOD.

  334. Acksiom Says:
    “What these people are saying,” could potentially include statements other than their scientific papers, and that is in fact exactly what I AM basing my opinions upon: their statements OUTSIDE their scientific papers. Ken needed to expand that from the specific to the general to provide himself with a safe exit from the trap in which he put himself.

    “If you are either reading what these people are saying, you’re basing your opinions on what other people are claiming about what these people are saying.”

    compared to

    “If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal opinions.”

    While I accept that there is a technical difference between “If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers” and “If you aren’t willing to read what these people are saying”, I would point out that a) the second is meant as a colloquialism and b) I really don’t think there is intent by Ken to moderate the first point.

    Ken’s point is that if you do anything other than read the paper then you can’t expect to actually get the actual information because there’s too much lost in translation in any other source. To see some of Ken’s experience on this point read http://data-n-demagogues.blogspot.com/2009/11/and-this-is-how-we-make-news.html (but i’ll try to summarise it here). Note that to he considers IPCC AR4 to be a scientific paper so reading AR4 counts as “reading the scientific papers”.

    Basically any source of information has an agenda. Commercial news wants ratings, lobbyists want their issue to seem important… whatever the agenda is, is irrelevant. The point is they all have an agenda. What Ken talks about in his blog post is that, from experience, news is only interested in ratings and the ultimate expression of “if it bleeds it leads” is if it could kill every single man, woman and child on the planet. Add to that the knowledge that the target audience will almost always be assumed as “lowest common denominator” then they basically can’t include any detail.

    But it’s a news report that has quoted them directly! Sure, but it’s also been edited. It would not be considered strange for something like “There is a chance that a 50% increase in CO2 could cause catastrophic weather phenomenon like killer hurricanes and earthquakes if we assume forcing and a situation where sunspots and solar radiation is already at a maximum” to be shortened to ” a 50% increase in CO2 could cause catastrophic weather” at which point the talking head talks about everything short of the moon colliding with central USA. Again we come back to “it bleeds it leads”.

    Well ok, but I talked directly to the guy! The thing is it’s really hard for people used to talking at the PHD level to scale the things they say back to people who haven’t read a single word about the topic. They’re either going to assume that you know (or will research) what they’re talking about (at which point they might as well be speaking a completely foreign dialect for all that most of the words seem familiar) or alternatively they’re going to try to pitch their information to a group they don’t identify with and (probably) don’t understand. From personal experience, this doesn’t work out any better.

    About the only source I can think of with any potential providence left is the pamphletty things that could be named “climate change for dummies”. You have to ask why they’re being written. Generally speaking they’ll be written on behalf of one or another form of lobbyist. Ergo they have a political agenda. Ergo they won’t necessarily give you the whole unvarnished truth. (Note: This isn’t a dig at any one side, both sides will do this)

    So the point here is that if you’re not reading the scientific papers for yourself then, at some level, you’re relying on someone other than you to interpret the paper for you. Note that even if it’s the original scientist, if it’s not just a copy and paste of the original paper then there’s a re-encoding process. Not to mention that their understanding is probably different (if even only slightly) to what it was when the paper was originally written.

    >You are reading the scientific papers on this OR You’re a sheep being led by people claiming “We Must Save The Planet Now!” OR You’re a sheep being led by people claiming “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!” That is not what Ken is saying.

    Actually, that is almost exactly what Ken did post.

    Actually he most definately and emphatically did not.

    Ken Burnside said:
    If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism, whether it’s “We Must Save The Planet Now!” or “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!”

    The only way I can parse that statement is that “We Must Save The Planet Now!” or “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!” are two examples of “personal sense of heroic activism”. It is obvious that that is not a complete list of possible examples(which would be as long as it would be impossible to make totally complete), rather it is two diametrically opposed philosophies in this debate. If your sense of activism was for “Captialism at any cost” or “I don’t care so long as simpsons plays at 6pm nightly” then you could just as easily be a sheep led by sound bites appealing to that as well.

    The exact type of activism is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what your position is personally influenced by, both the “true believers” and the “deniers” are equally flawed in this respect. What matters is the research.

    >What Ken is saying is that you are either reading the papers for yourself or you are working from someone else’s reading of the papers.

    Yes. And that’s a false dilemma. Because it excludes reading what these people SAY about their papers, and about the subject, and about the skeptics, and so on, and so forth. It excludes the reasoning of people like me, and, I believe, PhysicistDave. That is why it is a false dilemma.

    You are either arguing and have read the papers, or you are arguing and have not read the papers or you are not arguing and therefore are irrelevant to this situation. If you are arguing and have not read the papers then your information about what is in the papers is coming from someone else (obviously it can’t have come from you). Or you’re pulling information out of your ass, see my note in my earlier post.

    If your information is coming from someone else then you have at best an imperfect understanding of what it contains.

    > what these people SAY about their papers, and about the subject,

    Ok so we could either read the multi-revision, blind reviewed paper or alternatively trust the blog posting that probably occured 8 months after the fact that is either in the same language as the paper or re-encoded to pitch it to a theoretical audience that is not capable of reading the paper?

    Or is there an option that i’m missing that has all the detail of the paper but isn’t the paper?

    > and about the skeptics

    Almost certainly irrelevant. The data stands dominant. The subject and the nature of the person publishing it is unimportant if the data is real and meaningful and supports the conclusions being made.

    > PhysicistDave

    As was said above, PhysicistDave is kind of a special case in that he is likewise not really interested in arguing AGW because he’s not interested in reading the papers because the claims he’s heard made by that crowd make him doubt the fundamental credentials of the field as a science. If someone were to make a statement that N years ago they made a concrete prediction based on a computer model and those predictions were verified by instrumental readings then he’d probably be interested in taking a peek.

    At this stage though he still fits into either category 2 (Interested in arguing but not interested in reading) or category 3 (Not interested in arguing).

    And that’s why Ken tried to expand his revisionist history statement from the specific to the general;

    I hope i’ve explained adequately that there is no expansion here. There’s a restatement from a polemic filled throw-away comment to a more precise form but the message remains the same either way.

    The only source of reliable information about a scientific topic is the scientific papers. Read at least some of them or don’t expect him to take your arguments seriously without some form of reason (e.g. PhysicistDave). You (assumedly) disagree with this basic assumption (and thats fine) but just because his basic assumptions disagree with your world view doesn’t make it a false dilemma.

    Jon, do I see you calling pete out on his failure to acknowledge that I did something similar to his arguments?

    Personally I think Dave has answered pete sufficiently.

    It seemed to me (and rightly so according to your response) that you were misunderstanding Ken at a fundamental level so i decided to submit the comment I wrote.

    No. Because it’s more important to you to defend the status quo in your minds than it is to be intellectually rigorous and, well, scientific.

    What?

    I’m calling you on building a strawman out of a misunderstanding and then calling it a false dilemma. I don’t care what you’re arguing. I’d have to go back and re-read your posts to even know what you’re arguing. My point is solely that Ken basically thinks arguing about the nitty gritty of a scientific topic and then refusing to read the basis of that nitty gritty is pointless. You might disagree, that what Jimmy says on his blog about that guy (or any other resource ) is a valuable resource and worth debating. I think I agree more with Ken, even if only based on the heated exercises in finger pointing on both sides. But it’s got nothing to do with a status quo in my mind or anywhere else.

  335. I wonder if PhysicistDave would be willing to attend the annual CCSM Workshop, held in the last half of June in Breckenridge, Colorado. It’s attended by ~400 scientists and others, and it’s a semi-formal meeting to discuss CCSM. There he can call all of them “GCM liars”.

  336. Of course, Pete did not tell us where he got that MS! And, often (at least in math and science) an MS is used as a consolation prize for a guy who flunked out of the Ph.D. program.

    Appealing to credentials is exactly the same fallacy as appealing to the so-called “consensus.” It’s also a subtle form of ad hominem and it does not advance the discussion here one little bit.

    Oh, as a a physicist, I must defend my field: we’re not arrogant, it’s just that everyone else is stupid. (yes, that was a joke).

  337. > PhysicistDave Says:
    > “Ah, Pete, Pete, young boy, I have said quite explictly and clearly that I am not *trying* to distinguish among them – I view them as all part of the same corrupt, dishonest, lying enterprise and am quite intentionally tarring them all with the same broad brush. I think the released CRU e-mails back up my belief that Jones et al. were indeed part of the same attempt to deceive the public as the GCM guys.
    >…
    >I’ve been following global climate modeling since the late ‘60s: I do know more about it than most scientists do.

    In other words, over the last 40 or so years, every single scientist who has ever worked on climate modeling is “corrupt, dishonest, lying”? That puts you in the realm of the “the moon landing was faked” folks…

    BTW, how come you haven’t stepped up to the plate and written the paper(s) that show all these people how they’re “corrupt, dishonest, lying”? Should be trivially easy, since you know more than they do.

  338. @PhyscistDave

    An honest question: do you know any modern compiler that makes it trivial to use integers greater in size than 4 bytes?

    It’s largely platform-dependent. A 64-bit C compiler will use 64-bit integers. Hence, sys.maxint on my 64-bit CPython 2.6 is 9223372036854775807, which is 0x7fffffffffffffff in hex (the first 4 bits are used to store the sign). That’s 16 hex digits, or 8 bytes, hence 64-bit.

    The reason Python needs sys.maxint is that different platforms will have different sys.maxint values due to being compiled on different C compilers — on a 32-bit platform, sys.maxint will indeed be that 2 billion-plus number. Does that answer your question?

    I actually thought the paper you linked to by Stapp was very good, the best thing I have read by him. It is basically a description of how all of us physicists actually do quantum mechanics in practice, with an explanation of why QM is nonetheless incomplete.

    But Stapp says something important: he postulates that the mind/brain affects reality. I don’t think people fully understand the idea that the mind/brain affects reality; I don’t think they fully understand the implications of accepting that idea. Josephson may be crazy, but the fact that he is brilliant makes one wonder if Josephson isn’t the crazy one.

  339. >While I accept that there is a technical difference between “If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers” and “If you aren’t willing to read what these people are saying”,

    Then you’re essentially admitting I’m right.

    >I would point out that a) the second is meant as a colloquialism and b) I really don’t think there is intent by Ken to moderate the first point.

    [shrug] Then why DID he try to change the wording? What was he trying to accomplish? Why not just stick to the original words and admit that, yes, it was a false dilemma and, I don’t know; he let his desire to talk condescending conceited smack get the better of him, or something?

    Well, except of course for the fact that doing so would mean that he would be defenseless against the point that there ARE other meta-informational means of determining with sufficient confidence that the AGW crowd are full of crap and therefore, with sufficient confidence, are their work and conclusions. Other means such as the leaked communications and other files that are the subject of this series of posts by Eric. Which you guys appear to keep ever-so-conveniently forgetting.

    >Ken’s point is that if you do anything other than read the paper then you can’t expect to actually get the actual information because there’s too much lost in translation in any other source.

    . . .AND that there is no other way to sufficiently determine the trustworthiness and validity of the AGW position. Too bad for you that I’m not going to allow you to ever-so-conveniently leave that part out, because of how the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — directly invalidate that viewpoint.

    Because that’s why we don’t need to read the papers to get the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so sufficiently full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also.

    >About the only source I can think of with any potential providence left is the pamphletty things that could be named “climate change for dummies”.

    Yes; I’ve noticed how you, and Ken, and the rest of you are ignoring the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — which provide the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also.

    >So the point here is that if you’re not reading the scientific papers for yourself then, at some level, you’re relying on someone other than you to interpret the paper for you.

    And the still-superior counterpoint remains that the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — provide the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also.

    >>>You are reading the scientific papers on this OR You’re a sheep being led by people claiming “We Must Save The Planet Now!” OR You’re a sheep being led by people claiming “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!” That is not what Ken is saying.

    >>Actually, that is almost exactly what Ken did post.

    >Actually he most definately and emphatically did not.

    Actually, yes, he did. The only meaningful differences between the two are the absence of the word “willing” and the mild amibiguity of the attribution of the “heroic activism” viewpoints to either the sheep, or, in your reformulation, the “leaders” of the sheep.

    Please note, however, that I don’t accept your reformulation ITFP. The words are the data, and you don’t get to change the data afterwards to make it fit your model.

    Which is yet another example of you not being rigorous and scientific about this.

    Ken Burnside said:
    >If you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this, you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism, whether it’s “We Must Save The Planet Now!” or “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!”

    >The only way I can parse that statement is that “We Must Save The Planet Now!” or “We Will Hold The Barricades Against Evil Statism!” are two examples of “personal sense of heroic activism”.

    . . .AND that there is NO OTHER WAY to sufficiently determine the trustworthiness and validity of the AGW position. Too bad for you that I’m STILL not going to allow you to ever-so-conveniently leave that part out, because of how the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — directly invalidate that viewpoint.

    >It is obvious that that is not a complete list of possible examples(which would be as long as it would be impossible to make totally complete), rather it is two diametrically opposed philosophies in this debate.

    . . .BUT that it STILL does not allows for ANY OTHER WAY to sufficiently determine the trustworthiness and validity of the AGW position. Too bad for you that I’m not going to allow you to ever-so-conveniently leave that part out, because of how the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — directly invalidate that viewpoint.

    >If your sense of activism was for “Captialism at any cost” or “I don’t care so long as simpsons plays at 6pm nightly” then you could just as easily be a sheep led by sound bites appealing to that as well.

    . . .AND Ken’s False Dilemma STILL does not allow for ANY OTHER WAY to sufficiently determine the trustworthiness and validity of the AGW position. Too bad for you that I’m not going to allow you to ever-so-conveniently leave that part out, because of how the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — directly invalidate that viewpoint.

    >The exact type of activism is irrelevant.

    Yes, because Ken’s False Dilemma STILL does not allow for ANY OTHER WAY to sufficiently determine the trustworthiness and validity of the AGW position. Too bad for you that I’m not going to allow you to ever-so-conveniently leave that part out, because of how the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — directly invalidate that viewpoint.

    >It doesn’t matter what your position is personally influenced by, both the “true believers” and the “deniers” are equally flawed in this respect. What matters is the research.

    And there’s the False Dilemma again.

    Unfortunately, what also matters is how the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — directly invalidate that viewpoint.

    >>What Ken is saying is that you are either reading the papers for yourself or you are working from someone else’s reading of the papers.

    >Yes. And that’s a false dilemma. Because it excludes reading what these people SAY about their papers, and about the subject, and about the skeptics, and so on, and so forth. It excludes the reasoning of people like me, and, I believe, PhysicistDave. That is why it is a false dilemma.

    >You are either arguing and have read the papers, or you are arguing and have not read the papers or you are not arguing and therefore are irrelevant to this situation.

    OR you are arguing and have read the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — which provide the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also.

    Excluding that is a False Dilemma.

    >If you are arguing and have not read the papers then your information about what is in the papers is coming from someone else (obviously it can’t have come from you). Or you’re pulling information out of your ass, see my note in my earlier post.

    OR it’s coming from the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — which provide the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also.

    >If your information is coming from someone else then you have at best an imperfect understanding of what it contains.

    Which is the Kantian subcase of the Nirvana fallacy; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy .

    > what these people SAY about their papers, and about the subject,

    >Ok so we could either read the multi-revision, blind reviewed paper or alternatively trust the blog posting that probably occured 8 months after the fact that is either in the same language as the paper or re-encoded to pitch it to a theoretical audience that is not capable of reading the paper? Or is there an option that i’m missing that has all the detail of the paper but isn’t the paper?

    No. You are, however, “missing” the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — which provide the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also.

    > and about the skeptics

    >Almost certainly irrelevant. The data stands dominant. The subject and the nature of the person publishing it is unimportant if the data is real and meaningful and supports the conclusions being made.

    And again, as Eric himself said previously, that’s the fallacy of assuming the conclusion. Technically, it’s Begging the Question; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question .

    >As was said above, PhysicistDave is kind of a special case in that he is likewise not really interested in arguing AGW because he’s not interested in reading the papers because the claims he’s heard made by that crowd make him doubt the fundamental credentials of the field as a science.

    And this remains a valid social meta means of determining the untrustworthiness and invalidity of the AGW position with sufficient confidence.

    As now demonstrated by the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — which provide the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also.

    >>And that’s why Ken tried to expand his revisionist history statement from the specific to the general;

    >I hope i’ve explained adequately that there is no expansion here.

    You do so in vain.

    >There’s a restatement from a polemic filled throw-away comment to a more precise form but the message remains the same either way.

    Except, of course, for how it doesn’t.

    >The only source of reliable information about a scientific topic is the scientific papers.

    Except, of course, for when the scientific papers aren’t reliable themselves.

    Which is why you need a False Dilemma that excludes the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — which provide the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also.

    >Read at least some of them or don’t expect him to take your arguments seriously without some form of reason (e.g. PhysicistDave).

    Like, oh, I don’t know. . .perhaps the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — which provide the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also?

    >You (assumedly) disagree with this basic assumption (and thats fine) but just because his basic assumptions disagree with your world view doesn’t make it a false dilemma.

    That’s true. It’s your, and Ken’s, and others’ exclusion from consideration of the actual leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — which provide the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also that make it a False Dilemma.

    >>Jon, do I see you calling pete out on his failure to acknowledge that I did something similar to his arguments?

    >Personally I think Dave has answered pete sufficiently.

    So that would be a “no”, then. Thanks for directly proving my point.

    >It seemed to me (and rightly so according to your response)

    No; that was according to your lack of comprehension.

    >that you were misunderstanding Ken at a fundamental level so i decided to submit the comment I wrote.

    Except, of course, for how I wasn’t.

    >>No. Because it’s more important to you to defend the status quo in your minds than it is to be intellectually rigorous and, well, scientific.

    >What?

    I’m sorry; would you like me to repeat it in all caps?

    >I’m calling you on building a strawman out of a misunderstanding and then calling it a false dilemma.

    And you’re wrong.

    >I don’t care what you’re arguing.

    Yes, I’ve noticed that.

    >I’d have to go back and re-read your posts to even know what you’re arguing.

    LOL. Seriously?

    Did you just admit that you yourself haven’t “read the research”, i.e. my posts, enough to discuss them competently?

    Oh, wow.

    >My point is solely that Ken basically thinks arguing about the nitty gritty of a scientific topic and then refusing to read the basis of that nitty gritty is pointless.

    Except, of course, for how the nitty gritty we’re reading and arguing about isn’t their research.

    It’s their leaked communications ABOUT their research. That’s what this whole series of posts by Eric have been about. And that is a scientific topic, and we HAVE been reading the basis of that nitty gritty.

    But you and Ken are trying to force the discussion into the question of “But maybe the research is still valid!”, and, essentially, “Pay no attention to those emails behind the curtain!”

    So my still-superior counterpoint remains that you’re wrong, because of the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — which provide the meta-information necessary to determine that these guys are so full of crap as to conclude with sufficient confidence that their work and claims are crap also.

    >But it’s got nothing to do with a status quo in my mind or anywhere else.

    Except, of course, for the status quo assumption you keep displaying of how the research is valid by default, despite how the leaked communications and other files — you remember, the ones that are the essential subject of this whole series of posts by Eric? — provide the information necessary to invalidate that.

    And, finally:

    >>>You asked whether Ken’s statement was a false dilemma or not. Could that be a false dilemma? For example, could it simply be false and not a dilemma?

    >>No. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma . See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation for what you just did by improperly splitting “False Dilemma” into two separate identities with different meanings.

    Your failure to acknowledge the above error further demonstrates your lack of intellectual rigor and adherence to scientific principle. Yet again, Just as is the case for the AGW community, because it’s still just as PhysicistDave explained it:

    “I know that it may be only a vocal minority in the GCM community who are responsible for all that, but their more honest colleagues had an obligation to speak up and shoot down the lies. They didn’t. That is a very big problem with the whole GCM community.”

    And it’s still a very big problem with you guys as well. You won’t even acknowledge each other’s errors either, let alone admit your own. We know what that means. And either you do too, in which case you’re just dishonest, or else you don’t, in which case you’re incompetent.

    Either way, you’re not trustworthy or reliable, and neither is your information, or your research. If you will cheat in small things like this, where pretty much the only benefit from doing so lies in avoiding needed improvements to your self-confidence (i.e., the trivial ability to able to admit you were wrong in an internet forum), then you will likely enough cheat in even larger things where the benefits are much larger and more material.

    And if you don’t even understand that it’s cheating, then you’re not even adults. You’re just children in mature bodies, and your ignorant mouthings are the casually dismissible nonsense of inexperienced juveniles.

  340. Ice cores from Greenland pwn Gavin Schmidt: http://www.foresight.org/nanodot/?p=3553 .

    Specifically, “The attribution of the warming over the last 50 years to human activity is also pretty well established – that is ‘highly likely’ and the anticipation that further warming will continue as CO2 levels continue to rise is a well supported conclusion. To the extent that anyone has said that the scientific debate is over, this is what they are referring to. In answer to colloquial questions like “Is anthropogenic warming real?”, the answer is yes with high confidence.”

    Except, of course, for how it isn’t, as J. Storrs Hall shows.

  341. >Except, of course, for how it isn’t, as J. Storrs Hall shows.

    Are you under the impression that your link shows that? Looks like Ken was right, your ‘social meta means’ are inadequate.

  342. >I have determined by social meta means that you are not worth engaging with.

    >Looks like Ken was right, your ’social meta means’ are inadequate.

    I have determined by trivial recollection that it looks like you’re contradicting yourself.

    Normally I’d tell you that you can’t have both, but in this case that would be erroneous.

    Because you can’t have either. You’re wrong on both counts.

  343. >>I have determined by social meta means that you are not worth engaging with.

    >>Looks like Ken was right, your ’social meta means’ are inadequate.

    >I have determined by trivial recollection that it looks like you’re contradicting yourself.

    I can’t find a link to the Wikipedia page for the fallacy of not being able to get a joke.

    >Normally I’d tell you that you can’t have both, but in this case that would be erroneous. Because you can’t have either.

    Basic logic error on your part: “can’t have either” => “can’t have both”.

    >You’re wrong on both counts.

    The link shows some graphs of local temperature up to 1854. What does that say about global temperatures in the last 50 years?

  344. >I can’t find a link to the Wikipedia page for the fallacy of not being able to get a joke.

    I can’t find a reason to care.

    >Basic logic error on your part: “can’t have either” => “can’t have both”.

    Um. . .no, that means I’m right. Because of how you’re wrong on both counts.

    >The link shows some graphs of local temperature up to 1854. What does that say about global temperatures in the last 50 years?

    Well, to begin with, It suggests that they’re not valid grounds for the kind of FUAD-mongering needed to irrationalize your negatively reinforcing economically repressive regulatory scheme.

    Speaking of which, how did those previous exchanges about that — which you’re still ever-so-conveniently ignoring — go again? Oh yes:

    * * * * * * * * * *

    >Because you need a market to set the appropriate price in order to generate the optimal incentives.

    Except, of course, for how you don’t need to generate the optimal incentives ITFP, since X-Prizes are more than good enough already and don’t have the horrible drawbacks of a negatively reinforcing economically repressive regulatory scheme.

    >A carbon market will reduce emissions more efficiently that arbitrarily set prizes.

    Except, of course, for how the prizes won’t be set arbitrarily, because there already exists a market in which people choose to expend their resources that will provide feedback.

    And how X-Prizes are more inherently efficient than negatively reinforcing economically repressive regulatory schemes because virtually no one will oppose them.

    And, to reuse Ken’s criticisms of your carbon “market”, how they won’t be anywhere near as riddled with loopholes, exceptions, ways to cook the books, political pork and outright bribes, due to their nice clean shiny transparency.

    * * * * *

    It’s just like pete and the X-Prizes. It’s more important to him to defend his negatively reinforcing economically repressive carbon scheme than it is to solve the problem. If he was really more interested in preventing AGW harms than establishing control over other people’s behavior, he’d be all, “Hey, that’s a good idea! We should have X-Prizes TOO!”

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Indiana Father?

  345. >Speaking of which, how did those previous exchanges about that — which you’re still ever-so-conveniently ignoring — go again? Oh yes:

    I can’t respond to every half-baked ill-informed comment.

    Mitigating AGW requires incremental improvements to existing technology, and deployment of existing low-carbon technology. X-Prizes would be fine if we were looking for a magic-bullet new technology to fix climate change. But they’re not going to generate the most efficient incentives for incremental improvements, and they do nothing for deployment.

    How, for example, would an X-Prize encourage farmers to use nitrification inhibitors on their soil? How would an X-Prize encourage foresters to harvest their trees later to increase carbon sequestration?

    >Well, to begin with, It suggests that they’re not valid grounds for the kind of FUAD-mongering needed to irrationalize your negatively reinforcing economically repressive regulatory scheme

    How does it suggest that, when it doesn’t show recent temperatures as a comparison?

  346. This is a rough draft – I just had the idea this morning and spent a little time working on it. Please leave any comments – I am ordering several books which should provide more information – this essay will be further refined – but probably not for at least a month, maybe more, depending on my reading and your feedback. http://williambswift.blogspot.com/2009/12/first-draft-science-idealistic-versus.html

    The responses to the recent leaking of the CRU’s information and emails, has led me to a changed understanding of science and how it is viewed by various people, especially people who claim to be scientists.

    Among people who actually do or consume science there seem to be two broad views – what they “believe” about science, rather than what they normally “say” about science when asked.

    The classical view, what I have begun thinking of as the idealistic view, is science as the search for reliable knowledge. This is the version most scientists (and many non-scientists) espouse when asked, but increasingly many scientists actually hold another view when their beliefs are evaluated by their actions.

    This is the signaling and control view of science. This is the “social network” view that has been developed by many sociologists of science.

    For an extended example of the two views in conflict, see this – I linked to this thread . PhysicistDave is the best exemplar of the idealistic view, with pete and several others having extreme signaling and control viewpoints.

    I wonder how much of the fact that there hasn’t been any fundamental breakthroughs in the last fifty years has to do with the effective takeover of science by academics and government – that is by the signaling and control view. Maybe we have too many “accredited” scientists and they are too beholden to government, and to a lesser extent other grant-making organizations – and they have crowded out or controlled real, idealistic science.

    This can also explain the conflict between those who extol peer review, despite its many flaws, and downplay open source science. They are controlling view scientists protecting their turf and power and prerogatives. Anyone thinking about the ideals of science, the classical view of science, immediately realizes that open sourcing the arguments and data will meet the ends of extending knowledge much better than peer review, now that it is possible. Peer review was a stop gap means of getting a quick review of a paper that was necessary when the costs of distributing information was high, but it is now obsolescent at best. Instead the senior scientists and journal editors are protecting their power by protecting peer review.

    Bureaucrats, and especially teachers, will tend strongly toward the signaling and control view.

    Economics and other social “sciences” will tend toward signaling and control view – for examples see Robin Hanson’s and Tyler Cowan’s take on the CRU leak with their claims that this is just how academia really works and pete, who claims a Masters in economics, in this comment thread.

    Of course, Hanson, Cowan, and pete believe in AGW, so these might just be attempts to avoid facing anything they don’t want to look at.

    As I discussed earlier, those who continue to advocate the general use of peer review will tend strongly toward the signaling and control view.

    Newer scientists will tend more toward the classical, idealistic view; while more mature scientists as they gain stature and power (especially as they enter administration and editing) will tend to turn increasingly signaling and control oriented.

  347. Gavin Schmidt addresses the “science is settled” canard.

    Ok, so I sent to the link. Here’s what Gavin says:

    The phrase “the science is settled” is associated almost 100% with contrarian comments on climate and is usually a paraphrase of what ’some scientists’ are supposed to have said.

    Of course, as we all know, that phrase is a direct quote from Al Gore. Absolutely breathtaking dishonesty from Schmidt, to claim that it originates from the skeptical community. He has now completely destroyed any scientific credibility I still gave him, and has shown himself to be more interested in politics than science.

    Thanks for the link, Pete. It provided quite useful information about the integrity of a prominent climate scientist. I hope that he is taken to task by others, as there ought to be somebody in the field with respect for the truth.

  348. Oops.

    Looks like Al Gore did not, ever, actually say the phrase “the science is settled.”

    My bad.

    I still think Schmidt’s attribution to the “denialists” is disingenuous, but at least he didn’t outright lie.

  349. If Al Gore did not say, “The science is settled,” exactly, he has been paraphrased to that effect on NPR (not a “contrarian” news source) and Gore has never complained:

    The science is settled, Gore told the lawmakers. Carbon-dioxide emissions — from cars, power plants, buildings and other sources — are heating the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Gore said that if left unchecked, global warming could lead to a drastic change in the weather, sea levels and other aspects of the environment. And he pointed out that these conclusions are not his, but those of a vast majority of scientists who study the issue.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9047642

    In any event Gavin Schmidt and other AGW advocates certainly behave as though the science is settled. Schmidt is just looking for a fig leaf to cover the fact that he and his friends are more propagandists for AGW than scientists.

    Otherwise they would be onboard with full disclosure of AGW data and methodology, and be willing to participate in open, honest debate of AGW — not what passes for the latter at RealClimate.

  350. @William B Swift

    PhysicistDave is the best exemplar of the idealistic view, with pete and several others having extreme signaling and control viewpoints.

    I disagree with this characterisation. I think a more useful division is between naive falsificationism and the “research programme” views of Imre Lakatos.

    If all you know of philosophy of science is Popper and Kuhn, you’re likely to prefer Popperian “idealism”.

    @Dave

    I still think Schmidt’s attribution to the “denialists” is disingenuous, but at least he didn’t outright lie.

    My guess is that “the science is settled” actually comes from PR types on the AGW side: “To the extent that anyone has said that the scientific debate is over, this is what they are referring to. In answer to colloquial questions like “Is anthropogenic warming real?”, the answer is yes with high confidence.”

    Since that argument is directed at the public, the first time scientists are likely to hear it is when a denialist[*] throws it back at them with a distorted meaning. This explains Gavin’s association of the phrase with denialists.

    [* I make a distinction between denialists and sceptics. As I explained to Ken earlier, I think it's inappropriate to call certain people sceptics when they're so easily taken in by something like the G&T paper. Given that you're the only person in this 300+ comment thread to admit to even a minor mistake, I'm more than happy to call you a sceptic.]

  351. There is also the report released by the Committee on Science and Technology, from 2007. Here is the link.

  352. pete: So much for Gavin Schmidt’s “canard” that “the science is settled” comes from the “contrarian” camp.

    Contrarians may frequently throw it in the faces of AGW advocates because it sounds anti-science, and it is, but it did not originate with on the contrarian side.

    If you wish to reduce the “settled science” claim to “high confidence” that AGW exists, even if only a few tenths of a degree, you haven’t said much. I suspect that many of the skeptics here, including esr, would agree. The question is whether increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere by 200-300 ppm is a crisis of such severity that requires restructuring the global economy.

    What is the settled science in your opinion? And if you say that the science isn’t settled, then why all the urgency to pass bills like Cap-and-Trade?

  353. The major scientific debate is settled. Climate change is occurring.

    Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled.

    There’s a world of difference between claiming that anthropogenic warming is a fact and claiming that “the science is settled” down to the smallest detail.

  354. Sorry … meant to add: the report by the Committee on Science and Technology also used the phrase. The quotation is: “The major scientific debate is settled. Climate change is occurring. It is impacting our nation and the rest of the world and will continue to impact us into the future.”

  355. @huxley: Gavin’s actual claim was:

    The phrase “the science is settled” is associated almost 100% with contrarian comments on climate and is usually a paraphrase of what ’some scientists’ are supposed to have said.

    I suspect this is due to a blind spot on Gavin’s part; he’s only aware of the scientist/scpetic/denialist debate and hasn’t been paying attention to the politics (where I’m sure the phrase is more common).

    >If you wish to reduce the “settled science” claim to “high confidence” that AGW exists, even if only a few tenths of a degree, you haven’t said much. I suspect that many of the skeptics here, including esr, would agree.

    If we could assume that as a baseline then the debate would be much more fruitful. But there are people like G&T who are claiming that the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist.

    >The question is whether increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere by 200-300 ppm is a crisis of such severity that requires restructuring the global economy.

    The whole point of cap-and-trade is to limit greenhouse emissions in the most efficient way possible. “Restructuring the economy” is alarmist exaggeration.

    >What is the settled science in your opinion? And if you say that the science isn’t settled, then why all the urgency to pass bills like Cap-and-Trade?

    1) AGW is real. 2) There is evidence for significant risk of major harm if AGW is not addressed. 3) The cost of addressing this risk is much lower the sooner measures are taken.

  356. Well, Gavin Schmidt isn’t worth listening to, I’m afraid. If you argue the big picture, he’ll refute with two or three details. If you argue the details, he’ll fall back on the “big picture consensus.” If you dispute the climate, he’ll bring up the weather. When you dispute that, he’ll go back to climate. Trying to get consistent line of reasoning from Schmidt is like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall … it can’t be done.

    And, of course, if your arguments are too good, he just deletes them. That’s what passes for scientific inquiry on Real Climate.

  357. pete: Who is saying that ““the science is settled down to the smallest detail”? No one on either side.

    But the call-to-arms from the AGW side is that the science is settled that AGW is a big terrible global crisis that we must act on ASAP.

    If the science is not settled, then what is all the hurry about?

  358. Well, Gavin Schmidt isn’t worth listening to, I’m afraid. If you argue the big picture, he’ll refute with two or three details. If you argue the details, he’ll fall back on the “big picture consensus.” If you dispute the climate, he’ll bring up the weather. When you dispute that, he’ll go back to climate. Trying to get consistent line of reasoning from Schmidt is like trying to nail Jell-o to the wall … it can’t be done.

    And, of course, if your arguments are too good, he just deletes them. That’s what passes for scientific inquiry on Real Climate.

    Ted: That was exactly my experience of Gavin Schmidt on RealClimate. He is not an honest scientist; he is not even an honest moderator.

  359. Google search for “climate” and “restructure the economy,” first page results:

    Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC: “You have a remarkable opportunity to restructure the economy and moving towards a much greener future.”

    Lester Brown, Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization: “Will the change come because we move quickly to restructure the economy or because we fail to act and civilisation begins to unravel?”

    China’s National Climate Change Program: “In China’s National Climate Change Program issued on June 4, the government pledged to restructure the economy, promote clean energy technologies and improve energy efficiency.”

    Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth: “In the new economy, which Brown calls an eco-economy, renewable energy will replace climate-disrupting fossil fuels and a recycling economy will replace the throwaway economy. Wind turbines will replace coal mines and recycling industries will replace mining industries. The needed restructuring of the global economy has already begun.”

    I assure you, there are many more examples.

  360. Sorry for the misplaced ‘/i’ in that last post. I didn’t mean to italicize the whole thing. -tc

  361. @Ted: Just for the record, I think they’re overselling it too, and I am suitably appalled by their overblown rhetoric.

  362. Sorry Pete … I misread your post. When you said “‘Restructuring the economy’ is alarmist exaggeration,” I read that – for some odd reason – as being exaggeration by the skeptics.

    Makes my whole post pointless, really. Oh, well.

  363. @Ted: It was aimed at both sides (in the public debate), but in the context of this debate (here at A&D) it was aimed specifically at huxley, so your reading was right and I accept the rebuke.

    I think it’s important to distinguish between the political debate and the scientific debate. Spin and simplification are inevitable in the political debate, but I cringe when I hear the more vocal advocates on my side, just like I fume when I hear the deniers on the other.

  364. Pete said: “I think it’s important to distinguish between the political debate and the scientific debate. Spin and simplification are inevitable in the political debate, but I cringe when I hear the more vocal advocates on my side, just like I fume when I hear the deniers on the other.”

    I think we’ve finally found something we can agree on. (Switching “deniers” for “alarmists” of course.) Every time I hear that Rush or Beck is talking about climate, I shudder at the prospect of having to agree with those nuts.

  365. 1) AGW is real. 2) There is evidence for significant risk of major harm if AGW is not addressed. 3) The cost of addressing this risk is much lower the sooner measures are taken.

    pete: That’s an argument worth making, but there is a whole lot of debatable slop at each step. How real is AGW? How much evidence? How significant the risk? How much lower is the cost of addressing the risk of AGW the sooner measures are taken? What alternatives and other possibilities are being ignored?

    Bjorn Lomborg, for instance, is willing to accept the IPCC scenarios as basically valid (though not the James Hansen/Al Gore “the end of civilization” scenarios), but Lomborg still argues against willy-nilly plunging into all the AGW legislation and proposals. Overall he concludes that humanity is better off choosing to address dead certain horrors that humanity lives with like malaria rather than AGW, and mitigate AGW effects as we go along.

    James Lovelock, on the other hand, is a famous scientist and AGW proponent who claims that it’s already too late to address AGW, that carbon offsetting is a joke, recycling is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, and renewable of energy is a complete waste of time, and that the only responsible path is plot a course of “sustainable retreat” to northern latitudes and in the meantime “enjoy life while you can” because we’ve only got 20-30 years left before much of world turns into Saharan desert.

    Essentially, the AGW side doesn’t want to have cost/risk/benefit discussions about AGW but prefers to proceed directly to some massive restructuring, I say again, of the world economy to meet their assessments of the risks and remedies.

  366. Acksiom,

    I’m starting to think you don’t really understand what a false dilemma means.

    A false dilemma is also known as “excluding the middle”. It is the use of two opposed viewpoints in a way that treats them as being mutually exclusive of every other possibility (that is to say X || Y = T) when it can be shown that there is a third (middle) option. If Ken’s statement is a false dilemma then everything of the form (!X -> Y) is a false dilemma if you don’t agree with it.

    All false dilemmas should be expandable into the form :-

    1) X || Y = T
    2) X -> A
    3) !Y
    4) therefore A.

    The reason why the false dilemma is a fallacy is when you can show X || Y != T but instead X || Y || Z .. Z` = T. Note that without that this is perfectly valid logic. If you can’t show X || Y != T then it’s not a false dilemma.

    My point is that Ken’s claim is if (you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this) Then (you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism) which the best I can see is where X = (you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this), Y = !X, and A = (you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism). Note that claims 1, 3 and 4 are all implied since the only thing that Ken stated was 2. Also note that he is not saying X || A == T. His statement easily allows for the possibility of someone reading scientific papers being a sheep as well.

    You may disagree with claim 2, arguing that A does not follow X. Wonderful, no problem.

    You may disagree with claim 3, arguing that what you are reading is the equivalent to scientific paper. Wonderful, no problem. (Note that at this point you will have to agree to disagree since his principle point is that this is not true)

    You may think that its poorly formed. I kind of agree, it’s a bit to emotive to make for good logic. It certainly riled you up anyway.

    Your best argument against this is probably involved with the somewhat imprecise term “read the scientific papers on this”. Does he mean all of them? Some of them? In previous posts he’s suggested at least IPCC AR4, so i believe he really means “at least IPCC AR4″ with perhaps the addendum of “any paper someone posts which refutes a point you’re trying to make”.

    But all of this doesn’t make it a false dilemma. It just makes it false.

    Oh and btw…

    And it’s still a very big problem with you guys as well. You won’t even acknowledge each other’s errors either

    I am not in pete’s camp. At this stage I don’t give blanket support to AGW(particularly I very much don’t support catastrophic AGW). While I can see some good coming from forced carbon offsets I can easily see the kinds of bad things that ESR sees coming from it as well. As such there is absolutely no reason why I should acknowledge or respond to your accusations of petes or any AGW’s advocates errors.

    Generally when I post on these topics its as a shortcut to asking someone who DOES support AGW to post a link refuting what I posted. I posted in response to you(as i’ve said before) solely because I felt you weren’t understanding the point that Ken Burnside was trying to make and in doing so were putting flaws into what is potentially an otherwise solid argument.

    So just because i’m arguing against you doesn’t make me Pro-AGW. That IS a false dilemma.

  367. Oh btw… while I have done logic, i freely admit that i’m a self-taught amateur when it comes to logical fallacies. So if you can somehow formally show that

    (you aren’t willing to read the scientific papers on this) -> (you’re a sheep being led by whomever’s sound bites appeal to your personal sense of heroic activism)

    is a false dilemma, please do post it (or send me a link. I read links).

  368. JonB said: “While I can see some good coming from forced carbon offsets I can easily see the kinds of bad things that ESR sees coming from it as well.”

    This made me think of a (perhaps) minor point. I said before I would support a small gas tax, one that grows just a bit for 10 or 20 years. If you’re worried about CO2, it’s really no more than a token gesture in that direction. (I support it for other reasons.)

    The point is this: a carbon tax – or a blanket (all-source) cap and trade – would actually drive our dependence on foreign oil higher, and drive up prices, too. That’s because coal releases more CO2 than oil does. Which means power companies would have an incentive to use more oil and less coal.

    Just something to keep in mind, especially if you are skeptical of the dangers of CO2.

  369. Ted Carmichael Says:
    That’s because coal releases more CO2 than oil does.

    Is that because burning oil releases carbon monoxide?
    If so, whats the difference between CO2 vs CO when it comes to potential greenhouse effects?

  370. @JonB

    With coal, all of the energy comes from burning carbon to get CO2.

    Oil’s a hydrocarbon, so you get lots of energy from hydrogen too, which means you replace some of your CO2 emissions with H2O emissions.

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