Tuesday, February 21, 2012

HeartlandGate?

In a previous thread, we were discussing the claims of desmoblog.com, which presented leaked e-mails and documents supposedly originating from the US Heartland Institute. That thread has now been closed for further commenting (refer to "addition" in http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com/2012/02/climate-gate-of-skeptical-site.html).

Reports indicate misconduct by an activist climate scientist (see below). We consider this case a very exciting demonstration of the situation the issue and science of climate finds itself in, and invite readers for discussion, also how this case compares with ClimateGate.



Background information:

The Heartland Institute had contacted us with this letter (as of 20 February 2012):

" Stolen and Faked Heartland Documents
http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com/2012/02/climate-gate-of-skeptical-site.html

Dear Dr. von Storch:
It has come to our attention that your blog or web site has taken one or more of the following actions:
- Posted links to a document titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy.”
- Posted links to certain other documents purporting to be those of The Heartland Institute.
- Posted blogs or web pages discussing any or all of these documents.

Please be advised that the Confidential Memo is fake. It was not written by anyone associated with Heartland. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact. Publication of this falsified document, or blogs or web pages about it, is improper and unlawful.

As to other documents purported to be authored by Heartland, we are investigating how they came to be published and whether they are authentic or have been altered or fabricated. Several of the documents say on their face that they are confidential documents and all of them were taken from Heartland by improper and fraudulent means. Publication or republication of any and all confidential or altered documents is improper and unlawful.

Furthermore, Heartland views the malicious and fraudulent manner in which the documents were obtained and/or thereafter disseminated, as well as the repeated blogs or web site posts about them, as providing the basis for civil actions against those who obtained and/or disseminated them and wrote about them. Heartland fully intends to pursue all possible actionable civil remedies to the fullest extent of the law.

Therefore, we respectfully demand: (1) that you remove links to these documents from your blog or web site; (2) that you remove all posts that refer or relate in any manner to these documents or quotes from them; (3) that you publish retractions of prior postings; and (4) that you remove all such documents from your server, if you have placed them there.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.

Very truly yours, Maureen Martin General Counsel


The claim that the "Confidential Memo" is a fake seems to be correct. The analysis Leaked Docs From Heartland Institute Cause a Stir—but Is One a Fake? of the text supports the understanding that the document would not be authentic. Also reports from other sources, such as http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-h-gleick/-the-origin-of-the-heartl_b_1289669.html or http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com indicate that among the leaked "real" e-mails a document of  unknown, questionable origin has been placed by Peter Gleick.

We have closed the original thread and are willing to remove comments of readers, which may constitute "falsche Tatsachenaussagen", but not "Meinungsäusserungen". (For the background of this, refer to the verdict in the Rahmstorf-Meichsner case.) We would appreciate if somebody with a better legal understanding would volunteer in supporting us in case of complications. (It is non the first case that we are confronted with legal demands.)

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For legal reasons we add

Haftungshinweis: Trotz sorgfältiger inhaltlicher Kontrolle übernehmen wir keine Haftung für die Inhalte externer Links. Für den Inhalt der verlinkten Seiten sind ausschließlich deren Betreiber verantwortlich.



272 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 272 of 272   Newer›   Newest»
Rob Dekker said...

Andreas I'm not worried about Heartland's plans for K12-curriculum any more. So let Dr. Woijeck do his work on modules (I wonder if he will ever start), the important difference is, that people will know it's a Heartland product. So schools and teachers are able to make their own rational decisions.

The "Fundraising" document has a section called "Center for Transforming Education", which mentions "a full-scale PR and GR campaign for “transformational” school reform".

And a "national effort to implement “Parent Triggers".

Now, we have already seen the efect of these Parent Triggers campaigns. It's right here :
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/02/so-whats-a-teacher-to-do/

"“Mrs. Brown! My dad says global warming is a hoax!”

OK. That's one PR effort that paid off.

But besides that, what kind of "Education" needs to be "Transformed" by the Heartland ? Luckily, that is clearly explained in the section "Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Schools" :

Dr. Wojick proposes to begin work on “modules” for grades 10-12 on climate change (“whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy”), climate models (“models are used to explore various hypotheses about how climate works. Their reliability is controversial”), and air pollution (“whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial. It is the global food supply and natural emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions”)

Now, did anyone keep track of how many simply false statements there are in that paragraph ? And how many mis-leading statements ?

What would be some explanations for the Heartland to work on creating "Parent Triggers" and promote false and misleading statements into the K-12 curriculum ?

(1) The Heartland pushes a campaign that works on two fronts simultaniously to set up BOTH parents AND students against any teacher that still dares to use science as an argument against the opinion of the Heartland's "anonymous" donor(s).

(2) The Heartland sends this mis-information out to test the ability of K-12 students to critically examine the scientific basis on which both their teachers and their parents and their educational material base their opinions.

Either way, since we know that the Heartland is only one of many organizations and media outlets in this game, are you still comfortable in your opinion regarding the Heartland's plans to "Transform Education" ?

Is Heartland a "big player" or do we overestimate its influence?

Seeds of doubt grow where the soil is fertile and the message was inconvenient to begin with. Especially if re-affirmed by a consistent and even much better funded political message of anti-regulation and anti-liberal scape-goating pushed through the media.

And that's just the US.
In fact, I noticed a lot of resistance against accepting basic scientific facts, hyping 'skeptic' arguments that have long been debunked, strawmen setting to divert attention away from the issues being discussed, IPCC bashing, and a reluctance to even discuss actual climate science, right here on Klimazwiebel.

Anonymous said...

I subscribe to Rob's argument.

Someone asked her, if Heartland acts unethically. I think, it's indeed unethical to confuse public about science spoiling a rational public debate.

One good example of how public debate can be influenced is the WSJ op-ed last month: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html

Why do I recall it just now? Because one of the signators is presented as Harrison H. Schmitt, Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. senator. I think instead of mentioning "Apollo 17 astronaut" WSJ should have added Heartland Board Director, a detail public should be aware of.

Another interesting detail: The WSJ article shows a structure following the script of Wojick's plans about K-12 curriculum, I quote:
"Dr. Wojick proposes to begin work on “modules” for grades 10-12 on climate change (“whether
humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy”), climate models (“models
are used to explore various hypotheses about how climate works. Their reliability is
controversial”), and air pollution (“whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial. It is the global
food supply and natural emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions”)."


I don't know, how big Heartland's influence on the WSJ op-ed was. But it's a good example of how public should be informed according to Heartland. And it shows that you can get a huge impact on public opinion with very little money.

Andreas

Anonymous said...

@ Dekker

About 600 Mio $ ...

http://www.hewlett.org/grants/search?order=field_date_of_award_value&sort=desc&keywords=ClimateWorks&year=&term_node_tid_depth_1=All&program_id=88

The funded organisations ...

http://www.climateworks.org

http://www.europeanclimate.org

Here's some exemplary studies published by ClimateWorks and european climate ...

http://www.climateworks.org/download/?id=0b0ab279-e644-47b4-8768-9241d4cb0527

http://www.roadmap2050.eu

Read also ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/us/06sfclimate.html?_r=1

http://nigguraths.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/climate-money

http://www.europeanenergyreview.eu/site/pagina.php?id=3100

What is this all about?

You have to dig deeper.
Based on these studies the financial industry as an example calls for government regulations ...

https://www.cdproject.net/en-US/WhatWeDo/Documents/CDP-2010-launch-kapitalmarkt.pdf

Follow the money ... and think about it next time you are changing your ink cartridges.

V. Lenzer

Alex Harvey said...

Rob,

You certainly make a lot of strong claims that you don't back up. I suppose the most serious is that Heartland "intimidates" scientists. Who do they intimidate? I have never heard this claim before.

Frankly, I once attended a little conference run by the same sorts of people as Heartland in Australia, and I found them to be extremely nice people, and there was no question that they believed what they were saying.

If it was 'verifiable' that Heartland 'lies' you would verify it and not make unbacked assertions that it is verifiable. Right?

Like nearly everyone in this polarised debate, you are essentially saying, "because X consistently says things which I 'know' are wrong, X is therefore a liar".

MikeR said...

"What makes the Heartland types different from other 'educational and reseach' institutions is that they deliberatly and consistently use and create verifiably false or misleading or cherry-picked scientific information, and present that as 'science' into the political debate, the media, and also into the classroom." Translation: They're wrong.

"Yes Hans, I read your definition for 'lying' and 'lies'..." Translation: They can't be honestly wrong. They must be lying. They're evil. They're for hire.

"I don't know of ANY liberal (let alone a 'research and educational') organization that even comes close to the Heartlands disrespect for science and factual information (and even actively engages in intimidation against scientists and those opposing their mis-information)." Translation: We certainly do know of liberal organization that publish garbage science. Some of it even made it into the IPCC report. But they aren't evil! They wouldn't lie, just sometimes they're mistaken! They wouldn't engage in intimidation! Well, they would, they do, of course, but not of real scientists, only the ones that disagree with them, who aren't really scientists at all. (Note that Heartland had to stop listing its donors because they were subject to intimidation. But that's different, as I said, because they're not on the other side.)

"Mashey counted 48 501(c)(3)s spread the most effective mis-information on climate change to please their (anonymous) clients. At that is at least $ 330 million annually." If one looks at Heartland's budget, one sees that they do things in health care, about frakking, in various other issues of local government. And yet they are well-known as climate advocates. Perhaps if one went through Mashey's list one might find that only a tiny fraction of those organizations' budget have anything to do with climate science. Have you done that? And Heartland's budget is only slightly funded by fossil fuel companies, and not the climate science part. Perhaps the other organizations as well.
If that would turn out to be true - I personally have no doubt of it, given the political makeup of this country - would you say that Mashey was lying to us? Or did he just make an honest mistake, or a matter of interpretation, or an attempt to present things in the most convincing way?

Everyone you wrote can basically be summarized, They're against the AGW consensus, so it is right to look at everything in the most negative way possible. (Lying, not stupid. Conspiracy, not grass-roots. Oil money, not conservative political resources. Intimidation and attacks on science, not an attempt to get equal time for their own views of reality.) Lacking that, there isn't much difference between the conservative and liberal advocacy groups on climate change, except that the liberal ones have far far more money. And already have courses in classrooms across the world. But that you think of as good.

I really think that you would be better off encouraging scientists to do science and not fight wars. You may be able to win in the scientific arena and even conservatives will eventually come around. You have no chance at all if you convince the rest of us that it's just another political dogfight, the greens against the conservatives.

Georg Hoffmann said...

@Hans
Again on your discussion with William Conolley. Could you give just one example in the recent version of wikipedia which you think is particularly biased and does not represent adequately uncertainties.

Also you said that you dont know how wikipedia works. I only know a little bit and it's a lot too time consuming for me to participate. However one could characterise the entire system Wiki as a sort of hierachic gatekeeping of weighted information (more or less valuable). This avoids finding in an article on gravitation the idea that just by concentration on your inner values you start floating in space. Since you use the word "gatekeeping" basically as a sort of insulting expression I am wondering how you would organise something like wiki if you want the relevant and reasonable information on whatever subject in an respective article?

Georg Hoffmann said...

@Eduardo,Reiner

"I do not know the reason why this occurs, but I guess that it depends on the expectations that society has on you. In the case of scientists, society expects them to be un-biased, tell the truth, work hard, etc, etc. The expectation that society places on a politician or even on a journalist are very different."

Well the society expects many things from different groups of people. Gays should bounce with their hips and financial advices of the Deutsche Bank should be rock solid. But hell sometimes these expectations are not fullfilled. Might be Gleick is a good occasion to get rid of a stereotype of what is a "scientist" to the society in general. This stereotype is a little bit too much shaped by black and white US movies from the 1950s, scientist with dark horn-rimmed glasses fighting radioactive ants.

Anonymous said...

Georg, I can only hope Hans von Storch did not use "gatekeeping" the way you suggest. Otherwise I cannot see his complaint about the way Soon & Baliunas was handled. After all, peer review is a gatekeeping excercise almost by its very definition.

Bam

MikeR said...

Wow (who said that?):
http://climateaudit.org/2012/02/24/heartland-publishes-gleick-emails/#comment-326135
"If I were the CAGW sales manager, I would view one of my key missions as focused marketing to the precise sort of people that make up the audience at Climate Audit, Lucia’s, Bishop Hill, Jeff Id and to a portion of Watts Up: highly educated professionals, including scientists from other fields, who are interested in the climate debate,
who are technically competent and who haven’t reached an opinion on whether climate is a big, medium or small problem (including me.)

The audience has to be treated more like investors than high school students i.e. if you’re pitching to investors and they don’t invest, you can’t “fail” them or tell them that they’re stupid or tools of the fossil fuel industry; you have to think about why your pitch failed and what you can do better, and leave on good terms with the investor and maybe you’ll have another chance later on. It’s madness to condemn this audience as “deniers” or “ground troops” of the fossil fuel industry – madness both on the part of the activists who do so and madness on the part of the broader climate “community” that tolerates and even honors such conduct from its activist wing.

Also too many of the self-appointed sales people for CAGW are too wrapped up in their own self-importance and are unlikable to an extended audience. Indeed, if I were CAGW sales manager, I could hardly imagine a sales force more unlikely to succeed. This is quite aside from whether the message is right or wrong. If it’s important to actually persuade someone on the fence that CAGW is an imminent danger, then it’s important to talk to people on the fence or even in opposition (to get them on the fence.) It’s also probably important to retire some of the self-appointed sales people – thank for their service politely but get spokesmen who can build trust with a wider community."

Anonymous said...

@ moderator

Did my last post end up in the SPAM-directory?

V. Lenzer

eduardo said...

No, there are no comments on the spam directory

eduardo said...

blogspot has a sort of a 'bug'. It shows comment pages with at most 200 comments. The numbering of comments in the second and following pages starts from number 1, instead of with number 201. I am trying to find a solution for this.

It is interesting that the Heartland Institute blog has been the first that has gotten more than 200 comments

eduardo said...

@ 209

Mike, indeed I would pretty much agree.

If I were the oil industry and wished to distribute some funds with the strongest possible impact, I would probably would not fund the Heartland Institute or similar organizations (I am not asserting the oil industry does this, this is just a Gedankenexperiment).

I would rather fund 'An inconvenient Truth, Part 2' and any scientist or group ready to link global warming to all types of catastrophic predictions that could be verified or falssified in the short term, for instance that cat 5 hurricanes will increase in the next 5 years. Due to the present uncertainties, some of those predictions will surely turn wrong. Then I would use that failure to discredit the whole climate science.

MikeR said...

Eduardo, that is terrifyingly clever. Or, it may be simpler just to fund Peter Gleick and desmogblog. They are doing a good job discrediting AGW all by themselves.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Interesting comments on the morality of Peter Gleick's trickery. James Garvey, secretary of the Royal Institute of Philosophy and author of The Ethics of Climate Change has written a piece in today's Guardian where asks the (rather rhetorical) question "Peter Gleick lied, but was it justified by the wider good?" He finishes with the sentence
"Did Gleick go too far? I'm not sure he did, but I do wonder whether some climate scientists go anywhere near far enough."
It is worrying to see someone of his credentials write such stuff. Thankfully, in the comments, Richard Betts form the Met Office (and AR5 Lead Autohor for WG2) has some stern advice:
"I would ask you to refrain from bringing my profession into disrepute by advocating that we act unethically. We already have enough people accusing us, completely incorrectly, of being frauds, green / left-wing activists or government puppets. A rabble-rousing journalist such as yourself telling us that we should "fight dirty" does not help our reputation at all. "Fighting dirty" will never be justified no matter what tactics have been used to discredit us in the past.

Inflammatory remarks such as yours will only serve to further aggravate the so-called "climate wars". People's reputations are already being damaged, and we know that some climate scientists get highly distasteful and upsetting mail through no fault of their own. If people like you continue to stir things up further, it is only a matter of time before somebody actually gets hurt, or worse.

Please keep your advice to yourself, we can do without it thank you very much."

Well said.

Reiner Grundmann said...

The American science journalist John Horgan (known for his book The End of Science) has a comment in Scientific American where he reports from a discussion he had in his freshmen humanities class, in which they were reading Immanuel Kant on morality. Turns out they did not pay close attention to the text, well at least he did not.

He tries to apply Kant's moral theory to the case of Gleick and ends up with this statement:
"Kant said that when judging the morality of an act, we must weigh the intentions of the actor. Was he acting selfishly, to benefit himself, or selflessly, to help others? By this criterion, Gleick’s lie was clearly moral, because he was defending a cause that he passionately views as righteous. Gleick, you might say, is a hero comparable to Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who in 1971 stole and released documents that revealed that U.S. officials lied to justify the war in Vietnam."

Would be fantastic to have this superhero from philosophy on his side, wouldn't it? Only problem is that Kant asserted the exact opposite. For him, lying was immoral, no matter what the circumstances were.

MikeR said...

I was a little bewildered by Horgan's article. He seems to have entirely missed the forgery issue. I can understand that someone might support Gleick taking great risks to expose the villains at Heartland - though of course he exposed little of importance. But the forgery? There seems a pretty high probability that the most damning information that he published was completely false. How can anyone think that that could possibly be moral?
I guess he's taking Gleick's word for it that he received a legitimate memo in the mail? I continue to be surprised at the foolishness of so many green sites that seem to be taking the acceptance of Gleick's really ridiculous story as their starting point. Doesn't do much to convince me of their scientific skills!

Alex Harvey said...

Georg Hoffman, #206:

I can't speak for Hans but I certainly know how Wikipedia works.

A few relevants points here:

1) William Connolley was topic banned in 2009 (I think) and remained banned for quite some time before he appealed the ban. The ban was only revoked a few months ago, and it was made clear that it would be reapplied if William reverted to his old ways. Thus the state of Wikipedia right now may have a lot less to do with William than in the past.

2) There are still a few skeptics in Wikipedia who stand up to the activist majority. If articles have achieved some neutrality it is likely that the skeptics have something to do with it.

3) Jimmy Wales and "ArbCom" are at pains to resolve the climate change problem inside Wikipedia, which is one of Wikipedia's biggest problems, so there is a lot of community wide scrutiny of the climate change pages.

Even so, it is still impossible to oppose the activist majority on a number of things. I think the "Climategate" article is a good example of a completely one-sided and revisionist history hosted in Wikipedia. It is a tale of good versus evil, of good scientists versus evil skeptics.

If you really want to understand this problem in Wikipedia, I try this: go to Wikipedia right now and try to restore some balance to the Climategate article.

(And if you do that, let me know so I can watch. ;-))

Rob Dekker said...

Alex Harveu said :

I suppose the most serious is that Heartland "intimidates" scientists. Who do they intimidate? I have never heard this claim before.

Jee, Alex, in which world are you living ?
Hans von Storch received a letter from the Heartland which is pure intimidation.
Did you not read this post at all ?

Specifically this : ...the repeated blogs or web site posts about them, as providing the basis for civil actions against those who obtained and/or disseminated them and wrote about them. Heartland fully intends to pursue all possible actionable civil remedies to the fullest extent of the law.

and

...we respectfully demand: (1) that you remove links to these documents from your blog or web site; (2) that you remove all posts that refer or relate in any manner to these documents or quotes from them; (3) that you publish retractions of prior postings; and (4) that you remove all such documents from your server, if you have placed them there.

Nice people huh ?
Hans wrote about them, I wrote about them (heck, I even quoted from their own documents), which means that now this whole post is subject to "pursue all possible actionable civil remedies to the fullest extent of the law".

Hans, I you ever get any court-order to remove this post or a part of it, let me know please. You'll be joining a large number of organizations and web sites and bloggers who "wrote about them".

In fact, I hope this 501(c)(3) charity will sue for linking to or quoting from their own documents.

Will be a great opportunity to really expose their violations of their "charity" status, their legal bully tactics, their industry funding, and their PR business model of misleading the American people and our legislation to a much wider audience..

Here is someone who also received this letter, and she has something to show to these bullies in response to this letter :
http://350orbust.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/heartland-institute-threatens-legal-action-against-mom-working-for-a-better-world/

Frankly, I once attended a little conference run by the same sorts of people as Heartland in Australia, and I found them to be extremely nice people, and there was no question that they believed what they were saying.

Would you care to share with us what these "nice people" actually "believe" ? And why ?

If it was 'verifiable' that Heartland 'lies' you would verify it and not make unbacked assertions that it is verifiable. Right?

Sigh. Here is one lie, just one post ago : "whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy". There is not a single paper disputing that we humans are changing the climate. Let alone a 'controversy'. Let alone a 'major controversy'.

Tell me one thing Alex : Why is it that you place strawmen and play complete ignorant when your beliefs are contradicted by simple verifiable facts ?

How do we know that you are not working for the Heartland directly or part of the small army of astro-turfers supporting the libertarian political agenda ? You know, the ones that "create blogs that shadow .... coverage of the controversy" ? Oops. I quoted from the Fundraising document again...

Like nearly everyone in this polarised debate, you are essentially saying, "because X consistently says things which I 'know' are wrong, X is therefore a liar".

What is it with you guys and setting strawmen ? Why do you and MikeR have this tendency to extrapolate what I'm saying ?
If you have a problem with my statements, then counter them with an argument. And if they are not significant, then ignore them.

But don't try to extrapolate my words and summarize in your own words what you believe that I am "essentially" saying. That's just distracting and completely useless as an argument.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Alex
Regarding the Wiki page
I had a quick look and see the first sentence is factually wrong. It says
"The Climatic Research Unit email controversy (also known as "Climategate")[2][3] began in November 2009 with the hacking of a server at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA).[4]"
There is no evidence for this claim, only various speculations.

Now, the page is currently semi-protected and I am not allowed to make changes. I had to request a change which might be made by an "autoconfirmed" user.

I don't want to waste too much time with this. If this simple correction does not go through, it is pointless to get to other aspects of the article.

Anonymous said...

???

"How do we know that you are not working for the Heartland directly or part of the small army of astro-turfers supporting the libertarian political agenda?"

Are you evoking some sort of a new era of McCarthyism?

Accusing people of being libertarians with a hidden agenda, transforming education etc.?

Is there a "House Comittee" going to be formed, investigating "Un-Warmist Activities"?

A new "$64 question" asking: "are you now or have you ever been a member of the skepticist movement against the holy church of climate alarmism?"

Will we see ""Fifth Amendment Denyiers" and "blacklists again?

And do we need another Margaret Chase Smith calling "for an end to "character assassinations", naming "some of the basic principles of Americanism: the right to criticize; the right to hold unpopular beliefs; the right to protest; the right of independent thought" - warning that "freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America"?

You are going to far in defending what you believe to be the only truth, - your truth, Mr. Dekker.

V. Lenzer

Alex Harvey said...

Rob Dekker,

When I asked about the "intimidation" I assumed you meant prior to Peter Gleick's phishing attack. As to how they choose to defend themselves after the fact of Gleick and the fake memo, well that's trickier. Maybe their response is heavy-handed. Anyway, aside from this present complicated situation, is there evidence that they otherwise intimidate people?

You wrote,

"Would you care to share with us what these 'nice people' actually 'believe'? And why?"

I am a pretty good judge of character, and these were, by and large, nice people. I got the impression that they tended to regard "global warming" as somewhere in between a great delusion and a great fraud.

But you also ask me "why". I want to ask you why you think I would know "why" other people believe what they believe.

You write,

"Here is one lie, just one post ago : 'whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy'".

Well, Rob, that proves my point. To me, and I suspect to most, it is very obvious that that statement is not a "lie" as such. It is certainly true that there is a scientific controversy. Let's look at this from Heartland's perspective. They see Lindzen, one of the great meteorologists of his generation, and then all his co-authors. Then there is Spencer, Christy, and all their colleagues over at UAH. Then there is Roger Pielke Sr. and the Pielke Research Group at CIRES. There is Stephen Schwartz and his team at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. Schwartz may not identify as a "skeptic" (just as Pielke doesn't) but he has argued for a best guess of climate sensitivity of 1.1 K per doubling CO2. Then we have Svensmark, Shaviv, Scafetta, and other solar experts who assert that global warming is somehow caused by the sun. We have Garth Paltridge, a professor of atmospheric sciences in Australia. Freeman Dyson may not be a climate scientist, but he's certainly a pretty renowned scientist. There's Hendrik Tennekes. I could go on and on.

So what this proves is that there is a scientific controversy. It shows that it is a activist myth that "Richard Lindzen is the only credentialed climate skeptic".

So if that's where you draw the line on honesty - if you seriously want to call anyone who admits there is a scientific controversy a "liar" - I guess it's no wonder you go on to ask the very strange question if I am being paid by Heartland.

And no, of course I am not being paid by anyone to have this interesting discussion here at Die Klimazweibel. I am not even a scientist. I don't even have a blog. Is it a serious question? Are you really so paranoid?

Alex Harvey said...

Reiner, #220:

I am glad you bring that up because that is one piece of factual inaccuracy that I personally tried to correct. I went as far as to raise the matter on a Wikipedia noticeboard and if I recall the uninvolved editors agreed with me. I suspect many others have raised the same point.

What you will shortly be told to look at the FAQ at the top of the page:

QUESTION: Why does the article refer to a hacking and to stolen documents? Couldn't this be an accidental release of information or released by a whistleblowing insider ?[hide]
ANSWER: Wikipedia reports the facts from reliable sources. In their most recent statement on the issue, Norfolk Constabulary say that they, alongside a specialist team from the Metropolitan Police, are "investigating criminal offences in relation to a data breach at the University of East Anglia" [1]. Both the University [2] and a science blog, RealClimate [3] [4], have reported server hacking incidents directly associated with this affair. The University has stated that the documents were "stolen" and "illegally obtained".[5] While it is possible information could have been leaked by an insider, in order for Wikipedia to state that, a reliable source must do so first. An independent paper notes: "Regardless of whether the files were hacked or leaked, they were obtained by criminal means".

What they have put in the FAQ, though, is not Wikipedia policy.

The policy states,

"Neutrality assigns weight to viewpoints in proportion to their prominence. However, when reputable sources contradict one another and are relatively equal in prominence, describe both approaches and work for balance. This involves describing the opposing views clearly, drawing on secondary or tertiary sources that describe the disagreement from a disinterested viewpoint."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Balance#Balance

Hans von Storch said...

Rob, you consider the letter of Heartland Institute to me as an example of intimidation. I am afraid that within the limits of legal rules, they had a case; we, Klimazwiebel, published (a link to) a document, which was falsely raising the impression of an internal description of HI positions. Politically the letter was not wise, though.
Some time ago we got a similar letter from nature. We then deleted some comments as requested.

I find it difficult, Rob, that you insist that all this is a matter of science - and thus of "truth" or "untruth"- and not a matter of a societal path towards future. I published the other thread on sustainability of scientific practice, also for discussing the fact (!) that we are dealing with different knowledge constructions, and that many issues what some people call part of mainstream, is mostly contested (this is a good short-term strategy - take the "real" consensus and add dramatic stories; whenever somebody opposes, he or she is labeled skeptic or denier). This does not refer to the effect of elevated greenhouse gas concentration on temperatures, but on, for instance, the impact on volcanism, formation of hurricanes, and the fate of the big ice sheets, not to mention malaria and ice bears.
Most scientists have no difficulties in differentiating these issues, but the most vocal ones, and their political speakers do mix these issues, presumably for adding urgency to the case. That this practice is not sustainable, can not be extended for a length period, becomes more and more obvious and is, I believe, at the heart of the recent recovery of skepticism. (cf. http://cstpr.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000343a_climate_of_staged_.html)

Rob, you have the problem to prove that HI knows that it is disseminating inaccurate assertions. They certainly know that others have different views, knowlegde claims and opinions - but do they - deep in their hearts - accept that YOU are right and THEY are wrong? If not, than your wording, which you so dearly like, of "lying" is inappropriate. I would even go as far as suggesting that you lie in this case, because you know you can not prove - or can you? Your question "How do we know that you are not working for the Heartland directly or part of the small army of astro-turfers supporting the libertarian political agenda ?" was, eh, surprising. Do you think that people from Heartland, Real Climate, the Catholic Church and other "Bannerträger" (good German word, no slang) of Truth should be banned from discussions?

Roddy said...

Rob Dekker -

I commented a bit on this thread at the beginning, then it went off-piste a bit I thought.

Your recent comments however are strange, specifically:

"Hans von Storch received a letter from the Heartland which is pure intimidation.
Did you not read this post at all ?

Specifically this : ...the repeated blogs or web site posts about them, as providing the basis for civil actions against those who obtained and/or disseminated them and wrote about them. Heartland fully intends to pursue all possible actionable civil remedies to the fullest extent of the law.

and

...we respectfully demand: (1) that you remove links to these documents from your blog or web site; (2) that you remove all posts that refer or relate in any manner to these documents or quotes from them; (3) that you publish retractions of prior postings; and (4) that you remove all such documents from your server, if you have placed them there.
"

This you gave as an example of Heartland regularly intimidating scientists as they go about their business undermining the cinsensus on Climate Change?

Are you serious?

Hans, did you feel intimidated as a scientist? Or were you faced with the practical problem as a blog owner of receiving a legal letter asking you to remove material that the owner said had been stolen (as it was)?

If this is the best example of Heartland 'intimidating scientists' I would have to conclude that they don't intimidate scientists.

I'd say, having read the email correspondence between Heartland and Gleick over the conference invitation, and the Forbes exchange of articles and comments between the two parties that seems to have triggered Gleick's theft, that there's no evidence of intimidation.

It's something that';s brought out again and again, a Godwinnian meme - the sceptics intimidate science. I don't see it.

There's a PR battle, sure, Gleick fought that one along with RC and many others, getting their point across that the science says we're in danger and must do something. I can't see why people who don't think we're in danger, and think the policy prescriptions are wrong, shouldn't do the same.


Rob - a word of advice - follow the example of someone like Hulme. If you want to persuade people of your case/view be more temperate.

Roddy said...

I've now seen Hans's comment, and might even go further.

in terms of disseminating views one knows to be untrue, or perhaps stating as truths opinions that cannot be called that, I'd say the consensus activists do a fair bit of that.

If one is being polite, which I try to be, the cherry-picking is very strong on the activist side, to the point that I sometimes call it 'lying' to myself. hans mentioned the weather issues, polar bears, he didn't mention malaria. A more subtle one was heatwave deaths in Europe in 2003, with no mention of negative cold deaths, and a clear linking to CO2.

here's an example of absurdity from Gleick 'Among the bad climate science promoted by Fox News is that snowy weather disproves global warming'.

At what point in writing that did he stop and think about the number of times weather has been used to 'prove' AGW? Like in the first sentence of that article, by Gleick, 'The Earth’s climate continued to change during 2011 – a year in which unprecedented combinations of extreme weather events killed people and damaged property around the world.'

The message of Gleick-gate is pretty clear to me, and Hans has it right when he says that this sloppy exaggeration helps sceptics - you cannot accuse sceptics of exaggeration/lies/cherry-picking and all that when egregious examples of the same abound on the AGW activist side, whether Greenpeace or Gleick. And you can't go around burgling Heartland and claim the moral high ground, it just doesn't work.

Roddy said...

A letter in the London Times today:

Sir, Andrew Motion (report, Feb 23) is correct to castigate climate change deniers, but he is profoundly mistaken in linking all those who oppose the current climate science orthodoxy into one group. The interpretation of the observational science has been consistently over-egged to produce alarm. All real-world data over the past 20 years has shown the climate models to be exaggerating the likely impacts — if the models cannot account for the near term, why should I trust them in the long term?

I am most worried by the billions of pounds being misinvested and lost as a consequence. Look out to sea at the end of 2015 and see how many windmills are not turning and you will get my point: there are already 14,000 abandoned windmills onshore in the US. Premature technology deployment is thoroughly bad engineering, and my taxes are subsidising it against my will and professional judgment.

Professor Michael Kelly

Prince Philip Professor of Technology, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Those deniers are everywhere!

kelly mentions the two key words - 'impacts', where sceptics cannot be accused of lying since no-one has a clue about impacts, and misinvestment, the wind farms being a decent example.

With marvellous unintended consequences - you have to think this stuff through! http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/28/windfarms-risk-free-millions-for-landowners?

MikeR said...

Sierra Club and a large oil company donations.
http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2012/02/02/exclusive-how-the-sierra-club-took-millions-from-the-natural-gas-industry-and-why-they-stopped/

wflamme said...

Well Rob,
if you want my opinion, you'll give it to me.

Alex Harvey said...

Reiner,

I watched the discussion in the Climategate talk page.

As you can see the anonymous editor 'Viriditas' shortly appeared to tell you in no uncertain terms that there is no case for describing the "hack" as anything other than a "hack". Viriditas has is the chief gatekeeper at this particular page.

'Celestra', a more moderate voice, agrees there is bias but agrees that the article must still refer to a 'hacking'. Dave Souza, another activist, now wants to use this as an opportunity to expand on the 'hacking'. CurtisSwain agrees it must say at least 'stolen documents'.

Yopienso is one of the only watcher at this page who both understands and cares about neutrality. But according to Viriditas: "I don't see any bias at all".

As I pointed out, there was a consensus at one point of use Yopienso's wording but Viriditas then single-handedly rewrote the introduction after six others had agreed and spent several weeks agreeing on the wording.

Of these editors, I know for a fact that 'Guettarda' is a professional climate scientist (or maybe an ecologist). I suspect 'Viriditas' is a professional academic with a Ph.D but I don't know for sure.

Reiner Grundmann said...

Yesterday I had some Twitter exchanges with Bob Ward,. For those who don’t know, he is Policy and Communications Director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE.
---------
Bob Ward ‏ @ret_ward
Still a big shameful silence from 'sceptics' refusing to condemn the UEA hack.
1:41 PM - 28 Feb 12 via web

Reiner Grundmann ‏ @ReinerGrundmann
@ret_ward How do yo know it was a hack? Fred Pearce says there is no evidence
1:56 PM - 28 Feb 12 via web •

Bob Ward ‏ @ret_ward •
For 'sceptics' in denial about the UEA hack: police are still investigating, and UEA says it is a hack. Your evidence? bit.ly/wQ7e8c
4:06 PM - 28 Feb 12 via web

Reiner Grundmann ‏ @ReinerGrundmann
@ret_ward If police are still investigating this answers the question. F Pearce Climate Files: CRU may have left the material on open server
4:22 PM - 28 Feb 12 via web

Bob Ward ‏ @ret_ward
Still no response from 'sceptics' citing any evidence that UEA is wrong about the hack. Are your views really just based on prejudice?
4:32 PM - 28 Feb 12 via web

Reiner Grundmann ‏ @ReinerGrundmann
@ret_ward I am keeping on open mind - you seem prejudiced towards the UEA version. But what is their evidence?
5:21 PM - 28 Feb 12 via web •

No more reply from Bob Ward.
-------------
I wonder if this timing is a co-incidence. It is entirely possible that Bob Ward is one of the more aggressive gatekeepers at Wiki. For him, much is at stake to maintain the line ‘emails were stolen’. And for him, it is enough evidence that the University of East Anglia says so.

But as Fred Pearce shows in his book The Climate Files, the emails may have been selected and prepared in a directory for an audit (perhaps FOI related) and inadvertently left on an open server. Phil Jones let this happen on a previous occasion with temperature data. If this is true then it would appear quite natural that UEA wants to maintain the line of ‘stolen emails’. And it would like to stick to this nomenclature if the mails were leaked by someone from inside.

Note how Bob slurs everyone who wants to see evidence in this matter (one way or the other, it doesn't matter for me) as a ‘sceptic in denial’.
But it appears that Bob Ward is in denial of the facts of the matter, which is that we have no official verdict in this case.

Roddy said...

Reiner I can see this subject has some relevenace re Gleick's admitted phishing/theft, but I've always been a bit confused about the precise difference between the three options - whistleblower (insider), emails lying around on an open server, and deliberate hack.

In the last two cases it's theft of some sort, so the only distinction is between an insider who had access and decided to leak, and some form of theft?

Anonymous said...

@ Grundmann

Bob Wards lack of insight is obvious and exemplary for a grimly determined gatekeeper.

His position is well known. Much more surprising to learn how middleground exponents entangle themselves in ethical and moral contradictions trying to defend or justify Gleick's idiocy somehow ...

http://climateaudit.org/2012/02/28/18-u-s-c-1343

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/27/peter-gleick-heartland-institute-lie

Ben Pile in an interesting piece on environmental mythology and moral absolutism ...

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/12163

Quote: "The environmental movement is as promiscuous with its ‘ethics’ as it is with ‘The Science’"

V. Lenzer

Reiner Grundmann said...

Roddy 32
"In the last two cases it's theft of some sort"

this is the question. Using Georg's analogy from above, if I find a £20 note on the street and keep it it is not illegal. That applies to the situation where the material was left open to the public.

Anonymous said...

I didn't like Georg's argument then.

a) It wasn't on the street, it was on the kitchen table.

b) Or if you prefer, the £20 was in a purse with the owner's name and phone number.

c) Or if you prefer, it was a bundle of private letters that had slipped out of a bag onto the street.

The 'open server' argument doesn't really help. It stops it being, technically, a hack, because the person might have stumbled on them. But it doesn't stop it being appropriation of property belonging to someone else, however thick they've been not to protect it better.

Watts wrote about how he found he had, from the climategate emails, access to further private stuff belonging to Jones and others. He told them to lock up their kitchen, they had left the back door open.

Roddy

Anonymous said...

I didn't like Georg's argument then.

a) It wasn't on the street, it was on the kitchen table.

b) Or if you prefer, the £20 was in a purse with the owner's name and phone number.

c) Or if you prefer, it was a bundle of private letters that had slipped out of a bag onto the street.

The 'open server' argument doesn't really help. It stops it being, technically, a hack, because the person might have stumbled on them. But it doesn't stop it being appropriation of property belonging to someone else, however thick they've been not to protect it better.

Watts wrote about how he found he had, from the climategate emails, access to further private stuff belonging to Jones and others. He told them to lock up their kitchen, they had left the back door open.

Anonymous said...

Great, I'm away for a little whole, and find Reiner not knowing the law of the country he lives in. In fact, he will find it is considered law in many places around the world, including likely Germany.

That 20 pound you found is, according to British law, not automatically yours to keep. You will need to make a reasonable effort to find the person who lost it. Not doing so makes you a thief. Many people don't seem to know this, and are lucky that it isn't that easy to find out who found the money, wallet, bag, whatever that someone else lost.

In the particular case of the UEA e-mails, the person who took it would be reasonably expected to have known it was not his property to take. That makes it theft. This also applies to a whistleblower, but then a court may consider the public interest of releasing the information more important.

I would also be interesting if Reiner or Alex actually provide a reputable source, as per the Wikipedia guidelines, that it was not a hack. Fred Pearce merely threw out a hypothesis, with at best highly circumstancial evidence (Phil Jones once left something on an open server). We only have a reputable source that says it was a hack (UEA), with implicit support from the police judging by its investigation.

Bam

Reiner Grundmann said...

Roddy
" It stops it being, technically, a hack, because the person might have stumbled on them. But it doesn't stop it being appropriation of property belonging to someone else, however thick they've been not to protect it better."

You agree that it is technically speaking not a hack but nevertheless wrong. Should the police investigation find that this is what happened it will be interesting to see how a court adjudicates. It would have to deal with the question if the publication of the emails was legitimate or not. Here we get into legal terrain and this is why I think it is important you wait and see what the official verdict will be. We cannot simply assume that a court would automatically consider the publication as illegal.

On the ethical-political level, it is of course a transgressive act to publish highly sensitive material which did not belong to the person who stumbled upon it.

Many people have sympathy with transgressive acts (Wikileaks, CRU mails, Peter Gleick's trick) and some transgressors get away with it. Those who get away with it are in social positions which are compatible with such acts, they are bloggers, hackers, activists. You don't get away with it when you are part of the 'great and the good', a social elite which in this case includes the highest ranks of academia. Such people symbolise the integrity of science and as Werner rightly commented on another thread, society invokes powerful social technologies to protect these symbols (a purification ritual in this case).

The same would happen if a very prominent climate sceptic had stolen the emails. This difference in social status (between unknown hackers and an elite scientist) makes the Gleick affair so damaging for climate science activists, and potentially for climate science as well.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Roddy wrote: "a) It wasn't on the street, it was on the kitchen table."

I would say neither 'street' nor 'kitchen' is a satisfactory description. But, well, to me it is slightly better described in that way that the emails could have been found on a (public) street (to a kitchen).

Roddy's next example: "b) Or if you prefer, the £20 was in a purse with the owner's name and phone number."

So you must pick up the purse first and look inside. And in that purse you found for example a banknote attached with a note saying (My example is fictional): "I think I'll delete the money rather than send it to anyone who has the right to get it, too." Or: "Don't tell them, that we have to share this note."

Roddy wrote then: "It stops it being, technically, a hack, because the person might have stumbled on them."

Yes, Roddy, that's more or less right (So, the English language Wikipedia article on Climategate is prejudging in their first sentence (And the German language Wikipedia is even prejudging in their lemma.).

Roddy hereafter: "But it doesn't stop it being appropriation of property belonging to someone else, however thick they've been not to protect it better."

See for example Wikipedia (my emphasis): "The actus reus of theft is usually defined as an unauthorized takimpanied by ang, keeping or using of another's property which must be accompanied by a mens rea of dishonesty and/or the intent to permanently deprive the owner or the person with rightful possession of that property or its use."

Where do you see the dishonesty and/or intent on the side of the leaker?

BAM wrote: "We only have a reputable source that says it was a hack (UEA), with implicit support from the police judging by its investigation."

There was a Guardian article by David Leigh who wrote (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/01/david-king-climate-emails-speculation) (my emphasis): „But the most recent statement from the Information Commissioner's Office, which said the University of East Anglia had flouted Freedom of Information regulations in its handling of requests for data from climate sceptics, uses much more cautious phrasing, leaving open the possibility that no crime has actually occurred. It merely says: 'Norfolk police are investigating how private emails have become public.'“

BAM wrote: "I would also be interesting if Reiner or Alex actually provide a reputable source, as per the Wikipedia guidelines, that it was not a hack." BAM, we don't have to say that it was a hack or that it wasn't a hack. In Germany, as long as we have no certainty we say for example (but in this Climategate case for some reasons I don't know not in the German Mainstream Press or Wikipedia) mutmaßlicher Hack (suspected hack) or mutmaßlicher Diebstahl (alleged thievery). I think Great Britain has got that rule too to prevent prejudgment, hasn't it?

namenlos

Anonymous said...

Namenlos, we have a reputable organisation telling us what has happened. The ICO is not reputable in this context, as it will not be privy to the information in the criminal investigation, nor is it privy to the information held by UEA.

The dishonesty is releasing private communications without consent. In a court case any attempt to claim to be a "whistleblower" is also likely to be shot down. Any good prosecutor would point out that the "leaker" deliberately withheld numerous e-mails, and made a short list of out-of-context quotes in connection with the second release. That suggests both dishonesty and intent.

Bam

Anonymous said...

BAM, please say (again?) what you know about a so-called CRU-hack. Who is privy and reputable? And who says so?

And you didn't answer my last question (to you) from #39.

(To me, great parts of the mainstream media and public broadcasting organisations have lost reputation in this incident. But that is not important.)

namenlos

Anonymous said...

to #41: And, BAM, read my link to the Guardian from above again, please (Hint: "There has been a marked change of emphasis on the part of police and information commissioner investigators since the leak occurred last November."). Since then, there were other articles, sure, but did they change the shaky evidence fundamentally in any way?

namenlos

Anonymous said...

@ namenlos

You miss the point BAM is trying to establish:

when the Norfolk authorities declare that it was hack - we will all forget about the content of these e-mails the same minute and the climate debate will restart before Climategate and Copenhagen.

"The "paradox" is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality "ought to be.""
(Richard Feynman)

V. Lenzer

Rob Dekker said...

In post 19 (on this page 2), I asserted :

Here is one lie, just one post ago : "whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy". There is not a single paper disputing that we humans are changing the climate. Let alone a 'controversy'. Let alone a 'major controversy'.

I was surprised myself that the 'skeptic' arguments from the political propaganda outlets have become so twisted that I can actually make a case that they are not just spreading mis-information and dis-information, and not just telling falsehoods, but that I can actually make a case that they are lying in certain cases.

I admire that Hans responded to this assertion (and nobody else apparently), which increases my respect for our host.

Rob, you have the problem to prove that HI knows that it is disseminating inaccurate assertions. They certainly know that others have different views, knowledge claims and opinions - but do they - deep in their hearts - accept that YOU are right and THEY are wrong? If not, than your wording, which you so dearly like, of "lying" is inappropriate.

You are right Hans, I would need to show that HI knows (deep in their heart) that it is disseminating inaccurate assertions.
Here is the logic argument :

If they DO know that they are disseminating inaccurate assertions, then they are indeed lying.
If they do NOT know that they are disseminating inaccurate assertions, then they apparently made that statement without checking the evidence for it, which suggest they are scientifically utterly incompetent.

They might as well write "whether smoking causes cancer is a major scientific controversy", which would be at the same boundary between 'lying' and 'utter incompetence' in checking facts... That would be a ridiculous statement to make, no ?

So either the Heartland is lying, or they are just venting empty rhetoric based on some belief system that is so deeply ingrained that they feel they need no evidence at all to sustain it...

Is that an accurate analysis, Hans, or did I overlook another possible explanation for the Heartland's statement ?

And that sort of 'information' goes to our legislators and (if they have their way) also to K-12 students, sold as "research and education" material...

Roddy said...

Rob - your 'whether humans are ....' quote.

is there any context to that, does it appear in a larger paragraph at all, or does it absolutely stand on its own?

Rob Dekker said...

Hans,
You have asked me repeatedly to not see this as "truth" or "untruth", but rather as "a matter of a societal path towards future" and statements like that.

I would like to let you know that I am ready to accept that, and elevate the debate to another level, if I can at least see some indication that you are also able to accept that there are 'skeptics' (like the Heartland) that usher statements that are at the boundary between 'belief unsustained by evidence' and outright lying.

So, I guess what I'm looking for is some confirmation and acceptence from your side on this particular statement by the Heartland, rather than the perpetual defences and strawmen and red-herrings that are so common among 'skeptics' elsewhere (and on your blog as well).

We can't have a constructive debate where we can both learn if one side refuses to accept basic logic and reason (and refuses to discuss scientific findings for that matter).

Roddy said...

Rob, I've been looking but can't find the Heartland document in which your quote appears - can you locate? It's difficult to comment intelligently on one apparently absurd sentence without context, and hence difficult to pin down the 'lying'.

Rob Dekker said...

OK, Roddy, I guess my post got stuck in the spam filter, so here it is without the URL link : The quote is from Heartland's Fundraising docuent, page 18, as part of Dr. Wojick's “modules” for grades 10-12 on climate change.

Roddy said...

Got it, thanks.

So the fuller context is:

Dr. Wojick has conducted extensive research on environmental and science education for the
Department of Energy. In the course of this research, he has identified what subjects and
concepts teachers must teach, and in what order (year by year), in order to harmonize with
national test requirements. He has contacts at virtually all the national organizations involved in
producing, certifying, and promoting science curricula.

Dr. Wojick proposes to begin work on “modules” for grades 10-12 on climate change (“whether
humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy”), climate models (“models
are used to explore various hypotheses about how climate works. Their reliability is
controversial”), and air pollution (“whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial. It is the global
food supply and natural emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions”).

Wojick would produce modules for Grades 7-9 on environmental impact (“environmental impact
is often difficult to determine. For example there is a major controversy over whether or not
humans are changing the weather”), for Grade 6 on water resources and weather systems, and so
on.

A first comment would be that the sentences in quote marks are headline snippets I guess.

I agree the sentence is absurd, even ignoring GHGs, as per Pielke Sr's non-ghg AGW work.

But I'd need to see more before I'd be happy with the liar word.

It's a dangerous word which generally has negative utility - for example I think Greenpeace lie about Chernobyl (eg on foetal deformations), but I'd rather say they produce poor research which conflicts with the best scientific evidence, probably because of their anti-nuclear agenda, a sentence I'd be happy to apply to some of Heartland's, replacing anti-nuclear with an appropriate phrase.


Not apropos this precise conversation I enjoyed this piece by Megan McArdle.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/02/why-we-should-act-to-stop-global-warming-and-why-we-wont/253752/

Alex Harvey said...

Rob Dekker,

You wrote,

"I admire that Hans responded to this assertion (and nobody else apparently), which increases my respect for our host."

In fact, I also answer you, and I think said relatively similar things to Hans.

Meanwhile, in your response to Hans, after promising to make a case that HI are "lying" you end up only arguing that,

"either the Heartland is lying, or they are just venting empty rhetoric based on some belief system that is so deeply ingrained..."

Problem is, that's exactly what I said. It is far more likely that they are arguing from a different belief system.

You go on to say that they must feel they don't need evidence. Well, that also doesn't follow and can't be proven. But it seems like we have established that you know you can't prove that they are "lying".

MikeR said...

"Here is one lie, just one post ago : "whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy". There is not a single paper disputing that we humans are changing the climate. Let alone a 'controversy'. Let alone a 'major controversy'."

I'm a little surprised that you would think this is so absurd. I'm assuming we all agree that the statement really means "human beings are changing the climate a lot". Once you include that, there are some who disagree. For instance, Lindzen and Roy Spencer; I think both of them feel that human contributions are lost in the noise. So there is a controversy. Is it a "major" controversy? - I guess that's a judgment call, and perhaps Heartland values anti-AGW scientists more than you probably would.
No way would I call that statement a lie, and I find it a little hard not to be nervous of someone who would. We all have to deal with people who disagree with us, and pretending they don't exist and/or are liars isn't very honest or helpful.

Anonymous said...

@ Mike

"We all have to deal with people who disagree with us, and pretending they don't exist and/or are liars isn't very honest or helpful"

You're maybe right as long as you stay halfway on the ground of rational - and therefore skeptical thought.

But when it comes to religious belief, just forget it.

It's impossible to challenge the orthodoxy and the papal infallibility of a true believer.

As Dekker puts it: "We can't have a constructive debate where we can both learn if one side refuses to accept basic logic and reason".

Of course - and from his point of view it goes without saying - it's well determined what "basic logic and reason" declare to be proven and to be part of the "consensus" in climate science.

There's a nice quote on belief posted by M. Hampel in the neighbour thread ...

"It is all guesswork, doxa rather than epistēmē… Science has no authority… It represents…our hope of emancipating ourselves from ignorance and narrow-mindedness, from fear and superstition. And this includes… the superstitious belief in the authority of science itself"

V. Lenzer

Anonymous said...

"And there is this tone of superiority which reminds me of some of the CRU emails when critical papers were dismissed as "pure crap" etc"

Sometimes crap IS crap. In the case of the CRU emails, they were private communications, not public. But make your point with specific cites - this is just rhetoric until we know what is being talked about.

The popular/semi-popular (blog) climate debate is a battleground and no side has behaved purely. But the flood of 'skeptic' blogs over the Gleick affair implies that such behaviour from a scientist is very unusual, and the mainly condemnatory comments from scientists regarding his action cements the notion (as if it was ever in doubt). It may not be said by the skeptics, but their furore is based on a tacit understanding that the standard to which science is held is very high (regardless of the appropriateness of conflating academic integrity with morality).

Gleick's frustration and the caustic approach to skeptics by people like Wiliam Connolley is understandable. The skeptical milieu can get away with all sorts of distortions and outright falsehoods, whether self-deluded or mendacious, and the corrupted messages are resurrected year after year throughout the skeptiverse (and then into the MSM), despite demolishment after demolishment, because the standard of rational debate is so low in that milieu. Thus, we are still hearing that there is no such thing as a greenhouse effect, or, in the mainstream press, that the lag of CO2 to temps in the paleoclimate record 'proves' humantiy can't be responsible for modern warming. Politically driven 'institutes' like Heartland push this sort of rubbish.

I'm a patient person, but I want to break something when these zombies keep rising from the dead, propagated by a milieu far more interested in pushing an agenda than furthering understanding. It is maddening, and it grates to be informed that we must respect these dissenting voices, these ignoramuses or deliberate time-wasters.

When the audience is laypeople, the practise and language of science is quite vulnerable to the rhetoric of punditry and politics. Scientific *truth*, with its caveats and confidence intervals is the first victim on an unlevel field. Gleick's action has no impact on the science of climate change, but it does have an impact on perceptions, and exploiting perceptions is all the skeptics need to do to get what they actually want (which is not *the truth*). The skeptic audience, for the most part, are unable to differentiate between one man and the community, and between this act of 'burglary' and the validity of climate science. Casual punters may likewise have neither the discretion nor the patience to clarify such distinctions.

The Connolley/wiki saga is also meta stuff. It doesn't matter how much arrant nonsense was edited into (and later out of) the climate wiki by other people, these people will never be held accountable, even if their stuff had been left in, because truth and integrity is not a premium for climate skeptics, generally speaking. Squashing the AGW message is the priority, and that is why skeptics have one standard for climate scientists, and one for the critics. And that is why, as many have noted, they proffer all manner of justifications to excuse the person who stole the CRU emails, while condemning Gleick for stealing the Hearltand documents.

My comments here will no doubt be intepreted as a partisan commentary. The typical skeptic will simply believe that I have pro-AGW agenda and that my 'bias' informs my comments. But I have no dog in the race concerning AGW. I'm completely cynical about it. No, what compels me to comment is my disgust at the sabotaging of the effective communication and discussion of science. The silver lning in the recent disappointment is that the magnitude of the Gleick anomaly reminds us of the usual high standards in science. I wish I was a better writer, so that I could emphasise that more succinctly.

barry

Roddy said...

Barry, I liked that comment. I too wish I could write better to express what I feel sometimes about the nonsense.

As I was reading your comment I found myself substituting 'environmental activists' for sceptics. Your sentence 'I'm a patient person, but I want to break something when these zombies keep rising from the dead, propagated by a milieu far more interested in pushing an agenda than furthering understanding.' expressed my feeling at the seventy-ninth 'world is ending', 'our children won't know what coral is' headline, and I'm afraid a lot of that is pushed by a milieu more interested in agenda than understanding.

To take it a long way away from AGW, I follow the RSPB (birds). I have the same dog in the race as they do, let's have birds, lots of different sorts of them. But let's have an organisation, a system, a milieu, that can recognise when they're wrong about the science, or wrong about the policy. Let's have them recognise, as an example, that a well-managed shooting estate can provide a far more sustainable environment for bird life, and employment too, profitability is a useful basis for sustainability. Don't default to some kind of Gaia wilderness property is theft nonsense. Especially in the most densely populated country in Europe. It does the birds no good, it reduces diversity. Deal with the world. The zombies that keep rising in that area, cherry-picking of data (let's leave waders out of the table), are quite frustrating. (They do a lot of good stuff too of course).

The media prefer bad stories - 'egrets close to extinction' sells better than 'egret population in healthy state', and that doesn't help. The audience is often lay-people, and I don't think Gleick's articles in Forbes were unaware of that!

I have a cousin who used to run the UK Green Party. He still believes 1m people have died from Chernobyl radiation, and that the WHO and UNHCR are part of a corporatist cover-up. Talk about a zombie rising from the dead, over and over again!

Life isn't perfect, we probably (certainly?) all have agendas, and the reality is we have to deal with people who want different things, and quite a lot can't recognise what is possible and what is not.

I think the sceptic hype over Gleick has been that sceptics recognise, as discussed earlier in the thread, that scientists have their fair share of people motivated by career, papers, fame, sex even, jealousy and so on. This stuff is tractable. But what Gleick did was closer to Rainbow Warrior (if somewhat less effective!).

Does that make any sense?

Anonymous said...

Roddy,

yes that all made sense.

Probably because I spend a lot of my time reading up on climate change in the scientific literature and the science based blogs, I do not often come across "world is ending", "our children won't know what coral is" type statements. Greenpeace statements on climate change rarely make the news in my country.

If I look in the local press, I don't see "sky is falling" messages either. To me, you are talking about extremists with a low media profile. I certainly don't see much evidence of them on the regular science blogs.

Do you recognize that kind of extremism at this blog? At realclimate? Skeptical Science? Even desmogblog?

OTOH, the kind of anti-science nonsense I am talking about is seen regularly at these blogs, and have entire blogs devoted to them (WUWT). Can you point me to a blog that is the mindless equivalent of WUWT on the environmental activist side? I suppose the opposite number for Heartland is greenpeace. And the zombie arguments I noted are pushed into the press by very active, very vocal political operators and pundits, fed by the 'skeptic' milieu. It's all about agenda. I don't see the opposite number of that muc in the public arena.

I have to concede that my perspective may be too narrow to have noticed the extreme activism you have referred to. I think I saw something like that in a Canadian tabloid a while back, or sometimes as quoted by reporters and bloggers who have antipathy to the message.

I don't know anyone in greenpeace.

You have drawn an equivalence to the skeptics as I describe them. I take it you concede that my perspective is not wrong, just potentially one-sided. Can you open my mind, then by pointing out the prevalence of the views you have iterated, in the MSM and popular blogosphere? Because my impression, right or wrong, is that such extremist viewpoints usually only make it into the public sphere because someone who doesn't like them emphasises them, then giving the impression that this is somehow widespread.

I totally agree that the media sensationalises and is often unreliable. That's de rigeur and a different point.

Look forward to your reply. Cheers.

barry

Anonymous said...

@ Barry

"zombies - ignoramuses - deliberate time-wasters ..."

Quite a collection ... hard to imagine in what type of name-calling this would end up - if you were not a "patient person" ...

Maybe you are not patient enough to get a suitable understanding of the opposing camps on the battleground.

In your simplistic view there are science and scientists fighting on one side - and what you are calling the "skeptical milieu" on the other side. The former helding up the "usual high standards in science" - meanwhile the latter are just telling "rubbish".

Are you serious?

There are many well renowned skeptical scientists doing relevant and respected research on all kind of climate issues.

Do you suspect them all to be "interested in pushing an agenda" and "sabotaging the effective communication and discussion of science?"

"my 'bias' informs my comments"
It looks that way, indeed.

V. Lenzer

Roddy said...

Barry - a ramble.

Thanks. I don't know how to focus the discussion really. It's so huge. Of course it's a continuum of attitudes and agendas, advocacy blurring with science and policy arguments. I'm no expert on AGW science, so try not to pick me up on too much detail, I'll jot down a stream of conc bullet points to try and give a picture, none will be so tightly worded as to be individually defensible!.

- WUWT (let's ignore comments on any blogs discussed and just discuss the theme of the posts). We may never agree (on anything!) because by and large I wouldn't consider Watts anti-science, or even mindless. That may be because I share (as per previous comment) frustrations, and his output is so huge I'm sure lots is bollocks. Nor would I consider Climate Audit anti-science, either by motive or ignorance.

- I would say that blogs like these have tapped into attitudes like mine that are frustrated by policy decisions that seem to have no basis in science or logic. We see wind-farm and biofuel policy decisions that can make no difference to GHGs being implemented on the basis of WG1, that we are warming the planet, and we can't join those dots. (In the UK these amount to regressive taxation on the poorest, and achieve nothing). We didn't care when it was a few million to save the panda or the tiger, we recognise the benefits of clean air and water, but these ghg policies are hugely economically important.

- these attitudes also oppose policy decisions designed to benefit people - eg the very strong opposition to South Africa building new power stations caused the US and UK to abstain at the World Bank under ghg enviro pressure (it got built). I care more about poor Africans having electricity, and I don't want to throw them under a bus to save ... what? i don't know. Straying into inter-country and inter-generational ethics now!

- In support of that position I'd cite Monbiot and Mark Lynas (I don't know where you're from or whether you know of them). Google them if not. Both have turned on aspects of environmentalism because of its disdain for logic - so Monbiot opposes UK solar FiTs, supports nuclear, has called out Greenpeace et al on non-science Chernobyl reports and so on, while remaining died-in-wool enviro who thinks the world is endangered by human activity. They've also become frustrated at the way the enviro movement cannot distinguish wish from reality, and the scale of the decisions being badly made.

- 'Can you point me to a blog that is the mindless equivalent of WUWT on the environmental activist side?' - Joe Romm's Climate Progress is infinitely more idiotic?

- I find it interesting how Roger Pielke Jr is called out by scientist advocates whenever he criticises findings, eg extreme weather, a particular area of his.

end of part 1

Roddy said...

Part 2


- I'm in my 50's, and suffer from middle-aged middle-class Western white man syndrome, I know that, of being irritated by how many things I've been told would happen that never did, and never seemed likely to. Some/many of those might be because action was taken, the Prec Princ was successfully invoked, but many good science-based predictions/projections have seemed rubbish from the start. (There was an interesting reaction to that over Fukushima, where the UK advice to Brits in Tokyo was that crossing the road was more dangerous, which was a surprisingly brave position to take, based on scientific advice.)

- I'm drifting off your topic, but trying to paint a picture.

- I wrote this blog post on a coral article by Veron which perhaps describes what I mean. http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/12/8/awarmism.html

- There's intellectual dishonesty all over. Since this is a Gleick thread, I'll quote him. In his Forbes piece http://www.forbes.com/sites/petergleick/2012/01/05/the-2011-climate-b-s-of-the-year-awards/ the opening lines are 'The Earth’s climate continued to change during 2011 – a year in which unprecedented combinations of extreme weather events killed people and damaged property around the world.' He then awards a Bad Science Award to Fox News (correctly, I'm sure!) for cherry-picking cold weather events to question warming. It's a silly example, it was a silly piece, but Gleick did it all the time, see Pielke Jr's blog.

- Of course Gleick is unrepresentative, we know that now :) because he took up burglary, but is he completely unrepresentative? He held high posts, won high awards.

- I do find Greenpeace activists being involved in modelling potential energy policy scenarios for the IPCC potentially dubious.

I've gone on long enough, given you plenty to shoot down!

Cheers to you too ....

Unknown said...

The ugly part of this is that they (Heartland, CEI, Koch et.al) have succeeded in re-framing the debate so that WE have to prove THEY are damaging our environment before they will stop.

THEY are making the changes to the environment. Re-releasing the same amount of CO2 as was sequestered in the last 3000000 years ... in 150.

We all live in Bhopal now, and we are complaining to management about the safety of what it is doing.

What should we do next?

Anonymous said...

Roddy,

Agree that "the climate continued to change through 2011" is nonsensical. It's hardly the only example of disinformative language from the mainstream. I don't know if Gleick's verbiage here is careless or deliberate, but it is much more polemical than illuminating. However, the statements you were talking about are alarmist ones. I don't see much of that kind of language informing the general debate. An example I can think of from the UK is, to paraphrase, "our children may never see snow." But, as I suggest, this kind of thing is unusual.

Now, do you truly believe that policy on GHGs is influenced by commentators who say that the world will come to an end? This is what you appear to be suggesting.

Do you think that policy on GHGs will be influenced by the intemperate language of Peter Gleick? Do you think policy should be influenced by pundits banging on about climate change in the popular media?

I don't.

But there is a campaign to discredit climate science that is decidedly populist, which distorts the science and propagates falsehoods (whether well-meaning or mendacious), and which is born of a political agenda, not a dispassionate appraisal of the literature. Heartland's output is a pertinent example. They do not publish documents that give an even-handed rendering of the state of understanding, they magnify minorty viewpoints, and those viewpoints all trend the same way. WUWT is another example in blog form. On the main, they publish junk science.

There is a central understanding on the human contribution to climte change, and it is articulted by the IPCC and the science institutes around the world. This is not a conspiracy, it is a concensus, and is the result of scientific study. Sound science is what policy should be based, and sound science is what the public should be informed by.

Strongly reasoned, well-supported criticism of the understandings of climate change are necessary for a robust education on the matter and debate - eg, Roger Pielke Snr in the past. But there is precious little of that at the forefront of the popular debate. Instead, we see the amplification of minority views, misleading commentary, and incoherent reasoning (eg, how can the urban heat island effect be causing the rise in global temperatures if "man is too insignificant to affect climate").

The politically-based campaign (mostly unorganised) to discredit the understanding of AGW does have an influence on policy. It is designed to prevent or delay any policy on GHG mitigation, and it is effective.

Science should inform policy, not the other way around. I would argue that this disordered process is the root problem with the debate on climate change. The mainstream commentary is not immune to this disorder, but nowhere near as afflicted and disinformative as the 'skeptics'.

barry

Anonymous said...

"In your simplistic view there are science and scientists fighting on one side - and what you are calling the "skeptical milieu" on the other side. The former helding up the "usual high standards in science" - meanwhile the latter are just telling "rubbish"."

Yes, that's right, Lenzer. This is a simplistic and generalized view, which overlooks more nuanced criticism, the few voices that (I think) are critical of mainstream climate science based on a pure regard for science, and instances of intemperance on the part of the mainstream climate scientists. Apart from doubting my objectivity, do you have a point?

barry

Roddy said...

Barry, I got your reply by email, but it doesn't seem to be on the web-site, which is odd.

I think we're probably operating in parallel planes.

I'm more concerned with WGII and WGIII, impacts and policy responses, in the end, and as I said, it's the incoherence of policy responses that irritates, and, yes, the alarmist projections of impacts - malaria would be a traditional example.

'Now, do you truly believe that policy on GHGs is influenced by commentators who say that the world will come to an end? This is what you appear to be suggesting.'

Yes, I think there's a bit of that. Greenpeace oppose Africans having electricity unless it's solar, because otherwise the 'world will end' from the ghg emissions. They had a serious impact on the World Bank decision.

The EU introduced a 10% biofuel mandate - there was farmers lobby in that, but it came out of a desire to decarbonise, which came from science telling us we have to. It's a bad example I guess, because science (mainly) tells us biofuels probably don't net impact CO2, and economics tells us they will kill people from higher food prices.

You mentioned 'children won't know snow', that wasn't a pundit, that was a UAE climate scientist? It's not that rare. Hansen is a senior climate scientist and tells us the world is ending?

'But there is a campaign to discredit climate science that is decidedly populist ... which is born of a political agenda.'

I agree, although I wouldn't call it a campaign (you agree, calling it disorganised). It's about policy responses, not discrediting. I would be part of that movement (as per my two long comments, it's resistance to the policy options being chosen on the basis of WGII and III and Hansen telling us that the world is ending (temperatures up several degrees, sea level several meters). Policy is politics, so it will be informed by politics as well as science, and will be populist too.

For many it's about money, as I said previously we didn't get interested until 100's of billions started being spent on the basis of IPCC science (Germany E100bn into solar alone over its lifetime I believe). So that's politics too?

McIntyre describes how he started being interested when he got a leaflet from the Canadian government with the Hockey Stick saying that the world was ending and action needed now (I paraphrase!). I would guess his politics are well-meaning Liberal Democrat (UK middle party), and he has harsh words for Heartland's libertarian obsessions.

Do the Grantham Institute (LSE) 'publish documents that give an even-handed rendering of the state of understanding' or do their 'viewpoints all trend the same way'? Their policy director Bob Ward is uni-directional!

Do the Rapid Response Team in the USA (Scott Mandia et al) give an even-handed rendering?

I don't read the literature as you do, so you can tell me whether Nature give an even-handed rendering?

'incoherent reasoning (eg, how can the urban heat island effect be causing the rise in global temperatures') - you puzzle me. The suggestion was that UHI might affect the measurement of land warming, never the warming itself. And you will have noted that intelligent sceptics have dropped that line of argument?

I don't know anyone who doesn't accept that it's warming, and we're affecting that. I agree HI will muddy the waters anyway they can with their $4m a year on CC activities, and I'm sure you would agree Greenpeace do the same with rather more?

Science/policy is a disordered process. You might find this paper interesting? http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eet.543/abstract

I find this comment box annoying! - feel free to email me at roddycampbell at gmail dot com instead.

Roddy said...

Barry, re scientist advocates, this is from the LA Times review of Mann's new book:

'Mann ends his book on a prophetic note with a chapter titled “Fighting Back.” He expresses hopefulness that he and his fellow scientists can turn the tide of public opinion not by remaining unbiased observers on the sidelines, as they have done traditionally, but by taking a more active role in the debate....... “Something is different now,” Mann concludes. “The forces of climate change denial have, I believe, awakened a ‘sleeping bear.’ My fellow scientists will be fighting back, and I look forward to joining them in this battle.”

[para on Gleick]

....... Mann’s conclusion is the only sour note in an otherwise highly readable and intelligent book, and why his own growing profile as an activist might come back to haunt him. Scientists, like journalists, really are more credible when they stick to the evidence, report the facts and let society come to its own conclusions. You handle the science, professor Mann; we’ll handle the punditry.

Anonymous said...

Roddy,

thanks for a reasonable discussion.

I'm finding less time than I thought I'd have to post. So, briefly.

I don't know who you're quoting there, but apparently they think that scientists engaging in public discourse on climate change equates to straying from 'evidence and facts'. I think Michael Mann would argue that the scientists are getting active to remedy a public discourse that has been skewed by inaccurate reporting and ill-informed, distortionary attacks on climate science. I have not read his book, but I would bet his words are being misrepresented. The circumlocution of your (unreferenced) author is familiar rhetoric.

It's taken a long time to awaken this 'sleeping bear.' The distortion of science has been going on for some time, as has the public and congressional smearing of climate scientists, with accusations against their integrity and work, courtroom fishing expeditions to get hold of their private and work emails and general attacks on the character of the earth science community. Whether or not you approve of these approaches to testing science, I doubt you could argue that it is reasonable to ask the boffins to take it all, as individuals and as a community, without uttering a peep. Of course there will be a response after years of harrassment.

The idea that scientists cannot be trusted unless they lock themselves away in their garrets until called for is another tawdry bit of story-telling amongst the claptrap of the punditry. I'd rather leave the punditry to the pundits, ignore their blather altogether, and get my science from the science community at large - as opposed to one or two highly selected sources.

I'll try and reply to other points soon.

barry.

Roddy said...

Barry, some of my comments here are missing, although you may get them, as I get yours, by email alert? Or you may not. I alerted our host to missing comments, yours and mine and maybe others.

Thank you too for reasonable discussion.

I don't know who wrote that review, and the name wouldn't mean anything. It just reflected part of what I feel too.

Here's a Physics Today article highlighting harassment.

http://www.physicstoday.org/resource/1/phtoad/v65/i2/p22_s1?bypassSSO=1

We all take away the bits we 'like'. I for example take away the Trenberth comments on the need for a US carbon price - is he an economist? He has every right to suggest that this will help global warming, sure, but I'm not sure he knows what he's talking about, and dropping acid rain into the sentence doesn't help me on that.

I think people who send hostile messages to them should be arrested; Heartland don't do that. They make their case the old-fashioned way afaik, meetings, newsletters, press, blah blah. I agreed with you in a missing comment, it's certainly politics, but that's what policy is.

If you wanted to hear what Satan himself has to say, here's Bast, Heartland's founder, being interviewed. http://online.wsj.com/video/opinion-the-purloined-climate-papers/F3DAA9D5-4213-4DC0-AE0D-5A3D171EB260.html

I agree with you that Inhofe's smearing is unattractive, but that's life, democracy in action!

The FOIA attacks on Mann are crazy.

Pielke Jr writes on the science/policy interface, it's not easy stuff, how it works and how it should work. Democracy in messy action again I suspect.

Cheers.

I put my email roddycampbell at gmail dot com in a missing message.

Anonymous said...

@ barry

"do you have a point?"

The following two contributions are summing up the state of climate science quite well.

When you read them both carefully you will find that it is not about being absolutely wrong or right - as the ongonig battle of opinions would suggest -but much more about uncertainties and open questions.

These contributions and the dicussion at the end of JC's blog should make you rethink your statement that "There is a central understanding on the human contribution to climte change, and it is articulted by the IPCC and the science institutes around the world"

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02148/RSL-HouseOfCommons_2148505a.pdf

http://judithcurry.com/2012/02/27/lindzens-seminar-at-the-house-of-commons

V. Lenzer

eduardo said...

For some reason that I dont understand, there are indeed some comments missing. The counter stands at 271, but only 266 comments are shown.

There are no comments caught in the spam filter.

In case of further problems, everyone is welcome to send me his/her comment by email at eduardo.zorita at gmx dot de, and I will post it.

Sorry for the inconvenience , but google blogger as a few annoying bugs

Anonymous said...

Roddy,

I haven't read Romm's blog for ages. Way too much politics for my taste. As far as I can remember, he got the science right, and was even balanced on it. Maybe he doesn't do that anymore.

You said you had qualms about greenpeace personnel writing on economics in the IPCC. Why? If they are technically qualified, does their membership automatically disqualify them? I think Richard Lindzen is a very biased person on the subject, but that doesn't disqualify him from bringing his expertise to the IPCC. It bothers me more that government reps are part of the process, and can influence the language used in the IPCC reports.

This idea that people can't be trusted to do quality work and be objective if they have an opinion on the subject - it's a furfy. But more importantly, such work can be tested by others. In the case of the greenpeace economists, we have a range of studies from non-greenpeace people as well. There is a general economic concensus on climate change, too - amongst the people that have done the hard work.

Expertise is what matters.

Roddy said...

What's a furfy?

You raise two points - being green shouldn't disqualify you from IPCC work, and the economics of climate change has a consensus?

1 You're right that there were plenty of studies alongside the Greenpeace one, and maybe a Greenpeace member can take his Green hat off when doing this stuff, be objective, I'm not sure.

Let's look, briefly: source http://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/docs/ipcc33/IPCC_Press_Release_11612_en.pdf

2008 world energy consumption was 490 exajoules.

The Greenpeace man's projection was for world energy consumption of 407 exajoules in 2050.

Of which 314 would be renewable, 77%.

Of which 130 was solar pv, 1/3 of global consumption.

So in 40 years we have globally cut consumption by c. 20%? Do you find that number sensible? I don't. Not with Chindia et al motoring along.

The 1,000 page report wasn't released for several weeks I recall, and was eagerly awaited to see who could have come up with these amazing projections. Surprise - it was the Greenpeace man.

The first line of the press release was 'Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century'. They talk about that projection more in the release. They barely mention any of the others.

So the sober IPCC highlighted, to the almost total exclusion of the others, the most extreme, and imho wholly unrealistic, scenario.

Set that report against this one, written by the Renewable Energy Foundation, a pro-renewable charity, specifically on the impacts of renewables on fuel poverty in the UK, but it covers a lot of ground. A lot more realistic on the practical matter of decarbonising energy, and the costs.

http://www.ref.org.uk/attachments/article/243/REF%20on%20Fuel%20Poverty.pdf

2 I don't think there's an economic consensus on ACC impacts AT ALL. There isn't even one on what decarbonisation would cost, a far simpler task. The IPCC are even highlighting the possibility of cutting world energy consumption by 20% in 40 years.

Do you think the science is settled, as it were, on impacts over the next 50 years? Surely not?

Let alone on the somewhat easier tasks of estimating energy consumption, how much can come from non-carbon sources, and what that would cost.


I can vaguely accept some consensus on GHG warming, 1% per doubling etc. I struggle with there being a consensus on sensitivity.

I cannot accept consensus on impacts, nor on the economics of impacts, nor on the economics even of decarbonising.

Anonymous said...

Roddy,

my posts keep disappearing, so apologies if I repeat here something that turns up later.

(a 'furfy' is an improbable story - Aussie slang. It's more commonly spelled furphy.)

You offer a 6-page press release and a 100-page detailed report and you tell me the latter is a more sober analysis. Well, I have to agree.

If I focus on the headline of the press release, and I ignore the rest of the article, and I don't read the SPM for WGIII or the report itself, then yes, I am left with the notion that it is possible energy consumption could be reduced by 80% mid-century.

The figures are described in the article as the most optimistic of four represenative scenarios. Do you reckon that optimistic headline is going to interfere with policy-making? Or do you think it highlights a lack of impartiality on the part of the IPCC?

For an apples to apples comparison, here is the WGIII SPM - this is the front material, not the full report.

http://www.ipcc-wg3.de/publications/assessment-reports/ar4/.files-ar4/SPM.pdf

That seems like sober stuff to me.

As to the greenpeace guy, what's his name? Which chapter should I look at to find out? I'd like to follow up. I am not qualified to assess whether his scenario is plausible, but I can do other checking.

> "I can vaguely accept some consensus on GHG warming, 1% per doubling etc. I struggle with there being a consensus on sensitivity."

I think you mean 1C per doubling, the response to forcing if there are no feedbacks. Why do you struggle with their being a concensus on sensitivity? There is a range of values, from zero to 10C, and the majority of scientific opinion clusters around 3C per doubling.

[eg, http://bartonpaullevenson.com/ClimateSensitivity.html]

But there is considerable uncertainty and wide error margins on all the estimates. What I 'struggle with' is the skeptical contradiction that it's all too uncertain, but, at the same time impacts will certainly be minimal.

"Do you think the science is settled, as it were, on impacts over the next 50 years? Surely not?"

Absolutely not. Neither does anyone else who has a serious interest in the matter. I think impacts could be greater or lesser than the mean of scenarios. Tell me, how much credence should I give to those people telling me impacts will certainly be minimal?

Roger Pielke Snr said it best - it's not because we know what is going to happen that we should move to mitigate CO2 emissions; it's that we DON'T know.

The concensus among economists (who have studed and published on the matter) estimating a range of scenarios is that mitigating will be more cost effective than adapting in the long run.

barry

Hans von Storch said...

Folks,
it seems that blogspot has a problem with many comments, as in this case.

We are closing this thread now and open a new thread here.

Andrew Judd said...

Dear Mr Von Storch,

I saw there was a discussion of this individual recently on your blog.

Connolley appears to be controlling the Wiki pages. He can rely on a large number of editors
to be present so that only his version is presented.

For example, Wiki is preventing a correct description of the 'greenhouse effect' being shown on Wiki.

Wiki wants you to believe that the atmosphere heats the Surface. Anybody attempting to show that the surface heats the atmosphere will be banned.

While attempting edits on Wiki as user andrewedwardjudd, my comments were supported by the references already on the page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Andrewedwardjudd#Here_is_an_example_of_how_the_wiki_greenhouse_effect_page_is_mixing_up_scientific_reality_with_the_clearly_expressed_opinions_of_the_editors_on_the_talk_pages.

I went as far as to phone up the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory Senior Scientist, Yochanan Kushnir Ph.d, who wrote reference 9 and he confirmed that the surface heats the atmosphere, and the surface is warmer because the atmosphere slows down the heat loss from the surface and the colder atmosphere cannot heat the hotter surface. That was the main point that I wanted to get onto the Wiki page.

Wiki administrator Dave Souza said I had an odd unsupported opinion that the atmosphere heats the surface and was always intrumental in getting me sanctioned.

After I was banned my wife informed the editors that Dr Kushnir fully supported what I had said and even after this editor Dave Souza kept up the obfuscation that Kushnirs telephone comments were not valid for Wiki. Souza referred to my wife as das Weib when he reported her. Obviously he knew the abusive content of that expression when used to describe another mans wife. My wife was banned.

Connolley appears to be the chief abuser of anybody who attempts to make unapproved changes, but he has other names he can use to ensure no disputing editor can make changes.

Connolley did a write up of his behaviour with me on his blog, where he kept up the insulting behaviour in the comments continually saying i did not know what i was talking about.

Fairly well known climate scientist James Annan called me a loon on this blog. Later on Annans blog, when i asked for an explanation, Annan deleted the comment and said 'do go away silly troll'. He followed up with more comments on Connolleys blog that if he told me what he did on the internet he would have to kill me. Connolley thought this was all a big joke. You can see all of that here.

http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/03/how_not_to_edit_wikipedia.php

These people behave like children but evidently they have some power to alter our reality.

Other editors have tried to make similar changes and been banned.
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:William_M._Connolley&diff=next&oldid=337450239

The whole experience was very odd and it was only later that i found out this had all happened before and Connolley was a well known activist.

Please feel free to use this information as you wish

Regards

Andrew Judd

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