Lukewarmers

After the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s (GWPF) recent report by Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok (which is discussed in a post by Piers Forster on Ed Hawkins’s blog) there seem to be a couple of conclusions being drawn. Some see it as positive that even the GWPF clearly acknowledge that we will warm and that the amount of warming is not inconsistent with IPCC estimates. Others are pointing out that many climate “skeptics” are actually lukewarmers, and that this report (and the responses) illustrates how they’ve been mis-represented by some. I get the impression that they’re arguing that this report shows that their views are credible and that those who’ve been arguing otherwise, have been unfairly characterising them.

Here’s the problem I have though. As I understand it, lukewarmers are people who believe that the warming will be on the low-end of estimates. It seems that they believe the transient climate response (TCR) will be below 1.5oC and the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) will be below 2oC. Given that the IPCC suggest ranges of 1.0-2.5oC and 1.5-4.5oC respectively, what they believe is possible. However, given the IPCC’s ranges, it’s not particularly likely. It’s more likely that the TCR and ECS will be higher than lukewarmers seem to believe. So, they could be right, but they seem to have simply chosen – for reasons I have yet to fully understand – to ignore huge swathes of evidence that suggest that the TCR and ECS will be higher than they believe.

As far as I can tell, the evidence that they use to ignore other estimates, is that they can’t trust Jim Hansen and Michael Mann – and hence can ignore paleo estimates – and the models didn’t predict the “pause” (which isn’t really a pause), and hence they can ignore model estimates. Given that these are the very people who pontificate the most about scientific integrity, scientific honesty and how science should work, this seems a little pathetic. As I’ve already said, they may turn out to be right, and they’re certainly entitled to believe whatever they want, but they’re not really entitled to ignore evidence just because they want to do so. The idea that everyone should pat them on the back because their views aren’t completely ridiculous, just seems a little absurd.

Having said that, that the GWPF acknowledges that we will continue to warm and that the numbers they present are not inconsistent with IPCC estimates is clearly a positive step. However, I see no reason why this suddenly makes the GWPF, and those who believe these estimates, particularly credible. There is a chance, however small, that they may be right, but science doesn’t work through guesswork, it works by considering all the evidence and weighing that evidence accordingly. As I understand it, that’s what the IPCC does when it produces its estimates for climate sensitivity. Given that, who should we take more seriously, those who choose to ignore large amounts of evidence for reasons that seem to border on conspiracy ideation, or those who consider all the evidence before drawing their conclusions? I know what I think. Maybe others disagree.

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88 Responses to Lukewarmers

  1. Rachel says:

    I wonder whether this tweet of Barry’s makes him a lukewarmer?

  2. Rachel says:

    And Tallbloke’s response to Barry:

  3. I’m not sure about Barry, but I don’t think that Tallbloke is even a lukewarmer.

  4. BBD says:

    Speaking as a former “lukewarmer”, I have to say that I found it *impossible* to maintain that position in the light of the available evidence once I became fully aware of it. It was also impossible to ignore the problems with work by eg. Lindzen and Spencer that is supposed to support the scientific case for low S.

    It seems to me that being a “lukewarmer” involves poor topic knowledge or actual evidence denial and a powerful measure of wishful thinking.

  5. badgersouth says:

    Anders: Why on Earth would anyone want to disagree with your well stated reasoning in the OP?

  6. My impression is that the concept of “lukewarmer” leaves as much open as most of the other classifications. It’s somewhere between an alarmist and skeptic, but everyone has her or his own interpretation of this scale, which makes these limits very flexible as well.

  7. badgersouth, some questions are intended to be seen as rhetorical 🙂

    Pekka,
    I guess I would argue that anyone who believes something specific is ignoring evidence. Having said that, I don’t think the risks are balanced. It’s certainly my view that the risks associated with assuming warming will be low is different to the risks associated with assuming warming will be high. However, that’s getting a bit too close to presenting a policy view for me to say more 🙂

  8. BBD says:

    Pekka

    It’s somewhere between an alarmist and skeptic, but everyone has her or his own interpretation of this scale, which makes these limits very flexible as well.

    I had this very discussion with Mosher, quite possibly at Judith’s. IIRC he said something like “GISS ModelE is a lukewarmer with an emergent sensitivity of ~2.7C” (or is it 2.4C – I’d need to check). But the widely-accepted definition that I had understood was as ATTP describes: right at the bottom of the IPCC range or even lower. Obviously, one should always ask anyone professing to be a lukewarmer what central estimate for TCR and ECS they favour, and what error margins they allow.

  9. BBD says:

    ATTP

    Having said that, I don’t think the risks are balanced. It’s certainly my view that the risks associated with assuming warming will be low is different to the risks associated with assuming warming will be high.

    And then there’s chemistry. Even if by some chance warming is lower than expected, if atmospheric CO2 concentrations continue to rise, ocean pH will continue to fall. As I understand it, this is, of itself, a potentially very serious problem.

    So another question for lukewarmers would be: what about chemistry?

  10. BBD,
    I agree. As I understand it, ocean acidification is one of the great risks and – as you say – could become incredibly damaging even if climate sensitivity is one the low side.

  11. BBD,
    Although, I should add that someone else will have to the the “And Then There’s Chemistry” blog. I’m both too busy and don’t understand chemistry 🙂

  12. Judith Curry at Climate Etc. is promoting a post of your name-calling friend Ben Pile, the “climate researcher” of the UKIP. In it he claims that the GWPF has no position on climate change and will publish any nonsense that is against the IPCC. Any enemy of my enemy is my friend. Well he formulated it a tittle different.

  13. manicbeancounter says:

    Most skeptics have a completely different view of science than the consensus views that you hold. You say
    “science doesn’t work through guesswork, it works by considering all the evidence and weighting that evidence accordingly”
    The problem with climate science is that it is incredibly complex. You cannot consider all the evidence, and there are no ground rules for weighting the evidence like in a criminal court. This issue is nothing new to science. Philosophers of science have dealt with this very issue. The criteria that many support is predictive ability.
    The warming impetus is human GHG emissions. The output is warming.
    Go back to the late 1980s when James Hansen was making his predictions. GHG emissions growth in the last 25 years have been right at the top end of estimates, nearly all as a result of emissions growth from emerging economies. The reason for it being at the top end is that it was the outcome of spectacular economic growth that was way beyond the consensus expectations. On that basis average surface temperature increases should have been at the top end of modelled scenarios. They were at the bottom end instead. Further, the growth rates in global emissions leapt after 2000. So you would expect warming rates to be higher this century than in the 1990s. The reverse is true.

  14. guthrie says:

    The flexibility of the term ‘lukewarmer’ permits those who apply it to themselves to flex like a streamer in the wind depending on the situation and audience. It is a good debating tool, but as you would expect no use at all when it comes to the science.

  15. dana1981 says:

    More importantly, that’s not how risk management works. Maybe Lewis and GWPF are right, but maybe they’re wrong. If you only prepare for the best case scenario (low sensitivity), you’re failing to adequately manage the range of possible outcomes.

    I make this point at the end of my post on the GWPF report, the more technical SkS version of which is now up (the shorter and less technical Guardian version will be up tomorrow).
    http://skepticalscience.com/gwpf-lewis-crock-climate-sensitivity-optimism-ill-founded.html

    What it boils down to is the GWPF (Lewis and Crok, specifically) finding poor excuses to dismiss the vast body of research pointing to moderate or high climate sensitivity, and ignoring the research pointing to the shortcomings of their preferred ‘instrumental’ low sensitivity method. As to why they do that – I’d argue it’s clear evidence of ideological bias clouding their judgment.

    Note that Shindell of NASA GISS has just published a paper that totally demolishes the GWPF report as well. He was a co-author of Otto (2013) along with Lewis, and re-evaluates their results. It turns out that the climate is more sensitive to forcings in the northern hemisphere extratropics, which happens to be where the aerosol and ozone forcings are concentrated. Studies like Otto (2013) and Lewis (2013) treated all forcings as having equal efficacy. Incorporating the higher efficacy of NH extratropics forcings yields a significantly higher sensitivity result. I discuss this and link to the Shindell paper in my post. Fascinating paper that really demolishes the GWPF report by itself.

  16. BBD says:

    ATTP

    I’m both too busy and don’t understand chemistry

    I thought it was but a sub-discipline of physics 😉

  17. “More importantly, that’s not how risk management works. Maybe Lewis and GWPF are right, but maybe they’re wrong. If you only prepare for the best case scenario (low sensitivity), you’re failing to adequately manage the range of possible outcomes.”

    There’s more to it than that even, I think. If I understand correctly, the uncertainly intervals given are 66%…meaning even if the paper were correct there is a 1 in 6 chance that the true value exceeds the high estimate. That’s literally russian roulette odds.

    Mind you, I’m not sure that using 95% error ranges much improves matters – this still leaves you with a 1 in 40 chance of exceeding the high end. That high end is really high and the consequences would be intolerable. How much would you spend not to press a button which had a 1 in 40 chance of triggering a disaster movie scenario?

    This is without even considering the possibility that the error range is incorrect in itself.

  18. Geoff Harris says:

    Frank, please excuse a silly question, but how does one calculate to 1 in 6 from the 66% (my fool mind says 1 in 3) and 1 in 40 from 95% (I would have said 1 in 20).

  19. Geoff,

    Well I am assuming that there is equal chance that it go outside the range on the low side as on the high side.

  20. badgersouth says:

    Anyone wishing to learn more about ocean acidification should check out the website of the Ocean Acidification International Coordinating Centre (OA-ICC).

  21. Tom Curtis says:

    Pekka:

    “My impression is that the concept of “lukewarmer” leaves as much open as most of the other classifications. It’s somewhere between an alarmist and skeptic, but everyone has her or his own interpretation of this scale, which makes these limits very flexible as well.”

    I do not like the term “alarmist” because it suggests the person is alarmed because that is what they do – ie, become alarmed about things regardless of the evidence. But if you must use it, you should at least use parity of reasoning, and apply it only to those people who believe equilibrium climate sensitivity is very likely greater than 4 C, with a vanishingly small chance of it being below 3 C. However, why use it? If you allow the deniers to choose the terms of the debate, you thereby allow them to win the public debate which is primarily driven by rhetoric. (They have, of course, already lost the scientific debate.)

  22. Tom Curtis says:

    Frank O’Dwyer, according to the IPCC there is:

    At most a 1% chance of the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) being less than 1 C (extremely unlikely)
    At most a 10% chance of the ECS being above 6 C (very unlikely)
    And a least a 66% chance that it lies between 1.5 and 4.5 C (likely)

    So, it is far more likely to be above 6 C than below 1 C, and probably far more likely to be between 4.5 and 6 C, than between 1 and 1.5 C. That is, the IPCC thinks it is far more likely that they will be wrong on the high side than on the low side. Unfortunately this reasoning cannot be carried into the “likely” range. The modal value may well be under 3 C, it it could be estimated. The IPCC do not currently have confidence that it can sensibly be estimated. I believe the simplest Probability Density Functions giving the above probabilities will put the modal value below 3 C, and the mean value above 3 C, at least if we restrict ourselves to PDFs with the fewest parameters.

    (As a side note, if any mathematician here would give me a formula for a PDF having few parameters and the above probabilites, I would find it interesting.)

  23. John Mashey says:

    Can someone explain the practical difference between the the following, where “to be done” means doing something (to be argued) about reducing GHG emissions.

    1) The Greenhouse Effect does not exist and therefore there is no problem, nothing need be done.
    2) CO2 is really not a GHG and therefore nothing need be done .
    3) CO2 is rising and it is a GHG , but it is natural, so nothing can be done, ie, Salby.
    4) Climate sensitivity is at the low end, so it’s not a problem.
    5) A bunch of economists agree that people on 2100 will be much richer, and cZn thus cope with any damage, and there are many priories much higher, like helping the poor (as per Lomborg and Cool It!), so nothing should be done.

    Maybe I’m missing something, but the bottom line seems to be: under no circumstances even consider workable strategies for reworking the world’s energy infrastructure and usage patterns to reduce GHG emissions, and especially put no restrictions on fossil fuel use.

  24. dhogaza says:

    “I had this very discussion with Mosher, quite possibly at Judith’s. IIRC he said something like “GISS ModelE is a lukewarmer with an emergent sensitivity of ~2.7C” (or is it 2.4C – I’d need to check).”

    About 2.7C …

    Since his involvement in BEST, Mosher’s been busy trying to reinvent himself without making it obvious that he’s done so, thus he associates his current position much more closely to the mainstream “about 3C” while trying to insist this is really a lukewarmer position. If this is really the lukewarmer position, then they’re mainstream in their views and there is no reason to call them “lukewarmers” …

  25. John Mashey says:

    Tom: I haven’t looked hard enough, but I’d certainly try fitting a lognormal to that, as that’s often a first choice for a right-skewed distribution, and if it fits well, then all the great properties of normal distributions arrive as well, and maybe some insight that there are multiplicative combinations of causes. Of course, lots of caveats about whether that is really applicable, but often worth a try.

  26. manicbeancounter,

    The problem with climate science is that it is incredibly complex. You cannot consider all the evidence, and there are no ground rules for weighting the evidence like in a criminal court.

    Sure, that’s why we have the IPCC. If Lukewarmers could convince me that their reasons for ignoring huge swathes of evidence was better than “we can’t trust Michael Mann” and “the pause” then maybe I’d give their low-ball estimates more credence. Otherwise, I’m going to think it’s mainly wishful thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I hope the lukewarmers are right, I just don’t think the evidence is on their side.

  27. Tom,
    I don’t like name calling at all. I don’t remember calling anyone an alarmist. If I have, it must have been an extreme case. I used the word here to present my view that lukewarmism is so vaguely defined that very little is common to all considered lukewarmer by someone. It helps only little that lukewarmer is very often a self-description.

  28. Tom and Pekka,
    I was going to add a comment about name-calling in the post, but somewhat forgot. I find it a little frustrating when I seem to be regarded as either an alarmist or an activist, as I don’t think either is fair (partly for the reason Tom gives in an earlier comment). On the other hand, I don’t think that I have the right to decide how others characterise me. If I don’t like it, I can change how I behave. If I don’t think it’s fair, I can try to be clearer. Of course, mostly it’s people trying to delegitimise what I say, so then I don’t really care. I feel the same in reverse though. If people don’t like how others characterise them, then either behave differently or put more effort in so that if the characterisation is unfair, that becomes obvious. Pielke Jr is an classic example of this in my view. If he doesn’t like it that people regard him as being outside the mainstream, then make sure that what you present is clearly in the mainstream.

    lukewarmism is so vaguely defined

    That’s why I defined it in the post.

  29. I think one really should avoid using words like alarmist as a value-neutral description. Words like alarmist or warmist are usually used to denigrate, that is, they have a negative value, in my view. However, I have noticed that they are being used as neutral terms in some places… It would actually be quite interesting to study who uses what terms for whom, that is to say, to describe oneself (‘lukewarmer’) or others (‘alarmist’) etc. And then there are of course terms like ‘sceptic’ which are used by people to describe themselves and are used by others to describe such people. However, in the process, the term sceptic in particular has shifted in meaning and one can no longer use it straightforwardly to describe oneself if one doesn’t belong to a certain group of people.

  30. brigitte,

    Words like alarmist or warmist are usually used to denigrate, that is, they have a negative value, in my view.

    That’s certainly been my impression too. As I said in a comment above, though, it’s my view that their use reflects more negatively on the person using them then on the person being described.

    As far as lukewarmer is concerned, it seems to be something that people self-identify with. Certainly, here I tried to define it in terms of what it is that some people seem to believe with respect to the possible future warming.

    I certainly agree with you about the use of the term sceptic. It’s now used as a way of describing a certain group of people (and is normally used in quotations). I certainly find that a pity as it should be a positive term and yet, in my view at least, has become more of a negative term.

  31. The problem with the concept of “skeptic” is that it may refer to the general skeptic attitude typical for science, but it can also refer quite properly to being skeptic about some particular idea. When the context is clear, it’s normal to leave it understood, what that idea is.

    The language is not always accurate. It’s unavoidable that people use the language differently. That leads to misunderstandings. In argumentation it’s common to fight on the control of words that are thought to have emotional appeal, and to use other words to denigrate others. While the use of words in that way is not insignificant, I do think that people involved in the argumentation give them far too much importance.

    People who don’t actively participate in that fight mostly don’t care and are not influenced, while those who care are not influenced either, only irritated.

  32. andrew adams says:

    I don’t have a problem with “warmist” – it seems as good a term as any to describe those of us who expect that the earth will continue to get warmer, and it I don’t think it’s inherently value laden.

    Obviously “alarmist” is a bit different and it has definite negative connotations. In a sense it’s the mirror image of “denier”. But even so, it doesn’t bother me that much – these kind of labels get thrown about in discussions on all contentious topics and there aren’t many cases when I get offended by it.

  33. I think John Mashey nails it: “the bottom line seems to be: under no circumstances even consider workable strategies for reworking the world’s energy infrastructure and usage patterns to reduce GHG emissions, and especially put no restrictions on fossil fuel use.”

    I’d add: but don’t necessarily say this outright – in fact avoid having to take a position, because people could then take you to task on it. Instead push as hard as possible on “the science isn’t settled”. (As if, when hurtling towards a cliff in the fog, the best course of action is to say, “well, we don’t know exactly where the cliff edge is, let’s carry on hurtling towards it!”)

    Or, at worst, say: “yes, we do need to decarbonise, of course – but we can’t do it yet, and anyone who says otherwise is robbing the poorest people in the world of their chance to develop.” I always love hearing that one from libertarians – not a group I especially associate with concern for other people’s welfare. When climate change is being talked about, they’re all of a sudden terribly worried about poor peoples’ access to cheap energy. (Though note Krugman picking up on what `concern for the poor’ can look like from a US right-wing perspective).

    I’ve just glanced back through the Lewis and Grok doc, there’s no mention of anything to do with policy, that I saw (I did skim, mind). Just those vague aspersions about the IPCC process and the claim about sensitivity being at the low end. Guess we’ll see what happens with the upcoming AR5 docs.

  34. Andrew,

    “I don’t have a problem with “warmist” – it seems as good a term as any to describe those of us who expect that the earth will continue to get warmer, and it I don’t think it’s inherently value laden.”

    Warmist implies, and I am pretty sure is intended to imply, that it is ideological rather than evidence led – which is a case of pot.kettle.black if ever there was one.

  35. Frank and Andrew,
    Technically I don’t have a problem with warmist as a term, but I do agree with Frank that it is typically used to imply an ideological rather than evidence led view. Irony is, however, a term that few seem to understand.

  36. andrew adams says:

    Frank ,

    Yes, fair point. I guess such labels will always be have a perjorative connotation given that we tend to use them to describe people whose view or actions we disapprove of. I can’t bring myself to be too offended over it though.

  37. Brigitte says:

    This might be of interest – an old post on alarmism. I never got round to carrying out the real research though 😦
    http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2013/02/27/moderation-impossible-climate-change-alarmism-and-rhetorical-entrenchment/

  38. Rob Nicholls says:

    I think it’s amusing that the GPWF propaganda machine has (unwittingly, in my view) endorsed an estimate of climate sensitivity that will lead to dangerous climate change under business as usual, but I don’t think it is a positive move as I don’t believe the GPWF has a coherent position or follows through its pronouncements to their logical conclusion. I doubt that they will look into the implications of the climate sensitivity estimate that they have promoted, and launch a campaign for the reduction in fossil fuel burning. The GPWF appears to be interested solely in delaying meaningful action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    I don’t want to say that all who call themselves “lukewarmers” are in denial (obviously anyone is free to define the term as they wish), but there seem to be a lot of people who have been labelled as “lukewarmers” who appear to be in denial about the totality of the scientific evidence and the risks of dangerous climate change, and who actively work to prevent meaningful action to reduce climate change. I’ve heard Professor Curry called a “lukewarmer”, and she seems to endorse the suggestion that climate sensitivity is likely to be low. In April 2013 Prof Curry gave testimony to a US House of Representatives sub-committee strongly implying that delaying action to cut greenhouse gas emissions (in order to gather more information and reduce uncertainties) is a sensible policy option. I fear very serious consequences for future generations if Prof Curry’s testimony is listened to and if governments continue to delay action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

  39. John Mashey says:

    I notice manicbeancounter has commented. Readers may assess his thought processes by his comments on the Salby affair last July (excerpts, but read more for context. I thank him for adding another datapoint for my analysis:

    From first Nova post
    July 10, 2013 at 10:21 am
    ‘…Before you decide, first look at the evidence from Jo Nova’s posting on Salby’s claims two years ago. When Macquarie University hired Salby’s CV included
    – “Salby was once an IPCC reviewer”
    – “He’s been a visiting professorships at Paris, Stockholm, Jerusalem, and Kyoto, and he’s spent time at the Bureau of Meterology in Australia.”
    In appointing Murray Salby as Chair of Climate Science at Macquarie University, the authorities thought they would get a prestigious believer in the AGW theory, who would enlarge the department through attracting more funding and prestige to the climatology department. Instead they were lumbered with a maverick, who fundamentally undermined their funding by becoming an apostate….
    That would be the same Royal Society who will, no doubt, deeply sympathize and support Macquarie University’s predicament with their maverick scientist.’

    July 11, 2013 at 9:05 am
    ‘”Manic” beancounters look at the evidence from various angles and perspectives. The ordinary beancounters look at just the narrow current view, and fail to see the alternatives, nor anything outside of the current trend. Their lack of imagination in preserving the status quo means that ordinary beancounters are only capable of managed decline and eventual closure.’

    From 2nd Nova post.
    July 11, 2013 at 8:53 am:
    ‘The next line of attack be Macquarie University, or the defenders in the warmist community will be to say it is a prestigious University (with support from the wider “scientific” community) against a dilettante who has become blinded to a truth obvious to the vast majority.
    If Salby had made false claims, their reaction should be to say that a response will follow legal advice. If they are untrue, Salby’s claims are actionable through being highly damaging to the prestige of a University as a research institution. Discouragement of original research would diminish the ability of the university to attract fee-paying students and (in a non-partisan political environment) discourage research funding.’

    Finally, from July 13, 2013 at 8:11 am
    ‘For most people being labelled a maverick is a derogatory term. But in previous thread I called Murray Salby a maverick in the sense of people who went on to win Nobel Prizes. That is people who successfully challenged orthodoxy.’

    The last post was the day after Murry Salby – Galileo? Bozo? or P-T-Barnum?.

  40. AnOilMan says:

    John, nothing the manicbeancounter makes sense. Whatever he is, he doesn’t do technical work for a living. That much is obvious.

    manicbeancounter, normally when you have something that is too large for a single person to understand, it gets broken up and different groups handle different aspects of the project in hand. For instance, there is not enough time in your life to learn how an aircraft carrier works, let along all that ‘brand new’ science for the electronics. (I say ‘brand new’ because its far far newer than the climate science you dish on.) In order to verify the accuracy various aspects of the project are handled and proofed by processes and consensus. “Did that work yet?” “Do we agree?”

    If you want to verify it after the fact, you can’t. Ever. What engineers do is called drill downs, and see what comes back. Go vertically, and verify everything you can on a narrow topic. See that it makes sense and that it is correct.

    I’ve personally done this many times based to claims from so called skeptics, and realized, they are wrong. Period. I’m tired of hearing about it actually. I’m just plain tired of wasting my time looking at garbage from them.

    Lastly we have consensus. That is clearly and measurably obvious. Good journals publish good science or the vast majority of scientists would shift to a new journals. Right now, all the good journals are saying, Climate Change is real, and its here to stay.

    The world its getting hot, the poles are melting, oceans will acidify, and starvation will spread. Get used to it.

  41. dana1981 says:

    I view ‘Lukewarmerism as a lesser form of denial. It’s not as ‘bad’ as most forms of denial because they don’t deny basic physics, for example. But ultimately in most cases it seems to stem from the same underlying ideological bias – opposing action to address climate change, or support for maintaining the status quo.

    The GWPF report is a perfect example because of its clear cherry picking to try and justify their preferred low sensitivity conclusion. I’m sure they prefer that conclusion in order to justify opposition to most significant climate policies (e.g. Nigel Lawson seems rabidly anti-wind energy).

    But the Shindell paper really demolishes their report, and in fact undermines the change from AR4 to AR5, from 2 to 4.5°C ECS (3°C best estimate) to 1.5 to 4.5°C ECS (no best estimate). That change was entirely due to the ‘instrumental’ studies highlighted in the GWPF report, which Shindell convincingly shows are biased low by not accounting for varying forcing efficacies. GWPF argues the IPCC didn’t do enough to account for these ‘instrumental’ estimates, but quite the opposite, Shindell shows they did too much.

    You can’t blame GWPF for not accounting for the Shindell results of course, since they were just published yesterday. However, the report neglected a wide range of other papers suggesting that the ‘instrumental’ method may not be able to reliably estimate ECS. And their excuses for rejecting moderate to high sensitivity results ranged from flimsy to wrong. There’s a clear bias at work there. It may not be as obvious as it is in people who deny the greenhouse effect, for example, but I think the underlying root bias is the same.

  42. BBD says:

    Of course it is. Nic Lewis peddled his ideas in guest posts at Bishop Hill, which is essentially a denier blog. We *are* known by the company we keep.

  43. Marlowe Johnson says:

    ‘lukewarmer’ is a pose adopted by pollyannas for rhetorical purposes to frame the debate. Mosher and Fuller’s ‘no true scottsman’ antics should provide ample proof of that and if you haven’t already ATTP, I’d suggest you check out Robert’s absolute gem of a post on the topic here: http://theidiottracker.blogspot.ca/2010/09/between-science-and-hard-place.html

  44. John Mashey says:

    Again, if the bottom line is Do nothing but adapt, there seems little difference … Except that lukewarmism seems designed to be more easily sellable. I mentioned Lomborg and Cool It! That caused confusion among some very savvy, very environment aware friends of mine, until I went through the tactics. See this analysis.

    This is good marketing, for which I offer yet another parallel from the cigarette wars.
    Cigarette companies only stay in business by addicting people during brain development, ie, mostly teenagers. That’s the goal, but saying do tends to meet resistance, like rejecting the existence of the greenhouse effect.
    So, tobacco companies all said: we absolutely support kids not smoking,… while doing Joe Camel, going all-out on showing glamorous smoking in movies. But one if the best was when they sent out masses of booklets to patents to help them convince their teenagers not to smoke. The main message was: you shouldn’t smoke, that’s an *adult* thing, wait till you’re grown up…

    “Help the poor of the world” has been a police theme amongst the conservative thinktanks in last few years.

  45. AnOilMan says:

    John, have you seen “Thank You For Smoking”.

    There’s a great part where the cigarette companies are ordered to produce an ad to tell kids not to smoke. So they come up with a great ad with some kid asking his dad if he could smoke, and that father says, “No, not until you’re 18, but it sure is worth the wait.” They even embedded some subliminal messages like SMOKE CIGARETTES.

  46. deminthon says:

    There’s no relevant difference between luke-warmers and other science deniers — they are all *delayers*, motivated by political ideology.

  47. deminthon says:

    “Most skeptics have a completely different view of science than the consensus views that you hold.”

    Skepticism divorced from *critical thinking* becomes cherry picking, selective perception, and confirmation bias in the employ of ideology. Most of the so-called “climate skeptics” display a serious lack of critical thinking. The consensus view of climate science is the result of the community processes of science that impose a level of critical thinking above and beyond that of individuals. To “have a completely different view of science than the consensus views” is to fail to understand science, the process of science, and the scientific evidence.

    “So you would expect warming rates to be higher this century than in the 1990s.”

    a) This century is only 14 years old. b) The vast majority of the heat went into the oceans. c) Your expectation and your inferences from it display all the problems noted above.

  48. John Mashey says:

    Re: manicbeancounter & deminthon’s comments
    Again, I urge people to stop using “skeptics” as in “climate skeptics”, as it ambiguously allows for possibility that such might be real scientific skeptics like Martin Gardner, Carl Sagan, Steve Schneider or most good scientists most of the time.
    Pseudoskeptic is an unambiguous term with a long history, especially for those ridden by Morton’s Demon.

    Lukewarmers present as classic pseudoskeptics, as they generally depend on strong cherry-picking. But again, the bottom line is the same: NO effective action to rework world’s energy system off dependence on fossil fuels.

  49. Rachel says:

    An Australian anti-vaccination group has just adopted the word skeptic now and are calling themselves the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network.

  50. Marlowe Johnson says:

    JM,

    couldn’t agree more. happily, i suspect the shareholders of the integrated oil companies will soon agree if Steve Kopitz is right: (see slides 18 & 40 in particular)

  51. An Australian anti-vaccination group has just adopted the word skeptic now and are calling themselves the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network.

    Maybe that is the best response. Given that the word sceptic is no longer useful and is soiled for decades to come, why not set up astro-turf sceptical organizations? The Georgian Round-Earth Sceptical society. The Foundation of Evangelic Gravity Sceptics. The Tony Abbott museum for sceptical evolution studies.

  52. Rachel says:

    Victor,

    I’ve got a friend who is a scientist and a member of the real Skeptics Society, the goal of which is to promote scientific scepticism and resist “the spread of pseudoscience”. But when she first told me about this society I couldn’t push the association I now have with skepticism and denial of science out of my head. The contrarians have ruined the word for me.

  53. John Mashey says:

    Letting pseudoskeptics take over the honorable term skeptic would be a victory for Orwellian doublespeak.
    I think it’s time to stop it.

    When a few of the skeptics who read Skeptical Inquirer revealed themselves as climate pseudoskeptics, in response to a NASA scientist’s straightforward AGW discussion, E-I-C Kendrick Frazier didn’t look for a replacement term. The intense pseudoskeptics canceled subscriptions… But that was a small fraction, albeit noisy.

    Anyway:
    Scientific skeptics: Ex: Steve Schneider, Martin Gardner, Carl Sagan, etc and most scientists most of the time. Occasionally blogs may use the skeptic term in the traditional way, such as Skeptical Science.

    Pseudoskeptics: as described earlier, including almost all climate blogs that call themselves skeptics, meaning they disagree with mainstream.

    I suggest only using quoted “skeptic” for a blog when it is hard to tell, or, real ambiguity, as opposed to meaning: “it says sceptic but I don’t think do.”

  54. “It’s not as ‘bad’ as most forms of denial because they don’t deny basic physics, for example.”

    I think you misunderestimate their ability to believe contradictory propositions at the same time.

    For example, Andrew Montford is supposed to be a “lukewarmer” but the other day commented about some paper: “the inevitable profession of the faith at the paper’s close – “Greenhouse gases are warming the planet, and will continue to do so”” – to someone genuinely a “lukewarmer”, that should be an unremarkable statement of an obvious fact, not something on a par with theology.

    Lukewarmers of the Nic Lewis persuasion are also supposed to be sceptical of models, and will not have them in the house. But Montford happily relies today on economic models built on top of climate models to justify that net benefits from warming are expected in the next 40-50 years.

    Then of course there is the inane proposition from Montford that if you concede CO2 is a greenhouse gas, you’re not a denier, no matter what nonsense you then proceed to spout. So for example if you believe that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and you also believe that the IPCC stole New York City last night and replaced it with a perfect replica in order to hide the evidence that miniskirts cause autism, then you are part of a consensus of 97% of climate scientists.

  55. John Mashey says:

    To call Montford a lukewarmer illustrates the meaninglessness of the term.
    1) Among the numerous problems in The Hockey stick Illusion is the dog astrology journal issue, in which he channeled McIntyre. Then there was as ascribing credibility in 2010 to McIntyre&McKitrick(2005), and the Wegman Report(2006).

    2) Then there was promotion of Murry Salby in:
    a) Climate of Fear,

    b) Climate of Smear, which showed Josh’s cartoon extolling Salby, as the tribe (mostly) applauded.

    c) Montford still promoted the Slayers-sponsored UK tour for Salby. That was after Murry Salby: Galileo? Bozo? Or P.T.Barnum? and then Top Physicist Withdraws Support For Climate Sceptic Professor Sacked By Australian University. The pseudoskeptic blogosphere didn’t really talk about that, and actually, I doubt the significance was understood. Read that, and I’ll add the rest of the story:

    -The Australian story said:
    ‘‘”I am scandalised by what happened to Murry Salby,” said Dr Chanin, a founding member of the Academy of Europe and an expert on the role of the stratosphere in climate.'”
    How would Dr. Chanin know about this? How did The Australian know about her and get in contact? Does anything make sense except that Salby told her his story and he connected her with The Australian?

    Marie-Lise Chanin is an *eminent* scientist whose work overlaps with Salby’s, and has known him for years. Among other things, she was the long-time Director of a major French research institute, where Salby had done a sabbatical ~1997. One of his 1998 papers Ack’d her and his April 2013 Europe trip included CNRS. That connection was not obvious when The Australian articles ran.

    – While the pseudoskeptic blogosphere pooh-poohed or ignored the NSF debarment, serious scientists would know better. Dr. Chanin did. The Australian story ran his credibility limb had already been chainsawed, and when she found out, she dropped support instantly and totally. Remember, The Australian story ran more than a week *after* the NSF issue was public, so there was time for Salby to have saved Dr. Chanin from saying anything. I have not tried to contact her, I would guess that embarrassing and badly abusing the trust of a major figure in European science may not have been wise. Likewise, talking nonsense about ice-cores @ Cambridge with Eric Wolff in the audience was likely not a good idea either. It’s safer to talk to thinktank audiences.

    At least some people in the US atmospheric sciences community knew about Salby’s problems with the NSF and his awkward exit from CU, which after all, is in Boulder, CO, not far from NCAR.

    His bait-and-switch talk at 2011 Australian conference probably didn’t help him much Down Under.
    Denigrating most of climate science in his 2012 book probably didn’t make any friends.

    What does that leave? Thinktanks, Slayers, Lord Monckton, Montford, etc.
    If Montford is a lukewarmer or skeptic, those terms are meaningless …
    Dismissive pseudoskeptic with Sauron-class Morton’s Demon is more like it. 🙂

  56. Eli Rabett says:

    The Idiot Tracker had this one pegged years ago

    Here’s the problem. Lukewarmism doesn’t get its adherents where they want to go – because even if we accept at face value their claims, the world would still require intense efforts to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases in order to stave off disaster.

    Also part 2 http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2010/09/between-science-and-hard-place-part-two.html

  57. > [Self-described lukewarmers] seem to have simply chosen – for reasons I have yet to fully understand – to ignore huge swathes of evidence that suggest that the TCR and ECS will be higher than they believe.

    Yes, but more uncertainty.

    I never understood how we could lukewarmly sell both more uncertainty and a smaller sensitivity range. Or for that matter studies showing a bigger MWP and a smaller sensitivity. It makes little sense, logically speaking.

    On the other hand, there’s Climateball ™. And in Climateball, moves matter above all. See for instance Nathan:

    I wonder why you all at CA think you are capable of ‘auditing’ the work of proxy reconstructions fairly when it’s pretty clear you have a reconstruction you want to see or expect to see. This is a clear bias. Your aim does seem to be to keep the MWP warm to affect a political change.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2009/tricking-yourself-into-cherry-picking/#comment-22369

    Note that to keep the MWP cold can also be seen as aimed to affect a political change. Anything can be made to seem about anything, just as anything can be said to be “misleading”. Worse, this attack on motivation leads to the obvious defense by bender:

    The aim is to get the science right and let the chips fall where they may.

    Follows a proof by assertion about “religious zealots”. See how easy it is to pretend one is in it for Da Science. In the short run, sub-games with “you seem to want” and “I’m only in it for Da Science” moves can only help one player.

    This may explain how the lukewarmer gambit has so much ice time.

  58. Willard,
    It’s nice to see you back. You seem to have been lying low for a while.

  59. badgersouth says:

    Willard,
    Is Climateball™ a lottery?

  60. BBD says:

    badger

    No, it’s a game of two halves 🙂

  61. BBD says:

    And I’ll echo ATTP: nice to see you back willard.

  62. Steve Bloom says:

    Eli, the idea is to move the problem beyond the short-term action horizon, IOW to make it seem rather like fusion power.

    Willard has been busy playing Traditional Rules Climateball elsewhere. I think that involves no helmets. But that’s OK, the game never really starts since one side demands to be awarded penalty points at the outset.

  63. Rachel says:

    And I’ll echo ATTP: nice to see you back willard.

    I made him do it. 🙂

  64. Steve Bloom says:

    Wiilard: “I never understood how we could lukewarmly sell both more uncertainty and a smaller sensitivity range. Or for that matter studies showing a bigger MWP and a smaller sensitivity. It makes little sense, logically speaking.”

    Sure, but survey research shows that the public doesn’t respond logically. Too many, I expect including influentials such as editors of major media outlets, instinctively interpret uncertainty not in a risk framework but in a maybe-not-gonna-happen one. Sadly this makes perfect sense from an evolutionary standpoint, as existential threats were relatively rare such that worrying about them too much was a disadvantage.

  65. Nathan says:

    Willard,

    see if you can find anywhere, where they define ‘Lukewarmer’ – I have asked them about four times and each time a different response. One Mosher made a bullet point list that included amongst other irrelevancies “Open access to data” – so apparently the Lukewarmer hypothesis relies on open access to data!

    It’s just crazy talk, and ‘Lukewarmer’ is marketing pure and simple.

    Nathan

  66. BBD says:

    “Untenable position” sums it up for me.

  67. John Mashey says:

    “Lukewarmer” = dismissive with better marketing. Lomborg has probably done it most extensively.

  68. > [S]ee if you can find anywhere, where they define ‘Lukewarmer’.

    Perhaps our dynamic duo defines it in their book, which John F Pittman kindly gave me, Nathan. Will take a look tomorrow. Seems that there are offers to translate the book in Chinese.

    ***

    I share your sentiments regarding the concept, but would add to marketing an ounce of Overton Window:

    The Overton window is a political theory that describes as a narrow “window” the range of ideas the public will accept. On this theory, an idea’s political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within that window rather than on politicians’ individual preferences.

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

    So the idea is to pair Sky Dragons with Steve Blooms and try to portray yourself right in the middle, the middle being the smallest CS justified disingenuousness can buy.

    It’s not that complicated to see how it operates, and it’s all lying in plain sight.

  69. Tom Curtis says:

    Willard:
    “and it’s all lying in plain sight”

    A clause true on both disambiguations!

  70. Nathan says:

    Willard

    So is a power play? A game to take the narrative and guide what happens politically because the public thinks you’re being ‘most reasonable’…
    The aim being to take no action and maintain the status quo?

  71. Nathan,

    As the Auditor is wont to say in matters that interest him less, like guessing who was the Miracle Worker:

    > Lots of theories.

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/1640585432

    We all have intentions and they can always be held against us.

    What I think is legitimate to do, though, is to use any move they use. Tit for tat algorithms are quite robust, in general. If for instance they use dog whistling to make readers “wonder why” (again in the Auditor’s parlance), then of course it’s a move you can play, at least until they stop using it. The point being to make them realize that dog whistling is suboptimal, not that we should promote dog whistling.

    And even if we use their moves, I suggest we use them in ways that remain within style, as style matters most for eternal conversations.

    ***

    I have yet to find the book from our dynamic duo. Sorry about that.

  72. Here’s an example where dog whistling was used:

    > The main point behind this exercise was to make sure we share the concept of dog whistling. If you believe that what I did was to dog whistle, then I’m afraid you will have to accept that the Auditor dog whistles too. I basically used the same tropes he did. Heck, I even used his words […]

    http://moyhu.blogspot.ca/2014/03/mcintyre-mann-and-gaspe-cedars.html?showComment=1394804331004

    What Climateballers do with words matter more than what is said.

    Nothing much is said anyway. Trying to unveil what is conveyed during Climateball episodes is like watching Waiting for Godot for the punch line. It’s more a comedy of menace where it is shown that language is a social art.

  73. AnOilMan says:

    Willard… in my day the Overton WiIndow was referred to as Manufacturing Consent.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manufacturing_Consent

  74. AnOilMan says:

    And we’ve seen this exact effect play out in Australia when Gina Rinehart (coal baron) bought controlling interests in local media at Christopher Monkton’s behest.

  75. AOM,
    Did that actually happen? I remember seeing a leaked video of Monckton giving advice in Australia as to how to control the media, but I didn’t realise that someone had actually gone ahead and taken his advice. In some sense, if one’s goal is to control the narrative then controlling the media does seem like a way to go. However, actually taking Chris Monckton’s advice doesn’t seem like something anyone sensible would actually do.

  76. AnOilMan says:

    Chris Monckton is very very sensible despite what his public image appears to be to us. This would be a little like underestimating Bjorn Lomborg. If you watch his appeal to Gina Rinehart, he’s talking very clearly and with intelligence. This is the exact opposite of his public buffoonery.

    Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gina_Rinehart
    “In the 2010s, Rinehart bought a stake in media organisations, becoming the largest shareholder in Fairfax Media and taking a significant share in the Ten Network Holdings.”

    Blow By Blow:

    Monckton’s Bid with Jo Nova present;
    http://www.desmogblog.com/monckton-pitches-fox-news-australia-idea-mining-magnate-seeks-super-rich-backers

    The bid to purchase after hearing what Monckton said.
    http://www.desmogblog.com/mining-magnate-gina-rinehart-bids-editorial-control-australia-s-fairfax-newspapers

    And what follows;
    http://www.desmogblog.com/what-world-s-richest-woman-gina-rinehart-thinks-about-climate-change

  77. I’d say that stretching the Overton window may be a way to manufacture consent, AnOilMan. The levels of descriptions seems to differ, just as Climateball operates at a lower level than the Overton window. Moves implement strategies that operate in total wars.

    A big problem with the Consent model for climate wars is the clash of powers.

    I’m more interested by the transactional level. For instance, to follow up on the dog whistling example I provided above, there’s the “it is not my belief that” move:

    > It is not my belief that Briffa crudely cherry picked.

    http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2014/03/early-footnoteology.html

    Following what the Auditor does is enough to doubt the relevance of that belief. This belief, even if true, only matters because it serves to contradict a claim in RC’s op-ed. It is of little relevance of we go to the source, which is Briffa’s claim:

    The substantive implication of McIntyre’s comment (made explicitly in subsequent postings by others) is that the recent data that make up this chronology (i.e. the ring-width measurements from living trees) were purposely selected by me from among a larger available data set, specifically because they exhibited recent growth increases.

    My emphasis. Such an implication in the Auditor’s work is independent from the Auditor’s belief.
    Such an implication is not that difficult to find. Looking for “cherry” shows in what ways the Auditor misdirects the argument by exploiting truthiness.

  78. I forgot to close this idea:

    > A big problem with the Consent model for climate wars is the clash of powers.

    What I mean by that is that there are many establishments in the struggle. The IPCC is one establishment. The MSMs represent another one. Even the Internet is bringing another new one to the front.

  79. BBD says:

    ATTP

    And before we start to feel too smug, bear in mind that in the UK, only the Guardian is reliably free of bias from the vested interests and/or right-leaning political bias of a proprietor.

  80. 🙂 I’m admittedly biased. I believe AGW/Climate Change to be driven by an agenda rather than by science per se : energy politics and UN realpolitik overriding any concerns for abstract truth. But : as a starting point re : chemistry and oceans ( I’m no chemist either, but it’s a start at identifying concerns and contestation ) : http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/co2-makes-the-ocean-more-alkaline/

    [Mod : I don’t normally allow conspiracy ideation, but your admission of a bias has weakened my resolve. I won’t allow any real discussion of this though.]

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  85. So, they’ve seen the posterior predictive densities, such as Urban, et al, and concluded they want to bet on something other than the long tail.

    Hey, it’s poker, with civilization at stake. Shrug. People did it with the Cold War, too. Why should they be any smarter now?

    Alternatively, they are just being canonical Kahneman-Twersky beings, not really exhibiting any kind of free will, choice, or pursuing their own financial and personal interest.

    People have the right to be completely stupid, no? And take the rest of humanity with them.

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