## Climate Dialogue

Climate Dialogue is a blog that is mainly run by Marcel Crok, but also involves a number of other people. I must admit that I’ve largely ignored Climate Dialogue as it has always seemed to me to be just another pseudo-skeptic blog. However – to be fair – it has had some interesting discussions that I have read, so maybe my general impression isn’t quite fair. Climate Dialogue mainly worked by inviting different scientists to present their ideas about a particular topic, and then opening it up to discussion through the comments. What I hadn’t realised is that it is actually a project funded by the Dutch government, and the final report has just been released.

As far as I can tell from the report, the basic conclusion is that it was an interesting idea, that there were some interesting discussions, but – overall – it wasn’t particularly successful. It said, for example,

The experiment has shown there is potential for a blog such as Climate Dialogue in the polarised landscape of climate change science communication, bringing together scientists with different viewpoints,

but also said

It was more difficult to attract mainstream climate scientists than sceptical climate scientists. One important reason was what is sometimes called ‘false balance’, i.e. the perception that the format of specifically inviting sceptical scientists to the dialogue gives them more ‘weight’ than they have in the broader scientific community, and as such provides a skewed view of the scientific debate.

which, I think, is fundamentally the problem. Apparently it was required that at least one of the participating scientists was someone perceived to be a climate sceptic. Climate Dialogue covered 6 different topics in the last two years, and I suspect that most who have some knowledge of climate science would have a good shot of correctly guessing a reasonable fraction of the 6 scientists who were included through being perceived to be climate sceptics.

When it comes to the general topics covered by Climate Dialogue, there is a great deal of agreement within the scientific community. Where is the value in having a dialogue about these topics that will give the impression that the minority view has more acceptance than it actually has? To be clear, I’m certainly not suggesting that those who are “skeptical” should not be allowed to speak, but false balance is a genuine issue. If you were to select randomly from amongst a group of climate science experts, your chance of selecting someone who disputed the mainstream view would be small. By insisting that each discussion has a noted climate sceptic you run the real risk of suggesting that there is more disagreement than is actually the case.

Personally, I think there is no way to have any kind of really constructive dialogue about climate science (and I mean science specifically) between those who broadly accept the mainstream position, and those who do not. It might be interesting, but it won’t really resolve anything. This is mainly because this really isn’t how scientific disagreements are resolved. However, if such a project is to continue, maybe the next step should be to remove the rule about there being a climate sceptic involved in every dialogue. Select the participants in some random way and just see what happens. My guess is that it would become much more boring, but would probably better reflect the views of the general scientific community.

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### 580 Responses to Climate Dialogue

1. The advantage of the false balance approach is that you can see the enormous difference in quality between the text of the normal scientists and the mitigation sceptical one.

For example I hugely enjoyed reading the two introductions on the tropic hot spot by Carl Mears (RSS) and Steven Sherwood and learned a lot. Highly recommended reading. Knowledgeable and balanced.

It would be great when scientists without a blog would be encouraged to write such short overviews in normal language (as far as I can judge) more often.

2. [Mod : Sorry, I trashed the comment to which you were referring.]

3. Victor,

For example I hugely enjoyed reading the two introductions on the tropic hot spot by Carl Mears (RSS) and Steven Sherwood and learned a lot. Highly recommended reading. Knowledgeable and balanced.

Yes, there is some good stuff on Climate Dialogue. My general impression of the site may not have been entirely correct.

4. jsam says:

I read a few of the earlier “debates”. I agree with its cessation. Providing oxygen for anti-science isn’t helpful.

5. The issue of false balance is often serious in MSM that is the main source of information for general public, but I don’t believe that the same is true for discussion followed only by people with special interest in the subject, be it based on science or highly questionable arguments from those skeptical of the main stream science.

People with a special interest in the subject find their sources anyway. If they can be attracted to follow discussion where valid arguments are presented competently, that’s not likely to worsen the situation, rather the contrary.

6. Pekka,
I broadly agree. If it’s a specialist discussion, then it’s taking place amongst people who already understand the strength of the evidence. If that’s the case, though, what’s the point of Climate Dialogue? Such discussions already take place in the scientific literature, and at conferences. Why does it have to now be in a public forum? Presumably the latter is to bring such discussions out into the public domain, and then you run the risk of giving minority views more credibility than they probably deserve. As Victor points out, though, some of what was written on Climate Dialogue was very good and very balanced, so maybe some can tell the credibility of the different views, but I suspect that it’s not that easy to do, if you don’t have any actual expertise in the field already.

7. dana1981 says:

The key questions are what’s the purpose and who’s the intended audience. The general public isn’t going to be able to distinguish between the quality of the arguments made by each ‘side’ on these pretty technical issues, nor will the general public really care. Only people who are reasonably climate literate will both care and be able to accurately evaluate the quality of the arguments. That’s a very small segment of the population.

For the general population, it does create the impression of a significant ‘debate’ amongst climate experts. But since most people won’t care enough to read Climate Dialogue, that’s an insignificant effect too.

8. aTTP,
I had more in mind those moderate skeptics who are willing to learn and lukewarmers as well as people positive to main stream but interested in learning more. These people fit my definition of having special interest.

If someone follows a site like Climate Dialogue in addition to basically skeptic sites, that’s an improvement. Those who have a positive attitude to main stream science are unlikely to be be won over by the more skeptical scientists participating to the dialogue.

I wouldn’t expect any strong influence from such a site, but I would expect the influence to be almost fully positive.

9. Dean B says:

“To be clear, I’m certainly not suggesting that those who are “skeptical” should not be allowed to speak, but false balance is a genuine issue.”

I believe false balance is an unavoidable, although sometimes unfortunate, side effect of free speech. If you don’t allow dissenting points of view, and challenge them with calm rational logic, discussion simply degenerates into an “echo chamber”. There is no constructive dialogue in an “echo chamber”.

10. Pekka,

I wouldn’t expect any strong influence from such a site, but I would expect the influence to be almost fully positive.

Maybe. I think it depends on how it might influence those who read, but don’t participate. I’m not convinced that it’s easy to know what effect that might be.

DeanB,

If you don’t allow dissenting points of view, and challenge them with calm rational logic, discussion simply degenerates into an “echo chamber”. There is no constructive dialogue in an “echo chamber”.

In an ideal world, maybe; in a real world, I’m not so sure. Science isn’t really suited to debates because it takes time to address complex topics. Someone who is willing to throw out almost anything, can sound credible while presenting information that isn’t. Maybe there isn’t any constructive dialogue in a true “echo chamber”, but it is still possible to have constructive discussion amongst people who broadly agree. I’m regularly accused of running an echo chamber and yet I – and others I think – still manage to have interesting discussions, and still manage to disagree about things. There’s a fine line between allowing dissenting voices and challenging them, and giving people a platform to promote nonsense. I err on the side of avoiding the latter.

11. Maybe the ‘climate dialogue’ should focus on policy; which is where it’s really needed. Though I guess there the usual suspects will try to bring the discussion back to questioning the consensus position that makes policy necessary.

12. john,

Maybe the ‘climate dialogue’ should focus on policy; which is where it’s really needed.

Yes, I agree. That is the important topic at the moment, and the one where opinions have more value than they would normally have in a scientific discussion. Of course, it would seem difficult to have such a discussion if people still bring their flawed scientific views with them “mitigating is completely unnecessary because we really can’t warm much in the coming century under any future emission pathway”.

13. In an ideal world, maybe; in a real world, I’m not so sure. Science isn’t really suited to debates because it takes time to address complex topics.

Right, but in spite of that.

What is the strength of science?

What can make the science win?

Les dialogue? I don’t buy that.

14. Pekka,

Les dialogue? I don’t buy that.

A fair point, but wouldn’t some of this be resolved by not insisting that someone perceived to be a climate sceptic be included in every discussion? You can still have dialogue between those who agree about the basics, but differ in the details. People might start to realise that there is still disagreement even amongst mainstream scientists, but that it is more about the finer details, than the big picture.

15. aTTP,

To be interesting the dialogue requires differing opinions, but that does not mean that someone of the most skeptical edge of scientists has to be involved, there are interesting issues also within the “normal” science.

What’s probably most important for the success is that such scientists can be attracted that can present their points well and understandably to a wider audience than that of scientific conferences. It can be assumed that the readers know the basics of climate science, and have a real interest in it but not very much more.

16. Pekka,
Yes, I agree. In fact, I was thinking about that after my last response. It doesn’t work if many simply won’t get involved because of the possibility of a false balance. Hence my general view that it would improve if you removed the requirement that a scientist regard as being a climate sceptic has to be included in every discussion.

17. Lucifer says:

Thanx for the post.

CD looks like it has a high signal-to-noise ratio.

18. Debate (is that the same as dialogue?) is simply not the best way to resolve scientific disagreement. Remember the wonderful paper by John Zyman? “Are debatable scientific questions debatable?”

That being said, I have nothing against participating in Climate Dialogue and had offered to participate if they would have one on the removal of non-climatic effects. I guess they were not able to find a halfway credible debating partner or they did not find the topic interesting, in contrast to The Telegraph.

19. Victor,
Debate and dialogue aren’t quite the same. You can easily have an interesting dialogue amongst people who broadly agree. Debate would normally imply holding opposing positions. I imagine it’s quite hard to find someone (other than retired accountants) who would debate the removal of non-climatic effects in the temperature dataset.

20. The Telegraph were only interested because they found one of their advertisers approved of the topic, Victor. 🙂

21. dana1981 says:

John Russell has a good point. A similar site for climate policy would actually be useful. When we’ve had policy discussions here, it seems like almost everyone has agreed that a revenue neutral carbon tax is a good policy, for example. But because there’s so much needless ‘debate’ about climate science, climate policy is rarely discussed in any depth. I know in the US almost all the ‘debate’ among policymakers is about science (a whole lot of science denial in the conservative party), and there’s very little debate about policy (other than throw-away claims that climate policies must necessarily be job-killing and economy-destroying, which isn’t true).

Climate Dialogue would probably be a lot more useful as Climate Policy Dialogue.

22. Brandon Gates says:

ATTP,

When it comes to the general topics covered by Climate Dialogue, there is a great deal of agreement within the scientific community.

The specific topic matters a great deal, does it not? If the subject is the general mechanism of radiative forcing, the only significant disputes will be coming from the contrarian community, and presenting those views will likely constitute false balance. Broach the subject of the “best” way to do sub-grid scale cloud parameterizations in an AOGCM and one should easily be able to find consensus scientists ready to engage in robust debate. Thing is, the discussion would rapidly become too arcane for most non-experts (like me) to make heads or tails of.

The false balancers appealing to mass audiences intentionally conflate debate with dispute.

23. Dana,

Climate Dialogue would probably be a lot more useful as Climate Policy Dialogue.

Yes, that would be interesting. Might encourage people to actual engage in those kind of discussions, which – on most blogs – often get pushed to one side in favour of arguments about climate sensitivity.

Brandon,
Yes, exactly. You can have interesting dialogue with those who broadly agree, but it could be that the disagreements are about details that many would find hard to understand unless they’d spent years working in the field.

24. Willard says:

It would be interesting to know who Marcel lukewarmingly counted as skeptics. I only recall Scafetta. The others only raised some concerns regarding one issue or another.

Also, it would be interesting to know who Marcel would have invited on the skeptic side if the same experiment lasted ten more years.

25. Brandon Gates says:

ATTP, the other thing about dealing with the intellectually dishonest is that dialogue simply isn’t in their vocabulary. Not long ago a fellow asked me: if water vapor is such a potent greenhouse gas why are max temps so much higher in the Sahara as opposed to the Amazon? I said it was an excellent question that I was happy to discuss. He wasn’t happy about that, for he already had his answer.

26. Willard,
The others are – I assume – Judith Curry, Roger Pielke Sr, John Christy, Nic Lewis, and Armin Bunde (who I’ve never heard of, but seems to be presenting the same kind of arguments as presented by Doug Keenan).

27. Willard says:

I missed Christy. Bunde is a bit less skeptic regarding determinism than Koutsoyannis, whom Keenan more or less emulates. Beyond that, I’m not sure where the cut-off is.

Senior, Judy, Nic, and Koutso seem to agree with the IPCC’s ball park, notwithstanding some mild or wild sea lioning

28. Willard,

Bunde is a bit less skeptic regarding determinism than Koutsoyannis, whom Keenan more or less emulates. Beyond that, I’m not sure where the cut-off is.

I’m not sure either. I’ve been using perceived to be a climate sceptic because that is how it is described in the report. I couldn’t find a formal definition, though. I’ve also been slightly generous is using sceptic without inverted commas. I does annoy me that that term has been taken over by those who I regard as not being sufficiently sceptical, but I’m trying to stick with the terminology in the report.

29. Windchasers says:

To put the issue simply:

For a technical field, the more rigorous and accurate the dialogue becomes, the more technical it will be, and so, the less interesting and accessible it will be to the average person.

Conversely, to make the dialogue more accessible and interesting, you have to dumb it down and oversimplify it, removing much of how we know what we know. More accessible == less rigorous, so then it’s easier to obfuscate.

To actually deal with obfuscations, we must argue at a more technical level. When the technical level is beyond the grasp of the reader, confirmation bias typically kicks in.

And there’s your impenetrable wall. That’s why you can’t make progress in convincing the public.

PS. I’m ignoring meta-issues, like which side of the debate your confirmation bias naturally lies on, how it got there, D-K effect and ideology, etc.

30. Joseph says:

Pekka, I think it’s difficult to know how many lukewarmers there are that are open to new information and among those who how many would have the technical background to understand or really appreciate the significance of the new information.

I do think there are even among hardcore “skeptics” those who want to see less coal, more renewables and especially more nuclear. It would be nice to see more presentations on what a transition to a low (or no) carbon emissions economy would look like and make the case that the transition will not do the damage that those on the “skeptical” side seem to think. I think if someone can make an effective and compelling case it might persuade some “skeptics” that we might be able to do something even if is a compromise of some sort.

31. Windchasers says:

Windchaser’s Law:

“For any level of technical debate, you can come up with a plausible-sounding but incorrect claim that can only be refuted by going to a deeper technical level.”

Eventually, the public gets lost in the details, and they go with either their confirmation bias or “scientists don’t know”.

32. John Hartz says:

Windchasers: Your posts resonate with me.

Let’s face it, the only arena that really matters is the political/policy arena. The human race is simply running out of time to take the actions necessary to mitigate catastrophic climate change and ocean acidification. While we fiddle about scientific and quasi-scientifiic dialogues, the world burns.

Unfortunately, doing something about climate change is now taking the back seat to the immediate threat posed by the disintigration of civil society in the Middle East and northern Africa. In addition, Putin is hell bent on recreating the Russian Empire.

33. Having just gone through a discussion at CA, and another earlier (also criticizing a post of Nic Lewis) I do think that sites like that are followed by many people genuinely interested in learning. They follow that site and some similar sites probably for two reasons. One is that that most of them have skeptic views, but another very important point is that the technical discussion on those sites takes place in a way and at a level that makes them feel that they can follow the arguments or at least a significant part of it. They like the fact that what others are saying can really be contested. Some participants repeat pointless comments, but that’s not serious (and when that gets too disruptive someone may come out at ask for stopping that).

The site is technical (leaving out threads related to or dominated by personality wars), but not too inaccessible and not too authoritative. What Steve McI and some others are writing may be accepted too easily, but their writings can be contested. The site has it’s problems but it’s strengths are such that many science sites could learn from what’s going on there.

Science of Doom has had similar virtues with less problems, but it’s not as actively followed and it may have become too demanding for most when the easiest parts are already in the past, and Sod has moved closer to ongoing science.

It’s more difficult to initiate discussion and attract so many people to follow by explaining correct science than by claiming faults in papers. It’s perhaps possible to raise questions to attract attention and to then assure that valid results get ultimately presented, but doing that without losing credibility may be very difficult.

34. Pekka,
I don’t have the patience to do what you’ve managed to do in your discussions on CA. I’m quite impressed, TBH. One thing I did wonder is what Nic Lewis would get if he was to plot trends of $\Delta N + \alpha \Delta T$ in the pre-industrial control runs, rather than simply trends in $\Delta N$, and $\Delta T$. I could ask myself, but I get the impression Nic Lewis isn’t talking to me anymore 🙂

35. aTTP,
I understood that my latest comment that had again some more formulas has been accepted by most, including Nic. That doesn’t perhaps resolve everything, but then I think also myself that some of the assumptions and approximations in combination with the limited coverage of parameter space that CMIP5 ensemble represents allows legitimate questioning of the significance of the results.

That’s a totally different issue than the claims that the authors made gross errors in their approach. I don’t know about a single actual error in the work, but I have doubts on the power of the analysis.

36. Michael 2 says:

“Where is the value in having a dialogue about these topics that will give the impression that the minority view has more acceptance than it actually has?”

The minority view in your domain may well be the majority view in mine. So y’all just ask yourself how strongly you wish to have billions of dollars.

Al Gore’s strategy was doomed from the beginning; came on strong but not a lot of proof or substance, no “legs” or endurance. Continental Drift took a long time; so will this.

By some predictions the human race is already doomed so it doesn’t matter. By other predictions there is barely any A in GW, and not a lot of GW either. So this is like a presidential candidate debate — it isn’t enough to be correct; in fact that barely matters. People are looking for tribal characteristics. That’s well understood so you reach out to the various “tribes” and that means you don’t NEED a website with a million visitors, you need VARIETY of visitors, with several echelons of scientific literacy; as you traverse (not go down, it’s lateral) the spectrum leaving science and approaching politics, the language changes. Hardly anyone can make the leap in one bound. You find common elements of language; for instance, Willis Eschenbach and I have in common some understanding of FFT/DFT and after some experimenting realize it isn’t all that effective in climate science — but it is a bridge to a wider audience and you give up a bit of scientific precision and gain a much wider audience; anyone involved in signals.

“Someone who is willing to throw out almost anything, can sound credible while presenting information that isn’t.”

Except that it isn’t all that convincing. Consider the posts by Jai Mitchell — now there’s some throwing everything but the kitchen sink. A “real” scientist is invariably a specialist; deeply knowledgeable about his or her specialty and doesn’t throw out a dozen disparate arguments in a single breath. People that throw out everything trigger pretty much everyone’s BS detector, a “know-it-all”. I’d rather have to deal with BBD or jsam’s insults that read a long list of assertions that I’ve seen a hundred times already. Pick one and lets wrestle it to the ground. Make it FUN. If it isn’t fun, people will go somewhere else.

37. M2,

The minority view in your domain may well be the majority view in mine. So y’all just ask yourself how strongly you wish to have billions of dollars.

Sorry, this doesn’t really make much sense. Either there is a majority view, or there isn’t. It can’t really depend on who holds the view.

38. corey says:

“By some predictions the human race is already doomed so it doesn’t matter. By other predictions there is barely any A in GW, and not a lot of GW either.”

So much for an honest dialogue…

39. Joseph says:

My impression is that the main takeaway that most “skeptics” without a the technical backgound (that don’t visit the site, but get their info second hand) get from what McIntyre has done is to think the hockey stick is “fraudulent” and no one should trust Michael Mann. That’s enough of a reason for some to doubt all of climate science. That’s not all McIntyre’s doing but that is how what he posts get’s filtered to rest of the “skeptics.”.

40. corey,
Hmmm, I didn’t get quite that far down M2’s comment.

Joseph,
Indeed. There are many who seem to repeat the refrain that the Hockey Stick has been debunked and they’re rarely – if ever – corrected on some sites.

41. Hans Erren says:

Mann always avoids McIntyre, Bohr vs. Einstein is what I call Science. If you claim something, man up to it and defend it against your adversaries. If your claim survives that, only then it is validated. Publication is not the terminus of your research, it is just the the starting point of the scientific journey to truth.

42. Hans,
I’d avoid him too if I was Mann. You clearly don’t really understand how science works. A scientist doesn’t need to defend their work against attacks. Once published, it’s open to criticism. It’s the job of the critic to present a convincing argument – in the peer-reviewed literature – not the job of the person being criticised to defend. And if you’re claiming that Mann vs McIntyre is like Bohr vs Einstein, then …… (okay, I can’t think of suitable words).

43. Personality wars are what I don’t like at all at CA. Everything that gets even close to Mann tends to fall in that category. “Gets even close” means that much of the discussion of the past two millenia is affected.

44. BBD says:

Oh, the whole Holocene. Remember McI’s campaign against Marcott et al. (2013).

45. BBD says:

The minority view in your domain may well be the majority view in mine. So y’all just ask yourself how strongly you wish to have billions of dollars.

In which M2 conflates politics and physics.

46. Lucifer says:

I think that’s been debunked here many times before.

47. BBD says:

Lucifer

What ‘that’ is that?

48. So y’all just ask yourself how strongly you wish to have billions of dollars.

If you mean those illustrious billions of dollars for climate research: I would prefer not to get that if that means having to tell the mitigation sceptics what they want to hear rather than what the evidence shows. If that mean only doing science in my free time, so be it. No use of being a scientist when you are not allowed to do science. Maybe there is still a job at some patent office free.

49. BBD says:

Too many Einsteins on the beach.

50. Willard says:

1, 2, 3, 4.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

51. Willard says:

> Publication is not the terminus of your research, it is just the the starting point of the scientific journey to truth.

A possible end point:

Not only was the original Barton-Whitfield investigation (in the form of intimidating letters) inspired by the allegations of “climate science auditor” Steve McIntyre, but the defining impetus seems to have been a little known Cooler Heads Coalition-Marshall Institute sponsored presentation by McIntyre and sidekick economist Ross McKitrick in Washington barely a month beforehand.

Energy and Commerce Committee Republican staffer Peter Spencer played a key but hitherto undisclosed role in the investigation and the subsequent Wegman panel report, and apparently acted as the main source and gatekeeper of climate science information for the panel.

Steve McIntyre was in communication with the Wegman panel, at least concerning technical questions around replication of his work. The full extent of McIntyre’s communications or meetings with Spencer or other staffers, as well as Wegman panelists, is still unknown. However, the record shows there were at least two intriguing opportunities for face-to-face meetings in Washington during the Wegman panel’s mandate.

http://deepclimate.org/2010/02/08/steve-mcintyre-and-ross-mckitrick-part-2-barton-wegman/

Truth ended up in Washington, at least for this ClimateBall episode.

52. Two points of view :

A) Don’t engage a discussion with ‘skeptics’ as defined by the ‘consensus science side’ as too far away from what ‘most of us’ believe. Why? It confuses. It legitimises anti-science. After all, why would anyone believe these points. Why would anyone not accept the ‘consensus point of view’?

At best – a waste of time. At worst – legitimises ‘d..ers’

B) Engage with this group of people. They aren’t doing post-doctoral research in this field and can’t actually understand the research without some less technical input (tips and signposts) from specialists. The research is too detailed, it relies on following a chain of evidence from the 1980s (or earlier) up to today – and without a supervisor who can provide context and guidance it is not at all clear how strong the evidence is – or on what lines of evidence the conclusions are based.

Without this discussion (in less technical language than that found papers) you rely on the argument from authority (exceptionally strong, who needs anything else?) or the belief that subjects that are well into post-doc territory are easily followed by non-specialists without any guidance. And so, why do faculties have supervisors, lecturers and any teaching at all? It is easy. Here is the pile of papers – produce your masters or PHD. Why even show a pile of papers? Here is google scholar (or educational establishment search tool), see you in 3 years. Questions? What is wrong with you?

As you might guess, I am with B. A small minority of commenters on this blog. Who could possibly question research when someone else tells them it is accepted by most active researchers in the field? Clearly only idiots, stubborn fools, or people in the pay of the Koch brothers.

53. Joshua says:

Anders –

I haven’t read the comments yet, but just from the OP, I think that that something is missing in the analysis:

From the report:

==> “One important reason was what is sometimes called ‘false balance’, i.e. the perception that the format of specifically inviting sceptical scientists to the dialogue gives them more ‘weight’ than they have in the broader scientific community, and as such provides a skewed view of the scientific debate.”

The problem, IMO, is that the view of the debate is already skewed, in the sense of public opinion about the relative weight of different opinions in the scientific community. The public already thinks that there is a larger % of the scientific community that holds “skeptical”‘ views than there is, in reality.

So when you say this:

==> “Where is the value in having a dialogue about these topics that will give the impression that the minority view has more acceptance than it actually has?”

I don’t think that you’re describing a real cause-and-effect. The people who read the scientific discussion at someplace like Climate Dialog are more than likely those who already have fixed ideas about not only the relative sizes of the minority/majority views, but about climate change more generally.

It was naive to think that the existence of something like Climate Dialog would shift very many people’s views. Blogs like that are more or less only vehicles for people who are already invested and identified along an existing taxonomy of belief to confirm those pre-existing beliefs. There’s nothing really new about that site because it doesn’t create a different conversational paradigm. It’s an exercise in sameolsameol. Thinking that it would create some kind of change is basically evidence of a lack of understanding, IMO, of the underlying influences in how most people (meaning not the people who read Climate Dialog – who are by definition outliers) formulate their views on climate change. Most people don’t read in-depth discussions of the science to formulate their views, and most people who do read in-depth discussions of the science only do so, so that they can reinforce their existing identity-oriented biases about who believes what about climate change.

54. SoD,

As you might guess, I am with B. A small minority of commenters on this blog. Who could possibly question research when someone else tells them it is accepted by most active researchers in the field? Clearly only idiots, stubborn fools, or people in the pay of the Koch brothers.

I’m not quite following your argument. I can’t tell if you’re suggesting that there should be more appeals to authority or that that is a bad thing to do.

Joshua,

It was naive to think that the existence of something like Climate Dialog would shift very many people’s views.

Yes, I probably agree, but then what is the point of a site like Climate Dialogue? It’s not going to influence the scientific debate (those presenting arguments are not going to be swayed by the other arguments) and it’s unlikely to change the views of those reading and commenting.

55. Eli Rabett says:

IEHO WRT what Pekka wrote here and in CA, the problem of power in an analysis such as M&F is that there can be no strong test of a GCM that examines a small, globally averaged set of values. You might as well stick with one or two dimensional models (each of which have their worth) and avoid the expense and time involved in scaling up to three dimensions. By definition Pekka is right that there is not a huge amount of there there, OTOH it was a neat little finger exercise

That being the case, again IEHO, the right way to go about validating GCMs would involve pattern recognition, a field which has really grown in the past decade and which, of course, is itself complex. There what you are looking for is the ability to model observed circulation patterns because that shows skill in modeling energy flows, maybe not so much surface temperature and precip which are results of the same. If the GCM does a good job on circulation, that validates the other outputs. About a year ago, Steve Easterbrook pointed to an interesting exercise in this, but the problem to Eli was that the model appeared to do a good job on the circulation, but that was by eye, and eyeballing is tricky

[video src="http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~sme/movies/YearEUMETSAT2013.m4v" /]

[video src="http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~sme/movies/YearT341.m4v" /]

56. Eli Rabett says:

What Climate Dialog was, was an attempt, in the words of the Idiot Tracker, to jimmy the Overton window. It was initiated by the conservative (in Euro terms) government in the Netherlands to give a voice to those who believed the IPCC consensus to be too concerning. Notice that there was no attempt to give voice to those who believe the prospect of climate change to be much more concerning than the IPCC does.

What happened was that Rob van Dorland, Bart Strengers, Eleftheria Vasileiadou(?), and Bart Verheggen were able to resist Marcel Crok’s attempts to visit never never land and put together a dialog which isolated the dragon slayers. It failed to a large extent because (a) where were the people shouting the planet is in danger and (b) the people on the side of the IPCC consensus were much too polite about the stadium wave and similar nonsense.

57. If people are doing a post-mortem on Climate Dialogue, the obvious thing to note is that it was a sporadic blog. Posting 4 pieces over a couple of years will guarantee obscurity.

I started an oil blog in 2004 and by posting every day, I had some readership. But then I slowly transitioned to original research that became more and more sporadic, and gradually lost everyone. A fraction of people know how to use RSS feeds. You have to realize that this is all part of a grand experiment in science communication.

58. ” stadium wave and similar nonsense.”

Wyatt and Curry cited the geophysicist correlation here:

“Air Temperature and Anthropogenic Forcing: Insights from the Solid Earth”
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010JCLI3500.1

59. Dana wrote in an early comment to this thread

A similar site for climate policy would actually be useful. When we’ve had policy discussions here, it seems like almost everyone has agreed that a revenue neutral carbon tax is a good policy, for example. But because there’s so much needless ‘debate’ about climate science, climate policy is rarely discussed in any depth.
[..]
Climate Dialogue would probably be a lot more useful as Climate Policy Dialogue.

I agree that such a dialogue would be more important and useful – if it could be initiated and maintained as a real dialogue. But that’s a big if. If the participants to the dialogue are too far from each other, no genuine dialogue is likely to ensue. Factual and science based justifications for the various views are even more difficult to understand or judge that the arguments presented based on GCMs or paleoclimatology. The science itself is more dependent on subjective judgments by the scientists than any part of physical climate science, while physical climate science itself is more dependent on such judgments than most physical sciences (otherwise there were no need to refer to the degree of agreement in IPCC reports).

60. jsam says:

In the real world denialists may not have much influence.
http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/02/the-carbon-brief-interview-lord-deben-part-one/

61. Willard says:

AT,

SoD is using a slippery slope to caricature appeals to authority and those who abide by them as a mean to caution JAQing off and other auditing techniques, not without some victim playing in the end. The usual ingredients peddled in a discussion about Climate Dialogue and used to dichotomize his own schtick from yours.

Just be thankful for his concerns, otherwise you’ll be blamed for poisoning the climate dialogue.

62. Joshua says:

SoD –

==> “As you might guess, I am with B. ”

I’m with SoD. I think that his/her experiences, given his/her skills and abilities, should be the basis on which we develop a comprehensive approach towards communicating with the public, generally

63. Willard says:

You can’t be with SoD, Joshua. Unless you’re from a small minority on this blog?

64. I still don’t understand what SoD is suggesting, so really can’t tell if I’m with, against, or somewhere in between.

65. Joshua says:

–> “Yes, I probably agree, but then what is the point of a site like Climate Dialogue? ”

I think that it was a good idea in theory – only the theory was based on a misconception about what role a site like Climate Dialogue plays in belief formation about climate change (and more generally how most people formulate their views on climate change).

When I first saw the site, because I didn’t really think it through, I thought it was a good idea. I was foolishly falling into wishful thinking – that an opportunity to read an exchange between scientists of different views would help people to reach a deeper understanding of the issues, and perhaps even provide a form for the scientists to reconcile different scientific perspectives. I wanted that to be true… After all, wouldn’t that be nice???

Kind of funny now, for me to look back on that.

The site was based on the “information deficit model” being operative. “Realists” and “skeptics” alike, so convinced that their own perspective is the only one people can have if they are fully informed and un-biased, think that the way to close the great climate change divide is to provide better information to the “other side.”

That doesn’t work, IMO – at least in the specific context of Climate Dialogue: as I said, IMO, for the most part the only people who would take the time to slog through the scientists’ arguments as presented on that site are those who are technically knowledgeable and skilled enough to understand the arguments. And for the most part anyone who would fit that description is already fixed in their views. He/she will read the arguments from the scientists from the “other side” only to find ways to further convince him/herself that scientists from the “other side” are wrong. And readers with and without the technical skills and abilities alike, will read the comments and filter out they don’t agree with to reinforce their existing viewpoint. People scan the discussions so they can cull talking points.

How many of us have ever seen someone – who is informed enough about climate change to understand technical arguments about points of disagreement – change their views about the science because they read a new take on the evidence from someone who has a different perspective? I doubt many of us have seen it happen very often.

Climate Dialogue was based on an vision (I’m assuming) that good faith dialogue is taking place, and that creating a forum online for good faith discussion would lead to good faith discussion. The proof of that vision is in the pudding.

66. verytallguy says:

ATTP,

I still don’t understand what SoD is suggesting, so really can’t tell if I’m with, against, or somewhere in between.

Wanting to understand before passing judgement?

You’re clearly not really cut out for this climate blogging thing at all!

67. John Hartz says:

ATTP: Perhaps you should ask SoD to explain it in an equation or two. :0

68. Joshua says:

willard –

I was sarcastically playing along with SoD’s sarcasm. Although I have to agree with Anders – as even accounting for sarcasm, I wasn’t sure what he/she was actually saying.

69. Marco says:

“Climate Dialogue was based on an vision (I’m assuming) that good faith dialogue is taking place”

Nope. It was a political decision that “climate skeptics” should be more involved in future studies on climate change to make sure a broad opinion would get covered. There was no explicit idea that there was any good faith dialogue.

70. Willard says:

What SoD is suggesting seems quite clear to me. On the one hand, there is a climate dialogue. On the other, there is AT’s, or at least the vast majority of commenters. Which side are “you” on? The “you” is the audience, to whom SoD addresses this drive-by. This rhetorical trick peddles on this thread the topic of his latest rant about the D word, a word SoD admitted rarely having heard about himself. Instead of arguing for the scientists’ responsibility of addressing issues in a way that would make amateurs learn, SoD goes for the sideswipe. In a few years, he’ll get as subtle as Hans Erren above.

In any event, let’s keep calm and not be so defensive.

71. Joshua says:

If I remember correctly, SoD said that he/she couldn’t recall ever being called a “denier.” Interesting, that.

Where’s Steve?

* (Please beware of “admitted.” It’s not one of David Rose’s favorite terms without reason).

72. Willard says:

#JeSuisUnDenier

73. Kevin O'Neill says:

I haven’t had yet this morning my first cup of coffee, so caveat emptor ….SoD posits that we have two choices: A) Don’t engage in a dialogue with skeptics, or B)Engage in said dialogue. SoD is in camp B.

SoD has pitched a tent in camp B because the answers to many AGW questions are not intuitively obvious and appeals to authority (the accepted scientific literature) are double-plus ungood. Thus, skeptics require a guide (dialogue) to help them through the tricky parts.

My own take is that SoD overestimates the number of skeptics that, even guided step-by-step, are willing to work through the evidence, logic, and equations that lead to the scientific consensus. I know of *one* skeptic who has actually done so and came out the other side with a revised and changed opinion of AGW.

In the end, I believe that social, political, and financial considerations trump the science in many skeptics psyches: Upton Sinclair wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” We can add a couple substitutions for ‘salary,’ perhaps ‘worldview’ and ‘social network.’

74. Instead of arguing for the scientists’ responsibility of addressing issues in a way that would make amateurs learn

There are more than enough books about climate change for a general audience. If people have a specific informed question after informing them well, I am sure most scientists would be honored by the effort to understand his work and would be very happy to answer that question.

75. Joshua says:

I’m with Kevin O’Neill.

76. jsam says:

I’m with Stupid.

Oh, that’s me.

77. Most seem to agree on one point:

“The approaches that differ from my own favorite are of little value in influencing the views of those who are wrong.”

It’s possible that everyone thinking so is right, i.e. no approach has much influence.

My views are close to those SoD favors in his comment and has also applied on his blog. Only few are perhaps affected directly by each activity along that line, but perhaps those few have more indirect further influence in their environment.

Independently of the success of other approaches I think that getting even few people to learn more about the science has a noticeable effect over long periods. Persistence is required in that, but the persistent presentation of science may have better changes of success than other approaches.

In that it’s essential that people who participate in the discussion in good faith do not feel insulted or underrated. Net comments seem to lead easily to such a perception even when that’s not the purpose at all.

78. > In that it’s essential that people who participate in the discussion in good faith do not feel insulted or underrated. Net comments seem to lead easily to such a perception even when that’s not the purpose at all.

Personally, I don’t feel insulted by this at all:

A small minority of commenters on this blog. Who could possibly question research when someone else tells them it is accepted by most active researchers in the field? Clearly only idiots, stubborn fools, or people in the pay of the Koch brothers.

I don’t think I need to scan pages from manuals of critical thinking and argumentation theory to make us accept that this contains common Climatball ™ moves.

That SoD posts physics stuff on his blog does not caution such moves.

79. Yes, what Willard said.

80. ” SoD is in camp B.”

I am in camp B only because the chance of picking up on their #OwnGoal scores is too much to pass by. c.f. the example of Wyatt and Curry’s Stadium Wave work. Have to remind yourself that when the science is on your side, any and all evidence when interpreted properly will further the overall understanding. So that when pseudo-skeptics are guarding their goal too closely, they will let the own goals through. The pros likely find this distasteful but garbage-time goals are fine for us amateurs 🙂

81. Great discussion. Pekka’s point is interesting, that false balance is less of an issue for highly technical discussions. That’s partly true, but the goal of course was to obtain a wider and bigger readership. People not following the details may still get the impression of a 50-50 split about the issue under discussion. But like Pekka I think there’s a lot of value in public technical discussions.

His other point underscores that importance, namely the popularity of e.g. CA. A site like ClimDial could in principle appeal to the same demographic, but then with less personal attacks and more mainstream science.

also agree with calls for dialogue on policy.

ps: I was directly involved in climdialogue.

82. Windchasers says:

SOD says:
“Engage with this group of people. They aren’t doing post-doctoral research in this field and can’t actually understand the research without some less technical input (tips and signposts) from specialists.

While I’m generally fond of this approach, I expect that relatively few people are actually going to go in-depth enough to actually understand the science well-enough. Many more will fall prey to this problem:

For any level of technical debate, you can come up with plausible-sounding but incorrect claims that can only be refuted by referring to a deeper technical level.

Basically, if they’re skeptical of the science and scientists, they can always find something to justify that unbelief. It’s why we still have anti-vaxxers and creationists, too. Being wrong on a particular point doesn’t matter here; they’ll just move on to another one.

Lately, I’m taking a different approach: point out the double standards, the way they hold the scientists to a higher standard of rigor than they hold themselves. Point out the Gish Galloping. Try to induce some self-doubt and raise their standards of skepticism.

It’s too soon to tell yet if this works. I’m skeptical. :-p. (“Self-doubt? What’s that?”)

The public’s opinion of science is unfortunately not determined by the actual quality of the science. It’s determined by how accessible the science is, by their trust or distrust of scientists, and by how the scientific claims interact with their ideology and identity. Very meta-issues, each of which has its own influences.

I think SoD’s work is a solid way to help change the perception of the science – by a rational, calm explanation of how it works – and I’ve found it invaluable. But I think it only works on a small audience; the ones who are already both deeply curious and rigorous, who go deep instead of just accepting what they read in the Guardian or NYT.

The information deficit idea is indeed operative in a few, special cases. Yet it’s still important to address, mostly because not addressing it gives more fodder to one of the real problems: a distrust of science and scientists.

83. The problem is perhaps not information deficit, but lack of understanding, how science works. The way new scientific results are advertized by press releases and published in main stream media, and occasionally even in some (semi) scientific publications seems to be often counterproductive.

Professional scientists are not the least shocked, when a scientific publications turns out to contain errors, but the combination of the news written about such papers and the way skeptics take advantage of the cases of errors adds to skepticism.

Reading the new Denizens-II thread at Climate Etc is quite revealing of one self-selected group of skeptics. Very many people tell similar stories of reasons of their skepticism. I’m sure, almost all are sincere, but the histories may involve significantly self-deception. They want to believe that their history is as they tell it. Majority of stories tell about professionals like engineers or IT specialists. They admit that they do not really understand science, but they seem to feel that their education and/or experience gives some ability to judge the work of scientists.

My first paragraph seems to apply to very many of them. If they had understood better the nature of science in general, their ideas might have developed differently – or at least they had to explain the origin of their skepticism differently.

84. Michael 2 says:

“Sorry, this doesn’t really make much sense. Either there is a majority view, or there isn’t. It can’t really depend on who holds the view.”

I suspedt Mr. Schroedinger was corrected a few times. (pardon bad typing, this ancient Dell X1 has terrible latency; I can type an entire sentence before any of it shows up on my screen). The cat is either dead or it is not dead, and the answer is, “yes”.

The words “the majority” have almost no meaning without “of what”. Once you define “the majoirty”, which is going to be a subset of a set,

The hard disk is going nuts. Anyway, “majority” implies the existence of a set, of which it is a subset, having more than half of the members of the set. Without knowing anything about the set, you also know nothing about the subset.

So I am using majority to imply the existence of the set of all people who are involved as taxpayers and voters in any government involved in this or these schemes. For the moment that seems to be all of the developed nations, but the United States more specifically since tht is where I am and experience. Europe is obviously different; and the United States consists of persons that escaped Europe. Hence Kyoto was a relatively easy sell to Europe but that bird didn’t even get off tghe ground in the United States.

It is clear to me that many here have an implicit set in mind when they use the word “majority” and I wish for a bit more Schroedinger thinking, your set is not my set, your majoirty is not my majoirty, and it does matter who is speaking and what he means by “Majority”.

I have no doubt, and never did, that most scientists working in climatology are, to varying degree, proper Consensus members. Being excellent in science is hardly a formula for policymaking but worse ideas exist. Ultimately policy is largely or entirely economic. Wars are economic. Property is economic. Eating, sleeping, living in houses and building them, all economic. Economists would be much better poolicymakers. but they require data and formulae and tht’s where scientists enter the grand picture (in my opinion obviously).

So long as you have a voting majoirty in a legislature, you CAN ignore deniers. If you don’t have that majority in a legilsature, then you cannot ignore deniers.if one has a specifical global goal in mind that is.

I think its the spell checker. I had forgotten what a pig is Firefox. Every keystroke triggers a parsing of the entire comment block and if you don’t have enough RAM it will start to swap to the paging file almost violently. and that just makes it worse.

85. Brandon Gates says:

Victor,

If people have a specific informed question after informing them well, I am sure most scientists would be honored by the effort to understand his work and would be very happy to answer that question.

I’ve observed that our contrarian friends excel at feigning an inability to distinguish between

1) A novice question of an expert designed to enhance their own lay understanding and

2) A self-proclaimed “expert” question designed to “prove” that a legitimately expert finding is wrong.

Variations on this theme can be dismally amusing. For example: heaping scorn on Michael Mann because he won’t engage “skeptics” in debate, lauding the 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley because he takes questions from all comers.

On second thought, maybe a lot of these guys aren’t pretending.

86. Pekka,

Professional scientists are not the least shocked, when a scientific publications turns out to contain errors, but the combination of the news written about such papers and the way skeptics take advantage of the cases of errors adds to skepticism.

Yes, this is probably true. It doesn’t surprise me at all if a new paper turns out to have some kind of error or – more commonly – an assumption that others might disagree with. Science isn’t engineering. The goal of a piece of research is to determine something with finality and to provide some kind of end product, it is simply to gain understanding. If it’s wrong, but generates interest and further study, that’s still a useful piece of work. That’s why we should trust the method (replication, reproducibility, ….) not individual pieces of work.

87. maybe a lot of these guys aren’t pretending.

Let’s be generous and assume that best: that they are pretending.

88. John Hartz says:

In the context of this comment thread and others like it, the following caught my eye…

If you’re like me, you wonder how we have yet to take the collective action that we need to address climate change. The signs are everywhere, and yet, as a society, we have failed to take meaningful action. Physicist Robert Davies wondered if it was simply that the public didn’t know the science.

Davies tells Joe Palca of NPR’s All Things Considered that he saw the “broad gap between what science understands about climate change and what the public understands” as a simple “problem of science communication.” So, he began giving lectures around the country about “the looming dangers of climate change and what it meant for sustaining life on this planet.”

What he found, though, is the public actually does understand the problem at least on an intellectual level. “But it was still very difficult to connect with,” Davies says. Palca makes the comparison of “lecturing people about the dangers of smoking and then watching them go out afterwards and light up a cigarette.”

Scientist Finds Remarkable Way to Connect People Emotionally with Climate Change by Colin Mello, EcoWatch, Feb 18, 2015

89. swood1000 says:

Personally, I think there is no way to have any kind of really constructive dialogue about climate science (and I mean science specifically) between those who broadly accept the mainstream position, and those who do not. It might be interesting, but it won’t really resolve anything. This is mainly because this really isn’t how scientific disagreements are resolved.

Could you elaborate on this? Why isn’t this how scientific disagreements are resolved? Looking back over the history of scientific debates where one side held the position know known to be correct, didn’t the other side necessarily hold the position not supported by the scientific evidence?

There could be no constructive dialogue because no rational person could fail to accept the mainstream position, or because only nonsensical, misleading or meritless arguments can be made against the mainstream position? In other words, no respectable scientist could hold such a position so there is nobody else left to debate?

90. swood1000,

Could you elaborate on this?

Oh, I just mean between those who – as I said – broadly accept the mainstream position and those who dispute this position. You’re right that there are plenty of interesting discussions that could be had between those who agree about the basics but disagree about the details. Partly my view is somewhat personal. It just seems to me that if you try to have such a discussion with someone who is largely dismissive of mainstream climate science it ends up degenerating into name calling.

Looking back over the history of scientific debates where one side held the position know known to be correct, didn’t the other side necessarily hold the position not supported by the scientific evidence?

Except, sometimes scientific debates are largely resolved, at which point you may still have some who dispute the result, but they tend to dwindle with time. Just because a small minority of scientists dispute some position, doesn’t mean that there is a real scientific debate.

In other words, no respectable scientist could hold such a position so there is nobody else left to debate?

Again, I’m really only referring to those who would dispute the mainstream position. It’s not that there’s noone left to debate. My view is that the debate is more about the details than about the big picture. Also, I’m more referring to what I’ve experience in the online “debate” than what I would expect to take place in the scientific literature or at scientific conferences.

91. swood1000 says:

It just seems to me that if you try to have such a discussion with someone who is largely dismissive of mainstream climate science it ends up degenerating into name calling.

I agree, but there can’t really be a serious discussion on any topic unless both sides want to keep it out of the gutter. Do we say that since political discussions often degenerate that we shouldn’t have political discussions? Perhaps it would be better to have a forum in which those who engage in personal abuse are excluded.

Again, I’m really only referring to those who would dispute the mainstream position.

What are some examples of statements that you believe could not in good faith be disputed? Do you think that the mainstream position was disputed in these posts on climatedialogue.org:

On Climate Sensitivity and Transient Climate Response – Nic Lewis
The (missing) tropical hot spot – John Christy
Are regional models ready for prime time? – Roger Pielke Sr.
Melting of the Arctic sea ice – Judith Curry

92. swood1000,

I agree, but there can’t really be a serious discussion on any topic unless both sides want to keep it out of the gutter.

Yes, that’s kind of the point behind this post. If we want to keep things out of the gutter we can choose to do so.

Do you think that the mainstream position was disputed in these posts on climatedialogue.org:

You aren’t Judith Curry are you? 😀 My issue with those particular examples is that they seem to present arguments that are not necessarily inconsistent with the mainstream, but in which they dispute large swathes of the mainstream view, or use their views as reasons to question/dispute the mainstream view. For example, Nic Lewis seems to try to argue that his estimates of climate sensitivity are somehow more robust and credible than other estimates of climate sensitivity. Yes, it is possible that the actual climate sensitivity will be within his range, but it’s also quite possible that it won’t. Nic Lewis’s calculations are perfectly reasonable, but they also include assumptions that mean that you can’t really use his calculations to suggest that paleo or GCM estimates are somehow wrong (i.e., his calculations are probably too simply to really make any strong statements, but that doesn’t appear to stop Nic Lewis from doing so).

There’s nothing wrong with presenting an alternative calculation of something. However, if your calculation includes assumptions that preclude you from actually showing that other estimates have flaws, then your calculation doesn’t necessarily disprove other estimates. It becomes an estimate that is correct if your assumptions turn out to be true, but that might not be correct if they aren’t.

93. sword1000,
Actually, I’ll expand a bit on my previous comment

On Climate Sensitivity and Transient Climate Response – Nic Lewis

I think Nic Lewis’s work is quite interesting but I think it is more inside the mainstream than some might like you to think and I don’t think it provides compelling evidence against other estimates.

The (missing) tropical hot spot – John Christy

I think this is a bit of a strawman. The tropical hotspot is not AGW specific (it would be a consequence of any warming) and I don’t think that it hasn’t been robustly detected yet means much. I don’t think we would really have expected to have detected much of a hotspot yet (happy to be corrected about this, though).

Are regional models ready for prime time? – Roger Pielke Sr.

I think that there is indeed debate about the value of GCMs for regional modelling. However, this doesn’t mean that their global estimates for warming, and other factors like the changes to the hydrological cycle, are not reasonable.

Melting of the Arctic sea ice – Judith Curry

Judith Curry’s Stadium Wave is really just an elaborate curve fitting exercise, so it’s not really clear what value it has. Very little – if any – physical motivation.

94. dhogaza says:

ATTP:

” I don’t think we would really have expected to have detected much of a hotspot yet (happy to be corrected about this, though).”

You’re stating the mainstream position, which I think Steven Sherwood states well in his response to that question over at Climate Dialog. John Christy indeed disputes the mainstream position in a couple of areas. First, he insists that current homogenizations of the radiosonde data, along with the MSU datasets, have error ranges small enough to exclude the possibility that the modeled hotspot predictions are being missed due to observations not being precise enough. This isn’t the mainstream view AFAIK, Sherwood’s summary that “we can’t say due to the relatively poor quality of observational data”, is.

Sherwood says: “Although there has been more to-ing and fro-ing in the literature since then, as described in the opening article for this exchange, I still remain unconvinced that we can observe the small changes in temperature structure that are being discussed. Tests of radiosonde homogenisation methods (e.g., Thorne et al. 2011) show that they are often unreliable. MSU is not well calibrated and its homogenisation issues are also serious, as shown by the range of results previously obtained from this instrument series. To obtain upper-tropospheric trends from Channel 2 of MSU requires subtracting out a large contribution to trends in this channel coming from lower-stratospheric cooling. The latter remains highly uncertain due to a discrepancy between cooling rates in radiosondes and MSU.” and goes on from there.

The second issue I have with Christy’s post is that he uses his certainty that models are (in essence) proven wrong in this regard as a hook to hang his political position on:

“This indicates our ignorance of the climate system is still enormous and, as suggested by Stevens and Bony, this performance by the models indicates we need to go back to the basics. From this statement there is only a short distance to the next – the use of climate models in policy decisions is, in my view, not to be recommended at this time.”

I would say this is not a mainstream view … there are many reasons to be cautious in how models are used in policy decisions, but total rejection? I doubt there’s much support for that position among the mainstream.

In fact, Carl Mears responds to that specific point in the expert response section:

“I think all three of us agree that the observed temperature changes in the tropics (and globally) are less than predicted over the last 35 years. John uses this fact to argue that there are fundamental flaws in all climate models, and that there results should be excluded from influencing policy decisions. This goes much too far. First, many imperfect models are used to inform policy makers in many areas, including models of the economy, population growth, environmental toxins, new medicines, traffic flow, etc. etc. As pointed out by a commenter in this thread, policy makers are used to dealing with uncertain predictions. If we throw out all imperfect models, we will be reduced to consulting the pattern of tea leaves on the bottom of our cups to make decisions about the future. Second, as I argue below, there are many possible reasons for this discrepancy, and only a few substantially influence the long-term predictions.”

95. dhogaza says:

So, Sword1000, the short answer to your question regarding Christy’s post is: “yes, he disputed the mainstream view and used this as a basis for (IMO) injecting politics into the discussion in an unwarranted way”.

96. swood1000 says:

You aren’t Judith Curry are you?

No

However, if your calculation includes assumptions that preclude you from actually showing that other estimates have flaws, then your calculation doesn’t necessarily disprove other estimates. It becomes an estimate that is correct if your assumptions turn out to be true, but that might not be correct if they aren’t.

I’m not sure I understand you here. Can you give a simple example? If I want to make an argument that assumes that red is green then under what rationale should I be prevented from doing so?

Nic Lewis’s calculations are perfectly reasonable, but they also include assumptions that mean that you can’t really use his calculations to suggest that paleo or GCM estimates are somehow wrong (i.e., his calculations are probably too simply to really make any strong statements, but that doesn’t appear to stop Nic Lewis from doing so).

Does this preclude a constructive dialogue? Is there a reason that this position does not deserve a turn at the rostrum?

97. swood1000,

Can you give a simple example? If I want to make an argument that assumes that red is green then under what rationale should I be prevented from doing so?

Who said prevented? That wasn’t my point or suggestion. I can’t think of a good example right now, but my point was simply that one should be aware of the assumptions that are made when a calculation is done.

Does this preclude a constructive dialogue? Is there a reason that this position does not deserve a turn at the rostrum?

Two separate issues really. I think I am incapable of have a constructive dialogue with Nic Lewis. Whether that is my fault, his, or a combination of the two is rather irrelevant. I don’t have any issue with trying to do so, but I haven’t managed to achieve it yet. As far as the rostrum goes, what does that really mean? His work is published. It’s getting attention. That’s all good and part of the process. That’s how science is meant to work. Should he be allowed to present it elsewhere. Of course, that’s also how science works. My point was largely that his results are not as inconsistent with the mainstream position as some might have you think, and that he seems to want to argue that somehow his results are better than/more robust than other results and I don’t think that he has the evidence to make this argument. That doesn’t mean he can’t do so, but does mean that he might be wrong.

98. dhogaza says:

Sword1000:

I would also add that Christy is needlessly offensive in at least one of his comments in the “expert response” section:

“As Mears indicates, he, along with Sherwood, are “mystified” that so much attention is drawn to the tropical hot spot, or lack thereof, because they suspect it is not germane to the global warming issue. Others are even more than “mystified” and seek to completely shut off debate which reminds me of the line “… move along now, nothing to see here” used in several movies including Men In Black and The Naked Gun where secretive and embarrassed authorities try to divert a curious public from observing an obvious disaster caused by said authorities. Seriously, in my opinion, there IS something critically important to see here.”

Suggesting that the mainstream view that possible errors in the modeling of the tropical hotspot isn’t particularly important regarding our understanding of AGW to “secretive and embarrased authorities trying to divert a curious public from observing an obvious disaster caused by said authorities” is offensive. And more or less by definition arguing against the mainstream position …

99. Lucifer says:

” I don’t think we would really have expected to have detected much of a hotspot yet (happy to be corrected about this, though).”

Yep.

Here’s the IPCC for 1890 through 1999:
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-2-2.html

The GISS model below I have plotted for 1979-2013, also the sonde MSU data:

100. Lucifer,
I might stand corrected on all warming producing a hot spot (although I did say “warming” not “forcings”) but I’m not quite sure what your point is. You haven’t explained your figures and the IPCC ones seems consistent with it being small enough that we may not yet have been able to detect such a hot spot. As I understand it, it’s largely a consequence of lapse rate feedback.

101. swood1000 says:

dhogaza:

If we throw out all imperfect models, we will be reduced to consulting the pattern of tea leaves on the bottom of our cups to make decisions about the future. Second, as I argue below, there are many possible reasons for this discrepancy, and only a few substantially influence the long-term predictions.”

So you make these arguments in response. If your arguments are reasonable then the weakness of your opponent’s position is there for all to see. What is wrong with this approach?

“yes, he disputed the mainstream view and used this as a basis for (IMO) injecting politics into the discussion in an unwarranted way”

But isn’t it almost the definition of disagreement that the participants believe the other side’s assumptions to be unwarranted? This debate has political implications whether or not they are expressly mentioned. What is the rationale for saying that a certain viewpoint should be silenced?

102. swood1000,

But isn’t it almost the definition of disagreement that the participants believe the other side’s assumptions to be unwarranted? This debate has political implications whether or not they are expressly mentioned.

Why throw in politics? If we’re discussing science, the political implications should be irrelevant. If they’re not, then it’s not science. I don’t see that it’s acceptable to argue that it’s okay for someone to take a contrary position because the political implications of the other position are inconvenient. That means that someone is using their policy preferences to guide their science.

103. Lucifer says:

Well, the warming of the predicted hot spot is about three times the predicted warming of the surface.

The lapse rate feedback is interesting – the hot spot would be a manifestation of a negative feedback ( more energy to space ) .
But it does appear to have appeared. What does that say? IDK.

104. Lucifer,

Well, the warming of the predicted hot spot is about three times the predicted warming of the surface.

Maybe, but we don’t have tropospheric measurements for the last 130 years and the two datasets we do have (RSS and UAH) seem to disagree with each other. That doesn’t mean it’s there, but it would also seem hard to argue that it isn’t.

105. swood1000 says:

ATTP:

Who said prevented? That wasn’t my point or suggestion.

Sorry. I read your original post too quickly. You did say that you did not believe that those who are “skeptical” should not be allowed to speak. However, this seems to be almost contradicted by your final paragraph where you argue that such an exchange is essentially meaningless, implying to me that if a skeptic were prevented from speaking there would be no practical downside.

As far as the rostrum goes, what does that really mean? His work is published.

The question involves this concept of “false balance.” For example, a newspaper adopts the position that it will not print any letters to the editor that contradict the mainstream position. They are within their rights to deny their rostrum and that is what they choose to do. Underlying these restrictions based on false balance appears to be the belief that this is necessary in order to protect the public from forming false beliefs. It is true that newspapers also refuse to print letters from people who argue that our national affairs should be guided by astrology. But they do not do so in order to protect the readers from false beliefs, since the arguments against astrology are so convincing. Under what circumstances is it appropriate to assume that people cannot be trusted to hear a certain viewpoint?

106. sword1000,

However, this seems to be almost contradicted by your final paragraph where you argue that such an exchange is essentially meaningless, implying to me that if a skeptic were prevented from speaking there would be no practical downside.

My last paragraph was more about the need for some kind of quota. If you’re going to select scientists to talk about a topic, why not just select randomly? People perceived to be skeptics would have as much chance as anyone else. Do they need some kind of special treatment?

Underlying these restrictions based on false balance appears to be the belief that this is necessary in order to protect the public from forming false beliefs.

I don’t agree that that is the reason. My understanding is that it’s about presenting a credible view so as to best inform the public. If the public thinks that there are two equal opposing views, then their understanding of a topic will probably be different to what it would be were they to see one argument less often than another. I think the public are perfectly capable of making informed decisions, but I think it’s harder if they’re presented with multiple views without it being clear that the majority of experts regard one view as being much more credible than another.

107. How many questions can swood1000 ask, rhetorically or not?

108. swood1000 says:

ATTP:

I don’t see that it’s acceptable to argue that it’s okay for someone to take a contrary position because the political implications of the other position are inconvenient. That means that someone is using their policy preferences to guide their science.

In the example given above by dhogaza it was argued that the models should not be used because they are flawed, so at least in form this is not an argument that they are flawed because they would result in bad public policy. But let’s assume such an argument. Isn’t it easily countered by pointing out that it is illogical? Under what circumstances should such an argument not be permitted?

109. swood1000 says:

How many questions can swood1000 ask, rhetorically or not?

Is this the beginning of the “degeneration into name calling”? I’ll go quietly.

110. Brandon Gates says:

Victor,

Let’s be generous and assume that best: that they are pretending.

That would make this guy one hell of a pretender:

But rather than deal with our planet, the one your squealing climastrologists (non of them engineers) say is heading for thermogeden unless we accept socialist one world government under control of un-democraticaly elected UN commissars, what do you do? You run squealing to Venus!

Branndon –

“Venus, with an albedo of 0.9 has no business being hot enough to melt lead at the surface if your CO2 cooling ‘theory’ holds any water.”

Now who’s a warmulonian drivel monkey Brandon?
The atmosphere of Venus is largely comprised of radiative gases. Due to albedo, Venus actually absorbs less solar radiation than earth, with most solar radiation is absorbed (90%) well above the surface.

Want to know what causes the high surface temps on Venus? Simple. Strong vertical circulation across the 90 bar pressure gradient of the atmosphere. You know, that adiabatic heating and cooling mechanism. But of course on Venus, this cannot occur without radiative subsidence, just the same as earth.

Now I’m no engineer, but it seems to me that the working fluid of the proposed heat engine has got some magical properties.

111. swood1000 says:

ATTP:

I don’t agree that that is the reason. My understanding is that it’s about presenting a credible view so as to best inform the public. If the public thinks that there are two equal opposing views, then their understanding of a topic will probably be different to what it would be were they to see one argument less often than another. I think the public are perfectly capable of making informed decisions, but I think it’s harder if they’re presented with multiple views without it being clear that the majority of experts regard one view as being much more credible than another.

It is true that a great part of the difficulty here is that the underlying science is so arcane that very few outside of a limited group of people with very specialized knowledge are capable of forming an informed opinion based directly on the science. Everyone else must, to some extent, take someone’s word for it.

Let’s draw an analogy to the justice system. The jury is trusted to arrive at the truth in part from listening to contrasting testimony from different experts and if one of the experts represents the mainstream view we can be sure that the lawyer representing that side will make this fact abundantly plain to the jury. Nevertheless, there are some questions that are not put to the jury because the judge determines that a reasonable person could arrive at only one conclusion and the judge knows that some spell-binding lawyers can talk a jury into almost anything. You appear to be arguing for more than that the jury should be told which expert represents the mainstream, and closer to the position that certain questions should not be put to the jury. If so, do you have an example of a fact that is challenged by scientists who are highly-regarded in the skeptic community and which you believe should nevertheless be withheld from the jury?

112. Brandon Gates says:

swood1000,

Why isn’t this how scientific disagreements are resolved?

As a student of history but not a working scientist my impression is; no, kicking around different ideas is the starting point of the cycle. David Merman summed up the end game rather succinctly: Shut up and calculate!

” …. then publish” was implicit methinks. Monckton, Soon, Legates and Briggs (2015) demonstrate the principle. In practice, however, they need to add a few more bells and whistles to be seen as more than just going through the motions. Gridded output of the same (or additional) variables chunked out by the CMIP5 ensemble with similar (or better) skill would command some serious attention. Short of that, this observer opines that one side of the “dialog” here is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

113. Brandon Gates says:

swood1000,

What is the rationale for saying that a certain viewpoint should be silenced?

Calling something nonsense, explaining why, and then refusing to consider it further isn’t censorship.

114. dhogaza says:

ATTP:

“I might stand corrected on all warming producing a hot spot”

No, you are right about that. Christy, in the post Swoord1000 referenced, and in the following comments, doesn’t argue specifically that it where mainstream science is wrong. Rather, he says it’s a symptom of the models being too wrong to be useful (my paraphrase).

It is only in the denialsphere that the notion that it’s a fingerprint of AGW exists.

“You haven’t explained your figures and the IPCC ones seems consistent with it being small enough that we may not yet have been able to detect such a hot spot.”

Sword1000 needs to specific about both the radiosonde and UAH MSU data being used.

115. > Is this the beginning of the “degeneration into name calling”?

What?

If that’s the case, then why not consider this

If so, do you have an example of a fact that is challenged by scientists who are highly-regarded in the skeptic community and which you believe should nevertheless be withheld from the jury?

as a start of name calling?

116. > Nevertheless, there are some questions that are not put to the jury because the judge determines that a reasonable person could arrive at only one conclusion and the judge knows that some spell-binding lawyers can talk a jury into almost anything.

Would that be namecalling to ask who’s the judge in that story?

117. swood1000,

In the example given above by dhogaza it was argued that the models should not be used because they are flawed, so at least in form this is not an argument that they are flawed because they would result in bad public policy. But let’s assume such an argument. Isn’t it easily countered by pointing out that it is illogical? Under what circumstances should such an argument not be permitted?

Again, I don’t know why you think I’m suggesting something shouldn’t be permitted. However, if someone is arguing models shouldn’t be used for making policy, then they’re making a policy argument, not a science argument. If they were simply discussing science, they’d be focusing on what aspects of the model are probably doing a reasonable job of representing reality and which bits are not.

dhogaza,
Good, thanks.

118. aTTP,

Everyone agrees (I think) that all models are wrong but some models are useful. Arguing about the value of climate models makes therefore sense only relative to some measure of what’s useful. Climate science is of special interest only because of it’s policy relevance. I’m sure that’s also, directly or indirectly, the reason of existence of this blog. That’s also the reason for all the dialogues at Climate Dialogue.

The above makes applicability for advising policy a relevant argument in assessing models. It’s well justify to use that argument at Climate Dialogue.

There’s, however, another feature that I don’t like in Christy’s formulation. It’s a rhetorical trick that presents a parallel that’s not a good parallel. Using similar rhetorical tricks is very common on both sides of the debate, but proper dialogue suffers from such a practice. In this particular dialogue Sherwood and Mears kept to the subject and avoided improper rhetorical tricks.

119. Pekka,

The above makes applicability for advising policy a relevant argument in assessing models. It’s well justify to use that argument at Climate Dialogue.

I agree, but I still think there is a difference between some evidence not being sufficiently strong to drive policy and discussing the strength of that evidence from a scientific perspective. There’s also the problem of consistency. If someone else had said “AGW is a real risk, we need to use these model results to drive policy whether they’re good enough or not” they would have been dismissed as allowing their policy views to influence their scientific views. When Christy argues that models aren’t good enough for policy, people seem to argue that it’s inherently political, therefore it’s okay.

There’s also another issue. Given that the discussions on CD were initially between scientists, you’d think you’d want to start by trying to find what evidence is reliable and what isn’t. Simply dismissing climate models out of hand, doesn’t appear particularly balanced, which might be what you were getting at in the latter part of your comment.

120. BBD says:

Christy’s stuff is classic: false claim (all we know about climate change comes from models) upon false claim (models aren’t fit for purpose) then a gallop across the finish line with a specious argument (models are crap so we can’t know enough to develop policy) *and* a great big slop of conspiracist ideation (the scientists are covering for the crapness of the models! Move along now!).

Christy should have been put into moderation 🙂

121. Lucifer says:

It is only in the denialsphere that the notion that it’s a fingerprint of AGW exists.
So you think it ( the not spot ) is a fingerprint of W but not AGw?
Don’t you think that AGW is a subset of W?

122. Lucifer,
The point that was being made is that the lack of a hotspot would not falsify/invalidate AGW. It would mean that lapse rate feedback doesn’t behave as we expect, which would apply to any process that produces warming, not just anthropogenic influences.

One might even argue that the lack of a hotspot is somewhat concerning. Lapse rate feedback is negative and reduces the overall warming. If the lack of a hotspot implies that lapse rate feedback is less negative than we might expect, then that might point towards overall feedbacks being more positive than we might expect.

123. BBD says:

Just because the hot spot can’t be shown to exist doesn’t mean it’s not there because it can’t be shown not to exist either. We’ve just seen precisely such an exercise in futility play out on another thread. This effluent is the very life-blood of ‘sceptical’ discourse.

124. aTTP,
As long as the reasons of absence of the hotspot are not understood (assuming that it’s indeed absent or much weaker than present models tell) it’s not really possible to draw conclusions on the related effects to feedbacks. Lapse rate feedback would be weaker almost by definition, but perhaps, and even likely, the water vapor feedback would also be weaker.

A weak or absent lapse rate feedback means that details of the circulation are not described correctly by the models. More horizontal mixing might change the moisture and temperature profiles averaged over a wide enough area of the tropics further away from that described by the present models. My understanding is that these phenomena are not fully resolved in the models. Thus the error seems to indicate an error in the parametrizations that influence these results of the models.

If all otherwise best models err significantly on some point, deciding how severe that discrepancy is, is speculative until the reasons of the discrepancy are understood.

125. Willard says:

How to lump everyone in the same box:

> Everyone agrees (I think) that all models are wrong but some models are useful.

Let’s call it The Box.

126. Joshua says:

==> “A weak or absent lapse rate feedback means that details of the circulation are not described correctly by the models.”

So does that mean that the models are just wrong, or wrong but useful?

127. BBD says:

There’s insufficient evidence that the hot spot is absent or far smaller than expected.

So why do so many people act as if its absence was a matter of established fact?

Not very sceptical of them.

128. Pekka,

Lapse rate feedback would be weaker almost by definition, but perhaps, and even likely, the water vapor feedback would also be weaker.

Yes, I realise that that is also a possibility. I was simply presenting a possibility.

129. dhogaza says:

Pekka:

“As long as the reasons of absence of the hotspot are not understood (assuming that it’s indeed absent or much weaker than present models tell) it’s not really possible to draw conclusions on the related effects to feedbacks.”

But the specialists involved are largely in agreement that the observational data is too weak to say whether or not it is actually missing. Also, some of the available datasets show a vertical profile fairly close to the modeled vertical profile, lower, but not drastically so. That’s one reason why at least one of the two experts posting in that exchange points out that the observational data is too weak to say whether or not the model outputs are wrong or not. The expected trend is not huge.

“Lapse rate feedback would be weaker almost by definition, but perhaps, and even likely, the water vapor feedback would also be weaker.”

Even Christy doesn’t argue strongly for this possibility during that exchange. After all, unless I’m deeply mistaken, there have been published observational data that supports predicted increases in water vapor with the long-term warming trend (which should be no surprise). And the physics of the radiative properties of water vapor are well-established, I should think.

So Christy argues that some unknown negative feedback is in play, most likely clouds. And points to his colleague Roy Spencer’s work on negative cloud feedbacks. The work that shows negative feedbacks will mostly cancel all known positive feedbacks, leaving us with a sensitivity not much above 1C per doubling CO2. I think most of us know how widely accepted that work has been (sarcasm alert)…

Do you have any unknown negative feedbacks you’d like to propose as being the likely culprit?

130. John Hartz says:

Climate Science vs. Climate Science Denial in Word Clouds, Greg Laden’s Blog, Feb 17, 2015

131. My understanding on the issue of missing hotspot based on what I have seen from fully mainstream sources is that there are clear indications of deviation from expected temperature profile. The deviations are evidently not conclusive, but clear enough to warrant discussion.

I do think that it’s important to discuss such indications in a way that does not give the impression of hiding facts. In other fields of science it’s also common that inconclusive evidence leads to discussion of potential mechanisms that might lead to such deviations as well as of potential consequences of such deviations.

I have not collected links to what I have seen, and cannot provide links to any specific source, what I have written is thus based only on the impression that’s left in my memory.

132. John Hartz says:

Satellite measurements match model results apart from in the tropics. There is uncertainty with the tropic data due to how various teams correct for satellite drift. The U.S. Climate Change Science Program conclude the discrepancy is most likely due to data errors.

There’s no tropospheric hot spot by Thingsbreak, Skeptical Science, May 27, 2013

133. John Hartz says:

Here are the reference documents to the SkS article by Thingsbreak cited above.

Allen, R.J. and S.C. Sherwood (2008): Warming maximum in the tropical upper troposphere deduced from thermal winds. Nature Geoscience, 1, 399-403, doi:10.1038/ngeo208.

Bengtsson, L. and K.I. Hodges (2009): On the evaluation of temperature trends in the tropical troposphere. Climate Dynamics, “Online First”, doi:10.1007/s00382-009-0680-y.

Johnson, N.C. and S.-P. Xie (2010): Changes in the sea surface temperature threshold for tropical convection. Nature Geoscience, 3, 842–845, doi:10.1038/ngeo1008.

Randel, W.J. and F. Wu (2006): Biases in Stratospheric and Tropospheric Temperature Trends Derived from Historical Radiosonde Data. Journal of Climate, 19, 10, 2094-2104, doi:10.1175/JCLI3717.1.

Sherwood, S.C., et al. (2008): Robust Tropospheric Warming Revealed by Iteratively Homogenized Radiosonde Data. Journal of Climate, 21, 20, 5336-5352, doi:10.1175/2008JCLI2320.1 .

Sobel, A. (2010): Raised bar for rain. Nature Geoscience, 3, 821–822, doi:10.1038/ngeo1025.

Thorne, P.W., et al. (2007): Tropical vertical temperature trends: A real discrepancy? Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L16702, doi:10.1029/2007GL029875.

Thorne, P.W. (2008): The answer is blowing in the wind. Nature Geoscience, 1, 347-348, doi:10.1038/ngeo209.

Thorne, P.W., et al. (2010) Tropospheric temperature trends: history of an ongoing controversy. WIRES: Climate Change, in press, doi:10.1002/wcc.80.

Zhang, G.J., and H. Wang (2006): Toward mitigating the double ITCZ problem in NCAR CCSM3. Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L06709, doi:10.1029/2005GL025229.

134. BBD says:

Uncertainty in the data can be a problem that cuts both ways, Pekka.

135. Is it really impossible to discuss these matters as questions of climate science? My first related comment included the caveat (assuming that it’s indeed absent or much weaker than present models tell). Is that not enough?

I checked again, what IPCC AR5 tells, and found in Chapter 9.4.1.4.2

Most climate model simulations show a larger warming in the tropical troposphere than is found in observational data sets (e.g., McKitrick et al., 2010; Santer et al., 2013). There has been an extensive and sometimes controversial debate in the published literature as to whether this difference is statistically significant, once observational uncertainties and natural variability are taken into account.
[..]
For the 30-year period 1979–2009 (sometimes updated through 2010 or 2011), the CMIP3 models simulate a tropical warming trend ranging from 0.1°C to somewhat above 0.4°C per decade for both LT and MT (McKitrick et al., 2010), while the CMIP5 models simulate a tropical warming trend ranging from slightly below 0.15°C to somewhat above 0.4°C per decade for both LT and MT (Santer et al., 2013; see also Po-Chedley and Fu, 2012, who considered the period 1979–2005). Both model ensembles show trends that on average are higher than in the observational estimates, although both model ensembles overlap the observational ensemble. Because the differences between the various observational estimates are largely systematic and structural (Section 2.4.4; Mears et al., 2011), the uncertainty in the observed trends cannot be reduced by averaging the observations as if the differences between the data sets were purely random.

I do really and sincerely believe that insisting that these issues should not be discussed is counterproductive. Giving the impression of suppressing discussion is much more damaging than than the claimed effect of adding credibility to the skeptics. It’s not possible to quiet the skeptics. Therefore their claims must be discussed openly. What’s the right approach for that in each specific case depends on case specific details. In this case there are several arguments for considering the problem of limited significance, but trying to declare that no real issue exists is not a good choice.

Actually I think that this is a positive example of the usefulness of the approach of Climate Dialogue. Widely known arguments of Christy where successfully countered by the main stream scientists.

136. Pekka,

I do really and sincerely believe that insisting that these issues should not be discussed is counterproductive. Giving the impression of suppressing discussion is much more damaging than than the claimed effect of adding credibility to the skeptics.

I don’t know why you think anyone is suggesting that these issues should not be discussed (in fact, I have no idea why you think anyone has suggested any such thing). The only related thing that I’ve suggested is that there shouldn’t necessarily be a special “skeptics” quota. In my view, you don’t need to include someone perceived to be a skeptic in order to have such discussions. You also shouldn’t exclude people either.

Actually I think that this is a positive example of the usefulness of the approach of Climate Dialogue. Widely known arguments of Christy where successfully countered by the main stream scientists.

Possibly, but could an interesting discussion about this topic have taken place if Christy had not been included? I would think that it would be possible, which is really all that I think I’ve suggested.

137. -1=e^ipi says:

With respect to the ‘missing’ fingerprint, can’t most of it be explained by the fact that land surface temperatures are warming faster than ocean temperatures (by ~ a factor of 2)? The primary reason for the fingerprint is additional water vapour. However, if most water vapour comes from the oceans, and the oceans are only warming half as much as the land, then that could explain why half of the ‘fingerprint’ is missing. Richard Lindzen suggested that 1/2 to 2/3 of the fingerprint is ‘missing’ (from memory, wasn’t this by comparing different equilibrium states of climate models vs empirical data). The fact that ocean warming is slower than land warming could explain most of this. The fact that some climate models are inaccurate and use faulty assumptions could explain the rest.

138. aTTP,

It’s essential that such discussions are perceived as open also by readers that are moderately skeptical. Actually I see those readers as the part of the audience this kind of dialogue should reach particularly well.

Bart wrote above “the goal of course was to obtain a wider and bigger readership”. The dialogue is, however, technical enough to effectively exclude readers, who have not previously followed climate discussion. A major part of the audience knew very likely already something of the arguments of the skeptics. Thus those arguments had to be discussed, and when they are discussed in a dialogue, someone must defend them to make the dialog credible.

139. Pekka,

It’s essential that such discussions are perceived as open also by readers that are moderately skeptical.

I strongly disagree.

140. swood1000 says:

ATTP:

Again, I don’t know why you think I’m suggesting something shouldn’t be permitted.

Maybe it is the meaning of the term ‘false balance’.

One important reason was what is sometimes called ‘false balance’, i.e. the perception that the format of specifically inviting sceptical scientists to the dialogue gives them more ‘weight’ than they have in the broader scientific community, and as such provides a skewed view of the scientific debate.

Every time I have seen that term used it has been to justify the refusal to allow the skeptic viewpoint into the debate or into the news story. So it seems to me that support for the ‘false balance’ policy is the same as “suggesting that something shouldn’t be permitted.” You said about false balance:

My understanding is that it’s about presenting a credible view so as to best inform the public. If the public thinks that there are two equal opposing views, then their understanding of a topic will probably be different to what it would be were they to see one argument less often than another. I think the public are perfectly capable of making informed decisions, but I think it’s harder if they’re presented with multiple views without it being clear that the majority of experts regard one view as being much more credible than another.

A skeptical viewpoint could be preceded and followed by a clear statement as to the majority viewpoint but the approach followed under the ‘false balance’ policy is usually to exclude it entirely. Does “presenting a credible view so as to best inform the public” actually involve making a prior determination as to the correct outcome of the argument and then only presenting that side because the other side has been predetermined not to be credible and so allowing that viewpoint to be presented would misinform the public? To what extent should the public be presented with the skeptic viewpoint as one option, albeit with warnings or advice concerning the majority viewpoint?

However, if someone is arguing models shouldn’t be used for making policy, then they’re making a policy argument, not a science argument. If they were simply discussing science, they’d be focusing on what aspects of the model are probably doing a reasonable job of representing reality and which bits are not.

It seems to me that there really can be no consideration of the science independent of the policy, whether mentioned or not. If making scientific statement A has political consequence B, then asserting A necessarily involves asserting B. Of course, a person has to make his science argument first but I don’t see what is wrong with tacking on an express policy argument. If his science argument is weak then it can be demonstrated that his policy argument does not follow. Part of the problem arises from the perception of some that science results are subject to being presented in a skewed fashion by scientists in order to influence policy decisions, a practice approved of by Stephen Schneider when he said “So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”

My last paragraph was more about the need for some kind of quota. If you’re going to select scientists to talk about a topic, why not just select randomly? People perceived to be skeptics would have as much chance as anyone else. Do they need some kind of special treatment?

People who hear that there is a controversy or who are considering the skeptical viewpoint want to listen to or read a debate in which a specific viewpoint is attacked and defended.

141. dhogaza says:

Pekka:

“I do really and sincerely believe that insisting that these issues should not be discussed is counterproductive.”

Echoing ATTP, who says it shouldn’t be? Christy says it isn’t discussed and makes a rather rude analogy the implies avoidance of the issue by scientists due to “embarrassment”. Apparently you’re accepting his claim at face value.

On the other hand, Christy in his post over at Climate Dialogue does exactly what your IPCC quote says can not be meaningfully done:

“Because the differences between the various observational estimates are largely systematic and structural (Section 2.4.4; Mears et al., 2011), the uncertainty in the observed trends cannot be reduced by averaging the observations as if the differences between the data sets were purely random.”

He does just that with RSS and UAH, then claims the uncertainty is reduced to the point that it is clear the hotspot does not exist, therefore models get it wrong, therefore models are useless and should not be used for policy determination, and we should pay attention to Roy Spencer’s negative cloud feedback work and strongly suggests Roy’s (laughed at) work is correct.

“Widely known arguments of Christy where successfully countered by the main stream scientists.”

Successfully in whose mind? Those of us who were already familiar with the issue and not inclined to accept a known denialist’s arguments contrary to mainstream research?

“Giving the impression of suppressing discussion is much more damaging than than the claimed effect of adding credibility to the skeptics.”

Pffft. They have, do, and will claim – at minimum – the impression of suppression where none exists regardless of anything blog moderators do.

142. aTTP,

If we disagree strongly, then we must have very different ideas of the purpose of the whole exercise.

143. swood1000,

A skeptical viewpoint could be preceded and followed by a clear statement as to the majority viewpoint but the approach followed under the ‘false balance’ policy is usually to exclude it entirely.

My view is that this would be unnecessary if “skeptics” were not given a special platform. Again, I’m not arguing against them being allowed to speak, simply suggesting that there is no need to present this alternative view every time the topic is discussed.

It seems to me that there really can be no consideration of the science independent of the policy, whether mentioned or not. If making scientific statement A has political consequence B, then asserting A necessarily involves asserting B.

I disagree very strongly with this. Physical reality is independent of the policy implications of some scientific evidence. Also, science does not tell us what to do; it simply provides evidence that might be policy relevant. Yes, sometimes the options are obvious, but I really do think that science itself should be independent of the policy implications of the scientific evidence. Suggesting otherwise would seem to imply that you’re comfortable with policy driving science, rather than science driving policy.

On the other hand, if you mean that it’s hard to have a policy discussion without discussing the science, then I would agree. In such discussions one might have different views about the strength, or implications, of the scientific evidence. My point is simply that in a scientific discussion, the policy implications should – ideally – not influence how we interpret the evidence.

144. dhogaza,

My basic view is that the only sound way science can win is by being presented so well that it’s accepted by those whose acceptance matters. The only real strength of science is in its truthfulness. Any other criteria make false truths as likely winners that the real truth.

145. Pekka,

If we disagree strongly, then we must have very different ideas of the purpose of the whole exercise.

Maybe it depends what you meant then. Given the remit of CB, then of course someone perceived to be a skeptic had to be included because that was a condition of the project. If that’s what you meant, then we don’t disagree. I was meaning that one could set up something like CB that did not require such a condition, in which case it would be possible to have interesting discussions about these topics that did not necessarily include someone perceived to be a “skeptic”. My view is that the latter would be better than the former.

146. aTTP,

I see the purpose of such a dialogue as providing thoughts and well argued points for readers, who in large majority of cases know already something on the issue, but not much. A further goal is to allow them to develop more correct understanding of the issue being considered. I do believe that a significant fraction of the potential readership are to some extent skeptical, or moderately skeptical. The overlap with the skeptics active in the blogosphere is not as large. A major part of those moderately skeptical can well change their views, first on single issues, later perhaps on more fundamental level.

147. BBD says:

Of course the latter would be better than the former, but that would not have served Marcel Crok’s purpose at all well. Quite the opposite, in fact.

148. swood1000 says:

willard:

How many questions can swood1000 ask, rhetorically or not?

Perhaps I am overly sensitive but I interpreted this post as akin to “Doesn’t everybody agree that this guy is a pain in the ass, coming around here spewing this nonsense?” This sort of approach does not speak to the substance of the issues I have been trying to address (the extent to which it might be appropriate that a particular viewpoint be excluded from the public conversation, or the extent to which viewpoints are excluded) but instead appears to be intended to express gratuitous animosity alone, which often seems to be a precursor to name-calling. Did I mistake your meaning?

If so, do you have an example of a fact that is challenged by scientists who are highly-regarded in the skeptic community and which you believe should nevertheless be withheld from the jury?

Here I was actually hoping for a specific example. Although the question is direct it does not appear to be inflammatory or to display animus, and none was intended.

Would that be namecalling to ask who’s the judge in that story?

Not at all. The judge in that story is any person who excludes a certain viewpoint from the public conversation, under color of ‘false balance’, thus reserving to himself the determination of reasonableness instead of allowing the public to make that determination on their own.

149. Pekka,
Yes, I realise that one can construct a reasonable argument for setting up something like CB. My point remains, though, that it would be better were there not a specific quota for those perceived to be skeptical. Science doesn’t require such a quota.

150. swood1000,

Possibly, but possibly not. Understanding Willard can be a challenge, but it can be worth the effort.

151. swood1000 says:

Possibly, but possibly not. Understanding Willard can be a challenge, but it can be worth the effort.

In that case I apologize to Willard. I have no problem with gruffness, if that’s all it is.

152. Joshua says:

==> “Perhaps I am overly sensitive but I interpreted this post as akin to “Doesn’t everybody agree that this guy is a pain in the ass, coming around here spewing this nonsense?”

Not to speak for willard – but he kind of has a thing about rhetorical questions. I’m guessing that’s because they’re….mmm….rhetorical.

Try to look at it as rather than him calling you a pain in the ass, him suggesting that there are more effective ways to advance good faith discussion.

At least that’s how I take it when he criticizes my questions for being rhetorical.

153. Joshua says:

Anders –

CB = Climate Dialogue?

154. Joshua,
Yes 🙂 I shall use CD from now on.

155. Joshua says:

Pekka –

==> “I see the purpose of such a dialogue as providing thoughts and well argued points for readers, who in large majority of cases know already something on the issue, but not much. A further goal is to allow them to develop more correct understanding of the issue being considered. I do believe that a significant fraction of the potential readership are to some extent skeptical, or moderately skeptical. The overlap with the skeptics active in the blogosphere is not as large. A major part of those moderately skeptical can well change their views, first on single issues, later perhaps on more fundamental level.

Looking beyond what might happen in theory – and granted that no one really knows…but what do you think was the outcome of Climate Dialogue? Did you observe it at all? If so, is it your impression and it had any meaningful impact?

W/r/t CD or more -generally, do you see any evidence of participants in these discussions, online or otherwise, deepening their understanding in the way that you describe? Do you see, more broadly, any major part of those moderately skeptical…changing their views, on single issues let alone on a more fundamental level?

Relatedly, do you think your recent discussions at Climate Audit influenced anyone towards changing their view? If so, could you link a comment where they show that?

156. Joseph says:

People who hear that there is a controversy or who are considering the skeptical viewpoint want to listen to or read a debate in which a specific viewpoint is attacked and defended.

How is the decision of who and which minority view is presented made? And if it is decided that minority view should not be presented does, that mean that minority view was necessarily unfairly excluded? How do you determine that the decision was unfair?

157. Joseph,

I don’t see the issue as what’s fair and what’s not.

I do not see any other acceptable alternative than trying to present science well enough. What else can make the scientific truth win over alternatives. If we do not trust in the power of truth, we create a situation, where some other “virtues” decide the future policies. Science is perhaps not the winner under those conditions. All approaches that try to shortcut getting the truth understood can equally well be picked by the opponents, and perhaps more successfully.

158. swood1000 says:

ATTP:

My view is that this would be unnecessary if “skeptics” were not given a special platform.

Not sure what you mean by ‘special platform’.

Again, I’m not arguing against them being allowed to speak, simply suggesting that there is no need to present this alternative view every time the topic is discussed.

What is the appropriate balance? For example, consider the PBS NewsHour. They seem to have a story at least once a week dealing with the present or future effects of climate change. These stories are never accompanied by coverage of the other side, even when coverage of the other side might simply negate the assertion that climate change caused a particular problem but without contradicting climate change itself. I do not remember the last time that the skeptic side was covered, although I have read that there was such a story, which was followed by a fury of ‘false balance’ denunciation, and it appears that the lesson was learned.

There was a recent Pew poll that found that 48% of the U.S. public see climate change as a major threat to the U.S. So a large segment of the public is not on board. Should it be the purpose of the NewsHour to correct these erroneous beliefs? What is wrong with presenting the skeptic view and then blowing it to pieces through interviews with appropriate experts? If it is claimed that skeptic “experts” are not credible then why can’t that be demonstrated the same way that such a thing would be demonstrated to a jury? What should the policy of the NewsHour be?

…but I really do think that science itself should be independent of the policy implications of the scientific evidence…

I agree. And perhaps you are correct that to append a policy statement directly to a scientific assertion gives the impression that policy considerations are driving this. On the other hand, as you point out, it is difficult to justify policy assertions without reference to the underlying science. In an unambiguously scientific context, then, such as a scientific paper, there would be no place for the addition of political preferences. In other contexts there might be.

159. Joshua says:

1000 –

==> “What is the appropriate balance?”

My understanding is that Anthony Watts moderates out comments from “Skydragons.” Certainly, Judith says that she “doesn’t listen” to anyone who doesn’t accept the basics of the GHE.

I am told, frequently, by “skeptics,” that Skydragons do not have enough credibility that I should consider their arguments to be of merit.

What do you think is the appropriate balance with people who flat out reject the possibility that ACO2 emissions can effect the climate theoretically as well as in reality?

160. Joshua says:

1000 –

==> “There was a recent Pew poll that found that 48% of the U.S. public see climate change as a major threat to the U.S. So a large segment of the public is not on board. Should it be the purpose of the NewsHour to correct these erroneous beliefs? What is wrong with presenting the skeptic view and then blowing it to pieces through interviews with appropriate experts? ”

That poll, I think, is a little problematic as I think it might reflect some conflation of anthropogenic warming and “natural” warming, but I think it’s safe to say that large number of Americans think that there has been no warming at all in the past few decades. I’m sure, also, that there are many Americans that think that “AGW is a hoax” and that ACO2 emissions cannot cause warming even in theory if not in practice.

Would you extend the graph of those poll findings to argue that Climate Dialog should have included a large % of scientsts who think that there has been no warming and scientists who think that anthropogenic CO2 can’t cause warming even in theory?

161. Willard says:

> I have no problem with gruffness, if that’s all it is.

May I also expect nobody has any problem with beating squirrels too?

Could it be possible that what we’ve witnessed so far looks like this:

Just asking questions is a way of attempting to make wild accusations acceptable (and not legally actionable) by framing them as questions rather than statements.

?

Why are there so many questions and so little time?

162. BBD says:

swood1k

If it is claimed that skeptic “experts” are not credible then why can’t that be demonstrated the same way that such a thing would be demonstrated to a jury? What should the policy of the NewsHour be?

There is a special problem with sceptics and TV which is that they invariably use the rhetorical trick of a Gish Gallop which the real expert simply isn’t able to rebut in full (or even in small part) in the time available. Live interview formats are great platforms for sceptics and very challenging for scientists.

163. Michael 2 says:

“What do you think is the appropriate balance with people who flat out reject the possibility that ACO2 emissions can effect the climate theoretically as well as in reality?”

Case by case. Today I encountered a “dowser” or “water witch” at the gasoline station. I suspect he’s been the subject of hundreds of attempts to change his beliefs so I didn’t “go there”. My mother was a staunch astrologer and we had some arguments but to no avail. My father believes many rival things concurrently so there’s no point arguing anything with him.

But a small value exists in just standing for something and being counted, without trying to change others.

164. swood1000 says:

Willard:

May I also expect nobody has any problem with beating squirrels too?

Why are there so many questions and so little time?

Nor this.

Just asking questions is a way of attempting to make wild accusations acceptable (and not legally actionable) by framing them as questions rather than statements.

What is an example of a question I asked, and what was the wild accusation that it attempted to make acceptable?

165. Michael 2 says:

Pekka Pirilä “I don’t see the issue as what’s fair and what’s not”

Whereas I don’t know the meaning of the word “fair”. It seems to have many meanings, the meaning of the moment will usually be to accrue some advantage to the speaker of the word.

166. BBD says:

swood1k

I’d be inclined to approach willard with caution. He’s a thoughtful chap who merits a thoughtful approach.

167. Michael 2 says:

swood1000 “In that case I apologize to Willard. I have no problem with gruffness, if that’s all it is.”

I believe Willard coined the term “Climateball” perhaps in recognition of the various strategies used by persons here and also acceptance that Team “A” isn’t really intending to become like Team “B”, but for various reasons Team A and Team B enjoy sharpening their talents and their claws on each other.

It would seem pointless except for the Audience. They love a good food fight. So get in there and give it your best shot! Once in a great while, as in real sports, a player may defect and go to the other side and there’s great pleasure in stealing someone from the other team; combined with a greater possibility of recruiting new team members.

168. swood1000 says:

Joshua:

Not to speak for willard – but he kind of has a thing about rhetorical questions. I’m guessing that’s because they’re….mmm….rhetorical.

Actually my questions have not been rhetorical. I have been hoping for responses.

169. Joshua says:

==> “Actually my questions have not been rhetorical. I have been hoping for responses.”

Consider rephrasing that might be less likely to be interpreted as rhetorical. Sometimes I have to do that, and usually it turns out to be a useful (for me) exercise.

170. Michael 2 says:

“My point remains, though, that it would be better were there not a specific quota for those perceived to be skeptical. Science doesn’t require such a quota.”

Whereas a debate does so require it, more or less. If you are pitting one idea against another, it will often be the case (IMO) that the number of followers of one idea will be vastly greater than the number of followers of the other.

Hypertext came into existence as a way to provide a means to “drill down” into deeper knowledge unobtrusively, or not if you already have it.

In other words, a good way to present climate science is in a top-down tree. At the top, a simple overview but with hyperlinks that a person call follow — but until then unobtrusive — explaining in greater detail a particular concept. That page, in turn, will have links to even greater detail.

The top page can be advocacy, but the supporting pages should be encyclopedic and not political. It was quite a challenge for me to study the absorption spectra of carbon dioxide and NOT find just another advocacy site that portrays CO2 as the boogeyman blocking all infrared. It doesn’t; it works in wavelength bands. That means it can never be totally “opaque” and that means skeptic claims fail; the ones that claim since the atmosphere is already opaque it cannot become more opaque.

Whether anyone could construct a site and be believed by either warmists and skeptics seems unlikely but I’m not going to say impossible. “Myth Busters” could probably do it.

That’s the secret — Myth Busters does NOT try to deprecate or minimize either the myth or the advocates of the myth; they seek myths and bust them with I suppose a pretty good degree of effectiveness.

But it would be hard to confirm or bust climate change mythology or counter-claims simply because too much is happening, or not enough. Shall we declare every storm proof of climate change? Sure, why not; but I can as easily declare every storm to be the Hand of Dog, and who can refute it?

171. swood1000,

Not sure what you mean by ‘special platform’.

We’re discussing, here, the Climate Dialogue project in which it was required that at least one of those presenting their views on every topic was someone perceived to be a climate sceptic. My point is that this is essentially a quota system and that it shouldn’t be necessary; simply choose 3 experts to present their views without specifying that at least one be someone perceived to be a climate sceptic.

172. swood1000 says:

Brandon Gates:

Calling something nonsense, explaining why, and then refusing to consider it further isn’t censorship.

If there are many people who would like to sort these questions out in their own minds by seeing a rough-and-tumble debate then what reason is there not to present them with one? It seems to me that people typically don’t refuse to debate because they are tired of it and have better things to do, but rather for reasons having to do with ‘false balance’ or from a desire not to propagate the beliefs of the opponent.

Do you see the activities described here: https://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/climategate-2-and-corruption-of-peer-review/ to be nothing more than calling something nonsense, explaining why, and then refusing to consider it further?

173. Joshua says:

==> “If there are many people who would like to sort these questions out in their own minds by seeing a rough-and-tumble debate”

If, is a good word there.

Do you have evidence that there are very many such people?

Seems to me that many people like to see rough-and-tumble debate so they can find support for confirming their biases. I think that group is much larger – particularly in polarized contexts like climate change.

174. Marco says:

swood1000: thank you for reminding us of the corruption of the peer review process by Chris de Freitas.

175. BBD says:

swood1k

If there are many people who would like to sort these questions out in their own minds by seeing a rough-and-tumble debate then what reason is there not to present them with one?

Joshua’s question about the validity of this assumption is a good one.

Another question might be that of the suitability of a rough and tumble debate as the best means to communicate a complex topic to the general public.

Again, Joshua makes a good point, this time about confirmation bias.

Perhaps what ATTP suggests is the best way:

My point is that this is essentially a quota system and that it shouldn’t be necessary; simply choose 3 experts to present their views without specifying that at least one be someone perceived to be a climate sceptic.

Expert discussion can be very informative for an audience of non-experts.

176. Michael 2 says:

Swood says “For example, consider the PBS NewsHour.”

A good example. It is mostly an advocacy site but probably imagines itself fair and balanced. Fox News? They claim to be fair and balanced, and might actually be, depending on how one defines the terms.

That ultimately is the problem: definitions.

I do actually believe in “balance” in some circumstances. For instance, my daughter’s science class assigned an experiment to weigh an ice cube in a ziplock bag, let it melt, and weigh it again. The experiment was trying to convey the idea of mass doesn’t change just because of a phase change. Her task was to write a hypothesis (guess), then test it with an experiment, write the results and report.

She concluded that the melted ice cube was heavier and that is why ice floats. The experiment did yield a slightly higher weight for the melted ice cube which I did not expect. I attributed it to condensation on the ziplock bag during melting. Anyway, she reported her findings and I did not interfere. Her conclusion was “scientific” in the sense of proper method, but she did not control for confounding factors, which would be even more proper of method, but I doubt a person can identify ALL confounding factors especially in climate science.

I use the word “balance” in this story to represent me NOT trying to influence her experiment; allow for her to imagine that it could go either way and was a legitimate inquiry, which for her it is, but for me it is “settled science”.

An example of that is the Bessemer steelmaking process. Early attempts to replicate the process sometimes failed as, unbeknownst to the inventor, it is very sensitive to the amount of carbon in the raw iron and if there isn’t enough carbon, it won’t burn and produce the spectacular display of fireworks with resulting refinement of the steel.

So, one person’s “settled science” is another persons inquiry, and “balance” allows for inquiry to generate its own result.

177. Joseph says:

They seem to have a story at least once a week dealing with the present or future effects of climate change. These stories are never accompanied by coverage of the other side, even when coverage of the other side might simply negate the assertion that climate change caused a particular problem but without contradicting climate change itself.

Is there really much research that finds that climate change (if we continue BAU) will have little to no negative impacts? I am not sure how the Newshour producers are going to be able to sift through the literature and find someone who has a credible alternative view.

If it is claimed that skeptic “experts” are not credible then why can’t that be demonstrated the same way that such a thing would be demonstrated to a jury?

I don’t think most non-experts on either side of the debate will really be able to determine who is or is not credible because of the highly technical nature of the science.

178. BBD says:

Trial by jury can be a very protracted process. Explaining the evidence to the jury often takes many weeks or even months of intensive effort. Sometimes it proves impossible, which is why complex financial crimes are often difficult to prosecute.

179. swood1000 says:

ATTP:

Possibly, but could an interesting discussion about this topic have taken place if Christy had not been included? I would think that it would be possible, which is really all that I think I’ve suggested.

An interesting discussion, but not one with the breadth it could have had, and not one touching on some of the issues that some people would have liked to see discussed.

…it would be possible to have interesting discussions about these topics that did not necessarily include someone perceived to be a “skeptic”. My view is that the latter would be better than the former.

Why better?

180. swood1000 says:

dhogaza:

“Widely known arguments of Christy where successfully countered by the main stream scientists.”
Successfully in whose mind? Those of us who were already familiar with the issue and not inclined to accept a known denialist’s arguments contrary to mainstream research?

Are you saying that it is not possible to effectively counter the denialists arguments in the minds of the lay public?

181. swood1000 says:

Joshua:

W/r/t CD or more -generally, do you see any evidence of participants in these discussions, online or otherwise, deepening their understanding in the way that you describe? Do you see, more broadly, any major part of those moderately skeptical…changing their views, on single issues let alone on a more fundamental level?
Relatedly, do you think your recent discussions at Climate Audit influenced anyone towards changing their view? If so, could you link a comment where they show that?

You seem to be coming from the angle that discussion is fine, free speech and all that, but it can’t be expected to change anybody’s mind. But opinions are changed gradually. A person hears something that is uncontroverted and that conflicts with beliefs he has held for a long time. It creates some cognitive dissonance that makes him more alert for other information on the same topic so that the dissonance can be reduced. Opinions are altered over time, faster for people whose opinions were less firmly held.

My understanding is that Anthony Watts moderates out comments from “Skydragons.” Certainly, Judith says that she “doesn’t listen” to anyone who doesn’t accept the basics of the GHE.

There are few people who can be cited as paragons of open-mindedness.

What do you think is the appropriate balance with people who flat out reject the possibility that ACO2 emissions can effect the climate theoretically as well as in reality?

Same as with anybody else. Let him make his argument and then tear it apart, demonstrating to all how truly insubstantial it was.

Would you extend the graph of those poll findings to argue that Climate Dialog should have included a large % of scientsts who think that there has been no warming and scientists who think that anthropogenic CO2 can’t cause warming even in theory?

I guess my view is that if a large group of people believed that birds are mammals, and if they believed this in part as a result of the writings of people calling themselves scientists, then those “scientists” should be invited to debate the question, openly for all to watch. What better way would there be for their followers to be relieved of their misconceptions?

==> “If there are many people who would like to sort these questions out in their own minds by seeing a rough-and-tumble debate”
If, is a good word there.
Do you have evidence that there are very many such people?
Seems to me that many people like to see rough-and-tumble debate so they can find support for confirming their biases. I think that group is much larger – particularly in polarized contexts like climate change.

Well, this comes down to the question “What do people find interesting? What kind of a show will produce the best ratings?” Normally the answers are controversy, scandal and sex. So one would expect a rough-and-tumble debate to get better ratings than one limited to people whose views do not differ that much. And even if it is true that people tune in for motivation A, that does not preclude them from being more favorably impressed by argument B than they expected.

182. John Hartz says:

Hot off the press!

“The whole doubt-mongering strategy relies on creating the impression of scientific debate,” said Naomi Oreskes, a historian of science at Harvard University and the co-author of “Merchants of Doubt,” a book about such campaigns. “Willie Soon is playing a role in a certain kind of political theater.”

Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for a Doubtful Climate Scientist by Justin Gillis & John Schwartz, New York Times, Feb 21, 2015

183. swood1000,

An interesting discussion, but not one with the breadth it could have had, and not one touching on some of the issues that some people would have liked to see discussed.

Possibly, but that doesn’t refute the point I was making.

Why better?

Because I don’t think every discussion that might be interesting has to include someone perceived to be a climate sceptic.

184. John Hartz says:

The fact that Willie Soon sold his scientific integrity to the fossil fuel industry as documented in the New York Times article I cited above tells me that it is absolutely a waste of time and energy to play kissy-face with climate science deniers.

185. BBD says:

swood1k

There are few people who can be cited as paragons of open-mindedness.

True. But do you imply that open-mindedness should include a rejection of the GHE?

There’s a pithy remark about not being so open-minded that your brain falls out.

186. swood1000 says:

Joseph:

How is the decision of who and which minority view is presented made? And if it is decided that minority view should not be presented does, that mean that minority view was necessarily unfairly excluded? How do you determine that the decision was unfair?

I completely agree with Pekka’s response in that there should be no artificial limitations on who can speak or what can be said. Certainly we run into the problem of too many “minor parties” and not enough time so decisions have to be made. Generally, it seems appropriate to me that the more a person’s position is representative of the general public, the less likely it should be that he should be excluded. If a significant fraction of the general public is laboring under a serious misconception that is all the more reason that people defending or promoting those misconceptions should be publicly exposed.

187. swood1001

I completely agree with Pekka’s response in that there should be no artificial limitations on who can speak or what can be said.

Noone is suggesting that anyone should be prevented from speaking!

Generally, it seems appropriate to me that the more a person’s position is representative of the general public, the less likely it should be that he should be excluded.

Except we’re talking about science, which is not decided by a public vote.

If a significant fraction of the general public is laboring under a serious misconception that is all the more reason that people defending or promoting those misconceptions should be publicly exposed.

Or – and here’s just a thought – we could stop having quotas that require that every time a topic is discussed someone perceived to be a sceptic should be included. That way the public may get a better sense of the level of agreement within the scientific community.

188. Willard says:

> Don’t follow this [May I also expect nobody has any problem with beating squirrels too?].

The “I have no problem with gruffness, if that’s all it is” begs the question if that’s all it is, besides making me wonder why you’d have a problem with gruffness if there was something more to is, Swood. As far as I can see, it’s a strawman. Since the usual example of strawmen tastelessly involves wives, I prefer to vary what’s being beaten. Here, I chose squirrels.

The fact that you asked a very high ratios of questions and that most of them seem loaded, you really seem to have been JAQing off. Why would I mind rhetorical questions when it allows me to ask myself some?

189. John Hartz says:

More on the Willie Soon-fossil fuel industry connection…

Scientist Willie Soon calls his papers ‘deliverables’ to fossil fuel executives, and grants a big coal utility pre-publication review and anonymity.

Documents Reveal Fossil Fuel Fingerprints on Contrarian Climate Research by David Hasemyer, InsideClimate News, Feb 21, 2015

190. swood1000 says:

BBD:

There is a special problem with sceptics and TV which is that they invariably use the rhetorical trick of a Gish Gallop which the real expert simply isn’t able to rebut in full (or even in small part) in the time available. Live interview formats are great platforms for sceptics and very challenging for scientists.

I agree that it is possible for people to use all sorts of fallacious or confusing arguments and that this can be a real problem. Formats can be devised that will minimize the opportunity to do that. Also, experienced and impartial moderators can make a big difference. I also believe that scientists themselves are not necessarily the best people to place in a debate. The scientist might be capable of putting forth an exhaustive case but (a) he probably didn’t rise to his position as a result of his rhetorical or interpersonal skills, and (b) he doesn’t know how to respond with great effect in just a few sentences. If show biz acumen makes a difference then let’s level that playing field so that the only imbalance comes from the substantive issues.

Furthermore, I have no objection to excluding people from debate on the grounds that they use deceptive debating techniques. Get somebody else who deliver the same argument but who will play by the rules.

191. swood1000 says:

ATTP:

…simply choose 3 experts to present their views without specifying that at least one be someone perceived to be a climate sceptic.

But doesn’t it make for a more interesting discussion if the participants don’t all hold the same view?

192. swood1000,

But doesn’t it make for a more interesting discussion if the participants don’t all hold the same view?

Firstly, they probably won’t. Secondly, why would we want to make it appear that the topic is more controversial than it actually is? This isn’t some kind of marketing exercise.

193. Joshua says:

=>> “I completely agree with Pekka’s response in that there should be no artificial limitations on who can speak or what can be said. ”

Oy. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m all for “artificial limitations” on who can speak and what can be said.

Anyone else here with me? We can start an a artificial limitations Khmer Vert coffee klatsch.

194. swood1000 says:

BBD:

Another question might be that of the suitability of a rough and tumble debate as the best means to communicate a complex topic to the general public.

As long as the form of the debate is not chosen in order to prefer one position over another. By rough-and-tumble I do not mean a form of anarchy with everyone talking at the same time. I mean one that encourages tough and direct questions and allows sufficient time for response. Also, as I said earlier, scientists themselves are probably not the most suitable participants, since this is not their forté. Use people who are practiced communicators and who are capable of making the most powerful and compelling case in the shortest period. There might not be any debate format short of a written one that will allow a complex topic to adequately addressed.

195. BBD says:

I agree that it is possible for people to use all sorts of fallacious or confusing arguments and that this can be a real problem. Formats can be devised that will minimize the opportunity to do that.

What kind of format did you have in mind?

I also believe that scientists themselves are not necessarily the best people to place in a debate.

This suggests that you would exclude scientists from a public discussion of science.

Furthermore, I have no objection to excluding people from debate on the grounds that they use deceptive debating techniques. Get somebody else who deliver the same argument but who will play by the rules.

So we get rid of the scientists and find a contrarian who will play by the rules. Can you suggest a name or two?

It’s hard to parse what you write and extract a sense that it tends towards a practical solution.

196. John Hartz says:

ATTP: You sate:

This isn’t some kind of marketing exercise.

From the Climate Science Denial Machine perspective, the so-called debate is indeed a marketing exercise and and an integral part of its broader propaganda war. Convincing the public that manmade climate change is the biggest threat to future of the human race is also a marketing exercise.

197. BBD says:

As long as the form of the debate is not chosen in order to prefer one position over another.

That would be false balance.

198. BBD says:

I mean one that encourages tough and direct questions and allows sufficient time for response.

That would be the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

199. Willard says:

> What is an example of a question I asked […]

Here is one:

Do we say that since political discussions often degenerate that we shouldn’t have political discussions?

Wouldn’t that count as a rhetorical question? Here is another one:

What are some examples of statements that you believe could not in good faith be disputed?

Wouldn’t that count as a sea lioning?

Another rhetorical question:

Do you think that the mainstream position was disputed in these posts on climatedialogue.org

Another case of sea lioning:

I’m not sure I understand you here. Can you give a simple example?

If I want to make an argument that assumes that red is green then under what rationale should I be prevented from doing so?

This time in pair:

Does this preclude a constructive dialogue? Is there a reason that this position does not deserve a turn at the rostrum?

This other time a whole paragraph as one:

So you make these arguments in response. If your arguments are reasonable then the weakness of your opponent’s position is there for all to see. What is wrong with this approach?

A pair of questions making a whole paragraph:

But isn’t it almost the definition of disagreement that the participants believe the other side’s assumptions to be unwarranted? This debate has political implications whether or not they are expressly mentioned. What is the rationale for saying that a certain viewpoint should be silenced?

Do you see, at least, that most of these questions requires of AT to defend a position he never held? That you are arguing from a very general level, where what you’re assuming is the good answer would be tough to dispute? That repeating that leading question over and over again may leave the impression that you’re simply portraying your rhetorical opponent as some kind of censor?

Would these examples be enough for you, Swoo? Would you like other examples?

May I have full confidence that you are absolutely free to ask for more because I am always thankful for such concerns?

200. swood1000 says:

Joshua:

Oy. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m all for “artificial limitations” on who can speak and what can be said.
Anyone else here with me? We can start an a artificial limitations Khmer Vert coffee klatsch.

What I had in mind was, for example, a limitation based on the pre-determination of the validity of a particular argument, such as the ‘false balance’ approach. What if the American Physical Society wants to put together a debate. Should they invite the crackpot to participate? I would say not, unless those to be in attendance share the views of the crackpot and want him to be there.

201. swood1000,

Should they invite the crackpot to participate? I would say not, unless those to be in attendance share the views of the crackpot and want him to be there.

How do we decide who the crackpot is? This may be the crux of this whole discussion!

202. John Hartz says:

My recommendation re swood1000: DNFTT!

203. Willard says:

> Should they invite the crackpot to participate?

Why of course:

Is there anything better for dialogues than a dinner?

204. BBD says:

Is there anything better for dialogues than a dinner?

the homicidal bitching that goes down in every kitchen to determine who will serve and who will eat

205. Brandon Gates says:

swood1000,

If there are many people who would like to sort these questions out in their own minds by seeing a rough-and-tumble debate then what reason is there not to present them with one?

Scanning the replies I see other posters have answered; at risk of being repetitive I offer that individual scientists know their own talents and time constraints better than anyone from the general public.

It seems to me that people typically don’t refuse to debate because they are tired of it and have better things to do, but rather for reasons having to do with ‘false balance’ or from a desire not to propagate the beliefs of the opponent.

Sure, I have seen that theme expressed in various forms [looks up]. However it seems you’re forgetting that there’s already a robust scientific debate happening in the literature already. Original research followed by peer-review and publication is the primary mechanism for advancing scientific knowledge, not televised debates.

Do you see the activities described here: https://newzealandclimatechange.wordpress.com/2011/11/27/climategate-2-and-corruption-of-peer-review/ to be nothing more than calling something nonsense, explaining why, and then refusing to consider it further?

Since you’ve loaded the question with an absolute (“nothing more”), my answer is; of course there is more to it than that. Does it occur to you that Soon and Baliunas (2003) might actually be crap?

206. Brandon Gates says:

ATTP,

How do we decide who the crackpot is? This may be the crux of this whole discussion!

Bingo.

207. Brandon Gates says:

John Hartz,

My recommendation re swood1000: DNFTT!

Noting of course that so doing constitutes “name calling” and refusal to debate — the first steps on the slippery slope leading to “censorship”.

208. Steven Mosher says:

“If there are many people who would like to sort these questions out in their own minds by seeing a rough-and-tumble debate then what reason is there not to present them with one? It seems to me that people typically don’t refuse to debate because they are tired of it and have better things to do, but rather for reasons having to do with ‘false balance’ or from a desire not to propagate the beliefs of the opponent.”

I love folks who insist on following the scientific method.

I suppose some people will argue that they come to true belief by listening to debates.

Not sure its a reliable method

209. John Hartz says:

Brandon Gates: Fox /News and the Murdoch empire are always avialable to spread the pseudo-science poppycock eminating from the far-right and paid for by the fossil fuel industry. No one else is obligated to do so.

210. KR says:

“But doesn’t it make for a more interesting discussion if the participants don’t all hold the same view?”

My problem with false balance is that it presents false controversy. It might be interesting for you to see dissenting views, but in general science should be presented in accord with (and in proportion to) the evidence, lest the discussion cause the non-expert audience to form false impressions of the evidence.

What you are asking for is not just false balance, but false (i.e. unsupported by the evidence) controversy, weighing the ‘skeptic’ views far far more than the data suggests. Given the absurdity of many counter-AGW claims, you might as well require someone espousing a theory of our reptilian overlords as primary actors in every political discussion!

Somehow I cannot see how that would be in the public interest.

211. Joseph says:

Given the absurdity of many counter-AGW claims, you might as well require someone espousing a theory of our reptilian overlords as primary actors in every political discussion!

Exactly.. How does the decision maker(s) determine which views are to be aired? There seem to be a wide spectrum of views on various aspects of climate science by “skeptics”. How are they supposed to filter out the nonsense? I think it easy decision for the decision makers to chose someone with the mainstream view because it’s widely held. Not so much for the “skeptical” one..

212. Joseph says:

I said this on Dr Curry’s site but if information about the skeptic position on climate change was not getting communicated to the public, then there wouldn’t be so many skeptics (especially here in the US). And I personally have heard most of the general arguments they make as have others who visit message boards/blogosphere that has climate related posts. The information about skeptic views is out there. I don’t know why we need or even would want more of it..

213. Marco says:

I think the whole issue with “false balance” is that usually that “false balance” is not disclosed. Was it clear at CD who the ‘skeptical’ side was?

Not that unsimilar to Soon’s failure to disclose his funding sources…

214. Marco,

Was it clear at CD who the ‘skeptical’ side was?

Maybe there was an objection to a token “skeptic” label?

215. Marco says:

ATTP, there are other ways of indicating that, e.g. that scientist A represents a view that differs significantly from the general consensus as presented in the IPCC reports. Note that this label not only needs to apply to ‘skeptics’.

See figure in this blog by Michael Tobis:
http://initforthegold.blogspot.dk/2010/01/ok-getting-serious-again.html

216. Joshua says:

If Climate Dialogue ever does start up again, I think that they need to include someone who can speak about what this chart shows.

You can see that as the number of pirates in the world has decreased over the past 130 years, global warming has gotten steadily worse. In fact, this makes it entirely clear that if you truly want to stop global warming, the most impactful thing to do is — become a pirate.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2012/03/23/true-fact-the-lack-of-pirates-is-causing-global-warming/

I read about this in Forbes, and haven’t heard a peep about it since! It’s a cover up, I tell you! Just look at the article. Forbes says that this is a “true fact!!!”

217. Willard says:

218. John Hartz says:

Observation: Now that commenters have stopped chasing swood1000’s tail around the track, he/she has seemingly disappeared.

219. Willard says:
220. John Hartz says:

[JH] Willard: That too.

221. John Hartz says:

Willard: I also find it interesting that soon after swood1000 leaves the scene, Brandon Gates enters.

222. Willard says:

Sigh

223. dhogaza says:

Sword1000:

“As long as the form of the debate is not chosen in order to prefer one position over another. ”

So every public discussion about, say, drugs used to treat HIV should include Dusenberg, so the public can hear that HIV is harmless and plays no role in the development of AIDS in patients?

Every financial discussion about oil reserves and public policy for the discovery and extraction of oil on public lands, and their impact on the stock prices of oil companies, should include an “expert” who will teach the public that oil is not of biological origins, and that the geophysics that the oil industry businesses base their work on is a lie and that fundamentally their stocks are worthless in the long-term?

224. dhogaza says:

Sword1000:

“If it is claimed that skeptic “experts” are not credible then why can’t that be demonstrated the same way that such a thing would be demonstrated to a jury? What should the policy of the NewsHour be?”

Since you love the jury analogy, I’d be happy if the News Hour followed the same procedures as federal courts. From wikipedia:

“An expert testifying in a United States federal court must satisfy the requirements of Fed. R. Evid. 702.[1] Generally, under Rule 702, an expert is a person with “scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge” who can “assist the trier of fact,” which is typically a jury. A witness who is being offered as an expert must first establish his or her competency in the relevant field through an examination of his or her credentials. The opposing attorney is permitted to conduct a voir dire of the witness in order to challenge that witness’ qualifications.”

This tells a somewhat different story of how jury trials actually work than the picture Sword1000 has been painting for us.

“If qualified by the court, then the expert may testify “in the form of an opinion or otherwise” so long as: “(1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.””

While a bit wishy-washy, this is better than anything.

The point is that lawyers in a trial can’t just dredge up any old tom, dick or harriet, put them on the stand as an expert, and let them prattle on, confusing the jury. The opposing lawyer has the opportunity to fight the expert’s appearance, and judge can refuse to accept their expertise, and even if accepted, the judge can rule out particular testimony if it drifts too far from the mainstream.

So jury trials aren’t the wide-open venue for “open-minded” debate that you hold them up to be. That kind of proper vetting makes it highly unlikely that Anthony Watts, for instance, who frequently appears on Fox News, would ever be in the position of testifying to a jury on anything but the most narrow details (such as the effect of a Stevenson screen, etc). He doesn’t have the credentials to be an expert on the details of atmospheric physics, modeling, and the like and would get skewered in front of a judge (with the jury safely absent).

225. dhogaza says:

Another comment on the climate dialog process that I haven’t seen raised earlier …

The format, requiring they find one expert skeptic per subject, limits the subjects that they can raise to those which they can find a credentialed expert who is skeptic.

This brings another form of confusing false balance into the blog: readers get the impression that every topic related to climate science must be “unsettled”. There are a very large number of subjects (for instance, the basic radiative properties of CO2) for which there is no credible, credentialed opposition. The format precludes educating the public on such foundational things, leaving the impression that the entire field of climate science is contentious and absolutely nothing is “settled science” (for lack of a better term).

This makes mountain-building-from-mole-hill exercises like Christy’s exploiting of uncertainty of the tropical hotspot in order to argue that models should be ignored, much more possible.

226. Joshua says:

So what was the outcome, willard? Was her dad deprogrammable?

227. Willard says:

I think she’s experimenting with force feeding him Stephen Colbert, Joshua.

228. Marco says:

Duesberg, dhogaza; his name is Duesberg.

229. dhogaza says:

Thanks, Marco, I was too lazy to google … might be a reflection of my opinion of the quality of sword1000’s posts 🙂

230. Brandon Gates says:

John Hartz,

lol. Not so long ago a WHUTTer supposed that I was David Appell’s sock puppet, further reinforcing my belief that there’s no way to “win” a debate against those who do it in bad faith.

231. Michael 2 says:

Steven Mosher says “I suppose some people will argue that they come to true belief by listening to debates.”

With 7 billion people on Earth, how could you be wrong?

For me, the principle benefits of a debate include (1) laying out the issues and counterissues for my own eventual study and (2) explore the character of each advocate. I recognize that what I value in a person others do not (and vice versa).

Suppose I go to a car dealer and he offers me something with the promise of great value, excellent mileage and performance — but is not offering any context, that perhaps something else has similar performance at half the cost, and thus half the commission so he doesn’t mention it, and maybe he isn’t a dealer for this other option anyway.

When I was taking economics classes in college, I was a “returning student” having lived through the 1973 and 1979 oil embargoes; for me these were experiences that to the other students mere history and theory. The professor was remarkably skilled at using the most headstrong students in the large class of 200 or so students. So I found myself often tasked to argue against my own opinions, a thing I did with excellence and persuasion, and is not difficult since both sides of most coins (figuratively speaking) have something of value.

The strategy is simple enough — speak truthfully of the advantages and fail to mention the worst of the disadvantages; but to seem fair and balanced, mention some trivial disadvantages that are outweighed by the advantages. It would be dishonest except that your opponent’s duty is to mention his advantages and trivialize my claims of his disadvantages.

Naturally, having engaged in such tactics I am also alert for them — does Chris Matthews on MSNBC “Hardball” engage in the tough questions against a worthy opponent? No, he doesn’t. That tells me he doesn’t think his “game” is up to the task. Occasionally I see “The Five” on Fox and Bob Beckel seems like a reasonably representative of Democrats. I’ll certainly give him points for persistence and I wish the others would let him finish a sentence or paragraph a bit more often.

In the case of Christian versus Atheist; they are arguing orthogonally for the most part and a debate isn’t really possible. Rather a lot of the current context is “climate science” versus “global government” and also orthogonal; they aren’t arguing the same points and so debate isn’t even a theoretical possibility.

Debate happens when you have a goal and multiple ways to get there, it’s not so much a debate as it is a negotiation when the people that must make the actual sacrifice are not the debaters; the debaters are a proxy for the citizens.

Inasmuch as “debate” is a proxy for citizen argumentation, it is fitting to require representation of points of view in approximate proportion to their existence in the population affected by the outcome of the debates. Furthermore, each population should choose their own “champion”. If I chose my opponents, I would always win.

232. Michael 2 says:

Here’s my agreement with John Hartz for the year:

“the so-called debate is indeed a marketing exercise … Convincing the public that manmade climate change is the biggest threat to future of the human race is also a marketing exercise.”

Exactly.

233. BBD says:

M2

There’s a deal of difference between peddling ‘sceptical’ misinformation and raising public awareness of the implications of climate science, although both could be loosely described as marketing.

234. John Hartz says:

Brandon Gates:Over the years, I have seen two or more climate science deniers “tag team” comment threads on a given website.

235. JH,
I’m confused as to why you would regard Brandon as a climate science denier?

236. BBD says:

John Hartz

Not confusing B Gates with Brandon Shollenberger by any chance?

237. swood1000 says:

Willard:

Here is one:
Do we say that since political discussions often degenerate that we shouldn’t have political discussions?
Wouldn’t that count as a rhetorical question?

I stand corrected. This one is a rhetorical question.

Here is another one:
What are some examples of statements that you believe could not in good faith be disputed?
Wouldn’t that count as a sea lioning?

“Sea-Lioning is an Internet slang term referring to intrusive attempts at engaging an unwilling debate opponent by feigning civility and incessantly requesting evidence to back up their claims.”

A rhetorical question is a question asked solely to produce an effect or to make an assertion and not to elicit a reply, as “What is so rare as a day in June?”.

This was neither rhetorical nor sea lioning. It was not a question that did not expect an answer, or a question with an obvious answer, nor was the person to whom this was addressed unwilling, nor was it asked incessantly. It was a straightforward request, though perhaps not aptly put. I should have phrased it this way “What are some examples of climate change assertions that are disputed by scientists held in high esteem in the doubter community, but that you believe could not in good faith be disputed?” It would be rhetorical if there were an obvious answer that everybody knows, or if it were obvious that nobody knows the answer, or if it were not expecting an answer. That is not the case here. This question goes to the heart of the issue and I don’t see why it is objectionable.

Another rhetorical question:
Do you think that the mainstream position was disputed in these posts on climatedialogue.org

Why is that a rhetorical question? ATTP said this:

Again, I’m really only referring to those who would dispute the mainstream position.

Is my question rhetorical because it is obvious what the answer is? What do you think the answer is?

Another case of sea lioning:
I’m not sure I understand you here. Can you give a simple example?

This was in response to this post by ATTP:

However, if your calculation includes assumptions that preclude you from actually showing that other estimates have flaws, then your calculation doesn’t necessarily disprove other estimates. It becomes an estimate that is correct if your assumptions turn out to be true, but that might not be correct if they aren’t.

Why is this sea lioning? Because I should know that he has no examples and doesn’t wish to be asked for any?

If I want to make an argument that assumes that red is green then under what rationale should I be prevented from doing so?

A loaded question or complex question fallacy is a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption (e.g., a presumption of guilt).

Why is my question a loaded question? It was also related to the previous statement by ATTP which I was not sure I understood. If I make an argument that assumes that red is green that should not be objectionable. The response is to point out that red is not green, so the argument fails. If I make a fallacious argument then the fallacy should be pointed out. If a person insists on making fallacious arguments then it is legitimate to refuse to treat him as a serious person.

This time in pair:
Does this preclude a constructive dialogue? Is there a reason that this position does not deserve a turn at the rostrum?

Again, why is this rhetorical?

This other time a whole paragraph as one:
So you make these arguments in response. If your arguments are reasonable then the weakness of your opponent’s position is there for all to see. What is wrong with this approach?

I am just mystified by what your objection might be to this question or why you might call it rhetorical. It is at the heart of the issue.

A pair of questions making a whole paragraph:
But isn’t it almost the definition of disagreement that the participants believe the other side’s assumptions to be unwarranted? This debate has political implications whether or not they are expressly mentioned. What is the rationale for saying that a certain viewpoint should be silenced?
Do you see, at least, that most of these questions requires of AT to defend a position he never held?

Not in the least do I see that. I am requiring nothing of ATTP. If my questions made unwarranted assumptions it was not because I was trying to pull a fast one. Simply correct the unwarranted assumption.

That you are arguing from a very general level, where what you’re assuming is the good answer would be tough to dispute? That repeating that leading question over and over again may leave the impression that you’re simply portraying your rhetorical opponent as some kind of censor?

Look, I have a worldview like everybody else. I make certain assumptions. If I hold erroneous beliefs then it is likely that my assumptions need to be revised. If you hold a contrasting worldview then you are in a perfect position to recognize and point out my assumptions. Have at it. Don’t tell me that my question is improper because you disagree with my assumption. If that is where I go off the track point it out.

Perhaps we could start here. You said “…where what you’re assuming is the good answer would be tough to dispute?” Except for the one question that was rhetorical, where was I assuming an answer and what was the answer?

238. swood1000 says:

John Hartz:

My recommendation re swood1000: DNFTT!

Suppose a person knows of no sufficient justification for the ‘false balance’ policy and wants to hear how it is justified by its supporters. Where would he go to do that? Perhaps a website frequented by people who support that policy and who are currently discussing a similar question? Is there a better place? If you believe strongly that there are good and sufficient reasons for the ‘false balance’ policy, am I a troll if I disagree openly and give my reasons?

Do my questions really indicate that I am not interested in the substance of the issue but only in causing discord? Your assumption appears to be that no reasonable person could be a skeptic in good faith. If ATTP believes that my questions or motivations appear not to be ones he wishes to see on his site all he has to do is suggest to me that I have outstayed my welcome and I will leave voluntarily and immediately.

239. BBD says:

“What are some examples of climate change assertions that are disputed by scientists held in high esteem in the doubter community, but that you believe could not in good faith be disputed?”

Well, there’s a wide field to choose from there, but we can kick off with Drs Spencer and Lindzen.

The “in good faith” rider is tricky. If we presume that Drs Spencer and Lindzen are competent, then there is a strong suggestion of bad faith because both have persisted in *repeating* flawed arguments despite considerable detailed and in both cases formally published criticism. If we presume incompetence, then the problem goes away.

240. swood1000 says:

dhogaza:

This tells a somewhat different story of how jury trials actually work than the picture Sword1000 has been painting for us.

Are you saying that you believe that John Christy and Judith Curry would not qualify as experts under Rule 702?

That kind of proper vetting makes it highly unlikely that Anthony Watts, for instance, who frequently appears on Fox News, would ever be in the position of testifying to a jury on anything but the most narrow details (such as the effect of a Stevenson screen, etc). He doesn’t have the credentials to be an expert on the details of atmospheric physics, modeling, and the like and would get skewered in front of a judge (with the jury safely absent).

Does this refer to meteorologists in general or Anthony Watts specifically?

241. > This was neither rhetorical nor sea lioning. This was neither rhetorical nor sea lioning. It was not a question that did not expect an answer, or a question with an obvious answer, nor was the person to whom this was addressed unwilling, nor was it asked incessantly.

I said it was sea lioning, so the “neither rhetorical” is irrelevant. Sea lioning belongs to the Just Asking Questions strategy. I’d rather continue documenting that Swood is JAQing off than limiting myself to answer his sea lion requests.

Here’s the question, again:

What are some examples of statements that you believe could not in good faith be disputed?

Appearing suddenly in a thread to ask for examples or for evidence usually is a good indicator of sea lioning. Both the sudden irruption on a thread and the load of requests putting most of the work on the interlocutor may justify why the metaphor works:

http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/107315199074

No, I don’t think AT should be required to provide instances of statements he believes could not in good faith be disputed. There are many reasons for that. First, it’s easy to imagine such statements, e.g. “CO2 is a GHG.” Second, such examples don’t help move forward what Swood would like to discuss, i.e. the possibility to discuss just about anything, including that CO2 is a GHG. Third, the onus is on Swood to present his own understanding of that matter. Fourth, this has been covered over and over again on this blog, and Swood’s question shows he must be new here [1]. Fifth, AT clearly stated his opinion as his opinion, and does not owe Swood to work for him to raise Swood’s very own issue.

The second reason should be enough to show that Swood’s line of question is irrelevant and that, therefore, his argument is invalid [2].

***

So it seems that JH also misread Swood.

242. swood1000 says:

BBD:

Well, there’s a wide field to choose from there, but we can kick off with Drs Spencer and Lindzen.
The “in good faith” rider is tricky. If we presume that Drs Spencer and Lindzen are competent, then there is a strong suggestion of bad faith because both have persisted in *repeating* flawed arguments despite considerable detailed and in both cases formally published criticism. If we presume incompetence, then the problem goes away.

OK, Spencer and Lindzen seem to fulfill the “held in high esteem” requirement. Now what are the assertions that they dispute? By “could not in good faith be disputed” I was thinking of a situation where the person must either be lying or incompetent or insane because such an assertion could not be disputed otherwise.

243. I might as well observe that the last comment only covers Swoo’s first claim, viz. that one of his question was not sea lioning. Since to rebut his simple contradiction I have to make an argumentation, chances are that this ClimateBall ™ exchange will soon lead to an exponential mess.

Swoo’s first claim follows the concession of standing corrected.

After the short yes, the long but.

244. swood1000 says:

willard:

No, I don’t think AT should be required to provide instances of statements he believes could not in good faith be disputed. There are many reasons for that. First, it’s easy to imagine such statements, e.g. “CO2 is a GHG.”

If you would use the version of the question that I said was more aptly put then I would have less reason to assume that you are not averse to obfuscating this question.

The purpose of the question was so that we could discuss the issue concretely instead of abstractly. What are we really talking about? If a person urges that certain assertions should be subject to a limitation, as happens with the false balance policy, wouldn’t it be helpful if we could have an example of what we are talking about, and that the person who urges the limitation should supply an example of the type of assertion that will be subject to the limitation?

Second, such examples don’t help move forward what Swoo would like to discuss, i.e. the possibility to discuss just about anything, including that CO2 is a GHG.

Which scientists held in high esteem in the doubter community question whether CO2 is a GHG?

Third, the onus is on Swoo to present his own understanding of that matter.

Here is my understanding: there should be no false balance policy.

Fourth, this has been covered over and over again on this blog, and Swoo’s question shows he must be new here.

I am new here. Are my questions and comments not germane to the topic? Why was the topic raised if it has been covered over and over?

Fifth, AT clearly stated his opinion as his opinion, and does not owe Swoo to work for him to raise Swoo’s very own issue.

Frankly, it never occurred to me that a simple request for a concrete example would be met by so many people with so much resistance. I don’t understand it.

245. swood1000 says:

I might as well observe that the last comment only covers Swoo’s first claim, viz. that one of his question was not sea lioning. Since to rebut his simple contradiction I have to make an argumentation, chances are that this ClimateBall™ exchange will soon lead to an exponential mess.
Swoo’s first claim follows the concession of standing corrected.
After the short yes, the long but.

Is there a willard interpreter available to assist me in understanding what is meant here?

246. John Hartz says:

swood1000: Sorry, I no longer play reindeer games with climate science denier drones.

247. swood1000 says:

KR:

My problem with false balance is that it presents false controversy. It might be interesting for you to see dissenting views, but in general science should be presented in accord with (and in proportion to) the evidence, lest the discussion cause the non-expert audience to form false impressions of the evidence.
What you are asking for is not just false balance, but false (i.e. unsupported by the evidence) controversy, weighing the ‘skeptic’ views far far more than the data suggests. Given the absurdity of many counter-AGW claims, you might as well require someone espousing a theory of our reptilian overlords as primary actors in every political discussion!
Somehow I cannot see how that would be in the public interest.

If 50% of the people believe a falsehood, then that by itself is reason to bring that falsehood into the light over and over in order to demonstrate how it is false. I understand the complaint, though. It is that the purveyors of falsehood are too adept at their work, and have been able to sell their snake oil. The solution is not to suppress the advocacy of falsehood but to do a more effective job pointing out its defects.

248. > Is there a willard interpreter available to assist me in understanding what is meant here?

There’s one. He’s called Willard.

What I mean by

Since to rebut his simple contradiction I have to make an argumentation, chances are that this ClimateBall™ exchange will soon lead to an exponential mess.

is that any exchange where replies outpace the excerpts to which they respond degenerates into NP. The number of sentences just keep increasing and increasing. I have yet to see one exchange being felicitous when two interlocutors implement the same game plan.

When one of the interlocutors simply return the ball using “what does it mean?”, then it is the other that keeps working. In other words, sea lioning at its best.

I have yet to see one more splendid example of sea lioning, and I’ve seen many.

249. > Frankly, it never occurred to me that a simple request for a concrete example would be met by so many people with so much resistance. I don’t understand it.

Let’s try the visual route:

Compare image #3 with (e.g.) “What are some examples of statements that you believe could not in good faith be disputed?” and “Why was the topic raised if it has been covered over and over?”

250. swood1000 says:

BBD:

This suggests that you would exclude scientists from a public discussion of science.

Isn’t it clear that science skills and communication skills do not necessarily overlap?

251. > Isn’t it clear that science skills and communication skills do not necessarily overlap?

Another rhetorical question.

252. > [T]here should be no false balance policy.

I’m not sure what this claim means.

Is there anybody to help me out in understanding that claim?

253. KR says:

“The solution is not to suppress the advocacy of falsehood but to do a more effective job pointing out its defects.”

The defects of the snake oil salesmen have already been demonstrated in the literature. But the salesmen aren’t suppressed (listen to talk radio some time). The false balance/false controversy issue arises where mass media invests in promoting the snake oil by presenting the salesmen as if they had valid arguments. That seems to be what you are arguing for, that promotion of nonsense (nonsense you apparently value) – and I don’t consider that at all reasonable.

See here for an illustration of what I’m speaking of. It’s not censorship to fail to promote nonsense – it’s just good sense.

254. John Hartz says:

Aye, here’s the rub…

Rebutting disinformation, however, requires someone who understands the difference between fact and fiction to explain a) why the disinformation is fiction and b) what the facts actually are. For example, it took Harris about 30 words to accuse anyone who uses the word “denier” of an ad hominem logical fallacy, but it took me 80 words – and a reference to a 1,200-word post exclusively on the word “denier” – to correct his disinformation. Refuting his deceptive and unproven assertion that climate science is “rapidly evolving” took me hundreds of words because I had to prove not only that he was wrong, but that I was right. Anytime someone spreads disinformation that has to be corrected with actual proof, the correction is going to take more time and effort than spreading the original disinformation did. And while the original disinformation is being corrected, Harris or someone else like him has generated yet more disinformation to be corrected.

Peddlers of climate change deceit have significant advantages over climate realists by Brian Angliss, Scholars & Rogues, Feb 21, 2015

255. John Hartz says:

The tease line for the Angliss article that I cited above is:

Climate realists are fighting an uphill battle against professional climate disruption deniers who have media bias, time, money, and an apathetic public on their side.

All participants in this comment thread would do well to read the article.

256. Joseph says:

If 50% of the people believe a falsehood, then that by itself is reason to bring that falsehood into the light over and over in order to demonstrate how it is false. I understand the complaint, though.

Swod ,why do we need a spokesman from the side in err to demonstrate a falsehood? Why can’t the mainstream person discuss flawed objections to his research by “skeptics,” if asked? And anyway presenting the facts is a good way to demolish disinformation. Don’t you think? I think the that non-experts are already going to have a hard time judging the technical arguments from bother sides. And as others have pointed out, why complicate things by presenting the skeptic position that contains known misinformation as a viable alternative?

257. Michael 2 says:

Joseph writes a long thing which I will comment interleaved

“Swod ,why do we need a spokesman from the side in err to demonstrate a falsehood?”

There is no we and there is no need. Swood obviously wishes it, you appear not to wish it. Therefore on his blog he will have it and on yours you won’t.

“Why can’t the mainstream person discuss flawed objections to his research by skeptics, if asked?”

He can; it has been done at SkS but it isn’t impressive. It becomes a strawman argument when you propose your opponents argument and then argue it. How can you lose?

“And anyway presenting the facts is a good way to demolish disinformation. Don’t you think?”

Yes, I don’t think it is a good way to demolish disinformation. By all means stand up and be counted; but as you and others observe, readers cannot discern who has the “facts”.

“I think the that non-experts are already going to have a hard time judging the technical arguments from bother sides.”

Precisely why “facts” do not demolish “disinformation”. My fact is your disinformation, or vice versa.

“And as others have pointed out, why complicate things by presenting the skeptic position that contains known misinformation as a viable alternative?”

That made no sense but let skeptics present their side on their blogs.

258. Michael 2 says:

John Hartz “Climate realists are fighting an uphill battle against professional climate disruption deniers who have media bias, time, money, and an apathetic public on their side.”

Sounds a bit like conspiracy ideation again 😉

Got cite? Media bias is indisputably on the side of global warming. So is the money. For goodness sakes even Shell and Exxon fund global warming messages (it takes down coal, the principle competitor to oil; they know people aren’t actually going to go cold, hungry and dark just to save a degree in a hundred years. Kill coal, that leaves oil. Wind and solar is hardly a threat).

259. Michael 2 says:

Reply to John Hartz: I read the link you provided (“Peddlers of climate change deceit have significant advantages over climate realists by Brian Arliss, Scholars & Rogues, Feb 21, 2015”)

My immediate response, on seeing the name Naomi Oreskes, was that it was not going to be credible, and indeed it is not. She was the original conspiracy theorist before Lewandowsky steered that label over to the denier side of things.

The writers missed the obvious advantage — several years of serious winter in North America. But hey, it is what I have been arguing all weekend, when you are putting down your opponent, do not mention his effective arguments lest your attempt backfire. Mention something that hardly anyone can argue, say, “physics”. Drop that magic word; it is to science what Dog is to religion — irrefutable, mysterious, transcendent.

“Now, not all that profit is directed toward crafting disinformation for public consumption, but even if a small percentage of it is, that’s still a significant financial advantage.”

What does the writer mean “IF”? He/she/they do not know how much paid denialism exists.

That’s incredible. I hope their climate science has more evidence than that.

“But there is one advantage that the peddlers don’t have – physics. Physics doesn’t care about media biases, money, political ideology, personal biases, or even truth.”

There’s the magic word. It doesn’t seem to be having much of an effect on the proletariat.

“And physics always has the last word.”

Not on a blog it doesn’t 😉

Now then; what is the purpose of this article? Who is going to read it? Left-wingers, that’s who, people already in the Consensus and it is hoped y’all STAY in the Consensus, cannot have any wandering off the reservation! So, with that clearly in mind, note the difference in language between the “good” example and the “bad” example:

(begin quote)
Consider the two following examples: “We all need to drive less and eat less meat. We need to buy expensive LED light bulbs…[and so on]”

versus: “There’s no need to change your habits – drive as much as you want and enjoy that steak. Only replace your bulbs…”
(end quote)

GOOD: 7 (seven) instances of “WE”. This kind is invited to the party. This is the flock, the herd, the approved list.

BAD: 8 instances of “You” (including “your”) and no “we”. This kind is not invited to the party. It is disapproved.

As it happens, I do use LED’s (I love them!), drive less and use an efficient automobile most of the time. My house is plenty far from the beach. I do not snow ski and I tried water skiing only once (unsuccessfully). So I ought to be on the “approved” list except for one thing — I seldom use “we”. That means I am not controlled by the groupthink and that is “bad” even if what I do is “good”.

260. Michael 2 says:

Swood says “there should be no false balance policy.”

Well then on your blog there won’t be one! I am unaware of any blog that has any kind of balance policy; only Fox News claims to be “fair and balanced”.

“Frankly, it never occurred to me that a simple request for a concrete example”

I read most comments and I must have missed your request. I’m a lukewarm skeptic but above average (IMO) in knowing the various scientific assertions and the reasons for them.

It will help you to know that this blog is in the inner circle of Consensus and is not going to change any sooner than Catholic priests can marry, and maybe not even then. ATTP tolerates some dissension perhaps to keep things interesting, that is where you can help, keep your commentary interesting.

261. Marco says:

“Which scientists held in high esteem in the doubter community question whether CO2 is a GHG?”

I guess it depends on what you consider the doubter community. Tim Ball comes to mind. Claes Johnson is another. Both may not strictly deny that CO2 is a GHG, but in the end that is what their argument comes down to anyway.

Khabibullo Abdusamatov has also been widely cited approvingly, and he went as far as claiming that “”Heated greenhouse gases, which become lighter as a result of expansion, ascend to the atmosphere only to give the absorbed heat away”.

262. Andrew Dodds says:

M2 –

Your entire point of view appears to depend on there being, somewhere out there, a reasonable, well-grounded ‘skeptic/lukewarm/whatever’ position. Which all us nasty ‘consensus’ types are somehow conspiring to ignore.

The problem is – no such position exists.

Now, if you look at the 1960s/1970s debates in geology – you had ‘plate tectonics’ and you had ‘geosyncline’ theory. And that’s quite important – you had two coherent theories which both explained evidence. What you DIDN’T have was ‘plate tectonics’ and ‘NOT plate tectonics’. And this is the critical point – there is no coherent ‘alternative’. There is no coherent ‘lukewarmer’ position; there is no coherent ‘skeptic’ position. It’s all a mess of cherry picks, denial, rambling on about methods and auditing, logical fallacies and politics.

263. Brandon Gates says:

John Hartz, no worries.

264. Marco says:

Allow me to update my answer to swood100’s question “Which scientists held in high esteem in the doubter community question whether CO2 is a GHG?”

Joe Bastardi, who has stated that “CO2 cannot cause global warming. I’ll tell you why. It doesn’t mix well with the atmosphere, for one. For two, its specific gravity is 1 1/2 times that of the rest of the atmosphere. It heats and cools much quicker. Its radiative processes are much different. So it cannot — it literally cannot cause global warming.”

John Coleman, who has written “Efforts to prove the theory that carbon dioxide is a significant “greenhouse” gas and pollutant causing significant warming or weather effects have failed.”

Jennifer Marohasy, who has promoted Gerlich & Tscheuschner’s work, as well as that of others supposedly refuting the greenhouse effect. Then again, she has also promoted arguments that the greenhouse effect is actually saturated. In essence she is just another Anthony Watts: Anything But CO2!

Of course, none of these three are really scientists, although Marohasy does have a PhD.

265. Marco and jsam,
Whenever I see those kind of lists (here’s one from Wikipedia) I’m always amazed by how few people there are. Given how many PhD level and active scientists there are in the world, the number that dispute the mainstream position is remarkably small.

266. John Hartz says:

Brandon Gates: My apologies for mischaracterizing you. I simply had too many irons in the fire this past weekend and consequently did not crefully focus on what you were actually saying.

267. John Hartz says:

Michael 2: I’m impressed that you took the time to read Brian Angliss’ article. Needless to say, I’m not particualry impressed by your critique of it. But hey, the journey of 1,000 miles begins with the first step.

You too will be assimilitated. Resistance is futile. 🙂

268. Michael 2 says:

John Hartz says “Michael 2: I’m impressed that you took the time to read Brian Angliss’ article.”

It stems from my respect for you. Many things you write are worthy. That is ultimately the topic of this thread; how to provoke a dialog, how to persuade someone to look at resources that are available. You and your persuadee must have a place of intersection (here, for instance). Sufficient reason must exist for you and your persuadee to keep coming long enough to build a sense of mutual identity. Whether you succeed in persuading anyone depends mostly on whether the other person is “true to his nature”; in other words, a person that naturally would be socially helpful but raised in a redneck environment, won’t even know how to help other people at all times (the Boy Scout oath), or that it is a Good Thing, and will be ridiculed for following his natural instinct. That is a situation where basically the dialog gives permission, methods and space to do what he wants to do but doesn’t know how.

In other words, a facilitator.

Over the years I’ve argued with many people of varying degrees of sincerity. I will almost always engage, even with sea lions, partly because it is a fun game to stay one step ahead of the guy that is also playing the game and thinks he’s a step ahead of me; and partly because the longer you can keep someone on the party line the more carefully you can lay out to the vast readership (one hopes) whatever it is you wish to lay out. It practically demands a cooperative opponent.

But more to the point, occasionally you get someone that acts like a sea lion but isn’t actually such a thing; he’s the genuine article.

269. Michael 2 says:

Marco says “Of course, none of these three are really scientists, although Marohasy does have a PhD.”

Having a PhD is a compelling persuasion to what percentage of the human race?

270. Michael 2 says:

jsam “M2 flaunts his inner fruitcake.”

Indeed; but I try to dole it out in small doses. I have a doubt that y’all could take a full frontal blast of fruitcake. 😉

271. Michael 2 says:

I am glad that my choice to keep the same handle across these blogs has facilitated your observation of my fruitiness. It also means I don’t need to post a similar comment here.

272. Michael 2 says:

Andrew Dodds says “Your entire point of view appears to depend on there being, somewhere out there, a reasonable, well-grounded ‘skeptic/lukewarm/whatever’ position.”

Not quite. I do not have a strongly held point of view with regard to where on the continuum to hang my belief. My commentary is largely intended to help answer, anecdotally to be sure, why the most strident warmists have not made a larger impact on world opinion.

Belief in global warming isn’t on the same axis as global governance and solutions. They appear to be completely disconnected. Global governance is a desire that has been around for thousands of years.

I *do* have a loosely held perception that seems to be coalescing to around 1.5 C for a doubling of CO2. I know that CO2 must have an effect; but I also know that many feedbacks exist, some of which might not have been observed in modern times if threshold effects exist, which must be the case because of the phase change temperatures of water.

“Which all us nasty ‘consensus’ types are somehow conspiring to ignore.”

Each person locates himself on the continuum of belief and the other continuum of policy; what you do then depends on your personality.

“Now, if you look at the 1960s/1970s debates in geology – you had ‘plate tectonics’ and you had ‘geosyncline’ theory. And that’s quite important – you had two coherent theories which both explained evidence. What you DIDN’T have was ‘plate tectonics’ and ‘NOT plate tectonics’. And this is the critical point – there is no coherent ‘alternative’.”

I comprehend your argument and for the most part accept it as I believe you intend. Only one KIND of climate science exists or can exist, you are either measuring temperatures or inventing them. You either drill an ice core and measure oxygen isotope levels related to depth, or you invent it.

I have very little doubt of actual field research and results. They paint a picture. Where I am considerably less certain is your ability to predict the climate 100 years from now. The more I study the LESS I believe in your ability to do that. Still, I have faith that it ought to be possible to predict the future since everything follows physical laws. It is deterministic. It’s like a computer, a computer cannot surprise me, it does exactly what it is told. Consider climate models. How is it possible that successive runs produces different results? It is impossible, except of course one inserts a randomizer so that you don’t get the same result every time.

273. BBD says:

M2

There’s plentiful evidence that vested interest funds the denial industry. IIRC you have denied this evidence in comments here before. Now here you are, denying the evidence again, despite previously being shown that you were incorrect. Worse still, you are again taunting people with the accusation of conspiracist ideation because unlike you, they are *not* engaged in evidence denial. You really should be ashamed of yourself.

* * *

Brulle (2013):

Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations

This paper conducts an analysis of the financial resource mobilization of the organizations that make up the climate change counter-movement (CCCM) in the United States. Utilizing IRS data, total annual income is compiled for a sample of CCCM organizations (including advocacy organizations, think tanks, and trade associations). These data are coupled with IRS data on philanthropic foundation funding of these CCCM organizations contained in the Foundation Center’s data base. This results in a data sample that contains financial information for the time period 2003 to 2010 on the annual income of 91 CCCM organizations funded by 140 different foundations. An examination of these data shows that these 91 CCCM organizations have an annual income of just over $900 million, with an annual average of$64 million in identifiable foundation support. The overwhelming majority of the philanthropic support comes from conservative foundations. Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of CCCM funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies.

Here’s an interview with Robert Brulle in which he discusses the politics and funding of the denial industry.

Here’s some detailed financial information on the funding of the denial industry.

274. Joseph says:

“Why can’t the mainstream person discuss flawed objections to his research by skeptics, if asked?”

He can; it has been done at SkS but it isn’t impressive. It becomes a strawman argument when you propose your opponents argument and then argue it. How can you lose?

What I had in mind was in a news article format in which the reporter asks the questions.

By all means stand up and be counted; but as you and others observe, readers cannot discern who has the “facts.”

No what I mean is that non-experts have trouble properly evaluating the validity of the facts. That doesn’t mean they can’t learn from and appreciate what is being said.
.

“And as others have pointed out, why complicate things by presenting the skeptic position that contains known misinformation as a viable alternative?”

That made no sense but let skeptics present their side on their blogs.

<

The point is why should one knowingly present misinformation to non-experts when they can't evaluate the validity of what is being said. The promoter of disinformation might for some reason be more persuasive than the expert. And I thought we were talking about the "skeptic" view being excluded from the mainstream media, not blogs

275. Michael says:

Joseph writes “The point is why should one knowingly present misinformation to non-experts when they can’t evaluate the validity of what is being said. The promoter of disinformation might for some reason be more persuasive than the expert. And I thought we were talking about the “skeptic” view being excluded from the mainstream media, not blogs”

Thank you for explaining. I have little contact with mainstream media. Some of the discussion has revolved around the existence of blogs as a type of “end run” on mainstream media, the idea being that msm is more easily controlled as only a few actual owners exist.

MSM is democratic (majority rule, minority ignored and/or excluded); but blogs are libertarian.

As to your assumption that people are deliberately lying to the proletariat, and which side of this conflict is doing that (or doing it more than the other), even the most basic understanding of politics reveals the answer. Politics is a proxy for war, a “struggle” (Mein Kampf in other words).

The Left has many noble causes and a stated willingness to bend truth to that cause and historically has also been vastly superior in presenting its cases to the proletariat except in the United States.

The Right is !Left (not-left), sort of a mirror image and consequently it too can be expected to bend truth, exaggerate or outright lie.

Nearly all climate scientists are pawns in this struggle; handy to have around when they discover the right things, not so handy when they don’t. Politics and truth do not mix.

276. swood1000 says:

The point is why should one knowingly present misinformation to non-experts when they can’t evaluate the validity of what is being said.

First, the misinformation must be stated in the form in which it was found believable before it can be believably refuted. Otherwise it is seen to be just a straw man. Second, it cannot be doubted that explaining abstruse scientific matters to the lay public is challenging in the extreme, but there is no alternative. They are the ones who have been misinformed, if that is the case, and they are the ones who hold the power. Some means have been used to persuade them one way and some means must be available to persuade them another way. Other hindrances involve elements of the trustworthiness and motivation of the side making the argument. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/Supplement_4/13593.abstract and http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/24/3571562/climate-scientists-trustworthy/

It would seem to me to be easier to disabuse someone of his misconception by mentioning that misconception directly than by avoiding mention of it, even though the mention of it may put the idea into the minds of people who otherwise would not have heard of it.

Part of the problem is that some of the arguments currently being used by the skeptics are much easier to make than they are to refute. For example, there is the argument about the hiatus. A refutation gets down into the weeds of technicalities such as the merits of ground-based vs. satellite systems for determining warming, whether a given satellite system is reliable, the definition of warming, statistical significance, etc. and eyes glaze over quickly. But the misinformation, to the extent that that is what it is, will get out there and I don’t see how a public relations program that refuses to tackle it head-on can be successful.

I think that there are some who harbor in their heart of hearts a desire for a junta that will take matters in hand at least until policies have been established to deal with the emergency. I’ll leave it to the historian to tell us how effective that has been in the past.

277. Michael says:

BBD writes “M2: There’s plentiful evidence that vested interest funds the denial industry.”

Yep. The question then is how much but that’s the same unanswered question of how big is the “A” in “AGW”.

For instance, the quote you offered includes this relevant sentence: “Additionally, there is evidence of a trend toward concealing the sources of CCCM funding through the use of donor directed philanthropies.”

I point your attention to the hundreds of millions of dollars of money that flows through the left-wing Tides Foundation, the premier example of donor-directed philanthropies.

“IIRC you have denied this evidence in comments here before.”

Maybe. I’ll take a look and see if there’s any evidence in the smoke that is about to be offered. I mean, first there has to be some evidence before I can deny it.

“Worse still, you are again taunting people with the accusation of conspiracist ideation”

Thank you, Dr. Lewandowsky for this minor sport.

“You really should be ashamed of yourself.”

Probably, but my threshold of embarrassment is pretty high. As I look around me at the results of shame-based commercial advertising and politics, I am glad that I seem mostly immune to it.

Anyway, I’ll take a look at your evidence and see if there’s any actual numbers being offered, and how it stacks up to the billions of dollars available to the Consensus.

278. Joseph says:

Michael, you may have missed it, but what swood said assumed that misinformation was being spread.

279. Part of the problem is that some of the arguments currently being used by the skeptics are much easier to make than they are to refute.

Hence the saying

The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude greater than to produce it!

280. BBD says:

So, if human CO2 had/has an impact on warming it is pretty trivial, and its impact appears to be more “regionalized” versus global (the Southern Hemisphere has not warmed; the U.S. has warmed less than Europe, etc.).

Of course, that is just one person’s opinion and don’t take it as gospel. If you question that opinion, do yourself a favor a read some of the scientific articles linked to by this site. An incredible wide variety of scientists firmly believe that human CO2 is not to be feared as the media would like us to believe. Better yet, look at the actual evidence – actual data measurements, not climate models’ predicted outcomes. If real data in a visual format is preferred, click on the “Charts/Images” link at the top of any page and review actual data and evidence about both temperatures and CO2. This real data does not tell the story you hear on the evening news. If the data is eye-opening, read some linked articles and learn why real-world data is different that what you’ve been told by the celebrities and news reporters (let’s cut them some slack, they’re not exactly members of the “best & brightest” of our country).

So according to the C3 blogger it’s the (liberal) media making sh!t up. Real scientists don’t believe that AGW is a problem at all.

The trouble with this claim is that it is utterly false. So C3 goes into the bin, along with the other misinformers.

281. Joseph says:

First, the misinformation must be stated in the form in which it was found believable before it can be believably refuted.

I am confused. Are you saying that we need more misinformation in the media without first identifying it as misinformation? Do we need to go the creation scientist every time we have a story related to evolution because there are people in the population that believe in creationism?

282. BBD says:

M2

Anyway, I’ll take a look at your evidence and see if there’s any actual numbers being offered, and how it stacks up to the billions of dollars available to the Consensus.

The issue is your denial of the *fact* that vested interest funds the denial industry. So you can stuff the squirrel back whence it came.

283. Brandon Gates says:

John Hartz, I thank you for your apology. It’s nothing really, these things happen. Keep fighting the good fight.

284. Joseph,
Isn’t the problem that in virtually any other complex field, you would simply listen to the experts. Maybe not every single expert, but a suitable sample would be enough to convince people of the general position. By promoting the idea that climate scientists themselves cannot be trusted, this whole concept is damaged. Now climate scientists need to actually convince people of the specific value of the evidence, and this is a good deal harder (maybe even impossible) than simply discussing the evidence and presenting your own view as to the strength of the evidence.

285. swood1000 says:

Why don’t they believe us? With respect to ease of persuasion, elements of one’s own side can be more destructive to one’s credibility than almost anything the other side can do.
http://www.geocurrents.info/physical-geography/eco-authoritarian-catastrophism-dismal-deluded-vision-naomi-oreskes-erik-m-conway

286. Michael says:

BBD, my conclusion from the first link you have offered is that it is not evidence of paid deniership; but it is a recognition of both leftwing and rightwing think tanks and their donors and products. Identifying that X dollars went specifically to climate change denial is declared by this and other authors to be impossible; just as surely as doing the same with leftwing foundations (Tides, Greenpeace) is also impossible.

Below I comment on some of the comments made by the sociologist you recommended. I appreciate the quality of your recommendation and judge this person to be above average in honesty and comprehension, to the extent of my ability to judge such things of course. Naturally the interview is about conservatives and not liberals but he does mention occasionally the existence of equivalent leftwing think tanks and donors.

“As a sociologist, we look at the political process as a conflict among different parties with different political and ideological agendas.”

I agree, that is what it is.

“This is an extremely well-organized political movement that has a number of different components that are loosely coordinated but all act along the same lines.”

That is also a perfect description of the leftist agenda. Still, I wonder how a thing can be “extremely well organized” but “loosely coordinated” at the same time.

“I think what’s important to understand is to see this movement in context with the larger conservative political movement in the United States. ”

Precisely, just as global warming is aligned with socialism and the liberal political movement in the United States.

“Starting after World War II, there has been a comprehensive effort to build established think tanks and intellectual outlets to advance progressive viewpoints. … Climate change was added on to an already-existing network of organizations as one of their major issues.”

Precisely so. Climate change was adopted by the left, and that means anti-climate change will automatically be adopted by the right. The right is not “defined” per se, it is the left that tries to define itself. The right is simply “not left”.

“How well funded is this movement? This movement is fairly well funded. What’s interesting is that in comparison to the environmental movement, it actually doesn’t have as much money…. it’s the nature of the spending that makes the difference.”

I’m amazed. A reasonable, articulate sociologist. Anti-climate change has less money.

“When you look at what the environmental movement spends its money on, it actually tries to spend its money on developing solutions to climate change,”

Well I have a doubt about that part. Greenpeace and Tides spend rather a lot of money on lobbyists and proselyting.

“You can’t say how many dollars went from this foundation to this organization specifically for climate change, because most of the grants that come to the climate countermovement organizations have no conditions. They’re for general support, so we don’t know how much the organization is actually spending.”

Another “evidence” bites the dust. We don’t know…

“My analysis of the funding flows shows that over the period from 2003 to 2010, there was about half a billion dollars went to the organizations that we defined as climate countermovement organizations.”

That’s rather similar to the amount of money given to Tides and Greenpeace.

“I think that that’s problematic in that we really have anonymous giving and unaccountable power being exercised here in the creation of the climate countermovement; that there is no attribution, no responsibility for the actions of these organizations to their funders.”

The same is true for donors of Tides and Greenpeace, et al.

“The funding of the countermovement organizations from the oil and gas interests is actually, when you look at the foundations of those organizations, fairly minimal.”

So there! It’s not a Big Oil conspiracy.

“It’s just like any social movement. It’s not a group of particular people, but it’s a number of people that have weak, informal links with each other that have a general coordinated strategy, or at least generally coordinated goals and values and things that they work on together, and so in that sense there is a conservative movement.”

Uh, how do we get from observation of “weak, informal links” to “extremely well-organized political movement”?

“There is no statistical relationship between providing information about climate change and levels of public concern.”

Obvious but I’m glad it was studied and documented.

“The scientific information argument is really quite thin, so that I don’t expect that that’s going to have this major impact.”

What I said…

287. swood1000 says:

Joseph:

I am confused. Are you saying that we need more misinformation in the media without first identifying it as misinformation? Do we need to go the creation scientist every time we have a story related to evolution because there are people in the population that believe in creationism?

No, but if people believe A for reasons X, Y and Z then X, Y and Z needed to be stated in the form that the person found believable, and then taken down.

288. swood1000

With respect to ease of persuasion, elements of one’s own side can be more destructive to one’s credibility than almost anything the other side can do.

There aren’t really “sides”. Those are just simplifications. The idea that somehow one person’s credibility is damaged by what someone else has done is clearly wrong. My personal view is that what you’re doing is repeating what others have been promoting but which really reflect on the credibility of scientists in general. In other words, if climate science’s credibility has been damaged, it isn’t really because some haven’t behaved impeccably or because some haven’t called out nonsense often enough; it’s really because there are some who are promoting this as evidence for a lack of credibility! It’s a rhetorical ploy, not a real indication that climate scientists – in general – can’t be trusted.

289. Willard says:

> elements of one’s own side can be more destructive to one’s credibility than almost anything the other side can do.

Not that I’m not thankful for this concern, but how is it relevant to the current topic?

Meanwhile, this claim is still unclear to me:

[T]here should be no false balance policy.

What does it mean exactly?

I would like to ask for an example, but it might be tough for negative existentials.

Why should there be no false balance policy, whatever that means?

Many thanks!

290. swood1000 says:

Joseph:

Michael, you may have missed it, but what swood said assumed that misinformation was being spread.

I never intended to deny that. Of course there is going to be misinformation spread by all sides. Fortunately, a person’s or organization’s credibility alone can go a long way toward dispelling misinformation.

291. Michael says:

FALSE: “Here’s some detailed financial information on the funding of the denial industry.”

it (*) is not detailed and it does not identify itself as funding the denial industry. It is merely the total donations made to Donor’s Trust (and a few others), none of which even approach the donations to Greenpeace itself. Donor’s Trust funds many conservative projects.

So what about Greenpeace itself? Here is what it says about its own funding:

“Our Funding. Greenpeace does not solicit contributions from government or corporations, nor will we endorse political candidates. Our 250,000 members in the United States and 2.8 million members worldwide provide virtually all of our funding through individual contributions. Your support provides the backbone of our organization and is invaluable to our efforts. Please consider making a donation today.”

So we’ll have to look elsewhere.

Wikipedia! Budget €236.9 million (2011)

Wikipedia also describes funding from corporations despite assertions to the contrary.

292. BBD says:

So there! It’s not a Big Oil conspiracy.

I never once said that it was. This is your strawman. I used the term “vested interest”.

There is a denial industry which was created and is financed by vested interests which go to great lengths to hide their identities and the amounts of money involved. These are matters of fact.

I don’t give a red squirrel how much money goes to ENGOs like Greenpeace, nor about your tu quoque of ‘the left has thinktanks too’.

We are talking here about the industry-funded denial of science with the sole aim of distorting public policy. All I want you too do is stop trying to deny the evidence in any way you can and admit that yes, this goes on.

293. BBD says:

Oh FFS M2. No reasonable person could deny that the information in appendix ii doesn’t show funding of the denial industry. Your desperation to deny this fact is comical to behold at this point.

294. Michael says:

BBD, the third link you provided goes straight to Greenpeace which I do not consider credible in the least. I’ll still look at it but their recent lying about destruction of the Peruvian Nazca Lines is an example of their lack of honesty or its control over its members.

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/polluterwatch/Dealing-in-Doubt—the-Climate-Denial-Machine-vs-Climate-Science/Dealing-in-Doubt-The-1990s-a-network-of-denial-is-created/

“ICE prepared a series of newspaper ads, one of them headlined ‘If the earth is getting warmer, why is Minneapolis getting colder?’ ”

Wow, that’s getting pretty serious! Newspaper advertising! Anyway, it is a pretty good question — why indeed is warmer colder?

But most of the article inches are devoted to preaching the usual warmist memes.

” ‘There’s really only about 25 of us doing this. A core group of skeptics. It’s a ragtag bunch, very Continental Army.’ – Steve Milloy talking to Popular Science, June, 2012.”

So. This big fearful well-funded and extremely well organized group is, by Greenpeace’ own words, just a ragtag bunch of 25 or so guys stopping the Mighty Greenpeace almost all by themselves.

You do well to fear them.

I find it interesting, and a distraction, that it always rolls around to Big Tobacco sooner or later.

“Big Tobacco was looking for support in its fight to stop regulation on secondhand smoke.”

But I do not smoke, never did, so I am not interested in Big Tobacco. Your mileage seems to vary.

295. Willard says:

> a person’s or organization’s credibility alone can go a long way toward dispelling misinformation.

How?

An example would be nice.

296. guthrie says:

Actually, there is a conspiracy against the scientists, the science and the world at large; the actions of the vested interests fit the definitions of conspiracy that I can find, e.g.
“A secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful:”
“The action of plotting or conspiring:”

297. Michael says:

BBD says “Oh FFS M2. No reasonable person could deny that the information in appendix ii doesn’t show funding of the denial industry.”

The “No Reasonable Person” fallacy 🙂

Your claim was “detailed” funding; how much, to whom, for what.

That was not provided by any of your sources who assert that detailed funding is hidden behind Donors Trust (as an example), just as warmist political activity is hidden behind the Tides Foundation.

As to the existence of an “industry”, well that seems to be a bit of typical left wing exaggeration. Some groups existed and still exist (the GWPF for instance) but I certainly cannot compare that to the usual meaning of “industry”. Your mileage obviously varies 😉

The largest of the funds, be it left or right, are not primarily engaged in climate change or anti-climate change. So it is improper to assume that all of the money given to Greenpeace goes to this or that political action, just as it is improper to assume the same for conservative organizations.

It is true in the instance that an organization is specifically and only involved in climate change or anti-climate change, and reveals its funding, then you can say that particular funding went to climate change assertion or denial.

I’m not sure what you actually accomplish by doing all that.

298. BBD says:

M2

BBD, the third link you provided goes straight to Greenpeace which I do not consider credible in the least.

There has been no legal action by any person or organisation featured in that report. This can be taken as a solid indication that it is accurate. Your attempt to deny its validity right at the outset illustrates exactly where *you* are coming from.

You are trying to deny matters of fact and it makes you look both ridiculous and dishonest:

Between them, from 2002 to 2011, Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund provided $146 million to more than 100 groups, most of them running climate denial campaigns and many of them active in climate denial since the 1990s. 299. swood1000 says: ATTP: There aren’t really “sides”. Those are just simplifications. The idea that somehow one person’s credibility is damaged by what someone else has done is clearly wrong. I strongly disagree. The reputation of an organization and of its members can be tarnished by the actions of a few of the members. My personal view is that what you’re doing is repeating what others have been promoting but which really reflect on the credibility of scientists in general. In other words, if climate science’s credibility has been damaged, it isn’t really because some haven’t behaved impeccably or because some haven’t called out nonsense often enough; Certainly it is nonsense often enough. However, there are actions that, if found to have been actually committed by members of a group, will reflect on the other members of the group. it’s really because there are some who are promoting this as evidence for a lack of credibility! It’s a rhetorical ploy, not a real indication that climate scientists – in general – can’t be trusted. You could be talking about a false assertion that conduct X was committed, or a true assertion that conduct X was committed and a false implication that this is evidence of a lack of credibility. In either case this is a falsehood that must be countered to avoid damage the reputation of the organization. But that doesn’t mean that all such accusations are false. In what category do you put the subject of the article I cited about Eco-Authoritarian Catastrophism? Could a reasonable person conclude that excessive claims and statements have been made in support of environmentalism? If so, wouldn’t that have a tendency to reduce the credibility of other people making claims about the environment? 300. Michael says: BBD “There is a denial industry which was created and is financed by vested interests which go to great lengths to hide their identities and the amounts of money involved. These are matters of fact.” We seem to be converging on a more correct description of things. You do not know how much money was given to any particular denialist, or for the entire denial industry; you DO have an upper bound on it, divided among all conservative projects and goals. “I don’t give a red squirrel how much money goes to ENGOs like Greenpeace, nor about your tu quoque of ‘the left has thinktanks too’.” I am impressed that you think this conversation is about you. “We are talking here about the industry-funded denial of science with the sole aim of distorting public policy.” No, YOU are talking that point. ALL political advocates intend to distort public policy in a direction favorable to the advocate. “All I want you too do is stop trying to deny the evidence in any way you can and admit that yes, this goes on.” Done! Of course it goes on and I’m a little bit grateful for it. Bookmark this page so you don’t forget my admission. It gets better, I have even described in some detail the functioning of deny and delay, by comparing it to the function of the science fiction character Jorg McKie, set in a future where government has become so efficient that it engages in dangerous decisions too quickly. His job is to slow down the functioning of government. That’s what I like to see. Slow government. If everyone is Republican I vote Democrat, if there’s too many Democrats I vote Republican. Take some time, convince both right and left of a need, and then it is likely to be a better decision acceptable to most. 301. BBD says: swood is conflating ‘environmentalism’ with physical climatology. False equivalence… * * * On a general note, it’s instructive the lengths that some people will go to deny the existence of a denial industry. Nothing – absolutely nothing – that you show them will get them to admit that, yes, there is a denial industry, yes, it was created and is funded by vested interest, and yes, its major expression is as a large number of conservative “think tanks” which ceaselessly promote misinformation about climate change. They will go to any lengths, however silly, to avoid admitting that yes, this is a pervasive, influential and corrosively anti-democratic attempt by Big Money to protect its own interests at the expense of literally everyone else in the world. Nor will they admit that yes, most reasonable people would consider this to be immoral and utterly reprehensible. 302. swood1000, I strongly disagree. The reputation of an organization and of its members can be tarnished by the actions of a few of the members. Yes, of course the reputation of an organization and its members can be tarnished by the few. My point is that your supposed “organization” doesn’t exist. Climate scientists are independent researchers working in different countries, for different universities and organisations and – in fact – often in quite different general fields that broadly falls within the area we call climate science. They don’t really belong to a single organisation and are certainly not responsible for the behaviour of a others working in different countries and for different organisations. Additionally, an awful lot of this is based on the interpretation by some that some people’s behaviour is unacceptable and should be criticised by all. Not everyone, however, agrees and not everyone has to agree. Personally, I find the “that behaviour is atrocious, you must agree or you can’t be trusted” type of rhetoric that is often employed in the climate debate rather irritating. 303. swood1000 says: Willard: > a person’s or organization’s credibility alone can go a long way toward dispelling misinformation. How? An example would be nice. If an organization has high credibility it can simply deny an accusation and that will be the end of it. The misinformation will have been dispelled. 304. BBD says: Thanks to whoever cleaned up my HTML pratfall earlier 🙂 305. Michael says: swood1000 says if people believe A for reasons X, Y and Z then X, Y and Z needed to be stated in the form that the person found believable, and then taken down.” Well said. An example would be disease — you can treat the symptom while failing to treat the cause, and the symptom will simply reappear again and again. 306. BBD says: In which M2 surprises by admitting that yes, there is a denial industry but then spoils things by endorsing the corruption of the political process by vested interest: Done! Of course it goes on and I’m a little bit grateful for it. Bookmark this page so you don’t forget my admission. M2 apparently doesn’t find what is going on either immoral or reprehensible. He thinks derailing climate policy for profit is essentially a good idea. 307. Michael says: ATTP says “It’s a rhetorical ploy, not a real indication that climate scientists – in general – can’t be trusted.” While I believe scientists should not be advocates, there is something worse: invisible! 308. swood1000 says: ATTP: My point is that your supposed “organization” doesn’t exist. Climate scientists are independent researchers working in different countries, for different universities and organisations and – in fact – often in quite different general fields that broadly falls within the area we call climate science. The critical question is whether climate scientists are perceived by the public to have an identity of interest with the person who is blameworthy. If one environmentalist exaggerates then the public can come to believe that all environmentalists are prone to exaggeration. Does the public believe that the motivations that drove the one person will likely be driving the others in a similar way? Additionally, an awful lot of this is based on the interpretation by some that some people’s behaviour is unacceptable and should be criticised by all. Not everyone, however, agrees and not everyone has to agree. This appears to describe the true act but false implication I mentioned. There is no doubt that a liberal amount of libel and slander takes place in this area. It is, however, made worse by actions which really were committed. Personally, I find the “that behaviour is atrocious, you must agree or you can’t be trusted” type of rhetoric that is often employed in the climate debate rather irritating. Not sure I follow this. 309. swood1000, The critical question is whether climate scientists are perceived by the public to have an identity of interest with the person who is blameworthy. If one environmentalist exaggerates then the public can come to believe that all environmentalists are prone to exaggeration. Does the public believe that the motivations that drove the one person will likely be driving the others in a similar way? Why would you suddenly conflate scientists and environmentalists? 310. BBD says: I mentioned this just above. The conflation is a false equivalence. Swood’s argument immediately collapses as a result. 311. Joseph says: By promoting the idea that climate scientists themselves cannot be trusted, this whole concept is damaged. I think that is right, ATTP, I don’t know of a single “skeptic” who doesn’t question some aspect or all of climate science. And that means they also don’t trust the scientists that are doing this research. 312. Joseph says: No, but if people believe A for reasons X, Y and Z then X, Y and Z needed to be stated in the form that the person found believable, and then taken down. And again why does that need to be done by a “skeptic?’ And to repeat when you have the “skeptic” present their position (the misinformation without identifying it as misinformation) you run into the problem of the non-expert not always being able to distinguish fact from fiction or bad arguments from good arguments. 313. Willard says: > The critical question is whether climate scientists are perceived by the public to have an identity of interest with the person who is blameworthy. How is this a critical question, let alone the critical question, and for what exactly? What’s an identity of interest? 314. swood1000 says: BBD: swood is conflating ‘environmentalism’ with physical climatology. False equivalence… But one of the subjects of the piece is Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway’s 2014 <i<The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future as well as Merchants of Doubt and the criticisms had to do with assertions dealing with climate change, right? So how is that false equivalence? And in any event it would only be false equivalence to the extent that the general public does not see an identity of interest between environmentalists in general and climate change advocates. On a general note, it’s instructive the lengths that some people will go to deny the existence of a denial industry. I don’t know why anybody would deny it. Can’t we stipulate that each side of the question is well-funded? 315. Michael says: ATTP says “Now climate scientists need to actually convince people of the specific value of the evidence, and this is a good deal harder (maybe even impossible) than simply discussing the evidence and presenting your own view as to the strength of the evidence.” When I was young and visiting Seattle, I always sought opportunity to spend a day at the Seattle Science Center, a remnant of the 1962 World Fair. I could, and did, spend the entire day there, and I still go there many decades later. Oregon has OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Its fabulous. I haven’t been to either recently so I don’t know if they have succumbed to advocacy; I don’t see how they can avoid it since all such things depend on wealthy donors who often have strings attached. But even so it is a good way to reach a pretty good number of young people with a variety of hands-on demonstrations and learning experiences. http://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/Exhibits/ 316. Willard says: > If an organization has high credibility it can simply deny an accusation and that will be the end of it. The misinformation will have been dispelled. So an organization dispells misinformation when it denies an accusation? How is that an example showing that a person’s or organization’s credibility alone can go a long way toward dispelling misinformation? What would be an example where such denial of accusation brought any audit to an end? That last question is crucial, for I think we have sufficient evidence that audits never end. 317. pbjamm says: Both may be well funded but only one is science. 318. Joseph says: I guess you could say that the politicians, environmentalists, and scientists want AGW to be true so that make up a bunch of stuff, promote it with a marketing scheme to fool the public into buying it and someone is going get something out of in the end even if it is inevitably proven wrong. I don’t know. Is that a plausible scenario? 319. swood1000 says: Willard: > The critical question is whether climate scientists are perceived by the public to have an identity of interest with the person who is blameworthy. How is this a critical question, let alone the critical question, and for what exactly? What’s an identity of interest? I was responding to ATTP who asserted that “Climate scientists are independent researchers working in different countries, for different universities and organisations…” and so therefore there is no common “organization” that they are both members of through which they could suffer from the actions of other members of the organization. By an identity of interest I mean that two people are motivated by the same thing. For example, if scientists A and B both receive their funding from the government then they are both perceived to be motivated to keep the funding flowing, whether or not they are members of the same organization. So if A takes an action that is perceived to be in response to this motivation it may reflect on B, who is subject to the same motivation. 320. KR says: “Can’t we stipulate that each side of the question is well-funded?” But funded for what? Your question poses a false equivalence between the expenditures. The general field of climate science is funded to discover, to understand the world around us. The monies invested go to equipment, travel, facilities, salaries (one has to eat, after all), publishing, etc. The field of climate denial, on the other hand, is funded to, well, deny the science, to confuse and mislead, and to prevent certain changes in public policy (the Heartland Institute, a lobbying group, has been documented to pay for misleading materials such as the NIPCC, Patrick Michaels acknowledged that 40% of his funding comes from the oil industry, and Willie Soon has just had his funding revealed, etc.). One group is funded to advance knowledge, the other to block it. You seem to be just fine with this for some reason… 321. Michael says: Jospeh asks “Do we need to go the creation scientist every time we have a story related to evolution because there are people in the population that believe in creationism?” I comprehend Swood’s reasoning. The issue is one of domain or realm. A scientist is not qualified to comment on religion unless he is also a priest or recognized as that sort of thing. Going the other way, a religious person won’t be acceptable to scientists unless he has credentials. So the idea is to connect with the audience by demonstrating a good faith and non-deprecating understanding of what they believe. Once that understanding is established you make your case — NOT by attacking them, but by making your case and letting them walk away from or augment their prior beliefs. Consider a strong magnet, such as from a magnetron. Pulling it straight off iron is nearly impossible, but you can slide it and gradually break the magnetic lines of force. Consider “young earth creationism” which for your own reasons you wish to impart a more scientific understanding. Over space of some time, you can introduce ideas gradually and let them take root. A person does not need to abandon Christianity to embrace evolution once he realizes that the book of Dog plainly states that the Earth brought forth life. It helps to paint Dog as some sort of CEO, not personally involved in the manufacture of anything, but supervising the organization that does the actual work. He inspects and pronounces it “good”. The actual work in modern factories is performed by robots anyway; the parallel being that the universe mostly created itself following some sort of rules or template and someone observed it and pronounced it “good”. But the moment you say “there is no Dog” the conversation is over; for now you are pulling on the magnet straight out and it is specifically designed to resist that force. 322. BBD says: swood So how is that false equivalence? You have been making a false equivalence between ‘environmentalism’ and physical climatology so your argument collapses. There’s nothing you can say that gets around this. 323. swood1000 says: I guess you could say that the politicians, environmentalists, and scientists want AGW to be true so that make up a bunch of stuff, promote it with a marketing scheme to fool the public into buying it and someone is going get something out of in the end even if it is inevitably proven wrong. I don’t know. Is that a plausible scenario? Let me respond not as an advocate but as a messenger, reporting to you the thinking that I have observed. I have seen three different motivations. It is said that the politicians involved are those who believe that a centralization of power is desirable, especially if it is their power, and a restructuring of the economic system is also desirable, as is the continuance of campaign contributions from climate change advocates. It is said that the environmentalists involved could be the same ones who for a long time have been attempting to hinder the despoilment of the environment by putting much more sever fetters on private enterprise but until now have not found the vehicle for the job. It is said that the climate scientists involved have an incentive to fan the flames of alarm (a) for purposes of personal aggrandizement (a sensational study will bring much acclaim), (b) because this is a way to assure continued funding, and (c) because this puts them in a position of power as the advisors to the government. Furthermore, you added “even if it is inevitably proven wrong,” but if steps are now taken to avoid climate change then those steps will always be credited with having been necessary to avoid climate change, whether they had that effect or not. I do realize how inflammatory the above will seem to most on this blog, that the motivations of these groups could be impugned this way, and I almost did not post it out of concern that my tenure on this board could not survive it. But just consider an imaginary world where the majority of skeptics see themselves as honorable people acting in good faith, and how they would feel when their integrity is impugned similarly. 324. John Hartz says: The discourse of today confirms my belief that most climate science deniers from the U.S. are completely unaware that the majority of scientists contributing to the body of climate science do not reside in the U.S. 325. swood1000, But just consider an imaginary world where the majority of skeptics see themselves as honorable people acting in good faith, and how they would feel when their integrity is impugned similarly. Okay, fair enough. Now imagine 100 years in the future. We’ve followed a high emission pathway, climate impacts have been severe, possibly even worse than was projected by climate models. Historians look back and say “wow, in the early 21st century a vast majority of actual experts were warning of the possibility of climate change having severe outcomes, there was even a formal commission that produced reports every 7 years or so. However, instead of deciding to do something to minimise the risks of those outcomes, people decided to listen instead to a plucky, well-intentioned group of mostly amateurs”. 326. John Hartz says: swood1000: Don’t worry about being inflamatory. Your posts are mostly gibberish and therefore are not taken seriously by many readers of this thread. 327. Oh, and this is mostly nonsense It is said that the climate scientists involved have an incentive to fan the flames of alarm (a) for purposes of personal aggrandizement (a sensational study will bring much acclaim), Genuinely showing that climate sensitivity will be low, and that climate change doesn’t present any significant risks, would bring immense acclaim; if it could be convincing and credible. There’d be much more incentive to do this, if it were possible, than to simply tag along with everyone else. because this is a way to assure continued funding They could still get funded. It’s not as if we don’t want to understand weather and climate. Plus, many climate scientists are physicists or trained in other scientific discipline, so don’t need to only do climate science. because this puts them in a position of power as the advisors to the government. Only a tiny majority are involved, and will ever be involved, in this. 328. swood1000 says: John Hartz: swood1000: Don’t worry about being inflamatory. Your posts are mostly gibberish and therefore are not taken seriously by many readers of this thread. Thank you. A clue as to the meaning of “reindeer games,” since the playing of “reindeer games” must not be involved in this post. It’s a good puzzle. (Unless you’re trying to trick me and are playing reindeer games. Hmmm.) swood1000: Sorry, I no longer play reindeer games with climate science denier drones. 329. John Hartz says: ATTP: The body of scientific evidence that underpins the scientific consensus about manmade climate change is vast and is growing exponentially. This evidence has been created by scientists throughout the world and from numerous disciplines. Only a relatively small number of those scientists are in fact, “climate scientists.” 330. swood1000 says: BBD: You have been making a false equivalence between ‘environmentalism’ and physical climatology so your argument collapses. There’s nothing you can say that gets around this. I guess I am missing your point. Could you bear with me and explain what my false equivalence was? 331. Joseph says: For example, if scientists A and B both receive their funding from the government then they are both perceived to be motivated to keep the funding flowing, whether or not they are members of the same organization. And the response I usually give to this meme is that if you think that is true, then you should doubt all of modern science because all they are doing is trying to get more money from the government, right? Why single out climate science? 332. Joseph says: Let me respond not as an advocate swood, So where exactly do you stand on these issues that you raise and I raised? If you don’t mind.. 333. Willard says: > So if A takes an action that is perceived to be in response to this motivation it may reflect on B, who is subject to the same motivation. And how does this “reflection” work exactly? Under what conditions would this “reflection” be valid? Would it be legitimate to consider invalid “reflections” as being part of the critical question? Why is it the critical question, again? Is this critical question a simple generalization of “yes, but Mike” or “yes, but Climategate”? 334. I’ve been travelling and missed a few days. Willard says on February 19, 2015 at 12:39 pm: SoD is using a slippery slope to caricature appeals to authority.. Obviously Willard the Ninja and I aren’t going to agree on much, as seen previously. Slippery slope arguments – love your work. 2. re my point: As you might guess, I am with B. A small minority of commenters on this blog. Who could possibly question research when someone else tells them it is accepted by most active researchers in the field? Clearly only idiots, stubborn fools, or people in the pay of the Koch brothers. and Then There’s Physics says on February 19, 2015 at 7:52 am: I’m not quite following your argument. I can’t tell if you’re suggesting that there should be more appeals to authority or that that is a bad thing to do. Sorry. I keep mixing arguments with satire that I assume people will understand. It’s a bad habit. It’s an English thing. Let me rewrite my conclusion, choosing between A and B: As you might guess, I am with B. A small minority of commenters on this blog. [old: Who could possibly question research when someone else tells them it is accepted by most active researchers in the field?] restated without satire: The argument from authority is not a useful starting point to prove a scientific point. It is surely useful to state the generally accepted science but because someone claims, or even demonstrates, that a majority or scientists in the field believe a proposition, it doesn’t prove it. This is not a scientific proof. [old: Clearly only idiots, stubborn fools, or people in the pay of the Koch brothers.] restated without satire: a) Anyone who has an interest in the scientific method who has not been able to master the last 30 years of climate science research as found in journals like JGR, GRL, Journal of Climate, Nature, Science, and many other journals relating to atmospheric and ocean physics. b) Anyone who has an interest in the scientific method who has some understanding of the last 30 years of climate science research as found in journals like JGR, GRL, Journal of Climate, Nature, Science, and many other journals relating to atmospheric and ocean physics – but questions particular conclusions – e.g. does the executive summary in the very interesting IPCC reports actually capture the work in the body of these chapters c) Idiots d) Stubborn fools e) People in the pay of the Koch brothers or any other forces of darkness 335. John Hartz says: Here’s another example of how powerful and nefarious the “Forces of Evil” are in the U..S… Lobbyist dubbed Dr Evil behind front groups attacking Obama power rules Richard Berman routed funding for at least 16 studies and five front groups attacking Environmental Protection Agency rules on power plant emissions by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, Feb 23, 2015 336. Michael 2 says: John Hartz reveals “This evidence has been created by (*) scientists throughout the world and from numerous disciplines.” Surprise, two points of agreement and it is still February! 😉 * In American English, “created” implies “ex nihilo” although historically this wasn’t always the case and perhaps in Europe is also not the case. 337. Kevin O’Neill says on February 19, 2015 at 2:43 pm: ..haven’t had yet this morning my first cup of coffee, so caveat emptor ….SoD posits that we have two choices: A) Don’t engage in a dialogue with skeptics, or B)Engage in said dialogue. SoD is in camp B. SoD has pitched a tent in camp B because the answers to many AGW questions are not intuitively obvious and appeals to authority (the accepted scientific literature) are double-plus ungood. Thus, skeptics require a guide (dialogue) to help them through the tricky parts. My own take is that SoD overestimates the number of skeptics that, even guided step-by-step, are willing to work through the evidence, logic, and equations that lead to the scientific consensus. I know of *one* skeptic who has actually done so and came out the other side with a revised and changed opinion of AGW.. You might be surprised (on my overestimation). I have read a lot of literature on cognitive dissonance. (Then again you might have the number “1” in your mind, and my number is greater than 1, so you might not be surprised at all). The world population is large. The world population very interested in the details of climate science is still large. What is the point of a climate science blog? – To tell people who don’t agree with “consensus climate science” how stupid and ignorant they are? – To patiently tell people who don’t agree with “consensus climate science” what the literature says and then on question 3 tell them how stupid and ignorant they are? Perhaps some blogs. If this is the point – why not make it clear – “the position of this blog is that the likely chance of you not accepting consensus climate science (see this page for summary of said science) due to genuine interest but a lack of key physics knowledge is extremely low. Therefore, we invite you to take a piece of 2×4 and whack yourself around the head with it. When you have finished come back to the blog and prepare to be insulted”. It is very Pythonesque. Is there a chance that some proportion of people are actually interested? If not, it’s just a club for people to feel good about how smart they are and how ignorant the rest are. If yes, then engage and answer the question instead of assuming they are unwilling to learn. It seems pretty simple to me, but I’ve probably missed something important given that almost all the climate blogs line up and quickly mock / insult people who question “their viewpoint” (and just to be clear I have visited a lot of blogs and asked questions of their viewpoint). 338. Michael 2 says: ATTP says ” Now imagine 100 years in the future…” More fun than tic-tac-toe for sure! Malthusian scarcity and energy shortages have rendered most of the planet uninhabitable. Glaciers are creeping southward as the sun continues its slight reduction in output and the end of the Holocene draws near, combined with the successful application of carbon reduction which accellerated this process. Canadians huddle along the northern border of what was once the United States of America but, as with the Baltic nations, has fragmented into regional fiefdoms. Plenty of carbon is in the ground but the infrastructure to extract it no longer functions, nor the skills found in any human, both having been banned by the United Nations 80 years earlier. Such scientists as still exist fear the advent not just of a glacial period, but of another “snowball earth” from which there will be no survivors more complex than anaerobic bacteria. We can “hindcast” the same idea. Failure to predict the rise of the Third Reich is an obvious example; many opportunities existed to prevent World War 2 BUT to execute those options would have been immoral in some cases; and successfully averting World War 2 also eliminates the justification for it. Another example is “Y2K”. Companies spent fortunes to avert disaster; succeeded, and are now ridiculed for having taken steps to avoid a disaster that never materialized — in large part due to having taken necessary precautions. Doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t. Canada Geese demonstrate this every year — gamble on when the tundra is ready for nesting. Guess too early and you’ll freeze to death; guess too late and you won’t get a good nesting spot — and it changes every year! I agree with you that the future of the human race hangs on getting this correct. PART of it can and ought to be pursued regardless of global warming; solar power in particular — it is abundant, takes advantage of wasted spaces (roofs), and preserves carbon fuel for regions where solar power just doesn’t work (Pacific Northwest!). The advent of “micro inverters” allows a gradual investment into solar power rather than a huge investment that not many people can make. It also allows gradual impact on the grid; as people add their own power generation they also increase demand through electric automobiles in particular. 339. and to add to my last comment.. “What is the point of a climate science blog?” – of course there could be other points apart from the dichotomy cited – the point of a blog might be to discuss a body of research “with the premise that propositions x,y,z as shown in this page are accepted as core principles, we don’t accept any others..” “Basic Science is Accepted – This blog accepts the standard field of physics as proven. Arguments which depend on overturning standard physics, e.g. disproving quantum mechanics, are not interesting until such time as a significant part of the physics world has accepted that there is some merit to them. The moderator reserves the right to just capriciously delete comments which use as their premise that standard textbook physics is plain wrong. This is aimed to reduce the continual stream of unscientific rubbish that gets placed here as comments. Those interested in such entertainingly bad ideas, just Google “physics is wrong”, “quantum mechanics flaws” and so on.” 340. JCH says: Has anybody learned something on SoD that led to them change sides in the climate debate? 341. Michael 2 says: Swood says “I do realize how inflammatory the above will seem to most on this blog,” Well, it might if you’d just come right out and say what you mean rather than use excessively wordy and passive sentence structure. What do YOU say. You sound a bit like Eli always talking about himself in the Third Person. Take responsibility; be right, be wrong, be SOMETHING. 342. Willard says: > I’ve probably missed something important given that almost all the climate blogs line up and quickly mock / insult people who question “their viewpoint” Not at all: Gerlich & Tscheuschner waste 50 pages with irrelevance and poorly directed criticism.. if they have produced a great insight it will be lost on many. http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/03/14/on-having-a-laugh-by-gerlich-and-tscheuschner-2009/ Notwithstanding the three last comments SoD made here, of course. 343. JCH says on February 24, 2015 at 1:19 am: Has anybody learned something on SoD that led to them change sides in the climate debate? Sides? Has anyone learnt something on SoD? Many people volunteer yes. I have learnt a lot. And not just tolerance, patience and new entertaining approaches to biting satire. And lots of people read a blog and go away and think. 344. Willard the Ninja points out that I make fun of Gerlich and Tscheuschner. Perhaps an oblique suggestion that I am in violation of my own recommendations? Just in case I got it right, I press on in my defence. This is completely different from insulting commenters who ask questions that disagree with me. I pick up a ridiculous paper and pull it apart. I did likewise with Miskolczi, with articles like Part Five – Equation Soufflé – explaining why the “theory” in the 2007 paper is a complete dog’s breakfast. And in the Etiquette: This blog is about climate science. If you can add to our school of knowledge, you are extremely welcome. If posts or comments are poor, bad science, or missing the point, you don’t have to spare the punches. You can even be insulting in an amusing/satirical kind of way. And in About This Blog: This blog will try and stay away from guessing motives and insulting people because of how they vote or their religious beliefs. However, this doesn’t mean we won’t use satire now and again as it can make the day more interesting. I invite Willard to demonstrate a consistent bias by me in my blog against commenters, no matter how confused they are. Eventually, I do give up on a few people – after many efforts to tease out their exact reason for rejecting a particular proposition – but still do not question their motives. 345. Michael 2 says: Willard asks “What would be an example where such denial of accusation brought any audit to an end?” I can think of no instance by the organization that is itself in suspicion to deny an accusation having much effect; however, I feel (without evidence) that one of the most effective myth-busting is by the men of “Myth Busters”. They go to some lengths to prove or disprove a claim; accepting the results of their experiments. To me that is “practical science” — seeing is believing, try it and see. On their program about the moon landing hoax, they went to unusual lengths, including flying in the “vomit comet” aircraft for periods of reduced “moon gravity” to see if walking in a space suit at moon gravity matched what was recorded on camera (it does). Whether it had a measurable impact on moon landing denial is unclear — I should google it and see if Pew Research or anyone else measured it. Well, they certainly made a splash. Cannot tell if anyone changed his mind over it. 346. Pekka Pirilä says: Everyone agrees (I think) that all models are wrong but some models are useful. Has anybody ever read the original comment by George Box that this quote comes from? If you look at the context of Box’s quote in the Box and Draper book “Empirical Model Building”, page 74, the preceding line is “The fact that the polynomial is an approximation does not detract from its usefulness because all models are approximations.” Whoop-de-do, Box basically is saying that models don’t always do these things accurately enough, but it has nothing to do if the model is necessarily wrong conceptually! And so the entire context was in terms of not having sufficient numerical accuracy to do some computation. It had nothing to do with the correctness of the original model, it had to do with losing accuracy or precision by making some kind of approximation in the computational model. If you take this to the extreme you can argue that because computers round off numbers after a number of digits, then all computations are wrong as well. How far would it have gotten if they took Box’s quote as “all models are approximations”? You would hear a universal “duh” and no one would spin it as some necessarily bad thing. Instead it ended up sounding like some profound and provocative implication meant to scare people into thinking that every computation is wrong. 347. Willard says: > Perhaps an oblique suggestion that I am in violation of my own recommendations. No, because that would be a tu quoque. My example rather seeks to refute the claim I quoted, which I will repeat in bold: I’ve probably missed something important given that almost all the climate blogs line up and quickly mock / insult people who question “their viewpoint” As far as I am concerned, SoD’s smugness here speaks for itself. Please note that “climate blogs” has been transmuted into “insulting commenters who ask questions that disagree with me,” whatever asking a disagreeing question could mean. Therefore, SoD’s point shifts from a blog commentariat to the blog curator his or herself, which seems to target AT less indirectly than beforehand. Whether or not SoD wishes to claim (and perhaps also substantiate) that AT belongs to those who insult commenters who ask such questions, I’ll simply point out that most of my fantasy draft team (BartV’s, MT’s, NG’s, RichardT’s, etc.) don’t belong to that class. At least for now. I might be tempted to look back at some of the exchanges I’ve read, for instance between SoD and Leonard Weinstein. 348. Joshua says: SoD – ==> ““Basic Science is Accepted – This blog accepts the standard field of physics as proven.” Basic science = ? Standard field of physics = ? Excuse a list of questions, but how do you quantify basic and standard? What magnitude of consensus formulate those criteria? How do you measure? How do you distinguish between someone who doesn’t have your knowledge of basic science and standard physics and someone who rejects basic science and standard physics? ==> “This blog will try and stay away from guessing motives ” I suppose that since “this blog” excludes your participation here, you’re 100% safe – but would you behave differently in someone else’s home than you’d behave in your own? I’ve probably missed something important given that almost all the climate blogs line up and quickly mock / insult people who question “their viewpoint” Now some might argue semantics to say that’s not judging motives, but I’d argue that’s weak sauce. And on what basis have you determined that you “probably missed something important?” 349. SoD, Just to be clear, your first comment was essentially a thinly-veiled insult? Is that right? If so, your following comments would seem rather ironic given that they appear to be you telling us how perfect you are and how you try not to judge people, while appearing to do precisely that. If I’ve misunderstood what you’re saying, I apologise. 350. I apologise to everyone for my comments. 351. SoD, Okay, thanks, I guess. FWIW (as I think I’ve said before) what you present on your blog is very good. I’ve learned a lot from it and think you do an exceptional job of presenting the science and working through the literature. I’m not quite sure why you appear to have taken against my blog (assuming you have) but such is life. 352. I see some similarity in the reactions to what SoD has written and in reaction to some of my earlier comments. My purpose was in those cases to express some dissatisfaction on the tone of discussion that has taken base, but I didn’t want to be aggressive. Therefore I was surprised of the strength of the response – but was then told that I had misinterpreted the response as stronger than it was meant to be. Overinterpreting what others write seems to be very common in net discussion. Comments are short and reading rudeness between the lines is very easy. I didn’t want to specify single commenters, although one or two commenters were typically the trigger for writing my comment. I didn’t mention their names partly because I typically perceived that many others had weaker tendencies in the same direction. aTTP may have been among the latter, but never the trigger. (In cases, where I haven’t agreed on what he has written, I have stated that directly.) I agree on much with SoD, and that should be clear from some of my comments in this thread. My impression is, however, that he hasn’t followed this thread closely enough to justify nearly all that he wrote in several of the comments. I like very much the approach of SoD on his site, but I do also see severe limitations in, what that approach can reach. Only a fraction of science can be discussed well using that approach, the rest is too complex in some way. The full knowledge base of climate science is many times more extensive than blogs can explain to even a restricted audience. 353. Pekka, My purpose was in those cases to express some dissatisfaction on the tone of discussion that has taken base, but I didn’t want to be aggressive Passive-aggressive then? Look, I’ve rather lost track of what’s going on here. I certainly don’t claim that the comment threads are always ideal, that I’ve never say anything I don’t later regret, or that I don’t sometimes behave in ways that I later criticise. The problem I think with presenting semi passive-aggressive comments in response to what others have said is that it then can end up appearing to do precisely what it is that you’re trying to criticise. I’ve, however, had too many discussions where I either defend my character, or try to convince someone else that they’ve misinterpreted my position, to really want to do so again. As I said above, such is life. 354. aTTP, Your behavior was not the point in any of the comments I discuss in my previous comment. I didn’t intend to tell that you should moderate your blog differently to reduce comments that I don’t like. Only weakly linked to the above, I have noticed that knowing more about your background makes it easier and more pleasant to both comment and read your comments. Knowing about background helps in avoiding some misinterpretations, unfortunately not all of them. When we read something, we always fill the gaps. Filling them erroneously is one of the main reasons for misinterpretation. 355. Pekka, It is possible that if I had avoided being anonymous, things may have turned out differently. I’m not convinced that that would have been the case, though. Filling them erroneously is one of the main reasons for misinterpretation. Yes, I agree. 356. Willard says: Indeed, AT, such is life: PS I think you passed the audition on artistic grounds, not on scientific grounds. I’m assuming you have a wonderful singing voice of course. http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/03/14/on-having-a-laugh-by-gerlich-and-tscheuschner-2009/#comment-714 We all learned this from our teachers. Ideally, they and we should all abide by the rules to play the ball: The ten rules (see Van Eemeren, Grootendorst & Snoeck Henkemans, 2002, pp.182-183): Freedom rule Parties must not prevent each other from advancing standpoints or from casting doubt on standpoints. Burden of proof rule A party that advances a standpoint is obliged to defend it if asked by the other party to do so. Standpoint rule A party’s attack on a standpoint must relate to the standpoint that has indeed been advanced by the other party. Relevance rule A party may defend a standpoint only by advancing argumentation relating to that standpoint. Unexpressed premise rule A party may not deny premise that he or she has left implicit or falsely present something as a premise that has been left unexpressed by the other party. Starting point rule A party may not falsely present a premise as an accepted starting point nor deny a premise representing an accepted starting point. Argument scheme rule A party may not regard a standpoint as conclusively defended if the defense does not take place by means of an appropriate argumentation scheme that is correctly applied. Validity rule A party may only use arguments in its argumentation that are logically valid or capable of being made logically valid by making explicit one or more unexpressed premises. Closure rule A failed defense of a standpoint must result in the party that put forward the standpoint retracting it and a conclusive defense of the standpoint must result in the other party retracting its doubt about the standpoint. Usage rule A party must not use formulations that are insufficiently clear or confusingly ambiguous and a party must interpret the other party’s formulations as carefully and accurately as possible. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragma-dialectics#Rules_for_a_critical_discussion But we don’t. One reason is that these rules are not sufficient. For instance, sea lions exploit the first one to bring the discussion to a standstill. (Yes, I know about the 10th.) Also, persuasion plays a more important part than dialectic. We live by stories, not arguments. Even scientific explanations could start with “once upon a time”. *** This leads us to the journalist predicament. Conveying scientific information needs to go through a story, with protagonists and series of unfortunate events. The rule of three prevails, and Goldilocks rule. Any trace of in or out group fight between scientific factions becomes storylines. Whining against false balance won’t change that predicament. What we could do, instead of whining, is to offer other stories. For the problem that expresses the “false balance!” complaint is that the storyline is wrong, or worse boring. What would be good stories? I can see two solutions for now. The first is to focus on the scientists themselves. You showcase them, not their theories. This would have the good side-effect of correcting the white coat stereotype. The second would be to create more non-dramatic stories, a bit like this: http://stilleatingoranges.tumblr.com/post/25153960313/the-significance-of-plot-without-conflict The settledness of the AGW theory needs to be told like a plot without conflict. 357. swood1000 says: ATTP: Why would you suddenly conflate scientists and environmentalists? The question is the extent to which the general public conflates them, and it is not a difficult thing to do when scientists don’t stop at the science but are also policy advocates. When a scientist insists that the science is settled he is saying that it is time for political action and he has become an environmental activist. If a scientist acts to apply pressure on journals only to accept articles that support the mainstream view, he is not seen as doing that out of regard for the purity of scientific discourse but rather with public policy goals in mind. 358. Joshua says: willard – Reading your comment helped concretize for me, a way of describing my view about “false balance” arguments. They’re, essentially, playing the ref. As such, they’re self-defeating because they lead to (or are a reflection of) disempowerment. 359. Joshua says: ==> “When a scientist insists that the science is settled..” Which examples of that were you thinking about? 360. -1=e^ipi says: “Canadians huddle along the northern border of what was once the United States of America” Certainly feels like that right now. Despite being south of Venice, Italy, it has been -30-40 C with the windchill where I live the past two weeks. I think we could benefit from some warming. 361. Joshua says: Oy. Why do I bother? 362. Joshua says: I – ==> “Certainly feels like that right now” What do you mean “we” Kimowabe? My understanding is that the last couple of months have been notably warm, globally. You wouldn’t be unscientifically leveraging weather to advance a flawed argument about climate, would you? 363. swood1000, The question is the extent to which the general public conflates them, and it is not a difficult thing to do when scientists don’t stop at the science but are also policy advocates. Possibly, but that still illustrates my point. You (the public) are creating associations and groupings that few scientists would regard themselves as being associated with. Most scientists (climate scientists included) probably get up in the morning, take their kids to school, go to work, do some teaching, do some research, try to write papers and submit them to journals, talk to their collaborators, talk to their students, go to conferences and meetings, go home, have dinner, glass of wine, ….. Few would realise that there is this whole perception that they are somehow responsible for perceived bad behaviour in others, or somehow responsible for environmentalists possibly misusing science for political gain. So, in a sense, you’re asking scientists to account for and compensate for things that they probably don’t even realise that you have decided that they have responsibility for. It’s hard for them to do something about this if they don’t even realise that people think they should be doing so. When a scientist insists that the science is settled he is saying that it is time for political action and he has become an environmental activist. They are allowed to do this if they wish. Becoming a scientist does not mean revoking your right to participate in our democracy. If some scientists choose to do this, this does not become the responsibility of others. You’re essentially arguing for disenfranchising a segment of society with whom you disagree. If a scientist acts to apply pressure on journals only to accept articles that support the mainstream view, he is not seen as doing that out of regard for the purity of scientific discourse but rather with public policy goals in mind. Can you back this up, or are you referring to examples where the paper was genuinely crap and really shouldn’t have been published? 364. swood1000 says: Joseph: And again why does that need to be done by a “skeptic?’ And to repeat when you have the “skeptic” present their position (the misinformation without identifying it as misinformation) you run into the problem of the non-expert not always being able to distinguish fact from fiction or bad arguments from good arguments. If you state your opponent’s argument and then defeat it people just think that you defeated a straw man, and didn’t present the opposing case as vigorously as a supporter of it would have done (which is probably the case). With respect to distinguishing fact from fiction I draw a line. If a person insists on using arguments that are truly fallacious, then somebody else should be looked for. However if he is simply making assertions that he believes are true but that you believe to be false, then you have to rebut them. This is where the experienced communicator and debater has an advantage over a person lacking those skills. Also, an experienced moderator, believed by the audience to be impartial, can do much to point out that a person’s argument involves logical fallacies, and this will tend to put him in a unfavorable light with the audience. 365. swood1000, This is where the experienced communicator and debater has an advantage over a person lacking those skills. An experience communicator and debater who is either dishonest (or honestly misinformed) also has an advantage, which is essentially why science is not suited to a debate-like scenario. 366. swood1000 says: Willard: How is that an example showing that a person’s or organization’s credibility alone can go a long way toward dispelling misinformation? What would be an example where such denial of accusation brought any audit to an end? That last question is crucial, for I think we have sufficient evidence that audits never end. If a person is accused of wrongdoing I am less likely to believe it if I have huge respect for the person. Isn’t that generally true? I don’t know what you mean by an ‘audit’. 367. pbjamm says: “I think we could benefit from some warming.” It has been up in the 80s and 90s (F) (26-32C) here on the US West coast lately. Some much needed rain is blowing through so it has plummeted down to 65f (18c)! It is warm here therefor AGW=true 368. BBD says: swood (Note – I wrote this hours ago but did not post it because SoD was commenting and I thought our exchange could wait. There is some overlap with ATTP above) I guess I am missing your point. Could you bear with me and explain what my false equivalence was? Again? Okay. You say things like this (emphasis added): The critical question is whether climate scientists are perceived by the public to have an identity of interest with the person who is blameworthy. If one environmentalist exaggerates then the public can come to believe that all environmentalists are prone to exaggeration. Does the public believe that the motivations that drove the one person will likely be driving the others in a similar way? You are trying to make climate science *responsible* for (claimed) exaggerations by ‘environmentalists’. That is a false equivalence. Climate scientists are not responsible – individually or collectively – for what ‘environmentalists’ say. You have invented the concept of ‘identity of interest’ to disguise your false equivalence and you have added the arguement from assertion that ‘the public’ percieves this ‘identity of interest’. You need to demonstrate that ‘the public’ (which one? where?) cannot distinguish between ‘environmentalists’ and climate scientists. You don’t demonstrate this because you can’t, so you are left arguing a false equivalence from assertion. 369. pbjamm says: “When a scientist insists that the science is settled he is saying that it is time for political action and he has become an environmental activist.” All those damn doctors with their so-called medicine insisting that people stop smoking and start eating healthier as though there was some proven link between those things and heart/lung diseases. Political activism I say! 370. swood1000 says: KR: One group is funded to advance knowledge, the other to block it. It may surprise you to learn that many on both sides will agree heartily with this statement. The field of climate denial, on the other hand, is funded to, well, deny the science, to confuse and mislead, and to prevent certain changes in public policy… The skeptic side sees its opposition as being massively funded to assure that the work of those opposing its policies is not funded or accepted by journals, that only one interpretation of the facts is allowed in the media, and that pressure is put on the levers of government to force through unnecessary political changes. 371. swood1000, The skeptic side sees its opposition as being massively funded to assure that the work of those opposing its policies is not funded or accepted by journals, that only one interpretation of the facts is allowed in the media Well, that’s just nonsense. In fact this is getting close enough to conspiracy ideation, that I have little interest in the discussion continuing. It won’t get anywhere constructive if it did anyway. 372. BBD says: It’s not ‘close enough’ ATTP – that *is* a conspiracy theory 🙂 373. Michael 2 says: Joshua says “What do you mean “we” Kimowabe? (*) My understanding is that the last couple of months have been notably warm, globally. You wouldn’t be unscientifically leveraging weather to advance a flawed argument about climate, would you?” I think the Standard Model is “if it is warm outside, it’s global. If cold, it’s weather”. To be sure, the Western United States had several weeks of unusually warm weather during a time that it should have been coldest. Now, however, cold has returned. it was an odd thing causing me to consider the jet stream becoming “loopy” and meander, just as a river will meander when its slope decreases. 374. swood1000 says: ATTP: Genuinely showing that climate sensitivity will be low, and that climate change doesn’t present any significant risks, would bring immense acclaim; if it could be convincing and credible. There’d be much more incentive to do this, if it were possible, than to simply tag along with everyone else. But don’t you think that there are severe repercussions for any scientist who tries to publish a paper showing that climate change doesn’t present any significant risks? The ones that are published are denounced roundly and their authors forever after are persona non grata in the established climate science community. Is this not the case? You could respond by saying that the only ones published heretofore are in fact deeply flawed, but isn’t it true that this is the route to becoming a pariah in the mainstream climate science community? They could still get funded. It’s not as if we don’t want to understand weather and climate. Plus, many climate scientists are physicists or trained in other scientific discipline, so don’t need to only do climate science. But look at the huge sums that the federal government spends in this area. This amount wasn’t being spent before climate alarm and wouldn’t be without it. …because this puts them in a position of power as the advisors to the government. Only a tiny majority are involved, and will ever be involved, in this. Perhaps. But perhaps also it is comforting to have one’s peers in a position to be able to look out for one’s interests in the halls of power. Also it is possible that the scientists who receive the most attention will be the ones who will be chosen for these seats, or will be able to control their designation. 375. Joseph says: If you state your opponent’s argument and then defeat it people just think that you defeated a straw man, and didn’t present the opposing case as vigorously as a supporter of it would have done (which is probably the case). I said the reporter would ask the questions about the opponent’s argument. With respect to distinguishing fact from fiction I draw a line. If a person insists on using arguments that are truly fallacious, then somebody else should be looked for. However if he is simply making assertions that he believes are true but that you believe to be false, then you have to rebut them. Distinguishing fact from fiction depends on the ability of non-experts to understand all of the science behind the facts that are being presented. If you have some dispute over a technical point in a debate format and no one backs down from their position in the allotted time, how does the non-expert judge who is right? How do go over all of the technical points in a new article format? And btw, you still haven’t answered my question about more misinformation in the media 376. swood1000, But don’t you think that there are severe repercussions for any scientist who tries to publish a paper showing that climate change doesn’t present any significant risks? Well, your question is a little odd in that few scientists publish paper that explicitly discuss the risks, but if you mean suggest that climate sensitivity might/could be low, then no. However, there are those who have published and promoted very poor research who are then rightly criticised. But look at the huge sums that the federal government spends in this area. This amount wasn’t being spent before climate alarm and wouldn’t be without it. Why not look at how much they spend on Astronomy or Particle Physics? I would imagine that large sums are also spent in these areas. Also, you should probably distinguish between the amount spent launching a satellite (hundreds of millions) with the amount spent funding a researcher to run a research programme with a postdoc and a student (hundreds of thousands per year, most of which goes to the university for admin costs). Additionally, there would still be funding to do research related to weather and climate even if AGW wasn’t an issue, and many of those currently doing climate science could have chosen alternative research careers. Also it is possible that the scientists who receive the most attention will be the ones who will be chosen for these seats, or will be able to control their designation. Yes, but self-promoters exist everywhere. It seems to me that you seem to think that scientists should behave in some idealised way that is managed by no other sector of society. 377. Joshua says: M2 – ===> “I think the Standard Model is “if it is warm outside, it’s global. If cold, it’s weather”. The standard model is more along the lines of, if it’s short term, it’s weather and if it’s long term, it’s climate. ==> “Now, however, cold has returned.” The short-term reference isn’t particularly relevant w/r/t climate – but even there my understanding is that during the period of time -1 originally referenced, global temps are running high. Didn’t your mother ever tell you that cherry-picking makes for bad arguments? 378. swood1000 says: Joseph: swood, So where exactly do you stand on these issues that you raise and I raised? If you don’t mind.. My personal position is generally in line with the skeptic position. However, my theory is that if, to the extent possible, I present a viewpoint as other than my personal accusation I am more likely to be met with civil dialog. Perhaps this is not well-founded, but I have been sensitized to people being personally offended and enraged when I merely wanted to discuss the issue. I recognize the view of some that when the ship is being scuttled it is perhaps not the appropriate time for a relaxed and impersonal discussion of the matter, as well as the view of some that all skeptics are inherently evil and ill-intentioned, but I don’t know any way around that. 379. This is a fun game that BBD has discovered at the expense of SWOOD Solid-state physicist → Interests in ion batteries and photovoltaics → Renewable energy possibilities on grant applications → Obviously an environmentalist intent on destroying civilization → QED 380. swood1000 says: ATTP: The skeptic side sees its opposition as being massively funded to assure that the work of those opposing its policies is not funded or accepted by journals, that only one interpretation of the facts is allowed in the media Well, that’s just nonsense. In fact this is getting close enough to conspiracy ideation, that I have little interest in the discussion continuing. It won’t get anywhere constructive if it did anyway. What do you mean by ‘conspiracy ideation’? If only one side of the issue is presented on the NewsHour what difference does it make if you call it the proper result of a ‘false balance’ policy or if you call it the result of an agreement to restrict reporting of one side of the issue? Is there in fact an agreement to restrict reporting of one side of the issue? Is the term ‘conspiracy’ chosen because of its association in the minds of the public with paranoia? 381. Michael 2 says: Joseph says “If you have some dispute over a technical point in a debate format and no one backs down from their position in the allotted time, how does the non-expert judge who is right?” Non-verbal cues seem to be the deciding factor. In the Navy we had a piece of equipment that sent data to the surveillance aircraft. For its time it was pretty sophisticated; 15 audio channels each possessing two bits of data in phase quadrature, so, incredibly, it could send 30 bits in parallel over a single audio radio channel. It was a heavy, 2U rack mounted item, custom made using wire-wrapped sockets and TTL circuitry. Over the years the wire wraps became a little unstable combined with all the cigarette smoke crystallizing on the pins and circuit board connectors. A skilled person could fix it in about five minutes because it was always one of the same three circuit boards that needed to be reseated. But we had a young guy that worked on it all night long to achieve what I or the other technician could do in 5 minutes. The Navy officers were very impressed by this young man’s (largely ineffective) work; and contemptuous of the other technician who they perceived to be “lazy” because he fixed things quickly and then had rather a lot of nothing to do. I was mostly invisible because I was one of only 3 people in the staff of 50 that didn’t smoke so I’d go hunting for a room with breathable air, namely the computer room. I’ve previously reported on the other young technician that destroyed the Fast Time Analyzer and received a Navy Achievement Medal as a consequence. It rates pretty high on my list of “unbelievable”. I could reallly get going on that but I’ll try to keep the Peeves down to two at a time 🙂 or was that three already? 382. John Hartz says: Thanks to swood1000, this comment thread has turned into mush. 383. pbjamm says: “Is there in fact an agreement to restrict reporting of one side of the issue?” There is only one side and that is science. Why bother discussing science with people who are not doing science? If you want to discuss policy implications of the science why bother including people who deny the facts? 384. swood1000 says: ATTP: It seems to me that you seem to think that scientists should behave in some idealised way that is managed by no other sector of society. Not at all. But when they take off their scientist hat and put on the hat of the policy advocate then they cannot complain if they are treated the same as every other policy advocate and assumed to be operating according to the same non-scientific motivations as everyone else. 385. Willard says: > My personal position is generally in line with the skeptic position. What is the skeptic position? What relationship does “being in line” represent? When is Swood’s position not in line with the skeptic position? Is the epithet “skeptic” justified? Is it not a pejorative epithet used to marginalize? Many thanks! 386. Windchasers says: Has anybody learned something on SoD that led to them change sides in the climate debate? I had my mind changed mostly by RealClimate. At the time, SoD wasn’t around or I hadn’t found his blog yet, but if I’d had doubts about things like the radiative effects of CO2, his work would have helped me out. There are hardcore deniers, and nobody can convince their minds. But there are also a fair number of people who just haven’t made up their minds yet, or haven’t really looked into it, and are curious. http://xkcd.com/1053/ 387. swood1000 says: There is only one side and that is science. Why bother discussing science with people who are not doing science? If you want to discuss policy implications of the science why bother including people who deny the facts? A good distillation of one approach to the issue: the other person says that science is on his side but we will not deign to explain to him why he is wrong. Or, we tried to explain and were not successful so we conclude that he is outside the bounds of reason and we will ignore him. The trouble is that he has convinced a large enough block of the public and our policy goals have been thwarted. There will be no progress if you are not able to convince the other side. If sufficient scientific facts exist to enable you to make your case then you need a different approach. The existing one has had problems. 388. swood1000 says: Thanks to swood1000, this comment thread has turned into mush. Replace the word ‘mush’ with ‘one that includes the skeptic viewpoint’ and I think that it would have the same meaning for this poster. 389. Joseph says: . If only one side of the issue is presented on the NewsHour what difference does it make if you call it the proper result of a ‘false balance’ policy It’s not the media’s job to be the ultimate arbiter of scientific truth, they are really there to report on the research that is being published. I think they should report on all important quality research and not be limited by whether it supports AGW or not. Nor do I think it is their job to seek out an opposing skeptic view from someone for every story. Unfortunately, for your side there isn’t a lot of important quality research being done that contradicts the mainstream position on AGW so we don’t have the “skeptic” position being presented in the MSM very often.. 390. Willard says: > But when they take off their scientist hat and put on the hat of the policy advocate then they cannot complain if they are treated the same as every other policy advocate and assumed to be operating according to the same non-scientific motivations as everyone else. Does the hat metaphor rely on the fact/value dichotomy? Where do scientists put their policy advocate hats? How can we distinguish scientific and nonscientific motivations? When is assuming nonscientific motivations warranted? Why should we care about these ad hominems, again? Many thanks! 391. John Hartz says: [Mod : Unnecessary.] 392. swood, What do you mean by ‘conspiracy ideation’? I mean this The skeptic side sees its opposition as being massively funded to assure that the work of those opposing its policies is not funded or accepted by journals, that only one interpretation of the facts is allowed in the media, and that pressure is put on the levers of government to force through unnecessary political changes. which I find hard to interpret other than you suggesting that there is some kind of conspiracy. But when they take off their scientist hat and put on the hat of the policy advocate then they cannot complain if they are treated the same as every other policy advocate and assumed to be operating according to the same non-scientific motivations as everyone else. Of course, they shouldn’t expect any kind of special treatment, but that’s not the same as suggesting that by expressing some policy preference that all of a sudden science in general is tainted. In fact, I would argue that I’m more comfortable with people being honest about their views than trying to convince them to pretend that they don’t have any when, in fact, they do. The latter seems less honest than the former. Don’t trust anyone who suggests that somehow they’re unbiased and completely objective. 393. swood1000 says: Joseph: For example, if scientists A and B both receive their funding from the government then they are both perceived to be motivated to keep the funding flowing, whether or not they are members of the same organization. And the response I usually give to this meme is that if you think that is true, then you should doubt all of modern science because all they are doing is trying to get more money from the government, right? Why single out climate science? We were talking about how if one member of an organization does something discreditable then other members of the organization will be affected. ATTP said that climate scientists are not all in one organization. I was saying that it seems to me that if A and B both receive their funding from the government then in the mind of the public the same principle operates, just as if they were in the same organization. If you state your opponent’s argument and then defeat it people just think that you defeated a straw man, and didn’t present the opposing case as vigorously as a supporter of it would have done (which is probably the case). I said the reporter would ask the questions about the opponent’s argument. It is the making of the argument that is the important thing. You can’t exclude the opponent and make his argument for him if you wish to be seen as having refuted it. Distinguishing fact from fiction depends on the ability of non-experts to understand all of the science behind the facts that are being presented. If you have some dispute over a technical point in a debate format and no one backs down from their position in the allotted time, how does the non-expert judge who is right? How do go over all of the technical points in a new article format? Yes, but there was a process that inculcated the beliefs into the person in the audience, even though technical points might be involved, so the person is accessible. A slug-fest over matters outside the understanding of one’s audience could probably have only a limited usefulness. This is why I say that a person is needed who has communication skills. And btw, you still haven’t answered my question about more misinformation in the media Sorry. Can you remind me? 394. swood1000 says: ATTP: What do you mean by ‘conspiracy ideation’? I mean this The skeptic side sees its opposition as being massively funded to assure that the work of those opposing its policies is not funded or accepted by journals, that only one interpretation of the facts is allowed in the media, and that pressure is put on the levers of government to force through unnecessary political changes. which I find hard to interpret other than you suggesting that there is some kind of conspiracy. Is it also conspiracy ideation to refer to the massive funding supporting the goals and activities of the skeptics, or to suggest that pressure is put on the levers of government to block necessary climate change legislation? But when they take off their scientist hat and put on the hat of the policy advocate then they cannot complain if they are treated the same as every other policy advocate and assumed to be operating according to the same non-scientific motivations as everyone else. Of course, they shouldn’t expect any kind of special treatment, but that’s not the same as suggesting that by expressing some policy preference that all of a sudden science in general is tainted. You are the one who asserted to me in no uncertain terms just the other day that policy proposals should not be appended to scientific work, and for this very reason. Is it surprising that the scientific credibility of a person can be compromised even if the scientific work and the policy proposals are contained in two different documents? Don’t trust anyone who suggests that somehow they’re unbiased and completely objective. On the other hand, it is worthwhile for a person to retain some composure and be able to discuss the issues rationally and objectively, and not be limited to grumbling darkly about the evil of the other side. 395. BBD says: swood We were talking about how if one member of an organization does something discreditable then other members of the organization will be affected. Well you have tried *very* hard to push this line. The problem is that your attempt to characterise climate science as an organisation has failed because it just isn’t true. It is merely a rhetorical assertion. Just like when you fell into false equivalence by trying to make climate scientists responsible for what ‘environmentalists’ (a *very* heterogeneous lot) might say. Getting hugely tiresome btw. 396. BBD says: Is it also conspiracy ideation to refer to the massive funding supporting the goals and activities of the skeptics, or to suggest that pressure is put on the levers of government to block necessary climate change legislation? No, it is a matter of fact and has been dealt with upthread. 397. Joshua says: Why do I bother? ==> ” I was saying that it seems to me that if A and B both receive their funding from the government then in the mind of the public the same principle operates, just as if they were in the same organization.” When were you elected to speak for “the public?” Anyway… People generally have high levels of trust in government-funded research. So your speculation about what is “in the mind of the public” fails against easily attainable evidence. People do, however, selectively reverse engineer from how research findings orient against their own ideology, to then make accusations of “fraud” and “hoax” resulting from government-funded research in some areas even as they explicitly and implicitly trust government-funded research in other areas. Government-funding of research and trust in that research is mediated by ideology. Why do I bother? 398. Joshua says: John Hartz – ==> “Thanks to swood1000, this comment thread has turned into mush.” We have no one but ourselves to blame. It is kind of interesting, however, that 1000 is getting so many responses even though, as near as I can tell, his/her comments are fairly typical “skeptical” fallacies. 399. swood1000, You are the one who asserted to me in no uncertain terms just the other day that policy proposals should not be appended to scientific work, and for this very reason. No, I don’t think I did. Can you point out where? If someone is going to repeat back what they claim I’ve said, I’d really like them to actually show where I said what they claimed I’ve said. 400. Joshua, It is kind of interesting, however, that 1000 is getting so many responses even though, as near as I can tell, his/her comments are fairly typical “skeptical” fallacies. Yes, but since this is a thread about dialogue, it would be more patient than I normally might be. 401. swood1000 says: BBD We were talking about how if one member of an organization does something discreditable then other members of the organization will be affected. Well you have tried *very* hard to push this line. The problem is that your attempt to characterise climate science as an organisation has failed because it just isn’t true. It is merely a rhetorical assertion. Just like when you fell into false equivalence by trying to make climate scientists responsible for what ‘environmentalists’ (a *very* heterogeneous lot) might say. I think the difficulty we’re having is that I am trying to describe how I think the public views things and you think I am describing how the public should view things. If the public sees things in a certain way or associates climate scientists with environmentalists it is not to the point to say that their perception is not accurate or that they should not make this association. Furthermore, I believe that they are warranted in this association if the climate scientist is also making environmental public policy recommendations. Finally, if Oreskes writes a book that engages in hyperbole concerning the likely result of climate change over the next ten years is it really hard to believe that a reader might tend to conclude that other statements about climate change also contain hyperbole, even though the other statements might be made by a scientist? Getting hugely tiresome btw. Agreed, to the extent that we misunderstand each other and continue to repeat ourselves. 402. BBD says: I think the difficulty we’re having is that I am trying to describe how I think the public views things and you think I am describing how the public should view things. I repeat from an earlier comment: You need to demonstrate that ‘the public’ (which one? where?) cannot distinguish between ‘environmentalists’ and climate scientists. You don’t demonstrate this because you can’t, so you are left arguing a false equivalence from assertion. Did I mention tiresome? 403. Joshua says: I guess it all depends on how you define dialogue. 🙂 404. swood1000 says: ATTP: You are the one who asserted to me in no uncertain terms just the other day that policy proposals should not be appended to scientific work, and for this very reason. No, I don’t think I did. Can you point out where? If someone is going to repeat back what they claim I’ve said, I’d really like them to actually show where I said what they claimed I’ve said. Here. Did I misinterpret? Why throw in politics? If we’re discussing science, the political implications should be irrelevant. If they’re not, then it’s not science. I don’t see that it’s acceptable to argue that it’s okay for someone to take a contrary position because the political implications of the other position are inconvenient. That means that someone is using their policy preferences to guide their science. https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/climate-dialogue/#comment-48699 405. Joshua says: 1000 – ==> “I think the difficulty we’re having is that I am trying to describe how I think the public views things and you think I am describing how the public should view things. What is your evidence for how the public views things? You seem think that there is a significant amount of distrust in the public for government-funded research. I could point you to evidence that strongly suggests otherwise. 406. BBD says: Thank you, Joshua swood doesn’t seem to understand what I am saying. Perhaps you can convince him of his logical error. 407. swood1000, I was pointing out that there should be no need – or reason – to introduce policy views into a scientific discussion. The interpretation of the scientific evidence should not depend on the policy implications. I didn’t say that a scientist should not have policy views or that anyone who expresses policy views should no longer be trusted. I was referring specifically to scientific discussions, which should have been obvious from the If we’re discussing science… at the beginning of the second sentence. 408. swood1000, I think the difficulty we’re having is that I am trying to describe how I think the public views things and you think I am describing how the public should view things. And what I’ve been trying to point out is that as a scientist employed in the same kind of institutions as those that employ many climate scientists, it doesn’t really matter what the public may or may not think. Until my contract stipulates that I’m somehow responsible for what someone else, who happens to work in the same field as me does, then I’m not responsible for what they do. Until my contract stipulates that I’m somehow responsible for how environmentalists may use science to influence policy, then I’m not responsible. Until I’m contractually obliged to publicly denounce anyone who is regarded as having behaved in a way that you might not like, I’m not contractually obliged to do so. FWIW, I don’t think that what you describe is how the public generally thinks. I suspect it is a small, vocal element of the public who might think this way. 409. swood1000 says: BBD: You need to demonstrate that ‘the public’ (which one? where?) cannot distinguish between ‘environmentalists’ and climate scientists. You don’t demonstrate this because you can’t, so you are left arguing a false equivalence from assertion. What do you think I am saying is the consequence of the public not distinguishing between environmentalists and climate scientists? Did I mention tiresome? Yes, and I believe I mentioned something about repetition. 410. Joshua says: BBD – ==> “swood doesn’t seem to understand what I am saying. Perhaps you can convince him of his logical error.” First, I doubt it. Second, I’ve directed a couple of comments his/her way, and I don’t think I’ve gotten responses to any (maybe I missed one?). I’m feeling left out, and in all honesty, deeply hurt. 🙂 411. swood1000 says: ATTP: I was referring specifically to scientific discussions, which should have been obvious from the If we’re discussing science… at the beginning of the second sentence. You are saying that if we are discussing science then we shouldn’t include policy, else it looks like the policy is driving the science and the credibility of the scientist could be compromised. I responded: Is it surprising that the scientific credibility of a person can be compromised even if the scientific work and the policy proposals are contained in two different documents? So you seem to believe that the credibility is compromised only if the science and the policy are contained in the same discussion or in the same document. My suggestion is that the same process is in operation even if they are different discussions or documents by the same scientist. 412. John Hartz says: [Mod : maybe we can try and keep this pleasant, especially given this OP.] 413. pbjamm says: swood1000 – Policy should not influence the science but the science should influence the policy. If policy is forcing changes to the science then you are not getting an honest picture of the facts. If your policy is not influenced by the science what are you basing the policy on? 414. swood1000, So you seem to believe that the credibility is compromised only if the science and the policy are contained in the same discussion or in the same document. No, not really. I’m suggesting that policy should be irrelevant when it comes to assessing the strength of the scientific evidence. Of course, if you’re specifically discussing policy, then clearly including information about the scientific evidence would be relevant. I’m not objecting to policy and science being discussed together, I’m suggesting that one has to be careful to ensure that you don’t let your policy preferences drive your scientific view. My suggestion is that the same process is in operation even if they are different discussions or documents by the same scientist. Well, this just seems nonsensical and – as I said above – would suggest that you’re trying to essentially disenfranchise scientists. You’re essentially suggesting that if a scientist ever presents a policy opinion that their science becomes suspect. Clearly there may be occasions when this would be a reasonable interpretation, but as a general rule it seems silly. 415. BBD says: swood What do you think I am saying is the consequence of the public not distinguishing between environmentalists and climate scientists? Are you being obtuse on purpose? I am saying that the public DOES make a distinction and I am challenging you to back up your assertion that it DOES NOT or acknowledge that you are committing the logical fallacy of arguing from assertion. Read the words: You need to demonstrate that ‘the public’ (which one? where?) cannot distinguish between ‘environmentalists’ and climate scientists. You don’t demonstrate this because you can’t, so you are left arguing a false equivalence from assertion. 416. Michael 2 says: Joseph, a shorter answer I propose is: When the jury cannot judge the matters of fact, they judge what they can judge and there’s no telling what that is going to be. Appearance is probably the most important of the irrelevant things that will be judged. I had two grandmothers; one voted for Bill Clinton because he “looked nice”. That was it. No consideration of his capability as the Commander in Chief of the armed forces or anything like that (close to zero, he fled overseas to avoid conscription, I joined the Navy). The other grandmother also voted for Bill Clinton, because George Bush “hung Ollie North out to dry” and Ollie North “looked nice”. Looking nice is very important. What Ollie North was doing was inconsequential; what is important is that he looked nice. 417. Joshua says: M2 – As per Kahneman – the “looks nice” heuristic is probably no less effective than judging on “fact.” 418. Michael 2 says: Swood says “What do you think I am saying is the consequence of the public not distinguishing between environmentalists and climate scientists?” It is almost irrelevant; the public doesn’t know or see the actual climate scientists, except in the rare instance one makes a spectacle of himself (Chris Turney’s group getting stuck in Antarctica). What people see are the environmentalists. So it isn’t a matter of distinguishing from an environmentalist, that’s pretty much all anyone sees, ever! In the case of demand for evidence, cite Sierra Club and Greenpeace. These are the “faces” of global warming. WWF (world wrestling foundation or mabye it is world wildlife foundation) is another. 419. Michael 2 says: pbjamm says “There is only one side and that is science.” I pity the small world you occupy. I have many sides that can loosely be lumped into left brain and right brain. Art contains everything appealing to senses and imagination (music, images, literature). Left brain is language, mathematics, science; but you won’t study these things unless you desire it and that’s an emotional, probably wired-in choice. 420. John Hartz says: Michael 2: You assert: It is almost irrelevant; the public doesn’t know or see the actual climate scientists, except in the rare instance one makes a spectacle of himself (Chris Turney’s group getting stuck in Antarctica). Your assertion is pure, unadulterated poppycock! 421. Michael 2 says: SoD, I am not an idiot and I cannot afford subscriptions to all those journals, nor probably have time to read all of it anyway. Also, many reports merely cite climate change for various unstated reasons but the report contributes absolutely nothing to an understanding of climate. The ratio is enormous as discovered by John Cook’s volunteers. Actually posting somewhere the 72 or so papers, out of nearly 12,000, that specifically deal with the “A” of AGW would be helpful. I am willing to study that many (or that few). [idiots are] a) Anyone who has an interest in the scientific method who has not been able to master the last 30 years of climate science research as found in journals like JGR, GRL, Journal of Climate, Nature, Science, and many other journals relating to atmospheric and ocean physics. It does create opportunity for misunderstanding the actual science as what I get is necessarily second-hand, at best, reported usually by advocates. In that sense, having contrary advocates acting as “watchdog” is the next best thing to reading and understanding all of those reports personally. 422. swood1000 says: ATTP: My suggestion is that the same process is in operation even if they are different discussions or documents by the same scientist. Well, this just seems nonsensical and – as I said above – would suggest that you’re trying to essentially disenfranchise scientists. You’re essentially suggesting that if a scientist ever presents a policy opinion that their science becomes suspect. Clearly there may be occasions when this would be a reasonable interpretation, but as a general rule it seems silly. It is a matter of degree, and the perception of impropriety is in the eye of the beholder. If a person who is supposed to be impartial is perceived to have an interest in the outcome then eyebrows are raised. It is the perceived degree of interest that matters and different people will come to different conclusions. The most extreme case might be the scientist who is a strident activist, leading the climate march on Washington, appearing in interviews to be an emotional partisan. One could see how the impartiality of his climate study might be questioned by some. So I did not say that scientists lose all credibility if they have political preferences. Nor do I say that there are any inflexible rules that apply in all cases. One person may see the appearance of impropriety where another person does not. It is said that there was a Supreme Court justice who did not even vote in civil elections while on the bench, apparently out of a desire to avoid the implication that he had a personal preference concerning matters coming before the Supreme Court. An extreme case, but I do think that those who follow Stephen Schneider’s advice to skew the presentation of the science in conformity with their policy preferences are going to have problems with their credibility. I also believe that such advice causes credibility problems for all scientists. And I don’t think it can be doubted that those who advocate public policy related to their area of science are going to have more credibility problems than those who don’t. 423. swood1000, We should probably this as it’s really going nowhere and is likely to stay that way. Here’s the issue that someone like me has with the general view that you’re presenting. Scientists aren’t politicians or salespeople; they’re not trying to sell you a product or convince you of their work – okay, they kind of are, but normally by presenting convincing evidence, not by having a massive smile and a trustworthy face. We trust something when it has been reproduced and replicated by many researchers in many countries/ institutions, not just because the scientist who first did it seemed trustworthy. Similarly we don’t discount something just because the scientist doesn’t seem trustworthy. By suggesting that scientists should somehow behave in a more trusting way, implies that you want to trust them as individuals. You shouldn’t! We trust the method, not the individuals! 424. -1=e^ipi says: @ Joshua, pbjamm – There are clear benefits to warming. Whether the net benefit of global warming is positive or negative is unclear, which is why I find it concerning that people are jumping to conclusions and assuming that warming is necessarily bad. Here’s a question: Why do more people live in california than all of Canada? Maybe it has something to do with climate… 425. There are clear benefits to warming. Maybe I’ll let others deal with this as it’s getting late, but the rate is also important. Our climate has not changed as fast as it is now in all of human history. Ocean acidification may also be one of the major challenges. which is why I find it concerning that people are jumping to conclusions and assuming that warming is necessarily bad. Well, maybe people aren’t actually assuming it will be bad, but would rather not risk finding out. It is largely irreversible. If we discover it really is bad, there will be little we can do and, if we do discover it is bad, it will continue to get worse, given the inertia in the climate system. 426. swood1000 says: BBD: What do you think I am saying is the consequence of the public not distinguishing between environmentalists and climate scientists? Are you being obtuse on purpose? I am saying that the public DOES make a distinction… Let me rephrase my question. You are saying that my position is that the public does not make a distinction between environmentalists and climate scientists. Do you say that I go beyond this? Do I say that the public makes no such distinction therefore _____ is the consequence? In other words, what would be the result if the public made no distinction? So what? Are environmentalists low-lifes from whom the climate scientists want to keep their distance? You need to demonstrate that ‘the public’ (which one? where?) cannot distinguish between ‘environmentalists’ and climate scientists. You don’t demonstrate this because you can’t, so you are left arguing a false equivalence from assertion. What is the false equivalence? Is the following what you perceive my position to be: a) it is a fact that environmentalists are scumbags, b) the public identifies climate scientists with environmentalists, c) ergo, the public views climate scientists as scumbags 427. M2 said What people see are the environmentalists. No. What people see is the price of a gallon of gas at the pump. And as that price goes through the roller-coaster, they realize that there must be alternatives to crude oil. At least this is obvious to people that can think. 428. Arthur Smith says: ATTP – don’t let swood get away with that baseless libel against Stephen Schneider here. He advocated no such thing, and the deliberate misinterpretation of his words like this is a sure sign of somebody already arguing well into the depths of bad-faith denial. 429. swood1000 says: Pbjamm: If your policy is not influenced by the science what are you basing the policy on? You must have misunderstood me. I did say that policy should be influenced by the science. 430. pbjamm says: damn. there is supposed to be a (citation needed) after that quote. got gobbled up by WP 431. swood1000 says: Arthur Smith: ATTP – don’t let swood get away with that baseless libel against Stephen Schneider here. He advocated no such thing, and the deliberate misinterpretation of his words like this is a sure sign of somebody already arguing well into the depths of bad-faith denial. Here is the quote I was referring to: “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Schneider In this quote he said “So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.” This does not describe an impartial explanation but rather one skewed to promote the policy preferred by the scientist. Furthermore, why is it desirable to balance “being effective and being honest”? This implies being less than completely honest in order to effectively promote a particular policy. Is that what scientists should be doing? Am I misreading this? 432. John Hartz says: Michael 2: So that people like you and me do not have to wade through thousands of peer reviewed papers that comprise the scientific body of evidence about manmade climate change, national scientific organizations have compiled “synthesis” reports from time to time. One such recent report is Climate Change: Evidence & Causes released jointly by the UK’s Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences in February of last year. To acess the report and information about it, go to: https://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/climate-evidence-causes/ 433. swood1000 says: Pbjamm: damn. there is supposed to be a (citation needed) after that quote. got gobbled up by WP You need a citation from me? Not following. 434. Willard says: > If a person who is supposed to be impartial is perceived to have an interest in the outcome then eyebrows are raised. Is it the left one or the right one? Is it followed by “fascinating”? How is this raising of eyebrows justified? Should this raising of eyebrows be worrisome? Does impartiality implies an absolute lack of interest? Isn’t it possible to always find some interest behind an action? How can we ever prevent raising of eyebrows? Many thanks! 435. Willard says: > This does not describe an impartial explanation but rather one skewed to promote the policy preferred by the scientist. Isn’t that an interpretation? Is that the best explanation of the quote? Does this interpretation idealize scientific impartiality? Does the interpretation rest on an appeal to perfection? Wouldn’t it be possible that the quote states a truism? Doesn’t that truism follow from basic communication principles? Isn’t “but Schneider” a common contrarian meme? Doesn’t it show a lack of impartiality from those who recycle it? Does this lack of impartiality raise any eyebrow? Does it mean we shouldn’t be thankful for the concern raised by “but Schneider”? Many thanks! 436. swood1000 says: Joshua: I’m feeling left out, and in all honesty, deeply hurt. I am cut to the quick. What is your evidence for how the public views things? You seem think that there is a significant amount of distrust in the public for government-funded research. I could point you to evidence that strongly suggests otherwise. I don’t remember saying that. I do remember saying that those who receive government funding for their research are similarly situated, such that if one of them is seen by the public to have compromised his research in order to ensure continued funding then that will likely reflect badly on the others. But there is some evidence that the public, while having high confidence in Climate Scientists, is a bit wary of the funding connection. See http://www.pnas.org/content/111/Supplement_4/13593.full#sec-5 It is kind of interesting, however, that 1000 is getting so many responses even though, as near as I can tell, his/her comments are fairly typical “skeptical” fallacies. What are my fallacies? (‘His’ would be correct.) ==> ” I was saying that it seems to me that if A and B both receive their funding from the government then in the mind of the public the same principle operates, just as if they were in the same organization.” When were you elected to speak for “the public?” Does it appear that I am speaking for the public, or just giving my opinion? What is your opinion on this subject? Anyway… People generally have high levels of trust in government-funded research. So your speculation about what is “in the mind of the public” fails against easily attainable evidence. Do you think I was speculating in this quote that the public has anything other than a high level of trust in government-funded research? What I was trying to say could also be seen this way: If one scientist receiving government funding is seen by the public to be a paragon of selfless virtue who would never compromise his science for filthy lucre then that will reflect positively on all the other scientists similarly situated. People do, however, selectively reverse engineer from how research findings orient against their own ideology, to then make accusations of “fraud” and “hoax” resulting from government-funded research in some areas even as they explicitly and implicitly trust government-funded research in other areas. Government-funding of research and trust in that research is mediated by ideology. Sorry, don’t follow. Why do I bother? Perhaps a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor… ==> “When a scientist insists that the science is settled..” Which examples of that were you thinking about? Hmmm. When I Google that the only people I hear saying it are Al Gore and those who purport to quote scientists. Interesting. So that is not a quote from any scientist. Learn something new every day. Reading your comment helped concretize for me, a way of describing my view about “false balance” arguments. They’re, essentially, playing the ref. As such, they’re self-defeating because they lead to (or are a reflection of) disempowerment. This wasn’t addressed to me, but what does it mean? 437. Michael 2 says: SoD says “the likely chance of you not accepting consensus climate science due to genuine interest but a lack of key physics knowledge is extremely low.” That’s me. Extremely rare. How indeed shall I make sense of extremely different propositions, he said, she said, it does, it doesn’t… So I studied. Start with the provable hard science, garage laboratory kind of stuff. That alone took a few years of an hour here and a few minutes there between work and family. I am a natural believer accepting input from advocates and deniers both, confirming or refuting claims as I go along. I am not “binary” but I have noticed a great many people are binary; either there’s warming or there isn’t, that sort of thing. Humans are to blame or they aren’t. So I bought myself an infrared thermometer and besides being educational it is also quite a lot of fun. Go outside at night, point at a cloud, you can measure the “downwelling” infrared. Point it at a clear part of sky and read colder than mine goes (-60). At the wavelength used, the “atmospheric window”, IR goes right out to space. At a nearby wavelength, IR goes only a few meters and visualized looks like fog. You can also see that infrared does not go through glass. Hence the greenhouse effect. Visible light comes in, heats stuff inside, infrared cannot get out (it can, however, heat the glass which then radiates half back in and half out; so it isn’t a perfect one-way valve kind of thing). Carbon dioxide works the same way although it is more of a sieve since it has transmission bands and absorption bands in the infrared wavelengths. 438. Joshua says: -1 – ==> “@ Joshua, pbjamm – There are clear benefits to warming. Whether the net benefit of global warming is positive or negative is unclear, ” Those statements are meaningless, viewed independently and also together. How can you consider the benefits of warming without quantifying rate and degree? So the first sentences is useless because it is subsumed by the second. What matters is the second sentence. But even the second sentence is meaningless, because it is unqualified. The condition of whether that sentence is true is predicated on the rate of warming and the overall amount. How can you even consider the net result of the warming without first, a discussion of quantification? Good lord, man – what you said was meaningless. Think about that. The follow-on problem with the second sentence is that it sets up a convo about nothing in particular. It serves as an invitation to useless blogospheric squabbling that serves little purpose other than identification wars. And so you continue in a similar vein. ==> “which is why I find it concerning that people are jumping to conclusions and assuming that warming is necessarily bad. Who, the fuck, is “assuming that warming is necessarily bad?” So people are assuming that warming of .001 degree over 100 years is necessarily bad? People are assuming that warming of 5 degrees over a decade is necessarily bad? So you make a meaningless statement and then use it to build a straw foundation for an even less meaningful convo. Stop. Just stop. Think before you write a comment. What is your goal? Do you want to have a convo with me? Then write something useful, something meaningful. 439. John Hartz says: The results of this newly published research is downright disconcerting… A study of wheat yields by 53 researchers on six continents, including a Kansas State University professor, has found that the effects of climate change on Kansas’ top crop will be far more disastrous, and begin much sooner, than previous thought. Each time the average global temperature increases by one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), global wheat grain production is reduced by about 6 percent, according to the study, published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change. According to the researchers, the 6 percent decline would equate to 42 megatons, or 42 million tons, of wheat each time the global temperature rises by a single degree Celsius. “To put this in perspective, the amount is equal to a quarter of global wheat trade, which reached 147 (megatons) in 2013,” the researchers wrote. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported last September that the Earth had warmed 0.85 degrees Celsius between 1880 and 2012. Study: Effects of climate change on wheat will be dire by By Justin Wingerter, The Topeka Capital-Journal, Feb 23, 2015 440. Joshua says: 1000 – Why do I bother? Let’s cut to the chase. Let’s not waste time with the he said, he said. I’ve had a couple of glasses of wine, and I’ve no interest in that. I don’t have the patience. ————————– Let’s try to establish whether there are actually any points of contention. I’ll go first: Do you think that a significant portion of the public lacks trust in scientists in general, and climate scientists specifically? If so, what is your evidence? Assuming that the answer is yes, and that you can provide evidence, do you think that you have a clear understanding of the related causality? If so, what is your evidence? Here’s what I think. I think that only a very small sub-sector of the American public express distrust of scientists generally. Somewhat larger sub-sectors express distrust of scientists in association with particular issues, and there is solid evidence that the distrust so expressed is mediated by ideology. ——————— As for your clarifications of your perspective. ==> “What I was trying to say could also be seen this way: If one scientist receiving government funding is seen by the public to be a paragon of selfless virtue who would never compromise his science for filthy lucre then that will reflect positively on all the other scientists similarly situated.” Seems to me that it would be useless to use such an unrealistic hypothetical as the basis of a meaningful discussion. I think that very few members of the public would see any particular scientist – whether they receive government funding or not (which, it seems to me, is an irrelevant qualifier anyway) – as a “paragon of selfless virtue.” Can you come up with a more meaningful example? In response to this from me: ==> “Government-funding of research and trust in that research is mediated by ideology. You say: ==> “Sorry, don’t follow.” If someone’s ideology leads him/her to reject a scientist’s research findings, they will look for any of myriad ways to deem those findings as untrustworthy. Reverse engineering from funding source is one favored way to do that. The point is that the underlying causality is ideology, not the source of funding – although claims might be made otherwise. People who argue that their distrust in a scientist’s findings is a function of the source of the funding in one context will consider the source of funding irrelevant (even if it is the same source) w/r/t scientific findings in a different context. ==> “Hmmm. When I Google that the only people I hear saying it are Al Gore and those who purport to quote scientists. Interesting. So that is not a quote from any scientist. Learn something new every day.” Kudos. Although I have to say that it is interesting that you seem to be very familiar with what seems like a standard battery of “skeptic” arguments and yet still needed to Google to realize that hardly any scientists have actually said that “the science is settled.” I will add, there, that even the very term “the science is settled” is incredibly ambiguous, and could simply mean something on the order of “it is clearly established that there is a GHE from CO2 emissions.” So to argue that such a statement form a scientist would be meaningful in some sense, without clarifying what was meant by the statement, would be fallacious. I said ==> “Reading your comment helped concretize for me, a way of describing my view about “false balance” arguments. They’re, essentially, playing the ref. As such, they’re self-defeating because they lead to (or are a reflection of) disempowerment.” You said: ==> “This wasn’t addressed to me, but what does it mean?” It means that, IMO, complaining about false balance is essentially victim-playing, and unrealistically lobbying for some authority, who does not share the complainer’s agenda, to remedy their grievance. The media cover the issue of climate the way they do for clear reasons. Although both sides complain that the coverage isn’t fair (in the same way that basketball players from both teams might argue that a ref is calling a game unfairly), their complaints won’t have much impact. Perhaps a visual will help. 441. Arthur Smith says: Swood asks “am I misreading this?” I fail to see how anybody could honestly read it and take away the interpretation you have. Yes, 1000 times over, you are misreading it. The first part of the comment is an observation about the state of things, a “truism” as Willard out it. The concluding statement is his only advocacy here: be both honest and effective. Schneider was, and here he was urging everyone else to do so also. That this has been completely turned on its head in the way you did here is one of the absolute travesties of this fake “dialogue”. 442. Joshua says: 1000 – Response (complete with nice pictures) is stuck in moderation, waiting for either Rachel or Anders to get off their duffs (imagine that, the nerve to not moderate the blog 24 hours a day!). 443. Joseph says: We were talking about how if one member of an organization does something discreditable then other members of the organization will be affected. ATTP said that climate scientists are not all in one organization. I was saying that it seems to me that if A and B both receive their funding from the government then in the mind of the public the same principle operates, just as if they were in the same organization. I think you lost of track of our thread. It is the making of the argument that is the important thing. You can’t exclude the opponent and make his argument for him if you wish to be seen as having refuted it. This discussion began with talk of misinformation being spread in the media and I asked why you would want more misinformation that is not identified upfront as misinformation in the media. I haven’t heard a response yet.. But anyway, it’s sometimes the role of the reporter to play devil’s advocate to ask the tough questions that might be controversial but in an objective way. That’s been the role of the media for a long time now. And finally if someone really wants to know what AGW “skeptics” think. you can Google it, go to blogs, watch Fox News, read conservative newspapers, or listen to talk radio. No one is stopping anyone from doing that. If a “skeptic” wants to learn more about the science that is actually being done they have even more options. 444. -1=e^ipi says: @ Joshua – The first sentence is not meaningless. There are clear benefits to global warming, such as generally lower heating bills. Just like there are clear costs to global warming. The second sentence is not meaningless. Once you realize that there are both costs and benefits, one can no longer determine a priori if global warming is good or bad (or under what conditions it is good or bad). Which means that a cost-benefit analysis is needed to determine the best course of action. As for your question about who is assuming that warming is necessarily bad and not recognizing that it is a priori indeterminate as to whether global warming is good or bad, well a large segment of western society. David Suzuki, Al gore, I could go on if you want me to. A lot of westerners view the issue of global warming as some sort of pseudo-religious issue where us sinful humans are harming mother gaia and we need to repent for our CO2 sins by imposing restrictions on CO2 emissions. Now of course, the level of pseudo-religiousness will vary from person to person but once people are convinced that what they are doing is for the sake of the planet, they may do things that have adverse consequences for the sake of their cause such as silencing desenting opinion, avoid the burden of proof, and circumventing the scientific method (this is known as noble cause corruption). In the case of the question of whether or not global warming is good or bad and what should be done about it, I feel that a large number of people in this comment section think that a cost benefit analysis is unnecessary and instead they think that some sort of Pascal’s Wager argument suffices. 445. -1=e^ipi says: @ John Hartz – Why not switch to producing corn if wheat becomes less profitable? One issue with a lot of these studies that try to determine the impacts of global warming on agricultural yields is that they often don’t allow for the possibility that people will simply grow different crops in adaptation to the changing climate. 446. John Hartz says: About the feasibility of switching from wheat to corn crops in the U’S… The days of “king corn” could be numbered as climate change brings higher temperatures and water shortages to America’s farmland, a new report warned on Wednesday. Nearly one-third of US farmland is devoted to raising corn and the country produces about 40% of the world’s corn crop. But the$1.7tn (£1tn) industry – the equivalent of Australia’s GDP – is under threat from water shortages, heatwaves and unpredictable rainfall caused by climate change.

“Corn is an essential input to our economy, and climate change, water scarcity and pollution are a critical threat to that sector going forward,” said Brooke Barton, director of the water programme at the Ceres green investor network and author of the report.

The report amplifies warnings earlier this year from United Nations climate scientists and the National Climate Assessment that America’s agricultural industry – and specifically its corn crop – was at risk from the high temperatures and water shortages anticipated under climate change.

In the case of corn, however, there are potentially trillions at stake because the industry now touches on almost every aspect of the American economy.

Climate threat to America’s ‘king corn’ by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, June 11, 2014

447. anoilman says:

-1=e^ipi: [Mod: unnecessary]

You wish to intentionally harm others and if possible financially liquidate them. When you say, “We’ll do something different” what I’m really hearing is “those guys should go broke spending money trying to make things better ’cause I can’t be bothered to help”.

Clueless.

448. Marco says:

Yes.

Do read the whole thing – it starts with one of the misrepresentations

449. verytallguy says:

-1

I feel that a large number of people in this comment section think that a cost benefit analysis is unnecessary

It may be that some people think a *quantitative* cost benefit analysis is not feasible, and those people may have support in the literature

The models used…have crucial flaws that make them close to useless as tools for policy analysis… …IAM-based analyses of climate policy create a perception of knowledge and precision, but that perception is illusory and misleading…

http://www.nber.org/papers/w19244

Alternatively, fig SPM.3 from AR5 WG2 sets out a risk assessment rather than cost-benefit framework for policymakers and WG2 SPM judges that “Iterative risk management is a useful framework for decision-making in complex situations”

Responding to climate-related risks involves decision-making in a changing world, with continuing uncertainty about the severity and timing of climate-change impacts and with limits to the effectiveness of adaptation

On the scale of the risks, the SPM is rather, well, alarming. For instance:

Extensive biodiversity loss with associated loss of ecosystem goods and services results in high risks around 3°C additional warming (high confidence).

and

For sustained warming greater than some threshold, near-complete loss of the Greenland ice sheet would occur over a millennium or more, contributing up to 7m of global mean sea-level rise

(this threshold is estimated at only 1-4 degrees above preindustrial)

Noting that sans mitigation, warming from preindustrial to the end of this century is most likely around 4 degrees, we can *expect* both of these to happen. Or are you feeling lucky?

450. John Hartz says:

Joshua: If we were to plot the amount of wine you consume while keying in a comment and the length of that comment, would we find a significant corrleation? 🙂

451. Joshua says:

John Hartz:

I have no idea what you’re taking about 🙂

452. I was thinking a little about moderation on this thread. I’m not particularly happy about having let swood1000 malign Stephen Schneider who is regarded by many as having been one of the most decent and thoughtful people involved in discussing climate science publicly. I’ll leave this as is (after having made this statement) but I’ll try to do something about such comments in future.

453. Willard says:

Had we definitive threads for ClimateBall lines like “but Schneider,” we might be able to redirect the concerns to these threads. That way, we would satisfy the first rule stated above. ClimateBall players would be allowed to discuss everything, but at the right place, not over and over again on every thread. (Van Eemeren’s model suffers from being static, not dynamic.)

The “but Schneider” shows at least that Swood is either a very talented rookie, or less new here than presumed earlier.

454. verytallguy says:

Willard

The “but Schneider” shows at least that Swood is either a very talented rookie, or less new here than presumed earlier.

An intruiging common theme in climate “debates” online is the appearance of apparent naifs engaging in Socratic questioning who turn out to be anything but.

It’s not something I’ve witnessed elsewhere.

455. -1=e^ipi says:

@ anoilman –
“You wish to intentionally harm others and if possible financially liquidate them.”

This is an appeal to motive fallacy.

@verytallguy –
“It may be that some people think a *quantitative* cost benefit analysis is not feasible, and those people may have support in the literature”

Or maybe people are just being lazy, and they want to circumvent the burden of proof.

“risk assessment rather than cost-benefit framework for policymakers and WG2 SPM judges that”

Yes because a risk assessment more easily gets people the alarmist conclusions they are trying to dogmatically work towards.

“Greenland ice sheet would occur over a millennium or more, contributing up to 7m of global mean sea-level rise”

7 m over more than a millennium is not something I think that is much to be concerned about. That is a lot of time for adaptation.

“Noting that sans mitigation, warming from preindustrial to the end of this century is most likely around 4 degrees”

No it really isn’t most likely around 4 degrees Celcius. It is most likely less than 3 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels, or about 2 degrees Celcius above current temperatures.

456. Willard says:

> 7 m over more than a millennium is not something I think that is much to be concerned about.

Risk assessment more easily gets people to the cornucopian conclusions they are trying to dogmatically work towards, like it would beneficial or something.

457. -1,

It is most likely less than 3 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels, or about 2 degrees Celcius above current temperatures.

I don’t know where you get this from, but if we want to be reasonably certain of keeping warming from today below 2oC, we’d need to follow something like an RCP4.5 emission pathway which would require doing something to constrain our emissions.

458. -1=e^ipi says:

@ ATTP – Is what you say in contradiction with what I say? I said that under a non-mitigation scenario, temperatures in 2100 would be about 2 degrees warmer than today (obviously warming would continue after 2100 because equilibrium would not have been reached). I was simply refuting verytallguys’ claim where he is adding an extra degree of warming by 2100 and suggesting that this is the most likely outcome for a non-mitigation scenario.

459. Joseph says:

No it really isn’t most likely around 4 degrees Celcius. It is most likely less than 3 degrees Celcius above pre-industrial levels, or about 2 degrees Celcius above current temperatures.

But it could be 4 C. That’s the point everyone here is trying to make. And every study I have seen shows things start getting even worse after around 2 C. That is why some people think that is the target we should agree to stay below. I haven’t seen many studies finding positive impacts from climate change. The only positive one I see mentioned is CO2 fertilization, but that could be offset by other impacts of climate change on agriculture (e.g.. drought, water cycle, etc). I just haven’t seen the case made that the impacts could be even remotely positive. Everything that I have seen indicates that there is a significant possibility it will be a net negative if we don’t cut back our CO2 emissions,

460. -1,

I said that under a non-mitigation scenario, temperatures in 2100 would be about 2 degrees warmer than today.

And I’m suggesting that that is wrong. Even RCP4.5 – which would require mitigation to achieve – only has about a 50% chance of staying below 2oC relative to the late-20th and early-21st century.

461. -1=e^ipi says:

Also, with respect to emission scenarios, if you look at CO2e from 1979 to 2013 (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.html) it is basically a linear trend (a quadratic fit actually gives a negative acceleration). So even if this trend continued (which it probably won’t since population growth is slowing down and global population should stabilize by mid-century) one gets 715 CO2e by 2100. Which means that scenarios like RCP 8.5 are ridiculously unrealistic. RCP 6.0 is far more representative of a non-mitigation scenario.

462. Joseph says:

So even if this trend continued (which it probably won’t since population growth is slowing down and global population should stabilize by mid-century) one gets 715 CO2e by 2100.

Yes -1 and we expect those billions of people in poverty to continue to live in squalor never approaching the lifestyle the industrialized nations in this century. If we do expect developing nations to become developed nations and for people’s standard of living to get better in this century we are going to need more energy, right?

463. -1=e^ipi says:

@ Joseph –
No, verytallguy specifically said that 4 C warming relative to pre-industrial times by 2100 was the MOST LIKELY. This claim is just wrong. 3 C warming relative to pre-industrial times by 2100 is far more likely even under a no-mitigation scenario. So your claim “But it could be 4 C. That’s the point everyone here is trying to make.” is untrue; verytallguy is clearly going a step further by suggesting it is the most likely outcome.

@ ATTP –
You seem to be reinterpreting what I wrote. I did not say ‘below 2 C’ but around ‘2 C’. And I did not say ‘relative to late-20th and early-21st century’ but I said today, as in 2015. And I said by 2100 not in the long run.
Saying 2100 will be about 2C warmer than 2015 under a no-mitigation scenario is not in contradiction with your statement that an RCP 4.5 has a 50% probability of keeping warming less than 2C above late 20th – early 21st century temperatures.

464. -1,

Which means that scenarios like RCP 8.5 are ridiculously unrealistic. RCP 6.0 is far more representative of a non-mitigation scenario.

Possibly, but even RCP6.0 has a likely range of 1.4 – 3.1, relative to today (well, average of 2080-2100, relative to average of 1986-2005). Also, as Joseph is pointing out above, if RCP8.5 is not realistic, then developing alternative would seem like a good idea so as to provide the energy that might be required to help both the developing and developed world. Also – as I understand it – there is enough coal to follow an RCP8.5 pathway, so I don’t think that RCP8.5 is necessarily ridiculously unrealistic.

465. -1,

You seem to be reinterpreting what I wrote. I did not say ‘below 2 C’ but around ‘2 C’. And I did not say ‘relative to late-20th and early-21st century’ but I said today, as in 2015. And I said by 2100 not in the long run.

Fine, but that doesn’t really say much then. Under a non-mitigation scenario we could see temperatures of 3oC or higher. That’s what’s concerning. That it might not happen, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned about the possibility that temperatures will reach these values. We can do better than simply hope that we won’t warm as much as some estimates suggest.

466. John Hartz says:

-1: You state:

So even if this trend continued (which it probably won’t since population growth is slowing down and global population should stabilize by mid-century) one gets 715 CO2e by 2100.

467. -1,

verytallguy is clearly going a step further by suggesting it is the most likely outcome.

That’s only because you’ve decided that RCP8.5 is unrealistic. It might be unlikely, but it is possible and if we do choose to follow it then around 4oC by 2100 is likely. There’s a figure that I can’t quite find, but it shows that we are currently following the RCP8.5 pathway. Given your claim that it’s an unrealistic pathway, and the possibility of such severe warming if we do follow it, wouldn’t it just be obvious to just decide to not follow it?

468. verytallguy says:

-1

Refutation and assertion are not synonymous.

You have asserted a number for end of century temperature rise. This unreferenced number does not refute anything.

I quoted 4C; this is midway between the RCP6 and RCP 8.5 ranges.

The midpoints for each of those are 3.4 and 4.5 degrees respectively. To get below 3 degrees you need RCP 4.5 or lower.

I don’t think there is any purpose in addressing your other points unless you can acknowledge these are (with wide uncertainty ranges) the numbers.

Ref AR5 WG3 Table SPM.1

469. -1=e^ipi says:

@ Joseph – “Yes -1 and we expect those billions of people in poverty to continue to live in squalor never approaching the lifestyle the industrialized nations in this century.”

And developing countries are developing and emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases (such as China) yet the trend doesn’t show anything that would suggest RCP 8.5 is realistic even under a non-mitigation scenario. Plus economies are becoming less CO2 emission intensive (per output of GDP) over time even without mitigation policies. RCP 8.5 is just completely unrealistic (but it gets people in the IPCC some of the alarmist conclusions that they desire).

@ ATTP –
“Possibly, but even RCP6.0 has a likely range of 1.4 – 3.1, relative to today (well, average of 2080-2100, relative to average of 1986-2005).”

Thank you for pointing out evidence that shows that verytallguy’s claim is false. 4 degrees warming by 2100 from pre-industrial levels (which would be ~3.2 degrees warming from now to 2100) is clearly not the MOST LIKELY outcome. It’s even outside of the RCP6.0 confidence interval that you give above.

So my claim that verytallguy is overstating the most likely warming by 2100 by at least a degree is correct. Can we at least agree upon that?

470. Joseph says:

ATTP, it is my understanding that we are currently on a BAU pathway and that the rate of increase in co2 levels will increase as the oceans become saturated. Is that right?

471. Joseph says:

Plus economies are becoming less CO2 emission intensive (per output of GDP) over time even without mitigation policies. RCP 8.5 is just completely unrealistic (but it gets people in the IPCC some of the alarmist conclusions that they desire).

If this is making a difference then CO2e would be going down right? I don’t see anything that can overcome the need for development and the increase in population (while it lasts). You have to realize that the most important requirement to live a modern lifestyle is to have reliable electricity and that means more energy.

472. -1=e^ipi says:

@ John Hartz – I did give my source and my very simplistic methodology. Look, go here (http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.html), scroll to the bottom of the page, get the CO2e data from 1979-2013, and perform a linear fit (you can do a quadratic fit if you want, but that actually shows the rate of CO2e increase is slowing). This suggest 715 CO2e by 2100.

@ ATTP – “There’s a figure that I can’t quite find, but it shows that we are currently following the RCP8.5 pathway.”

Most of the emission pathways are basically the same until about 2025. So the above claim isn’t saying much.

“Given your claim that it’s an unrealistic pathway, and the possibility of such severe warming if we do follow it, wouldn’t it just be obvious to just decide to not follow it?”

This is a completely different question and my answer it is not obvious. You would have to perform a very elaborate cost-benefit analysis to determine if it should be followed or not (and in the case of RCP 8.5, I don’t think it is realistic to be followed even under a no-mitigation scenario).

@ VeryTallGuy
“I quoted 4C; this is midway between the RCP6 and RCP 8.5 ranges.”

RCP 8.5 is ridiculously unrealistic and exists primarily because it helps the IPCC and others get the alarmist conclusions they desire. Furthermore, the IPCC is generally using sensitivity values slightly higher than the 3.0 C ‘best estimate’ when they calculate expected warming. And most recent papers are finding that the best estimate may be slightly below 3C. So the emission pathway under a non-mitigation scenario is being overstated and the best estimate of climate sensitivity is being overstated.

As a result, you are overstating the most likely warming by 2100 under a no-mitigation scenario by a degree at least.

473. verytallguy says:

So my claim that verytallguy is overstating the most likely warming by 2100 by at least a degree is correct. Can we at least agree upon that?

I very much doubt it. Read WG3 Table SPM1 and the footnotes.

Depending on whether you think “unmitigated” means RCP8.5 or RCP6, warming will be 3.4-4.5 degC above preindustrial at end of century, exactly in line with the 4C I quoted. (With considerable uncertainty on top)

474. -1=e^ipi says:

@ Joseph –
“ATTP, it is my understanding that we are currently on a BAU pathway and that the rate of increase in co2 levels will increase as the oceans become saturated. Is that right?”

The decay time of the ocean carbon sink towards equilibrium relative to surface temperature is 100-300 years. Atmospheric CO2 levels over the next century should increase fast enough (under a no-mitigation scenario) to more than offset this effect such that the rate at which oceans absorb excess CO2 should increase over the next century.

475. verytallguy says:

-1,

you’re now engaging in a gish gallop of unreferenced assertions.

Firstly, please acknowledge the numbers I quoted were accurate and referenced to IPPC (again – AR5 WG3 table SPM.1)

Secondly, please provide a reference when you are asserting something as a fact. So far, your assertions have not proved reliable and as a sceptic I like to be able to understand where they are coming from.

476. Joseph says:

I don’t agree with everything said but some people seem to think BAU is possible.

477. verytallguy says:

Joseph,

on the oceans absorbing more piece, I believe RCPs development includes eatrh system models which have carbon cycle models (including ocean) within them.

However, I could well be wrong, others here will know much better than me

478. anoilman says:

“-1=e^ipi says:
February 25, 2015 at 3:25 pm

@ anoilman –
“You wish to intentionally harm others and if possible financially liquidate them.”
This is an appeal to motive fallacy.”

There is no motive fallacy. You are pro transforming. You are arguing for benefits right? And you are most certainly ignoring the deficits. Given that you don’t know them all, its an untenable position to take.

I’m reducing you to a business plan, and frankly, I find you wanting. You have no clue, and no plan.

479. Kevin O'Neill says:

-1: You do realize that the complete loss of the Greenland icesheet is expected with increases from pre-industrial of less than 4C, don’t you?

VTG clearly said that he was using pre-industrial as the baseline and sans mitigation: “Noting that sans mitigation, warming from preindustrial to the end of this century is most likely around 4 degrees…”

Now, you apparently believe sans mitigation we won’t follow or be worse than RCP6.0 projections. Please remember what sans mitigation means in this context. All fossil fuels that are economically viable will be used. But even RCP6.0 shows the effects of mitigation – with CO2 and CH4 concentrations beginning to decline by mid-century. So you can’t claim RCP6.0 as a sans mitigation scenario because it isn’t. Or you believe in some magical technology that will make fossil fuels obsolete in the next 30 years.

480. swood1000 says:

[Mod : Sorry, I’m not interested in discussing your views of what Stephen Schneider said. I think he was genuinely one of the most thoughtful people involved in publicly discussing climate science and has been maligned enough elsewhere without me allowing it to continue here. Also, people have responded to many of your comments and questions without you really accepting or responding to what’s been said. You just keep moving on to the next thing you want to point out. If you want to believe what you currently believe, that’s fine. It’s a free world. I think I’ve spent enough of my time discussing this with you without really getting anywhere, and I don’t really see the point in continuing to go in circles. We don’t need to agree.]

481. -1=e^ipi says:

@ verytallguy – Which assertion have I made do you think is unjustified?

“I believe RCPs development includes eatrh system models which have carbon cycle models (including ocean) within them.”

I’m pretty sure they do.

@ anoilman – “You are pro transforming. You are arguing for benefits right? And you are most certainly ignoring the deficits.”

No, I take a position of a priori indeterminism. If there are significant benefits and costs to global warming, and mitigation has costs, and there are alternatives such as geoengineering and adaptation, then it is not obvious what the best solution to the issue is. But many people here seem to take a position of a priori determinism where a cost-benefit analysis is unnecessary and it is obvious that significant mitigation policy is necessary.

@ Kevin – “You do realize that the complete loss of the Greenland icesheet is expected with increases from pre-industrial of less than 4C, don’t you?”

Yes.

“But even RCP6.0 shows the effects of mitigation – with CO2 and CH4 concentrations beginning to decline by mid-century.”

Do you mean declining rate of increase and not decline? That has a lot to do with the global population peaking midcentury.

“So you can’t claim RCP6.0 as a sans mitigation scenario because it isn’t.”

I’m not claiming that the premises used to get an RCP6.0 scenario involve no mitigation. I’m claiming that the resulting emission pathway is more representative of a no-mitigation scenario than RCP8.5.

482. Joshua says:

1000 –

Don’t know if you’re going to get around to answering my previous questions – but I have some more:

Take a look at this:

The evidence in my paper is consistent with the hypothesis that the Sun causes climatic change in the Arctic.

It invalidates the hypothesis that CO2 is a major cause of observed climate change – and raises serious questions about the wisdom of imposing cap-and-trade or other policies that would cripple energy production and economic activity, in the name of “preventing catastrophic climate change.”

Do you distrust scientists in general, or climate scientists in general, because of the activism that Soon expresses in that quote? How about just scientists who are “skeptics?” If so, do you think that many other members of the American public would, similarly, use Soon’s activism to judge the quality of other scientists’ work?

483. anoilman says:

-1=e^ipi: You are saying that you will only make a decision to do something else when someone can prove all unknown and known costs to you? Hmm… But in the mean time business as usual until we actually do find out more and more negative costs. Right? That doesn’t sound right headed to me. You want to run a live experiment on people’s lives and our biosphere. Again, that sounds wrong.

I’m an engineer, and I simply can’t build or sell or certify products that shoddily. I must define more than just “I looks OK to day, and it might be ok tomorrow.”

You still have no idea what the costs are, but you do know they are most certainly much much greater than the measured ones. Eventually we also know that we either have to reverse it or pay through the nose.

In the mean time its not like we’ll be growing more food in Canada.

484. verytallguy says:

-1,

as I said, I’ll only engage with your assertions once you’ve acknowledged the accuracy of the numbers. Which you haven’t.

485. -1,

So my claim that verytallguy is overstating the most likely warming by 2100 by at least a degree is correct. Can we at least agree upon that?

No.

The decay time of the ocean carbon sink towards equilibrium relative to surface temperature is 100-300 years. Atmospheric CO2 levels over the next century should increase fast enough (under a no-mitigation scenario) to more than offset this effect such that the rate at which oceans absorb excess CO2 should increase over the next century.

I don’t understand what you’re claiming here.

To be honest, I find these type of discussions frustrating and pointless. One person saying “everything could be fine” and others going “maybe it won’t be fine” is just a not so subtle form of talking past each other. If it carries on in this way, I’ll just bring it to a close.

486. John Hartz says:

-1: What is the source of your assertion about the global population growth?

487. John Hartz says:

ATTP: In my opinion, -1=e^ipi is using exactly the tactics in this discussion as swood1000 has employed, i.e., make sweeping global statements without documentation and then slice and dice everyone’s response. There doesn’t seem to be much value in attempting to have an adult conversation with either one.

488. -1=e^ipi says:

@ anoilman – “You are saying that you will only make a decision to do something else when someone can prove all unknown and known costs to you?”

No, you can do a cost benefit analysis that incorporates uncertainty.

@ verytallguy – You didn’t specify which numbers you want me to back up, but I’ll try my best to answering your request.

With respect to my claim that the decay time of the ocean carbon sink towards equilibrium with respect to atmospheric levels of CO2 is on the order of 100-300 years…
From Van Hateren 2012:

” Modelling studies suggest that the e-folding times contributed by various parts of the ocean lie in a 100–1,000 year range (Stouffer 2004).
Much of the CO2 remains in the atmosphere for a long time (removed with a dominant e-folding time of about 100 years, Eby et al.2009)”

I have seen other references that give similar estimates in the 100-300 year range, but I don’t remember them off the top of my head. I have also done my own regressions on changes in CO2 concentrations over time vs CO2 emissions and other factors and have gotten similar values for the timescale at which the ocean absorbs excess CO2 and reach a new equilibrium.

The rate at which the ocean’s absorb CO2 will be roughly proportional to the difference between the partial pressure of atmospheric CO2 minus henry’s constant times the concentration of dissolved CO2 in the ocean. Since the rate of increase of atmospheric CO2 over the next century much faster than the timescale of decay of the oceans towards a new equilibrium with respect to atmospheric CO2, one would expect that the rate of ocean uptake of CO2 should increase over the next century, not decrease.

With respect to 2100 being 3C warmer than pre-industrial being more probable than 2100 being 4C warmer than pre-industrial (which you claim is the most likely) under RCP6.0 that is clearly the case. RCP 8.5 is an unrealistic scenario, as I explained. Furthermore, the projections of the RCPs are done using CIMP5. And as we know, CIMP5 overstates climate sensitivity (giving best estimates of ECS around 3.4 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2012GL051607/abstract), or at least is not representative of the best estimates of climate sensitivity. Here is a more elaborate criticism of the IPCC projections https://troyca.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/how-well-do-the-ipccs-statements-about-the-2c-target-for-rcp4-5-and-rcp6-0-scenarios-reflect-the-evidence/.

@ John Hartz –
“-1: What is the source of your assertion about the global population growth?”

http://esa.un.org/wpp/unpp/panel_population.htm

Global population stabilizes around 10 billion mid century under medium projections.

489. -1,

And as we know, CIMP5 overstates climate sensitivity

No, we don’t know this. It might be true. It is NOT definitely true.

As far as emission pathways go, try this figure. Maybe RCP8.5 is unrealistic, but we’re currently following it. Either it is, therefore, a realistic possible future pathway, or we’re going to have a pretty sudden change to another pathway.

Also, I think you’ve misunderstood the carbon sink question. The question was more to do with whether or not the sinks could continue to absorb 50% of our emissions. I don’t know the answer, but I don’t think you’ve answered it either.

490. Kevin O'Neill says:

-1 says: “Do you mean declining rate of increase and not decline? That has a lot to do with the global population peaking midcentury.

The population projections underlying the RCP6.0 scenario show population reaching it’s peak around 2080 and levelling off. The emissions meanwhile peak around 2060 and quickly drop. It’s very difficult to see how the emissions reductions are due to declining or stable population. Annual emissions reductions per RCP6.0 precede any decrease in population by approximately 20 years.

491. anoilman says:

Anders, -1, Fossil fuel reserves are measured by whether its considered profitable to extract and burn. So, either higher prices, or better extraction methods can result in more burnable fossil fuels.

Hence, RCP 8.5 is still a possibility. (Not likely, but possible.)

492. anoilman says:

“-1=e^ipi says:
February 25, 2015 at 9:36 pm

@ anoilman – “You are saying that you will only make a decision to do something else when someone can prove all unknown and known costs to you?”

No, you can do a cost benefit analysis that incorporates uncertainty.”

Where did you do that?

What kind of time frame did you do your cost benefit analysis for? At what date do you think Global Warming becomes a problem? What papers did you read to lead you do these conclusions?

493. -1=e^ipi says:

“No, we don’t know this. It might be true. It is NOT definitely true.”

Okay, let me rephrase things. CIMP5 isn’t representative for the best estimates of climate sensitivity.

As for your picture, you are looking at CO2 emissions. I suggest you look at CO2e projections over time. Also, 3 data points hardly makes a trend.

494. > CIMP5 isn’t representative for the best estimates of climate sensitivity.

How do you know that, -1?

495. Michael 2 says:

“In the mean time its not like we’ll be growing more food in Canada.”

Engineers won’t. Farmers grew the most wheat in 2013 as compared to any of the previous years on this table. Perhaps you had some other kind of food in mind.

Canada (most recent year listed first) 37.5 27.0 25.3 23.2 26.8 28.6 20.6 27.3 25.6 25.9 23.6 16.2 20.6 26.8 26.9

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

I was unable to find year-over-year beef production statistics but the industry is healthy enough for substantial increases in beef exports.
http://www.beefinfo.org/Default.aspx?ID=16&ArticleID=31&SecID=1

496. Michael 2 says:

Joshua asks “(1) Do you distrust scientists in general, or (2) climate scientists in general, because of the activism that Soon expresses in that quote? (3) How about just scientists who are “skeptics?” If so, (4) do you think that many other members of the American public would, similarly, use Soon’s activism to judge the quality of other scientists’ work?”

1. I usually trust scientists, more so where traditional methods of observation and measurement are involved. The incentive to lie may be strong, but the possibility of being caught is nearly certain and disastrous (Pons and Fleishman come to mind).

2. A wee bit less trust on climate scientists but I do not consider my sample to be representative. I really do wish I knew more about the actual scientists doing the research, measurements, hypothesis forming, thesis and antithesis, that sort of thing. I am amazed and impressed by ANY ability to peer into the distant past. Petrified sand dunes are a frozen moment in time millions of years old.

3. I trust skeptical scientists to the extent they provide their reasoning, which so far has been pretty good.

4. I am sufficiently unlike other Americans to make a representative guess whether they’ve even heard of Willie Soon. It would have been better for the Piece of Green not to be making his name a household word; people will start to remember his name but not exactly what he stands for — other than “not the consensus”, which y’all think is a bad thing but I think you underestimate the number of Americans that wish to heat their homes and drive their cars without paying a huge, United Nations mandated tax.

All I remember about Soon is that in the early 2000’s he believed the sun had something to do with the climate, like, ya think? I’m an amateur radio operator since the 1970’s so sunspot activity is quite important to my hobby. I’ve also used a device called a “chirpsounder” in the Navy to track ionosphere elevation and MUF (maximum usable frequency). Sunspots and MUF have been down for a very long time but this past year improved quite a bit, suggesting maybe a resumption of global warming depending on how much the sun actually affects climate and lag time in observing the effect.

497. -1=e^ipi says:

“How do you know that, -1?”

Because CIMP5 gives best estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity of ~3.4 C, where as the IPCC’s best estimate is 3 C (and most of the recently published papers are suggesting equilibrium climate sensitivity below 3C).

498. -1=e^ipi says:

@ Kevin – you are rewording what I wrote. I never said it was entirely due to changes in global population growth rates.

@ATTP – “Also, I think you’ve misunderstood the carbon sink question. The question was more to do with whether or not the sinks could continue to absorb 50% of our emissions. I don’t know the answer, but I don’t think you’ve answered it either.”

Sigh, I guess I’m the one who always has to do the rough calculations…

In equilibrium, oceans are able to absorb 85% of added atmospheric CO2. Suppose for the sake of argument that the decay time to equilibrium is 100 years. Let H be henry’s constant of the oceans and c be the concentration of dissolved CO2 in the oceans. Then we know by Henry’s law that in equilibrium CO2*p = Hc, where CO2 is the atmospheric concentration of CO2 and p is standard atmospheric pressure (101.325 kPa). The rate of change of the difference between CO2*p and Hc (given no emissions) should be roughly proportional to the difference between CO2*p and Hc. With a decay time of 100 years, this suggests that d/dt*(CO2p – Hc) = -(CO2p – Hc)/100y => d/dt*(CO2 – Hc/p) = -(CO2 – Hc/p)/100y. If we use the fact that in equilibrium oceans absorb 85% of added atmospheric CO2, then one gets:

d/dt*CO2 = -0.85(CO2 – Hc/p)/100y (not this is the change in CO2 due to ocean uptake, it does not include human emissions or other factors)
and d/dt*Hc/p = 0.15*(CO2 – Hc/p)/100y

Now to test your claim of whether or not oceans can continue to absorb 50% of emissions (I’m pretty sure 50% is too high) one just needs past CO2 levels, atmospheric CO2 projections and the assumption that at some point in time in the past (say 1765) the ocean was in equilibrium with the atmosphere. For CO2 data, let’s just use the RCP6.0 data (http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~mmalte/rcps/data/RCP6_MIDYEAR_CONCENTRATIONS.xls). Running this simply model in excel suggests that Hc/p increases from 278 ppm in 1765 to about 315 ppm in 2100. Ocean uptake continues to increase during the 2015-2100 period. The proportion of ocean uptake relative to emissions is roughly stable at 0.35 during this period until about 2085, where it starts to increase significantly as emissions fall off.

So yeah, because the timescale at which the oceans reach equilibrium is so long (100 years) the rate at which oceans absorb extra atmospheric CO2 isn’t going to slow down.

499. -1=e^ipi says:

Also, Henry’s constant does change with temperature. But for CO2 in water, it only decreases by like 2.52% for 2 degrees of warming (which would correspond to an increase of atmospheric CO2 by ~42.8 ppm, though I think this factor was included in the emission scenario).

500. -1=e^ipi says:

@anoilman –

“Where did you do that?”

I haven’t done one yet. But I am slowly working towards one as a hobby. 😉

501. Kevin O'Neill says:

-1 says: “Do you mean declining rate of increase and not decline? That has a lot to do with the global population peaking midcentury.”

Kevin responds: (after directly quoting the statement above) “It’s very difficult to see how the emissions reductions are due to declining or stable population. Annual emissions reductions per RCP6.0 precede any decrease in population by approximately 20 years.”

-1 comes back with:”@ Kevin – you are rewording what I wrote. I never said it was entirely due to changes in global population growth rates.

I’m sorry – how is a direct quote ‘rewording’ what you wrote?

And I ask again, how can population peaking in 2080 have an effect on emissions beginning to drop in 2060?

You are confused about RCP6.0, fail to admit your error, and now try to back out by claiming I’ve ‘reworded’ your statement when what I gave was a direct quote – hint: that’s what the double apostrophe around the words and the italics are intended to convey.

Admit your error. The projected emissions reductions in RCP6.0 occur before population peaks by nearly two decades. Instead of having a lot to do with it, population peaking has nothing to do with it, per RCP6.0.

Thank you for playing. I wait with intense anticipation your next word game.

502. Willard says:

> Because CIMP5 gives best estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity of ~3.4 C, where as the IPCC’s best estimate is 3 C (and most of the recently published papers are suggesting equilibrium climate sensitivity below 3C).

I thought CIMP5 was 3.2.

Also, to pick and choose one’s pet models might go against the monstrosity of Mr. T:

It is well acknowledged by all that the HadGEM2 model is at the top end of the range of TCR values in CMIP5, but we need a diverse range of TCR values to represent the uncertainties in our understanding of climate system processes. And the Met Office’s advice to government, like any solid policy advice, is based on the range of results from different models, not just their own.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/alex-otto-article

Finally, which “most recently published papers,” and why should we believe they provide the best CS estimates?

503. -1,

Now to test your claim of whether or not oceans can continue to absorb 50% of emissions (I’m pretty sure 50% is too high)

I actually said sinks, not oceans. It isn’t clear that the sinks will continue to absorb the same fraction of our emissions (on short timescales at least). I do realise that Henry’s Law will determine the role of the oceans, but the biosphere is about as important as the oceans.

504. verytallguy says:

-1,

it’s possible to construct arguments that the IPPC numbers are too high, as you suggest. It is, of course, equally possible to do the opposite. I see no reason to favour your arguments over those of, say John Fasullo in the opposite direction and regardless, the fractional change in heating isn’t really policy relevant.

Anyway, now you seem to have acknowledged the numbers we can return to the subject of risk assessment vs cost/benefit analysis.

Noting that 3 degrees above preindustrial is expected sans mitigation and is anticipated to cause Extensive biodiversity loss (3C) and near-complete loss of the Greenland ice sheet (1-4 C); high impacts and >50% likelihood, it’s hard to imagine a risk assessment resulting in anything other than strong mitigation, particularly as costs associated with that mitigation in the near term are extremely modest (0.06% GDP, AR5 WG3 Table SPM.2).

The dynamic risk assessment proposed by WG2 would allow mitigation measures to be strengthened or relaxed should evidence change in either direction.

A cost/benefit analysis on century scale, on the other hand, is pretty much a random number generator. Note that a 1% difference is discount rate in the analysis results in a nearly threefold difference in end of century value in the same analysis. Which puts the uncertainty in sensitivity in context. De facto, the assumptions in the analysis are value judgements on the risks we are willing to take. Which takes us back full circle.

505. BBD says:

Has anyone done a CBA on destabilising the WAIS? It needs to run for ~1ka and include the impacts on human civilisation of SLR >6m above Holocene. This may already have happened, and on the evidence of the Eemian, only requires GAT to be 1 – 2C higher than late C20th.

506. Now to test your claim of whether or not oceans can continue to absorb 50% of emissions (I’m pretty sure 50% is too high)

Sometimes I have to wonder what people are missing. Of course the absorption is around 50% because the process is essentially one of sequestration by diffusion. I don’t have a reference handy that cites this value, but every random walk simulation that one runs will find movement of particles in one direction of 50% and movement of the particles in the other direction of 50%.

Think about the physics. A CO2 particle will randomly walk downward into the ocean taking steps that are either deeper or shallower. If the steps are toward the surface, the CO2 particle has the potential to reenter the atmosphere, where it can be counted as part of the 50% that is not retained.

The fat-tail of diffusion means that eventually the 50% amount will change, but this is such as slow process that the process will take centuries.

It really is not that hard to understand.

507. BBD,
I suspect some economists would argue that all the rebuilding of coastal cities will create jobs and drive GDP growth.

508. BBD says:

Posted in a rush; should be: “This may already have happened” –> “This [destabilisation] may already be happening (Rignot et al. 2014).”

509. BBD says:

ATTP

I suspect some economists would argue that all the rebuilding of coastal cities will create jobs and drive GDP growth.

Doubtless. Especially since they will have to be rebuilt over and over again. Or perhaps the tents could just be dismantled and loaded onto wagons and dragged inland every decade or so…

The narrow stupidity of the CBA approach makes my teeth ache.

510. Andrew Dodds says:

BBD –

I think it depends on the speed of breakup.

Given that the paleo evidence generally points towards faster and more extensive breakup than we can currently model, I’m not encouraged.

Worse than that, IMO, is the failure to take likely sea level into account. For any big infrastructure projects that are likely to be around in >100 years we should be automatically assuming perhaps 10 meters of sea level rise; if this was done then it would dramatically reduce future SLR costs. However, we are quite clearly not.. which is where we see people really in denial, even those who accept the science; the very act of passing a law effectively ordering a ‘retreat’ would mean accepting what is extremely likely to happen. It would also mean effectively telling a lot of people that they are living on the future sea bed, which rarely goes down well.

Witness the fuss over the Somerset Levels (permanently gone at 4-5m SLR). Then realize that the same SLR would make Cambridge and Peterborough into coastal towns.. and wonder how the residents of some towns would feel to see ‘future sea defences’ being built 20 miles landward of where they were..

511. verytallguy says:

WHT

A CO2 particle will randomly walk downward into the ocean taking steps that are either deeper or shallower. If the steps are toward the surface, the CO2 particle has the potential to reenter the atmosphere, where it can be counted as part of the 50% that is not retained.

There’s rather more to the carbon cycle than this. I’m not sure it’s an at all accurate representation of the combined mass transfer, biological and chemical processes involved.

512. vtg,

I’m not sure it’s an at all accurate representation of the combined mass transfer, biological and chemical processes involved.

Yes, I agree. I think it’s considerably more complicated than this. Henry’s Law will probably control the ocean uptake of CO2, but there is also the biosphere which – I think – absorbs about 20% of our emissions (with the oceans taking about 30%). As I understand it, it’s the fraction going into the biosphere that may reduce if we continue to increase our emissions, but this is not an area with which I’m all that familiar.

513. There’s rather more to the carbon cycle than this. I’m not sure it’s an at all accurate representation of the combined mass transfer, biological and chemical processes involved.

There might be more involved but a diffusional model works much much better than the BERN model for sequestration, especially if a dispersion of diffusion coefficients is applied.

You say “I’m not sure ..” Well, I have spent some time showing how much better a dispersional diffusion model works than the hideously complex BERN model

514. guthrie says:

Of course CO2 content of water is affected by temp, the naieve error is in assuming that the 2C is spread uniformly over the water area of the globe. ENSO deals in temperature differences greater than 2C, and some areas with less water passing through will no doubt heat up a lot more than 2C, thus affecting their ability to keep absorbing CO2.

And there’s oceanic acidification to worry about too; if you aren’t worried about it you are an idiot.

515. chris says:

“I suspect some economists would argue that all the rebuilding of coastal cities will create jobs and drive GDP growth.”

see:

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

516. Willard says:

You might also like:

“Although the IPCC scenarios are a big step forward in understanding how the climate system works, these scenarios are not designed from the perspective of coastal risk management and, unfortunately, this is not spelled out clearly both within and beyond the IPCC reports,” says lead author Dr Jochen Hinkel from the Global Climate Forum. Dr Hinkel is also Lead Author of the coastal chapter of the Working Group 2 contribution to the latest IPCC report.

517. -1=e^ipi says:

@ Kevin –
There is a difference in meaning between “has a lot to do with” and “is due to”.

“And I ask again, how can population peaking in 2080 have an effect on emissions beginning to drop in 2060?”

Because the growth rate of CO2 emissions will depend on both the growth rate of CO2 emissions per capita and the growth rate of the global population.

Look, CO2 emissions per capita has been declining in the OECD Americas and OECD Europe since the 70s, before any mitigation policies. Once countries reach a certain level of development, there will be a tendency for emissions per capita to fall even without mitigation policies simply due to things like wanting less smog, having more efficient transport, and having better access to alternatives like nuclear. Also over time, fossil fuels should become more scarce and therefore more expensive, even without mitigation policies. So come mid century, it should be expected that CO2 emissions per capita drop even without mitigation policies. The only way this can be offset is by an increasing population. But if population stabilizes mid century then this won’t be the case.

“And I ask again, how can population peaking in 2080 have an effect on emissions beginning to drop in 2060?”

Because the glowing of the growth rate of population occurs well before 2080 (it’s happening today actually). 260 just corresponds to the year that the positive (but declining) growth rate of population equals the negative growth rate in CO2 emissions per capita.

518. -1=e^ipi says:

@ Willard – “I thought CIMP5 was 3.2. ”

I gave a source earlier in this thread that said it was 3.4 C. If you want to demonstrate that my claim is wrong, please do so.

“Finally, which “most recently published papers,” and why should we believe they provide the best CS estimates?”

http://www.cato.org/blog/current-wisdom-even-more-low-climate-sensitivity-estimates

If you want to deny that more papers in the past 3 years are giving best estimate climate sensitivity values below 3C than ones that gives values above 3 C that is your choice.

@ ATTP –
“I do realise that Henry’s Law will determine the role of the oceans, but the biosphere is about as important as the oceans.”

But why wouldn’t the biosphere be able to continue what it is doing or even be able to take up more CO2 in the future? Wouldn’t the ability of the biosphere be greatly affected by the CO2 fertilization effect?

519. -1,

But why wouldn’t the biosphere be able to continue what it is doing or even be able to take up more CO2 in the future? Wouldn’t the ability of the biosphere be greatly affected by the CO2 fertilization effect?

I don’t know, but if we keep cutting down trees, it might be unlikely.

Look, as I said above, the problem with this discussion is arguing about whether or not things might be okay, is rather irrelevant. They might be, but then again, they might not. If you want to gamble on the former, that’s fine. Other disagree. A lengthy discussion that essentially goes “it might be fine” followed by “it might not” could go on forever and seems rather pointless.

520. BBD says:

-1

If you want to deny that more papers in the past 3 years are giving best estimate climate sensitivity values below 3C than ones that gives values above 3 C that is your choice.

And if you want to find out why those papers are likely to produce underestimates of climate sensitivity then you can read all about it right here, on this very blog.

Surely someone as apparently knowledgeable as you appreciates the nuances of methodology too well to be fooled by Cato spin?

521. -1=e^ipi says:

@ ATTP –
“I suspect some economists would argue that all the rebuilding of coastal cities will create jobs and drive GDP growth.”

Darn Keynesians. A large proportion of economists are idiots in my experience.

@ Andrew
“we should be automatically assuming perhaps 10 meters of sea level rise”

Why? That is a ridiculously unrealistic sea level rise over the next century.

@Guthrie

“Of course CO2 content of water is affected by temp”

Yeah, I mentioned that. The derivative of the natural logarithm of the henry’s constant with respect to temperature is roughly 0.0126 for temperatures between 0 C and 30 C. This means that 1.26% of dissolved CO2 in oceans should be released if average ocean temperature increases by about 1 C.

“the naieve error is in assuming that the 2C is spread uniformly over the water area of the globe.”

Of course that matters. The colder waters in polar regions should warm faster. If you add in the permafrost effect as well then you get a feedback effect of approximately 30 ppm of CO2 being released for every 1 degree of warming.

“And there’s oceanic acidification to worry about too; if you aren’t worried about it you are an idiot.”

The more ocean acidification there is, the more excess CO2 the oceans are absorbing, which means that there is less global warming. So there is a bit of a tradeoff here. Also, oceans are pretty basic right now at 8.1 pH. They have a long way to go before becoming uninhabitable (not to mention oceans have been far more acidic in the past and life still flourished).

522. Kevin O'Neill says:

-1: It is not just the rate of CO2 emissions that is declining under RCP6.0 circa 2060 – it is actual CO2 emissions. You need to look at Fig 6 in The representative concentration pathways: an overview, van Vuuren et al, Climatic Change (2011) 109:5–31, DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0148-z

So your whole rationale about population growth being even part of the cause is moot. Under RCP6.0 population is still increasing circa 2060, but absolute annual emissions are declining (rapidly, 25% over two decades). RCP6.0 is a high mitigation scenario. VTG was referring to a sans mitigation scenario. We would expect sans mitigation to be worse than the high mitigation, no? I.e., worse than RCP6.0.

523. Willard says:

> I gave a source earlier in this thread that said it was 3.4 C. If you want to demonstrate that my claim is wrong, please do so.

AR5 WG3 Table SPM.1

There is no “3.4” in that table. Therefore the claim that this source “says 3.4” is false.

Here’s a random hit for 3.2:

For summer temperature, the GL scenario captures the lower target of CMIP5, yet the warmest scenario, WH, only reaches the 75th percentile of CMIP5 range. For instance, the seasonal mean temperature change in the WH scenario is 2.5 °C, whereas the upper target from CMIP5 is 3.2 °C.

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/11/115008/article

This paper seems to have gone under Pat&Chip’s radar.

I’m not sure how citing a post from CATO’s promoting two CS papers substantiates any claim about the most recent papers.

Also note that -1 failed to solve the dilemma between picking and choosing one’s favorite CS and abiding by Mr.T Monster.

524. guthrie says:

As for the biosphere’s abiliuty to take up more CO2, there’s the little matter of deforestation, and the actual fact that plant activity depends on more than CO2, as you should know if you’ve read about the CO2 fertilisation experiments.

Nope, you fail basic chemistry, re. oceanic acidification. It’s not a matter of there being lots of room to manouvre, it’s a matter of there being only a little, it isn’t that the ocean has to go to acidic pH to really make a difference. Moreover the past was a different planet, with difference ecosystems. One of the last great episodes of acidification saw major extinctions take place.

And then you reference the Cato institute, a hive of libertarians and contrarians, full of noise and fury but rarely any sense.

The method of argument of -1 is to stick to some very specific figures, and ignore the bigger picture, they are doing quite well at it, but at the end of the day the planet has the last laugh.

525. John Hartz says:

ATTP: I get the distinct impressionm that -1=e^ipi is using this thread to test how various talking points and computations stack up against scrutiny by a group of well informed individuals. That’s certainly what I would do if I were employed by the CATO Institute or some other right wing-nut organization.

526. anoilman says:

Why speak at -1? The dude is making claims yet also states he has done no work to arrive at his conclusions. None. Nada.

In my world I’d call that conjecture or a personal private opinion. The act that it alines with Heartland institute style PR is just the icing on the cake.

We’ve all heard it before. “10’s of thousands of scientists are wrong, there is no economic danger, and we should all do nothing.” Then fill in reasons ad-hoc to meet the conclusions. This is where he’s at now.

By definition, hair dressers know just as much as him and are just as qualified.

527. anoilman says:

“Michael 2 says:
February 26, 2015 at 3:23 am

“In the mean time its not like we’ll be growing more food in Canada.”

Engineers won’t. Farmers grew the most wheat in 2013 as compared to any of the previous years on this table. Perhaps you had some other kind of food in mind.”
I’m talking about food, not wheat.

The prevailing opinion from pro-terraformers such as yourself is that we will grow food somewhere else.

Where? Its not Canada. So where?

OK, I suppose we could do it here, but it will cost you 5 times as much Michael. How much is your monthly bill for food?

528. John Hartz says:

-1=e^ipiAbout that CATO reference you provided…

The article, Current Wisdom: Even More Low Climate Sensitivity Estimates was authored by Patrick J Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger. Neither author is noted for his objectivity about climate science. The article was not submitted to reputable scientific journal for peeer review and publication. In addition, the article was posted in August 2013 prior to the completion of AR5.

529. verytallguy says:

Kevin O’Neill,

Well spotted.  RCP6  does indeed seem to be a scenario with rapid, albeit late,  mitigation.   Funny how -1 didn’t mention that.

John Hartz,

you’re paranoid.   Mind you,  just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean the bastards aren’t out to get you 😉

530. -1=e^ipi says:

You guys and your appeal to motive fallacies. With respect to the cato link, I just typed recent climate sensitivity estimates into google images and that’s the first thing that pops up. But now apparently I’ve been hired by some evil right wing think tank or something. If you want to demonstrate that my claim that most of the recent climate sensitivity estimates are giving best estimates below 3 C then please do so. Appealing to some hidden motive doesn’t refute my claim.

@ ATTP –
“A lengthy discussion that essentially goes “it might be fine” followed by “it might not” could go on forever and seems rather pointless.”

But I am not trying to argue that global warming will be ‘fine’ or not. My position is one of a priori indeterminism. Also, even if mitigation policy is what should be done, there is still a question of how much mitigation and what is the best mitigation policy. For example, if you implement a CO2 emission tax, would you put the tax at $80 per metric ton or$20 per metric ton, and should the amount of tax vary over time or by country? A cost benefit analysis would help you answer this question.

531. guthrie says:

You could greatly increase the amount of food that could be produced in Canada with appropriate terraforming measures and soil creation. I wonder how much that would cost? Maybe it’s just cheaper not to drive the climate zones northwards? Nahh, can’t be.

532. BBD says:

-1

Appealing to some hidden motive doesn’t refute my claim.

I didn’t do that and you have avoided addressing what I wrote.

533. John Hartz says:

-1=e^ipi: In referencing the CATO paper, you stated:

If you want to deny that more papers in the past 3 years are giving best estimate climate sensitivity values below 3C than ones that gives values above 3 C that is your choice.

Given that the article you cited was posted in Aug, 2013, your challenge is nonsensical.

534. pbjamm says:

“If you want to demonstrate that my claim that most of the recent climate sensitivity estimates are giving best estimates below 3 C then please do so. Appealing to some hidden motive doesn’t refute my claim.” (missing a negative in there I think but we get the point)

You are making a claim so it is your job to provide the evidence to prove it. Do not lay the burden of proof on your counterpart, that is cheating. As it is there is no need to refute your claim because there is nothing to refute but unsubstantiated opinion. You may be right but you have failed to demonstrate that.

535. > With respect to the cato link, I just typed recent climate sensitivity estimates into google images and that’s the first thing that pops up.

This means that when -1 claimed that “most of the recently published papers are suggesting equilibrium climate sensitivity below 3C” he had not done his homework first.

There’s no need to point out Cato’s bias. In fact, Cato’s bias is mostly irrelevant. Every think thank is allowed to cherrypick its favorite set of studies. They still can be right from time to time.

However, claiming that most of the recent published papers are suggesting a CS under 3C requires that we have a list of recent published papers. Citing a source which reports only two studies does not fits that bill.

Whining about conspiracy ideation won’t hide that -1:

– backed up his “3.4C” by armwaving to a table on which it does not appear;

– handwaved to a Cato link with two studies instead of showing the list of current studies;

– at least twice ignored that to pick and choose CS studies may awaken the uncertainly monster.

***

Another quote, this time with even more “3.2” in it:

IPCC2013 Table 9.5 quotes a mean TCR = 1.8º (1.2º-2.4º) C and ECS = 3.2º (1.9º-4.5º) C with 90% confidence intervals for a selection of models. This ECS is close to the most likely value of 3º and range of 2.0º to 4.5º adopted in IPCC2007 SPM-12, while IPCC2013 SPM-11 widened the range to 1.5º to 4.5º C, presumably in recognition of the temperature plateau. IPCC2013 SPM-10 admitted there may be “in some models, an overestimate of the response to increasing greenhouse gas and other anthropogenic forcing (dominated by the effects of aerosols)”, but retained the alarming upper limit of 4.5º C from IPCC2007.

Alternative estimates are possible directly from the observed changes in temperature with the increasing concentration of CO2. Huber and Knutti (2012) obtained TCR = 3.6º (1.7º-6.5º 90%) consistent with the models, but others derived lower values. Otto et al. (2012) reported TCR = 1.3º (1.2º-2.4º 95%), ECS = 2.0º (1.2º-3.9º 95%), Lewis and Curry (2014) derived TCR = 1.33º (0.90º-2.50º 95%), ECS = 1.64º (1.05º-4.05º 95%), and Skeie et al. (2014) found TCR = 1.4º (0.79º-2.2º 90%), ECS = 1.8º (0.9º-3.2º 90%). As expected the TCR values always were less than the ECS results.

http://judithcurry.com/2014/12/15/will-a-return-of-rising-temperatures-validate-the-climate-models/

536. -1=e^ipi says:

@ Willard –
Okay, I’ll admit to being wrong about 3.4 C and that 3.2 C is more accurate for the central estimate of climate sensitivity for CIMP5. Thank you for pointing that out.

However, CIMP5 still gives a higher estimate of warming than most of the literature would suggest, which means that the projections of temperature increase that the IPCC has made for RCP6.0 and other emission scenarios are slightly overstating the best estimates and confidence intervals for warming.

537. verytallguy says:

-2,

However, CIMP5 still gives a higher estimate of warming than most of the literature would suggest

Bullshit.  CMIP 3.2 vs IPPC 3.0 midpoint of range is as close as makes no practical difference.

Facts are indifferent to your seeming inability to face reality.

538. anoilman says:

Higher than most literature. That’s rich. Please. List the literature you read. (Lemme guess you haven’t done that either…)

539. BBD says:

Bullshit. CMIP 3.2 vs IPPC 3.0 midpoint of range is as close as makes no practical difference.

-1 is very picky when it comes to what is, and what is not, insignificant.

540. John Hartz says:

anoilman: Isn’t “guessing” prohibited under the rules of Climateball?

VTG: No paranoia here. I do, however, have a very active imagination.

541. verytallguy says:

AOM,

Be fair. -3 has read both Lewis and Curry. That’s 200% of the relevant literature.

542. Joseph says:

Look, CO2 emissions per capita has been declining in the OECD Americas and OECD Europe since the 70s, before any mitigation policies.

Haven’t the OECD countries and the US been implementing various forms of mitigation policies since KYOTO? And another issue is while CO2 levels may have declined slightly in these countries a lot of the energy intensive industries have moved to the developing countries and China. And considering that it’s no surprise that China’s emissions have been rising dramatically.

543. Kevin O'Neill says:

-1 has still not admitted that RCP6.0 is a high mitigation scenario with CO2 emissions seeing rapid reductions beginning circa 2060. Nor has he admitted that population projections for RCP6.0 show population still increasing until circa 2080, thus population growth/stabilization is unable to explain the forecasted drop in emissions – much less explain “a lot” of the drop.

He has been provided the link to van Vuuren et al (2011) where the numbers for the various RCP scenarios are laid out.

Neither has -1 acknowledged that since RCP6.0 is a high mitigation scenario, we would expect a sans mitigation scenario to be even worse.

The question becomes: Is -1 able to incorporate data that is incompatible with his prior beliefs, or do the priors persist and facts to the contrary be damned?

544. -1=e^ipi says:

@ very tall guy – “CMIP 3.2 vs IPPC 3.0 midpoint of range is as close as makes no practical difference.”

3.2 > 3.0. It’s not hard. And 3 C was the IPCC’s best estimate for AR4. AR5 lowered the lower bound of climate sensitivity to 2.0 to 1.5 (due to new evidence) while giving no best estimate. Also, from what I can tell, more of the recent estimates are showing climate sensitivity below 3C than those above 3 C.

Let’s see:
Overstate climate sensitivity or use models that have higher climate sensitivities? check.
Overstate projected emissions under a no mitigation scenario with things like RCP 8.5? check.
Use very low discount factors? check.

You can’t see this would lead to biased conclusions in terms of what to do with respect to climate change?

3.2 vs 3.0 makes a very important practical difference. It could mean the difference between a $32 dollar tax per metric ton of emitted CO2 vs a$30 tax.

But I guess when ‘the fate of the planet’ is at stake, many people don’t mind distorting things slightly in order to get more extreme predictions in order to increase changes of political action.

@ Joseph –
“Haven’t the OECD countries and the US been implementing various forms of mitigation policies since KYOTO?”

The kyoto protocol was adopted in 1997. The early 70s were a decade and a half earlier. Also, the US never ratified the kyoto protocol. So the kyoto protocol cannot explain the gradual reduction of CO2 emissions per capita for the OECD North America and Europe that started since the early 70s.

@ Kevin –
“Neither has -1 acknowledged that since RCP6.0 is a high mitigation scenario, we would expect a sans mitigation scenario to be even worse.”

There is a difference between the premises used to obtain an emission scenario and whether or not that emission scenario is a fair reflection of those premises. Despite the fact that mitigation is used to obtain the RCP6.0 emission scenario, RCP6.0 is more representative of a no mitigation scenario than RCP8.5. RCP8.5 is unrealistic. Do you understand my position now, or do you prefer to misunderstand what I write?

545. -1=e^ipi says:

I mean chances of political action instead of changes of political action in my last post. Sorry for the typo.

546. -1=e^ipi says:

I also meant the early 70s were two decades and a half earlier. Sorry for the mistake.

547. verytallguy says:

-1,

It’s not hard. 3.0 vs 3.2 is well within the noise, a difference utterly irrelevant compared to the uncertainties in the cost benefit analyses you claim to desire to drive policy.

You disputed the numbers I quoted vs end of century temperature rise. You turned out to be wrong.

You’ve cherrypicked sensitivity estimates to argue we should assume sensitivity is lower than the midpoint of the range. Your claim from what I can tell, more of the recent estimates are showing climate sensitivity below 3C than those above 3 C. is flawed on two levels:
– you show no apparent mastery of the literature so are not in a position to be credible making such a claim (or please, show me a reference to your literature review)
– even if true, it could merely be an artefact that a particular methodology has a lot of research interest, regardless of the fact that other equally credible methodologies show much higher sensitivities.

The reason we have the IPPC is exactly to help laypeople judge these points. And the IPCC range is 1.5 to 4.5.

The end of century unmitigated scenarios are all *way* higher than the 2C above pre-industrial judged “dangerous”.

Your attempts to negotiate marginal reductions, as well as all being individually highly debatable are en-masse largely policy irrelevant against this truth.

548. verytallguy says:

-1,

you have asserted many times on the thread that RCP8.5 is “unrealistic”.

A request that you don’t repeat this without a reference, so we can understand *why* you think this, not merely *that* you think it.

Assertions without a rationale are unconvincing.

549. pbjamm says:

VTG – “A request that you don’t repeat this without a reference, so we can understand *why* you think this, not merely *that* you think it.”

This should apply equally to all -1’s claims. He make many assertions but has so far provided nothing to back any of them up and as we all know “Assertions made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
He has even attempted to lay the burden of proof on everyone else to disprove his baseless claims. A big no-no.

550. Michael 2 says:

I considered that possibility but found no source. It seems you also have no source. With wheat UP, I suppose Canadians will change their diet.

“How much is your monthly bill for food?”

In 2014, $585.50 per month not including eating out which comes under a different category. This figure is much too high but I have been unsuccessful to reduce waste in my household. 551. Willard says: > 3.2 vs 3.0 makes a very important practical difference. It could mean the difference between a$32 dollar tax per metric ton of emitted CO2 vs a $30 tax. The first sentence contains a bold claim. The second sentence may contain a possibility. How does the second sentence support the first? The whole exercise rests on this counterfactual: If CS was some number N, then it would cost C. There are two problems with this: First, we don’t know that N. Second, C may be more uncertain than N. Mr. T can’t be happy with picking and choosing N Or even a lukewarm lasso L of estimates < N. *** Let's see how -1's argument fares: 2 < 3 The IPCC said the middle ground was 3. Have studies saying < 3 been picked up by editorialists? You bet. That sure means something. *** The IPCC also looked under 3, BTW. Even if we pick 2 as the middle ground, see where this leads: http://trillionthtonne.org It's not hard. 552. Michael 2 says: John Hartz says “…is using this thread to test how various talking points and computations stack up against scrutiny by a group of well informed individuals.” I find it useful for that purpose. This has been a good discussion. 553. -1=e^ipi says: @ Verytallguy – “3.0 vs 3.2 is well within the noise” Yes it’s within uncertainty, that doesn’t justify using models that give estimates on the high end of the literature to base policy off of. Just like 2.5 C would be within noise, but it wouldn’t be justified to base policy off of a model that gives a central estimate that low just because it is within uncertainty. Does it also make sense to base policy off of very low discount rates such as 3% or 3.5% just because it is within uncertainty? Saying that it is okay to use biased values to base decisions off of as long as those values are within uncertainty makes no sense. “The end of century unmitigated scenarios are all *way* higher than the 2C above pre-industrial judged “dangerous”.” The 2C target is a political target that was arbitrarily chosen 20 years ago and has no scientific or economic basis (as far as I am aware). “you have asserted many times on the thread that RCP8.5 is “unrealistic”. A request that you don’t repeat this without a reference” It isn’t that hard to look at current trends and see how the projections under 8.5 are unrealistic nonsense. For example, if you take the mauna loa annual CO2 data and fit an exponential trend to it, one will obtain CO 2_ppm = 270 + 38.131*exp(0.0193(year-1950)). Projecting this to 2100 suggests 959 ppm. RCP 8.5 reaches this amount in 2102. That is, RCP 8.5 basically assumes that CO2 emissions will continue to increase exponentially like they have done since 1959. The only way this exponential trend would continue until 2100 is if you had no population slowdown and then stabilization since mid century (population has been increasing roughly exponentially since 1959, but this trend is definitely not going to continue), no scarcity of fossil fuels driving up prices and lowering emissions, no tendency for countries to have decreasing emissions per capita once they reach a certain level of development (as we have seen in OECD North America & Europe since the 70s), etc. Projections for CH4 and NO2 are just as absurd, showing basically no affect of the population slowdown and breaking their current trends around 2025 to increase faster. Look at the data yourself and make up your own mind. http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~mmalte/rcps/ 554. This whole discussion is getting tedious and this doesn’t even make any sense to me Yes it’s within uncertainty, that doesn’t justify using models that give estimates on the high end of the literature to base policy off of. Just like 2.5 C would be within noise, but it wouldn’t be justified to base policy off of a model that gives a central estimate that low just because it is within uncertainty. Who’s suggesting basing policy of a single model, or a small subset of the information we have? That’s not the point being made. Your last paragraph is also just a bunch of assertions. Noone is suggesting that RCP8.5 is somehow likely. However, whatever you might say, it is not obvious that it is absurd or impossible. I really do need you to start providing some kind of evidence or to tone down your rhetoric and accept that your views are not absolutely correct and everyone elses’s are not absolutely wrong. Those kind of discussions just get annoying. 555. verytallguy says: -1, your continued attempts to claim a huge difference between 3.0 and 3.2 are entertaining. Do carry on. On RCP8.5 I note you have still not provided a *reference* supporting your claim that it is “unrealistic nonsense”. I await one with interest. I’ll further note once more that even the RCP6 midpoint takes us beyond the midpoint likelihood for the biodiversity and Greenland ice sheet impacts I referenced. I continue to conclude that a risk assessment clearly indicates we should mitigate strongly now. 556. verytallguy says: Michael, perhaps you could summarise your learning from this “useful discussion”? 557. Willard says: To add to M2’s point that ClimateBall sessions can be fruitful, the current discussion made me think about this expression:  ECS = 1.64º (1.05º-4.05º 95%)  Why the hell do we focus on the central estimate when (1) what matters for risk analysis is the spread and (2) the very nature of these estimates are not even the same from one study to the next? I mean, we can’t even agree to use means or medians! Communicating complexities should start with expressing ranges of numbers, it seems to me. Better yet, graphs. Show the shape. Show where the weight is. Compare the digit “2” with this: Note that I am citing SkS to please JH and to mention Isaac Held, whom I rather like. *** I don’t think I would have had this question had I indulged myself with playing the man instead of the ball. Even if there are no clear rules regarding ClimateBall, there are rewards in playing the ball. Therefore I thank -1 for making me think about that, and also for his earlier concedo, which I just noticed. 558. anoilman says: “Michael 2 says: February 27, 2015 at 3:22 pm anoilman says: “Yields on other crops are bad. Very bad. About 20% of say California.” I considered that possibility but found no source. It seems you also have no source. With wheat UP, I suppose Canadians will change their diet.” Hint: Ask a farmer. Farmers who grow atypical foods are an excellent source of this information. They even use the same Mexican workers and equipment. 🙂 In any case, you’re not concerned about spending$2500 a month on food, so its no biggy.

559. Michael 2 says:

verytallguy “Michael, perhaps you could summarise your learning from this useful discussion?”

1. From recent comments on this particular topic, I have learned to stay in the shallow end of the pool until I learn to swim, or swim better. That is a metaphor suggesting that science is best left to scientists BUT I very much enjoy observing the process hoping that I absorb some of it.

2. From all topics on this blog I learn the boundaries of climate science. Things happen at the margins; whether it be politics, science or economics; or computer programming for that matter. Errors and advances are at the boundaries. I learn what is known, what is not known, and the nature of the boundary because that is where the arguments can be argued.

I believe all bureaucracies, no matter how large, speak for the person in charge and you can dismiss the rest of it. So a Summary for Policymakers isn’t actually a good synopsis or summary of science (except perhaps by accident), it is a political document and reflects the intention of the top of the heirarchy.

So I am happy to sit at the back of a room filled with educated people as they defend their ideas. Over time it helps me distinguish what you really believe, and why you believe it, as opposed to what you are obligated to say to stay in the herd. A religious parallel is the leader of any major religion; does he actually believe and why does he believe it?

Consider the case of AnOilMan worrying that people will live in tents and move them every decade to avoid an advancing sea. Where’s the actual evidence of such a thing? Why does he believe what he believes?

So I read far more than I write hoping to get answers that *I* can believe!

560. anoilman says:

verytallguy, Anders,

The assertion that RCP 8.5 is unrealistic is based on the notion that we should run out of fossil fuels sooner than the IPCC 100 year scenario (?). That isn’t necessarily true.

Reserves are not an absolute number. They are based on the price of fossil fuels and extraction technology. Can we get it, and will it be cost effective?

As a case in point our current shale oil boom wasn’t possible (at all) until very recently, high oil prices, and technology are driving more extraction. Modern fracking started around 2000, and before that fracks were similar, but generally in vertical wells, and not used that often.

Now take a gander at the reserves graph for the US. The US knew about the oil long ago, but they also knew they couldn’t extract it. Now they can;

WHUT is familiar with the other side of this equation, namely, the wells are costing more and more (Baken Shale wells started around $2 million, and are now at$8 million on average), and they have shorter and shorter production life spans.

The point is that end of life for fossil fuels isn’t exactly known. We are on an RCP 8.5 plan for now. The literature on this supports both points… RCP 8.5 isn’t really realistic, but it depends on reserves and extraction technology.

561. verytallguy says:

AOM,

On reserves being insufficient for RCP8.5,  I think that’s actually another really good argument for mitigation,  if true.

Because if we’re going to run out,  we’re much better off mitigating now fora gentle glide path than being faced with a resource cliff and resultant chaos.

Given some of the very valuable and hard to substitute uses for fossil fuels I suspect going hard after low eroi resources such as tar Sands and coal to liquids could drive an RCP8.5 or similar track.

But I would be genuinely interested in a reputable source on the credibility or otherwise of RCP8.5.

The met office describe it as “business as usual”

562. anoilman says:

verytallguy: Well Duh! 🙂

What was that line from Toy Story 2?
“Al McWiggin:
To mail six packages to Japan overnight is how much? That’s in yen? DOLLARS? Oh, you people are deliberately taking advantage of people in a hurry, you know that?”

It helps to plan and be proactive about these things. I think a Carbon Tax would be appropriate. Far right conservatives and oil companies are calling for it now.

563. Because if we’re going to run out, we’re much better off mitigating now fora gentle glide path than being faced with a resource cliff and resultant chaos.

This is called the No Regrets policy and is the ultimate argument ender :

“No-regrets policy
A policy that would generate net social and/or economic benefits irrespective of whether or not
anthropogenic climate change occurs”

564. John Hartz says:

Willard: Thank you.

565. verytallguy says:

M2,

Thank you

566. BBD says:

M2

Consider the case of AnOilMan worrying that people will live in tents and move them every decade to avoid an advancing sea. Where’s the actual evidence of such a thing? Why does he believe what he believes?

That was me, not AOM 😉

What I was driving at was that there is already evidence that we may be destabilising the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) already and that once the barriers to gravity-driven drainage are removed then we are stuck with *at least* several centuries of remorseless sea level rise.

I struggle to see how the constant retreat and loss of coastal infrastructure will not be a terrible burden for future societies around the world. The quip about tents wasn’t meant to be taken literally, just metaphorically.

Bear in mind that the last time global average temperature was ~2C warmer than today (Eemian interglacial, ~130 – 115ka), mean sea levels peaked >5m higher than the Holocence (now). The major contributors are thought to have been the Greenland Ice Sheet (~2m; Dahl-Jensen et al. 2013) and the WAIS (~3m; Dutton et al. 2015).

Ice sheet melt during the Eemian was a gradual response to slow changes in the Earth’s orbit. It played out over thousands of years. The fast and hard shove from industrial CO2 emissions will be enough to produce peak Eemian warming by later this century.

567. anoilman says:

M2: While I didn’t say anything about tents. It is a fact that eventually with global warming we will need evacuate coastal cities. Here’s another one of those crazy enviro’s.. Rear Admiral Tilly explaining that naval bases are actually built near water, and apparently they are expensive! Who knew?!?!

BBD: I expect we know how republicans will respond to refugees camping on their lawns;

568. John Hartz says:

Everyone (especially -1=e^ipi) participating praticpating in this comment thread will want to check out:
Peak fossil fuel won’t stop climate change – but it could help by Gary Ellem, The Conversation US Pilot, Feb 25, 2015

569. John Hartz says:

Fossil fuels are ultimately a finite resource – the definition of non-renewable energy. Burning of these fuels – coal, oil and gas – is the main driver of climate change. So could the peak of fossil fuels help mitigate warming?

The short answer is maybe … but perhaps not how you might think.

In a paper published this month in the journal Fuel, my colleagues and I suggest that limits to fossil fuel availability might take climate Armageddon off the table, although we will still need to keep some fossil fuels in the ground for the best chance of keeping warming below 2C.

But more importantly, the peak of Chinese coal use is changing the face of global alternative energy industry development, and is soon likely to impact on international positioning for a low-emissions future.

570. Michael 2 says:

BBD says ” mean sea levels peaked >5m higher than the Holocence (now)”

Agreed. One can see the high water shorelines on San Clemente island near Los Angeles using Google Earth.

571. DC posted a simplification of my oil production model today:
http://contextearth.com/2015/02/27/the-oil-shock-model-simplified/

Oil is on the way out, but coal, kerogens, and bitumen is the wild card, plus natural gas.

572. Kevin O'Neill says:

-1 writes: “@Kevin…. blah, blah. blah, blah, blah … does anyone really care?

What we see here is the classic situation where facts just don’t matter. -1 built his views based on a mistaken understanding of the RCP scenarios. He believed/believes that RCP6.0 showed only a decline in emission rates; instead there’s an actual 25% decline in annual emissions over two decades beginning in 2060. He attributed “a lot” of this decline in rates to population stabilization – which would make sense — if he wasn’t TOTALLY WRONG about the RCP6.0 emissions. But because it’s actual emissions declining, and NOT rates, his rationale is nonsense.

His basic understanding of the RCP scenarios was flawed. His rationale for his beliefs was thus flawed. Has this led him to rethink his beliefs? Does he now admit that RCP6.0 is a high mitigation scenario? No.

Game, set, match. You don’t see denial/D-K/pseudoskepticism much clearer than this. Facts will never penetrate that wall he’s built up.

573. John Hartz says:

Another dimension of the AR5 scenarios which merits discussion…

The IPCC’s ‘Representative Concentration Pathways’ are based on fantasy technology that must draw massive volumes of CO2 out of the atmosphere late this century, writes Nick Breeze – an unjustified hope that conceals a very bleak future for Earth, and humanity.

Survivable IPCC projections are based on science fiction – the reality is much worse by Nick Breeze, Ecologist, Feb 27, 2015

574. -1=e^ipi says:

@VeryTallGuy
“On RCP8.5 I note you have still not provided a *reference* supporting your claim that it is “unrealistic nonsense”. I await one with interest.

I continue to conclude that a risk assessment clearly indicates we should mitigate strongly now.”

I am getting the impression that there is a very lopsided perception of what the burden of proof should be in this comment section depending on if a position supports a certain narrative or not. I feel I have provided more evidence in this comment section than multiple commenters arguing a position contrary to mine combined. Somehow the position that what should be done with respect to climate change is a priori indeterminant requires mountains of evidence to justify. Where as “something will be bad therefore mitigation is justified” gets a pass on needing proper justification.

@ Kevin –
“He believed/believes that RCP6.0 showed only a decline in emission rates; instead there’s an actual 25% decline in annual emissions over two decades beginning in 2060. Does he now admit that RCP6.0 is a high mitigation scenario? Game, set, match. You don’t see denial/D-K/pseudoskepticism much clearer than this.”

I would prefer it if you didn’t completely strawman my position and misrepresent what I have written. Could you please reread what I actually wrote without replacing it with a more easily refutable position. However, it is to be expected. Some people need to create a false dichotomy of positions in order to maintain their belief system.

575. -1=e^ipi says:

Actually, with respect to GCMs overestimating warming or not, I’ve thought up a hypothesis test that can test this:

– Obtain impulse response functions & climate sensitivity estimates from various GCM runs.
– Assume that the each impulse response function is true and compute an estimate of climate sensitivity using the impulse response function plus instrumental and/or paleoclimate time series data.
– Compare the resulting distribution for the estimate of climate sensitivity that was obtained using the empirical data + the impulse response function with the GCM climate sensitivity estimate.
– Obtain the p-value for your overall distribution of GCM climate sensitivity estimates. Then reject or not the hypothesis that GCMs are not giving overestimates of climate sensitivity.

Of course, it might still be possible that a GCM is overestimating climate sensitivity but this isn’t detected by the test since the impulse response function + climate sensitivity estimate + empirical data might still be consistent. But it should be a reasonable test.

576. verytallguy says:

-1

I am getting the impression that there is a very lopsided perception of what the burden of proof should be in this comment section depending on if a position supports a certain narrative or not.

Couldn’t agree more.

You made a series of unreferenced assertions which proved not to be correct.

You strongly disputed facts others including myself posted referenced to authoritative sources, and eventually acknowledged you were incorrect.

You feel that your assertions should be given more weight than the considered judgement of the IPPC.

Lopsided indeed.

577. -1=e^ipi says:

I’ll just add that if one uses the default settings of Dr. Cowtan’s model (http://www.ysbl.york.ac.uk/~cowtan/applets/nbox/nbox.html), then under RCP 6.0, the expected temperature anomaly from pre-industrial to 2100 is 3C.

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