Some advice for the Global Warming Policy Foundation

I’ve had a brief series of posts that I collectively call helpful tips for the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). They’ve included Really, Benny Peiser, Really?, Come on, Andrew, you can get this, and Matt Ridley, you seem a little too certain!. Mainly they’ve focused on situations where people associated with the GWPF have managed to mangle some bit of science. Given their focus, you might expect them to do better, but considering who’s on their Academic Advisory Council it’s no surprise that they mostly get it wrong.

The latest saga is, however, a bit more concerning, given that it is something that you might expect a policy foundation to understand. If you’re going to launch an International Temperature Data Review Project there are a couple of things you might consider before actually doing so. Is there actually something to review? Will you get submissions that are worth considering? The answer to the first question is almost certainly no. The answer to the second is almost certainly yes, some will be worth considering, but they’ll be mostly telling us we’re wasting our time; the rest will be from utter nutjobs.

So, the problem with such a review is that you’ll probably end up having to wimp out, given that publishing something that essentially says, we wasted our, and everyone else’s, time is probably not worth doing. As Stoat points out, you don’t really expect much from the GWPF, so complaining is not really worth the effort. I certainly don’t expect them to be honest, but utterly incompetent was a bit of a surprise. It’s one thing to be a policy foundation that misrepresents science so as to support your preferred narrative, it’s another to be one that does so in a way that make you seem completely out of touch with reality.

Come on, at least behave in a way that makes it worth people putting some effort into criticising you. Noone’s going to bother if it becomes patently obvious that you’re a bunch of incompetent buffoons. At least have some self-respect!

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46 Responses to Some advice for the Global Warming Policy Foundation

  1. Pingback: What if you gave a review and nobody came? – Stoat

  2. Richard says:

    Is this a sign of desperation? With the ‘top ten’ warmest within the last 2 decades, and records keep on being broken, it is easy to see why this has become a target for their own special brand of specious investigation. They had pinned their colours to the mast of knocking climate models, but those dastardly scientists keep doing measurements that show the Earth is warming. I assume that once they have finished “proving” that surface temperatures really aren’t rising, honest ‘guv, they will do a comprehensive investigation – using their army of scientists measuring stuff, not – of our planet: namely, the other trends such as warming oceans, reducing mass of ice, receding mountain glaciers, etc …

    It won’t end well for them, but then, fewer and fewer people care what they say.

  3. Are you calling VV a waste of time ;-?

    Do you mean Victor specifically, or the reviews? 😉

  4. Have you thought that the point of the exercise might be just to announce the review in a flurry of publicity? I mean, they actually never intended to carry it out?

    We know that the only output that could possibly follow would be, ‘yes, climate science is pretty much correct about temperatures’—à la BEST—but they’re ideologically incapable of admitting that. So the whole thing has been just a publicity stunt, which I must admit they’re pretty good at. Or should that be, ‘propaganda’?

  5. jsam says:

    I’m sure they’ll review the satellite datasets next. Certain of it.

  6. semyorka says:

    The target should be journalists, once the message gets through and this question follows them around on air “you raised a review once already on temperatures and did nothing with it, is it not true this is all just a PR distraction?” their utility is seriously diminished. Their utility stems from their appearance of being a sober organisation staffed by serious establishment figures like Lawson. That carries heft in the oxbridge heavy world of right wing broadsheets and parts of the BBC. When it is seen as being largely frivolous and more of a home of idiosyncratic eccentrics who are no longer relevant or doing anything relevant then the attitude towards them by the establishment press will change to the kid of condescending tolerance show towards UKIP.

  7. I’m sure they’ll review next the
    decrease in Arctic sea ice,
    the mass of the ice sheets,
    the snow cover,
    the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC),
    mountain glaciers,
    disappearing permafrost,
    earlier bud burst and blossoming of plants,
    changes in the moments of migration of birds,
    the regions where plants grow,
    increases in rain rate and extreme precipitation,
    increases in humidity,
    the increase in the ocean heat content,
    warming of lakes,
    warming of the troposphere,
    cooling of the stratosphere,
    shorter freezing periods of lakes and rivers.

    Certain of it.

  8. Magma says:

    Some advice for the Global Warming Policy Foundation:

    Pack it in, and make sure the last one to leave shuts off the lights and leaves the key under the door.

  9. lord sidcup says:

    Well, I’ve learned 1 interesting thing. Andrew Montford opens GWPF mail.

  10. I guess all of those suggesting that they might review other aspects of climate science really mean that they announce – with great fanfare – that they plan to do so, but would never actually do so?

    lord sidcup,
    Indeed, that was an interesting revelation.

  11. BBD says:

    Wasn’t exactly a surprise, though. AM’s been in bed with GWPF for years.

  12. > Do you mean Victor specifically

    I meant that VV’s post said there were two reviews; one sane, one stupid. But your post said that any review must be stupid, no?

    Montford’s sticky fingerprints on the site code is a curiosity.

  13. Willard says:

    I think Judy’s counterfactual captures best our hypothetical outrage:

    Imagine if it was the MET Office pulling some of this stuff; our Beloved Bishop would turn purple.

  14. WMC,

    I meant that VV’s post said there were two reviews; one sane, one stupid. But your post said that any review must be stupid, no?

    Well, yes, I guess it did, but I was (obviously, I think) referring to whether or not there was really something for the GWPF to review. They could, I guess, do something as thorough ss VV’s other review, but since they probably aren’t actually capable of doing, the answer to the question (when asked by them) is probably still “no”.

    Plus, I did write this quickly this morning, just before rushing out for the day, so didn’t spend all that much time checking that I’d been as careful as I could have been in what I said. Given that it’s a response to the GWPF, I probably spent to much time on it anyway 🙂

  15. jsam says:

    I’m certain Victor is correct. The Global Warmers’ Propaganda Fund would never do anything unseemly. Tsk.

  16. izen says:

    @-semyorka
    ” Their utility stems from their appearance of being a sober organisation staffed by serious establishment figures like Lawson. That carries heft in the oxbridge heavy world of right wing broadsheets and parts of the BBC. When it is seen as being largely frivolous and more of a home of idiosyncratic eccentrics who are no longer relevant…”

    This.
    It was always obvious that the PURPOSE of announcing a review of the temperature record because ‘doubts had been raised’ about the reliability of the record as a basis for policy decisions, – was the announcement.

    The best any such review could produce would be a Wegman redux. ANY product or deliverable that they can derive from the submissions and review is going to have far less media clout than a serious think tank announcing the apparent necessity for a review. Because it would be much easier to debunk than the announcement that in the view of apparently serious people the temperature record was open to doubt.

    The fact they have failed to show any further action beyond the announcement, either in acknowledgement or publication of submissions or even an interim statement or timetable can and should be something that undermines the authority they have when making any further statements.

    They will need to justify crying ‘wolf’ on the temperature data and then walking away, before any further statements they make are treated as if they come from a serious body with a considered view on this issue, rather than a bunch of bankers.

  17. izen says:

    The inner circle of the Committee on Climate Change Policy sat glumly round the boardroom table. The announcement earlier in the year had worked well. A couple of polemical articles suggesting gross error at least and malicious fraud at worst in the surface temperature record had paved the way for the CCCP announcement of a scientific investigation. And the announcement that a serious body were assigning independent scientists to carry out such a review gave more validity to the articles that otherwise might have been dismissed as ideological extremism.

    But now, it was all falling apart. The failure to follow up was causing rumblings. The initial announcement asking for submissions and promising a published review, followed by inaction was undermining their credibility as an organisation. They needed advice on how to spi- turn around the developing media narrative to defend the legitimacy of the CCCP.

    Help was at hand…
    “It should be easy” said the PR advisor, “Fist state that illness and personal issues have delayed the full scientific consideration of the submissions, and hence will delay the publication of the review.”

    “What submissions did you actually get?” the advisor asked.
    “A bunch of nutjobs claiming its all fake and some serious scientists telling us we were nutjobs.” said the figure at the head of the table dispiritedly.

    “Okay,” said the hired PR expert after a moment’s thought.
    “Here’s your statement. We have been surprised and pleased by the many valuable submissions we have received. Many have raised new issues that could cast doubt on the reliability of the record and indicate that there may be far more serious issues for our independent scientific group to investigate than we first imagined.
    We are however disturbed at the vehemence and negativity expressed in a few submissions from known activist climate scientists who wrote in defending the veracity of the historical temperature record. We will continue our efforts to investigate this matter fully with the intention of providing a better and more accurate picture of past temperature changes so that rational policy choice can be made on accurate information.”

    Expressions of pleasure rippled round the table, the mood noticeably improved.
    “Thank you Rebekah,” Said the man at the head, ” where did you work before coming here?”
    “never mind the details…” she said.

    (sarc/off)

  18. John Mashey says:

    But GWPF is well-plugged in worldwide. One of the odd things that popped out of investigating Wegman Report was an email that he got from GWPF, of which the most interesting thing was the CC list. See FOIA Facts 5 – Finds Friends of GWPF. Of course, the fact that someone got email doesn’t prove they asked for it, but the list was still interesting.

  19. BBD says:

    “Thank you Rebekah,” Said the man at the head,

    She’s not that good.

  20. Nick Stokes says:

    “AM’s been in bed with GWPF for years.”
    A counter curiosity is this. When the GWPF inquiry was announced, there was rejoicing in the usual places (interesting one here). But not at Bishop Hill, which AKAIK didn’t mention it.

  21. izen says:

    @-Willard
    “I think Judy’s counterfactual captures best our hypothetical outrage:”

    I find some comfort in the revelation that the EPA and environmental activists have developed nefarious and covert ways of advancing the sort of regulations that Inhofe claims sap the vital essence of American industrial enterprise. Perhaps the creativity and collusion can offset the $1million a day spent by the energy industry lobbying politicians, and the less transparent efforts of ALEC.

  22. Nick,
    According to the comments on that notalotofpeopleknowthat post, it was announced on Bishop Hill, but I can’t quite bring myself to trawl through all the posts there to find it.

  23. BBD says:

    Nick Stokes

    Well, I can’t find a BH post on that either, so perhaps AM wasn’t enamored of the idea at the time and didn’t want to tie that particular can to his tail? Dunno.

  24. BBD,
    Given what he’s been promoting in the last day or so, it would be a rare moment of common sense, if so.

  25. BBD says:

    Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, ATTP 😉

  26. This is on Stoat’s blog, but here’s a screen capture of the Temperature Review website source code. If Andrew Montford wasn’t enamoured of the idea, it’s odd that his name appears in the code.

  27. Vinny Burgoo says:

    BBD, it’s ‘A foolish consistency…’

  28. But, what if the incompetence is just a pose, and disingenuous? What I think I see from the deniers is a constant output of baloney, mostly without regard to plausibility. I don’t personally have the impression that competence is a goal.

  29. I like challenges, even when they’re not difficult.

    ***

    The GWPF announced its enquiry on the 26th:

    http://www.thegwpf.org/inquiry-launched-into-global-temperature-data-integrity/

    Interestingly, PaulH’s post and Booker’s editorial are both dated 2015/04/25.

    There’s an interesting gap in our Beloved Bishop’s blogs of consciousness between the 24th and the 27th April. He’s used to post many times a day.

    ***

    I did not find anything in the billboard discussions at Bishop’s, but search is not as friendly as (say) with PHPbb. There’s a bit of discussion about the MET Office’s trustworthiness (excluding RichartB’s, of course – he’s a superstar):

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/discussion/post/2530499

    ***

    Otherwise, there’s a whole newsfeed for GWPF activities at the Bishop’s.

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/category/gwpf

    Interestingly, this result of this last search result is unavaible because of the Beloved Bishop’s policy for robots. This might portray his fight for freedom as a mild form of carbon-based chauvinism.

    ***

    Here’s a bunch of question about temperatures, the first one being:

    If surface temperatures are blipping upwards, why does the pause continue in the satellite record?

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2015/9/5/temperature-questions.html

    I call this kind of questions Inhofe cheeseburgers:

    Source: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2015/02/inhofe-disproves-poverty.html

    Someday, I might generalize this idea. Sir Rud used such question for his latest shell game:

    ***

    Yet again, I found what I was looking for the last place I searched:

    Inquiry Launched Into Global Temperature Data Integrity
    Date: 25/04/15
    Global Warming Policy Foundation

    London: 26 April 2015. The London-based think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation is today launching a major inquiry into the integrity of the official global surface temperature records.

    An international team of eminent climatologists, physicists and statisticians has been assembled under the chairmanship of Professor Terence Kealey, the former vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham.

    

Further details of the inquiry, its remit and the team involved can be seen on its website http://www.tempdatareview.org

    Apr 26, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/unthreaded/?currentPage=210

    No time for now to recall how to permalink this URL.

    Notice the date. Servers work in strange ways.

  30. BBD says:

    Vinny B

    BBD, it’s ‘A foolish consistency…’

    His name is in the code. What can I say?

  31. I got up to page 10 of my response and had only covered about 1/20 of what there terms of reference were.

    Then I read that they were not obligated to publish their findings.

    decided I would not waste my time

    However, there was some interesting stuff on changing land class that I may want to get back to.

    In the end, I think there are interesting technical details.. maybe something publishable..

    but nothing that will change the science.. oh well.. lots of molehills.. no mountains.

  32. Ive been pretty patient.

    and

    calm

  33. Howard says:

    I thought GWPF is just a WUWT spinoff using the cast of Yes, Minister to allow dirtbag deniers to feel legitimized by the remnant facade of Tory uppercrust? Picking on these deniers seems a bit like being a jawbreaker bagging a lion in Rhodesia..

  34. Michael 2 says:

    Some years ago when the Soviet Union still existed and I was enrolled in the Navy largely because of the existence of said Soviet Union, bringing steady employment to many of theirs and many of ours, I (and many others) received instruction on how Russians *think* just in case any of us with a security clearance thought we could bring about world peace through argument or negotiation privately with the nearby Russians.

    So we were told a parable that goes something like this: An American, a Britishman and a Russian were each offered one wish (by a genie or fairy, not terribly important to the story). The American wished for a ranch with a fine house, the British man wished for a cottage in the country, and the Russian wished for his neighbor’s pig to die since he didn’t have one of his own.

    We were left to ponder the significance of that. I see it a couple of ways; the American was thinking of himself, which sometimes is treated as a sin but the Russian was thinking of his neighbor, which is sometimes treated as good but in this case not so good since he wished to deprive his neighbor of something.

    Would it have been better for the Russian to wish for a pig? Probably; so why didn’t he? I suppose because he had no expectation of being able to keep it. Russian peasants weren’t permitted to keep anything and if someone had a pig, it almost certainly signified special privilege.

    In some way this relates to your fascination with the GWPF.

  35. Marco says:

    “Would it have been better for the Russian to wish for a pig? Probably; so why didn’t he? I suppose because he had no expectation of being able to keep it. Russian peasants weren’t permitted to keep anything and if someone had a pig, it almost certainly signified special privilege.”

    It actually sounds very, very, very much like an old Russian joke (one vs two cows and a sorcerer, you can google it), rather than a parable. You will find similar envy jokes in many countries. Maybe our host knows one from the UK.

  36. Gator says:

    Michael 2: We Americans have become the Russians. “Why does that so-and-so union member get paid so much? I don’t get paid that much! Break the union!” You can insert pay, health insurance, time off etc. in there an explain much of USA politics.

  37. Phil says:

    In case you missed it, on 22nd July 2015:

    “The team has decided that its principal output will be peer-reviewed papers rather than a report.
    Further announcements will follow in due course.”

    from here I wonder who will publish it/them ?

  38. Marco says:

    “I wonder who will publish it/them ?”

    There is a nice and still very pristine OAS journal…

  39. Phil says:

    Marco: “Great minds” and all that 🙂

  40. jsam says:

    The Global Warmers’ Propaganda Fund needs better academic advisors.
    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/epidemic-of-denial/#like-7773

  41. Michael 2 says:

    Gator writes “Michael 2: We Americans have become the Russians.”

    Many Americans are Russians! (and Slavs, and Baltics, and Scandinavians, and Germans and…)

    But your point is well made. Many similarities exist. That’s why their great socialist experiment failed; they are natural capitalists.

    “Why does that so-and-so union member get paid so much?”

    Commodity products can be sold for a price determined by the market. If these products can be produced at less cost than the market price, they can still be sold at market price and the difference goes into the owner’s pocket as profit. Unions seek to increase worker wages, a thing that can be done in two ways: Increase the price of the product (without reducing quantity), or reduce owner profit. To increase the price of the product the free market must be made unfree (monopoly, cabal, price fixing kinds of things). To reduce owner profit you make his choice between less profit and none whatsoever (strike). Less is better than none but he starts looking for something else to own. In publicly traded companies the owners are a certain class of stockholder and may know little to nothing about the actual operation of the business. In the Soviet Union the state was the owner and knew even less about the actual operation of the business.

    “You can insert pay, health insurance, time off etc. in there an explain much of USA politics.”

    Essentially ALL politics are these things.

  42. I asked the review team how many submission they had gotten and when they planned on answering and publishing them. Andrew Montford send me an answer in the name of the GWPF review team. They got 35 submissions and have no idea yet when they will be analysed and published.

  43. Gator says:

    Michael 2: You seem to miss the point. In today’s America, especially on the right, politics is driven by anger that someone else is getting something. It’s not even greed really. It’s just destructive envy. Those people get food stamps but they have cell phones! Those workers get health insurance! Those guys got a 2% raise! This has nothing to do with lectures about the evils of socialism, it is simply people feeling better about tearing down rather than building up. It’s easier to accept your own crappy situation if everyone has to share it; it is work to fight to get benefits to match others.

  44. Michael 2 says:

    Gator “Michael 2: You seem to miss the point.”

    It is an art form.

    “In today’s America, especially on the right, politics is driven by anger that someone else is getting something.”

    Occupy Wall Street is decided left wing and undeniably angry that someone else is getting something (or a lot of something).

    “Those people get food stamps but they have cell phones!”

    Wimps. When I lived in Virginia as a single sailor at the upper end of the enlisted ranks, I was obliged at times to sell my savings bonds just to pay the rent. All of my taxes (federal, state, sales) amounted to either 41 percent or 49 percent of my income (I’d have to dig into my old documents to be precise but either figure is sufficiently illustrative).

    Meanwhile I had a brief romance with a woman who, for lack of employment and husband, got a brick, three-bedroom house paid for my the state of Virginia, free medical, food and income. She refused to even consider marrying me because her standard of living would decline coming off welfare, and she was correct and wise to consider it.

    Over in Southeast DC I obtained an appreciation of the trap of welfare. This single mother had her apartment paid for, and it was nicer than mind, sturdy cinderblock and reasonably well apointed; free medical, food and so forth. She wanted to leave DC but her benefits were worth about $2100 per month and that was early 1990’s. Throw in the cost of child care, and she would have to get an entry-level job paying $3000 per month just to keep the same standard of living. That’s basically impossible.

    So you’ve told me your stories without specifics, and I have told you my stories with specifics. Who do you think I am going to believe?

    I don’t have an answer. I see both sides of this coin. Rush Limbaugh represents the “right”, and says, “What do you get if you feed squirrels? More squirrels!” and he’s right — the number of government benefits recipients in the United States is around 65 million people. But do we just stop? That would be a calamity also and not just for the welfare recipients.

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