## Speaking out

There’s a current Twitter hashtag called #WeNeedToChangeTheWorld, which WMC has also discussed in this post. It’s bit cliché, but it’s probably true, for many reasons. As also mentioned in WMC’s post, Peter Jacobs tweeted the following

This is similar to what I’ve said before. If a scientist is considering speaking out about something, but is worried about being criticised for engaging in advocacy, maybe they should also consider the regret they may feel in future if they choose not to speak out. This seems pretty obvious, to me. There are pros and cons to everything. There may well be good reasons why some might choose to not speak out, and reasons why others may speak out despite potential criticism.

Also, choosing to do nothing is not necessarily neutral. The status quo is still a political position, and not speaking out may well become deserving of criticism. I’m not suggesting that not speaking out immediately implies endorsing the status quo. It’s possible to not speak out, but to be supportive of those who do. It’s, of course, also possible to have no public profile whatsoever. However, I do think it is hard to have some kind of public profile in which one’s choices do not indicate some kind of preference.

Utimately, I think people need to decide for themselves what they regard as the appropriate thing to do, or not do. Ideally, those who do speak out should be clear about the role they’re taking, should not take advantage of their position when doing so, should provide suitable caveats, should engage responsibly and honestly, should take into account other issues and factors, and should be clear to distinguish between when they’re speaking as an expert with domain knowledge, and when they’re speaking as a citizen with political views.

However, this should really apply to all, so I’m not quite clear as to why there seems to be this focus on advocacy by scientists. I don’t think scientists have a special position either way; I don’t regard them as being a group who should specifically avoid advocating, or a group whose advocacy should be taken more seriously than that by others.

I think some regard advocacy by scientists as violating a fundamental tenet of the scientific process – objectivity. I simply don’t agree with that. Scientists should aim to be objective when carrying out their research, but doing so doesn’t remove their rights to engage in broader society. I get the sense that some regard scientists as having too much influence. This may be true, but I think this should be resolved by others speaking out more convincingly, rather than by scientists speaking out less.

Utimately, I think people should simply decide what they think is right and best for them, and act accordingly. I do, however, think that people should consider that there are potential consequences to what they might do, or not do. I’m also not suggesting that scientists who do choose to advocate should not be criticised. They’re as open to criticism as anyone who chooses to speak publicly. Ideally, they should be critiqued on the basis of what they say, rather than who they are. Of course, speaking out is inherently political, so expecting the criticism to be ideal is probably unrealistic.

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### 144 Responses to Speaking out

1. However, this should really apply to all, so I’m not quite clear as to why there seems to be this focus on advocacy by scientists. I don’t think scientists have a special position either way; I don’t regard them as being a group who should specifically avoid advocating, or a group whose advocacy should be taken more seriously than that by others.

The focus on advocacy by scientists is because powerful interests prefer to determine what people think is true and do not want those pesky scientists ruining their rents. Like you write: “I get the sense that some regard scientists as having too much influence.

Also Social Darwinists likely prefer scientists to shut up. Very few scientists are Social Darwinists and thus say the wrong stuff according to them.

Even if you do not think scientists should be taken more seriously than others, most people do. That is another reason for the focus.

In politics everyone should have an equal influence (which is unfortunately not the case in reality), but this does not mean you need to take the opinion of everyone equally seriously. I definitely would like to know what experts think. I also like call-in radio to hear what the people think, which is often quite different from the published opinion, but I would not like to rely *only* on that.

2. Victor,

Even if you do not think scientists should be taken more seriously than others, most people do. That is another reason for the focus.

Well, yes, people are perfectly entitled to decide who they will take seriously, and who they will not. I’m not suggesting that people should be obligated to not take scientists who advocate more seriously than others (that’s their choice). Also (and did have a bit about this, but took it out) there clearly be scenarios in which domain knowledge is relevant and, hence, where the views of someone with that domain knowledge will (and should) be taken more seriously than someone who does not have that domain knowledge.

3. expert or special knowledge is a commodity and has utility. It is important stuff. A high level of knowledge about climate science and the ability to communicate or translate the arcane language of the science into a format that a relatively intelligent non-scientist can understand is a great gift. If you have the combination of skills (scientific ability and communication skills) and you do not engage in “speaking” out, then you are a fool or psychopath or have some other challenge that prevents you from being able to use your gift. Look back at Hawking’s work to communicate what he knew about astrophysics despite the ravages of motor neuron disease. Hawking is a role model for communicating despite obstacles. Neil deGrasse Tyson and Carl Sagan come to mind as folks who have done a very fine job with providing science communication.
In the absence of the communication skills, a brilliant scientist might seek to establish a partnership with a writer like Elizabeth Kolbert.

as Bishop Desmond Tutu put it: If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

The moral implications regarding science communication are very simple in comparison to the science itself. The injustice of delay, obfuscation driven by greed, ignorance or stupidity is easy to recognize.

Proceed accordingly?

Cheers

Mike

4. Joshua says:

… so I’m not quite clear as to why there seems to be this focus on advocacy by scientists.

IMO, because they believe they can gain leverage for their pet causes by doing so. Seems to me that people don’t generally complain about scientists advocating for positions they are in agreement with (I suppose there are exceptions, but I can’t think of any off of the top of my head).

Judith’s gambit, where she criticizes other scientists for advocacy, and invents double standards to exempt her own advocacy, is just a variant of that pattern.

Otter warfare.

5. Willard says:

> [C]hoosing to do nothing is not necessarily neutral.

Saying or suggesting that we ought to do nothing might be even less necessarily neutral.

6. Willard says:

> A disclaimer: I’m quite… compartmentalising, perhaps I’d put it.

Quite an understatement.

7. Joshua says:

Mike –

The moral implications regarding science communication are very simple in comparison to the science itself. The injustice of delay, obfuscation driven by greed, ignorance or stupidity is easy to recognize.

FWIW, I think that reverse engineering from someone’s orientatiom on complex scientific issues, and the related societal implications, to assess their moral character is dubious.

I object when “skeptics” do it because I think doing so isn’t logically sustainable. The uncertainties inherent in climate science and the related economics create, IMO, a moral environment that is categorically different than the moral environment of something like apartheid.

8. JeffH says:

I have decided since the publication of our paper in Bioscience to take the Dr. Dade approach to climate change deniers on blogs: Don’t respond, don’t answer, don’t engage. Hence why I have deferred from commenting on a recent thread here discussing our paper. We made our point. However, I do very strongly believe that more scientists need to become advocates for sound climate and environmental science. Scientists are dealing with a Serengeti effect when it comes to the bullying and intimidation of climate change deniers and other forms of anti-environmental rhetoric. Those few of us who stray from the herd to debunk shoddy science or to expose distortions by deniers are attacked with venom and (from personal experience) are at the receiving end of various kinds of threats. The aim of course is to shut us up and to force us back into the herd. Heck, I have been called an activist repeatedly over the past 4 months. Most importantly, we are at a critical juncture in human history. Make no bones about it, we are running out of time. Sitting back with our feet up while Rome metaphorically burns is simply not an option. We need critical mass. If many more scientists stepped out of the herd, then we would overwhelm those pushing to do nothing and force them back into their shells. Peter Jacobs is therefore spot-on. I have absolutely no regrets for exposing the weak or non-existent science of climate change deniers and anti-environmentalists. My big regret is that more of my colleagues are not doing so.

9. John Hartz says:

ATTP:

Another aspect to the conundrum you have identified in the OP is explored in the following article which includes the perspectives of both climate and social scientists.

Science can’t solve climate change — better politics can, former IPCC scientist says by Anna Salleh, Science, ABC Radio News (Australia), May 1, 2018

10. Ragnaar says:

“Judith’s gambit…”

Having a gambit named after one is an honor reserved for the few. I’m sure I supported her on this one. The counter to her point is that she advocates. She does. That horse has found its demise.

The consensus scientists by and large are the victims of a Jedi Mind Trick. It’s not the deniers, it’s not Republican politicians and it’s certainly not about a hundred skeptical and lukewarm scientists. It’s STEM. There are no viable solutions. Advocacy against the deplorables is just an exercise. A youtube comments conversation. I’ve known a few hippies, who do something. They might be a vegetarian and recycle and have a garden and volunteer at a co-op.

And by and large, no one cares. But that’s not the deplorables fault or the reason for the failures.

It is true that the Republicans and Trump are resisting having the U.S. Government solve the problem. But that’s more about not driving off a cliff as Germany seems determined to do. No amount of road blocks removal is going to amount to a material CO2 emission reduction from the U.S. Unless it’s pro-fracking and nuclear power.

Take Keystone. Even if successfully resisted, so what? How much advocacy was spent on that one? And the results were? If I was Trump, I’d fund five Keystones and let the advocates waste all their time on that.

The answer will come from STEM.

11. Jeff,
Yes, what you highlight is indeed an issue. If you step out and try to address some issue (as you did with your paper) you become a target. Online discussions are not going to resolve it and if you engage with the intent of doing so, you simply get dragged further and further down the rabbit hole (there is merit in doing so, but you need to be aware of the risks). I would also like to see more engaging publicly, but I’m also aware that there are reasons why some may choose not to do so. What i would like is if more who choose not to do so at least tried to understand why it is such a difficult communication environment and didn’t (as some do) suggest that there were simply ways to resolve these issues (there aren’t).

12. Ultimately, I think people should simply decide what they think is right and best for them, and act accordingly. I do, however, think that people should consider that there are potential consequences to what they might do, or not do. I’m also not suggesting that scientists who do choose to advocate should not be criticised. They’re as open to criticism as anyone who chooses to speak publicly. Ideally, they should be critiqued on the basis of what they say, rather than who they are. Of course, speaking out is inherently political, so expecting the criticism to be ideal is probably unrealistic.

Having spoken out many times for many reasons and not only on climate — enabling computer software controlled drones to make independent life-and-death decisions isi particularly troubling of
late — l heartily agree with the emphasized portion of the quote. Indeed, along these lines, something which is increasingly troubling to me is the apparently inability or unwillingness of some well-meaning activists to think about options and solutions in terms of tradeoffs and What Will Work, including working with groups and companies which they might oppose in other contexts. Sure, the energy-loving, Carbon-worshipping Republicans are a big part of lack of progress in the United States (and, to some degree, in places like Australia), but some of the myths which some activists believe in, spread, and chant will at some point impede progress if it has not already. Some examples:

* Plastic is bad, always and forever, and glass or paper is always to be preferred
* Invasive plants are destroying local diversity and so should be eradicated as much as possible
* All research on pesticides is funded directly or indirectly by their producers, and none of it can be trusted
* All zero Carbon energy options are opposed by big energy and Carbon sellers, and political money donations are the only reason more progress hasn’t been made
* Climate change will principally impact people of color in far-away countries
* All long distance power lines are bad
* You can get cancer from walking over buried power lines
* We can solve climate change by doing small things each in our lives
* Nuclear power is inherently bad and wrong
* No corporation is to be trusted to do anything.
* Opinion and public discussion is just as valuable as scientific assessments and content, in part because the latter can be funded by government and corporations.
* And, worst of all, some small numbers think making progress on climate change is futile and there’s nothing to do but Prepare For The End.

It also seems some of the groups have marching in the streets and carrying protest signs or civil disobedience actions as the only arrows in their quiver.

This is all very frustrating for me, since, while there’s an appreciation of the magnitude of the challenge, I think, and of the seriousness of the situation, there’s also no understanding that:

* the public is reticent to make big changes because they love and want energy and products,
* the public is reticent to make big changes if they think it will affect their personal economy, including perceived effects upon personal real estate values,
* knowledge how to actually do things resides, like it or not in corporations, governments, as well as engineering academe, and
* we may need to make some short-term trade-offs in order to get to where we need to be.

13. Joshua says:

Ragnaar –

Having a gambit named after one is an honor reserved for the few.

First, I don’t think I have naming power. Second, I didn’t reference a gambit that was titled with Judith’s name – I only reference the gambit that Judith uses, as if I was saying “Ragnaar’s argument.; that wouldn’t be naming an argument in your honor, would it?

It is a very commonplace gambit, not something remotely unique to Judith or popularized by her. What is notable is to see a well-known scientist engage in it so openly with with no artifice, and to be uniformly extended immunity by a gaggle of self-identified “skeptics” who focus so frequently on their concern about advocacy from scientists whose views they don’t support. What does it say when scientists with such highly refined skills and experience in sophisticated analysis are so lacking in the basic requirement of applying uniform standards? And are granted immunity from people who pride themselves so much on their “bullshit meters?”

I would imagine that there a “name” for the related fallacy, but I would say that “applying a double standard” should suffice.

14. Willard says:

Once or twice I may have referred to something similar as the lukewarm gambit, e.g.:

There’s no need to fabricate synthetic examples.

Matt King Coal clearly rubberstamps Nic’s sensivity estimates. T

hey are the lowest justified disingenuousness can buy.

Below that you enter Dragon territory.

Matt King Coal plays the lukewarm gambit to stretch the Overton Window.

It gets him to its lowest limits justified disingenuousness can buy.

That’s not what I’d call the middle ground.

That’s just a Goldilocks story to sell newsies.

The middle ground is given by the IPCC.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/the-middle-ground/#comment-86911

I would prefer the “luckwarm gambit” these days, because Eli.

15. Ken Fabian says:

“I don’t regard them as being a group who should specifically avoid advocating, or a group whose advocacy should be taken more seriously than that by others. ”

I think scientists do bring something to these debates that makes them more deserving of being taken more seriously than others – a depth of knowledge others are unlikely to have. An ability to communicate that widely is always a plus.

Of course the advocacy of scientists should not misrepresent their professional judgement, that o of others or the body of knowledge they contribute to. And it doesn’t change that the principle path for expertise to intersect with policy making is through the reports and studies commissioned by governments – although teasing apart delaying decisions until the expert advice is in ‘in order to make better decisions’ and delay ‘to avoid making decisions’, or to preserve a crumbling status quo can be difficult. Or perhaps not that difficult.

What is clear to me is that it is not a failure of climate scientist that the formally commissioned reports keep being set aside by those who asked for them, those with the responsibility to translate them into action.

16. Joshua says:

Ken –

I think scientists do bring something to these debates that makes them more deserving of being taken more seriously than others – a depth of knowledge others are unlikely to have.

They do bring something unique – their expertise – but IMO, the problem with saying that they are more deserving of being taken seriously is that you run into a problem with double standards when you try to exclude some scientists (e.g. Curry, Linden, Christy, etc.) from the more deserving status.

I personally find that line of argument problematic. I think people wind up, basically, inventing criteria on which to rank levels of being deserving and you get situations like where Judith dismisses scientists she disagrees with because she imposes on them a motivation of self-interest, while those on the otter side dismiss her because of an imposed motivation of self-interest.

Degree of alignment with prevalence of shared agreement among experts might inform probabilities, but I think it is of limited value.

IMO, the best strategy is not to create a hierarchy of status to determine whose opinions are most deserving, but to flatten the hierarchy to create meaningful stakeholder dialog – which takes input from experts as one tool to obtain shared ownership over outcomes.

17. Steven Mosher says:

oh ffs.
shut up and do science, even if its crappy.
with a few notable exceptions I cant think of a single scientist who did more good at the podium than she could have done in the lab.

of course it feels better to sqeak your mind (haha, typo) and claim the correct allyships..and be counted and stand with him or her or them, Nobody wants to stop your advocacy, we are just saying if we compare the crap you do as advocates and the crap you do as science…well more science crap please. rhetoriticians are a nickle a gross. If you find yourself as one those gifted blobs of flesh that can do science, then ffs do science and leave the blabbering about policy to the speachifiers. now stop reading blogs and twitter and get back in the crappy lab. jeez.

18. John Hartz says:

In the USA, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is our Pretend President. As Nickolas Krsitoff states:

Yet I worry that our national nonstop focus on Trump is helping to usher America into a hole: a Trump obsession. The danger is that Trump sucks up all the oxygen, so that other issues don’t get adequate attention.

In America today, it’s all Trump, all the time. We’re collectively addicted to him. The nonstop scandals and outrages suck us in; they amount to Trump porn.

19. John Hartz says:

The Kristoff quote in my prior post is from his Op-ed publidhed in today’s edition of the New York Times.

20. Joshua says:

Bullshit.

21. Willard says:

You had the puck in front of the net, Joshua:

So back to my initial answer: don’t.

22. Joshua says:

Willard –

I could have just pointed to the amusing own goal:

I cant think of a single scientist who did more good at the podium than she could have done in the lab.

23. John Hartz says:

ATTP: “Speaking out” is one thing. Effectively communicating the science to the general public is quite another. More scientists need to be trained to be effective communicators — especially if journalists are posing questions to them.

24. Steven Mosher says:

The biggest benefit of doing the good thing and speaking out, is that it gives you moral licence in your private life to do the bad thing

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/16/AR2010071606839.html

25. @Steven Mosher,

I kind of agree with this, getting “back into the lab” sentiment. I think the answers, if any, will come from there. I especially think this is a matter for Engineering, wrought large, very much including the humans and human systems which need to be modified to fix things.

We don’t really have a discipline of climate engineering in that sense. (I don’t mean albedo hacking and the like, not at all.) I mean engineering whole social and consumption systems so they align with what we need them to be.

I’ve tried to engage with public and, I’ll agree, I’m far from a great communicator, always reluctant to cheapen the scientific material to get a point across. (“The greenhouse effect is because CO2 acts like a blanket” bupkis.) I think I’m far more effective tooling up on algorithms, doing new ones, and applying them to data in ways no one else has thought of.

My only reluctance in that is that we may, inadvertently, unemploy whole legions of scientists doing so: I’m not the only one doing similar things.

26. Steven Mosher says:

How funny that this should be posted today

https://psmag.com/environment/mission-compostable

So there you are flying to a conference on climate change and internally, unconsciously, you are tallying your moral scorecard. man you suck. you suck hard. all that carbon…and because we must keep our score cards even, when you land you have to speak out. because speaking is taking ACTION. And you speak out and advocate that WE should all do the good thing. And speaking is a good thing. When you go to bed your check your score card.. par for the course. Sure you were over on the frontside, but those protests and signed petitions brought you back to even par.

The nice thing about this moral licence, this virtual carbon credit, is there is no one to check the ledger. If you speak out a lot and make a movie, then you could own a bunch of houses and use a lot of carbon and it would all be ok.

27. Steven Mosher says:

Hyper.. I think you do fine communicating to an educated audience.

The general public? I can’t even begin to think who is equipped to handle that beast.

28. JCH says:

We drive SUVs to see Al Gore’s speeches on global warming. – Washington Post

Insipid garbage.

29. @JCH,

Okay. Why? Can you expound?

30. Steven Mosher says:

Josh Josh Josh

‘with a few notable exceptions I cant think of a single scientist who did more good at the podium than she could have done in the lab.”

all the words are written for a reason?

first I wrote

“I cant think of a single scientist who did more good at the podium than she could have done in the lab.”

Then I think. what would the stupidest non clever person in the room say?

Then I channel you.

Then I write

“with a few notable exceptions I cant think of a single scientist who did more good at the podium than she could have done in the lab.”

Next.

32. Steven Mosher says:

Jordan P has 12 rulz for life.
3 will suffice.
emit less carbon
do more science

oh and dont tell others how to live their life. opps

33. JCH says:

Okay. Why? Can you expound?

My son is a doctor in Maryland. I go to Maryland. I’ve never seen a Hummer in Baltimore. The parking garage at his apartment complex is full of compact cars.

“There are so many contradictions in today’s world, especially when it comes to green issues,” said Keith Ware, who has watched with raised eyebrows as Hummers pull up to his environmentally sensitive appliance store, Eco-Green Living, near the nuclear-free zone of Takoma Park.

How can anybody take that paragraph seriously?

Maryland ranks around 22nd in total cars owned. The most popular car in Maryland is the Honda CRV: not high mileage; not low mileage; a far cry from a Hummer.

34. John Hartz says:

ATTP: Another real deterence (at least in the US) to scientists speaking out about climate change and related matters is the backlash of threats and harassment that occurs and necessitated the creation of an organization suach as the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.

35. @JCH,

I’ve never seen a Hummer in Baltimore.

Have you seen McMansions? How about upgrades in numbers of bathrooms? How about protesting natural gas pipelines when they use natural gas? How about saving energy and contributing to save polar bears when they fly to the Caribbean or Europe on holiday?

36. Nathan says:

Oohhhh the irony
“shut up and do science, even if its crappy.”

“oh and dont tell others how to live their life.”

?

37. Ironically, I kind of wrote something about this before it showed up, about the small stuff being irrelevant. Must be something in the air.

38. Joshua says:

‘with a few notable exceptions I cant think of a single scientist who did more good at the podium than she could have done in the lab.”

Still an own goal. That makes you 0-2 against yourself. Go for the hat trick.

39. Steven Mosher says:

“Oohhhh the irony
“shut up and do science, even if its crappy.”

“oh and dont tell others how to live their life.”

?”

intended

40. Steven Mosher says:

Whatever you say Josh

41. Nathan says:

Fair enough, though it seems at odds with being a libertarian

42. Joshua says:

Congrats on the hat trick.

43. angech says:

John Hartz says: May 6, 2018 at 11:23 pm “In the USA, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is our Pretend President.”
I believe he is your President, no pretense, whether you voted for him or not.

ATTP is right to say that scientists and others can advocate and should advocate, if they wish to. The only group who are barred from advocating their own beliefs are judges I guess who would otherwise have a conflict of interest.

While I sympathize with JeffH, “I have decided since the publication of our paper in Bioscience to take the Dr. Dade approach to climate change deniers on blogs: Don’t respond, don’t answer, don’t engage.”
I feel his treatment is exactly the same as what has been handed out to scientists who express opposing views.

There is a difference between advocacy and attacking people with the opposite view, a nuance not recognised at other blogs or here for the most part. ATTP tries.

44. “oh and dont tell others how to live their life.”

yeah, if they want to be racist we shouldn’t tell them not to. If they want to burgle our houses we shouldn’t say a thing against it. If they want to get drunk and drive their cars then we shouldn’t complain. Civilisation requires people be told how to live their lives every now and again, the question is to what extent? In a democracy we all have a say, and not only at the ballot box.

People don’t want to be told how to live their lives, but they also demand their “rights”, which is wanting to have your cake and eat it, IMHO.

45. angech wrote “There is a difference between advocacy and attacking people with the opposite view, a nuance not recognised at other blogs or here for the most part. ATTP tries.”

angech doesn’t, I’ve seen his comments at WUWT.

46. Leto says:

Angech, poorly constructed arguments, gish gallops and slogans deserve to be attacked, and when they are attacked that does not mean that there is any nuance whatsoever that has been missed by the attacker. If your posts are often the brunt of such attacks, it is because of the content of your posts. It is not appropriate to play the victim card.

47. angech @WUW wrote

Nick is one of the few warmists who acknowledges the pause, but then of course tries to prove it does not exist.
He has a number of blogs up on it on his site (type in pause on his site).
One of his tricks of diversion is to talk of 10 year time periods but either select only ones that do not show a pause eg starting one in 1996 or talking of overall trends for a longer period than the 10 year trend is in and pretending that the trend is therefore positive.
As above where he shows the 10 year trend graph over a range of 37 years.
Tamino’s trick.
Hiding the real 10 year and longer flat pauses in the verbiage of a mendacious longer time period.
Again, like Tamino, smart enough to know the pauses really exist for 10 year and longer periods.
Hypocritical enough to always avoid direct mention and acknowledgement of them.
It is this sort of chicanery thar desperate people resort to that stops us having sensible arguments about the valid points that they do make.

[emphasis mine]

It is quite clear that angech is perfectly happy attacking people with whom he disagrees. The sad thing is that both Nick Stokes and Tamino have a much better understanding of statistics than he does, as demonstrated by this quote from the same discussion:

A pause is simply a flat line between two points in time.
A slowdown is a different beast.
Pauses always go from the present backwards and new pauses are always occurring in most time series.
The beauty of a pause in an uplifting temperature series is that it gets longer both ways once a dip in temperature occurs.
The more it dips the further back in time the pause can go.

[again emphasis mine]

which is about as meaningless a definition of a pause in a noisy signal as you could want to see. Angech would be better off trying to learn from Nick and Tamino than insulting them (and tone-trolling here).

48. JeffH says:

Angech speaks as if there are two sides with respect to the theory of anthropogenic global warming. There isn’t, at least with respect to process and causation. We are driving warming and we need to do something about it. Period. It’s clear by now that most deniers are camouflaging alternate agendas with shoddy science. Those with opposing views therefore IMHO do not deserve to be heard at all. They are in effect muddying the waters and delaying action to deal with AGW.

I also disagree with Ragnaar saying that the answer to AGW will come from STEM. No, the solutions are linked exclusively to politics. This is not a scientific debate but a political one. Again, science is wheeled out by deniers because they sre forced to engage in it. But every environmental problem facing society today is locked together with politics and economics. This is not what many scientists and technologists want to hear but it is the unbridled truth.

49. JCH says:

The 1st 1/4 ocean heat content update is way late. Anybody know why?

Using WUWT-style paranoid wacko angech thinking, this has to mean the Trump administration doesn’t want the world to know there has been a huge pause busting, politicized uptick.

(I suspect there will be a slight increase.)

50. Ragnaar says:

STEM or Politics?

For STEM we have fracking. The product has value. So much so coal and nuclear are in trouble because of it. Natural gas is my number one choice for backing wind and solar.

It appears to me that politics has been seen as opposing fracking. President Obama and Clinton were enough in favor of it though.

STEM, economics and politics are linked and overlap. Politics sees successful links between the other two and says, How can we exploit that? Without having knowledge of either subject, they will be steered to our will. And with that we get second rate energy supplies because there was nothing to exploit. But there was. Electric utilities do a good job and provide value. So we can mix that and green energy and have them use some of their success money to pay for it. And we can blame them for a lot at the same time.

And where in all this do we get what we need? It’s reminiscent of the old Soviet Union that met its production goals. This grid was 100% renewables for 3 hours. The price of PV panels keeps dropping. It’s hype. Read half the proclamations of cities pledging to go with renewable power. It’s lost children playing in the adult world of STEM and value.

While I sympathize with JeffH, “I have decided since the publication of our paper in Bioscience to take the Dr. Dade approach to climate change deniers on blogs: Don’t respond, don’t answer, don’t engage.”
I feel his treatment is exactly the same as what has been handed out to scientists who express opposing views.

You might feel that way if you’re unable to grasp the distinction between “opposing views” and justified knowledge. Do you understand that science is a way of trying really hard not to fool yourself? Do you understand that you are the easiest person for you to fool? Do you therefore recognize that a scientist’s peers can spot mistakes in his work that he doesn’t? If you’re still with me, you’ll understand why consensus is essential for scientific progress. You’ll also understand that scientists who continue to express views opposing a lopsided consensus of their peers are prima facie in denial, of their ability to fool themselves at the very least.

Non-experts like you and me, Doc, need to recognize we aren’t competent to evaluate the scientific case for AGW in all its ramifications. That gives us two honest choices: either accept the consensus of the specialists who publish peer-reviewed climate science, although tentatively and provisionally, as they do; or simply be content not to know, and therefore have no opinion about it!

To be sure, there’s a finite probability that the expert consensus for AGW is wrong and at least one of your “scientists who express opposing views” is right. Yet a genuinely skeptical non-specialist will recognize that a strong consensus of specialists is favored by the principle of parsimony. The few qualified climate specialists who adhere to views that have been decisively rejected by their peers following iterative analysis in labs, conferences and specialist journals, are that much more likely to be fooling themselves!

Consequently IMIMO, trained scientists should know better than to expect courtesy if they persist in expressing views on AGW that a lopsided consensus of their peers have rejected. I feel no compunction on calling that scientist an AGW-denier. I hesitate even less to apply the label to any non-expert who thinks undead pseudo-skeptical memes deserve respect. Just in case I haven’t made myself clear: you, Doc, are an AGW-denier!

52. John Hartz says:

53. Ragnaar says:

Joshua:

I’d be happy with Ragnaar’s misdirect. Demonstrated on youtube: “Talladega Nights The magic man”.

Judith’s Gambit:

Are to, are to.

By responding, you’ve taken a pawn and in chess are plus one.

“..for the sake of some compensating advantage.”

I don’t know what that is? We’re all advocates. It’s Okay to be an advocate. I am an advocate and freely admit it. Can you drawn away from whatever is not an advocate and then fall on your face? This last one is way out there.

54. BBD says:

Your @angech was well put, Mal.

55. Ragnaar says:

Experts or non-experts.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/singularity/2012/07/12/rethinking-the-concept-of-outliers-why-non-experts-are-better-at-disruptive-innovation/#

You know more and more about less and less.

The fought over thing is a consensus of experts. It’s old school. One message is it’s fast. Faster than ever. Yet the authority is from a Titanic of consensus. Full of everyone all agreed fighting those not on the ship as if they are the problem and the new goal. Even the IPCC has been portrayed as this Titanic consensus now used by the skeptics to rebut new knowledge. Not that old consensus. This consensus supported by a dozen a papers, which I am sure everyone on the ship agrees with.

56. BBD says:

The fought over thing is a consensus of experts. It’s old school.

Mal explains the proper response above:

Non-experts like you and me, Doc, need to recognize we aren’t competent to evaluate the scientific case for AGW in all its ramifications. That gives us two honest choices: either accept the consensus of the specialists who publish peer-reviewed climate science, although tentatively and provisionally, as they do; or simply be content not to know, and therefore have no opinion about it!

That’s it. End of.

57. Jeff,

No, the solutions are linked exclusively to politics. This is not a scientific debate but a political one.

I agree. One problem I have is that this is sometimes framed as if we should stop discussing the science and should focus on the politics. If we had broad acceptance of the science, then I would agree, but we don’t seem to quite have this yet. Seems to me that you need to still focus somewhat on the science so that it is understood what problem it is that we’re trying to solve. In some cases I get the sense that people are almost suggesting redefining the problem so that it becomes potentially solveable. This could mean that we successfully solve this newly defined problem, but it’s not much good if this solution doesn’t address the problem that we really want to solve. Of course, people could choose to solve a different problem if they regard that as more appropriate, but then don’t pretend that you’re somehow solving another problem.

58. RICKA says:

100% renewable is unworkable.

100% nuclear seems to be unacceptable.

The current mix of 25% renewable and 75% fossil fuel isn’t good enough.

Before the political solution, it would be helpful if we had an acceptable technical solution with enough support to get the politicians working towards it.

We don’t really have that yet.

Ideally, we would invent a non-carbon energy source which was cheaper than all fossil fuels, solar, wind and nuclear.

But we don’t have that yet.

Sometimes it seems like we have the cart before the horse.

100% nuclear is technically a solution, but politically unacceptable (and more costly than fossil fuels). Still – if we had to pick one which would solve the problem – I would advocate going nuclear.

59. Sometimes it seems like we have the cart before the horse.

Maybe there is a problem that many people think we should be trying to do something about. Some of the solutions that we’re trying may well not be effective, or scaleable. Waiting until we have some kind of perfect solution is probably not optimal either.

60. @RICKA,

100% renewable is unworkable.

While no one has a schematic to release and build-to, the conclusion that 100% renewable being unworkable is highly premature. It is only obviously correct if, as a side condition, people insist that the structure, topology, and management of the present electrical grid and system of utility companies remains pretty much as it is. There is a technical solution … And that is: (1) to build out wind at 1X and 2X synoptic scales, and put it everywhere nearby population densities; (2) incentivize and put as much behind-the-meter solar as possible, including ground mounts everywhere, including in neighborhoods; (3) incentivize and create storage-as-a-service to displace the need for net metering and peaking gas plants; (4) roll out dynamic management of power using computing and controls; and (5) partitioning present-day grids into islands each characterized by the quality of power they need.

That, somehow, we need to preserve the current economic structure in the utilities industry is not a reason for 100% renewable to be unworkable. Indeed, if that indeed is the problem, I’d rather rephrase the above as saying

The current grid and its attendant economic and regulatory system is incapable of working with 100% renewables.

61. BBD says:

100% nuclear is technically a solution

Perhaps where geopolitically feasible, but I think it’s misleading to argue that nuclear is a potential global scale silver bullet because it so clearly is not, for numerous and obvious reasons.

62. Willard says:

Here would be one reason why contrarians may frown upon scientists speaking out and prefer to compartimentalize:

63. John Hartz says:

David Roberts lays out the generic roadmap for acheiving global climate targets in his excellent article:

What genuine, for real, no-bullshit ambition on climate change would look like: New scenarios show how to hit the most stringent targets, with no loopholes. by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, May 7, 2018

What the world needs now are more jounalists like Roberts. He has done his homework about climate science and energy matters and it shows in the quality of his articles.

64. angech says:

Speaking out #We Need To Change The World,
“If a scientist is considering speaking out about something, but is worried about being criticised for engaging in advocacy, maybe they should also consider the regret they may feel in future if they choose not to speak out. There may well be good reasons why some might choose to not speak out, and reasons why others may speak out despite potential criticism.”

So I speak out and get put down.
Some was constructive criticism.
JeffH ” Angech speaks as if there are two sides with respect to the theory of anthropogenic global warming. There isn’t, at least with respect to process and causation. We are driving warming and we need to do something about it. Period.”

Sad to hear “Those with opposing views therefore IMHO do not deserve to be heard at all.”
Honest, and I understand where he is coming from and why he says it and it sums up the views of everyone here. In my opinion mistaken. Despite “Doc, are an AGW-denier!” and “undead pseudo-skeptical memes” the message is this.
CO2 is increasing. Mankind is producing some of this. This should lead to a warmer world. There are many assumptions then made that are not being borne out.
I repeat, obviously not being borne out.
Again sad to hear that doom and gloom and the worst case scenario are the only possibilities considered. Pascal’s wager is given as the only option. JeffH and Mosher et al fall in this same trap.

Mal Adapted said, ” there’s a finite probability that the expert consensus for AGW is wrong and at least one of your “scientists who express opposing views” is right”.
Even this token nod is downplayed to the argument of believe the experts. I much prefer science and skepticism to belief any day, and on most other subjects I would expect most here to agree.

65. Steven Mosher says:

“People don’t want to be told how to live their lives, but they also demand their “rights”, which is wanting to have your cake and eat it, IMHO.”

I guess people missed the irony. The Irony is that it is damn near imposible to engage in any kind of conversation without someone somewhere believing that they are being told how to live their life. Every bit of speach is attacked for its motivated reasoning or whatever stealth advocacy, blah blah blah.
Heck Victor and others even argue that Silence is advocacy. Every thing is advocacy, which of course means nothing is advocacy because it’s lost it’s meaning.

I’m fine with that. Bring it. I judge that the best advocacy ATTP does is the science he does.
His science as advocacy is way better than his blogging. Desslers advocacy in his science publications, is way better than his tweets.
and the best advocacy Gavin does is the science he publishes.
And for the most part the best advocacy any scientist does is the science they publish.

Because, if it’s true that almost any speaking, if even silence is advocacy, then it seems that doing good science is speaking out, is advocacy. And from everything I observe, judging the effectiveness of the advocacy, I thinking the best advocacy most scientists do, is the science they do.
Life’s short, choose your fights. Opps there I go again..

66. Yeah, and some things, people are just not going to want to hear:

Manfred Lenzen, Ya-Yen Sun, Futu Faturay, Yuan-Peng Ting, Arne Geschke, Arunima Malik , “The carbon footprint of global tourism”, Nature Climate Change, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0141-x, 2018.

67. Steven Mosher says:

since the second half refers to the null set, you’ll have to work harder.

68. angech says:

“The Irony is that it is damn near imposible to engage in any kind of conversation without someone somewhere believing that they are being told how to live their life.”
So true.
I always say no to any request and then after 10 minutes find it easy to say yes when warranted. A sad lack of trust on my part but burnt too many times in the past.

69. Joshua says:

Keep flailing.

Now you’ve achieved the hockey equivalent of a golden sombrero. How high can you go?

70. Steven Mosher says:

let’s go for 10.

71. JeffH says:

As expected, I don’t agree with Steve at all. The best advocacy is to merely publish? Absolutely not! It isn’t remotely enough, because more often than not our results are twisted, distorted, mangled or ignored by those with political agendas. Scientists have both professional and moral responsibilities to speak out. Doing science is NOT advocacy if as is happening our results are ignored or distorted. I believe one of the reasons we are in such a dire predicament at the moment is precisely because too many scientists have remained in the labs and have been content to publish in the peer-reviewed literature and leave it up to others to interpret the significance of their work. I greatly admire the Ehrlich’s, Wilson’s, Mann’s, Trenberth’s, Hansen’s etc. who have been vocal advocates. These scientists are my role models. If more of us speak out then we will overwhelm the voices of denial by sheer mass.

72. Jeff,

I don’t agree with Steve at all.

I don’t either, but sometimes I get the sense that Steven is trying to provoke an argument and so I simply let it slide.

I think that researchers have an obligation to communicate publicly so that people understand the implications of what their research suggests. This doesn’t mean that everyone should do so, but it should be seen as a normal part of the process (IMO, at least).

73. angech wrote “So I speak out and get put down.”

You only get “put down” for intellectual dishonesty (e.g. making statements of fact without being able to substantiate them) not because you disagree.

“Some was constructive criticism.”

and some was hypocritical tone-trolling (as demonstrated by your behaviour at WUWT). Had you left it at the constructive criticism, you may have had a better reception.

74. ” The Irony is that it is damn near imposible to engage in any kind of conversation without someone somewhere believing that they are being told how to live their life. “

Ironically, there isn’t any irony there, it is exactly what would be expected.

75. Leto says:

Angech says: “So I speak out and get put down.”

Angech, I suspect you would be shocked if you saw yourself for even one moment as we see you. Really, think about it.

76. angech says:

DM
You only get “put down” for intellectual dishonesty (e.g. making statements of fact without being able to substantiate them). I did say,
“A pause is simply a flat line between two points in time. A slowdown is a different beast.
Pauses always go from the present backwards and new pauses are always occurring in most time series.The beauty of a pause in an uplifting temperature series is that it gets longer both ways once a dip in temperature occurs.The more it dips the further back in time the pause can go.”

“which is about as meaningless a definition of a pause in a noisy signal as you could want to see.”
Happy to discuss this with you if you do not mind. A pause definition is not that easy. At Lucia’s 2 years ago I went through this trying to get an adequate definition. Some people were trying to claim a slowdown was a pause. Which bits of the description do you object to most and how can one improve it?
The noisy signal is your description and I do not think of concern definition wise as a pause is a pause for any sort of signal, surely.

77. angech, ironically you are being intellectually dishonest again by ignoring your personal attacks on Nick Stokes and Tamino which were the reason for quoting your WUWT comment (as they demonstrated the hypocrisy of your tone-trolling here) and trying to deflect the discussion onto the technical aspects of defining a pause. Sorry, I am not going to be fooled by a ruse that transparent.

78. JeffH says:

Angech, why am I not pleased by ATTP’s next post? Please enlighten me. The risks of doing nothing about AGW are by now clearly apparent. What I have learned over the years of doing battle with climate change deniers and anti-environmentalists is that they exaggerate uncertainty. It is their modus operandi, their Royal flush. Without 100% unequivocal proof of some process there is no problem. Essentially, Rome must be burned to the ground before they will admit that there was a fire to begin with. They are mastering the art of exploiting uncertainty with AGW. This is why I believe that more scientists need to step out of the herd to expose them and to emphasize what we do know and why we need to take urgent measures sooner rather than later.

79. Dave_Geologist says:

I repeat, obviously not being borne out.

angech, has it never occurred to you that blatant falsehoods like that are why you get piled upon when you come here?

A pause definition is not that easy

Yes it is. The null hypothesis to the “pause” claim is that there is no pause. Tested on that basis, there was no pause. See Tamino and others. That also takes care of the two/five/ten years argument, because the short intervals fail to reach statistical significance even if there was a decline

Heck, there was no pause even if you just do simple OLR and ignore autocorrelation. Claiming that there was a pause because there is a 5% chance that the slope was zero or negative is shameless goalpost-shifting.

You know more and more about less and less.

Scientific training is useful for understanding all phenomena, but OTOH it’s true that specialists recognized by their peers as ‘expert’ are often, erm, strongly focused on their research topics. Regardless, scientists have no privileges or obligations the rest of us don’t, in the political arena. IMIMO, practical responsibility for collective action in even nominally democratic societies is equally distributed among all eligible voters. I draw that inference from the observation (dubiously attrib. A. Lincoln) that “you can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time”; and from my confidence that there’s not enough fossil-fuel money to hire an image manager who never makes mistakes!

Therefore: the smart people on this blog each own, for better or worse, an equal share of responsibility to get out the vote for at-least-incrementally effective decarbonization policy, at all levels of our governments ;^)! (‘see what I did there?’). Under the de facto plutocracy currently ascendant in the USA, that includes votes for the lesser of two plutocratic lackeys. Perfect is the enemy of better!

81. @angech,

I also think that the AGW-or-not discussion is stovepiped and myopic when restricted to a discussion of the geophysics. That

We are driving warming and we need to do something about it. Period.

should be less controversial to those who doubt it if seen in the context of the other enormous changes humanity makes which affect the biosphere, whether it is our emission of plastics into the seas, or even things as basic as urban, suburban, and agricultural development. Seen in a broader context of environmental impacts of growth, that we are also affecting the climate through greenhouse gas emissions is at best a “Sure, what else is new?” response, not a denial. I’d also suggest that an attitude consistent with that of the Dominionists, that

We were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth … for our benefit not for the Earth’s benefit.

fails to appreciate the degree to which our continued existence is interwoven with the biosphere, its ecological services, even our gut microbiota. To think we can continue without it, wihout nurturing it is only consistent in the belief of some Divine Rescue Mission coming to protect us, because, well, we’re special.

Whether it’s migrating animals or insects response to warming, or the increasing success of the most hardy plant species on the planet — which are laughingly called invasives — a biological perspective has been screaming “Climate change!” in the manner of Bill Nye for a long time.

some Divine Rescue Mission coming to protect us

Heh. Not enough of us have hit bottom yet. When the time comes, however, our options include Rosicrucianism and Melanesian frog worship.

83. Willard says:

Your religulous jabs are becoming unbecoming, Mal.

What, you mean this isn’t Pharyngula? WWND? He’d make unbecoming religious jabs. I therefore will resist making them.

85. JeffH says:

Hypergeometric, invasive plants are called that because they are, er…. invasive. Hardiness has nothing to do with their success. More often than not they benefit by escaping from co-evolved antagonists such as pathogens or herbivores. Humans are biologically homogenising the planet, with serious consequences for native biota. Climate change will simply exacerbate the deleterious effects of other anthropogenic stresses. But to come back to the original point, invasion ecology is an important branch of global change biology. The vast majority of ecologists – myself included – refer to organisms transported to new biomes outside of their original range and which subsequently become dominant and/or disruptive as invasives. We do that because they are.

86. @JeffH,

Yeah, but del Tredici disagrees, being an expert on the matter, and, being halfway through his book, I not only understand why, I remember my college Botany prof saying something like this:

Perhaps the most well-known example of a “spontaneous” plant is Ailanthus altissima or tree-of-heaven, introduced from China. Widely planted in the Northeast in the first half of the nineteenth century, Ailanthus was later rejected by urban tree planters as uncouth and weedy. Despite concerted efforts at eradication, the tree managed to persist by sprouting from its roots and spread by scattering its wind-dispersed seeds …

Although it is ubiquitous in the urban landscape, Ailanthus is never counted in street tree inventories because no one planted it — and consequently its contribution to making the city a more livable place goes completely unrecognized. When the major of New York City promised in 2007 to plant a million trees to fight global warming, he failed to realize … that if the Ailanthus trees already growing throughout the city were counted he would be halfway toward his goal without doing anything. And that, of course, is the larger purpose of this book: to open people’s eyes to the ecological reality of our cities and appreciate it for what it is without passing judgment on it. Ailanthus is just as good at sequestering carbon and creating shade as our beloved native species or showy horticultural selections. Indeed, if one were to ask whether our cities would be better or worse without Ailanthus, the answer would clearly be the latter, given that the tree typically grows where few other plants can survive.

There is no denying the fact that many — if not most — of the plants covered in this book suffer from image problems associated with the label “weeds” — or, to use a more recent term, “invasive species.” From the plant’s perspective, invasiveness is just another word for successful reproduction — the ultimate goal of all organisms, including humans. From a utilitarian perspective, a weed is any plant that grows by itself in a place where people do not want it to grow. The term is a value judgment that humans apply to plants we do not like, not a biological characteristic. Calling a plant a weed gives us license to eradicate it. In a similar vein, calling a plant invasive allows us to blame it for ruining the environment when really it is humans who are actually to blame. From the biological perspective, weeds are plants that are adapted to disturbance in all its myriad forms, from bulldozers to acid rain. Their pervasiveness in the urban environment is simply a reflection of the continual disruption that characterizes this habitat. Weeds are the symptoms of environmental degradation, not its cause, and as such they are poised to become increasingly abundant within our lifetimes.

(Slight emphasis added by blog post author in a couple of places.)

He’s not the only one.

As my (as yet incomplete) blog post above documents, there’s a developing literature on what exactly the term invasive species means, and, if that term is accepted, invasible ecosystem necessarily comes with it, hand in hand. And that logically leads to the question Why is a particular ecosystem invasible?

87. Jeffh says:

Hypergeometric, I take your points, but del Tredici is a botanist and he hasn’t done much primary research at all on the ecological and economic costs of invasive species. I study them too and without coming across as crass I feel every bit as qualified as him to comment on the subject. Or why not quote Daniel Simberloff, perhaps more qualified to speak on the subject of invasive species than any other scientist? Yes, of course there are outliers. But a large number of species have been accidentally or deliberately introduced by man into non-native evosytems where their effect on the native flora and fauna has been disastrous. I am not only referring to plants, of course, but to animals. I co-authored a review on the effects of invasive plants on native insects for Annual Review of Entomology in 2014. In our paper we pointed out a few examples where invasive plants were indeed beneficial – such as providing alternate foodplants or floral sources for pollinators – but the net effect was clearly deleterious. Whatever attempts to rehabilitate invasive species are being made are easily countered by rejoinders.

As for ecosystems being invasible, that’s easy. New species may possess novel traits that give them a competitive edge over natives. As I said before, invasives may also benefit from release from co-evolved enemies, something native species do not have the luxury of. In my opinion del Tredici is wrong. He is entitled to his opinion but most of us working with invasives would say that he is super selective in his examples. His primary research record in the field is weak. The bottom line is that efforts to eradicate ecologically and economically disruptive invasives are ongoing. There is a very good reason for this. Many successful invasives are harmful.

88. @Jeffh,

I certainly respect your viewpoint and opinion, but, if as you say, this perspective is so wrong, it clearly hasn’t been challenged enough in the open literature. And dismissing del Tredici because he’s just a botanist’ is about as unscientific a dismissal as I can imagine. Are Rejmánek, Richardson, and Pyšek wrong, too? There’s this, for example:

from their “Plant invasions and invasibility of plant communities” which appeared in Vegetation Ecology.

I’m actually pretty interested in this stuff, at least from the perspective of ecological modeling and engineering, mostly in seeing where statistical analysis and control theory methods might illuminate what’s going on. In particular, it seems one-patch/one-invader dynamics might be worked out, but it seems to me there are limits on what can be learned in the large from such an approach. I mean, it isn’t possible, at present to watch everything. (Maybe some day …) I mean there’s

Rinella, et al, from 2009, Ecological Applications, “Control effort exacerbates invasive‐species problem”, and Parker, et al, 2013, “Do invasive species perform better in their new ranges?” in Ecology, and Bertness and Coverdale, 2013, Ecology, “An invasive species facilitates the recovery of salt marsh ecosystems on Cape Cod”, and Lohr, et al in 2017’s Ecosphere with “Modeling dynamics of native and invasive species to guide prioritization of management actions.”

Also, my personal history of study is quantitative and so I prefer sessile communities.

89. angech says:

JeffH says:
“Angech, why am I not pleased by ATTP’s next post? Please enlighten me.”
JeffH says: May 7, 2018 at 12:50 pm
” Those with opposing views therefore IMHO do not deserve to be heard at all”
Yet there is ATTP giving clear air to Roy Spencer.

90. angech says:

Dave_Geologist says: May 8, 2018 at 12:05 pm
” I repeat, obviously not being borne out.angech, has it never occurred to you that blatant falsehoods like that are why you get piled upon when you come here?”

-Dear Dave, as others here say full quote please
“Honest, and I understand where he is coming from and why he says it and it sums up the views of everyone here. In my opinion mistaken. Despite “Doc, are an AGW-denier!” and “undead pseudo-skeptical memes” the message is this.
CO2 is increasing. Mankind is producing some of this. This should lead to a warmer world. There are many assumptions then made that are not being borne out. I repeat, obviously not being borne out.”

Nothing false there.
CO2 increasing. tick.
Mankind cause. Tick.
Warmer world. tick.
Many assumptions.tick.
Obviously not being borne out.tick.
Which would you like?
Antarctica 30 years of above average ice?
No hot spot?
No 0.3 C of warming.
Islands submerged? tick.

A pause definition is not that easy

Yes it is. The null hypothesis to the “pause” claim is that there is no pause. Tested on that basis, there was no pause. See Tamino and others. That also takes care of the two/five/ten years argument, because the short intervals fail to reach statistical significance even if there was a decline

Heck, there was no pause even if you just do simple OLR and ignore autocorrelation. Claiming that there was a pause because there is a 5% chance that the slope was zero or negative is shameless goalpost-shifting.

91. angech says:

Dave_Geologist says: May 8, 2018 at 12:05 pm
“A pause definition is not that easy.” “Yes it is.”

So.
Waiting.
Where is it?
Oh, you have chosen not to give one.
Which is not that surprising really because whatever you give will be taken apart by everyone here.

Wait.
I’m sorry, you wrote
“The null hypothesis to the “pause” claim is that there is no pause.”
I was asking for a definition of a pause, as opposed to a definition of the “Non existent Pause”.
Fail.
-” Claiming that there was a pause because there is a 5% chance that the slope was zero or negative is shameless goalpost-shifting.”
My definition of a pause was that the trend had become 100% zero. Is that clear?
Perhaps ATTP in his wisdom could put up a post by himself , DM or BBD or Willard or VTG or VV on the definition of a pause.

92. Jeffh says:

Angech, imo deniers still don’t deserve to be heard, period, any more than flat Earthers. They are a serious distraction at a time when actions to mitigate GHG emissions are urgently required.

The Antarctic most certainly does not have above average ice cover and we know now that it is ablating. Any more false ‘factoids’ you wish to make here?

93. Jeffh says:

Hypergeometric, yes this is an interesting discussion and I will check out the 2002 study.

I still reiterate that the net ecological effects of invasive species is profoundly negative. The empirical literature is full of examples: hemlock woolley adelgid, emerald ash borer, garlic mustard, brome grass, cheat grass, russian olive, yellow star thistle, melaleuca, dutch elm disease, chestnut blight, kudzu vine, water hyacinth, lamprey eel, brown tree snake, burmese python, cane toad, starling et al libitum. There are countless examples of plants and animals introduced into non native evosystems that had profoundly deleterious effects on native species either via bottom-up effects or trophic cascades. Garlic mustard has become so dominant in eastern North America that it has displaced native food plants of species like the west Virginia white butterfly like Cardamine dephylla; the butterflies lay their eggs on garlic mustard but the plant is toxic to their larvae. Invasive brome grass fragments native spartina grass plots, driving declines in specialist insect herbivores and their natural enemes. Brown tree snakes effectively wiped out the native birds of Guam. Again, the empirical literature is overflowing with similar examples. Invasives are not necessarily hardier than natives. They simply possess novel traits such as allelochemistry that native species have not co-evolved with. Alternatively, they have escaped from their co-evolved enemies. In parts of Europe, wild cherry, Prunus serotina, is overgrowing in forests and outcompeting native vegetation. Yet in its native North American range it is an interstitial tree. The reason is down to the Janzen-Connell hypothesis: highly aggressive native soil pathogens limit the germination success of seedlings in the native range. However, over here in Europe the pathogen is absent.

94. angech fails to acknowledge the fact he has been disingenuous yet again, or try to defend his bhaviour, and I suspect will go on to complain about being criticised.

angech says to D_G “Fail.”

This sort of rudeness to someone with a far deeper knowledge may be O.K. for WUWT, but here it is just another sign that you are not engaging in the discussion in good-faith. What D_G wrote was of course perfectly reasonable, if you had any understanding of scientific method or statistics, you would know that.

“Perhaps ATTP in his wisdom could put up a post by himself , DM or BBD or Willard or VTG or VV on the definition of a pause.”

This again is disingenuous behaviour. I had already told angech that I am not going to fall for a ruse as transparent as diverting the discussion onto a definition of the pause, so trying to bring me back into the discussion is blatant trolling. Again, I am not going to fall for that.

angech says to D_G “-Dear Dave, as others here say full quote please” why, you will only use the irrelevant context to avoid the key issue, as you did with my full quote. This sort of rhetorical bullshit is not appreciated.

95. BBD says:

Many assumptions.tick.
Obviously not being borne out.tick.

[Yoda voice] Strawmanning, you are:

Which would you like?

Oh, any real ones will do. These won’t:

Antarctica 30 years of above average ice?
No hot spot?
No 0.3 C of warming.
Islands submerged? tick.

Lots of Ice mass loss from the WAIS, as expected. The slightly increased sea ice area may be natural variability or a consequence of AGW, eg. glacial melt sitting on top of sea water. The claim that there is ‘no hotspot’ goes well beyond the available evidence. The 0.3C warming is meaningless without a timescale and acknowledgement of the short-term effects of real world natural variability. Nobody said islands would be submerged already and SLR is progressing as expected.

Once again, just a lot of rhetorical trickery and IMO really pungent bad faith.

96. Dave_Geologist says:

angech
Mankind cause. Tick.
Warmer world. tick.
Many assumptions.tick.
Obviously not being borne out.tick.

Which would you like?
Antarctica 30 years of above average ice?

Land ice or sea ice? I notice you carefully ignore the Arctic. OK that’s being disingenuous, not dishonest. Although I see no moral difference between the two. Please provide a 30-year projection and 30 years of observations to support your claim

No hot spot?

No 0.3 C of warming.

Where, from when, to when

Islands submerged? tick.

Which islands, submerged by when, and source for the claim please.

97. @Jeffh,

Thanks. Interesting.

Regarding

Garlic mustard has become so dominant in eastern North America that it has displaced native food plants of species like the west Virginia white butterfly like Cardamine dephylla; the butterflies lay their eggs on garlic mustard but the plant is toxic to their larvae.

it also, according to del Tredici, “… gains a comparative advantage by producing chemicals that suppress the growth of the mycorrhizal fungi that live on the roots of other plants.” He also notes that spread is facilitated by the fact that deer do not eat it.

However, what’s interesting about Alliaria is that it was first reported as growing in Long Island in 1868 but did not begin spreading rapidly throughout the Northeast until 1980. I wonder why the 112 year gap? And I wonder how that is compatible with their supposed Verhulst $r$ strategy.

98. Dave_Geologist says:

My definition of a pause was that the trend had become 100% zero. Is that clear?

Oh well, angech, that’s easy then. “The trend had become 100% zero” means that the statistical uncertainty envelope around zero trend is infinitesimally small, i.e. that every data point lies exactly on a horizontal line. Pick any temperature data set you like and you’ll find that’s not the case. So no pause.

Cherry-pick a start and end point with the same temperature and you have two points with a slope of zero, but that is not a statistically significant pause. My handy stats textbook tells me that the confidence interval on the slope b is ± t*SEb. But since you only have two points the standard deviation is zero and the sum of squared differences is also zero. So the standard error is zero divided by zero. My table of t values stops at one degree of freedom and you’ve got none. But it’s going up steeply so I’ll assume that if anyone was silly enough to tabulate it, it would be infinity. So I get infinity times zero divided by zero. Let’s just call it infinity, or let’s just stop being silly and say that the two-point trend is over-determined and of no statistical significance.

As you add more points, even if you pick ones that give you a slope of zero, the uncertainty limits on the slope will range above and below the zero line. Very widely with a few points, narrowing with more points, but before you reach the stage where the upper bound has fallen to zero, you’ll run out of pause and the central slope will be upwards. Go ahead, try it and report back.

I was being more generous than 100% and saying that I’ll accept that there has been a pause if the upper 95% confidence limit on the trend is zero or negative. Of course that means that the central trend is negative and that the 5% lower bound is well negative. But that’s what it takes if you hold the pause to the same scientific standards as you hold the warming trend. If you claim a pause, the burden of proof is on you, and you’re the one who has to demonstrate that it’s robust at the 95% confidence level.

99. JCH says:

Several years ago a reader at RC asked in the comments how long a period of no warming it would take for RC to admit there was a problem with the theory of AGW, and Gavin Schmidt gave an answer that I think is a reasonable definition, with a couple of improvements, of what defines a warming hiatus. I can’t find it. The gist was the number of years elapsed before another record warmest year, of sufficient size, in group of data sets. I would guess it was around 2009 to 2011. He added a section to the article being discussed and included a probability graphic.

100. Jeffh says:

Hypergeometric, I note that del Tredici hasn’t really published all that much in the empirical literature and to be honest his CV is pretty mediocre for someone that you would describe as an ‘expert’. On the Web of Science I found 41 publications and an h-factor of 12. This is not particularly impressive for someone who published their first paper in 1975. I don’t want to beat my own drum too much but I published my first paper in 1993 and now have 190 including a number on invasive plants with an h-factor of 44. Del Tredici’s most cited paper is one with many authors in Nature in 2011 with Mark Davis as lead author that tries – and, based on the immense response to it – fails to successfully rehabilitate the reputation of invasive species. I agree that we need to evaluate them on a case by case basis, but by now we have enough data showing that a large number are extremely harmful to native ecosystems. Heck, this morning I forgot to throw in pathogens like Dengue fever or malaria. The list is immense.

As for garlic mustard, indeed it produces secondary metabolites such as alliarinoside that are novel amongst North American plants and which are allelopathic to root mutualists of trees as well as toxic to native herbivores in Canada and United States. John Klironomos and Dan Cipollini have studied the plant extensively. This is an example of the novel weapons I alluded to earlier that give the plant a competitive edge over natives. Moreover, native pierid butterflies in Europe readily feed on the plant whereas it is toxic to North American congeners. The main point is that several factors might explain why invasive species become disruptive in their new ranges – and why we need to control or eradicate them if possible. In the western United States, a number of invasive plants are an absolute scourge.

101. @Jeffh,

We’ll need to disagree on both counts.

First, del Tredici is not only a botanist, but he is also more-or-less a landscaping engineer, working with a group at Harvard to advocate for sustainable landscaping and rapid restoration of wild species near coasts and in urban areas. This is part of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, not Botany. He has also collaborated at MIT on things ordinary academic filters would not recognize.

Not only might your ratings filter therefore discount some of his contributions, it’s also odd. Google Scholar counts 363 publications since 1993, the year you first began publishing.

Second, you and others call garlic mustard a scourge. All I see is one remarkable, admirable plant, with amazing capabilities, ones to which I respond with awe and respect. But, then, hey, I’m basically an engineer and my degree is from MIT.

Ima jump into the invasive species slapfightdialogue here. As a once-wannabe professional and now over-educated armachair ecologist, I basically support JeffH, but as he no doubt knows it gets quickly gets complicated. My scientific take is that, out of uncounted thousands of species transported, deliberately or otherwise, across biogeographic boundaries by humans in the past five centuries, it’s simple enough to enumerate the relatively small number meeting defined criteria for ‘invasive’. It’s far from simple, indeed folly IMIMO, to predict whether or not any random new introduction will become invasive. That’s because beyond trivial limits, future evolutionary trajectories can’t be predicted with confidence for any species. In the ecological theater of the evolutionary play, as it were, all characters create their own roles extemporaneously and contingently.

As JeffH points out, the prevailing hypothesis is that specific anthropogenically introduced species are able to out-compete and displace established native species from stable communities because they’ve left the co-evolved predators, parasites and pathogens of their homelands behind. It’s already well established that native ecosystems degraded by human disturbance, e.g. removal of one or more native species, are more easily invaded by alien species. We’re along way from even asking the important questions, however, never mind answering them with confidence.

Moral judgment about anthropogenic invasions, meanwhile, and the resulting erosion of landscape-scale biodiversity on the invaded ground, must IMIMO be made according to each observer’s private moral sense. The “anthropocene” great extinction is only the sixth such event seen in the fossil record of the last 500 million years. Speaking as an obsessive nature geek since childhood, I personally grieve for all the wonderful and strange creatures humanity has already consigned to oblivion, along with those now and soon to be doomed. I don’t expect the majority of Earth’s human population to feel the same way I do, however, or even to notice any particular disappearance. Aldo Leopold said it better than I can:

One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.

… [T]he prevailing hypothesis is that specific anthropogenically introduced species are able to out-compete and displace established native species from stable communities because they’ve left the co-evolved predators, parasites and pathogens of their homelands behind.

Thanks, Mal. I understand that’s the hypothesis, and what I’m about to observe might fall into the “it gets quickly gets complicated” bucket. But, if that hypothesis is true it should be quantitatively testable in several ways. And that’s what I’m interested in. In particular, if such “introduced species” lack “co-evolved predators, parasites and pathogens”, then their growth patterns and numbers, setting aside eradication attempts, ought to follow certain population curves, almost mathematically. (Big fan and student of Professor Ruth King, and her book with Morgan, Gimenez, and Brookd. Indeed, I use some of their methods in my professional work with Internet populations.) To the degree they do, great, the hypothesis holds up. To the degree they don’t, then either something more complicated is going on, or the hypothesis is not correct. This is why

S. L. Flory, K. Clay, “Invasive shrub distribution varies with distance to roads and stand age in eastern deciduous forests in Indiana, USA”, Plant Ecology, 2006, 184:131-141`

is interesting to me. If the species is unbridled, why does its density depend upon distance from roads? No answer yet, but the study provides constraints. Also, what about that 112 years?

Also, it seems to me that there also needs to be assigned to such “introduced species” some kind of loss function based upon or damage score. Not all instances of such species in all habitats or ecosystems are equally damaging. Indeed, that there are commingled biocenostics to worry about when glyphosphate is applied means the intruder isn’t fatal to all neighbors equally.

Anyway, a nod and acknowledgment to you both. Thanks for the excellent discussion.

Now, I’m going to go out to our back yard and admire a patch of Alliaria petiolata growing on the border of our pesticide-free property with our neighbor who loves to hire landscapers who use weedkillers. It doesn’t grow elsewhere on our property though … And we’re moving to a xeriscape.

104. BBD says:

Meanwhile, at vast expense, the last rats and mice have been exterminated on South Georgia Island. Clearly they didn’t get the memo.

105. angech says:

Dave_Geologist says: May 9, 2018 at 2:28 pm
My definition of a pause was that the trend had become 100% zero. Is that clear?
” angech, that’s easy then. “The trend had become 100% zero” means that the statistical uncertainty envelope around zero trend is infinitesimally small, i.e. that every data point lies exactly on a horizontal line. Pick any temperature data set you like and you’ll find that’s not the case. So no pause.”

Dave,The trend line of a pause is between two points that have exactly the same value. No statistical uncertainty envelope required.
Note that every data point does not have to lie on the trend line.
Just two.
Look at the Skeptical science ladder, lots of “pauses” there. They even define them as [seeming or fake] pauses.

106. angech,

The trend line of a pause is between two points that have exactly the same value. No statistical uncertainty envelope required.

Wrong, it is required. The uncertainty means that you don’t know the trend with absolute certainty. The shorter the timescale, the larger the uncertainy in the trend. You can’t choose to ignore this.

107. angech wrote “My definition of a pause was that the trend had become 100% zero. Is that clear?”

You are entitled to define a pause in a completely meaningless way, but repeating that definition is not an adequate response to more sensible definitions.

I think the point D_G was making was that GMST is (in principle) a real number, so the probability of the difference in two temperatures being exactly zero is, well, zero. So as well as being a meaningless definition of a pause, it is ill-posed.

Of course all this is just bluster to get away from the original subject, which was angech’s tone-trolling here is entirely hypocritical, as demonstrated by his behaviour at WUWT while discussing the “pause”.

108. izen says:

@-Mal
“In the ecological theater of the evolutionary play, as it were, all characters create their own roles extemporaneously and contingently.”

Oh thats good.
I will probably steal that when the occasion arises!

109. Dave_Geologist says:

Thanks dikran. That too (Real Number, although perhaps a tad pedantic).

But the point I was making was that if you define it angech’s way (pick two points you like and ignore the intervening dozens/hundreds/whatever), you’re not defining a dozens/hundreds/whatever-point trend, but a two point trend. Which may have a central slope of zero, but has a huge or undefined (infinite?) uncertainty on the slope.

So even without the multiple-testing/researcher-degrees-of-freedom problem, you only have a 50% chance of a zero or negative slope. The other 50% is positive, so you can’t get to the usual 95% confidence level in the pause, so there is no pause. Or sauce-for-the-gander, and you have to say the positive slope also has only to meet 50% confidence not 95%, in which case it wins hands-down.

Of course angech has picked two points out of hundreds, with a start and end point choice in the hundreds. So angech has about a million choices, and with a Bonferroni correction has to meet not 95% confidence but 99.99995% confidence. So no chance. Yes, I know that’s silly, but I’m using it to point up the silliness of angech’s “argument”.

110. Joshua says:

I guess directly related to “speaking out”…

This kind of shit makes me just want to go live in a cabin in the woods with no electricity:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/opinion/intellectual-dark-web.html

111. where is izen’s pedant-o-meter when you need it? ;o)

112. Joshua says:

izen:

Oh thats good.

I think so too. WWND? He’d claim it was original. It’s actually a paraphrase of G. Evelyn Hutchinson. I don’t know how much paraphrasing is required without a citation, so I gave myself the benefit of the doubt 8^} (‘slightly embarrassed’).

114. Joshua says:

I think you guys misunderstand.

angech is a Buddhist

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

If you practice the Buddha you must kill the Buddha

——-

Two monks were arguing about a flag. One said: “The flag is moving.”

The other said: “The wind is moving.”

The sixth patriarch happened to be passing by. He told them: “Not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving.”

Joshua, quoting one Adam H. Johnson:

the NYTimes–the most influential paper in the ENTIRE GODDAMN UNIVERSE

Citation needed, unless Mr. Johnson is using humorous hyperbole. At face value, he appears grandiose. OTOH, if he thinks he’s a wit, he’s half right (paraphrasing Christopher Hitchens). Is he aware just how little influence traditional print media, even the old Gray Lady, have in the Internet age? While the NYTimes may once have been the gatekeeper, we can now readily limit ourselves to all fake news all the time.

116. Joshua says:

Mal –

1) It’s humor. Deconstruct it too much and you become a bore.

2) the Internet isn’t a paper.

3) do you seriously question that the NYT is quite influential?

117. Willard says:

It’s humor. Deconstruct it too much and you become a bore.

Ah, now it’s clear. I suppose one must twitter in order to have the humorous context. Sorry, but IMIMO the lossy compression required by the 280-character limit leaves few thoughts worth reading.

[pedant]
I myself subscribe to NTYimes.com, and regard it as the most useful of the surviving print news media for my purposes. WRT its trustworthiness, it skews close to neutral on this media bias chart; the chart’s developer defines her own horizontal scale, of course, but at least it appeals to my own biases. Regardless, while the NYTimes may well be ‘the most influential paper in the ENTIRE GODDAMN UNIVERSE”, that’s probably impossible to verify as stated.
[/pedant]

OTOH, I employed ‘the Internet’ as a metonym for ‘the news’ (‘twitter’ is another). Enthusiastically abetted by Twitter.com, Facebook.com, Infowars.com, Brietbart.com etc., a generation of professional and volunteer ‘journalists’, proudly unconstrained by regard for the truth, now caters to the demands of the voluntarily misinformed. Looking around at current political conditions in the USA, one might reasonably question how much influence even the NYTimes has in the present.

119. angech says:

Joshua says: May 10, 2018 at 1:16 pm I think you guys misunderstand.angech is a Buddhist.
…and Then There’s Physics says:
“The trend line of a pause is between two points that have exactly the same value. No statistical uncertainty envelope required. Wrong, it is required. The uncertainty means that you don’t know the trend with absolute certainty. The shorter the timescale, the larger the uncertainy in the trend. You can’t choose to ignore this.”
Never argue with the boss.
-DG “angech has picked two points out of hundreds, with a start and end point choice in the hundreds. So angech has about a million choices, and with a Bonferroni correction has to meet not 95% confidence but 99.99995% confidence.”
Your definition of a pause, then, DG? In any graph?
Anyone?

120. angech wrote “Anyone?”

If you admit to the hypocrisy of your tone-trolling, which the quote about pauses was there to demonstrate then I will be happy to discuss the definition of a pause with you. However, while it is just being used as a device to avoid the subject of your attacks on Nick Stokes and Tamino, I will not pander to that sort of disingenuous rhetoric.

121. Dave_Geologist says:

Your definition of a pause, then, DG? In any graph?
Anyone?

I gave it already angech. A series of points from any (sensible) dataset you choose. I’ll let you pick the start and end points, but no missing out intermediate points. Do an ordinary least squares regression for simplicity. Extract not just the regression slope, but the 5% and 95% confidence limits on the slope (you may need an add-in if you’re using Excel, or if there are only a few points you can calculate it manually). In order to qualify as a pause, with 95% confidence, the upper confidence limit (the more positive one) has to be zero or negative. Not just the regression slope. Otherwise it’s not a pause. If the regression slope is negative but the upper limit is positive, it’s a maybe-pause but also a maybe-not-a-pause, so not demonstrated at the required confidence level.

That’s how the big boys play. All climatology has to meet that standard, Why should you be excused?

122. angech says:

Thanks DG. Since no one is interested we might stop there.
I will just watch the comments on the RCP’s for the moment.

123. dikranmarsupial says:

angech wrote “Thanks DG. Since no one is interested we might stop there.”

angech being dishonest again. I said I would discuss it with him, provided he was willing to acknowledge that his tone trolling about attacks was hypocritical, given his attacks on Nick Stokes and Tamino at WUWT. His attacks related to the pause, and I quoted them in full to make it clear I hadn’t misrepresented him, but angech has cynically used the pause as a means of evading discussion of his hypocrisy.

Angech makes it very clear that it was just a ploy by asking D_G for his definition and then completely ignoring what D_G actually wrote and immediately walking away from the discussion. That really is not acceptable behaviour in a scientific discussion.

124. Dave_Geologist says:

It was good to get it off my chest dikran. It’s one of my favourite bugbears, and I’m sure Tamino or someone did a post on it, back when the “pause” was a Thing to the wider world, and not just for angech, Lord Lawson and a few other stragglers.

If you’re asserting the existence of a pause, as opposed to saying one can’t be ruled out with 95% confidence, the burden of proof flips and it’s the pause which has to meet the 95% confidence threshold. Obviously it never does, because if you make the interval short enough to exclude an upward trend, the noise in the data guarantees that the upper 95% limit will have a positive slope. Indeed, IIRC for most analyses it encompasses a straight-line continuation from before the pause. So a pause is no more likely than business-as-usual warming.

125. Tamino is starting to look at cyclic patterns in the data

https://tamino.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/sea-level-on-the-u-s-east-coast/

He has discovered the physically aliased tidal patterns of 12.8 year and 433 day cycles in sea-level time series. Note to Dave_Geologist

126. @WHUT, @Dave_Geologist,

There are intriguing cycles in the Keeling Curve, too, and not only the respiration from Northern Hemisphere forests. What’s interesting are the deviations from these. (See also, earlier.) That is, take away the longterm trend, and take away the periodic portion of $y_{t} = a (t-t_{0}) + d_{t} + x_{t} + \eta_{t}$, which I (and others) define to be so $0 = \sum_{i=0}^{N-1} x_{i}$. So the first term of $a (t-t_{0}) + d_{t} + x_{t} + \eta_{t}$ is the trend (with rate of increase $a$), the $d_{t}$ is the signal I’m talking about, $x_{t}$ is the periodic portion, and $\eta_{t}$ is some kind of non-stationary noise term, principally identified because $|\eta_{t}|$ is much smaller than the remaining components and $\eta_{t}$‘s long term spectrum is white. (Okay, maybe a little red.) And, yes, there are identifiability issues confounding $d_{t}$ with $\eta_{t}$, but (a) that’s where all the fun is, and (b) this is not a stranger to climate work. Here’s it’s a CO2 curve, but, as near as I can tell, for global mean surface temperature, $\eta_{t}$-like things are what climatologists mean by internal variability.

127. Yes, in fact deviations in the Keeling curve is a favorite among skeptics who think that it proves that the naturally varying temperature is driving the CO2 increase. But it’s pretty clear that ENSO is providing the second-order variations in CO2 as an Arrhenius rate factor.
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/09/el-ninos-effect-onco2-causes-confusion/

128. D_G I think angech was trying to distract me with the diversion, rather than anyone else. It is certainly something that could be better understood on climate blogs generally.

If you’re asserting the existence of a pause, as opposed to saying one can’t be ruled out with 95% confidence, the burden of proof flips and it’s the pause which has to meet the 95% confidence threshold.

This is exactly right, the null hypothesis should play devil’s advocate, i.e. it should be the thing you don’t want to be true, as the main value of frequentist null hypothesis tests (even with their fundamental flaws) is to enforce a degree of self-skepticism, which is absent entirely if you start out assuming you are right (by arguing for the null hypothesis). Competent statisticians can set up a meaningful test when arguing for the null hypothesis, and occasionally there are reasons to do it that way round, but then you need to worry about the power of the test (which is far more tricky). I wrote a blog post at SkS on this topic “What does ‘Statistically Significant’ Mean Anyway?”.

As for my definition, if the argument is that there is a pause in warming, then that means that it was warming but it isn’t now. In that case the null hypothesis should be that warming has continued at a constant rate and the onus is on the researcher (skeptic) to demonstrate statistically significant evidence for a break-point (i.e. a change in the rate of warming), taking proper account of autocorrelation etc. if using monthly data. Oddly enough skeptics never seem to want to do that, even though it only requires STATS 101 level understanding to know that is the right way to do it. Perhaps it is because it doesn’t give the right result… ;o)

BTW I’d avoid saying things like “95% confidence” if it is a frequentist test as 95% confidence suggests that there is a 5% chance that you are wrong, and no frequentist test can tell you that, which is why they always talk about a ” 95% level of significance” , which is is not at all the same thing! ;o)

129. angechangech says:

Good to see some ongoing interest in pauses, both in general and “the pause”.
I did not ignore DG and walk away from the discussion, my response to DG was considered not suitable.
I am interested in discussing it further with anyone happy to just discuss it, fullstop.
Without conditions.
The above seems directed at the “Pause” and what statistically significant means, which is a different beast entirely to the definition of a pause in general or a statistically significant pause in general.
I think DG missed the point and said so.
I will view the SkS post with interest.

130. The fact that angech shows he has read my post, but still avoids the issue of his hypocrisy in tone-trolling about attacks when he is perfectly happy to make attacks on Nick Stokes and Tamino shows that it was just that – tone trolling and the attempts to discuss the pause are just evasion.

Sorry angech, you are demonstrating that you are not engaging in discussion in good faith.

131. Dave_Geologist says:

No angech, you’re missing the point. As is obvious to observers more statistically enlightened than yourself.

132. Leto says:

Like Dikran, I do not believe angech is arguing in good faith. But perhaps he could do three things to establish some credibility:
– state his definition of a “pause”
– state why this type of pause has any repercussions in policy development
– provide evidence that such a pause has happened

It’s actually pretty easy to do all three, as long as you keep shifting the definition of pause. Not so easy if you argue in good faith.

Oh, and angech.

Paragraphs.

Complete thoughts.

133. Indeed, angech could define “pause” to mean something that is actually consistent with the observations. However, this isn’t all that useful if the term used leads people to draw conclusions that aren’t consistent with the observations.

134. angech has already given his definition of a pause “My definition of a pause was that the trend had become 100% zero. Is that clear?”. Of course the numerical and semantic shortcomings in that definition have already been pointed out by D_G and ignored by angech. The definition is meaningless, it tells you nothing about the underlying processes, and without statistics, there is no indication of whether the “pause” is in anyway unusual. It is great for making a talking point at WUWT, but has no place in a scientific discussion.

Angech is just using this as a means of evading acknowledging his personal attacks on Tamino and Nick Stokes and the concomitant hypocrisy of his comments about such attacks made earlier in the thread. As he has demonstrated that he is not willing to engage constructively with the arguments against his definition, I would suggest DNFTT.

135. angech says:

DM,
I do care when you choose not to engage on the subject of pauses.
My loss, not yours given your knowledge.
I cannot resolve issues you have with my past posts elsewhere.
I am trying to discuss the notion of pauses with others here and having read your post on statistics I would be quite happy for you to comment, or not, if/when my statistics observations to others are unwarranted.
Leto,
Any argument against AGW is seen as not in good faith but unless one considers and shows that the arguments for are solid and immovable one could be building a castle on sand.
Above I was trying to establish a simple statistical definition of a pause. I believe my explanation is reasonable.
The problem comes when one extends to extrapolation, meaning, use and significance.
Data, points, graphs, trends lead to a simple mechanistic definition of a pause. Which no one wants to go near. Because of an unseemly fear that in climate observations admitting a pause in climate data would be tantamount to conceding an argument against AGW. .
Your comments on a pause seem directed to the particular concern of a pause noted in the time period of 1998 (cherry picked end of an El Niño, top actually) and the subsequent years in many data sets.
My definition of a pause in general, a flat line between 2 points (1.), is easily seen and reproduced in that period but also in any time you get a flat line going backwards.
Such simple, mechanistic pauses exist, have existed and always will exist in any data set that returns to a previous value (3. self evident):
Significance as in policy development (2.) is up to the user. DM points out that for climate data it would need to be at least 30 years to be significant. I fully agree. Myself I take his other example of 4 heads in a row.
If a pause can be shown for 5 or 10 years it is not significant but has some significance. The longer it goes the less certainty one has in the fact that 30 years is truly the significant length of time for significance.
A pause, many in fact as DG said, can be found with millions of points to draw flat lines between.
Denying them as pauses makes one wonder at motives and concerns
Denying them as significant pauses is sensible and straightforward.

136. angech says:

Cross posting noted.
My definition earlier was more than that DM, as you know.
The comment re zero trend was to clarify a point DG made and in addition to my definition of a pause earlier.
Dodging discussion of topics is best considered as NFTT?
On this post?
“ If a scientist is considering speaking out about something, but is worried about being criticised for engaging in advocacy, maybe they should also consider the regret they may feel in future if they choose not to speak out.”
Fair enough I guess.

137. angech wrote “I cannot resolve issues you have with my past posts elsewhere.”

You can acknowledge that what you wrote at WUWT was an attack on Nick Stokes and Tamino and that there is some hypocrisy in complaining about attacks here when you make them at WUWT. If you can’t acknowledge that, then perhaps that is an indication that you are not engaging in good-faith discussion and that you should question your motives.

138. angech writes : Above I was trying to establish a simple statistical definition of a pause.

which contradicts what he wrote earlier:

The noisy signal is your description and I do not think of concern definition wise as a pause is a pause for any sort of signal, surely.

as a “random” component is a necessity for any statistical definition.

139. angech wrote “Dodging discussion of topics is best considered as NFTT?”

No, indulging a topic brought up for the purpose of evasion is arguably FTT. Nobody is dodging discussion of any topic here, you have presented a bad definition of a pause, and others have pointed out the flaws in it and presented better definitions. You have not engaged constructively with the replies. Plus ca change…

140. “Data, points, graphs, trends lead to a simple mechanistic definition of a pause. Which no one wants to go near. Because of an unseemly fear that in climate observations admitting a pause in climate data would be tantamount to conceding an argument against AGW. .”

sorry, but that really is just abject bullshit. The reason we don’t accept your definition is nothing to do with “conceding an argument against AGW”, it is because the definition is scientifically meaningless, and there are tried and tested statistical procedures for dealing with these kinds of questions that you won’t accept.

141. This exchange has reached diminishing returns.

142. I fully agree.

143. Leto says:

I agree this is another threadcrash, but can I note angech’s tactic here:
1 ) offer a definition of a pause (any old flat bit on a noisy trend line) that is simplistic and without scientific or policy implications;
2) appear to sound reasonable by conceding that it is unlikely such a simply-defined pause has any scientific or policy implications (in which case, why waste discussion on it at all)
3) paint warmists as shifty because they deny the existence of a differently defined (i.e. meaningfully defined) pause.