Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Arguing With Your Crazy Uncle About Climate Change


Forget "left-versus-right." Or even arguments over taxes. The centerpiece of our current Phase Three of the American Civil War is the all-out campaign to discredit science.

Elsewhere I show that the War on Science is part of a much wider effort to destroy public trust in every "smartypants caste" -- from school teachers, journalists, medical doctors and attorneys to professors, civil servants and skilled labor. (Name a center of intellect that's exempt!) But nowhere is it more relentless than by savaging the one group in society that's unarguably among the smartest and best educated.

It's having the intended effects. Chew on this. Thirty years ago, in the era of Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley, 40% of U.S. scientists were Republicans. Today that fraction has plummeted to around 6%.  Can you blame them?

Why is this happening? I go into it elsewhere -- the underlying motive for a campaign that will leave only one elite standing. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that everybody has this thing backward.  Scientists are not being undermined in order to argue against Human Generated Climate Change (HGCC). Rather, the whole HGCC imbroglio serves as a central rallying point in the campaign against science.

== The latest salvo  ==

Who Speaks for the ClimateTrust the once-credible -- now murdochian -- mouthpiece called the Wall Street Journal to publish a sophistry-drenched festival of talking points. Five Truths about Climate Change by Robert Bryce.

Yep, call it "truth."  The Far Left spent years devaluing that once-proud word on a hundred university campuses, in their own version of a War on Science. Now the Entire Right -- not just the far-fringe -- completes the devaluation of "truth" down to Orwellian levels.  Take this sampler from Bryce.

"The science is not settled, not by a long shot. Last month, scientists at CERN, the prestigious high-energy physics lab in Switzerland, reported that neutrinos might—repeat, might—travel faster than the speed of light. If serious scientists can question Einstein's theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth's atmosphere."

Urk!  Gurggle (*strangling sounds*) -- I must let someone else answer this.  This cartoon from Sci- ənce! will make you both laugh and sob for your civilization.

==  How can you help win this phase? ==

Trapped between the Far Left's own distaste for science and the Entire Right's lemming charge, lured by Rupert Murdoch over the cliffs of insanity, what are  all the pragmatic-moderate liberals ... plus those rare but admirable and deeply appreciated awakened paleo-conservatives and Smithian libertarians to do?

Why, what he have to do is fight this phase of the American Civil War, of course!  The "blue" forces were slow to rouse in the other phases, too, but finally got it together to rescue the Great American Experiment. Are we made of lesser stuff?

This fight won't be with muskets or civil rights marches, but by patiently prying open the skulls of our crazy uncles and neighbors out there who swallowed the anti-future, anti-progress, anti-science hype recreating the Know Nothing movement of the 1830s.  It is going to take all of us -- working on the smartest and most salvageable of these fever-racked neighbors, one by one. Getting them to calm down and re-join civilization.

It won't be easy! Rupert's fox-machinery supplies endless talking-point incantations to stoke trog fury. Go prepared.  Here's a pair of sites to arm you.

==  How to answer your crazy uncle re: Climate Change ==

1) I offer my own  handy guide to engage intelligent people who only half swallowed koolaid.  Smart guys who proclaim they aren't climate science "deniers"...  but "skeptics" instead.

In fact, this distinction is very real! Moreover, science benefits from critical questioning by genuine Skeptics!

Still, given the pervasive villainy of fox-propelled denialism, a burden of proof falls on those who claim to be above the fray and not Rupert's hand puppets.  My article reveals half a dozen essential (if a bit intellectual) ways to test the claim. And if they pass? Then prove your own adaptability and lack of dogma! Engage and argue with such people, like adults.

2) Alas, most of those marching in Rupert's Lemming Army don't make such fine distinctions.  They're fine with anti-science denialism and my intellectual points will be meaningless.  But if you think your crazy uncle has a -- somewhere buried deep inside -- the remnant of an honest "paleocon" conservative, then your role -- your duty! -- is to gather stamina and wear him down, for the sake of civilization.

Each ostrich conservative who lifts his head is a victory for America. Worth hosannas and paeans of joy. When enough of them get angry at the real villians - the monsters who hijacked conservatism - we'll get back a conservatism folks can sanely argue with. Negotiate with. You can help, one crazy uncle at a time.

This site offers: simple rebuttals to denier talking points — with links to the full climate science. It's extended, exhausting and somewhat repetitious. Print it before your next crazy-uncle encounter.
But of course... I found some gaps!  So I went ahead and wrote a few more. Add these to the printout.

== Some additional rebuttals to Denialist talking points: ==

1. Practical minded people don't listen to Climate  Change chicken-littles:

The US Navy is spending a lot of time, money and effort planning for an ice-free Arctic.  The Russians are too, setting up sub-oceanic mining claims and outposts and reassigning a whole division of special forces.  Are the Russians and the US Navy and the Canadians and Norwegians all doing this for nothing? Because they are fools and chicken-littles?

2.  Climate scientists are clueless:

The supposedly stupid climate scientists are in many cases the very same people who improved the Weather Forecast from a 4 hour joke (remember those days?) to a ten day projection so useful that you plan vacations around it.  Sure, climate is more difficult, but it uses the same equations and same modeling systems. If they proved titanically competent in one area, don't they deserve some benefit of the doubt in a closely related field?  Perhaps more than TV shills who work for coal czars and Saudi princes?

But of course Glenn Beck knows more than they do.

3. Scientists just follow the herd:

Top scientists are the most competitive human beings of all time.  Put three in a room and there's blood on the floor. Below them, "young guns" are constantly looking for some giant to topple or "wrong corner" of  current theory to shine light into and make a reputation.  If you believe the meek, herd-following nerd image, enjoy!  It clearly makes you feel better to express superiority over people who are smarter and know a lot more than you do.  But... it... is... a... lie.

4. Scientists are pushing climate change for grant money:

Really? They'd lie for a $50,000 grant? All of them? Even the vast majority who have no such grants and work in other (related) fields?  Or who have grants that are secure forever due to their wondrously successful work in weather forecasting? Vastly more is spent on weather than climate: these tenured guys have no "skin" in Climate Change... yet they all believe it.

Oh, but Beck says they are all sucking up to the money gushers in Big Environmentalism. (Do you ever actually listen to your own words?)

How about the major prizes and grants offered by coal companies and petro moguls, for anti-Climate Change "research"?  Huge offers, often much bigger than those petty little grants from EPA, NASA, NOAA or private foundations.  Why don't those coal-co offers draw serious, top-rank climate scholars, if they are all such money grubbers?

And how does it feel parroting the exact same lines as the Tobacco Industry pushed, when they cried "the jury is still out" about the health effects of smoking, and Tobacco shills claimed that anti-smoking scientists were all in it to become millionaires off grants from the Heart Association? Have you no memory? No shame?

More to the point, if you are so sure about this slander - that all the scientists backing Climate Change are grubbing for grants - HOW ABOUT OFFERING IT AS A BET?  Wagers are on the table.  Free money, if you're sure! Follow the money, prove this and collect the bets. Only a coward would refuse. (Hint: when offered wagers, these folks always, always run away. Try it and watch them scurry for cover!)

5. Accepting the advice of 97% of the people who know about the climate would ruin the economy.

Wrong.  Accepting HGCC would only open us to finally arguing over the BEST methods to ease greenhouse warming.

Admitting that something needs to be done would not pre-judge the argument over what to do. It will just start that argument!  Many tools would be on the table and economic repercussions would certainly be a factor in negotiations and tradeoffs. We all want to keep the lights on. Given a choice, we'd all prefer the solutions that kept a vibrant economy.

Stop portraying scientists - and those who respect science - as unreasonable people.  Stop portraying them as people like yourself.

6. Solving Climate Change would veer us in directions we shouldn't go.

Exactly the opposite of true. Most of the methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions involve increasing our energy efficiency and stimulating new forms of energy.  In other words, exactly the same things we ought to be doing anyway! (TWODA)

Even if HGCC proved to be an utter myth, it would still be worthwhile to bend major efforts toward efficiency and new energy, if only to wean ourselves off dependence upon foreign oil and filthy coal.  An accomplishment that George W. Bush swore would be his top priority... and that he sabotaged at every turn. (Hmm... look at his family friends and guess why.)

Indeed, follow the money behind climate change denialism.  It leads directly to... foreign oil princes and big, filthy coal. Congrats. You are in good company.

7. The Earth isn't that delicate:

In many ways the planet is resilient. But here's a fact that you will hear nowhere else, though as an astronomer I'll vouch for it:

Our planet skates along the very inner edge of the sun's "Goldilocks Zone" (GZ).  The sun has been getting warmer gradually for 4 billion years. (This has NOTHING to do with the rate of warming re climate change. A separate, slow but inexorable shift over hundreds of millions of years.)  Now the inner edge of the GZ is right upon us.  That means we must expel almost all of the heat we get from the sun as infrared rays and cannot afford even the trace amounts of greenhouse gas increase that humans have caused.  It sounds unfair, and maybe it is, but them's the facts.

7. In the 1970s scientists were predicting an Ice Age.

An outright lie. There were a couple of very tentative papers, that's it.  But this lie is dealt with in the big list of rebuttals that I cite above. So why do I bring it up now?
Because of a big, popular movie that illustrates just how widely people were already talking about HGCC, even in the 1970s. Proving that science never swerved. Go watch Soylent Green.

8. I don't care, I hate science:

Yep, that is the fall-back refrain. Hatred of  people who know stuff.  Not just science, but also teachers, diplomats, journalists, lawyers, professors, medical doctors, civil servants, skilled union labor... you name a caste of knowledge and professional intellect -- of knowing stuff - and it's under attack.  Most vigorously by the foxed right (making Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley spin in their graves) but also by the loony far-left.

Pragmatic-moderate problem solving and negotiation were great American virtues. Culture War is betrayal.  Treason. And the chief purpose of denialism.

ClimateSkepticsAgain. Scientists aren't being dissed in order to detract from the theory of climate change.  Climate change denialism is being pushed in order to help know-nothing-ism win the War on Science.  If our generation fails this test - if you refuse to do your part by rescuing some salvageable conservative, luring him or her back to the version of conservatism professed by real men like Buckley - then welcome to the Dark Ages.

==See also: Distinguishing Climate "Skeptics" and Climate "Deniers"

and The Real Struggle Behind Climate Change: A War on Expertise

180 comments:

Catfish N. Cod said...

"The science is not settled, not by a long shot. Last month, scientists at CERN, the prestigious high-energy physics lab in Switzerland, reported that neutrinos might—repeat, might—travel faster than the speed of light. If serious scientists can question Einstein's theory of relativity, then there must be room for debate about the workings and complexities of the Earth's atmosphere."

Urk! Gurggle (*strangling sounds*) -- I must let someone else answer this.


You missed something here, Dr. Brin. And it's absolutely critical.

Analyze the arguments of the theologists enabling the War on Science -- not the sane members of the mainstream sects, but those who insist on their way or the highway, no matter how ludicrous -- and you will consistently find one thing:

My religious text is perfect. Therefore, it is inseverable. Either it all stands, or it all falls.

Most Enlightenment members -- especially the Anglo-American branch, but seen commonly in Continental Enlightenment philosophy too -- embrace the concept of severability. It is an key concept in United States law, and practically every contract you sign has a severability clause. It simply says, "if one part of this contract/law/agreement/statement is illegal or unenforceable, the rest still applies."

Fundamentalists do not -- will not -- cannot accept severability in their dogmas. It implies improvement, growth of understanding and implementation, progress... and imperfection. It means they haven't worked out all the kinks, that they don't have all the answers. It means humility rather than pride. It means admitting the possibility of error -- not only in their adherence to their chosen Holy Writ, but in their interpretation... which, in their minds, is tantamount to declaring said Holy Writ itself to have errors.

Some faiths can be sustained through such trials. Theirs can't. So rather than face facts -- or religious truths, for that matter -- squarely, they are willing to swallow incredible lies, just to maintain their belief... and avoid the (to them) terrifying idea that there is no one pure fountain of Truth that they can sup from and have all answers for free.

Catfish N. Cod said...

So! Having contorted their brains to accept an inseverable dogma that leads to incredible beliefs, these Platonic shamans turn their eyes to "science", and the shamans they believe control it. How could it be other than how we ourselves are, they say, in one of humankind's oldest and most classic fallacies. And so they imagine that theorists are our prophets, listening to the winds of mathematics and spinning myths to construct their reality around; and experimenters are our monks, toiling away to realize the Scientific Way in our daily lives. Teachers are our indoctrinators; engineers our loyal laity; journalists our evangelists; and so forth. And surely we must have Holy Writ; the Book of Einstein, the Book of Darwin; the Gospel of Motion according to Newton.

You can see where I'm going with this. The implicit philosophy here is that scientific "belief" is inseverable, and that if Einstein (one of our holiest prophets) can be questioned, surely everything falls apart! Just as we tore away from the impure Faith, now the scientists are questioning themselves. Surely the schism of Science is close at hand, and with it the fall of this pernicious heresy....

They really, really don't get it. They never even tried to understand us. The idea that not only can our ideas be severable -- but that they must -- that it is intrinsic to everything scientists do that everyone, no matter how laudable, can be questioned, can be debated, can be flat out wrong... it's so far away from how shamans have operated throughout history that they never made the leap, not through all their schooling. To them, we're just competition.

Oh, and of course, we're supposedly open to bribes. Just like priests have been paid off to maintain the status quo since the Pyramids were still on the drawing board.

nazgulnarsil said...

A fairly reasonable position if you read and do math at a 5th grade level and thus need the holy works interpreted for you. Before the printing press the peasants had no access to the written word and thus needed an interpreter. Our modern peasants are illiterate by choice. A democracy with balls would disenfranchise the willfully ignorant.

David Brin said...

Catfish... interesting!

Tony Fisk said...

Catfish, maybe the way here is to ask how this perfection of interpretation came to be? (Not really... do not adjust your belief: reality is at fault)

Joe Romm misses a couple of points recently raised by Beck wannabe Alan Jones (and Beck himself):

1. CO2 isn't toxic
True. It's a fairly inert gas (which is why it persists for so long)
Reframe: its non-toxicity is irrelevant. What makes CO2 a potent greenhouse gas is its capacity to absorb radiation over a wide range, and re-emit it at infra-red (heat) frequencies

2. CO2 is only 0.04% of the atmosphere
True. To be really precise, it's 0.039% at the moment. It was 0.035% in 1990
Reframe: Quantity isn't everything. Cyanide is deadly at far lower concentrations

3. CO2 is plant food
True. Growing vegetation has a voracious appetite for it. In fact, Tim Flannery estimates that, in the absence of other factors, growing vegetation could scour the atmosphere of it within 7 years.
Reframe: vegetation only grows for a brief period of the year. It also burns and dies back substantially in the summer, autumn and winter. So a lot of that absorbed CO2 gets released back into the atmosphere, as you can see in the detailed measurements taken by NOAA at Mauna Loa (and CSIRO at Cape Grim) Whilst you're there, you might want to look at the overall trend...

Take home message? Word of the day:
Casuistry - the art of telling lies with the truth.

David Brin said...

CO2 only 0.4% yeah... but I explain in my posting why we can hardly afford any.

dig it. If we colonize other worlds, our plants will kick butt. They make do with less CO2 than probably any other living world.

Tim H. said...

First, my compliments for not taking the usual "STFU DOUBTER!" that commonly accompanies pro AGW essays. Seems two separate things are going on with the proponents, first, people doing real science, second, people with an axe to grind, taking the science and running with it and giving ammunition to the "Faux News" crowd, like that cute little "Exploding doubter" video. Non-scientific people won't make this distinction, equating the scientist with the PR types.
Solutions that are heavy on low & no carbon energy and light on conservation will deprive the doubters of ammunition.

Paul451 said...

WSJ's European publishers have been busted a) scamming their European distribution numbers by selling the WSJ for as little as 1c per copy to "sponsors", who would then give it away. The lead "sponsor" was solely responsible for 16% of the WSJ's European distribution.
b) Selling editorial. The former scam was exposed when that primary "sponsor" started asking if they were getting enough positive editorial to justify the cost.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/oct/12/wall-street-journal-andrew-langhoff

Mmmm, quality.

Paul451 said...

The last toy you need ever buy your kids...

http://singularityhub.com/2011/10/12/origos-3d-printer-could-be-the-last-toy-your-ten-year-old-will-ever-need/

... the Lego for the makers of the next generation.

Paul451 said...

Last one:

The solar system to scale... start with the sun, read the directions, use your right-arrow key to scroll to the right. And scroll. And scroll.

http://www.phrenopolis.com/perspective/solarsystem/

Don't blink.

Tony Fisk said...

Agreed, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to try explaining the concept of the Goldilocks zone up-front to someone who's been led to believe that the issue is CO2's toxicity. I'd leave that for someone who starts snarking about conditions in the Ordovician.

Tony Fisk said...

Paul, check out Beados 3D: fabbing for infants

Abilard said...

Catfish is right, and many of the 40% or so in that group inherit their way of thinking directly from ancestors who never partook of the original Enlightenment, in one unbroken cultural stream flowing straight out of the Dark Ages. Hume may have severed intellectual ties to the past, but his Scots-Irish neighbors did not. Nor have many of their descendants.

The approach described above may work with a skeptic like me, but it cannot work with those whose underlying cultural presuppositions render intellectual inquiry subordinate and inferior to the truths of human relationships, even if those truths get dressed up in myths of global floods, elephants carrying the world on their backs, or winged horses carrying prophets into the sky.

There are two levels at which you can engage them. The easy level is the practical one. E.g., it would be wise to plant peach trees instead of maple given how hot it is likely to be. Or, gee, wouldn't it be nice not to have to buy foreign oil.

The hard level, which addresses the war on science, requires connecting on those truths about human relationships. With the secular inheritors of the Enlightenment on the coasts and in our cities, and with the inheritors of other traditions in rural areas and towns, not enough meaningful interaction is taking place.

Picture maker-faires and hackerspaces bringing science, not at the level of neutrinos and dark matter, but at the level of dropping feathers and stones from towers, spreading throughout the country. The beginnings of the Renaissance, not its end. Let scientific thinking build.

If that ever happens, it will be necessary for academics to be as open as you describe, Brin, because there will more challenges, ideas, and competition from folks who do not know which fork to use with the salad at dinner. I think we are in this situation in part because oligarchic thinking can also be expressed in the halls of the Royal Society.

Unrelated: an idea I believe you were championing for a while, if memory serves:

New Scientist - Avatars with your body language get your point across

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

7. In the 1970s scientists were predicting an Ice Age.

An outright lie. There were a couple of very tentative papers, that's it. But this lie is dealt with in the big list of rebuttals that I cite above. So why do I bring it up now?
Because of a big, popular movie that illustrates just how widely people were already talking about HGCC, even in the 1970s. Proving that science never swerved. Go watch Soylent Green.


My brother and I were just discussing that movie recently--the offhanded comments about "like winter used to be" and the implicit assumption that 20 million unemployed people could live on the streets of NYC year round because it didn't get cold.

bookmanpc said...
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bookmanpc said...

The basic problem with the global warming fracas isn't that it is or isn't happening,it is. The problem is the bad science assumption that anything substantive can be DONE about it by a less than global cadre of different governments all working within different political cycles.
We'd be FAR better off taking this time, money, AND energy and begin to ACCLIMATE to the new conditions.
But then ANY divergence from the 'party' lane will be met with near religious shouts of DENIER!

sociotard said...

The ostriches I work with are scientists. It's kind of hard for an intern Chem E to argue with a PhD in Chemsitry and 30 years professional experience.

Jonathan said...

These findings clearly demonstrate that for this particular part of the planet, there is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about late-20th-century/early-21st-century warmth. And adding this result to the similar results that have been obtained for a great many other "parts of the planet," it is beginning to look like the Roman Warm Period, much like the Medieval Warm Period, was probably warmer than it has been recently over most of the planet. And when it is remembered that today's atmospheric CO2 concentration is currently close to 45% greater than it was back in the Roman Warm Period, and some 40% greater than it was during the Medieval Warm Period, the warmer temperatures of those two earlier periods appear even more impressive ... which makes one want to ask: Why is it so much colder nowadays?

http://www.co2science.org/articles/V14/N41/C3.php

PDA said...

bookmanpc, that's fine. But WHAT should we acclimate to? Your suggestion seems to make the assumption that we know what the effects of climate change will be, when they will occur and in what places.

My understanding is that we do not know any of this. And that's the main problem with the "just adapt" argument, in my view. We need to mitigate AND adapt, and we need to start now, yesterday.

rewinn said...

@Jonathan posts a link to a blog funded by Exxon Mobil. The quote from that blog refers to temperatures in a Swiss lake, but @Jonathan's quote makes it appear that the study applies to our entire planet.

Shame on you! Did you think we wouldn't read it?

Substantively: it is pretty well known that Europe's temperature is strongly affected by the Gulf Stream, which shifts heat energy around but does not (much) effect the energy balance of our entire planet. Thank you for contributing another example of Science Is Hard!.

Corey said...

@Jonathan

First off, as Rewinn correctly points out, this cherry picks one small place, secondly, it cherry picks by using only summer temperatures, and lastly, the entire argument is a red herring.


We already know the Earth has been warmer in the the past, and we know climate has changed many times since before humanity arrived on the science. Some of these changes were benign, and some were cataclysmic.


AGW theory never claims that climate has NEVER changed before, or that Co2 is the only influence on climate, or even that we're experiencing the hottest period in any particular part of history.


AGW theory simply claims that the past 40 years have been subject to an upward TREND in temperature, and that a rise in Co2 is primarily responsible for the global trend for this particular period (in the same way the sun was the largely, if not solely, responsible forcing for the MWP and LIA), and that humans are responsible for said Co2 increase. That's it; nothing else is claimed.


So what the sun was doing to a lake in the medieval warm period has nothing to do with AGW theory.

Corey said...

As for the article as a whole, it's a good thought, but of the problem is that it's my experience that, for all intents and purposes, skeptics don't really exist, not in the sense of being skeptical of the basic idea of AGW because of an educated objection. Uncertainties abound over specifics, to be sure, because while an understanding of the basic science of radiation absorption and emission goes all the way back to Joseph Fourier's time, the science of predicting the specifics of HOW climate will react to a change in radiative balance is as new as the newest subfields of molecular genetics or bioinformatics. But the basic idea that how have caused and will cause very rapid warming of the planet (and all the specific consequences that entails, known an unknown), for 99.999% of people is a binary accept or deny deal, with almost no actual skeptics, at least not in the sense of skeptics who know the science, and have a real objection to clear up before accepting it.


The reason I say this is because any "skeptic" who's simply investigating the issue, and any real objection they might have, will always, in the course of said investigation, run into a few basic facts:




First, there are no alternative hypothesis for the post 1970s warming that are even close to be tenable. It's not the sun. It's not cosmic rays because aside from a total lack of physical mechanism for cosmic rays to seed clouds (they just don't cause nucleation on that scale), this hypothesis requires a sharp positive change in TSI, so basically it's just a slightly more dressed up and convoluted "it's the sun" argument. It's not "internal variability" as Roy Spencer suggests, because looking past the fact that he has to throw out half the basic laws of Earth science to even get a model of that to function, a lot of other things fall apart in other parts of climate. For instance, with Spencer's view of climate, the ice ages go from easy to explain (acting just as we'd expect), to suddenly becoming impossible (Earth's climate shouldn't behave that way under Spencer's view of a weak Co2 forcing).

Corey said...

Secondly, anyone who really looks into the “skeptic” side of these arguments will see that there is not one iota of honesty, usually not even from “skeptic” scientists. Spencer is little more than a crank who thinks the laws of physics are mere suggestions, and tends to omit data or pose things misleadingly (just read the above Real Climate article, or see any of the objections to his latest paper, which was so bad, the lead editor of the journal that hosted it RESIGNED, voluntarily, over it passing peer review). Patrick Micheals lied right to US Congress, the Mckitrick and Mcintyre objection to MBH98 (the “hockey stick”) was nothing but an amalgamation of gross statistical fallacies that doesn't pass the most basic statistical tests (like seeing how well their claims of proxy temperature match the instrument record where the two overlap), Anthony Watts... oh good lord where to I even begin?


And I am going somewhere with this. As someone who treats anything with proper skepticism, the very first question that would pop into my mind (and has) would be: If there's really some serious, substantive objection to climate change, and these extremely educated people, many PhD experts in climate, would most certainly know if there were, then why are these people wasting time with misleading arguments, lies or omissions, and gross logical fallacies? If such a real, solid objection exists, then why don't they just get together and present THAT?


I ran into this the other day in a debate. I wasn't entirely sure of my position in the argument, because I knew a few others knew as much or more than I did about the topic, but when the most educated opponent rested his argument on argumentum ad ignorantium, rather than a real argument with real facts, I became a lot more certain that there wasn't any serious known objection to what I was saying.


For an example of one the only genuine skeptic scientists in a long time, I suggest people here look up Richard Muller, head of Berkeley's BEST climate project, who pretty much recanted his skepticism thus far, and developed high praise for the work of climatologists.



Lastly, this really has been beaten to death, and dragged through 120 years of skepticism. Few theories have ever had to blast through as much concentrated opposition. The flip side is that any genuine skeptic should already be able to find whatever objection they're getting caught up on, and should see that every possible way of looking at AGW's premises have been, again, beaten to death. There are probably half a dozen independent records that show global temperature rise, I can think two different methods off-hand that both show humans responsible for observed Co2 increases that are both very solid, and there are countless different tests that have been done to determine Earth's climate sensitivity that all yield the same consistent result, with no one ever succeeding at explaining recent observed warming with any other explanation.




There's plenty of room for debate on anything outside of those three premises, but when it comes to the basic theory of AGW, I think almost everyone, with few or no exceptions, either accepts AGW, doesn't accept it because they don't understand the science, or opposes it dogmatically.

Abilard said...

To apply your reasoning to another area of belief, one might say that the question of God's existence is binary, and therefore that one is either an atheist, uncommitted through lack of consideration, or a Catholic. The third option is not quite so narrow. Likewise, one can accept temperature readings, accept that CO2 traps heat, and yet somehow be skeptical that climate modeling is solid enough to reorganize civilization at the point of a gun.

David Brin said...

Bookmanpc... you are raising a strawman. We need to increase energy efficiency. Period. By a lot. Duh? To get off the Saudi teat. To afford a world wide middle class. To get rich as the ones who invented new energy tech.

All of those are worthwhile - EVEN IF HGCC IS WRONG.

Bush said he wanted all of that, and lied, trashing the research - on Saudi-Koch orders.

What we need to do is what we ought to be doing anyway. Lemmings who parrot Koch-Saudi talking points are serving only them.

Corey said...
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Corey said...

"To apply your reasoning to another area of belief, one might say that the question of God's existence is binary, and therefore that one is either an atheist, uncommitted through lack of consideration, or a Catholic. The third option is not quite so narrow. Likewise, one can accept temperature readings, accept that CO2 traps heat, and yet somehow be skeptical that climate modeling is solid enough to reorganize civilization at the point of a gun"


First off, you can't compare a scientific theory to belief in a deity. We have absolutely no epistemic access to God, assuming there is a God, so people can BELIEVE anything they want, because there's 100% absolute vacuum of information.

The analogy doesn't even remotely work, mostly because acceptance of a scientific theory and "belief" are not even remotely the same thing to begin with.


Secondly, you're assuming that climate models are the only evidence of our impact on climate.



Lastly, you're conflating a scientific theory with risk assessment; they are not the same thing. Do you really think that EVERYONE who accepts the *basic* theory of AGW has the exact same recommendation for how to treat that information?


Risk assessment deals with the ecological responses to climate change, crop yields, sea level rise, responses of climate to changes in radiative balance (distribution of heating, hydrological changes, etc), severity of weather, and a whole lot of other things.


Skepticism on any of these points has absolutely nothing, in any way, to do with skepticism over of theory of AGW, which addresses absolutely none of these things, anymore than evolution addresses abiogenesis.


Whether something like hurricanes will increase in strength and frequency with climatic changes, something that would deal with "rearranging society", has nothing to do whether humans cause observed Co2 increases, or what Earth's climate sensitivity is. Those are two entirely different questions.

Corey said...

Also, Alibard, I've discussed this topic with you before, and I know that you're both logical and reasonable.

Even if you did have some kind of fundamental objection to AGW theory, it doesn't sound like you do, you'd still be an ultra-minority to the point of being nearly one of a kind. I've talked to an awful lot of people on this topic, and I don't remember the last time I found an actual, genuine educated skeptic. Shoot, Muller is the first I've even HEARD of since, well, basically for as long as I remember (something he took back once he did more investigation).

Abilard said...

;-)

To work the analogy needs to do only two things:

1. Poke at you.
2. Show the fallacy of such binary arguments.

To expand on #2, in contrast to your point that there is no space for legitimate skepticism on this issue, there are three areas where skepticism can enter:

1. One can question whether human-contributed CO2 will have an impact, given the complexities of the climate (all while accepting that warming correlates with human CO2 generation, as correlation is not causation; and that CO2 traps heat, as the climate is more complex than just CO2).

2. One can question the nature of this impact (warming period or ice age, drought or flood, etc).

3. One can question the degree of the impact (runaway Venus or nothing noticeable).

My personal opinions in no way bear on the validity or falsity of the above (for the record, I accept #1, think #3 is worth worrying about, and am unconvinced that we have any real clue about #2). The point is that reasonable non-scientists can take any of those points of departure and find themselves skeptical on the issue (that AGW exists and our understanding of it is sufficient enough to require government action).

CulturalEngineer said...

From Barry Ritholtz today an apt illustration:

Key Components of the Climate Change Denial Machine

David Brin said...

Cultural... tell this guy he really need to incorporate:

1- Fox/Murdoch/ Waleed

2- the public relations firms...

3- an asterisk next to every one of these groups that were also involved in the Great Big Denial That Tobacco Kills.

Those asterisks would be murderous to cred!

Will one of you pass that suggestion along for me? I have to literally go catch a plane. See some of you in New York at the meetup Monday!

Corey said...

@Alibard

#1 is no longer that difficult (and the only one actually reflected in my first post there), partly because we can already clearly establish that there's no longer any other plausible explanation for the 1970-present warming, partly because the rest of our climate understanding falls apart without a strong Co2 forcing (ice ages suddenly stop making sense, for instance), and partly because we just have a lot of ways of measuring climate sensitivity that all tell us the same thing (though, sadly, the majority [though not all] of THAT is something I haven't studied, maybe next semester I'll be able to in more depth).



#2, yeah, I think we can both agree that that's one of the greatest things to figure out. Evidence suggests thermohaline circulation is already being disrupted, but who knows how resilient the system is. But consider this: in the here and now, the ecological impact, which, in the long term, is what we need to care about (for our sake, and that of sentient life in general), really doesn't depend on which way equilibrium is interrupted so much as just on the interruption itself.

Three centuries ago, this would have been far less a concern, but the biosphere is already so battered, that any "play", or tolerance, in climatic conditions is long gone. Fragmentation and sharp range reductions mean that species just can't move anywhere in response once climate starts changing, and even if they do by lack of choice, co-dependent species tend not to always move in an overlapping fashion anyways. So all those habitats we're working so hard to preserve? They'll just evaporate, as unfavorable conditions to much of the life there prevails and biotic factors shift all over the place.


Whether it gets drying or cooler, hotter or colder, is almost academic at this point. Getting hotter has savaged certain species. 2/3 of harlequin frogs have become extinct due to climatic changes in just the past 20-30 years, and American Pikas aren't doing much better, as can be said for salmon and a heck of a lot of our national forests. But is rapid cooling preferable? Just look at the Younger Dryas, which hit land hard enough (including ravaging us), but hit the oceans even harder, wiping out nearly 70% of mollusk species.

As for increased and decreased precipitation, well that can have good and bad effects both ways, but again, the bottom line here is that ANY rapid change is undesirable. Change itself is normal and something the biosphere is pretty resilient to, but, according to the latest research, we're warming at about 10 times the rate of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, which means this change is fairly unprecedented, in rate, if not thus far in absolute magnitude (which, as a product of rate, will change quickly given time).

So, again, it's important to learning what we might be in for, but regardless of the change that can be expected, there is NO scenario where we can say “Oh, gee, well I guess it's okay if we're only in for THAT kind of change”.

Corey said...

#3 As I said, climate sensitivity is hardly impossible to determine. One certainly doesn't have to take wild guesses there.

RC has a good article on the topic that attempts to simplify it quite nicely: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/08/the-co2-problem-in-6-easy-steps/

Or just read the GRL paper they cite. None of it is exactly easy; even someone with a fair bit of knowledge of science and statistics might have to take some serious time to go through even something as simple as that, but the point is you don't have to guess.


Besides, if we can inflict the level of damage we have already with only a comparatively small portion of GHG contributions over a mere four decades or so, then even without knowing exactly how much influence will have isn't require to be seriously concerned.




All of this leaves us at one place: risk assessment. How do the potential impacts of climate compare to taking action? Since, as Brin points out, most or all of an INTELLIGENT approach should be things we'd want to do anyways, it should make a large portion of any action a no-brainer.

Of course, there will be costs associated, so if actions beyond purely win-win type endeavors become seriously necessary, how far should we be willing to go? Since the biggest points of uncertainty are largely academic (because they're just questions of which equally crappy outcome we'll be faced with), I'd say some pretty serious actions can be justified. The flip side is that effectiveness should be reasonably guaranteed, and economic impacts should be minimized.


But really, if we're already only committing to taking the most benign approach, then even in the worst case scenario, shouldn't any potential negative consequences to action pretty much pale in comparison to the alternative, even accepting the limited certainty?

Tony Fisk said...

Enjoy the trip. Enjoy the cruise.

Come back after #Oct21

rewinn said...

I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings, but at some point one has to admit that the weight of evidence about AGW is beyond a reasonable doubt. I would ask "Sceptics" whether than can describe any sort of evidence that would cause them to change their beliefs, because if the answer is "no" then scepticism is the wrong term to use.

On the other hand, Could Climate Change Doom Pixy Stix?

Corey said...

Not pixy stix too!

AGW has already hit out coffee crops to the point of dropping yields of the best beans by something like half. Go figure that the best-tasting beans would also be the most sensitive.

That's a big part of the price hike over the past decade.


I can't think of a more devastating blow we could have been hit by :D

Abilard said...

One should never curtail freedom lightly. If we are going to draw the sword of the state in the name of climate change then the models, in my opinion, need to be more solid. And this is where, in a Republic, expertise is not enough. The citizenry must be convinced before the state engages, and that has not happened sufficiently.

The war on science that this points to is the greater concern. It prevents us in part from acting on energy independence to which most of the things we ought to do anyway are tied. While the mapping is far from exact, solving this national survival problem could take us a long way toward energy efficiency and renewability.

But, the credibility of scientists with a significant slice of the population is now quite low. In part, this is because scientists have had a tin ear for cultural differences that mean not everyone is a child of the Enlightenment or inclined to automatically defer. So, the Republic is paralyzed and adaptation will have to take place at a lower level.

Interesting times are ahead.

Mike Winter said...

I always thought the ultimate argument for a true "conservative" (someone who thinks we should approach change with caution) was about rrisk and change.

If the science really isn’t settled, then what is less conservative than running a completely uncontrolled experiment in atmospheric chemistry? One would think those who argue in favour of fundamentally altering the biosphere would have the burden of proof to show there would be no harm.

Gilmoure said...

David Frum on leaving NPR's Marketplace radio show:

I think that there’s a kind of expectation that when you do it that you represent the broad point of view of your half of the political spectrum. And although I consider myself a conservative and a Republican, and I think that the right-hand side of the spectrum has the better answers for the long-term growth of economy — low taxes, restrained government, less regulation — it’s pretty clear that facing the immediate crisis — very intense crisis — I’m just not representing the view of most people who call themselves Republicans and conservatives these days…. And it’s a service to the radio audience if they want to hear people explaining effectively why one of the two great parties takes the view that it does — it needs to have somebody who agrees with that great party.

This is not a moment for government to be cutting back. … Right now we’re watching state governments try to balance all of their budgets at the same time in the middle of this crisis. We’ve seen half a million public sector jobs disappear. Now, if these were good times, I would applaud that. We need to see a thinner public sector — especially at the state and local level. But we’re seeing what happens when you do that as an anti-recession measure and you make the recession worse. And even though we’re in a technical recovery, incomes and employment — all of that remains lagging for people — I think that we’ve rediscovered in this crisis something that I think we all knew. Which is, there’s a reason why the people of the 1930s built some kind of minimum guarantee — unemployment insurance, health care coverage and things like that. And it’s not because they wanted to be nice. It’s because in a crisis when people lose their jobs, if there is no social safety net they loose 100 percent of their purchasing power.

fairhavenhorn said...

Or you can change the focus. Talk policy rather than science, since a huge part of the opposition started with opposition to folks who used the "scientific" logic of "there will be global warming, therefore my partisan boondoggle must be funded."

Try the sustainability and financial arguments:

1) This nonsense is used to justify wasting billions on partisan boondoggles.

All parties find excuses for wasting billions on partisan boondoggles. That makes it hard to disagree with this statement.

2) Sensible businessmen are finding that intelligent efficiency and process changes generate a 1-4 year ROI. That's hard to beat in this economic climate.

Again, redirecting into something that they might generally agree with. Also true, and supported by lots of business cases.

3) Start improving your own business and don't worry about the fact that the environmentalists might like what you are doing.

When the policy and partisan boondoggle motivations are neutralized, I expect a lot of the climate arguments to fade away. Meanwhile, sustainability efforts with 1-4 year payoffs generate good economic results. They might or might not meet all the goals for CO2 reduction, but why not get all the benefits from the low cost approaches.

Corey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Corey said...

Draw the sword of the state to curtail freedom, huh?

Don't be dramatic Alibard, it'll give you gas :p




The problem I see with what you're saying is that even in the WORST case of any action any intelligent society would take, the long-term effect is somewhere between modestly bad and modestly good.

Freedom? How about the freedom to extricate ourselves from mideast quagmires, or to have clean air, or clean water, or to be able to enjoy a pristine environment?

It seems to me, and again I'm think the WORST case scenario here for action, that we gain as much freedom as we lose.




In climate, however, even a modestly scenario is worse than the worst case of taking action on a level you'd have to weigh on a scale of orders of magnitude.

If the planet warms the way we've ALREADY seen humans warm it over the past four decade, it's bad, and we have ample evidence that that's what's going to happen. As I said, there's ENORMOUS evidence for our ~3C climate sensitivity, from all sorts of different places.


But let's say the models are wrong, and it cools. Then what? Well, that only happens if we're looking at a massive disruption of thermohaline circulation, and that's an order of magnitude worse than the warming.




Uncertainty in models doesn't change the picture here, especially because it's mostly academic, because if they're wrong, it pretty much just means we get a worse climate change.


So how can any risk assessment possibly conclude that the thing to do is not take action?

Abilard said...

That is up to the person making the assessment, and the conclusion will hinge on how that individual weights the three areas of unknowns I list above. A person who accepts, as you do, that the tiniest fluctuations equate to doom will be right there with Al Gore. Someone who weights them as I do will be less inclined toward dramatic action now and more inclined toward research and adaptation as events unfold (the "skeptic" camp). A "denier" will either weight the unknowns so heavily toward the status quo that action is foolish, or be so far removed from scientific thought that the assessment is moot.

Corey said...

First off, Alibard, I never said the "tiniest" fluctuations amount to "doom". Secondly, I know more about climate than Al Gore does; please don't equate people with actual science backgrounds to politicians.



Climatic impacts are not an opinion matter. If humanity doubles atmospheric Co2, the result, in the short term (climate sensitivity only accounts for fast feedbacks), will be a 3C change. That's six times the change we've experienced over the past four decades, a change that has already resulted in extreme ecological stress.


So, tell me, exactly what scenario do you play out even for a change of that magnitude, that's worse than a change in the operation of society that's pretty much works out to be neutral, at worst, and a positive change towards all the things we ought to be doing, at best?


And what happens if we take action and figure out that some part of it is a mistake? Government actions can be undone; laws can be thrown out.


If, on the other hand, we choose not to act and find out that that was the wrong choice, not only are the consequences far worse, but you're far more stuck with them. Feedbacks take a long time to settle down, so you're looking at change that stops a considerable bit after humans decide to stop inputting more GHGs, and when species are lost, you don't get to take that back.

This isn't something you can just adapt to day-by-day; once the choices are made the wrong way, you're pretty much stuck with them.

Tell me, will it take hundreds or thousands of years to recoup any economic damage done by an intelligently implemented plan to combat climate change, focusing on changes we ought to be making anyways? Because those are the time scales we're looking at for serious environmental damage, depending on which aspect you're looking at.



So exactly how are you weighting these things to conclude that the best thing to do is nothing?

Abilard said...

If humanity doubles atmospheric Co2, the result, in the short term (climate sensitivity only accounts for fast feedbacks), will be a 3C change.

Maybe, if your modeling is accurate.

That's six times the change we've experienced over the past four decades, a change that has already resulted in extreme ecological stress.

Sounds like the end is not only nigh, but has already occurred. Curious most of the population did not notice.

So, tell me, exactly what scenario do you play out even for a change of that magnitude, that's worse than a change in the operation of society that's pretty much works out to be neutral, at worst, and a positive change towards all the things we ought to be doing, at best?

Some species die, though not as many as we have already shoved into the grave. Natural disasters occur, just as they have in the past, though perhaps with greater frequency and now attributed to AGW or Yahweh instead of Zeus. Some human civs, perhaps our own, bite the dust but others adapt and continue. In other words, the same challenges, broadly speaking, as we have seen for the last 10,000 years. Adapt or die.

So exactly how are you weighting these things to conclude that the best thing to do is nothing?

Making it personal again. ;-) Hardly germaine to my point.

I think the climate system is sufficiently complex and climate science is sufficiently new that climate models are useless for practical planning (for picking species of trees to plant in anticipation of temperature change, for example). To pass laws forcing individuals to paint their homes white, or bicycle, on the basis of such models would therefore be unethical. We must admit that we do not know and pay money to fund research to do our best to find out.

You and I have been down this road before. ;-)

Corey said...

"Maybe, if your modeling is accurate."

At what point did you think that modelling was the only way we could constrain climate sensitivity?

Climate models were responsible for our first estimates of climate sensitivity, using a lot of very basic physics, and coming out with high probabilities, but low constraining ability (1.5-4.5C is an awfully large range).

These days, climatologists focus more on constraining that based on observations.


Isn't a little hard to make judgements of the "certainty" of climate without having a bit of knowledge about how the science works to begin with?


I suggest you go back and look over that RC article I linked earlier, closely, if you actually want some idea of what we do and don't know (some idea mind you, not a complete idea).


"Sounds like the end is not only nigh, but has already occurred. Curious most of the population did not notice"

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Thank you for the amazingly accurate paraphrase.


You already know why that's not even remotely what I'm saying, so I'm not going to bother to illustrate it. The real question is what you felt it would contribute to put forth such a gross misrepresentation in the first place.


"Some species die, though not as many as we have already shoved into the grave. Natural disasters occur... Some human civs, perhaps our own, bite the dust... In other words, the same challenges, broadly speaking, as we have seen for the last 10,000 years."


So in other words, really bad things happen, but in 10,000 years who's going to care? Sounds rather cold to me. If it's a choice between civilization X dying or not dying, I think I'll pick the latter, thank you very much.

And yes, these are the same problems, in some ways, that we've always dealt with, but the difference is we've DEALT with them. So why should we spontaneously decide to not deal with AGW? You still haven't laid out anything in dealing with this problem that even begins to approach the potential, and even probable, consequences of not dealing with it.

And for the record, we haven't killed that many species, not yet. We've killed a few, and we've severely stressed many in ways that will eventually become lethal if it continues, but then, guess what threat is poised to kill off more than any other? AGW.

Without climatic changes, humans could easily stabilize their impact, protect some habitat, and leave nature alone to recover for a few decades, and we'd avert most of the potential damage.

AGW throws every such effort out the window, because range shifts basically means species have to go live elsewhere anyways (and since there's nothing else to move into...). This is exactly what happens to American Pikas. When it gets warmer, they move, by climbing higher, until eventually, there's just nowhere to climb to, and they die. We've seen this happen more than a few times with them.

Corey said...

"I think the climate system is sufficiently complex and climate science is sufficiently new that climate models are useless for practical planning (for picking species of trees to plant in anticipation of temperature change, for example). To pass laws forcing individuals to paint their homes white, or bicycle, on the basis of such models would therefore be unethical. We must admit that we do not know and pay money to fund research to do our best to find out."


I don't disagree that we need more research for specific planning, but again, in the meantime, regardless of the specifics of climate, ANY significant shift will be far more damaging to society than taking intelligent, already positive steps towards minimizing whatever climate changes we encounter.


At NO point did I suggest making people "bicycle". Aside from the fact that it would be a big imposition, it wouldn't help the problem.

But if it's a choice between that, or even, say, a 70% probability of causing the biggest mass extinction since the beginning of the Cenozoic, you know what? People can suck it up and ride a bicycle.

If you don't like that solution, and I know I don't, then suggest something a little more win-win (something that helps AGW, and is good for society in the meantime), but honestly, it's hard to believe you think riding a bicycle is worse than a mass extinction, and all the pain associated with it for humans. And more than that, it's completely silly to say that because a BAD solution isn't going to be much fun, that therefore we should pursue NO solution, even a good one that benefits us regardless.

Corey said...

I'm not sure there's really any kind of disagreement outside of a purely academic sense (even if academic disagreement can be a very engaging thing!).


I think it would be very interesting to see what you could consider "certain enough" in climatic understanding (and I bet you'd be surprised just how much more we know than you might be aware of), but isn't it really beside the point?




It seems we both agree that there are ways we can tackle this issue with actions we should absolutely take regardless, so even if precluding any nasty effects from AGW is nothing but a fringe benefit, shouldn't we at least start with that while we do further research?


Forget efficiency; at best it's a bandaid. We need a real source of energy, plain and simple. In 2008, the planet consumed 474 EXAjoules of energy, and most of it came from a source that's on the order of 1x10^-8% efficient. I'm not sure what's more impressive, the fact that we succeed at that, or that we're stupid enough to even try.

We need something better, plain and simple.

Abilard said...

These days, climatologists focus more on constraining that based on observations.

This should have been the starting point. ;-) But then I subscribe to the archaic notion that all scientists should be skeptics.

So why should we spontaneously decide to not deal with AGW?

The burden of proof is on those who wish government or other people (the same thing) to act, and the ones who must be convinced are the citizenry.

For my part, I think we should discern the nature of our impact (heating/cooling; wet/dry; etc) before attempting to adapt to it. This requires accurate modeling.

Civilizations do not change their systems of energy production overnight, so our actions will, of necessity, be ones of adaptation and only secondarily of amelioration. It would be nice to know what we are adapting to before, say, spending billions (though I would start changing our energy production NOW for reasons unrelated to AGW).

I'm willing to accept the expertise of climate scientists, advisedly. After a dozen years in academia and several decades of observing human foibles, I will not accept that the situation is as binary as you lay it out. Besides, if it is, we are doomed, because our contentious little species is too disagreeable to cooperate that quickly on a global scale.

The real question is what you felt it would contribute to put forth such a gross misrepresentation in the first place.

Read again my earlier statement:

"To apply your reasoning to another area of belief, one might say that the question of God's existence is binary, and therefore that one is either an atheist, uncommitted through lack of consideration, or a Catholic. The third option is not quite so narrow. "

You have a habit of bundling solid statements with semi-solid statements and acting as though the whole has the same certainty. A conclusion is then drawn that, you assert, is the only possible conclusion. This is bad thinking and leads to extremism. My sarcasm is directed at highlighting this.

Abilard said...

I'm not sure there's really any kind of disagreement outside of a purely academic sense (even if academic disagreement can be a very engaging thing!).

Writing a hundred pages of documentation today, so this is quite engaging for me. Just finished though. So will probably be offline for a while.

Yes, this is academic. If the country were populated by people like either of us, I think it is safe to say the outcome would be a full-court press for renewables. So there would be no practical difference.

Anyway, thanks for going round and round. Part of me must miss academia, or I would not enjoy such vicious argumentation. Later.

Tony Fisk said...

Sorry Abilard, but your stance really boils down to 'we don't know enough, so do nothing'

This makes an implicit assumption: that doing nothing will lead to the best perceived outcome. Show me the modelling that demonstrates this.

Meanwhile, climatological models, while imprecise, do show a definite trend in temperature.

rewinn said...

@Abilard: what would you accept as evidence that AGW will not cause disaster?

It appears that your answer is "nothing".

Tim H. said...

Tony, not going as fast as you'd want is not quite doing nothing. Temperatures from correctly sited monitoring stations would be worth more than here than temperatures in climate models.
Rewinn, a beter question would be "Is there anything we can do that will make a substantial difference?"
I'd be interested in something that'll shut down coal mining without alternately baking and freezing the old folks and babies. A viable solution must be in reach of poor people also, got anything?

Ian said...

Forgive the pedantry but carbon dioxide IS toxic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide#Toxicity

Just not at levels anywhere near current atmospheric levels.

Ian said...

For the people unhappy abotu beign called "deniers".

Spend a couple of decades (literally) being compared t5o Hitler and Pol Pot, being called brain-washed, a moron dupe and a fraud; being accused of hating freedom and plotting genocide and a global dictatorship.

See how much civility you have left afterwards.

Ian said...

Cuerious isn't it, that the peopel who think that climate change is "natural" and that we shoudl simply accept it, accuse their opponents of worshipping nature.

Know what else is natural?

Pandemics.

And locust plagues.

Ian said...

One of the few scientists who DID embrace the Little Ace Age theory back in the 1970's was Nigel Calder.

Calder is now a leading AGW skeptic.

Ian said...

"The third option is not quite so narrow. Likewise, one can accept temperature readings, accept that CO2 traps heat, and yet somehow be skeptical that climate modeling is solid enough to reorganize civilization at the point of a gun."

Yes, we jack-booted eco-Nazis have killed millions.

Ian said...

"One should never curtail freedom lightly."

Except that no=-one is proposing to curtail freedom.

It's like Saying

"AGW skeptics want to make it legal to eat babies.

We shouldn't lightly allow the eating of babies."

Ian said...

"Making it personal again. ;-) Hardly germaine to my point."

Forgive me if I'm belaboring the point but when you speak about imposing change at gunpoint and wanting to curtail freedom YOU are making things personal.

Corey said...

@Tim

"Temperatures from correctly sited monitoring stations would be worth more than here than temperatures in climate models"

I can do one better.

Temperature readings from very robust land station networks AND temperatures from satellite products are both readily available to the public.


If they weren't, what would we compare our model outputs to?

Ian said...

|To pass laws forcing individuals to paint their homes white, or bicycle, on the basis of such models would therefore be unethical."

Do you have any examples of such laws being proposed?

Ian said...

- Miles traveled by car per year in the US has been declining since around 2005 (i.e. since well before the GFC).

The price of solar is rapidly approaching grid parity.

Virtually every major car manufacturer will have a plug-in hybrid or a battery electric model on sale within the next two years.

There are currently NO new coal-fired power plants planned or under construction in the US while the US solar industry installs ca. 11 Gigawatts of generating capacity per year - a rate which is continuing to expand rapidly.

All without sticking a gun in anyone's face or curtailing freedom".

Instant Karma said...

The true, underlying argument has never been about the temperature. It is about who is in charge of the thermostat.

Some people are more worried about the power of those in charge of the thermostat than about the change itself.

Before we choose sides, let's understand that just as there are good and bad aspects to climate change, and winners and losers, there are also risks and benefits of empowering states to address the issues.

To be specific, conservatives believe once there is a consensus that there is a problem, that the state will quickly assume the power to address it.

Corey said...

@Instant Karma

The idea here is not to control temperature; it's precisely to get humans to stop controlling temperature, because when a rapid shift of multiple degrees C occurs in single-century time spans, by all indications there aren't winners.

And yes, states will assume power to deal with the problem, just as they have with all environmental problems, because history has shown that no one else does, and that states are effective towards this end.

If you're not happy with how the problem is dealt with, and you think you have a better idea, then you can advocate it, and it will be implemented if enough people agree; that's what democracy buys us.


By the logic you're presented, the state should never be empowered to deal with any problem, ever, because they might "misuse" that power. I think the problems of the past two centuries alone have proved to be far worse than empowering democratic governments to solve them, handily.


What you're saying is like saying "People are less afraid of workplace injuries and deaths than of who has the power over workplace safety, so there's it's legitimate to suggest that we shouldn't have OSHA".

rewinn said...

@Tim H wrote:

"Rewinn, a beter question would be "Is there anything we can do that will make a substantial difference?"


No. The FIRST question is always: Do you recognize that you have a problem?

If you deny there is a problem, then you CAN not fix the problem ... not because you lack the POWER but because you lack the WILL.

Now, to go to your question anyway:
"...something that'll shut down coal mining without alternately baking and freezing the old folks and babies. A viable solution must be in reach of poor people also, got anything?"

1. Stop subsidizing the carbon industry; make it pay its actual costs instead of passing them on to the commons. This is just basic economics.

2. Don't "concern troll" about poor people. Who do you think suffers the most from the externalized costs of carbon?

3. Many green alternatives are labor-intensive at relatively low pay grades, e.g. insulating walls, installing green roofs, planting trees. A rational policy would be to tax carbon imports to pay for replacing our aging stock of public buildings.

4. Other green alternatives empower the poor. Broadband internet may not be customarily thought of as a green technology but it eliminates trips and increases the intelligence of decisions.

sociotard said...

does anybody know if the singularity summit will post videos of their talks?

LarryHart said...

It seems to me that the right-winger anti-AGW argument is that even if the earth IS heating up to levels that endanger our ecosystem, that heating isn't our fault (it happens naturally), so therefore, it's perfectly ok to keep engaging in behaviors that add even more heat to the process.

If you follow this logic on the economic side, they should be pro-stimulus. Increased government spending is the right thing to do in a depression. The counter-argument that the debt is too high to allow government spending...well, unless you can prove that President Obama and Democratic policies CREATED the debt, that should be a non-issue. Democratic policies calling for spending should not be constrained by the debt created under supply-side economics. Certainly no more so than energy usage should be constrained by the threat of global warming,

rewinn said...

Jumping to transparency-or-whatever for a moment, is it not remarkable how tools such as livestream is creating new streams of information for political and educational movements?

I'm thinking in particular of http://www.livestream.com in particular ( but I'm sure there are many others ) which is or has been reporting on reputed mass arrests of people peacefully closing their Citibank accounts. This would seem to be a very odd story but with the video to watch of the breaking "news", it is quite compelling. With resources like these, why would one want or need mainstream media except as a filter, and there are more than a few people who don't like the mainstream media filter. Perhaps the "99%" movement can occur today because it CAN get its message out.

Instant Karma said...

Corey,

Thanks for making my case so well for me!

C: "The idea here is not to control temperature"

Trying to avoid warming is trying to control the temperature. What does your thermostat do?

C: "by all indications there aren't winners."

This is absurd. Climate change is not the same as climate deterioration. I am not suggesting it is a net gain or net loss. But trust me, some locales will improve. Some dry areas will get more water, some we areas less.

C: "And yes, states will assume power to deal with the problem...If you're not happy with how the problem is dealt with, and you think you have a better idea, then you can advocate it..."

You made my case for me. And for the record I never said the state shouldn't, I stated that this is what conservatives fear. Do you get the difference?

C: "By the logic you're presented, the state should never be empowered to deal with any problem, ever, because they might "misuse" that power.

I presented no logic at all for or against the state. I stated conservatives fear abuses of the state.

Let me repeat... as Corey makes crystal clear, Brin and many of those responding MISUNDERSTAND THE UNDERLYING ISSUE. Conservatives fear state regulation more than climate change. You can disagree with them on that, but frame the debate correctly.

Corey said...

On the contrary, Instant Karma, it's you who makes my case for me, by showing how the debate gets framed by people who don't understand the issue.

Shall we examine your statements?


"Trying to avoid warming is trying to control the temperature. What does your thermostat do?"

We're not trying to avoid warming; climate can warm all it wants on its own. What we're doing is trying to stop one very specific influence on climate: humans.

What we're doing is turning climate control off, and allowing the temperature to be what it will, on its own, according to natural forcings, not to control it like a thermostat.


"This is absurd. Climate change is not the same as climate deterioration. I am not suggesting it is a net gain or net loss. But trust me, some locales will improve. Some dry areas will get more water, some we areas less."



Well since the words "climate deterioration" are completely nonsensical, you're right, they definitely aren't the same as "climate change", which actually refer to something.

The only things climate can do are remain static or change; whether a change is a "deterioration" is a subjective perception, and not an actual physical state the climate can acquire.


As for the idea of areas improving, this isn't about whether or not the farm down the street gets more rain. You need to stop framing climate change in a purely abiotic way.


Anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of species will likely be wiped out, and with them, will go the ability of our biosphere to function.

That is going to have a negative impact on life almost everywhere.


Even your mention of how areas will get wetter shows that you're not applying even a basic understanding of ecology. Rapid changes to areas that species have adapted to, narrowly, under vastly different conditions will not improve those areas. Invasive species will suddenly be better adapted than native species, native species may respond to the changes with range-shifts in different ways that can separate co-dependent species, life cycles get disrupted, the whole thing just gets to be a mess. A sudden influx of more water is not necessarily a good thing.

Life cares far less about an arbitrary set of conditions than it does about stability.


As with most mass extinctions there usually ARE a few winners; you're not wrong there. But they're vastly outnumbered by the losers, and mass extinctions almost invariably strike high trophic levels harder than lower ones. Guess who's sitting up there?


It doesn't matter what the change is, any large scale perturbation on such a small time scale is going to be a net source of trouble. You make it sound like it's going to be as positive as negative.

Neither the history of life, nor are present understand of ecology would even remotely support you there.

"Brin and many of those responding MISUNDERSTAND THE UNDERLYING ISSUE. Conservatives fear state regulation more than climate change. You can disagree with them on that, but frame the debate correctly"

Except that this is where YOU misunderstand.


Conservatives are NOT saying "We fear government more than climate change". They are claiming that climate change isn't real.

It it not we who frame the argument incorrectly, but rather conservatives, by claiming that climate science is a hoax, purely on the basis of their own ignorance, rather than stating real objections.


If conservatives were framing the argument the way you claim, then we'd be discussing that argument, but they aren't.


CONSERVATIVES are the one's making statements about the basic validity of climate science, and we're merely responding to their arguments. If you want us to frame our response to conservatives differently, then tell THEM to stop fallaciously framing the argument incorrectly.

Now do YOU understand?

Instant Karma said...

Corey,

C: "We're not trying to avoid warming; climate can warm all it wants on its own."

So, if the temperature were to go up or down 5 degrees per century absent any human impact you would be fine with letting it do its thing? It's ONLY human impact that bothers you? Really? Even if some natural event occurred which threatened to wipe out many species?

You then go on for 4 or 5 paragraphs with obviously true facts (I don't really disagree with any of them) before conceding the point: "...there usually ARE a few winners; you're not wrong there. But they're vastly outnumbered by the losers..." That was my only point, though it was irrelevant to the topic, so let's let it go. Yes, I assume major climate change is bad on net, especially to species diversity over the shorter term (next few million years). Long term it is a non issue. Evolution refills nitches.

C: "Conservatives are NOT saying "We fear government more than climate change". They are claiming that climate change isn't real. It it not we who frame the argument incorrectly, but rather conservatives, by claiming that climate science is a hoax, purely on the basis of their own ignorance, rather than stating real objections. If conservatives were framing the argument the way you claim, then we'd be discussing that argument, but they aren't."

Conservatives are a broad category, and I agree that at least some of them are skeptical of the science. This is not due to some kind of anti-science gene in Republicans. It is greatly because they fear government control that might be used to address the issue. It is a kerfuffle, and both sides are fighting dirty.

However, I will rephrase my statement... people on both sides of the debate are glossing over the real issue.

Conservatives (and Libertarians) are very, very suspect of government power. Power over CO2 is power over human activity. This is worrisome to many. Coalitions have formed around the issue, and (other than the Libertarians) most are in denial on the heart of the debate.

How are you with my rephrasing?

Chris Shaker said...

I don't buy the implication that most of us who question CO2 alarmism are anti science.

I am a computer scientist, I believe in science, and I believe in evolution. I made a good living writing software.

I am highly skeptical of climate modelers who write their own code and then will not make their software and data available for review by others. Any such results are not to be relied upon.

Nature magazine says that a large number of scientists are computer illiterates. Studies on the computing skills of scientists who write their own code are shockingly poor.

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101013/full/467775a.html#a

If you want me to trust the output of your models, those models and data need to be published for review and critique by others.

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

I'm curious as to your views on those of "Prof. Nir J. Shaviv, who is a member of the Racah Institute of Physics in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. According to PhysicaPlus: "...his research interests cover a wide range of topics in astrophysics, most are related to the application of fluid dynamics, radiation transfer or high energy physics to a wide range of objects - from stars and compact objects to galaxies and the early universe. His studies on the possible relationships between cosmic rays intensity and the Earth's climate, and the Milky Way's Spiral Arms and Ice Age Epochs on Earth were widely echoed in the scientific literature, as well as in the general press." "?

He doesn't buy the CO2 Centric Claims of the Atmospheric Particle Modelers:

http://www.sciencebits.com/CO2orSolar

http://www.sciencebits.com/IceCoreTruth

I find his writing easy to read, well explained, and thought provoking.

I don't think anyone could accuse Meteorologist Anthony Watts of http://wattsupwiththat.com/ as being 'anti science' either.

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Since ClimateGate got me interested in this topic, I've been fascinated with the ice age cycle.

This is another one of Professor Shaviv's articles which ties into the ice ages, and the recent discoveries at Cern

http://sciencebits.com/ice-ages

Regarding the CERN results:


CERN 'gags' physicists in cosmic ray climate experiment
What do these results mean? Not allowed to tell you

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/18/cern_cosmic_ray_gag/

"I have asked the colleagues to present the results clearly, but not to interpret them," reports veteran science editor Nigel Calder on his blog. Why?

"Because, Heuer says, "That would go immediately into the highly political arena of the climate change debate. One has to make clear that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters."

The quantity of cosmic rays therefore has an influence on climate, but this isn't factored into the IPCC's "consensus" science at all.

According to Calder:

"CERN has joined a long line of lesser institutions obliged to remain politically correct about the man-made global warming hypothesis. It's OK to enter 'the highly political arena of the climate change debate' provided your results endorse man-made warming, but not if they support Svensmark's heresy that the Sun alters the climate by influencing the cosmic ray influx and cloud formation.""

CERN: “Don’t interpret the CLOUD experiment results”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/18/cern-dont-interpret-the-cloud-experiment-results/#comment-710851

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

According to the IPCC, global surface temperatures have increased about .74 C since the late 19th century. The IPCC believes that much of that warming has been caused by man's CO2 emissions

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html

If you believe Professors Reddiman and Kaplan, we have delayed the start of the next ice age, by increasing CO2 with early mankind's agriculture, which is a good thing. If you believe their theories, just cutting mankind's industry out of the picture won't necessarily be enough to stop warming, in spite of the glacial cycle. If they are correct, some kind of world government with population control will be necessary. Or else, effective climate engineering to capture CO2. Read the paper here

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110325/full/news.2011.184.html


I don't know if you've looked at the graphs of the 100,000 year glacial cycle before. Here it is, derived from the ice cores at Vostok. The ice cores at Greenland look very similar

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Vostok_420ky_4curves_insolation.jpg

Note that the present day is to the left. Note that the present interglacial (warm period between glaciations) started about 12 to 15,000 years ago (hard to tell with graph). Note that in all of the interglacials, the temperature rises almost vertically when warming starts. Look at the red temperature line (second down). Note that after the temperature spikes at the start of an interglacial, it usually starts down steeply. It is also trending down during this interglacial.

If you look at the temperature track in the first graph I pointed you at, you'll see that the line is very thick (fuzzy) as it goes to the left, towards the present day. That is because we have many more samples from that time period, and the data we get from them bounces all over the place. We get less samples per time period as we go deeper, because the weight of the ice above it compresses the ice core! It is possible that is why this interglacial looks different from the previous ones. This graph shows the past 420,000 years of global temperature data as derived from the Vostok Russian ice cores

We also get proxy temperatures from core samples of sediments. Here is a graph of five million years of temperature proxy data. You can see the long term trend is down, about 9 C or so. You can also see the same 100,000 year glacial cycle in the temperature record extracted from the sediment

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f7/Five_Myr_Climate_Change.svg/400px-Five_Myr_Climate_Change.svg.png

The long term trend of the earth without mankind is an ice ball, sooner or later. You can see the obvious trend in the sediment proxy temperature record at a glance!

I apologize if this message restates things that you are very familiar with. I've pasted my notes on this topic that I saved to share with my friends.

Further education or correction is requested
Chris Shaker

Tony Fisk said...

Chris,

First off, welcome to our little community.

As a former scientist turned computer programmer, I would call my stance concerned, rather than alarmed.

According to Romm's little crib sheet (point #16) Cosmic ray flux shows no correlation with temperatures. Corey also points out that they just don't exhibit cloud nucleation on the required scale.

I would agree that scientists aren't necessarily programmers, but the modelling used *is* developed and maintained by professional programmers (at least in the Australian Bureau of Meteorology) Both groups are well able to go poking holes in the operation of those models (either by unit/system verification tests or by peer review) I am unaware of any attempt to hide the code.

Corey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Corey said...

@Instant Karma

I concede that we largely seem to be saying the same thing, but a couple of points.


First, it's possible that if climate was due to undergo a massive natural shift that it would appropriate to suddenly make arbitrary decisions about what absolute temperatures humans would like. In fact, it's almost certain we'd make a decision about that, were that the problem facing us.

But in the here and now, we needn't cross that bridge. We may someday need to empower states with a global "thermostat", but for the time being, the power required to deal with the issues needn't be anywhere near that broad, so the question of whether it's appropriate is purely an academic one. For now, we just need to stop humans from mucking things up, and leave climate be, and given the rarity of catastrophic climate shifts, it's probable we won't have to worry about the ramifications of a human-imposed thermostat for thousands, if not millions, of years.




Secondly, conservatives may be denying since out of a fear that accepting it might empower government. I haven't doubted that for a moment.

But I think the issue is more fundamental than that. By definition, conservatives will never stop being afraid of government expansion. The real issue here is that, within this denialist group, conservatives do not sufficiently respect science and logic to choose when government is and isn't necessary based on THAT standard.

The real issue isn't conservative ideology; it's that they're placing that ideology over enlightened thinking.

If these conservatives, and they're a very big portion of general conservatives, made decisions about the nature of government based on science and logic in the first place, then a fear of government would never enter the equation on climate.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Shaker

"The long term trend of the earth without mankind is an ice ball,"

Major error - the sun is increasing in brightness - the long term trend is to a frassle!

"I am highly skeptical of climate modelers who write their own code and then will not make their software and data available for review by others. Any such results are not to be relied upon."

So am I - it's a good thing that all of the modellers that I know of publish their code and data

Corey said...

@Chris

You posted a lot, but let me see if I can be relatively brief.

1.)
Climate models ARE available. In fact, almost every climate model, if not every climate model, is free to be downloaded any time. You just have to know where they're kept. Those that aren't are available on request. No climate agency would be taken seriously in the first place if they didn't share model code.

Let me get you started:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

That's ALL of the raw data for NASA GISS (GHCN), a lot of the raw data for CRUTEM3 (and you can get the rest from CRU Hadley), as well as tons of other raw data, and... model code! :)

GISS, Modtran, NCAR's and NOAA's models; you'll be like a kid in a candy story there.

Scientists share data, all of it, barring extraordinary and rare circumstances; Climategate confused a lot of people about that fact, sadly.



2.) There are two fundemental problems with the cosmic ray hypothesis.

First, as Tony and I have said, CRs aren't remotely known to cause nucleation on the require scale to seed clouds and affect climate.

Secondly, Shaviv's paper couldn't account for significant temperature changes on a scale of decades, only on a scale of many thousands of years. We're far exceeding the average rate of warming during interglacials, so even if this hypothesis didn't completely lack a physical basis, it couldn't cause a massive warming on such a short time scale.


So you need a mechanism to DRIVE changes in cosmic rays, rapidly, and the only quick mechanism is the sun. The sun, however, has not changed in output since we started measuring it in 1978. See here (the full page with description is here).


3.) Humans are, indeed, counteracting what would eventually be a serious glacial period that would be less than fun for everyone.

But what you have to realize is that we're talking about changes due in the 10,000-20,000 year range, and they'll be VERY slow changes.

The problem with AGW isn't that it's making the Earth warm; that's that we're making the Earth warm FAST. We're warming at about 10 times the rate of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, the period of fastest known warming in the paleoclimate record.

The Earth can warm all it wants and life will be fine with it; it just can't warm at multiple tenths of a degree, C, per decade. That'll hurt, in the here and now, very badly.

Chris Shaker said...

Those of you who replied saying that the earth is warming long term obviously did not follow the link I provided to the temperature reconstruction from sediment records going back for five million years.

Care to comment on this graph?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f7/Five_Myr_Climate_Change.svg/400px-Five_Myr_Climate_Change.svg.png

Please note that the present day is to the right side of the graph.

Yes, I have found *some* of the modeling code which is freely available, including Dr. Hansen's code. I have also found other code which is not available, and data sets which have never been supplied to those asking for them.

And, I have spent a fair amount of time reading RealClimate.org

I think it is the 'religious' zeal of the true believers of the CO2 hypothesis which first started to make me doubt their conclusions.

Did any of you actually read the Nature article about the poor state of programming skills of many scientists who do their own coding?

Chris Shaker

Stefan Jones said...

I don't think there's any chance that Rick Perry will get the GOP nomination, but this is concerning given that he remains the governor of a wealthy and influential state:

Rick Perry officials spark revolt after doctoring environment report
Scientists ask for names to be removed after mentions of climate change and sea-level rise taken out by Texas officials
"Officials in Rick Perry's home state of Texas have set off a scientists' revolt after purging mentions of climate change and sea-level rise from what was supposed to be a landmark environmental report. The scientists said they were disowning the report on the state of Galveston Bay because of political interference and censorship from Perry appointees at the state's environmental agency."

Chris Shaker said...

Not sure if you've seen this recent article about CERN cosmic ray results

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110824/full/news.2011.504.html

Cloud formation may be linked to cosmic rays
Experiment probes connection between climate change and radiation bombarding the atmosphere

That is the article I was talking about, although it is clear that each side sees what they want to see in the results.

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Regarding "The problem with AGW isn't that it's making the Earth warm; that's that we're making the Earth warm FAST. We're warming at about 10 times the rate of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, the period of fastest known warming in the paleoclimate record.

The Earth can warm all it wants and life will be fine with it; it just can't warm at multiple tenths of a degree, C, per decade. That'll hurt, in the here and now, very badly."

I have found many examples of periodic changes faster than what you are worrying about, just in the 100,000 year glacial cycle, which causes a rapid apx 10 C temperature delta at the start of each interglacial

Have a look at the 100,000 year glacial cycle, as revealed by the ice cores at Vostok

http://www.evernote.com/shard/s43/sh/b5b79751-4b69-4113-b241-7b2698f32f12/fcd7b75b7196d6a421b896465f6ada51

I knew about the massive, repetitive Missoula floods during the rapid warming that occured at the start of this interglacial, around 15,000 years ago, which reshaped a large part of the Pacific Northwest, but did not realize that similar flooding occurred in the Southwest at the same time as well!

http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2011/jun/16/talking-it-over-geologists-are-still-digging-up/

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

http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Glossary/Glaciers/IceSheets/description_lake_missoula.html


Just learned about the massive Lake Bonneville Flooding, also 15,000 years ago

http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Glossary/Glaciers/IceSheets/description_lake_bonneville.html

http://imnh.isu.edu/digitalatlas/hydr/lkbflood/lbf.htm


Evidence of glacial flooding in the Midwest
http://www.igsb.uiowa.edu/browse/glacflds/glacflds.htm


Found that similar events have occurred around the world

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

The correlation between the ice core history and these massive floods is quite compelling

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Regarding claims that climate modeling code has always been released, it appears that Dr. James Hansen at NASA did not release his code until 2007?

http://climateaudit.org/2007/09/08/hansen-frees-the-code/

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

While attempting to identify other climate modeling code and data which has not been released (even after FOI), I found this article, which quotes engineering estimates of defect rates in climate modeling code

http://davec.org/2010/02/open-source-science/

Also found another article from Nature in late 2010 asking scientists to not be embarrassed to publish their code (which implies that they are not publishing their code)

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101013/full/467753a.html

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

I'm with Ince, if we're going to be making public policy decisions based on the results of this computer modeling, the code and data need to be Publically released. Not available behind a paywall, not available only to those who purchase license.

http://davec.org/2010/02/open-source-science/

"Ince may be convinced that scientific software must be publicly-auditable. However, scientific validity ultimately derives from methodological rigour and the reproducibility of results, not from the availability of source code. The latter may be a good idea, but it is not necessary in order to ensure confidence in the science. Other independent researchers should be able to confirm or contradict your results without requiring your source code, because you should have explained all the important details in published papers. (In the event that your results are not reproducible due to a software defect, releasing the source code may help to pinpoint the problem, but that's after the problem has been noticed.)

There was a time before computing power was widely available, when model calculations were evaluated manually. How on Earth did science cope back then, when there was no software to release?"

Presumably, the calculation were straightforward given the formula which was presumably also published.

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

"His only example of this is Mann, who by Ince's own admission did eventually release his code. The climate modelling software examined by Easterbrook and Johns is available under licence to other researchers, and RealClimate lists several more publicly-available climate modelling programs. I am left wondering what Ince is actually complaining about."

He identifies Dr. Mann as one of the modelers whom had not released his code, but now has done so.

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Some CRU Climate Data was not released to those requesting it until this summer

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/07/at_long_last_cru_releases_clim.html

This isn't the behavior I expect out of scientists who are just searching for the truth

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Please take a look at the 100,000 year glacial cycle again

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/77/Vostok_420ky_4curves_insolation.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ice_Age_Temperature.png

You can see the 100,000 year cycles. You will note that warming occurs very rapidly at the start of each interglacial. Subsequent cooling occurs very gradually. You can also see the temperature delta over those 100,000 years is only 10 to 11 C. You also see how repetitive the saw tooth wave form is.

We are still 4.5 C below the peak temperature normally achieved during an interglacial. Ie - we are only just above half the temperature delta normally experienced during an interglacial. This source provides that number

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/070705-antarctica-ice.html

Why is our climate still so cold during this interglacial? We are only about 6.5 C above the lowest temperature we normally experience during the 100,000 year glacial cycle.

Chris Shaker

Corey said...

@Chris

A 10C change over several thousand years is NOT faster than the change we're experiencing right now.

The graph you show isn't very clear, but as I recall, it was about 10,000 years for those interglacial changes based on the NCDC's graphs.

That amounts to 0.01C/decade, which is not even as fast as the ~.1C per decade of the past few decades, let alone what it will likely be with vastly larger emissions over the next few decades.


More relevant, however, are the effects of present day warming, which has already unleashed a fair bit of ecological havoc. Even if the rate magically didn't increase, and just stayed at .1C/decade, it would be pretty bad news. Showing interglacial changes that are an order of magnitude slower isn't going to change that.



As for cosmic rays, as I said, even if a physical mechanism were found for them to actually seed clouds, and considering the years and years people have spent claiming one, I'm not holding my breath, but even if one was found, it STILL would not be relevant to the issue of recent observed warming, because there's still no mechanism for vast changes in cosmic ray exposure.


In fact, if anything, cosmic rays would be having a cooling influence on climate right now, the advocates of that particular climatic theory are right, because the sun has been slightly decreasing in activity (slightly meaning just that, but still).




As for modelling code, your argument isn't particularly compelling. You have code you can examine, so why don't you look at what's available and see what flaws you can discover?

Why don't you release a better model?

Why don't you make your own model, and see if it verifies what's being said by the major climate agencies?


Until then, do you have a more specific objection?

duncan cairncross said...

"Some CRU Climate Data was not released to those requesting it until this summer"

Typical "denier" tactics - tell only part of the story
Why was it not released??

Because the countries that had taken the measurements (and "owned" the data) refused permission for CRU to release the data

Tell the whole story - not just a snippet

Most of the time that data is not released it is because the data user does not own the data (or analysis tool)and is not free to pass it on, or the request is frivolous and designed to waste the researchers time

Incidentally in New Zealand we have freedom of information - BUT if you request some information you can be charged for the "cost" of servicing the request, we had a recent request, a quick look showed that to service the request would take ~ 40 hours at $50/hr - (searching through old paper files)the organization doing the requesting was asked to pay $2,000 as a deposit
Funny they didn't seem to need the data after that

As far as a long term cooling is concerned astrophysics is a pretty well established science - the sun is increasing in brightness - long term cooling is toast!

To your sediment records - they only show that for a relatively short time period a particular location has been cooling - as we are in a geological epoch with a continent at one pole and a land locked sea at the other who is surprised?

Corey said...

And as for the CRU's raw data, it was licensed to them by private meteorological firms who did not give them permission to release it.

CRU has been working to secure the rights to release that data since long before the irrelevant pile of hot air know as "climategate" began.



And even during the time period that CRU wasn't able to release a lot of that particular data, you could STILL reproduce their work, because they gave the station numbers, so anyone could go out and get the data the same way they did: by getting it from the people WHO ACTUALLY OWN IT.


So tell me, exactly how does this show "dishonesty" at CRU?


And tell me, Chris, if CRU's goal is to be dishonest with the CRUTEM product, then why does it only show what other temperature products show? Why does it basically agree with GISS and UAH?

Would you mind sharing the goal of this alleged "dishonesty", if it only produces the same results as are available from groups who DO have fully public data, like NASA?

rewinn said...

Welcome @Chris, and let me ask you the key question:

Will you change your mind if your factual assertions are debunked?

Corey said...

Duncan partly beat me to it with CRU it would seem :)

rewinn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rewinn said...

But the real reason I stopped by tonight is to note something that amazed me, in the Transparency area: as the OWS protests go on, you can listen to NYPD Dispatcher radio!.
This is, I believe, without precedent in history: realtime monitoring of police activity, distributed worldwide. I don't know how it will turn out, but wow, just wow!

Corey said...

@Rewinn

That actually is pretty cool.

Out of curiosity, exactly who is providing this?

Chris Shaker said...

Regarding how fast the climate changes naturally...

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ice-core-reveals-how-quickly-climate-can-change

"Roughly 14,700 years ago the weather patterns that bring snow to Greenland shifted from one year to the next—a pattern of abrupt change that was repeated 12,900 years ago and 11,700 years ago when the earth’s climate became the one enjoyed today—according to records preserved in an ice core taken from the northern island. These speedy changes—transitions from warming to cooling and back again—in the absence of changes in greenhouse gas could presage abrupt, catastrophic climate change in our future."

"Following this abrupt shift, as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) of warming occurred over the subsequent decades—a change that ultimately resulted in at least 33 feet (10 meters) of sea-level rise as the ice melted on Greenland.

Greenland can change quickly, even living up to its name, according to another paper in this week's Science. Sediment cores from the ocean show that forests of spruce and even fern grew on Greenland just 125,000 years ago. That means Greenland’s ice sheet—potentially responsible for as much as 75 feet (23 meters) of sea-level rise if it all melts—has grown and shrunk far more frequently than previously known."


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619142112.htm

"The ice core showed the Northern Hemisphere briefly emerged from the last ice age some 14,700 years ago with a 22-degree-Fahrenheit spike in just 50 years, then plunged back into icy conditions before abruptly warming again about 11,700 years ago. Startlingly, the Greenland ice core evidence showed that a massive "reorganization" of atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere coincided with each temperature spurt, with each reorganization taking just one or two years, said the study authors."

"According to the researchers, the first abrupt warming period beginning at 14,700 years ago lasted until about 12,900 years ago, when deep-freeze conditions returned for about 1,200 years before the onset of the second sharp warming event. The two events indicate a speed in the natural climate change process never before seen in ice cores, said White, director of CU-Boulder's Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research."

"Both dramatic warming events were preceded by decreasing Greenland dust deposition, indicating higher tropical temperatures and significantly more rain falling on the deserts of Asia at the time, said White. The team believes the ancient tropical warming caused large, rapid atmospheric changes at the equator, the intensification of the Pacific monsoon, sea-ice loss in the north Atlantic Ocean and more atmospheric heat and moisture over Greenland and much of the rest of the Northern Hemisphere."

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Computer modeling is not facts...

Typical 'denier' religious/political B.S. does not impress me.

I've got more faith in the geological record than I do in computer models.

Regarding claims that the 5 million year sediment record reflected a short time period? WTF???

Chris Shaker

Corey said...

Yes, Chris, we know climate can change quickly naturally.

No one has claimed that climate has never changed quickly, merely that the change we're experiencing right now is a quick change, comparable to much longer-period shifts typically seen during the past geological epoch.



Are you aware that the period you're describing saw absolutely massive extinctions? In addition to the disappearance of many American megafauna, 70% of mollusk species were wiped out.

Do you really thing we aren't aware of one of the more recent extremely turbulent periods in climate history?


Given the ecological catastrophe that occurred during this time period, it comes as no surprise, to anyone, that during today's warming, we're also seeing serious ecological stress.

Chris Shaker said...

They've offered iphone apps to play police communications (and FAA controller) communications for a year or two.

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Yes, I was aware of the North American Megafauna extinction, about 12,900 years ago or so.

Was sad to see the theory of the extinction being caused by a comet strike be debunked as a product of a fraud.

Chris Shaker

Corey said...

"Computer modeling is not facts..."

No Chris, they aren't, which is why scientists constrain them with empirical observations.


I like paleoclimate records too; might I suggest you have a look at Annan and Hargreaves 2006 paper on the subject of constraining climate sensitivity using paleoclimate data.


"Climate modelling isn't fact" isn't an argument. Climate models are meant to help us understand observations, not to dictate them.

Corey said...

"Was sad to see the theory of the extinction being caused by a comet strike be debunked as a product of a fraud"


Oh?

I must admit I didn't hear about that one. Do share, please! :)

rewinn said...

@Chris wrote:
"...computer models are not facts..."
That does not answer the question. You've made quite a few assertions in support of your beliefs. And while a computer model may not be BE a fact, you have made several assertions ABOUT computer models, from which you have drawn conclusions in support of your beliefs.

If some of those factual assertions about computer models are shown to be incorrection, will you change your conclusions about computer models?

rewinn said...

@Corey - I just learned about radioreference.com this evening. They say "With hundreds of thousands of members, RadioReference is a world leading collaboration platform for public safety communications professionals and hobbyists." It looks like they have an ad-based revenue model, which might actually make sense in that the communications community uses a lot of physical equipment that has to be purchased, and the site seems to have a large community discussing the equipment.
It's a fascinating model for funding transparency!

Chris Shaker said...

UPDATE: It appears that 'Allen West' is a convicted fraud, and this appears to be a scam

http://www.miller-mccune.com/science/comet-claim-comes-crashing-to-earth-31180/

No evidence of nanodiamonds in Younger–Dryas sediments to support an impact event
http://www.pnas.org/content/107/37/16043

What follows is obsolete===============================

If you want to read about what really happened, go to the radical websites run by Nova, Scientific American, National Geographic, and Science Daily. Read about the most recent iridium layer and nanodiamonds, deposited in North America 12,900 years ago.

The Wooly Mammoth, Giant Sloth, and Sabre toothed cat went extinct only 12,900 years ago, the same time that the iridium and nanodiamond layer was deposited, most likely from an object striking the earth. It's pretty lame watching the A.G.W. religion attempt to blame mankind for an act of nature.

Extinction of North American Megafauna, 12,900 years ago:
Nova: Megabeast's Sudden Death:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/clovis/
Exploding Asteroid Theory Strengthened By New Evidence Located In Ohio, Indiana
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080702160950.htm

Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas cooling
http://www.pnas.org/content/104/41/16016.abstract
http://www.pnas.org/content/104/41/16016.full
Did a Comet Hit Earth 12,000 Years Ago?
Nanodiamonds found across North America suggest that major climate change could have been cosmically instigated
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=did-a-comet-hit-earth-12900-years-ago

"Nanodiamond" Find Supports Comet Extinction Theory
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/01/090105-nanodiamonds.html

Ice Core Reveals How Quickly Climate Can Change
Weather patterns can permanently shift in as little as a year, according to the records preserved in an ice core from Greenland
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ice-core-reveals-how-quickly-climate-can-change
Greenland Ice Core Analysis Shows Drastic Climate Change Near End Of Last Ice Age

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619142112.htm

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

I am rather turned off by people who are more concerned by 'being right' than they are with what the truth is

"If some of those factual assertions about computer models are shown to be incorrection, will you change your conclusions about computer models?"

I've already posted sources that show that the climate modeling code was not published in the past. It is now, but it wasn't before. The same article also makes it clear that for scientists in general, they do not publish their code nor data, usually.

Chris Shaker

Corey said...

I was aware of the nanodiamond evidence, but that area of paleontology is hardly close to anything I study, so wasn't aware it had run into so much trouble.

Corey said...

"I've already posted sources that show that the climate modeling code was not published in the past. It is now, but it wasn't before. The same article also makes it clear that for scientists in general, they do not publish their code nor data, usually"

That assertion isn't really backed by what's been said here. The idea that scientists don't "usually" release data/models isn't at all supported.


Raw data for temperature products has been provided, in all possible cases, with CRU working diligently to alleviate the one exception (not being able to release private data they didn't own), and even when CRU couldn't directly release data, they still provided 100% of what was necessary to obtain their data the same way they did and replicate their results.


For models, it appears many have been released, and some have not, but nevertheless, unless you can come up with fundamental flaws in those models that are available that fundamentally change their outputs, or write your own model that contradicts what's already out there (and you are free to public a paper debunking all the climate models out there), you're still not coming up with a particularly compelling argument.


Given the limited accuracy of present day models, the most important thing we're after right now is climate sensitivity.

Do you have evidence that what the models tells us there, and what the supporting empirical evidence tells us there, is wrong?

Chris Shaker said...

I will look up the Annan and Hargreaves 2006 paper on the subject of constraining climate sensitivity using paleoclimate data using Google Scholar.

In the meantime, you might be interested in Professor Shaviv's argument about why climate sensitivity must be small

http://www.sciencebits.com/OnClimateSensitivity

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Found Annan and Hargreaves 2006 paper on the subject of constraining climate sensitivity using paleoclimate data:

http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1857/2077.short

Full version available free here

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.117.6893&rep=rep1&type=pdf


"Abstract

In this paper, we review progress towards efficiently estimating parameters in climate models. Since the general problem is inherently intractable, a range of approximations and heuristic methods have been proposed. Simple Monte Carlo sampling methods, although easy to implement and very flexible, are rather inefficient, making implementation possible only in the very simplest models. More sophisticated methods based on random walks and gradient-descent methods can provide more efficient solutions, but it is often unclear how to extract probabilistic information from such methods and the computational costs are still generally too high for their application to state-of-the-art general circulation models (GCMs). The ensemble Kalman filter is an efficient Monte Carlo approximation which is optimal for linear problems, but we show here how its accuracy can degrade in nonlinear applications. Methods based on particle filtering may provide a solution to this problem but have yet to be studied in any detail in the realm of climate models. Statistical emulators show great promise for future research and their computational speed would eliminate much of the need for efficient sampling techniques. However, emulation of a full GCM has yet to be achieved and the construction of such represents a substantial computational task in itself."

Unfortunately, it has been many years since I was trained in numerical methods, and I have never studied statistics, so I'm of little use in analyzing the merits of such approaches.

Chris Shaker

Corey said...

Shaviv has a curious way or organizing what he does, in addition to the fact that I'm tired, but his logic seems to operate like this:


Empirical evidence puts climate sensitivity at 2 +-.5C (well within the range of what a typical climate scientist wold say), but cosmic rays HAVE to be included, so therefore he more or less subtracts the effect of what he *thinks* is the cosmic ray influence, and then leaves the remained for calculating climate sensitivity.


The problem with this is that if cosmic rays aren't having the massive effect he's claiming, then suddenly his entire thesis falls apart, and climate sensitivity is the high value we'd expect (below Annan and Hargreaves 2006, yes, but not unreasonably so; Shaviv's high end actually just about matches up with them).


The problem is that, again, since nothing is driving cosmic ray changes the way that would be required for Shaviv to use them to explain 1978-present warming (the period for which we have satellite TSI observations), his hypothesis basically falls apart.


Not only has the sun not varied in net output in the past 33 years, but if the sun and cosmic rays had an effect THAT big, we would see HUGE 11-year swings in temperature from 1978-present, which we clearly don't

Chris Shaker said...

Found another interesting paper that estimates climate sensitivity

"Abstract
The estimated range of climate sensitivity has remained unchanged for decades, resulting in large uncertainties in long-term projections of future climate under increased greenhouse gas concentrations. Here the multi-thousand-member ensemble of climate model simulations from the climateprediction.net project and a neural network are used to establish a relation between climate sensitivity and the amplitude of the seasonal cycle in regional temperature. Most models with high sensitivities are found to overestimate the seasonal cycle compared to observations. A probability density function for climate sensitivity is then calculated from the present-day seasonal cycle in reanalysis and instrumental datasets. Subject to a number of assumptions on the models and datasets used, it is found that climate sensitivity is very unlikely (5% probability) to be either below 1.5–2 K or above about 5–6.5 K, with the best agreement found for sensitivities between 3 and 3.5 K. This range is narrower than most probabilistic estimates derived from the observed twentieth-century warming. The current generation of general circulation models are within that range but do not sample the highest values."

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Sorry, forgot the URL
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI3865.1

Chris Shaker

Corey said...

Hmm, the AMS article takes an interesting approach, and they do corroborate the ~3C sensitivity that's found elsewhere.

Of course, if the model they used was poorly estimating seasonal cycles, that might cause problems; I don't know how well models do with that.


From what I can tell from the abstract, however, admitting that I couldn't verify the results, the approach at least *seems* sound, and it DOES uphold 30 years of prior estimates :)

Corey said...

but that's enough for now; until tomorrow

Chris Shaker said...

I don't see anything hazarding a guess on Climate Sensitivity in the paper by Annan and Hargreaves. Maybe I grabbed the wrong paper?

http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1857/2077.short

Full version available free here

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.117.6893&rep=rep1&type=pdf


"7. Conclusions
Most methods of uncertainty analysis in common use in climate science rely on
large numbers of model evaluations sampled directly from prior distributions on the
input parameters, and thus can only be applied to low-dimensional problems and
simplified models. Even within this setting, significant improvements in efficiency
can often be achieved by careful attention to sampling strategy such as the use of
a Latin Hypercube.
More sophisticated estimation and data assimilation methods based on gradient
descent and other heuristics attempt to sample more effectively from the posterior
(defined by some measure of fit to observational data). The methods are generally
flexible, optimal (in the sense of correctly solving an arbitrary problem, given ade-
quate computational resources) and simple to implement, but are still usually too
expensive for application to state of the art models. The ensemble Kalman filter is
highly parallelisable and requires relatively few model integrations, but it is only
approximate in the nonlinear case, and the validity and accuracy of its approxi-
mation in real applications remains rather uncertain. However, it has proven very
effective in at least finding well-calibrated solutions across a wide range of applica-
tions, and the more general particle filter or variants such as kernel resampling may
have the potential to address its main limitations. The Bayesian emulator approach
demonstrated by Sexton and Rougier (this issue) appears to be a highly promising
alternative for the future."

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Here are my notes on scientific paper retractions, which are on the rise as well

"Science is often idealized as a self-correcting system. But how often—and how quickly—is bad science set straight? Ira Flatow and guests discuss recent cases of scientific fraud that have led to retractions of journal studies". Here is the PBS program, audio and text

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/05/139025763/if-science-takes-a-wrong-turn-who-rights-it

The number of 'peer reviewed' scientific journal articles which have had to be retracted due to errors, mistakes, or fraud is soaring

http://www.onthemedia.org/2011/sep/02/scientific-retractions-rise/

http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/tune-in-to-science-friday-today-to-hear-retraction-watch/

There's often a really interesting story behind a retraction. That's what Ivan Oransky told us. He's a doctor and journalist and founder, along with Adam Marcus, of a blog called Retraction Watch. They monitor scientific journals and investigate why articles were retracted. They uncovered serious ethical breaches at a variety of journals

http://www.onthemedia.org/2011/sep/02/retraction-watch/

Got a laugh out of this blog entry about Retraction Watch. Refers to 'Oransky the Impaler'

http://www.healthnewsreview.org/blog/2010/08/retraction-watch-another-new-niche-blog-that-will-be-fun-to-follow.html

The scary thing is that scientists and researchers continue to cite and rely on the incorrect or fraudulent papers long after they have been disproved! They are talking about modifying URLs so that references to refuted papers are replaced with pointers to the papers that refuted them

http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/#!/page/1

Found the WSJ article they mentioned about rapidly rising rates of mistakes in scientific journals. Appears Medicine, Biology, and Chemistry are the fields with the most peer reviewed errors

http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~wilkins/science-fraud.html

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

""I've already posted sources that show that the climate modeling code was not published in the past. It is now, but it wasn't before. The same article also makes it clear that for scientists in general, they do not publish their code nor data, usually"

That assertion isn't really backed by what's been said here. The idea that scientists don't "usually" release data/models isn't at all supported."

Please refer to

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101013/full/467753a.html

He says,

"No excuses

If scientists stand to gain, why do you not publish your code? I have already discussed misplaced concern about quality. Here are my responses to some other common excuses.
It is not common practice. As explained above, this must change in climate science and should do so across all fields. Some disciplines, such as bioinformatics, are already changing."

I'm only a Computer Scientist, not a Climate Scientist, nor a Environmental Scientist. So, I can only go by what I read in science journals, like Nature.

And they have articles like the one I quote above which claim that most scientists do not publish their code nor data.

So, please do not imply that I am making it up.

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

You may also refer to the Science Code Manifesto, and their Common Code Project

http://climatecode.org/

I applaud their goals of full disclosure and making code and data available to the interested public

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

According to this article, Journals are now starting to require the data and code be published with the article

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v1/n1/full/nclimate1057.html

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

As a taxpayer, I am mystified as to why a school or researcher who is supported by my tax dollars should think that their product is something that should not be questioned nor examined by interested parties.

Especially when some of those scientists are activists, attempting to control public policy based on their models, like Dr. James Hansen.

I know that papers submitted to scientific journals go through some kind of peer review, but so did our code, and many software bugs still leaked through the code review process.

I don't know why I'm supposed to assume that a scientist has written error free code when he probably hasn't been trained to write code in the first place.

I don't know why I'm supposed to assume that a scientist has applied statistical principles correctly. I know that much of their work relies on making reasonable statistical assumptions.

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Another issue that made me suspicious of climate modeling was the rabid defense of Dr. Mann's early work, and the attacks of anyone who questioned his work.

I know that Dr. Mann does MonteCarlo analysis now, because I saw it on his new work on RealClimite.org

http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/supplements/MultiproxySpatial09/expanded_skillsig_NHhad.xls

I have read that Dr. Mann was breaking new ground when he attempted to apply 'principle component analysis' statistics methods to extract a temperature signal from climate proxy data.

His first implementation was called into doubt by various scientific parties. It appears that criticism of his methods by Edward Wegman, arguably America’s top statistician, is accurate

Essay from Astrophysicist Dr. Richard Muller at Berkeley which talks about what Dr. Mann was attempting to do, and what was wrong with his first attempt
http://muller.lbl.gov/TRessays/23-MedievalGlobalWarming.html

"The math questions involve the procedures for combining data sets. Mann used a well-known approach called principle component analysis. This method extracts from a set of proxy records the behavior that they have in common. It can be more sensitive than simply averaging data, since it typically suppresses nonglobal variations that appear in only a few records. But to use it, the proxy records must be sampled at the same times and have the same length. The data available to Mann and his colleagues weren't, so they had to be averaged, interpolated, and extrapolated. That required subjective judgments which—unfortunately—could have biased the conclusions.
When I first read the Mann papers in 1998, I was disappointed that they did not discuss such systematic biases in much detail, particularly since their conclusions repealed the medieval warm period. In most fields of science, researchers who express the most self-doubt and who understate their conclusions are the ones that are most respected. Scientists regard with disdain those who play their conclusions to the press. I was worried about the hockey stick from the beginning. When I wrote my book on paleoclimate (published in 2000), I initially included the hockey stick graph in the introductory chapter. In the second draft, I cut the figure, although I left a reference. I didn't trust it enough."

Professor Muller wrote more about it. Search for 'Global Warming Bombshell' at

http://muller.lbl.gov/.
"A prime piece of evidence linking human activity to climate change turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics". "McIntyre and McKitrick sent their detailed analysis to Nature magazine for publication, and it was extensively refereed. But their paper was finally rejected. In frustration, McIntyre and McKitrick put the entire record of their submission and the referee reports on a Web page for all to see. If you look, you'll see that McIntyre and McKitrick have found numerous other problems with the Mann analysis. I emphasize the bug in their PCA program simply because it is so blatant and so easy to understand. Apparently, Mann and his colleagues never tested their program with the standard Monte Carlo approach, or they would have discovered the error themselves. Other and different criticisms of the hockey stick are emerging (see, for example, the paper by Hans von Storch and colleagues in the September 30 issue of Science)."

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Going back to Dr. Brin's comments about attacks on science, I wonder if part of it is a backlash against high profile rock star scientists like Dr. Hansen attempting to control public policy?

Veteran climate scientist, James Hansen says 'lock up the oil men'
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/23/hansen_dc/

NASA's James Hansen:
"Protest and direct action could be the only way to tackle soaring carbon emissions, a leading climate scientist has said."... "The democratic process doesn't quite seem to be working,"

I'm not quite sure what he means by 'direct action'? Revolution? Environmental terrorism?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/mar/18/nasa-climate-change-james-hansen

"Current approaches to deal with climate change are ineffectual, one of the world's top climate scientists said today in a personal new year appeal to Barack Obama and his wife Michelleon the urgent need to tackle global warming."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6941974.ece

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/hansen-of-nasa-arrested-in-coal-country/

He's been arrested again at a protest at the Capitol
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-29/nasa-s-hansen-arrested-outside-white-house-at-pipeline-protest.html


And James Hansen's bit of Stagecraft before congress made his some enemies. It was scheduled for the historical hottest day, and they turned off the air-conditioning

NPR confirms. Search for 'stagecraft' in the transcript

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pa​ges/frontline/hotpolitics/​etc/script.html

http://www.nationalreview.​com/planet-gore/17534/stag​ecraft/chris-horner


Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Given that CRU actually released the data WITHOUT getting permission from those proprietary sources, I wonder why they waited until now do do so. Read the comments at the URL I posted

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2011/07/at_long_last_cru_releases_clim.html

"COMMENTS
I suppose I'm not the only one wondering why Poland's wish was respected but not that of Trinidad and Tobago.
The answer is in the original press release:
"Data from Trinidad and Tobago are being released against that state’s wishes. This is because the University is complying with the Information Commissioner’s Office’s instruction to release part of the database which covered the latitude zones 30° N to 40° S. [...]
We regret having to release data from Trinidad and Tobago against that state’s express wish but we want to place beyond all doubt our determination to be open with our data and to comply with the ICO’s instruction.
To demonstrate that determination we have made the decision, in discussion with the Met Office, to release the data from latitudes outside the 30° N to 40° S zone, with the exception of some stations in Poland which has explicitly refused permission."

Oh, and if you have to use "permittance" instead of "permission" (why?), at least please try and spell it correctly in the future.

Posted by: GK | August 2, 2011 04:14 PM"

Chris Shaker


" Corey said...
And as for the CRU's raw data, it was licensed to them by private meteorological firms who did not give them permission to release it.

CRU has been working to secure the rights to release that data since long before the irrelevant pile of hot air know as "climategate" began.
..."

d said...

Hi Chris

By you have written a lot!

The main issue you seem to have is that data and code was not published in the past,
I suspect a lot of this has been due to simple inertia, its not so long since publishing meant writing and tables of figures.
Back then raw data was not published and was often very expensive to store
(I remember paying $100,000 for a 20Meg upgrade to a works server)

Its easy now to store everything and to publish data - just a few years ago it was hard/expensive

The second issue you have seems to be the likes of Mann being defensive about his models

From my position he was entitled to be defensive - he was being attacked - and not just scientifically!

Various republican loonies have been demanding all correspondence about everything,
The CRU servers were hacked and personal e-mails quoted out of context

I know its not perfect but if you attack people - and send threats to their families they tend to get defensive

And yes 5 million years is a short period in the history of the earth

Chris Shaker said...

d said...

Yes, I type quickly. I was a fast coder.

Many of us in the Computer Science world got interested in Climate Science after downloading and examining the ClimateGate leaked emails. It did not show science in a vary favorable light.

Good points about inertia, and how much it used to cost to store data.

What bugged me about Dr. Mann's early work was the impression that he was ignoring the criticism of his statistical methodology. When I went to look for a response to Dr. Muller's writings on the subject, the RealClimate.org website said something to the effect of, even if mistakes were made, he got the right answer... Not exactly confidence inspiring.

I know that some Scientists consider FOI requests a form of harassment, but I'm wondering why they should even be necessary? Maybe I am naive, but I'd hope that scientists would make everything visible to other researchers and to the curious. I'd think if you're getting a grant from the taxpayers, the taxpayers should get your data, code, and work.

Ok, maybe five million years is short in terms of the history of the world, but that was the longest temperature record I have found so far. I would appreciate a better one, if you have one. It still seems like a very long time compared to the time scale of this interglacial, which seems to be what Climate Science is arguing about.

Thank you for the reply,
Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Trying to find out where duncan cairncross got "the sun is increasing in brightness - the long term trend is to a frassle!"

I am more than a little puzzled by the conflicting data published on solar output/solar activity.

For example, National Geophraphic News from June 14, 2011, claiming that solar output is low, and likely to lead to global temperature drops

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/06/110614-sun-hibernation-solar-cycle-sunspots-space-science/

Just a few months before, NASA claimed just the opposite, April 14, 2011:

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/14apr_thewatchedpot/

This paper published in the JGR published April 27, 2011, says "The ionosphere under extremely prolonged low solar activity"
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2010JA016296.shtml

And it is discussed at RealClimate.org as well
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/06/what-if-the-sun-went-into-a-new-grand-minimum/

So, I would appreciate a pointer to a graph showing the sun's historical increase in brightness that you refer to.

Thank you,
Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Regarding papers predicting the start of the next ice age, or mini ice age, this one was published in 2000

http://www.pnas.org/content/97/23/12433.full

From the summary:

"The solar-output model allows speculation on global climatic variations in the next 10,000 years. Extrapolation of the solar-output model shows a return to little-ice-age conditions by A.D. 2400–2900 followed by a rapid return to altithermal conditions during the middle of the third millennium A.D. This altithermal period may be similar to the Holocene Maximum that began nearly 3,800 years ago. The solar output model suggests that, approximately 20,000 years after it began, the current interglacial period may come to an end and another glacial period may begin."

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

This book would seem to answer the solar history question, but I can't seem to find it outside of the paywall

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-4004.2011.52213.x/full

Chris Shaker

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Chris

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

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

The problem is that earth is now receiving ~ 30% more heat than when life started,

This is what got James Lovelock onto the GAIA thing

The habitable zone around a star moves outwards as the star ages - we do not know how close we are to the inner edge of that zone

We are on spaceship earth and we are buggering about with the life support system

CO2 levels the same as the dinosaurs may tip us into a Venus scenario - long odds but a large jackpot

Chris Shaker said...

Another thing that casts doubt on science is how much of it is hidden away behind paywalls. Like having the Bible written in Latin, which only the high priests of science can read...

Can't seem to find this kind of paper showing long term history of solar output outside of a paywall yet

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2005E&PSL.234..335L

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X05001135#sec4

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

The only graphs of solar forcing I can seem to find outside of paywalls are in Wikipedia, and they don't go back very far

This graph attempts to correlate solar forcing and stages of glaciation corresponding to what we've gotten from the ice cores. I don't see any increasing solar forcing to the present day (left side)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Milankovitch_Variations.png

This graph of solar output derived from Carbon-14 seems to show higher solar output 8,000 years ago that what it shows at the current time

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon-14-10kyr-Hallstadtzeit_Cycles.png

Chris Shaker

duncan cairncross said...

"Another thing that casts doubt on science is how much of it is hidden away behind paywalls. Like having the Bible written in Latin, which only the high priests of science can read..."

This is not because of the scientists but the Journals
The Journals need to get paid - in the old days you had physical magazines - now its electronic - but they still need money!

the Journal is providing a service - publication, peer review...

And deserves to be paid for that service

There are some other business models coming into play, I like the idea of the Government paying directly for the Journal service

Chris Shaker said...

Thank you for the response!

I think you are talking about when the sun expands into a red giant, in about five million years?

How do you correlate the claim that the sun is putting out "30% more heat than when life started," with the temperature record extracted from deep sea sediment cores, which shows a steady decrease in climate temperature over the past 5.5 million years?

This figure shows the climate record of Lisiecki and Raymo (2005) [1] constructed by combining measurements from 57 globally distributed deep sea sediment cores. The measured quantity is oxygen isotope fractionation (δ18O) in benthic foraminifera, which serves as a proxy for the total global mass of glacial ice sheets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Five_Myr_Climate_Change.svg

Is the increased solar output being lost somehow before it gets to the earth? From what you are saying, I would expect the temperature record from these sediment cores to be showing a long term warming trend???

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

Found longer term temperature proxy records, which also show a decreasing temperature on the earth over the past 65 million years

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:65_Myr_Climate_Change.png

This graph of temperature proxy data for the past 542 million years is also interesting

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Climate_Change.png

Unless I'm totally in left field, most of these graphs show the earth cooling over geological time, not warming. Is that because we've lost some of the heat of formation?

Chris Shaker

duncan cairncross said...

"I think you are talking about when the sun expands into a red giant, in about five million years?"

Its more like 5 billion years and NO

The sun - unless it is some sort of alien made engine - has been increasing in output - that is basic physics!

As far as the geological record is concerned the early earth went through a number of - snowball earth - phases as the atmosphere developed - secondary evidence of the changes

As I said 5 million years is only a short time period
During that time period the continental and land locked ocean poles have kept the earth in an "ice age" epoch

I keep talking about what happened a long time ago and you keep saying - well it wasn't happening yesterday!

Chris Shaker said...

Found this 'Heat History of the Earth', which talks about the heat of formation, and how that heat is lost.

http://csmres.jmu.edu/geollab/fichter/PlateTect/heathistory.html

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

damn, I did type million. I read Billion... Sorry about that.

I also provided temperature graphs going back 65 million and 540 million years. The 65 million year graph also shows climate temperature decreasing over time.

I can't make sense out of what you are saying about increasing solar output unless the earth is losing its heat of formation even faster than the sun is getting hotter? Or, is there something else I am overlooking?

Thank you,
Chris Shaker

Tony Fisk said...

can't make sense out of what you are saying about increasing solar output unless the earth is losing its heat of formation even faster than the sun is getting hotter?

And *that* doesn't make sense to me (ie no relationship to the two)

Increased solar output is expected as a star ages (See David's reference to the 'Goldilocks zone' in the main posting) That is basically why the Ordovician CO2 levels didn't lead to the massively high temperatures that such levels would imply today, from those models.

You clearly have done some work on this, and it deserves some review, but not just this moment.

Corey said...

Chris, the Annan and Hargreaves paper you're looking for is here:

http://www.jamstec.go.jp/frcgc/research/d5/jdannan/GRL_sensitivity.pdf

Fortunately, RC links to copies of almost every paper they discuss. I thought I had linked it already, but either blogger ate it, or I just forgot (I wasn't going to strand you on the paper).


And yes, solar output has increased on extremely long time scales, and changes in TSI are a VERY strong forcing, but Tony is right, Co2 levels have also fallen in that time.


Temperature correlates to neither Co2, nor the sun, alone, looking back at our furthest-reaching proxy records, but my understanding is that it correlates reasonably well to both, put together, those being your two big forcings (or feedback, depending on how Co2 is behaving).

rewinn said...

@Rewinn asked:
"If some of those factual assertions about computer models are shown to be incorrection, will you change your conclusions about computer models?"

@Chris responded:
"I've already posted sources that show that the climate modeling
code was not published in the past. "


@Chris's response does not answer the question.

The question is whether he will change his conclusions upon receiving new data that falsifies or at least calls into question his assertion. In other words, is this a discussion about science and/or any form of reason?

@Chris said...
"I am rather turned off by people who are more concerned by 'being right' than they are with
what the truth is..."


Uhm. Yeah. Same here.

So, again, why are you more concerned about being right than the truth?

Look, my question was not intended as a personal attack, and I am sure your text was not one either. But it is necessary to understand whether we are talking science and rationality here, or mere sports and politics.

In the latter, it doesn't matter how many games the Seahawks lost or how much money the Yankees are willing to spend; you are loyal to your team and in the infinity of the Web can always find more snippets to justify your faith.
You are throwing up a wall of links in support of your assertions against AGW and computer models. Many of your assertions are swiftly debunked by the presentation of facts by @Corey and others. The sports-and-politics thing to do is to remain loyal to the Seahawks and find more links.

The scientific thing to do when presented with contrary facts is to change your conclusions, if not completely, then at least to the minimum extent necessary to accommodate the facts that are new to you. There is noting wrong with this; there is everything right with this.

But if you are not willing to change your mind when presented with facts, then why are you bothering with the walls of links?

To refer back to Dr. Brin's posting, such techniques ARE EFFECTIVE in a sports-and-politics context, but you cannot prevail over the scientific method with such technique.

Corey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Corey said...

I actually had something that showed Co2/Solar forcings and temperature for several million years, but since I'm not at home right now, it makes it harder to dig up.


As for climate models, one opinion piece in Nature is not much to go off of in code.

I don't blame you, or anyone, being skeptical of any product based on unreleased code; I know I wouldn't bother to even cite a climate agency if they didn't make such things available, but a lot of code is available, so you are still able to see whether what the models as a whole are saying is even remotely accurate.


Is the GISS model coded correctly? Have a look. Can you do better? Do your changes alter the outputs?

If the the answer to the last question is not "yes", then the point is really somewhat moot.


WHO CARES if model X, which says the same thing as GISS ModelE, isn't available. You don't need to worry about that model, because you already have the same output from a model you can dissect.


Many models are available, and the raw data itself for temperatures (and a few other things) is nearly 100% available, in terms of what climate agencies use (only certain private stations, used by private meteorological organizations, is not).

I would call that releasing "most" of what they do and use, and certainly everything you need to see if climate scientists are right in their consensus position, or wrong.

So while there are scientists who should strive for releasing more, I don't disagree, and I'm even a little concerned that there are still some who don't, it still doesn't change the fundamental question here:


What do you NOT have to replicate the work of the major climate organizations?


What major conclusion can you not examine within a plethora of models?

And if an unreleased model simply says the same thing, then who cares about it? You've already confirmed that it's a reasonable assessment, so you've already replicated their work.


And if a model says something different (novel) and isn't released, then it's simple: DON'T GIVE IT ANY ATTENTION.

Tyler August said...

@Chris,

Paywalls aren't really there to shut you out, and keep science for the scientists-- what they are is an example of rent-seeking: capitalist parasites sucking on behaviours learned from the tradition of paper publication, which did cost. Now it's just vestigial profit-seeking for the hell of it. The publishing companies don't even bother making claim to being run by scientists for the common good.
So why do we, as scientists, stick our work in Journals that hide behind pay walls, and profit off our labour?
Because we know other scientists read them. That's it.
Good papers go in Nature because that's where people look for good papers. And Nature makes a killing without compensating the authors or reviewers one iota.
It's kind of a crap deal... but since the institutions we work at usually handle journal pay walls in a completely invisible fashion, nobody really has to think about it on a daily basis.

Publishing code and data follows the same inertia, since working scientists can usually get it off one another easily enough, with one huge caveat: journals won't host it. Hosting large softwear packages or (even worse) gigabyte datasets would raise costs and cut into their bottom line. So as a researcher, it has been the case traditionally that you have set that up yourself, taking time and money away from your actual research. Never having enough of either, we're very loathe to do that for any reason.
Now, of course, hosting is less of a problem. It's cheaper, and easier-- and the incentives are finally coming into place to make it seem worth doing, at least in some fields, like climatology.

To paraphrase, never attribute to malice that which can be explained by laziness.

To be honest, I'm very impressed at how open and available climate models are. I haven't seen anything like it working in Astronomy.

Stefan Jones said...

Chris is Link Bombing.

Cutting and pasting away, not really caring about making a cohesive argument, just trying to overwhelm us, and perhaps hoping no one looks too deeply at those links.

"I think it is the 'religious' zeal of the true believers of the CO2 hypothesis which first started to make me doubt their conclusions."

You know when I started worrying about climate change?

When flaks from the Cato Institute and other free-market opinion-shaping agencies started using the same tactics to attack climate scientists that they had used in previous decades the fight against tobacco lawsuits, and regulation of chlorofluorocarbons.

And when blowhard libertarian argument junkies started spewing the talking points.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

Robert said...

The sad thing is, Cato may win this time. All they need to do is delay things long enough for climate change to become irreversible and then there will be no reason to stop using coal and the like. After all, the world will be going to hell in a handbasket, and there's nothing that can be done to stop it. So why stop?

It's all a delay game. Last time, delay allowed the tobacco industry to rake in massive profits over the decades and the CEOs in charge to retire in comfort. Now? You have oil execs who will do the same. And you even have Blackwater and related firms training to become for-pay militaries for the ultra-rich to use to take over and "protect" those regions that benefit from climate change (and there will be a couple) while forcing everyone else out of there. As civilization crashes under the destruction of the ecosystem, with large sections of the tropics becoming uninhabitable for humans, other regions hit by massive droughts or significant flooding, and wild fluctuations in temperature, they'll become the new Overlords of Humanity - that part of humanity that survives, that is.

It sounds like an excellent plot for a science fiction movie in fact. The only "downer" is that you need to let the bad guys win for it to be cautionary. (Possibly just as the protagonists get to the New Eden they're shot by Blackwater and its Overlords.)

Rob H.

Chris Shaker said...

So, now, I'm a 'link bomber'? I love how people on both sides of climate change attempt to shut down discussions by name calling. Very common in all discussions about climate change.

In regards to the paywall documents, I appreciate all of your comments. I would have run up hundreds of dollars in documents attempting to read about the things I am curious about. How many of us can afford to do that just to be better informed about climate change?

The author of the article I posted which pleaded for scientists to release their code was also involved with cleaning up some of the Fortran code in GISS, if I remember correctly.

Yes, I agree that most of the climate models are NOW available. As I've found from reading, many of them were NOT openly available before 2007.

In regards to attacks against scientists, and attacks against science, if you get involved with politics, you're going to get dirty. And Climate Scientists have clearly gotten involved with politics.

Though I've been registered to vote as a Democrat and as a Libertarian, I am politically an independent. I regret the presidents on both sides of the aisle whom I voted for. I voted for Bush Jr the first time he ran. Cannot stomach Al Gore. Voted against Bush the second time, voting for the richest man in the Senate, John Kerry. Voted for President Obama, and now I regret that as well.

Chris Shaker

Robert said...

Last time I voted for Obama in the insane hope that for once I was not voting for the lesser of two evils... but instead for a candidate of change and hope who could get things done.

This time I'll very likely vote for Obama again. But I'll be voting for him as the lesser of two evils. And I'll be quite disappointed in doing so. To me, the Republican field has betrayed its constituents by putting out their versions of John Kerry. I did not vote for either Kerry or the Shrub in 2004. I considered them both to be "damned" candidates (damned if you do, damned if I don't).

Ironically enough, I didn't vote for the Shrub in 2000 either (or Gore). Instead I wrote in my dead brother's name because even dead I figured him to be a better politician and leader than the choices I was given.

Rob H.

Sean Strange said...

I like your analysis Robert. I think we've reached a point where a lot of smart people are looking beyond the current, failing paradigm, forming armies, starting cults, etc. so they'll be in a good position to build their empires when this one goes down. Meanwhile, the muggles are still fixated upon tweedledee and tweedledum, as if any of the clowns who claim to be our leaders even matter any more...

Chris Shaker said...

I don't have a clue who I will be able to vote for, I hope someone better than Obama comes along.
I cannot vote for any Republican who caters to the religious right. Keep religion out of my government.

Chris Shaker

guthrie said...

Chris Shaker - it might benefit us all if you slow down and consider only one or two specific complaints at a time, go away and read on them and then refer people to the source of information later on, in a comprehensive post, rather than copy pasting stuff from all over the shop without taking time to properly digest it.

It is also worth noting that although you try to smear climate scientists by associating them with politics, no such accusations have actually stuck, by contrast with the, ummm, problems associated with the Wegman report and famous websites such as Watts up with that, let alone the war on science practised by people such as the Texas governor's people (Or similar, I'm a little confused since it isn't my country) recently removing mention of AGW from a sea level report.

rewinn said...

"if you get involved with politics, you're going to get dirty. And Climate Scientists have clearly gotten involved with politics..."

The premise is faulty, and from this, the implied conclusion is faulty.

The question whether AGW is real is a scientific question. Science has strong mechanisms for uncovering "dirt". To say that any science that is used by political entities is therefore "dirty" is simply false.

What to do about AGW is a political question, and subject to differing political values, e.g. do we love our fortunes more than our grandchildren? There's nothing wrong with doing politics (it is perfectly valid to say that, as a matter of political values, government should do nothing about AGW) but one cannot say as a matter of science that refusing to do anything about AGW will have any result other than tremendous devastation to human civilization.

--
I sympathize with @Robert's analysis of 2012, and plan to devote most of my time to the "lower" races where there may be some hope, however faint, of developing farm teams. State, local and most especially judicial races have an impact not only in day-to-day decisionmaking, but in developing the next generation of leaders, IMO.

Robert said...

@Sean: My analysis is nothing to like. It's nothing to be proud of. And the people playing this line aren't smart. Or at least, they're not the intelligent scientists and the like who have put out the warning and been unheeded. They are the people like the Koch Brothers and other rich people who achieved their wealth through hook and crook and who are sickened by the idea of other people being able to live life as they feel fit. These are the people who would make homosexuality a stoning offense just because they personally are repulsed by it. They are the people who WANT to be in control... as Kings of their own empires.

These are the Oligarchy Dr. Brin has warned us about. And when they rise again, the war will be extremely bloody and the end result may be that the Edens that the Oligarches were trying to keep for themselves are destroyed... because they would sooner see the Earth salted than to let someone else prevail.

I look at this from the eyes of a writer ad a creator. And from the eyes of a pessimist. I hope and pray I am wrong. I want nothing more than to be proven wrong. I want the 99% Protests to prevail. I want for people to wake up and realize they are being offered Tang... with a poison chaser. I want humanity to outgrow its darker sicker aspects.

But dreams don't come true. Not unless you make them.

Rob H.

Chris Shaker said...

guthrie said: It is also worth noting that although you try to smear climate scientists by associating them with politics, no such accusations have actually stuck

I assume that means that you did not even bother to look at the numerous URLs I posted of Dr. Hansen's political involvement?

I post them here again to make it easier for you to find them. If these aren't political involvement, I do no know what is


eteran climate scientist, James Hansen says 'lock up the oil men'
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/23/hansen_dc/

NASA's James Hansen:
"Protest and direct action could be the only way to tackle soaring carbon emissions, a leading climate scientist has said."... "The democratic process doesn't quite seem to be working,"

I'm not quite sure what he means by 'direct action'? Revolution? Environmental terrorism?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/mar/18/nasa-climate-change-james-hansen

"Current approaches to deal with climate change are ineffectual, one of the world's top climate scientists said today in a personal new year appeal to Barack Obama and his wife Michelleon the urgent need to tackle global warming."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6941974.ece

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/hansen-of-nasa-arrested-in-coal-country/

He's been arrested again at a protest at the Capitol
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-29/nasa-s-hansen-arrested-outside-white-house-at-pipeline-protest.html


And James Hansen's bit of Stagecraft before congress made his some enemies. It was scheduled for the historical hottest day, and they turned off the air-conditioning

NPR confirms. Search for 'stagecraft' in the transcript

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pa​ges/frontline/hotpolitics/​etc/script.html

http://www.nationalreview.​com/planet-gore/17534/stag​ecraft/chris-horner

Chris Shaker

Robert said...

One climate scientist's antics does not mean all climate scientists are political. And sometimes you need to speak out when your bad news is ignored. The government has tried to sweep numerous things under the rug including the bad effects of radiation caused by nuclear bomb testing, various medical tests performed by the U.S. government upon blacks and American Indians (among others), the refusal of some state governments to allow SuperFund cleanups of mine tailings because these states rely desperately on mining industries and don't want to scare these companies off, and so forth.

Rob H.

Corey said...

James Hansen is absolutely political, and he says a lot of things that, solid research aside, sometimes make him sound silly.


That said, you can't characterize an entire community based on one, or even (*gasp*) two scientists.


By that logic, we could characterize the entire biological community as being creationists because one scientist, Michael Behe, happens to be.

Corey said...

On the other hand, you can find countless scientists defining their positions with politics, corporate payoffs, and possibly even religion (in the case of Roy Spencer), on the skeptic side, to say nothing for a repeated pattern of outright lies, or at best, merely dishonest papers(Spencer's last paper that got published was so bad, that the hosting journal's lead editor voluntarily resigned over the bad science and political tone not getting it stopped in peer review)

rewinn said...

Can we make a principled distinction between science and scientists?

Professor X's brilliant insights, as validated through observation and experiment, remain true (or otherwise) regardless of how they interacted with the value system that lead him to make political decisions that differed radically from that of his good friend Dr. Erik Lehnsherr.

Likewise, although the scientific insights and observations of Dr. Hansen and others remain without rational challenge on a scientific basis, radically different political decisions may spring from them, depending on each person's values.

One may dislike Dr. Hansen's recommendations, such as his call for more nuclear power, but that has nothing to do with his scientific observations.

"...I'm not quite sure what he means by 'direct action'? Revolution? Environmental terrorism?"

My friend, this is getting kinda close to Godwin's Rule. Do you really think to persuade anyone with that sort of thing?

My other friends: do you see here ANY examples of an AGW sceptic who is willing to say that he or she will change their conclusions on any issue or sub-issue if new facts arise? In their absence, what point is there to introducing facts to the discussion?

The Amazing Randi had a schtick in which he would survey a room to determine how many believed in psychic powers. Then he'd "demonstrate" such powers, and resurvey; then he'd show that it was just a trick and resurvey. Then ... and this is the genius part ...he would cycle through the process again. No matter how many times he would debunk his own fakery, there would still be a certain fraction that would believe that, the next time around, his psychic powers were real. No matter how much contrary evidence you may provide, in some cases "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

guthrie said...

Clearly I have a rather different standard to yourself, since despite having a PHd in Cynicism from the university of life, and being from the UK where we have an interestingly corrupt system where the corrupt actions come before the rewards, I don't actually regard being involved in politics as bad. What is bad is when politicians and their supporters and others such as Watts et al try to use the system against the scientists, such as Cuchinelli's attempts in Virginia (I think it was there), the ongoing witchhunt gainst the scientists who wrote about dead polar bears, the supression of science currently going on in Canada by means of defunding, and so on.

Basically, if you demand that the scientists don't get involved in anything at all, you're just putting up artificial barriers to understanding and discussion.

Patrick said...

I dunno ... David makes a point and he is quite eloquent

but experts in Feng Shui and spirituality seem to be respected okay.

Deepak Chopra may get some criticism from PZMyers but for the most part he gets off unscathed. Rarely do I hear or see anyone disagree with him on camera.

Chris Shaker said...

I do not have a problem with scientists like Dr. Hansen protesting on their own time. I offered reports of his activism as reasons that some people would attack his science.

In regards to Dr. Hansen's views on nuclear power, I agree with him. If CO2 really is causing as powerful climate change as the Climate Modelers say, we should be building modern fail safe passively cooled nuclear reactors (and rapidly replacing the old 1950s designs in use around the world).

I disagree with the poster's characterization of Anthony Watts (a Meteorologist) as 'anti science'. Just as in times of war, we like to label people to dehumanize them, so that we don't have to consider their views, opinions, and insights. Call them a skeptic, call them a denier, call them a tool of the fossil fuel industry, call them anti science, and ignore them.

Yes, I agree with rewinn on the distinction between scientists and their science. I have never heard of the Amazing Randi. Seems an interesting experiment.

rewinn: do you see here ANY examples of an AGW believer who is willing to say that he or she will change their conclusions on any issue or sub-issue if new facts arise?

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

In regards to claims that the Koch Brothers want to rule the world, it appears to me that some believers in AGW want to rule the world

Cancun climate change summit: scientists call for rationing in developed world

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8165769/Cancun-climate-change-summit-scientists-call-for-rationing-in-developed-world.html

We're supposed to live like the Amish, it appears. What's next, fudalism and serfs?

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

On the other hand, we have some climate scientists who believe that mankind's CO2 has an even more profound effect on climate than the IPCC does.

They are saying that early man's agriculture changed the CO2 level in the atmosphere enough to delay the start of the next glacial cycle. Professors Rediman and Kaplan write about their theories

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110325/full/news.2011.184.html


This article blames Columbus for the global cooling during the Little Ice Age

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/335168/title/Columbus_blamed_for_Little_Ice_Age

I sure hope that they are wrong, because if they are correct, even living like the Amish would not solve the problem. We'd either have to do large scale engineering to sequester CO2, block the sun's energy somehow, maybe as Larry Niven proposed, control population, or go back to living as hunter gatherers.

Chris Shaker

rewinn said...

@Chris Shaker said
:"rewinn: do you see here ANY examples of an AGW believer who is willing to say that he or she will change their conclusions on any issue or sub-issue if new facts arise?"

Uhm, yeah - ALL of them, or at least 99% of them, starting with me.

I mean, heck, you yourself have posted links to examples of scientists changing their views based upon newly discovered facts. How many scientific papers contain phrases like, "This finding undercuts the view that..." or "This reinforces that concept that..."? Have you not noticed that one criticism of science is that scientists keep changing their theories to fit the facts?

"We're supposed to live like the Amish, it appears...."

No, that is not what the article says at all.

"...What's next, fudalism and serfs?"

OK, you got me there. It's a plot. We want to enslave you AND your little dog too!

God Lord, man, can you not imagine the idea that, in response to a crisis, humanity can think of a smart way out of it.... despite the best efforts of those heavily invested in old technology? Maybe you need to read some science fiction!

rewinn said...

P.S. if you've never heard of James Randi, do yourself a favor ... and have a lot of fun!

The James Randi Educational Foundation is full of delightful scepticism ... and fun!

Chris Shaker said...

rewinn: I read a lot of science fiction. Mostly what I read is science fiction. David Brinn is one of my favorite authors.

I do not know who to believe about AGW, but I sure as hell do not believe that the 'science is settled'.

I believe the later work from Dr. Mann on temperature reconstructions, which the Berkeley Best surface temperature reconstruction effort seems to agree with (even though it was funded by the Koch brothers). They say that the climate has warmed about 1 C since the start of the industrial era, which is a little more than NOAA says. NOAA says .74C

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html#q3

Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project
http://berkeleyearth.org/resources.php


Am I supposed to believe all of the computer models being used to model our climate future? Whose models do I believe? The IPCC? Or Dr. Reddiman and Kaplan? They have very different conclusions.

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

rewinn: Thank you to the pointer to the James Randi Educational Foundation.

Reading their page about vaccines right now. Some of my friends drive me nuts with their beliefs that vaccines cause autism.

Chris Shaker

checkitout said...

Let's try this again.

Chris Shaker's point about models is based on an error in the article in Nature that he cites. The Nature article says that Ruddiman's work was challenged by Thomas Stocker of the IPPC. In fact the disagreement is between BD Stocker, and is located entirely in the field of paleoclimatology and has nothing to do with contemporary climate models. Thomas Stocker, btw works on CO2 trapped in Antartcic ice cores, not climate models per se...so while he has a leading role at the IPPC, it's not clear what responsibility he has for the IPPC efforts to assess various models coming various research groups.

Thus Mr. Shaker's concern about differences between Ruddiman and IPPC models is without foundation. There are places that post active reviews of climate model performance. The present standing is that climate models do a pretty good job for some things, and the few models proposed by skeptics fail in any way to match the climate record.

To David Brin- Do you have a comments policy someplace? Do you have a problem with linking to articles at skeptical science?

Chris Shaker said...

checkitout: Do you have a source for the 'error' in the Nature article that you talk about? I didn't see anything about it on the 'Retraction Watch' blog.

Your post feels like attack on me for asking logical questions about Climate Science.

It's no wonder that so many people have doubts about this science with the arrogant attitudes of many of its practitioners and believers.

Chris Shaker

Chris Shaker said...

I personally know Professor Jed Kaplan. He is my flying buddy's son. I think of him as a climate scientist and he used to work at the Max Planck Institute. This page describes his history and his work.

http://arve.epfl.ch/people/jedkaplan/

I got the URLs I posted about his articles from his facebook posts.

Chris Shaker

rewinn said...

@Chris - checkitout's comment is directed at your "concern", not at you personally. If that "post feels like attack on me", then how, specifically, would someone criticize a statement by you without making you feel personally attacked?

Alternatively, when it comes to personal attacks, would you condemn as an improper personal attack the claim of AGW deniers that climate scientists are deliberately publishing bad science for the sake of getting grant money?

Chris Shaker said...

You're correct, I'm being overly sensitive. I think I mistakenly took this "Do you have a comments policy someplace?" as asking whether or not my comments should be allowed, which is clearly not the author's intent. Guess I was feeling insecure. Sorry about that.

Thank you for also correcting Professor Ruddiman's name. I see that I spelled it incorrectly before.

As far as I can see from these articles, Professors Kaplan and Professors Ruddiman are using CO2 centric atmospheric models. I'm not sure how I am supposed to know that they are significantly different from "contemporary climate models".

I wasn't actually attempting to point out that Professor "Ruddiman's work was challenged by Thomas Stocker of the IPPC.". My point was that Professors Ruddiman and Kaplan seem to be saying that CO2 has a much more profound effect on the climate than the IPCC does. They seem to be claiming that agriculture by the small population of early mankind was enough to alter our climate, long before the start of industrialization.

Regarding "Alternatively, when it comes to personal attacks, would you condemn as an improper personal attack the claim of AGW deniers that climate scientists are deliberately publishing bad science for the sake of getting grant money?", Yes I would condemn such blanket statements about all climate scientists as improper, unproductive, and insulting. I'm sure that Climate Scientists are like any other group, most of them are doing their best to get it right.

Regarding whether or not I will change my mind about AGW when presented with facts that oppose my views, I've already changed my mind about whether or not the climate has warmed since the start of industrialization. When I started looking at climate change, it was easy for me to be distrustful of Dr. Mann. I read critiques of his first attempt, and its lack of Monte Carlo testing. The response to such criticism at RealClimate.org did not encourage confidence. His later work does include Monte Carlo testing, and appears to be getting reasonable results. Having Dr. Muller at Berkeley come up with similar numbers after previously questioning weather station siting and Dr. Mann's work was comforting. So, I now believe that the climate has been warming somewhere around .74 to 1 C since the start of industrialization.

Chris Shaker

rewinn said...

@Chris - it takes a big man to say "I'm being overly sensitive."

I owe you a beer sometime!

psikeyhackr said...

Discredit science? Science is an abstraction, it cannot be discredited.

But do scientists deserve any credit? It's 43 years after the Moon landing. How much pollution can be attributed to planned obsolescence? What have you heard scientists saying about that for the last 40 years? What do you hear climate scientists saying about it today?

What do scientists say about the center of mass of the tilted top portion of the south tower of the WTC? The Laws of Physics do not care about the careers of scientists. Of course they don't care if humans go extinct either.

John said...

The science is unanimous, GW is dead. Everything written here is lies and typical of the climate charlatans and their cultish beliefs. How about thinking for yourselves and read up on a few facts and not believe everything the corrupt "copy and paste" media tell you. The opposite of "sceptical" is "gullible".

Anonymous said...

One of the remaining bones of contention, even among “skeptics”, is the effect or otherwise of the greenhouse effect.. Does this help?
http://www.climate-change-theory.com/SkS_errors.html