The Green Heretic

Other than Stewart Brand, the U.S. doesn’t have any well-known environmentalist writers who dare to challenge conventional green wisdom. I suppose The Death of Environmentalism authors could qualify, but I consider them more wonky polemicists than writers. Andy Revkin might soon qualify, as he transitions from mainstream science reporter to environmental writer/teacher.

In the UK, however, there is George Monbiot and Mark Lynas, each who have earned high-profile reputations as advocacy journalists. In recent years, both have made mea culpas on core green issues. With Monbiot, it’s been nuclear power, which I’ve written about here and here.

Lynas has undergone a similar transformation–perhaps even more so: He now embraces nuclear power and GMO’s, positions he explains in his new book, The God Species: Saving the Planet in the Age of Humans.

I recently interviewed Lynas for Yale Environment 360, which you can read here. He talks about the consequences of his turnabout on nuclear power (“I’ve lost friends”), the irrationality of some anti-nuclear activists (“these people are nuts”), the concerns about GMO’s (“clearly overblown”), and a notorious pie-throwing incident ten years ago.

Check out the full interview here.

212 Responses to “The Green Heretic”

  1. BBD says:

    From the interview:

    e360: You argue that nuclear power is necessary if we want to simultaneously meet the world’s demand for energy and still tackle climate change.

    Lynas: It’s blindingly obvious, actually, and I don’t know why it took me so long. The current deployment of nuclear power worldwide of 430 reactors reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 2 billion tons per year. And that really is the beginning and the end of the argument if you’re in the slightest bit concerned about global warming. And all of the oft-stated green objections to nuclear power are either urban myths or an order of magnitude less important than global climate change.
     
    I have for some time argued that anti-nuke, pro-renewables types are pushing us towards a high emissions future. Indulging in a very, very speculative attempt to displace coal from baseload with technosolar is gambling with the future.
     
    Rather like insisting that AGW isn’t a serious problem and trying to influence energy policy from that position. 
     
    It rarely goes down well.
     

  2. BBD says:

    Sorry, that could be misleading – Lynas speaks for one paragraph, then it’s me.

  3. Dean says:

    So Hansen said that the cap-n-trade bill was worse than doing nothing. Did he become a heretic? No, and maybe that is because as a _movement_, there is plenty of disagreement on tactics and details among environmentalists. Lynas’ current status is because his disagreement was sloppy and he accompanied it with some rather extreme rhetoric about those he had previously worked with, a habit which he apparently is sticking to. He is not the first environmentalist to come out in favor of nuclear energy. Others who have done so did not seem to think that they were treated as badly as Lynas thinks he was. So maybe he needs to look in the mirror a bit.
     
    I also noted this statement from him in your interview: “I mean Chernobyl was a win for biodiversity in a direct sense because of the flourishing wildlife in the exclusion zone”. Methinks that were it not for his support of nuclear power, such an utterance would result in rather strong denunciations. Or maybe they just haven’t found it yet.

  4. BBD says:

    Dean
    Possibly I have misunderstood you. But if not:
     
    The recovery of affected biota in the exclusion zone has been facilitated by the removal of human activities, e.g., termination of agricultural and industrial activities. As a result, populations of many plants and animals have eventually expanded, and the present environmental conditions have had a positive impact on the biota in the Exclusion Zone. Indeed, the Exclusion Zone has paradoxically become a unique sanctuary for biodiversity.
     
    From the UN Chernobyl Forum, via Greenfacts:
     
    http://www.greenfacts.org/en/chernobyl/l-3/3-chernobyl-environment.htm#5p0

    There’s a link to a pdf of the original 2006 report right at the bottom of the page.

  5. Keith Kloor says:

    Hilarious tweet from Grist’s David Roberts: 

    drgrist .@Mark_Lynas on his oh-so-brave decision to kick hippies in the face & get tons of fawning media coverage

    So being pro-nuclear and pro-GMO (and criticizing reflexive, anti-science attitudes of greens that reject nuclear and GMO’s) amounts to hippie punching?

  6. BBD says:

    KK
     
    Apparently so.
     
    I wonder when this century it will dawn on the greens that they are now a serious part of the problem?

  7. NewYorkJ says:

    KK: So being pro-nuclear and pro-GMO (and criticizing reflexive, anti-science attitudes of greens that reject nuclear and GMO’s) amounts to hippie punching?

    The part in parenthesis might.  I would say quotes like “They [Greenpeace] believe in what they’re doing, but these people are nuts.”

    might arise to that, and in doing so, there’s no doubt a boost in mainstream media coverage as Roberts notes.

    And it’s his bias (justified or not) against Greenpeace that lead Lynas to jump to false conclusions about Greenpeace “dictating” an IPCC report.

    One problem is that there’s a tendency to believe that pro-nuclear and pro-renewables are mutually exclusive positions.

  8. Sashka says:

    “It’s blindingly obvious, actually, and I don’t know why it took me so long.”

    An ultimate “duh” moment? Still, “I don’t know” is not a satisfactory answer. Either you are able to think or not.

  9. J. Frank Parnell says:

    I believe in nuclear power, what I don’t believe in, as Fukushima showed, is the nuclear power industry, or government.

    Bring us some nuclear power that doesn’t require these goons, say the postulated neighborhood sized distributed systems discussed last year, and I’ll be for it.

     

  10. J. Frank Parnell says:

    Lynas writes, “To be brutally honest, the article was something I’d dashed off in 20 minutes without doing any research. ”

    And my guess is that this covers about 97% of journalism, especially as implemented in a Starbucks/Wifi/tweet-centric world. 

  11. Mark Lynas says:

    Dean – Hansen and I agree on a lot, but not on the cap and trade bill. I think it was a disaster that this did not get through. It changed the tide of the climate argument in the US, and has been running in favour of the sceptic/Republican crowd ever since, unfortunately. We both agree though that nuclear is essential, and also share an interest in the ‘integral fast reactor’ as a 4th Generation fission option which is proliferation-resistant and helps get rid of existing nuclear waste stockpiles. 

    NewYorkJ – If you don’t believe some of the antis are nuts, have a look at Chris Busby’s efforts to sell pills ‘for the sake of the children of Fukushima’ (video here). Now one can argue about whether he represents the green mainstream or not, but only this week he’s sharing a platform with Greenpeace’s science spokesman, organised by the Green Party. 

  12. Mark Lynas says:

    I’ve just found the link (Japanese – use Google translate for the gist) for the pills that green anti-nuke hero Dr Busby is selling to the children of Fukushima. I actually think this is worse than merely being nuts – this is egregious quackery aimed at making money from people’s misery. Shameful. 

  13. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @11
    Agreed on the fall-out from C&T.  While I have great respect for Hansen’s science chops and decision to put himself on the line, his policy acumen is somewhat lacking.

    Argue all you want about C&T vs carbon tax, or about all the ‘special’ interests (are there any other kind in politics?) and sausage making, but the fact of the matter is that years of policy development fell by the wayside when ACES failed to pass…. 

  14. thingsbreak says:

    I will admit that I’m not exactly a card-carrying environmentalist or anything, but I like to think I am fairly aware of the major players in circles that have relevance to many environmental science issues.
     
    Today is the first time I’ve ever heard of “Dr. Busby”.
     
    All I know is that GM crops and nuclear have consistently been a part of the climate mitigation discussion for as long as it’s been even remotely a mainstream issue.
     
    AR4 WGIII on nukes:
    Total life-cycle GHG emissions per unit of electricity produced from nuclear power are below 40 gCO2-eq/kWh (10 gC-eq/kWh), similar to those for renewable energy sources (Figure 4.18). (WEC, 2004a; Vattenfall, 2005). Nuclear power is therefore an effective GHG mitigation option, especially through license extensions of existing plants enabling investments in retro-fitting and upgrading. Nuclear power currently avoids approximately 2.2″“2.6 GtCO2/yr if that power were instead produced from coal (WNA, 2003; Rogner, 2003) or 1.5 GtCO2/yr if using the world average CO2 emissions for electricity production in 2000 of 540 gCO2/kWh (WEC, 2001). However, Storm van Leeuwen and Smith (2005) give much higher figures for the GHG emissions from ore processing and construction and decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
     
    AR4 WG3 on GM crops:
    There is much scope for technological developments to reduce GHG emissions in the agricultural sector.For example, increases in crop yields and animal productivity will reduce emissions per unit of production.Such increases in crop and animal productivity will be implemented through improved management and husbandry techniques, such as better management, genetically modified crops, improved cultivars, fertilizer recommendation systems, precision agriculture, improved animal breeds, improved animal nutrition, dietary additives and growth promoters, improved animal fertility, bio-energy crops, anaerobic slurry digestion and methane capture systems.
     
    and AR4 WGII on the problem of anti-GM sentiment:
    Informational and technological barriers

    A major challenge is the need for efficient technology and knowledge transfer. In general, questions about responsibility for funding research, involving stakeholders, and linking communities, government and markets have not been answered (Ouranos, 2004). Another constraint is resistance to new technologies (e.g., genetically modified crops), so that some promising adaptations in the agricultural, water resource management and forestry sectors are unlikely to be realised (Goklany, 2000, 2001). 
     
    I know that this blog discusses environmental issues that go beyond climate, but I have to say that this particular discussion is all a bit baffling to me.

  15. Dean says:

    Nuclear and solar, though very different share one aspect: both emit very little carbon and so both have potential in dealing with AGW. Both, IMO, also have serious difficulties, albeit of a very different nature.
     
    It’s one thing to debate that and make your case, but it always is very different when you claim that anybody who disagrees with you is nuts. Nuclear (for some) and GMOs for most people here seem to fit into that category. It is not an issue to be debated, they are litmus tests. I’m not getting into a long-winded debate here on the merits of these various technologies, but though you are welcome to your litmus tests, you really do mimic many of those you criticize in your methods. Keith usually focuses on opening up debate, but it seems that it is closed here (i.e. on these issues).

  16. BBD says:

    Thingsbreak @ 14

    I know that this blog discusses environmental issues that go beyond climate, but I have to say that this particular discussion is all a bit baffling to me.

    I’m unsure how to read this. Entrenched resistance to what appear essential responses to CC (GMO; nuclear) is deeply problematic.

    We both know who’s doing it, and push-back would seem logical. But it’s lacking. What’s more, those who stick their heads up are greeted with nightsticks.

    To me, this merits, no, demands, discussion. But I may have misunderstood you.

  17. thingsbreak says:

    @BBD
     
    I guess I’m not sure who these discussions are so supposed to be directed at. Is it “greens”? There don’t seem to be many at this blog. Is it “the climate concerned”? I don’t really see the latter generally fighting the deployment of either nukes of GM. 
     
    Knee-jerk rejection of something because it goes against your ideology is bad. Don’t we all agree on that?
     
    Who exactly needs “pushing back against”? The “greens”? Okay. Sure.

  18. Mary says:

    Yeah, hippie punching. But who is out doing actual punching of scientists’ work and burning their labs? The recent bombing though was anti-nanotech, but the same crowd is anti-nano too. I have seen the same rhetoric recycled from the GMO cases. At least they recycle I guess.
    That’s a real riot. Scientist punching. From people who want us to listen to climate scientists.

  19. Keith Kloor says:

    “Is it “greens”? There don’t seem to be many at this blog.”

    Don’t presume to know who the readers of this blog are. The people who comment here are a small minority of the overall audience.  

     

  20. BBD says:

    Thingsbreak


    Who exactly needs “pushing back against”? The “greens”? Okay. Sure.

    I’m none the wiser. You bite down on climate science issues, but are almost insouciant about widespread anti-science wrt nuclear and gmo. It seems inconsistent, that’s all.

  21. thingsbreak says:

    @BBD: Nope. I’m against that, too. There just aren’t really any people pushing that here to argue against. Aren’t the “skeptics”, the “climate concerned”, Keith, his interviewee, et al. more or less in agreement here?

    @Keith

    I’m not presuming. I’m saying what it seems like from my perspective. I am perfectly willing to accept that there are anti-science greens at this blog. Im not sure how I am supposed to rebuke them when they’re not commenting, though…

  22. Ian says:

    Monbiot actually made another environmental 360 on the issue of eating meat in response to a book on ‘sustainable meat eating’. 

    Meat: A Benign Extravagance

    http://www.monbiot.com/2010/09/07/strong-meat/

  23. Tim Lambert says:

    Ever since his “Methane fireballs tear across the sky” I have been unable to take Lynas seriously.

  24. BBD says:

    Thingsbreak

    I’m against that, too. There just aren’t really any people pushing that here to argue against. Aren’t the “skeptics”, the “climate concerned”, Keith, his interviewee, et al. more or less in agreement here?

    Fair enough.

  25. harrywr2 says:

    J. Frank Parnell Says:
    <i>I believe in nuclear power, what I don’t believe in, as Fukushima showed, is the nuclear power industry</i>
    The US NRC  probability risk assessment at the time the Fukushima reactors were built was 10^-4 reactor years for a core meltown. I.E. One meltdown every 10,000 operating reactor years.
    400 reactors * 25 years = 10,000 reactor years.
    So whats not to trust? The probability risk assessments done in the 1970’s  appear to be pretty close to actual experience.
     
     

  26. Dean says:

    @25
     
    If nuclear is to become a key strategy against AGW and thousands more are built, then there would be a Fukushima-level accident every – what – 10 years? 5 years? Annually?
     
    Even at once in 25 years, I doubt that nuclear can thrive. That might well be unfair to nuclear given the dramatically greater impact of coal, but distributed impacts are just not noticed as much.
     
    I think that to become viable in the long-term, nuclear needs to take the safety record of commercial air and improve an order of magnitude. You can moan about Germany and Japan’s shift in nuclear policy, but this is how it works.

  27. BBD says:

    Dean
    If nuclear is to become a key strategy against AGW and thousands more are built, then there would be a Fukushima-level accident every ““ what ““ 10 years? 5 years? Annually?


    To be clear, Fukushima was not an accident. It was a natural disaster that damaged a 40 year old, poorly designed and poorly sited plant.


    Obviously, it would be very silly to build new nuclear (or solar) plant in exposed coastal or low-lying locations. Offshore wind will also be vulnerable to CC.


    Where is your analysis that says:


    then there would be a Fukushima-level accident every ““ what ““ 10 years? 5 years? Annually?


    This is exactly what I am concerned about.

  28. BBD says:

    This type of argument is exactly what I am concerned about.

  29. NewYorkJ says:

    Dean: Even at once in 25 years, I doubt that nuclear can thrive. That might well be unfair to nuclear given the dramatically greater impact of coal, but distributed impacts are just not noticed as much.
     
    I think that to become viable in the long-term, nuclear needs to take the safety record of commercial air and improve an order of magnitude. You can moan about Germany and Japan’s shift in nuclear policy, but this is how it works.

    That’s an impossibly stringent requirement.  Since any notable disasters currently happen once every couple of decades, you’d need centuries to meaningfully evaluate whether or not that benchmark has been reached.  Way too late by then.  Yes – in the public’s eye, these sorts of disasters tend to have a greater impact than the enormous but steadily and gradually unfolding environmental/health disaster that coal and other fossil fuels are.  This is unfortunate, but that way of thinking isn’t set in stone.  Just as many understand the costs of global warming are much higher than the shock value of a big storm or two, many understand the cumulative environmental costs of coal vastly exceed that of nuclear.

    So what happens when nuclear is taken off the table?  I guess Germany and Japan are case studies to watch.  While there’s indication that renewables will clearly benefit, fossil fuels might as well, to such a degree that it’s a net increase in emissions from a pro-nuclear scenario.  Then again, costs of solar power might continue their impressive drop, and it all might be a moot point.  But that’s not a guarantee, and removing a critical wedge from the discussion isn’t a good idea.

    I don’t think nuclear should be ditched because of Fukushima.  On this point, I’m firmly in the Lynas camp.

  30. Keith Kloor says:

    Tim Lambert (23),

    Could  you elaborate, because I’m not getting why you stopped taking Lynas seriously. I tried following your link back, but wasn’t seeing what the fuss was about. It looks like some of the thread chatter in the Stoat post you reference is about Mark’s book Six Degrees.

    I recall it getting mostly positive reviews, including this one in RealClimate. 

    So can you clarify your comment here? 

  31. Kendra says:

    Mark Lynas,

    Just what is it about calcium and magnesium (per Busby’s recommendation) that you find to be quackery? I’m totally puzzled by such a dismissal.

    I make no judgment on whether or not his DNA etc. thesis is correct nor whether calcium and magnesium would be appropriate for that. But I certainly would not dismiss it out of hand simply because I had not researched that particular use of the two minerals.

    I have however researched them in a more general way and happen to know quite a bit, not only in terms of human health, but in specific applications. I certainly would question taking them as supplements at the same time; my understanding is that while they are necessary to each other, they should not be taken at the same time in supplement form.

    In addition, I simply must take issue with the implication that he’s flogging something for personal gain. First, it’s very clear that he is not when you watch the video. It is a bit confusing to me that he gives the impression that they might be hard to get, I’ve found them very easily obtainable in my own experience – perhaps in Japan, supplements are more strongly controlled than here in Switzerland or what is planned for the U.S. (Codex alimentarius). And they are also not expensive, although there are cheap, relatively useless preparations, so I would be ready to fault him on not distinquishing these. 

    In short, what’s so terrible about suggesting something that is necessary in human nutrition for good health when someone could be extra-vulnerable because of over-exposure to certain elements?

    While a nutritious diet should supply what is necessary for good health in “normal” circumstances, it is very often beneficial to recognize that not all circumstances are normal, as in this very case.

    I think it would behoove you to find out from the experts in the, yes, scientific field of chemistry / nutrition whether there is something to it before you simply handwave it away as quackery.

    I rarely comment, but in this case I am quite disappointed.

  32. Tim Lambert says:

    The fuss was about Lynas’ summary of the IPCC WG1 SPM: “methane fireballs tear across the sky”.  Folks (including me) seem to think that is wildly sensationalist.  Perhaps you will go for the middle position of methane fireballs only tearing across half the sky.

  33. Keith Kloor says:

    Tim (32),

    Can you give me the link to the context that appeared in? Meanwhile, I’ll settle for the position that RealClimate (and many others) took on his 2007 book, Six Degrees, which is when all this “fuss” you allude to was made. 

  34. Chuck Kaplan says:

    On an unrelated matter, would be interested on your view of D. Laframboise’s new book, and the brouhaha(?) of P. Gleik’s review in the blogosphere.

  35. Tim Lambert says:

    The context was Lynas’ summary of  IPCC WG1 SPM  Can you point to me any mention in the IPCC report of methane fireballs tearing across the sky?  

  36. Mark Lynas says:

    Tim Lambert – That piece was not a summary of the SPM. I can read, you know. It was a very potted summary of Six Degrees, with the IPCC link added by the editors as a news peg. Sorry if you misunderstood that. I agree it wasn’t clear from the way the Independent published it, but how you ever imagined my ‘degree by degree’ summary came from the IPCC WG1 SPM – which has nothing resembling this – I don’t know. Did you suppose I just made the whole thing up?

    Also, the ‘methane fireballs’ thing may be great for you to be snide about in dismissing my supposed predilection for catastrophism (and to make yourself seem terribly reasonable by implication) but – shocker – it was actually based on a scientific paper! Published in a peer-reviewed journal!

    Since you didn’t want to cramp your style with any attention to context by actually reading Six Degrees, I’ll make it easy for you. The methane in question was speculatively released from methane hydrates, and may have helped wipe out terrestrial life at the end of the Permian period. I was imagining the same event recurring in response to six degrees of warming today. See Ryskin, G., 2003: ‘Methane-driven oceanic eruptions and mass extinctions’, Geology, 31, 9, 741-4.

    Still no need to take me seriously in future, though.

    Mark 

  37. BBD says:

    Interesting
     
    Dean hasn’t got back to us with the methodology that yields a Fukushima ‘accident’ every year.
     
    Tim Lambert makes an unsuccessful attempt to de-legitimise Lynas but has nothing to say about nuclear and GM.
     
    TB thinks there’s nothing to talk about. I think there’s a fucking great elephant in the room.

  38. jeffn says:

    #37 BBD- So, ask yourself why Lynas is a “heretic.” Heretics were people who cared more about God than the organized church leadership of the day- ie Martin Luther nailed theses against church practice, not Christianity.
    Lynas is not committing heresy against science- opposition really is based on pseudo-science and urban myths.
    Lynas is not committing heresy against climate concern- it really is obvious and really has been for 20 years.
    Lynas is not committing heresy against true environmentalism- the search for ways to make man’s negative impact on the world as small as possible.
    So, what’s the establishment he’s committing heresy against? And will you join the new inquisition or oppose it?

  39. BBD says:

    jeffn
     
    This feels like obfuscation.
     
    Lynas has been attacked for saying that nuclear and GM are vital to addressing the big problems. So has Brand. So has Monbiot. So is anyone who dares to differ from the old-school environmentalist orthodoxy on this.
     
    Are you claiming that FOE and Greenpeace are fine and dandy about nuclear and GMO?

    Are you trying to cast doubt on the existence of an elephant in the room?
     

  40. willard says:

    #22

    > Monbiot actually made another environmental 360 on the issue of eating meat in response to a book on “˜sustainable meat eating’.

    However, here is what Monbiot says:

    > I still believe that the diversion of ever wider tracts of arable land from feeding people to feeding livestock is iniquitous and grotesque. 

    This should count as a few degrees from the 360: how about six? 

  41. thingsbreak says:

    @39 BBD:
    So is anyone who dares to differ from the old-school environmentalist orthodoxy on this.
     
    Are you claiming that FOE and Greenpeace are fine and dandy about nuclear and GMO
     
    I think I might see the problem. I hear “environmentalist” in the context of the US, I tend to think Sierra Club or WWF, not FOE. And of course you have people like senior WWF vice president Jason Clay promoting GM foods as part of a multi-pronged attempt to solve the food issue. 
     
    I tried to find a GM crop and climate “official” WWF position but have not so far.
     
    I do remember seeing a lot of Greenpeace anti-GM stuff here and there over the years, and they’re certainly a “household name” (and I gather this is even more true in Europe).
     
    But that just raises a further point on “skeptics'” incoherence. If “greens” and especially Greenpeace are so virulently anti-GM and anti-nuke, and if we are to believe the Donna Laframboises of the world who claim that the IPCC is overrun by Greenpeace activists sneaking in environmentalist propaganda and thus compromising the IPCC’s integrity, why isn’t the AR4 virulently anti-nuke and anti-GM crop?

  42. Marlowe Johnson says:

    After thinking about it for a bit (happens sometimes), what bugs me with this discussion about nuclear power is the manner in which one rationale  by some some groups (fear of meltdowns) is used by some to dismiss other entirely legitimate concerns (e.g. cost overruns, subsidies via liability caps, disposal/storage costs, decommissioning costs, nuclear proliferation, etc.).

    It’s equivalent to dismissing  all climate skeptics by focusing on the weakest arguments (e.g. solar) and their proponents (Moncton).

    For the interested reader, a good place to start is here

  43. BBD says:

    Thingsbreak

    The WWF is anti-nuclear. It down-rated France (~80% electricity generation from nuclear) in its G8 Climate Scorecard because the ‘WWF does not consider [nuclear] a viable policy option’.

    ‘Due to the significant bias against nuclear energy used in this rating [G8 Climate Scorecard] France dropped to third place in this year’s rating’.

    See here:

    http://www.worldwildlife.org/climate/policy/WWFImgFullitem12925.jpg

    While the SRREN report says ~30% renewables by 2050, that is not how it was spun. As you know. And you know who did it, and their affiliations. This can be viewed as pushing a pro-renewables agenda which is implicitly anti-nuclear. Greenpeace Germany is explicitly anti-nuclear. And Germany has abandoned its nuclear program. As you know.

    Enough said, I hope.

  44. thingsbreak says:

    @BBD 
    As you know.
    And you know who did it,
    As you know.
    Etc.
     
    I’m not sure what you’re talking about here. And I’m really confused as to why you seem so certain that I should. Can you clarify?

  45. BBD says:

    TB
     
    The presentation of SRREN in the media was: 80% renewables by 2050.
     
    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/ipcc-srren-conflict-of-interest-or-just-a-bad-press-release/
     
    I assumed that you were aware of this. I still hold to that assumption. And you are still neatly avoiding actual discussion of why green anti-nuclear bias is a profoundly serious problem.
     
     

  46. thingsbreak says:

    @BBD
    I assumed that you were aware of this.
     
    Okay, with the added context, yes, I remember that kerfuffle.
     
    And you are still neatly avoiding actual discussion of why green anti-nuclear bias is a profoundly serious problem.
     
    Aren’t we all in agreement that it’s a problem because we’ll need nukes to solve the energy and climate crises? I am happy to have a discussion about it. What would you like to discuss? I think it’s bad! You?

  47. harrywr2 says:

    Dean Says:
    October 19th, 2011 at 7:39 pm @25
     
    <i>If nuclear is to become a key strategy against AGW and thousands more are built, then there would be a Fukushima-level accident every ““ what ““ 10 years? 5 years? Annually?</i>
    The probability risk assessments for Gen III+ reactors is between 10^-6 and 10^-7.
    So even if I call BS on a 1 in a 1,000,000 reactors years probability risk assessment and take it down to 1 in 100,000 years if all the electricity in the world with enough left over to power Africa was produced by 4,000 Gen III+ reactors it would still be 1 major accident every 25 years.
    Then on the remediation side we’ve gotten better as well. How long did the Japanese mess around with helicopters and fire trucks before some ‘bright bulb’ figured out that an articulated concrete pumping truck would work better?

  48. BBD says:

    TB
     
    If you think anti-nuclear bias is bad, why has your contribution to this thread (which contains several examples) simply been: there’s nothing to talk about?
     
    You are not normally reticent.
     
    There is an elephant in the room.

  49. thingsbreak says:

    @48 BBD:
    why has your contribution to this thread (which contains several examples) simply been: there’s nothing to talk about?
     
    1. I disagree with your characterization. I have tried repeatedly to find some way to engage with this discussion, but
    2. It’s a little difficult to have a discussion when everyone agrees.
     
    You are not normally reticent.
    There is an elephant in the room.
     
    I think knee-jerk anti-nuke bias is bad. I think that nukes can and should play a significant role in solving the energy and climate crises. You?

  50. thingsbreak says:

    Meant to add, and the same goes for genetically-modified crops and the problems of climate and feeding 9+ billion.

  51. BBD says:

    TB
     
    I cannot decide if we are in agreement and I am misreading you.
     
    You blog. Have you written about nuclear and renewables? If there’s an extended example of your thinking I could read, it would be helpful.
     
    To avoid any suggestion of evasiveness on my part, knee-jerk anti-nuke bias is bad. Long-held anti-nuke bias is much worse. The same goes for # 50.

  52. willard says:

    > It’s a little difficult to have a discussion when everyone agrees.

    I doubt it’s not possible, though.

  53. Dean says:

    @47
     
    I’m not sure exactly what gen III+ refers to but Wikipedia has this about gen 4 reactors:
     
    Generation IV reactors (Gen IV) are a set of theoretical nuclear reactor designs currently being researched. Most of these designs are generally not expected to be available for commercial construction before 2030, with the exception of a version of the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) called the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) [which could be ready in 2021)
     
    ===
     
    So maybe by 2030 we can plan on actually building them en masse? Or maybe even 2021? Or do we go full speed ahead now with the inevitability of more Fukushima’s, which will only end up leaving us with blackouts as scared, risk-averse, populations demand that they be shut down after they are running?
     
    My position on nuclear power is not strictly anti. It is that the kind of technology that will make nuclear viable on the scale needed to prevent AGW is not any closer to reality than clean coal or photovoltaics. Like coal, there is a version available now. But if one accepts that AGW is happening and is a serious risk, nuclear on a large scale globally is no more a possibility than these other technologies. Please note my emphasis above. A few reactors here and there are one thing. With scale and frequency comes complacency and carelessness, then accidents, then a public backlash, and then the blackouts and/or shortages that Japan is now suffering. This IMO is nuclear’s fate if we go full speed ahead with current technology.
     
    PS – I’m also not completely anti-GMO, but I do believe it is oversold. It also faces a serious challenge in the longer term as the more it spreads (and this applies to more traditional methods as well), the more the genetic resource that it depends on is lost. So go ahead and try to develop heat- and drought-resistant strains. But the farther we get from the geological norm these plants evolved in, the less likely that we will find the genes we need to make it work in the conditions we are currently bringing about (and without compromising yield). So it probably is a bridge technology that will run it’s course if humanity goes ahead and burns all the fossil fuels it can get it’s hands on in the coming centuries, as my pessimistic self generally figures. But if we are able to nip AGW in the bud at a few degrees of warming, it could help get us over the hump.

  54. thingsbreak says:

    @51 BBD:
    Have you written about nuclear and renewables?
     
    I haven’t written that much about energy (mostly just noting the human cost of coal irrespective of climate concerns while also noting it’s going to remain a huge part of our energy mix in the absence of a sea change in global energy policy).
     
    I have commented here and elsewhere many times that I was sort of agnostic about the nuke issue with un-articulated concerns over the necessity/viability of nuclear power as a significant part of the climate/energy solution (thinking mostly about the economics and politics rather than the safety) before reading Barry Brook’s blog (Brave New Climate) and its criticisms of anti-nuke/all alternative arguments.
     
    I was glad to see the Obama admin speak out against a nuke freeze in the wake of Fukushima. I think Germany is making a mistake.

  55. BBD says:

    TB
     
    Okay, we agree and I am misreading you. My round then.

  56. thingsbreak says:

    No worries. I apologize if I was somehow not being clear enough. I tend to assume people at this blog know my position on that issue, which is probably a mistake on my part.

  57. BBD says:

    TB
     
    And I am… watchful (another man’s paranoid). So confusion was almost inevitable at some point. Anyway. Hopefully resolved. Please also accept my apologies for my contribution.

  58. Tim Lambert says:

    Mark, I just read Ryskin’s paper and your “methane fireballs tearing across the sky” is based on it in the same way that science fiction is based on science. Ryskin does not have any mention of methane fireballs tearing across the sky.  The methane eruptions Ryskin discusses are not caused by global warming but by volcanic activity.

    The consequences of global warming as described by the IPCC reports are very serious and  don’t need to be sensationalised by you.

  59. harrywr2 says:

    #53
    I’m not sure exactly what gen III+ refers to but Wikipedia has this about gen 4 reactors:
    Gen III+ is basically Gen III with passive safety features. I.E. Relying on things like gravity and convection to provide cooling water rather then pumps.
    http://www.ap1000.westinghousenuclear.com/ap1000_glance.html

  60. Kendra says:

    Mark Lynas,

    Just wondering why you have replied to others but not even acknowledged my question… 

  61. BBD says:

    TB



    My round then.


    This is too ambiguous. I meant: I’ll pay for the beers, then.

  62. harrywr2 says:

    53
    <i>So maybe by 2030 we can plan on actually building them en masse? Or maybe even 2021? Or do we go full speed ahead now with the inevitability of more Fukushima’s</i>
    I’m not the one that believes a clock is ticking on climate.
    Having said that Fukushima was a GE Mark I. Nobody is proposing building any more GE Mark I’s.
    As far as building GEN III+ AP1000’s  the shovel is in the ground on 4 in the US and another 4 in China with another 8 planned.

  63. BBD says:

    Tim Lambert @ 58

    I’m unclear about your fundamental point. Can we say a 6C warming would be devastating?

    From the RC review of Six Degrees:

    If a reading of the published scientific literature paints such a frightening picture of the future as Six Degrees suggests ““ even while it honestly represents that literature ““ then are we being too provocative in the way we write our scientific papers? Or are we being too cautious in the way we talk about the implications of the results?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/six-degrees/
     
    Why nitpick? Unless to delegitimise ML. And why do that? 
     
    Was it something else he said?

  64. jeffn says:

    BBD- Mark Lynas is a heretic because he cares more about the environment than the political prospects of the party that opposes nukes. Can’t have that.
    I think “the elephant in the room” is American politics. The American progressive has been proudly, obnoxiously anti-nuke in ways the European left wasn’t. There were certainly anti-nuke greens in France, but country went 80% nuke anyway- under a left government. Here in the US, they stopped it cold- shut down permitting across the land.
    They stopped it by banning it and, where they couldn’t ban it, they added years to the approval process to give them time to persuade local governments to arbitrarily deny permits based on lies. To do a complete about face on all that effort would be extraordinarily embarrassing and politically devastating. That’s why you see in the US claims that they “support nuclear” with the caveat that it not actually be built or, if it must be built, that it happen sometime after we abandon consumerism and exhaust our wealth on windmills and solar panels.

  65. Mark Lynas says:

    Tim Lambert – I’m not impressed. You ignore the fact that you made a mistake in how you saw my piece – you wrongly thought it was my ‘summary’ of the IPCC SPM, and therefore you thought it was rubbish. How about admitting you got this wrong? But of course you still think it’s rubbish even though you now realise you completely misinterpreted what I was talking about originally. No need to change your opinion in response to inconvenient facts!

    So you read Ryskin’s paper? Great – but you don’t really ‘do’ paleo do you? The triggers for the end-Permian mass extinction were almost certainly large-scale volcanism, but global warming and methane hydrates are postulated to have operated together in a positive feedback. There’s much more about this in Six Degrees – which I was summarising, and which you presumably haven’t read. 

    Of course I had to ‘imagine’ what six degrees of warming might look like. It’s that kind of a book. That isn’t ‘sensationalising’, it’s popularising, and it’s what writers do – because so many scientists, ahem, are hopeless communicators. 

  66. Mark Lynas says:

    Kendra – sorry, I got distracted, but also you didn’t ask a very clear question. Perhaps you could clarify – in what way do you think calcium and magnesium supplements are potentially useful in response to low-dose radiation? What science is there to support this supposition? 

    My answers would be the following:
    – they are not
    – there isn’t any

    Ergo, the gentleman selling them to the traumatised survivors of the Japanese tsunami and ensuring nuclear accident is an egregious quack who can do nothing but harm to vulnerable people. 

  67. Kendra says:

    Mark,

    Here was my experience of the reference in your comment here:

    I first looked at the link in your first comment, where he’s recommending calcium / magnesium (later, in your Yale interview, you simply used the misleading term “chalk”). Your dismissal of that recommendation to ameliorate low dose / long-term effects of radiation seemed not to be based on any knowledge of your own about either subject. Therefore, I wanted to know why. Not in defense of such treatment and not in defense of the thesis that there actually are low dose long term effects. I’ve looked into toxicology and have found that there is a great deal of fear-mongering going on in terms of “toxins” and lack of knowledge about “the dose makes the poison.”

    Please understand, I am not anti-nuke. But I rarely see mention of what low-dose toxic effects there might be on sites such as this and, in fact, I’d like to know from an objective source as these are the kinds of issues people I actually know are concerned about. I also wouldn’t have expected it but you brought the subject up yourself.

    Later, I opened your second link and didn’t pay that much attention, just gave a quick glance and assumed it was a site for calcium / magnesium. Only the second time did I notice his videos. However, the point of them seemed to be to establish a database of toxicity levels of various elements at the present time to have a record for future legal action. Maybe I missed it, but he didn’t seem to spend any time flogging the actual preparation (which, in my opinion, used the lowest quality forms not to mention that it’s a combination).

    You may not realize this, but calcium and / or magnesium are widely used, also by the “establishment.” 

    I would be interested in whether or not his claims for potentially toxic levels of whatnots (from memory, things sounding like strontium, cesium, etc.) have any validity and whether or not calc mag could have any therapeutic effect. This is totally aside from what his personal interest might be.

    Your attitude of dismissal, with no demonstration of actual knowledge, drew my attention. Busby made a claim elsewhere, you made a claim here. So I’m asking you for evidence of your expertise in this area. Since your article was fine without this gratuitous aside, my feeling is that you brought it up as a smug throwaway line, feeling comfortable here because of the contempt held for so-called “anti-vaxxers,” homeopathic, and sundry. Do you also think “anti-Chantixers” are lunatics?

    In your last paragraph, what does “ensuring nuclear accident” mean? Your grammatical structure implies that his selling a preparation ensures nuclear accident!!

    I’m not trying to outsnark you, I really want to have answers or an admission that you have not researched the issue yourself. 

  68. huxley says:

    Well this is fun. I get to agree with most of the people commenting for a change.

    Go nukes. This is a point where I’m happy to find common ground. Perhaps I’ve underestimated how many climate change folks have thought this through.

    KK: Thanks for mentioning Stewart Brand. He’s a sixties icon who is still thinking and changing.

  69. Tim Lambert says:

    Mark, your article states “According to yesterday’s UN report, the world will be a much hotter place by 2100. This will be the impact …”  We seem to be in agreement that what follows is not according the UN report at all.  But you make the bizarre demand that I admit that I got it wrong.

    Then you try wriggle your way out of your misrepresentation of Ryskin’s paper with “The triggers for the end-Permian mass extinction were almost certainly large-scale volcanism, but global warming and methane hydrates are postulated to have operated together in a positive feedback.”

    But that’s not what Ryskin’s paper said.  He has volcanism causing vast methane emissions causing global warming.  You turn this around to having warming causing methane fireballs to tear across the sky.

    I haven’t read your book so it is possible that it is more accurate than your summary of it, but either way you’re sensationalising stuff. 

  70. Keith Kloor says:

    Tim lambert is accusing someone of “sensationalizing stuff.” How rich.

    Tim, why don’t you stop being so facetious and say what’s really bugging you. Do you think you’re fooling anyone here? 

  71. thingsbreak says:

    @Keith Kloor
     
    This is obviously your blog, and you should of course run it how you see fit, but why are you jumping in and attacking Tim here? From what little information Lynas and Lambert have presented, it certainly looks like Lambert has the better of their discussion.
     
    What is Tim doing wrong here? You’ve made a snide remark that implies he is guilty of “sensationalizing stuff”. What relevance does that have to their discussion?

  72. harrywr2 says:

    #64
    There were certainly anti-nuke greens in France, but country went 80% nuke anyway- under a left government. Here in the US, they stopped it cold- shut down permitting across the land.
    France has no coal and as such no coal miners union. In the US the cost of extracting coal began to decline in the last 1970’s and and continued to decline up until around 2000.
    Making a financial case for nuclear in an environment where the costs of the competing technology coal are dropping is impossible. Hence, ‘the left’ got their way because no one was fighting on the other side.
    IMHO The ‘anti-nuke’ left didn’t win, the ‘pro-nuke’ right surrendered.
    I.E. In the US the left didn’t want nukes and coal would be cheaper anyway so coal it was.
    Two or three years ago ‘left leaning’ folks like Andy Revkin were blathering on about ‘natural gas’ as a bridge fuel, now natural gas is cheaper then nuclear and coal…so natural gas it will be.
    As long as the left wants what is cheapest the left gets what it wants.
    Windmills were the temporary fad but it was proven beyond a doubt that the amount of geographic separation that is needs to make ‘the wind always blows somewhere’ true(1000+ miles) is way beyond what was advertised.

  73. Keith Kloor says:

    TB (71),
    What relevance you ask. Indeed, what relevance does Lambert’s drive-by remark about one out-of-context line from five years ago have to do with the subject of this post? None.

    Lambert should just be honest about what his objections are to Lynas. 

    And TB, don’t get all faux shocked by my criticism of Lambert (which you dramatically characterize as an “attack”). Lambert has been a semi-regular (and frequently caustic) commenter at this blog, mostly in posts where I’ve been critical of Joe Romm for his sensationalism and hyperbolic nature. Lambert often has taken objection to my Romm posts, which is why I find it so rich that he’s accusing someone else of “sensationalist stuff.” 

    I’ve told Tim this before, and I’ll say it again: he’s a tribal partisan in the climate debate. He’s also a subtle smear artist, as demonstrated in this thread, and at his site, which he’s used to launder unsubstantiated smear jobs from others. I know he’s not interested in honest debate, because when I responded point by point to the BS job by Arthur Smith, Tim couldn’t be bothered to engage. (Neither could Arthur–he said he was just interested in venting. Incidentally, you show up all high minded in the thread of Arthur’s post on me, and conveniently ignored my rebuttal, as well.) As for Tim, he was just interested in serving as an echo chamber.

    After that episode, I lost all respect for him.

    So Tim, I’m asking you again to be honest. You’ve shown, by your frequent defense of Romm, to have a very high threshold for “sensationalist stuff.” Don’t be a phony. What is it about Lynas that you really object to? Why don’t you do a blog post at your place and spell it out. 
     

  74. Tim Lambert says:

    I think we all know how Keith would have reacted if Joe Romm, say, had written that global warming would lead to methane fireballs tearing across the sky.  But since it was Mark Lynas, Keith doesn’t reckon it was sensationalist at all, but rather that I took Lynas out of context.  So Keith, explain to us how my quote was out of context.  Bear in mind that Lynas has already commented and didn’t argue that it was out of context but rather that it was supported by Ryskin (2003).

    I’m intrigued by your claim above that you  “responded point by point to the BS job by Arthur Smith”.  In your post you in fact said “there’s no way I’m going to do a point by point rebuttal.”  All you did was deny four of Arthur Smith’s charges and concede one of them.  There was no substance to engage with.  So, I linked to your post in an update so readers could see for themselves.

    And just for reference, the only other criticism of Keith on blog is here :

    “And journalist Keith Kloor takes the opportunity to speak up for the real victims in the affair of the stolen CRU emails: journalists. Yes, journalists. Apparently, they’ve been victimized by mean climate scientists criticizing them for getting stuff wrong. In a text book case of projection, Kloor accuses scientists of tribal behaviour and taking sides.”
     

  75. Keith Kloor says:

    Tim,
    Sure, whatever you say. If anyone is inclined, they can follow the links back and see for themselves how I handled that post.

    As for your criticism of me, I was quite clear that it came in comments here, in your many objections to the various posts I did on Romm and his “sensationalist stuff.” 

    As for Lynas, it’s simply moronic that you’re placing so much importance on one line from five years ago. And that you would single that out as the reason why you would dismiss out of hand anything else he says. It’s absurd and transparently phony.

    I’ll ask again: Tim, tell us what’s really bugging you. 

  76. BBD says:

    Keith
    And so it goes on.
     
    We are not allowed to speak of certain things. Anti-science fear-mongering by the green ‘establishment’ over nuclear and GMO is particularly taboo.
     
    Remember, the WWF, for which you did not vote, does not consider nuclear ‘a viable policy option’.
     
    http://www.worldwildlife.org/climate/policy/WWFImgFullitem12925.jpg
     
    How does the formidable lobbying power of the WWF and Greenpeace and FOE etc really differ from that of the fossil fuel industry?
     
    Both are pushing for the wrong thing. Both are anti-democratic. Both are wrong. Both are profoundly dangerous.
     
    People should talk about this more.

  77. Tim Lambert says:

    Keith, it is telling that you can’t bring yourself to concede that “methane fireballs tear across the sky” is sensationalist.  And it’s not just one sentence — there’s lots more like it.  For example:

    “Hypercanes” (hurricanes of unimaginable ferocity) circumnavigate the globe, causing flash floods which strip the land of soil.

    I stopped taking Lynas seriously after that article, however difficult it may be for you to accept this.  I mentioned him favourably on my blog before then, but not after. 

  78. BBD says:

    Tim Lambert
    Hypercanes etc.
     
    IIRC that was from a description of Cretaceous climate based on the current interpretation of the geological evidence.
     
    Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of the book handy (I am not at home), but doesn’t ML say something like: ‘Of course I’m not claiming that methane fireballs will rip across the sky because of AGW’. Near the end. Page 280-ish, although I could easily be mis-remembering this.
     
    Someone must have a copy – please help out with this. TL – you sound like you might have the book – perhaps you can confirm and provide the actual quote.

  79. harrywr2 says:

    According to an article credited to Mark Lynas in the UK Independent in 2007
     
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/global-warming-the-final-warning-434807.html
    +6.4°: Most of life is exterminated
    Warming seas lead to the possible release of methane hydrates trapped in sub-oceanic sediments: methane fireballs tear across the sky, causing further warming. The oceans lose their oxygen and turn stagnant, releasing poisonous hydrogen sulphide gas and destroying the ozone layer. Deserts extend almost to the Arctic. “Hypercanes” (hurricanes of unimaginable ferocity) circumnavigate the globe, causing flash floods which strip the land of soil. Humanity reduced to a few survivors eking out a living in polar refuges. Most of life on Earth has been snuffed out, as temperatures rise higher than for hundreds of millions of years.

  80. Tom Fuller says:

    Well, that’s six degrees of separation from any reality we are likely to experience. It would be dramatic. But it’s alt-futurology. Just for fun, Tim Lambert, how many degrees of warming do you expect this planet to experience, and short of methane fireballs, what do you expect in the way of consequences? 

    We can call it science fiction Sunday. 

  81. BBD says:

    So. Is Lynas wrong to argue that nuclear and GM are likely to be essential tools in the response to CC as the century progresses?
     
    Are his critics here demonstrating an amusingly transparent level of misdirection to avoid addressing this?
     
    The green establishment is vehemently opposed to nuclear and GMO and lobbies very effectively against both. Does this mean that ferocious lobbying by unelected ideologues is now running counter to the interests of the species?
     
    If not, why not?
     
    Is Lynas being attacked because he is focussing attention on this problem? As Brand did.
     
    Has anyone read Starved for Science?
     
    http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674033474
     
    Is it just me, or is there a f_ing great elephant in the room?

  82. Keith Kloor says:

    BBD,

    Lambert is just playing games. He knows what the subject of this post is. He’s obviously not interested in engaging with these issues, despite my pleas with him to do so. Such a phony.

  83. huxley says:

    Maybe you had to be there. I can’t tell what’s at stake in this Lynas-Kloor-Lambert dust-up.

    I am curious about BBD’s point that nuclear power poses a political third rail in the environmentalist world.

    It’s one of the reasons I have trouble taking the climate orthodox seriously. If one is persuaded that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity in this century, then the move to nukes is “blindingly obvious” as Lynas put it. Yet by the title of this post and other indications, nuclear power is still a serious heresy among environmentalists.

  84. hunter says:

    BBD,
    We should pursue Nuke and GM because they are good.
    Because, whether or not if “CC” is the issue I think it is – trivial- or significant, both nuke and GM will help a lot of people live better lives. Because the only thing we can do that will have any practical benefit a the end of the day, is to adapt, which we have done very well for a long time.
     
     

  85. BBD says:

    Keith @ 82
     
    Yes, of course. But what interests me is why TL and others are behaving as they are. 
     
    Perhaps rather than burn the heretic, it’s more expedient to deny him a debate and attempt to delegitimise him at the same time.
     
    After all, for the environmental orthodoxy to admit that ML, Brand, Monbiot and others have a legitimate point would be… problematic, to say the least. 
     
    There are disquieting parallels with the contrarians and the climatologists, with the environmental orthodoxy assuming the role of denier.
     
    Strange days.

  86. huxley says:

    I’ve been scanning the web for environmentalists who support nuclear power. There is a growing minority who do, but I can’t find numbers.

    How strong are the nuke supporters among environmentalists? Has  Fukushima affected them?

  87. Tim Lambert says:

    BBD, I went to the library to see what Lynas’ book says. The hypercanes he presents as a consequence of six degrees of warming is based on a paper by Kidder and Worsley doi:10.1016/S0031-0182(03)00667-9 on the Permo-Triassic warming.  What neither his article in The Independent nor his book tells you is that Kidder and Worsley are describing the weather you get from fifteen degrees C of warming.  Last time I checked, fifteen was not the same as six.

    The methane fireballs stuff is even more dramatic in the book.  Lynas suggests that they could kill billions of people in a few days.  Makes The Day After Tomorrow look like a Sunday school picnic.

    On things that I know a little about and I can check, Lynas is significantly wrong, so I’m not inclined to trust him on things that I can’t check so easily.  It puzzles why you can’t conceive that I would care about the accuracy of the things that Lynas says.  Perhaps in your imagination I am opposed to nuclear power or GMOs or something?

    Tom Fuller, I think we’ll end up with about 2 and a bit degrees of warming becasue we’ll end up reducing our emissions, though too late to avoid some harmful effects like extinction of 10-20% of species.
     

  88. Mark Lynas says:

    Yes, the hypercanes thing was another extrapolation from paleo evidence of much more ferocious storms – in the Cretaceous I think. I’m not going to make it easy for Tim this time by providing the reference – I’ll force him to trouble to actually look it up in the book! As Tom Fuller says, it would be interesting to have Tim’s version of what +6C would look like, if he thinks mine is so wacky. 

    It is true though that publishing a boiled-down version in the Indy was perhaps asking for this – the quoted intro was again added by the editor, and I appreciate that Tim’s mistake of thinking it a summary of the SMP is understandable given this.

    Anyway, I guess there are various things you could have picked up on this – it is also considered socially unacceptable in ‘green’ circles to be nice about Lomborg!

    Anyway, Tim, by all means continue not to take me seriously! Please don’t visit my blog, and make sure you don’t read the new book either.  

  89. Kendra says:

    Mark,

    Are you boning up on radiation effects, long-term, low-dose etc. as well as calcium and magnesium’s (chalk!) roles in human nutrition in order to finally explain your throwaway line? And then you can play as if you knew it all the time? 

    Fine by me, I’ll keep coming back to look for it. Or, wouldn’t it just be easier to admit you didn’t know what you were talking about?

    Keith (or anyone else),

    Do you know of any sites oriented towards the lay person that deal with the most common anti-nuke justification I hear – long-term effects?

    Thanks,
    Kendra 

  90. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @85
    Hippies generally don’t respond well to hippie punching.

    I haven’t read Lynas book and don’t really have a problem with the ‘fireball’ characterization in what-if scenarios (although I do find it strange that Keith is silent on this issue as he seems to have a knee jerk response to all forms of ‘alarmism’).

    I do have a problem with opportunistic styles of argumentation that focus on the weakest claim (e.g. radiation fears) to dismiss other, stronger arguments.  It’s a lawyer’s tactic, and is all too commonplace IMO.

    As I’ve said before, I think that the trade-offs between nuclear and other low-carbon power options are very complicated; enough so that reasonable people can disagree.  Reducing the conversation to anti/pro isn’t helpful.

    Oddly, the most difficult thing to overlook is the bit about Lomborg. Anyone who actually has something nice to say about a person as intellectually dishonest as Bjorn Lomborg (other than his good looks) is either incredibly naive or informed (or both).

  91. Marlowe Johnson says:

    the last bit should be UNinformed…

  92. harrywr2 says:

    Kendra,
    “Long term radiation effects”.
    It’s a difficult ‘lay person’ discussion at best. It depends on what isotope one is talking about and what particles are emitted by said isotope and how those isotopes potentially bio-acummulate in the body, ingestion routes, how long they stay in the body etc etc etc.
    Here is an MD talking about sodium-bicarbonate treatments for Uranium ingestion.
    http://blog.imva.info/medicine/treatments-nuclear-contamination
    I’ve got news for the good MD, there isn’t any evidence that uranium escaped from Fukushima. Uranium Oxide has a very high melting point. Unlike cesium-134 and cesium-137 and iodine-131.
    Here is a fact-sheet on Iodine-131
    http://www.evs.anl.gov/pub/doc/Iodine.pdf
    Here is a fact-sheet on Cesium
    http://www.evs.anl.gov/pub/doc/Cesium.pdf
    In general the anti-nukes like to conflate the health impacts of short lived isotopes with long lived isotopes. The herbal supplement people have a tendency to apply something that works for a specific isotope more broadly then is warranted by the science, just as the good doctor did in his article.
     
     

  93. Keith Kloor says:

    Marlowe,

    I’ve addressed this before. I try not to use single instances to infer anything. Where I’ve been critical of people, I’ve done so because I’ve already noted a demonstrable pattern.

    So with Romm, it’s because of his penchant for ad homs and guilt-by-association tactics as much as for his doomsday rhetoric.

    Another example would be the subject of a post today, RFKJr, who has a clear record of irresponsible propagating that can be pointed to.

    The irony of all this is that Lynas, by his own admission, has a clear record of anti-science activism and propagation–with respect to nuclear and GMO’s. He’s come around to acknowledge this and robustly address where he went wrong.

    Oddly, Tim Lambert doesn’t want to talk about this. He’d prefer to focus on something singular and unrelated to the present discussion. That’s revealing in of itself.

  94. Tom Fuller says:

    Ahh, good to know the crusade against Lomborg has retained its anti-intellectual and fact-free fervor. The fact that he has been proven right time and again on mostly all of the major points he has been making for a decade means nothing.

    Now that Curry is the latest thang in heretics, Lomborg doesn’t get nearly the attention he used to–but it’s good to know that even a rusty lightning rod can still get the juice. 

  95. Marlowe Johnson says:

    “The fact that he has been proven right time and again on mostly all of the major points he has been making”

    Care to be more specific Tom? 

  96. Tom Fuller says:

    Have a drink, Marlowe.

  97. huxley says:

    Here’s Stewart Brand on methane from his latest book, Whole Earth Discipline:

    There have been some cataclysmic trigger events in the past. A vast freshwater lake in North America suddenly emptied into the North Atlantic 12,800 years ago, and that was the Younger Dryas instant deep freeze. Another bizarre event occurred 55 million years ago, when a trillion tons of methane burped out of the oceans from thawing methane hydrates (also called clathrates) on the sea floor. The sudden temperature rise of 8°C (14.5°F) extinguished two thirds of oceanic species and was nearly as catastrophic on land as the dinosaur-killing asteroid 10 million years earlier.

    According to Fred Pearce’s book, something between 1 trillion and 10 trillion tons of frozen methane clathrates lurk on the seabed now. Their potential sudden release is fondly known as the clathrate-gun hypothesis. David Archer, a climate modeler at the University of Chicago, has said, “The worst-case scenario is that global warming triggers a decade-long release of hundreds of gigatons of methane, the equivalent of ten times the current amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. We’d be talking about mass extinction.”

  98. BBD says:

    Marlowe Johnson @ 90
     
    Reducing the conversation to anti/pro isn’t helpful.


    Agreed. 
     
    So when is someone other than me going to put the boot in to the WWF for its (unforgivable) anti-democratic absolutism:
     
    ‘WWF does not consider [nuclear] a viable policy option’
     
    http://www.worldwildlife.org/climate/policy/WWFImgFullitem12925.jpg


    Who elected the WWF as a global authority on energy policy? Or Greenpeace, or FOE or any of the rest of these massive, influential NGOs?


    And why should their dogmatism and interference with the  mechanism of democracy in many countries be tolerated?

  99. huxley says:

    @94, 95: I’ve read both of Lomborg’s books, as well as the inquisitor-like responses in SciAm. Lomborg uses vanilla data from reputable sources and argues reasonably. I haven’t noticed anyone get a big jump on Lomborg in debate.

    He’s really not that radical except in the context of extreme environmentalist claims. He accepts the basic IPCC findings, but he doesn’t leap to the conclusion that the global infrastructure and economy must be revolutionized to reduce carbon emissions.

  100. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @98
    I think we agree that substituting dogmatism for considered thought is a bad thing.

    Where we might disagree is whether or not the ‘orthodox’ ENGOs have any appreciable impact on public policy when it comes to electricity generation.  Perhaps it’s a UK thing? Is their influence counterbalanced and/or nullified by corporate lobbyists?  I don’t pretend to have any particular insight, but I would say that policy development, as with  a lot of other collective human endeavors, has more in common with sausage making than we’d like to admit.  IOW it ain’t pretty. 

    @99 
    Thanks for responding to my request for specific examples 😉 

  101. BBD says:

    Marlowe
     
    Oh come on 😉
     
    UK; Germany; Spain.
     
    USA.
     
    Renewables a-go-go (until Lehman went down) and either no nukes or very few nukes…
     
    Of course the ENGOs had absolutely no influence on policy direction. Obviously.

  102. Kendra says:

    Harrywr2,

    Thanks for the links – I’ve only had time to glance at them for the time being. It does seem that they won’t answer the question of what has already specifically occurred, whether Chernobyl, 3-mile, Fukushima, and what could given possible / probable circumstances (and what, if anything, might alleviate their effects).

    However, Mark seemed quite sure so I’m still waiting for his pronouncements. 

  103. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @BBD,

    I’m not saying they have no influence.  I’m asking if their influence is counterbalanced by corporate/industry lobbyists.  You seem to think not, or at least not enough to matter.  This seems untenable to me, given my simple model of politics where money = influence. 

    Do you really think that the detente in nuke buildout in the U.S. is solely because of ENGOs? Wouldn’t it be fair to say that the inability to secure attractive financing also played a significant, and arguably more important role? And that financing challenges stem from historical cost overruns, liability concerns, and regulatory uncertainty? 

  104. BBD says:

    Marlowe

    You raise interesting points. Notably, money = influence.

    One could argue that the FF lobby has done more to block nuclear than the ENGOs. But this leaves the ENGOs as unwitting advocates for a FF industry agenda. Which is not exactly a mainstream argument, I agree. Worth thinking about though.

  105. harrywr2 says:

    Kendra Says:
    October 24th, 2011 at 2:53 pm
    Harrywr2,
    It does seem that they won’t answer the question of what has already specifically occurred, whether Chernobyl, 3-mile, Fukushima, and what could given possible / probable circumstances
    Chernobyl was an uncontained accident. There was no containment building. As such the ‘full spectrum’ of fission products was released.
    Fission products of nuclear reactors – http://mitnse.com/2011/03/20/fission-products-and-radiation/
    (There are also ‘radioactive’ noble gases with half lives measured in fractions of a second)
    The main ‘additional’ health risk from Chernobyl was strontium 90. Strontium 90 has a melting point of 1,400F. In addition to the quantity of radioactive material released was substantially higher.
    Strontium 90 is nasty because it bio-accumulates in bone and it has a half life of 30 years. It is also fairly mobile in the environment.
    http://www.evs.anl.gov/pub/doc/Strontium.pdf
    Strontium 90 isn’t very nice because the body see’s it as calcium and it ends up in bone.
    Fukushima and TMI were predominantly venting incidents. In order to maintain containment integrity steam was vented directly to the atmosphere.  Obviously, anything with a low melting point, such as Iodine 131(263F) , cesium 134 and cesium 137(83F) is going out the vent with the steam. (European reactors have vent filters.)
    Iodine 131 is a short term substantial health hazard as it bio-accumulates in the thyroid which is a fairly small but important organ. As it’s half life is only 8 days the hazard only lasts a few weeks. 
    The health risk with cesium is that is bio-accumulates in muscle. A good portion of body mass is muscle but muscle is constantly regenerating itself so it only stays in the body 110 days. Cesium bonds well to soil. The cleanup in japan will involve removing 5 cm of top soil.  http://www.jaif.or.jp/english/news_images/pdf/ENGNEWS01_1318306549P.pdf
    Cleanup costs for Fukushima are now estimated to be in the neighborhood of $13 billion – http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20111021_7648.php
    To power one coal fired plant in Japan  costs at least $400 million per year.
     
     

  106. Tim Lambert says:

    Mark Lynas wrote: “Yes, the hypercanes thing was another extrapolation from paleo evidence of much more ferocious storms ““ in the Cretaceous I think. I’m not going to make it easy for Tim this time by providing the reference”

    Of course, I’d already looked up the reference and  shown that Lynas had got it wrong (see comment 87).  The climate model that generated the hypercanes had fifteen degrees C of warming, not six.  And he’s out by a 100 million years about when it was.

    But none of this matters to Keith.  If you are on Team Kloor you can do no wrong.  We’ve seen this over and over from him.  Brand’s nonsense about DDT, Dubner’s nonsense about global warming just lead to Keith abusing those with the temerity to criticize  Brand or Dubner.

  107. Tim Lambert says:

    And just for Keith:

    “This is not “a poor summer”. Britain has been experiencing its worst ever climate change event. We must recognise this and our own responsibility for the emerging crisis.  … This widespread refusal to acknowledge the climate-change-related nature of the floods is worsened by meteorologists who insist on pointing to short-term factors – such as the jet stream, or La Niña – rather than admitting the longer-term realities of a changing climate.”

    Guess who? 

  108. Sashka says:

    That was delightfully incestuous.

  109. Keith Kloor says:

    Tim,

    I’ve asked you before you keep ducking: what is all this arm-waving really about?

    But if it pleases you, I’ll be happy to address Mark’s supposed climate alarmism in a future post. I should make you aware, though, that in my position at Audubon magazine, I commissioned this review of Mark’s book. Just like I worked with this author on excerpting his book. I consider both books extended thought exercises. 

    So I don’t know why you’re making such a fuss. Especially since you’re never once raised a peep about Joe Romm’s many excesses. On the contrary, you’ve defended him.

    So what gives? Why the double standard?

    Again, state your real reason for objections to Mark.  

  110. Tim Lambert says:

    Kieth, I already answered your question.  See 87, for example

    “On things that I know a little about and I can check, Lynas is significantly wrong, so I’m not inclined to trust him on things that I can’t check so easily. It puzzles me why you can’t conceive that I would care about the accuracy of the things that Lynas says. ”

    Perhaps you will now tell us the real reason you are so critical of Joe Romm, when you have no problem with methane fireballs tearing across the sky killing billions.  What’s the real reason?  Why the double standard? 

  111. Keith Kloor says:

    Tim,

    I have more edifying exchanges with my four year old. He also doesn’t say “I know I am, but what are you.”

    Do you have any idea how ridiculous and transparently phony you look? You could end the charade you’re playing by just coming out and saying what’s really bugging you. 

  112. Marlowe Johnson says:

    going through this post and the comments from he-who-must-not-be-named and Lynas might help Keith…

    which reminds me, why is it that you’ve never (to my knowledge) published anything critical of TBI or RPJR’s work/blog posts?  Makes me wonder if you’re entirely objective in covering the various players in climate blogland….

    Could it be that you’re a closet member of the hippie-punching third way aka the non-skeptical-heretic tribe? 

  113. Keith Kloor says:

    Marlowe, I’m familiar with that typically over the top post.

    So you keeping score? And yes, I’m sure climate skeptics would agree with you about how I’ve covered the various players in climate blogland.

    I see you’re a charter member of the dave roberts fan club. I’m do for some hippie punching on the bearded one. 

  114. Tom Fuller says:

    I’m a hippie and you punch me. Well, I’m an ex-hippie. I had hair.

  115. Tim Lambert says:

    Marlowe, I had this discussion with Keith before.  The reason he gave for not criticizing Pielke Jr was that Pielke Jr never gets anything wrong.  Meanwhile, just today we see yet another Pielke howler, with Junior accusing Rahmstorf of cherry picking and not reporting “the sensitivity of results to the start date”, even though Rahmstorf did just that.  And in true Pielke Jr style, the post has not been corrected, even though he’s now aware of his mistake.

  116. Keith Kloor says:

    Tim (115)

    Keep ducking. And you don’t have a discussion with anyone, as is evident in this thread. You decide what your talking point is and never deviate from it. The partisan in you cannot tolerate an actual give-and-take.

    And you make stuff up. How about sharing a link to where I said that Roger never gets anything wrong? You’re pretty handy with links when you want to reinforce a talking point. How about a link on this one?

    Oh, and still waiting to hear what’s really bugging you about Lynas…

  117. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Keith,

    So no comment on the dearth of posts critical of TBI and co?

    The general point that I’m trying to make (unsuccessfully it seems) is that accusing someone of being partisan and then criticizing them for failing to engage you in constructive conversation is disingenuous.  It’s a cheap and frankly hypocritical debating tactic that only serves to shut down communication. You’re also partisan, if to a lesser degree and belong to a different ‘tribe’ than Watts or Romm.  Perhaps it’s an American thing, but I find the tendency to boil things down to binary choices and then picking a third position and labeling it ‘non-partisan’ annoying in the extreme.  In most other parts of the world, it’s generally accepted that people can fall into more than box A or box B.

    In the post you suggest that the TBI folks are ‘polemicists’ while you, Revkin, Lynas, Monbiot, etc. are ‘writers’.  To me this seems like a distinction without a difference.  Can you expand on this?

  118. Keith Kloor says:

    Marlowe,

    To be honest, I don’t follow the blog at TBI. I do read what S & N publish in various magazines and op-ed pages. When I was an editor at Audubon magazine, I assigned a review of their book. But I’ve never written about them anywhere but my blog, and that has been infrequent. But I often find their critiques of the green movement and climate policy accurate, though I haven’t agreed with all their points.

    And Unlike their critics, they don’t resort to name-calling and misrepresentation.

    Roger is a more complicated case. I do think he sometimes has a thin skin for someone who is so blunt. For a while, I had wanted to do a post on what makes people so angry about him, but then when I checked into it, I saw that it was largely a blogospheric phenomenon, stoked mostly by partisans. That said, I know that he’s on the wrong side of the gang at Real Climate (and Kevin Trenberth), but like the whole Steve Mac history, I’m not familiar with the backstory of how things got that way. Nor can I be bothered to retrace the ins and outs of it. It all seems so petty to me.

    I only started actively blogging in 2009, and much of this Roger bashing predated my entrance on to the scene by years.

    All in all, I consider the blogospheric effort by Romm et al to tarnish RPJ, BTI and others shameful. It is these tactics that I have been most critical of.

  119. Tom Fuller says:

    Have another drink, Marlowe. If you want criticism of Pielke and TBI, criticize them. If you want to read other people’s criticism of them, it’s not like it’s hard to find.

    Who died and gave you the right to decide what Keith should write about? You can start your own blog at any time.

  120. thingsbreak says:

    @115 Tim Lambert:
     
    I’ve long since learned to stop being surprised at Roger’s attacks on the scientists who blog at RealClimate.
     
    I’ve also given up entirely thinking that these attacks will ever be recognized for what they are by people like Andy Revkin and Keith.

  121. willard says:

    Keith,

    My own overall impression is that Roger Junior is good at what he does.  This applies to every blogger, though.  A blogger that is not good at doing things is not read much.

    If you ever want to think about what does Roger Junior that infuriates his detractors, here would be an interesting analysis of an example that was post-2009:

    http://scientistscitizens.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/making-arguments-expensive
    There is also the recent excursion in statistics, but this can wait.

    I could have sent this by email, but I think the article is worth a read. 

  122. thingsbreak says:

    @118 Keith Kloor:
     
    Is it possible for you to believe that some people have a negative opinion of Roger for no other reason than the kind of jackassery referenced in @115?

  123. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Thanks for the reply Keith.  While I wouldn’t quite call it ‘shameful’, I agree that Romm’s (not sure who the ‘et al’ you’re referring to) critiques of RPJR and TBI, in particular, would benefit from a calmer tone as the substance of his critique is fair IMO.  see Levi and Stavins for alternative voices that make many of the same points.

    Oh and I guess if I had to choose, the Dave Roberts Tribe would be a pretty good fit for me as I’m primarily interested in the political dimensions of climate change, which is something that Roberts focuses on more than any other blogger out there.   

    @119
    I have (criticized RPJr and TBI, not had another drink).  

    “Who died and gave you the right to decide what Keith should write about?”

    Your reading comprehension skills continue to impress.

  124. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    thingsbreak, Tim Lambert-
     
    Rahmstorf confirms my critique (see the thread), namely, they used 1910-2009 trends as the basis for calculating 1880-2009 exceedence probabilities.  You can call that jackassery or whatever.  I call it math and stand by my critique. A finer example of cherrypicking you will not find.  Bluster away, but this case is as obvious as it is simple.  All best …

  125. thingsbreak says:

    @118 Keith Kloor:
    Roger is a more complicated case. I do think he sometimes has a thin skin for someone who is so blunt. For a while, I had wanted to do a post on what makes people so angry about him, but then when I checked into it, I saw that it was largely a blogospheric phenomenon, stoked mostly by partisans. That said, I know that he’s on the wrong side of the gang at Real Climate (and Kevin Trenberth), but like the whole Steve Mac history, I’m not familiar with the backstory of how things got that way. Nor can I be bothered to retrace the ins and outs of it. It all seems so petty to me.
    I only started actively blogging in 2009, and much of this Roger bashing predated my entrance on to the scene by years.
    All in all, I consider the blogospheric effort by Romm et al to tarnish RPJ, BTI and others shameful. It is these tactics that I have been most critical of.
     
    I find the contrast between the way you characterize the critics of Roger and Roger himself to be incredibly revealing.
     
    Roger’s critics are “partisans”. They are trying to “tarnish” Roger. Their behavior is “shameful”.
     
    By contrast, we have a clear example (@115) of Roger attacking a scientist and using that attack to cast aspersions about the credibility of the field of climate science. This is not an isolated incident. Roger routinely attacks the scientists that blog at RealClimate.
     
    Is Roger’s behavior “shameful”? Is Roger attempting to “tarnish” the scientists who blog at RealClimate? Is Roger “partisan”? Not according to Keith!
     
    With Roger, it’s “complicated”. He may be “thin-skinned”. But Keith “can’t be bothered” to understand why Roger is “on the wrong side” of the people Roger attacks.
     
    This is about as partisan as it gets.

  126. Tom Fuller says:

    Umm, is Roger correct?

  127. thingsbreak says:

    @123 Roger Pielke Jr.:
    Rahmstorf confirms my critique (see the thread), namely, they used 1910-2009 trends as the basis for calculating 1880-2009 exceedence probabilities.
     
    Roger, the cynical among us might note that the “critique” you seem to be making now is ever so slightly different than the critique you made in your initial post. I also find it amusing that you are claiming Rahmstorf has “confirmed” your initial attack on his paper.
     Shameless.

  128. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    thingsbreak,
     
    Now a critique of a paper is an “attack” — defining that term down now aren’t you?  Rahmstorf is a big boy, he can take a bit of critique of his published work.
     
    I have made a substantive critique of a paper, care to play the ball not the man?

  129. thingsbreak says:

    @125 Tom Fuller: 
    Umm, is Roger correct?
     
    Which version? The initial attack? Nope.

  130. thingsbreak says:

    @127:
    Now a critique of a paper is an “attack” “” defining that term down now aren’t you?  Rahmstorf is a big boy, he can take a bit of critique of his published work.
     
    Roger, I don’t consider “a critique of a paper” to be an attack, no.
     
    This:
    The Games Climate Scientists Play

        Here is another good example why I have come to view parts of the climate science research enterprise with a considerable degree of distrust.

        “¦

        Climate science “” or at least some parts of it “” seems to have devolved into an effort to generate media coverage and talking points for blogs, at the expense of actually adding to our scientific knowledge of the climate system. The new PNAS paper sure looks like a cherry pick to me.
     
    is an attack, not a critique.

  131. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    thingsbreak-
     
    That is not an attack, it is a statement of my opinion.  I do not trust parts of the climate science community. Get over it.
     
    I understand that you do not like me, fair enough. Do you have anything to add on substance of the matter under discussion, or are all your comments restricted to personal comments about me? (Really, I’m flattered that you find me so interesting, but really, surely you have better things to do?;-).

  132. Tom Fuller says:

    Umm, is Roger correct? Did the PNAS paper have cherry pocked date ranges?

  133. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @125
    well said.  if you’re going to criticize someone for their asymmetric choices when it comes to who and what target, then don’t be surprised when you get called out for the same failing…

  134. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @131
    Roger, as is often the case, I’m confused by what you say.  What is the difference between an ‘attack’ and a ‘statement of opinion’? Have you ever posted an attack on your blog or are they all statements of opinion? Some examples would be helpful.

    As an aside, your use of ‘many thanks’ at the end of your request to Rahmsdorf seems pretty insincere given the tone of the post. 

  135. Tom Fuller says:

    Marlowe, you’ve clearly become too big a fan of your own drinking game. Roger criticized Rahmatorf for cherry picking date ranges.

    You are blustering and whining about Roger’s tone. But if Roger is correct in his criticism then you should be furious with Rahmstorff for giving critics of your position further ammunition instead of shooting the messenger. Instead of trolling, on other words.

  136. thingsbreak says:

    @130 Roger Pielke Jr.:
    I understand that you do not like me, fair enough.

    are all your comments restricted to personal comments about me? (Really, I’m flattered that you find me so interesting, but really, surely you have better things to do?;-).
     
    Roger, I have a negative opinion of your behavior. I don’t find it interesting. I don’t think it rises to the level of “not liking you”. You might be a wonderful human being. I have no idea and don’t really care.
     
    What I do care about, and what I am interested in, is the way people like Andy Revkin and Keith get played and cannot realize it even when it’s pointed out to them.
     
    As for the “substance of the matter under discussion”? What is there to add? You made a broad attack based on a misrepresentation of what the paper did. You used that attack to denigrate the field more generally. You now seem to be saying something much more narrow, which seems to be an incredibly flimsy basis for your initial attack. Based upon the concession that the paper didn’t do something it never claimed it did, you’ve declared victory. Great. Have fun with that!
     
    Keith, it’s fine if you think that Joe Romm is an a-hole, or that I am “snarky”. You can disagree with me about many things. I just hope that you realize people are complaining about bias here because it seems pretty blatant and something we know you want to avoid, not because we want to tear you down.

  137. Keith Kloor says:

    TB,
    Your complaints about bias are without merit. Every week (as I’ve previously noted numerous times) I get accused by one camp or another of bias. There is no satisfying everyone. Journalist/bloggers know this.  

    People also know where to go if they want an echo chamber.  

  138. thingsbreak says:

    @137 Keith Kloor:
    Your complaints about bias are without merit.
     
    I’m sorry to hear that, Keith. I hope you’ll give some thought to what I’m saying (e.g. @125), even if you disagree.
     
    Thanks.

  139. Tom Fuller says:

    #136, your obviously sincere concern about Keith potentially getting played by other actors is only slightly vitiated by your obvious attempt to work the ref.

  140. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    -128-
     
    Thingsbreak,
     
    Please do explain how my critique is wrong — Rahmstorf confirmed to me that they did not run the analysis from 1880.
     
    You can assert that they were justified in what they did, and explain why that is so, but you cannot claim that my assertion that they analyzed only from 1911 is wrong.

  141. Sashka says:

    @ TB (129)

    Is Roger correct in the current version?

  142. thingsbreak says:

    @135 Tom Fuller:
    But if Roger is correct in his criticism then you should be furious with Rahmstorff for giving critics of your position further ammunition instead of shooting the messenger.
     
    Tom, Roger is “giving critics of [Marlowe’s] position further ammunition” by attacking strawmen.
     
    First Roger attacked Rahmstorf and Coumou for ignoring the pre-1911 data. He uses this ostensible sin of omission to smear the larger field. Only one problem with claiming they ignored the older data: they did not. When this is pointed out, Roger moves the goalposts and claims that Rahmstorf and Coumou didn’t use a linear trend to look at the pre-1911 data. The paper is quite clear about making the case that the data (1911 and for the whole record, for synthetic data and actual obs) are better described by a nonlinear trend.
     
    Is Roger free to disagree with their argument for nonlinearity? Of course! But that’s not what Roger did. Roger either did not read (and/or understand) or deliberately misrepresented their paper by claiming that it ignored pre-1911 data. He’s now pretending that his original attacks on the integrity of the field are justified because the paper didn’t use a linear trend on data it clearly argues show a nonlinear trend
     
    Roger can’t help himself when it comes to attacking the scientists who blog at RealClimate, and that results in Roger ending up in some interesting positions after he’s charged. This isn’t the first, and I have no doubt that it won’t be the last.

  143. Tim Lambert says:

    Keith, right here you wrote: “I’ll have no problem critizing Roger Pielke Jr. or the Breakthrough Institute when I feel it’s warranted.”

    But you haven’t criticized him, so clearly you think he’s never done anything ever worthy of criticism.  If Pielke says that up is down, you just nod your head and go along with him.  I expect you’ll respond to this with more of your name-calling.

  144. thingsbreak says:

    @140 Roger Pielke Jr.:
    Please do explain how my critique is wrong “” Rahmstorf confirmed to me that they did not run the analysis from 1880.
     
    This is classic Pielke in action.
     
    That’s quite a claim by Roger, and it would seem to end the debate, if true. Is it?
     
    What Roger isn’t explaining is that when he says “analysis”, what he’s really saying is “using a linear rather than nonlinear trend”. So when Roger claims that Rahmstorf “confirmed” his critique, what he is actually saying is that Rahmstorf confirmed that they did not use a linear trend on the 1880-2009 data, something made clear in the paper itself.
     
    Rahmstorf did not “confirm” Roger’s critique, which is just a bait and switch:
    RPJr.: “They didn’t look at the whole record!”
     
    Yes, they did.
     
    “No, they didn’t perform The Analysis* for the whole record!”
     
    *Valid only for Roger’s definition of The Analysis.

  145. willard says:

    The hypocrisy meme is a destructive fallacy.

    Proponents of this meme should over it.

    We all are entitled to our own interests.  

  146. Tom Fuller says:

    Lambert, show us how it’s done. What do you think of actions similar to what you criticize by members of your own tribe? Please be specific.

    Lead by example. 

  147. thingsbreak says:

    @139 Tom Fuller:
    #136, your obviously sincere concern about Keith potentially getting played by other actors is only slightly vitiated by your obvious attempt to work the ref.
     
    I am not concern-trolling Keith. I am not pretending to be “on his side”. I don’t think Keith would ever agree that we see eye to eye on this issue.
     
    I do think that Keith wants to avoid bias (in fact, I think he goes overboard sometimes in trying to avoid by needlessly attacking one group and then another- something I’ve brought up on behalf of the Jeff Ids as much as I have on behalf of the Joe Romms). I am not trying to concern-troll him by making my case that he has a bias/blind spot here.
     
    I don’t care if he ever acknowledges that I may have point. I just hope he takes a step back and evaluates how completely uncritical he has been about Roger, even if it’s an unconscious (e.g. @125) rather than deliberate position.
     
    In any event, I said my piece to Keith, and he disagrees. I’m considering it closed for the time being.
     
    @145 willard:
    The hypocrisy meme is a destructive fallacy.
     
    I agree. Charges of hypocrisy almost always avoid the substance of the problem for which the charges stand as proxy.

  148. willard says:

    Proponents of this meme should *get* over it.  

    Why not include the Wikipedia entry:

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

    This is teached in a first semester during college, for Cicero’s sake!

  149. Keith Kloor says:

    Tim (143)

    Ah, now I see your logic. You don’t see any blog posts criticizing Roger, so that’s how you came to write (115): 

     “I had this discussion with Keith before.  The reason he gave for not criticizing Pielke Jr was that Pielke Jr never gets anything wrong.”  

     You really are something.

    Still waiting for you to honestly state what’s truly bothering you about Lynas…Be a man, Tim. Stop with the charade and the petty complaints about others. You’re embarrassing yourself.

  150. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    Thingsbreak-
     
    Now you are making things up.  I did not introduce the notion of linear trend, Rahmstorf did. 
     
    But perhaps we can resolve this debate empirically — Please answer the following question:
     
    The addition of data from 1880 to 1910 to the analysis changed the trend (and expected probability of extremes in the current decade, using Ramstorf’s unique definition of “trend”) as compared to the analysis starting in 1911 by:
     
    a) zero
    b) a non-zero amount
     
    The answer is a) of course, surely you agree. Their methodology is a cherrypick because the 1880-1910 data has absolutely no impact on a trend calculation.  Convenient of course for their argument, and completely contrary to convention in attribution studies.
     
    A second follow on question for you:
     
    Please point to another attribution study — any ever published — that uses the definition of “trend” introduced by Rahmstorf especially for this analysis.
     
    Thanks

  151. Tim Lambert says:

    Keith, I haven’t seen any criticism of Pielke Jr from you because you haven’t written any. And you wrote “I’ll have no problem critizing Roger Pielke Jr. or the Breakthrough Institute when I feel it’s warranted.”  So it follows that you think that nothing he’s done is worthy of criticism.  Not even the latest egregious example.  How on Earth could you be OK with this one?

  152. thingsbreak says:

    Roger, I’m confused.
     
    You initially made the criticism that the paper ignored the 1880-1910 data. This is patently false.
     
    You then claim that Rahmstof “confirmed” your critique.
     
    Please explain.

  153. Tom Fuller says:

    Show us how it’s done, Lambert. Highlight your criticism of Romm, Connelly, John Cook or other warmist bloggers. Tell us your opinion of flawed warmist work such as Anderegg, Prall, et al.

  154. willard says:

    This question
     
    > The addition of data from 1880 to 1910 to the analysis changed the trend […]
     
    should have been resolved before stating that 
     
    > Rahmstorf has a long and laborious post trying to explain not only the 1911 cherry pick, but several others that defy convention in attribution studies.  
     
    and 
     
    > **Look at the graph below and ask yourself how that can be** — Climate science as ink blot. 
     
    and 
     
    > [I]f you take a **look** at the actual paper you see that they made some arbitrary choices (which are at least unexplained from a scientific standpoint) that bias the results in a particular direction. 
     
    and
     
    > I added in the green line which **shows** the date from which Rahmsdorf and Coumou decided to begin their analysis — 1911, immediately after an extended warm period and at the start of an extended cool period. 
     
    and
     
    > **Obviously**, any examination of statistics will depend upon the data that is included and not included.  **Why** did Rahmsdorf and Coumou start with 1911?  
     
    and 
     
    > **Why** did they not report the sensitivity of their results to choice of start date? 
     
    and
     
    > **There may indeed be** very good scientific reasons why starting the analysis in 1911 makes the most sense and for the paper to not report the sensitivity of results to the start date. 
     
    and
     
    > Hence, the decision **looks** arbitrary and to have influenced the results.
     
    * * *
     
    Answering this empirical question, of course, is not needed to state that:
     
    > Here is another good example why I have come to view parts of the climate science research enterprise with a considerable degree of distrust.
     
    because being confirmed in our own bias is only a matter of opinion and because scientific editorials are just that, editorials.

  155. Keith Kloor says:

    Tim,

    I know that you have a long blood vendetta with RPJ. That has played out in the comment section of this blog between you two (in just as tedious fashion as your current campaign against Lynas in this thread.)

    I realize that you are more interested in playing these games than actually being honest about your intentions. 

    Stop ducking and weaving, Tim. What is it about Lynas that is really bugging you? Nearly all those critical of what he says in the Yale 360 interview at least have the decency to address the statements he made.

    Your avoidance is conspicuous. Be a man, Tim. Let it out. It wants to be free… 

  156. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    Thingsbreak —
     
    Do the math based on the paper (and on your blog!) … the only way that the addition of 1880-1910 data leads to an increase in the probability that extremes are explained by the trend (to over 80%) is if the trend itself does not go down (otherwise, if the trend itself goes down then the probability also goes down, not up).
     
    Over at Real Climate Eric Steig says that the trend and frequency of records both do change when adding in the earlier data.  As this information was not reported in the paper, it will be interesting to see what numbers he gives. This was the info that I critiqued as not being given in the paper, but should have been.

  157. Tim Lambert says:

    As for Pielke’s second question, reference 22 in the paper applies non-linear trends to temperature time series.  

    New Tools for Analyzing Time Series Relationships and Trends
    Extracting trends from data is a key element of many geophysical studies; however, when the best fit is clearly not linear, it can be difficult to evaluate appropriate errors for the trend. Here, a method is suggested of finding a data-adaptive nonlinear trend and its error at any point along the trend. 
    By J. C. Moore, A. Grinsted, and S. Jevrejeva

    They also cite:
    Mudelsee M (2010) Climate Time Series Analysis: Classical Statistical and Bootstrap Methods.

    which has more on non-linear trends. 

  158. Tom Fuller says:

    This obviously isn’t about Lynas or Pielke, or even Ramstorff. It’s about adherence to and deviation from a political position on climate change. 

    Tim Lambert is a partisan warmist–nothing wrong with that per se, look at Bart Verheggen, who is just as convinced as Lambert.

    But Lambert is compelled to go after Pielke and Lynas, not because they are skeptics, but because they are not. In Lambert’s eyes they are defectors because, while they profess to understand the science and agree that climate change is a compelling public policy issue, they do not adhere to a party line. So they are more dangerous than a skeptic and must be combatted at every turn.

    It’s kind of a black and white film about leftist politics from the 1930s, in a sad sort of way.  

  159. thingsbreak says:

    Roger,
     
    You initially claimed that Rahmstorf and Coumou ignored the 1880-1910 data:
    Look at the annotated figure above, which originally comes from an EGU poster by Dole et al. (programme here in PDF).  It shows surface temperature anomalies in Russia dating back to 1880.  I added in the green line which shows the date from which Rahmsdorf and Coumou decided to begin their analysis — 1911, immediately after an extended warm period and at the start of an extended cool period.

    Obviously, any examination of statistics will depend upon the data that is included and not included.  Why did Rahmsdorf and Coumou start with 1911?  A century, 100 years, is a nice round number, but it does not have any privileged scientific meaning. Why did they not report the sensitivity of their results to choice of start date? There may indeed be very good scientific reasons why starting the analysis in 1911 makes the most sense and for the paper to not report the sensitivity of results to the start date.  But the authors did not share that information with their readers. Hence, the decision looks arbitrary and to have influenced the results.
     
    You subsequently claimed that Rahmstorf “confirmed” your critique. You justify this based on Rahmstorf’s statement: “Roger, we did not try this for a linear trend 1880-2009”.
     
    The paper itself is clear that the data from 1880-2009 (and thus 1880-1910) are analyzed, using a nonlinear trend.
     
    In what way did Rahmstorf “confirm” your critique that Rahmstorf and Coumou ignored the 1880-1910 data?
     
    Thanks.

  160. thingsbreak says:

    @158 Tom Fuller:
    This obviously isn’t about Lynas or Pielke, or even Ramstorff. It’s about adherence to and deviation from a political position on climate change.

    But Lambert is compelled to go after Pielke and Lynas, not because they are skeptics, but because they are not. In Lambert’s eyes they are defectors because, while they profess to understand the science and agree that climate change is a compelling public policy issue, they do not adhere to a party line. So they are more dangerous than a skeptic and must be combatted at every turn.
     
    As I said earlier:
    Is it possible for you to believe that some people have a negative opinion of Roger for no other reason than the kind of jackassery referenced in @115?
     
    Also, Tom, Mark was mocked by Tim and others back in early 2007 for “not adhering to the party line”? That’s your argument?

  161. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    Tim Lambert-
     
    The issue is not with non-linear trends in general, but their specific application to attribution studies as done in this paper.  Keep looking.
     
    Thingsbreak-
     
    You are jumping all over the place.  My assertion is that the methodology used by Rahmstorf renders the data prior to 1910 irrelevant to the mathematics used to generate the top line result (80% probability …).  I understood his reply as confirming this — is there wiggle room there? Probably (what he really meant was …).
     
    Since the data from 1880 was not reported we don’t know what exactly they did from that time period (if you do know, please say).  I have gone out on a limb and asserted that based on their methodology the addition of 1880-1910 data does not alter the trend or the expected frequency of extremes — hence  a cherry pick starting in 1911.  Apparently you believe that my assertion is wrong.
     
    Eric Steig says that these values, while unreported, did in fact change when the earlier data is included.  I have asked for these numbers.  Let’s see what he says.

  162. thingsbreak says:

    161 Roger Pielke Jr.:
    My assertion is that the methodology used by Rahmstorf renders the data prior to 1910 irrelevant…
     
    In fact, your original assertion was not that the data from 1880-1910 were “rendered irrelevant”, but rather that these data were excluded from analysis altogether by only looking at 1911-on:
    Look at the annotated figure above, which originally comes from an EGU poster by Dole et al. (programme here in PDF).  It shows surface temperature anomalies in Russia dating back to 1880.  I added in the green line which shows the date from which Rahmsdorf and Coumou decided to begin their analysis “” 1911, immediately after an extended warm period and at the start of an extended cool period. Obviously, any examination of statistics will depend upon the data that is included and not included.  Why did Rahmsdorf and Coumou start with 1911?  A century, 100 years, is a nice round number, but it does not have any privileged scientific meaning. Why did they not report the sensitivity of their results to choice of start date? There may indeed be very good scientific reasons why starting the analysis in 1911 makes the most sense and for the paper to not report the sensitivity of results to the start date.  But the authors did not share that information with their readers. Hence, the decision looks arbitrary and to have influenced the results.
     
    The paper itself is clear that the data from 1880-2009 (and thus 1880-1910) are analyzed, using a nonlinear trend:
    With a thus revised nonlinear trend, the expected number of heat records in the last decade reduces to 0.47, which implies a 78% probability [ð0.47 − 0.105Þ∕0.47] that a new Moscow record is due to the warming trend. This number increases to over 80% if we repeat the analysis for the full data period in the GISS database (i.e., 1880″“2009), rather than just the last 100 y, because the expected number for stationary climate then reduces from 0.105 to 0.079 according to the 1∕n law.
     
    Do you stand by your original contention that Rahmstorf and Coumou excluded the 1880-1910 data from analysis?

  163. Keith Kloor says:

    TB (160)

    You mean this kind of mockery from Eric Steig at Real Climate (note: tongue planted firmly in cheek). 

    Or would that be jackassery?

    Cause I’m confused. Maybe it’s best you summarize for me what Eric is saying there about Mark Lynas and Six Degrees. 

  164. Tim Lambert says:

    Roger, so your thesis is that if you use a non-linear trend on data that is not well fitted by a linear trend, then you are cherry-picking.  Seriously?  That’s your argument?  I don’t think you’ll convince anyone other than Kloor with that argument.

  165. thingsbreak says:

    @163 Keith Kloor:
     
    I don’t understand your point. I did not say that everyone on Earth was mocking Lynas in early 2007. ?
     
    Tom Fuller claimed:
    Lambert is compelled to go after Pielke and Lynas, not because they are skeptics, but because they are not. In Lambert’s eyes they are defectors because, while they profess to understand the science and agree that climate change is a compelling public policy issue, they do not adhere to a party line. So they are more dangerous than a skeptic and must be combatted at every turn.
     
    This claim is difficult for me to reconcile with Lambert mocking Lynas in 2007. Unless perhaps when Tom says “party line” he’s referring to an adherence to what the science says without going too far away from it in either a downplaying or over-hyping sense. In which case, I’m struggling to see what the problem with such a “party line” is supposed to be.
     
    I don’t understand your point in bringing up Steig’s review of Mark’s book.

  166. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    thingsbreak-
     
    Semantics now — “excluded from analysis” versus “rendered irrelevant”???
     
    You can resolve this debate very simply using math not semantics by telling me (a) what the expected number of heat records is in the past decade based on starting the trend in 1880 rather than 1911 (which was 0.47).
     
    I assert that this number does not change based on the paper as I read it, I call that a cherrypick. Can you answer (a)?
     
    You can’t because the paper does not report it. Perhaps that is why we are down to semantics.

  167. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    164, Lambert
     
    Nope, keep trying.  I am talking about the use of non-linear trends — as specifically applied in this paper — in the well-defined field of climate attribution studies.  Just one study, got one?

  168. thingsbreak says:

    @166 Roger Pielke Jr.:
    Semantics now “” “excluded from analysis” versus “rendered irrelevant”???
     
    Roger, I’m puzzled that you seem to think it’s “semantics” to point out the revisionism in your evolving claims. Do you stand by your original contention that Rahmstorf and Coumou excluded the 1880-1910 data from analysis?
     
    Also, in what way did Rahmstorf “confirm” your critique that Rahmstorf and Coumou ignored the 1880-1910 data?

  169. Keith Kloor says:

    TB (165)

    Of course you don’t. Or rather I expected as much as from you. 

    You make this vague accusation (160) that 
    “Mark was mocked by Tim and others back in early 2007…” 

    I’m thinking that if he’s going to mocked–or even criticized by anyone for Six Degrees–it would be over at RealClimate.

    Instead, as you (and Tim) are aware, Eric Steig praises the book. Does that not count for anything in this debate over Lynas? Or would you like to stick to cherrypicking some blog comments?

    Please don’t play the same silly games as Lambert–not if you want me to engage with you seriously. 

  170. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    thingsbreak,
     
    Geez, how many times do we have to go around on this.  Again:
     
    Yes, I believe that the methodology of RC11 ignores the 1880-1910 data. That data is, if you will, “excluded” or “rendered irrelevant” or — here is a new one — “treated in a mathematical manner so as to have no effect on the calculation or trends or the expected number of heat records is in the past decade”.
     
    And yes, I read Rahmstorf’s response to my question about “trends” in which he invoked “linear trends” as confirming exactly what I allege immediately above.
     
    My question, the answers to which would resolve this issue, sits unanswered at RC. Again, do you have the answers?
     
    You may read the paper differently than I do and you may interpret Rahmstorf’s comments differently than I do — happens all the time on these blogs.  In such a situation I propose that the best course of action would be to solicit further information to resolve the dispute.  Or, perhaps you’d rather we just make comments about motives and call each other names ….

  171. thingsbreak says:

    @169 Keith Kloor:
    Of course you don’t. Or rather I expected as much as from you.
    ..
    Please don’t play the same silly games as Lambert”“not if you want me to engage with you seriously.
     
    What the hell, Keith?
     
    I’m thinking that if he’s going to mocked”“or even criticized by anyone for Six Degrees”“it would be over at RealClimate.
    Instead, as you (and Tim) are aware, Eric Steig praises the book. Does that not count for anything in this debate over Lynas? Or would you like to stick to cherrypicking some blog comments?
     
    I seriously do not have any idea what you’re trying to say here. What is your point? Tim Lambert, Coby Beck, et al. mocked Lynas in 2007 for being way over the top about warming. I find that fact to be inconsistent with Tom Fuller’s narrative @158, which implies that Tim doesn’t like Mark because he’s somehow insufficiently alarmist or something.
     
    I understand that Eric Steig reviewed Mark’s book positively. I am absolutely unclear as to what you think that has to do with my point or Tom Fuller’s.
     
    (Note: I did not, and am not, making the claim that everyone mocked Lynas in 2007. I read some of Six Degrees and thought it was on the whole pretty decent. I don’t remember reading anything about fireballs, but I didn’t read it cover to cover. Had I seen the claim in the same context it was being mocked for in 2007, I would have been skeptical of it as well.)

  172. thingsbreak says:

    @170 Roger Pielke Jr.:
    In such a situation I propose that the best course of action would be to solicit further information to resolve the dispute. Or, perhaps you’d rather we just make comments about motives and call each other names
     
    The irony of this is simply overwhelming. I can’t process it.
     
    The Games Climate Scientists Play
    “¦

    Here is another good example why I have come to view parts of the climate science research enterprise with a considerable degree of distrust.
    “¦
    Climate science “” or at least some parts of it “” seems to have devolved into an effort to generate media coverage and talking points for blogs, at the expense of actually adding to our scientific knowledge of the climate system. The new PNAS paper sure looks like a cherry pick to me.


    I’m taking a walk. Have a nice day everybody.

  173. Keith Kloor says:

    TB (171)

    You are so disingenuous I don’t know why I keep bothering with you. So Coby–this Coby–and Lambert are your sources? Whereas RC is not.

    Gimme a break. And go pick some more cherries. 
     

  174. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Keith your logic circuits appear faulty today.  The point, as TB pointed out, isn’t that some or most people in the ‘party’ were favorable of Lynas’ work in 2007, but rather whether or not Lambert was critical of his work prior to the nuke/gmo/ipcc imbroglios of the last couple of years…

    p.s. do i get points imbroglio 😎

  175. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    Getting closer to a resolution, see Jim B’s response:
     
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/10/the-moscow-warming-hole/comment-page-1/#comment-217606
     
    I have repeated my request for numbers.

  176. NewYorkJ says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Keith take some critical looks at the Pielkes or TBI, an absence of which I’ve noted here before.  To his credit, Keith’s offered up mild criticism of Judith Curry on rare occasion, which I didn’t think would happen.  There’s obviously plenty to criticize with the Pielkes.  Note also the dodgy debate style shared by RPJr and RPSr (goalpost moving, red herrings, mischaracterization, etc), something regular readers of SkS might also notice. 
    While Tim’s critique of Mark’s book might be fair, the exaggerations are the exception to an otherwise good book that accurately represents the science, to which there are extensive references.  See the RC review Keith noted in #30.  Read the book in full. 
    Other Lynas exaggerations involve some of his statements on energy, as Marlowe noted in #112, and on Greenpeace’s alleged “dictacting” of an IPCC report conclusion, as I’ve noted in #7.  His blog generally seems pretty good, so one shouldn’t discredit everything he says because of some isolated cases.  But in both cases, he jumped the shark.  In the Greenpeace case, those on the “skeptic” side praised him for his “open mind”, or being a “heretic”, in an obvious attempt to woo him to their side, while Mark dealt with criticism of his over-the-top conclusions mainly by playing the same Tribal Persecution card. 
    Interestingly, those castigating opponents as “the Team” or “tribe” tend to be those engaging most readily in tribal behavior.

  177. EdG says:

    NewYorkJ Says:
    “I wouldn’t mind seeing Keith take some critical looks at the Pielkes”

    Indeed, I not only “wouldn’t mind” seeing that, I would wonder how that could NOT happen. The more KK looks at all sides of this debate and the flood of new analyses and information coming out, the better. The science is not settled at all so, to paraphrase, enquiring minds still want to know.

     

  178. thingsbreak says:

    RE: @173 Keith Kloor
    and @174 Marlowe Johnson:
    Keith your logic circuits appear faulty today.
     
    I have no idea what the hell is going on.

  179. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    thingsbreak-
     
    If RC confirms my and Martin Vermeer’s interpretation of the paper will you be updating your post and issuing an apology? 😉

  180. thingsbreak says:

    Roger,
     
    The data from 1880-2010 were not ignored, directly contradicting your original claim.
     
    Rahmstorf never “confirmed” your “critique”, something you claimed repeatedly.
     
    Rahmstorf never agreed that they “used 1910-2009 trends as the basis for calculating 1880-2009 exceedence probabilities”, something you claimed he confirmed.
     
    This is absurd. Don’t you understand that you’ll look a great deal less silly if you just admit your errors instead of pretending you held an original position that you clearly established post hoc when the above errors were pointed out?

  181. bigcitylib says:

    #179 I doubt an apology is necessary, as this is the second interpretation you gave after the first one turned out to be a misread on your part.

    incidentally, Lynas did finally produce a responce to J. Diamond from Lipo and Co.  Diamond still looks to have the better of the argument, although a later colonization of Easter Island appears possible.

  182. Sashka says:

    In case if anybody is interersted in the scientific aspect of this discourse, let me make a few quick points:

    A study where the conclusions substantially depend on assuming linear vs. non-linear trend is meaningless.
    Monte-Carlo simulations involve some assumptions that need to be stated.
    Steve McIntyre has an explanation of what non-linear trend analysis really is (a version of a triangular filter):

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/07/03/the-secret-of-the-rahmstorf-non-linear-trend/

  183. Sashka says:

    Who is Jim B?

  184. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    The data from 1880-1909 (not 2010, please get it right) are indeed ignored by the method.
     
    Rahmstorf has not confirmed anything as yet, he seems to have dropped out, but the other guys at RC are doing a fine job in his stead.
     
    My position remains as stated in the original blog post. I do not expect you to give in when shown to be clearly wrong, but that is OK.  Anyone reading down this far can see what is what.
     
    Thanks!

  185. huxley says:

    Anyone reading down this far can see what is what.

    Not me. Feel free to continue this discussion, but my main take-away is that participants here share a lot of history, much of it contentious.

  186. thingsbreak says:

    Roger writes:
    My position remains as stated in the original blog post.
     
    Roger’s original complaint was:
    Look at the annotated figure above, which originally comes from an EGU poster by Dole et al. (programme here in PDF).  It shows surface temperature anomalies in Russia dating back to 1880.  I added in the green line which shows the date from which Rahmsdorf and Coumou decided to begin their analysis — 1911, immediately after an extended warm period and at the start of an extended cool period.

    Obviously, any examination of statistics will depend upon the data that is included and not included.  Why did Rahmsdorf and Coumou start with 1911?  A century, 100 years, is a nice round number, but it does not have any privileged scientific meaning. Why did they not report the sensitivity of their results to choice of start date? There may indeed be very good scientific reasons why starting the analysis in 1911 makes the most sense and for the paper to not report the sensitivity of results to the start date.  But the authors did not share that information with their readers. Hence, the decision looks arbitrary and to have influenced the results.
     
    Not, the 1880-1909 data are “ignored by the method”, but:
    “the date from which Rahmsdorf and Coumou decided to begin their analysis — 1911”
    and
    “Why did Rahmsdorf and Coumou start with 1911?”
    and
    “There may indeed be very good scientific reasons why starting the analysis in 1911 makes the most sense”
     
    Roger, your original complaint was that Rahmstorf and Coumou supposedly start their analysis in 1911 i.e. they do not analyze the 1880-1910 data.
     
    At no point do you suggest that the paper does actually utilize the 1880-1910 data, but that these data are “ignored by the method”.
     
    You now say:
    Rahmstorf has not confirmed anything as yet
     
    You then claimed @124:
    Rahmstorf confirms my critique (see the thread), namely, they used 1910-2009 trends as the basis for calculating 1880-2009 exceedence probabilities.
     
    This is completely false. At no time did Rahmstorf “confirm”  that he “used 1910-2009 trends as the basis for calculating 1880-2009 exceedence probabilities.”
     
    and again @140:
    Rahmstorf confirmed to me that they did not run the analysis from 1880…
    you cannot claim that my assertion that they analyzed only from 1911 is wrong.
     

    But please, continue to claim that you never said they ignored the 1880-1910 data. Continue to claim that you never said Rahmstorf confirmed something he never did.
     
    Somewhere someone might buy it.

  187. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    thingsbreak-
     
    Please explain the quantitative impact of the 1880-1909 data on the results presented by RC11, and how the inclusion of that data gives a result that differs from 1910-2009.  Use numbers. 
     
    I have asserted from the start that the analysis ignores the earlier period, in other words that the analysis actually starts in 1910 (or 1911), despite claims to the contrary, the data prior to 1911 could be anything whatsoever and the results would be the same. 
     
    But you can prove me wrong by showing, with numbers, that my assertion in wrong.  How did RC11 “analyze” the data from prior to 1910?  Go for it. Stop trying to tell me what I did and tell me what you think they did in their paper.  The parsing of language stuff is a poor substitute for just showing the math.

  188. Tom Fuller says:

    Welcome to thingsbreak hell. You must answer the question I ask after I reparse the meaning of everything previously discussed to fit my own peculiar worldview.

    If you refuse then you are hiding something or being dishonest in some other way. Rinse, repeat as long as a thread can last.

     

  189. Tim Lambert says:

    Roger claims “the data prior to 1911 could be anything whatsoever and the results would be the same”

    That’s absolutely false.  The paper tells you that including the data prior to 1911 increases the probability from 78% to more than 80%.  And of course, if the data prior to 1911 has a temperature higher than the 2010 one, the probability goes away altogether.  I wonder where Roger will be moving the goalposts to now? 

  190. NewYorkJ says:

    Getting lost among the RPJ noise is the fact that a key conclusion of Dole et al. has been refuted.

    With no significant long-term trend in western Russia July surface temperatures detected over the period 1880-2009, mean regional temperature changes are thus very unlikely to have contributed substantially to the magnitude of the 2010 Russian heat wave.

    Rahmstorf et al. find that the trend Dole et al. used is based on presuming naively that the annual UHI correction can be applied uniformly for each month, which leads to a massive downward over-adjustment of the July temperature trend.  Keith might want to do a follow-up to this post, which uses Dole et al. to diss his usual targets:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2011/03/10/about-that-russian-heat-wave/

    Maybe “About that Russian Heatwave, Part II”.

    RPJ doesn’t like the new conclusions because it goes against his pre-conceived narrative that weather extremes can’t be attributed at all to global warming.

  191. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    191 Lambert
     
    Nope.  It is not the data that result in that change, but the 1/n rule.  Surely you can read what the paper says.  If the data did have an effect, do you really think adding in 3 warmer decades would _increase_ that probability? 😉
     
    The extra data does not have an effect. Nil. Zip. Nada. Sorry.
     
    But if you are still not convinced, go ahead and ask the RC guys for the explicit mathematics that shows how the added data increases that value to above 80%.  They won’t provide it because it doesn’t, it can’t, just read the paper.  But go ahead and ask, and see what response you get, I dare you 😉

  192. bigcitylib says:

    I think the math is given in this response to Roger:

    [Response: You can back calculate (b) from the numbers given: (x – .079)/x ~= 0.8, so x ~= 0.4–Jim]

  193. Tim Lambert says:

    Roger, you know that the results aren’t the same, so as predicted you’ve moved the goal posts again.  So now all your saying is a tautology — that with a non-linear trend, the trend at the end of the data doesn’t depend on the data right at the beginning.  Also, squares have four sides. 

  194. 195 Lambert
     
    Thanks for conceding my point. Do you care now to explain your assertion in 191 above that “The paper tells you that including the data prior to 1911 increases the probability from 78% to more than 80%.”
     
    Once again, can you show _mathematically_ how “including the data prior to 1911” increases the probability “from 78% to 80%”?
     
    It is your assertion so just show the math. Either you can show that the _data_ has an effect on the calculation or you can’t, in which case your assertion is wrong. Talk about goal posts and such are just dodges to a very simple question.  Tim, can you support your claim or not?
     
    You get one more try to answer this simple and direct question posed to you. Can you deliver the goods? Your choice . . .

  195. thingsbreak says:

    @195 Tim Lambert:
    as predicted you’ve moved the goal posts again.  So now all your saying is a tautology
     
    Yes, exactly.
     
    Roger has gone from claiming that the 1880-1910 data were completely excluded from analysis- that the paper only analyzed data starting in 1911- to now merely restating what the paper itself clearly states.
     
    And he’s claiming victory!
     
    I don’t know which scenario is more disturbing- whether he’s playing dumb about what he’s been doing, or whether he’s not actually playing.

  196. thingsbreak
     
    Indeed, the data was indeed completely excluded from the analysis. But you too can prove me wrong, Like Tim, I’ll also give you one more chance to answer a simple question:
     
    Can you show _mathematically_ how “including the data prior to 1911″³ increases the probability “from 78% to 80%”?
     
    Either you can show that the _data_ has an effect on the calculation or you can’t — if the data has no effect then it is _excluded_ by the methodology. Seems obvious enough.
     
    You also get one, last try to answer what should be a simple question that shows me to be wrong, can you do it?

  197. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Roger I’m confused.  In your post you suggest that the start date chosen by Ramhsdorf amounted to ‘cherrypicking’.  Now you seem to be suggesting that the methodology amounts to cherrypicking. I’m trying very hard to see how this doesn’t amount to moving the goalposts…

    “The parsing of language stuff is a poor substitute for just showing the math.”

    People in glass houses Roger… 

    “I do not expect you to give in when shown to be clearly wrong, but that is OK.  Anyone reading down this far can see what is what.” 

    Indeed. 

  198. thingsbreak says:

    Roger,
     
    We’ve been over this:
    RPJr.: “They didn’t look at the whole record!”
     
    Yes, they did.
     
    “No, they didn’t perform The Analysis* for the whole record!”
     
    *Valid only for Roger’s definition of The Analysis.
     
    Just because the outcome of a particular analysis is not greatly affected by a subset of the total data, that does not make it okay for you to falsely claim that the data were never analyzed. Especially when you’re using the supposed omission of those data as the basis for attacking the larger field. 
     
    Again, I don’t know which is more disturbing, whether you’re playing dumb about this, or whether you’re not.
     
    And that’s not even getting into the disgusting, repeated claims by you that Rahmstorf “confirmed” your critique. Get it together, Roger. Jesus.

  199. Marlowe Johnson, the methodology renders the earlier data irrelevant. That is a cherry pick. Rahmstorf is the one who distinguishes post 1911 from pre 1911, and suggests that using the earlier data strengthens his argument. Because of the cherry pick the earlier data does no such thing.
     
    Thingsbreak, Fail. Lambert?

  200. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Roger from your post:

    ” any examination of statistics will depend upon the data that is included and not included.  Why did Rahmsdorf and Coumou start with 1911?  A century, 100 years, is a nice round number, but it does not have any privileged scientific meaning.”

    Nowhere in your post does the word ‘methodology’ come up.  

    Maybe it’s a sign of age, but you’re normally much craftier than this.  What gives? 

  201. NewYorkJ says:

    RPJ: At RC Martin Vermeer shares my interpretation

    At this point, I’m not sure if anyone agrees with RPJ, except perhaps Anthony Watts and Co., who are mainly cheerleaders for the cause.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/10/the-moscow-warming-hole/comment-page-1/#comment-217665

  202. Marlowe Johnson-
     
    Rahmstorf subsequently explained why they started with 1911:
     
    “The only reason why some of our analysis covers 100 years is because it started out as a purely theoretical study with synthetic time series produced by Monte Carlo simulations, and for those I just picked 100 years. Only later did we apply it to some observational series as practical examples.”
     
    I am indeed getting older, but this debate sure doesn’t seem that hard to follow 😉 It was RC11 who make a distinction between 1911 and before.

  203. thingsbreak says:

    “The only reason why some of our analysis covers 100 years is because it started out as a purely theoretical study with synthetic time series produced by Monte Carlo simulations, and for those I just picked 100 years. Only later did we apply it to some observational series as practical examples.”

    Note “some of our analysis” and “started out”. Of course Rahmstorf and Coumou then proceed to analyze the entire 1880-2009 record, which Roger knows full well (by now, at any rate).

    I started out incredulous and a little mad. Now I just feel pity. This is sad.

  204. hunter says:

    The believers seem very committed to defending any claim from an AGW promoter, no matter how transparently false.
    And then, true to form, blaming the skeptics who point out the problems.

  205. I am not following this thread anymore but I do want to provide closure by pointing to the fact that Lambert disappeared after 196.  When asked to support his claims with math he cannot.  And not the first time (ask him about adjusting economic data for inflation, whoops;-).
     
    Thanks all for the exchange and KK for the hosting, always interesting that is for sure.

  206. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Roger, 
    Your contributions in this thread, at your place and at RC have been most illuminating.

    Thanks! 

  207. Tim Lambert says:

    Roger, I didn’t respond to you post at 196 because I’d already addressed your point and thingsbreak also addressed at 197.  But since you are trying to make it look like your point was unanswerable or something I’ll do it again.

    Including the data prior to 1911 increases the probability from 78% to more than 80%, because that data doesn’t contain a July mean temperature greater than the on for 2010.  Your claim that that they would get this result no matter what the data is obviously wrong but you continue to make it.

     

  208. Kendra says:

    Mark, I’m still waiting …

  209. Kendra says:

    Well, what a disappointment. You’re a coward, Mark.

  210. BBD says:

    Kendra
     
    Chris Busby has been comprehensively exposed as a charlatan and worse. I think you owe Mark an apology.
     
    See UK environmental journalist George Monbiot:
     
    http://www.monbiot.com/2011/11/22/how-the-greens-were-misled/

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