The Climate Experts

UPDATE: In the comment thread, Judith Curry identifies what she considers to be “the big flaw” in the PNAS paper.

UPDATE: Over at Dot Earth, Eric Steig, a Real Climate contributor, said he agrees with Roger Pielke Jr. “that the ‘blacklist’ metaphor is appropriate.”

UPDATE: Real Climate officially weighs in.

There’s a new PNAS study out today called, “Expert Credibility in Climate Change,” that is sure to reverberate throughout the climate blogosphere. Over on the other thread, which had a relevant discussion, Judith Curry asked:

Does anyone find this a convincing analysis of credibility?

Let’s take her up and offer feedback. But do read the study first, which is freely available from that link above. (The PDF is on the right side of the abstract.) As Judith also pointed out, the data for the study can be found here.

It’ll be interesting to see mainstream media coverage and blogospheric reaction to the study. I’ll post the relevant links in an update at the bottom of the post as they come in.

UPDATE: 6/21, 11:15pm: Eli Kintisch at Science is among the first out of the box with this story earlier today. Unsurprisingly, Joe Romm lauds the results of what he calls an “important first-of-its-kind study.” (To fully appreciate how novel this “first-of-its kind” study is, you have to read the Science article.)

Meanwhile, Roger Pielke Jr. dissects the study’s methodology and adds some supplementary information on one of the authors.

UPDATE: 6/22, 7:00am: Leo Hickman in the Guardian says the study “throws some new light on the ‘expertise gap'” between climate science factions.

10:30am: Justin Gillis, writing at the NYT Green blog: “The results are pretty conclusive.” Eh, maybe not, if you listen to Eric Steig (of Real Climate), who comments at Roger Pielke, Jr.’s blog:

Wow. Roger, you know I disagree with you on many things, but not on this. What the heck where they thinking? Even if the analysis had some validity — and from a first glance, I’m definitely not convinced it does — it’s not helpful, to put it mildly. I’m totally appalled.

12:30pm: On the study, Chris Mooney at his Discover blog writes, “that journalists who have given a lot of weight to climate ‘skeptics’ have some ‘splaining to do.”  Over at Time, Michael Lemonick writes that what constitutes a top climate researcher is “laid out in detail” in the paper.

The BBC has a story up that quotes Stanford’s William Anderegg, a lead author of the paper, on what motivated the study:

We really felt that the state of the scientific debate was so far removed from the state of the public discourse and we felt that a good quantitative, rigorous comparison of this would put to rest the notion that the scientists ‘disagree’ about global warming.

409 Responses to “The Climate Experts”

  1. TomFP says:

    Of all the emanations from the warmist camp, this surely takes the biscuit. It amounts to no more than the tired old argument to authority feebly dressed up in “scientistic” clothes. I honestly, seriously thought for a moment it was an elaborate joke. But in Climate “Science”…

    How about this counter-conclusion: “A recent PNAS study of scientists concluded that it was easier for those who were AGW enthusiasts to get their work published than for those who dissented.”

    The more we dianialisticians (I’m trying to add a few superfluous syllables for the benefit of American readers, and to make it sound portentous ““ not really working, is it?) see this sort of cod science trotted out to prop up failing theories and flagging careers, the more we doubt their skill and integrity as scientists in their field, and the more we are convinced of the null hypothesis ““ nothing to worry about in the climate ““ certainly nothing worth spending a cent of public money on.
     

  2. The paper is not in itself an appeal to authority. It’s an attempt to determine where the conventional wisdom lies, or in other words, what authoritative opinion says in the event that there is an authoritative opinion.
     
    It effectively demolishes the idea that there are two viable camps within the scientific establishment. Whether the scientific establishment is hopelessly wrong is a separate question, and this is the one that TomFP raises.
     
    Since we are talking about a physical science with much contact with other sciences, and with much support from those sciences, making the case requires more than bluster, though as TomFP shows, such bluster itself is not in short supply.
     
    Dr. Curry’s question is disappointing. The paper did not seek to measure “credibility”, and it would indeed be Nobel Prize territory if such a methodology existed. The paper simply was an analysis on the lines of Oreskes’ work, to establish how scientific opinion aligns. As such, it presents an advance in methodology and a dollop of information.
     
    When we look at the intersection of strong opinion and credentials, and find that credentialed people are far more on the side of alarm about climate than on the side complacency.
     
    Once one applies a bluster filter and a modest understanding of how the scientific community works, one thing at least is even clearer than before. The proposition that there is little cause for concern is not supported by the scientific community. Like it or not, whether such mainstream opinion is trustworthy or not remains an exercise for the reader.
     

  3. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    Here is one blogospheric reaction:
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/06/new-black-list.html
    Tobis is incomplete in his description of the paper — it does not measure scientific opinion but scientific and/or political opinions, as it explicitly conflates the two.
     

  4. Bob Koss says:

    In this sentence paper authors seems to suggest credibility can be carefully applied.
    “Citation and publication analyses must be treated with caution in inferring scientific credibility,but we suggest that our methods and our expertise and prominence criteria provide conservative, robust, and relevant indicators of relative credibility of CE and UE groups of climate researchers.”

    The lists they culled the names from can be found by following links in the supplement.  But nowhere do I find any list of the actual names they used from those lists. You’d think they’d provide the final list so others could gauge the relevance of the named scientists. If they were proud of their selection method it would only be natural to put it in the supplement. To me that reduces the credibility of the paper enormously.

    They use people with a minimum of 20 papers. That would seem to allow many who are rather inexperienced to be included simply because they have been added to author lists so they can accumulate citations without having much relevant experience or input to the papers.

    I doubt they even weeded out papers which have subsequently been shown to be incorrect. Few papers are withdrawn, they are simply orphaned in the literature.

    Frankly, it appears to me they are simply saying you can trust us that our gang is bigger than your gang, so we win.
    I carefully applied my standards of what is credible  and find I’m thoroughly underwhelmed.
     

  5. lucia says:

    MT
    It effectively demolishes the idea that there are two viable camps within the scientific establishment. Whether the scientific establishment is hopelessly wrong is a separate question, and this is the one that TomFP raises.

    I’m not sure what it effectively shows.  It shows the UE scientists (who are categorized as UE because they actually signed letters criticizing the IPCC)  do have publications in climate science, but on average, they have fewer than people who worked on the IPCC documents– who are categorized as CE.   Which means what?

    With respect to this focus on counting papers, there are all sorts of obvious questions one might ask like:
    Are some researchers working on large collaborative teams writing papers with over a dozen authors while other write papers with only 1 or 2? If yes, how should  a person listed as one of 20 co-authors on 10 papers be weighted against someone listed as one of 2 authors on 10 papers be accounted for when assessing expertise?

    Does participating in the IPCC help people make connections and help grease the wheels when submitting papers and going through peer review? Does merely going along to get along help people get papers published?   Does signing a letter criticizing the IPCC make it harder to get papers published?  If yes, is the number of differences in paper counts due to this effect rather than any true expertise?
     
    As for your reading in the idea that this paper tells us we can’t find two viable camps, let’s first assume that someone proposes there are two viable camps. Did that someone propose that the dividing line separating the camps lies between the groups the authors of the paper call “CE” and “UE”.  Couldn’t a fault line lie somewhere in the group they called “CE”?

    Mind you, I don’t know the answers to these questions.  But they could certainly be asked — I’m sure they will be.
    As for this:
    When we look at the intersection of strong opinion and credentials, and find that credentialed people are far more on the side of alarm about climate than on the side complacency.

    How does anything in this paper say the CE group are more on the side of alarm?
     
    But the paper to communicate what you are suggesting.

  6. Tom Fuller says:

    I personally think it’s a black day for science an institution in this country.

  7. Alex Heyworth says:

    So most scientists won’t bite the hand that feeds them, and those who do have trouble getting published. What an astounding insight!
    And this is supposed to advance science how, exactly?

  8. Let me put it this way: I think the PNAS paper supports my argument about professional opinion on climate change and the intuitions that led to it quite nicely. Your mileage may vary, of course.

  9. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    -8-Michael
    Indeed, ink blots tend to have such effects 😉

  10. Their Supplementary Information states this is a list of “all the names I’ve found who have signed any of the open letters or declarations expressing skepticism of the IPCC’s findings, of climate science generally, of the “consensus” on human-induced warming, and/or arguing against any need for immediate cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.”
    I haven’t signed any of these documents but am listed anyway.
     

  11. lucia says:

    Micheal–
    I’m sure you think this supports the graph you sketched on a napkin, but I really don’t see how.

  12. lucia says:

    Steve Mc–
    I downloaded the supplemental materials and where is the actual list of names?

  13. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    -10-Steve
    You can find the paper data here:
    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/index.html
    People were put into categories for a wide range of apparently subjective, contradictory and inconsistent reasons.  You are probably on the Inhofe list, which is supposed to be taken with a “grain of salt” (surely a precise social science methodological term of art I have yet to come across;-)
    There is a marked difference in tone and information disclosed between the blog and the paper/SI.

  14. Tom Fuller says:

    Are you now, or have you ever been, signatory to a document that questions in any way, shape or form the consensus view of global warming?

  15. Tom Fuller says:

    Michael Tobis,  I am ashamed on your behalf.

  16. Keith Kloor says:

    Tom Fuller (15),

    Please refrain from such remarks here.

    Michael Tobis:

    Does the methodology of the study give you any pause?

  17. Tom, thanks for your concern. Obviously I don’t share it. I see nothing resembling illegitimate social pressure here.
     
    Jim’s been working hard at collecting these data and I’m delighted that the paper saw publication. This is a vindication of citizen science and open data, so it’s interesting to see the usual champions of those things so discomfited.
     

  18. Keith Kloor says:

    Michael,

    The data collection is legitimate, but is it not reasonable to wonder if it’s incomplete in the context of the study? And that is why I asked how you felt about the methodology.

  19. Keith, the methodology is imperfect, (as was Oresekes’) but between my guesswork and Jim’s actual hard-won measurements I’d have to say the latter is superior.
     
    I suppose the real question is whether this is a legitimate topic for Science or PNAS. Can science investigate itself?
     
    Well, people are raising questions about the state of debate. So on the basis that science should investigate objective questions that people find interesting, one could argue in favor.
     
    It’s true that this sort of pursuit is not physical climatology, and should not be published in a physical climatology journal. But a broader venue, like Climatic Change or the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society seems fair game. If Science or PNAS find it interesting, so much the better.
     
    I think many people wish there were an effective way of querying everybody in the relevant scientific communities about these matters, but so far this has not been feasible. As with many things in more conventional earth science, we have to settle for proxy data.
     

  20. Tom Fuller says:

    I’d like to take the liberty of posting a comment from a climate scientist on my recently posted article on this mess.

    “I went thru the list name by name. I was surprised that I knew 8 listees well. Of these the lists discription of area of expertise was way off. Number 54, Mike Garstang, was described as working in atmospheric transport, tropics and aersols. Mike Garstand worked on human impacts on climate and weather for at least 45 years. In fact he literally was working on climate change before Michael Mann was born. He was a firm believer in man-made climate change, he just questioned the role of co2. His published position is probably closest to mine. Forese Wezel,133, is described as an expert in Mediterranean basin tectonics. If I wanted data that I could trust on paleo-sea level I would turn to him and Moener,80. Not mentioned is that Fred Singer’s,133, area was atmospheric physics and that he was a pioneer in remote sensing. And Sallie Baliunas,10, has character. Pielke,1, definitely belongs at the top of a list, but not this one.”
    Michael, I’m glad you understand that I really am concerned for you. I believe you’re a better man than this, and I hope you take the time to investigate what it is you are endorsing.

  21. Bob Koss says:

    Lucia,
    There doesn’t seem to be a single list of scientists as used. Just many lists of scientists. It seems if you want a list of actual names used you have to create your own list from the plethora of lists provided.
     
    They could easily have provided the list of names they must have created to make their graphs, but then it would be too easy to question their classifications. There is little chance of matching their classification for individuals and therefore little chance to duplicate their paper. To my mind it just makes their paper partisan propaganda.

  22. I’ve been aware of Jim Prall’s efforts for some time and had the pleasure of making his acquaintance in Toronto last autumn. While I am sure the data is not flawless I don’t think it is meaningfully biased.
     
    I appreciate Tom Fuller’s concern for my mortal soul but if the case comes up, I’ll have to account for myself at the pearly gates without his help, I suppose. I’m not sure wherein his concerns lie.
     
    Bob Koss, the data are available. Roger links to the data set in #13 above. Roger appears to have a point in #9, one which cuts both ways.
     

  23. Jonathan Gilligan says:

    I find the paper useless. I intuitively agree with its conclusion. Thus, I might be inclined to accept the paper because it would make me feel all warm and fuzzy about objective support for my gut feeling.
     
    However, if a paper with identical methodology claimed that there was significant dissent among established climate scientists about the basics of AGW, it would not find it persuasive enough to change my mind.
     
    If I would not accept a result I don’t like from such a paper, then I can’t in good conscience take its agreement with my preconceptions as evidence of anything other than Roger’s inkblot assertion.

  24. Jonathan Gilligan says:

    Roger and Steve: Prall’s web page lists 496 “skeptics” and the PNAS paper claims UE had 472 members. This would seem to indicate a discrepancy with your claim that the list on Prall’s web site is the same list used in the PNAS paper.

  25. Bob Koss says:

    Michael Tobis,
    I appreciate you trying to help out. The supplement says the final list contains 472 UE names and 903 CE names. I have now looked at the page Roger referenced for the third time and don’t see any matching lists with those totals or the sum of those totals. I also can’t find them at the only link provided in supplement.
     
    I admit to not being no longer as sharp as a tack since retirement. My kids even point out on occasion that my mental acuity is slowly tending more toward marble shaped. And I have to agree. My eyesight also isn’t what it once was. Perhaps you would be so kind as to provide links to the datasets which match the numbers in the previous paragraph. I really can’t find them anywhere.  Even just a link to the 903 CE names used would be helpful, as I am interested in the distribution of the various disciplines covered. Extracting the unique names and disciplines from the conglomeration of other lists would be too tedious to bother with.

  26. Tom Fuller says:

    Michael, do you guys really think it will end with this?

  27. For me, the most telling part of this paper were some word choices in the Abstract:

    “Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), […]  we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97″“98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, […] (emphasis added -hro)”

    I’m trying very hard not to use snark, but the use of “tenets”  -not once, but twice (and twice more in the body)- strikes me as being (quite possibly an inadvertent) acknowledgement that ACC (formerly known as AGW)  has a long way to go before it can be considered as “science”.  

    To the best of  my knowledge, there is no connotation of the word “tenets” which requires empirical evidence. 

    [tenet: noun – principle, rule, doctrine, creed, view, teaching, opinion, belief, conviction, canon, thesis, maxim, dogma, precept, article of faith. Non-violence is the central tenet of their faith. (Collins Thesaurus of the English Language) ]

    I also note (with some amusement) that agreement amongst those who adhere to a set of tenets is not particularly “striking”. 

    Furthermore, as others have noted, the authors’ conclusions cannot be readily verified, because the dataset has not been identified.

    On the bright side, though, the authors’ use of “tenets” suggests that the recent Citizen Audit of AR4 – which investigated the extent to which the “all peer-reviewed” claim was justified by the references – was quite correct in referring to AR4 as the “Climate Bible”.  For those who are interested, 21 of the 44 Chapters received an F (fewer than 60% of the references were to material in a peer-reviewed journal).

    http://hro001.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/uns-climate-bible-gets-21-fs-on-report-card/

    In the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the “Citizen Auditors” – but this does not detract from the fact that our study can be readily verified by anyone who chooses to do so.

    But I digress … Dr. Curry’s question was: “Does anyone find this a convincing analysis of credibility?”

    There are only two instances of “striking agreement”, which are more than balanced by the 4 instances of “scientific consensus” (and 1 instance of “consensus in the expert scientific community” – although in light of his recent comments, it would be interesting to know what Mike Hulme might have to say about this.)

    Notwithstanding the known limitations of peer-review in the field of climate science, the authors’ criteria suggest that quantity trumps quality when determining “expertise” 

    OTOH, there are 17 instances of the word “credibility” in the paper (including the title).   This, perhaps, would add some weight in the minds of some;  however, to my mind it is not sufficient to accord this paper a passing grade – if one is looking for a “convincing analysis” of credibility.

  28. JamesG says:

    Well if you believe that the establishment is always correct then you may be happy to see this, which will be further confirmation of your herdlike tendency. If your experience though is of the harsh history that science largely progresses by maverick truth-seekers challenging the establishment (and on the way suffering many insults from them) then you are less impressed. Or is malaria really from bad air,  are cauliflower ears really a sign of insanity, is the atom like a plum pudding and is the universe a steady state after all, etc, etc.
     
    Now when they compare the predictions of this compliant herd with actual reality and note that not once (so far) have any of them been proven correct with any theories that warming is other than benign or beneficial, then that’s real science, ie the comparison of hypothesis with real data. This effort is more like a show of hands of people being asked the question, “do you want to be among the winners or losers? choose wisely..because the winners get funded and the losers vilified”. I don’t think it’s a new low…it’s the same scenario that’s been played out many times throughout the inglorious history of various scientific establishments. We like to look back and laugh and say “how could they be so closed-minded, thank heaven we’ve moved on”. Except that we didn’t.
     
    I had seriously hoped that the idea that a consensus represented anything other than unimaginative groupthink had crashed and burned with the absolute failure of the academic economics establishment to predict this financial crash. Alas….
     
     

  29. Judith Curry says:

    JamesG #28 very well said!
    My first comment about the paper is that I suspect it was not peer reviewed.  Since the 4th author Steve Schneider is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a paper submited by a member is published without review, sort of a “vanity press” for national academy members.
     
    Assuming that this is a useful thing to attempt (which I find difficult to do), I am just astonished by the rigid adherence to the IPCC dogma that is required so as not to be on UE list.  Scientists who generally support the WG1 story, but might think sensitivity is on the low end or don’t support the mainstream policy solutions or don’t buy the catastrophes in WG2, landed on the UE list.   So this list seems to mix science, impact, and policy skeptics together.
     
    Given the categories, the methodology is not good for a whole host of reasons, some of which Lucia has touched on and also Pat Michaels in the Kintisch article.
     
    But the most worrisome thing is the whole idea of the paper, trying to further enforce groupthink on this topic and its appeal of the IPCC group to it own authority.  Isn’t this what got this group in such hot water in the first place?
     
    Well thank goodness my name wasn’t included in either list, some combination of my not being sufficiently important or not easily categorized.  I certainly haven’t signed any of those petitions.  Which group do I belong with?  Well, neither, but I have much more in common with Roger Pielke Sr. who is actively challenging the science (misclassified in the skeptics group), than I do with this particular IPCC group that is busy signing petitions with policy prescriptions.

  30. The SI mentions how the scientists were grouped in either of the two groups: By having signed any of the mentioned statements (in support or in contradiction to the scientific consensus). This results in a different grouping than Prall’s webiste; a subset of his website listings was used for this PNAS paper.

    Fair criticism could be leveled that this leads to too binary of a distinction and of other methodological issues. OTOH one would have quite a hard nut to crack to counter the claim that the scientific community overwhelmingly supports the scientific consensus as laid out by the e.g. the IPCC reports.

    That is the central theme of this paper, and I have yet to see any convincing argument that it’s way off in comparison to reality.

    E.g. McIntyre nhot having signhed any of these declarations and not having more than 20 climate publications is not included in the PNAS grouping, and Pielke Sr is included for having signed the 1992 SEPP statement.

  31. bigcitylib says:

    #30 “OTOH one would have quite a hard nut to crack to counter the claim that the scientific community overwhelmingly supports the scientific consensus as laid out by the e.g. the IPCC reports.”

    And in any other field this would be the end of it.  For example, nobody really hassles paleontologists over the consensus re the bird/dinosaur link.  Nobody really takes seriously the whole notion  that the last few scientists that question the link–most of them, like many of the dissenting scientists noted in this paper, either retired or close to retirement–are oppressed Galileo’s crying out over their oppressers.  Whis is Climate Science different?

  32. A valid criticism, echoing RPJr and Judith, is that the set-up used in distinguishing the two groups conflates (dis-)agreement with the scientific consensus and with the political (non-existent) “consensus”, where the former is relatively well defined (as laid out in the IPCC reports) but the latter is not.

    How important to point is in practive is another matter. Many of the “inactivist” statements are pretty clear on not wanting any significant emission reduction, and in that sense the characterization is perhaps not unfair.

    The bottom line as expressed in my previous comment doesn’t seem to be strongly affected by these issues.

  33. bigcitylib says:

    #32 And a criticism the authors willing accept.

  34. Banjoman0 says:

    I think Roger’s inkblot comment is spot-on, the most succinct summary of the whole business.  Which to me means that much blog-space and intellectual effort is going into the dissection and meaning of ink stains on electronic napkins, rather than, say, advancing the science or improving the communication of that science to the rest of us.
    Fortunately, electrons are cheap?

  35. bigcitylib says:

    #34 As the paper notes, there is a fairly extensive literature on what constitutes expertise or credibility in science; the paper also notes that it in fact breaks no new ground in that direction, merely applies several observations contained in the literature to climate science.  So I wonder if Roger’s comments are intended to mean that any study employing citation counts can be dismissed as an inkblot, or just this one?

  36. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    Here is an excerpt from what I wrote in a letter to Science following the Oreskes note on unanimity of views among climate scientists:
     
    “So in addition to arguing about the science
    of climate change as a proxy for political
    debate on climate policy, we now can
    add arguments about the notion of consensus
    itself. These proxy debates are both a
    distraction from progress on climate
    change and a reflection of the tendency of
    all involved to politicize climate science.
    The actions that we take on climate change
    should be robust to (i) the diversity of scientific
    perspectives, and thus also to (ii) the
    diversity of perspectives of the nature of the
    consensus. A consensus is a measure of a
    central tendency and, as such, it necessarily
    has a distribution of perspectives around
    that central measure (1). On climate
    change, almost all of this distribution is
    well within the bounds of legitimate scientific
    debate and reflected within the full text
    of the IPCC reports. Our policies should not
    be optimized to reflect a single measure of
    the central tendency or, worse yet, caricatures
    of that measure, but instead they
    should be robust enough to accommodate
    the distribution of perspectives around that
    central measure, thus providing a buffer
    against the possibility that we might learn
    more in the future (2).”
     
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-1761-2005.32.pdf

  37. lucia says:

    MT
    While I am sure the data is not flawless I don’t think it is meaningfully biased.
     
    It appears the paper is insufficiently documented to permit anyone to assess whether the data are utterly flawed or pretty good. Ordinarily, peer reviewers are supposed to be concerned about this specific issue. But evidently, in this case, not so much.
     
    In the end, we have a peer-reviewed paper that is more-or-less an inkblot. You think it’s swell; others won’t.
     
    What’s worse is that if this paper was written to “solve” the problem that the a large fraction of the public thinks “A” while credentialed scientists think “not A”, this paper will likely make things worse. Those members of the public who read the paper will think it’s a piece of trash, continue to think “A”, and — seeing how pitiful this paper is– may well conclude that the notion that publishing peer reviewed papers testifies to credibility is bogus.  Meanwhile, the scientists will say, “Look! We proved “notA”, by writing a peer reviewed papers!”
    The effect of the paper will then be to polarize.    What that the intention?

  38. bigcitylib says:

    #36 does nothing to explicate the inkblot comment.

  39. bigcitylib says:

    #37  Oh Lord!  The auditors have arrived, complaining about documentation! 

  40. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    More methodological nonsense from the source page:
     
    “While contrarians like to argue that any given IPCC author may not agree with everything in every section of the reports, the IPCC is a consensus-based body and all language incorporated in their reports gets closely scrutinized multiple times, with all objections addressed and debated to reach consensus on the wording. I claim it is only reasonable to place IPCC authors in the “mainstream” and to recognize that the IPCC reports incorporate a strong call for action on greenhouse gas reductions.”
     
    IPCC authors do not agree with everything in the report nor does the IPCC incorporate a strong call for action, it is, by its own terms of reference “policy neutral.”
     
    To illustrate how nonsensical this is, John Christy is an IPCC author and so too is Steve Schneider, they disagree on the science and the policy and yet both find a home in the IPCC, which is a strength of the IPCC.  An assessment is supposed to reflect diversity, not uniformity.

  41. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    #38, bigcitylib
     
    My comment was not directed at you, sorry for any confusion.

  42. Barry Woods says:

    I agree with problems of the perceived intention of
    ‘Solving the Problem’

    What is worse, is it has effectively and is many people’s perception, real or otherwise of a blacklist…

    Are those on it comfortable, with where they sit.

    Might it be perceived, whatever the good intentions, that because someone sits there, it might not be good for someone elses career to be associated with them?

    “probably not, but just to be on the save side” – thoughts going through young career minded scientists minds?

    It may sound ridiculous for intelligent people to have thoughts like this..

    But such is peer pressure and such is  human nature.

  43. #26 Tom Fuller ominously asks “Michael, do you guys really think it will end with this?”
     
    I can’t resist noting the irony. These are very like the words I used with regard to the successful use (and cherry-picking and ruthless misrepresentation) of stolen correspondence in a political campaign against the credibility of climate science. Given that the outcome of this criminal act appears to have been a successful tarnishing of the reputation of a controversial field, can we be confident that such criminality hasn’t been encouraged?
     
    Tom Fuller is coauthor of a book which uses the egregious shorthand “Climategate” for these events, participating in the accusations and unnuendo against the scientists while all but ignoring the criminal context and its implications. I am not certain why Mr. Fuller is so ethically concerned about a categorization of scientists based on their public statements. Statements about glass houses come to mind rather quickly.
     

  44. Barry Woods says:

    May I ask – Michael –
    As you ‘describe’ his book..

    Have you read – Climategate – The crutape letters – Mosher/Fuller

  45. lucia says:

    Michaels
    But I was wondering if you could check the violent emotions you feel about Tom Fuller  and answer his question which was, “Do you guys really think it will end with this?”
     
    I was understanding if maybe you could answer the question?  I’ve already said I think the inkblot of a paper will be polarizing and make things worse.  I think discussing the likely effect of this paper on public sentiment might be useful.

  46. lucia says:

    Dang! These small boxes. I need an edit feature.

  47. Phil Clarke says:

    >> “do you guys really think it will end with this?”

    Writing on the Science Blog of the Year, Anthony Watts seems to think it will end with the midnight knock on his door and the cattle truck to the camps ……

    Just Wow.

  48. Jim Prall says:

    Keith emailed me and asked me to join in here. I’m not sure I can change any minds, but I do at least feel I should acknowledge and respond to objections.

    First, the reason Roger Pielke, Sr. was included under “UE” in the paper is that he is a signer of the 1992 SEPP letter put forward by S. Fred Singer:

    http://www.sepp.org/policy%20declarations/statment.html
    While my website includes additional information including the regrettable work of Marc Morano (which might well be better left off), the PNAS paper used only the inclusion criteria stated in the paper: those who signed any of the listed statements, plus all the contributing authors to IPCC AR4 wg1. I’ve just updated this page to state directly which statements were used in the paper:

    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/list_sources.html
    Next, my list of 496 skeptic signers now includes names from two new statements that were issued after the analysis in the paper was done (last fall), namely the two I tag as “CCC09” and “EPA10.” These would account for the 24 new names. All the other skeptic statements I list were included in our original analysis.
    In the end, the point I had hoped to illustrate is simply this: public opinion on climate science is indeed far behind expert opinion, as well documented in Doran & Kendall-Zimmerman 2009, and it remains difficult to find how to bridge that gap. I felt too many open letters and declarations of climate skepticism were being touted as having more backing from climate experts/specialists that they in fact have.

    We need to move beyond debating whether a CO2 problem even exists, and as Roger Pielke, Jr. urges, focus on the policy debate of what can we do, what are we willing to do, and what will work. That is indeed exactly where the discussion needs to focus now. I’m sorry if some readers find my input a distraction from that goal; if so, please ignore me and get on with discussing policy.

    Best regards to all and thanks to everyone for the feedback.
    Jim Prall
    Toronto, Canada

  49. Jim Prall says:

    Another theme that could not be addressed in the paper is that there are also a growing number of statements with very large number of signers speaking up in defense of the IPCC. I found eight issued since December 2009, which I list here:
    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/affirmative-signers-on-climate-since-Dec-2009.html
    The signers of these statements number just over 5000 all together.
    One final clarification: Steve McIntyre has been listed on my website as a “skeptic”, but he is not a signer of any of the statements I’ve covered. His name was not included in the input to the statistics in the PNAS paper.

  50. TomFP says:

    MT you were unfortunate enough to accuse me of bluster before your peers (I’m feeling generous) responded far more ably than I could. As they have pointed out, your claim that “The paper is not in itself an appeal to authority” is patently absurd. The paper, “in itself”, is pabulous nonsense, indeed as Judith has said, the very idea behind it is wrong-headed. Its purpose is clearly to persuade people that anyone who knows what they are talking about subscribes to CAGW. Its only value lies in the disservice it and your bizarre claim to the contrary do to your cause, by shedding further light on the grotesque furniture of  its practitioners’ minds. When are you guys going to figure it out? Stop piling on the Adverse Inference!!

  51. Jim Prall says:

    On the topic of books to read, I recently picked up the new book “The Climate War” by Eric Pooley. It’s quite an interesting read: he followed the day-to-day work of some of the key insiders in the climate policy development process, from different “sides” of the policy debate. The focus of the book is on the people involved, their personalities, struggles, and development of their views and positions. A fresh perspective and an engaging read.

  52. Keith Kloor says:

    Folks, just a reminder: I’ll be updating the post periodically with any notable reaction from msm, bloggers or climate scientists. For example, I just saw Eric Steig weighed in at Roger’s site

    (#26).

  53. Lucia,
     
    Ah, if only this were the first inkblot on the landscape you’d have a stronger point.
     
    Barry Woods, no. I have not read any book that uses the offensive characterization “climategate” for an incident wherein the victims so far have been accused and the criminals celebrated.
     
    I so far have seen no reason to spend much time worrying about the personal correspondence of Dr. Jones. While I do not believe the climate community is either ethically flawless or cognitively infallible, I am personally acquainted with many of its participants and familiar with their activities and motivations. I see no sign of the sort of corruption that people who bandy the offensive formulation “climategate” around allege, and I don;t believe that the corner of the field involved is especially important. So I see no purpose in subjecting myself to more of their defamations than becomes obvious in blog conversations. I have enough anger and frustration to deal with already, and leave to others the thankless task of addressing that particular source of (mostly baseless from what I have seen so far) innuendo.
     

  54. Barry Woods says:

    May I explain to Micahel why ‘stolen emails’ is not getting much traction, at least from a UK perspective.  I do not know Michael ‘s country of residence.

    In The UK,  2 years ago, a leak/hack CD found it’s way into the Telegraph hands regarding Member of Parliaments expenses.

    The tactic deployed then, by the MP’s was nothing to see, move along please catch the criminal who stole this provate information.  just a few expenses in the prusuit of our parliamenatry business..

    2 years later, the whole UK political establishment (cross party) was in total disgrace with the entire uk population, the newspapaer published everything..

    Over 200 MP’s did not seek re-elecytion because of it.

    Most only escape prosecution (whicjh would have occured, for anybody except an MP, because they wrote their own laws, regarding expenses, with SPECIAL excemptions with the Tax office, whose laws they pass..  Those special arrangemnets passed by the MP’s..

    No-One would have known anything about this, except for that hack/leak…

    Do you see what I’m I’m getting at yet?

  55. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    Jim Prall … thanks for joining this conversation.
     
    The case of my father is useful to examine your methodology.  Do you really think that a generic policy statement signed in 1992 — before Rio, Kyoto, Copenhagen, IPCC SAR, TAR and AR4 — can be used fairly to characterize someone’s scientific and/or political views in 2010?  Especially since he has written extensively on this subject since then and expresses a view quite contrary to your characterization of him?
     
    But it is not just him ..  Similar questions could be raised about others, e.g., Michael Garstang, and many other aspects of your methodology.
     
    On your more general point, public opinion in support of action on climate change is strong and stable, and has been for several decades.  The fact that there are differences between expert views and public views is neither unique to the climate issue nor problematic from the standpoint of action.  However, efforts to delegitimize certain perspectives in the policy debate are an obstacle to action.  Making lists of people whose views should be ignored is such an obstacle.
     
     

  56. Barry Woods says:

    How about another book about the leak:

    The Climate Files – Fred Pearce. (doesn’t use climategate)

    He writes for the Guardian, based on Guardian articles about Climategate.

    RealClimate, is part of the Guardian Environment network.

    The Guardian are passionate advocates of CAGW, Or AGW.
    Yet they discuss the emails, the IPCC failings, and Mann and Phill Jones failings, they are more critical in many ways than the hockey stick illusion..

    Yet, they are PART of the climate science consensus- and have been active in pushing the polticians towards what the IPCC pronounce..

    Surely,this book will be OK with Michael to read. (and other climate scientists)

    I have read all three books, and choose to use my own judgement following reading all three, for AND against.

  57. laursaurus says:

    BCL: “And in any other field this would be the end of it.  For example, nobody really hassles paleontologists over the consensus re the bird/dinosaur link.  Nobody really takes seriously the whole notion  that the last few scientists that question the link”“most of them, like many of the dissenting scientists noted in this paper, either retired or close to retirement”“are oppressed Galileo’s crying out over their oppressers.  Whis (sic) is Climate Science different?”

    Good observation. This type of consensus propaganda is absolutely unnecessary in other branches of science. Questions are welcomed with comprehensible answers and explanations. What other field keeps the data a tightly guarded secret because admittedly it could not survive independent audit? Then later we discover this convincing evidence was carelessly discarded along with the leader’ s written statement vowing to delete it before releasing it.

    When we have extensive documentation verifying  collaboration to intentionally corrupt it’s own “peer-review” process, this article is a total joke. It’s mind-boggling how out-of-touch the author is.  Did he somehow miss Climategate and Glaciergate? Playing the peer-review trump card when the AR4 report itself cites a considerable amount of gray literature renders it practically worthless by Schneider’s own standard. Money, power, and prestige have completely corrupted climate science. Stamping your feet demanding respect is a laughable attempt to restore the credibility they never earned in the first place.

    Here’s what Roy Spencer says:
    “Not surprisingly, the study finds that the skeptical scientists have fewer publications or are less credentialed than the marching army of scientists who have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars over the last 20 years to find every potential connection between fossil fuel use and changes in nature.
    After all, nature does not cause change by itself, you know.
    The study lends a pseudo-scientific air of respectability to what amounts to a black list of the minority of scientists who do not accept the premise that global warming is mostly the result of you driving your SUV and using incandescent light bulbs.”
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/06/the-global-warming-inquisition-has-begun/

  58. The idea that there is something like a loyalty oath at work here is another case of the pot and the kettle. I have already experienced that any attempt to converse with the community that calls itself “skeptics” requires a denunciation of either Mann or Jones as a cost of entry into the discussion.
     
    TomFP, I wish people who used “CAGW” in their discourse would define it as a proposition. Just spelling it out yields a noun phrase “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” which does not constitute a belief. I have never heard anyone say that they “believe CAGW”.
     
    The vast majority of people who have a good claim to understanding the climate system believe that an effective worldwide carbon emissions policy is decades overdue and that long term risks increase with every month that passes.  Papers like Oreskes or Anderegg et al are intended to support exactly that proposition.
     
    Does that prove us right? No, of course not. Expert consensus can in fact be wrong. On the other hand, the people who believe us wrong do not have a coherent alternative and are reduced to sniping form various directions. There is no real alternative theory. And expert consensus is always the best bet. Ignoring it in this case appears to be a very bad bet.
     
    I don’t understand the objection being raised to a systematic effort to identify the policy opinion among the relevant sciences.
     

  59. thingsbreak says:

    @55
    The case of my father is useful to examine your methodology.  Do you really think that a generic policy statement signed in 1992 “” before Rio, Kyoto, Copenhagen, IPCC SAR, TAR and AR4 “” can be used fairly to characterize someone’s scientific and/or political views in 2010?
    Roger, your father routinely, explicitly, in his own words, “rejects” the “IPCC hypothesis” re: relative climate forcings. I find it incredibly difficult to believe that you are unaware of this.

  60. Keith Kloor says:

    Jim Prall,

    I appreciate you stopping by and elaborating on the study. I do hope you further engage in some of the issues raised by Roger and others, where you see appropriate.  Thanks for making the time.

  61. lucia says:

    MT

    Ah, if only this were the first inkblot on the landscape you’d have a stronger point.
    Any chance you can elaborate?By mentioning which point could be stronger?
    My previous post addresssed to you asked this: “But I was wondering if you could check the violent emotions you feel about Tom Fuller  and answer his question which was, “Do you guys really think it will end with this?”
    As I previously stated, I think it would be interesting to read you answer to this question.

  62. Jonathan Gilligan says:

    Michael (#58): I don’t have a problem with using the term “catastrophic,” but agree that it would help to have some precision what it means. To declare where I stand, I judge that there’s a significant chance that if we follow BAU, AGW will become catastrophic by any sensible definition of “catastrophic” within 200 years.
    This isn’t certain and it isn’t conclusively proved so there’s a purely subjective element having to do with my faith in a combination of model projections and paleoclimatic analogies; thus, talking about belief is relevant, but it’s important to be clear that for many of us the belief is that it’s possible, not that it’s definite.
     
    Also, I share your assessment of the state of consensus, but I don’t think this kind of crude citation analysis is empirically very relevant. It’s a huge mistake when social scientists think they have to force everything into a quantitative analysis to be credible. A qualitative analysis of opinion might have been a better approach, but would have been very labor-intensive. For that reason, I prefer Oreskes’s approach, which actually read the abstracts of all nine hundred and some papers to discern what the authors said.

  63. Banjoman0 says:

    MT
    The vast majority of people who have a good claim to understanding the climate system believe that an effective worldwide carbon emissions policy is decades overdue and that long term risks increase with every month that passes.  Papers like Oreskes or Anderegg et al are intended to support exactly that proposition.
    Papers like Oreskes or Anderegg et al are intended to support the equivalent of “4 out of 5 dentists agree …”, which is entirely a marketing ploy that most of us tune out, and is not relevant to the discourse.

  64. Jim Prall says:

    Let me state right here that there should be no “blacklisting” and dissenting opinions, both in science and in policy debate, must be heard. But we need to be able to gauge how much weight to give to others’ statements and opinions; greater expertise in the topic under discussion should earn greater attention to that person’s views.
    Many of the skeptic statements suggest their signers are experts on the subject, and I’ve questioned those claims by looking at their publication output. Of course anyone can argue the unpublished and the little-cited are victims of group-think and mainstream bias. But that argument is all too familiar – the same claim comes from advocates of homeopathy. Don’t we at some point have to just accept that the great majority of the most qualified people in the field are probably right?
    What I most object to is the kind of claims coming out of the Heartland Institute and spread around by Marc Morano and conservative media that aim to create much more doubt in the public’s mind than the actual range of scientific opinion warrants. Their tactics are those of political trench warfare, and they have quite a reach.  They’ve bought a couple of decades of policy paralysis and delay; that delay can only be terribly costly if the seriousness of the problem is anywhere in the range estimated in e.g. IPCC or the literature as a whole.
    When Roger says “However, efforts to delegitimize certain perspectives in the policy debate are an obstacle to action,” that has to cut both ways; there are far too many people throwing around names like “alarmist” all over the net.
    The only position I would “seek to delegitimize” is a claim that scientists are greatly divided on even the existence of AGW, to the point that we should not even start the policy debate over what to do about it. It’s long past time to leave behind claims of the former type, and get everyone together talking about solutions.

  65. Banjoman0 says:

    #64
    Then why does Pielke Sr. end up on the UE list?  I follow his blog.  He seems to be interested in solutions.  Just not exclusively CO2 solutions.

  66. Tom Fuller says:

    I’m going to stay away from what Michael said so he cannot use me as a reason not to respond to other commenters.
    Mr. Prall, by assigning people to categories that may cost them work and damage their reputation, you have done science a great wrong. You get basic details about people’s professions and career wrong–why should we believe you did the rest correctly? You’ve seen comments about Roger Pielke Sr. and other scientists who you have essentially libelled–what consequences do you think that should entail?
    What academic qualifications do you have that enable you to successfully group members by belief system? When I studied anthropology the literature was rife with stories of failure to do this correctly in primate studies and with the indigenous people of the Pacific island cultures.
    In market research correct segmentation of the population under examination is a key principle of statistically valid studies. Can you produce your sampling frame and control exercises you performed to insure validity of your choices? We see prima facie evidence within 12 hours that you did not.

  67. Tom Fuller says:

    Mr. Prall, you have created a blacklist and then said you believe it shouldn’t be used as a blacklist.

  68. bigcitylib says:

    #62  “Also, I share your assessment of the state of consensus, but I don’t think this kind of crude citation analysis is empirically very relevant.”

    So  your complaint is with citation analysis per se as a measure of expertise, not just this particular employment?  In other words, you would have similar objections if we were looking at an analogous paper from an entirely different field (say evolutionary biology)?

    To me, these various lists and statments that have been signed constitute some interesting raw data, and the paper’s processing of them uses a method not yet tried in this particular context.  The various results (for example, that UE scientists skew significantly older than their CE counterparts) seem all in line with what has been hinted at elsewhere.  So where’s the problem?

  69. thingsbreak says:

    @65 Bajoman0
    Then why does Pielke Sr. end up on the UE list?
     
    From the paper: “We define UE [Unconvinced] researchers as those who have signed reputable statements strongly dissenting from the views of the IPCC.”
     
    Pielke Sr. has both signed such a statement and routinely claims to “reject” the IPCC “hypothesis” describing the relative influence of climate forcings.
     
    There seem to be a number of people complaining about this or that person not meeting a definition that they themselves have imagined, rather than the one used in the paper.
     
    @67 Tom Fuller
    do you guys really think it will end with this?
    Mr. Prall, you have created a blacklist
     
    I think we get the picture. You’re concerned. We hear you.

  70. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    -64-Jim Prall
     
    On whether you have created a blacklist or not, here is how your paper is received by some prominent commentators:
     
    Joe Romm: “As I’ve said for many years now, it is time for the media to stop listening to, quoting, and enabling those who spread anti-science and anti-scientist disinformation.”
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/06/21/pnas-study-climate-science-media-balance-deniers/
     
    Chris Mooney: “the results mean that journalists who have given a lot of weight to climate “skeptics” have some ‘splaining to do. Essentially, this paper seems to be suggesting that they got the wrong “experts.””
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/06/22/the-scientific-consensus-on-climate-change-stronger-and-stronger/

  71. Tom Fuller says:

    thingsbreak, I’m glad you hear me. Why isn’t James Hansen on this list? He has been more critical of the IPCC than Pielke pere.

  72. Keith Kloor says:

    Jim (64):

    An unfortunate irony of your stated aim with the paper is that it may actually further inflame the polarization you would like everyone to get past in order to have that engaged discussion on policy. (And I wholeheartedly join you in that sentiment.)

    For example, I note that Eric Steig (over at Roger’s site) is very critical of the paper (emphasis added):

    “What the heck where they thinking? Even if the analysis had some validity — and from a first glance, I’m definitely not convinced it does — it’s not helpful, to put it mildly. I’m totally appalled.”

    That’s pretty strong stuff coming from a prominent Real Climate contributor.

    Along those lines, perhaps Lucia is on to something upthread when she picks up Roger’s “inkblot” observation and adds:

    “I’ve already said I think the inkblot of the paper will be polarizing and make things worse.  I think discussing the likely effect of this paper on public sentiment might be useful.”

    Are you concerned that your paper will only increase the polarization of the climate debate?

  73. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    -59-Thingsbreak
     
    Yes, you’ll find that there are indeed aspects of the IPCC that my father agrees with and others that he does not.  In fact, you’ll find an entire NRC report that questions the IPCC treatment of radiative forcing as well as recent work by NASA scientists.  In this regard my father is similar to Jim Hansen who also finds material to agree with and material to disagree with in the IPCC.  The same with Stefan Rahmstorf, John Christy and many others.  So what?
     
    My expertise is WGII and WGIII and I agree with much of what is in those reports and disagree quite strongly with other aspects.  Again, so what?
     
    That is one of the aspects of being an expert, you have complex and nuanced views.  The IPCC is a compilation of many people’s views into a consensus document.  It is not at all surprising that individual scientists have views that differ from the IPCC in some regard.

  74. Jonathan Gilligan says:

    Bigcitylib: Citation analysis is a tool. It’s useful some places, but not everywhere.
     
    A big problem with this analysis is the crudeness the groups on which they performed the citation analysis. The procedure for defining the groups was inadequate: they should, in my mind, have conducted a qualitative analysis of where the subjects stood rather than substituting a quick and dirty criterion of having signed a letter. I am quite persuaded by Roger Pielke’s criticism of inferring someone’s 2010 views from a 1992 statement.
     
    If you start with a bad sample, no amount of statistial crunching will produce good results.
     
    If they had defined their samples better, then citation analysis might indeed have produced useful results. To pursue your analogy with evolution, suppose a study of belief in evolution misclassified Gould and Eldredge as creationists because of the punctuated equilibrium controversy? I’m not claiming there’s a similar gaffe here, but the methods the authors describe don’t rule it out.

  75. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    I see that thingsbreak is angry, “those unconvinced by the mainstream climate science narrative are not only a minority in the community, but a disproportionately under-published, under-cited, and elderly one at that”
     
    http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/roger-pielke-jr-crying-wolf-again/
     

  76. thingsbreak says:

    @73 Roger
    So what?
     
    Your complaint is that your father is unfairly categorized as Unconvinced. By the criteria in the paper, as well as his own writings, this is simply incompatible with the available evidence. If you have such signatures from Hansen, Rahmstorf, unnamed “NASA scientists” et al. , I’m sure Jim would be happy to use these new data.
     
    It’s one thing to disagree with the criteria for “UE” described in the paper. It’s quite another to claim that your father does not meet them or (even more unbelievably) imply that his stance now would disqualify him from meeting them when his own writings are almost a word for word fulfillment of them.
     
    To the best of your understanding- and I’m fully willing to grant that you may not be speaking from a position of knowledge, but rather conjecture- do Hansen, Rahmstorf, unnamed “NASA scientists”, et al. consider the IPCC “hypothesis” concerning the role of CO2 as a climate forcing to be “rejected” as your father writes so often? If not, can you appreciate how someone without an agenda to push might perceive their disagreements with facets of the IPCC ARs to be a difference of kind rather than degree vs. your father’s?

  77. JamesG says:

    MT says: “The vast majority of people who have a good claim to understanding the climate system believe that an effective worldwide carbon emissions policy is decades overdue and that long term risks increase with every month that passes”

    Now if everyone stuck to that line then I doubt many would complain because it is perfectly reasonable. But “death, doom, disaster and it’s already too late because a tipping point is just round the corner” is what usually get presented to the public.

    I’d ask though just how much of the climate system these people actually understand. Christie reckons it isn’t a great deal and Gavin Schmidt agreed with him on TV. Understanding a little can be easily understood as not understanding enough to be advocating sharp cuts in CO2. Probably those who don’t remember the huge number of false planetary emergencies we’ve had would tend to be less skeptical. Though it seems very reasonable to attempt to go green within suitable budgetary and humanitarian constraints and I cannot see why Obama, Sarko, Merkel and all the rest didn’t impose a small carbon tax. Who’d really miss a few cents a litre? Mind you, Kyoto wasn’t even a difficult target to reach yet most failed. So much for 80% by 2050. Is that really achievable without massive discomfort, starvation and death?

    I’d quibble also about the alternatives being less credible; The solar influence theory just happens to have a lot better correlation and explains 10 years of missing heat better than CO2. Sure it needs a x13 amplification factor but the CO2 theory needs a x3 amplification plus a ludicrously speculative aerosol handwave. However since Lindzen says can explain the faint sun paradox with a smattering of cirrus clouds and the GHG theory cannot, this surely means that Lindzen is someone else that the mainstream just prefer to ignore. Is it really that heretical to suggest that a mild 1k sensitivity is supportable but a “dangerous” 3k isn’t? Seems perfectly reasonable to me. Hey don’t even bother to read, you can listen instead – Better than believing 3rd hand reviews as Jim Prall would have you do:
    http://vmsstreamer1.fnal.gov/VMS_Site_03/Lectures/Colloquium/100210Lindzen/f.htm#

  78. Phil Clarke says:

    Hilary Ostrov: >> “In the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the “Citizen Auditors” ““ but this does not detract from the fact that our study can be readily verified by anyone who chooses to do so.”

    Hi Hilary – Couple points: Methodology – In your audit it looks like you placed self-cites, (that is references to the same, or other IPCC reports) of which there are very many, in the ‘not a peer reviewed study’ pile. May I ask why, given the extensive multi-stage open review these documents experienced? Surely they qualified as some of the most expert-reviewed literature on the planet. In the sample chapter I checked, removing self-cites from the unreviewed cateogry doubled the proportion of peer-reviewed references.

    Second: A correction. I just looked at a single chapter, but in a few moments I found a miscategorisation. In Wg3 Ch1 ‘Gritsevsky, A., and N. Nakicenovic, 2002: Modelling uncertainty of induced technological change’ is classed as not peer-reviewed, apparently because the citation is to a book chapter. However you seem to have missed that the chapter was a straight reprint from the very-much-refereed journal “Energy Policy” and has been cited an impressive 138 times (and still climbing).

    You may wish to audit your audit. Google Scholar is generally excellent.

  79. […] paper itself. I first learned of the paper over at Collide-a-scape, where Keith is hosting a very interesting discussion. The paper itself is available for download […]

  80. William Newman says:

    In the climate debate, people tend to talk past each other on the issue of credibility. (Some of the “inkblot” remarks seem to be referring to this.)

    Sometimes this talking past each other seems to be just superficial confusion, as when Michael Tobis writes in #2 “Dr. Curry’s question is disappointing. The paper did not seek to measure ‘credibility’…” (Huh? “Credibility” appears in the title of the paper, and in the text in passages like “we suggest that our methods and expertise and prominence criteria provide conservative, robust, and relevant indicators of relative credibility”.)

    More importantly, though, different factions seem pretty consistently to want to talk about fundamentally different things. Citation counts, like nose counts, don’t seem to me to be a particularly important source of credibility in major technical controversies. To support my point, I will sketch two alternative sources of credibility, which I’ll call “scientific hygiene” and “counting scientific coup”. (They’re whimsical inventions. Perhaps one or both has a established name in the study of science, but I don’t know those established names. Established names for related concepts, notably “Popperian falsifiability,” are a bit too specifically about something else for my needs.) The sources of credibility seem to be more fundamental, because they help establish that the field is in good enough shape that nose counts or citation counts are a useful rule of thumb.

    Regarding “scientific hygiene,” I dimly remember some essay by Richard Feynman which touched on an example regarding getting things fundamentally right in experimental psychology. From memory, he wrote about how troubling he found it when he read a technical article on eliminating the possibility that a rat in a maze was influenced by smell, and then discovered that that paper wasn’t cited much, and further that the issues it described weren’t well addressed in “methods” sections of other papers in the field. If you had tried to answer his criticism (roughly that the internal evidence indicated pervasive lack of seriousness about sound methodology) by showing that the offenders should have high credibility because they had many publications in the field, you and he would be talking past each other just as much as you would be if you publicly conjectured that he must be funded by the lab lizard industry in their campaign to destroy the competitive lab rat industry.

    And I don’t think Feynman ever wrote about it, but if hypothetically speaking a scientific subdiscipline were to reach important conclusions based not specifically on known shoddy work, but on key data which were actively concealed from potential critics, or based on calculational details which were similarly concealed, it might also face a risk of this kind of pure-outsider criticism.

    Regarding “counting scientific coup,” it happens regularly in science that a field (or a schismatic subpopulations within a field) gets credibility by making falsifiable predictions which differ clearly from any predictions which outsiders are able to make. (Or maybe I should say “which differ *cleanly*.” “Clear” connotes a fairly large difference, but the predictions may well apply to subtle effects, e.g. fine splitting of certain spectral lines. It suffices that they are clear statements of differences which can be cleanly measured.) Occasionally this credibility gain doesn’t take place very effectively, as when Mendel’s work was largely ignored for a long time. But more usually in science when, e.g., Pasteur presents his long-necked-flask sterilization experiment, he gets credibility in a way that is largely independent of any gross patterns you can read off of author lists in the technical journals. Less dramatically, because it may have been created slowly over a long time and/or involved lots of undramatic contributions from many people, any field that apolitical scientists take very seriously will almost certainly have a portfolio of clean successes to crow about. (E.g., I can’t think of a dramatic success of academic metallurgy, or of academic semiconductor physics after the drama of the first transistor so long ago. Still those fields have a lot of credibility because a knowledgeable practitioner could give a series of lectures wallowing in the details of dozens or hundreds of lesser but still important successes.)

    Even for fields which seem incredibly arcane, and/or fields where experiments can’t be done but only observations, this applies. Vertebrate paleontologists end up making all sorts of arcane generalizations about subtle distinctions in teeth (which are about all they know of various instances of mammal populations). They may not be able to tell you much — but they can tell you some arcane things with high confidence, things that you would never be able to guess without their specialized knowledge, e.g., that you will never find a single tooth with arcane feature J in layer 12, while it shouldn’t take terribly long to find such a tooth in layer 17.

    Counting scientific coup is not *quite* a necessary condition for credibility within science, but it seems to be nearly so. It’s sufficiently close to necessary that an exception can illuminate the rule. Consider how string theory partially dodges this bullet (though still faces annoying lack of various kinds of street cred among other scientists). String theorists are in a uniquely strong position to claim a special exception from the usual demands for demonstrating clean predictions. They are (by chasing mathematical inconsistencies in physically successful theories) following a strategy which eventually succeeded spectacularly for at least three generations of their predecessors: first for Einstein, then for Dirac, then for Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga. (Maybe Maxwell belongs on the list too.) And since GR+QM inconsistencies look even twistier than the inconsistencies which were resolved by the previous successes, the string theorists are even in a pretty good position to argue that even if they are still stuck in the Think Real Hard stage, that’s about as much progress as we can fairly expect at this point.

    Computer modellers can suffer from being the culmination of a history which is effectively opposite the triumphant history of doing high energy physics by resolving mathematical inconsistencies. We’ve had powerful computers in academia for many decades now. That’s been long enough to see many, many ignominious examples of modellers (and even of entire subcommunities of modellers, vigorously citing each other) overpromising and underdelivering. Of course, we’ve also seen many successful models prove themselves to be very useful. The usual pattern, though, is that care is needed to pick them out of the chaff of overhyped models. And sadly, citation count is clearly not a useful rule for identifying wheat. There needn’t be a single grain of wheat in even a sizable chaff pile, no matter how energetically the authors cite each other. E.g., as far as I know no macroeconomic model today displays performance which adequately justifies the academic and policymaker enthusiasm for macro models ca. 1970. Conversely, we do have a useful rule for identifying chaff: if a modelling community claimed to have things under control in year Y, and by year Y+10 still hasn’t triumphantly connected to a portfolio of clean successes in the real world, their claims have negligible credibility. It’s not a perfect rule, but as useful rules of thumb go, it is very reliable. (Compare, e.g., the list of useful rules at http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=304 .)

  81. thingsbreak says:

    @75 Roger
     
    I see that thingsbreak is angry
     
    On the contrary. I’m amused. It’s always entertaining to see the “McCarthyism!!!!” claims trotted about yet again. For people who are ostensibly black listed, there is a rather curious absence of terminations, ruined lives, etc. Recall, as well, that “never cry wolf” is a cautionary tale.
     

    If anything like what you habitually claim were ever to occur, it would be terrible if no one bothered to take it seriously due to the growing number of false alarms.

  82. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    For anyone interested in my father’s views he has provided a capsule summary here:
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/comments-on-the-pnas-article-expert-credibility-in-climate-change-by-anderegg-et-al-2010/
    Here is an excerpt from a recent peer reviewed paper of his, written with other AGU Fellows:
     
    “In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, other first order human climate forcings are important to understanding the future behavior of Earth’s climate. These forcings are spatially heterogeneous and include the effect of aerosols on clouds and associated precipitation [e.g., Rosenfeld et al., 2008], the influence of aerosol deposition (e.g., black carbon (soot) [Flanner et al. 2007] and reactive nitrogen [Galloway et al., 2004]), and the role of changes in land use/land cover [e.g., Takata et al., 2009]. Among their effects is their role in altering atmospheric and ocean circulation features away from what they would be in the natural climate system [NRC, 2005]. As with CO2, the lengths of time that they affect the climate are estimated to be on multidecadal time scales and longer. . .
     
    We recommend that the next assessment phase of the IPCC (and other such assessments) broaden its perspective to include all of the human climate forcings. It should also adopt a complementary and precautionary resource based assessment of the vulnerability of critical resources (those affecting water, food, energy, and human and ecosystem health) to environmental variability and change of all types. This should include, but not be limited to, the effects due to all of the natural and human caused climate variations and changes. . .
     
    The evidence predominantly suggests that humans are significantly altering the global environment, and thus climate, in a variety of diverse ways beyond the effects of human emissions of greenhouse gases, including CO2. Unfortunately, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment did not sufficiently acknowledge the importance of these other human climate forcings in altering regional and global climate and their effects on predictability at the regional scale. It also placed too much emphasis on average global forcing from a limited set of human climate forcings. Further, it devised a mitigation strategy based on global model predictions”¦..Because global climate models do not accurately simulate (or even include) several of these other first order human climate forcings, policy makers must be made aware of the inability of the current generation of models to accurately forecast regional climate risks to resources on multidecadal time scales.”
     
    To characterize this perspective as a climate skeptic, denier, contrarian or even unconvinced is absurd.

  83. laursaurus says:

    Here’s another, Keith!
    James Delingpole is not amused:
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100044445/climate-change-sceptics-have-smaller-members-uglier-wives-dumber-kids-says-new-study-made-up-by-warmists/
    “Are there really no depths to which ManBearPig-worshippers will not stoop in order to shore up their intellectually, morally and scientifically bankrupt cause?
    Apparently not, as we see from the latest “study” ““ based on a petty, spiteful, Stasi-like blacklist produced by an obscure Canadian warmist ““ outrageously aggrandised by being published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Hat tip: Watts Up With That)”

  84. Keith Kloor says:

    Laurasaurus:

    I’m not amused by Delingpole’s offensive characterization of the people he derides. That kind of gutter-level stuff is what I’m trying to avoid here.

  85. thingsbreak says:

    @JamesG
    But “death, doom, disaster and it’s already too late because a tipping point is just round the corner” is what usually get presented to the public.
     
    That not a coherent argument. If the usual public presentation of climate change was that “it’s already too late”, there would be no push for an effective worldwide carbon emissions policy.
     
    People like to cite Joe Romm, Al Gore, and Jim Hansen as examples of extreme “alarmism”. Yet none of them claim that it is “too late” to implement an effective emissions policy. Who give/what are these “usual” presentations that proclaim “death, doom, disaster and it’s already too late”?

  86. thingsbreak says:

    @82 Roger
    To characterize this perspective as a climate skeptic, denier, contrarian or even unconvinced is absurd.
     
    From the paper in question:We define UE [Unconvinced] researchers as those who have signed reputable statements strongly dissenting from the views of the IPCC.
     
    His signature can be found here. Additionally, from a recent blog post at his website:
    [I]n the Pielke et al 2009 EOS paper we present evidence to show that this IPCC conclusion [about the relative influences of CO2 and other climate forcings] can be rejected.
     
    As I said before- It’s one thing to disagree with the criteria for “UE” described in the paper. It’s quite another to claim that your father does not meet them or (even more unbelievably) imply that his stance now would disqualify him from meeting them when his own writings are almost a word for word fulfillment of them.

  87. Keith Kloor says:

    Jim Prall,

    Just to return to the issue of polarization I raised in an earlier comment, let me direct your attention to this quote from William Anderegg, your co-author of the study, which is in this BBC story:

    “We really felt that the state of the scientific debate was so far removed from the state of the public discourse and we felt that a good quantitative, rigorous comparison of this would put to rest the notion that the scientists ‘disagree’ about global warming.”

    If there are serious and legitimate concerns about your quantitative methods, which there appear to be, then I ask again: are you worried that the study will have the opposite effect than what you intended?

  88. Tom Fuller says:

    The future chilling effect of blacklists on future discourse should be obvious. Will you sign a petition that may be used in future to deny you a grant or a job? What recourse do you have?
    thingsbreak, do you troll at your own blog?

  89. Keith Kloor says:

    Alright, alright, can people please cool it and return to debating the merits of the study’s methodology and the effects they think the results–or the dispute over the results– will have on the larger climate debate (per Lucia). Thanks.

  90. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    -86-thingsbreak
     
    You are smart enough to know that a 1992 statement which says nothing about the IPCC, whatever else it says, cannot be used to impeach someone’s views in 2010.
     
    Again, he agrees with some statements in the IPCC report and disagrees with others.  He has published his views extensively in the peer reviewed literature.  You may find this nuance troubling or hard to understand, but it is part of being an expert and a scientist.  Science does not work in black or white, but in shades of grey.
     
    If you would like to counter his views, then the proper way to do this would be to respond top his papers in the peer reviewed literature arguing a different point of view.  The idea that you think that you can delegitimize someone’s scientific views based on a short letter from 1992 speaks to what is wrong with this exercise.  The fact that you are a professor espousing this view based on a paper in PNAS doing the same speaks to the deep politicization of this issue in academic institutions.

  91. laursaurus says:

    I’m sorry! You’re right.
    I think it is an indication of  the polarizing effect Lucia thought it might have. Also, JD, like Roger, interpreted it as a sort of black list. I shouldn’t have posted the quote. Would just the link and my thoughts have been acceptable? Like the link to the WayThingsBreak blog, was posted without quoting the article might was a better move.
    I am obsessively following this blog. What is happening here is amazing. The last think I want to do is screw it up.

  92. thingsbreak says:

    @88 Tom Fuller
    do you troll at your own blog?
     
    Now, now, Tom. That’s hardly the kind of discourse kkloor is trying to encourage here. IIRC, he tends to put people into moderation for that kind of thing.
     
    The future chilling effect of blacklists on future discourse should be obvious.

     
    You’re just affirming the consequent there, Tom.
     
    —————–
    One thing that strikes me about this entire discussion is the degree to which participants seem to ignore the potential usefulness of this paper as a rough guide for those who don’t live and breathe climate policy. The Oreskes paper and more recent Doran survey didn’t offer much in the way of new information to those who are familiar with the “state of play” on this topic, but they were a revelation to those who had been mistakenly led to believe that there were two roughly equal, opposing camps on the question of anthropogenic climate change and emissions reductions.
     
    How many people that you could pull aside on the street would find the results of this paper unsurprising?

  93. Jim Prall
     
    The impact or the sizzle of your paper depends on the very claim that publication metrics seem to support segregation of a bunch of scientists and authors into a unique group, which, wonder of wonders, coincides with another poorly defined group – the skeptical deniers.
    Having thrown that over us, you now tell us that your paper was just a attempt at understanding, and not blacklisting, and we should all work together to ‘reduce emissions’ etc etc?
     
    Mr Tobis
     
    You repeat your paean for ‘carbon reductions’ for the nth time, but you never say why we should do so. If we should reduce our emissions, independent of climate impacts they can have, the question of  ’emissions’ does not belong in the climate debate and you should not invoke it. If the question of emissions does indeed belong in the climate debate, then there is every reason to talk about it and that should not bother you.

  94. cs says:

    Funny. When Mike Morano published his own black-list of ‘More Than 650 International Scientists’, which included both Pielke Sr and Anthony Watts, I didn’t hear a word of protest from them. Heck, Anthony was even proud:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2007/12/20/us-senate-report-over-400-prominent-scientists-disputed-man-made-global-warming-claims-in-2007/

    ‘black-list’ of , and Dennis Avery announced ‘500 Scientists Whose Research Contradicts Man-Made Global Warming Scares’

  95. thingsbreak says:

    @
    You may find this nuance troubling or hard to understand
     
    Nothing of the sort, Roger. Now that we’ve cleared that up, you no longer have to speculate.
     
    The idea that you think that you can delegitimize someone’s scientific views based on a short letter from 1992 speaks to what is wrong with this exercise.
     
    Forgive me, but can you point out where I attempted to “delegitimize your father’s views” based on the ’92 letter? Or based upon anything in this thread? Or in the PNAS paper?
     
    Of course not, but it’s so much easier to complain about imagined wrongs than the discussion at hand, it seems.
     
    I’ve stated repeatedly that it’s fine to disagree with the criteria used by the paper itself. I find your characterization of my views to be quite bizarre, and of a piece with the rest of the unfounded claims of persecution.

  96. HaroldW says:

    As one who follows the debates and attempts to keep informed, but who rarely contributes to blogs, I find myself compelled to add (or repeat) that articles such as Anderegg et al. necessarily augment the “tribalism” which Dr Curry has quite rightly warned against. Climate change — both as a science and more critically as a public policy issue — is not a two-valued function. Nor is it even a linear spectrum. As Dr Pielke Jnr has pointed out so clearly, it is a highly multi-dimensional space. No single indicator is going to be useful, either as a source of truth or of credibility. Attempts to force it to be, are both unhelpful and unwise.

  97. Is it surprising, considering the amount of money the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has sunk into averting climate change, that on of their own, would push a paper such as this?
    No, it is not.

  98. Should read “that one of their own, would push a paper such as this?”

  99. thingsbreak says:

    And to add a little bit more to my point @92-
     
    There is a gap not only between what the public thinks about climate change and what the relevant scientific community thinks, but moreover a gap between what the public thinks the relevant scientific community thinks and what it actually does (e.g Pew’s survey on science published in 2009). These information gaps speak to me for the need of papers like Oreskes, Doran, and the one under discussion here.
     
    Perhaps we can explore that idea, kkloor?

  100. Tom Fuller says:

    thingsbreak, at your weblog you describe Roger Pielke Jr. as ‘being in a tizzy.’ I can see why you might describe me as upset, using whatever denigratory terms you have in your closet, but I’m really curious to see if you can point out anything Roger has written that would justify such an adjective.
     
    You also write that Roger ‘has turned whining about imagined persecution into something of a second career.’ Again, I have followed Roger’s weblog and comments on other weblogs for a couple of years and have seen no sign of that.

    Is that a fair characterization of your views, or do you find that bizarre. Would it not be fairer to alert readers that you have a history of denigrating Pielke and defending his attackers?

    I’m glad you’re available to offer advice to Keith Kloor about how he should run his blog, and I’m sure someone with such successful experience at this game is someone who should be listened to with great attention.

    This paper will indeed be useful in the future–as an excuse for bulldog blogs to continue to slime people who don’t agree with them and pass off their opinions as ‘already debunked–see the PNAS paper.’ And I’ll repeat that it will be used to intimidate people who might be thinking of expressing their opinion.

    But I’m sure you’ll find it useful.

  101. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    -thingsbreak-
    I think that we’ve said our bit and I am happy for those reading along to come to their own conclusions about our differing views.
     
    -Jim Prall-
    I see that you have commented over at Joe Romm’s on the thread where he recommends using your list as a black list.
     
    If you do not wish to see your list used as a black list, that might have been a good opportunity to point that out, no?
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/06/21/pnas-study-climate-science-media-balance-deniers/#comment-281821

  102. Keith Kloor says:

    Shub,

    I don’t have much use for off-topic references about any money the Hewlett Foundation is spending on climate change related initiatives. I asked upthread if people could focus on the study itself and the implications of it widening the climate divide. Can you stay within those parameters, please.

  103. I will follow your advice, Keith. I hope the curious will look on their own.
    Thanks

  104. William Newman says:

    Keith Kloor writes “I’m not amused by Delingpole’s offensive characterization of the people he derides. That kind of gutter-level stuff is what I’m trying to avoid here.”

    Good call. I fully support this. And, incidentally, I am always very impressed by anyone managing to ride herd on a politicized dispute like this without it descending into disaster, as by hopelessly-low signal-to-noise ratio or unconvincingly stage-managed faux-open-discussion.

    That said (taking a deep breath), I’d’ve been even more impressed with you if, sometime around the time that you launched the discussion of this paper, you had made some disapproving remark about “climate denier” being (carefully keeping my finger off the CapsLock key) given as a suitable library-science keyphrase for a PNAS-level paper.

    “citation analysis | climate denier | expertise | publication analysis | scientific prominence”
    Incidentally, besides my usual irritation at the stubborn intent to suggest that I’m vigorously running cover for a famously enormous vile crime with no reasonable claim to be acting in good faith, I see an interesting irony that this appears here, in a paper devoted to heuristic assessment of credibility.  Imagine a PNAS paper regarding the general level of technical credibility of policy proposals from other than the two major parties.
    “budgetary analysis | credibility | mean voter hypothesis | policy analysis | teabaggers | voting systems”
    Something is conveyed about *someone’s* credibility, but it may not be what or whom the authors/editors/whoever intended.

  105. Keith Kloor says:

    Roger,

    I agree about you and TB having said your bit. So TB, enough with the back and forth on that score.

    Tom Fuller,

    I’ve asked several people already to keep the comments focused on the study and its implications/fallout. That would include talking to a commenter here about what he says on his own blog. That’s the kind of insular dialogue I’d also like to avoid.

  106. thingsbreak says:

    @Tom Fuller
    I’m really curious to see if you can point out anything Roger has written that would justify such an adjective.
     
    Justify me saying “in a tizzy”? The unsupported claims that a paper roughly outlining the relative publications, citations, etc. of those who are convinced/unconvinced by IPCC type descriptions of climate science are comparable to the McCarthy witch hunts would be a fine place to start.
     
    I have followed Roger’s weblog and comments on other weblogs for a couple of years and have seen no sign of that.
     
    If Roger’s posts aren’t particularly memorable to anyone, I helpfully included a link. Unsubstantiated claims of McCarthyism are sadly not the rarity on his blog that the seriousness of the charge suggest.
     
    Would it not be fairer to alert readers that you have a history of denigrating Pielke and defending his attackers?

     
    I’m not the type to threadjack and drive traffic to my own blog, Tom. If you were expecting me to do something like @3, that’s just not my style. This is kkloor’s blog and I’d prefer the focus stay here and on topic. It’s all too easy to stray into red herring, argumentum ad hominem, and other fallacious arguments otherwise. I do hope you can see why.
     
    And I’ll repeat that it will be used to intimidate people who might be thinking of expressing their opinion.
     
    I appreciate your fortune telling, Tom. I’d ask for your thoughts on lotto numbers, but I fear that would be a little rude on my part. 😉
     
    @101 Roger
    Great, Roger. A pleasure talking to you, as always.
     
    And of course if you ever do feel like providing evidence of the McCarthy-level ruination of careers and lives that you’ve been invoking, I will cheerful update my posts. I’m sure we both agree that having incredibly misleading information on one’s blog is a disservice to one’s readers.

  107. thingsbreak says:

    @105 kkloor
     
    Noted and agreed. My post was in the works before I saw this comment.

  108. laursaurus says:

     
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/godwins-law-stasi-esque-yellow-badges/ at The Blackboard, Steven Mosher points out: “Looks like they proved peer review is corrupt, that skeptical papers are kept out of publication. and of course a negative feedback loop on the authors who are not allowed to publish.
    That’s one way to look at the data. Studies about who published is more about the publishing mechanism and the politics governing it that it is about the content published.
    How many woman authors are published in 19th century america.
    ergo, they are are not worthy of consideration.
    How many black writers published in 19th century amercia? ergo they are not worthy.
    Simply, they are studying canon formation”
    Lucia posts more of her interesting thoughts on the implications of this studyin the OP.
     

  109. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    thingsbreak, if you are serious about improving your understanding of this issue then please email me (rpielkejr@gmail.com) and I’d be happy to follow up off-blog.
     
    But let’s respect KK’s request and focus the attention on this thread to the PNAS paper

  110. Keith Kloor says:

    Okay, so if we can get back on track, I would respectfully ask again if Jim Prall would address the criticism made by Jonathan Gilligan in comment #74. (And the meta issue I raised in #87)

    Additionally, I would like to say for the record that I also invited Prall’s co-authors at Stanford to stop by and join the discussion. I hope they overlook the occasional digressions and see that the paper is being seriously discussed.

  111. Gaythia says:

    Humans have a tendency to want to deal with absolutes.  This innate tendency makes it sometimes difficult to convey scientific concepts to the public.    In battling deniers it is important for us not to get locked into a yes/no absolutist mode ourselves. Rather than drawing our own arbitrary lines, we ought to be emphasizing the broad spectrum of evidence that supports conclusions based on science.

    Global Climate change is one of many scientifically oriented issues for which an ability to deal in nuance and uncertainty are vitally important.   Uncertainty is uncomfortable but dealing with it is a vital part of sustaining civilized society.  This is a hard message to deliver but an important one.

    I think that the study discussed here would be more powerful if it were expanded to include the concept that  scientists with many different individual viewpoints are working on many different sorts of evidence that converge  on a conclusion that AGW is a matter of serious concern.
     

  112. Tom Fuller says:

    I will also try to self-moderate, but I hope discussion with the paper’s authors include quality control. As I mentioned above, there are already reports of people being listed with incorrect specialties, jobs and opinions on the IPCC.
    I am also extremely curious as to how they made the decision to include as skeptics some scientists who signed no petition at all, but who were placed on Senator James Inhofe’s list without even being asked.

  113. Arthur Smith says:

    Roger Pielke Jr. doth protest too much. Jim Prall’s perfectly objective lists, and this paper, should rather boost his father’s reputation than silence him! The “he-said” “she-said” of the traditional media isn’t going to disappear any time soon, and being near the top of the “Unconvinced” list should be a boost to media sway, much better than being way down in the middle of the “convinced” list I would think. Be happy with the unexpected publicity! What’s to complain about?

  114. Keith Kloor says:

    Arthur,

    Did you not read what I just asked? Move on already from Roger and his father.

    Of your comment, though, I’d be happy if people discussed your characterization of Jim Prall’s lists as “perfectly objective.” That speaks to the methodology that I’m more keen for us to take up.

  115. Zer0th says:

    I propose a study tracking the attitudes of climate-scape actors regards this recent PNAS paper. The subjects to be divided in two groups: #1 those that think it’s a ‘good thing’ and #2 those that wonder on what planet #1 reside. I believe such a study would be much the more useful than the paper at hand.

  116. azno says:

    @112

    “I am also extremely curious as to how they made the decision to include as skeptics some scientists who signed no petition at all, but who were placed on Senator James Inhofe’s list without even being asked.”

    Where did you get this information from? They didn’t use Inhofe’s list:

    “We compiled UE names comprehensively from the following 12 lists: 1992 statement from the Science and Environmental Policy Project (46 names), 1995 Leipzig Declaration (80 names), 2002 letter to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien (30 names), 2003 letter to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin (46 names), 2006 letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (61 names), 2007 letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (100
    names), 2007 TV film The Great Global Warming Swindle interviewees (17 names), NIPCC: 2008 Heartland Institute document “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate,” ed. S. Fred Singer (24 listed contributors), 2008 Manhattan Declaration from a conference in New York City (206 names listed as qualified experts), 2009 newspaper ad by the Cato Institute challenging President Obama’s stance on climate change (115
    signers), 2009 Heartland Institute document “Climate Change Reconsidered: 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)” (36 authors), and 2009 letter to the American Physical Society (61 names). After removing duplicate names across these lists, we had a total of 472 names.”

  117. Kloor
    Would this study have been better designed if it enumerated the number of scientists who have a poor citation record and then examined, which of the two groups had the greater figure?
     
    What about average age of the convinced versus the unconvinced?
     
    Would a field bottom-heavy with young researchers starting out, and therefore unable to voice non-consensus opinions either officially, or through publications, be able to take on a more nuanced, ‘not-so-convinced-but-trying-to’ stance?
     
     

  118. thingsbreak says:

    @kkloor
     
    Might it be positive if we all try to stipulate some areas of agreement?
    – no methodology is going to please everybody
    – the division can’t be entirely subjective, which necessitates some loss of nuance
    – the characterizations aren’t meant to capture every facet of a party’s position
     
    I don’t know about “perfectly objective”, but the criteria seem to be a good faith attempt at providing a useful distinction for a general readership.
     
    Accepting that there is no perfect methodology and that there will be some “flattening” of positions, I’d be curious to hear arguments as to how the criteria are too subjective. Grouping individuals into too “neat” of a box than they accurately belong is an inherent limitation of any kind of survey. Whether or not the methodology is universally lauded or perceived as flawless is less relevant than whether or not it might provide useful information. And per my previous comments about the public’s information gap on this issue, I’d suggest that it does indeed.

  119. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #74:  Jonathan, I think it’s important to distinguish between broad conclusions and using the paper as the basis for critiquing individual scientists.  The latter is very much not justified, although some of the data used for the paper would be helpful in developing individual critiques.  The choice to treat all scientists who signed a contrarian statement equally seems entirely legitimate, and the fact that one or more of the signers may have changed her/his views subsequently doesn’t undermine it.  It seems to me that any alternative would have involved a fine-grained analysis tracking individual scientists over the course of time, and it might be informative to do so, but that starts to look like a very different study.   

    Re #87:  “If there are serious and legitimate concerns about your quantitative methods, which there appear to be, then I ask again: are you worried that the study will have the opposite effect than what you intended?”

    I’m trying and failing to make sense of that, since even if the methods were demonstrably wrong it’s hard to imagine the paper having an “opposite” effect.  Of course it’s obvious that the effectiveness of the paper will be reduced to the extent that its methods can be shown to be incorrect, but that would seem to just beg the question about the methods.  Do you have any methodological criticism of your own?

  120. Keith Kloor says:

    TB (118):

    It seems to me there’s a world of difference between your “no perfect methodology” and what Jonathan Gilligan calls (#62) a “crude citation analysis.”

    Again, here’s that BBC quote from the lead author (my emphasis): “We really felt that the state of the scientific debate was so far removed from the state of the public discourse and we felt that a good quantitative, rigorous comparison of this would put to rest the notion that the scientists “˜disagree’ about global warming.”

    So what I’m seeing is a discrepancy between what folks like Gilligan are asserting and what the authors of the study are claiming. Can we address that?

  121. thingsbreak says:

    @kkloor
     
    I don’t necessarily believe that the two are mutually contradictory. I believe that Oreskes’s paper was likewise both crude but also good, quantitative, rigorous.
     
    If I am someone who doesn’t have direct information about the state of scientific agreement and the relative sizes and publication history the convinced and unconvinced/not-IPCC groups have, I think this is valuable and timely.
     
    If I am someone who is all too familiar with the positions of individual persons or even the climate blog circuit generally, the analysis would of course seem much less informative and precise.
     
    From my own conversations, I am all too aware that there are people in other fields who know that the IPCC is more or less mainstream while the Unconvinced are a minority, but even they are misinformed and believe that the Unconvinced are populated by Lindzens, Dysons, and others when in reality they are outliers rather than the norm.

  122. Steve Bloom says:

    Re #117:  Actually that reminds me of a good illustration of why the methodology isn’t problematic.  The “Great Globing Warming Swindle” featured an interview with Carl Wunsch, who squawked afterwards that he had been misrepresented.  That would have been grounds for taking him off the list and maybe that’s what the authors did, but what if they didn’t?  Well, given Carl’s impressive publication record, it would have made the conclusions of the paper less strong.  I’m quite confident that even if Carl was removed based on his protest, examples could be found of otherwise-mainstream scientists who happened to get on one of those lists and didn’t complain about it, and whose inclusion would have made the non-IPCC camp appear stronger than it is in reality.  Are these “errors”?  Maybe in some sense, but not in the methodology.

  123. thingsbreak says:

    believe that the Unconvinced are populated by Lindzens, Dysons, and others
     
    Populated mainly by.

  124. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    The first methodological point to resolve is to define precisely the “tenets of anthropogenic climate change” that the paper seeks to use as a dividing line.
     
     
    What does this phrase actually mean in the context of the paper?
     
    Any insight?

  125. # 78 – Phil Clarke 

    Because I respect to our host’s request – and I’m sure you will want to do likewise – I’m not going to respond here. However, please do free to post your observations regarding our Citizen Audit as a reply to the post I had referenced, where I’d be pleased to address your concerns.

    But I would be interested in knowing whether or not you agree that a study (such as the one we are discussing here) which , as I had observed, clearly suggests that quantity trumps quality as a measure of “expertise” / “credibility” is far from “convincing”.

  126. Gaythia says:

    Going back to #87, I think that the reason that this study could  have an unanticipated blowback effect (opposite seems not quite the right term) is that to the public this part of the quote given: “ put to rest the notion that the scientists “˜disagree’ about global warming” would seem to be refuted anytime that they subsequently saw a headline that said that a scientist said something that appeared (to this same member of the public) that “disproved global warming”.
    Thus, I think that it is imperative that scientists deal with the difficulties of nuances and uncertainties.   We must work to find mechanisms to  convey to the public that making decisions based on scientific evidence does not always mean dealing with absolutes.

  127. Eli Rabett says:

    Years ago, <a href=”http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/09/eli-does-schulte-it-occurred-to-eli.html”>Eli did a quick and dirty</a>, by using the search term “global climate change” in google scholar and wading through the first few pages, which pretty much confirmed that Oreskes was on the right track, as is this new paper.
    OTOH, since Roger is on record that 450 ppm CO2 would be dangerous we could take that as the dividing line.

  128. Joe K says:

    According to the paper:
    ‘We defined CE researchers as those who signed statements broadly agreeing with or directly endorsing the primary tenets of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report that it is “very likely” that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature in the second half of the 20th century.’
    According to that definition I would certainly be defined as ‘convinced’ (although I am not a climate scientist). My politics are broadly sympathetic to Bjorn Lomborg (not identical, but I use him as a convenient reference point that will be familiar). Many would, on that basis, characterise me as a denier / contrarian / skeptic / ‘unconvinced’, as they would Lomborg.
    In a sense I am much more ‘convinced’ by the analysis in WGI than the analyses in WGII and WGIII which leave me more ‘unconvinced’, as do many policy proposals which purportedly base themselves on the IPCC.
    The paper claims that ‘Because the timeline of decision-making is oftenmore rapid than scientific consensus, examining the landscape of expert opinion can greatly inform such decision-making.’ In my very modest role as a decision maker (a voter and participant in democratic debate) I do not find the paper helpful in this regard. It tells me the weight of scientific opinion is that people are warming the world. I knew that. As, I suspect, does anyone reading PNAS. 

  129. Kloor
    Discussing ‘methodologic flaws’ in this paper in such hamstrung fashion will *not* produce any insights. The very basis of the paper lies in the rhetorical formulation of its argument, and this argument stands outside and a priori to the methods themselves and therefore the significant flaws. Examining the methods alone, would not amount to a credible analysis of this paper.
    Consider how the basic question is formulated in the paper:
    1) A small number of vocal skeptics put forward the view that many scientists are against the consensus (quoting McWright and Dunlap – papers, which are highly partisan).
     
    2) The general public’s trust or doubtfulness is influenced by this claim.
     
    3) Publication metrics of scientists and scholars can evaluate whether they deserve the trust placed on them by the general public (“…conservative, robust, and relevant indicators of relative credibility”)
     
    4) It is possible within reasonable limits, to identify these scientists by utilizing public statements they have signed.
     
    3) Therefore, the issue of trust can be addressed or resolved by examining publication metrics based on signatories to statements.
     
    There are numerous problems with this chain of logic itself. How does one address this issue if all we can discuss is methodology ?

  130. Keith Kloor says:

    Gaythia,

    Yes, blowback is a much better way to put what I meant. Thanks.

  131. Gaythia says:

    Or rather than focusing our efforts on drawing our own arbitrary lines, we ought to be emphasizing the broad spectrum of evidence that supports conclusions based on science.

  132. laursaurus says:

    Gaythia: #111
    “In battling deniers it is important for us not to get locked into a yes/no absolutist mode ourselves. Rather than drawing our own arbitrary lines, we ought to be emphasizing the broad spectrum of evidence that supports conclusions based on science.”
    Why isn’t the perjorative “deniers” acceptable, but not the “w” or the “a” word?

  133. Phil Clarke says:

    <i>But I would be interested in knowing whether or not you agree that a study (such as the one we are discussing here) which , as I had observed, clearly suggests that quantity trumps quality as a measure of “expertise” / “credibility” is far from “convincing”.</i>
     
    I would make the following observations – of course just ‘weighing’ a scientist’s output is a limited measure of credibility. On the other hand it has the virtue of being measurable. In the UK universities are subject to a Research Assessment Exercise every few years, which attempts a similar metric, based on a matrix of publications, submissions and impact. This is considered accurate enough to influence the dispersement of fundings. In other words it is an imperfect means of quantifying expertise, but probably the best we have.
     
    http://www.rae.ac.uk/
     
    On the other hand, I am bemused/amused by the ferocity of the reaction amongst the Fuller/Watts tendency. The finding is is in line with previous surveys of scientific opinion, e.g. EOS Forum. The concensus – I liken it to arguing that 9 out of 10 Dentists recommend a particular brand of toothpaste – is but a minor strand in the tapestry of the case, with but a single entry at Skeptical Science for example.
     
    Lastly the results are so emphatic – 97/3% – that even if the methodology is monstrously flawed, the ‘true answer’, if such a thing exists,  is unlikely to give comfort to contrarian hoping that opinion within the discipline is going to start swinging their way any time soon…..

  134. Keith Kloor says:

    Shub,

    The last thing I want to do is hamstring discussion of the paper. I keep returning to methodology because it seem such an obvious issue to discuss. But by all means, have at it. There’s plenty about the paper to hash out.

  135. Tom Fuller says:

    Regardless of the motivations of the paper’s authors, for too many consensus webloggers this will serve as a metaphorical horse’s head in Judith Curry’s bed. More importantly it will be used by the pitbulls of Christ to discourage others.
     
    Much like the Greenpeace activist who told skeptics ‘we know where you live,’ the arch and snide comments here show that this will be a club held over the head of all in the climate science community.
     
    We already see it now. Arguing over the methodology of a study that could serve the purpose of this paper is like arguing over a strategy that could have won in Iraq.
     
    Nowhere do we see:
    Evaluation of fitness for purpose of the various lists.
    Validation of known examples. Roger Pielke Sr. has already served as a case study. He is a well-known climate scientist and has been adamant about not being a skeptic and of being convinced of the perils of climate change. If his name appeared on the list, it should be a red flag that the list is bad. Instead, the authors appear to take the approach that because his name is on a 20-year-old list, then everything Pielke Sr. has done since is an extended lie. This is science?
    In a way, it is like many other examples of science routinely exposed as flawed on sites such as Climate Audit. The list replaces reality, and there’s no need to check the quality of the data.
     
    But in another way it’s far worse. Again using Pielke Sr. as an example, he recently recounted the story of a planned project he submitted for funding which was rejected despite being favorably reviewed by numerous referees. What do you think it will do to his chances for the next project he plans when he is classified falsely as a skeptic? Were I Roger Pielke Sr. I would be talking to a lawyer.
    Nowhere do we see basic quality control on the data. Wrong jobs, wrong specialties, all noted within 24 hours of publication.
     
    Nowhere do we see efforts to adequately protect the identities of subjects. Small sample sizes mean that authors classed as skeptics can be traced through the paper. The raw list is published on a weblog.
     
    It’s not science.

  136. Keith Kloor says:

    Also, I think Roger (#124) and Hilary (#27) are raising a good question with respect to the definition/meaning of those “tenets.”

  137. bigcitylib says:

    #130  Blowback from whom?  Polls seem to be back where they were before the UEA hack, and we’re down to the same couple thousand bloggers and others hashing it out on the Net.  The Pielkes are angry and aggrieved, but that’s typical for them.  You don’t really think this paper is going to have much negative public effect, do you?  Even if Tom Fuller screams “blacklist” 20 more times?

  138. Joe K says:

    Perhaps it is note worthy that this follows directly on the dispute over coverage of Mike Hulme and Martin Mahony’s article in Progress in Physical Geography. Hulme’s clarification seems not to have been widely disputed, and has been cited by climate activists in the blogosphere (e.g. at Deepclimate):
    ‘The IPCC consensus does not mean ““ clearly cannot possibly mean ““ that every scientist involved in the IPCC process agrees with every single statement in the IPCC! Some scientists involved in the IPCC did not agree with the IPCC’s projections of future sea-level. Giving the impression that the IPCC consensus means everyone agrees with everyone else ““ as I think some well-meaning but uninformed commentaries do (or have a tendency to do) ““ is unhelpful; it doesn’t reflect the uncertain, exploratory and sometimes contested nature of scientific knowledge.’
    http://mikehulme.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Correcting-reports-of-the-PiPG-paper.pdf
    This moves away from the question of methodology, but might bear on the ‘helpfulness’ of the paper, regardless of its technical correctness.

  139. thingsbreak says:

    The idea that this paper has created some sort of “black list” is ludicrous on its face.
     
    Let’s review the bidding, shall we?
     
    The paper does not contain any list. No individuals are named in any way, shape, or form in this paper.
     
    The paper did rely on letters signed publicly and voluntarily to generate data. Let that sink in for a minute.
     
    The imaginary “black list” that this paper doesn’t actually contain exists if it does so at all in the form of voluntary open letters. Has anyone here directed his or her pearl-clutching at the people who actually created these letters/list, i.e. the authors and those signing them?
     
    We wouldn’t want people to get the impression that anyone is turning an innocuous though useful paper into a hysterical claim of McCarthyism for no good reason, would we?
    ——-
    Keith, if this part is out of bounds, please cut just it.
    @135 Tom Fuller
    Please see @86.

  140. thingsbreak says:

    @135 Tom Fuller
    Small sample sizes mean that authors classed as skeptics can be traced through the paper. The raw list is published on a weblog.
     
    Tom, the names were taken from “black lists” open letters created by the authors themselves. You seem to be implying something sinister or malicious when it’s public data that these people went out of their way to ensure others would see. That’s kind of the entire point of signing those sort of “black lists” open letters.

  141. Keith Kloor says:

    BCL (137). You wrote: The Pielkes are angry and aggrieved, but that’s typical for them.

    You haven’t been paying attention to my repeated calls for civility and haven’t yet fully acquainted yourself with the comment policy.

  142. Tom Fuller says:

    thingsbreak, at #86 you cite Roger Pielke’s signature to a petition in 1992. Based on that, how should we treat Stephen Schneider’s climate denial in the 1970s? Is he a skeptic, too?

  143. Tom Fuller says:

    thingsbreak at #140, except when you get it wrong, as the paper did. That’s libel.

  144. Eli Rabett says:

    Tom, you should actually read the paper that Rasool and Schneider wrote.  There was an important note on that estimate.  BTW don’t Rasool Rasool.

  145. Tom Fuller says:

    Rabett, I did.

  146. Banjoman0 says:

    @86 does  nothing to address @135.  The issue is not that the authors made up a criterion and applied it rigorously.  The issue is that the rigorous application of said criterion produces demonstrably c0ntradictory results.  In most scientific endeavors, this would invalidate the criterion.

  147. Keith Kloor says:

    Tom(135):

    You certainly know how to stir the pot. I don’t have a problem with such an evaluation but bringing in your own case examples is problematic (especially when you’re speculating) and only opens the door to all kinds of other rampant speculation about various personalities that people have strong feelings about. So is it possible to do your evaluation without personalizing it?

  148. thingsbreak says:

    @143 Tom Fuller
    except when you get it wrong, as the paper did. That’s libel.
     
    What did the paper “get wrong”, and moreover what is written in the paper that constitutes “libel”?
     
    @142 Tom Fuller
    how should we treat Stephen Schneider’s climate denial
    Non-responsive to my comment.
     
    We don’t need to rehash the merits of the inclusion of the particular person you are upset about- it has been definitively demonstrated that he meets the criteria of the paper. Your personal dislike of those criteria is an altogether different issue.

  149. thingsbreak says:

    @146
    The issue is that the rigorous application of said criterion produces demonstrably c0ntradictory results.
     
    Which results would those be?

  150. Gaythia says:

    @132 . I think I will agree with you, at least to the point where I think that my  use of the word “denier’ should have been carefully qualified.  I do believe that there are large economic entities that realize that their short term economic self interest lies with thwarting environmental regulation.  But I also believe, as was true of the tobacco industry in its regulation battle, the hierarchy of those firms are well aware of the actual science and makes other decisions accordingly.  I feel a pejorative label is appropriate for them, but “denier” isn’t ideal.  It has more to do with active purveyors of  disinformation.
    Skeptics, who question certain aspects of the scientific evidence or its interpretation, are in a different category altogether.  Whether ultimately right or wrong, legitimately raising questions should not be dealt with pejoratively.
     
    Since my interest lies with improving public understanding and support of science, use of terms that emphasize a divide and perpetuate an us/them relationships are also ineffectual.  The public will be best served by approaches that encourage the  evaluation of scientific evidence and to encourage a broad world view that allows for inquiry, and uncertainty.
    Surveys or polls always have to have some framework that creates a divide.  In the current highly politically charged atmosphere, it is not surprising that this rather simple study is met with such controversy.  Or that concerns about the protection of individual identities even need to be considered. This paper should be only one small data point in a general effort to acquaint the public with the current findings of science regarding climate change.
     
     

  151. Arthur Smith says:

    Whether you agree with the criteria in this paper or not, they appear to have been set up in an objective fashion: the voluntary signature of the scientists in question to the documents considered, and inclusion based on a raw paper count. If you have other specific suggestions for objective methods  to partition scientists into two, or more, categories on the subject, that would be great, we could run the same analysis with those categories and compare. As has been noted earlier in this thread, other studies of this sort that have done something like this seem to have come up with a similar division (95+% of climate scientists) on the basic question of humans “unequivocally” causing warming through fossil CO2 emissions, or whatever comparable claim you find apposite.
     
    Then the next question is whether the analysis of those lists of scientists was done in a reasonable fashion – the paper counts, citation counts, etc. I suspect there may be some over-estimation of the counts in the methodology used – but they were open about how they did it and the choices also appear to be objective. There’s no reason to suspect it would be biased against the “unconvinced” group, for instance.
     
    So it’s an objective analysis as far as it goes. Could it be done better? Sure – any kind of science can always be done better. But this result, confirming several previous analyses along different lines, does suggest a pretty compelling conclusion on at least one “consensus” question.

  152. klee12 says:

    Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch conducted a survey of climate scientists
    http://coast.gkss.de/staff/bray/surveyintro.html
    I think the methodology of that survey was much better (and therefore more credible)  than the study under discussion here. I’m not sure I can explain why but the first survey seems more rigorous and more worthy of publication than the second study.
    A second point. Regardless of whether or not the intention was to create a black list, so to say, the study easily leads to … well, unfortunate attitudes IMHO.
    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2010/06/scientists-convinced-of-climate.html
    Naomi Oreskes states that
    <<Those who don’t agree, are, unfortunately””and this is hard to say without sounding elitist–mostly either not actually climate researchers or not very productive researchers.>>
    Roger Pielke Jr reports an unfortunate incident
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/06/do-climate-blacklists-matter.html
    Maybe he’s too sensitive, but then again maybe not. Ink blot I guess
     
    klee12
     

  153. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    Keith- I have an idea about how we can resolve the debate over this paper!
     
    I can come up with a list of those people who think that the paper is well done and another list of those who think it is really bad.  then we can add up the publications of each list having to do with science and policy and see which is more credible.  In that way, we can avoid all this back and forth and just let the numbers speak for themselves. 😉

  154. thingsbreak says:

    Is there still a “debate” about this paper?
     
    It seems as though the principal objections- it creates a “black list”, this non-existent “black list” contains people that don’t meet the paper’s criteria, etc.
     
    No one seems to be disagreeing that different criteria couldn’t have been used or that there is unavoidable loss of nuance inherent in the methodology.
     
    I’m sure everyone will gladly stipulate that Roger, Tom Fuller, and others do and will dislike the paper.
     
    What is the “debate” about at this point?

  155. thingsbreak says:

    It seems as though the principal objections- it creates a “black list”, this non-existent “black list” contains people that don’t meet the paper’s criteria, etc.
    have been demonstrated to be without merit.

  156. Tom Fuller says:

    I think 153 is more accurate than 154.

  157. thingsbreak says:

    @ Tom Fuller
     
    So you wish to stick with the thoroughly discredited meme that somehow the paper- which does not contain any list of names or names of individuals whatsoever, and draws on public signatures for its data- is a “black list”? Good luck with that. I’m sure that will make complete sense outside of your tribe.

  158. Tom Fuller says:

    In.. the references… to… the paper… is the link… to the website… with the names… and the pictures… (nice touch having photographs, don’t you think?)

  159. Gaythia says:

    I think that sustaining a free and democratic society will be made more difficult if publicly signing a petition in support of one’s views is perceived as becoming “blacklisted”.

  160. Tom Fuller says:

    I notice the pictures don’t have bullseyes on them yet.
    Gaythia, I agree with you. You said it simply and that is often best.

  161. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    thingsbreak does not understand that being put on a list that mischaracterizes your views is wrong.
     
    I could start a list of people who think that the world is flat.  And to get on that list I define it as people who publish on this thread in comments 154 and 156.
     
    Sure the methodology is rough and could be done better, but it is objective at least.  And how could the person in 154 and 156 complain?  I mean really, he is the one that put his name therein public view.  All I did was make the list.
     
    thingsbreak, flat earther.  Anyone who listens to him has some ‘splaining to do!

  162. rustneversleeps says:

    killer argument @ 161, roger! rummoli! game, set match!

  163. Shub says:

    The paper conflates the credibility of ‘skeptics’ to the publication metrics of statement signatories and draws a final conclusion that individual skeptics need not be consulted by the media when formulating its views because they belong to this ‘low expertise’ group.

    This is not science.

    Steve Bloom, above, took it to its next step, as the paper enthusiastically suggests.

  164. Paul Kelly says:

    Who will be the first to call it PNASgate? Seriously, this illustrates the wasted effort caused by the climate rational.
    Asked by others but unanswered: “Is Anderegg et al  a peer reviewed  paper?”

  165. Keith Kloor says:

    Eh, I’ve been thinking that, Paul (the peer review question), because I know I’ve read some reader commentary about the PNAS culture elsewhere (I think Roger’s blog).

    Thanks for keeping that one in the air.

  166. JamesG says:

    Thingsbreak
    “That’s not a coherent argument. If the usual public presentation of climate change was that “it’s already too late”, there would be no push for an effective worldwide carbon emissions policy.”
    No it isn’t coherent. Usually those you mentioned say “almost too late” or similar but then they can’t resist adding the supposedly enormous lifetime of CO2, which when properly back-calculated means it is already actually too late. So the incoherence of the more alarmist CO2 cuts arguments is omnipresent. To make it doable/sensible they really have to recalculate the CO2 lifetimes. I obviously parodied too far there but I’m sure you’ve noticed this conundrum by yourself anyway.

    Steering back to the issue of the thread I think one of the reasons for the journalistic “balance” is that most journalists think that Lindzen’s scientific weight is 100 times any others on that list regardless of publications, especially as nobody ever manages to win an argument with him. But can one of the climate scientists here tell me why anyone should be “convinced” that a 3k sensitivity (ie the real point of contention) is scientifically tenable when, as Lindzen argues, the universally agreed physics supports only 1K and the actual data supports only 1K as well so far? I’m bemused that an effective show of hands of believers in a 3K sensitivity (ie Annan and Hargreaves’ Bayesian analysis) should carry the weight that it does. While I already noted that science was always as pettily dogmatic, is it really because cutting CO2 has some kind of ulterior motive for everyone?

    Noticed the “convinced” are usually opposed to finding common ground to achieve multiparty agreement to getting desired cuts. They always say, no we want to emphasize the science and promote cuts regardless of short-term pain. Yet they never give coherent reasons why. Why the need to keep exaggerating the case and polarizing the issue into them and us? They know it hasn’t worked yet and never will. Is the left-right fight more important than the issue? Middle-class angst about consumerism? Guilt over supporting an Iraqi oil war?

    Even getting worked up about 0.6K per century is a bit surreal. Given measurement errors, in another time, another situation, with other worries, we might have marvelled at how incredible stable the global temperature is. If Hadley centre hadn’t been established or Callendar hadn’t had too much time on his hands the idea would have withered on the vine. Somebody might even have reported that manmade CO2 was only 2% of the natural flux and said “big deal”. Which begs the question, how many things are we not studying just now that might turn out to be a bigger actual problem, but we just didn’t get all apocalyptic about it – like will the fish last the next 50 years, for example?

  167. rustneversleeps says:

    Apparently, no one wants to be identified in the “unconvinced by the evidence”- supporting-the-IPCC camp.

    Seems to be a bit of a consensus on this point. Maybe we should circulate a petition.

  168. Zer0th says:

    #153 tut, tut, Roger… plagiarism, see #115  😉

  169. JamesG says:

    @152
    Of course the Von Storch survey is more credible. It’s always better to ask people than assume what they think. And it has the different nuances already there. As a Pravda-like attempt to direct journalistic output then this effort is doomed to irrelevant failure. Now instead of mentioning Oreskes the “convinced” will all mention this new paper and journalists will still just roll their eyes and do exactly what they want to do anyway – and skeptics will continue winning all the debates.

  170. JamesG says:

    As a side issue at least “convinced” and “unconvinced” is a lot better than alarmist and denier or any other labels. I hope it catches on.

  171. laursaurus says:

    Excellent observation, James G!

    Pro-AGW or Anti-AGW makes no sense. Every once in a while, someone will speculate that increased CO2 in the atmosphere or warming up a few degrees might actually be a good thing. But it is pretty difficult to find anyone hoping for ACC (another new term introduced in this paper.)
    Lets start using this and see if it catches on. I hoping eventually to see a thread identifying what policies people would be in favor of implementing regardless of whether or not they are unconvinced of ACC. Maybe transitioning to natural gas until we can get nuclear power up and running.
    That’s for a different thread, though.

  172. thingsbreak says:

    @161 Roger
    thingsbreak does not understand that being put on a list that mischaracterizes your views is wrong.
     
    I believe that kkloor requested that this be dropped, but as you and Tom Fuller seem to be able to continue discussing it without consequence, I assume that I will be allowed to respond?
     
    Your father, by his own public signature on an open letter meets the criteria of the paper. You disagree with those criteria. This has been noted. Repetition of this complaint does not seem to advance the discussion from my perspective.
     
    You want to go beyond that, however, and claim that your father is being misrepresented by being included among those who are “Unconvinced” of the IPCC stance on the role of humans in climate change. Your father regularly states that he “rejects” the “IPCC hypothesis” on anthropogenic climate change.
     
    If this isn’t sufficient evidence to say that he rejects the IPCC line on climate change, I’d like to know what you consider to be a true Scotsman.
     
    @159 Gaythia
    I think that sustaining a free and democratic society will be made more difficult if publicly signing a petition in support of one’s views is perceived as becoming “blacklisted”.
     
    I couldn’t agree more, and I find it incredibly troubling that there are sustained attempts to create this perception by Roger, Tom Fuller, and others. I’m sure I’m not alone in noting that they are the ones pushing this meme- not the authors, not the journal, not the paper itself (which once again did not list any individuals in any way).

  173. Tom Fuller says:

    thingsbreak, I’m not exactly surprised that the paper’s authors decline to endorse its use as a blacklist. But it’s already happening on Joe Romm’s site, with one of the paper’s co-authors participating in the comments.
    Roger Pielke’s signature on a 1992 petition does not make him a skeptic, as even a cursory look through his website and his publications will prove beyond doubt. What it does is show the fundamental mistake of relying on a petition as a proxy for belief. Which everyone seems to understand except the ACC uber CEs.
    If the data is bad, the study has severe problems. If the data indicates that someone we know is not a skeptic is a skeptic, we need to look at the data, not the person who is being labelled as something he clearly is not.
    What part of that don’t you understand?

  174. thingsbreak says:

    The paper drew upon a database of lists already public, created by the signers to disseminate their positions to the public. The paper itself listed no names. Roger, among others, claims that the paper is a “black list”. Marc Morano picks up the meme and runs with it, posting Jim Prall’s email address and devoting blast after blast after blast to advancing Roger and co.’s meme.
     
    How long before this falsehood becomes an article of faith among the “not IPCC” and the “neutral observer” tribes?
     
    Reading Roger’s post, his and Fuller’s comments, and Morano’s “Climate Depot” blasts, etc. and then rereading the paper itself is like falling down the rabbit hole. But this is probably all some sort of misunderstanding of Roger’s actual point. Again.
     
    Or something.

  175. thingsbreak says:

    @ 173 Tom Fuller
    But it’s already happening on Joe Romm’s site, with one of the paper’s co-authors participating in the comments.
     
    Can you clarify, Tom? Are you saying that one of the co-authors is participating in using the paper as a “black list”? I see a post clarifying an aspect of the paper. I see Romm opining, as he does often, that the media shouldn’t pay attention to people he disagrees with. I’m not really sure how any of that pertains to or supports what you wrote.
     
    Roger Pielke’s signature on a 1992 petition does not make him a skeptic
     
    Did I call him a skeptic? Did the paper? His signature makes him an Unconvinced Expert per the criteria of the paper. You disagree with those criteria. Noted. I’m not sure what repeating this is supposed to accomplish.
     
    As to whether or not Pielke Sr.’s current position can be categorized as rejecting that of the IPCC in terms of the human influence on climate, his own writing is clear enough on the subject. Again, while you may disagree with the paper’s criteria the actual facts are not really up for debate.
     
    If the data is bad, the study has severe problems.
     
    If the data are bad, someone should get around to demonstrating so. No one has done so yet, and I’d be interested to see it happen. You might also answer what you believe constitutes “libel” in the paper.

  176. Tom Fuller says:

    If you get the results back from the lab and it has 472 names on it, the first thing you do is a sense check. If the names are scientists who are ‘not convinced of the IPCC position’ the first thing you do is check that they are all scientists. If Madonna’s name is on there, you go back to the data.
    The second thing you do as part of your sense check is look for obvious anomalies. If you see Rachendra Pachauri’s name or Michael Mann or Phil Jones, you go back and check. It’s the same with Roger Pielke Sr.
    This isn’t cheating. It’s what good researchers do.
    So I have a list of 472 names and I see Roger Pielke Sr. on it. What do I do?
    If I’m a scientist, I get the grad off to one side and say we have to go back and check the data. While she’s doing that, I start to check the assumptions.
    Which petition did Pielke sign? When did he sign it? What was the purpose of the petition and how was it worded?
    I then begin to consider the utility of that petition. Was it ambiguous? Was it ‘marketed’ aggressively, collecting signatures without due consideration? Could someone who supports the IPCC sign this in good faith?
    I then begin to consider what happens to my data and my analysis frame if I have to do without this petition, and prepare to contact my co-authors.
    I do this as a good scientist because the data comes back false-to-fact. I know Pielke is convinced–he’s cranky because he doesn’t think the IPCC goes far enough, but neither does James Hansen, and I’m not putting his name on the list no matter how many petitions he signs–I’m not an idiot.
    Because the data is bad, it is my problem. It sure as heck isn’t Pielke’s.
    Now, if I’m a fanatic, my reaction is quite different. I start to tap dance and get my cellphone and call a friend and say, ‘I finally got the old coot! He signed a petition in 1992 and now we can label him, marginalize him and get him and his crazy ideas about land use and deforestation off our stage!’ High fives all around. ‘Let’s see, what’s Joe Romm’s website address…’

  177. Ken says:

    I think this is hilarious. The team is trying to go back in time to when they were winning the debate with the public and have a do over.

  178. thingsbreak says:

    That’s a wonderful glimpse of your internal thought processes, Tom, but it fails to demonstrate where the “bad data” are.
     
    Pielke Sr. signed one of the letters that were used to generate the UEs. This is not up for debate. Instead, you and Roger would like people to believe that it is not reflective of Pielke Sr.’s current views. Not particularly relevant to the paper, but fair enough. Let’s look at what Pielke Sr. says in the year 2010. He “rejects” the IPCC’s “hypothesis” on the relative role of climate forcings. That’s not up for debate either.
     
    Your belief that somehow Jim Prall sought to ensare Pielke Sr. is absurd as well as nonsensical. The central finding of the paper- that the UEs are relatively older, under-published, under-cited, etc.- would actually be increased by excluding Pielke Sr.
     
    Please demonstrate where the bad data are. Please explain what constitutes libel. Please explain how these publicly signed are circulated letters are not “black lists” but rather a paper which does not actually have such a list does.
     
    And while we’re at it, Roger can (please) point out where I attempted to “delegitimize [his] father’s views” based on the “˜92 letter, or based upon anything in this thread, or in the PNAS paper.

  179. thingsbreak says:

    Please explain how these publicly signed and circulated letters are not “black lists” but rather a paper which does not actually have such a list is.

  180. Tom Fuller says:

    Pielke Sr. (and probably many more) is not an Unconvinced Expert. He is convinced that global warming is real, dangerous and must be addressed. He agrees with many, many parts of the IPCC’s findings, but there are areas where he doesn’t think they have gone far enough. He has decades of publications and public statements showing that to be the case. Calling him one damages his reputation, as the people who fund his work and publish his findings are wedded to the IPCC framework. Inaccurately labeling him damages him. Inaccurate… damage… hmm. That’s what you need for libel.
    When Pielke signed that petition, it wasn’t as an Unconvinced Expert. It was as a professional climate scientist exercising every citizen’s right to free speech. Batching the names of many petitions together and sticking a label on them is a blacklist.
     
    As for the bad data, use Google Scholar to look up Al Gore and see how many returns are not peer-reviewed literature (h/t Lawrence Solomon). So far it doesn’t look as if they did anything right. At all.

  181. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    thingsbreak is demonstrating the inkblot quality of this paper.  He asks, “Did I call him a skeptic? Did the paper?”
     
    Well, yes.  If you follow the link to sources provided in the supplementary information you’ll find the following descriptions of the two categories (excerpts from that page are in quotes).
     
    The first category includes those who are called “climate “activists”” who have said that “that climate change is happening, human activity is a major contributor to it, and that prompt action is needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”
     
    The second category includes those who “I’ve covered fifteen skeptic letters and statements ranging from 1992 to the present, plust the skeptics profiled in the film “The Great Global Warming Swidle.” My list currently has every name of signers of each of these 15 documents, totaling 498 individuals. I assert that this yields a broadly inclusive list that captures the great majority of those contrarians presenting themselves as qualified experts or specialists in climate science or related disciplines.”
     
    These categories are methodologically absurd, because they are  not independent.  To again cite my father simply as an example, he has (a) said that climate change is happening, (b) human activity is a major contributor to it, and (c) called for a wide range of actions on greenhouse gases and otherwise.  That would seem to make him a candidate for category 1 not category 2, a “skeptic.”  John Christy is another example, he appears in one of the lists for Category 1, but doesn’t get place there.  Sorry, but this fails social science 101.
     
    The lists are just political contrivances for purposes of delegitimization of individuals who happen to hold certain political views, and that is exactly how the lists are being used across the web.
     
    Delegitimization is a tried and true political tactic, if somewhat below the belt … seeing it in PNAS is remarkable.

  182. Gaythia says:

    My statement that in a free and democratic society one ought to be able to sign a public petition stating one’s opinion without it being construed as a blacklist was not intended to be interpreted as meaning that in real life, in this society, that it is unreasonable for an individual to be concerned about their opinion being misrepresented or the possibility that they might be blacklisted.

    It seems to me that this study used some fairly simple assumptions in an attempt to quantify that in fact, the vast majority of mainstream scientists do support ACC.  At that level, I think that this is a useful and legitimate study.
    We ought to be able to proceed on from there and  go beyond the scope of this study to look at opinions in more complexity. That process does not need to debunk the study, but rather proceed into greater depth.

  183. jerry says:

    From my outside point of view (physicist, intart00bs engineer), I’d say this paper is a troll.  And that all of you have very nicely been trolled, and bit.
    Given that I think it’s a troll, it is enlightening (depressing) to read Mooney and other journalists that cannot recognize it for what it is. It’s one thing for the scientists caught up in the food fight to fall for the troll.  Our dispassionate, neutral, objective, informed journalists should be able to use their long journalist experience to recognize a troll.
    Instead they run with it.
    One of the co-authors of the paper should have been, Yhbt Hand.

  184. GaryM says:

    “Does anyone find this a convincing analysis of credibility?”
    If the question refers to the comparative credibility of supporters of the IPCC AR4 vs. those who have been critiquing it since its publication, I don’t see how.
     
    If two experts both review the same data and the same analyses, and come to different conclusions, then the publication histories of those two individuals are relevant, though not dispositive, in determining their respective credibility. But when their differing opinions depend on exposure to different data and/or different analyses, the degree of relevance is severely limited, if not eliminated.
     
    The list of CE researchers for the PNAS study was apparently based on the IPCC AR4 and a number of letters and statements issued from 2006 though 2008. A few things have happened since then. As a member of the lay public, I would find this study much more persuasive if it indicated that the CE researchers all still supported all of the IPCC’s “tenets” after reading and analyzing all the recent criticisms of the following: the UHI effect on the temperature record; arctic sea ice disappearance/recovery; ten years of no statistically significant warming; the statistical issues re the Hockey Stick; decreasing numbers of climate stations; Yamal and other various tree ring issues; the independence or lack thereof of the three main temperature records; the disappearing/reappearing MWP; vanishing glaciers; etc.
     
    If 98 percent of the “most published” climate scientists were aware of all these issues, had looked at the underlying data, and come to their own independent conclusions, I would find the study quite persuasive. But where is the evidence of that, in the study or otherwise? What I have seen, from following various articles and climate blogs like Real Climate, are summary dismissal, refusal to even consider criticisms, and rhetorical questions like “Why should I waste my time on that?”
     
    Absent some objective evidence that the CE researchers have reviewed and rejected the various critiques that have called some of the IPCC’s “tenets” into question, I don’t see how these statistics demonstrate anything as far as their “credibility” vis a vis those who have leveled those critiques.

  185. Keith Kloor says:

    Over at Skeptical Science, there’s a long thread on the paper, in which Spencer Weart comments:

    “Although I am personally ‘convinced by the evidence’ and am surprised at the number who are not, I have to admit that this paper should not have been published in the present form. I haven’t read any other posts on this; the defects are obvious on a quick reading of the paper itself.”

    He elaborates further in his comment, so read the whole thing if you want to see his take.

  186. TomFP says:

    Whether or not its authors intended the “Galileo” List as a blacklist, the near-certainty of its being used for that purpose was only one of the reasons for refraining from publishing this pabulum.
     
    The more this thread continues, the more clearly the forensic bankruptcy of the warmists’ thinking is revealed. You can assemble all the faux “credibility” you like by counting heads, but as has been pointed out, if the glacially imperturbable Lindzen keeps coming along and discrediting your “tenets” (to quote the paper) by disconfirming the theories that underly them, it will avail you nothing. To paraphrase Einstein, “A thousand adherents can never prove a theory right, but a single experiment can prove it wrong.” Cruel, but fair. And that’s science, or it was until Climate “Science”. Now it’s coming back to climate, so my advice to CAGW enthusiasts is to get used to (learn?) it, and start deciding whether, like Judith, you prefer to be a scientist than a climate scientist, since they are clearly incompatible categories. You are sitting on the distant end of a branch that is vigorously being sawn through. Not much time left to shift towards the trunk.

  187. thingsbreak says:

    @181 Roger
    Well, yes.  If you follow the link to sources provided in the supplementary information…
     
    In other words, I did not. The paper did not. The SI did not. Even the link provided in the SI did not (though it referred to the open letters- er “black lists”) as being of the “skeptic” position.
     
    Why is that so difficult for you to acknowledge, Roger?
     
    It’s amusing to see you talk about attempts at delegitimization and political contrivances, when you’ve bent over backwards to portray something that has no list as a “black list” and “McCarthyism”.
     
    But as I said to Tom Fuller, I’d love to see how this branding attempt plays outside of your tribe. Doesn’t seem to be gaining any traction so far, but perhaps after it’s passed from Morano to the larger “not-IPCC” blogosphere to the right wing political blogs it may actually start to catch on among people without an axe to grind. We’ll see.
     
    I’d also like to say that I’m a little disgusted by the implicit and explicit impugning of Jim’s motives. Disagreeing with his and the paper’s methodology is fine, but he’s done nothing to justify that kind of disrespect. I’m rather surprised that’s being tolerated here.

  188. Tom Fuller says:

    Well, now that this is over the takeaways might be:
     
    There are 472 published climate scientists that ACC CE believes are skeptic. That’s a lot more than the handful usually referred to.
     
    And apparently it’s okay for lay people to talk science with the big folks.
     
    So it wasn’t a total waste of time.

  189. Weart says
     
    Many scientists might have been “unconvinced by the evidence” and yet chosen not to volunteer to sign a politicized statement that “strongly dissented” from the IPCC’s conclusions — which is the only criterion the authors of the paper had. What if they weakly dissented or are just, like many scientists, shy about taking a public stand? You don’t have to invoke groupthink, fear of retribution or all that.

    The statistics are certainly interesting, but must be interpreted as “2-3% of people who have published 20 climate papers are willing to publicly attack the IPCC’s conclusions.”



    The paper discusses the publication record of those who actually have taken a public position. The paper does claim that the 2 – 3 % numbers obtained elsewhere are consistent with the results obtained. It does find that of the top 50, 100, and 200 most highly cited of their sample of 1300, only around 3 % are in the “unconvinced” category.  In other words, of the most highly published group, the proportion taking a public stand as skeptical is the same of the proportion at large that is skeptical, taking a published stand or otherwise.

    The paper proceeds to conclude that this amounts to “close agreement with expert surveys”. Clearly, such agreement does not extend to the whole dataset, where about a third are in the unconvinced category by construction. Is this reasonable?

    I don’t think it’s an open and shut case, but it’s plausible. Consider the possibility that the proportions are indeed as obtained by previous surveys. Presume, to start, that a refusal to sign surveys is independent of position; that is, the proportions of belief among those willing to sign is comparable to the proportions of belief among the entire population. Then, those compiling a “convinced” declaration will have many prominent scientists to choose from, while those compiling an “unconvinced” declaration will have few. Therefore, they will have to recruit more obscure signatories to make a convincing list. Consequently, the top publishers will have proportions comparable to their proportions in the field, while the less celebrated researchers will have “unconvinced” over-represented.

    Admittedly, the presumption that “the proportions of belief among those willing to sign is comparable to the proportions of belief among the entire population” is not obvious. One could make an argument for a bias in either direction. That aid, the similarity of this result with others tends to confirm the “3%” estimate, rather than calling it into question.

    I think this is the reasoning behind the claim. The claim perhaps should have been spelled out in more detail, but the 3% of the most published authors is a striking feature of the data that is orthogonal to the way the data were collected. To fail to call attention to it would be to miss what the data is telling us.

  190. Stephen Pruett says:

    Pielke (181) is right on all points mentioned.  It seems absolutely bizarre to use signatures on opposition petitions to categorize scientists.  An appropriate experimental method would be to identify all authors of climate science papers in the last 3 years, then read their scientific work to characterize them as convinced or unconvinced by by specific objective criteria.   Of course this would have been difficult and time consuming and would have produced a nuanced view because many authors (hopefully) maintain a rather neutral position that can be influenced by new data or concepts, so they could not be categorized by their writings.  However, this would include only active scientists.  It would not throw into the mix people in either camp with no recent publications but who signed a petition.  A process of unknowing self-selection (by signing a petition or participating in the IPCC) .  Self-selection often introduces confounders into a variety of studies (people who are productive unconvinced scientists-may not have time or interest in petitions and the criterion of IPCC membership identified or should have identified a number of unconvinced scientist as convinced).  Unless such confounders are considered and addressed, the conclusions don’t mean much.  I don’t think this would pass peer review in an epidemiology journal, and that is what this exercise most resembles to me.  I am not an epidemiologist, but I think the problems that can be associated with self selection have been well documented.

  191. Tom Fuller says:

    Sorry Michael. Game over.

  192. Phil Clarke says:

    “I’m not exactly surprised that the paper’s authors decline to endorse its use as a blacklist. But it’s already happening on Joe Romm’s site, with one of the paper’s co-authors participating in the comments.”
    Whatever is or is not happening at Climate Progress, it is demonstrably impossible to use this paper as a black list, as it contains no names. There is a list of names on the author’s website, but then that was true before the paper was published; this has publicised it, that’s all.

    Alan Titchmarsh is a popular author TV presenter in the UK, most well known for being the anchor on ‘Gardener’s World’. He has a Diploma in Horticulture. His relevance? He appeared on the list of skeptics compiled, published and regularly udpated, presumably with US Tax dollars, by Senator Inhofe’s Office . I fail to see any significant difference between that exercise, a similar one by the Heartland and Prall’s web-list. What I did not see was anything like the outrage currently erupting out of WUWT and other venues. Personally I find this over-reaction to what is little more than an opinion survey both telling and hugely amusing. [If I were Jewish and had lost loved ones in WWII, maybe my sense of humour might be a little more stressed…..]

    Game Over? No. But the word ‘game’ is well-chosen. 😉

  193. Roger D. says:

    @ William Newman (#80): “E.g., as far as I know no macroeconomic model today displays performance which adequately justifies the academic and policymaker enthusiasm for macro models ca. 1970.”

    This is true. What happened in the 70s was that the many large scale macroeconomic models all had built into them a very well attested empirical relationship between wages and unemployment (due to an engineer!). The models all broke down in the 70s largely because this relationship collapsed. Two people had figured this out in advance (1968), Milton Friedman and Ed Phelps, by using some pure theory. Problem was the the empirical relationship didn’t incorporate expectations about future inflation, so once inflation started to matter, the empirical relationship just shifted up, more or less as the two of them predicted.

    An interesting question is whether all the current crop of climate models could suffer from a similar problem. It seems perhaps less likely, as they are not subject to the issue that makes economics different from physical systems, namely that the current behavior of actors in the economic system depends on their expectations about future states of the system. (E.g., if everyone expects their bank to go bust, this is self-fulfilling, leading to multiple equilibria.)

    But the greater uncertainties in economics makes it much easier to disagree, vehemently if necessary, with each other, without any suggestion that one is either a denier or anything else (well, Krugman might disagree with me here). I’m not aware of any lists existing putting people into one camp or another, even though there is some tribalism around.

    This illustrates the differences (quoted here), from a paper by Deepak Lal (UCLA, 2000): “My friend John Flemming who was then chief economist at the Bank of England, and also chairing a subcommittee of one of the UK’s research councils, told me on reading the lecture that I would get nowhere by taking on the scientists who, at a meeting he attended to distribute funds for climate research, had explicitly said that they were not going to behave like economists by disagreeing with each other!”

  194. gilbert says:

    Looks like just another attempt to circle the wagons and declare victory.
     
    I think the credibility is in the eye of the believer.

  195. Benjamin says:

    “Ultimately, of course, scientific confidence is earned by the winnowing process of peer review and replication of studies over time.”
     
    Funny, I always thought scientific confidence was earned by comparing theory to observations.
    As a scientist, i don’t understand how PNAS allows this kind of publication : since when does Nature acts according to who published most ?
    “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your guess is or how smart you are or what your name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
    R.Feynman

  196. gilbert says:

    From an anonymous commenter named Scott on WUWT:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/22/the-blacklist-of-climate-science/#more-20897
    Examples like this illustrate why I hide behind anonymity when posting at this blog and commenting elsewhere. It’s also why I stay quiet about the topic when it comes up among my peers. As an up and coming scientist, making my skepticism clear, especially to certain individuals, would be career suicide. It doesn’t matter that I have well above the average number of first-author publications while still a grad student, the politics of AGW are such that I wouldn’t be able to find an academic position at most institutions if my skepticism were known.
     
     

  197. AMac says:

    Michael Tobis #189
     
    You address the important question of how representative the 908 qualified (>19 climate publications) climate science researchers are.  To answer this question, Anderegg et al. would have had to supply a number for the “NS” (non-signer) cohort.  Giventhe description of their “Google Scholar” screening method, it seems that would have been a straightforward exercise.
     
    Knowing (cf. speculating about) the numbers of NSs would make the paper’s findings much more informative.  As a referee, I would have insisted that the authors do this extra piece of work.
     
    (Longer version of this comment at Lucia’s.)

  198. Judith Curry says:

    I’ve been looking at the database quite extensively.  Even if you accept that the datbase is accurate and individuals have been accurately categorized, the big flaw in the analysis is this.
     
    The scientific litmus test for the paper is the AR4 statement: “anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century”.


    The climate experts with credibility in evaluating this statement are those scientists that are active in the area of detection and attribution.  “Climate” scientists whose research areas is ecosystems, carbon cycle, economics, etc speak with no more authority on this subject than say Freeman Dyson.

    I define the 20th century detection and attribution field to include those that create datasets, climate dynamicists that interpret the variabiity,  radiative forcing, climate modelling, sensitivity analysis, feedback analysis.  With this definition, 75% of the names on the list disappear.  If you further eliminate people that create datasets but don’t interpret the datasets, you have less than 20% of the original list.

    The strong convictions of the other (larger) group of ecologists, economists etc strongly supporting the IPCC view, well it doesn’t seem to be coming from their own investigations on detection/atribution, but presumably from faith in the IPCC “system”, political reasons, whatever.  In any event, their opinions on this should not carry any particular weight.

    If you asked these 20% that are the experts on detection and attribution if they would prefer the litmus test statement to read “very likely” or “likely”, i suspect a large number would feel much more comfortable with the “likely” level of certainty, including many in main public supporters group.  I think that some of the people in the skeptics group would actually be ok with the “likely” confidence level (e.g. Pielke, Michaels).

    Also, with regards to the large number of people active in detection/attribution research that were not categorizable by the tenets of this study, i suspect there is a pretty much normal distribution, with many people being undecided, unconvinced by the high level of certainty often portrayed by the public spokespersons on each side.

    Finally, a few comments on the utility of publication count and citation count as a useful metric for expertise, credibility, or impact in climate research.  I would agree that there is probably a minimum level of publication numbers/citations to establish expertise, credibility or impact.  But beyond this minimum, the numbers don’t scale all that well with overall impact in the field.  Some of the true giants in the field don’t have very high numbers, and nearly all of the people (even associate/support scientists) involved in the creation of datasets that everyone uses (e.g. CRUT) have very high numbers.

    I found the table including “fellows of a learned society” to be more interesting, which includes the scientists deemed by their peers to have had the greatest impact, and are sorted by number of publications rather than citations.  Yes, some deserving people are not on this list particularly skeptics, but overall i think it is a better list to use for the non-skeptics in terms of evaluating influence.  And if you cull this list to include only the scientists active in detection/attribution (which i have done), i think you have a more accurate list of the most influential scientists on this subject

    So i think this is an interesting database (not convinced of its accuracy and not sure how to intepret some of the discrepancies i’ve identified).  But I don’t think it was appropriately analyzed in the PNAS paper in context of “credibility” , particularly in how the scientists were classified.

    How important is this?  well it is providing much entertaining fodder for the blogosphere.   And it reminds me of why we need tenure at the universities (RP Jrs points are of concern).

  199. J Bowers says:

    196 gilbert: “From an anonymous commenter named Scott on WUWT:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/22/the-blacklist-of-climate-science/#more-20897
    Examples like this illustrate why I hide behind anonymity when posting at this blog and commenting elsewhere.”
     
    Hasn’t Anthony torn a strip off him for being anonymous, like he does with others who post things he doesn’t like, even going so far as to dog whistle clues about their occupation and location? I’m so happy to see he no longer does such things….
    Why, even my first name was outed recently. Not on WUWT, I’ll add.

  200. Gaythia says:

    Judith Curry @198 makes many worthwhile points, but I think that this process is much more than “entertaining fodder for the blogosphere”.  I believe that this discussion has raised many significant  issues regarding how climate scientists can and should be identified, and by extension, how scientists are recognized overall.  Curry mentions the importance of academic tenure.    As a chemist who formerly worked in industry, I know that there are many scientists who fear sticking their heads out above the corporate line.

    Many of the comments above have discussed the limitations and biases of the current peer review system.  This discussion is essentially a much broader review process, one with a fairly open ended concept of  “peer”.  It is my belief that  this discussion will lead to an acceleration of efforts to address the problems raised.  Thus, I think that the publication of this study was worthwhile.  I anticipate reading the new and improved versions shortly.

  201. Bob Koss says:

    It seems their count of published works by climate authors has serious problems. Here is the link to the page.
    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/climate_authors_table_by_clim.html

    I did a data sanity check on Mathew Collins since his name is unfamiliar to me and yet he is shown to have the third most published works with a total of 726.

    Clicking on his name takes you to his home page. From there he links to papers he has authored. He lists 77 papers. 66 of those have been published, with the remaining 11 in press, submitted, or in preparation. First paper in 2000.
     
    I doubt Mathew’s modesty is the reason for the 660 paper discrepancy. What are the chances the figures for the remaining authors are correct?

  202. Michael Larkin says:

    Methodology, schmethodology.
     
    Before the 1960’s, when the theory of continental drift was not accepted, an exercise like this, conducted with the most impeccable methodology imaginable, would have overwhelmingly come out against it, or, putting it the opposite way, overwhelmingly on the side of then prevalent theory. But that would have said nothing about the actual validity of continental drift, would it?
     
    If you prefer a positive example, such an exercise, had it been performed on Einstein’s relativity theory prior to its acceptance – even if it had come up with a vast majority of qualified scientists in favour of it – wouldn’t have actually influenced the truth of the theory. That would have had to await the empirical evidence.
     
    If the science is incontrovertible and sufficient evidence is in, why would an exercise like this be necessary? Even if the methodology *is* impeccable, it can’t actually perform any useful scientific function. It can’t prove that the theory the majority/most qualified/cleverest support is true. Only actual empirical data can do that. So why aren’t we being presented with that? It has to be there if it’s true, yes?
     
    Who knows; maybe it is there. But to Joe Sixpack, there’s a funny smell about all this. When somebody doesn’t believe him, he knows that it’s pointless to bring a dozen of his mates to testify on his behalf – if, let’s say, he’s got the actual proof on videotape and could just show it.
     
    To hell with exercises like this. They prove nothing, regardless of methodology. All they do is make ordinary people even more suspicious. One may sneer at them, but at the end of the day, if climate science orthodoxy loses them, it’s going nowhere along with the horse that brung it. This could be, more than anything, the next instalment in a long-running soap opera about kamikaze pilots. It’s totally bemusing and comes across as infantile.

  203. bigcitylib says:

    @199 The problem with this approach is that there are a number of “skeptical” scientists who will tailer their answers to attribution at etc. depending on the audience.  Won’t name names, but in some cases it looks to be deliberate to exactly achieve the appearance of nuanced thought that isn’t there in reality.

    In some ways, signing one of these lists is a better metric, as they indicate that, at some point in their career, the scientist in question was ready to hop a train to crazy town

  204. Judith Curry says:

    bob koss, i have also found alot of problems with the dataset in terms of incorrect numbers.

  205. Banjoman0 says:

    If there are significant errors, should that require a correction or retraction?

  206. Lewis Deane says:

    Michael Tobis,
     
    At the top of this thread, you say  (first emphasis mine) “The paper is not in itself an appeal to authority. It’s an attempt to determine where the conventional wisdom lies, or in other words, what authoritative opinion says in the event that there is an authoritative opinion.”
    Isn’t this, what is the jargon?, “psychological dissonance”.
    And, talking of jargon, doesn’t this very (unintentionally) funny paper remind one of those innumerable (in)famous “post-modernist” submissions, with their obscure, obscurantist nonsense, a real emperor with no clothes?
    CE and UE – they must be real, discernible variables, no?
     

  207. Judith Curry says:

    bigcitylib:  real scientists change their mind if the evidence changes, and the evidence has certainly changed since 1992.  Political advocates are less likely to change their minds.  I’ve changed my mind since 2007 (i am now in the “likely” category), as there is new scientific data, 5 more years of data relative to what was considered in the AR4, and climategate has caused me to have less confidence in some of the data sets and how the consensus has been established.

  208. Barry Woods says:

    Sir John Houghton told me last week that the Oxburgh Enquiries exonerated the scientists…

    This comment from the enquiry never made it inot the report:

    Professor Kelly:

    I worry about the sheer range and the ad hoc/subjective nature of all the adjustments, homogenisations etc of the raw data from different places.

    There is no evidence of overt scientific malpractice. That is not to absolve the authors of conscious or unconscious bias in making all the choices referred to above.”

    And form a computer scientists pesrpective (mine)

    Professor Kelly also said:
    “I take real exception to having simulation runs described as experiments (without at least the qualification of “˜computer’ experiments). It does a disservice to centuries of real experimentation and allows simulations output to be considered as real data. This last is a very serious matter, as it can lead to the idea that real “˜real data’ might be wrong simply because it disagrees with the models! That is turning centuries of science on its head.”

    Remeber Mike Hulme works at UEA, and part of the IPCC team…

    He is a post normal scientists – that apparently believes in ‘creating knowledge’ out of consensus…

    When will the vast majority of real climate scientists – stop this IPCC inspired cargo cult?

    Professor Kelly again.

    “the starting data is patchy and noisy, and the choices made are in part aesthetic, or designed to help a conclusion. rather than neutral.”

    Judith already knows this, I saw her agreement with Kelly at Climate Audit…

    Up to and throughout this exercise, I have remained puzzled how the real humility of the scientists in this area, as evident in their papers, including all these here, and the talks I have heard them give, is morphed into statements of confidence at the 95% level for public consumption through the IPCC process. This does not happen in other subjects of equal importance to humanity, e.g. energy futures or environmental degradation or resource depletion. I can only think it is the ‘authority’ appropriated by the IPCC itself that is the root cause.

    and this one about dendrochronology:

    My overriding impression that this is a continuing and valiant attempt via a variety of statistical methods to find possible signals in very noisy and patchy data when several confounding factors may be at play in varying ways throughout the data.

  209. dhogaza says:

    “Before the 1960’s, when the theory of continental drift was not accepted, an exercise like this, conducted with the most impeccable methodology imaginable, would have overwhelmingly come out against it, or, putting it the opposite way, overwhelmingly on the side of then prevalent theory. But that would have said nothing about the actual validity of continental drift, would it?”

    Yes, it would have said a lot about the actual validity of continental drift, as the proposed mechanism was that the continents somehow went plowing through the sea floor.

    Most unphysical.  Geologists were absolutely correct in rejecting that mechanism.

    Of course, the survey would’ve said nothing about the scientific consensus regarding plate tectonics, which hadn’t been figured out yet.

    Once a plausible mechanism (plate tectonics) was developed, geology adapted it quite quickly, and the earlier proposal that continents was accepted.

    Understand that Wegener wasn’t the first to notice that one could fit the continents together like a jigsaw puzzle.  Wegener was proposing a *mechanism* and he was *wrong*.

  210. Lewis Deane says:

    Actually, you could have two conclusions from this paper: a “strong” and a “weak” one:

    Assuming, as I do that there is nothing methodologically innovative or, even, professional in this paper and, putting the highly irritating attempt to pretend otherwise by it’s use of jargon, the “weak” conclusion could be that, for an afternoons frolic of an exercise, this gives some credence that there is a strong “political” agreement among a majority of published climate scientist .

    The “strong” conclusion is that this means anything about the science or, worse, that we should ignore and exclude a la Romm those critical of especially the policy (hence “political”) bent of parts of the IPCC.
    Is anyone seriously entertaining the latter (apart from Romm, of course)?
    I hope not!

  211. Judith Curry says:

    Check this out, the list of AR5 lead authors has been released.  IMO, the lead authors should be new to the IPCC (not retreads from previous assessment reports), credible scientists in terms of number of publications/citations and external recognition, and in the “gray area” where they are not signing activist documents and haven’t made sweeping public statements about climate change.  The PNAS table provides a good resource to check out these new lead authors.
     
    Against these standards, i would say the AR5 list scores much higher than the AR4 list, and I am particularly excited to see some of these names.

  212. HaroldW says:

    Re: #201 & #204
    While there are errors in the tabulation, surely the correction of same would not change the general tenor of the results. [Seems to me I’ve heard that before regarding dendrochronology & land temperature measurements/UHI.]

    Aside from the epistemological issue of using publications as a proxy for credibility, to me the key point is that there is far more than one issue in play. Anthropogenic vs. natural (Dr Curry’s “likely” vs. “very likely”). Greenhouse gases vs. other anthropogenic sources (e.g. land use, soot). All greenhouse gases vs. CO2 alone. Climate sensitivity (degrees warming per W/m^2 forcing). Regional effect sensitivity (what effects follow per K of warming). And each of these topics presents a range of viewpoints, rather than binary choices.

    Policy preferences depend upon one’s opinion on all of the subjects. By conflating the various topics and classifying scientists as either UE or CE, the authors are attempting to create a false consensus for policy decisions.

  213. Bob Koss says:

    This paper we are discussing is truly pathetic. They’ve missed a lot of papers.
    They  used the word “climate” as a search criteria for papers and they show Lindzen’s most cited paper having 372 citations.
    Here is a 1987 Lindzen paper held by Georgia Tech with 485 citations on Google Scholar. It has been scanned and isn’t searchable.  The idea of older papers being scanned blows a big hole in the paper counts of scientists who have been around for 30-50 years.
    Paper title: On the role of sea surface temperature gradients in forcing low-level winds and convergence in the tropics
    http://pacific.eas.gatech.edu/~tao/download/Lindzen_Nigam_1987.pdf

  214. Judith,

    Why should the signing of “activist” statements mean that someone should not be lead author for the IPCC? I’m not in favour of blacklisting anyone.

    The lead authors should (besides having a good scientific track record) be representative of the larger sample of climate scientists. Ie if 30% of them signed “activist” statements and 3% signed “skeptical” statements, then the lead authors should ideally have a similar distribution. No blacklisting in either direction, please.

    Some have mentioned not to come out about their skeptical opinion. The opposite may also happen. When the open letter of Dutch scientists regarding the alleged IPCC errors circulated in Holland, there was some pressure not to sign.

  215. Keith Kloor says:

    People should wander over to Roger Pielke Jr. latest post on the paper. There’s much to chew on. Including a quote from Steve Schneider from this SciAm story.

  216. Judith Curry says:

    Bart, the IPCC is supposed to be policy neutral.  If you have activists working on the IPCC, it is probably not going to end up as policy neutral, or be perceived as policy neutral.

  217. Gaythia says:

    Excluding anyone who has an opinion is not really policy neutral.

  218. lucia says:

    Gaythia–
    I don’t think what Judy is describing is excluding people because of their opinions; it is considering their activities.
    If someone is actively campaigning about climate change, appointing them to the IPCC will strengthen their voice and so will tend to advance their political goal.  Also, it will be difficult to persuade the public that the IPCC documents were not skewed in the direction of the opinions of those members whose very public voices are involved in PR campaigns promoting policy.

    Of course no one should be blacklisted. But very public activism represents  a conundrum for the IPCC which is supposed to be policy neutral and which, ideally should both be policy neutral and be perceived as policy neutral.
    It seems to me that all other things being equal, it is best for the IPCC to avoid appointing as lead author people who have become political figures in climate by lending their names to political documents intended to sway the public’s view.  On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with having these people involved at a lower level. In fact, I consider that sort of involvement desirable.

  219. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Judith,
    I’d suggest that the IPCC is policy neutral in the sense that it is agnostic about policy instruments (i.e. C&T vs carbon tax vs efficiency standards) and targets.
    If one defines a climate activist as someone who thinks that something should be done to mitigate/adapt to climate change then I suspect the list of eligible and qualified authors would be very small indeed.
    Off topic but, is there any chance that you could give a short summary as to why you believe climate sensitivity is <1.5C?

  220. Gaythia says:

    I think that hidden agendas are much more of a threat than overt ones.  Knowingly having a variety of opinions and evaluation possibilities, should in my opinion, lead to the best conclusions.
    What kind of society would we end up with if scientists feel restricted from making their opinions public?

  221. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    The IPCC is not policy neutral.  WGIII is focused on implementation of the FCCC.  With the FCCC in shambles the IPCC has nothing to say.
     
    Marlowe Johnson is wrong when he says that the IPCC is agnostic about policy instruments.  It discusses only in cursory manner carbon tax proposals.
     
    The only way to achieve neutrality in an assessment like the IPCC is to achieve a plurality of views, meaning explicit attention to achieving a balance.  Excluding activists won’t work.  They need to be included, but not dominant.  As Richard Tol has well noted the economists chosen come from a very narrow group.

  222. Lewis Deane says:

    Sometimes I despair at the level of maturity of our civilization – which this paper doesn’t help.
    The number of comments which appear to use a kind of infantile reasoning – I mean just elementary mistakes of reasoning – is, what should we say, mystifying. Logic and reasoning are bit like grammar – only the lazy (or the ‘enthusiastic’) make the egregious mistakes .
    Perhaps we no longer teach well – and I leave this purposively general since it is true across the board.
    Think!

  223. Lewis Deane says:

    Irony – I left the “a” in a “bit like grammar” out, so The England team drinks are on me!
    But I just think, and Kieth Kloor and Judith Curry are exemplas, a certain self examination and intellectual honesty would raise the tone.
    To say of Roger Pielke snr ( or jnr – this strange affectation of the Americans to name ones son after one I’ve never or only partially understood!) is, let us say, persona non grata, because of his well reviewed and documented critiques, is nuts, surely!?

  224. lucia says:

    Marlowe Johnson Says:
    June 23rd, 2010 at 12:01 pm
    Asked Judy

    Off topic but, is there any chance that you could give a short summary as to why you believe climate sensitivity is <1.5C?
    Where in the world did you get the notion Judy believes this?!

  225. Joe K says:

    A bit late, I will add one more comment on methodology.

    It seems to me that key word searches, publication and citation counts are a very poor proxy for real understanding.

    To assess a paper requires reading it (gasp!) and setting it in the context of what else is known to give it appropriate weight. It would then be necessary to arrive at a conclusion as to the state of science taking into account all available publications. To do this across the whole field of climate science would of course be a huge job. It would require many authors, probably working over several years…

    The PNAS paper seems to be an attempted short cut to prop up the credibility of the the IPCC in public debate. I don’t see that it’s purpose is, or claims to be, anything more. But the IPCC is surely more credible on its face than this single publication. If the IPCC is not seen by some as credible why should this PNAS paper be seen as any more credible?

  226. Lewis Deane says:

    Bert Verhagen,
    But surely this is all beneath one – you are wrong to say that this “study” highlights a consensus about the science – unless you disregard the rather hazy search criterion – could you rephrase your comment at #30 to reflect this?
    Surely his is not worth much more than an off-afternoons entertainment?

  227. It is easy to apply reductio ad absurdum to Judith Curry’s #216.
     
    Suppose evidence emerged that convinced every qualified scientist on earth with three exceptions that, hmm, say for the sake of argument that helium extraction from mineral deposits must be reduced by 99% within 5 years or dire consequences would ensue. Suppose the evidence were so compelling that all (with the three exceptions) would have so stated, publicly and vehemently, at the time the IPCC were being staffed. According to Curry’s criterion, only the three unconvinced scientists would be eligible to participate in the IPCC, and the advice regarding helium (at least) would be drastically skewed.
     
    In fact we do see this phenomenon, though not to the above extreme. Persons whose opinions are outside the mainstream regarding sensitivity are given far more voice in the process than their numbers or scientific success would indicate. The whole controversy here seems to be based on the idea that it is illegitimate to gather evidence to make that point. Far from being blacklisted, the outliers get far too much attention, and this is a key to why we are twenty years behind in implementing a sound policy.
     
    Coming back to IPCC, had the press done an effective job for the last thirty years, scientists would not feel compelled to participate in public discussion of science policy, and such participation would be rare. But that hasn’t happened yet.
     
    Because the public is ill-informed on matters of consequence in the real world, there is an ethical obligation for scientists to try to repair that. To be sure, those scientists who find the evidence most alarming will differentially self-select for such duties. To exclude them from the IPCC will thus systematically exclude scientists who perceive high risk, causing the uncertainties to be understated and the worst case risks to be suppressed in the reports.
     

  228. J Bowers says:

    I think the IPCC should just get on with it. There’s no secret to success, but there’s a secret to failure; trying to please everyone (it’s not possible). I also trust this batch of lead authors will be receiving medals in advance for the crap they’ll be put through simply because they’re lead authors on an IPCC report. You know it’s true.

  229. Lewis Deane says:

    Re #215 I’ve told you I like you Kieth and you prove me right once again. This cross fertilization between blogs is starting to get really interesting – though, I must admit it’s hard to keep up. If a comment I make repeats or is a bit wayward, please feel free to delete. (OT which is best the USA topping the group or England squeezing through! Sorry!)

  230. MarcC says:

    @Bart,

    I respectfully submit that science isn’t about matching the population profiles. Science is about evidence and observations, not population profiles or political consensus or racial quotas or whatever.

    In the spirit of a thought-experiment, here is a counter example to the idea that a scientific body should have a mixture of believers and skeptics matching that of the general population or that of the population of scientists. In the early 1900s, there were no patent office clerks in the recognized ranks of scientists (patent office clerk is not a recognized title for a reputable scientist). Therefore, Albert Einstein should not have been allowed to publish. Further, no one should have sought experimental evidence to confirm or disprove Einstein’s theories, since Einstein’s position as a patent office clerk did not fit the normal population profile of scientists.

  231. Lewis Deane says:

    Michael Tobis,
    You seem to wish to jump for the biscuit before it’s even there – there is no decision on whether the “emails” were gained illegally or not – let’s wait on that endless legal inquiry!

  232. Lewis Deane says:

    Kieth, it’s very difficult to both read and comment – why should I comment is one question? – but, the other is can you make it easier to tag and comment – maybe it’s my browser?

  233. J Bowers says:

    Re 229 Lewis Deane.
    The England team visited an orphanage in Soweto yesterday. “It was a wonderful opportunity to bring a smile to the faces of those who face an uphill struggle and impossible odds.”… said little Kagiso, aged 6.
     
    Sorry, OT.

  234. Dr. Curry wrote (@198):

    “the big flaw in the analysis is this.
     
    “The scientific litmus test for the paper is the AR4 statement: “anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature over the second half of the 20th century”.
    […]
    “The strong convictions of the other (larger) group of ecologists, economists etc strongly supporting the IPCC view, well it doesn’t seem to be coming from their own investigations on detection/atribution, but presumably from faith in the IPCC “system”, political reasons, whatever.  In any event, their opinions on this should not carry any particular weight.” [emphasis added -hro]

    Aye, there’s the rub. 

    Isn’t it high time to put the breaks on this steamroller, that the activists/scientist-advocates have been driving – with this particular PNAS “study” being nothing more than yet another injection of artificial “fuel” to keep it going?

  235. Lewis Deane says:

    #48 Jim Prall,
    Do you not understand how counter productive and irrational your work is – as well as scientifically meaningless?
    Just when certain people are trying, in an irrational hope of there own, to bring dialog, you come out with the red flags and the white.
    Back to square one. O well, life is about getting up from the canvass!

  236. Tom Fuller says:

    I have used bibliometrics on behalf of my clients for over 15 years. It can be a useful tool if its limitations are recognised and kept well in mind.

    I frequently use it (am using it today, in fact) to measure patent activity, using Scirus.com. It’s useful to get an indication of growth of interest in a sector. As long as I remember that there are duplicate filings at different jurisdictions, that databases were added to Scirus at different times, that not all patent applications have merit, and that patent examiners are added to and subtracted from government payrolls as budgets require, I can say that patent activity for wind turbines is roughly double what it was five years ago. That helps my clients.

    But choosing bibliometrics as the primary data source for evaluating the publishing record of individual scientists fails. The operative lesson comes from Naomi Oreskes, who attempted to use bibliometrics to discover the percentages of supporters vs. skeptics regarding climate change.

    Due perhaps to haste or inexperience, Ms. Oreskes failed to find a large number of pertinent publications that would have changed her reported results. In an article I wrote in January I detailed how a 10 minute search found 12 articles by prominent skeptics such as Lindzen, Christy, etc., that should have been considered in her evaluation, but didn’t make it into her data collection scheme.

    The key to using bibliometrics is using it as a guide, not a primary source.  As I wrote yesterday, results must be sense-checked with knowledge of the real world. The authors of the PNAS paper should have vetted the 472 names returned from their search more carefully, understanding the political implications of a list of non-believers.
    But their error was compounded when they attempted to gauge the number of citations by the scientists they looked at. Using a single source, such as Google Scholar, is not horrible. But they needed to do due diligence using other sources.

    They make no mention of searching non-English journals, and it is already evident that their citation record is woefully incomplete. At my site I am getting reports of many publications for individual authors that were not included in the PNAS search, and I have seen similar comments on other sites as well.

    The proper methodology for this type of project would have certainly included, but not been limited, to bibliometric searches of one database.

    If pressed, I would recommend secondary research (including weblogs) to identify candidates for a quantitative survey. Those candidates who completed the survey would then be subjected to citation search and asked to verify it. I would then include a series of depth interviews (probably by Skype) with the goal of insuring that both my characterization of their beliefs and their publication record was current and accurate.
    In my opinion, Spencer Weart was too kind in his evaluation of this paper.

    Sadly, there now exists a list of people who may or may not have signed a petition that may or may not be of a skeptical nature. No matter what happens to the paper, that list will be used. Its use will not be for the advancement of science.
     

  237. dhogaza says:

    “You seem to wish to jump for the biscuit before it’s even there ““ there is no decision on whether the “emails” were gained illegally or not ““ let’s wait on that endless legal inquiry!”

    The police are treating it as a crime, and have, all along.  So has the university.  So yes, that decision *has* been made, though many appear willing to ignore it.

    They have been thoroughly unsuccessful in figuring out who committed the crime, but an unsolved crime is still a crime.

  238. dhogaza says:

    “In the early 1900s, there were no patent office clerks in the recognized ranks of scientists (patent office clerk is not a recognized title for a reputable scientist).”
    He wasn’t a clerk, he was a patent examiner, chosen to examine patent submissions for electromagnetic devices, and so chosen because of his physics degree and familiarity with the physics of such devices.

    ” Therefore, Albert Einstein should not have been allowed to publish.”

    Einstein got his doctorate in 1905 in physics BEFORE publishing the four famous papers later that year that established his reputation.

    Offhand I can’t think of any reason why someone with a doctorate in physics shouldn’t be allowed to publish in physics journals then or now.

  239. Lewis Deane says:

    And, unfortunately, the more I read, the more it seems like the “scientific socialism” of the soviets.
    It’s right for Lucia to red flag any ridiculous historical associations – by people who probably have never felt history – but there are formal comparisons that may be valid.
    We live in the most privileged and free society that has probably ever existed – the Greeks had there slaves – but there is nothing wrong with viligence
    And, so, when the pinnacle of our civilization ( not art, surely, or literature, anymore, or, philosophy! ) is rationality, a very narrow and hard to defend field and then science and then etc, it is right to be vigilant, even paranoid – how vast is the world, the barbaric world of irrationality – how tiny our defenses!
    This “study” a case in point – formerly, meeting all the jargon criterion of a paper – but waved in and flag waved by various parties.
    Isn’t that disgusting, shouldn’t we feel disgusted?

  240. Keith Kloor says:

    Let’s try to avoid digressing into the muddy CRU/email waters.

  241. Lewis Deane says:

    Keith, sorry for repeatedly getting your name wrong. Don’t publish this comment but I hope you didn’t think I was “digressing”!

  242. Lewis Deane says:

    Oh “dhogaza”, oh “dhogaza” ,
    You obviously know more about the British police investigation than I do:
    Let us be logical, for a second, about a particuliar point ( I know, Keih, I shouldn’t rise to the bait! ): an investigation is ongoing. Such an investigation involves four basic elements or processes:
    1) Has a criminal offence been committed;
    2) Is there sufficient evidence against any persons or party for criminal charge to be made;
    3) once the CPS ( the Criminal Prosecution Service in the UK) has received the charge file, do they consider it in the public interest to prosecute:
    4) trial, proceedings, conviction or otherwise.
    dhogaza: where are the proceedings at the moment?
    No one has been charged. The CPS has received no such file. No court proceedings have begun.
    But this is what I mean – on whatever side you stand such sloppiness in thinking is good for no one.
     
     

  243. On the other thread the same topic of how to gauge scientists who signed activist statements, and whether to exclude them from the IPCC (as Judith seemed to suggest in 216; see also my reply at 224 and MT’s at 237), ensued between Judith, Gavin and me.

    I find that an extremely problematic suggestion. 

    A scientist may become concerned based on his/her understanding of the science and also based on their values. There is no logical way in which someone’s views, independent of the science, would have them favor a two degree target.

    Why would I support a two degree (or a minus 18 degree, or whatever degree) target, if it wasn’t for what (my understanding of) the science had to say about that?

    Eveybody has opinions, whether they voice them or not. People should not be punished for voicing them. In either direction.

  244. Lewis Deane says:

    #233 J.Browser
    That was a very sweet comment – thanks for telling us ( I didn’t know).

  245. Lewis Deane says:

    :Bart Verheggen
    There are a number of things to disentangle here:
    1) The science, and I can understand the irritation you might feel of “others” coming around and gnoring(!) at your curtains. But, then again, I have heard other scientists taking this on the chin and sometimes welcoming it ( but, maybe, only because of the obscurity of their specialty!)
    2) The repackaging of this science into a supposed message – how badly has this been done?
    and, 3) It’s policy implications, which, sometimes, seemed to be in the hands of scientist technocrats rather than ‘society’.
    Perhaps a conclusions forms that the so called ‘Ivory Tower’ really despises the smelly socks and smelly minds of this ‘res publica’!

  246. Arthur Smith says:

    It appears the only people who have actually proposed anything resembling “blacklisting” particular scientists for their outspoken policy views are Roger Pielke Jr. (#36, and subsequent, if anybody can make head or tail of those) and Judith Curry (#216) on this list. The entire fuss here appears to be not an “ink blot” but a case of  projection. Interesting psychological phenomenon, really.
    What Joe Romm is advocating for, and what the paper suggests also, is something I have also long argued for: scientists should be sought after and quoted in the media commensurate with their eminence within a field *irrespective of their policy advocacy*. That is, if the results here are numerically accurate, “CE” people ought to be quoted about 40 times more than “UE” people, simply because there are about 40 times as many of them among the top few hundred climate scientists.
     
    Anything else is out and out bias. Whether one particular scientist is “UE” or “CE” then actually doesn’t matter – the only thing that matters is that he or she is called upon as an expert in a representative fashion. The appearance of “balance” in media accounts is strong evidence that the media has *not* been calling upon experts in a representative fashion up to now. That’s a serious problem.

  247. +1 for Arthur. Well said.
     

  248. Hans Erren says:

    If you can’t win by scientific argument, try the denier card.

    But it already backfires: thank you Eric Steig and Judith Curry.

  249. Lewis Deane says:

    #246,#247
    Arthur Smith,
    Have you not read this study? Do you approve of  it’s bad confusion between sociological jargon and mere, what…?
    But to your point – if such a study where done as regards the media, the “papers” let us say, what result, do you believe, would materialize? That the so called ‘skeptics’ have more print than ‘real’ scientists? Do you believe that? Do the ‘print per pages’ really back you up?
    I think you don’t know when your winning!

  250. JC:
    “Also, with regards to the large number of people active in detection/attribution research that were not categorizable by the tenets of this study, i suspect there is a pretty much normal distribution, with many people being undecided, unconvinced by the high level of certainty often portrayed by the public spokespersons on each side.”
     
    But there’s the rub….’suspicion’ is not evidence.  How would you go about gathering data from this cohort?
     
     
     

  251. Marlo Lewis says:

    Thank you, Judy, for injecting real analysis into the discussion of Schneider’s scientistic malarky. My one quibble is that tenure seems to me to be part of the problem. 

    Tenure was instituted to protect freedom of inquiry. In practice, it promotes conformism and group think (political correctness).

    To get tenure, the young academic must be careful not to offend his higher ups. If he wants to be set for life, he does not risk throwing it all away by challenging his colleagues’ research or methodologies, especially if their work brings grant money into the department.

    So if he has any doubts, he’ll usually keep them to himself. He certainly won’t publish them. He’ll try hard not to rock any boats. He’ll strive to be a team player, not an independent thinker. Habits of thought acquired during the quest for tenure can last a lifetime.

    Then, once tenure is attained, the academic faces acquires a new reason to conform — he must spend the rest of his professional life with people similarly ensconced. This reality creates additional pressure to fit in, to avoid espousing unpopular views, and to circle the wagons against criticism of research that helps fund the department.

    I am not suggesting that tenure be abolished. Tenure is so central to the modern university that abolition would be hugely disruptive and likely do far more harm than good.

    Nonetheless, the close-mindedness of many who inquire for a living is at the very least a paradox, and it would be surprising if this malady did not have an institutional explanation.

    Thanks again for your candor and courage. 

  252. SimonH says:

    dhogaza Says: 
    June 23rd, 2010 at 2:19 pm
    The police are treating it as a crime, and have, all along.  So has the university.  So yes, that decision *has* been made, though many appear willing to ignore it.
    No, the police operate on traditional rather than postnormal methodology in assessing evidence: Evidence first, THEN conclusion.
     
    The police are under an obligation to perform an initial investigation when a crime is alleged. That investigation proceeds TO DETERMINE IF a crime has been committed. That determination will be made at the end of the initial investigation. The police, 7 months down the road, have yet to conclude their initial investigation.
     
    In fact I don’t think, at this point, that the police will make any determination on the matter. Since the entire content of the FOI zip would be reasonably subject to FOI law, even if they could identify an individual or group directly responsible for copying the file (theft under UK law is still rather arcane and requires that the “owner” be denied HIS property), the Crown Prosecution Service would decline the option to prosecute because.. put simply.. they’re only in the business of prosecuting criminals for acts defined in law as criminal.
     
    The only possible avenue of prosecution would be if the act of copying the file involved activities in breach of the Computer Misuse Act. However, a public-facing HTTP/FTP server’s content is fair game. Literal ownership of the files and their content is not so clear-cut as some universities of East Anglia would like to believe. FOI law trumps all, and the UEA would have to prove that the content, taken by a member of the public, was not rightfully his to take because of a lawful and reasonable exception. And, of course, if the file had been manoeuvred into a public place by an individual at the UEA, or even uploaded to RC by them, whistleblower protection is automatically invoked.

  253. Lewis Deane:
    “And, unfortunately, the more I read, the more it seems like the “scientific socialism” of the soviets.”
     
    The more I read of threads about this brouhaha, the more melodramatic and gothic grow the posts of those denouncing the PNAS paper.  Tom Fuller is already *certain* it is a historic disgrace of the lowest order and will be used to destroy careers; Lewis Deane here likens it to Soviet science circa Lysenko.
     
    Seriously, people, get a grip.
     
     
     
     

  254. dhogaza says:

    <blockquote>The only possible avenue of prosecution would be if the act of copying the file involved activities in breach of the Computer Misuse Act. However, a public-facing HTTP/FTP server’s content is fair game.</blockquote>

    I know Keith doesn’t want to go down this path, but lurkers should be aware that despite the claim above, hacking past password protection on any server, whether “public facing” or not, is, in the United States at least, a crime.

    Lest more people be tempted.

  255. SimonH says:

    dhogaza Says: 
    June 23rd, 2010 at 5:13 pm
    “[..] lurkers should be aware that despite the claim above, hacking past password protection on any server, whether “public facing” or not, is, in the United States at least, a crime.”
    I made no reference to hacking passwords. Public-facing FTP/HTTP content is public-facing. Content access restricted by a password is NOT public-facing. As I made clear, access to content is subject to conditions as set out in the Computer Misuse Act.
     
    I find your attempt to frame me as one who would condone or promote computer hacking both insulting and offensive.

  256. #234 Judith is way off-base suggesting those not directly involved in detection/attribution cannot possible know the IPCC conclusions are correct. These ‘lesser souls’ do know the process is rigourous and conservative and also know enough about climate science to assess their accuracy.
     
    It is bizarre in the extreme to imagine that everyone has to have the exact same knowledge set to agree on anything.

  257. Judith Curry says:

    Stephen #256.   It seems a goal of this exercise (the PNAS article) was to discredit Freeman Dyson as a spokesperson on the topic (as per an interview with Steve Schneider).  My point is that  ecologists, economists etc involved in the IPCC don’t have any claim to expertise on the subject of detection and attribution that is greater than Dyson’s.  My point is that if you want to disenfranchise Dyson in this regard, then you need to disenfranchise the biologists, economists, etc.
     
    Personally, I would like a much broader group of physicists, computer scientists, engineers, and philosophers of science to take a look at the WG1 evidence and arguments.   I don’t think much is gained in this regard from ecologists and economists.

  258. David L. Hagen says:

    Jim Prall
    You seriously biased your results by not including the <a href=”http://www.petitionproject.org/”>Global Climate Petition”</a> <blockquote>31,487 American scientists have signed this petition, including 9,029 with PhDs</blockquote>

    I strongly object to being castigated as a “climate denier” or “contrarian”.
    I strongly object to the implication that I deny the existence of the Holocaust.
    I do not deny and have never denied that climate has changed, is changing, or will be changing – with or without anthropogenic input.

    Nor do I deny anthropogenic climate change – deforestation of England, or Nepal or converting the prairies to farms have had detectable changes.
    Nor do I act as a “contrarian”. The impacts on 3 billion poor from both “cap and trade” and “peak oil” are far too horrendous.

    Call me a “climate realist”, following Roy Spencer.

    The Scottish legal system includes “Guilty”, “Not Guilty” and <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_proven”>”Not Proven”</a>. With the very high uncertainties in cloud cover, chaos modeling, and feedbacks, the best “climate science” can say today is “not proven” regarding future temperature projections, let alone “anthropogenic global warming”.

    The IPCC’s “90% confidence” is a political statement with no substance backing it.
    Any engineer or scientist with the slightest understanding of control systems could see the vacuity of claiming to control the climate, when the uncertainties in even measuring temperature changes or of cloud cover are so high.

  259. Judith Curry says:

    Marlowe #219.  I never said that i thought climate sensitivity was less than 1.5C.  I said that I did not think we had evidence to state that it is very unlikely to be less than 1.5C.

  260. Judith Curry says:

    #257 oops i forgot the statisticians

  261. Barry Woods says:

    The risk is human nature and subtle peer pressure with a list like this.  Whatever it’s intent or purposes, for any career minded young ‘climate ‘ scientist it will be something ‘else’ to think carefully about.

    ie” If I do a paper with this person, might I be looked on less favourably within  the IPCC, or when certain funding or appontments come up, or similar such thoughts”

    Rightly or wrongly, career decisions or selection decisions (ie ipcc participation) may take this into account, thus narrowing the IPCC’s self selecting consensus scientists into tribes. At a time when the base of scientists should be broadened and inclusive to alternative views.

    I did read somewhere that the IPCC was quite heavy on earth sciences, etc, more astro physisists, computer models experts,(comp science based – not self taught earth science grads), etc

    I’m sure this happens all the time in academia across the board anyway, who is working with who, etc..

    But having an actual list that someone might just check someone up against, casually, is not going to help anybody..

    More to the point, it just looks bad PR.

    Especially, given the highly political nature of the IPCC, and huge public policy decisions  and funding/spending commitments riding on this by industry and governments

  262. Willis Eschenbach says:

    For Jim Prall:
    First, I was surprised that there was no link in your paper to the actual lists of the actual scientists, and which camp you have placed them in. The counts of scientists in your cited reference do not match the numbers in your study. This in itself is a wry comment on the state of climate science, which is noted for authors who do not publish the data which they claim supports their conclusions …
    Second, in your “Methods” section you say:
     
    <blockquote>Between December 2008 and July 2009, we collected the number of climate-relevant publications for all 1,372 researchers from Google Scholar (search terms: “author:fi-lastname climate”), as well as the number of times cited for each researcher’s four top-cited articles in any field (search term “climate” removed). Overall number of publications was not used because it was not possible to provide accurate publication counts in all cases because of similarly named researchers. We verified, however, author identity for the four top-cited papers by each author.</blockquote>
     
    Using your method (search terms: “author:fi-lastname climate”), I found that Al Gore has published 24 articles which are listed in Google Scholar. These appeared in such noted peer-reviewed Journals as Vanity Fair, the Sierra Magazine and the New York Times.
     
    In his citations are a citation to one of his “scientific papers” by someone in a writing contest …
     
    Bill Clinton, on the other hand, is obviously a more highly ranked climate scientist than Al Gore, as he has 32 publications listed in Google Scholar. Many of these are government publications, which would give him<em> (or any scientist working for the government) </em>a leg up in the race, although it is obviously not the reason that Bill is a better climate scientist than Al, since both of them had that advantage.
     
    However, both of them are put in their place by the noted climate scientist, GW Bush. He has 75 citations in Google Scholar about climate, in such heavyweight climate journals as “The National Security Strategy of the United States of America”.
     
    On the other hand, James Hansen’s scientific publications listed in Google Scholar include pieces published in such peer-reviewed journals as The New York Review of Books, the New Scientist, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Statement to United States House of Representatives.
     
    Perhaps you could comment on your method.
     
    w.
     

  263. J Bowers says:

    I haven’t seen evidence of a single verifiable case of a scientist denied funding or losing their job because they were “sceptical” of anthropogenic global warming and the IPCC’s conclusions. Can someone please provide a verifiable example? One that is not anecdotal or hearsay? I find it difficult to believe it happens, has happened, or will happen, given I have read one statement by an openly “sceptical” climate scientist who said such stories are the complete opposite to his own experience, where he has no problem with funding and getting on with his academic research and publishing merrily away. It hasn’t made one bit of difference. Can’t recall his name for the life of me, but I’ll try to track the piece down (I’m sure he’s Dutch).
    And f you want blacklists, there is a plethora of them on the internet, linked to or published on numerous blogs and MSM articles, and have been around for years. It would take very little time to find a collection of lists to check against. These open letters were signed voluntarily by a great many people, including a number of scientists who also seem to have no problem with funding, research and publishing.
    Innocent, guilty, or not proven? Definitely not proven as far as I can tell.

  264. Barry Woods says:

    263
    evidence of funding denied is a a little naive perhaps, that is not how human nature works…  The subtle thoughts are like I described earlier..
    “The risk is human nature and subtle peer pressure with a list like this.  Whatever it’s intent or purposes, for any career minded young “˜climate “˜ scientist it will be something “˜else’ to think carefully about.
    ie” If I do a paper with this person, might I be looked on less favourably within  the IPCC, or when certain funding or appontments come up, or similar such thoughts”
    Rightly or wrongly, career decisions or selection decisions (ie ipcc participation) may take this into account.”

    No evidence wouldever be found, nor would it be a conspiracy, just a subtle peer pressure at work.

  265. Craig Goodrich says:

    Without going into the merits of either IPCC processes or the scientific case for CAGW, both of which I hold in low esteem, I am very glad to see this wretched “study” published, especially in a Prestigious Journal.

    Two reasons:

    First, I believe it has helped such honest scientists as Curry, the Pielkes, and McIntyre, all of whom I respect and all of whom have in the past expressed uneasiness about how “politicized” the whole business has become, see just how vicious and rigid one faction actually is.  This “paper” will help them towards the realization, which Lindzen and Michaels (to cite only two examples) came to long ago:  that regardless of your views as a scientist on CAGW, this is no longer about greenhouse radiation or upper-troposphere humidity.  This has become a struggle for the very soul of Science itself.

    Second, this “paper” is a transparent attempt to bestow upon politicians the high regard the public has for scientists. (Scientists concern themselves with evidence; politicians count votes.)  But they completely misread the public mind; the result will be to transfer to scientists the contempt the public has for politicians.   This is not nealthy (see 1 above), but given that science since the Enlightenment has been basically common sense accompanied by rules of logic, math, and openness of methodology, the average Joe Sixpack (and of course Susie Chablis) has a much more acute sensor for bullsh*t than academia generally credits them with.  So I see this publication as a public relations disaster for the “Consensus IPCC” side.

    ====

    Dr. Curry expresses optimism about the next IPCC crew.  I sincerely hope she is right, but I recall the quote (possibly apocryphal) from Einstein:  “In theory, theory and practice are the same.  In practice, they are not.”

  266. dhogaza says:

    “My point is that  ecologists, economists etc involved in the IPCC don’t have any claim to expertise on the subject of detection and attribution that is greater than Dyson’s. ”

    Biologists certainly have much to offer regarding detection, because it is from biologists (and related fields like population and forest ecology) that we’re learning about shifts in range due to climate change.

    I’ll agree with you regarding attribution, though.

  267. dhogaza says:

    “I find your attempt to frame me as one who would condone or promote computer hacking both insulting and offensive.”

    I’m sorry you took it personally, but as a computing professional, I’d define “public-facing” (not a term used by professionals in my country) as “having a public IP address”, as opposed to being on a private network, not “both having a public IP and not being password protected”.  Not sure what the point is anyway, the CRU backup mail server was on a private LAN.

  268. dhogaza says:

    “I strongly object to being castigated as a “climate denier” or “contrarian”.
    I strongly object to the implication that I deny the existence of the Holocaust.”

    The paper used the term “unconvinced” specifically to avoid any such complaints.  Why are you suggesting that Jim is accusing you of denying the Holocaust?

  269. J Bowers says:

    Re. 264 Barry Woods
    Subtle peer pressure? Are these people really so dainty? I dread to think how they deal with not-so-subtle peer review. I see your point, but  I think your concerns are a tad overblown.

  270. Barry Woods says:

    Subtle, have you bnever had a hjob promotion coming, or competed for funding, and had thought about how you peers, etc might percieve you. I;m not saying anything major or deliberate, but an unintenede consequence, a subtle one at that.

    Even climate scientists have real world, day to day issues to concern them, like job security, promotion to worry about, how they get on with their colleagues/competitors, jostle for advantage, mortgages bill’s to pay, etc

    That subtle peer pressure, works in every field of life..  Just in such an allready highly charged politicise field, an actual list is not going to help anybody

    A concern, not a major drama..

    and of course just BAD PR for climate science, or science as a whole, as it open to shall we just say many diferent negative interpretations..

  271. Barry Woods says:

    Sorryy, It’s late in the UK, and my typing is obviously degrading. So Goodnight All.

  272. JamesG says:

    Well backhand answers on sensitivity from MT:
    “Persons whose opinions are outside the mainstream regarding sensitivity are given far more voice in the process than their numbers or scientific success would indicate.”

    Which rather depends on how you define success. Clearly it isn’t in actually matching the hypothesis to recent data – or it seems even bothering to investigate, since there are few actual papers concerned with this (one would have thought) crucial issue.

    And from Judith:
    “I said that I did not think we had evidence to state that it is very unlikely to be less than 1.5C.”

    Which begs the question of what actual real evidence we have for any number whatsoever. All the numbers in Annan & Hargreaves analysis are highly subjective (as stated explicitly in the paper). I can think of only one paper since on the issue that favours a value higher than 1.5 and the researcher in question admitted on climateaudit a) his own subjectivity, and b) that his prime reason for favouring higher numbers was largely based on a colleague’s failure to model the ending of the last ice age with other than CO2. Which is odd because the idea that the last ice age ended due to CO2 has been debunked for some time (using real data), but this influential 2nd researcher (who doesn’t want his name bandied about) seems to favour “50% less than the IPCC’s best guess”, ie 1.5K. I’m not being vague because Judith and MT know who I mean – or they should.

    So in light of what is actually known about sensitivity as opposed to guessed, I wonder if the community is ever prepared to accept 1.5K as the consensus best guess and bring the unconvinced into the convinced fold?* Or is the policy value of 3K just too good to let go?

    Tying this loosely back to the issue at hand.

  273. J Bowers says:

    Re. 265 Craig Goodrich: “Dr. Curry expresses optimism about the next IPCC crew.  I sincerely hope she is right, but I recall the quote (possibly apocryphal) from Einstein:  “In theory, theory and practice are the same.  In practice, they are not.””
    Here’s another from Einstein.
    “This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.” – 1920

  274. JamesG says:

    J Bowers @272
    Quite apt! as it cuts both ways.
    Didn’t E also say: “what you see depends on where you stand”?

  275. Bob Koss says:

    Willis, #262
     
    See my comment #201 for a link to 3000+ scientists they used for their first cut. My #213 might also interest you.
     
    There are so many bogus numbers used, members of NAS should complain about PNAS becoming a laughing-stock due to publication of this study.
     
    To my mind this was intentionally produced as a troll study designed to generate publicity to show off their convenient one-stop  shopping list of skeptics. That they even provided convenient links to Google Scholar to easily debunk their numbers just shows how brazen they are.
     
    That PNAS published this tripe just shows how low they have fallen.

  276. J Bowers says:

    Re. 271 JamesG: “I can think of only one paper since on the issue that favours a value higher than 1.5”
     
    Eleven papers published since Annan & Hargaves (2006) listed at AGW Observer:
    http://agwobserver.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/papers-on-climate-sensitivity-estimates/
     
    Huybers (2010) says… “ If the compensation between feedbacks is removed, the 95% confidence interval for climate sensitivity expands to 1.9°”“8.0°C.”

  277. JamesG says:

    J Bowers
    Data-centric papers I meant, rather than even more paleo attribution guesswork or model-based guesswork. Otherwise they fall into the “highly subjective” category. It’s not pedantry – it’s called real science – get actual isolatable (excluding all other climate variables) numbers to match up your hypothesis using the minimum amount of assumptions. Nobody can credible separate out anything in paleo data  without heaps of subjectivity.
     
    This hinges of course on the definition of “evidence”. In this field they accept only expert witness evidence it seems. That however depends on why we consider them experts in the first place. Do they have a track record of being correct? Since nobody can seem to identify where the missing heat has gone most practitioners should really still be considered as researchers rather than experts….and researchers whose knowledge of most of the climate drivers is admitted by the IPCC as poor to very poor.

  278. JamesG says:

    Of course this is a problem for pseudo-Bayesian analyses. Just how do you define an expert? If you can’t find any real expert then an effective show of hands is always utterly meaningless. When you write an expert system you actually go to the one or two people that everyone agrees knows the most about the problem. This is in effect what journalists are subconciously doing. How do they know Lindzen knows most? Because a) nobody ever wins an argument with him and b) few people even bother to argue – instead they often just keep nodding in agreement. There wasn’t much disagreement between Christie and Schmidt either. One thinks we know enough for policy but the other thinks we don’t. Both though admit there are really big, important chunks of the climate system that are unknown and that will affect sensitivity.
     

  279. Tom Fuller says:

    Well, according to some, we should pay rapt attention to Stephen Schneider, who has put forward a paper in his name that clearly fails as science, although it may be of use as propaganda and will certainly keep those kids from signing any more pesky petitions. All of a sudden I am wondering what it is he has to say to us.
     
    But hey–he’s CE.

  280. SimonH says:

    dhogaza Says: 
    June 23rd, 2010 at 7:13 pm


    “Not sure what the point is anyway, the CRU backup mail server was on a private LAN.”


    We don’t know and can only guess where the content was retrieved from, and certainly don’t know that it was downloaded from a private LAN. Staff at the CRU have a history of leaving data on public FTP servers, despite never knowing “who’s trawling them”.

  281. Eli Rabett says:

    JamesG, eye rolling is not nodding agreement.

  282. Eli Rabett says:

    For those of you interested in the possibility of <a href=”http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/06/death-doom-and-disaster-coming-soon-to.html”>catastrophic man made, global warming </a>here is a mechanism.

  283. Eli Rabett says:

    Dear Dr. Curry,
    Your claims in #257 about attribution and detection of climate change are expressions of ignorance on your part.  The reaction of biological systems to such things as advancing seasons, warming of waters in coral reefs, etc,  are important markers of climate change.
    Such changes certainly have economic consequences especially in agriculture, moreover, economists play an important role in keeping track of the amount and types of fuels used.
    Biologists especially, but also economists have important roles to play in the attribution and detection of climate change.  Quantum theory, well, not so much.
    Unfortunately you appear increasingly prone to pronouncements which you later have to walk back, or at best carefully parse to eliminate what you clearly meant.

  284. […] much more on the paper on Keith Kloor’s Collide-a-Scape blog (and […]

  285. Dear Eli Rabett
    The ‘reaction’ of biological systems produces change. Ecologists and biologists are expert in documenting and quantifying this change.
    Are they expert in attributing this change to a change in the climate?
    Let us think hard on that, first.
    Regards

  286. Steven Sullivan says:

    “JamesG Says:
    June 23rd, 2010 at 7:51 pm
    Quite apt! as it cuts both ways.
    Didn’t E also say: “what you see depends on where you stand”?

    Albert E was quite willing to go on record with his policy views on , e.g., nuclear weapons.   That didn’t seem to lessen the public’s view of his science.

  287. JohnB says:

    Following on from #284. How expert is an ecologist in attributing the cause of the climate change?

    I believe that is Dr. Currys point.

  288. #257 Judith as you well know Dyson does not publish peer-reviewed papers on climate, ecologists and economists do. Whatever the merits of the methodology in the PNAS paper – and clearly data selection, categorization etc in such a review is always contestable – the broad conclusion is something we already knew isn’t it?
     
    It was a waste of time and so is much of this dialogue. That said some folks apparently need to time to rant before they can accept and deal.

  289. #287 Stephen Leahy
    Freeman Dyson worked with Alvin Weinberg’s pioneering multidisciplinary climate studies group at Oak Ridge in the late 1970s, and Dyson is well aware of the influence of biology on climate. I really don’t think it’s a good idea to try to claim that Dyson isn’t qualified to comment on climate science. Dyson is a very sharp observer, over a very wide intellectual range. One of his more telling comments on this topic is “My objections to the global warming propaganda are not so much over the technical facts, about which I do not know much, but it’s rather against the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have.”
    Peter D. Tillman

  290. JamesG in #277 talks big about Bayesian analysis, but then gets the whole risk thing exactly backwards in the way so many naysayers do. He says “One thinks we know enough for policy but the other thinks we don’t.” That makes no sense. What he should say is “One thinks we know enough to be comfortable avoiding policy, but the other thinks we don’t.”

    It’s very peculiar that the people who think we know the least about climate use that ignorance to justify large changes in the radiative properties of the atmosphere. Sort of like a college freshman who has no idea how much alcohol he can metabolize using that as an excuse to polish off a fifth by himself. “Hey, this MIGHT not even cause me permanent damage, never mind kill me. I don’t know anything about it, and so far it’s fun.”

    Good plan, kid.

  291. cs says:

    @262
    “First, I was surprised that there was no link in your paper to the actual lists of the actual scientists, and which camp you have placed them in.”
    So you criticize them for not creating a black list? Geez, you guys are really hard to please.

  292. Tom Fuller says:

    Gee, Rabett and Mr. Leahy
    Thanks so much for keeping me from wasting my time on knuckleheads like Freeman Dyson and Judith Curry. I’m almost tempted to ask you who else I can safely skip–but that’s right, I’ve got a list available now.
    With photographs, even.
    I hear they’ve infiltrated the State Department, too.

  293. Tom Fuller says:

    So, Mr. Tobis,
    What policy do you recommend and how should we implement it?

  294. #288  Dyson was expressing an opinion but evidentially doesn’t understand the IPCC process which is open and receives critiques from many sources including Lindzen and others. If the data does not support that critique is it intolerant to reject or ignore it?
     
    And if were constantly being told your work is a fraud, part of some conspiracy and/or a scheme to make big money without a shred of evidence, you might be a bit prickly in your comments.

  295. Phil Clarke says:

    Dr Curry. “I define the 20th century detection and attribution field to include those that create datasets, climate dynamicists that interpret the variabiity,  radiative forcing, climate modelling, sensitivity analysis, feedback analysis.  With this definition, 75% of the names on the list disappear.  If you further eliminate people that create datasets but don’t interpret the datasets, you have less than 20% of the original list.”
    Quick question – would it be correct to assert that the proportion of ‘convinced’ in this  core ‘qualified expert’ group is 100%?

    One wonders at the reception that headline conclusion would have evinced..

  296. Keith Kloor says:

    Real Climate contributor Eric Steig takes Roger Pielke’s side on this dispute and elaborates on why he is “appalled” by the study:
    “The idea of listing the names of those people analyzed is disturbing for reasons that should be obvious. In this respect I completely agree with Roger that the ‘blacklist’ metaphor is appropriate. And it cuts both ways too. People can now use this list to create their own “blacklist” of so-called ‘believiers’. I object to being on either list.”
    Steig has more to say in that Dot Earth post.

  297. Phil Clarke says:

    To : Authors AR5
    From : Dr R. K. Pachauri
    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    Congratulations on your selection as an author of the next Assessment Report, in order to save everyone time I would be grateful if you would send your email archives for the last ten years to Messrs Fuller, Mosher and Montford. No selection, subediting or interpretation please, our assistants will take care of that for us.
    regards
    Pachi.

  298. Barry Woods says:

    Is that really necessary, or helping Phil?

    Whover leaked the emails, did NOT write the content.

    A similar act of whistleblowing, where leaked/hacked information, where the  political establishment in the UK  response was

     – Catcth the criminal, nothing to see hear, move along.

    Resulted in the whole political establishment being help in complete contempt by the genearl public, – across political parties. Over 200 hundred MP’s not seeking re-election – many standing down due to the fury of their constituents, and a number in court on criminal charges.  Very many more only escaping charges – with evidence that would convict an oridinary memberof the public, soley because they wrotethe law in such away that MP@s eveade tax laws that are enforced onthe public..

    if there was nothing damaging in the CONTENT of the emails, let alone Harry_Read_me.txt, we would never have cared.

    I’m just explaining, in the above, why references to ‘stolen private emails’ just gets a laugh in the UK, as a reason.

  299. Phil Clarke says:

    Personally I have sympathy with Steig’s concerns – but only fair to mention the reply: The lead author of the paper also responds over there, for the click-averse, bullets are:
    -> Yes scientific debates are complex and individuals views are nuanced. Obviously no categories are ever perfect, yet we often group people into simple categories (for instance, Republicans vs Democrats) when the underlying reality is more complex

    -> Only 3 of around 1,400 researchers fell into both categories suggests that our categories are indeed both discrete and meaningful.

    -> The names listed on Prall’s personal website are NOT THE SAME LISTS used in the paper, his web-list has been publically available for more than a year.

    -> The paper itself links only to a page with links to each original document so that people can compile a list themselves.
     

    Nobody has explained to me yet how Prall’s web-list differs in principle from the lists of sceptical scientists compiled and published by Senator Inhofe and the Heartland, in circulation now for several years other than the fact that his is demonstrably better-researched using his own resources. Surely these are all ‘black-lists’, or none is?

  300. Barry Woods says:

    The attacks on scientists works both ways”¦
    People like Lindzen spring to mind.

    My observation is in the last ten years, the attacks on scientists have largely been by scientists and media/politicians/lobby groups  (the lobby groups are most vicious) on the CAGW consensus side, very few scientists brave enough to ask questions about the consensus.

    Many have quickly decided to keep their head down..

    Now that “˜climate science’ (IPCC brand of) is having a little bit of light shone onto the politicisation of the IPCC scientists and public policy advocacy of the elite climate scientists, attitudes have shifted slightly.
     I think for those people to “˜whine’ (Judith Curry’s words) about it being an attack on science, given thier own previous actions to be shall we say to be “˜kind’, hypocritical..

    I have seen vicious personal attacks, mounted by the media in the UK, on scientists that dare question. Many like Professor Ian Plimer, come across badly (ie not media savvy, journalists skilled at ““ shall we say “˜winning arguments’ on TV).  ie evangelical CAGW advocates  (george Monbiot – Guardian) ambushing them in interviews, supposedly about a debate.

    The fact that a journailst with a zoology degree, was trumpeting on the internet, how he had destroyed Plimer (whose career is impecable in his field) just demonstrates to an observer, how the political/media establishment have CREATED the poisonous atmosphere in the first place. 


    From the CACC website (cack?! )
     http://www.campaigncc.org/sceptics#laugh
    “Finally, have a laugh

    Some deniers are clearly simple charlatans. Watch George Monbiot expose one here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch_videos?more_url=&video_ids=VBQCsMJm3Zg%2CG7y6xJbcW4A%2CSPdhUdF6SJ4&type=3“
    Professor Plimers cv is long and impressive, for any that cares to find out for themselves.
    The same Guardian journalist that has Senator Inholfe on his own denial “˜playing card’ hall of shame”¦
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/mar/09/climate-change-deniers-monbiot-cards?picture=344343782
    NOT on a blog. But in a respected mainstream UK newspaper ““ The Guardian, coincidentally with RealClimate part of the GUARDIAN’s  environment network. Shows the attacks on sceptical scientists  and anybody that asks questions against CAGW, is both mainstream and poltical establishment behind it (at least in the UK and Europe) and has been for a decade.

    In fact, George Monbiot (Guardian journalist)is a president of the CAGW activist group Campaign Against Climate Change ““ activist group.

    This group with a number of Members of UK parliament, Members of the European Parliamnet, and even the first Green MP. Politicians with both political influence and power.

    http://www.campaigncc.org/whoweare
    With funding to  ACTIVELY targeting sceptics, with the language of “˜denial’, so in my mind science and free speech is being attacked with appaling methods, by those with both power political and media and money behind them (how is Realclimate funded vs Climate Audit?)

    Campaign Against Climate Change, with their very own “˜Sceptics Hall of Shame’.  Senator Inholfe included again:
    http://www.campaigncc.org/hallofshame
    And a campign to back blogs or  newspapers comments sections with activists, about anything they disagree with.
    Sceptic Alerts
    http://www.campaigncc.org/node/384
    “Theres any number of angles you might want to take but pointing out that the vast majority of climate scientists are sure that man made climate change is happening is not a bad one. Or how the fossil fuel companies are funding “think-tanks” whose job it is is to try and undermine the science of climate change. Or ..(I could go on forever). You’ve probably got lots to say already  (so much truth to tell”¦)
    “
    We do seem to have more and more scientists, asking questions, and now not afraid, or intimidated to keep quiet anymore.

    In fact, the these type of attacks will perhaps now embolden, those scientists that assumed (on trust ““ ie not directly involved) that all was well at the IPCC, etc. Yet recent events would indicate problems..
    These scientists might start thinking to themselves, that they are defending real climate science, from IPCC “˜postnormal’ climate science, and even ultimately fredom of speech..

    A meeting, where a transcrip of. had Ben Stewart ““ Greenpeace Director of Media comms ““ UK.
    Stating we need to make ‘sceptical journalists’ scared of us, and make brand ‘sceptic’ toxic.
    Transcript by an activist:
    http://www.joabbess.com/2010/04/15/ben-stewart-greenpeace-stalking/
    “Mr Ben Stewart, Head of Media at Greenpeace UK, may have no hair, but he does have a considerable number of brain cells, and he says that journalists who are Climate Sceptics need to be afraid, very afraid.”
    Following on from another Greenpeace director of communications ““ “˜we know where you live’ pr disaster ref anyone sceptical
    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/04/greenpeace-are-coming-we-know-where-you-live/
    Enough CAGW rhetoric for me to take notice, and react against.

  301. Phil Clarke says:

    It was meant as a joke, Keith. But the comparison with MPs expenses doesn’t really work does it? A claim to the Fees Office for a sum of money is a pretty concrete matter and, while the MPs would have preferred that the data remained out of the public domain, as it was public money, there is not much support for the argument that their privacy was invaded. By contrast none of the enquiries to date has found any wrong doing in contrast to the firestorm of allegations propagated across cyberspace.

    By contrast, these personal mails were written with an expectation of privacy which has now been breached. Also, a personal email will use informal language, may easily be taken out of context – quoting a single mail in a thread without viewing the ones before and after can be most misleading, emails that are continuations of face to face meetings can easily be misinterpreted if you weren’t at the meeting, and so on. I am not aware of any proposed reform that would remove the right to confidential communication between colleagues. I speculate that release of selected internal private emails from just about any organisation would reveal similar levels of ‘office politics’ and robust language.

    But we’re OT: this has been discussed at length here already, see the previous ‘provocateur’ thread for an example of Mosher mistaking a private joke for an attempted coverup, for one example.

  302. J Bowers says:

    Re. 295 Keith Kloor
    Many, many bloggers and even the MSM have been publishing and promoting potential blacklists for ages now, and they are rife on the internet, better known as open letters. Then, of course, Youtube probably has plenty of video so anyone could put a face to a number of names. Could someone tell me if any of those voluntary signatories have been fired from their jobs or have never been able to publish since? Or is it  “subtle peer pressure” that has led to scientists like Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer disappearing from the face of the Earth over the past few years?
    Sorry to sound a bit sceptical of this “blacklist” alarmism, but quid pro quo is appropriate I think.

  303. Barry Woods says:

    Another ‘list’, with a much more public establishment face to it, is just hardly going to help anybody. I see people on all sides saying it was a bad idea.

    What is perhaps more interesting, and what we are not discsussing, is the establishment ‘thought processes and reasoning’ that thought it
    would be a good idea to do it..

    Is shows a complete lack of awareness, of how it ‘might’ be perceived, could they not see it would perhaps damage the very thing they were trying to achieve.

  304. Keith Kloor says:

    Barry (299)

    Enough CAGW rhetoric for me to take notice, and react against.

    And your detailed reaction isnt pertinent to this particular thread.

  305. Barry Woods says:

    Sorry, I was just trying to expand it a bit.

    Of the consequences of these  ‘lists’  outside of the ‘scientific circles’

    ie the media/ activist/ groups cease on them, and use/misuse them.

    I was trying to give examples of this, backed up with evidence with how it might be used..

    ie lots of potential new additions to ‘hall of shame deniar’ list’s

    This list  could easily be used to add to the other lists, by many activist who are far less inlined to be as nice to each other and other people, as the scientists commenting here are..

    Bit long perhaps, I am aware it is a blog with an international commentors – who may not be aware of who the people/politicians I am talking about are, so I attempted to lay out the UK  background.

    I hope, that you see that it was intended to be on topic.

  306. Phil Clarke says:

    Greenpeace disowned, withdrew and apologised for the ‘we know where you live’ blog post, stating :

    “It’s very easy to misconstrue that line, take it out of context and suggest it means something wholly different from the practice of peaceful civil disobedience, which is what the post was about. Anyone who knows Gene knows he’s an entirely peaceful guy. … Of course the anti-science brigade on the web has seized on the line in Gene’s post and run with it (and will run and run and run), taken it out of context and run with it some more ““ ”
    http://weblog.greenpeace.org/climate/2010/04/will_the_real_climategate_plea_1.html

    When I wrote ‘Keith’ I meant ‘Barry’ above, apologies.

  307. Judith Curry says:

    The attribution of climate change is not done by ecologists and economists.  Ecologists detect the impacts of climate change on ecosystem.  NOAA defines detection and attribution of climate change as follows.  Detection and attribution formally refers to the physical climate system.  Ecosystem changes may be attributed to climate changes, but there are many other forces at play, which is why attribution of impacts is very difficult and highly uncertain.

  308. J Bowers says:

    Re. 302 Barry Woods
    Sorry Barry, but until someone produces evidence that such lists have hampered careers, I must demand the same level of evidence as required from the “sceptical” side of the fence. It would be patronising of me not to do so.
    It’s all well and good taking praise for sticking one’s head above the parapet (for instance, writing op-eds in leading national newspapers that have some influence on the world stage), but we have to take the rough with the smooth when we do so.
    I also suspect that circumstances have actually improved for some signatories due to their putting their names to these open letters. A bit like Menne et al’s findings on UHI effect, it’s counter-intuitive but seems to result in the opposite to what is immediately assumed.
    Until some pretty concrete evidence is provided, I remain thoroughly unconvinced.

  309. Barry Woods says:

    It is not just about scientific careers, it is was happens outside of the scientific circles.. 

    and surely the point is I don’t know Gene, nor does potentially any slightly deranged activist, reading his words anywhere in the world, via the internet.

    Lindsen, for example is well established, I did see an article where he mentioned (tongue in cheek) that MIT might be glad when he retires.  What effect will lists have on ‘the next generation’ of ‘climate scientists’ that are not well established.

    Judith said famously, what could they do to me, cut me out of peer review, not elect me,etc,etc I will publish privately, etc.

    A non-establised new phd, does not have that freedom.  So just subtle peer pressure, even IF imagined, people will make the ‘safe’ career consensus career descisions, forcing the ‘tribes’ even further apart over time.

    The fact remains is that Greenpeace did say:
    ‘We know where you live’
    I still can’t think of ANY positive use of this), are they seriously attempting to engage/open people minds with that language – not an anonymous blogger saying it – But a Greenpeace Communications Director! – people could easily take it at face value.

    I also read it first hand in the original article, it was not as innocent as they now make out. Empty rhetoric for some, but a responsible media person, should be aware of how a more extreme activist ‘might act’ on it.  

    I have had experiences of face to face confronations with activists, calling me a deniar. A totally different experience than safely behind a keyboard somehere.

    That it happened at all, just shows how the lobby groups have misread scepticism, they seem to think it is all big oil denial machinary.

    So the same question as greenpeace.  What were they thinking this list would achieve, it has received lot’s of criticism, from all sides.  I don’t see how anything positive will come out of it, it just reinforces tribal mentalities when attempts should be made to engage with critics, for the IPCC’s etc own benefit.

    It just appears that they are out of touch with the general public’s mood.  So what were, the thought processes were there that led to the list being created? I just don’t understand why they would do this.

  310. Barry Woods says:

    For the record.. I don’t think ANY list is a good idea, or any of the extreme reactions/positions on either side of the debate, that sort of level of ‘belief’ is frighteningly unthinking.
    I have young children and I am concerned about the planets future and environment. That also includes the social/political environment they grow up in, as well.

  311. Banjoman0 says:

    #301
    Almost without exception, expectations of e-mail privacy are unfounded, even personal communication.  Government funded research, government funded positions, government funded schools, government established and operated computer networks, all suggest provide FOI or other exposure to any communication.

  312. J Bowers says:

    Re. 309 Barry Woods: “So the same question as greenpeace.  What were they thinking this list would achieve,”
    Firstly, it’s not a list but an analysis. You might not like the subject, but that’s life.
    I think the answer to your question is actually in the abstract:
    “A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions….”
    and further in…
    “Because the timeline of decision-making is oftenmore rapid than scientific consensus, examining the landscape of expert opinion can  greatly inform such decision-making…”

    To myself that means they intended to find out the facts concerning the expertise of climate scientists, and let it act as an aid to help informed decision making. Let’s face it, anyone can blog and go on TV and radio, or write op-eds, provided their message fits the outlet’s agenda, with the likes of Marc Morano acting as promoter. In the wider debate amongst the general public it’s exactly that means of communicating the science which is constantly regurgitated and used to dismiss the actual science.
    “when attempts should be made to engage with critics”
    They do, don’t they? It’s most often through publishing. As for Greenpeace, they screwed up, corrected themselves and apologised. If only everyone would, then that type of  dialogue you seem to desire would be a lot easier and a lot more prevalent.
    If anyone has a problem with the paper they could always do the same and debunk it in the peer reviewed literature.

  313. SimonH says:

    J Bowers Says: 
    June 24th, 2010 at 7:53 am
    “If anyone has a problem with the paper they could always do the same and debunk it in the peer reviewed literature.”


    That was indeed once the appropriate way of addressing papers with which you disagreed. Then someone, somewhere within the climate community, inspired an alternative method – boycotting journals, pressuring editors and “encouraging” friends to join in and back you up, mob-style.
     
    Here’s a simple one: If I can reasonably infer your political persuasion from your scientific paper, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

  314. JohnB says:

    #312. Yes, Greenpeace corrected itself, sort of after 3 different people defended the statement over a long weekend.

    Have you read the original post? There was no “taking out of context” at all. Telling people to “break the law” and be “climate outlaws” and then following up with the “who know where you live” cannot be construed as anything but a threat.

    If you opposed some say, Sicillian gentlemen and they told you “We know where you live”, would you assume that they will come around for milk and cookies?

  315. Keith Kloor says:

    Here’s a relevant post by David Appell, who takes issue with the way Joe Romm has interpreted the PNAS paper.

  316. David L. Hagen says:

    Judith Curry at 257 observes: “Personally, I would like a much broader group of physicists, computer scientists, engineers, and philosophers of science to take a look at the WG1 evidence and arguments.   I don’t think much is gained in this regard from ecologists and economists.”  As an engineer/scientist, I heartily endorse her comment.
    On methodological failures, Anderegg et al claim “counted the number of citations for each of the researcher’s four hghest cited papers (defined here as prominence) using Google Scholar.”

    1) However Prall’s actual link to Google Scholar was:
    “Search only in Physics, Astronomy, and Planetary Science”
    NOT “Search in all subject areas.”

    2) This narrower search missed my two most important publications relating to global warming/climate change, including a 330 page report:
    “Application of solar thermal technologies in reducing greenhouse gas emissions”  and
    “Methanol: its synthesis, use as a fuel, economics, and hazards” which was on NTIS’s best seller list for three years.
    3) The search wrongly included another researcher with my initials and last name.
    4) The search ignored all my 26 patents/applications which will have the greatest impact in ways to improve energy efficiency.

    Include Minority Positions:

    For the IPCC to be policy neutral, a critical essential reform will be to explicitly include minority positions in every section, led by specialists in those positions. Otherwise the warming activist gatekeepers will continue to exclude all contrary data, evaluations and alternatives. E.g. adaptation to climate change is likely to be much more cost effective than “cap and trade”.

  317. J Bowers says:

    Re. 313 SimonH
    A handful of scientists have such an iron grip over an entire field of science?
    I have a second request today. Please provide evidence of a paper that was rejected from the peer review journals by anything other than peer review or simply a standard  rejection by the journal prior to peer review. From what I can tell, any paper mentioned in the emails in an uncharitable manner was challenged in the peer reviewed literature. Please let me know if I’m wrong.
    Thanks in advance.

  318. JamesG says:

    M Tobis @290
    I’m afraid I don’t detect any subtantial difference between your statement and mine. Presumably it is Christie you are accusing and not me and I don’t know what his policy prescriptions are but I feel he just wants people to stick to the truth and not to pretend to know things they don’t. For a scientist that is the only good starting point I’d have thought. Now if you think all this exaggeration is justified you need to base it on the insurance argument – as you did. But again, we still have to be honest about what is established and what is mere pessimistic guesswork.
     
    As it happens I am all for some kind of policy and I see no reason for delay. I just fon’t like cap and trade. But even Exxon said they’d go for a carbon tax. What’s the big deal about it I ask? I’m also optimistic about new energies but not blinded to the difficulty of the task. What is annoying is that people like yourself won’t commit to thinking about how it all might be achieved. Only Hansen has actually taken up this particular cudgel and kudos to him. If more people considered the very possible unintended impacts of blind CO2 reduction before alternative energy sources are available, then they might accept that the cure may be easily worse than the disease. It just isn’t good enough to prescribe ppm levels for CO2 and pretend that disaster will strike if we don’t – and then say “but even if it doesn’t we’ll be in a better world anyway” because it might be a much worse world.
    Bayesian analysis is the usual fundament of expert systems, therefore discussion of expert selection in that context is appropriate. For example, an expert system for hurricanes would use William Gray as it’s most prolific rule writer because he palpably knows most about tropical storms. That might not please you because he’s an “unconvinced”, but that’s the way things are in the real world. Ergo i’m asking the question of researchers, “when have you actually proven your expertise and where is the proof you ever predicted anything correctly?”. Fundamental really.
     
     

  319. JamesG says:

    And in the light of the foregoing question of “what is an expert?”, I might add that the “unconvinced” who predicted that the model projections were far too high, or that the hurricane link to global warming was too simplistic, or many other predictions that turned out to be true, have far more right to be called experts than those who had predicted thermageddon by now.
     
    Of course remember that the IPCC projections go all the way down to 1.1K. From the standpoint that everything above that is based on unproven, speculative positive feedbacks achieved by completely ignoring any potential negative feedbacks, then every scenario above 1.1K should have increasingly less weight attached to it, ie a skew distribution with a mode at 1.1K – The lukewarmer, non-catastrophic position. That would give a better perspective of the actual state of the science imho.

  320. Keith Kloor says:

    Hot off the Internets: Real Climate weighs in on the PNAS paper. While they can’t bring themselves to link to any of the ample “discussion” on the study, I’m happy to link to their take.

  321. J Bowers says:

    319  JamesG: “have far more right to be called experts than those who had predicted thermageddon by now.”
    Who predicted thermageddon by now? Jim Hansen? I hope you haven’t been suckered in by the West Side Highway nonsense, by the way.

  322. Barry Woods says:

    Last time I tried I wasn’t allowed to comment at RealClimate…
    Much nicer here, if they had been a tenth as reasonable as the moderation here, I probably would never have become as sceptical of CAGW – not AGW as I am now..

    First thing I asked my IPCC friend after Climategate, have you been busy, they said check out RealClimate to get the truth…

    Well, I tried and was met with the full RealClimate experience that has become legendary.

  323. Keith Kloor says:

    Barry (322):

    While I appreciate the strokes to my ego, I ask (as I’ve requested before) that people check their grievances against others at the blog door.

    Additionally, I can assure you that not everyone is happy with my new embrace of moderation. But it seems to be helping to create a civil enough environment for a constructive exchange of varying views.

  324. lucia says:

    Keith–
    Weird take by RC. Their take seems to suggest that all those diagnosed as “CE” are “scientists who have made public declarations about policy directions”. My tally suggests most did not done any such thing.   The majority of the “CE”s seem to have gotten on the CE list by contributing to the IPCC report.  That’s not supposed to be an “a public declarations about policy directions”, right?

  325. JamesG says:

    J Bowers
    I thought I had praised Hansen:). I’d rather leave his predictions out of it and stick with the mainstream. Hadley Centre (and others) told us many times about how much temperatures would soon be shooting up and then they pushed forward their dates thanks to the “natural variation” that they previously had said was small and declining – and they still got it wrong. Willis was very surprised at the lack of ocean warming (this was supposed to settle the heat storage argument remember), the hurricane wars have settled down now to a less heated level and the Actic sea ice didn’t drop off the charts as predicted by the “experts”, some of whom apparently now apologize.  I could go on but you surely can’t deny the predictions of the more cautious are far closer to reality than those of the scared can you?
     
    In order to make things scary, people have been very inventive with their cherry-picked charts and done some very naughty conflation of natural events like erosion or calving, with sea level rise. But the reality seems to show not much detectable change in anything.
     
    The only good argument I’ve ever heard is from Swanson, Eli and a few others; that we are perturbing a system that has shown a big tendency in the past to suddenly and violently change for the worse. None of us can deny that one. It’s a good enough reason for me. Though I tend to worry more about much of the other less benign chemicals we stick in our environment with gay abandon.
     
    I stuck a ditty on Lucias blog that sums up the situation as i see it:

    Skeptics are optimistic about continued fossil fuel use and pessimistic they can be replaced easily.
    Non-skeptics are pessimistic about continued fossil fuel use and optimistic they can be replaced easily.
    Put another way, conservatives and progressives  . Some of us (ok it might just be me) don’t believe any of them can predict the future.

     

  326. #323 Keith:
    Thanks for stepping in on moderation. A bit of retrospective snipping of long, irrelevant posts (eg #300, B. Woods) would also be helpful, in my view.
    Keep up the good work!
    Cheers — Pete Tillman

  327. William Newman says:

    Keith Kloor (#320): Maybe such an outgoing hyperlink at RC would increase their carbon footprint too much? Or cue Ghostbusters: don’t make a hyperlink out of the RCosphere, or the universe will fly apart! Anyway, my sympathies, and mad propz for your helpful habit of pointing out connections like this.

  328. Keith Kloor says:

    Peter (326):

    I’m not a fan of “snipping” because then people (including the snippee) wonders what’s been cut.

    But I do enourage people to proofread and use economy of language. Makes the threads more reader-friendly.

  329. Eli Rabett says:

    Dear Dr. Curry (and Shub),
    Some, not Eli, I hasten to add, might think that the physical climate system is affected by the biosphere.  Were one to adopt the point of view that biology has nothing to do with climate, we would soon believe that  a tropical forest is the same as a desert, that tree rings, are not useful as climate proxy’s (well okay, some do believe that), that the biological pump has nothing to do with the movement of carbon into the lower ocean, etc.   In short it is clear that the biosphere is an integral part of the earth system and observation of its behavior can be used for attribution and detection of climate change.
    Dr. Curry quotes NOAA that “Detection and attribution formally refers to the physical climate system.  Ecosystem changes may be attributed to climate changes, but there are many other forces at play, which is why attribution of impacts is very difficult and highly uncertain.”
    Read right side up, this is a statement that until now it has been very difficult to use biological systems (what about tree rings, sediments and such the Rabett fondly asks) to attribute and detect climatic changes, not that it cannot be done, and indeed, the literature today on such effects is growing exponentially larger.  For example a 1.5 ns google finds:
    http://hol.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/17/1/37
    Long-term vegetation changes in the northern Scandinavian forest limit: a human impact-climate synergy?
    Hanna Karlsson
    Department of Forest Vegetation Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Skogsmarksgränd, S-90183 Umeå, Sweden
    // <![CDATA[
    var u = "hanna.karlsson", d = "svek.slu.se"; document.getElementById("em0").innerHTML = '‘ + u + ‘@’ + d + ”//]]>

    Greger Hörnberg
    Department of Forest Vegetation Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Skogsmarksgränd, S-90183 Umeå, Sweden
    Gina Hannon
    Department of Geography, The University of Liverpool, Roxby Building, Liverpool L69 7ZT, UK
    Eva-Maria Nordström
    Department of Forest Vegetation Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Skogsmarksgränd, S-90183 Umeå, Sweden
    A palaeoecological study was performed in the northern Scandinavian mountain range in Sweden. The aim was to study vegetation changes and shifts in forest limit altitudes during the last 5000 years in a tree-less archaeological site (Adamvalta) situated below the regional forest limit, and in a forested reference area with similar geological features but without archaeological evidence of human presence (Ajdevaratj). The suitability of uncritically using forest limit changes as indicators of climate change is also discussed. The study included analyses of pollen, pollen accumulation rates (PAR), macrofossils and loss-on-ignition. The results indicate vegetation changes in both areas plausibly caused by climate c. 3800 BP and c. 500 400 BP. However, at Adamvalta, settlements were established c. 1300 750 BP, close to the mountain birch (Betula pubescens ssp. czerepanovi) forest limit. About 800 BP, the birch forest cover at Adamvalta decreased and the vegetation developed into an alpine heath, as a result of human-induced deforestation. The following “˜Little Ice Age’, in combination with human impact from the sixteenth century onwards, prevented forest recovery, and the site remains treeless. Such vegetation changes were not recorded at Adjevaratj. It is deduced that the present position of the forest limit at Adamvalta is governed by a combination of factors where previous human impact and climate have been the major driving forces determining the long-term vegetation development. Hence, a thorough knowledge of the site history is important when forest limits are used as a proxy for climate change.
    —————————–
    But of course, this has nothing to do with ecology or biology.  Everyone knows that

  330. AMac says:

    Roger Pielke Jr. has put up a post on RealClimate’s analysis of the PNAS study.   Is It Science or Is It Politics?

  331. […] ‘credibility,’ particularly in how the scientists were classified,” Curry wrote (her comment is the 198th listed in a highly energized comments […]

  332. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    At Rc gavin claims that the PNAS paper methodology cannot be used to discern scientific views only political views.  If he is correct then this would completely undercut the PNAS methodology.  Ink blot indeed!

  333. David L. Hagen says:

    J Bower @ 263
    Per you skepticism of bias against climate skeptics, study the Green Terrorism against Dr. Calzada’s exposing the costs of Spain’s renewable energy:
    “˜Green’ Energy Company Threatens Economics Professor “¦ with Package of Dismantled Bomb Parts
    “The author of a damning study about the failure of Spain’s “green jobs” program “” a story broken here at PJM “” received the threatening package on Tuesday from solar energy company Thermotechnic. . . .”

    The terrorism consultant said he had seen this before:

    This time you receive unconnected pieces. Next time it can explode in your hands.

    Dr. Calzada added:

    [The terrorism expert] told me that this was a warning.

    The bomb threat is just the latest intimidation Dr. Calzada has faced since releasing his report and following up with articles in Expansion (a Spanish paper similar to the Financial Times). A minister from Spain’s Socialist government called the rector of King Juan Carlos University “” Dr. Calzada’s employer “” seeking Calzada’s ouster. Calzada was not fired, but he was stripped of half of his classes at the university. The school then dropped its accreditation of a summer university program with which Calzada’s think tank “” Instituto Juan de Mariana “” was associated.

    Additionally, the head of Spain’s renewable energy association and the head of its communist trade union wrote opinion pieces in top Spanish newspapers accusing Calzada of being “unpatriotic” “” they did not charge him with being incorrect, but of undermining Spain by daring to write the report.”

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/breaking-green-energy-company-threatens-economics-professor-with-package-of-dismantled-bomb-parts/

  334. J Bowers says:

    Re. 332 David L Hagen
    A disturbing story indeed. However, if you could provide an example of what I requested in comment # 263 it would be greatly appreciated. Here it is again:
    “I haven’t seen evidence of a single verifiable case of a scientist denied funding or losing their job because they were “sceptical” of anthropogenic global warming and the IPCC’s conclusions.”
    Thanks.

  335. Eli Rabett says:

    In 307, Judith Curry wrote:
    —————————————-
    NOAA defines detection and attribution of climate change as follows.  Detection and attribution formally refers to the physical climate system.  Ecosystem changes may be attributed to climate changes, but there are many other forces at play, which is why attribution of impacts is very difficult and highly uncertain.
    ——————————————-
    But the link says no such thing.
    http://www.oar.noaa.gov/spotlite/archive/spot_ccdetect.html

  336. Roger Pielke, Jr. says:

    Just to note that Real Climate allowed one of my comments to pass, but two others did not make it through.  What gives with these guys?

  337. Keith Kloor says:

    Some in this thread have asked if the PNAS paper was peer reviewed. It was.

    And one of the reviewers was Max Boykoff, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado’s (Boulder) Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. Max is part of a small, informal email group I belong to, where environmental and climate change-related issues are occasionally discussed. With his permission, here’s some additional context on the paper that Max provided in an email earlier today:

    This paper indeed raises a number of issues worth continued discussion. Here are some remarks based on the comments I had offered to the authors:

    First, the acceptance and usage of the blanket term climate change “˜skeptics/contrarians’ to describe the UE ACC characters leaves me wanting more. As many have likely heard time and again, accepting the moniker “˜skeptic’ to describe some of the positions is a bit too generous. While alternative labels applied, from “˜contrarian’ to “˜denialist’ to “˜climate courtesan’, aren’t perfect either, there need to be efforts to improve how the texture amongst these folks are captured and categorized. Motivations behind such stances can vary widely, skepticism can be derived from evidence as well as ideology, etc”¦.

    Second, in the “˜Results and Discussion’, a quick translation of these percentages by readers of the paper may arrive at the numbers 1 person, 3 people, and 5 people. It then begs the questions, “˜who are they?’ and “˜what are their counter-arguments?’ The paper is a good foundation for those more in-depth follow-up analyses.

    Finally, the results on numbers of peer-review publications helping to constitute “˜expertise’ may be skewed potentially by “˜clique citation’ tendencies. The authors acknowledge this challenge or “˜criticism’ but if citations are employed as an indicator of expertise, this needs more treatment to convince that they “have least influence at high levels of aggregation” as the authors put it. For instance, I’m not convinced that the paper satisfactorily addresses the question, “˜don’t more CE publications overall inevitably lead to higher CE citations’?

  338. Physics World carried news of this PNAS paper today:
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/43002
    That and a recent Physics World new report on NAS President Ralph’s warning to Congress about climate change:
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/42666
    Suggest an organized campaign to discredit the sceptics of global climate warming ASAP, lest the deep tap roots of the climate scandal expose NAS involvement in the misuse of science for political purposes.

  339. The following comment, posted on Real Climate, is “awaiting moderation.”
    In my opinion, the impact of the PNAS paper is much like that of the hunter who accidently shot himself in the foot.



  340. Judith Curry says:

    Apparently, a number of state climatologists have lost their jobs over their views on global warming, and/or have felt their jobs were threatened.  David Legates, Pat Michaels, George Taylor are people i’ve seen mentioned in this context.  If you google state climatologists losing jobs, you get a fair number of hits.  I don’t have any definitive documentation on this, although I do recall a conversation with Pat Michaels about this.

  341. JamesG says:

    David L. Hagen
    I don’t know about the other alleged intimidation of Calzada but I do speak Spanish and I note that the rogue package contained just a diesel oil filter and that the “terrorism expert” he consulted  was actually a University security guard. Anyone who thinks an oil filter is an unassembled bomb is [add your own word]. Apparently there was a mixup and he was meant to be sent a simple report by the solar company. I’ll be extremely charitable and assume Calzada had just finished reading Michael Chrichtons thriller 🙂

  342. Gaythia says:

    I would agree with Max Boykoff that “The paper is a good foundation for those more in-depth follow-up analyses.” The public had already been given less substantiated versions of these statistics.  The paper’s impact should not be overstated, but then no one publishes a scientific abstract saying that their paper is an incremental step beyond what was previously available and sets up the authors for years of future work, although that is frequently the case.
    Job loss is pretty widespread.  If one wanted to know if given cases could be attributed to bias one would need to collect, and improve upon, statistics such as those given in this paper.  Blacklisting is obviously something that must be combated to maintain a free democratic society, but this can not be done by attempting to be secretive.
    I think that it is time to move on, and to start figuring out how the scientific status of climate change can be presented to the public in ways that foster  comprehension of  greater complexity.

  343. #339 Judith, I foolishly took up your challenge and this is an old denial/conspiracy meme going back 3/4 years.
    Could not find any reliable news sources to substantiate that meteorologists Charles Taylor/Mark Albright were removed as state climatologists for their views on CC in 2007 as alleged by your source Pat J Michaels.
     
    FYI my understanding is that state climatologists are mostly honorary and political appointments given to senior meteorologists.
     
    By the by I noticed that Michaels who is w the Cato Institute is banging the drum  yet again on this 3+ year old ‘news’. Michaels’ charges there is a …culture of climate bullies blatantly attempting to bend the canon of knowledge”

  344. dhogaza says:

    “Apparently, a number of state climatologists have lost their jobs over their views on global warming, and/or have felt their jobs were threatened.  David Legates, Pat Michaels, George Taylor are people i’ve seen mentioned in this context.”

    Judy, Stephen Leahy is right.  George Taylor’s title of “state climatologist” was given him by some meteorological assocation.

    He got in trouble in large part for misrepresenting himself as being an official spokesperson for the State of Oregon.  The State of Oregon has no “state meteorologist” and the Governor of Oregon was not amused.
    Here’s e-mail from Oregon State University:

    “The Office of the State Climatologist was eliminated in 1989 because of budget cuts and Redmond left the university. George Taylor was hired on a part-time basis in 1989 in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences as a meteorologist. Two years later (1991), Oregon Senate Bill 661 passed, establishing the Oregon Climate Service at OSU. Taylor was hired on a full-time basis, and the department head in atmospheric science at that time requested to OSU that Taylor’s title be changed from meteorologist to state climatologist because his role was so similar to that which Redmond held.

    By the way, George Taylor is past president of the American Association of State Climatologists, and the Oregon Climate Service is a recognized state climate office, as certified by that association”¦”
     
    As you can see, the University got rid of the “Office of State Climatologist” before Taylor was hired.  They allowed him to informally use the job title afterwards.
     
    But it was never an official position within the government of the state of Oregon.  Taylor was trying to represent his personal views on global warming as being the official position of the state.
     
    Again, the Governor was not amused.  Neither were a lot of us living here in Oregon when the details came out.
     

  345. Judith Curry says:

    Ok, George Taylor seems to be a red herring.  I don’t recall his name being mentioned to me by Michaels, just spotted it on google.  Re Michaels and Legates?   Here is the story as I recall re Michaels.   Michaels was soft money at UGA, getting his funding from the state (as state climatologist) and from Exxon Mobil.  His position/funding at UVA got eliminated by the state.   So in principle he didn’t lose his research scientist position at UVA, but lost the state climatologist designation and funding for the position.  So he left and went to CATO.  Don’t recall the Legates story.

  346. dhogaza says:

    “I don’t recall his name being mentioned to me by Michaels, just spotted it on google.”

    I’m sorry, Judith, but Pat Michaels is largely responsible for popularizing the George Taylor myth, and he continues to beat that drum today.

    From this column: http://townhall.com/columnists/PatrickJMichaels/2010/06/06/more_political_climate_science

    We have this quote:
     
    “Across the Columbia River at Oregon State University, the previous head of the Oregon Climate Services, George Taylor, put all of the Cascade snowfall data online for anyone to see. The long-term records clearly showed no decline at all. Ted Kulongoski, Oregon’s “green” governor, told Taylor he could no longer refer to himself as Oregon State Climatologist. Oregon State University showed little support, too (although Taylor was twice elected as President of the American Association of State Climatologists). Taylor quit rather than continue in such an environment.
    George Taylor got into trouble for simply for telling the truth about the lack of a big decline in mountain snowfall, and his university seemed to not care.”
     
    No, he got into trouble because there is no such office as “Oregon State Climatologist”, and again, Taylor represented himself as speaking officially for the state.
     

  347. dhogaza says:

    “Here is the story as I recall re Michaels.” …

    Given Michaels’ track record, is there any particular reason why we should trust his version of events?

  348. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    This-
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/06/ipcc-time-will-be-different-not-guest.html
    Guess what? Although the Irish government nominated me, it will not financially support my participation ““ not even travel costs ““ because of “¦ substantive differences over environmental policy.
    from Richard Tol’s guest post may be a more recent example of how political pressure may be exerted on non-‘CE’ scientists.

  349. ChrisL says:

    In looking at this article, I have to consider the trend in the last few years among the more strident of the “consensus”  in attempting to pretend away previous Holocene warm periods. I then have to consider the oh-so-easy acceptance with which this practice was received by the consensus. So when I remember that this 97-98% are altogether comfortable with the notion that  CO2 can not only warm the future, but also cool the past, then I am not so intimidated by the 97-98%:)

    I was watching one of Dr. Richard Lindzen’s presentations from 2009.  He talked a bit about the politicization of science, and the funding and peer pressures, leading to the dilemma of many of his most respected peers endorsing CAGW. His view: “The important point, however, is that the science that they do that I respect, is not about global warming. Endorsing global warming just makes they’re lives easier.”

  350. Eli Rabett says:

    The VA situation was stranger than can be described.  Pat Michaels (afterwards PM) was using the title VA State Climatologist (afterwards VASC), and was being paid as on the state budget as VASC (be patient, the reasons for this strange circumulation will become clear).  PM was also saying things that were not exactly in accord with the policy of the then VA Governor, Tim Kane.
    Kane, naturally, or more likely one of his staff, looked into the situation and found that
    1.  PM WAS appointed VA SC in 1980 by the then Governor
    2. Funding for the position was in the state budget since that time up to 2006 when Kane cut it out.
    3.  The position of VASC DID NOT EXIST, or rather it had never been established by the state as a state office.
    4.  UVa had certified the position (and Michaels) to the American Association of State Climatologiest in 2000.
    5.  Kane, therefore, invited UVa to fund the position (and PM) if it chose to do so, but took the line item away. UVa demurred
    6.  PM hied off to Cato (which had funded writing of one of his books earlier) and GMU.
    Details at http://rabett.blogspot.com/2006/08/so-who-pays-pat-michaels.html
    Pretty much the same thing happened in Delaware (Legates)
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/02/ethon-cracks-up-laughing.html
    The reason for all of this theater is that when NOAA cut out funding for state climatology offices in the 1970s, there was a mad scramble to find ways of filling the need (and there was and is a need).  People and organizations were, let us say, creative.   Some of the “SCs” were free lancing but claiming to represent the state.  Some of the governors were not happy with this.
    (Re)establishment of a climatology service within NOAA (yes, you may thank President Obama) will iron out these organizational oddities

  351. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Jim Prall is making the mistake of so many mainstream climate scientists. He showed up here and made various pronouncements. But I asked him a couple of uncomfortable questions, and now he is doing his best Cheshire Cat imitation …
    I truly don’t understand this unwillingness of mainstream climate scientists (not that he is one, but he is representing their side) to debate the issues. The public are not fools. They notice when someone is willing to make statements from on high but won’t grapple with the scientific questions … whether the scientist is right or wrong (and yes, I admit that either one could be the case, that’s why I asked the question, to find out which), that is a suicidal tactic.

  352. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Eli Rabett Says: 
    June 25th, 2010 at 1:39 pm
    >>”The VA situation was stranger than can be described. …” >>
    So your position is that:
    1. Pat Michaels was appointed by the Virginia Governor as State Climatologist, and his position was funded by the State, and he was employed and paid and served as the Virginia State Climatologist for 26 years, but he wasn’t really the State Climatologist.
    2. Kane didn’t really fire Pat Michaels, he just refused to fund Pat’s position after it had been funded for 26 years?
    Those are some might fine hairs that you are splitting there, Eli, you’ll have to reveal the secrets of your microtome …

  353. Tom Fuller:
    “Thanks so much for keeping me from wasting my time on knuckleheads like Freeman Dyson and Judith Curry.”
     
    Freeman Dyson I’d heard of long before I became interested in climate science (though what I knew of him was certainly NOT his climate science background — my earliest memory of him is an article he wrote for ANALOG about space travel, in the 1970s).   Dr. Curry, I had not heard of.  I have no idea what her position is in the climate science firmament, i.e., what her standing is among climate scientists.
     
    My point is not that she is purposely inflating her own status as climate science insider.  It’s that we are only getting a very small slice of the climate scientist viewpoint, because  few of them participate in these threads.   Thus the views of any climate scientist who DOES  participate get unusually privileged status, whether warranted or not.
     
    How many among us here are qualified by profession to rate Dr. Curry — or Dr. Schmidt —  as climate scientists?  It’s something to keep in mind, particularly since the subject of bias has recently surfaced on this blog.
     
     

  354. JC
    “Ok, George Taylor seems to be a red herring.”
     
    OK, JC this is maybe the third or fourth time you’ve uncritically offered a ‘skeptic’  counterargument and been called on it.
     
    Why do you keep accepting their memes without vetting them first?

  355. #348 (Atomic Hairdryer) — is your distress at economist Dr. Richard Tol being denied travel (not research) funds from his government due (according to him) to his AGW contrarian reputation,  matched at all by your distress at the government pressure that some IPCC authors say resulted in  downplaying AGW impacts (e.g., sea level rise) in the last report?
     
     

  356. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    #355 It’s perhaps drifting more towards the confirmation bias topic, but any attempt to politicise the science should be considered bad for science. Dr Tol is considered good enough by WG2 to be an LA on AR5, but not on message by his government. If the only contributors working on AR5 are ‘CE’ then it’s easy to suggest the outcome will be biased and do nothing to discourage more scepticism. The creation of black or whitelists as in this PNAS paper simply makes it easier for people to decide who may be best to promote policy (or financial) objectives, which isn’t very scientific. As a sceptic, I’m more interested in what is said and what evidence there is to support conclusions than I am in who’s saying it.

    As for sea level increases, I’m not aware of which authors are making those claims, or the evidence that supports those claims. If the claims are true, then that is equally damaging to the perceived quality of the IPCC documents or process as a work of science.

  357. dhogaza says:

    “It’s perhaps drifting more towards the confirmation bias topic, but any attempt to politicise the science should be considered bad for science. ”

    Tol’s an economist and would be working on WG2, not WG1, and it’s WG1 where “the [climate] science” is done.

    “Dr Tol is considered good enough by WG2 to be an LA on AR5, but not on message by his government. ”

    Because of disagreements over policy, apparently. Of course, if the government did fund him, it would be just as much a political decision as not funding him, but neither you nor Tols would point that out, I imagine.

  358. Tom Fuller says:

    To get back to the PNAS travesty, if this is what the consensus holders call science, it is no wonder there are so many skeptics. And if this is what they call ethics, it is no wonder they have so many enemies.

  359. J Bowers says:

    Re. 358 Tom Fuller
     
    No, Tom, it’s because the world is addicted to fossil fuel and what the scientists are finding is that it will likely result in extreme hardships for the human species amongst others, including those we depend upon in order to live.
     
    You say the scientists have enemies, though. A very interesting term you use. Would you please enlighten us on who these enemies are?

  360. Judith Curry says:

    #354 Steven,  Pat Michaels did lose his funding from the State of Virginia for the state climatologist position, that is a matter of record.  WIth regards to the others, i claim no first hand knowledge.  When I put something out there like this, it is intended to to be a point for discussion, it is not intended as some sort of pronouncement or endorsement on my part.  This is supposed to be a dialogue.  If i put a query out there or put up some information or make a point, and somebody has better information or a counter argument, then great.

  361. Tom Fuller says:

    J. Bowers, the science doesn’t have enemies. The propagandists putting out junk science and using it as agit prop sure do, and they should have more.

  362. Eli Rabett says:

    Willis, (#352), Eli’s simply provided the facts without offering an opinion.  Michaels (PM) was named to a position that did not exist by a governor 30 years ago.     As the Rabett said, the story was very strange, probably because that was done as a stopgap to fill the hole left by NOAA getting out of the state climatology business.
    If anyone owed PM a living it was UVa, but, as you know, when someone is supported on soft money at a university they have to leave when their position loses external funding.  This has happened to many researchers who have had support for decades.
    To bring this full circle, Va now has a very right wing governor who probably agrees with Michaels on climate change science, and an Att. Gen.  well you have heard about Cuccinelli.

  363. Eli Rabett says:

    Just a note to Judith Curry, there was no position for a Va State Climatologist.  As an iron rule in government you need an authorized slot to employ (pay) someone.  Even at a university, you cannot hire anyone, even a janitor, without a slot.
    That being said, the issue for Kane and the governors of Oregon and Delaware was that Michaels, Legates and Taylor were claiming to speak in an official capacity for the state but were in conflict with state government policy.  If they had done what Hansen does, explicitly state that on such matters they were speaking as private individuals, they would not have gotten into such hot water.  They probably would have been safe if they said they were speaking as university research personnel.  Eli notes that Hansen uses the Columbia server (he is adjunct) for  his policy pieces.

  364. Judith Curry says:

    Steven Sullivan #353:  You’ve mentioned several times your interest in understanding the “standing” of various climate scientists including those that blog, within the climate community.   The dataset assembled for the PNAS paper does provide some relevant information under the table Climate Authors Elected Fellows of a Learned Society.  The names in this list are ranked by number of publications (not by citations, as in the other list).   In interpreting this list, there is a hierarchy among the professional societies, with some being more prestigious than others. Also, fellowship in this societies is more likely if you are over 50 years of age.
     
     

  365. J Bowers says:

    Re. (now 333) David L Hagen on the “bomb”.
    It was a package of car parts delivered mistakenly to Calzades and not the garage it was intended for.
    The courier has aplogised for the mistake and the fuss it has caused. Ben Santer did, however, have a dead rat put on the doorstep of his family home and must sometimes have personal protection when attending public engagements, and climate scientists, especially those in the emails, regularly receive death threats against themselves and their loved ones. Not exactly what one could describe as “subtle”.

  366. Laursaurus says:

    Just an observation: the criticism of this paper and it’s implications was generated after thoroughly reading  the contents in stark contrast with the thread about The Hockey Stick Illusion. Note how effectively the PNAS article is judged on it’s own merits. OTOH, Montford’s book receives only positive reviews from those who have read it.
    Just a few months ago, the PNAS issued an open letter attacking climate change skepticism with political propaganda in a strikingly unscientific manner. Just like the HSI, the “credibility” project is authored by a climate change blogger. A skeptic could have just as easily refused to read it based on personal ideology. Why don’t those who embrace the tenets of ACC at least attempt to debunk the book instead of refusing to examine the contents? Either they fear the supporting science is not robust enough to withstand a challenge or they have secretly read the book and need to control the damage it does by deterring others from reading it.

  367. Gator says:

    Judith Curry @360. Claiming this is a “dialog” should not free you from some sense of obligation of providing correct or truthful information in your posts. If you post an “I heard…” why wouldn’t you at least make a cursory check on that info? Why post it? How does posting crap help promote a dialog? I heard Judith Curry now supports the politically-motivated criminal investigation of Michael Mann — Joe told me. Just putting it out there. OK, that was fake for the irony challenged… put there to show how rumours and “I heard” stuff are irresponsible and destructive. I don’t doubt that “I heard” things will likely parallel one’s political ideas as this is a way to inject an unsubstantiated idea into the blogosphere. If one was stating an idea backed by facts, one could simply point to the facts.

  368. Tom Fuller says:

    Gator, Michael Tobis just asked me to apologise for writing a book about Climategate that he hasn’t read.

  369. Laursaurus says:

    J Bowers #365: ” Ben Santer did, however, have a dead rat put on the doorstep of his family home”.
    I find a dead rat about once a week in my small yard, positioned in plain sight from the doorstep(as well as a mouse, baby rabbit, or poor bird. Isn’t it a huge stretch to claim finding dead vermin in your yard evidence of a terrorist threat? If you are going to effectively intimidate someone, it doesn’t make sense to do something that most people would blame on a cat. If we are to apply skepticism consistently, the dead rat, like the oil filter, is very shaky proof for deliberate intimidation.

    If you want to discuss threatening emails, risk to personal security, and even death threats, the skeptics are clearly at far greater risk. The stalker pursuing Anthony Watts, has a long record of targeting numerous other individuals for openly criticizing the tenets of ACC. Even when the advocates admonished her behavior, she persisted with a loaded “apology”. The last comment from her the blogosphere that I came across was a request for Lucia’s private email.

    We also have the rallying cry for civil disobedience from an environmentalist NGO threatening skeptics openly by documenting “we know where you live.” There is even a “humorous” viral video suggesting to get back at skeptics by urinating in their coffee instead of ripping their heads off.

    In the future, you may not want to bring up the subject. Playing the victim card completely back-fires.

  370. J Bowers says:

    <i>Laursaurus: “Why don’t those who embrace the tenets of ACC at least attempt to debunk the book instead of refusing to examine the contents? Either they fear the supporting science is not robust enough to withstand a challenge or they have secretly read the book and need to control the damage it does by deterring others from reading it.”</i>

    Or, perhaps we don’t wish to put money into certain pockets and will be getting it from a public  library, while some are possibly just following Tom Fuller’s lead concerning the  publishing of correspondence without the permission of the authors being dishonourable and all that. Then, of course, many have read the emails and don’t need to seek the opinions of others, especially in those instances where the correspondents have explained the content to a satisfactory level. Let us not also forget the Oxburgh Inquiry which cleared the scientists of wrongdoing, and are also waiting to see the results of the Sir Muir Russell Inquiry. In short, there could be a number of reasons, but I’m sure I’ve omitted a couple.

  371. Keith Kloor says:

    Laurasaurus (369):

    I don’t think it’s constructive at all to debate which side gets more threats. I also think it’s terrible that such threats are made against individuals wherever they sit on the climate spectrum. I also take Ben Santer at his word.

  372. J Bowers says:

    <i>Laursaurus: “Isn’t it a huge stretch to claim finding dead vermin in your yard evidence of a terrorist threat?”</i>
     
    Not when someone bangs on the door to let you know they’ve left the dead rat at your family home and speeds off yelling obscenities in a yellow hummer.
     
    It being Keith’s blog I’ll leave that there, as it’s pretty clear what I think of this hullabaloo over self-made blacklists, imagined damage to careers, imaginary bombs with a lack of application of Hanlon’s Razor, and “subtle pressures” which seem to be so subtle that clear examples can’t be provided.

  373. Punch My Ticket says:

    Kloor: “I also take Ben Santer at his word.”
    Santer: “Next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting, I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted.”
    http://eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=1045&filename=1255100876.txt

  374. Gator says:

    Laursaurus @ 369. Describing Anna Haynes as a stalker, or Anthony Watts as being stalked is ludicrous. Simply ludicrous and it points to the extreme desire to portray themselves a martyrs that the deniers actively indulge. The whole “blacklist” idea is another part of this. “Galileo was persecuted and so are we!!”

    Tom Fuller @ 368. Boo hoo. Just about everything I’ve read that you’ve written has been wrong. You are clearly one of those who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the science as long as your taxes don’t go up.

  375. Tom Fuller says:

    Gator, just trying to point out a small fact that seemed to cast doubt on  your thesis. Have a nice day.

  376. Keith Kloor says:

    Gator (374):

    Your comment directed at Tom Fuller is way out of bounds. Welcome to moderation.

     

  377. Wayne Arnold says:

    A climate expert doesnt have to be  a climate researcher. A climate researcher doesn’t have to publish papers.

  378. Judith Curry says:

    I spotted this over at Climateprogress, from collide-a-scape regular dhogaza (comment #17):
     
    “Joe: Judith Curry is owed a serious takedown here. She’s slowly moving down the path pioneered by the likes of Bishop Hill and Tom Fuller, using her status as sometime climate scientist to claim legitimacy.”

    Such entertaining things can be found at Climateprogress.

    So, how should a voice on the climate change issue, either “elite” researchers or citizen scientists, establish credibility?   Who do you listen to and why?  With regards to the “elite” scientists, do the kinds of metrics used in the PNAS article convince you (e.g. # of publications, # of citations, fellowships in professional societies)?  In my mind, I define credibility as a combination of expertise and trust.   I would be interested in other thoughts on this.
     

  379. Barry Woods says:

    Judith, members of the public, or citizen climate scientists, would just be called ‘deniars straight off’…

    They seem to think you are descending down the path to that ‘status’ 😉

    If they tried an obvious attack on you, that would be a bit to obvious a bad pr mistake. (ie you are established respected scientists, this sort of treatment, would be noticed by other scientists, who might ‘make a stand’, on principle). So it will be little by little.

    Any phd student, that ever wants funding or a career, if the have any sense, just keeps their head down, rather than ask some of the questions you have asked..

  380. Barry Woods says:

    note the ‘some time’ comment.. Starting to estbalish,not a proper ‘climate scientist’, before too long?

  381. JohnB says:

    Judith, I notice #40 in that thread is hoping for war crimes trials, some people never learn.

    Speaking as an average John, I would agree that it is a combination of expertise and trust. However, the only way that I can really guage someones expertise for myself is if they communicate with me. If they won’t talk, then I cannot gauge. If I cannot guage, why should I trust? 

    What some scientists have failed to realise is that trust like repect, is earned, not given. Joe Public knows from experience that those who most demand that people respect and trust them do so because they are incapable of earning that respect and trust and are aware of that fact.

    There is also the confusion between learning and wisdom. Gaining a degree means that someone passed the exams, it doesn’t mean that they are wiser or smarter than a person without one.

    Speaking to and engaging people with the view that they are human beings will garner more respect and trust than going in with a “Pearls before Swine” attitude. Unfortunately some people are so blinded by their own perceived brilliance that they cannot see these basic things.

  382. Barry Woods says:

    Actually Judith, it may be to late for you 😉

    Climate progres: (remember, public view anyone can see it)
    29# mike roddy: June 27,2010 at 8.39pm
    “Dhogaza, you’re right about Judith Curry, she’s a goner, and shares convention stages with Mcintyre.”

    If anyone from the big oil fossil fuels denial machinary sends you a cheque…  Can you let them know that I’m still waiting for mine..

    Seriously, all that Judith dones is ask a few questions, spoken to some people…….

  383. Judith Curry says:

    Well, i would be interested in taking on the likes of romm, gavin, whoever is interested in a take down.  After trying to take me “to the tape” on a previous collide-a-scape thread, Gavin disappeared pretty quickly.  Although I’m biased, I even seen much in terms of convincing takedowns from the warm side of the blogosphere (stoat, rabett devoted whole threads, but not much there).
     
    I made this point over at RP Jr site, something about  only swatting at the low hanging fruit and ignoring/censoring the tough comments/questions contributes to developing flabby blogging skills.  Hanging out at collide-a-scape and climateaudit, answering tough questions from both sides, is keeping me in fighting form 🙂
     

  384. Judith Curry says:

    JohnB #381 good points.  So you are not buying the “appeal to authority” type stuff whereby 255 National Academy of Sciences members sign a petition?

  385. Tom Fuller says:

    Judith, to avoid real frustration and time wasting, I would advise you to develop your own segmentation of the various consensus players. It’s real tempting to blur comments from some people in with other, more serious folk.
    You also should realize that at places where they hang out, they post inflammatory comments in the hopes that you will drop by and see them.
    I mentioned on this blog a couple of weeks ago that attempts to bridge the divide between tribes will fail quickly unless there is a coherent strategy to deal with commenters. I’ve lost my temper enough times to know that it distracts from honest debate.
    I can only assure you that that is intentional on the part of some commenters.

  386. Gavin says:

    #383 Judith, please be serious. Other people have actual jobs and personal lives that don’t allow 24/7 monitoring of blog comment threads, and may, by disposition, have a preference for dealing with interesting topics vs. the manufactured blog-controversy of the day. Your responses to my points about how completely non-controversial working scientists are being targeted by CEI et al, or what the responsibility of people with expertise have in improving the level of debate, are conspicuous by their absence.

  387. Tom Fuller says:

    Gavin, your point is well-taken. However Judith also has a point about certain discussions being in a rather unfinished state.
    May I suggest that you perhaps could set a date and time when you could continue the relevant dialogue, as it is undoubtedly of interest to many here.

  388. Judith Curry says:

    Gavin #386  That was a pretty quick reply 🙂   Lucky for me I don’t have a day job or anything like that to worry about 🙂
     
    Re your previous post, pls list any scientists being targeted by CEI that you view as noncontroversial.
     
    With regards to my view of my own responsibility, I have been pretty active (since Nov) regarding any injustices that I see, and I have spoken out publicly with regards to injustices I see being committed towards yourself and Mike Mann, and took the extra step of actually communicating with Fred Smith, President of CEI , about the lawsuit involving yourself.  I criticized many on the climateaudit thread regarding their comments about Jerry North and Lonnie Thompson.  Actually having a dialogue (i.e. sequence of interactions)  with Steve McIntyre, Fred Smith, etc. actually puts me in a position where they might actually listen to something that I say on this issue.  But this also means I also speak out when I see injustices being committed towards McInyre, Montford, and others that you would regard as on the other side of the debate.
     
    I would appreciate hearing about any efforts that you have made in speaking up regarding injustices being done to people on the other side of the debate.  E.g. Tamino defended  Anthony Watts regarding the alleged stalking incident.

  389. lucia says:

    Judy Curry described credibility as “expertise and trust”. I think sometimes some expertise forget that the every individual gets to decide what sort of behaviors are correlated with others being trustworthy.   An expert in physical sciences can go on and on and on about who one can verify expertise. If in the process, they forget that people gauge trust based on other behaviors, they will perpetually wonder why people don’t find them credible.
    Gavin 386–
    You may, of course, budget your time and devote it to issues that interest you.  Third parties will still observe your choices and decide how much they trust you.  I suspect a sizable fraction will find your  response justifying your exiting conversations you started on the basis of your being a busy, busy, busy man somewhat self-serving and disingenuous.
     

  390. Judith Curry says:

    Tom Fuller, thanks for your suggestion.  While I sometimes get roped into something I shouldn’t, I also sometimes find a dubious comment from a person with an obvious agenda to be a useful springboard to make what i hope is an interesting point.

  391. Judith Curry says:

    I’ve also heard from several skeptics  that Greenpeace has been making FOIA requests.  Haven’t heard anything from Greenpeace about this; so this might be a false rumor (I don’t think it is), or Greenpeace didn’t find anything interesting to report. Are you prepared to contact Greenpeace and find out if this is true, and if so request that they stop making these requests?
     
    Based on what I am hearing on this thread, people seem to be supportive of the FOIA requests of government employees that have been involved in advocacy activities,  as an attempt to interpret any bias that may be filtering into their scientific research.  Bottom line, if you are a govt employee, you have to deal with FOIA requests. These will be minimized if you make all your data etc publicly available and transparent.  FOIA requests for emails are almost certainly motivated by “digging for dirt,”   so keep your emails clean.

  392. smitty says:

    Slate magazine makes some good points about how the study may backfire.
    http://www.slate.com/id/2258088/
    Those numbers are striking, but they don’t tell us nearly as much about the number of skilled researchers on either team as the authors claim. One of the most frequent arguments made by climate skeptics is that they are shut out of peer-reviewed climate publications. Most analysts are rightly skeptical of this claim, and doubt that such a bias””if it did exist””could lead to such a large disparity. But it would explain the study results: If skeptics are being shut out of journals, their publication counts would go down, which would produce precisely the results shown in the PNAS paper. The same logic applies to the skeptics’ claim that they are being starved of research funding for political reasons. The authors make no attempt to tease out the extent to which prejudice, rather than a disparity in expertise, can explain why so few skeptics rank among the top climate authors. Their conclusion is thus far less significant than they imply.

  393. #364 J. Curry:
    I see you come out pretty high-ranked in that list — #83, ahead of such luminaries as Malcolm K Hughes, William Ruddiman, & even, mirabile dictu, James Hansen at a mere #108! Heh.
     
    Perhaps you’re really a medium-large fish in the CS pool?

  394. Addendum to #393:
    Not bad for a “sometime” climate scientist!

  395. And, this just in:
    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/6/28/josh-25-jude-of-arc.html
    “Jude of Arc”
    I thought the abandoned hockey-sticks a nice touch.

  396. Judith Curry says:

    Peter Tillman  🙂
     

  397. Judith Curry says:

    oops the smiley face icon didnt come up

  398. Keith Kloor says:

    Judith (391),

    Like George Monbiot, I view FOIA as sacred, and feel compelled to tell you that requests for emails of govt employees is not necessarily  digging for dirt. (This is not to say that others aren’t digging for dirt.)

    But for journalists working on specific stories looking to connect dots, emails can be a smoking gun. For instance, as I wrote in this story, hundreds of FOIA documents and emails opened

    “a window into the murky mingling of science, industry and an underfunded federal agency faced with an onslaught of energy development.”

  399. Gavin says:

    From a <a href=”http://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B88iFXWgVKt-Y2VjMTdlNTQtMmJjNy00ZjhkLTkyYTItMzA1Yzc2OTZkYmFi&hl=en”>CEI FOIA request</a> to NASA in February:
     
    <blockquote>
    all records, documents, internal communications, and other relevant covered material created by, provided to, received, and or sent by Gavin Schmidt, Reto Ruedy, Maikiko Sato, James Hansen, Robert Cahalan, Franco Einaudi, David Herring, Drew Shindell, Bruce Wielicki, Sarah Dewitt, Surabi Menon, Cynthia Rosenzweig, Nancy Kiang, Leslie McCarthy, Ron Milley, Thomas Karl, or Jay Lawrimore, that contain the word or words “FOIA,” “FOI,” “Freedom of Information,” “Freedom of Information Act,” and “destroy,” or “delete,” or “get rid of,” or “hide,” or any variation or combination thereof;
    </blockquote>
     
    Some of these names don’t even exist, some do exist but don’t work at NASA, and half of them I’m sure you have never heard of. Do you think this is an inquiry only concerning ‘advocacy’ scientists?
     
    FOIA is a great law, but for people not used to being in the public eye, the personal and the official are often very well-mixed. For instance, I know many scientists who only have one email address for all of their communications persona, public and official because it never occurred to them that these archives would be targeted.  These kinds of fishing expeditions can expose them to a very hostile examination and the very real threat of casual comments being taken out of context and being very personally damaging. (see any of Horner’s posts at pajamas media for instance).
     
    Fortunately, FOIA however only covers ‘agency records’ (that basically refers to the performance of official duties) but making those distinctions for possibly thousands of emails is time-consuming and intrusive (try having multiple lawyer going through all of your records for over a week – I don’t recommend it). The lesson that CEI would have us draw is that if you talk in public, or know someone or work in the same building as or have corresponded with someone who has, then you are target. This is therefore a very clear attack on the ideal that scientists have the right (and a duty) to talk about their science in public.

  400. lucia says:

    Gavin
    For instance, I know many scientists who only have one email address for all of their communications persona, public and official because it never occurred to them that these archives would be targeted.
    Given how easy it is to set up a GMAIL or hotmail account, the practice of using a work email as a personal email is very unwise. This holds not only for scientists but everyone.  Many people working in private industry have long known they ought to use hotmail or some other service for private email.  They aren’t subject to FOI, but files could be  subpoenaed or people working in IT might read personal stuff.
     
    At PNNL, we knew that people might request stuff when trying to investigate stuff associated with the Hanford site.
     
    This is therefore a very clear attack on the ideal that scientists have the right (and a duty) to talk about their science in public.
     
    So thwart it by setting up a hotmail account for your personal business. I suspect you are going to have to be careful to never use your personal account for business. If you do that, FOI might slide over to that account– but ask an attorney.

  401. Gavin says:

    I agree, moving towards a more segregated system is very wise – and I have done so and am advising widely to others to do the same. But FOIA requests are coming in asking for stuff back to 1999 – and actions taken today are not going to deal with retrospective practice. Going forward we can start to make things easier to deal with, but for the time being we are stuck with the historical state of affairs.

  402. lucia says:

    Gavin
    But FOIA requests are coming in asking for stuff back to 1999 ““ and actions taken today are not going to deal with retrospective practice.

     
    I sympathize.  I do.
    But way back in the 90s at  PNNL we all had to fill out forms and questionaires because of  various suits over radioactive tracers released in the 50s before I was even born.  I segregated my private and public email back then.

  403. SimonH says:

    Gavin says: For instance, I know many scientists who only have one email address for all of their communications persona, public and official because it never occurred to them that these archives would be targeted.”


    It is a very simple process to separate out your personal and professional correspondence into respective folders, even if on a single email address, and it’s then a simple process to search the appropriate email folders for the relevant phrases.
     
    The process of setting up a search rule cannot seriously be regarded as a time-consuming chore. Far from it; some of us with bad memories for dates and events depend heavily on these search rules to accelerate day-to-day work. The dying duck routine regarding email FOI as a chore simply isn’t convincing and inasmuch as it may be regarded as an irritation or distraction (however brief it truthfully is), it’s an obligation and it’s part of your job.

  404. J Bowers says:

    Lucia, could you elaborate on the point to your comment 402, please? Perhaps clarify your point?

  405. Judith Curry says:

    Keith, my point about the FOIA as “digging for dirt” is to counter the frequent whine that the FOIAs are trying to keep the scientists from doing work.  Highly unlikely, the FOIAs are looking for information (dirt or otherwise) to flesh out a story.

  406. NewYorkJ says:

    I posted something similar at MT’s blog.

    For anyone to support a hypothesis that the study is fatally flawed (quibbles over citations from Google Scholar or methodology details or whatever actually matter), it shouldn’t be that difficult to decisively do. For example, of the 3000+ scientists in Prall’s list, Fuller could come up with 300 (10%) that have been clearly mischaracterized. The rest is just hand-waving. So far only a few have been identified as remotely contentious. This meticulous analysis was done on the Inhofe list:

    “”¢ Slightly fewer than 10 percent could be identified as climate scientists.
    “¢ Approximately 15 percent published in the recognizable refereed literature on subjects related to climate science.
    “¢ Approximately 80 percent clearly had no refereed publication record on climate science at all. 
    “¢ Approximately 4 percent appeared to favor the current IPCC-2007 consensus and should not have been on the list. ”

    http://www.centerforinquiry.net/newsroom/ranking_members_senate_minority_report_on_global_warming_not_credible_says_/

    So back up the smack, detractors.  Then submit your results to PNAS if you’d like.

  407. JohnB says:

    #384 Judith.

    Not really buying it no. As you say it smacks very loudly of “Appeal to Authority”.

    There has been a lot lately about attacks on science or scientists, and to a degree this is true. The other way it is put is that people aren’t “listening” to the scientists. However, I think that there is a bigger picture here that many in the science community have missed.

    In the past, the scientist was automatically given respect due to his or her higher learning. Not a massive percentage of the populace went to University and those that did were viewed as the “smartest” and it followed that respect was due. People with degrees were rarer and therefore more valuable.

    Over the last few decades, a far higher percentage go to centres of higher learning. This has had amoung others, three results.

    Firstly degrees are more common and the perception is therefore that basically anybody can get one. Note that Joe Public is lumping everybody together here, Climatologists and Physicists are lumped in with “touchy feely” Humanities degrees. For Joe Public, a degree is a degree and they don’t care what it’s in.

    Secondly, because of the prevalence of degreed people, Joe Public now knows at least one person with a degree who is an idiot. This devalues the degree in the eyes of Joe Public.

    Thirdly, those who have degrees will know at least one person with a much higher degree than theirs, who is an idiot. Those from the hard sciences will also have a lower opinion of the value of a degree in the Humanities.

    There are certainly other factors, but I think that these are the main ones. They reduce “Listen to me because I have a degree” argument to nonsense.

    The shift here is not that people are no longer listening to scientists, it’s that they are no longer listening to scientists just because they have a degree.

    A good example of this shift is in medicine with the move to “informed consent”. Years ago, you had a problem, you went to the Doctor and he told you what he was going to do. He’s a Doctor, he has a degree, Joe Public was expected to do as he was told, and he did it without question.

    Today of course, the situation is very different. When there is something wrong, the Doctor advises (sometimes very strongly), but all treatment options are placed before the patient so that they can give informed consent. Medical Science has come to terms with this and I think the practice of medicine is better for it.

    Note that Medicine has a number of things in common with Climate Science. Both are based in physical sciences, but in both there are areas of uncertainty where individual opinion and interpretation come into play. For example, for all the scientific backing of medicine, when a Doctor is unsure, he gets a second “opinion”.

    So we are in an era where people are rejecting the idea that a person is learned or wise simply because they have a degree. People expect more, a demonstration that the degree is actually worth something.

    So the NAS letter comes across as “We are very smart people with University degrees and because of that you should listen to what we say. We are telling you to listen to other people with degrees because they are very smart too.”

    Sorry, doesn’t sell. And it won’t any more. The general science community has to realise that things have changed and they should follow the lead of medicine wherever they can. Just because somebody has a degree no longer means that Joe Public feels obliged to listen and give value to opinion statements.

    I add that attacks by both sides of the climate debate intensify the effect because we finish up with exchanges like;
    “Dr XXX says……..”
    “Don’t listen to him, he’s a fool”
    “But he has a PhD in Climate Science!”
    “So what, it means nothing. He’s still a fool .”
    “And your qualifications are?”
    I have a PhD in Climate Science!”

    Why on earth should Joe Public resect the value of a degree if the community itself does not?

  408. JohnB says:

    *respect* A preview would be wonderful. There’s nothing worse that seeing the typo just after you hit the submit button. 🙂

  409. Scott B says:

    Back to the original quote for this post:

    “‘It would be nice if all sides of this discussion would recognize that there are rational reasons for skepticism as well as for the consensus view. Similarly, it is quite possible to agree with the mainstream science while rejecting any or all of the current basket of policy proposals. Or to support those proposals regardless of the science.’  Could this be a framework for common ground between all the sides?”

    I think it could be.  The problem is that many on all sides of these arguments are going to fight for extreme solutions because they are sure that’s right.  Personally, there’s a few policy decisions I would support.  In the US, our electrical grid is woefully wasteful.  I’d be OK in mandating a smart grid of some kind.  There’s a solution that would help the environment and save money in the long term.  I wouldn’t be against mandating that any new power plants should be low emission.  Use green technology where it’s close to economically viable.  Use nuclear elsewhere.  Sadly, most of the people very concerned about climate change don’t accept nuclear as an option.  Continuing fuel efficiency improvements are generally a good thing. 

    I’m just not convinced that some emissions trading scheme or carbon tax is the right way to go.  Those force people to be efficient and reduce fossil fuel use at the expense of our economy and peoples’ quality of living.  Fossil fuel use is required for almost anything, including typing this post.  We have no solution for transportation at all.  Spending more money on energy means less is available elsewhere.  I’m not convinced that the gain of reducing a small temperature rise (I’m in the minimalist camp, from looking at recent trends where we have solid measurements we should see a 1.5 – 2 C increase over the rest of this century if CO2 concentrations continue to increase at the same or slightly accelerating manner) is worth the negative effects rationing fuel use will have on people.  So far, fossil fuel use has been much more positive for humanity than negative.  We’ve handled the increasing temperatures well so far.  I’m not of the opinion that just because we are changing the environment, that’s a bad thing and we have to stop.

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