The Chasm

The robust debate between Gavin Schmidt and Judith Curry (here and here) appears to have run its course. It’s been a fairly technical discussion and mostly civil. And immensely frustrating, it seems, for both of them.

Taking stock of the exchange, Gavin makes this observation:

When smart and informed people see basically the same information but come to different conclusions, I find that interesting since there might be something to be learned.

I think he’s right, but what is there to be learned?

89 Responses to “The Chasm”

  1. Judith Curry says:

    If informed people on a subject with different perspectives that view evidence in different ways actually talked to each other, scientific progress would be increased and conflict would be reduced.  Gavin and I have been talking fairly productively on this thread (not on the RC thread), which was relatively easy for us since there was no bad blood between us before that RC thread on the Montford Delusion and both of us are relatively open to this kind of engagement.  Now if we can get Mann to talk to McIntyre and Santer to talk to Michaels,  sort out their differences,  well it would be an interesting experiment!

  2. RickA says:

    For the lay observer – there is a lot to be learned, in my opinion.
    I feel like I learned a lot reading the back and forth of Judith and Gavin.
    I want to thank Keith for hosting this exchange and also to Judith and Gavin for participating.
     

  3. Pascvaks says:

    “When smart and informed people see basically the same information but come to different conclusions…” it is quite possible –indeed, it is more than likely– that both are off the mark and something entirely different and new is the ‘correct’ conclusion. I have always heard the sound of chalk squeaking on a blackboard when someone says “the science is settled”. We seem to be heading in the direction of a paradigm shift in the anthropologic realm of  ‘Climatology’.

  4. Keith Kloor says:

    Judith,
    I didn’t mean to imply that the exchange hasn’t been productive. I think you and Gavin have done a tremendous service by engaging substantively with each other this past week on this site.

    That said, Gavin has hit on something that should appear obvious to close observers–that you both are interpreting the same information quite differently. Frankly, this leaves me perplexed. So I’m asking: what should we make of this?

  5. Jay Currie says:

    Keith, My sense is that this has been a very productive exchange with a good deal of respect and more than a little information flow.
    What I took away is that while there are some areas of climate science which are well understood and about which warmists and skeptics can and do agree the vast majority of the science is much less certain.
    Proceeding as if there is certainty leads to a good deal of mis-communication and, in some cases, insult and rancor. In a number of areas the data is either incomplete or subject to contestable “adjustments”. In others the data is ambiguous as to physical cause and capacity to be a useful proxy. In still others, the methods used by the climate scientists are needlessly opaque.
    “The same information” begs all of these questions. Intelligent people, scientists and the laity, need to approach what may be an important problem with the modesty and humility big problems deserve. Data needs to be checked, work needs to be replicated and tested. The null hypothesis needs to be considered and results need to include both the data and the algorithms employed.
    Most of all, both camps need to acknowledge that in the early days of a scientific endevour there will be lots of errors.
    Finally, the reality of AGW should never be more than provisionally asserted. The worst error the pro-AGW camp has made has been to make claims which go far beyond what the provisional science can support. Now, for the most part it has not been the scientists who have made those claims; rather it has been agendized groups, politicians and individuals who have asserted as a matter of fact that AGW exists and will end badly.
    On the skeptics’ side it is all to easy to pick holes in the more extreme assertions of the AGW advocates.
    Overall, my sense is that the climate science community needs to take a large step back from any sort of advocacy. In particular it should welcome competent critics such as MacIntyre and McKitrick. If the science is solid those critics will have little impact; if it is dodgy then it is vital that the errors come to light and are corrected. The critics can help.

  6. Sashka says:

    Of the disagreeing parties, one is leading the team that circles the wagons and plays power politics; the other is trying to challenge the order. I think what you can learn is the mechanics of how political interests corrupt the judgment and skew positions.

  7. Artifex says:

    Keith says
     
    <i>Frankly, this leaves me perplexed. So I’m asking: what should we make of this?</i>

    I think it is as simple as the realization that there is a wide variation in the way the human mind works. Different people are comfortable with different modes of thought. Some people are “forest people” who like generalities and some people are “tree people” who like details. Some people demand absolutes from their logic, others don’t. Some people think everything should be objective, others could care less. I don’t even think we fundamentally agree on the definition of “good science”. Is it surprising that we can’t agree on the details ?

  8. Judith Curry says:

    I think I brought this up over on the RC thread, but it is relevant here:
    Consensus on a scientific thesis is established as science evolves through the following successive stages (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1990):

    1. no opinion with no peer acceptance;
    2. an embryonic field attracting low acceptance by peers;
    3. competing schools of thought, with medium peer acceptance;
    4. a dominant school of thought accepted by all but rebels;
    5. an established theory accepted by all but cranks.

    I regard climate science overall as ~ 3.7.  There is still a whole lot that we don’t know about natural variability (forced and internal), among other things, and the models have known inadequacies.  Joe Romm seems to view climate science as a 5, with Gavin seeming to be a 4+.

    Until we more thoroughly explore and characterize the uncertainties, and stop accelerating our confidence levels based on a self feeding consensus process, I think anyone who calls this at a 4.5 or greater is fooling themselves, and i think a “very likely” confidence level reflects this.

     

  9. Judith Curry says:

    The other source of disagreement is using different logics to draw conclusions from incomplete information.  Without making formal arguments, and just presenting a list of circumstantial evidence and then an expert judgment verdict, it is difficult to understand the fundamental argument , and people with different mental models end up seeing something else from the “information”.   So when the knowledge level is less than 4, you are going to see significant disagreement.  Trying to pretend this doesn’t exist, with appeals to authority (like the PNAS paper) doesn’t get us anywhere in the long run, but can provide temporary political advantage.

  10. Judith Curry says:

    As an example, consider the IPCC AR4 SPM statements on hurricanes:

    There is observational evidence for an increase of intense tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic since about 1970, correlated with increases of tropical sea surface temperatures. There are also suggestions of increased intense tropical cyclone activity in some other regions where concerns over data quality are greater. Multi-decadal variability and the quality of the tropical cyclone records prior to routine satellite observations in about 1970 complicate the detection of long-term trends in tropical cyclone activity.
     
    Based on a range of models, it is likely that future tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes) will become more intense, with larger peak wind speeds and more heavy precipitation associated with ongoing increases of tropical SSTs. There is less confidence in projections of a global decrease in numbers of tropical cyclones. The apparent increase in the proportion of very intense storms since 1970 in some regions is much larger than simulated by current models for that period.”
     
    The main text doesn’t give much more info.  The model simulations that this conclusion was based on totally lack credibility for producing hurricanes or estimating their intensity.  More recent models are more credible.  But it is unjustified to make a “likely” assessment based on models available circa 2006.  Hurricane intensity is about a 3.5.  We understand some things about it, but cannot predict the intensity of an individual hurricane or even reproduce it after the fact with any reliability.  How all this might change in a warmer climate is a 3.
     
    By presenting some observational evidence for which there is confidence, and not mentioning a whole host of other things that we don’t confidence, or presenting a credible causal chain whereby warmer temperatures increase hurricane intensity, the combination of the presenting observations for which we have high confidence in plus the likely conclusion from the models, gives bootstrapped plausibility to an implicit causal chain, which is much more uncertain.

  11. Hank Roberts says:

    > Consensus on a scientific thesis
    Funtowicz and Ravetz have gone a long way since 1990, though.
    See for example their piece here from February 2003:
    http://www.ecoeco.org/pdf/pstnormsc.pdf
    where they discuss how
    “… we can guide the extension of the accountability of governments (the foundation of modern democratic society) to include the institutions involved in the governance of science and technology (Funtowicz and Ravetz 1992, 1993).

    Extended peer communities are already being created, in increasing numbers, either when the authorities cannot see a way forward, or when they know that without a broad base of consensus, no policy can succeed. They are called “˜citizens’ juries’, “˜focus groups’, “˜consensus conferences’, or any one of a great variety of other names. Their forms and powers are correspondingly varied. But they all have one important element in common: they assess the quality of policy proposals, including a scientific element….”

  12. Judith Curry says:

    Hank, thanks for bringing up funtowicz and ravetz extended peer communities, i think this explains the emergence of the climateauditors.  Extended peer communities are becoming major players in the politics of expertise as a result of being enabled by the blogosphere, what Ravetz refers to as the “radical implications of the blogosphere.”
     
    So I guess that makes us all radicals 🙂
     

  13. Hank Roberts says:

    > explains the emergence
    Physicists too:  “the reason I’m trying to get mathematicians and physicists involved in saving the planet is not because I think they can do a better job than other people, but merely because 1) that’s what I am, 2) everyone has their own particular way they can help out, and 3) I think I can figure out some ways for people like me to help out.” — John Baez, at his blog Azimuth

  14. Hank Roberts says:

    So — the chasm.   I hope JC and G will speculate a bit on why they come to such different conclusions on the same facts (assuming JC agrees even on that!).
    I’d suggest this for context:  http://trendlines.ca/TrendlinesPeakOilDepletionScenariosChart100731.png
    What’s the worst that could happen?

  15. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    It is ever thus in science (30yrs worth in my case).

    Reminds me of the cosmology of ‘missing’ universal mass. Dark matter is the preeminent hypothesis, but there are others such as MOND.  MOND proponents seem to be treated as pariahs by dark matter people, although both sides are well qualified.  The difference though is unlike climate science there is much less money and prestige riding on the missing mass question.

    In my field, which is neither cosmology nor climatology, when hit by these controversies the usual answer is to be patient and collect more data.  Eventually the question will be resolved (usually), although patience is not easy to practise.  The hardest part is then to convince the financiers to keep up with funding.

  16. Judith Curry says:

    Hank, what is at issue is the confidence level of the conclusion.  I am claiming the uncertainty is greater than acknowledged by the IPCC.  I am imagining more possibilities at the border of ignorance in this very complex system, have less confidence in the very complex climate models.

  17. Luke Warmer says:

    Gavin’s quote  reflects the facts v. interpretation dichotomy. (Positive and normative, objective/subjective or whatever).  This is the key point to be learned.

    Judith – you cite the Funtowicz and Ravetz 1990 stages but the ‘real’ stages for a scientific paradigm are not as simple as they posit.  Where would Newton’s ToG sit on this, for example?   After stage 5 there has to be more, as Kuhn described.  Science is fallible but post normal science (PNS) doesn’t acknowledge this. PNS is an attempt to shoehorn acceptance of uncertain science/facts, when as they say “values are in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent”.  But whose values and, if the facts are uncertain, how do we know if the stakes are really high and the decisions are really urgent?

    Your last point (16) is the key one – the IPPC has IMHO unwittingly fallen into the distance creates enchantment/
    certainty trap.  Like Maxwell’s demon it has sifted only the papers that create its case.  The SPM and the subsequent media/ activist rhetoric of climate change alarmism (e.g. anomaly, change, unprecedented, pre-industrial) have done the rest.

    Personally I’d ditch PNS which seems to have been created almost specifically for AGW and focus on the work of  Collins/ Pinch etc. et al in relation to expertise and SSK if you really want to understand more about this.  e.g. http://143.106.76.15/site/aulas/137/The%20Third%20Wave%20of%20Science%20Studies.pdf

    But a good debate nonetheless.

    Finally, anyone who hasn’t read Kuhn should begin by reading the interview with him in the last chapter of “the road since structure”.  It’s a very revealing insight into the complex nature of a wider debate into science and its methods.

  18. Judith Curry says:

    Luke Warmer,  I don’t buy postnormal science, although there can be a postnormal environment for science (and certain scientists behave postnormally).  That said, there is much else  that Funtowicz and Ravetz say that is value.  In fact, their 1990 paper was before their postnormal science paper.

  19. Judith Curry says:

    Lukewarmer, thanks very much for the link to collins and evans, very salient to the “power politics of expertise” point I raised on the last thread.  Here is the abstract, which i hope will motivate others to read this:
     

    The Third Wave of Science Studies: Studies of Expertise and Experience
    H.M. Collins and Robert Evans
     

    ABSTRACT Science studies has shown us why science and technology cannot always solve technical problems in the public domain. In particular, the speed of political decision-making is faster than the speed of scientific consensus formation. A predominant motif over recent years has been the need to extend the domain of technical decision-making beyond the technically qualified e ́lite, so as to enhance political legitimacy. We argue, however, that the “˜Problem of Legitimacy’ has been replaced by the “˜Problem of Extension’ ““ that is, by a tendency to dissolve the boundary between experts and the public so that there are no longer any grounds for limiting the indefinite extension of technical decision-making rights. We argue that a Third Wave of Science Studies ““ Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE) ““ is needed to solve the Problem of Extension. SEE will include a normative theory of expertise, and will disentangle expertise from political rights in technical decision- making. The theory builds categories of expertise, starting with the key distinction between interactive expertise and contributory expertise. A new categorization of types of science is also needed. We illustrate the potential of the approach by re- examining existing case studies, including Brian Wynne’s study of Cumbrian sheep farmers. Sometimes the new theory argues for more public involvement, sometimes for less. An Appendix describes existing contributions to the problem of technical decision-making in the public domain.

     

  20. Marco says:

    Luewarmer: The ’cause’ of the IPCC is to summarise the scientific literature on climate change, with particular focus on the human contribution to that climate change, and the potential impact of that climate change on the earth and humanity. So of course they only looked at papers that were relevant to that matter. I know your narrative is different. You apparently believe, and in my opinion without any evidence, that the ’cause’ of the IPCC is to blame humanity for climate change, and that this climate change will be very harmful, and then has searched the relevant papers that fit that narrative. But feel free to correct me on my interpretation of your narrative.

    Also of interest: according to Judith Curry “Then, in plenary, the policy makers weigh in, and this sometimes changes the confidence levels, tho mostly in the direction of being conservative. ” This relates to the SPM, the one you apparently consider so alarming…

  21. Judith Curry says:


    Lukewarmer, you have provided us with a real lightbulb with the Collins and Evans paper.  Not only does it explain (partly) the disagreement between myself and Gavin, but also the conflict between Mann and McIntyre, and the problem with the PNAS paper on climate experts.
    The CE paper categorizes science as
    “¢ normal (well understood, say class 4 or 5 in FR scheme)
    “¢ golem (uncertainties, but of an epistemic nature, can be reduced by further research)
    “¢ historical (uncertainties associated with an extremely complex system and/or ontic uncertainty, which is inherent variability that is irreducible)
    Now I don’t think like the words golem and historical to describe this, but this distinction is at the heart of the disagreement between myself and gavin:  gavin seems to think that most of the uncertainty is epistemic and adequately handled by parameter adjustments; whereas I think that the ontic uncertainty is pretty overwhelming in the climate problem.

    Now on to a new insight in the Mann/McIntyre conflict gleaned from the CE paper. Consider these categorizations of expertise:
    “¢ Core set (elite credentialed scientists deeply involved in experiments or theorizing about a specific subject; note this is a small subset of the PNAS list with regards to attribution)
    “¢ Core group (a larger solidaristic group of scientists that emerges after a consensus is established)

    According to the sociology of scientific knowledge, distance lends enchantment, and support in the core group is strong whereas debate may continue in the core set.

    There is another category of expertise:
    “¢ Experience based expert (contributory expertise derived from practice, but without the credentials of the core group; e.g McIntyre)
    “¢ Referred expertise (expertise in one field that can be applied to another field; e.g. McKitrick)

    CE emphasize the need for translation for the different types of experts to interact effectively with each other; discrimination is also an issue. Core-set experts may not accept the legitimacy of experienced based and referred expertise (the Mann/McIntyre conflict). Gavin and I sort of serve as translators in this environment, where the blogosphere is becoming a key medium for the experience based experts.

    Reactions?

     

  22. Judith Curry says:

    Here’s a link to Kuhn’s “after the structure”  essay.  Still pondering this one.

  23. Judith Curry says:

    some clarification on epistemic vs ontic uncertainty:

    The nature of uncertainty is expressed by the distinction between epistemic uncertainty and ontic uncertainy. Epistemic uncertainty is associated with imperfections of knowledge, which may be reduced by further research and empirical investigation. Ontic (often referred to as aleatory) uncertainty is associated with inherent variability or randomness.
    Epistemic uncertainty of the state of the climate system includes uncertainty due to limitations of measurement devices, insufficient data, extrapolations and interpolations, and variability over time or space. Epistemic uncertainties in global climate models include missing or inadequately treated physical processes, uncertainty in the numerical value of physical parameters, errors associated with the discretization and algorithmic approximations, and errors in the specification of external forcing. Natural internal variability of the climate system contributes to ontic uncertainty in climate simulations. Initial condition uncertainty is partly epistemic (inadequate and incomplete observations) and partly ontic (chaos).
    The distinction between these two types of uncertainty is useful in science because each entails different conclusions regarding the reducibility of uncertainty. Ontic uncertainties are by definition irreducible, while epistemic uncertainties are generally reducible by further research and empirical investigations.

  24. Keith Kloor says:

    Judith,

    Have you given thought to organizing a conference session related to all this (particularly the uncertainty aspect), say at AAAS, whose annual gathering draws a broader scientific audience and mainstream media coverage?

  25. Luke Warmer says:

    Marco – please don’t confuse a blog comment simile for a detailed explanation.  Of course I’m not suggesting that they only search to find confirmatory papers – it’s far more subtle than that.  Self selection from and to IPCC fora/WG, funding following fear, and much more besides.  Before attempting to second guess my beliefs try reading the IPCC definition of climate change and see where the presumptions lie. (and then compare and contrast with the UN FCC for extra credit).

    Also re your SPM comment, did you misread my “and subsequent”  comment i.e. it is the NGOs, media and some press release scientists that I was referring to.

    Judith (18) me bad – I forget that there’s a little more to F & Rav than PNS  (I blame die Klimazwiebel for keeping on about PNS.)  The concept of lay expertise is an interesting one (the sheep farmer example) which confounds many undergrad scientist philosopher-king wannabes.   I also heartily recomend The Golem by Collins & Pinch as a wider look at some real complexities of science away from AGW – solar neutrinos, gravity waves and some other  interesting cases.  And if you really want to explore this then The One Culture? by Collins et al is a superb dialogue/debate building on the “science wars”. I flick through it most weeks and always find something new.  (and for clarity – I’m not the author of any of these).

  26. Luke Warmer says:

    Judith, glad I could help.  There’s also some good stuff in Ludwig Fleck’s book as well about the esoteric and exoteric nature of sciences (and he means esoteric as in at the core or sharp end not in a Jungian alchemical fashion) which influenced Kuhn.  Off the top of my head Fleck is also good for recognising the  “sharp end (esoteric/ contributory core) -> journal -> vade mecum -> textbook -> pop science magazine -> newspaper spectrum.  (I’m mixing  schools of thought and updating that one as I type!)
     
    Overall, I like Collin’s work on SSK more than his work/book on expertise  but yes the contributory and interactive expertise (which builds to referred expertise) is powerful stuff.

    I have to catch a flight now but will ponder your points in more depth – I hope to be able to add something on Tuesday.
    P.S Kuhn link seemed to fail

  27. Judith Curry says:

    Keith, not sure what the best mechanism is for exchanging big ideas across disciplines.  Right now, your blog seems the best bet, at least for climate change  🙂

  28. Shub says:

    Dr Curry
    I’ve specifically noticed at several places (online that is,) that AGW proponents break out into a rash if one subjects climate science and its internal anatomy to science studies efforts. The usual response is to crack some sheepish jokes about Sokal and push things under the carpet.

    One text, I can recommend is ‘Postmodern Climate Change’ by Leigh Glover – a fairly dispassionate look at the IPCC science, although very, very sympathetic to the IPCC process and completely dismissive of the ‘skeptics’. It is from 2006 though.

    A lot of the pieces from the Science Wars era are relevant here – and many of our communicator friends are definitely guided by their efforts to avoid ‘making the same mistakes’ and to learn from the ‘mistakes of their opponents’ etc etc (something that never works).

    For example see Dorothy Nelkin’s excellent, jaw-droppingly relevant “Science wars: Responses to a marriage failed“. (Please search for that in Google Books – the whole article shows up). You can substititue “science studies” with “new skeptics”; and switch “left-wing” with “right-wing” –  a lot of things will still hold true.

    Regards

  29. willard says:

    Judith,
     
    If you’re to buy the Strong Program in the sociology of science, you might have to part away with Peirce and Feynman:
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_program
     
    More importantly, I believe this idea of tribalism might be tough to maintain as it is.  It will have to evolve.
     
     

  30. Marco says:

    Lukewarmer: I know there is a difference in the definition. How this in any way affects the science is completely beyond me. That it may affect policy, sure. But there’s no evidence it would introduce a bias in the IPCC reports. Which you suggest it does, IMHO.

    And no, I did not misread your statement. If the problems start with the SPM, which you clearly indicate, you have a contradiction with Judith Curry’s claim (true or not, but considering what I’ve heard from IPCC authors very much true). The SPM likely *downplays* the science. You now apparently change the narrative to the SUBSEQUENT being the issue.

  31. Judith Curry says:

    Shub and Willard, thanks for the references, hope to read later today
     
    This whole mess needs additional examination by philosophers, sociologists, social psychologists, science historians, etc.   There are so many traps that the climate establishment has fallen into that could possibly have been avoided by pondering some of these issues.  As we try to move forward on this issue in some sort of sensible way, this is just essential.

  32. mmghosh says:

    Having read the exchange of opinions here and at RC, I must say that Dr Schmidt comes across as patient and scrupulous.  He has a gift for exposition, and his argument is both reasoned and logical.
     
    But I fear he is on the losing side, as the anti-AGW side has comfortably won the real argument – especially in China and here in India where CO2 emission controls are a fantasy, where every politician’s and leader’s future depends on massively increasing coal-based electrification and industrialisation in the next two decades, and where road building and motor car sales are increasing exponentially.   The time has passed – when decisions made in the West could have affected decisions in this part of the world.

  33. Tom Fuller says:

    Judith, I don’t see any traps climate scientists have fallen into that are not already inhabited by practitioners of other disciplines. What happened to a subset of climate scientists seems to me to be exactly what has happened time and again (Sagan/nuclear winter, e.g.).
     
    My non-scientific interpretation is that the real world rushes in and changes things–not the science, but the scientists.
     
    I think the best vaccination is multi-disciplinary training and interests, and point (once again) to the example of Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. Being outside the historical discipline and having training in more than one scientific sector is IMO the key to what made the work special.

  34. Judith Curry says:

    Ok this whole issue of the sociology of science is new to me.  I just read Dorothy Kelkin’s essay (yes, a jaw dropper). I am pondering how to react to all this.   It seems like esoteric science (e.g. basic physics) is well described by Feynmann and Kuhn and has been the topic of the philosophy of science and epistemology.
     
    Science of complex systems, topics with large inherent uncertainties, and topics of high social relevance  seem to be a much more complex endeavor.  On such topics (climate change is archetypal example here), it seems to me that the perspectives of sociologists and humanists would have much to offer.
     
    (Need help from some historians here).  My take: In the old days (very old days), natural science was a branch of philosophy.  In the 20th century, the german model produced the specialized scientists.  Science lost something in this specialization. While  this specialized version of science produced much in the way of technological advances, a system has evolved (in the latter half of the 20th century, Vannevar Bush’s vision).  Maybe now its time to assess and rethink?  How science can best do its work? And how society can take best advantage of science?  And how science can be more useful to society?

  35. Hank Roberts says:

    As a reminder, there are people very hard to reach out in all directions from the political center.  Here’s a good essay about coming to understand science and skepticism from a different starting point:
    http://www.csicop.org/si/show/bridging_the_chasm_between_two_cultures/

    Hat tip to MetaFilter, where there’s a good discussion: 

    http://www.metafilter.com/94583/Bridging-the-Chasm-Between-Two-Cultures#3228402
     

  36. Arthur Smith says:

    As usual Keith leaves out the damning context of the apparently conciliatory quote – the one this “chasm” is centered on was preceded by:
    “I have merely been trying to see whether you have any actual basis for your complaints about a specific statement in AR4 (which I think was (and is) a justified conclusion). You brought up a series of issues which were just not relevant.”
    The problem here is exactly what I stated in that same thread:
    “the one thing we really can learn … is the need to be extremely careful and precise in the things we say and claim. Scientists should exercise greater care in their work, and those criticizing the science should also be precise and exact in their statements.”
    Dr. Curry has made many statements in these threads that have almost all been of a very vague character, made in a careless manner that led either to confusion or frustration on the part of people trying to respond (for example, Gavin’s continued attempt to respond to the IPCC AR4 attribution question regarding post-1950 change, while Dr. Curry kept talking about pre-1950 issues), or in cases where she actually was specific (that the latest GISS model sensitivity had dropped, that models were tuned to temperatures, that no-feedback sensitivity was much more uncertain than radiative forcing), at face value these statements were all clearly wrong. Dr. Curry responded to many of these with “clarifications” of one sort or another, but why not be specific and precise at the start about what you’re claiming, if what you’re actually saying is not what the rest of us interpret by it at face value?
    Clarity in communication is the real problem here. Gavin seems to have been trying to be very precise in his statements and responses. Dr. Curry, not nearly so much. There’s a real issue here, and it’s not a “both sides do it” problem. The confusion is fostered by only one side here.

  37. Judith Curry says:

    Arthur Smith, you are missing my point.  In a field that is characterized by extreme ontic uncertainty, precise descriptions aren’t all that illuminating, and to think that there is fundamental illumination from precise descriptions of small points may be comforting, but it is ultimately sort of beside the point; I characterize it as science truthiness where precise sounding facts are substituted for actual insight.
     
    Consider the ozone hole analogy.  In the 1980’s, scientists were dickering about 5-10% uncertainties in satellite ozone retrievals.  All the while they were missing the elephant in the room the Antarctic ozone hole.    I am trying to veer the the discussion to consider the big picture and how we might possibly frame this problem better.
     
    And finally a point re blogospheric dynamics.  I chose to raise certain points on this thread, which was about blog wars and the politics at the science-policy interface.  If Gavin wants to discuss details on this thread, he is welcome to, but I  am under no obligation to.  I will discuss technical details on a technical thread, not here.
     

  38. Judith Curry says:

    Arthur Smith,  one more point.  The burden of proof is on the IPCC (they are responsible for providing the details).  I have been doing some cross-examination, and raising points that are construed as reasonable doubts.  I am not myself preparing a complete defense for an opposing viewpoint.

  39. Judith Curry says:

    And one other point.  There is a fundamental disagreement between myself and Gavin that doesn’t depend on any sort of precision or lack thereof.

  40. Judith Curry says:

    I just spotted this presentation by John Holdren, made in May to the Council of Science Society Presidents, entitled “S&T Priorities and Policies in the Obama Administration.”
     
    Of the 43 slides, 19 of the them focus specifically on the climate-energy challenge.   Three of these focus on “Recent disclosures” (basically, climategate).  It is raises concerns about the IPCC (tho not the basic science).  If anyone thinks that climate research is or can be an ivory tower endeavor, well read Holdren’s presentation.

  41. Hank Roberts says:

    > I will discuss technical details on a technical thread, not here.
    > consider the ozone hole …
    I’d love to see someone like Paul Crutzen moderate such a technical thread, perhaps with help from bloggers.
    Crutzen on the ozone hole decision, appropriate reading here:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/c2267w37723v0j55/fulltext.pdf
    Climatic Change (2008) 89:143″“154 
    DOI 10.1007/s10584-008-9400-6

    Learning about ozone depletion
    Paul J. Crutzen & Michael Oppenheimer
    “…  relatively little attention has been paid to the limits of scientific learning (and even misjudgments) as revealed in assessments, and how these may have affected policy makers. In the quest for encouraging lessons, some of the more challenging aspects of learning have been overlooked. Oppenheimer et al. (2008, in this issue) have identified four cases in the global change arena where learning pathways provided misleading information to policy makers at a time when key policy decisions were being made. Ozone depletion provides one such example. The other cases include assessment of the stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and population and energy projection. Structural errors in models used to provide policy-relevant information are implicated in each case, and, considering the importance of model projections in global change assessments, the phenomenon may be much more widespread.

    In this article, we review the history of learning about ozone depletion with the aim of understanding the limits of the scientific learning process as it applies in the global change arena: how new understanding may ultimately prove incorrect and how the consensus view embodied in assessments can sometimes overshadow important uncertainties.

    We focus neither on the dynamics of the assessment process itself, nor on its utility. The latter has been covered extensively elsewhere (Mitchell et al. 2006), while the former has not been much explored. A key conclusion is that in-depth review of assessment processes would be timely, perhaps in the form of case studies, in order to better judge their efficacy.

    This article is narrowly focused and it does not present a full review of ozone science (see Solomon 1999; Rowland 2006; WMO 2006). Rather, we focus on certain aspects of ozone photochemistry that illustrate why learning sometimes leads to the wrong conclusions on the part of scientists, and has the potential to mislead policy makers. The interplay of theory, experiment, and observation is examined, and lessons are drawn for learning about other areas of global change….”

  42. GaryM says:

    I wonder if the “chasm” in the debate is a product of different analysis of the same facts, so much as an attempt by one side to avoid giving the other any ammunition in the policy debate.
     
    In legal parlance, there is a difference between responding to a question, and answering it.  Gavin Schmidt was polite and professional with everyone who treated him similarly, and responded to any questions posed in a reasonable tone.  This is in itself a big improvement on both sides.
     
    But many of his responses did not answer the questions asked, including in the case of questions I posed.  Some of his answers even raised more questions than they failed to answer.  For example, my question on the Gavin’s Perspective thread:
    (171)  “…is there a similar article somewhere on the general basis for the apparently high confidence levels the scientific community has that the climate models are sufficiently certain to justify some very extensive, and expensive, policy recommendations…?”
    was answered with:
    (172)  “I don’t think you have this right at all. The models are just there to quantify what we think will happen in physically consistent ways. Removing them from the equation doesn’t change any of the reasons why we should be concerned, and indeed increases the bounds of what might happen quite substantially. There’s a good argument to be made that the models actually give a more constrained set of projections than we ought to prudently assume.”
     
    A polite, decent response, with plenty of interesting, truthful information, none of which answered my question.  In fact, it raised more questions for me than it answered (which I ignored at the time, not wanting to derail the thread).  The central issue for me at that point was the basis for the confidence in the computer models.  Gavin’s response seemed to indicate that the models are irrelevant to the issue of climate scientist’s uncertainty.
     
    But his defense of the utility of the models as predictive tools in his exchanges with Judith Curry on the Curry Agonistes thread (regarding tuning of the models) suggested otherwise.  More to the point, that exchange simply emphasized for me the questions raised by his previous “answer” to me on the same topic.
     
    “The models are just there to quantify what we think will happen in physically consistent ways.”
     
    The additional questions:  If the models are designed to “quantify what we think will happen,” doesn’t that suggest that they are “tuned” not just to current conditions, but to preexisting expectations? Is there any other way to read that? Doesn’t the phrase “in physically consistent ways”  imply more tuning than conceded in the Curry Agonistes thread?
     
    If my question had been “what is the purpose of the models,” I would have expected an answer like:  “The models are there to help us learn to the best of our ability what is likely to happen given what we currently know about the climate.”  An answer like that to the question I did ask still wouldn’t have answered my question, but it would not have raised as many more questions as the answer I got.
     
    I wonder if the chasm isn’t getting wider?

  43. Michael Hauber says:

    Judith says ‘I regard climate science overall as ~ 3.7’

    I don’t think applying a score for climate science overall is sensible, as climate science is made up of many facts and theories with varying degrees of acceptance.  My impression of a couple theories and scores as example:

    1. Co2 is a greenhouse gas and will cause warming – 5
    2. The Co2 warming will be amplified by feedbacks – 4
    3. Increasing Co2 will lead to increasing frequency of hurricanes – 3
    4. Increasing Co2 will lead to an increase in the number of blocking patterns resulting in more frequent severe events such as the Russian Heatwave – 2
    5. Co2 warming has triggered a runaway feedback process and it will be impossible to stop the release of most Arctic Methan within the next 10 years, and a temperature increase >5 degrees is imminent – 1

    I guess that when you assign climate science overall a score of 3.7 you refer to statement 2?  Which reflects that you consider Spencer, Lindzen (and others?) as a little more credible than ‘rebels’?

  44. Judith Curry says:

    Hank #41  I just read the Crutzen/Oppenheimer paper, thanks for spotting this!   Yes, this is exactly what I am talking about.  While Arthur Smith wants to argue about the decimal  regarding the very likely lower bound of sensitivity, I am saying that this is relatively pointless in the face of the broader uncertainties.

  45. Arthur Smith says:

    You know, back when I was a young grad student I thought I was interested in mathematical physics (my undergrad degree was joint Math and Physics). Then I read some of the latest research in the field, and realized how mind-numbingly pointless much of what they did was, following in the path of brilliant physicists like Erwin Schrodinger and Richard Feynman, trying to put their perfectly practical theoretical tools on some sort of sound logical mathematical footing. Quantum theory works, even if its mathematical basis is rather dubious. Nobody was going to wait for mathematicians to put together their delicate proofs regarding the mysterious infinities in Feynman’s path-integral method or the degree of convergence in standard quantum chemistry techniques before using them to make all sorts of useful calculations about the world – calculations that have brought us much of modern technology.
    The proof of any science is in its ability to predict the future in some way or other – the outcome of experiments, or the course of natural events. People can cry all they want about i’s not dotted and t’s not crossed here or there, but if the essence is right, that’s the only thing that matters. Yes there is always some deep uncertainty that, just maybe, we forgot something important; maybe one of those neglected terms blows up under some conditions and all our assumptions become invalid. I’m glad there are people who go out there and spend their lives looking for stuff like that – that’s an important part of science too.
    But at this point in time, when the essence of the science of global warming written down first by Arrhenius over 100 years ago has been so unremittingly, abundantly, conclusively, and resoundingly proved by events, when the world is experiencing conditions clearly unprecedented in recorded history, and when the forecast is for things to almost certainly get much much worse – well, the only point I can think of for that sort of quibbling is to help make the case that things are so uncertain that we must act even more urgently than we otherwise would.
    Otherwise – we have case enough to act. Let’s get on with it. I think I’m done with discussing any more of this sort of nonsense here.

  46. I have a thought along lines similar to Arthur’s; I hope I say it half as well.
     
    Keith, it is hard for me to take this enterprise seriously if you don’t find space for some talk about what is happening in Russia, Pakistan, China and the eastern US this summer.
     
    The situation on the ground has changed in the last couple of months, folks. You’d think that might have some effect on the argument.
     

  47. Tom Fuller says:

    Weather. Let’s talk about the weather.

  48. Keith Kloor says:

    No, let’s talk about adaptation. Michael (46) writes:

    “The situation on the ground has changed in the last couple of months, folks. You’d think that might have some effect on the argument.”

    Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say you’re right: that these events you refer to have a AGW fingerprint. Well, realistically, you must know that this doesn’t change the other facts on the ground: that fossil fuels will still be the dominant source of the world’s energy for the foreseable future, even if tomorrow China, India, Russia and the U.S. all agreed to curtail their carbon emissions.

    So where does that leave you with your high-minded concerns for the people of Pakistan, Russia, etc? Surely you’ll start arguing forcefully that we should start to pay equal attention to adaptation, in order to mitigate future suffering that is bound to come from more AGW-related floods, fires, and heatwaves?

    Can I expect this to have some effect on your argument? Can I expect you to talk more about adaptation?

  49. mondo says:

    Arthur Smith.  You say “But at this point in time, when the essence of the science of global warming written down first by Arrhenius over 100 years ago has been so unremittingly, abundantly, conclusively, and resoundingly proved by events, when the world is experiencing conditions clearly unprecedented in recorded history, and when the forecast is for things to almost certainly get much much worse ““ well, the only point I can think of for that sort of quibbling is to help make the case that things are so uncertain that we must act even more urgently than we otherwise would.”

    So far as I can see, nobody is really arguing with the conclusions from the physics.  That is, a doubling of CO2 (if it were to/could happen) would lead to a rougly 1 deg C increase in Global Mean Temperature.    Where the discussion lies is in relation to the assumptions about feedbacks.

    You are likely much better informed than me, so perhaps you can guide me as to why you apparently think that the feedbacks are positive to the extent that doubling CO2 will lead to a 3Deg warming (or even more).  My amateur investigations lead me to conclude that the feedbacks are at the very least controversial, and some persuasive scientists present information that says that the feedbacks are neutral, or even negative, resulting in less warming.

    I would really appreciate it if you could explain why you are so confident that the feedbacks are strongly positive, and why those arguing for neutral or negative feedbacks are wrong.  

    So far as I know, Arrhenius did not say anything about the feedback assumptions.

  50. Marco says:

    Judith Curry #40 gives another example of “the chasm”. Apparently, when reading that document, she believes Holdren “raises concerns about the IPCC”. Well, if you consider “hey, it’s not 100% perfect” as “raising concerns”, sure. Others will likely point to Holdren indicating that the errors found were small and unimportant, and thus there is little to worry about regarding the IPCC…

  51. Judith Curry says:

    Marco, the fact that Holdren mentioned this at all is very telling, the whole subject is mostly not discussed.

  52. Judith Curry says:

    The Pakistan flooding was predictable 10 days in advance .  Without having to provide endless documentation at this point to support this assertion (but see the references below), lets assume for the sake of argument that we can predict (probabilistically) extreme weather events such as floods, heat waves, hurricanes, etc. ten days in advance. With this kind of information, how much of the damage and loss of life could be prevented in the developing world?
     
    Compare the loss of life  of life from TC Nargis that struck Myanmar, it was huge because the govt did not disseminate or act on the forecast.  Whereas the big hurricane that struck Bangladesh had 2 orders of magnitude fewer lives lost because they paid attention to the forecast.
     
    And do you think that by reducing CO2 emissions, floods, hurricanes, heat waves etc are going to go away?   The most serious climate impacts are about weather extremes (even sea level rise doesn’t have as much bite without the storm surge).  People in undeveloped countries are more vulnerable to natural disasters:  e.g. Haiti gets wiped out practically every time there is a thunderstorm.  Economic development reduces vulnerability to natural disasters.   Any energy policy that reduces the economic development of vulnerable areas will increase their vulnerability to weather disasters, that will come whether or not there is global warming.
     
    Peter Webster kindly provided me with the link to several of his papers that are relevant to this discussion of alleviating loss of life and property in the developing world, including getting off the treadmill of poverty.  The solution is better weather forecasts and dissemination, combined with a good emergency management plan.
     
    Webster P. J. and J. Jian 2010:  Probability, Uncertainty and prediction:  a pathway towards the alleviation of poverty in the developing world. (invited) To appear Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. pdf
     
    Webster, P.J., J. Jian, T. M. Hopson, C. D. Hoyos, J., H-R. “¨Chang, P. Agudelo, J. A. Curry, T. N. Palmer, A. R. Subbiah, R. L. Grossman, 2010: Extended-range probabilistic forecasts of Ganges and Brahmaputra floods in Bangladesh. In press November issue: Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. pdf

    Hopson, T. M., P. J. Webster, 2010: A 1-10 day ensemble forecasting scheme for the major river basins of Bangladesh: forecasting severe floods of 2003″“2007. J. Hydromet., 11, 618-641. pdf
     
    Webster, P. J. , 2008: Myanmar’s deadly daffodil. Nature Geoscience doi: 10.1038/ngeo257 pdf
     
     

  53. willard says:

    > People can cry all they want about i’s not dotted and t’s not crossed here or there, but if the essence is right, that’s the only thing that matters. Yes there is always some deep uncertainty that, just maybe, we forgot something important; maybe one of those neglected terms blows up under some conditions and all our assumptions become invalid. I’m glad there are people who go out there and spend their lives looking for stuff like that ““ that’s an important part of science too.
     
    In my opinion, Kuhn thought this so important that he dubbed it “normal science”.  If that his right, the zealousness we see here in the striking t’s and the dotting of the i’s is still normal science.
     
    The PR points gotten striking t’s and dotting i’s is not normal science.  Is it still science?  You bet!  This applied science is as old as Gorgias.  (It was not yet empirical, but it was already political.)
     
    The concept of “post-normal science” might not take into account that this kind of science is older than the “normal” one.  Maybe we should talk about ante-normal science?

  54. Keith Kloor says:

    Judith (52),
    I’m in agreement and thanks for the links to Peter Webster’s relevant papers. In a similar vein, here is an excerpt (emphasis added) from a recent interview Andy Revkin did with Robert R.M. Verchick, who, as Revkin writes, is now “working as a deputy associate administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, where a big chunk of his time is devoted to developing a national plan for adapting to climate change”:

    “Why is Nature so mad all of a sudden? The truth is, a lot of this is our fault. The population is expanding, and we are building where we shouldn’t “” in flood plains, on fragile beaches, in valleys, and on muddy hillsides. As we develop, we are destroying much of our protective “natural infrastructure,” too “” the marshes and swamps that protect New Orleans, the mangroves that protect Myanmar from cyclone surge, the forests that prevent mudslides in the Himalaya.

    These happen everywhere, but the problems are most acute in poor countries. Did I mention climate change? You can’t attribute any single weather-related event to a hotter planet. But climate change is almost certain to lead to more frequent and/or more intense extreme events like fires, floods, and storms. It’s not R.E.M.’s “end of the world as we know it” “” not yet “” but we had better shape up and get with the program.”

    Now I suppose many people will interpret that part–we better “get with the program”–as a call to action to reduce carbon emissions, and I’m fine with that. But in the context of how this passage appears, it’s also reasonable to infer he is talking about being smarter about where we build and about starting to adapt to climate change.

    I’m suggesting that this should be an important part of the debate for people like Michael Tobis to take up. Otherwise, their repeated concerns for the future of humanity appear rather abstract.

  55. Judith Curry says:

    Here is an interesting article in the Economist on this summer’s weather (h/t to RP Jr)

  56. Marco says:

    Judith Curry, Holdren mentioning it is “telling”, you say. Telling of what? That he is concerned? But WHAT is he concerned about, according to you? And what is your evidence for that evaluation?

  57. Tom Fuller says:

    Hi, 49–when Arrhenius redid his calculation and came up with a 1.6 warming for CO2, he added 0.5 on top for minor feedbacks to give a total of 2.1. Notice that some previously respected editors of Scientific American still gloss over his entire recalculations and say he predicted 5 degrees…
     
    When extreme weather has hit us in the past, the descriptor used in the media has often been ‘biblical.’ That is because extreme weather is not new. We do, however, now have nice shiny new tools that let us see and measure things we could not before, so biblical now is no longer sufficient.
     
    And yes we are building in harm’s way. How many mudslides in the hills above Rio de Janeiro have killed hundreds, and similar totals in other developing countries?
     
    Attempts to paint this as new are being made either by people with short memories, or by people who hope we have short memories.
     
    Keith obviously is taking the more productive tack. However, Keith, this is not going to be easy or quick. After disastrous earthquakes in Turkey, they have yet to manage to get an adequate building code or adhere to the more relaxed codes they actually put in. And Turkey is miles ahead of Pakistan et al in terms of development.

  58. Hank Roberts says:

    > talk more about adaptation?
    We need to adapt our approach — Crutzen is very clear about this.
    Not simply adapt to the consequences while continuing to be sloppy and uncaring about risks, but adapt our risk-taking.
    That means adapting by not building in flood plains or on debris fans from the last time climate extremes created them — remembering how blissfully calm the weather has been for the last few thousand years.
    That means adapting by not fishing out 99 percent of a resource.
    That means adapting by taking precautions in advance, making less cash flow less quickly.
    Think about adapting our investments, instead of just adapting those poor people to live with the consequence of our investments.
    Done right, our ox gets gored, we avoid causing avoidable problems.  Avoiding the need for adaptation is economy.
    That acceptable?  I think it would be a good idea.
    “I can only conclude that mankind has been extremely lucky …. we should always be on our guard for the potential consequences of the release of new products into the environment. Continued surveillance of the composition of the stratosphere, therefore, remains a matter of high priority for many years ahead.”
    — Paul Crutzen
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1995/crutzen-lecture.pdf

  59. Regarding adaptation, a few points.
     
    Adaptation is crucial. It is necessary, but it is not sufficient.
     
    As Eli says, “no adaptation without mitigation”. Without mitigation, the size of the disruption we are adapting to grows without any meaningful bound. If we are determined to get to the worst case, it will be pretty much the worst.
     
    Adaptation is relatively local and relatively short-term. Mitigation is global and long-term. So we don’t need to talk about century time scales for adaptation, nor do we need to talk about global policy alignment and international governance.
     
    A given level of climate change will have a larger effect in poorly governed countries than in well-run ones. Russia is as rich as, say, Chile, which responded very effectively to a recent (albeit nonanthropogenic) disaster. Russia has little tradition of effective local governance, and a long history of environmental neglect, and it is showing. I don’t think anybody is saying otherwise.
     
    Wealthy countries are not immune, especially if they neglect infrastructure as if they couldn’t afford it. (That’s the real lesson of the arguably entirely natural Katrina, isn’t it?) See recent comments by the governor of Iowa “This is the new normal”.
     
    While some polities are better at optimizing good times and others are better at preparing for bad times and others are good for nothing at all, there is plenty of precedent for adaptation at the regional scale. We know, intellectually and practically, how to do it, even if some of us chose not to.
     
    We have no comparable skills in making global decisions. Mitigation, after all, is just adaptation writ large; adaptation that won’t work unless everybody cooperates. So adaptation is just ordinary, local politics and should be discussed in locally focussed fora. In large countries like the US, or at the international aid level, there are perhaps some issues about cross-subsidies, but while important, they are not qualitatively dissimilar from disaster relief and infrastructure assistance issues in the past. Mitigation, however, presents new and urgent difficulties which require changes in how the whole world operates.
     
    There is a cliche metaphor about adaptation without mitigation: deck chairs.
     
    In short, adaptation and mitigation are not a tradeoff. They are two faces of the same coin. The longer mitigation is delayed, the more mitigation will cost and the more adaptation will cost. But most adaptation discussion needs to focus on particular regions and particular vulnerabilities.
     
    None of this makes the present hemispheric meteorological configuration any less weird. This is, arguably, not “weather” in the ordinary sense. It should cause people to rethink their opinions.
     
    I for one feel very differently about the situation now than I did a few weeks ago. A few weeks ago I thought “major impacts in the future are very likely”. Now I think “major impacts have very likely started”.
     

  60. Keith Kloor says:

    Michael, your parroting of Eli’s position (“no adaptation without mitigation”) strikes me as quite narrow-minded. It’s also ideological. You rationalize that adaptation is mostly a local matter and thus not worthy of discussing on par with mitigation. How convenient.

    If you were serious about wanting to alleviate human suffering because of climate change, you would be talking about adaptation as much as you talk about climate skeptics or the media. But no, it’s all about saving humanity in the distant future for you, not about real, actual people today or five or ten years from now.

    I reminded you of the other facts on the ground: fossil fuels are the dominant energy source for the foreseeable future and oh yeah, did I mention that there’s already enough greenhouse gases locked in that climate change is inevitable, anyway, right? But you know this, right? So knowing this, you must be aware that much more suffering is in the pipeline for large pockets of humanity that don’t adapt to climate change.

    Michael, you (and Eli) should spare us the crocodile tears for the future if you can’t work up any real compassion or concern for the present. Adaptation, as you say, is the flip side of the coin in this debate. But you want to keep the focus on the other side of the coin. Well, I say doing that ignores all the suffering that will happen long before mitigation is achieved on a world level–suffering that could perhaps be alleviated if the debate on adaptation was fully embraced by people such as yourself.

  61. willard says:

    May I humbly surmise that once adaptation kicks in, mitigation might get easier anyway?  That would be the agile way to solve the problem.  For Fly-lady fans, we could also talk about baby steps.  Or just pick your favorite metaphor for bottom-up approaches.

  62. “No adaptation without mitigation” is not ideological at all! (It rhymes with a famous political statement, which makes it more memorable, but it is not a political statement at all. It is a statement of fact, not of  preference.)
     
    Adaptation without mitigation cannot possibly succeed in the long run, unless there is nothing to mitigate after all, which looked unlikely enough last year but pretty much beyond the limits of plausibility now. (Have you looked at the ice volume curves from PIOMAS lately? The UAH near-surface and lwoer trop. soundings?)
     
    Again, adaptation is a local issue. If you want to talk Texas water policy or Texas energy policy, or Texas coastal management policy, I’ll be happy to engage, but I don’t think that’s what you or your readers care about. I don’t eschew adaptation by any means, but I don’t know what you want me to pronounce about it. I absolutely believe that it is futile in the long run in the absence of a working effort at mitigation.
     
     

  63. Willard, adaptation just kicked in. The unprecedented 1993 floods in Iowa have just returned for the third time. The governor says “this is the new normal” and speaks of huge investment in flood control.
     
    In early returns, the impetus for adequate mitigation is still in retreat. So your surmise is not looking good so far.
     

  64. […] had a recent exchange with Tobis about this that deserves greater airing. In the thread of my previous post, there was a discussion about the nature of a disagreement between two highly […]

  65. Keith Kloor says:

    I’ve taken this thread off topic, unfortunately, so I have a new post up dealing with the adaptation issue.

  66. GaryM says:

    When we have ten years of no “statistically significant warming,” weather is not climate, but a few months of weather (in some places) now is evidence not only of global warming, but that “it’s worse than we thought.”  What a shock.

  67. Zajko says:

    Having read a great deal of the “science studies” literature in the past year, I’ll just quickly comment on a couple of the works mentioned above.
    Collins & Evans – The Third Wave of Science Studies
    An interesting book (originally an article) that can help us think about how expertise functions, but the “Third Wave” project I am wary of. C & E’s is an explicitly normative classification scheme designed to increase the effectiveness of expertise-based decision making. In general their model makes intuitive sense and is a nice heuristic, but I wouldn’t take it too seriously – the social world does not easily fit into boxes and it is doubtful how much good such conceptual boxing can do in this case. I’m more interested in the various ways in which expertise is constructed in today’s world, and would recommend Sheila Jasanoff and Brian Wynne’s individual criticisms of the C & E program (Jasanoff – “Breaking the waves in science studies” and Wynne – “Seasick on the Third Wave? Subverting the hegemony of propositionalism” both in Social Studies of Science)
    Glover’s “Postmodern Climate Change” was a bit of an awkward read, and the “postmodern” angle is not one I see explicitly identified with in these sorts of works. However, there are some good insights into thinking about the political climate and the IPCC process found within – though these are described elsewhere.
    I’m currently reading Paul Edwards – A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming. So far I would highly recommend this fascinating history.

  68. Shub says:

    Glover’s “Postmodern Climate Change” was a bit of an awkward read, and the “postmodern” angle is not one I see explicitly identified with in these sorts of works.

    Have to partly agree with you. Glover doesn’t get down and diry with the postmodern bit. But that is the thing – I thought Glover’s main problem was – he doesn’t subject climate science/IPCC to a ‘postmodern analysis’ – he remains sympathetic. I did not even look at the governance chapters though.

    I tried reading Spencer Weart’s famous book – couldn’t stay with it for too long – there was really nothing in there, no meat. I just threw it away. So I cannot say whether it was good or bad – my inference was that people were dropping the book’s name to get newcomers to read that book and get initiated – “here, read this and believe it”.

  69. Zajko says:

    Weart actually does a pretty good job in my view providing a concise guide, especially as an introduction. I’d say his history is quite respected and credible. He’s also clearly read up on a lot of history/sociology of science and while he doesn’t explicitly draw on it for analysis, you really do get a sense of the political dimensions involved in the history of climate science. There’s a fair bit of triumphalism in there (circa 2008), but times have changed and I think Weart’s statements have too a bit. I’d say the book deserves a new edition.
    Mike Hulme’s – Why we Disagree About Climate Change is also a great book by a climate scientist who got interested in social science perspectives, but the conclusions don’t quite seem to jive with the current climate, and again I wonder what it would look like if it was written post-Climategate.

  70. Shub says:

    Maybe that was part of the problem. I started reading and flipped to the very tiny hockey stick section – just about a page or so, with half of it occupied by the chart itself (!). That’s it.
     

  71. Michael Larkin says:

    Dr. Gavin Schmidt says:
     
    “When smart and informed people see basically the same information but come to different conclusions, I find that interesting since there might be something to be learned.”
     
    I’d say that the first thing to be learnt is that we aren’t dealing with something for which evidence can be interpreted in just one way.
     
    In my understanding of QM, and I hope I have this right, the following is a fact, agreed to by all observers. For a double-slit experiment, placing a detector so one can determine (whether or not one actually does), which electrons from a stream of single electrons go through which slit *changes the observed outcome*. However, though all agree on this hardest of hard facts, there is no agreement as to interpretation of what it means. Obviously, “fact” and “interpretation” are distinct concepts.
     
    In relation to global warming theory, I’d say one seminal fact approaches the “hardness” indicated above. Namely, some readily repeatable experiment or other can be performed that conclusively demonstrates in the laboratory that CO2 acts as a “greenhouse” gas. I don’t think many sceptics would argue with that. So: how does one get from that to the hypothesis that this effect, when it occurs in the present-day atmosphere, initiates deleterious outcomes for humanity?
     
    There’s something called “Quantum Mysticism”, amply demonstrated in the film “What the bleep”. This accurately depicts the double-slit experiment and what happens when a detector is placed so that one can determine which electrons go through which slit. Through all sorts of vague hand-waving, the interpretation is arrived at that QM is evidence for metaphysical conjectures. Quantum Entanglement, for example, is extrapolated to suggest that consciousness is similarly entangled; that in some sense, we are all part of the same consciousness, which accounts for paranormal phenomena such as telepathy. It’s entertaining and thought-provoking, but hardly gospel, however much some folk want to lend an aura of scientific respectability to their preferred metaphysical worldview.
     
    I don’t mean to suggest CAGW is as bad as this extreme illustrative example; however, when sceptics look at the data, they aren’t convinced that it shows what is purported. Maybe it is so (just as telepathy could be), but the predictions of the theory have yet to be proved correct. I suppose one of the key points is the poor evidence for predicted tropospheric warming. Another is the lack of knowledge of the behaviour of all the salient factors in the climate system ““ for example, the effect of clouds and aerosols. We don’t even seem to know for sure what all the “salient factors” are, or how they might influence one another.
     
    Meanwhile, policy in the real world has already been formulated on the assumption that the hypothesis is based on large amounts of hard fact. For instance, I can’t go out and buy an incandescent light bulb in the UK, and because my car has sufficiently low emissions and does 60mpg with a 1 litre engine, I now pay one third the road tax I paid only a few years ago. One of those things pisses me off, whilst the other pleases me, but that has nothing to do with my views about global warming. Even if policies were all economically positive for me, and even if they aligned with my moral standards about sustainability and environmental preservation, I’m more motivated by the search for the truth of the matter.
     
    Yes ““ honestly: Joe Sixpack can experience a compelling interest in the pursuit of truth, regardless of how it affects him. He can be mystified why some scientists, despite major uncertainties, seem prepared to promote policies that are subject to large uncertainties. Worse, it may disturb him, because science is supposed to be focussed on the pursuit of truth, and scientists to be clinically detached from their own predilections.
     
    True, they are only human, but one does expect them to apply higher standards in their craft than the norm. In my perception, some of the influential ones have become emotionally involved in the object of study, allowing opinion to influence their interpretation of fact. Like the fact that tropospheric warming is very far from proven, or that we don’t actually know whether feedbacks are in sum positive or negative. I agree with the essence of what Judith Curry said as I understand it: that in the face of overarching uncertainties of that order, arguing over minutiae takes on a relatively trivial perspective.
     
    Privately, scientists may express more doubt than in public. We certainly have some evidence for that. We also have evidence of tribalism and hostility (to be fair, also on the sceptical side). This doesn’t automatically indicate complete error, but it does indicate that we are dealing with a complex phenomenon in which there are few scientists who seem, publicly, to be able to achieve a respectable degree of detachment from irrelevant factors.
     
    Joe Sixpack doesn’t need to be a scientist to detect that. His life is filled with examples of the same kind of behaviour in any number of familiar circumstances. He knows what a duck looks like, and at a certain point, if there are enough indicators, he may well conclude that’s what he’s seeing. Like it or not, be puzzled by it as much as one likes, increasing numbers of Joes have satisfied themselves this thing’s a duck. They aren’t necessarily being stupid, or “denying” something through selfishness. They aren’t necessarily involved in an evil right-wing conspiracy, or their opponents in an evil left-wing one.
     
    It’s no use whatsoever one berating them for begging to differ. As far as they are concerned, they can hear the duck quacking loud and clear in the utterances of politicians, journalists and spokesmen for science in general. They’re fed up to the teeth with it, and the more there is, the more they’ll dig in their heels. IMHO, there’s only one way to reverse this. If it isn’t a duck, it has to start behaving like some other bird. I’m impressed by the quote from you that began my post and this thread. It’s the first time I’ve detected a faint glimmer of openness to the opinions of dissenters in a visible “consensualist” if that’s the right word. Maybe you have it in you to become a swan. In fact, there is a golden opportunity for you to do so, or if not you, some other spokesman.
     
    Over at WUWT, Anthony Watts said the following at the opening of a post by Willis Eschenbach headed “More Gunsmoke, This Time In Nepal” – http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/11/more-gunsmoke-this-time-in-nepal/ :
     
    “Note to Readers: This is an important post, as Willis demonstrates that NASA GISS has taken a cooling trend and converted it into a warming trend for the one GHCN station in Nepal which covers the Himalayas. I offer NASA GISS, either via Jim Hansen or Gavin Schmidt, rebuttal opportunity to this issue on WUWT anytime. ““Anthony”
     
    There is nothing stopping you, as far as I can see, taking AW up on this offer. He has taken a step towards you, and it seems you can rebut as you see fit. If the venue doesn’t suit, maybe you could, were KK inclined, offer that rebuttal here, thus carrying the dialogue further. Maybe Willis Eschenbach would engage with you. I’m powerless to arrange such a thing here or anywhere else, but this Joe Sixpack in particular would be completely fascinated to witness, and learn from, such a dialogue were there any chance of it occurring.
     
    I may not be as smart as you, at least when it comes to climate science, but I too love to learn, and in fact deem it the most important thing in life. As, amongst other things, a trained educator, I believe this kind of thing comes under the heading of “vicarious learning”, and for some people, it is their preferred, and perhaps only feasible, approach. No one ever learnt anything of much worth (beyond things like the alphabet and times table) by sitting back and absorbing by rote. Being unable to participate themselves in practice, the next best thing may be observing and reflecting on a dialectic.

  72. Judith Curry says:

    Zajko, thanks much for your recommended reading list, i am trying to spin up in this area.  I have read a little Jasanoff, will definitely check out Paul Edwards.

  73. Judith Curry says:

    Michael Larkin #71
     
    Very interesting point about facts vs interpretation.  You might also be interested in what Michael Schermer has to say on the pattern behind self deception (google the preceding words, many hits).  Basically, our minds have evolved to find patterns.  Some people are better at it than others.  Genius is finding patterns where others don’t see them, but you could also define madness in the same way (the fine line . . .)
     
    Of relevance to the climate debate, consider the example of Steve McIntyre and his efforts to analyze paleo proxy data (and hurricane data, etc).  He has been told that he is not qualified to analyze the data, which on the surface seems absurd, since he is a better statistician than most climatologists analyzing this data.  Where these people seem to be coming from is that their years of training and working with the data has provided them with a mental model of the data, processes, etc. that is much richer than statistical analysis, i.e. they have developed a sort of sixth sense about the data.  Now in some circumstances that can help in the analysis of the data, and in others it can be a hindrance, if your mental model suggests discarding certain data and patterns in favor of preferred ones.  Somebody coming in from the outside without the mental models of the “community” can see things in a different way, which may or may not be the correct way, but is a valuable addition to the overall evidence from which we should draw our inferences.
     
    You raise an interesting point about WUWT.  I have gleaned some very useful info from that site, I have also spotted some things that I am certain can’t be correct.  I’ve also wondered about some of their analyses, and wished somebody would confirm or refute them.    Given the huge and ever increasing following at WUWT, I wish someone would audit it a bit or respond (Joe Romm snarks about it alot, but doesn’t actually refute much of it).   And for the stuff that is correct (a significant portion of it seems to be), can somebody please pay attention to these issues?  My personal interest is in the meta issues, not the detailed topics like temperature records at specific location, so I don’t see myself getting engaged over there.  But somebody should.

  74. Zajko says:

    Just figured I would add one more to the reading list of anyone trying to find their feet, or even just have a look into the field of science studies/STS/sociology of science etc. (many names with much overlap).
    Sismondo has a great concise overview of the history and current trends in the field. Many great works found in the references – it’s a pretty quick read, scroll down:
    http://post.queensu.ca/~sismondo/engaged.pdf
    This is still a very fragmented field, with no sign of uniting around a common understanding of science anytime soon, but within it are many useful lessons for the current period. I’m particularly interested in work that explores the (often nebulous) lay/expert divide (ie Brian Wynne). There’s a lot of boundary-work trying to police the borders of science (see Thomas Gieryn, Charles Alan Taylor) but these borders are always up for debate and in the current climate controversy, have become increasingly permeable.
    I’ll have a piece in Society out about it in the wintertime, and hopefully something else up for review if I can get my butt in gear before the summer ends.

  75. Judith Curry says:

    Zajko, I look forward to your new papers!

  76. jo abbess says:

    @JudithCurry
    #1
    Judith, you say, “If informed people on a subject with different perspectives that view evidence in different ways actually talked to each other, scientific progress would be increased and conflict would be reduced … Now if we can get Mann to talk to McIntyre and Santer to talk to Michaels,  sort out their differences, well it would be an interesting experiment! …”
    You use the expression “talk to”, without seeming to appreciate the problems that arise from the abuse of social power in interactions between people with different intentions and agendas.
    If Michael Mann were to submit to a request to meet Steve McIntyre, Mann would be subject to a “talking to”, or a “talking down to”, I feel, but not involved in a meaningful discussion.
    It would mostly likely not be a productive encounter, because Steve McIntyre’s approach seems to consist of a constant stream of unfounded accusations, apparently intended to filibuster any meaningful dialogue.
    Why should Michael Mann agree to meet with Steve McIntyre ? Steve McIntyre is not a Climate Change scientist by training or the acquisition of a relevant wide body of knowledge, nor even a statistician, although he attempts to wield authority in the Mathematics of Global Warming by doing such things as publishing what to me look like full-of-holes works with Ross McKitrick, as I was alerted to by James Annan :-
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-not-to-compare-models-to-data-part.html
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2010/08/once-more-into-breach.html
    The Climate Change “sceptics” appear to want to block progress in solving questions in the Science; they seem to want to divert the general public from the big picture; their very effective tools include constantly recycling errors and allegedly promoting the demonisation of certain Scientists, and the net result of their “engagement” in the issue seems to me to be wasting everybody’s time and energy.
    If that’s what they want, then there’s no point in talking to them.
    Pat Michaels has a genuine expertise in Climate Change, I think – re-writing and re-phrasing the facts until they sound like the complete opposite of what is actually in the data. One of the classic pronouncements of the Climate Change “sceptics” which has been ascribed to Pat Michaels (maybe erroneously), is “there has been no statistically significant global warming since 1998”. What a can of worms that is ! I could spend all day taking that one apart.
    Patrick Michaels appeared on Russia Today in the past week and was asked to comment on the wildfire in Russian forests. His words were something along the lines of “these fires have been waiting to happen”, hinting that there was some kind of cyclical inevitability – forests grow – then burn. I sat there with my mouth open when I heard that. No acknowledgement that this event is completely unprecedented. If fires like this happened on the twenty year basis he hinted at, there would be no trees left in Russia !
    On the other “side” of the “debate” you have the people who have taken the equivalent of the medical “Hypocratic Oath” – Ben Santer and Michael Mann are genuine seekers after the truth in the Science, and aim to “first do no harm”.
    But Steve McIntyre and Pat Michaels are not that kind of “honest broker”, from my point of view.
    How could Steve McIntyre and Michael Mann “sort out their differences” ? All that would be left after their meeting would be an acceptance that Michael Mann does Science, and Steve McIntyre does cynicism, I think.
    They might be able to work out what things they differ on, but actually, you know what, they probably already know what separates them (apart from the facts), and it’s not standard deviations, it’s attitude.
    There would be no point in Michael Mann using his valuable time to meet with Steve McIntyre – he could not convince McIntyre of the veracity of the conclusions of the “Hockey Stick” research, because Steve McIntyre is living in a universe with faulty foundations, I think.
    There’s just no talking to some people.

     

  77. Hank Roberts says:

    > I offer NASA GISS, either via Jim Hansen or Gavin Schmidt,
    > rebuttal opportunity to this issue on WUWT
    Move the goalposts — from the science journal to blog publication?
     

  78. Judith Curry says:

    Jo Abbess, I have talked to both McIntyre and Michaels.  The perspective that you portray illustrates exactly why we have all this unnecessary conflict.

  79. jo abbess says:

    @JudithCurry
    #78
    It is necessary to maintain opposition to those who use the well-etablished techniques of propaganda.
    By advocating dialogue, you could be said to be following Number 1 in this list :-
    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principes_%C3%A9l%C3%A9mentaires_de_propagande_de_guerre
    “Principes élémentaires de propagande de guerre” by Anne Morelli.
    “Nous ne voulons pas la guerre”. You are maintaining that Climate Change sceptic-deniers are not engaging a war – that they have a legitimate role. That is a denial of the evidence.
    You are close to Number 2, in my view :-
    “Le camp adverse est le seul responsable de la guerre” – the sceptic-deniers claim that the Scientists in opposition to them are solely responsible for the conflict. Let down your drawbridge…
    For the sceptic-deniers to wage Climategate was Number 3 :-
    ” Le chef du camp adverse a le visage du diable” – the claims of Climategate were that the Scientists had distorted the data, malicious and wrong – all unfounded accusations.
    And how about Number 4 ?
    “C’est une cause noble que nous défendons et non des intérêts particuliers”. Climate Change sceptic-deniers claim that they are defending a noble cause – scepticism – except that they are not true sceptics but deniers. Climate Change sceptic-deniers claim that the Scientists are working for special interests – accusations of collusion, gravy trains, begging for research money et cetera, ad nauseum.
    I could go on, but I sha’n’t. It is clear to me that the Climate Change sceptic-deniers are utilising the tools honed as war propaganda. Theirs is an invalid argumentation.
    What does the data tell you, Judith ?
    I have read and heard both McIntyre and Michaels and I have perceived what I consider to be their deliberate attempts to manipulate language, facts and the words and deeds of others. I do not accept their internal schema, on the basis of their performance so far.
    Plus, I’ve read Naomi Oreskes, and I know something about how anti-science gets funded, and how the same people have used the same arguments about a wide range of Science and medicine, from tobacco toxicity, through stratospheric ozone depletion, by way of acid rain, Star Wars paranoia, and now, Global Warming too.
    Exactly the same non-arguments have been levelled against Global Warming Science and the “community” of Climate Change Scientists as were levelled at Scientists over the Antarctic Ozone Hole and its cause, the deleterious effects of Acid Rain and its causes, the carcinogenic properties of tobacco smoke and pesticides, and so it goes on.
    Climate Change “scepticism” is not a special case. The same kind of anti-science and even the very same arguments have been used in other fields.
    Follow the money. Check the chain of influence. Map the networks. Climate Change “scepticism” doesn’t come from “honest broker” actors – there is a history.

  80. Tom Fuller says:

    Jo Abbess, to the extent that you are serious, you are also either very naive or incredibly late to the conversation. You either have some serious catching up to do  or you have to raise your game to get to the level (depths?) of some of the others who do what you’re trying to do.
     
    Starting from the bottom of your comment and working upwards,
     
    1. Following the money does not lead you where you think–check out the first institutional contributor to CRU as a symbolic example. (Hint: Think beyond petroleum…)
     
    2. And exactly the same arguments have been leveled at protesting scientists as were aimed at Wegener regarding plate tectonics, Warren and Marshall about the cause of ulcers, ad nauseum. People use tired arguments on both sides. The target of your current diatribe, Dr. Curry, does not…
     
    3. Naomi Oreskes gundecked her research. Her initial point on Big Tobacco was valid, and it applied to the early days of the battle on climate change. It no longer does. Get with it, Abbess…
     
    4.  If you don’t like McIntyre or Michaels, and you have the chops to understand why you don’t, enlighten us on their errors, rather than just saying ‘I don’t like them.’
     
    5. The ‘claims’ for Climategate were that a small subset of climate scientists started doing science in a different way than everyone else, and had to resort to unethical and sometimes illegal tactics to keep from being discovered. The ‘claims’ were not that climate science was disproved–just that a handful of scientists went bad.
     
    6. Maintaining opposition is exactly what the pattern of behaviour has been from people on your ‘side.’ It hasn’t worked. They’ve tried it for over a decade. You might check around and see if there’s a Plan B hidden away somewhere…

  81. jo abbess says:

    @TomFuller
     
    #80
     
    Your reproach is so tiring, it’s….tired.
     
    Resorting to denigration on your part really helps the conversation…not.
     
    I don’t respect your approach. I don’t accept your reproach.
     
    You follow the line that every other “sceptic” follows – telling me I should answer your claims, counter your accusations. That’s such a waste of my precious time.
     
    Yawn.
     
    I am not duty-bound to answer any claim or accusation you make.
     
    You are wrong, you’re irritating, you’re disrespectful and you’re inaccurate, but I’m not a fighting person, so I can’t get the energy together to issue a firm rebuttal.
     
    I still have a good reputation amongst the people that actually count.  I don’t need to win over snides and cynics and wind-up merchants or whatever role you’re playing.
     
    Let’s get back to the science, shall we ?
     
    That’s the science of Climate Change, not the quasi-pseudo-simalcrum from the likes of Steve McIntyre, Pat Michaels et al.
     
    …I can’t resist answering you on just one thing though : the constant refrain of the Big Oil and Gas companies has been “let’s do some more research” regarding Climate Change. This is classic delayer argumentation. If denial doesn’t grab people, argue for a delay. Argue against adopting the Early Precautionary Principle. Anything to stop diversifying out of Fosil Fuels. A large number of Fossil Fuel organisations have sponsored research on Climate Change – whilst at the same time financing “sceptics”. It’ called “divide and rule”, but the time for dallying and mollifying is over.
     
    “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.” Churchill. Lovely man.

  82. Tom Fuller says:

    Ms. Abbess, at the risk of boring you further, perhaps you’ll enlighten me on what aspect of the science you are discussing…

  83. Shub says:

    Abbess,
    Your persuasion technique is as wanting as it was, when you attempted to take on Delingpole. We are sympathetic to your observations but repelled by lack of insight.
    You cannot just translate your intended strategies into words and tell it to us – you have to convey, For that you have to engage. For that you have to not insult. And have some energy.
    Fossil fuel companies have delayed climate enlightenment? Suppose they hadn’t done that. What would someone like you do?

  84. Barry Woods says:

    Jo..

    I noticed you took my advice about changing your blog away from ‘shouting’ about climate change..

    Totally agree with you about the ‘Polar Bear’ poster child not working.. (xfactor, they just laughed in the audience)

    How many sceptic alerts are you receiving, from the Campaign Against Climate Change… these days.. Did they point you towards Collide a scape?

    Campaign Against Climate Change – Sceptic Alerts (cack ? 😉 )
    http://www.campaigncc.org/node/384

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100035167/get-your-trolls-off-my-lawn-monbiot/

    The one designed to pack blogs/newspaper comments with CAGW activists  comments, they especially targeted, Delingpole, Booker Telegraph articles. 

    How are your pro AGW credentials amongst people that count, (looks like Monbiot is back peddling now) I doubt very high, as your efforts would appear to have been hugely counter productive.. ie ref, Roger Harrabin (BBC) and you experience, and the Delingpole ‘sceptic’ alerts.

    Follow the money Jo… (and huge pro AGW vested financial interests)

    JPMorgan Climate care – as an example. Buy your carbon offset from one of the lefts most hatedbanks.

    http://www.jpmorganclimatecare.com/

    Please be nice to Tom.  You would proably agree with most of his environmental interest/concerns.

  85. JohnB says:

    I was going to repond to Jo, but I try to avoid religious arguments.

  86. Judith Curry says:

    Jo Abbess,
     
    I am a strict #1: “Nous ne voulons pas la guerre.”
     
    Collide-a-scape has attracted a diverse group of educated and interesting participants.   We are challenging our premises and trying to find some common ground for agreement.  And IMO, succeeding in a very interesting way.
     
    Your good reputation “among people that actually count.” Appealing to your own authority isn’t something that carries much weight here, and certainly carries none with me.   And who actually “counts” is rapidly changing, wake up.   You seem to be into flagging unqualified opinions. Well good luck convincing anyone that I am unqualified to discuss climate science.  We are all on equal ground when it comes to discussing energy policy.
     
    With regards to McIntyre.  He gets no money at all from the fossil fuel industry.  He is a retiree living off his investments, and doing some mining consulting (gold and silver) when he needs $ or an interesting opportunity comes up.  His politics are leftish, he doesn’t seem to have any objections to a sane energy policy, in any event he doesn’t talk about policies.  He doesn’t talk about the broad uncertainties of climate science (unlike Steve Schneider, who talked about uncertainty alot).  He is focused on accountability and identifying mistakes in published papers  involving climate data.  And he is concerned about about the behavior of scientists.   Check out Gavin’s Perspective, about half way down the thread, McIntyre pipes in on a discussion of Mann et al. 08.   He makes some strong arguments and scores some points.  Mann was not there to defend his paper (Gavin can provide a general defense, but can’t stand up to McIntyre on this topic); had Mann been there, he might have scored some points and in any event the science would have been illuminated.  Get over the McIntyre boogeyman argument, it doesn’t hold up.
     
    So exactly what is it that you are fighting for?  A Waxman-Markey type bill that even Jim Hansen said wouldn’t do any good?  Some sort of UNFCCC global treaty that has zero chance even if the U.S. were behind it?  That wouldn’t have any impact on the climate until the latter half of the century?  SOMETHING, but you don’t know what? In that case, exactly what is wrong with delay?
     
    Let us know what you are fighting for, something that MATTERS.  Fighting against McIntyre and Michaels is pointless and a waste of time.

  87. Barry Woods says:

    Jo is a Campaign Against Climate Change activist

    http://www.joabbess.com/2010/04/13/james-delingpole-warmly-invited/

    James Delingpole is in the CACC Hall of (sceptics) Shame
    http://www.campaigncc.org/hallofshame

    George Monbiot, president, includes MP’s and MEP’s !
    http://www.campaigncc.org/whoweare

    http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/3766

    Inclined to manipulate blogs/newspaper commenst sections with their activists.

    Sceptic Alerts – CACC
    http://www.campaigncc.org/node/384

    I got cross enough when I discovered this, after looking around the CACC website, following James invite, that I sent an email to lots of websites, and Andrew Montford let me write up the story as a guest post at Bishop Hill.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/19/skeptic-alerts.html

    I thought my article was rather better than James Delingpoles (his was a bit ‘tribal’ imho)
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100035167/get-your-trolls-off-my-lawn-monbiot/

  88. Lazar says:

    Judith Curry writes…
    “Fighting against McIntyre and Michaels is pointless”
    and…
    With regards to McIntyre. He gets no money at all from the fossil fuel industry.”
    … why no mention of Pat Michaels?

    Pat Michaels;
    “the satellite-based, balloon-based, and thermometer-based global temperature records show no warming whatsoever over the past decade.”
    Why would Michaels make a silly mistake like confusing failure to reject the null with proof of the null…
    Fareed Zakaria: “Can I ask you what percentage of your work is funded by the petroleum industry?”
    Pat Michaels: “I don’t know, 40%, I don’t know.”
    … and the trick to hide the scenarios
    … and the trick to use the endpoints

  89. pax says:

    “When smart and informed people see basically the same information but come to different conclusions, I find that interesting since there might be something to be learned.”
    When the information itself is inconclusive informed people will inevitably come to different conclusions — based on emotion rather than evidence.
    It tells us more clearly than anything that climate science is in its infancy and far form settled. Informed people are beginning to see this now.

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