Some Advice to Greens on Joe Romm

From one of the many (which includes academics and journalists) who get slandered by Romm:

It is long overdue for the environmental community to start pushing back on Romm as he continues to stain their entire enterprise. His lies and smear tactics, which are broadly embraced and condoned, are making enemies out of friends and opponents out of fellow travelers.  Vigorous debate is welcome and healthy.  Lies and character assassination not so much.

69 Responses to “Some Advice to Greens on Joe Romm”

  1. dbleader61 says:

    Joe lives in a complete fantasy world all his own.  I cannot read through a complete post of his deranged delusions.  Roger Jr. is right and a commenter on his blog even more so when he notes that it appears Exxon may have hired Joe to make the AGW proponent community look ridiculous. 

  2. Menth says:

    Ugh…I tried to read the CP post that RPJ was referencing, I really did. I used to read CP in an attempt to keep a well rounded climate blog diet and see things from all perspectives but I can’t do it anymore. Shrill apocalypticism and “Climate Hawk” power fantasies come off to me as symptoms of a deep seated, self-directed frustration and are not interesting reading.

  3. Tom Fuller says:

    Joe Romm has long reminded me of Richard Nixon. I can’t really put my finger on why. Maybe it’s as simple as his dictating his posts into his computer, and I should be looking for an 18-minute gap. In any event, Romm has certainly developed into one of the most antipathetic humans involved in the Great Debate, and the faint praise coming from those who should be his most ardent supporters speaks volumes.
     
    That said, he does provide very effective coverage of green tech news, and I read him regularly for that. I just choose not to look at the rest of his posts.

  4. harrywr2 says:

    Tom Fuller Says:
    May 6th, 2011 at 4:56 pm Joe Romm has long reminded me of Richard Nixon. I can’t really put my finger on why.
     
    IIRC Richard Nixon kept an enemies list.  The problem with enemies lists is once someone is placed on the list they start acting like enemies.
     
    Good politics is there are supporters and undecideds. The point being if someone is labeled an ‘undecided’ the bridge remains…once someone is labeled an enemy the bridge is burned.
     
     
     

  5. WTH says:

    RPJr says: “Vigorous debate is welcome and healthy.  Lies and character assassination not so much.”
    Really?
    I’m no fan of Romm, but I have a hard time taking RPJr seriously when he then writes to Watts suggesting that he share it with his readers.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/06/pielke-jr-joe-romm-lies/
    If RPJr is so concerned about smears and character assassination then why does he associate with WUWT??

  6. Tom Fuller says:

    Hmm, WTH. Maybe for the same reason that Willie Sutton chose banks. WUWT is the highest trafficked climate blog. Why on earth wouldn’t Pielke go there?
     
    There are some hysterics who believe Anthony Watts is Satan, of course, but if you are a bit more normal and want to get a message through to those interested in the climate debate, there’s no better venue.

  7. harrywr2 says:

    WTH – If RPJr is so concerned about smears and character assassination then why does he associate with WUWT?
    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
     

  8. WTH says:

    Tom – seeing that Sutton’s motive for robbing banks was personal gain with no intention of improving the banking system, your comparison is a rather odd one.
    But then seeing how you engage in the same biased complaining about smears and character assassination from some quarters while ignoring the smears and character assassination from the very source where you have guest posted, this comes as no surprise to me.

  9. WTH says:

    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
    So – are you saying it really isn’t about smears and character assassination after all?

  10. Tom Fuller says:

    WTH, umm, my comparison was based on selection of venue, as I think all rational readers would intuit. But that’s okay, WTH, that’s okay…
     
    Yes, I guest posted at WUWT for several months, and am proud of what I wrote there. I also posted at The Air Vent for a while, too. Your point is?

  11. Just was pointed to this by a reader on my blog, here is how I responded there:
     
    I am happy for anyone to repost or link to my work. Why should that be a problem? I hope that the readers at WUWT buy my book, read it and think about it, same goes with RealClimate and ClimateProgress. How silly.

    More interesting is of course those who received my link and chose not to mention it 😉

  12. Jeff Norris says:

    I asked the good doctor
    Roger
    Other than Anthony Watts did you email or contact any other bloggers with your suggestion on Pushing Back? Over at Keith’s place the topic is turning to motive and of course effectiveness.  

    He replied that he did http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/05/joe-romm-lies.html?showComment=1304796947269#c525582795510644180 
    The point being he is really trying to get the community to evaluate Romm’s action not just looking for cheerleaders or a sympathetic megaphone to air his grievance.  Interesting that no one other than Kieth on the proponet side feels that the All Attack All the Time is worth looking into.

  13. harrywr2 says:

    WTH Says:
    May 7th, 2011 at 2:43 pm
    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
    So ““ are you saying it really isn’t about smears and character assassination after all?
     
    No…I’m saying it’s about making alliances that achieve a goal.
    I agree with neither Pielke Jr or Revkin on ‘Global Warming’….and I absolutely don’t agree with Romm on anything.
    I do however agree with Pielke Jr and Revkin  on their views towards working the need for an ‘Energy Quest’.
    Having spent some time at Watt’s place ‘Energy Quest’ plays well.
    charge’ on Climate Action there isn’t going to be any action.
    I agree with Hansen on the need for more nuclear…as does the majority of the Watt’s crowd.
    Romm doesn’t think nuclear needs to be part of the future energy mix.
    Does that make Hansen and Romm Enemies or Allies? Does that make the Watt’s crowd Enemies or Allies of Hansen?
    To be on Romm’s ‘Team’ you have to agree with  why we should do something and his solution. Otherwise you are an ‘enemy’.
    Fine by me…I’ll just invest  money in Peabody Coal  and Exxon Mobil…because as long as Joe Romm is ‘leading the charge’ on Climate Action there will never be 60 votes in the Senate and we will all be choking on coal dust.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  14. Tom Fuller says:

    Read grypo’s link carefully. Romm denies Pielke’s accusation in general and at great, nauseating length. But he gives zero specifics about what Pielke said, and mind numbing specifics about everything else under the sun. Well. He didn’t include a manual on plumbing.
     
    Point to Pielke.

  15. Dave H says:

    @Tom
    > Point to Pielke.
    This is why sports normally have unbiased referees and judges on hand to award points.
     
     
    In other news, Willis Eschenbach has a hilarious rant up here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/06/top-secret-noforn-restricted-access-climate-model-results/
     
    It is long overdue for the “skeptical” to start pushing back on Willis as he continues to stain their entire enterprise. His **frewuent ineptitude** and smear tactics, which are broadly embraced and condoned, are making enemies out of friends and opponents out of fellow travelers.  Vigorous debate is welcome and healthy. Refusing to admit that you’ve made a massive cockup when trying to access freely available resources, and instead venomously asserting some closed shop conspiracy not so much.
    Indeed, despite Mosher’s best efforts to inject some much-needed sanity, you can see from the comments that “the troops” are already emailing politicians to make them aware of this scandal.
    So – why the double standard? Why is Pielke not calling for introspection from his favourite blog?
     

  16. Dave H says:

    > frewuent ineptitude
    Frequent, obviously (oh, delicious irony). The keys are, like, right next to each other…

  17. Barry Woods says:

    If only Jeremy Grantham did not have Bob Ward as his mouthpiece.

  18. Menth says:

    16.”So ““ why the double standard? Why is Pielke not calling for introspection from his favourite blog?”
     
    Presumably because WUWT doesn’t continually portray Pielke Jr. as the king of the di*kheads for not falling in line with the WUWT view of climate policy.

  19. Keith Kloor says:

    Menth,

    That’s a good point.

    DaveH (16)

    I hardly think that WUWT is Roger’s favorite blog, and you probably know that, so why the guilt-by-association? But I take your larger point: it would be nice to see some rational climate skeptics call some of the ridiculous BS that appears on WUWT.

    Or even lukewarmers like Tom Fuller. Alas, Tom is compromised by his personal feelings towards Anthony. So he holds his tongue.

    But overall, I suspect that people who fall squarely into the two camps hold their tongue because they don’t want to give any ammunition to their opponents.

  20. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    For what it’s worth, I don’t read WUWT, so I don’t see any of the “ridiculous BS” to which you guys refer.  The last two things I’ve read on it were both linked to from this site, and neither lived up to their descriptions.  The first was the article mentioning Charle Manson’s advocacy for global warming, and I’ve already explained why I saw nothing wrong with it (and no, it wasn’t because of some bias on my part).
     
    The second one was the one linked to just above by Dave H.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to his description either.  He places all the blame on Willis Eschenbach, but as far as I can tell, he does so based upon nothing more than assumptions.  He praises Steven Mosher’s responses to Willis, but those responses have obvious issues.  Moreover, the counter-responses have thus far not been refuted.  Maybe Willis is wrong, but unless you demonstrate so, it’s just an assumption.  His tone was obviously over-the-top in a ridiculous fashion, but beyond that, I’m reserving judgment.
     
    This is the reason I don’t criticize WUWT.  If there is “ridiculous BS” on there, it isn’t what people link to for me.  On the other hand, I did basically call Willis a raving loon incapable of reading simple sentences who was obsessed with making things up about people over on Judith Curry’s blog.  I’m willing to criticize what I see.
     
    Wait, am I even considered a skeptic?

  21. Keith Grubb says:

    So let me get this straight, Dave H.. Willis was sent a “deny request” to publicly available data? Weird.

  22. Tom Fuller says:

    Hey, guys, I’ve said frequently–here and other places–that Anthony is often wrong and has exercised poor editorial judgement. I think some of his guest posts have been way out there–obviously excluding my own brilliant words.
     
    But a guy running his own show putting out the number of posts he does? I’m surprised he isn’t wronger oftener, if I can mangle the language with consecutive whoppers.
     
    And dammit, character and intentions do matter. His character is good–you’ve seen him apologise, you’ve seen him give a forum to people who disagree with him, like me, like Jeff Id.
     
    We vote different, we believe different things about climate change, we disagree on a hell of a lot. But the way he’s characterized as the great Satan is just ridiculous.
     
    Whatever happened to ‘Hey, Anthony–you got that one way wrong?’

  23. Dean says:

    People have brought up the issue of a double standard of who gets called out.
     
    But why should it matter anyway? Does the strength of the AGW case rest on the behavior of one blogger? So what if Joe Romm is excessive. There are excessive people in the world. If you moderate him, somebody else will take his place. This is also why I think it is preposterous to think that if only climate scientists do something to convince this or that skeptic that it will really make a huge difference.

  24. Tom Fuller says:

    Watts just raised a couple of grand to finance the printing costs of a paper he is publishing with Pielke Sr. In about eight hours.
     
    Jerks can’t do that. Even when they’re right, jerks can’t do that.

  25. Jeff Norris says:

    Tom
    I have to disagree with you on that.  Watts has a big audience and can easily raise a small amount of money.  The issue of a double standard is interesting and I think it should be discussed.  My take on it is that proponents are in the position of “Authority” or “Power” so they are naturally held to a higher standard.    

  26. Brandon Shollenberger says:

    Tom Fuller’s remarks #23 seem to be the best description of Anthony’s site I’ve seen.  I am much more inclined to believe his comments than people who say far worse things about the site, yet never show me any reason to believe them.

  27. Sashka says:

    @ Dean (16)

    You are asking a wrong question. Think about why climate change establishment needs Joe Romm. Why someone chooses to fund him of all people? Think about why, say, string theory is not being fronted by someone crazy? Think about why leading climate scientists would not publicly distance themselves from Romm?

    Did I explain why behavior of this particular blogger matters?

  28. Sashka says:

    Sorry, that was actually about (24)

  29. Tom: Whatever happened to “˜Hey, Anthony”“you got that one way wrong?’

    Whatever happened to ‘Oops, I got that one way wrong’, when pointed out by someone?

    I first heard of Watts when Tamino took him to task for some quite elementary mistakes (part 1 to 4 if I’m not mistaken), before WUWT really took off in popularity. Watts’ response was such that I was surprised that he was or became the most popular climate blogger. I don’t call him or anyone “satan”, but he’s not upholding a very high standard in truth seeking.

  30. Tom Fuller says:

    Hi Bart,
     
    You are probably the only person in this game who could credibly pose this question, given your demeanor and performance in all aspects of this debate.
     
    The level of invective exchanged and true ill-will expressed between the various parties has led to all having a defensive attitude and an unwillingness to admit error. That includes me, although I’ll bet I’m still the only one in the room here who has publicly apologized to Joe Romm.
     
    Without knowing the details you refer to, I can easily imagine a scenario where Tamino could be correct on one issue and Watts incorrect, but through phrasing, attitude and expansion of the issue to imply that Watts is a dolt, make it virtually impossible for Anthony to acknowledge his mistake–without opening himself up to even more bile and bitterness.
     
    It can happen the other way around, too, of course, and has. Umm, something about a hockey stick comes to mind…
     
    Just because you consistently act like a gentleman does not mean that many who hold your opinions do. In fact, many do not.

  31. steven mosher says:

     
    I think I will hang out here for a while. no body loves me.
     

  32. steven mosher says:

    Bart.
    Anthony made a bone headed mistake there.
    Mann also made some bone head errors.
    Muir russel made bone headed errors
    for some reason none of them can admit an error. even an honest error.
    us Post normal guys think we understand why. its not that hard, really
    PS.
    I made three errors that I know of in our book. I copped to all three.
    Hans Von Storch is likewise candid about shortcomings
    I sure wish we could return to a world where people could make mistakes, admit them, change behavior and move on.
    anyway.
     

  33. mt likewise has no problem admitting a mistake when he made one.
    Others find it harder to do, sometimes because they put themselves in a hole that they feel they’d lose face if they admit to it (and they’d rather bguild a higher fence instead), and/or because the nature of the discussion is already poisoned to the extent that the person(s) pointing out the mistake seem out to score points rather than seek the truth. That is not conducive to the other admitting a mistake either. Both dynamics play a role at all sides btw.

  34. steven mosher says:

    yes Bart. That is one reason why I like MT.
    And I agree that the dynamics play on all sides. I think in the book I said that mann has become his hockey stick. Anythony is his surface stations.
     
    These peripheral issues get raised to iconic status. nd those involved get raised with them. And the ideal that science can be impersonal get’s trashed as well. And ya, I played on that. Devilishly hard to avoid.
     
     

  35. Jeff Norris says:

    Steve  Mr. Verheggen
      More to Dr Pielke point, what is preventing allies from pointing out mistakes or bad behavior?   
    I understand that criticizing your colleague publicly might be considered bad form but it seems proponents won’t even acknowledge  discrepancies or missteps.  Opponents on the other hand seem more willing to take and give criticism to their “side”   and even begrudgingly admit help from semi antagonist i.e. (Steven Mosher and Willis   Eschenbach recently)  

  36. steven mosher says:

    what prevents people from pointing out mistakes that colleague’s or semi antagonists make?
    I can only speak for myself. I’m probably the most likely to point out mistakes (what I think are mistakes ) and i’m still reluctant.
    1. these guys are actual personal friends.
    2. since we agree on things like data transparency I’m reluctant to undermine them on other issues where we disagree, because I lose somebody who agrees with me in my favorite part of the debate.
     
    It’s really simple. partly personal and partly self interest.
     
    i dont think the call to denounce certain people is productive.
    So, I’m most likely to criticize them when they fall away from my hobby horse which is data and code openness.
     
     
     

  37. Steven,

    You write “i dont think the call to denounce certain people is productive.”

    Yet you frequently ask proponents of the mainstream to denounce or at least publicly criticize Mann?

    “And the ideal that science can be impersonal get’s trashed as well. And ya, I played on that. Devilishly hard to avoid.”

    Sounds like you found yourself a worthwhile challenge: Making the public debate about science less (rather than more) personal.

    A positive side effect could be that you’d make more friends than enemies.

  38. Jeff Norris says:

    Steven
    Thanks you for the honest introspection.  I would like to explore this more but without similar input from the proponent side I fear it will deteriorate into a “Mosher is Evil” thread.   

  39. steven mosher says:

    #38.
    The key word for me is denounce. I’ve been asked to denounce anthony on several occassions. I wont denounce a person. And I wouldnt ask you to denounce Mann. What I’ve asked for is an honest accounting of the errors.
    They are not that bad.
    So, when I find anthony making a mistake (like in the SPPI paper or in his assesment of Muller’s actions) I will point out the error. But denounce? as a person? I wouldnt denounce Jones as a person,
    Denounce willis? not gunna happen. I know the man too well. Criticize his ideas, call him on his mistakes. sure.
     

  40. steven mosher says:

    $40. Thanks Jeff.
    I think the issue is this. Lets take Mann. Mann over time has become IDENTIFIED with the HS. Partly because he held data back. It was his data, his method, his HS. It became personalized. The next stage is the HS gets elevated as an epistemic cornerstone of AGW. Its not. It simply is peripheral.
    So any attack on Mann “the man” get’s transformed into an attack on the HS, which is seen as an attack on the core science. AS IF.
    The result of this is that people are reluctant to criticize either mann the man, or the HS. both are icons. And the fear is that if the shroud of turin is false, then the whole religion falls. But mann the man is not that important and the HS is really peripheral to the case for AGW. If both disappeared tommorrow GHGs would still warm the planet.
    For me then criticizing mann and the HS is a step toward removing extraneous things that dilute the main message. So skeptics see me as an friend and AGWers as a traitor. Sitting where I do I get to criticize both sides. And believe in AGW.
    But I fully understand people reluctance to do that. I have friends on the skeptic side who say and do stupid things. So since I sit in the middle I empathize with the difficulty of criticizing them. I see the thoughts that run through my head. I assume other folks have similar concerns. My attitude toward skeptics has been to criticize their mistakes and Ive tried to ask them to join the real debate which happens inside the science.  That of course strains my relations on that side. And, I’ve found, that no amount of attacking skeptics, will satisfy those who think that the climategate book was evil. I’m ok with that.
    in the end I like to say things like “jones was wrong to thwart FOIA and AGW is true” because I think that divorces the issues of bad administration from the issues of science. We CANNOT return science to an impersonal trans personal activity without taking a painful step of honestly criticizing some behavior that in and of itself has nothing to do with the science. Make sense. As long as the personal behavior is defended, the science will stay PERSONALIZED. that’s my diagnosis.
    I may be wrong, of course

  41. Sashka says:

    It is a myth that science could be transformed (back) into an impersonal activity which is all about seeking the truth, nothing but the truth and yada-yada. I doubt that it ever was like that but certainly not as long as I am around. I’m not even talking exclusively about inherently politicized half-science of climate change. Same things happen in hard sciences including physics and math. Big egos are everywhere. Big minds are afflicted disproportionally but not exclusively. (A mediocrity in the position of power is the worst case.) Few people like being criticized. Even fewer could take public criticism well. Such is human nature.

    Criticizing behavior (as opposed to scientific work) is even harder. This is because the rules are soft and people are stubborn. Political and group interests corrupt judgement and ethics. It’s not good but it’s what it is.

  42. Tom Fuller says:

    Without suggesting that my co-author and friend is being at all disingenuous, there’s a bit more involved in proper criticism of the hockey stick and Jones et al 1990. Supporters of the consensus do know this and I believe it accounts for any ability to walk back from what has happened, let alone acknowledge error in order to move on.
     
    If ‘treemometers’ are not a good proxy for temperatures, and if it becomes clear, as Keith Briffa wrote, that temperatures during the Medieval Warming Period were the equal of current warming, the shaft of the hockey stick breaks and current warming cannot be labelled unprecedented. This should not be important from a scientific point of view–saying that current warming is rare and largely attributable to anthropogenic actions would be enough in a normal world, but we’re either past or post normal by this point.
     
    If Jones et all 1990 should be retracted in part or entire due to incorrect reading of the historical siting records of temperature measurement stations, and UHI in fact is close to half a degree C as opposed to a tenth that, the blade of the hockey stick bends down just a bit. But that bit may be enough to bring the record below that of the Medieval Warming Period that the ‘treemometers’ sought to deny.
     
    Again, if the consensus had not sought to over-egg the pudding, this would not have mattered. It warmed dramatically between 1975 and 1998, and we should be concerned about the reasons, which almost certainly have some anthropogenic influence.
     
    But correcting the story takes air out of the political balloon, rather than the scientific one. And hell will freeze over before anybody responds rationally to Steve Mosher’s very rational requests.
     
    But as hell will also freeze over before the skeptics give them a pass on prior behaviour, it does leave us very much in a period of extended trench warfare, with incremental gains and losses being the headline stories of the day without changing the situation in the field at all.
     
    Bit of a dilemma, really.

  43. Tom Gray says:

    re 44
     
    I thought that the issue with the hockey stick was primarily the flat shaft and not the blade. The hockey stick shape correlates with carbon dioxide emissions  and hence tells a very simple story. With a non-flat shaft the story and hence the attributions becomes more complicated.
     
     
    I thought that the hockey stick story was more about attribution. The not the “unprecedented” spin was an appeal to attribution

  44. Sashka says:

    @ Tom

    Not to disagree with anything of substance, but I don’t see any dilemma. It’s more like a dead end.

    As an aside, the statement “current warming is rare and largely attributable to anthropogenic actions” doesn’t have a lot of scientific weight because we have no tools for attribution other than very imperfect models. Of course, claiming unprecedented warming is very important to them because it implies statistical improbability of the natural causes. You are right that HS is unimportant for science but with so little science as they have they need symbols to advance their agenda.

    So the battle over the HS is actually occurring not just due to bad character of some participants and subpar science. It’s also for very “good” reasons as well.

  45. steven mosher says:

    “It is a myth that science could be transformed (back) into an impersonal activity which is all about seeking the truth, nothing but the truth and yada-yada.”
    As a post normal guy I have to agree since I dont think the ideal of science ever existed to begin with. What I am saying is that certain actios can be taken to mitigate the personalization

  46. steven mosher says:

    TomG,
    It’s hard to see how the HS plays into AGW. There is the whole line of reasoning that says the warming now is unprecedented, therefore that requires an explaination, C02 is the cause. That is a form of reasoning that we term ABDUCTION. I think it is a mistake to employ such reasoning in this case. Why? because of the uncertainty involved in HS and because the real argument is this. However warm it was in the past, the current temp is higher than it would have been absent GHGs. The HS does enter the debate if the question is sensitivity. in that regard the HS is important in constraining or estimates of sensitivity, BUT from what Ive seen plaoe recons of the last couple thousand years are POOR constrainers

  47. Tom Gray says:

    re 48
     
     
     
    Peilke Senior and others like him indicate that green house gases are only one component among many that are causing climate change. He indicates that the focus on GHG mitigation will not address the entire problem. For this he is highly criticized by the climate science establishment.
    The hockey stick with its CO2 correlation can be seen in this light. It is a story of attribution. That was what the significance of the finding. It is a piece of evidence against theories like that of Peilke Senior and that is why it is considered important and will not be given up. It drove teh GHG focus of Kyoto.

  48. Tom Fuller says:

    Tom Gray @49,
     
    Imagine trying to change some of the other anthropogenic contributions to current warming. GHGs may well be the easiest lever at our command. Are we going to reverse land-use changes? Tear down dams (or build more)? Put more aerosols in the air? Less? Plant more forests? Burn more down in a controlled (we hope) fashion?
     
    What if controlling our emissions of CO2 is actually the path of least resistance?

  49. steven mosher says:

    TomG
    You need to make a cogent argument.
    let’s start with a simple question. is it warmer now than in 1850?
    your answer to that should be yes.
    Then we will want to ask what Role GHGs played in that
    your answer to that should be ” a major role” we can quibble about the exact amounts but that’s quibbling. For example Willis (on CA a while back argued 30%, i’d say 60, but fundamentally that’s some quibbling we can parameterize around )
    Then we will want to ask, how bad could things get and what should we do about it. This starts the real squishy part of the debate
     
    So, its warming, GHGs play a role in that. thats a good place to start a cogent discussion
     
     

  50. Tom Gray says:

    re 50
     
    I was not claiming that either of these hypotheses is useful. I was just noting the politics behind them in the vein of Feyerabend. Note that contra Mosher, the correctness of a scientific theory is to me of little importance. It is the utility of it.  And climate science theories are useful only as far as they inform effective  policy.
     
    And if the GHG mitigation can control only a portion of the problem, then an over concentration on them will not be efficacious. The concentration on GHG mitigation and the deprecation of adaptation in the conventional  climate science establishment theory will not be effective in eliminating disruption.
     
    If the climate science establishment’s views are followed then the world is making a very big bet on one measure. I would not want this bet to be based on the result of academic politics.

  51. Tom Gray says:

    re 52
     
     
     
    I think that you are missing the point of my argument. I am not making any scientific claims about climate science. I am only looking at the politics behind it and how this political view could engender ineffective policy.
     
    I really have little interest in the petty squabbles of climate scientists. My own opinion is that they have made and will make very little useful contribution to the AGW dilemma. They have produced a plausible hypothesis but for the rest there is little useful to it.

  52. NewYorkJ says:

    Watts just raised a couple of grand to finance the printing costs of a paper he is publishing with Pielke Sr. In about eight hours.
     
    Jerks can’t do that. Even when they’re right, jerks can’t do that.

    Plenty of popular religious and political cult leaders (many who are “big jerks”) throughout history have been able to raise good money in a short period of time, so I disagree.  Watts is very much a religious cult leader, who commands his followers to “shout down” the opposition. 

    RPJ and his ally Keith are doing their part to try to marginalize Romm, Gore, or anyone perceived to be opposed to their policy beliefs.  RPJ is on record falsely accusing others of lying.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/10/hockey-stick-gets-personal-lies-from.html

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/10/04/climate-auditor-steve-mcintyre-yamal/

    And in this case, RPJ calls Romm a liar, but fails to respond to Romm’s post with anything substantive, perhaps the “3,300” words being beyond his attention span, which would be giving him the benefit of the doubt.

  53. kdk33 says:

    HS was a big deal. 

    Most skeptics agree that it is warmer now than it would be without GHG and opinions, it seems t me, vary on how much.  The real question is: is it dangerous.

    The hockey stick implied not only unprecendented, but unprecendented and increasing exponentially.  Hence dangerous.

    Slight warming that is not unprecendented and is increasing mildly, if it all… now that’s a horse of a very different color.  And proponents know this.

  54. Tom Fuller says:

    I think we all know which side is producing the modern Elmer Gantrys, and it ain’t Watts’s side.
     
    As for the Pielke / Romm dustup, it’s obvious to anyone who can read and takes the time to read both sides’ versions, Pielke is right. Romm lied.
     
    One of the best things that could happen to the fight on climate change would be in fact the marginalization of Joe Romm. Pity it hasn’t happened yet, despite his own best efforts.

  55. ivp0 says:

    Romm is an interesting case.  The further he moves away from fundamental science and into wild eyed hyperbole and character assassination, the more cartoon-like and irrelevant his character becomes.  No one needs to take any action in response, he is doing it to himself.  Sort of a process of self-marginalization.

  56. Jeff Norris says:

    Tom.
    Continuing the metaphor, then proponents are going to need a scientific tank to break the lines, which does not seem likely anytime soon. 
    I think modern Urban warfare would be better a metaphor with proponents holding several fixed positions while their insurgent opponents roam the countryside.  Going further, instead of abandoning weak position proponents allow NKVD like groups to stiffen moral regardless of how it might look to the general populace.  Perhaps they should abandon the philosophy of there’s no such animal as a noncombatant, for one that wins hearts and minds.

  57. steven mosher says:

    kdk33 Says:
    May 11th, 2011 at 9:12 pm HS was a big deal.
    ####
    duh. as I said it was made into an icon. MISTAKE.
    that’s why I call it the shroud of turin. Unnecessary to those who believe.
    and for those who disbelieve, another opportunity to attack the faith.
     

  58. steven mosher says:

    TomG

    I was not claiming that either of these hypotheses is useful. I was just noting the politics behind them in the vein of Feyerabend.”
    ok. I’ll acknowledge some sympathies with Feyerabend. I think your mistaken to limit the utility to only policy making.
    But, yes, climate science is useful to policy making. It’s clearly not useless. You might want to limit or control its use, but it clearly has some use.

  59. steven mosher says:

    “And if the GHG mitigation can control only a portion of the problem, then an over concentration on them will not be efficacious. The concentration on GHG mitigation and the deprecation of adaptation in the conventional  climate science establishment theory will not be effective in eliminating disruption.”
    yes we can agree on this. As we wrote in the book the fatal turn was taken at the begining with the creation of the IPCC beholding to a global body. That move set us on a path toward a global policy of restricting GHG and made it more difficult to consider adaption (local) The bias toward a solution based in scientific managment (global top down control) creates a space where alternative approaches ( adaptive governace) can barely be discussed.
     

  60. Steven,

    Thanks for your answer in 41. Fair enough, and I can see the distinction you make.

    My other question still stands: Would you be willing to do your part in making the public debate about science less (rather than more) personal?

    As you say in 47: “What I am saying is that certain actions can be taken to mitigate the personalization”. Will you take those actions (as far as they are in your area of influence)?

  61. kdk33 says:

    @59,

    Steven, perhaps I misread.  Perhaps I didn’t write clearly. 

    It seems obvious to me that the HS was/is important in answering the most important question; is it dangerous.  Take the HS away and the case for dangerous climate change takes a big hit.

    That’s a big deal.  Not from a pubic-perception / advertising point of view, but a big deal from an evidentiary point of view.  HS was very important to the case for *doing something* about climate change.

    So, when you wrote this:  “the HS is really peripheral to the case for AGW” I took you to mean that HS (or no HS) doesn’t change things.  I think it clearly and significantly impacts the case for *doing something*.  Even if it may be peripheral to other AGW questions.

  62. Tom Gray says:

    re 60
     

    Steven Mosher writes:
     
    =======================
    TomG
    I was not claiming that either of these hypotheses is useful. I was just noting the politics behind them in the vein of Feyerabend.”
    ok. I’ll acknowledge some sympathies with Feyerabend. I think your mistaken to limit the utility to only policy making.
     
    But, yes, climate science is useful to policy making. It’s clearly not useless. You might want to limit or control its use, but it clearly has some use.
    =======================
     
    It would be useful to understand exactly what parts of climate science are then of use to policy makers. Beyond a few guidelines that can be extracted from the original AGW hypothesis, I can see very little.
     
    There is a guideline that GHG emissions  should be minimized. OK we can see tht and that policy would be useful for smog, oil depedence and the resulting cartels etc
     
    Other policies could be to not build on flood plains, be cautious in coastal development etc. OK we can see that And we can also be cautious about building in seismic zones but we don’t need a complete theory of earthquake prediction to know that.
     
    So the parts of current climate science paradigm that I see as not useful are the politics that lead to the acceptance of one hypothesis (GHG dominance) at the expense of all others. I see it as not useful because it privileges one set of policies (GHG minimization or to use the ultra-cool scientific word mitigation) at the expense of others that may be more effective.
     
    So I don’t really care about the errors in the PCAs that lead to estimates of the warming in western Antartica. I just care that climate science, as it is currently practiced, can offer no information for the creation of usedul policies beyond some obvious guidelines
    Climate science isn’t wrong. It is just useless

  63. Tom Gray says:

    I recall reading a a newspaper story in which a high official in the US government recounts being lectured on IMF policy by a comedian. I think that that just about sums up much of the controversy in AGW/climate sciecne etc.
     
    High officials in the government are being lectured about critical economic and social issues by climate scientists, movie actors and comedians

  64. Sashka says:

    @ TomG (52)

    the correctness of a scientific theory is to me of little importance. It is the utility of it.

    How many examples of an incorrect and useful theories do you have? Compared to correct and useful, what would be the percentage? Conclusions?

  65. steven mosher says:

    sashka
    “How many examples of an incorrect and useful theories do you have? Compared to correct and useful, what would be the percentage? Conclusions?”
    I’ll answer for TomG. All theory and all models are incorrect at some fundamental level. So, folks like TomG and I tend to focus on the operative word “useful”
    Newtonian mechanics is incorrect, but useful for certain purposes. For other purposes you would use more sophisicated, more complete, mechanics.
    The other situation arises where a theory that is more correct is LESS useful.
    For example, if I am designing a machine to perform a certain action and the system depends upon a model to operate. Lets take a flight control system for example.  To be useful the model must run in real time. But to make it run in real time I have to cut corners and live with some innacuracy. I may not have time to calculate the exact solution, but my purpose doesnt require precision, it just requires an answer that is good enough to keep the plane flying. here “truth” becomes useless.
    weird, but useful observation. dont make the perfect the enemy of the good
     

  66. steven mosher says:

    Tom,
    I would say the climate science that tell us about sea level are useful for adaptation. But if you look at that problem closely you’ll see that the sea level issue is a regional issue. sea level rise is not uniform and we need to work on regional sealevel prediction to better set local policy.
    The analogy with earthquakes is apt, we dont need to predict sea level perfectly, but the current state of science should be improved, and it is an area of active research.

  67. Sashka says:

    Steven,

    Sorry but to me what you just did is an exercise in obfuscation. Newtonian mechanics is not incorrect. It has limits of application, that’s true, but it doesn’t make it incorrect. Of course, all theories that we deem correct have their limitations. But within the limits of applicability the correct theories are usually confirmed by experiments, have a power of prediction which is what makes them useful.

    I would call incorrect a “theory” that doesn’t describe the observe reality, is not confirmed by experiments and have no demonstrated predictive power. That would be meaningful to me. Calling each and every theory incorrect is not.

    I agree that more correct theory could be less useful, no dispute there. But for this to be meaningful the less correct theory still needs to be correct in some sense.

    I fundamentally disagree with the notion of incorrect (as opposed to at least approximately correct within known bounds) and the same time useful “theory”. To me it’s an oxymoron.

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