Sceptics vs Academics

Judith Curry is currently promoting an analysis by someone called the Scottish Sceptic (Mike Haseler) in which he has attempted to differentiate between what he calls sceptics and non-sceptics (academics/warmists) (Sceptics vs Academics). I think the terminology is awful, but that’s just my opinion. He makes it very clear that those who broadly support the IPCC conclusions are non-sceptics and those who don’t are sceptics. I find this absurd. Does he really think that all climate scientists who accept the IPCC conclusions have lost any sense of scepticism? I’m actually surprised that Judith is happy with this kind of terminology. Does she really support the idea that it’s okay to refer to the thousands of professional climate scientists who broadly support the IPCC conclusions as warmists?

Anyway, the analysis that the Scottish Sceptic makes is essentially based on a set of gross generalizations that largely imply that sceptics are somehow this perfect group of open-minded individuals (who are typically trained in engineering) who see the world as it is, while non-sceptics (academics/warmists) are this flawed group of people who don’t really know what they’re doing, are biased by feelings of empathy, and are both corrupt and stupid. I don’t think this kind of thing really make a positive contribution to the debate in any way whatsoever and I’m not sure what Judith hoped to achieve by promoting it on her blog. There’s not even really any evidence for what he presents; it just appears to be his own observations/opinions.

I will say, though, that his observation that “sceptics” tend to have libertarian free-market views while “non-sceptics” (actual scientists) tend to be more left-leaning, is something I too have observed (although, it’s clearly not always true). What I find odd about this division is why someone’s political views should influence how they perceive the scientific evidence. Surely your political views should influence the policies you would support, given the evidence, rather than influence whether or not you accept the evidence in the first place? I will also note that it seems that one of the Scottish Sceptic’s reasons for scepticism is his objection to wind turbines killing raptors. I sympathise with this view but again am unsure as to why this should influence one’s view of the scientific evidence. Accepting the evidence doesn’t immediately imply that we need to build wind turbines that will then kill raptors. What we do, given the evidence, is a policy decision and will include judgements as to the significance of the impacts of various policy options.

So, here’s where I think Judith Curry could play a positive role. The Scottish Sceptic actually has a page where he presents a list of Global Warming Evidence. I’ve actually made a few comments on the Scottish Sceptic’s blog in the past and his responses indicate that he is reasonably pleasant individual, maybe someone one could actually have a serious discussion with. Quite a bit of the evidence he presents is quite easily debunked. He mentions adjustments to instrumental temperature records, the possibility that the 1920s saw a similar decline in Arctic sea ice to that we see today, that CO2 rises might not be anthropogenic (quoting Murry Salby), that the Cloud Radiative Effect is bigger than the IPCC indicates (confusing, I think, the net effect with the change since 1750), claiming that the Hockey Stick is a lie, claiming that ice core samples show that CO2 can’t be a driver, amongst a number of other things.

If the Scottish Sceptic really is a sceptic, and if Judith Curry really does understand climate science (as one might hope), surely together they could clarify which of the evidence on his list is credible and which isn’t. That doesn’t mean that he has to accept the mainstream views, but at least get rid of those things that are easily shown to be wrong. Given that Judith seems to be trusted by people like the Scottish Sceptic, he might take her views more seriously than he would the views of others, and presumably Judith would like those engaging in the debate to at least present credible evidence (she’s happy to correct anything I’ve said that she thinks is wrong – as many have already). Then again, maybe I’m just letting my empathy and optimism get the better of me.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Climate change, Global warming, Judith Curry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

271 Responses to Sceptics vs Academics

  1. Steve Bloom says:

    Yes you are, I’m afraid.

  2. BBD says:

    What I find odd about this division is why someone’s political views should influence how they perceive the scientific evidence.

    It follows automatically that enthusiasts for unrestrained free market capitalism reject regulation and so must reject the science because it is an existential threat to the basis of their ideology. They have no choice but to deny.

    The science tells us that GHG emissions are an externality; in other words, our emissions affect the lives of others. When people do not pay for the consequences of their actions we have market failure. This is the greatest market failure the world has seen.

    Lord Stern.

  3. BBD says:

    If the soi-disant Scottish Sceptic actually was a sceptic he could debunk his own list of nonsensical denier memes in an afternoon of applied scepticism using the list at Skeptical Science. So we can be sure that he’s no true sceptic! (Feeble attempt at humour).

    We can also be sure that JC has lost the plot because she actively and unsceptically promotes contrarian rubbish on her blog. So while I would dearly love to see JC take up your constructive suggestion, I suspect she is no longer in a position to provide much guidance.

  4. BG says:

    One is entitled to his/her own opinion (policy), but not their own facts (science).

  5. That’s an interesting issue that I hadn’t considered. Accepting the evidence would require that they accept that there are flaws with their political ideology (i.e., the evidence suggests that they should pay for their emissions and hence that regulation is necessary). So, the two are inconsistent and hence to believe in a true free-market requires that you dismiss the evidence for AGW.

  6. Sadly, I suspect that you are correct :-)

  7. That is the issue and why I find much of the debate very confusing. We should really be arguing about the policies (in which different opinions have merit) rather than the science (in which opinions don’t really have merit). What BBD says above may be an interesting point. It is possible that some are aware that accepting the science would require that they accept that some of their political views are flawed, and they would rather stick with those views than accept the scientific evidence and hence accept that the policies required are not those that they would normally agree with.

  8. Lars Karlsson says:

    So Judith Curry is a real scientist who is promoting this comic-book charicature of scientists? Sad, truly sad.

    Very very sad.

  9. Lars Karlsson says:

    Curry writes at the end:

    ” The skeptic (Haseler) digs in and really tries to understand the reasons why educated people look at the same evidence about climate change and come to other conclusions.”

    Doers she seriousöy beleive that? It is mindboggling!

  10. And then adds

    The warmist (Lewandowsky) is looking to find evidence to support his ‘interesting’ ideas skeptics are conspiracy theorists, motivated reasoners, and something is wrong with their brains.

    So, the skeptic blogger is digging in and trying to analyse something properly (according to Judith) and the Professor of Cognitive Psychology is suffering from confirmation bias. Yup, it is indeed mindboggling. It’s also mindboggling that she has no issue with using the term warmist when referring to another professional academic (although maybe she’s had pejorative terms aimed at her in the past).

  11. Lars Karlsson says:

    The great irony is that Haseler doesn’t present a shred of evidence to support any of his claims.

  12. Haseler is a real sweetie-pie. From my comment back to him,
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/top-scientist-sir-mark-walport-urges-climate-change-deniers-to-give-in-8854368.html#comment-1069362541

    “As chairman of the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum I know what sceptics think because I ran a consultation with sceptics. As a result I know Sir Mark Walport is just spreading unfounded lies. His only excuse is his total ignorance and lack of interest for the truth based on the evidence of what we sceptics actually say about climate.

    If he slanders and libels individuals with such careless abandon, what does this say about his competence in any other area?”

    Have a peek at http://scottishsceptic.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/the-sceptic-view-rev-0-5/. Crazy digs deep and finds new friends in the mud.

  13. reasonablemadness says:

    That is exactly the point. Of course someone’s political/world view influences how they perceive scientific evidence. If a certain evidence would force you to change some of your views, there is naturally more resistance in your brain to accept the evidence. Your brain will try to ignore/deny the evidence as long as possible by selective perception, repression of the problem, etc. The more your world view would be shaken, the harder your subconsciousness will IMO try to work against it.
    And the problem gets worse, when you have people, that will help your subconsciousness to not accept the evidence, by fabricating doubt, by distracting you, by reassuring you that everything is fine etc… the “bubble” as Bill Maher would call it.

  14. BBD says:

    It’s about money and politics, Wotts. Always was, always will be. The “other side” just uses science as a sandpit for creating FUD.

  15. dbostrom says:

    I’m not sure I’m even comfortable with the term “left-leaning.”

    When planning a voyage of days or weeks on a boat, the crew is confronted with various limitations. It is necessary to acknowledge and account for the plain fact that the vessel can store limited quantities of various provisions and necessities. A fully equipped vessel will include a watermaker and some means of generating electrical power but even these are limited to production rates that constrain consumption. A crew that fails to acknowledge these things will be needlessly uncomfortable or worse. It is foolhardy to plan a voyage that hinges on serendipity for success.

    Crew who insist on taking 20-minute showers when vessel specifications and the number of crew dictate 5-minute showers come in all political stripes but share in common unfitness for their circumstances. Replying to complaints about overuse with rejoinders such as “we might find a port where we can water” isn’t satisfactory.

    Voyaging in a semi-closed system like a boat requires crew to behave properly in order to succeed. Excuses and wishful thinking don’t account for physical limitations.

    The situation with regard to our endless cruise on this planet seems similar. Resource flows are bounded. I have to reject being identified as “leftist” because I can’t believe in magical provisioning and magical vessel qualities.

    As to Haseler, his evidence not only is easily debunked but already has been, long past the point of being deadly boring. So whatever he is, he isn’t a skeptic.

  16. I actually wasn’t sure what term to use and “left-leaning” is what I settled on. It may well not describe those who I was trying to describe all that well. I was meaning, as you probably know, an alternative to extreme free-market libertarianism.

  17. Hmmm, it does seem like I’m going to have to keep reminding myself that first impressions are not always the best.

  18. Science isn’t done by consensus but “climate scepticism” is. Alice in Wonderland is a denier documentary.

  19. dbostrom says:

    Yeah, and I hope I didn’t seem personally critical; my irritation is directed elsewhere. There’s an assumption that insisting on full accountability for our behavior is somehow leftist even when the factual outcomes of our behavior have nothing to do with politics.

    I do think there’s some conflation of political inclinations with other attributes. A preference for dealing with facts may correlate more with certain political views but it shouldn’t thus be assumed that affection for facts is a political matter. The two things are distinct and think you directly addressed that in your piece.

    More boating: when operating in places with poor tidal circulation or certain other constraints boats are required to use holding tanks for sewage, or use expensive processing before discharge. The facts of the matter are neither left nor right but when regulations about this are disparaged the complaints center on political factors, not the facts. This I find bizarre. To my mind, such complaints are the whining of the inner child who doesn’t like the inconvenience of holding tanks, dressed in adult clothing. “I want to do what I want and I’ll make up an elaborate excuse for why it’s ok.” That’s neither left nor right, only infantile.

  20. No, I didn’t take it as personally critical. Given the typical tenor of the debate, it takes quite a lot for me to take offense at anything anyway :-). I agree with what I think you’re saying. You may be right that we attribute certain characteristics to political inclinations when in fact it’s just people behaving badly. I also find it very odd that many use terms like “environmentalist” and “progressive” as insults, when I would see them as fundamentally good and potentially apolitical.

  21. verytallguy says:

    Well, I made the mistake of reading both Judith’s and the original.

    Both are deeply depressing but Judith’s much more so.

    ScottishSceptic at least allows the possibility of being well meaning but wrong and mired in an echo chamber of self-confirmation.

    Judith, on the other hand, is clearly capable of understanding the issues (eg as pointed out by William Connelly in the comments) and chooses to pretend not to.

    And it’s this deliberate choice to be economical with the actualite which makes her influential.

    Deeply. Depressing.

  22. Steve Bloom says:

    This is a key point regarding which there’s a considerable and growing literature. Something related popped up yesterday via Ari Jokimaki: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-013-0946-6.

    But I would say that it’s not a matter of free market ideology as such, noting that e.g. an unreconstructed Soviet-type communist would also have a sense that social and personal futures must be unconstrained. That observation in turn leads into a nature/nurture discussion, but I haven’t tried to look for relevant literature.

    I think I may have linked before to http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2013/7/27/weekend-update-the-distracting-counterproductive-97-consensu.html?currentPage=2#comments (6th comment down), which I think nicely illustrates the world view. The thing is it makes for a very poor argument to convince others or even appear very credible, thus the resort to other arguments about the science, credibility of scientists, or whatever else comes to hand. As those reasons are not their real ones (although some will go so far as to admit that they start with a dislike for the policy implications of climate science), deniers tend to hop from one to another with no particular concern for consistency.

  23. I noticed William Connelly’s comments in which he was trying to point out that the views expressed by Scottish Sceptic were not really backed up by any evidence (i.e., I think the actual warming is more like 0.5 – 0.6 degrees since 1880). What I found interesting was that one of the first responses he got was someone asking if he was the notorious Stoat and, if so, it would have been courteous to have admitted so and acknowledged his vested interests. How does having a scientific view (in Stoat’s case – based on his own scientific experience and based on an informed analysis of the evidence) count as having a vested interest?

  24. BBD says:

    Personalise and demonise – standard denier tactics – see Ben Santer, Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Kevin Trenberth etc. It’s what you do when you have no actual argument but want to take someone down – you attempt to smear and delegitimise them. An occasional visitor here is fond of this approach.

  25. Marco says:

    It’s not like the “notorious Stoat” makes any secret of being “William Connolley”, considering that his name is right next to his picture on his blog…

  26. BBD says:

    As for WMC’s “vested interests”, this will refer back to his time at RealClimate and his considerable past efforts to keep the worst climate-related nonsense off Wikipedia. By striving very hard to get the facts straight and respect the truth, WMC has become a hate figure amongst deniers who routinely accuse him of corrupting Wikipedia with “alarmist” lies. In other words, it’s the usual contrarian reality inversion.

  27. Steve, I suspect you’re correct that it is more complex than simply being divided along political lines. I would imagine that those who see no reason to worry about future generations might be inclined to have free-market, libertarian tendencies, but – as you point out – there are other political ideologies that may have similar views with regards to the future.

  28. Yes, that is probably true. It is indeed very difficult to accept something that, if true, would force you to change some of your fundamental beliefs.

  29. chris says:

    Scottish Sceptic is awesomely misguided of course and it’s a bizarre aspect of the internet that we end up in serious discussions over stuff like this.

    I suppose It does highlight contradictions that arise between science and its potential consequences, and political points of view, even on a small scale. I spend quite a lot of time walking/mountaineering in the Scottish highlands, and find the prospect of those wilderness areas being covered in windmills an appalling one. I don’t have a problem with windmills per se…I just don’t want them degrading the last remaining wild areas of the UK. However that has no influence on my understanding and views on climate science and anthropogenic global warming.

    That’s a contradiction in personal views on only a small scale, but it does cause a certain amount of angst. I guess if the science and its real or potential consequences impinge on the very core of one’s political beliefs, then the contradictions may become impossible to support and a sort of self-justified (and rather aggressive) delusion might result in some susceptible people.

  30. Lars, I discussed your last question with a colleague today. In fact, we didn’t find an answer. For anyone with a shred of expertise, it’s seems obvious that JC is deliberately distorting the science (given her publication record). However, one might still be wrong. I think that psychology could explain her case equally well (*), i.e. she might indeed believe what she is saying, owing to the fatal decision of hers to stop to listen to the voices of reason.

    I believe it is entirely possible for any individual person to choose the “easy way” rather than the “academic way”, which is to balance the evidence before making up one’s mind. While everyone got its own set of values, many (educated) people tend to be open for alternative statements/concepts as long as they are valid and/or backed up by the evidence. Problem: It requires thinking as it often challenges one’s own values. Solution: Don’t listen to those dissenting voices anymore. That’s exactly what JC did a while ago. While reasonable – and even necessary – to some degree (why should anyone bother to listen to crackpots), it is fatal if it is the crackpots you decided to listen to. Again, that’s exactly what JC did a while ago.

    Whether it’s the fact that the science collides with her worldview (or the way she prefers to live her life), or the fact that she now gets the fame she could never have gotten doing science alone, I don’t know. Both seems equally likely, and both arguments provide sufficient reason to indulge in conspiracy thinking delivered by crackpots who happen to share her worldview, rather than to reflect what former colleagues have to say. If you do that long enough, you become a crackpot yourself …

    (*) Ironically, Lewandowksy is exploring this cognitive failure (as Wotts pointed out), with the inevitable results that this voice of reason is dismissed right out of hand. Somehow, there is more logic in all that then it seems at first glance ;)

  31. BBD says:

    JC is a bit of a puzzle, but I tend to agree with the view that she’s operating within her own reality rather than lying. And she is greedy for attention, which may explain much. Needless to say, greed of any kind has been flagged up as risky since dot:

    Radix Malorum est Cupiditas.

    Coz it’s anti-social, innit?
    ;-)

  32. dana1981 says:

    Reminds me of my latest Guardian post – Let’s be honest – the global warming debate isn’t about science.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/oct/04/global-warming-debate-not-about-science

    It’s not a coincidence that most of the climate contrarianism we see comes courtesy of politically conservative newspapers. There was a recent study on this, showing that in the USA and UK, climate opinion pieces in particular in conservative newspapers are heavy on climate contrarianism. Interestingly, that wasn’t true of India, China, Brazil, or France. Also interesting is that those opinion pieces were mostly written by politicians, not scientists (or engineers).
    https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin/documents/Publications/Other_publications/Poles_Apart_Executive_Summary.pdf

    As for Curry, has she ever debunked a contrarian myth or been the least bit critical of her fellow contrarians? Remember, she bought into Murry Salby’s nonsense at first too. I don’t think she’s ever acknowledged that it’s nonsense.

    There’s not much difference between Curry and your average contrarian blogger these days.

  33. dana1981 says:

    Very true. You just can’t claim to be a skeptic and then repeat a bunch of long-debunked and easily-debunked myths.

  34. dana1981 says:

    “We should really be arguing about the policies (in which different opinions have merit) rather than the science (in which opinions don’t really have merit).”

    Exactly.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/oct/04/global-warming-debate-not-about-science

  35. dana1981 says:

    Yeah, you have to love the insinuation ‘Lewandowsky is looking to find evidence to support his ideas…’ The data are what they are, and they show a correlation between climate contrarians and conspiracy theorists. Not a particularly strong correlation, but it’s not at all surprising. When there’s a consensus of experts that contradicts what you want to believe, the easiest way to explain that is to claim the experts are part of a conspiracy.

    In fact, Curry herself just recently essentially advanced a conspiracy theory:

    “No the models are still wrong, in spite of IPCC attempts to mislead.”

    Accusing the entire IPCC of misleading the public? A whole lot of people contributed to that report. Sure sounds like a conspiracy theory to me.

  36. I too would not be keen to see the Highlands covered in wind turbines and expressing that view seems fine to me. Using it as a reason why you’re suspicious of climate science, though, seems incredibly misguided and I find it odd that some see no irony in making such statements. You may be right that there is a point at which there is such a contradiction between the scientific evidence and one’s beliefs that accepting the evidence just isn’t possible and may not actually be a conscious decision.

  37. That's MR BALL to you. says:

    Why not? That’s WUWT’s raison d’etre, and Watts is at least getting some ad revenue from that behaviour pattern.

  38. I’d just like to make a small note in favour of “ScottishSceptic”, in that I’ve been having a reasonably interesting and pleasant discussion there, with a bare minimum of incivility. That’s a refreshing change from a “sceptic” site. OTOH, I do have to confirm much of the despair above; its pretty hard to get them to, well, think; is what I’m tempted to write. Its also very noticeable that although they self-describe as being interested in facts, there are very few facts on display and no real sign of looking for them. The canonical example, as our host has noted, is their apparently arbitrary decision to not accept the std temperature record, but to accept one in which 0.2 oC of warming is removed. I’ve pointed this out several times and am still unable to understand the way their minds just slide off the issue.

    But there are still signs there of people who genuinely want to talk. That’s unusual, so worth pursuing a bit.

  39. Yes, I followed your comments and was impressed that “ScottishSceptic” did try to moderate a discussion that was on the verge of getting out of hand. As I mentioned in the post, I too have commented there (only on one occasion) and found the response reasonable. Maybe there is hope for pleasant, and maybe valuable, discourse (which would be ironic given my most recent post :-)).

    I did have an idea, that’s not be fully formed, and maybe – since you’ve been commenting there – you have some thoughts. SottishSceptics claims to be a sceptic and presents a list of evidence for and against global warming. It would seem interesting to choose one particular bit of evidence (the one that springs to mind is the possibility that the rise in atmospheric CO2 might not be anthropogenic, but it doesn’t have to be that) and to present the evidence for and against. Have a discussion (not quite sure how to manage it) about one thing. Stick with this one thing and see if it’s actually possible to reach some agreement. Even reaching an agreement isn’t necessary, but it would seem that requiring that the discussion sticks to one fairly specific thing would prevent it drifting off at tangents, which is what normally seems to happen. That, to me, would be true scepticism.

  40. ilma630 says:

    In the context of climate, sceptics have followed human nature and become automatically sceptic of any ‘science’ because their trust of scientists has diminished. This may not be the fault of scientists, but of the political masters who drive and finance much of the scientific research (their are a few notable and demonstrable exceptions of course). If it’s known what political requirement is ‘flavour of the month’, scientists are going to write their funding applications to that requirement. The results of that research are then going to naturally be weighted in favour of that requirement, principally by political interpretation. Same for economists.

    As to externalities, pretty much everything we do has an effect on another, but we don’t get out our laptops and calculate the effect on society of each our actions each day. It is also necessary for us to use energy in just about everything we do, it’s fundamental to our existence, from the day our caveman ancestors discovered fire. Countries cannot develop and deal with many of the pressing issues they have, e.g. poor health, poverty, non-productivity, unless they use energy via fuel consumption. Those issues far outweigh any possible climate effect. My preference is to deal with today’s poverty and hunger, not charge these same today’s people with (carbon) taxes or emission penalties on the possible hope that it will improve the lot of their grandchildren.

  41. BBD says:

    My preference is to deal with today’s poverty and hunger, not charge these same today’s people with (carbon) taxes or emission penalties on the possible hope that it will improve the lot of their grandchildren.

    No, your preference is to use strawman argument to justify doing nothing at all while denying the fact that climate change will cause enormous problems later this century unless emissions are reduced:

    Those issues far outweigh any possible climate effect.

    * * *

    Nobody is talking about taxing the poor in developing economies, nor about denying these same developing economies access to fossil fuels.

    Stop the self-serving misrepresentation please. You are arguing for energy industry status quo in the developed world and no taxes for you and we both know it perfectly well. At least be honest.

  42. Marco says:

    I would like you to provide evidence that “If it’s known what political requirement is ‘flavour of the month’, scientists are going to write their funding applications to that requirement. The results of that research are then going to naturally be weighted in favour of that requirement, principally by political interpretation.”

    As a working scientist, I will have complained frequently about the research emphasis on certain fields. But I have never ever seen any evidence whatsoever that this research emphasis led to predetermined conclusions that fit the supposedly desired political outcome. A good example is climate science itself: during the Bush Jr years, hardly anyone would be able to claim that the political flavor of the month was to show climate change is anthropogenic and primarily due to CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use. And yet, this is what the American research showed. In Russia, despite the importance of fossil fuels in its economy, the scientists come largely to the same conclusion. Chinese scientists, despite the reliance of the Chinese economical growth on cheap energy from fossil fuels, the story is the same. In Canada, the current research, despite a government intend on developing the tar sands regardless of any prior promises, shows the same direction: it’s CO2 and it’s us. Australia has had frequent pro-fossil fuel governments, and STILL its climate scientists by-and-large pointed in the same direction: it’s CO2 and it’s us.

    Based on these observations I see several options regarding the commenter ilma630:
    1. Ilma630 is not a scientist, has never been a scientist, and knows nothing about how science works
    2. Ilma630 reveals his own personal character: he would be doing whatever the highest bidder would offer, and thinks everyone else is the same

    I put “likely” on the first option, and “as likely as not” for option 2. Ilma630 gets one chance to convince me he is not talking out of his bottom.

  43. Lars Karlsson says:

    Yes, the whole idea that governments all over the world somehow would push climate scientists to make up or overstate at threat is ludicrous. It is pretty clear that most governments would rather not have to deal with the problem. To make people significantly reduce their energy consumption is simply not something that is going to make you win many elections.

  44. scientist5 says:

    You are missing the fact that paying for emissions of carbon is really trading carbon points so there is a great deal of profit in the trades. How can this possibly relate to a solution.
    Actually, CO2 is what makes the grass green, the trees grow and animal life thrive. CO2 is a minor % of the atmosphere. In fact, the CO2 levels have been far higher in the past (geologic time scale). Not surprising there was great growth of life during these periods. What is overlooked is the fact that cold is the biggest problem – it creates aridity causing life to wither and die. The five most catastrophic mass extinctions in our Earth’s history took place during periods of cooling.

  45. scientist5 says:

    Excellent thoughts. Being both and engineer and geologist I agree that many in the scientific community are influenced by GRANTS. It is a shame that too many in academia buy into political SCHEMES in order to gain favor and obtain research funds.
    My bog: http://www.energycrisis12.blogspot.com (SCUTTLEBUTT). e-book – The Sky Will NOT Fall – Unmasking the Green Revolution (Amazon, Barnes& Noble)

  46. scientist5, would you like to provide some proof for some of what you say? I would go into more detail with regards to what you say, but you seem to have simply presented the standard contrarian arguments without evidence, so maybe you’d be kind enough to do so before we take this any further.

  47. Well, I work in academia and I have yet to see evidence that scientists have a habit of buying into political schemes in order to gain funding (you may argue that I would say that though). I will say, however, that science funding is not perfect and there is much that could be improved. However, none of this suggests that scientists are actively providing results that suit current politicial ideologies. Once again, maybe you could provide some proof for your assertians.

  48. scientist5 says:

    Unfortunately, many laymen go for the – “there is a consensus” answer to a scientific issue such as climate change. Science is not consensus it is being able to test a theory by experiments. Once an experiment gives the same results each time it is performed then it becomes scientific fact.
    Furthermore, the climate models in use today are based on data collections and measurements that are suspect. Add to these facts, the distance separating data sites in some Pacific regions are hundreds of miles apart, while those in the north Atlantic are much nearer one another. Remote land areas have the same problem. Temperature measurements – shade on sunlight locations, who takes the readings.
    I say keep using and improving the models – over time they have been improving, but they still have a long way to go before they can be believed.
    By the way – weather and climate are not the same – weather is hourly, daily and sometimes weekly, while climate is decades and centuries.
    My blog: http://www.energycrisis12.blogspot.com (SCUTTLEBUTT). e-book – The Sky Will NOT Fall – Unmasking the Green Revolution (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

  49. Rachel says:

    My bog: http://www.energycrisis12@blogspot.com (SCUTTLEBUTT). e-book – The Sky Will NOT Fall – Unmasking the Green Revolution (Amazon, Barnes& Noble)

    Shameless self-promotion of a “bog” and an ebook. Looks like spam to me.

  50. Firstly, I don’t think your link is working.

    Yes, science isn’t about consensus but when a large fraction of professional scientists agree about the fundamental aspects of a particular science topic, it is acceptable to say that a consensus has been reached. This doesn’t mean that everything is settled, simply that most of the fundamentals are accepted. Arguing that science isn’t done via consensus in order to imply that the existence of a consensus invalidates the science is simply a circular argument that doesn’t really make sense.

    No, the climate models are not based on data and measurements that are suspect. The climate models are based on fundamental physics (hydrodynamics, radiative transfer, energy conservation). Yes, there may be some parameters that represent things that cannot be modelled accurately at the scale in the simulations, but that doesn’t invalidate these models.

    You seem to be implying that there are issues with the measurements and yet (if we’re considering surface temperature records) there are 4 different groups (NOAA, NASA, UK Met Office, BEST) that have essentially produced the same temperature record. We also have satellite measurements. The idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with the data is, I’m afraid, unfounded.

    Your point about weather and climate I would agree with but would probably have a different interpretation. Given that climate is a long-timescale aspect of the system, we shouldn’t really be too concerned about a mismatch between models and observations over a period of a decade or so. That is probably effectively a “weather” effect and hence influence by chaos. The long-term evolution of the overall climate is likely not chaotic and so we can have more confidence in the long-term than in the short-term projections.

  51. Well the comments seem to be on topic, but the link is very odd.

  52. Rachel says:

    Replace the “@” with a “.”

  53. Ahh, yes. Thanks. It does seem to be shameless self-promotion but not, strictly speaking, violating my moderation policy :-)

  54. scientist5 says:

    Sceptics vs academics loses me. One cannot bundle skeptics or academics in such a general way. I know several academics personally that are skeptics of the global warming pronouncements. They base their skepticism on scientific evidence. No one can be sure if there is global warming, and if it is, whether or not it is in a long term mode. Maybe we are on the verge of an ice age. Cyclically, we might just be on the verge of an ice age.
    I am not an academic. I am a professional Engineer and geologist. However, there is very strong evidence that the Earth’s cyclical nature changes climate far more than anything human activity contributes.
    See my blog: energycrisis12.blogspot.com (SCUTTLEBUTT) e-book – The Sky Will NOT Fall – Unmasking the Green revolution (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

  55. scientist5 – could you try typing your webpage address properly. I keep having to fix it :-)

    No one can be sure if there is global warming, and if it is, whether or not it is in a long term mode. Maybe we are on the verge of an ice age. Cyclically, we might just be on the verge of an ice age.

    Noone can know anything with absolute certainty about the future. However, the evidence that we might be on the verge of an ice age is vanishingly small. Much of fundamental physics would need to be wrong, which would be surprising given how much of what we rely on – in day to day life – is based on our understanding of the fundamentals. The evidence that we are warming and will continue to warm is extremely strong. I would suspect that the academics you know who are skeptical because of the scientific evidence actually don’t understand the evidence. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be particularly skeptical (of the fundamentals at least).

  56. scientist5 says:

    Why is not scientific evidence the basis for formulating environmental policy? Rather, than the rambling of politicians who believe unfounded opinions printed in newspapers – written by journalists who couldn’t pass a 12th grade science test. Case in point – Al Gore and his book are disgraceful. His book is not even close to presenting scientific facts. I went through the book page by page, found it loaded with misrepresentations and out and out falsehoods. However, American environmental policy was developed on his unscientific, grossly inaccurate statements. My evaluation was not an opinion – it was a scientific analysis made using facts.
    My blog – http://www.energycrisis12.blogspot.com (SCUTTLEBUTT). e-book – The Sky Will NOT Fall – Unmasking the Green Revolution (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

  57. That seems like a bit of a strawman to me. I don’t think anyone is arguing that we shouldn’t base our policy decisions on the scientific evidence. If anything, most are arguing that that is precisely what we should do.

  58. scientist5 says:

    I compliment you on your blog. Therefore, I’m asking for the opportunity to write some articles for your blog. I am a professional engineer and geologist with over half a century of experience in many parts of the world. Each assignment gave me more and more insight into historical geology, archaeology, and anthropology.

    During my retirement years I have performed extensive research on ancient as well as geologic climatic conditions throughout the Earth’s history. I believe I can contribute to your blog. I am not looking for monetary remuneration – just a platform to broadcast scientific information related to climate change on a layman level.
    If you have any interest please contact me – howdyrl@comcast.net. I can furnish a detail bio of my career..

  59. Marco says:

    Howard R. Lowe is yet another of those who thinks climate scientists are all under Al Gore’s control. Sigh.

  60. Marco says:

    Wotts, Howard R. Lowe (the science5 commenter) is a prime example of someone with whom any discussion will go nowhere. Think hard about whether you want to go there!

  61. Lars Karlsson says:

    I first thought that scientist5′s latest comment was about David Rose at the Daily Mail: “written by journalists who couldn’t pass a 12th grade science test”.

  62. Scientist5 – thank you for the offer, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass.

  63. Wotts,

    Just in case you need to know more about “Geological views”:

    I gave a speech last week at my tennis/squash club on climate change (which presents speeches from time to time). I included some geological concepts that I don’t usually have an opportunity to talk about. The class of scientist who tend to be most unimpressed with IPCC-type climate science are geologists – which is where I got started in this. If you took an Oreskes-type survey among geologists, I don’t believe for a minute that you would get anything like IPCC solidarity.

    http://climateaudit.org/2005/05/22/climate-geological-views-1/

    Ah, the good ol’ days.

  64. scientist5 says:

    I guess I pretty thick. Where did you get the idea from what I wrote that climate scientists are all under the spell of Al Gore. Al Gore is the one under some sort of spell.

  65. scientist5 says:

    Try a reasonable approach and you might find the discussion quite a bit different than you surmise. I leveled my criticism at Al Gore – do you believe his competent to speak on climate science?

  66. scientist5 says:

    Read my comment again – I did not give any evidence of global cooling. I said cyclically we MIGHT be nearing a cooling phase – near geologically, not next year or next decade. Long term can mean centuries for either warming or cooling phases. Nor, did I say we were not in a global warming phase – I said how can anyone be sure – the data is still not there. Sceptic is right to ask for pros and cons re the warming.

  67. Okay, then I did not quite understand what you were suggesting. What I was trying to point out is that the evidence that we could enter a cooling phase (any time in the near future – next few centuries for example) given the current atmospheric CO2 trajectory is very small and so I’m not sure, then, of the relevance of your comment.

  68. Marco says:

    Howard, my comment was based on
    a) your completely unsupported statement that US environmental policy is based on Al Gore’s book – there is in fact evidence to the contrary, considering the fact that the book came out under the Bush government, which essentially didn’t do anything to curb CO2 emissions
    b) your twisted view of research grants, making poorly-hidden suggestions that these are just political schemes to get predetermined politically-convenient end-results

  69. Marco says:

    Regarding Gore’s competence: he’s likely at least as competent as you. While he may not have the direct educational background (you do not have that either), he does have direct lines to many of the top climate scientists in the US.

    Unlike you, however, he does not claim to know better. He makes it clear he communicates the science as communicated to him by the scientists. He acknowledges that in that process errors will be made.

    You may want to consider to be a little bit more humble by realizing that those 90+% of all climate scientists could well know a lot more than you.

  70. scientist5 says:

    Marco, sorry, but you have no idea what my qualifications are. I want to point out that science has nothing to do with consensus. Science tests theories by experimentation – only when the same experiment can be run many times and obtain the same results can it be proved. The hockey stick was proven wrong. However, I do not chastise the scientist who proposed it. Neither do I criticize scientist who run climate models because the results prove to be wrong. As a scientist I know that these models are in their infancy and need far more research and improvement. Much of the problem lies with the data collection – it is extremely difficult to standardize the collection. Plus the data sites are often far removed as in the Pacific region. The hockey stick is a good example of what can happen to results.
    As for Al Gore – his background in science is paper thin. He tries to write with authority, but his understanding is rudimentary. Sorry, your comments are not factual. I’ll end the discussion with you now – there is no need continuing, since I’d only confuse you with facts.

  71. chris says:

    scientist5, Unfortunately the very thing your posts are missing are facts; assertions unsupported by evidence aren’t facts – they’re just assertions!.

    Why not, for example, gives us your evidence in support of your assertion that “the hockey stick was proven wrong”. I would have thought the evidence rather strongly supports the main interpretations of the so-called “hockey stick” analysis (i.e. that the last decade of the 20th century was likely the warmest in the last millenium in the N. hemisphere, if I recall correctly) since this has been substantiated in many subsequent temperature reconstructions. In fact subsequent reconstructions with much larger paleoproxy temperature data sets indicates that this interpretation can be extended to the global scale, and further back in time in the N. hemisphere.

    So in what sense (and with what evidence) can you assert that the hockey has been “proven wrong”? Of course, we can note that subsequent studies indicate that the temperature variability in the period comprising the N. hemispheric “Little Ice Age” wasn’t well captured in the original “hockey stick” papers. However the reproducibility of the essential features of the original “hockey stick” should (I would have thought) satisfy the logical thrust of another of your (rather dubious, I think) assertions, namely: ” Once an experiment gives the same results each time it is performed then it becomes scientific fact.”

    Can you clarify the evidence on which your assertions are based?

  72. BBD says:

    The hockey stick was proven wrong.

    No. In fact MBH99 has just been substantially validated. You are arguing from false assertion.

    See the published findings of the PAGES 2k Consortium (2013) Continental-scale temperature variability during the past two millennia:

    Past global climate changes had strong regional expression. To elucidate their spatio-temporal pattern, we reconstructed past temperatures for seven continental-scale regions during the past one to two millennia. The most coherent feature in nearly all of the regional temperature reconstructions is a long-term cooling trend, which ended late in the nineteenth century. At multi-decadal to centennial scales, temperature variability shows distinctly different regional patterns, with more similarity within each hemisphere than between them. There were no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age, but all reconstructions show generally cold conditions between ad 1580 and 1880, punctuated in some regions by warm decades during the eighteenth century. The transition to these colder conditions occurred earlier in the Arctic, Europe and Asia than in North America or the Southern Hemisphere regions. Recent warming reversed the long-term cooling; during the period ad 1971–2000, the area-weighted average reconstructed temperature was higher than any other time in nearly 1,400 years.

  73. BBD says:

    Here is a comparison of the data from PAGES 2k and the MBH99 reconstruction that underscores just how false your assertion really is.

    Caption: Green dots show the 30-year average of the new PAGES 2k reconstruction. The red curve shows the global mean temperature, according HadCRUT4 data from 1850 onwards. In blue is the original hockey stick of Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1999 ) with its uncertainty range (light blue). Graph by Klaus Bitterman.

  74. Marco says:

    Actually, Howard, not only do I know your qualifications (you are not , you have so far only ‘confused’ me with unsubstantiated claims, or claims that in the scientific world would be called “spurious”.

    Take your complaints about the hockeystick: in principle all science is wrong in some way. There is always something not quite known. What has been shown, however, is that correcting the supposed ‘errors’ in the statistical methods of MBH99 hardly changes a thing. So, the question then becomes: *was* the method wrong? Add the later papers which support the general conclusion from MBH99, and suddenly “wrong” takes on a new meaning: “right” within the knowledge at that time, and still broadly right today.

    Another example: your claim that US environmental policy is based on Al Gore’s book. Evidence provided? None. Evidence likely to exist? No.

  75. scientist5 says:

    I’ll admit that my disgust with Al Gore is reflected in my statements. However, I still say, the hockey stick statistical data is highly questionable. Why, because the model appears to be badly flawed. Since it first appeared, the revisions to the hockey stick predictions continue. Again, I do not think Mann should be the butt of any criticism – he is a scientist trying to find an answer. If his intent is to prove global warming then I guess he is fair game. Looking for answer that can be obtained time after time is very different than selecting an answer determined in advance. I hope he is not guilty of this.
    Now, for evidence re validation of the hockey stick. There is a lot of evidence to show the inadequacy of the hockey stick analysis. First of all, Mann’s study was an attempt to reconstruct the average temperature of the NORTHERN HEMISPHERE over the past thousand years, based on indicators of past temperature. He used a lot of tree ring temperature reconstructions and, glacial ice cores. It should not be applied to the entire planet.
    The IPCC claims the world is warmer than anytime in the past 1,300 years. If so, during the Medieval Warm Period what was the cause – there was no Industrial Revolution, no fossil fuel burning, and a lot fewer humans. The hockey stick graph fails to see the reduction of the warming trend forecast in the modeling – in fact, there has been no statistically significant warming at all for the past 17 years.
    Next point, the difference between the models and actual observations is likely caused by unpredictable climate variability. Also, the possible contributions from inadequacies in the solar, volcanic, and aerosol forcings used in the models. Moreover, in some models they go from too strong a response to increasing green-house gas forcings.
    IPCC knows the decrease in temperature increases is real – however, they have no idea what is causing it. Maybe it is natural climate variability, the sun, or volcanoes. I believe it may be that the computer models giving too much weight to the effect of CO2 emissions on temperature change.
    Models do not accurately forecast the impact of clouds, smoke or dust.

    The models say Antarctic ice will decrease, instead it has increased. In spite of dire predictions about the disappearance of the Arctic ice cap, it is growing.

    There is a great deal more evidence of the failure of the hockey stick predictions. However, I remain an advocate of climate modeling, but I realize the shortcomings.

    I look forward to your response. I like the notion of a high level respectful discussion.

  76. BBD says:

    The hockey stick was proven wrong.

    This claim is false. Please acknowledge your error. It is impossible to have a discussion, high level or otherwise, when one party refuses to acknowledge their mistakes and instead starts galloping onward.

  77. Scientist5, I’ll make a short comment as it is late and I’m tired. The Antarctic sea ice has a weak rising trend. However, the Antarctic land ice is reducing and there is a suggestion (there is a recent paper that I can’t find at the moment) that the slight increase in Antarctic sea ice is because of cold water from the Antarctic glaciers. So, overall, I believe that Antarctic ice is reducing, even if there has been a small increase in winter sea ice extent.

  78. BBD, we crossed. Indeed, the Hockey Stick has not been proven wrong. A paper has been published suggesting an issue, but that paper (McIntyre & McKitrick) has some very obvious flaws, so suggesting that the Hockey Stick has been proven wrong is a statement that is unfounded.

  79. scientist5 says:

    I’ll re-check some technical papers, but I’ll concede if I’m wrong. I have a group of academic geoscientist friends who are going to Antarctica to study the ice pack, as well as the ice sheets. It will be of great interest to the two of us re their findings.

  80. scientist5 says:

    This argument has no YES/NO answer. School is still out. I gave the evidence against the hockey stick analysis. I do think we are going through a global warming cycle – my analysis of the evidence – it is not man made. Historical geology offers the best evidence of this fact.

  81. Scientist5, I believe you said, somewhere, that the “Hockey Stick has been proven wrong”. That statement is, I would argue, incorrect. Of course, you’re welcome to feel that it has yet to be proven with sufficient rigour, but that is different to the claim that it has been proven wrong.

  82. Marco says:

    Howard, there you go again; rather than confusing us with facts, you ‘confuse’ us with a Gish Gallop of disparate points. You claim you have explained what is wrong with the hockeystick. In reality, you have not. You throw around some stuff about models, which are unrelated to the hockeystick, the current ‘pause’ (which depends on ignoring the deep ocean warming), which is not relevant to the hockeystick, some stuff about it only being the NH and should not be used for global, which again does not make the hockeystick “wrong”, and so on.

    Then you claim a decrease in temperature: since when? What short time-frame and/or cherry-picked temperature record do you take to make that claim?

    The Gallop continues with some comments about Antarctic ice, confusing the sea ice extent with the ice sheet itself. The models do not agree on the ‘short long-term’ trends of Antarctic ice, with some seeing an overall increase, and others an overall decrease; all agree the WAIS will melt, and this indeed is happening. Antarctic sea ice is a slightly different story, although better treatment of the ozone hole in the simulations brings the models better in line with the observations.

    The comment about the Arctic makes me again ask the question: since when?
    If you look at Figure 3 at the following link (it will change in the near future, so don’t wait too long), I can only wonder whether you have let yourself be fooled by a certain journalist – or Richard Lindzen for that matter. Following that trendline will bring us a virtually ice-free arctic in summer in a mere 25 years (the last 1 million sq km is land-locked). That’s MUCH faster than any model predicted. So, feel free to complain about the models, but then acknowledge that they actually miss the catastrophe in the Arctic.
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    In essence, what you have done with the hockeystick is to make it into something it is not.

  83. chris says:

    scientist5, you asserted that The hockey stick was proven wrong” which is a false assertion as has been demonstrated by several posters here.

    As part of your justification for your initial assertion you make several further meaningless assertions:

    “Mann’s study was an attempt to reconstruct the average temperature of the NORTHERN HEMISPHERE over the past thousand years,… It should not be applied to the entire planet.”

    It wasn’t applied to the entire planet. One rather obvious clue is the title to the paper in which the millennial scale reconstruction known as the “hockey stick” was first presented (Northern hemisphere temperatures during the past millennium: Inferences, uncertainties, and limitations”). So your complaint is a strawman argument.

    However as a scientist I would have thought you would recognise that the value of novel and useful discoveries (e.g. that one can use paleoproxy data to reconstruct historical temperature series) is that these can be extended in scope as new data is obtained (itself spurred on by the potential implicit in the original “hockey stick” analysis). Now that we have many more paleoproxies (including a substantial number of S. Hemisphere ones), we CAN apply the Mann methodology to the entire planet.

    “The hockey stick graph fails to see the reduction of the warming trend forecast in the modeling – in fact, there has been no statistically significant warming at all for the past 17 years.”

    It’s difficult to comprehend that someone with an interest in global warming/climate who claims to be a scientist could make such an uninformed assertion. The “hockey stick” is a reconstruction of past temperatures using paleoproxy series whose parameters encode temperature variability because they have a significant temperature dependence. It is a means of assessing temperatures in the past. Paleoproxy temperature analyses can’t predict future temperatures; that’s not what they’re for! Your assertion is rather like a schoolboy asserting that reconstruction of royal lineages as presented in a 1950′s history textbook is “proven wrong” because it doesn’t include the prediction of the marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana Spencer.

    Please show us the evidence (i.e. papers published in the scientific literature”) that supports your assertion that “The hockey stick was proven wrong”. It’s difficult to comprehend that a supposed scientist would make dubious accusations about other scientist’s work without being able to present a set of evidence in support of their assertions.

  84. scientist5 says:

    I will not continue to confuse you with scientific facts. You should read what I really said – there are many qualifications to the method used by Mann. I said I did not negatively criticize him. I said unfortunately climate data is actually pretty sparse – data points widely separated, collection not too well standardized, and measurements of tree rings and ice cores are subject to variations in ranges.
    No need to continue wasting my time trying to sort out the problems of modeling with jyou. Scientist pose questions regarding every experiment – especially things like climate and weather. Bye – bye, chris

  85. BBD says:

    The hockey stick was proven wrong.

    This claim is false. Please acknowledge your error. You have wriggled and dodged enough. Go back and re-read the quoted abstract from the PAGES 2k study. Note the word “global”. Read closely. Now *look* at the data comparison again. MBH99 is validated by PAGES 2k which *is* a global reconstruction. None of your insinuations stand up to scrutiny – you are simply peddling the standard fake sceptic grab-bag of junk arguments.

  86. Whilst Wottsupwiththat commeted on my blog I’ve only just been made aware of this. (I’ve been caught up planning an event this week).

    First, the list has clearly caused offence which showed that whilst I attempted to be impartial, I had not gone nearly far enough. So apologies.

    The plan is to revise it, but before I do so, I need to undertake an on-line survey to test a hypothesis – without further biasing the result by producing another table.

    I WOULD VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOUR HELP

    In particular I would have liked to follow up on some comments like this:

    BBD says: If the soi-disant Scottish Sceptic actually was a sceptic he could debunk his own list of nonsensical denier memes in an afternoon of applied scepticism using the list at Skeptical Science.

    In my defence I have searched quite extensively for the information he says is easily found. This is not to say it is not available, but even on blogs I know well I often cannot find an article I have read, so it is genuinely quite difficult and even impossible to locate an article or article(s) which I likely have never read and would not easily recognise as relating to the comment.

    So, if BBD or anyone else could be more specific ideally with references or specific points that need addressing then would care to contact me (chairman scef dot org point uk) or leave a message here, then I would very much appreciate it.

  87. John Havery Samuel says: “Haseler is a real sweetie-pie. From my comment back to him,
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/top-scientist-sir-mark-walport-urges-climate-change-deniers-to-give-in-8854368.html#comment-1069362541

    John, as Chairman of the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum I have to speak up for my members. The term “denier” is false and has been used to maliciously damage people’s reputation and livelihood. This is a serious matter which could easily go to court.

    We Sceptics do not deny warming in the 20th century nor do we deny the greenhouse effect of CO2 nor do we deny climate change. The term “denier” is therefore totally unfounded and clearly a lie.

    But rather than go to court, because we feel the term is mostly used in ignorance, it is the policy of SCEF to highlight the seriousness of this allegation in any on-line article that used the term “denier” or any variant.

    Unfortunately, the case of Sir Mark Walport, was a particularly serious case because he is a high profile government employed public figure and he put the lie very prominently in a major newspaper. As such the comment was more robust that normal.

    For a full list of what sceptics really believe please see: http://scef.org.uk/index.php/climate/the-sceptic-view.

  88. Rachel says:

    You’ve got the headings on your table wrong, ScottishSceptic. The academic side should be labelled “sceptic” since scientists are true sceptics. And the commercial/non governmental side should be labelled “climate science critics” since their contribution is to criticise climate science.

  89. Rachel says:

    Scottish Sceptic, there are plenty of people who do deny climate science. I have argued with them. They think climate science is a conspiracy, that the world is not warming and that scientists are fudging data in order to get research funding. I’m not saying this is you though.

    I realise that people take offence to this word so I don’t use it for that reason, but it’s in the Oxford English dictionary as suggested usage. See http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/denier–2

    a prominent denier of global warming

    Perhaps it would be more constructive just to tell someone when they use it that you find it offensive and to please use a different word. I don’t see how it can maliciously damage someone’s reputation or livelihood. Personally I think the word “alarmist” is more objectionable.

  90. Rachel, thanks. I’ve had more problems with the headings than any other part. I’ve literally failed to find anything which isn’t a long sentence like “Sceptic of the IPPC position of CO2 warming of the surface temperature … ” which won’t work because someone will start saying they don’t agree with the concept of average temperature.

    Academic did work, because most on one side are in academia and most on the other are not. But it clearly didn’t fit the academics who are sceptics or those outside who are “non-sceptics”.

    However, I also think there is something in the table format that “non-sceptics” find objectionable.

    On the “denier” issue. We have tried to get the media like the BBC to publish our views. They have not. So I am not surprised that there is general ignorance about what we believe. But ignorance is no defence in law.

    Unless we can stop this lie being repeated, sooner or later some unfortunate individual will find themselves in court – and not necessarily by us.

    The point that was made very clear to me is that unless someone making this assertion can prove our beliefs amount to denial, then to use the term “denier” is a libel. The test for that is whether “denier” fits what we believe not what YOU believe we believe. So, even if the person genuinely believed we were “deniers”, in a court of law that person would be liable for criminal damage if they said e.g. I was a denier unless they could prove my own beliefs amounted to that (not what they believe I believe).

  91. “I don’t see how it can maliciously damage someone’s reputation or livelihood.”

    To state that someone working in science “denies” the temperature record showing it has warmed or “denies” the climate changes where there is abundant evidence the climate has always changed or “denies science” when they are in fact questioning whether assertions about science are backed by evidence does serious harm to professional reputations and results in serious financial damage to the individuals concerned.

    That is the reason I formed the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum, because having a science, engineering and management degrees I could do something for those whose reputations were under constant vicious attack.

    However, now I have become identified as a prominent “sceptic”, I realise that my own reputation & financial livelihood has been seriously damaged by this lie. I would like to apply for jobs but not having being employed for a while, I find that the lie seriously ruins my credibility because I have to say I spent the last years working voluntarily as a “climate sceptic”.

  92. verytallguy says:

    Scottish Sceptic, on labels and denial.

    Just one specific from your link at the sceptic view:
    Man-made sources have increased global levels of CO2, however scientific analysis shows part of the increase is natural and no one is certain how much or little of this rise is man-made.

    This is untrue. The scientific evidence on CO2 rise being anthropogenic is absolutely unequivocal. Essentially all of it is anthropogenic. It is as close to a proven fact as you will find anywhere in science. You can find a good write up of the relevant multiple lines of evidence in AR4 (doubtless AR5 too) or at skeptical science.

    The reason this is called denial is because, well, that’s what is is. Simply denying facts which are inconvenient. This is nothing to do with holocaust denial, merely a restating of the Kubler-Ross grief cycle. To quote from Wiki Denial can be conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, or the reality of the situation.

    I’m afraid that fits your bullet on CO2 perfectly – if you agree with it then you are in denial of the reality of the CO2 rise being anthropogenic in origin.

  93. > headings than any other part. I’ve literally failed to find anything which isn’t a long sentence

    That’s not true. I’ve suggested “pro-IPCC” and “anti-IPCC”. What’s your objection to that?

    > To state that someone working in science “denies” the temperature record showing it has warmed

    But this is effectively what you’re doing, when you arbitrarily decide to lop off 0.2 oC from the warming.

    > when they are in fact questioning whether assertions about science are backed by evidence

    That isn’t a defence. If you’re lopping 0.2 oC off the record, then you’re claiming to have a better answer – you’re not just “questioning the science” (which in my view is a dubious assertion in itself, but nevermind that now). To do that, you need to have a clear justification – and its obvious from your blog that you don’t have such a justification.

    As for the use of “denialist” in conversation with people-who-call-themselves-sceptics: clearly its not helpful, for a conversation. But then again nor is “warmist”.

  94. ScottishSceptic, thanks for commenting. Much has been said since your first comment, but I’ll try to add a bit here.

    I tend not to use “denier” because it’s not helpful. I do think it fits sometimes but one does have to be careful.

    I’m not sure of what you hope to achieve by your categorisation of the different groups involved. Clearly, you’re not independent, so that has it’s own issues. You also mention that it is mainly academics on one side and non-academics on the other (although not exclusively). There is one possibility that I think you should be willing to consider. That is, the non-academics simply don’t understand the fundamentals sufficiently well and are basing their views on a superficial understanding of something that is actually quite complex. It is quite arrogant to think that a group of non-experts (or non-professionals, or whatever term you find least offensive) understand this science better than the professionals. The alternative is that you’re implicitly suggesting a conspiracy. Neither paints you a particularly good light, in my opinion.

    I also found your link to “what you believe” interesting. I’ve looked at that before and, as far as I can tell, much of it is simply wrong – or, at least, doesn’t have much evidence to support it. I would happily go through some of it if you were genuinely interested and genuinely sceptical.

  95. verytallguy “Just one specific from your link at the sceptic view:”

    Unfortunately, we are stuck with that document as it is. The original aim was purely for our own use and that was to find out whether there was enough of a consensus amongst sceptics to form an association in Scotland. It therefore represents the views at that time – and it was damned near impossible getting people to agree to that text so it can’t be changed without going through a similar exercise and I don’t have the time, resources or “consent” from sceptics to do that.

    So, there is no process to amend it or defend the statements in it. So, unfortunately, all I can do is defend it as the best statement of our view within the context in which it was created.

  96. Marco says:

    Scottish Sceptic, when I look at this page: http://scottishsceptic.wordpress.com/a-little-list/
    I can conclude that you do not deserve the label “sceptic”. Let me explain:
    Point 1 is a misrepresentation of the poll, in which 69% considered it likely or somewhat likely that some scientists had falsified data to support their beliefs. This is already quite different from what you claim. However, what is very obvious from that poll is the complete disconnect with reality, with the majority also believing there is significant disagreement within the scientific community. We know this is false. In other words, what the public in the US may believe is completely irrelevant to reality. Of course, most Americans also believe evolution is a lie, or at least the notion that new species can be formed without the deliberate action of a certain imaginary being…science by opinion poll is really, really stupid
    Point 2 is a misrepresentation, too, since hardly a single scientist worth his money is in doubt what the cause of the CO2 increase is
    Point 3 is at the very least poorly worded, unless you consider 1/3rd of the expected warming from CO2 (without feedbacks) just a fraction. I’m curious what that “German research” is referring to. If it’s Lüdecke et al, you are making even more of a mockery out of the term “sceptic”. If it is Gerlich & Tscheuschner, I can only shake my head in disbelief.
    Point 4: that “small change” in Arctic sea ice is actually closer to 30%, and more if you look at volume. The “anecdotal evidence” would be handled with scepticism by a true sceptic
    Point 5: there is no deceleration, It’s a nice 3+ mm per year, with a brief speedbump when we had freak water accumulation on land due to a huge La Nina. This has been well reported in the scientific literature, something a true sceptic would easily have found. The worst thing is that this ongoing increase in sea levels happens during a period with a more limited surface warming.
    Point 6 indicates a complete and utter failure to understand the word “model”. Are you scepctic about gravity? You should be, if you are sceptic about “models”, since gravity is nothing but a model. It’s even been modeled in an equation!
    Point 7 is outright libel, and completely negates your own complaints about “libel” when people use the word “denier”. Research has not only shown the hockey stick not to be a lie, it has even shown that despite some issues the main result is quite robust compared to other reconstructions.

    I decided to stop here, because the list of faux claims, complete absence of scepticism, and repeated libel just made my blood boil.

    For me the conclusion is simple: you definitely do not deserve the label “sceptic” and do deserve the label you complain about.

  97. ScottishSceptic, that to a certain extent that seems to illustrate an issue (and maybe an irony). You seem to have developed a consensus view :-) More seriously, though, some of that evidence is irrelevant or wrong. Doesn’t that concern you a little? Furthermore, I think you have repeated some of it in the evidence page on your own blog, which presumably you could choose to edit. It’s fine to be sceptical, but surely we should agree on those aspects for which there is very little uncertainty?

  98. verytallguy says:

    ScottishSceptic

    “all I can do is defend it as the best statement of our view within the context in which it was created.”

    This is very confusing. I’m now not sure whether you agree with a set of statements you put up to avoid being criticised for things you didn’t agree with.

    So, perhaps you could clarify for us. Reagrdless of anyone else’s opinionm, do you personally agree with the statement

    “Man-made sources have increased global levels of CO2, however scientific analysis shows part of the increase is natural and no one is certain how much or little of this rise is man-made”

  99. William Connolley says: > headings than any other part. I’ve literally failed to find anything which isn’t a long sentence

    That’s not true. I’ve suggested “pro-IPCC” and “anti-IPCC”. What’s your objection to that?

    I didn’t spot that comment. Actually of all the suggestions I’ve seen that may be the best. It doesn’t define a group … but a viewpoint.

    Lopping of 0.2C … the statement says something like “our best estimate is 0.5-0.6C warming”. That isn’t denying warming nor “science”. What it really amounts to is doubt that the instrumentational temperature data is a true representation of global temperature. Roughly it is judgement of a very experienced group saying “we think the majority of the warming is measuring something real but perhaps 25% is likely to be due to other factors”.

    But then again nor is “warmist”. … that was an attempt have a neutral and value-free shorthand for those who believed in higher levels of warming compared to those who were sceptical of predictions of higher levels of warming. It does not say “warmists” are wrong, it doesn’t say they are unprofessional or anything else, merely that they are on the other side of the scale with regard to the level of warming. It was a move away from phrases like “alarmist” (and worse).

  100. What it really amounts to is doubt that the instrumentational temperature data is a true representation of global temperature. Roughly it is judgement of a very experienced group saying “we think the majority of the warming is measuring something real but perhaps 25% is likely to be due to other factors”.

    The problem is that I don’t see any skepticism there. A judgement? Really, that sounds like wishful thinking more than anything else. Furthermore there is, I imagine (and Victor Venema could probably confirm), a very large group of experts who would disagree that it is likely 0.2oC lower than the instrument record indicates. True skepticism would mean a full investigation. As far as I understand it, the BEST project was an attempt to do exactly this. What happened? Well, they largely confirmed the other temperature records. So, a skeptical attempt has been made and the instrument record was essentially confirmed.

  101. Rachel says:

    ScottishSceptic, your last comment is confusingly amusing. You started off with a comment here referring us to a webpage outlining what “sceptics” believe (I have to say I think believe is a bad word to use) and now you suggest that this document is dated and possible wrong.

    I echo verytallguy’s question about one of your statements and have a couple of others.

    Do you agree with this from your page?

    People think there are mechanisms that could increase warming further than the direct effect of CO2. This is not supported by the evidence.

    I presume with this point you are “denying” the influence of feedback mechanisms. Is that right?

    How about this one?

    There is compelling evidence of malpractice, urban heating and poor instruments & siting.

    I thought the prominent “sceptic” Richard Muller put this myth to rest? Do you accept his findings? See The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic

  102. verytallguy says: So, perhaps you could clarify for us. Reagrdless of anyone else’s opinionm, do you personally agree with the statement

    “Man-made sources have increased global levels of CO2, however scientific analysis shows part of the increase is natural and no one is certain how much or little of this rise is man-made”

    I have seen what amounts to strong evidence showing that changes in CO2 levels are uncorrelated with changes in emissions. I have also read that the level of CO2 exchange that goes on far exceeds the level of emissions. Therefore a small change in the rate of exchange either inward or outward would make a significant change in CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

    Beyond that, I have not looked at the source of rising CO2 because even if all of the rise is man-made it is only one small part of a long chain of argument. There are so many problems with other links in the argument chain, that whether or not this particular bit holds up, has very little bearing on the the overall validity of the policy of acting on CO2.

    And there are only so many hours between getting up and going to bed.

  103. There are so many problems with other links in the argument chain, that whether or not this particular bit holds up, has very little bearing on the the overall validity of the policy of acting on CO2.

    Firstly, it’s my view that the first part of what you say here is wrong. The fundamentals of anthropogenic global warming are very robust. There is very little uncertainty in the fundamentals.

    However, what interests me most is the latter part of your comment where you mention policy. This is something that has frustrated me quite a lot since becoming involved in this whole area. There is science and then there is policy. It seems to me (and, admittedly, this is an observation) that many who appear to dislike the policy options then try to claim that the scientific evidence isn’t strong. Why? If you don’t like the policy options, that’s fine. The science doesn’t tell us what to do. However, suggesting that there are problems with the science because of the policy options is not very sceptical, in my opinion.

  104. BBD says:

    Beyond that, I have not looked at the source of rising CO2 because even if all of the rise is man-made it is only one small part of a long chain of argument. There are so many problems with other links in the argument chain, that whether or not this particular bit holds up, has very little bearing on the the overall validity of the policy of acting on CO2.

    1/ This is nonsense – argument by assertion, from ignorance and from incredulity. As such, it doesn’t merit a response

    2/ You are not a sceptic (see above) plus your endorsement of Salby (see elsewhere on this blog).

    3/ I have already said that you could debunk your own nonsense by spending some time at SkS, so why are you wasting my time asking me *again* for references? Still, since you ask, in addition to SkS and RealClimate, I would recommend a decent textbook. Try Ruddiman.

    4/ You are wasting everybody’s time.

  105. BBD says:

    It’s quite difficult to express just how angry this claim by the non-sceptic makes me:

    In my defence I have searched quite extensively for the information he says is easily found. This is not to say it is not available, but even on blogs I know well I often cannot find an article I have read, so it is genuinely quite difficult and even impossible to locate an article or article(s) which I likely have never read and would not easily recognise as relating to the comment.

  106. BBD, as much as I appreciate and share your frustration, I’m trying to give ScottishSceptic the benefit of the doubt for the moment :-) It would be fascinating if we could actually agree on something, plus I’m interested to hear from ScottishSceptic as to how Murry Salby’s talk (that he’s arranging) went.

  107. verytallguy says: So, perhaps you could clarify for us. “Man-made sources have increased global levels of CO2, however scientific analysis shows part of the increase is natural and no one is certain how much or little of this rise is man-made”

    I may be wrong, but I have a vague recollection that that statement was inserted as a compromise between those who were happy to say CO2 was rising from man-made emissions and a smaller group who wanted to explicitly say some or even the bulk was natural. When I looked, I found the subject was very contentious without good evidence to sway me either way. But there was some strong work supporting the view that we did not know for sure how much was man-made and this was what enabled the compromise statement above.

  108. BBD says:

    I mean here’s a man who sets up a blog pumping out dangerous nonsense about climate change and who decides to promote Salby, of whom enough has been said here and elsewhere, who cannot be bothered to read a single climate textbook or spend four hours reading SkS.

    And he has the utter effing gall to use the word “sceptic” in his screen name.

    Words fail me, they really do. Nor can I be civil about this, so I will stop there.

  109. BBD says:

    I’m trying to give ScottishSceptic the benefit of the doubt for the moment

    What for? What more do you need to know?

  110. verytallguy says:

    ScottishSceptic

    I have to be honest. Reading your 1:44 saddens me. It is, I’m afraid, absolutely classic denial, in the Kubler Ross sense of the word.

    It just took me thirty seconds to find this on CO2 over past 2000 years.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-2-1.html
    You could also try figure 6.3 for a longer term view of CO2 levels.

    Without going into any of the other lines of evidence, here you have presented plainly in front of you, uncontrovertible evidence of a sudden rise in CO2 at the time of industrialisation, unprecedented over the nearly million years of data available.

    You have time to set up entire websites dedicated to “scepticism” yet there are not sufficient hours in the day to understand something this basic. I’m afraid that is not at all credible.

    You appear willing to swallow whole dubious assertions “I have seen what amounts to strong evidence showing that changes in CO2 levels are uncorrelated with changes in emissions” whilst ignoring simple, readily available evidence. Scepticism this is not.

    You are denying a basic scientific fact. The CO2 rise over the last couple of hundred years is anthropogenic in origin. It’s a proven fact. Denier, whilst undoubtedly not a helpful label to encourage engagement, is a factual description of your behaviour. Sorry, but there it is.

    Failing to acknowledge such a simple, readily proven truth makes it very hard to envisage any meaningful debate on the issues.

  111. Rachel says:

    BBD, go and have a shot of whiskey.
    a card for you

  112. BBD says:

    Good card. Bit early for the hard stuff though ;-)

  113. verytallguy says:

    ScottishSceptic,

    we crossed.

    When I looked, I found the subject was very contentious without good evidence to sway me either way.

    Well, I don’t know where you looked, but once again, this is not even slightly contentious. Quite the opposite. It’s a simple, proven, fact. Supported by many lines of evidence. Including the blindlingly obvious fact that CO2 varied between 180-280ppm for the last million years then suddenly shot up to 400ppm coincident with industrialisation. See my last post for references.

    But there was some strong work supporting the view that we did not know for sure how much was man-made and this was what enabled the compromise statement above.

    My emphasis. Reference please?

    You’re continuing to refute what is a proven fact by simply asserting the opposite. I know you don’t like the words, but that is refusing to face the facts. AKA denial.

  114. BBD, I should probably have been clearer. The benefit of the doubt in the sense that ScottishSceptic has an opportunity to learn something from those comment here and understand climate science. If he chooses not to, then enough said.

  115. “There are so many problems with other links in the argument chain, that whether or not this particular bit holds up, has very little bearing on the the overall validity of the policy of acting on CO2.

    Firstly, it’s my view that the first part of what you say here is wrong.

    The link in the argument chain is roughly this (off the top of my head):
    1. How much emissions are there (not much of a dispute)
    2. How much does and will CO2 rise as a result (the point)
    3. How much does greenhouse effect of CO2 cause (about 1C – not much in dispute)
    4. How much did the temperature rise in the 20th century (about 0.55 v. 0.8)
    5. How much of this rise was due to CO2 and how much natural (a massive area of dispute)
    6. As a result how large are the feedbacks to the climate models.
    7. As a result what is the predicted rise in temperature as a result of CO2
    8. What are the predicted effects of this rise in terms of severe weather rising sea level etc.

    9a. What is the cost of these predicted effects.
    9b. What is the cost of reducing CO2
    9c. If costs of acting are less than costs of impacts … can we actually do anything.
    9d. Even if we can do anything … is e.g. wind the answer.
    9e. Could we e.g. just carry on as we are … and explode a few nuclear bombs causing the so called nuclear winter.

    10. Even if the benefits exceed the cost …. could we spend the money of better things like e.g a cure for cancer. In other words, would future generations prefer we had invested in a cure for cancer or trying to reduce a bit of warming.

    11. And lastly even if it’s financially a good idea, is it morally right? Is it right that the poorest in society are denied fuel in Scotland where 50% are in fuel poverty. Is it right that we ask the poor of today to sacrifice in order to make the richer part of the richer society of the future even richer.

    And what if the real solution were found to be to cut the world population? That is a very logical solution: for us all to continue using the same amount of fossil fuel but cut the number of people. But would it be morally right to e.g. sterilise a significant proportion of women to prevent population growth? Are there not some things we have to put up with even if there is an overall cost benefit to society?

  116. Louise says:

    ScottishSceptic – it is this confusion of science and policy that many here find frustrating. It seems that many ‘skeptics’ don’t like the policies so they decided that the science can’t be true. try to separate the science form the policy here – is the science wrong?

  117. BBD says:

    Just listen to the framing: uses no-feedbacks sensitivity, “models”, “a bit” of warming, “fuel poverty”, “sacrifices” by the poor, population control.

    I cannot be civil in the face of this crap.

    Someone else please.

  118. verytallguy says:

    BBD

    “I cannot be civil in the face of this crap”

    In which case, perhaps commenting on a blog whose strapline is “Trying to keep the discussion civil” might not be the right thing to do?

  119. ScottishSceptic, here’s an attempt.

    1. How much emissions are there (not much of a dispute)

    Agreed.

    2. How much does and will CO2 rise as a result (the point)

    All of it is anthropogenic. You can try this post which is my own calculation using Henry’s Law, or you can read this from Tom Curtis. It really is all anthropogenic.

    3. How much does greenhouse effect of CO2 cause (about 1C – not much in dispute)

    Extensive evidence that feedbacks at least double if not triple this. Even the recent low estimates (Otto et al. for example) are 2 degrees per doubling and, including aerosols, they get 2.4. Try watching this very good video by Andrew Dessler.

    4. How much did the temperature rise in the 20th century (about 0.55 v. 0.8)

    No dispute here at all. Four different groups, including one that was a skeptical attempt, agree on the temperature record. You’re going to need to do better than that.

    5. How much of this rise was due to CO2 and how much natural (a massive area of dispute)

    All anthropogenic. No dispute. See point 2 above. [I've edited this as I initially said natural, which was purely a slip while typing a long response quickly. Plus I misunderstood this point so have responded again below at 2.54pm]

    6. As a result how large are the feedbacks to the climate models.

    Simple calculation. Anthropogenic forcings are around 2.2 Wm-2. Surface temperature has risen 0.85oC. So surface fluxes have increased by about 4.8 Wm-2. Therefore feedbacks at least comparable to the anthropogenic forcings and positive. Numerous other ways to show this.

    7. As a result what is the predicted rise in temperature as a result of CO2

    Extensive evidence (models, recent observations, paleo-climatological) suggest an ECS of at least 2 degrees per doubling. The low estimates, however, only include very fast feedbacks and tend to ignore variations due to, for example, aerosols. Much more likely that the ECS is close to 3 than to 2.

    8. What are the predicted effects of this rise in terms of severe weather rising sea level etc.

    High confidence that sea levels will rise by something close to 1m by 2100. High confidence in more heatwaves and precipitation. Tornadoes, Hurricances, less confidence. Signal may only be evident in the next few decades.

    9a. What is the cost of these predicted effects.

    The estimates are $55 per tonne of carbon. Do not believe Topher’s 50-to-1 calculations (based on an initial calculation be Monckton) it is nonsense.

    9b. What is the cost of reducing CO2

    9c. If costs of acting are less than costs of impacts … can we actually do anything.

    9d. Even if we can do anything … is e.g. wind the answer.

    9e. Could we e.g. just carry on as we are … and explode a few nuclear bombs causing the so called nuclear winter.

    10. Even if the benefits exceed the cost …. could we spend the money of better things like e.g a cure for cancer. In other words, would future generations prefer we had invested in a cure for cancer or trying to reduce a bit of warming.

    11. And lastly even if it’s financially a good idea, is it morally right? Is it right that the poorest in society are denied fuel in Scotland where 50% are in fuel poverty. Is it right that we ask the poor of today to sacrifice in order to make the richer part of the richer society of the future even richer.

    Your points 9 – 11 I’m not going to respond to and I don’t definitively know the answers. As Louise has pointed out, tha appears to be a merger of policy and science. The policy is different to the science. One can accept the scientific evidence and have a different view about what policies are best. Personally, I’d rather focus on the science for now, without attempting to discuss policies.

  120. Rachel says:

    ScottishSceptic, let’s start with is the rise in CO2 anthropogenic? ScrippsCO2 program answers this question. I’ll summarise below:

    * Atmospheric CO2 is going up in line with what we would expect through the burning of fossil fuels.
    * There are no known natural sources of CO2 big enough to explain this rise.
    * There are no known CO2 sinks capable of absorbing all the CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels.
    * Prior to the industrial revolution, CO2 levels were fairly constant.
    * The increase in CO2 is accompanied by a decrease in O2 as the carbon from the burning of fossil fuels takes some O2 to form CO2.
    * Isotope changes tell us that the CO2 increase comes from old organic matter – burning of fossil fuels.

    The evidence is very strong. What in particular do you disagree with here?

    [Rachel: I have edited my comment because I made a mistake. Apologies]

  121. Rachel says:

    Oh, I think I’ve stuffed up here. I have misunderstood point 5. Can I delete my own comment?

  122. verytallguy says:

    Wotts,

    Scottish is unprepared to accept that
    “Man-made sources have increased global levels of CO2, however scientific analysis shows part of the increase is natural and no one is certain how much or little of this rise is man-made”

    is wrong. Which it most obviously is.

    You’ve now allowed Scottish to open up eight other talking points, before confirming if he is willing to acknowledge basic proven facts. Good luck with that!

  123. BBD says:

    Vtg

    In which case, perhaps commenting on a blog whose strapline is “Trying to keep the discussion civil” might not be the right thing to do?

    Please don’t turn a specific into a generality. And I have just stated that I will leave this to others. Why you felt it necessary to comment as you did is a mystery.

  124. verytallguy, good point. A trap I fall into regularly.

    Rachel, I also got it wrong. For completeness, point 5

    Solar forcing today is about 0.1 Wm-2 relative to pre-industrial times. Antrhropogenic forcings are about 2.2 Wm-2. Therefore, anthropogenic influences dominate the overall warming. There is likely, however, a signature of natural/internal variability on the surface temperature profiles.

  125. Marco says:

    Also, Wotts, in point 5 I think you meant to say “anthropogenic” rather than “natural”.

  126. Marco, Indeed but I misunderstood what point 5 was anyway.

  127. Rachel says:

    I edited my comment. Hope this isn’t an abuse of my privileges.

    Perhaps we should press ScottishSceptic further on the source of increase in atmospheric CO2?

  128. Rachel, that’s fine. Acknowledge it, so that’s what matters.

  129. verytallguy says:

    BBD

    “Why you felt it necessary to comment as you did is a mystery.”

    Sorry, I obviously need to be more explicit.

    I was because I enjoy Wotts place as a civil climate blog (very rare that) and “I cannot be civil in the face of this crap”, IMHO is unhelpful to the tone of the overall conversation and directly in contradiction to the stated aim of the blog. But that’s up to you and Wotts, not me.

    I hope that clears things up.

  130. Louise says: “ScottishSceptic – it is this confusion of science and policy that many here find frustrating. It seems that many ‘skeptics’ don’t like the policies so they decided that the science can’t be true. try to separate the science form the policy here – is the science wrong?

    I think you will find that sceptics have a good grounding in both science and policy so easily switch between the two.

    Is the science “right”. This question highlights a major difference in outlook between sceptics and “Pro-IPCC”. I often see comments that show that many sceptics take the Popper view that science is never right but only “not invalidated”. As such sceptics would see the question as inappropriate. Or indeed, they would say e.g. “the IPCC predicted warming … it has not warmed, therefore the model is invalid” (Wrong)

    So there is no sense of overall “right or wrong” of climate “science”. So I think this question may actually mean “is the consensus view amongst academics who call themselves scientists – right”. That is more of a value judgement on people than a assessment of predictive power of theoretical models. It involves the philosophical question of what “right” means.

    From your perspective I think this question is likely to mean: “have we done our best to understand the climate”. My view (not shared by many sceptics) is that the answer to that is yes. But from a sceptic view, the question we ask is this: “are the models produced by climate academics suitable for use to make policy decisions” and the answer to that would be no.

    However, to answer you question explicitly, on the specific issue of feedbacks, which is at the heart of the is issue – I have long suspected this area is flawed. I now I think I understand why. Therefore my position (assuming further research supports my recent findings) is that in this area the “science” is seriously flawed to the extent that most ordinary people would call it “wrong”.

  131. ScottishSceptic, I’m going to go back a few steps and push you on a very basic point. Do you think it is at all possible that the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800s could be natural and not anthropogenic?

  132. verytallguy says:

    ScottishSceptic

    I think you will find that sceptics have a good grounding in both science and policy

    I think you will find that is not the case – yet again, the “science” part of this is clearly not true if you support your factually incorrect statement that:

    “Man-made sources have increased global levels of CO2, however scientific analysis shows part of the increase is natural and no one is certain how much or little of this rise is man-made”

    And you (see 1:44) seem unable to acknowledge that it is demonstrably false.

  133. Rachel says: “Perhaps we should press ScottishSceptic further on the source of increase in atmospheric CO2?” … I think it would be pointless to argue on something which I usually just assume to be true because I don’t see the need to argue this point.

  134. ScottishSceptic, but that is point 2 on your list of evidence. Essentially there is no doubt that it is all anthropogenic. You seem to disagree with that. Simple question then. Do you think some not-insignificant fraction of the rise in anthropogenic CO2 could be natural?

  135. verytallguy says: “ yet again, the “science” part of this is clearly not true if you support your factually incorrect statement that:

    I’ve been patient with you and explained several times how that statement was produced. My only involvement with this particular statement is the validity or otherwise of whether it accurately represents the views of sceptics. I’ve also said I’m not particularly interested in this area.

    However, I would be willing to go and check validity of that statement if you will pay for my time. Therefore if you are so keen that I look into this issue further, may I suggest I put a business plan to you outlining the time and resources I would need to do that and if you are willing to pay then I would be very happy to investigate the issue further.

  136. ScottishSceptic, I’m afraid that I find that rather unsatisfactory. You’re not obliged to do anything, of course, but you call yourself a sceptic. You regard yourself as well-versed in science and policy. You run an organisation call the Scottish Climate and Energy Forum. Yet we get to something pretty fundamental and you basically back off and suggest that you don’t have the time or the money to research this in any detail. It’s a free world, but I don’t know how you think you can be taken seriously in a discussion like this if that is how approach these situations. It’s not even that difficult. People have directed at excellent sources of information.

  137. wottsupwiththatblog says: “ScottishSceptic, but that is point 2 on your list of evidence. Essentially there is no doubt that it is all anthropogenic. You seem to disagree with that.”

    I don’t think you really mean that there isn’t a single molecule of CO2 which comes from natural sources but that the rise if “all man-made”. However, this ignores that likelihood that CO2 can naturally outgas due to the warming climate since the little ice-age.

    It also ignores simple facts like no one knows how much CO2 was in the atmosphere before 1958 when detailed measurements started.

    So … coming to think about it, there is no time-scale and now I can see that it is just a statement of how much we know about CO2 levels before 1958.

    If you don’t know the level of CO2 before “man-made” warming, you don’t know how much it has risen and therefore no intelligent person would argue with “we don’t know how much of the rise is man-made”.

  138. Rachel says:

    Wotts, phew. Sorry again. I think it was bad judgement on my part. I had to dash out at 3pm and so it was a bit rushed.

    ScottishSceptic, ok, so you agree the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic. Am I right to think that you do not accept the rise in temperature since pre-industrial is anthropogenic? If so, I strongly recommend you read Richard Muller’s piece in The New York Times. He was a self-confessed sceptic like you and so he decided to analyse the data himself using money from the Koch Foundation and he ended up changing his mind. Here’s what he says:

    CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.

  139. Rachel says:

    ScottishSceptic says, “It also ignores simple facts like no one knows how much CO2 was in the atmosphere before 1958 when detailed measurements started.”

    This is not true. They can measure how much CO2 there was from ice cores. See 650,000 years of greenhouse gas concentrations.

  140. ScottishSceptic, indeed I do not mean every molecule in the atmosphere came from burning fossil fuels. I simply mean the rise is anthropogenic. We’ve added enough CO2 to the atmosphere to have increased atmospheric CO2 by about 240ppm. It’s actually increased by 120ppm. Half of what we’ve emitted has been sequestered in (primarily) the oceans. If we consider Henry’s Law (and I have) there is a relationship between CO2 and temperature. However, this – on short timescales – would be about 10ppm per degree and on longer timescales about 20ppm per degree (there is a delay associated with mixing in the deep ocean, I believe). If the temperature rise was natural (and it’s not) we’d have seen a rise of between 10 and 20ppm in atmospheric CO2. We haven’t, we’ve seen 120ppm. Now you can’t even really argue that 10 – 20ppm of that rise is natural for two reasons. One, most of the temperature rise is anthropogenic anyway. Two, the atmospheric CO2 concentration is a new equilibrium established between the various carbon reservoirs as a consequence of us adding a large mass of carbon into the system. Hence, it is all anthropogenic.

    I’ll be honest and add that this is one of the issues that I find frustrating. If we can’t even agree on this basic truth, then we really have no hope of reasonable discussions about the more complex aspects of this topic.

  141. wottsupwiththatblog says:

    ScottishSceptic, I’m afraid that I find that rather unsatisfactory. You’re not obliged to do anything, of course, but you call yourself a sceptic. You regard yourself as well-versed in science and policy. You run an organisation call the Scottish Climate and Energy Forum. Yet we get to something pretty fundamental and you basically back off and suggest that you don’t have the time or the money to research this in any detail. It’s a free world, but I don’t know how you think you can be taken seriously in a discussion like this if that is how approach these situations. It’s not even that difficult. People have directed at excellent sources of information.

    I didn’t start the discussion. I merely tried to answer a point raised by someone else to the best of my ability.

    However, the problem is that you are trying to do something with this document which is inappropriate. “The Sceptic View” is not a statement of what the science is. It is instead a statement of what the view held by most sceptics. Therefore the criteria that is appropriate is “does it represent the views of sceptics”.

    However, I tried to answer the point of whether this view is arguable. On that I have offered an opinion that they are, but I don’t pretend to be an expert. However, I don’t need to be an expert to realise that if we don’t know the level of CO2 in the atmosphere with any certainty in the first half of the 20th century then it is entirely reasonable to say “we don’t know” how to assign the cause of a change which we don’t know how big it is.

    And please note, that I am not paid to answer your questions, I have no income, I have to pay for all my own travelling expenses, stationary, and even research papers on my own.

    In contrast you are someone who gets a massive income from the public purse, who is supported in all you do from the state and then you think I should spend a lot of my own time on questions of little importance and then you criticise me for daring to suggest I should be paid if you want me to do your bidding.

  142. ScottishSceptic, I have no response to your comment. In fact, I don’t think it deserves one. More correctly, it does deserve a response, but there isn’t an appropriate one that will also satisfy my moderation policy.

  143. Rachel says:

    Is it still too early for whiskey, BBD? I think I need some.

  144. wottsupwiththatblog:

    “I’ll be honest and add that this is one of the issues that I find frustrating. If we can’t even agree on this basic truth, then we really have no hope of reasonable discussions about the more complex aspects of this topic.”

    Ok, let me turn it around The phrase you seem to object to is this: “and no one is certain how much or little of this rise is man-made.”

    Please tell me how much CO2 rose between 1900 and 2000, how much of this rise was man-made emissions and how much was due to the temperature change (to avoid questions of whether the change is natural or man-made). And then tell me how certain you are of your figures.

    Then I will be able to know what this “basic truth” is that I’m supposed to be disagreeing with.

  145. Rachel says:
    ScottishSceptic says, “It also ignores simple facts like no one knows how much CO2 was in the atmosphere before 1958 when detailed measurements started.”

    This is not true. They can measure how much CO2 there was from ice cores. See 650,000 years of greenhouse gas concentrations.

    I understand that in the initial years there is diffusion of CO2 bubbles held in ice-cores through the ice-core. Unfortunately, the only way to tell whether that is true is to compare CO2 in ice cores to measurements and as we don’t have accurate measurements before 1958 we are rather stuck in trying to verify whether or not this happens (unless you have a time machine?). This means that we have to be careful with short-term changes.

  146. BBD says:

    Wotts

    Glad to see we are in exact agreement.

    Rachel

    Don’t tempt me. See why I had to muzzle myself and walk away?

  147. chris says:

    Scottish”Skeptic”

    [CO2] 1899 – 296.5 ppm

    [CO2] 2000 – 371.2

    data from D. M. Etheridge et al (1996) “Natural and anthropogenic changes in atmospheric CO2 over the last 1000 years from air in Antarctic ice and firn J. Geophys Res. 101, 4115 -4128.

    and direct measurement from the Mauna Loa (and other stations) from 1959

    How much from man-made emissions? Answer all of it. In fact we know that the oceans have been a massive net sink of CO2 during this period and that the terrestrial fauna/soil has a soil been a sink (excluding those parts of the Earth forest that has been cut down and is also a smallish source of anthropogenic CO2 in that period.

    How confident are we of this evidence. Very confident indeed. We could discuss where this confidence comes from if you like.

  148. ScottishSceptic, I will try and give an answer. The short answer is that without anthropogenic emissions, atmospheric CO2 concentrations would have barely changed since the mid-1800s.

    The problem is that you want me to answer a question that isn’t all that well posed. If the temperature had risen without us emitting any CO2 then atmospheric CO2 emissions would have risen by between 10 and 20 ppm. This is based on historical information but can also be calculated using Henry’s law (which I have done in a fairly crude way). We have, however, emitted enough CO2 to have increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations by about 240ppm. What’s observed is a rise of 120ppm since the mid-1800s. Something has sequestered half of what we emitted. That is primarily the oceans.

    Here comes the tricky bit though. You can’t really divide the rise into a temperature dependent natural bit and a non-temperature dependent anthropogenic bit. The system will settle into an equilibrium that depends on both the temperature and the total amount of carbon. The new equilibrium (which is a consequence of us emitting about 1800 Gtonnes of CO2) is one in which the atmospheric concentration is 400ppm. Therefore it is essentially all anthropogenic.

  149. BBD says:

    It is my view that civility requires intellectual honesty from all parties. Otherwise it’s just a polite fiction. A mere word.

  150. verytallguy says:

    ScottishSceptic

    “I’ve been patient with you and explained several times how that statement was produced. My only involvement with this particular statement is the validity or otherwise of whether it accurately represents the views of sceptics. I’ve also said I’m not particularly interested in this area.”

    But this was a list which you pointed us to as representing the sceptic view. It is incorrect and I’m afraid you realise this and now refuse to admit it by attempts to obfuscate. Your lack of interest seems to be driven by your being wrong.

    To revert to vernacular – man up! Either back it up and support it or acknowledge it’s in error.

    Then this:
    I don’t need to be an expert to realise that if we don’t know the level of CO2 in the atmosphere with any certainty in the first half of the 20th century then it is entirely reasonable to say “we don’t know” how to assign the cause of a change which we don’t know how big it is.

    It’s hard to know where to start with such a statement.

    - firstly we DO know the historical levels of CO2, to a good level of accuracy. See my earlier ref to AR4 Faq 2.1.
    - secondly even if we didn’t we’d have to construct a damn strange argument to come up with a rise that suddently and magically started in 1958
    - thirdly, it is highly unreasonable to state “we don’t know” to something that we do in fact, know, to a level that constitutes unequivocal proof.

    Finally
    “Please tell me how much CO2 rose between 1900 and 2000, how much of this rise was man-made emissions…”
    It’s on the graph I referenced in AR4. And it was all man-made. Every last bit of it. And on top of that the same amount again was absorbed in natural sinks, mainly the ocean.

  151. > what that “German research” is referring to

    I asked that question at Scottish’s.

    The comment has yet to appear.

  152. Rachel says:

    ScottishSceptic, they are able to measure CO2 already trapped in bubbles in ice cores right up to the 1980s. This provides some overlap between measurements of CO2 in the air and measurements in the ice cores and they match up. See Ice cores and climate change

    [Rachel: fixed my link]

  153. Rachel says:
    ScottishSceptic, ok, so you agree the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic.

    I did not say that. I said that I just usually assume that because it doesn’t effect the outcome.

    Am I right to think that you do not accept the rise in temperature since pre-industrial is anthropogenic?

    There is a range of estimates of the greenhouse effect of CO2 between about 0.45 (using the latest Hitran database) and 1.2 (by Hansen), but a figure of 1C is about typical.

    As such …. if anyone can tell me how much CO2 has risen from “pre-industrial” times, using the known greenhouse effect of CO2 it should be a pretty mundane calculation to work out the expected contribution of CO2.

    From memory I think the figure is about 0.3C from a typical 1900 ppm to 2000. This compares with the IPCC warming of about 0.8. I think the figure from 1970 to 2000 is about 0.16C which compares to about 0.48C HADCRUT warming.

    However, give the range of values for the greenhouse effect of CO2, the range of warming is about:

    1900-2000 0.15 – 0.35C
    1970-2000 0.08 – 0.2C

    So as far as I can see the majority of warming is not due to the greenhouse effect of CO2.

  154. Sorry those figures for the greenhouse effect of CO2 is for a doubling of concentration over 100years.

  155. ScottishSceptic, you’re ignoring feedbacks. If we consider direct anthropogenic forcings only, then we would expect an increase of 3.7Wm-2 to produce a rise of 1.2oC. There is extensive evidence to suggest to suggest that feedbacks more than double this. You can also do a very basic calculation using observational data to show that the feedbacks have to be at least comparable to the anthropogenic forcings. Most of the rise in temperature is anthropogenic. The only other external forcing is the Sun and it’s not the Sun.

  156. verytallguy says:

    ScottishSceptic
    I understand that in the initial years there is diffusion of CO2 bubbles held in ice-cores through the ice-core. Unfortunately, the only way to tell whether that is true is to compare CO2 in ice cores to measurements and as we don’t have accurate measurements before 1958 we are rather stuck in trying to verify whether or not this happens (unless you have a time machine?). This means that we have to be careful with short-term changes.

    Blimey Scottish, you sure do know an awful lot of detail about a subject which you’re not interested in and don’t have the hours in the day to research ;-)

    But seriously I think you’ve now, by your repeated insistence on avoiding the plain evidence on the anthropogenic source of the CO2 rise conclusively shown yourself to be exhibiting all the traits of denial, as defined by Elisabeth Kubler Ross.

    Which is deeply ironic as your original purpose here seemed to be to show that “The term “denier” is therefore totally unfounded and clearly a lie.

    Unless you can acknowledge proven facts, there’s really no purpose in debating the science with you, so I’m done here. I’d happily debate your further points if you can acknowledge the CO2 rise as being anthropogenic as a starting point; if you can’t even do that then there’s no point in looking beyond that.

    I wish you luck with what seems to me, at least to be your honest endeavor in developing your understanding. You’ve a very, very long way to go!

  157. BBD says:

    Scottish “Sceptic”

    May I point out that the Etheridge et al. (1996) reference chris uses above is available from AR4 WG1 chapter 6.

    This information is available online, free of charge. And as Very Tall Guy pointed out upthread, finding it takes ~30 seconds. So neither time nor cost can reasonably be argued as factors here, which leads us to the real nature of the problem.

  158. Rachel says:

    ScottishSceptic,
    Commentators here have provided you with ample evidence that the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic and that the rise in temperature is also largely anthropogenic and caused by greenhouse gases. You either need to provide some evidence for why you disagree with these points or concede that you are wrong.

  159. verytallguy says:

    BBD @4:55

    It’s my view that assuming the best of other parties, and maintaining civility regardless of their behaviour both makes me more convincing to third parties, and leaves me with a higher level of self esteem than descendling to their level, tempting as it may be on occasion.

    But most importantly, it makes me look like less of an arse on the many occasions I turn out to be wrong.

  160. wottsupwiththatblog “ScottishSceptic, you’re ignoring feedbacks.”

    I’m not ignoring feedbacks. I was asked about man-made warming. I answered that the best science says it has warmed.

    I was avoiding feedbacks because the question was on whether I accepted man-made causation for all the warming and I pointed out that there is only a scientific explanation for a minority of that warming.

  161. chris says:

    Incidentally, Scottish”Sceptic” as a Scot myself and rather proud of the astonishing history of Scottish enlightenment on matters philosophical and scientific, I find it a little galling that a 21st century Scot such as yourself with an abundance of free time for scientific investigation (as you yourself indicates) is unable to come to a granite-like Scottish conclusion about matters scientific that are substantiated beyond reasonable doubt.

    So for example, the fact that essentially all the rise in atmospheric [CO2] the industrial period is anthropogenic is proven in the sense that David Hume would have recognised. That a 21st century Scot with astonishing resources of information could show such an astounding absence of scientific skepticism (and yet presume to self-define as a “sceptic”!), is a little sad to me.

  162. chris says:

    “…and I pointed out that there is only a scientific explanation for a minority of that warming.”

    Not true. Since we understand the nature of scientific evidence as it relates to natural and anthropogenic contributions to radiative imbalance in the Earth system, we can assess all the known contributions to 20th century and contemporary warming and determine that natural contributions have been very small during the 20th century. See for example:

    see for example (try Googling):

    Lean, J.L., and D.H. Rind, 2008: How natural and anthropogenic influences alter global and regional surface temperatures: 1889 to 2006. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L18701.

    Hansen, J. et al. (2005) Earth’s energy imbalance: Confirmation and implications. Science, 308, 1431-1435.

  163. Rachel says: ScottishSceptic,
    Commentators here have provided you with ample evidence that the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic and that the rise in temperature is also largely anthropogenic and caused by greenhouse gases. You either need to provide some evidence for why you disagree with these points or concede that you are wrong.

    I was defending the statement in the sceptic View. I have more than adequately backed up that statement that we don’t know how much of the CO2 rise is manmade and how much is due to the temperature rise.

    I have asked Wottsupwiththat to provide a statement of how big that rise is to show he knows. He has not.

    Now you state you have provided “ample evidence” that the rise is “the rise in temperature is also largely anthropogenic”, when in fact all you have done is asked me the question “do you agree it is anthropogenic” – to which I restated the Sceptic View which you do not appear even to have read and which makes it very clear that sceptics agree with the science that there has likely been a temperature rise from the Greenhouse effect of CO2.

  164. Chris. Thank you for your comment, but there isn’t any substance to your post for me to answer.

    If you want to argue about the level of man-made warming, you should not argue about the relatively small contribution from the greenhouse effect of CO2.

    Instead, you have to argue that there are massive feedbacks which increase the greenhouse effect of CO2 by around 300%. One of these is the Albedo effect of reducing ice (ground & sea absorb more radiation and ice reflects incoming sunlight). However (my back of the envelope calculation) of the Albedo effect of ice is about 10% of the level of the greenhouse warming effect of CO2. This means that you have no explanation let alone scientific valid proof for the majority your predicted warming.

    This is because the feedbacks are not calculated from scientific principles, but instead are mathematical fudges to the values needed in climate models to adjust the models to the climate signal.

  165. chris says:

    Fair enough Scottish”sceptic”. You aren’t interested in the scientific evidence and simply deny its existence and validity. You just choose what you want the answer to be. That’s O.K. Not very Scottish in the Hume-ian sense but we can’t expect everyone to follow the traditions of Scottish enlightenment.

    However maybe this will give you some insight into why you’re having difficulty finding useful employment??

  166. ScottishSceptic, are you seriously suggesting that the only anthropogenic influences are the direct external forcings and that the feedbacks qualify as natural. If so, that’s entirely inconsistent with standard practice and rather ignores that the feedbacks would not exist without the anthropogenic forcings. They act to amplify the warming.

  167. I have asked Wottsupwiththat to provide a statement of how big that rise is to show he knows. He has not.

    Yes I have. On numerous occasions. You may choose to disagree but you cannot claim that I have not made a statement with respect to how big the rise is.

    Unfortunately this is turning into what seems to be the norm for these types of discussions. You’ve provided virtually no evidence to support what you call scepticism (which really is simply your own lack of knowledge/understanding, which you then seem to think implies an uncertainty about the science) and refuse to accept any of the evidence provided by anyone else. What’s more you start to claim that people haven’t actually answered your questions or provided any evidence, which they have on numerous occasions. You don’t have to agree with people, but at least acknowledge when people actually try to provide you with an explanation. Also at least consider the possibility that you don’t understand this, rather than the explanations provided aren’t satisfactory.

  168. chris says: “Fair enough Scottish”sceptic”. You aren’t interested in the scientific evidence and simply deny its existence and validity. ”

    That is an opinion not a fact and there not much I can say about it.

  169. BBD says:

    Everything you have said here has been opinion.

  170. wottsupwiththatblog says:

    I have asked Wottsupwiththat to provide a statement of how big that rise is to show he knows. He has not.

    Yes I have. On numerous occasions.

    You must have missed my question or I missed your answer. The question was this:

    Please tell me how much CO2 rose between 1900 and 2000, how much of this rise was man-made emissions and how much was due to the temperature change (to avoid questions of whether the change is natural or man-made). And then tell me how certain you are of your figures.

    And I then said that if I knew what this “basic fact” was then I would be able to say whether I agreed or disagreed with it.

  171. chris says:

    Scottish”sceptic” re:

    This is because the feedbacks are not calculated from scientific principles, but instead are mathematical fudges to the values needed in climate models to adjust the models to the climate signal.

    That’s an astonishingly ignorant statement. Apart from the rather uncontroversial albedo feedback, the dominant feedback to primary [CO2]-induced warming is the water vapour feedback and the evidence for this is uncontroversial and has been for some time. See for example try Googling):

    Dessler, A. E., Z. Zhang, and P. Yang (2008), Water-vapor climate feedback inferred from climate fluctuations, 2003–2008, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L20704

    Gettelman A and Fu, Q. (2008) Observed and simulated upper-tropospheric water vapor feedback . J. Climate 21, 3282-3289

    Buehler SA (2008) An upper tropospheric humidity data set from operational satellite microwave data. J. Geophys. Res. 113, art #D14110

    Brogniez H and Pierrehumbert RT (2007) Intercomparison of tropical tropospheric humidity in GCMs with AMSU-B water vapor data. Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, art #L17912

    Santer BD et al. (2007) Identification of human-induced changes in atmospheric moisture content. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104, 15248-15253

    Soden BJ, et al (2005) The radiative signature of upper tropospheric moistening Science 310, 841-844.

    etc

  172. ScottishSceptic, I gave an extensive answer here. Summary, the rise is all anthropogenic. Someone else provided the numbers here.

  173. BBD says:

    When does a refusal to accept correction and evidence become incivility? There’s no doubt that it *is* a form of incivility, hence the expression “stop insulting my intelligence”.

    So when?

  174. Marco says:

    “I have more than adequately backed up that statement that we don’t know how much of the CO2 rise is manmade and how much is due to the temperature rise.”

    Eh, “backed up” how exactly? You just claim we don’t know, and that’s where the buck stopped. There was some vague handwaving about the ice cores, ignoring the available data where there is overlap between ice cores and the Mauna Loa record (and boy does it overlap!). That’s it. For a supposed “skeptic” you sure do follow the denier-line quite closely!

    Then there’s the claim that “the feedbacks are not calculated from scientific principles, but instead are mathematical fudges to the values needed in climate models to adjust the models to the climate signal.” which is completely wrong, too. It’s a common pseudoskeptical talking point alright, but that doesn’t make it anywhere near the truth. I have a very simple challenge to you: contact a climate modeller and *ask* him how it works – be sure to repeat that talking point about the feedbacks just being “mathematical fudges”, so he can explain how wrong you are.

    You could start with Ed Hawkins
    http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~ed/home/index.html
    http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/
    Or Steve Easterboork
    http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~sme/
    http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/
    Both are always willing to help someone who is honestly trying to learn. If you are a *true* skeptic, you will follow up on my suggestion. I’ll be sure to ask Steve and Ed whether you did.

  175. BBD says: “Everything you have said here has been opinion.”

    I think it is fairly evident when it started with something called the “sceptic view” that it would be an opinion. That is a fact. So is the fact that we sceptics produced that document and it is the best statement of our view on the climate.

    It is also a fact that we do not deny global warming, nor deny climate change nor deny the contribution of CO2.

  176. BBD, I’m just kind of with vtg here. It should be obvious to most who read this that genuine attempts have been made to explain some very simple aspects to ScottishSceptic. His refusal to acknowledge this speaks volumes, in my opinion.

  177. ScottishSceptic,

    I think it is fairly evident when it started with something called the “sceptic view” that it would be an opinion. That is a fact. So is the fact that we sceptics produced that document and it is the best statement of our view on the climate.

    Then you have completely destroyed the meaning of the word sceptic. I really don’t know what else to say. You have, sadly, confirmed my view. You seem to think it’s okay to simply doubt the science and to present that doubt as having some value. To then have actual climate scientists engaging with you here and on your own blog (William Connelly) and still turn around and pretend that your doubt has the same relevance as their evidence is just amazing.

  178. BBD says:

    Please tell me how much CO2 rose between 1900 and 2000, how much of this rise was man-made emissions and how much was due to the temperature change (to avoid questions of whether the change is natural or man-made). And then tell me how certain you are of your figures.

    One-shot debunk of the claim that warming is driving the increase in CO2:

    The warmest period in the Holocene was about 6ka. Warmer than the present (just). Here’s the Holocene CO2 reconstruction from ice cores and modern atmospheric measurements.

    The warming-induced CO2 ~6ka is conspicuously absent. In fact much of the early Holocene was warmer than the 1800 – 1900 average. Thousands of years. No CO2 response.

    So you can easily show yourself that the ~400ppm present measurement is for the most part not caused by warming.

    There will be no fee for this service.

  179. chris says:

    Scottish”sceptic” re:

    chris says: “Fair enough Scottish”sceptic”. You aren’t interested in the scientific evidence and simply deny its existence and validity.
    That is an opinion not a fact and there not much I can say about it.

    As a sceptic in the Scottish Hume-ian sense I’m basing my interpretations on the evidence of my senses and understanding. You have been provided with a large amount of evidence that relates specifically to the points you raise and yet you have simply ignored or denied this. So you’re clearly not interested in the scientific evidence… yes? You haven’t provided any evidence whatsoever in support of your own assertions and many of these are objectively incorrect. So it’s more of an evidence-based conclusion rather than an “opinion” wouldn’t you say??

    I’d have to come to the conclusion that you’re also a bit of a boor, since you’ve received detailed responses to your questions and have yet to offer any thanks for what is a considerable clarification by numerous posters in response.

  180. So you’re clearly not interested in the scientific evidence… yes? You haven’t provided any <ievidence whatsoever in support of your own assertions and many of these are objectively incorrect.

    What do you disagree with. That CO2 is increasing? DO YOU DISAGREE WITH THIS OR DO I HAVE TO PROVE IT TO YOU.

    Do you disagree that CO2 is a greenhouse warming gas or would you like me to show you the evidence proving this?

    Do you disagree with the level of the Greenhouse warming effect of about 1C?

    If you want me to show you the evidence for these then I will see what I can do.

    If you do agree on these then we are wasting our time discussing these and if you want to argue we should instead be discussing about feedbacks and the allocation of the observed warming in the 20th century between these feedbacks and natural variation.

  181. ScottishSceptic, I’m rather confused by your comment. To a certain extent people here (myself included) have been trying to do something quite simple. Discuss with you whether or not the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800s is anthropogenic. You seem unwilling to actually give a definitive response to that fairly simple question. Now you’re throwing out feedbacks and natural variation. Can we not just establish something quite simple before moving on to the aspect that are a little more complex?

  182. BBD says:

    I can’t really see what you are getting at here, Scottish.

  183. BBD, it seems to be “the best form of defense is attack” strategy.

  184. chris says:

    Scottish”skeptic”:

    You’ve asked for information about CO2 levels in the 20th century and suggested that we don’t know how much of the rise is anthropogenic and how much natural. Several of us have taken the time to inform you of this very basic information. No response from you, either to thank us or to critique our information.

    You’ve asked us about feedbacks and we have provided you with some very detailed information about the dominant feedback to primary atmospheric warming (the water vapour feedback). No response from you either to thank us or to critique our information.

    What we’re looking for is some evidence of forthright granite-like Scottish skepticism in the tradition of David Hume in which scientific evidence provides a robust basis for interpretation of the natural world. If you can’t meet that rather basic challenge, then why not just say so? Nobody really cares if your approach to this is simply to deny the evidence. It’s not that big a deal…though one might question what you consider your purpose is posting here. Can you at least answer that??

  185. BBD says:

    Wotts

    Ah. Desperation to avoid addressing the original question. Of course.

  186. BBD says:

    What we’re looking for is some evidence of forthright granite-like Scottish skepticism in the tradition of David Hume

    That would indeed be wonderful, chris. I wholeheartedly endorse your sentiment.

  187. wottsupwiththatblog:
    ScottishSceptic, I’m rather confused by your comment. To a certain extent people here (myself included) have been trying to do something quite simple. Discuss with you whether or not the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800s is anthropogenic.

    Is some of the CO2 man-made? Almost certainly (I would guess the vast majority). Is it all man-made – definitely not. Do we know? When it was last of any interest to me and I looked the answer was clearly not. This was due to the massive uncertainties in initial CO2 and problems with the correlation of short-term changes in emissions with short-term changes in atmospheric CO2. Do I want to recheck this … no … I don’t see any meaningful difference between my view and most pro-IPCC.

    Does it affect in the slightest degree my view of the climate … not at all. I’ve never tried to argue man kind is not increasing CO2. The only impact is that when I mention the CO2 rise I try to put a proviso that we are not certain how much it rose from 1900 or how much is from burning fossil fuels and how much the effect of the temperature rise.

    Does it matter to you what I think? But apparently it does – I don’t know why but I will try to answer your questions as honestly and as fully as I am able.

  188. ScottishSceptic,

    Does it matter to you what I think?

    Not specifically, but I do care about whether or not someone’s view are based on some valid evidence, or that they can back up their views in some way. We don’t have to agree about everything but I would like to think that we can agree about aspects that are virtually certain.

  189. chris says: “You’ve asked us about feedbacks and we have provided you with some very detailed information about the dominant feedback to primary atmospheric warming (the water vapour feedback).”

    No, you haven’t. You have posted links to articles. This shows you do not understand what is in these papers or cannot make an argument based on these papers. Instead you think that a link proves you are right .. it does not. It proves you your inability to put forward your own argument.

    If you have a case make it.

  190. BBD says:

    If you have a case make it.

    Sure. Without WV feedback the surface temperature would fall dramatically. See Lacis et al. .(2010).

    I can’t understand it for you, so you will have to make the necessary effort and read it yourself. It does, however, directly address your question.

    Incidentally, what you are objecting to is commonly known as referenced or supported argument. Objecting to this is desperate. You really are going to have to do better than that.

  191. BBD says:

    Incidentally, I demonstrated something here for you and you have completely ignored it despite the fact that it is exactly the kind of simple demonstration you are moaning that you are not getting.

    Why have you blanked this?

  192. Ian Forrester says:

    ScottishSceptic said:

    how much is from burning fossil fuels and how much the effect of the temperature rise.

    If you think that some of the increased CO2 concentration is due to temperature rise you must know where it is coming from. So please enlighten us with your views on how temperature rise is causing a rise in CO2.

  193. ScottishSceptic, I have rather an issue with that response. Either you’re hear as an equal contributor to the discussion and a genuine sceptic. If so, then someone providing you with a lot of links so that you do some research of your own is something you should be willing to acknowledge. Expecting them to summarise or present that to you is expecting a little too much. On the other hand, if you are here to learn from those who know more than you (and there are certainly many who know more than me) then you could ask some questions and acknowledge the answers (even if you disagree). I don’t think there is any scenario in which you can simply sit back and expect people to convince you and then dismiss them if they don’t do so to your satisfaction. I’m certainly not here to convince you or anyone else. All I’m doing is presenting some aspect of climate science (based on my knowledge of basic physics) and allowing others to comment – often to correct my many mistakes.

  194. BBD. That link just shows the lack of substance that is typical.

    A clear demonstration is needed to show that water vapor and clouds do indeed behave as fast feedback processes and that their atmospheric distributions are regulated by the sustained ra-diative forcing due to the noncondensing GHGs. To this end, we performed a simple climate ex-
    periment with the GISS 2° × 2.5° AR5 version of ModelE, using the Q-flux ocean with a mixed-
    layer depth of 250 m, zeroing out all the non-condensing GHGs and aerosols.”

    Which is more or less what I said. They adjust parameters in a climate model to curve match the global temperature signal and then state this proves the parameters must be true.

    All it proves is that the models do not work unless you put in idiotic levels of feedback.

    The so called proof is this: “Idiotic levels of feedback are proven because the climate models don’t work without them.”

    As the inability to predict the recent pause demonstrates, the climate models do not work whether or not there is idiotic levels of feedback.

    So idiotic levels of feedback aren’t a necessary or sufficient condition for them to work – because they do not work whatever the feedback

  195. BBD says:

    All it proves is that the models do not work unless you put in idiotic levels of feedback.

    No, it demonstrates that the non-condensing GHGs (principally CO2) govern the fraction of condensing GHGs, mainly WV. You are dismissing a published study by a senior and highly respected researcher based on sophisticated modelling of physical processes with the above claim. I am minded to laugh at you.

    Why did you blank my demonstration that warming is not responsible for the vast majority of modern CO2 concentrations? You’ve just done it again.

  196. chris says:

    “If you have a case make it”.

    It’s quite simple Scottish”sceptic”. A prediction from basic physics and empirical observation is that as the atmospheric temperature rises so its capacity to hold water vapour rises (since warm air saturates at a higher water vapour concentration than cooler air). Therefore it is expected that as the atmospheric temperature rises in response to CO2-induced warming so the atmospheric water vapour concentration rises. Since water vapour is a greenhouse gas, the primary CO2-induced warming is amplified by a water vapour feedback. This is the primary feedback to CO2-induced global warming.

    As indicated categorically in the papers I referenced above, the atmospheric water vapour concentration is rising in response to enhanced atmospheric warming as predicted by basic theory and modelling. This can be measured directly in the real world. Therefore the case is proven (in the Hume-ian sense of a strong conclusion based on direct evidence).

  197. BBD says:

    As the inability to predict the recent pause demonstrates

    Climate models aren’t designed to predict transient natural variability, although they all exhibit it. I get the overpowering impression that you haven’t the foggiest idea what you are talking about.

  198. Lars Karlsson says:

    To use the same line of reasning as “Scottish Sceptic”: So they adjust the parameters (e.g. mass of sun, planets) in their solar system model to match the orbits of the planets around the sun and then state this proves the parameters must be true.

    All it proves is that the solar system models do not work unless you put in an idiotically large mass for the sun.

  199. BBD says:

    Scottish – here’s a summary of observations demonstrating the slow increase in specific humidity over the last several decades.

    Observations. “Sceptics” are supposed to like those, as chris notes above.

  200. BBD says: “You are dismissing a published study by a senior and highly respected researcher based on sophisticated modelling of physical processes with the above claim.”

    Did he or the model predict the last 15+ years without warming.

    No,

    Do I have any proof this person or the model is able to predict the climate?

    No,

    However much you respect this person or the model, they have proven incapable of predicting the climate and therefore they lack credibility as the basis for asserting high feedbacks.

  201. ScottishSceptic, I think you misunderstand the Lacis et al. study. They’re simply pointing out that if you were to enhance the water vapour (for example) it would precipitate out before any feedbacks (such as from GHGs) could materialise. GHGs, on the other hand, have a long residence time and hence they are the driver of climate change with WV, for example, providing a feedback.

  202. ScottishSceptic, you’re starting to jump around again. This was about feedbacks. Let’s stick to that before considering moving on to whether or not the “hiatus” has any real significance.

  203. BBD says:

    Did he or the model predict the last 15+ years without warming.

    A diversion already addressed above, so there’s no need to repeat it.

    * * *

    When are you going to respond to this comment?

    And why have you repeatedly blanked it for so long when it is exactly the sort of response you claim you want?

  204. Marco says:

    Scottish Sceptic, is there any reason why you again misrepresent what climate models do? I already recommended you contact people who actual work on these models so you can get an education on how they actually work. It’s a very small effort. I do realize there is one part that *does* require significant effort: actually *listening* and attempting to understand what they are trying to explain to you. It requires you to step away from your prejudices. This, it appears from the current thread, may indeed be a significant effort.

    Note that Arrhenius already included increased water vapour as a *feedback* to CO2-induced warming, based on physics already known at the end of the 19th century.

  205. BBD “Scottish – here’s a summary of observations demonstrating the slow increase in specific humidity over the last several decades.”

    And, the relative humidity over land & ocean has gone down.

    And the “reanalysis figure” shows very little trend.

    And worse, it has all been filtered and tampered with in a way I cannot verify. Given the history of such filtering and tampering I personally would be unhappy to give it much credence until credible people outside academia have had a chance to look at it and review it.0

    Otherwise, find me an academic who I can trust. Who just states what the climate is doing rather than trying to convince me it is currently warming, who admits the models did not work and who admits that a warming climate would have benefits and I might trust them if they had a look at this data.

  206. ScottishSceptic, it sounds like you want an academic who will say what you want to hear, rather than one who will be honest with you. I’m sure you can find one if you just spent a little time looking.

  207. Marco says: “Scottish Sceptic, is there any reason why you again misrepresent what climate models do? I already recommended you contact people who actual work on these models so you can get an education on how they actually work. ”

    I went to the royal society meeting and spoke with those doing the models and they confirmed my understanding of how they work … or more accurately … how they don’t work.

  208. ScottishSceptic, so who did you actually talk to?

  209. BBD says: Did he or the model predict the last 15+ years without warming.

    A diversion already addressed above, so there’s no need to repeat it.

    When are you going to respond to this comment?

    What did your last slave die off?

    The models predicted that the global surface temperature would warm. That warming did not occur. The models are therefore provenly false. That is how science works.

    I have not read your link but it will be the same “the ocean ate my heat” excuse all schoolboys use. Well show me a model which predicted the ocean would eat your heat. Otherwise do not waste my time.

  210. wottsupwiththatblog says: “ScottishSceptic, so who did you actually talk to?”

    It was a two day conference.The place was full of modellers and I spoke to quite a few including some from the UK Met Office. The one I remember was the one who sat next to me named “Sir ..” somebody – mainly because I assumed he was a sceptic as he spent all his time reading wattsupwiththat.

  211. BBD says:

    You are becoming increasingly hard to understand.

    When are you going to respond to this comment from earlier in the thread?

    And why have you repeatedly blanked it for so long when it is exactly the sort of response you claim you want?

    Otherwise do not waste my time.

    I really do think you should at least look at the handful of words I wrote to answer one of your own questions. It would only be civil of you.

  212. BBD says:

    And, the relative humidity over land & ocean has gone down.

    No, it hasn’t. I think you have confused the 2011 data with the whole time-series.

    And the “reanalysis figure” shows very little trend.

    This is a false claim.

    And worse, it has all been filtered and tampered with in a way I cannot verify. Given the history of such filtering and tampering I personally would be unhappy to give it much credence until credible people outside academia have had a chance to look at it and review it.

    This is pure conspiracist ideation. As such, I decline to take it seriously. You do realise you are accusing scientists of collaborative misconduct? Which just so happens to be a no-no on this blog.

  213. ScottishSceptic, if you’re suggesting that some of your information about climate models comes from someone who gets their information from WUWT, then I would seriously recommend speaking to some of those people recommended by Marco.

    Also, if you think “it went into the oceans” is a tedious response to why didn’t the climate models predict the “hiatus”, just consider what it must be like to continuously hear non-experts state with absolute certainty That warming did not occur. The models are therefore provenly false. That is how science works.

  214. wottsupwiththatblog “ScottishSceptic, it sounds like you want an academic who will say what you want to hear, rather than one who will be honest with you. I’m sure you can find one if you just spent a little time looking.”

    I know enough to know when academics have done a good job and enough to know when they have not. I just want academics to do a good job … and that almost means not trying to get involved in areas like policy where they haven’t a clue what they are doing and are worse than useless.

    Give me good data – and I will use it. Give me substantiated and unbiased arguments and I will listen. Give me climate models that predict the climate and I will believe them. But don’t expect me to listen to partisan non-science about us heading to doomsday warming based on a track record of failed climate models, outright denial of facts like the pause and the failed models.

  215. BBD says:

    Give me substantiated and unbiased arguments and I will listen.

    Isn’t it odd that the Scottish “sceptic” is refusing to even discuss this:

    Please tell me how much CO2 rose between 1900 and 2000, how much of this rise was man-made emissions and how much was due to the temperature change (to avoid questions of whether the change is natural or man-made). And then tell me how certain you are of your figures.

    Okay, here’s a one-shot debunk of the claim that warming is driving the increase in CO2.

    The warmest period in the Holocene was about 6ka, when it was warmer than the present (just). Here’s the Holocene CO2 reconstruction from ice cores and modern atmospheric measurements.

    The warming-induced CO2 increase ~6ka is conspicuously absent. In fact much of the early Holocene was warmer than the 1800 – 1900 average, for thousands of years. But there was no CO2 response.

    So you can easily show yourself that the current ~400ppm CO2 concentration is for the most part not a consequence of warming.

  216. chris says:

    Wotts, I wonder whether there might be some summing up to be done here at this point.

    Scottish”sceptic” simply denies any evidence that doesn’t afford with his preconceptions and asserts into existence what he wishes to be true. It’s not science and it’s a bit of a waste of time (unless you find SS’s Monty Python style “argumentation” amusing).

    I would have thought everyone has got the point by now :)

  217. ScottishSceptic

    and that almost means not trying to get involved in areas like policy where they haven’t a clue what they are doing and are worse than useless.

    and that seems like a gross generalisation.

  218. BBD “This is pure conspiracist ideation. As such, I decline to take it seriously. You do realise you are accusing scientists of collaborative misconduct? Which just so happens to be a no-no on this blog.”

    What kind of person are you that however politely I take all your repeated insults you continue with these nasty vitriolic attacks on me?

    There is a saying that if you can argue a case – you argue your case, but if you have no case to argue you attack the person.

    I would suggest the reason you resort to attacking me is that you have no case.

  219. BBD says:

    More evasions. Oh dear. Please respond to this.

  220. Chris, yup that does seem like a reasonable summary. In case ScottishSceptic thinks that’s unfair the only person to mention anything like

    don’t expect me to listen to partisan non-science about us heading to doomsday warming

    was himself. This was a reasonable science discussion that has headed into the, sadly, normal territory of “it’s all wrong because climate models didn’t predict the pause”. That wasn’t what this discussion was actually about and it does appear that this is the standard tack when confronted with other topics that provide evidence that appears inconvenient. I suspect we have all got the point and are unlikely to learn anything much more from this.

  221. BBD says:

    There is a saying that if you can argue a case – you argue your case, but if you have no case to argue you attack the person.

    And from the same pen:

    And worse, it has all been filtered and tampered with in a way I cannot verify. Given the history of such filtering and tampering I personally would be unhappy to give it much credence until credible people outside academia have had a chance to look at it and review it.

    Otherwise, find me an academic who I can trust.

    Somewhat confused.

  222. ScottishSceptic, BBD is being fairly restrained. I happen to largely agree with BBD. You cannot really suggest that your comment

    And worse, it has all been filtered and tampered with in a way I cannot verify. Given the history of such filtering and tampering I personally would be unhappy to give it much credence until credible people outside academia have had a chance to look at it and review it.

    did not imply that you don’t trust what climate scientist do to the data. If that is not a form on conspiracy ideation, I don’t know what is.

  223. wottsupwiththatblog:

    Chris, yup that does seem like a reasonable summary. In case ScottishSceptic thinks that’s unfair the only person to mention anything like

    don’t expect me to listen to partisan non-science about us heading to doomsday warming

    Obviously I need to translate.
    Doomsday waming is warming with feedbacks based on failed models which is presumed to be harmful even though warming has known benefits.
    Non-science is basing your non-Poperian arguments such as hypothesis that are proven invalid. E.g. climate predictions that do not predict the climate .
    Partisan refers to people based arguments which any intelligent person must see will not have much standing by the other side. For example “but he’s a respected person (by our side) … therefore he is right”. That is a partisan argument.

    Now, is there anything else I can help you with or have you finished interrogating me?

  224. Non-science is using non-Poperian arguments such as basing your assertions on models or hypothesis that have already proven invalid. E.g. climate predictions that do not predict the climate .

  225. ScottishSceptic, hmm, is that how you’ve seen this exchange? I really have nothing else to say (or, at least, nothing that I may not later regret).

  226. ScottishSceptic, by the way it’s Popperian, and you clearly haven’t heard of Wotts’s law

    if you need to invoke Popper in order to win a scientific argument, you lose be default.

  227. BBD says:

    Wotts

    I did warn you ;-)

    See point four…

    You may find your patience runs as thin as mine after a few more years of this.

  228. wottsupwiththatblog says:

    ScottishSceptic, BBD is being fairly restrained. I happen to largely agree with BBD. You cannot really suggest that your comment

    And worse, it has all been filtered and tampered with in a way I cannot verify. Given the history of such filtering and tampering I personally would be unhappy to give it much credence until credible people outside academia have had a chance to look at it and review it.

    did not imply that you don’t trust what climate scientist do to the data. If that is not a form on conspiracy ideation, I don’t know what is.

    Filtered is another word for “quality control” – e.g. used in cameras or spam filter.
    Tampered is another word for “homogenised” in that the original data has been changed.
    A conspiracy = a group conspiring together for some end.

    You are alleging that I believe in some “conspiracy ideation”. I never said or implied that there was a conspiracy by those involved to intentionally filter & tampered with the data. Cock-up yes. Personal bias yes. Conspiracy no.

    In contrast, how many times have I heard the lies about “oil fuinded deniers”. (I think it appeared earlier on the blog)

    Have you no idea that all the oil companies make money from this global warming through their wind divisions and that there is a massive amount of oil money going to university academics. If anything the oil funded side is yours.

    It is not sceptics who are oil funded.

    And then you make a very pointed personal attack on me accusing me of “conspiracy ideation”

  229. chris says:

    There are some useful conclusions that one can make from threads like this. One relates to the reasons that people post on message boards. Of course there are all sorts of reasons (it can be a very good way of learning stuff), but one I find valuable is it allows one to discover what kind of people other posters are. That can be very interesting and enlightening. This thread has been helpful in that regard.

    In fact two or three posters have decided to climb on board here over the last few days to give quite detailed personal displays of their approach to matters scientific. So we can’t say we haven’t learned anything! :)

  230. ScottishSceptic, well I think it’s a fine line between cock-up/personal bias and conspiracy. Neither are particularly well-founded in my opinion. Also, I don’t believe I’ve ever suggested that “skeptics” are funded by big oil, but I can’t claim that it’s never been mentioned in a comment. I do try to avoid these kind of themes as they’re not particularly constructive – as this discussion is now illustrating.

    I wasn’t really making a personal attack on you. I was suggesting that what you’d said implied some kind of conspiracy. You can claim that you just meant climate scientists are biased/stupid but that doesn’t really make it any better. I find it frustrating when these discussions end up like this. Someone presents some data from a very reputable source (NOAA) and the other person responds to suggest that it’s been fiddled in some way. That just seems convenient to me.

  231. BBD says:

    My favourite:

    And please note, that I am not paid to answer your questions, I have no income, I have to pay for all my own travelling expenses, stationary, and even research papers on my own.

    In contrast [Wotts] you are someone who gets a massive income from the public purse, who is supported in all you do from the state and then you think I should spend a lot of my own time on questions of little importance and then you criticise me for daring to suggest I should be paid if you want me to do your bidding.

  232. BBD says:

    “Tampering” is not a neutral term, nor a synonym for homogenisation and trying to pretend that it is either is disingenuous in the extreme. I think people should own their statements, even if they reveal a strong element of conspiracist ideation.

  233. wottsupwiththatblog “ScottishSceptic, well I think it’s a fine line between cock-up/personal bias and conspiracy. Neither are particularly well-founded in my opinion.

    Would you suggest that someone asking that a charity accounts be audited was a “conspiracy ideationist”? What I said was that I would wish the data to be verified by someone outside the organisation. This I think is entirely appropriate when this data is being used to push a policy that will cost billions of pounds (I have seen $1,000,000,000,000,000,000 as the cost)

    Also, I don’t believe I’ve ever suggested that “skeptics” are funded by big oil

    But you do agree that this “conspiracy ideation” is used repeatedly by those who support your point of view?

    I wasn’t really making a personal attack on you. I was suggesting that what you’d said implied some kind of conspiracy..

    There have been instances where climate academics have conspired. [snip example] However, it is much more common for people to unintentionally introduce biases into their work. In an organisation with a rigorous internal auditing system such biases are usually picked up and they do not accumulate. However, we have seen a great deal of reluctance by climate academics to be subject to any form of external scrutiny. As a result it is likely that biases will be present, and that their extent will tend to increase over time. As such it is very likely that an audit from an outside body will find many problems and there are numerous example reported on WUWT that suggest that such problems are indeed present.

    This does not mean there is a conspiracy. But in my opinion, It does mean there should be external scrutiny by impartial outsiders before we use data for hugely costly policy decisions.

  234. ScottishSceptic, see I don’t really know how to respond to that. You seem to want these outside auditors for scientists. Sounds good, but how does it work in practice? There aren’t rules in the same way as there is for auditing. The whole point of cutting edge science is to develop new and cutting edge techniques. How do you have a group of external people who are sufficiently capable and qualified to do what you want them to do? If you impose strict rules on how the scientists must process their data, how do we proceed? Slowly, I would say.

    But you do agree that this “conspiracy ideation” is used repeatedly by those who support your point of view?

    Firstly, I don’t quite know what you mean by my point of view. Secondly, what others do isn’t the same as what I do. I don’t base my views of “skeptic” arguments on whether or not I think they might be funded by big oil. I base them on whether or not they are scientifically credible. You just need to read some more posts on this blog for that to be clear.

    As such it is very likely that an audit from an outside body will find many problems and there are numerous example reported on WUWT that suggest that such problems are indeed present.

    The reason I started this blog was because I was sick and tired of reading complete nonsense on WUWT. It really is mostly scientific garbage. If they’re reported on WUWT, they’re most probably incorrect. That’s not based on some generalisation. It’s based on the numerous blog posts I’ve written pointing out why they’re wrong.

  235. BBD says:

    Re: energy industry funding for conservative think tanks promoting climate change misinformation.

    This report is thoroughly researched, fully referenced and significantly, there has been no legal action arising that I am aware of, so nobody is contesting matters of fact.

    There is a very substantial amount of evidence that the energy industry actively funds the production and dissemination of climate misinformation. So much so that most people who have taken the trouble to inform themselves about this accept is as a matter of fact.

  236. BBD says:

    It has become increasingly amusing watching Scottish leap about desperately as he flatly refuses to respond to this comment.

    I call bad faith.

  237. BBD, apologies if I did not respond but I could not tell which posts were just attacks which were pointless to respond to and which were genuine questions where you genuinely wanted an answer.

  238. BBD says:

    I do not believe you. I provided a link on every occasion. Nor have you responded now except with rubbish about attacks. I have not attacked you. If I were to attack you, you would know.

  239. Marco says:

    “Otherwise, find me an academic who I can trust. Who just states what the climate is doing rather than trying to convince me it is currently warming, who admits the models did not work and who admits that a warming climate would have benefits and I might trust them if they had a look at this data.”

    I know Wotts already called this one out, but it needs to be repeated. It tells us exactly why this discussion is useless. Mike Haseler admits that he will only believe someone when told what he already believes. Discussion impossible.

  240. verytallguy says:

    So, to paraphrase:

    SS: here’s my list of what sceptics think about the theory that lizardmen are not taking over the earth
    VTG: Ah, I see at number two you claim the moon is made of blue cheese. That’s false, do you agree?

    SS: This is a carefully constructed list taking into account the views of many sceptics
    VTG: Yes, but specifically, do you agree that the moon is not, in fact made of blue cheese?

    SS: There is rock, and there is blue cheese. It may be that the proportion of blue cheese is very small, but we cannot be certain of the proportion of cheese.
    VTG Really? The mass balance of blue cheese made clearly shows it’s all eaten on earth. Plus the gravitational pull of the moon shows it’s density to be incompatible with that of cheese.

    SS: Some sceptics believe the moon is entirely made of blue cheese, but I don’t know why you think it’s important. Did you realise that HG Wells observed canals on Mars and lizard DNA is alien?
    VTG Let’s stick to the cheese issue. What would the magnitude of tides be if the moon was made of cheese?

    SS: Did you know that Neil Armstrong liked stilton? How can we be certain he didn’t get a taste for it on the moon?
    VTG: I’m afraid you’re avoiding the issue and denying the facts. Sorry but there’s no point continuing

    SS: Why am I being libelled and insulted? Let’s audit astronomy with uncorrupted scientists who believe in blue cheese. The we’ll know the truth

  241. Rachel says:

    Great summary, VTG. :-D

  242. I disagree, Rachel: we already know it’s probably Wensleydale:

    http://wallaceandgromit.wikia.com/wiki/The_Moon

    I’d also use TS instead of SS. Scottish is a True Scotsman after all.

  243. Rachel says:

    Good point, Willard. Wallace is the expert here so I defer to his judgement on the matter.

  244. verytallguy says:

    As a True Yorkshireman, born in God’s own country, I decry your transparent attempt to appropriate our pre-eminent cheese for lunar purposes.

    The Wallace and Gromit episode was a fraudulent attempt to corrupt Cheese Science by the Hawes creamery in seeking publicity to attract tax support from the socialistic EU for their lavish lifestyles.

    This discredited piece was debunked by McIntyre’s audit of the method of filming clearly showing the characters were actually UPSIDE DOWN at the time. This is lacto-fascism, pure and simple.

  245. Rachel says:

    Well now I’m going to have to side with a Yorkshireman because Yorkshire is such a great place. Sorry, Willard. I’m fickle.

  246. Steven Mosher says:

    “It follows automatically that enthusiasts for unrestrained free market capitalism reject regulation and so must reject the science because it is an existential threat to the basis of their ideology. They have no choice but to deny.”

    1. I’m a libertarian.
    2. I accept the science.
    3. I spent 5 years working for free on improving the record of surface observations.

    may I suggest a revision??

    “It follows in some cases that enthusiasts for unrestrained free market capitalism reject regulation and so reject the science because it is an existential threat to the basis of their ideology. They perceive no choice but to deny.”

    of course you can always

    1. deny that I am a libertarian
    2. deny that I believe in AGW
    3. [Mod: point 3 lacks evidence]

    your choice. which one of your preffered modes of stupidity will you engage in?

  247. preffered modes of stupidity will you engage in?

    Unless I’ve misunderstood you, that seems like a rather unfortunate way to end your comment. Were you making a serious comment, or simply popping in to challenge something and then planning on disappearing?

    I certainly have no particular objection to your suggested revision. Firstly, I have no hard evidence that the characterisation of those enthusiastic about unregulated free market capitalism is correct. There seems to be some evidence that there is a link, however. Additionally, I certainly wouldn’t argue that such a generalisation is always true.

  248. BBD says:

    Steven

    I know your rhetoric well. There’s plenty of contrarian in you and you have devoted enormous energy to damaging the credibility of climate science.

    Please do not pitch up here accusing me of stupidity again.

  249. BBD says:

    I should add that my original comment is obviously correct and Mosher’s objection to is says more about his position than it does about mine.

  250. Steven, given that I will be offline for a while I will post this quick comment. My moderation policy is to discourage/moderate ad homs. The final part of your comment made it through simply on the basis of “modes of stupidity” not quite being the same as “you are stupid”. However, it is a fine line, so I would ask that if you do intend to comment further, that you bear that in mind.

  251. BBD says:

    Oh, and while we are at it, let’s edit out the self-serving nonsense:

    3. make some other sort of typical stupid comment which you are well known for.

  252. BBD, yes I rather missed that one and was probably too lax with the end of the comment too.

  253. BBD says:

    It’s interesting to see who turns up here, Wotts. You are making a splash.
    ;-)

  254. Rachel says:

    And he’s got a minion ;-)

  255. BBD says:

    Who also hates me with a passion.

  256. Rachel says:

    What are you talking about? I’m the minion!

  257. BBD, yes I was initially quite flattered that Steven Mosher had commented here, and then I got to the end of his comment.

    Rachel, I suspect BBD just can’t imagine that you would ever be someone’s minion :-)

  258. You’re the jester, BBD. Rachel’s the janitor. I mean, the minion.

  259. That's MR Ball to you. says:

    Having read through these comments, it’s amusing to find that The Scottish Climate & Energy Forum blog relies rather heavily on the set of Libertarian/UKIP tracts promoted by one Neil Craig, UKIP candidate extraordinaire and frequent contributor to the letters section of The Scotsman newspaper. “He is like a lone wolf howling in despair in the intellectual wilderness of our politics.” as he so often reminds us. Those familiar with Mr. Craig will remember him as one of the most notorious and resilient climate trolls of the last few years on scienceblogs.com and several other venues.

    I don’t doubt that Scottish Sceptic is a different person,[Mod : I'll satisfy your moderation desires by simply snipping this part of the commnet. Not too bad, but probably unnecessary].

    Expecting to be firmly & happily moderated,

    B.

  260. That’s MR Ball to you, according to this, ScottishSceptic was at one stage UKIP’s energy spokesman, so clearly a link.

  261. BBD says:

    Apologies for any confusion, Rachel! I was thinking of a certain TF. Wotts is exactly correct – it never occurred to me that you could be so described.
    ;-)

  262. BBD says:

    @ Willard

    Who’s Macbeth?

  263. Rachel says:

    I’m only a minion for Wotts. A minion has standards too.

  264. BBD says:

    I’m extremely relieved to hear it. As, no doubt, is Wotts.

  265. BBD says:

    Crikey Wotts – assume you read that link to Scottish you provided?

    “The IPCC mislead[s] the public”

    “the IPCC are [sic] still in denial and claiming almost unequivocal certainty which flies in the face of the evidence”

    “it then turned out that the claim (to paraphrase) that ‘mankind must have done it’ has no basis, and scientists at the Met Office have been trying to cover that up”

    “when science itself is corrupt”

    “fight the continued corruption of climate science as shown by the latest IPCC report”

    No, no hint of paranoia and conspiracist ideation there…
    :-)

  266. BBD, I’m not sure if I did read it or not. I’ve started to gloss over those things these days as it just seems to be the same on all “sceptical” sites, so I’m no longer really surprised :-)

Comments are closed.