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Climate change

Heartland Institute on NAS Climate Report

Your tax dollars being used against you: ————————————— NAS Climate Report: ‘Partisan, Closed Minded’ The National Academy of Sciences Thursday reasserted its opinion that the Earth’s climate has warmed to crisis levels and that human activity – the burning of fossil fuels – is the primary cause. In its 869-page report, the NAS, a group of American researchers that advises the U.S. government, urged Congress to adopt specific policy measures to halt the undesirable effects of global warming. James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute, finds the NAS membership is fatally comprised of global warming activists who are pursuing a political agenda and ignoring competing scientific data. Taylor was project manager for the Fourth International Read More ›

Lord Monckton’s Climate Testimony Before Congress

Here’s an enjoyable piece of testimony from May 6th, 2010 by Lord Christopher Monckton before Congress. For the pdf of his testimony, go here. His point about science not being a matter of consensus is well taken and was stated even more eloquently by Michael Crichton in his 2003 Caltech Michelin lecture (go here). Also important is the point Monckton made about science functioning as a monopsony (one buyer for many sellers; in monopoly there’s one seller for many buyers). The buyer, according to him, is the public, but properly speaking it’s the government funding agencies that take our tax dollars. As effectively the only funder, it can dictate the type of product made, in this case, climate research that supports anthropogenic Read More ›

We’re Not Critics – We’re Enemies!

Today’s Fox News website had this little story, entitled Climate Scientists Plan to Hit Back at Skeptics. In the article, Stanford University climate researcher Paul R. Ehrlich had this to say about global warming skeptics:

“Most of our colleagues don’t seem to grasp that we’re not in a gentlepersons’ debate, we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules,” Paul R. Ehrlich, a Stanford University researcher, said in one of the e-mails.

Its worth noting Ehrlich’s use of the phrase “merciless enemies”. In other words, challenge the preferred dogma, and you’re not just ignorant – you’re an enemy, and thus, by extension, deserving of any and all ad hominem attacks hurled your way. One can almost hear “let me assure you, we haf vays to make you accept the dogma!” Read More ›

Al Gore comes out of hiding

Part of Al Gore’s credibility problem is his blatant conflict of interest, having profitted enormously from pushing AGW. Fortunately, ID proponents can’t say that we’ve lined our coffers pursuing ID. Sure, Barbara Forrest, Eugenie Scott, and Ken Miller constantly proclaim the contrary — from their well-heeled positions, funded largely by public moneys. In any case, this just in regarding our former vice president: A Blizzard Of Lies From Al Gore Posted 03/01/2010 06:41 PM ET Climate Fraud: Al Gore resurfaces in an op-ed to say that nobody’s perfect, everybody makes mistakes and climate change is still real. And he has some oceanfront property in the Himalayas to sell you. If hyperbole and chutzpah had a child, it would be the opening Read More ›

Climategate: Plausibility and the blogosphere in the post-normal age.

Philosopher at Large, Dr. Jerome Ravetz has a fascinating exploration of moral and peer review issues on ClimateGate as “Post-Normal science” at Watts Up With That

. . .
At the end of January 2010 two distinguished scientific institutions shared headlines with Tony Blair over accusations of the dishonest and possibly illegal manipulation of information. Our ‘Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035′ of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is matched by his ‘dodgy dossier’ of Saddam’s fictitious subversions. . . . The parallels are significant and troubling, for on both sides they involve a betrayal of public trust. . . .
Climategate is particularly significant because it cannot be blamed on the well-known malign influences from outside science, be they greedy corporations or an unscrupulous State. This scandal, and the resulting crisis, was created by people within science who can be presumed to have been acting with the best of intentions. Read More ›

“Overwhelming Scientific Evidence” yet again

Whenever I hear the phrase “overwhelming evidence” or “overwhelming scientific evidence,” my antennae go up and I know that someone is trying to sell me something. Last night, if you were watching the networks, you heard the following remark: I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future — because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. I’d like to encourage people to post in the comments to this thread other examples where the phrase “overwhelming [scientific] evidence” is Read More ›

Climategate at Wikipedia vs. Conservapedia

Go here for Wikipedia’s treatment of Climategate and here for Conservapedia’s treatment of it. True to form, Wikipedia argues that the hacking of the CRU server changes nothing. Conservapedia, by contrast, treats Climategate as further confirmation that AGW is a ruse. Interesting is the following quote from their Climategate article: It was reported that, despite Climategate related pages being the most-read articles of the UK’s Telegraph entire online operation, mysteriously when attempting to search using Google -– it didn’t feature links related to Climategate.[67] James Delingpole from the Telegraph noted, “Instead, the top-featured item is a blogger pushing Al Gore’s AGW agenda. Perhaps there’s nothing sinister in this. Perhaps some Google-savvy reader can enlighten me.”[68] Google.com has been accused before Read More ›

Climategate: If you can’t stand the cold, get out of the freezer

Yes, there has definitely been a chill around climate science in recent weeks. Brrr!!

Patrick J. Michaels, who used to study and write about climate, comments on Climategate:

After Messrs. Jones and Mann threatened a boycott of publications and reviews, half the editorial board of Climate Research resigned. People who didn’t toe Messrs. Wigley, Mann and Jones’s line began to experience increasing difficulty in publishing their results.

This happened to me and to the University of Alabama’s Roy Spencer, who also hypothesized that global warming is likely to be modest. Others surely stopped trying, tiring of summary rejections of good work by editors scared of the mob. Sallie Baliunas, for example, has disappeared from the scientific scene.

GRL is a very popular refereed journal. Mr. Wigley was concerned that one of the editors was “in the skeptics camp.” He emailed Michael Mann to say that “if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official . . . channels to get him ousted.”

Mr. Mann wrote to Mr. Wigley on Nov. 20, 2005 that “It’s one thing to lose ‘Climate Research.’ We can’t afford to lose GRL.” In this context, “losing” obviously means the publication of anything that they did not approve of on global warming.

Soon the suspect editor, Yale’s James Saiers, was gone. Mr. Mann wrote to the CRU’s Phil Jones that “the GRL leak may have been plugged up now w/ new editorial leadership there.”

It didn’t stop there. Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory complained that the Royal Meteorological Society (RMS) was now requiring authors to provide actual copies of the actual data that was used in published papers. He wrote to Phil Jones on March 19, 2009, that “If the RMS is going to require authors to make ALL data available—raw data PLUS results from all intermediate calculations—I will not submit any further papers to RMS journals.” (Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2009)

Now, in assessing Climategate, I must begin by making clear that I have no axe to grind. The planet could be warming up, and human activity could be partly responsible. I am all for ecology; I just wish most of the people fronting environmentalism in my zone were not fashionable urbanites who can’t imagine that our ecology, which has existed since the close of the last local Ice Age , may be sturdier than they think. 

To say nothing of  ambitious politicos looking to gain power that a constitutional monarchy or republic would not normally permit.

Actually, according to the Canadian Museum of Nature, we – at any rate – are still in an Ice Age (Quaternary Period). Well, that maybe explains why we don’t grow bananas here, though we import plenty.

Meanwhile, here’s another of the burgeoning mass of stories on the Climategate scam: Read More ›

Coffee!! Could Climategaters and Darwinists share a shrine to save money?

In “Promises, Promises,” Stuart Blackman warns: “Ill-judged predictions and projections can be embarrassing at best and, at worst, damaging to the authority of science and science policy. (The Scientist, Volume 23 | Issue 11 | Page 28). (Registration wall) As Michael Gerson, who does not dispute global warming, puts it, in the famous East Anglia e-mail thread: … the dominant voices are ideological. The attitude seems to be: Insiders can question, if they don’t go too far. Outsiders who threaten the movement are “idiots.” This attitude is demonstrated, not only by private e-mails, but also by the public reaction of prominent scientists to those e-mails. They show “scientists at work.” They are “pretty innocuous.” They are “understandable and mostly excusable.” “We Read More ›

Intellectual freedom: The difference the blogosphere makes

In “Bloggers peer review a scientific ‘consensus,'” Gordon Crovitz writes (Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2009),

Unlike Watergate, Climategate didn’t come to light because investigative journalists ferreted out the truth. Instead, this story so far has played itself out largely on blogs, often run by the same scientists who had a hard time getting printed in the scientific journals. Climategate has provided a voice to the scientists who had been frozen out of the debate.

This may be how information-based scandals play out in the future: A leak from a whistleblower directly onto the Web. Expert bloggers then assess what the disclosures mean—a Web version of peer review.

Yes, precisely. Today’s scandals do not usually involve conventional stuff like pricey hotsie totsie dancers at the lab holiday party, on the tax tab. No, it’s more like this:

Blogging scientists have been busy reviewing the 15,000 lines of code by programmers that were included in the “Documents” folder of the leaked materials. The latest twist is hidden notations in the data from programmers that indicate where they had manipulated results. The programmers expressed frustration when the numbers didn’t fit the case for global warming.

Comments in the code include “These will be artificially adjusted to look closer to the real temperatures,” referring to an effort to suppress data showing that the Middle Ages were warmer than today. Comments inside the code also described an “adjustment” as follows: “Apply a VERY ARTIFICIAL correction for decline!!” Another notation indicated when a “fudge factor” had been added.

Read the rest here. You will be amazed at the nonsense and sloppiness – for example, locating weather stations near heating vents, etc. That would be like me forecasting the weather standing beside the vent from the dryers in a nearby apartment building’s laundry room. No wonder it would be Florida to me and a frozen waste to you.

Why this matters: There are probably a number of areas where fudge is factored, but we don’t know which ones, do we?

Expect pushback against independent media from non-transparent legacy sources. Read More ›

How much attention should we pay to pundit predictions?

Maybe not so much. Jonah Lehrer, contributing editor at Wired, and blogger at The Frontal Cortex writes,

In the early 1980s, Philip Tetlock at UC Berkeley picked two hundred and eighty-four people who made their living “commenting or offering advice on political and economic trends” and began asking them to make predictions about future events. He had a long list of pertinent questions. Would George Bush be re-elected? Would there be a peaceful end to apartheid in South Africa? Would Quebec secede from Canada? Would the dot-com bubble burst? In each case, the pundits were asked to rate the probability of several possible outcomes. Tetlock then interrogated the pundits about their thought process, so that he could better understand how they made up their minds. By the end of the study, Tetlock had quantified 82,361 different predictions.

After Tetlock tallied up the data, the predictive failures of the pundits became obvious. Although they were paid for their keen insights into world affairs, they tended to perform worse than random chance. Most of Tetlock’s questions had three possible answers; the pundits, on average, selected the right answer less than 33 percent of the time. In other words, a dart-throwing chimp would have beaten the vast majority of professionals. Tetlock also found that the most famous pundits in Tetlock’s study tended to be the least accurate, consistently churning out overblown and overconfident forecasts. Eminence was a handicap.

Lehrer worries that bad expert advice can “reliably tamp down activity in brain regions” that monitor errors and mistakes.

Rest here.

For Tetlock, go here.

I am skeptical of the mechanistic, brain-based explanation Lehrer offers. People often believe things because the social rewards of belief are greater than the social rewards of disbelief.

For example, if I said that I didn’t believe that polar bear numbers are drastically decreasing (see also here), some people out there would assume that I enjoy torturing kittens on my break, and would not accept my view as a considered judgement. And if they can find a pundit to back them up, that is all they need. The problem is that they then vote for public policy that might not work out the way they hope.

Here is an example: Read More ›

Coffee!!: What do polls mean?

Here, Barry offered some poll numbers re beliefs of Americans: Percentage of Americans who believe in angels: 55 Percentage of Americans who believe in evolution: 39 Percentage of Americans who believe in anthropogenic global warming: 36 Percentage of Americans who believe in ghosts: 34 Percentage of Americans who believe in UFOs: 34 Some commenters wanted to know how to interpret this: Before I get back to work, I will tell you how: Angels are a teaching of all the major ethical monotheist traditions, and most of the minor ones. So we should not be surprised that a much higher number of people believe in them than believe in, say, UFOs – which are not taught by any seriously regarded institution. Read More ›

Do humans influence temperature records?

Can the methods of Intelligent Design be brought to bear to detect anthropogenic influence in temperature records? Core to the climate debate is the danger of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. We hear of “tipping points” promising coast lands drowning in glacial melt. Defining “very likely” as > 90%, the IPCC’s Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report holds that:

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations.

In The Smoking Gun At Darwin Zero Willis Eschenback examines temperature records at Darwin, North Australia. Read More ›

Puzzled about the climate uproar? Wonder why anyone cares? Before you run off to devour caviar in Copenhagen …

Here’s the clearest explanation of Climategate I have encountered, with charts showing how one can create global warming:

while reconstructions — as past temperature interpretations from proxy data are called – can differ greatly from one source to another, those generated by the CRU have often been accepted as the de facto temperatures of the past.

This is largely because the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) proclaims them to be.

Sound familiar?

I am not saying global warming or, anyway, climate change is not happening. Always has, always will. And some of it may be due to man. But, based on events at East Anglia, I just do not trust the people in charge of interpreting the data any more. For all I know, lots of other data has been fudged too.

If it were a bank, I would withdraw my savings immediately. Wouldn’t you? It’s no use the board of directors trying to tell me that only one branch is corrupt. Before, they told me all branches were honest.

The least useful thing I could hear is that man-caused global warming is “consensus science.” I’d expect to hear that if the scandal is widespread. Anyway, you will doubtless find Mark Sheppard’s explanation helpful. Also: In “Scientists Behaving Badly: A corrupt cabal of global warming alarmists are exposed by a massive document leak,” Steven F. Hayward for The Weekly Standard offers a basic outline of the scandal here.

Canada’s Rex Murphy, for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, is an honourable exception to a wearisome pile of legacy media sludge vendors, attempting to assure us mushrooms that there is nothing to see here instead of doing their job. Here’s Murphy:

Here is the transcript of his broadcast.

Murphy sees what the climate lobby doesn’t: The issues are trust, accountability, and transparency. Lines like

“Trust me, I’m an expert”, “You just fell off the turnip truck, whereas I am a famous scientist,” and “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” have been heard before by all kinds of people in all kinds of situations – and those lines are wearing very thin indeed.

Why does it all matter? Why can’t we just be more ecological? But what does it mean to be more ecological? What if we are doing the wrong things? For example, the mascot for global warming in these parts is the polar bear on the vanishing ice flow. But the bear himself is not vanishing, rather increasing in numbers, perhaps due to more sources of food.

While we are here anyway, other comments and links:

Read More ›

“The Totalities of Copenhagen”

Bret Stevens’ article today in the WSJ, “The Totalities of Copenhagen,” again shows the strong parallels between the global warming debate and the evolution debate, especially with the proclivity of AGW and evolution advocates to quash all dissent. Consider, from his piece, the following characteristics of the AGW advocates: • Revolutionary fervor: There’s a distinct tendency among climate alarmists toward uncompromising radicalism, a hatred of “bourgeois” values, a disgust with democratic practices. So President Obama wants to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 83% from current levels by 2050, levels not seen since the 1870s—in effect, the Industrial Revolution in reverse. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, insists that “our lifestyles are unsustainable.” Al Gore Read More ›