Climatologist Judith Curry saying farewell to academia

Judith Curry, the Georgia Tech climatology professor vilified by her peers for trying to have a meaningful dialogue with CAGW skeptics, is taking early retirement from academia to focus on a startup company dealing with long-term climate forecasting.

The moneygraf from her letter:
“[…] I started to realize that academia and universities nationwide were undergoing substantial changes. I came across a recent article that expresses part of what is wrong: Universities are becoming like mechanical nightingales.

“The reward system that is in place for university faculty members is becoming increasingly counterproductive to actually educating students to be able to think and cope in the real world, and in expanding the frontiers of knowledge in a meaningful way[…]”

It is always sad to see the departure of any academic who is truly committed to the spirit of free inquiry. Here’s wishing her the very best in her new venture and I hope to be hearing more of her!

Climate Etc.

by Judith Curry

Effective January 1, I have resigned my tenured faculty position at Georgia Tech.

View original post 1,620 more words

UCSB physicist Hal Lewis resigns from the American Physical Society with a screed against climate alarmism and its enablers

Watts Up With That reports that UCSB physicist Hal Lewis (more about him here) resigned from the American Physical Society with a blistering resignation letter in which he dares to call the organization’s position on AGW:

Hal Lewis: My Resignation From The American Physical Society - an important moment in science history I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.- Hal Lewis

Read More at Watts Up With That? who call the letter the scientific equivalent of Martin Luther nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the church gate at Wittenberg.

Walter Russell Mead: climate alarmism as the new Prohibitionism

Walter Russell Mead gives a smackdown to the CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) crowd that deserves to be read in full.

Note that he is not an AGW “denier”  (in the Godwinesque loaded language of the CAGW crowd): he thinks we may well have a problem on our hands. Rather he draws an analogy with the Prohibitionists: they were drawing attention to a very real problem (alcoholism and its social ravages), but their policy prescription (Prohibition) turned out to be so disastrous that it led to the only example in US history where a constitutional amendment (the 18th, establishing Prohibition) had to be annulled by another (the 21st).

Another analogy he draws is with the interbellum anti-war movement, which likewise addressed a very real issue (the carnage of wars in general, and most recently WW I in particular) but whose policy prescriptions, implemented, set the stage for an even bloodier WW II.

This doesn’t mean that nothing can or should be done.  Nudging the US economy toward less energy intensive activity while cutting the costs of hiring people is a sensible way to promote the kind of high tech, complex service economy that will serve us best down the road with or without global warming[…]

I note that the Indian government, as allergic as ever to the Copenhagen approach, is attempting to end that country’s wasteful and destructive policy of subsidizing energy use by keeping fuel costs artificially low.  This is happening for economic, not environmental reasons: the Indian government simply cannot afford the cost of these subsidies, and it is prepared to face strikes and protests to see the reforms through.  This single reform if carried through and sustained, is likely to do more for the environment than the complex, expensive, time consuming and largely ineffectual Kyoto Protocol.  Ending fuel subsidies was not a green idea; it was a growth idea.  It was not a global policy; it was an Indian policy.  The ideas that get us out of this mess will be ideas that work for specific countries and that make the economy work better, produce more wealth and use energy and raw materials more efficiently.

Alcohol abuse was a real problem in 1918, but the Prohibitionist belief that there was One Big Legislative Answer only made things worse.  Over the years, we’ve made progress on reducing the effect of alcohol abuse on our society in various ways.  Organizations like AA have helped millions stop drinking while leaving those who can drink responsibly to do so in peace.  Strict enforcement of drunk driving laws has dramatically reduced highway deaths due to drink.  Many of the most important advances had nothing to do with direct assaults on the alcohol problem.  Increased economic competition ended the days of the three martini lunch.  Attacks on discrimination against women have given women and children more economic choices when Daddy spends all his money at the corner saloon; enforcement of laws against domestic violence has helped curb the vicious spouse and child abuse that was once part of John Barleycorn’s toll on our society.  We are not all the way there yet, and as long as human nature is what it is we may never get there, but once we had the good sense to ignore Carry Nation and the crazy Prohibitionist cranks, we were able to make significant and sustained progress dealing with the problem.

Something like this is going to have to happen on the climate front.  Relatively small steps, or larger steps often undertaken for reasons that have little directly to do with climate, will have to see us through.  Until more greens understand that, and until the green movement as a whole disabuses itself of the dangerous fantasy that the way to solve our environmental problems is to embrace Malthusian fantasies, utopian treaties and grandiose laws, the green movement will continue to be a drag on human progress — even as the computer models get better and the temperature goes up.

At best, the green movement might be compared to an alarm clock: jangling shrilly to wake up the world.  That is fair enough; they have turned our attention to a problem that needs to be carefully examined and dealt with.  But the first thing you do when you wake up is to turn the alarm clock off; otherwise that shrill beeping noise will distract you from the problems of the day.

The alarm clock will never understand this; making shrill and irrational noise is what alarm clocks do and is all they understand.  But sensible and thoughtful people who want humanity to live fuller, richer lives in a cleaner and more sustainable world need to get past the naive and crude policy ideas that currently dominate green thinking and start giving these questions the serious attention and careful thought they deserve.


NAS compiles dossier on AGW “deniers”, including… NAS members

This is the sort of thing that, if this were even possible, would make me feel ashamed to call myself a scientist. Frank Tipler:

The National Academy of Sciences, in its official journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has just published a list of scientists whom it claims should not be believed on the subject of global warming. I am number 38 on the list. The list of 496 is in descending order of scientific credentials.

Professor Freeman Dyson of the Institute for Advanced Study, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Royal Society, is number 3 on the list. Dyson is a friend of mine and is one of the creators of relativistic quantum field theory; most physicists think he should have shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Richard Feynman. MIT professor Richard Lindzen, a meteorologist who is also a member of the National Academy, is number 4. Princeton physics professor William Happer, once again a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is number 6.

I’m in good company.

The list is actually available only online. The published article, which links to the list, argues that the skeptical scientists — the article calls us “climate deniers,” trying to equate us with Holocaust deniers — have published less in climate “science” than believers in anthropogenic global warming (AGW).


But if the entire field of climate “science” is suspect, if the leaders of the field of climate “science” are suspected of faking their results and are accused of arranging for their critics’ papers to be rejected by “peer-reviewed” journals, then lack of publication in climate “science” is an argument for taking us more seriously than the leaders of the climate “science.”

Freeman Dyson, for example, was not trained as a physicist but as a mathematician. His contribution to quantum field theory was applying his mathematical skills to showing that Feynman’s work was mathematically rigorous and mathematically equivalent to another formulation due to Julian Schwinger (who shared the Nobel with Feynman). Freeman has spent the fifty years after this work switching from field to field, always making important contributions to these fields, and making them precisely because he has looked at the evidence from a different point of view.

Dick Lindzen actually is an insider in real climate science, but he is an insider who can’t be bought, an insider who follows the evidence rather than the grant money.

Will Happer is mainly an experimental atomic physicist, but a physicist who has a decades-old reputation for investigating extraordinary claims in all areas of physics.  Will was one of the experimentalists who exposed the cold fusion scam a number of years ago.

As for myself, I’m a cosmologist, with a special interest in the anthropic principle, as my National Academy of Sciences security police dossier correctly notes. Twenty odd years ago, I co-authored a book, published by Oxford University Press, on the anthropic principle. As my co-author and I pointed out, the essence of the anthropic principle is eliminating human bias from the interpretation of observations, and we focused mainly on eliminating such bias from cosmology.

“Seek the truth wherever thou mayest find it” has, sadly, become “seek grant money wherever thou mayest find it” for all too many.

For rather more refreshing reading, have a look at the website of Israeli astrophysicist Nir Shaviv,,  A couple of suggestions: “Cosmic rays and climate“, and “ClimateGate and the hockey stick: not news to me“.

ClimateGate redux+Strange new respect for the Tea Party

Today’s Best of the Web has lots of good stuf: let’s just quote two items.

Scientific M.O.
London’s Daily Telegraph reports on the latest global-warming scandal, “a scheme to claim $60 billion in carbon credits for keeping intact a large chunk of the Amazon rainforest which is not under any threat”:

The architects of this imaginative project are the environmental campaigners of the WWF and their close ally the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts.

Last week a letter to this newspaper from Woods Hole’s CEO, William Brown, averred that it was not, as I had said, an “environmental advocacy group” but a “widely respected scientific institution.” This is precisely the claim which has been dismissed by, among others, the renowned atmospheric physicist Professor Richard Lindzen, who has more than once emphasised that the Woods Hole Research Center is “an environmental advocacy center, not to be confused with the far better known Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,” a genuinely respected scientific body.

Meanwhile another advocacy organization, Greenpeace, is urging “mass civil disobedience” to intimidate those who are skeptical about global warming:

If you’re one of those who believe that this is not just necessary but also possible, speak to us. Let’s talk about what that mass civil disobedience is going to look like.

If you’re one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this:

We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.

And we be many, but you be few.

That be politics. It sound like incitement, though threat not be imminent, so probably it be protected by First Amendment. But definitely it not be science.

Strange New Respect

There was a time, oh, a week or two ago, when the mainstream media portrayed the tea-party movement as an assortment of crazed angry extremist redneck racist idiots. What changed?

The headline we’ve given this column is a phrase coined by the conservative writer Tom Bethell to refer to the media’s attitude toward conservatives who veer leftward. What we’re about to describe is a bit different: more an epiphany on the media’s part than a change in the object of coverage. It seems unlikely that the tea-partiers have suddenly become mainstream.

Yet that’s what you’d think from reading some of the recent coverage. The Christian Science Monitor, which a month ago baselessly labeled Pentagon shooter John Patrick Bedell a “right-wing extremist,” begins a Saturday story by rehearsing the stereotypes but then cautions that “political experts say that many such criticisms are near-sighted, if not outright inappropriate–and ultimately may miss the point”:

Indeed, polls suggest that tea party activists are not only more mainstream than many critics suggest, but that a majority of them are women (primarily mothers), not angry white men.

What’s more, the release this week of the top three planks of the “crowd-sourced” Contract From America project, to some activists, shows a maturation from sign-wielding protesters to a political reform movement grounded in ideas.

The top three vote-getters among 360,000 respondents on the Contract From America website: Calling for an enumerated powers act to force lawmakers to check the constitionality [sic] of new laws; requiring a two-thirds majority in Congress for any tax hike; and a legislative backstop to prevent the EPA from “backdoor regulating.”

CNN–which became notorious a year ago for its hostile coverage of the movement, including the use of antigay slurs–carries a report titled “Disgruntled Democrats Join the Tea Party”:

Some Americans who say they have been sympathetic to Democratic causes in the past — some even voted for Democratic candidates–are angry with President Obama and his party. They say they are now supporting the Tea Party–a movement that champions less government, lower taxes and the defeat of Democrats even though it’s not formally aligned with the Republican Party.

To be sure, the number of Democrats in the Tea Party movement is small. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows that while 96 percent of Tea Party activists identify themselves as either Republican or Independent, only 4 percent say they are Democrats.

Another poll, however, suggests this is less of a dog-bites-man story than CNN makes it out to be. “Four in 10 Tea Party members are either Democrats or Independents, according to a new national survey,” reports the Hill:

The national breakdown of the Tea Party composition is 57 percent Republican, 28 percent Independent and 13 percent Democratic, according to three national polls by the Winston Group, a Republican-leaning firm that conducted the surveys on behalf of an education advocacy group. Two-thirds of the group call themselves conservative, 26 are moderate and 8 percent say they are liberal.

Writing in the Washington Examiner, Kristen Soltis of the Winston Group notes another important point:

What truly sets the Tea Party apart from even Republicans or conservatives broadly is its commitment to economic conservatism. Tea Party members, like voters overall, are very focused on the economy and jobs; some 36 percent say it is their top issue. Yet while only 6 percent of voters overall say that the national deficit and spending are their top issues, that number spikes to 21 percent among Tea Party members.

The Tea Party is a movement defined by its preference for fiscal restraint and low taxes. Presented with two competing proposals to create jobs, over four out of five Tea Party members say tax cuts for small business will create more jobs than increased government spending on infrastructure. When the options were expanded, tax cuts still were chosen as the top job creator, but are closely followed by “expanding development of all energy resources.” Interestingly enough, the next runner up–“cracking down on illegal immigration”–was not more popular among Tea Party members (19 percent) than voters overall (16 percent).

When it comes down to it, the Tea Party does not appear to be focused on economic conservatism as an end in and of itself. When asked in the January survey if they favored “reducing unemployment to 5 percent” or balancing the budget, 63 percent chose reducing unemployment–a negligible difference from the 64% of voters overall who agree. Jobs are the goal–items like tax cuts and balanced budgets are a means to achieve that goal.

It all adds up to a remarkably broad-based and nonideological movement–one that has gained strength as the Democrats who currently run Washington have proved themselves to be narrow and ideological. Had President Obama governed from the center–above all, had he heeded public opinion and abandoned his grandiose plans to transform America, he might well have held the allegiance of many of the people who now sympathize with the tea party.

How is it that the media’s approach has changed so dramatically in just the past couple of weeks? Perhaps the Democrats simply went too far when they claimed that tea-party protesters had shouted racial slurs at black congressmen during the ObamaCare weekend. The media, of course, repeated these claims, but no evidence has surfaced to corroborate them, and Andrew Breitbart makes a very good case for skepticism:

The proof that the N-word wasn’t said once, let alone 15 times, as Rep. Andre Carson claimed, is that soon thereafter–even though the press dutifully reported it as truth–Nancy Pelosi followed the alleged hate fest, which allegedly included someone spitting, by walking through the crowd with a gavel in hand and a sh—eating grin on her face. Had the incidents reported by the Congressional Black Caucus actually occurred the Capitol Police would have been negligent to allow the least popular person to that crowd–the Speaker–to put herself in harm’s way.

Reader Taylor Dinerman notes: “Part of the function of a political media operation is to make the other side despair, lose hope, feel bad, etc. It’s one of the reasons I gave up reading the New York Times. In one of Isaac Asimov’s Empire series, he describes a drug called ‘desperance’ whose function is to make whoever takes it despair and be ready to kill or commit suicide. The bad guys feed it to someone they intend to use to murder the galactic emperor.”

Tales of tea-party racism could have been calculated to demoralize America’s anti-ObamaCare majority by presenting them with an ugly choice: accept the fate the Democrats have imposed upon us, or side with (as the Christian Science Monitor puts it) “neo-Klansmen and knuckle-dragging hillbillies.” The strange new respect for the tea-party movement suggests that this approach is too invidiously partisan even for the mainstream media.

ClimateGate redux: “When the Germans give up on AGW…”

James Delingpole (via Roger Simon): “When the Germans give up on AGW you really know it is all over“, anthologizes a long feature article in Der Spiegel (note: article split up over 7 webpages) on the ClimateGate controversy. While Der Spiegel (Germany’s premier news and opinion magazine, generally reliably liberal in its tone) is not exactly jumping aboard the train, they are clearly breaking ranks with the AGW hysterics. Some choice bits:

On the recently vindicated Prof Phil Jones:

“I am 100 percent confident that the climate has warmed,” Jones says imploringly. “I did not manipulate or fabricate any data.”

His problem is that the public doesn’t trust him anymore. Since unknown hackers secretly copied 1,073 private emails between members of his research team and published them on the Internet, his credibility has been destroyed — and so has that of an entire profession that had based much of its work on his research until now.

On the politicisation of science:

Reinhard Hüttl, head of the German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam near Berlin and the president of the German Academy of Science and Engineering, believes that basic values are now under threat. “Scientists should never be as wedded to their theories that they are no longer capable of refuting them in the light of new findings,” he says. Scientific research, Hüttl adds, is all about results, not beliefs. Unfortunately, he says, there are more and more scientists who want to be politicians.

On the Urban Heat Island Effect (complete with nice dig at the aforementioned “exonerated, give him his job back” Prof Jones)

Critics reproach Jones for not taking one factor, in particular, sufficiently into account: the growth of urban areas. Stations that used to be rural are now in cities. And because it is always warmer in cities than outside, the temperatures measured at these stations are bound to rise.

Environmental economist Ross McKitrick, one of McIntyre’s associates, examined all rapidly growing countries, in which this urban heat effect was to be expected, and found a correlation between economic growth and temperature rise. He submitted his study in time for the last IPCC report.

Jones did everything he could to suppress the publication, which was critical of him. It proved advantageous to him that he had been one of the two main authors of the temperature chapter. In one of the hacked emails, he openly admitted that he wanted to keep this interfering publication out of the IPCC report at all costs, “even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

On the myth of monster storms:

The all-clear signal on the hurricane front is another setback for the IPCC. In keeping with lead author Kevin Trenberth’s predictions, the IPCC report warned that there would be more hurricanes in a greenhouse climate. One of the graphs in the IPCC report is particularly mysterious. Without specifying a source, the graph suggestively illustrates how damage caused by extreme weather increases with rising average temperatures.

When hurricane expert Roger Pielke, Jr. of the University of Colorado at Boulder saw the graph, he was appalled. “I would like to discover this sort of relationship myself,” he says, “but it simply isn’t supported by the facts at the moment.”

Pielke tried to find out where the graph had come from. He traced it to the chief scientist at a London firm that performs risk calculations for major insurance companies. The insurance scientist claims that the graph was never meant for publication. How the phantom graph found its way into the IPCC report is still a mystery.

Der Spiegel would never have got away with this article four years ago. But then, in 2006, according to a poll, 62 per cent of Germans surveyed answered “Yes” to the question “Are you personally afraid of climate change.” In 2010 that figure has dropped to 42 per cent, which for those of you who haven’t done the math means that the majority of Germans are now not personally afraid of climate change.

Elsewhere in the article, Der Spiegel make mincemeat of the idea of polar icecaps melting away and quote more plausible figures of sea level rises (18 cm to 1.90 m by the end of the century). It even has the heretic suggestion that global warming may actually have positive as well as negative consequences, that Germany might experience some benefits as well as downsides, and that the downsides may be comparable to some Germany is already coping with for other reasons in any case.

ClimateGate: Doubling down

I always figured that, while I’ve been ashamed of a number of things, I’m incapable of shame about being a scientist by training. The following item from today’s “Best of the web” makes me reconsider:

Redoubling Their Efforts
“Undaunted by a rash of scandals over the science underpinning climate change, top climate researchers are plotting to respond with what one scientist involved said needs to be ‘an outlandishly aggressively partisan approach’ to gut the credibility of skeptics,” the Washington Times reports:

In private e-mails obtained by The Washington Times, climate scientists at the National Academy of Sciences say they are tired of “being treated like political pawns” and need to fight back in kind. Their strategy includes forming a nonprofit group to organize researchers and use their donations to challenge critics by running a back-page ad in the New York Times.

“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.

Some scientists question the tactic and say they should focus instead on perfecting their science, but the researchers who are organizing the effort say the political battle is eroding confidence in their work.

“This was an outpouring of angry frustration on the part of normally very staid scientists who said, ‘God, can’t we have a civil dialogue here and discuss the truth without spinning everything,'” said Stephen H. Schneider, a Stanford professor and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment who was part of the e-mail discussion but wants the scientists to take a slightly different approach.

We almost have to wonder if this is a joke. These so-called scientists are in trouble because they have long acted like aggressive partisans rather than honest seeks of truth. Is it really possible that they think they’ll get out of trouble by doing more of the same? It’s almost as if a politician, having pursued unpopular policies and suffered a rebuke at the polls, decided to push even harder for the same rejected policies. Except that any smart politician would know better.

“Global warming”-inspired suicide pact

Not as a rhetorical term for draconian environmental policy, but as the real thing. Insty has a brief roundup:

[Daily Mail:] Enviros’ “Eliminationist Rhetoric” claims lives of parents, kids. “Argentines Francisco Lotero, 56, and Miriam Coletti, 23, shot their children before killing themselves after making an apparent suicide pact over fears about global warming.”

UPDATE: Related: Head of ‘Climategate’ research unit admits sending ‘pretty awful emails’ to hide data.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Blaming Al Gore? No.

After a year’s worth of unhinged lefties blaming conservative bloggers, pundits, and activists for every crime spree on the planet, it would be just deserts to blame Al Gore for the alleged global warming-inspired murders reported in the UK Daily Mail today. But count me out of that game. . . . In any case, Al Gore is responsible for enough fraud and misery without overreaching and laying this strange case at his feet.

Leave the hysterical smear-mongering to Frank Rich, Andrew Sullivan, Paul Krugman, and Keith Olbermann.

Well, they’ve had more practice.

ClimateGate: there’s no business like snow business

Watts Up With That: “There’s no business like snow business” starts out with Moscow (Russia, not Idaho) having the thickest snow cover since 1966. It goes on to repeat the claims of the AGW crowd that ‘snowfall will become a rare event’, and contrasting them with claims today that global warming will cause increased snowfall (no kidding). “The great thing about global warming is that you can blame anything on it, and then deny it later.” If so, statements aren’t falsifiable, and the only thing that’s “settled” about the science is that it isn’t science.

Meanwhile, Sen. James Inhofe is calling for an investigation of Johannes Tetzel Al Gore, soon to be an indulgences “carbon credits” billionaire.

ClimateGate update: “Noble cause corruption” edition

Steven Mosher, the guy who brought the ClimateGate emails to general attention, looks back and ascribes what went wrong not to fraud but to “noble cause corruption“, the belief that cutting corners of process is permissible for the sake of achieving an outcome that serves the greater good. The commenters aren’t on board with the idea that the corruption is noble. “SPN news” in particular offers an irreverent explanation.

A PajamasMedia exclusive series on “ClimateGate 2.0” is now up to part 4. (See also Parts One, Two, and Three.)

MIT Professor Richard Lindzen published the following letter to the editor of The Boston Globe, which is short and to the point:

KERRY EMANUEL’S Feb. 15 op-ed “Climate changes are proven fact’’ is more advocacy than assessment. Vague terms such as “consistent with,’’ “probably,’’ and “potentially’’ hardly change this. Certainly climate change is real; it occurs all the time. To claim that the little we’ve seen is larger than any change we “have been able to discern’’ for a thousand years is disingenuous. Panels of the National Academy of Sciences and Congress have concluded that the methods used to claim this cannot be used for more than 400 years, if at all. Even the head of the deservedly maligned Climatic Research Unit acknowledges that the medieval period may well have been warmer than the present.

The claim that everything other than models represents “mere opinion and speculation’’ is also peculiar. Despite their faults, models show that projections of significant warming depend critically on clouds and water vapor, and the physics of these processes can be observationally tested (the normal scientific approach); at this point, the models seem to be failing.

Finally, given a generation of environmental propaganda, a presidential science adviser (John Holdren) who has promoted alarm since the 1970s, and a government that proposes funding levels for climate research about 20 times the levels in 1991, courage seems hardly the appropriate description – at least for scientists supporting such alarm.

Richard S. Lindzen
The writer is Alfred P. Sloan professor of atmospheric sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Via the comments, a few quotes that remain relevant:

Don’t you believe in flying saucers, they ask me? Don’t you believe in telepathy? — in ancient astronauts? — in the Bermuda triangle? — in life after death?

No, I reply. No, no, no, no, and again no.

One person recently, goaded into desperation by the litany of unrelieved negation, burst out “Don’t you believe in anything?”

“Yes”, I said. “I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”

— Isaac Asimov

“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” (Richard P. Feynman)

ClimateGate update: “climate change dance” edition

Pending further updates on the neverending ClimateGate story, today’s featured post is by my blog-ancestor Zombie: Fancy Carbon Footwork: “Climate-change dance theory”. Some teaser quotes:

My thesis is that once any movement begins to engage in hollow, ridiculous and futile gestures (such as “dancing for” anything), it’s an indicator that the movement has run out of steam and will soon go extinct. It is therefore with great interest that I’ve been noticing not just the strange new outbreak and continuous barrage of climate change dances but more significantly an upcoming lecture being given at U.C. Berkeley entitled Mitigating Global Warming Through Art — Exploring the Importance of Music for the Change of Lifestyles. The listing for the talk (given by visiting lecturer Maximilian Mayer at U.C. Berkeley’s Institute of European Studies) notes that “Music in general and art in particular seems to be a promising Archimedean point for multiple new life styles. Performing music and dancing combine the advantages of those three alternative approaches. Additionally, they may be powerful enough to substitute the culture of consumerism since they enable a creativity-based self-autonomy as well as cultural self-sufficiency.” In other words, not only have the global warming alarmists started dancing in a last-ditch attempt to save the planet, but they have now even developed an academic pseudo-scientific theory as to why dancing is a necessary and perhaps the only remaining way to prevent the climate from changing.

Zombie goes on to savagely fisk some of the lecture. Read the whole thing, as they say. And “Pi Guy” recommended this video:

UPDATE: don’t miss this essay by Doctor Zero, “Green Death” (at; at his own site). It discusses the anti-DDT campaign, the tens of millions of malaria deaths it caused — in the Third World — in the name of environmentalism, and the parallels between the DDT and CO2 scares. A few teaser quotes:

Published in 1962, Silent Spring used manipulated data and wildly exaggerated claims (sound familiar?) to push for a worldwide ban on the pesticide known as DDT – which is, to this day, the most effective weapon against malarial mosquitoes. The Environmental Protection Agency held extensive hearings after the uproar produced by this book… and these hearings concluded that DDT should not be banned. A few months after the hearings ended, EPA administrator William Ruckleshaus over-ruled his own agency and banned DDT anyway, in what he later admitted was a “political” decision. Threats to withhold American foreign aid swiftly spread the ban across the world.

The resulting explosion of mosquito-borne malaria in Africa has claimed over sixty million lives. This was not a gradual process – a surge of infection and death happened almost immediately. The use of DDT reduces the spread of mosquito-borne malaria by fifty to eighty percent, so its discontinuation quickly produced an explosion of crippling and fatal illness. The same environmental movement which has been falsifying data, suppressing dissent, and reading tea leaves to support the global-warming fraud has studiously ignored this blood-drenched “hockey stick” for decades.

The motivation behind Silent Spring, the suppression of nuclear power, the global-warming scam, and other outbreaks of environmentalist lunacy is the worship of centralized power and authority. The author, Rachel Carson, didn’t set out to kill sixty million people – she was a fanatical believer in the newly formed religion of radical environmentalism, whose body count comes from callousness, rather than blood thirst. The core belief of the environmental religion is the fundamental uncleanliness of human beings. All forms of human activity are bad for the environment… most especially including the activity of large private corporations. Deaths in faraway Africa barely registered on the radar screen of the growing Green movement, especially when measured against the exhilarating triumph of getting a sinful pesticide banned, at substantial cost to an evil corporation.

Those who were initiated into the higher mysteries of environmentalism saw the reduction of the human population as a benefit, although they’re generally more circumspect about saying so in public these days. As quoted by Walter Williams, the founder of the Malthusian Club of Rome, Alexander King, wrote in 1990: “My own doubts came when DDT was introduced. In Guayana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem.” Another charming quote comes from Dr. Charles Wurster, a leading opponent of DDT, who said of malaria deaths: “People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this is as good a way as any.”

Like the high priests of global warming, Rachel Carson knew what she was doing. She claimed DDT would actually destroy all life on Earth if its use continued – the “silent spring” of the title is a literal description of the epocalypse she forecast. She misused a quote from Albert Schweitzer about atomic warfare, implying the late doctor agreed with her crusade against pesticide by dedicating her book to him… when, in fact, Schweitzer viewed DDT as a “ray of hope” against disease-carrying insects. Some of the scientists attempting to debunk her hysteria went so far as to eat chunks of DDT to prove it was harmless, but she and her allies simply ignored them, making these skeptics the forerunners of today’s “global warming deniers” – absolutely correct and utterly vilified. William Ruckleshaus disregarded nine thousand pages of testimony when he imposed the DDT ban. Then as now, the science was settled… beneath a mass of politics and ideology.

Another way Silent Spring forecast the global-warming fraud was its insistence that readers ignore the simple evidence of reality around them. One of the founding myths of modern environmentalism was Carson’s assertion that bird eggs developed abnormally thin shells due to DDT exposure, leading the chicks to be crushed before they could hatch. As detailed in thisAmerican Spectator piece from 2005, no honest experimental attempt to produce this phenomenon has ever succeeded – even when using concentrations of DDT a hundred times greater than anything that could be encountered in nature. Carson claimed thin egg shells were bringing the robin and bald eagle to the edge of extinction… even as the bald eagle population doubled, and robins filled the trees. Today, those eagles and robins shiver in a blanket of snow caused by global warming.

Go read the whole thing.

UPDATE 2: ClimateGate 2.0 — the NASA files, Part One

ClimateGate update: Instapundit edition

I can add very little to what Glenn Reynolds has to say:

SO YESTERDAY I COMPARED THE RESPONSE TO CLIMATEGATE TO THE BELLESILES SCANDAL. Now all the fraud, critical “lost” data, suppression of criticism and so on doesn’t prove that there’s no global warming — people can lie about things that, nonetheless, turn out to be true — but it has to induce a certain degree of skepticism. So what should we do?

Nothing. At least, in my opinion, we should continue to try to minimize the use of fossil fuels regardless. Burning coal and oil is filthy, and they’re more valuable as chemical feedstocks anyway. We should be building nuclear plants and pursuing efficiencies in the shorter term, while working on better solar (including orbital solar), wind, etc. power supplies for the longer term. That doesn’t mean “hairshirt” environmentalism, where the goal is for neo-puritans to denounce people for immorality and trumpet their own superiority. It just means good sense.

I actually had a long post on this here and Amory Lovins has it right: “He also says — and I agree — that it doesn’t matter whether you believe ‘peak oil’ catastrophe scenarios because you ought to be doing the same thing anyway.”

UPDATE: Rand Simberg responds: “What do you mean ‘we,’ white man?”

For rolling updates on ClimateGate news, check out Tom Nelson. (H/t: American Digest, in a jaw-dropping story on Andy Revkin describing how the NYT loved his climate reporting only as long as it was inconvenient for Bush and Republicans.)

Don Surber notes that Lake Erie is frozen over for the first time in 15 years, as well as that the BBC (!), tellingly, no longer refers to AGW “deniers” or even the more neutral “skeptics”, but to “doubters”.

UPDATE: James Taranto, “Consensus or con?

ClimateGate update: “Phil Jones fesses up” edition

(Back from some stuff in realspace.)

Phil Jones, the head of CRU (the Climate Research Unit) at East Anglia and the nexus of ClimateGate, gave quite an interview to the BBC. Some highlights:

  • whatever “warming” has been observed 1995-present is not statistically significant. (See also here at The Times.) His claim that warming did actually take place is partly based on reasoning that, all else being equal, we should have had mild cooling due to volcanic eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991).
  • the Medieval Warm Period (which AGW alarmists like to pretend didn’t exist) may actually have been warmer than today. [Obviously we don’t have direct temperature records for the Middle Ages — only ‘proxies’ — but anecdotally we know that wine grapes were grown in England at the time (a commenter here points out that French vintners petitioned the king for a tariff on English wine) and that Greenland actually was green enough to sustain an agricultural settlement. As the climate turned colder again, this colony starved out — as is described in ‘Collapse’ by Jared Diamond.]
  • He does however claim we cannot be sure about the MWP since we have neither temperature records nor adequate proxies for the Southern hemisphere.
  • Far from being unprecedented, today’s “warming”, even if considered statistically significant, is similar to 1860-1880 and 1910-1940.
  • elsewhere, we learn that Phil Jones confesses to being disorganized (OK, many scientists are), having poor record keeping skills (this is less forgivable), and that the ‘hockey stick’ data went AWOL.

Lord Monckton, meanwhile, is taking a victory lap at Pajamas Media.

The former IPCC chairman, however, is not impressed by Pachyderm’s performance: “Professor [Robert] Watson, currently chief scientific adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said that if the errors had just been innocent mistakes, as has been claimed by the current chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, some would probably have understated the impact of climate change.” (H/t: Syrah)

Speaking of which, Watts Up With That (h/t JCM) has a jaw-dropping quote from an interview with Pachy in SCIENCE magazine: “Q: Has all that has happened this winter dented the credibility of IPCC? R.K.P.: I don’t think the credibility of the IPCC can be dented. If the IPCC wasn’t there, why would anyone be worried about climate change?

Precisely. That’s the whole point.

UPDATE: Tangentially related, Fenway Nation blogs about the self-contradictory narrative libs have about the ‘anti-science’ right.

UPDATE 2: Gotta love that headline: If The Tree of Global Warming Fell In The Living Rooms of The American Press And No One Reported It Would It Make A Sound?

And Ann Althouse: “To talk about “sceptics” as the ones who will “seize” upon “evidence” of flaws is unwittingly to make global warming into a matter of religion and not science. It’s not the skeptics who look bad. “Seize” sounds willful, but science should motivate us to grab at evidence. It’s the nonskeptics who look bad. It’s not science to be a true believer who wants to ignore new evidence. It’s not science to support a man who has the job of being a scientist but doesn’t adhere to the methods of science.”

UPDATE 3: Some more links:

  • Walter Russell Mead notes that, while the NYT continues to pretend not to see a story, the Washington Post is belatedly stepping up to the plate (e.g., here and here). I especially liked the bit on how climate alarmists, who’ve argued from anecdote for years, are now being hoist on their own petard.
  • Tangentially related, and always good for a bwaahaahaa, is Mark Steyn: “The new conformo-radicalism“.
  • Foreign Policy: Inside the Climate Bunker. The story has lots of links, including to a review of Rajendra Pachauri’s softcore erotica novel in the Times of India. (It prominently focuses on breasts and male self-abuse. The verbal equivalent of the latter is no stranger to either Pachy or ManBearPig…)
  • And while I dislike “Downfall” parodies for “Godwin’s Law” reasons, this one is actually pretty “ouch”. It would have been better if the dialogue had been redubbed with a translation of the subtitles into German or Chaplinesque cod-German (as on display in “The Great Dictator”).
  • More to follow, unless it’s so much that I have to break out a new post 🙂

ClimateGate update: “follow the money” edition,

The latest episode in the ClimateGate soap opera:

  • ClimateGate, UK edition: “follow the money, all 4 trillion euro of it” . The figure refers to the IIGCC, which declares itself “a forum for collaboration on climate change for European investors. The group’s objective is to catalyse greater investment in a low carbon economy by bringing investors together to use their collective influence with companies, policymakers and investors. The group currently has over 50 members, including some of the largest pension funds and asset managers in Europe, and represents assets of around €4 trillion.” The Chairman of IIGCC? Peter Dunscombe, who also happens to be the BBC’s Head of Pensions Investment.
  • James Taranto: Hot enough for you?
  • Dallas, TX (!!) has all-time record snowfall of 1 foot in 24h. 200,000 people are without power. Did ManBearPig fly through DFW recently? Ironically, DFW has gone AWOL from GHCN temperature database?
  • In fact (H/t: Realwest): 49 out of 50 states report snow on the ground (the exception is of course Hawaii)
  • Earlier today we had the story that AGW skepticism has been declared “unpatriotic”. Blogging huskies surely approve.
  • Phil Jones admits climate data not well organized, says not certain medieval warm period was warmer than today. Which is progress from trying to “bury” it, I suppose…
  • Not-quite-unrelated story: Control freaks want to end blogger anonymity.
  • Henk Tennekes, former director of KNMI (the Dutch counterpart of NOAA) and member of the Royal Dutch Academy resigns in protest over ClimateGate-style monkey business. “”I don’t want to remain a member of an organization that …screws up science that badly.” Read the whole article (by Roger Pielke, Sr.) UPDATE: Tennekes’ farewell message, entitled “Hermetic Jargon”, can be read in its entirety here as well as at the Pielke link given above.
  • A history lesson: Continental drift — a cautionary tale about “scientific consensus”.
  • UPDATE: Leonard Evans, physicist and member of the National Academy of Engineering: “Has global warming got you snowed in?” Some choice quotes:

    Eventually the truth will out. When global warming finally is recognized as the world’s greatest political hoax, those discredited will not be the perpetrators.

    The perpetrators are politicians and traditional media. After the credibility bubble bursts, the same politicians and media will continue to influence what the public is told. They will effectively claim that they never misled anyone. The fall guy will be science.

    Lost in the confusion will be the distinction between science and the scientific community.

    The scientific community has largely abandoned science. It has degenerated into little more than just another lobbying group seeking advancement for its members.[…]

    The scientific community gets it right when the stakes are unimportant. It effectively opposed such anti-scientific nonsense as creationism. […] How starkly the vigorous opposition to creationism contrasts with the community’s near silence in response to the anti-scientific nonsense coming from the likes of Al Gore. Worse than silence, in all too many cases, the community has been an enthusiastic participant in an orgy of unreason. It has been an orgy lubricated by almost limitless opportunities to grab influence, physical resources and cool cash. […]

    It is easy to create the illusion of consensus when those who disagree are silenced.

    It is not known what the majority of scientists think about global warming, not that it matters all that much. Science is not about counting votes. However, I can offer an anecdotal observation.

    I am a scientist, while my wife is a professor of art history. Her colleagues generally think all scientists support Mr. Gore – after all, they have been so informed by such authoritative sources as the New York Times. My fellow doctorate-holding science colleagues generally share my conclusion: The claim that human activity has appreciably warmed our planet is the greatest political hoax ever.

    Many specific actions supported by global-warming alarmists are admirable. We ought to pollute less and transfer less wealth to Middle Eastern oil-producing tyrannies. These issues should be addressed on their merits. They have little to do with global temperature.

    To do sensible things for irrational reasons just validates irrationality. And who can tell what future horrors will be justified by irrationality?

    When the global-warming hoax eventually collapses, the victim will be science. When science suffers, we all suffer.

  • Updates to follow as they come in.

ClimateGate update: “Irony abounds” edition

IRONY ABOUNDS: A reader emails: “Today, Michael Mann was scheduled to give a colloquium on climate change at the University of Pennsylvania, where I am a graduate student. As you may know, Philadelphia has been hit by multiple snowstorms in the past week. Today, for what I am told is the first time since the mid-1990s, the university suspended normal operations due to snow, and his colloquium on climate change has been postponed.”

And Day By Day is, well, priceless:

UPDATE: another priceless one: BREAKING: Pennsylvania rodent does better in climate prediction than Al Gore and RFK Jr.

ClimateGate: Hansen colleague: IPCC AR4 executive summary “has no scientific merit”

James Lacis, a colleague of Jim Hansen at NASA GISS and not an AGW skeptic, has very strong words for the the executive summary of the IPCC AR4 report:

There is no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary. The presentation sounds like something put together by Greenpeace activists and their legal department. The points being made are made arbitrarily with legal sounding caveats without having established any foundation or basis in fact. The Executive Summary seems to be a political statement that is only designed to annoy greenhouse skeptics. Wasn’t the IPCC Assessment Report intended to be a scientific document that would merit solid backing from the climate science community – instead of forcing many climate scientists into having to agree with greenhouse skeptic criticisms that this is indeed a report with a clear and obvious political agenda. Attribution can not happen until understanding has been clearly demonstrated. Once the facts of climate change have been established and understood, attribution will become self-evident to all. The Executive Summary as it stands is beyond redemption and should simply be deleted.

Some “consensus”.

Walter Russell Mead: “The great IPCC meltdown continues”

My oh my, “The neverending story” has nothing on this…

Walter Russell Mead again goes on the attack: “The great IPCC meltdown continues“.

It’s not just the threat of Himalayan glaciers disappearing by 2035.

Now another headline grabbing IPCC scare story is melting away.  A report in Sunday’s London Times highlights new humiliations for the IPCC.

The most important is a claim that global warming could cut rain-fed north African crop production by up to 50% by 2020, a remarkably short time for such a dramatic change. The claim has been quoted in speeches by Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, and by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.

There is however one teensy-weensy little problem.  As Professor Chris Field, the lead author of the IPCC’s climate impact team has now told reporters that he can find “no evidence” to support the claim in the IPCC’s 2007 report.

But there’s more. Much, much more.  Readers of the Times and the Telegraph are watching the IPCC’s credibility disappear before their eyes.  The former head of IPCC has publicly said the IPCC risks losing all credibility if it can’t clean up its act.  The head of the largest British funder of environmental research has joined the head of Greenpeace UK in criticizing the IPCC.  (At Greenpeace, they want Pachauri to resign.)  The Dutch government has demanded that the IPCC correct its erroneous assertion that half of the Netherlands is below sea level.  Actually, it’s only about a quarter.  A prediction about the impact of sea level increases on people living in the Nile Delta was taken from an unpublished student dissertation.  The report contained inaccurate data about generating energy from waves and about the cost of nuclear power (this information was apparently taken without being checked directly from a website supported by the nuclear power industry). The deeply environmentalist Guardian carries a story documenting the decline in both public and Conservative Party confidence in need to address global warming.

More significantly, there’s an editorial in today’s Guardian that criticizes shortcomings at the IPCC and calls for a wholesale change in the way climate scientists do their work and communicate with the public.[…]

The Guardian hopes that the parrot isn’t dead yet, but it seems to agree with my basic diagnosis: “It is bad science and bad politics to counter scepticism with righteous indignation. In the long run, public confidence will be inspired more by frankness about what science cannot explain,” write the editors.

The editors pick up another theme that is familiar to readers of this blog:

In trying to avert dangerous climate change, governments are aiming for something extraordinary. They want to transform the global economy because of a hypothesis for which the evidence is mostly inaccessible to the layman.

It is the biggest pre-emption in history, and it relies on collective trust in science.

When the IPCC has its former chief, the Guardian newspaper and the Dutch government demanding change, something has got to give.


In related news, Roger Simon asks readers to help him and PajamasMedia “follow the money”.

UPDATE: RFK, Jr., 15 months ago: “Glowbull worming means no more snow in DC”. How about a nice helping of crow?