The war on (climate) science

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Sven Sven's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Whether or not the debate is over is a red herring that is irrelevant to any debate on any scientific issue.  The debate is never over in any scientific area, scientists still pick away at the edges of all scientific theories but that doesn't change the fact that if I sit under a tree I might get hit by a falling apple. Still there seem to have been many debates on the edges of the theory of gravity but so what?

Did you read The Times piece linked to above?  There are serious questions regarding the underlying data, as articulated by the former head of the IPCC, data which go to the very heart of the issue.

Also, the interview of professor Jones on BBC (also linked to above) indicates that there is a serious and legitimate debate about whether any current warming is truly "unprecedented" or if a similar warming happened only 500 to 700 years ago.

To distill this debate down to being equivalent to your elementary "apple example" really says something.

Politically, in the worst way, many on the Left really hope that the warming trend is real and that the only solution is a massive movement away from (evil) capitalism.  As George Victor noted above, people see in science exactly what they want to see (and that goes for the Left, too).

Sven Sven's picture

George Victor wrote:

There you go, people of Nunavut.  Sven says you don't have to worry about walking on water next year.  It will be the year following. (Keep the faith  and you'll be just fine).

I don't know enough about the Nunavut to comment on it.

But, I'm familiar with the basic thrust of your argument: If anyone can be disadvantaged by the current state of affairs, then the entire system must be completely transformed to avoid that.  And, for most on the Left, that argument very conveniently points to a Leftist political solution.

George Victor

"The Nunavut", Sven, is a place inhabited by 35,000 people, covering an area perhaps 20 times the size of Texas, and what we are doing to them with our busy little productive lives is ensuring that their way of life is kaput, along with the animals they depended on.  

Screw your "system" of greed and ignorance, mate.

Sven Sven's picture

George Victor wrote:

"The Nunavut", Sven, is a place inhabited by 35,000 people, covering an area perhaps 20 times the size of Texas, and what we are doing to them with our busy little productive lives is ensuring that their way of life is kaput, along with the animals they depended on.  

So, 330 million other people in North America should completely change their way of life?

Sven Sven's picture

George Victor wrote:

Screw your "system" of greed and ignorance, mate.

And that is what the real concern about the "war on (climate) science" is all about.  At the core, it is a political concern...science is, at best, a secondary consideration and science is merely a useful tool to further those political goals.  The problem is that science isn't providing the slam dunk that some have hoped it would.

George Victor

You haven't read one effing thing have you, Sven. And I'll bet that the ethnics out your way are dismissed in the same way. You're a piece of work.

...and the world population now is approaching 7,000,000,000

1111111111111111

Sven wrote:

George Victor wrote:

Screw your "system" of greed and ignorance, mate.

And that is what the real concern about the "war on (climate) science" is all about.  At the core, it is a political concern...science is, at best, a secondary consideration and science is merely a useful tool to further those political goals.  The problem is that science isn't providing the slam dunk that some have hoped it would.

Scientists, including those of the IPCC, have agreed that climate change produces unequal impacts across the world. There are also communities that depend on glacial water that will be affected by the melting of those glaciers. So George Victor's comments can be qualified as more communities will be affected by these impacts that are already in precarious situation. And then we can talk about what may happen to the Amazon, and its impacts, if you dare...

I admit knowledge production is political, but stop being an iconoclast: even if these are eventually falsifiable, your "this is purely political" rant appears more as indignation over the consensus of inconvenient knowledge, not proof of a better explanation.

Funny how in other conversations the naturalized the "science of Von Hayek" produces "non-political truths". You are so willing to shoot people down when they point out that the science is political/ideological.

 

Sven Sven's picture

1111111111111111 wrote:

...your "this is purely political" rant...

I actually don't think this is "purely" political.  I think there are serious concerns raised by the IPCC and the CRU.

My political observation is that many on the Left are trying to use science as a weapon to further a political agenda.

The basic argument is: (A) The science is air-tight that the warming is anthropogenic, (B) that warming is going to lead to the extinction of life on Earth, and (C) only a socialist world system can stop further anthropogenic warming: Therefore, to avoid the extinction of life on Earth, we must destroy capitalism and replace it with socialism.

But, as it turns out, the science doesn't quite provide the slam dunk necessary to establish (A) and (B).

Fidel

Freddy von Hayekians say we'll never actually run out of fossil fools or any precious resource really. Not if prices are high enough. So we can all continue with the voodoo economy, because in the neoliberal world nothing bad can ever happen. It's all good. As the one-eyed Cyclops once said to Ulysses and his men trapped in the cave, "More wine!"

1111111111111111

Sven wrote:

1111111111111111 wrote:

...your "this is purely political" rant...

I actually don't think this is "purely" political.  I think there are serious concerns raised by the IPCC and the CRU.

My political observation is that many on the Left are trying to use science as a weapon to further a political agenda.

The basic argument is: (A) The science is air-tight that the warming is anthropogenic, (B) that warming is going to lead to the extinction of life on Earth, and (C) only a socialist world system can stop further anthropogenic warming: Therefore, to avoid the extinction of life on Earth, we must destroy capitalism and replace it with socialism.

But, as it turns out, the science doesn't quite provide the slam dunk necessary to establish (A) and (B).

Well, if you object to (C) so much, then why are you trying so hard to debase the IPCC findings, which include the inconvenient claim that climate change will be unevenly felt? I think you are trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater because you disapprove of the political implications of the knowledge.

 

Policywonk

Sven wrote:

1111111111111111 wrote:

...your "this is purely political" rant...

I actually don't think this is "purely" political.  I think there are serious concerns raised by the IPCC and the CRU.

My political observation is that many on the Left are trying to use science as a weapon to further a political agenda.

The basic argument is: (A) The science is air-tight that the warming is anthropogenic, (B) that warming is going to lead to the extinction of life on Earth, and (C) only a socialist world system can stop further anthropogenic warming: Therefore, to avoid the extinction of life on Earth, we must destroy capitalism and replace it with socialism.

But, as it turns out, the science doesn't quite provide the slam dunk necessary to establish (A) and (B).

There may or may not be some on the left who believe this. There are probably more who believe that capitalism will destroy itself in any case. I think that (A) It is next to impossible to explain late 20th century warming without a major anthropogenic component (similarly Paleozoic climate without Carbon Dioxide concentration variations), (B) that we are in a major extinction event (this is from biological science, not climate science) and (C) that global warming and ocean acidification will exacerbate this event. The worst case scenario could involve a great extinction. How lucky do you feel?

As for your proposition it is far more likely that the right is misrepresenting the science for their own ends.

Policywonk

Sven wrote:

The former head of the IPCC, [url=Robert">http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026932.ece][co... Watson[/url], was just interviewed by The Times:

Professor Watson, who served as chairman of the IPCC from 1997-2002, said: “The mistakes all appear to have gone in the direction of making it seem like climate change is more serious by overstating the impact. That is worrying. The IPCC needs to look at this trend in the errors and ask why it happened.”

He said that the IPCC should employ graduate science students to check the sources of each claim made in its next report, due in 2013. “Graduate students would love to be involved and they could really dig into the references and see if they really do support what is being said.”

He said that the next report should acknowledge that some scientists believed the planet was warming at a much slower rate than has been claimed by the majority of scientists.

“We should always be challenged by sceptics,” he said. “The IPCC’s job is to weigh up the evidence. If it can’t be dismissed, it should be included in the report. Point out it’s in the minority and, if you can’t say why it’s wrong, just say it’s a different view.”

It's really time to stop labeling all skeptics as "climate-change deniers", as if all of them are in the same category as Holocaust deniers.

The problem, however, is that it wouldn't be politically expedient to do so.

There is a discussion of the so-called mistakes in the IPCC AR4 report at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/ipcc-errors-facts-..., only one is regarded as truly legitimate. As for mistakes supposedly going in the direction of making the situation appear more dire than it is, the peer reviewed literature since the deadline for inclusion in AR4 as well as observations about ice cap melting (land-based and polar sea) actually tend to show the situation is actually more dire.

 

Policywonk

yarg wrote:

Sven wrote:

Here's a [url=good">http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm][u]good interview[/url] with professor Phil Jones (of the CRU) by the BBC yesterday.

 

Interesting indeed

- When scientists say "the debate on climate change is over", what exactly do they mean - and what don't they mean?

It would be supposition on my behalf to know whether all scientists who say the debate is over are saying that for the same reason. I don't believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this. This is not my view. There is still much that needs to be undertaken to reduce uncertainties, not just for the future, but for the instrumental (and especially the palaeoclimatic) past as well.

-Phil Jones

 

Told ya so.

I would give Sven a little credit for using the transcript of the BBC interview and not the spin put on it by folks like the Daily Mail. Jones did not say, for example, that there was no warming from 1995-2009, just that it was not statistically significant to a 95% degree of confidence (although there was warming). The main reason is that the time frame is too short. There is actually little or no legitimate debate about the basic science, the debate as always will be about the uncertainties. And they cut both ways, although a low sensitivity for carbon dioxide doubling has been more or less ruled out from an number of strands of evidence.

Policywonk

Policywonk wrote:

Sven wrote:

The former head of the IPCC, [url=Robert">http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026932.ece][co... Watson[/url], was just interviewed by The Times:

Professor Watson, who served as chairman of the IPCC from 1997-2002, said: “The mistakes all appear to have gone in the direction of making it seem like climate change is more serious by overstating the impact. That is worrying. The IPCC needs to look at this trend in the errors and ask why it happened.”

He said that the IPCC should employ graduate science students to check the sources of each claim made in its next report, due in 2013. “Graduate students would love to be involved and they could really dig into the references and see if they really do support what is being said.”

He said that the next report should acknowledge that some scientists believed the planet was warming at a much slower rate than has been claimed by the majority of scientists.

“We should always be challenged by sceptics,” he said. “The IPCC’s job is to weigh up the evidence. If it can’t be dismissed, it should be included in the report. Point out it’s in the minority and, if you can’t say why it’s wrong, just say it’s a different view.”

It's really time to stop labeling all skeptics as "climate-change deniers", as if all of them are in the same category as Holocaust deniers.

The problem, however, is that it wouldn't be politically expedient to do so.

There is a discussion of the so-called mistakes in the IPCC AR4 report at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/ipcc-errors-facts-..., only one is regarded as truly legitimate. As for mistakes supposedly going in the direction of making the situation appear more dire than it is, the peer reviewed literature since the deadline for inclusion in AR4 as well as observations about ice cap melting (land-based and polar sea) tend to show the situation is actually more dire.

 

Doug

Global warming deniers aren't above "oopses" themselves.


But when Friel began checking Lomborg's sources, "I found problems," he says. "As an experiment, I looked up one of his footnotes, found that it didn't support what he said, and then did another, and kept going, finding the same pattern." He therefore took on the Augean stables undertaking of checking every one of the hundreds of citations in Cool It. Friel's conclusion, as per his book's title, is that Lomborg is "a performance artist disguised as an academic."

 

 

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[url=http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/the_hate_mail_campaign_against.p... hate mail campaign against climate scientists[/url]

Quote:
Australia's most distinguished climate scientists have become the target of a new form of cyber-bullying aimed at driving them out of the public debate.

In recent months, each time they enter the public debate through a newspaper article or radio interview these scientists are immediately subjected to a torrent of aggressive, abusive and, at times, threatening emails. Apart from the volume and viciousness of the emails, the campaign has two features - it is mostly anonymous and it appears to be orchestrated.

More discussion at Deltoid: [url=http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2826189.htm]Bullying, lies and the rise of right-wing climate denial[/url]

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[url=http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/22/sea-level-rise-global-warming/]Sci... withdraw low-ball estimate of sea level rise — media are confused and anti-science crowd pounces[/url]

Quote:
So the anti-science crowd was delighted when a Nature Geoscience study suggested that the IPCC estimates might not be so far off.  The top anti-science website, WattsUpWithThat, cheered, “Sea level rise by 2100, “nailed”! Between 7 and 82 centimeters” (3 to 32 inches).  At the time RealClimate scientists explained why the study was flawed.

Well, it turns out that the RC scientists were right — but the anti-science crowd is now cheering the withdrawal of the paper!

A paper they previously hailed as showing there was nothing to fear from global warming, mind.

Yet another example of how challenged the ignorati of the denialsphere are when it comes to reading comprehension, and how readily -- nay, how desperately -- they grasp at anything that can be misconstrued to support their made-up version of physical reality.

Yes, the average global warming/climate change denier really can be that mind-numbingly stupid.

In fact, being stupid seems to be one of their chief weapons in their war on climate science, possibly because it lulls their foes, scientists, into failing to take them seriously. But there is another strength of "stupid" :how well it plays to their base, namely the willfully ignorant.

More at Skeptical Science:
[url=http://www.skepticalscience.com/Misinterpreting-retraction-of-rising-sea... a retraction of rising sea level predictions[/url]

Quote:
A new skeptic argument has emerged that upon close inspection, is a polar opposite to the scientific reality. This week, scientists who published a 2009 paper on sea level rise retracted their prediction due to errors in their methodology. This has led some to claim sea levels are no longer predicted to rise. This interpretation was helped no doubt by the unfortunate Guardian headline "Climate scientists withdraw journal claims of rising sea levels". However, when you read the article and peruse the peer-reviewed science on future sea level, you learn that the opposite is the case.

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[url=http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/25/sen-inhofe-inquisition-seeking-way... inquisition seeking ways to criminalize and prosecute 17 leading climate scientists[/url]

Quote:

Senator James Inhofe, ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, has gone a step beyond promoting his long-notorious global warming denialist propaganda. He is now using the resources of the Senate committee to seek opportunities to criminalize the actions of 17 leading scientists who have been associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports. A report released by Inhofe’s staff on February 23 outlines this classic Joe McCarthyite witch-hunt: page after page of incorrect and misleading statements, a list of federal laws that allegedly may make scientists subject to prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department, and a list of names and affiliations of 17 “key players” in the “CRU Controversy” over stolen e-mails and their connections with IPCC reports. ...

... In a section titled “The CRU-IPCC Connection” (pages 25-26; also see pages 35-37), Inhofe names the targets of his witch-hunt to be investigated for possible referral to the U.S. Justice Department for prosecution. Inhofe’s targets include, in alphabetical order:
Raymond Bradley
Keith Briffa
Timothy Carter
Edward Cook
Malcolm Hughes
Phil Jones
Thomas Karl
Michael Mann
Michael Oppenheimer
Jonathan Overpeck
Benjamin Santer
Gavin Schmidt
Stephen Schneider
Susan Solomon
Peter Stott
Kevin Trenberth
Thomas Wigley

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How science is fighting back:

Two central accusations made by global warming/climate change deniers have been proven totally and completely false by an analysis done by a prominent time series statistician who posts on the web under the pseudonym Tamino* at his blog [url=http://tamino.wordpress.com/]Open Mind[/url].

The two claims are 1) that the dramatic reduction around 1990 in the number of GHCN reporting stations used to calculate North American surface temperatures introduced a false warming trend in the northern hemisphere temperature record; and 2) that the statistical adjustments applied to that station data by NASA GISS also introduce a false warming trend.

Tamino's analysis proves both assertions to be false and without basis. The results of the analysis are presented here: [url=http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/false-claims-proven-false/]False Claims Proven False[/url]

Moreover, in a second post titled [url=http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/shame/]Shame[/url] Tamino, openly challenges denialist bloggers, specifically Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts by name, to publicly admit not only that they were wrong, but that they were irresponsible in making false an totally unsupported accusations against scientists in the first place, and to issue a public apology to those scientists and to the public at large.

(*This person uses the pseudonym Tamino for public posts on climate science as a result of receiving death threats in the past. However, now that the War on Science™ is turning vicious publicly and scientists are beginning to openly fight back, it is hoped that Tamino will openly publish his full analysis in the peer-reviewed scientific literature under his real name.)

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