Lorenzo (erudito) wrote,
Lorenzo
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(An enormous number of) climate links

About geo-engineering and the benefits of procrastination.

The CIA:
… warns of climate change that will lead to floods and starvation. ‘Leading climatologists’ speak of a ‘detrimental global climatic change’, threatening ‘the stability of most nations’. …: the ‘new climatic era’ was said to be bringing famine, starvation, refugee crises, floods, droughts, crop and monsoon failures, and all sorts of extreme weather phenomena. The Sahara would expand.
Except it was 1974 and global cooling was the problem. Now the CIA and Pentagon are worried about global warming, which will lead to …

About the way CO2 lags temperature in ice core data. If that is the core CAGW position, I am a bit bemused since it is such an ad hoc way to treat data and, if both upward and downward turning points lag CO2 increases, indicates clear negative feedbacks in how the atmosphere works (there needs to be significant positive feedbacks to make the catastrophist case work). Roy Spencer has a primer on what sceptics believe. A sceptic’s credo.

A biologist and his son demonstrate clear urban heat island effect from publicly available US data. A useful discussion of variability in global temperatures . NASA on why surface temperatures are adjusted. A nice presentation of temperature data from ice cores over varying time frames. Also here. A narrated version. Allegations from Russia that the CRU selectively excluded Russian temperature data. A practical suggestion:
The recent “Climategate” scandal in which hackers attacked the server used by the Climatic Research Unit in Britain clearly shows that it is necessary to fund and organize climate research in such a way that scientists are protected from the state’s political interference and even from their fellow scientists. For much less money than has been needed to combat the economic crisis, it would be possible to establish permanent climate-research centers at leading universities and provide them with all of the accumulated data that they require for their work. In that way, the political majority would have a more solid scientific foundation on which to base its decisions.

Al Gore gets himself into a minor bother over some Arctic ice science that is far from settled.

What we learn from the CRUtape letters:
It's being called Climategate, but more than one wit is calling them "the CRUtape Letters." …
As tempting as it is to indulge in Schadenfreude over the richly deserved travails of a gang that has heaped endless calumny on dissenting scientists (NASA's James Hansen, for instance, compared MIT's Richard Lindzen to a tobacco-industry scientist, and Al Gore and countless -others liken skeptics to "Holocaust deniers"), the meaning of the CRU documents should not be misconstrued. The emails do not in and of themselves reveal that catastrophic climate change scenarios are a hoax or without any foundation. …
Because the gap between observation and conclusion in this subfield is so dependent on statistical techniques rather than direct measurement, it was bound to be a matter of intense controversy and deserved the most searching review by outside scientists. It is exactly this kind of review that the CRU insiders acted to prevent or obscure. …
One of the things the CRU emails prove is that the oft-cited figure of 2,000 top scientists is misleading; the circle of genuinely active scientists in the work of CRU and related institutions in this country is very small. …
There have been rumors for years about political pressure being brought to bear on the process to deliver scarier numbers, because the effects of a 2-3 degree increase in temperatures just weren't going to be enough to justify the kind of emission reductions the greens want. …
One of the striking features of the CRU emails is how much time the CRU circle spent discussing with each other the myriad problems with processing these data and how to display them to a wider world. On the one hand, this is typical of what one might expect of an evolving scientific enterprise. On the other hand, these are the selfsame scientists who have insisted most vehemently that there is a settled consensus adhered to by all researchers of repute and that there is nothing left to debate. Another striking thing that emerges from the emails is that the climate modelers don't have a high regard for paleoclimatology, and the paleos have a palpable inferiority complex. Judging by the length of many of the email chains kvetching about their problems, it is a wonder this small group had time to do any actual research. …
Tempers got so out of hand that Tom Crowley of Duke University intervened: … Mann responded with his best imitation of Don Corleone: "This is ultimately about the science, it's not personal." If the CRU circle treat each other this way, it is no wonder they treat skeptics even more rudely. …
McIntyre is not a climate-science insider, with peer-reviewed articles in journals that the hockey team firmly controlled. He's an amateur with mathematical chops, with a serious track record for spotting statistical funny business. McIntyre, who spent decades in mineral exploration, was involved in exposing the Bre X fraud in Canada several years ago. Bre X was a gold mining company promising fat profits on a new proprietary technology for ore deposits in Borneo; McIntyre smelled a rat and demanded the raw data. Bre X collapsed shortly after. And McIntyre scored a major hit against NASA's chief climate alarmist James Hansen, discovering significant errors of overestimation in Hansen's temperature reconstruction of the 20th century. (NASA's Goddard Institute website publicly thanked McIntyre, no doubt through gritted cyber teeth, for pointing out their error.) The hockey stickers' obsession with McIntyre seems out of proportion if there was nothing amiss in their work. …
The NAS reported its findings in 2006, and the language was sufficiently hedged in diplomatic equivocations that Mann and the media claimed the hockey stick had been vindicated. But a close reading shows that the NAS report devastated the hockey stick. …
The HARRY_READ_ME.txt file, over 100,000 words long, paints a picture of haphazard data handling that would get almost any private sector researcher fired. …
No drug company could get through the FDA approval process with data handling this slapdash, yet the climate policy process contemplates trillions of dollars in costs to economies around the world based partially on this incompetent work. …
Scientists at top universities have been telling me privately for several years now that their best graduate students are avoiding climatology because they dislike how politicized it has become and consider it a dead-end field. Unfortunately this means many students who take up the field are second-raters or do so out of ideological motivation, which guarantees that the CRU scandal won't be the last. …
MIT's Kerry Emanuel, as "mainstream" as they come in climate science … nonetheless offers this warning to his field:
Scientists are most effective when they provide sound, impartial advice, but their reputation for impartiality is severely compromised by the shocking lack of political diversity among American academics, who suffer from the kind of group-think that develops in cloistered cultures. Until this profound and well-documented intellectual homogeneity changes, scientists will be suspected of constituting a leftist think tank.
...
The distinction between utterly politicized scientists such as Jones, Mann, and NASA's James Hansen, and other more sober scientists has been lost on the media and climate campaigners for a long time now, and as a result, the CRUtape letters will cast a shadow on the entire field. … The biggest hazard to serious climate science all along was not so much contrarian arguments from skeptics, but rather the damage that the hyperbole of the environmental community would inflict on their own cause. …
I have long expected that 20 or so years from now we will look back on the turn-of-the-millennium climate hysteria in the same way we look back now on the population bomb hysteria of the late 1960s and early 1970s--as a phenomenon whose magnitude and effects were vastly overestimated, and whose proposed solutions were wrongheaded and often genuinely evil (such as the forced sterilizations of thousands of Indian men in the 1970s, much of it funded by the Ford Foundation).
Indeed, there is a direct line in the prescriptions for dealing with the “population bomb” that was not to dealing with the “climate crisis”.

Philosopher and environmentalist Martin Cohen on the distortion of debate involved and the propaganda principle of something stated often enough becomes the truth:
Is belief in global-warming science another example of the "madness of crowds"? That strange but powerful social phenomenon, first described by Charles Mackay in 1841, turns a widely shared prejudice into an irresistible "authority". Could it indeed represent the final triumph of irrationality? After all, how rational is it to pass laws banning one kind of light bulb (and insisting on their replacement by ones filled with poisonous mercury vapour) in order to "save electricity", while ploughing money into schemes to run cars on ... electricity? How rational is it to pay the Russians once for fossil fuels, and a second time for permission (via carbon credits) to burn them (see box page 36)? And how rational is it to suppose that the effects of increased CO2 in the atmosphere take between 200 and 1,000 years to be felt, but that solutions can take effect almost instantaneously? …
Policymakers seem not to be aware of what the modellers know: that the results of their climate simulations are "likely to remain speculative for some time to come" and that people should be "extremely wary of extrapolating results to longer periods".
This demonstrates that the present climate-change models aren't just useless - by offering spurious precision, they are worse than useless.
How, then, does a theory that is incomplete and missing essential data become orthodoxy? …
Today, global-warming "deniers" have all been told they must fall into line with "the science". But this is not science, this is propaganda. And we are not being asked to be more rational but to suspend our own judgment completely. That, not "runaway climate change", is the most dangerous threat to the world today. …

Not a conspiracy but confirmation bias. Not a conspiracy, but a conjunction of belief and incentives, as suggested by a comment on this post:
Paul Vaughan (07:53:54) :
norris hall (05:10:11) “[...] it is possible that this is just a big conspiracy by climate scientist around the world to boost their cause and make themselves more important. Though I find it hard to believe that thousands of scientists [...] all agreed to promote bogus science. [...] Pretty hard to do without being discovered.”
Actually not so hard.
Personal anecdote:
Last spring when I was shopping around for a new source of funding, after having my funding slashed to zero 15 days after going public with a finding about natural climate variations, I kept running into funding application instructions of the following variety:
Successful candidates will:

1) Demonstrate AGW.

2) Demonstrate the catastrophic consequences of AGW.

3) Explore policy implications stemming from 1 & 2.
Follow the money — perhaps a conspiracy is unnecessary where a carrot will suffice.
Some further discussion and comment here. A criticism of the original post. A commenter with an academic science background explains the funding incentives. And there are huge sums of money involved. And also:
None of these outfits are per se corrupt, in the sense that the monies they get are spent on something other than their intended purposes. But they depend on an inherently corrupting premise, namely that the hypothesis on which their livelihood depends has in fact been proved. Absent that proof, everything they represent—including the thousands of jobs they provide—vanishes. This is what's known as a vested interest, and vested interests are an enemy of sound science.

Why past temperature numbers matter for the catastrophist case. Hammering the point about data availability. An example of why it matters. More on the data release/data lost issue. About the computer code and the data. More on the code:
I don’t think it resulted from any conscious fraud or deception on the part of the scientists. Instead, I think the problem arose from the simple fact that scientists do not know how to manage a large, long-term software project.

Worrying about the effects on the credibility of science. And also. An applied mathematician responds to the former worry. About the need for data openness.

But it is not easy being eco-righteous:
You can spot the problem long before you get to Copenhagen. I'm sitting in St Pancras station about to start a journey for which I have paid – deep breath - £480.
That's for a standard return journey from London to Copenhagen, with a bed in a six-berth compartment. It's not the most expensive ticket. I booked it over a month ago, which means I haven't had to re-mortgage my house (and I'm splitting the cost of the ticket 50:50 with the Guardian, for whom I'll be blogging most days).
I could have got there by plane for £18.
Pointing out how un-serious Oz governments are about climate change policy. Backing NASA’s Hansen over Krugman on a carbon tax rather than cap and trade.

Copenhagen summit has angry developing world delegates after the Danish text of the proposed agreement leaks. The leaked text. If one has not twigged to how much the green push is about keeping the developing world down, one has not been paying attention. Prof. Plimer the toast of the anti-Copenhagen conference. A professor of astrophysics is very unimpressed with Plimer’s book. About belief versus cold realities:
the idea that global warming represents the gravest threat to humanity has become totemic in much of the world, a belief invested with religious fervor and barely susceptible to rational discussion, let alone debate. Yet it remains telling how quickly a sense of reality has reasserted its cold grip in light of the choices Copenhagen now brings starkly into view.
As Copenhagen grinds to a halt with riots, deadlock and deepening divisions, a BBC interviewer asks whether 45,000 delegates are really necessary.

Suggesting the Russian secret service was behind the hacking of the CRU emails. The Russian admit it was via a Siberian server, but say they did not do it. (The article also has a nice discussion of the “hockey stick” problems and pressuring of journalists.) Suggesting internal evidence from the released emails and code indicates it was an internal leak.

Some physicists want the American Physics Society to rescind its AGW statement. More, including statements about funding incentives.

Noting the sheer humourlessness of the hacked emails, as part of the humourless of environmentalists generally. Or indicating True Belief (in the Eric Hoffer sense). Clive Hamilton displaying the moral viciousness of the True Believer. Wanting to save the world from the thermomaniacs.

A case of science has not failed, government has:
One is that the lack of scientific ethics exposed by the CRU whistle-blower is not really news. It has been obvious to those of us who were paying attention for a very long time. The leaked documents make it clear, however, to those who don’t understand the mathematical subtleties of regression analysis or program in Fortran. …
The fact that the U.N.’s climate gurus have destroyed data, hid inconvenient truths and subverted the peer-review process is not, by the way, proof that anthropogenic global warming could not possibly occur. Nor does it prove we are not in a natural period of cooling caused by solar cycles. The only thing it does prove is that models are junk and that the most powerful government-anointed climate scientists have no idea what’s going on — as the leaked e-mails stated over and over again.
This is the big lesson. It isn’t science that has failed. … Real science is a process of discovering the truth through transparency, experimentation and verification. Look around you. You can see the fruits of real science in the increased length and quality of life that we all enjoy. Science is alive and well in the private sector.
Climategate is a failure of politicians and bureaucrats involving over $90 billion in tax-funded research grants. It is complicated by passionately cheerleading environmentalists who have turned their movement into a kind of religion.

Sceptic and catastrophist battle it out on NZ TV: according to the reader poll, the sceptic overwhelmingly won. A left-wing NZ commentator sets out the (politicised) stakes:
If, therefore, the battle against climate change has to become the moral equivalent of war, with all the sacrifice that war entails, then climate change denial must become the moral equivalent of treason.
Over the top? No. The stakes really are that high.
Lots of the commenters do not seem to quite agree. But it is the latest form of salvation politics on the left and, if you do agree, why you are an enemy of salvation! A particularly trenchant statement of “up yours!” resistance to the whole thing is here.

So, the received position seems to be that the CRUtape letters et al show that the core climatologists as less-than-ept at data management, management of software management or use of statistical methods; have models which do not explain current lack of warming; have refused to share data; have refused to share their data management algorithms but we should just trust they have the science fine and dandy and spend billions and billions of dollars on that basis. One can imagine the gales of laughter if some “right wing” group tried that one. But there seems to be little limit to the amount of cognitive blockage that “this is what good people believe” can generate.

Also, that the planet is warming does not demonstrate AGW: it is what AGW seeks to explain. That CO2 adds to warming, and humans have been adding to CO2, does not demonstrate that we have a problem: CO2 on its own (no matter how much we pile into the atmosphere) will only get about a degree Celsius of warming (since CO2 only blocks a small range of frequencies and once it has blocked those frequencies it has no further warming effect). The “we have a problem/are the problem” claim rests on the claim that anthropogenic CO2 will generate significant positive feedbacks in the atmosphere: that is not even close to being “settled science” and is something no amount of computer modelling will demonstrate since such models only display the consequences of your premises. Particularly when those same models cannot explain the current pause in warming.
Tags: climate, friction, links
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