Whose conspiracy is it?

One argument I’ve heard in the climate change debate is that scientists around the globe are in on some kind of conspiracy, the purpose of which is to gather research funding for themselves. As the wife of a University academic, I find this argument quite amusing. Here’s why.

My husband, Ben, has applied for and been awarded research funding over the years. He is currently the recipient of a three-year research grant. The amount of this grant is something around $300,000 spread over 3 years. He and I have a joint bank account and I can tell you quite sincerely that none of this money has ever gone into our personal bank account. He has never spent any of this money on personal items or on any of his family. He’s not buying diamond rings for me or overseas travel for the family or kitchen renovations with it. The grant money gets used for things like conferences, PhD students, work-related travel and so on. When he wants to use it for one of these things, he has to walk up Rangitoto Island backwards and blindfolded, with his hands tied behind his back. Furthermore, his job is not dependent on him receiving this research funding. His gets his salary regardless. The research grant does benefit him a little in that it looks good on his CV. But he would still continue to do all the same research even if he didn’t get it. It would just happen at a slower pace.

I acknowledge that for young scientists without a permanent job as yet, research funding may mean a little more than just looking good on a CV, but who stands to lose the most if their position is wrong? If I were an independent observer to the climate change debate, I would say the most likely conspiracy theorist in all this, is the party emitting the most greenhouse gas. They are the people who get the most benefit from freedom to pollute and so stand to lose the most should a tax on carbon emissions (or something simliar) come into effect. Just as big Tobaco stood to lose the most from incontrovertible evidence that cigarettes cause cancer. Not the humble, university academic, who earns a modest wage and will gain nothing from global warming, other than a warmer planet. And I’m not sure this is something they want.

47 thoughts on “Whose conspiracy is it?

  1. Well said Rach, the absolutely ridiculous thing is that anyone actually BELIEVES these conspiracy theorists!? All you have to do is look out the window and see the crazy weather!

  2. Don’t compare Ben with mediocre academics out there, clutching at straws to hang on to tenuous positions, akin to snake-oil salesmen, and trying to make a quick buck out of whatever is trendy! Ben, with his pure academic brilliance, is in a totally different league.
    He’s not an academic, but didn’t Al Gore sell out to Al Jazeera recently? Hmm….. doesn’t mind making buckets of money from oil. Not someone I’d ever trust in the climate change debate.

  3. Eve, academics clutching at straws to hang on to tenuous positions are not all mediocre snake-oil salesmen by any means. Ben spend close to a decade eking out existence on one post-grad fellowship after another in Australia, Israel and the UK before finally snaring a permanent job and settling down. Paul Erdős, who authored or co-authored more papers than any other mathematician in the history of the discipline, basically spent his entire life living out of a suitcase.

    I think the claim that climate change is a conspiracy aimed at extracting research money is aimed less at individual scientists, than at institutions such as NASA, the Hadley Centre at the UK Met Office and the like that have large budgets and substantial numbers of researchers for climate.

  4. I am sure Ben would never change his beliefs to suit whatever is in fashion at the moment. As to the snake-oil types I was thinking more of the Tim Flannery’s, Dr Carls and Al Gore’s of this world all of them seizing the moment to exploit the climate change phenomenon and not

    1. allowing open debate on the subject. The chance of a conspiracy is probably greater in a large institution although that doesn’t mean individuals aren’t cashing in as well while there is a gullible public out there. Most of those bods in the U.K. Met. Office have probably spent their last winter trudging through the snow they said would happen again and here in Australia, houses were washed away by the floods the Climate Change commissioner said would never
      occur again! That they have any credibility left never ceases to amaze me.
      P.S. I need a new keyboard – using a virtual one is not the same.

  5. Rachel,
    In mentioning a “Conspiracy theory” in which “scientists around the globe” plot “to gather research funding for themselves”,you are missing the real point.The opinions of the scientific community are distorted by the immense pressure being applied by the UN IPCC , politicians ,and the media for researchers only to come up with findings which agree with the “consensus”.This pressure is powerfully reinforced by the way the vast majority of funding is allocated only to scientists willing to meet these requirements.It is clearly undesirable that no young scientist or young politician dare question the new religion of dangerous global warming without severely damaging their career prospects.
    In 1961, in his retirement speech,President Eisenhower referred to the ever rising cost of the research involved in the technological revolution of the post-war years ,and pointed out how “a steadily increasing share of it was conducted for or at the direction of the Federal government.”The prospect of the”domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations,and the power of money ,” he warned ,”is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.” That warning is equally applicable to Australia and NZ.Now the prime duty of the country’s climate science academics is not to establish scientific truth but to provide findings which support the official prescribed theory.
    A good example of someone not caught in this funding trap providing a rebuttal of a “consensus ” paper is Emeritus Professor, Dr.Don j. Easterbrook ‘s dismantling of Marcott et al 2013, available online at Watts Up with That,-“Validity of ‘ A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperatures for the past 11.300 Years”. posted March 11, 2013.There are a numder of these critiques now appearing. It seems that Marcott et al fails to live up to the hype, but the co-authors will no doubt continue to enjoy substantial funding.

  6. Perhaps the people behind this global warming conspiracy are the same people who perpetrated the scientific scam of evolution, thereby giving employment to thousands of biologists, geneticists and so on around the globe. They’re probably descended from the secretive cabal of scientists who hoodwinked the people of the Renaissance into believing the earth is round.

    Shaun Marcott’s paper is a peer-reviewed paper in a very reputable scientific journal (one of the best) and you are comparing it with someone’s blog post (Easterbrook). No comparison, sorry. If Easterbrook gets something officially peer-reviewed and published in a reputable journal, then I’m sure it will get an equal amount of media attention.

    1. It’s early days yet, Rachel. There will be any number of peer reviewed papers rubbishing Marcott et al, 2013. However, don’t expect to read about them in New Scientist or in the mainstream media. Your analogy concerning evolutionary theory is “clutching at straws”. It is the standard response to any criticism of the theory of dangerous global warming in an attempt to portray critics as “knuckledraggers” or religious nutters.
      Try the analogy between the theory of global warming and the now established junk science of eugenics.
      Doug and Eve.

  7. Of course you should take Anthony Watts seriously. HE’S BEEN SEEN ON TV! (He’s a former weather man for KHSL-TV in Chico, California). Sou takes him seriously, and finds his claims seriously crazy, http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2013/03/watts-is-whopping-crazy-after-marcott.html.

    The difficulty of blog wars about climate change is that many people assume that climate change is like politics: the most emotionally persuasive polemic wins the day. In reality it’s about data. A hundred and fifty years ago Irish natural philosopher John Tyndall presented, in a public lecture at the Royal Society in London, apparatus with which he was able to demonstrate the greenhouse effect of various gases, including water vapour, carbon dioxide and ethylene. The experiment has been replicated many times in various forms. There is no reason to doubt the result any more than there is reason to doubt the data that shows carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is increasing rapidly.

    1. Thanks for the mention, Mike. I just read Doug Spence’s comment above lauding the professor who’s ‘gone emeritus’.

      What is truly queer is that on the one hand WUWT people are complaining that there were ‘only’ 73 proxy series (from all around the world) used to reconstruct 11,300 years of global temperatures, but are quite happy to accept without question only ONE data series to represent global temperatures (the flawed drawing from the good professor). And that from a single location on an ice sheet high in the arctic. (The professor doesn’t even know the GISP2 data he drew ends in 1855.)

      These commenters have probably never heard of polar amplification and think it’s quite reasonable to believe that the average global temperature fluctuated by more than 3 degrees C during the Holocene. The ignorance is mind-boggling! (In fact, a drop of only about 0.6 degrees C brought earth into the Little Ice Age.)

      Those people unquestioningly accept any nonsense as long as it fits their world view. That’s why I call them fake sceptics.

      1. Correct that. It’s not the ignorance that’s mind-boggling. Lots of people don’t know a lot about paleo-climatology. What is mind-boggling is their certainty in nonsense despite their obvious lack of knowledge; and their lack of critical thinking.

        Such people comprise only 8% of the population in the USA, so probably even less in the rest of the world. They just make a lot of noise and tend to hang out together (so they don’t realise how different they are from the norm).

  8. The only thing that was wrong with the genetic theory behind eugenics was that matters were rather more complicated than Gregor Mendel realised. In fact there is even some truth behind Lysenko’s theory of hereditary transmission of acquired characteristics. But eugenicists made assumptions that went beyond what the science of the day had found – notably that human “race” was a simple genetic construct like the flower colour gene in rose bushes.

    I don’t see an analogy with climate science.

  9. Frankly, I am fed up with all the hypocrites out there like Al Gore making a fortune out of climate change living in a mansion that uses more electricity than most Australian country towns, at the same time trying to impose on the rest of us a Neanderthal-like lifestyle. He also jets around the world leaving an enormous carbon footprint refusing all the time to debate his views, saying the subject is “closed”.
    True science, and especially new theories, should never be “closed” to debate yet this is what is happening when we try to argue against and produce evidence against global warming.

  10. The only point of agreement in the various posts is that in the end ,”It’s the science,Stupid ” that will determine who is right or wrong on the climate science orthodoxy, of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW).
    However,attempts to raise “straw men”arguments which are easily disposed of,( “scientific scam of evolution”etc.) or ad hominem attacks (Anthony Watts -“former weatherman”-“HE’S BEEN ON TV”),are juvenile and invite obvious ripostes.Under the previous Labor Government in the UK, one of the official advisors on climate change was Albert Arnold Gore Jnr. Former Senator Gore’s educational qualifications to back up his expertise in the area were a B.A. in Government from Harvard after which following national service in the army,he entered the school of Religion at Vanderbilt .
    When I consult the Australian Climate Commision website ,I can see Gore doing set pieces on streamed video, as he declines interviews or debates where his ignorance would be on display.The same Climate Commission invites me to go to Skeptical Science website to learn about climate change. That site is a climate alarmist website founded by a self employed cartoonist,John Cook.When he was employed as a cartoonist for over a decade, Cook had no prior history in academia or climate science.To quote one commentator, it is “moderated by zealots who ruthlessly censor any and all form of dissent from their alarmist position”.Further, they “slime ” respected and well credentialled climate scientists like Prof. Richard Lindzen,Roger Pielke Snr, Dr. Pat Michaels,and others. This site (and Real Climate) in other words tries to do the same task as Anthony Watts on Watts Up With That or Steven McIntyre on Climate Audit in showcasing the views of climate scientists, meteorologists, geologists and others with greater expertise on the subject than Mr. Gore or Mr. Cook.I doubt it is only”the 8 % in the USA” or “less in the rest of the world”, who are making WUWT the most most widely read science blog on earth.
    Finally, Sou,Dr. Easterbrook stated that “the ONE data” the Greenland data closely follows another reliable proxy,glacial extent.To repeat one commentator,Dr. Easterbrook stated that Greenland ice core data do mirror global climate both since 1880 (Fig.2) and for paleo temperatures.He wrote (and will write more) –
    “Even small fluctuations of ice core paleo temperatures can be accurately correlated with advance and retreat of glaciers globally( the topic will be explored later) followed by -(Discussion of modern data) -“Thus we can can conclude that paleo temperatures are representative of global temperatures.”.Note the 2 peer reviewed papers at the end of his presentation.
    I also note that the first of the 73 examples of Marcott et al is also critiqued separately.on WUWT and does not appear too robust.
    Further world renowned scientist Dr. Judith Curry says at her blog about Marcott et al.,”There doesn’t seem to be anything really new here about our understanding of the Holocene.”Mike’s Nature Trick” seems to be a standard practice in paleo reconstructions.I personally don’t see how this analysis says anything convincing about climate variability on the time scale of a century.”
    Debate ,anyone?

    1. Doug, Dr Easterbrook is wrong. He’s a charlatan. If you believe that the temperature on the Central Greenland ice sheet is the same as the average global temperature you either live on the Central Greenland ice sheet or somewhere in Antarctica; and you’ve never been to the edge of the ice, let alone to a place like Singapore. (And I have a London Bridge going very cheap.)

      Might explain why people like you aren’t concerned at the prospect of a two degree rise in global surface temperature though. A rise higher than ever experienced since civilisation began.

  11. Sou,
    I am bemused by your suggestion that I (or Dr.Easterbrook) “believe that the temperature on the Central Greenland Ice sheet is the same as the average global temperature etc.” Dr. Easterbrook says no such thing .He directly addresses the issue which you misrepresent in such an odd way.-
    “What about the global implications of the Greenland ice core data?The cores come from specific sites on the Greenland sheet,so doesn’t the data pertain to just those places? That’s true,but the real question is,doesn’t it mirror the global climate? The answer to that is definitely yes- correlation of temperatures from the ice cores with global glacial fluctuations is clear and unequivocal.Even small fluctuations of ice core paleo-temperatures can be accurately correlated with advance and retreat of glaciers globally ( this topic will be expanded later) etc”.(See my earlier post). Fairly clear,I think .
    Further,Dr. Easterbrook relies on Alley,2000, in figure 1,”Greenland GSP2 Ice Core -Temperature last 10,000 Years,” which shows the current warming peaking below the Mediaeval Warming Period, The Roman Warming,and the Minoan Warming.
    As to Dr. Easterbrook being a “charlatan”, may I suggest that we agree on this rule.The first of us who calls the other’s expert a “charlatan” automatically loses the argument .I don’t accuse Prof Marcott of such and similarly you don’t accuse Dr. Easterbrook. This is my own variation of Godwin’s Law (aka Godwin’s Law of Nazi analogies) the well known internet adage which states,”As an online discussion grows longer the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” No Nazi or charlatan outbursts, please.
    Lastly , “people like me ” are not concerned at a two degree degree warming in global surface temperature even were it to occur by 2050 0r 2100,which you describe as “a rise (n)ever experienced since civilisation began.” I am not concerned because there has been little or no global warming for nearly two decades, and it is unlikely that mankind will be unable to adapt to such a rise in the unlikely event it occurs this century.You mention Greenland and Singapore . They differ in average annual temperatures by some twenty-something degrees Celsius. Using figures from the most prestigious of all official temperature records compiled by UK Met Office and its Hadley Centre ,the Global Average Mean Temperature for 1997 was 14.37degrees Celsius.For 2012 ,the global average mean temperature was 14.45 degrees Celsius.The point is that the line between the two years is virtually flat.Contrary to what you assert, the world has survived rises and falls of several whole degrees in the past. Any idea that we are facing catastrophic warming is fanciful.The same result is achieved if you look at the various temperature anomalies from the respective baselines on GISS, RSS, UAH, or Hadcrut 3 or Hadcrut4. Any “runaway Global Warming” had better get aboard a bullet train pretty soon.
    Having said why I am a CAGW agnostic, may I suggest that all of us read Don Aitken’s address given at the Manning House in Australia on March 29, 2011 entitled “An Essay on the current state of the climate change debate.” Don Aitken is a former President and Vice -Chancellor of the University of Canberra , and the address available on line gives a fairly objective view of the debate.

  12. I am not a paleontologist, geologist or statistician (and neither are you) so I defer to the experts and I see that the Journal of Science (and I repeat, one of the best!) has published something which I have no reason not to believe. I’m not going to believe someone’s blog post over the Journal of Science and I can’t understand why you would either. You’re comparing two pair with royal flush and trying to convince me that two pair wins.

    People resort to mocking because deniers don’t seem to respond to the facts. After mocking comes the realisation that the discussion is futile. Perhaps the 8% will remain unconvinced forever. The figure of 8% comes from a Yale University study – http://environment.yale.edu/climate/news/Six-Americas-September-2012/ – have you got a blog post that finds flaws with that, too?

    Let’s look at the big picture: There is an astonishingly close correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and temperature; atmospheric carbon dioxide is currently on the up, up, up and very up; the earth has warmed by 0.8 degrees over the last 140 years; the rate of change of temperature over the last 140 years is unprecedented in at least 11,000 years. And if I return to what this blog post was about, does the vested interest lie in the humble university-employed post-doc – Shaun Marcott – who really has nothing to gain from proving human-induced global warming? Or from the 8% who do have a vested interest in continuing to produce greenhouse gases? In reality, every person on this planet has a vested interest in emitting greenhouse gases, but some have a greater interest than others. Whose conspiracy is it really?

    In the interests of avoiding going round and round in circles, I’ll ask a new question: Where do you think the scientific consensus that global warming is real, has come from?

  13. Your constant appeal to authority, that is, that your views represent 92% of the populace, is not a logical argument. History shows many examples where the majority has been wrong. The constant personal attacks (ad hominem) on dissenters doesn’t wash either.
    To answer your question, I say,
    “What consensus”?

  14. If you sincerely intended to ask, “what consensus”, here’s a fairly substantial, but not exhaustive list:

    Royal Society, United Kingdom
    National Academy of Sciences, United States of America
    Royal Society of Canada, Canada,
    Academie des Sciences, France
    Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Germany
    Indian National Science Academy, India,
    Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
    Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
    Accademia dei Lincei, Italy
    Science Council of Japan, Japan
    American Meteorological Society
    American Physical Society
    American Geophysical Union
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    Geological Society of America
    American Chemical Society
    American Soceity of Plant Biologists
    Botanical Society of Amercia
    Natural Science Collections Alliance
    Soil Science of America
    University Corporation for Atmospheric Reseach
    American Institute of Biological Sciences

    1. I will leave the question of consensus to others better qualified to answer.
      Having studied statistics (and geology) at university I have difficulty accepting data from such limited time frames which may seem long in terms of human life but in a geological time frame are almost non- existent.
      In the meantime, pray for a bit of sun spot activity if you’d like to see a sudden increase in temperature.

  15. Who is throwing money at organisations that dismiss climate science? Oil billionaire Charles Koch is – http://www.monbiot.com/2013/02/18/secrets-of-the-rich/. Burning of fossil fuels is the largest contributor to planet-warming greenhouse gases so it is no surprise that Charles Koch will be doing all he can to prevent efforts to curb emissions.

    On the other hand, we have someone like Stefan Rahmstorf, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. In his words – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7092614.stm:

    “How likely is it that my funding would suffer if I found a good alternative explanation for the observed global warming, or that I would have trouble publishing it (assuming it would be methodologically sound, of course)?” he asked
    “Quite the contrary, I would see it as a path to certain fame! Scientists always strive to find something radically new and different – just reconfirming what is already quite well-known is boring, and certainly will not get you the Nobel Prize.
    “In many countries, including my own, scientific funding is a lot less competitive than in the US – I’m a professor for life, my institute has a solid base funding for doing its research, and basically I can do what I want without risk that this is taken away from me. I don’t need to get new grants all the time.

    Do you really believe there’s some conspiracy on the part of scientists? The parallels to big tobacco and the scientists of the day are quite striking, don’t you think?

  16. Non-climatologist Don Easterbrook from the esteemed blog WUWT is quoted as saying “. but the real question is,doesn’t it mirror the global climate? The answer to that is definitely yes”

    Don said it so it must be right! So that puts and end to that once and for all. Science AAAS (and Marcott et al) is wrong! 98% of climate science papers from the past two centuries can be assigned to the scrap heap. From now on the world will only get it’s science from WUWT, random phrases from 200,000 stolen emails, and maybe the ‘interpretations of the interpreters’ documented in a blog on the Daily Telegraph.

    Got it!

    (For heaven’s sake – Don doesn’t even line up his own charts on the correct time line, let alone explain why he rejects all the various global reconstructions that have been done in the past few years to focus on temperatures on an ice sheet in the arctic or trees in northern China. If he’s stuck on ice cores and the polar regions, why doesn’t he use Antarctic ice cores I wonder?)

    (Apologies to mine host for the sarcasm.)

  17. Global temperature fluctuations tend to be amplified at the poles.

    If anyone is interested in a more up-to-date paper on Greenland temperatures, here is the paper relating to the Greenland ice core data set used by Marcott et al. in their reconstruction (ID 67 Agassiz & Renland).

    And here is the supplementary data:

    One quote from the supplementary paper:
    “strong evidence that the average of the Agassiz and Renland δ18O records is indeed a good proxy for the millennial scale variability in the Greenland temperature history during the Holocene, confirming the assertion that the Agassiz/Renland records are representative for climate in the entire Greenlandic region. This implies that the strongest signals in millennial scale Greenland Holocene δ18O are due to temperature change and elevation change, whereas the many other potential factors proposed to influence precipitation δ18O29,30 are of secondary importance.”

    Note the reference to “Greenland temperature history” and “representative of the climate in the entire Greenandic region”.

    Just as the Arctic is warming more quickly than lower latitudes now – it also rose higher than the globe as a whole in the Holocene Optimum and other lesser fluctuations.

  18. How about “non-climatologist” Al Gore, Sou, while you’re dismissing Don Easterbrook out of hand? Should we believe the 9 of 35 points in an “Inconvenient Truth” that Justice Burton of the U.K. High Court found to be in “error”, with three if them having “no basis in science”, including endangered polar bears? Is this part of the “consensus”?

    1. What has Al Gore got to do with Don Easterbrook’s flawed articles? (I believe that there are a lot of deniers who argue “Al Gore is fat therefore climate science is a hoax”. )

      Al Gore communicates what is known about climate science and he’s good at it. Science communicators play a very important role. However I don’t look to politicians, nor do I look to judges in the UK or any other legal practitioners to learn about climate science. I prefer to read the science itself. I doubt this is representative of all lawyers, but I came across a lawyer yesterday who couldn’t figure out how Australia had its hottest summer on record when no individual state or territory had the hottest summer on record (although NT came close). He didn’t admit it, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he failed Grade 3 arithmetic.

      Do you believe that repeatedly mistaking 1905 for 1855 makes Don Easterbrook more or less credible? Do you believe that arctic amplification doesn’t occur or that Greenland is a better proxy for global temperatures than any of the myriad global reconstructions to date? (Or perhaps you think that the earth has an average temperature of about minus 30 degrees Celsius.)

    1. I beg to differ. He has had zero impact on reducing carbon emissions as the latest data from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory show – http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/08/hawaii-climate-change-second-greatest-annual-rise-emissions. CO2 levels jumped by 2.67 parts per million in 2012 to 395ppm. Not only is the amount increasing, but also the rate of increase is increasing. I wouldn’t exactly say that Al Gore has had much impact at all, if measured by a reduction in atmospheric CO2 and this is the impact he would have wanted. The other problem is that many people don’t want to believe that climate change is real simply because Al Gore believes it is and he’s a democrat so he must be wrong!

  19. Al Gore’s movie is being shown in schools to rapt audiences of young people. the U.K. Environment Secretary, David Miliband, in early 2007, ordered that DVDs of Gore’s film be sent to everyone of 3385 secondary schools in Britain. This led to the litigation before Justice Burton.
    Gore communicates rubbish amongst some acknowledged facts. The sooner this is widely recognized, the better.
    As to your other points, they are simply arguments that point to a lack of so-called consensus on many points of climate science.

    1. Discussing Al Gore and his movie serves no purpose in the same way that discussing Anthony Watts and his blog is futile. Many other reputable, scientific organisations have provided climate change educational material for Al Gore haters interested in learning more about climate change: The Royal Society, UK has a nice guide online – http://royalsociety.org/policy/climate-change/ . The American Meterological Society also explains things well – http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/2012climatechange.html and if geology is your thing, then maybe this – http://www.geosociety.org/positions/position10.htm – from The Geological Society of America. Pick one, any one. I can provide more.

  20. You don’t think it’s immoral showing a propaganda movie like that to gullible school children?
    There once once religion in Western societies as a way to controlling the masses and to amassing power and influence. Now there’s climate change, the new kid on the block, and necessary, because folks aren’t falling for that religious stuff any more. Enter the hypocritical and dogmatic high priest, Al Gore, shoving it down our throats, telling us how to live our lives, all the while filling his own pockets with filthy lucre. No thanks!

    1. The three links I provided have absolutely nothing to do with Al Gore. This blog post has absolutely nothing to do with Al Gore. Atmospheric co2 levels have absolutely nothing to do with Al Gore. But yet, you keep mentioning him….

      1. You haven’t answered my question. Maybe that’s because any propaganda that’s supports your view point is okay.

    2. The average salary of a post-doctoral fellow in the United States – read Shaun Markott, whose research we are discussing here – is $46,000. Hardly what I’d call lucrative propaganda.

  21. Have you ever thought that perhaps you are dismissive of climate change simply because you don’t like Al Gore? Genuine thought, here. Not trying to attack.

  22. That’s a stupid insulting remark not worthy of you. Al Gore really brought climate change to the masses so why shouldn’t he be scrutinized? Your blog is full of ad hominem attacks on various well known climate skeptics yet you can’t bear any criticism yourselves. That you condone the showing of a propaganda film to impressionable, young school children doesn’t help your credibility and honesty in this topic one bit. As long as it supports your cause……
    I also dispute the 8% figure you and others seem to delight in bringing up. Another fallacious argument btw. And that figure, too, is outdated. It’s now around 30% and growing but that’s another story. You won’t like it.

    1. It is obvious that you have not looked at the link I referenced because if you had, you would know that the Yale study is dated March, 6 2013 and is the result of data collected in September 2012. This is not outdated. They report that the percentage of “alarmed” in the American population has grown, while the percentage of “dismissives” has shrunk.

  23. Rachel,
    I am about to depart the debate .I realise neither side is going to concede any points to the other.Further argument is only leading to acrimony and name-calling.
    I have always accepted the greenhouse effect, that increasing CO2 must cause some warming of the atmosphere.There is undoubted consensus among all scientists on this basic physics, i.e. that a doubling of CO2 over time causes a rise in temperature of say 1.2 degrees Celsius.What I say has no “consensus” is the argument that such temperature rise is potentially catastrophic,I don’t accept the climate sensitivity figure that follows, that radiative forcings ( positive and negative ) cause a 3 degree anticipated temperature rise (UNIPCC AR4-climate sensitivity 2 to 4.5 degrees with a median figure of 3). Dr. James Hansen says climate sensitivity is 3 plus or minus one ( see ANNEX 1 to his book, “Storms of my Grandchildren”.) There he disagrees with Prof. Richard Lindzen who says the figure is less than 1 degree because he believes there are negative forcings, principally clouds and water vapour, to retard the warming.That debate has continued for thirty years.
    If you mean by “consensus” that the majority of climate scientists and all National Academies of Science currently believe in CAGW, you are correct.However in the First Assessment Report of the UNIPCC (1990) .the finding was-“The observed (20th Century warming) increase could be largely due ….to natural variability.”
    Second Assessment Report (1996)-“The balance of the evidence suggests a discernible human influence on climate ”
    Third Assessment Report (2001)- “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.”
    Fourth Assessment Report (2007).Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperature since the mid-twentieth century is very likely (= 90% probable) due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations” .
    All of this is from the Summary for Policymakers.
    Now read the leaked Second Order Draft (SOD) of AR5 (for 2014) on- line With uncertainty surrounding issues like solar irradiance ,climate sensitivity, lack of warming, and the world’s scientists and policy makers watching, how will the Summary read next time? Will it honestly address any uncertainties? Will it bury these issues and merely talk of Extreme Weather Events?
    Lastly I could be wrong in doubting CAGW as could all sceptical Climate Scientists. That is why I keep reading everything I can on both sides of the divide.Doubt does not seem to be anything conceivable by others in these postings.
    I am not however prepared to follow the so called precautionary principle and have untold billionsspent in combating what remains an unproven theory.This is particularly so when it is profoundly immoral to condemn billions of third world people to ongoing poverty malnutrition and disease, by denying them access to fossil fuels which is all they have available, on the speculative belief that we are “saving the planet for our children and grandchildren”.

    1. P.S.
      I know that you all find it demeaning to read Watts Up With That (Anthony Watts), and Climate Audit (Steve McIntyre), but I suggest you read today’s blogs -Willis Eschenbach at WUWT – “Marcott’s Proxies-10% fail their own test for inclusion”, and Steve McIntyre-” Marcott mystery no.1″. The correspondence between Steve McIntyre and Shaun Marcott is particularly interesting.The data for 1890 to 1950 is “not robust ” (!)
      My suspicion regarding this paper only deepens.It was triggered when Marcott said his paper was corroborative of Mann (The Hockey Stick paper MBH 1998 and later paper).Also the Southern hemisphere paper trying to establish a Southern Hemisphere Hockey Stick (Gergis et al 2012) was ignominiously withdrawn.

      1. Doug, I saw that article. I particularly enjoyed Willis’ complaint and his confirmation that Steve McIntyre is still “baffled” by science.


        Also that he is surprised that not everywhere on earth warms and cools at the same time. For someone who’s constantly pretending to blog about climate, especially one who seems to have travelled as much as he, you’d have thought he would understand that pretty fundamental fact.

        Then again, he may be aware of more than he lets on, just doesn’t want to disappoint his audience. Or not. (Does anyone recall his article about how he anthropomorphised thunderstorms, saying they are conspiring together to cause global warming?)

      2. I’ve read it too. Here is a bio of Willis Eschenbach – http://www.desmogblog.com/willis-eschenbach. I can’t understand why you would think the opinion of a construction manager/accounts manager who is in the employ of big oil would be at all relevant in a discussion on the robustness of an academic paper published in Science?

        I had a read of Steve McIntyre’s post about it too and I don’t have anything meaningful to say about it because I confess I really don’t understand the details – I only have an undergraduate degree in computer science! Steve McIntyre does not seem to have any academic qualifications in mathematics or statistics beyond an undergraduate degree either. So I have to defer, and sorry to repeat myself, back to the fact that a prestigious journal has published a peer-reviewed paper and until a counter-argument is similarly peer-reviewed and published, I have no reason to believe it over the published paper.

        I confess to only first hearing about Michael Mann and his hockey stick when you lambasted him last week. As you see, I am not a regular reader of WUWT. So I went and did a bit of searching myself and I can’t understand what his crime actually is? It seems he’s been vindicated by no less than 7 independent investigations including one conducted by the National Science Foundation and another by Pennsylvania State University. Check out the desmog versions of events: http://www.desmogblog.com/national-science-foundation-vindicates-michael-mann

  24. I believe the total count of inquiries is nine – and Prof Mann was vindicated in every single one of them. He’s written a book about it:

    I haven’t read it but AFAIK in it Mann talks about some of the main players who are trying to discredit the science and scientists and what he and many scientists are put through (intimidation, threats, stealing their emails, mounting frivolous Freedom of Information campaigns to tie them up in administration responding to them so they won’t have time to do their research, and even trying it on in the courts, as with Ken Cuccinelli).

    Prof Mann’s crime is the same as Dr Hansen’s crime (and in Australia, Dr Karoly’s and Prof Steffen’s) and that of every other climate scientist whose work has achieved world recognition as well as those who communicate their findings to the public (eg Bill McKibben, Dr Joe Romm, Prof Flannery, Al Gore), they are delivering messages that certain people don’t want others to hear.

    That’s it. There is nothing more. That is sufficient crime for people to make up stuff about them, mock them in cartoon and on blogs and distort their scientific findings beyond recognition.

    The trouble is that the mockers and deriders (disinformation merchants like Watts, Marc Morano, Heartland Institute etc) have to twist actual scientific info from science to try to appear ‘credible’. So they engagein Doublethink.

    Case in point – till a couple of years ago temperature from Dr Jones’ CRU was ‘untrustworthy’ and satellite data (UAH) was the only trusted source. Now it’s the reverse. Now they prefer to use CRU methodology (albeit the outmoded HadCRU3 not the current HadCRU4) rather than UAH because UAH is rising more steeply. They will even quote NASA when it pleases them. All the time they cherry pick the data or fabricate it (Monckton is a good example of this). Or, as with Don Easterbrook, will pick a data series like the one Richard Alley (2009) used for his analysis, make a bad drawing and claim (falsely) that it was taken from the Alley paper, shift it up a few years so it won’t even roughly correlate to any modern temperature record, and then claim ‘all the scientists are wrong’. (Yeah – completely illogical but there are people who so want it to be so, that they will accept ‘the scientists are correct so the scientists are wrong’ idiocy).

    The merchants of disinformation are shameless and those who believe them are fake skeptics, completely gullible, won’t check the facts instead they lap up the lies and inconsistencies because that’s what they want to believe.

  25. Rachel,
    I was happily reading your other posts but will reluctantly answer your points.
    1.The fact Willis Eschenbach was an account / IT manager formerly employed by “small oil ” in the South Pacific is relevant to nothing.Einstein was once a Patent Clerk writing non-peer reviewed papers in his spare time.W.E. is working building houses at the moment but still appears more lucid and smarter than Marcott, Shakun, Clark and Mix combined.The Desmog blog is a cheap smear.
    2. If his review of Marcott et al is unsound then any qualified scientist or statistician can rebut it. Do so.He argues-
    (a) 10% 0f the sedimentary proxies fail their first criteria i.e sample resolution of better than approx.300 years
    (b). The proxies taken in sets of 25 show completely contradictory outcomes, some showing steadily rising temperatures and others steadily decreasing temperatures,and some up and down.When you profile all 73 on one graph, you get a flat line around zero baseline for over 10,000 years! When you have some proxies showing a cooling of 9 degrees and others a warming of 7 degrees over the period for the whole planet, it defies credibility! How can this support the paper’s findings if W.E.is correct?
    No,Sou, this is not some modest variation in site data, from place to place. Obviously one or more or all of these sets is wrong. Rachel, you tried to convince me movements were within a degree over ages , compared to a 0.8 degree increase since 1850. Incidentally the accurate figure is 0.76 degrees Celsius plus or minus 0.16 degrees Celsius, according to Garnaut ,citing the Royal Society.Quite a margin of error, compared to about 5 one hundredths of a degree warming in the last 17 plus years.
    3.If you prefer a “real scientist” to rubbish this flawed paper ,S Fred Singer is one of a number now lining up to poke fun at the new Hockey Stick. Again at WUWT,he points out that .Marcott is certainly going to get notoriety if not fame and fortune.When Mann, Bradley and Hughes tried this on in 1998, and 1999,it took years for statistician Steve McIntyre and economics Professor Ross McKitrick to extract the computer codes and comprehensively discredit the HS papers in peer reviewed papers -MM2003 and MM2005. Hughes parted company with Mann when his intent was to implausibly extend the HS back beyond 1000 years, as the Climategate e-mails disclose.
    4. In 1996 Lloyd Keigwin covered the same proxy ground as Marcott et al. He published a paper also in “Science” based on sedimentary data .It found that the earth was warmer 1000 years ago (Mediaeval Warm Period) and much warmer 3000 years ago So I’ll take that “Science” paper over this hokum.
    .5.No,none of the nine “investigations” went close to “vindicating ” Mann on the science.Many were flawed by obvious conflicts of interest and perceived bias of the participants . All stated that they left the argument over the science for another enquiry to examine. None ever did. Some of the “investigations” asked no basic questions concerning the flawed statistics and cherry-picked proxies.Both the Wegman and NAS enquiries found in favour of McIntyre and McKitrick,i.e. Mann’s statistics were flawed.The NAS found bristlecomb cones should not henceforth be used as proxies, etc. Look at the “Closeout memorandum “of the National Science Foundation, (NSF) referred to by Desmog blog.All it does is find that Mann was innocent of fabricating any data and no evidence of research misconduct .The scientific issues were left to scientific debate.
    6.Rachel, This fiasco was funded by the U.S. NSF set up by Congress.. It has a budget of $7 billion and is the funding source for 20 % of all research conducted by Colleges and Universities.The President appoints its 24 person board.A scandal like this is likely to reach their ears They read WUWT ! There is serious public money in play and unlike the $950,000 lost in Australia over the Gergis et al 2012 debacle, the Board of NSF may want value for money. .If MM or others publish a peer reviewed paper or a complaint is made about the poor provenance surrounding this paper.the NSF Board might want to see the notes and proxy data (all of it) of the authors and the peer reviewers and have tested the computer runs surrounding the 73 proxies.How did this pass peer review? It is much harder to whitewash unscientific behaviour since Mann.
    7.I recommend “The Hockey Stick illusion” By A.W.Montford ( Bishop Hill) which is a great thriller about codebreaking of the computer codes of Mann, Briffa, Hughes , Bradley, Osborn, and all the Hockey Stick Team ! Lastly ,overnight Mr. FOIA the Climategate “mole” has released the codes for all 220,000 of the CRU/Mann e-mails(Climategate 3) between the Team including notes of some peer reviewers .One peer reviewer calls MBH 1998 “CRAP”! Wonderful.
    Cheers ,Doug

  26. To compare Eschenbach with Einstein is ridiculous. Einstein had a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Zurich. Besides which, the point was more that Eschenbach has a conflict of interest which is very relevant. Einstein, as a patent clerk, did not have a conflict of interest with relativity.

    When I provide information from a source with equal weighting to yours (i.e. another blog in the form of desmeg, although I am biased and think is has more integrity than WUWT), you describe it as “cheap smear”. This is why you can’t pass off information taken from WUWT to further your point because I view it as nonsense completely lacking in credibility. Reading WUWT is akin to reading an anti-vaccination blog that dismisses science and instead believes vaccination is a big conspiracy on the part of pharmaceutical companies.

    Keigwin’s paper was 17 years ago and a great deal has been discovered since then. If he wasn’t concerned about climate change back then, he is now. From The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2006/oct/27/science.climatechange?INTCMP=SRCH):

    `Scientists have uncovered more evidence for a dramatic weakening in the vast ocean current that gives Britain its relatively balmy climate by dragging warm water northwards from the tropics. The slowdown, which climate modellers have predicted will follow global warming, has been confirmed by the most detailed study yet of ocean flow in the Atlantic. ….. Lloyd Keigwin, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, in the US, described the temporary shutdown as “the most abrupt change in the whole [climate] record”. He added: “It only lasted 10 days. But suppose it lasted 30 or 60 days, when do you ring up the prime minister and say, let’s start stockpiling fuel? How can we rule out a longer one next year?”‘

    Go and see what his institute, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has to say about climate change – http://www.whoi.edu/main/topic/abrupt-climate-change There’s an interesting video documenting their research in Greenland – http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=55747 – with some amazing scenery in it.

    Academics are very cautious, conservative individuals. They tend not to make sweeping statements without a great deal of evidence and experimentation. They make mistakes. Einstein’s paper on relativity has mistakes. There’s no such thing as perfect data. You analyze it as best you can. Statistical theory gives you information about the sorts of conclusions you can draw from the data and how reliable they are. My husband is a mathematician, but I know that if I asked him to look at Marcott’s paper to examine the robustness of his statistical analysis, Ben would say that he’s not a statistician despite having undergraduate degrees in both mathematics and physics and a PhD in pure mathematics. My point is that if you’re waiting for a genuine, qualified scientist or mathematician to rebut Willis Eschenbach on WUWT, you will be waiting a very long time. There’s so much crap out there that you can’t expect scientists to go around rebutting each and every piece. It would be nice if scientists could just get on with their work, free from threats, fear and intimidation.

  27. Rachel, I omitted to correct one fact which you raised. There is no equivalence between Steve McIntyre (Climate Audit) and Anthony Watts (WUWT) versus desmogblog and bigwhopperetc. McIntyre and Watts have published peer reviewed papers. Watts has co-authored papers with senior climate scientists e.g. Roger Pielke Snr. See Fall et al 2011. NASA has acknowledged the value of this paper in correcting land based temperature gauges. See also Watts 2012. McIntyre has published the papers I referred to earlier in this blog with Professor Ross McKitrick, MM03 and MM05.
    What have your two sides produced?
    Lastly, the discrediting of Marcott et al continues and the issue is whether Science ought to withdraw the papers.

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