‘Global Warming McCarthyism’

By October 9, 2006Global Warming

The recent imbroglios involving Sen. Inhofe — who actually knows something about global warming — and California Attorney General Lockyer, who appears to know only the hype, triggered this excellent piece from our friend from Down Under, Bob Carter, an experienced environmental scientist and a founding member of the Australian Environment Foundation. Bob is a serious scientist and researcher who has written extensively on this topic. This is a lengthy piece but one well worth the read.

McCarthyism, Press Bias, Policy-Advice Corruption and Propaganda Everywhere
by Bob Carter

The debate on global warming has, to its detriment, long ceased to be a scientific one. Instead, moral fervor for this cause has become a leading religion of our time.

Maintaining the fiction that human-caused global warming is so dangerous that it requires the restructuring of the world economy has come to involve the dedicated efforts of a legion of disciples. Here’s a brief description of four main ways that they pursue their agenda.


McCarthyism

The Attorney General of California, Bill Lockyer, together with such environmental activist groups as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, has recently taken aim at the so-called “climate skeptics”.

The Association of Automobile Manufacturers and some car makers challenging the California’s greenhouse emissions laws have sued the state, claiming that the implementation of state emission rules will have no significant effect on checking global warming, which is likely true.

But Lockyer, rather than seeking to establish that the emissions’ laws will check global warming, has decided instead to attack auto makers’ potential scientific advisors. In pre-trial discovery, Lockyer has asked a federal court to force disclosure of all communications and documents between the car companies and a group of 18 high profile climate skeptics. Most of those named are American citizens, but an international flavour is conferred by the inclusion of at least one British and one Canadian citizen.

The intent is clearly twofold. First, a fishing expedition for material that might be useful to the state in defending its case. And second, a warning shot across the bows of all climate skeptics that they speak on this issue, in private let alone in public, at their own peril.

It is interesting to ponder why these particular 18 skeptics made Lockyer’s A-list, for there are clearly many hundreds of well-credentialed scientists who question the conventional global warming wisdom. Other climate rationalists may feel happy at being omitted, not because they have done anything wrong but because no-one likes being intimidated.

A type of modern McCarthyism, this sort of intimidation can only serve to stifle further an informed public debate on climate change, and it is a deplorable action for an Attorney General to take. Recalling Lockyer’s earlier track record of inhibiting scientific evidence, for instance during a 2001 gun-control debate when he gagged California state experts who opposed his plans, one wonders whether his latest act might not provoke a friends-of-court backlash from the many Americans who can recognize an attack on their constitutional rights when they see one.

Then, lo and behold, hot on the heels of Lockyer’s sally in California come reports of unbalanced press treatment of the climate change discussion in New Zealand, attempts to muzzle public discussion by the Royal Societies of London and New Zealand, media manipulation by the U.S. Academy of Sciences, and the launch of a propaganda blitz for Mr. Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Bias and censorship in the media

In a small country such as New Zealand there is a high risk of press bias influencing public policy outcomes about complex science issues. With a market of only 4 million people to sell into, New Zealand media outlets are of limited diversity. The danger that journalistic sheep-like behaviour will inhibit discussion of important public issues is therefore ever present, and has indeed been manifest in the debate, or rather lack of it, on global warming.

For example, the largest circulation newspaper in South Island, The Press, recently published “Heat is on to Act“, an 800 word alarmist polemic by Landcare’s Dr. David Whitehead. The article includes gems like “When projections of continued emissions are built into complex computer models to predict future climate, the result is the so-called “hockey stick” curve showing temperature reaching alarmingly high values up to 1 deg to 3 deg above present-day values in the next 50 years”.

Leaving aside that this sentence is a highly confused and inaccurate account of the hockey stick, the very same day The Press rejected an article by experienced climate researcher Dr. Gerrit van der Lingen titled “The Broken Hockey Stick“.

Dr. van der Lingen’s article explained something that the New Zealand public have not yet been fully informed about – that the hockey stick construction by Penn State paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and co-authors, which was highlighted by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 2001 assessment, has been found to be flawed beyond repair by both a committee of the National Academy of Sciences and an experts’ report for a U.S. House committee. Yet Dr. Whitehead and The Press continued to use the hockey-stick as proof of human-caused global warming, and will brook no correction.

Another example comes from my own experience earlier this year. Leading weekly magazines North & South and The Listener, and the New Zealand’s largest circulation daily and weekend newspapers, the NZ Herald and the Sunday Star Times, then all declined to publish an opinion piece that I wrote titled “The Global Warming Emperor Has No Clothes”.

That I should write the article was suggested to me by local scientists who were strongly concerned about the imbalance in the New Zealand climate change debate. That the article was rejected by so many editors, of course, reflects not conspiracy but group think – if indeed thought rather than reflex was involved.

Now posted on the Climate Science Coalition’s website, the article relates several important facts about contemporary climate that are unknown to most members of the general public.

Such as: that global average temperature has not increased over the last seven years, despite the continuing rise in human-caused greenhouse emissions; that late 20th century temperatures were warm as part of a solar-driven recovery from the Little Ice Age; and that during natural climate cycling, changes in temperature precede their parallel changes in carbon dioxide.

Alarmist public presentation of the climate change issue in New Zealand is encouraged also by well-respected radio commentators such as Radio New Zealand’s Kim Hill and Chris Laidlaw. These talk-show hosts choose not to interview knowledgeable local rationalist climate experts, but instead, succumbing to the cultural cringe of deferring to “overseas experts,” provide the oxygen of publicity to zany climate alarmists like the U.K.’s Lord Ron Oxburgh and Sir David King.

One can but wonder why media editors wish to deny New Zealanders knowledge of basic climate facts and alternative views, especially given the endless column space, air time and viewing time that they allocate to alarmist speculations and the fact that climate change was a critical issue in New Zealand’s election last December.

New Zealand was one of the first signatories to the Kyoto Accord, with the signing justified to voters by government estimates that the country would make a profit of around NZ $350 million from the anticipated sale of carbon credits earned by its once-thriving forestry industry. Alas, a change in the carbon accounting rules, and a turndown in forestry investment, have turned that hoped for credit of up to 55 million tons into a deficit of 36 million tons, and this translates into a likely bill, depending upon the costs of tradable carbon credits, of between NZ$0.5 billion and NZ$1.5 billion.

At around 1% of New Zealand’s GDP, the financial turnaround is not small beer, reflected by New Zealand’s minority Labour party only being able to remain in government by agreeing last year to coalition partner demands that it drop its former plans for the introduction of a carbon tax.

Since the election, the government has floundered to come up with rational climate change and energy policies. In order to placate green interests, ministers have even toyed with the reintroduction of a deeply damaging “climate change” provision into the development approval process, by allowing amendments to be tabled to its own Resource Management Act.

The censorship by the media that I and other scientists have regularly experienced in New Zealand is part of a much wider problem that involves not only the print media, but also radio, television, and film coverage of the climate change issue. And that this is a worldwide problem is exemplified by the blistering indictment of the American media that was delivered last week by U.S. Senator Inhofe.

In addition to their unrelenting climate alarmism, media outlets worldwide mostly present either the simplistic view that there are “two sides to the debate”, or the brain-dead assertion that “the science of climate change is settled”. In fact, of course, there are almost as many sides to the climate change issue as there are expert scientists arguing it, and the science will never be “settled”, whatever that might mean. And, anyway, to reduce public discussion to a “he says, she says” or “there is a consensus” piety is to formularize it into meaninglessness.

The media also defer regularly to the self-interested and unaudited advice of the IPCC, whose 2001 hockey stick graph – which formed an important part of the formal advice to governments on climate change – has now been scientifically ridiculed.

Policy corruption

In addition to legal threats to free speech, and media bias, the third gorilla in the climate cage is the increasing involvement of national science academies in giving policy advice to governments. By giving false assurances that a “consensus” exists on human-caused global warming, or indeed on any other disputed science issue, and by attempting to inhibit public debate, these bodies betray the very foundations of their existence.

For example, in early September the Royal Society of London embarked on a misguided mission to prevent informed public discussion of the global warming issue. Their Policy Communication Manager, Bob Ward, wrote an intimidatory letter to oil company Esso UK in an effort to suppress Esso’s funding for organizations that in the Royal Society’s view “misrepresented the science of climate change, by outright denial of the evidence …., or by overstating the amount and significance of uncertainty in knowledge, or by conveying a misleading impression of the potential impacts of anthropogenic climate change”. Happily, and not surprisingly, there has been an immediate storm of worldwide protest, including comment that “the Royal Society is advocating censorship on a subject that calls for debate” (Marshall Institute, letter of Sept. 22).

Two recent U.S. reports on climate change provide other illustrations of science advice that has become corrupted by policy pretension. The first, by the National Academy of Sciences, discusses the evidence for surface temperature reconstructions over the last 2,000 years, including comments on the now infamous “hockey stick” curve. The second, from the new Climate Change Science Program, summarizes information about atmospheric temperature measurements over the last 25 years. Both documents contain egregious disparities between the (accurate) science detail that is provided in their main text, and free-wheeling, alarmist statements that are contained in their associated Executive Summary and Press Release. Media reports being based only on the latter sources, thus does frisbee science become public reality.

As a final example, the Royal Society of New Zealand, which publishes a Newsletter called Alert, recently presented an interchange of letters between the chairman of its own expert Committee on Climate Change and the independent New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. When the coalition provided a reasoned, referenced scientific discussion of various points that had been raised by these letters, the Alert editor, without giving reasons, declined to distribute it, thereby leaving his society members completely misinformed on the issue. And this from a national learned Society that “aims to bring together an informed and scholarly approach to scientific and technological questions.”

Up to the 1950s, the Royal Society of London used to advertise in its Philosophical Transactions that “it is an established rule of the Royal Society … never to give their opinion, as a Body, upon any subject, either of Nature or Art, that comes before them”. Leaving such old-fashioned integrity behind them, the modern involvement of national science academies in the policy-setting process has led, quite inevitably, to their political corruption. For it is surely the sharpest of historical ironies that the Russian Academy of Science is now almost alone amongst its brethren organisations in encouraging independent viewpoints about climate change science to be voiced.

Members of science academies often play leading roles in the assessment of research proposals. This places individual alarmist scientists in a position to influence the disbursement of highly competitive research funds, whereby intimidation is brought to bear on research applications from scientists who display critical views on human-caused global warming. In one recent example, the referee of a research proposal commented:

“The applicant appears to be keen to dispute in the popular press the scientific evidence linking recent global-scale warming to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. While the freedom of the press means that he can write whatever he wants in a newspaper, it would be better if he published scientifically-correct statements in his newspaper articles. …(His) statements are incorrect. …. It is not appropriate… to fund a scientist who continues to publish scientifically erroneous statements in the popular press”.

Against such a biased background, the public need to insist on a fact-based debate on issues such as whether countries like New Zealand and Canada should withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, which they are entitled to do without penalty; and whether future environmental health would best be encouraged by enlarging the membership of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6).

Censoring by not publishing moderate voices in the climate debate, as the media worldwide do; or peremptorily refusing sensible calls for a Royal Commission into the matter, as the New Zealand Minister for Climate recently did; or not funding research proposals on science merit alone, as is now commonplace; demonstrate a troubling contempt for the true public interest, similar to that displayed by the Attorney General of California.

And propaganda everywhere?

Well, Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth” can conveniently be taken as a positive answer to this question, for the reach of Hollywood truly is global. As is the daily publication of alarmist climate change stories in major newspapers in all countries, a practice delightfully described as “climate porn” by the London-based Institute for Public Policy Research.

As widely commented on in reviews and other opinion pieces, Al Gore’s film is a masterpiece of evangelism, using every artifice in the propaganda film maker’s book. Dramatic and beautiful images of imagined climate-related natural disasters segue fluidly one into another: from collapsing ice sheets to shrinking mountain glaciers, from giant storms and floods to searing deserts, and from ocean current and sea-level changes to drowning polar bears.

Never explained is the minor detail that all of these events reflect mostly the fact that we humans inhabit a dynamic planet. Certainly, all of them have occurred naturally many times in the past, long before human activities could possibly have been their cause.

And when asked about his film, in an interview with Grist Magazine, “Do you scare people or give them hope?” Mr. Gore replied:

“I think the answer to that depends on where your audience’s head is. In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble or unreality. And the Category 5 denial is an enormous obstacle to any discussion of solutions. Nobody is interested in solutions if they don’t think there’s a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual solutions on how dangerous it (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis”.

The intellectual dishonesty involved in all of this is not restricted to Mr. Gore’s film, but has become all pervasive. Thus professional sociologists at the London-based Institute for Public Policy Research urge that “the task of climate change agencies is not to persuade by rational argument. … Instead, we need to work in a more shrewd and contemporary way, using subtle techniques of engagement. … The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken.” And the same authors then calmly advise: “Ultimately, positive climate behaviours need to be approached in the same way as marketeers approach acts of buying and consuming. … It amounts to treating climate-friendly activity as a brand that can be sold. This is, we believe, the route to mass behaviour change.”

“Amen to that”, Mr. Gore would presumably sing. Not chilled by such statements? Then your global warming fever is indeed incurable. Rarely has the public prostitution of an important science issue been so clearly revealed as in this inadvertent slip of the post-modernist skirt.

Nonetheless, the idea that the public must be indoctrinated further with alarm about global warming continues to gather strength. Foreshadowing a paroxysm of propaganda that can be expected to peak with publication of the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report next February, the United Kingdom government has recently created an Office of Climate Change, which is to be matched by a European Union climate publicity initiative.

It is unclear whether the Attorney General of California really does think that “climate skeptics” are a public hazard; whether media editors and journalists are obsessed with being politically correct on climate change, or are merely frightened of offending their governments; or whether politicians and leading public figures are being sincere or pragmatic about the often inane climate policies that they propose. At the same time, it is all too clear that Al Gore and his many disciples really do believe their own propaganda, which is now to be fomented by the boot-camp training in Nashville, Tenn., of “more than 1,000 individuals to give a version of his presentation on the effects of – and solutions for – global warming, to community groups throughout US.”

Australian Chief Justice, Murray Gleeson, has recently argued that the “cultural expectation that those in authority are able and willing to justify the exercise of power is one of the most important aspects of modern public life”. Public opinion now forces governments, courts, lobby groups and powerful individuals alike to respect this principle. And nowhere is justification more needed, together with accurate information and balanced discussion, than in the complex debate over human-caused global warming, now one of the great political issues of our time.

The bottom line is – irrespective of McCarthyist bludgeoning, press bias, policy-advice corruption or propaganda frenzy – that it seems highly unlikely that the public is going to agree to a costly restructuring of the world economy simply on the basis of speculative computer models of climate in 100 years time. And therein, I guess, lies the genius of democracy.

*****
Professor Bob Carter is an experienced environmental scientist and a founding member of the Australian Environment Foundation. Here’s a link to his website.

Join the discussion 29 Comments

  • Steve Whuite says:

    I recently found out California Attorney General Bill Lockyer got his wife the top job at a domestic violence agency funded by taxes, the Alameda County Family Justice Center in Oakland, California.

    Nadia Lockyer has some experience with public agencies, and she is a lawyer, but her resume is far too thin to start at the top as she has there.

    Although there was a big show of a major selection process, (please go to the brochure at the following link0:::

    http://www.alamedacountyda.com/nadialockyer.pdf

    the truth is, the entire selection process was dominated by Nancy O’Malley, the number 2 person in the Alameda County DA’s office.

    Under California Govt Code Section 87100 and 87300 an elected official such as Lockyer is forbidden from using his influence to effect a government decision, (such as the hiring of Mrs. Lockyer) which will effect him, or an immediate family member, (again, Mrs. Lockyer).

    This is not the first time the Alameda County DA”s office has given Lockyer’s family member a job. When his daughter Lisa Lockyer graduated law school, she was hired as a Deputy DA. Lockyer was California Senate Pro Tem at the time, and it’s quite possible he violated the same two state laws at that time.

    In fact, though this is not of general interest statewide, it’s well known that the DA hires the children of VIPs on request. Under special exemptions in the Alameda County Charter, the DA’s office is not required to hire or promote on merit.

    I would like to sue Lockyer and the others involved in conspiring to break state law. I think it can be well proven that Lockyer interfered, and another side of it is that the agency is partly Federally funded. I contacted the head of the Federal office involved, (Marybeth Buchanan of the Office on Violence Against Women, part of the US Department of Justice, and she was not aware of this, and told me should would look into it)

    I don’t know if they violated any Federal laws as well, but I would not be surprised. I think that may have been the reason for the big phony “search” for the new chief — the DA can hire whomever he wants, so why else go through that big act?

    I know there are plenty of shady things Lockyer is alleged to have done, or in some cases known to have done, but I think this could be big, not so much because a lot of harm was done to taxpayer’s interests, but because Lockyer’s wife got a direct financial benefit.

    I am looking to spread the word, and also, to find a lawyer who is williing to sue such a powerful man. I know it will cost me up front, and a lot of money I lose, but I want very much to go ahead with it.

    Please email me if you know of anyone to handle such a lawsuit, or if you want more info on this, and finally, please feel free to spread the word. You are welcome to credit me with exposing this, or not do so as you wish.

    Thank you,

    Steve White

  • Andrew Worth says:

    “Do the global warmers accept the fact of climate cycles in the Earth’s past?”

    Yes, historical climate change is not in dispute.

    “It’s up to them to convince the rest of us that the cycles will not continue in the future.”

    Natural climate change will occur in the future, The concern climate scientists have over AGW is because anthropogenic climate change is expected to be much faster than that which occurs naturally, though still fairly slowly on the human time scale.

  • Gordon Checknita says:

    Do the global warmers accept the fact of climate cycles in the Earth’s past?
    If not, then they are the real “deniers”.
    It’s up to them to convince the rest of us that the cycles will not continue in the future.
    Good luck.

  • Steve Sadlov says:

    The promoters of AGW hysteria draw heavily from the tactics used by Stalin and Hitler during the 1930s and early 40s.

    Real Climate reminds me of accounts I’ve read of Nazi rallies during the early days of that cancer’s rise. Make no mistake, although many caught up in the hysteria may be somewhat innocent and well intended, those leading it are people I personally consider to be quite dangerous. Yes, I wrote those words, and yes I equate them in many ways with the totalitarians of the 1930s.

  • Carry Las says:

    Why is it so impossible to make everything?

  • C. Bruce Richardson Jr. says:

    Mr. Worth, you said: “As the Wegman report was a politically initiated enquiry this is totally unsurprising. There is a political adage that should be kept in mind: Never initiate any enquiry without knowing what the results will be. The ‘results’ of Wegmans analysis were known in advance because the road was well traveled.” That suggested to me that you thought that the Wegman committee members were not objective in the investigation. I’m sorry that I misunderstood your meaning. And that I still don’t understand your meaning. Yes, I thought that was interesting about him using the word “alarming” too. I would not be surprised to learn that Dr. Wagman believes that there may be a global warming crisis. Obviously he doesn’t think that Dr. Mann’s study proved it.

    If the proxy data before 400 years ago is of too low a quality for high confidence in the conclusions drawn, then how can the question of anthropogenic global warming be considered settled. What evidence is there besides that proxy data to support belief that the temperatures have been stable for 1000 years and that recent temperature increases are anomalous? To claim that current climate change in anomalous, we would have to know with certainty what the ancient climate was like. We don’t know for certain. Should we really accept that there wasn’t a Medieval Warm Period and a Little Ice Age based on proxy data that we shouldn’t have high confidence in?

    RealClimate.org is a fine source for only a particular point of view. I don’t believe that there is a truly objective source. Anyone with half a brain is going have opinions. That is why we need a variety of points of view. I don’t object to folks having opinions. But I don’t think that opinions should be considered scientific fact that we should base government policy on.

    I was simply asking you if you were referring to me. In my opinion, neither you nor I were engaging in “mud slinging.” I was curious to know if you thought otherwise.

    Mr. Worth, I don’t think that I am the only person who doesn’t fully understand all of the forces that drive climate change. It is my opinion that no one fully understands climate. That is why I said “we.” I can say that “we” don’t fully understand the causes of cancer even though I am not a physician. I do believe that scientists understand small parts of the climate puzzle. I think that very few scientists would claim to fully understand climate anymore than meteorologists would claim to know for certain what the weather is going to be next week. If “we” don’t fully understand climate, and “we” create programs to model climate, would those programs somehow understand more about climate than “we” the programmers did?

    I don’t know how far apart we really are on the “hockey stick.”

    I think that the climate has generally warmed since the end of the Little Ice Age. I suspect that we can agree that the “hockey stick” reflects that warming. The last 100 years or so of the hockey stick is based on ground based temperature measurements rather than proxy data as I understand it. Of course, that raises a question. What would the results have been if Mann had used the same proxies to determine modern temperatures that he used for ancient temperatures?

    The hockey stick also claims a fairly stable climate prior to recent warming. The hockey stick made the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age disappear. If we cannot place a high degree of confidence in proxy data before 1600, can we agree that the hockey stick representation from around 1000 A.D to 1600 is speculation rather than settled science?

    Water vapor has a tremendous influence on climate. Carbon dioxide pales in comparison to water vapor as a greenhouse gas. I think that there is much more to learn and understand about water and climate, The atmosphere is around 0.04% carbon dioxide. Even doubling the amount of carbon dioxide would give you around 0.08%. which would still be a very small percentage. There is no reason to believe that any climate effect that increasing carbon dioxide would have would be linear either. I think that you are correct. The next “frontier” will be trying to understand how water vapor influences climate.

    I hope that some day we will fully understand the cause of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. I hope that we will have also have more information about the likely warming and cooling periods that probably preceded them.

    Mr. Worth, this has been an interesting conversation. I doubt that either of us persuaded the other. Perhaps we did demonstrate that it is possible to debate climate and act like gentlemen. We need more of that.

    My best regards,

    Bruce Richardson

  • Andrew Worth says:

    Just a quick comment about the significance of temperature trends since 1998.

    Climate forcings from increasing concentrations of GHG are superimposed on powerful and naturally variable background multi equilibrium climate states.

    One of these is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation that impacts on climate and ecologies around the planet. The PDO is a multi decade phenomenon that has no established link to ENSO:

    http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/

    There was a 0.6 degree centigrade rise in lower atmospheric temperature between 1976 and 1977, such large erratic year on year changes in the lower atmospheric temperature are not uncommon.

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2004/08/09/non-linear-climate-change/ – Figure 2

    There is no evidence that the PDO is linked to solar activity through modulation of the cosmic ray flux.

    The planet maybe moving into a cool phase of the PDO, the leveling off of global warming between ~1940 and 1975 may well be linked to such a cool phase, at some stage (no-one knows when) the PDO will certainly return to a warm phase.

    There are solid reasons why cosmic ray flux and cloud formation can be linked, a link between charged solar particles and cloud formation is well established, however a link between GALLACTIC cosmic rays and significant effects on cloud formation has not been scientifically validated – the GHG will continue to have an increasing climate impact on top of other natural forcings, entirely swamping natural forcings.

  • Just a quick comment about the significance of temperature declines since 1998.

    The argument is that climate forcings from GHG are superimposed on powerful and naturally variable background multi equilibrium climate states.

    One of these is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation that impacts on climate and ecologies around the planet. The PDO is a multi decade phenomenon that modulates the ENSO. Warm phases bring more El Ninos and cool phases bring more La Nina.

    There was a 0.6 degree centigrade rise in lower atmospheric temperture between 1976 and 1977 as the planet moved into the last warm phase of the PDO. A very powerful signal indeed.

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2004/08/09/non-linear-climate-change/ – Figure 2

    There is emerging evidence that the PDO is linked to solar activity through modulation of the cosmic ray flux.

    This provides a robustly testable hypothesis. Indications are that the planet has moved into a cool phase of the PDO (and that solar activity is declining) – suggesting that the planet should be in a cooling trend since 1998 (or at least not warming as rapidly) to about 2030.

    If the physics of cosmic ray flux and cloud formation continue to be scientifically validated – the GHG sigal could be swamped entirely – i.e warmer planet – more water vapour -more clouds – cooler planet. Although that is of course speculation and time will tell.

  • Andrew Worth says:

    Carter: “The bottom line is – irrespective of McCarthyist bludgeoning, press bias, policy-advice corruption or propaganda frenzy – that it seems highly unlikely that the public is going to agree to a costly restructuring of the world economy simply on the basis of speculative computer models of climate in 100 years time. And therein, I guess, lies the genius of democracy.”
    Democracy is the best form of governance we have but Carter is actually describing democracy’s achillies heal; Deadlock and indecision, democracy has a lot in common with, and is in fact is a form of, decision making by committee.

  • Andrew Worth says:

    Mr. Richardson,
    I have found time to reread The Wegman report,
    you suggest I am questioning the character of the Wegman committee, not so. I refer you to section 10 of their findings:

    “We note here that we are statisticians/mathematicians who were asked to comment on the correctness of the methodology found in MBH 98/99. In this report we have focused on answering this question and not on whether or not the global climate is changing. We have discussed paleoclimatology only to the extent that it was necessary to make our discussion of the statistical issues clear.”

    Wegman and his co-authors had strict terms of reference, they stayed within these terms of reference.

    Wegmen goes on to conclude Section 10 “…the oceans are absorbing tremendous amounts of heat, which is much more alarming because of the coupling of ocean circulation to the atmosphere (see Wunsch 2002, 2006).
    Interesting that he uses the word “alarming”, I wouldn’t, partly in fear of being labeled an alarmist (Collins Dictionary: Alarmist; one who habitually spreads alarming rumours)

    I actually have few problems with the report. The main thing that concerns me is that denialists cherry pick it and then exaggerate what it says, its main points:
    (i) There were faults in Manns methodology
    (ii) Greater involvement by statisticians would have been an advantage
    (iii) The palioclimatology community is too small and interconnected, to give total confidence in its peer review process
    (iv) The quality of the proxy data from before 400 years ago is too low for high confidence in the conclusions drawn

    This does not mean, as you keep claiming, that what the climate was doing more that 400 years ago is “just opinion” it mean less confidence can be placed in the data, NAS still gives a 2 in 3 chance of Manns conclusions being correct.

    Mr. Richardson: “You realize that http://www.realclimate.org is not a source for objective information on this issue don’t you?”
    Mr. Richardson, each of us wanders around with a model of the world in our heads, we construct these models based on our instincts, our up bringing, our life experiences etc. It can be argued that, outside of mathematical proof, nothing we believe can be proved to be objective, however, the more we study a particular aspect of the world around us, the more expertise we can gather, and the more maths that we can apply, the more objective or closer to the real world our understanding is likely to be.
    On the above criteria Realclimate is about as close to “objective” as you will get in climatology. It is run by climatologists who are at the cutting edge of climate research. What do you consider to be an “objective” source? Senator Inhofe? Dr. Carter? Yourself?

    “Do you think that I have engaged in mud slinging?”
    You pointed to ad hominem attacks (mud slinging) directed at AGW skeptics, were you referring to me??
    I didn’t think you were, why do you seem to think I was referring to you?

    As far as Kyoto and how best to deal with AGW is concerned, I have not decided, I need a better understanding of the economic costs of reducing emissions vs not reducing emissions, the most profitable option may well be found in the middle ground. My views on AGW are based on science, not politics, and not economics.

    “We don’t understand much about climate change. I realize that some scientists think that they do.”
    It would be more accurate for you to say: I don’t understand much about climate change. I realize that some scientists think that they do.

    They do understand it, It is their nonclimate science critics that don’t. If I want information on climate science I listen to a practicing climate scientist, others seem to prefer to listen to, retired climate scientists, chemists, geologists, hydrologists, engineers, nuclear physicists, meteorologists etc.
    Because climatology is such a fast moving field, not being active means being out of date.

    “Climate models can only reflect our current lack of understanding about climate. Computerizing something that we don’t really understand isn’t that helpful.”
    You have no idea, when I have time, I’ll find some info for you, or you could just read up on the views of realclimate scientists.

    Hopefully we aren’t that far apart on the “hockey stick.” We still haven’t dealt with the important stuff, ie the enhanced green house effect as a result of increasing CO2 and the water vapour feed back.

    Cheers Andrew.

  • C. Bruce Richardson Jr. says:

    Mr. Worth, I agree that the Wegman report was politically initiated because the climate change debate has become political. The members of the Wegman committee were Edward J. Wegman (George Mason University), David W. Scott (Rice University), and Yasmin H. Said (The Johns Hopkins University). These men are eminently qualified in the field of statistics. Statistics in general and principle component analysis in particular were a big part of the inquiry. They published a detailed written report.

    You seem to be suggesting that the Wegman committee members did not provide an objective assessment. They had no axe to grind that I am aware of. I suspect that their character is being questioned because their report did not support the “Hockey Stick.” If there is some other reason to question their objectivity, I would like to hear it. You realize that http://www.realclimate.org is not a source for objective information on this issue don’t you?

    Both the Wegman Report and the NAS questioned our ability to reconstruct climate before 1600 A.D. using proxy data. Maybe if there is more proxy data there can be more confidence. But all of the proxy data is noisy and subject to influences other than temperature. There could be influences that we know nothing about yet. I don’t know how you get around that by simply increasing the amount of proxy data.

    Of course, such noisy data can only be evaluated statistically. The problem with the Mann study according to the Wegman report was that he didn’t properly “center the mean” when using the principal component methodology. His methodology favored “hockey stick” type results. Centering it differently gave significantly different results.

    One thing is obvious. If a study is publicly funded, there should be conditions. There should be peer review by persons totally independent of the researcher. Any statistical analysis should be reviewed by statisticians to avoid the sort of problems that occurred with the Mann study. Data and methodology should be an open book. Other researchers should be able to duplicate the results. Science demands that. Any scientist who obfuscates the way Mann apparently did should not receive public funding in the future.

    As things stand right now, any statements about climate conditions before 1600 that are based on proxy data are opinions. They are not scientific facts. Comparing temperatures today to temperatures prior to 1600 is speculation. Not scientific fact.

    I think that probably the second half of the twentieth century probably was warmer than any other period in the past four centuries. There are many opinions about when the Little Ice Age started and ended (and if it happened at all). I think that it is generally believed that the Little Ice Age was from around 1550 A.D. until around 1850 A.D. Suggesting that it has been warming on average since the end of the Little Ice Age would not be a shocking revelation.

    I don’t know Dr. Carter and I know nothing about the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition so I can’t really comment on that.

    Mr. Worth, I think that you already know my opinion of ad hominem attacks against those on either side of the debate (or any debate for that matter). I don’t claim to be other than human but I do try to resist the temptation. Do you think that I have engaged in mud slinging? Can you offer an example of mud slinging by me?

    Did the Economist article claim that United States ratification and adherence to the Kyoto Accord would have a significant impact on global warming? As I mentioned, it is possible that the United States agreeing to Kyoto would increase rather than reduce global carbon dioxide emissions. Or did they claim that it would not have an impact on our economy? How are the countries that bought into Kyoto doing with their economies these days?

    I really thought that I addressed your point about the temperature rise over the last 150 years being anomalous in a previous comment. Temperature rising is what ended the Little Ice Age around 1850. Any temperature reconstructions based on proxy data for the period before 1600 are just speculation. Was it anomalous? Was the start of the Medieval Warm Period anomalous? I guess compared to the cooler periods that immediately preceded the warming, maybe it was. Looking at the longer term it probably isn’t. I think that it is reasonable to assume that the climate is cyclic. For that cycle to continue as it always has would not be anomalous. For that cycle to stop now would be.

    I did read the Hanson article that you mentioned. We don’t understand much about climate change. I realize that some scientists think that they do. Perhaps some of them were the ones that warned of the global cooling crisis of the 1970’s.

    So far, we can only speculate about the cause of the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age, the cooling of the 1970’s, and the more recent warming. Climate models can only reflect our current lack of understanding about climate. Computerizing something that we don’t really understand isn’t that helpful.

    Sorry. So far I haven’t seen any compelling evidence that would prove that our current warming isn’t just a part of a natural cycle.

  • Andrew Worth says:

    Mr. Richardson said, Quoting the Wegman report: “Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.” Mr. Richardson surmises “I don’t believe that any objective person could read the entire Wegman Report and believe that it supports the “Hockey Stick” assumption.”
    As the Wegman report was a politically initiated enquiry this is totally unsurprising. There is a political adage that should be kept in mind: “Never initiate any enquiry without knowing what the results will be.”
    The “results” of Wegmans analysis were known in advance because the road was well traveled:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/the-missing-piece-at-the-wegman-hearing
    Mr. Richardson: “The “Hockey Stick” representation should have been a dead issue. It makes claims that cannot be substantiated. Really any attempt to use proxy data to reconstruct climate before 1600 A.D. is questionable according to the Wegman Report and the NAS Report.”
    Not quite true, As the quantity of proxy data gathered increases, the confidence we can place in the results of the analysis of the data will increase.
    The situation at the moment is (from the Nature report sited previously):
    “We roughly agree with the substance of their findings,” says Gerald North, the (NAS) committee’s chair and a climate scientist at Texas A&M University in College Station. In particular, he says, the committee has a “high level of confidence” that the second half of the twentieth century was warmer than any other period in the past four centuries. But, he adds, claims for the earlier period covered by the study, from AD 900 to 1600, are less certain. This earlier period is particularly important because global-warming sceptics claim that the current warming trend is a rebound from a ‘little ice age’ around 1600. Overall, the committee thought the temperature reconstructions from that era had only a two-to-one chance of being right.
    Mr. Richardson: “I think that Dr. Carter pretty much nails it. There is on ongoing attempt to declare the anthropogenic global warming issue settled even though it obviously isn’t. Attempts are being made to keep heretical opinions on climate from being presented on news programs.”
    Dr. Carter is one of the scientist members of the NZ Climate Science Coalition, I’ve been trying to get these people to front up to discuss their views, they wont:
    http://www.climatescience.org.nz/discuss.asp?item=152
    Terry is the NZ CSC secretary
    One of the questions I would dearly love to ask is:
    DR. CARTER, 1998 WAS THE LAST STRONG EL NINO YEAR WE HAD, THE EL NINO CONDITIONS RESULTED IN HIGHER THAN USUAL OCEAN SURFACE TEMPERATURES AS A RESULT OF LESS SUBDUCTION OF WARM SURFACE WATER TO GREATER DEAPTH, AS A RESULT THERE WAS MORE HEAT FLOW FROM THE OCEANS TO THE ATMOSPHERE, THIS RESULTED IN A SPIKE IN SURFACE TEMPERATURES. WHY DO YOU ALWAYS CLAIM THAT SURFACE TEMPERATURES HAVE DECLINED SINCE 1998, IF YOU TOOK MEASUREMENTS FROM ANY OTHER YEAR IN THE LAST 150 YEARS THROUGH TO 2006, THE TREND IS CLEARLY A TEMPERATURE RISE?
    Do you think he will reply? I doubt it, I’m not the first to ask.
    Mr. Richardson: “Climate infidels are maligned and subjected to intimidation. They are commonly subjected to ad hominem attacks with little or no discussion of the questions that they raise. A good example worth exploring on the Internet is the treatment of Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick who first raised questions about the “Hockey Stick.” Their motives were questioned. They were accused of doing the bidding of the “big oil companies.” And it turns out that they were right about the problems with the “hockey stick” analysis.”
    Those whose work forms the basis of the IPCC conclusions are called “alarmists” they are accused of fabricating their results to obtain higher pay packets, and of being motivated by green politics (even though few are Greenies).
    Can’t we just leave the mud slinging behind and stick to the science?
    Mr. Richardson: “Certainly any reduction of CO2 by that accord would have had a miniscule impact on climate. It would have had a huge impact on our economy.”
    Not according to The Economist September 9th.
    David said: “ may I put to you what the NRC did make clear in their conclusions and see if we agree? They said:
    “Our view is that all research benefits from full and open access to published datasets and that a clear explanation of analytical methods is mandatory. Peers should have access to the information needed to reproduce published results, so that increased confidence in the outcome of the study can be generated inside and outside the scientific community.”
    No argument there David; but it cuts both ways:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/followup-to-the-hockeystick-hearings
    David: “The key battleground over the next year is going to be disclosure. It holds no fears for me. How about you?”
    “Key battleground”? I think it’s fair to say that even with some reluctance on the part of some people to give full disclosure, this is, and in the AGW debate, always will be, a relatively minor issue, the real debate will be over how to facilitate any necessary emissions reductions with minimal economic costs.
    No one has replied to my point the temperature rise over the last 150 years is anomalous, something Must cause the rise and, despite claims by Dr. Carter and others ALL climate models Do take account of solar forcing, did you read the Hansen site I referred to earlier?
    Cheers Andrew.

  • David holland says:

    Andrew,

    Thanks for acknowledging that Wegman’s conclusions were not in the very last line of his report. Before getting too far into what Tim says may I put to you what the NRC did make clear in their conclusions and see if we agree? They said: “

    Our view is that all research benefits from full and open access to published datasets and that a clear explanation of analytical methods is mandatory. Peers should have access to the information needed to reproduce published results, so that increased confidence in the outcome of the study can be generated inside and outside the scientific community.”

    I don’t know if, like me, you are old enough to have listened live to Anthony Eden speak live on Suez or to have watched the Queen switch on Calder Hall and its “Atoms for Peace” project, but age alone can make you sceptical. I know it’s a fault but my experience with people who say, “trust me” has not been good. The 30-year rule has made some people into liars. We now live in an enlightened age supposedly with freedom of information. What I have difficulty with, is that if anyone really believes AGW to be the most serious threat we face, how he or she cannot unreservedly support full disclosure. This is an ends and means dilemma. Some people in my country believe so passionately in AGW that they would shut down power stations if they could. Others have dug up the dead to press a different case. I believe in science and logic, which needs honesty and disclosure but I doubt if I would be brave enough to go to the stake for it. Where do you stand? The key battleground over the next year is going to be disclosure. It holds no fears for me. How about you?

  • C. Bruce Richardson Jr. says:

    Mr. Worth, I appreciate your prompt reply. A group affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) which was founded by Saul Alinsky, attempted to take over our civic club. I did not know who I was dealing with at the time. I was playing by the rules. They were not. They went so far as to rig the vote on affiliation by having one of their disciples (the President) vote twice. The President apparently thought that being affiliated was so important that election fraud was justified. After a couple of years, she came to realize that she had been had and they dropped the affiliation.

    More recently, another group affiliated with the IAF attempted to “help” our civic club form a property owners association. Their attempt to “manage” the debate at the civil club meeting failed when another fellow and I would not sit down until they answered a question about a survey that they claimed to have done. They would answer questions that we never asked and ask us to sit down. Finally one of the board members did answer the question and the group realized that the President (a different president) had misrepresented the results of a survey that had been done. We won that one. Obviously I have less than high regard for the “ends justify the means” bunch.

    Mr. Dennell might have just been shopping for a quote rather than intentionally misrepresenting the conclusions of the Wegman Report. If it was a mistake then there was no dishonesty. I would encourage him to actually read the report. In the Executive Summary under Findings he will find this quote: “Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.” I don’t believe that any objective person could read the entire Wegman Report and believe that it supports the “Hockey Stick” assumption.

    The “Hockey Stick” representation should have been a dead issue. It makes claims that cannot be substantiated. Really any attempt to use proxy data to reconstruct climate before 1600 A.D. is questionable according to the Wegman Report and the NAS Report.

    But the “Hockey Stick” isn’t a dead issue. It is my understanding that Al Gore even has it in his movie. True believers circled the wagons. I have even heard the “Dan Rather defense” i.e. “even if the documents were forged, that doesn’t mean that they are not true.”

    Why? I guess they like the “Hockey Stick.” It shows 1000 years of fairly stable temperatures with a sudden temperature recently. The Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age were inconvenient. They represented climate change that occurred before humans could have been the cause. We had global warming that created the Medieval Warm Period and then cooling that gave us the Little Ice Age. Then we had warming around 1850 that ended the Little Ice Age. None of that couldn’t have been anthropogenic. We had cooling again in the 1970’s that created the “new ice age” scare. Then it warmed again. Why isn’t it possible that the current warming is just part of the same natural cycle? I am not yet convinced that studies that use proxy data and extensive statistical analysis provide objective proof of anything.

    Actually I think that Dr. Carter pretty much nails it. There is on ongoing attempt to declare the anthropogenic global warming issue settled even though it obviously isn’t. Attempts are being made to keep heretical opinions on climate from being presented on news programs. Climate infidels are maligned and subjected to intimidation. They are commonly subjected to ad hominem attacks with little or no discussion of the questions that they raise. A good example worth exploring on the Internet is the treatment of Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick who first raised questions about the “Hockey Stick.” Their motives were questioned. They were accused of doing the bidding of the “big oil companies.” And it turns out that they were right about the problems with the “hockey stick” analysis.

    Dr. Carter’s comment about the Kyoto Accord was interesting. I personally believe that had the United States participated in the Kyoto Accord it might have actually increased global CO2 emissions. Certainly any reduction of CO2 by that accord would have had a miniscule impact on climate. It would have had a huge impact on our economy.

    Mr. Worth, I glad to hear that you aren’t disciple of Saul Alinsky. Did you know that one of our U. S. Senators was his protégé? I will let you research that one as it would be off topic. Do a Google search on Saul Alinsky protege.

  • Andrew Worth says:

    Thankyou for your reply David.
    The faults Mr Dennell made in his references to The Wegman and NAS reports are accepted.
    The important issues of the AGW are what changes in climate have occurred over the last 150 years or so; are these changes a result of human activity? If so, what are the implications for the future?
    Mr. Dennell did address these issues to some extent at least in his comments.
    Do you take issue with his conclusions? If you are happy that Mr Richardson has dealt with “where else you (Mr. Dennell) are wrong” I assume you do not.
    Possibly you agree with the cosmic ray theory Mr. Biggs mentions, I don’t, as there appears to be little scientific support for it.

    On the matter of what Wegman actually concluded, My own view, after reading it about a month ago, is that the report was a political stunt. The terms of reference, as I remember, were for Wegmen and his co-authors to determine if the criticisms of the Dr. Manns “Hockey Stick” by McIntyre & McKitrick were valid.
    Wegmans report answered that they were. However, if I had been the one to request Dr. Wegmans report, the most important piece of information I would want the report to deliver is:
    “Do the conclusions reached by Dr. Mann as a result of his work stand, despite any errors?”

    Unbelievably, and contrary to popular belief, Dr. Wegman was never asked to answer this question! And he never did!

  • David H says:

    Andrew Worth says “David H says: “….there is little point in telling you about where else you are wrong.” “I would appreciate it if David H if could tell me where else he thinks Tim Dennell is wrong, as too often that expression is used to slur someone when, in fact, the person making the slur can’t find further fault.”

    Andrew, no slur was meant. There is little point in long arguments with people that have closed minds. If you are telling me that you agree Tim was deliberately or erroneously (it must be one or the other) misquoting Wegman and you really want to understand where else Tim is wrong, I’ll explain though others have already done a good job. If you don’t agree that Tim was wrong there is little point in going on till this simple issue of what Wegman actually concluded is resolved. Do you agree Tim got it wrong?

  • Andrew Worth says:

    Mr Richardson.
    Thankyou for your reply.
    I did find Mr Dennell’s omissions irksome.
    I apologies for over reacting to your spelling mistake.
    I had assumed it was you who was the desciple of Alinsky, I had never heard of him.
    Whatever the faults and strengths of Dr. Mann’s climate reconstruction, people spend way too much time on it, the temperature rise over the last 150 years is anomalous. This is a useful article to help us laymen understand why:
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2005/2005_Hansen_etal_1.pdf
    It is worth remembering that scientists on both sides of the debate can be influenced by their politics. I think the popular perception is that it is those who accept AGW who are most influenced, but it cuts both ways Dr. Carter being an obvious example.

  • C. Bruce Richardson Jr. says:

    Mr. Worth, I can end your speculation as to why I referred to Mr. Dannell as “Denalli” in in my comments. My brain had it right but my fingers were insisting on typing Denali as in the park. I ended up with Denalli. I caught the error and corrected it several times. Obviously I missed one instance. Trying to “ridicule” him by misspelling his name would be pointless. It would say more about me than about him. Actually I was having a bad day. I ended up posting two versions of my comments. Sorry about that.

    You are obviously familiar with Mr. Alinsky’s approach to activism. We see it quite a lot in climate debate. Personally I have a problem with the “ends justify the means” approach that Mr. Alinsky advocated. If an argument is really robust, there should be no need to engage in misrepresentation, shouting down opposition, and the like. Actually I think that it is less effective than it used to be anyway because we have so many sources of news and information these days. Misrepresentation can work for awhile but once it becomes known, it can backfire big-time.

    Maybe political thinkers should stay out of science, but how do you keep scientists from becoming political thinkers and activists? Should those scientists stay out of science as well?

    However, I am glad that Mr. Worth brought the error it to my attention. I do want to offer my sincere apology to Mr. Dennell for misspelling his name. I assure you that it was unintentional. Actually, I rather enjoy Mr. Dennell’s comments because he is obviously a thoughtful person and makes a case for what he says. We disagree on many issues but that’s fine. That is why there is debate.

    Mr. Worth, #3 does not strengthen or weaken my argument about the “Hockey Stick.” #1 generally supports the “Hockey Stick” conclusions for 1600 up to present. As I mentioned, there would be a lot of agreement about the general warming that has occurred since the end of the Little Ice Age. #2 suggests that we really don’t know for sure about climate prior to 1600 based on proxy data. #3 suggests we don’t really know much about climate prior to 900 A.D based on proxy data. The “Hockey Stick” was making definite claims about climate from approximately 1000 A.D to 1600 A.D. That is the period that the NAS report says that we should have less confidence in. That means that the “Hockey Stick” representation of climate prior to 1600 is really just an opinion. I believe that much of the so-called “scientific consensus” is just a consensus of opinion.

    The “problem with the statistics” was pretty significant really. Dr. Mann need not be embarrassed about his original study however. That is the way science is supposed to work. But his efforts to defend the “Hockey Stick” and his statistical analysis since then should be an embarrassment. In science, other researchers should be able to take the same data and get the same results. There should be cooperation rather than obstruction.

    Let’s be clear on what an ad hominem attack is. If John makes claim X and Mary makes a personal attack on John and claims on that basis that John’s claim X is false, that is an ad hominem attack. If a particular scientist makes a claim and his opponents say that his claim is false because some of his funding came from a particular source, that is another example of an ad hominem attack that we hear all the time. I would object to ad hominem attacks against those on either side of the climate change debate actually. My objection is that they are fallacious. They aren’t really addressing issues.

  • Andrew Worth says:

    David H says: “.. there is little point in telling you about where else you are wrong.”

    I would appreciate it if David H if could tell me where else he thinks Tim Dennell is wrong, as too often that expression is used to slur someone when, in fact, the person making the slur can’t find further fault.

    Paul Biggs advocates cosmic ray flux as a forcer of recent climate change, this theory has been around for sometime now without gaining traction with the leading AGW skeptics, this is probably the best evidence of its weaknesses. Further information on this theory is here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/recent-warming-but-no-trend-in-galactic-cosmic-rays

    Mr Biggs goes on to say: “Anyone who believes that we can control climate change, predictably or otherwise, via the attempted manipulation of atmospheric CO2 is seriously deluded.”

    This statement is nothing but an Ad hominem attack on most of the climate science community. I would be greatful if Mr Biggs could tell us about his climate science credentials.

    Mr. Richardson starts with: “Don’t trust anyone to tell you what is in the Wegman report and the NAS report. Climate debate has become political rather than scientific. In political debate apparently anything goes and the ends justify the means.”

    A statement that I’m afraid I have to agree with, if the political thinkers would only stay out of the science, there would be far less nonsense discussion, a point I have tried to make in my previous two posts here.

    He goes on to ask: “The “Hockey Stick” assumption is that the climate has been fairly stable for a thousand years and then suddenly started warming. Do #2 and #3 really support that conclusion?” I reply Yes! And so does the NAS: Academy affirms hockey-stick:
    http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060626/full/4411032a.html
    This article says in part:
    The academy essentially upholds Mann’s findings, although the panel concluded that systematic uncertainties in climate records from before 1600 were not communicated as clearly as they could have been. The NAS also confirmed some problems with the statistics. But the mistakes had a relatively minor impact on the overall finding, says Peter Bloomfield, a statistician at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who was involved in the latest report. “This study was the first of its kind, and they had to make choices at various stages about how the data were processed,” he says, adding that he “would not be embarrassed” to have been involved in the work.

    What is certain is that the NAS report does not support Bob Carters claim that: “The hockey stick construction by Penn State paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and co-authors been found to be flawed beyond repair.”

    Or Dr. Gerritvan der Lingen: “In a science-philosophical sense, the Hockey Stick has been convincingly falsified.”

    Could I point out to Mr. Richardson that #3 covers measurements prior to 900AD and is therefore not relevant to the last thousand year timeframe.

    Strangely, Mr. Richardson refers to Mr. Dennell as “Mr . Denalli”, I can only speculate why, so I will, he makes reference to “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky. Mr. Alinskys fifth rule is:
    “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.” Perhaps Mr. Richardson could clarify; he is attempting to ridicule Mr. Dennell or is he just very bad with names?

    Ironically, perhaps hypocritically, Mr. Richardson goes on to say “Ad hominem attacks on those who are skeptical are never appropriate in any debate” Perhaps he believes that Ad hominem attacks on those who support the IPCC conclusions are appropriate.

  • Mark Fowler says:

    The very fact that that Bob Carter’s hyperbolic article attacking the hysteria of global warming is published on NAM’s self-proclaimed ‘advocacy’ web site says it all. Any reader must expect pamphleteering rather than a balanced essay. And that’s what I read. It reminds me of the fishing industry who always howl about sustainable fishing quotas, until the fish disappear. Then you hear nothing.

  • C. Bruce Richardson Jr. says:

    He actually correctly quoted from the Wegman Report but neglected to mention what he quotes was in Appendix C. (Summaries of Important Papers Discussed In the Report). He was quoting from “The Spatial Extend of 20th Century Warmth in the Context of the Past 1200 Years” by Timothy Osborn and Keith Briffa (2006) rather than the Wegman report. That article was generally supportive of the “Hockey Stick” and did not represent the conclusions of the Wegman report itself.

    Mr. Denalli quoted from the NAS report. This is from the Executive Summary published by NAS: [I added the numbering]

    1. It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries. This statement is justified by the consistency of the evidence from a wide variety of geographically diverse proxies.

    2. ???Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified.

    3. Very little confidence can be assigned to statements concerning the hemispheric mean or global mean surface temperature prior to about A.D. 900 because of sparse data coverage and because the uncertainties associated with proxy data and the methods used to analyze and combine them are larger than during more recent time periods.

    Mr. Dennell quoted #1 correctly but the fact that he totally left out #2 and #3 is telling. I think that it is quite reasonable to assume that it has warmed since the 1600’s. If it had not warmed, the Little Ice Age would still be with us. I think that it is quite reasonable to assume that temperatures at many locations were higher during the past 25 years. It would be equally reasonable to also assume that temperatures at many locations were lower too. The “Hockey Stick” assumption is that the climate has been fairly stable for a thousand years and then suddenly started warming. Do #2 and #3 really support that conclusion?

    If the science supporting the global warming hysteria is truly settled, then misrepresentation of that science should not be necessary. Ad hominem attacks on those who are skeptical are never appropriate in any debate. Certainly trying to silence those who disagree should never be tolerated–not in this country.

  • Andrew Worth says:

    I think it is fair and reasonable to question what our public policy should be in terms of addressing AGW and its effects.
    Do the scenarios that the science suggests will occur justify measures like the Kyoto accord? That’s an issue worthy of discussion.
    Unfortunately, for Bob Carter, and people of his ilk, the first step in denying the need for public policy on the matter is to deny the (soundly based) science.

  • C. B. Richardson Jr. says:

    Don’t trust anyone to tell you what is in the Wegman report and the NAS report. Climate debate has become political rather than scientific. In political debate apparently anything goes and the ends justify the means. If you want to better understand this sort of debate then read “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky. It is out of print but you can find it used.

    Here is an example. In the post by Tim Dennell, he quotes from the Wegman report and says that the last line of the report concluded: “The most conclusive finding is that the 20th century is the most anomalous interval in the entire period of analysis, including significant positive extremes in the proxy records.”

    From that Mr. Dennell concludes that “a) There is climate change and b) It is more significant than the other unusually significant climate changes that we have seen before over the past thousand years of civilisation [sic].”

    He further concludes that the “main contention stands” and that the Wegman Report supported rather than discredited much of the “Hockey Stick” assumption.

    He correctly quoted from the Wegman Report but neglected to mention that the last line that he quotes was in Appendix C. (Summaries of Important Papers Discussed In the Report). He was quoting from was “The Spatial Extend of 20th Century Warmth in the Context of the Past 1200 Years” by Timothy Osborn and Keith Briffa (2006) rather than the Wegman report. That article was generally supportive of the “Hockey Stick” and did not represent the conclusions of the Wegman report itself.

    Mr. Denalli also quoted from the NAS report. This is from the Executive Summary published by NAS: [I added the numbering]

    1. It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries. This statement is justified by the consistency of the evidence from a wide variety of geographically diverse proxies.

    2. Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified.

    3. Very little confidence can be assigned to statements concerning the hemispheric mean or global mean surface temperature prior to about A.D. 900 because of sparse data coverage and because the uncertainties associated with proxy data and the methods used to analyze and combine them are larger than during more recent time periods.

    Mr. Dennell quoted #1 correctly but the fact that he totally left out #2 and #3 is telling. I think that it is quite reasonable to assume that it has warmed since the 1600’s. If it had not warmed, the Little Ice Age would still be with us. I think that it is also reasonable to assume that temperatures at many locations were higher during the past 25 years. It is just as reasonable to assume that temperatures at many locations were lower. The “Hockey Stick” assumption is that the climate has been fairly stable for a thousand years and then suddenly started warming. Do #2 and #3 really support that conclusion?

    Bottom line. Read the reports yourself.

  • Paul Biggs says:

    The game is up for CO2 as THE climate driver. We now have experimental evidence to confirm what objective scientists knew already i.e. that climate change, accross all time scales, is driven by Cosmic Ray Flux acting on Low-Level Cloud Cover, modulated by the Solar Wind, via the 11-year solar cycle.

    http://www.journals.royalsoc.ac.uk/(yoqknp55yut5mma3ol0sjva1)/app/home/contribution.aspreferrer=parent&backto=issue,5,39;journal,1,133;linkingpublicationresults,1:102023,1

    http://spacecenter.dk/xpdf/sky-experiment_2.pdf

    http://spacecenter.dk/xpdf/influence-of-cosmic-rays-on-the-earth.pdf

    http://xxx.lanl.gov/ftp/astro-ph/papers/0312/0312244.pdf

    http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/articles/sensitivity.pdf

    Anyone who believes that we can control climate change, predictably or otherwise, via the attempted manipulation of atmospheric CO2 is seriously deluded.

  • David H says:

    Dear me Tim!

    I don’t believe you start by reading the last line of a scientific report. Often it’s just a lot of references. In the Wegman report, you are looking at: APPENDIX C. Summaries of Important Papers Discussed In the Report.

    The last line you quote is not Wegman’s conclusion at all but that from: Summary of The Spatial Extent of 20th Century Warmth in the Context of the Past
    1200 Years by Timothy Osborn and Keith Briffa (2006).

    You know, I think you knew it. So there is little point in telling you about where else you are wrong.

  • Pete H says:

    I believe it is legitimate to question why “the precautionary principle” should govern our public policy. First we came up with a “best guess computer model.” Then we fed that model 35 different levels of anthropogenic emissions tuned to 7 different sensitivities. Then we looked at the output and some of the resulting scenarios seemed to be extreme. Now we are ready to make public policy because we can’t prove the computer model is wrong or that the extreme scenarios are impossible? That doesn’t seem logical or scientific to me in the least.

  • Andrew Worth says:

    Bob Carter, and his denialist colleagues, have little, if any credibility left here in New Zealand, this is the reason he complains so bitterly that the media wont publish their articles anymore. Many of the reasons for their lack of credibility are covered by Tim Dennell above. If Carter Chose, as a scientist, to attack anthropogenic global warming with good science, he would be listened to. Instead He, and the organisations to which he belongs, regurgitate over and over again, the same discredited arguments against AGW, seemingly believing that if they repeat them often enough, they will become true.

  • Tim Dennell says:

    ‘The hockey stick construction by Penn State paleoclimatologist Michael Mann and co-authors been found to be flawed beyond repair.’ Bob Carter

    ‘In a science-philosophical sense, the Hockey Stick has been convincingly falsified.’ Dr. Gerrit van der Lingen.

    Some wishful thinking in those statements I think. But then people see what they want to see.

    On the ‘Hockey Stick’ report The National Academy of Science said ‘There is sufficient evidence from tree rings, boreholes, retreating glaciers, and other “proxies” of past surface temperatures to say with a high level of confidence that the last few decades of the 20th century were warmer than any comparable period in the last 400 years.’
    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=11676

    As for the independent researcher,
    an eminent statistician called Wegman, tasked with only looking at the statistical methodology used, the last line of his report concluded:
    “The most conclusive finding is that the 20th century is the most anomalous interval in the entire period of analysis, including significant positive extremes in the proxy records.”
    http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/home/07142006_Wegman_Report.pdf

    Let me interpret that line (The most conclusive finding) from the Wegman report:
    ’The 20th century is the most ‘anomolous’ [Deviating from the normal or rule] than the ‘significant positive extremes in the proxy records’ i.e. that includes the medieval warming period and Little Ice Age period.

    My reading of that is: a) There is climate change and b) It is more significant than the other unusually significant climate changes that we have seen before over the past thousand years of civilisation.

    So the report is hardly considered ‘flawed beyond repair’ or ‘falsified’. It’s main contention stands. The only statement that couldn’t be fully supported is that the 1990s were the hottest decade of the millennia.
    But tellingly none of the report’s critics can tell us which decade was the warmest in the past 1,000 years either; so it may well have been and other evidence may emerge to confirm it. Astonishingly, every single year since 1992 is in the current list of the 20 warmest years on record. So if not the hottest year, then it would have to be a near certainty the runner up. And remember we are now at a warmer point than the medieval warming.

    As for the statement by the NZ Climate Science Coalition: ‘that late 20th century temperatures were warm as part of a solar-driven recovery from the Little Ice Age.’

    Well there’s recent evidence that ‘Sunspots alter the amount of energy Earth gets from the sun, but not enough to impact global climate change.’
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/09/060913-sunspots.html

    And:
    ‘Scientists have examined various proxies of solar energy output over the past 1,000 years and have found no evidence that they are correlated with today’s rising temperatures. Satellite observations over the past 30 years have also turned up nothing. “The solar contribution to warming . . . is negligible,” the researchers wrote in the journal Nature.’
    ‘The 11-year sunspot cycle also appears not to be linked to global warming. Production of beryllium 10, an isotope resulting from the interaction of cosmic rays and the upper atmosphere, should fall during periods of high solar activity; no such overall decrease was found in Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets over the past millennium.
    The researchers also discredit the idea that the Sun is implicated in past variations in climate. Yes, the Thames froze over in the 17th century, but the freeze was confined to Western Europe; a dimming Sun, they argue, would have had a global effect. The researchers, led by Dr Peter Foukal, of Heliophysics Inc, a private research company in Massachusetts, point out that previous Ice Ages appear to be more strongly related to the shape of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
    Our results imply that over the past century climate change due to human influences must far outweigh the effects of changes in the Sun’s brightness.’ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2373379,00.html

    In effect we are running two experiments. The first is into the effect of increased CO2 and CH4 concentrations in the atmosphere. The second as to the efficiency of climate modelling on modern computer technology.
    Unfortunately if both of these hypotheses turn out to be correct we won’t be in a position to then agree to plan for a way of preventing global warming, by greenhouse gasses, from happening, as it’ll already have happened.
    It’s a catch 22. And I suspect most people would prefer to act on the side of caution when faced with a situation like that.

  • Anthony Pollock says:

    Dear Bob,
    I have long argued that the whole global warming thing is ridiculous and the idea that the machinations of man have no more than a marginal or local effect is moot. The public confuses the two problems, pollution and global warming. Pollution does indeed poison the planet and must be stopped but this will not affect global warming, which is an entirely different issue.

    I don’t think there is a definitive reason for global warming, some say sunspots cause it but I believe it is just a planetary cycle such as happened every five minutes in geological terms. If have it right it runs around every three to four hundred years. Four hundred years ago the Thames used to freeze over and they had ice fairs on it. Four hundred years before that, during the crusader period, the climate in England was almost meditteranean. and we had a burgeioning wine industry which is only just reviving.

    I believe scietists are the cause of this nonsense. You get no grants of big money to research the good but spread the word that the world is ending and you get millions to investigate how to stop it and the result is as you see and have so eloqently put it.