PS, CS, BS

As in Post Script, Climate Shift, and Bull Shit.

I really wasn’t expecting so many responses (getting boinged obviously ramped up the amplitude a bit). There have been hosannas and trolls and yes, some well-taken objections to my last post, both here and around teh tubes. Once again, some of my responses are too long to fit comfortably into a typical comment thread; hence this follow-up.

There are four major objections I feel compelled to respond to. Plenty of other hackles have been raised over broken hockey sticks, selective use of data, “tricks” used to “hide” alleged “declines” but these have generally been raised by deniers more interested in slinging shit than in reasonable discussion. The specifics of those specifics have been explored and explained here (a little) and elsewhere (just google “Climategate”) and while some of it certainly shows some folks in a bad (and possibly deserved) light, none of it compromises the weight of evidence for anthropogenic climate change. That’s not what the last post was about anyway; so forget that stuff.

You may remember some of these points, though:

  • Stop using the word “deniers” to stereotype open-minded skeptics. You spit upon the millions killed in the Holocaust. (No, really; check the comment stream).

  • Individual weather events (Australian firestorms, west-coast flooding) do not constitute evidence for ACC.

  • Academia is not quite so uniformly cutthroat and petty-minded as you would have us believe.

  • Come on, dude; we’re talking about deleting e-mails in the face of FoI requests. That’s a bit beyond private ill-mannered sniping.

So. Let’s go through them.

Stop using the word “deniers” to stereotype open-minded skeptics.

Sure. Just as soon as I encounter some open-minded skeptics.

I’m not being flippant. I’ve no doubt, given all the chaff out there, that there are a lot of confused folks who are honestly trying to figure this stuff out. But I don’t see them posting on the ‘crawl in any great numbers, nor do I see them making much of an appearance on other more erudite blogs. What I do see are hecklers who strafe forums with highly-specific talking points about thermal spikes and volcanoes, and then when challenged either disappear or muddy the water with invective and deliberate misconstruction. They’re the equivalent of those idiots who shouted from the bleachers at last summer’s town hall meetings; their goal is not to engage, but to disrupt and obstruct. “Uncle Al” and “Neil Craig” are examples who’ve posted on this crawl, but if you check out the comments threads for How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic you’ll see a lot of others. (“Craker14″, for example, weighs in with an innocent-seeming question under “Measurements taken on top of a volcano!“, accuses someone who answers him of “jibbering”, and proceeds to hijack the thread with denialist talking-points that have been asked and answered a hundred times.) This is not honest inquiry, or a search for understanding from an open mind. This is the French Knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Their kind are not skeptics in the empirical sense of the word: they are deniers, pure and simple.

Australian firestorms do not constitute evidence for ACC.

This objection has more substance to it, because of course it’s true. You can’t pin any given forest fire, flood, tornado, or heat wave on global warming, just as you can’t state with certainty that the cancer that killed a specific smoker was caused by smoking. There’s always the chance that the guy would have got cancer even if he’d never lit up in his life; there’s always the chance that California would have caught fire even if the Industrial Revolution had never happened.

But man, when ten times as many smokers than nonsmokers die of cancer, you sure as shit know that something‘s going on.

That’s what we’re looking at here. Extreme weather events are up all over the globe, and it’s all consistent with current climate-change models. The denouement in which I cited some of those (the fires, the flooding) was simply an illustration of events we don’t need the modelers and the climatologists to show us; it’s in our face, happening now, and you don’t need to know the Stefan–Boltzmann law to turn on the weather network. (My citation of the Australian fires was based on communications from a couple of folks I know down there, who do in fact seem under the impression that those things have gotten worse recently.)

Scientist are not all the cutthroat assholes you describe.

No, of course they’re not. I wasn’t a cutthroat asshole (although the people who ended up as department heads frequently were), and I had lots of non-asshole friends and colleagues. Furthermore, peer-review was frequently a very positive and constructive experience. Which was why I was careful to put phrases like “to at least some extent” and “at least partly” in front of my claims. I was not trying to describe the behavior of scientists in its entirety; I was only trying to describe that vitriolic part of it on display in some of the Climategate e-mails, and which seemed to take so many outsiders by surprise.

Finally:

Stop downplaying the discussion about censoring journal access and deleting e-mails in the face of Freedom-of-Information requests. Their behavior wasn’t just ill-mannered, it was unscientific and potentially criminal.

Well, yes. Yes it was. (And the Guardian has a good opinion piece that addresses this, and the broader downplaying-Climategate issue in general thanks to Jon Watts for that link). Quite apart from the basic ethics of censorship, the optics are really bad when you’re caught with a line like “I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” stuck in your teeth. It seems pretty certain that these guys were going to some pretty extreme lengths to keep their data from falling into enemy hands; and that is the very antithesis of peer review.

I can’t claim to  know what was going through their heads when they circled those wagons. I can guess, though, based on my own experiences.

For example.

Back in the mid-nineties I was part of a research consortium investigating the decline of the North Pacific’s Stellar sea lion population (actually, as it turned out we were investigating ways to let the US fishing industry off the hook for that decline which is one reason I am no longer in academia but I digress). One day I was approached by a pusillanimous pus bag by the name of Peter Hamilton. He runs something called “Lifeforce”, which — as you can probably tell by the name — is one of those new-agey pseudoconservation activist groups that “raises awareness”, conducts “research”, and takes money from credulous little old ladies in tennis shoes. Hamilton told me he was concerned about that fact that I was working with captive Steller pups at the Vancouver Aquarium, and the conditions under which those creatures were being kept. I tried to set his mind at rest: yes, I told him, we were keeping wild animals in captivity. We were trying to figure out why their population had crashed by 75% in a decade, and since one of the leading hypotheses involved food shortages, we had to figure out their food requirements. That meant measuring metabolic rates during conditions of rest and exercise. Sometimes that meant putting them into a custom-built metabolic chamber for a few hours at a time. They were trained; they went willingly. The chamber didn’t stress them in the least — in fact, they frequently fell asleep during the runs. I pointed out that suffering or stress of any kind would impact the sea lions’ metabolic rates and invalidate our results; even if none of us had a gram of empathy, it was essential to our work that the animals not be harmed or stressed in any way.

Three hours I spent talking to this guy. His questions seemed reasonable; my answers seemed to satisfy him. He thanked me for my time and went away.

The next day, Peter Hamilton put out a press release. It showed a picture of my equipment with the words “Vivisection Chamber” underneath.

He didn’t even believe it himself. He admitted as much a couple of years later, when he approached me to help out in one of his campaigns (I’d quit the consortium by then and had written a critical report on the Vancouver Aquarium’s marine mammal displays — evidently he thought that made me an ally). This isn’t the only such experience I’ve had, but it makes the point: Peter Hamilton is one of those people who throws around words like “data” and “research” in pursuit of a purely political agenda. Because I believed in reaching out to the public, because I believed that enemies could be converted into allies if treated with respect and told the truth, I opened up to this duplicitous fucktard and got labeled a vivisectionist for my trouble.

Now, suppose the subsequent time-line had unfolded differently. Suppose I was still working at UBC. Suppose Lifeforce filed a Freedom of Information Act request for confidential data and/or e-mails on my work. What would I do now, knowing what I do?

I would shred every fucking memo and napkin-scribble down to the punctuation. You bet I would. Not because my science was bad or because I was part of some great conspiracy, but simply because I know how this guy operates. The optics would be terrible if I got caught. My behavior might be illegal. Wouldn’t matter. I’ve sung this song before; there’s no scenario in which disclosure ends well.

So to repeat: I don’t know what was going through the minds of the scientists whose e-mails are now all over the Internet. But the voice of my own experience tells me to reserve judgment, lest I myself be judged and found wanting.

See? Even the Bible can occasionally make a bit of sense.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Sunday November 29 2009at 07:11 pm , filed under climate, scilitics . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

31 Responses to “PS, CS, BS”

  1. Hi Peter,

    As I stated in my comment on your previous post, I’m neither a hard core believer or a hard core sceptic. I’m also not a scientist but I do my best to keep informed with an open mind about both points of view. Any comments I’d make on “Climategate” would only be opinions, because I have no experience of conducting of peer reviewed science, and uniformed opinions are ultimately just hot air.

    The Australian State that I live has a recorded history, starting from European Settlement, of severe bush fires since 1851. The history and frequency of bush fires before European settlement is not well known.

    The following will repeat some of my comment on your previous post. Throughout the history of bush fires in my part of Australia, the following factors are pretty constant. The temperature will be in the low to mid 40′s °C, the fuel load of Eucalyptus genus of trees and leaf litter will be very dry and profuse due to extended drought periods, the winds will be Northerly and high speed,, humidity will be quite low, lightning strikes will be one of the major ignition sources, weather fronts with changes in wind direction will change the bush fire(s)direction and there will be human factors such as arson and sheer stupidity. I live in an outer suburb and there was a large grass fire in a neighbouring suburb (about 5 to 6 kms away) that was started on Black Saturday (where the temperature was in the mid 40′s °C, by someone using an angle grinder.

    So there is just over 150 years of bush fire history. So I still maintain that global warming/ACC is not the direct cause of the severity of Australian bush fires. But, and this may come across as trying to have a bet each way, but if there are going to be more extremes of weather events, then yeah global warming/ACC may be another factor that needs to be accounted for in the severity of bush fire seasons.

    I don’t know what part of Australia the folks you know live in, but if they live in the city that I do, the media coverage, particularly the two daily news papers, had very comprehensive coverage of the Black Saturday bush fires. In my lifetime I’ve seen news coverage in my country go from daily newspapers, two in the morning and one in the afternoon, and one television evening news bulletin to a 25/7 seven news media cycle (mainly internet and 24 hour cable news stations). One of my theories is that the sheer relentless of the news services may make perceptions of gloom and doom stronger than they may actually.

    I’ll jump off my Australian bush fire soapbox, because I’m quite happy to agree to disagree on global warming/ACC being a major factor in recent bush fire history.

    I enjoy a good debate full of robust and rational discussion and I always try to comment in that spirit.

    Cheers

    P.S. In the spirit of disclosure Peter, I’ve never read any of your novels and when I do, I will be reading them with no preconceived notions. I came across your Blog via Charles Stross

  2. As someone who deals with idiots who latch onto words/data presented to them and then contorts it into their idiotic pre-conceived notions I can totally relate to this post.

    Everything looks worse when scrutinized as I discovered recently. I’m just a lowly IT guy and not a scientist but several phone conversations and tech notes recently got entered into evidence for an office embroiled in a sabotage/divorce situation and seeing my own words on official documents was fucking terrifying.

    I didn’t think twice about it at the time but just day to day stuff under the spotlight and on a pedestal gave me the creeps in a way I cannot even describe. Wish I could have burned my notes on that, I guess the lesson here is just to be more careful all the time.

  3. You are wrong. Always shred before the request, not after.

  4. Mushwell is right.

    Regular shredding and file-deleting implies it was part of regular housekeeping, not panicky red-handed skullduggery.

    So sorry, we don’t keep records that long, standard policy. *shrug*

  5. Between ‘Climategate’, Keippernicus’ comments and a recent adventure involving corporate sociopaths, technology and a non-profit organization I’ve come to realize that the ONLY rational thing to do is archive everything that makes you look good/competent or that covers your ass. The rest needs to go into the memory chute ASAP.

  6. The argument about denier vs skeptic is one of semantics and intent. If you cherry-pick your data to support your claim, you are a denier, whether the subject is climate change, natural selection or, dare I say, the holocaust. Deniers ignore a preponderance of overwhelming evidence in favour of a specific idea or agenda. And deniers come in many shades of grey, as does everything else. “Uncle Al” is a hard-core, ebony black, denier, as are deniers of evolution. You can identify people at this end of the denial spectrum by their tactics. Because the amount of evidence supporting their opinion is generally lacking they will often use the frequent disagreements between scientists as evidence that the theory is wrong. They also believe that Fox News is reasoned and fair journalism (sorry, couldn’t resist that one).

    Are scientists ever deniers? Of course they are. Every scientist has a bias and this will be reflected in their interpretation of data regardless of how impartial they try to be. Why do you think the FDA requires double blind studies? The difference between the “Uncle Al’s” and any reasonably competent scientist is that, at some level, a scientist understands this and takes steps to minimize the affect of their bias.

    Ben J calls himself a skeptic and, I think, would be offended by being called a denier. But I don’t think that he is either, at least with regard to climate change as a whole. He openly admits that he does not know enough about the subject to come to a firm conclusion ( sorry Ben, no job at Fox news for you).

    A skeptic is someone that has thoroughly examined both sides of an argument but does not feel that the weight of evidence favors the most common interpretation. Ben J. is not a climate change skeptic, he is only skeptical about the use of Australian brush fires as evidence supporting climate change.

    The difference between Ben and Uncle Al is that one is intelligent, open minded and would probably be fun to have a beer or two with. Don’t worry Uncle Al, Fox news will always love you.

  7. Heeeeeeeeeeeey, my avatar changed. It used to be dark blue with a more complex design, like a quilt. Now it looks like, hm, a fancy ribbon on a store-wrapped gift, or perhaps a white flower on b&w film.

    If want to have one with flames or something bad-asser, what do I do?

  8. Here’s an interesting explanation of the CRU denying the FOI requests at RealClimate.org:

    CRU data accessibility. From the date of the first FOI request to CRU (in 2007), it has been made abundantly clear that the main impediment to releasing the whole CRU archive is the small % of it that was given to CRU on the understanding it wouldn’t be passed on to third parties. Those restrictions are in place because of the originating organisations (the various National Met. Services) around the world and are not CRU’s to break. As of Nov 13, the response to the umpteenth FOI request for the same data met with exactly the same response. This is an unfortunate situation, and pressure should be brought to bear on the National Met Services to release CRU from that obligation. It is not however the fault of CRU. The vast majority of the data in the HadCRU records is publicly available from GHCN (v2.mean.Z).

    More at the link explaining that even though this is research (and the limitations on sharing are supposed to only apply to commercial use), the data can be difficult to disseminate. Could it be that lawyers and accountants, and not scientists, are to blame for this?

  9. I was really surprised to read this in the Guardian this morning, about Canada’s stance re Kyoto. Have you got a particularly crappy government atm or what’s going on there?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/nov/30/canada-tar-sands-copenhagen-climate-deal

  10. Here’s some recent research on the impact of climate change on Australian bush fires:

    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/e-print/open/hennessykj_2005b.pdf

    Lots of detail for Ben ;)

  11. surprised asked:

    Have you got a particularly crappy government atm or what’s going on there?

    Yeah, we’ve got a particularly crappy government. Then again, I’m having a hard time remembering when we last had a good one.

    This is one of the things that informed my remark in the last post about dropping Harper supporters into nitric acid. The problem is there’s so damn many of them; and the downside of those bozos getting the government they deserve is that I end up getting the government they deserve too.

    We are a stupid, stupid people.

  12. I’m almost starting to suspect that you regard the belligerence of artifice as a bad thing.

  13. @ Surprised

    Thanks for the link. There’s some very interesting material covered. What’s patricularly interesting is that the report’s authors admit that there are still gaps in knowledge and quoting from page 26 – “The word “could” is used below to emphazie that the projections are not predictions.” (This is in relation to the FFDI (Forest Fire Danger Index) – days that are projected by the models the paper’s authors use). In some ways this supports that in my previous comment that I said that Global Warming/ACC is not the direct cause of the severity of the bushfires, but could very well be an extra factor that could need to be considered. This report also covers most of the bush fire factors I mentioned in previous comment.

    As I’ve stated before my stance is that I like to try and be as informed as possible and think my way through the issues.

    I’ll finish up with my two cents worth on why there are crappy governments. Any political terminology I use comes from the Australian political system because it what I quite familiar with. My intution tells me that the vast majority of Ministers and Shadow Ministers have no direct expertise or knowledge of their portfolio. There are also plenty of backbench MPs who are the same. The same applies to the Senators in the Upper House. Thus they are reliant on the information/reports etc that they receive and if they aren’t open minded they may very well be susceptible to lobbyists pushing their particular barrows. Also in my country the federal and state governments are locked into short term considerations (i.e. the electoral cycle) – not the long term needs and requirements for the betterment of society. My pet theory is that long term opposition governments don’t necessarily win elections because they are the better option than the incumbent government – they win because the electorate is worn out and tired of the incumbent government.

    Cheers

  14. Ben J. Your form of government is much the same as Canada’s. And I agree that it is very rare that a government gets voted in, it is more a case of a government being voted out.

    And again, you are spot on about the knowledge level of most cabinet ministers. But I don’t know of any government, regardless of type, that is any different.

    Several years ago I remember our fisheries scientists repeatedly telling the government that they had to drastically reduce the fishing quotas or the stocks, primarily the cod, would crash. The politicos looked at the numbers and decided that they couldn’t get re-elected if they reduced the quotas to such an extent. The result was that they got re-elected, and the fish stocks crashed. And who do you think got blamed? If you guessed the scientists, you are correct.

    Our current government have solved this problem by not letting the government funded scientists make any statements that are not vetted by the government. Isn’t science wonderful?

  15. “You rationalize, Keeton. You defend. You reject unpalatable truths, and if you can’t reject them outright you trivialize them. Incremental evidence is never enough for you. You hear rumors of holocaust; you dismiss them. You see evidence of genocide; you insist it can’t be so bad. Temperatures rise, glaciers melt–species die–and you blame sunspots and volcanoes. Everyone is like this, but you most of all. . . . You turn incomprehension into mathematics; you reject the truth without even hearing it first.”

  16. @ anony mouse

    Sounds like you have the Westminster system like in do.

    In my country, the minimum voting age is 18 and it is compulsory to “vote” – actually compulsory to go to an polling place, get one’s name crossed off the electoral role and handed the ballot papers.

    I’m curious as to whether it’s the same in Canada?

    Cheers

  17. @ Ben J

    Sometimes I wish it were. The aforementioned Harperites (*spit*) currently hold a tenuous minority government. The turnout in the past two elections has been dismal to terrifying. (IIRC one of them was a record low.) If voting were compulsory, we’d stand a better chance of breaking the deadlock – either the Harperites would be ousted in favour of the slightly-less-evil Iggyists, or we’d get a majority Harper government and fully deserve what we’d get.

    Then again, we live in a country where the most politically palatable party on most issues also happens to be officially separatist, and only runs candidates in one province (Quebec).

  18. @ David J Williams:

    FTW!

    I laughed out loud, people. You smart@ss!

  19. I’m not quite sure whether shredding data is the way for science to go forward.

    I should ask some of my profs. I mean, I’ll never be a scientist, but they obviously are.

    BTW, if our current climate models are oh-so accurate, why do some of the scientists speak about having to choose between honesty or effectivness, and why did Kevin Trenberth said that it is a travesty that the models did not predict recent temperature trends accurately?

    It seems to me that they’re not all that reliable. I mean, if people who developed them don’t trust them..

  20. Re Kovacs:” He told Discover magazine:

    So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

    That part of the quote gets a lot of mileage in the denialosphere. But the full quote ends with a line that is almost always left out.

    I hope that means being both.

    It’s no wonder that some scientists are leery of talking with reporters.” http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoubt/2009/12/science_as_a_contact_sport.php#more

    Your Trenberth quote is misguided: in context he means it’s a travesty that we don’t have sufficient measuring means.

    Kevin says … “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment
    and it is a travesty that we can’t”. I do not

    agree with this.

    Tom.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    Kevin Trenberth wrote:

    Hi all

    Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here
    in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on
    record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal
    is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about
    18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather
    (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last
    night in below freezing weather).

    Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s
    global energy. /Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability/, *1*, 19-27,
    doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [PDF]

    (A PDF of the published version can be obtained from the author.)

    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a
    travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on
    2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our
    observing system is inadequate.

    That said there is a LOT of nonsense about the PDO. People like CPC are tracking PDO on
    a monthly basis but it is highly correlated with ENSO. Most of what they are seeing is
    the change in ENSO not real PDO. It surely isn’t decadal. The PDO is already reversing
    with the switch to El Nino. The PDO index became positive in September for first time
    since Sept 2007. see
    [2]http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/GODAS/ocean_briefing_gif/global_ocean_monitorin
    g_current.ppt

    Kevin

  21. You can see Trenberth’s paper here: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/EnergyDiagnostics09final2.pdf

  22. Good point. It is unfortunate a day has only 17 useful hours. I have a feeling I could spend about eighty doing all the stuff I would like. It would be heaven if one need not prioritize..

    What should I think about this:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/28/mirror-posting-of-climate-audit-article-on-yamal-a-divergence-problem/

    Funny how the temperatures derived from the larger sample of cores stick to the smaller, CRU samples, until we get to 1900′s.

    Looks dodgy. Is there a valid reason for not having enough samples from a later period? I imagine finding tree rings just 50 years old has got to be child’s play compared to getting tree rings pertaining to 12th century.

  23. Kovacs, if you can find WUWT, you should be able to find Realclimate, where you will find a rational explanation for most of the stuff dreamt up by WUWT and CA.

    It’s not a problem to find modern tree cores: it’s a problem to find ones where the growth is proportionate to temperature; The rejected samples are ones where the growth did not correspond to actual measured temperatures. Remember tree rings and the like are proxies for temperature. When you can measure temperature directly, you can eliminate the proxies that don’t match. So if out of a sample of, say 20 trees, 19 show temperature falling and 1 shows temperature rising in line with direct temperature measurement, what would you do? keep the 19 or reject them?

    That’s my take on the issue: for a proper reply try RC

  24. “Looks dodgy. Is there a valid reason for not having enough samples from a later period? I imagine finding tree rings just 50 years old has got to be child’s play compared to getting tree rings pertaining to 12th century.”

    Because they were no good proxies for temperature anymore. But the availability of this data has _nothing_ to do with the question if agw is real and in the projected range.

    Does this end your doubts, or do you have 20 other completely irrelevant “arguments” that you could post under some other name? And you come over as such an average and sensible guy…

    If you people don’t like the term “deniers”, how about “future baby killers”?
    If you this think this is ridiculous, just imagine: what would you call Kovacs if it turns out, he knows his argument is shit, global warming will be so bad it will (indirectly of course) kills loads of people, and he doesn’t care for one reason or the other?

  25. addendum: it’s absolutely possible i do injustice to kovacs, but for you other guys: know that this thing has _very_ serious ethical implications.

  26. Lots of people dead? And why is that bad.. ?
    We breed like vermin, and accept no limits.
    That would be of great service to us indeed. Just like the economic crisis, if Fed allowed a mild recession back in 01, we wouldn’t be in this deep shit now. A slight die-off it would be good for the enviroment, actually, and might prevent problems seventy years down the line.
    There are already too many of us, world is looking worryingly peaceful at the moment and most nations do not even try to keep their population growth in check.

    As to being a baby killer, I think death of a baby isn’t very tragic. From the rational standpoint, not the dumb emotional one.
    Death of an adult or a teenager, that is a lot of effort and material going wasted, but a new baby can be obtained in about nine months, provided you have a breeding pair on hand.. .

    @AGW
    Anyway, the whole issue is quite complex.
    This page makes it look like the troublesome tree rings used are not in line with local temperatures..

    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Science/Scientific/Arctic-Yamal2.htm

    Then there is this one:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/hey-ya-mal/

    Sure, there are a lot of hockey sticks, but that medieval warm period is not on one of them. And if it did not happen, e.g., it is a mass hallucination concocted by future baby killers, I think you should give up now. A conspiracy able to fake all relevant records to make it seem that it used to be warmer in the past is pretty much one that is all powerful.

    Anyway, I have a sinking feeling that the whole issue is just like a runaway freight train. If it is all that dire, the piddly little CO2 targets are going to be as much use as trying to ward off a flamethrower by spitting into the flame.

    And it’s not like you can force people to give up their comfy lifestyles supported by burning of fossil fuels even if it means their grandkids will be screwed. Especially if the fucktards are easily spooked by anything with the words “nuclear” in it..

    In the long term, we are all dead, and considering how people let their govt’s behave, [i]everyone is happy screwing over the young, provided they don’t lose their jobs in this crisis and social security lasts[/i] till they shuffle off and die.

    But I’m intrigued. Can’t wait to see how it will work out.

  27. tover: this thing has _very_ serious ethical implications.

    Damn straight.

  28. This nails it:

    http://blogs.chron.com/nickanderson/archives/120809.jpg

  29. So, what’s this about:, and how to explain it in a non-paranoid manner?
    FSB sowing discord? Russia trying to make the deniers win, as to drag the whole world down, now that Mother Russia is in the dust?


    Russia affected by Climategate

    A discussion of the November 2009 Climatic Research Unit e-mail hacking incident, referred to by some sources as “Climategate,” continues against the backdrop of the abortive UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen (COP15) discussing alternative agreements to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that aimed to combat global warming.

    The incident involved an e-mail server used by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, East England. Unknown persons stole and anonymously disseminated thousands of e-mails and other documents dealing with the global-warming issue made over the course of 13 years.

    Controversy arose after various allegations were made including that climate scientists colluded to withhold scientific evidence and manipulated data to make the case for global warming appear stronger than it is.

    Climategate has already affected Russia. On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data.

    The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory.

    Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports.

    Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations.

    The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century.

    The HadCRUT database includes specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted observations.

    On the whole, climatologists use the incomplete findings of meteorological stations far more often than those providing complete observations.

    IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations.

    The scale of global warming was exaggerated due to temperature distortions for Russia accounting for 12.5% of the world’s land mass. The IEA said it was necessary to recalculate all global-temperature data in order to assess the scale of such exaggeration.

    Global-temperature data will have to be modified if similar climate-date procedures have been used from other national data because the calculations used by COP15 analysts, including financial calculations, are based on HadCRUT research.

  30. I count myself as a skeptic about higher taxes. A skeptic about greater government power over the free choices of individuals. A skeptic about the “accepted wisdom”. A skeptic about the “consensus view”. A skeptic about impoverishing millions of people by artificially doubling the price of energy. A skeptic about predictive models that can’t accurately predict the near future, but are claimed to accurately predict the far future. A skeptic about models whose underlying data and inner workings are deliberately hidden from my view.

    Perhaps I should baaaa and follow the rest of the sheep, or lemmings, concerning “things I don’t have the training to understand”. But instead I try to learn. It’s a small failing of mine. And until I learn, I’m a skeptic.

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