Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

I think it is time to connect the dots, people!

with 40 comments

Record-breaking rainfall in the UK, unprecedented storms and temperatures in Washington DC, record-breaking droughts, floods, landslides, and bush-fires all around the world… Will the fake sceptics admit they are wrong when we see 1-in-100 year floods every 5 years? Or must we wait until they are an annual feature? Just how much longer must we wait for people to admit they are wrong; and that this is not normal?

There is none so blind as those who will not see” (Jeremiah 5:21)

People of the world, for God’s sake, please open your eyes!

The world may not be about to end but, are the signs that it is past its best not clear enough to see? This is not random weather; this is what happens when we ignore what scientists have been telling for over 150 years.

Please Connect the Dots!

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Written by Martin Lack

1 July 2012 at 23:00

40 Responses

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  1. My thoughts exactly, Martin! But then, the next thought: supposing we do connect the dots, like you and me, then what? What is the best use for our energy, intelligence and commitment to positive change? This is the question that wakes me up in the middle of the night and haunts me during the day….

    Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez

    1 July 2012 at 23:51

    • Thanks Jennifer. Clive Hamilton (in the final part of Requiem for a Species) seems to have decided that civil disobedience is the only workable option… and James Hansen seems to have decided to pursue it!

      Martin Lack

      2 July 2012 at 09:49

  2. The principle argument that the skeptics usually brings at this point is the one of natural variation. Take a look at this series of Youtube videos for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN06JSi-SW8&feature=fvsr. If this guy’s data is right, I have to admit that he actually makes some rather compelling arguments.

    What would be the shortest and most efficient rebuttal to the argument made in the video?

    Schalk

    2 July 2012 at 15:04

    • Thanks for the link to retired marine geology professor Bob Carter’s highly prejudicial presentations – as funded by the Heartland Institute.

      Bob Carter’s main problem is that he has decided he does not want humans to be responsible for the unprecedented change now occurring, which has thus required him to make it disappear. He is well-known for coming out with all the old favourite fallacies of deniers – such as “it has been warmer in the past” and “CO2 is not a pollutant”all of which have been debunked here.

      Both Sourcewatch and Desmogblog have good summaries of why you should not take any notice of anything Bob Carter says.

      Martin Lack

      2 July 2012 at 16:44

      • Thanks Martin. That is a very clear and concise rebuttal.

        This phenomenon of paid deniers is very sad indeed – irresponsible, wasteful and extremely dangerous. As a scientist, I always try to keep an open mind when seeing a scientific presentation and, although his arrogant presentation style annoyed me, I could not rebuke many of the conclusions that Carter drew from the data he presented. Such presentations really can lead many people astray…

        Schalk

        3 July 2012 at 06:55

        • His arrogant style annoys me too but is common – even more so amongst non-scientist like Lord Monckton and James Delingpole. Unfortunately, it is much easier for Bob Carter to appear scientifically credible (but he still decided ACD is not happening first then set about demolishing the evidence for it).

          Martin Lack

          3 July 2012 at 09:40

        • Yeah, a scientist doing research to try and prove a fore-drawn conclusion is a very dangerous thing, but it is actually surprisingly easy to do. One really has to make a conscious effort to be totally unbiased and objective while doing research. Unfortunately, climate science is probably one of the scientific fields plagued by the most subjective bias…

          Schalk

          4 July 2012 at 06:20

        • I think this is one of the fake sceptics’ strongest cards; that they can claim to have proved a null hypothesis. Unfortunately for them, they have done no such thing: They have not looked at all the evidence and found no causal link between CO2 and temperature rise. On the contrary, they have decided there is no causal link and gone looking for alternative explanations for all the evidence that there is one.

          Does this argument work in reverse? I don’t think so: It is an experimental, observable and repeatable fact that CO2 absorbs long wave radiation and also an uncontestable fact that the Earth’s overall temperature will change if the incoming radiation from the Sun is not balanced by the outgoing radiation to Space. You could say that we stumbled upon the truth and have spent most of the time since trying to ignore it.

          However, on every occasion that the maths is checked; mainstream scientists have concluded that the equilibrium temperature change will be at least 2 Celsius for a doubling of CO2. The only people that dispute this are those that either have a vested interest, ideological prejudice, or religious need for human activity to not be the primary cause.

          Martin Lack

          4 July 2012 at 09:37

  3. Martin

    I see you decided to quit the discussion over at Climate Audit so you may have missed my last remark. For now, I will say that I share a lot of your concerns… about the environment, about overpopulation, about clean and renewable energy, and about corruption. It has been a path of spiritual awakening for me.

    This does not make my science or concerns any less precise: rather it helps focus them and keep a sense of balance. It is my spiritual path that drew me into a very careful appraisal of the science surrounding “global warming”. What I found there appalled me – rank corruption of the science itself, a corruption that had managed to stay hidden while pointing the finger of blame at the “other side”.

    That was five years ago. It took me about three weeks of 24/7 study, during which time I ricocheted violently from one side to the other and back. Three solid weeks back and forth. And I have a high intellect, excellent understanding of science basics, and a passion for the intelligent application of Scientific Method, “nullius in verba”. Eventually the mud settled and the truth became very, very clear.

    I was prepared to put aside my prejudices and beliefs, and reverse my views, several times over.

    Are you?

    Severe weather – I did a study so as to be sure myself – click my name, view slides 68-79.

    Lucy Skywalker

    17 July 2012 at 23:25

    • Dear Lucy, I did not decide to quit anything. I was politely asked (twice) by Steve to stay on topic and/or not discuss policy. Since I was never really “on-topic”, this left me with no choice but to stop commenting. I am therefore grateful to you for taking the time to visit my blog in order to continue the discussion.

      As I am sure I have said, I am not seeking to question anyone’s concern for the environment (etc), I am just seeking to highlight the track record of denial that big business has for the major health and environmental problems they have caused. I am sorry that you feel that climate scientists are generally stupid, careless, or mendacious (which is it by the way?), I think all their supposed misdemeanours are explicable if seen in the context of a 30 or 40 year struggle against the vested interests of big business who want people to doubt what we have known for at least 50 years – that we can have too much of a good thing – and that good thing is CO2 in the atmosphere.

      Your comments regarding severe weather are noted; but I would recommend Weatherdem’sBlog (by a meteorologist in Denver CO) for a very level-headed look at why you cannot dispute that the Earth’s climate is changing. I was going to ask you to clarify exactly what it is you are disputing but, having looked at your PowerPoint presentation, I realise you dispute everything. This is simply not credible; and to maintain this position requires you to dismiss all the rebuttals of all your fallacious arguments as mendacious lies. I am not accusing you of being mendacious in anyway; I am merely pointing out to you that you are almost certainly wrong (about everything). If you were right, ACD would be the biggest conspiracy ever foisted on the World. Fortunately, all the evidence you think you have for this conspiracy is nothing of the sort. Please take a look at any or all of the following to see what I mean:
      To all who say AGW is junk science (4 Oct. 2011)
      Policy inaction is the aim of those that dispute global warming (28 Oct. 2011)
      Is having an open mind the problem? (7 Feb. 2012)
      Climategate 2.0 – the first nail in coffin of climate change denial (27 Feb. 2012)

      Although I tend to try and focus on facts rather than feelings, I would love to know what you mean by your use of the word “spiritual”. Also, could you please clarify whether or not you have a scientific background (and if so in what)?

      Martin Lack

      18 July 2012 at 10:20

      • Hi Martin. Correction accepted re my wording with “quit” – I was just trying to describe what I saw. [Thanks. - ML]

        I strongly dispute the notion of manmade warming due to CO2, in fact I go a lot further in disputing this than most climate skeptics do, and if you could but imagine, I feel I cannot say on most skeptic blogs what I would like to say regarding the science I now understand! [Please read my Climate science in a nut fragment (6 Feb. 2012) (and if you want to respond please do so there). – ML]

        The parlous state of climate science has been a devastating eye-opener for me. At first I did not know whether to believe the skeptics or orthodoxy; I had found Skeptical Science and knew I would have to verify all 50 issues they had at the time – that was already a massive project. It took me a long time to work through them. But having done all the main issues where skeptics said one thing, and orthodoxy said another, I became reluctant to go chasing down more and more examples of what actually belonged already to one of these issues. It seemed like timewasting. It seemed better to concentrate the best of what I had found, hence my presentation. [This is evidence of the same fallacious 'marketplace of ideas' mistake the media constantly makes. It is what gives all conspiracy theories (e.g. the deaths of Marilyn Monroe, JFK, and Princess Diana; FDR allowing the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbour; the Moon Landings having been faked; and the WTC having been demolished on 9/11...) their longevity. - ML]

        I don’t regard most scientists as mendacious. But I have found some whom I regard that way, and at present, they seem to be in control, in Climate Science in particular, though I regard all of science as having become unacceptably materialistic. I don’t think Michael Mann started off mendacious, nor do I think he sees himself that way. But Steve McIntyre has shown how ALL the hockey sticks are flawed. Tiljander has upside-down evidence that the collector herself said should not be used because it was contaminated by human activities; the other two hockey-stick-shape records come from a cherrypicked selection of larch from Yamal, Siberia, and from the extremophile bristlecone pines from California, a species that many have said should never be used for something like a temperature record. And the latest attempt, Gergis et al, was retracted after a few days’ exposure to Climate Audit scrutiny. Treerings record many things other than temperature, and should only be used with statistically validated methods – which Mann’s were not. Jeff Condon demonstrated that Mann’s methodology GENERATED a hockey-stick shape with almost any “red noise” data. Thus, bang goes the central temperature hockey stick. Similar evidence applies to the rest. [Exponential curves are everywhere in nature because they are a consequence of positive feedback mechanisms: Exponential decay has accelerated the melting of Arctic sea ice (see numerous posts on Weatherdem’s Blog). Furthermore, the so-called Keeling Curve of CO2 data from Hawaii is actually the near-vertical end of a J-curve that has followed the Industrial Revolution (as a consequence of exponential increase in the burning of fossil fuels). – ML]

        I have looked at evidence, more evidence, and yet more evidence. The number of scientists in support is irrelevant to the evidence itself. Though it helps to have at least a little support, a few friends who do not think one is just a nutcase. And again, I come back to the evidence, Scientific Method, ‘Nullius in Verba’, and evidence produced by challengers like yourself. I have passed on your Weatherdem’s Blog URL to my skeptic friends, sincerely hoping they will do a piece on it that makes it easier for me to form a rounded, informed, balanced opinion about it. Certainly it looks nice and clean. But from all my research, I have come to distrust all “warmist” material. I try to stay with just the key issues. Steve McIntyre’s demonstration of the faulty statistics in the above key studies, which completely undoes the orthodox conclusion of “unprecedented” global warming, is just such a key issue – is it not? [You do not seem to understand what skepticism is. It certainly is not what your friends are doing; which is deconstructing all evidence that points to a conclusion they have already dismissed. This is a subject I covered on my blog recently. – ML]

        You say: I realise you dispute everything. This is simply not credible; and to maintain this position requires you to dismiss all the rebuttals of all your fallacious arguments as mendacious lies. I agree, it is not credible that I dispute everything. What I have done is to provide evidence for issue after issue. I do not dispute scientific method nor the production of evidence. Credibility is not what is wanted first: Examination of the evidence comes first. Even on my beloved skeptics blogs I do not see as much examination of the evidence as I would like, but I do find much better examination there than on the warmists’ blogs. [That is because we do not need to forensically un-pick all the basic physics that made life possible; the predicted consequences of doubling the CO2 content of the atmosphere; and the continuous stream of data that validates both the science and the predictions. - ML]

        I got very good grades in pure maths, applied maths, and physics at school. I was taught well in those days, I studied science in various ways thereafter, and I never lost the basic grasp of Scientific Method, and ‘Nullius In Verba’ – repeatability, auditability, exactly as Climate Audit keeps asking for, as all the skeptic blogs ask for. Neither did I ever lose my passion for truth and justice. Like Harry Potter, I will never go over to the dark side. [Are you really telling me that you think that all the World’s esteemed professional and academic bodies have sold-out on all these principles; and thrown their lot in with a bunch of mischevious climate scientists? Even the demolition of the WTC is more likely than that is. – ML]

        My spirituality means recognition of the importance of inner realities and the statistically highly significant evidence for the existence of miracles that break the laws of physics as commonly understood. [I agree. But that does not absolve humanity from acting as good stewards of Nature (a duty in which we very clearly failing). - ML] It means I can step back and laugh. It means I pay attention to coincidences. [I'm sorry to have to say this but; so do conspiracy theorists. - ML]

        Now I must go, busy elsewhere. Hope that helped. [Yes, thanks; all very illuminating. - ML]

        Lucy Skywalker

        18 July 2012 at 23:20

        • Anthony Watts just replied to my note at WUWT about Weatherdem, and what he said made me look further at your work. I said at WUWT: He says he tries to “focus on facts rather than feelings”. and Anthony directed me to your piece on Pythagoras etc where your reference to Anthony banning you jumps out. I have seen many, many cases of patient warning after warning coming from Anthony, long before bans are instigated there; never a case of ban without what seemed to me to be utterly fair warning. When I followed your hyperlink to WUWT, I found your opening sentence which says: Anthony, Your honesty is refreshing, but your hypocrisy is astonishing. Of all charges, hypocrisy does not fit Anthony. Sure, I have beefs with him, and some serious issues. But hypocrisy, absolutely not! yet this rude accusation is your first sentence!

          On the sum total of all the evidence I’ve seen, including a look at some more of your blog, I am now inclined to trust Anthony’s assessment of you: “I think he’s delusional and an attention seeker.

          But by all means, visit WUWT again, show courtesy, a change of perspective, and/or willingness to “put aside prejudices” and examine evidence, and prove us wrong. In which case I hope to be the first back here to say thanks. But for now, I have said all I feel I can usefully say here.

          Lucy Skywalker

          18 July 2012 at 23:54

        • Thanks for coming back again, Lucy. I had noticed your comments on WUWT ‘Tips and Notes’ page and Anthony’s wonderfully ironic response. Even if I have said that I focus on “facts rather than feelings” I think you must have conducted a “contextomy” on such a remark. I am glad to hear that Anthony has read my piece on Pythagoras etc., but disappointed still that he cannot see the funny side of anything I write (and particularly his misconstrual of me as a published author, etc). This may have something to do with his choosing to be offended by the D-word.

          You are right, Lucy. My opening sentence to Anthony on that BEST thread (not my first ever comment I suspect) was rude and – yes – attention seeking (Anthony is right about that much). But, if I am delusional then so are most climate scientists (you do not need to respond to this). By your use of the words “us” and “here”, I take it you have some involvement with WUWT? Last time I tried, my comments were still failing to appear; and I am very disinclined to try again because, as I have now said many times, I am not interested in discussing whose science is junk:

          All I want to discuss, given increasingly self-evident ACD, is whose position is most logical and rational; and in the best long-term interests of life on Earth. And no-one has yet given me a coherent response to my central point that it is business not academia that has the track-record of misrepresenting facts to suit its own agenda.

          I was tempted to delete your other rather long comment but you (and others) would no doubt take a very dim view of this. Therefore, in the interests of clarity – and to save space – I am going to embed my responses into it; like Steve does on Climate Audit. Please do not reply unless you can be brief and avoid repeating yourself. However, I may have to repeat myself because you do not appear to be listening.

          Martin Lack

          19 July 2012 at 09:18

    • Martin, Thanks for the link to your blog in the comments at Climate Audit.

      As is the norm at both poles of the passionate CAGW controversy, your writing is sometimes lucid and sometimes rather, um, emotional. While the latter has its place — we all have emotions, after all — there’s a common tendency to dwell on adversaries’ weak arguments.

      Contrast this with Feynmann’s advice to scientists. He counseled disciplining oneself to focus on adversaries’ best arguments — and to be willing to accept that they may be valid. Or have some validity.

      Over at Climate Audit, I brought up Prof Mann’s studies because you brought up his work in the buildup to characterizing those who disagree with you as conspiracy theorists (here), fossil-fuel shills and dupes, denialists, etc.

      When I started looking, I was disbelieving of the claims that Prof Mann’s work was error-prone and even slipshod, and that his ability and/or willingness to discuss substantive issues was very limited. In my opinion, those claims turned out to be correct. You can see for yourself if you care to put in a few hours’ reading. Though to my knowledge, no CAGW advocate has stated that they’ve reached such a conclusion. Such is the nature of politics.

      At any rate, my unsolicited advice — worth what you paid for it, at the very least — is to choose the champions of your cause with greater care.

      amac78

      18 July 2012 at 15:20

      • Thanks for the advice but… I am afraid I find it much easier to recognise mendacity and greed in oil company executives than I do to perceive it in climate scientists. As I have now said many times and in many places, there is no evidence for a left-wing conspiracy to install worldwide socialist government and make everyone poorer; but there is a great deal of evidence for a right-wing conspiracy to perpetuate the status quo and make a minority of people richer. Your conspiracy theory explanation for what scientists tell us is an illusion; whereas the conspiracy to perpetuate doubt about science is part of a well-documented pattern of behaviour by environmentally-damaging businesses.

        In the face of ongoing acceleration of Arctic warming, melting ice and thawing permafrost; and increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather of all kinds (all as predicted by climate models)… what does it matter if Mann made some statistical errors in his early work? The only way to dismiss the accumulating evidence for ACD, and/or the fact that Mann’s conclusions have been confirmed and validated by the work of others is by invoking conspiracy theory.

        What you blithely dismiss as CAGW is not a theory. It is based on well-understood physics; without which the Earth would have no liquid water. To deny that burning fossilised fuels is endangering the long-standing dynamic equilibrium of our atmosphere is to deny even more basic physics that is understood even better. Denying any of this is an act of blind faith; in defiance of ongoing events. Contrarians have picked a fight with science and history; and there can be no doubt about who will win. The only question that remains to be answered is just how bad to things have to get before this is admitted?

        Martin Lack

        18 July 2012 at 16:25

        • Hi Martin.

          This conversation is off to a one-sided start, because you are putting words in my mouth, whilst I am not doing the same to you. Please supply quotes or links that offer evidence that I hold the positions that you variously ascribe and impute to me. (But don’t spend much time on that effort… because it will be futile.)

          I’ve said nothing about mendacity and greed in oil company executives. Or in climate science.
          I’ve said nothing about left-wing conspiracies to install worldwide socialist government and make everyone poorer.
          “Your [AMac78's] consipiracy theory explanation” refers to.. what?

          Then you pose a question I could respond to: “what does it matter if Mann made some statistical errors in his early work?”

          If you follow the link I supplied at Climate Audit to The Blackboard (here), you would find answers by commenters “Carrick” and “SteveF”. I agree with these views. I note also that, alas, Prof Mann’s errors are not only statistical, and not limited to his early work.

          Back to more assumptions on your part:

          “The only way to dismiss the accumulating evidence for ACD…” — Where have I dismissed this, and what is ACD?

          “[The only way to dismiss] the fact that Mann’s conclusions have been confirmed and validated by the work of others is by invoking conspiracy theory.” — This is a sentence of the “Do you still beat your wife?” variety. And I explained the path I’ve taken to my present position in an apparently-unread response to you at Climate Audit, yesterday.

          “What you [AMac78] blithely dismiss as CAGW” — What, specifically, do you think that I have dismissed? And why do you think that dismissal is blithe?

          We’ll have to do much better than this, for an exchange of views to be worth our respective efforts.

          amac78

          18 July 2012 at 17:03

        • I am sorry you feel that way. Why do so many people on contrarian websites always seem so eager to indulge in such pedantic debates about who said what? Are there any quotation marks in my previous comment? No there are not.

          All I was seeking to do was highlight the implications of your “scepticism”. In my opinion it is not capable of any explanation other than invocation of conspiracy theory. However, given that you do not appear to consider that ACD to be a problem (etc), I think it entirely reasonable of me to construe your use of the acronym CAGW as dismissive of any concern anyone has.

          Having said all that, here is a question for you (the words of which are all mine – not yours). Do you think Mann is merely careless, mistaken, misguided, or mendacious?

          Martin Lack

          18 July 2012 at 17:24

        • Hi Martin,

          You need to learn to write in such a way as to convey your thoughts to the reader.

          As an example, let me clarify and specify what I’m saying. I mean that in order to have an exchange of views with me, you would have to do this. (You’ve come this far in life; it would be presumptuous of me to dictate what you must do with your time and effort.)

          > Are there any quotation marks in my [Martin's] previous comment?

          No there are not.
          On the other hand, in responding to me (AMac78), you (Martin) repeatedly use the pronoun “you”. In a two-party exchange, this use of that word can only be taken by the reader to refer to the other party, in this case, me.

          > All I [Martin] was seeking to do was highlight the implications of your [AMac78's] “scepticism”. In my opinion it is not capable of any explan…

          You (Martin) know next-to-nothing about my (AMac78′s) views on climate change. Your writing gives no evidence that you have any interest in those views. This is fine — I’m no more of a special snowflake than anyone else on the Internet. However, your efforts to “highlight the implications of [my] ‘skepticism’” have little to do with me.

          > Do you think Mann is…
          An answer was provided in the link I offered supra.

          amac78

          18 July 2012 at 18:03

        • Thanks for the explanation(s). Opinions re Mann noted; but change little. However, all of the foregoing merely serves to validate my most recent post.

          Either we have an ACD problem or we don’t. The vast majority of those best-qualified to judge are telling us that the ongoing observational evidence suggests we do indeed have a problem. Asserting that all these people are mad, mistaken or mendacious (my words) is both illogical and irrational. This is because the ACD now occurring (as a result of our pumping fossilised carbon into the atmosphere) was theoretically deduced and electronically predicted; and both the theory and the modelling of it are now being validated by ongoing events.

          Therefore, you are right, I am not interested in the minute detail of arguments being had by people who dispute this.

          Martin Lack

          18 July 2012 at 18:49

        • Hi Martin.

          We’ve taken this about as far as we can, I think.

          Cheers!
          AMac

          amac78

          18 July 2012 at 19:43

      • For the record, I (Martin) think you (AMac) used the word ‘you’ or ‘your’ more than I (Martin) did.

        I (Martin) hope you (Amac) don’t mind me (Martin) being pedantic too but, hey, neither of us (i.e. you [AMac] or I [Martin] is perfect)…

        Martin Lack

        18 July 2012 at 19:53

  4. “Having said all that, here is a question for you (the words of which are all mine – not yours). Do you think Mann is merely careless, mistaken, misguided, or mendacious?”
    Martin, there are plenty of examples where he has clearly been careless, and/or mistaken (often one could say he was mistaken BECAUSE he had been careless), I can give you clear examples if you wish. Mendacity is more subjective though, so whereas he has undeniably been both careless and mistaken, I appreciate it is to some degree a matter of interpretation as to whether he has been mendacious.

    Here are some examples of where I feel he has actually been mendacious:
    1) Steve McIntyre originally (in his first encounter with climate scientists) asked Mann for the data and methods from his MBH98 paper. Manns associate eventually sent him the data. Steve could not replicate the study from the provided data. It turns out he got given the wrong data. Mann subsequently claimed, and still claims that the data error was introduced because McIntyre asked for the data in excel spreadsheets (this is a backhanded slap in the face as no serious scientist would ask for data in excel files, it would be considered a very amateur request) and they basically made an error during transcription. This is simply not true. In response, McIntyre and McKitrick posted their entire correspondence with Mann. What is the explanation if not mendacity. Entire correspondence here: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/Response.Oct29.pdf
    Other mendacious behavior in connection with this episode is that Mann claims that had they asked about the data, he would have helped resolve the problem. In reality, as is shown in their correspondence, Mann had stated when asked to resolve some other data problems, that due to other demands on his time he would no longer be able to help them. Mandacious ? Again, to publically claim they used the wrong data and should have asked him for help, while telling them in emails he’d no longer be willing help, yes I think that is mendacious.

    2) Here for example:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/myths-vs-fact-regarding-the-hockey-stick/

    Mann writes “Unlike the original Mann et al (1998) reconstruction, the so-called ‘correction’ by McIntyre and McKitrick fails statistical verification exercises, rendering it statistically meaningless and unworthy of discussion in the legitimate scientific literature.” Here Mann criticises MM’s “reconstruction” as being meaningless because it failed verification, when the “reconstruction” is actually his own procedure with efforts made to correct his methodological errors. So he’s basically saying his own reconstruction, corrected, is statistically meaningless. Mendacious ? Yes I think so. (That entire realclimate page is a disgrace of misinformation and mudslinging btw)

    3) In Mann 08, Steve McIntyre pointed out that his reconstruction used the Tiljander lake proxy upside down (ie what should have been warm was added to the reconstruction as cold, and vice versa) and included the modern portion which was (according to the scientist who actually put together the data, and analysed it) unsuitable for use as a proxy because it was contaminated by human agriculture and construction. Many wondered why it had been included, given Mann himself mentioned this fact in passing in his paper. It later transpired that without using the upside down contaminated data the reconstruction failed to pass statistical verification (bear in mind Manns own quote above about a reconstruction that failed verification… ie statistically meaningless etc). So including contaminated data to make sure verification stats pass – mendacious ? Again yes I think that qualifies.

    There are many other examples where I believe his behaviour has been mendacious.

    None

    18 July 2012 at 20:24

    • I can’t see where I linked to this specific post on Climate Audit, so fail to see its attraction. However, given the vast array of evidence to support the basic message of MBH98 (i.e. late 20th Century warming is unprecedented), I cannot see how any statistical errors made in it can be of any great importance; and I do not accept that there is any evidence of mendacity in any of the above. In my humble opinion, you are seeing what you want to see in Mann’s comments; and I care very little about any of it. So please don’t repeat yourself or your comments will be snipped. If you wish to comment on this blog, please respect my request (as I have Steve’s) that you stay on topic.

      Is the Earth’s climate changing? Is human activity the primary cause? Is the change likely to be significant? Is this likely to be detrimental to life on Earth? Is there anything we can do to stop it? Is the cost of mitigating or adapting to this change going to increase if we delay acting?

      Most relevantly-qualified, active researchers with a track-record of well-respected articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals now say “Yes” in answer to all 6 of these questions. Therefore, even if there were some significant doubt left regarding any of them; the prudent thing to do would be still be to take action.
      To all who say AGW is junk science (4 October 2011)
      Policy inaction – revisited (1 February 2012)
      Pythagoras and plate-spinning for fake sceptics (18 July 2012)

      Martin Lack

      18 July 2012 at 21:42

      • Martin,
        You posed the question “Do you think Mann is merely careless, mistaken, misguided, or mendacious?” albeit not specifically to me. I responded, you can hardly accuse me of drifting off topic.

        To answer your maybe rhetorical subsequent questions:

        Is the Earth’s climate changing? Yes, it always has changed.
        Is human activity the primary cause? I’m not sure, it would not surprise me if land use changes turned out to be a strong contributing but temporary factor.
        Is the change likely to be significant? No
        Is this likely to be detrimental to life on Earth? No, because the change is likely to be minor.
        Is there anything we can do to stop it? Should we try to change it if the changes are not large and make little difference.
        Is the cost of mitigating or adapting to this change going to increase if we delay acting? No and quite the opposite. By taking drastic expensive measure before things are certain the poor will merely become poorer and the hungry hungrier. Ideologically driven Great Leaps Forward are usually catastrophic for populations.

        “Most relevantly-qualified, active researchers with a track-record of well-respected articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals now say “Yes” in answer to all 6 of these questions.”

        Yes but i’d counter that most of your selected group prevent other competent and objective scientists with opposing views from getting into the group, so there is a huge degree of “group think” going on. Objectively looking at the mistakes they make (take as an example the withdrawal of the recent Gergis et al paper which passed through peer review, was accepted for publishing, cited in the drafts of the upcoming IPCC AR as supporting unprecedented southern hemisphere warming, until someone at climateaudit noticed that they hadnt even followed the procedure they claimed they followed, at which point the paper was withdrawn) you have to say the level of peer review is not strenuous enough for papers which go with established consensus. They do not try hard to poke holes in their own arguments.

        For the record, since you asked someone else, i’m a physics graduate.

        None

        18 July 2012 at 22:21

        • Good point. My apologies. Thanks for coming back; and for taking the time to answer my supplementary questions (and get things back on track).

          I note you are a physicist; and I hope you have noted that I am a geologist. With the greatest of respect, your personal opinions regarding palaeclimatology (i.e. your responses to the first 3 questions) are not a sound basis for your opinions (or anyone else’s) regarding the answers to the remaining 3 questions. I have taken a great deal of time on this blog to address the first 3 questions and so, before getting annoyed with me for dismissing your responses to them, I hope you will at very least take a look at Climate science in a nut fragment (6 February 2012).

          However, my assertion that the answer to all 6 questions is “Yes” is based on the scientific consensus. Therefore, if you dismiss this consensus you are invoking conspiracy theory; and if you assert that you know best you are invoking the marketplace of ideas fallacy.

          For this reason, although Occam’s Razor is not infallible, in this instance it is legitimate and prudent to accept it. In short, Greg Craven is right.

          Martin Lack

          18 July 2012 at 22:52

        • Martin
          “I note you are a physicist”
          I would not describe myself as a physicist even though I graduated in physics, my career has been (like most physics graduates I know) in software development.

          “your personal opinions regarding palaeclimatology … are not a sound basis for your opinions”
          My opinions are not the basis of my opinions, that makes no sense, as well as being rather recursive. My opinions are a result of attempting to understand the science to the best of my time and ability. I have come to the conclusion that the criticisms of the climate science critics are frequently correct, it would be dishonest of me after investigating the facts and coming to that conclusion to then just follow peer pressure and go with the AGW crowd.

          “I hope you will at very least take a look at Climate science in a nut fragment (6 February 2012).”

          I followed your link and read it, as well as the initial few comments. I do not think it is very comprehensive, nor a particularly accurate portrayal, do you mind if we discuss it in detail or is that drifting off topic ?

          “However, my assertion that the answer to all 6 questions is “Yes” is based on the scientific consensus. Therefore, if you dismiss this consensus you are invoking conspiracy theory; and if you assert that you know best you are invoking the marketplace of ideas fallacy.”

          In actual fact I am neither a conspiracy theorist, nor engaged in some kind of “marketplace of ideas fallacy”. I have as carefully as I can considered the evidence, and come to the conclusion that many criticisms of climate science are valid. Let me ask you, when you attempted to follow the arguments between climate scientists and their critics, was it the case that if you had decided the critics had frequently valid cases then you would either have been a conspiracy theorist, or invoking the marketplace of ideas fallacy ? Or would you simply have stated like me that you had come to the conclusion that many criticisms of climate science studies were actually valid ?

          As for the video you linked to, sorry but it is an incredibly poor argument. You can substitute the “GCC” with any “future scare scenario” from “worldwide disease outbreak” to “global meteor strike” to justify spending massive amounts of money now to prevent some possible problem in the future and according to his logic that must justify spending the money now. I would address his many logical fallacies in more detail but you may find that off topic again.

          None

          19 July 2012 at 21:44

        • Thanks for the explanation(s). You may not think you are a conspiracy theorist – you may not even strictly-speaking be one – but those you choose to believe (rather than accept the consensus view of the scientific community) are almost certainly conspiracy theorists; and/or think they are Galileo (are you sure you don’t too?). Richard Lindzen admitted as much in his presentation in London in February – he accussed almost everyone else involved in climate research of being knowingly wrong (or just careless or stupid). For perfectly understandable reasons, I suspect that everyone else was not impressed.

          Therefore, “I have… come to the conclusion that many criticisms of climate science are valid” …is the problem: You have listened to those who decided, in the absence of Communists, to choose environmentalists as their new enemy. Therefore, even if you have looked at the evidence, you have not done so objectively; you have looked at it with a little voice whispering in your ear “Aren’t they all wicked?”. I am sorry to have to say this but I really do think it is time you stopped going round in circles of pedantic argumentation; and let the evidence speak for itself – like Richard Muller has done. He may not have admitted that human activity is the primary cause (or that he was wrong about the Climategate emails) but he has admitted that 20th Century Warming is not an artefact of how we measure it. Like you, I think he is on a journey…

          To do this, you will have to stop using “going off-topic” as way of not dealing with the the fact that ACD is not a scare story; it is already happening: You will have to visit my more recent posts and comment there instead (same goes for my ‘Nut Fragment’ piece or any other to which I have directed you). However, please try to avoid lengthy repetitions of arguments that have been repeatedly de-bunked elsewhere (because I am getting tired of repeating myself).

          Martin Lack

          20 July 2012 at 09:43

        • Martin
          “but those you choose to believe (rather than accept the consensus view of the scientific community) are almost certainly conspiracy theorists”

          Firstly, I have chosen to “believe” noone, I have attempted where possible to directly verify the truth of the conflicting statements myself.
          Secondly, the idea that people like Steve McIntyre or Lucia Liljegren are “almost certainly conspiracy theorists” is just absurd. They are criticising the science (and sometimes the behaviour of the scientists, eg in withholding data/code) where it deserves to be criticised, pure and simple. Nothing more, nothing less.

          The truth is Martin, you are much more of a conspiracy theorist. Listen to yourself:

          “Therefore, even if you have looked at the evidence, you have not done so objectively; you have looked at it with a little voice whispering in your ear “Aren’t they all wicked?”.”

          “You have listened to those who decided, in the absence of Communists, to choose environmentalists as their new enemy.”

          These are all just wild fantasies of conspiracy on your part. Sorry to disappoint you but, yes I have looked at the evidence objectively, no I did not have any voices in my ear whispering “Aren’t they wicked” while I did it, and no people like Steve and Lucia are concerned with the science rather than setting up environmentalists as some kind of new enemy.

          What would you think if I was telling you that you had reviewed the evidence without objectivity while thinking “aren’t they evil” of the sceptics, and that climate science and environmentalists had been hijacked by the Malthusians and Communists in order to wage war on successful democratic states ?

          It sounds ludicrous to hear someone telling you their made up fantasies of what you have done and why you have done it.

          None

          20 July 2012 at 19:44

        • Thanks for not getting too upset. Re-reading my own response to you – and comparing it to that from Schalk – I realised I had done exactly what AMac78 accused me of – over-used the word “you”. Sorry.

          Let me try and de-personalise this: There are people (like James Delingpole) who claim all environmentalists are Communists in disguise (i.e. “Watermelons”). Neither you nor Steve McIntyre may be among them. Accepted. However, Steve admits himself that he decided there was something suspect about Mann’s work and set out to find fault with it. In other words, he has never been objective about this.

          With all due respect, I am not fantasizing about anything. A word-search of Timothy Luke’s analysis of the first Rio Summit (as linked-to above) will show that it was the German Environment Minister at the time who said “I am afraid that conservatives in the United States are picking ‘ecologism’ as their new enemy”. It was a bunch of ex-Cold War physicts that orchestrated the resistance to the UNFCCC process in the USA (Jastrow, Seitz, Singer, and Nierenberg) – leading to the formation of the George C Marshall Institute and Global Climate Coalition, etc. This is not conspiracy theory – it is conspiracy fact.

          I know I may come over as aggressive. If so, I apologise (again). I am just massively frustrated by the way in which so much time is being wasted arguing about minute detail of scientific research and/or questioning the integrity of scientists; when so much of the science was well-understood over 100 years ago; President Lyndon B Johnson acknowledged the seriousness of the problem nearly 50 years ago; and James Hansen warned of the consequences of failing to tackle the problem nearly 25 years ago. In addition to all of this, of course, there is also the track record of responsibility-denial that business has… In the face of all this, I find it astonishing that you (oops!) can call me a conspiracy theorist.

          Martin Lack

          20 July 2012 at 20:46

        • “Let me try and de-personalise this: There are people (like James Delingpole) who claim all environmentalists are Communists in disguise”
          There’s a lunatic fringe on both sides of the argument, I’d say its not a smart move in any discussion to factually inform your counterpart that they subscribe to the view of the lunatic fringe of their side, nor even just to assume it.

          “Steve admits himself that he decided there was something suspect about Mann’s work and set out to find fault with it. In other words, he has never been objective about this.”
          He decided there was something suspect about it without reason ? Sounds very unlike Steve. Please post a link to the “admission”, you can interest and amaze me if you can produce one.

          “I am just massively frustrated by the way in which so much time is being wasted arguing about minute detail of scientific research and/or questioning the integrity of scientists; when so much of the science was well-understood over 100 years ago”
          I do not agree the arguments are over minute details. On the contrary I think the science, especially the reliance on computer models being run out into the future (in the same way the banking industry depended on complex financial models running out into the future) is extremely not-settled at the moment. I also think you are incorrect on so much of the science being well-understood over 100 years ago. The only dangerous warming projections come via the water vapour feedback mechanism which is not understood now with any degree of certainty never mind 100 years ago (this would have been my very first point in criticising those links you posted earlier, had I written a full response to it).

          None

          20 July 2012 at 22:03

        • I am beginning to feel like we are going round in circles here; as per my Pythagoras/Plate-spinning post. To avoid any further circum-navigation, I would appreciate it if we could end this discussion here and, if you so wish, take it up there instead.

          As far as our supposed reliance on computer modelling goes, I have addressed this in my Nut Fragment post (so am not going to respond here).

          Martin Lack

          20 July 2012 at 22:27

        • “With all due respect, I am not fantasizing about anything… It was a bunch of ex-Cold War physicts that orchestrated the resistance to the UNFCCC process in the USA (Jastrow, Seitz, Singer, and Nierenberg) – leading to the formation of the George C Marshall Institute and Global Climate Coalition, etc. This is not conspiracy theory – it is conspiracy fact.”

          Sorry; I meant to reply to this part too. I’m afraid it’s conspiracy theory; not conspiracy fact. Read this:

          http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2008/11/10/nierneberg-concluded-oreskes-i/

          None

          20 July 2012 at 22:13

        • Obviously, Oreskes and Conway have painted a very damning picture but not everyone covered in their book is dead yet; so why have they not been sued?

          Assuming you accept that it is possible to have too much of a good thing, are you willing to admit that:
          – From Roger Revelle in the late 1950s onwards, the majority of climate scientists have been warning of the dangers of excess CO2 in the atmosphere?
          – Ever since James Hansen testified on Capitol Hill in 1988, there has been a well-organised campaign to discredit him and anyone who says we have a problem that needs fixing?

          There is no need for a lengthy answer; a simple yes or no will help me understand your position (as would be responses to other questions in other places). Apart from that, I consider this discussion in this thread to have outlived its usefulness.

          Martin Lack

          20 July 2012 at 22:43

        • “Obviously, Oreskes and Conway have painted a very damning picture but not everyone covered in their book is dead yet; so why have they not been sued?”
          Because their “research” has been basically shown to be wrong in peer reviewed journals, and in multiple discussions across the net. What additional point is there in suing ?

          “From Roger Revelle in the late 1950s onwards, the majority of climate scientists have been warning of the dangers of excess CO2 in the atmosphere.”
          Not so sure about from 1950-1970, there was at some point in the mid 60′s early 70′s a worry that we were heading for another Ice Age, but from late 70′s onwards I’d agree. [Revelle’s comments led to Statement by President Lyndon B Johnson in 1965. Short-lived fears of approaching Ice Age resulted from the ‘global dimming’ effect of atmospheric pollution (aerosols and particulates). This is an example of negative feedback – as it is reduced so ACD will accelerate – yet another reason why ongoing complacency is unwise. – ML]

          “Ever since James Hansen testified on Capitol Hill in 1988, there has been a well-organised campaign to discredit him and anyone who says we have a problem that needs fixing?”
          Disagree with that one. The well organised campaigns are more on the NGO side of things like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, IMO. I have certainly never been approached by any anti-AGW body, nor even heard of one. I have on the other hand frequently been approached, by people in the street never mind all the adverts, many climate action groups.

          BTW, framing the question then asking for a simple yes no answer is really poor form. [snip - fatuous remarks and/or analogies are unnecessary. ML]

          None

          21 July 2012 at 14:13

        • Clearly we live on different planets, read different books, meet different people, and use different Internets. Give it 5 to 10 years maximum; and we will see who is right. Thank you for your contributions. Do not feel obliged to continue them; as I suspect that doing so would result in both of us wasting time.

          Martin Lack

          21 July 2012 at 14:41

  5. Wow… interesting to see a real climate change “debate” in action…

    Just like future generations will probably look to the developed world today as a perfect example of how not to run an economy (try to borrow and spend your way to prosperity), they will probably look to climate change as a perfect example of how not to handle a highly complex scientific issue (everyone plays scientist and gets fully attached to his/her opinion formed over a few months of informal research).

    Regardless of the overwhelming scientific consensus for potentially highly-disruptive anthropocentric climate change reached by career climatologists with long publication records, the primary question still remains: What would be best for planet Earth?

    Even if climate change is the biggest hoax ever engineered in our entire history, using it as an excuse to lower our dependence on fossil fuels and build towards a sustainable future is in the best long term interests of our planet. Our fossil fuel binge over the past couple of decades has only created a massive array of environmental problems, an economy on the verge of collapse, incredible social inequality, a true epidemic of lifestyle-induced degenerative disease, near zero financial resilience among individuals and, above all, zero increase in life satisfaction.

    In chasing happiness though fossil-fuel-driven consumption (and failing miserably to get it), we have stolen the futures of our children and grandchildren both in ecological and economic terms. We have an enormous debt to pay and fighting over tiny little nuances within the far-reaching scientific field that is climate change most certainly is not the way to do this.

    Schalk

    19 July 2012 at 11:43

    • Thanks for all of that, Schalk. However, I think you concede a little too much to the supposed “sceptics” and, therefore, I would prefer that you had said:
      “Even if climate change were the biggest hoax ever engineered in our entire history…to lower our dependence on fossil fuels… would still be in the best long term interests of our planet.”

      Martin Lack

      19 July 2012 at 12:01

    • “In chasing happiness though fossil-fuel-driven consumption (and failing miserably to get it), we have stolen the futures of our children and grandchildren both in ecological and economic terms.”

      Very moving but nonsense. People are better off now than ever. We eat better (although in many cases people choose not to), live in cleaner environments, work in cleaner environments, live longer, are better educated, and have more say in our governments than ever before.

      Are people happier ? Probably not, but i’d say there’s anecdotal evidence that what gives people happiness is striving through hardship, and everything is so easy now noone feels they are accomplishing anything.

      Btw I have changed my view on AGW twice, and will happily do so again if the evidence for it improves in quality, so I’m not attached emotionally to my position.

      None

      19 July 2012 at 22:17

      • Dear None,

        Well, if we did not manage to convert the once-in-a-100-million-year gift of fossil fuels to increased living standards (for some), I would really lose faith in humanity. In total, the average American lifestyle burns as much fossil energy per day as can be delivered by 70 full time slaves. We really do live like royalty.

        The problem is just that we are totally squandering this precious opportunity. Although it can be a very fuzzy topic, my research into the areas of happiness and longevity suggests that health, security and creative expression are the primary factors influencing the number of happy life years a person can expect to get. All three of these things are laughably easy to attain within our affluent (fossil fuel driven) modern society, but still America is so sick that 20% of its entire GDP is spent on healthcare, 42% of America lives from paycheck to paycheck and only 45% are satisfied with their job.

        And America is supposed to be the “land of opportunity”. As for the rest of the world; well, the wealth distribution is so skewed that the top 0.5% control more than 10 times the total wealth of the bottom 70%. The average total net worth of adults in the bottom 70% is just over $2000 – the amount that the average American blows in a month.

        Perhaps it will help if I quantify the amount we have stolen from the future in the process of achieving these dismal results. Ecologically, we have been exceeding the planet’s biocapacity for almost the past 4 decades now. Over these 4 decades, we have used planetary resources that planet Earth can only generate in 5 decades, implying that we are already in the red with an entire decade of planetary life support. Also, now that Asia is growing like mad, the rate at which we are pushing further into the red is accelerating rapidly.

        Economically, if I can take America as an example again, the sum of the total debt and the total unfunded liabilities is currently around $180 trillion which implies that every young American starting to pay taxes already owes an average of $1.6 million to various creditors and the people drawing social security and Medicare. And yes, as demographics shift and every politician promises more benefits, spending and stimulus, this already impossible liability on future generations just grows larger.

        In case you are interested, I wrote a more detailed summary of the problems with our current society starting here: http://oneinabillionblog.com/summary/problem-statement-society/. The two “problem statement” pages read in 10-15 minutes and it would really be very valuable to get your opinion on this.

        BTW, I am quite interested to hear what factors made you shift your opinion twice on AGW. It would also be interesting to know whether you also wrote such long blog comments to advocate your previously opposite views.

        Schalk

        20 July 2012 at 08:50

        • Read through your pages, will reply on your blog to avoid the very off topic responses.

          None

          20 July 2012 at 20:02


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