Archive for September, 2010

Royal Society Inspires Numerically-Proven Self-Debasement At Shameful BBC News Website

2010/09/30 5 comments

I know it’s hopeless, but today I have sent a complaint to the BBC for the shameful, biased coverage of the Royal Society’s “new short guide to the science of climate change”.

For unfathomable (ahr ahr!) reasons, much is made of the association between two Fellows of the Royal Society and the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). One is left to wonder if the remaining 41 Fellows “who called for” the new Royal Society pronouncement, are just stooges of the GWPF. Who knows, perhaps Pallab Ghosh believes the whole Society including Lord Rees are zombies manipulated by Lord Lawson?

Actually, it’s not just a matter of opinion. Keep in mind that the article is titled “Royal Society launches new climate change guide“. Therefore one would expect it to be dedicated to the Royal Society and its stance on climate change. Keep also in mind that journalists are painfully aware of the importance of dedicating the right number of words to the right topic.

Now, there are 419 words in Mr Ghosh’s piece. Of those, 83 are dedicated to Bob Ward’s likely slanderous innuendos against the GWPF, a topic that is removed as far as it gets from the Royal Society and its stance on climate change:

…Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation […] campaigns against climate researchers and promotes inaccurate and misleading information about climate change

That’s 83/419=19.81% of the total. Now add the words in the previous paragraph in the article, just as well irrelevant to what the article was supposed to be about, and you get 125/419=29.83%.

In other words, 30% of Mr Ghosh’s writing has little to do with the Royal Society and its stance on climate change. Can anybody imagine what would happen at the BBC if, say, 30% of any political article were blatantly irrelevant?

Funny to see such a shameful behaviour in their “science” section of all places.

Climate Change Catastrophism, As Ridiculous, Sublime And Dangerous As Ever

2010/09/30 10 comments

Talking about “Climate change scepticism is an age-old problem” Brendan Barrett and Sven Åke Bjørke at the UN University manage to be ridiculous, sublime and dangerous at the same time.

“Ridiculous” when they complain of poor communication between (catastrophic climate change) believers and skeptics after using the odious word, “denier”; and when they say that only extreme voices get audience, and at the same time label all skeptics as vaguely paranoid.

“Sublime” when they quote the thoughts of Malthus about advocates “indulging in bitter invectives” instead of being practical and solution-focused (obviously, not even Malthus could get it all wrong).

Finally, “dangerous” when they suggest there is no more time left to debate the causes of climate change. Historically, those who felt there was not enough time to save the world, went on to commit genocide.

The Great Climate Crunch Of 2010

2010/09/29 6 comments

Haven’t posted much of late. For two reason: one, a super-secrete Earth-shattering project (or rather, a smaller version of it), and two, because with the whole catastrophic climate change narrative imploding around me, I do not really find much in pleasure in flogging a comatose horse…

We have the BBC’s Richard Black severely reprimanded by the illiberals at Climate Progress. The UK Government might get rid of its Climate Department and doesn’t want to keep foraging the solar power industry no more. The New Statesman, no less, forces itself into recognising the importance of Stephen McIntyre. There’s Scientific American stating that “the leaked “Climategate” e-mails painted researchers as censorious”, whilst Lord Turnbull is allowed to write in the pages of the Financial Times that “a climate overhaul is needed to win back public trust”

Of course Obama wants no solar panels for the White House, and Revkin gives up on the climate fight. Keith Kloor finds out some people want to censor what they don’t perfectly like.

If another bunch of hidden, dodgy emails shows up now, the “catastrophic climate” discourse will go the way of the Dodo.

UPDATE: Climategate keeps popping up with what a few weeks ago were unlikely comments. For example at the UN University:

“the emotive exchanges surrounding the so-called climategate affair [show] that the climate scientists at the University of East Anglia did not feel completely comfortable sharing all their data with those sceptical of their work, and intrinsically [highlight] how this situation has undermined the credibility of the science involved, to a degree”

Has The US Establishment Got Any Confidence In Climate Science?

2010/09/21 3 comments

Yes, I know it was the day of the stupidest Friedman column ever (favorite quote: “There is really no debate about climate change in China“…yessssir, there is really no debate about anything in China, it’s a dictatorship, thank you very much!).

But then something else popped up in the news, to provide a ray of optimism against the advance of rabid climate change belief. Just like in the UK, the top American cheeses don’t seem willing to walk the global warming walk. Shock, horror, “Obama backs utilities in key climate change lawsuit“.

Yes, the POTUS too, he doesn’t believe climate change as it’s known today, would be able to resist to a proper analysis.

Thank you, Mr President!

Has The UK Establishment Got Any Confidence In Climate Science?

2010/09/20 3 comments

Among the few things I have learned after thirteen years of living in England, there’s an appreciation for understatements and reading between the lines.

Prurient, tight-lipped local society is in fact constantly trying to verbally channel its anger and other frustrations in “acceptable” ways, so the language is hammered day-in day-out by the search of new ways to speak the unspeakable (eg the number of objects whose names can’t be used for sexual innuendos is dwindling if not already zero).

That’s why I am developing a feeling that the botched, inconclusive, confused Climategate inquiries have actually been yelling their underlying message loud and clear.

See? Neither Parliament or Lord Oxburgh or Sir Muir Russell of the “independent” UEA commissions tried to deal with climate science as such: to the point that Oxburgh himself wrote:

“The panel was not concerned with whether the conclusions of the published research were correct”

And what made them all think unwise to touch climate science with a long pole? Why, it’s all easy to understand under the hypothesis that very few people, either in Parliament, or at the UEA, or among the top echelons of British Science, have got the confidence that climate science would survive any serious scrutiny…

Copenhagen Humor

Couple of year-old clippings from the NYT “Green Inc” blog. All humor as unintended as ever.

Nov 29, 2009:

[…] few failed to recognize that the Copenhagen plot line — after years, really, of stalemate, lowered expectations and continued scientific bickering — appeared to be moving forward. “As we head towards Copenhagen, the world’s two largest emitters have stepped up to the plate at the highest political level,” Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute, said in a statement. “This shows that international engagement on climate change can produce real results.”

Dec 8, 2009:

The U.N. Climate Convention meeting needs to be a show‐stopper and a chart‐topper in the annals of international cooperation,” said Achim Steiner, head of the United Nation’s Environment Program, according to the Seal the Deal Web site. “As the negotiations kick off in Copenhagen, Dance for Climate Change can help energize action towards ensuring that nations hit the highest of high notes on the climate change challenge.” […] As show time approached, in fact, so few tickets had been sold that the price dropped to $15. And according to some local reports, tickets were actually handed out for free at the gates when the music began to play. Various reports put attendance at about 2,000. Amanda Orlanda, a spokeswoman for the Water for Life concerts, told the Danish music magazine Gaffa that about 10,000 tickets had been sold, though she conceded that somewhat fewer showed up, noting that many of the foreign delegates in town for the negotiations may have had a hard time figuring out how to find Parken Stadium, a communications breakdown on the organizers’ part, she said. “We could have done better,” she said.

Live Microblogging Of GWPF – Montford – Bishop Hill Climategate Enquiries Presentation

2010/09/14 3 comments

I am at the House of Lords for the GWPF / Montford / Bishop Hill presentation of the climategate inquiries report

Follow @mmorabito67 on Twitter for live updates from 10am GMT

UPDATE: here the relevant Twitter entries in chronological order

  • Delingpole, Warehouse in attendance
  • Lord Lawson, Benny Peer, Lord Turnbull, Andrew Montford ready to go
  • Benny Peiser of course – curse you, Android!
  • And that was Whitehouse 😛
  • Starts right on time. Turnbull first
  • Turnbull: so far boys-will-be-boys defence. ButBritish science reputation important.
  • Turnbull: climate policy ipcc-based in UK demands almost complete decarbonisation
  • People questions if science is solid enough to warrant these sacrifices
  • Climategate enquiries timely but did they answer the original questions? New parliam commit looking at things again
  • Missing is review of science that select committee thought would be done by Oxburgh and was not
  • Montford reads. Starts with lack of independence
  • Panels full of campaigners, no skeptic selected
  • Serious allegations overlooked, selected papers by UEA and Jones themselves
  • Known fraud evidence not considered at all
  • Sir Muir Russell informed of FOI breach but did nothing about it
  • Curry, von Storch critical of the enquiries too. Reputation of British science is on the line
  • Peiser underlines it’s the enquiries that are under scrutiny, not the original allegations
  • Times journo challenges Montford on Jones’ selection claim. Good answer.
  • Turnbull: flaws from day one, prejudicial remarks, little representativity, flawed processes
  • I asked: enquiries give free hands to fraudsters as long as it’s not too serious a fraud: Bishop is more optimistic
  • Telegraph journalist asks Lords’ own opinion. Lawson mentions huge cloud of doubt when emails came out
  • Inquiries are the expertise of Lord Turnbull -these ones failed to close the debate on Climategate
  • They may be right about the science, so why did UEA engage on disreputable behaviour?
  • Guardian journalist asks how report was written (desktop job)
  • Why the Bishop? Lawson asks to judge report on merits
  • Turnbull: parliament is listening to Sir Muir and the others too
  • Montford: plenty of citations in my report if anybody is looking for them
  • Telegraph: new info? Russell minutes on website, recently available
  • UEA head of IT: Briffa took home some emails. Russell did not even mention this
  • Turnbull: can we really do AR5 as if nothing had happened
  • Lawson: there is no indication the ipcc will implement the recommendations
  • The ipcc hid the decline – very disreputable – even if Jones mentioned it in the original articles
  • Montford: only mention of hiding at the very last moment in AR4
  • Whither the IPCC? Lawson: doubts undermine its purpose
  • MP already in Sci Tech committee: our outcome not influenced by our chairman remarks
  • Continues: surprise by huge gaps when we asked none there would be
  • More: Jones and Briffa cannot reproduce their work. “Very disturbing”
  • Meeting closes at 10:53am Gmt

Climate Change Denial Perverts And The Unconscious Obstacles To Caring For The Planet

2010/09/10 4 comments

Anybody with £60 and a weekend to spare should attend the two-day event “Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic Perspectives“, organised by The Institute of Psychoanalysis, Byron House, 112a Shirland Road, London, W9 2EQ for Oct 16-17.

You will be told about psychic consequences of the discovery of personal ecological debt, different structures of feeling in relation to the natural world and about engaging with the natural world and with human nature. You will also be told about unconscious obstacles to caring for the planet, and climate change denial in a perverse culture.

Fear not, however, as it’s specialists in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in attendance. At worst, you’ll risk to be put on a couch under a barrage of questions about your childhood. Think instead of the danger of electroconvulsive therapy, if fully-fledged psychiatrists start opining about your perversions and unconscious obstacles…

Against Catastrophism, by Lord Stern

2010/09/09 1 comment

Couple of interesting quotes from Lord Stern’s review of the latest McKibben’s misguided PR coup, disguised as a stuck “a” on the keyboard:

[…] The opening three chapters of the book create an apocalyptic vision that almost begs the question why we should bother trying to reduce emissions now, and it is only in the final chapter that McKibben offers any glimpses of optimism. […]

[McKibben] risks undermining confidence that we can find a way forward. That is not McKibben’s intention, as he makes absolutely explicit. Nevertheless, he is too pessimistic about the ability of the world to respond. Such pessimism can be self-fulfilling […]

Three hoorays for the former Sir Nicholas’ conversion to the church of let’s-stay-practical (aka we-are-called-deniers).

ps as it happens, McKibben might be busy corralling his rather violent troops. Tough new planet indeed…

No Science Without Contradiction

2010/09/08 1 comment

High-brow climate science specialists might almost be a lost cause, yes, but they are not the only ones working about climate-related stuff. So the latest development in terms of investigating the relationship between people and climate is very welcome, because it shows that not the whole world is supinely enthralled in fashionable doom-and-gloom deathwish: tentatively, the analysis of what “climate” means to us may have actually put a step forward.

I am talking about the ‘Climate not to blame for African Civil Wars‘ piece from PNAS, also described at the Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW) at PRIO’s website and in an article on the BBC News website.

What is important is not so much in the conclusions (“the paper concludes that climate variability is a poor predictor of armed conflict“): those contradict an earlier study, so we can only assume another peer-reviewed paper will soon get published contradicting CSCW’s work (perhaps even, putting forward a third interpretation).

What is important is that (finally!) an immature field such as climatology (finally!) sees some kind of scientific debate, instead of the usual circling of the wagons.

So far, that had surfaced only regarding hurricanes. Note that of course, this can only come about when theories meet empirical evidence…as per Alan Sokal’s “refrain”,

clear thinking, combined with a respect for evidence — especially inconvenient and unwanted evidence, evidence that challenges our preconceptions — are of the utmost importance to the survival of the human race in the twenty-first century

But in reality, that is the standard framework of science: peer-reviewed articles more often than most contradicting each other (see here, here and here), because to “do science” means to freely investigate, to see even dead ends as the results of a fun journey, to start anew.

And to consider contradicting articles as a great chance for a synthesis, rather than a mortal, dangerous opportunity for the enemies of science. Why, does anybody remember…”all human knowledge begins with intuitions, proceeds from thence to concepts, and ends with ideas“…


What will a mature climate science look like? From one of Scientific American’s blogs, take the word of “late, great anthropologist” Clifford Geertz:

progress [in a field of science] is marked less by a perfection of consensus than by a refinement of debate. What gets better is the precision with which we vex each other

“Vexing each other”: instead of working in the background to prevent people from publishing at all.

Climate Science’s Troubles With The Physical World

2010/09/07 4 comments

My original concern about global warming back in 2003 was quite simple: if we are experiencing climate change, where is the change? Something noticeably different, that is, such as a weather pattern consistently showing up in places where it had never or seldom been seen.

Alas, I soon discovered that those questions are considered blasphemous or worse, by many people deeply and wholly convinced about the Truth of Climate Science. And in fact, there are signs that mainstream climate science is curiously uninterested with verifying what the physical world actually does: for example, check the disdain reserved for the IPCC’s own Working Group II Report “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”, the one that after all contains the most practical chapter of them all, “Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems“.

Here’s RC’s take as of last January, eulogizing about the Working Group I Report “The Physical Science Basis”:

In this case, it appears that not enough people with relevant experience saw this text, or if they saw it, did not comment publicly. This might be related to the fact that this text was in the Working Group 2 report on impacts, which does not get the same amount of attention from the physical science community than does the higher profile WG 1 report (which is what people associated with RC generally look at). In WG1, the statements about continued glacier retreat are much more general and the rules on citation of non-peer reviewed literature was much more closely adhered to. However, in general, the science of climate impacts is less clear than the physical basis for climate change, and the literature is thinner, so there is necessarily more ambiguity in WG 2 statements.

How come the WG1’s report is superior to WG2’s? Because it deals with “hard data and peer-reviewed studies”

To be fair to our colleagues from WG2 and WG3, climate scientists do have a much simpler task. The system we study is ruled by the well-known laws of physics, there is plenty of hard data and peer-reviewed studies, and the science is relatively mature. The greenhouse effect was discovered in 1824 by Fourier, the heat trapping properties of CO2 and other gases were first measured by Tyndall in 1859, the climate sensitivity to CO2 was first computed in 1896 by Arrhenius, and by the 1950s the scientific foundations were pretty much understood.

I am pretty sure most scientists of all sorts (but not climatologists, as it seems) would find it peculiar to see the physical impacts of a scientific theory relegated in the background so that people can celebrate their “relatively mature” science. And no, the belief that understanding some physical mechanisms means understanding what happens in the real world is a naive, dangerous fallacy.

The same attitude surfaces at Connolley’s blog. Look at the recent “case closed!” about WG1’s science

[…] we have all the evidence that is required (disclaimers: I’m only really speaking about WGI stuff, because it is the only thing i have a clue about, and I’m not saying we should shut down all the physical climate change research. There are plenty of exciting and interesting things to discover. But they won’t change the big picture […]

In comparison to that, poor WG2’s authors become little more than amateurs

WG I would never have made the mistake WG II made over this 2350 / 2035 stuff, for two reasons. Firstly, they are subject to line-by-line scrutiny because people actually *care*. And second they just do a better job with better people.

Has any climate scientist actually read the WG2 Report? Here’s one that hasn’t, and forgets two thirds of it

I know a little about Working Group II – as well as climatologists, it is written by hydrologists, glaciologists, economists, social scientists and medical scientists and considers the potential impacts of climate change

Tellingly, not even the Aristotelian phalanxes at Skeptical Science can come up with much about “empirical evidence“.

What is happening here? Perhaps, the physical world is just too complex to deal with, for people used to draw their neat theories (and models). In truth, so far there still is nothing to show for climate change, and yet plenty of educated scientists are so convinced by it, nothing would ever change their mind. Hence the need to elevate “climate science” above those earthly, physical troubles, to a realm where it actually works.

The realm, that is, of meta-physics

Sexing Up Dr Pachauri’s Qualifications

2010/09/06 3 comments

Say, this is surely a minor point, but isn’t it worrying that IPCC Supremo Dr Rajendra Pachauri’s qualifications are not always unambiguously specified? And especially at his own “home”…

Take for example his resumé at the London Speaker Bureau, suggesting Dr Pachauri is that rare human, holding two PhDs

Dr. Pachauri began his career with Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi, India, before attending North Carolina State University where he gained a clutch of qualifications including PhDs in Industrial Engineering and Economics

Of course, and instead, the NC State’s Alumni website correctly mentions a “joint PhD”

Dr. Pachauri obtained both his graduate degrees from NC State, including a master’s degree in industrial engineering in 1972 and a joint Ph.D. In industrial engineering and economics in 1974.

Same on Wikipedia

Pachauri was awarded an MS degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, in 1972, as well as a joint Ph.D. In Industrial Engineering and Economics in 1974.

Move to TERI‘s instead, it’s two PhDs for “Dr Dr” Pachauri

Dr Pachauri joined the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, USA, where he obtained an MS in industrial engineering in 1972, a Ph.D. In industrial engineering and a Ph.D. In economics.

Same text at the IPCC, in line with the accepted exaggeration policy.

Here’s a take, BTW, on what it means to get two PhDs

Well, don’t take my word for it, as I’m hardly an expert, but i’ve never come across anything like that. I don’t think any university would be willing to award you two phds without you actually writing two theses (as well as registering and paying for two courses)

Somehow, I doubt that joint PhDs were invented to allow people’s qualifications to double overnight. But as usual I might be wrong on this, so perhaps we will get very soon yet another confirmation of Dr Pachauri’s genius.

Tony Blair Explains Why IPCC “Science” Is A Difficult Endeavour

2010/09/01 3 comments

Politicians are obliged from time to time to conceal the full truth, to bend it and even distort it, where the interest of the bigger strategic goal demands it be done […] Without operating with some subtlety at this level, the job would be well-nigh impossible

One wonders what an InterGOVERNMENTAL Panel is supposed to do?

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