Archive for November, 2011

When A Miracle Had Just Happened

2011/11/26 2 comments

There are 47 instance of “miracle” in Climategate 2.0. One of them, from Andre Bijkerk, “miracle cures”.

The other 46 are all identical:

“The Miracle Workers” by Jack Vance

They all belong to the signature of single person, a Dr Rob Wilson of Endinburgh University:

Dr. Rob Wilson
Lecturer in Physical Geography
School of Geography & Geosciences
University of St Andrews
St Andrews. FIFE[…]

“…..I have wondered about trees.

They are sensitive to light, to moisture, to wind, to pressure.
Sensitivity implies sensation. Might a man feel into the soul of a tree
for these sensations? If a tree were capable of awareness, this faculty
might prove useful. ”

“The Miracle Workers” by Jack Vance

Note how apt the poem for anybody working in dendrochronology.

0435: Briffa: Pathetic GRL Hockey Stick Paper A Step Backwards In Time And Understanding

2011/11/25 5 comments

Briffa speaks out about the “Pathetic Paper“, with the added bonus of Edward Cook’s thoughts about multi-century temperature reconstructions:

cc: t.osbor
date: Wed Sep 3 14:00:06 2003
from: Keith Briffa
subject: Re: An idea to pass by you
to: Edward Cook

[…] The basic point is that I (and I think [Tim Osborn]) agree that Mike and Phil’s latest contribution is a step backwards ( in time and understanding ) – well in reality I do not believe it is a step forward.

At 08:32 AM 9/3/03 -0400, [Edward Cook] wrote:

[…] I am afraid the Mike and Phil are too personally invested in things now (i.e. the 2003 GRL paper that is probably the worst paper Phil has ever been involved in – Bradley hates it as well) […] Without trying to prejudice [a newly proposed] work, but also because of what I almost think I know to be the case, the results of this study will show that we can probably say a fair bit about < 100 year extra-tropical NH temperature variability (at least as far as we believe the proxy estimates), but honestly know fuck-all about what the > 100 year variability was like with any certainty (i.e. we know with certainty that we know fuck-all)..

Climategate 2.0: Very Much Focused On Phil Jones

2011/11/24 9 comments

By using a clever UNIX trick (and a slight Mac OS X correction) I have counted the occurrences of all words in every non-encrypted “Climategate 2.0” email, then sorted them in descending order and removed the non-specific words such as “the”, “a”, etc, with some interesting results.

For example Phil Jones steals the show (the word “Jones” is present 12,454 times, and “Phil” 10,030 times). The UEA tops the list with 19,384 mentions, “climate” follows with more than 17,000 mentions, Briffa  appears 7,004 times, Mann “only” 5,971.

Seems clear that whoever did this, is not in friendly terms with Phil Jones. Perhaps they have left mostly non-Jones messages among the 200k encrypted ones.


Total: 19,939,376

19384 uea
17079 climate
15357 data
12454 jones
10030 phil
8352 research
8176 www
8094 change
7963 fax
7790 http
7667 university
7553 time
7464 series
7004 briffa
6772 temperature
6741 am
6671 think
6589 email
6421 global
6265 keith
5971 mann
5007 science
4997 know
4994 please
4848 environmental
4788 cc
4764 model
4698 ipcc
4550 information
4538 mike
4511 cru
4349 sciences
4286 changes
4258 climatic
4101 osborn
3610 tree
3491 warming
3426 mean
3343 tom
3325 professor
3270 david
3011 ucar
2956 michael
2807 earth
2567 models
2555 hulme
2479 john
2462 regional
2334 virginia
2332 arizona
2326 temperatures
2299 cje
2285 reconstruction
2272 effect
2224 record
2214 analysis
2207 reconstructions
2200 issues
2082 metoffice
2032 surface
2028 peter
1994 telephone
1913 nature
1904 energy
1902 world
1756 scientific
1615 jonathan
1595 carbon
1217 international
1175 scientists
1165 article
1163 simulations
1149 santer
1144 jansen
1133 hegerl
1133 impacts
1060 greenhouse
1034 weather
1010 simulation

I Am Somebody!! Got A Mention In Climategate 2.0!! – 0701.txt

2011/11/23 13 comments

This has been quite a night and I’ll conclude it with two bangs. First of all, I’ve been blocked on Twitter by @MichaelEMann. T-shirts and celebratory jacket to follow.

I was wondering though, why would somebody like Mann go through the trouble of blocking an unimportant minion like me? Well, I wonder no more. I am somebody in climate circles. Finally!!

Why? Because my name appears in Climategate 2.0. From 0701.txt:

Cc: Maurizio Morabito

I shall soon start collecting cheques in exchange of autographs.

By the way…much of 0701.txt is Phil Jones arguing that, even if it is possible to relate temperature changes to changes in climate indices better than to climate models, still that means nothing:

“It is quite easy to take any temperature series and show that it can be related to circulation indices. Just because the circulation explains more variability than the climate models doesn’t mean that anthropogenic climate change isn’t happening. What is causing the circulation to change!”

Lucky us, the Good Prof showed his usual irony.

For the record, the paper mentioned in 0701.txt was recommended publication by the reviewers, and then binned at the last moment by the Nature Geoscience editors.

2639: Phil Jones’ Comedy Hour!

2011/11/23 12 comments

Some more vintage Jones nastiness, an admission that scientists aren’t distracted by FOI requests, and a comedy gem (my emphasis) :

date: Fri Sep 25 10:53:32 2009
from: Phil Jones
subject: Re: [Fwd: CCNet: The Sun Could Be Heading Into A Period of
to: santer1, Tom Wigley

[…] I have stopped sending data out to anybody after the stupid comment on Climate Audit by Peter Webster. We’ve had over 60 FOI requests for data. They are varied – many can be answered by telling people to read the literature. We’re refusing those for the data. We’re going to send an email to all NMSs thru MOHC and then release those where countries are happy for us to do so.
It is just a pain having to respond to them – someone else at UEA does this though.
I did send one of the requests to Myles as it was from one of his fellow profs in Physics at Oxford! Myles knows him well and he has never talked about climate with Myles – or expressed any views. Myles can’t understand why he’s getting his climate education from Climate Audit and not from colleagues in his own dept!
This annoys me too. I’d read up and talk to people if I were to ever attempt moving to another field! It is just common sense. Neil Adger has taken over the running of First Year course here in ENV. He asked Alan Kendall for the ppt for 2 lectures he gives. He sent them and 40 slides are taken from Climate Audit! A student asked Neil why Alan was saying things opposite to what Neil and Tim Osborn were saying!!!

Alan is retiring at the end of this year….thankfully.

A Truly Climategate Pathetic Paper

2011/11/22 8 comments

<3373> Bradley:

I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.

And here it is: “Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia” aka “Mann, M. E., and P. D. Jones, Global surface temperatures over the past two millennia, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30(15), 1820, doi:10.1029/2003GL017814, 2003.”

We present reconstructions of Northern and Southern Hemisphere mean surface temperature over the past two millennia based on high-resolution ‘proxy’ temperature data which retain millennial-scale variability. These reconstructions indicate that late 20th century warmth is unprecedented for at least roughly the past two millennia for the Northern Hemisphere. Conclusions for the Southern Hemisphere and global mean temperature are limited by the sparseness of available proxy data in the Southern Hemisphere at present.


Reconstructions of hemispheric mean temperatures over roughly the past two millennia employing proxy surface temperature data networks with sufficient spatial and seasonal sampling, temporal resolution, and retention of millennial-scale variance, support previous conclusions with regard to the anomalous nature of late 20th century temperature at least about two millennia back in time for the Northern Hemisphere. To the extent that a ‘Medieval’ interval of moderately warmer conditions can be defined from about AD 800– 1400, any hemispheric warmth during that interval is dwarfed in magnitude by late 20th century warmth. The sparseness of the available proxy data in the Southern Hemisphere lead to less definitive conclusions for the SH or global mean temperature at present.


Henry Hamilton-Smythe Sings To Cynthia Jane De Blaise-William – The Climate Version

2011/11/17 2 comments

It’s already two years since the extraordinary success (?) of The Climate Hacking Song and Skeptical Band Aid, so here’s a new contribution to the annals of songwriting, as a “mandated” comment in reply to the Bishop’s “Nursery Cryme“:

Play me old King Climate
That I may splice the lot
All my proxies now seem so far from temps
It hardly seems to matter now

And Sir Paul will tell you lies
Of a FOI request beyond the skies
But I am lost within this non-warming world
It hardly seems to matter now

Cool the old temps
Here they come again
Warm the new temps
Here they come again

Just a little bit
Just a little bit more high
Temps ought to go up in my life

Cool the old temps
Here they come again
Warm the new temps
Here they come again

Old King Climate was a merry warming climate
And a merry warming climate was he
So he called for his hockey stick
And he called for his bristlecones
And he called for his fudgers three

The clock, tick-tock
On the way to Durban
And I want and I feel
And I know and I touch the warmth

CO2’s the enemy, CO2’s stays up all the time
Brush back your chimneys
And let me get to make you poor

CO2’s the enemy, CO2’s won’t be emitted
Brush back your chimneys
And let me get to make you suffer

I’ve been waiting here for so long
And all this time that passed me by
It doesn’t seem to matter now

Deniers stand there with their fixed questions
Casting doubt on all I have to say
Why don’t you trust me, trust me?
Why don’t you trust me, trust me?
Socialism now,
Now, now, now

(here the original text by Genesis, “The Musical Box” in Nursery Crime, 1971)

Live Microblogging Of Launch Event For “Poles Apart: the International Reporting of Climate Scepticism”

2011/11/15 6 comments

This is an ordered version of my live microblogging (Twitter – @mmorabito67) of the Launch Event of the RISJ publication “Poles Apart: the International Reporting of Climate Scepticism” (British Council, London, November 10, 2011):

  1. At The British Council for the launch of “Poles Apart:the International Reporting of Climate Scepticism” by J Painter
  2. Due to start at 6pm, slightly late. No @BBCRichardBlack
  3. Benny Peiser is here. I’ve said hello to chair John Lloyd, had met him years ago in Oxford
  4. Finally it starts. Delay was all the fault of video-linked @Revkin 🙂
  5. Lloyd : report is unique. Climate change important. IEA says today that door is closing
  6. Video link not perfect. Painter says he’ll be brief
  7. Painter : “summoned by science” published 1 yr ago. Found difference in skepticism.
  8. Painter: people confused about different types of skepticism.
  9. Painter keeps mentioning academic research they wanted to complement
  10. “Is climate skepticism an Anglo Saxon thing”?
  11. Two newspapers per country, left and right leaning but not in China
  12. Focus on 2007 wg1 and wg2 IPCC publication time and Copenhagen time
  13. Shows increase in skeptical voices in US and UK around Copenhagen
  14. “What explains country differences? ” interviews suggest factors
  15. Media and extramedia factors (listed in report)
  16. India – CC as a nationalistic point
  17. Brazil- very large coverage. Journalists said strong science.units in newspapers
  18. Lalaland time
  19. Climategate moved newspapers away from the others
  20. Lots more analysis for the UK – skeptical voices more in right leaning newspapers
  21. Explanatory factors the report again
  22. . @Revkin frozen in time. Video still imperfect.
  23. Rebecca Nadin talks about China. She’s been there for years to work on climate change
  24. Complex diagram showing interactions in China.
  25. Says mostly discussion is not about AGW vs natural
  26. Chinese government has strong position about AGW. It’s not politically contentious
  27. Over 2200 newspapers and many social media networks
  28. Very limited debate about integrity of climate scientists and no much nimbyism
  29. Pollution concerns very high.
  30. Core group at Beijing uni and academy of sciences debating speed and severity
  31. Mentions agriculture body saying production in inner Mongolia will increase
  32. Immediately adds a however
  33. Some.skeptics depicted as nationalistic nutters
  34. Sciama; starts.with Allegre and another skeptif
  35. . @Revkin alive again
  36. They’re using Webex not Skype
  37. French revolution replacing aristocracy with meritocracy and support for science
  38. Laments lack of skepticism in France?
  39. No coal lobby in France
  40. France is very centralized so importance of State intervention high
  41. He’s explaining belief in AGW in France in purely non-scientific terms!!!
  42. Ends saying opposition to.State.may.make climate policies impossible in uk and USA
  43. Revkin : report.defines skepticism others didn’t
  44. Skepticism and support are variegated
  45. Mentions Inhofe giving floor speech saying hoax is about catastrophe of global warming
  46. USA exceptional for many reasons. More fuel consumption and many climates
  47. Public discourse always degenerates in.shouting matches
  48. Policy debates are legitimate @Revkin
  49. Bob Ward laments the GWPF – skeptic voices given opinion pieces
  50. Revkin mentions Delingpole as selective and duplicitous. Liberal opinion makers in USA stretching “but”.
  51. Lloyd : ft not into entertainment. Penchant for combat eg debating societies
  52. Tom of ecologist magazine asks about treatment of skeptics in TV media
  53. Revkin talks of study about fox news. Pretty clear which way they lean.
  54. Networks fairly “progressive” on climate change
  55. Benny Peiser : report is comprehensive and balanced. Definition of skepticism but gwpf skeptical of policy
  56. Thanks Bob ward for the hits
  57. Gwpf focus not on science rather government approach so more media coverage
  58. Revkin says Peiser is.right problem is policies leftists is USA did.disservice making AGW a single sentence
  59. World will end soon
  60. Blogger mentions criticism of NYT by Romm.
  61. Another q: science cannot settle debates
  62. Phone rings at the Revkins
  63. Part of the news.process means being wrong.some of the time Joe Romm is.never wrong – laughs
  64. Painter talks of think tanks bloggers tradition of questioning
  65. Revkin : even without fuel lobby there’d be not much action
  66. Difficult to.change as.fossil fuels -.forces of.stasis.have an easy task
  67. Left.journalism to work on fostering innovation
  68. Meeting now of climate scientists about ozone.treaty
  69. . @Revkin gone.
  70. Online media amplifying skeptical coverage?
  71. Empirical evidence of coverage online depending on generating traffic
  72. Blogospheric.pressure in France? New.phenomenon
  73. People outspoken to generate traffic? Not in France
  74. Chinese blogosphere? Environment warming
  75. Water pollution more meaningful to people’s life
  76. Rapley – skeptics talk of uncertainties to prevent action. Risk assessment?
  77. Painter : haven’t looked at framing. Quantitative analysis
  78. Should understand what kind of skeptics “we’re talking about”
  79. Climategate emboldened the daily express in mentioning skeptical voices
  80. More.questions showing French reaction not as in uk
  81. Elite debate in France for.years.
  82. Steve.Jones of bbc report fame. Says typical reporting strives for balance
  83. Media.don’t understand debate
  84. Due impartialityis important according to Painter
  85. Lloyd bbc criticized for having expoused. Climate change not easy for the bbc
  86. I asked.about need for academic findings isn’t much good.
  87. Another q: more people.haved moved away from extremes.
  88. Another q: media lacking about political economy of climate change
  89. Not many people talk of policy?
  90. Nadin: change in degree of skepticism yes in China. Debate on adaptation.
  91. Talks of “climate change” forcing people to.relocate
  92. Sciama: science journalist talking science. (Maybe that’s problem?)
  93. Shift in position towards warming but natural
  94. More worried about disappeared climate reporting than space given to skeptical voices
  95. Datasets are academic conclusions less so

Orwell Explains Simon Singh (And Other Intellectual Bankruptcies)

2011/11/13 3 comments

It’s been a source of constant surprise the fact that Simon Singh, “a British author who has specialised in writing about mathematical and scientific topics in an accessible manner” would be willing to tell Wired wholly antiscientific statements such as in response to a question “How are we supposed to know what’s true?“:

Don’t come up with a view, find everybody who agrees with it, and then say, “Look at this, I must be right.” Start off by saying, “Who do I trust?” On global warming, for example, I happen to trust climate experts, world academies of science, Nobel laureates, and certain science journalists. You have to decide who you trust before you decide what to believe.

Throwing oneself into the hands of the experts? That’s a total abdication from reason, an open-armed welcome to complete foolishness as a tool for scientific debate, and a justification for chiropractors if they had any working brain cell left. It’s the “death of knowledge“, as pointed out by Karl Popper in “The Myth of Framework” (already mentioned here by Nicholas Hallam Mar 31, 2011 at 2:43 PM):

[…] in my view, the appeal to the authority of experts should be neither excused nor defended. It should, on the contrary, be recognized for what it is – an intellectual fashion – and it should be attacked by a frank acknowledgement of how little we know, and how much that little is due to people who have worked in many fields at the same time. And it should also be attacked by the recognition that the orthodoxy produced by intellectual fashions, specialization, and the appeal to authorities is the death of knowledge, and that the growth of knowledge depends entirely upon disagreement

Singh repeated the same foolish argument at the Spectator “Global Warming Hysteria” debate(London, March 29 2011), as reported by the Bish:

Simon Singh’s presentation was memorable, but unfortunately mostly for the wrong reasons. He set up what he called a credibility spectrum, with scientists and academies on one side and sceptics on the other and called on us to trust the establishment on the climate change issue. His whole presentation, while outstanding in terms of slick delivery, was an intellectual void, amounting to little more than ten minutes of argument from authority, a point later made by Graham Stringer. It struck me as a little ambitious to even try this sort of fallacious approach to an audience that was likely to be both hostile and well informed on climate science itself. As catcalls of “what about the hockey stick?” rang out, it was clear that many people knew exactly what has been happening. Asking these same people to trust the word of the scientists struck me as a foolish mistake.

It’s a point made also by Fraser Nelson:

the argument “trust the experts” is becoming less persuasive as the information revolution progresses. Hierarchies are being flattened in every walk of life, and this includes intellectual hierarchies. As Mark Penn says, elites are more impressionable than the masses — so more likely to be persuaded by a scientific consensus. The public want to be persuaded, not told that they should believe the Clever People.

Fraser goes on to describe Singh’s foolishness number two, the complete misunderstanding of the debating point:

Simon Singh […] seems to be anxious to have a ding-dong with someone who doesn’t think the planet is warming and that mankind is, at least in part, responsible. I’m afraid I can’t help. My problem is with the political response to the science.

As for foolishness number 3, well, nothing better than having Singh write a web article about global warming showing zero-to-nothing knowledge of the topic beyond a quick reading of the IPCC and an insane trusting of Skeptical Science.

It’s a catalogue of offenses against thoughthood (sadly, same applies to others who should know better, such as Phil Plait and Bill Nye), a completely irrational behaviour that had been left unexplained. Until now. Note in fact how during the debate, Singh had some sort of slip of the tongue, saying that “the smart money was in Global Warming“, fully justifying James Delingpole’s rebuttal:

Unless Singh can raise his game and actually engage with the argument rather than bullying his opponents with the help of Sleb Twitter pals and his Ipse Dixit logical fallacies, I think we all know who the real muppet is.

However, if we look at it from a different point of view, it had all been described by George Orwell in “James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution” (my emphasis – there’s more to it but I’ll leave that to a different blog):

Power worship blurs political judgement because it leads, almost unavoidably, to the belief that present trends will continue. Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible. […] Within the space of five years Burnham foretold the domination of Russia by Germany and of Germany by Russia. In each case he was obeying the same instinct: the instinct to bow down before the conqueror of the moment, to accept the existing trend as irreversible.

There we have poor Simon Singh then, simply continuing an established tradition among intellectuals. He believes that the pro-AGW lobby is winning, that the IPCC and the Skeptical Science’s of this world are where the “smart money” is: therefore, he “decides” to “trust” them, “decides” to “believe” in them (note the mixing up of science and faith), even roam the world to proclaim his servile, antiscientific, unreasonable stance on the topic.

Just wait until the climate wind changes then, and in 2021 Singh will be out presenting a new book on “Why people wrongly believed in catastrophic climate change“.

Yes, John: Steve Jones Is Wrong And The BBC Totally Unbalanced On Climate Change

2011/11/11 10 comments

Plenty of…skepticism on the part of chairperson John Lloyd during my comment/question at Thursday night’s RISJ/British Council presentation of James Painter’s “Poles Apart”.

I intervened after Steve Jones of BBC science impartiality and accuracy report “fame” (or not), who’s still (and still angrily) repeating the fantasy allegation of the BBC being too keen on balance and thus providing too much space to skeptics. To that, I retorted that just a few days ago a WWF representative was given heavenly time during the BBC Radio4 Today programme to talk about climate change

UPDATE: transcript here thanks to alexjc38, including the BBC’s Evan Davis uttering a veritable gem “Do a little bit of the campaigning then, go on“).

As everybody can see there was (as usual) not a hint of any even remotely critical question on the part of the BBC journalist/interviewer (something that happens regularly instead when interviews are not with AGWers but with politicians or even with scientists in a different discipline).

And that’s where the chairperson’s face started making quite telling movements….well, I can now present to John Lloyd (whom I met at a debate in Oxford in 2009 on Italian politics, where I was in the panel) the most curious piece of evidence yet of BBC’s institutional bias in favor of AGW proponents and away from skepticism.

And yes, this evidence makes a mockery of Steve Jones’ allegations too. Introducing Spiked Online and Patrick West’s experience with various language courses in Italian, and in particular the words dedicated to the BBC (my emphasis):

I’m currently on the second volume of the BBC’s Active Talk Italian Course. The two books and CD companions contain some bizarre diversions, Talk Italian 2 (2007) especially so. This volume is rich fare for those convinced that the BBC is governed by a liberal-left cabal, aging hippies and proselytising environmentalists.

Much of Talk Italian 2 is concerned with asking for directions in the rustic campagna of Tuscany and Umbria, where one would expect BBC bigwigs and well-to-do liberal-left champions of the corporation to take their vacations. A chapter is devoted to renting and buying luxury property (In zona panoramica e comoda… quattro camere, due bagni, cantine di 50mq, garage e giardino… Prezzo: €840,000). This no doubt appeals to Italy-loving Islingtonians who think holidaying in Spain is for the ghastly hoi polloi and that the south of France is a repository for the vulgar bourgeoisie.

The section in Talk Italian 2 on telling the time casually envisages a scenario of ‘Jorge’ and ‘Alessandro’ co-ordinating a meeting at a climate-change conference: Il cambiamento climatico: rischio per la biodiversità marina. The reader is invited to insert the Italian for ‘we start’ in the following ominous sentence ‘_____ alle dieci e un quarto con il discorso del Ministro sul cambiamento climatico’ (answer: Cominciamo) (1). Whatever happened to time-keeping dialogues simply based on railway enquiries?

On visiting the doctor, a further chapter asks you how to recognise notices for ‘alternative solutions’: medicina olistica, agopuntura, omeopatia, meditazione. Would you like to mettere in armonia le dimensioni fisiche, emotive, spirituali e sociali della persona? When ‘Simona’ complains of having l’influenza and asks for some painkillers, you, her hypothetical friend, are inveigled to suggest a superior alternative: Io ho un prodotto omeopatico molto efficace (2). Simona ought to reply Che stronzata! (3)

Some translation to help:

(1) “We start at quarter past ten with a speech by the Secretary of State for Climate Change”

(2) “I’ve got a very effective homeopathic medicine”

(3) “What a load of bull!”

And as if demonstrating the BBC Italian language courses’ focus on climate change undermines their quality 😎 , Patrick West’s article title is not what an Italian would write. “Questo corso è molto prevenuto” meaning “This course is very biased” would sound much better as “Questo corso è pieno di pregiudizi“.

Journalists In A Cage, or The Curse Of Climate Change Bias

2011/11/09 6 comments

Bar a sudden epidemic of Damascus Road Conversions, there is no hope for a serious, balanced, informed, informing reporting by mainstream media on the topic of Climate Change. For a series of reasons, not too dissimilar from why politicians cannot go wrong on climate change:

  1. Bad news is the only good news
  2. Journalists can only be as good as the sources they carefully select
  3. Scientific laziness and ignorance leading to dumbing down

1. Bad news is the only good news

Nobody has ever sold any newspaper by printing really good news. Readers are simply disinterested, partly because of the thrill of reading about somebody else’s misfortune, and mostly as a natural way, responding to alerts much more than to the sound of high-five’s. Hence as journalists are only as good as the readership they attract, good news for them are bad and vice-versa.

As a corollary, to mistake newspapers as remotely informative about reality is to open one’s life to doom and gloom. Take a bunch of users of an IT application and they will never ever tell each other how fast that application is: they’ll either say nothing, or complain when the application is slow. Somebody reporting out of their comments might mistakenly become convinced that the application is, on average, slower than it should be, simply because there is no information about it being faster, even when it is faster. And that, independently from the application’s speed. Analogously, a newspaper reader is likely to become just as mistakenly convinced that the world is going pear-shaped, independently from how well the world is doing.

On the other hand, skepticism on climate change means (a) the world is not going pear-shaped, at least in matters of climate and the environment and (b) if there is little to worry about the future, that’s good news.

Combine now these three observations and you’ll find mainstream journalists striving to stay away from any skepticism on climate change (even when it’s skepticism coming from professional scientists), as that would twice undermine their business, and even their professionalism. Climate Chambers skepticism is anti-news. If you want a related example, see what the BBC did when some good news threatened to be coming from Chernobyl.

The BBC did not, could not report the American Scientist article that said things around Chernobyl were better than previously thought: they reported instead, weeks later, the alarmist criticisms against the American Scientist article.

2. Journalists can only be as good as the sources they carefully select

I have experienced this first-hand in the UK with the BBC away from climate change. If you read the BBC, it’s almost impossible to fathom what happens in Italian politics: it all looks like a movie where half of the plot is missing and a great deal of the image is blanked out.

Simply, all BBC reporting about Italy is invariably left-leaning (from an Italian point of view). That’s because the Italians they interview are 99% of the time only Italian journalists writing in leftist newspapers. I remember once months ago there was some time given by BBC Radio4 Today to a recorded statement by an Italian non-leftist MP, drowned by untold number of live radio minutes given to a leftist journalists. Same happens with the Financial Times.

If journalists only keep company with a certain group of people, they will only report what those people tell them. If journalists actively avoid communicating with another group of people, they will never correctly report their point of view. As we’ve seen, mainstream journalists keep skeptics as far away as possible. And as Climategate has shown, they have very friendly relationships with scientists turned activist warmists.

Mainstream science journalists won’t and can’t fathom what climate change skepticism is about, because they can’t listen to skeptics.

3. Scientific laziness and ignorance leading to dumbing down

Journalists have to make sure somebody will read their articles. Scientific journalists of mainstream media find themselves in trouble trying to translate science news in a way that the average reader will find remotely interesting. The right way to do that would be to write great articles in a splendid prose: but that’s a lot of effort, so the common way is the lazy one: dumb down the science content so that it will elicit the most basic of responses in the least interested of the readers.

In other words, transform a scientific topic into something that appeals to the readers’ guts. In the case of climate science, this has meant depicting the whole global warming thing as a struggle between Good and Evil, heroic scientists vs debased skeptics, with the journalist as a biased commentator of some kind of spectator sport. In other words, science transformed into a cheap-and-cretin feuilleton.

Of course this issue is badly compounded by the fact that most scientific journalists have no idea of what making science entails, and often have no science degree at all.


In conclusion, with no clue on what they are forced to write about in the hope of getting the least likely reader to still read their articles; with communications strictly coming only from a single channel; unable to report good news, ignorant of science and pretending to be commenting football: well, climate change reporters live in a cage of their own making and the real miracle is when any one of them does report anything remotely non-biased on climate change.

ps It’s hard not to notice that even the skeptical journalists, like James Delingpole, have developed their own “bad news” mantra, in the form of Watermelons taking over the world. QED

pps Andy Revkin is not a full-time journalist any longer, so his climate change reporting has progressively improved compared to the past, becoming much less biased. QED again.

Ppps David Whitehouse is no longer a BBC science journalist, more or less since climate change became the Beeb’s mantra. QED number 3.

The New York Times (Inadvertently) Demolishes Mann’s Defence

2011/11/04 5 comments

If this doesn’t kill Mann’s attempts to avoid FOI, I don’t know what will. The New York Times reports about the latest example of (massive) scientific fraud:

Outright fraud may be rare, these experts say, but they contend that Dr. Stapel took advantage of a system that allows researchers to operate in near secrecy and massage data to find what they want to find, without much fear of being challenged. “The big problem is that the culture is such that researchers spin their work in a way that tells a prettier story than what they really found,” said Jonathan Schooler, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s almost like everyone is on steroids, and to compete you have to take steroids as well.” […]

Dr. Stapel was able to operate for so long, the committee said, in large measure because he was “lord of the data,” the only person who saw the experimental evidence that had been gathered (or fabricated). This is a widespread problem in psychology, said Jelte M. Wicherts, a psychologist at the University of Amsterdam. In a recent survey, two-thirds of Dutch research psychologists said they did not make their raw data available for other researchers to see. “This is in violation of ethical rules established in the field,” Dr. Wicherts said.

For the reading-challenged amongst us, the point is that secrecy and refusing to share research material is the perfect environment for fraud. That’s why every sharing tool is important including FOI.

And before anybody asks I don’t believe Mann is a fraudster. His emails will likely be as interesting as Sarah Palin’s or even less. But the principle of FOI must be defended to protect ourselves from the fraudsters out there.

Pielke Jr is wrong

2011/11/02 2 comments

One can slice and dice trends at will about the latest RC silliness…it doesn’t matter. Radiative effects are negligible in the troposphere, and heat waves are a matter of weather, not statistics.

 Take for example the recent mild UK weather. OF COURSE CO2 has nothing to do with it. Temperatures are higher than normal because southerlies bring warm air over from France. A proper analysis of October/November trends (and we did have quite a few very cold days already) would have to include a research on wind patterns.

Anything that doesn’t, it’s pseudoscience.

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