Archive for the ‘Climate Science’ Category


Method without Science,

or method

… “Opps!”

Seeing the recent “Science without method” post at Climate Etc I opted to first read the Nicol paper it was discussing before reading Dr Curry’s discussion of it.

The article alleges to highlight failures of climate change science, and in an obviously unintended way both it and Curry’s discussion of it does.

To give credit where credit is due, the exercise led me to rethinking how we frame the question of our current impasse. How it is possible for drivel like Nicol’s to somehow be taken seriously by anyone, never mind winding up actually influencing policies of countries.

First let’s get some context. In his paper Nicol said:

Yet in contemporary research on matters to do with climate change, and despite enormous expenditure, not one serious attempt has been made to check the veracity of the numerous assumptions involved in greenhouse theory by actual experimentation.

greenhouse theory“, seriously? Has he not read any scientific literature post-1860?

That aside, this is just idiotically wrong as a general statement. Can he cite any specifics? Loaded as it is with qualifiers he would no doubt cite all of the relevant reserach (which he is clearly not familiar with, or simply doesn’t understand) as not “serious” attempt(s) (ie No True Scotsman fallacy).



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Knowledge is a deadly friend
When no one sets the rules.

The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools.

Let me begin by saying I have enormous respect for William M. Connolley (aka Stoat) and generally do not significantly disagree with him.

However, in his Apr 5th piece “Muller is rubbish” Stoat said “But he [Muller] isn’t a tosser.

Stoat, you’re just plain wrong, Muller most definitely is a well bad tosser, a “denialist chumming complete bollocks.”

Short Prologue

(more documentation at bottom)

Richard Muller is a Berkeley physicist of some minor notoriety in climate change circles for being critical of “the Hockey Stick” (ie historical temperature reconstructions). By “critical” I mean calling it “phoney.”

Earlier this year the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group began a project to re-examine the existing temperature data. The project drew criticism for, among other things:

  • consisting exclusively of people with a poor track record for:
  • discussing the science honestly.
  • actually understanding the science.
  • being funded in part by Koch Industries.
  • On March 31 Muller testified before Congress and affirmed the high quality of the existing climate science which sent the climate change Deniers into a frenzy.

    The Muller sideshow has been one I have been largely ignoring, but then a repeat commenter brought this video clip to my attention:


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    Last week John Mashey did an excellent talk on “The Machinery of Climate Anti-Science” at the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. John is an incurable geek (my highest praise) who has been a tireless bulldog in going after the power networks that support the professional world of climate change denial (and just a really nice guy).

    The talk is well worth it, so watch it:

    Video of John Mashey’s talk and the pdf of the presentation.

    Thanks to Tim @ Deltoid and Deep Climate for the heads up.

    Some things to watch for

    1) This is not a summary and will not substitute for watching the presentation itself, it’s just a sampling of some of the things he talks about that I have my own agenda for drawing your attention to, so go watch it already 😉


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    BPSDB Huge thanks to Brian D for reminding me about Marcus Brigstocke. I went to fetch the video that he refers to in his comment and was delighted to find a new one … it’s awesome

    The Return Of Marcus Brigstocke

    In a six minute piece a comedian debunks more Denier memes and gets more science and politics right than most major media manage in a year, and more than some have ever managed. (Never mind the self-styled climate science “authorities” that make up the Denialosphere)

    In it he refers to yet another one that I missed, viz:

    Dr Seuss at Copenhagen


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    BPSDB Yes, Christmas is over, so it’s that time again.

    Time for the Denialosphere to once more be shocked and amazed that it snows in winter. So like 3 year olds they are; naturally they have  seen snow and cold before, but they just don’t remember.

    Both Potholer54 and Greenman3610 have new videos to explain how science said all along that we would still get snow and cold in winter, and why it can be even colder than in the past in some places.

    BP oil spills and an end to snow

    Potholer54’s video also takes on the ‘scientists claim oil spill disrupts Gulf stream’  claim, and the ‘they changed it from global warming to climate change’ nonsense (see also here).


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    Mimsy BPSDB

    This one has to come with an audience advisory … DO NOT attempt to watch the first 30 seconds of this video if:

    • your stomach is at all unsettled, and/or
    • you are holding/drinking hot liquids, and/or
    • you are standing, and/or
    • there are any heavy objects at hand that you may reflexively fling in a desperate, instinctual attempt to protect yourself from terminal ignorance.

    You have been warned!

    Climate Change Denial Crock of the WeekA Natural By-Product of Nature

    Added to the Climate Denial Crock of the Week collection.


    Speaking of CO2, this from a new, peer reviewed paper “Warming Power of CO2 and H2O: Correlations with Temperature Changes” being trumpeted at WhatsWrongWithWatts:


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    Global Warming? or Climate Change?


    Peter Sinclair’s latest addition to the Climate Denial Crock of the Week debunks the idiotic “they changed it to “climate change after 1998” meme … “they” being the IPCC … which apparently the paranoid delusionals (aka climate change Deniers) thought stood for ‘Intergovernmental Panel on Coerced Collectivization’

    As both the video and Joseph Romm note, the irony is the fact that it was the Republicans & Deniers who made calling it ‘”climate change” a priority because “global warming” was too scary. (foreshadowing – when our collective inaction on climate leads to the inevitable social collapse the Deniers will blame scientists and progressives for the inaction).


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    Scientific malpractice isn’t

    Scientific malpractice is

    Principles of scientific work

    The controversial part

    It’s not a bloody shovel

    One of the most scrutinized and stringently regulated common professions is medicine. Just becoming a medical practitioner is a long and arduous process with strict standards, reviews and licensing.

    Despite this system of oversights and checks medical malpractice still occurs, and far more frequently than we are really comfortable contemplating. Given that, is it really so shocking that there is such a thing as scientific malpractice and incompetence as well?

    Of course science has standards and checks such as peer review to ensure that published scientific work itself is, by and large, competent. However there is no check on the competence of the scientists themselves beyond what their employer may choose to impose.

    If only 1/10,000 scientists is incompetent it would still give us 6,000 to 7,000 of them skulking about. If the rate even approaches that of medical malpractice than we are talking at least 31,000, undoubtedly many more.


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    One of the most difficult problems communicating science to the public is how to convince someone who does not have a scientific background and cannot take the time to look at the science itself.

    For someone who is legitimately uncertain and wants to know the truth regardless of what it is, what can one offer?

    From WallMart greeters to Orthodontists, probably 99% of the public is getting along by putting their faith in some group or other (just as we all do for most things in our life; how many really understand electricity? or how a computer works?).

    Some accept the word of the scientific community, some side with the climate change Denier “scientists”, some with a particular suite of media, and so on. Regardless of which, they are taking the word of one group over the next pretty much on faith.

    I believe that I have what may be a contribution which will help those who are uncertain and really want to know. Before getting into what I have to offer let’s look at some of the other attempts to address this problem.

    This problem eats at most people concerned with climate change and there are several approaches that people have tried. The first is to demonstrate that the climate change Denier claims are all misrepresentations, hoaxes and lies, for eg:

    Continue reading at News Junkie Post


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    BPSDB Not even wrong … refers to any statement, argument or explanation that is so at odds with reality that it is considered uncorrectable.

    2 + 2 = 4  … is correct

    2 + 2 = 5 … is wrong

    2 + 2 =  ‘§’ … did not understand the question

    (2 + 2)/ zebra * Fugue = “global cooling” … is not even wrong

    Climate change Deniers are often (usually?)  “not even wrong

    I want to use one of the perennial Denier fables to illustrate not merely that the Deniers are wrong &/or willfully lying, but that they are not even wrong, ie so totally clueless that it’s a wonder anyone trusts them for the time of day, much less for science.

    For this little demonstration I’d like to use that standard “It was cold today/this week/this month/this year in my region/town/yard/basement therefore global warming theory is wrong.”

    The Poptart is Cold

    For a specific “typical” example I will use PopTech’s (aka PopTart1,000 References of Global Cooling. This is a collection of 1000 media stories from the past decade about everything from cold snaps to people dying from cold.

    Naturally this Denier fable has been debunked over and over (see at bottom), but rather than jump to what is the right answer let’s take a tour of just how absurdly “not even wrong” the fable is.


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    BPSDB Double the CO2 – Half the literacy – 1/10th the coherence

    ‘Doubled CO2 means just 1.64 degrees of warming…’ or maybe not.

    Potholer54 is back with another good one, this time debunking the “not much warming for two centuries” nonsense. Potholer pretty much covers it all, so I’ll leave it to him.

    Half the literacy

    Even before the Lewis Page version of this meme turned up Deniers were using a report on the NASA Press Release that had been posted at WUWT and echoed around the Denialosphere as the basis for claiming that climate change was not a problem.


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    Darryl Cunningham Investigates

    Darryl Cunningham Investigates

    If you haven’t seen it yet, head over to “Darryl Cunningham Investigates” and check out his climate change comic.

    Maybe a “comic” is not your preferred way of learning, but for some it is far more effective, so this is a great tool to have at hand and share. Cunningham is still working on clarifying some of the science and providing all of his sources, but that will just turn ‘good’ into ‘excellent.’


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    Bjorn Again

    Resistance is futile!

    The Piper’s Price

    Elmer Gantry 2.0

    and again and again and …



    Bjorn Again

    In August and September much was made of the”conversion” of Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg from climate change Denier to climate rationalist:

    So now that he has seen the light what does Lomborg’ have to tell us? His latest ‘contribution’ to the climate change discussion is “No, You Can’t” which appeared at Slate as “Go Ahead and Guzzle – Face it: There’s not much any one person can do about climate change.

    The titles pretty much sum up his message, but let’s have a look at his argument.


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    What it isn’t:

    What it is

    Condensed overview (still painful though)

    Too many Kooks spoil the …

    Shredding the “climate consensus” myth: More Than 1000 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims – Challenge UN IPCC & Gore


    Climate Despot has dropped  a “321-page ‘Consensus Buster’ Report” (bet that cow won a blue ribbon at the County Fair), or so Mark Morano claims.

    What it isn’t:

    • new” It’s the same old Inhofe fraud (ie “700 Scientists …”) as before with some recycled silliness tacked on. None of it is anything we haven’t seen before;
    • improved” unless you consider repetition of ridiculous claims and irrelevant appeals to false authority an improvement;
    • “Inhofe‘s” as before the real author is Mark ‘Wormtongue’ Morano;
    • science; utterly absent is any trace of of actual science or any reference to it except in the most abstract and meaningless ways;
    • a list it’s a collection of anecdotes, specious claims, contextless quotes and copy/pastes of various petitions and declarations;
    • (more…)

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    The Wegman Controversy (VERY briefly)

    The original Wegman irony

    Innocent until proven “Alarmist”



    The Wegman Controversy (VERY briefly)

    In 2006 statistician Edward Wegman headed a small committee at the request members of the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to review the work of climatologists with reference to the “Hockey stick” temperature reconstruction. At issue was whether the last few decades represent an unprecedented global temperature increase in the last millennium or so.

    The Wegman Committee found that, in their opinion (Wegman Report):

    1. the methodology that had been used did not justify the conclusions (not that the “Hockey Stick” was wrong necessarily, just that they felt you couldn’t tell one way or another given the statistical analysis that had been used);
    2. that the alleged problems with the research were probably due to the work being done with in a relatively small social network (approx 50 people) within a highly specialized field.

    The report has long since been irrelevant except as just another Denier myth because: (more…)

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    303 is the number of consecutive months we have now had with temperatures greater than the mean for the 20th Century.

    303 months is a little over over 25 years, so it may sound impressive – but does it actually mean anything?

    Well, yes. It means that the last 25 years have been warm, but then we already knew that. it tells us nothing about why it has been warm or what it is going to be like in the future. In isolation it is just a number, nothing more. And in a couple of weeks it will change to 304.


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    Climate Crock Sacks Hack Attack BPSDB

    The collected videos of Peter Sinclair’s excellent series are archived at “Climate Denial Crock of the Week” .  You can also subscribe to Peter’s Youtube Channel at YouTube – greenman3610 and get them hot off the editor.

    Kudos to Sinclair … his videos are obviously doing such a good job that the climate change Deniers apparently felt obliged to respond with “Hiding the “Hide the Decline,” featuring Greenman3610


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    BPSDB The other day I posted “450 more lies from the climate change Deniers” and the response has been interesting.

    This has given fodder for sharing some more examples and reasons why the list is total nonsense.

    By sampling approximately one third of the references from “450 320 299 286 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of “Man-Made” Global Warming” I showed that, of the references I looked at, all were:

        • not  peer reviewed, and/or
        • known to be false, and/or
        • irrelevant, and/or
        • Out of date (no longer relevant), and/or
        • not supportive of climate change Denial*

    *(I use the appropriate term (Denier) with respect to what the author was struggling to say when he mis-used the word “skepticism“).

      • Pielke dumps (on) the list
      • Energy & Environment is peer reviewed
      • Some more struck from the list
      • Poptart and other Denier’s respond react say stuff
      • What did anyone expect?


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    GarbageBPSDB A week ago this “450 Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism of “Man-Made” Global Warming” appeared and I figured it was just a matter of days before it started making the rounds of the climate change Denialosphere.  Sure enough it has turned up at Wattsupmybutt so I guess it’s time to state the obvious, that it’s utter nonsense.

    Let’s have a look at a sampling of these “450 Peer-Reviewed Papers.” The list includes:

    UPDATE: Pielke pulls 21 papers off the list! “they’d better change that to 429 papers, as their list doesn’t represent what they think it does.”  Better Recheck That List (Hat Tip to Former Skeptic for the heads up)

    NOT peer-reviwed

    The following are NOT peer-reviewed Journals

    Energy & Environment: 82 papers on the list

    E&E is a sort of vanity press for the Deniers, cited by one Wag as “where bad science goes to die.”


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    Monk Debate 8BPSDB Of course most people will recognize this phony argument  (logical fallacy) in it’s more popular form “have you stopped beating your wife?

    In this verbal trap, if you answer ‘Yes‘ you are admitting to having beaten your wife before, and if you answer ‘No‘ you are admitting that you still beat her.

    The climate change Deniers love to use logical fallacies, and this one is the Loaded Question. It is “loaded” because if you answer it in the way that it is posed, you lose no matter how you answer it.  In this example the question is ‘loaded’ with the assumption that you were beating your wife before, and there is no way to answer the question as asked without accepting that premise.

    With respect to climate change science the loaded question comes packaged in various forms of “the debate is not over” canard, but really they all boil down to the same ‘Loaded Question’ logical fallacy.


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