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« Paul Dennis blogs! | Main | Vexatious behaviour »
Tuesday
Feb092010

Hansen's colleague eviscerates AR4 Chapter 9

While perusing some of the review comments to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report, I came across the contributions of Andrew Lacis, a colleague of James Hansen's at GISS. Lacis's is not a name I've come across before but some of what he has to say about Chapter 9 of the IPCC's report is simply breathtaking.

Chapter 9 is possibly the most important one in the whole IPCC report - it's the one where they decide that global warming is manmade. This is the one where the headlines are made.

Remember, this guy is mainstream, not a sceptic, and you may need to remind yourself of that fact several times as you read through his comment on the executive summary of the chapter:

There is no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary. The presentation sounds like something put together by Greenpeace activists and their legal department. The points being made are made arbitrarily with legal sounding caveats without having established any foundation or basis in fact. The Executive Summary seems to be a political statement that is only designed to annoy greenhouse skeptics. Wasn't the IPCC Assessment Report intended to be a scientific document that would merit solid backing from the climate science community - instead of forcing many climate scientists into having to agree with greenhouse skeptic criticisms that this is indeed a report with a clear and obvious political agenda. Attribution can not happen until understanding has been clearly demonstrated. Once the facts of climate change have been established and understood, attribution will become self-evident to all. The Executive Summary as it stands is beyond redemption and should simply be deleted.

I'm speechless. The chapter authors, however weren't. This was their reply (all of it):

Rejected. [Executive Summary] summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature.

Simply astonishing. This is a consensus?

 

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  • Response
    Are you bored with Climategate? And bored with me writing about it, again and again? Yesterday, fellow Samizdatista Michael Jennings told me he is. I understand the feeling, and would be interested to hear if any of our commentariat shares it, but as for me, I can't leave this thing alone. ...

Reader Comments (53)

I've just done a Web of Knowledge search on Lacis, and he's clearly a serious guy: 93 papers (a few may not be his, but clearly the great majority are), 5700 citations, H=35. His top paper, A Parameterization for the Absorption of Solar Radiation in the Earth's Atmosphere, joint with Hansen, has over 800 citations.

Feb 9, 2010 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

An astounding and enjoyable post. Thank you. Beyond redemption is especially good.

3/4 way through your book.

Feb 9, 2010 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterHotRod

Browsing further, I see Lacis has quite a lot to say. eg next page.

Feb 9, 2010 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterHotRod

Of course it was rejected, because such a comment doesn't serve the political agenda. The agenda is to pretend to the world that the IPCC Assessment Report is science, but ensuring that it is really politics. All arguments based on politics can then be deflected by drawing attention to the (false) science. All arguments based on science can be deflected by appealing to the (false) scientific consensus. It's a powerful strategy.

Ben Santer re-wrote the scientific conclusions in a previous report didn't he, to align them with the political agenda?

Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change at the University of East Anglia (UEA), who was co-ordinating Lead Author for the chapter on ‘Climate scenario development’ for the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC, as well as a contributing author for several other chapters, wrote" [The] chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, recently urged the media to focus on the “scientific rationale for action” rather than the political aspects of climate…I disagree…In the end, politics will always trump science…we need better politics, not better science."

As I said in my post

http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/climate-change-and-the-death-of-science/

the IPCC process is understood to be “post-normal”. As Mike Hulme says: “Disputes in post-normal science focus…on the process of science – who gets funded, who evaluates quality, who has the ear of policy…The IPCC is a classic example of a post-normal scientific activity.”

As Eva Kunseler stated in “Towards a new paradigm of Science in scientific policy advising”:
“The concept of post-normal science goes beyond the traditional assumptions that science is both certain and value-free…[post-normal scientific activity] is defined by the dominance of goal orientation where scientific goals are controlled by political or societal actors…Scientists’ integrity lies not in disinterestedness but in their behaviour as stakeholders. Normal science made the world believe that scientists should and could provide certain, objective factual information…The guiding principle of normal science – the goal of achievement of factual knowledge – must be modified to fit the post-normal principle…For this purpose, post-normal scientists should…allow for ‘extended facts’ from non-scientific experts…Involved social actors must agree on the definition of perceptions, narratives, interpretation of models, data and indicators…”

Basically, then, since, as Hulme admits, the IPCC is classically post-normal, its remit to “assess” will not be grounded in facts but will be serving political aims.

Feb 9, 2010 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

LOL, who ever reviewed the comments had problems with elementary comprehension or was suffering from cognitive dissonance. Just look at the comment by Lacis on page 24 and the reply he got!

Feb 9, 2010 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterpete

I'm not a scientist but I am a reader, and an engineer who was made a skeptic by the temp/carbon curve, and this post is a little confusing.

The comment was on the Executive Summary for the chapter, not on the chapter itself. Considering that, the wording of the rejection is plausible from the POV of the publisher.

That we understand that he indeed is blowing holes in the chapter text makes no argument to anyone but us in the choir. If I were to use that as debate ammo, it simply wouldn't go very far.
I think the point that the ES reflects the facts in the chapter, and is all that will be read by those voting on acceptance, should be made clear in this thread.

Feb 9, 2010 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterpettyfog

Post-normal science = abnormal science = lies.

Feb 9, 2010 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterAileni Noyle

Ones to watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTonQhspM8s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=addLsuue4os

Feb 9, 2010 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry

Thanks for this pointer. Reading through the review comments from this point on has been quite addictive. And 'watching' the consistency of approach from some reviewers is instructive.

Feb 9, 2010 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterjpkatlarge

The comment and reply on page 20 is rich as well:

Andrew Lacis: Just how does "anthropological influenced" atmospheric circulation differ from "non-anthropological influenced" atmospheric circulation?

Reply: We don't understand reviewers point.

Feb 9, 2010 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterrh

I had never seen these comments on draft-versions of the IPCC report before.

Interesting reading.

How about comment 9-157 on page 27, esp. the bit about some things being "off message"...

Feb 9, 2010 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeerke

Very interesting document.
There are condemnations of the reliance on models which are known to have serious deficiencies.
How come this stuff never gets aired elsewhere?

Feb 9, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commenteribjc

So now you know. AR4 wasn't some great 'scientific consensus', it was a political document that squelched the comments of scientists who wanted to report things (including uncertainties) as they were. Regarding climate models, the 'father' of post-normal science, Jerome Ravetz, made this interesting observation:

"…climate change models are a form of “seduction”…advocates of the models…recruit possible supporters, and then keep them on board when the inadequacy of the models becomes apparent. This is what is understood as “seduction”; but it should be observed that the process may well be directed even more to the modelers themselves, to maintain their own sense of worth in the face of disillusioning experience.

…but if they are not predictors, then what on earth are they? The models can be rescued only by being explained as having a metaphorical function, designed to teach us about ourselves and our perspectives under the guise of describing or predicting the future states of the planet…A general recognition of models as metaphors will not come easily. As metaphors, computer models are too subtle…for easy detection. And those who created them may well have been prevented…from being aware of their essential character."

Note that those who are working on climate models have no awareness of the real purpose of the enterprise - they think they are doing something scientific or quasi-scientific: they are being seduced as pawns in a political game. Those who speak out will be squelched; those who co-operate will be nurtured, further seduced and rewarded.

When are we going to wake up and call 'Game Over'?

Feb 9, 2010 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

re: pettyfog
Good point, as long as Andrew was reviewing the whole document. But if he only saw the executive summary, that argument doesn't hold. At 186 pages long, I don't have time to go through the whole document, to find out if it contains that information. Anyone know which case (sight of whole vs summary) is correct?

Feb 9, 2010 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterView from the Solent

Man (no pun), he says it like it is. Very clear, to the point and logical.

I hope he replaces Hansen, who will be a victim of the coming purge.

(This thing with Mann at PSU and Darrell Issa will become a major football this summer when we go into the mid term elections here in the US. If the citizens of the Massachusetts can give Teddy Kennedy's Senate seat to a Republican by a 5% spread, you can see a severe backlash to the liberal attempts to transform America into the United States Socialist Republic. This will make it open season on other abuses such as ACORN, and AGW. Mann will simply be the first. While I can't say that I am in favor of witch hunts, I can see how the average punter here in the US will take to the streets (as he has done in the Tea Parties) and demand these people be punished.

Obviously, the Republicans will play it for all they can get out of it. Issa is good at that, and it is no surprise that he has Mike Mann square in his sights.

Dick Morris is predicting that the Republicans can end up with a majority in the Senate in November. Now that is quite a statement.

http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/2010/02/08/how-the-gop-will-win-the-senate/#more-717

Feb 9, 2010 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

ScientistforTruth - you are right, but you did not take it far enough. Why did Andrrew Lacsis make such a statement to begin with?

I can only surmise that perhaps some are doing a major CYA. That when this all does blow up, they can come out on top and say "I warned you". Whatever the reason, it is nice to see some integrity in the field still exists.

Feb 9, 2010 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilJourdan

"The comment was on the Executive Summary of the chapter, not on the chapter itself."

Indeed: This can be deduced from the wording of the comment.

Yet it does not justify in any way the principle of an "executive summary", nor the behavior of the scientists who accept to lend their supposed credibility to the crooks who write it.

This shows how scientists can become accomplices to a fraud even as they still regard themselves as honest: Even Mr Lacis thought nothing of accepting money stolen from the taxpayers on the condition that he find evidence for pre-determined political conclusions.
Why did he associate with those crooks in the first place, and why does he believe in warmism when there is no empirical evidence for it?

Feb 9, 2010 at 5:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSebaneau

I wouldn't go so far as to hoist Lacis on our shoulders quite yet.

Refer to page 31 comment 9-199 where he points out an error in the carbon effect on equilibrium. He states 2.7 rather than the offered 1.2. It was accepted.

Does enhance his credibility.
But as I apply the 'fuzzy logic' I've developed on this, any number over 2 makes their case somewhat and any number under two makes the carbon effect minimal and the efforts required to offset warming by emission reduction monumental and drastic.

Feb 9, 2010 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterpettyfog

Pettyfog

I'm not suggesting for a minute that Lacis is a sceptic. He clearly isn't. The point is that even within those who are comfortable with the idea of AGW being a danger, there are people who think the output of the IPCC is politicised.

Feb 9, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Excellent find!
I wonder how much longer Lacis will have ´his job.
The IPCC 4AR ought to be shredded and flushed down the toilet along with similar solid substances. The process has been hijecked by extreme environmentalist activists.

Feb 9, 2010 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterP Gosselin

Pettyfog,

"That we understand that he indeed is blowing holes in the chapter text makes no argument to anyone but us in the choir. If I were to use that as debate ammo, it simply wouldn't go very far."

There is a wide difference of opinion in the 'skeptic community'. There is no 'choir'. The 'science is not settled'. The single unifying theme is 'the science is not settled'.

From the 'science is not settled' group we then have the 'impacts are overstated group'.
We also have 'CO2' has zero impact group. We also have Minnesotans for Global Warming.....for them if AGW is real we should do more of whatever causes it.

Feb 9, 2010 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterharrywr2

Who is Vincent Gray??
He seems to have been more than a tad sceptical in his review!

Feb 9, 2010 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterPatrik

Patrik:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_R._Gray

he surely is a skeptic when it comes to IPCC

Feb 9, 2010 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterpete

Thanks for all the comments and I'm exactly on board with the 'The Science is NOT settled' view.
I'm pretty sure we know extortion and fraud when we see it. And didnt I read somewhere that Hansen himself was against drastic fiscal responses?

I would like everything to be started over with REAL reviewed GHG science. And not done in some freakin' 'bell jar'.

If Revell can change his mind then everything is up for review.

Feb 9, 2010 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterpettyfog

Why are general reviewers only scrutinizing two-year old reports just now? Since this has been on public record from 2007 --citations, comments, editors' rejections-- is it possible that no-one actually ever reads this stuff? Most certainly, Raj(ah) Pachauri never so much as checks for typos (such as AD 2035 for 2350), no doubt preoccupied with composing salacious dime-novels as he flits about five-star venues on UN time.

Remediation here requires that Climate Cultists and their works be extirpated root-and-branch. The damage done to science pales before Warmists' trillion-dollar disruptions of global energy economies. To the extent this glowering cabal of Luddite sociopaths retains any influence whatever, benighted general populations face mass consignment to Abyss.

Feb 9, 2010 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Blake

http://pds.lib.harvard.edu/pds/view/7798293?n=45

"observations" lead to a "detection". Perhaps it may happen when a sufficient baseline of
observations has been accumulated and that some sort of "trend" or "change" becomes
apparent - one that stands out "significantly" from the "normal" variability of the
observational record. This is undoubtedly the case for GHG and temperature trend
measurements. Fortunately, CO2 and other GHG measurements have been made with
such precision that even the most strident of greenhouse skeptics are not likely to question
the validity of these measurements. The global temperature record is also well
established, but there are some legitimate questions of sampling and "heat island" effects
that need to be addressed.

Perhaps Anthony Watts would be interested in talking to Andrew Lacis.

It is one thing to have "detection" of anthropogenic regional changes on the environment include all of the land-use, deforestation, and agricultural activities. Detection and attribution of regional climate change is a totally different problem where current modeling and observational uncertainties severely limit the accuracy of any conclusions that can be drawn

Starting to like this guy.

It is pointless and ineffective to be harping so much about anthropogenic influences discuss the observational results.

Can we book him onto Newsnight

Feb 9, 2010 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord BeaverBrook

Does "Mr. Hill" have a link to the AR4 comments. I'm curious how the IPCC responded to my comment (tracing the IPCC's omitted variable fraud through the report).

The comment is at my link. Briefly, the IPCC acknowledges the evidence that global temperature change correlates with solar-magnetic activity, but the only solar variable they include is Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), which can be calculated to have only a very small temperature effect. Thus the evidnce is that some indirect effect of solar activity is at work, but the IPCC omits this possibility from their models on the grounds that the mechanism involved is not well understood.

In other words, they put theory over data, just the opposite of the scientific method.

I'm curious if they even read my comment, but the only comments I can find seem to be all misarranged (chapter 9 is about Africa).

Feb 9, 2010 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlec Rawls

Lacis' comments are not all that surprising. Go read the low-level AR4 documents and you will see that they are quite candid about the degree of uncertainty surrounding the more extreme scenarios (i.e. those that demand a call to action). More specifically, they are quite clear that, without the dominance of positive feed-back mechanisms, a doubling of CO2 will result in less than 2C rise in global temperature. However, there is no real-world evidence to show that this assumption is true and, worst of all, apparently no way of testing it outside of computer models (i.e. no way to perform THE most important step of the Scientific Method).

Take, for example, the following extracts from WG1 (http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch08.pdf) and judge for yourself just how settled the science really is...

8.6.2.3 What Explains the Current Spread in Models’ Climate Sensitivity Estimates?

Using feedback parameters from Figure 8.14, it can be estimated that in the presence of water vapour, lapse rate and surface albedo feedbacks, but in the absence of cloud feedbacks, current GCMs would predict a climate sensitivity (±1 standard deviation) of roughly 1.9°C ± 0.15°C (ignoring spread from radiative forcing differences). The mean and standard deviation of climate sensitivity estimates derived from current GCMs are larger (3.2°C ± 0.7°C) essentially because the GCMs all predict a positive cloud feedback (Figure 8.14) but strongly disagree on its magnitude.

8.6.3.2 Clouds

In the current climate, clouds exert a cooling effect on climate (the global mean CRF is negative). In response to global warming, the cooling effect of clouds on climate might be enhanced or weakened, thereby producing a radiative feedback to climate warming.

Therefore, cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates.

Feb 9, 2010 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Love this one.

The hedging statements of "very likely been affected or influenced by anthropogenic forcing" do not really add any credence or credibility. They may well be true, but there is no factual evidence presented to document and support these contentions - it may exist in other chapters, but an effective summary would cite the relevant evidence.
[Andrew Lacis]

Reviewer seems to be saying that any indication of any uncertainty should be removed, ie that we should claim certainty. Rejected.

Obviously not on the same wavelength.

Feb 9, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord BeaverBrook

So those were his comments on the FIRST draft.

Not the one that they published.

Of course, you're all claiming to be 'sceptics' so you immediately thought of that and that was the first thing you checked.

Feb 9, 2010 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer

They rejected it. (And there are no review comments on the final draft. That's why it's final)

Feb 9, 2010 at 8:52 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

The most important part of his comments:

Attribution can not happen until understanding has been clearly demonstrated. Once the facts of climate change have been established and understood, attribution will become self-evident to all.

@ Frank O'Dwyer - Of course, you're all claiming to be 'sceptics' so you immediately thought of that and that was the first thing you checked.

Frank O'Dwyer, of course, you are claiming as a "believer" to be the repository of all transcendental knowledge and wisdom, so can you tell us, in the final draft did they simply delete The Executive Summary as advised? Or did they suddenly understand, clearly demonstrate and establish the facts of climate change between the first draft and the one they finally published?

Feb 9, 2010 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Richard,

"you are claiming as a "believer" to be the repository of all transcendental knowledge and wisdom"

I claim no such thing - I don't even claim that AGW is a fact. The only thing I claim with close to absolute certainty is that the deny-o-sphere is full of it.

It turns out to be rather easy to show.

"Attribution can not happen until understanding has been clearly demonstrated. Once the facts of climate change have been established and understood, attribution will become self-evident to all."

I agree this is the most important part of his comments. But it depends whether he was referring simply to presentation or whether he meant that attribution is not yet possible.

Judging from the rest of his comments, the latter is not reasonable interpretation except on the regional scale - and I think the idea that regional predictions are very uncertain is pretty uncontroversial.

Bishop,

"They rejected it. (And there are no review comments on the final draft. That's why it's final)"

However there is a second draft before final and it is significantly different to the first.

There are comments on that version - and Lacis had no comments on the ES, which presumably meant that he didn't have a problem with that version.

Feb 9, 2010 at 9:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer

@ Frank O'Dwyer Lacis had no comments on the ES, which presumably meant that he didn't have a problem with that version.

1 Can you tell me the significant difference between the second draft and the first?

2 There is an alternative explanation to your presumption that Lacis did not comment on the second draft because he had no problem with it. And that is that since his first comments were "Rejected" because the IPCC tersely claimed that, unlike what he concluded that there was "no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary" and that it was a report with a "with a clear and obvious political agenda", "the Executive Summary summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature". So he did not see any point in commenting further.

3 "..But it depends whether he was referring simply to presentation or whether he meant that attribution is not yet possible. ..Judging from the rest of his comments, the latter is not reasonable interpretation.."

Clearly he meant that attribution is not yet possible. Only then would the conclusions in the executive summary "have no scientific merit".

Feb 9, 2010 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Is there anyway of knowing who it was that rejected Lacis' comments? [If not specifically, what people composed the group responding to comments on AR4, ch. 9?]

Feb 9, 2010 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered Commentersdcougar

Richard,

"1 Can you tell me the significant difference between the second draft and the first?"

I can. But you'll have to do your own work 'skeptic'.

"Clearly he meant that attribution is not yet possible."

Clearly not. This is from another of his comments on the main chapter (where he again dislikes the first few pages, i.e. the summary, and calls for their deletion):

"The chapter starts by putting the cart ahead of the horse - attributions are made left and right without ever laying a foundation to stand on. The objective of the Assessment Report should be to present a clear and convincing documentation of climate change, and avoid becoming a punching bag for climate change critics and skeptics. The place to start is with the observed record of greenhouse gas increases. These GHG increases have physical consequences, i.e., the GHGs produce radiative forcing that is driving the climate system to a new equilibrium. And, there is a global temperature record that verifies that that is indeed what is happening. If, for political reasons, this chapter needs to be retained, it should be rewritten as a synthesis of what has been learned in the earlier chapters, and moved to the end of the Report. If written well, "attribution" will become a self-evident conclusion that is based on the facts presented.
[Andrew Lacis]"

My emphasis.

He is clearly speaking about presentation. He wants the argument laid out differently - I think he may even have wanted the entire report presented differently - and he obviously meant that if you just present the currently known facts properly then attribution is self-evident, because he said so.

Of course he was talking about people whose minds can actually be changed by facts and evidence - i.e. real sceptics.

You can also refer to the 'frequently asked question 2', Question 9.2: Can the Warming of the 20th Century be Explained by Natural Variability? and his comments on that.

There may well be legitimate questions of just how the climate system may vary under "no applied radiative forcings", or how quickly and by how much it may respond to a given radiative forcing. Not all of the forcings and feedbacks are known with unquestionable accuracy. But the documented changes in CO2, CH4, N2O, and CFCs are very accurately known - their precision is such that no greenhouse skeptic would really question their accuracy. But these documented changes in GHGs have equally well defined radiative consequences. These are based on laboratory measurements that are again beyond question. As a result, the greenhouse effect of the Earth's atmosphere has been made significantly stronger, and there is no alternative but for the global surface temperature to warm in order to re-establish energy balance with the absorbed solar radiation. All this has to be accounted for in the observed temperature record, as of course it has been in many climate change simulations conducted with climate GCMs that include all of the relevant physics and climate forcings.
[Andrew Lacis]

So if he thought that the answer at that time ('unlikely') had no scientific merit he forgot to mention this. Other comments from experts (Vincent Gray doesn't qualify) stated that 'unlikely' and even 'very unlikely' was too weak.

Of course you could always ask him, but maybe that's too obvious.

Feb 9, 2010 at 11:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer

I find it odd that other reviewers completely missed all the mistakes that lacis caught before it was revised?

Feb 9, 2010 at 11:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterderek

Fantastic Post. Yes it seems Lacis was only referring to the executive summary with this particular quote, but it sure as heck has been well hidden since the report came out.

Do you think people are going thru as many documents from IPCC as they can now with a magnifying glass? Probably should have been done in the first place, better late than never.... and there is a NEED to get it all out in the open. Far too many things have been going on behind closed doors. I have a few fine tooth combs I can give away (grin) for those interested in scouring the IPCC archives for errors and misleading information.

I will be linking to this article today.

Cheer's from ME in T

Feb 10, 2010 at 2:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterMcHarris

Bishop, I've linked to your excellent discovery. Quite an amazing find. I wonder how many nuggets like this are buried in the IPCC reports? Quite a few, I'm sure.

Feb 10, 2010 at 4:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterCO2Realist

@Frank O'Dwyer - I'll go back to your original comment Of course, you're all claiming to be 'sceptics' so you immediately thought of that and that was the first thing you checked.

Your idea that my scepticism about AGW, for example, stems from what Lacis may or may not have said, or meant, is sadly mistaken. Of course people who are incapable of reasoning for themselves have to depend on the opinion of others and, I suppose, have to accept it without question.

Scepticism stems not from verifying what the opinions of others are and then accepting them blindly, but examining the logic and facts behind those opinions. You hear what people have to say, you question, seek clarifications, examine the evidence and then form your own opinion. It helps if you have a little knowledge of science and mathematics.

I assume your quotes of Lacis are correct. So let us examine his statement Not all of the forcings and feedbacks are known with unquestionable accuracy... the documented changes in CO2, CH4, N2O, and CFCs are very accurately known .. As a result, the greenhouse effect of the Earth's atmosphere has been made significantly stronger, and there is no alternative but for the global surface temperature to warm in order to re-establish energy balance with the absorbed solar radiation. All this has to be accounted for in the observed temperature record, as of course it has been in many climate change simulations conducted with climate GCMs that include all of the relevant physics and climate forcings.

This is obviously patently wrong. Of course there are alternatives to the global surface temperature to warm in order to re-establish energy balance with the absorbed solar radiation. What he has left out is there is no alternative but for the global surface temperature to warm in order to re-establish energy balance with the absorbed solar radiation, all other things remaining equal. This is a very big caveat, and in our climate all other things DO NOT remain equal.

From the Earth's climatic history during the last 800,000 years, when the Earth's temperatures have fluctuated like a yo-yo, plunging into 8 ice-ages to emerge, briefly into warm interglacials, like the one we are in now, invariably the Earth plunged into an ice age when the CO2 levels were rising, and continued to rise, while the temperatures plunged.

Clearly there were other forcings and feedbacks far more powerful than CO2. In fact the earlier part of Lacis's statement, contradicts the latter part. How on earth can "attribution" become a self-evident conclusion when "Not all of the forcings and feedbacks are known with unquestionable accuracy"?

And as a matter of fact "all this has not been accounted for in the observed temperature record" even of today, as the Earth has not warmed while CO2 has continued to increase.

My scepticism also arises from the dishonesty, trickery, fraud and manipulation to do away with or corrupt such evidence as the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age, chronicled by the rt hon Bish

Feb 10, 2010 at 4:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Writeup on the Revkin-New York Times (blog):

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/does-an-old-climate-critique-still-hold-up/?ref=environment

Feb 10, 2010 at 4:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Sawusch

How do you get from a comment criticising a FIRST draft of the Executive Summary to "eviscerates AR4 Chapter 9"? Idiot.

Feb 10, 2010 at 5:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterNick

Nick - only brainless, half-witted imbeciles resort to calling people who are intelligent "idiots". I suppose they have to do so as they lack the intelligence for reasoned argument.

Feb 10, 2010 at 5:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Richard to Nick:

"only brainless, half-witted imbeciles resort to calling people who are intelligent "idiots". I suppose they have to do so as they lack the intelligence for reasoned argument."

Would it be better if he had called him a 'fraud', as the 'sceptics' so often to do working scientists at the slimmest excuse?

After all the headline could scarcely be more misleading, could it?

Feb 10, 2010 at 7:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer

I particularly like this comment on page 44, comment 9-296 by Andrew Lacis:-

“Effort should be directed toward understanding climate change and climate variability by investigating contributing causes and assessing climate response. Attribution is mostly a pointless exercise. It is like……blah blah blah…….”

He continues:-

“The earth has always had a greenhouse effect that keeps the surface temperature some 33 K than it would be otherwise. The added GHGs are simply strengthening the greenhouse effect. If blame needs to be attributed, then explaining the observed increase in GHG should suffice.”

And the response:-

“We disagree”

My apologies if someone has already selected the comment but it seems to me that the “Science really is settled”.

Feb 10, 2010 at 8:26 AM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

Frank O'Dwyer After all the headline could scarcely be more misleading, could it?

Actually the headline is spot on. Lacis says "The scientific merit of the IPCC Assessment report would be substantially improved by simply deleting this chapter."

And the Bish adds "I'm not suggesting for a minute that Lacis is a sceptic. He clearly isn't. The point is that even within those who are comfortable with the idea of AGW being a danger, there are people who think the output of the IPCC IS POLITICISED."

And as to the substance of what Lacis says, with regard to AGW, I have taken it apart on the previous page. One could try and comment on that, if one weren't a brainless half-witted imbecile. Because then of course one wouldnt have the brains for anything other than name calling.

Feb 10, 2010 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

"Would it be better if he had called him a 'fraud', as the 'sceptics' so often to do working scientists at the slimmest excuse?" - No there is nothing fraudulent here.

[snip - sorry, let's not make bold accusations here]

Feb 10, 2010 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

So the executive summary was written in 2005 for a report to be published in 2007? Had the actual report been written yet?

Feb 10, 2010 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterJason Lewis

"Bishop Hill - a dissident afflicted with the malady of thought"


But, unfortunately, not the malady of intellectual honesty, inquiry or fact-checking.

Lacis' comment was for a 2005 first order draft of the ES, not for the 2007 ARA4.

A ten-year-old could have determined this within 2 minutes.

Evisceration indeed.

Feb 10, 2010 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterShelama

Shelama

See my followup post.

Feb 10, 2010 at 10:12 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

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