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Climate cuttings 60

There's a lot of material floating round the climate blogosphere at the moment, none of which I really have time to do justice to, so here's a round up of what you are missing.

Katharine Hayhoe has posted up some of the emails she has received. One or two of them are very ugly, the rest still rude in a way that we can really do without. Given that Prof Hayhoe has been known to use the 'd' word I'm less sympathetic than I might be, but this is not to condone the messages she has been sent. I hope she eschews name-calling in future though.

Damian Carrington is horrified by the idea of environmental regulation being reduced. Planetary possibilities before people I guess.

This morning, tweeters of the left looked as if they were about to form a lynch mob based on David Attenborough's article accusing Nigel Lawson of cherrypicking data about polar bear populations. Attenborough didn't actually explain how Lawson was supposed to be cherrypicking data or indeed what his favoured interpretations of the data is, but for most it was good lefty against wicked right-wing tyrant, so no further evidence was required. If you read Ben Pile's article on the subject of polar bears, however, you discover that the data is being grossly misrepresented. I don't suppose Attenborough has read anything more than the Guardian on the subject though. If so, accusing Lawson of cherrypicking is rash, to say the least.

The David Rose article over the weekend is still causing outrage among upholders of the IPCC consensus, with the excitable Bad Astronomy blog the latest to weigh in. I was interested in the author's idea that the little ice age has been shown to be a Europe-only phenomenon. Is that right? I recall this Tibetan reconstruction which has what looks like a little ice age. Loehle et al - a global reconstruction - has one too.

A report has shown that biofuels produce higher greenhouse emissions than fossil fuels. This seems like a good time to remind ourselves of Friends of the Earth's call for a "biofuels obligation".



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Reader Comments (58)

Katie uses the denier word, because in the political context of America that is all she sees.
She has been nothing but courteous and civil to me, and very helpful in the little Peter Gleick run in, where he said I was 'incredibly offenssive'..

Tamsin wrote to Peter and Katie, and Katie supported me..

Tamsin got a hard time for casually using denier in the past.. she knew no better at the time she said.
The world Katie is in, is very different than the USA,. given the abuse she has recived, I give her huge credit, for giving adissentient and @Realclimategate (now @BarryJWoods) the time of day.

(ie uncensored version, crude offensive and threatening)

Jan 31, 2012 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Hey, Ho, there you go...:)

Jan 31, 2012 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterupthere

Well, there are two things I didn't need to visualise.

Lawson cherrypicking a rash and (from the bad astronomer's blog) Mann tweeting furiously.

Can somebody pass the mind bleach, please.

Jan 31, 2012 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

The David Rose article over the weekend is still causing outrage among upholders of the IPCC consensus, with the excitable Bad Astronomy blog the latest to weigh in. I was interested in the author's idea that the little ice age has been shown to be a Europe-only phenomenon. Is that right? I recall this Tibetan reconstruction which has what looks like a little ice age. Loehle et al - a global reconstruction - has one too.

In addition to that email 3721.txt from the second release noted a dropstone record from South Africa that appeared to show the MWP and LIA.

Jan 31, 2012 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I seem to recall that even some of the latest Mann et al. articles now acknowledge that the LIA not only existed (contra the hockey schtick) but also wasn't just northern Europe. And yes, besided Loehle, there are a number of reconstructions showing the LIA to be worldwide, both hemispheres.

Jan 31, 2012 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Is it me or is there an inconsistency in the rules?

If the poles are warming they are increasing the average temperature of the planet. So that is global warming.

However, if the northern hemisphere was cooling then that is not global cooling because the affect is local.

Jan 31, 2012 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

"crude offensive and threatening"

OK, by who's definition.

In my last will and testament I have left my Testicles to Parliament.

Jan 31, 2012 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Regarding the LIA, the US government now finds that the LIA truly existed. Here is the link:

The key appears to be that if researchers can link the LIA to volcanoes, and thus not to solar activity, then it is OK that it existed. That is sarcasm (borrowed from Anthony Watts and amplified here), yes, but at first glance, the science looks pretty good.

Here are the first few paragraphs from this presser:

"A new international study may answer contentious questions about the onset and persistence of Earth’s Little Ice Age, a period of widespread cooling that lasted for hundreds of years until the late 19th century. [WIDESPREAD cooling?]

The study, led by the University of Colorado Boulder with co-authors at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and other organizations, suggests that an unusual, 50-year-long episode of four massive tropical volcanic eruptions triggered the Little Ice Age between 1275 and 1300 A.D. The persistence of cold summers following the eruptions is best explained by a subsequent expansion of sea ice and a related weakening of Atlantic currents, according to computer simulations conducted for the study.

The study, which used analyses of patterns of dead vegetation, ice and sediment core data, and powerful computer climate models, provides new evidence in a longstanding scientific debate over the onset of the Little Ice Age. Scientists have theorized that the Little Ice Age was caused by decreased summer solar radiation, erupting volcanoes that cooled the planet by ejecting sulfates and other aerosol particles that reflected sunlight back into space, or a combination of the two.

“This is the first time anyone has clearly identified the specific onset of the cold times marking the start of the Little Ice Age,” says lead author Gifford Miller of the University of Colorado Boulder. “We also have provided an understandable climate feedback system that explains how this cold period could be sustained for a long period of time. If the climate system is hit again and again by cold conditions over a relatively short period—in this case, from volcanic eruptions—there appears to be a cumulative cooling effect.”

"Our simulations showed that the volcanic eruptions may have had a profound cooling effect,” says NCAR scientist Bette Otto-Bliesner, a co-author of the study. “The eruptions could have triggered a chain reaction, affecting sea ice and ocean currents in a way that lowered temperatures for centuries."

....Miller and his colleagues radiocarbon-dated roughly 150 samples of dead plant material with roots intact, collected from beneath receding margins of ice caps on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. They found a large cluster of “kill dates” between 1275 and 1300 A.D., indicating the plants had been frozen and engulfed by ice during a relatively sudden event.

The team saw a second spike in plant kill dates at about 1450 A.D., indicating the quick onset of a second major cooling event.

To broaden the study, the researchers analyzed sediment cores from a glacial lake linked to the 367-square-mile Langjökull ice cap in the central highlands of Iceland that reaches nearly a mile high. The annual layers in the cores—which can be reliably dated by using tephra deposits from known historic volcanic eruptions on Iceland going back more than 1,000 years—suddenly became thicker in the late 13th century and again in the 15th century due to increased erosion caused by the expansion of the ice cap as the climate cooled.

“That showed us the signal we got from Baffin Island was not just a local signal, it was a North Atlantic signal,” Miller says. “This gave us a great deal more confidence that there was a major perturbation to the Northern Hemisphere climate near the end of the 13th century.”


The question Anthony Watts posed in his link on this study, perhaps not too seriously but I couldn't tell, is whether a weakened sun might in some way, via weakened magnetic fields, affect volcanism on earth. That is far, far beyond my abilities to analyze. Here is what Watts said:

"One of the things I wonder about is that during low sunspot activity, does the reduced solar-magnetic influence have any effect on Earth’s plate tectoncs and vulcanism? Does a reduced solar-magnetic influence prompt more volcanism?"

Jan 31, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Polar Bears Drowned per year: No idea.

Polar Bears hunted to death per year: 500 (in Canada alone) - 1000. Or more.

AGW did it!!!!!

Jan 31, 2012 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

As for Volcanoes ... do the ice cores show more sulphates or ash?

Jan 31, 2012 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Phil Plait would be a very fine blogger and could have me as a visitor every day, if he hadn't bought into the global warming cult.

He calls himself a skeptic on his blog but he absolutely demeans the word with his full embrace of the climate doomsday message.

He could have been my new skeptic hero, perhaps replacing the old-hats like James Randi, Ian Plimer and Richard Dawkins, if he wasn't so eager to believe his NASA colleagues.

I guess I'll have to take comfort in the fact that Phil Plait's own skeptic hero, James Randi, doesn't buy into the doomsday messages.

Jan 31, 2012 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Two bear-chested octogenarians fighting over cherry-picking.

We gotta get this on video.

Jan 31, 2012 at 10:35 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Oh dear.

Do climate professors really think that John Cook's "" is a go-to place for ... anything ?

Jan 31, 2012 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

I think that even Mann now recognises that there is enough evidence to suggest that the MWP existed on both hemispheres - but I do not think he has told my boy Phil yet.

And from recent reading, Mann even recognises the existence of the LIA, but he attributes it to various volcanic eruptions that do not appear to be documented anywhere.

In short, Mann is where he always was - on his own planet.

And, why does the divine Attenborough believe that polar bears could not exist in California, feeding off sealions and surfers? They do not seem so unhappy in London Zoo and the waters off California are cool.

Jan 31, 2012 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Re: John

According to the paper they need 4 eruptions, releasing more than 60 megatonne of SO2 each, happening over a 50 period to kick start the LIA. They also need it to happen a second time, during the LIA.
To put this into perspective, Mount Saint Helens was a category VEI5 eruption and released 1.5 megatonnes. Mount Pinatubo was a VEI6 and released 20 megatonnes. A VEI5 eruption happens about every 5-10 years, and a VEI6 about once every 100+ years. A VEI7, which is probably what is needed, occurs about once every 1000 years (or 8 times in a few hundred if you are a climate scientist)

Jan 31, 2012 at 11:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS


Kate Hayhoe has obviously been helpful to you and you seem to have struck up a friendly relationship with her - but I think you've let that blind you to what is actually going on here.

Ms Hayhoe is an activist/scientist of the first rank and uses her professorial position at Texas Tech to spread some of the most blatant climate propaganda I have seen. Anyone who is interested in the background can download a pdf of her lecture slides here:-

The slide which claimed 300,000 people were dying from climate change every year has been disappeared, I think following advice from Richard Betts that the WHO figure was "unsupported by science" - but the others are just a compendium of Gore style alarmism without a trace of scientific rigour.

I agree with the point Richard Betts and his colleague made in a report he linked to here recently - when they said that, while detrimental effects of climate change on human populations are difficult to prove, there is a very real threat of exposing primitive, poorly educated populations to extravagant claims about mass deaths etc which could cause panic, political instability or migration.

Ms Hayhoe's brand of alarmism may therefore have serious unforeseen consequences and it's not surprising many people feel strongly about it and express their views that she is misguided, stupid, lying etc etc. Sadly this kind of discourse seems to be inevitable in a debate as heated as the climate one and I'm sure most of us have experienced it.

She has however published one particular email she received (linked by Bish in the post) which is obscene, threatening and violent to a degree which goes way beyond any reasonable discourse - but this particular email and its author have some history.

Many of us will remember that around June 2011 there was a huge "climate scientists receive death threats" story in Australia which ran and ran in sympathetic media - gaining a little more colour each time the story was retold. Police were apparently involved, universities had to step up security and climate scientists and their families lived in abject fear of assassination by demented deniers.

A star part in the drama was played a lady scientist called Anna Arabia, who published a letter with the same sort of threats and obscenities that Kate Hayhoe received.

Following Barry's last link above to Kate Hayhoes original post of the letter in December 2011, you can link through to Tom Nelson's June 2011 post on the Anna Arabia episode

Ms Arabia was quoted as saying "There's no doubt that there is an orchestrated campaign".

It emerges that, following the Australian publicity an individual called Stan Lippman from Seattle posted on Tom's blog cheerfully explaining that he was the author of the missive which he described as "not a death threat, just my usual counter propaganda tactic".

Now it appears that Kate Hayhoe's email was from the same disturbed individual - which she knew because she linked to the Tom Nelson page in her December post.

So what we have here is a single, disturbed, obnoxious but harmless character whose history and identity is well known to everyone involved - and whose two pathetic missives have provided the warmist cause with an avalanche of "evil denier death threats" publicity across two continents.

Just Google "Hayhoe threats" and "Anna Arabia threats" to see how much mileage the warmist PR machine and its tame hacks have dragged out of this one sad individual.

The really cynical thing is that Hayhoe slipped this old missive, from the well known nut-case, in with a load of other fairly rude but unexceptional emails to try and give the impression that she'd been inundated by "hate mail".

Obviously Hickman and the usual suspects lapped it all up - as, apparently, you did Barry.

Jan 31, 2012 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

This url lists multiple peer reviewed studies identifying both the LIA and MWP:

Jan 31, 2012 at 11:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterNandie

Bish. thanks greatly for the documentary evidence of FoE pushing biofuels as late as 2004 - something I've long wanted to add to my wiki knowledgebase. As you know, it's not simply that the biofuel process emits more CO2 than alternatives - it's that higher world food prices cannot be explained credibly these days without reference to biofuel subsidies. And those higher prices translate directly into misery and death for those unlucky enough to be at the bottom of the pile in this world.

It's not that we want to demonise organisations for all time for their past mistakes. But a measure of contrition about these disastrous policy directions in the past would surely lead to a more tentative, humble approach to current energy and climate policy tradeoffs. And that would surely lead to more peace and more light.

Jan 31, 2012 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

are you paranoid, foxgoose?

Jan 31, 2012 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes


Thanks for your post, which puts some background to this Hayhoe 'hate mail' story. I am sure she is a very nice person, and not accustomed to the being on the receiving end of a few loonies but, bottom line, she has been making stuff up and has been called on it.

This whole 'hate mail' story is nothing but a convenioent distraction from that.

Jan 31, 2012 at 11:38 PM | Unregistered Commenteredward getty

and pleawse remember that at this stage of the IPCC closed process, there is the chance that people will make hay with with threats from climate "deniers" nin order to determine the best policy. So why do you all lean so hard on Richard Betts?

Jan 31, 2012 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

are you paranoid, foxgoose?
Jan 31, 2012 at 11:32 PM diogenes

I'm not sure why you're insulting me.

Everything in the post was 100% true and verifiable.

If you have an intelligent comment to make - go ahead.

Jan 31, 2012 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

I would take whatever eminantes from the Canberra Times with a grain of salt. The only reported "death threat" that I am aware of was proven to be a figment of the individual's imagination. The Lefty Luddites will grab onto anything to push their agenda ... that's their modus operandi.

Given the lies and distortions that we are regularly presented with in Australia by the CAGW science scammers, bureaucrats, and their MSM sycophants, it is a wonder that it is not more widespread. Judging by the blogs, Australians are becoming far more aware of the deceit and are increasingly frustrated with the continuous stream of leftist propaganda from the MSM.

Jan 31, 2012 at 11:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

The Bad Astrologer is really bad. I don't why ill-informed people have to fiddle with climate stuff. The guy posts a graph of the land temperature and says something about global warming. But because Richard Lindzen is a 'denier', I guess I just have to settle for the Bad Astrologer.

Feb 1, 2012 at 12:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Thanks for that information. I feel zero sympathy for the Christian propagandist Hayhoe, who poses with her child in her arm for climate change article photographs.

Feb 1, 2012 at 12:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

not insulting you, foxgoose, but it is important not to live up to the warmist play-book.

Feb 1, 2012 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

With one exception the emails appear to be little more than people venting. Few, if any of us, will go through life without being hated by someone at some time, and if you step onto the public stage the numb of haters will rise exponentially. Dellers regularly gets 200-300, sometimes more comments in a similar vein underneath his blogs, you don't hear him complaining about hate mail. I won't say he deserves it but his forthright style, shall we say, encourages it, yet he's man enough to understand that if you hold a point of view, and you state it publically then there are those around who disagree with you and say so in no uncertain terms.

Feb 1, 2012 at 4:34 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

One of the effective, but little discussed, tactics of those who are trying to shift public opinion is to send made-up death threats to key figures on your own side. The source of the death threats is likely anonymous, and those on the side of the angels can berate their "denier" opponents for stooping so low as to send death threats.

It would be wise to be sceptical about the origin and veracity of so-called "death threats".

Feb 1, 2012 at 4:54 AM | Unregistered Commentermondo

Do many sceptics seem to want to live up to the cliche many scientudtvhsve if them.
One slide at a time, until nothing remains.

Katie seems like a nice person, who believes because ofbthevenvironmrnt around her.
She ultimately does not worry me. Peter Gleick's thoughts are much more if a concern to me.

Feb 1, 2012 at 7:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

C'Mon guys.. lots of American scientist get rude abusive stuff all the time, some of it goes a lot further.
Thevaustrslian thingvws one very specific, puff story, I agree

But we must acknowledge that their are idiots out there( on all sides ) that spoil things for the grown ups. Ie with Peter should I have lived up to a cliche, or behave in amanner that he felt mu choice but to make a correction.. and yes itvis hard work, requiring a thick skin and patience.

People observe our behaviour, and will not support idiotic behaviour, however right done sceptics thing they are.

Lots of very inarticulate people out there. Condemn them as idiots, get the high ground back and say about that 'hockey stick' or 'hide the decline', etc.
Ie Steve Mcintyres style.

Feb 1, 2012 at 7:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Android smart phone, sorry for the auto mess ups on typos

Feb 1, 2012 at 7:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

In Mongolia they have a weather phenomena called a zud (or dzud) where anything outside freezes. According to Wikipedia:

"It is not uncommon for zuds to kill over 1 million head of livestock in a winter. The 1944 record of almost 7 million head of livestock lost[3] was shattered in the 21st century. Of note, the arctic oscillation in both 1944-45 and in 2010 was pushed much deeper into Central Asia bringing prolonged extreme cold weather. In 1999/2000, 2000/2001 and 2001/2002, Mongolia was hit by three zuds in a row, in which a combined number of 11 million animals were lost"

Yet in the 13th century the Mongols were able to field a large army mounted on ponies that eventually conquered a large part of Asia. It is difficult to imagine this happening with a lot of zuds freezing livestock to the ground. Mongolia is not in Europe.

About 1,000 years ago the Thule people began migrating from Northern Alaska eastward through the Arctic Archipelago eventually arriving in Greenland. Somewhere I have a reference that says they were following a warming trend. The Canadian Arctic is not in Europe.

About 1,000 years ago the Maoris discovered and settled New Zealand. Coincidence? New Zealand is not in Europe.

In about 1,400 the Mayan civilization started to unravel due to changes in climate. Central America is not in Europe.

I remember discussing all of this ~14 years ago on John Daly’s site when MBH98 first came out.

Feb 1, 2012 at 7:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

I am quite impressed with the ability of a large group of climatologists to reconcile contradicting evidence. The only other discipline better at that, to my knowledge, is theology.

As for the MWP and LIA, evidence of global occurrence is quite overwhelming, co2science has done a very exhaustive compilation, worth reading. Another good source is a still independent journal, whose editors don't feel the urge to resign when publishing controversial articles, the European Geophysical Union's "Climate of the Past". It is open access, including reviews, and worth checking regularly. I don't give the link because the blog filtering system seems determined to punish me these lasts days (it's easy to google).

Feb 1, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterPatagon

I get the feeling that the old CAGW mob has turned into


Feb 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

Relieved to read your 0733 explanation, Barry. I thought the jumbled letters followed by "Lots of very inarticulate people out there" quite amusing!

Feb 1, 2012 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneMustGo

The austrslian thing was one very specific, puff story, I agree....
Feb 1, 2012 at 7:32 AM Barry Woods


Did you actually read my post?

How can you say the Australian affair was an isolated "puff" story when we now know Kate Hayhoe knowingly used a near identical letter from the same known nutter to create an identical media storm in the US and here?

If the first story was a "puff", the second was even more so, since everyone knew by then the identity and motivation of the nutty lawyer.

You also give Hayhoe a pass on the link Bish posted by saying "Katie uses the denier word, because in the political context of America that is all she sees".

The really disturbing thing about that link wasn't the use of the "denier" word, which is common currency now and no worse than the equivalent "warmist". i

It was the obviously glee with which she endorsed the nasty smear piece she linked to:-

oo, zing! Loving this @skepticscience piece on characterizing academic #climate deniers. Right on, in my experience.

The article included gems like:-

So why do deniers continue to make their loud, and egregiously mistaken, claims? And what explains the tiny handful of deniers with verifiable academic credentials?

Many are (generally former) Professors, albeit usually with tenuous unpaid Adjunct or Emeritus associations with universities.....

Providing a platform for deniers, thereby enabling political leaders to mistake contrarian cranks for real science, can have horrendous consequences, as we have seen in the case of HIV, where perhaps hundreds of thousands of people have needlessly died............

With very few exceptions, academic climate deniers are male and either retired or close to retirement.

The climate deniers’ champion, MIT’s 71-year old Richard Lindzen, has had a distinguished career, but 30 years after his major contributions, he appears to struggle to respond to devastating peer reviews when he attempts to publish his contrarian views....

...the academic climate denier will have had a mediocre career that escaped public notice and left little imprint on science. Some haven’t been able to keep up with the rapid advances in science coming from its increasing complexity and the impact of computers and new technologies. Once respected, these scientists find themselves “out of the loop” and being ignored, which sometimes makes them quite grumpy.....

Jones also recently interviewed 72-year-old Tim Ball, describing him as “one of the world’s most eminent climate scientists, and acknowledged as such.” This is in contrast to Ball’s CV, in which he reveals he got his PhD at the age of 44 and retired from academia at the age of 57 .......

Deniers yelp about being oppressed, while at the same time claiming to number 31,000.

And just to be sure, Prince Phillip runs the world’s drug trade and climate change is a means by which the Royal family is culling the population for a forthcoming genocide. Or something like that, maybe you can figure it out.....

At a time when the oceans are accumulating heat at the rate of five Hiroshima bombs per second, are conspiracy theorists the people whom a nation should entrust with the future of our children?

The so-called “debate” on climate change has been over for decades in the peer-reviewed literature. It is time to accept the scientific consensus and move on, and to stop giving air-time to the cranks.

So, all deniers are a bunch of pathetic cranky old men, to senile to keep up with the miracles of modern science - and this is apparently written by two academic professors and ecstatically endorsed by a woman who complains about sexism.

The whole "denialist hate mail" meme is like everything else in "climatology" - a carefully constructed activist narrative, fed out to the world through compliant and sympathetic activist journalists, which falls apart when subjected to any kind of thoughtful analysis.

Just another manifestation of "hide the decline".

Feb 1, 2012 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

It doesn't fall apart. there is a lot of abuseive mail in the USA (not just climate!)

Human nature, is that if someone tells you that the emails you receive are irrelevant(or your colleagues) or iritaed angry people they meet in public, on occasion, or a carefully constructive 'activist' narrative and seek to 'justify them' then that person will percieve you as some sort of nut conspiracy theorist, and ignore everything you have to say..

How many climate scientist have you actually talked to, face to face.

Try that explanation above, and watch their eyes glaze over...

Feb 1, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterBArry Woods

Yup, Plait is ridiculous when he freely posts about astronomers being wrong, and can't fathom to imagine climatologists are sometimes wrong too. Plus of course taking DeSmogBlog as part of the "cavalry".

The true victim of CAGW and CAGWers is science. They're dragging it into a matter of politics, opinion and PR.

Feb 1, 2012 at 9:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

Try that explanation above, and watch their eyes glaze over...
Feb 1, 2012 at 9:24 AM BArry Woods

So. if I understand your syntax correctly, Kate Hayhoe's favourite little smear piece is just everyday "climatology" comment - and anyone who calls her out on it is "perceived as some sort of nut conspiracy theorist".

Are you sure you aren't holding out your olive branch to somebody who's busily setting fire to the other end of it Barry?

Feb 1, 2012 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

I've not been aware of Kate Hayhoe until recently (when someone drew Judith Curry's attention to her experience of hate mail) and I decided not to delve when I did become aware of her - so I'm loath to make judgments. But I'm grateful both to Barry and to Foxgoose here. I take Barry's testimony of Ms Hayhoe in person seriously - it matters a lot how someone behaves towards those who disagree with them. What most impresses me though is Richard Betts (if Foxgoose's recollection is accurate) persuading Hayhoe to remove reference to the notorious 300,000 deaths per year caused by climate change. Well done indeed Richard.

People should not be too spooked by the evangelical Christian aspect. Sir John Houghton has been influential on US evangelicals like Hayhoe and Cook, in making them think this is part of their Christian duty to care for the world, as God does, who loved the world so much that he gave His only Son. This isn't too dangerous an idea, in my considered view :)

What I've always felt is dangerous is the writing off of Lindzen's science by Houghton. That for me betrays very bad judgment, made worse here by Cook's intemperate language on the subject quoted by Foxgoose. But there we go - Christians aren't perfect in knowledge. John Wesley admitted as much long ago as he stressed what we should be much more concerned about: perfect love.

Feb 1, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

To persuade somebody, you first have to understand them.. Katie does ot believe she is doing a'smear' peice, that is your perception of her, she is a product of the scientific groupthink around her.

If you approach people with that attitude they will never listen..

As I said, the 300k cc deaths were questionable, as I explained to her, and Richard Betts kindly supplied a rather more scientifc citation, that the GHF citation, that both Greenpeace and 10:10 rely on.

Feb 1, 2012 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterBArry Woods

To be accurate, Richard, the "A journey into the weird and wacky world of climate change denial" smear piece on Cook's blog was actually written by Professors Stephan Lewandowsky and Michael Ashley .

Lewandowsky is psychologist with a rather specific field of interest, according to his cv (on an activist site natch):-

His research focuses on the role of scepticism in memory updating and the distinction between scepticism and denial.

Presumably he doesn't consider his speciality as "a mediocre career that escaped public notice and left little imprint on science" - not at all like those drooling old denier has-beens.

Feb 1, 2012 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

As I said, the 300k cc deaths were questionable.....
Feb 1, 2012 at 9:51 AM | BArry Woods

It's not just "questionable" Barry - it's total bullshit.

No-one has yet been proved to have died as a result of "climate change".

The figure was fabricated by including all manner of climate related disasters without any real attempt to quantify the "change" element - and any academic who uses it, IMHO, completely sacrifices their scientific credibility.

Feb 1, 2012 at 10:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

Questionable - when translated from 'academic speak' .. generally has the meaning that you describe... ;-)

Check my blog, lost in alarmism, about where a 150k deaths came from, how a report with maybe, could very difficult to get figures, turned into 150k deaths. That are now killing. In a document used to lobby the in government.

Feb 1, 2012 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Barry and Foxy, the 300,000 came about because someone, and I can't remember who had calculated the number of deaths globally in, I believe, 2009 and decided that some deaths must have happened because of global warming so guessed 300,000. Somewhere they are on record as admitting this.

Feb 1, 2012 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Thanks for the correction Foxgoose - I won't blame Ed again, except for allowing these guys to use the space he provided.

We're all agreed on "300,000 deaths per year caused by climate change" being a disastrous lie I'm sure. But it's one of those lies (used by the ill-fated 10:10.10 campaign as no doubt everyone remembers) that has to be invented to justify the policy measures that well-intentioned (albeit naive) people have become convinced are needed. If it's consistent with the worldview it has to be true - or something very like it.

That's why when I sat down in the pub in November with a very intelligent software developer who'd done PPE at Oxford and we started to disagree about climate change I went for the jugular in this very area - that, as the great Indur Goklany has painstakingly shown, deaths from extreme events have been coming down since the 1920s. The single time series that shows beyond doubt that there's no climate crisis.

Feb 1, 2012 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

The executive summary of The Institute of Public Policy Research document – ‘Positive Energy’ -2007, has it’s second sentence, to frame the entire document with an urgent ‘climate change’ message:

Behind the stories, real people are allready being hit, with climate change now killing 150,ooo people a year (1)

The IPPR is a major ’progressive’, UK think tank that has adviced the UK Government over the last decade.

Here it is reported as a proven fact – now killing – designed to give an explicit urgent message to governments and policy makers

I had to buy the report to find the reference, which was not included in the Executive Summary, (no politician usually gets beyond even the first couple of pages of an executive summary)

(1)World Health Organisation: Climate and Health – 2005 factsheet

I tracked this IPPR referenced factsheet down and this is presumably where the definite 150,000 ‘climate change’ deaths ‘facts’ for that report came from.

Measurement of health effects from climate change can only be very approximate. Nevertheless, a WHO quantitative assessment, taking into account only a subset of the possible health impacts, concluded that the effects of the climate change that has occurred since the mid-1970s may have caused over 150,000 deaths in 2000. It also concluded that these impacts are likely to increase in the future.

The WHO factsheet also says 600,000 deaths annually due to natural extreme weather related events – of which 95% in poor countries. Thus the biggest killer is being poor, not ‘climate change’, yet the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change have even defined ‘climate change’ to only mean man made, excluding ALL natural climate forcings…

The authors of the report appear to have turned the very approximate information on man made climate change deaths in the WHO document(itself subject to criticism) into a fact. The authors, Simon Retallack (Head of Climate Change – IPPR, Tim Lawrence, (Post Graduate Researcher), Matthew Lockwood (Now Associate Director) have little in the way climate science scientific qualifications, they have the usual political career or lobby group favourite qulaifications of economics or philosophy and a surprisingly common geography background and careers of politics, media, NGO’s and environmental lobbying groups.

Feb 1, 2012 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterBArry Woods


Please explain this anomaly to me.

You are a layman in "climate science" but you have taken the trouble to dig into the numbers behind the spurious "300,000 deaths in 2009" figure and discover that is has it origins in some dubious 2005 WHO "fact sheet" although the underlying scientific basis still seems opaque.

Kate Hayhoe, on the other hand, is a "Professor of Climate Science", heads up her own department and lectures widely on the subject - but she's happy to seize on any BS number from an activist press release and use it in her lectures until somebody with more insight warns her not to.

Doe that sound like the behaviour of a professor or an activist to you?

Feb 1, 2012 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

Sounds like a scientist that is unaware that they have crossed over into advocacy/activism.
Ie you seem to imply with some sort of intentto decieve.
Where I see confirmation bias.

Same result, intent is important.

Feb 1, 2012 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I continue to applaud the interaction but that's a brilliant way of framing the problem Foxgoose. How much does a "Professor of Climate Science" have to investigate anything, as long as her "findings" coincide with IPCC/Greenpeace propaganda? Let's hope that Judith Curry is setting the bar for the next generation.

Feb 1, 2012 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

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