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« Stern's wheat graph | Main | Connect the dots - Josh 163 »

Madrid, 1995

This morning's must-read post is by Bernie Lewin, the first of a two-parter which attempts to pin the beginning of the corruption of climatology to a meeting of the IPCC in Madrid in 1995.

(H/T Aynsley Kellow)

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Reader Comments (44)

The corruption may have started much earlier. 1981 is my tip. It was when Hansen et. al. passed off lapse rate warming as due to GHGs, hence the 33 K claim when ~24 K is from lapse rate. it's an error of calibration by a factor of 3.7.

Apr 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

It's becoming obvious from that post why certain avenues of research were encouraged by funding and why the outcome met the requirements before the proof can be found.
The problem faced by the marriage of politics and science is the time frame. The political process has a defined lifetime born out of a democratic principle of elections on a regular basis. Science has no such concept, in the last twenty years political priorities have changed faster than the science can accommodate. The fact that previous, UK, political leaders could publicly state that the science was settled and critics were deniers is evidence of the difference in the time frame needs as the research over the last twenty years has still not proved the anthropogenic connection, and from what is stated in the post, has not significantly advanced.
What will happen after the French elections, or the American elections later in the year, who knows but there is a greater problem facing politicians now and that is economical in nature.

Apr 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

The key issue is when did academic enthusiasm, choosing the worst case, become unprofessional behaviour, using a scientifically unjustifiable claim.

Apr 21, 2012 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

In para 2 of Lewin's essay, there is a link to the Hockey Stick controversy, which takes you to the Wikipedia article on that vexed item. Now if one is curious as to the edit history of that Wiki piece, there is a tab 'view history'. Readers of Tamsin's 'All Models are Wrong' blog may recognise the persistent attentions of a certain opinionated gentleman common to both.

Apr 21, 2012 at 11:32 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

While there is little doubt that Santer had a key part to play in the IPCC activism, I agree with MDGGN that the beginnings of the CO2 AGW cause were much earlier. I know this from personal experience; a retired UN diplomatic who retired to my town once mentioned to me that he and others in the UN were working on climate change (and it wasn't the cooling variety) back in the 70s. I live in Scotland but he was not a British diplomat.

Apr 21, 2012 at 11:32 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

It apparently dates back to the 'Endangered Atmosphere' conference in 1975. A number of young scientists, including Stephen Schneider, switched from promoting a new ice age to CAGW. They made their careers on promoting junk science and being paid very well to do it.

Apr 21, 2012 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

John Zillman has made more recent comments on the IPCC:

In a scientific address to the 61st session of the WMO Executive Council (EC-XLI), Geneva, 11 June 2009, WMO meteorologist John Zillman, chairman of the Steering Committee for the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and of the World Climate Conference-3 International Organizing Committee (WIOC), summed up the over-riding advocacy nature of modern climate science, when he said

“‘Climate Institutes’ turn out to be environmental lobby groups for greenhouse gas reduction and government.

‘Climate Departments’ are focussed not on climate as the meteorological community knows and understands it but on national energy policies, emissions trading schemes, carbon accounting, carbon taxes and the like.”

Zillman was actually making a plea for the re-instatement of Meteorology as the parent discipline to Climatology, contrary to the assumed primacy of climate modelers over meteorologists, espoused by Professor Kerry Emanuel in August 2010.

Zillman said:
“Many governments have interpreted the IPCC as part of the policy process, rather than as a scientific assessment mechanism to inform the policy process, and environmental policy departments have taken over the role of interface between the IPCC and national governments.

To some extent, this reflects what has happened at the international level where the IPCC has developed a higher profile and become better linked to national governments and international climate policy mechanisms than its sponsors, WMO and UNEP, who established it to help them play that role.”

Apr 21, 2012 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

John Houghton's description of the IPCC and the relationship of science and policy can be found here:

“An Overview of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Its Process of Science Assessment"

In chapter 2, “The Formation of the IPCC”, he says,

“I was appointed chairman of WGI and I will illustrate from my experience of that Working Group the work of the IPCC and how, through the IPCC, scientists have been able to assist in the determination of policy.”

He had already said in his introduction that: " has been important for its continued credibility that the IPCC has confined itself in its reports and statements to scientific information and has avoided making judgements or giving advice about policy."

His "religious insight" into global warming was exemplified in his briefing paper for the John Ray Initiative in 2009:
Joseph, Pharaoh and a Climate Crisis

"To Joseph, God gave the ability to interpret dreams connected with the future. To scientists today God gives the ability to interpret scientific information related to the future and to propose actions that need to be taken to avoid harm, loss, destruction or calamity."

There all the familiar mantras, eg, "Many species are already threatened by the destruction of tropical forests; climate change is adding to this. Most of us know of the effect on polar bears. That, however, is only the tip of the iceberg! Millions of species are likely to be lost in the coming decades."

"We live in times when we are raping the Earth and exploiting the poor."

Apr 21, 2012 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterDennisA

A line from "Enthusiasm, Scepticism and Science" deserves a salute:

"After a long struggle, the levees of science gave way to the overwhelming forces of politics welling up around it, and soon it would be totally and irrevocably engulfed."

Nice prose. Nice encapsulation.

Apr 21, 2012 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

Punch drunk and wormy
Dogs howl out from dark alleys.
Werewolves of Madrid.

Apr 21, 2012 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

"The corruption may have started much earlier. 1981 is my tip. It was when Hansen et."

This misses the point. As I say in the piece 'before Hansen there had always been the rogue scientists hawking some kind of scary scenario to the press or politicians.' The point is that the instituations of science, the practices of science, had long been designed to withstand the impact of such influence. Otherwise they never would have survived the 300 years. Before Hansen there have been many others. And Science withstood Hansen. Actually the IPCC as originally conceived and as practiced until Nov 1995 had resisted this influence. What happened in Nov 1995 is that overwhelming political pressure from left field suprised Science, overwhelmed Science, corrupted it, and after that it was over run. There were some heroic performances at this last stand and one of them was by the head of the Australian delegation. You will hear more about him...

Apr 21, 2012 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernie Leiwn

Very well said Bernie Lewin. It's ironic to see the commitment to openness of the whole sweep of the climate debate of Mr Mydog Sgotnonose. In other words, someone who won't tell us who he is cannot be the best guide to the very difficult game, at the best of times, of secret history. Subtle or less than subtle discrediting of the mainstream sceptic position has to be a high probability, given other factors. I myself have pointed back for a while to the meeting The Endangered Atmosphere convened by Margaret Mead in 1975. But covert operations cannot usefully be exposed through more secrecy - a key lesson from the origins of disastrous theories of Jewish world conspiracy.

Apr 21, 2012 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Dennis A said:

His "religious insight" into global warming was exemplified in his briefing paper for the John Ray Initiative in 2009:
Joseph, Pharaoh and a Climate Crisis

"To Joseph, God gave the ability to interpret dreams connected with the future. To scientists today God gives the ability to interpret scientific information related to the future and to propose actions that need to be taken to avoid harm, loss, destruction or calamity."
God gave this special ability to scientists? Whether one is a theist or not, this is just wrong on so many levels.

Houghton is a fool, fooling himself most of all, if he believes this. Neither theologians or scientists with a trace of rigour in their thinking would support such a proposition. How did such an intellectual lightweight become so influential?

Apr 21, 2012 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Good H/T Aynsley and I think part 1 of Bernie Lewin's essay is eloquent and the analysis persuasive. Look forward to the sequel.

The vestige of comfort seems to be that the redoubt of scientific integrity was finally overwhelmed by political pressure and political appointments, rather than spontaneously from within, and perpetuated by an agenda of extravagant targeted policy funding.

Apr 21, 2012 at 7:52 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Hi Ruchard; I get your point but if I did have an agenda other than trying to establish the truth I would hardly have set out to offend everyone at once! NONE of this science is right and the leadership is wrong.

Unfortunately, so much money and political credibility is invested in the claims, including the future of the Euro, anyone seen as a serious threat will be targeted and that could involve direct action if the person lacks protection.

Apr 21, 2012 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

As a rider to the above, the key mistake in the climate modelling was inherited from Meteorology which apparently believes in and teaches 'downwelling IR', and measures it with pyrgeometers. The illusion that the signal can do thermodynamic work comes from a failure to understand basic radiation physics and that radiometers create what is solely a measure of temperature convolved with emissivity.

Someone has to stand up and tell the truth which is that the amplification is an illusion. It'll take more persuasion to tell people like Lindzen that the basic GHG warming is much less than believed!

Apr 22, 2012 at 12:32 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

That's an interesting focused, sober, piece. The illuminating thing I picked up from it was being reminded how the IPCC started, and could have gone on, just ticking along providing rather unalarming and reasoned assessments, probably too boring for the many who needed some *action*. I guess once it was started it was always going to be prone to be hijacked and nudged into more exciting controversial territory. Climate science really has a unique signature when looking for evidence of politics subverting science. I think the definitive story will definitely be written one day, when a lot of time has passed, this piece hints at how it would look, I look forward to the follow ups.

Apr 22, 2012 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

We value a consensus highly. Ben Santer's consensus, to be precise. We will build on it later.

Apr 22, 2012 at 1:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiri Moudry

Not just this post, but the whole site needs to be read by anyone interested in how we got to where we are. As the sceptic movement gets wider and more fractious, knowledge of our own history becomes more necessary.

While I appreciate the opportunity here at Bishop Hill to be short snappy and facetious, Bernie Lewin’s site is something else. Many thanks to Aynsley Kellow for tipping us off about enthusiasmscepticismscience.

Apr 22, 2012 at 8:02 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Entirely agree with both the Leopard and Geoff Chambers. I had already marked up this site in my favourites, then promptly forgotten about it. I've now moved it up in the list and am looking forward to the sequel as well.

Apr 22, 2012 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

Noseless dog:

(...) the key mistake in the climate modelling was inherited from Meteorology which apparently believes in and teaches 'downwelling IR', and measures it with pyrgeometers.
I have to say I find this statement surprising from the historical point of view. When is this mindset supposed to have set in and in what way was the MO a leader in the propagation of the down-welling IR radiation fallacy?

Apr 22, 2012 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

John in France: the root paper in climate modelling is Manabe and Wetherald 1967 which assumed IR from surface = incident SW, an exaggeration but not a perpetual motion machine. In Trenberth et. al. 2009, IPCC official writ, IR from surface = S-B for a black body in a vacuum with extra IR from 'back radiation', a perpetual motion machine of the 2nd kind, 2.6 energy multiplication, 15.5 for absorbed IR.

No physicist or engineer taught Clausius' science should make that basic error Meteorology teaches 'downwelling IR' because it measures a correlation between surface temperature and 'back radiation'. Climate science assumes, wrongly, that it is an energy source. The inference is that the error comes from meteorology.

Apr 22, 2012 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

"Subtle or less than subtle discrediting of the mainstream sceptic position has to be a high probability, given other factors."

Richard Drake:

Having "gotten to know you" through your presence here, I am happy to accept the sincerity of your comments and general stance, and assume most other people would as well, which makes me wonder why you apparently find it so difficult to accept the sincerity of others on the skeptical side. The "mainstream sceptic position" is not set in stone, and should be open to amendment with advances in scientific understanding, like any field of knowledge. Otherwise we would be hypocritical to call ourselves skeptics!

Imho mdgnn simply has a different, thus far minority, perspective on the issue of CO2-induced radiative "forcing", which is credibly informed by his background as a systems engineer; whether he is right or wrong, his viewpoint cannot be dismissed out of hand. It is not awkward or embarrassing for the "mainstream sceptic position" that he holds a dissenting view. As the history of science has regularly shown, non-consensus views are sometimes correct.

I don't believe that your hypothesis - of "deep troll" third columnist apparent skeptic posters sabotaging skeptical efforts - can be correct in a general sense, at least not on this blog. I have seen some mindlessly repetitive commenters on Delingpole's opinion pieces who could be in that category, but nothing here or on other climate blogs that has raised my suspicions. Warmists who attempt to parody skeptical positions are quickly exposed due to the perspicacity of the readership, from what I have seen.

So no I don't think this blog is under siege by deep trolls. The diminishing presence of overt warmist trolls in recent months suggests that they and their CAGW meme are in retreat, and skeptical blogs can probably take some credit for that; I believe there is substantial reason for optimism at this stage.

As for the question of a warmist conspiracy, I don't really buy that either. There certainly has been an unusual degree of political manipulation, which however is in accord with the known belief systems of the CAGW meme promulgators; they want their social engineering goals to prevail, and some of them aren't too concerned about the methods used. The Club of Rome, for instance, has been quite explicit that a global warming meme, whether scientifically valid or not, can serve the purpose of "uniting mankind" behind its "Limits to Growth" strategy.

It is up to skeptics to point out such agendas. There is no need to invoke conspiracy theories, when it is painfully obvious that Gramsci's ruling class, in the West at least, is permeated by misguided concepts of social justice and internationalism. It is an elitist and self-serving point of view, whereby their perks and privileges are sacrosanct but the hoi polloi must pay, and if deemed necessary suffer, for "the greater good".

A final point I would like to make is about the conflation of Christianity of the leftist social justice variety with concepts of stewardship of the Earth. There seem to be quite a few such people at the highest levels of government, who feel very good about themselves indeed. But imo it is just another form of elitism, as it is easy to be a "do-gooder" when no personal sacrifices are involved.

Apr 22, 2012 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

"No physicist or engineer taught Clausius' science should make that basic error Meteorology teaches 'downwelling IR' because it measures a correlation between surface temperature and 'back radiation'. Climate science assumes, wrongly, that it is an energy source. The inference is that the error comes from meteorology."

Sounds nice. But it is irrelevant to Madrid IPCC.

Apr 22, 2012 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

As Bernie Lewin is a CAGW climate sceptic, an ardent environmentalist and a good essayist, perhaps he could consider entering a submission for the Matt Ridley Spectator Prize for Environmental Heresy, closing date 30 June 2012. I think its open to all, but relevence to the UK might be a bonus come the judging!

Apr 22, 2012 at 2:50 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Shub, I think the root of the problem is that there are two facets to this debate. One appertains to climate policy. where the main disagreement is over whether we believe the situation is alarming and whether we should act now or not. By saying no to this we are automatically aligned with Lindzen, Chris Monckton, David Evans etc. who all defend the GHE whilst saying that it is negligible and rather than tipping billions into a non-problem we should be doing precisely nothing. The second facet is the thermodynamic one one as to whether or not the greenhouse effect actually exists. And here Clausius is perfectly relevant and to the debate. I tend to go along with the Slayers in that the back radiation/greenhouse effect doesn't make sense to me, as a non-scientist but with some personal interest in and knowledge of engineering principles.
That said I have no problem, with the luke-warmers' point of view for the reason already mentioned that it does not affect the sceptic position on climate policy. I have however often been dismayed by the frequent aggressiveness of some of the Slayers on the blogs which often verges on trollery and must be a real pain for the moderators to deal with.
And what about Madrid? Well Bernie Lewin points out in his really excellent article the importance of Santer's last-minute re-drafting of WG I, chapter 8 in the second report.
What did Santer materially change? Perhaps someone here can enlighten me.

Apr 22, 2012 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

Chris M: 'It is not awkward or embarrassing for the "mainstream sceptic position" that he holds a dissenting view. As the history of science has regularly shown, non-consensus views are sometimes correct.'

In 20 years mainstream science has become technicians and computers. Climate models have bad physics. Before Madrid, the claim was that the 'science is settled', the implication being only the modelling need be finalised. That was foolish.

The 4 main errors had been set in stone. Come 1997 and the news that CO2 did not drive T at the end of ice ages, we had outright fraud to shift calibration of climate sensitivity to modern warming – hockey-stick so no MWP, alter past temperatures. Now Shakur et. al. have tried to shift calibration back to the ice ages but they don’t involve CO2-GW.

Science was me and G L Stephens, the US cloud physicist, observing simultaneously that low level clouds behaved differently to the physics in the models, in his case satellite data, in mine just looking out of the bloody window!. Cloud cooling to offset high predicted warming has been grossly exaggerated [it’s a fitting parameter]. His paper has unsurprisingly not been published [blocked?]. Mine is searching for a way to bypass the block.

What's worse, if you look at the research papers to prove net AIE, some sarcastically dismiss climate science's work with grudging accession to Twomey who had warned the science was incomplete. In 2004 NASA published a eulogy to Twomey in which they switched his science for fake physics:

As a co-founder of the small particle part of nanotechnology, I have a very good grounding in aerosol optical physics so I could not stay silent about this. The next study is the correct IR physics and how indirect thermalisation may explain Miskolczi. Where was mainstream physics when this farrago was developing?

Apr 22, 2012 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

...frequent aggressiveness of some of the Slayers on the blogs ...

That is what I was referring to, John. And mydog is not aggressive ... he's just Oliver K Manuel'ing himself. The topic is self-evidently about the 'policy' - political ambition side of things.

Apr 22, 2012 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

John in France @ Apr 22, 2012 at 4:14 PM,

Regarding your reference to what 'lukewarmism' is, I find the label and those who claim it as their fundamental position to meaningful at a trivial level.

I literally cannot imagine that the cumulatively accelerating activities of billions of humans in the past +2,000 years did not have an impact on the Earth-atmospheric system; just like I cannot imagine all life on Earth for several billions of years did not have some impact on the Earth-atmospheric system. Mankind's fundamental modus operandi as a species is to make tools to change our environment. Lukwarmism cannot claim that situation as their position’s differentiating basis.

Lukewarmists presume mankind’s net impact from burning fossil fuels is some warming as indicated by something called the GMST (global mean surface temperature) and some radiative theory. Fine. However, it is still too presumptive at this very preliminary stage of the development of the science relating to the Earth-atmosphere system. Looking at the positions of Lindzen and others . . . . I see they indicate that added CO2 to the atmosphere 'should' (based on some theories that have not been fully verified in the actual total Earth-atmospheric system by many independent open observations) have a small warming impact on the Earth-atmospheric system if all other dynamics of the Earth-atmospheric system remain equal . . . . I see they do not insist that it is definite that burning fossil fuels has had a measurable net warming impact when all the complex dynamic processes of the Earth-atmospheric system are included with the CO2 effect.

Look at the funding in science on climate for the past +25 years that has been provided in support of the IPCC's mandate to find their presumptive warming from burning fossil fuels. Then look at the funding of science on climate that was given to scientists independent of the position of presuming that burning fossil fuels will warm the Earth-atmospheric system. Look at the gatekeeping by IPCC centric CAGW scientists to block/delay independent scientists from publication so they could be excluded from the IPCC products. I do not doubt that we are at a way to early stage in the science of the Earth-atmospheric system to say there is a balanced scientific product . . . where any future more balanced climate science products cannot be presumed or predicted to support ‘lukewarmism’.

At best I find the concept of 'lukewarmism' to be a mere presumption that is very premature. At worse ‘lukewarmism’ is a non-scientific position.


Apr 22, 2012 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

John Whitman,
As far as I am concerned you are preaching to the converted. I have been following this debate since at least 2007 and am perfectly aware of the weighting of the scales in favour the promoters of the CO2-induced global warming fallacy screaming for immediate action, carbon trading, CO2 sequestration, geo-engineering and the like. But in the face of this sort of urgency plus the spurious claim of consensus, all sceptics, whether lukewarm or - what do we call ourselves? (I don't much like the melodramatic American-comix-style Dragon Slayers label). there is definite common ground in seeing the urgency to tell these idiots to, Hold-on! Desist!, Whoa! Stop!! (Thanks, Phil Harris). And urgency there is: we can't wait for the science of the Earth-atmospheric system to mature, because the alarmists will have already done their damage to world economies) - and God knows what else.

PS I never said Mydog was aggressive. I was thinking more of some people posting on WUWT and the like. The only problem with Mydog as far as I can see is that he will never be able to bring himself to call a spade a spade. That doesn't stop me from enjoying most of his posts and perhaps unlike some here, I do generally get the thrust of his arguments (or should I say argument in the singular?), if not the fine detail.

PPS. I second Pharos' proposition

Apr 22, 2012 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

Sorry about my tendency to prevaricate JiF. I'm more scientist than engineer. However the World is cooling fast:

This shows the effect of the Arctic entering the freeze part of its 70 year cycle. The biofeedback from plankton blooms, which at their peak could be seen from space, reduced Arctic cloud albedo hence much 1990's warming the IPCC thought was from CO2-AGW. The process is now reversing, which CO2-AGW cannot do. QED! I have written the paper.

Apr 22, 2012 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

You find mainstream climatology funny (it is, I agree with you), but you are involved in nanotechnology?

Apr 22, 2012 at 9:40 PM | Registered Commentershub

Shub: we had a programme in the 1980s which integrated in-house technology in a big multinational with nuclear technology. I later transferred lage-scale technologies from Russia to the West: the Russians were 15 years' ahead.

Apr 22, 2012 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

@ shub

he says - Apr 22, 2012 at 4:37 PM

"As a co-founder of the small particle part of nanotechnology, I have a very good grounding in aerosol optical physics so I could not stay silent about this."

tell us more mydog (if you feel free & how you see the future for your work/product) sounds interesting.

Apr 22, 2012 at 10:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

ps- another thing that has always bothered me with IPCC which Bernie may address.
why are scientists from the East/Russia never heard, are any invited to comment ?
it seems to me western imperialism stills calls the shots in a so called global debate.

Apr 22, 2012 at 11:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

'why are scientists from the East/Russia never heard, are any invited to comment ?'

Garth Paltridge told in my formative years of scepticism a decade ago that the Russians were never regarded as sufficiently alarmed by the prospect of warming — the suspicion was they might regard a bit of warming to be a good thing, as it would increase the areas of arable land. As Garth told it, they were deliberately marginalised in the IPCC processes. He (or others) might be able to confirm/provide details.

Apr 22, 2012 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAynsley Kellow

thanks for the reply Aynsley

makes sense (and think i knew that as rumour)
but i wonder/question if this is a global problem, how can they be ignored?

Apr 23, 2012 at 12:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

Science colllapsing under political pressure has here been shown, by looking at the drafting progress of a document (as well as by comparing it to what the executive summary says).

I seem to recall that the IPCC has recently threatened to expel anyone (eg McIntyre) who publicises drafts (thereby upsetting the vital illusion of 'consensus').

Apr 23, 2012 at 6:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterPunksta

dougieh: ideas we had 30 years' ago are still being reinvented. At a 'Town Meeting' in 1987, the Physicists grabbed the funds to keep Culham going and it froze out the mammals.

Hence I went abroad and developed CCS as the market. Now we have corrupt climate science.grabbing the funds and freezing out the mammals. The battle has to start again......

Apr 23, 2012 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered Commentermydogsgotnonose

Shub: it was either nanotechnology or nono(se)-technology, we can't be sure at this stage.

Chris M: you think Lindzen and Monckton are wrong about the harm done by anti-greenhouse speculation then?

Apr 23, 2012 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Chris M: you think Lindzen and Monckton are wrong about the harm done by anti-greenhouse speculation then?

hmmm ... I have watched the relevant part of the clip and don't have a problem with what Prof. Lindzen was saying, which is informed by his expertise. I respect very much Lindzen, Monckton, Roy Spencer & co. for their efforts to bring some rationality back into climate science. The trouble, as I see it, is that the climate battle cannot be won on the basis of scientific argument alone, and so to that extent Lindzen's and Monckton's approach is flawed and misguided. They assume that there is an actual debate and that politicians will listen to the scientists with verifiable facts and logic on their side, forgetting that most politicians are not scientifically literate, and that a sizeable proportion of them believe that wealth redistribution from the West to the third world, however achieved, is a "good thing". That weakening the West will in fact result in harm to poorer countries is beyond the ideological comprehension of such politicians.

Fred Singer in his recent article quoted this politician, now thankfully long retired:

“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony … climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” - Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

So although Prof. Singer agrees with the premise of Lindzen and Monckton, it is clear from the above quote and from the history of the IPCC that it has never been "all about the science". On the evidence of the Climategate emails, it is likely that alarmist climatologists hold people like Lindzen in even greater contempt than the Dragon Slayers and their ilk, because for over 20 long years rational scientific argument has not derailed their gravy train.

My contention is that it doesn't matter if there is some presumed irrationality on the skeptical side, as it is irrelevant to what reasonable politicians need to know, and most of them wouldn't care about the scientific ins and outs anyway. They simply need to be convinced that the climate models have no predictive accuracy, that the world has not warmed for 15 years, and that they were conned by a political ideology they don't agree with. The knowledge that voters are becoming increasingly fed up with the CAGW nonsense and inexorably rising energy costs is a wonderful way of focussing their attention.

Apr 23, 2012 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

John in France @ Apr 22, 2012 at 8:27 PM,

Thank you for your return comment.

Because you made some thoughtful remarks about 'lukewarmers' I seized the moment to give some of my thoughts on 'lukewarmism'. Thank you for the opportunity by your reference to 'lukewarmers'.

I do concur with many of the thrusts of your comments on this BH post.

John (in New York)

Apr 23, 2012 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Whitman

Chris M: did you spot this on February 23rd?

Yesterday I had the pleasure of chairing a packed meeting in the Palace of Westminster (don’t tell the Clerk of the Parliaments), at which Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT spoke even more brilliantly than usual on “global warming”, and engagingly answered many questions from Parliamentarians and the public. Afterwards, Dick went to brief a Cabinet Minister (who shall be nameless, but he is a good egg, and privately regards catastrophic manmade “global warming” as nonsense). The Minister indicated – in effect, and with scarcely-concealed regret – that the party line set by David Cameron in response to various opinion polls, focus groups and other such artifices for identifying and following a consensus rather than setting a lead, and not the objective scientific and economic truth, was likely to remain the basis of UK climate policy.

That's Christopher Monckton writing of course. We'd all agree that governments may take decisions on the wrong basis but I note that Lindzen and Monckton are in the thick of that debate. If they agree that anti-greenhouse speculations, for which there's no firm experimental evidence, are harmful to an outbreak of rationality in policy making that good enough for me. (I'm not saying such opinions should never be aired on blogs like Bishop Hill, Watts Up With That, Climate Etc or The Air Vent - where Jeff Id's recently had massive trouble from a manic poster in this area. But I do think that all parties should take seriously this warning.)

Apr 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

I have a major problem with this libelous sentence, “This was picked up by Frederick Seitz, a notorious Merchant of Doubt associated with the tobacco lobby.” which cites Oreskes propaganda book.

Dr. Seitz was a highly credentialed and respected scientist,

Frederick Seitz, A.B. Mathematics, Stanford University (1932), Ph.D. Physics, Princeton University (1934), Proctor Fellow, Princeton University (1934–1935), Instructor in Physics, University of Rochester (1935–1936), Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Rochester (1936–1937), Research Physicist, General Electric Company (1937–1939), Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Pennsylvania (1939–1941), Associate Professor of Physics, University of Pennsylvania (1941-1942), Professor of Physics, Carnegie Institute of Technology (1942-1949), Research Professor of Physics, University of Illinois (1949-1965), Chairman, American Institute of Physics (1954-1960), President Emeritus, American Physical Society (1961), President Emeritus, National Academy of Sciences (1962-1969), Graduate College Dean, University of Illinois (1964-1965), President Emeritus, Rockefeller University (1968-1978), Franklin Medal (1965), American Institute of Physics Compton Medal (1970), National Medal of Science (1973), (Died: March 2, 2008)

His involvement with the tobacco industry has nothing to do with Oreskes’ smear,

“To find out if the startling claim was true — that Seitz “directed a 45M tobacco industry effort to hide health impacts of smoking” — I called him at his apartment in Manhattan. Unless there is more to the story, the accusation appears to be a willful distortion, if not an outright lie.

“That’s ridiculous, completely wrong,” Seitz told me. “The money was all spent on basic science, medical science,” he said.

According to Seitz, the CEO of RJ Reynolds — the tobacco company — was on the board of Rockefeller University while Seitz was a full-time employee there. “He was not a scientist,” Seitz said of the executive, but he believed in supporting the University’s dedication to basic research — in a little over a century, Rockefeller University has had 23 Nobel Prize winners affiliated with it, in fields of medicine and chemistry. RJ Reynolds allocated $5 million a year to Seitz to direct basic research.

To figure out how to distribute the money, Seitz says he assembled some top folks in different fields of scientific research — such as James Shannon, the director of the National Institutes of Health for 13 years, and Maclyn McCarty, the legendary geneticist — to help direct the funds.

What kind of research did they support? Seitz mentioned the work of Stanley Prusiner, who won the Nobel prize for his research into prions (Prusiner even thanks Seitz and RJ Reynolds in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech which you can read here).

When I asked Seitz if he ever spent money to try to debunk a link between smoking and ill-health, he said no. When I asked him if he himself had ever denied a link between smoking and cancer, Seitz (who, remember, is almost 100 years old) again said no and told me “my father was a 19th century man, and even he told me from when I was young that there was a connection between smoking and cancer” and that “we often talked about the hazards of smoking.” In other words, Seitz was aware of the ill-effects of smoking for a very long time, and has never tried to deny that.”

You can read more here,

Sep 7, 2012 at 5:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPoptech

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