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Zickfeld folly - Josh 199

James Annan writes on his blog here

"Interestingly, one of them stated quite openly in a meeting I attended a few years ago that he deliberately lied in these sort of elicitation exercises (i.e. exaggerating the probability of high sensitivity) in order to help motivate political action."

Great, nice to know. However I am not sure if regular readers here are surprised. 

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (21)

Nine GREEN Bottles hanging on the wall
Nine GREEN Bottles hanging on the wall
And if one GREEN Bottle should accidentally fall.......

Feb 3, 2013 at 9:34 PM | Registered Commenterpeterwalsh

Good cause! It is a pathetic doomsday cult feeding, as they all do, on ignorance & fear with profit/power as the motive.

That's why they lie.

Feb 3, 2013 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

No surprise, and you can bet his CAGW colleagues won't have a problem with his behaviour, just as with Gleick's Heartland affair. It's all for the Cause, after all.

Feb 3, 2013 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

Nice one, Josh!

Seems to me, though, that perhaps this unnamed "confessor" was following in the "climate change communication" footsteps of the late, great, Saint Stephen of Stanford.

Although I suspect he doesn't walk alone, along this particular path.

Feb 3, 2013 at 11:03 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Excerpt from Andy Revkin's NYT blog dated January 26, 2010:-

Last March, more than 100 past lead authors of report chapters met in Hawaii to chart next steps for the panel’s inquiries. One presenter there was John R. Christy, a climatologist at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, who has focused on using satellites to chart global temperatures. He was a lead author of a section of the third climate report, in 2001, but is best known these days as a critic of the more heated warnings that climate is already unraveling under the buildup of heat-trapping gases.

At the Hawaii meeting, he gave a presentation proposing that future reports contain a section providing the views of credentialed scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature whose views on particular points differ from the consensus. He provided both his poster and summary of his three-minute talk. In an e-mail message to me, he described the reaction this way (L.A. is short for lead author; AR5 is shorthand for the next report, coming in 2013-14.):

'The reception to my comments was especially cold … not one supporter, though a couple of scientists did say I had a “lot of guts” to stand up and say what I said before 140 L.A.s. I was (and still am) calling for the AR5 to be a more open scientific assessment in which those of us who are well-credentialed and have evidence for low climate sensitivity (observational and theoretical) be given room to explain this. We should have the same standards of review authority too. When a subject is excruciatingly complicated, like climate, we see that opinion, overstatement, and appeal-to-authority tend to reign as those of a like-mind essentially take control in their self-constructed echo-chamber. The world needs to see all sides of the evidence. We in the climate business need to understand humility, not pride, when looking at a million degrees-of-freedom problem. It’s just fine to say, “We don’t know,” when that is the truth of the matter.'

Feb 3, 2013 at 11:23 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Feb 3, 2013 at 10:29 PM | NW

just as with Gleick's Heartland affair. It's all for the Cause, after all.

Which reminds me, I should have added to my comment above that Gleick's Pacific Institute is, apparently, still being guided by the late, great Saint Stephen - from beyond the grave, so to speak:

Advisory Board
Dr. Stephen H. Schneider (In Memoriam)

Feb 4, 2013 at 12:08 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Stephen Schneider was one of the interviewees for the Zickfield et al paper.

Annan's speculation on his blog is that people could have lied in the other direction as well.

These are the interviewees:
Stephen Schneider
Tom Karl
S Rahmstorf
Andrew Weaver
Tom Wigley
Collins M
Flato G
Allen M
Knutti R
Schlesinger M
Senior C
Stainforth D
Stone P

Any guesses who it might have been that deliberately gave higher estimates for climate sensitivity, higher that surely what their own tainted scientific insight spoke to them? Or, what about those likely to lie and give a lower sensitivity than they think it to be?

Feb 4, 2013 at 12:22 AM | Registered Commentershub

I'll take the claim with a pinch of salt. Not James Annan's report but the claim it is based on - the scientist trying to make themselves look like an activist. We have no idea whether it is a confession or fantasy.

Feb 4, 2013 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

I like the "Zero Truth Draft" brings to mind "Zero / Dark Truthy"

Feb 4, 2013 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

Thanks, Shub

This list does not surprise me (nor, I suspect would it surprise any others in this congregation!)

Of particular interest to me, is the presence of Canada's very own (self-proclaimed) "conservative scientist", Andrew "barrage of intergalactic ballistic missiles" Weaver who is one of the Lead Authors for AR5's WG1, Ch.12 (which, unless I'm mistaken, is the subject of Amman's critique!)

I rather liked Amman's concluding sentence:

It looks rather like the IPCC authors have invented this meme as some sort of talismanic mantra to defend themselves against having to actually deal with the recent literature.

As, in effect, an acting PR agent for Greenpeace, and candidate for (and proud to be Deputy Leader of) the BC Green Party in the forthcoming May 14 provincial election, Weaver seems to have a penchant for memes and "talismanic mantras".

All of which would seem to preclude any need for him to acknowledge that wearing his deep-green heart on his sleeve does put him in "somewhat of a pickle" vis a vis the IPCC's claim that its authors constitute a stable of "objective, transparent, inclusive, talent" [at least according to Pachauri, and who would know better than him, eh?!]

Conflict of interest? Weaver? Nah ... his candidacy has been officially "endorsed" by none other than Saint David "of very dubious double-standards" Suzuki. So, of course, that makes his IPCC role entirely "kosher", from a conflict of interest perspective.

Not to mention Weaver's continued willingness to rest on the false laurels of "[winning] the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sharing the prize with Al Gore".

[For more on Weaver, pls see IPCC Lead Author’s “passion for politics”]

Feb 4, 2013 at 1:31 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

...of Amman's critique!)

I rather liked Amman's concluding sentence

Sorry, pls make those both "Annan" not "Amman"

Feb 4, 2013 at 1:52 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

'As, in effect, an acting PR agent for Greenpeace, and candidate for (and proud to be Deputy Leader of) the BC Green Party in the forthcoming May 14 provincial election, Weaver seems to have a penchant for memes and "talismanic mantras".'

Has there been a scientist who proved worthy of the name that did this sort of thing?

Feb 4, 2013 at 2:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

It seems that to be in this homogeneous group of self-proclaimed experts, you cannot have a very low value for sensitivity because that would put you out of the orthodox paradigm altogether (the paradigm being that there is such a thing as sensitivity, and it can be estimated by a what-if mental exercise of 'double the CO2', with added water vapour amplification). You can quote as high a value as you want because there is always room to accommodate high values in some or the other model, or some or the other corner of the paleo record, with the added advantage of high values being useful for the cause. In other words, there is no penalty for believing in high values. So, a study like Zickfield's is more useful as an indicator of how scientific orthodoxy influences and constrains (sic) values for the putative sensitivity parameter, rather than any useful scientific estimate of sensitivity itself.

Look at the lackeys for the consensus. They hold opinions about sensitivity much in the same range as the experts. In other words, expert opinion is indistinguishable from activist/partisan belief.

Feb 4, 2013 at 2:51 AM | Registered Commentershub

It is worse than we thought..... In a previous comment in 2010, Annan was a bit more specific that the person proud to lie to such 'expert' surveys had in fact 'openly advocated' such behavior among scientists, I.e., had tried to persuade fellow scientists to do the same in order to 'encourage action'.... AND it is mentioned that said person is one of the Zickfeld 14:

James Annan, June 30 to July 2, 2010

[emphasis added]

James Annan 1/7/10 4:30 pm

Well talking of AR5, the two CLAs plus two more authors on the most relevant chapter (long term climate change) are in this set of 14 - and none of them are the sane #4...(ok I accept several of the other pdfs are not really too ridiculous either).

Incidentally one participant in this new work is the person I think I mentioned some time ago who openly advocated exaggerating in opinion polls such as this in order to encourage "action".

....and the Annan also said this in the same comment thread:
[emphasis added]

James Annan 2/7/10 7:22 am
It's the very high probabilities for high sensitivity that I object to - there really is no evidence at all for this, and lots against, once you realise that the widespread praxis of "take a uniform prior and ignore almost all the data" is pathological and guarantees a long fat tail irrespective of what the observations are.

[It's not as if there isn't a mountain of evidence positively pointing to ~3C either.]

Feb 4, 2013 at 2:58 AM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Feb 4, 2013 at 2:29 AM | Theo Goodwin

Has there been a scientist who proved worthy of the name that did this sort of thing?

Not that I'm aware of. Perhaps Weaver should have taken some lessons from 'Rocket Scientist', Marc Garneau - who seems to have "paid his dues" - scientifically, managerially, and politically - without tainting himself, as Weaver has done with his blatant advocacy and activism.

Feb 4, 2013 at 3:21 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

Well, let us try narrrowing down the possibilities, if we can:

From what Annan seems to have heard, it would appear that the person was used to/familiar with exercises of this sort, and gave his/her opinion which was already formed on the matter. The repeat participants in Zickfield et al 2010 were #2, 3, 6, and #8 (of figure 5). The repeat participants, from Annan's blog, are: Tom Karl, Tom Wigley, Stephen Schneider and Stone.

We now know that 4 IPCC authors were in the poll, and none of them had 'sane' estimates. From the relevant chapter, these are: Matthew Collins, Reto Knutti, Myles Allen, and Andrew Weaver. (Note that Zickfeld herself is a contributing author to the chapter but you cannot count her ;))

Three of the polled experts were in a Nature paper Stainforth et al 2005 which derived high upper values for sensitivity, which Annan criticized: These are Myles Allen, Stainforth and Matthew Collins

Stainforth has a paper (Do probabilistic expert elicitations capture
scientists' uncertainty about climate change?
), arguing that elicitation exercises underestimate true uncertainty (as in, experts rule out higher values that they ought not be able to). Interestingly enough, Annan co-authored a survey paper himself where they found a significant fraction (~20%) of polled climate scientists were agreed that the IPCC AR4 overestimated the magnitude of the CO2-effect on climate. Eos, the AGU trade magazine, refused to publish their paper.

Feb 4, 2013 at 5:23 AM | Registered Commentershub

Is there any one of our MPs who is capable of representing his/her electorate's interests when it comes to climate/energy policy? If so that MP should table a question in Parliament asking what value of climate sensitivity the government's energy policy is based on and how/when the policy will be revised if research shows that value is too high.

Of course our energy and environment ministers might not understand such a question (ignorance is no bar to advancement in politics) but they would have to ask their civil servants who, if they did not understand it themselves, would have to ask someone who did understand it, or claimed to do so!

Feb 4, 2013 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Huhne TTS,

GWPF may be down but so is Guido - at Southwark Crown Court.

Feb 4, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Perhaps it should be brought to the attention of HM Government in general and the DECC in particular, that one or more of the 'scientists' involved in advising the IPCC in their 4th Assessment on climate sensitivity, LIED to 'help motivate political action'.
In other words: the whole basis of 'climate change' on which you are charging us, the voters, with subsidies, feed-in tariffs and all the other taxes and the like to get us to 'decarbonise' our lives, is likely to be shown to be an exaggeration at best, and downright untrue at worst.
In the meantime, as Danny Forston reports in The Sunday Times, we are heading for rolling power cuts...
(P.S. Won't be a lot of good having trains which can scoot between London and Manchester at 225mph, if they're stuck in sidings because there's no power, will it..?)

Feb 4, 2013 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

(P.S. Won't be a lot of good having trains which can scoot between London and Manchester at 225mph, if they're stuck in sidings because there's no power, will it..?)

They've thought of that. Smart meters and computerised grid control will mean that the nice green trains keep running. They cant cut the power to the sink estates because the inhabitants will riot, so guess who gets the power cuts?

Feb 4, 2013 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

Cherchez la Gabrielle.

Feb 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

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