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« Wind in the doldrums | Main | Selfie Mann - Josh 294 »

Watts up with Mann?

This is a guest post by Katabasis.

It’s been an interesting few days, having attended both the Cook and Mann talks and have some valuable meetings (many for the first time) with other climate sceptics. I wanted to share a perspective that deviates somewhat from what appears to be an emerging – er – ‘consensus’ among a number of the people I had the pleasure to spend time with over the last week or so. There has been discussion in person, here and over at WUWT regarding the pursuit of some kind of rapprochement with the mainstream of climate science and climate scientists. A significant feature of the conversation thus far appears to be concern over the fractious nature of the debate, especially online. In particular there have been concerns raised regarding the effect on, and perception of, sceptics more generally as a result of the more angry and impassioned amongst us.

I want to offer something of a counterpoint. I want to, instead, make a few points in defence of angry sceptics.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sympathetic to the arguments made thus far in favour of maintaining calm, polite discourse. However, I think it’s important to remember that you can’t control other people’s reactions – and that’s where most of the anger resides, anger in response to perceived provocations. Moreover I don’t think the anger is going to let up any time soon, even if some of us ‘angry sceptics’ mellow somewhat – new sceptics are joining the fold every day, and many of them are pissed off from the moment they’ve ‘turned’ to climate realism.


Let’s review the two Cabot Institute talks. First we had Cook repackaging his “97% consensus” propaganda for the hapless Bristol audience. I say ‘hapless’ because at no point in his presentation was there even the slightest acknowledgement that his work – and the prior efforts that had inspired it – had come under such severe and comprehensive criticism that it was holed below the waterline. If one of my papers had received that kind of criticism I think I would have been embarrassed to even mention it in public, never mind carry out high profile presentations of it, hoping that mere repetition of memes would carry me through.

As I mentioned over at WUWT,[1] I found the whole presentation highly offensive. Cook continues the proud tradition of the ‘team’ where they paint a cartoon image of a sceptic in crayon on the wall and then go through a clown-dancing performance of `dialogue' with the gurning visage of primary colours they’ve splattered in front of them. Just the criticisms and points Cook received in the Q & A afterwards should have shattered that image of ‘sceptics’ as defined by the Skeptical Séance team for the undecided in the audience. Or at least one would hope. His presentation was largely fact free drivel and assertion that his research was right. It was the classic ‘team’ bait and switch of asserting an authoritative consensus over a modest area (the ‘basic physics’ of CO2) and then arguing through direct implication that this applied to an astronomically wider domain (catastrophic outcomes).  This is despite his work having been comprehensively monstered by José Duarte[2] and many others.  I even cited Duarte’s work in my own question to Cook, highlighting the inclusion of numerous, ridiculously inappropriate, papers in the measure of the ‘consensus’.  A point which, like all of the others, he airily dismissed whilst going on to trail the politician’s path of answering the question he would have preferred you had asked.

Then there was Mann. There has already been significant commenting here and elsewhere regarding the bizarrely short Q and A at the end. James Delingpole[3] has noted that Mann even posted about it on Facebook. As I noted in the comments, Mann and his sychophants  are backslapping eachother over how it `speaks volumes',  that `there were no questions at all from the climate change denier contingent that supposedly had come out in force'. There weren’t many hands up it is true, but I know for sure that mine and Barry’s were two of them.   I noticed that Mann had also taken the liberty of deleting Barry’s perfectly polite and reasonable replies on that thread.

The primary thrust of Mann’s talk, prior to slating as many perceived enemies as he could, was ‘going large’ on the bait and switch I mentioned above. He even used an identical slide to Cook on the `many lines of evidence' that support AGW. He emphasised the venerability of the ‘basic science’ and then machine gunned the audience with imagery of extreme weather. Every single damn point he made about extreme weather from then on in, as far as I can tell, is unsupported by AR5. And yet the audience lapped it up. There must have been dozens of academics in the audience who just swallowed it uncritically. There was no mention of the ‘hiatus’ (his x axis stopped shortly after the year 2000 on temperature graphs); Cook on the other hand explicitly denied it using the famous Sceptical Séance ‘escalator graph'.[4].  This is despite the fact that the ‘hiatus’ is now a major topic of discussion in the ‘mainstream’ of climate science – I can verify this personally as it was brought up regularly by the IPCC scientists present at the ‘RSclimate’ event last year.[5]

Cook, Mann and many of the other members of ‘the team’ are wilfully deceptive. They should have been laughed off the stage, not applauded. I’m not willing to accept the ‘Noble cause corruption’ narrative and neither, it seems, are some others.  This isn’t just individual failure, it’s institutional. And that’s where it really sticks in the craw for me. And it drives much of my anger, as well as that of the people who I have successfully introduced to climate scepticism/realism. 

The wellspring of that anger deserves proper articulation. There’s a quote attributed to Martin Luther King that I have always liked that is apposite:

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

If any of those reading consider themselves part of the ‘climate mainstream’, then I urge you to meditate on the above carefully when reading what follows as it applies to you on several levels.

When I am introducing someone to the sceptical range of views an exercise I often use  is to give them a link to the IPCC WG1 report (now AR5, previously I linked them to AR4). I then invite them to pick three chapters at random – any three whatsoever (other than the Summary for Policymakers (SPM)) – and skim them (or read them in full if they have the time) and come back to me with their impressions. I experience the same response every time and indeed, it matches my own. Reading the report’s individual chapters (sans the SPM), one comes away with the impression of a scholarly, ponderous document. Lots of caveats, uncertainties, doubts, gaps and so on are clearly articulated. In short, it is what one generally expects from academic output. Then the anger flows in. It is a painfully sharp contrast to the mainstream narratives. Within those there’s disaster lurking at any moment, around every corner. It’s always ‘worse than we thought’. The climate science establishment are unanimous in agreeing that thermageddon is imminent – they’re 95% certain, in fact! About every aspect of the topic!

At this point the brakes screech. The red lights start flashing. As I get older each year, the people I introduce to sceptical books, blogs and insights become ever younger.  They move ever closer to that group of young men and women just entering adulthood who have not seen global warming for their entire lives. Yet they’ve been indoctrinated right from the very start. Many come out of our education fearful for the future, as our host has amply demonstrated.[6]

They are told incessantly that the world is dying, there isn’t much hope without urgent and extreme action, and it’s all their fault for living with some creature comforts.  We’re drowning in something, but it isn’t rising sea levels. It’s prognostications of doom in a legion of screaming litanies that continually fail to occur as advertised. Why hasn’t action been taken? It’s those evil ‘deniers’ and their tobacco/oil/[insert idiocy] industry backing spreading doubt and preventing action. Except it isn’t. The ‘mainstream’ of climate science is chock full of doubts, including about the hysterical prophecies of the reverend Al Gore and sychophants. The heart rate rises, respiration increases. A state of low level adrenal emergency is entered.  Why didn’t they tell us? Why have our school teachers, our media, our parents, our climate science establishment not reined in the irresponsible activist-scientists and their supporters in advocate groups? Angry? You bet.

And that’s just among the general public. What of those of us who have, or have had, a continuing relationship with academia? Some of the reactions I’ve witnessed there have eclipsed even my white hot reaction.

Of my friends and family who take an interest in sincere discussion on these issues, those with a more political bent I sent to Pointman’s blog.[7] Those of a more philosophical to Ben Pile’s.[8] For those of my friends pursuing academic careers however, I sent them to Duarte’s holdout. Duarte does two things particularly well – he provides a comprehensive and scholarly critique of recent Cook and Lewandowsky offerings. He also proffers a very particular kind of outrage. That of the academic betrayed.

I felt exactly the same when I turned fully to climate scepticism/realism. As I discussed this week with Barry Woods and Richard Drake, I was working in a lab at the time. I still regarded the scientific and academic establishments as the last hold out for hope. It didn’t matter that political and economic wrangling was hopelessly fragged. Science and the quest for an ever clearer insight into the ways of the world, led by paragons of integrity, would see us through. Or so I naively believed.  Discovering that a substantive area of science had let itself be presented in such a monstrous form in the public eye was an extremely bitter pill to swallow indeed.

I discovered that being a climate sceptic in the ivory towers was dangerous. It’s why I maintain a veneer of pseudonymity still. I can’t express the anger or bitterness at the sense of extreme betrayal in the written word, though I’ve often burst my top with expletives on the subject online and off. To find that the bladder bursting conniptions of our literati concerning our imminent doom as a result of our carbon sins is in fact an exaggeration of the facts off the scale even when compared to the famous UK ‘dodgy dossier’ on Iraq was, for a budding academic, the worst betrayal.

I didn’t sign up for this. Duarte didn’t sign up for this. Nor did any of my friends and colleagues in my age group who planned a career either in, or closely related to academia. The covenant has been broken. It’s precisely this kind of hyperbole that they should exist in order to rein in, to let cooler heads prevail. But there’s no ponderous pontification here, the overheated chicken littles run the roost whilst the ‘mainstream’ of climate science appears to sit comfortably, keeping eggs warm for the future.  I’ve met a few of you in person now. You tell me, quietly, that you don’t agree with the hysteria at all, and that it’s clear from your published work.

Not good enough.

Some of you may remember from my report on the ‘RSclimate’ event that I challenged Mat Collins on this issue.  That’s the same Mat Collins who is the Joint Met Office Chair in Climate Change.  When I asked why he and others didn’t attempt to rein in the hysterics, who do not represent what the IPCC actually says, he said it wasn’t his responsibility. More recently, at the Walker Institute annual lecture, on climate change communication, myself and Barry Woods questioned none other than the government’s chief scientific adviser himself, Mark Walport. I put it to him that AR5 did not support catastrophic conclusions with any certainty. He responded that when he said climate change was going to be ‘bad’ he did not mean ‘catastrophic’. He failed to provide a definition of ‘bad’. This was the keynote lecture for a climate change communication outfit. If he can’t communicate something so important that is so very easily misconstrued into the worst case scenario to someone like myself who is relatively well informed on the topic, what hope the general public?

In short, there seems to be no stomach amongst the ‘mainstream’ climate establishment to do anything very much to counter the incredibly pernicious effect of our Cooks, Manns, Lewandowskys and Hansens. You don’t seem to realise that the public already lumps all of you together and some of us who know better are at the end of their tether in trying to maintain that distinction.  The effort is a law of diminishing returns – why should we attempt to lift you out of a hole you continue to keep digging deeper? History won’t care what your inscrutable paywalled article actually said. Neither will the general public. They’ll care that you didn’t speak out when you should have. That you allowed everyone who raised objections be painted as part of some shady conspiracy funded by billions in filthy lucre.  That you allowed their children to be terrified by a vision of monstrous and hopeless futures. The anger is going to continue to grow until a significant portion of the climate mainstream steps up to the plate, and would be well advised to do so before the leash well and truly snaps.

Whilst I’m loathe to use a Socialist Worker Party slogan here, this one is entirely apt:

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?











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Reader Comments (139)

Great post Katabasis.

Sep 26, 2014 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterSJF

Katabasis, That is a terrific post. I agree with every word you say.

Sep 26, 2014 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered Commentermeltemian

The last line gives away that Katabasis is a right winger and the majority of his colleagues plus probably 95% of the audience watching Mann are socialists, liberals or greens. Sure they know deep-down that the science is probably hokey but it is a means to the desired end of oil-based politics.

Yes the policy decides the science and it always did so there is no point moaning about Mann spending more time berating the oil industry and oil-funded republicans - that is his entire raison d'etre. The need for oil starts expensive (in lives and money) oil patch wars, supports the overthrow of elected left-wing governments and the cuddling up to right-wing dictators. The Iraq war was orchestrated by right-wingers because Saddam disrupted the oil flow and even their beloved Obama didn't worry about Syria at all but he worries now that the conflict has entered oil-rich Iraq. Lefties are are wedded to the idea that we could invent our way out of the oil 'addiction' if only we had leaders that thought using oil was worse than not using it. And yes there is an element of guilt there because they drive cars too but only because (in their minds) the oil industries buy up and prevent all 'clean-burning' alternatives. Coal, which socialists used to love, seems to be an unintended victim: They can't pretend that most of the manmade CO2 comes from coal but they can't allow cracks in their thin armour of self-righteousness to appear either.

By contrast I'd guess Katabasis in common with most right-wingers only looked more closely at the shaky scientific foundations of AGW because the policy meant higher taxation. And most right wingers of course prefer to believe that the Iraq war was about the liberalisation of some brown people that they couldn't even place on a map and that it is really regulation rather than the lack of it that caused the financial crisis - and (gawdelpus) the great depression before it.

Alas too many folk only believe either what their flawed political dogmata instructs them to believe or what their paymaster tells them they should believe.

Sep 26, 2014 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I agree with much of what you say. The question is: can Mann, Lewandowsky, Cook and some others be isolated from the "mainstream" of climate science? I have heard several very mainstream practitioners express dismay at some of their behaviour, and that of their acolytes: at the exaggeration, alarmism and witch-hunting zeal which we all know disfigures the climate debate. Generally they say such things in private. But it does seem to me that the common ground between some in the mainstream and some considered sceptic - and so accused of being "deniers" - is quite big. Can we build on that common ground? I hope and believe we can, although I accept I may well be proven wrong. In any event, I think it is worth the effort.

Sep 26, 2014 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Rose

It’s worth noting that different countries are at different stages of AGW mania. Because US politics is much more polarised than in the UK, they haven’t gone as far down the path to cutting CO2 as us. They have more clear cut scientists than we have, for and against. We already emit a lot less CO2, have higher energy costs and can see the effects of uncontrolled renewables on our limited countryside. Anti capitalism is rife in our culture and there’s no such thing as right wing tv to put the case for success and the benefits of capitalism. We can see politicians on all sides flirting with unquestioning green ideals. While we tend by nature to be less angry than Americans, we’ve got more reason to be cross.

Sep 26, 2014 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

“Staying silent is like a slow growing cancer to the soul and a trait of a true coward. There is nothing intelligent about not standing up for yourself. You may not win every battle. However, everyone will at least know what you stood for - YOU.”

― Shannon L. Alder

From Thoughtful Mind

Sep 26, 2014 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrianJay

Apart from "Warm Words" the paper whose name I could not recall was "Rules of the Game" published by Futerra on behalf of Defra, DTI, Environment Agency, Carbon Trust, Energy Saving Trust and the UK Climate Impacts Programme. As the document states on its cover "The game is communicating climate change; the rules will help us win it". Warm Words is a very detailed discussion of how to implement the strategy. It has been followed to this day with massing funding support from the UK government and the EU.

Sep 26, 2014 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

"A few points in defence of angry sceptics"
Brilliantly put Katabasis, thank you so much.

Sep 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered Commentertoad

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Ahh, the silence of the labs (The 'M' is also silent, as in Mann).

Well said Katabasis

Sep 26, 2014 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

JamesG: [my bold]

By contrast I'd guess Katabasis in common with most right-wingers only looked more closely at the shaky scientific foundations of AGW because the policy meant higher taxation.
Defending higher taxation is a whole different ball game, James. If you're happy that the state can take more and more of your hard-earned, fair enough, but don't expect everyone else to join you in your Utopian dream. Personally, I am of the persuasion that the state makes a lousy spender - of my money. If you think that makes me a 'right-winger', so be it; my family think of me as the provider, not the state..

Sep 26, 2014 at 2:11 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Climate Change is a political movement driven by extreme socialists and communists. The scientists gave them a way in and they have taken full advantage of it. To pretend that Mann or Cook have any further part in this whole thing is pointless. No-one in the "Movement" cares what Mann, Hansen, Curry, or any of the scientists say. Did you not watch the so called climate marches. There was no comprehension or understanding of the complexity of the science. Capitalism causes climate change...climate change is bad...socialism will cure climate change...socialism is good.
It can only be fought on a political front and the weapons of politics are ridicule, propaganda, deception, bribery, corruption and as a last resort, disenfranchisement, ostracism, imprisonment, banishment and murder.
It is more important to play an effective political game than any amount of waffling about, statistics and sensitivity, pauses and extra sea ice. No-one cares.

Sep 26, 2014 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Katabasis has articulated what many of us have been thinking. Thank you for that.

What can we do about the climate change alarmism? A few honest scientists are publishing their work but the alarmist movement, the BBC and the rest of the MSM will make sure that the public never hear the good news.

When this is all over, and I believe it will some day, the cost in terms of deaths and money squandered, destruction of our energy industry and loss of manufacturing will be enormous. Should we forgive and forget the people responsible? Should we subsequently hold them to account and ask them to justify their actions?

This century has brought increasing scientific evidence that the threats of AGW and extreme climate were exaggerated. Yet, the alarmist rhetoric continues. I personally feel that we are approaching the point when enough is enough. Finding a solution is not easy. All I can think of is that we record the excesses of those who seek to advance and exploit alarmism in the hope that we can expose their actions at some stage in the future when these events are reviewed. I can already envisage a list of public figures, some organisations and various activists who have played a major role in engineering our misfortunes.

Sep 26, 2014 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

"In short, there seems to be no stomach amongst the ‘mainstream’ climate establishment to do anything very much to counter the incredibly pernicious effect of our Cooks, Manns, Lewandowskys...."

Well, Bristol University invited all 3 of these people over so that suggests a good level of support by the climate establishment for their views doesn't it??

Sep 26, 2014 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Lapogus (Sep 26, 2014 at 12:47 PM): I read it – okay, I confess, I started to read it, but then reverted to skimming over it – the first paragraph raising my hackles. I have submitted a comment, but do not expect it to get past moderation. At risk of offended the Bishop, I’ll give you a peek:

A very emotive title. If the accuracy of your first paragraph is an indication of the rest of the article, then it might be advisable to tell folks who want facts not to bother reading further.

Now, the threat is “climate disruption”… As we are talking about a rather nebulous concept that is climate, how can we identify it as “disrupted”? What has been disrupted in the annual cycle of monsoons in Asia? How can anyone identify disruption to the notoriously fickle climate of the UK?

None of the extremes that we are told are now the norm are actually, well, extreme – unless you mean extremely quiet. The world has had flood, droughts, heatwaves and cold snaps every year for eternity; the only things that vary are the location, intensity and length; what is happening now is that few of these events are as severe as they have been in the past. Is that what you mean by “extreme”?

“Greenhouse gasses” are bunkum – go out and observe the plummeting temperatures on a clear, cloudless night for evidence of that – so why are we to fear the slight increase of a tiny proportion of the atmosphere?

Finally, if you wish us all to abandon use of fossil fuels, why not lead by example? Get rid of your SUV; stop travelling the world (first class?) to spread your message – use video conferencing, if you have to; have your air-con units removed, and your heating boilers; install solar panels for you water; PV panels and a windmill in your garden for you electricity. Show us all how it should be done. Then, and only then, can you really expect people to take you seriously.

(Dang the typos! Why are they never obvious until after posting?)

Sep 26, 2014 at 3:29 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

While well said Katabasis in many ways, one must learn to choose their battles. I'll have another post this weekend explaining some of the reasoning I have about that event.

Sep 26, 2014 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Watts

An outstanding essay that needs to be widely circulated.

Sep 26, 2014 at 4:49 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

And yet the extreme scenario is still treated as reality by otherwise apparently sane people. On twitter yesterday I was told that I did not understand risk analysis by a recent PhD who would have been in short trousers in 1997 - so I am not confident of the next generation's ability to withstand the activists.

Sep 26, 2014 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterjheath

I wrote something very similar on a blog (no name no packdrill) and it was blocked. These people talk about risk analysis but demostrate absolutely zero understanding. Oh Yes it sounds good but it's empty retoric. The problem is that they think they really do understand risk.

Sep 26, 2014 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards


Well written. Could not agree more.

If you don't like to quote the Socialists, how about this:

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis". Dante

Sep 26, 2014 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered Commentertetris

I generally agree. I wonder if there is a generation gap here. I notice that 50 something doctors are much smarter and better quality than 30 somethings. I asked one what newspaper she read. She couldn't tell me. That's why I asked her.

Sep 26, 2014 at 5:32 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Katabasis, an excellent post.

I would find it very difficult to forgive the main alarmists i.e. man, cook, hand-sen and sling-oh. But I am sure many climate scientists really are trying to obtain a better understanding of the science.

Following the two Bristol lectures my impression is that they both suffer from schizophrenia. This was especially pertinent when following a statement something on the lines of; the science is irrefutably settled, you must change the way you live your lives, Dr Mann said, "I'm a sceptic".

Sep 26, 2014 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

The quotation with which Katabasis closed his (brilliant) post reminded me of the one attributed to the great Hillel:

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
And when I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?

Sep 26, 2014 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRamspace

An impressive and thought-provoking post. This topic, the collaboration by default of so many people with relevant expertise who could have helped weaken the monster of climate alarmism in its infancy, will surely deserve several volumes all to itself when The People's Encyclopedia of the Great CO2 Panic comes to be compiled. I am one such collaborator by default, albeit in a tiny way - I studied atmospheric physics in the 1970s, and then abandoned it in the 80s and 90s , remaining unaware of just what an earth-shattering movement was building up until my retirement earlier this century gave me time and occasion to take another look. I felt a bit like some Rip van Winkle coming round.

Now we have a fully-grown monster, a veritable virtual Hydra which has found its way into many areas of society and into institutions, some of which, the Royal Society for instance, ought to have fought it tooth and nail from the outset. The hard left, like many a millennial cult before them, hates existing society and wants it destroyed in order to pave the way for a paradise to follow. We saw the hideous death and destruction they brought to Germany and then to most of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. We saw even more, by body count at least, in the USSR and in Mao's China. All with the best of intentions of course. We know the hard-left is the breeding ground and feedstock for fascism and communism, and we know both are catastrophically awful. Well, now they have 'climate change is caused by capitalism' to add to their repertoire of catchphrases. Only minutes ago, WUWT published video interviews of some of this feedstock at the New York march last Sunday. They are just the footsoldiers. The San Francisco/Oakland rally/march was by some accounts even more revealing than the New York one for insight into this. At the other end of the social scale, we have the destructive Club of Rome, buildings full of UN agencies, and layers and layers of consultancies and NGOs who have all spotted advantage in parroting cries of alarm about our CO2 and climate variation. Some prominent politicians have stated that they would not be deflected from 'The Cause' even if the science were shown to be wrong. We know the likes of Naomi Klein would be agitating for exactly the same things even if no climate crisis had been invented for her tactical advantage, and the advantage of others with her disposition.

Thus, even if more and more scientists came forward to say 'Hold on a moment!', their effect might be miniscule for quite some time. Whatever time it takes for a massive change in widely-held beliefs in the public square, a change with no obvious benefits for the existing political and scientific and educational and even religious establishments. Other than helping deflect one almight mess being made of a decent shot at civilisation. The best shot yet, with tremendous achievements to its credit, almost all of them thanks to affordable energy and the free exchange of ideas and the opportunities to trade and compete in free markets - what the left like to call 'capitalism' in other words. I call it what good and decent human beings will get up to if given half a chance.

Guido has a new slogan on his blog today. It is heading in the right direction. The slogan is:

Green Crap? - Nein Danke!

Not very profound perhaps, but then neither is the case for alarm over CO2 and for the promotion of so much thatl that has followed from it.

Sep 26, 2014 at 5:56 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade


"Sceptics ... the facts show that (e.g. 17 years without warming)

Poor example. 9 of the ten warmest years on record have occured since 1998. The warmest to date is 2010, followed by 2005 and 2007.. 1998 is fourth. Look at the numbers .

What were you saying about facts?

Sep 26, 2014 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Boy is that an irrelevant comment from Entropic man?

Sep 26, 2014 at 6:19 PM | Registered Commentershub


2. I am not angry at anybody. Manns and Cooks are dangerous but unlikely to be aware of it: I am horrified by them not hateful. The Betts's and Edwards's and Hawkins's elicit in me frustration (and a steady stream of sarcasm): they just can't get into their heads that when the extremists will get in charge, they will look for heretics more than for infidels.

Stalin focused on eliminating any Communist that would not think Stalin's way. Even Islamic terrorism has killed and is killing many more Muslims than non-Muslims. Likewise, there is nothing more dangerous to Richard's or Tamsin's career than an arch-warmist.

Remember Wagner and Dear Kev.

Sep 26, 2014 at 10:01 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos"

Interesting point Omnologos, (my bolding).
When the Romans executed the early Christians their point of view was that Rome did not tolerate heresy and Christians were seen as heretics.

When the inquisition first began, their purpose was to stamp out heresy which is why the Jews were tolerated; until the torturers ran out of easily found Christian heretics.

In Russia, significant purges were committed against those who would be in the best position to assume power or attempt a coup; especially those closest to the Premier. Stalin was particularly fastidious in cleaning house of 'near believers' or those whom Stalin believed had betrayed him.

Quite recently in Iraq, Saddam Hussein followed the Stalin example on a regular basis. While being related to Saddam meant one got a good job, those who were perceived as popular tended to vanish. Maybe it wasn't so good to be related to Saddam...

The hijackers of Climate Science along with other white coat disciplines where bad science is not only tolerated, but demanded are in a very precarious position. There is significant effort devoted to requiring adherence to can only be described by the honest as bad science. Frightfully weak science that fails any rigorous review which is why the 'climate team' refuses to actively 'debate' their science live.

These cads keep themselves walled behind:
a) science by press releases
b) false peer review processes
c) communal CYA private communications
d) Scientist intimidation
e) Journalist intimidation
f) pal reviewer intimidation
g) refusals to accept errors in their publications or research
h) refusal to be seen talking to or (horrors) debating a non insider
i) have cultivated over a long period of time numerous political allies who see any criticism of CAGW as threats to their paychecks.
j) have established a very close kinship with the pseudo-environmentalist who see the whole CAGW approach as their key to world takeover, or at least several countries. There is not question that these quacks will happily engage in another 'Night of the long knives' to fully assume power. I am not convinced that the rabid alarmists realize the danger they are in should the eco-nuts get a chance.
k) a very fierce pack of junkyard guard dog advocates who refuse all logic, consider any criticism of their idol(s) as equivalent to slander, libel, or even death threats, think nothing of the most horrifying threats or invasions of non-advocates' privacy.

Anger is the wrong emotion regarding CAGW and bad science in general. Outrage is normal, but should be controlled.

Cool or even cold hard thinking is necessary to keep these characters from achieving their aims. Anger can lead to mob rule. Outrage combined with serious intent will achieve more, especially as achievable goals appear on the horizon.

Perhaps it would be better to finally start the political process? Establish lobbyists that work in concert with organizations such as the GWPF, OSU, SPPI, CEI and Heartland. Perhaps at the next Heartland conference set up a meeting with representatives and set up a move forward plan?

Identify the weakest points of the wretched abusers of science and begin to publish the truth.

Sep 26, 2014 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

I've read all of the comments made in response to this well articulated and very readable post. Katabasis has laid out quite well, the argument to be made to "participating" scientists, but I think most would agree that they are simply the soldiers providing a service for the political generals.
This is primarily a political movement who have adopted atmospheric revenge to smite human greed, as an issue to ride for political ends. I think as with regular soldiers, those who withdraw or leave the fray, are always replaced by the next platoon. So you can try and convince the scientists not to sign on to nonsense, but what you really need to effect is political change so that the money flow is re-directed to something worthwhile.
The MSM are mostly left-leaning. They are willing dupes to spread a message that they believe anyway. And they still have a child-like belief in the appeal to authority aspect of science pronouncements.
Somewhere in my reading travels I came across this succinct explanation of this issue and I will apologize to the actual author as I cannot now find an attribution anywhere.

"The modern left formed as a reaction against capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. I think this reaction was driven by a deeply ingrained attitude toward morality. Practically every moral philosophy has warned against the evils of greed and self-interest—and here was an economic system that encourages and rewards those motives. You could look at this and decide that it’s necessary to re-evaluate the moral issues and come to terms with self-interest in some way. Most factions of the modern right have done so, whether they accept self-interest as a necessary evil or to make a virtue of selfishness."

"But if you’re not willing to make such an accommodation, you’re going to look around, see all this heedless profit-seeking, and conclude that it must be evil in some way and it must be leading to evil consequences. So you will lend an eager ear to anyone who claims to validate your moral suspicions about capitalism."

"In the first go-around, these anti-capitalists tried to capture the science of economics, forming theories about how capitalism is a system of exploitation that will impoverish the common man, while scientific central planning would provide abundance for all."

"Let’s just say that this didn’t work out. When it turned out that central planning impoverishes the common man and capitalism provides abundance for all, they had to switch to a fallback position. Which is: to heck with prosperity—too many material goods are the problem. Our greed for more is destroying the planet by causing environmental catastrophes. This shift became official some time in the 1960s with the rise of the New Left."

"Some of the catastrophes didn’t pan out (overpopulation, global cooling) and others proved too small to be anything more than a speed bump in the path of capitalism (banning CFCs and DDT). But then along comes global warming—and it’s just too good not to be true. It tells us that capitalism is not just exploiting the workers or causing inequality or deadening our souls with crass materialism. It’s destroying the very planet itself."

"The global warming theory tells us that the free market is a doomsday machine bringing about the end of the world. It turns capitalism into a metaphysical evil."

"And there is no halfway solution to the problem, no practical fix or technological patch. Carbon dioxide emissions are an unavoidable byproduct of the burning of fossil fuels, and the entire system of industrial capitalism runs on fossil fuels. So the only way to avoid catastrophe is to shut it all down."

"You can see how this brings order and balance back to the left’s universe. Their visceral reaction against capitalism is validated on the deepest, most profound level."

"You can see how this would be almost like a drug or like an article of religious faith. How can you allow people to question and undermine the very thing that gives meaning to your life? Hence the visceral negative reaction for anyone who tries to tell them that the science doesn't show what they want it to and they then have to shout down global warming skeptics rather than actually show the proof they claim."

So for most, those with a similar mindset don't have to actually collude, but rather they are happy to simply be members of a club that shares common ground and belief. It's repeated in the Climategate mails as the "cause" for which they worked. To stop them producing poor science you need politicians who don't reward it.

Sep 26, 2014 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered Commentermikegeo

what a fantastic post . i do however believe that the damage done by the team is irreparable . i also believe those of a gentle persuasion have absolutely no idea of the level of anger this whole sorry saga is capable of generating. the tossing around of the term denier is my particular bug bear.

the man that would remain standing in front of me after calling me a denier to my face is yet to be born.

Sep 26, 2014 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterbit chilly

Your strategy of referring to IPC WG1 chapters is interesting. I consider them to also be pushed towards an alarmist viewpoint. For example, I feel that Mike's Nature Trick to hide the decline pales in comparison to their use of colors to create warming. However, you are right that even those chapters are more moderate than what gets stated elsewhere. Tell people that IPCC predicts 2m of sea level rise shocks them.

Another thing to do with more technical audiences is to give an in depth argument, then send them to RealClimate or Skeptical Science. Two days of interacting with their moderation, and they know the situation.

Sep 26, 2014 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

Your strategy of referring to IPC WG1 chapters is interesting. I consider them to also be pushed towards an alarmist viewpoint. For example, I feel that Mike's Nature Trick to hide the decline pales in comparison to their use of colors to create warming. However, you are right that even those chapters are more moderate than what gets stated elsewhere. Tell people that IPCC predicts 2m of sea level rise shocks them.

Another thing to do with more technical audiences is to give an in depth argument, then send them to RealClimate or Skeptical Science. Two days of interacting with their moderation, and they know the situation.

Sep 26, 2014 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

Excellent post. Like the strategy on enlightening non sceptics...Make them read the AR5. They might actually do it.

Sep 26, 2014 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul


Katabasis you mirror my thoughts, and feelings exactly, and so well written. Thank you, thank you.

I would love to see this published in the MSM.

I have concern regards the rapprochement attempt evidenced by the Bristol dinner. Maybe my long simmering anger at the horrendous, unconscionable and ongoing waste of resources over the AGW scam is getting in the way of rational thought. Yes, I do have Cromwells pleadings for self-doubt in mind but I have real fears of no good resulting from the dinner meeting. I can envisage the use of the event as "spin fodder", to whit, "You see even the leading skeptics are coming over to our way of thinking" not necessarily by the attendees but those with other agendas.

I understand the motivation of wanting to build bridgeheads but you need visible and self-evidently sound foundations on both sides of a bridge,I cannot help but see shifting sands on one side.

Chatham house rules are a cop out, just an excuse to hide behind. If this was truly Chatham House then it should not have been reported on at all. Wait for concrete jointly agreed outcomes before revealing.

Sep 26, 2014 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton


Katabasis you mirror my thoughts, and feelings exactly, and so well written. Thank you, thank you.

I would love to see this published in the MSM.

I have concern regards the rapprochement attempt evidenced by the Bristol dinner. Maybe my long simmering anger at the horrendous, unconscionable and ongoing waste of resources over the AGW scam is getting in the way of rational thought. Yes, I do have Cromwells pleadings for self-doubt in mind but I have real fears of no good resulting from the dinner meeting. I can envisage the use of the event as "spin fodder", to whit, "You see even the leading skeptics are coming over to our way of thinking" not necessarily by the attendees but those with other agendas.

I understand the motivation of wanting to build bridgeheads but you need visible and self-evidently sound foundations on both sides of a bridge,I cannot help but see shifting sands on one side.

Chatham house rules are a cop out, just an excuse to hide behind. If this was truly Chatham House then it should not have been reported on at all. Wait for concrete jointly agreed outcomes before revealing.

Sep 26, 2014 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

Thank you for this.

Sep 26, 2014 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

Thank you for this.

Sep 26, 2014 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB

This has been a good post. It has touched a raw nerve, or the core of the argument or whatever.

As new posts are made, this subject is fast disappearing down the plughole of time, or at least disappearing from the BH current page. I wonder if it is worth those driving it to consider continuing the debate as a live discussion.

The support for the views expressed by K are self evident. It would be good now to discuss what can be done about the situation.

Sep 26, 2014 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

The alarmists are not just liars, they are slanderers. Nasty, vicious defamers.

The alarmists aren't just corrupt. They are purposefully and deliberately engaged in fraud and deceit.

Why would anyone want to associate with them? Join with them? They should be fought and with all vigor and energy that can be mustered. One cannot read the climategate emails and conclude anything other than that these are not good people.

There is no middle ground. You either stand for honesty, integrity and the scientific method, or you stand with Michael Mann, Lew, Cook and their friends. Those are your choices.

Sep 26, 2014 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterstan

Mike (Singleton), if I may answer to one of your points:

If sceptics keep outrage at the surface, it becomes difficult for climate scientists and other climate professionals to interact with them, even if they agree with many of the points being made. Palpable and visible outrage is easily exploited by activists to drive a wedge between sceptics and scientists. I am not saying sceptics should act in certain ways and mute themselves but I doubt putting sympathetic scientists in a fix is an intended effect. I see this happen sometimes and it is saddening.

Climate scientists are dual - they are scientists, just like any other. They are part of the climate enterprise. For good or bad, they exist. Wishing them away is not going to work. Calls for cutting funding etc are impractical in the short- to medium term. The poison of funding- and agenda-driven research afflicts all science, not just climate.

W.r.t the specific event at hand, there was extreme hostility to start: Lewandowsky as moderator. Lew challenges Richard Pancost, director of the so-called Cabot Institute, for an ice bucket challenge, Pancost 'accepts'. Pancost posts disparaging tweets about Watts' intelligence.

Sep 26, 2014 at 8:38 PM | Registered Commentershub

To prove Katabasis' point I have just been called a lunatic denier because I challenged the standard risk evaluations use by climate science activists. I may be lunatic, but am not a denier. However, any post-appraisal of climate projects from 1998 must conclude that the impact assessments and probability (risk) was overstated - there are no climate refugees from coastal areas anywhere.

Sep 26, 2014 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterjheath

@ Schrodinger's Cat

To lessen your concerns, Katabasis' essay will most likely see a much wider audience.

Sep 26, 2014 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered Commentereyesonu


Good points.

As a counter position, from personal life experience, I would much rather have a discourse with somebody that is truthful, predictable, plain spoken and totally transparent no matter how polarized our respective disparate views may be and no matter how antagonistic those interactions may be. I have frequently found myself holding someone with strongly held opposing views in higher regard than some less principled associate.

Avoidance of conflict serves neither side well and certainly does not lead to agreement on facts, it seems to be endemic in our "feel good society" that conflict is to be avoided at all cost, to the detriment of the truth.

Absolutely agreed that ad-hominems add nothing to the furtherance of good communications and understanding.

Sep 26, 2014 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

Personally I would not go to a lecture by either Cook or Mann, as I know what they would say and also I would be unlikely to get an opportunity to challenge it or question it. I have been to political meetings and tried to challenge warmist views there many times. Those on the platform can always win, particularly when the audience consists of mainly true warmists. It is rather like denouncing god in a church service, or arguing with a Jehovah's Witness - pointless.

On the other hand I find that talking to sensible people on a one to one basis can be much more rewarding. In this way you can begin to understand one another and find some common ground. Those who have the greatest influence are the newspaper columnists such as Christopher Booker and David Rose. Blogs are good for those who want to search for information, but it is in the mass readership newspapers that the ordinary person might meet a sceptic argument.

The positive fact is that, despite all the media hype, there is still a massive amount of scepticism among the public. Even among politicians it is only 50/50. If the climate does not worm soon the activists will become isolated. I remember the ban the bomb marches in the 70's when the cruise missiles were being brought in. There were plenty of big marches, but it all came to nothing. The silent majority were not persuaded. I know the difference here is that damage to our energy costs and supply are already being done, but the government has hardly started. It has yet to undertake the difficult bit. I think this will fizzle out through lack of courage by government. If not we will see the silent majority find their feet.

Sep 26, 2014 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek

I have said my piece already, but just to commend some of the excellent comments made since.

Radical Rodent (Sep 26, 2014 at 3:29 PM) - hats off to the Berkeley blog mods, our comments have not been censored:

The Gathering Storm – Michael Mann & Daniel M. Kammen

Sep 26, 2014 at 9:40 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

It is rather like denouncing god in a church service, or arguing with a Jehovah's Witness - pointless.

A Jev once made the mistake of knocking on my father's door, who had a great mind, memory and knowledge of the bible from years of study in a Baptist upbringing. After 5 minutes the Jev had been converted. But my father, always looking for truth and answers to the big questions in science and the universe, soon lost his youthful faith in religion. Fly fishing became his raison d'être.

Sep 26, 2014 at 9:51 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

If I may say something on the matter of anger:

It is difficult to view and experience the machinations and deceits of CAGW activists without a great deal of anger and disgust.

However, when it comes to public expressions, and especially "messages" directed toward the potential dissenting scientists, the climate establishment, uninterested public, and various other constituencies, expressions of anger per se are not effective. I don't know if any amount of more "objective" discussions will make any inroads either, but I do know from some personal experiences and observations that people tend to tune out those perspectives and arguments with which they are not already sympathetic when a lot of anger is expressed. There is, in contrast, great license for Green activists to express anger, even the ones most over-the-top, because the broad sympathy and support for their perspectives is already widespread.

With public expressions on "our side," I think that one must choose between being angry and being effective.

That is not to say that I know how to be more effective in detail in these public debates (to the extent any debates and discussions are actually allowed), but I do think that (however well justified) expressions of outrage are generally counter-productive. One should emulate Steve McIntyre and Judith Curry in this, I think (not to neglect Andrew Montford and Anthony Watts). All the anger in the world does nothing to help us get a serious hearing with people who could conceivably try to affect the establishment positions. [yet, it will probably take many more years of "divergence*" between predictions/prophecies of doom and the actual record before anything can change.]

*I know, it is a different kind of divergence than that between proxy records and recorded surface temps., but the word is appropriate.

Finally, a small anecdote that illustrates what I am saying: some years ago I was involved in trying to change both policy and outrageous misbehavior in a dean's office at a prominent (indeed eminent) university. Despite a supposed official "inquiry" nothing was changed publicly (sound familiar??). Behind the scenes, I know the matter was different, some changes were made and the miscreant was eventually dismissed, but without public acknowledgement. Then some months later I had a calm private discussion with one of the deans involved and asked why nothing was done sooner or publicly, it was truly an outrageous situation. He could not give any plausible reason beyond the inertia of bureaucracy and the unwillingness to look bad if their hand were not absolutely forced by the media etc. But the only reason he seemed to have for why my specific written interventions received only cursory response (I know that I did specifically instigate the official inquiry) was that "there was all this anger." As though that were a reason for not dealing with me or even calling me before the official "inquiry" which did not exist before I brought the problems to the administration's attention....

They would have been very receptive to such anger on any matter with which they already sympathized, but on a topic which they did not want to acknowledge and on which they ultimately preferred whitewash, there was no interest in dealing with someone so angry (no matter how well justified the anger was). I know this is just an anonymous anecdote but I am simply trying to illustrate something human and also particularly characteristic in bureaucracies.

Distinguish between what makes us feel good and what could (potentially, somehow) be effective with audiences we need to reach.

Sep 26, 2014 at 9:54 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

This isn’t just individual failure, it’s institutional.

Then the corrupt institutions - most of which seem to be universities - should be closed down. In Britain, until fairly recently, we had a relatively small number of high quality universities. Now we seem to have hundreds and hundreds of low quality ones (e.g. UEA?) churning out enormous amounts of junk science (of which climate "science" is only a part) and handing out junk degrees to all and sundry. Perhaps it's time to turn the clock back?

Sep 26, 2014 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank Davis

Nice post with many sensible comments. As always, I beleive it's important to keep a cool head and a warm heart.

Then again, with some people, a certain sub-class of warmista who have taken it upon them not so much to convince but to destroy, the problem is not in the head nor in the heart; it's more like in the stomach.

Humor is the superior weapon, because fanatics, by definition, do not have it. Go Josh! :-)

Sep 26, 2014 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBebben

EM, what a fool.

Even if the earth was still warming - massively, it doesn't prove the A, you know the A in AGW, the A - anthropogenic - man made part, because if the A isn't there GW it's just natural - right. Except inside the models which are man-made.

And while we're at it what about the C in CAGW, the catastrophic part, why don't alarmists spend some time on the C and the A, that way if the GW comes back they might have something to contribute beyond arm-waving.

Sep 26, 2014 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

Continuing with my earlier comment, in the British Isles there were about 10 universities until 1900. Then, shortly after 1900, about 6 redbrick universities were added. Then, in about 1960, about 8 'plate glass' universities were added. In 1970 the Open University was founded. Total so far: 25 universities.

And then after 1992, a mind-bending 74 universities were added, bringing the total up to 99 (maybe it's actually 100) universities.

If the running total of universities were plotted on a graph from 1066 AD to today, it would look like a hockey stick!

And perhaps, instead of providing a good education for many more people, this multiplication in the number of universities instead served to debase the education system.


Sep 26, 2014 at 11:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrank Davis

Lapogus – yes, a pleasant surprise. May they remain, despite the likely objections.

As you said, this thread is wonderfully insightful, despite our wandering off-topic (the only ones to do so, really); it would seem that many on here are aware of the machinations that are at work behind the face of the whole scheme.

Sep 26, 2014 at 11:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Well said Katabasis. I oppose them too because I hate to see science prostituted. Likewise I have to maintain anonymity as I am a professional scientist myself. They are perverting my profession.

When, finally, this all dies down and the consensus is reached that ECS is under 1 C/doubling (which it is), we will all surface to say "what was that all about?" Unfortunately the chief victim of it all will be science itself. Never again will scientists regain the trust of the public. I am sad about that.

Sep 26, 2014 at 11:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce of Newcastle

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