Click images for more details



Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace

Discussion > "Climate communication" - what do you think?

Hi Rhoda

I've been trying to think of a reference book that you might take seriously - I assume that referring you to books by, say, Houghton or Trenberth, would be met with a slight snort from a BH regular! :-)

How about Hubert Lamb's Climate, Past, Present and Future? Pre-dates IPCC by more than a decade.



Jun 28, 2012 at 4:02 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Your politeness is unsettling. I don't like it.

Your sense of humour is disorienting. I don't like that either.

Your use of simple English severely conflicts with the mental image I have of you living in the ivory tower.

And your down to earth attitude is conduct unbecoming for a scientist.

Your terse reply to a Guardian philosopher who said 'climate scientists should fight dirty' was not impressive at all.

And your clash with pre-meltdown Peter Gleick, who claimed on Allastrologicalchartsarewrong blog that not all astrological charts are wrong, was nothing memorable.

Once upon a time you made a fine zebra. Now you think the Serengeti belongs to you, and you to the Serengeti.

I don't like you. Go away!

Jun 28, 2012 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx


you can see the experiment here

There is a lot of padding.

Jun 28, 2012 at 4:40 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I understand the Hubert Lamb could at least see natural variations on a larger scale than anything we've seen lately. I was given to understand that he did not pretend that he could explain them fully, that work remained to be done. And that his legacy had fallen into unsafe hands and his work was besmirched. Am I misinformed?

No, I am not about to believe Houghton or Trenberth, they both have axes to grind. Are you saying that there is the kind of measurement I want in there? With actual instruments? In various areas? Why wasn't I told in all the weeks I've been asking?

Jun 28, 2012 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda


If something is from the skydragon crew, it is almost certainly nonsense. Their understanding of physics (eg that radiation from a blackbody cannot be absorbed by another blackbody, if the latter is warmer than the former) is different from the standard physics of the twentieth century.

As an antidote, I'd recommend anyone to read through the posting and the subsequent comments on wuwt by Dr Robert G response to the "denier" paper published by Nature.

Dr Brown is a physics professor who knows his stuff. It's a delight to read his responses and see how, succinctly, clearly, with good humour, and authoritatively, he responds to everyone who commented - including our own MDGNN. A few snippets from his much longer comments:

* "These two figures all by themselves are rather conclusive proof of the GHE to anyone who takes the time to understand them. And they are only two in a vast array of satellite data that is now routinely obtained. That’s why climatologists (and most meteorologists) are at best tolerantly amused when people propose that “there is no GHE”. Of course there is. We’ve taken its picture."

* "Global Climate Models are children’s toys in comparison to the actual underlying complexity, especially when (as noted) the major drivers setting the baseline behavior are not well understood or quantitatively available.

The truth of this is revealed in the lack of skill in the GCMs. They utterly failed to predict the last 13 or 14 years of flat to descending global temperatures, for example, although naturally one can go back and tweak parameters and make them fit it now, after the fact. "

These are brief snippets; I recommend anyone to read his posting and all of his reponses.

Jun 28, 2012 at 9:37 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Richard you tactfully dodged addressing Bob Ward.

Bob Ward and the Grantham institute have had FAR more influence on the debate, than someone as insiginificance at Peter Gleick. (though he does get a mention in the Age of Stupid credits)
Yet at least twice, Bob has PUBLICALLY felt able to attempt to shut you up, lest you give sceptics ammunition, what damage has he done to climate science more quietly.

and all those scientists in Desmogblogs deniar Disinformation database.

and we have the likes off the Carbon Brief smearing Energy and Environment.

ie it is 'unclear whether it is peer reviewed' they get a quote form Gavin Schmidt yet are unable to find Sonja's or anybody on the boards email or phone number, it took me 30 seconds..

4 days later she gets a comment on.. but too late the article gone out, read by the worlds environmental media, and the smear continues..

When in 10 years another COP fails because of 'sustainability' sceptics' funded by evil exxon.

pity all those students with degrees in Climate Change, or MSC's in Climate change and Business, etc,etc..

it will not end well.
politicians and big business and more importantly big finance are withdrawing from climata change.
Sadly it might take climate science with it (which is quite important)

I've been takeing alook at blogs from a decade ago, exactly the same, tired evil oil rhetoric, these gusy had close realtions with CRU, early IPCC, FOE Greenpeace, amd the same rhetoric is used today by Mann, Trenberth , etc.. noone is buying evil Exxon, or dirty coal forcing energy on us. the public don't and have never cared, it has just been the hype of it all.

Take a look at Rising Tide (wayback 2001) and early Mark Lynas, George Monbiot and George Marshall mutterings, embarrsing student, left mutterings. yet when Mann wanted to get hold of Monbiot email address., he gets it from a veteran Green peace campaigner Marshall.

Mark Lyans's blog and Geroge Marshall's, were right there at the start of Realclimate 2005/2006.. I can also see why Mark deep-sixed his old blog. ie history has not been kind.

And I'm absolutley sure climategate emails were an insider, because they must have seen what they had done. ie Bjorn lomborg NOT a science sceptic, was hated from day one because of non green thinking,

Jun 28, 2012 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods


As far as I know Berthold Klein has nothing to do with "Slaying The Sky DSragon" they just translated his paper.

Jun 29, 2012 at 12:35 AM | Registered CommenterDung

OK. Though the paper does refer to a couple of dragon slayers.

When is Salby's paper due to come out? From the fury that it provoked on SkS - and the stature of its author - he may have something.

Jun 29, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Barry Woods

Your narrative is a tad selective and unbalanced. Let me help:

Jastrow, Seitz, Singer, Nierenberg, Dixie Lee Ray, Will, Bast, Soon, Wolff, Lindzen, Milloy, Michaels, Legates, Baliunas, Limbaugh, Inhofe, Morano, Ball, Balling, Christy...

Cato, Marshall, Heartland, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Global Climate Coalition, Fraser Institute, American Petroleum Institute, American Enterprise Institute, Frontiers of Freedom Institute...

To name but a few.

Jun 29, 2012 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


Until now the fossil fuel industry has been fighting for selective self interest, ie exceptions, exemptions, competive advantage, gas vs coal, nuke vs wind/solar, etc.

now that it has come down to the wire energy policy wise., the greens will realise that they should have been careful what they have wished for, the political momentum has passed. and that fossil fuel industry will just take the catstrophic case apart.. witness Exxon comment recently, and the coal billionaire in Australia.

The Carbon Brief I mention, are backed by the ECF, which has billionaire donor foundations behind it. just one of the foundations behind the ECF, the Hewlett foundation, has 7 billion in assets, alone.

these guys will move on.

Jun 29, 2012 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

So let them move on. Nature doesn't care. Either we'll wake up or we won't. Sometimes I wonder what it is that Richard believes remains to be communicated, and to whom.

Jun 29, 2012 at 7:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


Nature is not under any threat, there is nothing that humans can do that will give nature anything more than a little irritation. As you say "nature doesn't care"

Jun 29, 2012 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterDung

Nature doesn't care, but we might.

Which reminds me:

Richard, what with the rather grim outlook on drought (Dai 2010) and the disquieting behaviour of those ice shelves, do you remain agnostic about the consequences of a 2C warming?

Jun 29, 2012 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Don't mean to interrupt your heated debate, folks, but how relevant is it to this thread?

Jun 30, 2012 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

It is relevant in that other venues have been saturation bombed enough

"disquieting behaviour of those ice shelves" - propagandist twit.

Jun 30, 2012 at 2:56 AM | Registered Commentershub


As every, you are your own worst enemy.


RB was asking about his own contributions here and their effectiveness. My question arose directly from this. His sadly much-misrepresented remarks about 2C may well be one of his most discussed contributions here, ever. The discussion reached as far as Dot Earth, so it's not an idle ask on my part.

You wouldn't be trying to shut me down, now would you?


Jun 30, 2012 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Once the communicating has been communicated.. then what the UK / world population suddenly decides that it can do without the benefits if coal fired electricity generation.

Then we see a mass public rising to demand that the politicians turn coal off, and the lights?

Seriously though. What is the communication supposed to achieve/for

Jul 1, 2012 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Jun 29, 2012 at 7:27 PM | BBD

Sometimes I wonder what it is that Richard believes remains to be communicated, and to whom.

Jul 1, 2012 at 3:38 PM | Barry Woods

Once the communicating has been communicated..

...What is the communication supposed to achieve/for

You both seem to be assuming that there is a single "answer" or "message" that merely needs to be told to other people. However, science is not like that. It is ongoing and we keep finding out new things, so (for me anyway) the communication is about talking with people about this as we are going along.

We are beyond the simple view that people simply need to be convinced to cut their emissions - realistically there are not going to be large cuts any time soon, so the climate is going to continue to be subject to an ongoing forcing. We are uncertain about the consequences of this, but it's important to keep people up-to-date with the current best estimates are so they can begin to think about what it might mean for them.

Also it is important to have a two-way conversation, not just "impart knowledge", for example to find out what people find important or don't understand, or get more people involved in scrutinising the science to make sure it is sound.



Jul 2, 2012 at 4:51 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

"We are beyond the simple view that people simply need to be convinced to cut their emissions -"

You see, that's political. That's policy. Which you don't do, because you are only a scientist. Sometimes.

Where's my best evidence?

Jul 2, 2012 at 5:02 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

"We are beyond the simple view that people simply need to be convinced to cut their emissions ..."

Yes, that is a political statement, and a pretty loaded one at that.

It means you are way ahead of the curve in the brainwashing game. No, seriously, that is what it means. Especially considering that you don't fully know what will happen in meaningful timescales. People who are essentially making educated guesswork shouldn't get so ahead of themselves.

about the not just to "impart knowledge" part:

Could you please not use journalists for this?

Jul 2, 2012 at 5:08 PM | Registered Commentershub

rhoda, shub

I should probably have used quotation marks in my earlier posts, ie: the "simply need to be convinced" and "impart knowledge" are how some people seem to view the "communication problem", but that's not how I view it.

I think people need to know about the science so they decide for themselves what it means for them (if anything).

shub, I don't "use journalists" for anything!!! They come to me, not vice versa.



Jul 2, 2012 at 5:14 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

"I think people need to know about the science so they decide for themselves what it means for them (if anything)"

Me too. That's why I want to see evidence which does not rely on models, proxies and unobserved unmeasured results. You cannot make a point by comparing model output to proxy temperatures and saying that what you say is going on is the only possibility. When I see people pushing that sort of argument, I have to say 'is that the best you got?'

Jul 2, 2012 at 5:44 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

please don't tell me what 'science' is...

Jul 2, 2012 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods


so the climate is going to continue to be subject to an ongoing forcing

I do not agree with that and you have no empirical evidence to support that statement.

What about the Berthold Klein/Nahle experiment?

Jul 2, 2012 at 8:10 PM | Registered CommenterDung


You are not in a position to speak to RB like that. It's not just rude, it's risible. Who do you think you are? What are your professional qualifications in earth system sciences?

The same goes for a number of others here. Personally, I'm damned if I know why he puts up with it.

Jul 2, 2012 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD