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Discussion > Bogged down in Nomansland

BBD
With respect, your obsession blinds you to the facts.
There is no point in quoting your favourite warmist papers when there are plenty of people arguing that what you call the mainstream view of climate sensitivity is not correct.
The reference to "naysayers" is merely offensive. Not everyone who refuses to agree with you is denying global warming or that there is an anthropogenic effect. You are notorious on this site for dismissing out of hand the work of scientists who refuse to acknowledge that CO2 leads to a high level of feedback in spite of the fact that such people exist and have produced cogent research papers to back their contention. To say "nothing stands up to scrutiny" is simply wrong. It may not stand up to your scrutiny but that is hardly what matters.
I was very careful to say that the extent to which CO2 influences temperature is a subject that is still debated and it is difficult to see how you can deny that since it happens to be true.
Greenies neither accept nor refuse to accept "the science". The science is irrelevant to them. CO2 is a godsend to them because it is a very convenient excuse for pushing their eco-luddite, anti-fossil fuel, anti-growth agenda. They would be pushing exactly the same agenda if CO2 turned out to be wholly beneficial, which a larger number of genuine earth scientists believe than you woould like. They would just need to find another meme — and 'sustainability' is it.

geoffchambers
Not only is the Hansen et al argument circular there is a major hole in the logic. The presence of outliers may make certain events more likely but do not thereby make it possible to draw any logical conclusions about any specific cause.

Jul 22, 2012 at 8:03 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

MikeJackson
Thanks for pointing out the logical non sequitur to add to the circular reasoning. I think there’s a tautology lurking in there as well.
Note that the article is billed as “soft” social science, since it’s about “public perception of climate change”. In fact, it’s nothing more than a recommendation as how to present the temperature record is such a way as to emphasise the existence of extremes, so as to help persuade the public that they are perceiving what Hansen and his colleagues want them to perceive.
If Hansen were a psychology undergraduate at Cardiff, I’m sure Dr Corner would tell him to go back and try again.

Jul 22, 2012 at 8:29 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

BBD says:

It all hinges on what you think matters. For me, what the 'soft social sciences' have to say to power, or you and I [sic], is irrelevant.
What the soft sciences are currently saying to power is that they have ways of making us accept brown-outs, expensive windmills and electric cars. What the hard scientists like Hansen are apparently saying is that they too have ways of presenting the data in order to make us accept brown-outs, expensive windmills and electric cars.
It seems there’s a rivalry between the hard and the soft sciences as to who is best at getting the people to do what the politicians want. It is in this context that one must view BBD’s austere and authoritative-sounding “The Physics Doesn’t Care”.
Maybe not, but the physicists care a lot. Hansen is even willing to stoop to doing soft social science in order to find ways to persuade us they’re right. The problem is, he’s not very good at it. There is no social scientist on earth who would view Hansen’s paper as anything other than garbage.

Jul 22, 2012 at 9:19 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Oh dear. I'm sure Hansen and colleagues will be disheartened to learn that this study is complete and utter crap. Particularly as it relies on analysing observational data and provides unambiguous results. Still, the good news is that it is still in draft. You can let the authors know about your concerns.

Mike Jackson

The reference to "naysayers" is merely offensive. Not everyone who refuses to agree with you is denying global warming or that there is an anthropogenic effect. You are notorious on this site for dismissing out of hand the work of scientists who refuse to acknowledge that CO2 leads to a high level of feedback in spite of the fact that such people exist and have produced cogent research papers to back their contention. To say "nothing stands up to scrutiny" is simply wrong. It may not stand up to your scrutiny but that is hardly what matters.

First, you are over-interpreting 'naysayers'. I was avoiding an alternative description. Naysaying encompasses unsupported dissent from the mainstream scientific view that climate sensitivity is ~3C.

My views here are irrelevant. You are confusing me with the mainstream scientific position. It is there that the tiny handful of papers arguing for low climate sensitivity have been shown to be flawed. All I do is provide links.

You seem to think that the greenies control the science, but they don't. There's no vast eco-boffin-activist network trying to fool us. The greenies might find the science very convenient to their general aims, but that is a matter for them, not science. Unless we go down the conspiracy theory route, and that way madness lies.

Jul 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD says:

There's no vast eco-boffin-activist network trying to fool us. The greenies might find the science very convenient to their general aims, but that is a matter for them, not science. Unless we go down the conspiracy theory route, and that way madness lies.
So There Is No Alternative to BBD’s thesis that “only the science matters” other than the madness of conspiracy theory. No place between these stark alternatives for exploration of the possibility of more complex relationships between science, politics, activism, public opinion and energy policy. For that way “soft” social science lies, and soft social science has no place in BBD’s universe.
I started this thread by posing the question of interaction with social scientists. Many here tend to look down on social scientists for their lack of scientific rigour. The dangerously infantile simplicity of BBD’s view of the world demonstrates the importance of taking the social sciences seriously.

Jul 22, 2012 at 10:00 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

geoffchambers

Eh? I tactfully suggest that there's no 'activist-scientist' conspiracy to hoax the world and I'm employing a 'dangerously infantile simplicity' to endorse the social sciences?

You've lost me there.

Jul 22, 2012 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD

There are new papers published almost daily by scientists who dispute the idea that CO2 is the proven cause of most warming.
These papers have different objectives:

Esper et al is trying to show that tree rings are not a good proxy for temperature.
Sanchez- Lorenzo et al tries to show that cloud cover is a major cooling factor.
Wortmann et al tried to show that the production of Gypsum along techtonic faultlines contolled climate.
Kilifarska produced a paper suggesting that Ozone controlled the climate.
Svensmark et al produced a massive paper showing that cosmic rays control climate.

These are all published papers so whatever your response to each paper, you can not say that the science is settled or that there is no debate.

Jul 23, 2012 at 12:50 AM | Registered CommenterDung

BBD
I didn’t suggest that you were endorsing the social science - rather the opposite. You justify your position that only the science matters by suggesting that the only alternative view is a conspiracy theory, as if the only way science and political activism might reinforce each other, and therefore corrupt the science, is for scientists and activists to put their heads together and hatch a plot. This is a dangerously naive view of how society works.
This sounds to me like the Thatcherite view that “there is no such thing as society”, and that therefore any analysis of how society works is misplaced. My apologies if I’m wrong, but such a view would accord with your view that only the physics counts. This view is held by many on both sides of the warmist / sceptic divide, as if a CO2 sensitivity of 3°C logically entails that we must close coal fired power stations, and a sensitivity of 1°C entails that we mustn’t.
You want to discuss the science, because that’s what interests you. Fair enough. You then cite in support of your statement that “the physics doesn’t care” a paper ostensibly about “public perception of climate change” (a social science subject if ever there was one) but which turns out to be, not an examination of public perception, but a recommendation on how to influence public perception.
You say Hansen’s paper “relies on analysing observational data and provides unambiguous results”. It doesn’t. It simply asserts the existence of unambiguous results, and suggests a cunning plan to force the stupid public to see things Hansen’s way. Hansen’s paper is not about science at all. It’s simply a marketing ploy, a suggestion for how to frighten the public of the kind you’d expect from some rather dim intern at a green think tank. Furthermore, his main recommendation is in contradiction with his analysis of the principal motivation influencing public opinion.
One hopes Hansen isn’t planning to go into marketing or public relations full-time. There are lots of bright people working in these fields. They’d make mincemeat of him.

Jul 23, 2012 at 2:18 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

"Naysaying encompasses unsupported dissent from the mainstream scientific view that climate sensitivity is ~3C."

As I understand it the "mainstream scientific view" believes that sensitiviy lies somewhere between 2C and 5.5C. I'd bet my pension you don't regard those who think it will be 4.5C as "naysayers". As I understand it this figure was derived, originally from 2 models, one run by Manerbe which showed a sensitivity of 2C and one by Hansen which showed a sensitivity of 4C. (For the avoidance of doubt I believe that Hansen is conspiring to persuade people that CO2 is dangerous and that he has changed the records in his charge to exaggerate the warming). NAS set up a committee led by Jule Charney who decided that there was a likely 0.5C error in both models and therefore lowered the lower number to 1.5C and increased the higher number to 4.5C. This was in 1979 and remained the gold standard for climate sensitivity until 2007, despite more models getting involved. In AR4 the 1.5C was changed to 2C.

It is all based on models, I know of no other science where this type of guessing would be accepted by the "mainstream" without empirical evidence. So if we're not involved in a conspiracy were involved in a "folie a plusieres".

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_sensitivity

Jul 23, 2012 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

BBD
I never suggested that the "greenies control the science" though (as Geoff has just pointed out) it does look suspiciously as if there are influential greenies who do control the science and appear to be looking for ways to control the sheeple through their interpretation of the science.
However, I have said twice (that's twice here — a hundred times in other places) that as far as the eco-activists are concerned the science is irrelevant. They have an agenda which is currently made easier by the demonisation of carbon dioxide. Without that they would (and will) find something else.
As for the physics, my understanding is that the best estimate is an increase of between 1 and 1.5C for a doubling of CO2, with all else coming from feedbacks and the extent of those feedbacks is far from settled, which is where I came in.
I still agree with you that physics just carries on doing its thing. My point is that the greenies also just carry on doing their thing. We can't do much about the physics; hopefully we can do something about the greenies.

Jul 23, 2012 at 9:18 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

geoffchambers

I didn’t suggest that you were endorsing the social science - rather the opposite.

My apologies. I thought I'd written something like this:

I'm employing a 'dangerously infantile simplicity' to delegitimise the social sciences

I can only offer that I was multi-tasking at the time, and Mrs BBD points out that men should only ever attempt this in an emergency and ideally not even then.

What I disagree with is the meme that the 'environmental movement' has *any* influence on core climate science. Fine, we can ditch the idea of an active conspiracy, but insinuating that there's institutional bias (even unconscious bias) still counts as a direct challenge to the validity of the core science. And I reject that meme too. There are too many players and too much at stake. I doubt Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson would admit that CO2 is causing warming if he still thought there was a chance that it might be proved otherwise. He is now obliged to downplay the consequences of warming because that is the only recourse left to him. This tactic is questionable, as David Appell demonstrates.

You say Hansen’s paper “relies on analysing observational data and provides unambiguous results”. It doesn’t. It simply asserts the existence of unambiguous results, and suggests a cunning plan to force the stupid public to see things Hansen’s way.

You are usually pretty sharp, so I am baffled by your reaction to HSR. The methodology is clear and the results are unambiguous. If you see methodological errors, please point them out. Otherwise, this is an empirical study that demonstrates an increase in the area affected by extreme summer hot weather events over the last several decades. It's definitely worth reading the whole thing before embarking on a critique.

Hansen’s paper is not about science at all. It’s simply a marketing ploy, a suggestion for how to frighten the public of the kind you’d expect from some rather dim intern at a green think tank.

It's clear that you think Hansen, and by implication the entire field of climate science, is conspiring to mislead the public. After all, HSR is posted up as a draft for the climate science community to tear apart, which doesn't appear to be happening. So either the whole field is complicit in misrepresenting the science or the paper is good and you are mistaken.

Jul 23, 2012 at 10:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Thanks for your thoughtful critique. You’re quite right that I hadn’t read the Hansen paper carefully. I was exaggerating when said it was no more than a marketing ploy, and I would frankly be incapable of judging the validity of a paper proving the existence of CAGW if it ever came my way. However, I know from a swift perusal of the opening paragraph of the summary that the Hansen paper is not a proof of the existence of CAGW, and that Hansen disgrees with you that only the physics matters. The paper is not about the physics of climate change; it is about ways of persuading the public of the seriousness of climate change. It is social science. They say so in the title.
Read the opening paragraph of the summary and tell me that Hansen and his colleagues are not deeply confused individuals with no idea of what they are up to. There’s a logical oddity or a linguistic distortion in every single sentence. The only possible reaction of a normal person to such a paragraph is “if it’s really true that it’s getting dangerously warmer, why don’t you just effing say so?”
They can’t say so because it’s not true that it’s getting dangerously warmer, and it’s not true that we know that it will get dangerously warmer. All they can do is try and spread the supposed certainty of the physics over the politics and the public opinion, using activism, journalism, social science, or any other tool that comes their way. Hansen is the perfect refutation of your suggestion that only the physics matters; yes, he’s a physicist, but he’ll do you a red and purple map for a social science paper, or a guest appearance at a demo, or a star witness turn at a court case, or an article for the Guardian. Physics is the least of his talents.

Jul 24, 2012 at 7:07 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

BBD

Jul 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

You seem to think that the greenies control the science, but they don't. There's no vast eco-boffin-activist network trying to fool us. The greenies might find the science very convenient to their general aims, but that is a matter for them, not science. Unless we go down the conspiracy theory route, and that way madness lies.
Jul 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


From page147 in the recent book by Donna Laframboise:

In the footnote that follows, l I list 78 IPCC personnel who are also members of the WWF panel (WWF Climate Witness Scientific Advisory Panel). People on this panel either played some role in the 2007 climate bible or are currently helping to write the next IPCC report.
Five lead authors from the 2007 report and three contributing authors were on the panel or were WWF employees.
According to an internal WWF document; the purpose of the Climate Witness initiative is to heighten the public's "sense of urgency" about climate change

All the people are listed in Donna's book but for info; the lead authors were:

Fischlin
Midgley
Leemans
Gopal
Price

Jul 25, 2012 at 8:06 PM | Registered CommenterDung

And were any of them involved with WG1? The hard science section, that is.

Jul 25, 2012 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD:
And were any of them involved with WG1?
You may want to restrict the discussion to the “hard” science, “what the physics says”, WG1, but no-one else does. Not Hansen, not the IPCC, and certainly not the Greens and the governments who are committed to carrying out Green policy. Because what the hard science says is a 90% probability of a CO2 sensitivity of 1.5 -6°C, or whatever. In other words, something rather good or something very bad or something in between. In other words, “we don’t know”. Which is normal, because hard science is hard, while speculating about crop yields fifty years ahead in a country where agronomists are as rare as reliable temperature records is easy.
We sceptics agree with you that ultimately only the science matters. It’s the governments, the journalists and the President of the Royal Society who haven’t got the message. They still believe (or pretend to believe) that WGs 1 2 and 3 were written by the world’s top scientists. Tell them that only WG1 is proper science, don’t tell us.

Jul 25, 2012 at 10:01 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

BBD

Fischlin, Midgley and Price all worked on WG2.

Jul 26, 2012 at 6:55 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Thanks Dung - I had a feeling none of this had anything to do with the physical science.

Jul 26, 2012 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

geoffchambers

I'm afraid that while sceptics trumpet the 'we don't know' meme, scientists know that climate sensitivity to 2xCO2 is going to be close to 3C. The 'we don't know' argument is specious.

Jul 26, 2012 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD

I posted the info about:

Fischlin, Midgley and Price all worked on WG2.

to be honest and open but I posted it because you made the statement that the Greens do not control the science. I am incredibly lazy but I will look up which groups the other two lead authors were in ^.^ .
The stories that the above three Greens were involved with writing, were about extinctions that would be caused by AGW.
I wonder what interest the WWF could possibly have in that particular story?

Jul 26, 2012 at 8:38 PM | Registered CommenterDung

BBD

scientists know that climate sensitivity to 2xCO2 is going to be close to 3°C.
Find me one climate scientist willing to say “we know that climate sensitivity to 2xCO2 is going to be close to 3°C”. Then please post it somewhere where it’s relevant. Or send it to the IPCC, because they haven’t been told.

Jul 26, 2012 at 10:13 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Guardian: Are climate sceptics more likely to be conspiracy theorists? Adam Corner
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/jul/27/climate-sceptics-conspiracy-theorists?commentpage=last&msg=a#end-of-comments

New research finds that sceptics also tend to support conspiracy theories such as the moon landing being faked

---
for someone who writes about motivated reasoning and ideology, it sure is strange that he can't look in the mirror at his own.
rather thnan ignore the fringes of scepticism, he concentrates on this alone.

Jul 27, 2012 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

We all know about confirmation bias but this is getting ridiculous!
This is on a par with Nurse's belief that sceptics are anti-GM crops. Do these people never take the blinkers off?
I'm sorry, Geoff, but I don't see how it is possible to carry on a sensible conversation/discussion/debate with this mindset.

Jul 27, 2012 at 1:49 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

this is the paper cited by Adam in the Guardian (and the whole basis of the Guardian article)

http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu.au/labs/cogscience/documents/LskyetalPsychScienceinPressClimateConspiracy.pdf

very 1st paragraph it cites Doran Zimmermann (and I know Adam had not read Zimmerman, I asked, he said no)- My thoughts on Zimmerman ;-)

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/what-else-did-the-97-of-scientists-say/

the research paper is just 'junk' read it for yourself and think on the methodology (no mention of WHICH blogs looked at, yet they refer to Steve Mcintyre in the paper, but I bet did NOT survey the readers of his blog)

Jul 27, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

link
http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu.au/labs/cogscience/documents/LskyetalPsychScienceinPressClimateConspiracy.pdf

Jul 27, 2012 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

geoffchambers

Find me one climate scientist willing to say “we know that climate sensitivity to 2xCO2 is going to be close to 3°C”. Then please post it somewhere where it’s relevant. Or send it to the IPCC, because they haven’t been told.

IPCC AR4 WG1, emphasis added:


Since the TAR, the levels of scientific understanding and confidence in quantitative estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity have increased substantially. Basing our assessment on a combination of several independent lines of evidence, as summarised in Box 10.2 Figures 1 and 2, including observed climate change and the strength of known feedbacks simulated in GCMs, we conclude that the global mean equilibrium warming for doubling CO2, or ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’, is likely to lie in the range 2°C to 4.5°C, with a most likely value of about 3°C. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is very likely larger than 1.5°C.

Jul 27, 2012 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD