"I don't think governments should be involved in funding science."
Quite incredibly, I actually think he means that.... as a libertarian, I wonder where Mr Montford would advocate funding, un-attached to any agenda, to originate from ?
In 2001 the IPCC published its Third Assessment report prominently featuring a graph that became "the logo of global warming". Previous historical reconstructions didn't show our modern warm climate as particularly anomalous. This was very different, and was hailed as a "call to action". Yet Michael Mann's studies were deeply …
Agreed on limits to government involvement: isn't that what everyone has complained about over the past few years, what with Lord Wooster banging on about "profitable science" or whatever as he revs up his rocket-propelled car? And since Maoist/Stalinist influences on state-funded science can be taken as examples of political meddling with extreme consequences, I don't think people should be under any illusions about the government's limited role: provide the funding; fund stuff that companies can't be bothered with (which is plenty, despite some people's capitalist fantasies); let actual scientists set the priorities (not the average law-school-educated MP with his/her eye on a directorship at some corporation).
As for Libertarians, they're the last people to ask about the role of government. But if you don't like what one of them says, don't worry: as the old joke goes, you just need to ask another one because two Libertarians are pretty unlikely to agree on anything. If it's about the role of government and the state, it's still likely to be a barmy answer, though.
Good luck with that! the standard operating procedure of Governments is to take anything that almost works and fiddle and poke at it until it's completely broken. Then they hold up their hands, blame someone else, and invent a whole new system that's worse than what we started with. Labour has been particularly bad in respect to this.
I'm not a Libertarian incidentally, just cynical. Most Libertarians seem to be ideologues who simply cannot see the ovbious consequences of their ideology. The interviewee in this piece doesn't seem that mental though, and raises interesting points about government funding of politically controversial areas.
It has always been an issue of course (see Stem cell research, BSE, MMR) but this is the first time that it has been influencing a global policy agenda. For this reason the scrutiny needs to be intense.
Frankly, I struggled to read the article with its bold font all over the place. I hope the book is not so bad.
In any case, the most interesting element so far has been the Russians analysing the data independently for the part of the dataset where they have access to the full data - their own territory. I read that paper (original Russian version of the report) and it makes an absolutely damning indictment to the hockey stick case even for the 20 century data. No bristle cones or anything similarly dubious. Just plain data observed from plain stations on the ground.
There is no need to say anything on the subject until the team from "not another old university in Cambridge" has answered the questions raised by that paper properly - in a paper. No politics, no handwaving at interviews - just bloody f*** numbers.
"Climate change sceptic" . . why are they "sceptics", why not "scientists"?
. . . are you a paid employee of the "climate change industry" - ah yes that will be it (see scarastic name calling works both ways)
P.S. before making smart ass comments I suggest you go look at the data which bit by bit is being reluctantly squeezed out of these b*ggers - do you know how FEW carefully selected samples this is all based on? thought not . .
> Why are they "sceptics", why not "scientists"?
Because neither of them are? Mr Orlowski is a jounalist, Mr Montford is, to quote the article, "a science PUBLISHER and blogger". Both are sceptical of man-made climate change. Before making smart arse comments, I suggest you go look at the article.
> are you a paid employee of the "climate change industry"
Close, but no cigar! As a one-time paid employee of an energy utility, I suppose I was part of the climate changing industry.
> I suggest you go look at the data which bit by bit is being reluctantly squeezed out of these b*ggers
The fact that this data is so difficult to obtain compared with that which backs up climate change would suggest it is the sceptics that are being selective with their examples.
A post that appears as a rebuttal, yet contains no facts or contrary arguments. It merely attempts to cast aspersions of bias on both the author and the subject of the article. It does not attempt to shed light or foster understanding. Its only goal is to shutdown discussion of the favored topic.
I call this a faith based argument because it relies on nothing beyond the poster's feeling for what's right and what's not. Remarkably, most folks who make faith based arguments are convinced that their expressed opinion is not faith based, but merely draws upon well known facts which anyone, if right thinking and properly informed, need not have referenced.
It's a bit like saying, "People who agree with me already know I'm right, whereas people who disagree with me are either misinformed or delusional, because if they weren't, then they'd agree with me."
"The theory that CO2 will absorb heat is true"
This is serious interview. Gb2 basic school science!!
I like it how some libertarians and pseudo-libertarians are clenching teeth, pressing sphincters and generally touching wood that, when they wake up tomorrow, all the problems will have gone away, it's just government sponsored fascist science fakery and they can continue to ride after Ayn Rand into a future of limitless possibilities and infinite resource availability. They are probably still discussing how Einstein was a crackpot imposing a maximum speed for interactions from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
People like that take away all that makes libertarianism worthwhile.
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The interview says that the hockey stick is false and the data "isn't nearly as scary." Let's say that's true (I'm not a statistician and haven't read enough to confirm/refute either theory) - it still means the planet is warming up and we need to do something about it, surely? Even if we accept the claims that the climate change advocates are crying wolf way too loudly, there is still a very definite wolf-shaped predator on the horizon that we need to get ready to tackle.
So imho, if we carry on making ourselves more efficient, more sustainable and recycling more, all that stuff, we're not wasting anything because even if the most optimistic predictions are true, then our resources will outlast even those.
Surely, whatever you believe, doing nothing isn't an option (oil WILL run out, whenever you argue that it's going to happen) and it makes sense to sort stuff out now so that everything lasts that bit longer.
What makes the system so dubious is not the source of the funding, but the impact of the results... Governments/semi autonomous bodies like universities are probably the only way pure science can be funded. But as soon as your academic tenure, thus your job depends on getting the right sort of results to demonstrate that funding should be continued then there is quite unbelieveable pressure to get the "right" results, because if you get the wrong results you get to pick up your coat and leave...
Is that, there's probably something going on, here. There probably IS a story to be told.
The scientific consensus remains what it always was, after all: pollution is bad.
But with the people who claim to be researching what is happening, openly lying about their findings, and the nay-sayer so busy saying 'nay' to them, we really don't know quite what the effects of releasing a load of carbon (carbon that it took the planet 50+ million years to lock up), into the atmosphere over the space of a century, might be. Common sense tells you that something's going to give, when you do that sort of thing, but common sense seems to have departed this argument altogether.
It infuriates me that interesting things have happened to our climate in the past - that we are very likely to be in the process of making further 'interesting' things happen through our actions - but no one seems to researching what is actually happening, because they each have a vested interest in skewing the figures one way or the other. Disproving a falsehood is all very valuable, when that falsehood has eaten its way into international policy, but ultimately it is about as useful as disproving a negative, if what we really need is the truth.
. . . because presently the funding is directed by government, which is the problem.
The government should still be the largest funder of research in the UK, but it should do so by funding the universities and allowing them to decide what it is appropriate to research, not by directing the funding at a specific area of the university (like the CRU at the UEA).
The point is the earth's climate has always has a fluctuating temperature. If you take the stasitical analyisis that produces the hockey stick away you end up with something that looks like the normal fluctuations. It might be going slowly up now, but there is nothing in these figures to tell us that this will continue and not start to dip in the near future.
The theory is that this slow rise is anthrogenic due to increased "greenhouse" gases but without the hockey stick the correlation between rise in temperature and rise in level of GH gases disappears. This surely casts doubts on the validity of that theory.
Now as to whether the oil will run out (and of course it will), that is a separate arguement. We have a finite resource, what will be do when we have no more of it? You are correct we should do something about that, like increasing paper use rather than plastic, like increasing nuclear power and like reducing use. None of that has anything to do with whether we are warmer now than we were 5000 years ago.
A topic I've covered in depth on my blog. Fact is the earth is warming up. Even the non-hockey-stick version of events shows this, as did my school teachings about us coming out of the last ice age. It is just a cycle of events. Like those fossilised trees in... Edinburgh?.. that don't fit the current Scottish climate. There are probably very few "sceptics" willing to deny the basic fact that the climate IS changing.
Here is where the big question looms. You say we should be more efficient, and so on. Reduce carbon. Use ecological bulbs, turn the heat down... and you drag in the oil problem as a justification. Well, you might have a partial point with regards the expectancy of oil. However, with regards climate change, if this is is part of the natural cycle of our planet rather than something specifically man-made, all this carbon-reduction is going to cost us an awful lot of money (and maybe some jobs) to have about as much usefulness as preventing a car crash by letting go of the steering wheel and covering your eyes with your hands. This is where a lot of the skepticism lies. It isn't "is the earth really warming up" but rather "exactly how much of this is man-made"?
There are many people who WANT it to be man-made. Either through the ability to sell snake oil, or for the base comfort of knowing that if it is all our fault, we can set targets to alleviate the problem.
Thing is, if it is NOT man-made (and I personally feel that man's contribution has merely helped to expidite what was going to happen anyway), what good is a target?
There are many things we OUGHT to be doing instead of worrying endlessly about CO2 emissions. We OUGHT to be dredging rivers and canals. We OUGHT to make it illegal to build housing on flood plains. We OUGHT to look to see defences on coastal areas and considering what will happen when water levels rise high enough to breach such defences. We OUGHT to consider how we will cope when a hundred million people are displaced, a million-odd from our own country, large chunks of the capital city, not to mention other important (coastal) cities... We worry about a few thousand immigrants now, the scale of sea levels rising will be more a crisis than we can currently imagine.
It comes down to the ages-old question. If not now, when?
"The government should still be the largest funder of research in the UK, but it should do so by funding the universities and allowing them to decide what it is appropriate to research"
You have never worked at a university. The A$$ kissing that already goes on would be at such a fevered pitch that politicians would feel left out. Right now the kissing can only cause some damage to universities. With what you are proposing kissing a$$ will determine research funding - rather then any semblance of science.
"A topic I've covered in depth on my blog. Fact is the earth is warming up. ..."
Climate changes. When and if the climate moves into a cooling phase, will you be a chilling alarmist and declare that human involvement is hastening the decline?
"It comes down to the ages-old question. If not now, when?"
Yes, it does. The 'ages-old question' is often that of tunnel vision. For trends in climate and CO2 involvement, the blind spot might be spelled out as *hysteresis*.
I am pointing out my belief that the earth goes through a long boring series of cycles (as you write, "Climate changes").
I am also pointing out my belief that the best way to approach the problem is to understand it. If we're going to go along with the trendy thought that "we're pumping loads of CO2 into the atmosphere and we need to stop this in order to avert Climate Change", well, it'll be pretty lame as an effort if that was only a minor part of the problem.
We need to look at what effects a warmer planet will have. I think it is fairly safe to say "less ice" which will more than likely translate to "higher sea levels" (all that water isn't going to just vanish as it melts). You ARE aware of the height above sea levels of many major sea port cities which also happen to be country capitals, right? Need I list them? London? Stockholm? Paris? Tokyo? Canberra? And that's not counting the thousands of major urban areas that are low-lying. Would you rather misread my posting completely and call me an alarmist, or would you like to consider perhaps at least considering something useful for the future? To know what we're likely dealing with, a few computer models better than Al Gore's hokey science would be a good start. Big chunks of ice have already gone in this past decade. How much, as a percentage? [we can surely reliably measure the size of the ice mass by now, can't we?] How has this translated in terms of sea levels. From this it should be possible to devise a ballpark figure by looking at the remaining ice mass, and then to know if building a wall will suffice, or if it'll be a mite more complex.
I think it's not terribly surprising that many scientists will bend their numbers to fit expectations, especially if it promises headlines and continued funding. They are no better or worse than your average human being in searching fame and peer recognition.
But fortunately, science has inherent self-correcting properties because repeated observations and modeling will only reproduce the correct answers. So bad science will eventually be replaced with good science - no believe required, Mr Orlowski!
... may the better science win ...
Man-made GW may well be occurring, but it always seemed to me that the massive pollution of the earth with dodgy man-made compounds is a bigger danger, e.g nitrates, dioxins, oestrogen-like chemicals, heavy metals, etc etc. Humanity might be able to mitigate GW, but its hard to mitigate a big dose of 345T and the like. I get the feeling that a lot of climate change sceptics( as opposed to open-minded people who have no prejudiced views on the subject), are also rabidly pro-unfettered capitalism & so on. The right wing libertarian crowd are the Maoists of the early 21st century.....
but big business make lots of money ignoring and riding rough shod all over it. So sod all will happen (think Bhopal, Exxon Valdez etc.etc.etc.)
Climate change on the "next big thing" for big business to extract more money from tax payers. Carbon Credits/Exchange is an unbelievable example of how our politicians still have no idea how big business stitches up the taxpayer to line their pockets. (Or more likely they do when they get the 8 x 1 day a week directorships from said companies....)
Heaven knows what will happen if the skeptics finally accept all that air pollution we spent a century getting rid of was heavily suppressing warming...
Still, the real wonder of climate skeptics is how easily a small group of energy company provocateurs can make them dance. Going to be hilarious when the companies are finally ready with their climate change 'solutions', after 20 years delaying the competition they'll finally come clean and disown the skeptics. The meltdowns among the puppets will be spectacular to watch ;)
...I'm worried about chemical genetic modification of crops (as opposed to the semi-natural crossbreeding method).
They say that GM crops are safe and better than natural crops due to their increased tolerance and resistance. They would say that...
I feel a LOT more testing is in order, to better understand how this affects the ecosystem, preferably through a human generation at the very least. In reality, not computer modelling. But there is a lot of chemical GM maize (some of which is said to be hepatoxic) and soya around, with the Americans eager to foist it on everybody (of course, they own the patents... it's a crop cash cow, which isn't all that different to the rBGH cow).
To anybody who wishes to respond to this comment, I have only one word. Thalidomide. Consider your response carefully.
"They" (I presume you mean scientists say things along the lines of "...to the best of our knowledge..", "...there is no evidence of risk..." and so on. And that is true.
If you have EVIDENCE of risk, then I suggest you get it published. Otherwise...
ps Thalidomide had two form, left-handed and right-handed. It's called stoichiometry. One was safe in humans, one was not. I suggest you go look things up.
pps semi-natural cross breeding gave rise to toxic strains of potatoes. Is cross-breeding now unsafe?
Perhaps, AC, it is YOU who should go look things up. If you understood a little more about the teratogenic mechanism, you would know that the left-handed and right-handed isomers are actually able to convert to the other form within the human body, thus while one was "safe", it is only a relative form of safety, especially given that the supposedly safe isomer causes less severe effects, but effects nonetheless.
All of which misses the main point that, due to lack of information, the drug was considered suitable for use. And lack of information is very important, for a lack of evidence saying something is dangerous or wrong does NOT mean it is safe or correct.
This is exactly why I mentioned the drug Thalidomide, and furthermore it is an interesting argument following in an article that is regarding the various "evidence" for Global Warming may be more careful construction than actual science. As for the "They" I make reference to, these are the paid-off scientists, company CEOs, politicians, shareholders, and anybody with a vested interest in promoting their version of reality.
There is existing published evidence that GMO is dangerous and that Climate Warming is less man-made than we're led to believe; just as there is existing published evidence to say the exact opposite. It is a huge murky mess, and a great example of what I mean can be found in the Gonzo science applied by the tobacco industry until the real actual evidence was overwhelming - that smoking WILL reduce your life expectancy.
So, if you're going to bleat on cue, go back to reading the Daily Mail. Otherwise, feel free to reply and do the favour of putting your name to what you say, ya chickenshit... :-)
May the best science win, certainly. In order for that to happen the issue needs to remain in the realm of science - not dogma, and most partcularly not politics and regulation. Scientist can - in theory - move on from a bad idea, embrace a better one that grew from it's corpse and take knowledge forward. Politics certainly doesn't accomodate this behaviour, and once ideas have crept into law...
This matters because government influence on science and technology is not just about which reasearchers at which universities get funding. Once the basic science is done the engineering problems need to be dealt with, and a lot of this is done by the commercial sector. Once the goverment have decided what the problem is and which approaches to managing it are officially sanctioned that's where the corporate spend has to go, so it's where corporate R&D money goes.
The distortion in infosec spend caused by SOX, HIPAA, PCI-DSS and friends is an urelated by illustrative example. Closer to topic there is the massive spend on stack scrubbers for coal power stations in the 80s.
Basically neither is a proper science because science is based on the simple premise that you can test your theories about the world under repeatable, independently verifiable conditions. You can't do this with single, world sized-systems such as the global climate or economy.
The best you can do with the climate is to test your theories by looking at tree growth, lake bed sediments, sedimentary rocks, ice cores, and so on. Then look at atmospheric gas levels, particulates from volcanic eruptions (back to the geological record again) etc. Then *carefully* check one against the other.
I say carefully because even the most honest and methodical researcher will find it very difficult to do this without imparting at least an unconscious bias, by way of data series selection, choice of statistical analysis methods and so on.
At least economists regularly make predictions about economic behaviour over the short term (3-12 months) that can be tested against reality (most such projections turn out to be wrong and economics largely consists in finding plausible explanations for why your predictions didn't work out). But climate science likes to make projections that can only be tested 20 or, more likely, 50 years hence - when most of us won't even be alive to see whether they've come true or not. And if they haven't, you can bet there'll be a million plausible explanations of why it was nearly right.
And just to compound the problem, predicting future carbon levels depends on economic assumptions such as 3% compound growth in GDP over the next 100 years (that's a factor of 20-fold) AND that CO2 output will rise in line with GDP. This is pretty much the same view that allowed Victorians to predict that by 1920 all of London's streets would be 6 foot deep in horseshit.
Climate != weather.
The inability to predict the short-term, local effects of a largely chaotic system does not preclude the ability to predict long term patterns in the same system. The finer grained you attempt to make your predictions, the more difficult it is.
All together now...climate != weather.
As to the larger climate debate, well…
The long term accuracy of these predictions, that is another matter entirely. It's certainly easy for certain types of people to say "what happens in 50 years isn't relevant to me, why should I change my ways?" Others prefer the argument "well, we can't verify its bad until after it goes boom." By contrast, you have a chunk of people who simply don't believe the risks to their descendants to be worth it.
Regardless of what you believe, Climate policy is inextricably linked to issues of energy dependence (foreign as well as domestic), pollution, economic as well as industrial sustainability, resource depletion and even sovereignty.
I put forth that all of us need to put the climate change debate aside for now. Shelve the whole damned thing. We then need to have a big, planet-wide conference or ten on all of the RELATED topics to climate change. Things that do, honestly and truly have some real down-to-earth-this-affects-us-today consequences. Let’s try solving these problems, and when we’re done, I bet you any money that the solutions arrived at will be a significant step along the path to dealing with any potential climate change problems.
In other words: whether climate change is real or not, whether it is anthropogenic or not, all of the things that are claimed to cause it are still very real problems of their own right. Solving them goes a big way towards solving anthropogenic climate change issues, and most importantly…
…these issues need to be dealt with anyways.
They certainly have different names and address different time scales, but on what evidence can you say that predicting climate is easier than predicting weather?
As far as I'm aware, there is no instance of a significant climate prediction having been made and tested and shown to be correct. So it's just as plausible that predicting the climate will prove to be harder than predicting the weather.
Come back and make that argument when you've a track record of success to show.
Hey Werner, actually there is a lot of evidence to back up my claim that Climate !=Weather. The really simple one is climate models versus weather models. Our limited understanding of how all these various bits fit together is used to create mathematical models. These models are calibrated by looking at past results and seeing how well they fit. (Oh, and by the way, there are plenty of results to choose from to tune your models. The “climategate” numbers are by no means the only ones.)
Really long story short: “overall trends” in climate are a heckofalot easier than local weather prediction. There are absolutely reams of papers by people a lot smarter than I detailing the how and why. (Once you get into chaos theory and deeper maths, I go look for shiny objects to entertain me.) As to "track record of sucess," I need show nothing. I'm a sysadmin, not a climatologist. I do follow the science though, and quite a few models sucessfully predict historic climate, and have been fairly accurate on predicting current/future trends.
The models universally suck at Weather, however.
Climate != Weather.
Is the climate change fiasco being conveniently used by the New World Order
1. as an excuse for heroic posturing while creating a lucrative set of futures and derivatives markets in carbon trading?
2. to distract the agenda from irrefutable objective evidence the planet is being f^*&ed by a combination of big business and population growth
How about tackling...
b. mass extinctions
c. rates of depletion of (otherwise renewable) biological resources e.g. fisheries
d. rates of depletion of (unrenewable) mineral resources
Nail those and climate change (happening or not) would look after itself. Too bad fixing the underlying issues needs hard (read unpopular) political decisions now - not setting wishy-washy targets for 20 years time.
I got as far as the comment on teleconnections and realized that Andrew is writing from a position of total ignorance. How you have the balls to suggest that someone else is talking shite when you don't have any grasp of the subject yourself is beyond me.
In this context...
For mathematicians: The first teleconnection pattern is simply the first eigen vector of the covariance matrix.
For statisticians: The first teleconnection pattern is the first Emperical Orthogonal Function.
For everyone else: The first teleconnection pattern is a robust pattern that you can observe in the climate data.
Actual physical interpretation is difficult and sometimes controversial. They have nothing what so ever to do with pseudo scientific bullshit like homeopathy, telepathy or anything else, it's only the unfortunate name that suggests so.
After reading this propoganda, I couldn't be arsed to read the rest of the article so did not get what ever point you were trying to make. Irrespective of how correct you may or may not be.
a climate sceptic puppet
Actually I'm a sceptic, but no ones fool.or puppet
my questions to the climate scientists have always been the same
"Is CO2 driving the rise in temps over the past 30 years or is its rise as a result of the rise in global temps", and "can your model be successfully run backwards to produce the climate we had 150 years ago without an error of +/- 1 degree C"
But the biggest problem I have with the whole climate science thing is the way its been completely and utterly politicised by various "green" lobbys and their windmill driven economy fantasy and the big corparations sniffing out their carbon trading crap (odds on they'll trade them around, sell them as futures , run up a debt on them then slice up that debt, sell it to each other until the whole system is worth 10 times more than the world's entire industrial output.......)
There are lies, damned lies and statistics
So the point is that the (frankly stupid-sounding) teleconnections has the word "tele" in it and thus reminds us of telepathy (as clearly the telly and telephone must do to this nonscientist). Genius.
For realists: the teleconnection pattern is the collection of similar consequences of one large scale cause. It's been a cold winter in the south of england, as well as the north of scotland and the bits in between. Oh, and holland, france, germany, italy, etc. So our brave antiestablishment blogger says that anyone observing all trees suffered more this winter than last is a homeopathic nutjob? Genius, nothing more or less.
I got as far as your comment on teleconnections and realized that are writing from a position of total mysticism. How you have the balls to suggest that someone else is talking shite when you don't have any grasp of the subject yourself is beyond me.
If A then B.
If A then C.
therefore A ????
There are far too many people like AO who typically have no scientific training whatsoever offering their unqualified illinformed opinons on AGW, and your point was perfectly made.
The sad part is, these people seem to think science is settled by "debate" and cheap point scoring, and live under the sad dillusion that the science or the facts gives a shit about their "opinions".
Either way, these people won't acknowledge the significant risk AGW poses until the glaciers are lapping around their ankles.
I am a baby scientist i.e. I am part way through a PhD in applied mathematics and computer science. But if you will permit an infant's mewling, science is not a pure and noble pursuit unsullied by self interest, it is a very human endeavour infused with all the glory and devilry of any other human effort. Mistakes are made, fashions are followed, prejudices are pandered to, backs are scratched, funds are given (by opposing sides) for finding the 'right' answer, genius occurs, backbreaking drudgery happens. Nothing you do or say will change that. The truth will eventually out.
Scientists who are currently pro anthropogenic climate change being a serious danger to the world's ecology (remember all scientists believe in climate change just debate the origins and their relative strengths and their impacts) have made some very careless mistakes both in how they derived and how they have presented their evidence and theories and opened a clear gap for APG climate skeptics (also scientists) to crawl all over them. I think they will be less careless in future and this will be to everyone's benefit. I also notice some skeptics have begun a rapprochement with their colleagues. i.e.. trying to be positive in their criticisms rather than saying bah! humbug all the time. This is also a good thing.
For everyone else, unless you can follow the science, sorry, your opinion isn't worth a damn!
I recently started looking into AGW in more detail and found to my dismay that that the IPCC have succeeded in pulling the wool over most peoples' eyes. I have gone from broadly agreeing with the theory to be very doubtful indeed.
It is good to have any journalist finally start telling the truth about global warming - that the hockey stick is a complete fraud, the IPCC is headed not by a scientist but a railway engineer and as for Gore's propaganda masterpiece - enough said of that crock. The believers have managed to supress most rational voices out there with taunts of "denier" and similar.
In 5-10 years we will hopefully look back and wonder how they were ever allowed to get away with this for so long.
Paris as she is aware when she is being screwed...
I think you will find that on this particular web-site there will be quite a large number of people who can quite easily "follow the science".
Many will have greater expertise and experience in the areas of problem solving, rigorous application of methodology, programming, testing, data validation and data analysis, than your scientist chums seem to employ.
Couple these skills with a heavy dose of scepticism, learned over many years of working in "dynamic" environments and you may begin to understand why we can spot bullsh*t at great distances. I may even produce a paper on the subject (I've already written the conclusion). I'm sure you'll understand when I refuse access to the data that proves my point of view.
How many of your scientists, that rely so heavily on their own computer models, have trained as Software Engineers?
I browsed the HARRY_READ_ME.txt file referred to by a previous poster, and if this is indicative of the scientific methods you hold so dear, then it's no wonder that the conclusions of this particular branch of the science community are being held up for ridicule.
So unless your Ph.D. includes a module called "Question Everything", I'm afraid it is YOUR Utopian academia-centric opinion that isn't worth a damn.
You clearly didn't read my post at all. Utopian. Nah, basically, I said that scientists are just as human and fallible and full of cr*p as everyone else. If you can follow the science (and a first year course in statistics with some physics and software engineering) then bully for you. But what is really irritating are individuals who more or less state "I am not a scientist" (as though this was an ad for household cleaning products) or worse "I am a humanities graduate" but "these skeptics (or for that matter pro climate change scientists) are talking B*shit and killing the planet/humanities future". (delete as appropriate)
Oh, forgot to add, I am also a humanities graduate, so I know just how good a preparation for understanding climate science, doing a degree in history is i.e. probably has a negative effect. But if you want to understand politics, it is quite good and what is very clear is that climate science is heavily politicized. When views on a scientific subject neatly break down into opposing camps on the right and left , then you know with greater than 95% confidence that both sides are talking 50% cr*p and the only difficulty is deciding which bits form part of their 50 %.
....An academic quoting stupid numbers.
Where did you get the figures for your analysis of the general discussion of scientific subjects?
Have they been peer reviewed?
Oh dear. You are on the slippery slope.
While I did read your original post, several times in fact, you are correct in the assumption that I didn't understand the sentiment.
Such is the media by which we interact.
I read it as a student's deflection of criticism of the field that they were about to enter. If this is incorrect, my apologies, and my thanks for taking it in such good humour.
As for educational level; I stopped at MSc and went professional. So if you want to compare letters after the name .....
By all means. Do you have a Scrabble board handy? I always like getting triple word scores.
Anyhow, science is marred by the fact it is done by humans. Ditto for any other human activity. I am not defending it. Nor am I trying to undermine it. I am just reporting it. However, politics and science make for a particularly poor mix.
In 5 to 10 years, the arctic ice cap will be gone at the end of summer. Of course CCD's will manage to explain this once-in-human-history event as being natural - plenty of planets don't have ice-caps after all.
Now, let's take this bit of hookum: "the IPCC is headed not by a scientist but a railway engineer"
Yes. That's because the Bush administration replaced the original IPCC head with an oil-industry appointee in the first year of his first term. Please don't use Climate-wreaker's despicable tactics as evidence of fraud by Climate Scientists.
Femwick may be right about teleconnections and eigenvectors, but teleconnections are almost exclusively a climatologists tool. Proper maths and stats doesn't want to know about them.
More normal use of eigenvectors is in factor analysis of time-series multi-parameter data. There are plenty of certified tools that do this well and the results are used in many different fields such as epidemiology, economics etc. - Check out SAS, SPSS, R for applications.
Half-assed Fortran programs cobbled up by inexperienced part-time programmers are guaranteed to have problems. "Harry" demonstrated quite clearly how not to calculate variance
The climate is changing due to man's activities.
The climate is changing irrespective of man's activities.
Now, regardless of whose fault it is, I'd suggest that in either case shitting on your own doorstep is a really bad idea.
SERIOUSLY. WE NEED TO STOP SHITTING ON OUR OWN DOORSTEP.
Try reading the article again. They are not denying Global Warming (or Confirming it for that matter). Their beef is that a lot of the evidence does fails the rigour test. ie its crap.
Stop assuming the someone challenging the research is challenging GW as a concept (they may be - but one does not necessarily imply the other).
Why is it that:
1. If in a lab I have a glass box with air and a glass box with air+extra CO2 - the CO2 box will warm up faster?
2. The Vostok ice cores show a correlation between increased CO2 and increased temperature?
The basic physics is there, the other evidence is there. Skeptics should explain it all or GTFO.
(1) CO2 in box - famous flawed experiment. Especially the BBC video version. Don't trust anything you see about it.
Reality is that CO2 in the atmosphere does retain heat. Simple physics says so.
Unreality / uncertainty is whether there is 'positive feedback' or 'negative feedback'. The AGW crowd says strong positive. Skeptics say - show us the data, not some goofy numerical model written by amateur part time programmers. History says that negative feedback is the most likely answer.
(2) Vostok ice core shows that CO2 lags temperature by 800 years. CO2 is a result of warming, not a cause. Latest estimates say that for every degree of warming, CO2 concentration goes up about 10ppm (plus or minus a shedload as this ain't an exact science)
(3) When you look at how much CO2 is put into the atmosphere every day, you'd be amazed at how little the atmospheric concentration is rising. The atmosphere takes the vast majority of it and 'disappears' it at once - for which there is no reasonable explanation. There are very powerful natural forces at work and the AGW crowd have a very poor handle on what is actually happening
As I am a physicist who worked in climate science for many years I can tell just by your questions Andrew that you haven't a clue about the physics. Nor dare I say about the mathematics or the statistics. So respectfully, go and learn something before making stupid challenges.
"When you look at how much CO2 is put into the atmosphere every day, you'd be amazed at how little the atmospheric concentration is rising. The atmosphere takes the vast majority of it and 'disappears' it at once - for which there is no reasonable explanation."
Doesn't one reasonable explanation have something to do with the oceans and their acidification?
You missed point of article.
The main point of article was not the behaviour of gases, but the behaviour of scientists, comittees and vested interests.
As for the "unless you follow the science, you cant comment" interjections a big FAIL.
If some self appointed pressure group[s] want to spend taxes, taxpayers opinion counts unless a dictatorship is running.
Thirdly, a citizen is reasonable in being skeptical if they can see suspect behaviour, whether or not they understand the activity in which the suspect behaviour occurs.
Lastly, dihiydrogen monoxideis the most powerful greenhouse gas by dint of its volume and ubiquity. Also has much the same heat absorbsion as CO2. Yet we hear of how much drier a warmer world will be.
One of skeptics points is not "does CO2 _trap_ heat", which is not disputed, but _how_ much ?
1: Too simples. Convection: not so effective in the box. No vapour feedback within it either.
2: Temperatures were no higher when the CO2 levels were 10-20x higher than now; in fact there were ice ages - temperatures were lower! Granted that was a long time ago, but physics doesn't change with time. Either explain that, or "GTFO"?
Regardless of whether anthropogenic change is occurring, this is a very interesting line (title) for this article to contain. Ironic, I'd say.
So, your hero is clearly right and free of bias, and does not decide what he wants and then fudges data and/or analysis to get the desired result. Right? Of course not -- he must be the good guy, because you agree with his conclusions. Funny thing, but I only see the questioning of one side's motives here, all the time. It's the maverick fighters for Truth versus the evil scientists of the consensus, in a world wide conspiracy to... whatever it is. You know, the very nice, selfless, and above all completely honest guys fighting the corrupt system -- or so you make it sound like. Maniquean, simpleton, good only for bad literature (yes, I read Crichton's "State of Fear"; entertaining page turner, of course, but very bad literature if you like anything more sophisticated than, e.g., the average reality TV show).
And all that from people who don't know what "teleconnection" means. I didn't either, but then again I don't go around self-righteously calling other people whose expertise I don't even begin to fathom crooks and liars and etc as you guys seem to enjoy doing. Typical American anti-intellectualism just for the sake of it -- and it seems it's being aped by some Brits, sadly.
"but it is just a theory"
Great, someone has been hanging out with the creationists and IDiots, and learning from their ignoramus tactics. Just a theory, like relativity and quantum mechanics, you mean?
So, if I take a sceptical view (like scientists are supposed to) about AGW, I'm just another species of creationist? Nice ad hominem argument there, perhaps you'd like to try some facts next time.
But they'd better be an improvement over "Just a theory, like relativity and quantum mechanics, you mean?". Well, both relativity and quantum mechanics make predictions that are *testable*. Relativity is hard to test in a lab, but astronomical observations confirm its *predictions* quite well. QM has been shown in the lab to be accurate to better than 12 sig figs and this is demonstrated every time you turn on your PC. So there are quite good reasons to believe that they're reasonably accurate theories. Despite this, the one thing we know for sure is that they can't both be absolutely correct, since they contradict each other.
Now would you like to give a single example of a testable prediction made by climate science that has been confirmed to a confidence level better than 95%? No, didn't think so. Feel free to continue in your superstition, but forgive me if I don't choose to don the hair shirt and celice just yet.
"So, if I take a sceptical view (like scientists are supposed to) about AGW, I'm just another species of creationist?"
Obviously not, but your poor reading skills and/or naivety do not bode well... But at least you can write pretty Latin words.
First of all, I never said whether I agreed with the theory in question! You guys should hold your knees from jerking so hard. For the record, I do not have any opinion on that theory mentioned, because I have not properly studied it nor the field of work required to understand it -- differently from certain people, I am not presumptuous enough to think that I am qualified to judge other people's scientific work, completely unrelated to mine, based on the likes of El Reg or Scientific American articles, say.
Now, to the REAL point I was trying to make up there: the problem I see is the tactics used there, which you obviously did not get from my post. The "it's just a theory" line is a perfect and glaring example.
Only someone who knows nothing about science (or is dishonestly trying to spread FUD, confusion, whatever) uses it. Hence the reference to creationists, who love to use that all the time.
Because using the "it's just a theory" line (which is technically correct, but then say it for EVERYTHING) is intended to make it sound to the layperson that the idea in discussion is a hunch or a guess. "Evolution? That's just a theory, right? Not anything real, don't worry." NOW, if the theory is right or wrong, that is a different story. But saying "it just a theory" is dishonest and calculated to confuse. You might say it's an unsubstantiated or weak theory, for example. Or you might say it's not even a theory at all, but maybe just barely a hypothesis. Or not even that. Not even wrong, say. But I fear most people here wouldn't be able to tell the difference between theory and hypothesis, because they are too busy doubting everything (or at least everything they don't like) even if they don't know the basics of the fields they are doubting. Skepticism is very good, if used well and not just as a stupid "doubt everything" idea, as some seem to imply. I don't have the time to read everything, society is about delegating tasks. I already have more material than I can find time to read in my narrow scientific field (and I'm wasting time here, ha!). So I unfortunately won't be able to become an expert on everything under the Sun. Tough life, but I can live with that.
BTW, to remind you of the main point of my most: besides the "just a theory" problem, you might have noticed my mentioning of the "cowboy x injuns" tone of the books and articles, and the presupposition that one side is completely honest, competent, selfless and the other is a complete bunch of crooks who don't know anything only trying to profit from whatever they are trying to do. Obviously such tactics are employed by all sides in the debate. Just pointing out that no one seems to care about that. While this other interesting tactic does NOT make the favored side wrong (or right, for that matter), it is very suspicious of the motivations of the book/article/interview authors when such simplistic maniqueism is so strongly displayed.
How can you test climate warming? Match the model's predictions to new data? Haven't they tried that? Didn't they all fail? Theory must be wrong then.
You seem to be confusing AGW with a religion. It is a our responsibility to question.
If it is "science" then it is open to being questioned. It MUST be questioned. It MUST be tested to destruction and re-built. Either the theory is valid or it is not. You may like the theory or dis-like it; that is not important. All that matter is: does the theory's predicitons match the evidence. AFAIK in the case of AGW the answer is "No, it does not".
Oh, and this is a gem by the way " all that from people who don't know what "teleconnection" means. I didn't either, but then again I don't go around self-righteously calling other people whose expertise I don't even begin to fathom "
So you don't understand a word, you don't understand what people do; but you accept their say-so without question? AND you complain about anti-intellectualism? Dear go, get a grip of yourself. Try reading a few books and do not accept someone's word until you DO understand their knowledge area. It's not hard, it's called educating yourself.
To hold an opinion on a knowledge area you cannot comprehend is no better than having faith in tree pixies. Science does not need faith - it needs evidence!
The book sounds very plausible. Michael Mann is the poster boy for the AGW crowd. It would appear that his most famous creation, the hockey stick, which is still trotted out on the BBC as in the recent Earth: The Climate Wars, is complete bunk and yet we still have posters willing to shoot the messenger. Nice.
One strange omission from the article is the fact the Mann's hockey stick fraudulently mixes two difference types of data: proxy data and real temperature data. This is the essence of the infamous "trick" of Climategate fame. Mann discovered that he had a bit of a problem: his proxy data failed to track the supposed warming post 1961 and actually showed a cooling. A little tricky when what you actually want is a nice big tick like the ones the teacher used to give you to stop you sulking. So, what did he do? He used a "trick" which has been unbelievably defended by AGW supporters the web over, and simply chopped the inconvenient data at 1961 and replaced it with actual thermometer data. Hey presto! A nice hockey stick.
It seems to me that a nice, simple way to resolve this particular issue is to half the amount of money currently given to climate scientists to prove AGW, because that's effectively all that is currently happening. The rest of the money should then be given to other scientists from fields such as applied mathematics, physics, geology, etc., with the explicit remit of tearing apart the science that's emerged from climate science institutes the world over. Of course, they'd have to provide their complete, unexpurgated data, fully documented methodologies, etc., etc. which they currently seem loathe to do. Any climate science that isn't up to scratch should be removed from the scientific record as was the Lancet report on MMR and Autism.
Simple. A deep cleansing of the scientific literature. In the meantime, there should be a moratorium on new taxes, etc., and the IPCC should be disbanded as it is clearly not producing unbiased reporting on the science as it should. A breathing space of, say, 10 years ought to do it. I rather suspect that, long before the 10 years are up, AGW will vanish in a puff of CO2.
The father of a friend of mine used to work for the UN.
In the late 70s they discovered that the possibility of climate change was very real. This was long before any "hockey stick model".
Global warming is a fact - even if some of the evidence used to support it is a bit wobbly.
If I constructed a jelly leg and somehow added it to the Eiffel Tower, the tower wouldn't collapse when someone removed the jelly leg. Same goes for global warming and the hockey stick!
On what planet does what you just said make any sense? I'm flabbergasted.
Let's review: Because your father's friend worked for the UN in the late 70's, and they somehow "discovered" the POSSIBILITY of climate change, global warming is a proven fact.
As for your Eiffel tower "analogy" - full points for comedic value. That gave me a good chuckle.
Sad thing is, I don't think you're even a troll. People like you shouldn't even be allowed to read El Reg, its really meant for those of us with above canine intelligence levels.
Father of a friend eh? Reliable source that is ! (not)
Cite the data.
Cite the papers.
Cite the methods.
Cite the results.
Can't? Then I will just file your statement under "Anecdotal claptrap, of no value".
As for the jelly leg, you are probably right. The Eiffel Tower probably wouldn't fall down once you removed the jelly leg; because it would already have fallen down (jelly leg providing no support, over-stressing the members, total collapse). Have you run the FEA models? Do you have any clue about structural mechanics or architecture?
I do not accept UFOs, fairies, demons, gods, angels or ghosts as being real because the evidence is anecdotal and only offered by those with a vested interest in the claim being true, the claims are often made on only one or two pieces of evidence, data that refutes the claim is ignored and the raw data is often hidden. I cannot accept AGW for exactly the same reasons.
This does not mean I do not support green initiatives or try to cut my own carbon footprint (there's plenty of reasons for stopping pollution etc. that do not involve invoking the demon of AGW), but it does mean I will not accept something as true just because some boffin tells me it is must be so. You can't trust boffins any more than you can trust non-boffins.
Anecdotally, when I was at school in the 70s and 80s they telled us that climate was changing such that we were about to enter an ice age by the end of the 20th century unless we stopped driving cars and flying to Torremolinos for a week every summer.
I am pretty sure of the following 3 pertinent facts:
(1) We ain't stopped driving cars and flying places in jets
(2) We ain't entered an ice age
(3) the plural of anecdote is not data
Just to exercise a little 'scepticism' here. In that 'penmanship' graph, where does the drastic plunge in temperature pre-1880 come from? Without that a naive observer might suggest the IPCC predictions are entirely reasonable. Also given the rise over the last decade, bourne out by observation as well - hell almost 'scientifically proven'.
I refer to the BAMS (American Meterolgical Society Sept 08) which de bunks this urban ledged pretty well.
I *suspect* human behaviour is interferring with the global climate in quite severe ways. That is a personal POV, not one I would try to convice anyone else of.
However the more detailed description I have seen of the *behaviour* of the investigators into this the worse their behaviour looks.
Raw data sets they won't publish. Data cherry picked. Undisclosed data filtering/processing methods. Statistical measures that have *not* been investigated in detail by statisticians.
This does not corrospond to any definition of the "scientific method" that I am familiar with.
I think Einstein said "Nature cannot read." Let's have *all* the facts (including the ones that don't match *any* theory) on the table, along with the methodology used to reduce the data.
I *hope* climate "science" will go down in history like viriolgy, not eugenics (or perhaps fusion).
... by some kind of credible scientific panel which looked into all the evidence and then made a report...
oh... they did a few years ago..
"The panel said that a statistical method used in the 1999 study was not the best and that some uncertainties in the work "have been underestimated," and it particularly challenged the authors' conclusion that the decade of the 1990's was probably the warmest in a millennium.
But in a 155-page report, the 12-member panel convened by the National Academies said "an array of evidence" supported the main thrust of the paper. Disputes over details, it said, reflected the normal intellectual clash that takes place as science tests new approaches to old questions."
So - a reputable panel looked into it, took the evidence into consideration, criticised the original work yet "supported the main thrust of the paper".
But I'm supposed to disregard this because people with a specific agenda feel they can create a controversy around it?
nice to have comments on an AO climate article for a change... well done El Reg!
I think it would be much better for AO to start up his own blog or website for this odd climate change stuff so that our trusty El Reg is not brought into disrepute and ridicule.
The Reg's healthy cynacism on many tech (and related) topics is refreshing (versus much mainstream reporting)... but these odd AO climate posts bring the whole site into question.
Any one else think AO should take his odd climate stuff elsewhere?
I think it's fine he gets to publish it.. but it's daft to have it here spoiling The Reg.
It is refreshing to see El Reg tackle something different (non-ITy), and so head on; but I do have to say I feel for the sanity of the moderators having to sort out all these posts. I can only imagine they saw the article about to be put up and thought "OMFG, here we go...".
Beer icon... for the moderators.
People have a misconception about science. The presumption is that scientists are fair, unbiased and incorruptible.
Scientific research is the same as any other enterprise. That means that science is a grand old game of politics played out upon a substrate of 'natural phenomena'. What sets apart the politics of science from other types of gaming is that the game of science is based upon the reality of nature. Denying, corrupting, misconstruing and or distorting the 'natural facts' is fair game, if not at least it is human nature and fundamentally unavoidable when stumbling about in the dark discovering "truth".
The game of science has an essential feature which sooner or later ensures that the 'appropriate description' becomes the winner that takes all. The honest broker is nature, itself. Mother Nature is deaf, dumb, stupid and non-sentient. The scientific politico 'gamer' might just as well go try to convince a rock that the scientist's pet theory is the correct one.
Neither nature, nor rocks listen to scientists. The scientist who foolishly attempts to convince the 'rock' otherwise is wasting his time and effort.
Unlike other types of games, the winner of the science game cannot write the history. People can be convinced and swayed. Nature does not listen at all.
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