The IPCC renewables controversy – where have we got to?

I used to think Greenpeace were good at PR. After all, it’s their main reason for existing as a campaigning group, and should surely be what they do best. Now I’m not so sure. Here’s Greenpeace International’s Sven Teske digging himself in even deeper following criticisms from Steve McIntyre – later added to by myself – that too much weight was given in the recent IPCC’s renewables report to a single paper originally published by Greenpeace:

“This week, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made public the full text of its renewables report, which details a revolutionary vision for reducing Greenhouse [sic] emissions by using renewables to replace fossil fuels, and phasing out nuclear power along the way.”

Oh dear. So just when Steve and I had asked the IPCC Renewables report’s lead author Ottmar Edenhofer to confirm what role, if any, Greenpeace’s Sven Teske had in selecting his own study as one of the four ‘illustrative’ scenarios in Chapter 10, Teske himself makes things worse by boasting about his study’s headline influence. That Teske – and by implication Greenpeace – see their own “revolutionary vision” as having been given the stamp of scientific authority by the IPCC is quite clear. Teske continues:

Before any ink even had a chance to dry, however, the report was already under attack from some desperate commentators who appear to have a strange, fundamental disbelief in the possibility of a clean energy future.

Again this betrays a shocking lack of understanding of the issue at hand. None of this is about belief. I don’t know about Steve McIntyre, but speaking for myself I would have been delighted had the IPCC’s Working Group 3 been able to offer a credible assessment of the potential for scaling up renewable energy – as opposed to, or in combination with, other mitigation options like nuclear, fossil fuels with CCS and so on. That Greenpeace’s “revolutionary vision” ended up headlining the whole thing is a tragedy,  because – in a PR disaster any half-brained PR flack should have spotted a mile off – they have undermined the very cause they sought to promote.

But there’s more. Teske goes on:

I am happy to say that not only was I one of the contributors who worked together to create the 1000 page IPCC report, but the document also contains an in-depth study of Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution, which was chosen as one of the lead scenarios.

But how was it chosen, and why? Did the decision have anything to do with the fact that Teske, as author of the Greenpeace “revolutionary vision”, was one of the lead authors who got to select which scenarios to highlight? What exactly was the process? Did Teske step out of the room, as it were, when his fellow lead authors were deciding which should be the four scenarios to get headline treatment? We still don’t know. Teske avoids this question, and Edenhofer himself has refused to respond to either mine or Steve McIntyre’s enquiries.

The only useful bit of information Edenhofer has offered, and only in passing via an email to someone else, is that Teske was not involved in drafting the IPCC press release which ended up generating the headlines about how 80% of the world’s energy “could” come from renewables by 2050. It seems that Nick Nuttal, a former Times environment correspondent, who over recent years has moved into doing press work for UNEP and the IPCC, had this job. Perhaps as a former hack with a nose for a story, he came up with the wheeze of headlining the entire renewables report with the 80% figure originating from Greenpeace.

Some green-tinged commentators, in trying to protect the IPCC from any criticism – legitimate or illegitimate – are now seeking to deflect attention by putting blame elsewhere. Carbon Brief, a sort of PR rapid-response service which takes on climate sceptics (and which has former Greenpeace campaigner Christian Hunt as its main press contact), admitted that there were “legitimate issues with the organisation’s communications” – but tried to pin the blame on the media.

“It is clear that many of the problems identified in the press release are easily solvable (or at least readily identifiable) with the bare minimum of good journalistic practice – whether that includes parsing the report’s summary, making further inquiries to the IPCC, or simply reading the press release in full. Journalists were also under no obligation to adopt the framing of the IPCC’s press release. The media’s practices – including constraints on journalists’ time – must therefore be held partially responsible for presenting the misleading impressions identified above.”

I don’t think this washes. Most importantly, it was impossible to spot the problem when the press release was first put out on 9 May, because the whole report – which revealed the source of the headline figure – was not released simultaneously. All that time-stressed hacks had to go on when covering the IPCC meeting in Abu Dhabi on 9 May was the Summary for Policymakers (PDF) and the associated press release. Let’s look at the only instance, way down on page 19 (of 24) where the SPM mentions the 80% figure, rounded up from 77% in the following paragraph:

More than half of the scenarios show a contribution from RE [renewable energy] in excess of a 17% share of primary energy supply in 2030 rising to more than 27% in 2050. The scenarios with the highest RE shares reach approximately 43% in 2030 and 77% in 2050. [10.2, 10.3]

Hacks wanting to check the reference for the 77%/80% figure would have to follow the trail of the square brackets, which refer to chapters in the full report… which was not released until more than a month subsequently, on June 14.

And moreover, when seen in this context, as Steve McIntyre repeatedly insists, the first line of the IPCC’s press release is potentially very misleading. It stated:

Close to 80 percent of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.

Personally I think that 80% of the world’s energy probably could be met by renewables by mid-century – but the IPCC’s renewables report singularly fails to demonstrate that. (So I’m not a clean energy ‘unbeliever’ – denier? – even by Teske’s standard above.) Instead, the figure comes from one of 164 different energy scenarios, none of which are assessed in terms of their likelihood or feasibility. They are just ‘scenarios’, not plans, strategies or even projections. That Greenpeace sees the IPCC report as having endorsed its own “revolutionary vision” compounds the damage by showing that even a lead author of the relevant chapter – who still refuses to acknowledge the conflict of interest suggested by his chapter’s in-lights citation of his own work – misunderstands the whole point of the IPCC.

212 comments

  1. Stacey says:

    Mark

    Why are you so surprised they have been making it up for years and not just the science?

    “Hey you guys you are doing great things for the cause…..”

    “Don’t worry if you only got 600 names and they do not all have Phd’s well say its 1500 scientists no one will check”

    Email from? you guessed right, just before Kyoto.

  2. Barry Woods says:

    Mark – I don’t wish to cause any offence, but you did read the climategate emails yourelf, didn’y you. Or did you rely depend on others views…

    A group of scientists put together a pre-kyoto statement, that they chain/spam emailed to european scientists, pre-kyoto looking for signature..

    Tom Wigle’s reply to the group (BUT NOT the email list) was devasting in it’s criticism, reprehensible behaviour, etc

    Have you see this email… what if it had leaked at the time, what IF the email correspondednt had seen his reply, and thought twice about becoming advocates bit scientists…

    As mentioned, above ( no journalist is going to check, just get some numbers up)

    One Joseph Alcamo weighs in on a pre-Kyoto Statement (his capital) they are trying to put together:

    ‘I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is numbers. The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500 signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000 without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a different story. Conclusion — Forget the screening, forget asking them about their last publication (most will ignore you.) Get those names!’

    Tom Wigeley’s reply to Mike Hulme about the actual statement itself….. (some extracts)

    Tom Wrigley email response was devastingly critical:

    “I was very disturbed by your recent letter, and your attempt to get
    others to endorse it. Not only do I disagree with the content of
    this letter, but I also believe that you have severely distorted the
    IPCC “view” when you say that “the latest IPCC assessment makes a
    convincing economic case for immediate control of emissions.” .

    “It is not IPCC’s role to make “convincing cases”
    for any particular policy option; nor does it. However, most IPCC readers
    would draw the conclusion that the balance of economic evidence favors the
    emissions trajectories given in the WRE paper. This is contrary to your
    statement.”

    “This is a complex issue, and your misrepresentation of it does you a
    dis-service. To someone like me, who knows the science, it is
    apparent that you are presenting a personal view, not an informed,
    balanced scientific assessment. What is unfortunate is that this will not
    be apparent to the vast majority of scientists you have contacted.

    In issues like this, scientists have an added responsibility to keep their
    personal views separate from the science, and to make it clear to others
    when they diverge from the objectivity they (hopefully) adhere to in their
    scientific research. I think you have failed to do this.

    People who endorse your letter will NOT have “carefully examined” the issue.

    When scientists color the science with their own PERSONAL views or make
    categorical statements without presenting the evidence for such
    statements, they have a clear responsibility to state that that is what
    they are doing. You have failed to do so. Indeed, what you are doing is,
    in my view, a form of dishonesty more subtle but no less egregious than
    the statements made by the greenhouse skeptics, Michaels, Singer et al. I
    find this extremely disturbing.

    Tom Wigley”

    Mark – Were you aware of this?

    • Barry Woods says:

      Link to Tom Wigley’s reply to a request to sign a Pre-Kyoto consensus.

      and Mike Hulme’s email request. (and the 11) ALL CRU staff and over a
      hundred UK signaturies (similar was going around EU countries.

      http://www.di2.nu/foia/0880476729.txt

      Are you aware of this, any thoughts!
      What if it had leaked pre-Kyoto

    • David Bailey says:

      Those emails are really crucial to this debate, because the scientists at the CRU have tacitly admitted that they are genuine! They are still available for all to read in an conveniently digested form:

      http://www.assassinationscience.com/climategate/

      As you read these, you can be confident that you are reading the actual words of Prof Jones, Keith Briffa, Michael Mann, and the programmer known only as Harry, whose programming notes are included (along with a range of other characters)!

    • Latimer Alder says:

      ‘Harry’ is Ian Harris

      http://www.uea.ac.uk/env/people/People/Contract+Research+Staff/harrisi

      Poor bastard to be given such an absolute IT mess to sort out……..

    • David Bailey says:

      Interesting – where did you discover that?

    • Latimer Alder says:

      CRU staff list.

    • David Bailey says:

      OK, but I am curious if you know for certain that this is the famous Harry – after all, he must find working there a bit difficult after what he wrote in his programmer’s notes! On the other hand, maybe they offered him a large sum of money to stay!

      BTW, It just occurred to me that there might be a few people here, who have not read what Harry/Ian had to say about the software at the CRU:

      http://www.anenglishmanscastle.com/HARRY_READ_ME.txt

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @david bailey

      Pretty certain. He’s described as Ian (Harry) Harris with interests in

      ‘Dendroclimatology, climate scenario development, data manipulation and visualisation, programming’

      If this were another Harry, I think he’d be keen to make his separate identity clear,

    • mrsean2k says:

      Bad form to quote yourself, generallu, but a comment on Mark’s actions I made at http://climateaudit.org/2011/06/14/ipcc-wg3-and-the-greenpeace-karaoke/ that I think applies to anyone wrestling with this issue:

      “In the comments on the thread on his blog, Lynas freely admits that he sides with Mann on the subject of the validity of the Hockey Stick, lacking the expertise to check the working for himself.

      And this seems a very common (and if we’re honest) reasonable approach to take where the epistemology is in doubt; Lynas defers to a prominent expert who he believes to be better qualified, “knowing” that peer-review is a safeguard against significant errors or omissions.

      All you can reasonably ask of someone is to dig deeper at their own pace, and to his credit he appears willing.”

  3. Barry Woods says:

    sorry for typos – attempted on a smartphone

  4. Paul says:

    Mark

    ‘Most importantly, it was impossible to spot the problem when the press release was first put out on 9 May, because the whole report – which revealed the source of the headline figure – was not released simultaneously.’

    Exactly what important extra information did the full report give that wasn’t available in the SPM? The section summary in the SPM states: ‘The scenarios with the highest RE shares reach approximately 43% in 2030 and 77% in 2050.’ Clearly it can be assertained from this that the ‘close to 80%’ comes from the scenario with the highest RE share. What extra information did you think was necessary to form an opinion? The scenarios are just a bunch of numbers whizzing through a computer program and the source is simply irrelevant to the point.

    I think you generally misunderstand the purpose of the report, which is why your Exxon analogy in a previous post didn’t make sense to me. The report is not about the technical capability of renewables to meet energy demand but rather the extent to which public policy initiatives can affect adoption of renewable technologies for energy production. Hence ‘if backed by the right enabling public policies’ in the press release headline.

    Your main concern appears to be that Greenpeace are able to claim some kind of victory by association. I say let them, because your posts are simply giving them more publicity. The Greenpeace press release has probably received more attention because of you and Steve McIntye than it’s received in the month-and-a-half since it was released.

    On the other hand, I echo your call for the minutes to be released and I think heads should roll if Teske was able to promote his scenario unopposed.

    • Paul says:

      Sorry, the various references to ‘report’ in paragraph 3 should say ‘chapter (10)’. There probably were some technical considerations discussed elsewhere in the report.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      I too applaud the idea that you are giving greenpeace press releases more and wider publicity. It can do the sceptical cause noting but good.

      Perhaps you would also care to republicise these famous words from gp’s communications director in Asia. In the last few months they may have faded from view..but have not been forgotten

      ‘If you’re one of those who have spent their lives undermining progressive climate legislation, bankrolling junk science, fueling spurious debates around false solutions, and cattle-prodding democratically-elected governments into submission, then hear this:

      We know who you are. We know where you live. We know where you work.

      And we be many, but you be few’

  5. Webcraft says:

    Thanks for that link Dennis.

    I think Mark is beginning to lose the plot here. What is starting to come out is a big personal anti-Greenpeace thing that is going to damage the IPCC, damage the public image of climate science further and have very little in the way of positive impact.

    Time to stop scratching at the scab.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      You’d rather that the many deficiencies in Greenpeace and the IPCC remain undiscussed otherwise the ‘image of climate science’ would be damaged.

      Is that like Pachauri not wanting to discuss conflicts of interests among his AR5 authors because they might be embarrassed when their affiliations are made public?

      If the IPCC is indeed damaged goods as many suspect and the world is starting to understand, what is there remaining of ‘climate science’ to be salvaged? For twenty years you guys have wittered on that the IPCC is the final arbiter. Now we begin to see it for what it really is…a haven for special interest groups with products or philosophies to peddle.

      I counsel you to remember one of the many lessons of Watergate. Nixon could undoubtedly have survived the initial break-in. He would have had some credibility loss but nothing fatal. It was the ineptitude of the cover up that broke him. The parallels are obvious.

  6. Webcraft says:

    @latimer

    yawn yawn . . .

  7. pointman says:

    One has to wonder if such an infantile response would be forthcoming in a face to face conversation.

    Pointman

  8. Webcraft says:

    @pointman

    Yawning is a sign of boredom, not infantility.

    What constantly amazes me is the inability of the average denier to ever concentrate on the point at hand. The whole thrust of this particular debate is whether or not the IPCC were inept in the way the press release for this report was handled, with the secondary issue of the selection of authors. Instead of concentrating on this debate we have to listen to the usual drivel:

    . . . what is there remaining of ‘climate science’ to be salvaged?. . . what it really is…a haven for special interest groups with products or philosophies to peddle . . . Watergate . . . blah blah . . .

    It is the constant repetition of prattling denialist mantras that bore me. While the original articles by Lynas were intelligently written and addressed some valid concerns, I have seen very little that resembles adult debate in the subsequent comment threads, just another frothing outpouring of the usual denialist conspiracy drivel and paranoia.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @webbie old boy

      You mean that the only bit of this whole tangled mess of the IPCC’s own making (pause for hilarity) that you;d like to discuss is the press release. Fair enough. Others see just a few teensie weensie other things wrong as well.

      But you have already made your position quite clear that you aren’t interested in discussing any misdemeanours or worse that ‘will damage the IPCC’ or the ‘image of climate science’. Which rules out quite a lot of stuff.

      Fine. Your choice to withdraw your participation from the discussions. We will all have to dry our tears of grief that you aren’t here any more and soldier on manfully through that long Vale of Sorrow. Cheers.

  9. pointman says:

    Infantile behaviour followed by the inevitible bad tempered ad hom. He’s just joined my scroll past commenter list.

    Pointman

  10. Webcraft says:

    Ah pointman . . .

    I see that the only comments you have made on here have been to attack me personally, and not to discuss the subject of post at all. I find your accusation of ad hominism somewhat ironic in the circumstances. But then you do say on your own site:

    I’m not too anal about staying on topic . . .

    I’m going back to just reading Mark’s posts in future – the comments on this blog are in most cases sadly not worthy of the content. If I do weaken in future it will be to make one comment on the post, not to exchange insults with the rabble.

    So long suckers.

    • David Bailey says:

      Webcraft,

      The IPCC has played a huge part in all of climate science. This is not the first time the IPCC has been caught out bending the rules – think no further than those Himalayan glaciers. That was supposedly part of the science of global warming, telling us that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035.

      When corrected by an Indian scienist, the head of the IPCC Rajendra Pachauri, described this as “voodoo science”. The bogus claim stayed until after Copenhagen, when it was dropped, and described as a mistake!

      Tell us all again, why we should not poke into the working of the IPCC a little more closely!

  11. pointman says:

    Adieu sweet prince …

    Pointman

  12. scas says:

    While you idiots are scratching your heads about climate change, the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is putting out 3.5 billion tonnes of methane a year. This has more warming potential than the century-total CO2 emissions from industrial civilization, and this will only increase year by year. I imagine the methane release is related to the huge sea ice decrease, the warming oceans, and thawing permafrost. This warming was a result of human CO2 emissions. You idiot climate deniers have won. Runaway climate change is here. Now we’re going to have to geoengineer the whole damn planet to prevent abrupt climate change. Don’t worry, when the climate turns hot and sour, we know who you are.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      No doubt with our modern equipment we are able to measure..and you are able to report… on the substantial change to the global atmospheric methane concentration that would result from such an outpouring?

      I;d be very interested indeed to see how it has changed over the years for my home in Surrey. Or Southern England if the figures are only recorded nationally.

      A graph would help too. Thanks.

    • David Bailey says:

      We might win one day, but if we do, it will be because we manage to persuade enough people to look at the actual science and the painful truth – something Mark Lynas seems to have started to do.

      If, of course, the facts are as you think they are, we will have scored a huge own goal – simply confirmed the AGW story, so why not encourage us!

      Isn’t it strange that with all that methane keeping us warm, we have had a succession of very cold winters, and not very spectacular summers.

    • John Mason says:

      scas,

      Just thought I’d pop in here having read your comment. It’s never good to read despair.

      Mark’s blog suddenly seems to have attracted a fair few gloaters, but that is what happens in the cyber-world whenever an incident of this nature pops up. This is nothing new at all. Note that the commentary below Mark’s last few posts is mostly completely off-topic: the posts regard the IPCC’s approach to solutions and its PR efforts with same, with which it seems criticism is justifiable to an extent. The commentary mostly seems hell-bent on equating such things with the need for abolition of the laws of physics! I have lost count of the number of times I have seen such firestorms in the past decade – I just wish that I had a cent for every comment involved… but don’t worry – these people are just noisy activists – they are not in charge.

      It’s not a case of “winning” or “losing”; it’s more a case of a) understanding the issues and b) coming up with appropriate responses. We should be able to criticise where that is justifiable: no organisation should be above that. If that criticism pans out as correct, then it should be addressed by the organisation concerned. If it pans out as incorrect, then it should be addressed by the original critic.

      The Opposition seems to have an inbuilt degree of self-proclaimed immunity to this, but everyone looking in sees straight through that every time.

      David Bailey, I don’t know in which nation you reside, of course, but clearly it is one I am familiar with. I’m in Wales which has seen a run of colder than average winters (albeit with the cold periods being quite short) and warm dry Springs followed by cool wet summers. However, I only need to look back to 2006 to find my notes describing queen wasps emerging from hibernation in January and rainfall shortage/high temperatures causing a situation so critical that farmers were cutting multiple fences just to let stock get to a water-source. Now, both these things – your experiences and mine – could be construed as cherry-picking: however, I’m not going to use 2006 as a means to arguing that the UK is going to turn into a desert (it isn’t). Fortunately, the UK in general appears, through its geographical situation, to have a very useful degree of resilience to the direct effects of climate change over the coming decades. Here, it is the indirect effects that will generate the most attention first – food prices being the most obvious. OK – they too will be and are being impacted by the high oil-price (before tax, before anybody tries that one), but large scale crop-failures as we saw in 2010 in Russia are also players, as indeed are the disgusting speculators – one aspect of capitalism we could well do without.

      There are hard times coming, for sure, but the battle is far from over. If you believe it is over, then ask yourself this: had “the deniers” won, then why are they still energetically swarming over comment threads attempting to peddle their nonsense? They would have no need at all. That alone tells you that when somebody rolls out a diatribe which seeks to eliminate the laws of physics in response to a criticism of an aspect of the output of a UN body, they actually have very little to go on (like the policeman whose lavatory has been stolen). Indeed, that should tell you an awful lot!

      So don’t despair.

      John

    • David Bailey says:

      For what it is worth, I live in the North of England, and I am pretty concerned that we are going to end up with an awful electrical supply in a few years time, because of a theory that is based on deceit and exaggeration.

      Honest people on either side of this debate should not despair if a little more light is shed on some of the facts. If Mark explores some of the facts, and it turns out that the IPCC didn’t distort the science significantly, well the case CO2 reduction will have been strengthened – so it is a win-win situation – only the deceitful stand to lose.

      One of the features of the AGW story, seems to be to downplay the natural variation of the climate. Here for example, is a picture showing liquid water at the North pole back in 1958. Now if someone can check, and discover that this image is fraudulent, let them present the evidence here.

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/26/ice-at-the-north-pole-in-1958-not-so-thick/

      In the absence of that evidence, please stop and consider how this picture would be used if it had been taken in 2010!

    • Dan Olner says:

      The NOAA on the arctic, confirming what Watts’ own article says: open water formation is normal, and as the sub captain noted at the time, they don’t last. So, what does the actual ice data show…?

      Skeptics: people who ask whether something is actually true and check for themselves. The internet: a tool that makes this task almost laughably easy.

    • John Mason says:

      David, sea ice rifts apart all the time – the resultant polynas may occur pretty much anywhere across the Arctic Ocean. Mechanisms for their formation are several – ocean currents, high winds, warm water upwelling and so on. All features of natural variation as you say. I would not place that much weight on them being evidence for anything but the above.

      As for “based on deceit and exaggeration”, are you accusing Tyndall, Arrhenius and other early workers in the field of same? Because if you are, I think that’s a pretty poor show.

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      Thanks for the confirmation that that image was true.

      You haven’t answered my question. What use do you think the IPCC would have made of that picture if it had been taken last winter?

      The early workers were right to raise the issue of CO2 as a potential problem – the infra red spectrum of CO2 does contain an absorption band! The point at issue is the magnitude of the effect. If it had been possible to deduce the magnitude of CO2 induced global warming from basic theory (as some of those who talk about “basic physics” seem to think) it would not have been necessary to collect a mass of temperature and other data before deciding to act.

      I think that somewhere down the line, basic science turned into one sided advocacy. Indeed, you can see that if you look in those emails – written by the scientists at the heart of this – here is a sample:

      “If published as is, this paper could really do some damage. It is also an ugly paper to review because it is rather mathematical, with a lot of Box-Jenkins stuff in it. It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically,”

      In other words the author was reviewing a paper that he wanted to reject because it came to the ‘wrong’ conclusions, but he was finding it hard to justify turning it down! Does that really sound like science to you? Those emails contain a lot of damning stuff, and as I keep on pointing out, the CRU have tacitly accepted that they are genuine. I’m betting that you, like so many others, haven’t actually looked at them – they are still available:

      http://www.assassinationscience.com/climategate/

      When dealing with an insidious problem of this sort, it is incredibly dangerous if science drifts into mere promotion of one point of view, because it is incredibly hard for non-specialists – even with a technical background – to check easily what is or is not normal.

      I used to assume AGW science was sound, until I downloaded those emails for fun, and started reading. Perhaps the tipping point for me, was the discovery that the phrase, “Mike’s Nature trick” actually referred to a paper in which Michael Mann placed a number of curves on one graph, and carefully positioned them so that he hid the fact that he had truncated one of those curves early. It fooled a lot of people, including the climatologist Judith Curry – I guess this was part of her conversion too.

      Why was that curve truncated early – well it related to the relationship between tree ring size and temperature – a vital part of the argument contributing to the so-called hockey stick graph. Those tree rings were supposed to be a temperature ‘proxy’, and the part of the curve he removed, showed a strong divergence between temperature and the supposed proxy.

      This in turn, lead to the intervention of a professor of Physics at Oxford University, Prof Jonathon Jones:

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/25/currys-2000-comment-question-can-anyone-defend-%E2%80%9Chide-the-decline%E2%80%9D/

      Incredibly, Nature has not yet removed that paper!

    • John Mason says:

      In reply to David Bailey (no “reply” button below his post re – “the trick”:

      “Why was that curve truncated early – well it related to the relationship between tree ring size and temperature – a vital part of the argument contributing to the so-called hockey stick graph. Those tree rings were supposed to be a temperature ‘proxy’, and the part of the curve he removed, showed a strong divergence between temperature and the supposed proxy.”

      The tree rings ARE a temperature proxy, not “supposed to be”, and they all work pretty well over decades up to 1960 i.e. the proxy temperatures are in good agreement with the observational record. From 1960, as is well-discussed in the literature, a particular tree-ring dataset (latewood density from northern & high-altitude forests) produced a decline in proxy temperatures against a plateau in observed temperatures through to the mid 1970s then a rise from thereon.

      So from 1960 something has gone wrong with this particular proxy. I don’t believe it has been 100% nailed yet (could even be that plant-food, CO2, rising – you never know!) BUT what is clear is that post-1960, the tree-ring data from this particular latewood density set no longer reflect reality.

      Rather than plot this useless post-1960 data on an otherwise representative-of-reality graph, the sneaky so-and-sos stopped it where it went bad, i.e. they removed the bad bit – and simply replaced it with the observational temperature record. That was the “trick”, and the “decline” that ended up thus hidden was the bad part of the proxy data.

      To my mind, getting rid of data that are demonstrably useless makes sense. That’s not manipulation – it’s removing crap!

      The above was done by Phil Jones, Keith Briffa et al, though, not by Mike Mann. In Mike Mann’s case, proxy datasets (other tree-ring sets, corals, ice-cores, lake sediments) were available up to about 1981. Mann simply tacked the observed temperature record 1981-98 onto the end of the proxy temperatures. Neat trick! The paper was published in Nature and the observed temperature data and the proxies were clearly labelled as such.

      Given all that, it astonishes me that people still get so worked-up about it!

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      John Mason,

      Following your reasoning, why was it necessary to hide the truncation, or to fail to mention that it was necessary. After all, shouldn’t those reading the paper have had the chance to consider why this excellent proxy suddenly diverged after 1960?

      Why indeed was it subsequently referred to as “Mike’s Nature Trick”?

    • David Bailey says:

      Here is a quote from Judith Curry’s blog, which puts this paper into more context:

      “The second thing was this youtube clip of physicist Richard Muller (Director of the Berkeley Earth Project), where he discusses “hide the decline” and vehemently refers to this as “dishonest,” and says “you are not allowed to do this,” and further states that he intends not to read further papers by these authors (note “hide the decline” appears around minute 31 into the clip). While most of his research is in physics, Muller has also published important papers on paleoclimate, including a controversial paper that supported McIntyre and McKitrick’s analysis.”

      As someone who has done chemical research (many years ago), it was this desire to defend the indefensible that made me prick up my ears.

    • John Mason says:

      You will find that the problems with this particular tree-ring set have been discussed in the literature both before and after the events concerned, so to anyone with access to the relevant journals the problem was known. Sorry I don’t have references to hand but a search online ought to turn up some abstracts at least (I wish the scientific literature in ALL disciplines wasn’t stuck behind paywalls but that’s how it is unfortunately).

      Cheers – John

    • John Mason says:

      PS – it was “Mike’s Nature Trick” because Mike Mann did as I described above for a paper in Nature.

      The Muller stuff is strange: in fact there’s an informative video on the whole thing at:

      http://climatecrocks.com/2011/04/28/unwinding-hide-the-decline

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      Don’t you think climatologists could do with a few lessons on clear data presentation? Splicing real temperatures and proxy temperatures into one curve is pretty flaky!

      If climatologists such as Judith Curry were happy with data presented in this way, I’d shut up, but you know very well that she is not, and neither are plenty of other people.

    • John Mason says:

      I have no issue with doing that at all PROVIDED the graphs are clearly labelled.

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      If you search through this, about one page down, you will find a quote from Mann in which he denies that anyone would graft data in this way:

      “No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstrution. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum.”

    • John Mason says:

      “Following your reasoning, why was it necessary to hide the truncation…?”

      Analogy is useful here.

      Imagine a visitor to the UK, with very little idea as to its detailed geography. They hire a car to travel from Heathrow to their hotel at, let’s say, Stratford-upon-Avon, but they are determined to call at Stow-on-the-Wold on the way and go round the antique-shops. Needing to know the route, they quite correctly buy a map.

      The map shows them that the M40 is their best bet: it heads in generally the right direction. The only problem is, on THIS map, the M40 splits into two just southeast of Oxford. One branch goes to the east of Stratford. The other goes just to the west, and en-route passes very close to Stow. It looks perfect. But both are labeled “M40″.

      Our visitor is confused. You don’t tend to get two motorways with the same number. They suspect there is an error somewhere – and they are quite right – but where? Does the M40 take them straight to Stow or doesn’t it?

      Now, as Brits, you and I would spot the error straight away (the M40 goes close to Stratford but nowhere near Stow), because we are quite familiar with the subject material. But how could a total stranger to this country have a clue?

      In this case the “trick” would have been for the cartographer to identify and delete (hide) the graphics error (= the decline – i.e. the poor proxy-data) from the map, so that only the actual M40 would appear on the printed versions sold in the shops, rather than both the actual and the false ones together. Our visitor can now confidently proceed on their journey, turning off the M40 near Oxford and heading along the A44 towards Moreton, then turn left down the Fosse to Stow. Job done.

      This whole debate is a kind of journey, and it helps to have good maps!

      Cheers – John

    • John Mason says:

      David – the video link I gave above shows it pretty clearly – see 6 minutes 25secs to 8.02.

      Sorry the posts are getting shuffled – reply buttons not available on the last few!

      Cheers – John

    • mrsean2k says:

      John, while I accept you give your rationale in good faith, I don’t accept that your explanation is accurate or sufficient.

      You cannot simply say that the data must be excluded on the basis of belief – you need a physical mechanism to account for the divergence, and you then need to determine if that physical mechanism could have influenced the behaviour of the proxy at any other point in the series.

      The nub of the issue – at least from a scientific standpoint, leaving aside motivation – is that now divergence *has* occurred during the instrumental period, you *cannot* assume that the divergence did not occur in eras that predate the instrumental period.

    • mrsean2k says:

      Apologies to John (and others) if these posts disrupt the thread sequence – I’m seeing the same lack of “Reply” buttons that I suspect others are.

      WRT divergence, I do not accept that it is acceptable to remove divergent data in this fashion.

      Bear in mind the purpose of including these series – to attempt to reconstruct the temperature by proxy before the instrumental record.

      Proxies are classified as suitable according to their quality of fit over the calibration period where the proportion of instrumental data is matched to the proxy measure under consideration.

      If there is divergence, the certainty we can place on the quality of the proxy as a measure of temperature preceding the instrumental period may change dramatically.

      And this is the point we wish to arrive at; what do these proxies tell us about temperature in the absence of instrumental records; what confidence can we place in that estimate and, as a result, what evidence do we have that post industrial increases in temperature are unprecedented?

      Eliding the information gives a false impression in a graph that purports to provide an overview, and may lead to false confidence when that series is used in more sophisticated statistical analysis.

      Finally, if there are theories that pass the sniff test to account for modern divergence, great! Lets see whatever adjustments emerge from these theories applied to the entire series and what difference that makes to the picture.

      We will leave, for the moment, data that has been found to diverge *before* industrialisation and subsequently removed from consideration. Different can of worms…

    • John Mason says:

      Ah, but you need the whole quote. Part-quotes can be misleading. This is Mann’s whole quote:

      “No researchers in this field have ever, to our knowledge, “grafted the thermometer record onto” any reconstruction. It is somewhat disappointing to find this specious claim (which we usually find originating from industry-funded climate disinformation websites) appearing in this forum. Most proxy reconstructions end somewhere around 1980, for the reasons discussed above. Often, as in the comparisons we show on this site, the instrumental record (which extends to present) is shown along with the reconstructions, and clearly distinguished from them (e.g. highlighted in red as here). Most studies seek to “validate” a reconstruction by showing that it independently reproduces instrumental estimates (e.g. early temperature data available during the 18th and 19th century) that were not used to ‘calibrate’ the proxy data. When this is done, it is indeed possible to quantitatively compare the instrumental record of the past few decades with earlier estimates from the proxy reconstruction, within the context of the estimated uncertainties in the reconstructed values (again see the comparisons here, with the instrumental record clearly distinguished in red, the proxy reconstructions indicated by e.g. blue or green, and the uncertainties indicated by shading). -mike”

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      Why not post a link to the relevant graph that lets us all see just how clearly distinguished the two sections of the curve were?

    • John Mason says:

      David – see above. Posts have gotten shuffled.

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      John,

      Sorry, I don’t see a link to the actual graph containing the spliced data – why not post it again. I am particularly interested to see if it is possible to see the discontinuity at the point where the data being plotted changes!

    • mrsean2k says:

      David, WRT a graph where the splice is evident, I don’t know if one existed contemporaneously, where that graph was produced by the same team (or a subset / superset thereof), and there have been a few versions of the graph.

      But this is a link to the image that accompanied the November ’94 press release as reported at Climate Audit

      http://www.uea.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.138392!imageManager/1009061939.jpg

    • John Mason says:

      Mr seen2k,

      Hope this ends up in-thread!

      “You cannot simply say that the data must be excluded on the basis of belief – you need a physical mechanism to account for the divergence, and you then need to determine if that physical mechanism could have influenced the behaviour of the proxy at any other point in the series.”

      You can exclude proxy data that all of a sudden diverges sharply from a long instrumental record, which is exactly what happened/was done.

      The divergence is almost certainly down to one or more forms of pollution – 1960, let’s see: nuclear weapons-testing, aerosols and SO2 way too high and CO2 on the up. I’d be most surprised if it came down to anything other than Mankind shitting its proverbial nest! Why it affects this particular subset of the tree-ring data is an interesting question. There are quite a few papers on the matter – Google the “divergence problem” and check out actual journal sites as opposed to blogs.

      Cheers – John

    • John Mason says:

      David, if you watch the video segment I specified, you can screengrab the relevant graphs and examine them at length in Photoshop.

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      Mrsean2k,

      Thanks for that link. The text on the graph is quite obscure and slightly ungrammatical – it doesn’t indicate clearly that a splice had been performed:

      “These data are expressed as 50-year smoothed differences from the 1961-1990 normal”

  13. Adrian G says:

    Mark

    1. a number of people would like you to answer these questions – http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/questions-the-ipcc-must-now-urgently-answer/#comment-2145

    2. your stories read increasingly like they’re driven by a vendetta and as a result they lack clarity. You’re going to lose (are losing) serious readers. More importantly perhaps, they lack graciousness (“characterized by compassion, kindness, warm courtesy or charm”). I wonder, if you’d made your initial enquiries with some degree of humility (or even just had the good grace to ask your ‘4 really important questions’ before firing them onto the internet as a cluster of poorly-supported public accusations), whether the scientists at the IPCC might have been more forthcoming. Just a thought.

    • David Bailey says:

      How about extending some of that warmth and charm to those of us who have severe doubts about AGW.

      I don’t doubt your sincerity, so why assume that the ‘deniers’ posting here, are doing so out of disregard for the planet or monetary gain?

      I am motivated by a love of science, and a recognition that the money that is being spent (I suspect wasted) on low carbon energy, could be spent in hugely more beneficial ways – protecting the rain forest for example, or encouraging a slightly more frugal way of living that would not stress the planet in lots of other ways.

      All I want is that the truth should come out.

  14. Webcraft says:

    Still no Mark? He’s really gone to ground on this.

    • David Bailey says:

      I think he has a lot of reading matter right now. I trust him as a journalist to follow his nose. I think he wants the truth, which is all that most of us want, I’d say.

    • Mark Lynas says:

      Yes, so much reading material I haven’t even had chance to open the Hockey Stick Illusion yet! Sorry about the radio silence. I have been reading most of the comments, even if not replying.

      Still, I must learn to be humble and gracious, n’est-ce pas?

  15. Dan Olner says:

    David Bailey: I try and avoid giving links to data for people. Do you think you could manage to go find some ice-related data, then report back? And maybe share some of your thoughts on how examining the data compares to WUWT’s method of comparing pictures of water and ice?

    One thing Watts says that’s right: “the North Pole is not static, ice varies significantly.” Given that, what might be the best way to work out what’s been happening over time?

    • David Bailey says:

      I am not a climatologist, I am an ex-chemist who has developed scientific software for the past 30 years. I am coming to this from the question of whether the science has become badly biassed, or is not well done.

      Some people have responded here that the ice at the North Pole drifts around and that water at the North Pole is perfectly normal – so why was this report published?

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/888235.stm

      I read that, and it made me wonder! The problem was that the observation was not put into context!

    • David Bailey says:

      To be fair (and my only intention here is to be fair and balanced), on reading the BBC report completely, I see that there was some suggestion that liquid water could occur at the pole, but that was well down the piece, and countered by this :

      “I don’t know if anybody in history ever got to 90 degrees north to be greeted by water, not ice,” Dr McKenna was quoted as saying.

      Indeed, one might ask, if liquid water is normal at the pole, why was the report even published?

    • Dan Olner says:

      Well, again, that’s all very interesting, but I want to ask: why are you obsessing about whether/how much open water appears at the North Pole – one tiny spot? Why aren’t you finding out what the data says? You wouldn’t make conclusions about the whole climate from weather readings in your backyard, would you?

      Links on arctice ice data are but a google away! I really really want to know why – if you’re skeptical – you aren’t finding this stuff out for yourself? Maybe I’ve missed the point: perhaps you could help by stating what your argument is, explicitly? From the WUWT story, it seems to be: arctice ice has melted before, so melting is nothing new…?

    • David Bailey says:

      The core issue here, is whether data is being collected honestly, analysed honestly, and presented honestly. I have shown just how easy it is to present information out of context. Water at the North Pole sounds terrifying in the current state of climate hysteria.

      If you want a more technical rendering of the issues, I suggest you hold your nose (!!) and actually visit one or two of the excellent blogs that discuss these matters in detail. There you will find excruciatingly detailed discussions of a whole range of issues, such as:

      1) The fact that raw temperature data is processed in various ways – corrections made to the data, and data for many locations is synthesised for many locations because the raw data dropped out for some reason.

      2) “The Hockey Stick Illusion” details the way in which a statistical technique was miss-applied in a way that produced a spurious result. Steve McIntyre confirmed this by testing the same procedure on random data – obtaining the same hockey stick curve! The hockey stick was vital to the AGW argument because it suggested that the global temperature had been very steady before the recent CO2 increase – despite historical facts such as the frozen Thames, and the Medieval warm period. If the climate is more variable, it is much harder to pin the blame for any recent fluctuation on CO2.

      3) A mass of information about the “Urban Heat Island” effect, whereby measuring stations that are located in places that become urbanised or turned into an airport need a negative correction to the recorded temperatures. Often this doesn’t seem to get applied, or the corrections seem to go the wrong way.

      The raw data should, of course be published, together with a separate list of proposed corrections, together with their justification.

  16. Tom Curtis says:

    Mark, the use of Teske 2010 is only “a PR disaster any half-brained PR flack should have spotted a mile off” because half brained bloggers are busily trying to turn it into one. The facts are that:

    1) Teske was just one of five authors of the scenario, the others with no basis for claims of conflict of interest;

    2) Teske was just one of eleven primary decision makers in choosing the scenario as one in four focussed on in the IPCC report;

    3) The other ten primary decision makers where well informed and academically competent so it is unlikely they would agree to the Advanced Energy Revolution scenario unless they thought it was best; and

    4) At least three other members of the primary decision makers had personal reasons to prefer something different than the Advanced Energy Revolution as the primary scenario of the report, one because of financial interest in the fossil fuel industry, another because if intellectual and career commitments to Carbon Capture and Storage which does not feature in that scenario, and a third because he was a co-author of an alternative scenario.

    The claim that Teske could “dictate” the report is therefore entirely baseless.

    The effect of your witch hunt against Teske, if logically carried through would be that there could be no IPCC at al, for if you filter for conflicts of interest with the diligence you here apply, no suitable lead authors could be found, for all would either have a conflict of interest, or lack suitable expertise. That is, of course, the intention of McIntyre. Is it your also? Or do you just wish to selectively censor Teske because you happen to disagree with his politics?

    Finally, there is no question, I think, that the choice of primary decision makers in government is far more consequential than that choice for an IPCC report. It is notable that none of the pushers of this controversy seem interested in conflicts of interest in government. But, being consistent, do you think there should be an absolute ban on any member of a political advocacy group (such as, eg, the Cato Institute or the Heritage Foundation) or any person with a financial interest in any fossil fuel, nuclear or renewable energy company (including from campaign donations) participating at a Cabinet level in government?

    Your filter for special interest only seems plausible because it is narrowly and selectively applied.

    • Mark Lynas says:

      Tom – you seem to have a great deal of insider knowledge about how this IPCC Working Group went about its deliberations. Were you involved? Or are you just speculating from the outside, though with a view to reaching the opposite conclusion to mine?

      Please remember, that simply waving away issues of scientific integrity in climate science isn’t going to help your cause… assuming your cause is to protect the IPCC. There have now been several important reviews which have asked for changes to the way the IPCC is run, including one recently by the IAC (much discussed by Roger Pielke Jnr). So it wasn’t perfect then and doubtless isn’t now.

      I have also had come into my possession (from another sympathetic IPCC author) an IPCC document which suggests very clearly that WGIII did not apply proper standards here. I can’t write more because I’m going to be highlighting this in a piece for Nature Climate Change – a peer-reviewed journal where ‘proper’ science on climate is published and discussed. But heads in the sand don’t work for me… on either side of this rather polarised debate.

    • Barry Woods says:

      peer review is as good as the reviewers involved, the journal in question, the field, etc,etc

      How did Michael Mann’s et al, new sea level paper get past peer review..

      some criticisms, that seem fair comment to me. (one location in America – relating sea level rise to climate over 1600 year – please!)

      http://judithcurry.com/2011/06/22/sea-level-hockey-stick/

      Esspecially, take a look at the locations photos, and consider Willis points:

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/23/reduce-your-co2-footprint-by-recycling-past-errors/#more-42111

    • Tom Curtis says:

      Given the extensiveness of the review process used, if the peer review process was inadequate it can only be because nobody is insufficiently knowledgeable in this area. That may be arguable, but if forms no basis for a condemnation of Teske’s involvement of of the procedures used in composing Chapter 10 of the report, and is therefore irrelevant to the question at hand.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @ Tom Curtis

      You think that the effectiveness of peer/pal review process is irrelevant to a discussion of ethics, quality and integrity in the IPCC?

      That is your opinion, but the original incident was but a catalyst for a lot of other stuff too.

      Others think that such considerations are pretty central to the discussion. And recognise your attempt at damage limitation for what it is. ‘Nothing to see here…move along please’

      But the damage has already been done.

    • David Bailey says:

      Before relying on the peer review process in climatology, it is absolutely vital to look at the relevant sections of those climategate emails (I quoted one passage a few pages back).

    • Tom Curtis says:

      Latimer, you can read whatever you like into my claims, but that you choose to misrepresent them is quite revealing.

      Lynas and McIntyre made an issue about the involvement of a member of Greenpeace in the IPCC as a lead author. That was unwarranted. If principled, it would preclude the involvement of every well known “skeptical” scientist from involvement in the IPCC, or indeed, any equivalent position (eg, giving testimony to congress). McIntyre does not notice that implication because he has never troubled himself with being consistent, and because the people involved have opposite political leanings to Greenpeace.

      Given that the reports Chapter 10 was reviewed by literally hundreds of scientific peers, the only way it was inadequately reviewed is if the hundreds of reviewing scientists were incompetent in their own field. That would certainly be a concern, but it is not relevant to the issue of Teske’s involvement in the report.

      That you are trying to turn one small issue into a generalised attack against the IPCC shows that you are here with an axe to grind. Your posts are an invitation to thoughtlessness rather than to thought, which is very telling with regard to your position.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @Tom

      ‘Your posts are an invitation to thoughtlessness rather than to thought, which is very telling with regard to your position’

      Good sounding stuff. But could you translate it for me into something that I can understand?

      Especially the bit about ‘your posts are an invitation to thoughtlessness’. Surely the fact that you spent a few minutes writing your reply suggests the exact opposite.

      Your remarks about McIntyre and Lynas are strange also. Are you suggesting that any possible ethical conflict would have been OK just so long as nobody noticed? Or that to notice and publicise was itself ‘wrongdoing’.?

      Surely, like us all, you want all our institutions to be conducted ethically and with integrity. The IPCC has some questions to answer on that score. Shooting the messenger(s) does not avoid those issues. Merely draws even more attention.

    • Dean says:

      You’re changing the subject Barry. The sea ice history study is not the subject here. It is that Lynas is going after what is apparently a very minor issue at most as if it were the scandal of the decade, and doing it with great gusto and rhetoric and with apparently little actual information.

      Where he lacks information, he assumes the worst and asks the IPCC to prove themselves innocent. If it were an aside comment somewhere, that would be something. But as skepticascience suggests, this really is a manufactured controversy with no there there. We have come to expect that from McIntyre, but this has received a lot of attention specifically because Lynas fell for it. So it really is up to Mark to bring some corrective scale to bear.

      If Lynas wants to do a post on the Sea Ice history, we can look into that there.

    • Tom Curtis says:

      Mark, I do not have any more information than that which is publicly available describing the IPCC process, and the number of authors involved. I also googled the lead authors names, and thus found out about the three authors who had individual reasons to not approve the use of Scenario 4. Each one of my four points above is either publicly available information, or a straight forward deduction from that information plus the assumption that the stated IPCC procedure was followed.

      Given these facts, unless you have clear evidence that the lead authors of Chapter 10 did not follow the IPCC procedure your claim that Greenpeace “dictated” the report is entirely unjustified. It begins with a presumption of wrong doing rather than evidence of it, and makes that presumption against all eleven lead authors based purely on the political affiliation of just one lead author.

      Had you become aware of Teske’s affiliations, and made enquiries, and found out that something in fact was wrong with the procedure used, I would laud your journalism. But when the condemnation precedes the investigation there is nothing laudable to be found.

      As a final point, even if you have evidence that shows the IPCC procedure was not followed, and nothing indicates that you have, you would be wrong to blog on that information before you could release. This is true for exactly the same reasons that the IPCC should not have released a press release on the reports finding before releasing the report.

      http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/process
      http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/authors/chapter-10
      http://www.skepticalscience.com/mcmanufactured-controversy.html#55449

    • Latimer Alder says:

      ‘The effect of your witch hunt against Teske, if logically carried through would be that there could be no IPCC at al, for if you filter for conflicts of interest with the diligence you here apply, no suitable lead authors could be found, for all would either have a conflict of interest, or lack suitable expertise’

      Please explain why you think ‘no IPCC’ would be such a bad thing? You assume it, but haven’t discussed why.

      Perhaps looking back and telling us what practical things we would be missing now if it had never been founded will give you a starting point?

    • Tom Curtis says:

      Latimer, the governments of the world thought it useful to have a single body to consider and condense all the climate change related science so that they would not have to. It was open for them to do so, and I have no reason to second guess them.

      The question is not whether you or I like the institution, or think it practical, but whether they are effectively doing what they were mandated to do. I say ‘effectively’ because, as with any human organisation, there will be flaws in the process because the organisation is made of humans. Therefore the benchmark is not perfection but effectiveness, and on that benchmark I do not think there can be any reasonable doubt that they are doing as they were mandated to do. In particular, in their various assessment reports they have consistently only assigned high likelihoods to conclusions on which there is an effective consensus among climate scientists, and in those areas where there is no such consensus, there stated conclusions have a low stated likelihood, and are the position from which there is least disagreement among climate scientists. That is, although many scientists disagree greatly, they disagree in opposite directions with the conclusion being the central point.

      I base this opinion on the IPCC on a survey of climate scientists rather than on my opinion about what the truth actually is.

    • David Bailey says:

      “I base this opinion on the IPCC on a survey of climate scientists rather than on my opinion about what the truth actually is.”

      Do you ever ask youself if surveys like that are really likely to sample the truth? I mean if you worked for a university (say) that was involved with IPCC work, would you feel totally free to speak your mind about that organisation?

    • Tom Curtis says:

      David, first, the survey is anonymous so that there is no issue in that regard.

      Second, the survey involved approximately equal numbers of people who had been involved, and not involved in IPCC processes and the opinions of the two groups were very similar (though not identical).

      Third, at least one of the surveyors has made a career out of trying to prove that the IPCC does not represent a consensus. To the extent that there was any concern, it would be the other way.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Perhaps you had better publish the survey results for us, since you rely on them.

    • Tom Curtis says:

      The results have already been published in several peer reviewed articles. It was not my survey.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Please remind us where to find said results.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      I’d be incredibly surprised if, in any field, you asked the participants whether they were doing a good job or not, they gave themselves a thumbs down and laid all their failings before you. It just ain’t gonna happen brother. So the fact that a lot of climate scientists give the ‘premier’ collective body of climate scientists a (reasonably) clean bill of health is hardly a ringing vote of external confidence, interesting though it is.

      And, sadly, it didn’t answer the question I asked. which was

      ‘Why would ‘no IPCC’ be a bad thing’?

      The institution seems hellbent on getting people to focus ever more sharply on its processes, procedures and policies. And, whatever the participants may think, the external world sees a great deal of things of great concern. Hence the recent hoohah over Teske and Greenpeace. Which is only a touchpoint for all the other things. And the more we look, the less there is to like.

      So it is probable that at some point..maybe when Pachauri goes ,or maybe very soon or both, there will be a great deal of political attention paid by the countries that pay the bills to how the IPCC operates, who it serves in practice and whether its remit should be allowed to continue.

      From what I have seen of it the world would be at no great loss if it closed down tomorrow. I’m sure your climatologist buddies would disagree but they are the producers here, not the customers.

      So if such a pollie pr bunch of pollies came wondering aloud ‘Why have an IPCC at all?’ and the ‘If we must have an IPCC why constitute it like this?’, it would be wise to have a few answers to hand.

      Those are the questions. Value your thoughts.

    • Tom Curtis says:

      As already indicated, the survey included both IPCC participants and non-participants, whose opinions did not differ greatly (though they did differ). The non-participants where not rating themselves. Further, both participants and non-participants rated the IPCC more poorly at capturing the consensus of climate science than the IPCC actually performed compared to their measured opinions. That is, both IPCC participants and non-participants thought there was more disagreement with the IPCC than actually existed in climate science community.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Again tolerably interesting, but hardly surprising.

      But what I asked was your views on:

      ‘Why have an IPCC at all?’ and then

      ‘If we must have an IPCC why constitute it like this?’

      to which the survey results are of only (very) peripheral relevance,

  17. David Bailey says:

    It is very interesting to get another perspective on climate science from Freeman Dyson, one of the most respected physicists on the planet.

    http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dysonf07/dysonf07_index.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTSxubKfTBU
    (multiple videos)

    • Dean says:

      If you want to take the word of respected physicists who are not climatologists, then why not listen to Stephen Hawking instead:

      http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2006-06-22-hawking-warming_x.htm

      Neither seem to really get it right as far as I can tell, so my response is to listen to climatologists more than physicists in general.

    • John Mason says:

      Aye – climatology is no more Hawking’s field of expertise than it is Dysons!

      Some people don’t always get this. They think that if you’re a physicist you should be a leading authority in all matters physics. Not.

      I’m a geologist, and likewise geology has all sorts of subdisciplines. Take two of those: mineralogy and palaeontology. Now mineralogy is where I have published, but I would not expect an expert on Ordovician brachiopod evolution to fully understand my papers, and I sure as hell would not fully understand theirs!

      If I want to understand weather then I’ll talk to a meteorologist, if I want to understand climate then I’ll talk to a climatologist, and if I want to hopecast the next winning lottery numbers I’ll not talk to Mystic Meg but throw a few darts blindfolded instead!

      Re – the latter – how come 26 comes up so rarely, eh?? ;)

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      Yes, but Dyson has clearly done some research in this area.

      The problem with relying on climatologists, is that they form a rather narrow group – often with vested interests, it is very useful to obtain a wider scientific perspective, I think.

    • Dean says:

      If you consider all or most climatologists to be untrustworthy because it is a vested interest, then why not listen to the NAS reports on the subject? If you trust physicists, then look to the American Physical Society. Or are they all vested as well? If so, is that because they agree with the IPCC?

      This is the thing that gets me about this obsession with the IPCC and it’s perceived problems. We could throw it away and nothing really changes. Every major scientific academy in the world agrees with the IPCC and with climatologists. If AGW is the result of corrupted science then most science in the world is corrupted. It really is the conspiracy theory of the century. You can’t just blame it on the IPCC.

    • John Mason says:

      So are you suggesting I go research Ordovician brachiopods in order to better understand mineralogy??

      This is not something you can research at postgrad level without putting in years, in the field and in the lab. To make confident statements based on results requires that time. All we are doing is making statements based on the literature we have read, and for me the papers published by the guys working in that specialisation are the port of call of preference over the blogosphere. Mineralogy has its blogs too: people ask how to tell pyrite and galena apart. Good on them for asking, and people are happy to help: if the climate politics analogy was applied they’d be accusing us of deliberately making confusing statements about the properties of pyrite and galena because of x, y and z!

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      In a less polarised subject, I reckon people would welcome someone like Freeman Dyson with open arms!

      Richard Feynman wasn’t a rocket engineer, but everyone seems to agree that he made a very useful contribution to the inquiry into the Challenger disaster.

    • John Mason says:

      H.G. Wells was superb, though?

      I always felt he was awfully good.

      Cheers – John

    • Latimer Alder says:

      A very mercurial author, old Hg. :-)

  18. NewYorkJ says:

    Mark Lynas: “Tom – you seem to have a great deal of insider knowledge about how this IPCC Working Group went about its deliberations. Were you involved?”

    which is rather ironic given bits like:

    Mark Lynas: “renewables report conclusion was dictated by Greenpeace”

    Tom Curtis makes the obvious observations: “when the condemnation precedes the investigation there is nothing laudable to be found.”

    The idea that Greenpeace “dictacted” any IPCC conclusion is bogus, the fact that there were multiple lead authors and coordinating lead author being an obvious clue.

    Build a narrative, then seek selective “evidence” to fit that narrative, even if you have to dig a hole too deep to climb out of, then dismiss any criticism of that narrative. That’s how lawyers work – not objective reporters. The narrative began on the concern over a non-nuclear scenario highlighted, and cascaded into a series of dubious allegations. Disappointing.

    As far as that “wild” 77% scenario goes, there are more aggressive scenarios out there, and on a shorter timeframe.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030

    • Mark Lynas says:

      You may not be familiar with why conflict of interest procedures exist – they are to avoid the appearance of CoI, whether or not it was real. So I do not need to prove that nefarious deeds were done in order to highlight the importance of this case.

      Take a look at the IPCC CoI policy agreed at Abu Dhabi:
      http://www.ipcc.ch/meetings/session33/ipcc_p33_decisions_taken_conflict_of_interest.pdf

      “4. The IPCC Conflict of Interest Policy is designed to ensure that conflicts of interest are identified, communicated to the relevant parties, and managed to avoid any adverse impact on IPCC balance, products and processes, thereby protecting the individual, the IPCC, and the public interest. The individual and the IPCC should not be placed in a situation that could
      lead a reasonable person to question, and perhaps discount or dismiss, the work of the IPCC simply because of the existence of a conflict of interest.

      5. Identifying a potential conflict of interest does not automatically mean that a conflict of interest exists – the purpose of the policy is to enable individuals to provide the relevant information necessary for each particular situation to be evaluated.”

      So this is not about whether one does or does not like Greenpeace: it is the apparent conflict of interest involved in a Greenpeace author being a lead author and reviewing his own work, which then became the ‘headlline’ of the entire report.

      To quote further:

      “For the purposes of this policy, circumstances that could lead a reasonable
      person to question an individual’s objectivity, or whether an unfair advantage has been created, constitute a potential conflict of interest. These potential conflicts are subject to disclosure.”

      “Significant and relevant interests may include, but are not limited to, senior
      editorial roles, advisory committees associated with private sector organizations, and memberships on boards of non-profit or advocacy groups.”

      The Working Group 1 conflict of interest guidance note is very clear about this:

      “Example 1: Article 2 of the Principles Governing IPCC Work
      Situation: An LA is on the Board of an NGO2 which is an advocacy group.
      Conflict of Interest: The assessment must be “neutral with respect to policy”, and therefore an IPCC Author cannot be, at the same time, in a leading position of an NGO working towards specific policies.
      First step: Declare CoI or, in case of doubt, discuss with the WGI Co-Chairs.
      Possible Action: Resign from the Board of this NGO.”

      (Sorry about the formatting – pasted from a PDF). You can find this document on the web also:
      https://www.ipcc-wg1.unibe.ch/guidancepaper/WG1_GuidanceNote_Conflict-of-Interest.pdf

      So I don’t think it is in the interests of the IPCC to wave this away. You may not be helping to promote public trust in an institution if you simply try to dismiss apparent conflicts of interest, presumably because you agree with the conclusions that were reached.

      Mark

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Why does a specific working group need its own CoI policy? Surely the IPCC should have an overall policy that all contributors must adhere to. That they each need their own policy suggest that they apply different standards depending on which group they are in.

      Joe Sixpack, who I know quite well, does not want to be bothered with reading something from ‘the IPCC’ but also having to decipher which working group and therefore which ethical policy it fell under.

      Such dodgy behaviour only ads to the ever-growing suspicion that all is not right in the organisation. I won’t be buying a used car from them anytime soon.

    • NewYorkJ says:

      All this is nice, but it still doesn’t support:

      Mark Lynas: “renewables report conclusion was dictated by Greenpeace”

      Recall again that Teske was one of many lead authors. It’s hard for any reasonable person not to take Teske’s side in this case.

      “Finally, while it’s certainly flattering that Mr Lynas thinks that Greenpeace has the power to “dictate” IPCC conclusions, it is a great pity that he doesn’t seem to consider the possibility that the IPCC chose to include the findings of Greenpeace, the EREC and the German Space Agency in The Energy [R]evolution for one very good reason – because hundreds of energy experts from different backgrounds, considered it a good, realistic and useful piece of research. If Mr Lynas has a problem with these findings, he should clearly demonstrate his issue with them, rather than simply trying to claim that some crude conspiracy theory is at work.”

      Teske’s Greenpeace affiliation was also declared (along with 3 Chevron folks), something you got wrong on your first post on the matter:

      http://srren.ipcc-wg3.de/report/IPCC_SRREN_Annex_IV

    • Tom Curtis says:

      Mark,

      1) You did not claim that there was an appearance of a conflict of interest, you claimed that “A more scandalous conflict of interest can scarcely be imagined.” If you want to retract your initial claims and then proceed to state an defend a more reasonable position, fine. But do not pretend that your initial position was the more reasonable one when clearly it was not. So, as you asserted “the nefarious deed was done”, you ought to have had proof that it was done in hand before making the claim. And you ought now to have the decency to either retract you initial allegations, or at least to on the onus of proving them true.

      2) Given that you have an onus to defend the original allegations, or retract them, the two Conflict of Interest Policies you link to are irrelevant in that neither of them applied to WG III during the time the report was prepared. Indeed, one was not even formulated when the final draft of Chapter 10 was prepared.

      3) Further, neither of the two policies support your position in any event, in that Teske could have satisfied both policies by the simple expedient of resigning his position at Greenpeace for the duration. Indeed, that is exactly the suggested solution for any apparent conflict of interest due to a position with a Campaigning NGO suggested by the WG1 CoI policy. Such an expedient, however, would certainly not have satisfied McIntyre or those who listen to him. Nor would it have prevented him from trying to beat this into an issue with which to destroy the IPCC. Nor would it have stopped the various media gurus who feed his rubbish into the mainstream media from going after the issue. Subtlety is given no credence in their argumentation.

      4) Neither would satisfying either of those two policies have met the strictures you have implicitly or explicitly placed on the IPCC to satisfy your scrupples, ie, that no member of Greenpeace be allowed a roll as lead author at the IPCC, and that no document sponsored, or jointly authored by a member of Greenpeace be ever be given consideration by the IPCC.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      ‘Such an expedient, however, would certainly not have satisfied McIntyre or those who listen to him. Nor would it have prevented him from trying to beat this into an issue with which to destroy the IPCC. Nor would it have stopped the various media gurus who feed his rubbish into the mainstream media from going after the issue. Subtlety is given no credence in their argumentation’

      I am impressed. You are able not only to predict the future of the climate based on very limited evidence. But you can also tell us exactly what would have happened if past events had turned out differently. You must be a really clever guy.

      I’m having a bit of difficulty with tomorrow’s card at Lingfield. Any tips for the 7:25?? Your excellent knowledge of futurology means you should be able to get 1-2-3 no probs.

    • Tom Curtis says:

      Latimer, I was going to pass over your inane comment as not worth bothering with. However, I am sure there are readers here who do not know how scurrilous, and how ill founded are Steve McIntyre’s attacks on climate scientists. So for there benefit, I know how McIntyre would react because he has form.

      Specifically, and amongst many examples, he has accused Michael Mann of “artfully” hiding the end of a data plot behind other plotted data in order to conceal a divergence. I choose this example not because it is significant, or well known, but because in this case the proof – not evidence, but proof – that McIntyre was wrong has been in the pubic domain for for twelve and a half months now, without either retraction or withdrawal by McIntyre.
      http://deepclimate.org/2010/05/11/how-to-be-a-climate-auditor-part-1-pretty%C2%A0pictures/

      As McIntyre has based false accusations of wrong doing on something so trivial, and indiscernible to the naked eye, as which line was plotted on top of which line in a graph; you can be certain that he would have used Teske’s involvement in an IPCC report to attack the IPCC regardless of any evidence of an actual conflict of interest; and certainly regardless of any evidence that any potential conflict of interest actually influenced the final form of the report (of which there is none).

      I have been waiting for Lynas to prove himself better than McIntyre by accepting his initial attack on Teske and the IPCC was unwarranted and not supported by the evidence. If he then wants to launch into a more general discussion of the IPCC and conflict of interest – fine. No institution is perfect and I am sure the IPCC could improve its standards in that area. He and I may or may not agree on whether particular standards are an improvement. But in the mean time, the initial attack remains unwithdrawn, and the wait is becoming disappointingly long.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Sorry Tom, I disagree fundamentally.

      If I had presented that particular graph in my MSc thesis (and at one point I was tempted to do something similar), the examiners would have torn me apart in the oral examination.

      Even if I am charitable and assume that it wasn’t done deliberately to mislead the audience, that was its undoubted effect. And its authors, if they had much regard for scientific truth and clear communication of their ideas, should have realised that and made the point much much clearer. Especially in the last decade when the subject has been widely debated. They have had plenty of opportunity to explain why they chose that particular form of construction and have not (AFAIK) done so.

      Seems to me that your objection to McIntyre’s work is not so much that he is wrong, but that he is adept at shining a bright light on some of the grubbier and dodgy parts of climatology. Your attempts at shooting the messenger are looking more and more like special pleading.

    • Tom Curtis says:

      Latimer, you clearly did not follow the link and read the blog.

      The issue at question is not the propriety or otherwise of the WMO and TAR graphs, but the fact that McIntyre claims that Mann truncated data at 1960 and then hid the terminus under other lines on the graph to conceal that fact. Leaving aside the issue that the data Mann received terminated at 1960 in the first place, the fact is that the termination point of the graph was not hidden behind other lines. This is a simple matter of visual inspection to verify, and McIntyre got it wrong. Consequently he based a false accusation of wrong doing on his failure to do proper research, and has failed to correct that accusation despite the error being demonstrated in the public domain for over a year.

      You may think it is OK to leave false accusations standing in the public domain if they serve the appropriate purpose. Apparently McIntyre does, but I do not, and I think it is a true measure of McIntyre that he is prepared to do this.

      On the wider issue of “Mann’s nature trick” and “hiding the decline” I think there is a lot to be said against your position, and I have said much of it elsewhere. There is no point even discussing those issues, however, with somebody who cannot even acknowledge that demonstratively false accusations should be withdrawn.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @Tom

      I see no reason to change my position.

      The graph is misleading and the plotters (those who plotted it) should have realised that and made it clearer. They have had over ten years in which they could easily have done so and issued an explanation or a revised graph.. That somebody else has provided a dodgy post hoc justification nine years later is no defence.

      I see no ‘false accusation left hanging’. Instead I see direct, clearly explained and well-documented work by McIntyre et al. I see a consistent long-term pattern of bluster, dodgy tricks and evasion from some leading climatologists.

      You are, I believe, an academic by profession. And you demonstrate great faith in the checks and balances and conventions of the academic world. I trained in that direction then my career diverted elsewhere, and returning after 30 years in the commercial/technical world, I do not share your faith in their ability to sort the wheat from the chaff.

      And get over your collective hangups about McIntyre. He is one guy working from home. He is not The Great Beelzebub stalking the Earth stomping on the poor downtrodden scientists. If you believe that he has such a power, the climatologists need to do better science, not just ‘thcream and thcream until they are thick’

  19. MartyY says:

    I hope you don’t start down the McIntyre path too far. How much of his blog have you read? Most of it is severely lacking in any integrity, but is a compulsive/obsessive attack on a few personalities.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Please illustrate your point with at least 5 examples from his blog where you believe that McIntyre has failed to show integrity – and your reasons for that belief.

      And with another 5 where you believe he demonstrates ‘compulsive/obsessive attack on a few personalities’ Again with your reasons.

      As a hint, I would suggest that disagreeing with somebody and/or publicising perceived flaws/errors in their work is not necessarily evidence of either a lack of integrity or compulsive/obsessive attack. You’ll have to prove your case far better than that.

      Look forward to your reply.

    • NewYorkJ says:

      There’s no point in anyone engaging with you on the matter, as you’ve demonstrated.

      http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/new-ipcc-error-renewables-report-conclusion-was-dictated-by-greenpeace/#comment-1789

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Missed your logic there old boy.

      What did I demonstrate that has so upset you?

      And why does that make it unnecessary for our friend Marty to be asked to justify his assertions about McIntyre?

    • NewYorkJ says:

      Since you clearly dismiss any criticism of your leader out of hand, the point should have been obvious. But for others’ benefit, while we’re on the topic, here are some very recent fabrications by McIntyre (which reflect poorly on his personal integrity and “auditing” abilities)…

      http://deepclimate.org/2011/05/20/open-thread-10/#comment-9340

      http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=7947#comment-209091

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Not ‘my leader’ at all.

      I don’t have a leader’. This sceptic really does take ‘nullus in verba’ as a motto. its a great pity that climatologists don’t.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      But I note that on examination, your two citations are actually different reports of the same minor error in attribution

      So what appear to be two such errors by McIntyre is only one. For those who can’t be bothered to read it, that Kemp (of Kemp et al) was a grad student of Mann’s. And this does not seem to be the case. The criticsm of Kemp et al’s paper are however unaffected by this slip.

      And about the other 4 errors I asked you to provide? and 5 examples of ‘‘compulsive/obsessive attack on a few personalities’

    • Latimer Alder says:

      FYI , McIntyre’s error in attribution was pointed out by bloggers at his site on June 22nd, and the offending phrase that he a was a graduate student of Mann has been struck through.

      http://climateaudit.org/2011/06/22/pnas-reviews-preferential-standards-for-kemp-mann-et-al/#more-13934

      Para 2.

    • NewYorkJ says:

      One comment was corrected. Similar errors still remain.

      http://deepclimate.org/2011/05/20/open-thread-10/#comment-9359

      The ridiculous error was critical to McIntyre’s libel of Mann, falsely claiming wrongdoing on the part of him, his collegues, and the journal. It reveals his personal compulsive obsessions with certain climate scientists, and that there’s little to no accountability on his part. His strategy is to sling enough mud at the wall, hoping that something will stick.

      The criticisms of the work are also wrong, but that’s beyond the scope of your question for examples of a “compulsive/obsessive” attack on a few personalities”. His attack last week was both compulsive and obsessive.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      So it is mud-slinging at suggest that a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania is actually a graduate of Penn State? Apart from the Mann connection which must be a considerable disadvantage , is Penn State that bad a n institution?

      Personally I think people are just misguided if they accuse me of having a Masters form Cambridge, not from Oxford. as it is in reality Hardly mudslinging…just error.

      But since McIntyre’s ‘crimes’ now come down to occasional misattributoin, I hardly see him as the AntiChrist of Climatology.

      Can you not provide something juicier? Or is this your best shot?

    • MartyY says:

      Follow this link for good example of throwing mud.

      http://climateaudit.org/2005/04/23/moberg-satellite/

      And getting it completely wrong. He implies incompetence or deliberate deception for not using the satellite records, when it was the satellite records that were wrong and CRU that was right.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      I followed the link.

      I could not see anywhere that McIntyre implied what you said.

      The most strident remark I could find in a very short (4 paras, 1 quotation) article was this (para 4 in its entirety)

      ‘Phil Jones’ construction of temperature data sets has been financed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Whether the CRU data sets are right or wrong, they need to be audited. I don’t see why the Hockey Team should be exempt from audit standards’

      If you believe that to be mud-slinging, then I think you have led a very sheltered life. You must be a very sensitive soul

    • mrsean2k says:

      Accusations of mud-slinging against McSteve do have a habit of evaporating when you ask for specific instances.

      It is in searching ClimateAudit’s site for instances of the ad-hominem attack and faulty logic that everbody “knew” was there that I had did my own volte-face – the attacks do not exist, except in the very mildest interpretation of the word (and then only recently), the analysis is meticulous and well referenced.

      What amazes me is the naivete of those who want to steer people away from this analysis; leaping across the room to slam the drawer shut as you reach to inspect it’s contents is not a way to convince people that there is nothing to see.

      Intelligent and open-minded people can dig for themselves and may well come to the conclusion that there is nothing to see – so let them.

    • David Bailey says:

      Steve McIntyre is the guy who discovered that the original hockey stick, produced by Mann, was based on a really unsound statistical procedure. Because advanced statistics is a rather obscure subject, he demonstrated what this meant by taking Mann’s procedure, and feeding in a random signal, often referred to as “red noise”. The result was a hockey stick, just as if he had used Mann’s real data!

      He has put a massive amount of effort into exploring the validity of the statistical procedures used in AGW research, and yet his name seems to be mud in the eyes of many people, who probably know absolutely no statistics. I guess that experience may make him a bit sarcastic at times – can you really blame him?

    • NewYorkJ says:

      McIntyre’s work, referenced heavily by Wegman, was based on unsound statistical procedures. There’s nothing particularly sophisticated about it, although the artificial selection was buried in the code.

      http://moyhu.blogspot.com/2011/06/effect-of-selection-in-wegman-report.html

    • David Bailey says:

      I am trying to obtain an answer to this point – it should be interesting!

    • David Bailey says:

      I am really going to try to get an answer to this one, but it the criticism in the above link is clearly not possible to resolve easily even if I knew the relevant statistics, because it relates to the exact details of the data.

      In the meantime, I found this on comment on Wikki:

      BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin wrote that McIntyre “arguably knows more about CRU science than anyone outside the unit – but none of the CRU inquiries has contacted him for input.”

      Isn’t it a shame that Lord Oxborough didn’t choose to invite him to help with that inquiry, surely it could not have been because he had a conflict of interest, could it?

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7071751.ece

    • John Mason says:

      Frankly, David, if the IPCC was abolished in its entirety it would not have a single bearing on the unfolding events of the coming decades. It would be a hollow victory for you guys. I simply wonder what might be the next kicking-post for you?

      Cheers – John

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @john mason

      ‘Frankly, David, if the IPCC was abolished in its entirety it would not have a single bearing on the unfolding events of the coming decades’

      So the purpose in keeping it in existence is what exactly?

      You already concede that it makes no difference. Climatologists keep telling us how busy they are. Flying to Bali must do dreadful things to their carbon footprint. The chairman does more to undermine their own cause then anybody else bar Jim Hansen.

      Why keep it?

    • NewYorkJ says:

      My observations are that McIntyre doesn’t know much about CRU science, although there’s a constant drumbeat from him and his followers trying to promote the idea that he does.

    • David Bailey says:

      Steve McIntyre has replied with commendable promptness:

      The main points in our 2005 articles were:
      1. the Mann PC algorithm mined data sets for hockey-stick shaped series;
      2. in the MBH study, the algorithm overweighted Graybill bristlecone
      chronologies, which had a 20th century growth pulse that specialist studies
      said was not due to temperature – contradicting the premise of the MBH
      algorithm of linear relations to temperature;
      3. the MBH steps failed verification statistics standard in paleo and
      standard in Mann’s references, including verification r2, one that was
      illustrated for the ad1820 step.
      4. Mann’s benchmarking of RE significance did not fully consider the
      properties of his methodology which could yield high RE statistics from red
      noise.

      These claims are all true. The NAS panel confirmed (1), not just Wegman.
      Wahl and Ammann confirmed (3) and Ammann and Wahl SI confirmed (4).

      Mann had claimed that the Stick was 99% significant. We did not argue that
      all red noise simulations yielded a striking Stick. Ths distributions of all
      “hockey stick indexes” was shown in the histogram of our article. To rebut
      99% significance, one merely needed to show that the MBH algorithm generated
      some sticks from red noise. Examples were shown in our article.

      —————————————————————————–

      In other words, the simulation selection mimicked part of Mann’s algorithm, and was legitimate. Anyway, this should have been sorted out by the Oxborough committee – we can’t do that here!

    • Tom Curtis says:

      Although NAS showed that the first principle component tends to show a hockey stick shape if applied to red noise with sufficiently high autocorrelation, they also showed that including further principle components results in capturing the variance of the original data, ie, that it eliminates the tendency to mine hockey sticks. Mann, Bradley and Hughes did not use just one principle component, and it has been shown that if you use the data without Mann’s technique, the same basic shape is produced. Therefore MBH included enough principle components so that their results where not distorted by this effect.

      More importantly, there have been many reconstructions since MBH 98 &99 using quite different techniques (to which McIntyre’s predictions do not apply) and data sets which have confirmed MBH 99’s reconstruction

    • David Bailey says:

      Tom,

      Climatologists are extremely fond of dismissing others because they are not climatologists, so don’t you think a question of this sort should be settled by statisticians completely removed from AGW? Something Lord Oxborough could have arranged, perhaps?

      I know that when I did research, even the suggestion that the apparatus/data processing could generate a signal out of thin air, would have set alarm bells ringing!

      What galls me, is that when I made the original comment, I was pointed at a refutation that suggested that McIntyre’s result was obtained simply by cherry picking simulations, without regard to the fact that was mimicking part of Mann’s algorithm! You seem to be tacitly accepting a much more complicated situation, without actually saying that that the site offering a simplistic explanation is deliberately misleading.

      It is important to remember that Mann’s results seem deeply counter-intuitive, in the sense that climate would seem to have varied massively over time – think of the period when people held fairs on the surface of a frozen Thames. The only possible workround the historical facts, is to assume that these climate changes were local – but I understand there is evidence that even this was not true.

    • NewYorkJ says:

      McIntyre: “We did not argue that all red noise simulations yielded a striking Stick. ”

      Yet here are direct quotes from his GRL comment:

      “The simulations nearly always yielded PC1s with a
      hockey stick shape, some of which bore a quite remarkable
      similarity to the actual MBH98 temperature reconstruction –
      as shown by the example in Figure 1.”

      Rather misleading, wouldn’t you say? In fact, it was described as a “Monte Carlo simulation”, which would imply a random sample, but the Figure 1 used to reveal the “hockey stick shape” was described as

      “Top: Sample PC1 from Monte Carlo simulation
      using the procedure described in text applying MBH98
      data transformation to persistent trendless red noise”

      which would tend to imply a representative sample, which is certainly is not the case. It was blatant cherry-picking.

      Lastly, as Nick Stokes wrote:

      “Now we see that there is still some tendency to HS shape, but much less. It can go either way, as expected. In the PCA analysis, sign doesn’t matter, so the sign variations don’t cancel.

      Finally, here is the corresponding randomly chosen centered version. There is essentially no HS tendency.”

    • Latimer Alder says:

      I note that after three days, MartyY has been unable to substantiate any of his allegations of wrongdoing.

  20. J Bowers says:

    Here you go:

    * The Wegman report sees red (noise)
    * Replication and due diligence Wegman style.

    McIntyre’s statistical routine cherry-picks through thousands of simulations to find a subset of hockey sticks.

    • David Bailey says:

      So why in heaven’s name wasn’t McIntyre invited to give evidence to the Oxborough inquiry?

      If his simulations really are specious, it might have taken a bit of effort to resolve, but the opportunity was wasted.

      It is obviously really hard for anyone, except the authors to respond definitively to criticism of this sort. Presumably the UAE could invite McIntyre, together with an independent statistician to work through where the truth actually lies.

      I know that Mann’s technique involved searching through a lot of tree ring data to find a subset that was supposed to be a good proxy, so possibly McIntyre’s search through simulations was supposed to mimic that.

    • J Bowers says:

      You can try to deflect from it all you like, but McIntyre’s routine mined for hockey sticks. Wegman didn’t check. Wegman’s under investigation and another paper of his been withdrawn for similar reasons.

      Phil Jones has asked McIntyre to get involved in doing some science and make his own temperature series. McIntyre has consistently refused. McIntyre only wants to take potshots from afar and stir up the baying crowd.

      The problem with doing physics by only doing maths is that you’re not doing physics.

      As for the “voodoo science” remark by Pachauri, the report he was referring to had zero science. None. Do you even know what it was he was referring to? It was “voodoo science”.

    • J Bowers says:

      I’ll also add that one of McIntyre’s submissions of evidence to the UK Parliament Commons Inquiry into the emails was also wrong, and inadvertantly tore down his own case against Keith Briffa. When confronted at Climate Audit about this he was too busy to correct it. Go figure.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      News to me

      Please provide the evidence of this kerfuffle.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      ‘The problem with doing physics by only doing maths is that you’re not doing physics’

      Cryptic in the extreme.

      Please provide some context.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @jbowers

      Please provide evidence of your claim that Jones has asked McIntyre to join him in statistical work and that McI has refused.

      (Something wrong with the commenting here today. My unexceptional remark to this effect about an hour ago has been ‘disappeared’. Surely this is not CiF at the grauinad? ;-)

    • J Bowers says:

      Latimer Alder, I’ve a better idea. For McIntyre’s mistaken submission, go searching Policy Lass and Climate Audit in the days running up to the Commons inquiry. The person who discovered it contacted the Commons committee to make sure that they were aware of it.

      For your other request for evidence; Olive Hefferman on Nature’s Climate Feedback blog, August 12, 2009.

      “Given that McIntyre’s wish for access to the data will take time to be granted, this dispute will likely continue for some time. He’s especially aggrieved by the fact that hurricane expert Peter Webster at Georgia Tech University was recently provided with data that had been refused to him. McIntyre’s point here is that he should be treated as a legitimate academic given his background and publication record.

      But Webster points out that he was allowed access because of the nature of his request, which was very specific and will result in a joint publication with Phil Jones. “Reasonable requests should be fulfilled because making data available advances science”, says Webster, “but it has to be an authentic request because otherwise you’d be swamped”.

      Once the data become publicly available, Jones wants McIntyre to produce a global temperature record. “Science advances that way. He might then realize how robust the global temperature record is”, says Jones. Asked if he would take on the challenge, McIntyre said that it’s not a priority for him, but added “if someone wanted to hire me, I’d do it”.”

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @jbowers

      Re HoC

      Nope

      You asserted that such and such an incident had happened. *You* provide the evidence for it. *You* go and find the remarks and lay them out for all to see. And explain how they support your conclusion that they

      ‘one of McIntyre’s submissions of evidence to the UK Parliament Commons Inquiry into the emails was also wrong, and inadvertantly tore down his own case against Keith Briffa. When confronted at Climate Audit about this he was too busy to correct it’

      You will need to provide

      a. McIntyre’s submission
      b. Proof that it was ‘wrong’
      c. A demonstration of how it ‘tore down his case against Keith Briffa’
      d. Some proof that he was ‘confronted about this at CA’
      and
      e. Proof that he was ‘too busy to correct it’

      Look forward to your reply.

      If you can not do all of those then you should either ‘reframe’ your statement or withdraw it. Or others will assume that you are just blowing smoke.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      re Global Temperature series.

      Jones gets a grant in excess of £250,000 per year to produce the CRU dataset. And employs several staff to do so. That is his job. He gets paid to do it.

      McIntyre doesn’t have such resources and so can’t do it. But he quite reasonably says;.

      ‘If somebody hired me, I’d do it’

      Doesn’t look like a ‘consistent refusal’ to me. Maybe you are lucky enough to be able to work on largish projects and employ staff without needing to worry about where the cash to pay for them comes from. Many of us are not.

    • J Bowers says:

      Latimer, for McIntyre’s submission all you need do is go to the Commons Committee’s website and find it.

      As for your assertion that McIntyre can’t make a temperature series because he has limited resources, that is pure and utter nonsense. Caerbannog has done it in a weekend over beers using GHCN. Roy Spencer did it. Jeff Id did it, as did Zeke Hausfather, for CRU’s work.

      Really, there is no excuse.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Nope.

      You made the accusation.

      You provide the evidence that it is true.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      You have a time machine that provides more than 24 hours per day worktime per person?

    • J Bowers says:

      Okay, here’s the Policy Lass thread. Look for comments by Tom P.

      To help out with finding submissions, GO HERE.

      For Steve McIntyre noting that there was an “inconsistency” in his submission, read comments HERE.

      More: McIntyre’s Inquiry Claims — Withholding of Data

      It’s a beautiful Sunday. Enjoy.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Is there anythign left of teh bottom of your barrel?

      Here’s the famed inconsistency discussed as you guide me to:

      From CA

      ‘Tom P: Whatever point Steve is trying to make, he should be clear exactly what data is going in to his submitted version.

      Steve: Thanks for noting the inconsistency. I re-used a graphic and will have to check against the generating script to see which I did’

      An inconsistency is pointed out. McIntyre says he will look into it. Surely a fairly mundane event.

      Your link to Shewonk who is supposed to lay bare McIntyre’s crimes is equally content and scandal free.

      Lets summarise where we are on this one.

      You started with

      ‘I’ll also add that one of McIntyre’s submissions of evidence to the UK Parliament Commons Inquiry into the emails was also wrong, and inadvertantly tore down his own case against Keith Briffa. When confronted at Climate Audit about this he was too busy to correct it. Go figure’

      And we’ve ended up with a guy pointing out that one of the datasets used wasn’t clearly identified, with a comment for McIntyre that he;d go back and check it.

      Is that it? Did I miss something? Is there an elephant in the bathroom that has somehow escaped my notice?

      Becuase, mon breve, you are really really losing it with your obsession about McIntyre if that is the best you can provide.

      Its clear that you are associating with fellow obsessives (Shewonk. Connelly , CiF at the grauniad etc) and it is likely that you feed off each other. In all sincerity, I suggest you take a prolonged excursion to other places in an attempt to break the habits that so overwhelm you.

      You will feel so much better when out of the grip of your demons. Trust me, been there, done that, got the T shirt.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Update

      I have found the original correspondence from CA.

      Here’s the link.

      http://climateaudit.org/2010/02/26/mcintyre-submission-with-figures/

      You can read it all starting with Tom P’s post at 2:40 am.

      I leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions. But to this observe it isn’t even a storm in a teacup.

    • David Bailey says:

      Please note that Tom Curtis’ response (above) implicitly acknowledges that McIntyre’s result was not a simple case of cherry picking the simulations – that this process was mimicking an analogous process in Mann’s original algorithm. I don’t know why that site is still available if those in the know know better!

    • J Bowers says:

      Those “in the know” include Dr. David Ritson, emeritus professor of physics at Stanford University.

      David Ritson speaks out

      Another “climategate” whopper from McIntyre

  21. David Bailey says:

    John Mason,

    This is a reply to your latest comment – I wanted a bit more room to formulate this.

    The question as to whether AGW is real, is of vital importance to us all. If indeed we are to suffer all the ills described here:
    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm
    life will be pretty bleak – particularly since I see little sign of China, or even probably the USA, de-carbonising their economies.

    However, so far, the predictions haven’t worked out very well. We don’t have 50 million climate refugees, the global temperature curve has gone pretty flat, and contrary to predictions from the Met Office, a few years back, snowy winters are back with a vengeance – and not just in the UK.

    If de-carbonisation was essentially benign, I would just shrug and forget it, because I haven’t received a penny from big oil (but perhaps you can tell me how to apply). De-carbonisation of our electricity supply is going to give us a fluctuating electricity supply, which is (I think) why “smart meters” are being introduced. It is also pushing up the price of electricity in this country, and worse is to follow, as existing power stations are switched off.

    This opens up a serious possibility that old people, or those with limited mobility, may find themselves with no electricity during a period of very cold, but windless winter weather.

    Furthermore, in recent years, most of the gas boilers, have been replaced by green boilers which require electricity in order to run, so a power cut during cold conditions (remember roads can be blocked with snow) could be deadly, even to those who have the money to pay inflated energy costs.

    Fudging the science of AGW, is a very deadly game.

    I notice that you avoided responding to my point about Lord Oxborough’s conflict of interest.

  22. Dan Olner says:

    Just following up Tom Curtis’ comments. Quoting Mark L again: “allowed its headline conclusion to be dictated by a campaigning NGO”. Mark, do you still stand by that? How do you respond to Tom’s points? If we agree there might be some conflict of interest problems to discuss, OK. But as he points out – that’s very different to starting with “headline dictated by campaigning NGO”, isn’t it?

    To me at least, it’s a hugely important difference – not because I want to dismiss what might be problems with IPCC organisation, I’m sure they exist (where don’t they?) – but because it’s a dog-whistle for just the sort of “terminate the IPCC” narrative that has, in fact, occurred. It would be good to read another post on your reflections on all this.

    • David Bailey says:

      When you think about it, there is already proof positive that the IPCC does not follow its own guide lines. Think of the ‘glaciergate’ incident. Here we were told that research had shown that there was a serious possibility that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035.

      Indian scientists objected to this, and were accused by Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC, of practicing “voodoo science”, then, a few months later the IPCC conceded that there was no evidence for the original claim, and dropped it.

      The IPCC had made a mistake!

      Now I ask you in all seriousness, how can something like that be a mistake? How can an organisation with the resources of the IPCC, take a claim of that sort, check it diligently, publish it, receive a query about it, dismiss that, and then admit there was no evidence in the first place?

      How can that possibly be a mistake?

    • J Bowers says:

      Sorry, my comment of 25 June 2011 at 9:30 pm was meant as a reply to this. Don’t know what happened there.

    • Mark Lynas says:

      Fair question. I’ve been asked to contribute a commentary on this by Nature Climate Change journal. That will further explore this and clarify what I think the IPCC should learn from this. I’ll post it here in due course.

  23. J Bowers says:

    “When you think about it, there is already proof positive that the IPCC does not follow its own guide lines. Think of the ‘glaciergate’ incident.”

    Holy cow! A paragraph in a 3000 page report slipped through! One mistake? Give those guys a bonus.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Lets be ultra charitable and assume that it was a genuine mistake. Fair enough, they can happen, though this is a bit of a whopper. Huge implications for the sub continent and surrounding areas.

      But it was their actions subsequent to the mistake being pointed out that condemned them.

      Did they, as genuine seekers after truth scurry about for a couple of days checking references? Did the lead author refer back to his notes and recall the conversations that led to it? Did they check the sequence of drafts to see where the transcription error had set in? Did they issue a press release explaining the unhappy sequence of events in detail and outlining their rigorous procedures to ensure that such an error could never happen again.

      Of course they did not.

      Instead Pacahuri dismissed the claim of error as ‘voodoo science’

      Here is the interview on 9 November in which he said it. Its all interesting bit especially at about 4mins 20 and beyond.

      In the middle of January (two months later), he had this to say

      ‘”I became aware of this when it was reported in the media about ten days ago. Before that, it was really not made known. Nobody brought it to my attention. There were statements, but we never looked at this 2035 number.”

      This sequence of events does not give me confidence that the IPCC and its chairman invest all their time and effort in arriving at the objective truth about climate science and widely publicising it.

      The choice is either that the IPCC is institutionally incompetent or more interested in pushing its own agenda than providing an impartial survey of ‘climate science’

      Which do you prefer?

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Many apologies…forgot the link to Pachauri’s interview

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnYmQjFoNCs

      Enjoy!

    • J Bowers says:

      Pachauri was not talking about criticism of the 2035 gaff, he was talking about the Indian government report which had nothing to do with “Glaciergate”. “Voodoo science” sums up the Indian government report perfectly. Pachauri rightly criticises that report which does not cite any peer reviewed evidence.

      William Connolley sums it up nicely:

      ” In November 2009, Mr. Ramesh had released a report by glaciologist V.K. Raina claiming that Himalayan glaciers are not all retreating at an alarming pace. It had been disputed by many Western scientists, while IPCC chairman R.K. Pachauri dismissed it as “voodoo science.” However, Dr. Raina was later vindicated by the IPCC’s own retraction of its claim that the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035.”

      Now this is interesting because it is still fooling people who ought to be able to think. The sequence is this: in Nov 2009, the Indian govt boosted a not-very-exciting report about Himalayan glaciers. Why they did so is unclear; politics probably. The report it self was a collage of observations, which out of nowhere produced a conclusion that the analysis itself could not possibly support: that there is no evidence to suggest that global warming has enhanced the loss of glacial ice in this region [1]. The report would have been quietly forgotten but for the wild excitement over the 2035/2350 slip-up in the IPCC WGII report (which was itself based on some dubious Indian work, but never mind). See me here or lots of other places for analysis of that. But the revisionism that folks are now putting out is that because the IPCC WG II made the mistake over 2035, therefore the original Indian report is of some value and is “vindicated”. Which is clearly a logical fallacy. And is also wrong.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      I invite anybody interested to watch Pachauri’s interview and draw their own conclusions.

    • J Bowers says:

      Me too. Key question from the interviewer at 3 minutes 10 seconds into the video:

      “Dr. Pachauri, what’s your first reaction to the Environment Minstry’s report?

    • Latimer Alder says:

      That would be the Environment Ministry’s report that said that glaciers weren’t melting as fast as the IPCC had claimed would it? That the IPCC were wrong.

      Or did you have another Environment Ministry report in mind?

    • J Bowers says:

      Which had absolutely nothing to do with 2035/Himalayagate.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @jbowers

      You can download teh paper in question from here

      http://moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/MoEF%20Discussion%20Paper%20_him.pdf

      If you don’t have time, to read the whole thing you might have a second to ponder why a paper with the title

      ‘Himalayan Glaciers
      A State-of-Art Review of Glacial Studies,
      Glacial Retreat and Climate Change’

      has ‘nothing to do with 2035/Himalaygate’ and the rate of melting (retreat) of Himalayan Glaciers?

      Would you care to comment on what else you believe it to be about? I’m intrigued, and finding it difficult to come to any other conclusion than that it directly addresses that subject.

      Look forward to your reply.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Though all 55 pages of analysis of years of study of the Himalayan glaciers are relevant, the important conclusion in the study is

      ‘It is premature to make a statement that glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating abnormally because of the global warming. A glacier is affected by a range of physical features and a complex interplay of climatic factors’

      and this directly contradicts the IPCC AR4 conclusion that

      ‘The receding and thinning of Himalayan glaciers can be attributed primarily to the global warming due to increase in anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases’

      Also worth noting that the author of the report was ‘V.K.Raina, Ex. Deputy Director General, Geological Survey of India and one-time Director General of their Glaciology Division.

      There is a good write up from his perspective of this whole mess here (caution for alarmists of nervous disposition..nor peer-reviewed, journalism not academia..just like the WWF claim of 2035!

      http://business.in.com/article/real-issue/v-k-raina-the-man-who-came-in-from-the-cold/10532/1

    • J Bowers says:

      Latimer, I’m sorry if you’re chronologically challenged, but the point was that Pachauri was not referencing criticisms of the 2035 error in any way, whatsoever, when he said “voodoo science”, no matter how you look at it. Throwing in the actual report is a red herring on your part.

      Do you admit that Pachauri was not referring to the 2035 error when he described the Raina/Indian Govt report as “voodoo science”?

      Raina’s report was not peer-reviewed. It is grey literature. The irony is hilarious.

    • J Bowers says:

      This 81 page presentation on the satellite era glaciology of the region concludes “global climate change is a huge factor in the region”.

      Mauri Pelto, a glaciologist, explains why Raina’s report was not “state of the art”.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      He was asked about the report that directly challenged the IPCC’s statement about the melting of Himalayan glaciers. And he called it ‘voodoo science’.

      We have the followin ebidence:

      The recording of the interview with Pachauri

      The text of Raina’s report and

      The text of AR4.

      What more do you need to see to be convinced?

    • Latimer Alder says:

      ‘Raina’s report was not peer-reviewed. It is grey literature. The irony is hilarious’

      Could you remind me and the wider readership of exactly which criteria the IPCC used to determine which ‘grey literature’ was included in AR4?

      Was it purely WWF or a Greenpeace sourced material or did they cast their net a little wider? Clearly they did not consult bodies that might be expected to have some specialist knowledge on the subjects like the Glaciology Division of the Indian Geological Survey

      And which criteria they will use in AR5?

    • J Bowers says:

      “He was asked about the report that directly challenged the IPCC’s statement about the melting of Himalayan glaciers.”

      The text of Raina’s report does not contain the number 2035 nor does it even mention the IPCC. How can it be directly challenging that specific mistake or the IPCC synthesis on the Himalayas?

    • J Bowers says:

      The irony is that a mistake from a piece of grey lit in AR4 is used to attack the IPCC, but grey lit is used by those attacking the IPCC. It’s hilarious.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Which way would you like to have it? Both ways are not an option for you or IPCC.

      You can

      a. Completely restrict the IPCC to only look at rigorously referenced peer-reviewed literature or

      b. Allow a free-for-all as was done in AR4

      There is no middle ground, unless you allow the authors to pick and choose which grey literature they are prepared to accept. And this whole kerfuffle, with consequent lack of credibility (and much schadenfreude) has come about for precisely that reason. You can rest assured that such future choices will receive at least as much criticism as Teske and crowd have incurred this time round.

      Seems to me that the IPCC is caught between a rock and a hard place on this issue.

      What would be your choice? And why?

      Please advise

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @jbowers

      ‘How can it be directly challenging that specific mistake or the IPCC synthesis on the Himalayas?’

      Please see my post at http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/the-ipcc-renewables-controversy-where-have-we-got-to/#comment-2623

      where you can see the original statement from the IPCC and Raina;s conclusion. You will observe that the IPCC draws a conclusion that Raina contradicts. He did not need to specifically mention the IPCC.

      I think we can infer that his criticism was of anybody who drew such a conclusion..IPCC, WWF, JBowers, me or the man on the bus with a squint. Whoever it was, they were wrong to do so.

      Is that straightforward enough for you to understand?

    • J Bowers says:

      So it doesn’t directly challenge the IPCC synthesis, as you claimed. You were being hyperbolic.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Please see Pachauri’s reaction in the video starting at 3:10. He certainly perceived it to be a challenge to the IPCC’s work. And the preceding film clip also concluded that it was.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Re 81 page presentation and its conclusion that ‘global climate change is a huge factor in the region’

      Without a quantification of ‘huge’ this can not be read to support the IPCC’s position, nor Raina’s IPCC’s position. It is unscientific vapourware. And looking through the preceding work, there is very lino evidence presented that would allow such a quantification.

      Your link supposedly to Pelto’s work goes instead to yet another article by the banned Wikipedia author William Connnelly. Good to see that you are getting your info from reliable sources. :-)

    • J Bowers says:

      * Latimer, the 81 page presentation was as scientific as your Raina report and put together by some of the best glaciologists on the planet.

      * Whether Pachauri saw it as a challenge to the IPCC work or not is irrelevant and another red herring. It still had nothing to do with the 2035 error as posited by so many in the deniasphere and meedja, and still nowhere in Raina’s report are the IPCC mentioned or even the year 2035 crop up.

      * I did not say Pelto’s “work”, I said “explains”, so that’s a straw man. To see his work you only need click on Pelto’s name. Not only that, you’re now using Connelley to cast doubt on Pelto. Try throwing in a smear against Phil Jones and you’ll have used a Gish Gallop for a full set of logical fallacies.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      1. It may well be that the 81 page document is brimming full of good science. I make no comment one way or the other.

      But its conclusion that ‘Global climate change is a huge factor in this region’ is not a scientific conclusion for the reasons I outlined earlier…’Huge’ is not defined. And I could not find any supporting evidence in the preceding discussion. Please guide me to it if I have, indeed, missed it.

      2 Raina’s work cast challenged the foundations of the all the IPCC analysis about glaciers, including dates. Here it is again. lest you have forgotten

      ‘‘It is premature to make a statement that glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating abnormally because of the global warming. A glacier is affected by a range of physical features and a complex interplay of climatic factors’

      I challenge your assertion that Pachauri’s reaction was immaterial. He is the Chairman of the IPCC. It is not plausible to view his reaction and suggest that he did not see it as a challenge and ot be very defensive about it. His unwise remark about ‘voodoo science’ merely indicates his level of anxiety.

      3. I clicked on the link you provided. It led directly to Connelly’s piece. If I click on Peltos’ name there is no link.to anywhere. Your explanation fails.

      If you choose to provide links supposedly helping your case, it is your responsibility to make sure that they work. Not mine.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Away now. No blogging for a wee while.

    • J Bowers says:

      “But its conclusion that ‘Global climate change is a huge factor in this region’ is not a scientific conclusion for the reasons I outlined earlier…”

      But the Raina report uses the same methodology. You do realise it wasn’t peer reviewed? Why do you keep bringing it up as if it debunks the IPCC’s synthesis of the peer reviewed literature on the subject?

    • Latimer Alder says:

      @Jbowers

      It seems that you have forgotten the piquant denouement in the last act of Glaciergate. The IPCC was obliged to concede that its Himalyan claims were not based on anything more than a decade-old telephone interview with a guy who now works for Pachauri.

      Here is the Guardian’s report

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/20/ipcc-himalayan-glaciers-mistake?commentpage=5#start-of-comments

      So after all Pachauri’s huffing and puffing about Raina’s work not being peer-reviewed and therefore ‘voodoo science’, it was revealed that the IPCC itself was basing its work on something that far from being peer-reviewed, had not even been published. Just an opinion from a phone chat with a journo.

      The irony is delicious. If Raian is ‘voodoo science’ then how bad can th IPCC’s work be?

      I’ll be charitable and assume that you weren’t around to read the graun that day since, unusually, there are no comments to your name on such an article.

    • J Bowers says:

      So what? Pachauri still wasn’t referring to criticisms of the 2035 date, he was referring to Raina’s report.

      But, in your spirit of things…

      I see Willie Soon’s been rumbled. $1 million from fossil fuel and energy utilities, and an email that shows he and others were plotting to attack AR4 WG1 in 2003, four years before AR4 was even finished. Looks like they chose Capter 6 on paleoclimate, and as we all know the paper led to the resignation of half the editorial board of Climate Research.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      I have no idea who Willie Soon is or what he may or may not have been doing at a journal called Climate Research. And frankly I could care less.

      AFAIK he was not employed at public expense by the UN to advise the governments of the world about climate policy as were Pachauri and the IPCC. Whatever this Soon guy may or may not have doing pales into insignificance by comparison. with the corruption of the planet’s supposedly impartial and high integrity body

      Anyway, if it makes you feel better to believe that Pachauri only once made a complete buffoon of himself and bought the IPCC into disrepute contempt and ridicule, rather than twice, that’s fine with me. I;m pretty sure that he won’t miss the next opportunity to jump in with both feet in his’ample mouth.

  24. MartyY says:

    “He has put a massive amount of effort into exploring the validity of the statistical procedures used in AGW research, and yet his name seems to be mud in the eyes of many people, who probably know absolutely no statistics. I guess that experience may make him a bit sarcastic at times – can you really blame him?”

    Could it be that he cannot make a point without throwing mud? The standard scientific practices is not to make personal attacks on scientists you think are wrong, but to publish a paper that demonstrates that you are right. McIntyre has no respect for this long established and vital aspect of the advancement of science. Without it, you have the scientific morass that has degraded science today. He has done far more harm than Teske ever has.

  25. John Mason says:

    David, have a look through this piece and consider the implications:

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1831

    That aside, decarbonising makes sense before the only transport fuel we have left in any quantity is production rate-constrained Syncrude with its much lower (and therefore unfavourable) EROEI ratio compared to the Regular stuff. It’s something we should have embarked upon two decades ago.

    Two converging problems, both having a similar remedy. This will be the biggest test of our intelligence as a species so far – will we make it?

    Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      De-carbonising is a very two-edged sword. For example, any attempt at carbon capture will obviously use considerably more fossil fuel to supply the energy to extract the CO2.

      Furthermore, if we end up, as a lot of people say we will, with power cuts in the UK because of an unstable power source, the consequences may end up worse than the cure – even for CO2 emissions. Once Tesco has had to discard a whole batch of frozen food because the power went off, what is it going to do – invest in generators, of course – as are many other organisations.

      I glanced at the link you gave me, (I’ll look more carefully later), and what struck me immediately is the use of a peculiar statistical trick. If you were to start a gaussian random number generator going, and simply print out each time it hit a new maximum, it would, of course print out a number every so often – each one inexorably higher than the one before.

      Now, if you set up a large number of random number generators (equal to the number of nations on the earth), you would obtain even more maximum values printed out – and yet the trend of each set of random numbers would be totally flat!

      I find it incredible that the CRU and related AGW organisations, seem to like statistical tricks of various sorts. For example, rather than observe that the global temperature curve has flattened off a lot since the 1990’s, the preferred way to present these statistics to the journalists (and hence to most of the public) is using essentially the same trick!

      Of course, Lord Oxborough’s inquiry could have looked into all these points – indeed I expect most journalists seem to think they did – perhaps you would like to discuss those inquiries a little.

      Furthermore, (correct me if I am wrong) the claim that ‘snowmageddon’ actually derived from AGW, claim from one speculative paper. As you know, many such speculative papers are published, and it takes years to pick out which ones are useful.

      The real test of a science, is how well it predicts phenomena. Explaining the weather after it has happened is always strangely easier – I’m not sure why. Did climatologists predict the recent winter weather a few years back?

      Take a look:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

    • J Bowers says:

      The real test of a science, is how well it predicts phenomena. Explaining the weather after it has happened is always strangely easier – I’m not sure why. Did climatologists predict the recent winter weather a few years back?

      Take a look:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

      Dr David Viner’s comment of March 2000 is often taken out of context. To quote him from the article you link to:

      “Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. “We’re really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time,” he said.”

      He’s right so far. Last winter was bad, a few weeks of the previous winter were bad, and a few days in the preceding February were bad. Typically, though, winter has been mild in Blighty

      You should also note that it has been shown in a peer reviewed study that the contiguous USA saw more snow in warmer years over the 20th Century (Changnon et al 2006).

      “For the contiguous U.S. between 1900 – 2001, the authors found that 61% – 80% of all heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches occurred during winters with above normal temperatures.”

    • Latimer Alder says:

      “For the contiguous U.S. between 1900 – 2001, the authors found that 61% – 80% of all heavy snowstorms of 6+ inches occurred during winters with above normal temperatures.”

      Unless you can draw some significant conclusion from this that has escaped me, I can only hear the sound of the bottom of a barrel being desperately scraped.

      Hottest day of the year here in Surrey, England (30C). Still no signs of a blizzard. Perhaps I missed it.

    • J Bowers says:

      Ah, the year has now been redued to a single season and a single day.

    • David Bailey says:

      The predictive value of asserting that snow will become rare, but occasionally heavy, seems pretty tenuous to me – you might as well say the weather will continue to be variable.

      We have had heavy snow 3 years in a row, I am not sure if that even counts as occasional!

    • Latimer Alder says:

      ‘When its not raining it’ll be dry’

      usually covers most precipitation forecasts.

      ‘Sunny when clouds aren’t present’ does for sunshine

      and in the UK

      ‘A Barbecue Summer’ Copyright, The Met Office, 2009

    • J Bowers says:

      I’ve seen mobile phone footage of that “announcement”. A man from the Met Office is getting into a lift (looks like he’s going for lunch) and a pack of reporters are screaming at him wanting to know if it’ll be a barbecue summer. He says “Possibly”. Next day in the tabloids…. you know the rest.

      By the way, the Met Office did predict the last harsh winter. When they had asked the British public earlier last year if they wanted long or short term forecasts, the public said short term. But the Met Office still warned the government about the upcoming Arctic conditions a month or two prior to it happening.

      Met Office knew pre-Christmas freeze was coming but held off telling public

      “Weather organisation gave government and emergency planners advance warning but public were restricted to 30-day forecast
      [...]
      A Met Office spokeswoman said: “We did research at the start of last year and the public said a monthly forecast was far more useful than seasonal forecasts.”…”We withdrew from making public our seasonal forecasts for the season because the public said they didn’t want them,” said the spokeswoman.”

    • David Bailey says:

      Bishop Hill (one of those terrible denier websites) got hold of the actual wording of that forcast:

      Met Office Initial Assessment of Risk for Winter 2010/11

      This covers the months of November, December and January 2010/11, this will be updated monthly through the winter and so probabilities will change.

      Temperature

      3 in 10 chance of a mild start

      3 in 10 chance of an average start

      4 in 10 chance of a cold start

      Precipitation

      3 in 10 chance of a wet start

      3 in 10 chance of an average start

      4 in 10 chance of a dry start

      Summary: There is an increased risk for a cold and wintry start to the winter season.

      I guess they were covered whatever happened – but it wasn’t really much use for anything practical!

    • David Bailey says:

      Exactly so, and you don’t need a supercomputer to do the job!

      There is, of course, a guy who actually sells long range weather forcasts, based on other factors than CO2.

      http://www.weatheraction.com/

    • John Mason says:

      Given that power can go down for all sorts of reasons like lightning-strikes, snowfalls, gales etc, I’d have thought Tesco and similar would already have back-up available!

      Cheers – John

    • Latimer Alder says:

      That’s just a trite and facile remark.

      Should we make it a planning requirement fro all new developments (even down to the smallest) that a backup generator be installed to make up for the future unreliability of our electricity supply? With regular arrangements for delivery of some sort of fuel for them? Diesel perhaps? Or just Heating Oil…..

      Or perhaps you’d prefer there to be a revival of the general right of ‘estover’ (defunct since feudal times) for the peasants to gather firewood form the forests to keep themselves warm.

      Sadly there aren’t many forests left, in inner city areas, the Clean Air Acts would prohibit the burning of said firewood, and its hardly a practical solution for my 87 year old near housebound Mum

      Otherwise a great scheme

    • John Mason says:

      Don’t be silly yourself, Latimer!

      It was a perfectly acceptable response to David’s musing:

      “Furthermore, if we end up, as a lot of people say we will, with power cuts in the UK because of an unstable power source, the consequences may end up worse than the cure – even for CO2 emissions. Once Tesco has had to discard a whole batch of frozen food because the power went off, what is it going to do – invest in generators, of course – as are many other organisations.”

      And to the rest of your comment: there is a big difference between keeping warm and being able to go about at home in Midwinter in shorts and T-shirt. One is necessary, the other wanton squandering with no appreciation of the value of resources.

      Mind you, the open refrigerated units in most supermarkets are equally ill-conceived energy-wasting devices!

      Cheers – John

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      Our society has become extremely wasteful – not least of food. I suppose a lot of people have had their doubts about AGW theory, but have generally felt that if the result was a reduction in waste, it might be desirable – even if the theory was wrong.

      Before Climategate, I too took that view, without having any strong opinions either way. However after downloading those emails, and the other materials, I was sufficiently shocked to read a lot more.

      The problem is that I don’t think we are going to reduce waste. We are going to disrupt society with a broken electricity system, after which politicians will be forced to react in some knee jerk way to fix the mess.

      Just how much stuff is going to run off backup generators in a few years time?

      The supermarkets?
      The banks?
      The hospitals?
      The schools?
      Emergency sevices?
      Garages?
      People at home with green gas boilers that need an electricity supply?
      Street lights, and crime surveillance systems?

      This mess will be bad enough, but when people realise that:

      Britain only produces a tiny fraction of CO2 emissions, so all our efforts are just a token.

      And that the science of AGW has lots of holes that were supposed to be tested by Lord Oxborough’s committee, but weren’t…………

      Why don’t we try to sort out exactly what Lord Oxborough’s committee did examine? For example:

      Did he look at those emails, that Wikileaks saw fit to host on their website (a place that is basically reserved for pretty explosive information leaks)?

      Did he look at the whole controversy over the hockey stick construction and its statistical validity?

      Did he look at any of the other issues raised on skeptical/denier websites?

      Did he consider the question as to whether it is reasonable to declare the science ‘settled’ when major figures from the world of science – such as Freeman Dyson – are not in agreement?

      What did he look at?

    • John Mason says:

      Those scenarios remind me of unmitigated Peak Oil very chillingly, David!

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      “Those scenarios remind me of unmitigated Peak Oil very chillingly”

      Can you elaborate – what are you saying – that the electricity supply really will be able to copy on days with no wind, or that we don’t really need a continuous supply? The big problem with wind power, is that it contains no energy storage – unlike say hydroelectric.

    • John Mason says:

      We require a multiple source portfolio of energy sources IMO, David. Existing technologies need to be rolled out and far more work put into promising R&D fields.

      If we pretend for just a few moments that climate change is not an issue, we still cannot get away from the simple fact that, one by one, the supplies of the fossil fuels will peak and then decline. Whether this takes 5, 50 or 500 years is immaterial: there will come a point in the future where the fossil fuels are no longer available for mass-scale energy generation and transport, and the sooner we start developing alternatives that work the better. They need to be in place when the fossil fuels go into decline, rather than being still under development.

      Interesting developments with the Newcastle geothermal project on this morning’s news, talking of R&D…..

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      I seriously doubt if climate change is an issue – so I can go along with your pretense!

      Yes, fossil fuels will ultimately run out, though perhaps not as soon as was feared, because of the new sources of natural gas – but we musn’t be too scared to use them! We do need to prepare for that day.

      I think wind power is a total waste of time – at least as far as generating electricity. Electrical power is really only useful if it is reliable, and I think the idea that if you hook enough wind turbines up you can end up with a decent electricity supply, is crazy! Politicians just want to be seen to be doing something – they will be out of office before the consequences appear. Any real form of renewable energy, simply has to have a storage component (like hydro does), or you can forget it.

      I’d use the new gas supplies to tide us over, and do the research on Thorium reactors – supposedly much safer and cheaper than conventional nuclear reactors.

      You know, the sad thing is that I agree about the traditional Greenpeace aims – stopping forest destruction, stopping arms proliferation, preventing waste, it is just that everything I have read makes me hugely doubtful that the CO2 threat is real.

      One fact that really blew me away, was the observation that the old idea popularised by Carl Sagan, that Venus was burning hot because of a runaway greenhouse effect, was something of a misunderstanding. Everyone knows that temperature increases as you descend the atmosphere, and Venus has a surface pressure of about 92 atmospheres. Someone measured the atmospheric temperature on Venus at a height corresponding to 1 atmosphere, and found only a modest rise over Earth – consistent with its proximity to the sun. All the CO2 in Venus’ atmosphere wasn’t making that much difference to the temperature!

      I wish Greenpeace would return to its roots, rather than chase AGW, and make lucrative profits for carbon traders, biofuel (that lets people starve), and other related scams.

    • Latimer Alder says:

      Danke sehr,

      Gibt es bitte eine Englische Uebersetzung?

    • J Bowers says:

      From that story:

      “And herein lies the core of all the excitement, how can a man be Greenpeace’s lead author on the IPCC?”

      Probably the same way that co-authors include three from Chevron, one from the mining industry, and one from Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.

    • John Mason says:

      Yes, that too is a valid question. Why single out the GP rep for singular scrutiny? Why not ask the same questions about the rest?

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      Because, surely Greenpeace should be about campaigning, not science or questions of engineering feasibility.

      Greenpeace can quite legitimately use pure research as part of its campaigns, but it should not be seen to originate such work.

    • John Mason says:

      So you’d not object if, instead, there had been more representatives from the commercial renewables sector?

      Cheers – John

    • David Bailey says:

      (Reply to John Mason)

      Well ideally you would want some sort of engineering feasibility study – is it really possible to achieve that level of renewables in the given time scale.

      The most important thing is that these pieces of research must be transparent. If whoever makes Dettol does a study that shows that people’s homes contain too many bacteria, it wouldn’t seem as believable as it would if it was a finding of a medical team!

      Really, a lot of the problem here, is that commercial interests have infested everything – distorting research, and turning everything into a money making racket – think of carbon trading!

  26. Tim Holmes says:

    You quote the Carbon Brief piece as holding the media “partially responsible”, and claim that it therefore “tried to pin the blame on the media”, with a helpful link to Climate Audit. But according “partial responsibility” is, er, not “pinning the blame” on a single target – that much should be blindingly obvious. Moreover, what follows the section you quote in the original CB article is a section also according partial responsibility to the IPCC. You thus manage to insult the intelligence of your readers twice, while issuing another misrepresentation.

    • Barry Woods says:

      Please excuse my cynicism,

      there is a ‘Tim’ that writes anonymously for The Carbon Brief…. Bad form not to mention a vested interest, if one and the same!!

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