Editorializing about the Editorial

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I just got my printed copy of the May 7th issue of Science Magazine, and I read their Editorial. This is the issue that contained the now-infamous Letter to the Editor with the Photoshopped image of a polar bear on an ice floe. An alternate version of that Photoshopped image is below:

Figure 1. Photoshopped version of a Photoshopped image of a Photoshopped Polar bear.

So is the Editorial as one-sided as the Letter? Surprisingly, no. There are some excellent ideas and statements in it … but it contains some egregious errors of fact, and some curious assertions and exaggerations. I have emphasised in bold those interesting parts below. First, the Editorial:

Stepping Back; Moving Forward

Brooks Hanson

Brooks Hanson is Deputy Editor for physical sciences at Science.

The controversial e-mails related to climate change, plus reported errors in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, have spurred a dangerous deterioration in the rational relation between science and society. One U.S. senator has called 17 prominent climate scientists criminals, and pundits have suggested that climate scientists should commit suicide. Fourteen U.S. states have filed lawsuits opposing the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, some asserting that “climate change science is a conspiracy.” South Dakota even resolved that there are other “astrological” forcings on climate. Scientists have been barraged by hateful e-mails. The debate has become polarized, and the distrust of scientists and their findings extends well beyond climate science. What can be done to repair society’s trust in science? A broader perspective is needed on all sides.

The main societal challenges—global energy supply, growing the food supply, and improving public health, among others—depend intimately on science, and for this reason society requires a vigorous scientific enterprise. Our expanding global economy is taxing resources and the environment in ways that cannot be sustained. Science provides a deep understanding of these impacts and, as a result, the ability to predict consequences and assess risks.

Addressing anthropogenic climate change exemplifies the challenges inherent in providing critical scientific advice to society (see the Policy Forum on p. 695 and Letter on p. 689). Climate is as global as today’s economy; we know from archaeological and historical records that an unstable climate has disrupted societies. For these reasons, scientists and governments are jointly committed to understanding the impacts of climate change. Thousands of scientists have volunteered for the IPCC or other assessments. Governments have a vested interest in the success of these assessments, and the stakes are high.

We thus must move beyond polarizing arguments in ways that strengthen this joint commitment. The scientific community must recognize that the recent attacks stem in part from its culture and scientists’ behavior. In turn, it is time to focus on the main problem: The IPCC reports have underestimated the pace of climate change while overestimating societies’ abilities to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists must meet other responsibilities. The ability to collect, model, and analyze huge data sets is one of the great recent advances in science and has made possible our understanding of global impacts. But developing the infrastructure and practices required for handling data, and a commitment to collect it systematically, have lagged. Scientists have struggled to address standardizing, storing, and sharing data, and privacy concerns. Funding must be directed not only toward basic science but toward facilitating better decisions made with the data and analyses that are produced. As a start, research grants should specify a data curation plan, and there should be a greater focus on long-term monitoring of the environment.

Because society’s major problems are complex, generating useful scientific advice requires synthesizing knowledge from diverse disciplines. As the need for synthesis grows, the avenues of communication are changing rapidly. Unfortunately, many news organizations have eviscerated their science staffs. As a result, stories derived from press releases on specific results are crowding out the thoughtful syntheses that are needed.

If the scientific community does not aggressively address these issues, including communicating its process of discovery and recognizing its modern data responsibilities, and if society does not constructively engage science, then the scientific enterprise and the whole of society are in danger of losing their crucial rational relationship. Carl Sagan’s warnings are especially apt today: “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” “This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”

So, what’s wrong with the statements I highlighted in bold? Well, they’re not true. Let’s look at them one by one.

One U.S. senator has called 17 prominent climate scientists criminals…

Presumably, this refers to the Senate Minority Report by Senator Inhofe. However, he did not call 17 climate scientists criminals. In fact he does not use that word at all in connection with scientists. Instead, he made a much more nuanced series of statements:

In our view, the CRU documents and emails reveal, among other things, unethical and potentially illegal behavior by some of the world’s preeminent climate scientists.

and:

The released CRU emails and documents display unethical, and possibly illegal, behavior. The scientists appear to discuss manipulating data to get their preferred results. On several occasions they appear to discuss subverting the scientific peer review process to ensure that skeptical papers had no access to publication. Moreover, there are emails discussing unjustified changes to data by federal employees and federal grantees.

These and other issues raise questions about the lawful use of federal funds and potential ethical misconduct.

and

Minority Staff has identified a preliminary sampling of CRU emails and documents which seriously compromise the IPCC-backed “consensus” and its central conclusion that anthropogenic emissions are inexorably leading to environmental catastrophes, and which represent unethical and possibly illegal conduct by top IPCC scientists, among others.

So Brooks Hanson starts out with a false and misleading statement. Inhofe did not “call 17 prominent climate scientists criminals”, that’s simply not true. He said that some of their actions appeared to be possibly illegal … and me, I’d have to agree with the Senator.

On the other side of the pond, whether some of them were criminals was addressed by the UK Parliament Committee, who said:

There is prima facie evidence that CRU has breached the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It would, however, be premature, without a thorough investigation affording each party the opportunity to make representations, to conclude that UEA was in breach of the Act. In our view, it is unsatisfactory to leave the matter unresolved simply because of the operation of the six- month time limit on the initiation of prosecutions.

So it was only because the Statute of Limitations on any criminal offenses had expired that there were no criminal investigations of the acts … sounds like a validation of Senator Inhofe’s claim of “possibly illegal” to me …

… pundits have suggested that climate scientists should commit suicide.

Presumably, this refers to Glen Beck’s statement that:

There’s not enough knives. If this, if the IPCC had been done by Japanese scientists, there’s not enough knives on planet Earth for hara-kiri that should have occurred. I mean, these guys have so dishonored themselves, so dishonored scientists.

I find no other “pundits” who have “suggested that climate scientists should commit suicide”. Nor did Beck. He said that if the IPCC scientists who made the errors and misrepresentations were Japanese, they would have committed suicide from the shame. Now that may or may not be true, but is not a call for American scientists to act Japanese, even Beck knows that’s not possible.

Fourteen U.S. states have filed lawsuits opposing the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, some asserting that “climate change science is a conspiracy.”

I find no State (or any other) lawsuits making this claim against climate scientists, although I might have missed them. Curiously, there was a case (Ned Comer, et al. v. Murphy Oil USA) where the claim was made the other way around, that there was a “civil conspiracy” among the oil companies to deny climate change. But I find nothing the other way.

I suspect that Brooks Hanson is referring (incorrectly) to the Resolution passed in Utah that states:

WHEREAS, emails and other communications between climate researchers around the globe, referred to as “Climategate,” indicate a well organized and ongoing effort to manipulate global temperature data in order to produce a global warming outcome;

Of course, this was a resolution, not a lawsuit. I don’t know if that claim is true or not, although the CRU emails show that there certainly was a “well organized and ongoing effort” to conceal the data regarding global temperature, and to affect the IPCC reports in an unethical and possibly illegal fashion.

South Dakota even resolved that there are other “astrological” forcings on climate.

Here’s the actual text of the South Dakota Bill:

That there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics that can effect world weather phenomena and that the significance and interrelativity of these factors is largely speculative.

I suspect that this was a simple error, and that what was meant was “astronomical” rather than “astrological”. This is supported by their use of “thermological” for “thermal”, as “thermology” is the science of using detailed thermal images of the human body to diagnose disease … I doubt they meant that. It is also supported by their use of “effect” rather than “affect”. I’d say very poor English skills, yes … astrology, no.

Scientists have been barraged by hateful e-mails.

Barraged by mails? Hey, it’s worse than emails, it’s public calls for action:

James Hansen of NASA wanted trials for climate skeptics, accusing them of high crimes against humanity.

Robert Kennedy Jr. called climate skeptics traitors .

Yvo de Boer of the UN called climate skepticism criminally irresponsible .

David Suzuki called for politicians who ignore climate science to be jailed.

DeSmogBlog’s James Hoggan wants skeptics treated as war criminals (video).

Grist called for Nuremberg trials for skeptics.

Joe Romm said that skeptics would be strangled in their beds.

A blogger at TPM pondered when it would be acceptable to execute climate deniers .

Heidi Cullen of The Weather Channel called for skeptical forecasters to be decertified.

Bernie Sanders compared climate skeptics to Nazi appeasers..

And Greenpeace threatened unspecified reprisals against unbelievers, saying:

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.

And Brooks Hanson is worried about emails, and falsely accuses Senator Inhofe of calling climate scientists criminals? What’s wrong with this picture?

The IPCC reports have underestimated the pace of climate change …

Say what? I’d have to ask for citations on this one. There has been no statistically significant warming in the last 15 years, Arctic sea ice is recovering, climate changes are within natural variation … and he claims the pace has been “underestimated” by the IPCC? Sorry, I don’t buy that one in the slightest.

As a start, research grants should specify a data curation plan …

Lack of plans is not the problem. The main grantor of climate science funds in the US, the National Science Foundation, has very clear regulations about the archiving of climate data … but they simply ignore them. And to make it worse, they continue funding scofflaw scientists who ignore them. Science Magazine and Nature Magazine have very clear policies about data archiving … but they don’t ask authors to follow them whenever they feel like it. The problem is not a lack of “data curation plans” as Hanson claims. It is that the people in charge of those plans have been looking the other way, even when people like myself and many others have asked them to enforce their policies and plans and rules. Those kinds of actions simply reinforce the public idea that all of climate science is a scam and a conspiracy. I don’t think it is either one … but man, some of the AGW supporters in positions of scientific power are sure doing their best to make it look that way …

Now, given all of that, what in the editorial did I like? There were several statements that I felt were very important:

We thus must move beyond polarizing arguments in ways that strengthen this joint commitment. The scientific community must recognize that the recent attacks stem in part from its culture and scientists’ behavior.

I could not agree more. The problems are not the result of some mythical Big-Oil funded climate skeptics public relations machine. They are the result of scientific malfeasance on a large scale by far too many of the top climate scientists. People are enraged by this, as there are few things that raise peoples’ ire more than knowing that they have been duped and misled. And the climate science community is the only one that can fix that.

If the scientific community does not aggressively address these issues, including communicating its process of discovery and recognizing its modern data responsibilities, and if society does not constructively engage science, then the scientific enterprise and the whole of society are in danger of losing their crucial rational relationship.

Well put. The problem is not that Inhofe has said some actions by top climate scientists are unethical and possibly illegal. The problem is that some top scientists acted in unethical and possibly illegal ways. The problem is not that people are sending hateful emails to scientists. It is that climate scientists have poisoned the well by publicly calling for the trial of people with whom they disagree, and then want to complain that people are being mean to them. The problem is not that states are taking to the law to fight bad science, it is that the bad science is so entrenched, and the peer review system has become so much of an old-boys club, that the only way to fight it is in the courts.

This is the crux of the matter for climate scientists who wish to restore the lost trust: do honest, transparent, ethical science, and let the results fall where they may. Stop larding “scientific” papers with pounds of  “might” and “could” and “may” and “possibly” and “conceivably”, we don’t care about your speculations, we want your science. Stop underestimating the errors and overestimating the certainty. Stop making up the “scary scenarios” advocated by Stephen Schneider. Stop calling for trials for people who don’t follow the party line.

And most of all, climate scientists need to learn to say those “three little words”.

You know how women are always hoping that guys will say those three little words, “I love you”? It’s like the old joke, “You know how to get rid of cockroaches? … Ask them for a commitment.” Those are the three little words that men find hard to say.

In climate science, the three little words that climate scientists find hard to say, the three little words they need to practice over and over are “We don’t know”.

We don’t know what the climate will be like in a hundred years. We don’t know what the climate sensitivity is, or even if the concept of a linear climate sensitivity relating temperature and forcing is a valid concept. We don’t know if the earth will start to warm or start to cool after the end of this current 15-year period of neither warming nor cooling. We don’t know if a rise in temperature will be a net gain or a net loss for the planet. There are heaps of things we don’t know about the climate, and the general public knows that we don’t know them.

Climate science is a new science, one of the newest. We have only been studying climate extensively for a quarter century or so, and it is an incredibly difficult field of study. The climate is a hugely complex, driven, chaotic, resonant, constructal, terawatt-scale planetary heat engine. It contains five major subsystems (atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and cryosphere), none of which are well understood. Each of these subsystems has a host of forcings, resonances, inter-reservoir transfers, cycles, and feedbacks which operate both internally and between the subsystems. The climate has important processes which operate on spatial scales from atomic to planet-wide, and on temporal scales from nanoseconds to millions of years. Our present state of knowledge of that system contains more unknowns than knowns. Here is my own estimation of the current state of our climate knowledge, which some of you may have seen:

In this situation, the only honest thing a climate scientist can do is to do the best, clearest, and cleanest science possible; to be totally transparent and reveal all data and codes and methods; to insist that other climate scientists practice those same simple scientific principles; and to say “we don’t know” rather than “might possibly have a probabilistic chance of maybe happening” for all the rest. That is the only path to repairing the lost trust between the public and climate science.

Oh, yeah, and one more thing … apply those principles to scientific editorials as well. Don’t exaggerate, and provide some citations for scientific editorials, trying to trace these vague claims is both boring and frustrating …

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David, UK

“Oh, yeah, and one more things … provide some citations for scientific editorials, trying to trace these vague claims is both boring and frustrating …”
I’ll bet! Many thanks for your efforts, we appreciate it.

kwik

“Oh, yeah, and one more things … provide some citations for scientific editorials, trying to trace these vague claims is both boring and frustrating …”
Yes, its like the Western front in WWI. A war of attrition. Thank you Willis for standing up against the Gaia-people.
This is not Scientists against sceptics in society.
This is IPCC and politicians surpressing science.

I posted comments on a story on another website and a climate alarmist posted back that I should be removed from posting since it people might believe me.
Well DUH !!
He also posted that I should be sent to a re-education camp to be taught the correct beliefs about climate change.
I responded that even though I disagreed with what he believed I would protest if he were forbidden to express his views.

Neville

Brooks Hanson could hardly have provided a more conclusive proof that people like him are simply incapable of sticking to the facts on this subject. The urge to embellish and exaggerate is simply stronger than whatever integrity he can muster.

JB

How excactly is sea ice recovering? All the trends are down, ice ext, area, volume and now the daily extent observations that others were using to claim sea ice was “recovering” to the avg levels, has fallen below 1979-2006 avg (Arctic Roos) and the 2007 levels according to NSIDC?
http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/total-icearea-from-1978-2007
http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/ice-area-and-extent-in-arctic
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

Fredrick Lightfoot

To Wondermanwillis,
Now Willis if at some future date you decide to put all your posts into print, I for one will use your book as a Xmas present to all friends and family.

Pete Hayes

Mmmm! BBQ Penguin! LMAO….Must go back and read the article now!

Xi Chin

Climate science = Find a piece of noise that goes up, publish it. Zoom in the y-scale to make it look big. Find a peice of noise that does not go up, keep “researching” till find a piece of noise that goes up.
Can’t wait for the global cooling to come back into fashion because then it will be:
Climate science = Find a piece of noise that goes down, publish it. Find a peice of noise that does not go down, keep “researching” till find a piece of noise that goes down.

Al Gore's Holy Hologram

astrological? Did someone’s wife type this up in between crystal ball gazing for future climate and reading Zodiac For Planet Loving Greens?

Phil Clarke

Willis – just to be clear – is it the case that the words you attribute to ‘Greenpeace’ above were in fact briefly posted as a comment on a public Greenpeace website, – and soon removed?
Reply: No, it was a blog post by (I believe) their communications director of India ~ ctm

Wonderful summary, Willis. You always get the real issues lined up so well, and pick them off so succinctly and with amazing clarity. Thank you!

Mike Davis

The climate scientists had a choice to make years ago! The climate scientists had a choice to make at each IPCC statement! Some removed themselves from what they thought was a corrupted process! The others burrowed in for the fight! By supporting bad science the editor degrades the value of the publication and by failing to accept the currently known problems the entire scientific community will suffer. The road back to respectability? Generations! The “One Bad Apple” was not discredited and corrupted the whole field!

Though this is being portrayed by alatrmists as a “scientific consensus” on one side & sceptics on the other this is not so. If you look at the “scientists” on the alarmist side they are, with 1 single exception*, paid by government. By definition anything that doesn’t include the majority of scientists isn’t a “scientific consensus.
There has certainly been a lamentable failure of duty by scientist’s professional bodies, many of whom get government funding & all of whom seem to be run by politically connected “scientists” but that does not affect the real expressed position of real working scientists.
*I have asked on websites worldwide for the names of even 2 prominent scientists independent of government who support the catastrophic warming scenario & have only twice got a responsive response – both named Prof James Lovelock who, following climategate has largely changed his mind & says that only the sceptics have kept the debate “sane”.

jeef

Sad indeed. Such a shame you’re preaching to the converted on here. No chance a [snipped] version has gone to Science Magazine as a letter?

Orkneygal

Well said Willis.

coniston

well written. Should be the next editorial in SCIENCE….

Pete Olson

Wonderful article, an ALMOST error-free use of the English language (rare these days). Might as well make it perfect: “…there are few things that raise peoples’ ire more than knowing that they have been duped and mislead.” Should be ‘misled’. Thanks so much for your wonderful contributions, Willis.

Staffan Lindström

Willis…welcome to wessenbissers…bissenwessers…eh…CAMP BESSENWISSERS UNITED……Seriously, I just heard on the Swedish Nat. Radio, a medical science
journalist complain about an article that obviously endorsed some medicine and the
peer-reviewers were bought by that medicine manufacturer…Have we heard it before?? He said: “I thought I was told the scientific TRUTH”…Sic!…Sigh…”Science
journalists” may be some of most naive people around…

Sera

That picture is silly- everybody knows that polar bears at the south pole can not blow smoke rings. (rotflmao) I’ve got that paper somewhere…

ImranCan

Of all the commentary ever made (by anyone on anyside) ….. I find the most disturbing to be to continual re-assetion that climate change is happening faster than ever predicted. The reason I became interested in this topic in the first place was because I could find very little solid evidence that it was happening at all ….. and that where predictions had been made the observation fell very SHORT of the actual predictions. As pointed out – global warming requires the planet to be warming and it hasn’t for well over a decade (in contradiction to the IPCC 2001 predictions). How can it be happening faster than predicted ? Its beyond me how anyone can state this !
This flawed assertion (when made by supposed scientists) is really their lowest point.

Well said (written, I mean).
The paragraph listing what we don´t know is clear, concise, and will be quoted (at least by me).

Roger Carr

You did not comment on my favourite line in that editorial, Willis:

Governments have a vested interest in the success of these assessments, and the stakes are high.

M White

Climate sceptics ‘need a voice’
http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8689000/8689038.stm
From Roger Harrabin the BBCs Environment analyst.

Peter

Don’t they see the irony in the fact that it’s such sensationalist, tabloid-type gutterpress outpourings from scientific institutions which led to the public’s distrust in science in the first place.

Ian Mc Vindicated

All I see lately is that the warmists are moving ahead with their warmist agenda. They are ignoring the climategate scandal, and ignoring all recent data with respect to claims of unprecedented sea level rise ( show me any ..) and claiming the hottest April in history was last month , ( it was an anomoly caused by El Nino wasn’t it ) . Yes, April was warm here in eastern Canada, but now the cooling is back.
We had frost this morning, and this is typically a hot weekend here in Nova Scotia.
Climate change ?? Yes, …but man-made …not a chance. Natural variations of natures normal oscillations.

Paul Coppin

The off-handed comment about the pace of change is, to me, a clear statement of the bias of the editorial board of the magazine. The most important phrase IMO, is the quote attributed to Carl Sagan: “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” “This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”
The”sooner or later” is now. While everyone is decrying the supposed state of the environment, they should be really decrying the state of education. How, with the repository of knowledge and techniques that now exist, the state of knowledge of ordinary folk could have declined so greatly is beyond comprehension. That’s the real decline being hidden.
We are in an age of anthropogenic global dumbing, not warming. My parents, bless their souls, with their uncompleted high school diplomas, two world wars, and the reality of the painful Depression under their belts understood far more about how the world works physically, politically and ethically than the snobbish kids do today.

wayne Job

Well said sir.

Joe

Willis,
Excellent post! Well said!
You may have overlooked that the climate systems work interactively and studying only one system with the exclusion of others will create an incorrect outcome.
Science as a whole has not looked at the mechanics of how this planet operates, yet the INDIVIDUAL closed science in specific areas is the system we currently use for science. “God help the bastard that doesn’t fit in this line” and studies outside the box we have created.

Thanks Willis, again, for spelling it out so succinctly. Is it unreasonable to hope that the sort of editorial you address here represents some tentative steps ‘backwards’ for the mainstream science press? After all it would be impossible for them to turn right around in one jump – wouldn’t it?

I don’t know what to do anymore with TV and radio stations and newspapers that continuously refer to “global warming caused by carbon dioxide” and then never allow anyone to speak who considers such a statement to be factually incorrect.
I think I will initiate a complaint at the broadcast complaints commision (BCC) here if I hear once more someone saying or stating – as a matter of fact – that global warming is caused by releasing carbon dioxide – and I will maintain that the basis of my complaint is that the station/newspaper refuses to adhere to the principle of balanced reporting, i.e. hearing the other side. I think the BCC here is quite strict on that code.
Willis, do you perhaps have a paper that I can use to support my case to the BCC or can I use the material that you summarised for us in congenital climate abnormalities?

Joe

netdr says:
May 22, 2010 at 3:00 am
He also posted that I should be sent to a re-education camp to be taught the correct beliefs about climate change.
I get far worse responses about comic book fantasy and fictional characters. When you have actual physical proof, it is ignored for the this is what we we taught mentality.

TFN Johnson

JB makes a good point. The 2010 ice line (for the second time) does seem to be heading South. But it’s a bit silly for either side to trumpet their cause as it wanders about, week by week: let’s wait for the summer melt to reverse.

morgo

most scientists only think of where the next grant will come from

rbateman

JB says:
May 22, 2010 at 3:05 am
Where’s the beef? Read again the article.
“The main grantor of climate science funds in the US, the National Science Foundation, has very clear regulations about the archiving of climate data … but they simply ignore them”
So, how does anyone know which data sets are correct, the unavailable raw data sets, or the ‘filtered’ graphics?
How many times does one need to go on a wild goose chase to figure out it’s not worth it?
The public is just as tired of policiticians saying one thing and doing another as I am of chasing down climactic ghosts.
It’s one week before June, we have winter storms in the Pacific Northwest for the next 2 weeks, the local meteorologist is shaking his head because this is not supposed to be happening, El Nino is crashing La Nina style, and you are worried about where nobody lives.
Ok. I got it.

Phil Clarke

No, it was a blog post by (I believe) their communications director of India
Ah yes – however it has been removed and this posted:
Well, we’ve taken down that post from our website. It’s very easy to misconstrue that line, take it out of context and suggest it means something wholly different from the practice of peaceful civil disobedience, which is what the post was about. Anyone who knows Gene knows he’s an entirely peaceful guy. … Of course the anti-science brigade on the web has seized on the line in Gene’s post and run with it (and will run and run and run), taken it out of context and run with it some more – it’s what the climate contrarians exist to do.
http://weblog.greenpeace.org/climate/2010/04/will_the_real_climategate_plea_1.html
Looks like he was right there. I am not sure that representing a disowned and deleted blog post as an official Greenpeace statement advances the argument very far. Speaking of advancing the argument in a cool rational way, here is Viscount Monckton, keynote speaker at the recent ICCC conference, and the Republican choice for witness at the recent congressional hearings, writing about Mann et al.
These evil pseudo-scientists, through the falsity of their statistical
manipulations, have already killed far more people through starvation than “global warming” will ever kill. They should now be indicted and should stand trial alongside Radovan Karadzic for nothing less than high crimes against humanity: for, in their callous disregard for the fatal consequences of their corrupt falsification of science, they are no less guilty of genocide than he.

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/monckton/monckton_what_hockey_stick.pdf
Nice.

Zoltan Beldi

Beautifully put Willis.
The words “I don’t know” should be emblazoned in every lab.
There is no shame in these words…It is the path to honest enquiry.

Richard111

Go on, have some fun! Open your word processor and type in “astronomical” with a typo or two and see when you get “astrological”. 🙂

Sera: May 22, 2010 at 3:53 am
That picture is silly- everybody knows that polar bears at the south pole can not blow smoke rings. (rotflmao) I’ve got that paper somewhere…
I think you’ll find the footnote in that paper referred only to the fact that they can’t blow smoke rings that swirl in a clockwise direction.
I’m almost positive it’s on page 12 — next to the Camel Filters ad…

Hanson’s tone is the usual:
“Us scientists are only trying to do good things for the planet and people”.
When in fact it is more like:
Some know-it-all scientists are zealots who can see nothing good in human activity, and have taken it upon themselves to try to radically change how the parasitic human species lives and survives.
There’s plenty of evidence showing they have been much less than honest in their work.

geo

While it isn’t as sexy, what Inhofe and his brethren should be doing is forcing hearings and GAO audits on the enforcement of the data curation issues designated in relevant grants and policies controlling those grants. And offering bills/amendments that would cause “clawbacks” of significant portions of grant monies if the data (including computer code implementations of the algorithms used to analyse it) are not archived to public access as promised. Say a 25% clawback? That’d get some attention from university administrators and cause the right kind of irresistable pressures to mount on these recalcitrant scientists who “don’t share well with others”.

The scientific comminity has to purge BrooKs Hanson types of characters. That’s the only reform that is needed.

899

From the editorial:
““This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.”
*
*
Say, isn’t that what happened with ClimateGate?

pettyfog

JB @ 3:05:
How excactly is sea ice recovering? All the trends are down, ice ext, area, volume and now the daily extent observations that others were using to claim sea ice was “recovering” to the avg levels, has fallen below 1979-2006 avg (Arctic Roos) and the 2007 levels according to NSIDC?

I suggest you go back to statistics analysis classes. There’s no info on those sites that hasnt been on here. The answer is in the big picture not the snapshot.
And especially look at this AGAIN:
http://arctic-roos.org/observations/satellite-data/sea-ice/total-icearea-from-1978-2007
– If you know how to read graph that is interesting indeed.
Now ALSO notice that THIS article is NOT about Sea Ice or GW. It is about the attitude of the ‘Consensus Group’ toward questioning of the method and promotion in the political arena

Richard North

If we don’t know we don’t know it, how is it that we seem to know how much it is that we don’t know we don’t know, if you know what I mean?

Amino Acids in Meteorites

The exaggeration and poor quality of the editorial isn’t really anything new. All of global warming is exaggeration and poor quality. Global warming believers do a wonderful service with things like this editorial to those have real doubts about ‘global warming’ since it is easy to pick out the flaws. It’s low hanging fruit.
Here is a good case in point: James Hansen’s in now infamous 1988 testimony
particularly from :56 to 1:16

Bruce Cobb

Brooks Hanson said that “The main societal challenges—global energy supply, growing the food supply, and improving public health, among others—depend intimately on science, and for this reason society requires a vigorous scientific enterprise.”
Really? Those are the main societal challenges? In any case, it would seem that demonizing “carbon” would be entirely counter-productive. In order for humanity to advance and to thrive, we need plentiful, readily available, and easily affordable energy. Yes, we do need science, but unfortunately the scientific process has been so subverted by the Warmists that it will probably be decades before the trust in scientists will be regained. They can start by cleaning house.

R.S.Brown

Willis:
I’ll try to make the same point I brought up in January. None of the facts
stated in editorials in Science Magazine, Nature, comments on talk shows,
or press releases by institutions or their spokesfolk are made under oath.
The “facts” are subject to “spin” until someone nails them to wall sheared of
their sheepish mentality, fuzzy thinking and wooley logic.
Even those who few AGW proponents involved in the “science” who have
acutually been sworn in recently in official venues have dodged or deflected
most of the limted but straight forward questions put to them.
Now the unbelivers are “mean”. What a bunch of children.
R.S.Brown

pettyfog,
Thanks for the charts. I especially liked this one.
EVERYBODY PANIC!!…
not.
If the Antarctic was acting the same, then there would be cause for concern. But it’s not. So what we’re seeing is an example of local climate change, not global warming, or global anything else.

H.R.

Willis, that’s another great post, but I wondered why you passed on the paragraph (paragraph 3)? I thought it was loaded with unsupported assumptions.
“Addressing anthropogenic climate change exemplifies the challenges inherent in providing critical scientific advice to society (see the Policy Forum on p. 695 and Letter on p. 689).”
Is that global anthropogenic climate change? I’m aware of local anthropogenic climate change, UHI or deforestation for example, but I think it’s an unproven assumption that there is global anthropogenic climate change.
“Climate is as global as today’s economy; …
Say what?!? I’m assuming that statement assumes that the reader will assume that the statement means something.
“… we know from archaeological and historical records that an unstable climate has disrupted societies.”
Duh! That’s a given, leading to this non sequitur:
“For these reasons, scientists and governments are jointly committed to understanding the impacts of climate change.
That assumes that the correct roles of science and government should be a joint effort. I’ve no argument against climate scientists researching to understand climate, and I’ve no argument against government wanting a heads-up on what the climate might do. However, it seems to me that the correct role for scientists is to do science and to keep adding to our understanding of the climate, and the correct role of government is to govern. The early returns are in. We’ve seen the results of the joint efforts of government and science in the field of “climate change.” So far, it hasn’t been pretty.
“Thousands of scientists have volunteered for the IPCC or other assessments.”
And we’re to assume that everyone is living happily ever after? Someone forgot to mention that many, many of those scientists washed their hands of the IPCC when they found out that thieir science was ignored and the conclusions had already been written.
“Governments have a vested interest in the success of these assessments, and the stakes are high.”
Several others have already beaten me to the punch on that tidbit… good comments on that already.
So, Willis: I’m going to assume ;o) you didn’t deconstruct the whole piece because you wanted to keep your post short and also to leave something for the commenters here to pick over.

Bruce Cobb

Phil Clarke says:
May 22, 2010 at 4:39 am
Nice.
Too late for that. You people can dish it out, but can’t take it, eh? The tide has turned.