My interview on the road

Quadrant Online

This interview below by Tom Minchin took place in a hospital staff room just a few minutes before my presentation in Hamilton City, Victoria at the hospital auditorium. Tom did a much better job than most reporters because not only did he ask useful questions, he recorded it and wrote from that, rather than just taking notebook scribbles that invariably end up in misquotes and misinterpretations. It originally appeared in TIADaily, but has now also been posted to Quadrant Online, with a wider venue. I’ve completed the tour, and I’m headed back to the USA shortly. I’ll be offline for awhile, but I do have a couple of posts scheduled for auto-publish that will appear in my absence. Getting reliable Internet here in AU while on the road has been a challenge, as I’ll explain later.

The project Minchin refers to was “Arbor Day Weather Week”, done in 1990 and 1991 under the auspices of the National Arbor Day Foundation. It was a nationwide project with TV weathercasters to extol the virtues of CO2 sequestration through tree planting to the public that I dreamed up in my shower one day. My inspiration? Dr. James Hansen’s 1988 speech before the U.S. Congress, which I later found out was stagecrafted. I still think tree planting is a good idea, because of all the other benefits they produce, but I don’t worry about Dr. Hansen’s model scenarios like I used to. Though, the Arbor Day Foundation does, starting from the cue I gave so long ago. – Anthony

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Doomed Planet

“Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.”

Vaclav Klaus
Blue Planet in Green Shackles

Anthony Watts interviewed

by Tom Minchin

June 30, 2010

“Noble Cause Corruption”

Climate science depends utterly on the integrity of its measurements. In order to extrapolate and make forecasts, there can be no errors in the data. How reliable are the measurements climate scientists use? What happens if their measuring apparatus is altered by something as simple as a coat of paint that lifts the average recordings? Will anyone spot it? And if someone does, what happens if such a desired result matters more than getting the facts straight?

An expert on these questions, Anthony Watts, founder of the most widely visited climate site in the world, the US-based Watts Up With That, (47.3 million hits since the fall of 2007, compared with the leading alarmist site RealClimate’s 11.7 million since December 2004), is wrapping up his national tour at the moment and I spoke to him in Melbourne.

At the start of the interview, Watts, a former TV weatherman, confirmed that he did not begin as a skeptic. As he put it himself with typical bluntness, “I started out actually just being a climate alarmist. I got involved with saving the planet by helping other weather forecasters do the same thing through planting trees. Then when I met the State climatologist in California, his data changed my mind and now I’m a skeptic.”

Watts was not content to let his view rest on someone else’s data. He researched the matter in a wholly original way. Talking to him it became clear just how plain honesty and an inquiring mind are fatal to the alarmist cause. His alertness to measurement problems began well before his skepticism.

read the whole interview at Quadrant Online

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33 thoughts on “My interview on the road

  1. Since long time ago climate ended being a political issue. But, on a closer look, it has turned into a issue of future personal and collective freedom.

  2. Good interviewer, good interviewee, calm, logical and intelligent. If only it could reach a much wider audience.

  3. Great article! Well stated Anthony, as always, and hope you get some much needed rest.

  4. If climate hysterics have produced one single, independently verified data-set since Hansen’s AGW circus in 1988, we have yet to see it. As Pachauri’s scofulous IPCC suffers major contretemps at the rate of one a week, embedded in a deceitful and manipulative Warmist scrum, disinterested observers find it literally impossible to credit anything these peculating propagandists say.

    As Oxburgh grumps and fusses, absolving Briffa, Jones, and their blatantly collusive UEA from all accountability, while Penn State in the U.S. performs proctocranial contortions to keep Mann’s grants a-comin’, GISS/NASA, Nature, and a depleted Royal Society continue to expound contentious drivel unworthy of a high-school science fair.

    Whatever it takes to restore a modicum of integrity to “climate studies”, today’s hyper-ventilating doomsters have blasted their parlous ruminations at the root. Meantime, nothing the Green Gang chooses to disseminate is worth a flatlined Carbon Credit, even to poodled-up Al Gore.

  5. Excellent interview and responses. Noble Cause Corruption may, indeed, be at work in some situations, however, in my experience the roots of corruption are usually sunk deeply in the bed of money and power ( same thing, I know). The funding of alarmism research “science” is an excellent example of following the money to the source of the problem. And, of course, the resultant purchasing of votes by the politicians that is caused as an end result. The “greening” propaganda, foisted upon our children in our public school system here in the United States in the name of science should also not be overlooked, as it is a very major part of the problem, making them unknowing pawns in the overall war between science and politics involved in this issue.

  6. The tide is definitely turning. A friendly interview with a journalist? Who would have ever thought?

  7. “Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.”

    Where have we heard ‘Progressive’ alarmist b.s. like this before??? Oh, yeah, it was eugenics and eventually a NAZI monster with a lot of power!

    http://hnn.us/articles/1796.html
    Go to archives and type in eugenics. See for yourself what progressives are capable of.

  8. This is one of the best introductory pieces on climate science that I’ve seen. Thank you Anthony Watts and Tom Minchin. Thank you both for your integrity. It nails the science issue so simply and directly from Watts’ personal experience and questions during and after his professional science training – how asking and investigating one reasonable question can open up the whole can of worms; his own U-turn from alarmist to skeptic; the nature of true science; the roots of the current problem in people’s oh-so-understandable support for the “Noble Cause”.

  9. This statistic was very informative and definitely not the kind of thing that you would find in a biased article on climate science: “Anthony Watts, founder of the most widely visited climate site in the world, the US-based Watts Up With That, (47.3 million hits since the fall of 2007, compared with the leading alarmist site RealClimate’s 11.7 million since December 2004)”

  10. One day an interview as clear and as lucid as this is going to be noted in the history books to show that not all of humanity was drawn into the insanity of “Global Warming” aka “Climate Change”.
    Anthony, both you and Tom Minchin are to be congratulated on producing such a level-headed and elucidating interview. Well done, both of you; one from the science side and the other from the journalistic side.

  11. A fantastic dialogue – just what a real interview should be – and beautifully calm and level-headed. I hope this reaches a wider audience and does not end up just preaching to the converted, as this is a great introduction to the skeptical position and it does a great deal to explain the “conspiracy” in climate science i.e. “noble cause corruption”. I’ve just added the term to my vocabulary. Thank-you, Tom Minchin and Anthony.

  12. John Blake says:
    July 2, 2010 at 12:46 pm
    “If climate hysterics have produced one single, independently verified data-set since Hansen’s AGW circus in 1988, we have yet to see it. As Pachauri’s scofulous IPCC suffers major contretemps at the rate of one a week, embedded in a deceitful and manipulative Warmist scrum …”

    The letter “r” seems to have been removed from the third word of the second sentence and deposited, erroneously, in the final word I quoted.

  13. I think the term ‘Noble Cause Corruption’ is perhaps the best term I have heard describing the disease that appears to be afflicting modern climate science. It is very hard to fault someone committed to such a cause even if they are desperately scraping and scraping the bottom of the barrel find evidence to prove their case.

  14. “An expert on these questions, Anthony Watts, founder of the most widely visited climate site in the world, the US-based Watts Up With That, (47.3 million hits since the fall of 2007, compared with the leading alarmist site RealClimate’s 11.7 million”

    Hahahahaaaaa.. Awesome!

    ..”since December 2004)”

    Aaahahaahahahaaa.. [thump].. Ow!

    That’s so cool Anthony. I couldn’t help laughing harder when I did the math. Keep up the brilliant work and, thanks for visiting my country!

    Olly – Australia

  15. I’m afraid I have to lay claim to the expression ‘noble cause corruption’ in relation to climate science (and environmental science more broadly). It was the central theme of my book published in late 2007 (Science and Public Policy: The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science). See:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/noble_cause_corruption_exposed

    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=7368

    I am not aware that Steve McIntyre has ever used the expression, and certainly a search of his blog reveals no such hits. Steve is usually quite reluctant to ascribe motives, so this is not surprising. Steve Mosher used the expression in relation to Climategate on Pyjamasmedia earlier this year.

    Note that I preferred the expression ‘virtuous corruption’, partly for the alliteration, and the ‘virtual’ science related to both the reliance on computer models AND the role played by e-mail communication in undermining peer review, by allowing networks to operate over vast spaces, so that in any one area of science, most of those with expertise were likely to be in close contact. This meant that networks could defend their orthodoxies, and swarm like white corpuscles to the sites of infectious ideas. The formation of the IPCC has exacerbated this by bringing the members of these networks together physically. This has undermined quality assurance mechanisms like peer review.

    I wrote this about three years before, and published the book two years before Climategate broke. My only mistake was that I underestimated the behaviour of climate scientists.

    Noble cause corruption doesn’t preclude more the operation for more banal reasons, incidentally, but it is more insidious, because while soem journals (eg medical) require declarations of interests by authors, they do not require statements of conflicting or supporting values that might be held.

  16. [not that I disagree with that paper, but it doesn’t really belong on this blog ~ ctm]

  17. “Noble Cause Corruption” deserves its own article. It is a concise term, with a definition that explains why martyrs are willing, even eager to die to be right. Logic and the scientific method are superfluous; actually, they are an impediment to the beliefs of the global warming cultists.

    It’s very hard to convince true believers by using logic, because they are so absolutely certain that their cause is a noble one. Emotion trumps logic. And that makes it easy for scam artists like Mann, the UN’s IPCC and others to make ‘saving the planet’ a rallying cry for their own self-serving interests.

    Who could possibly argue with saving the planet? That emotional tactic is very effective, and similar to what Jim & Tammy Faye Baker used to make millions. Today’s climate scamsters are like Elmer Gantry — without Elmer’s redeeming conscience.

    Pointing out these tactics is the best antidote.

  18. One reason “noble cause corruption” is so insidious is that in our species from the noble to the dubious is but a step.

  19. Jim G is right. It begins as noble cause corruption but remember, the supply of noble persons is strictly limited. It doesn’t take long for the money makers to get their teeth in. Especially if they are paying for the occasional massage along the way.

  20. Grumpy Old Man, to whom could you possibly be referring regarding “occasional massage”?

  21. Jim G, please don’t bring the Goreacle into this debate.. No -please do. The AGW scam unravelling is funny, but the Gore at the core in trouble AGAIN.. Gotta love that.

  22. I’m glad Aynsley Kellow mentioned his book, “Science and Public Policy: The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science”. It gives me a chance to recommend it, highly. Amazon wants $110.00 for it, so you might want to ask your local library to hunt down a copy for you. It is definitely worth the wait. I doubt it will change the mind of many regulars at WUWT, but it will make some explanations of the strange claims we read here more understandable.

  23. Olaf:

    The Goracle, that’s pretty good! Generally, when a person shows a lack of character in one area it is pretty certain that it will show up in others as well. It is, however, sometimes difficult to determine the difference between character problems and pure stupidity. Take your pick.

  24. Have been following this from time to time. It seems to me:-

    1. There is now serious litigation in the US on this. The Attorney General of Virginia has asked for the dirt on Mann from the University there by a CID. The Attorney General of Texas has written a scathing commentary (which I have not read but I am told in the 50 pages the Attorney General of Texas slates Jones of CRU fame).

    In the end all this will be heard by a federal judge (they are judicial review proceedings to set aside the EPA endangerment finding on CO2 etc) and that judge won’t be impressed by the argument “my friends support me we are all scientists together” argument ie. peer review; judges go into the facts not the spin. Very likely this will end up in the Supreme Court. Once the federal judiciary get interested the debate will be lively. They will go after the facts not the lies and in my view they will have to review the EPA finding. We await this.

    2. What Jones Mann Gore etc. didn’t realise that once the US Senate gets interested (and the Australian Senate who have also chucked out their climate change bill) the truth WILL out. 47 out of 100 US Senators voted to annul the EPA regulations. That is not enough to even pass the Senate let alone the House of Representatives and the President said he would veto it if it did pass but it shows one the politicians have woken up and the issue will not die. As the US Senate needs 60 out of 100 votes to bring their climate change bill to the floor of the Senate this WILL NOT happen since the GOP have 41 votes and some Democrats also realise the rubbish they are being asked to vote for (and that they won’t be re-elected if they do). Thank goodness the US Senate and certain Attorneys- General are directly elected by the people or else this nonsense would already be law. The US Senate is a powerful body and I suspect we have not heard the last from it on this issue.

    3. Science – if this is science I am a Dutchman. It is lies and spin to make us feel bad about our actions. Get rid of it!!

    A 15 year old can suss it. CO2 is now about 390 ppm. I am told in 1750 it was 280ppm – (I don’t know how reliable this figure is – on the basis of so many forged figures I do not know but let’s assume it for now).

    This is supposed to be significant??? Even the global alarmists admit CO2 is a trace gas. The argument relies on positive feedback, in other words a little difference is multiplied by atmospheric conditions. In fact the evidence is there is negative feedback – in the event of an increase in temperature the clouds form more and lower the temperature again.

    The historical records have been manipulated to the nth degree. What cannot be forged are the satellite readings over the last 10 years or so. These I believe show a gradual cooling against all the alarmist projections. That is why in the climate gate e-mails it was said “We cannot account for the cooling and it is a travesty we can’t” (paraphrase).

    4. It is not impossible in my view that grand juries will in due course begin to return true bills under the law against Mann Jones Gore et al. In the case of Jones if the US authorities seek his extradition he will have to go to Bow Street Magistrates Court to fight the application.

    I find it passing strange that anyone can credit this nonsense and that the UK and its people should rely on the US Senate for their liberties but such is life. The agenda is politicially driven and let us fight it there. But please no more “science”! It is as scientific as Galileo’s accusers on the Roman Inquisition and really comes from the same cast of mind.

    Andrew Storer

  25. Anthony,
    Thank you for for tireless effort to bring the truth to people all across Australia. It was indeed a great pleasure to meet you, and people are still talking about your presentation. Travelling is always gruelling and in Australia, the distances are great. You are a champion for the cause of truth, and objective science.

  26. RE: Aynsley Kellow: (July 3, 2010 at 1:25 am ) “… Note that I preferred the expression ‘virtuous corruption’, partly for the alliteration, and the ‘virtual’ science related to both the reliance on computer models…”

    I personally think the term ‘virtuous corruption’ sounds too much like ‘good corruption’ for this use. Perhaps ‘philosophical corruption’ or ‘idealistic corruption’ might be better two word phrases. I think we should also be aware that, if we let it, we all can come under the influence of noble cause corruption no matter what that perceived noble cause might be.

    “A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, – a mere heart of stone.”

    –Charles Darwin

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