Some true journalism – my thanks to Tom Chivers

After a week of mostly stories of this flavor, “Scientist smacks down filthy climate change denier, film at 11“, this article in the Telegraph by Tom Chivers is refreshing and gets it close to 100% right.

Click image for the full report.

So many stories have been written this week with my name and words in them, and only two journalists contacted me in advance to ask me to comment. The first was Oliver Morton of The Economist, the second was Andrew Revkin of the NYT. I thank them.

Another new report worth having a look at is from AAAS here. Mr. Eli Kintisch was gracious enough to correct an error he made, and very quickly. He interviews Dr. Muller after the hearing, and it is well done.

This contrasts with the Salon.com reporter Andrew Leonard who not only left an error in place (conflating Willis Eschenbach with me) but refused to do anything about it, even when it was pointed out that many bloggers downstream were repeating the error without checking. Then without permission, Leonard published my complaint emails and that of Mr. Eschenbach in a second story. I’m truly disappointed in his lack of basic journalistic etiquette. I’m also disappointed that the salon.com editors have not responded at all to our early emails. Suffice it to say I won’t be talking to anyone at salon.com ever again.

I appreciate Mr. Chivers taking the time to read, understand, and present the situation in a thoughtful way.

The only thing I dispute, and it’s a minor point, is his characterization that I was blaming Professor Muller in my comment “post normal science political theater”. I’m not, and if anyone got that impression besides Mr. Chivers, I say that is why it is always best to ask. My comment is labeling of the event and the situation, not the person(s) involved. Muller was asked to testify, he didn’t go seeking it.

In fact, it may surprise many to learn that Dr. Pielke Sr. and I have been carrying on a constructive dialog with Dr. Muller via email this week. We’ve been in touch every day. Dr. Muller has shared some additional results with me, Dr. Pielke and I have pointed out what we feel are some errors, he’s countered, we are both looking at the issue. We are also both trying to understand the situation about station siting better. While it appears simple on the surface (no pun intended) it is a much more complex problem than I thought it to be when I started out. I hope to have more in a future post. For now I have more important duties, see the upcoming announcement at 3PM PST.

For another look at station siting analysis done entirely independently, I suggest this recent article on WUWT:

An investigation of USHCN station siting issues using a cleaned dataset

Mr. Gibbas (who did that study linked above) has agreed to provide more data, and in a post upcoming soon, the cleaned data he used will be made available online.

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“After years of arguments, it looked, recently, as though we might be approaching a breakthrough in the debate over whether or not the world has been warming.” — Tom Chivers, The Telegraph.
Oh, for heavens sake. We don’t need the temp record to see that the climate is warming. All you need to do is look at glaciers melting, crops ripening earlier, tender plants surviving further north than before, etc. etc.
You don’t need to worry about the world’s temperature records (which are a mess), because you don’t need a thermometer to tell you that the dandelions are out earlier than ever before.
Mind, the amount of warming in the past century, somewhere around 0.7℃ (1.3℉), strongly suggests that future warming will be slow, gentle and won’t cause serious problems.
Bst, Pete Tillman

rbateman

The day that I turn on my heater and the thing ices over, or the day that I turn on my air conditioner and the paint blisters off the drywall in the living room is the day that I subsrcibe to “Global Warming causes Global Cooling”.
Step outside, Berkeley, the Arctic blast in your air today is an illusion.

TRM

“For now I have more important duties, see the upcoming announcement at 3PM PST.”
You tease!
By the way I’ve never minded changing my position when PROVEN wrong. But when someone is just refusing to answer questions and giving me the “trust us” line …. next!

DocattheAutopsy

It’s an interesting premise to the article, but the author fails to mention one important caveat.
If Anthony is proven correct, will the Al Gores of the world change their mind, or will they poo-poo BEST and say it’s the work of Sen. Inhofe?

BarryW

Sorry, don’t buy it. Dr. Muller should be publicly apologizing to you and recanting his testimony. He stated that with only 2% of the data being used and without any corrections they supported GISS and the others. This is shameful. He could have just stated what they intended to do and that they were no where near ready to announce any results, preliminary or otherwise. The troupe that Berkley agrees with the others will now become locked in stone.
REPLY: One can be tribal, or one can realize that while nobody likes the current situation, and I’ve made my objections known, we both have more to gain with some continued cooperation. Besides, what we know today isn’t necessarily what will be known tomorrow. – Anthony

Oh, for heavens sake. We don’t need the temp record to see that the climate is warming. All you need to do is look at glaciers melting, crops ripening earlier, tender plants surviving further north than before, etc. etc.
As I look out over our small lake in SE Michigan, I see the last vestiges of ice melting. Everything is coming out about a month later than usual.
I’d say that warming is in the eye of the beholder.

onion

He seems to be slagging you off a bit in the comments Anthony…
We should wait and see what the final results are. But I don’t like this rowing back that Mr Watts seems to be engaged in; it bodes ill.
Do you think you have ‘rowed back’?
REPLY: I can’t undo history, I can only work through it. If I had ‘rowed back’, would I be still be conversing with Dr. Muller and Dr. Pielke on the siting issue?

RockyRoad

Peter D. Tillman says:
April 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

“After years of arguments, it looked, recently, as though we might be approaching a breakthrough in the debate over whether or not the world has been warming.” — Tom Chivers, The Telegraph.
Oh, for heavens sake. We don’t need the temp record to see that the climate is warming. All you need to do is look at glaciers melting, crops ripening earlier, tender plants surviving further north than before, etc. etc.

So Peter, is that why precious few of my tomatoes ripened in my garden last summer? And why I planted three crops of tomatoes last spring–the first two were destroyed by frost (the second on the 18th of June no less)? It was about the coolest summer I can remember, with just four days at 90 degrees or above (and three of those were exactly 90 degrees).
I say, dear chap, you may think there are glaciers melting (do you live near one or is it all hearsay?), that tender plants are surviving farther north than before, tender plants surviving further north than before, etc., etc., but I’m not buying it. Not in my neck of the woods at any rate. No sir! I got much better tomato crops 20 years ago!

tom s

Last year my lake in northwest WI had an iceout of March 29, quite early….still covered in ice this year on April 7th but a forecast iceout of about April 15th….close to average. I take nothing more from this other than the variability that is springtime in the Upper Midwest. Dandelions be damned!

Mindbuilder

THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT ON TEMPERATURE TRENDS! EVEN ANTHONY WATTS APPEARS TO RELUCTANTLY ADMIT THIS. “…the mean temperature has no statistically significant trend difference that is dependent of siting quality…” – Anthony Watts – http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/31/clarification-on-best-submitted-to-the-house/#more-36957
Anthony did find a significant trend in nighttime lows which have been getting warmer in cities, and in daytime highs, which amazingly seem to have been maintaining their cool better than the rural sites. Anthony’s study was for the US so the story might be different for other parts of the world, but it seems unlikely. It is also still possible that there has been some kind of trick pulled on the temperature record. But some say the satellites are consistent with the ground records and rule out any more than slight UHI effects on the trend. It’s important to realize that I’m not saying there is no UHI. I’m only saying it appears there was just about as much UHI in cities of the past, and to the extent UHI has increased, it hasn’t increased enough to make much difference.

Jeff Carlson

I still think Anthony is trying to mix his pure vanilla ice cream with Mullers dog droppings …
I understand that Muller was asked to testify, was he also asked to basically toss out science and make stuff up as well ? he could easily have said, “This is what we are doing and how we are doing it”. Period, no results were required of him and if they were demanded he should have said , “No, the work is not done.”
His testimony was nothing more than a fundraising appeal …
It is interesting to hear that you are still communicating via email with Muller but by doing so I’m afraid you are lending him your cedibility and he is simply setting you up to be labeled a “denier” once again.
When you can’t get him to do reasonable adjustments or stick to the science and not continue his political pony shows in the future how do you think he will paint you ? Do you think he will say you’ve agreed to disagree ? I hope so but based on his public performance thus far I see a “denier” label coming your way from the Hon. Mr. Muller.

R. Shearer

Are those scare crows or straw men? Chivers seems to have framed the debate as to whether it has warmed or not when it really is about the question of whether man made CO2 emissions have caused warming and, if so, by how much?

Latitude

I don’t agree….
Tom Chivers reads your blog, he knows Muller lied (Muller knows 1.2 degrees of warming is a lie), and he knows Muller announced his results without even getting started……..

Theo Goodwin

Peter D. Tillman says:
April 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm
“Oh, for heavens sake. We don’t need the temp record to see that the climate is warming. All you need to do is look at glaciers melting, crops ripening earlier, tender plants surviving further north than before, etc. etc.”
One very important thing is crystal and, obviously, needs to be trumpeted to the blogosphere. There has never been a complaint from the general populace about global warming. It has never occurred that ordinary citizens beat down elected representatives doors to demand action on global warming. All the fireworks about global warming have come top down. All the fireworks about global warming have come from professional environmentalists, professional Leftists, professional investors, and the ruling elite. That is why it is so very easy to distrust claims about global warming. If the engineers, the farmers, the man in the street, and all such were the source of fears about global warming then the claim would have much more weight. The vast majority of humanity has no direct evidence that global warming is a serious problem or will become a serious problem. If the global warming scare succeeds, it will show that governments no longer serve their citizens.

DirkH

Peter D. Tillman says:
April 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm
“Oh, for heavens sake. We don’t need the temp record to see that the climate is warming. All you need to do is look at glaciers melting, crops ripening earlier, tender plants surviving further north than before, etc. etc.”
I don’t live near a glacier so i can’t check; there was indeed a February in about 1998 where i was walking around in a T-shirt – but later Februarys got way colder… The plants around here basically do what they always did; they seem to grow fast these days but i blame it on an increase in CO2 which seems to feed them well. This is what i can say from Northern Germany.
Oh, and the Wind Turbines had a splendid season; they sprout everywhere, and higher than ever before. Did you mean that kind of plant? Nukes seem to suffer, though… maybe they don’t like the warmth, being thermal plants…

BarryW

My comments were no reflection on you or anything you have done. You’re doing the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt. I’m just shocked how large the number of dishonorable individuals there are in this field. Doubly shocked that that aren’t even aware of their lack of honor.

Alan Clark of Dirty Oil-berta

Jeff Carlson says:
April 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm
I still think Anthony is trying to mix his pure vanilla ice cream with Mullers dog droppings …

Bravo! Jeff. The right has always been populated by honorable gentlemen (and ladies) who fight by the Marquis of Queensbury rules and never kick an opponent when they’re down. The left however, looks at each encounter, each debate, each election as a gladiatorial blood-sport, a battle to the death where the means is always justified by the end. It’s so unfortunate that good people refuse to understand this basic tenet of socialism.

Jimbo

If all journalists were as even handed as Tom Chivers this scam would not have gone on for so long. I have no problem calling it a scam because there are a lot of people making money off reducing a trace amount from a trace gas.
Pachauri set up an oil technology company called Glorioil which assists oil companies to extract the last remaining bit of oil from oil fields. He is still their scientific advisor. Humbug!!! Al Gore is making millions, some of which he used to buy a beachfront villa! There are many, many more people like this with lower profiles.

geo

Nice article.
I have agreed for a long time with the basic comment that Muller made –surfacestations.org was “crucial” whatever impact it has on our ultimate understanding. Knowing the limits of your data quality *is* crucial. That’s why I participated.
And once Anthony gets his piece published and the data set becomes publicly available, then neither Anthony, nor Muller, nor NOAA will have “last word” on what it means. It’ll be poked and prodded at for many years to come, and continue to contribute to our understanding.

D Bonson

Salon? Isn’t that a place for uniformed gossip? Andy Leonard has proven one thing, he isn’t a jounalist.

David S

Mindbuilder
You may be right about UHI in cities like London where the population is the same as it was 100 years ago, but for Mexico City, Cairo, Sao Paolo, Mumbai and Djakarta both population and energy use have risen dramatically over the last 50 years, compounding the effect. In the US look at places like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Miami where the same is true. It is simply unthinkable that these cities have warmed at the same rate as rural areas. Remember the effects of increases in global population and wealth are multiplicative, oddly enough the best proxy I can think of for the UHI effect is manmade CO2, as there is an obvious common causality.

Andrew30

In reply to: onion says: April 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm
Anthony said: “REPLY: I can’t undo history, I can only work through it. ”
That is why you will never be a climate scientologist, “I can’t undo history”, phhttt.
Why just today we saw some climate scientologist change measurements that were over 20 years old, if they can do that just think of what you could accomplish if you tried.

Mindbuilder

@David S – It’s not me, it’s Anthony Watts apparently claiming that the result of his own study was that there was no significant affect from UHI on average temperature trends. Amazingly, the urban influence seems to be keeping the thermometers cooler than the rural ones during the hottest parts of the day. Again, it’s not my conclusion, it’s Anthony’s.

Richard M

Muller should have simply said “I don’t know”. Why? Because he doesn’t know. Saying anything else shows a lack of integrity. Given he has demonstrated this lacking, what makes anyone think he will change in the future.

Latitude

Mindbuilder says:
April 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm
I’m only saying it appears there was just about as much UHI in cities of the past, and to the extent UHI has increased, it hasn’t increased enough to make much difference.
=======================================================
You only have to do this a few times to get a 1/2 degree…
…and that’s what we’re talking about, a 1/2 degree
http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/hiding-the-dust-bowl-in-iowa/#comments

MattN

“After years of arguments, it looked, recently, as though we might be approaching a breakthrough in the debate over whether or not the world has been warming.”
I didn’t read any further than that. What’s the point, when they are already wrong in the first sentence? Talk about a Strawman argument….

Travis B

OK everyone, riddle me this. What does this:
the findings showed “a global temperature trend that goes up and down with global cycles, and does so broadly in sync with the temperature records from other groups such as NOAA, NASA, and Hadley CRU.”
PLUS THIS:
“the preliminary analysis includes only a very small subset (2%) of randomly chosen data, and does not include any method for correcting for biases such as the urban heat island effect, the time of observation bias, etc.“
EQUAL?
Maybe this is good news and Muller is lulling his opponents into complacency, as he quite cleary just stated that NOAA, NASA, CRU records show an upward trend because like him, they haven’t included any methods for correcting biases such as, “the urban heat island effect, the time of observation bias, etc.“

What I actually found more interesting was the mention of a recent Monbiot article telling the truth on Nuclear Power,
The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all
“Over the last fortnight I’ve made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made are ungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged, and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice.”
…about time.

Theo Goodwin

Mr. Chivers is blind, blind, blind. He fails to understand that Muller revealed that he is not a scientist, does not have the instincts of a scientist, and after all is said and done is not actually interested in science. Scientists are not interested in stating conclusions. No government can make a scientist state conclusions. Lyndon Baines Johnson (know who that is Chivers, without Googling?) used to rant about the need for “one handed scientists.” He ranted that he was sick and tired of scientists who said “On the one…and on the other hand.” Well, Muller proved to be a one handed scientist. Too bad he wasn’t around to help Lyndon. We might have nuked Hanoi.
Genuine scientists are not interested in results. They are interested in explanations of results. Muller stated results when he had no explanations of those results. He had not yet applied the techniques that would correct for UHI and various other factors. A genuine scientist would have said as much. Muller was there for self-promotion. It matters not a whit that he was invited by congressmen; he was there for self-promotion.
Chivers has just taken another cheap shot from the cheap seats that the Warmista permit him to occupy. Chivers, too, is not interested in scientific explanation. No, he is just “Wham Bam, Thank You Ma’am.”

Mindbuilder,
You need to build up your mind a little more. Start here.

Doug Badgero

Every time the BEST project is discussed it MUST be pointed out that nothing about past temperatures can prove the CAGW meme. I would doubt their methodologies if they found that the earth had not warmed since the LIA. This is shaping up in the media and blogosphere to be a “test” of the CAGW hypothesis/theory/conjecture and it simply IS NOT.

Doug Badgero

Anthony,
The Chivers article also seems to label Muller a skeptic which he is not. He is firmly in the “warmest” camp.

Fred Peterson

Mindbuilder Anthony did find a
significant trend in nighttime lows which have been
getting warmer in cities, and in daytime highs, which amazingly seem to have
been maintaining their cool better than the rural sites.

 
Is this not expected from urban effect (note
I don’t say heat island). 
 
Mass has a dampening effect.  So during the night the extra mass (building
roads etc compared with a flat field of grass say) takes longer to cool down so
night time lows are higher.  Then
during the day the mass takes longer to heat up so day time maximums are lower.  All else being equal
of course.
 
This is how passive solar house work (if that’s the correct term).  Put in a mass to act as cooling during
the day and warming at night.

Mindbuilder

@Latitude – While your link points to some apparently disturbing adjustments, I believe Anthony looked at unadjusted rural stations and found the same global warming as in cities. There apparently wasn’t even a half a degree difference. The climate science community has been caught playing tricks and defending tricks, so I am seriously concerned that there could have been some tricks played on the temperature record. But I see little reason to condemn Dr Muller, who despite being on the warmer side, has been one of the few to stand up and acknowledge the unacceptability of such tricks.
@Fred Peterson – There has been an awful lot of talk around here about how cities are hotter than the countryside despite their heat capacity. That seems to be acknowledged by both sides. As you go from no city to small city, it gets hotter, despite increased heat capacity. As you go from small city to large city, it gets hotter still, despite even higher heat capacity. So I don’t see how heat capacity explains a trend of cities keeping their cool better than rural areas during the hottest parts of the day.
@Smokey – You point me to the surfacestations.org page, which is odd since I quoted the head of that project: “…the mean temperature has no statistically significant trend difference that is dependent of siting quality…” – Anthony Watts – http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/31/clarification-on-best-submitted-to-the-house/#more-36957

Wondering Aloud

Warmer is better, no two ways about it. However, anecdotal things about crops ripening early have more to do with seed and agricultural technology improving than with warmer climates.
I am not seeing any sign of “tender plants farther North”. The agricultural belt around here has moved south at least 80 miles since the 1930s. That doesn’t mean it is colder but it sure as heck isn’t evidence of warming.

Wondering Aloud

Mindbuilder
The”study ” using satellite data and claiming they showed no importance to UHI did an extremely bad job of identifying rural and urban areas in the satellite data. Bad enough to make the study totally meaningless with open sea classified as “urban” and urban centers as classified as”rural”.

richardM

I took issue with his characterization of Dr Muller as a skeptic as well, as this lends even more weight to a pretty dodgy first step out of the gate.
And while Mr Chivers may give a nod to you for your principled position Anthony, he is not so open minded to changing his own mind if things the other way.

savethesharks

Chivers says:
“I know this will sound strange, but I do quite admire Anthony Watts: he is science literate, and therefore several rungs above some others on the sceptic side of the debate. And I have no doubt that he is far more knowledgeable than me on the subject. But compare him to George Monbiot…”
===================
Nothing special here. Chivers is delivering a compliment along with a broad, diffuse insult. To be expected.
Anthony….you may dispute just his one point….but let’s cut to the chase. What he said in my quote above reveals the true him.
In light of that, an in reality, thanking Tom Chivers…is like thanking the garbage man… for picking up your trash.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

Robin Guenier

Badgero:
Your comments at 5:53 and 5:58 are spot on. Others – including Anthony – should take note.
PS: in the unlikely event that Dr Muller found that temperatures were flat (since say 1975), the CAGW hypothesis would be in trouble.

AndyW35

When you judge someone a warmist or skeptic of course you tend to base it on your own position between the two points of course. So is Muller a skeptic or not?
I think I will wait for 100% rather than 2%.
Andy

Claude Harvey

Does no one but me look at the satellite record? The latest posting shows current temperature at 14,000 feet to be 0.65 deg C below this date last year. The entire reputed warming of the last 50 years has been wiped out in one year! Damn! All this futzing about over a 0.7 deg C rise teased out of the data is just ludicrous! A thousand “scientists” writing ten thousand peer reviewed papers cannot erase the obvious fact that global average temperature can wander as much in a single year as is claimed to represent “a trend” over a 50 year period. Good grief!

Sean

The importants of BEST is not their method. It is the source, data and META data they put online. If it does not include raw before any adjustment, with suitable META Data – it is same old same old. Assuming they do exactly whatever methods Antony wants, and the record shows no or less AGW, the results would just be rejected by the main stream. Credability comes from any fool being able to re-run the analysis and play with the assumptions. You can only do this if you have the data. Largely, up to now the land data is published as monthly “raw” which of course is not really raw.

Ed Barbar

Hear hear! Great post Anthony. The real question is scientific integrity, and making sound decisions based on the best data and science. We need a rational approach to AGW, myth or reality, and I think the best bet for that is collaboration with Muller.
I would also note the article claims Muller is skeptical. He isn’t. He states quite clearly in his position in his Berkeley lecture he believes AGW is happening, and it would take a stroke of unanticipated luck (increased cloud cover to C02 forcings) to counter that view.

Kate

Peter D. Tillman says: “Oh, for heavens sake. We don’t need the temp record to see that the climate is warming. All you need to do is look at glaciers melting, crops ripening earlier, tender plants surviving further north than before, etc. etc.”
…You seem to be on the wrong website. Maybe you should go here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13002706 where the good old British Brainwashing Corporation (those dear chaps who, you may remember, declared that the Arctic would be “ice-free” in five years back in 2000) are having another go at predicting that the Arctic will be “ice-free” – this time by 2016. Well, nobody can accuse them of originality.
You might be interested in some FACTS, though I do realise that most AGW fanatics dispensed with them years ago:
December 2010 was the coldest for 120 years, meteorologists have said. With temperatures as low as -21.1ºC in the Highlands it was also the coldest individual calendar month since February 1986, according to weather historian Philip Eden.
A series of heavy snowfalls across the UK caused massive disruption to road, rail and air travel as the nation shivered in freezing conditions. The benchmark Central England Temperature plunged to an average of -0.6ºC over the month, the lowest figure for December since 1890, according to MeteoGroup UK. There were 10 nights last month when the temperature fell below -18ºC somewhere in the UK.
Altnaharra in Sutherland experienced the coldest conditions, with the mercury plummeting to -21.1ºC early on December 1. In contrast, St Mary’s in the Scilly Isles had 11.5ºC on December 28. Over the month, the lowest average maximum temperature of -0.4ºC was recorded in Dalwhinnie and Aviemore in the Highlands, and the highest of 7.6ºC in St Mary’s. Average minimum temperature ranged from -8.4ºC in Tyndrum, Stirlingshire, to 4.9ºC in St Mary’s.
Much of Britain may have been freezing and snowbound but it was drier and sunnier than usual. Rainfall averaged 1.6″ over England and Wales (39% of the mean for 1971-2000), the lowest total for December since 1971, 1.9″ over Scotland (47%) and 2.3″ over Northern Ireland (60%). Northern Ireland enjoyed 80 hours of sunshine over the month (227% of the mean for 1971-2000), Scotland 59 hours (178%) and England and Wales averaged 56 hours (117%).
January and February 2011 was significantly colder than average, with most of the country experiencing far more snow than normal.

Mindbuilder

@Wondering Aloud – The “study” I linked to was done by Anthony Watts, the founder of this site and the surfacestations.org project. I’m not familiar with the study you refer to. In a quote of the abstract of his soon to be released article, Anthony Watts said “…the mean temperature has no statistically significant trend difference that is dependent of siting quality…” The satellite study you mention may well have been very poor quality, but Anthony Watts seems to have reached a very similar conclusion.

Tenuc

It is incredible that so much money and mental energy is being expended trying to confirm or refute global warming using a metric that has no meaning mathematically. The only measure of climate is how much energy (all forms, not just thermal) the global system contains at any delta-t and how this changes over long time periods (hundreds of years). In an unbound system like climate, global mean temperature is a useless proxy and is unfit for purpose.
The changes to energy level in our complex, dynamic, non-linear climate system are driven by the spatio-temporal chaos. When driven by increased solar energy input the system reconfigures itself to deliver maximum entropy production (MEP) – it becomes better at dissipating energy.
Until climate science diverts resource to understanding and quantifying these effects it will repeatedly fail in predicting behaviour and forecasts using computer GCMs will continue to have no value in understanding long-term climate variability.

It is indeed the reference to the George Monbiot admission on the nuclear issue that is (as others have pointed out) the most revealing aspect of this article.
See Monbiot at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/05/anti-nuclear-lobby-misled-world
Monbiot reveals that in March 2011 he has discovered that Helen Caldicott’s claims (from the 1980s) about the nuclear emergency are NOT based on science, and, because he now knows this, he is now prepared to change his position. Chivers sees in this a lesson for Anthony, that he should change his position if the evidence from the BEST project shows that the world has in fact warmed.
In the first place, I was utterly astonished that anyone interested in evidence-based science would have ever taken Caldicott seriously. I was involved in the Australian movement against nuclear arms race when Caldicott was prominent, and at the time I was not the only one in the movement that found it hard to believe that anyone could taken her seriously. To be frank, I recall that in the movement she was considered at the paranoid lunatic fringe. As Monbiot has revealed, a minimum attention to Caldicott reveals that she cares little for the evidence-base. So the question is surely: Why Monbiot did not realise this 20 years ago, before giving ascent to her claims? What can this be saying about Monbiot’s judgement?
So, OK, let’s take this damaging confession as a brave and honest admission, and we can even forgive the preaching of the convert:

We have a duty to base our judgments on the best available information. This is not only because we owe it to other people to represent the issues fairly, but also because we owe it to ourselves not to squander our lives on fairytales. A great wrong has been done by this movement. We must put it right.

…but Chivers doesnt see it this way. And this is the second extraordinary revealation of this article. He sees in this confession a caution for the sceptic, that they should base their position on the evidence, even though the article is about elaborating that (until the results of BEST) there are indeed grounds for being sceptical of the evidence for global warming.
It is remarkable that Chivers does not see what is so apparent to us, i.e., that Monboit’s blind trust in Dr Caldicott seems to be alerting us to concerned that (at least up until until BEST — his great decider on this question) we should question the judgement of those who have ignored the sceptic’s concerns about the evidence.
The obliviousness of such prominent “science communicators” to such apparent twists in their reasoning, brings to mind David Humes aphorism: Reason is a slave to the passions. We should also say that passion makes reason blind.

yaosxx

Sorry Anthony but Tom Chivers is a jerk who worships at the font of AGW – end of.

stephen richards

REPLY: One can be tribal, or one can realize that while nobody likes the current situation, and I’ve made my objections known, we both have more to gain with some continued cooperation. Besides, what we know today isn’t necessarily what will be known tomorrow. – Anthony
Correct. As apprehensive as we might be, unlike AGW ranks, we real scientists will always seek to follow the data no matter where it leads. AND as Tilman above notes, we know the world has probably been warming, we don’t know by much exactly but we do know it is not significant or, probably, unprecedented.
Keep pushing, Anthony.

stephen richards

Kate says:
April 8, 2011 at 12:01 am
Careful Kate. Careful how you read BBC crap. They said “this decade”. Before it was by 2013, then 2016 now 2020. Keeps the ol” funds rolling in, you know.