NIPCC, Gleick, heads, sand, water bottles, and all that

I’m sure Bishop Hill won’t mind if I pinch this, it shows a rather head in the sand attitude that pervades the people who get money to study global warming, such as the Pacific Institute’s Dr. Peter Gleick. I agree with Bish though: “subterfuge” looks out of place in a scientific report, OTOH so does the use of a “trick”. He writes:

The Heartland Institute’s NIPCC interim report has just been published – see here. This is a summary of the new scientific literature since 2009.

I’ve taken a glance through the paleoclimate bits and it appears to have been put together in a very professional manner. I was blissfully unaware of just how much evidence has been emerging for the existence of a MWP in the world outside Europe.

If I had a criticism based on what I have read, I would say it’s over the authors’ tendency to slip into editorial mode – discussion of Mann being engaged in “subterfuge” looks out of place in a scientific report.

Lots of people are not going to like the report of course. Peter Gleick, the president of the Pacific Institute, tweets that the report makes him sick and refuses to link to it. Barry Woods and I have politely asked which bits in particular he is concerned with and he has told us that he doesn’t need to do this when someone is arguing that the Earth is flat.

Gleick’s head in the sand choices seem to be selective, for example, he’s written a book titled Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water. Gleick argues against bottled water on the grounds of it being environmentally unsound and just another profit grab by corporate interests selling to a gullible public.

NASA's Dr. James Hansen arrested at White House protest - note the water bottles strewn all over the ground - photo from

Yet, in one of the most widely publicized environmental protests this year, what do we see? Yep, water bottles everywhere behind Gleick’s hero, Jim Hansen, seen going to the big house after his third arrest above.

I can just hear Gleick going “la la la la la la la la la” as he tries to reconcile climate protest with those protestors leaving water bottle rubbish all over the protest site. It’s a “Joe Romm head exploding moment”, which is why Gleick hasn’t said anything about it.

I suppose the message is “we should be concerned about the environment when those who lecture us on environmental concern actually do as they say”.

Speaking of protests…perhaps we should go Al Sharpton on Gleick, and stand outside his office and read him the NIPCC report through a bullhorn.

The Pacific Institute's office, located in a historic 1887 Victorian. From their website.

After all, such methods are widely accepted in Berkeley.

I have excerpted the passage from chapter 3 below, judge for yourself:

3.1.7. Northern Hemisphere

In the 27 November 2009 issue of Science, Michael Mann and eight coauthors (Mann et al., 2009) describe how they used a global climate proxy network consisting of data derived from ice core, coral, sediment, and various other records to reconstruct a Northern Hemispheric surface air temperature history covering the past 1,500 years for the purpose of determining the characteristics of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period. They used Mann’s “Nature trick” of Climategate fame, truncating the reconstructed temperature history near its end and replacing it with modern-day instrumental data, so the last part of the record cannot be validly compared with the earlier portion.

This subterfuge is unwarranted. And in its current application, it’s not just from 1981 or 1961 onwards that the ruse is applied; it’s applied all the way from 1850 to 1995, the period of overlap between the proxy and instrumental records that was used to calibrate the proxy data. Therefore, since the proxy data were available to 1995, the reconstructed near-surface air temperature history should also have been plotted to 1995, in order to be able to make valid quantitative comparisons between the degree of warmth of the Current and Medieval Warm Periods.

For those interested, Chapter 3 is available here NIPCC_chap03_PaleoTemperature (PDF)

The entire report is available here (PDF)


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Nuke Nemesis

I’m sure Gleick wouldn’t have tweeted “[the Heatland Institute] still deny climate change in recycled 430-page compilation of lies, bad science, misrepresentations” if it wasn’t true, would he?
All we need to know is the “experts” reject and refuse to read the entire report.
REPLY: his twitter feed is quite revealing, why, he can just recycle old stereotypical arguments without any need to read it at all:

Maybe we should send Buzz Aldrin and Dr. Harrison Schmitt over to ‘splain it to him – Anthony

Jeff Mitchell

Heh, the use of the word “subterfuge” is quite accurate here. Gleik is nuts. If the data that was replaced because it was wrong, brings into question whether or not the data that supports the thesis of temp versus tree rings growth is merely coincidental and not predictive. Cutting out the data that shows no correlation is deceitful.
He probably has an illegitimate relationship with Heidi de Klein.

John B

OT? There is an Enso meter on this home page. It has been stuck on dead center neutral for maybe 60 days. What is it telling us? The meter is not working? Or, if it is working, how can it be in one place for so long?
REPLY: It tell us that the source of it, NOAA, is asleep at the switch. See here: (see left sidebar) – Anthony


Gleick is head of the Pacific Institute; according to wikipedia, they have discovered “peak water”. While reading about it, I accidentally found a list of peak-somethings on this wikipedia page (near the end):
I like especially “peak soil”. I think it’s time to declare “peak BS”; the moment the production of BS cannot conceivably go any higher and future BS production will dwindle until mankind runs out of BS.

Bob Kutz

subterfuge — n; a stratagem employed to conceal something, evade an argument, etc
What was done quite concisely fits the definition of subterfuge. In fact, I cannot think of a better word.


If he hasn’t read it, how can it make him sick? Oh yes because Gaia told him it was evil!

I read the The Heartland Institute’s NIPCC interim report and didn’t think much of it.
I think my comment was “I lost the will to read on” …. perhaps because I was looking at climate sensitivity and they weren’t making the point that the scaling up of the CO2 warming was based on no science at all. Indeed, the only rational to make it around 3x what the science permits, is to make it fit the temperature curve.
But if the basis for scaling up is to “make it fit”, then when all the models predict warming and it palpably doesn’t occur, it clearly doesn’t fit and so the whole justification for scaling up CO2 warming fall flat.
If a report like this can’t clearly explain the single biggest supporting argument for the sceptic cause, what it explain?


DirkH says: “…I think it’s time to declare “peak BS”; the moment the production of BS cannot conceivably go any higher and future BS production will dwindle until mankind runs out of BS.”
Excellent thought, Dirk. Unfortunately, BS will continue to rise until we surpass Peak-Chinese-willingness-to-let-Obama-borrow-money. Then we may have to get real. (Right after we kill the messenger, of course.)

There’s nothing to explain to the arrogant faithful who know categorically that they are right no matter what the contrary evidence. They are unassailable as they will consistently refuse to even read the material of the other side and, thus, never have to even address it or come up with a cogent response. Dismissal of the opposition is what they consider an adequate rebuke.

Replacing the portion of the proxy record that doesn’t show what you want with another record that does, without explicitly pointing that out on your graph sounds like a pretty good definition of subterfuge to me.

Eric Anderson

“Subterfuge” is appropriate. Although perhaps a bit mild.


The 2009 report involved 39 people, incl lead authors, contributors and editors. The 2011 report involved 14 people.
Why have their ranks been so badly depleted?
REPLY: It’s a smaller, interim report. Think update. – Anthony

Sam Hall

DirkH says:
September 1, 2011 at 11:38 am
Gleick is head of the Pacific Institute; according to wikipedia, they have discovered “peak water”….

Peak Water? Give me a break. 70% of this planet is covered with the stuff. True, it may not be where you want it to be nor in the condition you want, but those are engineering problems.
Just think of how much water a gigawatt nuclear power plant could distill per day. Use the waste heat in the daytime and add in the electric power at night.

The words subterfuge and ruse and trick are all out of place in a report like this. Those words imply knowledge of motive. You can say the same thing without imputing motives to people. In fact in a scientific report you’re better off not using their approach. Their approach, I should remind everybody, is to assume that skeptics are all Oil shills.
You might personally believe that you know their motives. you might think you can see into their souls, but that is exactly and precisely the mistake they made when denying data to McIntyre. That is the mistake they made when they read CA and thought the everybody there was the same kind of person.

Steve Oregon

If there is one thing there is a global consensus on it is that there cannot be peak BS.
It is limitless.
In mass, frequency and stench.

Ken Harvey

I can see the problem that the warmist scientists have. They have spent years, half of a working lifetime some of them, promulgating a sort of pseudo-theory. Whether they are there for the money, the prestige, simple belief, or all three, they are now painted into a corner. Their pseudo-theory is crumbling away, day by day. It must be difficult, to say the least, for a man who claims the appellation “scientist” (as it would be indeed for any of us) to acknowledge that he has spent much of his working life promoting a major intellectual error.
That their thinking early on was in error is, of itself, no disgrace. The disgrace lies in the fact that they produced no hypothesis that could be falsified. They are painted into a corner because of not what they did, but because of what they failed to do. When is man to come to appreciate that a computer is no more than a super fast version of the Facit calculating machine which I used for currency conversions back at the beginning of the ‘fifties. Correct answers come automatically, but only if you put in the right numbers. What a pity it is that we don’t know all the “right numbers”, but in the meantime collectively we can spot numbers in there that give us pause.


The style is so weird for something that claims to be a science report. What’s with those huge chunks of quoted text? Looks like someone in high school padding their essay to reach a word limit.

Those water bottles have been in the presence of the High Priest, so they are Holy Water and cannot commit environmental sin.


REPLY: It’s a smaller, interim report. Think update. – Anthony
Right, thanks.
What is the author recruitment and peer review process for these reports? How do they incorporate feedback? Where are review comments published?

Joe Crawford

Regarding the tweets, It’s a pure and simple case of confirmation bias by a true believer. Would anyone expect more from Peter Gleick?
As for as the report, the Heartland Institute need to get their act straight. I agree with Steve Mosher where he says:.

The words subterfuge and ruse and trick are all out of place in a report like this.


DirkH says @ September 1, 2011 at 11:38 am:
DirkH with all due respect, I think you seriously underestimate the amount of BS intellectuals are capable of producing. Given that the current younger generation is undergoing, what I shall charitably call PC-programming, I think we are on the threshhold of a whole new wave of BS. Certainly if the teachings available on the Australian (Government) Department of Climate Change web site are anything to go by:
Yes, I am sad to say that is my tax dollars hard at work…


Personally I think Einstein had it right:
“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
Much like BS, human stupidity is the only thing greater in quantity.


Anthony, thanks again for pointing out that this is an interim report. Looking more closely, the scope of the report is as follows: “Research published before 2009 is included if it did not appear in the 2009 report or provides context for the new research. Nearly all of the research summarized here appeared in peer-reviewed science journals.”
Looking at section 3.3, “Recent Temperature Trends”, which I assume is of immediate interest to folks here, they are indeed relying mainly on the peer reviewed literature, which is good.
But they only summarized 11 papers, if I’m counting correctly. Is that it? Were there no other relevant papers on recent temperature trends? How did they whittle it down to those 11? Where do they publicly describe how these decisions are made? The NIPCC is rather mysterious this way, no?


Cognitive dissonance can be a real problem……


Seeing the quality of water in most cities, at least bottled water gives you the assurance that you won’t poison yourself. If you do at least you will know who to sue. This is not the case with municipalities. Sure it is a simple idea but it costs to have quality water. It is not the water problem but a bottle problem. It is like the plastic bag problem. They cost much less and their production is much less polluting than the alternatives, and they usually get recycled many times either in alternative use or at the bottle depot. The real polluters are those leaving the bottles everywhere and not recycling them… see picture above.
What about those companies that were selling ice in the old days… man, they were using a lot of straw and putting horse manure everywhere. /sarc

we should demand of them no less than we demand of the IPCC.
1. no conflicted lead authors citing their own work as gospel
2. an open review process with opponents giving it their best shot.
3. Public posting of drafts and reviewer comments.
You cannot simultaneously demand higher standards for others and practice lower ones.
well you can, but we have a word for that

Steven Mosher says:
September 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm
The words subterfuge and ruse and trick are all out of place in a report like this. Those words imply knowledge of motive. You can say the same thing without imputing motives to people.

Subterfuge, ruses, and tricks were used. To record the thing accurately is a service to the reader. There were motives involved. This trying to absolve Michael Mann by hiding behind “scientist are devoid of motive” sort of magic thinking is the reason why Mann was promoted to professor and IPCC author in record time. He was telling the lies that the eco-lobbiests wanted to be told.
To not use the words trick, ruse, or subterfuge, when describing government funded paleoclimatology in the 21st century would be to leave out the theme of the entire endeaver.

Jeff Mitchell

Steve Mosher said:
“The words subterfuge and ruse and trick are all out of place in a report like this. Those words imply knowledge of motive. You can say the same thing without imputing motives to people. In fact in a scientific report you’re better off not using their approach. Their approach, I should remind everybody, is to assume that skeptics are all Oil shills.”
I’m not sure one needs a motive to use subterfuge as an accurate description of what happened. The data they had that finished the series went down as temperatures went up. They could have left the contradictory data there, but they didn’t. Besides, the perps said stuff like “hide the decline” and “Mike’s nature trick”. And they didn’t just hide some of the data, but tried to hide all of it. Only with lots of persistence did we finally get it. But I think it safe to say in this situation that when all the data is available and they don’t show all of it, and the deleted data coincidentally contradicts the theory they were pushing about correlation, you don’t really need to know what their motive was, but we do.
We’ve got alleged climate scientists who would be better named Procrustes who stretch and torture their data until it fits their theory. I remember before those fateful days on November 17-19, 2009, we had lots of theories we couldn’t prove except with circumstantial evidence that the AGW team was up to something. The anti science stance that wouldn’t allow people to see the data and methods looked awful suspicious, especially since they wanted to advance rather economically destructive policies. In hindsight, those theories pretty much hit the mark.
I think the use of the word subterfuge was accurate and appropriate. It reminds the reader that a long standing fight over valid science was resolved by exposing the practices of the vested interests.


Steven Mosher @ 2:39
Agreed! That’s basically what the IPCC is evolving towards, if however imperfectly given the size of the job, and the absence of any comparable process to use as an example.
It’s bizarre at this point that the NIPCC hasn’t caught on to some of the basics.

Mosh wants to bargain with the mugger. I think the mugger will just take your wallet, and maybe your shoes if they are a nice brand. But if you bargain with him it’s over your continued existence.
So be sure and coo nice words in his ear.


Man, this thing is so weird! The Recent Temperature Trends section covers the poles and North America only.
And I eyeball that about a quarter of that section is comprised of direct quotes! It’s good that they’re not plagiarizing, but come on! Didn’t we learn not to do that in high school?
Hopefully all this will be sorted out in their public review process.


Pretending a report doesn’t exist because you don’t like it is….

Quotes aren’t plagiarism.


speaking of cognitive dissonance, protests, peak BS, and the rest brought up in the comments,
here’s a Gleick soulmate in the Guardian today, our own aussie Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, an Australian Professorial Fellow and cognitive scientist in the School of Psychology at University of West Australia, whose “research focuses on the role of scepticism in memory updating and the distinction between scepticism and denial”.
some non-aussies may not detect how much “spin and misinformation” Lewandowsky brings to this piece, but it’s considerable:
1 Sept: Guardian: Stephan Lewandowsky: Australia’s climate scientists expose shock-jock distortion tactics
Academics catalogue the deluge of spin and misinformation of climate science by various Murdoch-owned papers


Yeah, Smokey, that’s what I said. Not plagiarizing, but rather the height of amateurish and lazy writing. Would you ever quote that much in a ‘science report’?
Would you in any way describe this section as “good” or “useful”? Would anyone?
Maybe they’ll do a better job on that, and rather than all the cut and paste, attempt some actual synthesis….of more than 11 papers for that section… for something resembling global coverage.
Has anyone looked at other parts? Are they as bad?

Richard S Courtney

You have made six posts in this thread, and each of them is knitpicking and carping. If you find a fault in the NIPCC Report then state it so it can be addressed.
But I promise you that you will have great difficulty finding severe errors in the NIPCC Report of the kinds published in the IPCC AR4.


Talk about heads in the sand…I guess they can’t even use google.
With a specific enough search, Google turns up literally thousands of papers on the global MWP.

Gary Pearse

Bob …where is the peer review?…feedback? These are the questions sceptics have been asking the side you root for. The term pal review was even coined for the shameful sham that it was named for. Bob, tell me you’re not okay with black-balling a journal that publishes work disagreeing with the in-crowd, or seeing that an editor is fired for such a transgression. Did you protest that? Hey, I actually disagree with use of subterfuge and trick in the report. Its ok to be disappointed in your own side.


Funny how that “flat earth” phrase keeps coming up.
Wasn’t “the earth is flat” the consensus position for thousands of years till some skeptics noticed evidence that didn’t fit the theory?


Gleick argues against bottled water on the grounds of it being environmentally unsound and just another profit grab by corporate interests selling to a gullible public.
He may be right with “corporate interests selling to a gullible public”.
“a gullible public”, i.e. the people that are clapping in the photo. The ones that bought the bottled water (in bottles made from oil) to take to the protest against more oil for more bottles. “Gullible” may not actually be the complete description of these [people].
Wisdom is the intersection of Experience, Judgment and Knowledge.
Warmism is the intersection of Gullibility, Hypocrisy and Stupidity.


I drink bottled water… by refilling an old bottle with tap water – tastes the same, costs ridiculously less and I don’t end up with so much waste.
However some things you wrote made me lol, especially this;
“with those protestors leaving water bottle rubbish all over the protest site”
Are you saying they didn’t clean this up after themselves? I realise the hypocrisy prevelant in these ecomentalists, but this is clutching at straws.
Stick only to the real issues, not “OMG Hansen used bottled water, and HE DIDN’T CLEAN IT UP AFTER BEING ARRESTED!”

Luther Wu

Is Gleick really Paul Ehrlich’s ‘secret lodge initiate’ brother?
re: water- with so many of these guys (read: tripnuts) in NoCal, is something in the water?


Ok, here goes: chapter 3.3 on recent temperature trends, which I think people here would describe as “really important”, particularly given Anthony’s efforts in station evaluation, excludes 5 continents and most of the ocean.
Is that problem enough?
I mean, am I missing something here? Is the rest of their synthesis somewhere else in the report?


He’s right about the water bottles, though. It was a scam by bottling companies. They spread the silly rumour that tea or coffee would dehydrate you, and even managed to get councils to remove some of the water fountains. The craze is just beginning to die away (and a town in Australia has banned them) but at its peak people seemed to think that if they didn’t constantly swig expensive bottled water water from plastic bottles they would shrivel up and die in minutes.
However did we survive before the bottlers came to our rescue?
It shows (as I have said about many things) that being damned silly is not a minority sport.
We’re doomed.


Looks like Gillard is about to be sacked/replaced/resigned. However it does not look like any new Labor faces would remove the Carbon Tax! What has happened to Australians? See Bolt Herald sun


I don’t “get” Tweets, they have no context.
Just sayin’, not looking for an explanation 🙂


Meanwhile, Algore is cloning mini-gores, some of which will be presenting in … wait for it … “The Climate REALITY Project!!!” I figure the WUWT denizens will have fun with this one 🙂
“24 Hours of Reality will be broadcast live from our website. All you need to tune in is a computer (or mobile device) and an Internet connection. But that doesn’t mean you need to watch 24 Hours of Reality alone. Host a watch party!”


Here’s a good one from “The Climate REALITY Project.” …
“What climate change deniers and carbon dioxide have in common
08/26/2011 // 5:32 pm // 13 Comments // Kristin Pene, Research Associate
Source: NASA
When I hear or read the phrase “the climate change debate,” I get all worked up. Because in the world of serious science, there’s really no “debate” that pollution from human activities is changing the climate. Discussing the science behind whether carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases cause warming is so 19th century .
That’s why at The Climate Reality Project, we’re constantly on the lookout for stories that focus on the impacts of climate change and strategies on how to avoid or minimize those impacts. In our opinion, a good debate would center on what we should actually do about climate change.
Unfortunately though, that’s not the debate being had on the public stage in some parts of the world. Climate change deniers are distracting us and preventing us from having more meaningful and productive conversations. Take the Galileo Movement in Australia, which recently put a page of “scientific facts” on its website. These facts (many of which are sound) look pretty straightforward at first. But actually, they’re used in misleading ways that raise doubts about the reality of climate change.”


Also BTW , “The Climate REALITY Project.” allows comments 😉

J. Felton

” Your paper is so bad, that I’m not going to read it to see how bad it is.”
Wow, who gave this man tenure? This is like some old MTV ” Beavis and Butthead” sketch, it is so terrible.
” Umm, you suck…because….heh heh…you suck.”
Yeah, that’s a rational argument. If this man is at the helm of the Pacific Institute, remind me to question everything this Institute publishes.