Not Alarmist Enough

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Normally, I might not deal with a four year old paper by James Hansen, the NASA doyenne of serial doomcasters. However, I note that this paper has been cited ten times this year alone, so I thought I might comment.

At some point when he was not giving a Press Conference, or getting arrested, or spending time complaining that he was being “muzzled”, Mr. Hansen wrote:

Abstract. I suggest that a `scientific reticence’ is inhibiting the communication of a threat of a potentially large sea level rise. Delay is dangerous because of system inertias that could create a situation with future sea level changes out of our control. I argue for calling together a panel of scientific leaders to hear evidence and issue a prompt plain-written report on current understanding of the sea level change issue.

I love the naked power grab. I mean, what an audacious plan!

First, you unilaterally declare that there is some huge looming disaster a long ways in the future. Using a variety of methods fair and foul, you obtain the full cooperation of other scientists, governments, educational institutions, and the media the world around. With all of you, the whole chorus, baying for skeptic’s blood in full voice, you spend a quarter century trying to convince the people of the oncoming Thermageddon.

Second, after said quarter century you notice that despite having the entire resources of the educational and media institutions of the planet and the blind agreement of other scientists and billions of dollars poured into trying … you have not been able to establish your case. Heck, you haven’t even been able to falsify the null hypothesis. In fact, after a long string of predictions of doom, none of which came to pass, and at the tail end of a 15-year hiatus in the warming, the US public doesn’t believe a word you say. Oops. Over two-thirds of them think climate scientists sometimes falsify their research. Oops.

In response, you say that the problem is that scientists have been too retice … too re … sorry, it’s hard to type and laugh at the same time … you say that scientists have been to reticent, that they haven’t been alarmist enough or aggressive enough in promoting their views.

That’s the problem? After 25 years of unbridled alarm from scientists and everyone else from Presidents to my kid’s teachers, the problem is that scientists are not alarmist enough, they’re too reticent to state their true opinion? Really? That’s the reason the public doesn’t believe you? Is that your final answer?

(Does he really, in his heart of hearts, believe that? Possible, I guess, but it presupposes a level of self-delusion that is scary …)

The real beauty of the plan, however, the sting in the tale, is the proposed solution—a “panel of scientific leaders” to inform the people of the error of our ways. I mean, the IPCC did so well, let’s make a sea level rise mini-IPCC. Staff it with people who will know what to say, who won’t have to be prompted.

Mr. Hansen claims he is a scientist first and an activist second. He and far too many other climate scientists are activists first, and scientists maybe fourth or fifth if at all. He proposes convening a Star Council of Jim and his hand-picked acolytes to lecture us sternly on a radical sea level rise slated to occur when they are dead? He wants us to listen to his pals make predictions they’ll never be held accountable for? And all this from the man who in 1988 predicted a 10 foot (3m) sea level rise putting parts of NYC underwater in forty years? Fuggedaboutit. He probably felt safe with such a long-term prediction. In any case, we’re more than halfway there, and since 1988 the sea level in NYC has gone up by 2.5 inches (6 cm). Would you buy a sea level prediction from Jim?

There certainly are many problems in the field of climate science. Reticence on the part of climate scientists to clean up their own backyard is high on the list.

Reticence on the part of climate scientists to make alarmist claims, about sea level or any other imagined future disaster, is not on the list at all.

The main problem, however, is thinking that it’s a communications problem. It’s not. The problem is that Jim and his Climategate pals lied and cheated and pulled strings and even destroyed evidence in order to advance their views. All of that was revealed clearly in the UEA emails. They stand convicted by their own words.

As a result, lots of folks don’t believe a word that the climate scientists say. And reasonably so. I have seen no reason to believe they are now acting differently. There has been no “mea culpa” from even one individual involved. Noble Cause Corruption appears to have rotted the ethical parts of their brains entirely. They don’t even think they did wrong … and the rest of the honorable, decent, good climate scientists? Well, by and large they played the faithful dog Spot, they rolled over and played dead.

That’s the problem, not communications or reticent scientists. I had hoped that Climategate would lance the boil and the healing could begin … foolish boy, wrong again …

So no, I believe I’ll pass on the brilliant plan for the formation  of the Official Panel Of The Sea-Level Wise Men. No need to even read the novel, most of us have seen the IPCC movie, and would prefer not to be forced to sit through a bad sequel.

w.

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You type the letter “I” a lot. Sign of a narcissist. Just saying.
[You are free to submit your own article to WUWT. ~dbs, mod.]

Doug Proctor

It is such a pain that he is a Professional Alarmist. He cannot get his fees if he does not stay in the MSM headlights, and the only thing the MSM are attracted to are crises.
It is no longer relevant how real his projection of reality is. He calls attention to his subject, and that is not about mushy details. Attention is all about headlines, the bigger the font, the better.
If he were not employed by GISS/NASA/NOAA (I do this, because in the public mind he is head of all or some of them), he would be like Al Gore. Nobody except a flaming activist. He’d be ignored by the technical staff, something they can’t do right now.
What we need is Hansen’s removal from the government payroll, just as Jim Salinger in New Zealand drifted away into harmlessness once he was turfed. (His presence drifted away; his prior acts are still stinking up the place.)
Retire or get fired, please Mr. Hansen (he WAS a scientist. I don’t see he is anymore, a technically-trained paper-pusher is what I would say he is, like David Suzuki.).

DJ

“..could create a situation with future sea level changes out of our control..”
We lost control of sea level changes last Thursday. Before that, we had the sea level right where we wanted it.

Curiousgeorge

Willis, the trouble with true believers is that they just won’t quit. Eventually, given enough incentive, they resort to blowing stuff up. Which, I believe, has already been discussed by some of those folks.

PaulH

All very true. And the statement, “Well, by and large they played the faithful dog Spot, they rolled over and played dead.” certainly applies to all of those honorable, decent, and good members of the media. I long ago lost count of the number of times I heard from the media, “well these are scientist and they are much smarter than you or I, so we must believe them.” Such worthless analysis from those who should be questioning everything..

And all this from the man who in 1988 predicted a 10 foot (3m) sea level rise putting parts of NYC underwater in forty years? Fuggedaboutit. He probably felt safe with such a long-term prediction.

I thought he said 20 years, but this was later changed to 40 years? I am not sure where I read that, but it was discussed on this site in at least one post.

Smart Guy

Anyone who believes climate change is false or irrelevant, just need witness the dramatic changes in weather that are happening RIGHT NOW: more frequent droughts, snow storms, floods, tornadoes, higher temperatures, and mass deaths of animals, just to name a few. Don’t let one, or several, egotistical scientists ruin a theory that will change the course of humanity. Have perspective and look at both sides of the argument. Or just look at your window and see that it’s snowing in August.

sagoldie

Think my favorite Friedrich Hayek quotation applies . . . .
“We are ready to accept almost any explanation of the present crisis of our civilization except one: that the present state of the world may be the result of genuine error on our own part and that the pursuit of some of our most cherished ideals has apparently produced results utterly different from those which we expected.”

Ken Methven

King Canute has a similar Noble Cause Corruption ….. we didn’t have control of tides then, nor sea level now. I don’t quite get how the prognostications of the past are not brought up in the media. If Jim were a fully fledged politician…they would.

Roy Clark

Sea level has been rising at about six inches per century since the end of the Little Ice Age. Right now, the tide gauges along the US west coast are showing a slight decrease in sea level.
Hansen has been lying at least since 1988. He is a climate astrologer not a scientist. His computer models have been hard wired to give the results he wants. The radiative forcing technique that he uses is, to say the least, invalid .
My detailed comments on this, addressed to the US Dept. of Fish and Game for trying to steal US beaches beacuse of ‘global warming’ are at:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2010-0070-0127
(click on the red .pdf button lower right to access the file. It should be about 100 pages – a little long for WUWT).

Latitude

dunno…maybe sea levels are changing at an unprecedented rate after all………….
http://www.real-science.com/hansen-16-feet-sea-level-rise-century

Willis Eschenbach

Smart Guy says:
October 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Anyone who believes climate change is false or irrelevant, just need witness the dramatic changes in weather that are happening RIGHT NOW: more frequent droughts, snow storms, floods, tornadoes, higher temperatures, and mass deaths of animals, just to name a few. Don’t let one, or several, egotistical scientists ruin a theory that will change the course of humanity. Have perspective and look at both sides of the argument. Or just look at your window and see that it’s snowing in August.

You left out “more frequent alien abductions” from your otherwise hilarious list … my own particular favorite was the “mass deaths of animals”, which immediately brought up images of endangered bats and windmills …
w.
PS—You suggest that I “just look at [my] window and see that it’s snowing in August.”
I just looked at my window. My window wasn’t snowing. Perhaps it’s a typo, I thought, so I looked out my window instead. But it still wasn’t snowing, it’s a lovely Sunday, perfect temperature, and I’m going to the beach.
But then I realized “Hey, it’s not August either”, so that explained it all.

Would an activist that is also a scientist ever produce science that negates his activism?
Especially if he is making a lot of money from his activist cause?

Willis Eschenbach

Mark S says:
October 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm

You type the letter “I” a lot. Sign of a narcissist. Just saying.

You try to analyze people you’ve never met based on the most trivial, “Readers Digest” level pseudo-psychological criteria. Sign of a pompous uneducated fool. Just saying.
w.
PS—I’ve actually worked as a psychotherapist. There’s a technical term for your claim, folks in the trade call it “psychobabble”.
Just sayin’ …

J. Felton

Thank you Willis, for another thoughtful essay.
Hansen has been wrong so many times, its a wonder how he still holds a job that pays higher then most. If I had been wrong in my field,you can gurantee I’d be unemployed, instead of getting a constant stream of government funding.
And to the poster ” SmartGuy” ( who is anything but), thanks for the pitiful attempt to hijack the conversation with tired cliches and rehearsed arguments. Until you can provide evidence for your ridiculous claims, you might want to change your nickname.

Steve from rockwood

Smart Guy says:
October 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm
Anyone who believes climate change is false or irrelevant, just need witness the dramatic changes in weather that are happening RIGHT NOW: more frequent droughts, snow storms, floods, tornadoes, higher temperatures, and mass deaths of animals, just to name a few. Don’t let one, or several, egotistical scientists ruin a theory that will change the course of humanity. Have perspective and look at both sides of the argument. Or just look at your window and see that it’s snowing in August.
—————————————
I know exactly what you mean. It’s only late October and already a frost. Plus I was in northern Canada and it snowed. Plus I heard a whole bunch of lions and tigers died the other day when their owner let them loose. Every time I turn on the tv it is getting worse.
Now I know how you got your name smart guy.

GISS, under James Hansen, routinely tampers with the past temperature record, and their tampering always results in a more alarming chart, never the reverse.
I should also note that despite Hansen’s beliefs, AGW is not a “theory”, it is an hypothesis with no verifiable, testable evidence supporting it. There probably is some minor warming of a degree or so due to the increase in CO2, but actual empirical evidence is lacking. That said, on balance the rise in CO2 has been both harmless and beneficial.
The very *mild* global warming we have experienced is extremely minor. The planet has warmed from 288K to 288.8K over a century and a half. Natural temperature fluctuations have routinely been many times greater than that, and they have occured over much shorter time spans – and during times when CO2 was much lower than now.
Only GISS and similar computer models show AGW [as distinguished from natural global warming]. Those models are programmed by people like Hansen, who stand to financially benefit by alarming the public. There is no empirical [real world] evidence of any global harm due to the rise in CO2. But there is ample evidence that more CO2 is very beneficial to the biosphere, and has caused substantially increased agricultural production.
James Hansen’s “carbon” scare is based on a repeatedly falsified conjecture. Skeptics are simply asking for testable, empirical evidence, per the scientific method, showing that CO2 causes global harm. So far, neither Hansen nor anyone else has been able to produce any such evidence. What does that tell you?

u.k.(us)

Mark S says:
October 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm
You type the letter “I” a lot. Sign of a narcissist. Just saying.
===============
Interesting, of my many (mostly stupid) comments I have forced Anthony to publish, I have always wondered about the letter “I”.
Now “I” know, thanks.

KV

Smart Guy says:
Oct.23 2011 @ 3-55pm
“Don’t let one, or several, egotistical scientists ruin a theory that will change the course of humanity”
Climate change is a fact of life, not a theory, and has been so for billions of years! .Have perspective and realise you’ve been taken in by UNIPCC Doublespeak. The computer model generated theory (?) of AGW along with its misbegotten monster son runaway Catastrophic AGW, is NOT climate change.
Look out your window and see the normal seasonal cyclical changes in climate due to natural variability which have been happening since Time began and will continue to do so till the end of Time irrespective of any input by Man, particularly the few extra parts per million of essential CO2 that can be attributed to human activities.

Steve from rockwood

Willis Eschenbach says:
October 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm
Mark S says:
October 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm
You type the letter “I” a lot. Sign of a narcissist. Just saying.
You try to analyze people you’ve never met based on the most trivial, “Readers Digest” level pseudo-psychological criteria. Sign of a pompous uneducated fool. Just saying.
w.
PS—I’ve actually worked as a psychotherapist. There’s a technical term for your claim, folks in the trade call it “psychobabble”.
Just sayin’ …
——————————–
Mark S, a narcissist talks about themself in the third person. Like Jim Hansen saying “the Hansen ain’t happy with all these narcissist comments.”

Keith

[ad-hom]Mark the Snark eh? What a loser
[/ad-hom right back atcha]

Olen

They, the global warming crowd, think US citizens just fell off the turnip wagon and are stupid ignoramuses who will believe stupid things or almost anything. They think all they need to do is find out how to make us believe without proof.

KnR

You can help but feel Hansen has got a bit of god complex , is has if he believes all he has to do is say it and it comes true .

jae

Can anyone name a “cause” put out there by the “progressives” which has any more factual support than the “Climate Change Cause?” Even our President and his Ivy-League experts are all telling us the exact same thing Hansen-The-Great is telling us: We just need a better explanation of how brilliant all these “changes” are (IOW, we are too stupid to understand how brilliant all the progrressive “causes” are).
And the public is rating these illustrious folks at about the same level as they are rating climate scientists. I think I see at least one social trend.
LOL.

Ian

Willis Eschenbach-whether or not you agree with James Hansen it is common courtesy to acknowledge his academic achievements by referring to him As Dr Hansen rather than Mr Hansen

Smart Guy says:
October 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm
Anyone who believes climate change is false or irrelevant, just need witness the dramatic changes in weather that are happening RIGHT NOW: more frequent droughts, snow storms, floods, tornadoes, higher temperatures, and mass deaths of animals, just to name a few. Don’t let one, or several, egotistical scientists ruin a theory that will change the course of humanity. Have perspective and look at both sides of the argument. Or just look at your window and see that it’s snowing in August.
*** This last statement “…Or just look at your window and see that it’s snowing in August…” actually took me back to the summer of ’90, when I was stationed in Galena, AK. There, I actually saw my first snowfall on the last day of summer (around Sept 22, IIRC).
Must have been CAGW then, too…

otter17

quote from article>>
“I love the naked power grab. I mean, what an audacious plan!
First, you unilaterally declare that there is some huge looming disaster a long ways in the future. Using a variety of methods fair and foul, you obtain the full cooperation of other scientists, governments, educational institutions, and the media the world around. With all of you, the whole chorus, baying for skeptic’s blood in full voice, you spend a quarter century trying to convince the people of the oncoming Thermageddon.”
>>
What specific foul methods has Hansen used? How did he gain cooperation with these groups, trick them? And while I agree with some of Hansen’s work, I don’t think he has convinced me to thirst for “skeptic blood”. Is he and others gearing up to physically hurt/kill skeptics?
As far as falsifying the null hypothesis, that can never be done in quite a few scientific fields, such as biology, medicine, etc (as I understand it anyway). What one can do is collect quite a bit of evidence.
Can you substantiate the quoted paragraph, or is it all satire? It sounds like satire. After reading the whole article, methinks it is satire.

NetDr

Smart Guy says:
October 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm
Anyone who believes climate change is false or irrelevant, just need witness the dramatic changes in weather that are happening RIGHT NOW: more frequent droughts, snow storms, floods, tornadoes, higher temperatures, and mass deaths of animals, just to name a few. Don’t let one, or several, egotistical scientists ruin a theory that will change the course of humanity. Have perspective and look at both sides of the argument. Or just look at your window and see that it’s snowing in August.
*******
Unless you live in Australia snow in August would signal global cooling which CO2 cannot do no matter what the uneducated believe .

JPeden

Mark S says:
October 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm
You type the letter “I” a lot. Sign of a narcissist. Just saying.
You, Mark, are “just saying”? Hey, I know that A implies B does not mean that B implies A, but in your case I’m afraid that either Alinsky has taken over your mind or else you are one of the narcissists you seek to tar solely by means of your feckless name-call. Or both. And I’m not just saying. Or else maybe you should get into the real game instead and explain why the people who you think are not narcissists, including you, are not bothered by the fact that their CO2 = CAGW “science” has not yielded even one relevant correct empirical prediction yet?
But me, I’m going to watch me some baseball. At least that involves a real game with rules, you know, the kind which the players follow to produce their specialized product?

LearDog

Willis –
What prose. You write sooo well…its entertaining and enlightening at the same time. Well done! A nice read…
Thank you sir…..

P Wilson

They’ve been screaming it – along with impending (always impending) doom in its full glory for 25 years!
I cannot think of a single person who hasn’t been made aware of the issue. In fact, its a bigger propaganda machine than any other movement in history.

Anthony Scalzi

Re Hanson’s prediction, keep in mind that regardless of sealevel rise, The Westside Highway was planned to be put under water by a Big-dig style project. The project was since canceled due to the threat it posed to striped bass(thanks, environmentalists!) in 1985. Hanson must have not gotten the memo.

Theo Goodwin

Mark S says:
October 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm
“You type the letter “I” a lot. Sign of a narcissist. Just saying.”
Actually, when a person undertakes the task of presenting his views on a topic, it is quite common to use the word ‘I’ quite often. Use of the word ‘I’ is symptomatic when a person cannot talk about anything without using the word.

Anthony Scalzi says:
October 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm
Hanson must have not gotten the memo.

I suspect there are a lot of memos that Hansen hasn’t gotten.

Theo Goodwin

Wonderful essay, Willis! You strike exactly the right tone for writing about Warmista or addressing them. Keep up the good work.
Hansen’s words convict him of a messianic desire for control, power, and wealth. Anyone who cannot see that these desires dominate the man is willfully blind.

TomT

I’m (there’s that letter again) sure that it snowed somewhere in August. I think that Anthony might have even blog on it. But unlike alarmists, us skeptics think that snow in the summer is not a sign of warming. Only an idiot (oh oh, two letter “I” in that word) would think that snow in the summer means out of control warming is occurring.

Jay Davis

Ian, given what Hansen (along with his pals Gore, Mann, Phil Jones and others) has done to advance the AGW scam on the world, the only title he deserves is convicted [snip] !

Ian said @ October 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm
“Willis Eschenbach-whether or not you agree with James Hansen it is common courtesy to acknowledge his academic achievements by referring to him As Dr Hansen rather than Mr Hansen”
While “Dr” Hansen used to claim a doctorate in his résumé, the institution he obtained it from, when asked, could find no record of his ever being a student there. Subsequently, the claim to a doctorate was disappeared from his résumé. Thus Willis is perfectly entitled to refer to him as Mr Hansen, just as NASA is within its rights to use it “as an honorific” to use their terminology.
NOTE: This accusation is false, and while I don’t agree with Dr. Hansen on many things his PhD is not in question. Redacted. – Anthony

Steve from rockwood said @ October 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm
“Mark S, a narcissist talks about themself in the third person. Like Jim Hansen saying “the Hansen ain’t happy with all these narcissist comments.””
Steve, you are correct. Whenever Mrs Git says to me “I love you”, The Git responds, “Yeah, me too.” 🙂

TomT

Ottor 17: Hansen has not distanced himself from groups like Earth First that do support violence to further their goals.

jae

Ian:
“Willis Eschenbach-whether or not you agree with James Hansen it is common courtesy to acknowledge his academic achievements by referring to him As Dr Hansen rather than Mr Hansen”
YOU, sir, help make your “ilk” look ever more stupid. Sorry, but it does not matter ONE WHIT what title you have. If you don’t see that, then you are really really out of touch with reality. It just shows that you DON’T have the required moxy. Please google/bing/whatever “appeal to authority.”
AND, if you choose to respond to my comment, you have to address me as Dr. JAE.
JAE, PhD

Willis Eschenbach said @ October 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm
“Sign of a pompous uneducated fool. Just saying.”
You rang? Oh wait, there’s another pompous, uneducated fool in the house? 🙂
My first editor had a bee in his bonnet about the use of the Perpendicular Pronoun which is what led to the creation of The World’s Most Famousest Pompous Git (according to Google). When I commenced a philosophy of science course in my first attempt at retirement, I lost marks for the paucity of perpendicular pronouns in my prose. Go figure.
As my grandaddy used to say: “You can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can jerk the rest off”.

Willis Eschenbach said @ October 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm
“You left out “more frequent alien abductions” from your otherwise hilarious list … my own particular favorite was the “mass deaths of animals”, which immediately brought up images of endangered bats and windmills …”
Windmills are endangered? Oh, happy, happy, joy, joy. Or did you just say that to get me all excited?

Now if we could just get RC SS and TOM to allow this type of banter to take place.
Then again, not.
They are too afraid to be exposed.
LOL

David

Thepompousgit wrote:
“While “Dr” Hansen used to claim a doctorate in his résumé, the institution he obtained it from, when asked, could find no record of his ever being a student there. Subsequently, the claim to a doctorate was disappeared from his résumé. Thus Willis is perfectly entitled to refer to him as Mr Hansen, just as NASA is within its rights to use it “as an honorific” to use their terminology.”
Wait,what? Hanson doesn’t have a real doctorate? Am I right to infer that he originally claimed to have one – but didn’t?

Rick Bradford

For Left/Greenies such as Hansen and his acolytes, “the truth” is defined by power struggles.

As always, good stuff, Willis.
I heard “Mr.” Hansen on an NPR radio show recently. The subject was, I believe, natural gas fracking. There were multiple people being interviewed.
Yet every time Hansen spoke, he hijacked whatever question that was asked and started in on his propaganda message that all hydrocarbons are bad etc.
He truly has lost it. I wish him well.
However, I do not wish him to collect another paycheck of the public’s money.
If I were elected president, Hansen and his smirking ilk Schmidt, among others, would be among the first that I would fire, if I could.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

Jeff D

thepompousgit says:
October 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm
Windmills are endangered?
For your reading / can’t call it pleasure it really is kinda sad.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/18/holy-irony-batman/

TomT said @ October 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm
“I’m (there’s that letter again) sure that it snowed somewhere in August.”
It snowed in August here in southern Tasmania. And in September. And in October. Dunno if it snowed in November yet, not being a climatologist. My potatoes still haven’t recovered from being bitten by the hard frost of a fortnight ago. Usually we have our last frost in late August.