A response to Dr. Paul Bain's use of 'denier' in the scientific literature

Note: This will be the top post for a day or two, new posts will appear below this one.

Readers may recall my original post, Nature’s ugly decision: ‘Deniers’ enters the scientific literature. followed by  Dr. Paul Bain Responds to Critics of Use of “Denier” Term (with thanks to Jo Nova, be sure to bookmark and visit her site) Dr. Robert G. Brown of Duke University,  commenting as rgbatduke, made a response that was commented on by several here in that thread. As commenter REP put it in the update: It is eloquent, insightful and worthy of consideration. I would say, it is likely the best response I’ve ever seen on the use of the “denier” term, not to mention the CAGW issue in general. Thus, I’ve elevated it a full post. Please share the link to this post widely.  – Anthony

Dr. Robert G. Brown writes:

The tragic thing about the thoughtless use of a stereotype (denier) is that it reveals that you really think of people in terms of its projected meaning. In particular, even in your response you seem to equate the term “skeptic” with “denier of AGW”.

This is silly. On WUWT most of the skeptics do not “deny” AGW, certainly not the scientists or professional weather people (I myself am a physicist) and honestly, most of the non-scientist skeptics have learned better than that. What they challenge is the catastrophic label and the alleged magnitude of the projected warming on a doubling of CO_2. They challenge this on rather solid empirical grounds and with physical arguments and data analysis that is every bit as scientifically valid as that used to support larger estimates, often obtaining numbers that are in better agreement with observation. For this honest doubt and skepticism that the highly complex global climate models are correct you have the temerity to socially stigmatize them in a scientific journal with a catch-all term that implies that they are as morally reprehensible as those that “deny” that the Nazi Holocaust of genocide against the Jews?

For shame.

Seriously, for shame. You should openly apologize for the use of the term, in Nature, and explain why it was wrong. But you won’t, will you… although I will try to explain why you should.

By your use of this term, you directly imply that I am a “denier”, as I am highly skeptical of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (not just “anthropogenic global warming”, which is plausible if not measurable, although there are honest grounds to doubt even this associated with the details of the Carbon Cycle that remain unresolved by model or experiment). Since I am a theoretical physicist, I find this enormously offensive. I might as well label you an idiot for using it, when you’ve never met me, have no idea of my competence or the strength of my arguments for or against any aspect of climate dynamics (because on this list I argue both points of view as the science demands and am just as vigorous in smacking down bullshit physics used to challenge some aspect of CAGW as I am to question the physics or statistical analysis or modelling used to “prove” it). But honestly, you probably aren’t an idiot (are you?) and no useful purpose is served by ad hominem or emotionally loaded human descriptors in a rational discussion of an objective scientific question, is there.

Please understand that by creating a catch-all label like this, you quite literally are moving the entire discussion outside of the realm of science, where evidence and arguments are considered and weighed independent of the humans that advance them, where our desire to see one or another result proven are (or should be) irrelevant, where people weigh the difficulty of the problem being addressed as an important contributor (in a Bayesian sense) to how much we should believe any answer proposed — so far, into the realm where people do not think at all! They simply use a dismissive label such as “denier” and hence avoid any direct confrontation with the issues being challenged.

The issue of difficulty is key. Let me tell you in a few short words why I am a skeptic. First of all, if one examines the complete geological record of global temperature variation on planet Earth (as best as we can reconstruct it) not just over the last 200 years but over the last 25 million years, over the last billion years — one learns that there is absolutely nothing remarkable about today’s temperatures! Seriously. Not one human being on the planet would look at that complete record — or even the complete record of temperatures during the Holocene, or the Pliestocene — and stab down their finger at the present and go “Oh no!”. Quite the contrary. It isn’t the warmest. It isn’t close to the warmest. It isn’t the warmest in the last 2 or 3 thousand years. It isn’t warming the fastest. It isn’t doing anything that can be resolved from the natural statistical variation of the data. Indeed, now that Mann’s utterly fallacious hockey stick reconstruction has been re-reconstructed with the LIA and MWP restored, it isn’t even remarkable in the last thousand years!

Furthermore, examination of this record over the last 5 million years reveals a sobering fact. We are in an ice age, where the Earth spends 80 to 90% of its geological time in the grip of vast ice sheets that cover the polar latitudes well down into what is currently the temperate zone. We are at the (probable) end of the Holocene, the interglacial in which humans emerged all the way from tribal hunter-gatherers to modern civilization. The Earth’s climate is manifestly, empirically bistable, with a warm phase and cold phase, and the cold phase is both more likely and more stable. As a physicist who has extensively studied bistable open systems, this empirical result clearly visible in the data has profound implications. The fact that the LIA was the coldest point in the entire Holocene (which has been systematically cooling from the Holocene Optimum on) is also worrisome. Decades are irrelevant on the scale of these changes. Centuries are barely relevant. We are nowhere near the warmest, but the coldest century in the last 10,000 years ended a mere 300 years ago, and corresponded almost perfectly with the Maunder minimum in solar activity.

There is absolutely no evidence in this historical record of a third stable warm phase that might be associated with a “tipping point” and hence “catastrophe” (in the specific mathematical sense of catastrophe, a first order phase transition to a new stable phase). It has been far warmer in the past without tipping into this phase. If anything, we are geologically approaching the point where the Earth is likely to tip the other way, into the phase that we know is there — the cold phase. A cold phase transition, which the historical record indicates can occur quite rapidly with large secular temperature changes on a decadal time scale, would truly be a catastrophe. Even if “catastrophic” AGW is correct and we do warm another 3 C over the next century, if it stabilized the Earth in warm phase and prevented or delayed the Earth’s transition into cold phase it would be worth it because the cold phase transition would kill billions of people, quite rapidly, as crops failed throughout the temperate breadbasket of the world.

Now let us try to analyze the modern era bearing in mind the evidence of an utterly unremarkable present. To begin with, we need a model that predicts the swings of glaciation and interglacials. Lacking this, we cannot predict the temperature that we should have outside for any given baseline concentration of CO_2, nor can we resolve variations in this baseline due to things other than CO_2 from that due to CO_2. We don’t have any such thing. We don’t have anything close to this. We cannot predict, or explain after the fact, the huge (by comparison with the present) secular variations in temperature observed over the last 20,000 years, let alone the last 5 million or 25 million or billion. We do not understand the forces that set the baseline “thermostat” for the Earth before any modulation due to anthropogenic CO_2, and hence we have no idea if those forces are naturally warming or cooling the Earth as a trend that has to be accounted for before assigning the “anthropogenic” component of any warming.

This is a hard problem. Not settled science, not well understood, not understood. There are theories and models (and as a theorist, I just love to tell stories) but there aren’t any particularly successful theories or models and there is a lot of competition between the stories (none of which agree with or predict the empirical data particularly well, at best agreeing with some gross features but not others). One part of the difficulty is that the Earth is a highly multivariate and chaotic driven/open system with complex nonlinear coupling between all of its many drivers, and with anything but a regular surface. If one tried to actually write “the” partial differential equation for the global climate system, it would be a set of coupled Navier-Stokes equations with unbelievably nasty nonlinear coupling terms — if one can actually include the physics of the water and carbon cycles in the N-S equations at all. It is, quite literally, the most difficult problem in mathematical physics we have ever attempted to solve or understand! Global Climate Models are children’s toys in comparison to the actual underlying complexity, especially when (as noted) the major drivers setting the baseline behavior are not well understood or quantitatively available.

The truth of this is revealed in the lack of skill in the GCMs. They utterly failed to predict the last 13 or 14 years of flat to descending global temperatures, for example, although naturally one can go back and tweak parameters and make them fit it now, after the fact. And every year that passes without significant warming should be rigorously lowering the climate sensitivity and projected AGW, making the probability of the “C” increasinginly remote.

These are all (in my opinion) good reasons to be skeptical of the often egregious claims of CAGW. Another reason is the exact opposite of the reason you used “denier” in your article. The actual scientific question has long since been co-opted by the social and political one. The real reason you used the term is revealed even in your response — we all “should” be doing this and that whether or not there is a real risk of “catastrophe”. In particular, we “should” be using less fossil fuel, working to preserve the environment, and so on.

The problem with this “end justifies the means” argument — where the means involved is the abhorrent use of a pejorative descriptor to devalue the arguers of alternative points of view rather than their arguments at the political and social level — is that it is as close to absolute evil in social and public discourse as it is possible to get. I strongly suggest that you read Feynman’s rather famous “Cargo Cult” talk:

http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm

In particular, I quote:

For example, I was a little surprised when I was talking to a

friend who was going to go on the radio. He does work on cosmology and astronomy, and he wondered how he would explain what the applications of this work were. “Well,” I said, “there aren’t any.” He said, “Yes, but then we won’t get support for more research of this kind.” I think that’s kind of dishonest. If you’re representing yourself as a scientist, then you should explain to the layman what you’re doing–and if they don’t want to support you under those circumstances, then that’s their decision.

One example of the principle is this: If you’ve made up your mind to test a theory, or you want to explain some idea, you should always decide to publish it whichever way it comes out. If we only publish results of a certain kind, we can make the argument look good. We must publish both kinds of results.

I say that’s also important in giving certain types of government

advice. Supposing a senator asked you for advice about whether

drilling a hole should be done in his state; and you decide it

would be better in some other state. If you don’t publish such a

result, it seems to me you’re not giving scientific advice. You’re

being used. If your answer happens to come out in the direction the government or the politicians like, they can use it as an argument in their favor; if it comes out the other way, they don’t publish it at all. That’s not giving scientific advice.

Time for a bit of soul-searching, Dr. Bain. Have you come even close to living up to the standards laid out by Richard Feynman? Is this sort of honesty apparent anywhere in the global climate debate? Did the “Hockey Team” embrace this sort of honesty in the infamous Climategate emails? Do the IPCC reports ever seem to present the counter arguments, or do they carefully avoid showing pictures of the 20,000 year thermal record, preferring instead Mann’s hockey stick because it increases the alarmism (and hence political impact of the report)? Does the term “denier” have any place in any scientific paper ever published given Feynman’s rather simple criterion for scientific honesty?

And finally, how dare you presume to make choices for me, for my relatives, for my friends, for all of the people of the world, but concealing information from them so that they make a choice to allocate resources the way you think they should be allocated, just like the dishonest astronomer of his example. Yes, the price of honesty might be that people don’t choose to support your work. Tough. It is their money, and their choice!

Sadly, it is all too likely that this is precisely what is at stake in climate research. If there is no threat of catastrophe — and as I said, prior to the hockey stick nobody had the slightest bit of luck convincing anyone that the sky was falling because global climate today is geologically unremarkable in every single way except that we happen to be living in it instead of analyzing it in a geological record — then there is little incentive to fund the enormous amount of work being done on climate science. There is even less incentive to spend trillions of dollars of other people’s money (and some of our own) to ameliorate a “threat” that might well be pure moonshine, quite possibly ignoring an even greater threat of movement in the exact opposite direction to the one the IPCC anticipates.

Why am I a skeptic? Because I recognize the true degree of our ignorance in addressing this supremely difficult problem, while at the same time as a mere citizen I weigh civilization and its benefits against draconian energy austerity on the basis of no actual evidence that global climate is in any way behaving unusually on a geological time scale.

For shame.

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Antonia
June 22, 2012 4:50 pm

Oh the truth is so beautiful. Thank you.

David Ross
June 22, 2012 4:52 pm

Brilliant! Well argued and concise.

Tom Harley
June 22, 2012 4:52 pm

Thank you, Dr Brown. This needed saying, and I doubt anyone could have said it better. Shared with enthusiasm.

Eric
June 22, 2012 4:52 pm

Beautiful….

gsonline2
June 22, 2012 4:53 pm

All I can say is, Wow!

June 22, 2012 4:53 pm

Couldn’t have said it better myself. It would seem also obvious that those like Bain have give up on the Scientific Method and the Philosophy of Science in favor of the politics of the extreme.

jorgekafkazar
June 22, 2012 4:54 pm

Splendid. I doubt if Dr. Bain will be able to force himself to read it all at once, assuming that he reads it at all. Too painful. We’ll soon know what Dr, Bain is made of.

June 22, 2012 5:00 pm

You cannot sum up the Climate debate with one word. That would take at the least a very long sentence. But, if you only had one word it would not be “Denier.” It would be Voodoo.
http://evilincandescentbulb.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/global-warming-is-politically-correct-voodoo/

Babsy
June 22, 2012 5:04 pm

“Yes, the price of honesty might be that people don’t choose to support your work. Tough. It is their money, and their choice!”
Personal choice; that’s they part they don’t like and want to change. They care far too much for humanity as a whole to allow us simpletons to have a voice in our own destiny.

June 22, 2012 5:06 pm

The use of “Denier” just shows the ignorance of the user.
You may as well say “global cooling denier” … no sensible person denies that there has been global cooling, just as no sensible person denies global warming. You may as well deny temperature.

Gilbert
June 22, 2012 5:09 pm

Wonderful.

Rod Gill
June 22, 2012 5:09 pm

Whenever someone uses the word denier I immediately think one of two things:
1) Opposite of sceptical is gullible
2) The Nazis always said “Tell a big enough lie, repeat it often enough and give it government backing then most people will believe it”.

Greg House
June 22, 2012 5:11 pm

Dr. Robert G. Brown writes:
The tragic thing about the thoughtless use of a stereotype (denier) is that it reveals that you really think of people in terms of its projected meaning. In particular, even in your response you seem to equate the term “skeptic” with “denier of AGW”.
This is silly. On WUWT most of the skeptics do not “deny” AGW, certainly not the scientists or professional weather people (I myself am a physicist) and honestly, most of the non-scientist skeptics have learned better than that. What they challenge is the catastrophic label and the alleged magnitude of the projected warming on a doubling of CO_2.
…By your use of this term, you directly imply that I am a “denier”, as I am highly skeptical of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (not just “anthropogenic global warming”, which is plausible if not measurable, although there are honest grounds to doubt even this associated with the details of the Carbon Cycle that remain unresolved by model or experiment). Since I am a theoretical physicist, I find this enormously offensive.
========================================================
Robert, please, correct me if I misunderstood you, but it looks like you have no problem with people questioning the “A”, “W”, and “G” being called “deniers”, although you know about the connotation.
At the same time, according to your logic, this term should in no way be applied to you, although you question the (from the AGW proponents standpoint indisputable) catastrophic consequences of not immediately taking action and (again from the AGW proponents standpoint indisputable) magnitude of the projected warming on a doubling of CO2.
I am not going into details of moral implications of your position, but at least the logical contradiction should be obvious to you.

Jimbo
June 22, 2012 5:24 pm

I doubt anyone could have said it any better. Jo Nova wrote a stinging letter to Bain which is well worth a read. Here is an extract.

…………..The evidence for anthropogenic global warming is overwhelming, so the observations they deny must be written up many times in the peer review literature, right? After five years of study I am still not sure which instrument has made these key observations. Do deniers deny weather balloon results, or satellite data, or ice cores?
When you find this paper and the measurements, it will convince many of the key denier leaders. (But being the exacting personality type that they are, deniers will also expect to see the raw data. So you’ll need to also make sure that the authors of said paper have made all the records and methods available, but of course, all good scientists do that already don’t they?)……………..
http://joannenova.com.au/2012/06/nature-and-that-problem-of-defining-homo-sapiens-denier-is-it-english-or-newspeak/

Sarcasm and truth at its finest.

Amr marzouk
June 22, 2012 5:24 pm

Can’t argue with any of that

Downdraft
June 22, 2012 5:25 pm

Excellent. That about covers it, but I am doubtful the target audience will acknowledge they even read it. They can’t stand the truth.

Luther Wu
June 22, 2012 5:34 pm

What a task Dr. Bain has; trying to placate his agenda- driven funding sources while appearing to maintain some semblance of ethical scientific standards.
He’s like a moonshiner hung up astraddle a barbed- wire fence with raging bulls on one side and revenuers on the other and sorely threatened by the fence.

Sam Geoghegan
June 22, 2012 5:35 pm

Denier is a dialogue inhibitor, like the term ‘anti-semite’. We should make it practice to refrain from using absolutist terms when discussing large slabs of people, in political and science issues.

Latitude
June 22, 2012 5:35 pm

I’m tired of being insulted over 1/2 a degree…………..

leftinbrooklyn
June 22, 2012 5:35 pm

Pure honest excellence…
The very need to use the derogatory ‘denier’, merely reflects the weakness of their belief system. They call themselves scientists, yet they cannot even see this.

Nat McQueen
June 22, 2012 5:38 pm

Wow.
This article should be posted at the top for eternity…or at least until the next ice age hits.

Jimbo
June 22, 2012 5:41 pm

Let me make one thing clear. The use of the term Denier is an attempt to close down the debate. It’s not working.
Talking of Nasties you will find the truth lies elsewhere – within the very roots of the Nasty Party, prior to WWll, you will find the green ideology.
http://www.spunk.org/texts/places/germany/sp001630/peter.html
http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/01/green_lebensraum_the_nazi_roots_of_sustainable_development.html
What was that about Deniers?
I don’t deny that Co2 is a greenhouse gas.
I don’t deny that a doubling of man’s co2 will lead to a small rise in temperature.
I don’t deny the Urban Heat Island Effect.
I don’t deny the Medieval Warm Period or the Holocene Climate Optimum.
I don’t deny Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick has been snapped.
I finally don’t deny that many of the peer reviewed papers produced by climate scientists is driven by endless funding over a false alarm. He who pays the piper……………….

SMS
June 22, 2012 5:41 pm

This was so WELL SAID I did a copy and paste and sent it to all my friends.
It always helps to have a better argument than the other guy. This article makes it easy. WELL SAID!

X Anomaly
June 22, 2012 5:58 pm

“Do the IPCC reports ever seem to present the counter arguments, or do they carefully avoid showing pictures of the 20,000 year thermal record, preferring instead Mann’s hockey stick because it increases the alarmism (and hence political impact of the report)?”
Do the IPCC reports show the 10 or 20 kyr hockey stick? I really want to know now!

Christopher Hanley
June 22, 2012 6:02 pm

In a ghastly irony, the ‘denier’ label serves a similar purpose to the yellow star, but not with the same dire consequences of course.
It’s a term which is intended to brand a scientist as beyond the pale, whose views are not worth considering and had better not be permitted to make them widely known even sacking them from their job if necessary.
For example, if you read The Age article at the top of the google page below, you will find no use of the word ‘denial’ or its derivative.
http://www.google.com.au/webhp?source=search_app#hl=en&gs_nf=1&pq=denialist%20bob%20carter&cp=8&gs_id=2m&xhr=t&q=the+age+climate+change+denialist+bob+carter&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&oq=the+age+climate+change+denialist+bob+carter&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=cf90f68ce6314626&biw=1014&bih=548

peterings
June 22, 2012 6:03 pm

The title “Doctor Robert G Brown” rolls off the tongue quite effortlessly.On the other hand I can say “paul bain” but the D word gets stuck in the throat.

R Barker
June 22, 2012 6:07 pm

Excellent. The science is not settled.

LazyTeenager
June 22, 2012 6:13 pm

This is silly. On WUWT most of the skeptics do not “deny” AGW,
———–
Hmmm. A Physicist who makes stuff up. Until someone does a survey of the WUWT readership no one has a clue what proportion of that readership believe in AGW.
There are many, many contributors who insist that there is no global warming at all and others who insist that there is warming but it’s not anthropogenic.
On the face if it those people are being insulted as their views are being discounted as irrelevant and not worth counting.
Personally I am happy to insult all of you because a real skeptic follows the evidence no matter if it’s like able or not. I’m convinced that no matter how much evidence piles up the great majority of you are too stubborn to change your minds and are therefore pretend skeptics.
I have heard this -everyone at WUWT believes the same stuff as I do- rubbish before. Maybe it’s time to collect some evidence.

David Longinotti
June 22, 2012 6:17 pm

Thank you, Dr. Brown. Your well-expressed outrage is as right as rain.

E.M.Smith
Editor
June 22, 2012 6:17 pm

I think my response was pretty good, but think his is better… Different focus, though.
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/response-to-paul-bain/

William Astley
June 22, 2012 6:17 pm

Observations, analysis, fiscal responsibility, and common sense on the side, of the so called “skeptics”. I find it difficult to understand how anyone could attempt to defend the ridiculous extreme AGW position.
The planet’s response to a change in forcing is to increase or decrease planetary cloud cover in the tropics which reflects more or less sunlight off into space which resists the forcing change (negative feedback). The IPCC models require that planet, particularly in tropical regions amplifies the forcing change (positive feedback) to create the extreme warming.
All agree that if the planet resists warming (negative feedback, clouds increase or decrease in tropics to resist forcing changes) that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in less than 1C of warming with most of the warming occurring at high latitudes which result in the biosphere expanding.
CO2 is not a poison. Commercial greenhouses inject CO2 at 1000 ppm to 1500 ppm to increase yield and reduce growing times. A doubling of atmospheric CO2 results, for example, in a 40% increase in food cereal yields. As atmosphere CO2 rise plants reduce the number of stomata on their leaves which reduces the plant’s water loss. Plants currently lose roughly 50% of the water that they absorb due to trans respiration. High levels of atmospheric CO2 will significantly reduce desertification. Higher levels of atmospheric CO2 is absolutely beneficial to all life in the biosphere.
The tropical troposphere which the IPCC general climate model predict should warm and should be the principal driver of extreme AGW is not warming. Analysis of data from two different polar orbiting satellites compared to 36 IPCC GCMs confirms this statement.
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~qfu/Publications/grl.fu.2011.pdf
On the warming in the tropical upper troposphere: Models versus observations
Qiang Fu,1,2 Syukuro Manabe,3 and Celeste M. Johanson1
IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) AR4 (Fourth Assessment Report) GCMs (General Circulation Models) predict a tropical tropospheric warming that increases with height, reaches its maximum at ∼200 hPa, and decreases to zero near the tropical tropopause. This study examines the GCM‐predicted maximum warming in the tropical upper troposphere using satellite MSU (microwave sounding unit)‐derived deeplayer temperatures in the tropical upper‐ and lower‐middle troposphere for 1979–2010.
Satellite Measurement:
Satellites measure a slight increase in temperature which is statistically not different than zero.
[11] The trends of T24‐T2LT (William: two satellites that measure temperature of the troposphere and stratosphere) from both observations and models are all positive (Figure 2), indicating that the tropical upper‐middle troposphere is warming faster than lower middle troposphere [Fu and Johanson, 2005]. But the positive trends are only about 0.014 ± 0.017 K/decade from RSS and 0.005 ± 0.016 K/decade from UAH, which are not significantly different from zero.
IPPC’s General Circulation Models (GCMs)
IPPC’s AR4 general circulation models predict the most the greatest warming on the planet should occur in tropical troposphere (3 to 10 times greater than what is observed over the period.)
In contrast, the T24‐T2LT trend from multi‐model ensemble mean is 0.051 ± 0.007 K/decade, which is significantly larger than zero. The trends from observations and multi‐model ensemble mean do not fall within each other’s 95% confidence intervals, suggesting that they are significantly different from each other. Note that 30 out of 36 model ensemble members have the T24‐T2LT trends significantly larger than zero.
http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/236-Lindzen-Choi-2011.pdf
Analysis of changes in top of the atmosphere radiation compared to changes in ocean surface temperature also supports the assertion that the planet resists forcing changes (negative feedback) rather than as the IPCC requires to create extreme warming, amplifies forcing changes (positive feedback).
On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications
Richard S. Lindzen1 and Yong-Sang Choi2
We argue that feedbacks are largely concentrated in the tropics, and the tropical feedbacks can be adjusted to account for their impact on the globe as a whole. Indeed, we show that including all CERES data (not just from the tropics) leads to results similar to what are obtained for the tropics alone – though with more noise. We again find that the outgoing radiation resulting from SST fluctuations exceeds the zerofeedback response thus implying negative feedback. In contrast to this, the calculated TOA outgoing radiation fluxes from 11 atmospheric models forced by the observed SST are less than the zerofeedback response, consistent with the positive feedbacks that characterize these models. The results imply that the models are exaggerating climate sensitivity.
And meanwhile the UN climate proposes a colossal waste of public funds. The UN proposing a $100 billion dollars a year of Western Country tax payer dollars to be sent to corrupt third world governments after skimming off by corrupt UN officials?
http://www.torontosun.com/2012/05/25/united-nations-climate-talks-nothing-but-hot-air
UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres insisted it was critical the Bonn talks made further progress on how funds will be raised – extorted might be another apt word — from major industrialized nations and directed to poorer countries in the year’s after 2020.
This epic global fundraising will underwrite something called the Green Climate Fund, to be run under the paternalistic auspices of the UN. The fund will need $100 billion a year from 2020 onwards to operate. No precise agreement at Bonn on how it would work, despite Christiana Figueres exhortations, just consensus that major developed and industrialised countries like Canada will have to foot the bill. So there. …. …All of which pretty much reflects the UN as it is today; a preening debating society that marries incompetence with good intentions, meddling with over-reaching ambition.
It should also surprise nobody to hear such hand-wringing doesn’t come cheap. The regular budget of the UN is nearly $1.9 billion per year. It pays for basic UN activities, staff and basic infrastructure at 760 United Nations Plaza, New York, New York. The UN then spends an additional $15 billion annually on activities that include everything from the International Atomic Energy Agency to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, UNESCO, the World Bank, the World Health Organisation — and endless climate change meetings in exotic locales.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1725975,00.html
The Clean Energy Scam
The U.S. quintupled its production of ethanol–ethyl alcohol, a fuel distilled from plant matter–in the past decade, and Washington has just mandated another fivefold increase in renewable fuels over the next decade. Europe has similarly aggressive biofuel mandates and subsidies, and Brazil’s filling stations no longer even offer plain gasoline. Worldwide investment in biofuels rose from $5 billion in 1995 to $38 billion in 2005 and is expected to top $100 billion by 2010, thanks to investors like Richard Branson and George Soros, GE and BP, Ford and Shell, Cargill and the Carlyle Group.
But several new studies show the biofuel boom is doing exactly the opposite of what its proponents intended: it’s dramatically accelerating global warming, imperiling the planet in the name of saving it. Corn ethanol, always environmentally suspect, turns out to be environmentally disastrous. Even cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass, which has been promoted by eco-activists and eco-investors as well as by President Bush as the fuel of the future, looks less green than oil-derived gasoline. Meanwhile, by diverting grain and oilseed crops from dinner plates to fuel tanks, biofuels are jacking up world food prices and endangering the hungry. The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year. Harvests are being plucked to fuel our cars instead of ourselves. The U.N.’s World Food Program says it needs $500 million in additional funding and supplies, calling the rising costs for food nothing less than a global emergency. Soaring corn prices have sparked tortilla riots in Mexico City, and skyrocketing flour prices have destabilized Pakistan, which wasn’t exactly tranquil when flour was affordable.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-04-14/biofuel-production-a-crime-against-humanity/2403402

June 22, 2012 6:28 pm

Those who flit the “Denier” word off their tongues are basically falling into the “Pigeon Hole” paradigm, and it is fitting to remind them that pigeon holes are filled by those with pigeon brains.
The non-thinking involved in categorizing with labels, those with views (and oft times, data) you disagree with, just demonstrates that you are, in fact, non-thinking. A snare that no scientist worthy of the name should be caught in, under any circumstances.

Trevor
June 22, 2012 6:28 pm

Amen! That’s all I can say.

Berényi Péter
June 22, 2012 6:29 pm

He is telling the truth, obviously. I just don’t quite see how dare he. Is Duke somehow better than OSU or UCLA?

LazyTeenager
June 22, 2012 6:30 pm

Why am I a skeptic? Because I recognize the true degree of our ignorance in addressing this supremely difficult problem, while at the same time as a mere citizen I weigh civilization and its benefits against draconian energy austerity on the basis of no actual evidence that global climate is in any way behaving unusually on a geological time scale.
For shame.
————–
no actual evidence —– is code for —— I am ignoring the evidence I don’t like.
There is evidence for temperature rises in the geological past of similar rates upward to what we are seeing now. They were extinction events. If civilizations had existed at the time they would have been civilization destroying events.
For shame that you close your eyes whenever evidence appears.
It’s not skepticism. It’s prejudice.

Dave
June 22, 2012 6:31 pm

As I’ve been saying for a while, whilst people like Bain may well be using the term ‘denier’ in all innocence, it was deliberately promoted by neo-Nazi groups in order to legitimise Holocaust denial by association. That is undoubtedly the origin of the phrase in this context. Ironically, whilst skeptics aren’t ‘deniers’, Bain is inadvertently assisting true Holocaust denial by using the phrase as he does.

June 22, 2012 6:34 pm

I won’t claim that I fully understand the science Anthony Watts alludes to; my math degree wasn’t that advanced and it was earned longer ago than I like to remember! Nonetheless his argument regarding the complexity of the Earth’s weather system seems quite cogent to me. I especially like his comparison of current climate models to “children’s toys.”
But by far the most eloquent and worthwhile portion of his post concerns the need for scientific honesty. You publish your results, period, regardless of whether or not they were what you expected. We desperately need more of this sort of thinking — indeed, this morality! — in our scientific endeavors and our society.
EXCELLENT post, Mr. Watts. Please keep up the good work!

Ian
June 22, 2012 6:34 pm

I agree, that was one of the best responses, if not THE best, and I read them all. Thanks for elevating it. That post pretty much summarizes it all .
Ian

John A. Fleming
June 22, 2012 6:34 pm

Well written. But it is a cool zephyr against a bulwark. They don’t care what you think. They own the peer-review process, they own the grant-review process, they have their slice of the Federal budget. Once you are labelled a denier, your grant applications are ignored, your papers never published. All you have is your tenure, and they’re working on that. When the academic budgets are finally cut, as they will soon when the higher-education bubble pops, to be a denier is to be on the short list.

John F. Hultquist
June 22, 2012 6:34 pm

I tried to submit this on Thurs. evening — it went into a black hole or someother unknown place!!
I suspect that Paul Bain and co-writers will have a steep learning curve if they wish to understand all that you have written. Do they know what you mean by “doesn’t CO2 have a log limit on absorption effects?” Can they say why CO2 is a so-called “green house gas” while N2 is not? Do they know why I just put “green house gas” in quotes? And, LOL, what do they know about FORTRAN from the 1960s? And all the things about agriculture – they want you to grow things or source locally. Making a profit! What? Bless their hearts.
Still, I hope your response is widely circulated. Rumor is that John Kerry could use an explanation of how the world actually works. Luboš has a post:
http://motls.blogspot.com/2012/06/john-kerry-slams-disgraceful-climate.html

MrX
June 22, 2012 6:39 pm

Absolutely fantastic rebuke to those who would use the “denier” term!

Bill Illis
June 22, 2012 6:39 pm

Dr. Brown, I suggest you maintain a lower profile or stay behind an anomous nick since people are getting let go for speaking out. We need more scientists to speak out but there are great personal risks in doing so for now.
A paper that shows new data or a new way of looking at the science (without directly calling into question the main theory is the way to go and has the lowest personal risk). This is generally the practise that is being used now in the science.
Just saying’

John F. Hultquist
June 22, 2012 6:40 pm

RE: my comment at 6:34
Oh. Sorry. It was to Chiefio’s site that I tried to post (twice) and it did not go. It has been a long day in the cool and wet of the east slopes of the Cascades. So, E. M., you might also find my comment above in your spam bucket – although I don’t see why.

June 22, 2012 6:41 pm

Excellent post. And a great lesson in the implications of the null hypothesis. We have been fortunate to be living in a “Goldilocks climate” for the past century and a half, and the false alarm over only 0.8ºC of entirely beneficial warming is the basis for the completely fabricated “carbon” scare.
At various times during the past 15 millennia global temperatures have declined – and risen – by tens of degrees within a decade. Now that is scary! A drop of even half that magnitude in such a short time would annihilate modern agriculture and likely cause more than a billion deaths.
If Dr. Bain can produce any evidence that anthropogenic CO2 has caused global harm, I ask him to please post his evidence here. I keep asking that question, but the only response I’ve gotten is the sound of crickets chirping.

RobW
June 22, 2012 6:41 pm

As for Dr. Bain and/or the “team” or the IPCC reading it.
I keep hearing Jacks famous words:
“The truth, you can’t handle the truth”
So it seems for those who still push the AGW meme.

theduke
June 22, 2012 6:42 pm

Greg House wrote: “Robert, please, correct me if I misunderstood you, but it looks like you have no problem with people questioning the “A”, “W”, and “G” being called “deniers”, although you know about the connotation.”
You misunderstood. Badly.

Rosco
June 22, 2012 6:52 pm

Seems to me that to denigrate and villify any prtion of the population for a belief or way of life is to mimic Adolf Hitler – or any other evil monster that employed the politics of hate, envy and villification to achieve their own ends.
I wouldn’t care if it was dead certain we were all gonna burn next week due to AGW – I would never side with people who employ such shabby, grubby tactics to achieve their religious goals.
History is littered with hooror because a certain percentage of a population slavishly followed some eloquent leader who spruiked hatred of a certain class during tough times.
I will not join in.

Follow the Money
June 22, 2012 6:58 pm

“and the false alarm over only 0.8ºC”
Sorry Smokey, the alarm is not false. If the sensitivity is that size, there is no scare factor, and nothing could be more alarming to the money gravy train.No crisis, no money.
I have heard Heyhoe try to spin one degree is a threat, so she is no dummy, she’s in on the game. But obviously the PR firms and scientists feel that there is no way they should advertise that small number, or explain “positive feedbacks.” They have to relate the model results as “reality,” but not clarify they are talking about models. That’s why they fear scientists who say “I agree with AGW theory, and here’s the science to show one degree with doubling, correlating with the latest real data.” Maybe it’s true, but if so, that destroys the fear factor.

psi
June 22, 2012 7:02 pm

Excellent summary of the “denier” position.

Bennett
June 22, 2012 7:03 pm

I can’t possibly say it better than Smokey or dozens of others that have commented so far, but thanks so much for taking the time to express your outrage so eloquently. I love gaining new heros, and you Sir, are one.

Pete Olson
June 22, 2012 7:04 pm

Wow…

Jeff Norman
June 22, 2012 7:05 pm

Thank you, well written.
Climate will change, I hope it will get warmer because the alternatve in terrifying.

gcapologist
June 22, 2012 7:09 pm

In the past, when there was a big game against Duke, I’d always root for the other team.
Next time, I’m for Duke all the way, in honor of Dr. Robert G. Brown.
Thanks!

Doug Badgero
June 22, 2012 7:22 pm

“Earth is a highly multivariate and chaotic driven/open system with complex nonlinear coupling between all of its many drivers, and with anything but a regular surface. If one tried to actually write “the” partial differential equation for the global climate system, it would be a set of coupled Navier-Stokes equations with unbelievably nasty nonlinear coupling terms — if one can actually include the physics of the water and carbon cycles in the N-S equations at all.”
This, along with the apparent two attractors; one interglacial and one glacial, are the real story of earth’s climate. The science of the earth’s climate would prove fascinating if someone would actually bother to study it IMO.

Dr. Deanster
June 22, 2012 7:27 pm

You really need to send this to the Wall Street Journal, and every other news outlet you can find. This kind of truthful writing needs to be in the Main Stream Media, not hidden at WUWT. [No offense Anthony, but it is what it is … we “junkies” check your site every day … but the average citizen doesn’t even know this issue exists].

markx
June 22, 2012 7:28 pm

Quite a masterpiece.
Should be widely circulated (and I guess, indeed it is, being on WUWT!)
All the details are there, and it is a very easy read.

wayne
June 22, 2012 7:35 pm

Dr. Robert G. Brown writes:
The tragic thing about the thoughtless use of a stereotype (denier) is that it reveals that you really think of people in terms of its projected meaning. In particular, even in your response you seem to equate the term “skeptic” with “denier of AGW”.
This is silly. On WUWT most of the skeptics do not “deny” AGW, certainly not the scientists or professional weather people (I myself am a physicist) and honestly, most of the non-scientist skeptics have learned better than that. …

Thanks Dr. Brown for letting us know, in no uncertain terms, exactly where you stand on this discussion of AGW and those deniers of AGW. Many seemed to suspected but now we can stop questioning you stand. You sure finished what it was apparent that Dr. Paul Bain’s left unfinished.
Deny: (src: TheFreeDictionary, “denier”, one who denies (tr.v.))
1. To declare untrue; contradict.
2. To refuse to believe; reject.
I’ve spent now three years making sure my disbelief, if I found it not true, was science based. Like many I was a follower by what I heard on the news for many years in the past. You said when you first appeared here on WUWT last year that you were not, seems you said due to purely lack of time, up to speed on all aspects of current ‘climate science’. One day maybe you too will come across the same data and papers that make it all gel for you.
After reading all of the multitude of posts across the blogosphere to understand the many tints, I gathered from your led-in that you basically agree with Dr. Bain on anyone who dares to refuse to believe but you just don’t think he should have been using such a rash word, one with many definitions (and in some definitions even imply immediate unquestionable guilt, a type of guilty without trial), oh, and his leaning toward the catastrophic that you seem to doubt.
Your article here has been quite enlightening on many fronts.
I do wish you all the best Robert, being a fine physicist you’ll be able to sort through it all in time. If you have the time, seriously, do read Dr. Miskolczi’s two papers, maybe twice. There are some questionable sectins but look at a small subset of his papers that deal with the empirical radiosonde data and the plots, just that portion. Understanding what he had performed was the beginning of my understanding on the atmosphere.
Oops, out of time myself.

June 22, 2012 7:35 pm

I have been giving this all more thought. I an not all that sure if even paying any attention to these fools is perhaps the best response. I suspect reason is well beyond their abilities. In an essay i wrote in August last, The Confessional or I Am An AGW Atheist! I noted as have many others this climate business and AGW specifically is more religion then anything else; that goes hand in hand with extremist and polarizing politics. (see http://retreadresources.com/blog/?p=854)
“… If I’m a “denier” of the theory of dangerous anthropogenic climate change, so be it. But as a scientist I’d rather deny that theory than deny the 1st Law of Thermodynamics (for example).
I an not a “denier” I am a AGW atheist! No true scientist can be other in his scientific life. It is not what our faith tells us or dictates, it is what the empirical evidence illustrates, that founds science. We have been over this before too. A quick reminder. Science works on deductive reasoning and abhors the a priori. Religion is inductive in reasoning and must begin from the priori position. I am a AGW atheist.
In my privet life, the god(s) I may or may not worship are separated from science. Remember science and religion address fundamentally different questions and require different reasoning. They are mutually exclusive of each other. The philosophy of science is singularly focused on the subject of how things work. It is incapable of addressing anything other then that.”
What we have now is the political norm of vilification by loaded terminology and association with any negative hot button position the political mind can invent. I call it the polarization game. This game is fostered by special interests and politicians who would divide the society making it easier to control and denies our fundamental intellectual freedom. In the US we call the Republicans and Democrats. I call them intellectual bullies. (then I am all to often all to polite)

markx
June 22, 2012 7:42 pm

Heh he… and I like the way LT’s nit-picking is being ignored.
While I do appreciate him coming in and stating his viewpoint, he today evokes an image to me of a holy man, bedecked in finery, standing atop an altar, preaching the truth from his ancient ‘holy text’ in a noble and sonorous voice…. to an almost empty temple, with a few fervent believers weeping in rapture at his feet, while in the background the last few desultory stone kicking lingerers drift away between the pillars and out into the sunshine. And still his preaching booms on.

June 22, 2012 7:43 pm

X Anomaly asks above:
“Do the IPCC reports show the 10 or 20 kyr hockey stick? I really want to know now!”
Unable to find any before nausea threatened, but this is still there:
http://www.ipcc-data.org/ddc_scen_selection.html
“Criteria for Selecting Climate Scenarios”
“Criterion 1: Consistency with global projections. They should be consistent with a broad range of global warming projections based on increased concentrations of greenhouse gases. This range is variously cited as 1.4°C to 5.8°C by 2100, or 1.5°C to 4.5°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration (otherwise known as the “equilibrium climate sensitivity”).”

June 22, 2012 7:44 pm

Rosco is right. The use of the term is not about science, it is about fascism.
The users are the fascists, the fascists of science perhaps, but fascists nonetheless.
They are jackbooted thugs who seek dominion over their fellow man, through violent means including propaganda tricks like vilifying anyone who opposes them.
It’s an old trick , one we all know, one that has left a trail of horror and suffering beyond measure.
It’s not mere smarminess; it’s a cold-blooded attempt to brand free people in preparation for ruthless actions against them.
Let those who bandy the term “denier” deny that.

John W. Garrett
June 22, 2012 7:45 pm

Fantastic.

June 22, 2012 7:52 pm

Robert, please, correct me if I misunderstood you, but it looks like you have no problem with people questioning the “A”, “W”, and “G” being called “deniers”, although you know about the connotation.
At the same time, according to your logic, this term should in no way be applied to you, although you question the (from the AGW proponents standpoint indisputable) catastrophic consequences of not immediately taking action and (again from the AGW proponents standpoint indisputable) magnitude of the projected warming on a doubling of CO2.
I am not going into details of moral implications of your position, but at least the logical contradiction should be obvious to you.

On the contrary, I don’t think there is any good reason to call people who don’t believe in the “Anthropogenic” part of global warming deniers either, as I don’t think the term has any place in science (as I think I made clear). However, bear in mind that I’m posting as a physicist — not ex cathedra in any sense, but to explain why I find it difficult to escape from my own strongly held beliefs concerning the laws of nature. That the globe has warmed, on average, since the LIA (with some bobbles along the way) is — in my opinion — difficult to doubt because there is a rather lot of evidence supporting the assertion. That takes care of the GW part — people who “deny” that global warming and cooling take place (with mostly warming since the mid-19th century) may not be “deniers” but they are IMO badly wrong, an opinion I will continue to hold until I am shown some fairly serious evidence to the contrary.
It is also entirely possible to doubt the anthropogenic part and not be irrational. I’ve been in a debate with a very cogent arguer in other threads of WUWT who puts forth the proposition that global CO_2 levels are set by temperature only, with a roughly two year lag. His argument is evidence-based, associated with an observed, usually lagged, strong correlation between the temperature anomaly and the derivative of the atmospheric CO_2 concentration. It is quite plausible, and only fails to be completely convincing because it is not unique — one can find a number of related models for the carbon cycle that make more or less of the CO_2 concentration responsible for the temperature anomaly and still retain the correlation in question, as well as models that may or may not retain the correlation but that fit the data within its error bars. There is also a problem of sorts with causal order in the data — again, not something that proves the arguer or his assertion wrong, but still something to be thought about (as it implies that both the CO_2 and temperature change might have a common prior cause that is neither one of them). This approach doesn’t “deny” that warming has occurred, or deny that atmospheric CO_2 concentration increases can cause temperature increases, it merely points out that it is not certain that the CO_2 levels in our atmosphere are primarily set by anthropogenic contributions, that there are plausible alternatives not as far as I know falsified by any argument or evidence, and that it may be GW that is causing the CO_2 increase and not the other way around. There are arguments against this, note well, but IMO they are not certain or settled science — the carbon cycle is too open a question for that and a lot of science is still being done.
However, it is a lot more common for the doubt of AGW or the GHE itself to be expressed as terrible science — propositions that openly violate the first or second law of thermodynamics or “There is no way that a trace gas in our atmosphere can be responsible for warming”, for example. Well, yes there is, and the physics of it is relatively straightforward and well-known. Furthermore, one can simply look at the TOA IR spectra and see the CO_2 hole in radiation from the surface — as close as one might hope to get to direct experimental of the GHE in action. So when skeptics assert “there is no such thing as the Greenhouse Effect”, usually without anything like a well-founded theoretical argument or empirical support, they — again in my opinion — openly invite rebuttal, and I spend a fair bit of time on WUWT rebutting exactly that sort of claim. Obviously, they provide CAGW proponents with an opportunity to commit any number of logical fallacies and claim that because these skeptics have silly arguments, all skeptics are wrong. And even given my strong beliefs that the GHE is totally real and that it is not at all unreasonable that humans have contributed both to the total CO_2 concentration in the atmosphere (although quite possibly less than the AGW crowd asserts that they have contributed) and that the increased CO_2 has raised global temperatures by some amount (although quite possibly a lot less than the CAGW crowd asserts that they have raised them by), I do try to remain open to any specific argument to the contrary (such as the example given above that I could not falsify, although neither could I falsify alternatives that also worked).
The point is that one should not excuse the individuals on either side of the issue from their individual errors against reason. Some AGW opponents are quacks. I’m sorry, but there it is. Anthony is aware of this — all of the scientists on this list are. The fact that some quacks try to invent unified field theory in physics (and somehow always seem to find my email address so that they can explain it to me) doesn’t mean that physics in general or the search for a unified field theory in particular is quackery. Similarly some quacks opposing CAGW doesn’t mean CAGW is either right or wrong, or that skepticism in general is quackery, it just means more “noise” in the discussion. In general, the list is pretty good at policing this sort of thing without resorting to censorship or (usually) name calling — one reason I like to hang out here — and the level of the science presented on both sides tends to be pretty good.
Note well, some AGW proponents are just as quackers! Ask Al Gore, for example, to present actual evidence defending half of the assertions he makes in the international news. A few other names come to mind as well, especially ones that have more or less “confessed” to at the very least abhorrent scientific practices in the Climategate emails — gatekeeping, trying to get journal editors fired, concealing evidence that does not support a desired “cause”, and the extraordinary steps of trying to get scientists actually fired from faculty positions at other institutions for the sin of disagreement with their published results and public position!
Shameful. One can indeed think of some nasty adjectives to describe the individuals who engage in such inappropriate activity as if it were science.
Science, however, does not benefit from throwing around pejorative terms (even in the specific cases where one might think they are justified). It’s one thing that does bother me about this list — certain members knee-jerk assume the worst about any scientist or politician that does — in all honesty — accept the conclusion of AGW, or CAGW. They not infrequently blow off steam with a bit of name-calling (and I’m probably not entirely free from blame here — it is human nature and this is an informal venue). I obviously understand that — but again it degrades the quality of the scientific debate, which should not automatically impugn the motives of someone that disagrees with you but rather should focus on the details of the disagreement, the arguments, and above all, the data and what can legitimately be inferred from it.
In any event, I hope this makes my position here clear. To summarize — one should never use pejorative terms like “denier” in a scientific paper published in a reputable journal, not even to describe quacks who “deny” the laws of thermodynamics (whether or not they understand them). In general one should just ignore them. I would go one step further, and say that the term skeptic has no place in the debate, and is a purely political term that needlessly and incorrectly polarizes the scientific community and stifles the scientific process itself. All scientists worthy of the name are skeptics, and the best of them are the most skeptical of their own pet theories and beliefs, for it is here that we are most easily blinded the most by that bete noire of the scientific process, confirmation bias. We all see what we believe, and it is only by doubting our own beliefs that we can come to be reasonably sure of them, in time.
It is this that Feynman was attempting to convey in his wonderful speech — one can always find evidence confirming any belief if one looks for it and fails to accurately report all of the evidence that didn’t work out or confounds it. It is here that — in my opinion — climate science has horribly failed the people of the world. Whether or not the AGW hypothesis is correct — with or without the “C” — there has been a most unseemly rush to present only one side of the evidence, almost certainly to achieve certain political ends. Contrary evidence or arguments have been actively suppressed. Data and methods have been concealed as long as possible, and when finally revealed have proven to be at least — questionable — in many cases.
In the end it is this dishonesty that corrupts the scientific process, and we are paying for that corruption every day not just in climate science but in medical research, social science research, and many other scientific venues in which confirmation bias and cherrypicking of results runs rampant. In the case of climate science, the worst case bill — either way — could be in the trillions. Perhaps instead of throwing around terms like “denier” intended to shut down debate, we could open up the debate and get the science right.

June 22, 2012 7:54 pm

There is still one loose end:
Why does Dr. Paul Bain think we should apply his solutions, even if there is no problem? What is his real goal?
Dr. Paul Bain, please tell us your real goal for wanting to adopt your “solutions”
Thanks
JK

June 22, 2012 8:02 pm

In the past, when there was a big game against Duke, I’d always root for the other team.
The curses of the enemy are the sweetest of praise to the brave…;-)
But Duke will gratefully accept your rooting support, for whatever reason.
rgb

Ally E.
June 22, 2012 8:09 pm

So beautifully put. Please, we have to send this wide and far. That left me breathless. Thank you, Dr Brown.

June 22, 2012 8:10 pm

Hmmm. A Physicist who makes stuff up. Until someone does a survey of the WUWT readership no one has a clue what proportion of that readership believe in AGW.
Anthony? A clearly worded survey?
Not a bad idea, for a lazy teenager…;-)
rgb
(As for following the evidence, have you looked at Bob Carter’s presentations of the geological climatological record recently? No? How about just the temperature profile of the Holocene? Can you point to the climate optimum? Is it 2012? How many degrees C short are we? What is the size and time scale of the fluctuations of temperature? Did we begin the thermometric record right after coming out of the low point in temperature post the Younger Dryas? Do you have a “Global Climate Model” that can reproduce this thermal historical profile? Do you have a any five Global Climate Models that actually agree on the temperatures predicted for any sizable portion of the planet and that — fifteen years ago — accurately predicted the present?
— just something to think about, LT…)

Joe
June 22, 2012 8:10 pm

Dr. Brown,
We have conversed before through the comment pages of WUWT. You described the situation perfectly. As an engineer, I have been waiting for someone to point out that the high temporal frequency attributed to AGW cannot be predicted without understanding the mechanism of the fundamental temporal frequency, the mechanism that has maintained the earth’s surface to +/-10C for 2 billion years despite the sun warming during that period. You just did!

Greg House
June 22, 2012 8:15 pm

theduke says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm
You misunderstood. Badly.
===================================================
Really? Thank you for your extensive argumentation.
To me, the part “…you seem to equate the term “skeptic” with “denier of AGW”. This is silly. On WUWT most of the skeptics do not “deny” AGW” does not indicate a general opposition to the use of the term “denier” but is in fact an attempt only to draw the line between the so called “sceptics” who accept AGW and the “deniers” who do not accept AGW.

Michael Larkin
June 22, 2012 8:18 pm

Extremely well-written – a command of English as well as physics. I will keep a copy of this on my hard drive along with a very few other treasured pieces.
Dr. Brown, I hope you are secure in your job. Quite a lot of people will not like you for this. Quite a lot of people whose spite knows no bounds.

Dr Burns
June 22, 2012 8:23 pm

Fantastic. Well said Dr Brown.

June 22, 2012 8:23 pm

Those who suggest that Dr Brown should keep a low profile need to understand the importance of standing up for what needs to be said. One doesn’t do that, shrouded by anonymity. Opinions by the anonymous carry little weight away from the ballot-box.
This is important.
We put our names to things that are important in full knowledge of the risks. It is important to be able to have frank scientific discourse without personal denigration and demonization simply because our arguments run counter to the “authoritative” ones.
We are looking at a tight feedback loop: Examples of denigration suppress the voicing of dissenting opinions. Lack of strong dissent enforces the denigration of the diminishing minority.
We can break that loop in several ways; by idenitfying the bigotry (“oh, it’s just one of those deniers, so pay no heed”) that the denigration attempts to establish in the public eye, exposing it to bright light so that the public understand what is going on; and amongst other things, by standing up to be counted as one who will not tolerate such shameful practices.
Putting your name on what you say also says that you are responsible for what is said.
I understand totally the risks and consequences are too great for some people to “de-cloak”; that they’d put not only themselves at risk, but also the people and the things about which they care today. It’s a tricky thing; balancing those things against the extra leverage that one’s name, a signature, lends to one’s voice. Nevertheless, things can be done to de-help “The Cause” without voicing an opinion.

June 22, 2012 8:33 pm

Wow! Plenty of big Thanks Dr. Brown!
Brgds from Sweden
/TJ

F. Ross
June 22, 2012 8:34 pm

Excellent essay Dr. Brown
One question though: in several places you refer to “the list” or “this list” as in “…all of the scientists on this list are. …”. To what “list” are you referring?
Although I have re-read most of your original post and responses several times, it seems I missed something somewhere.

eyesonu
June 22, 2012 8:37 pm

Bill Illis says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm
Dr. Brown, I suggest you maintain a lower profile or stay behind an anomous nick since people are getting let go for speaking out. We need more scientists to speak out but there are great personal risks in doing so for now.
A paper that shows new data or a new way of looking at the science (without directly calling into question the main theory is the way to go and has the lowest personal risk). This is generally the practise that is being used now in the science.
Just saying’
==========================
Bill Ellis, I respect what you say and in the past probably good advice, but cowardice is not on the table at this point. There is change we can believe in and it’s happening now. It may be a “southern” thing but be ready for much needed change. Lead, follow, or stay out of the way. I’m with rgb. There may be others.

Luther Wu
June 22, 2012 8:40 pm

Mike Dubrasich says:
June 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm
Rosco is right. The use of the term is not about science, it is about fascism.
The users are the fascists, the fascists of science perhaps, but fascists nonetheless.
They are jackbooted thugs who seek dominion over their fellow man, through violent means including propaganda tricks like vilifying anyone who opposes them.
It’s an old trick , one we all know, one that has left a trail of horror and suffering beyond measure.
It’s not mere smarminess; it’s a cold-blooded attempt to brand free people in preparation for ruthless actions against them.
Let those who bandy the term “denier” deny that.
____________________
Indeed Sir, we have already seen some number of calls for violence from the warmist camp against those who question them (us).
It is an astonishing sight to watch them as they passionately justify their actions as necessary to the cause.
Tyranny requires a contingent of minions.

June 22, 2012 8:44 pm

Bernd Felsche and eyesonu,
Well said. The greatest credit goes to those who are first to step out in front of the crowd and lead the crowd in a new direction. CAGW and AGW are old and busted narratives. They are not true. They are based on misinformation and mendacious alarmism.
Kudos to Dr. Brown. He is one of the few who has the courage to point out that the “carbon” scare is baseless. With his example and the example of others like him, the tide will turn. It is already beginning.

Caleb
June 22, 2012 8:46 pm

Some beautiful writing. However, regarding this statement about Climate, “It is, quite literally, the most difficult problem in mathematical physics we have ever attempted to solve or understand!”
I disagree.
The most difficult problem stares us in the face every morning, when we look in the mirror.
The only thing harder to predict than the weather is humans.
Climate Science should indeed feel shame for reducing meteorology to a sort of pseudoscience, however they are rank amateurs, compared to psychologists.
Psychologists put themselves forward as scientists, able to predict human behavior, and they never get it right. Time has shown they are amazingingly wrong, and furthermore psychologists often sadly have had harmful effects on the very people they intended to help, (if they truly were altruistic, and not merely into psychology for the grants and fat paychecks.)
Not one of the drugs prescribed to my mother, in the 1960’s, is legal any longer, for they were all shown to be harmful. If ever there should have been a “doctor” sued for malpractice, it was those so-called “scientists,” for what they did to my mother, (and also my childhood.) However, psychologists seem strangely immune to malpractice lawsuits.
True scientists and true doctors went to a great deal of trouble to demonstrate that the entire concept of manic-depressive behavior was full of flaws. The result? The term “manic-depressive” was no longer used. However the term “bi-polar” was used to continue a scam that profited off ordinary women’s mood-swings.
Sound familiar? A bit like the term “Global Warming” being debunked, due to the hard work of true scientists, only to be replaced by the term “Climate Change?” The same game with a different name? I can only suppose some can’t afford to lose the profits of a scam, even when they are proven to be false profits.
Oddly, this low sort of money-grubbing behavior is the easiest side of human nature to predict. Once people sink to that low level, other people see right through them. Even an uneducated rube rolls his eyes, watching how some Climate Scientists behave.
What is completely impossible to predict, in humans, are those occasions when they amaze you, and make it seem possible that the statement, “There is a little bit of God in every man,” might be a truth.
Over and over histories and biographies show us men and mankind rising from the most oppressed and obscure places and, despite all odds, doing great deeds of kindness, defeating greed with generosity, fear with bravery, and lust with purity.
Look for the nation of Spain in an atlas of 1475, and it didn’t even exist. A quarter century later, according to the Pope, Spain had rights to half the world. Or look at the weak nation of England in 1600, and attempt to see how the sun would never set on its empire, at a later date. Or look at the thirteen colonies in 1775, and try to imagine they could even fend for themselves, let alone shock and awe anyone else. Or look at the scattered Navajo clans drifting across the northern reaches of New Spain in 1800, and attempt to dream they’d ever be America’s most populous Native American tribe, owning lands larger than West Virginia.
Or look at the fallen state of California in October, 2006. It was an obviously doomed state, determined to sink to total ruin. And then look at one lone individual of that state, named A. Watts, deciding, “I think I’ll start a website.” What hope could a lone soul like that have of countering the massive weight of blithering, bureaucratic idiots?
The answer, according to those who judge humans by their low behavior, is, “none.” This answer is wrong, but sadly it makes up the morbid shadows where the so-called “science” of both Psychology and Climate Science spends all its time trudging.
They who base their world-view on shadows will see all the dark they trust vanish, when a single soul exposes their dark to a mere candle’s light.

June 22, 2012 8:49 pm

Reblogged this on TaJnB | TheAverageJoeNewsBlogg and commented:
Editor’s Note: Anyone fed up with the lack of scientific evidence for alarmist anthropogenic global warming are now targets for being labeled a “denier”, like a “holocaust denier”.

June 22, 2012 8:50 pm

Thank you Dr. Brown! Well said!

June 22, 2012 8:51 pm

That piece was sublime. Just sublime. Thank you.

Gunga Din
June 22, 2012 8:52 pm

Personally, the “Denier” label dosen’t bother me, but my background has no connection to what the Nazis did to the Jews beyond having known an Italian POW that was in Dachau. What I mean is the term doen’t invoke the emotional response from me that it is obviously meant to invoke. I don’t think the term effectively connects denying that atrocity of WW2 with honestly questioning Hansen’s and Mann’s conclusions. I expect such “button pushing” from the MSM. The atrocity is that it was prominent in what is supposed to a nonemotional scientific journal. (PS Was the article “peer-reviewed”?)

June 22, 2012 8:55 pm

There is evidence for temperature rises in the geological past of similar rates upward to what we are seeing now. They were extinction events. If civilizations had existed at the time they would have been civilization destroying events.
Piffle. Again, I refer you to Bob Carter’s presentations. Or the openly accepted curves of Holocene temperatures or the ending of the ice age, when fluctuations of multiple degrees occurred on decadal timescales. I refer you to the fact that it isn’t the rate of change of temperature that is important — even though the rate of change over the 30+ years of reliable global temperature measurement is modest indeed — it is the temperature itself, and for the bulk of the last 200 million years the temperature on Earth was considerably warmer, on average, than it is right now.
We are in an ice age. In a narrow, fragile, cooling interglacial in an ice age. We have four or five degrees centigrade to go just to get back to the temperatures that prevailed 3 million years ago before the ice age began. The entire interval of forty or fifty years where you find the temperature increase “alarming” wouldn’t even register in most of the proxies for geological temperature — they can’t show temperature increases on anything as fine as a decadal timescale. We can only manage it within the last 20 Ky or so because we have access to relatively pristine, unmixed ice core data, and even that gets all muddy and questionable as you go back in time.
It is precisely this that I was referring to when I pointed out that the only difference between the climate record of the last 500 years and that of the 500 years before it or the last 10,000 years before it is that we are living now, and every experience is a peak experience in our lifetimes. Is it stormier? Not objectively, but it is after Al Gore gets through with it and is never corrected on the news. Is it wetter or drier? It is always wetter or drier somewhere, so sure, but it isn’t on average, not in any statistically significant way. Yet we hear nothing but “climate change” whenever there is a drought. The Younger Dryas — there was a drought. The drought in the US in the 1600s that wiped out a number of colonies (especially in NC and VA) — there was a drought — seven years long with almost no rain! But there was no significant anthropogenic CO_2, and not many people lived through it and recorded it. The Dust Bowl — yet another drought. Drought killed millions of people in India in the middle of the last century — before CO_2 induced “climate change”. But if there is anything like a drought today, with every news camera in the world ready to beam it straight into our minds, that is due to climate change and Our Fault.
You like evidence? Then I suggest you look at some actual evidence. It has been warmer — much warmer. There has been as much or more CO_2 in the air. It has warmed — and cooled — more rapidly. There isn’t a shred of evidence for a significantly warmer third stable phase for the Earth — not in the geological record — to which the climate can devolve through a “tipping point”. There is ample evidence of a much colder second phase that is in fact the dominant phase, much more likely and stable than the current interglacial.
Finally, none of the empirical evidence directly supports a contention that the Earth’s temperature will increase by more than 1-2 C over the rest of the century, and even this is a stretch. The only “evidence” that this will happen comes from Global Climate Models that are beaten by random chance when it comes to predicting temperature changes on a global basis, and that utterly failed fifteen years ago to predict the current stagnation in temperature in the face of CO_2 increase.
If you give up the idea that CO_2 is necessarily the Devil in a new world religion, and open up your mind to the possibility that there might be other confounding explanations that at least contributed to the relatively rapid temperature increase in the 80s and 90s (such as two back-to–back solar maxima that peaked out the 20th century and by some measures, the last 9000 years) and consider the further possibility that the stabilization of the UAH lower troposphere temperature might — only might — reflect the fact that solar cycle 24 is the lowest in a century, that there has been a climatologically significant shift in both planetary albedo and stratospheric water vapor concentration, and that things might be a bit more complicated than the existing climate models allow for, then perhaps you could restore your scientific objectivity to the extent that your can permit yourself to doubt the CAGW conclusion and meditate for just a bit on the terrible costs associated with it either way — costs that are not possible, but certain if we panic and spend trillions of dollars to avoid a disaster that is itself far from certain.
I repeat — predicting the global climate a mere decade from now is the most difficult problem in mathematical physics the world has ever undertaken, and we can’t do it yet! Yet we are blithely making hundred-billion-dollar down payments on the outcomes of toy models that don’t work for as little as ten years into the future. If you disagree — show me all the model computations that were done in the 90s that predicted that the lower troposphere temperature in 2012 would be a few tenths of a degree C above the 30+ year mean (or that even agreed!). I’m not talking about whether or not it is warming or cooling or things like that which are a function of cherrypicked starting or ending points for a trend fit — I’m talking about predictions compared to current temperatures.
Now make the GCMs predict the last 20,000 years of temperatures, or hell, just the last 2000. Hmmm, hard problem.
It is also interesting how you don’t actually address much of what I say. Indeed, you seem to want to support the idea that I’m a “denier”, or am somehow being dishonest. Is your next ploy going to be to accuse me of being paid off by giant oil companies?
So let me ask you straight up, Mr. Lazy “Teen-ager”: What do you think of the use of the term “denier” in a reasoned debate on climate change in a major scientific journal? Is it justified? What is the purpose of using a derogatory term intended to stifle debate and devalue the debater, to render them unworthy of even being heard before one hears them, in a forum that is supposed to be almost religiously objective? Is this your idea of good science? Is it your reasoned opinion that it is not possible to be reasonable and be skeptical of CAGW?
I’d like to hear it straight out from you. Do you think that anyone that disagrees with your obvious beliefs on the matter ought to be dismissed without a hearing because there is no possible doubt that your beliefs are correct? That would certainly show us all where you stand, would it not?
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cba
June 22, 2012 8:56 pm

Robert,
have you found any high value climate sensitivity papers among the multitude which actually include albedo as anything but an assumed constant?

June 22, 2012 8:56 pm

“What they challenge is the catastrophic label and the alleged magnitude of the projected warming on a doubling of CO_2”
Actually, not only do I deny that AGW exists at all, but I also content that doubling CO2 will have no detectable effect on our climate, as no gas can warm the atmosphere.
It is during the night that CO2 will help the atmosphere cool as it and water vapor convert atmospheric heat to IR to be lost to space. During the day any IR absorbed is almost instantly re-emitted, very little is converted to heat, so that’s meaningless—and IR sent downward WILL NOT be absorbed or cause any heating of the surface or subsequently the atmosphere.

Gunga Din
June 22, 2012 9:06 pm

LazyTeenager says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm
“Why am I a skeptic? Because I recognize the true degree of our ignorance in addressing this supremely difficult problem, while at the same time as a mere citizen I weigh civilization and its benefits against draconian energy austerity on the basis of no actual evidence that global climate is in any way behaving unusually on a geological time scale.
For shame.”
————–
no actual evidence —– is code for —— I am ignoring the evidence I don’t like.
There is evidence for temperature rises in the geological past of similar rates upward to what we are seeing now. They were extinction events. If civilizations had existed at the time they would have been civilization destroying events.
For shame that you close your eyes whenever evidence appears.
It’s not skepticism. It’s prejudice.
===========================================================
WTF!!!!!
So, what you just said is that past extinction events would have been Man’s fault if Man had been here so let’s not cause another one that Man hadn’t caused in the first place?!?! And prejudice is to blame?!???!
Have you been smoking to much CO2?

theduke
June 22, 2012 9:10 pm

Greg House at 8:15 pm: Dr. Brown responded at 7:52 pm and confirmed my assertion in a lengthy and thoughtful response.

TimC
June 22, 2012 9:12 pm

Dr Brown said: “The problem with this … abhorrent use of a pejorative descriptor to devalue the arguers of alternative points of view rather than their arguments at the political and social level — is that it is as close to absolute evil in social and public discourse as it is possible to get.”
While I of course accept his right to this (somewhat rococo) point of view, I would have thought that expressions such as “absolute evil in social and public discourse” are a little excessive as applying to something not much more significant than a “you called me a nasty name” children’s playground row.
Wouldn’t it be better just to ignore the silly labels and get on with the mission?

June 22, 2012 9:19 pm

Thank you Dr. Brown. I feel a lot better about being a skeptic. Your explanation of the logic behind our skeptical conclusions was perfectly stated. You just became one of my heroes.

davidmhoffer
June 22, 2012 9:24 pm

TimC;
I would have thought that expressions such as “absolute evil in social and public discourse” are a little excessive >>>>
The strategy of labelling contrary opinion in the manner that Dr Brown is protesting has been used many times before in history, and has presaged the darkest chapters in the history of man’s inhumanity to man. Those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it. Sadly, should there be enough of those, the rest of us are condemned to repeat it with them.

June 22, 2012 9:27 pm

Thank you Dr. Brown for a civilized retort. There is however a more accurate, though less civilized retort. It is: We know the AGW crowd for what they are. They may have been scientists but by promoting conclusions reached from secret data they no longer merit that term. They seek money and power and nothing else. It really is that simple.

Katherine
June 22, 2012 9:31 pm

What an elegantly explicated response. Thank you, Dr. Brown.
As a skeptic, I question not only the C in CAGW, but also the G in AGW. Certainly, UHI and land-use changes have probably resulted in localized heating, but that’s a long way from a global effect.

June 22, 2012 9:37 pm

Dr. Brown, I suggest you maintain a lower profile or stay behind an anomous nick since people are getting let go for speaking out. We need more scientists to speak out but there are great personal risks in doing so for now.
Perhaps I’m a Polyanna, but I think that those risks are highly exaggerated. Besides, if I get fired I’ll just have to make money instead. Since I’ve got a startup company going that I really should be working on full time, the end result would probably be to force me to get rich quicker (assuming I’m lucky enough to succeed). And in the meantime — what is the virtue of my words if I do not speak them in my own name? Do you think I’m ashamed of them, or fearful? They are my honest beliefs, and I think that they are not entirely without foundation (which is why I articulate them).
I wasn’t kidding — I’m only interested in the truth here, not an “anti-CAGW” agenda or “pro-CAGW” agenda. If you look around on the threads on this list, I spend more actual time bashing bad anti-GHE or anti-CAGW science than I do bashing specific problems with the CAGW argument. I’m not a warmist, luke-warmist, coldist, or anything-ist. I’m happy to be convinced of anything but I won’t be convinced by bullshit statistics or bad physics. And I’m moderately proficient at statistics, especially certain kinds of modelling, and moderately proficient at physics (good enough to teach it without lecture notes and write textbooks in it). Oh, and calculus, and I’m a computer geek, and a few other things. So I don’t think I actually qualify as an idiot, and after reading Taleb’s Black Swan book (which I highly recommend) recently I hope not to be a sucker.
And that’s what a whole lot of this debate is all about. It has been exaggerated beyond all reasonable measure, causing a lot of people to take sucker bets on the future. The NC sea rise issue recently discussed as a classic example.
Sea level rise is currently measured to be at most 3 mm/year, and historical measurements show that the sea level oscillates on a multi-decadal timescale with long term behavior that is remarkably consistent and nearly periodic (surely with a non-flat fourier transform with some peaks). If anything, the rate of increase is decreasing. 3 mm/year, extrapolated for 88 years, works out to a sea level increase of just over ten inches by the year 2100, assuming that the rate does not decrease as it historically has done see previous remark about fairly reliable measurements over the last 100 years.
Yet a bill was being pushed trying to get NC to plan for a thirty nine inch increase in sea level by the year 2000. Since the current rate is only at most 3 mm/year, and there is no good reason to think it will suddenly change, this is an increase of well over a centimeter per year over most of that interval. Why? Because some model predicts it!
This, my friends, is a sucker bet. First of all, even at a centimeter a year there is still plenty of time before it rises enough to be a problem — four inches or so in a decade. Yet we are asked to spend money and time now, when there literally isn’t a hint of a problem in the (beloved of lazy “teenagers” who probably aren’t) empirical data.
Why?
Follow the money and one can probably find out. But more importantly, it reflects a “follow the mindshare” problem — we have lost all contact with common sense when people who know better than to trust the weather prediction in their newspaper a week in advance are trusting a weather prediction for 100 years from now enough to invest enormous amounts of money that could just as easily be spent later, when it actually “rains” and the sea level begins to rise. Or it doesn’t. In which case we can be glad we didn’t panic and waste all of that money doing nothing useful.
But every single investment like this that does get made makes it more difficult to turn away from the sucker bet. To do so requires admitting that you were a sucker. If they’d gotten the public to buy into this one, what would have been next? California style regulation of power plants? Doubling of the costs of NC electricity? One cannot be certain that the ongoing depression in California is due to the fact that energy costs almost twice what it should there, largely because they are forced to build large, expensive renewable generating facilities and pay their “Carbon Taxes”, but it certainly does seem plausible. The world is cruel to suckers.
So just as much as I’m interested in learning the science and critically examining the arguments on all sides, I’m interested in not being taken for a ride, especially not a ride in untimely haste. In twenty years, one won’t have to subsidize solar generation of electricity, because Moore’s Law will have dropped the price of solar panels and the associated support hardware to where photovoltaic-generated electricity on individual rooftops, backfed into the grid when there is a surplus, will produce a sound ROI on a decadal timescale even for ordinary citizens. One doesn’t have to panic in the meantime, this is nearly certain if the history of the semiconductor industry is any basis at all for a prediction. In fifty years we will IMO be well on the downhill slope for CO_2 production without doing anything but pursuing our local economic best interest — fossil fuels may or may not be the devil, but they are difficult to obtain and expensive and cannot sustain a steady-state civilization.
In the meantime, even the proponents of CAGW agree that the “Carbon Trading” measures currently undertaken won’t make the slightest bit of difference in global temperatures by the end of the century. To make a difference one would pretty much have to end civilization as we know it now, and they know that that will be a very tough sell. Yet they persist in selling it, and selling it as if it is an emergency — give us your money, lots of it, it is an emergency.
I smell — as do many others — another sucker bet.
And if we really took the CAGW threat from CO_2 seriously, and don’t want to end human civilization, why aren’t we building the hell out of nuclear power plants? No CO_2, plenty of fuel and low costs for at least the next century, long enough to smoothly and painlessly transition largely to solar and hope for thermonuclear fusion and the golden age of man. Is it because it isn’t about the CO_2 at all?
If not, the EPA and DOE can easily convince me. Start building nukes, fast. Thorium nukes for a preference (harder to make bombs). Everywhere. Regulate the hell out of them, but build them. Show us that you take the risk seriously, and that you don’t just want to shut down civilization by making energy too expensive to use.
What, no takers?
A sucker bet.
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June 22, 2012 9:47 pm

LazyTeenager spouted (at June 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm)
“…Personally I am happy to insult all of you because a real skeptic follows the evidence no matter if it’s like able or not. I’m convinced that no matter how much evidence piles up the great majority of you are too stubborn to change your minds and are therefore pretend skeptics…”
Wow.
“…Personally I am happy to insult all of you…”
Proves you’ve lost the battle. Rather than discuss the science and the data, you feel a need to insult your critics. If the “D” word doesn’t work, you’ll be like Dr. Bain and try to find an “alternative label”.
“…a real skeptic follows the evidence no matter if it’s like able or not…”
And, a real scientist isn’t afraid to show the results of their experiments, no matter if it’s likable or not. They’re glad to show their data to other scientists, even those outside their field – that way the science advances.
“…I’m convinced that no matter how much evidence piles up the great majority of you are too stubborn to change your minds…”
You’re right there, the evidence HAS been piling up – Yamal, strip-bark bristlecone pines, upside-down Tiljander, Himalayan glaciers, altered temperature datasets – and each one shows why we’re right NOT to change our minds. We’re still waiting for REAL evidence.
“…pretend skeptics…”
This must be one of the “alternative labels” that some are looking for. Let’s see if this one sticks.

June 22, 2012 9:58 pm

Thank you Dr. Brown for a civilized retort. There is however a more accurate, though less civilized retort. It is: We know the AGW crowd for what they are. They may have been scientists but by promoting conclusions reached from secret data they no longer merit that term. They seek money and power and nothing else. It really is that simple.
Not all of them. Maybe not even most of them. You do them, and science, a disservice by assuming that they are necessarily dishonest in their beliefs. I have no difficulty whatsoever in thinking that many of my colleagues believe in AGW in the very best of faith, and I sincerely hope that they accord to me a similar respect for my sincerity in doubting it. It is this common civility that is lacking in the debate as represented by the name-calling term “denier”.
Yes, there may be some specific scientists who have been and continue to be less than honest, but their biggest problem is that they are not being honest with themselves, they are allowing a desire to pursue a conclusion they believe in honestly enough to overwhelm their objectivity when it comes to doing the science. This sort of thing is sadly apparent when every “correction” made to GISS seems to lower past temperatures (where it is difficult to imagine an objective basis for doing so or an unbiased alteration that wouldn’t increase or decrease past temperatures by about the same amount) and not infrequently raises contemporary ones, as if we are somehow overestimating the UHI effect in ever-growing cities and airports.
But in the long run this won’t matter. Objectively, they are either correct or they aren’t. Objectively, the future will either play out as they predict or it won’t. They are betting a lot — their careers, their reputations, their honor — on their beliefs, and if it doesn’t hurry up and warm some more quite soon they are going to lose.
And it probably will, for a short while. We seem to be passing into El Nino, which typically warms, and we are approaching the wimpy peak of solar cycle 24 (such as it is).
No, the place I have trouble with isn’t (most of) the actual scientists or their publications, it is the IPCC. The scientists in private and in print are a lot more cautious about their conclusions than the AR reports have ever been. There is a lot of well-documented insight in WUWT threads as to just how unbiased language and conclusions have consistently been deleted in favor of biased ones, sometimes to the horror of the very authors of the papers used in the reports. The politicization of the science, its subordination to a secondary goal, that’s the shocking departure from the path of scientific honesty described by Feynman. But I sometimes think that it has happened almost in spite of many of even the supporters of the CAGW hypothesis — those wise enough to recognize the real probable scientific uncertainty of many of the legs upon which it stands — where they are somehow talked out of expressing their actual reservations in the AR reports, where they are less reserved in private and in the literature. Where the public, needless to say, can’t hear them.
rgb

June 22, 2012 9:58 pm

“The Earth’s climate is manifestly, empirically bistable, with a warm phase and cold phase, and the cold phase is both more likely and more stable.” Was this written as intended? Or do I just have an aversion to shivering?

June 22, 2012 10:01 pm

Just a slight correction to an otherwise excellent post, Dr. Brown: You mention that “Sea level rise is currently measured to be at most 3 mm/year, …” when in fact tide gauges ubiquitously struggle to measure half that rise almost everywhere. You would be correct in saying “Sea-Level rise is currently adjusted in multiple ways to report (not measure) a 3mm annual rise.”
I KNOW you are aware of this too – just helps to say it once per hour to whomever will deign to show a desire to become educated!

Aynsley Kellow
June 22, 2012 10:01 pm

Robert Brown,
Bravo, Sir!
The ‘Denier’ meme was a deliberate choice by those who wished to attack Lomborg (in a review in Nature, it should be noted, so the journal has ‘form’) and then quite deliberately chosen by activists who thought using the term ‘sceptic’ pejoratively (it should be a badge of honour for any scientist!) was not strong enough.
I discuss the beginning of this in my book ‘Science and Public Policy’:
‘Pimm and Harvey also resorted to the tactic of likening Lomborg to a
Holocaust denier in pointing to the virtual nature of most of the species
supposedly becoming extinct annually:
‘ “The text employs the strategy of those who, for example, argue that gay men
aren’t dying of AIDS,that Jews weren’t singled out by the Nazis for extermina-
tion,and so on.‘Name those who have died!’demands a hypothetical critic,who
then scorns the discrepancy between those few we know by name and the
unnamed millions we infer.”
‘This is a fallacious argument. While any individual would be hard-pressed
to name more than a few Holocaust victims, the identities of the over-
whelming majority of them areknown, or were known by those who sur-
vived.They had lives,families,birth records,bank accounts,friends,and so
on.There is copious evidence that they existed and that they suffered at the
hands ofthe Nazis.With claims by Norman Myers or Edward Wilson that
40000 species supposedly become extinct every year, we have no strong
evidence that they exist, or that they have ever existed, or ceased to exist,
outside a mathematical model relating species and area.
‘What was more disconcerting was that IPCC Chairman Rajendra
Pachauri later likened Bjorn Lomborg to Adoph Hitler in the Danish news-
paper Jyllandsposten on 21 April 2004.’

ferd berple
June 22, 2012 10:02 pm

LazyTeenager says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm
I’m convinced that no matter how much evidence piles up the great majority
==============
So you are acting on your beliefs, not on the evidence.
There is only one test in science that has any validity. Reliably predict something that is hard to predict. The biggest prediction of climate science, accelerated warming with continued emissions scored a big fat F.
As we have learned, only two climate models show any better skill than any coin you have in your pocket. Hundreds of millions of dollars poured down the drain on meaningless navel gazing.
Millions of people are dying each year from ignorance, poverty, dirty water, dirty air, cancer, malaria, TB, HIV, etc., etc., etc., because the funds have dried up. If you are not studying climate science, there is no money.
How many people die each year from global warming? Tens of thousands of people are being killed needlessly each year by global warming research. Not by global warming itself, but by global warming research.
The money we should be spending to prevent the easily preventable deaths is instead begin squandered on climate research. History will mark this diversion of funds as a crime against humanity and future generations will wonder how we could have been so stupid, so driven by fear and greed that we allowed it.

GeoLurking
June 22, 2012 10:11 pm

LazyTeenager says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm
There is evidence for temperature rises in the geological past of similar rates upward to what we are seeing now. They were extinction events.”
I guess you shouldn’t have left the SUV running… several thousand years ago.

June 22, 2012 10:15 pm

As a skeptic, I question not only the C in CAGW, but also the G in AGW. Certainly, UHI and land-use changes have probably resulted in localized heating, but that’s a long way from a global effect.
A valid point — I too believe in local warming even more than I believe in global warming — but…
The UAH dataset is truly global, and shows at least a 30 year slight warming trend. The best-guess climate reconstructions — not MBH, but any of the many that were extant pre-Mann and hockey stick, even in the IPCC reports, all of which still had the MWP and LIA and were really (IMO) unbiased do show fairly systematic warming over the 20th century, with a bobble down from the late 40’s through the early to mid 70s. This latter record, while not as reliable as UAH lower troposphere, I find pretty believable.
Paradoxically — and where I think we agree, and I’m almost certain Anthony would agree — the land record becomes somewhat less reliable in the latter part of the 20th century, because the world economy was booming, weather stations were proliferating, and the weather stations upon which much of the most recent temperature estimates have been made have been corrupted by poor siting, local sources of heat, blankets of CO_2 and H2O from nearby dwellings and “civlization” — UHI and then some. IIRC, there are some impressive studies out there of stations (in California?) far from UHI corruption that suggest that they only show a small fraction of the “warming” that the urban sites show. And at best, one is still left with only a highly biased sample of sites from high population density areas of some moderate fraction of the land area of the planet, when 70% of the planet is water and SSTs are even worse as far as being reliably known in the past.
All of this has changed with UAH LTT and — more recently — with ARGO, although the latter will take some time to settle out and tell a coherent story. The UAH baseline is pitifully short; ARGO is almost non-existent. In 20-40 years (when I’m either very old or dead) we’ll maybe know. In the meantime, I think it most plausible that there has been modest warming for the last 150 or so years, with some small fraction of the total — 0.3 to 0.5 C out of perhaps 1.5 C — attributable to CO_2. It is what caused the rest of the warming that is the interesting question, the elephant in the room. Just as it is what caused the systematic 2-3 C peak to peak fluctuations in temperature across most of the Holocene (warmest of the Holocene Otimum to coldest of the LIA) that is the real undiscussed elephant in the GW discussions. Until you know what caused (and can predict and explain) the large fluctuations and trends, how can you reliably determine what fraction of the rest is attributable to ACO_2? And until one has not a carbon cycle model that works — many work — but a carbon cycle that works and can be proven relative to the others that work in some way, we won’t even reliably know how much of the atmospheric CO_2 is “anthropogenic” versus how much is there due to a thermal shift in the properties of the many large sources and sinks — notably the ocean and soil — that buffer atmospheric CO_2 and establish the equilibrium concentration in the first place.
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bj
June 22, 2012 10:16 pm

and data analysis that is every bit as scientifically valid as that used to support larger estimates, often obtaining numbers that are in better agreement with observation.
Actually, this bit is simply wrong, as it pertains to CLIMATE science. It is the opinion of a physicist of course… and that brings into play the “arrogance of physicists”…
http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/the_arrogance_of_physicists
One has to consider too, that while the temperatures we are experiencing are not remarkable for the PLANET, our civilization needs to survive a while longer before we can get access to any others, or to fully control the climate on this one. Right now we are doing an excellent job of killing ourselves by accident, as without our civilization, our population will be cut to a tenth of what is currently supportable… if that.
“There is absolutely no evidence in this historical record of a third stable warm phase”
No, and there is no historical precedent for the CO2 content being pushed up at this rate, 50 TIMES faster than any known natural process and replacing in 150 years the CO2 sequestered over the span of 3-4 MILLION years. We are in fact, in utterly unknown territory. That there is no historical precedent is no surprise. We aren’t going to see the next glaciation Dr Brown, the possibility of that happening is finished. We are very likely going to see ourselves lifted OUT of this “Ice Age” purely on the basis of what we have done SO FAR… as there were no periodic glaciations 3-4 million years ago… the real question is now how fast and how far we will drive the climate out of the zone IN WHICH OUR CIVILIZATION EVOLVED.
“We do not understand the forces that set the baseline “thermostat” for the Earth before any modulation due to anthropogenic CO_2,”
Speaking for yourself. If you actually studied Climate Science instead of forming an opinion based solely on your understanding of physics, and the opinions of people who are lying to you about (among other things) the skill of the models to predict what will happen and what HAS happened.
Calling you names? No need. I don’t actually know why you think what you think. It would be interesting to find out, but it very clearly is NOT the result of honest investigation of the facts around this debate. That idea was given the lie by several of the errors you have embraced.
You have made it clear that you are incapable of doing even the simplest risk analysis with respect to this experiment we are conducting with the climate of the only habitable planet we can reach.

We all live in Bhopal now. You, and Anthony Watts, and all your libertarian followers of this antiscience have seen to that.

bj
June 22, 2012 10:19 pm

Something went wrong with this link

Sorry

ferd berple
June 22, 2012 10:20 pm

Before the world went crazy, pouring money down the drain on climate forecasting, we managed to eradicate smallpox and polio. The third most deadly disease on the planet, malaria was eradicated from the developed world, but once we were safe we banned this technology. As a result malaria continued to ravage the third world.
For a very small fraction of what we spend each year on climate science we could eliminate malaria worldwide. Erase this scourge from the planet. The real deniers are those that fail to see this simple truth. The money we spent on climate science today is money not being spend somewhere else. Climate science is killing far more people than it saves.

June 22, 2012 10:26 pm

Just a slight correction to an otherwise excellent post, Dr. Brown: You mention that “Sea level rise is currently measured to be at most 3 mm/year, …” when in fact tide gauges ubiquitously struggle to measure half that rise almost everywhere. You would be correct in saying “Sea-Level rise is currently adjusted in multiple ways to report (not measure) a 3mm annual rise.”
Here I must respectfully disagree.
http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
I have no good reason to doubt the satellite data, do you?
Or if you prefer:
http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2009/07/22/sea-level-rise-an-update-shows-a-slowdown/
See especially Figure 3, that includes both satellite and tide gauge results (and shows that they don’t crazy disagree). SLR varies considerably with fourier components (eyeballing) around 16y and 11y and with a MEAN of around 2 mm a year over the last century. These are gauge averages in the latter case, obviously. Overall it has mostly grown, but rarely been negative. Currently we are around 3mm/year and descending.
This makes some sense if in fact SSTs are stable to falling; a large part (IIRC, by far the larger part) of SLR comes from thermal expansion of the water, not “melting glaciers”. Also one has to melt a helluva lotta ice — none of it floating sea ice formed by freezing ocean water in the first place — to raise sea level a sliver. There are a lot of square meters of ocean surface.
rgb

June 22, 2012 10:29 pm

Christopher Hanley says:

In a ghastly irony, the ‘denier’ label serves a similar purpose to the yellow star, but not with the same dire consequences of course.

I hope you understand from the 10:10 video, that the only reason for the lack of the same dire consequences is that they don’t (yet) have the power to do so.

June 22, 2012 10:31 pm

David Thomas

“The Earth’s climate is manifestly, empirically bistable, with a warm phase and cold phase, and the cold phase is both more likely and more stable.” Was this written as intended? Or do I just have an aversion to shivering?

It’s quite “nippy” here in SW Western Australia unless. Hard to keep the inside of the house warmer than 14°C during the day.
One can observe from the various warming and cooling cycles that warming is slower than cooling. i.e. the “gain” of the “climate system” response is biased to cooling. Prevalence of glacial periods over the past million years shows that it’s been cold longer than it has been warm.
Cooling isn’t all bad. It’ll mean more polar bears and therefore cheaper furs to stay warm. 😉

gallopingcamel
June 22, 2012 10:31 pm

Robert,
You are a great writer but you have my respect for having the courage of your convictions. Flanked as you are by the Nicholas School of the Enviroment with luminaries such as William Chameides who make presentations to the US congress you are in opposition to powerful forces at Duke university. They will not have the integrity to debate you but they will try to put the skids under you.
One of my greatest regrets after retiring from the Duke university physics department ten years ago is my failure to get to know you better.

Steve Garcia
June 22, 2012 10:35 pm

@Jimbo June 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm:

I doubt anyone could have said it any better. Jo Nova wrote a stinging letter to Bain which is well worth a read. Here is an extract.

…………..The evidence for anthropogenic global warming is overwhelming, so the observations they deny must be written up many times in the peer review literature, right? After five years of study I am still not sure which instrument has made these key observations. Do deniers deny weather balloon results, or satellite data, or ice cores?
When you find this paper and the measurements, it will convince many of the key denier leaders.

That is EXACTLY what I did when I first got into this subject. I was neither a proponent or skeptic. I had no reason to be either. I came in out of curiosity, to find that paper Joanna is talking about. With all the work that one would assume was done, I expected that paper to exist. I fully expected a paper that isolated human factors as the only remaining cause of the warming that seemed to be occurring.
Not finding that paper (I am still looking for it) was my first step to being a skeptic. HOW could anyone assign cause when all the other factors had not then been falsified and thus eliminated?
I am not “a denier leader,” but if that paper existed I would be convinced. They could have had me cheap at the beginning. But not now. Now I would definitely (as Joanna went on to say) demand to see the data, and to see all the processing steps the data underwent, ans would want the data and processing to pass a pretty strict vetting.
The CAGW proponents don’t give a damn about whether I have approved of their work. But they should. As their failings and motivations and tactics have come to light, there are more and more of me out there. They are losing us, a few at a time – and they have no one to blame but themselves.
They are only using the term ‘denier’ because they don’t have the science behind them. And they know it. It is why Steve McIntyre scared the bejeezus out of them, precipitating Climategate. Steve M is Denier Zero, the single, lone skeptic who went viral.
Steve Garcia
P.S. It is a bit unwieldy at points, but Robert Brown’s comments explain our position as well as any I’ve seen. That position is not skeptical any more than it should/would be in any scientific inquiry. There is no skeptical argument that has been made that should not have been considered preemptively by the CAGW scientists themselves and put into writing in their papers. The lack of such self-vetting in itself argues that due diligence has not been done. How could they believe that no one would challenge them eventually on such weak and un-solid work? Did they think that were so far ahead of the curve that no one else but themselves could possibly understand any of it?
But – and this is rather central – all their work was not about collecting evidence or data themselves, but about statistically processing data others had accumulated, and they didn’t know that the world is full of statisticians who could ALL understand what they were doing? If it wasn’t Steve M, then eventually some other statistician would have questioned it all.
They had put themselves out on a limb, and the more they fudged/budged/hid/cherry-picked, then the more they were cutting off that limb. No one forced them to do that (except possibly Michael Mann). They could easily have done solid work. When all is said and done, the remaining residual question will be, “Why didn’t they do due diligence?”
And the answer will come back: hubris, money and careers.
They are scared out of their gourds right now that those careers could end at any time. There are still time bombs out there in the emails. And they know it.

gallopingcamel
June 22, 2012 10:45 pm

Robert,
On a positive note it seems likely that my contract to deliver courses in North Carolina will be re-instated so I look forward to visiting you in September.

June 22, 2012 10:57 pm

LazyTeenager says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm
There is evidence for temperature rises in the geological past of similar rates upward to what we are seeing now. They were extinction events.

Uh, I think you’re looking at the graph upside down.

Lady in Red
June 22, 2012 11:00 pm

I chuckle at the brilliance of so many of these “citizen scientists” as the Royal Society put it in their data sharing report who “ask tough and illuminating questions, exposing important errors and elisions…” I thought I’d hit ’em all: Curry, McIntyre, Mosher, Jeff Id, Lucia, Bishop Hill, Ooh, another dozen or so, I think.
I’ve been so ashamed of climate science, watching it skid slowly into Lysenko-like disrepute for so very long now.
Now, brilliant Robert G. Brown. Whew! Imagine an evening spent with a mind like that!
There may be a new dawn breaking for climate science, a truth which (short term; long term is, of course assured), like a plant breaking through cracks in concrete, wins, exposing the political agenda of governments and so-called climate scientists. (I wonder what it’s like to be trained as a “climate scientist” today. You don’t really have to know anything at all? You just have to believe in “green?”)
I forwarded RGB’s explosion on to several I know in the field, ones who won’t deign to read the blogs (“…like the folk in the waiting room telling the doctor what to do…”), but who, I suspect, still have twitching bones of honesty and integrity, somewhere.
Sometimes I’m amazed I can still be amazed. …Lady in Red

Kurt in Switzerland
June 22, 2012 11:02 pm

Precisely why proponents of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming refuse to debate. History will not be kind to this delusional movement.
Kurt in Switzerland

corio37
June 22, 2012 11:08 pm

It doesn’t really matter whether AGW is true or false, you still damage your credibility by insulting your opponents. If I wrote a paper about CIA propaganda during the Cold War, and referred to the other side as “Commie rats” — not once, but FORTY-EIGHT times — I would hope for my own sake and the sake of the publication that I was submitting it to that a reviewer would catch it and the Editor would privately let me know it wasn’t acceptable. As it is the paper sends a clear message: “Send us all the mud you can scoop up, and we’ll fling it for you!”

TimC
June 22, 2012 11:08 pm

davidmhoffer said “The strategy of labelling contrary opinion in the manner that Dr Brown is protesting has been used many times before in history, and has presaged the darkest chapters in the history of man’s inhumanity to man.”
While slightly OT, I’m afraid I disagree. IMHO the “darkest chapters in the history of man’s inhumanity to man” have almost invariably been due to some form of tribalism (racism, ethnicity – call it what you will) as the true source of the inhumanity.
My contention is that for people to enjoy true freedom they must by definition have freedom of speech. Dr Brown apparently seeks to stop others using the label “denier”. I suggest this is misconceived – the label is better just ignored (or perhaps treated as equivalent to “dissenter”, which seems to have a certain badge of honour about it). I agree with Voltaire’s words: “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Save for that I thought many of Dr Brown’s points were excellently made – but not his conclusion.

June 22, 2012 11:12 pm

“The Earth’s climate is manifestly, empirically bistable, with a warm phase and cold phase, and the cold phase is both more likely and more stable.” Was this written as intended? Or do I just have an aversion to shivering?
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Five_Myr_Climate_Change.png
One of my favorite graphs. Again, I have no good reason to doubt this graph. The methodology used to construct it seems reasonable, and if nothing else it is consistent. It is also fairly generally accepted, I think.
The dashed line, IIRC, is the present, in that thin little sliver of interglacial on the far right. In words: 5 Mya, the temperature was stable in a warm phase (as indeed it had been more or less for a LONG TIME previously). Around 3.5 million years something changed and the Earth started to cool, bobbled back up to “warmish” (like today, not quite as warm as before) and then 2.8 Mya descended into an ice age characterized by an average drop of global temperature of 5-6 C, with minimum temperature excursions as far as 10C colder than the present. We then have to change scale:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ice_Age_Temperature.png
These are Vostok ice core results for the last 450 Ky, fairly reliable, but note well a different temperature scale from the sediment graph before — these show relative swings in Antarctica only, so one has to have some degree of faith in proportionality compared to the rest of the globe. Note well that easily 80% of the time is spent in glaciation, with relatively short, spiky interglacials. Note that we are in the coldest interglacial of the last five — cooler by some 3C compared to peak Antarctic temperatures. We are also almost certainly near the end of the current interglacial, although “near” is anytime between tomorrow (or already started) to a thousand years from now, on the timescale of this graph where a thousand years is the thickness of a line.
So we need to change scales again to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png
This sadly doesn’t indicate the YD — see the active thread on the Younger Dryas for a much better picture. Note well that the dark curve is essentially course grain averaged on roughly a 300 year basis, so it is utterly incapable of resolving short term temperature jump — there is (as the text carefully and correctly notes) no reason to think that e.g. 2004 at the end is “unusual” as it is a single year sample and would need to be average with temperatures all the way back to the LIA to contribute to the graph (as it does, at the end of the black line!).
The inset reconstruction over the last 2000 years — note well where it lies on the full Holocene curve, well below the mean throughout — shows that the current warm period is almost exactly the same scale as the — once again smeared and coarse grained averaged and with unknown error bars, as there were no thermometers, only a variety of proxies — medieval warm period. Again, if the MWP had much warmer peaks of 30 to 50 years, they would be absolutely invisible given a ten year smoothing plus uncertainties. Some of the contributing models I find more dubious than others, BTW — this figure is far from free from contention and there are those that hold that the MWP was in fact warmer than today.
But I don’t care — the main point is that there was no anthropogenic warming in the MWP and even so temperatures were almost as warm as today’s. Even if the difference were entirely due to CO_2 how big a difference could it be, given that we were warming from the coldest point in the entire Holocene in the LIA. One excpects to regress towards the mean, if nothing else, and the entire scale from the LIA to the present is less than 1 C.
This is the figure that was replaced by Mann’s hockey stick, which conveniently exaggerated the rise at the end and eliminated the MWP and LIA, making them appear to be nearly constant in temperature and much colder than the present. Not this figure specifically, but even Keith Briffa’s figure (IIRC) in AR1 or AR2 almost precisely agreed with this general curve — this was back when (IMO) most climate researchers were still honest because Mann hadn’t been lionized at their expense. Mann’s hockey stick was the “smoking gun” the IPCC needed to become something other than an ignored, irrelevant UN committee.
If the public were ever shown these figures — none of which are, I believe, challenged by climate scientists — there would be profound consequences, because they show what Lazyboy Teenager seems not to want to face — there is absolutely nothing unusual climate-wise about the present except that we live in it!
This could be demonstrated in so many ways, but really, it is pretty obvious.
Now, as for the “bistable” bit — if you look back at the first figure, you’ll see only two states in the last 2 million years — warm phase (interglacial) and cold phase (glaciation). There is no evidence of a warmer phase than the warm phase! Not even back when the average temperature was some 3C warmer than it is today — and that’s as much as the worst case CAGW prediction — and stable. There is no “tipping point”. Even when previous interglacials spiked up 2C to 3C warmer than today, they didn’t stay there because the warm phase is unstable, or rather, it is very stable from above, not so stable to cold excursions.
Now this is something I know a bit about. Underneath this sort of behavior there is a very convoluted phase sheet with at least one fold and a surface or line of stability on a middle unstable sheet or branch. As long as one isn’t too near the folds, one is stable to temperature fluctuations that don’t “cross the line”. However, all things are not equal — something moves the Earth along these sheets over to the real tipping points — the ones that drop warm phase back down to cold or vice versa. The general trend of the Holocene has been cooling from the Holocene Optimum, and it is (as noted) not at all unlikely that we are near the tipping point — down — although we may have saved ourselves with CO_2 for at least a few centuries.
What might trigger a transition? Perhaps an extended Maunder minimum. Perhaps something else. Our problem is that we don’t know why the ice age ended. We don’t know why the Younger Dryas happened as a bobble after the world warmed up. We don’t know why the Holocene is warm or the preceding period of glaciation cold. We don’t know when, or why, the Holocene will end, or whether anthropogenic CO_2 is having any effect on this either way.
The number of things we don’t know that no climate scientist who is honest will claim that we know — is large enough to make me pull my little remaining hair and scream! And this is the basis of our settled science?
LazyboyT — you wanted evidence? Chew on some. Point to the present on any of these graphs and show me how — in perspective — we are in the throes of an extinction event. Any more than the Earth is always in flux in this way. The end of glaciation? Extinction event. The end of the Holocene? You can bet your sweet bippy that will be an extinction event to remember, quite possibly for 1/3 of the human species if it comes on too swiftly.
If the worst nightmares of CAGW come true, and the world warms 3C by the end of the century, that is still a very good thing compared to the end of the Holocene. The latter is wrath-of-god fimbulwinter type stuff, with the temperate zone and breadbasket of the world reduced to an icy desert, with half of Europe, all of Canada and the Northern US, all of Siberia, all of Mongolia, half of China — all gone. In as little as decades. Only if we have a world-spanning civilization, with sound and reliable energy resources can we hope to survive and thrive.
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Allan MacRae
June 22, 2012 11:15 pm

Dr. Robert Brown says to Dr. Paul Bain:
“But honestly, you probably aren’t an idiot (are you?) and no useful purpose is served by ad hominem or emotionally loaded human descriptors in a rational discussion of an objective scientific question, is there.”
Dr. Brown, from a purely scientific point of view, I think you are rejecting the “idiot” hypothesis prematurely, and with an apparent lack of any supporting evidence.

PaleoSapiens
June 22, 2012 11:27 pm

It is of great offense to use “denier” (even remotely referencing to Holocaust deniers) in any scientific discussion. Yet, supposedly ethical, objective scientists and their supporters are acting as though nothing applies to them (in effect – emulating career politicians). They’re using a label, in an attempt to silence their opponents, meant for cretins who grossly insult those involved in the greatest of human dramas (WWII). It trivializes the lives, untold suffering, and needless deaths of millions upon millions of people.
The European Holocaust was the extermination, on a mass-production scale and method, of over 12-30 million people; not just Jews but, any and all “undesirables” of the Nazi state. Even 70 years later, it is still very difficult to fully comprehend. To illustrate, try reading at least three books on the general course/account of WWII; then continue with at least three to four holocaust accounts such as those by Ann Frank, Primo Levi, and Martin Gilbert (who also wrote an overall history of WWII). After reading a minimum six books on the subject(s), the proverbial surface has only been slightly dusted towards understanding.
Both Holocaust deniers and people thoughtlessly applying the “denier” term to opponents, are evil in the most reprehensible way. Current news/world events are more than ample evidence for this point.
May Dr. R.G. Brown’s message reach the majority of Earth’s population, as an antidote to this corruption.

June 22, 2012 11:28 pm

Dr Brown apparently seeks to stop others using the label “denier”.
Not at all. I seek to stop it from appearing in a scientific journal supposedly devoted to the objective appraisal of evidence because it is de facto evidence that the journal itself has taken sides and is no longer a reliable referee.
To construct a metaphor (inspired by the basketball discussion earlier) — what would we think of a referee that permitted the players on Duke’s basketball team to refer to their esteemed rivals from down the road a bit as “Tar Holes” while they were playing on the court, yet called technical fouls on UNC if they responded by calling Duke players “Blue Ballsies”. Hmm, not a very good referee. Not likely that the game is being judged fairly, or that the better team will win.
That’s what is so absolutely unconscionable about this. Pejorative terms of any sort — terms that refer to people instead of ideas — have no place in scientific journals! Period. Physical Review doesn’t let physicists who don’t believe in the big bang call those who don’t “poopy heads”, even if they are inclined to. The New England Journal of Medicine is respectful even of folk medicine to the extent that it doesn’t generally permit its practitioners to be called “deniers” of modern medical practice, or “witches” in a pejorative sense. I could care less if LazyTAger calls me a denier in a blog — a blog is an informal setting. I wouldn’t care a LOT more if he called me a denier to my face, although normally humans aren’t that rude face to face unless they have a personality disorder, but even that would be his problem more than mine. But if I’m called a denier in a scientific journal, as a scientist this literally disenfranchises me from an entire debate, especially if the journal tacitly endorses it by permitting the term to appear, announcing to the world their lack of objectivity on the issue.
rgb

June 22, 2012 11:31 pm

Too many posts, too tired. I meant call those that do poopy heads.
My own head is poopy, and it’s time for bed.
Of course it has been a really fun thread.
rgb

Eugene WR Gallun
June 22, 2012 11:36 pm

Lazy Teenager said —
“There is evidence for temperature rises in the geological past of similar rates upward to what we are seeing now. They were extinction events.”
Lazy Teenager:
Would you please name those extinction events caused by temperature rise? Higher temperatures have always been associated with the proliferation of life not its extinction.
Do you even realize that you are making this stuff up? I don’t think you do. Have you ever heard the phrase “magical thinking”?
Descartes said — i think, therefore I am. A “magical thinker” would say — I think it, therefore it is!
Carried to an extreme magical thinkers begin to believe they have the powers of a god. Others, not quite so far gone, believe that they know how to save the world from some looming apocalypse that exists because they think it exists. It becomes their “Cause”. On a more mundane level the common variety of magical thinkers just make assertions for which they have no evidence whatsoever — then stick their fingers in their ears.
So — would you please name those extinction events caused by temperature rise?
Eugene WR Gallun
PS — Maybe you should change your handle to Crazy Teenager.
(Well, to be honest about it i saw the punchline and wrote all the above to lead into it. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.)

rogerknights
June 22, 2012 11:41 pm

jim karlock says:
June 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm
There is still one loose end:
Why does Dr. Paul Bain think we should apply his solutions, even if there is no problem? What is his real goal?
Dr. Paul Bain, please tell us your real goal for wanting to adopt your “solutions”

He may have been thinking of “no-regrets” measures like encouraging more insulation, encouraging the use of heat pumps, etc.

June 22, 2012 11:41 pm

You are a great writer but you have my respect for having the courage of your convictions. Flanked as you are by the Nicholas School of the Enviroment with luminaries such as William Chameides who make presentations to the US congress you are in opposition to powerful forces at Duke university. They will not have the integrity to debate you but they will try to put the skids under you.
I doubt it. I’m teaching at the Marine Lab in two weeks, which is PART of the Nicholas School.
Also, I’m trying very hard to be so very respectful of the scientists of all sides of the issue. I have no bone to pick with Chameides, nor reason to think that he isn’t honest in his beliefs, any more than (I hope) he has a reason to think that I am less than honest in mine. But as I said above — I’m perhaps not the most brilliant physicist that ever lived. I might not be in the top half. But I’m not an idiot, and I’m not an idiot in a half dozen subjects. Since “scientists agree” that CAGW is proven (although many of my acquaintances do not seem to agree) I can only assume that they would be happy to try to convince me, as I am a ge-nu-ine card-carrying scientist and I am entirely open to being convinced — as long as they will permit me to attempt to convince them the other way, to actively participate in the debate.
They can start with the geological evidence of global temperature variation — Bob Carter’s general spiel. Once they’ve convinced me that global temperatures are unusual, we can start thinking about why…
rgb

Oiseau
June 22, 2012 11:47 pm

Ouch. That stings.

June 22, 2012 11:49 pm

TimC says:

My contention is that for people to enjoy true freedom they must by definition have freedom of speech. Dr Brown apparently seeks to stop others using the label “denier”. I suggest this is misconceived – the label is better just ignored (or perhaps treated as equivalent to “dissenter”, which seems to have a certain badge of honour about it). I agree with Voltaire’s words: “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

You contention is naive. Lies, in whatever form, which go unchallenged, become the truth.

June 23, 2012 12:05 am

Actually, this bit is simply wrong, as it pertains to CLIMATE science. It is the opinion of a physicist of course… and that brings into play the “arrogance of physicists”…
Always start your considered rebuttal with a nice piece of ad hominem, I always say. Good job! You’ve certainly convinced me that I’m wrong. What was I thinking? Here I was filled with doubt and all the time it was my arrogance! But you’ve studied climate science, and you are therefore certain that the direct forcing from the extra CO_2 is certain to be amplified by 3 to 5 to produce the catastrophe. Not the slightest doubt.
Fine. Prove it. Show me a climate model that, in 1995, predicted the last 17 years. Not a climate model that was fixed in 2008 so that now it works — to describe the past. One that predicted the future, correctly, then.
Isn’t that the real test of a scientific theory, predicting the future? I seem to recall a figure or two with Hansen’s predictions and the general field of predictions from the GCMs and they were all way over the present, were they not? Is this not what is generally called, “a lack of predictive skill”? Or perhaps I’m mistaken, in which case you would do better to educate me than to call me names or call me arrogant. I may be arrogant, but I just spent around a dozen exchanges on another thread on WUWT trying rather patiently to teach basic statistics to somebody who had “proven” by means of a quadratic fit that temperatures peaked in 1994 and are reliable heading down now — as a predictive model. I could have called him names, or ignored him. Instead I tried to teach him.
So teach me, oh wise one. Teach me how you can be certain that we have eradicated the ice age (hooray, if true!) and how the entire Earth will once again be as warm and fertile pole to pole as it was 3 million years ago, no more pesky 80,000 years of ice. In particular, please be sure to let me know precisely why the ice age started in the first place, why it has had variable period oscillations — in fact, by all means show me the formula I can use to predict it in the past and into the future! Inquiring minds want to learn!
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Gail Combs
June 23, 2012 12:17 am

Berényi Péter says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm
He is telling the truth, obviously. I just don’t quite see how dare he. Is Duke somehow better than OSU or UCLA?
___________________________________
OF Course it is! Just ask anyone in North Carolina. The Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) also has the highest concentration of PhDs per capita in the United States.

David Jones
June 23, 2012 12:37 am

markx says:
June 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm
Heh he… and I like the way LT’s nit-picking is being ignored.
While I do appreciate him coming in and stating his viewpoint, he today evokes an image to me of a holy man, bedecked in finery, standing atop an altar, preaching the truth from his ancient ‘holy text’ in a noble and sonorous voice…. to an almost empty temple, with a few fervent believers weeping in rapture at his feet, while in the background the last few desultory stone kicking lingerers drift away between the pillars and out into the sunshine. And still his preaching booms on.
LT’s preaching does NOT “boom” anywhere. It is but just a sub-audible squeak in the vastness of truth.

davidmhoffer
June 23, 2012 12:43 am

TimC;
While slightly OT, I’m afraid I disagree. IMHO the “darkest chapters in the history of man’s inhumanity to man” have almost invariably been due to some form of tribalism (racism, ethnicity – call it what you will) as the true source of the inhumanity.>>>>
Really? Who got sent to the gas chambers? Jews or “untermensch” (subhumans)? Did North American natives get slaughtered, or were they “heathens”? Did women who knew how to swim get burned at the stake, or were they “witches”? Did thousands of Americans die on 9/11 or were they “infidels”? Who was suppresed during the Dark Ages if not “heretics”?
The first step in justifying the slaughter is to label and dehumanize the “others”. The conflicts may have race or ethnicity based roots, but applying lables for the purpose of discrediting and dehumanizing the “others” is stock in trade for justifying slaughter. Calling someone a “denier” is a blatant attempt to both dismiss their opinion without debate, and to associate them with something evil. Dr Brown has been too kind in his protest of the term, and you too naive.

June 23, 2012 12:44 am

The use of the word “denier” in the climate debate seems to be a variant of Godwon’s Law which states “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

June 23, 2012 12:44 am

Somehow I can’t help seeing parallels between the hockeystick and a quote from Goering about people not wanting (climate-) war.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustave_Gilbert
Göring: “Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.
And it works exactly the same way in the ‘climate war’.

davidmhoffer
June 23, 2012 12:54 am

TimC;
I agree with Voltaire’s words: “I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”>>>>
Voltaire was talking about your right to express your opinion. Labelling someone a “denier” is the opposite. It is a blatant attempt to dismiss that person’s opinion without debate, and to associate them with something evil to discredit them to the point where they have no right to debate at all, and perhaps worse. When someone calls me a “denier” they are suggesting I am inherantly evil and have no right to speak my mind. Voltaire would NOT have approved.

son of mulder
June 23, 2012 12:58 am

Absolutely spot on analysis by Dr. Brown. The mathematical-physics empirical content is exactly why I am a sceptic/denier/non-believer/climate war criminal/heretic……
and the use of derogatory language is always a substitute for logical argument when none exists.

Manfred
June 23, 2012 1:06 am

Thank you Dr Brown for your eloquent synopsis of uncertainty. It really should have been the opening address at the United Nations Conference Rio+20.

June 23, 2012 1:06 am

bj said (June 22, 2012 at 10:19 pm )
“…Something went wrong with this link…”
I’ll say- it linked to this really stupid film made back in 2007 by someone who calls himself “wonderingmind42”. The only good part is that it was labeled as part one of seven, and we weren’t forced to see all seven.

Jon
June 23, 2012 1:11 am

Thatcher once said “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”
Ref http://listverse.com/2007/12/21/top-25-quotes-of-margaret-thatcher/
I think this sums it up good. The denier branding of scientific critics tell us that it is really about politics diguised as science. It’s not scientist looking for the truth, it’s about political leftist’s wanting political action change of society.
There are several other very good quotes above.

Steve C
June 23, 2012 1:32 am

Beautifully put, Dr. Brown. Thank you. I’m keeping a pdf print of this.

June 23, 2012 1:35 am

Dr. Brown
Excellent read.
It appears that the extreme AGW’s intentions are, to paraphrase Nietzsche, not that it wants to darken individual understanding, but that it wants to blacken our picture of the world, and darken our idea of existence.
On subject of ‘quackery’ I would say in some branches of human endeavor (medicine, pharmaceutics, finance etc) it is not only harmful, it needs to be eradicated.
However, as far as climate change polemic is concerned ‘quackery’ is no more than harmless fun. It may even be a useful psychological ‘counterbalance’ to some of more extreme ‘erudite’ pronouncements coming from Hansen and co.

TimC
June 23, 2012 1:37 am

Robert Brown said ”Not at all. I seek to stop it from appearing in a scientific journal supposedly devoted to the objective appraisal of evidence because it is de facto evidence that the journal itself has taken sides and is no longer a reliable referee.”
Dr Brown: thank you for the explanation. In so far as you seek to stop the (admittedly pejorative) label “denier” appearing in Nature or other scientific journals, I apologise to you and withdraw my remarks. I would only add that I (perhaps incorrectly) read your article above as speaking more generally than this, and applying to use of the term in open debate.
And Bernd Felsche said: “You contention is naive. Lies, in whatever form, which go unchallenged, become the truth”. With respect while “denier” is pejorative, it is not actually a lie – it is only the (implied) link to holocaust denial which causes an issue.

Mindert Eiting
June 23, 2012 1:49 am

Just brilliant. Personally, I don’t feel insulted by the term ‘denier’ as I consider it a ‘nom des gueux’, with the attached meaning of ‘rational person’ or ‘rational optimist’.

Huth
June 23, 2012 1:59 am

Thank you, Dr Brown.

Editor
June 23, 2012 2:00 am

Dr Brown, an eloquent and scientifically well reasoned post. Thank you as well for your further comments on this thread. For what it is worth, I would like to add my thoughts on this subject.
1) Any scientist who uses the terms “sceptic’ or “denier” in a derogatory context, is not a scientist; he/she is a bigot at the best, bully at the worst.
2) When these scientists then confuse weather with climate and blame every weather event from extreme cold, wet, heat, storm etc on AGW, any reasonable person would question their motives.
3) The fact that we have had a succession of more and more outlandish claims from these people, such as Southern Europe becoming a desert and an alien invasion, make me think that an asylum, not a laboratory is a more appropriate venue for them to present their views.
4) If the science is “settled” why do the scientists need more money to continue their research? Why is the money not channelled into hydrogen fusion research, which if successful will deal with global warming, global cooling, fossil fuel depletion, poverty and disease?
5) Climategate!
I would also like to say that WUWT is to be congratulated for allowing all views on climate change. It is very telling that apart from the three or four “usual suspects” the vast majority of the contributors to this website are sceptical of AGW. I am sure if the likes of Hansen, Mann and Gore were to make a contribution, especially with raw data, Anthony would make them very welcome!

S Basinger
June 23, 2012 2:27 am

“So teach me, oh wise one. Teach me how you can be certain that we have eradicated the ice age (hooray, if true!) and how the entire Earth will once again be as warm and fertile pole to pole as it was 3 million years ago, no more pesky 80,000 years of ice. In particular, please be sure to let me know precisely why the ice age started in the first place, why it has had variable period oscillations — in fact, by all means show me the formula I can use to predict it in the past and into the future! Inquiring minds want to learn!”
I’m in too. Please teach me as well!

Laurie Williams
June 23, 2012 2:30 am

Wow. Superb stuff.

Lars P.
June 23, 2012 2:52 am

Beautiful put, clear explained Dr. Brown, thank you for that. As we all know to put forward the argument is not without risk as we see again and again, I respect your courage and openness.
Downdraft says:
June 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm
“Excellent. That about covers it, but I am doubtful the target audience will acknowledge they even read it. They can’t stand the truth.”
Yes, but at least some neutral persons will read it and start understanding the realities. It may not be possible to convince the converted or the activists when they do not want, but it may be possible to discuss with rational people.
LazyTeenager says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm
“Personally I am happy to insult all of you..”
Yes, we realised that LT, this is your line of argument, as for the above we are interested in rational people who are not happy to insult all others who disagree with them.
You are entitled to believe whatever you want, but from what you display you do not seem to be capable of understanding and discussing rational arguments.

George E. Smith;
June 23, 2012 2:53 am

I waited till I had time to thoroughly read Professor Brown’s lengthy response to Dr Bain’s ill advised use of that highly perjorative term; in a purportedly scientific writing and journal. The historical connotation, of that particular word, is so evil, that it impossible for me to believe, that a supposed scientist would choose deliberately to use that word to characterize any group of people with whom they had a scientific difference of opinion, unless malice was their intent.
Robert’s response to Bain, is surely one of the hallmark posts to have appeared here at WUWT.
Thank you Dr Brown. Your students have a great mentor, in every sense of that label

Urederra
June 23, 2012 2:55 am

Robert Brown says:
June 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm
Dr Brown apparently seeks to stop others using the label “denier”.
Not at all. I seek to stop it from appearing in a scientific journal supposedly devoted to the objective appraisal of evidence because it is de facto evidence that the journal itself has taken sides and is no longer a reliable referee.

Exactly.
I am more concerned about the fact that the once prestigious journal Nature has become a green propaganda pamphlet. The editor of the sibling journal Nature Climate Change has more to blame than this Paul Bein guy or whatever his name is.

Jimbo
June 23, 2012 2:59 am

LazyTeenager says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm
…………….
There is evidence for temperature rises in the geological past of similar rates upward to what we are seeing now. They were extinction events. If civilizations had existed at the time they would have been civilization destroying events.

Do you mean ice ages? Younger Dryas? By the way the Romans and other civilizations flourished during the Roman Warm Period and lovely Holocene Climate Optimum which were warmer than today. Read how crops flourished (or not) during the Little Ice Age. How do you think we would cope with another Younger Dryas event as opposed to 2c warming till the end of the century? Lazy, you have your thinking back to front and you are deluding yourself.
PS
It’s good to see you acknowledge:

“There is evidence for temperature rises in the geological past of similar rates upward…”

David, UK
June 23, 2012 3:00 am

I’d love to read Tom G(ologist)’s response to this eloquent post. Tom left the comment on Bain’s original anti-scientific response, as follows:
Thank you Dr. Bain. A very well-put and noble response. I appreciate being separated from the true ‘denier’ type.
I still feel like physically retching when I read that line – it’s so weasely. I wonder if Tom has had further thoughts now, or is he still sympathetic to Bain’s argument?

TimC
June 23, 2012 3:04 am

PS to my last: davidmhoffer also said (inter alia) “Who got sent to the gas chambers? Jews or “untermensch” (subhumans)?”; “… Labelling someone a “denier” is the opposite. It is a blatant attempt to dismiss that person’s opinion without debate, and to associate them with something evil …”.
While I wholly agree that all of us in the free world must be ever-vigilant against any further tribal, racial or “ethnic cleansing” tragedies, the fundamental causes of these are almost always buried in the distant past (whether or not due to past labelling and dehumanizing as you say); IMHO the best cure today for long-embedded prejudice is free and open communication and access on all sides (for each “side” to see the other clearly, to have access and be open to understanding the other’s aims and points of view) – but I still can’t really see why a bunch of scientists operating mostly in the free world are making a such fuss over being characterised by one particular label, where almost everyone knows and understands the silly game being played. Haven’t the scientists got more important things on?

slow to follow
June 23, 2012 3:19 am

Tim C – “denier” is also used in the context of “being in denial” -ie those who do not accept CAGW take that position because they are unable to cope psychologically with the truth. Another offensive tack IMO.

June 23, 2012 3:28 am

Oh, toughen up! A word is a word. It’s meaning is what you make it. Are you offended by “Honky” or “Grego”? “Whop”, “Round Head”, “Long Hair” I once coached a Little League baseball team. We won our first 12 games (13-2-1 on the season) We were the Tigers. One of the League sponsors was “Tiger Trash” a garbage hauling company. The other 9 to 11 year olds started calling us “Trashy Tigers”. My 9 to 11 year old kids liked it so much they called themselves “Trashy Tigers”.
A word is a word… “A rose by any other name…” “Sticks and stones…”
I deny there is AGW. and I refuse to be offended by those who might call me “denier”. After all, you must consider the source.

Lars P.
June 23, 2012 3:37 am

Robert Brown says:
June 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm
“Just a slight correction to an otherwise excellent post, Dr. Brown: You mention that “Sea level rise is currently measured to be at most 3 mm/year, …” when in fact tide gauges ubiquitously struggle to measure half that rise almost everywhere. You would be correct in saying “Sea-Level rise is currently adjusted in multiple ways to report (not measure) a 3mm annual rise.”
Here I must respectfully disagree.
http://sealevel.colorado.edu/
I have no good reason to doubt the satellite data, do you?”
—————————————————————————————————
Dr. Brown maybe you have not followed-up the discussion on the sea level rise.
A good starting point was for me John Daly’s summary. It is old, but it has the value of showing a snapshot of almost a decade ago:
http://www.john-daly.com/ges/msl-rept.htm
Please have a look at his last satellite chart on Topex/Poseidon satellites.
then following the post here:
http://www.science-skeptical.de/blog/was-nicht-passt-wird-passend-gemacht-esa-korigiert-daten-zum-meeresspiegel/007386/
If you do not read german google translate may make a reasonable understandable text.
There seem to be a set of adjustments in the sea level exercise which are under question from here:
http://www.science-skeptical.de/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Menard-2000.gif
to here:
http://www.science-skeptical.de/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Aviso-2003.jpg
and the following years – many changes to historical records.
So I do not have confidence about that chart more then the temperature chart, as too much of such calculations seem to have been done without enough transparency. I hate to see a record of something where the history keeps on changing, that gives me no confidence whatsoever of what the record tells and will in the future tell.

mizimi
June 23, 2012 3:40 am

TimC says:
My contention is that for people to enjoy true freedom they must by definition have freedom of speech. Dr Brown apparently seeks to stop others using the label “denier”
Freedom of speech carries with it an rather large responsibility – to misquote a US judge…”Freedom of speech does not allow you to cry “Fire” in a crowded theatre when there is no fire.”
Which is precisely what has been happening.

Birdieshooter
June 23, 2012 3:42 am

As brilliant as Dr Brown’s original post was, his replies to others are equally illuminating and thought provoking. When I began looking into this whole AGW issue three years ago I assumed all scientists would be using the same logic and good scientific thought processes in their pursuit of the truth as he has done here. Silly me for having such high expectations.

BarryW
June 23, 2012 3:51 am

There is a valid term for those who continue to use the term “denier”: Bigot.

polistra
June 23, 2012 3:52 am

It wasn’t superior statistical methods that finally persuaded some governments to give up on Carbon. It was evidence of [snip*] by Jones, Mann, et al. And the evidence was not acquired through nice legal means; it was acquired by Mr FOIA through illegitimate means.
This is a war. The other side started the war. The other side openly intends to kill the entire human species, and has made a pretty good start using Stalin and Mao’s time-honored methods of intentional famine.
Superior statistical methods don’t end a war.
[*way beyond what the emails actually show – careful in your accusations ~jove, mod]

mwhite
June 23, 2012 4:02 am

“Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists And The Fatal Cult Of Antihumanism”
http://thegwpf.org/opinion-pros-a-cons/6037-merchants-of-despair-radical-environmentalists-and-the-fatal-cult-of-antihumanism-.html
“The anti-global-warming crusade against carbon-based energy is the latest assault on progress and improvement. Zubrin is correct to call the climate-change movement a “global antihuman cult.” Its assaults against dissent, embrace of messianic leaders, and apocalyptic scenarios reveal a debased religious sensibility rather than scientific rigor.”

Chris Wright
June 23, 2012 4:09 am

LazyTeenager says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm
“There is evidence for temperature rises in the geological past of similar rates upward to what we are seeing now. They were extinction events.”
That’s precisely the point. Irrespective of what the outcome might be, it means that similar things have happened in the past and very obviously they were purely natural. Which means that today’s situation is not unusual, precisely the point Dr Brown was making.
.
However, if you look at the past few thousand years, similar warmings occurred several times: the Minoan period (roughly 1500 BC), the Roman period, the Medieval Warming Period and the 20th century warming. All of these were periods of great human advancement and increased wellbeing. It was when the world got colder that mankind suffered and civilisations failed. For example, after the Roman warm period the world became colder and, appropriately, this period is known as the Dark Age, when the average human lifespan became much shorter. It’s also certain that human civilisation emerged only after the world had grown considerably warmer (the Holocene).
.
The evidence, both historical and scientific, is clear: a warmer world is infinitely preferable to a colder one. That’s why I’m a sceptic, and proud of it.
Chris

michael hart
June 23, 2012 4:22 am

Elegant English, Dr. Brown.
“Show me a climate model that, in 1995, predicted the last 17 years. Not a climate model that was fixed in 2008 so that now it works — to describe the past. One that predicted the future, correctly, then.”
That is a key point. Those unable to spend time on the technical intricacies, or those who doubt their own abilities to do so, need go little further. I know little about horse racing, but I know how to go about judging someone who claims that they do and who claims to have predictive skill.
In this analogy, my method wouldn’t involve listening to someone saying how they predicted this year’s winner of the Kentucky Derby. Not unless there was clear, unequivocal evidence that they
a) predicted the winner, and
b) didn’t make a dozen different predictions elsewhere.
And I would still ask for a prediction for next year. And the year after that. At some point I could be convinced, but there will be plenty of people who have guessed correctly three years in a row.
Extending a trend-line through recent climate data, and slapping an error-bar on top, would not count as a prediction befitting the word “skill”. It would be a good starting point for a null hypothesis that must be bettered.

BarryW
June 23, 2012 4:50 am

TimC:
I disagree. Hiding a lie inside of truth is one of the most pernicious ways of lying. While pejorative, it also implies that the person so designated does not accept any of the science related to CO2 which is in most cases false. The lie is creating a dichotomy that there are only believers and deniers of AGW. This is similar to the way people who oppose quotas are accused of being against “affirmative action” and are thereby racist.

johanna
June 23, 2012 5:00 am

Nice work, Dr Brown.
rogerknights says:
June 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm
jim karlock says:
June 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm
There is still one loose end:
Why does Dr. Paul Bain think we should apply his solutions, even if there is no problem? What is his real goal?
Dr. Paul Bain, please tell us your real goal for wanting to adopt your “solutions”
He may have been thinking of “no-regrets” measures like encouraging more insulation, encouraging the use of heat pumps, etc.
————————————————-
Ah, so-called ‘no regrets’ policies – one of the many Trojan Horses of CAGW busybodies.
In pure policy terms, there is no such thing. All policies are tradeoffs between costs and benefits. “Encouraging” things like heat pumps and insulation either just mean a bit of public information being made available, which costs little and does no harm, or it might mean subsidies, mandates etc, which have real financial costs and also can be harmful in other ways. For example, a government subsidised insulation program in Australia not only cost many millions (in a country with large areas of mild climate) but also resulted in four deaths and several house fires from faulty installation which occurred when the industry was flooded with fly-by-night installers seeking the ‘free’ taxpayer subsidies. This was an example of a ‘no regrets’ policy to reduce CO2 emissions which ended up generating quite a few regrets.

kwik
June 23, 2012 5:01 am

This Bain character is probably just after our money. Everyones’ money.

Luther Wu
June 23, 2012 5:07 am

Eugene WR Gallun says:
June 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm
“…Carried to an extreme magical thinkers begin to believe they have the powers of a god.
“On a more mundane level the common variety of magical thinkers just make assertions for which they have no evidence whatsoever — then stick their fingers in their ears…
Maybe you should change your handle to Crazy Teenager.”
_______________________
It’s always fun to see Lazy Teenager get a spanking, which (s)he always richly deserves.
On another note:
“Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”: John 10:34
(Little ‘g’, but that statement needs it’s own blogs and forums)

June 23, 2012 5:11 am

@LazyTeenager says: June 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm
WRONG. Way way wrong. The major spurts in civilisation occurred during warming periods, and great distress during cooling periods. The population of Finland was reduced by one third, for example, during the LIA.
It really doesn’t do to make things up. It’s what lazy teenagers do…

June 23, 2012 5:27 am

Fantastic! I have been emailing it to everyone and posted it on Twitter under #climatechange. A very big THANK YOU!

Dolphinhead
June 23, 2012 5:35 am

rg you are undoubtedly my favourite ‘bat duke’
keep up the good work. Science must prevail.
Dolphinhead

jayhd
June 23, 2012 5:40 am

I am a CAGW denier, and proud of it. And I do not deny the Holocaust occurred. As a matter of fact, my wife’s great uncle was one of the liberators of the Malthausen concentration camp, and he took pictures. So I have actual proof, from an eye witness and from photographs, of the Holocaust. But to date, no CAGW advocate has produced any proof of man causing catastrophic global warming/climate change.
Jay Davis

mikael
June 23, 2012 5:41 am

Great article and true.
I belong to those that dont care about sea lever rise or what ever drivel they(AGWistas) are serving, because any one looking for objects from the late stone age in scandinavia know that the Sea level was aprox 13.5 m higher than present, al doe to the realitve warmth in that period, since then the Earth have cooled, as the article states.
I intialy reacted on the Polarbear drivel, and I also knowed the previous temps in the Artics wher mutch higher than to day, and they are still around, huh.
Their problem is Hormondisturbance in their reprod, organs, by and given to them thrue the Electronic industry.
They are infact seriously damagedm by this, do you hear it, no, becuase its not conected with AGW, senarios in any way.
The earth temps always fluctuate, and wil do so long after we are gone, and as a old hobby atronomer I am stunned by the lack of perspectives regarding our solarsystem and its impact on our planet, and the simple fact that right now, the North pole is accelerating aganist Eatsern Sibir, and that alone wil have an impact, like the Inuits in Greenland, saying the wind patterns lately have chnaged, that slithly difference in perssiving reality is been twisted to be in line with AGWs religious world viue.
The polar regions is a result of Magnetics and its sucing cold out of the univers, is wastly more important to our Clima than CO2, witch by the way is Food.
My final statement is on this, about whos saying what, then this is intressing.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/24/lovelock_clangers/
I have been kicked out of all of our MSMs solely on the basis of AGW religious followers, screaming for obidience and trust, thats not sience, its religion.
And if Sahara is grownig, as predicted whne the world cools, and the rain increases, what the fu.. is the problem, Sahara was wance a forest cladd region, teaming with life, it is slowly gowing, that alone wil in any way, be a pluss, right.
The Catasrofism and all the domsdays senarious are the sole reason for me to hammer those fu… becuase the are ruining lifes to young people, giving the a world of guilt and sorrow of doom, thats why I have no mercy on them, they are scumbags all of the, without exeptions.
Parasitts feed by the goverment, to pimp their agenda, and have to lie and threatening people to not comment it, only criminals behave in that fasion.
peace

observa
June 23, 2012 5:52 am

Nice try but unfortunately it’s in their Nature.

Camburn
June 23, 2012 5:52 am

This is one of the best synipsis of the current state of climate science that I have read.
Thank you Dr. Brown.

Chris Schoneveld
June 23, 2012 5:54 am

Dr Brown, I am very pleased to note that in your reponses you often refer to Bob Carter. As a (retired) geologist myself I consider Bob Carter’s geological perspective in the GW debate the most convincing and his book “Climate: The Counter-consensus) the best of its kind.

Chris Schoneveld
June 23, 2012 6:01 am

If only LazyTeenager would respond, but I am afraid he hasn’t the guts nor the intellectual capacity to do so.

Richard Wakefield
June 23, 2012 6:12 am

Of course the use of denier (not the insulting meaning) shows a clear misunderstanding of how science works. AGW True Believers misunderstand the difference between events and mechanisms. You can only deny events, not mechanisms. The climate changes, that is observed and measured. To ignore the events of changes in the climate would be to deny that evidence.
But AGW is supposed to be that CO2 is that CAUSE of those changes, hence AGW is the mechanism, hence is a theory. You cannot deny a theory, only agree of disagree with it.
But of course the AGW True Believers want AGW to be a fact, not a theory, and there in they move from science to pseudoscience.

David, UK
June 23, 2012 6:31 am

TimC says:
June 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm
Wouldn’t it be better just to ignore the silly labels and get on with the mission?

To ognore the “silly labels” is to ignore the fact that good sceptical scientists are being sidelined as cranks and fringe-outsiders by professionals within both the science and political arenas. When you have political leaders and also scientific journal editors using such hate speech, you don’t simply dismiss it as “silly” – you recognise it for what it is: an attempt to bully and destroy opposing thought before it is even heard. And being heard is crucial to “the mission” as you term it.
NOW do you get it?

observa
June 23, 2012 6:31 am

Thankfully an Australian scientist on the same wavelength as Dr Brown (hat tip to Tim Blair)-
http://afr.com/p/lifestyle/review/science_held_hostage_in_climate_Uamwgc7zXEsU6RbQJ5MWIJ
It would appear real scientists are getting fed up with post modernist attempts to redefine the scientific method and science itself.
[REPLY: Maybe you should check here. -REP]

François Marchand
June 23, 2012 6:40 am

Mr. Brown writes about the last 13 or 14 years of flat global temperature. According to GISTemp’s land-sea surface records, all the highest monthly temperature anomalies have occurred since 1998, nine of them since 2005. Does he deny that record? Does he deny the satellite record, which more or less agrees?

June 23, 2012 6:46 am

I would only add that I (perhaps incorrectly) read your article above as speaking more generally than this, and applying to use of the term in open debate.
No good soap box goes unwasted, eh? Bear in mind that this was written as an in thread comment in an ongoing discussion, not as a top post, so I didn’t give it anywhere near the thought and care I might have if I had known it was going to be promoted to the top article over a weekend. Of course I should have been more careful in my speech, just like we should all be sure our underwear is clean because we might end up in the ER later that afternoon (happened to me, in fact, rather recently — fortunately my underwear was clean:-), and just like the Hockey Team should have been less polemic and polarized and non-objective in their Climategate emails.
I will say that in general I think that the use of polemic and pejorative terms has very limited utility in public debates as well — not as a matter of human rights but because it is a logical fallacy to attack the speaker instead of the speech (or let one’s self be swayed by such at attack). For example, the recently convicted Sandusky, were he to appear in a debate on how best to arrange the defense of a college football team, might well have his character attacked by his opponent to get people not to listen to him as a liar, but in fact his advice might be the better of the two. However, for better or worse such tactics are all too effective in many cases, and I can even offer some Bayesian reasons for why (to the ignorant) this isn’t even necessarily the worst response!
However one can hardly suck all of the human juice out of human disagreement — it is part of the fun! We are born to be passionate, to think that we are right, to imagine that the shadows we see in the clouds are real. We get frustrated when others insist that the little lamb we see is really a goat or an octopus and call them names. So it goes.
rgb

TimC
June 23, 2012 6:48 am

mizimi said “Freedom of speech carries with it a rather large responsibility”. I entirely agree with his comment: in case it was not clear my earlier postings intended to refer to freedom of speech under the rule of law. (Being a lawyer myself in the UK, I somewhat took that for granted!)
And BarryW says use of the label denier “implies that the person so designated does not accept any of the science related to CO2”. I’m with Dr Brown on that – what I challenge (deny) is “the catastrophic label and the alleged magnitude of the projected warming [I assume with associated feedbacks] on a doubling of CO_2” (parentheses added). I don’t myself see that it implies denial of all the science related to CO2.
Hmm … being a lawyer myself … isn’t that worse than being labelled a denier!

William Astley
June 23, 2012 6:52 am

Please explain who is and is not a “denier”.
Every talking point used by the extreme AGW supporters appears to be fudged, adjusted, and cherry picked.
The planet’s response to a change in forcing is to resist any forcing by increasing or decreasing planetary clouds in the tropics (negative feedback) which reflects more or less sunlight off into space. The models that the IPCC uses to create the extreme AGW warming require that the planet amplifies the forcing change (positive feedback). It the planet resists the warming by an increase in planetary clouds which reflects more sunlight off into space a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in less than 1C of warming. That is a fact. Analysis of 30 years of satellite data from three different satellites by a set of independent researchers unequivocally supports the assertion that the planet’s feedback response is negative. Extreme AGW is not happening and will not happen. The IPCC’s general circulation models are incorrect. The IPCC knows their models are incorrect. The extreme AGW paradigm is based on a lie.
Sea-level rise is another example.
Sea levels – the raw data is always adjusted upwards
http://joannenova.com.au/2012/05/man-made-sea-level-rises-are-due-to-global-adjustments/
Man-made sea-level rises are due to global adjustments
Frank Lansner’s first graph surprised me. It’s well known and often quoted that sea levels have been rising by 2-3mm a year every year for the last 20 years. But it’s not well known that the original raw satellite data doesn’t show that at all.
What astonished me was the sea levels first recorded by the Topex Poseidon satellite array showed virtually no rise at all from 1993-2001. Surely not, I thought. I asked sea-level expert Nils Axel-Morner, and he confirmed: “Yes, it is as bad as that.“ Now, given that Envisat (the European satellite) showed no rise from 2003-2011 (until it was adjusted) that means we have almost 20 years of raw satellite data showing very little rise.
We thought satellites would finally give us a definitive answer on sea levels. Instead, like the tide gauges, and every other tool available to mankind, apparently satellites systematically underestimate the rising trends. And despite the speed of light being quite quick and all, it can take years for the data to finally arrive. Sometimes 4 or 5 (or 10 years) after the measurement was made scientists “discover” that it was wrong.
Man-made sea-level rises are due to global adjustments
The data was shown in the Morner 2004 peer reviewed article. It does seem that Morner was simply presenting data on sea levels as they were known at the time. In addition, Holgate’s data from 2006-7 also seems to show a similar flat trend after 1994.
Holgate’s flat sea level graph ends in 2004 – when Envisat starts out with yet another dataset showing flat trend. The Envisat data is stitched so that 2004-6 overlaps with the satellite data. (But it could have been aligned with the original raw data of Topex/Poseidon, so that Envisat continues where Holgate 2007 ended.)
After the Envisat stopped transmitting, the whole series was changed dramatically. In addition, the full length of the data beginning in 2002 is now shown. It appears that Envisat data from 2002-4 shows a fall in sea level, but this dive was not shown until now when the new stronger increase in sea level dominates the picture.
Seagate
http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles_2011/Winter-2010/Morner.pdf
The mean of all the 159 NOAA sites gives a rate of 0.5 mm/year to 0.6 mm/year (Burton 2010). A better approach, however, is to exclude those sites that represent uplifted and subsided areas (Figure 4). This leaves 68 sites of reasonable stability (still with the possibility of an exaggeration of the rate of change, as discussed above). These sites give a present rate of sea level rise in the order of 1.0 (± 1.0) mm/year. This is far below the rates given by satellite altimetry, and the smell of a “sea-levelgate” gets stronger.
When the satellite altimetry group realized that the 1997 rise was an ENSO signal, and they extended the trend up to 2003, they seemed to have faced a problem: There was no sea level rise visible, and therefore a “reinterpretation” needed to be undertaken. (This was orally confirmed at the Global Warming meeting held by the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow in 2005, which I attended). Exactly what was done remains unclear, as the satellite altimetry groups do not specify the additional “corrections” they now infer. In 2003, the satellite altimetry record (Aviso 2003) suddenly took a new tilt—away from the quite horizontal record of 1992-2000, seen in Figures 5 and 6—of 2.3 (±0.1) mm/year (Figure 7).
As reported above regarding such adjustments, an IPCC member told me that “We had to do so, otherwise it would not be any trend,” and this seems exactly to be the case. This means that we are facing a very grave, if not to say, unethical, “sea-level-gate.” Therefore, the actual “instrumental record” of satellite altimetry (Figure 10) gives a sea level rise around 0.0 mm/year. This fits the observational facts much better, and we seem to reach a coherent
picture of no, or, at most, a minor (in the order of 0.5 mm/yr), sea level rise over the last 50 years.
http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/PastRecords.pdf

theduke
June 23, 2012 6:59 am

François Marchand says: “Mr. Brown writes about the last 13 or 14 years of flat global temperature. According to GISTemp’s land-sea surface records, all the highest monthly temperature anomalies have occurred since 1998, nine of them since 2005. Does he deny that record? Does he deny the satellite record, which more or less agrees?”
Nothing you write contradicts Dr. Brown’s assertion that says that the rise in temperatures has flattened out. It’s widely known and accepted that this has happened. Your claims do not falsify his claim.

David L. Hagen
June 23, 2012 6:59 am

Robert Brown
Complements on your clearly addressing the “denier” ad hominem attacks and objectively addressing the actual climatic evidence.
To endorse your point on climate variability, conventional conventional classical climate statistics understate the natural variations by a factor of two, as quantified by Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics or climate persistence. (cf your comment to Willis)
e.g., See publications by D. Koutsoyiannis at ITIA
http://itia.ntua.gr/en/byauthor/Koutsoyiannis/0/
Especially those dealing with the Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics climate persistence
Markonis, Y., and D. Koutsoyiannis, Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics in paleoclimate reconstructions, European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2010, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 12, Vienna, EGU2010-14816, European Geosciences Union, 2010.

The Hurst-Kolmogorov behaviour, also known as long-term persistence, has been detected in paleoclimate reconstructions of both ice-core and sediment origin, dating back up to 3 million years.
All reconstructions indicate high values of the Hurst coefficient, H (approx. 0.98) . . . the standard deviation, estimated by HKS, (Hurst Kolgomorov statistics) is approximately double that of the CS (conventional statistics) estimation.. . .
classical statistics is inconsistent with climatic processes and describes only a portion of the natural climate system variability. In contrast, all paleoclimate reconstructions seem to be consistent with the simple HK (Hurst Kolmomgorov) model.

Note subsquent presentation:
Markonis, Y., and D. Koutsoyiannis, Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics in long climatic proxy records, European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 13, Vienna, EGU2011-13700, European Geosciences Union, 2011.

we show that HK dynamics combined with components of orbital forcing is consistent with several proxy climatic time series spanning periods up to 500 million years before present.

Presentation
Until the “null hypothesis” of natural variations is fully understood, the cagw efforts to attribute climate variation to anthropogenic causes is largely an appeal to ignorance compounded by an appeal to authority – NOT objective validated science.

June 23, 2012 7:00 am

I have to say Dr. Brown’s piece and his accompanying comments and Tierney’s interview of Bjorn Lomborg ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5YmgekQyNk&feature=player_embedded) over at Bishop Hill’s are both superb. The common theme is an eloquent demand for a rigorous and open assessment of the evidence for assertions about climate.
As to Dr Bain’s research – beyond the objectionable use of the term “Deniers” – the experimental manipulation boils down to proving the statement that if there were no costs and only benefits those generally opposed to actions with high costs and limited benefits would support action on the environment: It is cartoon logic and cartoon science.

dp
June 23, 2012 7:02 am

Congratulations, Anthony, for attracting this kind of quality to your blog. And thank you, Dr. Brown, for one of the finest collections of thoughts these pages have ever presented.

RockyRoad
June 23, 2012 7:13 am

I much prefer the more accurate term “dissident” when it comes to refuting “CAGW” and their CF (Control Freak) approach:
Definition of DISSIDENT
: disagreeing especially with an established religious or political system, organization, or belief

The key words here are “religious” and “political”; there is very little true science in the CAGWCF position.

Snotrocket
June 23, 2012 7:15 am

I’m a Brit. I live in Shakespeare’s country. But I have also spent time in Dr Brown’s neck of the woods, in the RTP (Chapel Hill is delightful!). As such, there is one English word that comes to mind reading Dr Brown’s words: mellifluous.
I have to admit though, that I enjoyed even more the responses he made to LT and BJ: “So teach me, oh wise one. Teach me how you can be certain…” is for me the quote of the piece.

June 23, 2012 7:17 am

But of course the AGW True Believers want AGW to be a fact, not a theory, and there in they move from science to pseudoscience.
Or perhaps to unsettled science. Parts of the theory are very well founded. As I’ve said and will say again, you won’t catch me denying that the greenhouse effect is absolutely real, very nearly directly measurable, and reasonably well understood. All completely conceded. However, the projected warming isn’t mostly from the CO_2 increase. It isn’t even half from the CO_2 increase. It isn’t even 1/3 from the CO_2 increase. The CO_2 increase is supposed to be 1/4 to 1/6 of the total increase in temperature, depending on whether or not you go with “3” or “5” for the bounds of the climate sensitivity.
The science of that is enormously open to question, in part because it is highly multivariate feedback on a geographically complex substrate. It presumes that we have an accurate knowledge of e.g. the water cycle, global circulation and how it is tied to everything else, thermohaline circulation, tropical albedo, solar state and how it feeds back through mechanisms known and unknown (where IMO it is perfectly OK to profess ignorance of the unknown and factor this into the Bayesian weight we give a complex explanation) and more. Obviously many people are quite convinced that we do have this accurate knowledge, but sadly, I am not. I don’t think that the theories are necessarily unreasonable, I only question the basis of their knowledge of the model parameters and whether or not they’ve got all of the key physics in correctly on a quantitative basis, and I’d have to do that on a case by case basis of the different GCMs that set these parameters differently and end up getting different details in their results while strangely all agreeing that the net sensitivity is very high.
A second area where I personally think that the science is unsettled is in the Carbon Cycle. It’s all well and good to say that humans are dumping large amounts of CO_2 into the atmosphere, bad on us, that’s why the level is increasing, but the CC is a complex dynamic equilibrium process with multiple sources and sinks. Two of the sinks in particular have a total capacitance some two orders of magnitude greater than the entire CO_2 content of the atmosphere — the soil and the ocean. These sinks are capable of taking up all of the released CO_2 and sequestering it after only a short delay, and in fact are measured to be taking up an ongoing fraction of the anthropogenic CO_2 after an ongoing delay. However, the cycle itself is not without feedbacks, and the time constants and coupling constants and relevant dimensionality of e.g. the Bern model used to predict the CC are not unique — other numerical models can be parameterized to fit the observations, and some of these models have very different interpretations and various virtues of their own. Some of them leave one with the troubling and not entirely unreasonable interpretation that the rising CO_2 level isn’t from anthropogenic CO_2 per se; it is because changing temperature alters the capacitance of the larger sinks to first order, shifting the equilibrium so that we are constantly chasing it as long as the oceans net warm in response to non- CO_2 forcings.
Obviously this system whichever differential description one uses is not unstable on the high side, or a warm stretch like the MWP or Holocene Optimum would “tip” the Earth right out of the ice age it is currently in. We know this because no matter how much CO_2 we release or will release, the oceans and soil can release (or absorb) much, much more. There are capacitance/resistance models that are nearly isomorphic to the CC.
Again, here I take the viewpoint of an outside observer. Having multiple models that all fit the data within the error bars, in the best of Bayesian unbiased reasoning, in and of itself decreases our object assessment of the likelihood that any particular one of the models is correct! Over time one can often do more research and — gradually — falsify one or more of the competing models but what one cannot do is look for more evidence that your favorite model is correct!
Because — as Feynman points out — you’ll find it! Of course you will. It’s a lamb, you idiot! Not a goat! Look, there’s its fluffy little tail! Never mind that if you squint just a bit and look at just right, it looks more like C’thulhu…
rgb

Allan MacRae
June 23, 2012 7:18 am

http://pjmedia.com/blog/the-new-holocaust-deniers/?singlepage=true
The New Holocaust Deniers
Environmentalists still won’t admit the existence of the carnage they have created.
by
Robert Zubrin
May 10, 2012 – 12:04 am
Recently, in conjunction with publication of my new book, Merchants of Despair, which exposes the crimes of the global Malthusian movement, I was interviewed on the radio by a liberal talk show host. When I brought up the issue of race- or caste-targeted forced sterilization programs instituted in Peru, India, and many other Third World countries with USAID and World Bank funds, the host chose to deal with the matter by pooh-poohing the existence of these atrocities.
I was shocked. These programs are not secret, and their horrors have received some, if less-than-deserved, coverage in the mainstream media. Indeed, the members of the Fujimori government were brought to trial and convicted of genocide for their enforcement of such policies. Yet here was this liberal gentleman, supposedly an anti-racist and feminist, a self-proclaimed defender of the poor and the helpless, shrugging off massive violations of human rights and extraordinary crimes directed against women, infants, and people of color. In amazement I blurted out, “This is a holocaust, and you should not be denying it!”
Then it hit me. I was dealing with a holocaust denier.
[SNIP: Allan, two points here: There is no need to reproduce such a long article in its entirety here when you can link to it; PJ Media also has a great honking big copyright notice at the bottom of the page. Quoting excerpts is fair use. Quoting the whole thing is intellectual piracy. -REP]

June 23, 2012 7:18 am

The only way you can conceive of added heating via increasing CO2 concentration is by ignoring the effect of collision with nearly 1,000,0000 PPM of N2, O2 and Argon. Those little carbon dioxide suns must be almost infinitely hot to influence the temperature of the overwhelming mass of the rest of the atmosphere. That’s some incredible physics, my friends.

TimC
June 23, 2012 7:21 am

Robert Brown said: “No good soap box goes unwasted, eh? Bear in mind that this was written as an in-thread comment in an ongoing discussion.” Point taken – and I hope we are very much in agreement that “human disagreement … is [all] part of the fun!”
With that thought in mind did you not actually mean to say “… the shadows we see in the clouds are real feedbacks? 🙂

June 23, 2012 7:23 am

Dr. Brown – I read and appreciate your reply to my statement about the AGW crowd working solely toward power and money. I agree with just about everything else you write and I deeply wish I could agree with you on this issue, but alas, I cannot. You write “You do them, and science, a disservice by assuming that they are necessarily dishonest in their beliefs. I have no difficulty whatsoever in thinking that many of my colleagues believe in AGW in the very best of faith. . .” Ah, that wonderful other F-word – Faith. It might be interesting to study whether that concept has caused humanity more grief or glory, but such study must appear elsewhere.
Would you entertain the idea that scientists might improve the world by refraining from using the concept of “belief” and instead lean toward the concept of “the evidence indicates”? If so, I humbly and apologetically restate my main point: A preponderance of valid evidence indicates that a disturbingly large number of science professionals seek power and money more than they seek truth.

Allan MacRae
June 23, 2012 7:27 am

[SNIP: Allan, this is not relevant to the thread and you’ve posted this exact same comment a number of times peviously. -REP]

John West
June 23, 2012 7:27 am

Bravo! Bravo!

Eugene WR Gallun
June 23, 2012 7:33 am

Dr. Brown,
For the first time in my life i am seriously considering plagiarizing someone else’s words.
Eugene WR Gallun

Olen
June 23, 2012 7:36 am

The statement “there is absolutely nothing remarkable about today’s temperatures” says it all. If the temperature was unusual people would know it.
And the predicted disaster of climate change is on a sliding scale that changes with time and counter-evidence from deniers.

June 23, 2012 7:46 am

http://ruby.fgcu.edu/courses/twimberley/EnviroPhilo/PastRecords.pdf
There is such an obvious isometry between the sea level in this paper as documented in figure 2 and the UAH lower troposphere temperatures or Bob Tisdale’s SST graphs that I’m surprised that it isn’t presented — I can eyeball a very high correlation function from memory alone.
Consistent interpretation: Atmospheric warming and SSTs cause lagged SLR fluctuations by the direct mechanism of thermal expansion, and an indirect mechanism (perhaps) of augmented glacial melt.
It does make me sad that once again Feynman’s standards for academic honesty are being directly compromised in the IPCC to the extent that you could actually talk with somebody who admits that they are “adjusting” the data to obtain a given interpretation supportive of the cause rather than letting it speak for itself. This is doubly sad because the oceans are collectively almost certainly the best thermometer on the planet, or would be if we could collect enough ARGO data.
This is such an obvious point it is surprising that it isn’t made more often. Neutral SLR makes it almost impossible for there to be any significant GW. One would have to have perfect confounding movements of continents to compensate for the perfectly understood thermal expansion of the warmer water. Not impossible, of course, but rather implausible and very definitely not the assumption one makes on the basis of maximum ignorance.
So I can understand why they would want to conceal a neutral or very weak SLR — it is the very best evidence in the whole wide world that GW is being overestimated (just visualize the ocean as a really, really big global thermometer stuck in the mouth of the continents if that helps:-). What I cannot understand is why any scientist wouldn’t just present the data and let it speak for itself.
rgb

William Astley
June 23, 2012 7:49 am

In reply to
“François Marchand says:
June 23, 2012 at 6:40 am
According to GISTemp’s land-sea surface records, all the highest monthly temperature anomalies have occurred since 1998, nine of them since 2005. Does he deny that record? Does he deny the satellite record, which more or less agrees?”
The satellite data shows no warming for roughly 10 to 12 years, yet atmospheric CO2 increases. (See link at the end of this comment.) It is not physically possible to have 10 to 12 years of no increase in warming when atmospheric CO2 is increasing, if the IPCC general circulation models were correct. Three different paper where published trying to explain the “lack of warming”. The logic used in the three papers has incorrect and contradictory (i.e. the “lack of warming” explanation papers could not explain the hemispheric temperature increases or lack of increases.) There is no more discussion of the “lack of warming” at Real Climate. Instead there has been a shift of tactics moving away from any discussion of the actual measured warming or satellite analysis, to a strawman “denier” theory which asserts that some humans cannot accept global warming. It is necessary to distract the public from any discussion of the scientific issues.
This is no surprise as to what is the reason for the lack of warming. Detailed analysis from a set of independent researchers indicates that the IPCC general circulation models are fundamentally incorrect.
http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/236-Lindzen-Choi-2011.pdf
Satellite measurement of top of the atmosphere radiation vs ocean surface temperature shows planetary clouds increase or decrease in the tropics resisting forcing changes (negative feedback) as opposed to the positive feedback used in the IPCC general circulation models.
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~qfu/Publications/grl.fu.2011.pdf
Satellite measure of atmospheric temperatures in the troposphere indicates the troposphere (the region of the atmosphere that should warm if the IPCC general circulation models were correct) the regions of the troposphere which are predicted to warm are not warming. The warming of the troposphere is the extreme AGW theory’s engine to drive extreme AGW. The measured tropospheric warming is statistically the same as zero. The IPCC general circulation models predict 3 to 10 times more warming than is observed. (i.e. Measurable over the 30 years of satellite measurement as opposed to statistically the same as zero.)
http://blogs-images.forbes.com/warrenmeyer/files/2012/02/15yr-temps.gif
http://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenmeyer/2012/02/09/understanding-the-global-warming-debate/
“The problem for global warming supporters is they actually need for past warming from CO2 to be higher than 0.7C. If the IPCC is correct that based on their high-feedback models we should expect to see 3C of warming per doubling of CO2, looking backwards this means we should already have seen about 1.5C of CO2-driven warming based on past CO2 increases. But no matter how uncertain our measurements, it’s clear we have seen nothing like this kind of temperature rise. Past warming has in fact been more consistent with low or even negative feedback assumptions.”
Richard Lindzen,
“It has long been observed that global warming offers opportunities for a huge number of interests to exploit and that the eagerness to exploit the issue has led to a remarkable corruption of institutions – public, private, and academic. In a set of cogent and well-written contributions, Climate Coup documents what is happening intelligently and in depth. There is no need for indignation in the contributions: the situation speaks for itself. One can only hope that the ordinary citizens of both the developed and developing worlds, who are the primary victims of all the Canute-like efforts to control climate, will take notice.

Allan MacRae
June 23, 2012 8:05 am

[Moderator’s Note: Allan, all perfectly true, but none-the-less off-topic. My task here is to try and keep things on-topic. I don’t always succeed. -REP]

Joseph Murphy
June 23, 2012 8:08 am

Dr. Robert G. Brown, you are a gentleman and a scholar.

ferd berple
June 23, 2012 8:13 am

Robert Brown says:
June 23, 2012 at 7:46 am
What I cannot understand is why any scientist wouldn’t just present the data and let it speak for itself.
============
Because the money and prestige would dry up overnight.

theduke
June 23, 2012 8:15 am

I’d be interested in Dr. Brown’s thoughts on Ross McKittrick’s work on temperature data quality .
It suggests that much of the recorded warming of the past 30 years could be explained by socio-economic factors corrupting the readings in areas of robust economic activity and growth.
This might be better suited as a subject for another post.

Greg House
June 23, 2012 8:20 am

Robert Brown says:
June 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm
====================================================
I wasn’t kidding — I’m only interested in the truth here, not an “anti-CAGW” agenda or “pro-CAGW” agenda. … I’m happy to be convinced of anything but I won’t be convinced by bullshit statistics or bad physics.
=======================================================
Then let me tell you something. What you have been promoting here is in fact “bullshit statistics” and “bad physics”. CO2 warming is bad physics and “global warming” is bad statistics.
Instead of repeating the AGW narratives one way or another, you are welcome to provide a physical experimental proof of CO2 warming and a proof, that the methods of calculations of “global warming” are scientifically correct. Because in absence of these proofs the whole AGW thing is just a speculation multiplied with propaganda.
You have a chance to become the first warmist who managed it.

Allan MacRae
June 23, 2012 8:30 am

William Astley says: June 23, 2012 at 7:49 am
Good comments William, and thank you Dr. Brown.
I’ve been investigating climate science since about 1985 – the dishonesty and corruption of the CAGW cabal has become all too apparent.

ferd berple
June 23, 2012 8:50 am

Robert Brown says:
June 23, 2012 at 7:17 am
Over time one can often do more research and — gradually — falsify one or more of the competing models but what one cannot do is look for more evidence that your favorite model is correct! Because — as Feynman points out — you’ll find it!
=============
You have hit the nail on the head. No amount of evidence proves AGW is correct, because you can always find evidence for any theory. What proves AGW is not correct is its failure to predict reliably.
The IPCC says CO2 is the main driver of climate. Everything else is secondary. And up until about 1997 that looked correct. However, all the major predictions of AGW have failed over the past 15 years, which to any scientists should have been seen as a failed theory.
Instead, what Climategate revealed was a conspiracy among the top climate scientists
of the world to paint a false picture. To withhold contrary data from the world and continue to present a cherry picked, one sided argument.
We see this continuing with the latest Southern Hemisphere hockey stick loudly promoted over at Real Climate. Had it not been for the works of sites like Climate Audit in exposing the “selection bias” statistical error used to create climate “hockey sticks”, the mistake would never have been brought to light.
Certainly not by the “scientists” over at RC. Having proclaimed themselves the best climate scientists in the world, they are incapable of finding the obvious error in the peer reviewed study they so loudly proclaimed. Instead, the error was first made public by the very site RC claims has no skill when it comes to climate science.
Tells you a lot about the “scientists” behind climate science. Their models show no more skill at forecasting climate than a coin toss. They show even less skill at finding errors in climate studies. The continue to make the most basic of statistical mistakes, and lack the skill and training to implement the experimental controls required to prevent these mistakes.
Why? Because when you eliminate the mistakes in methodology and experimental design, when you fix the statistics and introduce experimental controls to catch errors, the case for AGW disappears. And without that there is no case for funding. Instead of prestige, what follows is scorn, for having wasted hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been much better spent on real problems.

davidmhoffer
June 23, 2012 8:55 am

TimC;
but I still can’t really see why a bunch of scientists operating mostly in the free world are making a such fuss over being characterised by one particular label, where almost everyone knows and understands the silly game being played. Haven’t the scientists got more important things on?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Witness: 350.org produced a video in which children are murdered in front of their class mates by their school teacher for denying climate change,
Witness: Greenpeace published an opinion piece calling for violence against those who reject global warming and threatening “we know where you work, we know where you live”.
Witness: Calls for people who do not accept CAGW to be jailed by Hansen, Suzuki and other leaders of the CAGW “science” world which have been picked up and mouthed by everyone from “do good” organizations like Greenpeace and WWF and the MSM as well.
All of these are examples of the precise same strategy. To dismiss out of hand and without debate the views of those who do not accept CAGW and to cast them as some sort of evil deserving of being jailed, beaten, or killed, for what they believe in. These are all examples that extend well beyond the scientific community. These are examples that parallel in disturbing detail the steps taken in the past by one group to “justify” the slaughter of another.
Those of us who actively take issue with that strategy and force the people who push it to step back are preventing history from being repeated. The complacency you espouse is the very reaction that those who push this sort of agenda rely on to gradually over time make the most heinous of crimes seem acceptable.
Sarajevo was once the home to an Olympic event, the epic symbol of all the earth’s nations meeting to compete peacefully with one another. Just a few years later, Sarajevo was at the centre of “ethnic cleansing” and mass murder. You think society cannot dissolve, and rapidly so into paroxyms of hate and killing? It can, it has, and it will again if we let it. Allowing 350.org and Greenpeace and Hansen and Suszuki and Bain to plant the seeds of dehumanization and hatred unapposed is exactly how that frightening transition occurrs.
Head the past, or repeat it.

scarletmacaw
June 23, 2012 8:57 am

François Marchand says:
June 23, 2012 at 6:40 am
Mr. Brown writes about the last 13 or 14 years of flat global temperature. According to GISTemp’s land-sea surface records, all the highest monthly temperature anomalies have occurred since 1998, nine of them since 2005. Does he deny that record? Does he deny the satellite record, which more or less agrees?

The 10-17 years (depending on which reconstruction is used) of flat temperature anomalies are at the top of the data since 1979. I don’t think anyone here disagrees. Dr. Brown was pointing out that those values were lower than the peak temperatures of many other eras when time lines longer than 33 years are examined, and that those earlier peak temperatures were averages over hundreds of years, so similar decades with even higher temperatures would be lost in the averaging.
It’s usually a good idea to read the article before criticizing it.

Tony McGough
June 23, 2012 9:04 am

Thank you, Dr Brown. A gentleman and a scholar indeed; and like the Clerke of Oxenford, ” And Gladly Wolde He Lerne and Gladly Teche”.

theduke
June 23, 2012 9:10 am

Greg House: \\”Then let me tell you something. What you have been promoting here is in fact “bullshit statistics” and “bad physics”. CO2 warming is bad physics and “global warming” is bad statistics.//
Bullshit. What he’s promoting is healthy skepticism. And that includes questioning those of you who presume to know all the answers.

Solomon Green
June 23, 2012 9:11 am

One sentence of Dr. Brown’s suffices.
“Global Climate Models are children’s toys in comparison to the actual underlying complexity, especially when (as noted) the major drivers setting the baseline behavior are not well understood or quantitatively available.”

DougByMany
June 23, 2012 9:13 am

[SNIP: Let’s not. -REP]

howb
June 23, 2012 9:17 am

It’s been said many times above here, but it can’t be said enough.
Thank you Dr. Brown.

wayne
June 23, 2012 9:19 am

polistra says:
June 23, 2012 at 3:52 am
It wasn’t superior statistical methods that finally persuaded some governments to give up on Carbon. It was evidence of [snip*] by Jones, Mann, et al. And the evidence was not acquired through nice legal means; it was acquired by Mr FOIA through illegitimate means.
This is a war. The other side started the war. The other side openly intends to kill the entire human species, and has made a pretty good start using Stalin and Mao’s time-honored methods of intentional famine.
Superior statistical methods don’t end a war.
[*way beyond what the emails actually show – careful in your accusations ~jove, mod]
—————-
Polistra, I think the mod is right, you went a little too far without any factual quotes to properly back it up you contention, and I don’t think they, the geens, mean to kill all of humanity, they have reserved the place for themselves and families, friends, comrades to be spared. So here are an adequate quantity of quotes to help you properly make your point:

”My three goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with it’s full compliment of species, returning throughout the world.”
David Foreman,
co-founder of Earth First!

”A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”
Ted Turner,
Founder of CNN and major UN donor

”The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.”
Jeremy Rifkin,
Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

”Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”
Paul Ehrlich,
Professor of Population Studies,
Author: “Population Bomb”, “Ecoscience”

”The big threat to the planet is people: there are too many, doing too well economically and burning too much oil.”
Sir James Lovelock,
BBC Interview

”We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
Stephen Schneider,
Stanford Professor of Climatology,
Lead author of many IPCC reports

”Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”
Sir John Houghton,
First chairman of the IPCC

”It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
Paul Watson,
Co-founder of Greenpeace

”Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”
David Brower,
First Executive Director of the Sierra Club

”We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”
Timothy Wirth,
President of the UN Foundation

”No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest oportinity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Christine Stewart,
former Canadian Minister of the Environment

”The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.”
Emeritus Professor Daniel Botkin
”Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
Maurice Strong,
Founder of the UN Environmental Program

”A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-Development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”
Paul Ehrlich,
Professor of Population Studies,
Author: “Population Bomb”, “Ecoscience”

”If I were reincarnated I would wish to return to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”
Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh,
husband of Queen Elizabeth II,
Patron of the Patron of the World Wildlife Foundation

”The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the US. We have to stop these third World countries right where they are.”
Michael Oppenheimer
Environmental Defense Fund

”Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.”
Professor Maurice King
”Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.”
Maurice Strong,
Rio Earth Summit

”Complex technology of any sort is an assault on the human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”
Amory Lovins,
Rocky Mountain Institute

”I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. it played an important part in balancing ecosystems.”
John Davis,
Editor of Earth First! Journal

and a few disagree

“Warming fears are the worst scientific scandal in history… When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”
Dr. Kiminori Itoh, PhD
UN IPCC Japanese Scientist
award-winning environmental physical chemist

A war of humanity against the “greens” is a very proper term to use. I think most who take the time to read these would agree.

Allan MacRae
June 23, 2012 9:21 am

François Marchand says: June 23, 2012 at 6:40 am
Mr. Brown writes about the last 13 or 14 years of flat global temperature. According to GISTemp’s land-sea surface records, all the highest monthly temperature anomalies have occurred since 1998, nine of them since 2005. Does he deny that record? Does he deny the satellite record, which more or less agrees?
__________________
Mon Dieu Francois! Pensez our quelques minutes, s’il vous plait.
You are using the same logic that built the Maginot Line.
Yes there is a mild temperature plateau – you are looking at the top of a sine curve, that is either beginning its descent or is about to do so, into a period of global cooling.
Why do I have such confidence in the previous sentence?
Because I have a strong predictive track record. Here is what we predicted a decade ago, in 2002:
Our eight-point Summary* includes a number of predictions that have all materialized in those countries in Western Europe that have adopted the full measure of global warming mania. My country, Canada, was foolish enough to sign the Kyoto Protocol, but then wise enough to ignore it.
To date, our predictive record is infinitely better than that of the IPCC. But then, NONE of the IPCC’s scary predictions have materialized.
P.S. I predicted global cooling in an article published in 2002. Bundle up!
________________________
Full article at
http://www.apegga.org/Members/Publications/peggs/WEB11_02/kyoto_pt.htm
Summary*
Kyoto has many fatal flaws, any one of which should cause this treaty to be scrapped.
1. Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.
2. Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SO2, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil.
3. Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity.
4. Kyoto will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and damage the Canadian economy – the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will not ratify Kyoto, and developing countries are exempt.
5. Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution.
6. Kyoto’s CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits.
7. Kyoto will be ineffective – even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming.
8. The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.

DougByMany
June 23, 2012 9:27 am

[SNIP: Sorry, but I said “no”. -REP]

June 23, 2012 9:33 am

Excellent article, Dr. Brown.
I agree that by observing the long-term historical record, then comparing the warm periods and the rate of warming to the last century, there is no cause for alarm. I also echo the concern that imminent and rapid global cooling is far more likely than warming, and is likely to be catastrophic.
Another couple of points on why the current alarmism over global warming is unwarranted: first, the modern temperature records that we have show an inconsistency in the rates of warming between adjacent sites. This was pointed out in the work of James Goodridge where large-population counties in California warmed appreciably, while small-population counties did not. If an effect is truly physics and not junk science, the effect is not capricious. It acts repeatably and reliably every time it is applied. For example, gravity works the same all over the Earth, after proper allowances for tiny corrections due to altitude and thickness of the Earth’s crust. This is a good thing, so that airplanes (for example) can take off and land in Singapore as well as St Louis.
Yet, adjacent cities show different warming rates, in fact, some are cooling while others are warming. See for example http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/usa-cities-hadcrut3-temperatures.html and the city-pairs San Francisco / Sacramento (only 50 miles apart and at the same latitude), and Shreveport, Louisiana / St. Louis, Missouri. There are many other such examples. Some cities show no warming at all, for example Abilene, Texas. Meanwhile, there are entire sections of the Southeast US that show a long-term cooling trend.
If minute (tiny) increases in CO2 in the atmosphere cause a warming, it must be consistent and not be arbitrary nor capricious.
My second and final point is this: if climate scientists want to show that the world has warmed since 1850 (or whatever starting point they choose), their case would be far more convincing if they used data that requires no adjustments. There are apparently thousands of sites that have temperature measurements over the period of interest. However, many (perhaps most) of those sites have data issues that resulted in adjustments to the data. It is bad science, indeed, bad form, to adjust data. One can properly exclude data for any number of reasons. But, adjusting the data to show what “it should show” is improper. I do not refer here to converting a measurement to a more representative state, for example, converting the milli-volts from a thermocouple to a temperature.
Instead, climate scientists could (and should, in my view) search the database for pristine, long-term temperature sites and construct a temperature record over time with those and only those sites. The data must be publicly available, and verifiable. It is well-known that an accurate result can be obtained with a sample of approximately two percent of an entire population, if that two percent is appropriately (randomly) distributed.
It is obvious that climate scientists desire to have data points from all over the globe, to feed their models. That is perhaps a desirable goal, but is not required to determine the long-term temperature trend.

RobertvdL
June 23, 2012 9:35 am

[SNIP: Check the policy page here and resubmit. -REP]

Steve Keohane
June 23, 2012 9:37 am

Dr. Brown, thank you.I like the geological long view to put our recent little temperature excursions into perspective. Things on this planet seem to be good for life when it is warmest, not so good for life otherwise. In-so-far as LT’s survey being a good idea, if he actually reads the articles and comments, he would already have the answer to the survey, just as many of us have over the years.

rogerknights
June 23, 2012 9:46 am

Here are a couple of dismissive but not objectionable terms alarmists (or “Gawd-sakers”) could use in place of “deniers”:
Climate change minimizers;
Climate change pooh-poohers.

William Astley
June 23, 2012 9:51 am

It is necessary to call anyone who points out the data is manipulated a “denier” to distract from the coverup. The planet has stopped warming. That is not possible if the extreme AGW hypothesis were correct. It is not.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,662092,00.html
…Even though the temperature standstill probably has no effect on the long-term warming trend, it does raise doubts about the predictive value of climate models, and it is also a political issue. For months, climate change skeptics have been gloating over the findings on their Internet forums. This has prompted many a climatologist to treat the temperature data in public with a sense of shame, thereby damaging their own credibility. ….
….”It cannot be denied that this is one of the hottest issues in the scientific community,” says Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. “We don’t really know why this stagnation is taking place at this point.”
….Just a few weeks ago, Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research added more fuel to the fire with its latest calculations of global average temperatures. According to the Hadley figures, the world grew warmer by 0.07 degrees Celsius from 1999 to 2008 and not by the 0.2 degrees Celsius assumed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And, say the British experts, when their figure is adjusted for two naturally occurring climate phenomena, El Niño and La Niña, the resulting temperature trend is reduced to 0.0 degrees Celsius — in other words, a standstill. …
Observations: (Science)
Satellite temperature measurement for the last 30 years. No significant warming for the last 10 to 12 years.
http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_April_2012.png
Manipulation (Propaganda)
Hansen’s team’s manipulated temperature graph. Temperatures are measured at cities and extrapolated to high Northern or Southern regions. The mathematical manipulation enables the team to create a slope.
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.A2.gif
Indication of IPCC based propaganda. (I would recommend a read through the entire letter)
http://www.climatechangefacts.info/ClimateChangeDocuments/LandseaResignationLetterFromIPCC.htm
After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns….
…Shortly after Dr. Trenberth (Willam comment: Trenberth is the lead author of the IPCC observations chapter) requested that I draft the Atlantic hurricane section for the AR4’s Observations chapter, Dr. Trenberth participated in a press conference organized by scientists at Harvard on the topic “Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity” along with other media interviews on the topic. The result of this media interaction was widespread coverage that directly connected the very busy 2004 Atlantic hurricane season as being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming occurring today. Listening to and reading transcripts of this press conference and media interviews, it is apparent that Dr. Trenberth was being accurately quoted and summarized in such statements and was not being misrepresented in the media. These media sessions have potential to result in a widespread perception that global warming has made recent hurricane activity much more severe.
Richard Lindzen’s Lecture Feedbacks (i.e. Planetary clouds in the tropics increase or decrease to resist forcing changes. Negative feedback. The IPCC models use positive feedback to create the extreme warming. Satellite analysis from three separate satellites by two independent teams of researchers in published papers supports Lindzen’s assertion that the planet’s response to a change in forcing is negative not positive.
I would recommend listening to this lecture.
http://vmsstreamer1.fnal.gov/VMS_Site_03/Lectures/Colloquium/100210Lindzen/f.htm#
The observed tropical troposphere warming is 3 to 10 times (see my comments above that have a link to the paper that discusses lack of warming in the troposphere) less than what is predicted by the IPCC general circulation models which is not sufficient to explain the observed warming. That indicates that significant portion of the 20th century warming has caused by a mechanism that is different than CO2.

Neil
June 23, 2012 9:56 am

There was once a professor at Duke,
A physicist, beyond rebuke.
when called a “denier”,
He answered with ire,
“Right here are the facts. Take a look”.
Thank you, Robert G. Brown.

RobertvdL
June 23, 2012 10:01 am

Divide and conquer ,so they can can get rid of us with the approval of the rest of the population.‘Deniers’ are bad people. they don’t love the Earth. .‘Deniers’ are the enemy of humanity.
Gaius Julius Caesar was a great man. By the end of the Gallic wars more than a million enemies of Rome had been killed. Just because they were against him. This is what happens in a Dictatorship.

Hugh K
June 23, 2012 10:15 am

Thank you Dr Brown. Making us proud over here in Cary and certainly giving a much-needed facelift to the Duke faculty post the sad strippergate controversy. I recall at the time supporters of the Duke lacrosse team were also lableled as deniers among other pejorative terms. Dr Brown has demostrated common sense has made a comeback at Duke that would even make legendary coach K proud. Kudos Dr Brown. The details are in the Blue Devil indeed.
“For shame”
To feel shame would require a conscience. Future actions will demonstrate if Dr Bain possesses that rare jewel.

Greg House
June 23, 2012 10:15 am

rogerknights says:
June 23, 2012 at 9:46 am
Here are a couple of dismissive but not objectionable terms alarmists (or “Gawd-sakers”) could use in place of “deniers”:
Climate change minimizers;
Climate change pooh-poohers.
====================================================
Yeah, ask them to screw you gently.

Editor
June 23, 2012 10:27 am

E. Z. Duzzit says:
June 23, 2012 at 7:23 am
Dr. Brown – I read and appreciate your reply to my statement about the AGW crowd working solely toward power and money. I agree with just about everything else you write and I deeply wish I could agree with you on this issue, but alas, I cannot. You write “You do them, and science, a disservice by assuming that they are necessarily dishonest in their beliefs. I have no difficulty whatsoever in thinking that many of my colleagues believe in AGW in the very best of faith. . .” Ah, that wonderful other F-word – Faith. It might be interesting to study whether that concept has caused humanity more grief or glory, but such study must appear elsewhere.
If the scientists believe what they say is correct, then they are incompetent. They can produce as many models as they want, but the planet is not warming year on year as they predicted. If they don’t believe what they are saying, they are guilty of fraud, on a huge scale. The governments who have raised taxes on fuel and air travel come out of it well, because the only thing that they can be accused of is lack of independent thought, which is not exactly common in governments.

Gary Pearse
June 23, 2012 10:36 am

“….the GCMs. They utterly failed to predict the last 13 or 14 years of flat to descending global temperatures, for example, although naturally one can go back and tweak parameters and make them fit it now, after the fact.”
The fact that 14 years ago CAGW proponents staked their reputations, brushed asside dissent and demonized skeptics over their GCM products, is itself a powerful reason to be doubly skeptical today. They weren’t prepared to consider changes to their models, like reducing climate sensitivity fourteen years ago – they were even stating that is worse than they thought. Their followers, if they are genuine about the science, should also be a bit less certain now. Clearly we don’t hear anymore about catastrophic anthropomorphic global warming. They have been forced to retreat to meaningless climate change and even most recently they’ve abandoned this to “sustainability” an even more subjective term. Keeping up the alarmism rhetoric while retreating from your central premise is an exit from even post normal science. The only thing that survives is the desire of the politicized part of the movement for a new world order.

Harold H. Doiron, PhD
June 23, 2012 10:40 am

You captured my sentiments exactly and more eloquently than I could have ever attempted. The CAGW theorist forget one thing. It is their responsibility to prove their hypothesis with convincing empirical data. In keeping with long-held scientific protocols, is is perfectly OK for me to remain a skeptic until they prove their hypothesis. So far, as I examine all the available data, the empirical evidence is stacked up high against their CAGW hypothesis.

Garry Stotel
June 23, 2012 10:49 am

Thank you. I am printing it out and sending it to my Member of Parliament and our Beloved Energy Secretary.

William Astley
June 23, 2012 10:54 am

As observations and detailed science analysis of satellite data do not support the extreme AGW paradigm (See my comments above for details.), the extreme AGW team no longer want the discussion to be based on science, logic, or facts.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html
There’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy.
In spite of a multidecade international campaign to enforce the message that increasing amounts of the “pollutant” carbon dioxide will destroy civilization, large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever. And the number of scientific “heretics” is growing with each passing year. The reason is a collection of stubborn scientific facts.
Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now. This is known to the warming establishment, as one can see from the 2009 “Climategate” email of climate scientist Kevin Trenberth: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” But the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2.
The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause. Faced with this embarrassment, those promoting alarm have shifted their drumbeat from warming to weather extremes, to enable anything unusual that happens in our chaotic climate to be ascribed to CO2….
….The fact is that CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a colorless and odorless gas, exhaled at high concentrations by each of us, and a key component of the biosphere’s life cycle. Plants do so much better with more CO2 that greenhouse operators often increase the CO2 concentrations by factors of three or four to get better growth. This is no surprise since plants and animals evolved when CO2 concentrations were about 10 times larger than they are today. Better plant varieties, chemical fertilizers and agricultural management contributed to the great increase in agricultural yields of the past century, but part of the increase almost certainly came from additional CO2 in the atmosphere…
William: As the facts do not support decarbonizing the economy, the extreme AGW group have developed plan B, which is make it up and to call anyone who points out the scam a “denier”.
For example:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/06/mike_hulme_interview/
Back then, he (William: Mike Holm, director of the center associated with many of the climategate memos) was the founding director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, an organisation so revered by environmentalists that it could be mistaken for the academic wing of the green movement. Since leaving Tyndall – and as we found out in a telephone interview – he has come out of the climate change closet as an outspoken critic of such sacred cows as the UN’s IPCC, the “consensus”, the over-emphasis on scientific evidence in political debates about climate change, and to defend the rights of so-called “deniers” to contribute to those debates.
William: The following are quotes from Holme’s book “Why we disagree about Climate Change”. We disagree as the science does not support the extreme warming paradigm. We disagree as trillions of deficit dollars are being allocated for green scams which will not significantly reduce carbon emissions but will bankrupt western countries. We live in a democracy. Enough is enough.
“The idea of climate change should be seen as an intellectual resource around which our collective and personal identities and projects can form and take shape. We need to ask not what we can do for climate change, but to ask what climate change can do for us.”
Because the idea of climate change is so plastic, it can be deployed across…
We will continue to create and tell new stories about climate change and mobilize them to support our projects.
These myths transcend the scientific categories of “true”and “false”.

Gunga Din
June 23, 2012 11:10 am

François Marchand says: June 23, 2012 at 6:40 am
Mr. Brown writes about the last 13 or 14 years of flat global temperature. According to GISTemp’s land-sea surface records, all the highest monthly temperature anomalies have occurred since 1998, nine of them since 2005. Does he deny that record? Does he deny the satellite record, which more or less agrees?
=================================================
I don’t have global records but I do have 3 lists of the record temperatures for Columbus Ohio that I got form the NWS. I got them in 2007, 2009, and 2012. Odd things in those records. For example, in the 2012 list the record high for Feb. 4 was 61 set in 1962 and tied in 1991. Yet in the 2007 list the record high was 66 set in 1946.
The 2012 list has the record high for May 16 as 91 set in 1900. The 2007 list also has it set in 1900 but it was 96.
The 2012 list has the record high for July 31 as 100 set in 1999. The 2007 list has the record as 96 set in 1954.
These changes were made to the records of just one little spot on the globe. What other changes have been made to past records?
“Warming fears are the worst scientific scandal in history… When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”
Dr. Kiminori Itoh, PhD
UN IPCC Japanese Scientist
award-winning environmental physical chemist
(Thanks for the quotes, wayne.)

June 23, 2012 11:13 am

Well said, mr Brown. I give you accolades for that. Rgrds. Henry

a dood
June 23, 2012 11:32 am

BRAVO Dr. Brown!

Berényi Péter
June 23, 2012 12:06 pm

Robert Brown says:
June 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm
Perhaps I’m a Pollyanna, but I think that those risks are highly exaggerated. Besides, if I get fired I’ll just have to make money instead. Since I’ve got a startup company going that I really should be working on full time, the end result would probably be to force me to get rich quicker (assuming I’m lucky enough to succeed). And in the meantime — what is the virtue of my words if I do not speak them in my own name? Do you think I’m ashamed of them, or fearful? They are my honest beliefs, and I think that they are not entirely without foundation (which is why I articulate them).

Well said! That’s the benefit of living in a free country, is not it? Fight for it, everybody, to keep it that way.
During the last two decades of communist rule here even in cases of manifest misbehavior like this, there was no chance to have a black car coming for you at dawn with grave men carrying submachine guns and wearing leather jackets, take you into a dark basement, push a glass tube up to your urethra, hit it with a hammer, shoot you in the nape, putting the body into the grinder and let it leak down the drain. No chance, really, that was the past.
But you would have immediately lost your job, with HR departments of state owned companies or institutions notified of your status, passport withdrawn. As there was no privately owned alternative, no matter how badly you needed a decent job to make a living, none was offered. Finally you could well end up sweeping the backyard of a dirty factory day by day. The luckiest ones were employed as librarians, not in the front office of course, where they could have a chance to meet people, but they could help moving books between shelves in a store.
But some were still neither ashamed nor fearful to express their honest beliefs, albeit only privately, never in a public context any more. That’s how lack of freedom feels like.

June 23, 2012 12:08 pm

I read everything on this blog and I am humbled by the knowledge and sincerity of all the contributors and Anthony should be proud to be able to attract so many talented and interesting individuals to his site. I was a modestly successful small business person but I feel so inadequate when I come here. If I had to choose which entry caught my attention most it was Roger Sowell warning that what we should fear the most is global cooling not all this hysteria about a non-problem. Warm is better than cold everytime.

TimC
June 23, 2012 12:38 pm

davidmhoffer said (after something of a rant) “Head the past [sic], or repeat it.”
Sorry davidmhoffer, but you can’t prevent the alarmists using “denier” if that’s what they want to do. In the USA they have First Amendment rights; in the UK it will take primary legislation which is not going to happen under our coalition government – who anyway seem more concerned with kids in school playgrounds throwing “you’re fat” insults at one another, would you believe.
The only way to beat this is by developing the science so as to truly understand the climate processes at work (rather than just modelling them), thereby showing who is right and who is wrong on CAGW theory. That’s why I said in (my first post above) “Wouldn’t it be better just to ignore the silly labels and get on with the mission?” – railing about the “d-word” really serves no useful purpose (excepting supposedly balanced scientific journals), but just gets everybody further wound up.

George E. Smith;
June 23, 2012 1:10 pm

“””””…..TimC says:
June 23, 2012 at 7:21 am
Robert Brown said: “No good soap box goes unwasted, eh? Bear in mind that this was written as an in-thread comment in an ongoing discussion.” Point taken – and I hope we are very much in agreement that “human disagreement … is [all] part of the fun!”
With that thought in mind did you not actually mean to say “… the shadows we see in the clouds are real feedbacks? :-)…..”””””
Without checking back to see exactly what Professor Brown had in mind, saying that Tim, surely the truth of that statement is trivially apparent to anyone, who actually has an understanding of what feedback really is.
A feedback system processes an INPUT “signal” through some “transfer function” to produce an OUTPUT “response”, which most commonly is an amplified or enhanced effect; a portion of the output response further processed by a FEEDBACK function, is then applied (at some later time) to the INPUT, where it modifies the INPUT to the system and thereby changes the final result.
In the climate system, the INPUT is EM radiation energy from the sun applied at the TSI power rate to the earth, and the response is earth’s climate conditions, including it establishing some range of Temperatures over the volume of interest, usually the atmosphere, ocean and surface regions.
So a CLOUD SHADOW, clearly visible on the ground, as a reduction of illumination (by that solar EM energy) immediately subtracts from the energy input to the surface/oceanic part of the system, which is where the vast majority of the total energy in the form of mostly waste “heat(ing)” is stored, and it shifts that portion of the original input signal (the solar energy) to the atmosphere, and to the “exhaust system” by which excess energy leaves the earth, thereby adding to the escape of thatenergy before it can be stored in the oceans mainly.
So yes the cloud shadows are very much feedback, and in this case, highly negative, in that the net effect of the original input signal (from the sun) is reduced, and reduced more by more cloud, and more cloud shadows.
It’s 4-H club or 8th grade simplicity Tim.

Billy Liar
June 23, 2012 1:20 pm

TimC:
You’re boring me. How much is it costing me? 🙂

TimC
June 23, 2012 1:25 pm

George E. Smith; says “It’s 4-H club or 8th grade simplicity Tim”.
And it was actually a joke, George (or at least an attempt at one). I had hoped the smiley at the end perhaps avoided the need for “\joke off”.

davidmhoffer
June 23, 2012 1:35 pm

TimC;
Sorry davidmhoffer, but you can’t prevent the alarmists using “denier” if that’s what they want to do. In the USA they have First Amendment rights;>>>>
Sir, not once did I advocate “preventing” anyone from saying anything, nor did I suggest violating anyone’s freedom of speech or first amendment rights. Your original assertion sir, was that it was simple name calling, and could be safely ignored. It cannot be safely ignored, that is the lesson that history has to teach us, and I have given you specific examples in history when exactly this tactic was used with consequences far worse than name calling. I have provided you with specific examples from the current debate in which alarmist organizations well outside the science community attempted to extend the tactic of dehumanizing their opponents.
I must point out to you that they failed. 350.org withdrew their heinous video because of the public outcry. Greenpeace withdrew their threat of violence because of the public outcry. We can nip these things in the bud by exactly that response. IF they had been allowed to get away with those things, if their hatefilled propoganda had simply been shrugged off, are you so foolish as to believe that the next round would not have been worse?
Dr Bain’s use of the term has been roundly denounced, and his defense is shameful. If he doesn’t wind up withdrawing the egregious words, he will certainly think twice about using that tactic again, as will the journal itself, and all other journals.
Fooling yourself into thinking that words such as Dr Bain’s are just name calling and harmless, is, well, foolish. Fight their words with words of protest. Else it will take more than words to stop them at some point.

George E. Smith;
June 23, 2012 1:37 pm

“””””…..François Marchand says:
June 23, 2012 at 6:40 am
Mr. Brown writes about the last 13 or 14 years of flat global temperature. According to GISTemp’s land-sea surface records, all the highest monthly temperature anomalies have occurred since 1998, nine of them since 2005. Does he deny that record? Does he deny the satellite record, which more or less agrees?…..”””””
Francois; in the absence of any data supportive or otherwise, I am going to ASSUME that you are an educated person with some reasoning powers; so my comments are more intended to be instructive for those readers who perhaps are less well educated, and perhaps come here to learn. (Ignorance is not a disease; we are all born with it).
So to the premise of your comment; a 13 or 14 ear interval of “flatness” following a rising trend; to which you remark, that the record shows the highest (monthly Temperatures since 1998.
So for those other readers puzzled by your comment, I can state the following:-
When a continuous function on a rising trend approaches and reaches a functional maximum, even a local one, the highest values tend to happen around that maximum, which is how the term maximum got defined in the first place.
Conversely when a continuous function declines and then flattens out at a minimum, some of the lowest values will be found to cluster about the minimum, which is why we call it that.
For example, the highest land altitudes on planet earth, tend to be found up in the mountains, and some of the lowest places on earth tend to be at the bottom of the deepest oceans.
It’s a fairly simple concept really, and I can understand why Professor Brown considered it was hardly worth mentioning; yes we know it has been warm and has stopped warming; it is the likelihood, and extent of a plunge to cooler Temperaturesw, where no doubt we will get a cluster of lowest Temperatures, that we all worry about.

Redman2
June 23, 2012 1:48 pm

Dr. Brown, you may find these remarks by James Lovelock, the godfather of global warming, interesting:
As he puts it, “so-called ‘sustainable development’ … is meaningless drivel … We rushed into renewable energy without any thought. The schemes are largely hopelessly inefficient and unpleasant. I personally can’t stand windmills at any price.”
(4) Finally, about claims “the science is settled” on global warming: “One thing that being a scientist has taught me is that you can never be certain about anything. You never know the truth. You can only approach it and hope to get a bit nearer to it each time. You iterate towards the truth. You don’t know it.”
http://www.torontosun.com/2012/06/22/green-drivel
The man has totally caved.

Britannic-no-see-um
June 23, 2012 1:56 pm

This is an outstanding and powerful exposition of the thoughts and conclusions of so many of us, expressed with such eloquence so few can muster.

Gail Combs
June 23, 2012 1:59 pm

Luther Wu says:
June 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm
What a task Dr. Bain has; trying to placate his agenda- driven funding sources while appearing to maintain some semblance of ethical scientific standards.
He’s like a moonshiner hung up astraddle a barbed- wire fence with raging bulls on one side and revenuers on the other and sorely threatened by the fence.
________________________________
With that barbed wire fence hooked to an electric fence charger, solar powered of course. (I have a vivid visual imagination esp. after having dealt with wire fences…. )

oldfossil
June 23, 2012 2:04 pm

I pride myself on being a skeptic whether it’s religion, UFO’s, acupuncture or abortion we’re talking about.
So I am reading this page and comments thread with great interest and will spend a few days chasing down all the links.
I ask the following question not in order to debunk the previous comments, but in all sincerity. How does the extreme weather of the past decade fit into this? Floods, hurricanes, melting of polar ice sheets? This needs a good answer because it’s the first challenge that a CAGW supporter is going to throw at you.

Gail Combs
June 23, 2012 2:46 pm

LazyTeenager says:
June 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm
For shame.
————–
no actual evidence —– is code for —— I am ignoring the evidence I don’t like.
There is evidence for temperature rises in the geological past of similar rates upward to what we are seeing now. They were extinction events. If civilizations had existed at the time they would have been civilization destroying events.
For shame that you close your eyes whenever evidence appears.
It’s not skepticism. It’s prejudice.
__________________________________
And there is PLENTY OF EVIDENCE FOR A GRADUAL COOLING over the Holocene.
GRAPH: Vostok temp for Holocene
GRAPH: Greenland temp for Holocene
Graph: Volstok temperatures for the last four interglacials
Graph: Temp and CO2 for the last four interglacials (Volstok). Notice how the CO2 was nice and constant during the Eemian but the temperature was not yet in the Holocene the temperature was rather constant compared to the other interglacials but the CO2 was not. A close up Graph: CO2 and temp for Holocene (Greenland) In fact the CO2 is INCREASING throughout the Holocene while the Temperature is gradually DECREASING!
Even Joe Romm over at Climate Progress acknowledges the Milankovitch Cycles

Absent human emissions, we’d probably be in a slow long-term cooling trend due primarily by changes in the Earth’s orbit — see Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds…http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/16/hockey-stick-paper-mcshane-and-wyner-statisticians/#more-31767

Here are two peer-reviewed papers.

Temperature and precipitation history of the Arctic
….Solar energy reached a summer maximum (9% higher than at present) ca 11 ka ago and has been decreasing since then, primarily in response to the precession of the equinoxes. The extra energy elevated early Holocene summer temperatures throughout the Arctic 1-3° C above 20th century averages…

This paper also agrees that we are at the point in the earth’s Milankovitch cycle that ushers in an ice age.

Lesson from the past: present insolation minimum holds potential for glacial inception (2007)
“Because the intensities of the 397 ka BP and present insolation minima are very similar, we conclude that under natural boundary conditions the present insolation minimum holds the potential to terminate the Holocene interglacial. Our findings support the Ruddiman hypothesis [Ruddiman, W., 2003. The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era began thousands of years ago. Climate Change 61, 261–293], which proposes that early anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission prevented the inception of a glacial that would otherwise already have started….

Possibly delayed is more like it. One commenter here who is a Geologist said that while the cycles do not always lift the earth out of an Ice Age they ALWAYS dump it into one. (sorry no link)
Gerry Roe’s 2006 paper In Defense of Milankovitch, Geophysical Research Letters fine tunes the model and get a very good match with the ice core data. See In Defense of Milankovitch by Gerard Roe over at Luboš Motl website for an easy to read article and pointers to the paper.
Even Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution acknowledges Climate Scientist could very well be barking up the wrong tree.

Abrupt Climate Change: Should We Be Worried? – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
“Most of the studies and debates on potential climate change, along with its ecological and economic impacts, have focused on the ongoing buildup of industrial greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a gradual increase in global temperatures. This line of thinking, however, fails to consider another potentially disruptive climate scenario. It ignores recent and rapidly advancing evidence that Earth’s climate repeatedly has shifted abruptly and dramatically in the past, and is capable of doing so in the future.
Fossil evidence clearly demonstrates that Earth vs climate can shift gears within a decade….
But the concept remains little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of scientists, economists, policy makers, and world political and business leaders. Thus, world leaders may be planning for climate scenarios of global warming that are opposite to what might actually occur…

The evidence for long term GLOBAL COOLING is a lot stronger than for CAGW, if anything let’s pray CAGW does exist because a warmer earth beats the C…P out of sitting under miles of ice!
Oh and another point no one has ever bothered to bring up. CO2 levels drop like a rock during glaciation. The levels were low enough that C4 plants evolved to cope with the much lower levels of CO2. If the CO2 levels during the next glaciation or two drop below the critical threshold for plant photosynthesis, most of the carbon based life forms on earth will become extinct. CO2 is not a poison it is absolutely critical for life on this planet.

June 23, 2012 2:50 pm

@oldfossil on June 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm,
Somebody will probably beat me to this, but Anthony has many posts on the non-link between severe weather events and increased global warming. One of those can be found here
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/31/stunning-map-of-noaa-data-showing-56-year-of-tornado-tracks-shed-light-on-the-folly-of-linking-global-warming-to-severe-weather/
I suggest you use WUWT search engine and input “tornadoes” as a starting point. The same non-linkage holds for hurricanes, too. Dr. Ryan Maue has excellent graphs of hurricane energy over time.

June 23, 2012 3:00 pm

Robert Brown says:
What I cannot understand is why any scientist wouldn’t just present the data and let it speak for itself.
Hi Dr. Brown
Me not being a scientist, may not qualify for the above invitation, but will do anyway:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NH-SH.htm
(relegated to ‘quackery’ ?)

Matt in Houston
June 23, 2012 3:00 pm

Philosophical tour de force.
That was incredibly eloquent and most excellently constructed, I fear that any opposing point of view will be quite short-handed should they actually attempt to rebuff your exceedingly solid rationale.
Thank you Dr Brown.
And thanks to Anthony for sharing this fantastic piece of scientific commentary.
That is THE elevator speech to end all elevator speeches on the matter of CAGW.
OldFossil- it has been repeatedly demonstrated that there is nothing extreme about any of the weather of the last decade and it is a topic that has been covered here on WUWT repeatedly. A short bit of searching on WUWT will answer your question with plenty of evidence. In short, the last ten years is actually quite boring in terms of the geological history of the earth.
Now I have to go back and read through the commentary…

TimC
June 23, 2012 3:08 pm

Davidmhoffer says “Your original assertion sir, was that it was simple name calling, and could be safely ignored.”
Not so: my earlier posting said “Wouldn’t it be better just to ignore the silly labels and get on with the mission?” (italics now added). And I did not anywhere suggest you were an advocate of violating anyone’s freedom of speech – I simply said (in terms) that there are no legal powers in US or UK jurisdictions which prevent alarmists using the pejorative label “denier” if they wish to do so.
Equally, you are of course entitled to continue to rail away about the threats which appear to be your main concern. Good luck to you with that – but I’m afraid there is still no way legally to prevent alarmists using the “d-word”, if they so wish. We can only seek to get on with the job of ultimately proving they are wrong.

Gunga Din