Josh scales the climate personas

Josh writes:

I have been musing for some time about a way to show the range of sceptic views compared to non-sceptic views and I think I have come up with something simple that could be useful and fun.

Below is an example of a two part scale showing Science in one band going from Certainty to Uncertainty and a corresponding Policy band below showing policies that cost more or cost less. I have added some possible examples of ranges of opinion and people from around the climate blogosphere.

Sceptic_scale_example

Click the images to get bigger versions.

As it is only an example, I may well have put people in the wrong place or got the ranges wrong – my apologies. Also let me know what improvements could be made and I will post new versions.

If you would like to print out your own version here is the scale on its own:Sceptic_scale_vs1

And here are some people:Sceptic_scale_people

Have fun and let me know what you think.

Josh
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Oldseadog

We need a pic of Willis.

Josh, we need some climate playing cards based on this!!

PS, we all know who the joker would be…..

Leonard Weinstein

While I disagree with many (but not all) of the sky dragon positions, I do not consider them to have no faith in science. They have a diverse set of views, some of which may turn out to have some validity. Lumping all in that group together as having a single position is as bad an error as lumping all skeptics of any degree as being deniers.

onlyme

No uniforms on the SKS boys? They toned down their stridency or militancy recently or something?

Mark

Could use a pic for Mr Lomborg with all those actually 🙂 .

Jim Cripwell

In all seriousness, I don’t think “certainty”, and “skepticism” are necessarily on the same scale. This comes back to the old problem that climate sensitivity has never been measured. Should climate sensitivity ever be actually measured, we would be certain what the value was, and there would be no uncertainly as to whether CAGW made sense scientifically.
Personally, I am certain that CAGW is NOT a problem. So I am certain and skeptical at the same time.

Mike H

My immediate though was it would be interesting if it was active. Puts some #s to the ratings, figure out how to objectively rate each individual’s scale position and see where the curve actually ended up. Nice normal curve? skewed left? Right ? Might allow an # be put to actual opinions out there and get rid of that stupid “97% of scientists believe . . . “

Gary

Two suggestions: 1) increase the pool of people, and 2) take a poll that ranks them.

Ray

As Gary says, plus ask the people depicted to rank themselves.

Latimer Alder

Surely RET Ward should be purple with his normal rage? He looks more like The Mekon (qv) in your representation.
You also need from UK (inter alia) Chris Monckton, Piers, Rog Tallbloke, Flimsin, Jonathan Jones, Omnlogos, David Bellamy, JS Beefburger (Lord Deben), Ed Davey, Chris Huhne, Paul Nurse etc etc

David L. Hagen

Hi Josh
Much appreciate your witty insightful cartoons and exploring the issues involved.
May I encourage you to dig deeper. e.g., to separate “uncertainty” from “belief in science” from “belief in the accuracy of climate models”. I am a scientist/engineer with a strong understanding/-belief in the scientific method (aka “science”). Yet I find that the “uncertainty” in global climate models is very high based on comparison against the evidence – i.e. much higher uncertainty in the model predictions than what Mann or IPCC express. I see Judith Curry having a similar perspective.
Suggest a ranking on the range of anthropogenic warming expected. i.e. from strong warming CAGW “catastrophic” warming +6 C on the “alarmist side” to eventual cooling on the Nature dominates side. e.g. -2C?
“Uncertainty” is a foundational tool in science for quantitatively evaluating the magnitude of the “accuracy”. See NIST on Uncertainty Guidelines or TN1297. For the international standard see Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement JCGM 100:2008 by BIMP (Few climate scientists appear to have read either of these from the very rare mention of Type B errors.)
On Policy, the two extremes are:
Control nature versus care for the poor.
Expensive mitigation versus wise stewardship with adaptation.
See the Cornwall Alliance for scientists and others with a strong belief in the scientific method who see climate model predictions as having much higher uncertainties than IPCC, while focusing on wise stewardship of resources and caring for the poor.
I recommend adding The Right Climate Stuff to your array. See TheRightClimateStuff.com. From their evaluation of the data they are expecting 1.2 C total global warming max.

Syfretj

Perhaps this would work better as a graph with science on the x axis and policy on the y axis. I would also say that the science scale could be tweeked: is activism really the opposite end of the spectrum to no faith in science? I would simply leave the science scale labelled as science and rank people on the quality/rigour of the work they do. Thus the SKS and Skydragons would be somewhat closer together, for example.

John F. Hultquist

Well done, and fun.
Sure a few tweaks are possible. However, the concept is multi-dimensional and taking it to even 3 would be cumbersome and require considerable work to create and interpret the result.
On the “spend more” side Al Gore is well known. Joanne Nova is a believer in science and reason (adaptation).
Remember the KISS rule.

Mike M

This is great Josh but what we also need are CAGW games that are fun for the whole family. How about “CAGW Bingo” or a “CAGW Crossword Puzzle” or “match the quote to the person game” printed on paper placemats for diners and restaurants?
Along those lines, please add some political figures to the cast of cranially compromised climate characters such as John F’n Kerry, Henry Waxman, Rajendra Pachauri, Hank Johnson, etc.
Keep up the good work, we’re all count’n on ya!

Bryan A

You could embellish the SKS kids with matching forehead Tattoos “SKS” with the familiar Lightning Bolt S’s

Bryan A

Also. Mann could use a Tree Ring Lollypop

CoRev

Josh an excellent job! I think adding James Hansen and Al Gore (maybe Holdren and Obama) might be appropriate. Another meaningful metric might be to show the relative number of the followers for each grouping. That ole bell shaped curve might apply

David in Cal

In a sense, nobody is certain, because climate sensitivity is so uncertain. If I recall correctly, the fifth IPCC report had a very wide range of 1.5 to 4.5 deg. C, and with a possibility that sensitivity might be below or above this range. Some warn of sensitivity of 6 deg. C or more, Other models show a sensitivity below 1 deg. C. So, what is it that the “certain” group are certain of?

Henry Clark

The artistry is nice aesthetically, including with personable faces.
However, does it “show the range of sceptic views” well? I’d quite say no, especially with the following 2 aspects:
1) It actually depicts a meme the CAGW movement loves, putting them on the implied high “faith in science” end, as if believing in CAGW or not is a matter of whether someone trusts science or not.
Little, if anything, has been more core to the successes of the CAGW movement in popular perception than that meme, putting on a superficial costume of science like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But most activism has always been divorced from real science of the kind getting accurate results like correct and not absurd predictions.
For example, whether or not having a college degree (hardly special today) or calling himself a scientist, an environmental activist claiming dozens of times more coming warming in the 21st century than how now compares to the late 1930s has practically no more honesty or mathematical literacy than an environmental activist implying vast harm thousands of years from now by long-lived isotopes in nuclear waste (buried in Earth’s crust which has literally trillions of tons of natural radioisotopes from thorium to potassium-40, with ppm levels adding up over 3 * 10^19 tons mass). Just, in the former case, activists were able to reach critical mass to portray themselves as a majority and representative of a field, unlike how they failed to do so in the latter (too tied to the most reality-tested science: engineering, with predominately different kinds of people flocking to the field).
2) Another implicitly depicted meme in the image, also with issues, is treating being far on a continuum towards uncertainty or vagueness as intrinsic to skepticism. Of course, there is a partial truth in that; mainly just saying “I don’t know” is a very common skeptical position and can be honest.
Yet the CAGW movement has effective vagueness on the topics they dislike having to address at all, from CO2 fertilization impacts to the cause of loads of climate history outside the 1980s-1990s rise. In fact, a wide range of estimates especially for the future has to be maintained, so the high end can be used for misleading the public but the low end used for covering rear ends (not going to be enough for them but buy some time).
Meanwhile, in contrast, the more real science is developed and understood, the more of reality can be well explained, like http://img213.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=62356_expanded_overview3_122_1094lo.jpg doesn’t leave the LIA, the current “pause” in global warming, or the 1960s-1970s global cooling scare unexplained.

Henry Clark

The artistry is nice aesthetically, including with personable faces.
However, does it “show the range of skeptic views” well? I’d quite say no, especially with the following 2 aspects:
1) It actually depicts a meme the CAGW movement loves, putting them on the implied high “faith in science” end, as if believing in CAGW or not is a matter of whether someone trusts science or not.
Little, if anything, has been more core to the successes of the CAGW movement in popular perception than that meme, putting on a superficial costume of science like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But most activism has always been divorced from real science of the kind getting accurate results like correct and not absurd predictions.
For example, whether or not having a college degree (hardly special today) or calling himself a scientist, an environmental activist claiming dozens of times more coming warming in the 21st century than how now compares to the late 1930s has practically no more honesty or mathematical literacy than an environmental activist implying vast harm thousands of years from now by long-lived isotopes in nuclear waste (buried in Earth’s crust which has literally trillions of tons of natural radioisotopes from thorium to potassium-40, with ppm levels adding up over 3 * 10^19 tons mass). Just, in the former case, activists were able to reach critical mass to portray themselves as a majority and representative of a field, unlike how they failed to do so in the latter (too tied to the most reality-tested science: engineering, with predominately different kinds of people flocking to the field).
2) Another implicitly depicted meme in the image, also with issues, is treating being far on a continuum towards uncertainty or vagueness as intrinsic to skepticism. Of course, there is a partial truth in that; mainly just saying “I don’t know” is a very common skeptical position and can be honest.
Yet the CAGW movement has effective vagueness on the topics they dislike having to address at all, from CO2 fertilization impacts to the cause of loads of climate history outside the 1980s-1990s rise. In fact, a wide range of estimates especially for the future has to be maintained, so the high end can be used for misleading the public but the low end used for covering rear ends (not going to be enough for them but buy some time).
Meanwhile, in contrast, the more real science is developed and understood, the more of reality can be well explained, like http://img213.imagevenue.com/img.php?image=62356_expanded_overview3_122_1094lo.jpg doesn’t leave the LIA, the current “pause” in global warming, or the 1960s-1970s global cooling scare unexplained.

Henry Clark

Double-post: my apologies; bad connection.

Very clever Josh !!!
And well done

Bruce Cobb

Instead of the scale going from “certain” to “uncertain”, I would have it go from “belief” to “non-belief”. Belief meaning agreeing with the tenets of CAGW, however, even the idea that a doubling of CO2 will cause only 1C of warming is still just a belief. The cold hard fact remains that we can’t show that an effect from man’s CO2 exists. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t one, simply that we can’t pinpoint it. And that means that whatever the effect may be, it is very small – way too small to matter in the slightest. I guess “sky dragons” (whatever they are) would belong in the realm of the non-believers, despite whatever some think of their ideas.

Leonard Weinstein says:
March 15, 2014 at 7:52 am
> While I disagree with many (but not all) of the sky dragon positions, I do not consider them to have no faith in science.
The Sky Dragons need a scale of their own, but I don’t know what to call it or where to put them. Maybe “stubbornness”. If so, then they’d be off the scale. 🙂
Love their icon though, ditto McIntyre.

Skeptic

We need a “Viscount Monckton of Brenchley” icon. Perhaps a mounted knight with a fountain pen lance.

Thomas

If you publish lots of scientific articles in high ranking journals you are an activist. If you run a blog or draw cartoons you’re into science. Yep, that makes sense…

James Strom

McIntyre, Curry and Watts–delightful.

Jeff L

Other pictures needed – James Hansen, James Delingpole, Bill McKibben, Gavin Schmidt, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, Kevin Trenberth, Revkin, John Christy, Christopher Monckton, Jo Nova
…. And of Course the godfather of CAGW …. Al Gore
Might need to stack some vertically to position correctly on the scale

D. Cohen

I agree with point 1 of Henry Clark’s comment. The top “faith in science” bar of should be labeled something like “faith in government-funded science” or maybe even “faith in bureaucratic leaders of government-funded science”. The two-bar diagram is a good idea, but the label for the top bar needs some word-smithing.

David Norman

A triangle pivot under the centre of the scale would be usful. Teeter Totter like, the triangle pivot could represent a specific issue (forcing) in the climate change debate, allowing for the protagonist characters to shift their weight so to speak.

PaulH

Wow, I wish I had a Josh-drawn face too. ;->

catweazle666

Great stuff Josh.
Ridicule is far more damaging to these authoritarian buffoons than any amount of reasoned debate ever can be.
May I suggest Jailbird Jim Hansen be added to your pantheon, incidentally?

Hey Josh! I believe reality is about your left shoulder. 😉 pg

No faith in Science. Indeed, indeed, in deed.

chris y

Excellent!
I hope Josh will add the following familiar faces to the list:
Jim Hansen
Kevin Trenberth
Peter Gleick
Bjorn Lomborg
Tim Ball
Donna LaFramboise
Ross McKitrick
Patrick Moore
Joanne Nova
Tamino
Mike Roddy
Andy Revkin
David Roberts

mkelly

I am with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on this as one of his points in “Cosmos”, I am skeptical. But skeptical and uncertain does not equal “no faith in science”.

Josh,
I think it is way to ‘stereotyped’ and way way way too oversimplified.
But I think it is very important for you to have attempted it. It will stimulate less stereotyped and oversimplified portrayals. Thanks.
Keep on trying!!
More thoughts on your efforts shortly, still tied up on other threads . . .
John

Reasonable Guy

I would love to see this distributed to teh “warmists” side as well. I am sure that their impression is quite different. I think they would modify the scales, removing “activism” completely.

KevinK

Josh, as one of the “sky dragons” I must inform you that my teeth are in fact nowhere near that “pointy”.
Also, I doubt that you can accurately access my “faith in science” especially since we have never even met.
For a living I “do” radiative physics as an optical engineer.
This is applied science following on the learning’s/theories/laws of lots of scientists that have preceded me.
Folks like; Snell, Fresnel, Born, Wolf, Euclid, Kepler, Huygens, Bacon, and lots more.
I have lots of “faith” in their science, climate science not so much.
I have done lots of modeling of very complex systems and have helped convince my customers to spend lots of money to build very expensive things based on the predictions from those models.
Several of those “things” are orbiting over our heads right now, and in fact you can go to the Digital Globe TomNod website and help look for the missing jetliner with images from those things. Every pixel coming down from those birds is traceable to a NIST standard for optical radiation due to my work calibrating those focal planes.
It is my considered opinion that “modeling” the climate is currently and always will be impossible.
So you can in fact put me down for “STOP WASTING MONEY AND EVERYBODY’S TIME” on this farce known as “climate modeling”.
Cheers, Kevin (now off to file down my teeth a wee bit).

How could you omit Mosh-Man? A dreadful oversight. Either that, or you didn’t know where to put him, either.

geran

AGW was not, is not, “science”. It is a “belief-system”. That is what Climategate was all about. The temps did not fit the belief. That is what all the “adjustments” are about, the last 16-17 years do not fit the belief. That is why the climate models have failed. There is NO science in AGW.

F. Ross

Only suggestion is to change the shape of the graph to resemble a hockey stick and of course Mann would be located at that end.

zootcadillac

“How could you omit Mosh-Man?”
He does not deserve the time of day. His position on the scale will alter depending upon whose website he is performing the drive by on at the time.
I would expect to see Hansen handcuffed to some railings a few inches to the far left of the scale.

jorgekafkazar

Thomas says: “If you publish lots of scientific articles in high ranking journals you are an activist. If you run a blog or draw cartoons you’re into science. Yep, that makes sense…”
Some of those “high ranking” journals are, indeed, rank and are part of the pal review, activist establishment coterie.

george e. conant

I am wowed Josh! Your analysis tool is brilliant, great persona icons! And the responses are fab and so creative. And to think this isn’t big oil funded or big government funded. Gee yall should be awarded fat grants! I myself have been ruminating on a research project involving popcorn futures coefficient extrapolated from CAGW climate models averaged against adjusted observed weather data sets. But this gem, Josh, I am humbled!
P.S.
I want a persona icon too

nothothere

Ric Werme wrote;
“The Sky Dragons need a scale of their own, but I don’t know what to call it or where to put them. Maybe “stubbornness”. If so, then they’d be off the scale. :-)”
Well, if I was still modeling a design after several DECADES and my model (and in fact all of the models) was this far away from reality I think I would be tempted to shoot myself out of frustration.
I am in fact quite stubborn and have never given up on a design. But I have stopped many times to re-evaluate the theories and hypotheses I started with.
The stubborn ones are those so filled with hubris that they actually believe they can model the climate.
There will be a time in the future where just about everyone will be shaking their heads saying; “what were they thinking, modeling the climate, why everybody knows that’s impossible”.
There is a long tail in history of failed ideas and hypotheses.
Cheers, the one with the pointy teeth

jorgekafkazar

Jorgekafkazar says: “How could you omit Mosh-Man?”
zootcadillac says: “He does not deserve the time of day. His position on the scale will alter depending upon whose website he is performing the drive by on at the time.”
That’s my point, exactly, zoot. He’s hard to categorize. But maybe he just needs a wider card? Or several? He’s a lot of fun, in any case.

nothothere

Oh, just to reduce confusion “KevinK” and “nothothere” are one and the same person.
Wordpress confuses me when I re-login.

Categorizing the “skydragons” as having “no faith in science” is applying the same label to this group of skeptics that the alarmists apply to all skeptics. The “dragon slayers” are further to one side of SOME scale, but it is not a scale of belief in science.
They are more skeptical of THE SCIENTIFIC CLAIMS OF THE ALARMISTS, but the scientific claims of the alarmists do not define “science”! So how about re-labeling that scale as certainty vs. skepticism of the scientific claims of those who believe that CO2 caused most post-1950 warming (the official “consensus” position, as asserted by the IPCC)? Otherwise, very nicely done.