Guest post: “Climate variability research: did the sceptics make us do it?” – Professor Richard Betts

This is a guest post by Prof. Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office, (IPCC AR4 and AR5 lead author) about Lewandowsky, Oreskes et al’s forthcoming paper, which suggests that climate skeptics influence climate scientists. 

Richard’s post starts now.


 

Stephan Lewandowsky and co-authors have published an Executive Summary of their forthcoming paper* Seepage: Climate change denial and its effect on the scientific community. The authors suggest that climate scientists are allowing themselves to be influenced by “contrarian memes” and give too much attention to uncertainty in climate science. They express concern that this would invite inaction in addressing anthropogenic climate change. It’s an intriguing paper, not least because of what it reveals about the authors’ framing of the climate change discourse (they use a clear “us vs. them” framing), their assumptions about the aims and scope of climate science, and their awareness of past research. However, the authors seem unable to offer any real evidence to support their speculation, and I think their conclusions are incorrect.

As their example of scientists apparently giving undue weight to “contrarian memes”, Lewandowsky et al focus on what they describe as the “asymmetry of the scientific response to the so-called Œpause’”. They assert that “on previous occasions when decadal warming was particularly rapid, the scientific community did not give short-term climate variability the attention it has recently received”. They do not specifically identify the “previous occasions when decadal warming was particularly rapid”, but it’s fair to assume that they are referring to the 1990s, probably the period 1992-1998. This was the most recent occasion when global mean temperatures rose rapidly for a few years, and previous such occasions occurred before climate science had become established as a widely established field of research.

This assertion, however, is incorrect. Short-term climate variability did receive a lot of attention in the 1990s ­ see extensive discussion in the first 3 IPCC Assessment Reports, and brief discussion by Hawkins et al (Nature Climate Change, 2014). One specific example of a high-profile paper on this topic is Sutton & Allen (Nature, 1997), but there are others.

It is perplexing that Lewandowsky et al do not seem to be aware of this research on short-term climate variability. One explanation may be that there is more effective communication of research. Social media opens up many more channels through which climate scientists can communicate their work, instead of this communication being done by middle-men in the mainstream media or vested-interest organisations such as NGOs as in the 1990s. Those outside of the climate science community are therefore much more likely to be exposed to topics that are of interest to the scientists themselves, rather than just topics which interest newspaper editors or environmental campaigners.

Possibly Lewandowsky et al are wondering why there was not a raft of papers specifically focussing on the observed temperature record between 1992 and 1998. The reason is simple ­ this was not a particularly surprising event. When global temperatures rose rapidly few a few years after 1992, this was very easily explained by the tailing-off of the short-term cooling influence of the Mount Pinatubo eruption. This had cooled the Earth briefly by injecting large quantities of ash into the stratosphere. Indeed this cooling had been successfully predicted by Jim Hansen using a climate model shortly after the eruption. A few years later, 1998 was an exceptionally warm year globally because of a major El Nino event. The fact that these two events were well understood and even partly predicted in advance meant that there was less of a puzzle to be solved, so less motivation for extensive research on the drivers of global temperature over these specific years. In contrast, the trajectory of global temperatures in the last 15 years or so was not specifically predicted in advance. Although global temperatures remain within the envelope of uncertainty implied by multi-model studies, this is not the same as actually predicting it. So this time, there is an interesting puzzle to be investigated.

I have not actually counted or systematically reviewed the papers on variability in the 1990s compared to those in more recent years, so although there was a lot of variability research in the 1990s, it is still possible that there are more variability papers in the latter period. However, even if this is the case, there are other reasons for this. Users of climate information (and hence funding bodies) are increasingly interested in adaptation planning, which tends to require information in the nearer-term when natural variability dominates. More recently this has matured into the agenda of Climate Services, which includes forecasting on seasonal, inter annual and decadal timescales. This has led to the development of new scientific capabilities to address this need, eg. very large ensembles of climate models, initialised forecasting (where models use data assimilation to start from actual present-day data rather than pre-industrial), increased resolution, and greater computing power. So in addition to the scientific motivation to study variability which already existed in the 1990s, there is additional motivation coming from stakeholders and funding bodies, and also more extensive capability for this research.

Lewandowsky at al regard research into natural variability as “entertaining the possibility that a short period of a reduced rate of warming presents a challenge to the fundamentals of greenhouse warming.” Is there any evidence at all of climate scientists actually thinking this? I don’t think so. This indicates a fundamental misconception about the scope and aims of current climate science – the authors seem to assume that climate science is entirely focussed on anthropogenic climate change, and that natural variability is only researched as a supplementary issue in order to support the conclusions regarding anthropogenic influence. However, the truth is very different ­ natural variability was always of interest to scientists as part of understanding how the climate system works, and Climate Services and the ambitions for short­ term forecasting are now major research drivers. It is true that some papers have also used the observational record to try to understand and constrain key quantities of relevant to anthropogenic change, namely equilibrium climate sensitivity and transient climate response, but this is hardly addressing the “fundamentals of greenhouse warming”, ­it is simply trying to reduce uncertainty in one of the key aspects of it. Such studies certainly do not limit themselves purely to the “pause” period ­ instead, they include it in a much longer period of many decades, since this is the timescale of relevance to changes in greenhouse forcing. Exclusion of recent years from such studies would lead to misleading results, so of course the “pause” period is going to be included.

So the perceived “asymmetry” can be easily explained purely as an evolution of scientific focus and capability over the last 25 years. Nevertheless, the hypothesis of psychological influences is intriguing. Could it still be happening even though the specific example of increased research on variability can be explained by other factors? Lewandowsky et al suggest three mechanisms by which their proposed “seepage” may occur ­does the evidence support these proposed mechanisms? Here I focus on the situation in the UK, as this is where I am most familiar, and also because this is where a focus on the “pause” is quite common.

The first proposed mechanism is dubbed “Stereotype Threat”. The idea is that climate scientists are worried about being stereotyped as “alarmists”, and react by downplaying the threat. I agree that there may be some evidence for this in the IPCC and the global climate science community – for example, although the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) included projections based on the high-end A1FI scenario, these were performed with the simpler Integrated Assessment Models rather than full, complex General Circulation Models. Moreover, the media focus on the projections sometimes did overlook the A1FI projection of warming up to 6.4C by 2100. (Indeed I was told by a long-established and respected environment journalist that the media were very much steered away from the A1FI result when AR4 was published in 2007.) This was indeed one of the motivations for my paper “When could global warming reach 4C?” as felt that the A1FI scenario had not received the attention it warranted. However, despite this possible example of reticence by the IPCC, the UK community does not seem to have followed suit. The A1FI scenario was used in the UKCIP02 and UKCP09 climate projections, and a number of high ­profile UK conferences focussed on the higher-end risks of climate change, eg. “Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change” in Exeter in 2005; and “4 Degrees and Beyond”, Oxford, 2009. UK research institutions are leading two major EU-funded consortia on the impacts of “high-end climate change” (I’m coordinating one of these, HELIX, myself). So while talk of the “pause” is commonplace in the UK climate science community, this does not seem to be accompanied by shying away from discussing projections and risks of higher-end climate change.

The second proposed mechanism is dubbed “Pluralistic Ignorance”, which refers to people thinking that their views are more in the minority than they really are. The authors offer the speculative example of public discourse that IPCC has supposedly exaggerated the threat of climate change. This does not seem to be the case in the UK ­ there is general public acceptance of anthropogenic climate change, and uniquely non-partisan political consensus on taking action on mitigation. For example, a recent article in the Guardian states:

“Britons are more likely to agree the climate is changing than at any time in recent years, with nearly nine in 10 people saying climate change is happening and 84% attributing this somewhat or entirely to human activity, new research has found. Two-thirds say they are concerned by global warming.”

Over the past 25 years, successive UK governments have led the world in supporting climate science and in developing climate policy both at home and internationally. The Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher personally founded the Met Office Hadley Centre, and at the same time the UK was prominent in establishing the IPCC. For the first 4 IPCC assessment reports, the UK government played a central role by supporting an IPCC Co-Chair and Technical Support Unit in the Met Office Hadley Centre. The UK has been central to the UN climate negotiations, and under the Labour government of 1997-2010 was the first country to put in place its own legislation on reducing emissions and planning adaptation (the Climate Change Act). In the 2010 election, the Conservative Party manifesto was keen to promote its environmental policies, and prior to the recent election the three main parties signed a statement supporting continuation of the Climate Change Act. Hence, if there is any country in the world where climate scientists can feel that their research is valued by both the public and politicians, it is the UK.

The final proposed mechanisms is dubbed the “Third person effect”, and refers to the idea that someone may think that others are more easily persuaded than they are themselves, and react to this. This seems quite plausible, but I fail to see why this would not apply equally to arguments from activists and politicians aiming to persuade people of the threat of climate change. In fact, given the widespread public and political agreement on anthropogenic climate change in the UK, it seems far more likely that the “Third Person Effect” would apply to being persuaded by arguments in favour of acting on climate change than by those against it.

So overall I do not see that “seepage of contrarian memes” is necessary to explain research on the recent slowdown in global surface warming, nor do I see any evidence that this is likely to be occurring in the UK climate science community where such research is prominent.

There are further intriguing questions arising from the facts that (1) UK scientists discuss the “pause/slowdown”, (2) the UK public acceptance of anthropogenic climate change and (3) successive UK governments have been, and remain, world-leaders in climate policy. If climate scientists have indeed allowed themselves to be influenced by “contrarians”, it would appear that this has not prevented widespread acceptance of anthropogenic climate change or the development and implementation of climate policy. Indeed, if scientific discussion of the “pause/slowdown” is indeed seen by the public and politicians as considering a “contrarian meme”, could it actually be the case that a clear willingness to consider a range of viewpoints could actually enhance the credibility of climate scientists? Therefore could open discussion of the “pause” actually increase the confidence of the public and the government in their advice that climate change is real and man-made? It seems fair to suggest that an intelligent and thoughtful public and politicians would take scientists more seriously if they are seen to be objective ­ indeed some research does support this supposition.

So to conclude, I think Lewandowsky et al are incorrect that scientific research and discussion into the recent climate variability has arisen as a result of the “seepage of contrarian memes”. Variability has always been a key topic in climate research, and if this has become more extensive or visible in this recently, it is simply the result of improved science communication, more specific research questions and evolving capabilities within climate science. The evidence also suggests that even if “seepage” is real, at the very least this seepage has had no influence in watering-down UK public opinion and political action compared to other countries – and that possibly the opposite has occurred because the public are more convinced by seeing scientists being objective.

Footnote:
*it seems they expected the paper to be published at the same time, but it is not yet available. Stephan offers to send the corrected proofs to anyone who emails him.

END


Note

[BarryJWoods]This article was 1st published at the AndThenTheresPhysics blog and has been republished here with permission of Professor Betts to allow it a wider audience, and for those that are unable to comment at the other blog

This is my personal opinion, I  think that it again highlights a major  difference of opinion of just how science should be communicated to the public. This was demonstrated by the twitter conversation between Dr Doug McNeall and Dr Naomi Oreskes last September where they discussed the usage of the word ‘pause’, Dr Oreskes said she was writing a paper about what words to use (presumably the ‘seepage ‘paper ) which led to Dr McNeall’s comment  below (link which was discussed further at WUWT here)

oreskes-mcneall[1]

This gave the impression, to me at least, that a number of  scientists really want to talk about the science to the public and others just want to control the message that the public hear. And for me, that the former approach rather trusts the intelligence of the public more,  than the latter communications approach of apparently wanting to control the language used publicly by scientists.

As this is a guest post I hope  that anyone that comments does so in a constructive and civil manner

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196 thoughts on “Guest post: “Climate variability research: did the sceptics make us do it?” – Professor Richard Betts

    • A few years later, 1998 was an exceptionally warm year globally because of a major El Nino event. The fact that these two events were well understood and even partly predicted in advance meant that there was less of a puzzle to be solved, so less motivation for extensive research on the drivers of global temperature over these specific years.

      While I much appreciate and commend Richard Betts’ willingness to open discussion, I consider this to be possibly the first volley of what will become the get out phase.

      It wasn’t all that unexpected so there was not reason to comment or do more research? Well 1990-2000 was just the period that was being used to produce projections of exponential temperature rise and alarmist claims that we were all going to burn if we did not change our ways . If it was all so normal and expected in advance WTF was all the fuss about?

      It wasn’t us, it was the media and NGOs making all the fuss? I don’t recall many climate scientists objecting in the 1990s, 2000s, post-AR4 or more recently. The notable exception was Judith Curry who was roundly turned on as heretic when she stood up and said it was time to get climate science back on the rails in 2006.

      Thank you prof Betts, it’s going to be a long row back, I hope your rollocks are well greased.

      It’s about 15 or 20 years too late, but better late than never. Bon vent et von voyage.

  1. Betts still consorting with attp means his willingness to openly talk to the public ought be caveated.

    The piece also fails to consider the underlying meaning of Lew’s “Soviet Psychiatry” approach, and especially the idea that Betts, McNeall and others be too stupid to resist the skeptical Sirens, to the point of having their professional activities influenced if not directed by amateurs.

    • “Consorting” with attp? You mean engaging and challenging him?
      Granted attp takes a preconceived/intolerant/propaganda attitude, but surely engagment is a good thing. You surely don’t think Betts is similarly jaundiced do you?

  2. We should applaud Richard Betts for exposing nonsense regardless of its provenance. We should also realize that Betts’ day has 24 hours only, just like ours, and that he therefore cannot expose all nonsense that is written in the name of climate.

    • Betts was the guy who said that the failure of climate models doesn’t matter because they’re not important. I don’t really see how I’m supposed to endorse such a character. He’s part of warmunism, and they can keep him.

      • I agree that the climate models aren’t important. That others try to make a brave new world based on model output is a different story.

      • The underlying dispute that the “pause” is not occurring is accepted because their “secular belief” that all the heat is going into the oceans as gospel. What, prey tell, is the physical mechanism that causes this heat to preferentially divert from the land surfaces to the deep oceans???

      • Pete J:

        What, prey tell, is the physical mechanism that causes this heat to preferentially divert from the land surfaces to the deep oceans???

        And if it’s down there, how long will it take to come out again? Not in my lifetime – or my many family generations to come.

      • Betts’ job relies on climate models. It exists because of climate models. He is part of the team that demanded the £97m from the UK taxpayer for a new computer for his useless climate model. He has zero credibility where I’m concerned. I don’t presume for 1 minute that that will have any effect on him or his thinking.
        However, this means that when he “chooses to expose nonsense” I tend to question his motives. This form of communication tends to be used by some people as a diversionary tactic.

      • Stephen Richards
        May 13, 2015 at 12:38 pm

        “Betts’ job relies on climate models. It exists because of climate models. He is part of the team that demanded the £97m from the UK taxpayer for a new computer for his useless climate model. He has zero credibility where I’m concerned. I don’t presume for 1 minute that that will have any effect on him or his thinking.”

        Nail. Head.

        If someone came up with a forecasting (weather) method that was totally accurate and laid down the process for replicating that accuracy forever (climate) a lot of such ‘jobs’ would be forfeit. Government departments would be laid barren. Funding would shrivel up. All speculation on weather dependent ‘futures’ would cease. A fat portion of academia would wither on the vine. The entire collection of papers showing some warming at the end of C20 due to CO2 would become (even more and more quickly) redundant. All the dimwitted eschatologists would be heart-broken not to mention the concerned NGOs, politicians and general troughers. A paradigm shift.

        The perpetrator would be in a heap of trouble if they didn’t publish fully, widely and instantaneously – open source – IMHO. Forecasting has been risky since the beginning but uncounted vested interests would be more than furious if such were to occur including the (insert three letter government acronym here).

        Never say never.

    • Agreed. An open discussion provides more credibility, especially when it weeds out extremism.

    • I do applaud Richard. Contradicting those who want only to impose their views/values/objectives on everyone else is a first step toward draing the infection. I am sure Richard will meet with…. ahem… resistance from the most extreme green activists. Lets hope more prominent climate scientists join Richard in starting to disconnect the field from the most extreme activists.

    • Well done Richard

      Its important to keep civil dialogue going. The idea you are pepetrating a hoax or are busy changing historic temperature data at every opportunity I find ludicrous.

      Now, when we met I mentioned that book in the Met Office library written some 80 years ago concerning British weather events to 1450. I suggested either the Met Office reprints it or they allow me to do so. Its an important book. Any thoughts?

      tonyb

    • Funny…but the New Yorker just ran a satirical piece about a scientific study on humans who just won’t accept facts. But they had not yet studied those fact deniers under conditions of derivation on oxygen, water, or food which might solve the condition. So the AGW crowd is getting feisty about its capacity to reach for repression to have its way!

  3. I’m at a bit of a loss to understand why anyone takes Lewandowsky seriously, especially on matters relating to climate change. He evidently has a bee in his bonnet about those who refuse to sign up to the AGW meme and it is hardly surprising that that colours his thinking but research is not supposed to be designed to confirm the researcher’s views.
    In the long run, or perhaps even sooner, the climate science community is going to recognise Lewandowsky for the embarrassing clown that he is. Cook and Nuccitelli as well!

  4. Got to hand it to Oreskes, she’s not reticent about exposing her desire to control the message. Or could it really be that, in her groupthinking echo chamber, they really do believe that the pause/hiatus/halt in rising temperatures really is just a denier’s deliberate, malicious urban myth.

    Just how far detached, in every regard, can Lewandowsky and Oreskes be from ACTUAL science, I wonder.

    • It appears that in her echo chamber, the hypothesis that all the “missing heat” of the last 18 years went into the ocean is an indisputable fact, not just a possibility.

  5. “We should not repeated false clams. Even from scientists.”

    LOL. Groteskes can’t even write proper English.

  6. Isn’t there a Climategate email (possibly from Phil Jones, or if not from one of the Team) musing about ‘They will kill us if all we are measuring is (natural) multidecadel variation’

    I cannot remember the precise wording, nor the date of the email, but it does demonstrate that even the Team foresaw the possibility that the measured (or is that the adjusted and tweaked) recent warming was nothing more than a cycle of multidecadel variation.

    Perhaps someone who is more familiar with Climategate will post the email that I am thinking about.

    • richard verney,

      It was Tommy Wils: http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=1682.txt

      The memorable soundbite is all the way at the bottom, emphasized with my bold. I begin, however, with a good portion of the discussion leading up to it:


      > —–Ursprüngliche Nachricht—–
      > Von: ITRDB Dendrochronology Forum
      > [mailto:???@LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU ]Im Auftrag von Tommy Wils
      > Gesendet: Dienstag, 27. März 2007 18:40
      > An: ???@LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU
      > Betreff: Re: [ITRDBFOR] should we, as a discipline, respond to Climate
      > Audit
      >
      >
      > Dear forum,
      >
      > I think that we (as a discipline) are facing 2 problems: the ignoring
      > (McIntyre c.s.) and the panicking (Guardian, etc.) sides. I think we face
      > the problem of uncertainty, which can be used by everybody in the way they
      >
      > want. The balance from the perspective of our discipline is that there is
      > evidence that human-induced global warming is going on. However there is
      > more.
      >
      > – We cannot stop carbon emissions at once. We would induce a global civil
      > war far worse than global warming itself.
      > – Reducing carbon emissions from just the climate change point of view is
      > living in a non-real world: there is more. Fossil fuels are getting
      > scarcer
      > and thus more expensive. If we do not start changing our energy regime
      > NOW,
      > we will run into economical problems from shortage of fuels next
      > tosuspected global warming.
      > – Replacing fossil fuels by agriculturally produced oils will endanger
      > food
      > security in the world, we have to search for real alternatives.
      > – Cars driving on electricity will save the cities from pollution.
      > – Politicians like Al Gore are abusing the fear for global warming to get
      > into power (while having a huge carbon footprint himself), as Bush abused
      > the fear for muslim terrorism to attack Iraq and Afghanistan. Fear is far
      > more dangerous than the fact itself!
      > – American and European need for oil leads to imperialism and subsequent
      > resistence (terrorism as they call it). Changing this dependence is
      > crucial
      > for world peace.
      > – Climate is a naturally varying system: what would we do if global
      > warming
      > was natural? It would be still as dangerous…
      > – The UK raised taxes on flights, e.g. £20 of additional tax on a flight
      > to
      > Australia, pure nonense. The only effect it has is that people are being
      > robbed by the government and hence the stability of the democracy is
      > threatened. Nobody will cancel a £1200 flight for £20.
      > – etc. etc.
      >
      > I think we have to try to get the balance, the nuance into the discussion,
      > even though it is not our specialism – the problem is that it is nobody’s
      > specialism and so we live in a fragmented world flying from one extreme to
      >
      > the other. If you reply to McIntyre in a scientific way you will only
      > increase this fragmentation. For society, it is the bigger picture that
      > counts, not just what David said, but also the bigger bigger picture of
      > which I have given some examples. Statistically we simply cannot defend
      > global warming, therefore it is going on too short and it is too complex,
      > but if we wait we are too late. I think actually that the tendency of
      > scientists to insist that global warming is real and dangerous to convince
      > stubborn governments is the primary cause of existence of such radicals
      > like
      > McIntyre. We must admit our uncertainties, but also paint the bigger
      > bigger
      > picture.
      >
      > (It is like going on fieldwork to Ethiopia. You don’t argue well the
      > chances
      > that I get yellow fever are relatively small, I don’t do a vaccination.
      > But
      > you also don’t argue I am going to spend £10.000 on medical preparations
      > to
      > protect yourself from everything. The chances that global warming is real
      > are high enough to act accordingly, but too low to panick and ruin the
      > world
      > from the causes of anti-global-warming measures)
      >
      > Tommy

      > —–Original Message—–
      > From: ITRDB Dendrochronology Forum [mailto: ???@LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU]
      > On
      > Behalf Of Dr. Constantin Sander
      > Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 6:55 AM
      > To: ???@LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU
      > Subject: [ITRDBFOR] AW: [ITRDBFOR] should we, as a discipline, respond to
      > Climate Audit
      >
      > The job of a scientist is producing knowledge and reporting it. If there
      > is
      > incidence for future developments, that could be harmful, it should also
      > be
      > his/her job to point this out. But it is not the job of a scientist to act
      > on the a political scene, if he/she wants to keep its independence. It is
      > the job of politicians to draw conclusions from science.
      >
      > In Germany we had a big discussion about forest decline in the 1980s. Some
      > scientist warned that the forests would die within a few decades. This was
      > a
      > pure guess, not based on any serious models. They discredited their
      > subject
      > this way and we now get the reply: “Hey, forest decline was a stupid lie,
      > so
      > climate change must be too.”
      >
      > Thus, we should rely on our scientific results, not on any political
      > conclusions.
      >
      > My two cents.
      >
      > Best regards
      > Constantin

      On 3/28/07, David M. Lawrence wrote:
      >
      > The more I listen to scientists claim that their (our) job is to report on
      > science and avoid politics, the more I wonder about the historical
      > validity
      > of the alleged separation between science and politics.
      >
      > I’m starting to suspect that the alleged separation is purely a fantasy
      > from
      > a historical point of view. Scientists have always been engaged in
      > politics, sometimes for good (advocating vaccination campaigns against
      > smallpox, for example) and sometimes for ill (arguing for the improvement
      > of
      > the “white” race by eugenics), but scientists have had their “meddling”
      > fingers in politics for centuries, maybe millennia, without any lasting
      > ill
      > effects on our current ability to investigate the workings of the world or
      >
      > to influence the development of public policy today.
      >
      > Dave

      date: Wed, 28 Mar 2007 16:37:09 +010 ???
      from: Tommy Wils
      subject: Re: [ITRDBFOR] AW: [ITRDBFOR] should we, as a discipline, respond
      to: ???@LISTSERV.ARIZONA.EDU

      Some quotes:

      ‘he does not seem to play by the rules’
      ‘dendro bible’
      ‘authoritative backing’
      ‘The job of a scientist is producing knowledge’

      Rules, bible, authority? This is the wrong rhetorics. If we claim that
      established science (we) is the and the only access to knowledge or truth,
      we become quite arrogant or even tyrannical. About creationists: I don’t
      have any trouble with people believing that God created the world if that
      helps them facing their existential life questions (anyway I don’t know
      whether science can ever say more about metaphysics than that it doesn’t
      exist, based on the assumption that what cannot be perceived by the senses
      is not real). About climate change: the problem with people believing that
      it is a lie are dangerous if it turns out that we are right. Solution:
      scientists talk about probabilities, not about truth or knowledge (read some
      postmodern philosophers). I think we have to ‘teach’ society that and how to
      deal with it – see my Ethiopia example.

      As science is not neutral but based on numerous assumptions, we cannot just
      stand aside as ‘knowledge producers’. We are part of society, we have the
      duty to be humble, explain our assumptions and results in a realistic
      and understandable way and to put it into a broader context.

      “Hey, forest decline was a stupid lie, so climate change must be too.”
      What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural
      fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably…

      Back to McIntyre: what to do? Get away from the YES and NO camp, find the
      humble, middle road. There is a passage in the bible: if someone hits you on
      your cheek, turn him your other cheek…

      Tommy

      I like the older Jewish proverb that admonition is quite possibly based upon better: When your neighbour calls you an ass, put a saddle on your back.

      • Funny, they call McIntyre a “radical”, simply because he wants to see what’s going on behind the curtain. Wow, that’s radical alright.

  7. Loonandowsky appears incapable of considering the possibility that climatologists have been influenced by 18 years of data – the only reason why a scientist WOULD move their view. Has the IPCC ruled out the more absurd high ECS scenarios because
    a) den!@r$ mocked them on Twitter and they’re scared of further taunting like King Arthur in the Holy Grail movie, or
    b) because scenarios extrapolated on 1990s trajectories are fundamentally inconsistent with 18 years of flat or declining temps?

    The fact that he’s published it while his own Uni UWA suffered some “seepage” from Lomborg’s planned economic research think tank just makes him appear an even bigger clown. The Gore effect of academia – publishing about the power of den!@li$m just as the howling totalitarians on the other side violently censor the mildest deviation from Groupthink.

    • I am somewhat embarrassed by the fact that one of the worst, most alarmist computer models is paid for by Canadian tax payers. The infamous ‘6 degree’ model from California North, slightly to the West of the Oil Patch.

      This badly formed, university based machine consistently predicts the second highest, meaning the second most alarming, temperature rise of all the models used by the IPCC. The ‘need’ for such a number is to keep the ‘model ensemble’ average so high as to incite alarm and eschatological meme seepage into the mainstream press.

      What surprises me most about the article above is the off-handed support it gives to ‘high end’ predictions of models of any type. Given the obvious shortfalls in capacity to deal with cloud cover in the tropics when temperatures rise (thunderstorm cooling hypothesis) and the failure to locate a trace of the fabled Hot Spot, why is there not a serious rethink about the sheer unlikeliness of huge, unprecedented temperature rises?

      The reason I focus on this point is the general failure across the modelling community to create the pause in a viable climate model. They clearly have missed something huge and their product is simply unbelievable.

    • climatologists have been influenced by 18 years of data
      ================
      a very important point.

      hard sciences teach you that it is the unexpected result that is most important. climate models and mainstream climate science alike predicted accelerated warming. this didn’t happen, which was both unexpected and interesting.

      had we observed accelerated warming, that would have been expected and thus not interesting.

  8. A wonderful, clinical dissection of the Lewandowsky-Oreskes et al farrago. Just a few choice but basic facts (and all readily checked by a professor of science history mind you ) and it is made clear what a work of deliberate friction it is.

    That said, I expect Les Lewneskes will write Richard Betts off as obviously a “denier” if not clinically insane.

    • Ursus indeed,

      It is perplexing that Lewandowsky et al do not seem to be aware of this research on short-term climate variability. One explanation may be that there is more effective communication of research.

      1st line from Wiki – Naomi Oreskes (born November 25, 1958)[1] is an American historian of science.
      Is Betts saying that Naomi is incompetent in her listed profession?

      The second proposed mechanism is dubbed “Pluralistic Ignorance”, which refers to people thinking that their views are more in the minority than they really are. The authors offer the speculative example of public discourse that IPCC has supposedly exaggerated the threat of climate change. This does not seem to be the case in the UK ­ there is general public acceptance of anthropogenic climate change, and uniquely non-partisan political consensus on taking action on mitigation. For example, a recent article in the Guardianstates:

      Other than using the ‘Guardian’ for any objective analysis(listening to the chior singing?), he might want to get out a little more or review recent Eurobarometer polling. From 2014 polling – However, Europeans attribute less importance to the remaining five issues: housing (6%, =), the environment, climate and energy issues (6%, =), with the UK hitting that percent also.
      http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_415_en.pdf

      But that question/issue includes environment and energy issues, which inflate the numbers.

      So in a 2015 poll, they broke out the question a little to It then asks respondents which areas they would like science and innovation to prioritize over the next 15 years, with areas such as job creation, health and medical care, energy supply, education and skills, and the fight against climate change among the issues they are asked to consider.
      http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_419_sum_en.pdf

      In the UK 6% for “fight against climate change” and 10% for energy supply.

      Professor, you may have ‘Anti-Pluralistic Ignorance’, or saying “your views are more in the ‘majority’ than they really are.

    • And Lewandowsky says the IPCC are wrong.

      Yet they both still pretend to be mainstream thinkers and not the crack-pot loony fringe.

  9. Very interesting. @fretslider: I don’t seriously think Ms Oreskes will have Mr Woods shot, no, she will just want him “re-educated” so that he can think the “correct” way.

    • That will be a shame – to destroy the Choral Symphony for him for the rest of his life.

  10. Prof Richard Betts via Barry Woods – Thanks for an interesting and thoughtful post. Clearly you generally support the climate models and the levels of climate sensitivity that they use (presumably they are also in line with the range in the IPCC reports). There are so many questions that I would like you to answer, many of which go to the heart of climate science, and hopefully others will ask these and be answered. I will ask just one:
    Preamble – If you take the climate model forecasts of several years ago (say around 2000) then there are a number of years covered by those models both before and after the date of the model run. If you assume that the model runs are basically correct in the long term (ie, that the amount of warming that they predict in the long term is going to happen, and that the “pause” is just a pause caused by natural variation), then it is a simple matter to plot the contribution from natural variability. In the years both before and after the model run, the natural variability is as represented in the models, plus the difference between measured temperature and model forecast temperature. (That’s exactly the same as the difference between measured temperature and the models’ calculated man-made contribution to temperature). I ask you to determine the contribution from natural variability over the years both before and after the model run, and to plot it as a simple graph.
    Question : Does that graph look reasonable? NB. Please present the graph with your answer.

    TIA.

  11. “could it actually be the case that a clear willingness to consider a range of viewpoints could actually enhance the credibility of climate scientists?”

    Absolutely, and the opposite is also true. Refusal to consider a range of viewpoints has massively harmed the credibility of climate scientists

  12. Very interesting guest post from the Prof – much appreciated & enlightening.

    My concerns with Naomi & Lewandowsky is that they are actively getting in the way of the debate; the attempt at labelling & profiling their paper hints at smacks strongly of an attempt to reframe and control the direction of the debate to suit their own ends; much as in the ‘denier’ label is thrown around to discredit contrary views.

    I don’t understand what else they are trying to achieve by the publishing of such a paper – it adds nothing to the fundamental science & the debate except more noise. I’m also somewhat concerned that they seem to be rather unaware of their own filters on their perspectives and hence other valid points of view that should be given due logical consideration – I thought those of a philosophical bent were meant to be trained to be aware of such filters?

  13. I am pleased that this article will get real coverage via WUWT. What has always puzzled me about the Lewandowsky and many other offerings on climate affairs is their lack of scale when considering funding for climate research (and thus the number of published papers). Governments around the world are funding “climate research” in their chosen places in Academia to the tune of multi-milllions – billions? – whereas the so-called sceptics or contrarians have relatively trivial funding, and are often self funded. How is it that Lew… and others of his persuasion constantly use the term “well-funded” when castigating sceptical people or organisations whilst ignoring the gross imbalance of the real world?

    One has also to ask whether Lew.. et al have ever in their careers actually looked at any of the numerous sources of original numerical information (or even the manipulated data such as the GISS stuff) on measured temperatures or sea levels. I strongly suspect that they have never accessed the data, and may even be incapable of assessing it.

  14. Even the skeptics fall into similar traps regarding the usage of memes.

    Skeptics are happy to accept climate change as a principle, but point out that climate always changes. Ground is subtley lost in such concession.

    The fact is that climate is never in stasis such that change in itself is not climate change. That is important and that fact is not fully appreciated when going on to discuss precisely what is climate change.

    Climate consists of a number of parameters, temperature being merely one factor of many. Climate is subject is multi-centenial variation (possibly even longer than that) and it is not measured over a 30 year period. There can be times (possibly lasting for many many years) when temperatures are particularly warm, or particularly cold, or there can be dry or wet periods, relatively wind free, or very windy periods, very stromy periods, or periods when there is little stromy activity, cloudy periods or relatively less cloudy periods, snowy or no snowy periods, etc. etc. Climate merely meanders in and around an upper and lower bound of many different variables/parameters, depending upon the geography and topography of the land mass concerned.

    Whilst I do accept that there probably has been some modest warming during the course of the last century, and that warming may even have resulted in the Arctic as at 2015 having less ice than it did in 1980, that does not in my view amount to climate change. As far as I am aware, no country has changed its Koppen (or equivalent) classification and no country is on the cusp of so doing (at least not unless it was on the cusp when Koppen first put forth his classification).

    • “The fact is that climate is never in stasis such that change in itself is not climate change.”
      IMHO this an irrefutable logic point.
      No one can or will describe the stasis climate that we’re being asked to spend billions to achieve…
      ’cause it cannot exist…never has and never will.
      Nothing happens that is not natural.
      A dualism that does not exist cannot be described or given numerical value.

    • A world’s first simultaneous repost from WUWT and ATTP…..

      Richard V – As regular readers here will know I have a tall Arctic soapbox! By way of example please watch this video:

      If that isn’t “climate change” what is it, in your view?

  15. on publication of the Lewandowsky, Orekes paper – I was congratulated by a climate scientist – for my “jedi mind tricks” – LOL

    Oreskes has the media and political ears though, so it is good to see pushback – to quote Doug McNeall:

    Doug McNeall ‏@dougmcneall Sep 24
    @JacquelynGill @NaomiOreskes Oh, sorry for being short. I get fed up with climate scientists being told what to say, how to communicate.

  16. “False clams”

    Love it! Sounds like Spongebob Squarepants’ attempt at Shakespeare:

    “Fie thee – thou false clam!
    Art nought but a devilish knave!”

    • At the risk of being compared to L&O in their attempts to stifle thought/debate, I would point out that if you don’t like the “denier” label you should resist the temptation to make such unpleasant comparisons.

      • On the contrary. These dimwitted thugs feel like painting people with the “denier” label, so it’s essential to point out what they are. Personally I’ve been moved to “zero tolerance” when it comes to disinformation campaigns and the outright lies of leftists.

        oreskes has NO INTEREST in facts, she’s only concerned with her misinformation and disinformation campaign. Maybe you could tell me why any thinking person should feel the need to tiptoe around that.

      • So Opluso, we should make nice and cuddly with people who do not know what nice is, that pull no punches, and that wish to demonize all who disagree with them in the most hateful and denigrating language they can think of?
        The time for that is long past.
        What these crew have in mind is not a friendly game of tiddly-winks.

        WAKE UP!

      • I feel no need to “tiptoe around” or “make nice” with disagreeable people. But it seems counterproductive to become one yourself.

        If directly comparing a person to a nazi war criminal is an acceptable argument for one side, then veiled references to Holocaust denialism must be equally acceptable for the other.

      • opluso,

        Incorrect. One of the chief promoters of climate alarmism is a neo-Nazi, John Cook. He dresses himself up like this (it’s his own pic):

        Cook also dresses up his pals like Nuccitelli in similar Nazi garb. So obviously, they identify themselves with the National Socialists.

        Groups have the right to self-identify, and to reject labels they dislike. If that were not the case, imagine how some folks would label African-Americans.

        Skeptics strongly object to being equated with Holocaust deniers. Nationally syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman explained in her newspaper column that when labeling scientific skeptics as “deniers”, she and others were explicitly comparing skeptics with Holocaust deniers. She has never apologized.

        But when a group dresses themselves up as Nazi SS troopers, that is entirely different. John Cook is not the only one in his alarmist group who plays neo-Nazi (maybe seriously; who really knows?)

        So you see, there really is a difference here. A big difference. They like to be seen as Nazis. Skeptics do not like to be compared with Holocaust deniers. To each his own.

      • I (along with most of our mothers) stand corrected. Two wrongs do, in fact, make a right and it is always a good idea to lower yourself to the level of your worst opponent. [and in case it wasn’t obvious: sarc off]

        Rather than continue to argue with outrage, I’ll tell a story about a remarkable man who recently passed away. Stan Evans once told me that he was having a long argument with a group of leftists when one frustrated activist exploded “You’re a Nazi !” Instead of taking offense, Stan played along. “You know, I may not agree with everything he did but you have to admit, when Hitler saw a problem, he got involved!”

  17. Probably no one here as read Merchants of Doubt, but I finally too to reading it recently. And yes it is all Us and Them. At one point It spends many pages repeating a conspiratorial accusation against William Niernberg for his role as chair of a NAS committee assessing the CO2 issue in 1983. Heaven knows what motivated the attack as there was nothing extraordinary about their report. The accusation against this recently deceased scientist has extraordinarily flimsy foundation. I find it distressing that such behaviour is tolerated in academia and, indeed, that careers are built by it.

  18. Professor Richard Betts

    I strongly suspect you are reading this so I address my comment directly to you.

    I very strongly disagree with much you are on record as saying about the issue of anthropogenic climate change (AGW) and, therefore, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on your considered response to the (for want of a better word) unfortunate paper from Lewandowsky et al..

    Such considered statements can only assist mutually respectful disagreement and dialogue about AGW with resulting progress to the science. Thankyou for providing it.

    Richard

    • Dr. Betts,

      I agree with Ricard’s comment. I think you are horribly wrong on many issues, but I agree with you in this post. I also hope that as the data continues to suggest that CO2 does not do what the current paradigm says it does that you will reconsider your position.

    • – 100

      This piece is pure historical revisionism by Richard Betts.

      The ‘we always knew about the ‘pause’, there’s no surprise’ meme is fantasy.

      Betts means this piece to give comfort to climate alarmists, not to attack Lewandowsky. I think you guys praising Betts have really missed the point.

      Lewandowsky is a rolled gold nincompoop but he’s nothing if not a devoted alarmist. He writes that climate skeptics are suffering conspiracy ideation and various other invented maladies. He dislikes climate skeptics. Doesn’t credit a word they say. So when climate skeptics say ‘pause’, he disbelieves them. But when he sees his own side start writing papers about the ‘pause’ Lewandowsky is confronted and appalled. He’s motivated to demotivate his side from adopting skeptic language. He identifies the chronology that skeptic science was addressing the ‘pause’ well before the alarmists and characterises all that prior skeptic science as ‘seepage’, akin to pollution of climate alarmist science. Then he accuses his alarmists of capitulating in the face of this seepage.

      Thing is, L’s inadvertently hit the nail on the head. ‘Pause’ science comes from skeptics. It percolated up to alarmist circles and they were late to the party. But boy oh boy are they making up for it now as enthusiastic adopters of the concept. How many reasons are there now for the ‘pause’? 60? More?

      Betts is using Lewandowsky’s typical animus towards climate skeptical science as a cover to build an alt-history of climate alarmist science.

      • hidethedecline (@hidethedecline)

        Allow me to introduce you to one of the dictum’s in The Prince by Macchiavelli.

        You should kill enemies because they cause you problems, but always try to make them friends before killing them because live friends are more useful than dead enemies.

        Richard

  19. “seepage of contrarian memes” used to be called “heresy”, “the devils work”, “witchcraft” or “sorcery” corrupting the minds of the flock. It needs to be fought with flaming sword and perpetrators put to the stake!

    • ” It needs to be fought with flaming sword and perpetrators put to the stake!”

      Thereby resulting in a increased carbon footprint …

  20. A very interesting article. It is even clearer than ever than Lewandowsky is simply an alarmist loon whose credentials on discussing climate change, or even psychology (it would seem) appear to be rather lacking. My only real disappointment with this article is the quotation from the Grauniad, that well known bastion of climate truth, where yet again they try to make a case out of some vague survey.

  21. Here’s the problem; Warmist science isn’t actually science at all. It never was. It is part of the Climatist Memeplex. Reality, and Skeptics/Climate Realists has been increasingly threatening to the Warmist ideology though, and so Warmists have had to backpedal. The backpedaling, the excuses for the “Pause”, and psychobabble from Loony Lew are all symptoms of a dying memeplex.

  22. However, the authors[Lewandowsky et al] seem unable to offer any real evidence to support their speculation, and I think their conclusions are incorrect.

    Professor Richard Betts

    “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.

    Theodore Roosevelt

    I think Professor Betts had a pretty nice stick at hand and slammed it right onto the head of Looneykowsky et al. In real academia such a criticism is hard stuff. Yet, he didn’t go far enough.

  23. …It is perplexing that Lewandowsky et al do not seem to be aware of this research on short-term climate variability. …

    “…It is UNSURPRISING that Lewandowsky et al do not seem to be aware of this research on short-term climate variability…”

    There. Fixed that for you.

    Actually, I am fully in accord with Prof. Betts’ assertion that ‘natural variability’ is a major item of interest to climate scientists. Any improvement in understanding this will be of great benefit to humanity, enabling far better medium and long-range forecasting.

    The problem for Climate Science is that it has become impossibly politicised. ANY advance in ANY aspect of the subject is immediately pored over by the two opposing camps, then held up by one of them as a validation of their views while the other excoriates the background and funding of the researchers. More complex inferences and rebuttals are then developed which enable the ‘defeated’ camp to claim victory, while their opponents go into defensive mode.

    I really cannot see how any real science can be undertaken in such an academic climate. It would normally fall to the academic establishments to bang heads together and rectify the situation, but they have mainly thrown in their lot with one of the opposing sides, and now join in the assertion that the ‘science is settled’ – hardly a suitable position for a dispassionate enquirer after truth to espouse. The one action I believe a true scientist can take in these circumstances is to be on the lookout for instances where social and academic pressure is being applied to suppress ideas – ANY ideas, and to stand up and be counted in opposition to this.

    Which is neither a safe, nor career-enhancing move….

    • ‘natural variability’ has very little advantage to it to those working within the climate ‘science’
      on other hand , ‘man made ‘ has been is real money spinning and great enhancement to the professional careers of those working within the climate ‘science’

      Now you decided which of these paths those working within the climate ‘science’ are likley to take?

  24. “Britons are more likely to agree the climate is changing than at any time in recent years, with nearly nine in 10 people saying climate change is happening and 84% attributing this somewhat or entirely to human activity, new research has found. Two-thirds say they are concerned by global warming.”

    I wonder if these figures were obtained by the same pollsters who told us the Conservatives would be unable to achieve a majority in parliament?

    • It’s all about the questions you ask and how you ask them.

      If I ask “Are you worried about climate change?”, people will say they are worried about climate change.

      If I ask people to rank ten issues (climate change, youth unemployment, terrorism, etc., etc.) people will rank climate change dead last.

  25. and that possibly the opposite has occurred because the public are more convinced by seeing scientists being objective.

    I think this comment by Professor Betts hits the nail on the head.

    When climate scientists ignore the pause, as seen in the twitter exchange above, the public can be left to wonder what they are trying to hide. Whereas if the address the pause in a scientific manner, even if they dismiss it as for instance by saying the heat is going into the deep ocean, then they do seem more objective and people from everywhere on the continuum of climate change beliefs will be more willing to listen.

    This is something that I learned in high school debating. Acknowledging your opponets arguments and then trying to explain where they were wrong worked much better than ignoring their arguments or just dismissing their arguments with no reason given.

  26. There is some good stuff here, but…

    ‘uniquely non-partisan political consensus on taking action on mitigation. For example, a recent article in the Guardian states:”

    The rabidly pro-alarmist Guardian which no issues at all with misrepresenting science when it suits it, has effectively handing itself our Stern, Bob etc to be used as PR firm for ‘the cause.

    Betts you really could not get further from non-partisan than the Guardian on this, even if it loves the head of Met. Its like claiming the KKK is unbiased source on race relations.

  27. “In the 2010 election, the Conservative Party manifesto was keen to promote its environmental policies, and prior to the recent election the three main parties signed a statement supporting continuation of the Climate Change Act. Hence, if there is any country in the world where climate scientists can feel that their research is valued by both the public and politicians, it is the UK.”
    I would like to point out that the Public have been brainwashed into believing that socalled “Climate Change” is CAGW rather than mostly natural. They are deluged every day with CAGW predictions most of which are contrary to real observations. To the best of my knowledge from what I have read 97% of politicians know less than 3% about real climate science.
    I would have preferred if Professor Richard Betts had spent his valuable time commenting on this
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/05/12/22-very-inconvenient-climate-truths/
    Commenting on people like Lewandowsky, Oreskes and their ilk is a side issue compared with issues like the 22 very inconvenient climate truths.

  28. Dr Betts says,”Although global temperatures remain within the envelope of uncertainty implied by multi-model studies, this is not the same as actually predicting it.”

    Please tell me, with proper error bars, what is “the envelope of uncertainty implied by multi-model studies.”

    And then, please explain how these uncertainties were determined.

    • Should we hold our breathe waiting for a response to your query?
      Maybe best not to.

  29. “Climate variability research: did the sceptics make us do it?”

    Those mean sceptics – making climate scientists do research.

    Oh, the inhumanity!

    • Pointman has written an excellent article. Well worth the read.

      Professor Betts has shown great courage in speaking out. All that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to remain silent.

      • Mr Ferdberple,
        I believe in the principle of “better late than never”, and the one of “something is better than nothing”.
        But this is way too little, way too late, and no where near what is required to redeem oneself after years of silence while the scaremongers had zero criticism from within the warmista camp, even while they flooded the world with the most ridiculous and strident alarmist and finger pointing.

      • Good people do not remain silent, nor do they do nothing. Those who remain silent or who do nothing enable those who do evil to succeed. They will never deserve the adjective “good”. Edmund Burke had a good point, but made an oxymoron of it. He should have said something along the lines of “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for to do nothing to resolve the dangers that surround them. By “good” he meant normal, cowardly people, not virtuous ones.

      • Oops, I used html characters and it zapped an important phrase. It should have read:

        Good people do not remain silent, nor do they do nothing. Those who remain silent or who do nothing enable those who do evil to succeed. They will never deserve the adjective “good”. Edmund Burke had a good point, but made an oxymoron of it. He should have said something along the lines of “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for his target audience to do nothing to resolve the dangers that surround them. By “good” he meant normal, cowardly people, not virtuous ones.

    • Anthony is to be Congratulated on a wonderful coup to get an alarmist paper published here. I have been aching for that.

      Prof. Betts is thanked and congratulated for allowing his paper to be published in “the other camp.”

      This is psychology rather than climate research, but welcome all the same.

  30. Argh! Richard Betts piece here is historical revisionism.

    Lewandowsky’s paper finds:
    – that there has only been a plethora of alarmist peer review research into the ‘pause’ since the period from IPCC AR5 in 2013;
    – that ‘pause’ research was first undertaken by climate skeptics well before 2013
    – that climate skeptic ‘research has percolated up from climate skeptic circles into climate alarmist circles, after years of the climate alarmists successfully resisting all climate skeptic research and the observations on which that research was built
    – by 2013 the ‘pause’ simply could no longer be successfully denied by climate alarmists so the climate alarmists started to research the reality of the ‘pause’.

    Lewandowsky is right – ‘pause’ research percolated up into climate alarmist circles AFTER the skeptics addressed it.

    Richard Betts tries to say Lewandowsky’s wrong but instead of easily winning his argument by posting 100s of links to different pre-2013 climate alarmist papers about the ‘pause’ he only links 1.

    And it’s not even about the ‘pause’!

    Betts’s link to Hawkins is misdirection, pure and simple. There’s nothing there. And as for Betts mentioning AR3 and AR4 (no links) well, they never covered the ‘pause’. As we now know, peer-review/pal-review kept out every bit of skeptic research in favour of absurd alarmism.

    There’s another climate alarmist, Sophie Lewis in Oz, trying to peddle the same ‘we’ve always known about the ‘pause’ nonsense. Well, in the internet age that kind of historical revisionism just won’t wash.

    Live with it Richard. You’ve been undone. By Stephan Bloody Lewandowsky!

    • I agree. And I don’t understand the enthusiasm for letting anyone from the other team claim “we knew it all along”.

      • Mebbe, there’s nothing for it but to keep pointing out to the folks like Betts playing catch-up science, that they were late to the party.

        Look at this. 2009! It took the Met Office in the UK til 2009 to even bother to consider flat temps – and even then they only bothered by checking whether their beloved models could be kneaded into supporting their ‘we always knew/no surprises here’ posturing. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2009/global-warming.

      • Well, claiming we knew it all along is a universal part of changing your mind. Alarmists have done trillions of dollars worth of damage to the global economy, so we need them free to change.

        Remember, a strong economy is also a key component of improvements in our relationship with nature and with reduced pollution.

        And remember that the name for warm periods before 1980 or so was “climate optimum.” For the well-being of Earth’s creatures, we need to remind them of that, also. This, too, may help the real deniers (alarmists) come to grips with reality. I am pretty sure the IPCC reports have buried in them somewhere the idea that warming of up to 2C would be beneficial. Now, the Eocene Climate Optimum was 6C warmer than present, and there was a major explosion of Life. As a biologist, I am in favor of warming!

        The fact that the alarmists said so first should be a major emotional support for them as they begin to face the truth.

  31. “It is perplexing that Lewandowsky et al do not seem to be aware of this research on short-term climate variability.”

    There is no excuse for academics to be unaware of existing research in a field they are working in.

  32. She might be right.. according to NCEP data, since PDO flip, there might be a slight downturn

    Her data denial can be a sign of delusion and deception… which all seems to fit the mold

  33. “The second proposed mechanism is dubbed “Pluralistic Ignorance”, which refers to people thinking that their views are more in the minority than they really are.”

    This is a most intriguing statement. Why should one’s conclusions be guided by the popularity of the beliefs of others? Isn’t that argumentum ad populum? Has the author not noticed that fifty per cent of the population has below average intelligence? Holding a microphone is not a qualification to speak. What is the purpose of intelligence if not to independently investigate the truth of all matters?

    Surely it is common cause that complex subjects are more difficult to comprehend and analyse. Consider then the difference between training and education and the meaning of the salutation, “Oh Ye who have names to be wise.” Let us not for a moment confuse ‘schooling’ with education, or qualifications with wisdom.

    Consider the wise observations of the rube who, while unschooled in any art or science, is able to penetrate to the heart of a matter by combining experience and independence of thought. Anyone with a long memory knows the climate has warming and cooling cycles. The continuous rise in CO2 and a constant global temperature for about a generation undermines all extremist views on climate sensitivity to CO2.

    Compare the conclusions of that observant independent with the sheer unwillingness to think, the Pavlovian slavering, of the trained media to bark each time an alarming pronouncement arrives from an invested member of the CAGW industry.

    Then consider the fundamentalist refusals of the likes of Oreskes to admit to the cessation of temperature rise that is obvious to any sentient observer. The refusal to admit the obvious and evident is modern fanaticism of Medieval proportion. This is the level of wilful ignorance that underwrites the success of Month Python sketches lampooning the blithering ignorance of European science in the Middle Ages.

    Lew’s paper is merely an extension of CO2 witchraft explaining why witches sink and ducks float – “the badness seeps in”. It should have been published in the 1320 edition of Psychology Today.

    • “What is the purpose of intelligence if not to independently investigate the truth of all matters?”… The hierarchy of needs would suggest that selfish motivations may be applicable…Money, prestige, to be accepted as part of a special group, etc

  34. Thank you for this post. It is helpful to us all that nut-cases like Lewandowsky and the ‘slayers’ are put in their place by people of good faith of any opinion, and particularly good to see it coming from someone with a leading position in the Met Office.

    The sooner extremist can be put in their box and everyone else can converge on the sensible ‘Lomberg’ view that climate change is a problem best solved by many $billions on energy research, not $trillions of lost output, the better.

  35. Disingenuous and not at all scientific to simply say “it is not so”. Dr Betts , your disavowing any influence by thoughtful sceptics who have been more right about climate than you is most insulting. You are essentially saying the contrarians got it right by accident. We have been pointing out climate variability for at least a decade and been vilified and pooh pooped until the dreaded pause. We have been hammering lower cli. sensitivity. We introduced you to enso and the other oscillations as significant affects.

    I believe your response proof of one of Lew’s
    effects. You fear that if you were truthful about sceptic’s influence you would supporting L&O’s thesis, seepage, or even all three?

    • Gary P

      You have this correct:

      “You are essentially saying the contrarians got it right by accident.”

      This is an essential observation. In reply, skeptics can say that the chance association of CO2 rise and warming from 1992 through 1998 was also an accident, but I believe we are on firmer ground.

      1992-1998 was literally coincidental, and by now we observe that it was not causal. Taking 1992-1998 and 1992-2015 as examples, the first finds coincidence and the second finds none.

      Pick any other starting time, but always end in 2015. Calculate the correlation coefficient. Extra CO2 is not very influential at 400 ppm.

      A separate matter but mentioned so it is fair game, is the ocean heat angle. Notice that it was not about heat in the system until the temperature started levelling off. Then it went from an intensive measurement (Degrees C) to an extensive measurement (Joules). So all along it was really about the energy not the temperature!

      Should we be afraid of the energy in the Earths climate system? Most people don’t know the difference between heat energy and temperature so they are ‘guided’ by ‘seepage’ of CAGW ‘memes’ to think that an increase in the energy content of the oceans means an increase in temperature of the atmosphere. Measurements show otherwise. Who among us is surprised?

  36. I think that the problem here is what Gilbert Ryle called a ‘Category mistake’.

    No ‘sceptic’ (well, certainly not me) has a problem with ‘climate science’ as science. Honest enquiry is what science is about, and none of us have problems with an argument based in fact.Where we have a problem is with climate politics masquerading as science.

    There is a lot of discussion about ‘what sceptics believe’, listing various amounts of warming and various mechanisms as either in or out of this camp. But in fact it’s much simpler. Sceptics believe that environmental activist groups have latched on to this area of science as providing support for their political views. They have effectively hijacked the scientific reputation of independence and accuracy, and used it to drive a political aim. In many cases this involves misinterpretation or exaggeration of the original science.

    Most of this debasing of scientific findings is done in the political sphere (which includes the IPCC committee structure). Reasonable papers are presented by activists in a one-sided manner, and conclusions are partially reported in order to exaggerate. But some of it is being done by (a few) scientists who have found that they can obtain funding and fame much more readily if their findings are ‘politically acceptable’.

    Our major concern is with this process – and not the details of the science, which I suspect will continue to provide findings capable of multiple interpretation for many years to come. I hope that Professor Betts can see the difference…

    • Dodgy Geezer

      That is an excellent post! Truly excellent!
      I hope everybody reads it.

      And Fanakapan provided another excellent post in another WUWT thread yesterday.

      We can have mutually respectful disagreements from which we can all learn when we have presentation of a variety of clear and considered information and opinions.

      So, it is really good when we can see good posts providing clear and considered information and opinions instead of the many posts providing deliberate disinformation from the trolls who so often infest WUWT.

      Richard

    • For those who are not using this term ‘category mistake’ (or ‘error’) in their daily life, a very brief explanation may assist the esteemed readership.

      A category mistake is when something is assigned an attribute it cannot have. That is a standard definition. An example is, “He slept vigorously.” Sleep does not have and cannot have the attribute of ‘vigour’.

      There are, however, many varieties of category error. For example, the temperature of the planet is the result of a number of contributing variables. Let’s say, for simplicity, we find the contributors are:

      CO2 and other greenhouse gas concentrations
      Cloudiness
      Insolation and radiation (albedo, for example)
      GCRs and Solar CRs
      Electrical charge in the atmosphere at the poles
      The heat content of the oceans and its distribution (or lack of)

      The total effect of these necessary contributing factors is a global temperature, however constructed.

      To make a Category Mistake (or Category Error) is to assign to one of the contributing variables all responsibility for the resulting effect.

      This is a particular type of category error called a synecdoche [siˈnekdəkē] which is the error of attributing a feature of the whole to one of its parts, or vise versa. An example is, “Advance further and ye shall taste my steel.” The sword has been described using only one of its attributes – that it is made from steel.

      Thus attributing to CO2 the responsibility of an increase in global temperature, when it is only a contributing factor, is a synecdoche.

      It is also a synecdoche to mainly attribute to CO2 any rise in temperature because it is pretty obvious by now (the pause) that there must be other powerful, overwhelming, influences on temperature. It was not possible prior to the pause to say with confidence that CO2 is not the main contributor. But now, after 18 years (duration depends on who you ask) that proposition has been invalidated.

      • There are those of us who have good reason to believe that not only does CO2 not warm the surface all by itself, it does not warm it at all. Too bad that voicing that outlook here is against site policy.

    • I am not not at sure you can let climate ‘science’ off that way, remember the Team is made up of climate scientists and plenty who may not have indulge in poor professional and personal behaviour have been more than happy to keep their mouths shut, and noses in the funding bucket , over those that have .

      Meanwhile despite it be true for years, I am still amazed at the shockingly low standards which seem to be acceptable in this area , so low that they never be OK for undergraduate handing in an essay in any other science, but are not merely fine but celebrated, if their effective , in this area .

      The [track] record of climate ‘science’ is awful while you cannot question that is area has a massive vested interest in keeping one particular view of CAGW going. If it comes across like barrel of rotten fish its because it really does look and smell like one , even if there some good ones in there.

  37. Once again WUWT rushed through an epic posting (22 points ect) No one will look at it once its shelved below.

  38. Prof. Betts makes several good points and contributes another spadeful of soil atop the remains of L&O’s “research”.

    However, he does raise a question in my mind when he points out that:

    The A1FI scenario [for up to 6.4 degrees of warming by century’s end] was used in the UKCIP02 and UKCP09 climate projections, and a number of high ­profile UK conferences focussed on the higher-end risks of climate change, eg. “Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change” in Exeter in 2005; and “4 Degrees and Beyond”, Oxford, 2009. UK research institutions are leading two major EU-funded consortia on the impacts of “high-end climate change” (I’m coordinating one of these, HELIX, myself). So while talk of the “pause” is commonplace in the UK climate science community, this does not seem to be accompanied by shying away from discussing projections and risks of higher-end climate change.

    The question is whether similar high-profile efforts by the UK/EU climate science community have been focussed on low end, primarily beneficial warming projections favored by sceptics?

  39. @richard verney:

    it was:

    “What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably …”

    and the person was Tommy Wills.

    Harry

  40. When you sup with the devil you should use a long spoon. One of the features of the CAGW debate to date has been the deafening silence of climate scientists when journalists and Green NGOs have presented their scientific results and/or theories in an alarmist manner in order to further their own agendas. This has led to a view amongst the public that the science supports these extremist views, and while this has kept the funding rolling in and therefore their administrators happy, it must have caused any real scientists to examine their consciences. Now we have reached the point where reality is making the exaggerated claims increasingly difficult to justify from a scientific standpoint and the cracks are starting to appear. This seems at last to be an admission from the climate-science establishment of the uncertainty in results and hypotheses that all true scientists should be aware of and publicly acknowledge. That it has been forced to do that to defend itself from charges of being too timid in proclaiming the true faith is a sad reflection on the moral backbone of government-funded science. Better late than never perhaps, but some of us will find it difficult to forgive what has been allowed to happen.

    • The big question which is giving most climate scientists sleepless nights is : How can we move away from our current position and still retain control?

      • It seems to me that many have predicted what we are now seeing:
        As the position of the warmistas begins to become ever more untenable, there will be a variety of reactions, with some increasing the drumbeat of doom and becoming ever more shrill, attempts were made to completely silence critics of the True Faith by Any Means Necessary, some others backtracking and staking out a position on the fence, while still others fled like rats from a sinking ship.

        I believe we are seeing the first cracks in the façade, so to speak, as the more forward looking see the writing on the wall and begin the granddaddy of all CYA campaigns.

        I believe it will soon enough be apparent who are the True Believers, who are the Greedy Liars, who are merely uninformed followers, and who are the Real Bastards.

  41. Those who love to claim that Baroness Thatcher was a believer in global warming – and the latest dimwit to replace Ed Davey as UK energy and climate change does – conveniently miss out her clear statements made much later in her life when she realised she had been duped by the scientists. Black mark for Betts on that one. And of course he is still a believer in the discredited models.

    • Gerry, England

      Thatcher deliberately started the global warming scare for reasons of her own personal political advantage. The sorcerer’s apprentice is not exonerated from blame by later recognising the effects of the loosed effect have become overwhelming.

      Richard

  42. If someone is skeptical of the ‘science’ then simply state your case and answer the arguments against the claims you are making with facts and allow them to make up their own mind. If instead you attempt to simply discredit them through name calling or are dismissive of the questions they ask you become a religion and zealot rather than a scientist.

    The issues brought up are not that hard to counter if you have real evidence. That is the problem is that the real thing that ‘deniers’ are saying is that the conclusion of ‘we are all going to die’ ( which is a most probable true statement, we all will eventually die just not due to Global Warming ) that is the political narrative on this ‘science’ barring we give up our rights to energy production to a global authority is a hard pill to swallow unless you have real evidence rather than modeled science to go off of.

    I like to say when the facts change I change my mind. I do not feel there is significant cause for alarm, at this time, or based on what I have seen, to be overly worried. Cautious yes, worried no. Add to this the conspiratorial nature in some regards to silence others or shout them down rather than answer questions to their authority and I lean more towards Global Warming not being a problem, that in point of fact it may be a better temperature ( the little that will occur based on my scientific understanding ) and may well save us from another little ice age rather than boil us all.

    Course this is simply a point of view, one that comes from aggregating an imperfect amount of information on the subject. But due to this aggregation and questioning I cannot simply tow the line of ‘the scientists’ because they have not shown true cause and effect, their predictions have been incorrect ( well 97% of them )

    And that is the last problem. When you use disingenuous methods to attempt to show that 97% of people believe the world has warmed – of which I find Very few people who do not agree with this. In order to convince ignorant people who have not actually researched the subject it does not help me take your side of the argument.

    • “If someone is skeptical of the ‘science’ then simply state your case and answer the arguments against the claims you are making with facts and allow them to make up their own mind”

      Sir, with all due respect, it is logically impossible to prove a negative proposition my means of evidence.
      This is why the burden of proof is and must always be on those who are making a claim, not on those who are skeptical of the claim.
      The skeptics are not, or at least should not be, the ones making claims.

  43. Is there a split growing between ideologues and those who a vague memory of science in the Warmista camp?

    • There has to be some level of frustration with the blatant misrepresentation of known facts, such as the pause. Blunt denial of the pause is enough to give one….pause.

  44. There is always uncertainty in science, if there is no uncertainty then it is religion. There has to be uncertainty or there is no progress. There was uncertainty in Newtonian physics, and the theory of relativity came along to fill in some of those uncertainties.

    There are issues with using the concept of “uncertainty” inappropriately regarding science. Fundamentalists do this all the time with Evolution.

    So is it unfair to use the “uncertainty” tag with Climate science?

    No, it is appropriate simply because of this; where is the proof. Evolution, Newtons laws of gravity and the theory of relativity while having uncertainties or open questions, have not be falsified, and have countless examples in nature and the lab that demonstrate their predictive abilities. The many hypothesis and speculations of climate science have yet to achieve anything close to a similar track record. The only provable certainty is their own hubris.

    Naomi stating with certainty the pause is not the pause, is like stating a fact is not a fact, a square is not a square, A does not equal A. It is a pause, whether warming picks up or slows down after the pause time will tell, not Naomi’s politically motivated machinations or an unproven hypothesis.

    Meanwhile while the laws of physics predict the precise orbit of Mercury and the results of genetic experiments and fossil records align with evolutionary theory, the fumbled predictions of climate science continue to foster the unwarranted belief that any year now climate behavior will align with their predictions.

    • I am not sure why ‘religion’ has to be so caricatured. There are lots of uncertainties in religion. That is why there is “hermeneutics”. Varying interpretations of religious texts can certainly be acrimonious but not necessarily and not nearly always. And not in academic works which are very civil for the most part. Citing behaviours from half a millennium ago is like citing science from the same era.

      On the similarity side, I agree. The consequences and foretelling of doom are common in religious circles leading to, for example, the creation of the two towns in New York State: Heaven and Hell. Some people just can’t get along.

      It would perhaps be better to say that people “have faith in their viewpoint” rather than talking about ‘religion’. Lots of agnostics have faith in lots of things – fiat currencies, for example. That does not create out of those beliefs, a religion. And there is nothing so humorous as the sight of two atheists arguing over the exact version of God in which they don’t believe.

      • Crispin in Waterloo – Yes, there are uncertainties in both science and religion. The difference is that in science the uncertainties cover all existing theory. In religion the uncertainties do not cover the basis of the religion, for example the existence of a particular god. That is why climate “science” is a religion.

    • Since you continue to attack religion based on proof of evolution by experment and observation please present the proof. Sir Fred Hoyle has yet to be disproved.

      Max

  45. Is there a split growing between ideologues and those who still have a vague memory of science in the Warmista camp?

  46. IPCC AR5 acknowledges the pause/hiatus.

    WG1AR5_Chapter09_FINAL

    Box 9.2 | Climate Models and the Hiatus in Global Mean Surface Warming of the Past 15 Years
    “The observed global mean surface temperature (GMST) has shown a much smaller increasing linear trend over the past 15 years than over the past 30 to 60 years (Section 2.4.3, Figure 2.20, Table 2.7; Figure 9.8; Box 9.2 Figure 1a, c). Depending on the observational data set, the GMST trend over 1998–2012 is estimated to be around one-third to one-half of the trend over 1951–2012 (Section 2.4.3, Table 2.7; Box 9.2 Figure 1a, c). For example, in HadCRUT4 the trend is 0.04ºC per decade over 1998–2012, compared to 0.11ºC per decade over 1951–2012. The reduction in observed GMST trend is most marked in Northern Hemisphere winter (Section 2.4.3; Cohen et al., 2012). Even with this “hiatus” in GMST trend, the decade of the 2000s has been the warmest in the instrumental record of GMST (Section 2.4.3, Figure 2.19). Nevertheless, the occurrence of the hiatus in GMST trend during the past 15 years raises the two related questions of (1) what has caused it and (2) whether climate models are able to reproduce it.”

    And two very good questions. Suggested possibilities:

    (1) Increased evaporation, water vapor, clouds and albedo.

    (2) Obviously no, no they haven’t and can’t.

    • The IPCC learned from Rachel Carson that you can dismiss uncertainty and contra facts simply by referring to them and then continuing with your (biased) message. You don’t have to provide any argument against them. The result is that critics are unable to say that you have ignored something (and you and your supporters will of course claim that you have dealt with it).

  47. Call me unimpressed. You seem to be extending one hand in friendly gesture whilst the other is picking EU pockets.

    Richard, you say, “UK research institutions are leading two major EU-funded consortia on the impacts of “high-end climate change” (I’m coordinating one of these, HELIX, myself). So while talk of the “pause” is commonplace in the UK climate science community, this does not seem to be accompanied by shying away from discussing projections and risks of higher-end climate change.”

    In light of recent research results on real climate sensitivity being very likely less than thought, it seems you are having your cake and eat it to. I don’t consider Lew et al worthy of bird cage lining, much less a response, but you are welcome to be as upset as you wish with him and receive “Oh you poor thing” backrubs from skeptics. What is more revealing from your article is that you seem willing to let a rather large bias suck dollars out of EU taxpayers. Why don’t you just study mitigation to high end climate affects of unicorn farts? How much do those consortias cost anyway? Gosh it would be nice for me to install a roof capable of defeating a once in 100 year Columbus Day Storm. Except I can’t afford it. How nice for you to have the cash to study mitigation of the way-in-the-future “unlikely”.

    One more criticism. Your adoring reference to complex climate models makes we wonder of you are aware of their staggering weaknesses, or are just choosing not to mention them.

    Try again.

  48. Prof. Betts
    Thank you for your commonsense rebuttal of Lewandowsky et al.
    Please reevaluate your statement:

    Although global temperatures remain within the envelope of uncertainty implied by multi-model studies, this is not the same as actually predicting it.

    Projections vs reality
    The IPCC’s1990 global warming projections of 2.78 C/century were >200% of the actual warming that occurred. More than 95% of model runs predict global warming since 1979 GREATER than subsequent reality. I.e., in Noble Laureate Richard Feynman’s vernacular they are “wrong”.
    Climate Sensitivity
    Furthermore, note the latest climate sensitivity results by Nic Lewis: Implications of lower aerosol forcing for climate sensitivity.

    Compared with using the AR5 aerosol forcing estimates, the preferred ECS best estimate using an 1859–1882 base period reduces by 0.2°C to 1.45°C, with the TCR best estimate falling by 0.1°C to 1.21°C. More importantly, the upper 83% ECS bound comes down to 1.8°C and the 95% bound reduces dramatically – from 4.05°C to 2.2°C, below the ECS of all CMIP5 climate models except GISS-E2-R and inmcm4. Similarly, the upper 83% TCR bound falls to 1.45°C and the 95% bound is cut from 2.5°C to 1.65°C. Only a handful of CMIP5 models have TCRs below 1.65°C.

    Lewis further detailed climate sensitivity issues in:
    Pitfalls in climate sensitivity estimation: Part 1
    Pitfalls in climate sensitivity estimation: Part 2
    Pitfalls in climate sensitivity estimation: Part 3
    Satellite Global Temperature Trends
    The latest satellite temperature evidence shows an even lower trend:
    Version 6.0 of the UAH Temperature Dataset Released: New LT Trend = +0.11 C/decade

    Massive policy impacts need very highly significant evidence
    Proposed mitigation of majority anthropogenic global warming has very highly significant consequences, demanding massive transformation of our energy generation and use. Such radical transformation of civilization should only be done on correspondingly highly significant objective scientific evidence.
    Valen E. Johnson argues for Raising the bar on statistical significance

    The lack of reproducibility of scientific research undermines public confidence in science and leads to the misuse of resources when researchers attempt to replicate and extend fallacious research findings. Using recent developments in Bayesian hypothesis testing, a root cause of nonreproducibility is traced to the conduct of significance tests at inappropriately high levels of significance. Modifications of common standards of evidence are proposed to reduce the rate of nonreproducibility of scientific research by a factor of 5 or greater.

    See: Revised standards for statistical evidence
    Valen E. Johnson, PNAS 19313–19317, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1313476110

    An examination of these connections suggest that recent concerns over the lack of reproducibility of scientific studies can be attributed largely to the conduct of significance tests at unjustifiably high levels of significance. To correct this problem, evidence thresholds required for the declaration of a significant finding should be increased to 25–50:1, and to 100–200:1 for the declaration of a highly significant finding. In terms of classical hypothesis tests, these evidence standards mandate the conduct of tests at the 0.005 or 0.001 level of significance.

    Please reevaluate and update us on the accuracy and significance of global warming models in light of this evidence and the need for very high significance in climate science to justify major changes in public policy.
    Best regards

  49. Well done, Richard.

    And thanks to Anthony and Barry for the cross post from ATTP. It’s really unusual when ATTP and WUWT agree on a topic.

  50. Rather amusing to see Lewandowsky’s sidekick Oreskes reduced to the status of “et. al.” :-P

    These two people are the worst. They poison discourse with their ideology-driven attacks. It’s good to see the community of climate scientists pushing back a little on this stuff.

  51. I would point to Lewandowsky as evidence that universities are over-funded.

  52. One of the big issues with “natural variability” is that when one starts to take it seriously and find the signals of the natural cycles in the temperature history is that,…

    … the CO2/GHG warming signal falls to extremely low levels.

    Richard Betts and the IPCC have only given “lip service” to natural variability.

    Sure, they can acknowledge volcano signals in the surface record but they refuse to accept it in the lower stratosphere temperatures and in ozone depletion.

    They can see the ENSO signal in the surface and lower troposphere records but they refuse to see it in the water vapor feedback signal and in the long-term trend of Zero change in the ENSO over time.

    They can see the 60 year cycle in temperatures, most likely caused by the AMO and/or north Altantic deep ocean heat content oscillations, but they refuse to “build-in” the AMO as a natural climate variable.

    Betts and the IPCC are NOT serious about looking for a true CO2/GHG warming signal. (and Lewandowsky and Oreskes think natural variability only applies to pauses and nothing else).

    I hope they keep fighting amongst each other but climate science does not actually want natural variability to explain anything except pauses.

    I want some real scientific service and less lip service.

    • To be fair they are happy to claims natural factors ‘hide the heat ‘ that otherwise they said would occur in some magical perfect balance manner they cannot explain.
      Although to be honest they said this when the ‘heat went missing ‘ until then they told us natural factors where allowed for and therefore no part to play.

  53. Mr. Betts is a man of many talents, it seems. I loved his guitar playing with the Allman Brothers.

  54. “It seems fair to suggest that an intelligent and thoughtful public and politicians would take scientists more seriously if they are seen to be objective”

    Really?
    Ya think?

  55. This is the money quote for me:

    “In contrast, the trajectory of global temperatures in the last 15 years or so was not specifically predicted in advance. Although global temperatures remain within the envelope of uncertainty implied by multi-model studies, this is not the same as actually predicting it. So this time, there is an interesting puzzle to be investigated.”

    If the Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office can state that in print, who are the real deniers? Just as well Ed Davey lost his seat in the election, otherwise he might have been accused of lying in public when interviewed by Andrew Neil on the BBC just before the election.

    I hope that sentence does not get Richard Betts ostracised/excommunicated by the climate science cabal.

    • He left himself an exit with his next statement: “…temperatures remain within the envelope of uncertainty…”. That would be true only with error bars as wide as goal posts.

    • remain within the envelope of uncertainty implied by multi-model studies,
      ====================
      the key word is “implied”. in science nothing is implied. it is specified.

  56. When warming was particularly rapid there was indeed little discussion about natural variability, because that would have disturbed the narrative that insisted that the rapid warming was all anthropogenic.

    Of course natural variability is the topic de jour, because some explanation for the pause is needed.

    Warming = man
    Cooling/pause = “variability”

    Yawn.

  57. Richard Betts says, approvingly (I think) with reference to the Climate Change Act : “. . . successive UK governments have been, and remain, world-leaders in climate policy.”
    But surely that is only a good thing if the policy is based on sound science.
    After all, the USSR was world-leader in the policy of vernalising wheat with a view to breeding a strain that could be successfully grown in Siberia.

  58. Betts says:
    ” the authors seem to assume that climate science is entirely focussed on anthropogenic climate change, and that natural variability is only researched as a supplementary issue in order to support the conclusions regarding anthropogenic influence.”

    This more or less restates the IPCC mandate to investigate:
    “the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.”
    in order to
    “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intergovernmental_Panel_on_Climate_Change#cite_note-principles-6

    Are Betts and colleagues now going to be vocal in making clear that the IPCC is not the “Gold Standard” of all climate research but a narrowly focused, politically driven instrument and deny that it has influence on climate science direction?

  59. The full-blown evangelicals/”political scientists” like Lewandowsky, Oreskes, McKibben, Schmidt, Hansen and Michael “Piltdown” Mann have nailed their colors to the mast.

    Their abandonment of any pretense of scientific endeavor means that they long ago passed the point of no return. If the CAGW conjecture ship goes down, they’ll be going down with it.

    • @john Hey Ehrlich wasn’t annihilated by the population bomb he, in fact, became the mentor to the Science Adviser to the President of the most powerful nation on Earth. The battle isn’t over with the Zero Growthers just because the facts don’t bear them out.

    • They no choice but to double down has they have a hand of rubbish so face losing it all.
      Out of your list of names , can you think of any that could get a job outside of selling ‘climate doom ‘ let alone a very well paid one that requires little effort apart from a production of BS?

  60. Lewy claims that “seepage” from sceptics is damaging climate science.
    In fact the damage is coming from the fruitcakes on their own side, Lew, Oreskes, Cook, Nutti and so on. Clearly this is very irritating to the scientists, hence this rebuttal.

  61. the lecture by Professor Murry Salby delivered 17 march in Westminster London has settled once and forall the entire question of climate change and Atmospheric CO2 The human contribution of CO2 is insignificant! It mostly comes from natural sources

  62. Naomi Oreskes: “Understood but there’s no pause. We should not repeated false claims. Even from scientists.”

    So who is being contrarian now by telling people to ignore the scientists? If 97% of all climate scientists were to agree that warming has paused, would Dr. Oreskes still insist they were wrong?

  63. Why discussions about climate change focus on temperature variation over time periods of 20 years or so while, if climates actually change, it may do so over centuries with noticeable impact on living conditions, in particular soil moisture and plant growth potential accompanied by migrating biodiversity (Lemon trees in Ireland, corn fields in Alaska)?
    “Pause” or “multi-decadal oscillations” are just words, no true causal explanations.

    One reason for this short-termism may be impatience coupled with a belief that we can know better by massaging more the same limited amount of available data. Such approach does not help, neither to prove or to disprove anything.

    Another, more interesting, reason is that it can help invalidate models (or give them at best some limited validity) by letting them run for hindcast of the actual situation.
    And looking at fig 9.8 of IPCC AR5 WGI, climatology is still in its infancy and any oracular prophecy of future climate evolution using these models should not be permitted, whatever scenarios might be construed to this effect.

  64. “It is perplexing that Lewandowsky et al do not seem to be aware of this research on short-term climate variability. One explanation may be that there is more effective communication of research.”

    So their lack of awareness is explained by “more effective communication of research.”

    Yeah, got it, Dr Betts.

    “Over the past 25 years, successive UK governments have led the world in supporting climate science and in developing climate policy both at home and internationally.”

    With the result that industry is leaving for countries with lower environmental standards, that the UK is generating electricity from wood chips imported from North America, and that good farmland is being covered with solar panels.

    However, Dr Betts continues to profit from UK and EU support for “climate science”, so that’s all good.

      • But wood has been declared “renewable” donchaknow :-) It could put out lots more CO2 but being renewable … However, if there are many more of these, “sustainability” will become an issue. We can kick that down the road cause politicians can only count to 4 or 5 (depending on your particular voting system) and they don’t even know what Present Value, Future Value, and Life Cycle Costs are.

  65. It all started in the ’70s when we really were polluting our environment with trash and chemicals in our waters and very bad smog in our cities, etc, etc. Since then, we’ve been doing much, much better but now what excuse do the government agencies, which were created to battle these issues, have for staying as big as they have grown to support themselves. Issues must be created to stay in business.
    Also, the climate has been changing on Earth as long as Earth has existed so why do we have to keep using climate “change”. It is simply the climate.

  66. I think Lewandowsky, Oreskes et al. got the idea from Flip Wilson, “the devil made me do it”.

  67. Betts writes:

    “Therefore could open discussion of the “pause” actually increase the confidence of the public and the government in their advice that climate change is real and man-made? It seems fair to suggest that an intelligent and thoughtful public and politicians would take scientists more seriously if they are seen to be objective ­ indeed some research does support this supposition.”

    Regarding the first sentence, Oreskes has no faith in the public’s ability to engage in open discussion or to appreciate it. Public “confidence” must be shaped by the “avant garde.”

    Regarding the second sentence, Oreskes believes that the term “objective” is a tool of capitalist exploitation of the masses.

  68. Richard Betts says:
    “The evidence also suggests that even if “seepage” is real, at the very least this seepage has had no influence in watering-down UK public opinion and political action compared to other countries – and that possibly the opposite has occurred because the public are more convinced by seeing scientists being objective.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The public is constantly being bombarded by “Global Warming” and “Climate Change”. It is amazing to me that the public isn’t totally convinced.

    Especially when governments are continually telling their constituents how they are going to fight Climate Change:
    http://ageherald.com/news/quebec-and-ontario-will-lead-charge-against-climate-change-couillard

    Josh was kind enough to allow me to revise his cartoon so I could send it out to Canadian government representatives and media:

  69. Try as I might, I can’t get the the association of Oreskes and seepage separated from Olestra and leakage.

  70. Here’s a quote from the WSJ:
    More than 40% of U.S. honeybee colonies died in past 12 months: USDA Published: May 13, 2015 4:00p.m. ET

    Who thinks this is because of global warming, raise your hands.
    Who thinks this is because of global warming deniers, raise your hands.

    Lower CO2 and lose plants; lose bees also.
    Such concepts as the interactions of plants, CO2, and oxygen used to be taught in grammar school science classes. The loss of critical knowledge is a threat to humanity… so please tell me who are the real danger to earth and life thereon?

    • Colony collapse disorder has yet to be pinned down as to cause, as far as I am aware. If anyone has information to the contrary, please share it.

      For one thing, loss rates of about 20% a year have been the norm for many years, and have been attributed to a variety causes, but there is much debate as to specifics.
      The term colony collapse disorder is a new name given to a phenomenon which has been documented for well over 100 years.
      One idea which seemed to be getting close scrutiny is the development and widespread adoption of neonicotinoid insecticides, which are highly toxic to bees.
      However, it should be noted that nearly every insecticide ever invented is highly toxic to bees.
      No one knows the cause, but I will wager at long odds that if and when more becomes known, climate change will not be on the list of reasons for it.
      Bees exist in a wide variety of habitats, and the variations in temperature that have always existed from day to day, month to month, year to year, decade to decade, and across wide geographic areas, dwarfs any tiny variations which have ben labelled as “climate change”.

  71. Reading Prof. Richard Betts reminds me of watching a really drunk old man walking down the sidewalk from the Bar. He thought he was walking straight but by the intersection he was on the sidewalk on the other side of the road. He looked the wrong way..Stepped out..and was run over.

  72. I quote: “… it’s fair to assume that they are referring to the 1990s, probably the period 1992-1998. This was the most recent occasion when global mean temperatures rose rapidly for a few years…”

    I am sorry to say this, but tour information is incorrect. The eighties and the nineties were not a period of warming but another temperature standstill like we have now. It lasted from from 1979 to 1997, eighteen years, which is as long as the current hiatus/warming has lasted. Exactly the same thing happened then too as is happening now: carbon dioxide kept increasing but there was no warming. I discovered this in 2008 while doing research for my book “What Warming? Satellite view of global temperature change.” I also proved that official temperature sources were covering it up and even put a warning about this into the preface to the book, all to no avail. I was completely ignored, both by warmists and by climate skeptics. For the last five years I have been periodically calling attention to this but have received no response. The situation is this: ENSO was active in the eighties and nineties and created a wave train there consisting of five El Nino peaks, with La Nina valleys in between, The centers of these waves line up in a horizontal straight line, indicating that there was no warming at all during this period. This is shown in figure 15 in my book. I also doped out how HadCRUT3 was distorting the record and demonstrated that in figure 32. Since then I have learnt that they operated in collusion with GISTEMP and NCDC. They all had their temperature curves identically computer processed to present a united front in the temperature field. But unbeknownst to them their computer left traces of its work on all three temperature curves. All computer marks are in exactly the same locations. They comprise sharp upward spikes near ends of years and are easy to find by comparing their temperature curves with satellite temperature curves. It is pretty obvious that you did not know of my work because you did not do your homework. Shame on you. You are not alone in this because not going your homework is rampant among climate science. It is not simply information about temperature that you are missing that way. You are also missing important stuff about ENSO, volcanic cooling, and Arctic warming. Get busy, spring for the book at Amazon, and learn some climate science.

  73. Although global temperatures remain within the envelope of uncertainty implied by multi-model studies, this is not the same as actually predicting it.

    Note the use of the word ‘implied’, and the explicit statement that the models don’t predict climate variability (termed uncertainty). I would restate this as ‘There is no scientific basis for the variability shown by climate models.’

    The reality is that the variability shown by the models results from values inserted by the modellers. Educated guesses if you like. And the many claims that the models account for the pause have no scientific basis, and thus whether the claims are true or not are irrelevant.

  74. Interesting that Oreskes and Lewandosky are being taken to task in this manner. Reading between the lines it’s fairly clear that the scientific community finds their approach too much to stomach. Climate conspiracies abound in the heads of those two :-).

  75. Watch out. “Alarmist” will offer olive branch with one hand while their other hand is reaching for their knife .
    I don’t trust them. They have sold their souls.

    • Good point …Many have previously demonstrated that they play by Alinsky Rules.
      But we skeptics are always open to listening to them..

  76. Let me get this straight – on the one hand the brilliant climate scientists (97%) who are so confident in their scientific findings (“debate is over “) are also, on the other hand, so mentally weak that they are intimated by a few clueless climate skeptics. Wow! That’s a powerful argument!! (also 97%)

  77. Wow we have 3* different discussions about a paper which is STILL UNPUBLISHED after 8 days
    – An Update on ATTP’s Blog there are 86 comments now :
    OK Betts is busy today – his last real comment was on ATTP at 1pm Wednesday there were 2 earlier, he says “I’ll be back”

    *The 3rd is Lew’s own blog ..only 4 comments,
    It’s good to keep the main dialogue here in one place, Barry has reposted his here so here’s the other 3 below, in case anyone cares to answer them

    * apsmith at 06:59 AM on 9 May, 2015
    I think I noticed seepage years ago with the so-called “tropical tropospheric hot spot”. I believe the thing was invented by Christopher Monckton, not by a scientist. For one thing, it’s not “hot” (just expected to have a slightly faster temperature rate increase than the surface). For another, it’s not a “spot” (more like a ring around the world centered on the equator).

    I think the term stems from a misinterpretation by Monckton and other “skeptic” friends of a figure in the AR4 IPCC report, released in 2007. The term “hot spot” does not appear in this sense in the scientific literature earlier than that, as far as I can tell. RealClimate covered the topic using different terms (“tropical tropospheric trends” for instance), not “hot spot”. So my feeling is this “hot spot” idea, which rests on a misinterpretation, is another good example, much earlier than the “pause”.

    * Chris Shaw at 23:06 PM on 9 May, 2015
    Excellent, an important and overdue intervention. Did you get funding for the paper?

    * Howard Goodall at 03:50 AM on 11 May, 2015
    Vested interests and political agents?
    Sounds like a conspiracy.

  78. (seems caught by the mod-bot, so I will try a repost)
    Wow we have 3* different discussions about Lew/Oreskes paper which is STILL UNPUBLISHED after 8 days
    – An Update on ATTP’s Blog there are 86 comments now :
    OK Betts is busy today – his last real comment was on ATTP at 1pm Wednesday, there were 2 earlier, he says “I’ll be back”

    *The 3rd is Lew’s own blog ..only 4 comments,
    It’s good to keep the main dialogue here in one place, Barry has reposted his here so here’s the other 3 below, in case anyone cares to answer them

    * apsmith at 06:59 AM on 9 May, 2015
    I think I noticed seepage years ago with the so-called “tropical tropospheric hot spot”. I believe the thing was invented by Christopher Monckton, not by a scientist. For one thing, it’s not “hot” (just expected to have a slightly faster temperature rate increase than the surface). For another, it’s not a “spot” (more like a ring around the world centered on the equator).

    I think the term stems from a misinterpretation by Monckton and other “skeptic” friends of a figure in the AR4 IPCC report, released in 2007. The term “hot spot” does not appear in this sense in the scientific literature earlier than that, as far as I can tell. RealClimate covered the topic using different terms (“tropical tropospheric trends” for instance), not “hot spot”. So my feeling is this “hot spot” idea, which rests on a misinterpretation, is another good example, much earlier than the “pause”.

    * Chris Shaw at 23:06 PM on 9 May, 2015
    Excellent, an important and overdue intervention. Did you get funding for the paper?

    * Howard Goodall at 03:50 AM on 11 May, 2015
    Vested interests and political agents?
    Sounds like a conspiracy.

  79. Prof. Betts

    Just ignore the psycho lady a.k.a. “Merchant of Dumb.” If you were to believe Oreskes, three dead scientists (founders of Marshall Institute) hypnotized tens of thousands of living scientists to reject man-made global warming of the catastrophic kind. She should consult a psychiatrist or an exorcist. Either she is hallucinating or skeptical scientists are possessed by evil spirits.

  80. The rapid increase in temperatures to 1998 was discussed by climate scientists in the Climategate emails.

    In 1999, Michael Mann was keen not to give natural variability too much prominence:

    “The ’99 numbers are very interesting, and should help thwart the dubious claims sometimes made that El Nino is the sole culprit in the anomalous recent warmth.”

    http://di2.nu/foia/foia2011/mail/0183.txt

    • I agree with Lew, but only superficially. He’s stumbled upon a well-evident phenomenon, if only clumsily and accidentally.

      If you examine the penultimate emails in Climategate I, you will encounter a raft of messages set off by BBC’s Paul Hudson’s questions about the pause that include Trenberth’s “travesty” email and an undignified outburst from Stephen Schneider. Tom Wigley’s email replies are particularly interesting.

  81. What’s all this about really? To a large extent, it is about controlling language and the use of terminology in a twin attempt to blunt the sharp edge of climate change scepticism and bring wayward scientists into line on the use of politically ‘appropriate’ phrases. For all this paper’s high sounding technical jargon and psychobabble, it basically amounts to an attempt to stamp out terminology perceived to be injurious to the Great Climate Cause. I see no difference between what is happening in the climate change debate courtesy of nutters like Lew and Oreskes and what is happening in the wider community, where the unwitting use of politically incorrect words and phrases is increasingly becoming the subject of ludicrous and lengthy official investigations which amount to little more than officially sanctioned witch hunts.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3082537/Fire-Quattro-s-hate-crime-RICHARD-LITTLEJOHN-wants-know-headteacher-used-term-special-needs-investigated-police.html

  82. “It is perplexing that Lewandowsky et al do not seem to be aware of this research on short-term climate variability”

    It is perplexing that anybody pays this weirdo any attention at all. IMHO, of course…

  83. Actually the seepage concept better describes how so many disparate areas of research find papers being presented that promote the cliamte apocalypse meme.

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