Why delegating comprehension of climate science is a bad idea

Computer circuit board and cd rom

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

President Obama thinks he doesn’t need to understand anything about climate science, to know what needs to be done. However, in my opinion, this is a demonstrably poor management strategy.

How many times have you heard President Obama say something like the following:

“They’ll say, ‘You know, I’m not a scientist,’ Well, I’m not either. But the best scientists in the world know that climate change is happening.”

(Read more at The Guardian)

Obviously its difficult to directly measure whether this disengaged approach is a bad strategy for managing climate research. It takes decades to discover whether a given climate research effort has yielded an improved ability to model and predict changes in the climate. We do know that climate models to date have a dismal track record of prediction.

However, we can look at other areas where non-expert managers have to manage specialists with arcane knowledge, which the non-expert manager does not share.

For example, consider how businesses (and governments) manage their IT departments.

Like climate science, an IT project requires input from specialists with diverse and arcane skills. Arguably a climate science research effort is an IT project, given the level of computer involvement in climate modelling. However, unlike climate science, most business IT projects have a lifecycle measured in years, not decades, so there is a lot more data available on why business IT projects fail.

According to ISM journal, one of the key causes of IT project failure is lack of stakeholder support.

No stakeholder involvement and/or participation.

Any project of significance has a number of stakeholders. These stakeholders have to contribute resources if the project is going to succeed and often have to take away resources from lower priority activities to do so.There are always more demands for resourc- es than there are resources available. If all relevant stakeholders are not engaged and committed to project success, it is just about guaranteed the project will not get the resources and attention required to deliver the promised project scope on time and on budget. If key project stakeholders do not participate in major review meetings, it signals they are not engaged in the project and therefore the project is not a high priority for them. Other stakeholders soon begin to disengage too.The project manager then finds it harder to get the participation and resources necessary for project success, especially from those who are not full-time members of the project team. Often such project team members get reassigned to other projects that are perceived to be more important. However, the project scope and due date remain fixed. The project falls into a death spiral. Important projects have and keep the attention of major stakeholders.

Read more: http://ism-journal.com/ITToday/projectfailure.pdf

But surely President Obama is very involved and supportive – he talks about climate science all the time!

Actually no. I would argue that the President is not engaged – because he doesn’t try to understand the details of the project. As he has repeatedly said, he doesn’t feel any need to try to understand the science himself, because he has scientific advisors to tell him what it means.

An article by Project Skills does a good job of describing this distinction:

Case Study: The worst project I have been in as a project manager saw a rather insidious case where senior management support was lacking. This “Senior Management Person” (call him “SMP”) in question was the CEO of Retailing Banking for Singapore and Malaysia at the time for a large regional bank.

I was project manager in charge of delivering a banking system to the bank. During Project Steering Committee meetings, the SMP would appear, ask some clever questions but never worry about the real issues in the project. When I surfaced serious scope creep issues to him and that users were being unrealistic, he would say (in front of his senior vice presidents, etc) – that my team and I were hired to manage all of these things.

Wrong! Projects are a team effort. A team effort between the client (in this case the bank) and us (the vendor). The SMP continued to ignore my pleas for executive support to tone down user requirements.

So guess what happened to the project? Yep – it was an epic failure.

Read more: http://www.project-skills.com/top-7-reasons-for-project-management-failure.html

Is there any other instance in which the President’s hands off approach to management of IT projects has caused problems? In my opinion the answer is most likely yes. A substantial part of the delivery of Obamacare depended on the success of a major IT system. The rollout of Obamacare has arguably not been a glowing success.

Obviously some level of delegation and disengagement is necessary – you can’t be an expert in everything, you can’t be everywhere at once. A manager with poor delegation skills is a bad manager.

However, there is a huge difference between a lack of engagement, and engaged management of experts, even if you don’t share their expertise.

Steve Jobs, the legendary former CEO of Apple Computer, was not a code developer. But Jobs was intensely involved in the process of producing Apple products. He would never have said something like “I don’t have to understand product design, I have advisors to tell me whether the next iProduct will sell”.

A low level of engagement – even enthusiastic support, without an effort to comprehend – in my opinion is fatal to the success of a project, for the reasons I have given.

How can the President possibly devote enough time to climate research, to understand the issues well enough to provide engaged management oversight? Quite possibly he can’t. The US Federal government is composed of almost 500 agencies which between them employ millions of civil servants – all of which must place significant competing demands on the President’s time.

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May 21, 2015 10:32 pm

@ Eric, but he reads the paper the next day to find the answers, Right?

Paul Mackey
Reply to  asybot
May 22, 2015 12:30 am

According to Mr Obama, Climate Change is the most important issue facing the world. AS a world leader, is he not derelict in his duty if he does not try to understand the issue?

Just Steve
Reply to  Paul Mackey
May 22, 2015 2:25 pm

Dear Leader Chairman MaoBama is a tool….he’s good at reading teleprompters and regurgitating progressive talking points, nothing more. He’s not very smart, despite the insistence from progressive media hacks that he’s the smartest guy in the room.
How can we know he’s not that brilliant, you may ask? Easy.
The man checks every bullet point describing a narcissist. Said narcissism is on display every time he, or Moochelle, speak. Everything…EVERYTHING…is about them. I, me, my flow from their lips like a rushing stream.
Now, understanding his narcissism, do you think for one second if his college transcripts bore out his supposed brilliance they’d be sealed away like the Kennedy assassination papers? The man would have them circulated like a most wanted poster, up on every post office wall in the country.
No, he doesn’t know or understand the debate, his job is to keep the narrative moving ever so leftward.

Reply to  asybot
May 22, 2015 5:46 am

he probably doesn’t watch TV or read the news. Too busy. He has handlers to do that.

Reply to  asybot
May 22, 2015 6:12 am

In his farewell address to the American people given in January 1953, President Truman referred to this concept very specifically in asserting that, “The President–whoever he is–has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.”

May 21, 2015 10:45 pm

“By an unproven hypothesis,
We’ve been taken in;
Consensus and settled,
Are so much political spin.
The misinformed tricked
Into so easily believing;
Fear and ignorance, it seems,
Are so good at deceiving…..”
Read more: http://wp.me/p3KQlH-JJ

Leonard Lane
May 21, 2015 10:47 pm

Eric. In my opinion, NASA was responsible for the myth that good managers could manage anything. The NASA moon landing program had wide public support, freely given funds, and good managers who knew the content of their project.
Now take a project that does not have Presidential support, little or no freely given funding when asked, and has a broader scope or poorly defined goals and– it fails. A good manager is one who knows enough of the content of the project (so as not to be bamboozled by slick talk and graphics with no substance) to prioritize funding and efforts. Obviously Pres. Obama has none of these skills.
Thanks for the interesting and important essay.

Reply to  Leonard Lane
May 22, 2015 8:45 am

The myth that good managers could manage anything is unfortunately still alive and doing well.
Can’t tell you the number of meetings where IT senior management had only a cursory or talking point knowledge of the department they were responsible for and the business operations they supported. Senior managements primary job skill has evolved to finding the next career boosting job, not managing or leading a department.
They are helped by people who actually know what is going on (if they haven’t been out sourced or down-sized) who find ways to succeed despite flimsy senior management and the fact that senior leadership success is not measured by wins and losses but by how well they present themselves in any success or failure.

May 21, 2015 10:57 pm

Steve Jobs is a wonderful example of how a leader should understand what his subbordinates are doing. Obama has been an embarrassment, not only because of his detachment from understanding but because of his complete endorsement and promotion of something he hasn’t taken the time to fact check.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
May 22, 2015 2:31 am

Ah, but does he have a hidden agenda (21)?

Steve P
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
May 22, 2015 8:31 am

Steve Jobs is a wonderful example of a huckster. He was a marketing guy, with a clever eye, but a pocket tyrant, and micro-manager without peer. He was exceptionally lucky and fortunate to be in the company of talented technical people throughout his career at Apple, and to have control over them, beginning with Steve Wozniak, who was the technical brains behind the breakthrough Apple II.
Jobs got a good look at a GUI while visiting Xerox PARC in 1979, which occasion was the inspiration for the subsequent big flop Lisa, and then the very successful Mac line in the mid-80s.
Jobs was then audaciously conceited enough to accuse Bill Gates & M$ of stealing the graphical user interface or GUI concept from Apple.

Bob Boder
Reply to  Steve P
May 22, 2015 10:23 am

Actually Microsoft licensed the code directly from Apple used it in their operating system, they rewrote the code and used it in their next revision of the windows system and stopped paying Apple for the code. Apple sued and lost the “look and feel” law suit because the judge had no idea what he was dealing with and treated it like it was book. The law suit would be won easily by Apple if it happened now and not then. As for Microsoft they made their original fortune on a MSDOS which was just a copy of the CPM operating system that they purchased for next to nothing and sold to IBM who was to dumb to insist on having control of it and to dumb to relies the operating system was were the money was. Bill Gates is the much bigger fraud.

Brian H
Reply to  Steve P
May 22, 2015 12:21 pm

to dumb to relies = too dumb to realize?? Duh.

Steve P
Reply to  Steve P
May 22, 2015 1:24 pm

Well Bob, Macs and Windows ran on a different hardware architecture at the time. It was M$ writing code for Apple, not the other way around, but they did have an agreement (pertaining to the visual displays of Excel, Windows, and Word that were derived from the visual displays of the Lisa and Mac) where M$ gained “…non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, nontransferable license to use these derivative works in present and future software programs,”
Someone with low-level programming experience on these platforms may correct me on this point, but I doubt any operating system code that ran on a Mac in those days would have run on an MS-DOS/ Windows PC without either a heavy re-write, or starting over, so the idea that M$ licensed the Windows code directly from Apple doesn’t seem quite right to me.
In any event, as you note, Gates was one shrewd cookie. I don’t know what he gave up in the agreement he signed with Scully not long after Windows 1 shipped, but he had his tail pretty well covered against any future claims from Apple. It may have been simply that M$’s lawyers were much better than Apple’s.
Whatever the case, it’s too bad it wasn’t Steve Wozniak leading the PC revolution, rather than Gates and Jobs. Woz not only designed the Apple II hardware, he also wrote Interger BASIC and the system monitor from the ground up, and I assume the mini-assembler, as well.

Reply to  Steve P
May 22, 2015 1:46 pm

Jobs’ decisions are what made Apple the most valuable company today. When he returned as CEO, Apple was in danger of dying. He decided to go beyond laptop and desktop computers into smaller consumer electronic devices, first with the iPod, then iPhone and iPad, ie even more portable micro to mini-computers.
We’ll see how Cook’s wearable computers, ie Apple Watch, do. Apple has decided not to make its own TV, but is getting more heavily into streaming video and smart headphones. Next will come Apple Car, then Apple House.
But modern Apple is the creation of Jobs. His wasn’t the first MP3 player, smartphone or tablet, but he recreated and branded these product lines.

Reply to  Steve P
May 22, 2015 2:05 pm

I hate to admit it when someone is right so often, but sturgishooper is correct about Cook. I think Apple will be around for a very long time because of Steve Jobs’ decisions. And it will be despite Cook, not because of him.
I wouldn’t buy Apple stock now. There will probably be a much better price point coming up. But Apple does have lots and lots of $billions in the bank, both here and abroad. That gives them lots of leeway to do profitable things — if Cook is up to it.
(Also, never take any advice from me on the stock market. If you do, you’d probably do well by doing the opposite of what I suggest.) I made some money on AAPL, but I regard it as total luck.
(And Sturgis had better start being wrong once in a while! He’s closing in on my record.☺)
I also agree with Steve P that Jobs had some of the huckster in him. But no one can argue with his success. The business world is filled with Elmer Gantrys. Not many of them could do what Jobs did. He was the right man at the right time. He learned a lot, and got some humility by the time he returned to Apple. IIRC, AAPL was well under $10 a share when Jobs came back. Under his direction it went past $600 a share — after splits! Not bad, eh?

Reply to  Steve P
May 22, 2015 2:25 pm

Glad to know you think I’m right sometimes.
Without Jobs, Woz would probably have been happy to keep on making computer kits for hobbyists. I’ve never asked him that question directly, but that’s the impression I get.
Jobs wanted to rule the world. Two very different cats.
Gates never invented anything beyond MS Basic. He was more like Jobs than Woz.
Don’t take stock advice on a science blog, but IMO AAPL still has room to run, but you’re right that Cook is not Jobs. The whole US stock market is getting technically overvalued, so could crash again, but compared to the S&P’s P/E, and assuming even the lower end of growth rate estimates, it’s still undervalued, remarkable as that fact may seem. Buying anew now (in May), I’d don’t know, but I rate it at least a “market perform” or hold and am in fact holding my shares.

Reply to  Steve P
May 22, 2015 2:31 pm

Jobs wanted to rule the world.
Me, too! ☺
Also, I don’t expect a market ‘crash’, simply because everyone is on the lookout for one so it’s priced in.
Now, watch me be wrong!

Reply to  Steve P
May 22, 2015 2:46 pm

Even without a major crash (but just a correction affecting tech more than some other sectors), there is still IMO some market risk in holding AAPL or any other US issue right now. There’s also sector and industry risk, as well as stock-specific risk should this Q not meet expectations. But AAPL has such a brand following that it’s almost like a luxury company, relatively insulated from market, sector and industry risk.
I sold after Jobs died (and I saw GOOG mapping vans on so many continents), but bought back in after the 2012-13 crash, when the Street had become so negative on AAPL.
Its close today was a record high. Some technicians think new highs are a buy signal, others to sell. Nobody knows anything.

Steve P
Reply to  Steve P
May 23, 2015 11:36 am

Jobs’ return to Apple in 1997 was fueled by a $150 million non-voting stock purchase by Microsoft, and announcement of MS Word for the Mac.
Gates at least had some programming chops already while still a teenager, so in that respect at least he’s closer to Woz than Jobs, whose main asset was his reality distortion field, RDF, which was often disastrous for engineering, but which paid big dividends in marketing, the perfect domain where his keen eye for design was reflected in elegant advertising that helped fashion the Cult of Mac. In terms of business success, the master stroke has been the branding of Apple.

The Reality Distortion Field… was said by Andy Hertzfeld to be Steve Jobs’ ability to convince himself and others to believe almost anything with a mix of charm, charisma, bravado, hyperbole, marketing, appeasement and persistence.[…]
Jobs could also use the RDF to appropriate other’s ideas as his own, sometimes proposing an idea to its originator after dismissing it the week before.

The RDF is just another more polite term for BS. My take is that Apple has been successful at times throughout the course of its soap opera history as much in spite of Jobs as because of him.

Steve Wozniak stated that the primary reason for the Apple III’s failure was that the system was designed by Apple’s marketing department[…]
Steve Jobs insisted on the idea of no fan or air vents – in order to make the computer run quietly. Jobs would later push this same ideology onto almost all Apple models he had control of – from the Apple Lisa and Macintosh 128K to the iMac. […]

No air vents or fan? Full-bore engineering idiocy.
Anyway, to wrap this up, If you read this excerpt of an interview with John Sculley after Jobs passed, you’ll learn that there was a fundamental difference in the way Macs and PCs created the graphical user interface, which on the Apple required a lot of hardware ROMs containing software subroutines, but which Microsoft was doing entirely in software, and that, my friends, is what probably really po’d Steve Jobs.

Sculley: The original Mac really had no operating system. People keep saying, “Well why didn’t we license the operating system?” The simple answer is that there wasn’t one. It was all done with lots of tricks with hardware and software. Microprocessors in those days were so weak compared to what we had today. In order to do graphics on a screen you had to consume all of the power of the processor. Then you had to glue chips all around it to enable you to offload other functions. Then you had to put what are called “calls to ROM.” There were 400 calls to ROM, which were all the little subroutines that had to be offloaded into the ROM because there was no way you could run these in real time. […]
In the 1990s, the processors were getting powerful enough that you could run all of your technology and software, and that’s when Microsoft took off with their Windows 3.1.
Prior to that you had to do it in software and hardware, the way Apple did. When the processors became powerful enough, it just became a commodity and the software can handle all those subroutines we had to do in hardware.


May 21, 2015 11:07 pm

Very insightful (and valuable) to conflate execution of an “IT Project” with execution of the “Combat Climate Change Project”. As you point out, a significant number of IT projects fail and reasons are more than just stakeholder engagement–although that one of many requirements to have any hope of success. Amongst many other reasons are that the project deliverables are ill-defined, not wanted, nor not needed.

Reply to  rms
May 22, 2015 4:34 am

Obamacare implementation was just such an IT project. “Velly intellesting!” (HT: Arte Johnson)

May 21, 2015 11:13 pm

A golden rule for governments should be never to take advice from individual specialists in anyone field; and from specialist scientists in particular. Individuals are always biased one way or the other – scientists even more so as each one is always firmly wedded to his/her pet theory. Governments should seek advice only from panels of lay people, selected from people with obviously above average IQ and with a proven ability for analytical thinking. In “British” countries these sort of advice-giving panels are called royal commissions. They are called “think-tanks” elsewhere.
That is what Obama is not doing. Time will prove him wrong (that is my theory, at least!!).

richard verney
Reply to  AndyE
May 22, 2015 1:00 am

A golden rule for good government would be to instruct experts to investigate and report on all the negatives of government policy/porposed government policy.
There is too much group think, and unintended consequences are not foreseen simply because no one scrutinisess the negative impact of government policy and no one questions the raison d’etre in the first place for government policy/intended policy.
It is easy to waste other peoples money and that is why policy and the need for it is never properly questioned and evaluated.

Reply to  richard verney
May 22, 2015 1:23 am

Yes, richard verney, lots of different experts (the more the merrier) should be instructed to investigate and report – but their reports, and the risks emanating from them, should be soberly assessed by a panel of non-experts. Political action should then ensue after government has studied the consensus from that panel of lay folks.

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  AndyE
May 22, 2015 4:07 am

A problem in the UK is the government having taken advice from NGOs who are in the pay of the renewables sellers. To prevent corruption, the politicians themselves are not supposed to have shares or directorships in businesses which would benefit from policy bias. However, the use of NGO proxies in this way effectively circumvents that protection.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Ian Macdonald
May 22, 2015 5:14 am

Except that Yeo and Gummer did have direct connections with making money out of ‘renewables’ but that didn’t seem to be considered a conflict on interest. and expect to see Davey pop up at some ‘green’ company now that the good people of Kingston have dispensed with his services.

Reply to  AndyE
May 22, 2015 5:47 am

I am a discipline specialist in a production industry. Even though it does not always happen, I have found that if I explain my recommendations effectively to non-experts, it makes all of our jobs more effective. But it does take curiosity and engagement on both sides, something that is lacking to varying degrees by both the climate scientists and the President.

Reply to  oeman50
May 22, 2015 7:30 am

Yes, oeman50.
If I can explain it to any audience, I understand it well.

Herbert Turnover
May 21, 2015 11:15 pm

So what criteria does Obama use to select best scientists from not best scientists? Can he do it on his own or does he always have to have others tell him? Does he have a single opinion that belongs just to him? Will the real Obama stand up!

Reply to  Herbert Turnover
May 22, 2015 2:37 am

This is a skill learned from experience, of which Obama has none!

Reply to  Slywolfe
May 22, 2015 7:42 am

It’s not experience he lacks, it’s judgment.
Example: historian Stephen Cohen is one of our country’s best Russia analysts. He’s 76 years old. He said that in the past, presidents would ask Russian specialists who had opposing points-of-view to Camp David with the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, members of his national security council, and other trusted diplomatic and personal advisors.
The Russian specialists would have to make their case before this group. And it was frequently rough-and-tumble, but it was done. The points-of-view were aired, the consequences of certain actions were made clear.
Cohen was born in Kentucky, and grew up in Indiana, corn-fed. It was a history professor who convinced him to learn Russian and study Russian history. He’s lived in Russia in Soviet and modern times, and his illustrious teaching career was Princeton and NYU. Cohen thinks our engagement in the Ukraine is wrong, and that the current administration has no understanding or appreciation of Russian history that would explain what Putin is doing.
He’s banned from the White House. Obama’s advisors won’t let Cohen anywhere near the President to warn him what Cohen thinks he’s got wrong. And he conducts no Camp David meetings where opposing views are aired.

Reply to  MRW
May 24, 2015 6:28 am

Judgement comes from experience as well.
Obama’s only experience is campaigning, and lying.

Reply to  Herbert Turnover
May 22, 2015 8:38 am

Even scientists delegate scientific knowledge which is not in their field of knowledge. Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist who has spoken about climate change in ways that makes it obvious that he’s just echoing someone else.

Reply to  Herbert Turnover
May 22, 2015 11:37 am

I have a different take. I see Obama as an extreme idealogue (e.g. anti colonial, social justice, equality of nations) who THEN picked advisors who were known by his “progressive” friends as promoting ideas consistent with that world view. Global Warming “solutions” aligned perfectly with those ideologies. This not only explains Chu, Erlich and Holdren appointments but also Obama’s cognitive dissonance regarding “inconvenient” data.
(John Holder of course is another example of an expert/advisor whose job is to reinforce POTUS preconceptions.)

Brian H
Reply to  George Daddis
May 22, 2015 12:27 pm

I have the same take. The meta-message is always the same.

Erik Magnuson
Reply to  George Daddis
May 23, 2015 12:25 pm

I think you meant to write John Holdren, not Holder.
I remember a talk Holdren gave in 1976 on Proposition 15, which would ban construction of new nuclear plants. He claimed that coal fired plants could be made clean enough and mining safe enough that the majority of deaths and injuries from the use of coal would come from RR grade crossing fatalities. The latter point stuck as being odd and gave me the distinct impression of someone who chose his assumptions to support his pre-defined conclusions rather than carefully evaluating his assumptions before reaching a conclusion.
IOW, he’s more of an activist than a scientist.

Reply to  Herbert Turnover
May 22, 2015 2:09 pm

Herbert T,
Obama’s criteria is crystal clear: his appointments must be aligned with him politically. They are all yes-men and women. Science knowledge is so far down the list it doesn’t matter.

Mushroom George
May 21, 2015 11:15 pm

‘It was peer reviewed’ will be the new ‘I was only following orders’.

Reply to  Mushroom George
May 21, 2015 11:45 pm

Mushroom George
Many years ago Fred Singer organised a fringe meeting at an IPCC event in the Netherlands. I was one of the speakers.
I concluded my presentation on global temperature data sets by saying,
“When the chickens come home to roost – as they surely will with efluxion of time – then the politicians and the journalists won’t say, “It was our fault”. They will say, “It was the scientists’ fault”. And that’s me. And I OBJECT!
I see no reason to change that, and I still object.

Reply to  richardscourtney
May 22, 2015 4:36 am

…as well you should.

Reply to  richardscourtney
May 22, 2015 7:38 am

You are not alone. Many scientists are with you, but it is apparently inconvenient to say so while still depending on government grants for a living.
But there are some exceptional scientists. Thank you all.

JJM Gommers
Reply to  Mushroom George
May 22, 2015 12:57 am

It’s sounds better than: “Ich habe es nicht gewust” but it remains scary

Reply to  JJM Gommers
May 22, 2015 1:08 am

And “Ich habe es nicht gewusst” is better still.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Mushroom George
May 22, 2015 2:34 am

Oh how astute!

May 21, 2015 11:33 pm

Obama is doing his part the best way possible… which is an embarrassment, true, but there are only two ways of doing it. If you are into (C)AGW, either you claim total ignorance or you refuse to engage. He’s opted for the first.

May 21, 2015 11:40 pm

Given the little “o” has access to virtually unlimited funds, he should have at least one naysayer on his team – and take their opinions into account as well as the ‘noddy dog’ sycophants. Without intelligent, counter opinions he would be proven to be one lousy manager…

M Courtney
Reply to  cnxtim
May 22, 2015 12:45 am

Very much agree. He shows Integrity without Humility.
Obama does believe that climate change is the biggest issue facing the planet. So acts accordingly. That shows integrity.
But he cannot believe he may be wrong. So he believes his own side’s propaganda – that all who are sceptical are wicked, stupid or both. And so he ignores all of them. That shows a lack of humility.
Eventually, on one subject at least, he will be wrong.
And he won’t know until it’s too late.

Reply to  M Courtney
May 22, 2015 2:45 am

He shows Integrity without Humility.

I’ve seen no show of either; and I find him more offensive than embarrassing.

Reply to  M Courtney
May 22, 2015 7:45 am

It is dangerous to act while blinded by a light.
We pay the consequences.

Reply to  M Courtney
May 22, 2015 8:19 am

There is no integrity when he promised to be the most open president ever and then became just the opposite. Of course I will have to say that it is typical of most any politician to say one thing and then do another later which makes any thing they promise up front a lie.

Bob Boder
Reply to  M Courtney
May 22, 2015 10:28 am

M Courtney;
Knowing what you know about the power shift that enacting climate change legislation would provide to the Federal government and to the liberal agenda in general do you real think Obama cares whether “C”AGW is real or not? I think you greatly over estimate his integrity.

Brian H
Reply to  M Courtney
May 22, 2015 12:31 pm

I don’t believe he believes in CAGW. I think he finds it convenient.

Reply to  M Courtney
May 22, 2015 2:11 pm

M says:
He shows Integrity…
Gotta disagree, M. There’s no integrity in the guy.
Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus applies. You can’t have partial integrity.
Obama simply does not understand science enough to know what he’s talking about. He’s parroting people like Holdren. And IMHO he is paying back promises for all the loot he’s collected, or expects to collect.
At bottom though, it’s all about the Agenda. When it comes to politics, he is wily and cunning. Very successful indeed. But there is nothing in his background to suggest that he is aware of the difference between science and Scientology.

Reply to  M Courtney
May 23, 2015 6:47 am

I humbly disagree. He is using the CAGW meme for a power grab and lining his pockets down the road with gorebucks.

May 21, 2015 11:58 pm

In his latest global warming speech, Obama wasn’t trying to convince anyone. Instead, he was sending signals to his supporters on what “all right thinking people” should be saying. This is classic in-group/out-group communication. Obama was setting up the lingo and talking points for his in-group to use to determine who can be considered part of the tribe and who should be mocked for being outside of it.
Obama is a bellweather; the sheep with the bell that the other sheep follow. Bellweather is not a derogatory term, it’s a descriptive term. Rush Limbaugh is an example of a Right bellweather. The job of a political bellweather is to indicate the position that the followers should take in their conversations. Obama’s speech was a position paper for the delegates of all right thinking people. You meet these people at work, church, school, at the coffee house, etc. The delegates will mirror the President’s message to identify other in-group members, normalize beliefs and mock out-group members.
One of the main themes of Obama’s speech is shame. Shame on those who aren’t right thinking people. Shame that they aren’t as intelligent and capable as “us.” That type of smugness is almost impossible to penetrate. When a skeptic questions a delegate’s view on global warming/climate change, the delegate hears something vastly different than what the skeptic is saying.
A skeptic might say, “The models don’t match the actual measured results.” What the warmist hears is how stupid deniers are because that’s what John Stewart told him he should think. If the warmist doesn’t prove that he thinks skeptics are stupid then he might be confused for a denier! And no one wants to be identified with being a denier because they are mocked, don’t get tenure and don’t get invited to the right parties. No amount of science can penetrate the ROI the warmist has internalized in believing in CAGW.
Many of the warmist delegates are running on pure rational ignorance. Rational ignorance is a belief that the cost/benefit to researching every issue is slow low as to be a net negative in time utilization. Thus the ignorance is rational. People who are rationally ignorant about global warming look to bellweathers that support their basic stance on the issue. For warmists they would look to the President, mockutainers and warmist scientists.
Penetrating Rational Ignorance is tough because the position warmists have taken isn’t based on logic. Their position is actually based on an appeal to authority. To question the rationally ignorant warmist is to question the field of science as a whole (to be a science denier) or to question the leadership of their favorite bellweather personalities in politics, science and entertainment. The rationally ignorant might point to their favorite bellweathers and say, “Who am I to doubt all these intelligent people?” It’s intellectually offshoring. It’s lazy. It’s human nature.
The scientific method rejects outright bellweathers, rational ignorance and in-group/out-groups. A scientist is supposed to follow the results not rig the data to ensure he gets invited to a party with the right people. But science has a poor track record on controversial topics. It often takes decades to accept new theories that are clear winners (e.g., continental drift).
The problem is that scientists are still social animals. Social animals follow hierarchy and incentives. If you really want to win the debate on global warming, change the opinions of the bellweathers. Change the economic incentives for the global warming scientific paper mill. Otherwise you’re stuck debating only the people who are unable to change their minds because it would cost them personally to do so. Rare is the person intellectually honest enough to bite the hand that feeds.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Manos
May 22, 2015 2:41 am

Isn’t he one of those bloodsucking lawyers?

Reply to  Alan the Brit
May 22, 2015 5:07 am

He is no longer allowed to practice law in Illinois.

Reply to  Manos
May 22, 2015 2:49 am

Both he and Michelle are lawyers, from Chicago. We know of another famous (Or should that be infamous?) Chicagonite, Al Capone.

Reply to  Patrick
May 22, 2015 4:11 am


Both he and Michelle are lawyers, from Chicago.

Both Barak Obama and Michelle Obama have been disbarred (had their law licenses removed/not allowed to be renewed) from Illinois law practice. We do not know why – they have refused to say. And their “friendly” ABCNNBCBS new media refuse to ask.

Reply to  Patrick
May 22, 2015 6:39 am

Ok, they *were* lawyers. I don’t keep a running account of their employment histories in mind.

Reply to  Patrick
May 22, 2015 11:40 am

No, they were not disbarred. They had their licenses set to “inactive” status.
There is a long story behind the procedures read http://www.wnd.com/2009/08/105998/
I don’t like BO at all, but I also don’t like to see people spreading false information.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Manos
May 22, 2015 4:05 am

Excellent comment, Manos. It goes in my Climate folder. I hadn’t heard of Rational Ignorance before. It explains why we can’t explain anything to the Believers. The communication is stopped from the get-go.
The idea of bellweathers is also interesting. When I first started looking into the warming issue, I was actually looking for ammo to use against “climate cranks” (the D word wasn’t in use yet). But my intellectual curiosity got the better of me. I just had to know what the truth was and let the chips fall wherever.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 22, 2015 3:21 pm

I’m sure there is lots of psychological terminology for tactics and situations used to manipulate people. What do social psychologists do all day, anyway? And in which political direction do they typically lean?

Reply to  Manos
May 22, 2015 5:03 am

Is the spelling “bellweather” a clever joke, or just a typographic error?

Reply to  Ramspace
May 22, 2015 9:32 am

It was two in the morning is my excuse. Although, I sorta like it.

Reply to  Manos
May 22, 2015 5:37 am

This post was like tumblers falling into place and hearing a click as the lock releases.
It explains how these false memes proliferate across divisive issues. I struggled to understand how people can accept diametrically opposed positions or logical fallacies, which are present everywhere.
Be it religion, climate science, gun rights, politics, etc. The penchant for advocates to accept logically impossible tenets of their faith is mind numbing.
It appears true skepticism is both a blessing and a curse as we wade through a physically logically world inhabited by Rationally Ignorant zealots following dishonest shaman.
The Age of Enlightenment grows dimmer as we turn off the power sources that allowed us to rule over the dark.
Very sad.

Reply to  Manos
May 22, 2015 12:19 pm

excellent … scary … makes sense, but I have a real problem thinking that way
so many today do not want to think for themselves or learn or can’t

May 22, 2015 12:26 am

it’s not a partisan issue. Obama was mocking those who say “i’m not a scientist”, adding “i’m not either”.
***it’s just a CAGW meme with no need for facts:
2013: Guardian: Cameron links typhoon Haiyan to climate change
Prime minister seemingly endorses stance that global warming is creating more extreme weather patterns
(David Cameron, UK Conservative Party) “There is no doubt there have been an increasing number of severe weather events in recent years,” he said.
***”And I’m not a scientist but it’s always seemed to me one of the strongest arguments about climate change is, even if you’re only 90% certain or 80% certain or 70% certain, if I said to you there’s a 60% chance your house might burn down, do you want to take out some insurance – you take out some insurance. I think we should think about climate change like that.”
partisan thinkprogress mocked politicians (only the Republicans) who say “i’m not a scientist”:
Oct 2014: Think Progress: Emily Atkin: ‘I’m Not A Scientist’: A Complete Guide To Politicians Who Plead Ignorance On Climate Change
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday joined the growing ranks of politicians and political figures who actively oppose any policy to fight climate change, but also claim to not know the science of climate change. McConnell, for his part, used one of most recently popular adages to make this claim in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer: “I’m not a scientist.”…
Climate scientists themselves have derided the tactic of of claiming ignorance on whether climate change exists, particularly from politicians, who are frequently presented with information curated by scientists to explain what’s going on with the climate…
“Personally, I don’t think it proper for any American to use that argument [that they’re not scientist],” Donald. J Wuebbles, a coordinating lead author for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2013 assessment report, said at the time.
Still, that hasn’t stopped many of our country’s most prominent politicians from saying they’re not sure whether humans are the primary drivers of climate change — whether that’s because of the fact that they’re “not a scientist” or otherwise…
Rick Scott: “I’m Not A Scientist”…
Marco Rubio: “I’m Not A Scientist”…
ETC ETC (all Republicans)
but when Obama says it, thinkprogress simply leaves out the “Well, I’m not either” part of his speech. (The Guardian highlighted it).
(link from website’s front page)
20 May: Think Progress: Samantha Page: President Obama To Coast Guard Graduates: Climate Change Is A ‘Serious Threat To Global Security’
Denying anthropogenic climate change is being seen more and more as anti-American. In a video interview with Obama last month, Bill Nye framed accepting the science as an important part of being a patriot…
partisan politics is a lose-lose game.

richard verney
May 22, 2015 12:47 am

You don’t have to be a scientist to know that the policy response is misconceived, since even a schhol child would quickly appreciate that the policy response does not result in the reduction of CO2 (leaving aside the scientific issue as to whether rising levels of CO2 cause significant and dangerous warming).
First of all carbon credits/carbon trading merely shift the location of where CO2 is emiited, they do not reduce overall global emmissions and since it is claimed that CO2 is a well mixed gas, it matters not that the US or UK may reduce their CO2 emissions if these emissions are essentially outsourced to China or India or another developing country.
Infact, relocating industry off-shore may well increase global CO2 emissions since it may be that more transport of raw materials and finished articles is involved in the manufacturing of the product and getting the product to market, so carbon credits/carbon trading etc does nothing to reduce global CO2 emissions and may well slightly increase them.
Second, given that renewables are intermittent and presently there is no practical storage method to store energy when the sun does not shine or the wind does not blow, sloar farms and wind farms do not result in the reduction of any significant amounts of CO2 because of the need for back up from conventional powered fossil fuel generation.
The evidence suggest that typically on average windfarms are about 21 to 25% efficient, and are capable of producing about 21 to 25% of their nameplate output. However, whilst at first blush one might imaginge that this will result in a reduction of CO2 by about 21 to 25%, however this is not the case. The conventional backup required has to be operated in inefficient ramp up/ramp down mode and operating power generation in this manner results in nearly as much CO2 as if the fossil fuel generator had simply been used in steady state mode at its designed operational capacity.
The inefficient working of ramp up/ramp down is well known to anyone who has a car. The freeway consumption (say steady 55 to 60mph) of a car is significantly better than the urban consumption. Every one who owns a car knows that the car uses about 30% more fuel when driving in the city compared to the fuel used on a run (some cars use twice as much fuel in city/town driving compared to teh fuel consumption on a freeway/motorway run).
So it is easy to understand why ghiven the need for conventionally powered back up which has to be run in inefficient ramp up/ramp down mode that there is no saving in CO2 emissions by rolling out renewables in the form of wind farms and/or solar farms.
Even the President of the US ought to understand that but I guess that it is a long time since he last filled up a car with petrol!

Reply to  richard verney
May 22, 2015 3:10 am

As a secondary teacher of science, I can confirm that schoolchildren can quickly see the gaping holes in the policies and arguments of the AGW crowd. 😉

Steve P
Reply to  richard verney
May 22, 2015 8:48 am

The wind and solar farms are bleeding wounds on our economy. They drive up the cost of everything.

Brian H
Reply to  richard verney
May 22, 2015 12:43 pm

Offshoring high-emission industries increases emissions, since they go to places with fewer controls. It’s a lose-lose game.

James Allison
May 22, 2015 12:56 am

How many “right” decisions has Obama made since he has been President?
OK lets wait a while for the the deafening silence to end ……
Times up.
Next question.
What was the probability that Climate Change would be his first “right” decision?
The guy is an embarrassment to all you Americans. Period.

Reply to  James Allison
May 22, 2015 10:40 am

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Though I’m sure many may disagree with me, I’ve argued for years that normalizing relations with Cuba would be the quickest way to end communist rule on that island. It is rumored that it took a lot of coercing by his top advisers, but he did eventually OK the mission to take out Osama Bin Laden. Let’s not mimic liberals and be so blinded by hatred we can’t recognize a useful action if one happens to slip through.

Brian H
Reply to  James Allison
May 22, 2015 12:48 pm

2008 bumper sticker: “One Big-Ass Mistake, America”. Repeated! Elections have consequences. We’re experiencing them. Enjoy.

May 22, 2015 1:00 am

May I refer to a recent speech given by Mr Paul Fisher, deputy head of the Prudential Regulation Authority (part of the Bank of England) where he provides very astute observations about governance: “Let me express a clear personal opinion; financial crises of the past were often, in large part, created by the
people at the top making poor decisions – people not possessing the right information; not having due regard for risk; not being properly incentivised. Significant failures have often had their roots in poor governance with insufficient checks and balances to the decisions of powerful individuals. Strong, effective systems of oversight and risk management are paramount…”
http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/speeches/2015/speech804.pdf for full speech text.
I appreciate this quote is in reference to a corporate governance scenario but why should national governance be any different? Shouldn’t national governance use “best practice” from elsewhere?

Bob Boder
Reply to  Admad
May 22, 2015 10:34 am

Limit the power of the government and you limit its ability to do harm. It is the power that is the problem, politicians make political decisions not practical decisions.

JJM Gommers
May 22, 2015 1:09 am

The climate change doctrine is now so widespread and working at full throttle. Yesterday the Paris meeting with industrials CEO’s got unlimited time on TV to explain how to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
And the MSM is cooperating, today the news is melting of Antarctic glaciers and the subsequent sealevel rise followed by the oilspill in Californie.
This brainwashing seems unstoppable and opposing views don’t get a chance.

Brian H
Reply to  JJM Gommers
May 22, 2015 12:59 pm

And yet, and yet … The disconnect with observed reality leaves Joe Lunchbucket very dubious, even unconcerned. Every priorities poll shows Climate Change at the bottom, no matter the loudness of the Urgency messaging from catastrophists. CAGW endorsement is the kiss of death electorally if an alternative is on offer. So is an Obama endorsement. Willingness to pay the bills for no results is ebbing away.

May 22, 2015 1:09 am

In this day and age, for a President to mindlessly repeat mantras about climate change is totally irresponsible. Neither he nor EPA director show any understanding whatsoever of even basic climate science. I’m talking about grade school science and how the climate works in general. It’s inexcusable when he’s proclaiming it to be the “greatest crisis” we have. They just mindlessly repeat, repeat, repeat, “It’s real, and it’s happening now” w/o considering taking a look around to see if that’s really true. Since the focus seems so much on climate change to the exclusion of all else, it is of utmost importance for him to make every effort to be on top of this – and it’s inexcusable that he is not. Even a basic understanding of climate would make a world of difference and help him be more objective – but I don’t see that happening any time soon. The lunacy of preaching the dangers of sea level rise to people who serve on boats….is insanity.

May 22, 2015 1:23 am

The case for volcanic origin has been made. But what exactly is causing the seismic activity?
“Most mountains in Antarctica are not volcanic,” Wiens says, “but most in this area are. Is it because East and West Antarctica are slowly rifting apart? We don’t know exactly. But we think there is probably a hot spot in the mantle here producing magma far beneath the surface.”
“People aren’t really sure what causes DPLs,” Lough says. “It seems to vary by volcanic complex, but most people think it’s the movement of magma and other fluids that leads to pressure-induced vibrations in cracks within volcanic and hydrothermal systems.”
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-11-volcano-smoldering-kilometer-ice-west.html#jCp

May 22, 2015 1:56 am

“How can the President possibly devote enough time to climate research, to understand the issues well enough to provide engaged management oversight?” ~ Eric Worrall
The president understands the issues quite well. He sees the climate alarmism as supportive of a large, controlling government and that is what the Empire desires. As one who seeks to impose his vision of how we should conduct our lives upon everyone else, he desires ever more power.
Climate “research” has never been about scientific understanding, but rather group-think in support of a government backed and funded paradigm that claims that “natural” CO2 keeps the earth’s temperature “just right” while “man-made” CO2 will destroy us with ever increasing heat. This mindless drivel infects both the alarmist camp as well as the luke-warm camp.
The only way out of this anti-science swamp is to return to letting the data and observation rule our inquires and stop letting our agendas and bias rule our inquires. Well, that and stop pretending that a computer model simulation is anything more than the programer’s theories run faster than the human could do so by hand with pencil and paper. Computers don’t do magic, but they do facilitate magical thinking among those interested in climate.

May 22, 2015 2:00 am

Isn’t Obama just trying to ramp up the rhetoric in preparation for the Paris climate conference at the end of this year?
I’m guessing that there will be a renewed effort to agree on a Global Carbon Trading Scheme, something that prominent and very generous Democrat Party donors have been campaigning for since well before his presidency began.

May 22, 2015 3:39 am

As Lord Moncton said the other day, declaring “climate change’ to be our biggest problem is a lot easier than working to solve real problems.

Paul Westhaver
May 22, 2015 5:06 am

Generally I like your contributions to this science blog Eric. I am interested in the angle you have taken on the “delegation” issue.
Unfortunately, contrary to the assertions of those who claim to be polyhistors, there are exceedingly few of them in the world. So we rely on the credible council of others. We do so for our plumbing, health issues, financial matters and many other things that far exceed climate in our priorities.
This is why are have taken such a hostile position with the “scientific” purveyors of BS at the IPCC, in my town, and otherwise. We rely on these people to do a good honest job so that the people are protected. We rely on good civil engineering to protect us form poorly made bridges and buildings. So too must we rely on scientific advisors who influence policy. It is the worst kind of offense when that advisory capacity is corrupted for political advantage and that is what has happened.
How I resent that!
Western democracy required leadership to not be experts. So few scientists and engineers get involved in the apparatus of governing. It is not in our natures. Also, you really have to be a psychopath to want to run a government or a business. Psychopathy does not mix well with the discipline of good science. So the psychos, enroll the rational to manifest their desires. … delegation…
Obama is a psychopath, like Nixon, Hillary, and many others and they don’t care about facts. Facts are tools to use or obstacles to overcome in the process of advancing the needs of the nut-bars. Delegation therefore a prerequisite in the process of executing the psychopathy upon us. The observable and effective nuance which makes AGW activism so effective is that is muddles the mind of the rational scientists. Social good is mixed with science/religion and exploited by politics.
It is a seductive cocktail of perfect witchcraft.
Delegation also provides the excuse for the scientists to do their nasty deeds. They can point to authority and say that they are just doing their jobs.
So delegation, for the warmists, is a simple artifact of the western structure and a needed mechanism to effect tyrannical oppression. IMO

Reply to  Paul Westhaver
May 22, 2015 5:52 am

Between this post and Manos earlier, the insights from this thread are stunning. Unfortunately, these posts highlight the disease only. It is a cure that remains obscure.

May 22, 2015 5:07 am

This “not knowing” started with MBAs. Since the MBAs were trained in “management”, they said “management” is the most important thing: not what they are managing. As a matter of fact, most MBAs do not have the technical background to understand what their subordinates are doing. This is what happened at General Motors (we paid [in taxes] to “fix” that management style).
As stated by Obama, he is technically ignorant. He chooses to be that way. My question is “Who is really running the worlds governments?” Someone is telling him what to say and do!!!

The Original Mike M
May 22, 2015 5:18 am

Obama is obstinate and has no critical thinking skill as witnessed seven years ago. His mind is closed and nothing will pry it open to the truth:
. https://youtu.be/gJimLZRC9N8

May 22, 2015 5:42 am

re: “we can look at other areas where non-expert managers have to manage specialists with arcane knowledge,”
In this case hopefully arcane knowledge isn’t needed, and skeptics need to try to stop letting them obfuscate that issue by delving into technical details to snow the public (easier said than done since they try to avoid admitting simple realities). There are two bits of knowledge that are needed, one was mentioned in the post, that: “We do know that climate models to date have a dismal track record of prediction.” The other bit is to understand that to make a claim that a scientific prediction is accurate, a theories predictions need to match reality, as explained in this 60 second video from nobel laureate Richard Feynman I’m sure those here don’t need to be reminded off
“The Essence Of Science In 60 Seconds (Richard Feynman)”
A claim made by a theory which doesn’t match reality isn’t “scientific” even if the person making the assertion claims to be a scientist, no amount of special pleading changes that, nor does attempting to obfuscate things by pointing to a stack of climate papers and talking about how much work they’ve done. There is no “A” for effort in science that makes a claim “scientific” merely because many man hours went into it. Admittedly climate types will try to defend the models, but there are enough of them that admit to the hiatus and others looking for “missing heat” or claiming they have found it to indicate that there is something wrong with the models even to those who don’t pay much attention to the issue. They didn’t predict the pause (even if some claim that in retrospect its within the bounds of some models), and they have no “consensus” explanation for it (since they claim to value “consensus”) nor updated models that match reality (as we grasp is the only “consensus” that is important). Arcane knowledge about the details of climate science don’t need to be known in order to grasp that the models don’t work, there is no need for non-scientists to try to understand the details of the models, merely to grasp there is no magic exemption for climate research to make it exempt from the way science works in other fields. The difference between validation in this field vs. others, and the lack of credible error bars (since real ones would call into question whether they can make any claims) need to be emphasized somehow without letting them obfuscate things with their rationalizations for why they shouldn’t be held to the standards&approaches of other fields. Unfortunately it is true they’ll try to obfuscate, twisting statistics to try to show model validation, but some model matches don’t matter if the models disagree with reality according to other analyses.
Some climate types will try to pretend the models aren’t needed, just some claim of “climate sensitivity”. A look at a long term graph should show that there isn’t a direct correlation between CO2 and temperature over the long run. They (and even some who are skeptical of models) try to estimate a linear trend based on recent past data, and then pretend that they can assume that “sensitivity”, that linear trend will continue. That is like gamblers that argue based on a trend in some random data. A curve fit isn’t the same as a model and there is no apriori reason to be sure a linear fit will continue when the long term data shows that it isn’t actually a linear trend. Climate sensitivity values may in some cases be a “reality check” on models, but I think even some skeptics fall prey to giving them too much credence and forgetting that with feedback loops and cycles that only an eventual validated model could even potentially someday lay claim to perhaps being able to make meaningful predictions. Of course we need to undermine the “precautionary principle” claims by explaining that at this stage we know so little that for all we know our emissions could actually be keeping us from an even more damaging ice age. CO2 emissions shouldn’t be the subject of government regulations until we know more.
Then of course we all know that another issue that can be dealt with at a high level is that even were climate model claims accurate, that doesn’t automatically imply that we should change anything. Attempting change may do more harm than good. The assessment of potential cost/benefits of adapting vs. prevention all suffer from problems of being in a real subject to major difficulties predicting the future as well, and the assessments as to adaptation or prevention differ based on the claimed warming.

May 22, 2015 5:48 am

I can’t fault Obama or any other politician for delegating comprehension of climate science. Rocket science is easy by comparison. So many of the comments here are shaped by political and confirmation bias. Ironic, isn’t it, since so much of what these biased commentators critique is political and confirmation bias of the other side. When Monckton writes (previous post) about the “foreign born” president, he is political hack and not the observant analyst.
As several observe above, politicians say and do what creates popularity and voter support and enthusiasm of their constituency.. There are very few Washingtons, Adams, Hamiltons, Jeffersons, and Madisons among the history of the world, learned individuals whose individual ambition is subservient to the commonweal.
To move beyond political rant, its the advisers who deserve condemnation- Holdren especially, but Kevin Trenberth and the other establishment climate scientists who have convinced the political left that model projections are “the science.” There’s so much to condemn on the basis of science without slogging through the quagmire of discerning motivation. I think Judith Curry is the most successful climate scientist in actually promoting climate science understanding.
Presidents deserve praise or blame for their appointments. Obama deserves much blame. His science advisers and the establishment climate scientists deserve a lot more.

Mark from the Midwest
May 22, 2015 6:15 am

To start, this is a comment that agrees / expands on the comment of JLURTZ, above
Over the past 30 years there has been a substantial trend toward bringing in people with no expertise in a subject matter and appointing them to manage activity where the substantive knowledge is critical to making decisions. This isn’t just in government, it happens a great deal in business, where people with marketing or financial backgrounds are put in charge of engineering or analytic functions. It happens in government when political wonks are put in charge of everything. The problem is that you start to view every problem through your narrow lens. To a person trained in finance every product development issue comes down to cost. To a person trained in politics an environmental issue becomes one of constituency. This is more and more true as you move to the top in HHS, EPA, DOE, and it’s even creeping into defense at an alarming rate.
The view from the left argues that we just need more “experts” and more money to address the problems, but since they’re political and not substantive issues no amount of money or faux experts can solve them.
The alternative view is to make the Federal government smaller, and do a better job of circumscribing the nature and scope of Federal power. This has to come from the states. In the past many states did a poor job of standing up against Federal overreach, simply because they wanted the cash that came with the buy-in. But push-back from the states is happening, more and more. The problem is that there will still be reprobates, like California, which will soon be bankrupt and devoid of any real talent, save for the professional facades of Hollywood, and a few large companies in Silicon Valley.
Push-back is also happening in Australia, U.K., to some degree in Germany, where voters are ousting liberals and electing conservative leaders. Now the key is to hold conservative leaders to the principles they espoused during their campaigns.
We only have 6 months to Paris, personally I think it will be a train-wreck that makes Copenhagen in 2009 look like a smashing success, and then the politicos will all tout something meaningless, and go away for a while. In the meantime the best we can do is to be civil, discuss, and educate. Support this web site and others like it, and in the words of my very wise Grand Mother: “take care of your own business before you try and take care of everyone else.”
And that’s all I have to say for today.

May 22, 2015 6:19 am

Agreed Doug. When Mann claims the Boston snow was caused by warm moist air from climate change and the MSM runs with the blatant falsehood, the world gets a little dumber. It is important that apolitical scientists call this type of misinformation out and that true scientists vilify this anti-science wolf hiding in a lab coat made of wool.

May 22, 2015 6:46 am

“…lab coat made of tax dollars.”

May 22, 2015 7:02 am

The “best” scientists in the world say, “just trust us, you wouldn’t understand anyway.”
Unfortunately, these “best” scientists have bet the ranch on a tiny bit high school level physics and a huge dose of evangelism.

Bruce Cobb
May 22, 2015 7:10 am

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or indeed any type of scientist to recognize bad science, pseudoscience, and just plain BS. All it takes is a brain, and the willingness to use it.

May 22, 2015 7:26 am

Obama (I simply can’t bring myself to use the word “President” for him any more), is so busy covering his ass and lying, whitewashing, calling everyone else racist (even though most people voted for him), patronizing and lecturing us on things that are not his business, pandering to Iran and the extremist islamics in search of a legacy and a Nobel prize, running a fake war against ISIS and violating the Constitution,etc, etc… That he has no time to consider climate. And everyone who works for him is either helping him with all of the above or afraid of the consequences of telling the truth. He craves praise like a child and lashes out when he gets criticism. Compared to past Presidents, his advisors and appointees are purely political and not very good at their jobs and/or simply figureheads.
As far as climate goes with him, the only understanding he has of it is from his very left wing climate nazis and political enviro/climate action groups, so he only hears one side of the issue. His administration is so closed to anything from outside them that he will not, even if he wanted to, ever learn anything except for the party line on climate. There is no trust in me left for him.

Jim G1
May 22, 2015 7:34 am

Don’t forget, this is really all about campaign contributions, money, political power, control and grants. Can be all boiled down to money and power, no science is really involved.

May 22, 2015 8:51 am

For over 13 years, from the peak in the previous solar cycle in the tropics temperature drops. No wonder, then, that decreases the amount of water vapor in the troposphere.

May 22, 2015 8:54 am

From Obama’s perspective he has no reason to engage, he has no reason to be interested in the science or the evidence.
All that matters to Obama and Democrats is weaving tales about Climate Change that can be used to drive and support their political purpose. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan wars all used false pretenses to force our involvement. Climate change is just another false pretense to drive a political agenda while the media stands stupidly by.

May 22, 2015 9:40 am

I think this vastly understates Obama’s determined ignorance wrt the topic because it suits his global statist will to power . He’s no innocent .

May 22, 2015 9:42 am

Never before have I seen commenters on this site so consistently miss the point. None of this is about climate science. All of it is about POLITICAL science. The true genius of the AGW hucksters, years ago, was in discerning that they could point to something occurring in nature, suggest it was dangerous, and sell people on the idea that they were causing it. The hucksters understood that this would have people running over each other to submit to higher taxation, intensified regulation, and an even more intrusive government, all in exchange for the reassurance that they are virtuous (and those who don’t submit are evil and a threat to all that s good). Or am I just being too cynical?

Reply to  Crustacean
May 22, 2015 9:54 am

I suspect that some like myself were commenting on the general issue of “delegating comprehension”, rather than focusing specifically on Obama’s views. Obviously unfortunately it is likely true that his comments on climate are motivated by his desire to make political use of the alarmist claims, and unfortunately that likely most politicians might let their politics get in the way of even attempting to consider the science of climate change. It isn’t clear whether he and some other politicians actually aren’t skeptical of the alarmist claims (perhaps being biased by the benefit of believing it), or are skeptical but willfully avoid admitting any skepticism for political reasons. I suspect that most politicians probably don’t tend to have the right background to be skeptical of climate concerns that the media claims are “science” or don’t spend the time to examine critique of climate research, so they probably do actually believe the supposed “science” without question.

Reply to  Crustacean
May 22, 2015 11:29 am

Crustacean: I concur with your point that this is not about science. His objectives are increased taxation, increased regulation and maximization of the governmental power and he will use whatever “science” that can help him achieve than goal.

Brian H
Reply to  Crustacean
May 22, 2015 1:18 pm

Have you never heard Mencken’s adage, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary” ? Climate change is the hobgoblin that keeps on giving.

Mickey Reno
May 22, 2015 9:45 am

I suppose it depends on your definition of “best” scientists. My definition of best is Richard Lindzen and Willie Soon, Dr. Brown at Duke, and others. Best does NOT include a braying environmental extremists, “team” activists, self-serving bureaucrats, recent school graduates and indoctrination victims, those who suckle at the public teat, those who preach one thing to others then jet around the world to exotic locations, promoting each other and each others’ work via quid pro quo arrangements, exhibiting group think and cult-like behavior.

May 22, 2015 10:26 am

The only way to effectively “do anything” about it is to target young leaders. The NRA has been doing this for a couple of decades. They caused the anti-gun Left to lose elections. They took young Left leaders to the gun range and had them shoot machine guns. The NRA supported Left leaders who were willing to vote against gun laws.
Right now I see skeptics as too focused on winning the scientific argument (which they have won). But that doesn’t matter. Skeptics have to find ways to create negative and positive incentives for politicians. This might include making skeptic politicians stand up against global warming in campaigns. This will make global warming an election issue and pollsters can measure global warming as a losing election position. Or even volunteering for political campaigns that one wouldn’t otherwise agree with as long as they were skeptical on CAGW. State governments are probably easier targets.
Other ways would be to go after the CAGW monetary incentives. This would include lawfare against the Greens that take tax payer money to sue the government to force their agenda. This would include chipping away at the incentives of the educational/NSF-industrial complex. Cut NASA and NOAA’s budget. Get taxpayer funded papers out from behind firewalls. FOIA requests on data manipulate at NCDC. There is a lot of low hanging fruit out there.
What skeptics need are public advocacy lawyers. I know no one wants to hear that. It’s just the world we live in.

Reply to  Manos
May 22, 2015 2:15 pm

What skeptics need is a lawsuit against DeSmogblog and Sourcewatch for their libels about AW’s funding. That suit would force Gleik to testify about where the fake Heartland strategy document came from. A victory would take the halo away from the warmist side.

Louis Hunt
May 22, 2015 10:35 am

“How can the President possibly devote enough time to climate research to understand the issues well enough to provide engaged management oversight?”
I suppose he can do it the same way he became an expert on Islam and can tell us exactly what true Muslims believe, which groups are authentic, and which groups are non-Islamic impostors like ISIS. The President is an expert on everything, just ask the American media or any of his other supporters.

Reply to  Louis Hunt
May 22, 2015 1:01 pm

which groups are non-Islamic impostors like ISIS


May 22, 2015 11:21 am

Poor leaders micro manage the pencil sharpener and toilet paper dispensers. Community organizers….obviously do the same; the one in the WH thinks if he is not hopey changing something, he is not leading, and obviously being of the community organizer lawyer who lost his license to practice “type” is clueless and needs perpetual attention. Unless its negative, thus the need to “outlaw” (narcissistic lawyer mentality) criticism and control his critics. bla bla bla … 🙂

May 22, 2015 10:12 pm

It could be validly argued that computer climate models are not science, as they do what they are designed to do, particularly as most models leave out over 50 major factors that influence climate. As long as they give up on the real relationships and use algorithms, cannot model the planet to sufficient resolution, and assume that Co2 drives climate, these models are all patently false and a waste of time and resources.

May 23, 2015 1:05 am

Understanding what constitutes (good) science and understanding the details of any particular science are two vastly different things. The former is not really that hard, and should of course be the responsibility for any “leader” that funds or oversees such activity.

May 23, 2015 4:23 am

I am surprised that people here say everyone should understand climate change theory.
Most people in the world do not think logically and maybe not think much at all!
Most inhabitants of this website I suspect are quite bright, think yourselves lucky. Much of the world is not so lucky.
Why are we not surprised that a humanities biased individual won a presidency or prime ministership? When someone with an engineering background would be far better at making decisions that affect many difficult areas.
I suspect that a humanities type of person is far easier to control/advise by their supporters than an independently minded engineer.

Reply to  steverichards1984
May 23, 2015 8:29 am

I think there is a simpler explination, humanities majors are better communicators than engineers.

bruce ryan
May 23, 2015 8:29 am

at least we have a chance we won’t elect another person who is so fond of saying “you know” at the start of every sentence
my seventh grade english teacher is having a hissy fit, I know..

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