Climate science or climate advocacy?

Students are learning energy and climate change advocacy, not climate science

Guest opinion by David R. Legates

For almost thirty years, I have taught climate science at three different universities. What I have observed is that students are increasingly being fed climate change advocacy as a surrogate for becoming climate science literate. This makes them easy targets for the climate alarmism that pervades America today.

Earth’s climate probably is the most complicated non-living system one can study, because it naturally integrates astronomy, chemistry, physics, biology, geology, hydrology, oceanography and cryology, and also includes human behavior by both responding to and affecting human activities. Current concerns over climate change have further pushed climate science to the forefront of scientific inquiry.

What should we be teaching college students?

At the very least, a student should be able to identify and describe the basic processes that cause Earth’s climate to vary from poles to equator, from coasts to the center of continents, from the Dead Sea or Death Valley depression to the top of Mount Everest or Denali. A still more literate student would understand how the oceans, biosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere – driven by energy from the sun – all work in constantly changing combinations to produce our very complicated climate.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s definition of climate science literacy raises the question of whether climatology is even a science. It defines climate science literacy as “an understanding of your influence on climate and climate’s influence on you and society.”

How can students understand and put into perspective their influence on the Earth’s climate if they don’t understand the myriad of processes that affect our climate? If they don’t understand the complexity of climate itself? If they are told only human aspects matter? And if they don’t understand these processes, how can they possibly comprehend how climate influences them and society in general?

Worse still, many of our colleges are working against scientific literacy for students.

At the University of Delaware, the Maryland and Delaware Climate Change Education Assessment and Research (MADE CLEAR) defines the distinction between weather and climate by stating that “climate is measured over hundreds or thousands of years,” and defining climate as “average weather.” That presupposes that climate is static, or should be, and that climate change is unordinary in our lifetime and, by implication, undesirable.

Climate, however, is not static. It is highly variable, on timescales from years to millennia – for reasons that include, but certainly are not limited to, human activity.

This Delaware-Maryland program identifies rising concentrations of greenhouse gases – most notably carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – as the only reason why temperatures have risen about 0.6°C (1.1º F) over the last century and will supposedly continue to rise over the next century. Students are then instructed to save energy, calculate their carbon footprint, and reduce, reuse, recycle. Mastering these concepts, they are told, leads to “climate science literacy.” It does not.

In the past, I have been invited to speak at three different universities during their semester-long and college-wide focus on climate science literacy. At all three, two movies were required viewing by all students, to assist them in becoming climate science literate: Al Gore’s biased version of climate science, An Inconvenient Truth, and the 2004 climate science fiction disaster film, The Day After Tomorrow.

This past spring, the University of Delaware sponsored an Environmental Film Festival featuring six films. Among them only An Inconvenient Truth touched at all on the science behind climate change, albeit in such a highly flawed way that in Britain, students must be warned about its bias. The other films were activist-oriented and included movies that are admittedly science fiction or focus on “climate change solutions.”

For these films, university faculty members were selected to moderate discussions. We have a large College of Earth, Ocean and the Environment, from which agreeable, scientifically knowledgeable faculty could have been chosen. Instead, discussion of An Inconvenient Truth was led by a professor of philosophy, and one movie – a documentary on climate change “solutions” that argues solutions are pertinent irrespective of the science – was moderated by a civil engineer.

Discussion of the remaining four films was led by faculty from history, English and journalism. Clearly, there was little interest in the substance of the science.

Many fundamentals of climate science are absent from university efforts to promote climate science literacy. For example, students seldom learn that the most important chemical compound with respect to the Earth’s climate is not carbon dioxide, but water. Water influences almost every aspect of the Earth’s energy balance, because it is so prevalent, because it appears in solid, liquid and gas form in substantial quantities, and because energy is transferred by the water’s mobility and when it changes its physical state. Since precipitation varies considerably from year to year, changes in water availability substantially affect our climate every year.

Hearing about water, however, doesn’t set off alarms like carbon dioxide does.

Contributing to the increased focus on climate change advocacy is the pressure placed on faculty members who do not sign on to the advocacy bandwagon. The University of Delaware has played the role of activist and used FOIA requests to attempt to intimidate me because I have spoken out about climate change alarmism. In my article published in Academic Questions, “The University vs. Academic Freedom,” I discuss the university’s willingness to go along with Greenpeace in its quest for my documents and emails pertaining to my research.

Much grant money and fame, power and influence, are to be had for those who follow the advocates’ game plan. By contrast, the penalties for not going along with alarmist positions are quite severe.

For example, one of the films shown at the University of Delaware’s film festival presents those who disagree with climate change extremism as pundits for hire who misrepresent themselves as a scientific authority. Young faculty members are sent a very pointed message: adopt the advocacy position – or else.

Making matters worse, consider Senate Bill 3074. Introduced into the U.S. Senate on June 16 of this year, it authorizes the establishment of a national climate change education program. Once again, the emphasis is on teaching energy and climate advocacy, rather than teaching science and increasing scientific knowledge and comprehension.

The director of the National Center for Science Education commented that the bill was designed to “[equip] students with the knowledge and knowhow required for them to flourish in a warming world.” Unfortunately, it will do little to educate them regarding climate science.

I fear that our climate science curriculum has been co-opted, to satisfy the climate change fear-mongering agenda that pervades our society today. Instead of teaching the science behind Earth’s climate, advocates have taken the initiative to convert it to a social agenda of environmental activism.

Climatology, unfortunately, has been transformed into a social and political science. There is nothing wrong with either of those “sciences,” of course. But the flaws underpinning climate science advocacy are masked by “concern for the environment,” when climate is no longer treated as a physical science.

Climate science must return to being a real science and not simply a vehicle to promote advocacy talking points. When that happens, students will find that scientific facts are the real “inconvenient truths.”

David R. Legates, PhD, CCM, is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. A version of this article appeared on the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy website.

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July 22, 2016 1:02 am

OMG, is it that bad the state of teaching climate ” science” ? It equates almost with propaganda. We are in dire straits. Anyway, facts do not disappear when manipulated out of sight.

Reply to  oebele bruinsma
July 22, 2016 2:39 am

It’s that bad and the brainwashing begins in Junior Primary Schools in Australia and should you question the teaching staff about that you’ll be looked upon with absolute disdain as a bad parent. I’ve seen the multiple choice homework questions pulled straight from Green propaganda websites masquerading as educational aids for teachers and fed to my 2 nephews and niece. It’s straightforward brainwashing and the saddest part is the teaching staff know no better, because as David relates, they often have had no grounding in true science or the scientific method themselves. How can you call out child abuse when the abuser has been similarly abused and thinks it’s the norm? There are a few old hands that know the difference but they’re looked upon by younger peers as living in the past, with outdated teaching methods and overdue for retirement.

John Silver
Reply to  observa
July 22, 2016 5:36 am

Klimat jugend for the Fourth Reich
[??? ,mod]

Reply to  observa
July 22, 2016 3:14 pm

John Ag –
There is much evidence that a Global government [why did my keyboard want to follow Global with Ge57ap0?] seeks to entrench the position of elites, but doesn’t like it when – in any chance the ‘normal folk’ get – they act – or, as in Brexit, vote – other than as their elites have instructed them.
Brexit alone is not enough.
Some commentators I have read suggest that Marine Le Pen would seek a Frexit were she to become President of France. Whether she is President is for the French, but they – allegedly – like the EU less than us Brits; draw conclusions from that – if you will.
Were that so – and bearing in mind the significant possibility that Hilary is even more widely disliked than the blond bloke – Somesuch Trump; my little white cells are flooding out is an unnerving fashion; AHHH – Donald – no matter.
That would leave three Permanent Members, of five, of the (much-loved) [Mods – /sarc in spades] UN Security Council in the hands of not-fully-paid-up elitists.
See an interesting chess game there?
Just fed the cats, come back, and that is a bit of a rant. Sorry.

Frank Karvv
Reply to  observa
July 23, 2016 1:10 pm

John Silver wrote
“Klimat jugend for the Fourth Reich”
[??? ,mod]
Climate Youth for the Fourth Reich mod.

Reply to  oebele bruinsma
July 22, 2016 7:26 am

When I first encountered this quite a few years ago, my heart sank. Had the feeling that real science was gone.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Barbara
July 22, 2016 3:33 pm

I witnessed this first hand for the first time of many times in graduate school.
At WSU me and several other Earth and Environmental grad students took part in a graduate research symposium. During an intermission between presentations, there was a student panel discussion on environmental sustainability. Similar to Dr Legates’ experiences, the panel that was chosen by college administration consisted of an English, Sociology, and PT major, led by some type of administrator.
Here we were, several grad students in Earth sciences — even one that went on to get a PhD in geology — sitting there wondering why no one from the department was even aware that there was going to be a panel discussion or why there wasn’t even a physical science major. At least afterward we got a good laugh about how the discussion went.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  oebele bruinsma
July 22, 2016 8:41 am

If modern university is incorporating “An inconvenient Truth” and “The Day After Tomorrow” as compulsory viewing then modern technical society is doomed. I assume biology students watch Bambi and astrophysics students study Armageddon, while environmentalists study Machiavelli.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  John Harmsworth
July 22, 2016 9:47 am

Under that model, the envrionMENTALists will win every time, hands down.

Alan Kendall
Reply to  John Harmsworth
July 22, 2016 11:16 pm

Or sociologists watch The Sopranos? Or politicians read The Prince? Oh no that one works (too well). Try again – The Little Prince?

Reply to  oebele bruinsma
July 22, 2016 12:35 pm

If they are out of sight they have, by definition, disappeared.
How they came to be out of sight is another matter.

Reply to  Newminster
July 22, 2016 3:18 pm

You are not referring to: –

are you?
The great Cribbins.

July 22, 2016 1:11 am

Thank you for continuing to speak out, Dr. Legates. But I fear you’re fighting an uphill struggle. The fear-mongering starts long before they reach you.
My 10 year old daughter came home from school last week with ‘Green Team’ homework. None of it was about genuine environmental problems, of course. Instead, it focused entirely on climate change propaganda on how our modern lifestyles are to blame for the ‘carbon pollution’ we ‘add’ to the atmosphere and how our ‘record temperatures’ threaten to ‘destroy the planet’. Give me strength.
I enjoy helping my daughter with her homework, but this was a red rag to a bull. We spent the Saturday evening writing a short presentation to pointing out that earth’s temperature has never been constant and that current temperatures and co2 levels are an anomaly in our history. It wasn’t much, but it had to be done.
Her presentation is unlikely to see the light of day in the classroom, so I wrote a letter to her teacher asking her to set homework based on what we know, not what she believes. We’ll see what happens, but I suspect that our family have now been labelled Carbon Criminals.

Reply to  DVan
July 22, 2016 2:44 am

Ditto the nephew’s experience above.

Reply to  DVan
July 22, 2016 2:47 am

If you are in the UK point the school head to Dimmock v UK Government . Whilst it is far from the last word, and whilst it applies only to some specific Al Gore film and to UK state schools, with retrospect it marked a high water mark in the incoming tide of the Anthropogenic Global Warming Fraud into the UK. Up to that point nobody had challenged in the UK courts. Being labelled a “Carbon Criminal” is no stigma in the UK, unless you are a university undergraduate or teach or plan to teach in UK state schools, in which case it is still a disqualification, despite Burton.

Gentle Tramp
Reply to  DVan
July 22, 2016 3:04 am

Thank you very much for your honorable effort but let me tell you one simple rule of thumb:
And in addition: Most of them have the psychology of self-righteous and hardcore do-gooders who are convinced they have to rescue the world. Consequently they lean heavily to leftist and green political ideologies and no evidence whatever can cure those fixed beliefs…

Gentle Tramp
Reply to  Gentle Tramp
July 22, 2016 3:28 am

It is quite the same psychology that motivated religious witch-hunters to try to rescue the world from the devil about 500 years ago…
So we see, the psychology has not changed much since the witch-hunt hysteria, only the devil is called CO2 today, and the current witches are “climate-deniers”…

Reply to  Gentle Tramp
July 22, 2016 6:16 am

I agree with you all completely. These people are the Bishops, priests and pilgrims of Climastrology, and they are filled with dangerous intolerant belief.
I read this here some time ago from a canny commentator:
The climate model has spoken
Kneel before the model
Make offerings to the model
Those who do not make offerings will be forced to
The climate model has spoken
As funny as that is, he was on the money.

Ian Macdonald
Reply to  Gentle Tramp
July 22, 2016 10:12 pm

“So we see, the psychology has not changed much since the witch-hunt hysteria..”
The irony is that the ‘God’ of the Old Testament the witch-hunters worshipped did some dreadful things, like ordering his minions to wipe out entire tribes so as to steal their land. When you look at this analytically, you have to ask just who was following the orders of a demon.
The problem, as with climate activism, is that once people have been ‘indoctrinated’ they cannot view the situation analytically. Otherwise they would see such glaring contradictions.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  DVan
July 22, 2016 7:00 am

Better watch for red buttons.

Reply to  DVan
July 22, 2016 7:37 am

They’ve been at this quite a while, last summer I watched across the street as a group of 3rd graders were led into the Democratic Office of a small town, like a Soylent Green machine, led in, led out.
Pretty disturbing.

Reply to  DVan
July 22, 2016 8:24 pm

Our granddaughter was in 4th grade this past school year. They were watching a video. The statement was made in the video that manmade CO2 has caused most of the recent climate change. Our granddaughter said “NO, IT DID NOT”
The teacher went to her, gave her a high five, and said, “YOU ARE RIGHT”
We have 5 grandchildren in 3 different schools. I have talked to all their principals, all their teachers, and the school district administrator, multiple times.
This fall, we will have 6 grandchildren in 5 schools.
I tell this to principals, teachers, other parents, everyone I can:
About 2000 years ago, there was a Roman Warm Period and then it got cold. About 1000 years ago, there was a Medieval Warm Period and then it got cold. That was the Little Ice Age. When Oceans are warm, Polar Oceans thaw, snowfall increases and rebuilds ice on Greenland, Antarctic and Mountain Glaciers. Ice builds, spreads and makes earth cold again. Snowfall decreases and the Sun removes ice every year until it gets warm again. It is warm again now because it is supposed to be warm now. It is a natural cycle and we did not cause it. CO2 just makes green things grow better, while using less water. The alarmists scare us so they can tax and control us.

Robert from oz
July 22, 2016 1:33 am

Trump will fix it , yes he can .

Dodgy Geezer
July 22, 2016 1:40 am

All is not lost.
As you can see from Brexit, humans can be awfully stubborn if they want to be, and being fed a constant diet of lies makes them more stubborn.
In the case of the British Referendum, all the quality news papers bar one in the country argued for Remain, and the one which did not was non-committal. The TV media, BBC and ITV, pushed strong Remain messages. The Government and Opposition all supported Remain – as did all the ‘Great and Good’ from around the world. The President of the United States and the Pope were brought in to advise us to Remain, as, of course, did the Head of the IMF, the World Bank, and all the leaders of Europe. The amount of money available for supporting Remain was effectively infinite.
And we still voted Leave.

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
July 22, 2016 4:29 am

It makes me proud to be English that we voted leave despite the MSM (I know if you mention MSM it means you are a crackpot). We’re still fecked though.

Chris Wright
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
July 22, 2016 5:15 am

I agree about the global Establishment in general: they endlessly warned us about all kinds of catastrophes that would be visited upon us if we didn’t do what they told us to do in the referendum. Of course, they’re the same ones who tell us we’re doomed by climate change, unless – you guessed it – we do what they tell us. Project Fear relating to the EU has collapsed, as all the signs are that the UK is doing rather well, thank you. But the climate change Project Fear will take more than a referendum to beat.
One of the big EU doom mongers was the IMF (despite its name its sole purpose currently seems to be to prop up the failing euro). But now their latest predictions for 2017 GDP growth puts the UK slightly higher than France and Germany! And countries around the world are practically queuing up to start free trade talks with Britain.
There are probably grounds for hope that the amazing political change that has swept the UK may start to move us away from the government’s completely mad energy and climate change policies. Now there are no government departments with the word “climate” in their names. It’s a small step in the right direction.

Reply to  Chris Wright
July 22, 2016 1:38 pm

Interesting your comment about “Project Fear;” in view of Obama’s comment following the RNC. Says king Obama, “We’re not going to make good decisions based on fears that don’t have a basis in fact, and that I think is something I hope all Americans pay attention to.” If only! Look in the mirror, and take your own advice, MR. President – you’ve been making massive numbers of STUPID decisions not only based on fear, but on fear of something THAT DOESN’T EVEN EXIST – that being CAGW.
But of course, fear-based decision making is only bad when, you know, those OTHER guys do it.

Reply to  Chris Wright
July 24, 2016 12:58 am

And trying to generate fear of Russia, while at the same time increasing military posturing in Eastern Europe to make the Russians fear the US. Which makes me fear that Australia will get dragged into a war with Russia that may well turn nuclear.

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
July 22, 2016 5:26 am

Yes, one should not despair too much. We have the same problem here in Norway, the schools are not balanced in what they teach about climate, but still, most people don’t care much one way or the other, and very many say it is all politics and money. It is of course a shame if the kids don’t get a decent science background, but only a few will really need it, and when those few go into serious studies, they can’t ignore real science any more.

bill johnston
Reply to  ConTrari
July 22, 2016 7:53 am

It is not that kids need a decent science background. But learning the truth about scientific matters does help build their critical thinking skills. Something which is sorely lacking in education today.

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
July 22, 2016 5:57 am

It hasn’t happened yet, don’t count your chickens etc.
The referendum had no ‘force of law’, it can be ignored.
Democracy or ‘responsible government’. which do you think will win?

Reply to  Jon
July 22, 2016 3:32 pm

There is a dissonance between Tory MPs [as a group] and Tory party members.
And who will select candidates for the 2020 election [if – big if, mods!] it is postponed to that date – per the Coalition’s very, v e r y un-British Fixed Term Parliaments Act
Counting chickens is, I agree, not advisable, but Brexit – in some reasonable form – looks more likely than not.
As Chris Wright – above – notes: –
“And countries around the world are practically queuing up to start free trade talks with Britain.”
But – we live I interesting times; “Rio 2016 Olympics: Vladimir Putin says ‘no place for doping in sport’ ”
See –
Mods – I have no comment – the delightful, fiscally prudent Mr Putin probably knows where I live.
I don’t know where he lives, so can’t send him a Name Day card.

Roy Hartwell
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
July 22, 2016 9:01 am

BUT…..they still haven’t given up. Facebook depresses me as many of my younger ‘friends’ still push the remain credo and clearly cannot understand how we older ( more mature ? ) people could be so stupid as to reject the safety net they perceive the EU to be.Meanwhile the MSM continues to talk down Britain and then crows when their ‘predictions’ come true, or seem to if they tweak the facts, misquote and ignore reality.

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
July 22, 2016 12:39 pm

The only two UK newspapers that backed Remain were The Times and the Guardian.
Even after the referendum Brexiters still can’t get their facts right.

Solomon Green
Reply to  Newminster
July 22, 2016 3:05 pm

I think you are absolutely correct to ignore the Financial Times, which is now Japanese owned and has fewer copies sold in the UK than abroad.
But these days the FT is better known for backing the wrong horse whatever race they are in. And true to their losing streak they backed Remain.

Reply to  Newminster
July 22, 2016 3:59 pm

And the Mail on Sunday

Robert Austin
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
July 22, 2016 8:31 pm

The rest of the world are clamoring for trade agreements with the UK as soon as she shucks off the ball and chain of the EU. Whatever happens with Scotland and Northern Ireland, what is left of the UK will thrive. And if Scotland leaves over Brexit, it will end up joining the PIGS in the EU.

Filippo Turturici
July 22, 2016 1:55 am

If the climate were just the average weather, decades of “climate science” from Köppen on would have just been wasted. Moving up (or down) by e.g. 2°C could have little, big or no impact on climate classification: it just depends on all the other parameters. And just taking the temperature parameter alone, is plain wrong by both scientifical and statistical point of view. We cannot omit relative humidity or precipitation, as secondary and not influent parameters: as even an engineering university class student knows, e.g. thermodynamics of humid air is defined by both temperature and relative humidity, from the combination of the two, and never from temperature alone. Moreover, average temperature is not the best way to measure anomaly: the real anomaly is in comparison with median value; it may as well means that the real, normal month could be 1°C warmer/cooler than average, with occasional very cool/warm months every X years to make the historical average. They are just, until now, hunting ghosts, by making very refined and often useless mathematical calculations applied to very basic and rough statistical parameters. Not to mention all the problems with uncertainty, space and time sampling, linear trends etc. In the end, 90% and maybe more of what we watched is just “weather change”, while “climate change” until now affects only very few places world-wide.

Reply to  Filippo Turturici
July 22, 2016 12:30 pm

Where on earth is the climate different than it has ever been before?

Reply to  mikerestin
July 22, 2016 12:34 pm

Where on earth is the climate different than it has ever been before?

Depends on what timescale you are interested. This is the location 97 El Nino step in surface temps, is that a climate difference?comment image

July 22, 2016 2:04 am

Excellent article David, the same happened here in the UK with history. Instead of being taught about historical events with dates, locations and future consequences, the emphasis has changed to social issues such as slavery, women’s rights etc.The result was seen in the Brexit vote where 60+% of young people voted to stay in the EU compared to 60+% of my generation who voted out. One of the reasons cited was the EU stabilising the West and preventing another World War, which is clearly nonsense. Unfortunately the education establishment comprises many from the left-wing who have devalued all education from nursery to postgraduate level.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Andrew Harding
July 22, 2016 9:51 am

If the purpose is to train a new crop of ‘Red Guard’ the first thing you would have to do is control what is taught as ‘history’.

July 22, 2016 2:22 am

not just in education but in also climate research, even at the highest levels, you find that the research questions are not whether but how bad.
the whole of climate science contains this bias and it is based on assumptions. is it warming? well, of course it is. are humans responsible? well, of course they are? in this context the role of climate science is simply to project the coming devastation and its timeline given the trend and causation assumptions.
just look at the charter of the IPCC. It is biased. Most revealing is the motivation for the Argo Project when it was first announced. It was not meant to determine whether the earth is warming but “just how fast the earth is warming”. Yet if you look for the link between emissions and changes in atmospheric co2 or emissions and warming or any of the assumed relationships, you find a huge vacuum in empirical evidence to support the assumed relationships.
jamal munshi, ssu

July 22, 2016 2:32 am

The warmist are trying to revive the Salem which trials with skeptics on the sharp end of the stick. I’m struck at the medieval similarity of the warmist and the ISIS Barbadians with no mercy or quarter, believe, don’t question or die! Both primitive mind sets at home with primordial belief systems. Aka Religious exclusivism.

Reply to  TG
July 22, 2016 2:36 am

Correction —- witch trials………

Reply to  TG
July 22, 2016 2:58 am

ISIS Barbadians? From Barbados? It’s worse than we thought – they’re in the Caribbean as well! Sorry – couldn’t resist. Barbarians, of course.

Reply to  TG
July 22, 2016 5:58 am

which witch trials? the ‘deniers’ aka sceptics are surely the work of the devil?

Reply to  TG
July 22, 2016 6:38 am

Which trials? Witch trials.

Reply to  TG
July 22, 2016 10:09 am

Barbadians……Bajans I think, from Barbados.

Science or Fiction
July 22, 2016 2:34 am

Let us never forget that United Nations caused this mess. By endorsing inductivism United Nations has become an international problem of a cultural character.
It is a great irony that United Nations has become a kind of problem it was established solve:
Article 1
The Purposes of the United Nations are:
“3 To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”
I don´t believe United Nations will aim to achieve international co-operation in solving itself.

July 22, 2016 2:35 am

Sorry I meant — witch trials………………………………

Reply to  TG
July 22, 2016 7:08 am

No need to be sorry. On a day like today, we all need a laugh.

Reply to  TG
July 22, 2016 12:35 pm

You gave the folks here a chance to show their smugness.

July 22, 2016 2:38 am

Climate “science” is amazingly easy to teach:
1) It was warmer in the past than now during the Minoan, Roman and Medieval times, therefore there is nothing to explain with man’s CO2.
2) Today’s climate is withing historical norms, therefore there is nothing to explain with man’s CO2.
3) Although CO2 increased greatly, the rate of warming in the late 1800s, early 1900s and late 1900s were statistically indistinguishable, therefore there is nothing to explain with man’s CO2.
4) The climate alarm industry is raking in about $1.5 TRILLION per year. That explains it all.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  jim
July 22, 2016 8:45 am

Jim, David R. Legates already told us there’s NOTHING easy to teach when truth is tabu!

John Harmsworth
Reply to  jim
July 22, 2016 8:46 am

Witch! Witch!

July 22, 2016 2:40 am

Perhaps before teaching ‘climate science’ it sounds that it is rather more imperative to run a ‘Science 101: the principles of the Scientific Method’.
1. Noticing natural phenomena and measuring their characteristics.
2. Hypothesising about how it/they work.
3. Designing specific experiments to test the validity of the hypothesis.
4. Producing reliable, independently verifiable data to either refute the hypothesis or provide support in its favour.
From that basis, it is possible to ask questions about our current state of knowledge:
1. What do you we currently know?
2. What evidence do we have to support our views?
3. What are the key questions for the 21st century?
4. What are the key challenges and milestones to reach on that journey?
The sorts of fundamental questions I would want to teach 1st year undergraduates studying climate science:
1. How do we go about measuring temperature in different situations?
2. How accurate are those methodologies?
3. How much historical data do we have using such methods?
4. How much longer should we be collecting data using such methods before we can make meaningful predictions about climate variability?
5. Have any material changes in environmental conditions occurred at any of the measurement stations and, if so, what are the implications of such changes?
Until people have a proper handle on the history and evolving technology of temperature measurement methodologies, including measurements on land, sea and in the atmosphere, they really cannot be in any position to discuss ‘climate’ in any meaningful way. Garbage Understanding In, Garbage Conculsions Out would appear to be the dictum there, after all…….

July 22, 2016 2:53 am

This quote caught my eye because it touches on what I think is an analytical flaw many climate scientists fall for:
“At the University of Delaware, the Maryland and Delaware Climate Change Education Assessment and Research (MADE CLEAR) defines the distinction between weather and climate by stating that “climate is measured over hundreds or thousands of years,” and defining climate as “average weather.” That presupposes that climate is static, or should be”
It is often posited that natural climate variability is some kind of “noise” that masks a “signal” of a forcing from CO2. That’s a silly model. Since weather descends into unpredictable chaos after a few weeks or so, and since the very processes that comprise our climate are the same processes that cause weather, climate being only weather measured over some term of an arbitrarily long length, there is no possible way in which you can determine any interval of time over which you know that trends in those processes average out to zero. Stated differently, you’ll never be able to reliably distinguish the “signal” from the “noise.”
In an actual signal/noise situation, the noise and the signal are caused by separate processes, and you know a priori either the signal you need to detect or the characteristics of the noise – for example, an audio transmission of a carrier wave modulated by a predetermined pattern, where the audio transmission is subject to spurious electromagnetic interference. There, it makes sense to model the system as a signal upon which noise is superimposed because that is physically what is happening. But if there is no separate physical source for the noise, and instead the only empirical observations of the transmission merely show that the source modulating the carrier wave varies unpredictably over all intervals greater than “x” then any speculation that there might be some long term signal (term greater than “x”) to be teased out of the randomly changing observations is pointless. It can’t be done. Without first showing the actual predictability of the transmission over an interval longer than “x” you’d never know whether your so-called “signal” was truly a signal.
Physically, the insurmountable problem faced by climate scientists is that the Earth’s climate system is always changing. If I have a pendulum on a metal rod hanging from a sprocket with a known angular resistance, I can theoretically model the pendulum’s time-varying response to a force of sinusoidal amplitude x(t)sin(wt), and if I observe the motion over a period of time and I was mathematically proficient enough I might even be able to solve for small variances in x(t) based on the observed motion.
Now assume that the sprocket and metal rod are subject to rust that accumulates and falls off in some unpredictable manner, such that the angular resistance not only changes over time, but changes in a way that cannot be shown to produce a quantitatively EXACTLY repeating pattern over any known interval. Knowing nothing more than some small variation in how the pendulum swings over the course of years, will I ever be able to know whether these variations are due to a change in the signal x(t) or changes in the amount of rust? I don’t see how,

Reply to  Kurt
July 22, 2016 4:13 am

“I don’t see how”
That’s because you don’t have a super computer. Oh, and a model.

Reply to  Paul
July 22, 2016 12:57 pm


Mindert Eiting
Reply to  Kurt
July 22, 2016 5:39 am

A global signal must be present in the Arctic, Antarctic, and every region in between. That signal is constant over a time interval or it varies. It is obvious that the signal varies over the Ice Ages. This is not due to noise. Take the definition that noise terms do not correlate with the signal and with each other, then the variance of the signal must equal the covariance of temperature time series for all region pairs on earth. Can be estimated.

Reply to  Mindert Eiting
July 22, 2016 6:32 am

Yes, but beware of assumptions. Equating “natural variability” to uncorrelated noise is a bit of a stretch because climate science relegates anything not understood to the natural variability category. It may just be an unknown “signal” rather than “noise”.

Reply to  Mindert Eiting
July 22, 2016 11:33 am

“Take the definition that noise terms do not correlate with the signal and with each other . . .”
The problem is that the natural, time varying response of a system to invariant input 1 might also not correlate with the system’s response to variant input 2. This is particularly an issue once you acknowledge that the system physically changes over time, and does so in a way that we do not fully understand. Thus, you wind up attributing a response in the system to the changing second input, when really it was just the system responding to the constant first input.
Predictability of the system over the relevant time interval always has to come first, before you start attributing changes over that interval to some presumed forced signal (and by predictability I don’t mean curve-fitting to past data). If no one has ever demonstrated an ability to predict the system’s response at all, any quantitative attribution of an observed trend to a given cause is speculative,

Reply to  Kurt
July 22, 2016 7:02 am

Since weather descends into unpredictable chaos after a few weeks or so, and since the very processes that comprise our climate are the same processes that cause weather, climate being only weather measured over some term of an arbitrarily long length, there is no possible way in which you can determine any interval of time over which you know that trends in those processes average out to zero.

The null trend for a single station is one year. A single station has weather superimposed on the climate signal(the long term average of weather), and we don’t know the difference. What we do know is that different stations will have different weather and collectively, over a long period of time will represent the climate of the area. At least to the best our data can tell us. Here is the annual average of the day to day change (both min and max) of all the stations in the NCDC GSoD data set that have a full year of sample.comment image
The average from 1940 to 2015 for min temp is -0.00397, and max temp is 0.001189, effectively 0.0F+/-0.1F

Stated differently, you’ll never be able to reliably distinguish the “signal” from the “noise.”

Depends what signal you’re looking for, I’m looking for a loss of nightly cooling, and there isn’t one, at least not one that’s detectable. While at the same time the changes that drove the temperature increase are detectable, but they do not have the fingerprint of co2, but of moving warm water in our oceans.

Reply to  micro6500
July 22, 2016 11:44 am

“A single station has weather superimposed on the climate signal(the long term average of weather)”
You’re assuming that “weather” has a long term average. In my rusty pendulum example, there might never be a long-term response where the swinging averages out, even though the input never changes (until the pendulum breaks and it stops swinging, at least). The climate system similarly does not have to have a long term average temperature about which it randomly fluctuates. You’re just arbitrarily defining an interval over which you think all “weather” perturbations should have averaged out, but you don’t know that.

Reply to  Kurt
July 22, 2016 12:04 pm

You’re just arbitrarily defining an interval over which you think all “weather” perturbations should have averaged out, but you don’t know that.

I don’t care whether weather cancels out over a single year, I care the two major signals, the day and the year cancel out after a year, weather will average out, or it’s a trend over time. You can see how the change in max temps (+ and -) over time are very close to zero, but the change in min temp is not, and when you decompose the signal by area, these changes are distinct regional changes.

Reply to  micro6500
July 22, 2016 4:26 pm

I think we’re talking about two different things. I’m talking about the signal/noise analogy that is used to quantify a trend attributed to a first, changing component of an input on the assumption that the “noisy” transient system response to a second, unchanging component of the input averages out over time. You seem to be talking about a purely mathematical exercise of attributing an observed trend in a statistic (an average) to changes in the measurements (min or max temps) that make up the average, and then making inferences about that breakdown. Although it’s hard to tell based on your explanation of the graph. That green line can’t be an average of the red and blue lines like the legend in the figure says. I don’t know what you mean by a “loss of nightly cooling” and you start of on the assumption that climate is the long-term temporal average of weather at a single station but then shift to say that climate has a spatial component as well.

Reply to  Kurt
July 22, 2016 5:23 pm

I think I looked at the code for that average trace and I think it was correct, but I should check it again.
I work from NCDC published surface station records, and process them different from everyone else.
A lot of data, plus access to the code and reports at source forge there.
I’ve worked on extracting the difference between today’s warming and tonight’s cooling, trying to find a reduction in cooling rates since the 40’s or 50’s. And while there is a slight change in rate, they could be better explained by the regional changes in min temperature that have taken place. And does not have the fingerprint of Co2, a reduction of cooling at night.

Reply to  Kurt
July 22, 2016 6:13 pm

Actually excellent eye.
Those traces are the derivative of the change in temp, and I think strong evidence it’s not co2.
If temps go up 18F during the day, and drop 18F at night the derivative is zero. Both average daily temp, and maximum daily temp return on average to zero over a year.
But min temp doesn’t, it is the relaxed state, but if between middle of winter, to middle of summer min goes up 40F, it should go back down 40F, so min should be like avg and max, or it should be a trend, that’s what a loss of cooling would do, a long term positive slope. But it’s not that either. It’s both big positive and negative swings in the derivative of min temp, but at different places and different times.
But you make a gat, spacially do a buck of averaging, average min and max together, and pretty soon you have a trend.
Now it is also true, my method does not detect whether it goes up 18F or 20F, as long as it goes down the same, but that would be directly from the rising daily temp value.

Bob M
July 22, 2016 3:16 am

Given the importance of modelling I would add finite element analysis to the list.

July 22, 2016 3:17 am

It’s too easy to dismiss the Salem Witch Trials as a bizarre historical event enacted in an age of superstition and lack of scientific literacy globally, and that we “it couldn’t happen again”. I think that only could it happen but it is happening. We just don’t formally declare them “Witchhunt” even though the but prefer other terms like RICO (in the US), SRA Investigations (in the UK as Western Isles and the US as McMartin) and doubtless other terms elsewhere. The term “witch-hunt” in modern language superficially is an obvious allusion to Mediaeval European practices as well as those in Salem and Scotland, but IMHO extremely apt applicable to present-day activities and phenomena. Getting above the particular target group in the different situations, all these witch-hunts involve a kind of mass hysteria in which a whole community temporarily believe it is at immediate risk of annihilation by some kind of difficult-to-handle “Evil” which manifests itself through the behaviour of one’s neighbours, leading them to be suspect of being possessed by Satan, being a witch, being a Denier or voting Trump, leading to seriously flawed attempts at assassination, lynchings, court action or denunciation. The Salem trials were just a rather more formalised and well-documented example of this: you can get a first impression by simply acquiring the trial transcripts and globally replacing “Salem” with “Manhattan Beach, California”, or “Satan” with “Carbon dioxide”. The alarm industry, in its attempts to use RICO, is repeatedly trying to create a mega-Salem trial, using thermometers in place of children and “experts” in place of ministers of religion. In the long term the alarm industry will fail, but it might take decades, by which time a new scare will be brought into service.

July 22, 2016 3:50 am

More warming in the pipeline:
NASA: Historical records miss a fifth of global warming
“These quirks hide around 19 percent of global air-temperature warming since the 1860s. That’s enough that calculations generated from historical records alone were cooler than about 90 percent of the results from the climate models that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) uses for its authoritative assessment reports. In the apples-to-apples comparison, the historical temperature calculation was close to the middle of the range of calculations from the IPCC’s suite of models.”

Reply to  vukcevic
July 22, 2016 5:50 am

Nice link. In particular I enjoyed this quote:
“NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.
Their new motto should be: ” We are NASA, freely sharing our unique knowledge by ignoring subpoenas”

Curious George
Reply to  sciguy54
July 22, 2016 7:41 am

We will have a hockey stick for every Team member!

July 22, 2016 3:52 am

There are a couple of problems:
1. Peer review has been hijacked and used to support the “in” crowd.
2. Theoretical and applied science are getting the same standards applied. Applied science should have to meet engineering quality standards.
3. Theoretical scientists are talking through their hat most of the time. Theoretical studies should be barred from use for policy purposes.
4. As the amount of government science funding has increased the quality of scientists has decreased.
If 50-80+% of papers aren’t reproducible and the major reason is some form of misconduct or incompetence, it is pretty obvious we need to thin the herd 50-80%. The scientists that don’t bother to do good work we literally and figuratively don’t need. They should be debarred.
It is worth having a group of statisticians, engineers, etc., people with no aspirations for a science grant and therefore no career interest in the outcomes, to do hostile review of each and every science grant study. All studies that pass review should be published, if the data is good and the methodology is good, even if is on a government site or open access journal. Good studies should be published somewhere regardless of whether the result was significant or not.
Good studies with significant results would be allowed a period to fish for an upscale publisher.
In their abundant spare time the review group would work their way backwards through published studies giving them the same scrutiny. Minor errors would be reported to the journal and the authors and posted on a website with all the review results. Major incompetence or misconduct would result in disciplinary action.
An author of two studies with major incompetence or one study with misconduct should be debarred for 5 years.
It won’t fix everything. But it will eliminate gatekeeping (since there is no way to stop good studies from being published) and will ensure bad studies are discredited preferably before publication, if not the review site will list the problems with published studies. It will improve peer review because upscale journals won’t want to publish studies that will show up on the review website as discredited.
Harsh objective scrutiny won’t stop politics from affecting science studies. But it will reduce it to a tolerable level.

Alan Kendall
Reply to  PA
July 22, 2016 6:10 am

Several problems here.
1) Where do we find this cohort of worthies, with sufficient understanding, to conduct the reviews? Won’t these people want to do their own science?
2) Who pays them?
3) Who ensures they will be fair in their judgements? Who polices the police?
It looks like any attempt to put in a review system would quickly resolve into the present system of peer review with all its known faults.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Alan Kendall
July 22, 2016 9:00 am

I am not a scientist so I don’t know the subtleties of the system but I will offer up an idea. Peer reviewers should be assessed and given a ranking. Papers reviewed can then be given a rating verification based on the rating of the reviewers. This would encourage more rigour from peer reviewers. If peer reviewed papers dropped about 50% I would consider the new system a success. In climate “science”, I would expect a drop of at least 75%. It is the “Harlequin Romance” of scientific publication.

Reply to  Alan Kendall
July 22, 2016 11:19 am

1. “Cohort of worthies”.
There are numerous studies and articles pointing out that the average scientist doesn’t know jack about statistics even through they are forced to do at least one “significance” computation per paper. Professional statisticians will chew up and spit many if not most of the science papers.
There are probably some instrument developers who would love to vent on some of the stupid claims and uses made of their instruments.
Climate Science is applied science. Basically anyone in the engineering field who is developer/designer grade and in the correct field can review a paper. And if the engineering developer/designer wanted to be a scientist he would be a scientist and not an engineer already. The claim you have to be a “scientist” to review this stuff is a damned lie.
People from technical fields have a much more rigorous culture of quality control and data integrity and will again chew up and spit out these scientists.
We have allowed undisciplined laziness/carelessness and rampant careerism to destroy science. There is no excuse for allowing papers with bad data, bad methodology, or obvious misconduct, that are simply not reproducible, to escape, Science has had decades to solve the problem and their actions indicate they aren’t interested fixing it. People without self-discipline will get disciplined by someone else. Science’s turn has come around.
I am open to any approach that eliminates the publishing of bad papers. Open Source review of preprints allowing the “cloud” to attack the papers, or any other clever thoughts are fine. But a dedicated review group that can debar scientists who don’t fork over data and methodology seems the most certain solution. Dedicated review and Open Source Review combined would give some redundancy.
In the modern era there should be zero (0) bad papers published and we should tighten review until that happens.
2. “Who pays them?”
50-80% of our taxpayer dollars funding science are currently being flushed down the tube, this doesn’t include the cost of misinforming the public and misleading other researchers in the science fields. The review group could be paid for by funds recouped from scientists guilty of misconduct, or the grant money that will go unspent because of debarments. The review group could also accept donations from industry.perhaps allowing them to target funds to reviews of specific papers.
3. “Who ensures they will be fair in their judgments?
Huh? We don’t want them to be fair. They should get a 50% bonus for evidence of significant error or incompetence and a 100% bonus for evidence of misconduct. We want the reviewers as angry and hostile as possible. Scientists can get “Pal review” from their local journal. This is not “Pal review”. There are 2 to 10 times too many scientists funded by the government. One major purpose of the review group is to thin the herd of the least competent and the dishonest.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  Alan Kendall
July 22, 2016 1:19 pm

You don’t need many. At the very least you need a basic statistician, an expert in the field (presumably a senior engineer, doctor, or retired researcher), and an outsider with basic grasp of logic. Most importantly, they need to be paid on staff by the journal, not competing independents who do reviews in their free time. The guard of our guards would be the head editor. If they get responses panning the quality of the papers they printed, then the reviewers should be sacked.
You see, not hard. The main problem is that peer review is currently done in the free time only by field experts. This leads to cursory reviews of whatever’s in fashion and rigorous reviews only occurring to the controversial or unpopular opinions. Having a dedicated statistician and full-time on-staff reviewers would make reviews far more consistent and thorough.

Joe Born
Reply to  Alan Kendall
July 22, 2016 2:45 pm

“Who polices the police?”
God bless you for forgoing the gratuitous Latin.

Joe Born
Reply to  Alan Kendall
July 22, 2016 3:07 pm

PA: “The claim you have to be a ‘scientist’ to review this stuff is a damned lie.”
I won’t resist the temptation to point out that a paper of which Dr. Legates himself is a co-author is a sad case in point. Three of the four co-authors had doctorates, yet the heart of the paper was a fundamental error that any reasonably bright engineering student who had spent time with control systems could have seen through. If I recall correctly, though, even their alarmist critics missed it.
I can’t criticize that error harshly; even the brightest among us occasionally makes stupid mistakes. I know I’ve made my share. In this case, though, the authors denied the error even after I had brought it to their attention, blustering that the problem was a quibble when in fact it went to the heart of the matter, making some of their published results wrong by a factor of three. Worse yet, their clearly groundless denial attracted a distressingly large number of fanboys at this very site.
No, I have no hopes for finding a “cohort of worthies.”

Science or Fiction
Reply to  PA
July 22, 2016 6:55 am

Maybe papers should be published like articles on Watts Up With That.
That should provide both openness and scrutiny – both legs of science.

John M. Ware
Reply to  PA
July 22, 2016 10:32 am

Our author says there is nothing wrong with social science or political science. I disagree. Neither of these subjects is a science in the way that scientists understand it. Granted, both SocSci and PoliSci have lots of data to work with (assuming a common good definition of terms can be arrived at), and even can conduct experiments in a limited way; but unlike a true science, they cannot show reliably that if A happens, B must happen as a result, as is routine with chemical combinations or physical reactions. To call SS and PS sciences is to blunt and make vague the meaning of the word “science,” which may be one reason the climate “scientists” have gotten away with what they have said and done.

Reply to  John M. Ware
July 22, 2016 11:25 am

I disagree pretty strongly, John. By your standards biology, medicine and the life sciences would not be sciences. There is more to science than bench physics and simple chemistry. Moreover, even in these simple cases your standard of predictability cannot be met if the phenomenon is chaotic.

Reply to  John M. Ware
July 22, 2016 11:29 am

Our author says there is nothing wrong with social science or political science. I disagree.
That statement was probably an attempt at levity.
Social Science is a field of self delusion. That there were actually people in the social science field that thought head start would be a success speaks volumes.
Political Science is the science of dishonesty and deception. Gee, what could possibly go wrong there.

Alan Kendall
Reply to  John M. Ware
July 23, 2016 3:02 am

The point surely is that political or social science can be conducted in a scientific manner, but commonly isn’t.

Reply to  John M. Ware
July 23, 2016 3:28 am

The point surely is that political or social science can be conducted in a scientific manner, but commonly isn’t.
Yeah, and the clowns at the circus could behave more seriously – but that doesn’t make them serious, they are still clowns.
Conducting social science or political science studies in a scientific manner, is like studying big foot, ghosts, or astrology in a scientific manner.

Reply to  John M. Ware
July 23, 2016 8:10 am

PA, it sounds like you are claiming that human behavior cannot be studied scientifically. Do you have some argument to back up what appears to be a ridiculously strong claim? I ask because I do what I think is the science of complex issues, especially in science and public policy, and you seem to be claiming that what I do cannot be done. How can that be?

michael hart
July 22, 2016 3:57 am

A significant part of the problem is that Universities will always try to cater for paying students. Many of those students have no real interest, or understanding of, real science. Science departments will nevertheless provide ‘science’ courses to satisfy the demands of those students.
That is also why we end up with courses in “Astrobiology”.

Reply to  michael hart
July 22, 2016 5:24 am

“A significant part of the problem is that Universities will always try to cater for paying students”
There can be an implied promise that “grant harvesting” will pay off a huge chunk of those education loans. Students are told that they will be mentored and their ideas promoted such that their class work and thesis may be easily converted into a grant and recognition generating machine. Music to the ears of a young student who is accumulating a frightening amount of debt.

j ferguson
Reply to  michael hart
July 22, 2016 9:52 am

It was called “Bioastrology” in my day. How things have devolved.

M Seward
July 22, 2016 4:18 am

Its not just in the US. I had coffee witha professor of environmental science a few months ago in connection with a local environmental issue we were both interested in. In the course of the conversation the professor proudly promoted that they were teaching ‘science communications’ at universities and this was a good thing. Now it happens that I taucht for 10 years in an engineering faculty in the area of engineering design and a sidnificant part of our assessment was given to a major, conference like presentation on the student’s design projects to the faculty and invited industry guests. We were able over a few years to get the subject to equal ranking with thesis which also featured a formsl presentation to an audience of peers etc so I have no problem with coherent and professional communications of such material. But it is clear that there is a big difference between the competent presentation of rigourous work by researchers/engineers and advocacy of junk.
Perhaps all I need to do is remind people that John Cook is the Climate Communication Fellow for a CAGW outfit at UQld. I think that tells the fullstory on climate science communications.

July 22, 2016 5:02 am

Climate science relates to real science the same way Astrology relates to Astronomy. It is a wacky distant cousin, making unprovable predictions for cash from suckers. Just because some activists wear white coats doesn’t make them scientists. Science tells us to believe that which we can’t disprove, strong theories are those who survive vigorous attempts at disproval. Activists try to prove that which they already believe. Maybe like gender, people just need to “identify as a scientist ” to be one. If putting on a dress makes you a female, and putting on a white coat makes you a scientist, why don’t more people put on red capes and identify as Superman?

July 22, 2016 5:06 am

Well, at least we still have people fighting the good fight. Hang in there, David R. Legates.
Despite all the AGW/CAGW propaganda, most U.S.citizens don’t consider it to be a problem, so there is hope for the future.
Paying attention to the weather is a basic human activity. Eventually, people will figure out you are full of BS (Bad Science) if you keep telling them the ice caps are melting and it is hotter than ever, when they can see that is not true. The thermometer is our friend.
The AGW/CAGW activists certainly have their hands on the essential infrastructure of the U.S., the schools, the government, but that won’t be enough if they don’t have the truth on their side.
As Abraham Lincoln said: You can fool all of the people, some of the time, and some of the people, all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time.

Reply to  TA
July 22, 2016 6:43 am

Part of the problem is media like the “Weather Channel” breathlessly sensationalizing the weather, to the point where a gentle shower is presented as a SSSSSTORRRRRMMMM SSYSTEM and a “State of Emergency.” With everything, hot or cold, wet or dry, blamed of course on Man crapping the garden.

Reply to  Goldrider
July 22, 2016 11:43 am

I think the Leftwing Media and things like the Weather Channel are huge influences on people. For many people, that is all the information they get on the subject.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  TA
July 22, 2016 8:06 am

Despite all the AGW/CAGW propaganda, most U.S.citizens don’t consider it to be a problem, so there is hope for the future.

It’s not enough that they don’t consider it to be a problem, they have to actively push back. The vast majority of people simply can’t be bothered.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  TA
July 22, 2016 1:24 pm

It’s the basic Boy Who Cried Wolf phenomenon. There has been so much alarm over the years that the environment is going to heck, and the rhetoric has increased as the environmental quality has obviously improved. People tend to just discount all alarm at this point.
Even people who say they truly believe that CO2 is dangerous don’t tend to act on that belief.

Reply to  Ben of Houston
July 22, 2016 2:40 pm

A few wealthy virtue-signalers buy a Prius or throw some solar panels on the roof. That’s about it. I honestly don’t see anyone wringing their hands about their “carbon footprint” these days, even in a town rotten with fully-indoctrinated liberals. Believe me, sales of LandCruisers and Suburbans are strong! I honestly thing CAGW is a matter of “lip service” at this point. As one academic at a cocktail party put it to me with a wink, “Why let facts get in the way of a good story?” I think he speaks for many!

Alan Kendall
July 22, 2016 5:14 am

My experience of teaching undergraduates climate science at the University of East Anglia (wherein climategate activities flourished) was that it was not a productive exercise to directly challenge orthodoxy. I would get my students to do their own independent research. I would task a group to look into a climate change topic (for example methane release from permafrost, or UHI) from the consensus point of view, from the sceptics viewpoint, and critically also reviewing how each side has countered the other side’s arguments and evidence. The group would write up their results for assessment, but also present their material orally in front of the whole class. An added bonus was when members of CRU or the Tyndall Centre accepted invitations to attend. It was a wonder to see undergraduates take on these people. Students really resented being lectured at because they had found out for themselves. The least energetic teaching I ever had to do because all I needed to do was sit there and enjoy. It’s not surprising that CRU were so pleased when I retired.
I recommend this form of “teaching”. All you need to do is provide students with some start up reading and watch them go. The rewards are outstanding.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  Alan Kendall
July 22, 2016 6:24 am


Reply to  Alan Kendall
July 22, 2016 8:20 am

Quite right, Alan. I do research on this and the way to teach is to teach the climate debate, not one side or the other. Some students love to debate, especially the bright ones. I have a model one-class-session lesson plan on solar activity and global warming that takes this approach. It shows the students the debate without taking sides. That the debate exists is enough to stop alarmism. The lesson plan is here:
Comments welcome.

Reply to  David Wojick
July 22, 2016 11:46 am

“Quite right, Alan. I do research on this and the way to teach is to teach the climate debate, not one side or the other.”
Excellent, David. As long as people can get both sides of the story, I think we will be just fine.

Reply to  Alan Kendall
July 22, 2016 8:37 am

I would recommend another assigned team to focus on data integrity and have them critique all the other teams, their findings, and statements.

Alan Kendall
Reply to  Resourceguy
July 23, 2016 3:15 am

OK but there are practical.difficulties
1. Reviewers require higher level critical abilities, so not a level playing field.
2. Reviewers will be critiquing within their peer group. Not conducive to harmony within the student group.
3. Task can only be done after all other groups have completed theirs. Not useful if work to be assessed.
4. The task is for the assessor to do (in my case, me).

Reply to  Alan Kendall
July 22, 2016 12:44 pm

Mr. Kendall
Except that these days most of research is done by using the web, where there is a predominance of the AGW science papers coming from well known academic centres and science institutions, but very few that question the role of CO2.
So, what is a student researcher to make out of it?
I think answer is more than obvious.
Let’s assume you set an unusual task to one of the less cooperative students as: the recent global warming association with any other non-climate related processes.
The student in question has recently red an article about the Earth’s magnetic pole ‘racing’ across Arctic towards Siberia and decides to research the Earth’s magnetic field intensity change during the period of the recent global warming.
No academic articles of any kind available, but the students does look at the available and relevant data, finds good correlation and presents the data for two events in a graphic form as in
this link with a very short explanatory note :
Very good correlation of R^2 = 0.8 present but the association of two processes can not be adequately explained by an obvious physical mechanism. Paleomagnetic and the proxy pre-instrumental temperature data, show sporadic but non conclusive correlation.
Your verdict: Failed ?

July 22, 2016 5:18 am

Here in the US there is some hope, in K-12 at least. A recent survey indicated that quite a few science teachers teach about the debate, rather than just the green line. However this good news was generally reported as bad news. See my short article:
for some details.
The basic problem is a lack of classroom materials that present a balanced view. The Web is awash with alarmist teaching materials, much of it funded by the US Government. I hope to develop a distribution portal for balanced teaching materials.

Bubba Cow
Reply to  David Wojick
July 22, 2016 7:41 am

please, keep up the good work

Patrick B
July 22, 2016 5:19 am

“At the very least, a student should be able to identify and describe the basic processes that cause Earth’s climate to vary ….”
Aaghhhhh – NO NO NO. At the very least a student should learn first what science is and how it functions. Observations, hypothesis, experiment, adjustment of hypothesis, further experiment, theory. They need to first learn what data is, how data should be collected and all the errors associated with data and appreciate the limitations of their observations and data. They need to be first taught how to consider alternative causes and the limits of any hypothesis and theory. Only then are they ready to start learning about the earth’s climate or any other scientific area.
I suspect most of today’s climate “researchers” were not well trained in how real science works.

Steve Fraser
Reply to  Patrick B
July 22, 2016 8:17 am

So…Freshman year.. ‘Philosophy of Science 101’ , followed by ‘Research Methods, including Data Management’ Sophomore year, and ‘Statistical Methods’. Something like that?

Reply to  Patrick B
July 22, 2016 10:09 am

AGREE X 1 million!
because if you teach how science functions students will be able to see the flaws of when it doesn’t.

July 22, 2016 5:54 am

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established by Presidential Initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990 to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”
They are a purely POLITICAL organization, not a scientific one. They are free to ‘define’ whatever they wish, but their definitions of anything called a ‘science’ or ‘literacy’ should not be considered authoritative. For such definitions one should turn to scientists or educators.

Reply to  tadchem
July 22, 2016 8:35 am

Actually the USGCRP is both political and scientific, a bit of an odd duck. It has two components. One is a small office that prepares the GCRA mandated annual report to Congress, titled Our Changing Planet, which summarizes the climate change science research activities of the 13 Federal Agencies that do such research. See
The second component is those 13 Federal agencies. Their combined budget is about $2.5 billion a year in science, which is a major fraction of the world’s climate science research. The USGCRP office has no control whatever over what research these 13 agencies do; that is up to them. Their research is heavily biased toward CAGW, in order to support US climate policy. See my

July 22, 2016 5:55 am

It has been said that any field that sticks ‘science’ onto its name really isn’t one, e.g. ‘Political Science’. Dr. Legates is a Professor of Climatology, not ‘Climate Science’. He could hit his point home by emphasizing the difference between Climatology and the phony ‘Climate Science’ being fed to undergraduates.
/Mr Lynn

July 22, 2016 6:03 am

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established by Presidential Initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990 to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”
They are a purely POLITICAL organization, not a scientific one. They are free to ‘define’ whatever they wish, but their definitions of anything called a ‘science’ or ‘literacy’ should not be considered authoritative. For such definitions one should turn to scientists or educators, preferably ones who don’t depend on political sources for funding.

Reply to  tadchem
July 22, 2016 11:57 am

“The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established by Presidential Initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990 to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.””
Well, at least, unlike the UN IPCC, they didn’t limit their research to “human-induced” causes, they also included natural causes.

Reply to  TA
July 22, 2016 12:42 pm

Yes and no. The lead USGCRP agency for climate science research is NSF. They do a lot on short term natural variability, but that is just to explain away the hiatus/pause. They actually deny that natural variability might play a role in long term warming. In fact they claim that climate is unchanging for centuries unless disturbed by humans. Incredible, right? I write about this here (NSF in climate denial):

M Courtney
July 22, 2016 6:08 am

Surely even the slowest student must realise that watching “The Day After Tomorrow” is not preparing them for anything?
I suspect that there is a selection bias here.
Only those who already have faith would sign up. Thus critical questioning never arises.

Reply to  M Courtney
July 22, 2016 6:45 am

Why not “War of the Worlds” and “Planet of the Apes” while they’re at it?

Science or Fiction
Reply to  M Courtney
July 22, 2016 7:31 am

Why not just 5 minutes with John Cleese now and then? That would actually learn them something:

July 22, 2016 6:55 am

Nothing unusual there. Schools have become centers of propaganda. On any subject with a political bent, be it economics, history, or climate change. Children are being taught what to think instead of how to think.

Tom Halla
July 22, 2016 6:59 am

Legates does have a point on the dumbing down of climate studies. That sort of thing is all too common with advocates, from teaching history, economics, biology, or anything else with a political interest operating. Sometimes, as with Eugenics, the whole thing is bad science intersecting with prejudice on social class and race to produce horrid results.
It would seem that rigor is the sort of thing advocates try to avoid, as they see the purpose of “education” as something other than actually teaching the subject at hand. It gets down to that old poetry about a little learning being a dangerous thing.

Science or Fiction
July 22, 2016 7:01 am

Where I come from, all students had to take courses in logic, philosophy and philosophy of science.
I thought every student at every University had to go through such courses.
From what I now see, I am starting to believe that many students are not introduced to these fundamentals.

Bruce Cobb
July 22, 2016 7:10 am

If you can’t name names then you have no case.

Pamela Gray
July 22, 2016 7:39 am

As an educator, I have tons of issues with the Science Standards. To hammer home why, the kindergarten standard includes these two “understand” goals for little tykes:
1. Every human made product is designed by applying some knowledge of the natural world and is built by using natural materials.
2. Taking natural materials to make things impacts the environment.
It gets much worse from there. If you can get through reading the entire thing, you come away with one opinion. These standards were penned by rich people who never made anything useful and don’t have a lot of shit to do.

Curious George
Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 22, 2016 7:42 am

What is the kindergarten suicide rate?

Bubba Cow
Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 22, 2016 7:56 am

this should fry you, Pamela (and rightfully so) –

Reply to  Bubba Cow
July 22, 2016 7:59 am

NCSE is a radical political group that made its name fighting what it called anti-evolution bills in state legislatures. It has now extended its work to fighting climate skepticism.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 22, 2016 7:57 am

Which standard is that, Pamela? It is pretty unusual for the existing US State Standards. I cannot imaging teaching the concepts of environment and environmental impact in kindergarten. These are typically taught in middle school.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  David Wojick
July 22, 2016 9:54 am
Reply to  David Wojick
July 22, 2016 11:14 am

Pamela, those are general framework concepts for the teachers to keep in mind. They are not the specific concepts for the students to learn. That is the concepts of environment and environmental impact will no be tested for. In fact in K-2 very little technical content is tested for.
It will be interesting to see how these concepts are finally transformed into content for the students to learn. That may vary from state to state, as the present content standards do.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 22, 2016 10:14 am

To clarify, the original framework used to guide the development of the standards has been reinterpreted over time such that outrageous statements are being applied as if they accurately reflect the original thoughts in the book. Anybody who reads the standards most likely reads the appendices for further clarification of the overriding end game of each section. My quote came from appendix J. The original book does not use the same goal statement found in the appendix but has morphed over time to what you see included in my comment. The license thus given to educators to “go there” is pretty evident. Was that the original intent? Doubtful given the content of chapter 8 in the Framework.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 22, 2016 11:21 am

It is certainly true that the NextGen Standards are different from the NAS Framework, but the latter was in no way binding on the State teams that wrote the Standards. What will be most interesting is what the curricula and lesson plans that implement the Standards look like.
For example, the Standards allow for natural climate change but the actual teaching materials may not. The Standards call for the middle and/or high school students to learn how to use climate models. What models will these be? Probably AGW models. This is where intervention is really needed.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Pamela Gray
July 22, 2016 8:55 pm

When I was in kindergarten all we learned was how to sing “Alle Meine Enten”, and playing nice with others.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
July 23, 2016 11:14 am

Here is what the 2010 Virginia Standards of Science Education specify to be taught in kindergarten. Sorry it is so long but there is a lot of stuff. Every grade is now like this, a marathon of science. Note that the students are also tested extensively.
Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools – January 2010 Kindergarten
The kindergarten standards stress the use of basic science skills to explore common materials, objects, and living things and will begin the development of an understanding that scientific knowledge is based on evidence. Emphasis is placed on using the senses to gather information. Students are expected to develop skills in posing simple questions, measuring, sorting, classifying, and communicating information about the natural world. The science skills are an important focus as students learn about life processes and properties of familiar materials, such as magnets and water. Through phenomena including shadows, patterns of weather, and plant growth, students are introduced to the concept of change. The significance of natural resources and conservation is introduced in the kindergarten standards.
Scientific Investigation, Reasoning, and Logic
K.1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which
a) basic characteristics or properties of objects are identified by direct observation;
b) observations are made from multiple positions to achieve different perspectives;
c) a set of objects is sequenced according to size;
d) a set of objects is separated into two groups based on a single physical characteristic;
e) nonstandard units are used to measure the length, mass, and volume of common objects;
f) observations and predictions are made for an unseen member in a sequence of objects;
g) a question is developed and predictions are made from one or more observations;
h) observations are recorded;
i) picture graphs are constructed;
j) unusual or unexpected results in an activity are recognized; and
k) objects are described both pictorially and verbally.
K.2 The student will investigate and understand that humans have senses that allow them to seek, find, take in, and react or respond to information in order to learn about their surroundings. Key concepts include
a) the five senses and corresponding sensing organs; and
b) sensory descriptors used to describe common objects and phenomena.
Force, Motion, and Energy
K.3 The student will investigate and understand that magnets have an effect on some materials, make some things move without touching them, and have useful applications. Key concepts include
a) magnetism and its effects; and
b) useful applications of magnetism.
1 Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools – January 2010
K.4 The student will investigate and understand that the position, motion, and physical properties of an object can be described. Key concepts include
a) colors of objects;
b) shapes and forms of objects;
c) textures and feel of objects;
d) relative sizes and weights of objects; and
e) relative positions and speed of objects.
K.5 The student will investigate and understand that water flows and has properties that can be observed and tested. Key concepts include
a) water occurs in different phases;
b) water flows downhill; and
c) some materials float in water, while others sink.
Life Processes
K.6 The student will investigate and understand the differences between living organisms and nonliving objects. Key concepts include
a) all things can be classified as living or nonliving; and
b) living organisms have certain characteristics that distinguish them from nonliving objects including growth, movement, response to the environment, having offspring, and the need for food, air, and water.
K.7 The student will investigate and understand basic needs and life processes of plants and animals. Key concepts include
a) animals need adequate food, water, shelter, air, and space to survive;
b) plants need nutrients, water, air, light, and a place to grow to survive;
c) plants and animals change as they grow, have varied life cycles, and eventually die; and
d) offspring of plants and animals are similar but not identical to their parents or to one another.
Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems
K.8 The student will investigate and understand that shadows occur when light is blocked by an object. Key concepts include
a) shadows occur in nature when sunlight is blocked by an object; and
b) shadows can be produced by blocking artificial light sources.
Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change
K.9 The student will investigate and understand that there are simple repeating patterns in his/her daily life. Key concepts include
a) weather observations;
b) the shapes and forms of many common natural objects including seeds, cones, and leaves; and
c) animal and plant growth.
K.10 The student will investigate and understand that change occurs over time and rates may be fast or slow. Key concepts include
a) natural and human-made things may change over time; and
b) changes can be observed and measured.
Earth Resources
K.11 The student will investigate and understand that materials can be reused, recycled, and conserved. Key concepts include
a) materials and objects can be used over and over again;
b) everyday materials can be recycled; and
c) water and energy conservation at home and in school helps ensure resources are available for future use.

Science or Fiction
July 22, 2016 8:19 am

These 9 minutes should be on every students curriculum:

July 22, 2016 8:34 am

So now let’s move forward with free college to teach advocacy climate propaganda. It’s very progressive.

July 22, 2016 8:37 am

Imagine how relieved I was to find orofessors like you in both high school and college. I was fed the runaway greenhouse effect early in school. In high school my Biology and Earth Science teachers respectively went through the bogus claims of alarmism from a viewpoint of looking at the big picture.
In college I only had 1 physics professor start the alarmism only to be smacked down by the rest of us budding scientists and some philosophers in a class discussion. It started off with one student telling the professor that he didn’t appreciate the message of her lecture and actually felt guilty driving his car on the way home. As this was in Phx where there is laughable public transport, a car is a necessity. That led to the philosophy and psychology students starting a discussion about the values of the professor’s lecture which brought in the marketing and communication students with their viewspoints on the propaganda the professor used. We didn’t learn physics that day but I think the professor learned some things. I knoe I did and more than a few of my fellow classmates did as well.
In the upper classes of college climate change and the alarmist platform was never even discussed. And if it were brought up, the professors would shut it down immediately. The lecture might include more points of how you can not be certain of 1 aspect in a complex system and apply it to all…thereby asserting that alarmist claims would not be tolerated in their lectures.
I’ve been out of college for a while now but take heart. There are still professors that may toe the line to get their grants but that is as far as it goes.
As for high school there was a survey of teachers across the US where the teachers weren’t teaching the alarmism either but presenting both sides of the argument.

Reply to  Jenn Runion
July 22, 2016 8:53 am

I’m on my phone with autocorrect turned off…so please forgive the fat finger mistyped words. Some I catch, others slip through…

July 22, 2016 8:58 am

It seems like only yesterday I was being told in college that oil would depleted by now.

John Robertson
July 22, 2016 9:39 am

Good post, thank you for your observations Dr Legates.
I notice that even with government buy-in to this advocacy and their near total funding of the required propaganda, that the public is not buying it.
The young people especially encourage me, they know when they are being fed a line, their education seems to be teaching them how worthy bureaucracy is of their trust.
Those who are currently fire breathing planet saviours, will soon be tax paying suckers earning their real education in the University of hard Knocks.
Human nature seems pretty consistent, we have enjoyed a period of fat and lazy living and due to the excesses our “leaders” have committed in our name we are most likely to enjoy some lean and hungry times quite soon.
People will appear to support the most idiotic ideals and solutions for nonexistent problems, right up until they have to put up the cash.
The scientific method is missing in action, along with its old comrade Common Sense.
Kipling said it well, the Lords of the Copy Book Counting will be back.

Science or Fiction
Reply to  John Robertson
July 22, 2016 12:24 pm

Fire breathing planet saviours in the United Nations will not learn a thing in the University of hard Knocks:
C. Level of salaries
“The level of salaries for Professional staff is determined on the basis of the Noblemaire principle, named after the chairman of a committee of the League of Nations. This principle states that the international civil service should be able to recruit staff from all its Member States, including the highest paid. In application of the Noblemaire principle, the salaries of Professional staff are set by reference to the highest paying national civil service.”

Mike Maguire
July 22, 2016 10:11 am

Maybe the best article ever here or anywhere else.
Dr. Legates is not only knowledgeable/an expert in this field, teaching climate science but he is an insider(one who observes how the education system in this field is intentionally designed and can report items that describe it which few outside would see clearly).
Most importantly, he is a man with honor/integrity…….willing to speak the truth. .
Is this because his views match mine?
As an operational meteorologist for 34 years observing global weather patterns, I have come across hundreds of young people……..many of them highly educated that have a belief system akin to being members of a cult when it comes to their understanding of CO2.
It often feels like we are living in some sort of alternate universe, where up is down and down is up. Where the beneficial gas, CO2 which is greening up the planet and greatly increasing world food production as it has increased from dangerously low levels for life on this planet to exist……….has been defined as pollution.
Using these current standards to judge CO2, then H2O is an even worse form of pollution. Such a mixed up understanding of the basics in biology, agronomy, meteorology, climate science and related fields(regarding CO2) are being taught today.
40 years ago, who ever thought that photosynthesis would be taught:
Sunshine + H2O + Minerals +Pollution = O2 +Sugars(food)
BTW, decreasing the meridional temperature gradient by warming the higher latitudes and coldest air masses the most has DECREASED many to most types of extreme weather. A notable exception has been high end heavy rain events.

Reply to  Mike Maguire
July 22, 2016 2:42 pm

You forgot “gender is fluid.” 😉

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Goldrider
July 22, 2016 9:01 pm

And that gender sex.

Reply to  Mike Maguire
July 22, 2016 10:02 pm

Thank heavens a fellow Met coming off the fence and saying as it is. Many +++.
I often find debates about AGW with so called climate experts end up with something along the lines that “you are only a meteorologist and therefore an expert on weather not climate” . However, I would argue most Mets are better placed than many to make comment on AGW trends because a substantial part of our training is the study of global and regional climate and on a daily basis we compare observations against climatic norms. We also have training in the physics, mathematics and fundamental flaws and advantages of weather forecast models.
Yes some may argue our knowledge is too general to be an expert in say some specifics of climate modelling, but I have come across way too many “climate experts” who have never understood basic global atmospheric circulation or observed climatic normals, but rather would believe what their “state of the art climate models tell them.

Mike Maguire
Reply to  pbweather
July 24, 2016 7:54 am

Meteorologists have a very high % of skeptics for just the reasons you stated. In our college classrooms learning cloud physics, fluid dynamics, physical chemistry and so on were/are future climate scientists.
We had a project in our last year synoptic lab to create a simple weather model that was able to hindcast temperatures for an area of the United States similar to the numbers that the LFM(Limited Fine Mesh Model) had forecasted.
We had to pick all the best equations to get the results. Not the best equations that represented the true physical laws of the atmosphere but the equations that yielded the numbers that most closely matched the highs and lows in the Midwest that the LFM had forecasted for that period.
The numerous equations in the LFM model, of course, were based on the physical laws of the atmosphere, so the lesson was really that you can make all sorts of tiny changes to tweek equations in your model to get the desired results………………whether they are weather models or climate models.
The LFM, then the improved NGM and now the better GFS equations/models are constantly being updated based on experimental testing. The LFM, I think mainly just went out 48 hours for most parameters and this model was run every 12 hours. The GFS today, goes out 384 hours and is updated every 6 hours.
Just like I am not knowledgeable enough to hand pick all the best equations to represent the physical laws of the atmosphere in a weather model(only to try to emulate the ones already inl the LFM) I can’t tell you what all the mathematical equations should be in a climate model.
Us meteorologists, however do understand how atmospheric models work. Unlike climate scientists, who use models to project climate at very distant time frames, like 50+ years from now, we live in a world that must constantly reconcile the realities of model limitations because even our best analysis using the best models as guidance often results in busted forecasts.
By the time a climate scientist has to fully reconcile the results of their 50 year climate projection………they will probably be dead and the projection long forgotten.
But this does not mean there will not be adjustments to the original projections, it just means this: Because of the much longer time scales, the adjustments to climate models will/are greatly lagging, when observations are showing them to be a big fat bust.
Don’t get me wrong, climate models do have value(we couldn’t predict weather without our atmospheric models)………..but only when the models incorporate new, objective realities that are constantly updated and completely separated from the model builders previous assumptions(and ego).
A meteorologist learns quickly the value and limitations of their short term atmospheric models.
Many climate scientists, using longer term atmospheric models, with much different mathematical equations to represent the physical laws of the atmosphere………..have not learned this yet.

July 22, 2016 10:34 am

Today, when I hear the words “climate” and “science” in the same sentence,
I burst out laughing.
Predicting the future climate is not science — not after being wrong for 40 years … so far.
Climate models are not science — they are computer games, based on incorrect climate physics (CO2 controls the temperature).
By hiring and using people with advanced science degrees as props for their climate scaremongering, leftists have brought “climate science” down to the level of used car sales.
Of course it would be very hard to sell their “socialism” without scaring people about something (such as their coming climate change catastrophe fantasy) … and then telling the frightened public only the government can prevent climate doom.
Big government “to save the earth” sounds a lot better than the truth: ‘We leftists want big government because we are smarter than you people in flyover country, so we must tell you how to live.’
Climate blog for non-scientistss:

July 22, 2016 11:09 am

Attended a mandatory critical thinking class for incoming Freshman at a California university in the mid-eighties. Prof was a Marxist from the Philosophy Department with all course materials and lectures reflecting his theology. It was a joke, outrage, and waste of time you suffered through it.
The same professor organized a conference of educators to spread his perverted form of critical thinking. I dropped into a session out of curiosity. More of the same. Happily I walked across the quad with him in 1989. He was depressed at current events. I took my small revenge piling on with ” Marxism was always crap” keep the flame lit against darkness. That is reward enough.

Chris Riley
July 22, 2016 11:14 am

Science X politics^.000001 = pseudoscience

July 22, 2016 12:22 pm

I recently met a nice young lady who told me she was about to get a degree in “Climate Advocacy” from George Mason University (in Northern Virginia). I wondered at the time if they really gave degrees in “advocacy” but this article suggests they might.
I wonder if it is under the umbrella of “Sales and Marketing” or “Political Science” rather than “Climate Science”?
Words come to mean what most of their users intend them to mean. We older folks just have to try to keep up with the changing definitions. It isn’t always easy. It makes communication among generations complicated.

Geologist Down The Pub
July 22, 2016 1:13 pm

It is not all gloom. I teach critical thinking, the scientific method, how to tell real science from religion and junk science, and most of my students “get it”. I make the point that I am not teaching them what to think, but rather how to think about the data they can get for themselves. I haven’t been fired for being politically incorrect (so for). Perhaps that is why my college is ranked at the top of its category in the USA.

July 22, 2016 1:31 pm

You can expect the DNC to coordinate with left wing climate scientist and the MSM to ramp up Global Warmining Hysteria leading up to the election. They will be laying out the “Fear” of CO2 and its debunked affects on the planet.

Reply to  ChrisB
July 22, 2016 1:53 pm

I think it’s more Hill’s style to role it into the claimed mandate list after the election.

July 22, 2016 1:35 pm

my researching into global warming causes is a bit like walking in the low gravity (not as easy as you might think)

July 22, 2016 2:18 pm

Sounds like indoctrination rather than education.

Joe Born
July 22, 2016 2:39 pm

Not entirely off-topic:
I just encountered a passage in an Alan Furst novel I’m reading: “They practiced witchcraft, and they called it science.”
It referred to between-the-world-war Communists, but it somehow seemed to fit the instant discussion.

Reply to  Joe Born
July 22, 2016 3:42 pm

“They practiced witchcraft, and they called it science.”

I’m fond of any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. You could explain sorcery with voice activated nanotechnology.

Alan Ranger
July 22, 2016 11:29 pm

Could somebody kindly provide me with a clear and simple distinction between “climate science” and climatology? The terms are bandied about without definition or explanation, seemingly interchangeably.
Also, what qualifies someone to be “one of our top climate scientists”?
Looking to the top dog at NASA’s GISS, I notice that their “top climate scientist” used to be James Hansen – an astronomer! ??? They have clearly since seen the inappropriateness of such a choice and now appointed Gavin Schmidt to the position – a mathematician! Totally lost .

Reply to  Alan Ranger
July 23, 2016 8:35 am

In any field the standard qualification for being a top scientist is publishing a lot of top journal articles and getting a lot of citations to those articles. Hanson wins hands down, because he pioneered a lot of the AGW science. See for example
His astronomy work was in planetary atmospheres, which he then applied to the Earth and AGW/DAGW came out.
As for Gavin, most climate science is modeling which is applied math. Modeling dominates the field. See my
Gavin is also top ranking based on publications and citations. See for example
Of course the field is wildly biased toward AGW, so almost all the top scientists are warmers.

Reply to  Alan Ranger
July 23, 2016 8:44 am

The terms climatology and climate science are indeed often used interchangeably. Here is a case, in the first sentence:
This is not unusual in science. Oceanography and ocean science are another example, probably one of many.

Alan Ranger
Reply to  David Wojick
July 23, 2016 5:51 pm

Thanks for all the information David. It helps explain a bit.

Dr. Strangelove
July 23, 2016 7:22 am

“two movies were required viewing by all students, to assist them in becoming climate science literate: Al Gore’s biased version of climate science, An Inconvenient Truth, and the 2004 climate science fiction disaster film, The Day After Tomorrow.”
Both are science fictions but Dennis Quaid was more credible in playing scientist. Al Gore looked like a bad actor pretending to be a scientist. Students will learn more credible science watching Sesame Street. At least Oscar the Grouch doesn’t think the earth’s crust is several million degrees hot

July 23, 2016 9:03 am

To David Legates: Thank you for your article bucking the “97% consensus”. You mention that water vapour is hardly ever mentioned, even though it is the main greenhouse gas. How do we know this? Answer: from the infrared (IR) absorption spectra, for example the MODTRAN spectrum available at which very closely models (except for the Planck black body background temperature) an actual spectrum obtained by a satellite looking down on a cloudless surface at Guam, available at (see Fig. 3). However, both of these spectra illustrate the ignorance in the climate change literature of the nature of these spectra, which are referred to as “emission spectra” instead of “net absorption spectra”. To understand the difference, see , and . Except for a “220 K” truncation of the downward CO2 absorption ditch centered at 667 cm^-1, the IR spectra are absorption spectra similar to the Fraunhofer lines, except that molecules have spectra consisting of many, many closely spaced lines forming absorption bands. The “220 K” truncation IS due to CO2 emission lines, but this emission is powered by incoming Solar UV and visible radiation absorbed by ozone in the stratosphere (which explains the temperature inversion from 10 to 50 km altitude). We know this because the “220 K” CO2 emission spectrum at central frequencies appears higher than the 210 K Planck black body spectrum emitted by a Thunderstorm Anvil cloud (see Fig. 8.3(c) in Grant W. Petty’s excellent book “A First Course in Atmospheric Radiation, Second Edition”); since net heat cannot flow spontaneously from a colder to a hotter region, the “220 K” CO2 emission cannot be powered from the 210 K clouds below. This “220 K” CO2 emission at central frequencies exactly matches the truncation of the Tropical Western Pacific spectrum in the same figure, so what we see is stratospheric 220 K emission superimposed on an absorption spectrum showing zero Radiance (complete absorption) at those frequencies in the troposphere below. However, the sloping flanks of the CO2 absorption ditch correspond to less-than-complete absorption, so the emission from the cold thin atmosphere at 10-40 km is small, and the Radiance signal measured by the satellite is essentially modified Beer-Lambert absorption of the emission from the 288.2 K surface, reduced gradually over the entire 10-40 km path length until final escape of IR photons to outer space. Therefore the literature explanation of the greenhouse effect, as argued by Sir John Houghton in the climateaudit article, is wrong. That even spectrum experts like Petty have got this wrong is shown by the truncation of the horizontal wavenumber axis at 1500 or 1600 cm^-1. This truncation seems reasonable if these are emission spectra, for the Radiance approaches zero at 1600 cm^-1. But note that the 288 K (or 295 K in the Guam spectrum) Planck black body surface emission is nowhere near zero at 1500 or 1600 cm^-1, and the difference must be due to net absorption. In fact, the bond-bending vibrational band for water vapour absorption stretches from 1000-2200 cm^-1, with the “band origin” at 1595 cm^-1, so the entire R-branch absorption from 1595 to 2200 cm^-1, has been ignored, wrongly interpreted as “zero emission” instead of “100% absorption”. For the complete IR absorption spectrum for greenhouse gases from 625-2750 cm^-1, see Fig. 3 at . Because the satellite and MODTRAN spectra have a linear vertical scale for Radiance in mW/[m^^-1] and a linear horizontal scale for wavenumber in cm^-1, equal areas will correspond to equal values of mW/[m^] which is proportional to flux in W/m^2 . Therefore I calculated a 288.2 K Planck black body function at 100 cm^-1 intervals from 0 to 2400 cm^-1, and matched its value with that of a printout of the MODTRAN spectrum at 900 cm^-1, the middle of a “window” of zero absorbance from 800 to 1000 cm^-1. The area BETWEEN the 288.2 K Planck curve and the actual spectrum is then due to the net absorption by greenhouse gases. The region from 0-600 cm^-1 is due to absorptions by water vapour, between rotational energy levels in the ground vibrational state. It is basically an R-branch, with molecules whose rotational quantum numbers change by +1 (e.g. from J=3 to J=4) after absorption of a photon. The absorption from 1200 to 2200 cm^-1 corresponds to absorptions from the ground vibrational state (with vibrational quantum number v=0) to the vibrationally first excited state (with v=1), with an R-branch due to changes in J of +1, and a P-branch (below 1595 cm^-1) formed when J changes by -1 (e.g. from J=3 to J=2). The P-branch is possible because the jump in vibrational energy, proportional to 1595 cm^-1, is greater than the width of the entire branch (500-600 cm^-1). The total area of absorption due to water vapour, CO2 and ozone (O3) must correspond to 383.34 – 260.12 = 123.23 W/m^2 , where 383.34 W/m^2 is the Stefan-Boltzmann emission of a 288.2 K Planck black body of emissivity 0.98, and 260.12 W/m^2 is the TOA (Top Of the Atmosphere) flux that escapes to outer space. The result of the complete spectrum from 0 to 2400 cm^-1 is absorption of 38.1 W/m^2 due to CO2, 80.4 W/m^2 due to water vapour, and 4.7 W/m^2 due to ozone. These numbers are not to be taken seriously to 3 significant figures, because other spectra can vary widely, especially in water vapour. However, it is obvious that water vapour is about twice as important as CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
Note also that the 3.39 W/m^2 radiative forcing on doubling CO2 from 300 to 600 ppmv is only 8.9% of the total CO2 absorption at 300 ppmv, of 38.1 W/m^2. The change is a factor of 11 smaller than the 100% expected if absorption were strictly linear with concentration; this is due to saturation of almost all central CO2 frequencies, and shows up as only a small area difference, between the green and blue curves in the MODTRAN spectra.
A 1 degree rise in temperature raises the vapour pressure of water by about 7% (see ). Therefore a 7% increase in water vapour might be expected to result in an increased absorption of 0.07(80.4) = 5.63 W/m^2, which is 166% of the 3.39 W/m^2 radiative forcing on doubling CO2. Perhaps this is where the estimate of a 200% positive feedback came from, which boosted a climate sensitivity (not including feedbacks) of 1 degree to 1 + 2 = 3 degrees. However, this is way too high, because most of the water vapour lines are highly saturated, especially above 1200 cm^-1 (the R-branch above 1600 cm^-1 is almost 100% absorbed, and cannot result in more absorption).
In addition, the 1 degree warming due to doubling CO2 (not including feedbacks) is too high. A TOA flux of 260.12 W/m^2 corresponds to a perfect black body (emissivity 1) at 260.25 K (obtained using the Stefan-Boltzmann law backwards = the 4th root of [260.12/(5.67 x 10^-8)] ). A TOA flux of 256.72 W/m^2 corresponds to 259.40 K. The temperature difference is 260.25 – 259.40 = 0.85 K, which is approx. 1 degree, the climate sensitivity on doubling CO2 (not including feedbacks). But the main components of the troposphere, N2, O2 and Ar, are non-polar molecules which cannot and do not emit any significant IR at all, so the idea of the troposphere being made up of shells which absorb and emit Planck black body spectra is all wrong!
Instead, we can calculate changes in surface temperature as follows: at 300 ppmv CO2, 260.12 W/m^ escape at the TOA when a 288.2 K Earth’s surface emits 383.34 W/m^2 (assuming emissivity is 0.98). Therefore the transmission factor for the troposphere is 260.12/383.34 = 0.6786 . If the radiative forcing at the TOA on doubling CO2 is 3.39 W/m^2, this means that the Earth’s surface must emit 3.39/0.6786 = 5.00 W/m^2 more, for energy balance. Therefore the new total emission must be 383.34 + 5.00 = 388.34 W/m^2, which on using the Stefan-Boltzmann law backwards, must mean a new temperature of the 4th root of [388.34/(0.98 x 5.67 x 10^-8)] = 289.14 K. Therefore climate sensitivity (not including feedbacks) must be 289.14 – 288.2 = 0.94 K. Doesn’t this mean that the literature, including the Wikipedia article on Climate sensitivity, is correct in estimating 1 degree? No, because the 3.39 W/m^2 at the TOA is for a cloudless surface. We note that at 300 ppmv, the TOA flux is 260 W/m^2, way higher than the 240 W/m^2 average flux necessary for energy balance. Clouds cover approx. 62% of the Earth’s surface, so the TOA flux above clouds must be 228 W/m^2 [Check: 0.62(228) + 0.38(260) = 240 W/m^2]. Because the cloud tops are cooler than 288.2 K, they emit less Planck black body emission to be absorbed. Combined with the smaller number of CO2 molecules in the path length from the cloud top to outer space, and the smaller fraction of molecules in the first vibrationally excited state (the extra absorption occurs in sidebands centered at 218 and 721 cm^-1), this means that the net overall extra surface emission must be 3.57 W/m^2, corresponding to a climate sensitivity of 0.67 K (not including water vapour or cloud feedbacks).
Because central CO2 frequencies escape in the stratosphere, from about 20-30 km altitude, there is actually a slightly increased emission when the MODTRAN calculations are extended to 70 km altitude, instead of being truncated at 10 or 20 km [see the section “The hard bit” at ]. This decreases the climate sensitivity (not including water vapour and cloud feedbacks) to 0.51 K. Therefore water vapour feedback is not the 7% increase on a 1 degree rise in temperature, but about 4%, and this is reduced by a factor of 3 due to saturation effects [the calculation gets too messy for this Comment, but I can send you details on request to my email address of ],
The bottom line result is that water vapour feedback will be between +0.21 and +0.33 degrees, but cloud feedback will be about -0.2 degrees which cancels much or most of the water vapour feedback. So climate sensitivity, including water vapour and cloud feedbacks, will be about 0.6 K, a factor of 5 times smaller than the oft-quoted 3 K. This 3 K must be at least a factor of 2 too high, since the historic rise from 280 to 400 ppmv CO2 means the number of doublings is [log(400/280)]/log2 = 0.51, and 0.51(3) = 1.54 degrees, a factor of 2 higher than the 0.8 +/- 0.1 degrees in the historic record from 1850 to 2015. And this latter calculation assumes that ALL of the historic rise in temperature has been due to CO2 and related feedbacks. It is staggering to me that no one, including President Obama’s former science advisor who won a Nobel Prize in Physics, could do this simple high school math…. But they were blinded by faith in the simple 1 + 2 = 3 degree calculation which was wrong in both components.

K. Kilty
July 23, 2016 9:06 am

My daughter (now age seven) started coming home with environmental advice from kindergarten at age five. She would actually cry about things like my use of wood to build a deck. I spent a lot of time explaining to her why people do these things that are allegedly ruining the Earth–that these things often make a reasonable life possible and are actually very “sustainable”, whatever that might mean.
I am very glad the public school system is teaching her to read, write, do some elementary arithmetic, letting her be in plays, do art and so forth. At least I get some value from my tax money. However, any reasonable parent has to understand that the education of children is near criminally unbalanced and incomplete if left entirely in the hands of teachers. The “rule of thumb” stated by Gentle Tramp, earlier in this thread is more or less true.

July 23, 2016 3:42 pm

If someone uses the word “trend” when they say they’re talking about science, leave them on the ground with a bloody face.

July 23, 2016 7:20 pm

Problem is “stuff” gets done [implemented] by the powers that be while people are trying to discern the propaganda from the actual science.

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