Retraction request for Harvey et al. attack paper on Dr. Susan Crockford

Retraction request to Bioscience: FOIA emails document another harsh criticism of Amstrup’s 2007 polar bear model

Dr. Susan Crockford in 2011

Essay by Dr. Susan Crockford (republished from her website )on Retraction request to Bioscience: FOIA emails document another harsh criticism of Amstrup’s 2007 polar bear model

Today I sent a letter to the editors of the journal Bioscience requesting retraction of the shoddy and malicious paper by Harvey et al. (Internet blogs, polar bears, and climate-change denial by proxy) published online last week.

The letter reveals information about the workings of the polar bear expert inner circle not known before now, so grab your popcorn.

Harvey et al. 2018 in press climate denial by proxy using polar bears_Title

I have copied the letter below, which contains emails obtained via FOIA requests to the US Geological Survey and the US Fish and Wildlife Service by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, E&E Legal, and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic (USFWS requestUSGS request) and sent to me by lawyer Chris Horner in 2014, unsolicited. I reveal some of them now, with his permission (most of the emails are boring, involving mostly technical topics not relevant to anything, as might be expected).

The emails in question, sent in 2014, pertain to preparations by three members of the Polar Bear Specialist Group for the IUCN Red List assessment due in 2015 (Kristin Laidre, University of Washington, Eric Regehr, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Østein Wiig, Museum of Natural History, University of Olso), and Steven Amstrup (formerly head of the polar bear research at the US Geological Survey, now “head scientist” for conservation organization Polar Bears International.

They include frank discussions about a harsh critique of Amstrup et al.’s 2007 report and 2008 paper used to support listing polar bears as ‘threatened’ on the US Endangered Species List. The criticisms come from modeling expert and chair of the IUCN Red List Standards and Petitions Subcommittee (which develops guidelines for threatened and endangered species assessments, and evaluates petitions against the red-listing of these species), H. Resit Akçakaya. The IUCN is the world’s leading conservation organization, of which the PBSG is a part.

These records are a damning indictment that the “best available science” was not used to assess conservation status of polar bears under the ESA in 2008 and 2014 and show that I am not the only scientist who thinks Amstrup’s model is fatally flawed. The letter is copied in full below, the emails are copied at the end. A file of all of the entire pertinent email thread is available as a pdf below. Here’s a sample:

Wiig to Laidre_9 May 2014 follow up to Lunches with Resit_first part_redacted highlighted

Susan Crockford, Ph.D. (Zoology)
University of Victoria
Polar Bear Science

December 5, 2017

Scott Collins,
University of New Mexico
(505) xxxxxxxx


James Verdier
Senior Editor
American Institute of Biological Sciences
(703) xxxxxxxxxx

Dear Sirs,

You recently published an article by Harvey et al. (Internet blogs, polar bears, and climate-change denial by proxy), which maliciously made a variety of defamatory and untrue allegations against me. These false allegations include: that I have no published peer-reviewed papers on polar bears, that I have manufactured my expertise, that I criticize polar bear researchers without supporting evidence, and that I have ignored or misrepresented science.  Over and above these accusations and allegations being untrue, defamatory and malicious, the paper misrepresents my actual expertise. The paper pointedly leaves out the fact that I am a professional zoologist with a Ph.D. and over forty years of experience and dozens of peer-reviewed papers on various topics, and also fails to mention that I have recently published a detailed academic critique on the issue of polar bear conservation status.


You (referring here, and below, to the journal collectively with the authors) falsely alleged that I have no expertise on the subject of polar bears.

The paper states: “Notably, as of this writing, Crockford has neither conducted any original research nor published any articles in the peer-reviewed literature on polar bears.”

The paper fails to mention that my Ph.D. dissertation on speciation included polar bears: the paper only says that the Global Warming Policy Foundation describes me as “an expert on polar bear evolution” (as if this is probably a lie). Zoology is the relevant general field for the study of polar bears. My particular specialty of evolutionary theory has a zero field or laboratory component but that does not mean I am not a qualified zoologist, or that I lack expertise in polar bear biology.

In addition to my dissertation that features polar bears, I have an article on evolution in a peer-reviewed journal in which polar bears are prominently featured (Crockford 2003), and two official comments, with references, on polar bear hybridization (which is how official responses to published papers are handled in these two journals). I also have a paper in a peer-reviewed book chapter on ringed seals, the primary prey of polar bears (Crockford and Frederick 2011), and a peer-reviewed journal article on the paleohistory of Bering Sea ice, the habitat of Chukchi Sea polar bears (Crockford and Frederick 2007).

Crockford, S. J. 2003. Thyroid hormone phenotypes and hominid evolution: a new paradigm implicates pulsatile thyroid hormone secretion in speciation and adaptation changes. International Journal of Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 135(1):105-129. [peer reviewed journal, includes polar bear evolution discussion]

Crockford, S. and Frederick, G. 2007. Sea ice expansion in the Bering Sea during the Neoglacial: evidence from archaeozoology. The Holocene 17 (6):699-706. [peer reviewed journal, an Arctic sea ice paper]

Crockford, S. J. 2012.  Directionality in polar bear hybridization. [Official comment with references to Hailer et al. 2012], Science336:344-347.

Crockford, S. J. 2012. Directionality in polar bear hybridization. [Official comment with references to Edwards et al. 2011], Current Biology 21: 1251-1258.

Crockford, S. J. and Frederick, G. 2011. Neoglacial sea ice and life history flexibility in ringed and fur seals. pg. 65-91 In T. Braje and R. Torrey, eds. Human and Marine Ecosystems: Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Northeastern Pacific Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters. U. California Press, LA. [a peer-reviewed book chapter]

While it is true that these peer-reviewed papers are not the result of field research on polar bears and most do not focus exclusively on polar bears, they do deal with the history of polar bear habitat, the ecology and physiology of their primary prey, and the evolution of polar bears as a species (which requires a firm understanding of their zoogeography, ecology, genetics, physiology, behaviour, and life history). I don’t believe that the definition of a peer-reviewed paper on polar bears implies it be only about polar bears. These topics are all valid and important aspects of polar bear biology and cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to my zoological expertise as it pertains to this species. The citations to these papers are listed on my blog “about” page.

I have never claimed expertise based on field experience. My expertise comes from an intimate knowledge of the veritable mountain of polar bear and Arctic sea ice literature that I have studied for more than a decade. To my knowledge, no one else with a background in zoology outside the rather insular circle of polar bear field researchers has bothered to take on this task, and thus no one else has been able to critically comment on recent polar bear papers and reports with reference to previous work.

In January 2017 I published a detailed scientific critique on the issue of polar bear conservation status (Crockford 2017) that demonstrates my extensive knowledge of the relevant literature. One might disagree with the conclusions of the paper but it is indisputably a scientific paper in structure, tone, and content. It was peer-reviewed by several well-qualified colleagues before publication (and revised accordingly) but was not peer-reviewed again by the PeerJ organization, as is their policy. The journal does, however, provide an easy venue for online review by colleagues. None of the polar bear researchers whose work I criticized have posted a review or comment in the 10 months it has been available.

Crockford, S.J. 2017. Testing the hypothesis that routine sea ice coverage of 3-5 mkm2 results in a greater than 30% decline in population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). PeerJ Preprints 2 March 2017. Doi: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.2737v3 Open access.

Harvey et al. state: “…scientists such as Crockford who are described as “experts” on denier blogs in fact typically have little in the way of relevant expertise, and their expertise is often self-manufactured to serve alternative agendas.”  The implication that I have self-manufactured my expertise is simply malicious, and an egregious breach of professional ethics.  Due diligence requires that before making allegations of lack of expertise on polar bears and self-manufactured expertise, you should have contacted me. It is professionally inexcusable that no one emailed or phoned me, either prior to submission of this paper or while it was in review, about these accusations.


1) “Crockford vigorously criticizes, without supporting evidence, the findings of several leading researchers who have studied polar bears in the field for decades.

Contrary to the quoted statement above, all of my blog posts contain the evidence to support critical comments I’ve made, or provide links to previous posts where that evidence is supplied.

Example a) Crockford (2017, cited above) is a fully referenced document that supplies all of the evidence needed to support the conclusion that Amstrup and colleagues’ model of polar bear demise with diminishing sea ice is a failed hypothesis.

Example b) I spent considerable time and effort in 2014 going through the scientific literature on the topic of sea ice cover and walrus haulout behaviour. I wrote a series of blog posts which included quotes from those papers and, where possible, copies of the papers themselves. In the end, there were four detailed blog posts on the topic (all are listed in this post ). At this point the Global Warming Policy Foundation asked me to compile those into one fully referenced document, for which I was paid – as scientists and science writers are paid for science magazine features (Crockford, S.J. 2014. On The Beach: Walrus haulouts are nothing new. GWPF Briefing 11. The Global Warming Policy Foundation, London. Pdf here). Note that my conclusion that Pacific walrus show no particular increased risk to survival from sea ice declines has been vindicated: the US Fish and Wildlife Service recently declared  that walrus are not in need of ESA protection as they have shown an ability to adapt to sea ice loss that was “not foreseen.”   [includes a copy of the USFWS press release, the Federal Register announcement, and the 2017 USFWS Species Assessment Report for the Pacific Walrus]

Example c) In a 2014 post, I criticized Steven Amstrup for his continued promotion of his model predicting the demise of polar bears due to sea ice loss when he knew that a high-level member of the IUCN Red List had harshly criticized the validity of his work:  I quoted directly from Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) documents available online and posted the entire documents for confirmation.

Evidence provided in that post is substantiated here by emails to and from US federal government members of the PBSG (obtained via FOIA requests to the US Geological Survey and the US Fish and Wildlife Service by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, E&E Legal, and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic, available on request) and sent to me by lawyer Chris Horner in 2014. Until these documents arrived via email, unsolicited, I had no knowledge this FOIA had been initiated. I did nothing with them at the time but reveal them now, with permission.

These emails show that the IUCN Red List official discussed in my blog post (Dr. Resit Akçakaya, “Resit” in the emails, Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University, a modeling expert) not only spoke in disparaging terms about Amstrup et al.’s 2007/2008 model that was used to justify placing polar bears on the US endangered species list (“…he [Resit] says it has very little value for anything”), he warned the PBSG that if they insisted on basing their 2015 polar bear assessment on the same model it would be rejected and polar bears would be declared “data deficient” – a result that would be “like a catastrophe” according to member Øystein Wiig, the PBSG assessment chairman (Natural History Museum, University of Oslo). The emails show several of Amstrup’s PBSG colleagues (if not all of them) had been aware of this harsh criticism since 2012.

Amstrup clearly resented this censure and his colleagues were quite aware of his anger (quotes transcribed below, copies of emails they are taken from are copied at the end of the letter):

“Overall he [Resit] is very negative to the Amstrup et al. model and says it has very little value for anything, or the Red List…He said it is difficult to fill out just one conditional probability table, but having thousands all merged together in the BN is just crazy and tells you nothing (he actually said “only Bayesians would accept ‘a belief’ to be a probability!”). [Kirsten Laidre, University of Washington to Øystein Wiig and Eric Regeher, USFWS, 8 May 2014, after a lunch meeting with Resit Akçakaya]

 He [Resit] said he felt if PBSG used the BN model again this time for the new Red List it would very likely NOT be accepted and the polar bear would be listed as “Data Deficient”, which he felt would be a shame and also not a good thing politically. (if we cannot figure out where polar bears get listed how can we do it for other species) [Laidre to Wiig and Regher, same email as above, 8 May 2014]

Between the 3 of us, this is a difficult thing to navigate in the PBSG because Amstrup plays a big role and is very sensitive about his model” [Laidre to Wiig and Regeher, same email as above, 8 May 2014]

I think we must accept that they [IUCN Red List] will not accept the BN [Bayesian Network] model. Amstrup can talk as loud as he wants but it will not help” [Wiig to Laidre, 9 May 2014]

He [Resit] repeated what he told us in 2012 and was very clear that the BN [Bayesian Network] model was not suitable to be used in this red list assessment. He indicated that an assessment based on the BN model would not be accepted by the IUCN Standards and Petition Subcommittee which he chairs.” [Wiig to Steven Amstrup, Polar Bears International, 16 May 2014]

It was a good mail to Steve [Amstrup]hopefully he will not shoot the messenger” [Wiig, who told Amstrup his model could not be used for the 2015 IUCN Red List assessment].[Laidre to Wiig and Regehr, 16 May 2014, on receiving a copy of the email Wiig sent to Amstrup]

Amstrup, S.C., Marcot, B.G., Douglas, D.C. 2008. A Bayesian network modeling approach to forecasting the 21st century worldwide status of polar bears. Pgs. 213-268 in Arctic Sea Ice Decline: Observations, Projections, Mechanisms, and Implications, E.T. DeWeaver, C.M. Bitz, and L.B. Tremblay (eds.). Geophysical Monograph 180. American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C. and  [this is the peer-reviewed version of the USGS internal report published in 2007 by the same authors]

These email records demonstrate that I am not the only one to harshly criticize Amstrup’s work and that the best available science was not used to support the ESA listing in 2008. As early as 2012, Akçakaya’s scathing opinion of Amstrup’s model was known to several (if not all) PBSG members including Amstrup.

Akçakaya’s critique is absolutely damning for the validity of the ESA listing: it indicates that USGS biologists did not use the “best available science” in supporting the listing of ‘threatened’ – it used a method considered to be scientifically inadequate for assessing a future threat. Akçakaya’s criticisms were not made public, however, and the same flawed method was used again in 2014 to uphold the ESA listing, based on the same type of Bayesian Network model as Amstrup et al.’s 2007/2008 version, with the addition of opinions from four additional experts (Atwood et al. 2014, USGS Open File Report 2014-1254). The 2015 Red List assessment used a completely different method (Regehr et al. 2016, Biology Letters).

While Amstrup was clearly outraged at his IUCN Red List colleague, Akçakaya had the balance of power and Amstrup could not retaliate. Amstrup appears to be even more outraged over the criticisms expressed in my 2017 paper (Crockford 2017) but this time, he engaged with 13 other colleagues to belittle my work and scientific reputation in print. The editors of Bioscience assisted Amstrup and his colleagues in that objective by publishing the paper, made worse by making it an “Editor’s Choice”.

2) “Crockford’s blog frequently extracts partial research out¬comes and portrays them as contrary to the documented effects of AGW on sea ice or polar bears—supporting a “scientific uncertainty” frame. For example, when alleging sea ice recovered after 2012, Crockford downplayed the contribution of sea-ice loss to polar-bear population declines in the Beaufort Sea.”

I have “downplayed” the contribution of summer sea ice loss to polar bear population declines in the Southern Beaufort Sea (I presume they mean the “Southern Beaufort Sea” subpopulation, as there is no “Beaufort Sea” population) because Amstrup, Stirling, and other researchers have themselves downplayed the well-documented effects of thick spring ice conditions on polar bear population declines between 2001 and 2010. Thick spring ice conditions in 2004-2006 (which have occurred in this region about every 10 years since the 1960s with devastating results on polar bear numbers, documented by Stirling and colleagues in various papers, which I have cited numerous times in blog posts and in Crockford 2017) occurred in the middle of the polar bear population survey period. However, because summer sea ice had also occurred over that period, a correlation was made between loss of summer sea ice and population decline. The paper reporting the population decline from 2001-2010 (Bromaghin et al. 2015) acknowledges that the population began to recover after 2007 (described in this post, with quotes and references) ), even though 2007 was the first markedly low sea ice year. There has not been another population count since 2010.

My primary issue with Amstrup and Stirling is that none of the models that predict a future outcome for polar bears take the documented negative effects of thick winter and spring ice (as well as thick snow cover over ice in the spring) into account, phenomena that are documented for a few regions but almost certainly relevant to all. Amstrup and Stirling ignore these important impacts on survival and instead focus exclusively on summer sea ice loss. Crockford (2017) explains these issues thoroughly, as do my blog posts on this topic (with references and quotes from original documents, summarized in this post: In other words, this is a professional, scientific disagreement: it is not an attempt to sow scientific uncertainty. Therefore, the claim that “Crockford’s blog frequently extracts partial research out¬comes and portrays them as contrary to the documented effects of AGW on sea ice or polar bears—supporting a “scientific uncertainty” frame” is without merit.

3) “Some of the most prominent AGW deniers, including Crockford, are linked with or receive support from corporate-funded think tanks that downplay AGW (e.g., the Heartland Institute) and/or receive direct funding from fossil-fuel companies (Oreskes and Conway 2011).”

I am not “linked with” nor do I “receive support” from The Heartland Institute or any other corporate-funded think tank. I was paid $750 a month from 2011 to 2013 (through a contract, not a salary) to make summaries of published papers relating to vertebrate animals that I thought might not be covered by the next IPCC report. These summaries were to be included in the NIPCC report to ensure that a balanced perspective of the literature was available to the public, which the Heartland Institute published. I chose which papers to examine and what to write. The monthly payments ended (as did the contract) when my work on the NIPCC report was finished in early 2014. I have not received any money from Heartland since, except for travel expenses to their 2017 conference.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation has occasionally paid me for summary papers and video content (see item 1b above, for example), just as science magazines that publish lengthy features would do. I have also written articles for magazines aimed at general readers, for which I have also been paid.

No one pays me to write my Polar Bear Science blog.


One of the co-authors (Bart Verheggen) released the SI document containing the methodology on 5 December 2017, which had not been published along with the paper on 29 November 2017 on the Bioscience website.

Flaws were immediately apparent in the choice of blogs used to generate Figures 1 and 2 in the paper. One outlet was counted twice (The Daily Caller, and Daily Caller), the error enhanced because this is not a blog at all but a news site called The Daily Caller News Foundation.

While Harvey et al. define a blog as “a website that contains regularly updated online personal ideas, com¬ments, and/or hyperlinks provided by the writer (Nisbet and Kotcher 2013),” the lists include a website that is a scientific literature aggregator with content based on press releases (ScienceDaily), not a blog, and the aforementioned news outlet (Daily Caller), also not a blog.

In addition, The View From Here has not been updated since 20 Dec 2015 and the Tom Nelson blog similarly has no recent content, being last updated 11 April 2015 (he now communicates on twitter).

There is also the reprehensible and entirely unscientific use of the “denier” slur throughout the Harvey et al. paper, a derogatory term originally coined by journalist Ellen Goodman in 2007:

“I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.” Boston Globe, February 9, 2007 “No change in political climate.” Wayback Machine, here

Such damning errors and inappropriate language are appalling for something purporting to be a peer-reviewed science paper.

By identifying and discussing the above issues, I do not mean to imply that there aren’t other issues that could be raised about this paper. But these are enough.

You accuse me of having no expertise regarding polar bears, no peer-reviewed papers about polar bears, allege that I support a “scientific uncertainty” frame, and state that I criticize the work of Amstrup and colleagues without supporting evidence.

These allegations are untrue, defamatory and malicious, but in addition, the failure to mention my Ph.D. and my recent scientific critique constitute a falsification of my expertise and work output. In addition, the purported scientific analysis is shoddy and the language used is reprehensible.

I formally request that you retract this paper.

Yours truly,

Dr. Susan J. Crockford
University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C. Canada
scrock@xxxxx and sjcrock@xxxxxx
Phone 250-xxxxxxxxx


From: Kristin Laidre klaidre@xxxxxxxx
Sent: Thu May 08 2014 17:35:58 GMT-0600 (MDT)
To: 0ystein Wiig
Subject: Re: FW: Polar bear Red List – meeting with Resit

I hope you have a nice time celebrating your independence from that small, very flat country. It is extra gratifying to celebrate it with some Danes 🙂

I wanted you to know I had lunch with Resit today. It was very informative and we had good talks about the polar bear Red List issues. I wanted to let you know what I learned. I cc Eric since it seems the 3 of us are the most involved in the Red List issue at the moment. I also thought I should write you both in case you think of anything more specific I should ask Resit tomorrow, our last day here.

I am not entirely sure of Resit’s position within IUCN (?) but I guess he is peer reviewing the proposed listings? He struck me as a very nice, smart person (with good humor, which helps).

-Overall he is very negative to the Amstrup et al. model and says it has very little value for anything, or the Red List.

-He said it is difficult to fill out just one conditional probability table, but having thousands all merged together in the BN is just crazy and tells you nothing (he actually said “only Bayesians would accept ‘a belief’ to be a “probability!”)

-He said he felt if PBSG used the BN model again this time for the new Red List it would very likely NOT be accepted and the polar bear would be listed as “Data Deficient”, which he felt would be a shame and also not a good thing politically. (if we cannot figure out where polar bears get listed how can we do it for other species).

-He gave me a few suggestions on what he thought would work – he wisely said to root the analysis in actual data and mechanistic things we understand and do not go crazy. I think some of these things Eric is already doing with his models, but I am not sure.

-He was very positive to help us with modeling we needed or wanted his involvement or assistance.
-He said he will be at a IUCN Marine Red List in Vancouver, BC this October and we could meet there if convenient. He said there are some very quantitative marine people there (shark specialists) that could be useful for us.

-He suggested we discuss the issue in June at PBSG and make a small working group of people that could contribute to an analysis that can actually be used for the Red List.

-He has just submitted a paper modeling warning times to extinction under the Red List criteria.

That is what I learned. Between the 3 of us, this is a difficult thing to navigate in the PBSG because Amstrup plays a big role and is very sensitive about his model. We as a group will have to decide what we put forward for polar bears .. even if some are not happy.

If I should inform Dag about this meeting let me know. Or, if I should ask Resit more questions tomorrow I can probably ask him to lunch again!



Wiig to Laidre, 9 May 2014, response to lunch with Resit notes:

On 5/9 2014 1:01 AM, Øystein Wiig wrote:
> Dear Kristin,

This is extremely informative. It underlines what I have tried to inform the group all the time, the generation length is not that difficulty[sic], it is the red list assessment that is the difficult issue! 🙂

I think Resit is leading the Petition committee in IUCN that shall evaluate all red list assessments that involve climate models. So that committee will evaluate the polar bear model assessment! I think we must accept that they will not accept the BN model! Amstrup can talk as loud as he wants but it will not help!

[It?] would be very good if we could involve Resit more in the process. I suggested earlier he should be invited to Ft. Collins. I assume it is late but not impossible if he was willing. I talked to Dag [Vongraven] Wednesday. We have 1.5h for the red list stuff at the meeting.

When I worked on the red list issue in 2012 I had an idea on assessing it by subpopulation and use the projected optimal habitat changes weighed in relation to subpop [subpopulation] sizes. Then the problem is to relate habitat change to population change. The big question [is] how can we use the info we have from some populations to extrapolate to other populations and into the future. I enclose the spreadsheet I started on. I hope you understand what I mean, but I am not certain how good the idea is. How would Eric’s modeling fit in hear[sic]? This would be relevant in relation to the A criteria. You could ask Resit a bit more on how to do assessments by subpopulation and expected optimal habitat change? We are allowed to come up with a range of red list categories in order to express uncertainty. Could you also ask him about the software he has developed for red list assessment.

We might also assess (by subpopulation) in relation to the C criterion

[Message ends; the message on the next page (13) in the pdf is another email, from Wiig to Resit, sent on 19 October 2012, transcribed above]


Wiig to Laidre and Regehr, 10 May 2014, response to lunch notes, especially, “it would be like a catastrophe for IUCN and us if we end of with DD” [Data Deficient]:

From: Østein Wiig
Sent: Sal May 10 2014 02:43:05 GMT.0600 (MDT)
To: Kristin Laldre klaidre@xxxxxxxxxxxx, Eric Regehr@xxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: FW: Polar bear Red List – meeting with Resit #2

Dear Kristin,
Thank you very much!!

It would be like a “catastrophy” for IUCN and us if we end up with DD [“Data Deficient”]. I think a meeting with Resit would be best but I do know how to get that done. Was he at all able to come to Ft. Collins?? I think this issue is so serious that I could use any evening and night to discuss procedures with him in a small group.

The way I understand you is that also Resit is concerned for the IUCN if we ends [sic] up with DD. So Simon Stewart might be willing to pay for a meeting between some of us.

How many pops [populations] do we have useable that from: SB, WH and SH?? How could we actually use other response variables??

A workshop is the way to go. I do not believe a telephone conference will solve it, but it could certainly help to change focus from the BN modeling to other ways to look at the problem!

Resit earlier has suggested that we could use a subjective evaluation by say twenty experts and estimate uncertainty based on the difference between evaluators. Did you discuss that option at all. [sic]

What do you and Eric think about the way to go?

We shall have a small reception in our new house for friends in some hours and have to prepare for that. On Monday I am occupied with lecture [sic] on polar bear conservation at the University. After that I can concentrate more on the red list issue.

Thank you very much for talking to Resit!! 🙂


Copy of a message from Resit to Wiig in 2012, re: Red List assessment

–Original Message–
: From: Resit Akcakaya [mailto:resit.akcakaya@xxxxxxxx)
: Sent: Monday, October 22, 2012 2:55 PM
; To: oystein.wiig@xxxxxx
Cc: Craig Hilton-Taylor
I Subject: Re: Polar bear Red List

Hi Øystein,
I wanted to remind you that the SPSC had a large number of reservations about the BN modeling of Amstrup et al.

I would therefore recommend against relying heavily on that paper.

Also, attached is a recent paper on another BN modeling approach that was proposed for red listing. The issues we discuss in this paper are not the same as SPSC’s reservations about the Amstrup et al. paper, but there are some similarities.

I hope you have a productive meeting.


H. Resit Akcakaya
Professor and Graduate Program Director
Department of Ecology and Evolution
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, New York 11794 USA
Tel: 1-631-xxxxxxxx
Fax: 1-631-xxxxxxxxx


Wiig to Laidre and Regehr, sending a copy of his email to Amstrup informing him that his model could not be used for the 2015 IUCN Red List assessment:

On 5/16/2014 1:18 AM Øystein Wiig wrote:

Hi Kristin and Eric,

I copy you my mail to Steve for information. I hope my mail does not offend him in any way.

Thanks to Eric for your mail . It is very interesting what you are proposing. I rely [sic] hope you are able (will find time!) to contribute to the red list assessment with those ideas. Our deadline is June next year.

I think we should try to arrange a telephone call with Resit as soon as possible, but it could be interesting to know Steve’s react ion first.

We need to hear a bit more from Resit about ideas on what red list criterion he assumes we could use, if he is available for an evening call after we have discussed the red list issue at the meeting, and how we could proceed with his involvement. Do you know when the Vancouver meeting is scheduled?

With regard to our presentation at the meeting I suggest I take up general issues and future plans regarding the assessment and you present the status of the GL work. Would that be ok?



Wiig to Amstrup and Vongraven, PBSG Chairman, 16 May 2014, informing him that his model could not be used for the 2015 IUCN Red List assessment:

—–Original Message—-
From: Øystein Wiig
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2014 9:29 AM
To: Steve Amstrup
Cc: Dag Vongraven
Subject: Redlist

Dear Steve,
I hope you are doing well!

I have been thinking a lot on how to proceed with the red list process.

The GL [generation length] issue is now taken care of through the work that are [sic] done basically by Eric and Kristin. We had a good workshop in Seattle in January and have received data from most of the requested populations. We will present GL results at the meeting.

The next and more difficult step is the assessment itself, which we also were working on in 2012. Last week Kristin was at a NASA meeting in WA DC where also Resit Ackakaya was attending. Kristin knew that I had been in contact with him before and asked me if she should contact him and discuss the difficulties we feel we have with the red list assessment. I certainly asked her to do that!

Kristin had a very good discussion wlth Resit and he was really interested in the polar bear issue! He repeated what he told us in 2012 and was very clear that the BN model was not suitable to be used in this red list assessment. He indicated that an assessment based on the BN model would not be accepted by the IUCN Standards and Petition Subcommittee which he chairs.

The polar bear would then be declared Data Deficient (DD) by the IUCN! I think that would be dramatic for all parts involved and must be avoided!

Resit has been involved in several red list assessments and was certain it was possible to do the polar bear assessment based on the data we have. We need to find some population rate data that can be related to change in population size. He was actually very willing to be involved and help us. The polar bear assessment is also very important for IUCN. Resit believed that Simon Stuart would support such a cooperation. I think it will be very important and productive to involve Resit. Then we can (hopefully ) find a way to do an assessment that is acceptable for IUCN. Resit is probably willing to have a telephone meeting with a smaller red list group in Ft. Collins to discuss this further. In October he will be at a IUCN marine red list meeting in Vancouver. It could be possible to have a small workshop with him there. I will try to have a call with him next week to learn more.

So my suggestion would be to assign a small dedicated group to work together with Resit on the red list assessment. The group could meet with him in October. The group could include you, Eric [Regehr], Kristin [Laidre], Andy [Derocher], me [Wiig] and a few others that are willing to spend time on this.

Looking forward to see you in Ft.Collins!
Best wishes


Laidre to Wiig and Regehr, 16 May 2014, reaction to the emai to Amstrup

—–Original Message—–
From: Kristin Laidre [mailto:klaidre@xxxxxxxx
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2014 4:40 PM
To: 0ystein Wiig; Eric Regehr
Subject: Re: FW: Redlist

Hi Øystein ,
It was a good mail to Steve and I hope he reacts positively. I would be interested to see the follow-up discussion you have with him. Hopefully he does not shoot the messenger 🙂

Should we wait to see what Steve says before I write Resit?

The Vancouver meeting is scheduled in October.

I think your suggestions for the Red List session in CO sound good. I suggest Eric present the GL analysis and then he talk about this modeling plans (if he does not have it done by June). I am willing to presenc anything you guys would like but Eric is the one doing the hard work. I guess Steve will also be presenting the BN based on the request from Dag? Or maybe he will change his mind after seeing your email.

Best wishes for a wonderful celebration tomorrow!



Pdf of transcribed emails from original scans, marked:

Lunch with Resit (May 2014) and Crockford – — again! (June 2014: Bonus emails not mentioned in the letter: you may remember the incident discussed at the time here.



254 thoughts on “Retraction request for Harvey et al. attack paper on Dr. Susan Crockford

      • Mannsplaining. – (n) a device whereby Michael Mann (or other climate scientist) won’t accede to non-climate scientists critiquing their work, but when they venture far afield from their own to critique others they expect to be taken as credible.

        ex: The climate scientist was Mannsplaining to the gathered crowd about the validity Keynesian economics to finally solve World hunger and poverty.

      • “LdB December 5, 2017 at 8:29 pm

        But he has a Nobel Science prize he can do anything :-)”

        Ne does not. It’s a “peace” prize Mann.

      • He has the Nobel Peace Prize as much as he has the Nobel Science prize … I am sure he will tell you it was the Nobel Peace Prize for his Science :-)

      • I have as many Nobel Peace prizes as Michael Mann.
        Similarly, I have the same number of Tour de France titles as Lance Armstrong.

        I really am quite accomplished and also decidedly humble. ;-)

      • Mann has a Peace Prize but advocates “trench warfare” against fellow scientists. It seems to me he should be awarded a Nobel War Prize next year. Perhaps a special one could be minted just for him; he is so special.

      • Fabian caliphate nails it. Mann is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This and the mention of Keynesian economics in this thread warms my heart. This is the great divide of economics.

        Adam Smith vs Karl Marx.

    • Polar bears are fat and lazy whenever they have the chance. They prey on the weak and defenseless. They feel no regrets about eating the young of others as long as they can get away with it. They never feel the need to explain themselves or show justification for their actions. Canabalism isn’t going to far for a polar bear. They have no understanding of science or scientific methods. They can’t do math and they never clean up after themselves. It’s not at all clear to me why Michael Mann should be associated with Polar Bears.

    • To refresh memories, the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) proved to be a slimy bunch in 2009, when then-chairman Dr. Andy Derocher, disinvited Polar bear researcher Mitchel Taylor from the 2009 PBSG meeting. Taylor had caught more polar bears and worked on more polar bear groups than any other researcher, but had also publicly expressed doubts that there was a crisis due to CO2 emissions.

      It’s no surprise Michael Mann and Stephan Lewandowsky were invited to co-author this garbage. As the saying goes: “Pigs know the mud they roll in.”

      • Louis Hooffstetter

        Astonishing really. Taylor spends his professional career trapping and studying one of the most dangerous animals on earth, and is sent to Coventry by petulant, inferior peers.

        No one is safe from the childish, alarmist Mafia.

  1. Keep up your good work Susan!

    I am glad to see Amstrup’s colleague’s have difficulty with his work, and will peruse those emails more carefully tonight. As I researched alarmists claims about polar bears, Amstrup stood out and was found to flip flop and contradict his earlier claims, I quickly distrusted his integrity as he appeared to be jumping on the catastrophic climate change gray train. He got a few mentions in the essay How Scientists Count Bears.

  2. Great response. Unfortunately you are dealing with BioScience, a junk journal – as proven by the fact that they published this attack.

    • Extreme, they are being exposed which is the purpose here. The next step in now theirs to see how they will react.

      It appears a lot of people are going to watch too,

      • Agree on the need for this exposure Sunsettommy. These bullies picked the wrong ‘victim’ this time.

        But when dealing with a journal/camp like this I’m not expecting them to be remotely objective or professional and they could just go nasty. They could also point out that they have published all sorts of junk papers over the years and so this one meets their standards.

  3. From reading the emails, it is extremely informative that they describe a listing of “data deficient” as a catastrophe. Good scientists simply admit when they currently lack enough data and work on ways to improve their understanding. But these fears of “data deficient” designations really illustrates they are agenda driven

    • Absolutely. I’ve argued before that they could not stand the thought of NOT having that “vulnerable” designation.

      In fact, that’s what started the whole game of using global warming to predict future declines: by 1996, the bears had been down-graded to “least concern” and the PBSG had real trouble accepting that. To be fair, animals of least concern get little funding for research but threatened animals get way, way more.

      • You’re an allstar truth teller around here, Susan. Please advise if we can assist in any way. Sign on to a complaint to the journal?

    • The same argument of data deficiency was used in a post here to justify the extrapolation of temperatures from sites with temperature stations into vast areas where none exist. I can’t remember now if it was Mosher or Stokes who made the statement, but the excuse for doing so was that without it, a global average anomaly could not be calculated.

      One has to drift pretty far from real science to get to thinking that one has to make up data for a calculation one needs as evidence for a pet hypothesis. If you don’t have enough data for a calculation, you don’t have the data. You can’t extrapolate from other measurements and call it data.

      • Perhaps I missed the comments but so far I’ve not seen on this post nor the previous related post any comments from the AGW supportive crowd. Could it be that the vulgarity of this attack piece has brought forth a sense of shame among the AGW supporters??

        It would be nice to hear their usually unbiased, unambiguous, and clear take on the situation. /sarc off

      • In another post, one of the lead warmists admitted that the historical temperature data was of low quality and not suitable for the purpose of trying to calculate a global temperature, but then declared that since this data was the only data available, they had no choice but to use it.

        If the data isn’t there, the data isn’t there.
        Pretending bad data is good, is almost as bad as making up the data in the first place.

      • Stokes et al are trying to calculate a “temperature field” equation for the earth as a proxy for global temperature. Conventionally and conveniently the easiest way to do this is to use data points equally spread over the sphere, hence the interpolated points.
        It’s also possible, but more difficult, to take the data points you have and fit an equation that represents a sphere when fitted to the usual grid of latititude/longitude points and use only the lat/long you have for the data. The result won’t be a sphere, but more a lumpy marble with holes in it. But it would be a legitimate representation of the data, and would have weird effects on climate models based on a spherical earth.

      • Philo: We know why they’re using the interpolated temps as data, but the point is that it is an invalid method. An interpolation is a prediction of a value between two points, and as such it is incorrect to use them as data points in other calculations. Doesn’t matter how the interpolations are calculated, whether it’s a simple averaging among points on all sides, or a 13-order polynomial — it’s not data.

        In science, if one doesn’t have the data, one can’t make the calculation. Especially not to 0.01 C. precision and no error bars showed.

  4. I work, self employed, as a Certified Operator of Pest Control in the State of Florida and we actually have a law on the books in our industry specific law range section pertaining to the duties of Certified Operators that we are not allowed to talk bad or make desparaging remarks about other Professionals. It does not mean *only* CPOs but *any* professional. It is much like the law protecting lawyers from other lawyers’ comments.

    Its high time that people with doctorate degrees face the loss of their degree and diploma status for doing such abusive things.

    • “Its high time that people with doctorate degrees face the loss of their degree and diploma status for doing such abusive things” (making disparaging remarks about other professionals).

      Yes, it is high time that people with doctorate degrees face the loss of their degree and diploma status, but not for making disparaging remarks about other professionals. Freedom of speech should be preserved. These charlatans should lose their degrees for committing scientific fraud.

      • Agreed. Any tool that might result in this kind of censure for bad behaviour would be abused to attack scientists who oppose the consensus. It is difficult enough to say that the hockey stick is garbage now because Mann construes any criticism of his work as a personal attack. Imagine if he (as a powerful figure in his little paddling pool of a discipline) were able to use this as an excuse to get people’s degree revoked. If you think that wouldn’t happen then you don’t know the Mann.

      • I agree that is very dangerous ground, it is easy to abuse such things to shut down decent. Remember all rules and laws cut both ways. Back in the day you would have been able to remove degrees from great scientists because they were overturning consensus views.

    • Prjindigo: you comment that “it’s high time that people with doctorate degrees face the loss of their degree and diploma status for doing such abusive things.”
      I have a few thoughts on this. Although I appreciate your stance on the matter, my professor years ago made it clear to me that the scientific thinking in a Ph.D. was the key issue. Whether the aim of the project had been successfully achieved was not the most important thing. What mattered were the questions arising and the methodology used – the scientific thinking was central.
      A Ph.D. from a reputable university is a statement that a candidate has submitted a thesis based on original research, and that this has been formally examined by knowledgeable scientists with relevant experience. It’s a declaration that the candidate is ready for a career in academic science, should he/she wish to go down that road.
      This leads me to my main point.
      At the time a Ph.D. is awarded, the candidate is deemed capable and competent. Unless it’s later shown that the Ph.D. thesis is fraudulent because of say, falsified data, I don’t agree that a person should be stripped of the degree. Human nature being what it is of course, some individuals do go off the proverbial rails. That doesn’t alter the fact that their Ph.D. was properly obtained, and I can’t see why anyone should have the right to strip them of that Ph.D.
      That said, I certainly favour some sort of punitive options. It’s very sad indeed that matters have developed as they have in some areas of science.

      • “That doesn’t alter the fact that their Ph.D. was properly obtained, and I can’t see why anyone should have the right to strip them of that Ph.D.”

        I agree. The Ph.D was awarded for doing something noteworthy, and subsequent unethical or criminal activities do not change that. Some other form of punishment should be applied for any wrongdoing.

      • Let them keep their PhD but offer no credits for the courses they teach. That would be as M/C says “Priceless”

      • C500, I was told the same thing by my supervisor many years ago … process and critical thinking ! The conclusion, positive or negative, are in fact all positive in that focus on the subject is enhanced either way … go this way, don’t go that way.

    • That’s a nice cozy arrangement that the Florida exterminators have to not say anything mean about each other. Y’all familiar with the First Amendment down there? Or did you repeal that locally too? The rest of us get by on common law defamation actions. If it’s untrue, defamatory, and causes harm, it’s actionable. In other words, up here if you do shoddy pest control work your competitors don’t have to protect you–as long as they can support their opinions. It’s called competition.

      Would you suggest a law requiring all climate scientists can’t say mean things to each other? And give Michael Mann a pass? More ammunition for his silly lawsuits? Crockford’s letter was well written, and clearly with the help of a knowledgeable attorney who is setting up a defamation claim if the journal fails to correct or retract.

      • The First Amendment protects the citizens’ speech from persecution by the government. It doesn’t have a thing to say about private professional organizations and their codes of conduct.

  5. In addition to the flaws noted, the paper uses a blog called “” as one of the “science-based” resources from which they collect data. As it turns out, the blog’s two posts focusing on polar bears (2014) were an announcement and recap of a lecture delivered to the local community by the very Steven Amstrup, a co-author of the paper in question.

    So the Harvey et al. paper assigned this random local news blog a designation of “science-based” based on the lecture of one of the paper’s own authors, and then used the blog’s propagation of his own words as evidence that science supports his conclusions. It would be difficult to underestimate my opinion for this paper.

    • The surprising thing is that they didn’t use each of the author’s Facebook pages as ‘evidence.’

    • “In addition to the flaws noted, the paper uses a blog called “” as one of the “science-based” resources from which they collect data. As it turns out, the blog’s two posts focusing on polar bears (2014) were an announcement and recap of a lecture delivered to the local community by the very Steven Amstrup, a co-author of the paper in question.”

      That’s funny! Amstrup is a sneaky fellow, isn’t he. But not sneaky enough! :)

      • Jeff Harvey is a real piece of work. I had a few run-ins with him on the old Trash Talk blog. He also conspired with a few other warmistas to try to get Bjorn Lomborg fired from some Danish group. The ended up getting their heads handed to them.

        Dr. Crockford doesn’t need to get their Phds retracted. There are libel and slander laws that can do far more damage.

  6. Seems to me these polar bears generate a lot of billable hours and travel. Real shame if that all goes away.

  7. You got everything in there except stating that the population growth of polar bears has increased from ~ about 5000 to 25,000 to 30,000 now in the last 50 – 60 years. I may be wrong in my numbers, but this should be emphasized…in my opinion…(after the hunting of polar bears was extremely limited/curtailed).

    It’s great that you are fighting back with facts and data…! – JPP

  8. Well, here’s to polar bears being delisted (assuming the evidence for declining numbers still doesn’t stack up at the next assessment due to this exposé). That would be excruciating for the alarmists.

    Only a few comments so far. I thought there’d be dozens in support within the first hour or so. This is pretty big. It’s been simmering for quite a while and now the lid’s blown.

    • Sadly, the Climate Change Alarm factory has completely left the world of proof and reason and they have taken hostages. They are about emotional arguments made by and for people whose scientific literacy is marginal. That is especially true, it would seem, when it comes to Biology. You really don’t need to know all that much about biology and the living world to see that climate change is not just natural, it is ongoing and unremarkable in terms of adaptation. We, like most of the rest of the living world, are already adapted because we come from these changeable climates already. It is shameful that the majority of the world’s scientists have allowed this to continue. The Global Warming Alarmists have brought not just themselves into disrepute. They have dragged the whole of Science along with them. It will take decades to re-establish trust.

      • Indeed. And the fact that it has gone on for about as long as Lysenkoism, under an allegedly “free” society as opposed to the oppressive iron-fisted Soviet regime, is truly disgusting.

      • And while we’re on the subject of “trust,” just think of how many years it’s going to take before “peer reviewed literature” means anything to anyone but the seriously deluded again, when absolute excrement like this attack on Dr. Susan Crockford gets published, and ANYTHING calling those with dissenting views “deniers” gets published. This is SUPPOSED to be “SCIENCE,” for crying out loud. SKEPTICISM is the FOUNDATION of science, not something to be derided. “Science” has, in the “climate” arena, truly sunk to the level of “secular religion.”

  9. Interesting dispute. I think the sea ice dependency of polar bears is overstated if the estimates of sea ice during the Medieval Warm, Roman Warn, etc is anywhere near accurate.

    • I tell people that polar bears went extinct during the Roman Warm Period, then again during the Medieval Warm Period, and most recently during the late 20th century. So sad.

      • Sounds like the Great Barrier Reef: goes extinct every 2nd or 3rd year ad infinitum, then with a sprinkle of fairy dust there it is – back again ready to go extinct again just in time for the next round of “research” funding.

      • Sounds like the Great Barrier Reef: goes extinct every 2nd or 3rd year ad infinitum . .

        Yes, and if you question it like Professor Peter Ridd did, James Cook University will threaten to sack you.
        As it was, Prof Ridd, a renowned campaigner for quality assurance over coral research from JCU’s Marine Geophysics Laboratory was found guilty of “failing to act in a collegial way and in the academic spirit of the institution”.

        How dare he have a different opinion . .

  10. I wrote the following a number of years ago in response to yet another nonsense alarm about Polar Bears:

    Global Warming will not harm biodiversity

    The people getting all jazzed up about global warming and biodiversity, if they care so much, should spend some of their energy attempting to understand what they are talking about.

    Genetic differences are not all equally important nor are they all equally hard-won. Important characteristics will suffer no appreciable effect from a few degrees change in temperature, wandering water tables or whatever. Climate change, even in the highly unlikely event that it follows the path predicted by alarmists, will have a negligible impact on biodiversity.

    In the time that it has taken to evolve the higher animals, the earth has undergone many changes significantly more radical than the modest changes in climate that even the most nutty alarmist predicts.

    If one examines the various adaptations as they currently exist, it is quite clear that life on earth has endured changes of temperature larger than the worst case projected by the IPCC. These temperature changes are common enough that life here has evolved to rapidly accommodate them. Our evolutionary environment spans millions or even billions of years depending upon which characteristic you are examining. The fact that so many species can accommodate such wide temperature variations demonstrates that temperatures have varied up and down over a fairly wide range many times. Had that evolutionary pressure not existed, we would not see these elaborate adaptations.

    Species extinction is a fundamental aspect of evolution. Species are constantly going extinct and it does little ultimate harm to our genetic ‘wealth’. That is because *important* diversity that allows living things to radiate into new environments is extremely well conserved. Characteristics cross species boundaries and very important things like DNA replication span phyla. Entire broad categories of living things could become extinct without greatly injuring the earth’s genetic wealth.

    Whatever is ultimately important in terms of ‘biodiversity’ as represented in a Polar Bear, for instance, will survive even when (a long, long time from now), the Polar Bear species (Ursus maritimus) itself becomes extinct. In terms of genetic diversity, the ‘maritimus’ is just a modest evolutionary variant of the genus Ursus. Ursus is in no danger of going anywhere, even if some of its branches (as in the past) die off. It is the ‘Ursus’ that is holding nearly all of the genetic ‘capital’. The characteristic of ‘bearness’ is not going anywhere, likely for millions of more years.

    Like the rest of the fatuous ‘catastrophic climate change’ narrative, the notion that the genetic capital of the earth is in jeopardy contradicts both well established principles of science and common sense.

    One of the beauties of mathematics and science is that it is ultimately immune to assaults such as the current one being waged by global warming alarmists. Wide-spread bureaucratic corruption has allowed this bizarre quasi-religious meme to persist for an astonishingly long time. The current ‘climate science’ orthodoxy says we have impending global disaster, which we must mitigate at an expense that cripples the world’s poor. It is at odds with the entirety of the balance of science and mathematics.

    Like Lysenkoism, which lasted for decades, this nonsense has lasted years and threatens to persist for many more. Like Lysenkoism, it has done much damage. It will continue to accumulate damage as long as it lasts. Like Lysenkoism, it will eventually collapse because it is ideological rather than scientific.

    Eventually, as funding is redirected to more reasonable pursuits, we will close this sorry chapter in the social history of science. In the meantime we have convinced a generation that strong belief, self-righteous moral conviction and a notion that the ends justify the means is somehow a substitute for learning, understanding and an appreciation for ethical boundaries.

  11. All of this seems to be a complete red herring that does not address the fundamental point of the article. It clearly shows that there is essentially no overlap between anti-global warming blogs and the published scientific literature. Have a look at Fig. 1 in the paper changing the yellow square representing Dr. Crawford’s work to red would not significantly change anything. And yes no doubt the authors could have been more polite but that would not invalidate the conclusions at all.

    • Indeed. This certainly raises another fundamental point about the quality and objectivity of the so called “published scientific literature.”

      Ever hear of a website called

      As I recall, the problem with pal-reviewed journals in this field was quite prominent in the Climategate emails.

      So this paper does prove that anything the pals won’t approve won’t get published in their pal-review ‘scientific literature.’

    • Indeed the field of Climate Science looks like it needs a cleanout of pal-review like many of the other biology fields have had to go thru. Seems to be a human disease in this area of soft sciences :-)

    • It wouldn’t invalidate the conclusions because the conclusions are based upon ad-hom STUPIDITY and therefore invalid from the get-go.

      • Right – they didn’t put anything into their paper that really needed to be “invalidated,” since it was basically an attack piece without foundation, and in controversion of facts.

    • Another lie coming from the warmistas.
      Dr. Crockford demonstrated many sources of published sources of scientific literature that agree with her.

    • The skeptical blogs (anti-Global warming) constantly cite the scientific literature, both when they agree with it (Nic Lewis papers, etc) and when they disagree. So whatever diagram they have in this paper seems suspect or they are not really using the right skeptical blogs. They only have 90 blogs total and already about 5 of them seem to have problems.

  12. Is that an email address I see in the line following “EMAILS, WITH EMAIL ADDRESSES AND PHONE NUMBERS REDACTED”?

  13. I just read through, quickly, . It brought back some of the emotions I had reading through the Climategate Emails, but on a smaller scale. Whereas in Climategate, a group of scientists so sure that their understanding was right and so important that all others with a different viewpoint had to be suppressed, Here we have the group focused on a single person who disagrees with some of the groups claims.

    The biggest difference is that here the group has gone public, very public in their attempt force Crockford out of the debate. I don’t know what they were thinking, but this has the potential to blow up in their faces. At some point in the past they could have gotten away with it. Today, with the failed predictions of climate catastrophes and a substantial cohort of people who are intimately familiar with the dirty tricks behind Climategate, the authors of this execrable letter should themselves ask that it be retracted, and do so quickly.

    Even if they’re right, and Crockford sees too many polar bears there are ways to work together to learn the truth. Attacks on people who disagree with you is not how science is supposed to work, at least in my mind. It is, unfortunately, how science works. Fortunately, somehow, science does work.

    • I agree Ric. What we they thinking? The polar bear story, once one of their favorite poster children, is one of their most spectacularly wrong model-based wishful predictions and there’s no way to fudge it anymore. Ask the people who live in the Arctic. So this will blow up in their faces, as it should.

      • Ultimately, this is nothing more than an ad hominem attack on another scientist. Science is not done this way. If you have a problem with conclusions on a paper then write your own paper showing data that refutes them. If two papers with conflicting conclusions arise, then so be it. The future will work out which one is correct. I fear though that in this case, follow the money is the key. If polar bears are not in danger of extinction, then some scientists will lose funding!

        The other problem is the admonition of “no field work”. Do they understand the implications of this? Why keep libraries or cite previous work if “field work is required” in order to publish a paper? Every scientist would have to duplicate all previous work on their own before they could claim sufficient knowledge to write a paper. Ridiculous! Besides, how many climate modelers have done actual climate field work? How many people working on temperature data have actual field work siting, reading, and tabulating data? How many have followed tornadoes or hurricanes? Simply ridiculous and the whole paper should be retracted!

      • spot on jim. the problem for the authors is there is no possible refutation of the good doctors conclusions. anyone that has followed her blog for any length of time will already have known the claims in the paper were utter junk. the actual polar bear numbers are just the icing on the cake.

        look on the bright side, yet more physical evidence that mann and lewpaper are a pair of sad,angry and unfulfilled clowns.

    • Ric – Look at the Royal Society, established in 1663, with the motto Nullis in Verba.
      Obviously as you stated things have changed, but when did scientific research become corrupted?
      Was the corruption always lurking in the background or did it become more pronounced with the advent of massive government (read political) funding?
      Somewhere there is a historian sharpening their quill about this.

    • What were they thinking?

      I get the impression they think they are saving the world from itself. Group-think long ago excluded the possibility that their catastrophe forecasts are guesses. They think they are doing morally superior and socially responsible science. They are happy to take a casualty of old-fashioned science (with its fetishism for evidence and inference from facts). They literally do believe there will be no surviving science in 50 years unless we all do as they say now.

      They are in a trench war, against their critics. The overriding reason they published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal is they think that will increase support for their climate catastrophe analysis. By marginalizing their opponents, using this newly minted paper to teach our children what science is, and who scientists are and are not.

  14. Field work is important BUT …

    One of my hobbies is history. The lesson we can take from studying history is that most of those on the ground usually lack insight based on the ‘big picture’. Their stories are important but, to get the overall picture, you need evidence from many sources. You will probably get that evidence sitting at a desk. Most of the time you won’t have to do field work. (This isn’t to say that field work has no value. link)

    Dr. Ian Stirling’s field work is first rate. If you want to know about polar bears as they currently exist, he’s the person to ask. He’s not the one to ask if you want to know how the polar bears survived the MWP or the Holocene optimum or previous interglacials. Dr. Crockford is the expert there. link

    Dr. Crockford’s lack of field work is a red herring.

    • That criticism is pretty ironic anyway given all the field work Mann et al. have mangled and inverted.

  15. I see it is -8 degrees in Minneapolis, MN, USA at the moment. I guess the Minnesotans for Global Warming are still waiting after 10 years.

    • The wind has calmed a bit. Was 25-30 mph yesterday and is now down to 15-20 mph making for a very cold wind chill. Going to be cold all this week and then get even colder next week.

  16. For those in pattern recognition, the Polar Bear and the Great Barrier Reef conflicts of evidence, lack of evidence and difference in interpretation come to mind.

  17. So now we are about to find out if Bioscience is actual scientific journal or whether it is merely a shill mouthpiece for the dishonest climate alarmist community of pseudo scientists.

    I betting on the latter.

    – Joel O’Bryan, PhD

    • “Reminds me of the time Climate Otter destroyed (can’t remember who it was) for questioning Dr. Crockford’s qualifications.”
      I think it was Griff, and Griff still hasn’t apologized.

      • I have advised Griff multiple times to apologize for his attack on her and for doing so without checking (at all) the accomplishments of who he was slandering. I too have not seen his apology and asked him to indicate where it is located, if I missed it.

  18. My only comment is that you shouldn’t have signed this letter. Your lawyers should have.

    The editors won’t pay any attention to a complaint by one person smeared by their journal. They are much more likely to act if there is a threat of legal action (even if it is only implied).

    • The wording of her letter suggests to them that it may be actionable if they don’t retract or address her concerns.

  19. This battle has now been won…at least for the history books. Exposure of falsehoods is the proof in the pudding. History has a way of dealing with untruthful organizations/people, and while the ‘climate wars’ will rage on, I think enough people now are aware that a serious injustice has been done. Bioscience would be courageous to own up to their prejudiced malfeasance, although I suspect that they won’t because of their ego, and neither will the authors’ who penned all this. It will all be much more worse for them in the history books, especially if they try digging in on this one.

    But IMHO, the picture icon of the Polar Bear representing the CAGW disaster fairy tale is over. Enough people, including media, now know that they are not endangered, and that present populations are probably some of the highest they have ever been. And now they barely have their Inuit cohabiters of the land as their primary foe, save for a few well regulated hunting expeditions. And the Inuit are the first to state that the bears are not threatened with extinction, except for the ones who are on the climate gravy train.

    The CAGW narrative unravels like a slow motion train wreck. It will take some more time, probably a lot more, but the alarmists in general lack one main thing in their argument: Truth. And this is massive evidence of that!

    • Earthling2
      “But IMHO, the picture icon of the Polar Bear representing the CAGW disaster fairy tale is over.”

      WWF are running adverts on Britsh TV showing a polar bear swimming through slush ice, stating that the mother bear is struggling to feed her cubs because of “melting arctic ice” and asking people to adopt a polar bear by committing to £x a month to help preserve them. They get a free cuddly polar bear plus a regular update on ‘their bear’ !!

      I am going to watch (and record) this advert again and then make a formal complaint to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority – that is it misleading, disingenuous etc

      It is easy to forget that WWF is a UN organisation and they seem to use very questionable tactics for fundraising.

      • Formal complaint about the WWF polar bear begging advert on British TV now made to the ASA in the UK.

      • I can assure you Old England, as you already know, that the Arctic areas where polar bears frequent have been freezing very solid for several months now. I have been seeing the same video of a polar bear Mom teaching her cub to swim in September slush for years now and is the same as Greenpeace showing the same pictures of clearcuts 30 years ago. Now those ‘clearcuts’ are growing a healthy forest 50-60 feet tall, but they never show that. It always amazes me that some of these ‘non profits’ environmental organizations can get away with such brazen lies, and yet keep a charitable tax foundation exemption.

      • … and what’s more Earthling, is that the Canadian courts allow the likes of Greenpeace to lie at will.

      • Streetcred… Even a U.S. court has dismissed a racketeering lawsuit launched by Resolute Forest Products Canada against Greenpeace International and other environmental groups. (the Court was in Northern California and dismissed it mid Oct/17 based upon Freedom of Speech.) I believe Resolute is appealing. The racketeering lawsuit was heard in California after a district court in Georgia found in May that Resolute failed to show why the $300-million lawsuit should be held in the state.

  20. I am just guessing, but I suspect the Senior Editor is a shill for the eco-NGO’s that infest Washington, DC.

    To wit:
    James Verdier
    Senior Editor
    American Institute of Biological Sciences

    This is from the AIBS Public Policy Page:

    “July 31, 2017
    Letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt on Red Team/Blue Team Climate Exercise

    AIBS and several of its member societies joined a letter expressing concerns about efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to undermine climate science.

    The EPA is moving ahead with creating a “red team/blue team” exercise to review what is known about climate change. The concept comes from military analysis, where a red team criticizes the current consensus view and a blue team rebuts that critique.

    “We write to remind you of the ongoing research, testing, evaluations, and debates that happen on a regular basis in every scientific discipline,” states the letter. “The peer review process itself is a constant means of scientists putting forth research results, getting challenged, and revising them based on evidence. Indeed, science is a multi-dimensional, competitive “red team/blue team” process whereby scientists and scientific teams are constantly challenging one another’s findings for robustness.”


    I’m guessing Collins and Verdier can’t/won’t retract the Harvey paper because that would expose the biased peer review process AIBS uses to publish junk climate science-related manuscripts and thus that destroys the argument they make about the Red Team/Blue Team on climate science.

    • and if AIBS won’t retract the manuscript, then that fact they published a falsified smear paper that that in-and-of-itself destroys their argument about “getting challenged” and the very validity of their cherished peer review process. They have placed themselves in “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” position by their own dishonesty.

      • Its sort of like they published a Russian dossier.

        Wait. Can’t this be blamed on the Russians? Maybe Russian polar bears have infiltrated into North America to inflate the population and fool us… lull us into a false sense of Climate Security… hmmm

    • Just ignore it, all it does is attract coverage which was their intent. Dr. Susan Crockford has addressed the issue on record that is all that needs to happen. This whole process is out of a Psychological playbook from Lewandowsky because they are that desperate death throws of a group who lost and just haven’t realized it.

      Trump has opened up wounds in the Middle East, UK has Brexit, Germany can’t form a government and has the rise of the far right and all you need now is Macron to fall over in France and that is the nail in the coffin. Good luck getting countries to focus on climate change and every major country will miss there 2020 emission targets, Germany has already conceded they can’t make theirs.

  21. Jeff Harvey’s very clear explanation from another blog December 5, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    “As lead author, I am going to wade in here to emphasize what the paper was about, since some of you here don’t seem to get it. Climate change denying blogs claim to be searching for the truth. The vast majority, however, are operated by people who lack the relevant expertise in areas they discuss. Polar bears operate as proxies for biodiversity in general; the simple aim is that if the threats posed by AGW can be seen as bunk, then the rest of the biotic evidence for AGW can be dismissed as well with little or no effort. We showed that AGW denying blogs which discuss polar bears and arctic ice almost completely ignore the primary scientific literature and also never quote people who have studied these animals in the field for years and who have written extensively about them. Instead, the turn to another blogger with clearly lesser credentials who by contrast says what they want to believe. This is simply a case of confirmation bias. IMHO AGW denying blogs would cite a drunk if he was dressed up in a lab coat and told them he’d lived in Churchill, Manitoba for a couple of years, provided he told his handlers that polar bears were thriving.

    The other important point we make is that in order to understand the prognosis for polar bears and other arctic biota, it is important to project. AGW deniers rarely do this; their mantra is that everything is great today so don’t worry about tomorrow as that is impossible to predict, at least according to them. They are the merchants of doubt writ large. But relevant areas, like tipping points, critical thresholds, time lags and extinction debt is are alien terms to them. We know from the empirical evidence that ecological systems function non-linearly. In other words, the abundance of a species does not often decline in concert with the loss of its habitat. What happens is that a species remains in sizeable numbers until some tipping point is reached, at which point numbers plummet. This has been demonstrated numerous times in tropical biomes. Polar bears have just not reached that tipping point yet but as their habitat literally melts beneath their feet as temperatures rise, they are approaching it with certainty. The old adage is appropriate: a man jumps off a 100 story building, looks up as he passes the 50th floor and shouts, ‘everything is fine’, when it clearly isn’t. If AGW denying blogs are interested in science, then they need to pick up their game and learn some.

    I find it interesting that Richard Tol rightfully says that I lack expertise in some of the analyses, but this is why I have co authors. And that has not stopped Professor Tol from writing papers in areas in which he has no expertise either.”


    “I will make several points. Susan Crockford does not original research. She is like James Delingpole – an interpreter of interpretations. Please find among her commentaries where she discusses area-extinction models of exponential decay; tipping points; temporal lags, the extinction debt and tipping points. Crockford is not an ecologist. These vitally relevant areas are ignored by her probably because she does not understand them. If she professes to be THE authority on polar bear biology and ecology then she needs to publish her critiques in scientific journals and not on a blog. And why are these denier bloggers who profess an interest in science cherry picking conclusions from a scientist on the academic fringe? Why aren’t they going directly to papers by the real experts and taking their conclusions seriously? The fact is that there are hundreds of researchers working on arctic ecology and only a tiny number apparently believe that warming is not a threat to polar bears and other species that live there. By turning over every rock they can find denier blogs have stumbled over one of them – Crockford – and provided her with a megaphone.

    With respect to tipping points. Polar bears are habitat specialists. As such they are model organisms for studying island biogeography and area extinction models. These models have proven to be robust when it comes to predicting the loss of species in both temperate and tropical biomes. Indeed, they sometimes underestimate extinction rates because they omit other stresses like overharvesting, pollution and invasive species. Some polar bear populations have not reached critical tipping points yet and this has been seized upon by AGW deniers as proof of their resilience. By the time they do reach and pass them it will be too late. We have seen this in the case of extinctions of species in lower latitudes whose numbers remained sizeable until their habitat was lost and fragmented beyond critical thresholds. I could give you many examples.

    The problem is that most of those downplaying the effects of warming on biodiversity are not ecologists. Indeed, my take is that nobody here critical of our paper is. Deniers are masters of the art of focusing in the present and in downplaying future projections by exaggerating doubts and u certainties. No wonder our species is in such trouble. We seem intent on going over the cliff in order to prove that we are going over the cliff.

    This highlights the main reason that scientists are losing the battle for public opinion. Climate change deniers are engaged in one big love-in. Their blogs are one big echo chamber. Scientists, on the other hand, are ruthlessly self critical. To be honest, some newspapers didn’t run a story about our paper because they said what we show is obvious. In other words, they said that it’s clear that denier blogs are not remotely interested in the scientific truth and that they are master cherry pickers of very dubious sources of information. Yet here some of you are, apparently challenging that. You won’t see deniers admitting this. Not a single critic of our paper has said that Figure 2 is wrong. Instead they accuse us of and hominem smears of Susan Crockford and leave it at that. Strange that these same blogs don’t ever hesitate to lay out ad hominem smears of Mann, Lewandowsky etc al; even Crockford has made choice comments about polar bear researchers like Derocher, Stirling and Amstrup on her blog and elsewhere. Look at the smears if Katharine Hayhoe. They can dish it out but can’t take it.

    Finally, while many make pedantic points over our paper, the planet continues its slide to hell in a handbasket. Three weeks ago Bioscience also published an important article following up 25 years later on the World Scientists Warning to Humanity. What it showed that, aside from the Montreal Protocol, every major indicator of environmental quality has declined, many rapidly, over the past quarter of a century. We are seeing wholesale collapses in the diversity of various species groups, with an estimated loss of 50-60% of genetic diversity since 1970. I have dedicated some of my career to fighting those who are intent on destroying nature for short term profit by countering distortions of blogs and people like Crockford. We are running out of time. Despite this I am depressed when people who should be on my side try and pick holes in papers like ours in Bioscience that are simply pointing out the obvious. One of the referees also said that our analyses only say what we already know. But we still needed to show it with data. If standing up to those denying that humans and nature are on a serious collision course means that people who should be supporting me and my co- authors are joining in to criticize us, then maybe it’s time to throw in the towel and say future be damned.”

    I hope this is not fanning the fire.[much].

    • This Harvey comment tells us all we need to know about the paper. It’s a propaganda exercise to support the authors’ overweening alarm about the impending doom and has little scientific content.

      • it is also ironic in the extreme as his form of pseudo environmentalism is largely responsible for the gradual degradation of true environmental efforts .it has led people down the virtue signalling path away from the path of physical action to achieve real positive outcomes .problem is his head is so far up his own arse he will never see this.

      • ‘If standing up to those denying that humans and nature are on a serious collision course means that people who should be supporting me and my co- authors are joining in to criticize us, then maybe it’s time to throw in the towel and say future be damned.’

        It would take a heart of stone not to laugh out loud at that! The damning of their future careers probably uppermost in their minds.

      • I wish he had. Then he’d be tarred and feathered quite a while ago. But doesn’t his opinion piece quoted come close to hatespeech’?

    • “I could give you many examples.”

      Perhaps, but you didn’t, Mr. Harvey . . and you didn’t give examples of much of anything else you referred to, so it’s pretty much a very long appeal to authority, to me . . Are you readily impressed by such an argumentation approach?

    • Finally, while many make pedantic points over our paper, the planet continues its slide to hell in a handbasket. Three weeks ago Bioscience also published an important article following up 25 years later on the World Scientists Warning to Humanity. What it showed that, aside from the Montreal Protocol, every major indicator of environmental quality has declined, many rapidly, over the past quarter of a century. We are seeing wholesale collapses in the diversity of various species groups, with an estimated loss of 50-60% of genetic diversity since 1970.

      Wow! If all this tragic loss of biodiversity has been lost with an estimated increase of ~0.5 C in temperature, what on earth are they all going to do when the seasons change and they experience fluctuations of up to 90 C (dependent on location)?

    • I presume polar bears predate the previous warm periods of the Holocene. So, I paraphrase an up thread comment, how did they ever make it through the Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm Periods? Of course, the authors will most likely only respond with the tired and tedious non-reply reply, what warm periods?

      Susan said a particular clause was “an egregious breach of professional ethics.” I consider the sum and substance of the entire paper to be an egregious breach of professional ethics.

    • Wow, this Harvey character makes Mann look good.
      It’s just unbelievable nonsense. Just a random quote: “every major indicator of environmental quality has declined, many rapidly, over the past quarter of a century.”
      So, he’s apparently unaware of the greening of Earth which, according to some peer-reviewed science, is caused primarily by increased CO2 and warmer temperatures. In fact, pretty well all of the global measures (greening, average life spans, the amount of food per head of population etc) show that the planet and the human species has never been better or in better health. Oh yes, and judging by their increasing numbers, the polar bears are not going extinct, they are thriving.
      What a stark comparison with Susan Crockford. Thank you, Susan! I hope you get a full retraction and apology, both from the journal and each of the authors. If not, I hope you take legal action. I’m sure lots of people here would be more than happy to contribute towards any legal costs.
      While people like Harvey make me despair, people like Susan give me hope. Thank you.

      • Now wait a minute. Let’s keep truth on our side. The second law of thermodynamics clearly states that “Nothing can make Mann look good.”

    • “Why aren’t they going directly to papers by the real experts and taking their conclusions seriously?”

      Real experts? He has just admitted he is writing about things he doesn’t know only a few sentences before. He can but others can’t?

      What a load of crap. The paper is actually framed as a call to arms to attack anyone who identifies a clear case of climate alarm failing. Polar bears are thriving as temperatures in the Arctic rise. That is no surprise to anyone in Canada who has bothered to learn the lay of the land. I live in Waterloo, Ontario. Ontario has a lot of polar bears.

      The most published and important polar bear expert, from Ottawa, not Inuvik, was banned from “their’ polar bear conference because he reported the truth – truths this piteously lot deny. The paper is not about polar bears, and it is not so much about Susan Crockford. It is about prodding anyone who can think of an excuse to attack anyone who shows the alarmist narrative is failing, badly, and the alarmists have no retreat position. They are fully committed to the “cause” and will leap into the volcano of public opinion if push comes to shove. For me, that can’t come soon enough.

    • As a scientist and engineer, I find his entire rant a handwaving exercise. He laments destruction of biodiversity, talks about disasters in the southern biomes, yadda yadda, but does not name one creature in this orgy of death. Where are the bodies? The whole world should stink like an abattoir.

      Don’t tell us that ‘biota’ are perishing. If so much horror is in the making, even laymen would know some of it. He should have a sentence that says :”Just look what happened to the bandigook in Gunderland! and we warned everybody!

      Look Harvey m’lad, you guys created the Dеиуегs, no doubt whatsoever. We are the fruit of your science-lite endeavors. Why would we want to be governed by sorry clones like you guys? The world would freeze over and Amstrup would keep putting forward the same apparently “useless for anythinhg” failed model. It’s what, and all you do. You underscored the quality of your endeavors by inviting two non biologists who also are also one trick ponies that cling to the cadavers of their failed offerings. Even you, Steve’s friends, don’t like his model either but are afraid to upset him! And we are supposed to give up civilization and the world economy and live like monks because of what you jokers are doing? The whole Skeptic Pushback was what happens when “useless for anything” stuff is ruining the world.

      • The fact that the Polar Bears survived every previous – and WARMER – warm period during the current Holocene epoch should tell anyone with functioning brain cells that this rant isn’t based on anything resembling “science.” That, and the fact that biodiversity is GREATEST in the WARMEST parts of Earth, not the coldest, casts the light of day on his BS claims.

        Oh, and the REAL irony is how most human-induced “biota death” is/will be the DIRECT RESULT of Eco-Fascist driven “bio fuel” plantations established by razing rain forests in order to “save us” from using perfectly good oil that doesn’t require that type of ACTUAL environmental destruction.

    • As soon as I see stupid turns of phrase such as “climate change denier” in an article or blog, I don’t bother reading further.
      Words written by clowns are sure to follow, and I’m not willing to waste my time reading them.

    • angech,

      Thanks for posting this here. If this represents the consensus view (and not simply one man’s opinion) of both Dr. Crockford and AGW skeptics, as I suspect it does, then it’s highly instructive. My issue with the point of view expressed in his comment is that it relies on partial truths and outright distortions, but wraps it up in a veneer of objectivity. Take for example this statement:

      Climate change denying blogs claim to be searching for the truth. The vast majority, however, are operated by people who lack the relevant expertise in areas they discuss. Polar bears operate as proxies for biodiversity in general; the simple aim is that if the threats posed by AGW can be seen as bunk, then the rest of the biotic evidence for AGW can be dismissed as well with little or no effort. We showed that AGW denying blogs which discuss polar bears and arctic ice almost completely ignore the primary scientific literature and also never quote people who have studied these animals in the field for years and who have written extensively about them. Instead, the turn to another blogger with clearly lesser credentials who by contrast says what they want to believe. This is simply a case of confirmation bias. IMHO AGW denying blogs would cite a drunk if he was dressed up in a lab coat and told them he’d lived in Churchill, Manitoba for a couple of years, provided he told his handlers that polar bears were thriving.

      The clear implication is that there are no serious scientists who disagree with their conclusions of a threatened polar bear species…only uninformed laymen who don’t bother to challenge their own beliefs. This is the same background implication used, by and large, by the mainstream CAGW crowd. That is, people who are skeptics have no primary science/scientists backing up their beliefs.

      This is, simply put, factually inaccurate.

      But this false implication is wrapped up in a universal truth…that we’re all occasionally victims of confirmation bias. It’s hard to consistently challenge yourself and your beliefs, and all of us fail to do so from time to time (if not more often). That this is true is hardly controversial…but we all probably (secretly) think the “other side” is more guilty of it than we ourselves are. So invoking it, and accusing others of it, resonates strongly within us.

      And frankly, it IS true that there is a loud and vocal subset of people who jump on any shred of evidence supporting their belief, and vociferously proclaim it as irrefutable proof…regardless of the quality of the evidence or the quantity of conflicting evidence. This is, and always will be, true on both sides of any contentious issue.

      Mr. Harvey’s error, though, is failing to apply this to his own “side” as well, and then proceeding to treat it as though it were a relevant point. In fact it does nothing except divert attention away from the real point.

      It is truly ironic, then, that the truth regarding confirmation bias is used by Mr. Harvey as a vehicle for affirming even more confirmation bias.

      We get it, Mr. Harvey. You believe

      “…the planet continues its slide to hell in a handbasket.”


      “…humans and nature are on a serious collision course…”

      But this is not a scientific opinion. This is a pseudo-religious belief predicated on your personal dispositions. If you want to believe this, go right ahead. It’s a free country. You do you. But at least have the decency to acknowledge that your belief may not be completely accurate and those of us less prone to hyperbolic-catastrophism might…just might…not be totally wrong.


    • @ ANGECH

      Not really worthy of a response given that numerous of the ‘climate science’ experts promoting climate change catastrophe have been caught out with fudged (or worse) data or refuse to release the data for public scrutiny which they claim to have ‘results’ from.

      Contrast that with sceptical scientists who put out their research with data and methodology so that it can be tested openly by anyone rather than by pal review …. and that is something which far too many ‘climate scientists’ rely upon and which, of itself, negates any argument that there is already a blue team / red team review process..

      ps worth remembering that this paper was published without any references or supporting information – that was eventually released but only because of intense and persistent online pressure. Why would warmist climate ‘scientists’ want to hide their data as much of the time as they do ??? Here’s a little tip, people have this naughty tendency to hide things which they know won’t easily stand up to public scrutiny.

    • Polar bears operate as proxies for biodiversity in general; the simple aim is that if the threats posed by AGW can be seen as bunk, then the rest of the biotic evidence for AGW can be dismissed as well with little or no effort.

      This is the nub of it.
      Jeff Harvey, as lead author, sees himself as secretary of the Polar bear chapter of the larger scam.

    • It won’t, no one really cares. It’s not going to change anyone views on anything as the whole trust thing has been lost.

    • Why would warmist climate ‘scientists’ want to hide their data as much of the time as they do ??? Here’s a little tip, people have this naughty tendency to hide things which they know won’t easily stand up to public scrutiny.

    • The problem is broader than that even if you started from a neutral position the first search you run will turn up articles about the Inuit and Nunavut objecting to Polar Bears being listed as endangered. Even a lazy search of Wikipedia has a whole section on Conservation status, threats and controversies.

      So again Climate Science has attached itself to a controversial political agenda all the while diminishing the science. Probably the best example of this shooting itself in the foot played out at COP23 now they have gender inequity and climate change and even had gender day.

      So currently to be a true believer of climate science you have to accept the world is going to hell and only renewables and emission controls can stop it. While compensating poor and developing countries for past emissions and reducing your new emission you must provide basic food and water and a safety net for natural disasters. You must accept any and all refugees for whatever reason because ultimately climate change is causing it. You must make sure that you have pro active discrimination for females because they are disproportionately impacted by climate change. There is probably more but that is sort of the minimum that will get you a true believer status.

      What stuns me is that those in the field can’t see whats wrong with all that.

  22. Now don’t talk to me about the polar bear
    Don’t talk to me about the ozone layer
    Ain’t much of anything these days, even the air
    There running out of rhinos – what do I care?
    Let’s here it for the dolphin – let’s here it for the trees
    Ain’t running out of nothing in my deep freeze
    It’s casual entertaining – we aim to please
    At my parties

    ~dire straits 1991

  23. Jo Abbess (climate activist – seven years ago)

    ” I point out that when the environmentalists put out posters about Polar Bears, that the audience pretty quickly realised that the Polar Bears were being used as a “poster child” for Climate Change, and they started to mock the campaigning.

    Ten years ago, or even less, a poster depicting a tragic human or endangered animal was still a useful communications tool, but the potential recipients for these communications are now highly sceptical of this device, this attempt to pluck at their emotional/heart strings.”

    The public, don’t seem to care very much for polar bears… anymore.. if they ever really did (care) very much

    • (it seems that the poster child for agw has now become the poster child for failed agw predictions)…

    • Whilst not as cuddly,(in pictures!) as the Polar Bear, which just happens to be one of the predators of the Walrus, (the other is the Orca), there was a drive to use the walrus as another anthropomorphic lever in pushing for CO2 emissions control. In a 2008 Independent story, the walrus became people-friendly, comedic and musical.

      “Walruses: The friendly, fun-loving, musically talented creatures are under threat from climate change.”
      “…scientists who work closely with walruses say that they have winning personalities, a great sense of fun and are musical to boot. Now, though, these majestic creatures could be at risk from the effects of climate change.”

      • From the Washington examiner this week :
        -“The Pacific walrus will not be designated as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday, reversing an Obama administration finding that the walrus deserved protections because of the effects of global warming and receding Arctic sea ice.
        “Their thorough review, driven by the best available data and science, found that the population of Pacific walrus is robust and healthy, and has proven that it can adapt to the changing conditions in the Arctic,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who is chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
        “This decision will allow for the continued responsible harvest of Pacific walrus for subsistence and traditional uses by Alaska Natives,” she added.
        The decision came after a 12-month review of the Pacific walrus status after receiving a petition as far back as 2008 for listing the Arctic marine mammal as endangered because of the loss of habitat caused by lower levels of annual sea ice. The agency had denied the petition, saying there was no significant evidence to support making an emergency endangerment finding.”-

        To be fair I should add that the decision has not been received without criticism and opposition in the media and by conservation groups but presumably the fish and wildlife service have good evidence for their decision .
        A note from a site called Walrus World 4 years ago estimated the population of the arctic walrus at 250000.

        Remember also that one of the major exports from Norse Greenland was walrus ivory , at a time of greatly diminished arctic ice. (The income from Greenland ivory was badly affected from the 14th century when European explorers started to discover Africa and its elephant population.)

  24. The disinvite – Mitch was a field based polar bear expert, with the wrong views it seems.. for the Polar Bear Specialist Group

    Hi Mitch,
    The world is a political place and for polar bears, more so now than ever before. I have no problem with dissenting views as long as they are supportable by logic, scientific reasoning, and the literature.
    I do believe, as do many PBSG members, that for the sake of polar bear conservation, views that run counter to human induced climate change are extremely unhelpful. In this vein, your positions and statements in the Manhattan Declaration, the Frontier Institute, and the Science and Public Policy Institute are inconsistent with positions taken by the PBSG.
    I too was not surprised by the members not endorsing an invitation.
    Nothing I heard had to do with your science on harvesting or your research on polar bears – it was the positions you’ve taken on global warming that brought opposition.
    Time will tell who is correct but the scientific literature is not on the side of those arguing against human induced climate change.
    I look forward to having someone else chair the PBSG.
    Best regards,
    Andy (Derocher)

      • “MORE evidence, if any were needed, of suppression of alternate views.”

        MORE evidence, if any were needed, that this is less science than public relations.

  25. Thanks Susan,
    We need more examples of this bullying and a hard edged response like this. Too many people have been besmirched including William Happer, Willie Soon the late and great Bob Carter, Jennifer Marohasy and way too many others. Careers have been halted or worse but the simple fact is that this battle is far from being won.
    You still get NOAA etc and in Australia the BoM just simply getting it wrong (by the way have you heard about last week’s “stormaggedon” in Victoria, Australia where we were advised “not to travel” while my rain gauge shows 60mm (2+inches) over three days and areas I have known for 40+ years got flooding I have seen heaps of times before).
    Maybe Susan you should get a Court Hearing (British Columbia has some openings but it might take a while).
    Just keep the pressure on Susan and others and the ducks will line up.
    By the way I am advised that the massive battery Tesla has sold to the South Australian Government will only last 1 hour. Good luck South Australia!!! Having said that Victoria has solved the issue after allowing the coal powered Hazelwood plant to close! Ah diesel generators. I can’t see the world surviving this.

    • “nankerphelge December 6, 2017 at 12:34 am

      By the way I am advised that the massive battery Tesla has sold to the South Australian Government will only last 1 hour. Good luck South Australia!!!”

      Less than 5 minutes for 60,000 households. Search Tips and Notes for my name and a link to what is really going on. This SA mega battery has…diesel backup. Millions of AU$ worth of diesel backup. There is a link at Jo Nova too.

    • nankerphelge,

      The massive amount of Tesla batteries in South Australia are good for maximum 2.5 minutes (!) of the full power use there… The battery pack capacity is 136 MWh, while the peak load is 3500 MW.

      Thus all what they can do is peak shaving for some limited time and prevent blackouts by helping to stabilise the network when windparks have a fast drop in energy and gasturbines need a few minutes to ramp up to full load…

      A similar battery pack is used in Fairbanks, Alaska for the same reason, to start the diesel generators within a few minutes after a mayor shutdown of the main supply, a matter of urgency mid-winter at -40ºC:

      • “Ferdinand Engelbeen December 6, 2017 at 2:13 am

        Thus all what they can do is peak shaving for some limited time and prevent blackouts by helping to stabilise the network when windparks have a fast drop in energy and gasturbines need a few minutes to ramp up to full load…”

        Check out my link in Tips and Notes, it didn’t quite work out that way. Of course Australian MSM being very quiet about that.

      • Interesting. 13,760 Ni-Cad batteries. I wonder how they handle the fact that Ni-Cads have to be discharged completely before recharging, or they lose capacity

      • You have to buy the wind turbines, huge battery array, and enough gas turbines to power the whole system.
        Cheaper to just buy the gas turbines and dump the rest.

      • @ MarkW, in addition to being cheaper, it would also be both more efficient (gas turbines wouldn’t need to be running (inefficiently) on “stand-by” ready to ramp up when the wind stops blowing or blows too hard) and more reliable (no spikes/drops to the grid as the “renewables” intermittently ramp up and down with the whims of the weather) to just use gas turbines.

        “Renewables” (as in wind and solar) are and will remain a “solution in search of a problem.”

  26. All the best to you Susan. I very much doubt anything will happen bar crickets chirping…but one can be hopeful. And you will never see an apology from “Griff”, the only qualification “he” appears to have is…well, not a lot it appears.

  27. Batteries are easy to cost and predict. . Just find out what the daily power demand on the grid in KWh is and divide by the battery KWh with no top up allowance from generation. How long have you got? Its Musk Oil, 21st Century Snake Oil. I have done this exercise for the UK grid. An average week requires £1.2Trillion pounds of batteries, cheaper and better for the job and almost wholly recuclable. 4 Billion 12V depp cyce lead acid. Half the price of cheapest Li-Ion, replaced every four t years or so, 1200 cycles. . £1B per day to you, in case we have only one week w/o wind or Solar PV in February in the UK. A regular occurance at this season.

    Just finshing a paper on the this. For us, the only workable replacement for coal and gas is nuclear. We could never generate enough energy if we covered the whole country and coastal water with windmills. And, of course there isn’t enough wind evrywhere, AND this cost is NEVER mentioned when quoting renewable prices, renewablists try to claim it’s a grid cost. It is a wholly renewable cost. Far more than the subsidies. Ignored while fosil provdes 2/3 of the output renewables don’t. No intermittents, no batteries. Small bit of pumped hydro or interconnect (that costs as much for an extension lead as it dows for a new CCGT power station in the UK.) etc. Economic and enrgy illiteracy. Glad OZ is demonstrating that the laws of physics beats the laws of innumate delusionional politicians, subsidy farmers and liars fror profit exploiting the people in South Australia. Hopefully that will set an example of how not to defy these basic costed laws of enrgy. , as Merkel the enemy of physics is doing in GErmany,

    nb:Shows how politicised so called physics/science teachers are in Germany, spreading fake science through the schools.

  28. I have never yet understood why folk are so fanatical about putative manmade climate change in particular and any enviro-scare story in general. It certainly isn’t because they act any greener than the rest of us. They just seem to desperately hate the industry and capitalism they rely on to provide the prosperity and time to worry about this stuff. Neither do any of these fanatics ever seem to care a single jot that the effect of climate policy is palpably doing more harm than good, not just on the poor but also for the environment. The hypocrisy is the most cloying aspect. They even use their own conspiracy theory to accuse others of conspiracy theories!

  29. This goes back to 2000/01, by Robert McGhee, Head of Scientific Section, Archaeological Survey of Canada, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa.

    “By about 7000 years ago the massive glaciers of the last Ice Age had retreated to the mountain peaks of the eastern Canadian Arctic. Tundra vegetation had become established, and was grazed by caribou, musk oxen, and, in some areas, by bison. The gulfs and channels between the arctic islands had long been at least seasonally ice-free, and provided a home to populations of seals, walrus, and whales.

    There is considerable evidence that for the next 3500 years the arctic climate was noticeably warmer than today, the tree-line was north of its present position, sea ice was less extensive, and animal populations were large and well established.”

    • richard. if you look at the journal i would be amazed if the reviewers were experts in content analysis

      • BioScience is indeed a peculiar choice for a paper in the social sciences, and it is surprising that the editor did not desk-reject the paper.

        Still, Principal Component Analysis is something that biologist and ecologists should be able to get right. After all, linear statistics originated in biology.

    • Richard, Do you mean the response someone posted above, or his response to your critique that you communicated to the editors?

      • I emailed Harvey outlining the three errors in the PCA, and one error in data construction. He emailed back.

        The Netherlands does not have a Freedom of Information law, and his response is protected by privacy legislation.

        Harvey does not engage with the substance. His reply is intemperate ad hominem.

    • Thank you, Richard, your opinion carries a lot of weight and should add to the pressure on these guys.
      Basically a really nasty paper.
      A hit piece.
      No redeeming features whatever.
      And they just don’t get it.

  30. The published article is clearly defamatory. The situation of the polar bear is acknowledged even by official institutions reports. As I said in my article about failed climate predictions:

    10. Polar bear predictions

    2005 The 40 members of the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) of the World Conservation Union decided to classify the polar bear as “vulnerable” based on a likely 30 percent decline in their worldwide population over the next 35 to 50 years. The principal cause of this decline is stated to be climatic warming and its negative effects on the sea ice habitat.
    The Washington Post. July 7, 2005

    2017 The US Fish and Wildlife Service releases a report concluding that human-driven global warming is the biggest threat to polar bears and that if action isn’t taken soon the Arctic bears could be in serious risk of extinction. “It cannot be overstated that the single most important action for the recovery of polar bears is to significantly reduce the present levels of global greenhouse gas emissions.”
    Project Earth January 9, 2017

    Reality check: Average September Arctic sea ice extent for the 1996-2005 period was 6.46 million km2. It declined by 26% to 4.77 million km2 for the 2007-2016 period. Despite the sea ice decline the polar bear population increased from a 20,000-25,000 estimate in 2005 to a 22,000-31,000 estimate in 2015.
    PBSG 2005 Meting Proceedings (page 33)
    IUCN Red list 2015 polar bear population estimate

    The authors and journal should be put to shame for this high and wide. As they cannot demonstrate that polar bears are declining they are over thin ice.

    Susan, if you feel like fighting this fight, get help from sympathetic media and institutions and with good legal advice go very public on this. They stand to loose quite a lot reputation wise, and their association with the Mann will not precisely help them.

  31. A lot of people have been commenting that the supporters of the Global Warming hypothesis ‘are not proper scientists’ or ‘do not understand the scientific method’.

    This is a misunderstanding of the whole situation. I do not believe that the proponents of global disaster due to climate change are any different from the vast mass of scientists working in less controversial areas, or any different from the rest of humanity, come to that. I am sure that Mann, for instance, is capable of perfectly good science. It’s just that he and many others are in the grip of a powerful ‘group-think’.

    Every human operates in a society in which there is pressure to follow the prevailing norms and stereotypes – most of us do this without thinking. And most of the time this is fairly harmless. Occasionally, it becomes harmful – and we end up with a pogrom against Jews or witch-burning, or the Rwandan genocidal massacres. This is just how humans are – and any society is capable of it. It seems to be a fundamental way that human social systems work.

    I do not know how to address the issue. I think that the first stage should be to educate people that this happens – but invariably after it has happened the society involved ignores the episode, treats it as a one-off and blames it on an evil or mad leader. Charlie Mackay’s excellent book ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds’ documents many such instances…

      • Universities rely on grant funding and support to pursue their expansionist agendas through invented prestige.

      • Universities rely on grant funding and support to pursue their expansionist agendas through invented prestige.

        This is why it is oft claimed that every academic institution around the world supports the AGW hypothesis.

        Universities these days are very much a corporate entity. From the view point of a chancellor, he’d be mad not to support a proposition that would allow him to apply for grants and therefor offer relevant courses.

      • It’s exactly why all the papers group around a certain factor. Government funding drives them all in that direction.

  32. Harvey et al., 2017, is a consensus enforcing paper. Nothing more.

    In this respect, their figure 2 is most interesting. Jeff Harvey has written: “Not a single critic of our paper has said that Figure 2 is wrong.”

    Let’s examine figure 2 critically.

    The principal component analysis of written statements is a social sciences attempt to coat language meaning distinctions into some mathematical formulation. Not very scientific, but the best they can do. What is most important from the figure is how closely associated are the majority view papers, and how papers that do not conform with that majority view are fewer in number, more dispersed, and labelled as controversial. They are assuming the majority view is correct and pejoratively label dissenting views as controversial showing them fewer in number and scattered.

    Let’s remember that here there is only a fact, that polar bear estimates have grown from 20,000-25,000 in 2005 to 22,000-31,000 in 2015. So what we are talking here is about a perceived vulnerability that is not supported by the evidence.

    The figure is not wrong. It is a demonstration that science is not functioning normally in this case, and therefore very worrisome. In the face of the evidence the only way to obtain such a strong consensus is through a strong enforcing that includes labeling dissent as controversial and isolated, and no doubt raising barriers to the publishing of such “controversial” papers.

    The Harvey et al., 2017, article is a clear statement of what is wrong with science today. Their figure 2 is not wrong, it is the absolute proof that a strong enforcing is taking place preventing the normal and healthy functioning of science. It is a demonstration of what the authors and their consensus-enforcing peers have in their minds, and as a scientist, I am disgusted beyond belief. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    With this abnormal behavior, climate science is leaving a whole area of the evidence-based universe of opinion empty. It is just logical that interested citizens that are completely resistant to consensus-building enforcing tactics fill that empty space. That’s what they are doing, and that says absolutely nothing on whether they are wrong or right.

    The ultimate humiliation for climate science will take place when the evidence demonstrates that the reality of climate change falls outside the area defined by the consensus-builders and in the area occupied by some of those citizen blogs. That humiliation (and its consequences) will be the sole responsibility of the consensus builders, and the authors of Harvey et al., 2017, will have a prominent place in that hall of shame.

    • …The ultimate humiliation for climate science will take place…

      Not going to happen. Has anything happened to Paul Ehrlich as a result of being spectacularly wrong on every assertion he has made since 1965? He has continued to garner awards (17 at last count) and was made a FRS in 2015.

      The usual argument they will come up with is:

      1 – our warnings were heeded by governments who took action to avert the problem
      2 – our warnings were right – it’s just that the timescale is a bit out
      3 – our warnings have come true (cites the most recent natural disaster)…

      • Science is different. Important papers continue being cited for decades, some for centuries. This is the legacy scientists aspire to leave behind. The demise of alarmism, and the demonstration that a large portion of climate science was wrong will send scores of articles to the dustbin, and some of their most prominent authors might end as cuckoo examples, as Lamarck.

      • …Science is different. Important papers continue being cited for decades, some for centuries….

        Interesting test. What has happened to ‘Limits to Growth’ – the classic 1972 paper that claimed that resource shortages were going to become acute by the year 2000?. – see

        You will find that the paper is cited as much as ever. people who want to believe it haven’t stopped believing. The paper’s authors have simply issued revisions every 30 years to update the expected collapse of society – most recently they say we are now all going to die in 2072….

    • This figure could represent the viewpoints of the liberals (fittingly on the left) vs those of conservatives (on the right) for almost any topic.

      The left conforms (or forces conformity) to a non-diverse set of ideas (don’t step out of line!) while the right has internal diversity and real dissension and discussion.

    • In my view, climate science has been seized by politics to a considerable degree so it can be used and manipulated for political agendas. Its purpose has become nothing more than to service the political needs of those that feed it the money. The behavior of the climate alarmist “scientists” demonstrates this quite clearly in the case of this paper and others.

      It is disgusting to watch.

      • ….and Dr. Crockford is not serving the political agenda as required by the union of Climate Science and State (which we saw under the Obama administration, and it continues today despite Trump). This is a problem requiring attention, so Dr Crockford is being treated appropriately.The agenda must be served and must not be threatened.

        The fact that Dr Crockford’s polar bear science might be sound is beside the point.

      • @ CD

        Don’t ever forget the statements made by various people within the IPCC – they spell out that this is All Politics and nothing to do with climate:

        some quotes from Maurice Strong and other leading figures in the UN and IPCC which show that we have a ‘Global Warming / Climate Change’ “crisis” solely for political reasons:

        Strong’s statements explaining why he set up the IPCC and what it was to achieve
        “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that .. the threat of global warming.. would fit the bill…. the real enemy, then, is humanity itself….we believe humanity requires a common motivation, namely a common adversary in order to realize world government. It does not matter if this common enemy is a real one or…. one invented for the purpose.” (Maurice Strong – speech to Club of Rome – and “invented” referred specifically to ‘Global Warming’)

        “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsiblity to bring that about?” . and those encapsulate what lies behind and is the reason for ‘Global Warming / Climate Change’ .

        Ottmar Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015. “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole …… We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy ……….. the next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated. ”

        As an aside to Edenhofer’s statement if you research the Copenhagan Climate Conference, which came before Cancun, you will find that it’s proposed Treaty wasn’t ratified following the US refusal to do so – you will find in the Treaty Annex the clauses which would have created a Global Environmental body, a de facto World Government, under the UN with the power to set global policies which would over-ride any national environmental or economic policy …. it was to be unelected and unaccountable (as was the USSR) and it was this attempt at creating an anti-democratic embryo World Government that led the USA and other nations to refuse to sign it.

        Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution ” That must be taken in the context of Strong’s statements quoted above and the intent to de-industrialise which means a return to lifestyles of the 15th and 16th centuries.

        Margaret Thatcher enthusiastically embraced the concept of ‘Global Warming’ , but did so as a Political Weapon – following the miners’ strike she saw she could use ‘Global Warming’ as a way to end the domination of coal in the electricity market, switch to nuclear and prevent any future prospect of miners holding the country to ransom. She much later realised the disaster that this ‘fake science’ was causing and going to cause but by then she was in the last months of her political life. Her autobiography explains this.

        The Paris Climate Conference was heralded and publicised as a breakthrough agreement which would limit ‘Global Warming’ to 2 deg C – it was widely touted that this meant an end to incresing CO2 emissions. But the public hype is very different to what actually was agreed !

        What Paris actually agreed was that CO2 emissions would Increase by 46%++ between now and 2030 – that included China Doubling and India Trebling their respective emissions !! It was agreed that every nation could set its own future emissions targets through INDCs (Independent Nationally Determined Contributions), and these can be modified at will and so are not even legally binding.

        Now agreeing an increase of 46% whilst the propaganda was that Paris was reducing CO2 emissions is fairly typical of the political nature of climate change – it also suggests to me that the IPCC and climate ‘scientists’ are very comfortable that another 46% increase will have little or no effect on global temperatures…….

      • Yes it is – and it has dragged the name of “science” into the sewer for what will probably be a long time.

    • Javier
      A great perspective – what Harvey et al have done is inadvertently to create a new an powerful tool for showing enforcing in a scientific discipline. This should now be applied to the other big questions – how much CO2 warming, catastrophic or not, climate sensitivity, CO2 and plant growth, sea level rise etc.

      By displaying the range of opinions held by scientists in a 2-dimensional phase space, political enforcing can indeed be nicely visualised. It may even be possible to develop a mathematical index of it.

    • Don’t know if “climate science” will get its comeuppance, but agree with “It is a demonstration that science is not functioning normally in this case, and therefore very worrisome.”

      Dysfunctional science simply is not science.

    • “Jeff Harvey has written: “Not a single critic of our paper has said that Figure 2 is wrong.””

      It’s not even wrong.

  33. I can well see why Dr Crockford is aggrieved, and she is fully justified in pointing out that the Amstrup model had attracted criticism behind the scenes. She deserves an apology.

    However, just to throw a spanner in the works, may I point out that the person who is quoted to have said, “only Bayesians would accept ‘a belief’ to be a “probability!”, may not have being arguing from a sound position. It is true that BBN’s (by their very nature) can be data deficient but the quote seems to suggest that the individual has concerns that run deeper than that. He seems to be ideologically opposed to Bayesianism as a means of determining probability, and so comes across as a not-so-closet frequentist with a bee in his bonnet. I note that the gentleman concerned is a strong advocate of Population Variability Analysis (PVA) which requires large amounts of field data, and so I can see why he is so preoccupied with data deficiency. However, his personal predilection for PVA would not be a valid reason for rejecting the Amstrup model.

  34. Here in the UK television is still running WWF ads soliciting donations to save the poor polar bears.

  35. Susan,

    Nice take-down. You have really rattled some cages and the results may be far reaching.

    Keep up the good work!

  36. This retraction request deserves to go down in the WUWT “Hall of Fame”.

    It authentically defends(with a mountain of evidence) the credibility of an expert that is being bashed and slandered with numerous misleading statements because their polar bear science does not line up with mainstream views of those considered to be the gatekeepers of polar bear science.

    Not only does Susan show conclusively that she has an elite level of expertise that qualifies her as an expert but her essay makes it crystal clear that her attackers blatantly lack professionalism, objectivity and basic ethical standards.

    It’s hard to imagine a better example of this sort of thing being handled with a more assertive and effective response.

    • I’ve made this point repeatedly. His entire belief system (can’t be called science, really), and those of his acolytes, appear to be based on the ludicrous idea that he can discern patterns in a palm, er sorry, tree ring, that makes him more of an expert on trees than a botanist.

      • Not a whit, we defy augury. There is special providence in
        the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to
        come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come—the
        readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows what is’t
        to leave betimes, let be.

  37. Dr. Crockford writes: “These allegations are untrue, defamatory and malicious…” I do hope that the journal editors consult their lawyers on these terms. These are specific actionable legal terms (i.e. a threat). Unlike the renowned “Nobel Prize Winner” I am sure Dr. Crockford could enjoy the discovery process.

    • Yes, I’ve heard that with the right lawyer, the process can fairly be described as proctological.

      With an added bonus that nuggets of information such as dark money funding from offshore sources finding their way into “science”…

      I’ll get the popcorn.

  38. Is there an established procedure for what happens next? Does the journal owe, either through custom or courtesy, a response to Dr. Crockford?

  39. At what point does this become a libel proceeding? These seem to me to be knowingly false statements (about background and approach to documentation) that are ENTIRELY written to damage reputation.

    I would get a lawyer [Dr Crockford]. This first step to request a retraction may be the first on a long path.

  40. Susan, I admire your fortitude.

    Could I suggest that you do a world-wide press-release in the form of a Christmas message to children everywhere that they can rejoice, as in your opinion as a leading expert the good news is that Polar Bears are NOT an endangered species.

  41. “…contrary to the documented effects of AGW on sea ice…”

    Just what documented effects would those be? To date, the sea ice has stubbornly refused to comply with how it is supposed to act, according to the models. It takes a special kind of stupid to continue to insist model data is the same as actual observations.

    Don’t let the AGW trolls take you down Susan, keep on exposing them for what they are, greedy people masquerading as scientists to get grants to fund their bogus research!


    • From the paper (unsubstantiated & prophecy based on poor model prediction):

      “Summer sea ice did not disappear entirely during past interglacial periods (Stein et al. 2017), as it ultimately will with unabated GHG rise.”

      Also from the paper:

      The authors wish to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript.”

  42. Lewandowsky has form when it comes to publishing defamatory rubbish. Any paper with his name on it isn’t worth spit.

  43. I’m getting a little bored with all of this Dr Crockford worship, so let’s get back to a little science.

    Since Dr Crockford has chosen to describe the Akçakaya critique of the Amstrup model as “absolutely damming” I decided to look up what he actually said. The following quote appears on Dr Crockford’s own website:

    “First, BN models are mainly a vehicle for placing expert opinion into a common framework. They are not straightforward to update on the basis of observed data and there is concern that data would not be able to overwhelm the priors. Second, the BN model structure is not based on population dynamic theory. Third, the results from the BN approach are not applicable to Red List Criteria A or C, which require estimates of the amount of the decline not the probability of decline. Finally, the results are not applicable to Red List Criteria E, which requires quantitative not qualitative states.”

    If this is supposed to be a good example of a damning critique then I have to say I am far from impressed. My observations are as follows:

    Firstly, BN models are not “mainly a vehicle for placing expert opinion into a common framework”, although they do have that advantage. What they are is a vehicle for placing expert opinion and objective data into a common framework.

    Secondly, it is not at all clear to me why Akçakaya might think it not straightforward to update a BN on the basis of observed data.

    Thirdly, if the objective data available is not strong enough to “overwhelm” the Bayesian priors then this would be an indictment of the data, not the BN. If the objective data is that weak, then how does one expect to meaningfully apply population dynamic theory. Besides which, I have seen nothing in the critique to suggest that the priors didn’t have an objective basis.

    Fourthly, so what if the BN model structure is not based upon population dynamic theory? This statement simply demonstrates a frequentist professional’s bias.

    Finally, the implication that a BN deals with qualitative rather than quantitative states is puzzling. I can’t begin to think what qualitative states he is alluding to.

    In summary, the only part of the Akçakaya critique that I cannot comment upon is the point regarding the applicability of the BN approach to Red List Criteria A or C. The rest just looks like the sort of ignorant criticism that Bayesian statisticians have historically had to put up with whenever they dare to apply the BN approach within a field operating under an established, frequentist hegemony.

    Whilst I fully accept that Dr Crockford is justified in her grievance and can point to controversy within the field, I still think she may have been too quick in her judgment that the Amstrup model is “fatally flawed”. For all I know, it is. But I can’t draw that conclusion based upon the Akçakaya critique. Instead, I think all I can say is that it has been fatally chastised.

      • That is the wrong question and asking it is falling into the same trap that we accuse our opponents of, namely, asserting that someone such as Dr. Crockford isn’t “qualified” and ignoring the truth, or not, of what she says.

        I’m not saying I agree with Mr. Ridgeway or not, I’m simply stating that attacking his qualifications is a bad, bad move.

      • Thank you Don for making the point for me.

        I am new to this game but I have already posted a number of guest essays, all of which were strongly supportive of the climate sceptic position. At no stage has anyone on this forum seen fit to question my qualifications until now, i.e. when I introduce a note of caution.

        I have never made any secret of the fact that I am a layperson trying to use his life experiences to make sense of a complicated and intriguing subject. In this instance, the relevant experience is that of a safety critical systems engineer who had a vested interest in learning which techniques were the most appropriate for modelling the uncertainty of future system behavior. The frequentist techniques are applicable in data rich scenarios but Bayesianism becomes more appropriate with data deficient problems, or when expert testimony has to be spliced with objective data. Very often, however, individuals who are steeped in the frequentist tradition find it difficult to accept the thinking behind the Bayesian approach. I sense that this may be the case with Akçakaya, since most of his critique seems to be based upon his views concerning the validity of Bayesianism rather than specific criticisms of Amstrup’s model.

        So I am reserving my judgement on the Amstrup model. That’s all I am saying.

    • Yes – the anti-Bayesian language annoyed me too. Nothing wrong with a Bayesian approach if done properly. However Bayesian statistics can be abused like any statistical approach, and because Bayesian Priors are essentially opinion, the abuse of Bayesian statistics can allow opinion to be dressed in a cloak of statistical legitimacy that it does not deserve.

      Any Bayesian method must involve a proper integration of priors with measurement. The priors must be stated in a way that they can be properly tested and reevaluated as a consequence of measurement, and then that testing and reevaluation has to actually be done properly. The fact that polar bear numbers in the Southern Beaufort sea recovered from 2007 to 2010 and there have apparently been no measurements since does not give a lot of confidence that this has been done properly.

    • You say: “In summary, the only part of the Akçakaya critique that I cannot comment upon is the point regarding the applicability of the BN approach to Red List Criteria A or C.”

      That is the most important part. The IUCN is the largest, most respected conservation organization in the world and they are insisting that if projections of future population declines based on climate change projections are used to support a conservation status of ‘threatened’, then assessors must use numbers.

      Akçakaya may not be a fan of BN but the IUCN put him in charge of their Red List assessments that were being based on climate change projections. Note he did, in the end, help them find a way to get the bears listed in part because that outcome was beneficial to the IUCN.

      • Thank you Dr Crockford for your reply.

        I think I appreciate that the IUCN expresses its predictions in terms of population numbers but I am presuming there are some quantified uncertainties associated with these figures. I have no knowledge of the details of the Amstrup model and so I am not in a position to comment upon how it fits in with the IUCN approach, e.g. is the model restricted purely to assessments of the likelihood of extinction or is it more nuanced than that. It is for that reason that I was unable to comment.

        I felt more confident, however, commenting upon the other points made by Akçakaya since they seemed to be coming from a place of considerable scepticism towards Bayesianism in general. In particular, his quip regarding Bayesians treating belief as a probability is taken straight out of the ‘Frequentist’s Handbook of Bayesian Jokes’. I get it that he is in charge and he doesn’t like Bayes, but that tells me more about the current state of play within ecology than it does about the Amstrup model specifically. I would say the model was flawed if it used unrealistic priors, incorrect data or failed to account for important causations, such as winter thickening of ice, but I would not say it was flawed simply because it was Bayesian.

        I’ve said it twice before on this thread, but it is worth saying again: I fully support you in your position regarding the Harvey et al paper. Jeff Harvey may be a competent scientist who is passionate in his beliefs, but he is also a bully and you do right to stand up to him. However, with respect to the Amstrup controversy, I think the most important thing you have revealed to me is that the polar bear research is, in some important respects, data deficient (enough for at least one scientist to resort to Bayesianism) and that experts claiming high levels of agreement regarding the probability of polar bear extinction can’t even agree upon what is meant by the term ‘probability’.

        Please also keep in mind that you are talking to a layperson, so I cannot be expected to have a deep understanding of the field in question. I thank you in advance for your tolerance.

      • As a postscript to the above, I should say that I have now scan-read the Crockford 2017 paper that resulted in the Harvey et al response. It appears to me to be a thorough and professional piece of work that puts the Harvey et al paper to shame. And I am more than happy to discover that it does not repeat any of Akçakaya’s general criticisms of Bayesianism.

    • The trouble is the definition of ‘expert’. Bayesianism is rightly chastised when opinion unbacked by fact is considered to be as useful as actual numbers. An expert must be someone whose opinion has been borne out by testable events. When I build an expert system for a process I don’t ask a number of qualified people to make subjective guesses, I ask the one person who everyone else asks when they want it done right because he has proven to be reliable. That last word is important! In the case of Polar bear numbers we are dealing with an opinion that global warming should be important against a backdrop of history which says the bears are actually in far more danger from hunting, that they survived provably greater warming (see the Gisp-2 recon) with apparent ease and that far from being restricted to eating baby seals (which seems to be a common myth), they can and will eat almost anything including humans and each other. In such a multi-variate system someone’s untested belief about the effect of one variable is probably unreliable. Without some data and/or testing, preferably blind, Bayesianism can therefore become just a conveniently obscure mathematical cloak around pre-conceived bias. Hence the widespread criticism of it. Not to say that frequentist stats are unbiased but that an appropriate skepticism is required for both.

      • JasG
        I find myself agreeing with most of what you say, other than your theory as to why most people criticize Bayesianism. In truth, there are many reasons for it being criticized but, perhaps, the main reason I would give is that some people just find it unscientific. I don’t. But, there again, I think you would have to be nuts to use it without objective data. As I’ve said, I don’t know enough about Amstrup’s model to comment any further. I don’t even know whether he was employing subjective Bayes, objective Bayes, empirical Bayes or any of the other multitude of flavours that it comes in.

    • I think your post can be safely classed as an eructation, worthy of Pujol himself, or as Shakespeare had it, with his ” …. noise, signifying nothing”

      Could you post something of more ‘pith and moment’, please?

    • @ Steven Mosher,
      The difference being that Jeff Harvey has been a chest beating, AGW brainwashed loon inhabiting the now defunct Deltoid blog for years and years….getting away with abusing everybody with his favourite line that they “lacked the expertise”. Good on you , Susan, finally giving this narcissitic jerk some pushback.

    • @ Steven Mosher,
      The difference being that Jeff Harvey has been a chest beating, AGW brainwashed loon inhabiting the now defunct Deltoid blog for years and years….getting away with abusing everybody with his favourite line that they “lacked the expertise”. Good on you , Susan, finally giving this narcissitic jerk some pushback.

Comments are closed.