A candid climate scientist explains how to ‘fix’ the debate

Lessons from the Alley-oops department.

By Larry Kummer. From the Fabius Maximus website.

Summary: Here are brief excerpts and my comments from a speech by an eminent climate scientist. It illuminates important aspects about one of the great public policy debates of our time. He was speaking candidly to his peers, but we can also learn much from it.

“Some Thoughts from a Reluctant Participant”

Presentation by Richard Alley.

At the Forum on Transforming Communication in the Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise — Focusing on Challenges Facing Our Sciences.

Given at the 2018 Annual Conference of the American Meteorological Society, 7 January 2018.

 

The text was generated by Yahoo’s transcription software, so there are errors in it. Hopefully only minor ones. At the end you will see the video of the presentation, its abstract, and a brief bio of Professor Alley.

Why climate science is right yet so many do not believe!

To show the reliability of climate science, Alley borrows credibility from physics by talking about computers, cell phones, and GPS. He tells the assembled meteorologists and climate scientists about the Greenhouse Effect (Joseph Fourier 1824 Tyndall 1859, etc.). Later he turns to another subject.

“This is a survey that was done by the folks at the Pew Research Center …They asked a question: ‘Do universities and the colleges and universities have a positive or negative effect on the way things are going in our country?’ …The party that now controls the House the Senate and the presidency in Washington, that controls a lot of State houses, this poll asked them — and the average voter said universities and colleges have a negative effect on the nation and some of them probably answered with a cell phone.”

So Alley tells the audience that many Republicans are too stupid to see the connection between the universities training people in the advanced physical sciences and their cell phones! This is the crudest kind of tribalism.

There are many reasons for people to worry about the role of universities in America. Their increasing abandonment — even opposition — to core western values. Their skyrocketing cost and indifference to educating undergraduates in ways useful to their lives. Their increasing role as advocates for far-left political and social changes. Alley must know this, but chooses to paint a different picture to his audience.

He then gives an analogy.

“I want you to do a mental picture for me. Think of a …big European capital and ask yourself are the roads ideally designed for modern traffic? …A big modern city has outer belts and inner belts and overpasses subways and it’s built around a bunch of oxcart paths from a thousand years ago. We’re trying desperately to live with oxcart paths from a thousand years ago because they got ingrained …”

That is a disturbing use of a “just so story” (like Kipling’s How the Elephant Got His Trunk) in a speech about hard science. It is also quite false. First, modern cities have transportation problems irrespective of their age. For example, New York and Washington DC were built on logical grid systems in the past two centuries — no oxcart paths — and have traffic problems (3rd and 9th worst in the US, respectively). San Jose barely existed before the widespread use of cars, and today has the 5th worst traffic. Second, we have more than adequate tools to deal with congestion — buses, cabs, light rail, and subways were all developed over a century ago.

The actual explanation for these two things is simple. We are not locked into the current system, it is not “ingrained”, and we do have alternatives. We just prefer not to use them. The reasons are complex, and political scientists have explained them.

Alley goes into another long excursion, then begins the serious justifications for the current state of climate science.

“I counted ice core layers. We counted 110,000 ice core layers before we got to the folds. I had a student come up in classes a few years ago who had a little printed religious tract that said what an evil lying person I was because the world is 6,000 years old. And I had counted more years than that. …you go into evolution real fast and there’s a whole lot of really bright people in high schools around America that are never gonna come to med departments and work on evolution antibiotic resistance because they’ve been told that evolutions in evil eye and people are going to die because of this now.”

The political influence of Christian fundamentalists on climate science is negligible. Alley uses them as a “whipping boy” or distraction from the more important sources of low public confidence in climate scientists’ forecasts.

So in Alley’s version of the world, the public’s confidence in climate science results from dumb Republicans and Christian fundamentalists (plus some research about brains). So there is no need for climate scientists to listen to their critics, or consider what they might be doing wrong. On to the fixes!

But first, more wrapping climate science in the prestige created by other fields of science.

“I can remember my dad railing against the idea that we had to get rid of the lead and the gasoline because it would ruin our lawnmower. You know the tobacco scientists. There have been a lot of groups over time who have attacked science to avoid having to deal with the policy implications.”

First, look at public opinion.

 

“What I want to do is see is see if we can go a little bit as to how we might solve these things. How we might end up going where we want to go. …So our fellow citizens, I think they’re almost all really good people, I think they want the right things — they’ve been misled by a few loud voices.”

Before discussing fixes, Alley reminds the audience that there is no need to listen to those who disagree with them. To Alley, communication consists only of talking — not listening. Then follows a long digression, leading to this.

“These are maps on a survey that was done by the Yale climate communications people on how the public views climate change …”

This survey excites Alley, but let’s look at what it actually says. First, here are the interactive maps Alley discusses. See the survey’s report here (the maps show 2016 data, I link to the May 2017 data). These are the work of highly credentialed experts; the survey is sophomore level work.

Question 1: “Do you think global warming is happening?”

Over what time horizon? Since the little ice age ended? During the respondent’s adult lifetime? Without knowing this information, the responses are meaningless. Due to the Recency Effect, people tend to remember recent events best — and overweight their significance. That does not work well when asked about science, but works very well for hunter-gathers on the African veld. It is hard-wired into us, and well-designed surveys take that into account.

Question 1.3: “Assuming that global warming is happening, do you think it is mostly human caused?”

If the respondent is benchmarking since the end of the last ice age, or the Little Ice Age, the answer is “no.” If they are thinking of the past century or so, the answer is “probably not”. If they are thinking of the decades after 1950, the answer is “yes” (per the IPCC’s AR5). If they are thinking of the past 20 years (roughly El Nino peak to El Nino peak), the answer is “who knows?” The change is too small (0.16°C per decade).

Doing Communication Right!

Now this post is already too long, and we are only at the 30 minute mark of Alley’s 56 minute presentation — having touched on only a few of the many points he makes. I urge you to watch it in full. Let’s conclude with what I consider the key point he makes. Alley quotes from a presentation earlier on Monday by Edward Maibach, a communications science professor at George Mason U: “Increasing Public Understanding and Facilitating Behavior Change: Two Guiding Heurtistics.” It is in the abstract.

“The organizing heurstic for improving communication effectiveness is: simple clear messages, repeated often, by a variety of trusted sources.”

This is “the hair of the dog that bit me” advice. Take a drink to cure a hangover, derived from belief that the cure for rabies was taking a potion containing some of the infected dog’s hair. It is awful advice. Professor James Hansen began the current campaign for political action to fight climate change by telling a simple story to the US Senate in 1988. After thirty years of telling simple stories, activists have almost nothing to show for their vast investment of money, effort, and political capital.

The reason is simple. This advice is outdated. It was once effective, but now works as well as 1950 TV commercials would if aired today.

“Persuasion requires … a strong message through simple stories and vivid action.”

Film as a means of political persuasion by Hans Traub (1933). Quoted in Film in the Third Reich: A Study of the German Cinema, 1933-1945 by David Stewart Hull.

“Successful propaganda tells simple stories that are familiar and trusted, often using metaphors, imagery and repetition to make them seem natural or true.”

Propaganda and its techniques by Analyzing Contemporary Propaganda, a collaboration between Renee Hobbs and the United States Holocaust Memorial.

“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a few essential points. These slogans must be repeated until every last member of the public understands what you want him to understand.”

— From a text about government by one of the founders of modern politics: Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.

Americans are bombarded with roughly $260 billion in advertising every year. More Americans are more sophisticated today than in the past. Simple stories are not the sure-fire tools they were in the 1930s.

People have legitimate reasons to question the need to make for massive expenditures on the basis of climate scientists’ long-range forecasts. Many eminent climate scientists have cogently stated them. The response of climate science as an institution has been to mock or ignore public concerns and ostracise their members with heterodox beliefs. Neither generates public confidence.

Nor do speeches like this one.

 

 

Richard AlleyAbstract of his presentation

Some Thoughts from a Reluctant Participant.”

“Our funding increasingly requires that we learn and then make that learning useful to the public. Successful communication thus is no longer optional but an imperative. Despite encouraging signs that we are getting better at communicating our science to the public, major challenges remain. These challenges can seem large. Some people simply don’t want to hear about our results.

“I work on sea-level change, for example, and knowing what is coming could save immense sums of money. But, the best news we could give people on this topic is that change will be small and slow. Worse news may not be welcoming. Making scientific knowledge of this type actionable for policymakers and the general public requires building broad understanding of the science. Informed responses by policymakers can be blocked if the public is confused, and those who seek to generate confusion have a much easier task than those of us fostering broad understanding.

“In order to get the communication right, we must first get the science right – everything else rests on this bedrock of knowledge. Beyond that, the scholarship is clear that scientists’ voices are essential but insufficient. We need help from a broad range of people and disciplines. Wise use of weather, water, and climate knowledge helps businesses, industry, agriculture, and the military save lives, save dollars, and save the environment. Enlisting the full breadth of those who benefit from our science can be highly successful. We need to include the voices of military leaders, farmers, and businesspeople as well as artists, teachers, medical experts, and more. Scholars in social science and communications are increasingly examining our challenges, successes, and shortcomings, and we have much to learn from these efforts.

“In recent years, AMS, its members, and the weather, water, and climate community have been leaders in improving communications. These successes create an urgency for us to continue, because we now have the attention of so many.”

About Richard Alley

He is a professor geoscience at Penn State U (see his pages there). He was a lead author in the IPCC’s AR4, is a highly cited author, and the recipient of many awards and honors for his work. See his Wikipedia entry for details.


For More Information

For more information see The keys to understanding climate change, and especially these …

  1. Important: climate scientists can restart the climate change debate – & win.
  2. How we broke the climate change debates. Lessons learned for the future.
  3. Thomas Kuhn tells us what we need to know about climate science.
  4. Daniel Davies’ insights about predictions can unlock the climate change debate.
  5. Karl Popper explains how to open the deadlocked climate policy debate.
  6. Paul Krugman talks about economics. Climate scientists can learn from his insights.
  7. Milton Friedman’s advice about restarting the climate policy debate.
  8. Disturbing research about the use of “narratives” in climate science papers.
  9. Professor Michael Mann destroys the case for massive immediate action on climate change.
  10. Roger Pielke Jr. describes the decay of climate science.
  11. Roger Pielke Jr. describes the distorting of climate science.

Further reading:

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131 thoughts on “A candid climate scientist explains how to ‘fix’ the debate

  1. You know…..these audience participation surveys always leave out the one question they should ask….

    Do you really give a duck?

    • It’s really amazing…..he talks of how people do not trust universities, etc
      ..and his fix is to con and manipulate them

      • He should really look in the mirror and ask himself why he ignores evidence contrary to his preconceived notions.

      • The two questions on the survey were almost word for word the ones used in Zimmerman/Doran for the fake survey that produced the 98% of climate scientists “believe” in man caused global warming. The problem in the survey was they sent the survey to 10,250 scientists, 7,000 didn’t bother to answer, and the ones that did, didn’t come anywhere near their 98% goal. So they selected 77 scientists who had published papers in the last three years, and 75 of them agreed om both questions. How you extrapolate 75 out of 10,250 to reach 98%, I’ll leave to the math geniuses on this site. It looks like fraud to me.

  2. Question 1.3: “Assuming that global warming is happening, do you think it is mostly human caused?”

    The second part of the question require far more than assuming …

  3. Weird stuff here. So Alley comments on a survey where respondents doubted the value of Universities, and sees a contradiction. And he says that “big European capitals” have problems with ancient street layout and you say – but San Jose. Saying
    “That is a disturbing use of a “just so story” (like Kipling’s How the Elephant Got His Trunk) in a speech about hard science.”
    But it isn’t a speech about hard science. It is in a “Forum on Transforming Communication”, and titled
    “Some Thoughts from a Reluctant Participant”

    • Nick,

      “But it isn’t a speech about hard science.”

      Please read more carefully. The title is a subset of the forum, which is a subset of the Conference title.

      The speech is in the “Forum on Transforming Communication in the Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise — Focusing on Challenges Facing Our Sciences.”

      The Forum is part of the “2018 Annual Conference of the American Meteorological Society,”

      • I listened to the speech and it seemed to me to be mostly about how to keep the funding going. Wouldn’t want those politicians to think that the voters might have more pressing concerns than what the weather might be like in 82 years.

      • ” important aspects about one of the great public policy debates of our time”
        nope. it’s not important; it’s fatuous and self serving.
        nope, it’s not great ; it’s strident and exopthalmic breathless whining
        nope it’s not a debate; it’s a bunch of nagging creeps demanding attention to give them a pretense of relevance.

      • gnomish,

        “nope. {the climate policy debate} it’s not important;”

        “Important” refers to its consequences, not your evaluation of the validity of either side in the debate. As in the definition:

        “of great significance or value; likely to have a profound effect on success, survival, or well-being.”

        If the alarmists win (e.g. we get a year or two of destructive extreme weather}, I’ll bet you would consider the outcome “important.”

      • mr larry- i’m sure you’ll be the first to admit that you understand it is fruitless to discuss this with me any further and you will act on that knowledge, amirite?
        can i haz a QED, then? because you see that i’ve demonstrated the most economical and efficient way to put an end to this silliness – it didn’t cost me trillions and it’s over just that fast.

    • “about hard science”

      Its climate science.. so for once you are correct.

      its is NOT about any of the “hard sciences”

      Its about bending and mis-using science, maths, stats, and instead, using mindless yapping in an attempt to overcome resistance to the endless AGW propaganda lies.

      • Excellently stated AndyG55!

        Carnival barker, flim flam, snake oil sales-it, shaman or religious fanatic, etc; all use fast talking illogic leaps to stun and confuse their targets.

        That Alley character shouldn’t receive any government grants ever again! He’s obviously wasted all the funds he ever received.

      • Couldn’t agree more. To these idiots, the refusal of the sheep to follow them is not the result of how incredibly empty their so-called “science” is, it’s their failure to “promote belief” adequately.

    • Nick Stokes,

      But it isn’t a speech about hard science. It is in a “Forum on Transforming Communication”, and titled
      “Some Thoughts from a Reluctant Participant”

      Good point, Nick. So he’s a reluctant participant in “transforming communication,” whatever that means.

      • Yea, the speech and the section where Alley was presenting was all about “how do we get the idiots in the hinterland to believe the lies we keep telling them?” In other words they are trying to figure out how to change their propaganda techniques or in some way force all this down our throats. It is how they can message so as to gain power. They thought they were doing great then it has begun to fall apart. I managed hundreds of scientists with various degrees, a large percentage with PhDs. The younger they were the less they understood scientific method or how to deal with the public. Their general approach was two fold, (1) “I am shouldn’t be required to talk to the public or (2) “you people don’t have PhDs, I do, and you idiots need to do as I am telling you.”

    • nope, again.
      i never had a problem with jehovah’s witlessess, either- i just hose them off the porch.
      it is just that simple and it’s entertaining rather than melodramatic- although equally vaudevillian as the strutting fury of the amateur angsters who crave relevance and sieze center stage to perform their variation on 2-girls-1-cup ‘reaction’
      in the age of selfies, the truly witless have nothing else for self validation.

      • Well, some people are rude but fewer are proud of it. The speech is, in part, about just such persons as you describe (not the JW’s by the way).

    • You’re right, Nick. Climate science as it’s practiced today isn’t hard. It is mostly fabrication and playtime with exclamation points.

    • “But it isn’t a speech about hard science.”

      That’s a relief!

      I liked the comment about having counted 110,000 layers in ice being evidence of Earth being more than 6000 years old. Not proof; since all 110,000 layers could have been magically created yesterday by the omniponent creator of ice layers.

      In other words, such evidence is like printed words on a page — you have to be able to “read” it.

  4. If they are so bad at communicating, why should we believe them about their “science” and their models.

    • Right Bill. As Marshall McLuhan said years ago “the medium is the message”. In other words as long as you know how and where to present your message you can easily ‘fix’ the debate.

      • I give you the BBC, CNN or CBC here in Canada as just a few examples of media outlets that have consistently ‘massaged the message’.
        Those media outlets, among many others, have been quite successful in fostering a ‘belief’, among alarmists that we humans are the major cause of the increase in CO2 and therefore insist, without any actual proof, that we are the major cause of the present relative warming period.

  5. “..there’s a whole lot of really bright people in high schools around America that are never gonna come to med departments and work on evolution antibiotic resistance because…”

    I am trained, available, and moderately competent to do precisely that right now, Richard Alley. Perhaps if less money was spent on people like you, too busy “communicating” global-warming, then there would be more money available for those scientists who actually wish to do something genuinely useful for the human race.

    • Not to mention NOT doing something EXTREMELY HARMFUL to the human race – like making energy expensive and/or unavailable. Which is EXACTLY what the “climate” cretins want to do.

  6. More of the ‘its a communications problem’ meme. WRONG.
    Climate models say ECS is ~3,while observation says ~1.7. Climate models say there is a tropical troposphere hotspot, when weather balloons and satellites observe no such thing. Climate models predicted warming this century; except for the now cooled 2015-16 El Nino blip, there hasn’t been any—despite ~35% of the increases in atmospheric CO2 since 1958 occuring in this century. Sea level rise was supposed to accelerate—it hasn’t. Children were not to know snow—wrong. Polar bears would die from lack of summer sea ice—except they do not depend on it and are thriving. And so on.
    Alley’s problem is that his science and its predictions have all been falsified by Mother Nature’s reality. This speech shows him for what he is: the warmunist equivalent of religious zealot Harold Camping, whose predictions of the end of the world did not come to pass before he did.

      • TB…the arctic is melting……the tropical hotspot would be so obvious tourists would be lining up to take pictures of it…it ain’t there

      • Published peer reviewed science is much more believable than congressional testimony. For example: James Comey

      • So tell me Latitude, what kind of camera would a tourist need to use to take a picture of it? Not many tourists have IR sensitive film or IR sensors.

      • “Tom Bjorklund January 11, 2018 at 3:08 pm”

        All digital sensors can see IR (Point a TV remote at a digicam and record the beam) and can be easily modified to do the job.

      • ” can be easily modified to do the job.” …..I’m sure you are correct about it being “easy,” however, you are ignorant of the capabilities of most folks, let alone the capabilities of the cohort comprising “tourists.”

      • Ah yes. The new Mearized RSSv4 instead of v3.3 which did not show warming, hence had to be ‘adjusted’. First Tom Karl on NOAA, then Carl Mears on RSS. Mears was earlier a warmunist hero when RSS showed warming. Now an adjustment hero for warmunists when RSS did not continue to show warming and his hero status was threatened. You lose again. Some of use have been paying close attention. You might also ‘enjoy’ essay When Data Isn’t in ebook Blowing Smoke.

      • TB, no El Nino exclusion. It did of course blip up, nothing to do with CO2. As an econometrician, I agree that if you jerk one end of a time series up, the trend slope increases— until you have enough following data points to jerk it back down. By ye2018 should be statistically interesting, and not in the warming fashion you think. Lets wait and see. We have time, as ECS is half of what was feared, renewables are failing in cost and reliability, and Paris Accord is a joke.

      • No, Tom, we don’t like el ninos because they mask what’s really going on. Many a skeptic made a fool out of himself back in ’08 doing the exact same thing that you’re doing now, but with a la nina…

      • “I love the cherries you picked”

        Poor tom,

        If you don’t know anything about El Ninos, no-one is going to bother to educate you…

        … not even yourself, apparently.

      • roflmao,

        And tom-tom immediately uses NON-ANTHROPOGENIC El Ninos, to show a warming trend.

        Thus PROVING our point that the ONLY warming has come from El Nino events.

        Doing well Tom. 😉

        Now let’s see you show El Ninos are caused by human CO2

        This should be HILARIOUS. 🙂

      • AndyG55, if you choose to ignore the effect both El Nino and La Nina has on global temps, then all you are doing is ignoring what is happening in the REAL world.

      • A hint, little Tommie,

        If you want to show any human warming effect, you CAN’T use major El Nino steps and transients as part of your investigation.

        That leaves ONLY the two periods I have highlighted above.

        During those periods, THERE WAS NO WARMING.

        That means that the ONLY warming has come from El Nino releases of energy from the oceans

        And guess what happens when you release energy from something…. It COOLS.

        So Although an El Nino causes warming in the atmosphere, it is actually an ocean cooling event.

      • Nice strawman Andy……please show me where I indicated the causation of El Nino.
        .
        Thanks in advance.

      • “And guess what happens when you release energy from something…. It COOLS.”

        So how come when I turn on my flashlight, it doesn’t cool?

      • “El Nino is not a source of energy.”

        So where do you think the atmospheric temperature spike comes from?

        And I did NOT say “source”, so stop pretending I did.

        Do you agree that El Ninos are a release of energy from the oceans?

      • El Ninos and La Ninas are part of the global climate system. You want to ignore their effect on the global temperature. Why do you want to ignore a natural phenomena? Is it because a natural phenomena disrupts your meme?

      • Do you agree, as my graphs clearly show.. that

        Apart from El Nino events, THERE IS NO WARMING in the satellite temperature data.

        Without using the 2015/16 El Nino spike in your child-minded linear graph, there is a ZERO TREND from 2001 – 2015..

        The ONLY way you get the trend is by using that El Nino.

        Is that TOO difficult for you to comprehend?

      • “Why do you want to ignore a natural phenomena?”

        OMG, but you are THICK.

        We are trying to find human anthropogenic warming,

        Or are you agreeing with me that all warming is from El Ninos…

        …. and thus, ALL WARMING IS TOTALLY NATURAL

        Seems we are FINALLY getting somewhere. !! 🙂

        I’ll leave you with your embedded cognitive dissonance. Things to do this afternoon. 🙂

      • “Apart from El Nino events” is a cherry pick.
        ..
        You are excluding relevant data and not offering a rational explanation for why you are doing so.

      • “Or are you agreeing with me that all warming is from El Ninos”

        Nope, I’m saying your ignoring the effects of El Ninos is wrong.

      • Stunning. I’ve never read anything like it. As this Tom Bjorklund does not recognize an “own goal” when he makes it, I suggest it is bootless to try to convey anything to him. However, some of us quasi-lurkers do get informed by the rebuttals, even if he does not.

      • Keep quasi-lurking mellyrn, the data speaks for itself. I’m sure that if you want to ignore the effects of both El Nino and of La Nina, then that is your right. Those of us that respect the actual data think otherwise. Also, if you have anything to add to this discussion, please speak up.

      • “Published peer reviewed science is much more believable than congressional testimony.”

        Let’s just imagine Richard is one of the “pier” reviewers. Stuck in the mud with the preconception that every contrary data point is the evil work of Christian fundamentalists and oil industry fat cats.

        Got news for Richard. There are many, many people both inside and outside of academia who know more about climate change than he does. He can listen or not. His choice.

      • in case you didn’t know, anything touched by government has the scientific credibility of ”Pot is just like Heroin & worse for one than methamphetamine.”

        In fact it’s the same church

        different congregation.

        The International Standard Atmosphere etches climatic conditions in stone as utterly unchanged since the french first calculated it’s values in the 1860s.

        The people who told you the laws of physics have changed are also the ones who suggested your kid will do better on meth. Than succumbing to “Reefer Madness”.

        Remember its your church not mine. They just happened to tell you a cold nitrogen bath is a heater… and that gas laws aren’t needed when calculating temperatures of gases. That’s how your church’s calculation of global atmospheric temperature comes up that glaringly erroneous 33 degrees short.

      • If you have to use an El Nino to create a warming trend, then all you have done is falsify the notion of AGW.

      • Let’s say we get a strong La Nina this year.
        Who believes that TB will continue to argue that we must use the La Nina as our endpoint when creating a trend line?

      • @Tom Bjorklund

        Re: So how come when I turn on my flashlight, it doesn’t cool?
        Re:…..here is a clue from thermodynamics….. El Nino is not a source of energy.

        A flashlight works by converting potential (chemical) energy to kinetic (flowing current) energy. The light comes on because you are passing current through a resistor causing it to heat up (converting current to heat-one form of kinetic energy to another). When it gets hot enough, it glows (converting heat to light). In an incandescent light bulb, only about 5% of the energy going to the bulb is converted to light. The remaining 95% is converted to heat. In addition to the heat produced in the bulb, there is internal resistance in the battery which produces heat in the battery. So, more than 95% of the potential energy is converted to heat and your flashlight gets warmer. LED bulbs are more efficient because they do not use heat to make light, but there are still losses in the system which produce heat and the system gets warmer, not cooler. In this example, you have included a source of energy (the battery) but ignored it as part of the process. I don’t know if you are being dishonest to make an argument of if you don’t understand the processes that are happening.

        El Nino is not a source of energy-per the discussion, the ocean actually is because it is at a higher energy state than the atmosphere and is, therefore a source of energy (heat) to the atmosphere. We can include the Solar radiation that is deposited in the ocean causing it to heat (radiation to heat) if you want but that doesn’t change the rest of the discussion. The heat is then transferred to the atmosphere. There is convective heat transfer (no conversion of form) and evaporative heat transfer (heat is converted to latent heat of vaporization (potential energy). You may also get some radiative heat transfer, but it would be relatively insignificant. This process causes the ocean to cool and the atmosphere to warm.

        Both cases follow the laws of thermodynamics with or without the sun included in the discussion.

    • Observations also include other climate factors, so ECS isn’t anywhere close to 1.7, either.

    • @Tom Bjorklund
      Oh, ye, they discovered the hotspot , provided you accept it seems not there because veiled by some sort of unexplainium that the theory didn’t predict, cannot account for, cannot describe, and don’t even care to try…
      Would you mind if we call this: yet another epicycle, or yet another turtle to the way down?
      By the way, your banker just called: you own him big buck, because, when “Removing daily Cycle Contamination in bank account movements”, he found that your position is actually much lower than your balance shows.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/01/10/the-97-climate-consensusstarts-to-crumble-with-485-new-papers-in-2017-that-question-it/#comment-2714335

    • wristvan
      I’m going to nitpick a HUGE problem in
      an otherwise good comment (January 11, 2:38 pm)

      “Climate models say ECS is ~3,while observation says ~1.7”.

      WRONG, and if you were right, we can all pick up our toys
      and go home — the climate debate is over — wristvan solved it!

      The truth is observations tell us nothing at all.

      The warming in the first half of
      the 20th century, with “natural” causes,
      was similar to the warming in the last half of
      the 20th century, with unknown causes,
      and there’s no reason to assume
      natural climate change suddenly stopped
      after the 1910 to 1940 warming,
      and CO2 took over as the ‘climate controller’.

      So the effect of CO2 could be zero,
      based on observations,
      or a doubling of CO2
      might cause 1 degree C. of warming based
      on simple closed system lab experiments.

      Somewhere between 0 and +1
      might be a good guess.

      So where do YOU get
      “1.7”, and use that number as if
      you are an authority,
      and the “debate” is over.
      It’s not +3 degrees C. per doubling
      It’s not +1 degrees C.
      It’s not 0 degrees C.

      wristvan says “1.7”,
      and he must be right,
      because he says so !

      Sometimes the smartest person
      in the room says “I don’t know”
      and “I don’t know” is the right
      answer for ‘What is ECS?”

      The ONLY thing observations say
      is the climate models are wrong !

  7. And a second independent thought. Alley urges the audience to consider Maibach (one of Shukla’s RICO 20 from GMU) two communication heuristics: (1) simple clear messages, (2) repeated often from trusted sources. That works when the messages are observationally at least directionally correct. It doesn’t when they aren’t, since that just proves beyond doubt that the message sources are not trustworthy. As a single example, Sterling, Derocher, and Amstead are NOT trustworthy on polar bears. Crockford is, hence the Henry, Mann, et al vicious recent attack on her using a bogus method on a bogus selection of web sites and a bogus sample of polar bear papers.

    • “simple clear messages, repeated often from trusted sources”. That’s Dr. Goebbels’s art of propaganda.

      • George,

        “That’s Dr. Goebbels’s art of propaganda.”

        That was my first reaction, also. But I couldn’t find a supporting cite or quote. Still, I’m sure he would approve of climate alarmists use of this tactic.

      • Thanks CG for keeping the Dr. In front of Dr. Goebbel’s name. It is always a good reminder to all that just because a person has a respected title doesn’t mean they always have good motives.

      • James raises an important point. Goebbels, like many in Hitler’s inner circle, was brilliant. See Wikipedia:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Goebbels#Early_life

        Goebbels was the top student of his class at the Gymnasium. Goebbels seriously considered becoming a Catholic priest (!!), He studied literature and history at the universities of Bonn, Würzburg, Freiburg, and Munich, aided by a scholarship from the Albertus Magnus Society. He got his PhD in 1921.

        By 1940 he had written 14 books.

    • Ristvan,

      “It doesn’t when they aren’t, since that just proves beyond doubt that the message sources are not trustworthy. ”

      That is so only if people update their evaluation of sources based on new data about their accuracy. Lots of evidence that they don’t, at least in modern America.

      Truth has become tribal for increasing numbers of Americans, all across the ideological spectrum. That’s why “fake news” is so effective. It’s another aspect of Weimerica, American becoming in some ways like 1920’s Germany.

      To see this in detail, I recommend Otto Friedrich’s Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s:

      https://www.amazon.com/Before-Deluge-Portrait-Berlin-1920s/dp/0060926791

      • LK, would have agreed with you decades ago. Not now, when despite Goggle, Facebook, and Twitter slants the ‘truth’ is more doscovwrable than ever. See, for example. My EA Totten Glacier post at Judith’s Climate Etc. Or read my ebook The Arts of Truth. Problem is that most folks do not seek truth. The human condition.

      • “simple clear messages, repeated often from trusted sources.”

        I agree, this advice fails in America when it relies on trusted sources. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of Americans don’t read newspapers, watch TV news, or read news online. They just aren’t interested because they see more value investing their time in other pursuits. The other half get their news from either liberal or conservative news sources. There are few to none of unbiased or neutral viewpoint, I suppose because there is not enough money to be made in that space, i.e. no outrage=no clicks. So if the professor wants to put simple clear messages in support of climate change on Fox News, Breitbart, Western Journalism, American Thinker or the National Review, all I can say politely is, Good luck with that! Putting those messages in most newspapers or most TV networks will simply be a waste of effort, because those consumers are already believers.

      • “Truth has become tribal for increasing numbers of Americans”

        Unity is the luxury of halcyon days. Science is the luxury of good times. Both unity and science default to tribalism and superstition when times toughen. Let’s hope warm temperatures remain, because you ain’t seen nothin’ ’bout tribalism and superstition yet.

        Witches burn…

  8. As an engineer, and a republican I find his comments repulsive. Keep it up, Joe Sixpack just froze his kiester off last weekend, and it look’s like it is going to happen again this weekend. The weather doesn’t seem to know that the climate is warming in the fake world of computer models.

  9. This represents high educational utility and efficiency for Penn State. sarc

    I think such speeches compiled and organized would make a far better tool for students and parents to pick schools and avoid others. Universities are the institutions where the 80:20 rule does not hold. It is more like 90:10 for finding quality and the 10 percent that you really want to associate with are often masked or blended with the others.

  10. An academic or expert tends to some one who remembers everything, thinks they know every thing and are no longer curious about anything that challenges their truth. This makes them smart but no longer intelligent . They are the easiest people to be conned. You always have to be a student of your own research and Hone your logical skills.

  11. The really reluctant participant is Mother Nature. Perhaps they should first persuade Her. On the other hand, She does not distribute grants to needy climatologists.

    • George,

      That nails it! Mother Nature has not cooperated with the climate policy campaign, preventing them from winning despite their massive advantage in almost every metric of strength.

      See this comprehensive review of polls looking at the US public’s opinions about climate change and the public policy response to it.  Bottom line: the large, long campaign is changing public opinion, albeit v-e-r-y slowly.

      Of course, the weather can change. A year or two with several bouts of destructive extreme weather (blamed, of course, on ClimateCHANGE) — and who knows how US public opinion will change?

  12. 288 K – 255 K = 33 C warmer with an atmosphere is indefensible rubbish.

    The RGHE theory that exists to explain this 33 C difference must bugger thermodynamics while attempting to describe the physical mechanism for a phenomenon that flat does not exist.

    • Yes; for one thing, they ignore the clouds that reflect away solar radiation- and which wouldn’t exist without an atmosphere. Add that 30% radiation back and you get temperatures of (10/7^0.25 *255 K = 278.8 K, for a warming of a little over 9 C rather than that fantasy 33 C.

  13. The simple fact is despite all the talk, many people do take the advice seriously. They do use the advice to make choices about where they live, their car, the likelihood of snow, sun etc. And having made those choices, they then observe what happens to see whether they made the right choice. We all do this all the time … we monitor what others are telling us and we see whether what they tell us is credible. That’s just human nature … indeed, it is believed that is why we got our large brain in the first place.

    And the simple truth, is that in the vast majority of cases where people do act on “climate change”, they find that they have been misled.

    As an individual that just means each individual is more sceptical of the sources that misled us. But collectively as a nation and as a planet, it means that over time as more people discover the hype did not match the happening, they stop listening to those pushing the hype. The reason public trust and interest has plummeted is not difficult to understand. People now know they were told lies.

    But that is what alarmists just can’t get their heads around. That’s, because they treat ordinary people as dimwits who being vastly inferior people are easily misled if only they can find the right trick to use. But in contrast, ordinary people are extremely sophisticated in the way they make decisions, we are all judging other people all the time from salesmen, to loves, to politicians. And in areas of importance to them/us we are almost always far better at making good decision than any academic.

    The result is alarmists are constantly trying to work out how to fool what they see as the dimwit public into believing the ever more alarmist hype. Whereas the public are very savvy to those kinds of lies and very quickly start to ignore them unless they prove credible.

    OK, unlike buying a second hand car that falls apart on us as we drive it down the road, the climate “car” has taken years or even decades to prove a load of BS. But there is now no way of convincing most of the public that the dire warnings of doomsday warming like “Children won’t know what snow is” were true. And having lost the public’s trust no amount of slick salesmanship is going to get back credibility. Indeed quite the reverse, it will just reinforce the view that it’s all a load of sales hype.

    • The thing is, there are a lot of people who fully completely believe in this theory. Government’s (and government regulation of utilities) are spending over $250 billion per year trying to address the “problem” that they can’t communicate apparently. Yes over, $250 billion each year.

      So their “Fake News” has been working and Richard Alley is wrong about that just like he always is.

      Today, people will understand it better if you just tell them “this whole climate change meme was always just Fake News”. That will reverberate in about 70% of the population today and make them think hard about it. Start using that.

      • Every bit as fake as Russia/Trump collusion, but look at how they pushed the narrative, and are still pushing the narrative despite the fact that there is zero evidence of any collusion after 20+ months of looking into the story. It’s like news coming from an alternate universe, and a segment of the population are enthralled by what they hear.

      • If you’re one of the little guys who is content to get one good job, devote time to your local community and get a family and see them grow up where you live. Then you know what the climate has been doing in your area.

        If however you are an academic who moved to University when 18, who moved to do their PhD, moved to get a better position. Is constantly flying abroad to this or that conference in every climatic zone, then you haven’t the foggiest clue what the climate has been doing.

        Likewise, most politicians have been to University got a good job, moved around a lot to find a good political post and then moved to somewhere else when elected. Likewise they are clueless about climate trends.

        So, we have the perverse situation that those who are making the decisions about climate, are the ones who are personally least in touch with what is actually happening, And those who are most in touch with the actual changes in climate … are given no say.

    • A 50% chance of rain. Forecasting a warm winter (lol). Sea level is rising. A temp rise of 6 degrees in 50 years. A 50% chance means they don’t have a clue. Everything the so-called scientists forecast seems to be wrong. Is it any wonder they have become viewed as used car salesmen?

      Folks the only reason these scientists are even interested in the public is that they need this support to keep the money flowing from politicians. In order to do this, they will need to keep upping the ante as to catastrophic events. Sooner or later they are going to run out of believability.

  14. I’m not seeing the “reluctant participant” in Dead-End Alley. Oh right, that’s just the standard passive-aggressive martyr stance they love to take. Makes them look all heroic.

  15. Richard Alley, just like Chuckie Schumer, is one of those people who always checks to see which way the wind is blowing before being caught with an opinion.

    He’s got the backbone of an amoeba.

  16. Richard Alley is a very good scientist. Trained in glaciology in the mid-80’s he has been at the forefront of ice core research. He is one of the main proponents of the concept of abrupt climate change on which he published a landmark article in Science in 2003. Prior to Dansgaard’s discovery of the events that carry his name, climate was thought to always change very slowly, as happened for geological changes. Alley became convinced that we are undergoing an abrupt climate change and that CO₂ is responsible. He was influenced by oceanographer Wallace Broecker’s hypothesis of North Atlantic conveyor shut down, that was the inspiration for the movie “The day after tomorrow.”

    In science you can be fundamentally wrong in your theses, and still be a great scientist because your contributions are very valuable. Alley’s data and discoveries are still valid for a different paradigm.

    • Javier, tend to disagree. Scientists should be evaluated on their entire oevre. Being right once and wrong twice raises the Linus Pauling problem in spades. Pauling never overstepped into public policy. Alley clearly has. No forgiveness, no scientific greatness. None.

      • Agreed. Once a “scientist” turns “activist,” he/she is no longer worthy of the title “scientist.” The “climate” field is so polluted with confirmation bias that is has long ceased to be anything resembling real “science.”

    • If Alley is a very good scientist, why didn’t he see, and believe after it was pointed out, the lag in CO2 rise vs. temperature rise in the ice cores? How can the glaciologist who drilled the ice core in Greenland missed that significant discovery? It was Sherwood Idso who is not a glaciologist who first published the CO2 lag problem in 1988 from ice cores in Antarctica.

      I say Idso is a very good scientist. Alley is very candid and incoherent.

    • you cannot BE a “scientist”. Science is a deed, not a being. I don’t know of any scientific geniuses who, at the very same time they advanced science, didn’t believe some sort of BS; few were wise enough to refrain to push “the science”, thinking that its success would be the best advocate. I guess this is the main difference between Galileo (who accepted to refrain to push his ideas, that eventually prevailed) and Giordano Bruno (who didn’t, and died ): why would you care to speak the truth, if you trust the truth to speak for itself eventually, and if you face death (a state in which you cannot speak the truth anymore) if you persist?

      I carefully listen to people who talk in the media, presented by the anchorman as “he did this and that, famous enough deeds, and now we are pleased to have him talk to you about [some directly related stuff making the headline] ”
      On the other hand, I know for sure that BS will ensue when presented by the anchorman as “scientist/ expert/artist famous enough [we don’t have to talk about his deeds, because … their are none, or irrelevant] “

  17. Alley is trying to figure out the best way to brainwash the skeptics so they see things the way he does.

    The Alarmists *know* they are correct, and they just can’t understand why others don’t agree. Methinks the fault is in them, not in the skeptics.

    Instead of trying to manipulate people, Alley et al, should focus on trying to understand why there are so many skeptics of CAGW. Although it doesn’t look like he would make much effort to relate to Republicans and Christians from the way he talks about them.

    “Prove it” must send shock waves through the Alarmists. They talk a good game until it comes to proving it. That’s the reason there are so many skeptics, because the alarmists make all these claims they can’t prove. They start off with a false assumption and extrapolate from there.

  18. Alley speaks for an increasing number of scientists. Guessing, this suggests more policy advocacy by scientists — especially on hot button topics such as climate.

    There have been many papers lately assuring scientists that public engagement is a good without serious risks. Such as this: “Does Engagement in Advocacy Hurt the Credibility of Scientists? Results from a Randomized National Survey Experiment” by John Kotcher et al. in Environmental Communication, 2017.

    “It is often assumed that issue advocacy will compromise the credibility of scientists. We conducted a randomized controlled experiment to test public reactions to six different advocacy statements made by a scientist — ranging from a purely informational statement to an endorsement of specific policies. We found that perceived credibility of the communicating scientist was uniformly high in five of the six message conditions, suffering only when he advocated for a specific policy — building more nuclear power plants (although credibility did not suffer when advocating for a different specific policy — carbon dioxide limits at power plants). We also found no significant differences in trust in the broader climate science community between the six message conditions.

    “Our results suggest that climate scientists who wish to engage in certain forms of advocacy have considerable latitude to do so without risking harm to their credibility, or the credibility of the scientific community.”

    Based on this conclusion, I’m seeing articles urging greater policy advocacy by scientists — with no mention about the possibility of adverse effects. Such as “To Advocate or Not Is No Longer the Question: Paths to Enhance Scientific Engagement” by George Wittemyer et al. from BioScience, Volume 68, Issue 1, 1 January 2018. Excerpt:

    “In an era defined by rapid communication, alternative facts, and the propagation of misinformation, the need for scientists to engage directly in public policy and education has never been greater (Pittinsky 2015). The ecological community has debated for decades whether scientists should publicly communicate their support for particular policy positions (Pielke 2007). However, fears that such involvement will undermine public perceptions of scientific objectivity appear to be overblown (Kotcher et al. 2017). Academic institutions have traditionally undervalued such engagement, and calls for redirecting science to serve society and the planet are increasing (Keeler et al. 2017). …

    “It is time to move beyond debates regarding the role of scientists in the public-policy arena. While we debate, land conversion continues, action on climate change is delayed, and loss of biological diversity is accelerating. It is time for ecological scientists to
    mobilize and leverage the power of their training to protect and restore the planet’s biological diversity. The metric of success in this endeavor is for native species to be sufficiently abundant and widely distributed to fulfill their functional role in ecological systems.”

    • “It is often assumed that issue advocacy will compromise the credibility of scientists.”

      The thing that will compromise the credibility of a scientist is being wrong. If they are right, they shouldn’t have any trouble at all explaining what they are doing. The fact that climate alarmists have such a tough time explaining themselves ought to tell you something. The truth is they can’t really make a case because they lack the solid facts required to prove their claims. Just saying your claims are proven is not good enough for skeptics.

      So the Alarmists turn to propaganda techniques to push their CAGW narrative.

  19. I came up to a neighbor the other day. And I told him, “You need to surrender your affluence, your comfort, your ease of travel, your green yard, and low density neighborhood.” And, he asked me why. I told him because of science. He told me that science gave him the things he’s now supposed to give up. He said he preferred the former science.

    I figured I needed to work on my persuasion skills. So I acquired a rocket propelled grenade launcher.

  20. “At the Forum on Transforming Communication in the Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise — Focusing on Challenges Facing Our Sciences.”

    Here we go again. They spend more time trying to figure out how to “communicate” (LIE) than they do anything else it seems.

      • Exactly. If there was a solid scientific case, they’d be sticking it under everyone’s noses. Instead, they whine about the need to promote “belief” in the non-existent “catastrophe” that will supposedly ensue if we do not “repent” for our fossil fuel “sins.” Pure secular religion.

  21. Alley is delusional and vicious:
    He is delusional if he really thinks he knows a slr disaster is coming.
    He is vicious because his transparent cynicism soaks through the sciencey words he abuses.
    Actually he comes across demonstrating rather well just how broken the Academy has become.

  22. Core western values

    I acquired for myself, just yesterday as a birfday prezzie to self, a new (to me) VW.

    Dealer/salesman was eager to show me around the inside and one of my ‘concerns’ was that shoulder-strap of my laptop bag would go over the head restraint of the passenger seat.
    It did and, me being me, wondered out loud how *anyone* in these modern times could suffer from whiplash injury. (The scourge of insurance companies here in the UK right now)
    Every vehicle has head restraints so just how do people hurt their necks when rear-ended by another vehicle.

    Straight off, salesman announced “They’re lying”

    And so they are but, *who* is really being mendacious?
    These (supposedly) injured people are required to obtain a certificate from their/a doctor confirming the injury.

    What planet are doctors on? Surely they know its impossible now, in a modern vehicle to get whiplash.
    So effectively it is the doctors doing the lying.

    But surely, these are among the best educated and most upstanding people in modern society?
    And for financial gain, they and their patients are defrauding insurance companies.

    Climate Science corruption is nothing new….

  23. I’ve started to view climate “science” and claims of deadly warning in the same way I view werewolf stories.
    In the medieval world, some poor fellow out hunting in the woods encounters a rabid wolf and gets bitten. Then he kills the wolf, takes the hide (contracting more of the rabies virus) and goes on this way. He is now infected with rabies. He comes into his village, tells people he was bitten by wolf, but is okay. However, since the symptoms of rabies take time to develop, he doesn’t start slobbering and attacking people for a few days. But when he does, in one of his few sane moments, he says he’s a ‘werewolf’, and it goes from there. Before too many centuries pass, werewolves become firmly established in the superstition, books are written, and TV movies are made. And yet, at some point, the rabies story finally comes to light, but those who want to believe in werewolves, faeries, and ghosts shout down the people who tell the truth, because they “know” people can become werewolves.

    It just takes faith and a level of gullibility that can be as deadly as a bad day in Jonestown. It’s the gullibility that must be addressed. As I said elsewhere, when I was at the grocery store yesterday, I ran across someone on the phone to a friend who said she hates climate change because it makes her wear winter clothing. Now go back an reread my werewolf story.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    • You forgot that rabies and hunting are both caused by AGW. Ergo, it’s worse than we thought. AGW causes WEREWOLVES!!

  24. the title of this article didn’t prepare me for it’s contents. Maybe because the term “fix” has multiple meanings.

  25. “The text was generated by Yahoo’s transcription software”

    Where can this software be found at yahoo.com? I have transcription software which is no longer supported and would like to try this as a possible replacement, but a Google search for “transcription software” at site:yahoo.com does not seem to find it in early returned results.

  26. It seems to me that there are two kinds of people: those who can learn stuff and those that can work it out. In reality of course, that is not a binary split but a continuum.

    Western education systems used to teach logic but now they tend to teach facts. Logic used to be taught through the subject of syllogism itself and via other techniques like geometry, for instance. One aim of teaching geometry was to show students how to start with an assumption then make logical steps through to the desired conclusion.

    I have noticed both here and elsewhere that the people who support the consensus view of global warming tend to be fact-based people. Some of them really struggle with logic. I can see how fact-based people might think that communication is the only issue to be solved while, in reality, some of us older curmudgeons still like to see the steps worked through before we are convinced.

    • Agreed, unfortunately it is far easier to test how well someone has memorised facts than it is to test how well someone understands things. Hence it is attractive to teachers, who often do not understand the subject themselves.

      When I was in the army I was often required to learn some things word perfect. I seemed to me that if someone could say something in their own words it showed they had understood it, whereas repeating the manual word perfect did not show understanding.

      Clearly people who have little ability to understand things have to pick a trusted figure and accept everything they say. Those of us who can understand things want evidence that what we are being told is correct.

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