Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

Is the National Academy of Sciences going CRU?

From this Washington Times piece on the NAS.

In private e-mails obtained by The Washington Times, climate scientists at the National Academy of Sciences say they are tired of “being treated like political pawns” and need to fight back in kind. Their strategy includes forming a nonprofit group to organize researchers and use their donations to challenge critics by running a back-page ad in the New York Times.

If their so tired of “being treated like political pawns” now, why weren’t they tired of it back when the science was continuously being touted as “settled?” The notion of settled science is a political notion, not a scientific one. If anything, hopefully, people should have learned that by now.

“Most of our colleagues don’t seem to grasp that we’re not in a gentlepersons’ debate, we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules,” Paul R. Ehrlich, a Stanford University researcher, said in one of the e-mails.

This is the same Ehrlich, whom I mentioned in a previous post, that believes in the Malthusian nonsense of a Population Bomb, and wrote a book with the same name. This is the same Ehrlich that lost the famous Ehrlich-Simon bet, that still beguiles the Peak Oil crowd to this day. This is a guy driving the AGW crowd, no wonder they are nuts. Ehrlich is also the mentor of John “Let’s Sterilize the Population to keep it under Control” Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Don’t you feel safer in the hands of the experts?

Now back to the NAS story. In all honesty this is a non issue. This is the kind of e-mails that the CRU apologists try to pin on the ClimateGate e-mails, just an exchange/debate between scientists on what to do. ClimateGate was about scientists playing Gatekeepers with the information going into the journals. It was about scientists openly discussing how to violate Freedom of Information Act laws

These NAS emails are not on par with the CRU, but they do show how absent minded these professors really are. I mean a New York Times ad? Really? Do those “smart” people not realize that the people that are skeptical of AGW are also skeptical of the NYT as well? The NYT has been pushing AGW and Cap and Trade for years. (Yes, that’s the same Revkin mentioned in the ClimateGate emails.) So spending, $50,000 on a back page ad of the Times isn’t going to do much for their cause. Well except maybe it will help them get their op-eds published more often.

Who’s politicizing whom again?

Last month, President Obama announced that he would create a U.S. agency to arbitrate research on climate change.

Oh yeah, it was only Bush that politicized science, my fault. I forgot to refer to rule number 1.

The Rules according to Obama.

  1. Blame Bush
  2. Refer to rule number 1
  3. Don’t ever mention that your doing the same things Bush did.

Back to the NAS story again, I get off track a lot don’t I? The NAS emails are more debate than anything else, because there is dissenting opinion. The CRU e-mails were about silencing dissenting opinion, the NAS one’s are not. BIG DIFFERENCE!!!!

Not all climate scientists agree with forcing a political fight.

“Sounds like this group wants to step up the warfare, continue to circle the wagons, continue to appeal to their own authority, etc.,” said Judith A. Curry, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Surprising, since these strategies haven’t worked well for them at all so far.”

She said scientists should downplay their catastrophic predictions, which she said are premature, and instead shore up and defend their research. She said scientists and institutions that have been pushing for policy changes “need to push the disconnect button for now,” because it will be difficult to take action until public confidence in the science is restored.

Imagine that. At least someone has some common sense. Just to be sure that the scientists involved with the NAS e-mails are acting on their own, we have this.

“These scientists are elected members of the National Academy of Sciences, but the discussants themselves realized their efforts would require private support since the National Academy of Sciences never considered placing such an ad or creating a nonprofit group concerning these issues,” said William Kearney, chief spokesman for NAS.

Maybe so. Yet, I think we have our own mini-version of a Phil Jones in George Woodwell.

In his e-mail, Mr. Woodwell acknowledged that he is advocating taking “an outlandishly aggressively partisan approach” but said scientists have had their “classical reasonableness” turned against them.

“We are dealing with an opposition that is not going to yield to facts or appeals from people who hold themselves in high regard and think their assertions and data are obvious truths,” he wrote.

So apparently it’s bad when you don’t “yield to facts” from people that hold themselves in high regard? Is he talking about himself or Gore, cause I’m sure both hold themselves in a much higher regard than anyone that disagrees with them. Of course, Woodell must be looking in the mirror when he talks about people who “think their assertions and data are obvious truths.”

One thing for sure, is the fall out, not only political but the fallout in the scientific community over what happened at CRU is far from over. The public trust has been eroded. That’s what happens when you lend yourself to ethical lapses. If the Climate Science community had got their shit in order from the get go, they might have been able to avoid this PR disaster. But they didn’t, they had an agenda and did sloppy science to support that agenda. The chickens are coming home to roost, as the good Rev. Wright would say.



Skeptics – Nature of Science

February 16, 2010 4 comments

DC Snow Storm

Does the Snow-pocalypse this past week disprove Global Warming?
Does the heat wave in Brazil prove GW?

The whole Climate Change debate is way off kilter here. The language being used by both sides, and I’m as guilty as anyone, doesn’t do anything to advance the knowledge on what is actually happening.

I see the whole Climate Change/Global Warming/AGW debate a different way.

You have to separate what we are actually debating here. There are two distinct and separate issues going on. The first question that needs to be asked is, is the Earth getting warmer?

I think the answer to that is yes. The earth is getting warmer over the past hundred years. This is natural warming that should be expected by anyone, since we came out of the Little Ice Age in the late 19th century. Obviously, if the Earth were still cooling, we’d still be in the ice age, but to paraphrase Newton’s Third Law; what goes down must come up!

The second question that needs to be asked is; is the warming due to Man, i.e. Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)?

This is where the debate starts and were it gets tricky. Personally, I say no. The way I see it, is that there isn’t enough evidence to support that claim. Proponents of AGW say otherwise. This is the crux of the debate and the cause of all the confusion.This is also where the skeptics come in.

Nature of Science

Science and the scientific method are tools that can be used to increase our level of knowledge about the world around us and the universe. Like any tool, it has it’s pros and its cons. Also, like any tool, it can be used for good or evil (and no I don’t mean a Sith Lord type of evil).

The nature of Science Method is to be skeptical. The different steps involved, evolved around a certain amount of skepticism in both the hypothesis being tested, methodology used and the results from which we draw our conclusions. We test our hypothesis because we are skeptical that the hypothesis is correct. That seems kind of obvious, but it’s the foundation of the whole methodology being used. If we were to take the hypothesis as true (non-skeptical approach), why should we even test it? It would be much easier to just assume something happens the way we say so and go about our business.


The nature of a scientist is to be skeptical of the answers being given. That is why they try to verify other people’s work. Reproducibility is just another name for testing other people’s hypothesis. Why do you do that? Five points if you said, because your skeptical of their work.

They way we do that in modern science is through a peer review process. The way a peer review should work, is that a scientist submits their; hypothesis, methodology, results and conclusions to another scientist, which doesn’t exactly have to be in the same field but that helps. The peer, then goes through the first scientist’s work for errors. Why does he spend so much time; reviewing, auditing and reproducing the first scientists work? Three points if you say, because he is skeptical of the first. (No more points because you should have guessed the pattern here by now.)

After multiple rounds of peer reviews, the hypothesis sits in a special place. It sits waiting for someone to come along and show that it is wrong.  Why? Yeah I don’t even need to ask that question anymore right?

Take Einstein’s General Relativity for example. When Einstein first proposed his landmark theory in 1915, most of his peers out-and-out rejected him. They didn’t see any evidence to support Einstein’s hypothesis. So in 1919, Sir Eddington observed during a solar eclipse that light was being bent by the gravity of the Sun. It wasn’t until after this observation that any one in the scientific community took Einstein seriously. something we do almost reflexively now. The reason behind that was and always is, skepticism. The scientific community was skeptical of the claims being made by Einstein and want to a way to test Einstein’s hypothesis. What would have happened if the eclipse would have shown no light being bent? Well then, we probably wouldn’t know who that scruffy haired man was right now.

Gravitational Lens

Only a select few hypothesis actually go long enough to become a Theory. Even fewer make it long enough to become a Law. At anytime, hypothesis, theories or laws can be shown to be false.

Well how can you show a law to be wrong? Doesn’t the word law mean that it is in fact been proven true? Well to answer that look no farther that the Biogenetic Law that has been thoroughly dismissed by modern scientist in light of the evidence. At one time though, it was a well established Law that most people in the field subscribed to. What caused it’s demise? Some damn skeptic came along and didn’t think it was quite right and did his own experiments that showed that the biogenetic law of embryo development was rubbish. Damn those skeptics, how dare they increase our knowledge because they don’t trust other scientists word.

One consequence of the scientific method is that everything can be falsified. Einstein said it best with, “”No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Karl Popper made the point that a scientific theory is only “scientific” only if it is falsifiable. I don’t want to get into Popperian vs Bayesian, but I think it’s fair to say we live in a Popperian scientific world. In fact my whole rant here is based upon my Popperian notion of science.

I’m going to wait for another post to talk about how the Climate Change debate has moved away from actual Popperian science to the realm of religious fury in part II.

Global Warming Sunday: Snowball edition

February 14, 2010 5 comments

I’ve stated before 2010 will be the end of Global Warming hysteria. Although that won’t stop people from wanting to enact laws regulating how people live. Never let a crisis, even ones that you made up, go to waste!

Now we have Dr. Phil Jones, of ClimateGate fame, coming out and admitting that the scientific case for AGW isn’t settled.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

He also had this to say about the quality of the data:
Asked about whether he lost track of data, Professor Jones said: ‘There is some truth in that. We do have a trail of where the weather stations have come from but it’s probably not as good as it should be.
John Christy, former lead IPCC author, says that you really can’t trust the temperature measurement from some of those stations anyway.

The doubts of Christy and a number of other researchers focus on the thousands of weather stations around the world, which have been used to collect temperature data over the past 150 years.

These stations, they believe, have been seriously compromised by factors such as urbanisation, changes in land use and, in many cases, being moved from site to site.

Christy has published research papers looking at these effects in three different regions: east Africa, and the American states of California and Alabama.

“The story is the same for each one,” he said. “The popular data sets show a lot of warming but the apparent temperature rise was actually caused by local factors affecting the weather stations, such as land development.”

And another scientists is bashing the IPCC methodology.

The IPCC faces similar criticisms from Ross McKitrick, professor of economics at the University of Guelph, Canada, who was invited by the panel to review its last report.

The experience turned him into a strong critic and he has since published a research paper questioning its methods.

“We concluded, with overwhelming statistical significance, that the IPCC’s climate data are contaminated with surface effects from industrialisation and data quality problems. These add up to a large warming bias,” he said.

It doesn’t look good for the IPCC.

The recent snow fall has done a lot to damage the PR battle over AGW. The fact that there were recorded snow fall in all 50 states on Wednesday, puts a damper on the “the Earth is warming and we are all going to die!” argument. Not that record snow fall disproves AGW, but it doesn’t exactly help it either. Especially when AGW alarmists point to local weather conditions as a sign of AGW, this snow shows that the sword has two edges.

Dana Milbank of MSNBC and WaPo fame actually has a very good article on the matter.

For years, climate-change activists have argued by anecdote to make their case. Gore, in his famous slide shows, ties human-caused global warming to increasing hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought and the spread of mosquitoes, pine beetles and disease…

Other environmentalists have undermined the cause with claims bordering on the outlandish; they’ve blamed global warming for shrinking sheep in Scotland, more shark and cougar attacks, genetic changes in squirrels, an increase in kidney stones and even the crash of Air France Flight 447. When climate activists make the dubious claim, as a Canadian environmental group did, that global warming is to blame for the lack of snow at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, then they invite similarly specious conclusions about Washington’s snow — such as the Virginia GOP ad urging people to call two Democratic congressmen “and tell them how much global warming you get this weekend.”

Of course where Dana and I differ is on the “overwhelming” scientific evidence. Dana is most likely referring to the 2007 IPCC assessment. As most of you know, all my posts lately have been about how screwed up and unscientific that assessment really is. If all people, like Milbank, have to go on is the IPCC assessment, then they are about to get a rude awakening.