JoNova

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Flashback: The rise of the unskeptical scientist

People from the How Arrogant Art Thy Name-calling thread were wondering what we call people who toss out “Denier.” I suggested that the best response to “denier” is just to point out they are name-calling thugs trying to stop people talking about the evidence.

That said, the discussion reminded me that I had another more sneaky, devious and comic response way back two days before ClimateGate broke, (and my web traffic numbers soared) and many people may have missed this post. Times have changed since then, and now even Pachauri is paying token lip service to the “value of skeptics”. But there are still plenty of people who want to disown the word skeptic because of the long PR campaign to slur it. I say that only makes it o-so-much more valuable. Let’s use their own PR campaign against them.

The rise of the unskeptical scientist

Nov 17, 2009: I’ve done it, I’ve finally solved the dilemma of how to refer to scientists who actively promote a crisis due to carbon, but can’t provide the evidence that carbon causes major warming. Not Team-AGW, not alarmist, a far better one has come to me.

Once upon a time, a scientist and a skeptic used to be one and the same thing. Actually, it still is. The motto of The Royal Society — the longest lived scientific association in the world, is Nullius in Verba — “On no one’s word” (take no one’s word for it).  The Climate Industry marketing has tried to turn “skeptic” into a dirty word. So in perfect symmetry, if we are Skeptical Scientists, they are obviously:

the Unskeptical Scientists

(or “Unskeptics” for short).

What could be more appropriate?

It covers all bases; is true to its form, and if you think being a skeptic is so unattractive, it’s flattering —right? I can see them queuing up now to print the badges proclaiming themselves as the proud people who are not skeptics. So in the spirit of helpfulness I’ve done them up their very own T-Shirt and Badge —copyright free.

It’s time to reclaim the term skeptic. It is, after all, just what a scientist is. It’s time to rescue the brand of the word skeptic, and rebadge those who are not… skeptical.


It reflects their PR campaign right back at them.

These images are available for anyone to use. And Ralph from Kane-TV has helped out again by producing files that can be scaled up to billboard size. (Thanks!) The Illustrator files are infinitely expandable (Cinema screens, Trucks, Skyscrapers). The Tif files are perfect for printing stickers. The Powerpoint files are… obvious.

Download: Unskeptical Scientists Trust Committees (the red and white rectangle above)

Illustrator “Trust Committees” 660kb ….Tif “Trust Committees” 115kb

Powerpoint “Trust Committees” 300kb

Download: Unskeptical Scientists Have Faith (the circular one above right)

Illustrator “Orange Unskeptical Badge” ….Tif “Orange Unskeptical Badge”

Powerpoint “Orange Unskeptical Badge”

There are other coloured versions available too.


Comments:

Bryn Thomas  November 17th, 2009 at 7:24 am

I like it. The unsc(k)eptic, a variation of “the undead”, the zombie that keeps on coming. Now where is that stake for the heart or my silver bullets?


ADDENDUM

What’s a UN Scientist? — UNscientific.

Thanks Joe for reminding me of my old front page line.


The Royal Society changed their motto from Nullis inVerba to Respect the Evidence. So how do you show “respect” for the raw data?  Lose, hide, delete and adjust.

Thanks Colin.


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77 comments to Flashback: The rise of the unskeptical scientist

  • #

    Very good! Civilised, and apt. One of the abiding shames of the Royal Society of London was their apparently casual abandonment of scientific scepticism. What on earth got into them?

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  • #

    Could we call them “Fundamentally Unskepticals” or “FU”s for short?

    Just askin’.

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  • #
    PJB

    On the lighter side, we might define the degree of commitment to CAGW by referring to the steps of acceptance of reality.

    First and worst would be “Credulouses”? They believe in whatever they are invested in.

    Next on the list might be “Fanasticks”, for obvious reasons…;).

    Then there are the “Skipsticks” who are willing to overlook the contrived.

    Coming to their senses there would be the “Infactuated”, ie willing to look at the raw data.

    Finally there are the “Changistas” who recognize the dynamic nature of climate.

    Hope springs eternal, as they say.

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    co2isnotevil

    I think it’s more of a mass paranoid delusion. Kind of like a mass hysteria which has been precipitated by the alarmism that always accompanies the CAGW message. Based on the kinds of responses I see from extreme warmists, it seems like they are hallucinating about some alternate reality where physics and logic no longer matters.

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    Adolf Balik

    Why un-skeptical? It is an euphemism. I guess a believer or faithful would be more direct and appropriate. Actually for them, we are infidels and the expression – skeptic is a euphemism for them. They fight for their holy truth against infidel dogs, which are so immoral that they deny revelation of the indisputable dogmas. The believer or faithful tells more directly who they are and suggests the fact it is not a contention with scientists but with a religion group.

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  • #
    Adolf Balik

    JPB 3:
    “Changistas”

    If I want to speak about them in this way I call them carbonari. The name is derived from a historical movement and it fits to their essentials. The climate change is just a pretext. Yet, the carbon sequestration is the real target for which their marionettes go for.

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    Joe Veragio

    Thankyou for pulling that one out of the hat Jo. I knew you’d come up with something suitable. It’s spot on.

    It brings to mind Christopher Moncktons illuminating references to Abu Ali Ibn Al Haytham , that father of the scientific method
    Does he get a mention in science courses any more or are modern scientist trained to be Government servants first and old Ali relegated to philosophy.

    I suppose that just leaves,
    What do you call an UnSkeptical Scientist ?
    … in one word, and apart from unscientific of course… (the contradiction in terms notwithstanding ).

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  • #
    Adolf Balik

    co2isnotevil 4:

    Self-deceptive lie is a fabulatia. Then they are fabulo-climatists? :-)

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    Joe Veragio

    The motto of The Royal Society — the longest lived scientific association in the world, is Nullius in Verba — “On no one’s word” (take no one’s word for it).

    an’ there was my untrained mind thinking it just meant ‘get it in writing’…

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  • #
    Mark D.

    Why don’t we just stop calling them at all?

    I have to say though that no one name suits the variety of personalities or ideologies. As George has observed, the range is from Farnish like Luddites to milk warmists (copyright reserved). I am surprised at how many seem to have split persona or full on Bi-Polar disorders. (but I digress)

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  • #
    Adolf Balik

    An important Popper’s requirement for a hypothesis or a theory to be scientific is to be falsifiable. Then we could call their theory an unfalsifiable science or a post-Popper science.

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    Mark D.

    Sorry George, I meant to rephrase that sentence @10 so as not to imply that you necessarily agree with the range I typed. Unfortunately I hit submit instead of preview.

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    Henry chance

    I am a proud skeptic. I read alGores writings and behaviors and determined he was not to be trusted. 2 more women have come forth and unfriended him. I am very clear on what his agenda is about.

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  • #
    Henry chance

    “The science is settled”

    Is this an example of unskeptical or what?

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  • #
    Joe Veragio

    Adolf Balik: @11
    July 22nd, 2010 at 6:04 am

    “An important Popper’s requirement for a hypothesis or a theory to be scientific is to be falsifiable. Then we could call their theory an unfalsifiable science or a post-Popper science.”

    Adolf, Is ‘post modern’ the expression you’re looking for, to describe such such woolly nonsense ?

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  • #
    Louis Hissink

    A person is a scientists because they follow the scientific method. This was the topic of AIG News issue 87.

    Unsceptical scientists are those who don’t use the scientific method, and are thus described as pseudoscientists.

    In any case I notice that Santer (among many) assert the AGW will be proven by the hotspot (See Ice Cap blog) where the greenhouse gases are supposed to be. So this test has not been observed, not because the theory is correct but because no gas can store energy. Heat is simply a measurement of the Brownian motion an object has.

    As I have asserted often, there is no such physical thing as a greenhouse gas – but when your “science” is essentially technically sophisticated rhetoric with little or no in-situ testing, furious debate over “greenhouse” gases becomes possible, as is here with many arguments based on authority or on specious statistical proofs veriying a particular assertion. And it isn’t science.

    The Greenhouse effect is what has to be proposed to explain the earth’s observed thermal state in the absence of electrical forces. What else can one do when the model is a ball of rock suspended in vacuum heated by a nuclear furnanced sun? That observations fail to substantiate this model surely must lead to questioning that model. Instead ad hoc adjustments are made to the model to make it fit observations. That is called pseudoscience.

    We are dealing with pseudoscience and hence pseudoscientists.

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  • #
    Joe Veragio

    ‘brains not working tonight. I’ve only just got it . The play on that much maligned institution :-
    What is a UN scientist ?

    Rather a UNfortunate moniker, what ?

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    Adolf Balik

    Joe Veragion 15:

    Yes, I guess certain suggestion about post-modernism should be useful. It is a product of science in post-normal time that produces something in a way of post-science.

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    FrankS

    But Michael Mann has said he is a skeptic as well…..quote from an interview with Frank Warner in March this year.

    “I would say that all good scientists are skeptics. Many who deny the existence of climate change I would not call skeptics, because their skepticism is one-sided. I would call them contrarians or, frankly in some cases, climate change deniers. I’m a skeptic.”

    So he really is a skeptic……but about those with skeptic views

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    co2isnotevil

    Louis,

    You hit the nail on the head. What the warmists call atmospheric effects dominated by GHG are really atmospheric effects dominated by clouds. Their assertions are correct only in the sense that clouds are comprised of water and water is the most powerful GHG, but the implication is that GHG absorption is the cause. For example, the big scary ‘back radiation’ is mostly radiation originating from clouds and directed towards the surface. GHG’s do temporarily warm the atmosphere, but the energy they capture is in very short term storage with a relatively low heat capacity. All GHG absorption does is delay the ultimate release of surface power by recirculating half of what’s absorbed back to the surface and this delay is only on the order of hours at most.

    The biggest, densest clouds have an emissivity of 1, and cloud emissivity approaches the emissivity of clear sky (close to 0) for thin wispy clouds. Furthermore, most of the energy stored in the atmosphere is associated with clouds and not clear sky. Oddly enough, the unskeptics at deltoid disagreed with both of these statements, not because they are not true, but simply because I said them. This illustrates another aspect of the psychosis where if you don’t accept their conclusion they reconcile the paradox by considering that everything else you know must be wrong.

    George

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  • #
    Colin Henderson

    Hi Jo

    The Royal Society has recently changed their motto from Nullius in Verba — “On no one’s word” (take no one’s word for it) to “respect the evidence”. Apparently they have mixed up the meaning of the words respect and ignore!

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    MadJak

    Just had a thought here (yes, it does happen occasionally),

    If we could get a list of 2500 politicial scientists emails, we could email them all asking them to review the following comment:

    Julia Gillard is Kevin Rudds twin policy wise and is just a puppet of the trade unions like Kevin Rudd and should not be elected to govern due to her links with Viagra.

    I would figure most of the emails will make it into the spam filters. We can ignore any responses and then we could say:

    The Scientific consensus is that Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard are puppets of the trade unions.

    Maybe someone else has an idea on this? SHould be a good way of absolutely ridiculing the whole scientific consensus crap people have been hearing. IF the statement was catchy enough, the Bogans will listen (if there aren’t any words with more than two syllables that is)

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    co2isnotevil

    Frank,

    It’s clear that Mann can’t distinguish between a climate change denier and a skeptic of CAGW. While there are certainly climate change deniers out there, no skeptical scientist takes this position. As for me, I’m skeptical of the C in CAGW, which seems to be the reason so many unskeptics object to the term CAGW.

    George

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    wes george

    Unskeptical science is good. It’s unique (as Kath and Kim might say:-) It’s not cynical or hateful like “denialist” which is a not so subtle allusion to Holocaust denial. Nor is it snarky like calling those who lack skepticism, warmistas, or true believers, or my favorite, AGW acolytes. It gives one an opportunity to ponder the meaning of skepticism, or lack thereof, and reflect on the values of rational inquiry, ie the values of The Enlightenment.

    Best of all challenging someone as Unskeptical is just itching for an argument, whereas to call someone a Denialist indicates that debate is over.

    And you have work out the wording for that UN joke:

    What kind of science has UN IPCC approval? UNskeptical, of course!

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  • #
    Ross

    Louis @16 –did you see this on ICECAP. I’m not sure if it is old or new “news” ( I’ve copied it off Climate Truth simply because it was easier to do )

    http://kirkmyers.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/miskolczi-destroys-greenhouse-theory/

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    cohenite

    Ross; every one has seen Miskolczi, including the Australian gov’t;

    http://www.climatechange.gov.au/climate-change/myths/science/climate-sceptics.aspx

    As you can see, the gov’t demonstrated their scepticism against the sceptics!

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    MadJak

    Cohenite,

    Great, my tax dollars are paying for that drivel by the Dept of Catastrophic global warming advocacy Climate change.

    What an absolutely pathetic response, you just know they’re stuffed. when they come out with lines like:

    Miskolczi’s paper was not published in a high impact peer-reviewed journal

    I guess the next step is to say that the paper wasn’t published in a greenpeace flyer with a blue cover and brown spine.

    Wasting $90 million dollars per year and that’s the best they can come up with?

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    wes george

    Ross,

    This is the best lay discussion of Miskolczi I’m aware of… it’s a MUST read by anyone who has not already done so.

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/05/the-work-of-ferenc-miskolczi-part-1/

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/05/the-climatically-saturated-greenhouse-effect/

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  • #
    Ross

    Thanks Cohenite and Wes . I won’t pretend I understand the detail completely but it certainly is interesting.

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    hunter

    The loss of skepticism is related directly to the large sums of money and social prestige provided to science by tax payer largess.

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  • #
    Speedy

    Jo

    I think you’re right. If the discussion devolves to one of simple abuse and name-calling, the AGW advocates are going to win every time.

    Far better to point out that the “evidence” for AGW simply – isn’t evidence.

    Cheers,

    Speedy

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  • #
    John Brookes

    If climate change was just a scientific question, like say, the magnitude of the charge on an electron, then it would be different. You could happily criticise climate scientists for the lack of skepticism.

    It is not just a scientific question, because if we get a temperature increase of 2-3 degrees over the next century, the world will have to adapt very rapidly (and painfully). So we are put in the position of making decisions without the level of certainty we would like.

    The hotties say that they think there is a 90% chance that people are causing climate change, and then give a range of scenarios for how the temperature, sea level etc will change. They think that the overwhelming weight of evidence supports that view. But they are not “certain”. They argue that waiting until you have convinced everyone and are “certain” will lead to a prolonged period of inaction which will make the problem (if it is real) worse. So they want to start acting now. They don’t want to stop trying to improve our knowledge of what is happening, because they, just like the notties on this site, want to understand better what is happening.

    The notties don’t want action on climate change, because they think the proposed actions are unnecessary, and will be ruinous to our civilisation. This is a valid point of view. But arguing that you can’t proceed without the sort of certainty that the scientific method normally demands is not valid.

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    Rick Bradford

    Soothsayer (definition): one who pretends to prognosticate future events.

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    Speedy

    John, John, John.

    That’s just the old “Precautionary Principle” in another guise! We can accept that there was a rise in global temperature at the end of the 20th century – but there is no evidence that it is any more than normal, natural variability. (Despite the billions of dollars to try and find a link between the two.) And the “90%” probability you mention is only an estimate used to give a semblance of quantitive accuracy to what is essentially, at best, a wild guess. And at worst, a fabrication.

    Perhaps you can supply us with PHYSICAL evidence that global warming EXISTS, is HARMFUL and is MAN-MADE? Then we might believe you.

    Cheers,

    Speedy.

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    Scott

    From Wattsupwiththat – The satellites are missing

    Back in January, our friends were crowing about the warmest satellite temperatures on record. But now they seem to have lost interest in satellites. I wonder why?

    It probably has to do with the fact that temperature anomalies are plummeting at a rate of 0.47 °C/year and that satellite temperatures in 2010 are showing no signs of setting a record.
    The attention span of our alarmist friends seems to be getting shorter and shorter. They lock in on a week of warm temperatures on the east coast, a week of warm temperatures in Europe, a week of rapid melt in the Arctic. But they have completely lost the plot of the big picture.

    Note that actual GISTEMP is below all three of Hansen’s forecasts. According to RealClimate :

    Scenario B was roughly a linear increase in forcings, and Scenario C was similar to B, but had close to constant forcings from 2000 onwards. Scenario B and C had an ‘El Chichon’ sized volcanic eruption in 1995. Essentially, a high, middle and low estimate were chosen to bracket the set of possibilities. Hansen specifically stated that he thought the middle scenario (B) the “most plausible”.

    In other words, actual temperature rise has been less than Hansen forecast – even if there was a huge volcanic eruption in the 1990s, and no new CO2 introduced over the past decade! We have fallen more than half a degree below Hansen’s “most plausible” scenario, even though CO2 emissions have risen faster than worst case.

    Conclusions:

    1.We are not going to set a record this year (for the whole year)
    2.Hansen has vastly overestimated climate sensitivity
    3.Temperatures have risen slower than Hansen forecast for a carbon free 21st century

    So what exactly is it that these folks are still worried about?

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  • #
    John Brookes

    Speedy @34.

    Oh well. I tell it how I see it. You see it differently. Time will tell.

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    Mark D.

    John Brookes @32:

    But arguing that you can’t proceed without the sort of certainty that the scientific method normally demands is not valid.

    JOHN, BY Who’s frigging decree is it NOT VALID!

    Shut up for gods sake, if you could only hear yourself………

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    MattB

    Hmm Mark D and Speedy – good of you to introduce how NOT to have a sensible discussion on climate change. Goodonya John for your sensible contributions to this site.

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    Baa Humbug

    I think John Brookes makes good points for his side when he posts here, and I for one welcome him. He doesn’t resort to ad homs and his posts are polite.

    But John, the old “precautionary principle”? And based on the old 90% confidence ruse? Please.

    If you haven’t already, you need to research the origins of that 90% lie, starting with Ben Santers “a discernable human influence” lie in the mid 90′s.
    If this 90% was a product of scientific reasoning, you may have a point, but surely everyone knows by now that this 90% was a product of political wrangling within the IPCC, nothing to do with scientific methods at all.

    let me know if you need links.

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    Mark D.

    hey mattb you can get off your high [horse...snip]. I’ve been reading your taunting useless posts of late. You have no high ground to argue “sensible discussion” either.

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  • #

    John Brookes: It’s a question of balance: IS the risk worth the effort.

    1/ We know the models are wrong and have empirical evidence from three sources (or more) that independently tells us they exaggerate by a factor of 6 (or more).

    2/ We know that if we act it will cost trillions to reduce “temperatures” by paltry amounts that are so small they are unmeasurable among the normal noise.

    3/ We know there is massive vested interest from bankers and bureaucrats in using the scare (real or false) as a way to get rich.

    4/ We know that no one can name empirical evidence supporting the catastrophic predictions of the models. All the empirical evidence anyone can name points at 1.2 degrees at worst.

    So are you suggesting we should change the energy sources civilization has been built on and tax everything that moves, guarantee that bankers will make money, that bureaucrats will take more power from the people, that poor children in the third world will die, all for an aim that we won’t know if we’ve achieved based on models we know are wrong, written by people who’ve staked their careers on one conclusion?

    I don’t want certainty. I’d settle for a reasonable estimate based on sketchy evidence. But I want empirical evidence and I want the best evidence there is.

    It would help if it were investigated by people who’s reputations depend on getting the answer right, not on getting the “right” answer.

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    Bulldust

    The disingenuous nature of the precautionary principal (PP) is easily demonstrated with a second example.

    1) We know impressively-sized meteorites have collided with earth throughout geological time.
    2) We know a sizeable meteorite striking earth would ruin a lot of peoples’ days.
    3) Why aren’t we doing anything about it?

    If we applied the PP we should be lobbying the UN to form committees to assess the risk of impact, how to prevent it, and also how to deal with the consequences… i.e. putting in place systems to protect our species and the others that we love on this planet (screw the mosquitoes I say).

    So why aren’t we spending billions upon billions on this issue? We know it happens, and we could launch satellites that would scan the heavens as early warning systems, and develop strategies to deal with the inevitable collisions at some stage in the future.

    This is why I think the PP is so disingenuous… it is an excuse to advocate action when all logic has failed (due to lack of unequivocal evidence). Why apply it to AGW and not meteor impact scenarios?

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    pat

    22 July: Guardian: Amelia Hill: UN in fresh bid to salvage international deal on climate change
    Campaigners welcome plans to amend the way Kyoto protocol resolutions are passed
    Under the plans, countries could be forced to accept decisions made by a majority of members…
    If the UN’s suggestions are adopted, decisions will be forced through if four-fifths of the protocol vote in favour, after all efforts to reach agreement by consensus have been exhausted. The amendments would come into force after six months…
    In a further attempt to galvanise the climate change body into motion, the UN also suggested that countries could be forced to opt out of any amendments, as opposed to the current arrangement whereby they must explicitly agree to any decisions tabled..
    The amendment, which will be presented in Bonn in August, reads: “An amendment would enter into force after a certain period has elapsed following its adoption, except for those parties that have notified the depositary that they cannot accept the amendment.”..
    Ed Miliband, the shadow energy secretary, acknowledged that the current deadlock has to be broken. “We know there needs to be reform of the UN process around tackling climate change,” he said. “We saw at Copenhagen how some countries blocked progress and we can’t allow that to happen again.”
    The amendment was welcomed by Farhana Yamin, research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
    “The stalemate in negotiations has gone on for 15 years,” she said. “This consensus arrangement is an extraordinary and ridiculous anomaly in the make up of Kyoto that exists in few other UN organisations.
    “This is a positive way of forcing laggard countries who hold out and play their veto hand the whole time, to engage in constructive talks,” she added. “Under this new system, they will realise that unless they are constructive, they will lose their voice altogether.”…
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/22/un-bid-international-deal-climate-change

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  • #
    MadJak

    Pat@43,

    So this is an amendment to the amendment system for the bureaucrats and technocrats at the United Nations committee with respect to climate change?

    Will this said amendment to the amendment system for the bureaucrats and technocrats at the United Nations committee with respect to climate change need to be approved by the current amendment system for the bureaucrats and technocrats at the United Nations committee with respect to Climate change?

    How much more money will it take for them to pontificate and peruse this said amendment to the amendment system for the bureaucrats and technocrats at the United Nations committee with respect to climate change and will this be vetoed using the existing amendment system for the bureaucrats and technocrats at the United Nations committee?

    In other words, what are the chances of them actually getting this amendment approved through the existing system, or will some technocrats just impose it?

    I know, I should have become a lawyer, but I’m too honest.

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  • #
    janama

    John Brookes – you are concerned about a 3 degree temperature rise over 100 years.

    Here’ an extract from one of Lord Mockton’s addresses:

    From 1695-1735, a period of 40 years preceding the onset of the Industrial
    Revolution in 1750, temperatures in central England, which are a respectable proxy for
    global temperatures, rose by 2.2 K (4 F°).

    surely over those 40 years Bangladesh should have gone underwater and half of Florida should be flooded – it wasn’t.

    So what does that tell you?

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  • #
    janama

    woops Monckton

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    wes george

    If climate change was just a scientific question, like say, the magnitude of the charge on an electron, then it would be different. You could happily criticise climate scientists for the lack of skepticism.

    I agree that “climate change” is not primarily a scientific question. In fact, it’s a meaningless tautology – a campaign slogan – since by definition the climate is always evolving.

    The scientific debate is about the whether the Anthropogenic Global Warming Hypothesis is a useful description of recent climate behavior. For the AGW hypothesis to be useful it must not only explain and conform to the observation data but also must make useful predictions that can be tested about climate behavior both in the past and present. Note that projections of possible climate scenarios 30 to 100 years hence can’t be tested and therefore can’t be submitted as useful evidence for or against the AGW hypothesis.

    The problem is that climatological community have stuffed up the evidence for the AGW hypothesis by refusing to share their data, code and methodologies with independent third parties for review and testing. And where such information has been pried out of them it has turned up some very shonky science in some rather important areas. For instance in paleoclimate reconstruction where Mann cherry picked data in order to create his now discredited hockey stick graph. Or Jo Nova’s favorite: Where’s the missing Hot Spot??? There are many other examples.

    Moreover there are competing hypotheses to AGW. Of course, you’ve never heard of them, because they get zero press coverage. Here’s one:

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/05/the-work-of-ferenc-miskolczi-part-1/

    Therefore, at this point in order to mitigate the risk factor of diverting 4% of world’s GDP towards fighting a threat that may or may not exist rather than dealing with real threats to humanity’s and the environment’s future which are well documented, we must all go back to the lab and rebuild climatology from first principles, this time strictly adhering to the well understood ethics of the scientific method. It might take a few years. The wait will be worth it.

    The real risk is wasting trillions of dollars tilting at windmills while hundreds of millions of people are condemned to short lives of poverty because Green policy demands their nations wait for development until wind/solar/whatever technology trickles down to them, rather than allowing them access to fossil fuel power today. And this is what I find so, well, hypocritical and cruel about people who fret about the “precautionary principle” while revving the engine to charge down a policy path which threatens the lives of millions of very poor people in countries they’ll never visit.

    Ultimately, this is an debate about Social Justice. Are you willing to gamble the lives of 100′s of millions of fellow human beings on the contemporary state of our knowledge in the climate sciences? The UN IPCC could outlaw the building of coal fired energy plants tomorrow and that wouldn’t dent our lifestyles much. But it would literally condemn a billion people or so in the next few decades to life in the dark, disease, continued poverty and an early grave. So would a global ETS.

    Precaution principle? Yeah right.

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    Cement a friend

    Cohenite 26, Wes George 28 and others Miskolczi has a new paper in the Aug 2010 issue of Energy & Environment. On the Air Vent http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/skeptics-creed/#comments in post N07 I put a link to the actual paper http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/07/miskolczis-death-knell-on-greenhouse.html (click on paper, then download at the top)
    The following is also worth reading http://kirkmyers.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/miskolczi-destroys-greenhouse-theory/
    (if the above does not work go to the hockeyschtick.blogpot.com. Miskolczi’s paper has a lot of maths but it is possible to follow through to his conclusion. The paper was peer reviewed)

    The same issue of Energy & Environment has a number of other interesting papers (based on abstracts) including a paper explaining Miskolczi 2007 and papers by Willis Eschenbach and William Kinninmoth. It is unfortunate that one has to pay to get these papers but at least someone has put up a link to download Miskolczi’s paper which clearly states there is no back radiation from CO2 and H2O gas and the theory of radiation heat transfer needs to be reexamined. I have suggested in the past that heat transfer is in fact an engineering subject which has extended the basic physics from actual measurements in heat exchangers, furnaces etc. It is clear that the driver of heat transfer is temperature difference.
    Claes Johnnson http://claesjohnson.blogspot.com/2010/07/no-backradiation-no-radiative-forcing.html has a different explanation for no back radiation.
    There are now an increasing number of scientists, mathematicians and engineers that are finding the AGW hypotheses have no basis in theory or reality.

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    co2isnotevil

    Cement,

    There is something to ‘back radiation’, but it’s not what the warmists think. If you point an IR camera at the clear sky, you won’t see much power and the effective temperature will be very cold, but if you point it at a cloud, you will see the lower temperature (by about 20C) of the base of the cloud.

    An IR camera captures photons of radiated infrared power, so the cloud is certainly sending a significant power flux to the surface. The Sun sends about 341.5 W/m^2, while a cloud at 0C sends about 315 W/m^2, which isn’t a whole lot less and on the order of the big, scary, back radiation values often quoted.

    Radiation is a different kind of transfer of energy where photons are exchanged. This can occur independent of any thermal gradient, i.e. from hot to cold and cold to hot.

    George

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    Cement a friend

    Sorry, George 50, I do not buy your explanation. You need to define time of day, time of year, latitude, type of clouds, height of clouds etc. If it is day and there is daylight, energy from the sun is being received by the earth surface. Some of the incoming energy will be absorbed by the clouds. The clouds may be thin and high so little is absorbed. The clouds could be almost black so little energy gets to the surface. There is no doubt (from data in many papers and own measurements)that clouds during the day reduce the surface temperature compared to the situation of no clouds. At night clouds can reduce the loss of temperature from the surface. However, if the temperature has been low during the day (eg from thick dark cloud cover) there is no way that clouds will heat the surface at night. If the cloud cover lifts at night the surface temperature will cool more rapidly. This is all in accordance with the findings of engineering research on heat transfer.

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    co2isnotevil

    Cement,

    Clouds would heat the surface if they were warmer than the surface, but the result is usually surface cooling and cloud warming since the warmer surface is radiating more than the cooler clouds. In the rare case where clouds are warmer than the surface, for example, as a strong warm front passes through, the surface could actually be warmed by the clouds. Night or day, even in the clear sky, power is always passing in both directions. The net flux at the tropopause will be outgoing at night and incoming during the day. At the surface, the net is into the surface, heating it up during the day and leaving the surface during the night resulting in cooling.

    The kind of heat transfer you are referring to is conduction through an insulating or heat conducting medium, for example air, which would be finite, but certainly small and even water (consider the thermocline). I’m talking about radiation, which is the transfer of photons arising from black or gray body radiation.

    George

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    Adolf Balik

    co2isnotevil 52:

    Generally, low clouds cool the surface working like Venetial blind and high clouds heat the surface working like a mirror. It is not a back radiation of absorbed heat but reflection. These effects are not mere theoretical. They are well measured. Dynamics of the cloud cover traps heat in amount that dwarfs theoretical amount of heat that is assumed to be trapped by CO2. Of course, it also reflects amounts of energy back to space, which incomparable with the assumed amounts of heat trapped by CO2. The recent warming is a result of tiny shifts in cloud dynamics.

    Look at Spencer’s site:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/

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    Alex Heyworth

    Unfortunately, I suspect that Matt Ridley has it right and that “apocaholics” is the appropriate term. When catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is finally thoroughly discredited, these doom mongers will move onto the next apocalyptic vision.

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    Tony

    Surely Unskeptical Scientist is an oxymoron? You cannot be a scientist and unquestioning and you cannot be unskeptical and a scientist.

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    John Brookes

    Joanne Nova@41. You are quite right, it is a matter of risks versus benefits. There is, I think, a reasonable chance that your side of the debate is correct, and there is nothing to worry about. However, I think there is also a reasonable chance the the hotties are correct in their assertion that we are taking risks by proceeding with business as usual. The main thing hotties are worried about is that by putting very large amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere, we will kick ourselves out of our recent pattern of ice ages and warm periods into an ice-free future (you know, the one with the doomsday type sea level rises). You may think they are wrong, but you might like to wonder why the earth went through such a period for a very long time before we started our current hot-cold roller coaster ride.

    As I said before, it comes down to what you do in the face of uncertainty. Obviously the key thing is to reduce the uncertainty by understanding more. That is why so much money is spent keeping climate scientists employed. It is worth noting that if enough credible scientific work emerges to predict an imminent ice age, that would be a major cause for concern, and we would definitely have to do something about it. But right now, most scientists think our danger is too much warming, and that we should reduce our CO2 emissions.

    Of course, the real problem with global warming is that it is the thin end of the wedge. It is the start of facing up to there being too many people on the planet. But reducing population means no more expansion, and expansion is what keeps people happy. It is no surprise that many of those fighting against action on global warming are from the countries of the world most wedded to expansion – the US and Australia – where pushing out into new frontiers is still fresh in the collective memory (and to a lesser extent the UK, which still remembers its expansion to be a world power).

    So if you like, AGW is a proxy debate, which explains the passionately held views of the protagonists.

    Anyway, I hope you guys maintain your side of the fight, and keep the hotties honest. A one sided debate is boring, and possibly dangerous.

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    Barry Woods

    Richard Black BBC is on the CAGW media blitz as well

    A Stephen Schnieder piece, which ends up linking scepticism to an extreme group..

    That was a choice.

    He could have equally linked a postive story, with Anthony Watts, Steve Mcintyre, Bishop Hill, etc, respectful stories regarding Schneiders death, and written a positive story, following many MAINSTREAM sceptical/pro people meeting at the Climategate (Guardain) debate and having drinks together afterwards.

    Yet, chooses some group, I’d never heard of, with some extreme commemnts in it’s forums.. As if the extreme /left eco type groups, don’t have some nutters, in their forums as well..

    And I being too sensitive, about the BBC? I expect better from them.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/07/i_didnt_know_stephen_schneider.html#comments

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    John Brookes

    Yes, Barry Woods, there are nutters on both sides. We’ve all seen the rent-a-crowd of far left loonies who turn up to cause trouble at major every economic forum.

    However, this article was about the abuse being directed at climate scientists. I’m sure that no one on this website sanctions abuse directed at climate scientists personally.

    Look at it from my point of view. I think Mr Monckton is a likable scoundrel. I think he does great harm, and I think that he is not entirely honest (don’t waste your breath telling me I’m wrong, I already know that most of you don’t agree – that is not the point). However, I will not threaten him or abuse him. No one should. I won’t even bother to send him a personal email.

    Another example. I follow the Dockers. A few years ago, Matthew Carr used to bug me so much. We were playing a fantastic brand of play-on footie, and bloody Matthew Carr would mark the ball 20m in the clear, and stop and go back for his kick! When he did, I would yell abuse at him (I’m not proud of it, but I’m also not sure I wouldn’t do it again….). But if I saw him on the street, I had no right to even say hello to him. His life would have been unbearable if every one of Freo’s 30,000 members felt they had the right to tell him what they thought of him. That’s how it is. Climate scientists deserve the same level of respect. You may not agree with them, but unless you choose to be a professional in the field, you have no right to interact with them personally – you are not part of the game.

    Sure, go on blogs, tell everyone how you feel, but if civilisation can only be saved by people behaving appallingly, then civilisation is not worth saving.

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    Tel

    Sure, go on blogs, tell everyone how you feel, but if civilisation can only be saved by people behaving appallingly, then civilisation is not worth saving.

    I sincerely promise to keep out of the warmist’s lives in return for their sincere promise to keep hands out of my wallet.

    Deal?

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    Mark

    “Climate scientists deserve the same level of respect. You may not agree with them, but unless you choose to be a professional in the field, you have no right to interact with them personally – you are not part of the game.”

    Struth, John, don’t you ever tire of making appeals to authority in any number of guises?

    No, they don’t deserve any respect if they carry on in the way that so many have so egregiously done.

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    Mark D.

    John Brookes @58

    The main thing hotties are worried about is that by putting very large amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere, we will kick ourselves out of our recent pattern of ice ages and warm periods into an ice-free future (you know, the one with the doomsday type sea level rises).

    Please explain how (short of an asteroid impact) the earth will change it’s axis tilt? The poles even with a 10 degree warming (which no one is predicting) will still be quite able to freeze water. Your “hotties” that use polar ice melt are guilty of nothing better than scaremongering. Make it stop

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    Mark D.

    RE: Baa H @ 39,

    Baa I respect part of what you say but John is perhaps more dangerous than a “screaming warmist” in that his comments are subtle nicely worded propaganda.

    The casual viewer here is really the best audience to get the correct AGW message out to. John with his sweet demeanor, carries the same message and particularly the precautionary principal which sounds so “reasonable” (till you look into the process). Additionally, he has not been “reasonable” as in changing his position or considering other evidence at all.

    Therefore I believe we should cut him no more slack than the worst (most obnoxious) warmists.

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    Roy Hogue

    The notties don’t want action on climate change, because they think the proposed actions are unnecessary, and will be ruinous to our civilisation. This is a valid point of view. But arguing that you can’t proceed without the sort of certainty that the scientific method normally demands is not valid.

    John Brookes,

    WRONG! SIMPLY TOTALLY WRONG!

    The scientific method does not demand certainty. It just wants evidence verifiable by reference to the real world. You haven’t got it. You’ve never had it. And I think for the foreseeable future you’re not likely to have it.

    So come back when you have real evidence, no computer models, no bluster, no name calling and no dodging an explanation of something, just real evidence that CO2 has caused or is causing anything.

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    co2isnotevil

    Adolf,

    Clouds are quite opaque to IR radiation and do not reflect much energy back to the surface. The IR optical thickness is 2-3 times larger than the visible optical thickness. Clouds absorb surface power (and solar power), which contributes to the energy stored in the cloud, which is radiated back to the surface (and into space from the top of the cloud) in the form of BB radiation. Relative to effect, this is similar to reflection, but reflection is not the predominate physical process that causes clouds to trap surface heat.

    George

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    Mia Nony

    I have a question: It is based on a three year old article by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky called Weather Warfare: Beware the US military’s experiments with climatic warfare

    Despite abundant evidence that cannot be ignored that weather can be and is being manipulated globally for drought inducement, and other far more nefarious ends, this article asserts:

    ‘Climatic warfare’ has been excluded from the agenda on climate change.
    This begs the obvious question:
    Why?
    Thoughts?

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    Roy Hogue

    Mia,

    Instead of looking at the conspiracy theory web sites, take a look at HAARP’s own information page and then look around the site.

    http://www.haarp.alaska.edu/haarp/faq.html

    What they have there is not capable of modifying weather anywhere on Earth and isn’t research for that purpose.

    The nonsense about alien spacecraft and bodies at “area 51″ in the Nevada desert makes as much sense as this does.

    If you ask any of the conspiracy theorists what justifies their theory look out for an evasive answer.

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    Roy Hogue

    Yet another more sensible view of HAARP is here.

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4122

    If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.

    If it sounds to big and bad to be true, it probably isn’t true either.

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    wes george

    Mia brings up a great point. For a long time now people have seemed to accept that humankind can control the climate. Mia points to one of the early sources of this myth – the fact that both the soviets and americans sought technology to manipulate weather events for advantage on the battlefield during the cold war. You can imagine the level of brute technology (and attitudes) they brought to the project. A lot of urban myths have spun out of those 1960′s experiments, but it was mostly about using nuclear devices in an indirect way to cause ionspheric disruptions to command/control systems and pressure shockwaves on a high value target that then would be occupied by ground forces. The reasoning being that a direct nuclear attack was out of the question since it would flatten and irradiate the target. The most important effect of these studies was to indirectly shape the “Nuclear Winter” myth later in the 1980′s.

    Today the idea that weather (or climate) control is possible is an unquestioned assumption of the unskeptical consensus. “Stop Climate Change Now” and the ETS assumes – no questions asked – that we can manage the climate. Yet, the climate isn’t a steam engine where we can simply tweak one tiny component like a governor and the whole system will respond directly and proportionally. The climate is the most complex nonlinear system in the solar system. The climate isn’t just the atmosphere, but the oceans, icecaps, land and life. It extends from the deep geology of Earth right out to the Van Allen Belts and beyond to the sun’s surface. It’s not a “thing” like a machine, but a billion-plus year old entanglement of metasystems of systems made up of more systems, an ever-evolving whole far greater than the sum of its parts… Our understanding of the earth’s geophysiology is about where medicine was in the 1850′s or where biology was before Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. We simply don’t have a model based on first principles that can replicate the activities of the Earth’s climate. As such, to imagine that we can control or even successful manipulate climate in one direction or another is absurd in theory and reckless beyond belief as policy.

    Yet, we are told daily we must transform our entire society in order to manipulate the climate towards fine weather! As if repetition makes reason.

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    Siliggy

    Wanted to hire 150 unskeptical collaborators. Must not be allergic to whitewash.

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    John Brookes

    MarkD says:

    RE: Baa H @ 39,

    Baa I respect part of what you say but John is perhaps more dangerous than a “screaming warmist” in that his comments are subtle nicely worded propaganda.

    Anyway, thanks for sticking up for me Baa. And MarD, I have little choice but to take your comment as a compliment. Thanks!

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    wes george

    John Brookes, the polite man with little doubt and even less curiosity @ 58:

    You may not agree with them (professional climate hacks), but unless you choose to be a professional in the field, you have no right to interact with them personally – you are not part of the game. Sure, go on blogs, tell everyone how you feel, but if civilisation can only be saved by people behaving appallingly, then civilisation is not worth saving.

    Tel, the speaker of inconvenient truth @ 59:

    I sincerely promise to keep out of the warmist’s lives in return for their sincere promise to keep hands out of my wallet.
    Deal?

    Touche, Tel! Na’re a twain shall ever meet! I’ll drink to that!

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    MattB

    Mr Brookes, a fellow Dockers fan, I should have guessed it. I assume you are shouting at McPhee instead this year;) At least early in the season.

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    Mark D.

    John Brookes, If you think that being more dangerous is a complement then I have to say you are exhibiting tendencies of a sociopath .

    So have you come up with a polar melt answer?

    Are you going to continue scaremongering as your method of propaganda?

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    allen mcmahon

    John Brooks, continue to be unreasonably reasonable and people will begin to think that it is unreasonable of you to be unreasonably reasonable and as this has already led to some confusion I suggest that you act unreasonably unreasonable and I hope you will not act unreasonably to this reasonable request of mine.

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    WeatherMan

    That’s a good term though strangely orwellian:

    Being unskeptical is doubleplusungood

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    Climate skeptics object to the term ‘denier’ being used to smear them, because it should only be used to smear ‘holocaust deniers’. But most holocaust ‘deniers’ aren’t really deniers either – they are guilty of underestimation, not quite the same thing. And the term is used inconsistently within holocausts. Down under, a man was imprisoned for denying one Holocaust, while another, who denies the genocide of the Tasmanian aborigines, is welcome in influential circles. I’ll fill in the details if anyone asks.

    One should defend anyone who is smeared by the word ‘denier’, not just people one agrees with politically.

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