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11/27/2009
WARMING ADVOCATES: ‘REMAIN CALM! ALL IS WELL!

1-61

The human mind is an extraordinary organ, isn’t it? Perhaps one of its greatest fetes is its ability to compartmentalize information so that one side of the brain can ignore what the other side is trying to tell it. In extreme cases, this results in psychosis where the ignored memory is buried deep in the subconscious but still manifests itself in the outward behavior of the patient.

In the case of warming advocates, the logical side of the brain is being shut down so that the emotional part of the brain can continue as if nothing has happened recently that challenges their deeply held views toward climate change. It is a classic dissociative response, as Wikpedia describes it:

Dissociation is an unexpected partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of a person’s conscious or psychological functioning that cannot be easily explained by the person. Dissociation is a mental process that severs a connection to a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity.[1] Dissociation can be a response to trauma, and perhaps allows the mind to distance itself from experiences that are too much for the psyche to process at that time.[2] Dissociative disruptions can affect any aspect of a person’s functioning.

Now, a rational response to Climategate among warming advocates would be to examine the document dump from the CRU hack, and realize at the very least that serious questions about data on which much of the temperature theories regarding AGW are based need to be answered. There is no need to abandon one’s overall belief in AGW to do this. All that is needed is to challenge one’s basic assumptions about what we think we know.

But that isn’t happening - at least, not by most AGW believers. What is ironic is that perhaps the least rational warming advocate (and political commentator) George Monbiot (whose name became synonymous with “Moonbat”), has penned the most rational response among the promoters of AGW.

I have seldom felt so alone. Confronted with crisis, most of the environmentalists I know have gone into denial. The emails hacked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, they say, are a storm in a tea cup, no big deal, exaggerated out of all recognition. It is true that climate change deniers have made wild claims which the material can’t possibly support (the end of global warming, the death of climate science). But it is also true that the emails are very damaging.

The response of the greens and most of the scientists I know is profoundly ironic, as we spend so much of our time confronting other people’s denial. Pretending that this isn’t a real crisis isn’t going to make it go away. Nor is an attempt to justify the emails with technicalities. We’ll be able to get past this only by grasping reality, apologising where appropriate and demonstrating that it cannot happen again.

[...]

Some people say that I am romanticising science, that it is never as open and honest as the Popperian ideal. Perhaps. But I know that opaqueness and secrecy are the enemies of science. There is a word for the apparent repeated attempts to prevent disclosure revealed in these emails: unscientific.

The crisis has been exacerbated by the university’s handling of it, which has been a total trainwreck: a textbook example of how not to respond. RealClimate reports that “We were made aware of the existence of this archive last Tuesday morning when the hackers attempted to upload it to RealClimate, and we notified CRU of their possible security breach later that day.” In other words, the university knew what was coming three days before the story broke. As far as I can tell, it sat like a rabbit in the headlights, waiting for disaster to strike.

The tack of AGW advocates seems to be to concentrate solely on the release of the emails to make their case that the evidence can be construed different ways by different people.

Just for fun, let’s concede that point to AGW advocates. Their problem is that the emails only constitute 5% of the released documents and the real meat of the hack - so far - has been the revelations about computer codes used to power the models on which so much of the temperature evidence is based. In a word, they are “buggy” - and thus, other scientists would find it impossible to replicate their experimental results.

Even beyond that, is the little reported, and perhaps even more disturbing news from New Zealand where the scientists working for the government’s climate lab were stupid enough to attempt to put one over on the public via the release of a climate graph along with the raw data from temperature stations around the country. To make a long story short, while the graph showed an alarming increase in temperature over the past century - ostensibly due to human activity - the raw data on which the graph was based tells another story:

What did we find? First, the station histories are unremarkable. There are no reasons for any large corrections. But we were astonished to find that strong adjustments have indeed been made.

About half the adjustments actually created a warming trend where none existed; the other half greatly exaggerated existing warming. All the adjustments increased or even created a warming trend, with only one (Dunedin) going the other way and slightly reducing the original trend.

The shocking truth is that the oldest readings have been cranked way down and later readings artificially lifted to give a false impression of warming, as documented below. There is nothing in the station histories to warrant these adjustments and to date Dr Salinger and NIWA have not revealed why they did this.

One station, Hokitika, had its early temperatures reduced by a huge 1.3°C, creating strong warming from a mild cooling, yet there’s no apparent reason for it.

We have discovered that the warming in New Zealand over the past 156 years was indeed man-made, but it had nothing to do with emissions of CO2—it was created by man-made adjustments of the temperature. It’s a disgrace.

Why would a temperature graph supposedly based on raw data readings from stations around New Zealand show a different result when others attempt to apply the same data points to their own graph?

I am not a scientist so I don’t know if there is a logical explanation for this. There may be. The scientist in charge - David Wratt - gave this explanation for the discrepancy:

The NIWA climate controversy took a new twist tonight with the release of new data from the government run climate agency.

Reeling from claims that it has massaged data to show a 150 year warming trend where there isn’t one, NIWA’s chief climate scientist David Wratt, an IPCC vice-chair on the 2007 AR4 report, issued a news release stating adjustments had been made to compensate for changes in sensor locations over the years.

While such an adjustment is valid, it needs to be fully explained so other scientists can test the reasonableness of the adjustment.

And Wratt is refusing to release the data so that other scientists can duplicate his results - except for one temp station:

Wratt is refusing to release data his organisation claims to have justifying adjustments on other weather stations, meaning the science cannot be reviewed. However, he has released information relating to Wellington temperature readings, and they make for interesting reading.

Here’s the rub. Up until 1927, temperatures for Wellington had been taken at Thorndon, only 3 m above sea level and an inner-city suburb. That station closed and, as I suspected in my earlier post, there is no overlap data allowing a comparison between Thorndon and Kelburn, where the gauge moved, at an altitude of 135 metres.

With no overlap of continuous temperature readings from both sites, there is no way to truly know how temperatures should be properly adjusted to compensate for the location shift.

So it’s back to square one with the onus of proof squarely on the government scientist to release the data so that his work can be verified.

One would think that before we employ methods like cap and trade or other draconian carbon reducing gimmicks to cut our emissions, that we make sure it is, 1) necessary, and 2) that it will actually save the planet. As for the latter, there is no reliable information that drastically cutting CO2 emissions will do anything to slow warming. It’s not even clear that it will reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. As for the former, I agree somewhat with Eugene Robinson:

The fact is that climate science is fiendishly hard because of the enormous number of variables that interact in ways no one fully understands. Scientists should welcome contrarian views from respected colleagues, not try to squelch them. They should admit what they don’t know.

It would be great if this were all a big misunderstanding. But we know carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and we know the planet is hotter than it was a century ago. The skeptics might have convinced each other, but so far they haven’t gotten through to the vanishing polar ice.

Well, that last by Robinson depends on what you read. Antarctica’s ice is growing, while the Arctic ice seems to be shrinking.

Is the planet hotter than it was a century ago? If it is - and the thrust of Climategate revelations would seem to indicate that this is once again, an open question - is it a statistical fluke, a natural hiccup in the gradual warming we have seen for the last 10,000 years made more pronounced by a measured lack of solar storms? Or has it been caused by industrialized civilization?

Trillions of dollars, the health and vibrancy of the world’s economies, and perhaps the future of life on the planet depends on the answer. I don’t think it too much to ask that we get it right. And those AGW advocates in denial over this growing scientific scandal - perhaps the biggest since Piltdown Man was shown to be a hoax - need to reunite the two sides of their brains that are in conflict and get to work.

By: Rick Moran at 10:57 am
17 Responses to “WARMING ADVOCATES: ‘REMAIN CALM! ALL IS WELL!”
  1. 1
    obamathered Said:
    12:03 pm 

    It is a faith-based religion now, Rick. Reason has little influence with AGW advocates.

    The tragic part is how editors of peer-reviewed journals were cowed. I don’t know how this will shake out, but these vital science organs have been severely wounded.

  2. 2
    Beek64 Said:
    1:50 pm 

    The majority of the surface stations in the US reported bad data. My Aussie mates report much of the sam
    see:

    http://www.surfacestations.org/

    Worse yet the data remains in the database(s) even after the stations were shut down.

  3. 3
    busboy33 Said:
    3:22 pm 

    I’ll not dispute that much of the dialogue from the warming advocates (the advocates, not the scientists for the most part) can be classified as “religion”.

    But I think the label also applies to most of the anti-warming advocates as well.

    Since the issue has started, it appears that most of the “no” voices started from a position that it’s all a liberalhippie hoax, then moved into the task of discrediting it. This isn’t a scientific stress-test . . . its an ideological battlefront.

    The initial rejection of Al Gore’s movie wasn’t based on the scientific data presented being weak. It was rejected because it was Al Gore, whom we all know is a lying demonic hellspawn bent on the destruction of apple pie. Now lets find out what’s wrong with it.

    The global average temperateure isn’t going up. It isn’t going up so man-made global warming is a hoax. Okay, maybe it IS going up, but that’s natural. Of course its going up because it does that from time to time. So man-made global warming is a hoax.

    The answer appears pre-determined. The conclusion isn’t built upon the evidence and the investigation, but the evidence and investigation are developed to arrive at the conclusion. That’s not scientific debate.

    I have no doubt that there are many in the “pro” warming camp who are just as guilty of the same behavior, if not moreso. But yelling “no, YOU’RE biased!” back and forth isn’t even remotely related to scientific inquiry or the scientific method . . . and it doesn’t get anybody any closer to an answer.

  4. 4
    obamathered Said:
    3:54 pm 

    The problem, busboy, was the formulation of public policy before AGW was proved and data and models could back that up. It isn’t illogical–quite the contrary–to assume public policy preferences drove the science rather than the reverse. So the predetermination from the “pro” side is suspect because it had motives beyond scientific inquiry. The emails certainly don’t “disprove” AGW, but they demonstrate it hasn’t been “proved” even though policy decisions have been made as if that were the case.

    This scandal will be huge; the unfortunate aspect is science has been undermined to a degree we cannot fathom.

  5. 5
    busboy33 Said:
    5:07 pm 

    @ Obamathered:

    The science will never be “proven”, on either side. Things aren’t proven via the scientific method. Theories can always be challenged via new evidence. So if we are waiting for certainty on the issue, that’s never going to happen but not thru a fault of the arguments.

    How “proved” do you want it to be? How “proved” would be acceptable to you?
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090119210532.htm

    That’s quite a bit of concensus among people who study in this field of science. Does it “prove” anything? No. Are over 2,500 professionals involved in a global-spanning mass-conspiracy bereft of any factual support? Probably not. Are they all idiots that review blatantly unsupported report after blatantly unsupported report and just can’t tell that there is no justification for such a crazy hypothesis? Probably not.

    Is there some level of fraud and falsehood in the debate? I’m certain there is just based on human nature. But does fraud in study X disprove study Y? No.

    “The emails certainly don’t ‘disprove’ AGW, but they demonstrate it hasn’t been ‘proved’ even though policy decisions have been made as if that were the case.”

    I disagree with your second point — unless you are saying that policy decisions are based SOLELY on the research the hacked e-mails reference.

    You are dealing with a self-defeating situation with the position that no policy should address the issue until it’s “proven”. Let’s assume that there is some verifiable level of “proof” that could be reached (keeping in mind that there are still people that don’t believe the moon landing has been “proven”). The hypothesis of AGW is a catastrophic/inertal concept, by which I mean that if it IS real, it has as a likely consequence true genocide, and it would be a phenomenon that can’t be rapidly altered (push a button and everything is better).
    The theory goes that once we have indisputable “proof” (ocean levels rising and wiping out costal centers, mean temperatures rising to crop-affecting levels for decades, etc.), its too late. We’re screwed.

    Credible evidence doesn’t “prove” anything . . . but it does support an argument. If there IS credible evidence (and among the thousands of professionals who accept this hypothesis it seems reasonable to posit they are basing their belief on some quantity of credible evidence) then wouldn’t it be prudent to consider that in policy?

    I’m not sure how much “policy” has been affected by this. Did we ratify Kyoto? Sure, we talk alot about caring . . . but we don’t come through with the legislation so what we “say” is pretty worthless for better or worse.
    Cap-and-Trade? I suppose it might go through, but I’m personally skeptical it will pass in anything resembling its current form. But lets assume it does get passed. Forget the AGW aspect of it. Consider the issue in terms of not polluting so much, which has verified consequences (negatively impacting people’s health). Is it a worthwile objective on that front alone?
    If Cap-and-Trade doesn’t make it to the President’s desk, how much has policy been affected?

    “It isn’t illogical–quite the contrary–to assume public policy preferences drove the science rather than the reverse.”

    Would it also be logical then to assume that the political motivations of the naysayers drove their science? If the public policy drove the science, where did the initial science come from that drove the public policy? The givernment and society didn’t wake up one day and say “man, I’ll bet pollution will cause the globe to overheat — better go find some scientists to back that up”. That idea came from the initial scientific reports, so they couldn’t have been driven by pressure.
    You could say that those scientists had personal motivations that colored their research, but again the point is the answer seems to be “AGW is a fraud” regardless of the fact pattern. Latter scientists? Motivated by public pressure. Initial scientists? Motivated by personal prejudices. They must all be influenced by something, because AGW is a fraud so it couldn’t have simply developed from data.

    Having said all this, I’m no global warming fanatic. Frankly, I don’t particularly care or worry about it. I’m not saying that’s the “right” attitude, but it’s mine. I do think being less of a trash-dumping slob is a good goal for us as a country, so I’m not opposed to trying to curb filth production, especially if the only “pro-filth” argument is “my company will make less money if I can’t shit on my neighbors”. Having lived downwind of a factory, my “poor you” reserves are on empty.

    Is AGW “proven”? I’m not sure what that means, but no. As you said though, it isn’t “disproven” either. So we have some quantity of evidence that suggests a massive, potentially ruinous occurance might be imminent. What is the logical response to such a situation? Why can’t we continue to investigate the science while at the same time taking steps that (if its true) might avert the disaster? That seems the most prudent and logical path, unless you posit that there is NO evidence supporting the global warming concept, which seems as nonsensical as saying the science is irrefutably settled.

  6. 6
    the Dragon Said:
    8:16 pm 

    busboy,

    You make some good points, I do happen to remember, I think I was in college (70-73), one of the National Magazines was trumpeting the next “Ice Age”.

    I am a non-believer. The reason? Can you imagine Einstein saying he has this theory of relativity, yet DOES NOT allow anyone to see the calculations? How about Jonas Salk just saying I have a vaccine for polio, yet NO TESTS?

    Regards,

  7. 7
    funny man Said:
    11:42 pm 

    Guys, Karl Popper made a pretty convincing case that a hypothesis can only be falsified not verified. However, you still use Newton’s physics to calculate everyday problems. Some scientists behaved poorly and you think the credibility of the scientific method is tarnished. Definitely not. Some of you have already decided there is no AGW some of you that there is. That’s in large part rooted in politics, gut feeling and wishful thinking, not science. Climatology is a difficult field because you can’t really make an experiment like in biology. You measure, model and predict but that is inherently difficult as you can see easily with your local weatherman. However, that doesn’t mean it is not legitimate science. I’m not going to defend some of the practices of these particular scientists but if you want to refute that humans have any impact on global warming you have to show some data too. If I need a heart transplant I go to a heart surgeon not the local baker even if he makes terrific pastries. So if you think most climatologists don’t know what they are talking about I would still say there is no evidence some talk radio celebrities are now experts in this arena. Just a hunch.

  8. 8
    busboy33 Said:
    5:47 am 

    @dragon:

    I agree absolutely if the research on warming were encompassed by somebody saying “trust me — I totally verified it, but I won’t tell you how or show any data” then there isn’t much to consider.

    Are you saying that of the hundreds of papers published in peer-reviewed journals, NONE of them have ever shown their data? That’s news to me if true, but I learn new things every day so if there is no report providing data please open my eyes.

    If some have provided data (legitimate without validating their conclusions) and some haven’t (illegitimate) . . .then again, throw out the “mysterious” reports and just go with the “data provided” studies. Still seems like a credible body of evidence to at least consider the possibility, unless a bad report means ALL reports are inherently tainted, and that’s going too far IMO.

    I get the impression that we are using two different defintions of “provided the data”. I find it highly questionable that report after report said “I measured the temperatures here for a dedcade, and after doing some nifty math the answer is 3 degrees of temperature increase! No charts, no tables, not even naming the algorythmic formula used to get the result . . . its MAGIC, I tell you!”
    That is what I think of when I see the phrase “does not allow anyone to see the calculations or tests”. I get the impression that is NOT what you mean, so I’m a little confused about what discredits the entirety of research into the topic rather than individual reports or scientists, but I also get the impression the failure is on my end.

  9. 9
    Mark_0454 Said:
    6:30 am 

    One correction to the post, but an important one. Arctic ice hit a minimum in 2007. It has recovered considerably in 2008 and 2009.

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    I wouldn’t agree with Robinson. Based on the latest revelations we do NOT know the world is hotter now than 100 years ago.

  10. 10
    the Dragon Said:
    7:52 am 

    busboy said:”That is what I think of when I see the phrase “does not allow anyone to see the calculations or tests”. I get the impression that is NOT what you mean, so I’m a little confused about what discredits the entirety of research into the topic rather than individual reports or scientists, but I also get the impression the failure is on my end.”

    It’s sort of like Gorgon Lightfoot’s song “If you could read my mind” :-)

    What I was attempting to address is that my understanding that the resultant temperature data was provided as East Anglia is/was the collector/aggrigator, I believe, BUT the methodology or makeup of the actual model which was used to produce that underlying data upon which, much if not all of the “peer reviewed” research is based, has not been provided so any other scientist, particularly a skeptic could reproduce the data independantly.

    I am quite cynical about “peer review” in science anymore. It goes back to WADA “World Anti-Doping Agency”, FRAUDA World I call it. Another group of junk scientists. They got “peer reviewed” science by having like minded scientists “peer reviewing” their own work, NOT getting other skeptical scientists involved.

    Regards,

  11. 11
    rukidding Said:
    8:58 am 

    What is wrong with you “people”,you poison and destroy all that you touch !And if that isn’t bad enough you have to ravage and destroy anybody that wants to save the planet and stop the mindless destruction !You are nothing but pimps for lying,thieving,Corporate PROFITEERS!The right has never done a meaningful thing for anyone! You have never been right about anything!This can be seen by reading your idiocy on the economy from a couple of years ago!ALL THE RIGHT TOUCHES TURNS TO SHIT!!!

    Oh jesus - someone stop me from pissing in my pants I’m laughing so hard. What a simple minded, ignorant galoot.

    ed.

  12. 12
    obamathered Said:
    9:30 am 

    Good points, busboy, and when I refer to “prove” I refer to tests that can be replicated with the same or similar results. I don’t mean “prove” in a courtroom sense. When you write:

    “The hypothesis of AGW is a catastrophic/inertal concept, by which I mean that if it IS real, it has as a likely consequence true genocide, and it would be a phenomenon that can’t be rapidly altered (push a button and everything is better).
    The theory goes that once we have indisputable “proof” (ocean levels rising and wiping out costal centers, mean temperatures rising to crop-affecting levels for decades, etc.), its too late. We’re screwed.”

    I think you get to the crux of what has driven what I suspect is a great deal of fraud, which will make East Anglia the norm and not the exception. Because of what is perceived as a race to stop destruction, a greater good is perceived as served when typical methodology is avoided, data skewed, and so forth to speed things along.

    “Would it also be logical then to assume that the political motivations of the naysayers drove their science? If the public policy drove the science, where did the initial science come from that drove the public policy? The givernment and society didn’t wake up one day and say “man, I’ll bet pollution will cause the globe to overheat — better go find some scientists to back that up”. That idea came from the initial scientific reports, so they couldn’t have been driven by pressure.”

    No. While it is true of some, that side doesn’t have a pet theory to protect and give credence with policy decision. What has emerged from East Anglia, an Orwellian name I adore, is the pressure was intense not to veer from what became orthodoxy. There is nothing new there, but it has been especially pronounced with AGW.

    “What is the logical response to such a situation? Why can’t we continue to investigate the science while at the same time taking steps that (if its true) might avert the disaster? That seems the most prudent and logical path, unless you posit that there is NO evidence supporting the global warming concept, which seems as nonsensical as saying the science is irrefutably settled.”

    What isn’t logical is to massively restructure lives until we know:

    a) there is a sound reason to do so; and
    b) if there is a sound reason, the disruptions will be effective the perceived threat.

    Sometimes we don’t even consider the “b” part.

    Again, your response was thoughtful.

    funny man:

    “Some of you have already decided there is no AGW some of you that there is. That’s in large part rooted in politics, gut feeling and wishful thinking, not science. Climatology is a difficult field because you can’t really make an experiment like in biology.”

    What I find objectionable is the political response, or the proposed public policy responses, to a theory that is so uncertain for the reasons you set forth. I don’t know whether AGW is true or not and am quite agnotic on the topic, but we have seen proposals that treat it as an absolute certainty. Those proposals would cause major hardship on many people, and I can’t go there without a greater degree of certitude.

  13. 13
    the Dragon Said:
    4:30 pm 

    busboy,

    Maybe we’ll get an answer http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/6678469/Climategate-University-of-East-Anglia-U-turn-in-climate-change-row.html

    Regards,

  14. 14
    busboy33 Said:
    6:48 pm 

    Good catch Dragon.

    I’m hopeful this will illuminate the debate one way or another, but I’m pesimistic. The faithful on both sides will find the confirmation that they are looking for regardless of what the data is.

    Anyways, should be interesting either way.

  15. 15
    Max Weinberg Said:
    8:37 pm 

    The truth is, not as bad as you make it.

  16. 16
    the Dragon Said:
    12:01 pm 

    busboy,

    More from the Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/6679082/Climate-change-this-is-the-worst-scientific-scandal-of-our-generation.html

    When will we see this in the US Press? NEVER, or later?

    Regards,

  17. 17
    busboy33 Said:
    5:09 am 

    @Dragon:

    “When will we see this in the US Press? NEVER, or later?”

    Are you kidding? Tiger Woods smashed his car! We’re talking celebrities, injury, and probable domestic violence and/or intoxication of someone fameous and rich. That should carry the MSM thru until Kim Kardashian gets a divorce.

    You’ve got to have priorities, after all.

    Another good link . . . but I have to temper the points made in it with the reality that its an opinion piece. It doesn’t discredit anything the author said, but at the same time by definition the writer is expressing his (legitimate) personal impression on the issue, rather than reporting on just facts. Again, nothing factual he said is wrong that I know of, and his conclusions may well be entirely justified, but his opinion doesn’t make it so.
    This situation IS indisputably devistating for the “warmers”, but until I can see more data (hopefully forthcoming) I’m not putting my chips on either side of this one yet.

    The data may have been “fudged” (some or all of it), but the underlying principle seems to me to be still intrinsically sound. The greenhouse effect is, as far as I know, an accepted fact. Its how the globe retains heat, which is a darn good thing (I like having food). The chemicals under discussion (CO2 et. al.) do chemically make up part of that effect. Increasing the quantity of greenhouse gasses should increase the ammount of heat retention occuring via the greenhouse effect. Now, the increase of heat retention may be infintessimal . . . but the underlying physics of the effect still appear valid, at least from my perspective.
    Are the additional chemicals added to the environment by humans negligible or destructive? That seems to be the crux of the current issue. But the underlying theory still (as far as I can tell) holds water. If our atmosphere were 100% greenhouse gases, the planet should be hotter than it is now. We’d be dead so it wouldn’t matter, but the effect isn’t being disputed, is it? If we lost the ozone layer, we’d be pretty screwed. Now, maybe the CFCs from a hair spray can aren’t going to do squat to damage the layer . . . but on the other side it absolutely isn’t going to help either.

    If the data is going to be released (and no doubt violently sifted by players on both sides), then how compelling the issue is has to remain undetermined at the moment. I certainly agree that the effort to conceal and distort heavily implies the data indicates the issue is negligible, but we just don’t know yet.

    p.s.: Who the fu@k is Kim Kardashian, and why am I supposed to care? Apparently she’s Bruce Jenner’s daughter, which is dandy and all, but why do I see her name everywhere I go?

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