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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Paranoia runs riot at CFACT and WUWT: conspiracy nuttery doesn't describe it

Sou | 6:19 PM Go to the first of 43 comments. Add a comment

On WUWT today (archived here), Paul Driessen of CFACT, has gone overboard (putting it mildly). In a very strange article he has gone full on Godwin's Law (21st Century-style), comparing people who accept science to fundamentalist militant butchers from the middle east. Paul Driessen has featured here before (eg here). Today he wrote a piece that would make Christopher Monckton green with envy.

This is the headline and opening paragraph:

Climatic Jihad?
ISIL and other Islamist jihad movements continue to round up and silence all who oppose them or refuse to convert to their extreme religious tenets. They are inspiring thousands to join them. Their intolerance, vicious tactics and growing power seem to have inspired others, as well.

Weirdly, and in a display of religious ignorance, Anthony Watts accompanied an article based on the militant group ISIS, with a cartoon showing a character wearing a Christian bishops' mitre.

Paranoia runs riot: bullets, bombs and beheadings

Paul Driessen really goes overboard in his article. He doesn't mention the constant vilification and harassment of climate scientists by right wing lobby groups in the USA over the years. Instead he writes:
Instead of bullets, bombs and beheadings, they use double standards, Greenpeace FOIA demands, letters from Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Raul Grijalva, threats of lost funding and jobs, and constant intimidation and harassment. Submit, recant, admit your guilt, renounce your nature-rules-climate faith, Climatist Jihadis tell climate realists. Or suffer the consequences, which might even include IRS, EPA and Fish & Wildlife Service swat teams bursting through your doors, as they did with Gibson Guitars.

Really, Paul? Seriously? You think that there will be SWAT teams (from the Fish & Wildlife Service no less), bursting in on Roger Pielke Jr or Judith Curry? What an imagination you must have.

What sort of mind conjures up such images? Paranoid much? Something buried deep that you are afraid of? Conspiracy nutter doesn't describe it.

Paul claims he can't find the data, that's hiding in plain sight

Paul then shifts into denial and disinformation. He wrote:
Indeed, one of the most prominent aspects of the climate imbroglio is the steadfast refusal of alarmist scientists to discuss or debate their findings with experts who argue that extensive, powerful natural forces – not human carbon dioxide emissions – drive Earth’s climate and weather. “Manmade disaster” proponents also refuse to divulge raw data, computer codes and other secretive work that is often paid for with taxpayer money and is always used to justify laws, treaties, regulations, mandates and subsidies that stifle economic growth, kill jobs and reduce living standards.

Umm - please name the "experts" who "argue" that extensive, powerful, natural forces, not human carbon dioxide emissions, drive climate? What is their expertise and who are they? What have they published? What is their field of research? I expect these "experts" will assert that CO2 isn't a greenhouse gas. Would that be the SkyDragon Slayers?

And do tell, what data or computer codes would you like, Paul? Be specific. What secretive work are you keen to learn about? Here are some secretive sources for you to get you started:

Paul bemoans the fact that few real scientists would be caught dead at a Heartland Institute disinformation talkfest. I can't imagine what else he could be referring to.

And Paul hasn't discovered the Internet yet, and effectively claims to have no links to legislators - Republican or other. Does he not know that Republicans hold the majority in the US Senate and in the House of Representatives? He wrote (my links):
It fits a depressing pattern: of the White House, Democrats and liberals shutting down debate, permitting no amendments, conducting business behind closed doors, not allowing anyone to read proposed laws and regulations, rarely even recognizing that there are differing views – on ObamaCare, ObamaNetCare, IRS harassment of conservative donors and groups, PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, or climate change.

What an ignoramus. What a paranoid conspiracy nutter he is.

Vague smears for the sake of it

Paul also made vague but sweeping allegations against climate scientists. He wrote:
Few, if any, alarmist researchers have disclosed that their work was funded by government agencies, companies, foundations and others with enormous financial, policy, political and other interests in their work, ensuring that their conclusions support manmade factors and debunk natural causes. Many of those researchers have signed statements that their research and papers involved no conflicts, knowing they would not get these grants, if their outcomes did not reflect the sponsors’ interests and perspectives.

What does he mean by that? What makes a researcher an "alarmist researcher"? Is he claiming that research scientists have lied? That when they show their funding as a grant from a government or private organisation it's really from somewhere else? Where else? What sponsors are not declared? Paul Driessen doesn't say - because he knows that there is no other source other than what is declared. And what conflicts is he referring to? What interests and perspectives do these sponsors have other than finding out facts. Creating knowledge.

This is typical of lobby groups that smear for the sake of it. It's vague, without substance, wrong and meaningless. Thing is, there isn't a government in the world that wouldn't want global warming to disappear. It's costly and requires a restructuring of the immensely powerful energy sector. Strategies to address the problem are very difficult to implement and not at all popular with voters. It means trying to get agreement of governments all around the world - an almost impossible task and a real headache for diplomats and governments.

Naming and shaming

At  WUWT Paul Driessen lists the people he thinks are considered rogues. He writes that the
Climate Jihadists are going after Robert Balling, Matt Briggs, John Christy, Judith Curry, Tom Harris, Steven Hayward, David Legates, Richard Lindzen, and Roger Pielke, Jr.

Really, Anthony Watts and Paul Driessen? Who are the "Climate Jihadists"? And how are they "going after" this motley ragtag bunch? (I had to look up a couple of them.)

You'll notice that Paul Driessen has added some names to the seven people that were targeted by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona. He tacked on Matt Briggs (WM Briggs) and Tom Harris, who are nobodies in the world of climate science, but might be seen as important people by the disinformation lobby.

Since Paul Driessen of CFACT didn't explain, I figured it might be of interest to people to see who WUWT and CFACT figure are important players in the world of climate science misinformation.

Out of that list there are five who have any links to climate science:
  • Judith Curry - an internet blogger who used to head up a university department. These days she runs a blog primarily frequented by science deniers. She is also a university professor still.
  • Robert Balling who is a geography professor who used to head up a climatology department somewhere in Arizona. Otherwise I know little about him apart from what's written at DeSmogBlog
  • David Legates who is also a geography professor and used to be a state climatologist until he got unceremoniously dumped. David once told a US government committee that CO2 is animal food! He's known for denying climate science, and plays with WM Briggs, Willie Soon and Christopher Monckton from time to time.
  • Richard Lindzen used to be a respected climate scientist and is now a sad caricature.  He occasionally speaks to science denier gatherings
  • John Christy is a scientist by day at the University of Alabama, who calculates temperatures of the atmosphere using data from satellites. He likes to play tricks on the unwary.

Most of the rest are nobodies as far as climate science goes. They are mostly people who seem to care more for their ideology than facts.
  • Matt Briggs (William M Briggs) is a blogger who presents himself as a Hollywood hanger-on, with his "Statistician to the Stars" business. He seems to rate his abilities higher than anyone else would. He consorts with people like Willie Soon and Christopher Monckton (who is a "birther", claims to have found a cure for AIDS, calls everyone who he disagrees with "fascist", and threatens to sue anyone who shows him up for what he is)
  • Tom Harris is a strange little man who claims climate science is a hoax. He isn't very bright. He's been seen at Anthony Watts denier blog from time to time, which is how I came to hear of him. He managed to get a job running a one-man denier show in Canada for the "international" network of denier "organisations" called inappropriately the "International Climate Science Coalition". It seems to be an offshoot of the Heartland Institute - or is closely associated with it. It has equivalents in various countries that share a bunch of tired old deniers like Bob Carter, who get wheeled out from time to time to spout nonsense. In reality it's a tiny show that tries to look big. Tom has said that he gets his historical climate data from the bible.
  • Steven Hayward is some political commenter as far as I can tell. A dime a dozen in the USA, though he seems to be well enough known there.

Then there's Roger Pielke Jr, who doesn't fit into either category. He is a political science academic who dabbles in economics and climate-y stuff from time to time. He seems keen to find ways to show that the USA isn't getting wetter or drier. He is able to work out averages. (Average the wetter east with the drier west and voila - it evens out!) He doesn't like it much when he gets called out.

What is CFACT hiding? What is Paul Driessen so afraid of?

Paul Driessen's CFACT article was so over the top that I'm thinking that maybe there is something that the disinformation lobby are afraid will come out in the open. I can't imagine what that is. We know that there are interests in the USA that don't want the environment protected, that are vehemently opposed to regulations aimed to ensure clean air, potable water and biodiversity. Paul Driessen himself acknowledges that in this latest article. It's already public knowledge that there have been organised efforts to disinform the general public and influence policy makers, and that CFACT was involved

What else could lobby groups like CFACT be afraid will become public knowledge. What could possibly be worse than that?

From the WUWT comments

There were a lot of comments to the CFACT article at WUWT. In the main it got the intended reaction. There were a rare few who thought it over the top.

February 28, 2015 at 11:46 am
Agreed. However WRT to the bloggers premise, I think it’s an unnecessary stretch. And in poor taste. When climate alarmists start beheading deniers you can sign me up. Until then, I suggest leaving the hyperbole to the other side. They’ re so good at it.

asybot sees reds under the papal bed:
February 28, 2015 at 5:36 pm
Some how the word “Inquisition” comes to mind and with Pope Francis chiming in on behalf of the warmists makes that even more sinister , Oh how history repeats itself to the detriment of the human race.

I can't make out if hannuko is supportive of the CFACT jihadist imagery or not.
February 28, 2015 at 12:10 pm
I agree. This is the “final explosion”. The one where they go all in, because they have no choice.
Inspired by the silly military jargon of the Skeptical Science kids, in a battle this would be the last push against the defenses, where the attacking general puts in all his men and artillery in a last desperate attempt to break through. After this his resources are expended and the fight must be abandoned. Rest of the war will be about how much they’ll lose in the end – not about whether they win.
I believe these are but the opening salvoes. Few blasts to forewarn us about the coming storm. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d start blackmailing blogging platforms to denounce and stop supporting skeptical blogs. All we have to do is stand fast and watch with amazement as the barrage increases, reaches a crescendo and then dies down!
I can see how they like this kind of language. It gets me all worked up already. :)

Bob Tisdale is easily amused:
February 28, 2015 at 4:11 pm
Janice Moore says: “Bwah, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaaaaaaa!”
Thanks, that made me laugh!!!!!

E.M.Smith is an unashamed paranoid conspiracy theorist who approves of the CFACT article:
February 28, 2015 at 11:04 am
“Climate Science” is a political movement and tool, not real independent science. They are using political tools and motivation and norms, not those of science.
This is not an accident, it is by design. Parasitize and take over NGOs, Foundations, Government Agencies, then use them to advance an Agenda. The particular agenda has a few variations, but has been with us for decades to generations. The goal is to use government power and mandates to funnel money to fellow travelers. This used to be called “corruption”. Now it’s called business as usual…
So yes, it’s a Jihad. A “holy war” on traditional Science. All organs must be bent to the service of the un-elected few…

ScienceABC123 wants to know what would prove climate science false:
February 28, 2015 at 11:07 am
Let me make this easy for the White House. I’m a “climate skeptic” or by your words a “climate denier.” I look forward to being contacted by you or your representatives. Before you do so please come prepared.
It seems everything proves man-made climate change: high temperatures, low temperatures, more rain, more droughts, no snow, blizzards, more hurricanes, less hurricanes, more tornadoes, fewer tornadoes, and volcanoes.
For any hypothesis to be scientific it has to be falsifiable (i.e. there has to be some condition that can’t happen). So how is man-made climate change scientific? What conditions would prove it false? What conditions occurred in the past before man-made climate change that don’t occur now?

There are lots of things he or she could watch out for. For example, if it were discovered that CO2 didn't absorb and emit longwave radiation. If global surface temperatures plummeted without any known negative forcing (supervolcanic eruptions, nuclear wars etc); if all the ice reversed the melting, if sea levels started falling, if the atmosphere started expanding, if the stratosphere starting warming, if the troposphere started cooling etc etc.

George Lawson seems to believe what he wrote. The mental models of deniers are bewildering.
February 28, 2015 at 11:12 am
A brilliant article that sums up the true facts on both sides of the argument. Thank you Mr Driessen. If it doesn’t give a wake up call to all the GW sinners, it might just make a few decent warmists see the light. Is the article likely to appear on any other blog or magazine?.

Rich Carman weirdly thinks there are two "sides",  (Perhaps he can help out John.)
February 28, 2015 at 11:24 am
A robust debate would be desirable but unlikely; however, it might be possible for someone to sponsor a discussion that would be designed to document where the two sides agreed and where they disagreed. Certainly both sides could agree to certain data that is not in dispute.

Joel O'Bryan, who tends to the overwrought himself, writes:
February 28, 2015 at 11:27 am
The first two paragraphs seem a bit overwrought to me. But I do agree in concept that The Climate Crisis™ establishment is in a crisis. The crisis is of their own now-clear dishonesty about the science of climate and failure to acknowledge basic uncertainties, uncertainties that have continued to grow with the years. Sadly, the science of climate physics is still firmly in the hands of the climate pseudoscientists. It is sadly because it may allow the political controllers to not recognize and prepare for the clear global and national societal dangers a cooling world can bring.

Louis is one of several who seems to be trying to justify harassment of climate scientists, while decrying fishing expeditions of deniers and disinformers.
February 28, 2015 at 12:18 pm
All investigations are not wrong. They can be If used to silence those you disagree with. But they are a necessary tool to uncover wrongdoing. The important thing is that they be fair and based on fact rather than innuendo. The current overreach by alarmists may be intentional to get people sick of investigations so they can continue to hide their own misconduct. Let’s not fall into their trap. 

mpainter boasts that it's the end of science, now that the disinformers have Hollywood on their side :)
February 28, 2015 at 11:56 am
Hollywood is now getting into the mêlée on the side of the skeptics.
Do you realize what that means? It is the crack of doom for the AGW cultists 

Talk about exaggeration. davidmhoffer probably really believes that livelihoods are being threatened and that this will lead to lives being threatened. Does that mean he thinks that the current enquiries will come up with some damning evidence?
February 28, 2015 at 12:20 pm
It is a slippery slope from threatening someone’s livelihood to threatening someone’s life to coerce them into silence or support of your belief system.
If you are of the belief that the current smear campaign is anything but coercion, then you’re a fool. Dr Pielke has already announced that he is abandoning his climate research due to those precise coercion tactics.
Either we settle our differences through reasoned debate and compromise, or we don’t. 

Is D.S. talking about Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Ben Santer, Andrew Weaver or who?
February 28, 2015 at 12:24 pm
So asking someone to spend all their time and money, and sometimes even lose their jobs (as is often what is called dor by the accusers,) defending themselves against baseless accusations from people who just desperately don’t want to hear what is being said is not an attempt to silence them?
Or here is a better question – if the science is 100% sound, what difference does it make where funding comes from? Look at, say, Hitler… He is responsible for bringing about some of most advanced science and design of the 20th century. Because Hitler was behind it though, does it then becomes junk? Of course not, claiming that would be insane. It is the SCIENCE which needs to be scrutinized at, not how the science was funded! Only if the science is faulty (as is often the case in support of AGW) that the funding should even be considered.
Obsessing over funding in an attempt to ignore the science merely proves irrational bias where reality is much less important than desire 

Does David Ball really not understand why Andrew Weaver and Michael Mann are suing his father for defamation? I find that hard to believe. Tim Ball is not shy.
February 28, 2015 at 3:09 pm
Barry February 28, 2015 at 11:53 am says;
No one is trying to silence anyone.
Really Barry? Then why are two climate modellers suing my father? Was it something he said? Both suits were filed 9 days apart? Coincidence? You are so full of s**t.
You never even had the courage to respond to the multitude of posts that destroyed your “anomaly” map.
You post garbage and then cannot defend it. You do understand that people see through you, don’t you? 

Streetcred, who might never have read a scientific publication in his life, wants "data" and "code":
February 28, 2015 at 3:25 pm
Well, the jihadis can start by providing the data and code behind their ‘papers’ …

Jonathan Abbott is one of the very few who thinks the article was a big mistake
February 28, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Anthony, this post is a big mistake. You should remove it and apologise.

That comment displeased dbstealey, who is a hard core science denier (aka Smokey etc)
February 28, 2015 at 12:02 pm
And why is it ‘a big mistake’? Because you don’t agree?
You should apologize, for advocating censorship.

MCourtney seems to approve of the CFACT article. He used to be a more reasonable (as opposed to rational) denier. I guess he's got caught up in the emotion of it all.
February 28, 2015 at 12:26 pm
Jonathan Abbott,
Threatening to kill those who disagree with you is bad. Do you think that is a mistake? It isn’t. And I hope I would say that to your face even if you were armed and disagree with me.
Threatening to destroy the livelihood of those who disagree with you is bad. Do you think that is a mistake? It isn’t. And I hope I would say that to your face even if you were influential on my funding and disagree with me.
It’s the threatening that is wrong, you see.
The violence is in acting upon the intent to harm a person because of their belief.
You should know that, in my opinion.
But if you don’t, I won’t try and hurt you. 

There are a lot more comments, but that's as much as I've the energy for. It does seem to me that WUWT has shifted from pseudo-science nuttery into an extremism that defies description. This isn't a once-off. You'll recall the Tim Ball articles and how Anthony Watts handled that. He's definitely shifted his stance. If it's an attempt to shove the Overton Window I cannot see it working. This sort of extremist language will alienate moderate conservatives, not win them over.


  1. Nuts, sign of desperation.

  2. They are stoking up hatred, trying to equate scientists with some of the most vicious groups on the planet. Is there any great distance from this to calling for acts of violence?

    1. I really don't know, Millicent. The language and imagery used is extreme and violent. Maybe that is the objective. The thought did occur to me.

      I haven't seen so many articles like this at WUWT until recently. There have been a spate of them in the last few months. It's a mix of anti-semitic bigotry and political extremism. Not the sort of thing you'd discuss in polite company. Not the sort of people you'd want to be seen associating with.

      It seemed to start after Anthony Watts' had dinner with some real scientists. Maybe he realised then that there was no bridge between WUWT and science - the chasm was too wide. So he's given up pretending to blog about science and opted for the extreme end of right wing political fanaticism.

      It's very weird to watch WUWT diving downward the way it is. It will be interesting to see how long some of the more moderate people last there. Will they want to be associated with this sort of thing? Will they shrug it off?

      There used to be the occasional WUWT article by a proper scientist. I can't see that ever happening again. He's burnt his bridges well and truly.

    2. You'd have thought they would have the minimal amount of wit to remember the Giffords incident and act with some restraint.

    3. Sou,

      "So he's given up pretending to blog about science and opted for the extreme end of right wing political fanaticism."

      As Joe above leads, I'd like to think Watts got his hindquarters handed to him at that dinner and realized that he's out of his depth on the science. Having drunk perhaps a bit too deeply at the well of WUWT for the past several months, I think it's more likely he's simply pandering to the bulk of his audience. When one's readership is comprised mostly of outraged conspiracy k00ks, consistent logic need not apply. That's about as much sense of it as I can make.

    4. That, and the fact that imho he is running out of "reasonable" post subjects. You can shout "variability" only for a while, and you cannot feast on Yamal tree rings forever. Sou noticed last year that posts became dull - either you become gradually ignored, or you go even further .
      Dinner with Betts is a consequence of this dilemna : Watts wanted to rebuild some importance as natural connection between "skeptics" ans scientists. I dont think the dinner triggered anything for our present matter.

      But I wonder why RPS is silent. Did he abandon Watts after the surface station "failure" ?

  3. I think Watts has jumped the shark.

    The comments in particular are uniformly whacko. Most unfortunate.

  4. The Gibson Guitars case Driessen refers to is actually quite telling about US politics. Apparently, a lot of Republicans think it is OK to violate US laws and falsify custom declarations when somebody claims the law hurts jobs.

    1. Thanks, Marco. Is this what it was about?

      That explains the reference to Fisheries and Wildlife SWAT teams. Is Paul Driessen suggesting the some of the seven/nine are importing timber illegally? Or is he claiming that a law that had bipartisan support is wrong? Or perhaps he's arguing that rare and precious tree species in far off lands are his to plunder and destroy - illegally.

      I remember how Paul Dreissen wanted to get rid of all that clean air in the USA and bring back smog, too.

    2. Yes, that's the case.

      I have already seen conspiracy theories going around that Gibson was targeted because its CEO gives money to the Republican party.

      Of relevance here is that Driessen strongly supported Cuccinelli's witchhunt, even saying that "We should support what Ken Cuccinelli is doing – and demand that Eric Holder and other state AGs take similar action."

      Note that his story is filled with falsehoods.

      Also note that Driessen is co-author on an Op-Ed with Soon on the supposed lack of toxicity of mercury.

    3. Thanks for pointing me to the Gibson Guitar issue. It's hilarious:

      "“Grossly underreported at the time was the fact that Gibson’s chief executive, Henry Juszkiewicz, contributed to Republican politicians. Recent donations have included $2,000 to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and $1,500 to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn,” the editorial reads.

      “By contrast, Chris Martin IV, the Martin & Co. CEO, is a long-time Democratic supporter, with $35,400 in contributions to Democratic candidates and the Democratic National Committee over the past couple of election cycles,” it adds.

      According to IBD, claims by Juszkiewicz that his company was targeted are “eerily similar” to the claims conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status have made about the IRS."

      What brilliance - to be able to figure out that the IRS got the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a raid because of $3,500 in campaign donations. How they can go from such obscure evidence to see these intricate plots is really remarkable. They have such powerful skills of deduction!!!!

    4. A non-unhinged look at the issues related to the conspiracy to punish the owner of Gibson for his $2,500 in campaign contributions.

    5. I used to be in the acoustic guitar business, and specialized in high-end guitars, new and vintage. Brazilian rosewood is unsurpassed as a back and side wood. Ebony is tough to beat for fretboards and bridges. Wood dealers can be shady characters. I got out of the business a long time ago when I realized there was a lot of counterfeit paperwork. It was clearly a felony to sell guitars made of it. Martin guitar was meticulous at verifying their Brazilian rosewood (and other listed woods) had good paperwork. In my experience, no other company was as careful. If a wood dealer claimed he had paperwork, they bought without asking questions. They did not go after Martin because there was/is nothing to go after. Everybody was warned. Most paid attention to the warning. One big one did not, and that idiot got busted.

  5. Sou, that was a very nice write-up of RP Jr.'s run-in with Holdren, but the one where the former truly had a professional train wreck was the incident involving Paul Krugman, in consequence of which Pielke was fired from Did you not cover that?

    Here's the Krugman post. Note this was after not only the Holdren incident, but also the blow-up involving Pielke's initial 538 piece, which got so much flak that Nate Silver was forced to commission a refuting (well, demolishing) article from leading climate scientist Kerry Emanuel.

    RP Jr.'s usual cloud o' ink was completely ineffective against someone like Krugman, who is more expert in Pielke's chosen field than Pielke is. Firing Pielke became Silver's only means of salvaging part of his credibility.

    So all in all, a truly terrible spring for RP Jr., one worth savoring.

  6. I am beginning to feel sorry for the people who are buying the nonsense that WUWT delivers on a daily basis. It's also kind of sad that this is the most popular "skeptic" blog. I am afraid that most typical conservatives in the US have similar positions. And we know that almost all Republican representatives deny that climate change is problem, so we can probably expect this kind of vicious nonsense to continue indefinitely while Republican try to stop anything being done about climate change.

  7. The decline is really remarkable. A few years ago, when Heartland ran its unabomber billboard, Watts said it was a bad idea. Granted he only dissed it for being tactically bad, no moral complaint. Now, he hosts this, equating scientists to terrorists and killers far beyond the unabomber (or the planned bin Laden billboard).

    And, to ensure that there's no chance of misinterpreting the WUWT position, mod. jumps on commenter who is even less critical of this post than Anthony was of Heartland.

    1. My observations over the past couple of years (since I've been WUWT watching) is that Anthony is incapable of discerning ethics and cannot see the line between acceptable and unacceptable human behaviour. He appears to be insensitive in that regard. He sometimes takes notice when people tell him some behaviour is unacceptable - but only when enough people tell him so, and only the "right" people. A bit like being colour blind and having to rely on others to tell you what's red and what's green.

  8. I think this WUWT post, including especially the comments, is an important one to archive and to point people to as representative of the more extreme fringe of the "anti" crowd.

    Eli Rabbett points to Paul Krugman;'s recent post on The Closed Minds Problem where he discusses there different strategies in communication.

    The option 3 he suggests is to

    Point out the wrongness in ways designed to grab readers’ attention — with ridicule where appropriate, with snark, and with names attached. This will get read; it will get you some devoted followers, and a lot of bitter enemies. One thing it won’t do, however, is change any of those closed minds.

    His reasoning is that:

    the point is to ... deter other parties from false equivalence. ... cultists can’t be moved; but reporters and editors who tend to put out views-differ-on-shape-of-planet stories because they think it’s safe can be, sometimes, deterred if you show that they are lending credence to charlatans. And this in turn can gradually move the terms of discussion, possibly even pushing the nonsense out of the Overton window.

  9. Arizona State University is currently the largest university in-the-number-of-students-at-a-single-site in the US. When it's not, it's second largest, behind Ohio State University.
    Scanning the courses offered in the Physical Geography program, the emphasis seems to be more on meteorology than on climatology. Which might partly explain why I've never heard of any climate research originating here. That, and the fact that a skeptic, Robert Balling, once headed the department. And that the only other well known local personages were also skeptics - from the Idso family.
    Climatology and meteorology don't have an obvious home in US academia. They can be in the Physics Department. Or Environmental, or Earth ------. Or in a Marine program at a coastal university. So a Geography department can also be a reasonable location. Particularly, as I've suspected of ASU, the program is designed to train TV weathermen.
    I wonder whether this skeptic ('bastion of' - ??) backwardness partially motivated the separate development of the progressive ASU School of Sustainability (undergraduate and graduate), the first such school in the US.

    1. ASU is near Phoenix, Arizona.. The better known U of A is in Tucson.
      Dendrochronology - tree ring dating - began at the University of Arizona. Now the growth rings are also used to study paleoecology - the climate. Malcolm Hughes - the H in the MBH1998 hockey stick - Is at the U of A.

  10. Sou,

    Speaking of John Christy, his partner in shonky charting, Roy Spencer, has updated the (in)famous "95% of observations are wrong" plot through 2014:

    UAH TLT is gone, as is the spaghetti of the individual model runs, but the 5-year means for his selected 90 CMIP5 models and HADCRUT4 are still zeroed on 1983. Taking 5 year running means from anomalies calculated over monthly data for the proper 1986-2005 reference period looks like this:

    The crux of his argument this go-round is, "... the models were mostly developed (and modelers’ opinions regarding sensitivity formed) during a period (the 1970s to 1990s) when substantial natural warming was occurring, yet they assumed it was entirely manmade ... " which is in BOLD text in the original. I've read enough papers on ocean/atmospheric couplings dating from the early '80s to know it's also abysmally wrong.

    He should know better. He's GOT to know better. I see no way for him to be unknowingly fibbing.

    1. Does Roy still have his quartic or higher order fit to the anomalies for ëntertainment purposes"? Maybe it might have had a recent up tick!
      PS: Only 14 days till the 6 month anniversery of the official launch of the OAS. Time is running out, no more excuses...

      R the Anon

    2. As for his methodology. Roy Spencer compares a five-year running average of the measured global surface temperature with the ensemble mean from 90 CMIP5-simulations. Ensemble-mean averaging acts like a low-pass filter in time. Assuming ergodicity, a 90 CMIP5 simulations ensemble mean of annual model data would be equivalent to a 90 year running mean in time of a single realization in time. Thus, Spencer is comparing something like a 90-year running mean of a simulation of random data in time with a 5-year running mean of the observation data. For the simulations, he has smoothed away all internal variability, even on a scale of multiple decades by doing this, but he has kept a large amount of internal variability for the observations by using only 5-year running means, since there is also substantial internal variability left with 5-year running averages. And then he draws conclusions from a divergence between the two.

      I would like to see him trying to publish something like this. But I doubt he is going to do that. I suspect it's all just for keeping the denier crowd happy, and he knows exactly that it is crap what he is doing.

      Brandon, thanks for pointing to this graphic. I hadn't seen that one yet.

    3. Jan,

      You're welcome.

      "I would like to see him trying to publish something like this."

      Spencer & Bradwell (2013): The role of ENSO in global ocean temperature changes during 1955–2011 simulated with a 1D climate model

      Paywalled, but Spencer makes a pre-print available on his blog:

      "For the simulations, he has smoothed away all internal variability, even on a scale of multiple decades by doing this, but he has kept a large amount of internal variability for the observations by using only 5-year running means, since there is also substantial internal variability left with 5-year running averages."

      That is a very helpful insight, thank you.

    4. R the Anon,

      "Does Roy still have his quartic or higher order fit to the anomalies for 'entertainment purposes'?"

      If we're thinking about the same one, yeah it's still there, but dated from 2011, no updates I'm aware of. Not that I keep track of everything or anything ...

    5. Brandon R. Gates - There's a response to that Spencer and Braswell paper by Abraham et al 2014, which concludes:

      "...this study shows that errors in one-dimensional numerical models have a significant impact on their ability to both match ocean measurements and serve as a check on more complex global models. Consequently, the conclusions based on these flawed models must be viewed with extreme skepticism and cannot be used as a surrogate for more complex and physically realistic models. While one-dimensional diffusion models have some use in climate studies, they must first be thoroughly evaluated and be grounded on a physically sound methodology. The analysis of SB14 is based on a model that fails these basic tests."

      In short, another bad modeling paper by Spencer et al...

    6. KR,

      So when Spencer complains his papers are dismissed out of hand, at the very least he's ignoring this response. Color me shocked. Truthfully, I'd want to forget my work being so thoroughly shellacked too. As if leaving out the fact that 30% of the planet isn't ocean, or extending ENSO variability to 100% of this all-ocean planet weren't bad enough, this one absolutely kills me:

      "Finally, attention is turned to the lowermost element in the water column. In SB14, this location was taken to be 2000 m. In the description provided within SB14, no mention is made of any special treatment for the bottom layer. However, examination of the computer program, generously provided by the authors of SB14, showed that the authors actually insulated the ocean bottom ... Since no heat was allowed to flow through the bottom element, it means that, in effect, ocean layers below 2000 m have no heat capacity."


      Thanks for the reference.

    7. Brandon - It's all bad. S&B insulated the bottom of their 2000m model, which assumes the deep ocean has no heat capacity (false), don't include latent heat (evaporation) from the surface, assign the surface the temperature from the mid-point of their top layer (50 meters deep),

      And in something that is really glaring to me, they have discontinuous changes in diffusion constants between each layer! Diffusion is by definition bi-directional, but they way they have their model set up for layer interfaces what goes up is _not_ what comes down! The diffusion up/down at interfaces should be equal, or your model will have no chance of giving the right answers. That's a freshman level error, not something I would ever expect to see in a published work. Appallingly, tooth-grindingly wrong...

      These errors mostly come down to border/endpoint issues, and are just incorrect. With the number of unphysical mistakes it's only impressive that S&B were able to tune the model to fit under any conditions. It certainly has no value in investigating conditions outside that tuning (such as the different forcings and responses they are supposedly investigating), since the model is physically meaningless.

      Spencer states that "Our critics will use technical jargon to make it sound like our model is worthless... [...] No nitpicking over our finite differencing scheme, or our extension of the bottom of the ocean to only 2,000 m depth, changes this [their results]." - it's pretty clear that he knows exactly what the objections are. But since he doesn't actually refer to, let alone link to, Abraham et al, it's also clear that he doesn't have an answer to those criticisms.

      It's not nitpicking to point out that the model S&B used is utterly unphysical, nor to (as Abraham et al did) correct those model errors and see what happens - demonstrating that if you actually pay attention to physics the S&B model is worthless.

    8. KR,

      The nitpicking complaints are particularly endearing when engaged in by the crowd who uses "Upsidedown Tiljander" as a rally cry. And seriously, what more indication of lack of integrity does one need to note that Spencer makes no mention of the fact that his model was ... deconstructed ... in literature having found undergrad-level errors while simultaneously complaining that nobody pays attention to his papers?

  11. I wonder if Driessen and Watts would care to put their money where their mouths are and name some of the worst-offending climate-"jihadi" scientists?

    I'm sure that there'd be interest from libel lawyers...

  12. The cynicism. Levant precipitation down 40% over the past half century, attribution to climate change well established. The Syrian revolt a direct consequence of this and of course a Driessen-like climate revisionist government, as parts of the Fertile Crescent are getting abandoned for a first in at least 8,000 years.

  13. The Heartland Institute has claimed Willie Soon as one of their own, and is singing his praises. He'll be a speaker at their next denier fest. That's the final nail in the coffin, as deniers like to say.

    Heartland has worked closely with Dr. Soon over the years, featuring him as a speaker at conferences and including him as a reviewer and contributor to a series of volumes on climate science published for the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

    1. I imagine Soon could tell a tale or two about Heartland were he so disposed. Just saying :)

    2. Soon's execrable letter on the Heartland site is astonishing for its characterisation of the consensus science.

      Soon claims no effect on his science by the sources of his funding (which is contradicted by the fact that his work is roundly refuted by anyone with half a scientific clue). Reading Soon you're left with the impression of a muc-persecuted Galileo at odds with a conspiratorial and hectoring mainstream. The fact that he uses emotion rather than solid, evidenced and referenced argument gives a hint that his position is ideological rather than intellectual...

      One should not however discount him as a nobody. He is one of a small handful of sell-out (and/or nutter) scientific types who have provided sufficient ammunition to the propganda machine to forestall for decades any action on carbon emissions. Together with a few pet journalists and enough lap-dog politicians in the right places, the fossil fuel industry has managed to delay an effective response to the point where we're already in FUBAR territory, with no appreciable indications that the inertia is going to change in the near to medium future.

      I fervently hope that Soon lives for at least another 50 years, and is thus forced to confront the profound culpability that is his.

    3. There isn't really a contradiction there. Soon is funded by interests that want something particular to be said. He says such things, quite possibly out of sincere belief. As long as he keeps saying such things, he'll keep getting those funds (give or take whether Harvard-Smithsonian fire him as an embarrassment).

      Contrast with, say, Muller and BEST. They got money from the Kochs -- once. They didn't say what the Kochs wanted to hear, so there was no second grant.

      Rule of thumb, applying in all directions: Beware of answers you get when you really want it to turn out one way rather than another.

  14. Sou, you have GOT to go over to Roy Spencer's most recent blog post and read the comments. Sweet mother of Jesus...that's all I can say. I think his blog has become even nastier than WUWT. And I'm sure it's quite obvious he has absolutely ZERO problem being aligned with the type of people that post those types of comments. What an absolutely disgrace to science that man is.


    1. Maybe Roy is upset he wasn't on the list of targeted "skeptics" from congressman Grijalva? He's too unimportant to be mentioned? I guess he hasn't testified to congress enough!

    2. In their parallel universe Obama somehow really 'believing' there are 57 states is a 'thing'* and, see, he's every bit as stupid as Sarah Palin, who isn't, anyway. So there.

      I assume this is what you get when a huge chunk of the population watches nothing but Fox. Benghazi!

      *Do any of these idiots ever stop to think what the consequences of their every utterance being recorded - and potentially available to detractors - might be? It's like 'Climategate'; 'Gee, what if someone belligerently hostile to me was given the run of all my emails; what could they make me out to be?' is a question that never floats through such minds, apparently, though one suspects the ommission is strategic.

  15. It occurs to me there's a hole in the schedule which normally brings us "Artic sea-ice back to normal" stories at this time of year. Guess they have to fill it with something.

    1. That's because the Arctic sea ice extent ( JAXA link ) inconveniently happens to be have been at an all-time low for the date for the last three days.

    2. So there'll be another impressive 'recovery' next year, no doubt!


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