Tabloid writer David Rose has written another puff piece on Judith Curry. Judith used to be a scientist who dabbled in climate stuff, until she gave it away to write a blog for science deniers. David Rose was never what you'd call a journalist. He's a hack writer for a tabloid in the UK. His article this time didn't even make the grade for the Mail. This time he was relegated to a magazine called The Spectator, which if you're like me and have never heard of it, is described in Wikipedia as "a weekly British conservative magazine. It was first published on 6 July 1828, making it the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language." For a few years Nigel Lawson was editor. Nigel now heads up the denier lobby group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which, as its name suggests, agitates for more global warming. So science denial articles in The Spectator shouldn't surprise anyone.
Second to none or second rate?
David Rose's article, as usual, is spattered with untruths. For example he told some big fibs about Judith:
Her record of peer-reviewed publication in the best climate-science journals is second to none, and in America she has become a public intellectual.Her record of peer-reviewed publication in the best climate-science journals is arguably a long way behind that of leading climate scientists. She has written some decent papers I'm told, in the past. She's not produced much in the last decade except as co-author, but she was lead author on more in the 1990s.
Judith is definitely not considered a public intellectual. She does blog a lot of pseudo-metaphysical babble that probably sounds "intellectual" to someone like David Rose.
What solid data? Judith doesn't use data for her denial
David didn't stop there with his Judith-spin. He decided to embroider a lot more, and wrote:
What is troubling about her pariah status is that her trenchant critique of the supposed consensus on global warming is not derived from warped ideology, let alone funding by fossil-fuel firms, but from solid data and analysis.Nope. That's not right either. Judith doesn't use data and analysis to spread her brand of denial. I doubt she's capable. What she does instead is what many science disinformers do - she posts dumb denier articles by other people, and when she does comment, she insinuates that scientists don't know nuffin' or that scientists are committing fraud. She rarely provides any answers. To do so would turn off her readers, who are almost all science deniers.
Judith Curry's silent group of supporters!
David Rose quoted Judith as saying, boldly and wrongly:
Inside the climate community there are a lot of people who don’t like what I’m doing. On the other hand, there is also a large, silent group who do like it.It's easy to say there's a large silent group who are fans of Judith's brand of disinformation. Who's going to prove her wrong? All she has to say is that they are "silent". Now that's bordering on conspiracy ideation isn't it. These silent types are wimps. They are too afraid to speak out in defense of Judith. Her fans aren't silent though, are they. It's just that they aren't scientists - they probably consider themselves a slighly up-market version of Anthony Watts' rabble at WUWT. Not as mathsy as Steve McIntyre's denier fans liked to regard themselves. (I don't know if anyone is still reading Steve McIntyre's waffle.) These days, however, there's little difference between the sort of comments you read on Judith Curry's blog and the dumb comments you read at WUWT. Judith's blog is sliding further and further down the denial hill.
How Judith fails arithmetic
Oh, that's not all. Judith is boasting about how financier Nic Lewis got her to add her name to a paper he wrote. As David Rose put it:
Curry told me. ‘Even if the sensitivity is 2.5˚C, not 3˚C, that makes a substantial difference as to how fast we might get to a world that’s 2˚C warmer. A sensitivity of 2.5˚C makes it much less likely we will see 2˚C warming during the 21st century. There are so many uncertainties, but the policy people say the target is fixed. And if you question this, you will be slagged off as a denier.’Judith obviously doesn't know how quickly CO2 is increasing. If doubling of CO2 leads to a 2.5˚C rise in surface temperature, then not reducing emissions means the temperature could rise by 3˚C or more before the end of this century.
Curry added that her own work, conducted with the British independent scientist Nic Lewis, suggests that the sensitivity value may still lower, in which case the date when the world would be 2˚C warmer would be even further into the future. On the other hand, the inherent uncertainties of climate projection mean that values of 4˚C cannot be ruled out — but if that turns out to be the case, then the measures discussed at Paris and all the previous 20 UN climate conferences would be futile.
And what about the lose-lose position she's advocating. According to Judith, if doubling of CO2 leads to a 4˚C, which could mean a 6˚C rise by the end of this century, then "it's futile" to do anything to avoid it. If a doubling of CO2 leads to a 2.5˚C rise in surface temperature then there's no rush, according to Judith. She's wrong.
Climate Interactive has done some calculations to see what may happen over the coming century, with no action, nothing more than the current pledges, the Intended Nationally-Determined Contributions (INDCs), and what's required to stay below 2˚C:
|Source: Climate Interactive|
The chart below shows the basis for the estimates in terms of CO2 concentration vs temperature.
|Source: Climate Interactive|
As you can see from the above, the assumption is that a doubling of CO2 will lead to a temperature rise of around 2.6 ˚C, not much more than Judith's 2.5˚C. If no action is taken, which Judith Curry advocates, then she may well live to see a rise in temperature of more than 2 ˚C before 2050. It's already risen by 1˚C, and the CO2 isn't going to come out of the air any time soon. Instead it's accumulating. I don't know how that will affect Atlanta Georgia, but she'll be wise to restrict her trips to Australia to the winter months.
Natural variation is not neglected
I don't know what Judith's been smoking, but David Rose reckons she thinks that scientists have "neglected" studying climate - or as he put it:
Meanwhile, the obsessive focus on CO2 as the driver of climate change means other research on natural climate variability is being neglected. For example, solar experts believe we could be heading towards a ‘grand solar minimum’ — a reduction in solar output (and, ergo, a period of global cooling) similar to that which once saw ice fairs on the Thames. ‘The work to establish the solar-climate connection is lagging.’
I think that David Rose and Judith might be talking about Force X and the notch - what do you think?
Tossing and turning. What research does Judith Curry want to do?
There's more. Judith is claiming she can't get any funds to do the research she wants to do. This is the first I've heard her complain about that? Does anyone know what research she has set her heart on doing that she hasn't been able to get funds for? Here is what David Rose wrote:
Curry’s independence has cost her dear. She began to be reviled after the 2009 ‘Climategate’ scandal, when leaked emails revealed that some scientists were fighting to suppress sceptical views. ‘I started saying that scientists should be more accountable, and I began to engage with sceptic bloggers. I thought that would calm the waters. Instead I was tossed out of the tribe. There’s no way I would have done this if I hadn’t been a tenured professor, fairly near the end of my career. If I were seeking a new job in the US academy, I’d be pretty much unemployable. I can still publish in the peer-reviewed journals. But there’s no way I could get a government research grant to do the research I want to do. Since then, I’ve stopped judging my career by these metrics. I’m doing what I do to stand up for science and to do the right thing.’Tossed out of the tribe? What tribe is that, and who did the tossing? Judith was the one belittling science and scientists. Then she became a full blown science denier. Also, if she thinks that science is made up of "tribes" then that's just another sign that she's lost all touch with how science works. Talking about tribes is denier-speak through and through.
Judith has not, to my knowledge, published anything that flat out disputes science in the scientific literature. She did dabble in pattern recognition and had a shot at writing about uncertainty. Both of those were pretty awful papers. She saves her rejection of science for blogs and US government hearings - and quotes for David Rose. She pretty well gave up doing science quite some time ago now, and I doubt it's for lack of funds.
Judith Curry the martyr denier
There was one odd reference in the closing paragraph of David Rose's article, which some might think refers to Lamar Smith's witch-hunt. That would be a mistake. Judith is all in favour of witch hunts, unless she happens to be the witch being hunted. David Rose wrote about Judith:
She remains optimistic that science will recover its equilibrium, and that the quasi-McCarthyite tide will recede
PS Words of religious wisdom and "interesting essays" - Curry-style
As a post-script, this week Judith was promoting one of those denier nutters from my country, Australia. Well, not mainland Australia. From Tasmania, or Tassie as it's known down here. She published an article all about nothing which, in keeping with her "public intellectual" persona, Judith thought was a "gem", and "words of wisdom are beautifully and simply stated". It wasn't a gem. It was a load of codswallop about how climate science is "ideological". The author, John Reid (who's been featured here once before), wrote in closing that:
My present paper on this topic, which explains global temperature changes as random fluctuations, has already been rejected twice by peer-reviewed journals.He ought to try one of journals on Beall's list if he wants to get his random paper published.
Here is the opening of what Judith regards as an "interesting essay" from John Reid:
In effect a new religion has grown out of secular humanism. Global warming is the central tenet of this new belief system in much the same way that the Resurrection is the central tenet of Christianity. Al Gore has taken a role corresponding to that of St Paul in proselytising the new faith.And here is the opening from another "interesting essay" according to Judith Curry:
After surviving a storm-tossed voyage, King James I concluded that witches must have conjured tempests to do him ill because nothing ever happens by chance. In promoting the notion that climate trends are shaped by an industrialised world's CO2 emissions, warmists are in the same boat.