Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Paranoid Anthony Watts seeks attention from the IPCC

Sou | 6:24 AM Go to the first of 25 comments. Add a comment

What a stupid man.

Today Anthony Watts has posted a pdf file of the draft report of the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC.  I won't link to the draft - it ain't ethical and besides that the final version will be out in three days.

This draft is currently undergoing an intensive line by line review at a Panel Session of the IPCC.  The final version will be made available on the 27 September.  That's only three days away where I live, but probably four days away given the Panel is meeting in Europe.

Anthony's Excuse

Here is Anthony's excuse for posting the draft:
For weeks, this document has been put in the hands of most every journalist that writes about climate issues, and many articles have been written about its contents. Given that much of the work done in it was publicly funded at universities, and because the discussion in the media has placed the issue in the public domain of discussion, plus with the IPCC Stockholm meeting to hammer out the final version convening this week, and with the announcement today that IPCC chair Rajenda Pachauri willl step down in 2015, (translation here) I feel it is time to make this document available so that the public also has the opportunity for (as the IPCC put it in their press release) line-by-line scrutiny....
...Further, the IPCC has made it clear in their Principles and Procedures statement that they embrace transparency.
... Given the keen worldwide interest, and the many articles written about the AR5 draft SPM in media with access to it, there’s no reason anymore for the public to be left out of the process. It will also be interesting to compare to the final SPM to see what the politicians have morphed the document into. Reportedly, there are some 1800 changes that have already been requested by government representatives.

So why did Anthony put up the draft report?  Heck, everyone will have it in three or four days.  He claims it's for transparency and so that the public can be part of the process.  But those can't be the reasons because:

a) if anyone wanted to be part of the process they had their chance back a couple of years ago, when they could have signed up to be an expert reviewer.  They can't be "part of the process" now.  Only onlookers.

b) as far as "transparency" goes, the draft will be made public anyway "as soon as possible" after the report has been approved at the current session of the Panel.  From the IPCC - Procedures for the Preparation, Review, Acceptance, Adoption, Approval and Publication of IPCC Reports (top of page 5):
The drafts of IPCC Reports and Technical Papers which have been submitted for formal expert and/or government review, the expert and government review comments, and the author responses to those comments will be made available on the IPCC website as soon as possible after the acceptance by the Panel and the finalisation of the Report or Technical Paper. The IPCC considers its draft reports, prior to acceptance, to be pre-decisional, provided in confidence to reviewers, and not for public distribution, quotation or citation. 

Not only will the final approved version of the Summary for Policy Makers be made available, so will the draft, the comments on the draft and the author responses to the comments.

Anthony can't provide that.  All he's got his sweaty little hands on is the draft that was floating around various places since probably around mid-August or earlier.  The draft went out to Panel members at least eight weeks before this current meeting - and I believe it's dated the end of June.  (I have no interest in reading it to find out.  Aside from ethical considerations, I'd rather wait a couple more days and get the lot together.) The IPCC reported around 1,800 comments, which is not a huge number given that there are 195 member countries.  That's less than 10 comments per country on average, which is around the same number in other years according to what I've read.

Since it obviously can't be to let the public be "part of the process", and since "transparency" is already covered by the IPCC itself, I'm left wondering what really made Anthony do such a thing.


Attention-seeking is probably his number one reason for posting the full draft.  I don't think anyone else has made the full draft available.  By now, most mainstream media outlets have written in general terms some of what is in the draft.  And a few shady journalists and bloggers have made up stuff that isn't in the draft and pretended that it is.  Anthony only got his hands on it a couple of days ago and I reckon he's feeling very left out.  This is his way of getting back at all the people who didn't send him his own personal copy of what was "provided in confidence to reviewers, and not for public distribution, quotation or citation".

I don't see any other rational reason (if you can call attention-seeking rational).  Why else would Anthony publish the draft when there are only three or four days to go before the final report is released, with the previous draft, comments and author responses?

There are a couple of irrational reasons that have occurred to me:
  • Anthony is trying to control the message and/or
  • Anthony is indulging in his own paranoid conspiracy theory.

Control freak

It could be that Anthony wants to control the message.  Thing is, he doesn't know what the message is and wouldn't understand it if he did.  Anthony doesn't understand climate science very well.  He can read English, but most of the science itself is beyond his abilities.  He doesn't even understand simple concepts like surface temperature anomalies; and he thinks that airport UHI disease can spontaneously erupt out of the blue.

Also working against him is that he's not even a two bit player in comparison with the worlds scientific organisations and climate scientists generally.  No-one serious takes him seriously.

And if Anthony once aspired to being taken seriously, he knows he lost any hope of that long ago.  He can't be trusted.  He does not have the same values or ethics that most earth system scientists have.  I don't know if he would understand what ethics means.

Paranoid conspiracy theorist

The third motivation might be that he has a paranoid conspiracy theory about the IPCC and the UN generally.  What he wrote on his blog supports this explanation.
(FYI In the interest of public discourse and scrutiny, I will be posting the full widely “leaked” draft SPM later today, so that there can be comparisons worldwide of what the politicians have morphed it to – Anthony)
Of course Anthony is probably unfamiliar with the IPCC processes.  He might think he's going to expose something or other.  He is prone to conspiracy ideation.  He has an excessive distrust of government, which goes with the territory for conspiracy theorists.  I doubt he'd have spent any time on the IPCC website - the IPCC is that nasty organisation that compiles climate science after all.  And you couldn't expect him to read things like procedures and policies - there aren't enough pictures in those documents.

Anthony doesn't understand protocol.  He thinks "transparency" means that he should see something almost before it's been written.  He has no sense of proper process, of scientific rigour, of accepted practice or intergovernmental relations.

What's good for the goose...

If we apply Anthony's "rules" to himself - then it's way past time that he put his money where his mouth is and gave the public the current version of his as yet unpublished paper on Stevenson screens or whatever his new paper is all about.

Why the secrecy?  What is he trying to hide?  Why is he keeping it from us? He said months ago that he's had someone re-(ghost)-writing his draft so where is it?  Hasn't he been able to tweak the paper to get the result he wants?  Is he hiding the true facts?

His public deserves to know.  (Not really - no-one deserves to be inflicted with another tormented version of "all the thermometers are wrong" Watts-style!)


  1. I bet Anthony thinks Ethics is a county north east of London.

  2. Replies
    1. Yes it is. Anthony is making up stuff as usual. He is a conspiracy theorist feeding other conspiracy theorists. It's not just that he's playing to his crank audience - he really is paranoid when it comes to any legitimate authority (governments, scientists, almost any expert) - just like most of his readers.

  3. I have a copy of Willard Tony's first draft, but ethical restraint stops me from releasing it.

    I can say though that it's mostly in crayon and contains stick figures - which he seems to have confused with histograms because they're figures and they're sticky.

    Bernard J.

  4. Watts wants to circulate the redundant draft as widely as he can to encourage confusion when the official draft appears. As ridiculous as it sounds, there will be people who won't know the difference. Result: more confusion and time-wasting exchange in establishing which version is which.

  5. Watts is a wrecker. This is what wreckers do.

  6. "Since it obviously can't be to let the public be 'part of the process', and since 'transparency' is already covered by the IPCC itself, I'm left wondering what really made Anthony do such a thing."

    Sou, your expressed reasoning in the paragraphs prior to the above statement reflects conspiracy thinking. The pivotal role of your personal ideology in the rejection of the openly-stated motives of Watts releasing of the draft report is rather prominent. Although Watts provided a well-reasoned justification for releasing the draft report, you seemingly assert this was intended to obscure or hide a more selfish agenda unrelated to the draft report. No doubt, Watts' reliance on pseudo-science is involved, as well.

    However, this conspiracy thinking (regarding Watts specifically but deniers generally) is not a one-off but rather an embedded and accusatory meme at HotWhopper.

    So, how do you justify accusing another of false motives in the absence of evidence? Your personal ideology of anthropogenic global warming being dangerous, with its appeal to science (e.g., you accept the validity of Cook et al.), allows you to reveal the "pseudo-science" of climate skepticism by uncovering the true yet hidden motives of these deniers. And by revealing these motives, you get to blame the deniers for intentionally misleading the public on the dangers of global warming.

    Thus, you present an intentional explanation (ulterior motives are proffered and fake science promulgated because some people don't accept just how dangerous global warming actually is), and then, you form a negative, moral judgment (people who intentionally deny science are bad or perhaps even evil people). This is textbook conspiracy thinking, Sou. Where's Lewandowsky when you need him?

    1. Thomas, we already know you'd fail Logic 101, no need to keep proving it over and over. ("Well-reasoned"! you say - ha! I've already shown why his "reasons" don't hold up.)

      Now you're telling us you'd fail Ethics 101 too.

    2. "... I've already shown why his 'reasons' don't hold up."

      Yes, well-reasoned. You may not agree with the reasoning from an ethical perspective but the logic is sound. However, you dismiss it in favor of your own speculation and conjecture. Interesting.

      But in all seriousness, the justification for dismissing Watts is reflective of conspiracy thinking. You primarily use your ethical conclusions to justify your argument (i.e., deniers are evil; therefore, they lie) and dismiss the points raised, followed by an unnecessary character attack to discredit the messenger. If the character's thinking is truly THAT illogical and unscientific, then I suspect it speaks (or not) for itself - no need to belabor the point however poetic.

      Admittedly, though, science does not involve such... silliness (e.g., ethical superiority). I trust we can agree on that distinction...?

    3. One of the reasons for thinking that Watts is knee deep in coonspiracy thinking is his failure to condemn those who are openly into conspiracy memes, such as Lord Monckton (whose claims of fraud by as many climate science scientists and bodies as he can think of, let alone his birther claims, are enough to have him condemned as a conspiracy nut), and the dozens of conspiracy comments placed by a variety of commenters, moderators and sock puppets.

      Sou, on the other hand, is spot on when she says you'd fail Logic 101, Thomas. I think you should have said deniers lie, therefore they are evil. If Watts, Curry, Spencer, Tisdale, Eschenbach, Uncle Tom Cobbleigh and all of the deniersphere were honest, there would be more sympathy for them. As it is, only a tiny minority do.

    4. That is where your logic fails, Thomas. I dismissed Anthony's reasons because they did not hold up.

      The public cannot be part of the process, therefore that reason of Anthony's is not valid.

      The IPCC process is already transparent. Not only that but Anthony was unable to provide the level of transparency that the IPCC is going to provide. So that reason of Anthony's is not valid either.

      Him seeking attention is hardly conspiracy thinking - not on my part and not on Anthony's part. Attention-seeking is what he does.

      Him wanting to control the message is not conspiracy thinking - not on my part and not on Anthony's part. Wanting to control the message is one of the reasons he runs his blog.

      Anthony being distrustful of authority is not conspiracy thinking on my part. It is a feature of conspiracy ideation. Anthony implied he is distrustful of politicians ("morphed it into"). (I think he thinks that the politicians can dictate the content, but he'd be wrong.)

      I know you are merely trying to be provocative, but if you can't come up with something better than you have then let it alone. What you're writing makes you look really dumb.

      Science does involve ethics. Scientific organisations have codes of ethics and Ethics Committees. One of the problems with deniers is their lack of ethical behaviour. Like that of Anthony Watts. (When he became an expert reviewer he agreed to not release drafts.)

      From what you write, you don't care much for ethics either. Nor do you understand what constitutes conspiracy ideation.

    5. Watts reasoning is rubbish,Thomas...as demonstrated by Sou's puncturing of it. Public consultation does not extend to this part of the process [rendering that idea of Watts void and wrong], the IPCC will post drafts [rendering this action by Watts pointless]. How difficult is that to understand?.

    6. “Watts reasoning is rubbish,Thomas...as demonstrated by Sou's puncturing of it.”

      That’s your opinion of Watt’s reasoning, as well as your opinion of Sou’s speculation of Watt’s reasoning. Two opinions don’t invalidate Watt’s reasons for posting the draft report. Sou provided an opinion of Watt’s reasoning, which is fine – everyone is entitled to an opinion. But get this, even Watt’s is entitled to an opinion, although Sou and others posting here would likely disagree. Why?

      Where Sou strays of the opinion path is when she offers WAGs as motives by Watts, which naturally (but again - why?) entail the deviant qualities of greed, manipulation, and paranoia. She then ends the WAGs by equivocating (albeit half-heartedly) the transparency of a multi-million dollar, global entity that has the ears of almost every national leader to that of a lone blogger/researcher – seriously? No, seriously?

      And the answer to the “why” questions rests in her ethical superiority. Sou believes she has “science” on her side. And the science vis-√†-vis the summary report to the policymakers says we must act now to avoid the very virtual dangers of global warming – not to say that advocates won’t link every weather hiccup to it - they will! To deny this foundational belief of the dangers MUST mean you peddle pseudo-science, lie by default, and are essentially evil (i.e., you kick kittens). Therefore, such people must either be stopped or eliminated. That’s Conspiracy Thinking 101.

      Yet, I’m the one that has the flawed thinking on this thread:

      “Sou, on the other hand, is spot on when she says you'd fail Logic 101…”
      “I know you are merely trying to be provocative…”
      “How difficult is that [for you] to understand?”
      “Is it so hard[, Tom]?”

      When someone is hurt in an accident, it’s very difficult for them to conduct an honest root-cause analysis yet (when conducted properly) it can be enlightening. Why is it difficult? You’re asking the same person that tolerated the existence of the unsafe conditions that lead to the accident, to look at those conditions from an entirely new perspective. Alarmists cannot comprehend why Watt’s logic was well-reasoned because it cuts against their established behaviors.

      The horse is the behavior and the rider is the intellect that SHOULD direct the behavior. Too often, though, we let the horse take us where it wants because… it’s easier to follow an established behavior (or dare I say – consensus) than to assert control or reasoned intellect. But hey, what does Tom know, right!?

    7. 'Opinions' do not invalidate Watts' reasoning, FACTS do. Get this, Watts is not entitled to his own facts, and neither am I. So I'll use the facts.

      Thomas, there is no opinionating involved. You simply have to compare the stated facts about the procedure from the IPCC with Watts justifications for his actions. Clearly, we have options in figuring out how Watts developed his position. He may not know what the procedure is. Or, he does,and he does not care about the facts. He also wishes to justify breaking the embargo agreement a third way. Instead of saying "I didn't agree with embargos", he tries the "It's publicly funded, therefore I will release it" line, which is only as good as his political biases. What other publicly funded intelligence is he happy to release?

      An opinion's worth is judged by its command of the facts. Watts' is worthless as a matter of fact. Nothing personal.

    8. Thomas, Nick's right and you are wrong.

      The reasons given by Anthony aren't speculation on my part, they are Anthony's own reasons as stated by Anthony. I quoted him directly. And they aren't valid as I demonstrated.

      You are still mixing up science and ethics and alleging I'm claiming ethical superiority. When you don't know what ethics (or science) is. And I wasn't claiming anything for myself. I did say what Anthony did was unethical, which it was.

      Your lack of critical reading skills- and your flawed thinking is showing.

  7. "The public cannot be part of the process, therefore that reason of Anthony's is not valid."

    Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but the public is VERY MUCH a part of the policymaker's process. The policymakers represent our respective interests at the national level. And I believe Watts was focused on the draft summary report to policymakers and not AR5. So, I disagree strongly with your conflating the policy with the science, which concludes the public cannot be a part of the process. How bourgeois!

    As to the transparency at the IPCC on its draft documents, the requirements on paper are thorough, if not eloquent, but the implementation of those requirements is abysmal, when media leaks have abounded in advance of the final report's distribution - be they intentional or not and at the direction of the IPCC or not. If they wish to remain credible on transparency, the IPCC needs to get its PR department aligned with its Ethics department and not have the former distribute the draft report copiously to the media or (at the very least) turn a blind eye on the media commenting favorably on the draft report.

    Science is concerned with facts; ethics is concerned with opinions (ideally) based on fact. They use distinctly different methods. A group of people like a scientific body, though, need a code of ethics to protect the science from the manipulation of biases (and opinions). So, I continue to disagree with you on that point.

    As to your other, predictable dismissals regarding conspiracy thinking, of course you must deny the linkage! It's highly unlikely that you would agree to any of the remarks - even when conspiratorial thought is instinctual and an evolutionary advantage for the species. As I said in one of my earliest posts at HotWhopper, let's just agree to disagree on this issue. You continue to assert that I'm a conspiracist, while I'll continue to assert the same of you - at least when it comes to demeaning skeptics.

    1. Anthony wasn't referring to a policy development process. He was talking about the process by which the IPCC report is prepared. The public cannot take part in these current discussions. The opportunity for that, as far as WG1 goes, is past. The public can comment on the report when it's released but they can't have any input into the report preparation between now and the end of this month.

      The report was not provided to the media by the IPCC. The draft was distributed to people who were to comment on it. However that was not the aspect to which I was referring in regard to transparency. What I was talking about is described in my article above. The IPCC will distribute the final report. In addition, shortly afterwards they will make available the draft, the comments received on the draft and the authors' responses to the comments received on the draft.

      I don't know when I accused you of being a conspiracist. Would that have been in response to you arguing that all the scientists in the world are involved in a in a secret hoax and it's so well coordinated that all their findings come to the same conclusion? (Humans are causing global warming.) Or perhaps it was in response to you arguing that the IPCC is so all powerful that it controls the world's media (and the internet too). AFAIK, Anthony Watts is the only person who has made this draft summary for policy makers available. (Another denier also broke his confidentiality agreement with the IPCC and made available a previous draft of the main WG1 report a few months ago.)

      Your description of ethics strikes me as odd. Ethics describes behaviour associated with values - respect, honesty, professional conduct etc.

      You've yet to explain the conspiracy theory you attribute to me. Is it a conspiracy theory to postulate that Anthony Watts is an attention-seeker? Or is it a conspiracy theory to surmise that he wants to control the message?

      Why do you care so much? Why do you defend Anthony's unethical behaviour?

      Fake skeptics demean themselves. I just poke fun at their antics, point out holes in their logic, their deficiencies when it comes to facts, their lack of evidence and their contradictions. Oh, and many of them are rabid conspiracy theorists - thinking that the world's scientists are all conspiring together in some sort of mammoth hoax.

    2. " How bourgeois!"

      How oxymoronic.


      Bernard J.

  8. That's funny: Thomas, in a post defending Watt's leak of an IPCC report, criticizes media leaks of IPCC reports.

    1. Fake sceptics are consistently inconsistent :)

    2. *chuckles*

      Where do I defend Watt's leak of the summary report? I indicated his justification for releasing the draft report was well-reasoned, but that certainly does not imply endorsement, does it? Or... did you assume it did?

      Sou expressed her opinion, which disagreed with Watt's reasoning, using a chiefly ethical perspective; however, I don't recall my expressing an opinion either for or against the release, do you? Or...did you deeply desire that I did?

      And I neither disparaged nor condoned the ethics of the release; ethics muddy the waters with regard to climate change research and have become the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch" for a number of alarmists (e.g., Hansen). I did, though, think it silly to assert an ethical superiority be ascribed to those who endorse the draft report over those who question its methodology and/or conclusions. As I've stated previously (and was painted a mental cripple for it), science isn't about sides.

    3. You still don't get it do you Thomas. I doubt I can make it any plainer.

      Perhaps someone else can try to figure out why Thomas can't tell the difference between my comment about Anthony's unethical behaviour and my observation that his excuses for releasing the draft weren't valid.

      They were quite distinct and separate points in my article. Thomas is mixing them up and thinks they are one and the same.

      Thomas is one very confused thinker. He's very long-winded too.

    4. Sou's criticism of Watts' reasoning is practical,TM, not 'chiefly ethical'....can't you read? Drafts will be released shortly by the IPCC as a matter of process, voiding that line of Watts' argument. This part of the report production is conducted by government reps and the IPCC, a practical demonstration of why the line of reasoning [public participation] by Watts is specious.

      Is it so hard? Watts is nuts: he cannot make sense of his own actions.

  9. Great opening line "What a stupid man."

    Sums up Watts in 4 words.


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