Sunday, October 23, 2016

Where are the clowns?

Sou | 2:59 PM Go to the first of 128 comments. Add a comment
There is not a lot to report from denialists this week. Their repetitive denial is boring. Judith Curry is not very busy, merely posting things that caught her eye to give voice to her Trump fans (politics), her core anti-science brigade (science), and her luddites (energy and policy), interspersed with silly guest articles by deniers. She's given up on science altogether and is now a hard core climate science disinformer.

At WUWT, Anthony Watts has been posting articles saying the reason no debates had a climate question was because no-one in the USA is interested in climate change. Given that Anthony touts his blog as "the world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change", this raises the question of whether he is rethinking the point of his anti-science efforts of the past nine years or so.

In one article, Anthony wrote how people are more scared of clowns than they are of climate science (and terrorism) - which could be the reason he continues to act the clown. (Anthony is a bully who tries to scare people.)

Rather than shifting to "climate change is real but it isn't bad", WUWT-ers are still digging in and claiming climate science is a hoax. Anthony is promoting another stupid article by his favourite conspiracy theorist, Tim Ball. Tim was telling his readers that he doesn't believe the science that shows that CFCs were thinning the ozone layer. He also wrote how he doesn't believe in the greenhouse effect, which pleased Anthony's anti-science fans. Tim does believe that climate science is a hoax and there has been a 200 year conspiracy involving most of the world vs him. Anthony Watts keeps promoting these crazy ideas.

Speaking of crazy ideas, Anthony posted an article by Eric Worrall, who thinks that Australian Senator Malcolm Roberts "skewered" Professor Brian Cox. Really? He lauded him for "demanding" evidence - decades after it's been produced - that humans are causing climate change. Eric suspects that "this challenge is going to get very uncomfortable for Australia’s chief scientist" and will be "very interesting to watch". (Eric got blasted by Anthony's fans for suggesting that CO2 "should produce a mild warming effect".)

The only other article I'll comment on is the one where Anthony Watts wrote, long after everyone else knew, that Joe Romm of Think Progress is very keen to influence US policy direction on climate change. Thing is, that Anthony's headline didn't reflect his article. His headline was "Climate Progress, Joe Romm, outed as political operative by Wikileaks". Anthony's evidence was an email from Judd Legum, not Joe Romm. Most of his article was about how Roger Pielke Jr was sacked by Nate Silver after writing rubbish. Anthony blames Joe Romm, not any of the other people who wrote how his article was bad.

If this article is not quite up to par it's in part because deniers are losing their way and in part because I'm having trouble coming to terms with what could be signs of the fall of western civilisation. When 40% of the USA is voting for Donald Trump one has to be careful not to despair. A large number of lawmakers in the USA are standing on an anti-science platform. Education is failing. Extreme leftists and pseudo-greens are spreading lies about Hillary Clinton.

Yes, I know that it's human nature to want to believe in the supernatural. That doesn't explain why such a huge number of people in supposedly enlightened societies are unwilling or unable to differentiate between objective reality and wacky conspiracy theories. (I'm reading Shawn Otto's book "The War on Science: Who's Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It". The book is brilliant, but very depressing. I've yet to get to the "what we can do about it" part.)


  1. For the poor in poor countries climate change is a danger, but the mitigation sceptical movement worries me much more when it comes to my own safety than climate change. The problems climate change will pose us the next decades are solvable. But climate change itself is also perfectly solvable and the mitigation sceptics do their best to use it to disrupt civilization. They will likely do the same when it comes to protecting vulnerable people from the consequences of climate change or anything else.

    The age of enlightenment is historically very young. Scientific rational thought does not come easily to us. We could slip back to the past where might was right. The retreat from reality in the US and by a growing number racists in Europe is worrying.

    1. I wonder, Victor, if the rich-poor divide from a wealth perspective is now being overtaken by the enlightened-primal divide from a rational/intellectual perspective.

      We see it here in Australia, too. Although it's held in check to some extent, one only has to look at Brexit and Trump to see the nearness of the danger. It makes me think of early 20th century Germany and that if we're not careful, we'll end up back there.

    2. Behind all these problems is a spiral of corruption and inequality. Mostly in the USA, but this also pollutes the public debate in the rest of the West.

      Unfortunately, this is an abstract problem that gradually gets worse, like climate change. This is not the kind of problem that humans are designed to solve and fight back. That makes it easy for the elite to pretend minorities are the problem and not the powerful. Plus sadly, authoritarians response to problems is to kick down rather than take the risk and fight the powerful, the actual problem.

    3. The real problem is that no matter how rational or scientific your outlook is on life, the uneducated will drag you down. They will be led inexorably by demagogues to their own doom.

      When these geniuses put down their torches and pitchforks they will look at each other and say 'well we fixed all our problems, to bad it was a scorched Earth policy we followed.

      With the billions of high resolution phone cameras being carried now. Why is there no very good video or pictures of UFO's or aliens.


    4. Bert, we had a good period in which this was not the case. A return to the middle ages is not inevitable, but we do have to work to protect civilization.

  2. At the moment, Richard Tol is behaving like a clown again, openly accusing Nicolas Stern of fraud.

    The guy simply can't handle that Stern gets so much Funding and is so well-respected.

    It's almost as if Tol *wants* to be in court, so he can play the victim card and get even more street-cred with the denialist crowd.

    1. Tol is an immature unstable child who is prone to attention-seeking tantrums. The only way he can get attention is to cry fraud whenever he comes across someone better than he, which is whenever he comes across someone. The only attention he can get now is in rubbishy tabloids. (How will he fare with Brexit?)

      David Rose is a science disinformer who'll write anything for a headline, except decent science. There would be very few respectable scientists who'd give him a quote (or the time of day), so he's stuck with the Richard Tols and Judith Currys of the world. Nothing he could do now would help him. He's untrusted and untrustworthy - forever tarred with his own brush. A gutter journalist.

  3. There has been an accusation of fraud. What do we do? Do we investigate, or do we attack the accuser?

    1. Given the accuser has a history of shouting "fraud" when there is none, on numerous occasions, I say we ignore him and his dumb "accusation". The junkie is just getting his monthly attention hit, which he can't get from honest work.

    2. It must reassure you then that Balcombe, Donoghue, Duncan, Hobson, Wager and Willetts have also expressed their doubts about what is going on at the CCCEP.

    3. Your history and your tactic of going to the gutter press give me every reason not to believe a word you write, Richard. You sure came here quickly after hearing your name mentioned. (Did someone say "attention junkie"?)

      This article is riddled with serious mistakes, inaccuracies and misleading statements, and creates a wholly false impression of the work of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. We note that David Rose and ‘The Mail on Sunday’ have a track record of promoting climate change denial and misrepresenting the work of researchers, so we are not surprised at being targeted by them.


      Can't hack the competition?

    4. Richard,

      There has been an accusation of fraud. What do we do? Do we investigate, or do we attack the accuser?

      Seriously, I think people who make such accusations should follow through and not simply get it published in a tabloid and then drop it - as I fully expect you to do.

    5. I looked at the evidence, and I consider the likelihood of a few mistakes to be much larger than fraud.

      If I would not consider that, I'd have to consider Richard's 2009 JEP paper "fraudulent".

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. @Marco
      Over on the Twitter, Ben Pile has suggested that the mistakes listed are only those for which they could get the author to speak on the record. Let's assume that that is correct, and the 6 listed papers (out of 276) are not the only ones.

      You argue that a 2% error rate is acceptable. What about 5%? 10%? 20%? At what point would you suspect that these are not errors?

    8. Richard,
      Oh, so you don't actually know the actual error rate, but you've still seen fit to make an accusation of fraud? (okay, that isn't really a surprise). Also, I hadn't realised that Ben Pile was involved; you really do seem to happily consort with some serious climate deniers. Do you expect that to somehow not rub off on you?

    9. Pile is listed in the article.

      Fraud is qualitative, not quantitative.

    10. Pile is listed in the article.
      Yes, I realise that now. I wasn't disputing it.

      Fraud is qualitative, not quantitative.
      Actually, fraud is an intent to deceive so as to achieve some kind of benefit. As far as I'm aware, you've neither shown intent, nor that they have somehow benefited from the mistakes that have been acknowledged. I realise that this is not going to stop you from continuing to claim it, but thought I would point it out nonetheless.

    11. @wotts
      You're probably reading Scottish law. In English law, intent is not required. Reasonable doubt is enough. Economics journals are notoriously slow, so any paper published in 2009 is suspect. They clearly did not apply the necessary care.

    12. Richard,
      It - I think - still requires showing that there was intent, beyond reasonable doubt; I don't think it means "I doubt that it was simply a mistake". Another Economics Professor who is bitter that someone without extensive academic credentials has managed to secure substantial funding for a Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, is unlikely to be regarded as providing an objective assessment.

    13. @wottsywotts
      Laws are in the public domain.

    14. Richard,
      That doesn't mean that you get to decide if someone else is guilty or not, as much as you might believe that to be the case.

    15. @ATTP: assuming RT has even gone to the trouble of looking at the law in question and its interpretive guidelines -- a doubtful matter, given his propensity to spin idly -- he is wrong. Characteristically enough, RT states "the 6 listed papers (out of 276)" when both Rose and Ward refer to seven (7) papers that were not funded by CCCEP. (Seems as if those nasty little gremlins have nipped Prof. Tol's heels again.)

      Fraud by false representation (Section 2)

      The defendant:
      • made a false representation
      knowing that the representation was or might be untrue or misleading
      with intent to make a gain for himself or another, to cause loss to another or to expose another to risk of loss.

      The offence is entirely focused on the conduct of the defendant.

      Legal Guidance: The Fraud Act (2006) (emphasis added)

    16. For people who are wondering what the heck the last few comments have been all about, here are the nuts and bolts as I understand it.

      The ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy is a venture between the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The Chair is Professor Lord Stern of Brentford, who Richard Tol views as one of his competitors. Richard doesn't like competition. I doubt that Lord Stern regards Richard Tol as any sort of competition - he's in a different league.

      The Centre did a mid-term review and put up a list of articles published by the Centre on its website. The list wasn't vetted propoerly and included a small number of publications (seven or so out of 256 or so) from people who've been associated with the Centre but which weren't Centre publications. They were meant to be marked with an asterisk and some of them weren't. There's a notice put up explaining all this.


      Richard is doing a song and dance over this, so much so that it was probably he who went to the press. (It's not something that David Rose was likely to notice on his own.) David Rose put up a very mixed up article. On a cursory reading, some would view it as suggesting that none of the funding for the Centre should have been provided because after all climate science is a hoax and the researchers associated with the Centre are committing fraud. It was the usual insinuation by idea association typical of David Rose and Ben Pile.

      Certainly someone should have double-checked the list to make sure the projects were all funded by the Centre, and to make sure all the asterisks were on those that weren't. And double checked that all those with asterisks were indeed under the auspices of the Centre. However it's just a list attached to a report. It's not a funding application. There's no benefit in the list. It is merely information.

      Richard is doing another "the abstracts got tired" - and probably won't let up on the matter for another four years. In the interim, the world will continue to warm and the cost of it will continue to rise.

    17. Richard Tol: "At what point would you suspect that these are not errors?"

      Lol! That looks like the beginning of another of Richard's
      fantastical conspiracy theory
      - "something must be wrong" and "nefarious intent".

    18. Thanks Magma

      "intent" refers to "making a gain" -- I think we can safely assume that the grant renewal application was intentionally submitted, rather than accidentally

      Including a paper from 2009 by a guy who started in 2010 might be misleading.

    19. Sou:

      No. Pile has tweeted that the 6 identified papers were selected because they could speak to the authors. Pile suggested that there are more but, so far, he has identified only one: A paper published in March from a project starting in October.

      So, we have 7 out to 276 papers that are mistaken. In other words, 97% of papers are kosher. Marco is happy with Victorian quality control, and so are you.

      How low should this number fall before you start wondering that maybe these are not mistakes after all? 95%? 90%? 80%?

    20. Richard, you ask me a question that I think you should answer first ("You argue that a 2% error rate is acceptable. What about 5%? 10%? 20%? At what point would you suspect that these are not errors?")

      Nonetheless, I will be kind and go first. Let me start with your claim that I consider a 2% error rate "acceptable". I did not say that. I said that I considered the issues identified much more indicative of mistakes than of fraud. I would prefer the error rate to be zero. Having been involved (mainly on the other side) in evaluations, even an overestimation of the number of publications of 10% would be unlikely to be decisive in any continuation decisions of research centres. It is my experience that the reviewers briefly look at the publication list and say/ask "OK, so you've published a lot, but what did you really achieve?".

      I would also like to point out, and I am *very* serious here, that if I'd put the "acceptable error rate" at 2%, or even 5%, I would *by necessity* have to consider your 2009 JEP paper fraudulent. The error rate there was higher. Are you telling us that you indeed deliberately changed some values? If not, why do you expect us to consider foul play in the case of the CCCEP, and not in the case of your paper?

      Again, this is a serious question. At what point must we, according to you, assume that a specific error rate is indicative of fraud, rather than of mistakes (which could be due to incompetence or some confirmation bias, I don't care)?

    21. This looks like it's turning into another example of Richard claiming to want all the data, when all the data is already available.

    22. @wotts
      There are two options.

      We can go to the raw data and redo what Pile & Rose did.

      Or we can wait for them to release their work.

      In the meantime, we can express our quality control threshold. Marco and Sou think an error-rate of 3% is fine in a £4 mln grant application. What's you threshold?

    23. I don't know what happened to my comment (Sou, is it caught somewhere, or did I make a mistake), so I probably need to paraphrase it here:

      I did not claim an error rate of x% is fine. I stated that I find it much more likely these errors are indeed errors, and not fraud (as in deliberately deceptive). I'd like the error rate to be zero, but we're dealing with humans here. It is my own personal experience with centre renewals that even a 10% error rate in number of publications Means Little if anything. Reviewers look at the publication list and see you have published quite a bit (250 or 275 doesn't matter one yota), but then ask you what you actually have achieved.

      I would also like to ask Richard what *he* thinks is acceptable, and when an "error rate" becomes evidence of fraud. If he selects 2-3% as evidence of fraud, by his own criteria I *must* consider his 2009 JEP paper evidence of fraud, since the error rate was much larger. And no handwaving that this was a grant application (actually, a centre continuation, which is not quite the same) and yours was just a Scientific paper.

    24. Richard,

      In the meantime, we can express our quality control threshold. Marco and Sou think an error-rate of 3% is fine in a £4 mln grant application. What's you threshold?

      Ideally, no errors, but that's probably not actually possible in reality in all cases. My own view is that one should avoid throwing around accusations unless one has all the information, but then I don't live in a fantasy land where all my errors are gremlins and everyone else's errors are indications of fraud.

    25. @marco
      I disagree. An application is a legal document. A paper is not. Quality control should therefore be stricter in applications and reporting.

      My JEP paper had an error rate of 20%, which is embarrassingly, unacceptedly high (even if none of the main findings were affected). Those errors have been corrected, and quality control has been improved. Note that there was no financial gain, so this cannot be considered fraud.

    26. Richard,

      An application is a legal document.

      I don't know if this is strictly true (I suspect the legal document is the final award, rather than the proposal itself). However, at best what you sign is a declaration that all the information is correct, to the best of your knowledge. You don't sign it claiming that you guarantee that all the information is correct. Finding a mistake does not immediately indicate that they have broken some law.


    27. Note that there was no financial gain, so this cannot be considered fraud.

      Your career progression is typically based partly on an assessment of your research output. That 2009 paper of yours is one of your most highly cited papers. Seems hard to believe that it played no role in decisions about your career. No jobs moves or promotions between publishing that paper and now?

    28. @wottsywotts
      The errors did not materially affect the conclusions and so would not have affected the chances of the paper being accepted for publication in a regular journal. However, JEP papers are commissioned.

      Other than that, you're right. This paper did help my move from Dublin to Brighton, and it was part of our REF submission.


    29. This paper did help my move from Dublin to Brighton, and it was part of our REF submission.

      So, a highly cited paper with a pretty large error rate was part of your university's REF submission and hence played a direct role in attracting income. You regard that as "not fraud" because the errors did not influence the outcome. However, you do regard some errors in a publication list included in a proposal as being fraud. In what way would such errors influence the assessment of the proposal and the final outcome? My suspicion is that they would have almost no impact at all. What is mostly assessed is the actual case for support, which did not include the publication list in question, and the publication list was probably only used to assess the overall productivity of those associated with the centre (for which it is a pretty good representation). In fact, if one were to discover that a publication list played a significant role in determining the outcome, it would bring into question the work of the assessors of the proposal and why a funding council is basing their decision on such a simplistic assessment.

    30. @wotts
      Exactly. Had the editor decided to retract the paper, then you would be right to argue that the U Sussex REF submission would be downgraded; and, if you can show that I knew about this in 2011, that I negotiated my contract in bad faith. The editor, however, decided differently.

    31. Richard,
      Just to be clear, I'm certainly not accusing you of fraud. Unintentional mistakes are not fraud, even if they do lead to some gain. My point (which I suspect is obvious to everyone, including you) is that finding some mistakes in a proposal does not immediately imply fraud, just as finding that a paper with a number of mistakes was included in a REF submission does not imply fraud.

    32. @wotts
      I disagree.

      RCUK lists Anthoff et al. as funded by CCCEP on their website. This may be a mistake, an overenthusiastic, unsupervised administrative assistant perhaps.

      In their application for renewal, CCCEP lists Anthoff et al. as an unfunded output from the centre. So they knew their initial claim was false -- someone manually inserted an asterisk -- but they did not correct it on the RCUK website.

      "Intent" appears to apply to "deception" here.

    33. Richard, you actually already knew before 2011 there were problems with the paper. The comment from Julie Nelson should have made you think twice about at the very least Hope 2006, but instead you arrogantly dismissed her concerns and blamed Stern. Did you ever apologize to Nelson and Stern about this?

      If the errors would have been known before your move to Brighton, perhaps they would have been more hesitant to actually hire you. Your subsequent citation rate may also have been lower, as your colleagues realized one of your important papers contained so many embarrassing errors. Remember in that respect also that several people have disagreed with your claim that the corrections do not change the conclusion. The Editor appears to have agreed with you, although it was quite a unique situation to see your correction being further corrected by the journal itself. Who knows how much Funding you received because reviewers thought your 2009 paper was so important, and now regret their opinion?

      Like ATTP, however, I consider all of this (including the CCCEP stuff) a matter of unintentional mistakes. I find it unlikely that you received additional funding and/or better opportunities based on a single paper. At the same time I wonder how many errors there are in your other papers, also considering your errors in your correction of the 2009 paper and the obvious mistakes you made in your criticism of the Consensus project.

    34. Richard, I assume you mean the Gateway to Research part of the RCUK website. If so, this was started December 2013, well after the renewal application. Anthoff et al is not mentioned here:

    35. Marco: See http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/publication/6DE2AF1F-5E29-4C39-8141-F8A60C9DB78D/

    36. I dunno. What benefit, monetary or otherwise, does Richard get from the Global Warming Policy Foundation denier lobby group? I don't imagine the GWPF gets any benefit from Richard - associating with an utter nutter conspiracy theorist doesn't add to their credibility, so there's got to be a benefit the other way.

    37. Yes, Richard, I have seen it there. But it's not located at the ESRC site. I have no idea how GtR gets its publication list, but it is different from the list at the ESRC.

    38. one soon learns when debating CT'ers that there are never any mistakes and never any coincidences

      nothing ever happens by chance, honest mistakes are never made

      it explains why Larry Silberstein's quote "lets pull it" re the collapse of WTC7 is nailed on evidence of CD, to twoofers it is a slam dunk

      and the fact that Mohammed Atta's passport was found in the street below the two towers, well CT'ers have been sexually pleasuring themselves over that "coincidence" for the last 15 years

    39. @marco
      There are two ESRC grants. You looked at the second one, while the dispute is about the first one. Indeed, the allegation is that the CCCEP inflated its output in the first phase so that they would get renewed for the second phase.

    40. As I understand it the correct Tol way to deal with an error is to correct it and claim that it has no significant effect on the outcome.
      If gremlins inflated the CCEP output by a few percent, but the funding agencies confirm this had no effect on their decision then it is a non-issue
      Of course these days funding in Euros from Dublin might be a better bet than Pounds in Brighton.

    41. No, Richard, I looked at the correct one (hint: on the right-hand side it says "Start date 30 September 2008 End date 29 September 2013").

      It is, however, possible that this is the already corrected list. The GtR list seems to be based on the information received through the individual councils, but is perhaps not linked directly.

      And yes, *your* allegation is that the CCCEP inflated its output in the first phase so that they would get renewed for the second phase. *My* assessment is that even an inflation by 10% is unlikely to have been an issue in the decision for renewal. You may want to have a little bit more faith in the reviewers and their ability to do a little bit more than simple number crunching.

    42. Wow, a totally trolled out thread on nonrelevancies.


  4. Stepping away from the circus clown head count for just a moment in this hottest year on record, an interesting fact: both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice are now at their lowest extents on record for this date in the 1979-2016 satellite measurement era.

  5. I've read David Rose's article, and the reply by Bob Ward.

    I'm still torn. I may wait to make up my mind based on what a neutral third party like James Delingpole has to say about matters.


    In the meantime, nice to see that Dr. Tol is still so keen on finding errors in others' work, if not his own. Perhaps he'll make a worthy successor to Steve McIntyre when the Auditor finally hangs up his green eye-shade.

    1. Careful there, Magma. You really, really *don't* want this to happen to you:


    2. No worries. I'm quite certain my gentle sarcasm will pass muster with Sou. There's been snippage on occasion at ATTP, I admit, but Ken aims for a slightly more elevated tone there. Knees and elbows are allowed here.

    3. Humour sometimes doesn't work so well on the internets. You mentioned... The Auditor? It's like mentioning Tol, only with potentially more serious unwanted consequences.

    4. Not... not summoning him?

      Dear God, what have I done??? I thought a summons required the name to be invoked thrice, with a sacrificial goat optional.

    5. And leading climate science expert James Delingpole just chimed in to tip the balance!

      So why isn’t this scandal – involving sums which in almost any other field would result in a criminal investigation – being given wider coverage in the media?

      Probably because up until this point, very few people even knew the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy even existed.

      I certainly didn’t – and I’ve been covering this territory for over a decade.

      No link provided, because, well... Breitbart and Delingpole.

  6. Assuming for a moment that an accusation of wrongdoing is made in good faith, one has to ask who is responsible for "investigating" the accusation. I doubt that the readers and commenters at HotWhopper are so empowered. It sounds instead like a legal matter or a matter for the directors of some established institution.

    What purpose is served by spreading word of such an accusation in places where those responsible for investigation are not present? That's not a rhetorical question. It gets to the heart of the true reason for making the accusation, and to the question also of whether the accusation itself was made in good faith. I leave consideration of these questions as an exercise for the reader. Please show your work.

    1. I am certainly not so empowered.

      I would question, however, whether David Rose uncovered these errors by himself, or if they were brought to his attention by an interested party, perhaps by "one leading professor whose work was misrepresented as 'a clear case of fraud – using deception for financial gain'."

      I also wonder if that 'leading professor' consulted with his two co-authors as to whether that CCCEP link was, in fact, unwarranted and if so, whether an article/opinion piece by David Rose in The Mail on Sunday was the appropriate academic response.

  7. To actually see what happens in real life from a paper just look up
    Dairly Mercury http://www.dailymercury.com.au/ the front cover.
    There is a conspiracy between Hillary Clinton and the local conversation organisation evidently.

    1. That would be the local conservation groups that dress as Donald Duck and 'incite violence', I gather?

      Ah, no, there's actually a story there.

      I rather enjoyed Christensen channeling Duterte! '"We don't have to be friends with America any more. We can certainly realign with China if that's what they want."

      Sure thing, George. Your friends, the Communist Chinese*. Got it.

      It's nearly 2017; if your idea of The Energy Future is the Adani mega coal mine you're dead in the water. Right, PM Turnbull? Or are you just going to continue to let the reactionary tail wag the 'Liberal' (The Irony!) dog?

      *And now Hannity and David Duke are praising Assange! There's some very strange bedfellows about. Has a sort of 'last days' feel to it all!...

  8. > When 40% of the USA is voting for Donald Trump one has to be careful not to despair.

    Thank your lucky stars you don't actually live here, Sou ... it's been a bit of a nailbiter. :-)

    Conversely, I can only imagine what it looks like from the outside. I might actually offer a few bright spots:

    1) The kind of ugliness one sees in the stereotypical Trump supporter has been here all along, just not nearly as outspoken. Being able to more clearly spot it makes it easier to identify and deal with.

    2) Not all Trump supporters are stereotypical, they simply can't stomach the thought of the Clintons living in the White House again. That's understandable, and I think forgivable. To her credit, her campaign is making those sort of noises.

    3) The Republican party was already on the brink of collapsing under the weight of its own bulldust before Trump took his wrecking ball to it. It's been just enough to put the Senate within reach of Democrat control this cycle, and gains in the House are also looking probable. I don't anticipate a revolutionary change in the balance of power this cycle, but an evolutionary nudge left.

    4) The best news about a Hillary win (which I daresay is almost a lock at this point) and a probably shift in the Senate may be the Supreme Court nomination situation. For the first time in decades we have a good chance of having a reliably liberal high court ... possibly for the next decade or even longer, even if Hillary is only a one-term president.

    5) Since practically any conceivable major climate change initiative will surely be litigated to a near pulp, having the high court in solid Democrat control is not only essential, but entirely probable ... just when it was most desperately needed.

    It could have been worse. Cruz, Jeb or Rubio could have taken the nomination instead of Trump, and with the skeletons in the Clintons' closet, Hillary very well could be getting shellacked instead of solidly ahead.

    Trump's supporters not being terribly bright, and linking themselves to one of the biggest (albeit scariest) clowns who's ever run for office in this country, much less the top slot, is an upside in and of itself. The Republican party simply cannot allow this to happen again if they're to have a chance in 2020, and they very much know it -- I see signs that they've been appropriately shamed by the whole episode.

    I realise it looks a horror show, but relax, have a nice glass of a good glass of wine and try to enjoy the spectacle for what it is.

    1. And to be fair to America, only a few percent of the population was responsible for selecting Trump in the primaries. So those 40% are not all hard core Trump fans, they are mostly very tribal and easy to convince that the candidate of the other group is the devil. Should be an easier sell than denying evolution or climate change.

    2. ands also to be fair to America - Italy voted in Silvio Berlusconi a few years ago

      so at least some in the "old world" can be wooed by the populist charm of a Billionaire everyman

    3. Well, not quite, Tadaaa. The Italian Prime Minister is not voted into power, but rather appointed by the Italian president. Generally, it is the leader of the largest party of the majority coalition that is voted into power. Coalitions in Italy generally consist of quite a few parties, and Forza Italia (Berlusconi's party) never did better than 29.4% of the total votes. Although the Prime Minister then nominates the Cabinet ministers, it is the President who has to accept them, and the ministers are actually relatively independent from the Prime Minister. The executive powers of the Prime Minister are limited compared to Prime Ministers in other countries.

    4. noted Marco

      and thanks for the clarification - I think my wider point still stands though

      it is easy to be a bit "old world" snooty about the problems in the USA re the current state of politics

    5. @ Tadaaa

      ands also to be fair to America - Italy voted in Silvio Berlusconi a few years ago

      Also to be fair to Italy, Berlusconi really was a wildly successful businessman not a crooked flim-flam con artist.

      @ Marco

      Thanks Marco. I had not realized how it works—essentially the same as we do in Canada. Italian government manoeuvring suddenly makes a lot more sense to someone who does not follow it closely.

      Now, if I could only figure out what the US primaries are intended to do....

      @ Tadaaa
      it is easy to be a bit "old world" snooty about the problems in the USA re the current state of politics

      I think at the moment Antarctic penguins are feeling "snooty". The US is beginning to rival Brazil in the current political soap-opera stakes.

    6. @ jkrideau

      Berlusconi has been convicted of tax fraud

    7. Trump is in line for anything from rape to fraud to trading with the enemy (well trying to deal with Cuba).

      We can be hopeful.

  9. R.Tol has numerous times made false representations of Cook et al. He has done so *dishonestly* knowing that his misrepresentations might be untrue or misleading. There should be little doubt he has done this to enhance his own standing at the expense of another.

    Given the high correlation between Brexit leaders and climate change denial it is hard to feel much sympathy for the author of An odd exchange on Brexit. Perhaps he didn't notice when Lord Lawson moved the GWPF headquarters into the same building as Brexit campaign groups 'Business for Britain' and 'Vote Leave', along with a slew of other right wing organisations including the TaxPayers' Alliance.

    Given his experience with gremlins you'd think he might perhaps have some empathy for the mistakes of others. Or perhaps all of his 'errors'are intentional and he projects that onto others. Either way, hypocrite or worthless human being, I just look at the source and shake my head.

    1. It seems he was less than honest on his representation of the scientific consensus in court as well: https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling/edockets/searchDocuments.do?method=showPoup&documentId=%7BA39ADC16-205E-44D3-B080-BC19501F3247%7D&documentTitle=20158-113190-07

  10. Let's look at the bright side of the clown count:

    According to the poll Watts featured on WUWT, Americans find his contributors 10% scarier than climate change !


  11. It's reached the stage at which it it's no longer fun to engage these people in debate. They have no new arguments, are hopelessly impervious to any evidence that contradicts their world view and impossible to nail down when it comes to demonstrating that their past forecasts of cooling have failed.

    We are dealing with people who live in a self-induced fantasy world and who will resist all and any attempt to make them update their reality sensors, irrespective of the force of the argument.

    They are of the same mindset as young earth creationists, anti-vaxers, flat-earthers and alien-visitationers. That's who we're dealing with and who we're expecting rational responses from.

    If we expect reasoned debate with these folks, then we're as big a bunch of mugs as they are at that one level.

  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Anonymous coward regurgitates half-digested word salad. You, pet, have issues...

    2. I suspect many surrounding him might wish the author himself could be so easily quarantined. Ugh.

    3. Actually it was more entertaining than the usual denialist regurgitation of the same ol' debunked memes.

      Didn't make any sense, but at least there was some effort put into it. Oosik obviously doesn't apply to Sou; the line on cecotropes completely misses the point of cecotropes - while it is fecal matter they are high in protein and certain vitamins and are a necessary dietary supplement for animals that produce them. Of course the whole comment is just an ad hom, too bad anonymous doesn't wish to concretely engage with a substantive point on the actual science. Anyone that remembers -- or is too young, but somehow discovered -- Firesign Theatre has to have a couple of working brain cells.

  13. I think almost everyone here is missing a very important point. I also think those on WUWT are doing the same. I have posted the same, following, comments there.

    Whilst both sides of this debate are squabbling over fractions of degrees C temperature rise, and using computer models to project these into the future, the details you are getting anal about are minuscule.

    For probably 14,600 days, the world’s scientific community has been invited, by the public, to prove CO2 causes Global Warming. To date, there is no irrefutable proof it does, so the planet’s future is consigned to a theory.

    In the meantime, despite what we have been told (principally by a media determined to sell papers) the planet’s CO2 content has risen by around 50ppm and the planet has greened by 14%. The entire scientific community, with very few exceptions, has been bitten on the arse.

    Can anyone, please, point me to the evidence that demonstrates hurricanes, droughts, sea levels, ice melting etc. etc. have progressed by 14%? Indeed, has anything atmospheric, land, or sea-based progressed by 14% in living memory?

    Whilst you lot are squabbling over a single peanut, the elephant in the room has nicked the bag and is sitting in the corner giggling about it.

    Perhaps the single largest event in the planet’s recent history is going on in front of your eyes and you are all totally ignoring it. Why?

    There are educated people populating boards like this, on both sides of the debate. Frankly, you all need your heads banged together to knock some sense into you.

    You have asked all the inane, anally retentive, irrelevant questions you can possibly ask, and between you, 2+2=324.5568894, squared, cubed then dissected until the people that actually care about it, the general public, are so bored with your childish bickering that they abandon you altogether. Then it’s science that suffers.

    FFS, get your arses into gear and use global greening as a common point of agreement. Then have the scientific community get someone to run their PR instead of feeding the Media exploitative statements from self-seeking maverick scientists. At the same time, get a political agent to represent you. The 97% consensus needs to be for science, not hijacked by the media, politicians and big business, including the ‘clean energy’ con men and the Green machine scam merchants.

    Science is a humanitarian endeavor, but whilst governments are using it to pursue their own agenda, poor people are dying because croplands are used for Bio fuels to run cars in the western world. Jungles are burned to create low-grade growing land for these crops. Unimaginable amounts of taxpayers money is poured into solar and wind power which will only ever provide a fraction of humanities needs. Meanwhile, the poor in the west can’t afford rapidly rising energy bills, never mind the poverty stricken in Africa (for one) who are still burning wood to cook and poisoning themselves in the meantime.

    The voiceless few rely on scientists to provide a future for them. Instead, whilst they die, those western scientists provide a future for their own children and grandchildren.

    Get on with the 14% and quit the senseless anal examination.

    1. So, dreaduk "believes" the scientists who told him or her that CO2 is plant food, but doesn't "believe" those same scientists when they tell her or him that global warming is a huge problem, and that if we want to avoid the worst of it we must reduce CO2 emissions.

      As well as coming across as just another wilfully ignorant greenhouse effect denier who has suddenly been overcome with concern for the poor (wanting them to suffer coal pollution), dreaduk gets their facts wrong. CO2 has risen by 70 ppm in the past 14,600 days, not just 50 ppm. Over the same period, the average surface temperature for the most recent 12 months is 1.13 C hotter than it was in 1976 - not what any climate scientist would call "miniscule".

      BTW the "plant food" meme is not all good news - all that plant growth combines with warming to produce more catastrophic fire danger days.

      (If dreaduk has a friend, they might let her or him know that taking a rude and condescending tone doesn't work well if you get it all wrong. It just makes you look rather silly.)

    2. Dreaduk kindly steps in to prove my point. Isn't anonymous' doggerel, ad hom more entertaining than this tired crap? I mean, is anyone even interested in reading - much less answering - the same ol', same ol'?

      How many debunked ideas has Dreaduk packed into his two-dozen sentences? How many inaccuracies or misleading 'facts'? Twelve? Fifteen? More?

      Give me oosiks and cecotropes anytime. Dreaduk is just boring. Well, boring and, of course, completely wrong - but that should go without saying.

    3. Sou, Kevin O'Neill.

      I'm not interested in arguing the toss about minuscule points. It's tedious and pointless.

      40 years has been wasted on attempting to prove CO2 causes GW. So far, not one bit of conclusive evidence. Meanwhile http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

      "How many debunked ideas has Dreaduk packed into his two-dozen sentences?"

      It doesn't matter how many 'debunked ideas' I pack into my post. I'm not making claims, I'm trying to get you lot, and the other lot to get your heads out your arses!

    4. Not interested? "Miniscule" points? That's contradicted by your comments. Why post your nonsense here on a site that delights in science? If you really weren't interested you wouldn't be commenting here. If you didn't want people to point out how wrong you are you'd be restricting your comments to your favourite climate conspiracy blog with the other science illiterati.

      You haven't got to first base with understanding weather and climate. If it wasn't for atmospheric CO2 the world would be lifeless (and very very cold).

      [I wonder how greenhouse effect deniers explain the fact that our planet is warm enough to support life? I wonder how many of them are also evolution deniers, gravity deniers, flat earthers, or young earth creationists? I wonder how many of them finished high school - or primary school? I wonder why the education system failed them so abysmally?]

    5. Dreaduk - Ok, let's play the boring game :(

      "40 years has been wasted on attempting to prove CO2 causes GW."

      Ummm, no. That CO2 causes global warming has been known for over a century. No scientist for the past 40 years even bothers herself with 'proving' it. Deniers have spent the past 40 years trying (and failing laughably) to *disprove* it.

      Do we need to recite history? Here's the short list: Fourier, Tyndall, Arrhenius, Milankovitch, Callendar, Revelle, Keeling. A fuller timeline can be found here.

      Bob Dylan wrote, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows ..." Guess what? You don't need a single thermometer reading to know that increases in CO2 specifically and GHGs in general cause the globe to warm. If not, basically all of physics is wrong and you'll join Dylan as a Nobel winner.

      The odds of that are the proverbial Slim and None and Slim's left town.

      We really, really need a better class of denier. I'm going back to the Hot Whoppery to clear my mind with some simple doggerel.

    6. "Can anyone, please, point me to the evidence that demonstrates hurricanes, droughts, sea levels, ice melting etc. etc. have progressed by 14%? Indeed, has anything atmospheric, land, or sea-based progressed by 14% in living memory?"

      This is a question that shows Dreaduk has a problem understanding certain basic concepts of magnitude.

      Let's start, however, with answering the question:
      Ice melt in the arctic has, if one takes volume, 'progressed' by more than 70% since 1979. If one takes area covered, it's about 30%. Well, there you go.

      But "% change" does not necessarily mean all that much. It's what that change means. Take, for example, the case of a complete melt of all ice caps. This will raise sea levels by about 2%. Surely that is so low it just nitpicking, no? Well, this 2% amounts to around 65-70 meters of sea level rise, enough to leave the places where a BILLION humans live completely inundated!

    7. "Can anyone, please, point me to the evidence that..."

      Said the ostrich.

    8. @ Kevin O'Neill

      Bob Dylan wrote, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows ..."

      These appeals to authority will get you nowhere even if he is a Nobel winner. :)

  14. science does not deal in proof - so please build your strawman elsewhere

    science is not about proof - but describing the world based on observation and evidence - build a coherent theory, that fits and works with existing theories and explains the disappearing sea ice, retreating glaciers, sea level rise, increase in extreme weather events, tropical diseases moving north, changing migratory habits of birds and fish etc etc

    interestingly the "greening" meme seems to be the "plate du jour" recently

    1. "science is not about proof - but describing the world based on observation and evidence"

      OK, here's observed evidence. http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

      You will of course reciprocate with your own observed evidence that CO2 causes GW and that temperatures will rise out of control in the future (the second is impossible of course).

      However, that wasn't my point. Try reading and understanding my point before unnecessarily defending yourself. You just seem defensive.

    2. We get your point. You are boasting how you reject 200 years of science. Being proud of being appallingly ignorant is fashionable in certain quarters, but not here. Your anti-knowledge attitude is the sort that can bring down civilisations.

    3. Dreadlock Holiday - your (I guess) big, major, astounding, will knock your eyes out point is ... nothing. CO2 increases plant growth. Yawn. Doubling CO2 leads to a 30 to 40% increase in yield. Yawn.

      These facts about plant yield and CO2 fertilization have been known to scientists (yep, climate modelers too) for decades. They are accounted for. What *you* don't take into account is increasing temperature, reduced water availability, and the effects this will have as temperatures increase and water becomes scarcer. I.e., ever try growing plants in an oven? Doesn't work well. Ever try growing them without water? Doesn't work well.

      From this we know that at some temperature - despite the advantage of having more CO2 - plant growth will start decreasing. From this we know that at some level of water availability- despite the advantage of having more CO2 - plant growth will start decreasing.

      Now, if we had a super-duper calculator that could look at all the relevant factors; increased CO2, regional changes in temperature, regional changes in the hydrological cycle, soil temperature, changes in snow-pack and glacial run-off, etc., etc., then we'd be able to see what the result might be with an additional 2C or 3C rise in temperatures.

      Yeah, it's too bad we don't have a super-duper calculator that could do that ... just imagine.

      Sigh. Yeah - you're a nitwit.

    4. lol, the deniers are like a dog that's got a bone

      any chance to link to an actual bit of science - I have seen multiple deniers link to the NASA “greening” study - hooray, must make a change from Goddard’s hilarious conspiracy blog

      as I said in my comment upthread – it is the current meme

      so I suppose it is inevitable

      the problem is they will do it for the next 5 years

      and the other problem they have is they just don’t see how pathetically predictable they are

      you still get these tools that link to the NASA Zwally paper, to "prove" the Cryosphere is just fine

      in fact I know the Zwally study just from the URL alone!! lol

    5. For what it's worth "DreadUK"
      posted his initial verbiage here.....


      Then hilariously got into a spat there about his use of "growing" rather than "greening".


      "F**k Saas and Soon, they are utterly irrelevant. The earth is growing, they both missed it, how about advocating the planet!?"

      lsvalgaard October 28, 2016 at 4:19 pm
      The earth is growing

      DreadUK October 28, 2016 at 4:48 pm
      I’m expecting your apology as well!


      lsvalgaard October 28, 2016 at 9:23 pm
      For what? For you not knowing the difference between growing and greening?

      MarkW October 28, 2016 at 3:33 pm
      The earth is growing? Do you have any evidence of this? Or did Gaia tell you?

      DreadUK October 28, 2016 at 4:40 pm
      From now on, shut your mouth until you deliver an apology. I’m not interested in what you have to say if you can’t respond civilly or come up with a solution instead of just sniping. And that goes for Isvalgaard as well.

      You just couldn't make it up.

    6. Once you leave the realm of rational thought, evidence and science, all you have left is intimidation and bullying to "convince" people.

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. The earth is growing,
      I have forgotten just about any physics I may have known.

      If the Earth is growing will this affect gravity?

    9. Actually, that the earth is growing is one of the few things I wouldn't argue with - though it would be on a very, very small scale. We have all kinds of dust/meteorites falling in from space which is offset by some losses, mainly atmosphere.

      I suspect the net is still positive, but wouldn't be willing to wager a large amount on it.

    10. There are cranks out there that do believe the earth is expanding to such extent they claim it explains Continental Drift better than Plate Tectonics. Prof Samuel Cary at UTas was the last notable exponent.

  15. Where are the clowns?

    Sou asks, and lo, they delivered.

  16. I really like where bill says in
    a comment above
    "It's nearly 2017; if your idea of The Energy Future is the Adani mega coal mine you're dead in the water. "

  17. Sou my wife and I are driving through the liberal West Coast states of the US from Seattle WA to Portland OR then down to LA before flying to NY for the elections. We are presently in liberal Monterey where not a single Hillary yard sign is in view. Where yard signs exist they are either official Trump Pence or unofficial Lock Her Up signs. I cut down a Shady Hillary sign this afternoon from a public space near the wharf.

    In 2008 Yes We Can bumper stickers were on every 4th car but in 2016 Clinton bumper stickers barely exist - and I remind you that this is the West Coast.

    Last night FBI director, James Comey's intervention happened and in an unrelated event the RCP average saw Clinton drop from 5.4 to 4.6 and I repeat this was concurrent but unrelated to the James Comey's indiscretion.

    Trump could win this thing.

    Where is the enthusiasm for Clinton? Stored in the same place as her yard signs and bumper stickers.

    This has become a very depressing holiday.

    1. That Trump could win is what I've said from the outset, PG. What you're seeing is disturbing. Do keep us informed. It's great to have an outsider's view of the inside.

    2. I have to say this was the state in the UK, I live just outside Cambridge - one of the few non metropolitan areas to vote remain, and there were far more Brexit on the roadside

      I think in part explainable by the "protest" element, in that protesters are more likely to put up a sign

      I became pretty convinced Brexit would win a couple of months before the vote

      A UK based car forum I was a long time contributor to had a pole - 90% were for Brexit

      And crucially including many who said they did not vote at all, but would definitely vote out

      The establishment were guilty of complacency, assumption and to a certain (limited) extent arrogance

    3. Tadaaa

      I'm from Winchester, one of the other few non-Metropolitan areas to vote Remain. Like you, I had a bad feeling that Leave would win. Like you, I heard that many non-voters were going to vote Leave. Populist politics has that effect. And lo and behold:

      Sweep away all of the speculation about polling methodology and you are left with one inescapable fact about the Brexit vote.

      Some 2.8 million people - about 6% of the electorate - who had not voted for decades, if ever, turned up at polling stations on 23 June - and almost all of them voted to leave the EU.

      I could easily imagine this happening in the US election. Younger voters inclined to give it a miss because of apathy or disengagement should consider their role as an offset to the angry protest voters waiting to make their mark on history. If younger voters had bothered to take their generally pro-EU stance to the polling booths in larger numbers, the result could have been different.

    4. Hi BBD

      Yes I suspect this silent minority frightens the beejeesus out of the pollsters and the (democratic) political strategists

      Naïvely, when the date was announced, I assumed remain would win albeit with a bloody nose

      I was soon shocked by the imperviousness of rational argument and facts had against the leave (inclined) voters

      And about half way through the campaign I resigned myself to an out vote - actually I was surprised how close it was based on my vox pox

    5. If younger voters had bothered to take their generally pro-EU stance to the polling booths in larger numbers, the result could have been different.

      Checking for a reference to back up this claim I discovered that I may be wrong about this.

    6. sorry - we just crossed there.

      I was soon shocked by the imperviousness of rational argument and facts had against the leave (inclined) voters

      Fear trumps reason.

    7. As you know, the Brexit vote was secret. So how do we know how each demographic voted? Well all the media based their stories immediately after the vote on a Yougov poll made before the vote. This predicted a remain win, but was then reweighted to show the final result. https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/06/27/how-britain-voted/

    8. This US election, the mobilized groups on both sides are infrequent voters. The middle-class whites don't love Trump. And Clinton has a much better ground game it seems. It doesn't seem like the same situation as brexit.

    9. PG, I live in a place in California where there would normally be a lot of Clinton signs, but I'd be surprised if they were even distributing them. There's no campaign presence since the state is uncontested, Clinton being in the lead by ~30%. Recognizing that, Trump also has no organized campaign in CA. My suspicion is that Trump supporters, on the order of 25% of voters, still want to let their freak flags fly even though they know the score.

    10. Same story in OR and WA, BTW. The election is being contested elsewhere.

  18. Yeah, in my anecdotal vox pop, it was not so much the young (I had assumed they voted by and large remain)

    But older voters who posted along the lines that "I have never voted before because I never thought it would make a difference but will vote out on the 23rd"

    They simply could not be reasoned with - it went much much deeper

    That is what must be exercising Hillary's camping

    As with AGW denies, it is not about the science

  19. " I cut down a Shady Hillary sign this afternoon from a public space near the wharf."

    PGOctober 30, 2016 at 12:13 PM

    SouOctober 30, 2016 at 12:38 PM
    That Trump could win is what I've said from the outset, PG. What you're seeing is disturbing. Do keep us informed. It's great to have an outsider's view of the inside."

    Didn't Sou just say something about things of " the sort that can bring down civilisations." ?

  20. Completely off-thread, and repeating a question I asked about a year ago, does any of the east-coast Australian crowd here remember an advertisement decades ago where a small boy and his grandfather are walking into the distance on a bare road, and the boy says something like "Grandpa, where sis all the animals go?" and the old man replies "Well, back when I was a boy we had these things called forests...", after which there was an environmental conservation message?

    I'm curious to know if anyone can recall the agency/company that commissioned the ad, and especially if there's a transcript/video on the web.

  21. Also off-topic, but Watts appears to be passing round the hat to raise the cash to fund a $250-a-night holiday in San Francisco so he can present on the reality of increased water vapour in the air


  22. PS, a commenter nails it. When the 'science' fails, as it likely will, his advice is to 'bamboozle them with bullshit'.

    How will we tell?

  23. presumably more water vapour in the air is in direct proportion to an increase in air temperature

    what exactly is his point?

    1. I wrote something about this at the time. I may do another after seeing Willis' poster, which it looks like Anthony has jumped in on as well now. (I doubt they've been "invited to do a presentation". It's more likely that they submitted a poster session and AFAIK they are never knocked back.)

      The water vapour penny precipitates, almost, for Willis Eschenbach at WUWT

      I think there's more that could be said about Willis' take on the topic - which I might explore later.

      [Sorry about the lack of posts the last few days. I'll get back to it soon.]

    2. Sou, that's correct, it's extraordinarily rare for an AGU abstract to be rejected. I've never heard of it happening in 20+ years of attending and organizing sessions. Policy is clear: "Conveners do not have the authority to reject an abstract."

      Rejecting an abstract is a high-level decision that can be made only by the Program Committee (the honchos in charge of the conference as a whole). See https://meetings.agu.org/session-abstract/

    3. They say that other fields of science are more restrictive and even reject poster abstracts. It is an irony that the geo-sciences are so open while the political opposition at WUWT shouts gate keeping all the time.

  24. "Where are the clowns"?

    Apparently one is the next US president. As I said at Brere Eli's, "[s]ay goodbye to global geopolitical security and to any chance for serious USA action on climate change mitigation. And the citizens of the US should probably study geopolitical and economic historians with expertise in the fall of the Roman empire, because there are many parallels to be made."

    1. And the markets are beginning to fall already! It's sad that both Mencken and Plato have been proven right with regard to US democracy - the common people have propelled a bonafide moron into the White House, and a self-aggrandizing pseudo-populist will-be despot who will fracture the functioning of the state in the process.

      Make no mistake: this is a disaster from which we will, most likely, never truly recover.

    2. Boy, is it going to be busy in the Canadian embassies!

    3. Bill, apparently the Canadian embassy's web site has crashed from people trying to move there from the USA...

      And once again I make my statement that perhaps one aspect of being able to participate in a democracy is the passing of a test to demonstrate the one has the intellectual ability to make informed decisions...

  25. Once upon a time, there was an intelligent, inquisitive, outgoing, likeable guy living in High Wycombe, Buckinghsamshire, UK. He was in his early sixties, and enjoyed life, except for occasional encounters with muppets.

    In 2003, articles appearing in the press, and news items on TV, mentioned something called "Global Warming". He was intrigued, and began searching the 'net for more info. A discussion on a blog, name long forgotten, but about "Global Warming", caught his eye. Someone stated that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 3%. Knowing this to be false, he weighed in, and pointed out that it was 0.03%. A torrent of abuse followed, in the course of which he was labelled a "f****** Skeptic".

    For ammunition, he found what he was looking for, something called the "IPCC Third Assessment Report". This he duly downloaded, and read cover to cover.

    Thus armed, he returned to the blog, and began pointing out big differences from what was claimed, and factual errors, and what "the science said", on several blog posts, and by commenters. Ultimately, he was barred and couldn't comment.

    Thus was a Sceptic born. The Sceptic (me of course) now began to frequent Sceptical blogs, having found many exaggerated claims and statistics elsewhere.
    I found that there was one area poorly studied and analysed. Sea levels, and the affect of climate cycles on sea-levels. soon I was building a database of dozens, later hundreds, of spreadsheets for gauge stations worldwide; charts, linear regressions, smoothed series. Data is truth.

    One figure stood out on several Sceptical blogs; Nils-Axel Mörner. He was making outrageous claims about sea levels in general, and at some particular locations. Not only that, he frequently contradicted what he'd said in the past. The Trump of sea-level.

    Labelling him "The world's foremost authority on sea level", blog authors and commenters lapped it all up. Apparently, Sceptics weren't as sceptical as I'd thought. I thought of him as a candidate for the "Clown" category here. He's worse, a liar and a cheat, and both are easily provable. I have several posts on my blog exposing his chicanery.

    Worse, even some of the scientifically highly qualified "sceptics" endorsed what he claimed, without checking a jot. That's not science, it's chauvinism. Anthony Watts is one, though amazingly, but without making a fuss, Willis Eschenbach ignores or dismisses what N-A.M claims. I give him credit for THAT at least.

    This "Sceptic" has subsequently reverted to what he always was, a simple sceptic, with an open mind, what everyone should be.

    "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir?"

    - Ernest Rutherford, replying to a reporter who'd pointed out that Rutherford had been proved wrong on a detail of atomic structure.


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