Thursday, February 18, 2010

The heat is on

Love it or hate it: this is the state-of-the-art of the 'anthropogenic climate change is real' argument in the public American climate debate. Friedman is one of the most influential op-ed writers. With the help of Joe Romm, he gives his readers five arguments at hand why climate change is real and matters:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/17/opinion/17friedman.html

Before you start posting your arguments why and in which points he is wrong, consider this situation: these are the arguments that will be discusssed in universities, in high-schools, in everyday conversations. My colleagues at university read it, it will posted on facebook.  This op-ed piece will be used over and over again in thousands of discussions.

The heat is on: the skeptics have a lot of publicity and have a huge coming out. It is about tea-parties and right wing politicians; anti-abortion and anti-climate change can be part of the same argument. Friedman seems to know this. He uses science as an argument and links to Joe Romm who has 'the scientific consensus' already at hand and on his blog. Friedman mentions climategate and IPCC scandals, but he makes clear that this does not change the basics, that is, man-made climate change is real. Friedman uses some cheap old  arguments, for sure, such as the coal industry financing the skeptics. But the coal industry is real, Governor Perry in Texas is real, Sarah Palin is real, oil drilling is real, the tea-party movement is real, Glenn Beck and Fox TV is real, China and the economic crisis are real: the heat is on. There are many out there who are grateful that Friedman takes sides. It is a difficult problem: each of his arguments will lead to discussions for example on klimazwiebel, but before you debunk them consider this, too: Friedman and Romm will help many people to survive the next classroom or office discussion. Whatever that means; it is a fact that has to be considered.

28 comments:

Charlie Martin said...

Werner, that neatly states the problem: Friedman and Romm will be used to "survive the next argument." So Romm's fulminations and ad hominems, and Friedman's unfalsifiable "climate weirding" will replace, once again, any discussion of the real science, and the real uncertainties, including the particular uncertainties introduced by the CRU and GISS mishandling and apparent misconduct, and the IPCC's admitted activism when they promised scientific objectivity.

I'd far rather Romm and Friedman were replaced by, say, a discussion of whether CO2-forced anthropogenic global warming can be distinguished from the null hypothesis.

plazamoyua said...

Sate of the art of what?

Carl C said...

well Friedman does put a good reality check on things. While I think the "climategate" was a shame in showing that a few scientists (out of hundreds? thousands?) are jerks (i.e. Jones gloating over the death of a blogger; and now he claims suicidal tendencies and death threats). And that politics plays too much of a role in parts of the IPCC SPM with the "disappearing Himalayan glaciers" etc.

But if you take a casual glance at "the other side" you'll see they're often batshit crazy (as we say here) and off the scale. I mean, a casual look at ClimateAudit for the last few years shows every day McIntyre screeching about a new "smoking gun" which is basically just "smoke". The likes of Fred Singer & others of his ilk; who have been on the wrong side of every issue for the past 50 years seems to easily offset a few jerk academics.

And you can't get away from the real nuts on the anti-science crowd which makes you wonder about "honest skeptics" let alone "honest brokers." It does tend to split along political lines, which ain't science either....

Anonymous said...

Carl C,
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Although some of the people waving the climate sceptic banner do peddle some rediculous ideas, SteveMc and ClimateAudit is not one of them. Do you really think that a scientist like Judith Curry would waste her time posting on CA if it really was what you claim it to be?
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The problem with this debate are people like you who seek to label and villify those who refuse to agree with your interpretation of the available data.
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Such attitudes polarize the debate and make it impossible to have a rational discussion. If you really cared about climate change as an issue you would open your eyes and try to learn why many intelligent people with no particular agenda and with an eductation in science or engineering look at the data and come to conclusion that CO2 is not a clear and present danger.

Carl C said...

Dr. Curry is just trying to act like an "honest broker." McI has some interesting stuff, probably 1 in 100 posts he makes, but his daily "this is the biggest scandal ever" makes me think he's the likes of Fred Singer.

There really is no rational discussion in the blogosphere & what passes for "debate" on Fox News -- i.e. a real climate scientist on one-side and Myron Ebell, a non-scientist but loquacious paid-off pundit/lobbyist on the other.

PS - CO2 is not a "clear and present danger" -- it's more like a danger in 50-100 years! ;-)

Anonymous said...

If CO2 is not a clear and present danger then why all of the fuss? The scientists can stay in their labs and argue amoung themselves for the next 50 years and no one would care what the believed.
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Your inability to understand why SteveMc makes the posts he does seems to be a form of a willful blindness that makes a meaningful dialog impossible.
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IOW, if you want to have a dialog the you need to stop assuming that people you disagree with are irrational and try to figure out why they disagree and address those issues.
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Meaningful dialog also requires you to accept that others are not willing to assume that scientists are impartial and that peer review works. They want to see evidence that those assertions are true.

Marco said...

@Charlie Martin: rather than the soundbytes, please provide us with evidence for the following of your claims
1. GISS mishandling and apparent misconduct
2. The IPCC's admitted activism

The null hypothesis of no CO2 effect has been tested and rejected. See AR4 WG1.

Anonymous said...

Marco,
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I have read AR4 CH9 a couple times and I cannot see what I would describe a null hypothesis test.
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What I did see were the results of models which were carefully tuned to match the historial record which were then re-run without the CO2 forcing. It comes as no surprise that the outputs would not match the actual trends.
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A true null hypothesis test would tune a model based on the assumption that the CO2 effect is small and see if it can match the historical temps.
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BTW - when I say the models are tuned I am talking about the process of choosing parameters like aerosol forcings for which there is no data. It is not reasonable to argue that the desired results do not influence a modeller's choice for these parameters.

Carl C said...

there is no meaningful debate or dialog over McI's many over-the-top posts (he's been screeching "smoking guns" over the most minute things long before "Climategate" came around). McI & McK are just egotistical attention-seeking jerks, as climtegate showed a few scientists (out of 1000) are as well. This is hardly a story to anybody familiar with human behavior.

Unfortunately a lot of good science, unrelated to "hockey sticks" got thrown out amongst the noise, thanks to all of these "Chicken Little's." I think that's ultimately the real tragedy.

My own views on global warming, as a disclaimer, are that I think it's really happening and the evidence is there; however I don't think it's something that we can do to solve through the ineffectual UN, taxation etc. There is plenty of proof of how humans work, and we'll have to address problems as they occur in the future a la how we handle & have telethons & charitable songs & donations for the Haiti earthquake etc.

In other words, I think global warming is happening, and am resigned to the fate of the stupid ignorant apes that we all are.

Werner Krauss said...

to plazamoyua 3

thanks, I forgot to say. I changed it and hope it makes more sense now.

To the rest of the debate:

there is a certain tendency to claustrophobic inside-discussions. I posted Friedman because he addresses the 'outside' - people who are not part of the science community. Nobody knows who McIntyre is, but everybody wants to know what to think about global warming.

Anonymous said...

Carl C,
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I suspect the reason you don't understand SteveMc is because you don't understand the importance of following proper process. Most climate scientists seem to think that getting the 'right answer' is all that matters and if the process involved in getting that answer is not important.
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Engineers and scientists who work outside of academia would get fired if they don't follow proper procedures and that is why many CA readers are appalled at the sloppy work done by climate scientists and their rediculous defences of their sloppy practices.
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I realize that there is a huge cultural gap and people who do not work in scientific fields that require such processes cannot understand why they are so important. But they are and if climate scientists expect to be taken seriously by these people they are going to learn to live up to their standards.
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You can choose to pretend that such cultural differences among scientific professionals do not exist and that sceptics are all paid shills for the oil industry but I don't see how such an attitude encourages dialog.

_Flin_ said...

@Anonymous 8: While McIntyre has some laurels concerning the GISS data, when I currently look over at his blog it looks a lot like a personal crusade against CRU.

Which leads me to agreeing with your analysis absolutely: "The problem with this debate are people [...] who seek to label and villify those who refuse to agree with your interpretation of the available data."

Concerning the null hypothesis test: Feel free! Get yourself the GCM - ModelE1 from NASA, grab a Linux box and a Fortran Compiler and go to work!

Or use the user friendly EdGCM4D version for PC and Mac over ad Columbia!

Another model, complete Source Code, Input Data and Documentation, all free of charge over at the Community Climate System Model.

And if that's not enough go to Model & Data where you are linked to even more models!

So don't waste time, go for it!

P Gosselin said...

When Romm and Friedmann are left to defend the "science", then you know things are hopelessly bad.

Reiner Grundmann said...

First, to note that the thread drifts off topic again. McIntyre being the discussion instead of Friedman. We can discuss McIntyre on a separate thread (I will create one)

Second, as regards Friedman, I thought he was onto something important when I read the following:

"In my view, the climate-science community should convene its top experts ... and produce a simple 50-page report. They could call it “What We Know,” summarizing everything we already know about climate change in language that a sixth grader could understand, with unimpeachable peer-reviewed footnotes."

I thought he then would could continue with something like:

"Such a report should also contain a section entitled 'What we don't know', summarizing all the uncertainties we face when trying to understand the climate system. Because of these uncertainties, such a report is unlikely to be unanimous and will convey a majority and minority (or split) view"

And I hoped that he would then continue along the lines of

"Such a report should also include a frank admission of all the errors that were part of the last IPCC report and an assessment of their importance"

And, it occured to me, that a logical follow up to such a sentence then could be:

"This report would summarize the
state of knowledge without any consideration of its political usefulness, for people on both sides of the current climate debate."

OK, I admit, I was getting carried away, maybe daydreaming for a moment.

Because then the harsh reality hit me in the face when Friedman proceeded in the follwoing way:

"At the same time, they should add a summary of all the errors and wild exaggerations made by the climate skeptics — and where they get their funding."

I see this as a major chance missed to outline a way for climate science regaining public trust. This very much resembles George Monbiot's retreat to the trenches and to the old, comfortable truths. What a pity.

P Gosselin said...

The data that is left available is a hopeless mess. That has been proven. Indeed the trends that warmists like manufacture from the data do not even agree with real life observations.

Marco said...

@Anonymous 8:
Plenty of 'skeptics' around with loads of programming skills. I challenge you to make a climate model that can model past climate, and that includes interglacials (no aerosols needed there) without invoking *any greenhouse* forcing. Or provide an explanation of sudden increases/decreases in, say, water vapor, or cloud cover.

P Gosselin said...

Once the house of cards starts to fall, there is no stopping it.

P Gosselin said...

It would help to provide the link, now wouldn't it?
http://www.probeinternational.org/files/UKVersieHenkTennekes.pdf

plazamoyua said...

I think if this is the state-of-the-art of the 'anthropogenic climate change is real' argument in the public American climate debate, CO2-ists have lost the debate by far.

_Flin_ said...

@Reiner Grundmann 14:
I always thought that IPCC 4AR WG1 was the state of the art of climate science (in 2007). The errors in the last months all concern other working groups. The "hide the decline" divergence problem can be omitted if no tree ring proxies are used.

Both the Summary for Policy Makers and the FAQ are easy to read.

Or is the IPCC that damaged that the whole report is dismissed now?

The section about the errors and false claims would be an interesting read. There are enough lists that could be used.

The Skeptics and their fundings are not an issue for a scientific paper, but for the media.

Anonymous said...

Marco,
.
Where did I say the greenhouse effect did not exist? The IPCC claims that 'only GHGs' can explain the modern warming. I am saying that they have not provided any conclusive evidence to support that claim. All they have really said is 'we can't think of anything else so we assume it is GHGs'. That may be enough evidence for you but it is not good enough for me.
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In any case, people have built simple models which explain the modern warming without high CO2 sensitivity. For example:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/oxford.html

Roy Spencer has done the same as well by assuming cloud cover changes on its own.

Incidently, I think the onus is on the people saying that 'nothing else explains the warming' to prove that cloud cover and RH do not change during glaciations.

itisi69 said...

Why does Friedman keep beating the old BigOil and BigCoal dead horse again? By now he should know this is so post-normal science? There should be a

"The weather gets weird. The hots are expected to get hotter, the wets wetter, the dries drier and the most violent storms more numerous.?" Again, claims that cannot be contributed to global warming.

Friedman has clearly difficulties getting rid of worn in dogmas.

And the science institues he mentioned are hardly unbiased. I have no problem with these institutes if they are compensated by people like Lindzen (well he's from MIT) Spencer, Christy et al.

Sorry for OT, but McIntyre never used phrases like "smoking gun" and he never disputed warming, just the sloppy science used.

itisi69 said...

wanted to say; ...there should be a Godwin's Law against using BigOil.

Hans von Storch said...

Carl C -

what about behaving a bit better? Statements like "McI & McK are just egotistical attention-seeking jerks" are really not needed here, and next time I simply delete your comment.

In case you feel really angry, just wait one hour before responding. This helps, usually.

Marco said...

@Anonymous: I never claimed you claimed the greenhouse effect does not exist. The simple fact is that if accept it exists, you also have to accept additional CO2 causes warming.

And Ferdinand's model simply does not explain the interglacials. To do loads of handwaving and claim it may be clouds is handwaving. No evidence for changes in cloud cover, plenty of evidence for changes in CO2. The latter even explains the PETM.

Philip said...

Carl C: You said "...I think it's really happening and the evidence is there".

I have to say I've seen so many comments like this. Every now and then I get a little hint of what the CAGW proponents mean by "the evidence is there", but whenever I've followed it up in the past, it’s always turned out to have no convincing basis. More usually, all I see is comments denigrating people like Fred Singer as being not reliable or not a proper scientist or whatever, or some "denier" insult instead of an answer, and to be honest this only makes me feel more skeptical about what is being claimed. It's no wonder so many people are getting frustrated and confused by all this. I'm not thick or unqualified, and I've looked quite hard to find the evidence for and against, and all I find is more and more evidence against CAGW, both in the raw data and in the theory. I've looked at quite a lot of WG1, but perhaps I'm not looking in the right places. So please Carl C and any other CAGW proponents reading this, can you not just be a little more specific about the evidence you are seeing for CAGW?

Werner Krauss said...

Thanks for your contributions to my Friedman post. That's it. This thread is closed now.

MikeR said...

Friedman starts with the point of view that there are no real issues, and the whole problem is public relations. Has anyone read the Bray/von Storch survey? I really wish a few important AGW believers would speak up and say, "We're right, but stop saying that no one disagrees with us. There is a minority of real scientists in the field that disagrees. Every one of you that tries to pretend that there are no competent skeptics is doing as much damage to our cause as the the deniers who claim it's all a big hoax do to theirs."

I'll wait to comment on McIntyre till you tell me it's time. But there is no way someone can say that he "screeches", unless he doesn't care about reality.