Thursday, June 23, 2011

Al Gore fights the "Climate of Denial"

 Al Gore, our favorite Southern rocker, has a new piece out in the latest issue of the Rolling Stone. The title is promising, it's word play and doom say: "The Climate of Denial". On first sight, there is nothing really new about it, but being hip is not what you expect from a weathered rocker. Instead, the question is if the Nobel-prize and Academy Award winner  is still the best?  Is it the five star piece we all expect? Does he adapt rhythm, style and argument to the latest switches & turns in climate discourse?  Unfortunately, I have no time right now to guide you through the article. But you will make your own way through. And let us know what you think about it!

43 comments:

Reiner Grundmann said...

Vintage Gore - unmissable ****

"In one corner of the ring are Science and Reason. In the other corner: Poisonous Polluters and Right-wing Ideologues."

This looks like a really interesting script and I wonder earnestly who will win -- and who should win!

marci_b said...

I find Gore's message to be pretty old news. Of course climate science is politicized and the politics are scientized. Deal with it in a more productive way.

Anonymous said...

Al Gore:

"To sell their false narrative, the Polluters and Ideologues have found it essential to undermine the public's respect for Science and Reason by attacking the integrity of the climate scientists."


HANS VON STORCH:

""Frankly, he's an odd individual," a well-known climatologist wrote about me in a private e-mail to a friend in the U.K. On this, we agree—I am an odd individual, if by that we mean a climatologist whose e-mails would not document a contempt for such basic scientific virtues such as openness, falsifiability, replicability and independent review.

The colleague is a member of the CRU cartel ..."


Well ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, it was me again,

Yeph ;-)

Anonymous said...

In my opinion Gore's criticism of Obama is worth of deeper discussion.

Is Obama right in avoiding the "c-word"? Does bipartisan politics necessarily mean silence about very important issues? Should Obama show more leadership in public discussion (does it exist any more in the US?) about c***** c*****?

Andreas

Anonymous said...

@5, Andreas, maybe a handy hint (precautionary principle):

;-) Especially if someone has not read that article, or if one has not noticed that this article appeared in the print media, maybe someone -- under some circumstances -- might get the idea you'd like to discuss for instance *****issues***** like "ClimateGate" and/or ("their") *****Bilderberg meetings*****.

(But?) It seems, eminently as long as an article appears in (perhaps certain) print media, these "public discussions" -- about, as you say, "very important issues" -- cannot be happening right now, can they?

Yes! True. First of all, occasional and/or opportunistic avoidance to total absence -- namely in the the otherwise often catastrophizing "print media" -- has been noted here and there; sometimes -- or mostly even often -- now and then.

And Yes! Perhaps like you did I thought of a so-called spiral of silence; a spiral of silence on these *****issues***** also in most of the "quality media". Is that "spiral" -- that seems to be at work here -- somehow mighty, promising or convincing?

My impression is that more (and more influential) persons try actively to sit some of these possibly important *****issues***** and/or ambiguities out in order to silence growing debates/criticisms/questions/...

...but public discussions on and the usage of this somehow (nearly/too) "totalistic" -- in some cases frequently hushed up, repressed -- *****term(s) and issues***** seems to be only delayed, publicly. I agree, there are unsolved questions and uncertain facts worth of deeper discussions in public.

After I had watched elsewhere discussions on these or cognate *****issues***** I am not convinced of (Obama's, Gore's, the scientist's or anybody else's claim of the need for or of) rapidity at all.

Actually, it seems very likely that "they" (also especially "in the US?") think it would be better when "they" never ever will discuss these *monster* issues within the public sphere, especially not with skeptics... and in my opinion that is n o t OK.

namenlos

Günter Heß said...

I think this article and especially this sentence of Al Gore:
“To sell their false narrative, the Polluters and Ideologues have found it essential to undermine the public's respect for Science and Reason by attacking the integrity of the climate scientists.”
Explicitly shows what he is, an excellent ideologues and somebody who uses generalization about others for his own purposes, while accusing others of his own sins.
What is his carbon footprint?
Case dismissed.

Anonymous said...

There are remarkable parts about US media and democracy dysfunctions.
Both combined could explain why climate policy (and debt crisis?) is doomed.

In the new ecology of political discourse, special-interest contributors of the large sums of money now required for the privilege of addressing voters on a wholesale basis are not squeamish about asking for the quo they expect in return for their quid. Politicians who don't acquiesce don't get the money they need to be elected and re-elected. And the impact is doubled when special interests make clear — usually bluntly — that the money they are withholding will go instead to opponents who are more than happy to pledge the desired quo. Politicians have been racing to the bottom for some time, and are presently tunneling to new depths. It is now commonplace for congressmen and senators first elected decades ago — as I was — to comment in private that the whole process has become unbelievably crass, degrading and horribly destructive to the core values of American democracy.

Largely as a result, the concerns of the wealthiest individuals and corporations routinely trump the concerns of average Americans and small businesses. There are a ridiculously large number of examples: eliminating the inheritance tax paid by the wealthiest one percent of families is considered a much higher priority than addressing the suffering of the millions of long-term unemployed; Wall Street's interest in legalizing gambling in trillions of dollars of "derivatives" was considered way more important than protecting the integrity of the financial system and the interests of middle-income home buyers. It's a long list.


Andreas

Anonymous said...

@Andreas, #8

"Doomed"? I don't follow that explanation...

...but I can see some "dysfunctions", too; it was and (still) is -- for many people -- only a bit kinda alarming to see how obviously both most of the few major media ("journalists" etc.) and Al Gore weren't (and still ostensibly maybe aren't) able to obtain or/and give a rough or reliable overview of (the "Bilderberg", f.i., or) the Grand CRU ClimateGate-Email(-"Event")s and when they could spread disinformation uncontradicted in public.

namenlos

Anonymous said...

Al Gore has never presented himself nor his ideas better.

Günter Heß said...

Some interesting food for thought:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/25/gorefail-the-state-of-the-global-green-movement-is-shambolic/#more-42236
“The peril is imminent, he says. It is desperate. The hands of the clock point to twelve. The seas rise, the coral dies, the fires burn and the great droughts have already begun. The hounds of Hell have slipped the huntsman’s leash and even now they rush upon us, mouths agape and fangs afoam.”
“But grave as that danger is, Al Gore can consume more carbon than whole villages in the developing world. He can consume more electricity than most African schools, incur more carbon debt with one trip in a private plane than most of the earth’s toiling billions will pile up in a lifetime — and he doesn’t worry.”
“Surely, skeptics reason, if the peril were as great as he says and he cares about it as much as he claims, Gore’s sense of civic duty would call him to set an example of conspicuous non-consumption. This general sleeps in a mansion, and lectures the soldiers because they want tents.”

Greetings
Günter Heß

Anonymous said...

@ günter

Is it helpful to discuss Al Gore's character instead of his arguments?
You linked to WUWT. Maybe we should discuss A.Watt's character before reading it?

Al Gore is a politician, not a saint. I think, it's a brilliant political text which deserves more attention and discussion. As I said before, it's a remarkable analysis of US political system and society.

Andreas

Anonymous said...

Gore (Rolling Stones):

"In one corner of the ring are Science and Reason. In the other corner: Poisonous Polluters and Right-wing Ideologues."

Andreas (Klimazwiebel):

"Wenn man aber den Konflikt als Konflikt zwischen Science und 'Antiscience' begreift, dann erscheinen mir appeasment-Strategien als blauäugig."

Both Gore and Andreas do not discuss their "Antiscience".

namenlos

Anonymous said...

@ namenlos

Do you really need examples of antiscience? Never found examples like Glenn Beck, FoxNews, Fred Singer, Heartland, Koch, Exxon....

I know, here at Klimazwiebel are a lot of genuine skeptics and it's not a popular topic here. So I'm a nice guy and give only two examples I've heard of last week:

Aus dem Independent: http://tinyurl.com/6cq4zdz

Aus WUWT: http://tinyurl.com/6krycs3

These people are no "skeptics", some call them "merchants of doubts" or "denial industry".

Andreas

Hans von Storch said...

Andreas,

for me there are undoubtedly a number of actors, which operate with a clear political agenda, and bend also uncontested scientific results according to their needs. On both sides. By doing so they further their political agenda, which is legitimate, but there is collateral damage for the societal service called "science". For their arguments they need a scientific aura, so they are formally pro-science , but effectively they do damage to science by labeling legitimate political arguments as scientific "truth".

I guess we all want to help the social process called science dealing better with this challenging situation. For doing so we need to overcome the big divide of our understanding about climate and climate change, with a science holding a broad and increasing consensus about the core of the GHG-explanation of recent climate change, and a large chunk of the educated public (see my ad-hoc survey on the cruise-ship), which is reluctant in accepting this explanation. In this effort simplification and labelling, of the sort used by Al Gore, is not helpful. Maybe also some of the actors, you find inspiring, are considered by others as representatives of antiscience?

A really good analysis is one, which also your opponents applaud to, at least in part.

Günter Heß said...

Andreas,
sorry but for me Al Gore’s text is not brilliant. It uses unjustified generalization.
For me this is the trademark of an ideologue and a demagogue.
I think the text that I found at Anthony Watts fit perfectly as anwser to such a text.
It is already in the bible. You find out about false prophets looking at their individual deeds.Your side manoeuver to Anthony shows the common defense reaction of their camp followers, although I do not consider you as a camp follower.For me Anthony Watts and Al Gore both act as demagogues and ideologues.

Best Regards
Günter

Hans von Storch said...

Günther, I tend to agree. My gut feeling is that Anthony Watts and Al Gore are kind of sibblings. They propagate different approaches to the "climate problem", but they seem to me in many ways similar - one being reliance on science as the ultimate truth and guide for political measures. I would appreciate if we would have more analysis on the similarity in their approaches and methods, rather reassuring us that they belong to different camps concerning political worldviews.

On the other hand, I may have too little knowledge about these two (and similar other actors), so that I may err.

Anonymous said...

@Andreas/#14)

No, I had not asked for examples. You have asked for examples elsewhere and I gave you some (see f.i. here). (But you never reacted and never said thank you, namenlos, and) You did not discuss that topics. (See also #9 above.)

namenlos

Anonymous said...

@ Günter, Hans von Storch

I agree, that Gore's part about denialism is simplifying, although there's a special situation in the US, where these actors achieved important influence in media and politics.

I see a connection to the post "Is Kyoto dead?". Yes, it's dead, and one important reason is the unability of the USA to reach some kind of climate bill.

What's different in the USA compared with most developed countries? Al Gore gives a good analysis, which I highlighted in #8. I think, that's a part both camps could applaude.

PS:
What's common between Gore and Watts? Both have a political agenda, both try to bring their message to the non-scientifical part of society, both try to address people's emotions.

What's different?
Gore is simplifying, but tries to give an overview on mainstream science (not without some minor failures, ok.), Watts attacks mainstream science.

Gore's political aim was awarded by the nobel prize, I doubt, that Watts will ever be a serious candidate.

Andreas

Günter Heß said...

Hans, Andreas
Thanks for your comment. I think what both Al and Anthony sometimes seem to forget that they are equal servants for forming an opinion.
Al Gore’s argument about “climate of denial” is based on the epic mistrust of so-called “elites” in our democracy and in our people. We have a pluralistic society and even if there were a special “climate of denial”, which I can’t spot in the german party lines, our democracy needs opinion from all sides to function best.
For me therefore, using an argument about a “climate of denial” is just leading away from the goal to convince people. It certainly made me skeptical about the “climate change” arguments and the whole gamut, when I encountered the label “denier” in the debate and even in books about climate change.
It makes me equally skeptical encountering talk about “fossil-nuclear complex” or “neo-liberalism” or “Biomafia” which hinders a certain technology or political agenda. Most of these “ad hominem” arguments are fabricated according to my opinion. Most people want and strive for the best. That is why our pluralistic society was so successful; we can fight with arguments for the best decision.
Regards
Günter

Günter Heß said...

Andreas,
It is always difficult to judge the USA from the German perspective. Americans tend to have a strong and very personal believe system. Al Gore does face the problem that “climate change” is not part of one of the strong American believe systems, like civil rights, religion, anti-communism, individual freedom and liberty, etc. I do think he wants to move climate change to be one of the believe systems. Therefore he seems to feel that he needs to gain by using moral and “appeal to authority” arguments.
On some point I resent that, but this is the German perspective. The USA is a strong democracy because of people like Al Gore and Anthony Watts, according to my opinion. I would wish we had more such people that shape public opinion without having a political career to worry about.
Best regards
Günter

Anonymous said...

Dear Günter,

you mentioned "servants of forming an opinion".

I would expect more from politicians, I see in our country a lot of servants of opinions (e.g. nuclear phase out), but I see very few leaders or formers of opinions.
This is Gore's main criticism on Obama and I personally would include some leaders more, for example Merkel. It's not sufficient to make some decisions on climate politics by saying "we have no other choice". Leaders have to convince people why CO2 reductions are important. It's not sufficient to leave this important question media or some scientists filling the gap.


About "Denialism":
I agree, it would indeed be misleading to adept Gore's words on denialism on Europe, you understood my point. And of course it's oversimplifying to reduce all US problems to the denialism complex.
But there are some strange situations over the ocean: Republican candidates for presidency apologizing for having addressed global warming as a problem a couple of years ago (Pawlenty), Mitt Romney is the only one acknowledging global warming exists and could be a problem.
Obama avoids the word "climate change" seeking for a bipartisan compromise. He tries to create more Renewable Energies not because of c... c..... His argument is, otherwise US economy would not be able to compete in a quickly growing important world market.
Oh, too many words, the bottom line was not to adept Gore's description on Europe. Maybe you can regard his intended polarization as a tactical political tool.

Greetings
Andreas

Günter Heß said...

Dear Andreas,
I think in Germany our media discourage people, who voice opinions that are skeptical with respect to media mainstream opinion. Moreover, our media are not pluralistic in the same sense the American media are. You find “right” wing and “left” wing news shows and papers in the US.
They have all kinds of formats and channels locally and country-wide. It is I a mess, not always quality media, but very democratic in a sense that people are responsible for their own information. The public discussion is a battle of arguments.
In Germany people who voice deviating opinions that don’t fit in the picture disappear from the talkshows after a few stints in Arte or 3Sat. That is my observation. We are brain-washed by always the same brain-dead guests of Anne, Maybrit or Frank, playing almost always the same script.
Germany does not encourage deviating opinions any more. That’s why we have” Ethikkommissionen” and round table discussions in order to smooth thinks out and soft-clean and avoid necessary conflicts.
Avoiding conflicts prior to decision making actually is the hatchery for bad decisions.
For my opinion, good decision require conflict and a battle of arguments and ideas and not compromise and consensus.
Best regards
Günter

Anonymous said...

Günter, you are not alone with your thoughts and opinion expressed in #23. How German media put on their shows is shameful (ZDF's/Schellnhuber's Himalaya-lie; PHOENIX 4-meter-sea-level-rise-study; ARD's extinction-risk-exaggeration; BBC-Germany-"brain-washing" (I described all this examples on Klimazwiebel and perhaps some more...)). For example Maybrit Illners "talk show" on natural disasters last year was a kind of pure "anti science".

namenlos

Günter Heß said...

Dear Namenloser,
I am not sure if I would call it “Antiscience” if it happens in the talkshows. I would rather call it politics or hidden agenda. A scientist like Schellnhuber who repeats the rumor that the Himalaya glaciers melt by 2035 without a skeptical sanity check is just someone who loses our trust.
Antiscience happens within the scientific community if science is distorted with respect to a specific goal. The symptoms would be pal review, the PRL club, funding that goes out biased towards a certain result. A lot of papers with unproven conclusions or omitted data, suppressing of unwanted results, etc.
What we need is a clear picture that also a scientist cannot “not-communicate” and therefore should be free to express his opinion, even it is politically biased. We are all human beings. But scientific code of honor requires that a conclusion that is based on gut feeling or opinion and is not supported by clear evidence and valid only within certain bounds of uncertainty need to be marked as such. Otherwise credibility is lost as scientist. As politician you can do as you please, I am prepared, but from a scientist talking as a scientist I expect a certain behavior.
Al Gore talks as a politician, we should not take him as if he would transmit unbiased scientific results, even if he says so. We should be skeptical, look for a second opinion maybe from oil industry to cover the full range and be prepared as skeptical citizen in a democratic and free society should be.
The WBGU that talks about transformation of society talks as a political lobby organization and not as a scientific advisor board. They cannot commit “Antiscience”, because they are politicians in my eyes.
Best regards
Günter

Anonymous said...

Günter, I agree that in this case my usage of quotation marks wasn't good enough to show that the talk show was in fact more like a agit-prop show to me (remember f.i. also A. Merkel's DDR cadre education in "Agitation und Propaganda" [;-)]). But be careful, too: AFAIK, nowadays, academics deny that a concept of "brainwashing" is promising. ((Tests of) "brainwashing", if anything, probably exist (today) only behind closed doors in secret trials...)

namenlos

Günter Heß said...

Dear Namenloser,
I understood your "antiscience".
However, I cherish science and object to the notion that one can or should strive to discuss in a scientific way in a talkshow.
One can explain science or exchange scientific arguments, but not more. And I would also keep it that way, but on the same time like everybody to be aware of it.
Best regards
Günter

Anonymous said...

Günter

*Sigh* That wasn't my "notion" about (one-sided polit-)talkshows. And please do not forget also for example ARD (News (Tagesschau)), ZDF (knowledge program ("Die lange Nacht des Klimas")), PHOENIX (documentation ("Modell Holland - Unser Nachbar Niederlande")) or BBC-Germany (science program ("Climate Wars")).

namenlos

Anonymous said...

Hallo Günter, hallo namenlos

Ich schalte mal auf deutsch um, wir sind ja unter uns.

Revkin brachte bei DotEarth eine gute Analyse, die Günters Punkt weiter beleuchtet:
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/22/gore-slams-merchants-of-poison-prods-obama-on-climate/

Revkin geht noch einen Schritt weiter und fügt an, dass Gore dadurch nur die vom Klimawandel Überzeugten anspricht. Ich würde hinzufügen, dass die Person Al Gore schon so polarisierend wirkt, dass er als Vermittler/Überzeuger sowieso nicht mehr in Frage kommt. Er ist "verbrannt in den climate wars".

Zu der von mir hervorgehobenen Medienkritik gibt es eine Antwort im Times Magazin:
http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/06/22/al-gore-chides-obama-on-climate-but-his-real-beef%E2%80%94not-so-fairly%E2%80%94is-with-the-media/
Bemerkenswert die letzte Passage:
"Of course, the disruptions of the Internet has also led to great things for those who care about climate messaging: smart environmental blogs and green media like Grist. It also makes it easier for climate skeptics to reach a larger audience. That's the media today, and it reflects that Americans are a heterogeneous people. This idea Gore seems to have—and it's one shared by many in the environmental movement—that the unfiltered message would alone be enough to galvanize Americans into massive action on climate change just isn't true. Sorry. But it's a comforting thought—that, I understand."


Ok, ich merke, ich bin einer der wenigen, die von Gores Text sehr angetan sind.
Vielleicht liegt's daran, dass ich von Gore nahezu nichts kenne, nicht einmal den Film, für Revkin und euch womöglich alles kalter Kaffee war.
Beeindruckt hat mich auch sein geschliffener Schreibstil, der Schiedsrichter beim wrestling in der Einleitung hat es mir sehr angetan, das fand ich brilliant.


Es tut mir fast leid für Gore, aber ich habe das Gefühl, als sei seine Zeit vorbei, und er ist der einzige, der es nicht bemerkt (sozusagen der Ballack der Klimapolitik). Irgendwie schade, ich mag seinen Text.

Andreas

Günter Heß said...

Hallo Andreas,
Al Gore wurde in Amerika bisher immer auch nur Zweiter. Dein Ballackvergleich stimmt. Ich glaube das liegt daran, dass er nicht authentisch wirkt. Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob Al Gore je überzeugt hat. Er hatte seine Fans, ja, aber überzeugt? Obama hat wohl überzeugt, denke ich. Al Gore hat aber natürlich vor allem als Person mit seiner Meinung die Europäer angesprochen. Da neigen unsere Medien dann dazu zu konstruieren, dass er auch die Amerikaner anspricht, aber das ist meiner Meinung nach nicht immer der Fall.
Er kommt schon immer daher mit, seht her ich bin der Gute und Kluge, ich habe doch Recht und ich weiß es besser glaubt mir. Das will keiner hören glaube ich. Beim Klimaschutz in Amerika denkt der einfache Amerikaner vermutlich. Was will der, er fährt doch auch mit dem SUV und jetted durch die Welt.
Obama macht Realpolitik. Gore möchte das Land Morgen verändern und spielt den Enttäuschten. Das macht keiner mit. Ich denke das ist das Fatale an diesen „Climate of Denial“ Sprüchen, dass es die freie Diskussion behindert. Leid tut er mir nicht.
Grüße
Günter

Werner Krauss said...

I agree with Reiner, it's vintage Gore and deserves ****

Of course, so many things to criticize. But I agree with Al Gore that the public market square in many parts of the US is almost non-existent. For so many people there it is intellectual food to read at least in the Rolling Stone that climate change is real. Al Gore doesn't argue in an academic debating club; instead, he plays for the masses. Just listen to some of his opponents, and you will see that his arguments are almost subtle!

We live in many realities simultaneously. Mostly, on klimazwiebel and in my research, I definitively criticize Al Gore's argumentation. I think it's even counterproductive for the implementation of effective climate policies. And he absolutely overestimates and overburdens science.

But I also have lived in Texas for a while, and I know that for many of my former colleagues and students there, articles like this one are a kind of intellectual life support. Just listen to Texas Governor Perry or Rush Limbaugh, and you will know what I am talking about.

Of course, for the New Yorker journalist Andrew Revkin, Al Gore is Al bore - in New York, they are far more sophisticated and hip than folks in the South. But that's part of the problem. No one cares for the vast majority of people. The world is only 6000 years old, that's what many students learn at school in these far away towns in the middle of nowhere. That's how deeply provincial and far from any "reason" that is!

But - metaphorically speaking - Al Gore tours the stadiums in the bible belt just like an old fashioned Southern rock group. He's not afraid to play for those with their pickups, boots and a tattoo of the Lone Star state. He brings the rocking news that there is something like science and reason out there! That there is something like climate change and that we can do something about it. Not too bad. It's only Rock'n Roll, but sometimes it is likeable.

(Strangely enough, criticizing Al Gore and his "Inconvenient Truth" elevated climate debate to a higher level, in my opinion. But this critique didn't come to the conclusion that climate change is not real; instead, it concluded that "real" means something else. It's important to keep that in mind.)

Günter Heß said...

Dear Werner,
Go Longhorns
Hook them!
Best regards
Günter

Hans Erren said...

The difference between Watts and Gore is that Watts is a meteorologist and Gore, well, isn't.

Werner Krauss said...

@Hans Erren #33

I think that Watts is only a meteorologist is a bad excuse for his sometimes really weak argumentation. Anyway, first time I hear you make an argument in favor of Al Gore, Hans Erren :-)

Anonymous said...

Both have no scientific degree (check it yourself!).

Both are pretending to be scientific, both have a political agenda, but only Gore is a politician.

@ werner krauss
#31 is excellent!

Anonymous said...

I would say the most important difference between Al Gore and Anthony Watts is that only the latter has accused mainstream climate scientists of perpetuating a hoax (interestingly contradicted by a paper on which he is a co-author...).

Bam

Anonymous said...

@Bam

Besides, as I hope I was able to correct your ("very, very common") misconception about "voodoo science" I hope also that you will/can help me in return in another apparent hoax now.

namenlos

Anonymous said...

Namenlos, you did not correct me at all. In fact, you just confirmed that Pachauri called the report commissioned by the Indian government "voodoo science". That the Indian news show apparently added a pre-announcement in which the 2035 issues is mentioned is irrelevant. They did not discuss that. The fact remains that Pachauri called the report "voodoo science", not the claims that the IPCC had it all wrong (and it didn't) on Himalayan glaciers.

I don't know why I should help you with an apparent case of plagiarism. If you believe there is plagiarism, just send in a complaint to the journal Publisher. That's what Ted Fitzpatrick did with Said et al., and we all know the outcome of that.

Bam

Anonymous said...

BAM, perhaps we see here from different sides some denial or confirmation bias; you write:

"Namenlos, you did not correct me at all. In fact, you just confirmed that Pachauri called the report commissioned by the Indian government 'voodoo science'."

BAM, I question your "findings". I mean, to me your conclusions make nearly no sense.

The Indian science editor Pallava Bagla is right when he says in the New Delhi Television (NDTV) News (November 9 2009):

"It could be a controversy of Himalayan proportions: The government [of India] has today debunked the UN climate change panel report say: It's doomsday prediction on glaciers is wrong. [...]"

Yes, the doomsday prediction by the IPCC was wrong and it took just some weeks before Pachauri or the IPCC regretted the failure.

BAM you think:

"That the Indian news show apparently added a pre-announcement in which the 2035 issues[sic] is mentioned is irrelevant. They did not discuss that. The fact remains that Pachauri called the report 'voodoo science', not the claims that the IPCC had it all wrong (and it didn't) on Himalayan glaciers."

"Apparently added"? Bagla did evidently an "excellent" job on behalf of NDTV. Nobody wrote or said "that the IPCC had it all wrong" – please do not make things worse and stay with the widely circulated factsfacts. And after all, this alarmist and absurd *IPCC forecast*, that "the likelihood of them [i.e. the Himalayan glaciers] disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate", was not only read loudly and written clearly on the TV screen for every NDTV news viewer in the intro of that interview, BAM, but it was even written in that Indian government report, called "Himalayan Glaciers. A State-of-Art Review of Glacial Studies, Glacial Retreat and Climate Change", by Vijay Kumar Raina et. al. on page 49 where the authors exemplified the absurdity of this IPCC claim f.i. with a graph about the "average annual retreat and the cumulative average retreat (in metres) of the Gangotri glacier over last 75 years."

Bagla (NDTV):

"According to India's environmental ministry, the Gangotri glacier, the glaciers in the Himalaya, and the Ganga are not gonna dry up and finish away – and waste away – any time soon as the UN Panel on Climate Change had forecast."

Pachauri says (NDTV):

"Well, I am questioning these findings. They are totally wrong. This is one government. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses thousands of scientists, it uses peer reviewed literature. I'd like to see how these findings are beeing arrived at on the basis of literarture that has been published in prestigious, credible journals. This is, if I may say so, voodoo-science. This is not science. This is [..] opinion-forming."

What Pachauri calls *opinion-forming voodoo science* was actually – contrary to this IPCC "work" (which work – not just in the case of the Himalayan glaciers – wasn't done by "thousands of scientists"; and that IPCC *forecast* did not use "peer reviewed literature") – a scholarly study based on apparently a lot of research done with various institutes and India's government. In my opinion, also the Indian study wasn't perfect but it was obvious necessary. To me, some very quick answers to this Indian research – especially answers from people who seem to prefer form over substance (like Pachauri's respondences suggestes) – were voodoo science.

namenlos

Anonymous said...

..continued..

Anchorwoman (NDTV):

"But Dr Pachauri, don't you think that you could perhaps look at what the environmental ministry's report is and look at your own report, see, whether there is a meeting point between the two, or are you just rejecting it outright? Are you willing to sit down with the minister and say: OK, let's look at it?"

Pachauri answers:

"No, no. I will not sit down with the minister. I sit down with the minister very often. He is a good friend of my[sic]. But what I'd like to say: If this report is all that solid let them publish it. Let that go through a peer review process. It can't be on the basis of two individuals, the minister and whoever is in this report, deciding on something that is so complex. So you know you are trivializing the science."

His a priori answers seem to be "Begleyan", elitist, and in a superior tone, that show a circling of the wagons -- noted also by Curry. It looks like a process of self-propagating, one-eyed, dogmatical peer review. I reckon -- although hardly to compare to NDTV's questions (or to that about Warner) -- he (like Gore f.i.) won't discuss f.i. Judith Lean's role in IPCC's Fourth assessment report (see also here).

Paschauri says:

"I'd like to see how these findings are beeing arrived at on the basis of literarture that has been published in prestigious, credible journals. This is, if I may say so, voodoo-science. This is not science."

IPCC, AR4 WGII, p. 493 (Rex Victor Cruz, et al. 2007. Asia. Case Studies. In M. Parry, et al. Eds. Climate change 2007: "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability". Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth assessment report of the IPCC):

"Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world [...] and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate. Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 km2 by the year 2035 (WWF, 2005)."

Does Pachauri maybe -- or do you -- consider f.i. the WWF report (see Joe Thomas K and Sandeep Chamling Rai: "An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China", WWF Nepal Program, March, 2005) as a special or appropriate and "prestigious, credible journal"?

Well, the WWF wrote after all sth. what the WWF calls corrections (better than nothing):

"On page 29 of the following report WWF included the following statement:

'In 1999, a report by the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology (WGHG) of the International Commission for Snow and Ice (ICSI) stated: >>glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the livelihood[sic] of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high.<<'

This statement was used in good faith but it is now clear that this was erroneous and should be disregarded."

namenlos

Anonymous said...

..continued..

WWF further:

"The essence of this quote is also used on page 3 in the Executive summary where it states: The New Scientist magazine carried the article 'Flooded Out - Retreating glaciers spell disaster for valley communities' in their 5 June 1999 issue. It quoted Professor Syed Hasnain, then Chairman of the International Commission for Snow and Ice's (ICSI) Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology, who said most of the glaciers in the Himalayan region 'will vanish within 40 years as a result of global warming'.

This statement should also be disregarded as being unsound. WWF regret any confusion this may have caused."

Unfortunatly, WWF neither explains which part(s) of their statements has been erroneous nor do they say explicitly that not only the year 2035 and the other numbers of that part are wrong but that also the assertion "faster than in any other part of the world" is apparently unfunded, as the report by ICSI, reportedly cited by the WWF, has never been published by Hasnain. (Perhaps someone, just for once, will help me: this time with a dubious WWF-number in an article of the german language Wikipedia: see here.)

Can someone please tell me how Xu et al. came to their conclusion:

Jianchu Xu, R. Edward Grumbine, Arun Shrestha, Mats Eriksson, Xuefei Yang, Yun Wang, and Andreas Wilkes: "The Melting Himalayas: Cascading Effects of Climate Change on Water, Biodiversity, and Livelihoods", Conservation Biology, Volume 23 (2009), No. 3, 520–530, 523:

"Glaciers, ice, and snow cover 17% of the Greater Himalayan region and are receding more rapidly than the world average (Mark B. Dyurgerov and Mark F. Meier, 2005: "Glaciers and Changing Earth System: A 2004 Snapshot." Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado; IPCC. 2007. "Climate change 2007: The Physical Science Basis". Pages 235–336 in Susan Solomon, et al. editors. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth assessment report of the IPCC. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.)."

But if we look at the IPCC, AR4 WG I, p. 357 (Peter Lemke, Jiawen Ren, Richard B. Alley, Ian Allison, Jorge Carrasco, Gregory Flato, Yoshiyuki Fujii, Georg Kaser, Philip Mote, Robert H. Thomas and Tingjun Zhang, 2007: "Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground". In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC [S. Solomon, Dahe Qin, Martin Manning, Zhenlin Chen, Melinda Marquis, Kristen B. Averyt, Melinda Tignor and Henry LeRoy Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.) I find the following to be the most likely "source" for that above claim:

"Regional analyses by Dyurgerov and Meier (2005) show strongest negative mean specific mass balances in Patagonia, the northwest USA and southwest Canada, and Alaska, with losses especially rapid in Patagonia and Alaska after the mid-1990s […]. […] High spatial variability in climate and, thus, in glacier variations, also exists in other large regions such as in the high mountains of Asia (Shiyin Liu, Wang Ninglian, Duan Keqin, Xiao Cunde, Ding Yongjian and Han Haidong, 2004: "Recent progress in glaciological studies in China". Journal of Geographical Science, 14(4), 401–410 (SCANDAL (?!): This paper of Liu et al. is apparently not available in Open Access on-line!?); Dyurgerov and Meier, 2005)."

namenlos

Anonymous said...

Namenlos, I see a lot of complaining, but little substance in your response. The fact is and remains, shown by yourself, that the interview did not discuss the 2035 issue with Pachauri at all, and that Pachauri specifically called the Indian report "voodoo science". As I noted.

The error in WG2 actually strengthens Pachauri's point on using prestigious and credible journals: it is less likely to contain such errors (although one generally should not underestimate WWF reports). The Indian report contained very, very, very few peer reviewed papers; especially the many papers written by 'Western' scientists were essentially ignored. The 'attribution' study in the report was even more atrocious.

On the other hand, I do think that Pachauri based his opinion mainly on what certain media had reported the report said. In some cases it even sounded as if the report claimed there was no glacier melt at all!

I suggest you contact Mauri Pelto to get answers to some of your other questions (although I think he will be just as baffled as I am by someone writing "Scandal(?!)" when a paper is not open-access online.

Mauri's blog is here:
http://glacierchange.wordpress.com/
but you can also contact him here:
http://www.nichols.edu/departments/glacier/

Mauri is usually very helpful with honest requests for information.

Bam

Bam

Anonymous said...

BAM, you write: "I see a lot of complaining, but little substance in your response."

OK, I see you have got another opinion on transparency (f.i. Open Access) than me.

But besides that, please, at what point you miss substance in my reponse?

You seem not to know: Mr Pallava had pointed the error before the New Delhi Television news show to Mr Pachauri in several e-mails and several discussions, yet Pachauri seemed to have decided to overlook it.

Finally, that Pachauri interview was broadcasted at NDTV because it deals with the IPCC "doomsday prediction" (see above) on Himalayan glaciers all over. That "doomsday prediction" was contradicted by India's government report "with the warning by the minister not to be alarmist" (:Pallava). The anchorwoman tried to discuss this issue for instance when she interrupted Pachauri's "voodoo" distraction by saying: "But the environment minister Jairam Ramesh says that the IPCC is alarmist." Pachauri answered: "Well, I mean he is entitled to his views [on Raina's "voodoo science"?]."

namenlos