Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In case anyone just woke up

This is a re-posting of piece titled 'Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change'.  The article can be found at  The article begins: 'The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser.'


@ReinerGrundmann said...

This is now becoming a fast moving field. There is a newspaper report on Andrew Weaver, probably Canada’s leading climate scientist, who is calling for replacement of the IPCC leader and an institutional reform.

Hans von Storch said...

I would suggest that we all remain reluctant in believing direct quotes; I myself have seen that a highly rated journal as "nature" is not doing a good job in this respect. (Even though I usually have good experiences with German, Swiss and Austrian journals and newspapers.)

Let us wait and pay attention if there will be objections of those supposedly quoted. Let's apply a certain grace period.

The Rose quote, attributed to Lal, I would no longer consider useful.

Marco said...

I would recommend a more direct link:
Get to the closest source possible might help, as well as some healthy skepticism when dealing with certain newspapers and/or journalists.

Werner Krauss said...

Not everybody is happy with the blaming of IPCC Pachauri. In the New York Times, John Thierney does not defend Pachauri, nor does he deny errors in the IPCC. But he does not accept the argument that Pachauri has a conflict of interests:

'I can’t defend that entire sentiment, because you obviously can attack some of the science in the I.P.C.C. report, not to mention other dire warnings in Dr. Pachauri’s speeches. But I do agree with his basic insight: Conflict-of-interest accusations have become the simplest strategy for avoiding a substantive debate. The growing obsession with following the money too often leads to nothing but cheap ad hominem attacks.'

Werner Krauss said...

I do agree with Beddington when he states that '“I don’t think it’s healthy to dismiss proper scepticism.”

Skepticism is a virtue in science; a scientist who is not skeptical is not really a scientist. It is one of the tragedies of the climate debate that skeptic became a negative term. But is a skeptic in the climate debate automatically a proper skeptic in the positive scientific sense? I don't think so. There are obviously many (I should say now: so-called) skeptics who are only interested in sabotage of anything that proves anthropogenic global warming. They jump on every bandwagon, and they tend to play foul. The current debate is of course wonderful for them, but I guess some of these skeptics are not at all interested in promoting better science; instead, they use the critique to foster their political agenda, which is dismissing climate change as a relevant political factor.

itisi69 said...

Wow... is that the same Andrew Weaver who said about IPCC AR4 that it “isn’t a smoking gun; climate is a battalion of intergalactic smoking missiles.”? Guess he has some explanation to do....

Der Heuchler demut ist zwifeltige hoffart...

P Gosselin said...

Yes, the AGW Titanic is now splitting im two.
The sceptism is hardly funded by special interests and big lobbyists.
Rather, sceptism gets its real oxygen and glucose directly from the sloppy, deceoptive and grossly faulty science cynically served out on platters of gold on an almost daily basis by so-called "real" scientists. The alarmists have only themselves to blame.
Sceptism would not have had a chance if the science of the last 20 years had been properly and seriously done. But it wasn't, and so sceptism has flourished and is now moving like a battleship, and is gaining allies.
Personally don't consider myself a sceptic. This is because I do not doubt the AGW hypothesis - I scoff at it.
The events of the last weeks and months confirm I was correct to do so. The science behind AGW is crap, and crap belongs in the dustbin. The sooner we wake up to this, the sooner we can return to proper scientific appraoch in the field of climate research.

@ReinerGrundmann said...

Hans, yes we should remain skeptical about direct quotes but it should also be safe to assume that a scientist who feels misquotes tries to correct this. Lal does not seem to have done this (readers please correct me if I missed something!)

The reference posted by another commentator on this blog was to Joe Romm's blog who said you should not believe when a paper quotes but try to verify ("anyone who was going to repeat this inflammatory charge — let alone draw any conclusions from it — ought to have made a simple phone call to Dr. Lal, don’t you think?" -- actually, a quite impossible task if you think about it)

So the fact that the only place where Dr Lal denies the strong charges is on Joe Romm's blog makes you think, well, what exactly was the nature of the phone conversation? Maybe we ourselves need to probe further, because relying on this source would not be prudent, and so it goes on...

However, on the same blog we also have this assessment which I find really interesting:

" John N-G says:
January 27, 2010 at 1:50 pm

An extract from my new blog posting on Atmo.Sphere at (the rest of the posting does not directly relate to Lal):

On a related matter, Joe Romm is very critical of a Daily Mail article by David Rose in which he quotes the author of the WG2 section, Murari Lal, as saying that he knew the estimate was from the gray literature rather than peer-reviewed and that it was put in because it might encourage policy-makers to take action. Romm reports on other amplifications of the article by Science News, which said “he knew there were no solid data to support the report’s claim”, and a US News blog, which said “If Lal knowingly perpetuated unsubstantiated speculation…” Romm then reports that he contacted Lal with the charges, and Lal called them “the most vilest allegations”.

There’s a world of difference from believing that the gray literature source was reliable (and therefore using it) and believing that the gray literature source was based on “unsubstantiated speculation” with “no solid data” (and using it anyway)! Perhaps this is the vile allegation that Lal is responding to, and I agree that it would be vile. But as Romm himself goes on to note (and I was mistaken about this myself), gray literature citations are allowed by the IPCC, especially in WG2 and WG3 reports.

I didn’t know David Rose from the Queen of Sheba when he called me last Friday to talk about my blog postings on the Himalayan glaciers. During the conversation, he told me he had just had an “extraordinary” conversation with Lal, and Rose then conveyed to me the substance of Lal’s remarks as he later reported them. So I have no doubt that Rose heard Lal say what he later reported. I also have no reason to believe that Lal thought that the projection was wrong or faulty. Where he went wrong, in my opinion, was in settling for an apparently reliable gray literature source rather than going to the WG1 experts who could have corrected him. And where Science News and US News went wrong was not in failing to check sources, but failing to carefully read and failthfully report the sources they had."

@ReinerGrundmann said...

Here is the url for the above post on Climateprogress (@43)

Hans von Storch said...

Maybe, Reiner, we should wait a bit longer, if anything robust shows up from Murari Lal. If not, I would volunteer to send him an e-mail asking him, if the specific quote in Rose's article is correct or not.

Marco said...

@Hans von Storch:
You could always try to contact Murari Lal anyways.

Note, however, that an accurate quote is not enough, it's the context in which the quote was made. I've just seen a piece of nonsense written by D'Aleo and Watts about the surface temperature record, in which they quote Mike Mann (from the e-mails), failing to note he was referring to the likes of D'Aleo and Watts (making allegations which can later be denied).

The big problem with Rose's article isn't directly the quote from Lal, but rather the writing around it suggesting they (=he) KNEW it was not correct, and put it in to pressure the governments anyway.

Tobias W said...

Marco: The "writing around it" is actually the quote. Therefore either he did say that he knew 2035to be bogus and published it to put pressure on the politicians, or he did not. So on the one hand we have a journalist Mr Rose that has been accused before of deliberately misquoting to prove his point. On the other we have a claim of "rebuttal" by Dr. Lal at Joe Romms, a known aktivist, blogg. Mr. Romm isn't exactly what i would call trustworthy.

Thus we have two people who have been known to take liberties with the truth before, now making claims completely opposite each other. I would think the sensible thing to do on this issue is to wait and see - as Mr von Storch suggesed.

@ReinerGrundmann said...

Tobias, good point, this is evidenced by recent exchange between both on Romm's blog:

" David Rose says:
January 27, 2010 at 3:26 pm

I did not misquote Dr Lal, and I have verbatim, contemporaneous notes of our conversation. I did not, however, accuse him of knowingly publishing false information, as others have implied. I only stated that he published the bogus 2035 glacier melting date despite being aware it did not rest on peer-reviewed literature.

I am surprised that in attacking me so volubly for what you claim was poor journalistic practice, you made no effort to put your false and frankly actionable allegations to me. I repeat: Dr Lal said what I reported."

To which Joe Romm responds:

[JR: You have done this twice now. First misrepresenting Latif, now Lal. YOUR paper's intentionally misleading headline -- "Glacier scientist: I knew data hadn't been verified" -- caused ALL of the confusion about whether you accused him of knowingly publishing false information. And now Lal has issued a statement asserting he did not say what you reported, so your threat is baseless. Sorry, but he is much more credible than you or your paper.]

Unknown said...

" Conflict-of-interest accusations have become the simplest strategy for avoiding a substantive debate. The growing obsession with following the money too often leaads to nothing but cheap ad hominem attacks.'"

That's rich coming from the the New York Times. The alarmists were the first ones to level accusations at the sceptics for being funded by 'Big Oil'

Werner Krauss said...

Reading the contributions concerning Dr Lal, I want to make the following suggestion:
Those participating in this manhunt should sign their comments here with their full name. I think that's only fair.

Marco said...

@all: if anyone distrusts Joe Romm, is Andrew Revkin more credible?
E-mail at the bottom, including response from Rose. I think the latter's response is rather funny: he misdirects his attack, and thinks he should have been contacted first before publishing. He didn't do so with Lal! Nor in his error-ridden piece quoting Latif and misrepresenting Keenlyside et al. Has he already corrected that one? (answer: no he didn't, despite being informed of his errors)