Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pachauri and I.P.C.C. put into context by NYT

The New York Times has our favorite Klimazwiebel topic on page 1, and they put it into a specific context:
"Skeptics find fault with U.N.Panel'"

On the one hand, this article sees the critique of the I.P.C.C. as the work of the skeptics and the political right wing. They also add that the British newspaper (Telegraph and Times) are right wing newspapers. On the other hand, Pielke jr. gets space to express his arguments against Pachauri. Pilke jr. states that the whole conflict is pretty 'polarized', but he insists that Pachauri should resign from office:

“This is not about whether this is a good person or a good cause; it’s about the integrity of the scientific process,” Dr. Pielke said, adding: “This has become so polarized, it’s like you must be in cahoots with the bad guys if you are at all negative about Pachauri.”

This brings us back to a topic that I raised already several times: are you responsible for the friends you have?  What are the political implications of the campaign against the I.P.C.C.? And why right now? The New York Times raises these questions more or less explicitly; for European readers it might be important to know that skeptics in the U.S. are mostly identified with the right wing populists.


MikeR said...

Don't know what people in Europe think, but it may be worth mentioning that in America the New York Times is pretty well understood to be associated more with the political left wing than the right. It is generally good to compare what it writes with, say, the Wall Street Journal.

This particular article was not very balanced. They quote Pielke, but don't really let him say anything that makes sense. We all know that he has severe criticisms of the way his work was used in the IPCC report concerning climate-change-caused natural disasters, but the article mentions nothing of it.

And it says, "The report, they contend, misrepresents the state of scientific knowledge about diverse topics — including the rate of melting of Himalayan glaciers and the rise in severe storms — in a way that exaggerates the evidence for climate change." This is the closest the article comes to explanation what the skeptics are saying. But it doesn't say anyway the obvious fact that the skeptics were right about this: The section about Himalayan glaciers was wrong and entirely unsourced.
And so on. Not a very helpful article, unless your goal is to defend the IPCC and make the skeptics look like they just like to complain.

Rave said...

The "solutions" being put forward for CO2 seem to always require a massive expansion of government control over the economy. This is seen as a good thing by many on the left so they don't really require that much evidence to convince them to buy into the hysteria.

For people on the right these "solutions" are a nightmare come true which means they require a lot more evidence to convince them that action is necessary. That is why most sceptics tend to be on the right side of the political spectrum.

The difference in the standards of evidence required should come as no surprise. The same differences show up in almost every debate where uncertain science is being used to justify expensive policies.

Marco said...

@MikeR: quoting Pielke is one thing. But Monckton? MONCKTON? If he's a "leading climate skeptic", I hope all real and honest climate skeptics rapidly try and find a new name for themselves. The man's a "leading climate science distorter". Your claim that the article was meant more as support to the IPCC is immediately shut down by the NYT giving Monckton a label of credibility (even mentioning his actually low level advisor role to the Thatcher administration).

Hans Erren said...

@Marco I never heard you complain when you had your finest hour with Al Gore.
You have butter on your head, as we say in Holland.

Leigh Jackson said...

There is no IPCC policy on conflict of interest. Pachauri stoutly maintains that he does not benefit personally from his advisory role with various businesses.

It seems to me that an appropriate policy should be established and Pachauri should then be measured accordingly.

Marco said...

@Hans Erren:
I'm very sorry I attacked your ICSC policy board member for being the hack he is, while failing to attack Al Gore for making the occasional mistake and willingness to admit as such.

Anonymous said...

It is a sign of the desperation of the alarmists that they are trying to pretend that climate scepticism is all politically motivated.

The Guardian is a left-wing paper and recently has been writing some articles very critical of the IPCC and CRU (articles by Fred Pearce and George Monbiot). I wonder why the NYT chose not to mention this?

Tobias W said...

Marco: Could you please direct readers to a reference where Al Gore has ever admitted to mistakes and shown an interest in correcting them. I have personally failed to find any such thing, so please enlighten us...

Marco said...

@Tobias W: (find point 3)
Just two examples of Gore admitting he was wrong on issues related to global warming. Of course, he has frequently altered his speeches to include new information. But perhaps most importantly, he doesn't go around screaming there is a communist conspiracy to create a world government, and claim with extremely faulty math that he (yes he himself) has just proven just about all climate scientists wrong. He doesn't falsely claim certain people are under criminal investigation and that they have earned millions. Guess who has and still does? That's right: Christopher Monckton.

MikeR said...

@Marco, @Tobias. I don't think the mere fact that Monckton is quoted can make a partisan article fair. They quoted skeptics, but didn't let them say anything.

Monckton, Gore: Does it seem to you (as it seems to me) that you each respect the one you agree with, and not the other one? Demonizing your opponents is not a good thing.

I don't know if it matters, but the examples you posted of Gore changing his mind aren't very good. Changing his mind on corn ethanol is part of his current persona of Mr. AGW. It's like the American Democratic Party changing their minds on the Iraq War - it was an essential part of their strategy to take back the government. And the second case was when the scientist he quoted said that what was quoted was wrong. All you've proven is that he isn't dumb.
Surely it should be obvious that both men, like every one of the rest of us, change their minds sometimes? And sometimes are too slow to do so too - like the rest of us.

Hans von Storch said...

MikeR/10 asks

Does it seem to you (as it seems to me) that you each respect the one you agree with, and not the other one?

A valid assertion. Plus, often "you disrepect the one you disagree with", sometimes you even come up with unneccessarily rough language. May I ask you to try to end this practice and to try to condider the possibility that the "other" may , at least, not a bad person, but just a person, who has different views and values than you?

Tobias W said...

Marco: The first link article doesn't work and the second, well, it was sort of not really what I was thinking of. Admitting he was wrong on something which have shown itself to be, let's just say not good here so i keep to the etiquette, isn't really to say he has: "admitt[et] he was wrong on issues related to global warming." This issue isn't "closely" related to the global warming issue in my mind, however you are correct he did change his mind on something at least. What would be good was if he actually responded to the criticism of "An Inconvenient Truth", but sadly he hasn't.

And would you contest that Al Gore has made an astonishing fortune out of his "commitment" to global warming catastrophic fears? When he left as VP he was good for about 2 miljon dollars, today that figure is well over 200 miljon dollars. He is partner of a company that owns 10% of the Chicago Carbon Exchange, and the very minute that the cap-trade policy is ratified in the United States he will become a billionaire. Compare that with lord Monckton why don't you, see if you can find any equivalent conflicts of interest there.

Hans Erren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hans Erren said...

@marco no worry:
I'm very sorry I attacked Senator Albert Gore for being the hack he is, while failing to attack Lord Christopher Monckton for making the occasional mistake and willingness to admit as such.

See? it's all a matter of perception.

Bernhard Rems said...

Let's face it: a good deal of the critizism DOES come from the right wing, and a lot of it might be or is politically motivated.

This leaves people like me, who are highly sceptical about what goes on with the climate debate, and who considers himself to be a leftist liberal, a leftover of the green movement that was completely different to the nearly religious and out of this world green movement of today, in bad company.

But what the heck? I am NOT opposed to the scientific findings (I can't oppose them because I am a layman in that respect), but I am fiercly opposed to the sociological trend that becomes visible in the debate: The changing of a scientific concern into the prologue of a totalitarian, religious movement. What we see is a textbook example of what happens when power and influence accumulates, how reason has to surrender and interests take over. This is what happens, and it happens so fast because it finds an environment waiting and ready for this development. If you are old enough, think back: Compare what people allow authorities to regulate and to forbid nowadays, and what would have happened thirty or fourty years ago would they have done so back then. Today, rightists and leftists and centralists alike share the desire for regulation, restriction, for commands over dialogue.

I am really sad. It seems people have forgotten how creative, how rewarding and how inspiring an open society and an open discussion can be. People in the IPCC and in the society in general. I think it's highest time to bring back those virtues into our lives.

Marco said...

@Hans von Storch (and others):
I can never ever develop any form of respect for someone who is so often shown to be lying, making outrageous claims, and attacking science and scientists the way he has done and is still doing. Would you respect someone who claims you (yes, you, Hans von Storch) are part of a large conspiracy to create a communist one world government? While he does not mention you, he believes scientists that are claiming CO2 causes warming are part of a conspiracy.
Would you respect someone who claims people are under formal criminal investigation when in reality they are not?
Claiming John Houghton made millions from a charity, while in reality not even being involved in the charity?
Claiming Jackie Kennedy is responsible for 40 million deaths by getting DDT banned (she did no such thing)?
I could go on and on and on and on with lies and distortions thrown into the world by Christopher Monckton. They've been documented widely. But whereas a few stupid mistakes in the IPCC report result in an uproar by supposed climate skeptics, many of these same climate 'skeptics' link themselves to groups and coalitions that include people like Christopher Monckton. Apparently, truth is a fluid thing...

Marco said...

@Tobias W: I don't know why you can't get the first link to work. It's about Gore's false claim that a scientist said the arctic would be ice-free by 2014. Gore's office admitted the mistake.

Of course, the whole comparison between Gore and Monckton already fails considering that Gore never claims he is an authority on the topic, but constantly points to the scientists and what they tell him. That he makes mistakes in the translation is not uncommon, but those mistakes are generally rapidly (and widely!) corrected by several people (see e.g. the arctic ice issue). I don't know if my first response comes through, but anyone can look up the antics of Christopher Monckton and his version of facts and science.

Regarding Gore making money on carbon trading and green energy, there several issues that are left out when critics mention this:

1. The earnings from his investments go into the Alliance for Climate Protection

2. If Gore did *not* invest in green technologies, he'd be criticised for pushing something he apparently does not believe in himself!

And if you think Monckton does things for free: he's currently on a two-weeks-long all-expenses paid roundtrip in Australia. Earnings? At least $20,000.

Hans von Storch said...

Marco, I am certainly not impressed by Mr. Monckton. And I do not find him worth to be discussed in any depth. Let's forget about him. There are more intersting issues to be discussed and to argue about. - Hans

EliRabett said...

Sorry Hans, you need several Sister Soljah moments here before anyone takes you as anything but an opportunist. You may not find Monckton interesting, but curiously you do appear to find any other number of his opponents quite interesting

Tobias W said...

Marco: Regarding the fact that Gore retracted his statement about the receding artic ice (by 2014) at Copenhagen, it was because his bluff was called immediately by scientists at the conference (credit to them), and if he would have stood by them he would have been denying the undeniable!

You say: "1. The earnings from his investments go into the Alliance for Climate Protection" I say this is a truth with incredible moderation. He gives money to the "Alliance" but that doesn't mean that all the money goes there, which it certainly does not. The man is filthy rich, and he's been making money scaring the living sh*t out of people.

You say: "2. If Gore did *not* invest in green technologies, he'd be criticised for pushing something he apparently does not believe in himself!" This is a non-sequiteur! If you invest in companies that needs legislation for your investment to be able to capitalize, and you then issue campaigns for this legislation to go through, then that can hardly be called "innocent". He does it for money, just like the rest of them!

The fact is that mr Gore is a serial liar - nothing strange about that, he is after all a politician. Regarding mr. Moncktons measly earnings of 20000$for a hole month - please! Al Gore has made over 200000$ for speaking at single events. And you should at least concede to this; Al Gore is truly a bore to listen to, whereas Monckton is really quite amusing. Maybe it's a difference of "class":-)!

Marco said...

@Tobias W:
Denying the undeniable is the hallmark of many a climate 'skeptic'. Take Monckton approvingly pointing to Plimer, while the latter actually claims a very high climate sensitivity, whereas Monckton claims a very low climate sensitivity.

Re. 1: Filthy rich he would be regardless, and I don't see him "scaring the living sh*t out of people". He's usually quite positive about only needing small changes to make a big difference.

Re. 2: Non-sequitur or not, the fact remains that he *would* be attacked if he didn't invest in green technologies. Of course, Al Gore has been backing a carbon tax for years, something he would not earn anything on, but this was politically not possible.

Re your last point: yes, let's go after the showman, and not the one who is MUCH more factually correct, because he is 'boring'. Going for appearances rather than the content, is this really the way you want it to be?

Tobias W said...

Marco: If all Gore were more factually correct I would agree with you, but he is in fact nothing but a scaremonger. My point is that they are for each "movement" the same; a populariser of the respective movements ideas. And my point then is that, well, at least lord Monckton is funny!

"Denying the undeniable is the hallmark of many a climate 'skeptic'." Well then Al Gore must be a 'skeptic' - great news (if he wasn't such a bore anyway:-)!

Ps. How would he be "filthy rich regardless? The man was worth 2 miljon dollars when he left office, and because of his investments in the same venues that he's advocating it has made him in excess of 200 miljon dollars. Seriously, my friend, don't you think that makes some kind of conflict of interest?Ds.

Marco said...

@Tobias W:
Let's discuss the factual errors of Al Gore! In quite a few cases the "error" is one of supposition of what he meant.

And when he left office is 2001. At that time he was promoting a carbon tax, with the tax being used to lower income taxes. He *still* promotes it as a better choice than cap-and-trade, but sees the latter has more political backing. Quite interesting, repeatedly mentioning (what you consider) a better solution which would cost your investment company money...