Friday, May 18, 2007

Former warmists seeing the light

According to the web site of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, a fair number of scientists who had once accepted the idea that global warming was occurring due to human activity have changed their minds after a deeper consideration of the evidence or after new research came to light. Thirteen scientists are listed at the site, along with their credentials and brief explanations for why they have changed their minds, which promises this is the "tip of the iceberg" and that a "more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report."

Here's one of the thirteen, scientist Tad Murty, who says, "If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary." Gus Van Horn, from whom I got that news, comments quote correctly,
This is good news, but it would be better news if we had a similar parade of politicians changing their minds about the proper purpose of government -- like Boris Yeltsin once did -- and taking firm public stands against the continued existence of the welfare state.

It is the notion that the government should be doing anything besides protecting individual rights that makes it even possible for the mess that is global warming hysteria to exist...

If the scientific tide really is turning against anthropogenic global warming, the efforts of such scientists may help in the short term, but until people no longer seek government solutions for everything, we will remain vulnerable for the indefinite future to what the government might do to us after similar episodes of public hysteria...
UPDATE 1: The parade of scientists coming out against global warming hysteria is now joined by a politician and a major publication doing the same. Follow the links. That's "a Global Warming Trifecta," says Gus Van Horn.

UPDATE 2: David Evans at the Mises site explains why, in his words "I Was On the Global Warming Gravy Train" -- "making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming" -- and why he jumped off the train.

The short reason for jumping is that the warmists' arguments don't stack up. The "pieces of evidence," he says, just kept falling away. The gravy train is now more about politics than it is about science.

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19 Comments:

Anonymous GeorgeP said...

That news release from the US Senate Committee is interesting -- although in the interests of fairness you should point out that it comes from the minority chair, James Inhofe, who famously called global warming "a hoax", a statement I doubt the scientists would likely agree with. (Their positions appear to be that the human component is overstated.)

Also, the release makes it clear that many of the scientists haven't had recent overnight conversions. Some of the statements date back to 2004, 2005. Many of them appeared in The Great Global Warming Swindle. So their positions are not news.

I have no doubt they hold their positions frankly and sincerely. Science is messy and there are disagreements. I just want to ask two questions.

First, are you actually seeking to play the game of balance, pitting the this number of sceptics against that number of advocates? Because it seems to me you would lose that game. (Even asking this makes me a little queasy because of the notion it's a game; it's not a game.)

Second, if (as you seem to believe) these scientists were brought to their positions by a dispassionate reading of the evidence, then what explains the positions of the large majority of scientists in the related fields?

5/18/2007 11:36:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

George, as I understand it James Inhofe famously called anthropogenic global warming "a hoax." There is a difference, and that's the difference that's in question here.

Q1: Are you actually seeking to play the game of balance, pitting the this number of sceptics against that number of advocates?

I'm reporting what isn't reported here in the MSM Gore-fest. When thirteen sober, serious scientists repudiate their earlier position, a position upon which we're all being politically beaten about the head, then that's something that's worth reporting. Don't you think so?

Q2:...what explains the positions of the large majority of scientists in the related fields?

You tell me? Perhaps beause as Richard Lindzen points out, before the whole theory of AGW was peddled climate science had a paucity of funding and no glamour at all. AFTER AGW however, there is $50 billion of funding, TV and radio appearances and global conferences all over the world, and a huge influx of new generation climate scientists eager not to bite the hand that's now feeding them.

The result has been more politics than science.

I'm finding it instructive, for example, watching Steve McIntyre at his Climate Audit blog take apart The Team , ie., IPCC scientists and Lead Authors like Phil Jones and Michael Mann and Keith Briffa and Lonnie Thompson and the like at the Climate Audit blog, seeing the paucity of genuine science (if not fraud) in their positions on, for example, the records and science behind the IPCC's work on the Urban Heat Island Effect (upon which their entire 20C surface temperature record depends) and the post-Hockey Stick wriggling from the IPCC.

See here for example these recent posts, where honest science is not entirely in evidence from The Team:
* Swindle and the IPCC TAR Spaghetti Graph
* More Evasion by Thompson
* More Phil Jones Correspondence
* Whitewashing the Temperature Record
* New Scientist, Juckes and Rob Wilson


What say you about those examples, George?

5/18/2007 12:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

I aput this on the wrong thread.
DRRRRR :-(

Tim Wikiriwhi said...
Here is a link to an important story on this topic from Wednesdays Waikato times about Waikato scientist "heated debate about over climate change" which has a lot of good stuff for you P.C.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikatotimes/4061788a6579.html

And BTW Did you know the Waikato university is Leading the charge of the Warmist's???
They Have set big time on this stuff!

5/18/2007 12:40:00 PM

5/18/2007 01:00:00 pm  
Anonymous GeorgeP said...

PC - Well-caught on the Inhofe quote. He was indeed talking about AGW. The use of the word "hoax", however, as well as his later opinion that AGW was "an article of religious faith" is hardly temperate language. Nor, I should point out, is your use of emotional words such as "peddled" or your insinuation that prominent climate scientists are engaged in fraud. I'm trying to have a serious discussion, but your language seems to indicate I won't find one here. I hope I'm mistaken about that. If not, I'll leave.

(By the way, this is a big reason I don't comment on your posts about Al Gore. Your re-naming him "Al Bore" is a schoolyard trick and hardly the stuff of civil and mature discourse. I hope you'll reconsider this immature tactic in future.)

As to your linking to Climate Audit, I've been through a lot of their stuff in the past, and did indeed read a couple of those posts when they came up. But I'm not a climate scientist and so couldn't really follow the more technical parts of the argument. I know I'm not alone in that. I do know they accuse "The Team" (as they put it) of bad faith and lack of transparency, while scientists posting at Real Climate accuse Climate Audit of bad faith and cherry picking.

So, one group contests the other over the science. How are we non-climate scientists supposed to make a decision?

Me, I look at the IPCC, which looks at the peer-reviewed research (including articles written from the 13 scientists on the Senate Committee in your original post) and concludes "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations" (from AR4, with "very likely" meaning more than 90% likely).

That seems pretty certain to me.

Is your position really to say that hundreds of scientists around the world are misrepresenting or, even worse, falsifying data in order to secure lucrative funding?

5/18/2007 02:02:00 pm  
Anonymous DenMT said...

PC - I think a definition of 'recently' is pertinent here. Surely to constitute a recent 'momentum shift' we are talking a close time scale, in the order of a couple of years, right?

But a peremptory scan of the names yields David Bellamy, Nir Shaviv, Chris de Freitas, and Zbigniew Jaworowski, all of whom are not only well-established AGW skeptics, but who are often quoted at length by skeptic media sources, and have been for more than 'recently'. To suggest that they are 'recent converts' (or I guess 'de-converts' if that's how you swing) to the skeptical pole of climate change science is bizarre.

I mean, the article itself includes some guy Dr Tad Murty as one of the 13 new recruits for Team Skeptic, but hang on: it goes on to say that he switched to the 'other side' in THE EARLY 1990's.

How this is anyone's definition of a recent shift in opinion is a mystery to me.

I hope I don't come across as being unfair, and missing a wider point, but honestly, the names above are a fair chunk of the 13 given as an example of recent converts, and they are anything but.

It seems very obvious that the original article was written to try and persuade it's audience that there is a growing recent shift in AGW proponents to switch sides. It is a specific point being made, that really fails to stand up under the lightest of scrutiny (I didn't look up the names I didn't already know). The use of long-established climate skeptics to illustrate it is a total undermining.

However, if you disagree, what would you suggest as a fair definition of 'recent'? Remembering of course that the article suggests a 'momentum shift', and one might truthfully suggest that the AGW momentum picked up with Gore's movie (and the article specifically mentions Gore at the start). I would suggest that the tacit suggestion is a post-Inconvenient Truth momentum shift to skepticism, which is not demonstrated at all.

DenMT

(Looking forward to the RealBeer review BTW! Hurry up, it's only short time before we down tools)

5/18/2007 03:22:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

Den, you're confused. Your peremptory scan should have been more detailed.

The 13 listed at the site are "the tip of the iceberg."

These thirteen are posted "along with their credentials and brief explanations for why they have changed their minds."

Now, IN ADDITION TO THOSE THIRTEEN, "a more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report."
posted area "more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming."

I think you really do need a beer, but sadly for you this latest Beer O'Clock is only useful if you're heading up to Auckland.

;^)

5/18/2007 04:41:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

George: You object to the use of "intemperate language!"

Christ, these bastards are trying to close down western industry, Al Bore is pissing on the whole world just so he can take a run at the Presidency ... and the greatest sin you can see is some "intemperate language!"

FFS, man. Get some perspective.

You say about what McIntyre has uncovered that "...one group contests the other over the science." They're not "contesting over science," he's exposing outright lies, lies that Gore and 'The Team' are more than happy to ... well, peddle, is the only word for it when it's so blatant.

5/18/2007 04:47:00 pm  
Anonymous DenMT said...

PC - The peremptory scan was the background for the article. The article itself was read in some detail!

Again, these guys cannot be seriously taken to be the 'tip of the iceberg' for scientists whose opinion has recently shifted. For Chrissakes, Chris de Freitas and Jaworowski have both been quoted back and forth for years by the CEI and TechCentralStation etc! It is simply not reasonable to suggest that the proffered names represent 'scientists who have recently shifted to Team Skeptic'. These guys have been well-established (at least the ones I recognised = about half) for some time and it is downright misleading to suggest otherwise.

I can't comment as to Inhofe's forthcoming deluge of recent converts to skepticism, only on what has been offered thus far. And if you're honest with yourself, how can you possibly agree with the article that these names (at least the ones I picked out) are representative of a recent (post Gore movie) momentum shift?

DenMT

(I certainly required a beer, BTW. I look forward to the RealBeer reviews both for the prosaic style and the vital information they impart.)

5/18/2007 04:58:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

"Again, these guys cannot be seriously taken to be the 'tip of the iceberg' for scientists whose opinion has recently shifted."

Again, they're not. THOSE guys are explaining WHY they changed.

The scientists who have "only recently spoken out" is another group.

Sheesh. Open that beer.

5/18/2007 05:25:00 pm  
Anonymous GeorgeP said...

I find it odd that in your original post you rail against "global warming hysteria" and then in a comment feel free to engage in a little alarmism of your own about the threat to "Western industry." Seems like a double standard to me.

As for your remarks about the "lies" of climate scientists, well, there's a forum to debunk those lies, and it's not the blogosphere. It's the peer reviewed literature.

I can say for a fact that if anyone had the goods on rising temperatures, they would instantly become the world's most famous scientist. What's stopping them ... unless they're wrong?

5/18/2007 05:57:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

"...and then in a comment feel free to engage in a little alarmism of your own about the threat to "Western industry."
The threat to Western industry from AGW hysterics can hardly be called alarmism. The idiotic proposals to reduce c02 are very definitely a threat to industry--which is exactly why China and India are ignoring Kyoto.
"As for your remarks about the "lies" of climate scientists, well, there's a forum to debunk those lies, and it's not the blogosphere. It's the peer reviewed literature."
Riiight..and we all know how well the peer review process is working, don't we?
And what's wrong with blogs debunking lies? You mean there's some kind of union closed-shop operating, where anybody who isn't a scientists "peer" isn't supposed to comment or expose outright lies?

5/18/2007 06:41:00 pm  
Anonymous GeorgeP said...

KG -- If we adopted your argument on peer review to other arenas, think where we would be.

Patients would self-medicate their leukemia because they wouldn't trust the closed-union shop of the medical profession.

Defendents in criminal proceedings would defend themselves.

Everyone would take the law into their own hands.

Home-owners would constantly be arguing with tradespeople about the right way to wire their homes, or fix the plumbing.

Of course there are instances of gate-keeping in peer review, and there are cases where journals slip through that shouldn't have.

On the other hand, the blogosphere is great at deciding which science is the best, right?

Yeah, right.

5/18/2007 07:20:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

georgep, I didn't make an argument about peer review--just that it wasn't working too well in this particular cse. (AGW)
And peer review certainly didn't stop Lancet making some outrageous claims, later found to be gross exagerrations, did it?
Taking the law into our own hands would be a bloody big improvement on the "law we have at present, where gang members run amuk yet a man is in jail for sedition.
Homeowners arguing with tradespeople about the right way to do things would be a pretty good idea too, given the leaky homes fiaasco--homeowners could hardly do worse than the regulatory authorities. :-)
I'm not suggesting that the blogosphere (at least, that part of it which isn't qualified in science) is a good judge of which science is right.
But the blogosphere as a whole is a finely-honed bullshit dtector and has a very real and valuable function when it comes to exposing junk science.

5/18/2007 08:22:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

sorry about the typos, it's been a long day.

5/18/2007 08:23:00 pm  
Anonymous Tim Wikiriwhi said...

It is very late so I am wondering if I get what George p is trying to say.
In my mind all the things GeorgeP suggests 'peer reviews' currently achieves is a bloody joke and I say would be a God send if they were done away with not a disaster.
In stead of gullibly accepting the pontifications of Statist doctors, Lawyers, and monopoly trade guilds people would actually start taking primary responsibility in all these areas.
I say Peer review in a statist system is a complete failure and is why State medicine, state law, and statist regulation of trades is a tyrannical fiasco!
It seems to achieve the very opposite of what George actually thinks.
They encourage the worst remedies at all times!
From race relations to global terrorism and poverty.
Man I wish all these bloody ‘institutions’ filled with ‘Peers’ were put in the trash where they belong!
The current peer reviews are what props Socialism up as they are all politicized!
How rare is it they come up with Data that opposes the state (who pays their wages!)
Divesting the state from supplying non-political services and reforming law to its most simple elements is the is the Libertarian dream and these ‘Peer’ monopolies would collapse.
It would not halt science, or Law, or construction,
It would simply put everyone on a level playing field instead of puppet intellectuals with political agendas being elevated to positions of influence for all the wrong reasons.
Peer groups would spontaneously form and their authority would be based upon the growth of respect they actually earn via truly being at the top of the game in the free market and only maintain that position by consistent performance.
Ie by reputation rather than political appointment.
They would have no power to influence the state to crush opposing views as is now the case (they are lobby groups!)
The people would be free and self responsible.
It is the politics of Statism that drives such things as global warming, the war on drugs, building regulations, welfarism etc.
Maybe I have missed Georges point.
Have I?
Was George actually saying the status quo is actually working and better than a Libertarian society?
Is George saying Peer reviews are impartial in today’s socialist environment?

5/19/2007 01:04:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

PEER REVIEW:
Conveniently, ironically or amusingly -- whichever you want to call it -- the recent failure of peer reviewed science was the subject of two articles in the latest Free Radical, one by Dr Vincent Gray, and the other by S. Fred Singer.

Singer points out sixteen examples of what he calls the breakdown of peer review, listed here with the primary peer reviewed article, and (where relevant) the name of the primary debunker of that article:

BREAKDOWN OF PEER-REVIEW SYSTEM: Examples with narratives and references

1. Supersonic Transport (SST)………………………………………………….Singer

2. “Limits to Growth” (1972)……Maddox, Simon, Singer, and recently Nordhaus, Lomborg

3. Nuclear Winter (Sagan et al in Science)……………………………….…….Singer

4. Acid Rain impacts …………………………………………………………….Singer

5. Solar UV and Skin Cancer …(J. Kerr in Science)………………………..Michaels et al

6. Arctic “ozone hole” (Anderson et al in Science) Singer

7. AGW in the 20th Century--before 1940 …(Wigley in Science)………………Singer

8. Fingerprint of AGW (Santer in IPCC-TAR)………………………..Michaels, Singer

9. Climate – Hockeystick (Mann in Nature)………………………McIntyre , Mc Kitrick

10. Scientific Consensus on AGW (Oreskes in Science)………………………….Peiser

11. Ocean Heat Storage – a “smoking gun” of AGW (Hansen et al in Science)…...Singer

12. AGW as the Cause of Disappearing Frogs (Pounds et al in Nature)……….Michaels

13. AGW and Human Health (Patz in Nature)……………………………….…..Goklany

14. Nuclear Winter Redux (Turco et al in Scinece 2007)

15. Sea Level Rise (Rahmstorf in Science 2007)

Singer says, "There are many other examples; it would take a book to discuss them fully. But we know enough to (1) demonstrate a breakdown in scientific standards, (2) examine the likely causes, and (3) suggest possible solutions." Which he very briefly does.

And then, perhaps ironically in view of your own disdain for the blogosphere George, he suggest as at least "a partial remedy" that "Either competition will slowly displace these journals or editors or their policies will change. Consider that the first successful attack on the Hockeystick was published in 'Energy & Environment', a relatively new journal. I was one of the referees of this paper. And then there is the Internet and blogs. I spend an increasing fraction of my time reading them and their critiques of published papers. I list some of them:

1. ClimateSceptics (Yahoo group) edited by Timo Hameranta/ David Wojick
2. Climateaudit.org by Steve McIntyre
3. CO2Science.org by Sherwood, Craig and Keith Idso
4. WorldClimateReport.com by Pat Michaels
5. ClimateSci.atmos.colostate.edu/ Roger Pielke, Sr
6. Prometheus--Science Policy Weblog Roger Pielke, Jr

7. JunkScience.com Steve Milloy
8. CCNet: www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/CCNet-Archive.htm Benny Peiser
9. Center for Science and Public Policy http://ff.org/centers/csspp/misc/index.html
10. NZ Climate Truth Vincent Gray
11. EnviroTruth.org National Center for Public Policy Research
12. And. of course, my own The Week That Was in www.SEPP.org "

So there you go.

5/19/2007 10:08:00 am  
Anonymous DenMT said...

PC said... "Again, they're not. THOSE guys are explaining WHY they changed.

The scientists who have "only recently spoken out" is another group."

Come on! The article is entitled "Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics". The introduction reads:

"Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics. The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven “consensus” on man-made global warming.

The list below is just the tip of the iceberg. A more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report."

Suggesting that the reader is not meant to infer that the named scientists are part of the 'recently amended opinion gang' is ridiculous! What you are saying is the article actually should be read as "...many scientists are changing their minds about global warming recently. Here are the names of some who changed their minds ages ago, and the reasons why."

If you are correct, then at the very least it is egregious journalism. But if you are honest, it is spin of the highest order.

DenMT

5/19/2007 01:07:00 pm  
Anonymous JC said...

"PEER REVIEW:
Conveniently, ironically or amusingly -- whichever you want to call it -- the recent failure of peer reviewed science was the subject of two articles in the latest Free Radical, one by Dr Vincent Gray, and the other by S. Fred Singer."

Also check "Post Normal Science"

http://tinyurl.com/2jngam

And read the Guardian article linked there.

This is the science where you decide the science isn't good enough so you "extend" the science you have in order to meet the urgency and importance you attribute to Global Warming.

JC

5/19/2007 01:08:00 pm  
Anonymous GeorgeP said...

Right. One more go around the bush and then I'm out of here. PC, I'm familiar with some of those sites you put up, but not all of them. I visit them occasionally. I'm familiar also with many of the mini-controversies, and I know how they've all been resolved -- overwhelmingly in favour of climate scientists who actively publish in the field.

Are you familiar with blogs written by such scientists: Real Climate, Stoat, Open Mind, Rabbitt Run, Only In It For The Gold, etc?

With all due respect, you appear to have been sucked into an alternate research world, where peer review doesn't seem to exist or is frowned upon. (That list of "debunking" by the increasingly marginal Fred Singer is risible. If you have the courage to look them up, see how they were really resolved -- this means looking outside your comfort zone. I do it often; that's why I'm here. Can you do the same?)

The list you've supplied reminds me of nothing as much as the alternate World Wide Web of creationist "science". Like creationist web sites, it's a perfectly warm little bubble.

I wish you well in it.

5/19/2007 06:07:00 pm  

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