The Unbearable Politeness of Being [a man-made climate change sceptic]

argueIt cannot have escaped readers’ notice that there have been various ‘opinions’ on the quality, not only of “sceptic” [sic] arguments, but also with regard to the tone with which they are presented to the opposition. These opinions have been voiced privately and publicly from fellow sceptics and AGW proponents alike. They range from the valid to the risible, and from highly critical to supportive.

There’s a serious point to be made here. We are all human—even Lewandowsky, as Brad points out in timely and inimitable fashion—and as such are ever tempted into human-like responses when engaging with people whose opinions and values differ from our own and who we may find disagreeable on the basis of those opinions and values, plus their perceived behaviour. Do we remain (as some do) scrupulously polite and unflappable, never stooping to jibes or sarcasm or even outright insults, or do we sometimes give in to our baser instincts and indulge in retorts which are emotive and likely to result in our opponents taking ‘offence’ and/or dismissing our wider argument on the basis that we cannot state it civilly?

As an example of somebody who always seems to me to remain polite and factual, even in the face of personal insults and provocation from her ‘esteemed’ colleagues, I would point out Professor Judith Curry. I have not once seen her resort to anything stronger than very mild sarcasm when engaging with people who criticise her sceptical viewpoint. Of course, she is a professional scientist, and so perhaps less susceptible to sniping, but there again, so are her peers. I admire her for that and I am sure it riles her opponents that they cannot criticise her ever on the basis of her ‘tone’, just the arguments she presents, which, though not impossible to criticise, very often don’t leave much wriggle room for her detractors. Other sceptics who remain polite even when provoked are Matt Ridley, Peter Lilley and Nigel Lawson. For us lesser mortals though, do we strive to attain such perfection or do we follow our instincts occasionally?

The problem sceptics face is that there is almost always an unspoken, or explicitly stated, assumption on the part of the opposition that their argument is crap. This is because Science, it is because Consensus, it is because IPCC says ‘extremely likely’, it is because people like (peer-reviewed) Lewandowsky say ‘ideational conspiracists’. Attendant with this assumption often comes an attitude from the opposition which is derogatory and patronising, both on the part of those whose technical grasp of the science ‘qualifies’ them to be dismissive in this respect, but also on the part of those AGW/Green Blob advocates who blindly defer to authority to launch their scathing and low-info rebuttals of their opponents’ arguments. But that’s not even the worst of it. Often, sceptics will meet with the response that they should be censured and censored for their ridiculous (probably fossil fuel funded) anti-science opinions, even thrown in jail for imperiling humanity and the earth by disseminating such garbage. Is it any wonder then that sometimes sceptics ‘lose it’?

There’s no easy answer to the conundrum of whether to engage politely, sometimes sarcastically, or extremely abrasively. It will depend a lot upon one’s character and personal experiences. From my own perspective, politeness is the default setting, but a setting which can be (and occasionally is) overridden by circumstance (usually a response to an insult from the other side or extreme and very irritating stupidity—in my opinion, of course). What works, what is effective and what is counterproductive is also not written in stone. Sometimes, non-emotive facts might fail where well-aimed sarcasm and insults might hit home, at least at that moment. In the long run, politeness and a concentration upon factual arguments (inasmuch as our complex climate system allows us to discern ‘facts’ and inasmuch as facts are not conveniently set aside in the pursuit of political expediency) should win out.

160 thoughts on “The Unbearable Politeness of Being [a man-made climate change sceptic]

  1. “What works, what is effective and what is counterproductive is also not written in stone.’

    And indeed, we’re seeing that being played out in US politics at the moment. Without offering an opinion on him, it seems the more Donald Trump is demonised by the Democrats, and the bulk of the Media, and the Republican party hierarchy, the more those pesky voters seem to vote for him.
    That is not supposed to happen.

    I will confess to thinking that the whole spectacle is tremendously good fun to watch, seeing ever rising apoplexy from people who themselves appear just a little bit too comfortable in their views of how the world ought to work.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I started out polite. That was over 10 years ago.

    Since then I have been directly insulted by those with whom I have conversed and indirectly by those who wouldn’t know a sceptic if we wore a sign. I’m not especially fussed by being called a denier but when people use it, they’re fair game for insults as far as I’m concerned. I know that ATTP likes to throw his skirts over his head and scream like a gothic novel matron when he triggers abuse but you have to remember his first contributions. He certainly wasn’t the reasonable university grownup then that he tries to play now (and fails).

    I used to worry that sensible people could be scared off by bad behaviour but there’s nobody out there looking. The only people here have already made their mind up. We’re just waiting for the climate to make a strong enough signal to see what’s in store for the next 30 years. Those who pop up now and then to say “I would have taken you seriously but…” are lying. This is the internet. If you don’t know that the internet is something of a free for all, you shouldn’t be on it. Alternatively you filter out the voices you don’t want to hear and engage with those that make sense, without judging them by the company they keep. Incidentally, it’s a good tactic for warmists to encourage sceptics to fracture into smaller and smaller units by excluding those who are less temperate. Listen to them and you’ll be multiple communities of one. On the whole warmists bore each other and the thing that keeps ATTP’s site going is that it spends a lot of time bitching about sceptics.

    When sceptics have been approached to bridge the gap and members have agreed, the other side just used it to start making rules about how we can behave of who should be excluded. There’s no real engagement.

    I’ve stopped hoping that the wider world is going to have a Eureka moment and come looking for sceptic opinions. The best we can hope for is that at some point they stop referring to it and pretend that they were never really taken in by the hype. Energy policy will have to lead the way, no matter what effect CO2 has.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. …I am sure it riles her opponents that they cannot criticise her ever on the basis of her ‘tone’, just the arguments she presents, which,… very often don’t leave much wriggle room for her detractors.

    Are you kidding or have you just not seen how she is regarded by her “detractors”? If she ever had any credibility, she lost it long ago. e.g. https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/we-can-never-know-anything/

    On civility, I’m civil if people are not rude to me. ATTP too, I think. Try it.

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  4. Tiny,

    “I used to worry that sensible people could be scared off by bad behaviour but there’s nobody out there looking. The only people here have already made their mind up. We’re just waiting for the climate to make a strong enough signal to see what’s in store for the next 30 years. . . .
    Incidentally, it’s a good tactic for warmists to encourage sceptics to fracture into smaller and smaller units by excluding those who are less temperate. . . . . I’ve stopped hoping that the wider world is going to have a Eureka moment and come looking for sceptic opinions. The best we can hope for is that at some point they stop referring to it and pretend that they were never really taken in by the hype.”

    Ive never really thought about it that way, but I tend to agree with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Raff,

    “Are you kidding or have you just not seen how she is regarded by her “detractors”? If she ever had any credibility, she lost it long ago. e.g. https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/we-can-never-know-anything/

    You proved my point. Her arguments didn’t lose credibility of themselves; she just lost credibility with her peers who decided her arguments weren’t to their liking. If her scientific reasoning lacked all credibility, do you really think that she would have been invited to provide testimony at the US Senate committee?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tiny,
    I kind of agree with this

    I used to worry that sensible people could be scared off by bad behaviour but there’s nobody out there looking. The only people here have already made their mind up.

    I don’t think it excuses bad behaviour, but it is quite likely that – overall – bad behaviour is largely irrelevant.

    Jaime,

    If her scientific reasoning lacked all credibility, do you really think that she would have been invited to provide testimony at the US Senate committee?

    I think that – in a sense – that is the only reason Judith was invited.

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  7. Her arguments didn’t lose credibility of themselves; …

    Oh really? Here is one – where is the credibility in this:

    I think the Brumbergs are correct to conclude:

    In our view, the fact that so many scientists agree so closely about the [causes of the] earth’s warming is, itself, evidence of a lack of evidence for [human caused] global warming.

    She lost it all by herself by concluding that.

    If her scientific reasoning lacked all credibility, do you really think that she would have been invited to provide testimony at the US Senate committee?

    Was she invited by people who know anything about climate or by the likes of Cruz who don’t? It makes a difference.

    Jaime, she made a pretty good show of not demonstrating her supposed lack of credibility.

    No all she did was raise a few common skeptic talking points that have no credibility as arguments against AGW with anyone but skeptics. Do you really think that anyone rattling off such a list is taken at all seriously?

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  8. Judith Curry also runs a very light moderation policy on her blog, allowing a great amount of to-and-fro by all sorts.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jaime, just for the record, I don’t dispute that AGW is “real” (it may or may not be), I just deny that it’s worth caring about. Having said that, the continual argument from consensus makes me increasingly suspect that not only is CAGW a myth, so is AGW.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Raff,

    “No all she did was raise a few common skeptic talking points that have no credibility as arguments against AGW with anyone but skeptics.”

    Perhaps then you would care to demonstrate the lack of credibility of those “talking points”.

    It seems obvious to me that you have not read and understood the points made in the article by the Brumbergs otherwise you would not so easily dismiss their summary statement and then go on to dismiss out of hand Curry’s credibility for agreeing with it. You also left out this vital context from Curry’s blog:

    “This essay provides an important insight in the K/C ratio — the ratio of knowability to consensus.

    There is genuine scientific consensus on the following points:

    global temperatures have increased overall since 1880
    humans are contributing to a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations
    CO2 emits and absorbs infrared radiation

    For the most consequential issues, there remains considerable debate:

    whether the warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes
    how much the planet will warm in the 21st century
    whether warming is ‘dangerous’
    whether radically reducing CO2 emissions will improve the climate and human well being.”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. “I don’t think it excuses bad behaviour,” ATTP

    Pot and kettle. You’ve casually insulted people you don’t know by labelling them deniers and routinely sneering at them. You’ve turned a blind eye to insulting and agressive comments on your site. Your original site was hardly an open and honest attempt to bridge the gap between sides, Are you sure you never strayed into bad behaviour? Or do you think it’s ok if the subject deserves it? Personally I don’t think there’s much difference between being smugly superior in your attititude and being plain offensive. The former is just less direct.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Brad,

    Just for the record, I don’t deny that human CO2 emissions might cause the planet to warm. I question the certainty of the IPCC attribution statement. I question the lack of empirical evidence for an anthropogenic fingerprint on climate. I question how much warming has and will occur in relation to natural influences on climate. I question the validity of global circulation models which predict a very significant anthropogenic effect upon climate in the future.

    All these subtleties are lost – with me as with almost every other sceptic – by popular resort from representatives of the Consensus opposition to the epithet “Denier!”, usually uttered with venom, and with or without the holding up of a small wooden cross or bottle of Holy Water.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Jaime,

    I don’t even bother questioning anything the IPCC says, since it’s not science. Their ARs are written to conform to their SPMs, which are written by the politicoscientific method. I won’t dignify it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Tiny,
    Why don’t you try reading my comment again and interpreting it in a manner consistent with what I actually said, not in a manner consistent with what you think I said. You seem to have added a lot of things that I didn’t actually say, not mean.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jaime, it was a self-evidently stupid conclusion for JC to agree with. Or are you saying it has some sense?

    On skeptic talking points, the method is this: take a very large body of knowledge about climate all of which has been researched and discussed at length. Ignore the bulk of the evidence that points one way and present your favourite uncertain parts instead. That is not the way to be credible.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jaime, you conclude with

    In the long run, politeness and a concentration upon factual arguments (inasmuch as our complex climate system allows us to discern ‘facts’ and inasmuch as facts are not conveniently set aside in the pursuit of political expediency) should win out.

    I would disagree with this. “Politeness and a concentration upon factual arguments” should win out if all participants accepts those principles. But this is not the case. Josh summed this up a couple of years ago with respect to a persistent and vicious troll a couple of years ago.

    There’s been a bit of closet trolling recently, a pretence if being polite but blatantly not, and generally trying to derail posts. Fortunately we have a helpful cartoon for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What is a “factual argument”? An argument that contains facts, perhaps.
    Can a factual argument be wrong? Obviously, but my impression is that many skeptics don’t understand that.

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  18. ATTP – is it annoying when someone takes part of what you write and then ignores the wider point to concentrate on just part of it to score points? Welcome to our world.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Tiny,
    Actually, I find it slightly more annoying when someone who’s clearly done it then plays the victim. My original comment was genuine. You could always read it again and think about it a little.

    Like

  20. Raff says:

    “On skeptic talking points, the method is this: take a very large body of knowledge about climate all of which has been researched and discussed at length. Ignore the bulk of the evidence that points one way and present your favourite uncertain parts instead. That is not the way to be credible.”

    But a handwaving one short paragraph explanation of the ‘method’ sceptics employ to create talking points was not what I asked for. I asked him to demonstrate the lack of credibility of Curry’s reiterated sceptic “talking points”, thereby demonstrating Curry’s lack of credibility. I got the above. I don’t take that reply seriously. I’m pretty sure that Judith Curry (a Professor and former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who also serves on the NASA Advisory Council Earth Science Subcommittee, who is also a recent member of the NOAA Climate Working Group and a former member of the National Academies Space Studies Board and Climate Research Group) will probably also not take it seriously.

    So alas Raff, unless you can come up with a “factual argument” (which many sceptics apparently fail to understand – but which I’m sure you understand very clearly) to support your contention that Curry lacks credibility by demonstrating the lack of credibility of one or more of her ‘talking points’, then Curry’s credibility remains very much intact.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. While trolls here are probably a worthy object of study, as a secondary or tertiary part of whatever keeps the 1.5 trillion dollar CO2 Alarm Industry on the road, it is hard to be charitable about them. Their insolence, impertinence, ignorance and bad-manners are tiresome, although I note some hints of improvement of late. They may well serve as carriers of current arguments and attitudes over on the screamy-side of things, and that could be useful intelligence for any passer-by who might wish to engage with them. I wish I could be more charitable, but it is not easy. Here is a quote from the German theologian Bonhoeffer, who himself engaged with dark, and ‘green’, forces in his own day:

    “Against stupidity we are defenseless,” he wrote, because imbeciles never feel a qualm. Against the stupid “neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything … reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict … simply do not need to be believed … and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. In all this, the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack.”

    The efforts by some Attorney-Generals in the States recently seem to quality as ‘going on the attack’: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/04/24/letter-are-these-politicians-lying-or-just-stupid/ , and other examples of apparent imbecility are not hard to find, most prominently perhaps in the bio-fuels and other ‘renewables’ sectors of the Industry. But this is serious stuff, with a great deal of suffering being caused and being promoted in various ways.

    It is good for us to consider how best to interact with our trolls, but it is, to say the least, a sideshow.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Credibility with whom, Jaime? I’m sure she is creidble to people like you who think that ignoring the bulk of evidence that points one way and presenting only the uncertain parts instead is valid form of argument. Even if everything she said in the hearing was in itself true, that doesn’t make her credible.

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  23. Raff, please demonstrate that Curry’s testimony was illustrative of her personal lack of credibility. Demonstrate also that one or more of the specific points that she raised were not credible arguments against the assumption that man-made global warming is a significant threat to humanity and the planet, now and into the future. Do this or cease the conversation.

    Like

  24. “The most surprising, though, was a retired member of staff who came up afterwards and started with how poorly James Hansen’s 1988 predictions turned out (this suggests otherwise), moved on to the pause, and then said that he thought we could be heading for an ice age. At that stage, I decided that there wasn’t much point in carrying on and suggested we stopped there. He followed me back to my office claiming that I was incapable of rebutting his suggestion; it felt like real life social media. ”

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I’m afraid I can’t be polite here. attp has and always will demonstrate that he’s an @$$#0!&

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  26. She lost credibility long ago. To end a conversation all one need do is stop talking (or writing).

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  27. This is interesting and illustrative of the whole point of this post. There comes a point in conversations with the opposition where you are making no headway whatsoever, where reason (and politeness) have failed, where it becomes obvious that your opponent will never accept what you consider to be a reasonable appeal to a logical and factual argument – nor you their apparently irrational argument: you therefore become exasperated and irritable and you are tempted to resort to sarcasm or worse. You may be right Raff, but I strongly suspect you are wrong, very wrong, in this instance – but we are never going to get to the point where a dispassionate appraisal of the points raised in this conversation will favour either one of our viewpoints, largely because we do not have a neutral audience who would be willing and able to act as referees in this regard.

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  28. As Raff and ATTP point out, only skeptics insult. We never do. Ever. And if we have (which we haven’t), it is because we have been abused again and again without provocation.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. As Raff and ATTP point out, only skeptics insult.

    I certainly didn’t say this, and it’s certainly not true for me; I haven’t always behaved as I would have liked. However, I’m the only person responsible for this and am well aware that if I choose to insult someone, I can either apologise later or accept that further discussion is unlikely. Sometimes, the latter is the intent.

    So, a few comments about this post and the comments.

    1. There seem to be people suggesting that it’s acceptable to be rude and unpleasant because it’s justified. Even if this were true, it doesn’t change that it will largely make any future meaningful discussion impossible. If this is what you want, that’s fine, but why then go around complaining when you’re blocked on Twitter, or moderated/banned on other blogs. If you’re choosing to be rude and unpleasant that would seem to be an obvious outcome that you should simply accept.

    2. Some seem to suggest that somehow it’s the fault of others. As far as I’m concerned, you’re responsible for your own behaviour, even if provoked. Trying to suggest otherwise, just seems like a cop out.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Ken,

    “Some seem to suggest that somehow it’s the fault of others. As far as I’m concerned, you’re responsible for your own behaviour, even if provoked. Trying to suggest otherwise, just seems like a cop out.”

    I don’t see anybody here suggesting or even seeming to suggest that their rude behaviour can actually be blamed upon the bad behaviour of the other side. Of course we are all personally responsible for our own actions and diminished responsibility due to provocation is not a defence. It is never a defence when those attempting to engage politely with AGW advocates are rebutted with ‘denier’, for example.

    I also don’t see anybody really saying that rudeness is acceptable, only that it may be justified, which is not quite the same.

    Like

  31. Jaime,
    I was thinking about this in your post

    Is it any wonder then that sometimes sceptics ‘lose it’?

    Maybe not quite blaming it on others, but finding an excuse. Okay, I’ll grant you that that was maybe an over-interpretation. My main point was about arguing that it was justified. Maybe so, but that doesn’t change that resorting to it largely negates any possibility of any kind of meaningful exchange. So, if skeptics would like there to be meaningful exchanges then surely they should aim to be pleasant and polite? Similarly if others would like there to be meaningful exchanges, they should do the same?

    Like

  32. “As Raff and ATTP point out, only skeptics insult. We never do. Ever. And if we have (which we haven’t), it is because we have been abused again and again without provocation.”

    Sophia,
    “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” You are ‘driving by’ too fast.

    “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” is a quotation from the 1599/1600 play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It has been used as a figure of speech, in various phrasings, to describe someone’s too frequent and vehement attempts to convince others of some matter of which the opposite is true, thereby making themselves appear defensive, and insincere. (from Wikipedia)

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  33. “So, if skeptics would like there to be meaningful exchanges then surely they should aim to be pleasant and polite?”

    Absolutely Ken, but it is my experience that the lack of any meaningful, useful or constructive exchange often precedes the descent into rudeness, name-calling and insults. The door is almost closed even before it is slammed firmly shut by an exchange of bad-mouthing.

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  34. Jaime,

    The door is almost closed even before it is slammed firmly shut by an exchange of bad-mouthing.

    Possibly, but – with some exceptions – I haven’t seen much of evidence of real attempts to start off politely.

    Like

  35. Ken at 08 May 16 at 12:01 pm
    How can a meaningful exchange take place, when you troll comments under a pretence if being polite, and generally try to derail posts? What is meaningful outside of your own bigoted opinions?

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Dr. Curry sure is wrong about this consensus issue, but that doesn’t mean she’s lost all credibility. And yes, she did have plenty of credibility before. One thing I cannot stand about this debate is all the slandering that goes on. If you want to dismiss everything a person says and claim that they’ve lost all credibility from one quote that they agreed with, then there’s indication you don’t have much else to argue with. Attack the points, not the man (or woman, in this case.)
    As ATTP says, there is no justification for being rude and impolite, and you, not someone else, are responsible for how you debate, how you engage with others.

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  37. Sofia,
    Another illogicality. You are ‘driving by’ much too fast. Slow down and smell the flowers.

    Like

  38. Ken at 9.10pm
    You reply shows that my comment is accurate. If it was false you would have said so, as it is clearly falsifiable with evidence. But you chose to say put forward the opinion that the comment is “bizarre”. That is a deflection.
    I suggest others follow the links and make up their own minds.

    When Jaime said we should look at politeness and a concentration upon factual arguments the were two parts to this. The second part is in opposition to baseless opinions. But with limited knowledge and vague theories, we will always have to form opinions. With a complex subject like climate (particularly when it impinges on policy questions) those opinions will be different depending on the waiting given to different elements. The only way forward for the best understanding is then to compare and contrast the different perspectives. If you use the ATTP method of starting with a set opinion, then you will end up relying on opinion of others and deflecting away the understanding real world – that is moving towards the purely factual statements independent of opinion. This I found with Ken’s approach to the issue of temperature homogenisation.

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  39. Manic,

    You reply shows that my comment is accurate. If it was false you would have said so, as it is clearly falsifiable with evidence.

    Hmm, really? You really do say some silly things. Is this how you normally assess evidence? And your temperature homogenization post is pathetic. The reason I don’t bother responding to your questions is because I have so little respect for you, both in terms of your understanding of this topic and your basic common decency, that there isn’t any point. Maybe when I asked you not to email me again, you could have got the hint. Instead you now seem to simply go around insulting me on blogs and making things up. I’m more than happy to be polite and have discussions with people who are willing to do the same. Given that you obviously are not willing to do so yourself, I have no interest in discussions with you, polite or not.

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  40. And Then’s Ken,

    You remind me of the sketch by Peter Cook, where he plays Greta Garbo being driven through the streets in a tank poking her head out and shouting to anyone who cares to listen (through a megaphone): “I want to be alone!”

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  41. “I also don’t see anybody really saying that rudeness is acceptable, only that it may be justified, which is not quite the same.” Jaime

    Exactly. But in addition, I call out those who spend consideral time insulting others with their tone or viewpoint, then acting outraged when others insult them more directly.

    For example – I’ve seen Katherine Hayhoe on tv ‘communicating with those who disagree with her’ which was code for finding people who don’t know enough about the science to debate with her and making them look stupid. She clearly steers clear of those who have replies to her arguments and labels them all jerks. She may not have said that sceptics are all nasty idiots but that’s the impression she want’s the wider world to get. Slimy. Oreskes’ and Dr Lew’s output is all about insulting sceptics. Very slimy.

    Now I’d prefer that people didn’t slide into plain abuse because it’s too easy for them to use as proof we’re all nasty know nothings, but I can well understand it.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. It’s an insidious tactic Tiny. Insult someone indirectly by patronising them, then feign offence and immediately occupy the moral high ground when you are insulted directly for playing such an underhand game.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. That is ATTP’s tactic, and it is mainly a tactic of the political Left – because they are usually operating from a position of weakness.

    For eg, ATTP, under his real name, called me the ‘d’ word. He then ran away when I gave it back. If he someone interested in civil conversation – as he claims – why would ‘denier’ be his first line in a conversation?

    You can see the same tactic in use by Islamist operatives, or any religious fundamentalists for that matter. Inside their communities, women wear veils, children don’t speak up and the mores and rigid and hierarchical. Outside, these operatives venture and use your own ‘free speech’ codes against you. Which is why his own blog has three pages of rules but he comes here to troll others about civility.

    If you are skeptical in the climate world, as time passes, you are going to look back at your own civility tomorrow and cringe.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. Shub, I think Donald Trump is a reation against the same tactic. Slyly insult him and he verbally punches you in the face. When you have a fit of the outraged vapours he hits you again. It’s a curious phenomena to watch, if at the same time alarming.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. TinyCO2,
    Trump learned from recent political history. The Democrats and the MSM went after President Bush like ‘attack dogs’ beginning late in his first term and throughout his second term — Bush never once responded to the criticisms and personal insults that were heaped upon him en mass, especially by the late-night ‘cats’ on the comedy circuit, and by the time he left office, he was widely unpopular. Even 4 years after he left office, Bush was still subject to ridicule and being blamed for all the country’s problems. In other words, Bush was made to appear weak and ineffective because he refused to stand up and defend himself.
    Trump has publicly stated on multiple occasions: You hit me and I will hit you back. A ‘real dog’ doesn’t take crap from a ‘cat’.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Now you do seem to be doing what I suggested. You’re justifying bad behaviour on the basis of others being patronising. Seriously, if you’re going this far, then essentially you’re going to use any excuse. Seems to me that there isn’t some form of behaviour that you won’t find reason to criticise and to use to justify your own behaviour. Oh, and for record, if I’ve banned someone from my blog and blocked them on two Twitter accounts, then it should be pretty obvious that I’m not interested in any conversations with them. You’d think this wouldn’t be difficult to work out.

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  47. If you want to sit in judgement, perhaps you ought to tell us your criteria and we can tell you if you’ve fallen foul of your own rules. Or indeed how many of your buddies on your web site might have strayed over the line.

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  48. ATTP:

    “You’re justifying bad behaviour on the basis of others being patronising. Seriously, if you’re going this far, then essentially you’re going to use any excuse.”

    No, I was saying that was a snide tactic employed by people on your side of the argument which often provokes a poor response which is then used by people on your side to justify accusations generally of impoliteness, bad behaviour and even ‘bullying’ from sceptics. Slight difference – and is that really going so far that it implies we will use any ‘excuse’? Halitosis? Bad haircut? Shifty expression on profile pic? Get real Ken, nobody likes to be patronised, especially when it’s not justified, especially when it’s often coming from people who are in no position themselves to feel superior, except via proxy appeal to authority and scientific ‘consensus’.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Jaime,
    My point was that if you’re at “they’re being patronising” then I think you’re just looking for excuses to be criticial.

    Tiny,
    I’m not really the one passing judgment, you are. I guess my view is simple. If you want to have a discussion with someone, you don’t get to decide if your tone is appropriate, or not; they do. If someone wants to block me on Twitter, that’s fine. If someone wants to ban me from a blog, that’s also fine (been banned from 3, I think). If I really cared, I should have been more careful to conduct myself in a manner consistent with what they regarded as acceptable (in the case of Paul Homewood’s blog, this would seem to require being a raging conspiracy theorist). If I don’t care (which I don’t) then I just move on. People don’t have to talk with me, and I’m not required to talk with others if I don’t want to. That’s the key point; if not being able to converse with some people on the other side of the debate bothers you, then you get to work out how to conduct yourself in a manner that is more suitable. Of course, if you don’t really want to converse with others, but just want to complain about them apparently stopping you from doing so, carry on.

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  50. In the Physics Troll’s comments at 6:44 am the need for clear principles if we are to understand the issues of climatology. There is a lot to learn from the Troll’s methods in what not to do.
    First is if you have been booted off blogs for vicious trolling, who really should time out to for reflection, rather than continuing elsewhere. Anthony Watts pointed to a peer-reviewed study of internet trolls, which found

    trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores.

    He gave the Physics troll as an extreme example. Considering his behaviour on my blog and here, I too agree with Anthony Watts. The troll has no place in any comments section. But do not accept my evaluation, but look at the troll’s comments on this blog in the last couple of months. Or search on my blog for aTTP.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. A second aspect is to apply the same standards to yourself as you expect of others. At the ATTP blog the comments policy is this

    Constructing an argument
    One of the biggest issues I have is situations where someone (who should be capable of doing better) seems unable to actually construct a coherent argument. If you think you understand something and your explanation, or view, differs from those of others, try to actually construct a coherent argument. Provide evidence (links to other work).
    Also, if you do start a discussion about something, finish it before moving on. Don’t simply hop to a new topic before you’ve acknowledge the response you get from others. If you want to change topic, try to find some way to end the previous discussion.

    Now look at the troll’s comments of 6.44am and evaluate for yourselves if he adheres to the principles he imposes on others.

    Liked by 2 people

  52. A third aspect is that the Physics Troll does not consider at 6.44am is allowing for bias. We all have our biases, but if we want to develop true understanding of issues where beliefs play apart – whether religious, ethical or political – it is necessary to understand the arguments of other perspectives. The Physics troll at 6.44am dismisses my analysis of his propaganda methods with respect to his views on temperature homogenisations as “silly”. But he uses similar methods with respect to criticizing those who contradict his shallow authoritarian beliefs on public policy. That is, to start from referring to the prejudiced opinions of those he agrees with to debunk the considered opinions of those who, due to his self-imposed blinkeredness is patently unable to comprehend. For instance this post on Matt Ridley, where he uses twitter comments as a source of authority, then goes off on his unsubstantiated opinions.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. A fourth aspect comes out of his post on Matt Ridley. The Physics Troll states:-

    You might argue that those who support climate action are essentially doing the same by focusing on the evidence that suggests that the impacts could be severe and damaging. Well, this seems pretty understandable; if there is a chance of bad things happening, the tendency will be to consider the probability of these outcomes, and whether or not we should do anything to minimise the chances of them happening. It’s not typical to argue that these bad things might not happen and that we should therefore base our actions on this possibility. There is only one actual future and the evidence suggests that the changes that do occur will likely be irreversible on human timescales; we don’t easily get to reverse them if the decisions we do make turn out to be less than optimal.

    The Physics Troll’s hand-waving is not a counter-argument, but a dismissal based on ignorance. The last comment is reveals that ignorance.

    we don’t easily get to reverse them if the decisions we do make turn out to be less than optimal.

    GHG emissions are global. There are over 150 decision-making entities making policy. The “we” includes India and Pakistan; China and Vietnam; 50+ African nations; Southern European nations who think high unemployment and shrinking economies are greater priorities; USA, where POTUS cannot get legislation through Congress; and Russia which will not be told about any policy. To talk of what “we” should do is delusional.

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  54. A fifth aspect is the source of authority. We should learn from others, though that does not mean that we should accept received opinion. However, there is a point where rejection shows rejection of reality.
    In a post on Bjorn Lomborg (another of his hate figures) the troll stated

    Lomborg is not an academic by any standard definition. In fact, if you want to read a good discussion of why Lomborg’s appointment is anything but academic, this is pretty good.

    When I pointed to a dictionary, aTTP in the comments (sort of) acknowledged his falsehood but has so far failed to correct his article.

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  55. Finally, an example of the fair-mindedness of aTTP.
    In February last year he commented on hostilities in the online climate debate – which, of course, nothing to do with his trolling or blogging. See how he responded to a comment by Prof. Richard Tol.

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  56. Manicbeancounter, I can add one more. He is a crushing bore. Only when he is denigrating a person or their arguments does he seem to know what it is to be clear and concise.

    As soon as he starts Kensplaining, it becomes as impenetrable as listening to the elisions of a Socialist Worker declaiming his interpretation of Das Kapital.

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  57. ATTP,

    “My point was that if you’re at “they’re being patronising” then I think you’re just looking for excuses to be criticial.”

    But Jaime isn’t at “they’re being patronising.” She lucidly explained, in plain fucking English, where she’s at, and it’s not a three-word position (though it’s apparently become one inside your cranium). As she clearly explained, her criticism—

    no, forget it.

    You don’t deserve extra tuition.

    Hey Ken, what was the scientific, academic or scholarly purpose of the Consensus on Consensus paper—a paper you condoned by attaching your name as a coauthor?

    I know what its political/demagogic function was; Cook, Oreskes and others have been making no secret of it.

    What I’m asking is its *scholarly* purpose.

    [Jaime, I apologize for wandering off topic. My working hypothesis is that Ken, being a subpontine you-know-what, studiously avoids on-topic engagement, so the solution might be to pose all questions to him on an unrelated thread. It probably won’t work, but it seems worth a shot.]

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  58. Wott point? You don’t have a point. You are completely pointless. You’ve said nothing of substance but thrown out unsubstantiated remarks like “bizarre” “silly” “pathetic”. You have made MBCs point about your hypocrisy over ‘constructing an argument’.

    Liked by 1 person

  59. Pingback: And Then There’s Hypocrisy | The IPCC Report

  60. Weary observers of Wott’s vituperations and exchanges will have noted that he deploys ‘bizarre’ when absolutely stumped, and at a loss for words. I hope it precedes a rethinking of things on his part, but that obviously does not leave him in quiet reflection for very long. We may be at the limits of what our pastoral care can do for him.

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  61. For the benefit of those who may actually be thinking (there may be few who read this blog, though). If people want to go and rant away on social media, calling others liars, hypocrites, trolls, etc go ahead. Those who you’re insulting can simply choose to ignore you and not respond, or choose not to respond in kind. It reflects more on the person doing the ranting, than on the person being ranted at. They have no obligation to engage with you, or discuss anything with you, or take you seriously. What is slightly bizarre (yes, there it is again) is that this site seems to be full of people who choose to rant away about others on social media, and then complain about being blocked on Twitter, or moderated/banned on other blogs. Even if your rant is valid (which it typically is not) surely you have the social awareness to recognise that once you’ve ranted at someone, they have every right to no longer engage with you. This is social awareness 101.

    Yet a common theme here seems to be about others who are preventing serious dialogue, without recognising the roles you yourselves are playing in making it virtually impossible. The other point to bear in mind is that I suspect that few on the other side of this debate really care (I certainly don’t) as they probably can’t see much benefit in discussions with those who dive into vitriol and insults at the drop of a hat. There are plenty of people to talk to, without having to engage with those who seem to be incapable of recognising the inconsistency of their own position.

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  62. I don’t want to chase away the house troll but has anybody, ever, -wanted- to discuss anything with ATTP? Who is he talking about here? I know people are happy to discuss matters with him but why does he keep stating the ‘rules’ that need to be followed for interacting with him?

    Who is complaining about being ‘blocked on social media’, for instance? One of the most beautiful things about social media, Twitter for eg, is if a ridiculous person exposes himself to opinions he doesn’t like, he has to ‘block’ himself out of the conversation, leaving the rest of the world unaffected. The equation is the exact opposite of the blogs where the same one person can make sure no one else sees a conversation he doesn’t like.

    Civility has a greater, grander role to play in Chairman ATTP’s Cultural Revolution. If you layperson, wants the privilege of access to scientists like him you must be ‘civil’. Lest you have any doubts, here are his own words:

    “If some would like to engage with scientists on social media, but get upset if they get moderated on blogs, or blocked on Twitter, maybe they should try harder to be more civil.”

    Witness the blossoming/metamorphosis of ATTP into a sci-comm personality as he cloyingly pats the peasants on their heads, trying to communicate his wisdom:

    “I especially enjoy discussing science with the general public …”

    This is exactly like Hillary Clinton, trying to bond with blacks saying she carries hot sauce with her:

    Almost instinctively ATTP understands this may be patronising as the very next thing he says is:

    “However, I’m not a politician, or a public servant, or a salesperson, so I don’t have to put up with people who can’t bother even trying to be civil.”

    There you go: the reason why people should be civil is so that he can keep doing what he likes, i.e, discussing ‘science’ with the general public. It’s for him.

    Try finding a more egomaniacal, narcissist blowhard ‘scientist’, LOL.

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  63. Ken’s hypocritical and unconvincing pretense of wanting to “communicate science” would almost be forgivable if he actually knew wott the hell science was.

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  64. Jaime,

    A real problem with being polite or civil – at least in the British sense – is that this assumes that others share the same cultural ground rules. Part of that Britishness is to play on a level playing field. On this basis you can have quite a heated discussion but still retain civility. More importantly, participants and spectators can all learn. Exchanges are a “positive sum game”. For me, these cultural values are behind Britain having a disproportionate numbers of the World’s greatest Universities, political philisophers, and scientists. But most of all it is behind Britain having invented, or constructing the basic rule books, for the majority of the World’s major sports, including golf, tennis, boxing, football, cricket, and rugby.
    But aTTP – and many others in the climate debate – never accept those rules. They just seek to promote their own unsubstantiated opinions, and derail any attempt to formulate alternative opinions. Others – such as Stephan Lewandowsky – use disagreement with their dogmas as evidence of your ignorance and denial.

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  65. ATTP “derail[s] any attempts to formulate alternative opinions”? By writing comments on his blog? By commenting on your blog (where you have full editorial control) or here? How does any of that “derail” your attempts? It would only derail such attempts if there was no substance in those arguments in the first place.

    Why don’t you formulate an alternative opinion about climate science here? The site could surely do with someone who can write about science – if you think your “opinions” can be formulated coherently.

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  66. mbc,

    Being (or having the appearance of being) polite is fairly easy. Being fair, open and honest when presenting your point of view to other people whilst at the same time, giving due consideration to alternative points of view is a skill that appears to be notably lacking in many AGW/CAGW advocates. The current blog focus upon Ken Rice in that respect is becoming wearisome though, perhaps because he is the only climate academic who regularly comments here, perhaps because he has been particularly vocal in (often unfairly) criticising sceptic arguments, more likely because his blog is a viper’s nest of arrogant, mean-spirited commenters who will tolerate no dissent whatsoever from the official proclamations of the ruling 97% Climate Party.

    Raff,

    “Why don’t you formulate an alternative opinion about climate science here? The site could surely do with someone who can write about science – if you think your “opinions” can be formulated coherently.”

    Have you morphed into Sarah Green? Why should anyone here be obliged to formulate an ‘alternative’ to climate science (whatever that may mean) when climate science cannot even manage to successfully defend its own key hypotheses, assumptions and ‘observations’?

    Liked by 1 person

  67. What a bizarre comment

    But aTTP – and many others in the climate debate – never accept those rules. They just seek to promote their own unsubstantiated opinions, and derail any attempt to formulate alternative opinions.

    I’m simply an individual who writes a blog, and sometimes comments elsewhere. On my own blog I get to decide what’s posted and how it’s run. You don’t have to like this, but it’s how it is and I don’t need to defend what I do on my own blog. To be fair if, when I started the blog, I knew what I know now, I may well have done things differently, but I didn’t and I can’t go back and change what’s already done. And, I do have some rules that I try hard to obey. I don’t delete, or moderate, comments if the person making the comment is named in the post (unlike Manic) and I try hard to avoid mentioning people in the posts, or in the comments, if they’ve been banned from commenting on my site. There are some exceptions, but that is something I try to maintain, where possible.

    When I comment elsewhere (such as on sites like this) I’m typically insulted in the comments and sometimes in the posts. I don’t particularly care as I’m not responsible for how others choose to behave or responsible for what they choose to say. But the idea that somehow I derail alternative opinions is ridiculous. Anyone is free to hold whatever opinion they would like and – within the law – express those opinions publicly. Nothing I’m doing is in any way preventing that. However, just because you hold an opinion does not mean that you’re free from criticism or that others should accept it as having value; that comes from defending it and making an argument for it’s value.

    So, if you don’t like what I’m doing or saying, why don’t you present an actual argument that can actually be addressed, because simply complaining about me just seems to be shifting the blame and making excuses for your lack of ability to construct an argument worth taking seriously. Feel free to prove me wrong.

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  68. Why should anyone here be obliged to formulate an ‘alternative’ to climate science (whatever that may mean)…

    Nobody is obliged to. But Manic was suggesting that he (or maybe others) tries and he feels that his or others’ efforts are “derailed” by ATTP and others.

    …when climate science cannot even manage to successfully defend its own key hypotheses, assumptions and ‘observations’?

    Well it can in general. But in the same way that NASA can’t ‘defend’ its having landed men on the moon against everyone, there will always be a nutty few who can’t be persuaded. That proves nothing.

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  69. “Well it can in general. But in the same way that NASA can’t ‘defend’ its having landed men on the moon against everyone, there will always be a nutty few who can’t be persuaded. That proves nothing.”

    Hahaha. Tickle me pink. Raff equates (just for example) the questioning of the attribution of virtually all warming since 1950 and the loss of the majority of Arctic sea-ice since 1979 to man-made global warming as directly analogous to questioning whether NASA landed men on the Moon! Get out of here Raff if you can’t form an argument which does not resort to a classic loony Lew clanger.

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  70. Jaime, your suggestion was that climate science can’t defend its “key hypotheses, assumptions and ‘observations’”. It can, and the analogy with moon landings is accurate. The “attribution of virtually all warming since 1950 and the loss of the majority of Arctic sea-ice since 1979 to man-made global warming” are not key hypotheses that need defending. They are part of the network of evidence that climate science has found. There’s probably disagreement between experts on the details of those issues.

    The GHE, the rise of anthropogenic CO2, the rise of temperatures/heat content and the fall in oxygen levels are keys that need no defending – indeed no defense is possible against the climate equivalent of moon-landing “skeptics”. If the latter hat fits, you know what to do.

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  71. Raff,

    “The “attribution of virtually all warming since 1950 and the loss of the majority of Arctic sea-ice since 1979 to man-made global warming” are not key hypotheses that need defending. They are part of the network of evidence that climate science has found.”

    Where then is the evidence which informs us that the rise in temps since 1950 is extremely likely almost all due to anthropogenic forcing? Where is the evidence that the decline in Arctic sea-ice observed during the satellite era is largely due to anthropogenic forcing? Where is the empirical evidence which strongly suggests that modern climate change is predominantly anthropogenic in origin? Where is the empirical evidence which points to modern climate change being exceptional within the context of the Holocene and even earlier? Where is the empirical evidence which suggests that current atmospheric CO2 levels are unprecedented within the last 800k years? Where is the empirical evidence which tells us that the planet has been steadily accumulating heat over the last 60 years or so? Where is the empirical evidence to back up the hypothesised water vapour positive feedbacks? Where is the evidence that anthro aerosols substantially cooled the past and partially offset the warming due to CO2 emissions? Oops, don’t ask – more inconvenient experimental science just threw serious doubt on this theory.

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  72. If you are lost, look in AR5 and follow the references. The GHE, the rise of anthropogenic CO2, the rise of temperatures/heat content and the fall in oxygen levels are all fact, or as near as we can get to fact. Arguing against them is like arguing that Armstrong didn’t land on the moon, but go ahead, you know you want to.

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  73. I’m not lost. You are. It would appear that you don’t have the capacity to pick on even just one of the above points and defend it here on behalf of consensus climate science. Instead, you wave your hand airily and say it’s all in AR5 and then compound your arrogance and ignorance by suggesting that anyone who presents an argument against all this ‘evidence’ is, or is no better than, a Moon-landing conspiracist. Yet at the same time you insist that the members of this site should provide a coherent scientific argument against the establishment climate science which you cannot yourself defend coherently!

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  74. You suggest that climate science can’t defend its “key hypotheses, assumptions and ‘observations’”. I point out that its key hypotheses are very simple and need no defense – they are universally accepted, except by moon-landing types.

    You abandon your accusation of not being able to defend key hypotheses. Instead you now ask “Where is the evidence…” several times and I tell you it is in the assessment reports. You don’t understand that the answer to “where is” is the location where something is. And you don’t have the patience to read the reports, perhaps because the reports are large and detailed and difficult to attack and probably because you know that if you did read them your desire for evidence would be sated. Instead you want me to give you a potted summary in a few lines so that you can attack the summary and pretend you are addressing the evidence in the reports.

    The information you want is there, you just need to read it. If you don’t and yet you continue to deny or reject it, you are just like a moon-landing conspiracist.

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  75. “You suggest that climate science can’t defend its “key hypotheses, assumptions and ‘observations’”. I point out that its key hypotheses are very simple and need no defense – they are universally accepted, except by moon-landing types.

    You abandon your accusation of not being able to defend key hypotheses. Instead you now ask “Where is the evidence…” several times and I tell you it is in the assessment reports.”

    I’ve abandoned it, have I? Which part of “Where is the empirical evidence to back up the hypothesised water vapour positive feedbacks?” did you not understand? Was it because I prefaced it with questioning where the evidence was to back up the hypothesis? You see Raff, in science – real science – one requires actual evidence at some point in order to defend a hypothesis or theory. If you haven’t got the evidence you can’t defend the hypothesis.

    “I point out that its key hypotheses are very simple and need no defense – they are universally accepted, except by moon-landing types.”

    Amplification of the modest warming expected due to the accumulation of GHGs by water vapour, not significantly offset by negative feedbacks from clouds/aerosols is a key hypothesis of climate science. It is fairly simple, I’ll grant you that, but where, pray, is it “universally accepted”? Where is the necessary irrefutable evidence that this is happening (which would be required in order for said hypothesis to be universally accepted)? You see, because, if it is not happening, or it is happening but it is being offset by equally large negative feedbacks from clouds etc., then the whole alarmist caboodle of climate science is reduced to little more than a storm in a teacup. Can you please explain also why one is a “moon-landing type” if one questions the evidence (or lack of, I should say) which supports (or doesn’t, I should say) this KEY HYPOTHESIS of consensus climate science? You can also explain why questioning the deeply unscientific attribution of most or all of surface warming since 1950 also marks one out as a moon-landing type. You could also defend any of the several points I raised above in order to demonstrate here and now, once and for all, that they are really very simple and that I must be a moon-landing conspiracist to even question them. Either that, or the very complicated evidence is ‘out there’ lurking in the voluminous scientific refs. appended to IPCC AR5, which I can’t be bothered to read through and find, but you have apparently, because you know it’s there. In which case, please supply a few pointed refs which support the key hypotheses which I have outlined above and/or provide evidence to support those key hypotheses. Go for it, why don’t you, and then we can close down this highly disreputable, misinformative blog forever and you can pat yourself on the back for being instrumental in its nemesis.

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  76. Jaime, you are confused. The basics of AGW are the GHE and rising CO2. You think nobody can defend them but they are above being defended. They are not seriously contested. Everything else you talk about is discussed at length in AR5 and elsewhere. Some is well understood, some less so but the confluence of evidence leads to the concern that rising CO2 will be harmful. You can pick holes in individual parts but it is the totality of evidence that drives concern and hence policy.

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  77. No Raff, I’m not confused. It’s just you getting confused about what I have actually said again. At no point did I say that nobody can defend “the basics of AGW” (i.e. the GHE and rising CO2 according to you). CO2 has infra-red radiative properties – not disputed or challenged. Atmospheric CO2 has increased since Mauna Loa started monitoring in 1958 – not disputed or challenged. There is no need to defend these basic facts. What I actually said was: “climate science cannot even manage to successfully defend its own key hypotheses, assumptions and ‘observations”.

    These would incorporate the assumption of overriding positive feedbacks, the range of IPCC climate sensitivities, the CMIP5 model projections, attribution, ‘fingerprinting’ etc. of observed changes in the climate. They form the backbone of climate science today. Without them, climate change mitigation would be deemed to be largely unnecessary because CO2 alone (TCR~1C) would not result in ‘dangerous’ climate change. Then we wouldn’t be having this long winded conversation and you would not be trying to avoid having to defend that which you cannot defend.

    So anyway, I take it that you are declining to rise to the challenge of defending even one of consensus climate science’s key hypotheses, assumptions and ‘observations’, (a decision based on your in-depth knowledge of the “confluence of evidence” – which you decline to refer to – in AR5 which “leads to the concern that rising CO2 will be harmful”), so we’ll leave it there.

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  78. Raff,
    tell people about the voluminous literature supporting the view of a dominant human effect on climate! Don’t just link to AR5 (helpful thought it may be, the literature that supports it is tedious to go through in depth); link to papers like Lacis et al. 2010, (not that I necessarily agree with them) which say that CO2 is the “control knob” on temperature. That would be a successful defense.

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  79. JAP, why would linking to a paper one doesn’t necessarily agree with be a successful defense? I don’t think I understand the concept in the context of climate science. Can there be such a thing as a successful defense of the idea that rising CO2 levels are not anthropogenic in origin? Or that sensitivity is low? Or that warming since 1950 is due to natural cycles? What would a successful defense of those ideas look like or mean? Do successful defenses of these things mean that everyone believes them afterwards or that 97% believe them or that more believe than before, or what?

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  80. JAP, why would linking to a paper one doesn’t necessarily agree with be a successful defense? I don’t think I understand the concept in the context of climate science.

    Raff,
    I believe you misunderstood me. Let’s say I was an alarmist and I believed that CO2 was a control knob on temperature. To defend my position, I would link to a paper like that. I made that comment because I wanted to make clear that’s not my position, not to say that to defend your position you would link to papers you don’t agree with! Of course that would be a bad idea. I apologize if that wasn’t clear.

    Can there be such a thing as a successful defense of the idea that rising CO2 levels are not anthropogenic in origin? Or that sensitivity is low? Or that warming since 1950 is due to natural cycles? What would a successful defense of those ideas look like or mean? Do successful defenses of these things mean that everyone believes them afterwards or that 97% believe them or that more believe than before, or what?

    For the first thing you listed, no. I think a successful defense must involve references to the scientific literature, and save for a paper or two published in Energy & Environment, the literature doesn’t support such a view. For number two, I would say yes. I could list (and have done so in the past) papers that argue in favor of a lower sensitivity than AR4’s best estimate. But, if I believed AR4’s estimate was just right or too low, I could still make a good defense of my position because some of the scientific literature supports it. For number 3, I would again say yes, but as before, I am hesitant to commit to such a position. To make it clear once and for all, I would say a successful defense involves multiple references to reliable, respected scientific journals, not simply scientists’ opinions, or blogs, or news articles. A successful defense doesn’t have to garner any converts, but it should leave people at least with a respect for your position.

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  81. But doesn’t that mean that AR5 is a successful defense of (to quote Jaime) the “key hypotheses, assumptions and ‘observations’” of climate science? Jaime said that such a defense can’t be done, but AR5 has scientific references by the bucket-load, so by your measure it is successful.

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  82. Absolutely! It is (at least the main report is, not the SPM) a great defense of the “consensus” view of climate science. Just because I don’t agree with everything it has to say doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s a fine piece of work or that it isn’t a good defense of the consensus view.

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  83. Raff, the IPCC doesn’t conduct any original research; they just review and summarise that research. However, I’m almost certain that, via various channels – some probably rather non-transparent – they do actually commission research. But anyway, they rely on this vast body of scientific literature to inform them of the basic ‘facts’ of AGW.

    One of those ‘facts’ (a key assumption I would say) is the AR5 attribution statement where we are informed that it is extremely likely that more than half of the observed warming since 1950 is due to a combination of anthro GHG forcing and anthro aerosol forcing. They quantify these forcing estimates:

    “The best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period … The observed warming since 1951 can be attributed to the different natural and anthropogenic drivers and their contributions can now be quantified. Greenhouse gases contributed a global mean surface warming likely to be in the range of 0.5°C to 1.3 °C over the period 1951−2010, with the contributions from other anthropogenic forcings, including the cooling effect of aerosols, likely to be in the range of −0.6°C to 0.1°C.”

    They also state:

    “The contribution from natural forcings is likely to be in the range of −0.1°C to 0.1°C, and from internal variability is likely to be in the range of −0.1°C to 0.1°C.”

    What that boils down to is that external and internal natural forcings over that period are assumed to be small and probably zero. Hence, virtually all warming since 1950 is anthropogenic. The science which informs the IPCC in this respect can be found in papers like Wigley and Santer, 2012, for example:

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00382-012-1585-8

    So far, so good, providing the scientific reasoning in W&S 2012 is robust and defensible. Whether it is or it isn’t, however, becomes slightly irrelevant when one considers what the IPCC have to say about natural variability during the period 1998-2012 (the ‘Pause’):

    “The observed reduction in surface warming trend over the period 1998 to 2012 as compared to the period 1951 to 2012, is due in roughly equal measure to a reduced trend in radiative forcing and a cooling contribution from natural internal variability, which includes a possible redistribution of heat within the ocean (medium confidence). The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the timing of the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle. However, there is low confidence in quantifying the role of changes in radiative forcing in causing the reduced warming trend. There is medium confidence that natural internal decadal variability causes to a substantial degree the difference between observations and the simulations; the latter are not expected to reproduce the timing of natural internal variability.”

    So, on the one hand, IPCC invoke significant internal and external natural variability after 1998 to explain the lack of surface warming, but for the 48 years prior to that they are confident that the contribution to warming from natural variability was near zero!

    So, in essence, their attribution statement is not defensible, for this reason and probably a good few others. They have used a probabilistic quantification of anthro forcings which gives very high confidence, but only because it completely ignores the structural uncertainties associated with natural forcings of climate.

    A similar story applies when you look closely at other IPCC consensus climate science key hypotheses, assumptions and ‘observations’. But do feel free to pick on any other and robustly defend it.

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  84. Jaime,

    So, on the one hand, IPCC invoke significant internal and external natural variability after 1998 to explain the lack of surface warming, but for the 48 years prior to that they are confident that the contribution to warming from natural variability was near zero!

    Have you tried contacting those who work on this and asking about this? There may well be perfectly plausible explanations for this. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are, which you may find out if you were simply to put some effort into finding out what they were.

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  85. Ken,

    Do you really think any of the authors of these scientific papers or any of the authors of IPCC AR5 WG1 would seriously bother responding to my questions? I think probably not. Perhaps you can shed some light on this apparent glaring inconsistency?

    Like

  86. Jaime,

    Do you really think any of the authors of these scientific papers or any of the authors of IPCC AR5 WG1 would seriously bother responding to my questions?

    It would probably depend on what you actually said, but if you were to email them with a question then I suspect many would be happy to answer. On the other hand, if you made it clear that you already had a strong view and that their position was not defensible, they might not bother.

    Perhaps you can shed some light on this apparent glaring inconsistency?

    I have little confidence that anything I say will make any difference to your views about this apparent inconsistency, so I have little interest in trying to shed any light on it.

    Like

  87. Ken,

    “I have little confidence that anything I say will make any difference to your views about this apparent inconsistency, so I have little interest in trying to shed any light on it.”

    Oh go on, try me. But even if you don’t change my views, you might convince the good readers of this blog that there is, after all, merit in what the IPCC has to say about attribution.

    Like

  88. Jaime, are you really expecting an explanation for why the average of a set of random processes over a short period may differ from the average over a longer period? A lot of the discussion of climate science time series, averaging, baselines and so forth must be rather confusing if you don’t have that basic level of maths.

    Like

  89. It would appear my maths is better than your maths Raff. 18 years of no significant warming now (14 years in 2012) in the satellite record is not a ‘short period’. But let’s take you up on your point that the ‘random processes’ occurring 1998-2012 didn’t cancel each other out whereas the same ‘random processes’ over the longer period (1950-2012) did. There’s little evidence that anthro aerosols contributed more to cooling after 1998 – in fact they were probably more effective as global coolants before that time. So if anything, we should have seen a little more warming after 1998. But we had none.

    So, we must assume that natural variability was powerful enough to cancel out all the global warming expected after 1998. The expected rate was approx. 0.2C/decade, so GMST should have increased by about 0.28C – but didn’t. So natural variability must have cooled the planet by about this amount in just 14 years. The increase in temp from 1950-2012 was approx. 0.5C, with most of that occurring after 1975. The IPCC says all of this was due to anthro forcings (aerosols + GHGs), which must necessarily imply that natural variability cancelled itself out during that entire period – but this necessarily implies that natural variability must have contributed at least 0.28C to the warming during the period 1950-1998 (more than half of the observed warming!). If anthro aerosols were not contributing much to cooling during that time (and recent research at CERN throws doubt on the anthro aerosol cooling hypothesis), and natural variability was contributing a healthy 0.28C, then we should have expected even more warming during the entire period due mainly to GHG forcing + nat var – which leads one to the rather unsettling proposition that climate sensitivity to anthro GHG forcing is a lot less than climate alarmists suppose.

    Or is all that complicated arithmetic too much to take in in one sitting Raff?

    Liked by 1 person

  90. You might not like it, but averaging over 14 years – just over one solar cycle and only a few Nino/Nina cycles – is quite likely to be biased relative to an average over 50 years. That is just the way it is.

    So, we must assume that natural variability was powerful enough to cancel out all the global warming expected after 1998.

    A bad assumption spoils your little story. Look at other indices – you see no pause and your story falls apart.

    Like

  91. Raff,
    the absence of warming in both the troposphere and surface is significant enough, in my opinion, even if other indices show warming-which they do. After all, like NOAA said:

    Near-zero and even negative trends are com- mon for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create
    a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.

    1/2

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  92. And, we definitely saw a lack of warming over that period.

    Ignoring the mean trends for the moment, the uncertainties in the 15-year trends for the surface datasets are about 0.14C/decade and for the satellite datasets are around 0.25C/decade. That the uncertainty interval intercepts 0 does not mean that there has been no warming.

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  93. Point taken. It’s not just a zero trend for both, they’re actually both decreasing, but it’s not statistically significant. So yes, if we take all the uncertainties into account, we can’t definitively say there was no warming over the period, but it is significant enough, as I said before, that the trends are negative or zero in many cases.

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  94. Yes, it has, though for some reason, HadCRUT4 shows warming over the period 1998-2013. Even the small(er) trends observed over that period (see Nick Stokes’ trendviewer for some great info) are contrary to what many models predicted.

    Like

  95. The lower troposphere is now cooling rapidly, so it looks very much like the Pause may be maintained for a while yet in the UAH dataset, and probably RSS (until they get around to adjusting it upwards). It will be very interesting to see how far global temp drops in the coming year and how much it rebounds by afterwards. A lot of catching up to be done in all the datasets if warming is to conform to IPCC modeled projections, but especially so in the satellite records.

    Liked by 1 person

  96. jap,

    Even the small(er) trends observed over that period (see Nick Stokes’ trendviewer for some great info) are contrary to what many models predicted.

    You have to bear in mind that the models are not all in phase with internal variability (it’s not yet possible for them to correctly determine when the internal variability will happen) and comparing with the model mean can be somewhat misleading. James Annan’s post is worth considering.

    Like

  97. I totally agree with Physics (not with his comment above, but what he says on his blog today):

    “I’m finding it harder and harder to put the effort in [to writing on his blog] because I don’t quite see the point. The more I get involved in this discussion, the more I get the sense that the disagreements are so fundamental that it’s pretty hard to bridge the divide.”

    The divide is one between those who believe in rational argument, like me and my colleagues at Climate Scepticism, and those like AndThenThere’s who, like Peter Cook in his End of the World sketch, believe in the signs manifested in the firmament. Take for instance, Physics’s linked article at julesandjames.blogspot.fr/ above, which AndThen describes as “worth considering” when “bear[ing] in mind that the models are not all in phase with internal variability [because] it’s not yet possible for them to correctly determine when the internal variability will happen”.

    Now the article linked to, by James Annan, is pure shit of a very interesting kind. For a start, it is furnished with two graphics which illustrate perfectly a point I just made in a comment at
    https://cliscep.com/2016/06/01/the-green-blob-identifies-itself/
    about meaningless graphics. Annan’s first graphic is a series of concentric circles with green blobs on; the second is a series of concentric ellipses with green blobs on. The first, according to the author, is implausible because “..since we don’t know the truth (in the widest sense) we have no possible way of generating models that scatter evenly about it.” The second, on the other hand, “is a much more widely-used (indeed all-but ubiquitous) way of interpreting ensembles, in which the ensemble members are assumed to be exchangeable with the truth, or statistically indistinguishable from it.”

    Yeah, ellipses win over circles every time. Like the truth itself, they can be stretched.

    Annan is talking bollocks. Anyone quoting him is talking bollocks. Come back Physics when you’ve got something intelligent to say that isn‘t a desperate effort to save a billion dollar investment in crap models.

    Like

  98. Phys
    Quick response, but a bit vague. Your recommended link says: Ellipses + green blobs, good. Circles + green blobs, bad. You recommended it. You defend it.

    I don’t know what Annan does. I expect it’s something highly mathematical which I couldn’t follow. But he’s an idiot. Every word he utters breahes idiocy. But his partner’s flower arranging is ok.

    Like

  99. “The divide is one between those who believe in rational argument, like me and my colleagues at Climate Scepticism, …

    That is contradicted by your rejection of Annan’s paper/blog post on the evident basis that you don’t understand what he’s talking about. You are the clear winner by head, shoulders and indeed a country mile in the idiot stakes.

    Like

  100. I’m not sure I fully appreciate what Annan is talking about having instinctively avoided from a tender age the (what seemed to me) Dark Arts of statistical analysis. But what he appears to be saying in essence is that ‘truth’ (reality) is not like some central target which the CMIP3 (now CMIP5) models cluster around (they certainly don’t!), hoping to get ever closer and eventually ‘on target’, the ‘truth’ (reality) is like some floating, essentially unknowable ‘star’, milling around within the firmament of CMIP model projections, statistically indistinguishable from any of them! Thus reality is relegated to some random point in the CMIP5 model ensemble. Blimey.

    I do tend to agree that we cannot actually define ‘truth’ to any great degree as regards the climate, because the uncertainties in our knowledge are too great, so building models to try and simulate that ‘truth’ is a bit pointless. But we do have current observations of the climate and we do have proxy observations of past climatic variability, and we do have competing theories as to the main drivers of climatic variability past and present, so these (very imperfect) indicators must suffice for the time being to enable us to draw a fuzzy red star marked ‘reality’ on our truth diagram against which we can assess the performance of the equally fuzzy green blobs of the CMIP multi model ensembles. How can we assess the performance and usefulness of CMIP5 if reality is deemed to be a statistically indistinguishable random point lying somewhere within their firmament? Why should we even assume that ‘reality’ does lie ‘within’ the cloud of CMIP5 projections or that, if it does, it is there by virtue of the correct scientific reasoning? Crazy.

    Like

  101. You have to bear in mind that the models are not all in phase with internal variability (it’s not yet possible for them to correctly determine when the internal variability will happen) and comparing with the model mean can be somewhat misleading. James Annan’s post is worth considering.

    Correct. That’s why much more work needs to be done on natural variability, before we can exclude it from a source of current warming and before we can definitely attribute warming and cooling trends like the Pause. I don’t believe I was comparing with the mean, but with even the low end of projections, in some cases. See here for some good plots of discrepancies. The main implication from the Pause for me and some climate scientists (more on that in the follow-up comments) is that models might be overly sensitive to GHGs. See
    1/3

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  102. 3/3
    Douville et al. 2015, which argues that:

    The TCR of CNRM-CM5 might
    be overestimated…. Yet the observed global warming is still overestimated not only over the recent
    1998–2012 hiatus period but also over former decades, thereby suggesting that the model might be too sensitive to the prescribed radiative forcings.

    That’s why (in addition to the fact that natural variability can overwhelm the human signal) the hiatus is significant.

    Like

  103. Would that it were just internal variability that has resulted in the current ongoing pause in global temperatures. This seems to have been the case in the Hadcrut 4 series for the hiatus periods 1878-1907 and 1945-69, but the hiatus since 2001 (in Hadcrut4) appears to be unique in that the secular trend itself has also seen a significant downturn. Intriguingly, the secular trend accelerated for a while immediately prior to this downturn. Is this also just ‘noise’ or is there something more fundamental going on?

    “Henceforth, MDV [multi-decadal variability] seems to be the main cause of the different hiatus periods shown by the global surface temperature records. However, and contrary to the two previous events, during the current hiatus period, the ST shows a strong fluctuation on the warming rate, with a large acceleration (0.0085°C year−1 to 0.017°C year−1) during 1992–2001 and a sharp deceleration (0.017°C year−1 to 0.003°C year−1) from 2002 onwards. This is the first time in the observational record that the ST shows such variability, so determining the causes and consequences of this change of behavior needs to be addressed by the scientific community.”

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0107222

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  104. No Jaime, in your reference the secular trend (ST) did not undergo a significant downturn, none at all. Look at the figures – ST is the red line http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/figure/image?size=medium&id=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0107222.g001

    What went down is the “warming rate” of various measured things. The rate is presumably the slope of the curves, but determining accurate trends close to the end of a data series (some time between March and September 2014 in this case) is not possible – hence the broadening of the error margins. The end points of the HADCRUT4 data were below 0.6 at that time and rose to over 1.0 in early 2016 – don’t you think that would cause any analysis of the near-end trends/rates to be completely different if the analysis were to be re-done now?

    Like

  105. My small error, I should have said that the secular trend underwent a significant deceleration after 2001. The warming rate associated with the secular trend did nosedive sharply after 2001 (Fig.3), roughly in tandem with the warming rate associated with MDV, which is unique in record. This is real and not as a result of choosing the end points.

    If the analysis were to be repeated now? The running 3 year average in Hadcrut data has been increasing continuously at a fairly steady rate since 2013 and the actual data has peaked sharply with the current El Nino, so I suspect it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to choose this particular moment in time to repeat the analysis with an El Nino peak as the end point. When GMST settles down after the current El Nino/La Nina cycle, if we find that GMST has significantly ‘stepped up’, then this would probably result in a different result for the period 2001-2018 (or whenever the analysis is repeated). But this of course would not belie the fact that the warming rate from the secular trend did indeed increase rapidly after 1992 and dip sharply after 2001. If, as I suspect, the pause continues or the globe actually cools after this current ENSO cycle, the SSA will probably reveal that the warming rates associated with MDV and ST are still declining sharply and may even reveal that the ST itself has peaked and is turning downwards. We’ll just have to see. No point guessing until we have a clearer picture of how this current La Nina pans out.

    Overall, the message from the paper is that the Pause is real and even more significant than previous hiatuses in the Hadcrut 4 series.

    Like

  106. RSS dropped precipitously in May. The current El Nino peak has (so far) been very much sharper and more short lived than the 1997/98 peak. I’m not expecting this El Nino to translate much into an overall rise in GMST – unlike 1997/98 which eventually bumped up mean temperatures globally by about 0.2C after things settled down.
    I’ve a feeling it’s going to be a tough 18 months ahead for those selling CAGW snake oil.

    Like

  107. In this animated gif https://s33.postimg.org/e5cktuz0f/hadcrut.gif
    you can see a crude reconstruction of the figure from your reference cycling between HADCRUT4 data to end 2013 and to April 2016. You can see that adding the extra years changes the slope of the curve at the end – and it is this slope that you are using to claim something significant about recent changes. Hopefully (although I doubt it) that is enough for you to accept that end-effects can be significant and that you should not make assumptions about trends near the end of a time series.

    Like

  108. By the way, here are the four ‘eigenvectors’ from which those graphs (in this case the 2016 one) are created. F1 and F2 combine to make the secular trend and F3 and F4 combine to make the cyclical thingy https://s33.postimg.org/y3zu5rf7j/Screen_Shot_2016_06_04_at_23_03_50.png

    In other words, this is what Rssa has decomposed the time series into and your paper’s authors decided to combine 1:2 and 3:4 to make their graphs. Whether it means anything, I don’t know. I have no idea what it is all about.

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  109. Nice pictures Raff. Perhaps you could get whoever is informing your ‘argument’ against the conclusions of the paper I referenced to come on here and explain more clearly what their point is.

    Like

  110. Raff, you (and whoever constructed those graphs) need to read the paper before criticising it. I quote:

    “The fluctuations observed in the warming rate associated with
    the ST during the last 20 years (1992–2013) could not, in
    principle, be due to a statistical artifact of the analysis method, the
    so-called ‘end-effect’, because of the underlying mathematics in
    such method. However, and in order to assess the existence of such
    a problem, we applied the same SSA analysis described below (see
    Material and Methods) to a fraction of the total GMTA from 1850
    to 1960 when the previous hiatus was present (see Fig. 1). In this
    analysis (not shown) the ST did not display any variations at the
    end of the series so the recent fluctuation could not be attributed to
    a methodological problem with the used statistics but rather seems
    to correspond to a distinct dynamics of the observed temperature
    series. However, the relatively short time-period in which such
    fluctuation happened (20 years) prevents more solid conclusions
    to be derived.”

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  111. Jaime, I think it is you who needs to give a bit more thought to and put a bit more effort into your “skepticism”. You’ve been touting this paper to, e.g. Gavin Schmidt, as if it is proof of something, yet you haven’t bothered to unpack it a bit and see whether there could be (for example) any end-effects. The text you just quoted has a glaringly obvious error in the 1st sentence, yet you are oblivious to it. The supposed test for end-effects you quote using a cherry-picked interval (1850-1960) proves nothing.

    The graphs I created took me several hours figuring out how to use Rssa – mentioned in the paper if you read it – (including installing R, installing Rssa, loading the data and converting to as a time series and running ssa). It wasn’t difficult, it just needed a bit of googling and some background knowledge. It is the sort of thing a true skeptic should do, yet you either cannot or won’t be bothered. If you cannot, your “skepticism” is based purely on prejudice.

    The argument about the supposed recent change in rates of warming hangs on the slope of the curves, and you can see that the F1 (ST) curve changes slope significantly when two years’ extra data are added. So maybe in a year’s time you can redo the analysis and find something different again, but that would just go to show, again, that end-effects are real. You can also see in the original paper fig 3b that the error margins are wide enough that unchanged warming of 0.01 C/yr is also possible with no steep rise and fall in the rate.

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  112. This is now getting laughable. Raff, I suggest you contact the paper’s authors and the publishers of the paper to tell them that their analysis is fundamentally flawed and that the paper should be withdrawn. This is because ‘you’ have ‘proven’ that ‘end-effects’ are significant with the Singular Spectrum Analysis technique used – even though the authors state that the analysis used precludes this from happening in principle – and that their additional test just to ensure that end-effects were indeed not significant in the analysis is basically crap because they cherry-picked the time interval. Please do that and then I might take your ridiculous assertions seriously. Do ensure that you also inform the authors of your self-confessed lack of in-depth knowledge on the techniques employed in the paper (a handicap which apparently has not prevented you from being able to disprove their findings; I quote:

    “In other words, this is what Rssa has decomposed the time series into and your paper’s authors decided to combine 1:2 and 3:4 to make their graphs. Whether it means anything, I don’t know. I have no idea what it is all about.”

    Secondly, where did you get the idea that I had been touting the paper around to e.g. Gavin Schmidt? I don’t remember having ‘touted’ this to Gavin so please provide a reference as proof of your statement. I think you’re basically full of BS and you’re getting information second hand.

    Like

  113. Jaime, you don’t think about what you read. The paper says (from your quote):

    ““The fluctuations observed in the warming rate associated with the ST during the last 20 years (1992–2013) could not, in principle, be due to a statistical artifact of the analysis method, the
    so-called ‘end-effect’, because of the underlying mathematics in such method. However, and in order to assess the existence of such a problem, …”

    If you understand English, you should see that the ‘not’ is an error (I alluded to that previously but thought it was obvious enough not to need pointing out). To spell it out, they wouldn’t “assess the existence of such a problem” if there was no possibility of the problem (statistical artifact – the end-effect). You take their word for it that their test to preclude end-effects was correct (effects that they tested for even though you think there was no possibility of such effects in principle while they clearly did). That is your prerogative, but I already showed you that adding 2 years changes the slope of the secular trend at the end quite clearly – the slope that they are using to detect this “sharp deceleration”.

    As for touting the paper, see https://twitter.com/Balinteractive/status/645157734111952896
    Unless I misinterpret the page, that is you or someone with the same name, touting the paper to Gavin , Richard Betts and Ed Hawkins.

    As for whether you think the analysis is mine or someone else’s, you may be just reflecting the fact that you don’t know how to use Rssa and assume that I am equally incapable. The analysis, which is the core of the paper, is really simple – 5 lines of R including reading the data, converting, running ssa, reconstructing and plotting. What is less simple to me is knowing why F1 and F2 from my 2nd graph should be combined and why they would together represent a secular trend. And equally why F3 and F4 should be combined. R supports doing this in the reconstruction command, but I don’t know theoretical basis that justifies it.

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  114. Well done Raff, you remember my tweets to Gavin rather better than I do! How odd. Of course, with you remaining anonymous on this page and others, it is difficult to work out who you might actually be, whether you do indeed have a twitter account and in what name. I prefer to keep things transparent and not hide my true identity across blogs and social media, allowing people like yourself to track my movements in detail.

    You may be correct that ‘not’ has been included in error as the text reads quite logically if it is removed. However, it would appear that you also have not paid attention to what the authors have to say. Your graphs illustrate the reconstructed temperature signal using the first four eigenvectors of the SSA decomposed Hadcrut series (#1+#2=ST; #3+#4=MDV) which account for 88% of the observed variability. Ignoring MDV, you state that the slope of the reconstructed ST changes when you add the extra 2 years data. Well, as I said earlier, this doesn’t seem like much of a surprise to me: if you take the peak of an El Nino spike as your end point, the reconstructed ST is probably going to show an upturn.

    However, the authors made no claims about the reconstructed temperature signal. They refer to the global warming rate. Taking ‘not’ out of the text, what they said is:

    “The fluctuations observed in the WARMING RATE associated with
    the ST during the last 20 years (1992–2013) could, in
    principle, be due to a statistical artifact of the analysis method, the
    so-called ‘end-effect’, because of the underlying mathematics in
    such method.”

    So, not the ST itself, but the warming rate associated with the ST, which quantity I originally pointed to as evidence that something fundamental was going on and which the paper indeed refers to as evidence that something more fundamental is happening with the current Pause.

    So please redo your analysis using the warming rate and demonstrate that this significantly alters the message when you add the 2 extra years data.

    Like

  115. Jaime, I don’t use Twitter, it always seems rather, well, just silly to me. I found your tweet by accident by following the ‘Metrics’ link in the paper you reference, scrolling down to ‘Discussion’ and clicking on ’12’. Your tweet is the third in the resulting list. Imagine my surprise to find a tweet from you there. I was actually looking for a discussion of the paper, and as I didn’t find anything useful I (re)installed R and tried to analyze the data myself.

    As for the warming rate, I thought I was being clear, but evidently I assumed too much. In a time series graph, the rate of change of the quantity being plotted at any point is the slope of the graph at that point. This is given by differentiating (calculus). So when you discuss the warming rate at a point in the graph, you are talking about the slope of the graph at that point – the greater the slope the greater warming. This is why I mentioned the slope of in each of my comments on the assumption that you understood the significance of this. Clearly if you didn’t, you would have misunderstood the comments. Perhaps you could re-read them. Adding two extra years (i.e. using ALL the data) increases the slope at the end and indicates a higher warming rate. But like your interpretation of the data leading to 2014, it is an end-effect and so is not very meaningful.

    The actual warming rate would be the combination of the rate for ST and MDV. You’ll notice that MDV changes quite significantly on adding the extra data, but not, I think, in favor of your argument.

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  116. Raff, I’m not quite as thick as you imagine. I’m well aware that dT/dt is the actual warming rate and is directly related to the slope of the graph of T against t. However, eyeballing a slope on a graph of reconstructed temperature and saying it’s changed is not quite as rigorous as actually performing a global warming rate analysis using the Rssa software. You can clearly see the acceleration in the ST warming rate from 1992-2001, plus the sharp downturn in the warming rate from then onwards (Fig. 3(a)). It is clear from the graph that the rapid fluctuations from 1992 onwards in the warming rate according to this SSA are unprecedented in the record. Compare this with Fig. 1 Figure 1. “SSA reconstructed signals from HadCRUT4 global surface temperature anomalies” and you will note that the slope of the graph of the ST gives very little information away. You can’t just look at it and immediately deduce the fluctuations in the warming rate.

    Now you are claiming that the rapid acceleration/deceleration is purely a statistical artifact, an ‘end effect’ (contrary to the assertions of the authors), which you say the extra two years data shows, but, in order to convince me and others that this is indeed the case, you need to rerun the same global warming rate analysis as used by the authors and demonstrate that the unprecedented acceleration/deceleration in the w/r associated with the ST all but disappears. This would be analogous to the test run by the authors to demonstrate that end effects were NOT a problem in the analysis. They chose 1960 (being 15 years into the 1945-69 hiatus – which seems sensible to me) and performed the analysis on the entire series backward from there and found no “variations at the end of the series”. You dismiss their test as cherry picking but, bizarrely, that is indeed what they were doing – cherry-picking a point in the series roughly equivalent to their end point in the current pause, in order to see if end effects were present. Now I don’t know if that is a particularly robust test or not, but as far as I am aware the paper’s methodology has not been seriously challenged.

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  117. BTW, apologies for thinking you were tracking me on Twitter. I’m amazed to find my tweets archived on the actual PLOS ONE Abstract page. That is a bit weird. It seems me and Ima were the only people who actually brought this paper to the attention of other Twitter users.

    Like

  118. I didn’t imagine you were thick, only that you were missing some information. Evidently not.

    I did a crude estimation of rates. The result is here: http://s33.postimg.org/968j7orfz/rates.gif

    Note that to get the scale the same for both plots, I put the highest point from the to-2016 data at the end of the to-2013 data – you can see it as an individual point at the top-right. In the plot you can see that the rate shoots up in the newer data – clearly an end-effect to be ignored. But you can also see that the sharp fall towards zero and the rebound in the original data are greatly attenuated (the rebound wasn’t plotted in the paper, perhaps because I plotted monthly changes and they plotted annual).

    From my perspective, I’d say the acceleration is real but the extent of the collapse isn’t. I think all the points plotted where the rate is changing fast enough that the circles don’t overlap (so one can see circles not a black line) are not real in either plot. So the rate didn’t dip much, if at all, below 0.01C/yr. This is consistent with the error margins in the paper, as I think I mentioned before.

    Like

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