They Thought They Were Saving the World: Book Review

Our colleague Benoît Rittaud, president of the Association des Climato-réalistes and senior lecturer in mathematics at the University of Paris 13, has a book out: “Ils s’imaginaient sauver le monde: Chroniques Sceptiques de la COP21.” (Books Editions 2016). I recommend it strongly to anyone who reads French, not just for the clarity of its exposition of the sceptical viewpoint and its ironic comments on the imbecilities of the COP21 conference, but for its frequent illuminating asides, the originality of which stems perhaps from the fact that Benoît is thinking outside the Anglo-Saxon box, drawing on a quite different cultural tradition. I intend to translate a chapter or two, but in the meantime I’ll try and give you an idea of what I mean.

Benoît starts with a reflection on the natural reaction of the normal scientist, (citing Kuhn) which is to trust experts in fields outside his own, and on his first response to his own doubts. He says:

From the point of view of the normal scientist, it’s easy to understand that when you see the epistemological warning light flashing, indicating a problem within institutional science, this is going to provoke a certain mental disturbance. The two main blogs confronting each other at the moment of my conversion were RealClimate, manned by a team of climate scientists, representing the voice of official science as it were, and Climate Audit, run on a shoestring by the Canadian Steve McIntyre, who had no particular scientific status. And yet his site was far more precise, detailed, and factual. Climate Audit displayed scientific rigour; RealClimate offered personal attacks. In this case, it was the amateur who was following the path of true science.

He gives a long account of his inner conflict which would be most unusual in an English-speaking author, I think, but which harks back to Socrates’ dictum “know thyself”, and to Descartes’ use of introspection to free philosophy from its scholastic bounds.

The main bulk of the book consists of a beginner’s guide to scepticism, with references to Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts (and Josh!), as well as to two distinguished French scientists who have dared to express their scepticism – Vincent Courtillot and Claude Allègre – interspersed with a caustic day-by-day running commentary on the unfolding COP21 circus. There are quotes which English-speaking readers won’t be aware of, like President Hollande in Manila attributing earthquakes to global warming, or ex-Minister of the Environment Corinne Lepage calling for a register of climate sceptics to be made for some later unspecified use.

He has an interesting theory about the 1.5°C/2°C “controversy” (if that’s the right word for a discussion which had all the intellectual interest of a discussion of the relative merits of “hocus pocus” and “abracadabra”). Borrowing from his previous book, “La Peur Exponentielle” which recounts the history of our fear of the idea of exponential growth from Babylonian times through Malthus to the present, he says:

The symbolic fear of the exponential can be divided into three phases: an initial one during which the growth is too slow to be noticed; an intermediary phase where the growth becomes perceptible and worrying; and finally the catastrophic phase, when all is lost because the exponential growth is out of control. The tipping point is the precise moment when we pass from the second to the final phase. Whatever its form, the fear of the exponential always places us at the precise moment in time between the second and third phases. With the same eternal message: It’s not too late, but we must move fast. […]

This new notion of a double tipping point, which we know was was only introduced for purely diplomatic reasons, seems to me to be a major strategic errror on the part of the authors of the treaty. The 2°C had become an icon clearly identified by its unique character, combining fear of the climate and the iconic symbol of exponential growth, which is so powerful in contemporary thought. Having two tipping points is equivalent to not having any at all, replacing the terrifying idea of a “climatic explosion” by a worry more diffuse, more gradual, and therefore much less effective. From now on, if we only need to be “a bit afraid” between +1.5°C and +2°C, what’s to stop us saying that we only need to be “a bit more afraid” beyond that?

Everywhere there are parallels with the British, American, Canadian or Australian experience, and interesting details which can only help to complete the picture. There’s an account of the sacking of the TV weatherman Philippe Verdier which we covered here, and of the “Wanted” posters placed outside the hotels of sceptical scientists attending an alternative event by the rent-a-mob activist group AVAAZ. The extracts from the COP21 agreement with their multiple square brackets are treated with suitable derision, and the ecstatic acclaim with which the final document was greeted is comapared to the Tex Avery cartoon character running over a cliff and continuing to advance, unaware that he’s walking on thin air.

But it’s not all science. There’s a chapter on Pope Francis’s encyclical ‘Laudato Si’. The Pope cites his sources, as any scientist would, and Benoît checks them, just as you or I would when reading an article in Nature or at the Conversation. Who best understands the meaning of Leviticus, St Paul or the Psalmist? The Pope, or an obscure lecturer in the History of Mathematics? Read the book and judge.

Benoît frequently steps back from the essentially farcical tale he’s telling and tries to make sense of it all from a long-term socio-historical or political point of view, much as we try to do here. Some of his ideas are interesting variations on what we read and write on English-speaking blogs; the suggestion that climate catastrophism might be a kind of psychological aftershock of the fear of nuclear holocaust which was largely dissipated (quite unjustifiably, in my opinion) by the fall of the Soviet Union; or the religious analogy, harking back, not to a vengeful Judeo-Christian god, but to Zeus and his thunderbolt.

And he ends this serious (and sometimes angry) book rather surprisingly with a reference to a cartoon in le Monde which showed a row of serious-looking experts and a clown with the caption: “A climate sceptic has slipped into the Academy of Sciences. Can you spot him?” Benoît’s comment is typically profound and ends on a note that is positively Nietzschean:

This cartoon accompanies an article criticising the unorthodox position on the climate held by some members of the Academy of Sciences, including Vincent Courtillot. It was therefore an attack on a specific person, inevitably recalling certain similar cartoons attacking Zola at the time of the Dreyfus affair.

Leaving aside for a moment the insulting nature of the drawing, it has to be noted that it contains an interesting point, though it’s highly unlikely that the artist was aware of it: – the choice of the clown to represent the climate sceptic, a surprising choice given all the alternative derogatory characters available. Why not an idiot in a dunce’s cap? Or a madman dressed as Napoleon, or a narcissist admiring himself in the mirror? These alternatives would have been equally insulting, and more relevant. [..] Identifying the climate sceptic as a clown, joyful and smiling, invites a comparison with the carbocentrists with their stern looks and grey suits, reflecting their dull, serious outlook.

Severity suits them, for climate alarmism has chosen to base itself on Fear – that’s to say on an emotion – which is why Reason, whether scientific, economic, or political, is generally useless as a weapon in the debate. To challenge an emotion, we need another emotion, And in this case it’s the clown who gives us the answer. The only practical way of answering fear is with laughter, the joyous, eternal cheer of those who refuse to give in.

Some of my favourite commenters here suggest that ridicule is the best medicine against the alarmist disease, and we often try and supply it. And so do Benoît and his fellow climato-réalistes. We can learn from them.

37 thoughts on “They Thought They Were Saving the World: Book Review

  1. Geoff, thanks for this. The brief excerpts you’ve kindly translated have made me long for the days before my fairly proficient français became terminally rouillé <sigh>

    Look forward to your promised further translations. As you may have gathered, I am a firm believer in the maxim that humour/laughter is the best medicine!

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  2. Based on your translation, this seems pure confirmation bias: RealClimate bad, Climate Audit good, etc.

    Let me ask you a serious question. What do you really expect in the future? For example, do you think that Steve McIntyre will be remember as someone who professionally and politely tried to highlight serious issues in climate science and was simply ignored, or as someone who used their technical prowess to confuse our understanding of multi-proxy studies? Do you think RealClimate will be remembered as a site that might have been run by professional climate scientists but that promoted unscientific views, or as a site that tried counter some of the unscientific views presented on other sites and in the media? Do you think that Anthony Watts will be remembered as anything other than someone who spent years promoting science denial? What about Josh’s cartoons – a satirical and insightful look at the climate science movement, or an illustration of the nastiness of the online debate?

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  3. I also look forward to some whole Chapter translations. The French often look at things slightly differently from us which provides valuable further insight.

    Ken, your ‘serious question’ is after all, just a restatement of the basic scientific premise of CAGW reframed in terms of the outlook for the personal credibility of its opponents. You’re saying ‘what if’ AGW climate science turns out to be correct and we pass 1.5C, then 2.0C etc? The Watts’ and the McIntyres of this world are all going to look pretty stupid them, aren’t they? Well, yes. But there again, we have a far larger population of professional academics who are going to look equally stupid if the projected catastrophe doesn’t happen, if we don’t all end up going to thermageddon hell in a handcart. Unfortunately, science – which the latter group claim a professional monopoly on – appears to have made very little progress in providing a definitive answer to this question in the last 2 decades. So, until Nature herself provides more definitive evidence, one way or the other, we still only have climate model projections of who the clowns are going to be in some hypothetical future.

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  4. ATTP only fools act or don’t act based on how the future will view those decisions. Which fits nicely with the book ‘they thought they were saving the world’. All we do, and this book seems to be about, is shine a light on the failings of your side. Does history look favourably on well meaning but inept leaders? Does it blame small bands of the public for historic failures or the people with all the power? The vast majority of people out there have never heard of any of us, Anthony Watts onwards. Many won’t even have heard a sceptic politician express more than a few grumbles about it and yet scepticism and inaction abounds. OK, journalist might have had a place in spreading the sceptic word lately, but not before your side had had decades with barely a word of rejection aired.

    How will history view those who forever whined that Exxon was to blame as they jetted from IPCC buffet to buffet? How will they view those who allowed silly unworkable plans sap money and enthusiasm from a limited budget? How will they view scientists who cared so little about accuracy that they tarnished their own science? Hmmm. Since I see very little good science these days I expect that no matter what happens there will be a great many papers blaming us. But I don’t expect the public will pay them any attention. Just like now.

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  5. Good questions ATTP. Here’s my perspective on them.

    Q1: SMc will be remembered as a highly competent mathematician who through his non-publicly funded blog ClimateAudit gave freely of his time in an attempt to introduce mathematical rigour to the field of climate science and the skill-set of its practitioners who clearly demonstrated that ‘ad-hoc novelty maths’ in multi-proxy studies was no substitute for careful scientific analysis. History will also record that his efforts were not always appreciated by those he tried to help.

    Q2: RealClimate, a publicly funded blog, will be gratefully remembered by many in the ‘sceptical’ camp as the initial source of their scepticism triggered by the level of ad-hom antagonism and censorship that invariably followed anyone who questioned the certainty of the house-credo. It may well be best remembered for frequently utilising the findings of SMc while forgetting to acknowledge their source.

    Q3: Anthony Watts will be remembered through his popular and much visited, non publicly-funded blog WattsUpWithThat which while devoting much of its content to the field of climate science and policy also provided visitors with numerous articles on humerous and general scientific matters. His website should not be confused with a now extinct but similar sounding blog which did not appear to share the same beliefs as Mr Watts exhibited and frequently exhibited an excellent illustration of the nastiness of the online debate.

    Q4: Josh will be fondly remembered as a non-publicly funded cartoonist specialising in the field of lampooning the powerful climate-science establishment of the time. While many may complain that this target lends itself too easily to being the butt of humour there is no discounting that Josh was highly talented in his chosen field and, as a bonus, made people laugh. It should also be noted that not everyone found his cartoons funny.

    Don’t mention it, Ken. I’m always glad to help.

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  6. Clearly it’s not “confirmation bias” since it is about his conversion. The first chapter is called “Conversion” as you can see from the first few pages, available at Amazon.fr.

    That paragraph sums up what happened with me when I first started trying to learn more about climate science in about 2007. And many others on the Climate etc Denizens thread describe similar experiences:

    “I accepted the AGW ‘consensus’ until stumbling across Steve McIntyre’s work”

    “Moved onto RealClimate and found it wanting except that I was introduced to the “bad boys” McIntyre, Spencer & Watts whom I have since enjoyed”

    “About three years ago I discovered RC. I was initially surprised and then disgusted by the arrogance, condescension and tribalism at that site. I then discovered CA and other blogs which I now read regularly.”

    “I researched Mann et al 1998 and found it overly optimistic in terms of confidence based on limited spacial coverage and quality of data. Happened across Real Climate and Climate Audit finding McIntyre often addressed real issues where Real Climate did not. ”

    “I became intrigued with the global warming debate about 6 years ago. I explored various blogs starting with Physics Today (I think). When I found Real Climate I was initially impressed by the apparent mastery of the material of the contributors but I soon became stunned and disillusioned by the arrogance and rudeness of both the principles and many of the commentators. By contrast, Steve McIntyre’s site was equally hardnosed and rigorous but far more open and polite.”

    and my personal favourite:

    “I used to think CAGW was probably correct and never checked it out until I saw a mention of the “hockey stick” somewhere which I googled and then found and started reading Steve McIntyre’s blog. This was a revelation. What shocked me more than anything else was not the inconclusive nature of much of the science (mistakes get made, this area may not have historically attracted the very best minds …) but the arrogance, deceipt, hubris and sheer dismissive sneering tone of Mann and especially Gavin Schmidt towards anyone who questioned their work. These may be strong words, but I would wager that any intelligent and curious scientist who spends a few weeks reading up about climate science at realclimate would come away quite disgusted.”

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  7. We get readers from all over Europe. It would be interesting to hear from them about any aspects of the climate story that they discuss and we don’t hear about. (I once came across a peer-reviewed paper about bird deaths at a Norwegian wind farm inside the Arctic Circle. Twenty three sea eagles, I remember, and a cross-billed parrot.)

    Pierre Gosselin does a great job keeping English-speakers abreast of developments in Germany and Eastern Europe at http://notrickszone.com/

    It would be good to hear more.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The thing that really irritates me about the whole climate, hockey stick, blogs …etc, is that it’s a really interesting story and it just gets whitewashed or ignored by science writers like Andrew Revkin.

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  9. ATTP:

    Based on your translation, this seems pure confirmation bias

    Don’t think you read carefully enough:

    I recommend it strongly to anyone who reads French, not just for the clarity of its exposition of the sceptical viewpoint and its ironic comments on the imbecilities of the COP21 conference, but for its frequent illuminating asides, the originality of which stems perhaps from the fact that Benoît is thinking outside the Anglo-Saxon box, drawing on a quite different cultural tradition.

    He gives a long account of his inner conflict which would be most unusual in an English-speaking author, I think, but which harks back to Socrates’ dictum “know thyself”, and to Descartes’ use of introspection to free philosophy from its scholastic bounds.

    Some of his ideas are interesting variations on what we read and write on English-speaking blogs; the suggestion that climate catastrophism might be a kind of psychological aftershock of the fear of nuclear holocaust which was largely dissipated (quite unjustifiably, in my opinion) by the fall of the Soviet Union; or the religious analogy, harking back, not to a vengeful Judeo-Christian god, but to Zeus and his thunderbolt.

    Benoît’s comment is typically profound and ends on a note that is positively Nietzschean:

    Some of my favourite commenters here suggest that ridicule is the best medicine against the alarmist disease, and we often try and supply it. And so do Benoît and his fellow climato-réalistes.

    Thinking outside the Anglo-Saxon box, especially the dumb and dumber forms of debate some of us have been bored to tears by, sounds just the thing. A couple of related comments. One is that Ben Pile is surely right that “religion is too encompassing an idea”. I like the specifics alluded to here – both the model of Zeus and of mirth as the antidote. Chesterton writes well of the latter in an account of his own inner conflict called, with due irony, “Orthodoxy”. Religion is too large a category. But the political religion idea, used by Michael Burleigh to explain Naziism on the back of work by French “liberal conservative sociologist and journalist” Raymond Aron, among others, also seems on target.

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  10. Richard,
    Not sure why you think it’s got anything to do with me not reading carefully enough. I was suggesting (although I can see that it wasn’t clear from my comment) that it is being well received here because it presents a narrative (RC bad, CA good, for example) that aligns with the views held by most who post and comment here. You are, of course, free to disagree.

    [PM: Oh, your inability to communicate accurately strikes again.]

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  11. Some of us don’t want to go down the same well-worn tracks, ATTP. Your banal critique can easily entrap the unwary to do so, again and again. What matters here is what’s different. As Ben says “if you want to use other debates to propagate your own memes, you should at least attempt to understand the argument offered on its own terms”. Like Steve McIntyre I’m sure Geoff doesn’t want all his threads to become the same. And there’s plenty here that can lend itself to something usefully different.

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  12. Richard,
    I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting. My point was that if one were asked to compare CA and RC, it seems unlikely that any objective assessment would conclude that

    Climate Audit displayed scientific rigour; RealClimate offered personal attacks. In this case, it was the amateur who was following the path of true science.

    This isn’t, however, a suggestion that it’s the opposite, simply that the above seem so obviously wrong, and so obviously biased, that’s it hard to see how anyone could really take anything else the author says all that seriously. YMMV, of course.

    [PM: I’ve already given you plenty of examples of other people independently saying the same thing.]

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  13. Here’s the first three paragraphs of the book’s preamble, from Amazon-

    At COP21, the famous Paris climate conference held at the end of 2015, the great and the good of the world came to show themselves. Most of the heads of state who were there declaimed tirelessly and repetitively the mantra: we must stop man-made climate chaos.

    In unison with the politicians, the media hammered home the same message, reporting the most dramatic announcements to show that an “ambitious and binding” agreement was absolutely essential at this great event. Numerous organisations and NGOs supported the proposal while organising celebratory or cultural events designed to capture attention.

    The meeting of the last chance to save the planet, COP21 had a particularly well organised staging. This made its progress entirely predictable, conforming in all respects to what the atmosphere of the time expected from it: hopes, anxieties, twists, suspense, accusations, hesitations, pleadings, accusations… nothing was missing from the show where we were made to believe that we can and must save the planet.

    After that there’s a paragraph saying that the agreement wasn’t really a diplomatic success, but it’s beyond my schoolboy + googletranslate French.

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  14. Geoff — “It would be interesting to hear from them about any aspects of the climate story that they discuss and we don’t hear about.” —

    James Painter’s Poles Apart report claims to have analysed climate reporting from across the world, and found that scepticism is substantially a phenomenon of the Anglosphere. http://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/publication/poles-apart

    I asked him at the launch of the report if he had ruled out the possibility that emphasis on climate might be equally an Anglo Saxon phenomenon. He admitted that he hadn’t, but doesn’t seem to have turned the not-inconsiderable resources of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Churnalism to that end.

    I too, wonder, though, how much climate change is emphasised elsewhere compared to the US/UK/Canada/Australia, where there are similar political traditions (and some interesting differences, for other discussions). I’m guessing here, though, that reducing CO2 from the power sector is almost a non-story in France, where there is so much nuclear power. Conversely, in Germany, there were more fears about nuclear power, it seems, whereas it seems the public are significantly more tolerant of official decisions, and seem willing to accept prices that aren’t tolerated in many countries.

    Some other sources occur off the bat…

    Pascal Bruckner writes about environmentalism as a global ‘ideology’ in The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse: Save the Earth, Punish Human Beings, though I’m not sure how particularly his perspective is French. Also, Luc Ferry’s The New Ecological Order is a fascinating look at the origins of the earlier environmental movement (1995) which is not constrained to the Anglosphere.

    Peder Anker, himself Norweigan, however, sheds some light on why environmentalism might be an Anglo Saxon thing in Environmental Order in the British Empire.

    —-
    From 1895 to the founding of the United Nations in 1945, the promising new science of ecology flourished in the British Empire. Peder Anker asks why ecology expanded so rapidly and how a handful of influential scientists and politicians established a tripartite ecology of nature, knowledge, and society.

    Patrons in the northern and southern extremes of the Empire, he argues, urgently needed tools for understanding environmental history as well as human relations to nature and society in order to set policies for the management of natural resources and to effect social control of natives and white settlement. Holists such as Jan Christian Smuts and mechanists such as Arthur George Tansley vied for the right to control and carry out ecological research throughout the British Empire and to lay a foundation of economic and social policy that extended from Spitsbergen to Cape Town.

    The enlargement of the field from botany to human ecology required a broader methodological base, and ecologists drew especially on psychology and economy. They incorporated those methodologies and created a new ecological order for environmental, economic, and social management of the Empire. — http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674005952
    —-

    Plus ca change… and all that.

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  15. Here in Spain polls show people are more worried about unemployment. I also heard comments that this summer isn’t as warm as last year’s. Most people don’t know the meaning of COP21. And it’s clear nobody with a right thinking brain is about to approve whatever measures Brussels dreams up to stop temperature rising 1,2 degree C above today’s temperature.

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  16. ROYFOMR, I couldn’t agree more.

    +1000

    As for poor silly Ken Rice, sooner rather than later, nemesis will catch up with him, and it will not be a pretty sight.

    Judging by his increasing desperation as evinced by his increasing vituperation, I suspect he is already painfully aware of it too.

    AGW = It’s All Gone Wrong!

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  17. “La science lugubre” it’s a quote from Keynes about economics. Don’t know about the original one in english and how he would have talk about econometrics.
    Climate Audit was about some kind of the worst boring thing in science. S.M. did attract a bunch of people and teach them a lot. God bless mathematician who can achieve that.

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  18. The thing about all those conversion stories, Paul Matthews, is that they are not credible. Nobody worth listening to changes their mind on science because of the tone of blogs. Quite the reverse, they respond to the tone according to their view of the contents. In other words, your quotes are just justifications for prior decisions/positions.

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  19. Raff, you say:

    “Nobody worth listening to changes their mind on science because of the tone of blogs.”

    Benoit says:

    “The two main blogs confronting each other at the moment of my conversion were RealClimate, manned by a team of climate scientists, representing the voice of official science as it were, and Climate Audit, run on a shoestring by the Canadian Steve McIntyre, who had no particular scientific status. And yet his site was far more precise, detailed, and factual. Climate Audit displayed scientific rigour; RealClimate offered personal attacks. In this case, it was the amateur who was following the path of true science.”

    Two points:

    1. Benoit does not indicate that the difference in these two blogs precipitated his conversion; he merely says that they were confronting each other at the time of his conversion.

    2. Clearly, he is not talking only, or even primarily about tone, but content.

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  20. Jaime, tone is a major component of the conversion-story quotes from Paul Matthews. As if it matters to him and his opinion of climate science at least. Why Benoit decided as he did is not evident, but the fact that he can quote (presumably approvingly, but the post doesn’t say) from Watts site is not a good sign. As CA and WUWT are in English, Benoit may well not have caught the nastiness of the latter or the constant insinuation of the former that are immediately evident to a native speaker.

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  21. Raff, but it’s not Benoit’s conversion story as you claimed, just largely anonymous quotes from people on the Denizens thread and it is by no means certain even then that the CAUSE of the conversion was the tone of the people running RC. It is far more likely that Benoit changed his mind about CAGW due to an accumulation of many personal observations on the quality of the science being put forward to defend it, and yes, in addition probably, the general behaviour of the scientists and non-scientists defending it.

    Even IF – and I do not believe this to be the case – the significant and systemic “arrogance, deceipt, hubris and sheer dismissive sneering tone” of the bloggers at RC was mirrored at WUWT and CA, this still does not excuse this behaviour at RC (which was supposedly the public and ‘accessible’ face of climate science). It also does not NECESSARILY invalidate any opinion, based partly or wholly upon this behaviour, that consensus climate science must be a bit suspect if this is how those scientists involved in communicating it to the wider public behave.

    A full conversion to rejecting consensus climate science based solely upon this opinion is probably unjustified, but this is unlikely to be the case with most sceptics, and almost definitely is not the case with Benoit.

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  22. @Ben Pile, that would be my translation of Raff’s diversionary dross, too. Come to think of it – and speaking of diversionary dross – “WAAAAAAAAH” could well be the signal whine of his ever-smear-recycling (but never – well, hardly ever – clear) comrade in diversionary bandwidth-wasting arms, aka inter alia ATTP.

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  23. Pingback: Benoît Rittaud over de redders van de planeet - Climategate.nl

  24. It is always a great matter of satisfaction for a writer when what he writes is truly understood by at least one reader. Clearly you’re that one, Geoff. Thank you so much.
    An interesting point in the discussion is about the differences between countries. Indeed, we do not have much climate skepticism in France, compared with UK or USA (or, more generally, English-speaking developed countries). Ben Pile already mentioned a relevant explanation: the nuclear industry is particularly important here. Noticeably, several prominent pro-IPCC climate scientists in France work, directly or indirectly, for the CEA (“Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique”).
    Cultural aspects are also highly relevant. Among those: the french tradition of a centralized state, the unwilligness to read texts not written in French, and the particular role played in France by the “intellectuels”. This latter point is very important to me. A lot of “intellectuels”, even if not the best ones (cf. Pascal Bruckner and Luc Ferry already mentioned by Ben Pile), see in AGW not a scientific question that should be discussed, but an indisputable illustration that Occident is the Devil. Since only a few of them even know what science is, they just cannot imagine that their attitude could deeply undermine it.
    Also, it should be remembered that, at present, people in France are not very optimistic in general. In the country of Condorcet, the idea of progress is not regarded as promising anymore (let alone that our GDP growth is very weak). Hence, endorsing AGW as a bill of indictement against “globalization” and “liberalism” is a winning ticket.
    Geoff’s text and the present thread show that we have a lot to learn from each other. Thank you all.

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  25. @ ATTP – 08 Aug 16 at 8:04 am

    IF I were you (I know I’m not, but if …), I would spend way more time attending all kind of climate conferences – and solar conferences, and wind conferences – in all kind of tropical places, all expenses paid, having a good time quoi, instead of spending so much time on Steve’s, and e.g. here …

    by 2025 things will start to get a bit wrong for the CAGW party, and by 2030 the party will be completely over … by lack of money, and by lack of physics … “the people”, by then, will be fed up with hearing climate doom, paying for it, paying too dearly for “green” electricity that would prevent climate doom, and not seeing any of it … ending up with summers like the one we’re experiencing now in England and Belgium … the “climate” supposedly warms dangerously, and you still have to fly to Spain to see some sun …

    and fyi, the politicians – masters of the U-turn – will not remember that they themselves instigated the whole shipwreck … that they wanted some minor scientists to be “major climate scientists” … they will happily point the finger for the mess – and direct the crowd’s anger – to RealClimate “scientists”, and other physics lecturers …

    and btw, my answers are:
    1 -> the first
    2 -> see just above
    3 -> yes
    4 -> the first

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  26. Benoît Rittaud: how very good of you to comment here. With Geoff’s help we’d love CliScep to learn across language and cultural boundaries, as we all grapple with a ‘consensus’ that insists it is saving the world, but against all reason.

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  27. I continue to be amazed by Ken Rice’s banal science establishment views. I personally think Climate Audit will come to be seen as a pioneer in identifying and correcting the replication crisis. Real Climate will come to be seen as a pioneer in the dark pseudo-science of “science communication.” I also believe that this crisis science is particularly prevalent in paleoclimatology. Climate science generally is a close second.

    Here are just a few of the recent publications on the replication crisis. Ken Rice steadfastly refuses to acknowledge it or even comment on it. Instead he deletes comments from his blog about it.

    http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

    http://www.nature.com/news/replication-studies-bad-copy-1.10634
    (this one might be of interest to Rice’s co-author Lewandowski)

    http://acsh.org/news/2016/07/18/lets-talk-about-the-bad-science-being-funded/

    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21588069-scientific-research-has-changed-world-now-it-needs-change-itself-how-science-goes-wrong

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-science-cancer-idUSBRE82R12P20120328

    http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/articles/10.1038/nj7599-405a?WT.mc_id=TWT_NatureNews

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1516803#t=comments

    http://retractionwatch.com/2016/07/01/have-1-in-5-uk-academics-fabricated-data/

    http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/23/federal-lab-forced-to-close-after-disturbing-data-manipulation/

    http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article/asset?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1002049.PDF

    http://acsh.org/news/2016/07/18/lets-talk-about-the-bad-science-being-funded/

    In medicine for example the crisis has been acknowledged for at least 15 years and corrective steps have been taken such as preregistration of trials that according to the first reference above have had a dramatic effect. Medicine is a very large field where it is impossible to squash dissent. In other fields, which are often more insular and smaller, the effort to discredit skepticism continues apace under the guise of “communication”. As long as there is denial by the science establishment, no effective measures will be taken in other fields.

    Come on Ken Rice, show us you are actually an honest person and fess up.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. David, thanks, that’s a good reading list on the replication crisis!

    Just about the same time as you posted your comment about paleoclimatology, Steve McIntyre put up a new blog post. Amazingly, it seems that climate scientists are still trying to hide the decline by using data sets in which tree ring data is adjusted by splicing in temperature measurements.

    Like

  29. Pingback: Londres, du Brexit à Clexit | Mythes, Mancies & Mathématiques

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