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Scott Adams on Climate Persuasion, and Tony Heller’s top 5

We’ve discussed Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, a few times here. It’s quite interesting to see the thinking of somebody who’s clearly quite intelligent, and thinks for himself, but is relatively new to the climate debate.

One of his most recent videos is about Climate Persuasion, titled “Scott Adams solves the climate debate and saves the world (really)”, available here on periscope or here on twitter.

Adams is not so much interested in establishing “the truth” about climate change, which he regards as un-knowable, and to some extent of course he’s right about that – nobody knows whether the predictions climate scientists are making for 50 or 100 years ahead will turn out to be correct or not. He’s more interested in the idea of which arguments are persuasive and which are not.

In this video he talks about what he perceives as the three most commonly used “pillars of climate persuasion”:

  • The hockey stick
  • The models
  • The 97% consensus

He says that if you’re young, or a journalist, these three things are likely to be persuasive. But if you’re older or have business experience, your response will be “bullshit”:

Show any hockeystick graph to someone who’s older or has business experience and what will be their first reaction? Bullshit. Prior to even hearing about the climate change argument, it was widely, famously known and universally known among business people, that when anybody shows you a powerpoint graph on any topic whatsoever, and it’s got a hockeystick shape, you automatically assume they’re lying…

The hockeystick is the most famous symbol of lying in the corporate world. Would you know that if you were young? If you were 18, and you’d never had a job, would you be aware that the hockeystick graph is literally a symbol of lying in the corporate world?

I recall Steve McIntyre saying something similar along time ago – that Mann’s hockeystick immediately triggered his bullshit meter, when he first heard of it about 20 years ago.

Adams then goes on to say the same thing about models predicting the future, and the 97% consensus argument. Again, regardless of the topic, the reaction of older people or people with business experience will be “bullshit”. He says that climate scientists themselves are close to the first category, young people and journalists – who find these things convincing, while to the other group, these things will in fact be anti-persuasive.

What I find interesting here is that if Adams is right, this means that the entire, vast industry of climate science communication is barking up the wrong tree and doomed to failure. Academics in climate science – Mann, Marcott et al, Gergis and Neukomm, desperately trying to force the data to show a hockeystick shape, are wasting their time and indulging in activities that are counter-productive to their cause. Similarly, all the hangers-on in sociology and psychology –  the consensus enforcers, Ed Maibach, Lewandowsky and Cook, and hundreds of others working away in their ivory tower echo chambers, are all speaking the wrong language, despite supposedly being experts in communication and psychology. “The people packaging it don’t know how to package it to be persuasive to this population,” Adams says.

In the second half of his video, Adams talks about his proposed way forward. “What would it take to change your mind?” he asks. His answer is that he could be convinced that climate change is a very serious problem that we should all be concerned about by the following scenario.

He says that Tony Heller (who goes by the name of Steve Goddard on twitter) is the sceptic that he finds most convincing, and he challenges Heller to come up with his “top 5” arguments. These can then be challenged by climate scientists and debated iteratively, with Heller going last, and Scott Adams will then make up his mind.

He says that he is genuinely undecided, and that he thinks some people on both sides seem to be lying – some sceptics arguments are very bad and not credible, while some climate science claims are presented as if they are a scam.


Well, Tony Heller has risen to the challenge and has written a blogpost on The Five Top Arguments Against Climate Alarmism, incorporating a Dilbert cartoon.

Heller’s top five are:

1. Climate alarmism is based mainly around fear of extreme weather. This concept is deeply rooted in human nature, and has its roots in ancient stories of giant floods, famines and plagues – caused (of course) by man’s sins. Climate alarmists are tapping into that primal fear, and pushing the same idea of extreme weather and floods caused by mankind’s carbon sins.

2. Climate alarmism is much like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. People may not see any evidence of catastrophic climate change or sea level rise, but their opinion is irrelevant because 97% of scientists believe we are doomed due to global warming.

3. Academics have been making apocalyptic predictions for decades.  All have failed miserably, yet they keep repeating the same misinformation over and over again.

4. Climate alarmism is completely dependent on graphs and useless climate models generated by a small handful of people.  The graphs are generated through scientifically corrupt processes of data tampering and hiding data.

5. The most important argument against climate alarmism is that the proposed solutions are unworkable, dangerous and useless. They were made without consulting engineers, and have zero chance of success.  A robust discussion about our energy future is needed, but that discussion is censored in favor of propaganda.


Well, what do you think of Heller’s top 5?

Would you have chosen something similar, or a different set of topics?

Do you think Scott Adams will find them convincing?

My view is that the debate that Scott Adams wants to see won’t happen. No climate scientists will engage in a serious debate with Heller’s points. If that is that the outcome, will Heller have won by default and will Scott Adams become a card-carrying climate sceptic?

82 thoughts on “Scott Adams on Climate Persuasion, and Tony Heller’s top 5

  1. I think Tony has chosen well. I can’t see how anyone can reasonably attack any of his points and have any hope of withstanding his rebuttal. I do hope someone is enough of an egoist to try as the iterative debate would be very interesting. I doubt it will happen.

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  2. The top 5 arguments against climate alarmism for me are:

    1. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does not predict severe impacts for warming. They do predict serious impacts that will have a markedly negative impact on the developing world, but they absolutely do not predict anything remotely resembling catastrophic impacts.

    2. Research since the early 2000s show that previous estimates of high sensitivity have a high possibility of having overstated the case. In particular, ‘fat tail’ projections of a 10% possibility of sensitivity of over 3C have been more or less eliminated as possible outcomes

    3. One fifth of the way through the 21st Century, accelerated rises of sea level and global average temperature show no sign of occurring.

    4. Arctic sea ice appears to have stabilized around a new, admittedly lower, regime.

    5. Existing technology is adequate to both mitigate against and adapt to expected levels of impacts from climate change–should we need to , we will not need to invent some magic solution to save us.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Last, but not least, the IPCC’s “Summary for Policymakers” is authored by politicians, not scientists, and generally conflicts with the scientific conclusions reached by…wait for it…the scientists.

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  4. Thomas Fuller,

    “3. One fifth of the way through the 21st Century, fears about accelerated rises of sea level and global average temperature show no sign of occurring.”

    wouldn’t this be better if you deleted “fears about”?

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  5. Reasons for not believing CAGW
    1. Michael Mann
    2. Phil Jones
    3. Al Gore
    that’s enough, don’t need no “steenckin” 4 and 5.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Why I ain’t a believer.
    No matter how beautiful the models, they’re flawed. Professors McKitrick and Judith Curry observe why. Professor Richard Lindzen nails the politicks of the context in which the climate undergoes modelling. Professor RJ Alexander shows empiric, historical and recent links re Vaal River, in South Africa with influence of sunspots and makes successful predictions based on cycles of flood and famine.
    https://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2018/12/23/56th-edition-serf-under_ground-journal/ Professor Nils Axel Morner refutes dangerous sea level rises. Corals don’t lie. https://www.thegwpf.com/nils-axel-morner-these-researchers-have-a-political-agenda/

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Climate alarmism, as communicated to the populace in general, rests upon a few fundamental messages:

    1. Humans have changed the climate – all of the rise in global average surface temperature since 1950 is due to GHG emissions – extremely likely.
    2. Humans have changed the climate – all of the rise in global average surface temperature since 1850 is due to GHG emissions – statement in SR15 with no accompanying assessment of likelihood.
    3. Humans are changing the climate – extreme weather is becoming more extreme and more frequent.
    4. The disastrous impacts of our having changed the climate are being felt right now – floods, heatwaves, wildfires, melting glaciers, melting sea-ice, rising sea-level, hurricanes, typhoons etc.
    5. It’s just going to get worse – much worse – the climate models tell us so.
    6. We must do something now and that something is . . . windmills, solar panels, wood-fired power stations, no coal, no gas, no diesel, no petrol, smart meters, eco-homes, electric cars.

    There are 101 reasons, scientific, technical, economic, social, political, psychological, to conclude that these fundamental pillars of climate alarmism are complete and utter bullshit.

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  8. I don’t think much of the first point. I’d rather see a discussion of natural variability pre 1940 from 1850 at least. When they can give me a clear set of reasons why things cooled from 1880 and warmed from 1900 and so forth I might be more inclined to believe in CO2 catastrophe. My perception is that much effort has gone into ignoring this- or sweeping it under the carpet. But it happened, and I need the explanations for those periods to assess the last 50 years slight rise. It could even be that this would make a super convert of me- if for instance natural factors indicated that earth should be cooling now, then the effect of CO2 would be so much the worse. But there just seems to be no interest in natural variability at all, other than to minimise it as much as possible.

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  9. I recently met with a group of over 80s and asked them if they could honestly say whether UK climate had changed during their lifetimes. They all said no – not really. However a couple of them mentioned 1947 as being the most extreme year they had ever experienced for weather. First there was a brutal winter with fuel shortages probably made worse due to rationing following WW2. Then the following summer was incredibly hot breaking temperature records for June at 95 DegF. No year since they claimed had seen such extremes.

    Can you imagine the huge fuss that would ensue should 2020 be a repeat of 1947!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Clive,

    History is not kind to climate alarmists promoting extreme weather as the symptom of the “climate crisis”. February 1947 was even colder than 1963 in the UK. March 1947 was only slightly less frigid than March 1963 and about as cold as March 2013. August 1947 was second only to August 1995 as the hottest since 1910. August, February and March are seemingly immune to global warming in the UK, having been cooling consistently, on average, since 2000. February will soon be as cold as it was in 1910 if the trend continues. This February might buck the trend – it feels more like summer here at the moment! Absolutely remarkable. No doubt the unusually high temperatures in late Feb 2019 will be put down to global warming! All those other historical anomalies will just be ignored.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The current warm spell (for a few hours around noon) seems to be due to a big kink in the Jet Stream bringing air up from the Canaries. It still pretty cold at night though! Greece however seems to be very cold and I saw some pictures of snow falling in Saudi Arabia 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Paul:

    “What I find interesting here is that if Adams is right, this means that the entire, vast industry of climate science communication is barking up the wrong tree and doomed to failure. Academics in climate science – Mann, Marcott et al, Gergis and Neukomm, desperately trying to force the data to show a hockeystick shape, are wasting their time and indulging in activities that are counter-productive to their cause. Similarly, all the hangers-on in sociology and psychology – the consensus enforcers, Ed Maibach, Lewandowsky and Cook, and hundreds of others working away in their ivory tower echo chambers, are all speaking the wrong language, despite supposedly being experts in communication and psychology. “The people packaging it don’t know how to package it to be persuasive to this population,” Adams says.”

    Regarding this angle, I tweeted back to Scott:

    Nice. But your ‘packaging’, & much deeper issues on similar lines (cultural identity), all known / discussed for years in social psychology (albeit big bias to 1 side re CC in that field). Generically, your ‘solution’ cannot work. Start on Kahan, science of science communication.

    As you say, it’s interesting to see a new entrant to the field, who despite making some good observations thinks these are new or obvious or so far unaddressed. Well he’s sure right that psychology is important, but generically his observations are in no way new or different or unaddressed. All of his psychological aspects have been endlessly addressed, and also far deeper than his surface scratch. And as part of this there have been numerous attempts to ‘frame’ things in the right way for psychological acceptance by the target audiences (generally US Rep / Cons), with mixed results. Some of the ‘enforcers’ have even been involved in that. But each framing while it may increase acceptance in one area, may also lose it in another, and across many different framings it becomes obvious to people in time that they are indeed just framings and not ‘truth’, which overall then increases their perception that someone is just trying to push a big sell on them, and hence in the longer term this makes the problem worse by increasing polarization and communication complexity too. There are many more aspects to this, including more obvious ones such as backlash from fear memes, but generically the experts are struggling with why these strategies don’t work, and anyway it doesn’t really matter because the messaging is *emergent*, i.e. they can’t control it (and despite themselves, the ones who are passionate believers are actually contributing to the continued emergence / evolution!)

    His ‘solution’ cannot work, *whatever* his top 5 arguments are. Whether it persuades him personally or not, this debate in the wider community would be no more free of cultural perceptions and mistrust of sources than any other prior exchanges in the domain. It’s highly unfortunate that practically everyone in all the disciplines that address this stuff are themselves emotively committed to the climate narrative, which they think is just a matter of hard science. This is what causes a dramatic short-circuiting of many correct principles (which folks like Lew did reasonable work on before jumping into the climate domain), so leading to deep confusion and many doubling down to avoid dissonance. All this is one reason why critical progress could be made if the mainstream science community pushed back on the catastrophist narrative they don’t support. Doesn’t even need any skeptical science. This would alert the social science disciplines who study this stuff (though some will no doubt be irrecoverable), that a cultural framing had become dominant; this is all that would be needed to then set them on the right track, and some years down the line they would end up shredding the entire public edifice.

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  13. the experts are struggling with why these strategies don’t work

    Simple – they don’t have the truth on their side. There are enough people around who won’t be taken in by airy propaganda.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I could give five I suppose, but I’m working on this right now. Science is all about the balance of probabilities.

    1. We are currently in the Holocene, and have had nine warm periods.
    2. Eight of those warm periods have taken place with a fairly static presence of around 300ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    3. The ninth is occurring roughly 1000 years after the Medieval Warm Period, bang on time.
    4. The historical records show no instances where a rise in CO2 was followed by a rise in temperature
    5 Yet the climate science community – or at least a part of them – have deduced that on the balance of probabilities the cause of the ninth warm period is increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. WTF?

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  15. Apropos nothing, is there anyone else out there who chose to suffer viewing the BBC’s latest attempt to publicly debate the climate change issue, namely: The Big Questions – Is Environmentalism the New Religion, broadcast on Sunday 24th Feb?

    In compliance with their current policy of ‘appropriate’ representation of climate scepticism, the BBC had but a single sceptic in the audience arguing for the quasi-religiosity of environmentalism. Having delivered his observation that, in keeping with religious dogma, much of what is said in support of alarmism is now getting a ‘free pass’ in public debate, the sceptic was then put on the spot by the host (Nicky Campbell), who played the ‘suffer little children’ card by asking the sceptic whether he saw any parallels in history with the recent child-led revolution in climate politics. The sceptic started to point towards the Chinese Cultural revolution before being shouted down by a lady, shrieking objections such as ‘How dare you!’ and ‘Shame on you!’ Fittingly, two of the precocious little cherubs were in the audience to act as tangible objects of our new-found worship of prepubescent wisdom. At the end of it all, I have to say that the last time I felt so uncomfortable viewing children being used to promote a particular agenda was when Saddam Hussain paraded his child hostages prior to the first Gulf War breaking out – oh, and then there’s any Top of the Pops episode featuring Jimmy Saville.

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  16. John, it sounds like they only needed one sceptic in the audience to argue the case for environmentalism being a belief system. All he had to do was say a few heretical words which acted as the trigger for environmentalists to amply demonstrate their fanaticism when confronted by a non-believer challenging the orthodoxy and questioning in particular the recently adopted method of using brainwashed children to flagellate the unbelievers for their climate sins. The more they lose the argument, the more they censor the rational opposition, the more hysterical they are seen to be, and the deeper they dig the hole which they stand in, shrieking their defiance of logic.

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  17. One of my top reasons for being a climate change sceptic is that so many people who shout loudest about CAGW clearly don’t actually believe it.

    When the likes of Gore and Di Caprio stop using private jets, I might accept that they believe what they preach.

    When the climate alarmed cease holding annual COPs (and pre-meets) where 20-30,000 descend (by aeroplane) every year to generate lots of hot air, I might take them seriously.

    When developing countries who, in their INDCs submitted pursuant to the Paris Agreement, claim to be the countries worst affected by climate change, make proposals to reduce their GHG emissions (rather than, as at present, to increase them significantly), then I might take them seriously.

    When climate-alarmed campaigners reduce their “carbon footprints” to something approaching mine, then I might take them seriously.

    Until then I can’t actually think that they believe in this stuff any more than I do.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What did I tell you? Right on cue.

    “Caroline Lucas, the former leader of the Green Party, suggested the warm weather is linked to climate change.

    She said: “I like spending an afternoon in the sunshine as much as anyone, but it’s impossible to shake the feeling that this isn’t right.”

    Tom Burke, of the independent climate change think tank E3G, said extreme warm weather events were exactly what climate change experts said would happen if people continued to put carbon into the atmosphere.

    He said: “Temperatures are twice what they would normally be at this time of year.”

    The Met office is shying away from linking the record Feb temperatures to climate change at the moment – they’re waiting for an extreme weather attribution study. No doubt World Weather Attribution will oblige soon.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47360952

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  19. Jaime, I just beat you to it – I posted the self-same piece on Bishop Hill Unthreaded at 7.27pm. Great minds think alike…or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. My Five Arguments Against Alarmism

    1. Earth is a thermodynamic system far from equilibrium. We do not have mathematical tools to describe the two coupled fluidic systems that comprise its climate. We do know they set up dissipative structures that we call “weather”. In such a regime, the search for deterministic “causes” of events is absurd.
    2. Climate models are restatements of hypothesis, as I understand them. As such they cannot provide support to that hypothesis. They are based on an assumption of steady state which has, to my knowledge, not been qualified or quantified. What is “normal”, and how do we know? The geological record suggests that climate is bistable, and that nothing remarkable is happening in any context longer than about two centuries.
    3. Climate data is short term, maldistributed, of poor provenance, imprecise, inaccurate and generally not fit for purpose in any rigorous way. Errors relative to trends are enormous. This has led to “adjusting” the data, which is thereby no longer data, but guesswork.
    4. The concept of global average temperature is absurd. Various indices have been created from available bad data. Both data and algorithms are changed frequently and in ways that always support the catastrophic narrative. [Why not create a temperature index from only two points on earth: the hottest and coldest, say Death Valley and Vostok? Both hemispheres are covered, obviating the latitude problem; one point is near earth’s axis of rotation, so time of measurement is not at issue (longitude problem); both are deserts, which minimizes those pesky water phase changes; a simple arithmetic average provides clarity, and makes “adjustments” obvious.]
    5. I have long been concerned with the corrosive effect of ideology on science. Belief is the province of the former, facts the province of the latter. Imminent climate catastrophe seems more belief than fact, more propaganda than persuasion.

    All science is debased by the climate brouhaha. >50 years of practical experience in Chemistry and Physics trained me to respond to novel propositions with: “How interesting. Show me your data. Tell me your thinking”. I don’t see much of that in the climate public discourse.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Scott Adams blocked me for saying he’d been paying to much attention to the apologists of ‘hide the decline/hockey stick, etc… Now he agrees with me, it seems!?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. A very interesting challenge by Scott Adams.
    He is not falling for the fallacy of demanding that skeptics provide alternative theories acceptable to the consensus.
    However, Scott Adams does seem to imply that the reality of climate change simply depends on better marketing. I hope he doesn’t actually believe that CC is merely a problem to be marketed to success.
    Tony Heller’s list is very good.
    I would offer these five, which largely coincide with Heller’s list:
    1) the lack of actual impacts from so-called extreme weather
    2) the consensus refusal to perform a cost/benefits analysis
    3) the lack of consensus self policing of obvious anti-scientific alarmist claptrap
    4) the attribution of any form of weather event to climate change, even if it conflicts with previous predictions (cold winter, warm winter; heavy snow, no snow).
    5) The dichotomy between the claims of “existential threat” and the lack of any significant change or trends, except as re-defined by consensus promoters.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. The warm weather in the UK is down to a favourable ‘kink’ in the jet stream, meaning our weather is coming from north Africa for a few days. No trace gases or doom-laden theories involved there.

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  24. @Mark

    The hypocrisy is #1 in my list; when the doom-sayers start behaving like the world really IS ending, I’ll pay more attention; when they start making changes that diminish their lifestyles, rather than piling them upon the little people.

    @John

    #2 on my list, ecoreligion: “According to a 2010 Pew Research Center survey, resurfaced by the think tank last week in anticipation of Easter Sunday, nearly half of U.S. Christians believe that Christ will “definitely” (27 percent) or “probably” (20 percent) return to Earth in or before the year 2050.” –Huffpo 2013.

    Not today, not tomorrow, but definitely within our lifetimes – this is the mantra of the climate prophet. It is also the naive belief of the religious. The catastrophe/apocalypse must be soon, but it cannot be next week.

    #3, following along…. rounding upon sceptics as heretics, use of the d word (I instantly dismiss any opinion coming from anyone who uses it).(And anyone who refers to “carbon pollution.”

    #4, obvious exaggerations going uncriticised.

    #5. any potential advantages of warmer weather, higher CO2 concentrations being dismissed.

    And all without mentioning Heller’s favourite hobby horse, the adjustments that always seem to cool the past (take ’em or leave ’em, I have yet to analyse them myself so would not like to comment).

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  25. Thomas Fuller mentions IPCC “predictions”, but the IPCC models cannot predict.

    In 1999, there was a series of seminars in Europe focusing on “Uncertainty in Climate Models,” known as the ECLAT series, “Representing Uncertainty in Climate Change Scenarios and Impact Studies” published by the CRU, University of East Anglia.

    The introduction made this statement:

    “Even with perfect models and unlimited computing power, for a given forcing scenario, a range of future climates will always be simulated. It is for this reason that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have always adopted the term ‘projection’.”

    The basis of the whole IPCC AGW agenda relies on such modeling ‘projections,’ but the outcomes for a particular scenario are now claimed, or at least interpreted by the media, as factual ‘predictions’ of what WILL happen, viz the recent “12 years to the end of the world” using the most extreme scenario, RMIP 8.5.

    Phrases such as “new research shows” and “overwhelming scientific evidence proves”, exemplify the public assimilation approach and is an appeal to the “authority of scientists”, when there likely has been no scientific research in the normally accepted understanding of the term, but simply more creative model runs, to produce the result wished for. “The science” of course, has been settled for decades, or so we are led to believe, but when scientists promoting AGW don’t believe themselves that the science is adequate, then it is noteworthy.

    Dr Kevin Trenberth, then Head of Climate Analysis at NCAR and a major figure in the IPCC, expressed his concerns about climate models in a Nature Climate Feedback Blog post in June 2007:

    http://blogs.nature.com/climatefeedback/2007/06/predictions_of_climate.html

    It was a piece supporting the IPCC reports and the claims of “unequivocal” global warming, but he rather gave the game away with these comments:

    “I have often seen references to predictions of future climate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), presumably through the IPCC assessments.

    In fact, since the last report it is also often stated that the science is settled or done and now is the time for action. In fact there are no predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been.

    The IPCC instead proffers “what if” projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios. There are a number of assumptions that go into these emissions scenarios. They are intended to cover a range of possible self consistent “story lines” that then provide decision makers with information about which paths might be more desirable.

    There is no estimate, even probabilistically, as to the likelihood of any emissions scenario and no best guess.

    None of the models used by IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate.

    In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models.

    There is neither an El Niño sequence nor any Pacific Decadal Oscillation that replicates the recent past; yet these are critical modes of variability that affect Pacific rim countries and beyond.

    The Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, that may depend on the thermohaline circulation and thus ocean currents in the Atlantic, is not set up to match today’s state, but it is a critical component of the Atlantic hurricanes and it undoubtedly affects forecasts for the next decade from Brazil to Europe.

    Moreover, the starting climate state in several of the models may depart significantly from the real climate owing to model errors.”

    Trenberth’s concerns negate the IPCC reports because the models are shown to be useless. Have the uncertainty issues been sorted out in the intervening years? Is the science any more settled?The answer is a resounding no, because current models are an aggregation of earlier models, carrying all the assumptions and debatable “expert judgements” that made the ECLAT seminars on uncertainty necessary in the first place. Additionally, observations over that time have failed to validate the projections of the IPCC assessments.

    Here are a few more statements from the ECLAT series:

    “Projecting the future state(s) of the world with respect to demographic, economic, social, and technological developments at a time scale consistent with climate change projections is a daunting task, some even consider as straightforward impossible.

    Over a century time scale, current states and trends simply cannot be extrapolated. The only certainty is that the future will not be just more of the same of today, but will entail numerous surprises, novelties and discontinuities.

    The probability of occurrence of long-term trends is inversely proportional to the ‘expert’ consensus.
    Excessive self-cite and “benchmarking” of modeling studies to existing scenarios creates the danger of artificially constructing “expert consensus”.

    In the presence of multi-decadal climate variability a thirty-year mean may provide an incorrect estimate of the longer-term average climate.”

    To claim scientific certainty regarding the climate is disingenuous and downright fraudulent.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. “I recently met with a group of over 80s and asked them if they could honestly say whether UK climate had changed during their lifetimes. They all said no – not really”

    that there is some solid science.

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  27. Yes Steve, but those old timers are unlikely to change their stories of past temperatures to fit a message, nor will they adjust their memories by consulting others located hundreds of kilometres away.

    Liked by 4 people

  28. “This year’s summer heatwave, which saw temperature records broken across the UK, was made up to 30 times more likely by climate change, a new assessment says.

    A preliminary study by scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre finds that the extreme heat experienced by the UK this year had around a 12% chance of occurring. In a world without climate change, it would have had a 0.5% chance, according to the results.”

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/met-office-climate-change-made-2018-uk-summer-heatwave-30-times-more-likely

    Now that there is some solid science! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. JONA
    Can you expand? I’m sure that there’s a simple logical flaw in these arguments of the form “X was made y times more likely by Climate Change” but I can’t formulate it.

    Since the chance of any actual event which happens having happened is 100%, I assume they’re saying that, without climate change (by which they presumably mean the rise in average global temperature) there would have been only a 3% chance of last summer’s heat wave having occurred. Or, to put it in concrete terms, if average global temperatures hadn’t been rising as they have over the past few decades, only one of the thirty years in and around 2018 would have had a heat wave like that one. Since there’s only one year 2018, you have to make the case with respect to the thirty years closest to that date, say 2004 to 2033. But you’ve already got two other years with comparable heatwaves in your past fourteen, and if you posit another two in your future fifteen, that makes five heatwaves in thirty years, all due to climate change. So 2018 wasn’t a one in thirty freak, but a one in six occurrence. So you adjust the probability and repeat the calculation ad infinitum, until you arrive asymptotically at the conclusion that there was a 100% chance of 2018 being just as it was, because it was, a hundred percent.

    And of course, these heatwaves are all contributing to the global warming which is causing them. Is the logical fallacy there? But my head hurts.

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  30. I suspect the IPCC would be less likely to be misconstrued if it used the term ‘selections’ instead of ‘projections’ when it comes to the model outputs chosen by (re)searchers for publication.

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  31. Geoff,

    The definition of a 1-in-a-100 years event is that there is only a 1% chance of it happening in any given year. This means there is a 99% chance of it not happening. If one then looks at a given 20 year period (say) the chances of a 1-in-a-100 years event not happening within that period is approximately 82% (multiply .99 by itself 20 times). To calculate the chances of a 1-in-a-100 years event not happening in a given 100 year period, calculate .99 to the 100th power. This works out at 37% (i.e. there is still only a 63% chance that it will happen). The chance of occurrence approaches unity, asymptotically, as the posited time period increases, such that there becomes a 99% chance of occurrence of a 1-in-a-100 years event happening during any given 500 year period.

    Given the above, the chances of two 1-in-a-100 year events happening within a given 100 year period would be .63 x .63, which is about 40%. For 6 events, the probability drops to less than 1%.

    This is all very frequentist, however, and complete ergodicity is assumed. There has to come time when the unlikelihood of so many 1-in-a-100 years events happening starts to suggest that the basis for believing an event to be 1-in-a-100 years is unsound.

    Both frequentist and Bayesian methods are used in extreme weather event attribution theory, often combined in very dodgy ways – but that’s another story.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Nice blog.
    =============================

    I don’t know if this would help Mr. Adams, but it was what first gave me a clue that the warmists weren’t playing straight with me.
    https://www.john-daly.com/

    I found it nearly 20 years ago, and have become ever more skeptic since.

    I’d send it to him, but don’t know what his email address is, or even if he would take my email out of spam if he got it. Also, I don’t do social media.

    What I find disturbing about Adams’ attitude (if you’re representing him accurately, or if I don’t misunderstand you) is that it strikes me that he’s saying, “Sure they’re lying about why warming is happening, but maybe they’re not lying about it happening.” Like voting for a politician who never tells the truth, but thinking maybe is right about the problem and how to deal with it? You did say he was smart, didn’t you? Are we talking about the same person? //:o]

    Another question. What cave has he been hiding in for the last 20+ years, that he hasn’t bothered to learn more about what the AGW scam is really about? See first 7 pages here:
    https://saltbushclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/stop-the-climate-stupidity.pdf

    Also, does he know we are in an “interglacial” period now?

    And, is he aware what happens if the [CO2] falls below 150 ppm?

    Plants shut down growth and stop producing O2, and all O2 dependent life (like us) dies.

    Actually, I do think Adams may know a bit more than he lets on.
    https://assets.amuniversal.com/97ed9410fd89013486fb005056a9545d

    …I hope.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. John @ 7.26pm

    The probability of me not understanding that on the first reading is about 99%. I could read it a hundred times, but I’m not sure the probability of me not understanding would then drop to 37%. I’m guessing my neurons are not very frequentist when it comes to deciphering probability theory.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. John @ 7.26pm
    I like your very complete statistical explanation of a 1 in 100 year event. I must admit to having to look up the definition of “ergodicity”. From Wikipedia

    In probability theory, an ergodic dynamical system is one that, broadly speaking, has the same behaviour averaged over time as averaged over the space of all the system’s states in its phase space.

    Then contrast this with Transient Climate Response in TAR WG1 From Page 24/25

    Box 1: What drives changes in climate?
    When radiative forcing changes, the climate system responds on various time-scales. The longest of these are due to the large heat capacity of the deep ocean and dynamic adjustment of the ice sheets. This means that the transient response to a change (either positive or negative) may last for thousands of years. Any changes in the radiative balance of the Earth, including those due to an increase in greenhouse gases or in aerosols, will alter the global hydrological cycle and atmospheric and oceanic circulation, thereby affecting weather patterns and regional temperatures and precipitation. Any human-induced changes in climate will be embedded in a background of natural climatic variations that occur on a whole range of time- and space-scales. Climate variability can occur as a result of natural changes in the forcing of the climate system, for example variations in the strength of the incoming solar radiation and changes in the concentrations of aerosols arising from volcanic eruptions. Natural climate variations can also occur in the absence of a change in external forcing, as a result of complex interactions between components of the climate system, such as the coupling between the atmosphere and ocean. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon is an example of such natural “internal” variability on interannual time-scales. To distinguish anthropogenic climate changes from natural variations, it is necessary to identify the anthropogenic “signal” against the background “noise” of natural climate variability.

    My reading is that climate variability is highly variable and appears very chaotic. Whilst not being completely random, climate would appear to defy the assumption of ergodicity. In my opinion, the only way round this issue is to specify in advance what constitutes a one in 10, 50 100 and 500 year event in a very large number of specific (place, type and magnitude) circumstances. After running for a number of years (updating constantly), we may get an inkling as to whether weather is becoming more extreme. That is, that climate is changing beyond some normal variability. 
    The alternative is what we have now in the mainstream media. With an extremely large number of possible variables over relatively short time frames, very unusual events (in terms of type, location & magnitude) are happening all the time. It is like football. For instance, the record that could be broken tonight is whether Peter Crouch can become the first player in Premier League history (since 1992) to score against Newcastle when playing for five different clubs. 

    Like

  35. Jaime. Do you think they have negative, or even i-numbers in probability theory? My belief is that with increased reading, my understanding would proportionately decrease.

    Liked by 3 people

  36. If you state that there is a 63% chance of a once in a century event happening in the span of 100 years, I think I can begin to see why Mosher has lost his mind

    Like

  37. Steven Mosher says:
    26 Feb 19 at 7:24 am “Now that there is some solid science!”

    It’s the same science that the media employs when there has been a severe weather event somewhere in the world. It goes something like “We spoke to a tribal elder who said he had never witnessed anything like it in his life”.

    It means of course, that such events beyond current memory are rare and therefore cannot be claimed to be a trend. It also shows that “Elders” are venerated by western media, but not so much “Old White Men”, especially when they dismiss the global warming scares.

    However, there are some indigenous cultures that kept records which can be accessed today and provide considerable evidence of, in this example, the Little Ice Age in the Great Plains of the US. These records complement the traditional historical records and show how dreadful the climate was in those days.

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2011BAMS3146.1

    “pictographic calendars kept by the Lakotas and other Great Plains indigenous peoples provide important insight into the historical impact of weather and climate on society”

    Here are some examples from their calendars, the events are backed up by other accounts:
    Ice 1686 ice all over the land
    Flood 1711/12 Four lodges drowned winter
    Snow 1748 Dry winter, snowy spring
    Ice 1750 ice everywhere
    Snow 1773 even the dogs got snow blindness
    Snow 1774 no snow in winter
    Cold 1777/78 it was an intensely cold winter
    Snow 1789–91 they could not hunt on account of the deep snow
    Cold 1798 extremely cold
    Snow 1800 Much snow
    Cold 1811/12 Hard winter, deep snow
    Drought 1818/19 Sand-blowing year
    Warm 1824/25 no snow
    Flood 1825/26 missouri floods, kills 30 lodges
    [Medicine men repeatedly asked, “what is happening to our weather” and spoke of
    “weird weather.” Some accounts talk of the time of the Great Buffalo Farts,
    predicting that their children would never see snow again. But the snows returned]
    Snow 1827/28 The snow was very deep
    Cold 1836/37 Battle on ice (North Platte River)
    Snow 1844/45 unusually heavy snow
    Drought 1848/49 no grass
    Cold 1849/50 people froze to death
    Flood 1851 Heavy snows fell during the early winter but unseasonably warm weather caused
    winter thaws
    Drought 1855 Sitting year (horses starving, couldn’t be ridden)
    Flood 1857 Flood when ice broke
    Cold 1859 Severe winter—vultures even starved
    Snow 1865/66 All the horses died
    Cold 1870/71 Many horses drowned or froze
    Snow 1880 Hard winter deep snow
    Cold 1900 Horses died of exposure

    “In Virginia, George Washington noted the severity of the cold during February 1788 (Washington 1788), and Europe in 1788/89 was also bitterly cold (e.g., Lamb 1977, 1985; Lindgren et al. 1985).”

    RECORDS BROKEN
    “Thomas Jefferson, American minister to France at the time, described the conditions there as “a winter of such severe cold, as was without example in the memory of man, or in the written records of history” (Koch and Peden 1944, p. 91; Neumann and Dettwiller 1990)

    The unusual conditions recorded by the Lakotas in the winter of 1827/28 may have been part of a larger pattern of very extreme climate over much of the United States that year. For example, Mock et al. (2007) report that although much of the eastern United States experienced some of the warmest winter temperatures on record, historical climate records suggests that western North America was much cooler than normal and experienced heavy snowfall, with “a broad area of abnormally cold conditions extend[ing] from northwestern North America to the American Midwest” (Mock et al. 2007, p. 109)

    Pioneer Americans also recorded the severe conditions of the winter of 1852/53 with reports of heavy snow from Minnesota to the West Coast. In the California Gold Country, many of the ’49ers faced famine in the so-called critical winter when “tremendous snowstorms disrupted transportation in the Klamath, Cascades, and Sierra Nevada” from early November into January (McGowan 1953, p. 365), and in the Willamette Valley the deep snows of the winter of 1852/53 were categorized as “forever memorable in the annals of pioneer days in Oregon” (Thompson 1912, p. 11).”

    We have new knowledge today, with the explanations from “scientists who know”, of how the recent severe cold weather is caused by anthropogenic emissions of CO2 since the Industrial Revolution. James Hansen initially referred to the industrial revolution as occurring in the 18th century, around 1760. Nowadays it has been transmuted to the 19th century, purportedly starting in 1850. The first steam engine appeared in 1698, James Watt’s steam engine in 1769 and the first locomotive in 1804.

    Whichever one it was, an industrial revolution was underway in the UK and elsewhere for most of the period recorded by the Lakota tribe and therefore proving unequivocably that extreme cold weather experienced in the 18th and 19th centuries, intermingled with droughts and floods, was the result of extensive coal usage in the west.

    So much coal was used that there were concerns about running out of coal, with a Peak Coal scare in 1865. https://editors.eol.org/eoearth/wiki/The_Coal_Question_(e-book) Jevons

    As we have now had a global increase in temperature of over 1 deg C since before “the” industrial revolution, (Judith Curry says BEST shows we are already at 1.5 deg C since 1880), we obviously need a return to the idyllic temperatures which prevailed before we embarked on such a perilous journey to modern living.

    In order to prevent the collapse of global civilization in 12 years time, as envisaged by the world’s leading scientists at the IPCC, we must eschew warmth, prosperity and modern comforts, for the sake of the children.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Dennis,

    Just waiting for the big three:

    Climate alarmists look foolish winter.
    Climate alarmists look even more foolish winter.
    Climate alarmists silent winter.

    Like

  39. The other day I was watching an old Ben Goldacre talk on bad science. One of the examples was the effect of fish oil on school kids. The kids were given the tablets throughout the year and then their exam performance would be judged, and compared to a prediction of what would otherwise have happened in their absence. Everybody laughed, of course, and I wonder what they would have thought if the example was followed by explaining that’s how AGW and extreme weather attribution is carried out.

    Like

  40. Another apology, this time to Yonason (26 Feb, 8.05pm) for the spam-stuck comment.

    And thanks for reminding us of the original internet climate sceptic, John Daly, and of this Dilbert cartoon:

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Yonasun: “Also, I don’t do social media.” On the contrary, you just did. Very well.

    Looking at that cartoon I think we have someone who is pretending just a little bit.

    (I agree with Delingpole that the last of Heller’s points is the most important. But this cartoon shows brilliantly how such quibbles are interpreted. Corrupt from top to toe.)

    Like

  42. Might I suggest Beth, in all humility*, that there is now five sigma proof that GS doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    *My spellchecker suggested “futility” or “humiliation” here, which suggests it is growing in wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. MIAB,

    Yes, the 63% probability is certainly not what one would expect, but this is simply a consequence of how the term 1-in-a-100 is defined, i.e. as a probability of occurrence within a year. An alternative would be to define it as a probability of occurrence within 100 years, but what probability would you choose for such a definition? Clearly, 100% wouldn’t make sense because nothing can be guaranteed. So how about 99% or 95%? In a sense, these are no less arbitrary than 63%, they are just more to be expected. Still, I wonder how many of the general public appreciate that one has to wait for the best part of 500 years before one can have high confidence of a 1-in-a-100 years event occurring.

    Manic,

    The point of an ergodic dynamical system is that the probability of the system visiting a particular point in its phase space is not affected by it having done so before; as in, for example, a given number being thrown in the rolling of a die, where that number remains a 1 in six possibility no matter how many times it is thrown. This is important because it means that 100 rolls of a die will give the same average as one roll each of 100 dice. By continuing to refer to events as 1-in-a-100 years, no matter how many times they happen, one is treating the climate system as ergodic. If I understand correctly, such ergodicity is not to be taken for granted. The climate system is, after all, an evolving, non-linear, open, driven system.

    The question of event definition is a very important one. Certainly, the more multi-faceted an event-type is, the greater potential there is to play statistical games with recorded history.

    Like

  44. My suggestion is that people attempt to interact with Scott Adams at one of his venues.
    I don’t believe he is taking the climate debate seriously enough, and seems to think of it as tennis. However, he is at least being reasonable at this point.

    Like

  45. Beth, Alan,

    Mosher is certainly impressed:

    Probably thinking to himself: ‘now that there is some solid science’.

    Problem is, it isn’t.

    In particle physics, the 5 sigma confidence level for identifying a new particle is achieved after millions of experimental particle collisions are performed, empirical data collected, and the results analysed. It’s absolutely laughable to compare climate science’s supposed 5 sigma confidence level of the emergence of the unequivocal statistical signal of anthropogenic climate change in the global satellite temperature data from the ‘noise’ (natural variability) to rigorous experimental data from millions of experiments. They can only assess the statistical signal to noise ratio using certain untested, unverifiable assumptions about natural variability. The plain truth is, natural variability is poorly understood and very poorly simulated by the GCMs.

    Also, the graph which Gavin Schmidt posted on Twitter shows the signal to noise ratio increasing during El Nino years. How is that? As the noise increases during such years, might not one expect the complete opposite, i.e. the signal to noise ratio to decrease? UAH passes the 5 sigma signal to noise threshold in 2016, just as the lower troposphere is warming strongly due almost entirely to natural causes! Only a climate scientist can explain this apparent anomaly.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Attribution theory applied in the context of climatology can be very beguiling. It reminds me of watching Playschool on TV. Whenever something of note happened on the programme, the presenters would turn to the camera and say, “We know a song about that, don’t we children?” That’s what the attribution calculations are like. They confidently refer to Risk Ratios and the Fraction of Attributable Risk but these are just storylines that emerge from having sufficient confidence in the models upon which the attributions are based. The Ancients had much less sophisticated climate models from which to construct narratives, since they featured forcing based upon the wrath of deities. Nevertheless, they too could have calculated RRs and FARs with similar levels of confidence. All you have to do is believe.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. Per comment way above, yet another paper looking at attitudes on CC , and hence how to frame / network appropriately to get the CC message across to Rep/Cons, just came out: https://osf.io/vg74q/

    They start with Cook et al and 97% consensus of course (oh dear), and in focussing on beliefs that “global warming is happening, human caused, and that most scientists believe human-caused global warming is happening”, miss both the question of ‘how much’ and the related huge elephant in the public narrative space, which is the certainty of imminent global catastrophe (absent dramatic action).

    So with regards to “inaccurate beliefs about what others believe can lead to pluralistic ignorance whereby most people think that others hold the opposing viewpoint when they do not, leading people to self-silence”, where of course the authors are thinking of self-silencing about belief in CC (mostly in conservatives), I think it likely that a majority of the (US and other) population (weighted to older folks) do not think global catastrophe is imminent as told to them endlessly over many years by presidents and prime ministers and high ministers and economists and influencers and businesses and religious leaders and rafts of other authorities. Hence this would drive scepticism in the whole show. However, I’ve never come across a public survey framing questions in terms of the catastrophic. But many likely self-silence because they think most people believe in catastrophe, which also leads to fear of being called a denier or finding themselves on the wrong moral side, as the outrage of a vocal minority can cause genuine fear. While it’s true also that most of the public on *both* sides in the US express opinions aligned to ‘who they are’ not ‘what they know’, so for instance it is wrong to say “global warming isn’t happening”, which a proportion of conservatives do, there seems to be utter blindness by the authors (and from other similar offerings) in so consistently and completely avoiding the fact of a high-profile public narrative about global catastrophic outcome, let alone properly analysing its influence; this is quite something.

    They do test for ‘worry’ about climate change (against perceived social consensus), which indirectly might be thought to be a proxy for catastrophe. But many surveys in the past show that in what manner questions about concern / worry are asked, and whether in conjunction with other issues or translating into commitment (e.g. $), has a huge influence of what figures result. Stand-alone ‘concern’ in dem/libs is high, and quite low for rep/cons, but even for dem/libs it suffers major falls if personal commitments are implied (usually $, e.g. increase in power bills, i.e. they’re not worried enough to pay more than a trivial amount extra), and within a list of other worries (e.g. economy, security, health services etc) tends to score very low even for dem/libs, and frequently dead last across the whole population. So ‘worry’ gives us no real handle on perceptions of catastrophe (and indeed this curious variability is exactly what one would expect of a cultural ‘truth’ not evidential truth), so much more direct questions need to be asked on this issue.

    This is also interesting: “Because 61% of Americans say the issue of global warming is at least somewhat personally important, but 69% say they rarely or never talk about it with family and friends (Maibach et al., 2016), there is a need to understand the role of close relationships in people’s global warming beliefs.” Certainly there is a need to understand, it’s a strong hint of the presence of ideology, which people often avoid discussing in close relationships (rather like avoiding religion and politics at the dinner table) because reason doesn’t rule and so interpersonal damage may result.

    I’ve only skipped through this paper, though noticed they laudably spend much time in the end section on limitations, where also they don’t seem to have strong conclusions / recommendations (some follow below). None of these ‘framing’ based papers ever acknowledge all the frames in the picture, e.g. including that 97% consensus pushing and the catastrophic too (typically not even mentioned), are just other frames that are in play and hold no special truth. So as a consequence the authors are effectively *inside* these frames by virtue of not challenging them or their impacts, like they do for other framings. This lack of a holistic approach tends to sabotage results and is fundamentally why they’re still struggling with all this after decades of effort.

    “These findings, together with those on ideology, have implications for how to use social identity as a messaging strategy. For example, while there is substantial overlap between those who are conservative and those who identify with the Republican party, it is likely that some people more strongly identify with one of the two groups (i.e., conservatives vs. Republicans). Thus, it would be fruitful for future research to investigate the extent to which appeals to people’s conservative versus Republican identity are more effective in communicating about climate change.”

    “That is, it might be easier to bring to mind what one’s family and friends find important, as opposed to what they are doing [to help with CC] or what percentage of one’s social group believe human-caused global warming is happening. While this explanation is plausible and deserves attention in future research, the available data in the current study make it difficult to draw firm conclusions…”

    “The results from this study have important practical implications. For example, from a social identity perspective, most conservatives likely affiliate and identify more strongly with their own friends and family than conservatives as a broad category (i.e., outside their own social group)because people in their immediate social network are more important to their daily lives and identity. Thus, if their own friends and family care about climate change, they are more likely to care as well. These results align with the suggestion that communicators could try to engage people based on non-political identities(Pearson, Schuldt, & Romero-Canyas, 2016), such as hunting and fishing, or parenting and grandparenting, which may enable more constructive conversations about climate change than partisan discourse.”

    I think that’s challengeable, in the case of religion, believers cold shouldering friends and family who do not also believe, has been a common story since religious decline over the last 150 years or so. At any rate they add…

    “The research reported here underscores the importance of encouraging people, especially conservatives, to talk about climate change and their support for climate policies. Most Americans say the issue of global warming is personally important, yet rarely hear about it from their friends and families (Maibach et al., 2016).This dynamic can lead to lower climate policy support simply because people may mistakenly believe that other important people in their lives do not care about climate change. Thus, our results highlight the importance of breaking the silence on climate change (Maibach et al., 2016).”

    Actually, I’m all for this. I have a feeling that if friends and families all talked a lot more about climate change, the cultural nature of the catastrophe narrative would be highly likely to emerge as blindingly obvious, hence eventually undermining the whole social edifice that has built up around this narrative.

    Like

  48. Schmidt’s misuse of 5sigma is transparent.
    It is as if he read about the concept and grabbed it so he could get his apocalyptic claptrap to sound even sciencier.
    So is Steve baiting him into foolishness, or has our self appointed catcher in the rye gone whole hog alarmist?

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Andy,

    “The new Santer et al. study merely shows that the satellite data have indeed detected warming (not saying how much) that the models can currently only explain with increasing CO2 (since they cannot yet reproduce natural climate variability on multi-decadal time scales).

    That’s all.

    But we already knew that, didn’t we? So why publish a paper that goes to such great lengths to demonstrate it with an absurdly exaggerated statistic such as 1 in 3.5 million (which corresponds to 99.99997% confidence)? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical question for you to ponder.”


    LOL

    And again, LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Steve dismisses the anecdotal stories of no long term changes, but does he dismiss the extensive consensus marketing that uses anecdotal stories to support the consensus?

    Like

  51. Paul. Upon rereading your post again I recall putting aside an assertion on first reading that, whilst not refuting, I must say I had never heard before – that a hockeystick graph is literally a symbol of lying in the corporate world. Is this correct? Certainly in the field of geology I know of several similar curves – mostly known as J-curves, and totally believable.

    Like

  52. re corporate hockey sticks I have some experience in the corporate (computer business) world, including a little insight into takeovers and start-ups etc and took short marketing courses at GE university and elsewhere. To start with, hockey sticks barely ever showed up that I recall, and I wouldn’t say they were literally viewed as a symbol of lying, though certainly a reason, especially if depicting sales growth of a start-up for instance, to merit skepticism and digging into underlying assumptions. It is the latter that usually go wrong, and for far more then just hockey stick graphs, and usually turn out to be a matter of inexperience or lack of market intelligence or whatever. In my experience lying is pretty rare in business (at least on main issues), because it is so easily tumbled, hence default expectations don’t assume it for any presentation. Although the hockey stick shape is mentioned in the dispatches of climate psychology as far as I remember, generally attempting to understand rep / con (most comes from the states) perceptions, and hence how to re-frame messages for best penetration, tends to focus on far more fundamental issues, such as emphasising free-market contribution not government dominated solutions, framing as a health or security issue rather than say ‘pollution’ or vulnerability of poorer populations etc, per above emphasising family issues / connections, because all these have an impact (theoretically) on all rep / cons not just some vanishingly small business minority (albeit they may be influential). This area has been explored / worked for many years, albeit it hasn’t produced the desired results (because of course per above it’s hard to sell a *cultural* truth to those who culturally resist no matter how you re-frame it, not to mention that most messaging is out-of-control anyhow, it is emergent). Scott’s thought on the issue, while not invalid, barely even scratches the surface, and imho can no way no how produce any magic advance in the debate.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. Thank you Andy for your discussion upon hockeystick curves in commerce. Upon reflection you very occasionally see them used in “Dragons Den” presentations and they attract concentrated firepower.

    When I worked for oil companies, much more suspicious presentations were those that blatantly used what we called “high-confidence colours” – commonly the brightest reds and yellows. I lost count of the times I saw management hitch up their trousers to peer closely at such Caravaggio tinted maps to seek out the obscured traps and poorly documented assumptions. (Those were the days of paper maps hand coloured using coloured pencils by people employed to do only this and capable of producing real works of art. All gone now I’m told, replaced by the ubiquitous PowerPoint Presentation).

    Liked by 1 person

  54. BTW, to get WordPress to allow me to to post, I had to create a “hunterson7” account. I had somehow lost the old “hunter” account.
    That said, it is good to see that Santer is not, publicly at least, threatening skeptics with alleyway ambushes.
    But he does still come across as someone with anger management skills, and he does seem to continue his reliance on arm waving and post hoc excuses.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. This rather sums up Santer’s dismissive attitude to criticism of his paper:

    “I’d be happy to address your concerns in the peer-reviewed literature. I think that would be the appropriate place to respond . . . .

    2. You suggest – incorrectly – that we never evaluate the adequacy of model-based estimates of internal variability. We routinely make such evaluations. Examples are given in Fig. S7 of the 2018 Santer et al. Science paper and in Figs. 9 and 10 of the 2011 Santer et al. JGR paper.”

    Ross McKitrick’s reply is to the point:

    “Likewise there is no discussion of the adequacy of the model-based internal variability estimates in the paper. That such a discussion appears in the Supplement to another paper isn’t much help for understanding the issue in the context of this paper.”

    The defence of ‘we addressed [inadequately] estimates of model-based internal variability previously, so the conclusions of this present paper stand’ is not a valid defence, it is a statement of ‘Look, we know we have this right, so shut up’. Also, when the media and climate scientists, for political purposes, publicly plug a newly released study as providing irrefutable, ‘gold standard’ evidence of the emergence of the signal of man-made global warming, Judith Curry’s blog is the most appropriate place to critique the paper, in order to set people straight on why the bold claims don’t match up to the reality.

    This kind of scientific to and fro is exactly what Adams ignores because he says that the average person is unable to interpret the validity of claim and counter claim. This may be true to a certain extent, but it is very instructive to examine the response of a climate scientist under fire from another sceptical scientist and the technical issues discussed are not altogether incomprehensible by your average reader. Adams needs to try harder I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. Beth. Why did the leopard see the japanese hunter?
    BTW your punctuation’s shot.

    Like

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