This short post with lots of embedded tweets starts with a quiz. Don’t cheat by reading further down before answering, at least in your head.

What are the six key anniversaries, four with rather pleasing round numbers attached this year, that we have been in the process of remembering or at least perhaps vaguely noting in the ten days starting from last Friday?

In reverse chronological order of the events they memorialise:

1) 10 years ago – easy starter for ten

2) 30 years ago

3) 30 years ago – the day before event 2, but on another continent

4) 62 years ago – the same day as event 1, if properly dated

5) 81 years ago – the same day and country as event 2

6) 100 years ago.

To start with the most obvious, 4 is my birthday on Sunday. No flowers please.

I was strangely moved this morning by someone making the point that today is the 100th anniversary of the first Remembrance Day, exactly a year after the Armistice at the end of the Great War had been signed, poignantly, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This was their first chance to remember and to grieve. Dear Lord.

So you could say that 6 should have been 101 years ago but, as with all history, my choices are to make a point. Even just very briefly.

2 is, of course, the fall of the Berlin Wall and 5 is Kristallnacht, the dark night of the same day 51 years earlier. Not a round number anniversary but it seemed relevant to where we are right now.

And 3 is Margaret Thatcher’s speech on global warming to the UN on 8th November 1989. That’s what the rest of this post is about. Well, not so much the content of the speech (though feel free in comments) as what one keen-to-be-green Conservative tried to make of it on Friday and how I and a couple of other people stuck our oars in.


Enter Twitter

At your peril, it often seems. Before I paste in lots of URLs of tweets, with a tiny bit of commentary, here’s a recommendation if you’re using either Chrome or Firefox as your browser and you tend to get confused with long branching threads on Twitter: download the extension called Treeverse and give it a try. I first saw it mentioned during a massive tangled web of controversy about climate policy the other day and made a note to take a look. I only did so yesterday on the following (much smaller) ball of wax but, despite it missing at least one branch I’m aware of, for reasons unknown, I’ve already found it a very useful visualisation to find my way around the recent tweet past.

(Treeverse is implemented in TypeScript, Microsoft’s increasingly popular strongly-typed variant of JavaScript. But assessing that choice of the NY-based open-source coder Paul Butler – thanks Paul – is optional.)

Where was I? Here, on Friday:

I was at once tempted to chip in about Thatcher’s later change of heart. Perhaps foolishly, I did so after someone had mentioned the ozone layer problem (was it really a problem? – answers or at least opinions in comments please) then made their tweet invisible to me, I think by going private. But you can still see Oliver Cooper’s response and my opening gambit under the 280 character limit:

I felt my first sentence was blindingly obvious but someone of course challenged me to quantify exactly what I meant. I chose not to get involved with that. I already knew I wanted to focus on Lindzen and modern evidence for low sensitivity. Tell me how you think I did.

It wasn’t really c10 years ago, it was June 2013 and I haven’t yet listened back to exactly what the great man said that night. So loads of possible hostages to fortune there. And I haven’t corrected the date on Twitter either. Because then I met Steve. It was just the start of a beautiful relationship. Well, kind of.

I’d considered pointing to Paul’s recent post on the Met Office CMIP6 GCM 5.4K sensitivity nonsense but then I thought let’s just use Gavin’s at least semi-honest doubts. I’m pleased with that decision in retrospect.

I’d ignored Mr Milesworthy’s earlier use of ‘evidence’ but this time went for that and the use of GCMs generally. (Was 0.01% right for paleo Mr Lewis? It was pretty off the cuff.)

Now Steve wanted me to accept the RealClimate derision of Lindzen because of the Iris Theory. Rightly or wrongly, because I wanted to focus on sensitivity, I was willing to throw dear Iris under the bus. Hypothetically. And not to overreact to really silly terms used for the MIT emeritus.

I have to confess that I then got a bit ruder, even as I pointed to one of the politest people I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. I do recommend Nic’s video.

The Einstein analogy I’m sure Dr Lindzen himself would consider far-fetched but I enjoyed it.

Andrew Montford then chipped in with supportive comments.

That last tweet was with the thread’s original Tory in mind – though realistically I felt there was a pretty good chance by now he’d muted us. Still, dangerous levels of sensitivity should really have been ruled out by now. Would that have policy implications by any chance?

Those first love affairs never really die. You can follow today’s action with Steve under this branch. I learned about the relevance of the 2015 Judith Curry congressional testimony from the guy. At least I think I did. I haven’t checked.


A last word from Delingpole

I thought this was very powerful in the Oz edition of the Spectator on how much we know about history before we experience it:

If you’d asked me at the time of Climategate whether I’d still be writing about this stuff ten years hence I would have said: ‘No! God, no! The caravan will have moved on by then.’ But it hasn’t, has it? Instead it has accumulated more baggage, more freeloaders. In fact, by some bizarre inversion of logic, the less and less credible the evidence for the great global warming scare, the bigger and noisier and more powerful the Climate Industrial Complex has grown.

Oh for the big picture. Or indeed any picture at all that makes sense.


  1. Richard

    loved the post, and the format. I do my best work on Twitter and fear it’s going to be lost to posterity.

    Your interlocutor’s tiresome Iris-shaming seems to me a cosmetically-improved variant on Dana’s cretinous gambit whereby one insults Lindzen as “the wrongest, longest” for the crime of doing what real scientists (and vanishingly few in the climate world) are meant to do: entertaining multiple hypotheses, most of which are necessarily wrong, showing them to be wrong, and moving on to better ones. Disproving, improving, moving: three things climate science as a generality stopped doing… oh… around the time it became climate science. All three are foundational to the logic of the scientific enterprise.

    In retort to the Nuccitelloes and other SkSJugend I did some Iris-shaming-shaming back at CN:

    Contrarians are distinguished by a lack of investment in their own beliefs. Science is little more than a game, an experiment, to these people!

    No matter how many times they’re proven wrong they barely pause to mourn their dead hypotheses; they simply move onto the next one. The scientific community doesn’t even have to lift a finger to deal with contrarians—they’re perfectly capable of proving themselves wrong, not to mention each other. They’ve even been known to disprove their own hypothesis within the very paper in which they first formulate it! It doesn’t seem to bother them when their ideas fail to survive their own study—they’ll write the experience up anyway, and attempt to foist it on the credible literature.

    A proper scientist would quickly learn to avoid such auto-humiliation, but a contrarian like Richard Lindzen almost seems to make a habit of it, leaving respected amateurs like Dana Nuccitelli and John Cook little choice but to mock the MIT professor as “the wrongest, longest.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Insightful review of the history, thank you Richard.. Should be read by the multitude..

    ECR versus TCR, if it doesn’t confirm to observation it’s wro-oong. See the Nic Lewis vid above @ 38.00 -> those global climate models have already been falsified.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, good people. Brad has put the point about how we should view the Iris Theory in the context of normal scientific endeavour very well. I feel this very strongly but I chose not to make this general point to my new friend. Something about pearls and swine? That’s suggestive only. I feel I’m still learning about this stuff. More tomorrow.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Human Remembrance Day …

    Nevertheless, despite all, apropos
    Socrates, Aristotle, Galileo –
    the two James’ time and motion discoveries –
    way-back mechanisms and the steam engine,
    and from yr Oxford literary department,
    Chaucer, Dante, Master Shakespeere, –
    yr 3D art, Leonardo, Michelangelo
    and Rembrandt. …Music oh! Bach, Mozart,
    Elvis and yr great Beethoven, ho! …
    Goddam yu, Oreskes and post-modernists,
    denying all that, deserting the building,
    wanting to turn off the lights of critical
    enquiry and human, (second only to Ma
    Naychur,) *human* creat- ivity !

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Brad:

    loved the post, and the format. I do my best work on Twitter and fear it’s going to be lost to posterity.

    Jaime lost everything in a moment of righteous anger over cruelty to a precious canine. It’s probably not what you meant but the risk factor looking into the future with Twitter is for me very great.

    But deep thanks for your encouragement and the insights that followed. Over the weekend I stumbled across your post on WUWT roughly this time last year, in which you quoted Geoff Chambers at length. I guess you’ll know the one I mean. It fired me up and it made me feel terribly inadequate at the same time. There were a few echoes of the inspiration in what I tweeted I’m sure – though each of our styles is necessarily different. I agreed so much with what you said about Iris-shaming that even now I find it hard to respond. I will have a third attempt at some point. But thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beth:

    Goddam yu, Oreskes and post-modernists,
    denying all that, deserting the building,
    wanting to turn off the lights of critical
    enquiry and human, (second only to Ma
    Naychur,) *human* creat- ivity !

    Very moving – and part of the reason that the “risk factor looking into the future with Twitter is for me very great” as I just said. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Alex: thanks. I’m not sure I dare look! One of the subtexts of the post was of course memory and how it can play tricks on us. I wasn’t challenged on it but I may have misrepresented Dr L. I probably will take a look before long.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. To hard Drake,
    The trepidation of nearly all academics to acknowledge that the science does not support the catastrophists is interesting to say the least.


  9. Richard,
    Please feel free to correct the typo in my prior post and to delete / not post this one.
    Thank you


  10. Hunterson7,

    yep, even those who keep their hands clean by not deceiving the public themselves are complicit in the deception by way of their silence, or omertà, coming from the Latin for ‘mortgage.’

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Beth
    First class, but where bound are we?
    I cannot move far
    Without losing steam or focus
    And with more than one berth
    Destinations matter.
    The hot tub is forever occupied.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Alan Adare, sometimes yr mental transcends yr physical.
    Life on the littoral, we know not whither,Scylla or Charybdis ,
    one eyed cyclops ahead or Pleasure Island.

    Serfs bein’ more familiar with the first. 😦


  13. A bonkers tweet from a friend of the blog


  14. Hunterson 7. Has Lewandowsky really gained sufficient gravitas (or nous) to now be designated “The” having gained a specifying or particularizing status well beyond an indefinite or generalizing force only requiring the indefinite article?


  15. As Geoff’s new thread will hopefully discuss in more depth, perhaps Twitter is in fact the place really crazy ideas go to die. At election time at least. Thanks Stew for pointing us to Lew’s big self-reveal, before anyone else.

    One of the motivations of my six-pronged remembrance theme was to try and gain a little perspective. What many peoples in Europe, the US and the Empire were remembering in 1919 was unimaginable tragedy. (I follow Niall Ferguson’s The Pity of War in thinking the war was unnecessary, to boot.) German Jews didn’t have so long to look back in anger on 9th November 1938 before they were caught up in something much deadlier. That was real fascism. The incredibly trivial use of the term now is much more widespread than Lew but as a real-life Professor part-funded by the Royal Society his has got him more attention than he could have dreamed of. Long may it continue.


  16. The Lewandowsky is an ironic reference to The Dude from the great Lewbowski.
    Ironic because The Dude was cool and of course Lewandowsky is anything but.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The definite article definitively explained, thanks dude.

    Just on the Treeverse tool, I’ve taken a couple of snapshots that should work in any modern browser, without having to download the extension:

    1. My tweets on Lindzen/low sensitivity and the small numbers of branches off them with which this post was concerned

    2. Steve McIntyre’s amazing 47 tweet effort exposing Eric Ciaramella from 10-13 Nov, with many more branches mostly from concerned Americans, urging him on or adding useful ideas and links.

    Not narrowly climate but another point of this post is that everything’s connected. And I think with improvements Treeverse could prove very handy.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The data analysis that cements the idea of low sensitivity is the new work by Michael and Ronan Connolly ( which show it to be nonexistent. No wonder the good players that have tried to deduce the sensitivity from the data got small numbers. The models are definitely wrong on this .


  19. 272words? It depends upon which of many versions you choose. Also officially it wasn’t the address, that two hour effort was given earlier by Everett; Lincoln gave the Dedication. The most interesting factoid I know about Lincoln and Gettysburg is that so short was his speech that the ranked photographers were not prepared and there is only one photograph of him speaking. Consequently his precise location when he spoke is not known precisely. The site now identified at the cemetery is definitely incorrect.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Alan: The Gettysburg address wouldn’t have made my list, not least because I wanted them to be within ten days of each other and for one third to be directly about climate! The whole thing was highly selective in any case, with an obvious bias to rounder numbers. But I was struck today that Lincoln thought he had failed, whereas Delingpole, writing on the same day 145 years later, felt that Climategate was a ‘game-changer’. He affects to be wiser today but are we? Perhaps surprisingly I tend more towards Judith Curry’s view that positive things will still come from this event. But history has given us plenty of reason to distrust anyone’s judgment.


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