An open letter to Burt Rutan, regarding his WSJ commentary on human-caused climate disruption

[Update: My original post, Burt Rutan's comments, and my responses to his comments have been copied here. That post has closed comments and will be updated with any further discussion Burt and I have, either in the massive comment thread below or independently. If you're interested in just Burt's and my discussion to date, minus the mass of additional commentary, please feel free to read the new post.]

Dear Mr. Rutan,

Ever since you won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004 you’ve been a minor hero of mine. I’ve felt that the development of private human spaceflight was the critical next step toward moving humanity off our small blue marble since I was in high school, and SpaceShipOne was the first major step in that direction. The commercialization of space travel is a large part of why I work in aerospace myself designing satellite and space vehicle electronics.

This is why I was disappointed to find that you had co-signed a Wall Street Journal commentary regarding human-caused climate disruption along with 15 other scientists and engineers. The commentary was replete with incorrect and misleading information. So much so, in fact, that I was surprised that you, as an engineer, would attach your name to it.

You may not be aware of this, but greenhouse crops are very productive because farmers take great care to ensure that the crops have optimal nutrition. The farmers ensure that the crops in the greenhouses have enough water, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients in addition to higher carbon dioxide. Without increasing all of these nutrients merely increasing carbon dioxide in the greenhouse’s air will not produce fast growing, nutritious crops. This is why the greenhouse claim made in the Journal commentary was incomplete and misleading – higher atmospheric carbon dioxide only leads to greater productivity when all other nutrients are also more available. It’s not a foregone conclusion that, outside of greenhouses, the other nutrients plants need to flourish will be more available. In fact, a great deal of research over the last few years suggests the opposite, that usable precipitation and fixed nitrogen will actually become rarer, counteracting most if not all of the improvements in crop yields and overall carbon sequestration by plants worldwide.

This is one example of incomplete and misleading information from the commentary you signed. There are at least five more. I can detail them for you if you are interested.

Mr. Rutan, as a successful engineer you have certainly developed an innate understanding that the quality of your opinions can only be as good as the information you have. In the case of human-caused climate disruption, I’m afraid that the information upon which you’re basing opinions appears to be rather poor quality. Climate realists like myself accept that the case for human-driven climate disruption is supported by multiple independent lines of evidence and that no alternative hypothesis yet presented has withstood scientific scrutiny or explained the observed climate changes. In this case, the strongest and best available data supports the proposition that humans are driving global climate disruption, that the disruptions to the Earth’s climate will continue to worsen this century, and the sooner we address the root causes of climate disruption, the better.

Mr. Rutan, if you our your people are reading this, I’d love to sit down with you sometime, engineer to engineer, and discuss why I think your opinions are based upon incorrect and incomplete data.

Very truly yours,

Brian Angliss

424 comments on “An open letter to Burt Rutan, regarding his WSJ commentary on human-caused climate disruption

  1. The NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) that farmers mostly use in agriculture are largely produced by the burning of vast quantities of petroleum and/or methane. The amount of carbon released versus carbon sequestered by the agriculture is not an offset but a net release of carbon into the atmosphere. Historical increases in agricultural yields have come through industrialization. Yes, we grow more production per acre than ever before in human history, but to do that, we’ve had to consume vast amounts of petroleum and/or methane in order to get that production. The addition of “nutrition” added to soils across the globe have also increased the amount of soil and water table degradation, leading in many regions, to more destruction of forest, adding to atmospheric carbon. The science of human impact on climate change is NOT exact, but if put in a court of law, the existent scientific data clearly shows the negative impact by humans upon the planetary climate. Remove humans from the mix and the sum of oil, coal, forests and methane we’ve burned to date would still be in the ground.

  2. Eric,
    While it is true that humans have an impact upon the earth, and many times to a detrimental impact, the question I have based on your comments is: What would you have us humans do? Kill ouselves en masse for the benefit of the rest of the earth? What good would that do?

    It is obvious from your comments that you do not believe in God or that He has put us here for an obvious reason. We need the earth and the earth needs us. No other living creatures on earth are even close to humans in capabilties or in self-awareness of moral purpose than humans. No other creature ponders such things, nor does any other creature ponder their own effects upon the others. We are obviously here for a particular purpose, and your comments indicate an absolute lack of that understanding.

    Now regading “climate change”, what amazes me about all the proponents of permanent, human-based climate change for the negative is this: The assumption that there is a permanent, homeostatic “norm” for the global environment! The history of the earth shows that the environment has, as a whole, been on a permanent cooling base as the earth ages. The face of the earth, moving as it does upon the tectonic plates, is always releasing the internal heat of the earth into the atmosphere, and the atmosphere in response, dissapates that energy into space in its effort to achieve a homeostatic environment. The idea that we as humans are anywhere near as powerful as the global forces under the crust of the earth or its effects upon our own atmosphere are ludicrous at best. It is obvious to this particular engineer that the global climate warming crowd is not practicing a fundamental understanding of ALL the parameters needed to analysze our earth’s systems. Mr. Rutan and many, MANY other scientists and engineers this and other facts and WE are not going to allow the rest of you to run roughshod upon the rest of mankind through hysteria!

    • Wanting2Live – your example of releasing energy from the Earth’s core doesn’t work. Geologists have estimated how much energy is released due to plate tectonics, volcanism, and the like, and the result is milliwatts per square meter. Greenhouse gases trap watts per square meter, three orders of magnitude more energy.

      If you don’t believe me, run some calculations yourself using the heat conductivity of silica for the Earth’s crust. When you do that, you’ll find that the Earth would have to have an impossibly thin crust, an impossibly high thermal conductivity, or the Earth’s core temperature would have to be impossibly high for geologically sourced energy to be causing any significant surface heating.

      Even if that weren’t the case, however, you’d need to provide a physically realistic hypothesis for what would cause the Earth’s core to be heating up and releasing more energy instead of cooling down. There are none.

      You’re call for understanding all the parameters is unrealistic. If you’re an engineer as you say, then you do stuff all the time without a fundamental understanding of all the parameters. You make simplifications based on the circumstances in order to make the math easier, or to speed up the calculations, or simply because you don’t know all the parameters. It’s inherent to every type of engineering I’m aware of.

      I can provide you a detailed example in your particular field if you’ll kindly tell me what kind of engineer you are.

  3. Brian,
    In my background of 46 years in aerospace flight testing and design I have seen many examples of data presentation fraud. That is what prompted my interest in seeing how the scientists have processed the climate data, presented it and promoted their theories to policy makers and the media.

    What I found shocked me and prompted me to do further research. I researched data presentation fraud in climate science from 1999 to 2010.

    I do not have time here to define the details; if interested in my research, a PPT or PDF can be downloaded at:
    http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm

    In general, if you as an engineer with normal ethics, study the subject you will conclude that the theory that man’s addition of CO2 to the atmosphere (a trace amount to an already trace gas content) cannot cause the observed warming unless you assume a large positive feedback from water vapor. You will also find that the real feedback is negative, not positive!

    Specifically, the theory of CAGW is not supported by any of the climate data and none of the predictions of IPCC since their first report in 1991 have been supported by measured data. The scare is merely a computer modeled theory that has been flawed from the beginning, and in spite of its failure to predict, many of the climate scientists cling to it. They applauded the correlation of surface temperatures with CO2 content from 1960 to 1998 as proof, but fail to admit that the planet has cooled after 1998 in spite of the CO2 content increasing.

    The failure of the IPCC machine is especially evident in the use of “models” to justify claims, so it might be worthwhile to just look at modeling and science.
    Modeling is more correctly a branch of Engineering and there are some basic rules that have been flouted by CAGW _ CO2 modelers.
    Firstly there has to be a problem analysis which identifies relevant factors and the physical, chemical and thermodynamic behaviors of those factors within the system.
    Any claim that this has been done in the CO2 warming problem is PREPOSTEROUS.
    There are perhaps a thousand PhD topics there waiting to be taken up by researchers.
    We could start with work on understanding heat transfer between the main interfaces; eg Core to surface / surface to ocean depths/ ocean depths to ocean surface / ocean surface to atmosphere and so on, not having yet reached the depth of space at just slightly above absolute zero.
    To claim that the entire system of atmospheric temperature moderation has been described by
    the fluctuations of atmospheric CO2 content while excluding the other obvious factors such as atmospheric water vapour content, solar flux and orbital mechanics is just nonsense.
    The whole point of modelling when done correctly is that it links accurately measured input of the main factors and accurately measure target output. Where you have major input factors that are not considered and poor and uncertain measurement of all factors then all you have is a joke or more seriously Public Fraud based on science.
    You do not have science.

    CO2 is not a pollutant. When the Dinosaurs roamed, the CO2 content was 6 to 9 times current and the planet was green from pole to pole; almost no deserts. If we doubled the atmospheric content of CO2, young pine trees would grow at twice the rate and nearly every crop yield would go up 30 to 40%. We, the animals and all land plant life would be healthier if CO2 content were to increase.

    Do the study yourself. Look at how and why the data are manipulated, cherry-picked and promoted. I will bet if you did, you too would be shocked.

    The mark of a good theory is its ability to be falsified by new data. The mark of a good scientist is the ability to accept that.

    Burt

    The Difference between an Environmentalist and a Denier.
    You can easily tell if someone is a true environmentalist, i.e. an advocate for a healthy planet – he is one who is happy to hear the news that the arctic ice content has stabilized.  He is one who celebrates when the recent climate data show the alarmist’s predictions of catastrophic warming might be wrong.  The denier, if he is an eco/political activist, always denies new data that show the planet may be healthy after all. The Media usually defines deniers as those who deny the scientist’s computer model predictions.  However, denying the measured climate data meets a better definition in the world of science.

    • Having in my youth worked in a flight simulator lab. I can say that unless you understand and can express in mathematical form all the interactions of the system to be modelled, your model will not give accurate results. This is why modelling missile trajectories can give accurate results while modelling climate cannot. We simply do not have enough information about climate to model it accurately. And since the modelled predictions do not correspond to observation we cannot accept the models as accurate anyway.

      • Of course all simulations are GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. But no simulator ever models everything. The question is whether or not the simulations model enough of the interactions with sufficient accuracy to be useful or not.

        Climate models do this all the time. They don’t model everything perfectly, of course – they have difficulties with directly modeling clouds (although all the models parametrize on a sub-cell basis in order to approximate clouds) and they have issues with modeling ENSO. And no climate model can predict when a volcano erupts. But that’s why climate models (all models, actually) make projections, not predictions.

        And thus far we’re still within the 95% confidence level of the AR4 projections for global temperatures. So I’d say that the climate models are doing pretty good, actually.

        In fact, I reported on a paper back in 2009 that demonstrated that periods of slowed global warming (measured by surface temperature, not global energy absorption) were entirely to be expected. Check it out here.

  4. Bert Rutan’s reply here is vastly more cogent than the absurdly vague and tendentious article in the WSJ to which he is a signatory.

    Nevertheless, he remains in thrall of a completely inaccurate view of the intellectual basis for the concerns about anthropogenic climate change, the substance of the discipline, the nature of the models, and even the balance of observational evidence. There are numerous errors in this exposition.

    I hope Bert Rutan is amenable to re-examining the evidence. People who stick their necks out that far are often hard to reach, unfortunately.

    The evidence that the sensitivity of GMST to CO2 forcing is in the neighborhood of 3 C per doubling is quite strong, but the evidence that it is above 1 C is absolutely compelling. I would welcome honest discussions competent openminded critics the field has on this matter, though I confess it has been quite a while since I encountered one.

    But regardless of the state of the science, it is very difficult to argue that it is not necessary to take policy action. If you even stipulate that there is a CO2 sensitivity it becomes difficult to argue that the immaturity of the science argues in your favor. The less we know, the greater the risk that the sensitivity is very high.

    Direct observation tells us little in the absence of a mature science, because the lags in the system remain uncharacterized. Rutan’s closing sentence, then, is surprisingly naive. The atmosphere/ocean thermodynamic system has multiple time constants, some on the order of a thousand years. We must resort to physics rather than relying solely on observations. If you insist that the physics is unknown, the damage we may be doing is unconstrained, and we’d best stop rocking the boat sooner than later.

    Finally, it would also be best to go about identifying who the best scientists are, who think about this problem, without obsessing about the sorts of errors generally made by non-scientists with “granola” tendencies, which are entirely irrelevant.

    Lindzen indeed (with Houghton) was coauthor of an excellent atmospheric dynamics paper some thirty years ago. I think it was a masterpiece. But he pretty much stands against every other competent dynamicist, paleoclimatologist or modeler.

  5. Pingback: Burt Rutan on Schooling the Rogue | Watts Up With That?

  6. First off I’d like to say I’m not a scientist so please excuse any mistakes I might make below.

    I guess my question is if policy action is necessary what result is the policy action meant to produce?

    Unless I’m wrong the GMST hasn’t really done anything statistically significant over the last ten years or so. If that is the result we want why should there be urgency around action now?

    I know there is an argument that the actual effects of the increased atmospheric CO2 haven’t been felt yet. Presumably they have been cancelled by some other forcing, like aerosols. Or perhaps the heat has become stored in the oceans but isn’t it also possible that the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 is not as high as the models assume? Shouldn’t that scenario have equal credence?

    Thanks
    Steve

  7. Michael Tobis says: “The less we know, the greater the risk that the sensitivity is very high. ”

    I guess that also must mean, “The MORE we know, the LESS the risk that the sensitivity is very high. “

  8. If I interpret the WSJ letter and Mr Rutan’s reply here, the topic of discussion is not AGW, rather CAGW where C stands for “catastrophic”.

    In that respect would Mr Angliss and Mr Tobis please confirm they are convinced about CAGW befalling upon us and on what timescales, and what kind of observation would change their mind? – thanks

  9. Brian Angliss,
    Since you appear pretty convinced that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous climate change, and I presume that belief is based on evidence, would you be kind enough to share that evidence with us. (We both know that correlation is not causation, that unusual weather is not evidence of the cause, that man only emits about 3% of the total annual CO2 emission, that historically CO2 increased AFTER temperature in the ice cores and that water vapor causes the majority of the greenhouse effect.)

    PS: I am here because of a link from Watts Up With That.
    Thanks
    JK

  10. Mr. Rutan: I recently told my wife that I don’t have a hero, but if I did it would be Burt Rutan (she looked bewildered). Now I too am bewildered – to see your name at the bottom of that dubious commentary is disappointing. Statements that try to manipulate the reader by associating climate change research to communist dogma? CO2 is great? The world and atmosphere are changing. And nobody knows what that will lead to. Change is natural, but you cannot deny that mankind is also changing his environment with pollution. And something drastic IS happening. Living on the Canadian coast, we are seeing species from warmer waters that haven’t been seen up here previously. Our global lack of balls to reform how we presently act (dumping our pollutants and assuming our environment can absorb it) has us committed to a global experiment that nobody can predict. And it all might be ok. Or it might be the end of our species. Or anywhere in between. Yes the science is patchy. Yes most carbon-capture methods are no better than scams. And yes hippies are annoying. But why do so many of the “nothing to worry about, folks” scientists forget to disclose that they’re on payroll of PR companies hired by the industries that cause the pollution? Signing your name to such a dubious piece of wishful thinking is surely beneath you, Mr. Rutan. Your many brilliant designs have made flying more ecologically-sound and you’ve always been ahead of your time. Your opinion though is disappointingly that of a luddite.

  11. Of course, AGW didn’t make it, it’s DOA. It is deceased for this very reason:

    They added a new invalid principal to greenhouse, Co2 forcing, but,

    They could not, even with that, explain how physics, models greenhouses, when it’s hotter on the outside.

    You cannot match the Science of Physics, to an incorrect philosophical perception of greenhouse.

    We are to back where we started;

    “Why wouldn’t a man, think and analogy, could correlate to the creation of life on Earth, it’s vessel, the atmosphere?”

    The inconvenient truth of the certainty of man to err.

    Markus Fitzhenry.

  12. Well Steve, apparently the Labor Government in Australia is apparently quite happy to risk the country on just that false premise. They want to tax carbon dioxide, as in their opinion it actually affects the climate to such a degree (pun intended) that we will witness 100 meter increase in sea water levels and a drought never before witnessed. They honestly believe that by reducing CO2, all those nightmares will be extinguished. But our very own Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery, has admitted that it will take over one thousand years to witness any affect, either negative or positive. So far has the lunacy reached, it truly is astounding what those (specialist) scientists expect people to swallow.

  13. The notion that anybody can assume that a CO2 level of 350 ppm bestows a benefit on the stability of this planet is one that I cannot understand. This ecosystem evolved in a world of CO2 levels far greater than those present today. Where is the evidence for alarm.

  14. @ Michael
    I am also an Engineer who has studied the literature and reached the same conclusion as Burt. There is nothing about the Alarmist position that has not been falsified. There are some simple boundary calculations that can be done to dimension climate change and they all suggest a sensitivity less than 1 deg C.

    A couple of simple worked examples are in order.
    Example 1
    CO2 has increased from 280PPM to 380 PPM for a temperature rise of about 0.6 deg C. The temperature risefor CO2 follows a log law such that for a linear increase in CO2 the temperature rise is less for each CO2 increase. CO2 is currently about 85% saturated. What makes you think therefore that the rise for the next 100 PPM is going to be more than 1 degree when the last 100 PPM caused less than 0.6 deg?

    Example 2
    The current theory is that the entire radiative effect of the atmosphere gives rise to a blanketing effect equal to 33 degrees. CO2 is 85% saturated and can increase absorbtion by only 17% (15/85) before all the radiation in its stop band is absorbed. Extrapolating from the 33 degree rise suggests maximum increase in temperature for any CO2 rise is therefore limited to 0.17*33 or 5.2 degrees (EVER – even if the atmosphere was 100% CO2) if CO2 was the only source of atmospheric warming (Neglect solar wind, UV, geocentric, and gravitational warming sources) and assuming constant atmospheric pressure. Now lets assume that CO2 accounts for say 50% of that – and we get say 2.5 degrees limit of CO2 warming (ever). IPCC says warming in this range (to 2-3 deg) is nett beneficial to mankind.

    Consider a 8 times increase in CO2 to say 3200 PPM – IPCC says this will cause 9 degree warming ( 3 doublings) this is much more that even the 5.2 degrees you get from extrapolating the 33 degrees warming so far, using the entire radiative capacity of CO2, so even if you assume every last bit of the 33 degrees is driven by CO2 – which it isn’t – you cant justify even 3 doublings. The IPCC sensitivity also implies that warming relationship must accelerate with respect to the warming so far which I also showed in example 1.

    In short 3 Deg / Doubling is clearly not possible and sensitivity is much, much less than that, probably less than 0.5C per doubling

    One more point, while it is true that for some crops and land CO2 may not be the growth limiting factor, in the vast majority of cases CO2 in fact *is* the limiting factor. Are you really suggesting that because a few locations and crops may be nutrient limited, there will be no food productivity benefit from increasing CO2? There clearly is benefit, and it has already been maesured.

  15. Michael Tobis says:

    “The evidence that the sensitivity of GMST to CO2 forcing is in the neighborhood of 3 C per doubling is quite strong, but the evidence that it is above 1 C is absolutely compelling. I would welcome honest discussions competent openminded critics the field has on this matter, though I confess it has been quite a while since I encountered one.”

    Could you point to the peer-reviewed literature where climate sensitivity is shown to be high AND based SOLELY on empirical data?

    Thanks

  16. To Eric and others:

    About removing ourselves from the equation, thats not even true in the scientific sense. Nobody knows how earth would look like without man.
    As you can observe man tries to stabilize its environment and even if he is not very successfull at the moment, after a few hundred years of trial and error he may sometime get it. So you want to measure mans influence on earth and the biospere based on two or three hundred years? Thats ridiculous by earth standards. Perhaps we are successful and even will prevent the next ice age, including mass extinction of a large par of the northern biosphere?
    I understand how fear works, fear of the unknown, fear of the future – but what kind of beeing are we if we start to plan our future only on our nightmares?

    I know climate change feels like scientific and done deal to you, but have you observed how often science fails in predicting even their own field. Putting to trust in this is naiive, putting skeptisiscm in it is reasonable.
    And have you observed how often the models don’t even meet the minimal: that they explain the climate past? Scientifically the reason for it is that there are so many unknowns that science have to start guessing in he models (well the may name it different: speculate, statistics, exptrapolate etc etc) and on this they predict.
    That ist in my eyes ist megalomaniac. These are borderline methods and even if justified by the feeling of great danger (fear) by some and done “for the good” (moral?) they are just a typical hysteric behavioural pattern.
    Time for a review of “climate science” and a return to production of science (on climate, earth, biosphere etc).
    We have to deescalate, there are other dangerous things that might be more pressing for the wellbeing and survival of man on earth.

    Tom

    ps: Have you observed how science has stepped up in the near earth object research? Taking on that risk is really brave, knowing that it might never produce a method but just the knowledge: we all will be dead in x years.
    This result used in the same way as climate models: What should they tell earth’s population to do?

  17. Tobis ignores the fact that the “remedies” for global warming demanded by the Hockey Team will have horrendous costs in human lives in the poorest countries on earth. I applaud the Chinese and Indian governments for refusing to knuckle under to the last gasp of the misanthropes of the decadent west seeking to prevent their ascendancy to full industrialization, and escape from the poverty inflicted upon them by European imperialism.

  18. I’m astounded at the conceit of Angliss, to style himself as a peer to Burt Rutan. “Engineer to engineer”, indeed. What are your accomplishments, Mr. Angliss?

    Setting aside even the entirety of Mr. Rutan’s vast contributions to aviation and space technology, his work in environmental causes and the development of sustainable energy and construction puts the entirety of the Global Warming Cult to shame.

  19. Brain Angliss (Scholars and Rogues) writes “You may not be aware of this, but greenhouse crops are very productive because farmers take great care to ensure that the crops have optimal nutrition. The farmers ensure that the crops in the greenhouses have enough water, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients in addition to higher carbon dioxide. Without increasing all of these nutrients merely increasing carbon dioxide in the greenhouse’s air will not produce fast growing, nutritious crops. This is why the greenhouse claim made in the Journal commentary was incomplete and misleading – higher atmospheric carbon dioxide only leads to greater productivity when all other nutrients are also more available.

    This is one example of incomplete and misleading information from the commentary you signed.”

    Once again the Alarmist position is (to quote Gavin at Realclimate) “simply wrong”.

    The largest study, to date, of this has shown precisely the opposite:

    Ainsworth, E.A. and Long, S.P. 2005. What have we learned from 15 years of free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE)? A meta-analytic review of the responses of photosynthesis, canopy properties and plant production to rising CO2. New Phytologist 165: 351-372.

    This meta-analysis of 279 published experiments in which plants of all types were grown under paired stressed and unstressed conditions found that CO2 induced growth enhancement was some 200% under stressed conditions compared with 80% enhancement under unstressed (optimal) conditions.

  20. Steve – because of short term variations about the upward trend, for the forseeable future you will always be able to say that there hasn’t been statistically significant warming for the last ten years. To point it out says nothing meaningful and is really only done by people who want to mislead and people who have already been misled. The last ten years have been the warmest in the instrumental record, and the second warmest ten year period was the one before that, and the third warmest ten year period was the one before that. This most excellent graph shows how the dishonest can mislead the sufficiently foolish:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/SkepticsvRealistsv3.gif

    “isn’t it also possible that the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 is not as high as the models assume” – models don’t assume the sensitivity, they calculate it. And direct observations of modern and geologic temperature records independently also tell us that the sensitivity is most likely somewhere between 1.5 and 4.5°C for a doubling of CO2 but values up to 6°C or higher can’t be ruled out.

    Alcheson – it’s hard to tell if that is a serious comment or not. I’ll assume that it is. Imagine a forest fire, near a town. I’m trying to work out whether the town is going to get burnt. My understanding of the wind and topography and how the fire will move are all subject to uncertainty. The less I know, the less I am able to rule out the risk of the town getting destroyed. If I increase my knowledge, does that reduce the chance of the town getting destroyed? Obviously not. It only reduces the uncertainty in my estimate of the chances.

  21. Re Tobis
    ” We must resort to physics rather than relying solely on observations. ”

    But the physics say that warming will be minuscule. (Radiative physics regarding CO2, I assume you refer to). Any dire prediction is based not on physics but on models with assumptions on clouds and water vapor built in. By your own logic we should be somewhat cautious before transferring huge amounts to the chinese mobs to combat “global warming”.

  22. Michael:
    You make the aurgument that warmer climate species are moving north but at the same time the Pacific Northwest is seeing an influx of both sea and land creatures showing up that historically live in the Arctic. Reporters have come to the conclusion that it must somehow be related to Global Warming, but don’t you think it just might be that Alaska and the Canadian Northwest are suffering through one of the coldest winters in decades?

  23. ” because of short term variations about the upward trend, for the forseeable future you will always be able to say that there hasn’t been statistically significant warming for the last ten years”

    Well, the last ten years there have been no warming, not even statistically insignificant warming, of the climate system. This has happened when the conventional wisdom was that the climate forcing still to be realized was 1,7 watts per square metre. This fact should have spurred curiosity but has instead brought bunker mentality.

  24. I agree with Burt Rutan especially about the huge data presentation fraud, and the missing measurements and science behind whole terms in the transport equations that start “del squared” for mass, momentum and energy. I’ve been waiting almost twenty years to hear more recognition of the effects of magnetic field changes, magnetic field changes better measured on earth earlier, and now somewhat more recognized on the sun’s energy contribution.

    With the solar magnetic field changes in progress, we are on the cusp of a great, natural climate experiment that many fully expect to leave the alarmists in shreds.

    My degrees are in relevant engineering and I went through an extremely selective institute two years early.

  25. burt rutan writes: “In general, if you as an engineer with normal ethics, study the subject you will conclude that the theory that man’s addition of CO2 to the atmosphere (a trace amount to an already trace gas content) cannot cause the observed warming unless you assume a large positive feedback from water vapor. You will also find that the real feedback is negative, not positive!”

    This is a typical engineer wading into a scientific subject with a big head thinking they understand it sufficently when they don’t. Burt appeals to CO2 being a “trace gas”. If he understood more about climate he would realize how stupid it is to appeal to this line of argument. Ozone is an even scarcer gas – does that imply to Burt that the Earth’s ozone layer is unimportant to life on Earth?

    Burt talks about assuming “a large positive feedback from water vapor” and then claims it’s negative. That’s completely wrong. Burt doesn’t understand climate feedbacks. He’s confusing water vapor feedback with cloud feedback and making claims that aren’t supported

    Burt claims “The scare is merely a computer modeled theory”. He obviously is unaware of the evidence of high climate sensitivity derived from paleo-data.

    He even believes the myth that the planet has cooled since 1998 and makes the following claim which isn’t supported by the data:
    “the planet has cooled after 1998 in spite of the CO2 content increasing.”

    Ironically that failing of making statements not supported by the data is one he accuses others of.

    “Any claim that this has been done in the CO2 warming problem is PREPOSTEROUS.
    There are perhaps a thousand PhD topics there waiting to be taken up by researchers.
    We could start with work on understanding heat transfer between the main interfaces; eg Core to surface / surface to ocean depths/ ocean depths to ocean surface / ocean surface to atmosphere and so on, not having yet reached the depth of space at just slightly above absolute zero.”

    Burt doesn’t understand what has been done. Stuff like this has been investigated, he’s just unaware of it and so assumes it hasn’t been done.

    “To claim that the entire system of atmospheric temperature moderation has been described by
    the fluctuations of atmospheric CO2 content while excluding the other obvious factors such as atmospheric water vapour content, solar flux and orbital mechanics is just nonsense.”

    Again he shows his ignorance. His “obvious factors” are so obvious they have been factored in. It’s clear he hasn’t read much on the subject of climate or he’d have a better list. These other factors he mentions are taken into account. Indeed he even admitted one of them is higher up where he talked about positive water vapor feedback. Now he’s trying to tell us they don’t take into account atmospheric water vapor content…

    Sorry but Burts “arguments” are claptrap. The same old tired nonsense spouted by politically motivated ideologues all over the internet who don’t care for being consistent. That he throws about the word “fraud” so much makes him sound exactly like these kinds of people. That he is so keen to sprinkle his “I am an engineer” appeal to authority on top of them is just the icing on the cake.

    Burt continues with:
    “CO2 is not a pollutant. When the Dinosaurs roamed, the CO2 content was 6 to 9 times current and the planet was green from pole to pole; almost no deserts. If we doubled the atmospheric content of CO2, young pine trees would grow at twice the rate and nearly every crop yield would go up 30 to 40%. We, the animals and all land plant life would be healthier if CO2 content were to increase.”

    This is remarkably asinine, but typical of the childish arguments made by the anti-science ideologues internet wide. They have no appreciation of timescales or rates of change. They neither recognize that species today are not the same as species that existed in higher CO2 environments millions of years ago, nor do they recognize that species need time to adapt to any changes. Most of them don’t even realize that the current rate of CO2 rise has no known parallel in Earth’s entire history. They are blind to the actual issues and instead are fixated on simplistic strawmen.

    Notice the subtle bias at work too. Earlier Burt downplayed human CO2 contribution as “a trace amount to an already trace gas content”. That’s because he wanted to downplay it’s radiative impact. Here when he’s talking about plant fertilization we see no such downplaying. He doesn’t feel it necessary to point out it’s a trace gas. Wonder why….

    A scourge on them all.

  26. My specialist subject is not engineering, though I can follow a technical argument, but rather the detection of fraud and other misleading situations.

    The AGW hypothesis, such as it is, does not rest on proving that the Earth heated during the 1980s and 1990s – that is generally accepted. It rests on showing that such heating was unusual. This was asserted to be shown by Michael Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ graph.

    I know of no current attempt to show that that graph is true. It has been shown to be false, indeed demonstrably misleading, by Stephen McIntyre. Without that graph, AGW is dead in the water.

    Given the amount of money and prestige which has been tied onto this bandwagon, I expect that it will continue to influence politics for many more years yet. But for my money, plaudits are due to Steve McIntyre, who stood up for science when it was deeply unfashionable, and dangerous to one’s career, to do so. I think he should be given a Nobel – his work undoubtedly has saved science from corruption…

  27. A quick perusal of other articles by Brian Angliss would have saved Burt Rutan from wasting his time. Brian is an advocate for CAGW. Brian takes the religious rants by Peter Gleick as climate gospel.

  28. Burt,
    like yourself, I’m primarily am engineer, and started working in the aerospace industry in the late 50’s, officially retiring in the early 2000’s. As such, the work involved both the theory & hands on application such as field problems, and correlation of theory & reality.

    About 4 years ago I got interested, in the AGW discussion. In the 40’s, I started recording hi/lo temperatures for a neighbor, who was interested in the weather, for 50 cents a week. Back then, that was big money, and it helped finance my back yard telescope.Seems I thought I could capture the “red shift” of receding galaxies, huge failure, but it was interesting, and picked up some optics along the was, and was a preparation for later work in the IR region for space based sensors.

    A related area was, in adaptive & statistical process control, & signal processing, using Wiener & Kalman methods. It was work in this area, that caused me to wonder why the temperature “smoothed” graphs were cut off prior to the of the available data. In process control, delay in getting up to date, or “anticipation” can make the system unstable, and a great deal of effort is put into predicting where the process will be.

    So I started looking at the available temperature sets UAH, RSS, GISS, etc., and started spectral analysis & Fourier convolution filtering, since celestial mechanics noted that there are secular variations present. In posting over at a site (RC), the response was interesting, especially personal comments. Having been in more heated engineering/science “discussions”, then I care to think about, I knew that personal comments were a sure way to an immediate career change, and it pointed to a discussion based more on emotion & personal views then science.

    To make a long story short, here is a sample graph using Fourier convolution filtering, (a 20 & 50 yr lo pass), on a composite anomaly of stations which started recording prior to 1800 (CEL, Debilt, Uppsalla, etc.), to evaluate periodic components. Using this method dose get me to the endpoints, and gives insight as to periodic “energy” in the raw data.

    http://www.4shared.com/photo/I04JY2jI/Ave14_2010_FF_20yr.html

    http://www.4shared.com/photo/4FKXcwnw/Ave14_2010_FF_50yr.html

    From the graphs, I think I’ll keep my Union suit handy.

    Good article!!

  29. fukt på vindens: “Well, the last ten years there have been no warming, not even statistically insignificant warming, of the climate system” – look at the graph that I linked to again. If you want to meekly allow yourself to be fooled, you can always ignore everything but the last 10 years.

    Dodgy Geezer: “The AGW hypothesis, such as it is, does not rest on proving that the Earth heated during the 1980s and 1990s – that is generally accepted. It rests on showing that such heating was unusual..”

    No, it rests upon the infrared absorption properties of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that humans have changed the atmospheric concentrations of. The infrared properties have been known for over a century. The human effect on atmospheric composition has been known for more than half a century. Whether the warming duly caused is “unusual” is utterly irrelevant.

    “I know of no current attempt to show that that graph is true” – its validity has been confirmed by subsequent work. Once a result has become widely accepted, scientists generally move on to the next question rather than try to answer the previous one repeatedly.

  30. A few questions for the CAGW advocates–
    1. why do ALL of the temperature time series maintained by GISS, HADCRU, etc., reduce observed temps prior to 1950 by 2 degrees from the raw data actually recorded? none of the warmalists explain why these reductions are uniformly done, nor do they explain HOW the 2 degree number was calculated.
    2. why have global temperature stations being figured in to the series been reduced from over 4,000 in the 1970s to about 1,500 today?
    3/. Why are these 1,500 stations concentrated in urban downtowns and airports?
    4. how do you explain the lack of successful predictions, such as the failure of James Hansen’s sea rise claims? in 1988, Hansen claimed that the West Side Highway in Manhattan would be well under water by 2008. no sea rise observed.
    5. What about the admissions by leading warmalists in the internal emails from the Univ of East Anglia releases that they cannot account for recent lack of warming, that they have lost the calculations and data that their time series for temps have been based upon?

  31. Pingback: A Burt Rutan Fan Disappointed He Signed WSJ Article Denying AGW « Is it 2012 in Nevada County Yet?

  32. RW, you do not realize the significance of the lack of warming. If the system is not warming THEN THE HEAT IS NOT ON. The idea of “heating in the pipeline” cannot be true if the climate system is not warming. Alas, it is not. Thus, there is no heat to materialize in the future due to past emissions and climate sensitivity is well below 3°C. (There is an alternative interpretation, that the IPCC has significantly underestimated natural forcings, which neither builds confidence with that organization, and which also indicates a much lower sensitivity).

  33. RW, I assumed that you know the difference between heating of the climate system (a matter of Joules) vs land based temperatures that was in your graph (a matter of Kelvin).

    Just in case I made the wrong assumption:

    a kettle with cold water on a stove, that is not warmer after ten minutes indicates that the heating is not on, regardless of the surface temperature of said kettle. Likewise, if a climate system is not warmer (in Joules) after ten years, that is a clear indication that there is no net positive aggregate forcings at play, and hence, the effect we have seen of an increase in CO2 is pretty much what we should expect in the future (which is about a degree Kelvin for each doubling of co2).

  34. “If the system is not warming THEN THE HEAT IS NOT ON”

    The system is warming. THE HEAT IS ON! (see, I can shout with capitals as well).

  35. Well said, Bert Rutan.

    As you and others rightly observe, there is no possibility that CO2 alone can produce anything close to a dangerous level of temperature rise, due to the logarithmic nature of the relationship.

    Here’s an estimate of the warming capability from no less than the late Stephen Schneider:

    “It is found that even an increase by a factor of 8 in the amount of CO2, which is highly unlikely in the next several thousand years, will produce an increase in the surface temperature of less than 2 deg. K.”

    Schneider S. & Rasool S., “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols – Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate”, Science, vol.173, 9 July 1971, p.138-141

    All the claims for catastrophic warming invoke positive feedback, entirely reliant on progressively less credible computer models.

    The hiatus in warming now encompasses fifteen years according to the satellite data, here’s the data from 1997, including the CO2 curve for comparison.

    No evidence of positive feedback there, I don’t think..

  36. The real problem is still the observed data since 1998 in ocean heat, stratosphere temperature – they show a no to a small fraction of what the IPCC or main AGW models were predicting.

    This is used to present an argument that that positive temperature feedback to ncreased CO2 not only May not exist, measured data indicates the feedback is likely negative.

    Without the positive feedback, a lot of the scenarios on warming would require a revisit of the models.

    Past decade or so measured data continues to deviate from the IPCC and agw proponent’s computer models. This is the real reasons why the consensus is fraying. Scientific theories no matter how elegant cannot deny measured observations – that’s how the null-hypothesis gets disproved.

  37. Lets see I can take the opinion of some obscure engineer or a world renown engineer. I can take the opinion of some second year physics major or the word of the most important physicist (Freeman Dyson) of our modern era. Wow, hard choice don’t you think?

    I am also an engineer by trade and like Rutan, had concerns for how the science was being conducted. I researched and evaluated and came to the same conclusion as Rutan: The data has been manipulated ( which was proven in the Climategate emails), the parameters of the IPCC climate models are horribly incomplete and the raw observed temperatures dont relate to the “homogenized” data from the temperature reporting bureaus. BTW if you want to reconsider your opinion, now is the time. Take one look at this article from the MET Office in the UK (THE most important AGW institute) and you will have to hold your head low and immediately apologize to Mr. Rutan.

    http://bit.ly/ymGl0d

    Mark

  38. actual facts are available at this site–http://junksciencecom.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/the-skeptic_s-case-resource-investor.pdf

    some very convincing graphs comparing the warmalists’ gloomy predictions with actual recent observed temps.

  39. catweazle666: that paper is 40 years old. Modern science does not support your beliefs.

    Positive feedbacks are observed, and climate models do a fair job of reproducing them. Ever heard of ice ages? Observations show that they end very abruptly, but the changes in orbital configuration which cause them to end do not happen abruptly. If there are no positive feedbacks in the climate system, that would be impossible.

  40. I, like Burt, am an engineer (I have an ScD), but I also have a degree in Physics. I also started looking at the CAGW issue because it seemed so important, and I wanted to help. I reviewed the main literature including the IPCC publications and came to the unfortunate conclusion that a major mistake was being made. The warming was clearly mainly associated with recovery from the LIA, and only came back to a level typical over the entire Holocene (last 11,000 yr or so). It then leveled off and appears to be heading down. The CO2 argument is bogus, since the feedback is the only issue of importance for that result, and the feedback clearly is not large, and in fact seems negative (which is what ought to be expected). There is no falsifiable evidence supporting CAGW, and not even any in support of any significant AGW. I could go on, but the CAGW supporters have locked in on their positions, and only the real data over the next several years will open their eyes. The arguments that it has heated over the last century, and that this causes biological changes is not proof of any thing except that it has heated, and as stated, this is actually a return from cold to more normal. CO2 is increasing, and human activity is likely a major cause, but so far, there is no evidence that is anything but good.

  41. Rubbish, who added the extra fertilizer to this CO2 forest enrichment experiment?
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/284/5417/1177.short
    Excerpt from abstract: “The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide was increased by 200 microliters per liter in a forest plantation, where competition between organisms, resource limitations, and environmental stresses may modulate biotic responses. After 2 years the growth rate of the dominant pine trees increased by about 26 percent relative to trees under ambient conditions. Carbon dioxide enrichment also increased litterfall and fine-root increment. These changes increased the total net primary production by 25 percent. ”

    You wrote: “..no alternative hypothesis yet presented has withstood scientific scrutiny or explained the observed climate changes. Total BS! Nature caused them and always has. There remains ZERO evidence to support the claim that human CO2 emission has ANY measurable impact on global temperature. It’s your failing theory not ours. That makes it YOUR obligation to prove not ours. (And I also have doubts that you are really an engineer – I am though and not the choo choo kind like Rajendra Pachauri.)

  42. Leonard Weinstein: “The warming was clearly mainly associated with recovery from the LIA” – pure, tautological, meaningless nonsense. Even people with “a degree in Physics” can fundamentally misunderstand how the Earth’s climate works.

  43. Leonard Weinstein, … and only the real data over the next several years will open their eyes.

    Wake up, your dreaming. As long as they can keep riding the $2.5 BILLION/yr government funding gravy train for jobs and grants these rent seekers will NEVER admit they were wrong. (and you can take that to the bank ;)

  44. Mark Wells: you could listen to actual climate scientists or you could meekly allow your opinion to be dictated to you by ignorant outsiders. Wow, hard choice don’t you think?

    John Cunningham: what is a “CAGW advocate”? And what is a “warmalist”? Try using grown-up language and maybe we can have a discussion.

  45. Even GHG theory itself is now in doubt. Some physicists are suggesting the possibility that CO2 in the small quantities we see in the air do not increase warming at all and may actually even have a very slight cooling affect because of how more CO2 molecules displace some of the stronger and much more plentiful GHG molecules like water vapor. Just imagine if the alarmists are all exposed for being THAT wrong?? Ooops – got the sign backwards, never mind.

  46. FD.L,

    “The real problem is still the observed data since 1998 in ocean heat, stratosphere temperature – they show a no to a small fraction of what the IPCC or main AGW models were predicting.”

    Actually, the planet has accumulated about 50×10^21 J of energy since 1998.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/The-Earth-continues-to-build-up-heat.html

    Also, as shown by Santer et al. (2011) and Meehl et al. (2011) focussing on short-term periods of round a decade is meaningless. Fake skeptics are under this misguided belief that the temperature and oceanic heat content etc. should change monotonically. That is of course incorrect, but a convenient strawman for fake skeptics and those who deny the theory of AGW.

    You are arguing a strawman about the models. Models are not one of the cornerstones of AGW as those who deny the theory of AGW believe. Fourier, Arrhenius, Tyndall did not have models.
    Also, multiple independent lines of evidence point to an equilibrium climate sensitivity neat +3 C for doubling co2 and we will very easily doubly CO2 if we continue on this path.

    And you , of course, ignore the fact that the projections have been too conservative when it comes to Arctic sea ice loss and sea level increase.

  47. Mike M – either you made that up yourself, or you’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for someone else’s denialist fantasy. Either way, what you wrote is laughably incorrect.

  48. John Cunningham,

    It is AGW, CAGW is a fake name dreamt up by fake skeptics. When you use use fabricated terms like that you only betray your true agenda and belief system.

    Also please stop being so alarmist please and save your Gish gallops for WUWT.

    • Burt – I’m crafting a first response to your comment #4 above and hope to to have it posted to this comment thread tonight. Thank you very much for responding. I’m frankly thrilled by your granting me this unexpected opportunity.

      To our visitors from WUWT – welcome. I’m afraid that due to the volume of comments here, I’ve chosen to focus on responding to Burt. I mean no disrespect by doing so, but given I have Burt’s attention for the moment, I’d be a fool not to take advantage of that fact. With luck I’ll address many of your criticisms as I respond to Burt’s.

      I do have one question, however, as many of you are using the term – what, precisely, do you mean when you say “catastrophic” AGW? I ask because “catastrophic” is a subjective term, and whether I consider climate disruption to be “catastrophic” or not depends greatly on where you draw that line.

  49. “There remains ZERO evidence to support the claim that human CO2 emission has ANY measurable impact on global temperature”

    Yep, ZERO evidence. Apart from the troposphere getting warmer, the oceans getting warmer, the stratosphere getting colder, the amount of downward radiation from the atmosphere increasing, the imbalance between energy absorbed and energy emitted by Earth, etc etc. Disputing the evidence is one thing; denying that it even exists is literally insane.

  50. Brian, catastrophic means what we’ve all had to read from the media as a result from GW: Big increase of sea levels, droughts, mass extinctions etc. Almost no sceptic has a problem with the concept of warming (the A in AGW) but are questioning the magnitude. Mostly, because the quality of climate science is unfortunately low and the heavy politics linked to it.

  51. RW,

    Re the claim made by someone else here that “There remains ZERO evidence to support the claim that human CO2 emission has ANY measurable impact on global temperature”

    The WUWT fans are in la-la land. One cannot prove anything in science, but we do have compelling evidence from multiple independent lines of evidence and observations.

    Richard Alley gives an excellent example of how the US military use CO2’s special properties to develop heat-seeking missiles. Maybe the omniscient WUWT folks have an alternate theory to put forward that can explain what the military’s scientists found way back when ;)

    But they are not here to speak to the science they are here to vent, advance conspiracy theories, fabricate debate, sow doubt, pontificate and spread misinformation.

    They will also uncritically and unskeptically believe anything Mr. Rutan and his fellow signatories claims because he is telling them what they wish to hear– that it is a fraud, a hoax. Funny how skeptics lament how those who are concerned about AGW “appeal to the authority of the science reported in the IPCC’s assessment reports”, when they appeal to the (unqualified) authority of Mr. Rutan and his 15 “skeptic” friends.

    Sadly, it is all they can do at this point, because they cannot “attack” the robust science and physics. They have nothing but empty rhetoric, and this thread beautifully demonstrates that fact. So with each post, they only enforce the vacuity of their argument and their bias, and the fact that for them, it is not about science at all.

  52. Brian,

    Oh, so the alarmist CAGW that the skeptics fabricated is allegedly all the medias’ fault. That is a very weak argument.

    You asked for a non-subjective definition. If we are being scientific , the “skeptics” need to attach some objective quantifiers to that alarmist label. Citing the media is a fail.

  53. I used to believe that CO2 was going to significantly increase the planet’s temperature. My conversion to a more moderated belief (that CO2 would slightly increase the planet’s temperature, but that natural processes dominate climate) came about as a result of my being paid to study the subject. Since I was educated in elementary particle physics, the most convincing “denier” articles were the ones coming out of the European science collaboration CERN. Get the article (54 authors from a couple dozen institutions) direct from CERN’s server: http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/497173

    In addition to the question of what the cause of CO2 and warming, the other question is the effect. The evidence is undeniable that increasing CO2 decreases stress in plants. The biological reason for this is that plants take in CO2 through pores called stomata. These stomata are also where a plant loses a lot of water. A rise in CO2 allows plants to obtain their needed CO2 while losing less water and this means plants spend less energy obtaining water and consequently grow faster. This is especially important for desert regions.

    US crop production is restricted by two environmental factors, growing season limitations due to frost, and insufficient rainfall. Both these problems are reduced by increases in climate temperature. The effect on frost is obvious, the other is not so. Increases in the planet’s temperature cause increased evaporation and one might think this would contribute to a drier planet. However, what goes up must come down, all water that evaporates returns to the planet as rain. Considering the land surface alone there is no net effect; the increase in evaporation is matched by a corresponding increase in rainfall (and do note that plants get their water from below the surface which is less effected by evaporation). But the oceans never dry out. Consequently, the improved evaporation over the oceans result in a net increase in rainfall over land. This helps agriculture. These are not complicated things.

  54. for those of you asking why people sceptical of AGW call people who are not sceptical of AGW. alarmists, could I ask, why are you using the term “denier”, which was originally coined to relate scepticism of AGW with the holocaust?

    “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers . . . “ Ellen Goodman

  55. Carl,

    “Consequently, the improved evaporation over the oceans result in a net increase in rainfall over land”

    It is not that simple, Read Dai et al. (2004):

    “The global very dry areas, defined as PDSI +3.0) declined slightly during the 1980s. Together, the global land areas in either very dry or very wet conditions have increased from ~20% to 38% since 1972, with surface warming as the primary cause after the mid-1980s. These results provide observational evidence for the increasing risk of droughts as anthropogenic global warming progresses and produces both increased temperatures and increased drying.”

    Those are observations.

    “A rise in CO2 allows plants to obtain their needed CO2 while losing less water and this means plants spend less energy obtaining water and consequently grow faster. ”

    Mostly true for plats using the C3 photosynthetic pathway, but only if they have other enough of the other nutrients. and if the wilting point is reached, then all the CO2 in the world will not help the plants. And you ignore the impacts of increased heat stress on the plants, and the increase in pests and disease with warming.

    And field experiments such as face have found that increases in yields in C02 rich environments are way below what they expected. Please read this:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-plant-food-basic.htm

  56. What is frightening about the the fraudsters that promote the CAGW / CO2 doom and gloom model theory would they have us go back in time to 280ppm of CO2 would they prefer a cold world say 0.8°C cooler?

    If we have dangerous warming and the global temperature has increased by 0.8°C since the Little Ice Age, does this mean that the ideal temperature for life on Earth is that of the Little Ice Age?’ — ‘During the Little Ice Age, people died like flies and it was really not a good time to be on Earth. Besides the cold, there were crop failures, famine, cannibalism and disease

  57. Correction:
    What is frightening about the fraudsters that promote the CAGW / CO2 doom and gloom model theory would they have us go back in time to 280ppm of CO2 would they prefer a cold world say 0.8°C cooler?

    If we have dangerous warming and the global temperature has increased by 0.8°C since the Little Ice Age, does this mean that the ideal temperature for life on Earth is that of the Little Ice Age? During the Little Ice Age, people and all life forms died from starvation and cold, the economies of the world suffered, it was not a good time to be on Earth. Besides the cold, there were crop failures, famine, warfare and disease. Yes that’s really something to look forward to again!!

  58. Carl Brannen – I can’t find any evidence that you’ve published any scientific papers on climate. It also looks like you did not understand the CLOUD experiment, as you misrepresent it as somehow supporting your position. Therefore, if someone really did pay you to study something about the climate, it looks like their money was wasted.

  59. Albatross, @ 47
    The same remark goes for you!
    Go peddle your cherry picking and misinformation elsewhere. The tricks employed by fake warmers have been exposed for a while now.

    Albatross you’re a troll lurking on this site like a bad smell. Your favorite source of crooked data manipulated misinformation comes from one of the most discredited websites skeptical science, written by a bunch of at the public trough global warming pushers, who will do anything to keep the grant money and alarm going.
    Your a fraud and so are they!!!

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/going-down-the-up-escalator-part-1.html

  60. RW, I didn’t mean to shout, just to emphasize. So please, if you think that total joules in the climate system has increased (anything near what is required for the missing heat) since 2003, can you please provide citation? (And please avoid Church et al 2011 GRL, as it does no rely on ARGO data.)

    • S&R appreciates that this thread has not devolved into a shouting insult-fest. However, some comments have recently started inching toward that line. We have a comment policy that permits us to moderate or delete posts that are not constructive (the link to the policy is below the comment box), but we’d rather not have to resort to that. Please keep your discussion focused on the issues and not the people.

  61. Hi Albatross. When I was paid to study this subject I wasn’t allowed to get all my data from websites that were openly pursuing a political point of view. I had to go back to the original research and I absolutely had to fully understand both sides of the issues.

    Since our company was involved in green energy, I guess I could have looked at only the CAGW sources of information. My job would have been a lot easier but it wouldn’t have felt right to me, as an engineer. I was fortunate in that my boss accepted my conclusions. He also found them convincing. I guess there are a lot of people who don’t have that freedom.

    The first difficulty people have with learning the truth about a highly emotional and politically charged subject like this is that they bring their preconceptions to the analysis of the information. There is then a strong tendency to pay close attention to evidence that supports your belief while heavily discounting evidence on the other side. I can’t explain how to overcome this bias; what I try to do is to understand the issue completely from the side that I am naturally opposite to.

    So the situation now has become fractured. The CAGW viewpoint is common in general science and the media. CAGW supporters control most of the journals that publish ecology related articles. They defend their ideas with peer review in these journals. At the same time, the geologists, who take a much longer view of the climate (and have less faith in politically motivated modeling), publish anti-CAGW articles.

    That’s the political situation in the sciences at the moment. So to see the peer-reviewed anti-CAGW articles, you will have to read papers that are published outside the CAGW controlled literature. Sadly, you will have to explore more than “skepticalscience.com” and “realclimate.org”.

    This is not a journey that I can walk for you. You will have to do the analysis yourself. I could point out some articles for you but I doubt you’ll read them. But the tide is definitely turning in that anti-CAGW articles are now being published on neutral ground. Oh, what the heck. Here’s a recent article from the prestigious journal Science, “Climate Sensitivity Estimated from Temperature Reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum” by Schmittner, Urban, Shakun, Mahowald, Clark, Bartlein, Mix and Rosell-Melé: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6061/1385.abstract I’m at a university and so I’m not sure if this is behind a paywall so here’s another link for the same article: http://www.princeton.edu/~nurban/pubs/lgm-cs-uvic.pdf

  62. “Almost no sceptic has a problem with the concept of warming (the A in AGW)”

    Check again – I think you’ll find that warming is actually the W, not the A. And there are plenty of so-called “sceptics” who have problems with that concept.

  63. fukt på vindens råspont – I like your style! “Please prove this position that I don’t believe in, but don’t quote me the papers that disprove my position because I don’t believe them”. And what exactly is the significance of 2003, to you?

  64. Hello Ted,

    Can you calm down please. Your post is just a bunch of unsubstantiated assertions and empty rhetoric.

    Believe/think and say what you will of skepticalsceince.com, but you cannot ignore the science and citations and overwhelming evidence from the scientific literature that they link to.

    Ted, your baseless rhetoric is not a substitute for facts or scientific argument.

    Have a nice day.

  65. Carl,

    A I said to Ted:

    Believe/think and say what you will of skepticalsceince.com, but you cannot ignore the science and citations and overwhelming evidence from the scientific literature that they link to.

    And please stop using CAGW, it is a fabricated term, and it also betrays your bias. Thanks.

    PS: My dad was a professional engineer and he would have been disciplined had he engaged in the conduct that Mr. Rutan is engaging in now.

  66. Carl,

    “This is not a journey that I can walk for you. You will have to do the analysis yourself. I could point out some articles for you but I doubt you’ll read them. ”

    Thanks, but I have already done that. I am quite familiar with the scientific literature thanks, it is part of my job. But like almost all the publishing climate scientists, I have come to a very different conclusion than you have.

  67. “Carl Brannen – I can’t find any evidence that you’ve published any scientific papers on climate. It also looks like you did not understand the CLOUD experiment, as you misrepresent it as somehow supporting your position. Therefore, if someone really did pay you to study something about the climate, it looks like their money was wasted.”

    I’ve never published on climate. My writings on CAGW (which have to do with the likelihood of US government funding for alternative fuel methods of reducing CO2) are not publicly available. However, if you’re good enough at google you can eventually verify that I was the VP of engineering at a small company involved in green energy, Liquafaction Corporation.

    As far as their wasting their money, do note that, as I predicted around 2005, government support for biofuels has decreased; they’ve recently eliminated the ethanol subsidy (which would have applied to one of our projects, the plant at Moses Lake, Washington).

    Regarding CLOUD, there are plenty of articles giving both sides of the issue. As with anything else, you have the option of believing what you want to believe. But you can’t assume that everyone else will believe what you do.

    There are people who have a deeply vested interest in understanding what will happen to climate in the future. Politicians hire people to tell them what is true, not what to believe. Behind the scenes, the advice environmental experts are giving politicians is to stay away from the subject. And so politicians (on both sides of the aisle) are walking away from CAGW, but they’re NOT walking away from policies supporting (a) a reduction in US oil imports – which are of great economic importance, and (b) environmental protection in general – where local pollution is the real problem.

    In general, I see the fiasco with CAGW as being a big problem for the environmental movement. Pulling the public’s leg with this sort of thing makes it much more difficult to get them to believe real problems in the future. And the longer it goes on, the longer will be the recovery.

  68. 5×10^15 tons mass of atmosphere

    2×10^12 tons mass of atmospheric CO2
    100×10^12 tons mass of ocean CO2
    2×10^13 tons mass of water vapour
    1.4×10^18 tons Mass of oceans

    7×10^8 tons mass of human beings

    Compare the above masses of the hydrosphere and atmosphere together with their components, and compere with the miniscule total mass of live homo sapiens.
    Just does not make any sense to think that we can make any dents on global temperatures. We are an arrogant species to think that we do. So let’s be humble and eat pie and admit that global warmings and coolings are just natural as sunrise and sunset are.

    Meanwhile the planet has experienced 5 warmings and four coolings during the past 4500 years with the MWP being much longer in time and higher in temperature than the one just experienced. Now for the next big chill.

  69. @RW
    I take note of the fact that you have failed to respond to the post above which links to the recently released Met Office report indicating no appreciable warming since 1999. I have no choice but to believe that you, sir, are a fraud and a charlatan, fighting vainly to maintain your gravy train.

  70. I’m not a scientist nor an engineer, but i have significant experience growing plants professionally.

    First, the forest study mentioned by Mr. Rutan and linked further down the thread. Young trees are the biggest consumers of CO2, so that a young pine forest would grow more rapidly with CO2 enrichment shouldn’t surprise anyone. However, that consumption trails off as trees age with most species.

    Now, i used to spend a significant amount of time working a tree plantation, and i would eat pine and spruce needles mixed with little snowballs. It was a way to hydrate without carrying a water bottle and the taste is pretty good. Technically, they’re also a decent source of Vitamin C. However, you can’t live off of pine needles very well.

    Mr. Rutan’s assertion that yields of harvestable crops would go up 30-40% based on some studies in forestry smacks of wishful thinking. I’ve known people who purposefully raise CO2 levels in controlled environments well beyond what any prediction for global warming suggests is even possible. These plants get the best of all things. And it does not translate to 30-40% yield increases.

    Many plants would do better, especially with a lush canopy capable of holding water vapor in easy reach. But when the dinosaurs walked the planet, they weren’t trying to grow hectares of genetically identical corn and soybeans. The relationship of plants to their environment is complicated and facets of it are still not fully understood. I’ll leave the technical discussions of chelation, nutrient lock out, etc. that form the fascinating and complex world of plant science out of this…

    …leaving the rest of you to focus on the technical details of climate science.

  71. I’ll never understand where the sneering arrogance of Alarmists comes from. They claim to have incontrovertible evidence, they claim that multiple independent lines of inquiry makes their case stronger each year, and what happens? Belief in the myth shrinks each year. They own academia, the science organizations, the journals, the sycophantic “environmental” reporters, and all of the major media and what happens? They move ever further away from their ostensible desire to “save mankind.”
    Do they blame themselves? Not in the least. It’s not their fault. It’s a shadowy fossil fuel conspiracy and the immovable mass of mouth-breathing Christians and Republicans watching Fox News or listening to Rush that handily crushes their intellectual firepower. Yep, a handful of greedy oilmen and the unwashed masses are all it takes to prevent most of the Democratic party from even mentioning this subject anymore. Impressive.

  72. Hi Brian,

    It is very unfortunate that Mr. Rutan elected to respond to your polite and civil and science-based open letter with vitriol and refer to it as a ‘diatribe’. I find that very unprofessional on his part.

    I fear that trying to engage him in good faith is probably a lost cause.

    Notice also the scattershot and inconsistent approach by ‘skeptics’ on this thread: the models are hopeless, only to have someone cite a single modelling study to claim that climate sensitivity is low; or claims that “skeptics” do not doubt that it is warming, then to have other “skeptics” claiming it is not warming or that the warming has stopped.

    This internally inconsistent and at times incoherent messaging from ‘skeptics” is par de course and shows the weakness of their argument, such that it is.

    None of the “skeptics” here have noted the various errors on problems with the open letter that Rutan signed or his PDF that he linked us to. Like true skeptics, I challenge them to find the problems and errors with Rutan’s arguments and to call them out.

  73. WBJ – you could try reading what I’ve written about five times now. At current rates of warming, ten year periods will pretty much never show statistically significant warming. The underlying trend marches on regardless, and only the meekly subservient allow themselves to be duped into thinking that such short periods of time mean anything at all.

  74. Albatross,
    it may just be the heat seeking missile IR sensor, likes the CO2 atmospheric window, in that H2O clouds don’t confuse the seeker.

    “Gish Gallop”. Sounds like something I’ve read from the “scientists” at Huffington Post, the high tower of wisdom.

    Here are a couple of good sites, with graphs & references to primary data sets.

    http://www.climate4you.com/
    http://www.rimfrost.no/

    What is nice about climate4you, is the comparison graphs they present, including global temps, sea levels, urban effects etc

  75. Dodgy Geezer: “The AGW hypothesis, such as it is, does not rest on proving that the Earth heated during the 1980s and 1990s – that is generally accepted. It rests on showing that such heating was unusual..”

    “No, it rests upon the infrared absorption properties of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that humans have changed the atmospheric concentrations of. The infrared properties have been known for over a century. The human effect on atmospheric composition has been known for more than half a century. Whether the warming duly caused is “unusual” is utterly irrelevant…”

    The IR absorption and re-emission properties of CO2 have two major issues. First, the effect is logarithmic, and diminishes to zero as the concentration goes up. Second, their total effect is accepted by the AGW supporters to be only miniscule, and practically undetectable. They base their theory on a whole host of suppositions – primarily that our climate is in a fine balance, and the miniscule effect of increased CO2 will prompt a major positive feedback from increased water vapour. THIS is the key point of the theory, and for it to be correct it is vital that no earlier temperatures have approached current ones – otherwise there would obviously have been a positive feedback and runaway heating at that time.

    So the warming HAS to be unusual. Do not try to support a hypothesis before you understand it completely. Incidentally, where is the tropospheric hot-spot?

    “I know of no current attempt to show that that graph is true” – its validity has been confirmed by subsequent work. Once a result has become widely accepted, scientists generally move on to the next question rather than try to answer the previous one repeatedly…”

    That graph is so obviously a fraud that it was even left out of the Fourth IPCC report. Mann manged to massage a set of figures into producing a hockey stick shape by decentering his principle component analysis – a blatant fraud that eventually drew Ian Jolliffe, the world authority in this rather arcane mathematical field to say “…this is just plain wrong…”.

    Subsequent attempts to salvage this disaster involved cherry-picking made-up tree-ring data, publishing resultant papers without sufficient data to support them and then suppressing any critical discussion of them – an activity which led directly to the ‘ClimateGate’ affair. You cannot cite any supporting paper which has not collapsed when the data and the maths was examined. I note that in the relevant literature there is little attempt to defend the hockey stick hypothesis after 2009, and it is now tacitly accepted everywhere that the LIA and the MWP really existed as world-wide phenomena – a finding that the hockey-stick graph tried to disprove.

    Now that the warming period of the 1980s and 1990s is over we will start to see temperatures dip. The AGW hypothesis is already completely unable to explain why the temperature trend has stayed static for the last 15 years while CO2 concentrations have continued to rise – this in itself completely disproves the hypothesis – and as the temperatures continue to fall we will watch the unedifying sight of those proponents who supported ‘Global Warming’ and then changed this through ‘Climate Change’ to ‘Climate Disruption’ try to find a new title for their failed attempt to scare and scam the world’s public.

  76. Working in the aerospace industry, I can understand that Rutan views the problem as a flight test engineer would in looking at the data and trying to see whether the data supports the theories.

    The first problem with his criticism is that he doesn’t acknowledge the problem of signal-to-noise ratio. As someone with a flight test engineering background, he should realize that the observed worldwide temperature response to rising CO2 must be greater than the natural year-to-year variation in temperatures. Hence it is only once CO2 emissions have reached their current level of 385 ppm from the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm that one can discern the signal from the background noise. The climate researchers that I’ve read state that any conclusions based upon data that is less than 15 years in time cannot discern between natural year-to-year variability and the response associated from CO2.

    The second problem is that Rutan fails to acknowledge that the issue of CO2 is an exponential problem in that the increase in CO2 reflects a worldwide economy that has been growing exponentially and CO2 is release in proportion to economic activity. Yet in his critique, he used basic linear extrapolation to judge the effects of increased C02 levels.

    The third item with Rutan is in his critique of climate models he doesn’t tell us where the errors originate. He is more than willing to say that “It’s the sun!” but does not provide any argument from first principles of physics to justify the statement. Nor does he provide any argument based upon first principles to suggest why climate models are incorrect.

    Frankly, I’m disappointed that Rutan in this thread would resort to such blatant cherry-picking himself with this statement:

    “They applauded the correlation of surface temperatures with CO2 content from 1960 to 1998 as proof, but fail to admit that the planet has cooled after 1998 in spite of the CO2 content increasing.”

    As someone who has researched the subject of climate change, he knows as well as anyone that 1998 was characterized by an anomalous El Nino event that pumped water vapor into the atmosphere and drove temperatures up worldwide.

    The last point that I’d like to make with Rutan is that he fails to consider the uncertainties and non-linearities in the climate system. Climatologists deal in time increments of millennia and not decades thus it is not the warming that has occurred to now that is the cause for concern. It is the trajectory that we are upon with the exponential release of CO2 and the risk of unknowns that should instill a sense of urgency. The IPCC projections are only that, namely projections. They don’t account for non-linearities such as what might happen should ice shelves rapidly disintegrate (which cannot be reliably modeled and are not taken into account by the IPCC), what might happen when the albedo of the northern arctic changes and Greenland is exposed to greater heating during the summer, and what might happen should trapped methane in the permafrost be released.

    And based upon Rutan’s concluding slides, it appears that his worldview is anchored in the political battles of the 1960s over Limits to Growth and The Population Bomb rather than being entirely objective.

  77. I too am a great fan of Burt , who built the fastest boat I have so far sailed, the America’s Cup defender Stars & Stripes.

    But I note that on that occasion, the defense maintained an entirely separate climate and meteorology afterguard, and Burt was not part of it.

    He writes :” In my background of 46 years in aerospace flight testing and design I have seen many examples of data presentation fraud.”

    Just so, but the climate wars scarce be wars at all if each side had not indulged in recruiting a bodyguard of lies.

    I therefore hope my old ally will join in defending the integrity of American science by turning his practiced gimlet eye on some of the dubious sources that he cites, and compare the textbook science ( I’m afraid he has some reading to do ) with the polemic pretensions of both sides. If he does , he will discover that the Dunning Kruger effect is very much in evidence, and may reflect on the historical fact that a lapse of attention to the power of other peoples computer models was how we lost the Cup in the first place, and a return to that focus f has more than once figured in getting it back.

    I have no quarrel with his observations about the polemic abuse of climate science by people with political axes to grind, for they reflect what I wrote on the subject some years before we made common cause in the 1988 defense.

  78. Alex the skeptic – the mass of things does not determine their relative effect. It’s bizarre indeed to think even for a moment that humans can’t affect the climate because their mass is small relative to the atmosphere. Let’s assume your numbers are correct and that the atmosphere is roughly 10,000,000 times heavier than all humans. A human is about 10,000,000 times heavier than something weighing 5-10 milligrams. Do you have any idea of how many substances could have drastic effects on a human being in doses of 5-10 milligrams?

  79. Dodgy Geezer:

    1. Logarithmic means it cannot diminish to zero. Each and every doubling has an equal effect.
    2. No, you completely misunderstand what feedback means. The warming does not have to be “unusual” for its cause to be clearly established. What’s unusual anyway? Does it have to get hotter than the Cretaceous before you will start to worry?
    3. Where is the tropospheric hot-spot? It’s in the troposphere, where you’d expect it to be.
    4. Figures showing the so-called hockey stick of global temperatures in the last 1,000 years featured just as prominently in 4AR as they had in TAR. For example:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-6.html
    5. “The AGW hypothesis is already completely unable to explain why the temperature trend has stayed static for the last 15 years while CO2 concentrations have continued to rise” – the last 15 years were the hottest 15 years in the instrumental record. If you want to be foolish, you can look only at short periods of time in which natural variation (weather) obscured the trend. Like I’ve said repeatedly, you’re either trying to mislead someone or you’ve been misled if you do that.

    By the way, there is no such thing as “the AGW hypothesis”. There is atmospheric physics, and all of its theories and hypotheses. We understand why anthropogenic global warming is happening using these theories and hypotheses. It is not a hypothesis in itself.

  80. I’m a scientist that works in environmental field. I used to work at CIRES and many of my former collegues work for NOAA, NCAR. I concur with Mr. Rutan, however, speaking out publically against CAGW places my employment in some jeopardy.

  81. RW, I see that you see no need to address the questions I posed earlier in post #32. the few specific predictions made by the warmalists [I prefer that term. if you scorn that, how about watermelons? green on the outside, red on the inside].
    Hansen’s predictions from 1987 were made in Hansen et al, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 93 No D8 (20 Aug 1988) Fig 3a Page 9347:
    pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1988/1988_Hansen_etal.pdf. In the graph here, Hansenʼs three scenarios are graphed to start from the same point in mid-
    1987. note the followup in Hansenʼs predictions at http://junksciencecom.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/the-skeptic_s-case-resource-investor.pdf
    see also the ocean temp data from the Argo sea probes at
    http://tinyurl.com/3b63no5.

  82. @Carl Brannen
    With regards to #68:

    One item to consider with regards to crop yields is the significance of night time temperatures.

    One of the reasons that the mid-latitudes are so productive for grain production (corn, wheat) is that the night time temperatures are low. The colder temperatures at night reduce cellular activity and permit more energy to be stored in the seeds. If you know any farmers, you should ask them what happens to crop yields when night time temperatures increase.

    It is the heat that is retained at night time which is a characteristic of global warming. For rather than radiating heat into the cold of space at night, it will be retained due to the re-radiation caused by CO2 and other greenhouse gasses.

    If you remember the heat wave that struck Texas and Oklahoma this past summer, it was characterized by record setting daytime high temperatures. Looking at Dallas Fort Worth specifically, the daytime high temperature hit an all time high of 90.6 deg beating out the 89.2 deg from 1980, and the night time high averaged 79.9 deg beating out the previous night time high of 77.8 deg from 1998 (that anomalous El Nino year from my previous posting).

    [See data here: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/fwd/?n=dsummer%5D

    In fact this past year, 278 of the 1218 temperature stations in the US recorded new all time night time high temperatures.

    Oh and by the way, Dallas Fort Worth just broke another record yesterday. From the National Weather Service:

    “A RECORD RAINFALL OF 3.54 INCHES WAS SET AT DALLAS FORT WORTH
    YESTERDAY JANUARY 25TH. THIS BREAKS THE OLD RECORD OF 1.28 INCHES
    SET IN 1973.

    3.54 INCHES OF RAIN IS ALSO THE MOST RAIN THAT HAS EVER FALLEN
    WITHIN A CALENDAR DAY DURING THE MONTH OF JANUARY. THE OLD RECORD
    WAS 3.15 INCHES SET ON JANUARY 4TH 1998.”

    [http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=FWD&issuedby=DFW&product=RER&format=CI&version=1]

    Just goes to show what adding 4% more water vapor into the climate will do as a result of increased CO2 levels.

  83. Rutan is a genius. Better a denier than a LIAR. We know for a fact that CO2 follows warming from numerous data; the ocean and ice cores. In fact the answer is right in all of your hands, whether you have a soda or a beer. When you open a cold one, it releases a little CO2 and when you open a warm one, it foams a huge head. Same when the oceans warm up, CO2 is released and increases, AFTER the warming. So any scientist that indicates the opposite , that CO2 precedes the warming, immediately marks the scientist as an idiot who failed basic chem and physics.

    Secondly, the idea that Humans can actually have long term or immediate change on climate is so heinous, that the scientist proposing it should be committed. The big friggen ball of fire in the sky over your head drives EVERYTHING. no trace gas, no heat from the core, nothing survives and there is no weather without that big ball of fire in the sky. We know for a fact that there has been numerous ice ages and warm periods in a periodic sinewave that indicates 80% of the time as an ice age! When you figure out what causes that, you might have a clue about the future and I can guarantee that it has nothing to do with CO2!

    Third, THE CLIMATE COMPUTER MODELS HAVE FAILED! the predictions and graphs of CO2 increase along with associated temperature increase has completely decoupled. This is cause for rejoice, the chicken littles have failed. We do not need ANY MORE DATA, we have 10-15 years of flat or cooling trend in all recorded data. You can waste a lot of time guessing about stupid forcing or other minutae, but it does not matter as the obvious answer is that the computer models and their authors are WRONG.

    Fourth, the IPCC and their ilk let their pants down in their emails. We know exactly why they will not debate the subject. They cannot explain the cooling trend. Strike three and they are completely struck out. There is no reason for debate any longer, they are 100% disqualified on the subject until they admit their mistakes and come clean, they are discredited for all to see.

    Just think, they couldn’t fool Mother Nature, and now they cannot fool us. NO other arguments required, they have failed, game over, nothing more to say, no matter how many leftists agree with the THEORY, it is a failed theory, through and through. Not one key piece of evidence or data to stand on, the most abysmal failure of scientists since the medical community was forced to admit the benefits of hand washing. The flat earthers have been exposed and they are the AGW crowd, a bunch of cowards who cannot admit their folly.

    I call on all AGW scientists to come forward and admit your mistakes. Lets stop wasting any more money on this and upgrade our infrastructure to have less pollution and higher MPG’s. We all can agree this is the right thing to do. Until you admit your failure, I fear that we will not be able to move froward as we will be stuck in paradigm paralysis as we bicker back and forth. Come clean, so we can start fresh and focus our efforts on what really is important, what really matters, instead of new tax schemes, meant to make the wealthy wealthier and take more from the people and stifle improvement or change that is really needed.

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  85. fukt på vindens råspont, January 29, 2012 at 2:08 pm @ 66 opined that Church et al.(2011) don’t use Argo data.

    Wrong. From the paper (section 2.2):
    “To complement the above EN3b data selection, we use the most recent version of quality‐ controlled Argo data (2000–2008), corrected for pressure biases [Barker et al., 2011].”

  86. Carl,

    Had you followed my links that I provided @61, you would have read that this is what the lead author of the CERN paper (Dr. Kirkby) said about their research:

    “At the moment, it actually says nothing about a possible cosmic-ray effect on clouds and climate, but it’s a very important first step”

    So you claim that, “Regarding CLOUD, there are plenty of articles giving both sides of the issue. As with anything else, you have the option of believing what you want to believe. But you can’t assume that everyone else will believe what you do.” is at odds with what the lead author of the research is on record saying. It is also at odds with claims made by skeptics and those who deny the theory of AGW on various blogs. Question is do you believe what the lead author is telling us or are you imprinting your own belief system/bias on their paper? It seems the latter is what is going on.

    Occam’s razor applies here, Yet ‘skeptics’ in their desperation feel compelled to grasp at straws.

    As for CO2 making plants more drought resistant, increasing CO2 levels by 40% clearly did not help the farmers in Texas during the 2011 drought, nor did it help the Russians during the 2010 drought, or farmers during the European heat wave and drought of 2003 or the 2007 Australian drought or the recent Amazon droughts.

  87. @77,

    Please provide us with a link to where the Met Office states that there has been “no appreciable warming since 1999″.

    It is a mot point though, b/c that is not a sufficiently long period to extract a statistically significant trend.

  88. Wow! I love reading all these alarmists who put down skeptics. If reading their posts doesn’t prove that CAGM and AGM have taken on religious overtones then proof is impossible. Well, I have a few thoughts on the subject.
    1. Q: Is the earth warming. A: Of course, or at least since coming out of the last ice age some 13 million years ago.
    2. Q. Is this a bad thing? A. No, but perhaps only because I like hockey and LaBatts. If we weren’t warming Canada would still be under a sheet of ice.
    3. Q. Is man causing this warming? A: An interesting question. According to an alarmist post above the issue of “unprecedented warming” has nothing to do with the AGM. So since we have 13 million years of warming (not caused by man) and we have a MWP where Greenland was actually green (warming that had nothing to do with man) it seems pretty clear that on a geological scale man has nothing to do with warming. So we’re back to the question that is not the question: Does man have anything to do with recent warming? Given there hasn’t been any of late – I’d say the jury is still out on that one. Finally:
    4. Q: Since man has had nothing to do with warming historically, and may only now be beginning to be a factor, should we turn over our freedom and pocketbooks to a bunch of government bureaucrats in order to save the planet? A: Well, PT Barnum did describe humanity with the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

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  90. Disappointing that Burt Rutan should be so taken in by such misinformation. In his own words at #4 above, he regurgitates myths regarding the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (390+ppm directly producing over a quarter of the greenhouse effect and indirectly through water vapour generating the rest) and gets the water vapour feedback effect the wrong way around (why is the subtropical desert cold at night yet the equatorial tropics hot at night, Mr Rutan?). There follows a small diatribe about models, as if they are the only evidence for a theory that has been in existence for 150 years (e.g Tyndall, Arrhenius)! He should look up papers on the CO2 signature in observations of outgoing longwave radiation, and in downwelling longwave radiation (e.g. Harries, Philipona). I presume his failure to understand predictions of climate models (which have been reasonable to date) come from a limited understanding of their capabilities. Further misconceptions about CO2 and our understanding are followed by misconceptions on the state of Arctic ice (retreating and accelerating rapidly).

    Burt, if you are a good scientist yourself, you will be truly sceptical of some of the so-called science that you have been taken in by. I doubt many climate scientists would be disappointed to successfully falsify our prevailing theory of climate (think of the fame!); however such falsification requires evidence that stands up to scrutiny, and also preferably a coherent alternative hypothesis that both explains the existing evidence (CO2 spectral signature, warming troposphere, cooling stratosphere, warmer nights, Arctic amplification and so on), yet manages to explain all this without the use of CO2. The Sun won’t do it, fabled “natural cycles” won’t do it (the whole climate system including oceans are gaining heat), the cosmic ray effect is really weak, so what is your alternative?

    For discussions of the peer-reviewed science you’d do a lot worse than visit skepticalscience.com to find out the truth behind your many misconceptions, Mr Rutan. You’ll find quite a few Climate Myths that you have repeated debunked there. I’d also recommend Spencer Weart’s History of CO2, and Richard Alley’s 2009 AGU talk on why CO2 is the primary control knob on climate.

    • Burt,

      I’d like to thank you again for responding to my open letter. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss climate disruption, engineer to engineer, with someone who has done so much as you have. I am, however, bemused why you chose to describe my letter as a “diatribe” in your email to Anthony Watts. If you feel that I was bitter, abuse, or satirical in my original post, I apologize. That was certainly not my intention.

      I’d also like to thank you for the link to your presentations. I’ve had little time to do more than skim the January 2011 presentation, but I’m afraid that even a brief skim revealed a number of what I consider to be inconsistencies, errors, and misunderstandings. However, detailing them in a way that is likely to convince you to reconsider will take time, so I ask for your patience.

      You have, however, made a number of points that I’d like to address directly.

      First, you say that you’ve witnessed many examples of “data presentation fraud” over the course of your career. I think we may have different opinions of what that means, so I’d like to explain what I think. To me, the word “fraud” means that someone has presented data in a way that was intentionally misleading. In my experience, scientists and engineers almost never intentionally mislead others with their figures and graphs. What is far more common is that inexperience leads someone to present data in a way that seems reasonable, but ends up being misleading. I did so when I was fresh out of grad school, and the same is true of every junior engineer I’ve mentored and worked with. I suspect that every engineer has had this same, embarrassing experience at least a couple of times in their careers.

      Furthermore, every time you or I or anyone presents data in a graphical form, we make subjective decisions about the “best” way to present the data. We base those decisions on our experience, but they are nonetheless subjective. For example, there are times when I can present a voltage trace as either an AC or a DC trace, and I decide which of the two to use based on what I’m focused on – DC for when I’m looking for power supply noise or local AM radio broadcasts coupling into my electronics, AC for when I’m focused on circuit noise, that sort of thing.

      The same is true of presenting climate data. I’ve occasionally encountered people who feel that presenting temperature graphs as anomalies instead of actual Celsius temperatures is misleading. I disagree, and given that you used anomalies in your January 2011 presentation, I suspect you disagree as well. Nonetheless, there are some who feel that way. The problem is that this can be taken to an absurd level – if we have to mark temperature in true Celsius degrees instead of temperature anomalies, then what’s to prevent someone from demanding that it be marked in Kelvin instead? I hope that you would agree wtih me that such decision would be highly misleading.

      Unfortunately, you yourself appear to have done something similar in your January 2011 presentation on pages 15, 18, et al with respect to carbon dioxide concentrations. Instead of representing CO2 concentration as is standard in climate science, with a Y-axis referenced to pre-industrial concentrations of about 270 ppm, you choose to refer it to 0 ppm. I consider this misleading because there has never been a point in geological history (since the Earth’s had an atmosphere, anyway) when CO2 concentrations were 0 ppm. In fact, were CO2 to ever fall that low, the Earth would freeze solid due to the lack of greenhouse gas forcing and it’s associated positive feedback. However, I feel that this is an issue on which reasonable people could disagree. My temperature anomaly vs. actual Celsius temperatures, however, is not.

      Decisions about what data series goes “on top” in a multi-line graph, whether to start an axis from 0 or from some offset value, whether to normalize or not, whether to use log or linear axes, whether to include error bars or not, et al affect how easily understood the graph will be. All of these decisions are largely subjective, and may in fact vary depending on the audience for a given figure. A technically proficient audience may demand error bars be shown on the graph and reject an image where they are not. When presented to a lay audience, however, including error bars could very well confuse and distract from the main point of the graph. In that situation, it may well be appropriate to discuss the error in accompanying text instead of cluttering up the figure. Does that make a graph without error bars automatically fraudulent? In my opinion, no.

      Which brings me to something else I noticed while skimming your Jan. 2011 presentation. On Page 64, you appear to accuse Al Gore of data presentation fraud because he removed the data scatter and gray error range from the IPCC TAR Figure 5 before using it in An Inconvenient Truth. However, none of the 20 images on pages 59 through 63 in your presentation have any error bars associated with them. Nor do they have any discussion in the image captions, the explanatory text, or in the slide notes attached to slide 59 in the original Powerpoint file. It strikes me that you are being inconsistent here by applying a different standard to Al Gore’s arguments and figures than you are willing to apply to your own. After all, if I brought you graphs of the electrical performance of two competing avionics packages and only one showed error bars, you’d rightly send me back to determine the missing error data.

      Second, I agree completely that direct human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases do not directly heat the earth by the amount that climate models project. I agree with you that the feedback mechanisms are critical, but I disagree that the “real” feedback is negative. There is a significant amount of data that shows positive feedback, not just the ERBE data you show in your Jan 2011 presentation on page 37. Paleoclimate data from multiple periods and acquired using multiple different techniques as well as data from recent volcanic eruptions such as Mt. Pinatubo indicate that the feedback is positive. Pinatubo was particularly good for this, because as Soden et al 2002 showed, the GCMs of the day not only accurately modeled the atmospheric drying after the eruption, but also demonstrated that a positive water vapor feedback was required to explain the MSU-measured lower troposphere temperatures.

      Third, several of the points you claim that the climate models don’t include have been included. Geologists from the University of Michigan estimated in 1993 that the heat loss through the Earth’s core was approximately 90 mW/m^2, about 5% of the estimated radiative forcing due to greenhouse gases. Water vapor and clouds are both included in state of the art climate models, although clouds are not yet directly modeled well by GCMs due to the complexity (although all GCMs do attempt to model clouds using sub-grid parameters). I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “solar flux,” however, and exactly you’re talking about determines whether your information is accurate or not. For example, solar insolation (to the tune of about 1761 W/m^2) is obviously included, but I’m not sure if the GCMs attempt to model any hypothetical frequency dependence or not. To the best of my knowledge, the effects of the solar wind are not yet modeled, but the impacts are expected to be small. And galactic cosmic rays are not modeled because no evidence yet supports the hypothesis that they can significantly impact cloud formation. If you have information that suggests that any of this is incorrect, I’d love to know about it.

      And finally, your claims about carbon dioxide in the past are correct, but incomplete. Yes, CO2 levels have been much higher in the geologic past than they are now, but we can’t assume that means much of anything for the world today. The sun was cooler by several percent back then. There was less oxygen in the atmosphere too. The continents were in a different configuration, and as a result oceanic currents would have been entirely different. Ocean chemistry was different as well. All of those differences would have affected the climate of the past in complicated ways. Unfortunately, while it’s safe to say that we know a decent amount about the CO2 concentration from tens, even hundreds of millions of years ago, what we know about climate that long ago largely comes from models. And if, as you suggest, we know very little about our present climate and how it behaves, then we can’t trust much of what scientists say they know about how geologically ancient climates either.

      This same problem applies to people who say that the Earth is warming due largely to the sun because Mars (or Jupiter, or Pluto) is warming. We’ve got multiple satellites, thousands of buoys and weather stations, measurements from from tends of thousands of radiosondes, and hundreds of temperature proxy datasets providing data on the Earth’s climate. Depending on the source, that data extends back at least 32 years, with some proxies going back millions of years. We have nothing comparable for Mars, the most intensively studied planet besides our own – one satellite, a couple of rovers, and not much else. If scientists can’t properly attribute the Earth’s warming temperatures with all that data, then there’s no hope that scientists can properly attribute Mars’ warming.

      I’m afraid that your January 2011 presentation appears to be filled with many similar examples of incorrect or misunderstood information. I look forward to addressing each of them in turn.

  91. JS, you may wish to do a little reading on a few subjects. Your “warming for 13 million years” is laughably wrong, as the last glacial period ended approximately 11,000 years ago. Greenland was not “green” in the MWP any more than it is now – there was still a very large ice sheet of virtually the same size covering the continent, though surface temperatures were likely indeed close to or possibly just above today in Greenland at that time. Unfortunately this was not the case around the world, as unlike today, the MWP was not a truly global event. The consequences of a warm MWP, by the way, are high climate sensitivity, in direct contrast to the claims of many prominent skeptics, such as Lindzen and Spencer – awkward, eh? If you think warmth in the MWP proves anything, does lightning-started forest fire disprove the possibility of arson?

    Recent warming continues as it has for four decades, with the noise partly hiding the trend from time to time – look up “going down the up escalator”, linked by Albatross above. The 2000s were the warmest decade to date (2005 and 2010 the hottest years too), and slightly warmer than we would have expected given the trend from 1980-2000.

  92. Of course one of the silliest things about that WSJ diatribe is that they completely neglect mentioning Ocean Acidification – the effects of which may equal or surpass that of global warming. This comes about from fossil fuel burning, and all that extra CO2 that the 16 fake-skeptics laughably claim is good for plants

    Earth’s history is chock full of ocean acidification-related extinction events. And those extinctions, and crises, arose from rates of change much slower than present. The current rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 is 5-27 times faster than the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum extinction event, and 15-30 times faster than the Permian Extinction – the Great Dying when over 90% of life in the ocean died. Those ocean acidification events occurred because, unlike gradual change or steady states, rapid change (like today) means chemical weathering of silicate and carbonate rocks cannot draw down CO2 fast enough and provide alkalinity back to the ocean. Neither can the dissolution of carbonate sediments in the ocean operate fast enough to provide alkalinity and the oceans acidify – as we are currently observing.

    It was initially thought Ocean Anoxia (a dramatic reduction in oxygen in seawater) may help explain past extinctions too, but this is looking increasingly unlikely. Most of the marine extinction events appear to have selectively extinguished those marine life who were less able to buffer themselves against ocean acidification, or relied heavily on calcification (carbonate shell/skeleton-building). In other words those we would expect to be most vulnerable to ocean acidification were the creatures that went extinct – like ancient coral. In fact ancient coral have repeatedly gone extinct, and it has typically taken millions of years for new forms to evolve.

    So we have theoretical expectations – a reduction in the calcium carbonate saturation state (through the reduction in concentration of the carbonate ion) makes it harder (more energy intensive)for calcifiers to build their shells. We have paleodata (ancient ocean acidification). And we have current measurements of declining pH in the ocean. Not only that but many experiments show lowering pH (acidity) and the reduction in carbonate ions it brings about, seriously negative impacts calcifiers. In fact the US states of Washington and Oregon have surface, and near-surface waters so corrosive that for the last 5 years they have been dissolving and killing juvenile oyster larvae. And recent experiments also reveal that ocean acidification is fatal to fish larvae.

    Just a memo to any fake-skeptic who feels compelled to respond to this based upon reading some fake-skeptic blog:

    1- If you quibble about the ocean being alkaline – you’re a time-waster. Scientists know this – acidification is the process of adding hydronium ions into the oceans.
    2.- If you quibble about marine life surviving in periods of high CO2 – you don’t know what you’re talking about. Re-read what I wrote above. Steady state periods were not corrosive to marine life as the chemical weathering of rock is able to keep pace. Yes, there is a vast scientific literature on this topic – Try googling Wally Broecker, James Kasting or Robert Werner’s work for starters.
    3. If you quibble around pH seeing large fluctuations throughout the global oceans. So what? This does not confer invulnerability to marine life. A classic example are the oysters and mussels in the Pacific coast of North America – they were adapted to a region prone to large fluctuations in pH, but are now is serious trouble. So no, ocean acidification doesn’t happen all the time – that is just stupid.
    4. If you quibble about the oceans being well-buffered – you don’t know what you’re talking about. If they were well buffered (as in nothing to worry about) those ancient acidification events would not have happened. Neither would ocean pH be declining at the spectacular rate that it is. Nor would those oysters in Oregon and Washington be dissolving and dying. And also note that you would be contradicting your fellow fake-skeptic who suggests that marine life are able to adapt to low pH.
    5. If you quibble about mussels growing in fresh water with extremely low pH – you don’t know what you’re talking about. What do you think might be different about “fresh” water?
    6. If you suggest underwater volcanoes are causing ocean acidification – you don’t know what you’re talking about. I leave to readers to point out the obvious flaw in this assertion.

    Is it any wonder the 16 fake-skeptics neglected to mention ocean acidification?

  93. @97 Dana

    I took a really quick look at your article. Could I ask why you keep using the term “denier” or “denialist” and yet get upset when people refer to Skeptical Science by the acronym SS?

  94. @Albatross #74

    Thanks, but I have already done that. I am quite familiar with the scientific literature thanks, it is part of my job. But like almost all the publishing climate scientists, I have come to a very different conclusion than you have.

    Could we have a list of your publications and affiliations please to verify your comment?

    TIA

  95. blt,

    What is important here is whether or not the claims made by the signatories hold up to sceintific scrutiny. They do not. However, I suspect that most “skeptics” posting here are uninterested in asking Rutan and his fellow signatories to verify their claims and assertions or asking them how many papers they have published on climate science. That is what this thread is about, their misleading, unsubstantiated and erroneous assertions and most of them speaking to a field of science that they are not qualified to speak to. Now are you going to be a true skeptic and view their assertions with a critical eye or just take what they say at face value and believe it?

    Regarding the much less significant issue. You seemed to have misunderstood what I wrote, or maybe I was not clear. I never to claimed to have published papers on climate science, you are arguing a strawman. As I said, my job requires me to keep up to date with the scientific literature on AGW and climate science, so does my “work” with SkS. I am not sure what my affiliations have to do with anything, but FWIW I am a member of the AGU and work for a university.

    PS: Instead of obsessing over the language, how about focussing on the science in Dana’s piece– you seem to be looking for excuses to ignore the facts. Also, as far as I can see he did not use the term “denier”, so that claim by you is wrong. People deny many things– the link between HIV and Aids, evolution, that the earth is a geoid, that we humans are warming the planet by increasing long-lived GHGs, that CFCs contributed to the Antarctic ozone hole, that acid rain was an issue in the seventies, that smoking is linked with cancer. They are in denial on those issues, they are denialists. Personally I preferto say that there are people out there who are in denial about the theory of AGW, that way it is very clear about what they are in denial about.

  96. Having an engineering background I find it difficult to understand why some engineers are in denial about the science and AGW. How can people educated with the same science and applied science, come to different conclusions. I think it is partly a result of personality and attitudes to work. I took up engineering because I was fascinated by making things and understanding how something worked. Money was never in my mind when I started down that road. Engineers create solutions and can become convinced that their solution is the only one that makes sense. Once locked in, it is a matter of pride to sell and promote a solution. You see it throughout the commercial industry. Companies are set up based on an engineering solution and that company promotes and markets that idea to death, even though all around them a better solution is selling better. This is the world of commercial engineering, to survive you have to be dogmatic and self confident. So really, I guess it is no surprise that many commercially aware engineers almost become fanatical in their beliefs about AGW, especially those that start their own companies.

  97. Re RW,

    “Please prove this position that I don’t believe in, but don’t quote me the papers that disprove my position because I don’t believe them”. And what exactly is the significance of 2003, to you?”

    The ARGO floats has produced data of high quality since 2003. Prior to that we have data of much lower quality and subjected to rather arbitrary adjustments. Mine was an open and honest question: do you have any study that actually uses the available high quality data since 2003 that shows an increase of joules in the climate system comparable to 1,7 W per square metre?

  98. @103 Albatross

    With respect, I was asking Dana why use a term that is offensive to people who lost loved ones in the holocaust and sceptics or “fake sceptics” if that’s what you prefer, whilst making noises if anybody refers to Skeptical Science as SS

    Now with regards to the letter, I do agree with the lack of warming over the last decade or so, but I think they are wrong to assume that the official temperature records show anything other than an upward trend when taken over a prolonged period, not just the last decade or so.

    Apologies, my reading of your statement was you were a published climate scientist, however, I am also a member of AGU(because I’m interested) and I also work for a University (catering), so could you explain your qualifications in more detail please? What work do you do at the University?

    With regards to the term “denier”, could you tell me if I have also misunderstood the title of Dana’s article

    The Latest Denialist Plea for Climate Change Inaction or the 7 other occasions when the term is used?

    TIA

  99. Re Albatross

    “To complement the above EN3b data selection, we use the most recent version of quality‐ controlled Argo data (2000–2008), corrected for pressure biases [Barker et al., 2011].”

    I want to see a study that is actually based on the Argo data, not “complemented” other series with Argo data. Argo data IS the best quality we have. Besida, Church et al doesn’t give us the period in question at all. (If I remember it correctly which I think I do…)

  100. You just gotta love those engineers like Mark Wells who refer to a Daily Mail article as evidence that the Met Office claimed something. The Daily Mail has a very good reputation in the field of reporting on climate science…if you believe that reporting should be to make up a story that fits your readers’ ideological bias, regardless of what your sources actually told you.

    This is what the Met Office had to say about that piece in the Daily Fail:
    http://metofficenews.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/met-office-in-the-media-29-january-2012/

  101. RW – You are resorting to lying when you declare mid-tropospheric warming. Put up or shut up – there is no ‘hot spot’ fingerprint of CAGW thus FAILING the theory. Give it up, you have nothing for actual evidence while us honest scientists look at a FLAT global temperature trend with the possibility of cooling trend coming on.

    You simply cannot explain how it is possible for global temperature almost THIRTY years ago to have been warmer than right now with your hoax CAGW theory. All the wiggling between then and now can ONLY have been natural variation because according to your lame theory, CO2 can only INCREASE temperature – right? http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1983

    Even though what can only have been natural variation has given us many short periods of RAPID global cooling @ even -8 deg/decade…. fools insist that they ‘know’ CO2 warming is ‘in there’ somewhere. Obviously even if it IS ‘in there’ it is too small to measure; far smaller than any CAGW alarmist will ever admit.

  102. fukt på vindens råspont – over short periods, there are fluctuations which obscure the trend. You know this, and this is why you want to concentrate on the period since 2003. All data is subject to “adjustments” as you call them, or calibrations as we might more accurately call them, and they are not arbitrary, they are carried out according to methodologies which are fully described in the peer reviewed literature.

    Mike M – you’re very angry it seems, with your shouty capitals. You obviously didn’t know that a tropospheric hot spot has nothing to do with greenhouse gases. It is a response to any source of warming. Your graph nicely shows the blindingly obvious upward march of temperatures, but apparently you can only see the very first point and the very last point and not all the other points in between. This is called “cherry picking” and it indicates that you are either dishonest, or just easily led, or perhaps both.

  103. “Is it any wonder the 16 fake-skeptics neglected to mention ocean acidification?” They know as well as I do that the ocean is alkaline and seeing a very very slight reduction of alkalinity which is a BENEFIT to almost all marine organisms.

    They also know that ocean pH is the last resort hoaxers will go to when they are unable to defend CAGW. However, I don’t agree with them on that because of that word ‘last'; they’ll find something else, then something else, etc. “OH! NOES! The wee wittle birdies have to flap their wittle wings harder against that extra heavier CO2.”

    Did someone else mention catastrophic sea level rise, mass migrations or those 50 million climate refugees? http://sealevel.colorado.edu/files/2011_rel4/sl_global.png Sea level is currently the same as 5years ago. Run for your lives!

  104. @109(108)

    I thnk some people are confusing your attempts to emphasise points in your posts with shouting, could I suggest the use of the html codes rather than capitals?

    I’m not sure how to show the codes without causing this to happen!

  105. RW,

    temperatures may fluctuate over years but energy cannot if there really is a radiative imbalance on the order of 1,7 W/m^2. If there were such an imbalance the climate system (total energy) would never fail to accumulate 1,7 J/m^2 per second.

    The implication of this is that either the models are wrong or that natural variability is much greater than the IPCC have said it is (in which case the models are also wrong since they fit past data with the assumption of low natural variability).

    In case you don’t have an analysis of ARGO data showing warming I would like to thank you for the discussion and move on to more pressing matters. However, I shall try to agree with you on one thing. I assume we both would like to end the use of fossil fuel. The Cap n trade is not a way towards this goal, as Europe shows with its endless series of scams and deliberate “internal devaluations” of the ETS. However, a simple shift in taxes from income to fossil fuel has the benefit that it lowers unemployment (making the tax wedge smaller) and lowers pollution (the real kind, sulphur, nox, leakages etc). This can be sold to the public as a tax neutral way to lower unemployment while getting some environmental benefits. Admittedly, one cannot set arbitrary goals such as 20/20 50/50 with such a simple mechanism but that is anyhow beyond the realm: technological advantages cannot be dictated politically. Meanwhile it is quite possible to take some of the endless billions that are poured into cap’n’trade mechanisms today and redirect to research and development of alternative energy to make them compete on market terms with fossil fuel (not that far of actually, a few decades on current trends). With alternatives being cheaper, no one would need monstrous bureaucracies to make people use them.

    Wouldn’t this be far more agreeable than the current ‘vested interest’ approaches?

  106. Well there is one thing we should get from this discussion. The science is NOT settled and consensus is far from absolute.

  107. Mark @111,

    What you should be drawing from this is that the “skeptics” and those who deny the theory of AGW cannot forumulate a internaly consistent, coherent message, instead they resort to conpsiracy theoties, unsupported claims, cherry picking, half truths and even vitriol.

    This is faux debate Mark, fabricated to sow doubt and confuse people without actually speaking to the science– it is an illusion and a PR ploy. One gets a few people (some of them not even scientists) who almost exclusively have no trainig or experience in climate science to cobble together a error-riddled statement and that translates into your misguided conclusion. Does the fact that there claims, many of them unsubstantiated, do not hold up to scientific scrutiny concern you in the least? Their arguments are so weak, so wrong in some cases, that they are not even close to challenging the theory of AGW or the consensus. But they do succeed in making a lot of noise.

    The science is of course never settled, but we have known for a long time now (and paleo data supprt this) that AGW represents and legitimate and potentially serious and costly experiment– in fact, we are already seeing an increase in extreme precipitaton events, for example.

    As for consensus, do you really expect every single scientist (i.e., absolute) to agree on something before we take action? That is ridiculous, there are always going to be anomalies and mavericks, if what you demnad were true we would not have taken action on smoking, cancer, acid rain, the ozone hole, having seat belts installed in vehicles etc. etc.

    Using your logic, because the science is not settled on cancer you would have to propose that we stop “wasting” money on cancer research and stop taking preventative action. To do so would be pure folly, irresponsible, myopic and cost many, many lives.

    I not expect to change your mind, but hopefully reasonable people following this thread will be open to reason.

  108. fukt på vinden,

    Oh come on, you claimaed that Church et all did not use Argo data, I showed that to be a demonstrably false statement. Here are two recent studies that use Argo data that conlcude that the planet is continuing to accumulate energy.

    von Shuckmann and Le Traon (2011), who found that:
    “A global ocean heat content change (OHC) trend of 0.55±0.1Wm−2 is
    10 estimated over the time period 2005–2010.”

    Loeb et al. (2012) also used the Argo data and concluded that:
    “We combine satellite data with ocean measurements to depths of 1,800 m,
    and show that between January 2001 and December 2010,
    Earth has been steadily accumulating energy at a rate of
    0.50 +/-0.43Wm-2 (uncertainties at the 90%confidence level).”

    So there are three studies for you, all conlcuding that the panet has continued to accumulate energy.

  109. Brian,

    Good luck with your dialogue with Rutan, I suspect that you will not manage to convince him that he is wrong and get him to admit error, but kudos for trying.

    You have the patience and grace of a saint.

  110. Albatross, quit trying to change history. We have been bombarded by the AGW crowd that this is all settled and dont for a minute deny this. That is all the press reported from the late 1990’s to mid 2000’s until enough scientist and engineers began to speak up and say no.

    You’re right that some people went down the road of making their argument using conspiracy theory as their measuring stick. That is not helpful to any technical discussion of course the climate gate emails didn’t help in denying the conspiracy theory either.

    Unfortunately what I hav discovered in the years that I have followed this topic is that no amount of empirical evidence, satellite readings, or peer reviewed papers will ever change the mind of an AGW evangelist. The argument has become almost futile.

    For me I firmly believe the earth has warmed from the time of the little ice age and that warming is expected and nothing out of the ordinary. Just like the current solar cycles sending us back to a cool period for the next 30 years or so. It just normal climate variability.

  111. Mark,

    “Does the fact that there claims, many of them unsubstantiated, do not hold up to scientific scrutiny concern you in the least?”

    You ignored this relevant question that I posed to you. That or them making erroneous and misleading and unsupported claims does not seem to concern you in the least. Be a true skeptic, do not engage in one-sided skepticism.

    ” That is all the press reported from the late 1990′s to mid 2000′s until enough scientist and engineers began to speak up and say no. ”

    Quite the generalized and unsupported statement, but I’m pleased that you are blaming the media and not the IPCC or scientists ;) Again though, you would seem to advocate doing nothing because of a marginal crowd of mavericks and people not qualified to speak to climate science say so. Sounds more like a conveneint excuse for inacton to me.

    At the end of the day the planet does not care about what you or I or Mr. Rutan think, history and physics have shown that doublling or trebling CO2 in such a short geolgic time is going to have a marked impact on the climate system, in fact it already has. You might be willing to bet against physics and ignore the (inconvenient) reality unfolding before your eyes, I am not.

    Now I am done here.

  112. #98 Skywatcher:

    You caught me. I was up late and accidently typed million instead of thousand. So now maybe you could address my point. I’ll admit… I don’t get the whole “lightening started forest fire” thing and what that has to do at all with the subject. Reread my point number 4. I’m a skeptic! I’m willing to admit that there may be AGW but I see no evidence that this warming is unprecedented or catastrophic or warrants a fundamental change in the world economy based on predictions of a 0.9C increase over a hundred years.

  113. Hi Brian,

    This may be of interest to you. Revkin emailed Nordhaus and this is what he had to say about the claims made in the WSJ op-ed by Rutan et al.:

    “The piece completely misrepresented my work. My work has long taken the view that policies to slow global warming would have net economic benefits, in the trillion of dollars of present value. This is true going back to work in the early 1990s (MIT Press, Yale Press, Science, PNAS, among others). I have advocated a carbon tax for many years as the best way to attack the issue. I can only assume they either completely ignorant of the economics on the issue or are willfully misstating my findings.”

    Why am I not surprised that they would stoop this low…

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/scientists-challenging-climate-science-appear-to-flunk-climate-economics/

  114. Paul D, you raise an interesting question about how different people with good scientific backgrounds can reach such diametrically opposite conclusions when confronted with evidence about global warming. In my experience it often does come down to differences in personality. Those who are regarded as skeptics typically are “old school” and believe strongly in putting claims through a wringer before treating them as deserving of acceptance. To them, it is completely irrelevant if they are the only ones in a room who see science that way. They are more likely to be individualists. On the other hand, those who tend to be swayed by the AGW argument tend to be more “social” in their scientific outlook. To them, there is value in a sense of belonging with others of similar beliefs, background, and education, and the consensus claims of the AGW side have relevance. How any person will align probably depends on deep-seated personality traits and early-life experiences.

  115. Albatross unsupported claims absolutely bugs me and makes me angry. The problem is you are the one making the unsubstantiated claims. See our problem. And no I am not going to get into a tit for tat debate about this because for every claim I make you will find disagreement and for every claim you make I will find your science extremely lacking. So for right now the only common ground we can stand on are observable evidence and records. No models, no theories, no projections, just what is what as it stands now. And on that I am happy to stand and say, dude, come on?

  116. the thing I am finding amusing is Albatross has time to do a little research and unearth articles supporting his world view, but hasn’t time to state what his job is at the university – one has to presume he is not an academic

    not that this invalidates any real data he points to, of course

  117. I have to post a closing comment before moving on to my real work, since this ‘debate’ has moved fully away from the type of discussion the public should expect from professional scientists.

    This 122-post list of alarmists and skeptics is very telling about how the subject is treated at large and why it has little chance to be moved toward a logical study of the technical issues – i.e., if our species faces a threat from CAGW.

    The alarmists attack the credibility of the sources, but do not allow discussion of the point I originally made – that there is a very real agenda-driven mis-use of climate data to promote a set of computer model theories that make the point that policy makers read to either award continued grants or distribute wealth. They do this in spite of the failure of the models to predict the climate.
    I suggest that whoever stays on this thread do one or both of two things, in order to focus the discussion back on what is worth reading;
    1). Make a list of every prediction made by each IPCC report (summary reports, not the important data that should have been used to support the claims made to policy makers). Then, using real data (not those subsets of modified data that have been contaminated by the folk who have been shown by their leaked emails to be fraudulent) make an honest comparison of the prediction with the measured future data. You will likely be shocked at what you find, and a reasonable person, technical or not, will then have no confidence in any of the claims.

    2). Read something you rarely see; presentations of all the data, not just those data that are selected by someone on either side of the debate. There are many presentations of this in my PDF (http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm). For example, compare slide 63 and slide 64. Now ask yourself this question: is it possible to believe that the presentations in the IPCC reports (that are the only things read by policy makers and media) are honest representations of what has and is happening to our climate? Is it even possible to assume that those that presented those charts did not intend to deceive the intended audience? Study slides 88. 89 and 90, then ask yourself – are you honestly comfortable not correcting the media media claims of scientific consensus on CAGW? Can you really sleep, knowing that the public is told that 98% of scientists and all the IPCC players support the claim of a undeniable planet threat? Nope, I did not think so.

    Disappointed in where most of this discussion has gone, I will focus now on threads that actually do look at real data and real analysis and share honest presentations like this one:
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/surface_temp.pdf

    Now, I will make a prediction. The alarmists (scientists or not) will, upon addressing the above Surface Temperature pdf document, will attack the writers or source, but will not be willing to engage in a discussion of the data therein, nor its analysis and conclusions.

    Burt

  118. Mr. Rutan,

    With respect, after reading your response above I find that you lamenting, “since this ‘debate’ has moved fully away from the type of discussion the public should expect from professional scientists”, in fact applies to you and not your critics. In your response engaged in rhetoric, made accusations of fraud, entertained conspiracy theories and made more unsubstantiated claims. You are falsely accusing others of doing exactly what you are guilty of doing.

    Various people have critiqued/refuted the claims made by you and your signatories, so please don’t try and claim otherwise.

    The fact that you believe the SPPI is a reliable and trustworthy source of information is truly mind boggling and betrays your bias and ideology. Watts was recently a co-author on a paper (Fallet al. 2011) that refutes the first three of his claims he made in the SPPI document. From Fall et al.(2011):

    “For 30 year trends based on time‐ of‐observation corrections, differences across classes were less than 0.05°C/decade, and the difference between the trend estimated using the full network and the trend estimated using the best‐sited stations was less than 0.01°C/decade.

    From Menne et al. (2010):
    “In summary, we find no evidence that the CONUS average temperature trends are inflated due to poor station siting.”

    Also, these papers currently undergoing peer review also refute some of the claims made by Watts and D’Aleo:

    From Wickham et al.:
    “The small size, and its negative sign, supports the key conclusion of prior groups that urban warming does not unduly bias estimates of recent global temperature change.”

    From Muller et al.:
    “From this analysis we conclude that the difference in temperature rate of rise between poor stations and OK stations is –0.014 ± 0.028 C per century. The absence of a statistically significant difference between the two sets suggests that networks of stations can reliably discern temperature trends even when individual stations have large absolute uncertainties.”

    We’ll see if their key conclusions change after going through peer review, but I doubt it b/c their work has already been corroborated by Hausfather et al. (2011), who conclude

    “Our estimate for the bias due to UHI in the land record is on the order of 0.03C per decade for urban stations. This result is consistent with both the expected sign of the effect and regional estimates covering the same time period (Zhou et al 2004) and differs from some recent work suggesting zero or negative UHI bias (Wickham et al, submitted).”

    [http://eposters.agu.org/files/2011/12/Hausfather-et-al-Urban-Trends.pdf]

    You also seem to ignore the fact that the radiosondes, satellites and oceanic heat content also show a statistically significant long-term warming trend.

    And not once did I have “attack” Watts or D’ Aleo in refuting their claims– heck, Watts refutes some of his own claims in Fall et al..

    You on the other hand made several unwarranted attacks on climate scientists in your post, including accusing them of fraud, dishonesty and alarmism. I truly feel embarrassed for you.

    PS: And being a gentleman and someone who is interested in honesty, I’m sure that you will feel obligated to apologize publicly to Dr. Nordhaus for misrepresenting his work.

  119. Burt, I see that you are still not open to reason, it is a pity that this is the case. That you believe there is some conspiracy to deliberately modify data, despite there being no actual evidence of this, is even more telling (I’ve lost count of how many independent inquiries vindicated the scientists, six, eight, more?). I wonder what would be the most effective way of uncovering this supposed “conspiracy” in climate science? Perhaps… somebody could steal a decade’s worth of emails between some of the top climate scientists and find detailed discussions of how to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. Surely in hundreds of thousands of emails the conspiracy would be all over the place, right? Unfortunately it wasn’t there at all! The stolen emails prove absolutely conclusively that there is no conspiracy to fudge data, hoodwink funders or governments, that all there is is scientists doing an excellent job under really nasty pressure from those who do not like their results. If you’re fooled by the handful of quotes taken out of context, then that is disappointing.

    As for your last link, I have no need to attack the source, as one of the authors themselves has already published a study which contradicts that document (Fall et al 2011). Other independent studies, notably Menne et al 2010 very clearly contradict Watts, using data. Poor station siting has a very slight cooling effect on the surface temperature record!! So spare us the rhetoric, as what you have asked for already exists: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ushcn/v2/monthly/menne-etal2010.pdf

    And I suppose you heard of the BEST project, whose results Watts promised to accept even if they proved him wrong? Well, the results resoundingly proved him wrong, corroborating all the existing surface temperature records:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/WattsandBEST.html
    http://skepticalscience.com/the-best-kind-of-skepticism.html

    Burt, you have been fooled, you’ve been had by people (like the SPPI) who have fed you streams of misinformation, claiming that there is some big “fraud” around AGW (the “C” is tellingly put in by alarmist climate skeptics). Don’t be gullible, don’t swallow the incoherent mass of misinformation fed by ‘skeptic’ websites, which inevitably repeatedly contradict each other all the time. Listen to what every national science academy and virtually every climate scientist is saying, backed up by a mountain of coherent, consistent data and a century and a half of physical theory.

    Useful links:
    Spencer Weart’s history of the discovery of the CO2 greenhouse effect: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm
    Richard Alley on why CO2 is the most important control knob on climate:
    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos/A23A.shtml
    10 human fingerprints on climate, with references:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/10-Indicators-of-a-Human-Fingerprint-on-Climate-Change.html

  120. Mr Rutan,

    Careful comparisons of observations to the predictions of models have been carried out repeatedly by many independent groups. Some predictions have been found to be very accurate, such as the predicted cooling response to the injection of aerosols from volcanoes. Some predictions have been found to be pretty good, if you account for the fact that they didn’t guess quite correctly how much CO2 emissions would rise – an example is the predictions of Hansen et al. made in 1988. Some have been found to be inaccurate – an example is the predictions of the rate of ice melt in the Arctic, which has turned out in reality to be much faster than predicted by models. Your post suggests that you are not aware of any of this work.

    How many peer-reviewed scientific papers you have actually read about climate issues? From your presentations, it seems the number is probably very low. As far as I can see you have little familiarity with the literature. You describe Ross McKitrick and Vincent Gray as “impartial IPCC scientists”. Gray has never been published in a peer-reviewed journal on the subject of climate change. McKitrick is an economist. The authors of the report you link to on surface temperatures are not climate scientists, though Watts was actually a co-author on a paper which showed that station siting issues introduced only a negligibly small bias into the land-based temperature record, and that poorly sited stations introduced a cooling bias, not a warming one. I expect you didn’t know that. The claims made in the paper you linked to are not supported by any studies published in the peer reviewed literature and are not credible.

    Years ago before I actually went to the effort of reading the scientific literature, I am ashamed to admit that I gave credence to some of the claims of deniers. Natural cycles, I thought. Atmosphere far too big, I thought. How could humans affect its composition? There was something of a desire to feel cleverer than everyone and to think that I somehow knew better than them. Only when I actually read the literature did I realise I’d been lied to. I’d allowed myself to be misled. Like I say, I’m ashamed of that now.

    There is a very real agenda-driven mis-use of climate data. But you’re not cleverer than everyone, like you think you are. You haven’t seen through the mis-use: you’ve fallen victim to it, like I did. I realised my error. You’re perpetuating yours. You’ve chosen to get your information from unreliable sources and serial misinformers, you’ve failed to check their claims against the scientific literature because you’ve decided to be wilfully unfamiliar with it, and as a result you’ve been led to some severely erroneous conclusions.

  121. Mike M @111 – “They know as well as I do that the ocean is alkaline and seeing a very very slight reduction of alkalinity which is a BENEFIT to almost all marine organisms”

    Bzzzt. Fail!. See items 1- 6 at comment@100

    “They also know that ocean pH is the last resort hoaxers”

    Bzzzt. Fail. See items 1-6 at comment@100

    See this is the problem, people like Mike M parrot garbage they don’t understand and when this is make explicit to readers they adopt the fallback position of screaming it’s a conspiracy.

    The 16 fake-skeptics have no credibility because the evidence and observations prove them wrong. Apparently being totally wrong is of no importance to them.

  122. Burt Rutan – “Now, I will make a prediction. The alarmists (scientists or not) will, upon addressing the above Surface Temperature pdf document, will attack the writers or source

    Well if you were a surgeon and you kept killing patients through incompetence, it would be perfectly legitimate for your so-called expertise to be subject to scrutiny don’t you think?

    We have yet to so one skeptic hypothesis, not one, put forth to explain all the observations, especially all this global warming that we are seeing. That’s a serious shortcoming don’t you think? If you disagree can you then point one out? Not maybe this…or maybe that, but actual evidence that explains the multitude of observations.

    You can’t, neither can any of your fellow fake-skeptics because it doesn’t exist.

  123. Wow this whole argument is dumb. Some armchair climate skeptic who is successful in another field of science thinks it would be great to go back to CO2 levels that were around when the largest land based animals weighed 80 tons. Do these skeptics understand that that idiotic argument can’t be made without essentially raising the atmospheric pressure to slightly less than living in 10 feet of water? Rutan needs to define what he considers catastrophic–if he wants to ignore wiping out humans and many other mammals, then, no it isn’t catastrophic. Or wait does Rutan think we don’t have really, really big land based animals because they didn’t make it to the Ark on time?

  124. Rob,

    Mr. Rutan gave you the answer, you just don’t like it. First, please do not confuse deniers with skeptics. As a skeptics I absolutely believe the earth has warmed, has gone through a warming trend and tht this warming trend is measurable. Deniers deny that claim. Skeptics question the hypothesis for the nature of the warming. We believe the warming is natural and a part of our variable climate. A hypothesis is not needed, because nothing out of the ordinary is being observed.

    Now if you are asking skeptics to provide their own hypothesis for disproving AGW, then the paper Rutan referenced is the answer you seek. It covers the basics and the references to the other peer review literature that shows, the warming to be normal and that the warming trend in the temperature record is biased to the warm side by nefarious and horribly poor record management of our temperatures. so that is the skeptical hypothesis: the theorized abnormal warming trend is imposed on the temperature record by bad data and out right falsification. These peer review journal papers and the empirical evidence of raw temperature records and satellite records proves the skeptical hypothesis. The warming is NORMAL.

  125. Mark Wells, the distinction you claim between “deniers” and “sceptics” does not exist. Both the beliefs you describe can only be held by denying the overwhelming evidence that contradicts them. The warming is NORMAL, you shout, but that is a completely meaningless statement. Yes, it is normal that if you change the radiative balance of the atmosphere, its temperature will change. It’s normal that if a bus hits you, you’ll be injured. But that doesn’t really tell us anything, does it?


  126. CO2 is not a pollutant. When the Dinosaurs roamed, the CO2 content was 6 to 9 times current and the planet was green from pole to pole; almost no deserts.

    Almost no deserts? A dubious claim…

    That aside, there’s solid evidence that sea surface temperatures reached (and possibly exceeded) 100F during that time. (I refer folks to Richard Alley’s memorable 2009 AGU lecture for details).

    Sea-surface temps of 100F mean that dew-points could easily have approached 100F. (we are talking close to a 100-degree/100-percent-humidity combo). Conditions like that would kill *everyone* exposed to them in just a few hours. *Every one*.

    Go back to the Cretaceous, and much of the planet would be completely uninhabitable by humans — humans simply cannot tolerate those levels of heat/humidity.

    And for those who are tempted to respond, “I live in Houston/Memphis/Wash-DC/whatever, and I experience 100 degrees at 100 percent humidity every summer”, my reply is “No you don’t — not by a long-shot — go to weather.com and look up the highest heat/humidity combo that you’ve ever experienced. Then for good measure, look up the heat-index corresponding to a 100/100 temp/humidity combination.”

    Continued unrestrained fossil-fuel use could ultimately render many parts of the world — places where billions of people now live — completely uninhabitable by humans.

  127. Burt Rutan,

    For someone who has had such a distinguished career, you should be utterly ashamed of yourself. The SPPI paper you cited is so pathetically dishonest and incompetent that if the SPPI listed me as a co-author, I’d be tempted to sue that organization for libel.

    Let me provide you one example of the paper’s dishonesty/incompetence: The “dropped stations” claim.

    The “dropped stations” claim made in the paper is so utterly dishonest and incompetent that if you were to put in the effort to understand how global-average temperatures are actually calculated, you’d be looking to erase any evidence of the post you made here.

    I performed my own analysis of the SPPI’s dropped stations claim and found that global-average temperature results computed with and without those “dropped stations” are nearly identical. My results utterly and completely disprove the authors’ claims that the “dropped stations” exaggerated the global-warming trend. The fact that the authors of the paper you cited did not bother to perform a straightforward analysis similar to mine is a testament to their dishonesty and incompetence.

    You can see my “dropped stations” comparison results here: http://forums.utsandiego.com/showpost.php?p=4323615&postcount=35

    PS — Writing the code from scratch and crunching the data took me a few days in my spare time. You should be asking your fellow deniers why, in all the *years* that they have spent attacking the surface temperature record, they were unwilling/unable to do what I was able to do in a few *days*.

  128. Mark.

    Let me give you a few examples of Bert’s disingenuousness (or other less flattering terms I could use). And this is based on Burt’s rather immodest, hand-over-heart, I’m an Engineer so you can trust me stance. And taken directly from his own ‘Critique’ as a engineer

    In his document there are the following most glaring ‘factual inacuracies and misrepresentations’ – I’m sure you can think of some other names for them.

    Page 12 & 13. ‘Greenhouse Gas Effects adjusted for Heat Retention Characteristics’. Water vapour at 2% is 95% of the GH Heat Retention.

    Overlooking one trivial little detail. Actually Burt is simply wrong here. Water is only 2% (actually between 1 & 4%) at GROUND level. By the time you reach the stratosphere Water Vapour is more like 0.0005% And the upper atmosphere is where most of the GH Effect is modulated. Over the entire atmosphere H2O is only about 0.4% of the atmosphere. H2O is around 50% of the GH Effect, CO2 20%. As an angineer Burt should have studied some basic thermodynamics during his degree so would know that cold air holds less H2O.

    Page 14. Apart from using Chris Scotese’s disputed and rather simplistic history of past temperatures rather more detailed stuudies such Dana Royer’s, Burt just completely ignores a major additional factor. When we start looking more than a few million years into the past we have to take account of the fact that the Sun was cooler in the past. As a rough rule of thumb, every 130 million years that we go back in time, CO2 levels need to double, just to compensate for the colder Sun. So if the Cambrian was 6000-7000 ppm 530 million years ago that is the equivalent of 355 – 415 ppm today. Not so far out after all. Unless Burt chooses to ignore ALL of Stellar Physics – which is a strange thing to do for someone so interested in Space.

    Pages 18-22 Burt seems to think that a very small sample of early CO2 measurements from a few early scientists is an indication of some world wide mass fluctuation in CO2 levels. He doesn’t seem to have considered that the early researchers may not have any understanding of CO2 ‘pocketing’, that to get good data on global trends you need to be away from local sources of CO2 like cities and forests. This is why the most important atmospheric monitoring stations are in remote locations. He then seems to accept that a single study of this old research by a German Highschool Teacher is all the evidence he needs. Every good engineer knows that you have to bring skepticism to every aspect of your work. Call it the ‘smell’ test. If the data smells wrong, it quite possibly is. So does Burt do any independent checks of these early 19th century numbers by looking at Ice Core data for the same period? Nope, not a bit of it.

    Next Burt delves into crop yields and the CO2 fertilization effect. See, crop yields up and so was CO2. That must have been CO2, couldn’t have been anything else. Like farming practices, better fertilisers, herbicides etc, more irrigation, new crop varieties, GM modifications.Nope, must have been CO2. And data from 7 US states is really going to give us a good indicator of what has been happening to the other 95% of the land surface that isn’t the USA. He also doesn’t seem to have heard of Liebig’s Law of the Minimum – That improvements in plant growth are constrained by whichever resource or nutrient that is in shortest supply. More CO2 may not improve things if other nutrients aren’t added as well.

    Then on page 32 Burt shows the Satellite Mid-Tropospheric temperature series and suggests that it is below the model predictions. So possibly problems with the model OR the data. But Burt doesn’t seem to consider both options. So he ignores the fact that Satellite Mid-Tropospheric temperature series is well known to be significantly biased due to some of its signal originating in the cooling lower stratosphere. That Satellite channel is well known to have a significant cool bias. Data is the problem perhaps? Not according to Burt. One presumes he understands this. Surely. Otherwise it would mean he is making claims without even checking his facts. Surely not.

    On page 33, he shows one of the 3 different scenarios that James Hansen ‘showed’ to congress. Only the highest one. The others actually come quite close to the mark.

    Page 34. He supposedly is showing Ocean heat diverging from model projections. What he just fails to mention is that this is only increase in ocean heat in the top 700 metres of the ocean. Warming has continued when we look down to 2000m. And that warming has been detected all the way to the Sea floor in regions of major downwelling currents. Also he ‘forgot’ to show the previous 30 years of steady warming in the 700m layer. Wouldn’t want to spoil the impression he is trying to create.

    Then on page 36 he trots out the supposedly ‘missing hotspot’. While again ignoring the fact that any data we are measuring via satellite for the upper troposphere is strongly contaminated with a cooling bias from from the lower stratosphere and that radiosonde data is suspect at higher altitude because the sensors on the radiosondes aren’t adequately shielded from radiant heating effects in the higher atmosphere. Even Richard Lindzen agrees that if the data isn’t showing the hotspoy, the data is suspect. Surely any good engineer, when they get data that looks wrong that you double, triple and quadrouple check for errors, measurement biases, etc. But not Burt – “Gee, this graph looks Cool. Better paste that in!’.

    On page 39 Burt then does a bit of Mathturbation. Take one time window 1980-2000 and fit a linear trend to the CO2 data and then assume that linear trend will apply for the next century! Why not use 1960-1980 Burt, the number will be even lower. Or purhaps you could do it for each decade from 1960 to 2010 and then you will get 5 seperate trends and, guess what? Each decade the trend gets steeper. 2000-2010 is over 2ppm/year. I wonder…could it possibly be…could the growth curve not be a linear trend! Maybe the growth rate over time is actually steadily rising? Surely you checked for that Burt?

    Page 47. Next Burt asks ‘Where is the evidence that human emissions cause greenhouse global warming?’ Well quite simple Burt. In the one place you have rather forgotten to discuss. In the Science of Radiative Heat Transfer, and observations of the Earths Outgoing Longwave Radiation spectrum to space. With a great big ‘notch’ out of the spectrum in the CO2 bands. You work in Space travel, astronautics, satellites etc Burt. Surely you know something about how detailed our knowledge of the transmission of ER Radiation through the atmosphere is. Right now the USA has Early Warning Satellites in orbit watching for ICBM launches. Would be VERY embarassing wouldn’t it if the satellite confused a lightning storm in Siberia with an ICBM launch wouldn’t it. Thats why the Pentagon thinks VERY HIGHLY of understanding what happens to all forms of light as it passes through the atmosphere. After all, on page 30 you showed a bar graph of the incremental impact of aditional CO2 (a neat way of graphing something to downplay it as much as possible; David Archibalds graph really does do the rounds with you skeptcs. Ain’t networking wonderful) but you failed to mention that the program that calculates this – ModTran – is developoed for and by the Pentagon. The US Air Force Geophysics Laboratory to be precise.

    Page 48 “Our small warming/cooling cycles are mainly caused by chaotic formation of clouds/precipitation and solar input variation, not by CO2greenhouse effects.” Well no Burt. Since solar variations haven’t coincided with warming for nearly 1/2 a century. And there is no evidence of a trend in cloud/precipitation patterns. Oh, going back to my earlier comment about warming of the oceans. The amount of energy involved is over 2 1/2 Hiroshima Bombs every single second.

    Page 50. Then Burt points out, correctly, that millions of years ago, in fact for much of the last 600 million years, the surface temperatures have been substantially warmer than today. Which is exactly why we need to prevent that happening now. A warmer world might be great for cold-blooded Dinosaurs (the Jurassic & Cretaceous when they lived have been described as having a Hothouse Climate) but that doesn’t mean it is a climate good for us warm-blooded mamals. Particularly when the food crops that feed 7 (and heading towards 10) billion people are all currently adapted to a cooler climate. Crocodiles might have liked living in Alaska and Tropical Bread-Fruit trees might have liked living in Greenland (we have found their fossils) but how much would we like living in that world?

    So Burt says “Runaway greenhouse destruction of our planet would have happened in the distant past (if catastrophic greenhouse theory were correct)”. Well actually, no Burt. As I explained earlier the Sun was cooler in the past so the only reason the distant past wasn’t perpetual Ice Age is because of CO2 and the GH Effect. That is why CO2 is described as the Biggest Control Knob for the Climate.

    Then over several pages Burt throws chart after chart of local data about temperatures, studies by Craig Loehle & Bob Carter (you do realise they are card carrying skeptics don’t you Burt? ‘Scientific Advisors’ to multiple Right-wing Think Tanks) but ignoring many other studies showing cooling at other location. And if you look carefully, it is amazing how many of Burt’s charts are for specific locations in the USA. Got to keep hi mainly Americam audience focused on the local stuff rather than the Big Picture. So this comment “From ice cores, it was warmest 8,000 years ago”. Yes Burt. That is what we would expect. That was the peak of the llast Inter-Glacial after all. You explained the orbital cycles that contribute to this pattern pages earlier. So that the temperature was what we expect it to be 8000 years ago means what. If temperatures were at or reached that level NOW, THEN WE MIGHT NEED TO EXPLAIN IT…Oh wait…

    Then, of your 5 main points this “”Dangerous, sudden global warming occurred the last 50 years” Say what? Who has ever said DANGEROUS WARMING has happened YET! If you are going to refute something Burt, firstly you have to state the thing you are trying to refute ACCURATELY. We can’t have any Strawmen now can we?

    The Point 4. “The current Temperature is too Hot & further warming is Bad”. NO. Its not TOO HOT. Not YET. Burt seems to have a serious problem distinguishing between a prediction for the future and what is happening now. Your neighbour says ‘Its gonna be a HOT Summer’, and you look around you and say ‘Bulldust, I can’t see any sign of THAT!’ But its still Early spring. But then again Burt may know the difference between predictions and observations of the present but he hopes his readers won’t.

    Next there are pages of graphs for specific climate events for local regions. Graph after graph of local stuff. But no Global picture. Where all you need Burt is one Graph. Munich Re released it recently. Munich Re is one of the worlds major re-insurance companies, the businesses that insure the insurance companies. They would have a pretty good handle on what is going on around the world because they are the people who have to pay for it. So simply look at this graph from them http://www.greenhouse2011.com/UserFiles/Presentation/presentationUrl_23.pdf Page 8. Excluding Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Volcanoes etc the number of other ‘Natural Catastrophes’ has nearly tripled in the last 30 years. All weather or climate related. Hopefully we can expect Burt to update his Critique accordingly.

    Page 78. Burt shows satellite data from Univ of Colorado with ‘Inverse Barometer not applied’!. Surely you understand Burt that you should be using the version where the ‘inverse barometer’ has been applied. Otherwise the readings don’t compensate for local sea level variations caused by local air pressure changes. Tricky stuff this, being careful with your data. Then Burt hopes that his audience won’t understand that the shorter the period you do a curve fit too, the more you are fitting to the noise, rather than the signal. The normal time scale applied when looking at climate changes is 25-30 years. The more you look at the short term the less you are looking at climate.

    Finally Burt shows us some buildings in extreme environments and talks about adaptation.But he fails to mention that in all those environments the main adaptation is ‘Grow your food somewhere else’. How much food do they grow at the South Pole, Death Valley, Dubai? None. They have to be supported by other people. So where are his photos of the wonders of adaptation in a poor village in the Ganges Delta, Bolivia adapting to loss of water from mmelted Glaciers, Fishermen in the Sea of Japan adapting to trawlers being overturned because of masses of jellyfish fouling their nets.

    Then he shows us pictures of some incredibly elite aspects of life – corporate jets, affluent hotels, space stations, deep submersibles. Yep, we sure can find ways to adapt for the lucky few. But how exactly do 9 billion people all adapt?

    Then this pithy comment “Those that forecast seem to forget that with people come minds-Minds that innovate to adapt to changes. We are no longer Cavemen.” Well actually Burt. We still are. Beneath the veneer of all our modern capabilities the caveman still lurks. Yes we have escaped from that but it is not impossible for us to slide backwards to it. Because the simple problem we face is that every new child born is a caveman who we have to educate and train to be better than that. If our capacity to continually educate each generation gets degraded then slipping back is all to easy. Just look at any urban jungle. Not the caves, but certainly not the heights of civilisation either. As a wise man once said – ‘Civilisation is only ever 1 generation deep’

    So, the following

    “The only ‘evidence’ that humans cause global warming comes from computer models” FALSE. It comes from Physics, Radiative Heat Transfer science, Thermodynamics, Ocean Chemistry, Paleoclimatology and much more.

    “Man has not demonstrated an ability to change global temperatures, nor to forecast future climate conditions.” FALSE. Temperatures have changed an multiple lines of evidence show that man’s CO2 increases are the dominant cause.

    “It would be desirable to have more atmospheric CO2 than present, to increase crop yields and forest growth. This would save tens of millions of lives next century.” FALSE. More CO2 WITHOUT temperature increase MIGHT increase crop yields. More CO2 WITH Temperature increase will reduce crop yields. And, more CO2 above key thresholds will devestate the shell forming capacities of many small marine creatures, part of the base of the food chain in the oceans. 1 Billion people depend on seafood as their principle source of protein.

    “The warming experienced in the last century and the warming expected in the next, did not and will not cause a net increase in extinctions or weather calamities.” FALSE. What the warming to date says says nothing about what future events is faulty logic. And extinction rates have increased. And weather ‘calamities’ have increased – ask Munich Re.

    “We do not know the important stuff -what causes the dangerous drop into the major ice ages or what causes the cyclic return to the brief interglacial warm periods.” FALSE. And in direct disagreement with what Burt said earlier. On Page 46 Burt highlights the the key orbital drivers that trigger ice ages and interglacials. CO2, Methane and Ice sheet changes then amplify this. Compare the timing of these orbital changes (the Milankovitch Cycles) with the timing of the glacial cycles.

    “The CAGW agenda is supported with deceptively altered science. In spite of recent, human-caused atmospheric CO2increases, there is nothing out of the ordinary happening with our climate.” Slanderous and Libelous BS. Where the decption arises is from people like Burt and the well networked little coterie of professional deniers. Whenever you see a name like Bob Carter or Craig Loehle, look them up, see which think tanks they are ‘avisors’ to. Look how often they refer just to each others work. In the Topsy-Turvy world of Climate Change Denial, whenever you see a comment like ‘AGW Alarmists are distorting …” replace that with “Professional Denialists are distorting …” and you will be MUCH closer to the truth.

    “We cannot burn fossil fuels to prevent the next ice age; the greenhouse gas effect is far too weak for that” Even though, when all those fossil fuels were being locked away 270 million years ago that DID trigger an Ice Age?

    “Manmade global warming is over…” FALSE. The oceans are still warming, its just that at the moment more of the warming is happening somewhere else at the moment. But those Hiroshima bombs are still going off.

    “we must do extensive testing under real conditions and pay attention to ALL the results”. TRUE. Let us know when you are planning to start doing that Burt.

    “We cannot assure airline public safety by using a computer model to predict airline safety; we must do extensive testing under real conditions and pay attention to all the results.”. Interesting observation, relating to this. The Columbia Shuttle disater, the explosion on take of was caused by faulty O-Rings on the solid rocket booster. It turned out that the launch was occuring in temperatures lower than the o-rings had been tested at. But the launch proceeded because nobody had done the testing to show that it wasn’t safe! Burt seems to think, on the basis of some very slipshod ‘science’ that we don’t need to act on the threat of climate change because his flaky science says it can’t happen. Doh!

    So “One of the surprising privileges of intellectuals is that they are free to be scandalously asinine without harming their reputation” Burt, for your sake, I hope thats right.

    Finally “The Denialist (super-annuated scientist, shock-jock journalist, right-wing politicians etc.) chooses to huddle with other denialists inside an echo chamber (the blogosphere perhaps, or Faux News), attacking messengers who arrive, but spends no time to carefully inspect the paucity of the data that acts as a mask to hide their opinions which are derived from other ideological motives, while endlessly noticing the distortion, misrepresentation and fraud carried out by every one else in the echo-chamber and endlessly applauding it”

    If Burt tries to sell you a ticket on one of his ventures into Space, don’t by a ticket. How does the old book state it – ‘Unsafe At Any Speed’. With the level of Engineering incompetence and distortion Burt has shown as he has gathered together his nasty little piece, you would be better off taking a holiday at the beach.

    As one Engineer to another Burt, you are a disgrace to your profession.

  129. Given the length of the comment thread and how deeply Burt’s and my comments are in the thread, I’m going to write a new post that’s just Burt’s and my discussion tomorrow. I’ll post a link to it once it’s up so everyone can see Burt’s and my discussion, such as it is, without all the clutter.

  130. Just a quick point. A reason that sceptics use the term “CAGW” is because there has to be a “C” in there.

    If there is no Catastrophy thenit’s hard to see that there is a problem. If there is no compelling evidence of a problem, then there is no need to do anything about it.

    The warmists need the “C” even if it’s unspoken. Without it their argument becomes “The planet is warming and we think man is responsible. We don’t know of any serious deliterious effects, but we think it should be stopped.”

    If there is no “C”, no promise of future disaster, then there is no need to act.

  131. Mark Wells @133 – Dude, Rutan linked to a whole bunch of conspiracy theory drivel. Did you not notice?

    I can’t be bothered going through that rubbish, but maybe to can link to the peer-reviewed scientific literature that explains the cooling outer atmosphere, the stratosphere? Maybe we can start from there?

  132. @burt rutan #126
    This statement is made:

    “1). Make a list of every prediction made by each IPCC report (summary reports, not the important data that should have been used to support the claims made to policy makers). Then, using real data (not those subsets of modified data that have been contaminated by the folk who have been shown by their leaked emails to be fraudulent) make an honest comparison of the prediction with the measured future data. You will likely be shocked at what you find, and a reasonable person, technical or not, will then have no confidence in any of the claims.”

    If you are looking for predictions than the best place to start is from James Hansen, et al. 1981 article “Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” (Science, 1981) which really brought the issue to the forefront of the scientific community. Albeit it is not the IPCC, but for a paper that was published in 1981 before the availability of massive computing resources and with limited observational and experimental data it does a very good job of holding its own over time.

    Hansen addresses the problem of signal-to-noise ratio straight away (which as I mentioned before does not seem to be considered in your analysis ) when he makes this statement:

    “The predicted CO2 warming rises out of the 1-sigma noise level in the 1980’s and the 2-sigma level in the 1990’s (Fig. 7). This is independent of the climate model’s equilibrium sensitivity for the range of likely values, 1.4-deg to 5.6-degC. Furthermore, it does not depend on the scenario for atmospheric C02 growth, because the amounts of CO2 do not differ substantially until after year 2000. Volcanic eruptions of the size of Krakatoa or Agung may slow the warming, but barring an unusual coincidence of eruptions, the delay will not excee several years. … We conclude that C02 warming should rise above the noise level of natural climate variability in this century.”

    So it should not be surprising the it isn’t until the IPCC AR4 2007 report that we get the conclusion that there “very high confidence that the global average net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming”. (Btw, Hansen even got the volcano part right with Pinatubo!) The prediction in 1981 is more or less correct in the subsequent analysis reported by the IPCC.

    Furthermore, there are qualitative predictions that Hansen makes in 1981 that if one considers objectively could not be reasonably anticipated without having a model available. Remember that the record from 1940 through 1970 indicated global cooling but in 1981(!!) Hansen is predicting rapid warming and significant changes in the Arctic regions.

    “Climate models predict the larger sensitivity at high latitudes and trace it to snow/ice albedo feedback and greater atmospheric stability, which magnifies the warming of near-surface layers. Since these mechanisms will operate even with the expected rapidity of CO2 warming, it can be anticipated that average high-latitude warming will be a few times greater than the global mean effect.”

    The observational record indicates this is happening, i.e. temperatures in an area approximately north of the Arctic Circle (latitudes of 64-deg) reached an all time high in 2011 (and this is an La Nina year(!) when the global temperatures are cooler)). [Ref: NASA GISS].

    If one has doubts about whether or not to trust NASA with generating and reporting the data (i.e. the question of the fox guarding the hen house), one can look at the qualitative effects predicted for arctic sea ice extent.

    This is from Hansen’s paper:

    “Floating polar sea ice responds rapidly to climate change. The 5-deg to 10-degC warming expected at high northern latitudes for doubled CO2 should open the Northwest and Northeast passages along the borders of the American and Eurasian continents. Preliminary experiments with sea ice models suggest that all the sea ice may melt in summer, but part of it would refreeze in winter.”

    Again, the real world observations match what Hansen was stating in 1981. According to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic sea ice extent reached the second lowest level in the satellite record on September 9, 2011 (I do need to emphasize again that this “almost” record occurred in a La Nina year(!)).

    And rather than being an alarmist as is claimed, Hansen et al does not go out on a limb with regards to either effects on food production or on sea level rise.

    Here is what is written concerning food production:

    “Beneficial effects of CO2 warming will include increased length of the growing season. It is not obvious whether the world will be more or less able to feed its population. … Improved global climate models, reconstruction of past climate, and detailed analyses are needed before one can predict whether the net long-term impact will be beneficial or detrimental.”

    And here is what is written about sea level rise:

    “Melting of the world’s ice sheets is another possible effect of CO2 warming. …it is not certain whether C02 warming will cause the ice sheets to shrink or grow. For example, if the ocean warms but the air above the ice sheets remains below freezing, the effect could be increased snowfall, net ice sheet growth, and thus lowering sea level.”

    In no way can anyone be calling this alarmism.

    Probably the most significant prediction in the 1981 Science article has nothing to do with the physics, it has to do with the politics. Hansen is actually quite prescient in anticipating how difficult it will be for all of us to recognize that global warming is occurring. The paper concludes as follows:

    “Political and economic force affecting energy use and fuel choice make it unlikely that the C02 issue will have a major impact on energy policies until convincing observations of the global warming are in hand. In light of historical evidence that it takes several decades to complete a major change in fuel use, this makes large climate change almost inevitable.”

    I’d highly recommend everyone to read this paper available on-line here:
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1981/1981_Hansen_etal.pdf

    So in my view, I see that the predictions are there and are reasonably validated by both numeric and qualitative data. But then you may have a higher standard than I, so be it. So here is my prediction, we are going to find all of this out in the next 3-years. With solar radiation entering a minimum and El Nino returning, if there AGW is real then we should be seeing new high temperatures throughout the world thus validating the predictions. Or we might see temperatures not change hardly at all. I personally don’t see that happening because what is happening in the arctic is just too big and significant to ignore.

    So if we do see new high temperatures over the next few years and the data matches predictions would you be willing to write another Op Ed piece for the WSJ that withdraws the conclusions concerning this one?

  133. John B, what about DAGW? Surely we need to do something of Anthropogenic Global Warming is merely dangerous, rather than catastrophic? Or what about MHTMGW-AGW? Again, if BAU Anthropogenic Global Warming is More Harmful Than Mitigated Global Warming, then surely we need to know that, and do something about it. The use of CAGW is a clear attempt to present a false dichotomy.

  134. I am amazed that Burt Rutan uses the word Alarmist, a deliberately provocative term, whilst at the same time wanting a rational discussion about the science. As I commented earlier I truly believe that some engineers have difficulty in coming to terms with the facts of AGW, the environment they work in can blind them to the realities. If you are driven to produce things that use up resources, for some engineers it can become the only goal and the only thing to be concerned about.

  135. @143

    Paul

    If you don;t like the word “alarmist”, could I invite you to join me in condemning the reference to “denier” made by Dana #97?

  136. caerbannog @136,

    Regarding the much touted “station dropout issue” is has been shown by various people (including you), that the station dropout is a non-issue. This is what the Clear Climate Code folks found:

    http://clearclimatecode.org/the-1990s-station-dropout-does-not-have-a-warming-effect/

    And by Tamino,
    “It has now been independenly confirmed, by multiple persons, that my results regarding the impact of station dropout on global temperature are correct. Your claims, in your document with Joe D’Aleo for the SPPI, are just plain wrong.”

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/message-to-anthony-watts/

    So that refutes claim number 4 in the SPPI document that Rutan linked people to.

    So the first four claims made in that document have been refuted, including work done by Watts ironically enough.

  137. For those still confused about denialism, denialist etc.

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/about.php

    Again, the context of Dana’s piece makes it very clear what the 16 signatories are in denial about– they deny/dismiss several key aspects about the science and the economics etc. in their WSJ post.

    1) They deny that doubling or perhaps even quadrupling CO2 could have serious consequences.

    2) They deny the physics and paleo data and scientific literature that show that positive feedbacks dominate

    3) They deny that almost all scientists publishing in the field of climate science and related disciplines agree that AGW is real.

    4) They deny that the changes brought about by doubling (CO2 or more) will potentially damage the economy.

    5) They deny that the amount of observed warming to date is consistent with what the theory/physics (and indeed the models) predicted would occur.

    [http://www.skepticalscience.com/comparing-global-temperature-predictions.html]

    6) They deny that we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce our GHG emissions

    7) They deny that many other limiting factors other than CO2 that affect plant growth

    8) They deny the reality of what actually transpired at the journal Climate Research under Chris de Freitas.

    9) They deny Nordhause’s actually position on how we should deal with AGW.

    On other words, they are denialists.

    But people here floating the “denier” red herring/crutch is just an old trick/excuse used to avoid debating the science or having to entertain inconvenient facts.

  138. I’m sorry that the discussion didn’t meet your expectations, Burt, but I’m afraid that you bear some of the responsibility for the lack of constructive dialogue. Not only did you permit Anthony Watts to post this at WUWT, along with your mischaracterization of my original letter as a “diatribe,” but you’ve accused people who don’t agree with you as being “alarmists.” Not only that, but your second comment (#126 above) failed to address any of the issues I raised in my response above (#99).

    To recap, I pointed out that engineers and scientists make all sorts of subjective but experience-based decisions on graphical representations of data, and that in my experience neither scientists nor engineers intentionally mislead people. I explained why and used examples from my own career. You didn’t address this in any way, not even with a simple “my experience differs from yours.” If one of your people at Scaled Composites had done to you what you just did to me (ignored a relevant point you’d just made), you’d probably have him fired for his lack of respect.

    I pointed out that you were inconsistent in accusing Al Gore of “data presentation fraud” for removing error bars when you yourself failed to include them in 20 images on just 5 pages of your January 2011 presentation. You didn’t address this inconsistency, either to explain the discrepancy or admit you made an error. That’s the kind of thing I’d expect from a Pointy-Haired Boss, not from a Dilbert as you claim to be.

    I pointed out that a claim you made in your original response (#4) about how there was actual data, with documentary support, that supported positive feedback and, again, you ignored it. You also ignored the multiple errors you made in claiming that certain effects were not included in climate models, including one that I referred you to peer-reviewed literature for proof, If I was one of your design reviewers and you’d completely ignored multiple specific and documented criticisms about your design, I’d go out of my way to make sure that your annual performance review indicated that you were not meeting my expectations for an engineering intern, never mind an engineer with 46 years of experience.

    You raised a number of points in your second comment, one of which I would would like to address. You claim claim that the illegally hacked and published CRU emails demonstrated proof of fraud. Beyond the fact that you’ve offered no proof of that claim while something like a dozen different investigations disagree with you. In fact, one of your co-signers to the Journal letter, Michael Kelly, sat on the Royal Society panel led by Lord Oxburgh. That panel found that

    after reading publications and interviewing the senior staff of CRU in depth, we are satisfied that the CRU tree-ring work has been carried out with integrity, and that allegations of deliberate misrepresentation and unjustified selection of data are not valid. (emphasis added)

    Here’s something I’d like you to consider. Imagine for a moment that a hacker broke into Scaled Composite’s email servers and did keyword searches on SpaceShipOne, X-Prize, Paul Allen, Burt Rutan, and similar related search terms. Then imagine that the hacker published those emails. How hard do you think one of your competitors would have to search to find something that they could take out of context or quote mine to make you and your teammates look bad? Do you think that those emails alone would produce a complete picture of all the challenges, funding problems, arguments, etc. you and your team dealt with while designing and testing SpaceShipOne? I don’t, and if you do, then you’re lying to yourself. (see this post for a great deal more detail on this point)

    You’ve done great things in the past, Burt, and nothing can take those many accomplishments away from you. But to claim the mantle of “skeptic” one must have an open mind that is willing to be challenged and open to criticism. That’s one of the defining characteristics of a good engineer. Like many commentors who came here from WUWT, you’ve ignored my challenges and criticism as well as that of others. You’ve shown no willingness thus far to actually engage in discussion and instead stuck doggedly to what strike me as ideological talking points. Those aren’t the hallmarks of a good engineer, they’re the traits of an ideologue who used to be a good engineer.

    I’m still interested in an actual discussion, Burt. But to date your comments indicate that you aren’t interested in a good faith exchange or in having your conclusions challenged. If you change your mind about that, let me know and we can each step back to our respective corners and try again.

  139. Pingback: Climate science discussion between Burt Rutan and Brian Angliss | Scholars and Rogues

  140. @ Albatross

    You’re funny, although I think it’s not intentional

    Your justification of the term “denier” is ridiculous and can be summarised by

    No, no, we don’t really mean to compare sceptics with holocaust deniers, what we really mean is…..

    When what is really meant is “we are so desperate to convince people we are right, we will stoop to any low to get the message over”, even if that means offending survivors and people who lost loved ones in the massacre of the Jews. If you really mean that sceptics are “in denial” then say so, don’t use the emotive term “denier” or “denialist” – words that are clearly meant to invoke the same response as holocaust deniers:

    “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers . . . “

    Ellen Goodman

    It seems, according to people who believe in CAGW, anybody who does not accept the perceived wisdom is a “denier”, you just don’t seem to be able to accept that people who do not accept the perceived wisdom have simply read the literature and find it wanting.

    WRT to “denier” red herring, I agree, so stop using it or stop claiming the use of the term “alarmist” offends true believers (and yes, I know it wasn’t you who complained, but you chose to respond).

    And still nobody here is prepared to condemn the use of the offensive term – why not?

    Finally, can we assume you are not an academic?

  141. Checking back in, for a good reason. My study on CAGW initially focused on a very specific aspect – data presentation bias/fraud in the climate data as presented by climate scientists to the public, the media and the policy makers. That was a “target-rich” environment for sure and it quickly became repetitive and boring by itself. I moved on to looking at the “why” – why a professional scientist would place ethics aside in his defense of a theory that continued to look indefensible. The why is a much more complex area of study and one that represented a totally different area of research. Why do climate scientists behave like politicians and lawyers when most other scientists enjoy the search for answers about our physical world and are not so largely distracted by things outside their field of study?

    Likely those who have posted comments to this story have not been aware that it has produced some new data for me on the tactics of the alarmist. For example, the attack on me ‘wanting to live with the dinosaurs’. What you fail to understand is my reference to that period is to shed a bit of light on the fraud that has led the media and public to believe that the recent carbon increase is “unprecedented” and the recent warming is “unprecedented”. Now, I know you will answer that you did not really say that, but I should not have to remind you that it is your ethical duty as a professional, to correct those statements when you see them in the public and policy-maker discourse. Why is it that an engineer, in a completely different field of work have to be the one to have to correct mis-information about climate? Of course you can say that it is not your duty, when your focus is on your science. Ordinary logic tells us that anything out there that supports your hopes and goals will go unchallenged.

    Reading the comments by Brian Angliss at http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/2011/11/23/context-climategate-emails/ it forces one to remember the tactics of the O J Simpson team of lawyers – ignore the evidence and win at all costs in spite of it. I now see the basis of his rage; I am one of those “libertarian engineers “he works with who know that “data matters even more than ideology”. His argument that “the 1100 emails represent no more than 0.1% of the entire email record” is sad indeed. His post #80 on the climategate email comment list is an attempt to distract from the email’s context by submitting a complex engineering/scientific analysis of the numerics of the emails! Frankly the public at large, using basic human logic, knows the context and cares less how the context is discussed within the band of alarmists, fighting for their reputations and against the conclusion that history will show they gave all of science a black eye. It has taken behavior like that to allow the public to finally recognize the fraud, moving CAGW from its major concern to near the bottom of the list.

    As far as your comment that my company would be embarrassed if its emails were released – do you really think they would include destruction of data as important as that which would get in the way of a goal to force increases in global energy costs? Do you really think they would reveal a conspiracy to overstate the certainty of things as serious as climate disruption, conceal evidence to the contrary, and a willingness to manipulate the peer-review system? The scientists known as ‘The Team’ (Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Keith Briffa), hid evidence that their presentation for politicians and policy makers was not as strong as they wanted to make it appear, downplaying the very real uncertainties present in climate reconstruction. I guess when you live within your world, you just conclude that everybody does it. Sad.

    In my business we recognize that when our palls review and comment on our work, it is not significant. We do not call it “Peer Review”, like you trumpet.

    There is sufficient context within the emails themselves to prove that several climate scientists had deleted “inconvenient data” regarding tree rings in service of a political end, namely the removal of a “potential distraction.”

    The mails clearly demonstrate that the scientists were concerned about “diluting” the message. They were not concerned with telling the whole truth, but rather a version of the truth that was packaged according to their agenda.

    The leaked files showed that The Team had done this by hiding how they presented data, and ruthlessly suppressing dissent by insuring that contrary papers were never published and that editors who didn’t follow their party line were forced out of their position.

    Phil Jones lied to Parliament when he said it was standard practice to not share data. It is clear that The Team withheld data from other scientists, destroyed data and emails they knew would incriminate them and fought the FOIA process. This is the behavior of criminals, not scientists.

    I find it hard to believe that you guys can still defend Mann/Briffa on their attempt to formulate a hockey stick with the tree ring data. When others were finally allowed access to their data it was clearly found that it did not support their intended HS goal, without some laughable cherry picking. They withheld their analysis/presentation code too. When it was finally released it was found that it generated a hockey stick even when fed random numbers for tree ring data! – Cute.

    Of course, logic and ethics had no chance when you were faced with defending it, since the Hockey Stick graph (the only one reproduced multiple times in color in any IPCC summary) was the primary basis for convincing the Media and Policy Makers that immediate action was needed to offset unprecedented warming, obviously caused by unprecedented increase in CO2. Backing down from that would throw Gore under the bus and would show that the scientists were agenda driven from the start. I predict that you will still support your heroism in saving the planet after the hoax goes mainstream, just like you did in the ozone hole scare.

    Several of the commenters seem to think that I am a climate scientist, and should know their field. I am very up-front with the fact that I do not have that expertise and cannot critique the atmospheric analysis within the computer models that theorize the coming catastrophe. I do have a 46-year background in data analysis and presentation and that has enabled me to see much of the problems with verifying the carbon GHG caused warming theory. What I present is not always liked by the alarmists and some of it is attacked vigorously, because it leads to a conclusion that is unacceptable to them. I accept that, and understand it but it does not force me to join the echo chamber of those still selling the theory when the data says it is suspect.

    I have been accused of not using the best data to use in my presentations. So, I will now use only the “best” data, as defined by the alarmists (HadCRUT) in presenting the following observations:
    Breaking down the last hundred years into two halves; the first half, 1912 to 1961 and the last half 1962 to 2011. The alarmists claim the human sinning (CO2-pollution) was primarily during the last half.
    Increase in CO2 Increase in global temperature
    1st half +18 ppm +0.52 deg C
    2nd half +74 ppm +0.39 deg C

    Another period; 1997 to 2012, the recent 15 years. CO2 increased 15 ppm while global temperatures showed essentially no increase.

    Looking at only these data would indicate that adding CO2 cools the planet – not true of course, but it makes the point that your theory is not supported by the most basic data, requiring you to look elsewhere (ocean bottoms?) to find the heat. I suspect that you look there (even though the rate of sea level rise has significantly diminished) because you refuse to accept that your model assumptions on feedbacks are wrong.

    OK, flame away, you scientists……..get me some more behavior data.

    Burt

    [This comment has been CCed to this post containing comments by just Brian Angliss and Burt Rutan.]

  142. “We have yet to so one skeptic hypothesis, not one, put forth to explain all the observations”

    Ehh, that should perhaps have been “We have yet to see one hypothesis, not one, put forth to explain all the observations”. Remember, CAGW does not explain all the observations. (Quite few if any, to be honest).

    Otherwise natural cloud changes seems to fit better than CO2 as a culprit for warming.

  143. Mr Rutan, you are not getting your information from reliable sources. You are being misled, and I’m afraid to say it seems that you lack the knowledge to understand how. Or perhaps you have the knowledge but you’ve decided to allow yourself to be misled. Your response almost entirely ignores all the substantive criticism made of your claims, and resorts instead to immature aspersions. Alarmists? Grow up. Flaming? Who’s flaming?

    I’d like to make three more substantive points. Feel free to ignore them as you did all the others but I don’t wish to see your claims going uncontested.

    1. “it was found that it generated a hockey stick even when fed random numbers for tree ring data! – Cute”

    This is incorrect. The principal components analysis used by Mann et al is a complex but powerful technique, also used in many other branches of science, for discerning patterns in noisy data which are not immediately obvious. When applied to random data, sometimes it may reveal patterns which are not real but appeared only by chance. Sometimes, something that even resembles a hockey stick will emerge. But the algorithm did not produce those patterns – they were present by chance in the data. The vast majority of the time, analysing random data did not produce anything the resembled a hockey stick. And the temperature hockey stick was what is known as “statistically significant” – that is, extremely unlikely to have arisen through chance. But you’ve been fooled by people who showed you only the tiny number of non-statistically significant hockey sticks that they found through data mining.

    2. “Breaking down the last hundred years into two halves; the first half, 1912 to 1961 and the last half 1962 to 2011…”

    You have made some major data analysis mistakes here. Firstly you have cherry picked your dates. Why use 100 years, when HadCrut goes back to the 1850s? Why split in 1961? Nothing special occurred in 1961 to make that a sensible or useful place to break the data. Secondly, one does not derive temperature trends by simply drawing a line between the first data point and the last data point as you seem to have done. You are using four data points out of 100, and thus ignoring 96% of the data. By doing that, you guarantee that your answer is not meaningful. You can see the actual trends for your two time periods, using all the data instead of just a poorly chosen 4 data points, here:

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1912/to:1961/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1962/trend

    You can see that it contradicts your claim.

    3. “Another period; 1997 to 2012, the recent 15 years. CO2 increased 15 ppm while global temperatures showed essentially no increase.”

    This argument shows that you either don’t understand statistics, or you have decided to ignore them in this case. The underlying trend, at the moment, in global temperatures is roughly +0.2°C. The typical interannual variation in global temperature, due to weather, is of the order of 0.5°C. If you were foolish enough to try to determine a trend from a short period in which the interannual variation overwhelms the long term trend, you wouldn’t get a meaningful answer. 1997-2012 is too short a period to derive a trend from. Every time you see this argument made, you know without any doubt that the person making it is being either ignorant or dishonest. There’s no other possibility.

  144. Rich:

    “natural cloud changes seems to fit better than CO2 as a culprit for warming.”

    No, it doesn’t. The stratosphere is cooling. That one single observation rules cloud variations out as the cause of the tropospheric warming.

  145. @142 Tom Curtis

    As Maurizio Morabito @ 8 said, alarmists need the ‘C’ in CAGW otherwise it’s BAGW (Benevolent Anthropogenic Global Warming) or BACC (Benevolent Anthropogenic Climate Change) or BACD (Benevolent Anthropogenic Climate Disruption)

    Since we all accept the Anthropogenic part of CAGW, through land use changes etc, but not the CO2 significant warming, the only difference is catastrophic or benevolent

    • I’m amazed that we’re about 175 comments in and no-one has given me a good definition of “catastrophic” as it applies to climate disruption.

      blt35 went so far as to say that climate disruption could only be one of two things, catastrophic or belevolent, but that’s a black-or-white fallacy. Catastrophic means “utter ruin,” while benevolent means “suggestive of goodwill.” What about NAGW (Neutral AGW), PAGW (Problematic), BAGW (Bad), MBAGW (Mixed Bag), UITWHAPHAGW (Uh, I Think We Have A Problem Here), OSAGW (Oh Shit!) and the like?

      Personally, I adhere to a view of climate disruption that says it’ll be very bad, but not “catastrophic.” I’m not someone who thinks that climate disruption will mean the end of human civilization, or of the human species. But I do think that the science shows that the environmental and human costs of climate disruption and associated changes will be significant enough to justify doing something about it. I think that credible economic analyses show the costs will only go up the longer humanity waits to address the problem. And I think that credible risk analyses indicate that the longer we wait, the higher the risk of something authentically catastrophic occurring.

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  148. Upon further review by the editors of S&R, this comment was deemed to be off-topic given the OP and resulting comment thread. All responses to it have been similarly removed.

    We apologize for any confusion.

  149. Dear Mr. Rutan,

    First let me say that I respect you and your accomplishments. I like you have evaluated the information and the data and similarly have come to the same conclusion as you: the data is manipulated. I have tried to argue with the warmist crowd and have probably wasted more than a year of my life on this futile endeavor. So i suggest you just not try to fight them. No matter what point you make, the will counter. No matter want source you provide, they will say it is worthless. No matter what scientist you quote (even a climate scientist) they will say that person is discredited. Just remember, their sources are always right, their scientists are the only one that deserve respect and their ideas are the only ones that have meaning.

    The good news for us is Nature is a cruel mistress and right now it is stabbing the warmist in the back. 5 years from now the state of the climate will make their arguments irrelevant. 10 years from now when the global temperature has dropped by .1 to .2 degrees C. we can laugh.

    Maybe we can get together then and have a party. Might I suggest you loo into how Virgin Galactic of Scaled Composite space vehicles can add to the data discovery and analysis of the climate from a non government controlled source. I would be very interested in that.

    Mark

  150. “after the hoax goes mainstream, just like you did in the ozone hole scare”

    The ozone hole was a hoax? The depths of this man’s intellectual incompetence astound me.

  151. So Burt Rutan thinks the hole in the ozone layer was a hoax? That’s astonishing scientific incompetence. That, and the failure to address any of the above substantive criticism of his fallacious arguments (has Burt read Menne et al yet?), his failure to comprehend the difference between trend and noise, his lack of understanding of atmospheric physics (understandable in an engineer, but not wise to shout about it), and the constant slander of scientists who have not ever been found guilty of scientific wrongdoing – all remarkable demonstrations of a failure to understand the subject matter. Burt, there are hockey sticks all over the place, independently verified in multiple temperature records and proxies (not just tree rings), and in Arctic sea ice amongst other things. Surely you didn’t believe McIntyre’s cooked analysis (anyone for sorting random data and deliberately only presenting a dozen from within the top 100 of 10,000 examples) [see Deep Climate]? Surely you realise the original hockey stick has been repeatedly verified, and the original, pioneering research has been superseded using differnt methods, yet the basic result still stands (NAS, 2006).

    Burt, stick to building rockets and avoid climate science. You’re evidentially out of your depth here, and clearly you don’t, or won’t, realise it.

  152. Burt Rutan says at #150:

    What you fail to understand is my reference to that period is to shed a bit of light on the fraud that has led the media and public to believe that the recent carbon increase is “unprecedented” and the recent warming is “unprecedented”.

    Rutan, you have been quick to repeatedly accuse climatologists of fraud, and yet you aren’t as quick to reference the actual instances in the scientific literature where they do so. To avoid any confusion about what it is that you have decided is “fraud”, could you please be specific in your claims – journal references including page numbers would be a minimum.

    I will take any avoidance of doing so as an explicit acknowledgement that you do not in fact have any basis for your claims of fraud.

    OK, flame away, you scientists……..get me some more behavior data.

    Others here, even excluding the denialists of science whom you uncritically emulate with your nonsensical comments, seem to have a degree of respect for you predicted on work with which you have been associated in the past. I’m not quite so dewy-eyed, and so I have no hesitation in suggesting that you are confused (at the least) if you confabulate flaming with valid rebuttal of your pseudoscience, and if you think that such rebuttal constitutes more interesting “behavior data” than those you generate with your lamentable descent into extreme woo.

  153. Burt.

    You suggest that you want to show ALL the data and that it paints a different picture from what AGW theory suggests. I contend that much of the material in you document is inaccurate or distorted.

    So let me pick just one of the points you made. which I commented on in a previous post and give you some links to additional data so that you can update your document to be more accurate. And in the porocess completely reversing the meaning of this original point of yours.

    My original comment was:
    “Page 34. He supposedly is showing Ocean heat diverging from model projections. What he just fails to mention is that this is only increase in ocean heat in the top 700 metres of the ocean. Warming has continued when we look down to 2000m. And that warming has been detected all the way to the Sea floor in regions of major downwelling currents. Also he ‘forgot’ to show the previous 30 years of steady warming in the 700m layer. Wouldn’t want to spoil the impression he is trying to create”

    Here is the additional data and sources you will need to update page 34 to be a more accurate reflection of what ALL THE DATA SAYS.

    Murphy et al 2009 here http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009JD012105.shtml
    Copenhagen Synthesis Report 2009 here http://climatecongress.ku.dk/pdf/synthesisreport Fig 2 which derives from the IPCC ARM WG1

    Ocean data for 0-700 & 0-2000
    ftp://ftp.nodc.noaa.gov/pub/data.nodc/woa/DATA_ANALYSIS/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/DATA/basin/yearly/
    ohc2000m_levitus_climdash_yearly.csv – 0-2000 data
    ohc_levitus_climdash_yearly.csv – 0-700 data
    See also
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/10/global-warming-and-ocean-heat-content/comment-page-3/#comments – Comment 122.

    Also of interest might be this study, reported at SkepticalScience http://www.skepticalscience.com/The-Deep-Ocean-Warms-When-Global-Surface-Temperatures-Stall–.html

    So, since you claim that you want to show all the data, can we assume that your Document will be updated with this additional data soon. Within 3 days perhaps. If you can’t get it done in that time, thats fine, just post here to let us know. If however after 3 days your on-line document hasn’t been changed and you haven’t commented here that more time is required then we will have to draw our own conclusions about your bona fides.

    You claim to be acting honestly as an engineer, just looking at the data. Prove it.

  154. Mark Wells @156

    Please have a look at the graph of ocean heat shown by Burt on page 34 of his ‘critique’. Then follow the links that I posted to other sources.

    Then decide for yourself whether Burt is using ‘better sources’.

    And have you considered the possibility that when ‘warmists’ have objected to the arguments and evidence you have put up they may actually be rebutting that data and those arguments. Not Rejecting. Rebutting. Demonstrating that they are factually wrong.

  155. We have a fine example of the ridiculous hand waving alarmist do.

    RW says that natural cloud changes don’t seems to fit better than CO2 as a culprit for warming, because “The stratosphere is cooling. That one single observation rules cloud variations out as a cause of the tropospheric warming.”

    Clouds are complex. They cover, scatter, diffuse, reflect all depending on wavelengths, angles, composition, temperature, altitude. CO2 and water vapor are much simpler, they absorb certain wavelengths and reradiate the energy.

    The troposhperic hot spot is missing which means that the simple assumption built into the IPCC GCMs are wrong. But that doesn’t matter to an alarmist. But cloud changes are ruled out because “the stratosphere is cooling”.

    Who needs logic when you can wave hands?

  156. Rich:
    1. the tropospheric “hot spot” is not missing. See Santer et al, 2008, Intl. J. Climatol., 28, 1703
    2. its presence was not “assumed”. It was predicted on the basis of physics
    3. What’s the mechanism by which cloud variations cool the stratosphere?

  157. @RW

    lol, Santer “found” the hotspot by widening the error bars

    i’m pretty sure if the hot spot was ever really found then the alarmists would be shouting from the roof tops

  158. RW,

    Depending on what causes the cloud variations it may be different things. One obvious mechanism is the increase in water vapor that will ensue less cloud seeds, if Svensmarks theory will continue to hold up. I can think of some fifty more…

  159. Rich: you haven’t explained anything there. Why would the stratosphere cool?

    blt35: no, that is not what he did. I doubt very much whether you have ever read that paper if that’s what you believe. Did you even know that this so-called hot spot is an expected response to any external forcing, not just greenhouse gas forcing?

  160. @167 RW

    Don’t be ridiculous, of course that’s what he did – you seem in denial. At least you didn’t mention the even more laughable Sherwood!

    Are you going to link to SS now to “prove” the IPCC didn’t really mean there was a “hot spot”? Which of the IPCC diagrams do you think doesn’t represent grg forcings?

  161. As you seem to be unclear about what Santer found, here’s an extract from his abstract:

    “This emerging reconciliation of models and observations has two primary explanations. First, because of changes in the treatment of buoy and satellite information, new surface temperature datasets yield slightly reduced tropical warming relative to earlier versions. Second, recently developed satellite and radiosonde datasets show larger warming of the tropical lower troposphere”

    In other words, there appeared to be a discrepancy because surface warming was overestimated, and lower troposphere warming was underestimated. In improved observational datasets the discrepancy is no longer present.

  162. Glenn @ 162

    Yes I have considered that. The issue is, as we have said before, that if a “skeptic” rebutts an argument, the reaction from the warmist crowd is to belittle and disparage the information, the results, the author and if that doesnt work, criticize the editor of the journal until they are fired. If we rebutt a rebuttle, then it become a case of name calling. Its just too tiring to convince warmist to reflect on what they regard as religious dogma. Just like it is impossible to convince a Muslim to become Mormon.

    You see the thing is, science is SUPPOSE to be a debate. You propose a theory, publish it for peer review, it gets critiqued and in the end it either stands on its merits or the theory dies. Being a skeptic is a natural part of being a scientist or engineer. We should all honor skepticism. Denialism is something completely different.

    Understand that Skeptics DO NOT deny that the earth has warmed. Skeptics DO NOT deny that CO2 level have increased. Skeptics DO NOT deny that humans have the potential for some climate effects (Urban Heat Island). But we are skeptical as to the conclusions and results of climate studies when we observe raw data and empirical data diverging from models, When we see modifications to the “homogenization” methods on a regular basis that create warm biases and when we see thousands of emails trying to hide that very fact, then it no longer becomes a scientific debate but an ethical one.

    When warmist deny any peer paper that is counter to their argument. When they deny scientist from getting published, When they call people names and work to get those scientist black ball or outcast I have to wonder who are the REAL DENIALISTS??

    The other issue is that the scientific method requires falsification. You cant prove anything unless you an also find fault. We have now switched away from AGW to Climate Disruption and anything that happen good or bad is attributed to GW. There is a list (which I cant find at the moment) that list more the 400 to 500 examples of where scientist claim the opposite is true and that GW is at fault. Frogs are going to die, frog are flourishing, Plants will die, plants will flourish. Storms will be greater, storms will be less. The list goes on and on. Those arguments make warmist look silly and foolish.

    The fact remains that the american people in particular but most people in the first world, are smart enough to see through the Bullshit and have decided against GW. So you can keep on arguing all you want, but it isnt going to matter. Your emails, data manipulations, name calling and lack of falsification have doomed your argument.

    And now mother nature is turning against you. Solar cycles are way off. Radiance is down, magnetic flux is way down, the PDO and AMo have turned toward their cold cycle. We have a powerful la Nina. The list goes on. I am not afraid of warm weather, its the cold that can kill you and 10 years from now we will see where we are. Enjoy the show.

    mark

  163. Sorry, Mark Wells, but it would be a matter of a few minutes’ work to dig up large numbers of so-called “sceptics” who deny that the earth has warmed, who deny that CO2 levels have increased, and who deny that humans can possibly have any effect on the climate. There is no consistent “sceptic” position.

  164. Mark Wells @170,

    Can you show us where any scientist has actually been denied from getting published? Not a a couple scientists musing about how nice that would be, but an example if it actually happening.

    Secondly, you are right, all the natural cycles have been against warming recently. Yet 2011 was the warmest La Nina year recorded, total ocean heat content continues to rise, global glacier mass balance continues to shrink, etc. The fingerprints of an enhanced greenhouse effect are clear without needing to look at surface temperature records or models..

  165. Burt,

    I agree with you that it is my “ethical duty as a professional, to correct [inaccurate or misleading] statements when [I] see them in the public and policy-maker discourse.” That is, in fact, a large part of why I wrote my open letter to you – it was my ethical duty as a professional and as an engineer to point out that you had signed on to a letter that was filled with incorrect and misleading information. That is why I seek to engage in a good faith discussion with you and why I ask you to explain and/or correct the incorrect, inconsistent, and misleading information you yourself have repeated in this thread, even though you have not shown any willingness to do so.

    In that spirit, however, I continue to be disappointed that you refuse to explain what you mean by “data presentation fraud,” or to explain the inconsistency in your own presentation. Recall that you accused Al Gore of fraud for removing error bars from an IPCC graph while failing to include error bars or even any discussion of uncertainty in 20 graphs on the preceding five pages of your January 2011 presentation. As I see it, it is your ethical duty as a professional and an engineer to either a) explain how those 20 images do not actually represent a double standard on your part, or b) retract your claim that Gore committed “data presentation fraud” and then correct any of your presentations that make that claim.

    You write that “I do not have that expertise and cannot critique the atmospheric analysis within the computer models that theorize the coming catastrophe.” But this doesn’t hold with what you wrote above in your Comment #4. You wrote there that

    Modeling is more correctly a branch of Engineering and there are some basic rules that have been flouted by CAGW _ CO2 modelers.
    Firstly there has to be a problem analysis which identifies relevant factors and the physical, chemical and thermodynamic behaviors of those factors within the system.
    Any claim that this has been done in the CO2 warming problem is PREPOSTEROUS.
    There are perhaps a thousand PhD topics there waiting to be taken up by researchers.
    We could start with work on understanding heat transfer between the main interfaces; eg Core to surface / surface to ocean depths/ ocean depths to ocean surface / ocean surface to atmosphere and so on, not having yet reached the depth of space at just slightly above absolute zero.

    To claim that the entire system of atmospheric temperature moderation has been described by
    the fluctuations of atmospheric CO2 content while excluding the other obvious factors such as atmospheric water vapour content, solar flux and orbital mechanics is just nonsense.

    This strikes me as yet another inconsistency – you say you cannot critique the analysis generated by climate models, yet you did that very thing just a few days ago. You can’t have it both ways.

    Which brings me again to another criticism you have still failed to address, namely that your CO2 argument made in Comment #4 is incomplete. I pointed out in #99 that you were neglecting a significant number of factors that were different between today and prior geologic eras. The point I didn’t make then, but will now, is that all those differences make the climate in prior geological eras incomparable to modern climate. In essence, the proper response to “When the Dinosaurs roamed, the CO2 content was 6 to 9 times current and the planet was green from pole to pole” is: so what? The burden of proof is on you to prove that all the differences I listed in Comment #99 are inconsequential.

    It’s true that the hacked CRU emails and the subsequent investigations found that the University of East Anglia and CRU did not properly handle FOI requests. They fought the process tooth and nail, and they shouldn’t. But you can’t honestly tell me that you wouldn’t fight tooth and nail yourself against a competitor using a FOIA action to try and get your emails, flight data, and design blueprints for a US government program. Of course you would – you’d be handing over the family jewels to a competitor. So while what CRU did was wrong, it was completely understandable and reasonable to any anyone who has worked in business, never mind an engineer.

    I’m stunned to see you resorting to a smear in your attempt to address the argument I made about insufficient context in the hacked CRU emails, Burt. Why do you choose to ignore the arguments I made in the piece and instead resort to making statements without supporting them? “The 1100 emails represent no more than 0.1% of the entire email record” – if you find the argument unconvincing, then explain why. Simply calling it “sad” is an evasion, not an argument.

    However, you did address one of my criticisms of you, and so I’ll explain further what I think we’d find if Scaled Composites’ emails were hacked, cherry-picked, and subsequently published.

    I think the emails would show you and/or you employees badmouthing your competition and occasionally your partners and financial backers. I think the emails would show repeated examples of your engineers saying one thing internally while spinning something different for your customers or the public, likely even including what you’d call “data presentation fraud.” I think the emails would show your marketing department tries to cast your own company in the best light possible by glossing up data. I think the emails would show early versions of code that have placeholder functions and artificial test data, and comments that were removed in the final code that could be spun to make it look like you had fudged your simulations and risked peoples’ lives.

    I think the emails could be spun to show that you had inappropriate contact with government officials from time to time. I think the emails could be made to show your financial situation wasn’t as good as you told people. I think the emails would show that you and your engineers are just like every other engineer out there – you use words like “trick” and phrases like “hide the (fill in the blank)” in ways that are completely innocuous when the context is known, but that could be spun to make it look like you defrauded your customers, lied to the public, and risked lives.

    Published emails from Scaled Composites would say all of this and more for two reasons. First, some of these behaviors are entirely normal – it’s normal for people to badmouth the competition and to complain about their partners in private. It’s normal for marketing departments to gloss things up – that’s the entire reason marketing departments exist. It’s normal for early versions of code to have placeholders, use test data from oddly-named files (“were_so_screwed.dat,” for example). It’s normal for people to say things using technical shorthand that look really, really bad to anyone not familiar with the shorthand.

    Second, when someone cherrypicks 0.1% of a large email record, the person doing the cherrypicking can make the emails say anything they want, even things that are outright false. Can you honestly tell me that three emails in the middle of a long thread, or the first half of an email train, tells the whole story?

    I’d also like to point out that the Independent Climate Change Email Review, the most thorough of all the investigations, found that my argument about insufficient context was correct. From my post on the ICCER final report:

    The third specific allegation that addressed by the ICCER was that Keith Briffa had asked an anonymous reviewer to justify Briffa’s rejection of a manuscript that Briffa ostensibly disagreed with. However, the ICCER found that the published CRU email record lacked sufficient context to justify the allegation. Briffa provided copies of the complete email chain from his personal records to the panel and the result was a very different picture. The complete email chain showed that Briffa had apologized for the delay in sending the reviewers’ comments to the manuscript’s authors and offered to “fast-track publication” of the manuscript if the authors revised it as recommended by the the reviewers. The ICCER said “we see nothing in these exchanges that supports the interpretations of subverting the peer review process that have been placed upon [the original published CRU email]” and that the complete email chain provided by Briffa doesn’t “provide evidence of subversion of process in rejecting contradictory ideas as has been alleged.”

    The ICCER quote is from Section 8.5 of the ICCER final report, BTW – I invite you to read it yourself, and then to correct any allegations of fraud you’ve made against Keith Briffa as a result of the email.

    You did provide specific data, but unfortunately your calculations are incorrect. Here’s the actual temperature trends lines for the data points you provided (click on the image for a larger version at Woodfortrees.com:

    While I used adjusted global mean data for the plot above, unadjusted global mean data shows essentially the same thing – an increasing trend, contrary to your claim above. The temperature calculations in your last response are quite simply wrong. Not only that, however, but since you’ve been studying climate science since 1999, you must also be aware that HadCRUT has a number of problems that prevent it from being considered the “best” data, namely the fact that the HadCRUT method underestimates the effects of warming on the Arctic (where warming is occurring the fastest). GISS or NCDC are preferred to HadCRUT because neither has a hole in the Arctic.

    Burt, you have claimed the mantle of an engineer, and given your long experience, you’ve earned it. But along with that mantle come certain responsibilities. One is responding to criticism instead of ignoring it. Another is engaging in good faith discussions about disagreements. A third is supporting your claims with logical argument and data. Thus far you’ve done none of these things. Instead, you seem to be taking your plays from the marketing and public relations playbook – repeat your talking points and never respond to criticism. Is that really how an engineer, especially one who has accomplished so much as you have, should behave?

  166. RW @171

    People who deny empirical facts because they do not fit with their world view are Deniers. People who questions the sources and methods of how something was determined are skeptics. The difference is that skeptics can change their mind because sufficient evidence can be presented to show for certain something is a fact. Deniers will still deny those facts. I am not a Denier. Most every one that I am aware of in the skeptical movement are Not deniers.

    The question you must ask yourself is if sufficient evidence was presented that the mathematics and parameterization in the Climate models was shown to be completely off base and widely inaccurate, would you change your mind? would you even consider the data? If not then, you are the denier not me.

    I will be honest, I was on the fence with regard to the GW and its direction. I was leaning more towards the skeptical side until the climate gate emails came out. once I saw the analysis of the emails and the actual code used to homogenize the temperature record, it became clear that GW was a fraud of the grandest proportions.

  167. Mark are you saying that read all the code used to compile temperature records and have the necessary experience to follow it? If so, why haven’t you created your own temperature analysis. These has been done by a variety of independent sources, including one of the regulars at WUWT who confirmed the basic results- as did Watts himself.

  168. Mark Wells, you should retract your last statement, as it has no basis whatsoever. It’s actually pretty offensive. Any competent programmer can reproduce the global temperature record in a couple of days. In fact, many have done so, notably the Muir Russell report, Zeke Hasufather and Tamino. Why are the results all essentially the same?

    Muir Russell report (reconstruction begins on p45):
    http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf

    Tamino’s replication:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/all-that-data/

    Zeke Hasufather’s replication at the traditionally skeptical ‘blackboard':
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/a-simple-model-for-spatially-weighted-temp-analysis/

    From Muir Russell:
    * Any independent researcher may freely obtain the primary station data. It is impossible for a third party to withhold access to the data.

    * It is impossible for a third party to tamper improperly with the data unless they have also been able to corrupt the GHCN and NCAR sources. We do not consider this to be a credible possibility, and in any case this would be easily detectable by comparison to the original NMO records or other sources such as the Hadley Centre.

    * The steps needed to create a global temperature series from the data are straightforward to implement.

    * The required computer code is straightforward and easily written by a competent researcher.

    * The shape of the temperature trends obtained in all cases is very similar: in other words following the same process with the same data obtained from different sources generates very similar results.

  169. Mark Wells, you should retract your last statement,…

    This would seem to be (just one) litmus test of whether Mark is a denier or a true skeptic. Will he change his mind when countervailing evidence is presented for one of his key claims?

    (And I note that “GW is a fraud of the grandest proportions” is precisely the opposite of Mark’s earlier claim that “…Skeptics DO NOT deny that the earth has warmed”. Mark might want to either clarify one of his statements or retract one of them – or agree that he is not a “Skeptic” according to his own definition.)

  170. Honestly, how stupid are you people??

    Claiming that the data from NOAA/NASA/HAD et al uses modified data which was pointed out in the emails to be fraudulently manipulated does not say anything about other empirical or raw data records that still show warming. What is in question here is the way that the station data has been homogenized!!! The second issue is the way in which the computer models have been “fixed” to reflect certain outcomes. And PLEASE do not try and defend the computer models. I am in the software industry. I have many friends that were supporters of GW. All you have to do is show them the code from the models and after they finish running around the room screaming in terror at the horror of the code, they stop, reflect and realize thats what was used to model the climate. The next reaction is OH MY GOD!

  171. 174, Brian Angliss,
    I hope you are through with your straw dummies. The use of the term CAGW or Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming has been used by skeptics to describe the position of alarmists such as Al Gore or Hanson (and many others) warning that if CO2 is not brought down below 350 ppm or so, that within a relatively short time (quotes from a few years to a century or so) that major floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, and super heat waves, will destroy a considerable portion of mankind. Hanson as an example had predicted several feet of sea level rise by now. Others claimed no more snow in winter, and killing summers. There are claims that humanity would only be able to live on Antarctica. There have been so many claims of this type that your issue of defining it is silly. Now we all know that all types of disasters occur all the time, and have so historically. The only question is if the present level and trend are exceptional and unusual based on reasonable time scales. The answer is clearly no.

  172. What is in question here is the way that the station data has been homogenized!!!

    Really?

    The Tamino link provided to you assessed exactly that. He compared a reconstruction using raw and adjusted data – and found that the adjustments reduced the warming trend slightly. Yet you continueto imply warming is due to “homogenization” adjustments. Are you actually a skeptic who follows the evidence, or are you denying evidence you find inconvenient?

    And speaking of assessing the raw data, the BEST project did just that – and they started out very “skeptical”. Guess what they found? (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204422404576594872796327348.html) And guess what the “skeptic” reaction was to this new evidence – did they incorporate it into their thinking, or reject it? (I’m guessing we can infer Mark’s reaction from his current assertions. It does not seem to fit with actual follow-the-evidence skepticism.)

    Similarly, Menne et al used data from the “skeptical” SurfaceStations.org to demonstrate that the claim that siting effects were causing a significant warm bias was not justified. (If anything it was slightly cool, but not significantly so.) Watts published a paper based on the SurfaceStations data that showed much the same thing.

    I seem to recall that RealClimate has a list of raw data sources. Mark, you work in the software industry, so why haven’t you taken them and done a reconstruction of your own? Several other people have done it in a day or two. Not sufficiently competent? Don’t wish to disprove yourself? Already know what you’ll find?

    Better still, publish a paper arguing why your reconstruction is superior to those done by the professionals – seeing as they’ve published papers on how they do it and arguing the case for their methods.

    Time and again “skeptics” have touted various hypotheses as to what could be responsible for apparent warming in the records – but very curiously, in most cases they failed to do quite straightforward work to prove that their hypothesis pans out (which would be a major contribution to climate science and cause all sorts of re-evaulations). Time and again those hypotheses have failed to survive testing (almost always by other people) – and when that happens, “skeptics” either move to a new hypothesis – or deny that the previous hypothesis has failed.

    I also note again that Mark can’t argue that “skeptics DO NOT deny that the earth has warmed” whilst also arguing that “GW” is a “fraud of the grandest proportions” and implying that this “fraud” has been achieved through inappropriate homogenization procedures for temperature reconstructions.

    Mark vs Mark – which one will win?

  173. The second issue is the way in which the computer models have been “fixed” to reflect certain outcomes.

    You mean, like reflecting observations as closely as possible?

    Yes, indeed. That’s kind of the point.

    All you have to do is show them the code from the models and after they finish running around the room screaming in terror at the horror of the code, they stop, reflect and realize thats what was used to model the climate.

    So what you are saying is that you and they believe one can infer quality of a climate system model from a brief perusal of the code? Interesting.

    I also work in the software industry. I don’t infer adherence to functional requirements – such as usefulness of a model from qualitative judgements of the code, and I understand that scientific software has significantly different success metrics than commercial software – especially when attempting to model real world observations, and when different models are all being compared against one another and against the data.

    If “skeptics” think climate models are crap because they don’t how they are coded, fortunately they can help write one they do like at Clear Climate Code. (Wanna bet how similar its results will be to those created by the scientific teams? And if you aren’t you contributing, why not?)

  174. “Honestly, how stupid are you people??”

    Not as stupid as someone who thinks they can instruct us not to “defend” computer models – all of them, for any purpose, no matter who wrote them – because he claims to know someone who looked at some computer code and didn’t like what they saw.

  175. Lotharsson said at #183:

    If “skeptics” think climate models are crap because they don’t how they are coded, fortunately they can help write one they do like at Clear Climate Code. (Wanna bet how similar its results will be to those created by the scientific teams? And if you aren’t you contributing, why not?)

    and completely pwns Mark Wells at #180.

    Wells, if you can’t or won’t participate in the Clear Climate Code project and either confirm or refute the current climatological science, then your bluster is nothing more than smoke in the wind.

    Exactly as are Rutan’s repeated, unsubstantiated claims of fraud within the discipline, and as are his repeatedly debunked misinterpretations and/or misrepresentations of professional climatologists.

  176. I saw a comment to the effect that only one peer-reviewed paper was given supporting skeptic beliefs on CAGW. Here’s 900+ more: http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html Of course I haven’t gone through them to verify they’re all perfect, but then again, the warmists haven’t done the same with their sources.

    I’m reminded of the situation in the early 1970s. At that time there was a strong belief in the liberal community (which includes most scientists) that the political system in the USSR, PRoC, Cuba, etc., was not only morally superior to capitalism, but that it provided a better living standard to its subjects, was more advanced technologically, etc.

    To people who were born more recently, the concept that these beliefs could be sustained must be hard to understand. The “Iron Curtain” kept news from these lands away from the West. In the vacuum (similar to the gulf of knowledge between science experts and the general public) it was possible to believe pretty much whatever you wanted to believe.

    Among the left, the belief in the superiority of communism didn’t crumble until the Soviet Union began allowing people to leave. The explanation for their tales of horror was “oh those are the people who wanted to leave the Soviet Union. Of course they have bad things to say about it. Belief was maintained until the leadership of the USSR changed and the new leadership admitted the truth.

    I do not mean to imply that only the left-wing is subject to irrational beliefs held in the face of mounting evidence. (And evidence against CAGW has been steadily mounting for 15 years; the climate emails was the last straw for the general public.) The right-wing does the same thing. But in this instance, it is the left-wing that bet on the wrong horse and faces the inevitable embarrassment.

    My big worry for the future is that the disgrace of CAGW will effect other efforts at keeping the environment clean and healthy.

  177. “I saw a comment to the effect that only one peer-reviewed paper was given supporting skeptic beliefs on CAGW”

    If you did, it wasn’t here. So why post about it here?

    Your list seems to be worthless as the first three items on it are from “Energy and Environment”, which is not a recognised scientific journal. Proper studies have been done, and it is very well established that the number of papers which dispute the basic knowledge that human production of CO2 is causing global warming is negligible. Here is an example:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full

  178. Ah, the infamous “Poptech” or “Poptart” list for the credulous:

    Of course I haven’t gone through them to verify they’re all perfect…

    Why, of course you haven’t. You can’t afford to! You probably can’t afford to even read the numerous rebuttals, many of which are conveniently linked to in the very same post you cited. The claims made by Poptech/Poptart when he relentlessly spammed this list around the net for several years do not stand up to scrutiny because they are aimed at those who won’t engage in such scrutiny.

    For example, Poptech/Poptart would be most keen that you don’t scrutinise the post-publication peer review or impact of many of the papers that express the strongest “skeptic” claims – because in general they have fared rather poorly. Just keep believing that so many papers in a list must mean what the list maker and those who tout the list imply!

    Poptech/Poptart will also be super-duper-keen that you do not evaluate the total weight of evidence, but rather only look at a carefully selected subset and conclude that’s sufficient evaluation. Have you ever wondered why? What happens when you try to find the most plausible explanation given the total weight of evidence? Given the mutually exclusive nature of a number of pairs of Poptech/Poptart’s papers, which do you give less weight to and why? Given the mutually exclusive nature of a number of Poptech/Poptart papers with many other papers not found in the list, why do you think the paper in the list should be weighed more strongly than the others? And if you don’t have the skills or knowledge to answer these questions – why are you apparently choosing an answer that goes against the vast majority of people who do have the requisite skills and knowledge?

    In the vacuum (similar to the gulf of knowledge between science experts and the general public) it was possible to believe pretty much whatever you wanted to believe.

    Interesting. There’s a “gulf” between science experts and the general public, allowing the general public to “believe pretty much what they want”.

    Yep, for much of the general public that may be true – it is what allows you to claim that “… evidence against CAGW has been steadily mounting for 15 years…” whilst climate scientists see the evidence for AGW mounting steadily (including over the last 15 years), and evidence that its impact will be more serious than previously expected also mounting over the last decade or so (e.g. http://grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-05-the-brutal-logic-of-climate-change/).

  179. “As Maurizio Morabito @ 8 said, alarmists need the ‘C’ in CAGW otherwise it’s BAGW (Benevolent Anthropogenic Global Warming) or BACC (Benevolent Anthropogenic Climate Change) or BACD (Benevolent Anthropogenic Climate Disruption)[/quote]”

    How about ‘On Balance Detrimental AGW’? And I can think of at least a half-dozen others lying along the spectrum.

    Really, this is either one of the dumbest or most cynical false dichotomies I’ve seen you deniers offer, and I’ve seen a lot.

    Btw, can you point to either phrase abbreviated by CAGW/BAGW being used in IPCC reports — i.e, the ‘consensus’ view?

    As for Rutan, he’s demonstrated beautifully that success in one field doesn’t necessarily mean expertise in another. But we knew that already.

  180. Mr Rutan,

    I think I see the problem here.

    You are an engineer, and, as such, primarily interested in applying discoveries in pure science in a practical fashion. But all of your comments, and those of your opponents, have been centred on trying to determine just what our current knowledge of the Earth’s climate might be. In other words, this is still a field of pure science, and NOT an applied one.

    I would characterise the data which have been gathered so far as capable of many interpretations, which is why there can be no end to the technical discussions. The science is certainly not ‘settled’, as many on the pro-warming side would claim. Yet they are trying to behave as if it is.

    It is nugatory to continue to discuss pure science in an engineering fashion – precision is impossible to obtain when the question is really ‘What is going on?’. But there is a way ahead. What should be happening is ‘science’, and my belief is that ‘science’ has not really been applied to the issue of ‘Global Warming/Climate change’

    Popper points out that a key requirement for scientific hypotheses is falsifiability. This is what has been glaringly missing from ‘climate science’. Instead of arguing about the relative merits of different data sets you should have been asking the proponents of AGW what finding would prove their hypothesis wrong. As far as I can tell, nobody has addressed this issue with any rigour, and the defenders of the AGW hypothesis have never accepted that any finding might prove them wrong.

    If this is the case, then what they are doing is not science, and you are wrong to try to examine the data they adduce as proof. What you should be doing is asking them to agree a finding which would falsify their hypothesis, and then consider that. Several such predictions exist – the tropospheric hot-spot and the models predictions are two such. But taking chaotic data sets and looking for proof or disproof in them is an activity which can easily continue from now until doomsday (or the next Ice Age, whichever comes first)…

  181. Carl Brannen wrote : “I’m reminded of the situation in the early 1970s. At that time there was a strong belief in the liberal community (which includes most scientists) that the political system in the USSR, PRoC, Cuba, etc., was not only morally superior to capitalism, but that it provided a better living standard to its subjects, was more advanced technologically, etc.”

    How can you be reminded of something that isn’t true and is only based on your own beliefs ? Maybe you mean that you ‘recall’ thinking such things at that time ?

    And do you have any evidence of that “evidence against CAGW has been steadily mounting for 15 years” ? That would be since 1997 ? And every year since then there has been more and more evidence ? Please provide some if you can.

  182. @Lotharsson

    “Given the mutually exclusive nature of a number of Poptech/Poptart papers with many other papers not found in the list, why do you think the paper in the list should be weighed more strongly than the others? And if you don’t have the skills or knowledge to answer these questions – why are you apparently choosing an answer that goes against the vast majority of people who do have the requisite skills and knowledge?”

    You are not proposing scientific examination here. You are proposing reliance on faith and trust. That is religion.

    Real advances in scientific knowledge can ALWAYS be explained simply. Even something as complex as Einstein’s General Relativity was capable of simple experimental verification. The ‘man in the street’ can easily comprehend Eddington’s 1919 eclipse experiment.

    Where is that level of proof in AGW? Missing. In all cases when an individual ‘proof’, such as the Hockey Stick, is shown to be false, proponents fall back on claims that there are ‘multiple other lines of proof’ which they never detail.

    The problem with ‘climate science’ is that it is not science. It is not falsifiable. It is a belief. That is why it will always be argued over, but never decided.

  183. 188.Lotharsson, February 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm :
    “Poptech/Poptart will also be super-duper-keen that you do not evaluate the total weight of evidence, but rather only look at a carefully selected subset and conclude that’s sufficient evaluation. Have you ever wondered why? What happens when you try to find the most plausible explanation given the total weight of evidence?”

    I shall call you LoTartSon; my son; I hope you understand why. Lotartson, what do you want? The most plausible explanation for the fact that current global temperatures are the same as in 1979 according to UAH? Now, I shall give you my explanation.
    NOTHING RELEVANT TO THE CLIMATE HAPPENED IN THE LAST 33 YEARS.
    Go find a different target for your religious cravings; I suggest joining a religion of your choice; as the climate of the Earth is an entirely dull and non-alarming issue. The planet is just fine.

  184. “Real advances in scientific knowledge can ALWAYS be explained simply”.

    Oh, that’s wonderful. So, because no-one has explained the science of global warming to you in terms simple enough for you to understand, it is not science. I have actually never seen an argument like that before. And comparing two papers and noting that they contradict each other is “religion”? What a remarkable notion of religion.

    Climate science, like all science, is of course falsifiable. And like all science, aspects of it are exceedingly complex and not easy to explain to a layman. And no-one has ever managed to explain anything to a layman who isn’t listening.

    Your insincerity is obvious but just so that you can’t say someone didn’t try, here’s a very very very simple explanation of what we know.

    1. Global surface temperatures are rising
    2. Greenhouse gas concentrations are rising
    3. The greenhouse gases come from fossil fuels
    4. The amount of energy leaving the Earth is measured to be decreasing
    5. The amount of energy radiated downwards by the atmosphere is measured to be increasing

    Therefore, the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations is causing the surface warming.

  185. You are not proposing scientific examination here.

    What tosh!

    I am proposing precisely the process of scientific examination of all the evidence, and pointing out that the people touting this list are not engaging in it (and neither are you based on the evidence available here).

    The appropriate scientific examination here leads to the best explanation for the observed climate system covering all the evidence we have. Scientists have been refining these for decades; lists like this are emphatically not advancing a viable explanation that is superior to those scientific explanations (which is why I asked how one would resolve the fact that parts of the list are incompatible with other parts, and even more seriously incompatible with broader sets of evidence. Assessing it all is a key part of a scientific examination.)

    Real advances in scientific knowledge can ALWAYS be explained simply.

    Wow, that’s a classic fallacy of argument from personal ignorance!

    (And good grief: the people who still think “the Hockey Stick has been shown to be false” really need to catch up to the subsequent research – and try to realise that the concern about AGW remains just as strong even if one tosses out “the Hockey Stick”. It’s just not the linchpin of AGW concern that “skeptics” claim it is.)

    It is not falsifiable.

    Again, the fallacy of argument from deep personal ignorance.

    If you think about it for a second or two from a scientific perspective – or merely Google for it if you don’t have the thinking skills – you can easily find dozens of aspects of climate science that clearly are falsifiable (even if you restrict yourself merely to the claims that anthropogenic influences are leading to significant warming), going all the way back to basics such as “CO2 is transparent to shortwave radiation but absorbs some longwave radiation”. Falsify that and you’ve falsified most of the concern about AGW. Shouldn’t take much – a very simple and quite cheap laboratory setup. Go for it! You should have a blockbuster paper ready to go in about a week. (So why hasn’t anyone done this yet?)

    (And that’s before we point out that the Popper-inspired concept of falsifiability touted by “skeptics” just doesn’t cut it for many branches of science – but they are still scientific fields nevertheless.)

    Let’s also consider your idea from the preceding comment of “asking the proponents of AGW what finding would prove their hypothesis wrong” because you claim this has never been addressed with any rigour. You’ve already seen one answer above – falsify the IR properties of CO2.

    Here’s another answer:

    Provide a climate system model that explains the body of evidence we have at least as well as current models explain it, but which demonstrates that anthropogenic influences have not caused significant warming under that model.

    And consider that key aspects of that goal are precisely what certain climate scientists such as Lindzen have been trying very hard to do for the last decade or two, with no success. Why has Lindzen been trying to falsify something that isn’t falsifiable? Has he lost his scientific marbles (in which case denialists should probably stop quoting him)? Or is he implying to the world that he’s working on falsifying key falsifiable claims of the current best explanation for the climate system observations we have?

    And here’s still another answer:

    Provide evidence strong enough to outweigh all the other evidence which shows that the globe is not warming – which might (for example) consist of demonstrating that all of the direct measurements, indirect measurements and indicators such as biotic indicators showing warming have all been simultaneously subject to systemic bias on the warm side.

    That is precisely what a bunch of “skeptics” (including Rutan’s sources Watts and D’Aleo) have been trying to show for years and years now – with no success. Why have two guys (who like to tout how scientifically rigorous they are) spent all that effort on attempting to falsify something that is not actually falsifiable? Is it that they really are that easily confused by scientific matters (in which case, shouldn’t “skeptics” consider ceasing to quote them as some sort of authority on scientific matters)? Or are they refuting your claim of non-falsifiability by their efforts?

    Take your pick – inquiring minds want to know.

    And (without any sarcasm) please go falsify the prevailing explanations if you are able. Nobel Prizes and fame await anyone who can achieve either of these, and AGW advocates the world over will cheer for you as that would be good news for science and the world.

  186. The most plausible explanation for the fact that current global temperatures are the same as in 1979 according to UAH?

    Another argument from personal ignorance – in this case “climate” (and climate-scale time periods) vs “weather”, and “trends” and the reason why we analyse them rather than pick two points and compare. (But you clearly are acquainted with attempted cherry-picking!)

    And you seem to know something about false claims (although you may have been gullible enough to have seen it somewhere and credulously repeated it): http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/. Dr. Spencer doesn’t appear to agree that global temperatures are the same as they were in 1979 according to UAH even if you cherry-pick by comparing only the endpoints – and the trend analysis doesn’t agree with you either (http://woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/plot/uah/trend).

    Will you change your mind that “the Planet is just fine” and that I have “religious cravings” now that your underlying claim has been shown to be false? Will you at least retract your false claim and the implications you “derived’ from it?

    And will you consider how to improve your process of acquiring beliefs – even if only about the easily checked facts?

  187. “The most plausible explanation for the fact that current global temperatures are the same as in 1979 according to UAH?”

    UAH global mean temperature anomaly in 1979: -0.165
    UAH global mean temperature anomaly in 2011: 0.153

    The most plausible explanation for your failure to do the most basic check before making a claim? I don’t know, you tell me.

  188. @RW

    “…Climate science, like all science, is of course falsifiable. And like all science, aspects of it are exceedingly complex and not easy to explain to a layman. And no-one has ever managed to explain anything to a layman who isn’t listening…”

    I have often seen it ‘explained’. And when I have raised questions about the parts of the explanation which seemed false to me, I have invariably been treated to a diatribe of insult and assertions that I ‘ought’ to believe. If the AGW hypothesis can be falsified, give me an example of what you would take to be falsification. It appears to me that rising CO2 concentrations in conjunction with a flat ‘average atmospheric temperature’ is a pretty good refutation of the key concept.

    “..here’s a very very very simple explanation of what we know.

    1. Global surface temperatures are rising
    2. Greenhouse gas concentrations are rising
    3. The greenhouse gases come from fossil fuels
    4. The amount of energy leaving the Earth is measured to be decreasing
    5. The amount of energy radiated downwards by the atmosphere is measured to be increasing

    Therefore, the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations is causing the surface warming…”

    This is such an amazing response that I feel justified in taking it and spreading it across a few other blogs as a classic example of incoherent AGW tripe. Do you really think that what you have just said ‘proves’ the hypothesis? The most I can extract from this series of assertions is that you believe that correlation equals causation. Even Mann would come up with something better…

  189. Well isn’t that a surprise. You demanded a simple explanation; I had no doubt that whatever anyone wrote would somehow not satisfy you. But your objections were incoherent and you were not able to make clear which aspects you disagreed with.

    “rising CO2 concentrations in conjunction with a flat ‘average atmospheric temperature'” would certainly be evidence against the current understanding (in the absence of volcanic eruptions, low solar activity and other cooling influences). But it seems that you believe this is happening; it isn’t.

  190. #198 Dodgy Geezer, minor corrections to the 5-point list you have quoted will solve it for you:

    1. Global surface temperatures are rising
    2. Greenhouse gas concentrations are rising
    3. The greenhouse gases come from fossil fuels
    4. Greenhouse gases are known to trap longwave infrared radiation; this has been known since Tyndall and Arrhenius. We know the specific wavelengths at which this happens.
    5. The amount of energy leaving the Earth is measured to be decreasing at the specific wavelengths greenhouse gases like CO2 are radiatively active (e.g. Harries 2001, Griggs 2004).
    6. The amount of energy radiated downwards by the atmosphere is measured to be increasing at the specific wavelengths greenhouse gases like CO2 are radiatively active (Philipona 2004, Wang 2009).

    Where is the weakness in this chain?

    Add some of the other GHG fingerprints, like tropospheric warming & stratospheric cooling, winters warming faster than summer, nights faster than days, and skeptics are going to have to work awfully hard to find an alternative explanation for both the physical observations and spatial patterns of warming, and the characteristics of the energy imbalance.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/10-Indicators-of-a-Human-Fingerprint-on-Climate-Change.html

  191. It appears to me that rising CO2 concentrations in conjunction with a flat ‘average atmospheric temperature’ is a pretty good refutation of the key concept.

    To make this argument, you need to demonstrate that you’ve accounted for enough of the other factors that affect global temperature that CO2 can’t be causing warming. Otherwise you can easily deceive yourself.

    By way of analogy, imagine you are driving a car and someone argues that pressing down on the accelerator does NOT cause acceleration. They point to the last three minutes when you transitioned from driving at constant speed at one accelerator level to driving at an even slower speed with stronger use of the accelerator. Do you reply “Don’t be silly, didn’t you notice we went from driving down one hill to driving up another just at the time I pressed harder on the accelerator?” Or do you reply “Wow, so when I think I’m going to end up going too fast down the next hill, I won’t bother taking my lead foot off the accelerator because clearly it has no effect on speed”? (Then add in the effects of the number and mass of passengers, the type of fuel you are using, the friction level of your tires…) Now apply your answer to climate science…

    Furthermore, a prerequisite of accepting the corrected version of your refutation criteria means accepting a whole bunch of climate science that most of your fellow “skeptics” deny (starting with reasonable accuracy of the temperature and CO2 records, and attribution studies and their associated confidence levels – including the effects of El Nino and La Nina). I take it you do?

    Then note that no climate scientist says “more CO2 means temperatures must go up every year, or even every time you compare one year to the year 10 years earlier”. The noise in the system means that even in a climate experiencing an underlying warming trend due to a forcing you expect periods of 10 years or even more where the annual temperatures (weather) don’t visibly increase much, or even decrease a little. That flows from the properties of noisy systems with embedded signals, and is the key reason why climate scientists (in fact, any scientist – or engineer – examining such a noisy system) insists on trend analysis which passes (at a minimum) tests for statistical significance in order to determine whether it is likely that there is an underlying trend in the noisy signal. (And Mr. Rutan should be able to tell you all about this.)

    When we do that trend analysis and take care to require statistical significance, the trend is still up in the most recent portion of the temperature record. So even your flawed proposed refutation criteria does not apply to the recent climate.

  192. Dodgy Geezer wrote : “Real advances in scientific knowledge can ALWAYS be explained simply. Even something as complex as Einstein’s General Relativity was capable of simple experimental verification. The ‘man in the street’ can easily comprehend Eddington’s 1919 eclipse experiment.”

    Firstly, could you explain the principles of the Big Bang Theory and the evolution of the eye simply, please.
    Secondly, although Eddington’s experiment gave backing to the theory that light is influenced by gravity, it wasn’t more firmly established until much later and I’m sure there were many around at the time who dismissed such experiments as not proving anything for definite, in the same was as so-called skeptics do with regard to Global Warming.
    Anyway, Einstein was confident enough to proclaim that he knew he would be proved right so would probably have dismissed any untoward results – no doubt then to be sneered at by those who didn’t want to believe his theory. Sound familiar ?

    Dodgy Geezer also wrote : “In all cases when an individual ‘proof’, such as the Hockey Stick, is shown to be false, proponents fall back on claims that there are ‘multiple other lines of proof’ which they never detail.”

    Asserting all that doesn’t make it true, I’m afraid. The ‘Hockey Stick’ still stands and was in the last IPCC Report. If you want to see more, have a look here or here.

    [Admin: First link fixed and repeat posts for link correction removed.]

  193. It shouldn’t be too surprising that a lot of the people speaking out against CAGW are people (like me) who have been working in biofuels. We’re the ones who had to understand the issues well enough to put together business plans. The latest one is interviewed in Der Spiegel. He worked for the wind turbine maker RePower and was the CEO at the renewable energy group RWE Innology: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,813814,00.html

    When you see rats running away from a ship it’s a sign that it’s sinking. The people who are most deep in any industry know the industry problems best.

  194. I read lots of climate blogs (mainstream and ‘skeptical). I see no evidence that ‘a lot’ of the people speaking out against CAGW ‘ (which is an acryonym made up by ‘skeptics” in the first place) work in biofuels. An n=2 is not convincing. I’d bet that for every ‘running rat’ I could find you two in the renewables industry who accept the mainstream view.

    Besides, you guys have been claiming the ‘ship is sinking’ and ‘it’s the final nail is in the coffin’ for *years* now. And yet climate science marches on. Prestigious scientific organizations continue to endorse the ‘consensus’. The climate trend, still warming. The ice trend, still melting. The stratosphere trend, still cooling (as predicted). IPCC report #5 coming up. I realize shame is beyond you, but don’t you ever feel at least *silly*?

  195. It shouldn’t be too surprising that a lot of the people speaking out against CAGW are people (like me) who have been working in biofuels. We’re the ones who had to understand the issues well enough to put together business plans.

    Epic Logic Fail and Dunning-Kruger-Effect double.

    Firstly, it is ludicrous to argue that people in an industry (that is partly motivated by problems that are identified by a subset of a scientific field such as climate science) have a unique insight into the entire scientific field including the 95+% that is unrelated to their industry. It’s about as credible as claiming that “my optometrist has a unique insight into cosmology because he’s had to understand the issues well enough to put together a business plan”.

    It is especially ludicrous to argue that non-scientists understand science better than scientists – and doubly so because even the link you provided to the Spiegel Online interview demonstrates copious counter-evidence in the instance of Vahrenholt. Not only does he make far more unsupported or outright false scientific claims than supported ones, but the article explicitly points out that his book makes false claims.

    Did you intend to provide a link to a self-refuting post or did you not understand that it undermines your claims?

  196. in fat,

    “[Vahrneholt] has only given the book to one climatologist, Jochem Marotzke, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, to read prior to its publication. Marotzke’s assessment is clear: Vahrenholt represents the standpoints of climate skeptics. “A number of the hypotheses in the book were refuted long ago,” Marotzke claims, but adds, on a self-critical note, that his profession has neglected to explain that global temperatures will not increase uniformly.”

    So, the climate scientists’ biggest sin, according to Marotzke, is that they have somewhat oversimplified the story, while Vahrenholt is retailing multiple long-disproven stories.

    This is supposed to be evidence that the “ship is sinking” for the mainstream view? How delusional is that?

  197. One of the readers of this thread have asked me why I would shove a stick into this beehive. That is actually a good question, since it is clear that those who are skeptical about the theory of dangerous GHG warming from human emissions, have made little progress changing the minds of the Alarmist/Scientist community.

    My reason for throwing my hat in the ring was that I thought the alarmists might learn from looking at a wider variety of data and at my conclusion that the data had not been prevented fairly. Surely they would agree that there is a strong bias in presentations and that the public were being improperly encouraged to believe their conclusions were “incontrovertible”, even when the theories were preliminary; needing additional data to prove.

    However, I have found that this experience has been a learning process for me also. Being exposed to a avalanche of comments from the alarmists has made it clear to me that the cherry picking and bias is evident on both sides of this debate. I was not delighted to find that my failure to do the needed checking resulted in me making a claim to this group that the HadC data showed an average warming rate of the first half of the last 100-yr being higher than the second half. Of course I am embarrassed by that mistake and I hereby apologize for it. The thread has also forced me to carefully look for similar problems in my own presentation. With your help I have identified problems with at least 5 of my slides at rps3.com; I will correct or delete them for the next update. Engineer’s mistakes generally have consequences, so they are usually quick to correct them. Scientists, see little need to correct observed errors, since there is always a possibility that future data might exonerate them on the long path to prove a theory.

    I have found what I did suspect: the large number of scientists working in this huge, growing field, supported by grants, do indeed feel that they should be the only biased participants. They vigorously attack others who do not treat the data fairly and do not seem to find fault when they continue to do the same.

    I also see a need to clarify what I mean when I accuse the community of fraud. I believe that the majority of climate scientists do feel personally comfortable that their work is ethical. They feel that, like Mann, they would not be found to be criminals under the expected scrutiny. However, I believe the major problem with most of the Climate Science group is related to what they do NOT do, rather than what they DO in their specific tasks. To make my point, consider the following claims:
    1. The earth is near a tipping point where human emissions will certainly result in runaway catastrophic warming, mass extinctions and dangerous unprecedented weather events.
    2. The arctic ice will be extinct soon, taking hundreds of species with it.
    3. The greenland and Antarctic land-born ice might be gone this century, flooding half of Florida as well as London and NYC, driving major populations to higher ground.
    4. The earth’s current global temperature and atmospheric CO2 content is unprecedented and its rapid rise is scary. The current deterioration is well in excess of that previously predicted by scientists just a decade ago.
    5. The evidence is incontrovertible: unprecedented global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur.
    6. While other causes might be in play, human emissions are certainly the primary cause of the future climate catastrophe.
    7. 97% of climate scientists strongly agree with the 6 items above.

    Now, I believe there are no climate scientists that would put their name on all the items in the list (Gore not being a scientist, of course) and very few that would agree with more than 5 of them. However, these claims are out there in the media, they show up in new children’s schoolbooks, they are used to encourage immediate action from policy makers, they have influenced Nobel committees and are being used to force many of the world’s economies to accept higher cost energy sources. The costs of this dis-information is astronomical. If there were an equivalent in an engineering field, top engineers would be flocking forward in droves to vocally and immediately correct the record, in order to both protect the credibility of the Engineering Profession and to avert the damage. However, the vast majority of climate scientists are mute, and do not stand up and yell that Gore is wrong. Why? Is it really that important to encourage the growth of the grants? Or is there another reason?

    Well, of course some are standing up. It is not just Prof Ivar Giaever. See:
    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=927b9303-802a-23ad-494b-dccb00b51a12

    It is coming now from many countries who’s scientists have made the decision based on science ethics rather than politics. China, Canada, Russia and others are refusing to hide the truth. Just Monday, it happened in Germany: (http://notrickszone.com/2012/02/06/body-blow-to-german-global-warming-movement-major-media-outlets-unload-on-co2-lies/) and that will likely go mainstream soon.

    Four years ago, as a result of my interface with a customer, I was introduced to and became friends with one of the best known climate scientist alarmists in the world. When we first discussed AGW data fraud he told me that the current situation was nowhere near as disturbing as during the ozone hole scare. Scientists then were denying or withholding publication of data from new sensors that did not fit the agenda of the man-caused ozone depletion scare. Somehow science credibility was protected then in the 70s and 80s. However, the current crop of CAGW alarmists are at more risk, in the internet era.

    Re: the “97% consensus among scientists”. It has been difficult to source this claim. Is this it?
    http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/01/03/lawrence-solomon-97-cooked-stats/

    If so, the answer is probably somewhere between 75/10,257 and 75/77. Of course, the most damaging errors of the consensus claim is that “2,500 IPCC scientists endorsed the report’s conclusions”. However, when the UN was pressured to release the complete comments and recommendations of its in-house scientist reviewers, the data showed only a tiny minority of support for the two main AGW conclusions (see the 3 consensus slides here:
    http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm).

    In conclusion, I think there might be a solution to the gridlock where educated people on both sides of the debate do nothing but pick away at the individual claims of the other side, both throwing around biased data sets. While I did not recognize it back in 2006 when I started my study, it is now apparent that closure is impossible without taking a different approach. Bantering about past data is not working and future data predictions are useless without an agreement of the importance of the results. Thus, I propose the following: I am asking each alarmist climate scientist reading this to answer the following question. “What measurements and results need to occur in the future, in order to have you change your conclusion that human emissions must be reduced to avoid planet catastrophe?” Another way to phrase the question is “Is there measurements that can be made in our lifetimes (I am 68 years old) that would bring you forward to publicly announce that the climate model-predicted planetary crisis alarm from human emissions was wrong and that the new data indicate that it was a mistake?”.

    I submit that it doesn’t take a Rocket Engineer to see that the entire debate cannot reach closure without admitting that a proof is possible and defining what future data could disprove the scientific theory.

    Oh, and do not shy away from the question – that would be admitting that nothing can change your mind, thus taking you out of any useful debate.

    Lookin up…….way up,
    Burt Rutan

  198. I thought the alarmists might learn from looking at a wider variety of data and at my conclusion that the data had not been prevented [sic] fairly.

    Burt, from memory you did not present any data that I had not already seen – and I’m not a climate scientist. On the other hand it seems likely that you haven’t seen the analyses and refutations that I have seen of many of the claims you made – or you did not understand them.

    Scientists, see little need to correct observed errors, since there is always a possibility that future data might exonerate them on the long path to prove a theory.

    That’s both condescending and ignorant. Correcting errors, especially widely accepted ones, gets you major brownie points in science. (And if future data does exonerate them, then the resulting theory is a good explanation and does not ultimately need correction. Your logic fails – perhaps because you’re engaging in binary thinking here rather than dealing with scientific inference to the best available explanation based on the current evidence.)

    You then move on to 7 claims which you appear to imply (a) Gore made (in his film? Or do you have his slideshow or book in mind, or are you merely repeating what you heard and don’t know the source?), and (b) should have been called out as erroneous by climate scientists but weren’t thus demonstrating that climate scientists as a whole are “fraudulent”. Let’s disregard your strange definition of “fraudulent” and your unwillingness to apply the same community standards to “skeptic” outputs, and merely look at just one of the claims for starters:

    3. The greenland and Antarctic land-born ice might be gone this century, flooding half of Florida as well as London and NYC, driving major populations to higher ground.

    Citation needed.

    Given that you appear to be complaining that Gore made these claims and climate scientists didn’t correct him thereby committing “fraud”, it behooves you to firstly demonstrate that Gore made the claim you say he did. It is widely reported – including in blogs such as RealClimate in posts made by climate scientists (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/10/convenient-untruths/) – that despite claims that Gore said this in the film, Gore did not provide any timeframe for this possibility in that work. Heck, even 10 seconds on Google finds an unofficial transcript of the film at http://www.hokeg.dyndns.org/AITruth.htm which includes:

    If Greenland broke up and melted, or if half of Greenland and half of West Antarctica broke up and melted, this is what would happen to the sea level in Florida.

    Notice any really important differences between your “3.” and that quote? Do you agree that the differences matter? (If you can’t see them, do you agree you don’t have the competence to do this analysis?)

    And can you substantiate the actual existence of your “3.” as you claimed? If not, have you been misled and/or insufficiently skeptical? And in that case, what else have you been misled/insufficiently skeptical about?

    It has been difficult to source this claim.

    Well, first you have to make up your mind what the actual claim is. You had a claim numbered “6.” above which says one thing, and now you have “97% consensus of scientists”. (When you say “this claim” you appear to be implying they are both the same claim – but they clearly are not. Again, if you can’t tell the difference you don’t have the skills to be claiming what you claim.) Then you cite Lawrence Solomon who says it is “97% of the world’s climate scientists” which doesn’t match either of the previous versions. Which one do you have in mind, and who do you think made it?

    It’s quite weird that you’re alleging that climate scientists are engaging in fraud, but you can’t decide what claim you think has been made, apparently conflate two vastly different ones, and then throw up your hands and rely on a second hand article you think might be about the original claim rather than finding the article. It took me all of 60 seconds: http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf. Given that you now have the actual source, you might want to revise your allegation by comparing the actual claim with the three you used, and revise your speculation that:

    If so, the answer is probably somewhere between 75/10,257 and 75/77.

    …because that is walking right up to the edge of some form of “data presentation fraud”, or at the very least inexcusably sloppy research.

    (And since you appear to imply “this claim” in some unspecified form was made by Gore, you might want to cite it accurately, lest you appear to engage in misrepresentation of basic facts.)

    Given that you don’t seem to be taking sufficient care in your quotes, let’s take a look at another of your numbered points:

    1. The earth is near a tipping point where human emissions will certainly result in runaway catastrophic warming, mass extinctions and dangerous unprecedented weather events.

    Can you provide a citation, and will it match your claims for where this quote appears and/or who said it? Or will there be significant differences in whatever version you cite, or significant context, that will change the meaning and the accuracy of the statement according to current scientific evidence? (The same can be asked of almost all the 7 claims you made.)

    Just Monday, it happened in Germany…

    And by “it” you apparently mean you agree with Vahrenholt’s claims, even though a large chunk of them have been refuted already or are false claims about what scientists say, and even the Der Spiegel interviewer in the link posted earlier effectively pointed that out? Isn’t the scientist quoted there doing exactly what you argue they should do by calling out Vahrenholt’s incorrect claims? How did you decide that Vahrenholt is right and the scientific consensus is wrong?

    …both throwing around biased data sets…

    You still haven’t demonstrated this, and you apparently haven’t even followed the evidence that puts the lie to many of your earlier claims – including that certain data sets were biased or manipulated.

    …future data predictions are useless without an agreement of the importance of the results.

    Logic fail. Think about it.

    …the entire debate cannot reach closure without admitting that a proof is possible and defining what future data could disprove the scientific theory. Oh, and do not shy away from the question…

    Er…Burt – some possible proofs were addressed by some commenters upthread (try #194, #195, and #199 if read carefully towards the end). Many others have been acknowledged by scientists and non-scientists alike – if you care to go looking. You’re basing your claim on a falsehood. Go, read!

    And let me pose the converse challenge to you: what evidence would it take to persuade you that:

    a) the climate is very likely experiencing a significant warming trend
    b) anthropogenic factors are very likely reponsible for more than (say) 50% of it?

    Feel free to define the confidence level you would like to ascribe to “very likely”. Then compare your answers with the evidence we already have (or even the simplified argument at #200).

  199. Addressing post 209
    First, the data that would persuade me. Unlike you, I am happy to candidly provide a clear answer to both a) and b):

    a) I do believe the satellite atmospheric measurements that have been available since the late 60s, and agree with the accuracy and honesty of the presentations by Dr Spencer. I also believe the Agro buoys sea temperature measurements likely provide and will provide a credible support for conclusions on global warming, although the huge inertia of the oceans will show as very long lags in the response.
    However, I find the data set for measuring surface temperatures to be useless for determining Global Temperature variation for the many documented reasons previously stated. The skeptics are correct to disregard conclusions from those data.
    The problem I have with a) is how each of us may interpret the word “significant”. I of course agree that the last 4 decades have been a general warming, not a cooling period. However, both warming and cooling cycles have routinely occurred during the wonderful post-glacial warm period for the last 11,000+ years. I do not see the recent warming to be “significant”. As I clearly show in my ppt, it is “normal”.
    So to the point, I will agree that warming is really “significant” if it looks unique or can be referred to as “unprecedented” (with a straight face) when the data are fairly presented with historical data as shown on my slide #63, 68, 51, 57, 59, 60 and 62. All those charts are intended to inform, not to deceive. So – plot the future data on an informative chart, and if it looks significant I will be persuaded.

    Referring now to your b).
    Wow, you have found it necessary to lower the threshold to 50%? Again, the public and policy makers think the IPCC has pinpointed Man as the primary cause and believe warming will stop merely by stopping man’s emissions, and this conclusion has not been corrected by the alarmist/scientists.

    Yes, I know it is not fair for me to change your question, so I will answer it as it was stated. I would be persuaded that b) is correct when scientific and engineering studies of the evidence are done fairly considering all known factors for warming, not just anthropogenic. I have looked at a very wide variety of studies and have found that those that conclude that Man is the primary ‘warmer’ are all those who simply disregard many of the other effects. In addition, nearly every study that focuses on a specific non-anthropogenic cause concludes that Man’s emissions are a minor player.
    A simpler way of stating it is I will be persuaded that Man is the primary ‘warmer’ if a majority of impartial (no vested interest) researchers, conclude that Man is the primary cause, while honestly considering the other factors.

    Reading your critique, you again seem to have missed the major point of my post. I am not accusing climate scientists of making the statements. I merely rounded up some statements from what is being taught outside your work and questioned why you are not honestly, publicly coming forward to say that they are wrong. A generation of children, even college students are being taught things that you know are misleading.

    Reading post 194, 195, 199 and 200, I see no answer to my question. Where does it say what evidence would result in the alarmists admitting that CAGW theory is wrong?

    Yes, my question is a difficult one for the mainstream climate scientist. I have been trying to get the answer from a specific scientist for about 4 years now, with no result. It seems as if I am asking “what would have to happen to force you into a different profession?”.

    Re: the 97% consensus claim; do you have a source?

    burt

  200. Burt, thanks for the response.

    First, the data that would persuade me. Unlike you, I am happy to candidly provide a clear answer to both a) and b):

    You may not have understood that my answer was plenty candid, but far less constrained than yours – perhaps because my position is based on inference from all available data, not pre-established tests that may or may not prove feasible.

    However, I find the data set for measuring surface temperatures to be useless for determining Global Temperature variation for the many documented reasons previously stated. The skeptics are correct to disregard conclusions from those data.

    You seem seriously un-/mis-informed on this issue – and critiques of these claims were made upthread (and are easy to find if you care to look) and yet you have apparently ignored them and stuck to your guns. Skeptic … or something else?

    Your slide 52 claims that “station dropout” created a warm bias – and yet there are several published papers and examinations on blogs that refute this.

    Your slide 53 cites the SurfaceStations.org project and its site quality ratings and claims that local siting effects generate a warm bias. And yet, as pointed out above, even Watts’ own paper along with at least two others refutes the claim that siting issues biases the trend warmer – and does so using the SurfaceStations data.

    Your slide 55 claims (for example) that “There has been a bias towards removing higher-latitude and rural stations, leading to a serious overstatement of global warming.” Can you find published papers or online articles that skeptically test this claim – because the ones that I have seen do this find that such a removal biases the trend a little towards cooling.

    Muller et al’s recent methodology (the BEST project) had the strong approval of “skeptics” who expressed all of the reservations about temperature data that you do because they agreed that the methodology would appropriately deal with the issues they raised – right up to the moment the results started coming out showing that their claims were almost entirely unsubstantiated. Do you claim that the BEST methodology just happens to be biased to find an artificially warm trend too? Or does Ockam tell you different?

    In the spirit of not being part of a “fraudulent community” under your own definition thereof, would you care to call out the claims that “skeptics” make about the surface temperature record that you believe are unjustified? Or do you agree with all of them? And would you care to enlighten the rest of us by providing specific claims you currently subscribe to regarding deficiencies in that data, and why? (Your slides – at least the ones I’ve seen on temperature – generally don’t provide reasons but simply assert…)

    And while we’re at it, your slide 56 appears to conflate IPCC surface “forecasts” (disregarding any caveats the IPCC expressed) with lower tropical temperatures to fallaciously conclude that CO2 isn’t causing warming. It also engages in some form of what one might choose to call “data presentation fraud” by fitting a (3rd? 5th?) order polynomial to the data that has no physical basis so that it can “drop” as it heads towards the current year – AND by cherrypicking comparison points rather than analysing trends in the text.

    Burt, you’re regurgitating a whole bunch of denialist memes without applying any apparent skepticism, and you’re engaging in exactly the kinds of “presentation fraud” you deride. Your behaviour would not be acceptable in your professional field.

    The problem I have with a) is how each of us may interpret the word “significant”.

    OK – I was thinking of “large enough and rapid enough” to cause concern.

    However, both warming and cooling cycles have routinely occurred during the wonderful post-glacial warm period for the last 11,000+ years.

    And my care has routinely experienced both accelerating and decelerating cycles during the wonderful last 5 years…but it is a fallacy to infer that therefore all accelerations are routine – and I have a strong suspicion about the current one given that the usual control forces don’t seem to be at play and the lack of road under my wheel since I drove off that cliff is … new. And yet your logic tells me I am safe…

    I do not see the recent warming to be “significant”. As I clearly show in my ppt, it is “normal”.

    Given that you allege surface records are useless for detecting warming, would you elaborate on how you reached this conclusion without relying on them? (And would you care to address critiques of that claim when you first made it upthread?)

    And in my book, and presumably in yours, “normal” means non-anthropogenic and likely not to get much higher. And yet we can and have measured radiative changes due to anthropogenic influences that are in the right ballpark to explain much of the recent warming, and which are entirely consistent with projections that suggest it will get a lot warmer. Calling that normal is like calling my car’s acceleration after falling off the cliff “normal” because it has accelerated that fast in the past.

    So to the point, I will agree that warming is really “significant” if it looks unique or can be referred to as “unprecedented” (with a straight face) when the data are fairly presented with historical data as shown on my slide #63, 68, 51, 57, 59, 60 and 62.

    Sorry, Burt, but you really need to rethink that claim. “Significant” is about rate and size of recent warming AND the implication (drawn not only from the recent warming data, but a whole bunch of science you seem oblivious to) that the warming will keep going.

    Let’s take a look at your argument that current warming is not signficant starting at slide 51. You show 400,000 years of historical temperature reconstruction, draw a tiny red circle at approximately t=0 covering approximately 6000 years of history, and then a tiny line within that circle and then state that:

    The recent 1,000 years? temperatures were completely normal (red line in the
    red circle), among the recent 11,000-year warm period.

    (This sounds just like “data presentation fraud” – you haven’t shown that data on a suitable scale to demonstrate that claim, and you haven’t even cited the data source. One is entitled to wonder if you chose that scale because the picture looks different if you plot the last 1000 years so that people can see it.)

    You go on to claim:

    recent CO2 increase is unusual, but not global temperature – further indication that emissions are not the driver of Global Warming

    (You appear to be arguing this based on the black ovals highlighting the peaks of previous interglacial periods over 400,000 years.)

    Seriously?! Do you simply not realise that inference is a blatant fallacy? You can only make that inference if either (a) all other influences on global temperature are equal at the comparison points, which you (should) know full well if false, or (b) you do the work to back out the other influences and isolate the CO2 influence – which requires accepting a whole bunch of scientific evidence and work that you seem to reject.

    You also appear to have no conception at all that the concern about current warming is based on our current ecosystem which we are quite well adapted to – and which was quite different 125,000 years ago at your first black oval. This concern alone probably trumps all the direct effects because the current rate of warming is very very fast in ecosystem terms – and is set to continue at similar rates.

    Your slide 57 engages in misrepresentation and – yes – something that could be termed “data presentation fraud”. Why fit an apparently quadratic – and certainly unphysical – curve to Vostok ice core data? And would you expect your readers to understand that the two sample points you have used aren’t particularly representative of the entire globe, given the text you have on that slide (and the explicit claim to that effect on slide 58)? Do you hope that readers will falsely draw the inferences that – because other factors caused “wild variances” when CO2 wasn’t changing much – that CO2 cannot be a significant forcing? You would – rightly – fire an engineer who used the same logic in your line of work for being dangerously illogical.

    Your slide 59, from memory, is both blatant cherrypicking and engages in “data presentation fraud”. (And I suspect readers familiar with Monckton’s ouevre will recognise most of the slide). The graph from the 1990 IPCC report was not a historical temperature reconstruction, especially going back to the hypothesised MWP, and subsequent work has superseded it – yet you use the superseded one in the hope that readers won’t know the difference! If I recall correctly as has been discussed on a number of prominent blogs, the Loehle graph conveniently stops before recent strong warming kicked in, perhaps to avoid giving an accurate impression. The whole point of global or hemispherical reconstructions is to combine as much data as we can to avoid being misled by (accidental or deliberate) cherry-picking, or by (accidentally or deliberately) conflating mildly different time periods during which different proxies were warm with a single “period” in the hope that readers will think the whole period was globally warm. And yet you instead cite individual data sets and do NOT cite any of the dozen or more careful reconstructions. Curious readers will be entitled to wonder why you cherry-pick the data.

    Heck, even your slide 68 plotting the Hockey Stick vs individual proxies tries to get readers to draw the wrong conclusion. Firstly it engages in “data presentation fraud” by plotting a (presumably hemispherical) reconstruction against individual proxies and encouraging readers to directly compare the two to draw conclusions. And yet it demonstrates that one should not rely on individual proxies to get a good idea of hemispherical or global temperatures, directly undermining the claims of the slide! (And the double irony is that the slide claims it is “meant to inform”!)

    And throughout all of this, you completely avoid any discussion of the set of forces that affect climate, and what we know about them and how well we know, and what that is likely to mean for the climate future. Curiouser and curiouser…

    All those charts are intended to inform, not to deceive.

    Grade: F.

    So – plot the future data on an informative chart, and if it looks significant I will be persuaded.

    Ah, so you’ll only worry about warming once it’s big enough to persuade you that it is significant. Rather like driving a car looking in the rearview mirror, eh?

    I think we can safely dismiss your scientifically naive concept of “significance”.

    Wow, you have found it necessary to lower the threshold to 50%?

    Nope, I don’t. The term “(say) 50%” means it is somewhat arbitrary and could easily be changed. Feel free to propose whatever threshhold you think is reasonable to motivate serious policy responses.

    Again, the public and policy makers think the IPCC has pinpointed Man as the primary cause…

    …which is accurate (presuming the usual caveats used by scientists and the IPCC and elided by you)…

    …and believe warming will stop merely by stopping man’s emissions,…

    …which is not exactly accurate in ways that undermine your credibility. They believe warming will continue for quite some time even if we stop all emissions, but that if we do so it won’t ultimately get anywhere near as warm as if we don’t.

    …and this conclusion has not been corrected by the alarmist/scientists.

    Perhaps for reasons made obvious above – rather than your hypothesis based on fallacious claims.

    Yes, I know it is not fair for me to change your question, so I will answer it as it was stated. I would be persuaded that b) is correct when scientific and engineering studies of the evidence are done fairly considering all known factors for warming, not just anthropogenic.

    Hmmmm, so all of the published attribution studies simply do not exist? Or you thin they have not been done fairly? Really?

    I have looked at a very wide variety of studies and have found that those that conclude that Man is the primary ‘warmer’ are all those who simply disregard many of the other effects. In addition, nearly every study that focuses on a specific non-anthropogenic cause concludes that Man’s emissions are a minor player.

    Citations please.

    And have you bothered assessing how well those studies stood up after publication? That’s an essential part of the scientific process.

    A simpler way of stating it is I will be persuaded that Man is the primary ‘warmer’ if a majority of impartial (no vested interest) researchers, conclude that Man is the primary cause, while honestly considering the other factors.

    Ah, so it’s down to your personal opinion of the researchers and their motives, not the quality of research. I see that you have deep misconceptions about the scientific method, which explains much.

    Reading your critique, you again seem to have missed the major point of my post. I am not accusing climate scientists of making the statements. I merely rounded up some statements from what is being taught outside your work and questioned why you are not honestly, publicly coming forward to say that they are wrong. A generation of children, even college students are being taught things that you know are misleading.

    Regarding your response, you seem to have missed major points of my post.

    I clearly indicated that I was not a climate scientist.

    I clearly indicated that you were not accusing climate scientists of making those statements.

    And I expressed actual skepticism for your claims – based in part on your past and present errors – and asked for citations. So let me reiterate: do you have any citations for something that is being taught to “a generation of children, even college students” that either I or “climate scientists” actually “know are misleading“? (And if we get that far we can see if it is reasonable to expect scientists to be aware of it and/or condemn it based on its distribution or prominence – and most especially given that you are making a number of claims about the science that scientists strongly disagree with.)

    Reading post 194, 195, 199 and 200, I see no answer to my question. Where does it say what evidence would result in the alarmists admitting that CAGW theory is wrong?

    Read them again. Imagine the evidence that would be required to draw the necessary conclusions when following the scientific method. In particular, as one example, imagine new evidence that would change the results of published attribution studies (which you seem to assert do not exist) so that the relative impact of anthropogenic influences became minor compared to natural ones. (And note this would not change the level of concern about warming if the new attributions led to the expectation of the same rate and scale of warming as we currently expect!)

    This is (if you like) a meta-answer to your question which allows for many possibilities to falsify the current beliefs, i.e. many more degrees of freedom than you seem to allow for in your answer. But to understand that this is so, you have to understand how attribution is performed, and you show no evidence of that here to date. That alone may explain some of your unusual conclusions.

    Re: the 97% consensus claim; do you have a source?

    Read my comment more carefully. I linked to the actual PDF.

  201. Ah, my last edit of #211 did not take :-(

    I noted that Slide 56 claims that “the current temperature is identical to 1979″, encouraging the reader to indulge in a cherry-picked endpoint comparison. And that even if you cherry-pick, it’s now certainly warmer in Jan 2012 than Jan 1979 (see http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/) which reinforces why a competent engineer or scientist looks at trends in noisy signals and tests for statistical significance, rather that comparing two data points.

  202. #210 Burt Rutan,
    You say the data would persuade you. Richard Muller said much the same thing. You know what he did? He got funding from the Koch Brothers and went away and produced perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of the surface temperature record. He started out skeptical of the surface temperature records, then having done the data crunching (which any competent programmer can do in a couple of days with the GHCN dataset), he found that global temperatures were rising just as previously demonstrated by several independent groups of competent scientists, such as those at NASA and CRU. Where is your analysis of data showing that Muller, Perlmutter and others are wrong?

    I have a serious problem with people like you who’ll happily claim that warming and cooling is all due to some fantastical cycle or other. We’re supposed to believe that something nobody has identified as an energy source/sink is mysteriously driving global change, and this just happens to be in the same direction and magnitude as the known forcings from currently understood CO2, volcanic, solar forcing, and (less quantified) aerosol cooling. Trouble is, climate does not change without a forcing. What is the forcing, in watts per square metre, causing the warming of the planet to date?

    Then we’re supposed to think it’s not bad that it’s warming, except we’re rapidly heading out of the envelope of climate that our agriculture has developed to sustain 7 billion people. 1C warming not much? 4C warming is glacial to interglacial, and we’re doing it a whole lot faster than that, and faster CO2 release than the PETM.

    As in my #200, there is a chain of causality and hard evidence that leads us to a single conclusion. There are further multiple lines of evidence from both physics and palaeoclimate that this conclusion will see a ~3C per doubled CO2 warming (e..g Knutti and Hegerl 2008). Another example: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Climate-change-from-40-million-years-ago-shows-climate-sensitivity-to-CO2.html

    Spencer’s had to correct his data more times than you’ve built space rockets, and is still failing to come up with any reason why climate sensitivity should be low:
    http://bit.ly/yPHKa3
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Dessler-2011-Debunks-Roy-Spencer-And-Richard-Lindzen.html

    97% consensus – you’ve already been shown to the Doran study, but you could also read Anderegg et al 2010 for a more detailed study. Both conclude on the 97-98% figure, with more expertise meaning more certainty on the scientific consensus. Think on that:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.abstract
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-many-climate-scientists-are-climate-skeptics.html

    While we’re here, do you still think the ancient Egyptians could cast granite? Or was it aliens, I forget? [http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.07/space_pr.html] I’d take a long, hard look at your brand of “skepticism” and ask yourself why you so often seem to go up against the views of established science. It’s fair enough in your own speciality (aeronautics), but you don’t know the pitfalls outside your own specialism. In the case of climate science, you’re categorically, spectacularly wrong because you appear to wilfully lack the expertise to understand the science you are dismissing.

    Every major national academy and relevant scientific institution agrees on this, but some people have trouble with data when it conflicts with their preconceived beliefs.

    • Quick note. Sometimes it takes a bit to get comments approved and occasionally something legit gets caught in the spam trap. We’ll get to it eventually, and apologies if it takes longer than it should.

  203. Hard to know where to start. There are so many talking points here providing smoke screen ……are you hoping I will be too distracted to focus on the main points being made?

    I will focus only on the new points, since up-thread comments address everything else.
    Again, my focus is on addressing how the alarmists are influencing media, public and policy-makers, not how scientists and engineers influence each other.
    You have given me an “F” without even understanding the point. To demonstrate my point, show two charts to an outsider; The hockey-stick from 2001 IPCC and my slide 63. Then ask them which chart is structured to a) Inform. b) deceive. c) scare.
    It is easy to get the general public to use common sense. It seems impossible for alarmists to do the same.

    While your “strong suspicion” about the current warming cycle seems real to you, it looks Normal to any impartial person using common sense.
    burt

  204. #213 skywalker
    Since a mis-quote in Wired has been used by you to discredit me, I cannot let it go unanswered. My views on UFOs and pyramid manufacturing are often mis-quoted due to a false statement in Wired Magazine that claimed that “Burt thinks the Pyramids were built by aliens”.  For a correct statement of my research in these areas refer to the following links:

    http://www.burtrutan.com/burtrutan/downloads/RutanIntroToJohnAxexanderUFOBook.pdf

    http://www.burtrutan.com/burtrutan/downloads/ObservationsPyramidFabricationTech.pdf

  205. You see, this is exactly the problem, Mr Rutan. Casting of granite (a crystalline silicate that is formed by very slow cooling of magma in the Earth’s crust) by ancient Egyptians is about as plausible as aliens depositing the Pyramids, the Moon landings being faked or the Twin Towers being blown up by the US government. It is revealing that you stick to this as an idea, without providing a mechanism as to how Egyptians (or anyone else for that matter) could melt and then cast a granite slowly enough for large crystals to form. Mundane explanations like the Egyptians carving the tomb from locally-available Aswan Red Granite, or the Earth warming up due to added CO2 as expected from simple physics, are summarily discarded. In neither case do you provide a coherent, scientifically plausible alternative explanation, instead appealing to ‘common sense’ as if it were scientific.

    It’s easy for an engineer not qualified to understand climate science to get the science wrong. Similarly, your average dentist would make a hash of open heart surgery, and I’d built a pretty rubbish rocket. What is less forgivable is the implications of wrongdoing on the part of scientists by those not even competent enough to realise they are repeating very tired old debunked skeptic myths. Current warming is driven by the physics which dictates a positive energy imbalance due to excess GHGs, which is measured and the imbalance just happens to be concentrated in the specific wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation where greenhouse gases like CO2 are radiatively active (e.g. Philipona 2004, Harries 2001). Not only is all this data measured, it was predicted decades ago (even a century ago if you include Arrhenius). Surface temperatures are rising, stratospheric temperatures are falling, glaciers and ice sheets are losing mass, vegetation and species are responding to a warming world, sea level is rising, oceans are acidifying, extreme weather events are rising, all as predicted, some even faster than predicted. Saying it’s not happening is not going to change the physics. Saying it won’t continue is avoiding the physics.

    You’ve avoided dealing with any of the quantitatve critcism provided by Brian Angliss, Lotharsson or anyone else on this thread, I can only conclude that you haven’t done an alternative surface temperature reconstruction like Muller, and you don’t have an alternative mechanism for the rapid warming of Earth we are experiencing, and a mechanism for why CO2 isn’t causing the warming.

  206. “Engineer’s mistakes generally have consequences, so they are usually quick to correct them. Scientists, see little need to correct observed errors, since there is always a possibility that future data might exonerate them on the long path to prove a theory.”

    That is some of the most outrageous bullshit you’ve posted. If you’d really like, I can quote you a huge list of scientific papers which correct observed errors. And I can also give you an enormous list of disasters caused by the shortcomings of engineers. Your remarks are fatuous and offensive.

  207. There are so many talking points here providing smoke screen…

    How ironic for someone who has repeated a plethora of refuted “skeptic” talking points, and failed to defend most of them with evidence when challenged!

    Burt, I’ve barely touched the surface of your “so many talking points” in your presentation. And what I’ve done has been largely working from my limited memory. And I’m not even a highly informed climate scientist, although I know enough to avoid being fooled in many ways that your average audience member would. Imagine what a competent climate scientist would do with your claims!

    You have given me an “F” without even understanding the point.

    No Burt – I understood the point all too well, and clearly better than you. You are either being disingenuous, or you don’t understand the scientific method and how you have abused it, and you have arguably avoided applying even your basic engineering skepticism to the claims your slides are making.

    You produced a chart that (apparently deliberately) misrepresented climate science to unsophisticated audiences in order to get them to draw false conclusions about global warming from the presence of a few carefully cherry-picked local data series. The fallacy here ought to be obvious. Burt, I’m shocked that you appear to be defending the use of local data series to draw conclusions about the globe (or even a hemisphere). If you want to draw conclusions about global (or hemispherical) temperature, you need a careful global or hemispherical reconstruction. This flows straight from principles widely accepted in engineering – let alone in science. Encouraging your audience to directly compare a tiny sample of individual local proxies with a global reconstruction and draw conclusions not justified by the global picture of the data is clearly a form of “data presentation fraud”, whether you claim it is “informing” or not.

    Your goal of informing has failed on slide 63 (and others) because you chose inappropriate data to draw the conclusions you want your audience to draw (and which would probably not be justified by appropriate data choices. If it were justified by appropriate data sources, wouldn’t you have used them in the first place?)

    Again, even though it is getting tiresome, this is clearly a form of “data presentation fraud” on your part. Your chart is clearly structured to deceive the scientifically unsophisticated, despite your claim that it is not.

    Finally, it seems to me that you have your head in the sand in another fashion. The basis for concern (illustrated by, but NOT predicated on, the “Hockey Stick”) is what the science reveals about where the climate is going if we keep forcing it like we have been – and readers who can’t spot the sleight of hand in slide 63 will likely conclude there is no valid concern. You work in a field where understanding where the system is going and keeping it out of undesirable states is highly important. It’s mind-boggling that you apparently refuse to think in the same terms here.

  208. I did enjoy this discussion before it started to resemble a political campaign – yes, the politics of personal destruction. I really did not expect that from S&R.

    This behavior continues to be seen by many in the Climate field. When it becomes a religion, the non-believers have to be slain. Sad state for science, indeed.
    Bye

  209. Mr Rutan, all anyone’s asking for is evidence to support your claims. Robust evidence that is not constructed of old debunked memes. We’d all honestly like to see such evidence. I for one would be utterly delighted to be proven wrong on all my points here, trouble is, I need evidence for that, because I don’t take wild claims on faith. Go on, win the Nobel Prize by demonstrating new physics proving that our existing physics is wrong, and not only that, we don’t have anything to worry about climate-wise from the new physics!

    Scientific discourse is harsh. Poor research is often called bullshit to your face, and other academics will happily take you down a peg or two, if you’re claiming something without sufficient evidence.

    History will show you’re disappearing on being pressed for evidence, having had your flimsy claims soundly refuted. If you think it is “politics” to ask for evidence supporting your various claims, you have an odd view of science, Mr Rutan.

  210. And Burt, while we’re on slide 63 – how is it NOT another form of “data presentation fraud” to elide the confidence intervals from the data series you chose? I bet you wouldn’t find that acceptable in engineering data – especially since you don’t find it acceptable on slide 64 when Gore does it (and I agree with you on that point). You were called out on this earlier and you have ignored it. What does that say about your intellectual integrity?

    I presume (like most of the graphs in your powerpoint) you most likely didn’t generate the graph yourself, since I’ve seen many of them in other places before. Why aren’t you calling out those who did for “data presentation fraud”, and doesn’t your failure to do so render you part of a “fraudulent community”?

    (And that’s before we get into a number of other patently false claims in your slides…and your own failure to follow your principle on slide 6: “present all the data…”).

  211. Ah, Burt executes the “you’re religious and your argument is political and not scientific” gambit, instead of defending actual scientific challenges to his claims with actual scientific evidence.

    Sad indeed.

  212. “Since a mis-quote in Wired has been used by you to discredit me…”

    Supremely ironic. You should have a word with Mann, Trenberth, Santer, Jones on the impact of mis-quotes, after their emails were stolen and quote-mined. I would assume thus that you would never condone words being taken out of context and used against a person?

    Except in #150, that is explicitly what you condone…

  213. “the politics of personal destruction”

    Your personal destruction is a direct result of your own gross intellectual dishonesty, such as is seen in this very comment.

  214. Lotharrson, your careful and detailed post in #211, which must have taken a great amount of your time to prepare, was dismissed so rudely and dishonestly that it boggles the mind that someone could be so low and foul a human being as Mr. Rutan, but this seems to be par for the course among the deniers and so-called “skeptics”, as every single post by them here is uninformed, illogical, and dishonest. Is anything truly achieved by taking such care to refute their mistaken claims and lies?

  215. Marcel, sometimes the achievement can be in the minds of onlookers who see that the simple confident story being heavily promoted has gaping holes once you know where to look, and that whilst the proclaimant talks the talk he does not walk the walk.

    In Burt’s case he has come to realise that he has made at least one mistake in a very simple claim about the data (that he simultaneously dismisses as useless), which (sad to say) puts him streets ahead of the average denialist. So these posts may have achieved the planting of a small seed of skepticism about some of his other (simple or complex) claims, although it could take a long time to flower.

    (Or not. Which is far more likely.)

    But at times I am motivated to try.

    • Burt,

      I’m sorry that I was unable to take part in this last exchange between yourself and Lotharsson et al. Sometimes my engineering day job prevents me from responding in a timely fashion. I’m sure you understand. However, I would still like to respond to your comment #208 above.

      First, allow me to thank you for acknowledging your error with respect to the HadCRUT data you posted in your comment #150. As far as I’m concerned, there is no need to apologize – everyone makes mistakes. Just yesterday we had an example of a scientist who projected that Himalayan glaciers were losing ice at an an amazing rate correcting himself and cutting his own mass loss estimate by 30%. That’s an example of science at work – when a scientist makes a mistake, he or she acknowledges it and then moves forward from the point of the correction. That’s the best approach for an engineer as well, IMO.

      As for the errors you identified in your presentation (version 4.3 from January 2011, I presume), would you be so kind as to indicate in what slides you identified errors? I’m going through the slides in detail myself at present and don’t want to get sidetracked by anything you’ve already identified as a mistake. Were the lack of error bars on your 20 proxy graphs on slides 59 through 63 and your inconsistent accusations of “data presentation fraud” included in the errors you identified in your presentation?

      In a related note, there are a great many graphs from your presentation that do not have sources attached to them or to the slide notes. Do you have a list of where you got the various graphs? For example, there’s no source for the upper left graph of CO2 measurements on slide 18. I’m sure that I can track the original paper down, but if you have a reference for the original, that would be much simpler. Might I also suggest that you consider defining where the data or graphs come from for all of them in your next version? Doing so makes it much easier for other interested parties to investigate your data and claims.

      Second, did you mean to shift from claiming that scientists like Mike Mann were guilty of fraud to claiming that they are behaving unethically because they refuse to publicly reject claims with which they personally disagree? Because that’s essentially what you did when you wrote

      I believe that the majority of climate scientists do feel personally comfortable that their work is ethical. They feel that, like Mann, they would not be found to be criminals under the expected scrutiny. However, I believe the major problem with most of the Climate Science group is related to what they do NOT do, rather than what they DO in their specific tasks.

      If you no longer feel that Mann, Trenberth, Jones, and others are doing fraudulent research or presenting their results in a fraudulent fashion, then that is wonderful news. I look forward to seeing those accusations removed from your next revision of your January 2011 paper and hearing that you have publicly apologized to them for accusing them of fraud.

      Third, with respect to your seven claims, I have to come back to something I asked of others in this thread – what is your definition of “catastrophic” as applied to climate disruption? Is it Venus-style runaway warming (which I think we can both agree would certainly be catastrophic), or would you consider a few meters of sea level rise turning several hundred million people into refugees “catastrophic?” It’s a nebulous term, and I’d like to understand your use of it better. While we’re at it, how are you meaning to use “unprecedented?” Unprecedented in human history is very different from unprecedented in geologic time, after all, and we don’t want there to be any confusion on this issue if it can be avoided.

      I suspect that you are correct that few scientists would agree with all seven of your claims. I would propose, however, that several of the claims as written could be mutually incompatible, such as claims #1 and #5 – #1 seems to imply a higher level of “catastrophe” than does #5. Furthermore, I propose that there is significant disagreement on the various levels of threat to humanity, and that public disagreements among scientists (and the media’s financial interest in generating controversy) is part of why this issue is so confusing to members of the public. There are very few scientists who take seriously the idea that the Earth could come to resemble Venus, for example, and many who have publicly rejected the idea.

      But the main reason that you don’t hear about scientists rejecting your seven claims is that, as you’ve written them, most scientists would either agree with them or would claim that they lack sufficient expertise to agree or disagree. Simply because you feel that these seven claims qualify as “disinformation” doesn’t mean that the mass of climate scientists and actual experts agree with you. And the fact is that scientists see nuances where no-one, not even us engineers, see it. If you asked a scientist what the ideal global average temperature would be, they’d hem and haw and demand you to clarify what species you’re talking about, what part of the world, and that sort of thing. The same is true of each of your statements – a scientist could agree or disagree with all of them simply by mentally adding nuances or refusing to nuance the statements.

      Fourth, there was a point in late 2006 and 2007 when there was some question about whether CFCs were causing the ozone hole. Qing-Bin Lu went so far as to suggest that it was all cosmic rays and, based on his modeling, predicted that the ozone hole would be the largest in 2008 and 2009. The data from 2008 and 2009 disproved Lu’s predictions (link) and more recent laboratory research has provided significant additional evidence that CFCs were, and still are, the dominant factors in the ozone hole (paper and references).

      Fifth, you still have not addressed the other inconsistencies I identified. You haven’t said whether you agree or not about my characterization of what a biased hacker could extract from 0.1% of Scaled Composites’ emails. You haven’t apologized for smearing me with ad hominem attacks that are, in my opinion, unbecoming of a professional. I’ve addressed your criticisms several times now, including answering direct questions you’ve asked, but you have yet to reciprocate.

      Finally, you ask what kind of evidence it would take for me to change my mind. It would take the predominance of evidence to shift from CO2 as the dominant factor to something else. Or it would take an alternate theory that fits all the observations better than the existing theory does. To his credit, Richard Lindzen is trying to do this very thing, but thus far his iris hypothesis doesn’t fit all the observations better than CO2-driven climate change does. The same is true of “we’re just recovering from the LIA” and “It’s planetary cycles” hypotheses – each fails to explain critical components of how the Earth’s climate is changing. And some versions aren’t even internally consistent, never mind consistent with real world observations.

      In conclusion, I’m still waiting for you to address the many points I’ve made and that you have largely ignored. It’s hard to have much of a discussion when only one party to the discussion is willing to engage substantively.

  216. I see a need to put this discussion in perspective, since as it has grossly degenerated.

    First a brief sketch of what has happened. Driven by Hanson’s congressional testimony in 1988 and his claim that he was being suppressed, an enormous public campaign was begun well before the theory was supported by data. The Scientific Method was initially ignored, likely because doing so resulted in extensive funding for those in climate science. Some noted that the scientist’s consensus was not being accurately reflected in the IPCC summary reports, but nearly all the scientists remained mute.

    The campaign peaked in 2001 when the hockey stick was published. A brilliant accomplishment, showing that the recent hot MWP could be ignored; it was just a “local european event”, and thus the earth as a whole was undergoing unprecedented, dangerous warming that might soon reach a tipping point that could drive us to destruction. This was particularly scary, because of the inferred claim that the earth had been nice and stable before the extensive burning of fossil fuels. The claimed problem was so great that it caught the attention of diverse groups including policy-makers, Nobel committees and even Hollywood. As the hysteria became more mainstream, the science grants flourished to levels never experienced, worldwide.

    But the hysteria also brought out a few intelligent people curious to see what was behind the claims. A few scientists, engineers, accountants, statisticians, meteorologists, and just plain folks noticed that something was very wrong. Had they been provided freely with the data and the analysis, and had it looked reasonable the campaign might have accelerated. However, their requests were met with comments like “why should I give you my data, if you are only trying to find something wrong with it?”. Then, some of them admitted that the raw data had been (accidentally?) destroyed, and only modified data were available. That is what initially caught my attention, knowing that despite the fact that I was not a Climate Scientist I could still get an idea about what was happening.

    I started by looking at raw data, then by looking at how it had been modified. I almost got bored, but was drawn back in when it became obvious that there was a clear IPCC intent seemingly supported by the scientists themselves, to paint a fraudulent picture of past temperatures by the strange structuring of the hokey-stick chart – it inferred a stable past temperature, but I knew it had been naturally oscillatory.

    I looked first at the Vostok core data and found that the current warm period was far more stable that all others going back nearly 500k years and that all the other warm periods had been hotter than the current. I was hooked, this would be a fun hobby, maybe more that the study of pyramid building (Oh, BTW, i found evidence, some very compelling, of casting of limestone and harder rock. That was evidence only, I do not claim to know HOW it might have been done. Google it, I am not alone in gathering these data).

    Yes, I did mix localized specific data in with the hockey-stick data in my slide titled “Oh, I bet you were wondering” (slide 68 from rps3.com. See slide 63 for the color table). It certainly did not seem “fraudulent” to me to draw attention to the clear fraud of the hockey team that was clearly hiding the MWP, the LIA and ignoring the Roman warming, the Minoan Warming, the other 5 similar warmings and about 30 smaller “warmings” similar to the 1960-1998 “warming” during the last 11k years. It seemed to me that they were intentionally attempting to get the reader to conclude that the current warming was unusual and even unprecedented. Whether or not they intended that, they clearly succeeded.

    In addition to the ‘localized’ data that I used, in spite of the alarmists’ attempts to hide and discredit it, there is now scientific evidence of many other ‘local’ events, happening globally. The attempts to confine the MWP to Europe are thereby exposed. Hundreds of studies at diverse local sites throughout the globe are exposing this mistake (fraud?):

    http://joannenova.com.au/2009/12/fraudulent-hockey-sticks-and-hidden-data/

    Yes, most claims in my posts have not included sourcing or details. That is required of course when addressing the naive, but you scientists should know the sources. Since you seem to not want to admit it in this thread, I will list a few of the them here. These primarily focus to disprove the 2001 panic claim that recent warming was unique and that the MWP was only local Europe. This issue is extraordinarily important, since the hockey-team’s fraud was the primary lever for moving the panic theme on to the Media and then to the attempts to disrupt affordable energy worldwide:

    Confidence of the models:
    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2011/09/06/new-paper-models-continue-to-show-too-much-recent-warming/

    German peat bogs:
    http://www.clim-past.net/7/1011/2011/cp-7-1011-2011.pdf

    Tibet:
    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/12/chinese-2485-year-tree-ring-study-shows-shows-sun-controls-climate-temps-will-cool-til-2068/

    Switzerland Roman Warm Period:
    http://www.co2science.org/articles/V14/N41/C3.php

    US, Canada Australia. pg 10 at:
    http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/uploads/media/How_natural.pdf

    Atlantic ocean:
    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2011/12/new-paper-finds-significant-cooling-of.html

    South America:
    http://nipccreport.org/articles/2011/dec/14dec2011a4.html

    Portugal:
    http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c01539321f5e3970b-pi
    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/studies/l1_portoportugal.php

    Europe. pg 8 & 12 at:
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1110.1841.pdf

    Antarctica:
    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/studies/l2_victoriaglacier.php

    Iceland lake:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379111001727

    Subarctic seas:
    http://bit.ly/zEKAaO

    Greenland summit:
    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/studies/l1_gisp2summit.php
    http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c016301233ed2970d-pi

    Patagonian ice fields:
    http://notrickszone.com/2011/10/16/tree-rings-show-little-ice-age-and-medieval-warm-period-were-global/

    Middle East sediment cores:
    http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/studies/l2_rumailiah.php

    Dozens of world locations:
    http://climategate.nl/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Lunqvistgeografie.pdf

    Again I ask; why are the climate scientists as a group, mute? Why do most of them still defend the discredited hockey stick, even after the IPCC removed it in 2007?

    I previously mentioned that there is surprising behavior in the climate science community. After the recent attacks I have to conclude it is not surprising at all. It certainly makes no sense to call me fraudulent by mixing localized climate data to draw attention to a public that had been convinced that there had not even been a warm recent past, just to draw attention to the real fraud; hiding the past warmings in the first place!

    Why am I not now surprised? The behavior should be totally expected by this group of educated competent, eloquent professionals that are now realizing that they made a terrible mistake. It did not look much like a mistake as they enjoyed the world’s accolades and as the grants rose exponentially. The climate scientists became the new world heroes. Every bad weather event was being ‘blamed’ on AGW. The climate scientists will save us from disaster! They have built a reputation that they now have to protect at all costs.

    I expect that future postings to this thread will again attack the data and sources I have referenced. You, of course have to attack them, right or wrong. You see my slide 63 and 68 as a extreme problem because anyone can tell at a glance that there is something very wrong with the CAGW theme you have promoted for 24 years. Just like the hockey stick chart in 2001, they are easily understood by the layman. Can fraud be found with both? Yes, climate scientists did find “fraud” with 63/68, up-thread. However, my including non-Mann/Briffa data along with those data is not a fraud that could discredit my profession or land me in jail. My charts do not support a hoax that can result in worldwide disruption of economies, increases in energy costs, starvation, wealth distribution, etc. When I said the slides are intended to inform, I really should have said they were intended to reveal. They have indeed done that, or you would not see the need to attack me at the end of my significant and successful career.

    I ask that before you continue your attack, do you really want to continue the attempts to hide the past warming? Do you really think you can still preserve the theme of panic by mainstream press and coastal elites to be foisted on the public and policymakers as “consensus” science, if the earth continues to cool while emissions increase? Do you really think the public will not notice that you are now not acting like scientists using the Scientific Method?

    In your attacks, you have noted that I am not following the Scientific Method. The claim is true, of course. I am not practicing Science, and have never claimed to be capable or to have even tried to do so. What is humorous about your S M statements is that as soon as the skeptics started to come forward, their main point was that the Climate Scientists were ignoring the proper Scientific Method. Their failure to do so has been documented at length, making it silly that you reflect the issue back to me, a non-scientist! I really do not think you want outsiders judging the IPCC team of following the S M. Go there; I will warm up the popcorn machine….that one will be entertaining to watch.

    I believe the climate scientist community’s biggest mistake was ignoring the effects of cloud formation and precipitation. A good excuse, of course is that cloud formation is so chaotic that it cannot be modeled; thus there is no way to fairly include it in the models. Fair enough, but the fraud was not saying so – not saying that the models could be wrong because of an inability to model chaos.
    http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/oceanography/ocean-earth-system/ocean-water-cycle/
    http://joannenova.com.au/2009/12/clouds-dominate-everything/

    I see that someone thought that my list of 7 were claims by me! Read more carefully. I was listing things that were being said and believed outside of the communities of science and skeptics, in order to ask why the science group is not coming out to say that they are wrong.

    Maybe I am missing it, but I still cannot find an answer in this thread to my question of what would have to happen for you to admit you were wrong. I could be wrong, but I doubt that you can just wait it out, pray for warming and hope that current trends and new studies might leave doubt in the public’s minds during your lifetimes. Again, what new data and new science would bring you forward to admit in public that CAGW due human emissions has been disproven?
    ……I just now read post 228. No specifics on data, but there is an answer to my big question, thank you.

    Burt

    [Admin: the original post was held for moderation as possible comment spam due to the large number of links you included. We've cleared it and deleted the duplicates.]

  217. Thanks Brian for calling out Burt’s apparent goalpost shift from “scientists’ work is fraudulent” to “their failure to call out false claims being taught to unspecified students is fraudulent”. I was planning on going there if and when Burt substantiated his allegation that his 7 numbered statements are actually being taught. I also suspect that viewers of his PowerPoint would get an impression much closer to “scientists’ work is fraudulent” which raises interesting questions.

    And I appreciate skywatcher’s careful analysis of how the strawmen in all 7 statements have been constructed. I was initially surprised that Burt thought that reputable climate scientists might agree to as many as 5 of them as written, given that they mostly appear to be caricatures of actual scientific claims but shorn of key caveats and qualifiers that heavily constrain the meaning. I struggled to find any one that I thought would be accepted as is. The closest I got was to suppose that certain key terms might be interpreted by scientists in a way that most likely doesn’t match Burt’s interpretations – but then, that’s not exactly agreement with (Burt’s understanding of) the claim, is it?

  218. Pingback: Surrounded by people “educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought” | Scholars and Rogues

  219. Why do most of them still defend the discredited hockey stick, even after the IPCC removed it in 2007?

    Burt, you checked for yourself this is true, right? I mean, you checked even the basic claim that “it was removed in 2007″ by looking at the IPCC AR4, right? (I presume you will consider “MBH 1999″ to be included under the designation “The Hockey Stick”.) So I take it you’ve visited http://ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-6.html and seen for yourself that the IPCC removed it from the AR4 Synthesis Report published in 2007? And you specifically examined Fig. 6.10 in order to do so? And when you did, what did you find?

    (And all of this is ignoring your claim that “the hockey stick is discredited”, which is difficult to substantiate – and would not change the conclusions of climate science in any significant way, given the other broadly hockey-stick shaped reconstructions published since 1998 that appear in Fig. 6.10.)

    Burt, if you got this basic “removal” claim wrong, what should readers conclude about the likely veracity of your other claims, especially since you imply people should believe you because you are applying your engineering skills to the issues, and that you are better at getting to the facts and communicating them (by than (say) the scientists or those who communicate about science?

    And if you still think you didn’t get that claim wrong – what exactly did you mean by your claim, and how does it square with the IPCC AR4 reports and the implication that the IPCC thinks “the hockey stick” is discredited?

  220. [Admin: We apologize for the deletion of your post, skywatcher. It was unintentional. We have located a copy of it and reposted it below.]

    I see that my post noting the seven points of Rutan (that he claims are out there being used to misinform have disappeared) are all strawmen, has disappeared. You see, if these claims exist and are as widespread as Mr Rutan claims, he would surely have provided sources for those claims? Some possible falsifications ways were in that post too. Not to worry.

    Rutan has come up with nothing new. You see, if he was aware of the current state of palaeoclimate science, he would realise that nobody tried to make the LIA and MWP “disappear”, in fact, most NH and global reconstructions have Medieval times broadly a little warmer than LIA times (see SkS link below). To keep claiming this falsehood is really quite offensive, especially when the claim is not supported. Why we don’t consider the MWP a big global event is that “MWPs” appear to have happened in many places between about 800AD and 1400AD, but not all at the same time. Mr Rutan seems to have no idea about the implications of different warm events at different places and different times, regional variations in climate, quite pronounced in Europe, but variations leading to a much more muted signal on a global scale. He likes the word “fraud”, but hasn’t put in the hard yards to develop a global temperature reconstruction from proxy data to determine if this is remotely warranted. Instead he parrots stuff he read on the Internet.

    Multiple reconstructions showing MWP-LIA shifts:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/IPCC-Medieval-Warm-Period.htm

    He has even less idea about the implications of a warm MWP, which are that climate sensitivity is higher than expected.

    • 1. The earth is near a tipping point where human emissions will certainly result in runaway catastrophic warming, mass extinctions and dangerous unprecedented weather events.

      Strawman. The phrase “runaway catastrophic warming” is almost nowhere to be found in the scientific literature. A mass extinction is already happening, but few extinctions have been attributed to AGW. This is expected to change in a world warmed by multiple degrees C. Dangerous weather events are on the rise already, see Hansen et al 2011 and Munich Re data on geological vs weatehr disasters.

      2. The arctic ice will be extinct soon, taking hundreds of species with it.

      Strawman. Soon, arctic ice in September will disappear (within a few decades, possibly less), and more gradually at some other times of the year. The concern about Arctic ice is more albedo-related than species-related, though some species will have real challenges for survival.

      3. The greenland and Antarctic land-born ice might be gone this century, flooding half of Florida as well as London and NYC, driving major populations to higher ground.

      Absolute strawman, this specific prediction has not been made by any practising scientists. Large melting on the ice caps is a major concern, but total loss will take a lot longer than 100 years. Rapid sea level rises on account of ice sheet accelerations are plausible, see Meltwater Pulse 1A (20m in ~200 years), but not imminently forecast.

      4. The earth’s current global temperature and atmospheric CO2 content is unprecedented and its rapid rise is scary. The current deterioration is well in excess of that previously predicted by scientists just a decade ago.

      “unprecedented” is the word that makes this a strawman too. Geologically unprecedented? Human history/agriculture unprecedented? Industrialised humans unprecedented? Does it even have to be unprecedented to be a serious concern? Temperatures have been higher in the distant past due to different causes, but the concern comes from the rapid rise in temperatures, and the very high likelihood that this rise will continue, given its present cause. It’s not just going to magically start cooling, we need to curb our emissions before that’s even possible. Global temperatures are not in excess of those projected a decade ago so the second statement is also in error (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/02/2011-updates-to-model-data-comparisons/) – there are good reasons for this, but ice loss is indeed in excess.

      5. The evidence is incontrovertible: unprecedented global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur.

      “incontrovertible” and “unprecedented” set up yet another strawman here. Unprecedented is as above, and incontrovertible is simply unscientific. Neither relativity or gravity are “incontrovertible”, they are just very well verified, and the same can be said for the consilience of evidence that leads us to our understanding of Earth’s climate. It can be falsified: e.g. actually sustained falling global temperatures in contrast to the actions of curerntly understood forcings, finding that CO2 is not radiatively active in the atmosphere, finding the warming is coming from another source, or finding a sustained negative energy balance for Earth. You’ll have to work very hard to explain all the evidence yet not come up with radiatively active GHGs driving the current warming. Your second sentence in (5) is accurate.

      6. While other causes might be in play, human emissions are certainly the primary cause of the future climate catastrophe.

      So nearly not a strawman, but you couldn’t resist throwing in the skeptic alarmist word “catastrophe” in at the end. Human emissions are the cause of the current rapid warming, dominating other factors such as the Sun (which should be driving a cooling presently). What happens in the future depends on our emissions choices.

      7. 97% of climate scientists strongly agree with the 6 items above.

      Seeing as all 6 items are strawmen, you’ll find very few climate scientists who agree with even one of those points, hence you have created your seventh and final strawman.

      I cannot unreservedly agree with even one of your seven points, as they are all strawmen, yet I can certainly agree with the 97% of climate scientists who answered the following Doran question in the affirmative:

      “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

      I can also agree with the 97-98% of climate scientists who, according to Anderegg et al (2010), agree with the principles as laid out by the IPCC. All the world’s national science academies also share this view.

      • Burt,

        Let me first thank you for providing links to a number of sources for some of your prior claims in your latest comment (#229). It’s not clear to me from the links whether or not they’re in response to other comments or to my request for source for your January 2011 presentation, however. But I’m certain that at least some of those links will get me back to some of the graphs and then, from there, back to the original papers and data, citations, and the like. And given that you issued a number of challenges that I interpreted as “go find the data yourself and tell us what you find,” I’m going back to the original sources, not even the sources as filtered by Jo Nova, the Edsos, the NIPCC report, et al. When in doubt, look at the actual data yourself is one of the mantras I live by as an electrical engineer.

        The story you tell about Hansen and the hockey stick is an interesting personal narrative, but I’m curious why you seem to buy into the “it’s all about the research grants” meme. There is so little money in climate science in general that any scientist who goes into climate research for the money should have his or her head examined. I did a study on the money involved in climate science vs. the money involved in fossil fuel related industries and found that any money-motivated scientist was better off working for industry than laboring away as a government or academic scientist. Most of the billions of dollars you refer to is in the US, and most of that is for satellites, not grants to individual researchers.

        Not only that, but when I looked at whether or not Pennsylvania State University had a financial interest in protecting Mike Mann after the CRU hack, I found that Mann had brought in so little grant money into the university that the risk to Penn State’s reputation (and thus future grants) was far greater if they whitewashed Mann’s inquiry and investigation.

        I understand that you want to believe that the original hockey stick was discredited, but that simply isn’t true. It has been replicated by others not associated with Mann, both with and without tree ring proxies, and was in the IPCC AR4 WG1 as figure 6.10. It’s not a global graph, however – it’s only for the northern hemisphere.

        Science moves on as new information is learned, and old data is replaced or augmented with new data, better measurement and statistical techniques. This has happened with the hockey stick – the work of Mann, Bradley, and Hughes in the late 1990s has been superseded by newer and better work.

        Burt, you don’t get to claim the mantle of engineer and yet claim you know nothing of the scientific method. That would be like a fish not claiming it knew how to swim. Engineers live and breath the scientific method every time they debug a circuit or analyze a failed strut – we take measurements, formulate a hypothesis about what happened, and conduct tests to determine if our hypothesis is correct, incorrect, or partially correct. Furthermore, as an EE, I use models for many of those tests instead of physical hardware. This is often necessary because the physical hardware may be in orbit, or because the customer may have restricted contact with the hardware for any number of reasons.

        In fact, it’s my experience with modeling that has given me such a level of respect for the results of climate models – all models are garbage in, garbage out, but when they’re based on solid physics and carefully vetted and verified, model outputs are extremely persuasive to the most skeptical customer. In fact, it’s my experience modeling stochastic processes and noise (which are inherently chaotic systems that cannot be directly modeled except as probability functions) that informs this next statement: climate models can, and do, model cloud formation. Not well, and with extreme simplification, but clouds are modeled.

        I’m sorry that you feel that you’re being attacked, Burt. But no-one here asked you to leverage your well earned celebrity to push incorrect and misleading information about human-caused climate disruption to the Wall Street Journal, Wattsupwiththat, or Scholars & Rogues. No-one here asked you to claim, based on your 46 years of experience as an aeronautical engineer, that you knew better than the actual scientists how to interpret their data so that it wasn’t biased or “fraudulent.” It’s no one’s fault but yours that you have failed to address the many inconsistencies that I’ve pointed out, or substantively rebut the many arguments that I’ve made.

        No one likes being attacked, Burt, but sometimes it’s our own fault when it happens.

        As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m going through your January 2011 presentation closely, and I’m finding many examples of what I consider to be errors, misleading information, and unusual decisions you made a you prepared it. I’ve also found that there are dozens of images and claims you make that I don’t know the source of. Perhaps once I’ve finished researching all your claims and tracking down all the sources you neglected to identify we can try to have another discussion. With luck, that one represent an actual exchange of information between us and also be more fruitful than this one has been.

  221. “First a brief sketch of what has happened. Driven by Hanson’s congressional testimony in 1988 and his claim that he was being suppressed, an enormous public campaign was begun well before the theory was supported by data. The Scientific Method was initially ignored, likely because doing so resulted in extensive funding for those in climate science. Some noted that the scientist’s consensus was not being accurately reflected in the IPCC summary reports, but nearly all the scientists remained mute.”

    What you have described here bears no resemblance to reality.

    “The campaign peaked in 2001 when the hockey stick was published.”

    Mann et al’s first paper on the so-called hockey stick was published in 1998.

    “As the hysteria became more mainstream, the science grants flourished to levels never experienced, worldwide.”

    You might have felt hysterical; most people didn’t. Please quote some figures and some sources for your claims about grants.

    “it became obvious that there was a clear IPCC intent seemingly supported by the scientists themselves, to paint a fraudulent picture of past temperatures by the strange structuring of the hokey-stick chart – it inferred a stable past temperature, but I knew it had been naturally oscillatory.”

    How did you know that? Just through some kind of amazing climate intuition?

    “the clear fraud of the hockey team that was clearly hiding the MWP, the LIA and ignoring the Roman warming, the Minoan Warming, the other 5 similar warmings and about 30 smaller “warmings” similar to the 1960-1998 “warming” during the last 11k years.”

    I’d want unassailable evidence on my side before making such a clearly potentially libellous statement. Also you seem not to realise that the Mann et al. 1998 paper only reconstructed temperatures back to 1400AD.

    “It seemed to me that they were intentionally attempting to get the reader to conclude that the current warming was unusual and even unprecedented. Whether or not they intended that, they clearly succeeded.”

    If their data showed exactly that, why would they attempt to get the reader to conclude anything else? You seem to think that your own preconceived notions of climate history somehow trump all the actual data.

    “Hundreds of studies at diverse local sites throughout the globe are exposing this mistake (fraud?)”

    Again the libellous accusations.

    “Yes, most claims in my posts have not included sourcing or details. That is required of course when addressing the naive, but you scientists should know the sources.”

    That is a truly lame attempt to justify poor sourcing. Scientific papers, if you ever read them, are full of references. Scientists are not, in fact, able to guess your sources, especially when you misrepresent them.

    “the hockey-team’s fraud”

    Once more, libellous accusations.

    “attempts to disrupt affordable energy worldwide:”

    What?

    Your long list of sources contained just one article from the actual scientific literature. The rest were blog posts. If you do not care to inform yourself properly, your opinion is not worth sharing.

    “Again I ask; why are the climate scientists as a group, mute? Why do most of them still defend the discredited hockey stick, even after the IPCC removed it in 2007?”

    What could be the motivation for you to say something so trivially proven to be false?
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-6-10.html

    “I expect that future postings to this thread will again attack the data and sources I have referenced.”

    Your sources are mainly advocacy blogs. These are not good sources of scientific information. Your beliefs find no support in the scientific literature.

    “When I said the slides are intended to inform, I really should have said they were intended to reveal. They have indeed done that, or you would not see the need to attack me at the end of my significant and successful career.”

    How astonishingly arrogant.

    “I believe the climate scientist community’s biggest mistake was ignoring the effects of cloud formation and precipitation.”

    Again you demonstrate a breathtaking ignorance of the scientific literature. These things were never ignored. To claim that they were is just bizarre.

    “Maybe I am missing it, but I still cannot find an answer in this thread to my question of what would have to happen for you to admit you were wrong.”

    Have the basic courtesy to read properly before making such statements; your question has been answered many times.

  222. “What could be the motivation for you to say something so trivially proven to be false?”

    Immense arrogance, ignorance, cognitive dissonance, intellectual dishonesty, and stunning intellectual incompetence.

    Rutan asks the same question — one might call it the Dunning-Kruger Question — that Creationists often ask evolutionary biologists: what would it take for them the change their minds? The first requirement would be severe brain damage causing us to forget the massive accumulated supporting evidence.

  223. Pingback: Surrounded by people “educated far beyond their capacity to undertake … | Book Review Store

  224. “When I said the slides are intended to inform, I really should have said they were intended to reveal. They have indeed done that, or you would not see the need to attack me at the end of my significant and successful career.”

    What an astounding intellectually dishonest non sequitur. No one made you sign your name to an outrageous pack of lies in the WSJ and wage an intellectually incompetent campaign against scientists and science, making yourself into a jackass at the end of your significant and successful career. The notion that the reason you’re being attacked must be because because you’ve revealed something that people don’t want known is sheer crackpottery and raving paranoid conspiratorial lunacy. It’s a bit of a tautology that mental decay comes at the *end* of people’s careers rather than earlier.

  225. Mr Rutan seems to have no idea about the implications of different warm events at different places and different times, regional variations in climate, …

    Slide 59 in his presentation also shows the “MWP” from the 1990 IPCC report – without informing his readers that this was a guesstimate based on (local) Central England Temperature records and some anecdotal accounts, nor that more comprehensive hemispherical and global reconstructions have been performed in the 20+ years since that paint a somewhat different picture (including uncertainty bounds that are not in the graph presented).

    Whoever created that slide certainly wasn’t showing all the data, nor even the best data. They deliberately chose worse data. And Burt apparently did not pick this misrepresentation up.

  226. “I see that someone thought that my list of 7 were claims by me!”

    Of course they are by you, otherwise they would be in quotation marks.

    “Read more carefully. I was listing things that were being said and believed outside of the communities of science and skeptics, in order to ask why the science group is not coming out to say that they are wrong.”

    What you were listing were your *characterizations* of what is being said. I don’t think you are so stupid as to not understand this obvious and well-understood difference, so it must be a consequence of immense personal intellectual dishonesty and you are unable to distinguish your own propaganda from an objective report of what others claim.

  227. “Frankly the public at large, using basic human logic, knows the context and cares less how the context is discussed within the band of alarmists, fighting for their reputations and against the conclusion that history will show they gave all of science a black eye. It has taken behavior like that to allow the public to finally recognize the fraud, moving CAGW from its major concern to near the bottom of the list.”

    When I read things like this, I must conclude that, even if Burt Rutan was once a smart and good man, he is now a very very stupid and very very bad man.

  228. …why are the climate scientists as a group, mute?

    Except they’re not, Burt. (Still waiting for citations for your 7 statements you claim are being taught…) They’re just largely not saying what you want them to say (mostly because they don’t share your belief) in the venues you want them to say it in.

    And they speak (for one thing) in the scientific journals and the IPCC reports, and in materials they write for non-scientists. They also get quoted (albeit quite often mangled badly) in the popular media.

    Every bad weather event was being ‘blamed’ on AGW.

    Yep, that was certainly inappropriate attribution when it happened. But if you go looking – even in (some of the more scientifically accurate sections of) the mainstream media – you’ll find scientists have been carefully pointing out that we don’t have the data to determine this for specific events, but that we do expect more of certain classes of events. That doesn’t stop other journalists from making the over-confident attribution mistake though.

    (And then you might ask yourself what are the chances of an unsensational letter by a scientist trying to correct the record getting published in a sensationalist media outlet…and who is responsible for that, and why you are apparently sheeting that responsibility home to the wrong people.)

  229. I notice that both Burt Rutan and “Dodgy Geezer” (#83) made the ridiculous claim that the so-called hockey stick graph was “left out” of the IPCC 2007 report. I find that very interesting. It is possible, I suppose, that Dodgy Geezer repeated the claim having seen Burt Rutan make it. It is also possible that both are regurgitating it from some third source. I doubt very much that they both independently decided to invent this fact.

    Either way, what this tells us is that there are people who will uncritically accept claims that they could find out were nonsense in a matter of seconds. And not only will they uncritically accept them, they will then repeat them. And even when shown it was preposterous, neither Burt Rutan nor Dodgy Geezer have even remotely retracted the claim.

    How can we ever hope to have a rational discussion with people whose minds are so completely closed that they deny that a certain graph appears in a certain report? Clearly, we can’t.

  230. …not saying that the models could be wrong because of an inability to model chaos.

    One can model chaotic systems with reasonable skill at predicting long-term averages of certain system metrics, whilst at the same time having no particular skill at predicting the particular path the system will follow. And one can model clouds in some simplified fashion getting reasonable results, even though one would like to model them more faithfully. Quality of the model is not a binary attribute.

    (And as you can verify for yourself the models do pretty well, so the room for arguing they “could be wrong” in any highly significant way is very limited. And since no “skeptic” has advanced a better model, we must go with the best ones we have. Would you have us use a worse one?)

  231. Burt, you still don’t seem to understand why some of your claims and representations (e.g. slide 63 and 68) are apaprently fraudulent – or are at least gross misrepresentations. This should not – pardon the cliche – be rocket science, so let’s try it another way.

    A new automobile has been developed and its fuel efficiency must be measured. The car is driven around the standard 100km long test course in the prescribed fashion, and the amount of fuel consumed is recorded across each 100m segment. The engineer carefully processes the data calculating the total consumption and the average consumption across the whole course and creates his powerpoint slide with the results. When the presentation is made to the team and the top brass the efficiency results fall short of expectations and the lead designer is visibly angry, and he calls another meeting for the next day. The designer takes the data and creates his own PowerPoint slide. It shows the engineer’s calculated average fuel consumption – but compares it to five different 100m segments chosen by the designer on the second run where the fuel consumption is significantly lower than the engineer’s average. It also proclaims “You won’t have seen this chart because it’s not disappointing”, and noting that “Fuel consumption was significantly lower than yesterday” clearly implying that the engineer’s results are invalid – perhaps even fraudulent.

    Given that the question is “What is the standardised fuel efficiency metric for this car?”, which slide communicates the answer to the audience, and which misdirects the audience? And why?

  232. A brilliant accomplishment, showing that the recent hot MWP could be ignored…

    At the risk of going down the rabbit hole, given that you can entirely discard “The Hockey Stick” and not change any significant conclusion of climate science…

    Burt, for this claim (implying scientific fraud or misrepresentation) to be accurate, as I’m sure you would admit, you have to start out by having very good reasons to believe that there was in fact a “recent hot MWP”. And since you’re a stickler for accuracy and the Scientific Method, and given that the original “hockey stick” was a Northern Hemisphere reconstruction, you’ll admit that one then has to have had very good reasons to believe that there was a “recent hot Northern Hemisphere average temperature MWP” based on scientific evidence (back in 1998). Because knowing that there was a “recent hot localised MWP” doesn’t give us very much information about global climate, any more than fuel consumption of a vehicle during a specified 100m slice of a 100km test course gives us much information about average fuel consumption over the entire course.

    So I bet you cannot cite a robust Northern Hemisphere reconstruction published prior to MBH 1998.

    However, if you go looking, you might go close. For example, in 1994 http://climateknowledge.org/figures/Rood_Climate_Change_AOSS480_Documents/Hughes_Medieval_Warm_ClimaticChange_1994.pdf was published – which argues the case that “It is obvious, however, that we have only, at best, a rough picture of the climate of this epoch…”, that certain “simplified representations of the course of global temperature variation over the last 1000 years” from the early 1990s should be disregarded due to inadequate data, and “There has been a marked expansion of the evidence available for the last thousand years during the course of the last 10 to 15 years. The generalized behaviour of the global climate of the last millennium as a Medieval Warm period followed by a Little Ice Age, each one or more centuries long and global in extent, is no longer supported by the available evidence.” That suggests that – to the extent that scientists had previously believed there may have been a significant global MWP – it wasn’t even the Hockey Stick that first demonstrated why they should change their minds.

    And given your claims, I suspect you are under the delusion – popular on certain anti-AGW blogs – that this was a solidly established fact before 1998. As I have noted above you even post a graph on slide 59 very similar to the one from the 1990 FAR which you imply shows this (despite having a vertical scale that is ambiguous at best and no uncertainty ranges!) – but you seem to have been totally unaware that that graph was NOT a Northern Hemisphere or global reconstruction, but rather a “schematic diagram” (whose provenance is inadequately described and therefore not exactly convincing evidence). It is also quite likely based on very limited data: there are three references in the FAR when discussing the MWP in that chapter, all regional, but McIntyre thinks it was largely derived from the Central England Temperature index and a 1965 paper: http://climateaudit.org/2008/05/09/where-did-ipcc-1990-figure-7c-come-from-httpwwwclimateauditorgp3072previewtrue/.

    And if you can’t find pre-1998 scientific evidence for your claim, then you must admit that your prior belief that the “recent hot MWP” was already solidly established fact was unjustified. And therefore your implication that the Hockey Stick was fraudulently manipulated to “hide” the “MWP” is completely unjustified. And that any source who implied either of those things to you was also mistaken, and therefore not exactly a reliable source of scientific information. And that it would be awfully prudent to omit from your public claims anything else they may have implied or asserted to you unless those claims have been carefully verified.

    Given your absolutely abysmal track record on this thread at justifying your claims with actual evidence, how much of your PowerPoint do you think will survive such careful verification?

    (And then one wonders: if you have reached a conclusion based on somewhat thin evidence, do you insist on clinging to it when more evidence arrives that appears to undermine it? That seems to be what you are advocating in this case.)

  233. It certainly did not seem “fraudulent” to me to draw attention to the clear fraud of the hockey team that was clearly hiding the MWP, the LIA and ignoring the Roman warming, the Minoan Warming, the other 5 similar warmings and about 30 smaller “warmings” similar to the 1960-1998 “warming” during the last 11k years.

    Burt, I know you are smarter than that.

    And I’m not just talking about your allegation of “the hockey team” “hiding the MWP”, which I and others have dealt with separately (as far as the Hockey Stick goes). No, I’m talking about this, which any high school science student can deal with:

    What time period did the Hockey Stick graph cover (slide 64)? (I hope you’re not arguing that using all the data of sufficient quality they had available to reconstruct as far back as possible, but no further is somehow “fraudulent”. If so, please argue your case.)

    Given that assumption, how exactly can a reconstruction “hide” (say) a warming event (disregarding whether it was localised or not) that happened centuries or millennia before the earliest date of the reconstruction?

    (And how can a 1998 paper or 2001 IPCC report “hide” (say) a Loehle reconstruction published in 2007 (assuming that’s the one you refer to in slides 63 & 68 – and if that’s the one you might want to do due diligence on its quality, e.g. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/past-reconstructions/ before you tout it as supporting evidence for your claims, noting the comment about an update at the bottom of that post)? What about “hiding” a GISP2 core paper published in 2011 (that you linked to at http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/studies/l1_gisp2summit.php)?)

    I hope you aren’t really going to continue to conflate local proxies with global reconstructions as you have several times already – but I suspect that is necessary to your claim of “clear fraud of the hockey team”.

    Several people here are doing you a favour pointing out where you most probably need to correct yourself, and you don’t seem to realise it – or want to take advantage of it.

  234. …their main point was that the Climate Scientists were ignoring the proper Scientific Method.

    Their main point was unsubstantiated, and almost always predicated on a very strange concept of “proper Scientific Method” (e.g. a focus on “auditing” rather the far more robust “independent replication” – especially when achieved via different methods and independent lines of evidence, amongst other things).

    The Scientific Method was initially ignored, …

    …by, you know, publishing scientific papers detailing methods and results complete with uncertainty ranges, subjecting those papers to the critical eye of the scientific community, and calling for more research on the basis that the uncertainties were not as small as one would like.

    I do not see any evidence that you understand the scientific method – which is admittedly quite consistent with:

    I am not practicing Science, and have never claimed to be capable or to have even tried to do so.

    Perhaps you could get the Wall Street Journal and all the blogs that cited it to issue a correction to their claim that “16 scientists” signed the letter they published? We wouldn’t want to have misled their readers, would we? Or are you and all of your co-signatories to the letter going to stay “mute” on this issue?

  235. Hughes and Diaz 1994 (link supplied by Lotharsson in #246) should be absolutely required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the state of the science regarding climate of the past millennium, as it was before Mann et al 1998. I first read it over a decade ago when getting to grips with the early hemispheric reconstructions that were emerging (beginning with Mann et al 1998), and you can clearly see how the gaps in knowledge had been identified, and how the call was made for more high quality palaeoclimate reconstructions, leading to the pioneering hemispheric reconstruction of MBH98, and subsequently to many more, increasingly detailed reconstructions in the first decade of the 21st Century. Was the Medieval Warm Period, as understood in the mid-1990s, a clearly established global event that subsequently, for reasons that have never been explained sensibly by ‘skeptics’, had to be removed from the record else all climate science would implode? Nope. Mundane reality is never so exciting.

    The best reconstructions now have a more bent “shaft” than the earliest reconstructions, but it’s worth noting that the bend in the shaft is generally within the error bars of the early reconstructions. Multiple different data sources and multiple different methods produce essentially the same robust result, the product of good application of the scientific method, and unaffected by the specious claims of fraud by non-scientists who clearly demonstrate a lack of expertise in the subject, apparently unaware of the highly visible and extremely elementary errors they make.

    Strong Medieval Warm Period = HIGH climate sensitivity = we should be more concerned about our GHG emissions. If you do not understand why, Burt, perhaps it is best to step away from the discussion and crack open a climatology textbook.

  236. Burt, I know you are smarter than that.

    “Stupid is as stupid does”. Rutan is possessed of an ideology, an idée fixe that drives his perception and his selection of evidence and argumentation; it makes him effectively stupid on this subject.

    are you and all of your co-signatories to the letter going to stay “mute” on this issue?

    It also makes him a bad man, so of course he will do just that. Deniers and “skeptics” are constantly misrepresenting the facts about climate far worse than his list of 7 … they have done it here, they do it at WUWT and similar blogs, they do it in the WSJ and similar media, they do it in the comments section of every news report on global warming … yet Rutan remains mute about this constant barrage of lies and misrepresentations; what should we conclude about that? What does Rutan think we should conclude, if we sincerely believe it to be true? (Surely he is not so stupid or demented that he cannot conceive of us sincerely holding different views from his own.) Judith Curry hosts a blog where these lies and misrepresentations … even about her own posts … frequently occur in the comments section yet she never corrects them or criticizes the people who make them. What does Rutan think that we should properly conclude about Curry if we adopt his conspiratorial logic that he uses to reach conclusions from scientists being mute (in his view)? Of course his his charge of scientists remaining mute is at best argumentum ad ignorantiam … over and over scientists have warned about hasty conclusions, overgeneralizations, and mischaracterization of results, in both directions. The very fact that people here are calling these 7 points strawmen is the opposite of mute, a statement that “those aren’t our claims”. OTOH, significant parts of the 7 points are valid; what Rutan calls “mute” is in many cases simply scientists not making his case because they don’t agree with it. His charge is arrogant, hypocritical, intellectually inept, intellectually dishonest, immoral … it is stupid and bad.

    [Admin: Marcel, please tone down the insults.]

  237. Ah, the warmists still fighting like cornered rats in a vain attempt to defend their lost cult, I see.

    Just how much evidence are you lot going to require before you admit that since around 1998, AGW has been utterly discredited as a scientific phenomenon and become a purely political strategy to increase the power and wealth of a select clique?

    You can’t bribe Mother Nature, and this is becoming clearer by the day.

    When it does, and it becomes clear that the whole affair is based on flawed data, some very rich and powerful people are going to be out of pocket and out of credibility, and they are going to need scapegoats.

    Think on that, folks.

  238. Here catweazle666 asks the Dunning Kruger Question, the question that comes from the exact same sort of phenomenon that D &K discussed … a lack of the competence to recognize competence or its lack. And as clearly and patently as silly his/her post is, it doesn’t really differ in its claims from those of Burt Rutan.

  239. I have received the following quote from a famous, brilliant, astute observer who has never entered the AGW debate on either side. Unlike me and my attackers on this thread he has not let near hyper-ventilation fog his reasoning. Enjoy……..
    “A brief overview shows that you are debating the issue with a short list of screen names and perhaps an even shorter list of actual fools. The common thread is a deep need to apply ad hominem attacks, which is an absolute indicator of a deficient argument. Your are arguing for the scientific method, when it cannot be applied in this case. SM requires independent testing to confirm the hypothesis which then leads to a theory that can then be refined or modified with additional information and tests. It is a process without an absolute conclusion. AGW is a hypothesis, at best, which substitutes correlation for causation. Do alarm clocks cause the sun to rise? Mine does. I can prove it as it happens the same way every day.

    The fact that they do not know the nature of the scientific method pretty much proves that they are not scientists in a professional sense. If not scientists, what are they? They are believers. In essence, you are arguing about the existence of God, something else that cannot be tested empirically. If success is measured by the capitulation of the opponent, then this is a battle you cannot win head on. You are using reason to battle emotion and emotion draws from a much larger reservoir in the human psyche.

    They claim to be scientists. The scientific method is published. Challenge then to scientifically prove AGW without substituting causation with correlation. That should drive them a little mad(er).”

    I also received a very short note from one of the oldest, most recognized climate alarmists out there, the developer of the Gaia hypothesis and key player in the ozone hole scare. I share it with you here:
    “Burt,
     
    Be proud to be among the sceptics. 
     
    Jim”

    Oh, to another posted point: I allowed my signature to be listed in the WSJ article only on the promise that I be clearly identified as an engineer, not a scientist. They did that in their signatory list. This thread is nearly unique in not noticing that, as you continue to to attack my “science” rather than my role of providing information for the non-scientist that shows all the data, rather than an agenda-driven subset.
    burt

  240. Whether you call yourself a scientist or an engineer, you are still guilty of failing to inform yourself properly about the facts of the matter, and of spreading lies and distortions. Once again your latest response fails to respond to the many serious flaws in your beliefs that have been pointed out to you.

    At least you admitted that you were wrong to claim that there was more warming from 1912-1961 than from 1962-2011; you haven’t admitted that you were grossly in error to claim that the so-called hockey stick was never “removed” from the IPCC report. Why do you remain mute on this issue?

  241. >>And as clearly and patently as silly his/her post is,it doesn’t really differ in its claims from those of Burt Rutan<<

    Hardly surprising, as it isn't supposed to.

    Time will tell, Marcel.

    In fact, time is telling now, and it doesn't look good for AGW.

  242. “In fact, time is telling now, and it doesn’t look good for AGW.”

    I completely agree. The disappearing Arctic sea ice, the disappearing tropical glaciers, the declining pH of the oceans, rising sea levels, the continuing rise in global surface temperatures, and the ever-upward energy content of the climate system do not look good at all.

  243. So, Mr. Rutan now brings the anonymous, purportedly astute ‘Jim’ around to serve as his argument from authority (though anyone who writes something like ‘the scientific method is published’ is pretty suspect right oft the bat). ‘Jim’ advises him to ignore the thread because it supposedly consists of posts by a few people (true) offering primarily ad hominem arguments (false). But let’s let it slide for now. Let’s remember this:

    Mr. Angliss’ important critiques, which can hardly be dismissed as ad hom, remain largely unaddressed. And where they have been, Mr. Rutan has already had to concede error.

    This is not a good sign for Mr. Rutan’s comprehension of the science. He appears to be out of his depth, and now, with the appearance of ‘Jim’, flailing.

  244. In reading some of the comments on this blog, I find ample evidence that those without a background in science need to be far more careful about pretending knowledge that they do not have. There is a reason for an education and a reason that many professionals are licensed – to protect the public from all sorts on nonsense. It is completely insufficient to learn the terminology of climate science and start spouting off.

    Engineers and other non-scientists can have sufficient training and understanding of this subject to discuss it meaningfully, even if others with the same level of training do not. I have a friend with training in electrical engineering who knows precisely the correct questions to ask and can run circles around full professors who should know their subject better than they do. On the other hand the electrical engineer who runs the National Academy of Sciences should NOT be running a group of scientists. He may be superb at designing electronic circuits but is at a loss when he tries to model our climate as a (circa 1945) electronic circuit.

    The most appropriate question to ask: “Where is the evidence that links man-made carbon dioxide to a significant warming of our climate?” Saying that CO2 is a greenhouse gas is completely insufficient, because it ignores the overriding influence of the main greenhouse gas, water vapor. Water vapor is also the main climate gas in so many ways. Calculating a CO2 effect without correctly calculating the response of water vapor is stupid.

    One commentator here who identified himself as an engineer was singing the praises of the climate codes as “extremely persuasive to the most skeptical customer.” While I find the many examples of virtual reality we have today as most persuasive to the eye, the majority of such computer games are pure fiction. Saying that they contain much good physics says nothing about their reality. The wonderful Star Wars movies contain good physics but are pure fantasy.

    The problem with the climate codes is that they are simulations NOT solutions of the basic physics. They are able to fit past climate because of all their arbitrary parameters. As the great mathematician John von Neumann once said: “With four parameters I can fit an elephant, with five I can make him wiggle his trunk!” If you cannot understand what von Neumann meant, you need more training in mathematics. The net effect of such computer codes is a complete inability to predict accurately which way the temperature will go after the last data point. And of course, that is exactly the problem they face.

    NOTE to engineers: climate codes are FAR different than any simulations you may have used where all the effects are well-known and the codes can be easily calibrated to the real world. Even extremely complex weather patterns can be extrapolated out several days with reasonable accuracy – but not beyond.

    Hence my advice to engineers from an astrophysicist (with the same training as James Hansen, PhD) is to be careful when you stray into science. It is a different world.

    As to calling highly accomplished engineers like Burt Rutan various names, that betrays the weakness of your arguments. Remember Burt is no fraud. His airplanes can actually fly! And I can support what he says about Anthropogenic Global Warming. He is very bright and knows this subject well.

    Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
    Corbett, Oregon USA

    gordonfulks@hotmail.com

  245. Burt, the trouble is, you don’t provide all the data. I have not anywhere in your writing seen a discussion of Philipona (2004) or Harries (2001), which respectively show that more energy is reurning to Earth and less is escaping to space at the wavelengths greenhouse gases are radiatively active. You have avoided discussion of the surface temperature record, even though it has repeatedly been shown to be robust (most recently BEST), and of millennial climate change, even though the pattern of that has been identified and repeatedly shown to be robust (e.g. NAS 2006). I see little discussion of the continuing increase in Earth’s heat content (e.g. Murphy 2009), of stratospheric cooling/tropospheric warming (Jones et al 2003), or of why nights are warming faster than days (Alexander et al 2006). When you avoid data, you can lead yourself in the wrong direction, and this is what you’re doing. When you get your selected data from advocacy websites rather than the original literature sources you’re in deep trouble.

    In fact, I see lots of accusations of fraud and failure to follow the scientific method, yet little quantitative evidence of Rutan having actually studied any of the science he’s dismissing. He’s certainly failing miserably to consider the full body of evidence, but then data is always painful when it gets in the way of preconceived beliefs.

    If he thinks his friend Jim adds anything to the conversation, he’s sadly mistaken. The accusation that our prevailing theory of climate “… substitutes correlation for causation” is a gross insult to Arrhenius, let alone Callender, Plass, Ramanthan, Broecker and Schneider and the great many others who contributed to our sound understanding of planetary climate long before Rutan was even aware it was an issue.

    Please read a history of the subject you’re attacking without basis:
    Spencer Weart on the history of CO2: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    Please realise that it’s much, much more than a correlation between temperature and CO2 that gives us our understanding of what is happening:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/10-Indicators-of-a-Human-Fingerprint-on-Climate-Change.html

  246. Gordon Fulks, You may not realise it (or not want to), but you’re falling down the same traps as Rutan. By bringing up the water vapour fallacy, you betray your lack of understanding of planetary climate. Water vapour does indeed contribute more to the greenhouse effect than CO2. Where’s the fallacy? Water vapour precipitates out of the atmosphere in a week or two. CO2 does not precipitate out, and is resident for hundreds of years. Consequently WV is a feedback to any warming or cooling of the atmosphere (by CO2, albedo, orbital forcing etc), as it is not resident long enough to control anything. It’s a powerful feedback, but a feedback nonetheless. Climate science 101.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/water-vapor-greenhouse-gas-intermediate.htm
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/04/water-vapour-feedback-or-forcing/

    You said that the … most appropriate question to ask: “Where is the evidence that links man-made carbon dioxide to a significant warming of our climate?”
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/10-Indicators-of-a-Human-Fingerprint-on-Climate-Change.html (original sources cited)

  247. I have received the following quote from a famous, brilliant, astute observer…

    So now you’re referencing anonymous authority figures? Too funny, Burt!

    The common thread is a deep need to apply ad hominem attacks…

    Epic Fail on the part of your strongly touted authority figure.

    Burt, your source seems to be engaging in amateur remote psychoanalysis, and has apparently failed to notice the heavy engagement with your actual arguments, and what limited evidence you deign to provide.

    And it’s not entirely clear either way, but if (s)he’s actually asserting that the main mode of engagement is the ad hominem fallacy then both you and (s)he need to go back to the dictionary to understand what that is.

    Furthermore:

    Your are arguing for the scientific method, when it cannot be applied in this case.

    …your “famous, brilliant, astute” source has a sadly deficient knowledge of the scientific method, matched only by their deficient understanding of climate science:

    AGW is a hypothesis, at best, which substitutes correlation for causation.

    Your source has comprehensively revealed that they do not understand the science – and that their views mesh very closely with yours. If you’re going to delegate your thinking to other people, Burt, at least choose those who know what they are talking about in the field in question.

    …the developer of the Gaia hypothesis…

    Ah, yes – and IIRC he has famously revealed a deep misunderstanding of climate science in the past too. Interestingly he didn’t help you with any actual arguments here though…

    All in all that’s a very interesting choice of response, Burt – instead of engaging with the argument and evidence, you appeal to (anonymous!) “authorities”. And ironically (given one of them alleges ad hominem attacks), you are touting as a form of ad hominem support (which is just as fallacious as the “ad hominem fallacy”, especially when the source bucks heavy consensus in a field but cannot describe the scientific or evidentiary basis for that disagreement).

    Argument by appeal to authority, especially anti-consensus authority (with no evidence the authorities are even qualified in the field, let alone can demonstrate a plausible disagreement) is not a sign of someone with the evidence on their side. Tell us again why you signed the WSJ Op-Ed, if you can’t defend the claims yourself from a handful of people skeptically assessing your argument?

  248. I allowed my signature to be listed in the WSJ article only on the promise that I be clearly identified as an engineer, not a scientist. They did that in their signatory list. This thread is nearly unique in not noticing that,…

    Oh, I noticed that, Burt – I generally check my claims. But I also noticed the prominent Editor’s note at the very start of the article (which was the basis for my question to you) and I quote:

    The following has been signed by the 16 scientists [my emphasis] listed at the end of the article…

    Given that there are only 16 signatories, then all of the non-scientists in that list have been painted as scientists. You seem “mute” on this example of “data presentation fraud”.

    But never mind – whilst illustrative, it is a distraction from your avoidance of fairly basic scientific questions and inconvenient evidence. Your list of avoided questions is piling up, Burt…

  249. RW, February 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm :

    “The disappearing Arctic sea ice”

    Nope, higher area than 2007. In any case, Arctic ice cover is cyclic, and satellite measurements cover only a few decades.

    “the disappearing tropical glaciers”

    Himalayan glaciers show no change, scientists baffled. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/09/grace_data_himalayas_not_melting/

    “the declining pH of the oceans”

    Nope. If the temperature of the seas increases, the CO2 outgasses. That’s non-linear too, incidentally. You can’t have AGW and ocean acidification at the same time.

    “rising sea levels”

    Not according to ENVISAT. http://www.real-science.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/PaintImage1170.jpg

    “the continuing rise in global surface temperatures”

    Temperature flat for 15 years. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1997/trend/plot/esrl-co2/from:1997/normalise/plot/esrl-co2/from:1997/trend/normalise/plot/rss/from:1997/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997/trend

    “the ever-upward energy content of the climate system”

    Sorry, ‘Travesty’ Trenberth hasn’t found it yet, and the ARGO buoys show little sign. It is becoming likely that it isn’t there. Plus the Earth’s cyclone energy is currently low. http://www.climate-skeptic.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/cyclone_energy.jpg

    You really want us to be in trouble, don’t you?

    Strange!

  250. They claim to be scientists.

    Burt, your “astute” source fails basic fact-checking.

    I just checked all 220 uses of the word “scientist” on this page (at the time of writing). The only ones claiming to be scientists were supporting your position (and generally blindly/without providing any evidence).

    What else might your source have got wrong? And how would you know, given that you seem to often fail to perform basic due diligence?

    If you’re going to unskeptically parrot or quote other people, then you need to choose better sources.

  251. The net effect of such computer codes is a complete inability to predict accurately which way the temperature will go after the last data point.

    Approximately true – it’s a chaotic system in some sense, after all. But they’re not trying to predict “which way the temperature will go after the last data point” in the sense of trying to predict weather. They’re trying to model climate, which is (roughly speaking) the average weather over long enough periods for statistical significance to be obtained. Due to chaotic effects it is very difficult to predict the specific path such a system will take over longer time periods, but it is much more tractable to predict the statistical characteristics over a suitably long time period (such as the trend in average global temperature over a period long enough to provide statistical significance). When these false assumptions are removed from your argument very little of substance remains.

    They are able to fit past climate because of all their arbitrary parameters.

    I suspect there are far fewer arbitrary parameters than you think, and the “fitting” to the multi-dimensional metrics of climate a lot harder than you imagine.

    But there’s no need to rely on suspicion – you can back up your claims with ease. So here’s the challenge: take any climate model you like (several are freely distributed) and tweak those arbitrary parameters to your heart’s content. Come back when you can match the past climate (on any arbitrary subset of the data) about as well as current model parameterisations do AND your model shows that anthropogenic influences are responsible for a distinct minority of observed warming. (By “fit” I mean: meets the multi-dimensional criteria you will find published in the literature. They don’t just look at the fit on the average temperature metric because there are a whole load of other observations to match as well.)

    Or if you think that is too hard, demonstrate that you can fit the past climate as well as the solutions the modellers provide today, but using (say) three or more distinct N-dimensional points positioned a long way from each other in the space defined by the set of N arbitrary parameters.

    Should be fairly easy, right? Do-able in two or three months? Or a year at best? Can we count on you to report your success on this thread?

    (Although if I were you and had noted the intense motivation to achieve such a result – by mainstream climate scientists and their detractors alike – I’d be a little concerned that no-one has stepped up and done it already. But that also means more opportunity for you: fame and Nobel Prizes await!)

  252. catweazle666: On Arctic ice you have an epic fail. Read Polyak et al (2010), who demonstrate that present loss is unprecentented in the last few thousand years. If you think that 2011’s minimum being higher than 2007 means anything, you may wish to ask if a cold day tomorrow means Spring will not arrive over the coming months. Don’t confuse noise with trend.

    “You can’t have AGW and ocean acidification at the same time.” Epic. Fail. Presently atmospheric CO2 concentration is increasing by less than mankind’s CO2 emissions. Half mankind’s emissions are going into the oceans, acidifying them. Simple accounting shows this to be the case, unless you can find another, hitherto hidden CO2 sink AND explain why the oceans are acidifying.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mackie_OA_not_OK_part_19.html

    You wouldn’t want to draw attention towards the long-term trends in either sea level or temperature either, but on temperature, you’re clearly keen on going down the up escalator, again failing to distinguish noise from trend:
    http://skepticalscience.com/going-down-the-up-escalator-part-1.html
    Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) is also relevant, in identifying what happens when you filter out some of the noise (ENSO, solar, volcanic), revealing the continuing underlying trend.

    By your statement on the Jacob et al (2012) paper, I take it you have not read the actual paper, and just parroted some media misrepresentations of it. The last decade has seen vast quantities of ice melted around the world. Why would that be?

    The trouble is, repeating the same tired old memes, without checking your sources, leads to the same tired old, and painfully obviously wrong, conclusions.

  253. I’d like to ask a different question that I have not seen here. If I missed the answer, would someone please point out that response?

    If CAGW is indeed real, what person, company or organization would be harmed the most? In what way would they be harmed? And on the flip side, what person, company or organization would benefit the most? In what way would they benefit?

  254. Better question, and one that doesn’t assume we all buy into the ‘skeptic’ rhetoric and framing of the issues: What is “CAGW’ and what part of the IPCC 4th report — the consensus — discusses it?

    Actual climate science ‘consensus’ offers scenarios based on best and worst case climate changes. If you want to know what populations would be hurt worst and soonest if AGW-driven sea level rises at ‘worst case’ scenario rates, it will likely be vast numbers of poor living in low-lying coastal areas of third-world countries .e.g., Pakistan. No one will ‘benefit’ from that.

  255. Thank you Steven. I appreciate your feedback.

    I think I should have phrased the question in a different way. If steps are taken to curtail CAGW, who will those steps benefit economically and who will be hurt economically? And in what ways do they benefit or are hurt?

    I wasn’t clear in my original question. I didn’t mean CAGW itself. I just meant the actions themselves to curtail CAGW. I am new to this. I am very concerned about the world’s economy. I am just trying to understand the economic impact. Is there a point where actions to stop CAGW will have more detrimental impact to the world’s economy than CAGW (or AGW) itself?

  256. catweazle666, you have a blinkered and twisted view of the world. In every case here, you are cherry picking the bits of the data you like, and ignoring the bits you don’t like.

    Arctic ice: here’s all of the satellite data:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/seaice.anomaly.arctic.png

    The disappearing glaciers: here’s the actual data in the study you refer to, not an interpretation of it via an unreliable third party:

    http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/621843main_grace20120208-673.jpg

    pH of the oceans…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WOA05_GLODAP_del_pH_AYool.png

    skywatcher already explained your ghastly misunderstanding about this one to you.

    Sea level, according to Envisat:

    http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com/fileadmin/images/news/indic/msl/MSL_Serie_EN_Global_IB_RWT_GIA_Adjust.png

    Note that by getting the data directly from the source, and not via an unreliable third party, you find out the truth. Also note that Envisat was launched in 2002, and that accurate measurements extend much further back than that.

    http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/images/CSIRO_GMSL_figure.jpg
    http://ibis.grdl.noaa.gov/SAT/SeaLevelRise/LSA_SLR_timeseries_global.php
    http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com/en/news/ocean-indicators/mean-sea-level/
    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    Global surface temperatures:

    http://www.ssmi.com/data/msu/graphics/TLT/plots/sc_Rss_compare_TS_channel_TLT_v03_3.png

    Energy accumulation:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/308/5727/1431/F2.large.jpg
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/11/13421/2011/acp-11-13421-2011.html

    You obviously read a misquote of what Trenberth said. He did not say what you seem to think he did.

    Frankly by pretending that you can’t see what is obvious, in each of these six cases, you make yourself look ridiculous. And no, I don’t want us to be in trouble. Why the hell would I? But the data clearly shows that we are heading for trouble.

  257. Dan Kreigh, your question is not clear. The term “CAGW” is not used in the relevant science, sociology or economics literature, and you haven’t defined what you mean by it.

  258. Sorry, Good point. Okay, replace CAGW with AGW. AGW meaning man-made global warming. Thank you for pointing that out. I guess whether it is catastrophic or not is another question I don’t want to ask.

    I am just trying to understand the economic impact that might occur if AGW is actively curtailed.

  259. Dan Kreigh, apart from the fact you use an undefined term, only ever found in “skeptic” sources, and never in the literature, if you are concerned about the economic impacts, you could do worse than read:
    The Stern Review:
    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/independent_reviews/stern_review_economics_climate_change/stern_review_report.cfm

    There’s a wide range of opinions on likely economic impacts – this is because the impacts depend both on the emissions policies (and resulting climatic impacts), and on the policy steps taken to move to a non-fossil fuel dominated economy. Some people even suggest that there will be net economic benefits, certainly energy security and jobs creation through implementation of renewable energy projects mean there are good plus sides. Most research indicates that the cost of doing nothing is much greater than the cost of acting, thus we are better off acting now to save greater costs later, see the Stern Report and:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-limits-economy.htm

    However, policies to stem CO2 emissions are a very different question to the physical science basis behind the “A” in AGW. It is this physical science basis that people like Mr Rutan are attacking, wanting to wish it away, by going against over a century of sound physical theory and multiple lines of hard evidence. They haven’t yet provided any coherent evidence or alternative hypothesis that fits the multiple lines of evidence we have today.

  260. Re Steven’s comments (comment # 257). Like some of the others, you must have scanned, but not read my comment # 253. “Jim” is not the source of the anonymous multi-paragraph contribution. One of the most noted scientist alarmists of the past 45 years, who for decades has made the same type of quotes heard from today’s alarmists (see my slide #96), has recently read the inane attacks on this thread. His six-word statement to me yesterday says all that needs to be said. If this group reacts like the politicians they have been and throws him under the bus, that will be a story that will likely attract some main stream media attention. Bring it on.

    Of course I have not responded to each and every data charge levied by this group of attackers. I am hugely outnumbered; that would be a never-ending effort that could not reach closure and would distract from my real work. Another wise bit of advise from anonymous is certainly appropriate here; “Never argue with an idiot; they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience”.

    Many years ago I made bets with a CNN science anchor and an alarmist billionaire regarding florida flooding and survival of arctic ice. In those days it was easy to also get the climate scientists to bet. Lately, I can find no one willing to risk his personal worth on the near-term climate crisis predictions. Yep, things are changing fast and you all know it.

    So I leave you to pray for global warming, or climate change, or climate disruption, or what other future event-mandated scary name you need to cling to. Pray hard, because the folks who will be looking for scapegoats are much more dangerous than me.

  261. Burt, many people here have asked you questions that you should have easily been able to answer, and pointed out flaws in your arguments that you should have easily been able to either admit to or perhaps to rebut. You have failed to do that; you have responded instead with increasing arrogance and offensiveness. Your latest offers no substance whatsoever, inanely referring to “inane attacks” and implying that you think anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot. “Of course I have not responded to each and every data charge levied by this group of attackers”, you say. Indeed not; you have barely responded to any of them.

    Although you seem to think that engaging in discussion is now beneath your dignity, I’ll ask my question one more time. Why did you claim that the IPCC had removed the so-called hockey stick graph from the 2007 report, when it plainly had done no such thing? Why have you still not admitted that your claim was false?

  262. Burt, @275, that is such a cop out. You seriously only have to answer Brian’s critique, and if you were someone honest, and had integrity, you’d try to answer the other people’s questions. That is, if you had any evidence to support your position. Of course you don’t so you have to create some reason not to do that. Sad man. Very sad.

  263. RW….plain and simple answer from some of his links, is that he honestly isn’t a scientist and isn’t a real skeptic and believes whatever he reads as long as it’s what he wants to believe. Kind of sounds religious to me.

  264. “Jim” is not the source of the anonymous multi-paragraph contribution.

    I noted that, but it was the least important aspect of Steven’s comments – which you have utterly failed to address. Curious, eh?

    His six-word statement to me yesterday says all that needs to be said.

    Well, given that it provides zero evidence and zero reason to believe that you have solid answers to the evidence-based challenges to your position provided here, no it does not. Not even if you assert it does! You may think argument by appeal to (semi-anonymous) authority is valid; the rest of us want to see the evidence.

    And as I and others have pointed out, you are appealing to one selected authority when you cannot demonstrate why one should believe that authority over all the others. This is a well-known logical fallacy.

    Of course I have not responded to each and every data charge levied by this group of attackers.

    I’d settle for rebutting two or three key challenges by demonstrating that the full set of evidence supports your position, but you haven’t even done that. Heck, you haven’t even acknowledged that your claim that “The Hockey Stick” was removed from the IPCC report in 2007 is clearly false. One might be forgiven for thinking that you aren’t even trying to hew to reality any more.

    Lately, I can find no one willing to risk his personal worth on the near-term climate crisis predictions.

    Go to the Open Thread at Deltoid and ask for Bernard J. He has been looking for someone to bet against for quite some time, but no denialist will take on his science-based wagers – perhaps because they are over periods long enough to likely distinguish the climate warming signal from the weather noise (which doesn’t sound like your timeframe). Go figure.

    So I leave you to pray for global warming, or climate change, or climate disruption, or what other future event-mandated scary name you need to cling to.

    Ah, the “you’re religious, not scientific” gambit redux as you apparently take your leave again without managing to defend your positions with much more than bluster, appeal to authority, conspiracy theories, poor logic and cherry-picking the evidence. Who would have seen that coming?! ;-)

  265. Burt @275….I hope the real scientists aren’t the scapegoats. They have tried to warn us. Hopefully your kin aren’t made to be scapegoats because of what you wrote here. I doubt it because when people are hungry they really don’t care about who you are, and what title you have, or what you’ve accomplished.

  266. It’s really ironic that Burt’s “brilliant, astute observer” argues that AGW is being falsely justified by substituting correlation for causation, when Burt’s PowerPoint deck (slide 27) argues that there was no good correlation of temperature with CO2 before 1970 – if correlation was all there is, then wouldn’t that be an ironcast refutation? It’s even more ironic that Burt clearly doesn’t think his astute observer is correct because on slide 91 he argues that “The only ‘evidence’ that humans cause global warming comes from computer models”. Which is it?

    And will Burt “stay mute” or call out his “brilliant, astute observer” on this point?

    It’s still more ironic that on the very same slide (#27) Burt entreats his audience to accept on visual grounds that “solar activity” correlates better (without actually doing any analysis) and implies that it is a better explanation, and again on slide 46 correlates sunspots with temperature to much the same effect.

    Why, it almost seems like the two of them are at odds on both the argument for AGW and the acceptability of arguing from correlation! What are the odds of the “brilliant, astute observer” staying “mute” on this issue with Burt’s slides?

  267. For anyone who hasn’t twigged yet, Burt’s “Jim” is (most probably) James Lovelock, who appears towards the end of Burt’s slide deck and said some interesting things about climate science in the last couple of years. (He’s also presumably the one Burt mentioned earlier claiming fraud and other issues in most of the ozone measurements – which Lovelock has been quoted as saying, although “fraud” may be difficult for him to substantiate.)

    Since Burt quotes him almost approvingly (ultimately from a March 11, 2010 newspaper article) in slide 96, I’ll quote Lovelock from March 29 that same year (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/mar/29/james-lovelock), in my case from the transcript of the key points of an interview. Check out that slide and then these comments to see if Burt is fairly representing Lovelock’s opinions as of 2010 and whether they translate to his unequivocal support for Burt’s positions as of now. Note that I’ve selected comments to illustrate these points rather than to present a balanced summary of the article. If Lovelock’s opinion matters to you (noting that the interview is pretty short on evidence), go read the whole thing to construct a balanced picture of the interview comments. (And note that there’s no way that transcript of “key comments” covers the full 2 hour interview, so it’s already gone through at least one other person’s editorialisation.)

    Since Burt mentioned historical ozone measurements:

    I remember when the Americans sent up a satellite to measure ozone and it started saying that a hole was developing over the South Pole. But the damn fool scientists were so mad on the models that they said the satellite must have a fault.

    Interestingly, this was probably the data scrubbing assumption built into the initial version of the satellite software that said the whole couldn’t develop that big, that fast (http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/03/lovelock_goes_emeritus.php#comment-2395023 – which doesn’t find credible Lovelock’s claim as it was expressed). Also interestingly the scientists kept doing science and figured out that yes, it definitely could be. And also trenchant: Lovelock first stated that CFC breakdown constituted “no conceivable hazard” – before the data showed him to be wrong (and noting that he later said he meant “no conceivable toxic hazard” – which suggests he apparently hadn’t conceived of non-toxic hazards at the time either).

    That quote is not here to pick on Lovelock – but to show that people treated as authority figures by some don’t have any special lock on scientific truth (even within their own field, let alone outside of it). You can also see this demonstrated by the large variance between Lovelock’s 2006 and 2010 positions on climate change (e.g. as commented on at http://mustelid.blogspot.com.au/2006/01/lovelock-were-all-going-to-die.html, or in Burt’s slide 96. Burt says Lovelock is “one of the honest science guys” – but hands up if you think Burt would still say that if Lovelock said Burt didn’t have any evidence for his claims? Did he become honest in 2010 or was he honest before then too? If the latter, doesn’t that mean that honest guys can be wrong?)

    The good sceptics have done a good service, but some of the mad ones I think have not done anyone any favours.

    Of course you have to define what a “good sceptic” is – and scientists have had a working definition for centuries now.

    Like me, he’s convinced that if you put a trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which we will have done in 20 years’ time, it’s going to have some nasty effects, but what we don’t know if how nasty and when.

    Hmmmm, not exactly on Rutan’s message, that.

    There are plenty of incidences where something turns on the heat, but temperatures actually go down perversely, before eventually going up. A cold winter may mean nothing, as could 10 cold winters in a row.

    Hmmmmm, better not look at the WSJ op-ed that Burt signed, which states (ignoring the cherry-picking sleight of hand):

    Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.

    Perhaps Lovelock should not stay “mute” on this claim of Burt’s? And neither should the scientists who demonstrate that even according to the models, under the current measurements of forcings we should expect decades every now and then that don’t warm and even cool (if you don’t care about long enough time periods to establish statistical significance)?

    I think the sceptic bloggers should worry. It’s almost certain that you can’t put a trillion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere without something nasty happening. This is going to resolve itself and global heating is going to come back on stream and it’s these bloggers who are going to be made to look weird when it does. … They are not sufficiently aware of the longer-term consequences.

    Not exactly in line with Burt’s claims, eh? To stay mute or not?

    Copenhagen was doomed to fail. But I think it was worth their while trying.

    Interesting implications.

    We shouldn’t let the lobbies influence science. Whatever criticism might befall the IPCC and the UEA, they’re nothing as bad as lobbyists who are politically motivated and who will manipulate data or select data to make their political point.

    Interestingly, when you look at the continuation of the quote Lovelock appears to be talking about “green” lobbyists here, but given the extensive and well-documented activities of CO2/industry lobbyists it apply to them in spades.

    There has been a lot of speculation that a very large glacier [Pine Island glacier] in Antarctica is unstable. If there’s much more melting, it may break off and slip into the ocean. It would be enough to produce an immediate sea-level rise of two metres, something huge, and tsunamis.

    I believe he has been criticised for being well off the mark here (e.g. http://www.skepticalscience.com/Greenland-ice-mass-loss-spread-to-northwest.html#11453 and a couple of earlier comments in the thread), as he was when he said temperatures would rise 5-8 Celsius and billions would die by the end of the century, but go research it out yourself if you think he has some special insight into scientific findings.

    And as I said, go read the fuller article if you want to try and understand where he’s coming from.

    Lovelock is also quoted from 2009 at http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/aug/09/interview-james-lovelock:

    I love being a scientist. I don’t like it when the Gaia movement is treated like a religion, as if scientists are seen as part of the problem rather than the solution.

    Hmmmmm…who is treating scientists as part of the problem these days?

    Then there is Burt on his own slide 92 confidently stating “We cannot burn fossil fuels to prevent the next ice age; the greenhouse gas effect is far too weak for that.” – contradicted by Lovelock as quoted by Burt on slide 96 saying “…what we are doing in creating all these carbon emissions … is stopping the onset of a new ice age”.

    Oops.

    Oh, and both Burt and Burt’s source left out an inconvenient bit from Burt’s source’s source at http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/162506/How-carbon-gases-have-saved-us-from-a-new-ice-age-:

    Thomas Crowley, professor of geoscience at Edinburgh University, responded: “People have thought about the possibility of an ice age but it wouldn’t be for many thousands of years. Dr Lovelock might be right in the abstract but this does not necessarily mean that CO2 is good now.”

    Seems like the six words from ‘Jim’ (if he actually is Lovelock) don’t actually “say it all” with regard to this thread. Clearly ‘Jim’ does not support every belief Burt advances – in fact he opposes several of them. One might even be tempted to speculate that ‘Jim’ is actually more skeptical of Burt’s claims than Burt is.

  268. Professor Michael Ashley (astrophysics) debates falsification of AGW and models (including assertions that they can just parameter-fit to past climate) in comments (although it takes a few to get into this territory) at http://theconversation.edu.au/climate-science-establishment-versus-sceptic-1050.

    If you go talk to modellers (even in fields other than climate science) they can explain how they generally manage to avoid the trap of over-fitting to historical observations (including tests that include hindcasting over only a somewhat arbitrary subsequence of the available data).

    Or speaking specifically of climate models, Zeke Hausfather argues that there’s “Really not Much that can be ‘Tweaked'” at http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2008/01/common-climate-misconceptions-modeling-the-climate/. That article explains the reason why accurate weather forecasts become infeasible a week or two out, but reasonable climate forecasts can be made over multiple decades:

    “[T]he calculation of climatic variables (i.e., long-term averages) is much easier than weather forecasting, since weather is ruled by the vagaries of stochastic fluctuations, while climate is not.”

    Anyone who claims that the difficulties in weather forecasting means climate forecasts are impossible doesn’t understand what they’re talking about (and I’ve seen it noted that weather forecasts have become much better further out than they used to be because of insights gained from climate modelling).

    One can also check out http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/02/2011-updates-to-model-data-comparisons/ to see how models and observations compare.

  269. Burt,

    On slide 31 of your January 2011 presentation, you write that your policy for aircraft flight safety reviews is “Question, Never Defend.” I applaud your commitment to this as a safety approach, as I’m sure it has prevented many accidents from the unintentional oversights that all engineers and engineering teams are prone to. But this approach only works if the engineers you’re questioning are allowed to defend themselves with data, if you as questioner are willing to answer requests for clarification and definition, and if you’re willing to accept their data when they present it.

    Over the course of this discussion you have betrayed an unwillingness to answer requests for clarification and definition. You talk about “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” but are unwilling to offer your definition of what qualifies as “catastrophic.” In your comments and your presentation you used the word “unprecedented” but have been unwilling to clarify the vagueness of the term even when asked – “unprecedented” over what period, and in what way? You have been unwilling to explain how your accusations of “fraud” or “bias” against Al Gore for failing to include error bars in An Inconvenient Truth square with your own error bar-free presentation of proxy data in your January 2011 slides. You’ve failed to address inconsistencies with how you think about climate models, accepting them in one case but rejecting them in another.

    Over the course of this discussion you have also shown that you are loath to accept data when it’s presented to you. In only one case have you explicitly retracted a claim you made, but many other examples have been provided. I’ve demonstrated with links to papers that models do account for a number of factors you said they didn’t, but you haven’t acknowledged it. I’ve demonstrated with links and logical argument that your claims about the CRU emails are insufficient, but your only response was a personal insult. I’ve provided links that demonstrate your implication of “it’s all money-driven” don’t make financial sense, either for Michael Mann in particular or for climate scientists in general, yet you ignored them entirely. I provided a few links that demonstrate that your suggestions of a CFC ozone hole hoax are either incorrect or, at a minimum, lacking in critical nuance, yet you ignored them as well.

    And now, after you’ve had your many fallacies pointed out to you, you’re falling back on personal insults delivered by an anonymous but “famous, brilliant, [and] astute” associate and an email of support from James Lovelock. Bringing up your famous friends is a red herring dragged across this discussion in an attempt to distract from your near complete failure to actually address the logic and data demonstrating that you are either incorrect about or ignorant of actual climate science and data.

    Put simply, you’re ignoring the very guidelines and experience that made you such a great engineer.

  270. #27r . My apologies, Mr. Rutan, I indeed conflated your ‘astute’ authority with ‘Jim’ Lovelock. The critique of Mr ‘Astute’ stands.

    As for Dr. Lovelock’s brief affirmation, of course it’s *hardly* all that needs to be said (though I understand why you may wish that were so). It’s absurd to think that just because one noted ‘alarmist’ (and rather famous ‘contrarian’ himself) pats you on the back for being skeptic, that your *claims* are vindicated. For one, it’s not like Dr. Lovelock is *my* go-to authority for climate science, nor does he necessarily reflect the mainstream/IPCC climate consensus — interesting though some of his views may be. More importantly, has Dr. Lovelock looked into your statements in *any* detail?

    Sometimes friends give friends a ‘pass’ for sentimental reasons….

  271. “I have received the following quote from a famous, brilliant, astute observer who has never entered the AGW debate on either side. ”

    Fallacy of argument from authority [SNIP]

    catweazle666: “Nope, higher area than 2007. ”

    [SNIP] deniers show their hand when they talk about sea ice area rather than volume. Everything deniers say is either explicitly or implicitly a lie.

    [Admin: I'm sure you can make your points without resorting to personal insults, Marcel.

    And this goes for everyone else as well - cut out the personal insults. Clean up your comments so we don't have to.]

  272. ‘>>And as clearly and patently as silly his/her post is,it doesn’t really differ in its claims from those of Burt Rutan<<

    Hardly surprising, as it isn't supposed to.'

    Of course not. The point is that Mr. Rutan should be embarrassed to resemble someone as ignorant and wrong as yourself.

    'Time will tell, Marcel.

    In fact, time is telling now, and it doesn't look good for AGW.'

    Science will tell, and it has. Your statement is sheer ignorance; AGW is a scientific fact, backed by overwhelming evidence. That's why there is not a single reputable science organization in the world that disputes it.

  273. ‘I just meant the actions themselves to curtail CAGW. I am new to this. I am very concerned about the world’s economy. I am just trying to understand the economic impact. Is there a point where actions to stop CAGW will have more detrimental impact to the world’s economy than CAGW (or AGW) itself?’

    I appreciate your sincerity, but you have to understand the vast potential impact on the world’s economy of some number of degrees of increase in the global average temperature, with the only limiting factor being a negative feedback from such severe consequences causing the industrial activity that produces greenhouse gases to be curtailed. Given that, actions, to cut back on the production of greenhouse gases is necessary. Some methods of doing so may have negative global economic impacts, and some may not … in fact, programs to produce alternative means of energy production and to institute curtailment of GHGs can have significantly positive impacts on the global economy. Of course these may imply shifts of economic benefit from one sector to another … for instance, coal mining could be negatively impacted, which might suggest why so much of the disinformation about AGW comes from that sector.

  274. “I’m sure you can make your points without resorting to personal insults,”

    Please help me out here: How do I make the point that people are ignorant and corrupt? These are important facts.

  275. Marcel Kincaid, February 13, 2012 at 11:52 am :

    “Science will tell….”

    Indeed, in the fullness of time it will.

    And you’re not gonna like it.

    So tell me, which of the “Hokey Team” do you think will be the first to find himself sharing a cell with Big Bubba? Cuccinelli’s grip is getting closer and closer to Mann’s collar.

  276. catweazle666: I showed you all the actual data from the actual sources that shows that your beliefs are fantasy. And all you can respond with is yet more fantasy?

  277. Bizarrely, Burt’s slide 93 argues that models can’t guarantee safety so we must test and pay attention to all the data, and that rigid ‘engineering certification’ needs to be applied to the “theory of climate modification by man” and therefore to …taxes, fees or regulations… on fuel – even as he argues that more CO2 would be beneficial on a number of levels. Waaaaaaaait a minute. Paying attention to risk mitigation principles and avoiding changes with unknown consequences (remember Burt argues on many slides that models are effectively useless) is where he thinks the rigid engineering certification should be applied – but not under any circumstances to unrestricted changes to the system? Good grief.

  278. And while we’re talking about blatant “data presentation fraud”, take a look at slide 12 in Burt’s PowerPoint. It tells its readers that “2% of the atmosphere is greenhouse gases” and “3.62% of greenhouse gases are CO2″. Don’t know about you, but that suggests to me that CO2 is 724ppm of the atmosphere which is way off – latest figures are somewhere near 390ppm.

    But worse still it goes out of its way to highlight the claim that only “3.4% of CO2 is caused by human activity” (and the context here is very clear – CO2 in the atmosphere). Burt has gullibly repeated this claim without a moment’s fact-checking or applying a standard engineering back-of-the-envelope sanity check. Burt could look up the figures and find out how much humans are emitting every year (wait, he has: slide 15 shows somewhere between 25-30 gigatonnes up to 2004). He could note that 390ppm of CO2 currently in the atmosphere corresponds to about 3160 gigatonnes => an approximately 2ppm annual rise corresponds to about 16 gigatonnes. (Slide 39 argues for 1.78ppm/year which I seem to recall has been routinely exceeded lately.) He could then scratch his head and ask himself: if humans emit 25+ and the atmosphere only retains 16 – how on earth can humans be only causing “3.4%” which is 107 gigatonnes or approximately four years total emissions?

    Or he could simply look up the attribution studies which demonstrate that all of the post-industrial rise is due to human activity.

    Instead Burt has perhaps fallen for the infamous “an individual CO2 molecule only stays in the atmosphere a few years therefore anthropogenic CO2 can’t be responsible for the atmospheric concentration rise” gambit so beloved of people who want to pretend that the post-industrial CO2 concentration rise was due to anything but humans and hope their audiences don’t think.

    And when Burt argues against Burt, which one wins?

  279. And speaking of “data presentation fraud”, Burt tries to impress his audience with the small number fallacy by pointing out CO2 annual emissions is “1 tablespoon in 300 gallons” and on slide 13 “Carbon Dioxide content is very small, invisible on a bar chart”. Burt, you apparently have sacrificed all intellectual self-respect on this issue – and James Lovelock would point out that CFCs in the parts per trillion were a legitimate worry a few decades ago. Does James or Burt “stay mute” on this issue?

    Then there’s the similar “data presentation fraud by inappropriate axis scale” on slide 40.

    Then there’s the “data presentation fraud” on slide 30, trying to minimise (in the audience’s mind) the impact of additional CO2 by pointing out that it is logarithmic and stating that “it can’t do much more” rather than quantifying what it can do. (It further deceives the audience by citing Lindzen and Choi 2009 – which was savaged mercilessly by scientists when it came out – for an implausibly low climate sensitivity. Heck, even Burt could have done back of the envelope calculations on that one comparing the expected effect of the post-industrial CO2 rise at that sensitivity with the observed post-industrial temperature rise – and noting that we’re not yet at equilibrium so we should expect more rise from the existing CO2. But no…)

    And informed readers will have no problem detecting the “data presentation fraud” on slide 90 that tries to pull the wool over the audience’s eyes by citing the dodgy “Oregon Petition” and the “Manhattan Declaration”.

    Burt, have you been gullible – or do you simply not care that your sources (and your PowerPoint) are bullshitting their audience on key points?

  280. It’s astonishing how Burt Rutan can claim to be so knowledgeable about the “fraud” going on in climate science, and reckon to be the one who is able to reveal the ‘truth’ and ‘facts’, when his list of links to where he has received his ‘knowledge’ consists of the following blogs :

    Joannenova
    Michaels & Knappenberger’s World Climate Report
    EIKE
    THE HOCKEY SCHTICK
    CO2Science
    NIPCC
    C3HEADLINES
    NOTRICKSZONE
    CLIMATEGATE.NL

    What an astonishing list of Conservative, Libertarian, sham-skeptic, non-scientific, unscientific, propaganda ! How can someone supposedly interested in truth and facts be so reliant on so much second-hand information ? The mind boggles.

    It seems that if you want to know where Burt Rutan is coming from, look for the answers in the ideology of the sources he trusts above all others – even the ones that told him (wrongly) about the ‘hockey-stick’ not being in the last IPCC Report. Until he can admit he was wrong there, it seems that anything he comes out with can be treated as just more copied, second-hand misinformation. Sad.

  281. Well said JMurphy.

    In all Rutan’s writings, I can find just two direct references to peer-reviewed literature, both providing entirely unsurprising results for the MWP in Europe and Iceland, used by Burt to support a mistaken interpretation of the MWP (remember Burt, strong MWP = HIGH climate sensitivity). Remaining sources are second-hand from blogs and advocacy literature, heavy on spin and insinuation, light on reference to original research, or accurate application of the same. One source even references a paper of my own, and completely misinterprets it! Rutan remains blissfully unaware that he is hopelessly, desperately wrong on this subject and has been utterly misled by his sources. Clearly he finds the misleading information comforting; but although I find the evidential truth anything but comforting, I must rely on the scientific method and the consilience of multiple lines of evidence in order to guide my reasoning.

    Burt, do you understand the risks of relying on second-hand information from the Internet? Have you read in detail the primary literature? You provide not the least bit of evidence to suggest you have done the latter, and ample evidence to show you’ve been taken in by the former.

  282. Burt cited Vahrenholt’s recent “skepticism” as an example of scientific ethics and standing up for the truth a while back:

    It is coming now from many countries who’s scientists have made the decision based on science ethics rather than politics. China, Canada, Russia and others are refusing to hide the truth. Just Monday, it happened in Germany: (http://notrickszone.com/2012/02/06/body-blow-to-german-global-warming-movement-major-media-outlets-unload-on-co2-lies/) and that will likely go mainstream soon.

    “It” might go mainstream – but that doesn’t imply it is close to accurate or “based on science ethics” – http://www.skepticalscience.com/fritz-vahrenholt-duped-on-climate-change.html.

    It is interesting that the first criticism points out that, like Burt’s assertion that “The Hockey Stick was removed from the 2007 IPCC report”, Vahrenholt made a straightforward easily checked claim about the IPCC report – that is plainly just not true. The second claim examined doesn’t fare any better – and it’s clearly based on an egregious cherry-pick. Then there are several other claims that don’t stand up to informed scrutiny.

    It appears that if you tell these guys what they want to hear they will obligingly turn off their critical faculties and engineering sanity checking habits and merrily assert plain falsehoods to the world. (If that were me I’d be issuing a prominent correction as fast as I could and pulling the book from sale – but then I would have had it double-checked before publication too. I’m an engineer after all – and I have professional standards!)

    Given that Burt appears to have a strong vested interest in not admitting that he’s plainly wrong on a whole number of claims here I wonder whether he’s desperately lying to himself – or doesn’t care that he’s trashing his own professional reputation and making a mockery of “scientific ethics” and “truth”.

  283. And speaking of Vahrenholt, when he was asked:

    Why don’t you publish your prognoses in a professional journal?

    He implied that he’d need to run one of them unreliable useless climate models (according to Burt) in order to do so:

    Because I don’t engage in my own climate research. Besides, I don’t have a supercomputer in my basement.

    I predict both of them will “stay mute” on this issue.

  284. It might be worth asking whether Burt has any connections to Heartland or any of the organisations/people (including Watts) that it gives/intends to give money to.

  285. No, no connections to Heartland, Watts or any other org/people. Never gave $ to any climate group or any political org, and never intend to. As I have noted, my study of data presentation is just an interesting hobby, nothing else.

    Many commenters on this thread have claimed that I have ignored their specific claims of fraud or errors on my part. Not true. I am following up on every comment that has been made and do plan to make corrections or notes on each relevant slide on my PPT. The next update will include those revisions as well as the additional data all of you have provided on this thread.

    Thanks to all for your help. Accuracy is important to me.

  286. So an advocacy group is funding advocates.

    Big surprise there.

    Seems there’s a lot of it about.

    Exxon funds Sierra Club: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72581.html

    BBC to issue global apology for documentaries that broke rules: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/bbc-to-issue-global-apology-for-documentaries-that-broke-rules-6719997.html

    And just look at the list that funds the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit (scroll to end of page): http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/about/history/

    The old adage about stones and glass houses springs to mind.

  287. Cat Weasel, if that really is your name:

    The SC is currently taking hell from it’s membership:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/04/science/earth/donations-to-sierra-club-raise-ire.html?scp=2&sq=sierra%20club&st=cse

    The BBC link at the Independent has nothing to do with environmental reporting and everything to do with getting content on the cheap. Hmm…

    And UEA has always had that page up. They’ve never tried to hide their funding sources unlike say, the GWPF…

  288. If accuracy is important to you, then you really should always consult the original data sources and original scientific papers. Your use of second or third hand interpretations has resulted in you making a number of very inaccurate statements, and has also led you to erroneous conclusions.

    I would still like to know why you claimed that the hockey stick graph had been removed from the 2007 IPCC report.

  289. It will be interesting to see what the slides look like in future but I hope, as RW suggests, that more original sources are used, rather than the ones that have been given by Burt above. And hopefully there’ll be no more about disappearing ‘hockey-sticks’…

  290. Burt, glad to hear accuracy is important to you. I hope you’ll look at a number of aspects of accuracy, both in your PowerPoint and in the Wall Street Journal op-ed that you co-signed.

    As others have pointed out, verifying any claims you make about the evidence itself, such as what it is and what it represents and where it came from, is important (especially when you are endorsing and repeating claims made by others). Going to the original sources in the literature is absolutely necessary – and it has the advantage that citing those sources allows others, especially those with a greater depth of knowledge in the field, to see what you base your claims on, verify it for themselves, and possibly introduce you to relevant additional information that you are not aware of. It is a necessary precondition for any real scientific debate about the evidence.

    Similarly, verifying any explicit or implicit claims about the full set of evidence is important, especially if you endorse or repeat someone else’s. That means accurately representing the full set of evidence. Cherry-picking or implying that local data is representative of global data falls afoul of this because it misrepresents the full set of evidence to an audience that usually isn’t in a position to know any better.

    Similarly, verifying that conclusions you draw about the evidence are justified is important, especially if you endorse or repeat someone else’s. Advancing arguments that don’t stand up to scrutiny by those with a high level of skill and domain knowledge doesn’t cut it any more than it would if someone outside of engineering made an argument that was persuasive to non-informed non-engineers but which your additional professional knowledge clearly ruled out.

    All of this demands a lot of rigour if you care about accuracy! Not all evidence or argument is of equal value – some is subsequently demonstrated to be fatally flawed or merely superseded by better work, even after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Clearly if you were to rely on data known to be flawed that would be unacceptably inaccurate, and advancing arguments that are basically ruled out by analysis of the full set of evidence isn’t demonstrating accuracy either. That’s why post-publication peer review is so important to the scientific method and why that method requires the totality of evidence to be carefully assessed.

    Accordingly it is absolutely crucial to weigh the quality and value of each piece of evidence and of each argument. If you’re going to do this validation for yourself you need to start by looking at the original papers that you think support your case, and then any critiques of them made elsewhere (e.g. in the scientific literature) to weigh them up, and then critiques of the critiques, and so on. Then you need to do the same with all of the other papers in the field that may mitigate against the interpretation you’d like to put on the evidence you are citing – which is arguably more important. And a famous scientist once said “We do science to avoid fooling ourselves” (and it’s easy to fool ourselves).

    You’ll quickly notice that carefully doing this starts to look an awful lot like actually “doing science”, and typically requires skills that aren’t taught at undergrad level at all, and aren’t necessarily acquired even by completing an Engineering Ph.D. (I have one, and I do not believe I currently possess the skills and domain knowledge to do science at a professional level.) In most domains of science this is effectively a specialist task.

    And this poses a quandary. If you don’t have the domain skills and knowledge, are you capable of assessing the totality of the evidence and argument (or even a single paper)? Another post I read recently suggested a cautionary rule of thumb (paraphrased): “If you aren’t able to get a paper published in a scientific field, you aren’t qualified to conclude that that field’s consensus is mistaken”.

    Finally, I would suggest that you are on particularly tricky ground – and verification requirements increase significantly – when you accuse scientists of professional misconduct, or ascribe non-professional motivations to their work output when you don’t have the skills or knowledge to operate professionally in their field (e.g. see aforementioned rule of thumb). Imputing motivations in many cases it implies that you know their internal thoughts or feelings – and I would suggest that you do not. And claiming professional misconduct in a domain you don’t have professional skills and knowledge might only be prudent if you are damn sure – which probably means verifying your thinking with a decent sample of those who do have the requisite skills and knowledge.

  291. Burt, in your quest for accuracy I might suggest that you can fairly easily test many of your claims against (say) the basic scientific claims made at reputable sites aimed at explaining climate science to non-scientists such as Skeptical Science and RealClimate and some of the blogs at scienceblogs.com. Please note that I’m not claiming that everything they say is accurate – but what they do generally do is make arguments with reference to peer-reviewed papers that support their case (which sometimes includes arguing that other papers are flawed, again by reference to the literature). (And comments at those sites can indicate where the common objections to their arguments lie, and common responses to those objections.) This allows you to go to the published papers and check them out yourself, as suggested in my previous comment. If you want to make a claim that is apparently rebutted by their argument and you don’t have a good reason to believe that the rebuttal isn’t justified by reference to the full set of evidence, you probably shouldn’t make the claim in the first place.

    So here are a few initial suggestions where you might research the accuracy of your PowerPoint (v4.3). I would have done more, but there was too much to cover in your first two slides in one evening – and there’s more that could be said about slide 2 (especially by someone who knows more than I do).

    Slide 1

    “CAGW”. If you’re going to use this term, or even the definition you provide under the asterisk, then I suggest that you cite its definition from the most recent IPCC report. I suspect that you will not be able to do so. (Most science advocates note that “CAGW” as used by “skeptics” is almost always a convenient strawman or a caricature of the scientific concerns rather than as representative of the science.)

    Slide 2

    You really need to bone up on ecological and biological research. The argument that “more CO2 makes the planet [i.e. ecosystem] healthier” is vastly oversimplified and many would claim it is deeply disingenuous or seriously misguided.

    I’m no expert in this area and I doubt I’ll be able to more than scratch the surface. But heck, even basic due diligence should have got you to information such as is found at http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-plant-food.htm, http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-plant-food-advanced.htm http://www.skepticalscience.com/Can-animals-and-plants-adapt-to-global-warming.htm and http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-positives-negatives.htm.

    For starters making direct comparisons (as this slide does) to “when dinosaurs roamed” is very difficult to justify and seems to qualify as a misleading implication. Go research how much the earth and sun differed from current conditions (apart from CO2 levels), and how many species we have now did not exist back then and have never existed under such conditions – and then see if you want to argue that the comparison is apt, and whether you still think several billion humans would thrive in such a world. It’s also disingenuous to imply that we should be worried about CO2 dropping to 150ppm given that there’s no basis to believe that will ever occur while humanity exists.

    Scientists in these domains are deeply concerned about the rate of change imposed on the ecosystem – because it can adapt, but (a) not very fast, and we can’t rule out major “simplifications” (loss of huge numbers of species) if the rate is too high; (b) nothing guarantees the adaptations won’t be detrimental to human interests; and (c) we’ve already heavily stressed the ecosystem and we’re pretty sure it’s nowhere near as resilient as it was in the past. Furthermore, we appear to be driving the climate to CO2 levels and temperature levels not seen on earth for a million years or more – and potentially several million years worth.

    And even if you take “CO2-fertilized atmosphere” at face value, you might want to start with Leibig’s Law Of The Minimum which suggests that your “CO2 is fertilizer” formulation is of dubious value without assessing whether CO2 is currently the limiting factor (which you might find is not the case for many crops). You might also investigate what happens to a whole variety of plants when both CO2 and temperature rises, including changes in nutritional (and even toxin) composition, threshhold effects that can significantly negatively impact yield (already limiting rice yields in India some years), and changes to the rest of the ecosystem (e.g. pests can become more prevalent and/or plants can become more vulnerable to them) that can pose significant and expensive challenges to farming. Have you done some sort of calculation to bound how much this will cost?

    To go along with “plants need less water to thrive” with more CO2, you might also investigate the relationship between higher CO2 => more water retention by plants => less transpiration => more warming and potentially significant changes to the hydrological cycle. Can you robustly rule out non-trivial negative changes to yield because reduced transpiration ultimately reduces precipitation and the amount of available water? You seem to think that deserts may be greened by climate change. Can you rule out desertification of current agricultural regions due to such changes? Can you rule out non-trivial drops in net human-useful agricultural yield? Have you even considered these possibilities?

    You also really need a broader appreciation of the staggering scale (and economic value) of an array of “ecosystem services” that would be very difficult to replace if they were heavily impacted by climate change – and even if technically feasible, likely very very expensive. Most technophiles who tout adaptation as a solution have never tried to understand how heavily we humans rely on the ecosystem for survival – let alone to thrive.

    We’ve got a huge amount of strong ecological adaptation already to the geographical locations available for farming including their soil and hydrological and weather patterns and our (geologically speaking) recent past climate – including CO2 levels that have been below the current level for the better part of a million years. Warming will mess with that – it’s already causing geographical movement of agricultural climatic zones. If the zones for a key crop move too far, or off land into water or onto a highly urbanized region, what do you hope to do about it, and how much will it cost, and why do you think it will be effective and what factors might you have missed to come to your assertion? And if you don’t know, why imply that CO2 is an unmitigated agricultural benefit – or that you can even put a reasonable bound on adaptation costs?

    I’m not seeing very much at all on slide 2 that is both accurate and presented in a fashion that is not misleading to uninformed audiences.

  292. Slide 3

    The moniker “Global Warming Scare” presumes conclusions you have not justified in the PowerPoint at this stage.

    You claim to show IPCC “predictions”, when they are “projections”. It even says so on the blurry IPCC diagram. The difference is important, especially if you want to be accurate.

    You argue that the “predictions” are “all caused by a theory of CO2 greenhouse gas heating from human emissions”. That’s a simplification – there are a bunch of other anthropogenic and natural effects that go into those projections too, along with various emissions scenarios, but it’s true that CO2 is (currently) held to be the main driver of warming.

    You argue that the chart shows “either big problems or catastrophe” for each prediction, but strictly speaking the chart does not make this claim.

    The chart source should be cited. If it is the TAR (as it appears), then you might want to explain why you chose a superseded set of projections.

    It is not accurate to say that the “Red Circle is the claimed CAGW scare” (even disregarding the use of the undefined term “CAGW” or the unproven “scare”). The concern is not about the time period covered by the Red Circle (given that it is almost entirely covering the past!) Nor is it about the temperature range inside the red circle.

    So this slide seems to need a lot of work to be accurate too.

    Slide 4

    The slide 3 comments about the IPCC figure apply here too.

    The IPCC is not “the UN”.

    The “IPCC 1990 report” is called the “First Assessment Report” or “FAR”. The “IPCC 2001 report” is called the “Third Assessment Report” or “TAR”.

    As explained and even linked to previously, “the hockey stick” is most certainly used as it is found in AR4, and it has certainly not been shown to be “fraudulent”. You would be correct to assert that it’s not found on the AR4 figure showing projections to 2100 (or at least on Figure SPM.5 showing that), but it would not be accurate to claim that it was no longer in the new projections figure because of the reasons you claim here.

    As explained previously the graph shown on this slide from the 1990 report is not a temperature reconstruction, is dubbed (IIRC) a “schematic” diagram, has no “error bars”, is apparently based almost entirely localized data, and is therefore not at all suitable for comparison with the projection diagram shown on that slide, let alone to imply that the “Hockey Stick” is fraudulent.

    The content fails to match the title of the slide. What happened between 1990 and 2001 was scientists created the first reasonable quality hemispherical reconstruction back over the last 1000 years, superseding the guesswork and extremely patchy data that was available prior to that time.

    The “Players in the CAGW issue” conflates the scientific work with policy and other works. Given that (thus far in the presentation) you’re talking almost exclusively about the IPCC you might want to restrict your discussion to what the IPCC does and who does it. Scientists create the report with an administrator at the top of (the very small) IPCC organisation.

    The statement that “No engineers or engineering studies/programs are being evaluated for the IPCC reports” may or may not be correct if you step outside of the WG1 report on “The Physical Science Basis” – but the implication that engineers should have scientific input when they don’t have appropriate scientific skills and domain knowledge is deeply misguided.

    It seems that not much remains of this slide if you want to eliminate inaccuracies and misleading juxtapositions.

  293. catweazle666 @ 310, you would do well to try to source your information from the sources themselves, rather than rely on a Yahoo Answers page which could be written by anyone and has no links as far as I can see.

    Why not, first, have a look at all four of the AR4 Reports here, and let us know which one you mean and where exactly we should be looking for that particular ‘hockey-stick’ you are on about.

    And, secondly, have a look at Figure 6.10 here (as has already been suggested by others), and see whether you can see an MBH ‘hockey-stick’. Come back and let us know what you discover, won’t you ?

  294. Slide 5

    This slide alleges “alarmists” focus on something. To be accurate he term “alarmists” should be defined as this is the first use I recall in the slide deck, and it’s not clear what you mean by it. For the rest of this comment I will assume that “alarmists” means proponents of mainstream climate science.

    The big claim of this slide is that “alarmists focus on trend E” to “prove” the correlation with human emissions. This is not accurate on a number of levels:

    1. The argument that human emissions are causing warming is derived from multiple lines of evidence which a competent engineer ought to be able to find and represent accurately. It demonstrates either deep incompetence or egregious “argument presentation fraud”, neither of which delivers accuracy.

    2. Even if the correlation of human activities with emissions was the only evidence, this slide (a) does not show calculations of correlation or even plot the allegedly correlated quantities, and (b) uses localized data (GISP2 ice cores) to discuss global warming.

    3. Ask yourself if GISP2 ice core data actually ends at CY 2000 or not. And if the nominal date used as “B.P.” for ice cores matches the calendar date. And given those answers, is the title of the slide correct? And since each graph doesn’t make it clear how they define B.P., are they on the same timeline? And if one of the graphs’ timeline extends beyond the GISP2 ice core data into recent years, where did the extra data come from and has it been appropriately applied? (You might also want to do a bit of searching to see if there has been some incompetent or inaccurate melding of ice core and other temperature records in the past, and whether your source is a known example of that.)

    4. The claim that certain trends are or are not significant is meaningless without defining the level of significance at which the test is performed. An accurate slide would do this, and report the calculated levels for each trend.

    5. If you want to investigate correlation as an argument for anthropogenic influences, you have to at least start by removing the major non-human influences from the temperature record. What happens when you do that? (http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/the-real-global-warming-signal/ has one example, and IIRC other analyses account for still more factors. And yes, I’d like to see it done over a longer time period for the data sets that go back further. And for bonus points, does that analysis cast doubt on any claims in the WSJ Op-Ed?)

    Back to the slide. It is claimed that trend E is not statistically significant (although the calculation is not shown for any of the curves). That claim (if it were actually important) should be backed up with citations and calculations. And special care needs to be taken since this record is alleged to be based on the GISP2 ice core reconstructions (see 3. above).

    I haven’t calculated the level of statistical significance for the actual global temperature trend from (say) 1900 to 2000 (e.g. http://woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1900/to:2000/plot/gistemp/from:1900/to:2000/trend, noting that the global trend is the only candidate for discussion in an accurate slide discussing global warming). But the slide author should have! Why didn’t they – and why didn’t you? What do you think the answer will be from eyeballing that graph? How about if you calculate it now?

    In summary the main point of this slide appears to be entirely inaccurate.

  295. catweazle666 – I’m afraid that’s just breathtakingly stupid. Quoting the ramblings of anonymous people on yahoo, when several people here have already shown you the actual report and the figure you claim isn’t in it, is truly bizarre.

    To briefly pick up the baton from Lotharsson:

    Slide 7

    “outlawing DDT killed millions” – DDT for agricultural use was outlawed at various different times in various different countries. Its use for disease control was never outlawed.

    “We now know that the Ozone changes were not caused by human CFCs” – that’s complete fiction. To quote from a recent paper about CFCs (Velders et al., 2007, PNAS, http://www.pnas.org/content/104/12/4814.full):

    Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) are now globally recognized as the main cause of the observed depletion of the ozone layer.

    I am tempted to set up a collaborative document in which those who are interested can investigate Burt’s slides in detail and compile a list of all the inaccuracies.

  296. Slide 6

    Let’s review the accuracy of the 2nd and 3rd bullet points after we’ve reviewed the rest of the deck.

    As previously pointed out the 4th bullet point is inaccurate – the data are just as important to scientists as to engineers, and the claim that for scientists “there are no consequences for being wrong” is quite absurd.

    I’d suggest that the 5th bullet point claiming the presentation first presents all the data and then analyses it “without bias” is clearly way off base.

    Slide 7

    Given that the slide it titles “Modern Human-Extinction Scares”, and the bottom of the slide implies that all of them are “over-blown” you’d want to be pretty confident that it is an accurate description of all the entries on the list, wouldn’t you?

    And perhaps you ought to define what “overblown” means to you in this context. Are you referring to cases where, at some point in time, the uncertainty is large enough to suggest the possibility of serious consequences? Or to such cases where the serious consequences don’t eventuate (or at least haven’t yet)? Or to the same scenario except that later in time additional data narrows the uncertainty to preclude those serious consequences or further constrain their seriousness? Are you talking cases where the data suggests a lack of action would lead to serious consequences, but action is taken that successfully avoids them? Your use of “overblown” suggests that the potential consequences and/or likelihood were exaggerated (presumably by scientists, since you’re supposedly discussing science)…and I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. And it may even seem dismissive of the scientific method of drawing conclusions from all of the data available at the time and acknowledging the range of uncertainties attached to those conclusions.

    1. Population Bomb. I don’t remember it being positioned as a possible mechanism for extinction of all humans, although the predictions were for large numbers of deaths. (And it was a book for popular consumption, not a scientific paper, let alone a strong consensus of scientists based on surveying the entire field.)

    2. Silent Spring.

    Another book.

    Yep, firstly as RW pointed out the DDT ban is a myth. Then the claim that the not-actually-in-existence DDT ban “killed millions” doesn’t seem to be supported by the evidence.

    You could consider http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/ddt/ and look at the many posts under that tag that look at various claims about DDT and the science. There are 14 pages of posts with the “DDT” tag. You could do worse than to start at these posts from 2005:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/06/ddt10.php

    Go read the quote from Silent Spring discussing the problem of insect populations that are the target of spraying programs developing resistance, and the idea that one should spray strategically (“as little as necessary”) in order to maintain the potency of the insecticide against the insects as long as possible. Then go see if this fits with modern scientific understanding. Then if it does, figure out whether this understanding is in any way compatible with “banning DDT cost millions of lives”.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/10/crime-of-the-century.php and the follow-up post [my emphasis]:

    Was this catastrophe predictable? Well, yes. In fact, Rachel Carson warned about it in Silent Spring. If India had followed the example of the United States and banned the agricultural use of DDT and reserved it for public health many millions of cases of malaria would have been prevented.

    The research shows that as India used more and more DDT in agriculture, malarial cases went up and up – which is at odds with the fundamental premise of the claim that “banning DDT cost millions of lives”, that premise being that more DDT use lowers overall malaria levels. It’s accurate to note that widespread agricultural spraying led to increases in the population of DDT-resistant mosquitoes (which is hardly surprising to entomologists – and appears to vindicate some of the arguments in Silent Spring) – and that pesticide manufacturers seem to have had a hand in delaying more targeted applications of pesticides that would have been more effective in reducing malaria in the long run.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2005/10/curtis.php has a long extract from a 1994 paper carefully laying out some facts and analysis. The simplistic pictures painted by people claiming DDT bans cost millions of lives do not seem congruent with that paper.

    If you want to make this claim you better go through all 14 pages and check the references to see if the claim holds up.

    3. Global Nuclear War.

    If you think this was an “overblown scare”, you’d better come right out and say so, and on what basis. If you mean it was overblown because “I don’t think this would have killed off the entirety of humanity”, then you probably need to change the title of the slide (and I note that a fair portion of your list comes under this category).

    4. Global Cooling.

    I bet you’ll find it challenging to find solid scientific evidence leading to the belief that global cooling was imminent and could send humanity extinct. As I recall there was some speculation in a few published papers that climate change due to anthropogenic and other forces could cause significant cooling IF the uncertainties in some forcings were resolved (by better data) to be sufficiently large on the cooling side. But the data at the time was very thin, and the papers indicated that there was insufficient certainty to draw solid conclusions (and when the data came in the possibility of strong global cooling was pretty much ruled out).

    Feel free to provide citations that counter my understanding.

    If instead you’re talking about the somewhat sensationalised stories in the popular media, well, then you’re not exactly talking about a scientific case a la current mainstream climate science, are you? And if that’s the case then the juxtaposition isn’t entirely consistent with being a stickler for accuracy.

    5. Hole in the ozone layer.

    What RW said – and if accurate, then go check your sources for this claim and treat everything else they have told you as under suspicion until verified.

    Do you have evidence that the Ozone Hole was considered a plausible mechanism to kill all of humanity (rather than a potential cause of skin cancers and cataracts)? A big enough disruption to phytoplankton (or other parts of the ecosystem) may ultimately have serious consequences for humanity – but if you accept that as a plausible threat to humanity’s existence you have to acknowledge AGW to be just as plausible a threat due to ecosystem disruption.

    6. Nuclear Winter.

    I don’t know whether this was an “overblown human-extinction scare” or not. Do you have citations showing that it was “overblown”, for example? And if you diligently research those claims in the scientific literature, does the full set of evidence strongly suggest this possibility can be robustly ruled out? Recent papers (e.g. as referenced by Wikipedia, published in the 2006-2008) still claim that rapid and dramatic cooling following a nuclear exchange could (in the worst case) potentially wipe out (almost or all of) humanity – even a single year without any significant agriculture would be very very serious – although there certainly are opposing viewpoints. It does not seem at first glance that your claim that this is “overblown” is accurate, unless you can provide very good reasons to believe one half of the ongoing scientific debate on this question is deeply mistaken.

    7. Global Warming and 8. Climate Change.

    It is difficult to find scientists who assert that global warming or climate change are likely to extinguish all of humanity – and certainly not any time soon – so these two categories do not fit the slide’s title. However a recent paper (http://grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-05-the-brutal-logic-of-climate-change/; link to audio & slide presentation found there) argued that:

    “…a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable.”

    …which is probably serious enough.

    If you want accuracy, go find the first published paper to use the term “Climate Change” or “Climatic Change” and see if it corresponds to the period “2003 to present”. And ask yourself when the IPCC was created, and what the “CC” part of it stands for.

    Do you have any evidence that “Global Warming” was an “overblown human-extinction scare” in (say) 1929? Maybe this timeline and its links will help: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/timeline.htm (or the summary version at http://www.aip.org/history/climate/summary.htm, or the discussion of 20th Century trends at http://www.aip.org/history/climate/20ctrend.htm)? Or does 1929 hold some other significance for you?

    It’s difficult to escape the impression that this slide is intended to predispose its audience in one direction (and after corrections for accuracy and definitional clarification it would appear a lot less “predispositional”). I would think that predisposing the audience isn’t necessary – if the analysis of climate science is as robust as the author claims it is. And one could instead make the entirely defensible point that conclusions drawn from different stages of the scientific process have lesser or greater evidentiary support (and lesser or greater chance of being significantly modified via future acquisition of evidence) – but that wouldn’t really suit the narrative that is being developed here, would it?

  297. An addendum to your excellent analysis Lotharsson, on point 4 (Global Cooling). If Rutan’s intention was to suggest that in the 1970s, there were great predictions of global cooling and a coming Ice Age, there were, but largely restricted to the popular media. What was the scientific position at the time?

    “The survey [of peer-reviewed literature between 1965 and 1979] identified only seven articles indicating cooling compared to 42 indicating warming. Those seven cooling articles garnered just 12% of the citations.” (quote from Peterson et al 2008, link below)

    Peterson et al 2008: http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/131047.pdf

    There were articles in Time and Newsweek, but that’s not where to get science from, or indication of a scientific consensus, is it!

    Global cooling predictions of the 1970s are, scientifically, a myth, #11 at SkepticalScience.

    Concern about global warming was known in the media as far back as 1958, as shown by a clip early in the following excellent presentation debunking climate myths by Chuck Kutscher. Burt might want to pay attention at the end where some of the fingerprints of warming are discussed:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Video-Chuck-Kutscher-debunking-climate-skeptic-arguments.html

  298. Can’t remember whether all of the points in the analysis of the WSJ Op-Ed at http://www.readfearn.com/2012/01/is-a-misleading-climate-change-op-ed-in-the-wall-street-journal-really-news/ have been covered on this thread, but it’s well worth reading – especially when it points out internal contradictions in the Op-Ed itself, and that citing as evidence (only) a (single) paper that has suffered very badly in post-publication peer review doesn’t support the otherwise largely evidence-free argument. (And I would suggest, indicates that the writer of the Op-Ed either doesn’t know how to, or doesn’t care to, evaluate the evidence in the scientific literature.)

    The link to [The Conversation] is also well worth following.

  299. It is obvious that some of you are still not getting my point. You are arguing the science within the scientific community, presuming to offset the claims I have made about misconduct. However, that is not what compelled me to do my research at all. The big problem I saw and still see is that the message has been distorted when it gets fed and covered by the media, the key alarmists and all who benefit from ‘impending crisis’. Your field has thus been hijacked by those who benefit by its incorrect definition of catastrophic. I did show longer time scales on the temperature data and proxies not so much to discredit the deceiving hockey stick, but to address the overwhelming belief by the public and policy makers that the current warming is “unprecedented”, “dangerous” and nearing a “tipping point”. The fraud I see is that the scientists, who know it is not unprecedented, and know from all the past warmings in the last 11k years that a tipping point is not indicated at all, are content to be mute rather than honestly coming forward and publicly correcting the record.

    It is clear that many climate scientists have a problem with the definition of CAGW. Of course they do. Like me, they know the planet has undergone some AGW the last 50 years. It not that the physics of greenhouse effect is fraudulent, it is a matter of how much is due to CO2 increases. With very few exceptions they will not personally go on the record claiming it is catastrophic.

    Scientists also know that man’s portion of warming is difficult to determine. They had to include questionable feedbacks in their models to show AGW at levels high enough to scare. They are having difficulty confirming the theory by using the measured data. They continue to ‘correct’ past data and bias presentations to make the ‘facts’ fit their desires. They do know, when looking at all the past ‘normal’ warmings that we do not face imminent catastrophe now. They are acting more like advocates than like scientists.

    The Media and the alarmists (political, hollywood, marketeers of carbon credits, folk who think it is ok to force increases in energy costs, etc) do understand the definition of CAGW. They use scary words all the time. They seem to like them. Like birds on a wire they fall in line with their predictions of doom. Ethical scientists should correct them. Lacking that, I and many others, am compelled to call them out on it.

  300. Burt, people are arguing the science because your presentation gravely misrepresents it. But now I’m not even sure what you’re arguing any more. Is it that scientists are fraudulent or that the media has misrepresented the state of the scientific knowledge, or both?

    Whatever your opinions, you have a perfect right to hold them. However, you do not have the right to your own facts. You still haven’t explained why you claimed that the hockey stick had been removed from the IPCC 2007 report when no such thing had happened. This, and the many other objectively incorrect statements you have made, lead me for one not to give very much credence at all to your opinions. I do look forward to seeing the revised document you spoke of.

  301. Slide 9

    The claim that for scientists “Frequently being wrong is not a problem” is quite disingenuous, especially since the slide deck makes no distinction between the willingness to propose plausible hypotheses that ultimately prove to be wrong (an essential part of the scientific method), and the chances of the overall weight of evidence in a fairly well developed scientific field pointing to the wrong conclusion for a while. It appears to be an attempt to conflate the former with the latter, at least for climate science. And that conflation is bogus.

    On a more mundane level, scientists who are frequently wrong in their published research start to find it difficult to get more funding, their professional reputation goes into strong decline, their employment prospects are savaged, and their chances of working with the best potential research collaborators fade. “Not a problem?” Rubbish! There are some counteracting forces that may reduce the impact of “frequently being wrong” due to either the possession of tenure (although that doesn’t really help with funding and desirable collaborators) or to holding an emeritus position or being fully retired. (Interesting – but no more than suggestive – that many of the “skeptics” who have scientific credentials fit the latter pair of possibilities.)

    Arguing that for engineers there are “consequences if wrong (people die)”, but by omission that the same does not apply to scientists is head-scratchingly inaccurate.

    The picture of “The Scientific Method” is overly simplistic. It illegitimately rules out all forms and methods of science for which a Control Group is not feasible. This is either ignorant or foolish (but it’s a common denialist gambit played by those who want to argue that science without a Control Group can’t tell us anything and is really a set of religious beliefs masquerading as something else). It might be better to understand the overarching definition of The Scientific Method as (after a comment I read somewhere) “inference from all the evidence to the best explanation”. This covers the process shown on the slide and peer review, replication, independent verification etc. but also covers work that is clearly scientific even though there can be no Control Group.

    Finally, there’s an implication that many audience members would probably infer from this slide that somehow engineers are more rigourous on questions of science than scientists are. This is patent poppycock! Almost all engineers – like almost all doctors, almost all car mechanics, almost all lawyers, almost all English teachers – don’t have sufficient scientific skills to do professional scientific work because they haven’t studied how to do scientific research. Dunning and Kruger’s research may prove relevant here – not only do most engineers not have the requisite skills, but often they don’t even realise what necessary skills they lack in order to do science. (Kudos to Burt for admitting he isn’t doing science on this thread though – but a shame that the PowerPoint appears to heavily undermine this acknowledgement.)

  302. The big problem I saw and still see is that the message has been distorted when it gets fed and covered by the media…

    …which was illustrated beautifully by your WSJ Op-Ed, as demonstrated here and in any number of places. Oh, wait, that wasn’t what you meant?

    So, like RW, do I detect another goalpost shift on your part? The problem is the media representation of the science, not the science itself?

    Sorry, Burt, but I call pure bullshit on that claim, at least as argued by you. Go read the WSJ Op-Ed if you can’t recall its contents, and review your slide deck again. Neither of them fairly compare the science with media coverage of the science – because to do that, you have to fairly represent the science in the first place. Neither the Op-Ed nor your slide deck do so – heck, they even imply or claim (as you even reiterate in your latest comment!) that the science is fraudulently and knowingly manipulated!

    Come back and complain about the media when you can fairly represent the science.

  303. I did show longer time scales on the temperature data and proxies not so much to discredit the deceiving hockey stick, but to address the overwhelming belief by the public and policy makers that the current warming is “unprecedented”, “dangerous” and nearing a “tipping point”.

    Come on, Burt! You keep trying to defend your use of mandarins to show that claims about apples are misrepresented, and you are desperately pretending that a whole load of similar looking apples have not been harvested since the first one which you rejected. That just does not fly.

    (You are also implicitly arguing that any such claims about current warming are only due to “The Hockey Stick”. You might want to provide citations to back that up. I suspect you’ll find that harder than you think. Go ahead and prove my suspicions unfounded.)

    The only way to show that claims about apples are misrepresented is to show the difference between apples and representations of apples. I’m not seeing you do that, or even getting the point. That doesn’t bode well for your personal assessment of the validity of science when you can get something this basic so egregiously wrong, especially after people have patiently explained why it’s wrong.

    And your whole “mute fraud” schtick is predicated on knowing scientists’ beliefs to be misrepresented in the media – when you show no ability to fairly understand or represent their beliefs in the first place. If you got that wrong, then your “fraud” disappears.

    …and know from all the past warmings in the last 11k years that a tipping point is not indicated at all,…

    That logic does NOT hold.

    And not only because you’re still stubbornly inappropriately extrapolating from the local to the global when you cite “past warmings”.

    See, if I’m driving in my car…oh, wait, I already explained logic that applies here to you at #211 regarding “warming and cooling cycles … for the last 11,000+ years”. Try reading it again. (Hint: you appear to be indulging in extrapolations from a single measured historical parameter to ruling out certain classes of changes in that parameter and even ruling out a bunch of other dynamics, despite a significant number of influences being quite different to those historical time periods. That’s a pretty foolish claim.)

    That, and there is a bunch of scientific evidence that you show no sign of being aware of, let alone understanding. We’ve recently observed huge and entirely unexpected plumes of methane over a substantial area in Siberia, for example, and many other climatic indicators are in regions of the parameter space they haven’t been in for much much much longer than your misleading 11k year diagram.

    Then, speaking of “dangerous”, there’s this: http://grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-05-the-brutal-logic-of-climate-change/. Bet you haven’t read the paper (http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1934/20.full.pdf) or viewed the presentation (http://137.205.102.156/Ms%20S%20J%20Pain/20111124/Kevin_Anderson_-_Flash_(Medium)_-_20111124_05.26.31PM.html).

    (And all of that biology and ecology you are apparently entirely unaware of.)

  304. They had to include questionable feedbacks in their models to show AGW at levels high enough to scare.

    And you know this for a fact…how? You are sure they didn’t include feedbacks that you dub “questionable” because their inclusion makes the models produce results closer to actual observations?

    Well in that case Burt, you’re sitting on an unrealised Nobel Prize! You and Gordon Fulks should get together and publish the results of your research – which naturally demonstrates that you get better fidelity to observations if you take away the “questionable” feedbacks, AND you have the benefit that it will suggest that anthropogenic influences are shown to be far less than thought! (Unless you argue that models are useless – but who would do that?)

    So what the heck are you waiting for? For the good of humanity, publish, man, publish! This little scare will be all over in a month after you do and we can get back to business as usual!

    Oh, wait, you don’t actually have this evidence…? And you can’t show that models are the only way that climate sensitivity is estimated by scientists and the other lines of independent evidence cited are all bogus? And that if anything, if you discard models as being “suspect” or “useless”, that the remaining evidence points to even higher climate sensitivity? And you can’t substantiate your other claims?

    Bummer – I was almost hopeful there for a minute.

  305. Burt, have you ever read much of the IPCC reports, especially either the Synthesis Report or WG1: The Physical Science Basis? And have you followed any of those through to the underlying references for any key arguments?

  306. Burt, you still have a lot of reading to do. You blame the scientists for the media’s coverage of the science. Then you accuse the scientists of various kinds of fraud and misrepresentation, again without evidence. I’d like to take apart your third paragraph, as it is very telling of your attitude:

    “Scientists also know that man’s portion of warming is difficult to determine.”
    Well, yes they do. It is Why the IPCC report is quite long – have you read it? They know that climate warming, given the energy in watts/sq m as a consequence of our added CO2 will lead us to a warming of somewhere between about 2C and 4.5C (Knutti and Hegerl 2008). This is consistent with a broad range of palaeoclimatic evidence from both distant geologic and Quaternary history, and consistent with the predictions of Arrhenius 100 years ago based on the physics. The trouble is, even 2C is a lot, approximately half the size of a glacial-interglacial transition, and according to palaeo records, likely to lead to multiple metres of sea level rise, as well as continued increase in drought severity, food insecurity and extreme weather (e.g. Hansen et al 2011). You should be alarmed at the possibility of a >4C rise, as the world will be an unrecognisable place if that happens.

    “They had to include questionable feedbacks in their models to show AGW at levels high enough to scare.”
    Unsubstantiated garbage. The palaeoclimatic record shows that climate sensitivity is somewhere around 3C per doubling – you do not need models to estimate the sensitivity of Earth to warming (again Knutti and Hegerl is good here). “Scare” is projection by you.

    “They are having difficulty confirming the theory by using the measured data.”
    Unsubstantiated garbage once again. Earth is warming as expected, with warming of an appropriate magnitude for estimates of transient climate sensitivity. Measured data show the specific fingerprints of CO2 warming, including nights warming faster than days, stratospheric cooling/tropospheric warming, and GHG spectral fingerprints showing up in the reduced outgoing and increased downwelling longwave radiation.
    See literature refs in: http://www.skepticalscience.com/10-Indicators-of-a-Human-Fingerprint-on-Climate-Change.html
    Some data, such as sea level rise and Arctic ice melt, is happening faster than projected by IPCC AR4. I hope you weren’t taken in by the red herrings of “It hasn’t warmed since 199*, 200*” or whatever they’re claiming these days, if you are, you’re going down the up escalator, and confusing signal with noise (Foster and Rahmstorf 2011). As an engineer, I presume you know the difference between signal and noise, right?
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/going-down-the-up-escalator-part-1.html

    They continue to ‘correct’ past data and bias presentations to make the ‘facts’ fit their desires.
    Unsubstantiated garbage again, Burt. You really are going to have to do better than that. You can download all manner of instrumental and palaeoclimatic raw data at NOAA NCDC, and it is quite straightforward o construct a basic global temperature record, and only a little harder to reproduce the ‘Hockey Stick’ – which, despite your many denigrations, still stands as strong today as ten years ago, thanks to that powerful technique of science, independent replication with different data and different methods.

    “They do know, when looking at all the past ‘normal’ warmings that we do not face imminent catastrophe now.”
    Except that past warmings are not like this, in type or in speed. The best analogue is the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum… and that is not acomforting thought.

    Grade F, Burt. Must try harder next time!

  307. Slide 10

    Sheesh, Burt, you’re not even trying to avoid “data presentation fraud”, you’re reveling in it! Where do we start?

    Your chart conflates two different uses of the term “variance” in the hope that the audience will directly and inappropriately compare them. It charts three different cases of (quasi-periodic) variance in data – the seasonal and diurnal cycle variations. Then it charts three different trends in global average temperature, also dubbing the changes due to trend as “variance”. Then it commits an egregious sin of comparing the two types of “variance” on the same chart as if they are equivalent metrics. When “three of these things are not like the others” you’re almost certainly committing “data presentation fraud”. It makes about as much sense as claiming that “Wow, look how hard it is to measure the difference in fuel efficiency of this automobile if I swap a regular spare tyre for a lightweight one because the variation in instantaneous speed across all motor vehicles is so large!”

    Within the first “variance” category it appears to go the extra mile to manipulate the audience. In the top two bars it adds together day-night and seasonal variations to make the total look even bigger, and the first bar even appears to represent the record high reading anywhere on Earth (in a typical year?) vs the record low anywhere elsewhere on Earth in order to make the comparison look even worse! This gives no insight, heck, it gives negative insight into whether one can detect a global trend – which requires repeated measurements over time at the same locations. Reporting the same-location average day-night temperature change doesn’t give any actual insight either. No competent engineer should find this persuasive or even indicative – but uninformed audiences might.

    Within the second “variance” category it also tries to minimise the changes that are being measured in the audience’s minds by plotting in juxtaposition to the much larger (and ambiguously specified) “Global; average temperature change, last 500,000 years” bar. It is difficult to see how this is relevant to measuring recent trends – like all the other curves it has zero bearing on whether a trend at a location can be accurately measured or not, let alone on whether the recent trend and other evidence points to trouble ahead or not.

    (I note that it also conflates local metrics with global metrics…)

    And then it compounds it all in the text by implying that it is relevant to the alleged “challenge” (or the scientific case for concern) whether humans can sense temperature and CO2 changes of the magnitude being discussed! Seriously, do you expect not to get laughed out of the room by any informed individuals when you try that crap on?

    This slide clearly does NOT attempt to go to the data to find out what it tells us and how confident we are in it despite earlier claims that the deck would do so, nor does it even present an honest assessment of the feasibility of the “challenge” that is presumed by the slide’s title. This looks an awful lot like a lawyer’s sophistry that tries to predispose the jury via inappropriate framing before (and in case) they hear the inconvenient facts from another source. And so far that appearance applies not only to this slide, but to almost the entire deck up to this point.

    Frankly, it’s amazing how much bullshit is packed into each slide – look at the length of my posts. And if someone presented a deck like this to me in a professional engineering capacity, I would consider them incompetent and unsuited for the position.

  308. Slide 11

    (As before: “CAGW” is not a scientific term or acronym, and unless you’ve got a citation it is undefined by scientists.)

    The slide claims the 5 numbered claims must be true for “the CAGW call to action”. This is quite inaccurate (and it is also inaccurate that climate science makes those claims as stated).

    1. As written, this is a partial red herring. The scientific case says that “recent” human emissions have significantly increased (i.e. by +40% or more) atmospheric CO2 levels over pre-industrial levels (which are pretty similar to the levels levels experienced since the last ice age).

    Some scientists will argue that “and these levels in and of themselves are dangerous because of their impacts on climate” whilst others will argue that these levels may be OK but higher levels will trigger dangerous conditions.

    The science does not argue that current CO2 levels have not been seen on earth before, or even that CO2 levels need to be higher than Earth has ever experienced before serious consequences can arise. The concern is what the additional anthropogenic forcings, in concert with natural forcings, will do to the climate (and extra CO2 is clearly a big one).

    2. Yes, this is required by the scientific case for concern. Or more strictly speaking, human CO2 emissions constitute a climate forcing via greenhouse gas mechanisms, as do other anthropogenic activities (some of them a negative forcing), but CO2 is the largest.

    3. As written, this is NOT required by the scientific case for concern nor is it claimed as fact by climate science.

    The argument does NOT rest on the warming of the last 50 years already being dangerous (and when discussing AGW it is far more common to talk about warming “compared to pre-industrial levels”). If I recall correctly (and I may not) we’re already about 0.8 degrees C above pre-industrial levels (although it will warm more even if we cease emissions right now). Up until recently it was generally considered that “dangerous” climate change started at about 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels but some new research suggests that threshold is at about 1 degree C. Either way the warming over the last 50 years is not generally thought to have reached dangerous levels.

    However, was the global warming of the last 50 years considered “sudden” in geological and climatic terms? I think that most would say yes – but many might disagree that it is necessary to the case for scientific concern about future climate changes that the recent warming to be considered sudden. (Ecological scientists might differ from geophysicists on this point, for example.)

    4. This is neither necesary to the scientific case for concern, nor is it claimed as fact by climate science.

    I don’t see any scientists saying the current temperature is too hot.

    I don’t see any scientists saying ANY further warming is bad.

    I do see scientists saying that (a) it will keep warming even if we cease emissions right now, and (b) if we have sufficient additional warming it will be bad.

    5. True in many respects, both as conclusions of scientists and as part of the political case for rapid policy action that is based on the science.

    But of course, what you conclude on this question depends on whether you focus on selected aspects and impacts of climate changes, or on dealing with the whole enchilada. If we presume we want to deal with all of the consequences then yes, on the whole adaptation is more difficult because some of the impacts are deeply challenging. If we cherry-pick so that we exclude the particularly difficult problems, it looks a lot easier.

  309. Oh, and speaking of slide 11, the segue at the bottom to slide 12 shifts the goalposts of point 1 (“sudden dangerous CO2 increase”) by adding the unqualified “unprecedented” adjective.

    And beyond that sleight of hand, “unprecedented” is ambiguous here – does it apply to “suddenness” or level? Over what time frame?

    Worse still, as far as I know the scientific case for concern does NOT require that either suddenness or level be “unprecedented” over any particular time frame, because the case for concern is based on where climate is going if we keep forcing it this way and what impacts that will likely have. However, as I explained (not particularly well) above, ecologists and biologists get particularly concerned about the rate of warming once it is high enough to cause significant stress or damage to the ecosystem (coupled with the other heavy stresses we have imposed on it).

    In addition, there are plenty of “skeptics” who will argue that unless some aspect is unprecedented then things can’t possibly go wrong – to which I refer them to the driver of the car who has just driven over a very high cliff, but is not currently experiencing unprecedented horizontal velocities.

    So an unqualified “unprecedented” is somewhat of a red herring for evaluating the scientific case for concern.

  310. After again shaking my head back in forth that you still do not understand my main point, I re-read my post and find that I indeed incorrectly stated my claim. I meant to blame the scientists for being mute, not blame the media for spreading distortions. Correction follows.

    The big problem I saw and still see is that when the message gets distorted as it gets processed and published by the media/key alarmists/policy-makers, the science community is mute rather than speaking out to correct them. I assume they are mute since they know that any open debate by them will be interpreted as a lack of confidence in the certainty of CAGW.

  311. Burt, as Lotharsson is demonstrating in detail, you do not know what the message is. Your understanding of the science is based on unreliable advocacy sources and on many points of fact, you are completely incorrect. So how can you possibly know whether the message has been distorted?

    Much earlier, you asked: “why are the climate scientists as a group, mute? Why do most of them still defend the discredited hockey stick, even after the IPCC removed it in 2007?”

    It is not discredited, and the IPCC did not remove it. Many of us have told you this, and you have not even acknowledged let alone corrected this false statement. The scientists are not saying what you what them to say because it would be untrue.

    Also could you please stop using the term “CAGW”. It is a term onto which you have projected your own interpretation, and not something with any universally understood meaning as you keep on trying to imply. It does not appear in the scientific literature, and

  312. Ah, so you do not think AGW is catastrophic. Then why do you not come out and say so publicly? Why do you remain mute?

    I have no issues with AGW in general. Its when the public is told the earth is at risk of catastrophe – then the damage is done. By your comments and actions it appears that you are frightened by the distinction and thus afraid of anyone using the term CAGW.

    If the government handed out research money only to those who “prove” the validity of CAGW (and deny grants to those who don’t), we would soon have lots of researchers proving the validity of CAGW (oh, we already do). The number of “climate researchers” will expand to take all the money available for “researching climate,” and their results will generally verify the need for further climate research.

  313. I don’t think it’s a difficult request but despite it being made many times, you’ve still failed to define what you mean by catastrophic. If you refuse to do this, then how the hell are we supposed to have a discussion about whether we face catastrophe or not?

  314. Burt,

    This has become absurd. You refused to define a number of key terms. You ignored calls to explain inconsistencies in your own statements and between slides in your January 2011 presentation. You faild to acknowledge that I and others have made logical arguments that counter your own preconceived notions. You shifted goal posts several times on various subjects and appear to be in the process of trying to walk back your own claims about the hockey stick graph (“fraud” to “bias” to “deceiving”).

    And simply claiming, as you did in #304 above, that you are making changes to your presentation based on these comments isn’t good enough – it’s a breach of blog etiquette to say “you’ll all get answers in X months when I publish my updated presentation” without answering the charges in the comment thread itself. But more than that, it’s a breach of your own professional duty as an ethical engineer too. Any time I’ve made a mistake in my career, I’ve owned up to it and personally informed everyone who was impacted by my mistake, and I apologized if an apology was warranted. I expect that you demanded the same from your people when you worked at Scaled Composites, and I expect the same from you.

  315. If Burt thinks the scientists are being ‘alarmist’, or even standing by while the media are being ‘alarmist’ (though he provides no examples of this and he obviously does not watch or read any Murdoch-controlled news outlets where doubt appears their product), he ought to look up the following journal article:

    Freudenberg and Muselli, 2009: Global warming estimates, media expectations, and the asymmetry of scientific challenge.
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378010000300

    It’s a challenging subject, but the core of it is that the IPCC has been too conservative in their reporting, and that has been borne out by subsequent literature (to a ratio of 20:1). Media reporting of the ‘false balance’, and a cation of publishing their most feared results , among other influences, leads to this conservatism among both scientific publication and media reporting.

    “It is not too soon, however, to conclude that, based on the best evidence available to date, consensus statements such as those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are highly unlikely to represent the kind of ‘‘exaggerated fears’’ often claimed by those who deny the reality or scientific credibility of findings on global climate disruption. There is significantly stronger support for the testable prediction from work on the Asymmetry of Scientific Challenge — namely that, far from overstating the degree of change that is likely, scientific consensus statements such as those provided by the IPCC are more likely to understate the actual degree of climate disruption taking place.”

    More information at:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/freudenburg.html

    Something else to add to your rapidly growing list of required reading of the primary literature, Burt.

  316. Has anyone done/seen a good write up of the climate scientists must push “CAGW” to increase climate funding meme? I can think of several obvious problems with this:
    1) Most of the funding goes to things like satellites which creates no incentives for the scientists.
    2) You would see a shift in tone based on changes in government.
    3) Any research that narrows uncertainty makes the case for action less urgent. The ideal strategy would be highlighting all the extreme climate shifts over the millenia but not our ability to rule out most past causes of these shifts.

    Hmm, who likes to claim we don’t know anything, predict imminent cooling, or focus on changes that were relevant millions of years ago? Could it be that the so called denialists are actually in on the whole scam?

    The conspiracy is bigger than I thought!

    (Note: I know none of these are original points.)

  317. Scientifically honest, wattsupwiththat.com? Come on – be serious. That site continually pushes tired anti-science nonsense, years after it has been comprehensively debunked. The only people who can possibly take it seriously are people who don’t understand the science.

  318. Burt, I’m going to pile on in response to this statement because I and others pointed out the implications before – but you continue to repeat it as if there were no issue.

    The big problem I saw and still see is that when the message gets distorted … [and] …the science community is mute rather than speaking out to correct them.

    Burt, if you cannot agree that an iron-clad prerequisite for determining that “the message gets distorted” or that it “needs correction” is that you understand the message accurately in the first place, then we’re done here because you’re merely playing dishonest word games and have no interest in the public understanding the actual scientific message in the first place.

    Can we at least agree that “distortion detection” requires comparing the processed message (that may or may not be distorted) with the accurate original message?

    As echoing what RW just said and I similarly expressed earlier: you don’t seem to be able to even consider the possibility that the scientists aren’t saying what you want them to say because it’s not true. You need to be (actually) skeptical about your own claims too.

  319. Next, Burt, how do reconcile your claim that the big problem is “the science community is mute when distorted science finds its way into the media” etc., with the WSJ Op-Ed (ironically in that very media) which explicitly states in the sub-heading, and I quote:

    There’s no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to ‘decarbonize’ the world’s economy.

    If you agree with your own implicit claims here, and with the editor, and with everyone who read it that the Op-Ed claims to be basing its argument on the scientific case, feel free to cease “staying mute” on any number of errors and distortions of the scientific case that the WSJ Op-Ed makes, as detailed explicitly in this thread, in links provided in this thread, and in many other places on the web. Heck, you are apparently still “mute” on the blatant distortion provided by the editor as the first sentence of the article implying that all the signatories are scientists. It doesn’t get much more clear-cut than that.

    (What, you haven’t spoken up yet? What should we make of that?)

    So let’s look at that Op-Ed a little. It asserts that “…a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.” This is decidedly NOT an appeal to the scientific case, it is an appeal to unsubstantiated claims of numbers of figures of unsubstantiated authority, some of whom by virtue of not being scientists are clearly not qualified as authorities. And appeal to authority, most especially when bucking a heavy consensus of the field in question, is a logical fallacy – which in this context would seem to be a “distortion of science”. Why are you still “mute”?

    The Op-Ed cites Giaever – a guy who (IIRC) hasn’t done any climate science research, so is not exactly a poster boy for “claiming that you are fairly representing climate science when the media distorts it” – quibbling over whether “global warming is incontrovertible”. Trouble is, Burt, that quibble is a distortion of the scientific case, which indeed says that global warming (as the term is usually understood) is incontrovertible now based on a number of independent lines of evidence. Why did you “stay mute” on this claim when even your own slide deck shows global warming (slides 27, 33, 46, 49, 57, 58, 59, 69, although to be fair it claims thermometers are useless for detecting warming, although to be doubly fair it distorts the science to do so)? And why cite Giaever’s unsubstantiated opinion at all if the article is about what the scientific case says? Still “mute”, Burt?

    Next, let us being examining the “collection of stubborn scientific facts” cited by the Op-Ed.

    Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now.

    Why do you “stay mute” on this bullshit and completely unscientific claim, Burt, despite people explaining it in terms you ought to understand (signal-to-noise ratios mean you expect to see surface temperatures not obviously warming much over periods of a decade every now and then – AND the claim ignores the documented heat build-up in the oceans during this period which is entirely consistent with scientific expectations and the claim that the world is warming because it is accumulating heat, even if it’s not accumulating it much at the globe’s surface for a few years).

    And why do you “stay mute” on the distortion of the Trenberth quote which was talking about doing a better job of tracking energy flows so that we can figure out where it’s going and get a better handle on “natural variability”?

    And why do you “stay mute” on the bullshit claim that “the warming is only missing if one believes computer models where so-called feedbacks involving water vapor and clouds greatly amplify the small effect of CO2”? Are you seriously of the opinion (for example) that the science does NOT clearly demonstrate that the water vapour feedback significantly amplifies any forcing, whether warming or cooling, and whether anthropogenic or not? Or do you understand the science on this point but choose to “stay mute” for some reason? (And that’s before we get into any other discussion of the other ways this assertion distorts the science.)

    Burt, how many more well-documented errors of science (and even distortions of economics) are there in the Op-Ed? (I can assure you it is decidedly NOT zero – I suspect one cannot find a single paragraph that accurately represents the science.) And why have you “stayed mute” on them even though various errors have been clearly demonstrated in any number of write-ups and you have been pointed to several of them?

    And what happens when one analyses your 98 slide PowerPoint to see if it distorts the scientific case (sometimes by misrepresenting or entirely avoiding raising key parts of it), as I and others like Tamino have started to do?
    Burt, the great irony is that some of your key claims about your own advocacy are distortions of that advocacy, especially when you assert or imply that it is all based on fairly and accurately representing the state of climate science. Your advocacy is not even close to doing so.

    Are you “staying mute” because you’re not competent to recognise erroneous scientific claims, especially when you make them? Or do you have another reason?

    See, Burt, you have a simple choice.

    You can choose to be right going forward, or you can continue to bluster that you have been right even though the evidence refutes that claim. Which will it be?

  320. What I find particularly odd, Burt, is this inconsistency:

    (a) Your slide deck argues that engineers operate differently from scientists, in part because engineers are responsible for safety and “incur consequences if wrong (people die)”, whereas scientists have “no repercussions” for even “frequently being wrong” and no responsibility for “adequacy or value of product”.

    (Let’s ignore the distortions of science etc. for the sake of argument and just go with the “I’m an engineer, and engineers are safety conscious, therefore you should infer that I’m safety conscious, especially in this presentation” angle.)

    (b) Your Op-Ed and your slide deck are blatant exercises in casting unjustified doubt on the scientific case that strongly urges caution because it cannot rule out that the worst case will cause many many people will die.

    Clearly (a) and (b) don’t match.

    To put it bluntly, you tout the safety-consciousness of professional engineers (as a class, and by implication of yourself) in a presentation you use to cast doubt on the climate system safety warnings (which are arguably not strong enough) raised by a heavy consensus of professional climate scientists.

    Or to put it another way, your Op-Ed and slide deck abandon all pretense of being safety conscious or following well-known risk mitigation principles regarding AGW (admittedly ably assisted by denying and distorting a great deal of scientific evidence – and noting that you may even believe you’re fairly representing the science).

    And nowhere is this more starkly illustrated in your framing of “CAGW” as a black or white possibility – you either think it is catastrophic, or it isn’t and you challenges others to choose one of those black or white choices. No competent engineer would think in those terms about his own product!

    Burt, when you are designing a spacecraft is your goal merely to ensure the flight is not “catastrophic”? Is “catastrophic” a black and white assessment, or are there degrees of detrimental outcome, and many possible detrimental outcomes? Don’t you attempt to assign probabilities of occurrence to each plausible detrimental outcome of concern, and work to mitigate the overall risk of a flight? (And if you don’t, you might want to point that out to potential customers…)

    For example, what level of risk of death to a single individual for a single flight is considered acceptable in your spacecraft design? Is that single risk metric sufficient to characterise the total risk of a flight to a human, or do other detrimental outcomes (such as the risk of permanent disablement, or blindness, or loss of a limb, or major organ failure, or brain damage…) come in to the equation? Does your equation treat some risks are more impactful than others? Does it treat some as more likely than others? Do you model total risk and use it to perform risk mitigation, and does that total risk assessment incorporate in some fashion some measure of uncertain but undesirable outcomes based on their likelihood and likely negative impact?

    Now surely you can see those risk mitigation principles should be applied to AGW. Would you suddenly throw away everything you knew and decide model risk as a black and white “catastrophic or not catastrophic” assessment? Wouldn’t you look at the set of plausible detrimental outcomes and attempt to assign probabilities and impact levels to them in order to calculate a risk metric? As one thought exercise, what level of risk of death (probability * impact) would you consider acceptable, and what level would you consider requires mitigation? And how do you know how much CO2 forcing avoids that unacceptable risk? And all the others you consider unacceptable?

    Also note that if you consider models unreliable, presumably you will eschew their use in risk calculations. You will probably then find that you can’t even put a decent upper bound on total risk (in part because mean and uncertainty in the value of climate sensitivity both rise when we only use non-model evidence).

    What does professional risk mitigation tell you must be done when you can’t put an upper bound on risk? What would you do if there was an unbounded risk in a product you were developing?

    And given your self-touted professional skills in the area of risk mitigation, how do you square their application with your position on AGW?

    • Mr. Rutan, please re-familiarize yourself with S&R’s comment policy. S&R expects comments to be made in good faith and with a dedication to “meaningful engagement.” At this point you appear to be treating this comment thread as a personal soapbox from which to monologue about your unsubstantiated opinions, and as such you are not meeting either of those standards. If you wish to continue engaging in a discussion at S&R, please elevate your comments to match our comment policy. If you are unwilling to do so, we invite you to take your comments elsewhere.

  321. “For a more scientifically honest site with far, far less political bias, try http://wattsupwiththat.com

    Yeah, and Fox News is fair and balanced, and Answers In Genesis and Ray Comfort are objective sources of information about evolution. Though someone who gets his information from answers.yahoo.com (“that’s just breathtakingly stupid”, as RW said) might think so.

    “Science will tell….”

    Your ellipsis is dishonest.

    “Indeed, in the fullness of time it will.
    And you’re not gonna like it.”

    Indeed I won’t. Nor will you nor anyone else. The notion that I, or any scientist, would be *unhappy* if the predicted negative outcomes would fail to occur (ignoring that many are occurring now) is illogical, wrong, stupid, and vile.

    You proclaim your confirmation bias proudly, catweazle, as if you considered intellectual dishonesty to be universally recognized as a virtue. It’s quite tragic, really.

  322. Dear Burt Rutan:

    “Ah, so you do not think AGW is catastrophic. Then why do you not come out and say so publicly?”

    No one said that they think that; why do you persist with lie after lie after lie? Brian made the point about “catastrophic” way back in #35:

    “I do have one question, however, as many of you are using the term – what, precisely, do you mean when you say “catastrophic” AGW? I ask because “catastrophic” is a subjective term, and whether I consider climate disruption to be “catastrophic” or not depends greatly on where you draw that line.”

    And AFAICS you have never answered that question. Every post you have made here is chock full of patently dishonest garbage and stunning intellectual ineptitude, as with your very first mention of “catastrophic”:

    “You can easily tell if someone is a true environmentalist, i.e. an advocate for a healthy planet – he is one who is happy to hear the news that the arctic ice content has stabilized. He is one who celebrates when the recent climate data show the alarmist’s predictions of catastrophic warming might be wrong. The denier, if he is an eco/political activist, always denies new data that show the planet may be healthy after all. ”

    Of course we would be happy to hear that the arctic ice content has stabilized, but we aren’t so stupid and dishonest to believe that it has just because you or some other denialist says so, when we know that the arctic ice *volume* is radically decreased. Your argument is that, because we aren’t so stupid or dishonest as to believe what you claim, we aren’t real environmentalists. The same goes for “recent climate data” … while of course predictions always *might* be wrong, there is no recent climate data that shows that … so your argument is that, because we aren’t misinformed and deluded, we aren’t real environmentalists. As for the planet’s “health”, it’s a category error; planets don’t have health. But ecological conditions do have implications for the health of human society, and while scientists “may” be mistaken, there is no such data as you claim; NASA says that something like 20,000 of 27,000 indicators are trending in the direction that indicates global warming. So your argument is again that, because we are not misinformed, deluded and intellectually dishonest, we aren’t real environmentalists. But even if it is not you who is wrong and deluded, even if it’s the virtually entire body of climate scientists who are deluded, that still would not mean that we aren’t environmentalists — it would just mean that we are wrong. Your argument comes down to being that, because we don’t agree with you on the facts about arctic ice, climate data, and ecological data, then we aren’t environmentalists. This argument is intellectually dishonest and intellectually inept. It certainly isn’t “accurate”.

  323. “If the government handed out research money only to those who “prove” the validity of CAGW (and deny grants to those who don’t)”

    It does no such thing. You are treating your false, baseless, evidence free premise as if it were a fact. That is dishonest and intellectually inept.

    “we would soon have lots of researchers proving the validity of CAGW (oh, we already do)”

    Your fallacy of affirmation of the consequent is intellectually inept. Consider some P which happens to be empirically true and has been shown so by science. If the government handed out research money only to those who “prove” P (and deny grants to those that don’t) we would soon have lots of researchers proving P (oh, we already do). But we have researchers concluding what is empirically true because it’s empirically true, not because of how government grants are handed out … and that’s the case for climate science.

    “The number of “climate researchers” will expand to take all the money available for “researching climate,” and their results will generally verify the need for further climate research.”

    Burt, have you ever studied logic? Do you know what a circular argument is? Because yours is, and it is stunningly intellectually inept. The rank stupidity and illogic of this argument could be applied to any sort of research, regardless of whether the findings of that research are accurate.

  324. “I have no issues with AGW in general.”

    Another ridiculous, blatant lie from Burt Rutan, who went on and on in #4 telling us how harmless CO2 is.

  325. Burt, if you really were interested in accuracy, you would repudiate all use of the “CAGW” slur. It is a fictional concept, used pretty well exclusively by anti-AGW proponents as a convenient and flexible straw man.

    AGW is a term that has *precise meaning* – An increase in temperature across the whole globe, with an origin that can be traced back to human actions. It makes no value judgements, or implications about rate, or severity – it is purely, and accurately, descriptive.

    “Catastrophic” is a value statement. Ask 10 different people what it means and you will get 10 different answers. I know, because I’ve done it – time and time again. It can mean anything from cities being wiped off the face of the earth by rising seas, to the extinction of humanity, to a venusian atmosphere – anything that can be made to sound extreme, ridiculous and obviously the product of an irrational mind. It is an exercise in casually tainting a pure scientific term with a political one, and you have been duped into accepting it into your common parlance. It is an invention that has gained traction through constant repetition akin to groupthink.

    What about just “Bad” AGW? Or “Not Quite Catastrophic but Still Unpleasant” AGW? Or “More Costly Than Not” AGW? Where do you draw the line? You cannot, not with precision, or accuracy, and certainly not with a consensus on meaning.

    Please do some research – if you do, like me you will find that usage falls virtually exclusively into the following categories:

    – “Skeptics” using CAGW as shorthand for AGW (the overwhelming majority of usage).
    – Consensus advocates complaining that the term is a fiction with no meaning.

    Every time you use it you are battling a straw man.

  326. To pile on to Marcel’s comment responding to Burt claiming:

    I have no issues with AGW in general.

    Just go look at (a) the WSJ Op-Ed, and (b) Burt’s slide deck.

    The whole aim of both is to argue that (a) it’s not warming, but if it is (b) we can’t demonstrate that it is (literally: slide 55 says “…it cannot be credibly asserted that there has been any significant global warming in the 20th century.”), but if we can (c) we aren’t doing it because it’s all natural and CO2 doesn’t cause warming (because it precedes warming!) and at the same time (d) CO2 is great for the earth and humans so the more the merrier, but if we are doing it (e) suck it up and adapt rather than avoid the problem in the first place because it’s cheaper, even if I have to distort one study and ignore several countervailing studies to make that claim. (In other words Burt regurgitates pretty much the standard ladder of denial and doesn’t even realise half of his claims exclude the other half of his claims – or that a Gish Gallop generally implies that you don’t have confidence in any of your arguments.)

    If Burt has “no problem with AGW in general”, one can only presume he meant by that “AGW can’t possibly be of concern”.

  327. Speaking of Burt’s argument that goes:

    If the government handed out research money only to those who “prove” the validity of CAGW (and deny grants to those who don’t), we would soon have lots of researchers proving the validity of CAGW (oh, we already do). The number of “climate researchers” will expand to take all the money available for “researching climate,” and their results will generally verify the need for further climate research.

    Let’s ignore the fact that Burt has already been informed about several strong motivations for scientists to prove widely held beliefs wrong, and cut to Bob Carter whom Burt cites as one of his authorities in the slide deck. When Bob was asked about his earnings from PR-and-lobbying-but-apparently-no-actual-science outfit The Heartland Institute (link) he said this:

    ”The idea that a professional scientist – and a particularly distinguished scientist, if I may say – gives an opinion which has been paid for, is offensive.”

    So, Burt, are you going to call Bob Carter out for being completely wrong (in your mind) on this, or “stay mute”? And will Bob call Burt out for making offensive claims about scientists on this, or “stay mute”?

    I think we can predict the answer to both questions with a very low degree of uncertainty.

  328. If the government handed out research money only to those who “prove” the validity of CAGW (and deny grants to those who don’t), we would soon have lots of researchers proving the validity of CAGW (oh, we already do).

    The argument that governments are deliberately encouraging scientists to find evidence of climate change always strikes me as being one of the sillier ones. I know of no government that shows any signs of welcoming the prospect of global warming or other climate change. At most, there are signs that some want to know about it if it is coming, rather than being taken by surprise. Others, e.g. those of Texas, the US and Canada, are taking active steps to avoid learning about it by, for example, excising all references to climate change in scientists’ reports on the environment and by cutting back on monitoring that might detect changes.

  329. I know of no government that shows any signs of welcoming the prospect of global warming or other climate change.

    Indeed. And there are a bunch of very large cashed-up corporations that don’t welcome it either.

    If the science was being blatantly manipulated (perhaps by financial or employment incentives) – and despite Burt’s goalpost shift on this thread to claiming he’s only talking about media representations etc. it’s difficult to read his slide deck any other way – it would be straightforward and financially feasible to produce solid irrefutable non-manipulated science that clearly showed what a fraud the existing research is.

    There have been a bunch of attempts from well-known contrarian climate scientists, but they have not succeeded (and Burt’s inept claims about the science do not show this either).

    When this is pointed out the reply (as seen in the WSJ Op-Ed) is almost always “Oh, but the honest scientists are afraid to speak up” (presumably because their careers are somehow threatened).