Friday, May 16, 2014

Climate Kerfuffle of the Week . . .

 . . . or possibly even the year (although the year is still young).

This week a well known, well regarded climate scientist, Lennert Bengtsson of the University of Reading (UK) accused the journal "Environmental Research Letters" of refusing to publish a review paper highlighting the failure of climate models to agree with global climate because one reviewer noted:
Summarising, the simplistic comparison of ranges from AR4, AR5, and Otto et al, combined with the statement they are inconsistent is less then helpful, actually it is harmful as it opens the door for oversimplified claims of “errors” and worse from the climate sceptics media side.
In other words, publish this, and you might give aid and comfort to the skeptics.  Moreover, Lennert had recently joined as an advisor to a "skeptical" group of climate scientists, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, and found himself under attack by a variety of colleagues, and forced to resign:
I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc.

I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.

Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.
The issue was covered by the UK paper "The Times":
Scientists in cover-up of ‘damaging’ climate view

Research which heaped doubt on the rate of global warming was deliberately suppressed by scientists because it was “less than helpful” to their cause, it was claimed last night.

In an echo of the infamous “Climategate” scandal at the University of East Anglia, one of the world’s top academic journals rejected the work of five experts after a reviewer privately denounced it as “harmful”.

Lennart Bengtsson, a research fellow at the University of Reading and one of the authors of the study, said he suspected that intolerance of dissenting views on climate science was preventing his. . .
Which is as far as you can get without a subscription.  That's pretty serious stuff for a major paper.

Environmental Research Letters strikes back at: ‘Scientists in cover-up of ‘damaging’ climate view’

Among other things the journal said were:
“As the referees report state, ‘The overall innovation of the manuscript is very low.’ This means that the study does not meet ERL’s requirement for papers to significantly advance knowledge of the field.”

“Far from denying the validity of Bengtsson’s questions, the referees encouraged the authors to provide more innovative ways of undertaking the research to create a useful advance.”

“As the report reads, ‘A careful, constructive, and comprehensive analysis of what these ranges mean, and how they come to be different, and what underlying problems these comparisons bring would indeed be a valuable contribution to the debate.”
It's a review paper.  It's not supposed to  be bringing new knowledge to the field, it is to discuss and synthesize old data. They just didn't like the direction it was going.

Another reviewer claimed that pointing out the inconsistency between the global climate models and the real world temperatures was irrelevant because:

One cannot and should not simply interpret the IPCCs ranges for AR4 or 5 as confidence intervals or pdfs and hence they are not directly comparable to observation based intervals (as e.g. in Otto et al).
. . .
I have rated the potential impact in the field as high, but I have to emphasise that this would be a strongly negative impact, as it does not clarify anything but puts up the (false) claim of some big inconsistency, where no consistency was to be expected in the first place.
If the models aren't supposed to be consistent with real data, why do we care about them at all?

These events show that the science is far from settled, and that the "97%" consensus that the catastrophists like to cite is a result from a bogus study; and out among the academy, a particular point of view is being ruthlessly enforced by a cabal of scientists paid by the government to promote the idea (and the controls over the economy that they hope to gain from it) and friendly NGOs.

As noted by Stacy McCain, in response to a column by Jennifer Rubin on Sen. Marco Rubio's recent bout of climate apostasy:
Definition of intellectual: Someone who presumes to judge, outside the field of their own expertise, who qualifies as an “expert”:
Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio came under attack this week for refusing to submit to scientific authority. “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,” he said in an interview with Jonathan Karl.
Nonscientist Ruth Marcus, writing for the Washington Post, declared that Rubio’s words “undermine his other assertion,” namely “that he is prepared to be president.” Juliet Lapidos, also lacking in scientific expertise, went so far as to assert, in a New York Times blog post, that Rubio had “disqualified himself” from the presidency. . . .
[T]hey’re entirely typical of the genre of global-warmist opinion journalism, in which ignorant journalists taunt politicians for their ignorance but have no argument beyond an appeal to authority. . . .
Appeals to authority aren’t necessarily fallacious, except in the realm of formal deductive logic, where they entail adopting the unfounded premise that the authority is infallible. . . .
Read the whole thing. Conservatives are often accused of being “anti-intellectual” for the very reason that we are suspicious of the kind of “expertise” which demands that we accept tendentious claims without criticism, skepticism or dissent. But our skepticism toward climate-change doomsayers is not a reflection of conservative ignorance — quite the opposite. There is a well-established pattern, dating back to the 19th century (if not earlier) of erroneous “consensus” among self-appointed scientific “experts,” and it is our knowledge of this pattern — repeat, knowledge, not ignorance — that leads us to be skeptical of global-warming Chicken Little prophecies.
. . .
Conservatives skeptical of climate-change doomsaying should not let themselves be bullied by arrogant “experts,” nor by the naive “intellectual” apostles of this Chicken Little cult.
With apologies to Stacy, I would change that last "Conservatives" to read "People."


  1. Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities - Voltaire

  2. Rubio and quite a few other Republicans are making a huge mistake in their so called arguments against AGW. Perhaps he's being misquoted or he goes on to be more specific and his comments were effectively altered, but

    " “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it,”

    is a poor argument. There are, in fact, well known and respected scientists who disagree with with the so called consensis, Chris Landsea, (sp?) for example resigned from his position as a government scientist when his superiors tried to get him to toe the line on AGW = dangerous weather.
    The staffs of Republican Presidential hopefuls should be reading "WUWT" on a daily basis and coming up with answers that don't portray them as scientific bumpkins - it's bad politics and it's bad reasoning.