It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lies for Nerds, Propaganda that Matters

The lunacy has a slightly different flavor on Slashdot:
  • well let me inform you, it's the Climate Research Unit..... they pretty much supply ALL the data for global warming enthusiasts world wide.
  • It's technically true since what the "warmists" are doing isn't (and hasn't been for some time) science in the first place.
    Though claims for "man made warming" could actually be true, for cities and airports... Millions spent to "discover" that the Exhaust Gas Temperature being displayed on the engine monitoring panel of the average jet airliner isn't just there to decorate the cockpit!
  • Regardless of what you think about climate change, you should reject this particular bad science. The isotopic ratio does not mean what is claimed.

    Here is a thought experiment for you: You have a bathtub. The drain is open, the faucet is on. You also have a drip tube putting red colored water into the tub. (This is a vaguely "to scale" stand in for the CO2 in the atmosphere. Large sinks, large sources, tiny human influence.)

    You then find that the bathtub is turning red. In fact, almost none of the red dye seems to go down the drain at all! Now consider what that means - does it mean that the drip tube is causing any level changes seen in the water? Obviously, it can't. If all else was equal, you'd expect the drip tube to be diluted by the ratio between the drip tube and the faucet.

    The only explanation is that the drip tube's dye must not be absorbed. And, in fact, this has been shown to be true. The carbon isotopes being measured have extremely different properties when is comes to atmospheric scrubbing. So the trace isotopes in the "buried" CO2 are not absorbed, and build up in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, that says nothing about the causes of the overall level change.

    I will now be modded down because I disclosed a mistake in one of the arguments commonly used in climate change debates, thus confirming the underlying issues in politicizing science. [This one was rated 5! -mt]

  • They used two different measuring systems, and diddled the numbers until the graphs overlapped. They used data from measuring stations that were not properly shielded from mundane human activity (I think one was actually near a pub, in Australia?) and whose data could not be normalized using nearby measuring stations. They declined to use proper measuring stations that showed a decline in temperature. And they actively, and conciously, LIED about this.

    Carbon good, carbon bad, we don't know. Possibly it's not good, probably we should limit our output of it (can't hurt to be neutral), but to suppose we should spend billions of dollars on fixing a potential non-problem, trusting in what we know to be bad science, that's just fucking bullshit.
  • Realclimate.org, you mean the website run by Al Gore's press secretary, whose moderators are some of the very people implicated in the hadley CRU scandal?

    Talk about drinking the fucking Kool Aid.

  • Let me fix that for you:

    1) Cherry-pick the coldest year they can as the starting point (1850 -- the end of the Little Ice Age) and use that as a starting point.
    2) Pick a higher subsequent year and use that as an end point (1998 -- one of the most intense El Nino events on record). See the huge one-year spike in 1998? That's what they're picking as their ending point

  • Who tells you that it is not the other way around? Warmer temperature concludes in more carbondioxide? Sorry. I am not convinced. The whole thing is just too convenient for the big guys. (!!!)
  • OK. Your choice. Believe in it. But look it up and compare to CO2 levels 2 thousand or more years ago. They were higher than today and they were lower than today. I don't see the 3%-5% CO2 addition by humans to have such an effect. The problem here is the money involved. There is a whole economy out there living on the fear of people like yoo who just believe. Imagine Obama saying: "Lets just kill this multimillion dollar, multimillion job economy and move the f*** on." I don't see it.
This however is interesting:
  • And THAT my friend, is indeed the problem. Folks see Goldman Sachs and the other leeches lining up to cash in on "carbon credits" which is the biggest load of horseshit tried to stuff down the people's throats in decades, and they are sick of it.

    If you were simply putting limits and forcing everyone to use less, like in the 70s gas crisis? That would be one thing. But when you have those pushing AGW all set up to become carbon billionaires [telegraph.co.uk] while they fly around in their lear jets telling us we need to change? Well fuck you buddy, we can smell hypocrisy a mile away and we are about knee deep in it now.

    If you want folks to get on board AGW? Get rid of the fricking leeches like GS set to cash in on everyone elses misery and assholes like the Al Gore that have quietly set themselves up to make out like fucking robber barons if they manage to get this shit passed. Otherwise expect the repubs to ride this anti AGW wave to a good decade or two of one party rule. There are enough people here sick of Nobama and his flip flops, hell I wouldn't be surprised if Caribou Barbie ended up the president.

There are some very nice ones in there, too:
  • Rei

    Have you noticed that all of the complaints are from IPCC WGII and WGIII? Not like you know the difference, so let me explain. WGI is about the science of climate change. WGII is about impacts, while WGIII is about how to avert it.

    In all of its reports, the IPCC is explicitly [www.ipcc.ch] not limited to peer-reviewed materials. They can use, and I quote:

    "Peer reviewed and internationally available scientific technical and socio-economic literature, manuscripts made available for IPCC review and selected non peer-reviewed literature produced by other relevant institutions including industry".

    (I bolded the last part because you'll never see the deniers complaining about that, so I thought it deserved particular emphasis!). They can quote peer-reviewed material, governmental material, NGO material, and industry studies. The reason for this is because not everything on the planet is peer-reviewed. Peer-review is for science.

    WG1 is almost entirely peer-reviewed. It's about science, so that's what you do. WGII is mostly about "news". While a good chunk of what it mentions is peer reviewed, it does include a number of non-peer-reviewed reports. The same goes with WGIII (which has more of a focus on policy and industry).

    Most of the IPCC review effort, likewise, goes into WG1. WGII and WGIII review is much less emphasized. But the real key is that if you find something wrong with WGII or WGIII, you're not attacking the science of climate change, because those reports aren't about science. The science is in WGI. And if you find a non-peer-reviewed report anywhere in the IPCC, it is *not* violating its guidelines. WG1 just avoids them.

    Sadly, some of the people who know better (Watts, I'm looking at you) love to spread misconceptions about all of this.

and
  • Bemopolis

    You're so right! I'll make a deal with you — if I admit that science doesn't fully understand gravity, will you go jump off a goddam cliff?

    Sorry — I ran out of polite the first twenty times I saw this retarded argument for doing fucking nothing

I love the "too convenient for the big guys" one, though. That just cracks me up.

One lesson here lies in the couple of pretty nasty grumbles about cap and trade. It's very clear that even if cap and trade could be done right so as to provide the carbon benefits, the mere perception that it would benefit the arbitrageurs of Wall Street is enough to make some people hate it, regardless of what the benefits could be. Obama is already seen to be in the pocket of Wall Street, when after all he had to prop up Wall Street or get blamed for a depression. (I think Bernanke was brilliant, but we don't need more of that now.) It looks to me that America needs tax-and-dividend, with some Republican support. And the world needs America to get a grip.

Without that, we'd better start looking real hard for that magic pixie dust, because 2xCO2 now looks like it's already in the bag.

14 comments:

caerbannog said...

Here's a good article about the #1 victim of all this lunacy: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017905.ece

Excerpts:

"The leak was bad. Then came the death threats"

Jones insists that is not the way it was, but concedes it was the way it may have looked. He now accepts that he did not treat the FoI requests as seriously as he should have done. “I regret that I did not deal with them in the right way,” he told The Sunday Times. “In a way, I misjudged the situation.”

But he pleads provocation. Last year in July alone the unit received 60 FoI requests from across the world. With a staff of only 13 to cope with them, the demands were accumulating faster than they could be dealt with. “According to the rules,” says Jones, “you have to do 18 hours’ work on each one before you’re allowed to turn it down.” It meant that the scientists would have had a lot of their time diverted from research.

A further irritation was that most of the data was available online, making the FoI requests, in Jones’s view, needless and a vexatious waste of his time. In the circumstances, he says, he thought it reasonable to refer the applicants to the website of the Historical Climatology Network in the US.

He also suspected that the CRU was the target of a co-ordinated attempt to interfere with its work — a suspicion that hardened into certainty when, over a matter of days, it received 40 similar FoI requests. Each applicant asked for data from five different countries, 200 in all, which would have been a daunting task even for someone with nothing else to do. It was clear to Jones that the attack originated from an old adversary, the sceptical website Climate Audit, run by Steve McIntyre, a former minerals prospector and arch climate sceptic.

“We were clearly being targeted,” says Jones. “Only 22% of the FoI enquiries were identifiably from within the UK, 39% were from abroad and 39% were untraceable.” What irked him was that the foreign applicants would all have had sources closer to hand in their own countries.

“I think they just wanted to waste our time,” he says. “They wanted to slow us down.”

Nick Palmer said...

I know Coby Beck, on a few things ill considered, gets read a lot but this from one of his recent posts absolutely must be passed on widely.

It's a post about two sceptical scientists, a journalist and what may, or may not be, be a duck.

It sums up the sort of paranoid, jumping-through-mental-hoops-to-avoid-the-obvious, typical denialosphere thinking.
Direct link to original source here
------------------

Incidentally has anyone bothered to plough through John P Costella's analysis of the so-called Climategate? I made a brave attempt because some denier friendly commenter on my blog reckoned it was a masterpiece of intellectual analysis. I couldn't bear to read all of it but the sheer volume of denialist thinking applied to individual sentences, sub-clauses of sentences and even single words started to remind me of something...

It was the sort of brain fried semi-paranoid thinking, seeing pictures-in-the-ink-blots mis-interpretation, that one sees in "mankind never landed on the moon", "9/11 was an inside job", "Grey aliens are in charge of all world governments", Illuminati etc etc books and websites.

Then I looked at the home page of his website and guess what I found. My feeling was right. Costella presents "proof" that the most famous film of the Kennedy assasination was faked frame by frame to cover up what "actually happened". Wow! what a credible source

Perhaps this is the curse of the Internet. The crackpots get a much wider audience than before - journalists and Fox shock jock types read the crap and everything snowballs and before you know it, the public lose faith in science and swallow the anti-science peddled by the crackpots.

Lou Grinzo said...

Nick: There's no "perhaps" about it--that definitely is the curse of the Internet.

A related problem is the echo chamber feedback effect--people don't seek alternative views, but more fodder for their confirmation bias. But this quickly turns into an escalating war of extremism, and we wind up with some first-rate wackaloons not just running web sites but sporting remarkably large followings.

I've been using massively networked computer communications systems, include things that we would clearly identify as IM and blogs, since 1980. (It was a worldwide internal-to-IBM network of mainframes with many thousands of users.) How I miss those innocent days.

Hank Roberts said...

> 40 similar FoI requests. Each
> applicant asked for data from five
> different countries, 200 in all,

Yeah, there's a topic at CA in which they were organizing that flood of requests. If it's still there. I should've noted the link when I found it. They had the whole list of countries and were sharing them out.

Pests.

Deech56 said...

RE Hank Roberts said...
Yeah, there's a topic at CA in which they were organizing that flood of requests. If it's still there. I should've noted the link when I found it. They had the whole list of countries and were sharing them out.

It was a thread (possibly an open thread) from July 24 of last year. McI started the effort and Steve Mosher did some coordinating Don't feel like providing the link.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Hank, I put a comment on the Canadian whiner's latest post in which he complained about his treatment here. I'm surprised it is still there. Probably not for much longer.

Not sure about your list of countries that were shared around, since I didn't read much farther in the comments. Still, it shows what a scumbag he is.

Pangolin said...

Neal Stephenson's speculative fiction Anathem has a discourse on a book used as penance by a monastic order. The Book, as in "throwing The Book at you" consisted of increasingly long chapters of nonsensical ideas that must be memorized. The equivalent of geometry texts where 2+2=5, pi equals 3 and every other formula is equally butchered. Mental poison, bad memes chosen to torture carefully nurtured skills and abilities.

It does make me wonder what penance MT believes he requires to go to these sites and read this garbage. It makes my head hurt to read excerpts.

Deech56 said...

Rattus, I did read through the thread at one time. I posted the link to the relevant comment at Eli's place and at CA. McI posted his new letter asking for data from Canada, U.K., U.S., Australia and Brazil and asked others to pick 5 countries each and send in their requests.

Steve Mosher posted the country list with the following request: "After you FOI, copy this list. Remove those you requested and repost." McKitrick was also involved.

At one point, a reader suggested the appeal process, but got this in reply: "Steve: Submit your own FOI request and carry out your own appeal."

Another reply to a question about CDAs: "Steve: They used the term “confidentiality agreement.” Let’s stick to that. Widening the scope opens up more possible excuses. If the present language fails for some reason, we can always do it all over again with wider language"

Friends, read the bolded "Steve" comments. Very heavy involvement and coordination. Very clearly harassment ("Steve, I know not what you have wrought, but I love it! There is nothing sweeter than impaling a bureaucrat on their own words.").

Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 24, 2009 at 3:13 PM

People who haven’t sent an FOI request, please stop cluttering this thread with advice on what we should or shouldn’t do or how we might do it better. If you think that you’ve got a better form of request, feel free to send it in and to share your wisdom afterwards. But otherwise please don’t backseat drive.

Hank Roberts said...

Saw it at Eli's -- thanks Deech56.
You nailed it there. Excellent info.

Horatio Algeranon said...

MT says : "One lesson here lies in the couple of pretty nasty grumbles about cap and trade."

Horatio says

Cap'n Trade
Was tailor made
For Wall Street captains
Who get paid

For Blackjack doubles,
And blowing bubbles,
And generally,
Just causing troubles.

Brian said...

"It looks to me that America needs tax-and-dividend, with some Republican support."

Sounds good to me, except the last part isn't happening. And many Dems won't support it either.

So you can get some people mad at Wall Street angling for a piece of the carbon pie, or you can try and buy off some Wall Street opposition.

I think I can tell which is more likely to succeed. Climate change is too important to be a purist. I'm very willing to make deals.

Michael Tobis said...

Brian,

I am willing to compromise too, but these deals have to 1) work and 2) stick. There seem to be reasons not to be confident about the first, but I see little recognition of the second problem at all.

Passing an ugly cap and trade law that would be summarily repealed by the next congress wouldn't achieve much good and might do substantial harm.

Lou Grinzo said...

"Passing an ugly cap and trade law that would be summarily repealed by the next congress wouldn't achieve much good and might do substantial harm."

Bingo! This is the number one problem I worry about with many of the public policy issues we talk about, "policy whiplash". A similar example is using the EPA to regulate CO2 emissions, a step I suspect would be rolled back on day one of the next Republican administration.

Brian said...

Re possible repeal legislation - Obama will veto it if it happened, and there's no chance of overcoming a veto.

Anyway, repeal could only pass Congress if Repubs won both houses, and that's not happening either, barring a worsening economic disaster.

Finally, it's not a "bad" cap-and-trade. It's better than what the Europeans are doing, and what the Europeans are doing is already having an effect.