Tag Archives: Judith Curry

The Inconceivably Bogus Republican Science Committee Hearings

Last week, House Representative Lamar Smith held yet another masturbatory hearing to promote climate science denial. Smith is bought and paid for by Big Oil, so that is the most obvious reason he and his Republican colleagues would put on such a dog and pony show, complete with a chorus of three science deniers (Judith Curry, Roger Pielke Jr, and John Cristy). I don’t know why they invited actual and respected climate scientist Mike Mann, because all he did was ruin everything by stating facts, dispelling alt-facts, and making well timed Princess Bride references.

The hearings were called “Full Committee Hearing- Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method.”

Several others, including specialized climate science writers as well as mainstream media, have written about the hearings:

<li><strong>Dana Nuccitelli at the Guardian:</strong> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/apr/04/inconceivable-the-latest-theatrical-house-science-committee-hearing">Inconceivable! The latest theatrical House 'Science' committee hearing</a></li>

… as is usually the case in these hearings, despite being presented with the opportunity to learn from climate experts, most of the committee members seemed more interested in expressing their beliefs, however uninformed they might be.

At the 2:04:05 mark in the hearing video, Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL) provided a perfect example … asking witness Judith Curry what causes ice ages (Milankovich cycles, which we’ve known for nearly 100 years), so that he could make the point that natural factors caused past climate changes – a point that usually leads to a common logical fallacy (presented here in cartoon form).

Webster proceeded to claim it was “the standard belief of most scientists” in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an ice age.

This has been discussed at length on this blog, see especially this guest post. It is indeed true that back in the 1960s (and a little ways into the 70s) climate scientists considered cooling as well as warming for future scenarios. As Dana points out in his post, this was partly due to the consideration of aerosols (dust) that might cause a cooling effect sufficient to push us into an ice age. But it has been understood for much longer that the most likely scenario was not cooling, but warming, if we keep putting greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

<li><strong>Ben Jervey</strong> at Desmog: <a href="https://www.desmogblog.com/2017/03/29/house-science-committee-hearing-lamar-smith-michael-mann-climate-consensus-deniers">House Science Committee Hearing Pits Three Fringe Climate Deniers Against Mainstream Climate Scientist Michael Mann</a></li>

Ben nots that the intent of these hearings, despite the alt-reasons given by the chair, was to provide a platform for the tiny number of scientists (plus Roger) with positions that must be regarded as firmly in the science denial camp.

Besides Dr. Mann (author of The Madhouse Effect) the other three experts will all be familiar to DeSmog readers:

  • Dr. Judith Curry, a former professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who has since resigned to focus on her private business, Climate Forecast Applications Network. Curry has admitted to receiving funding from fossil fuel companies while at Georgia Tech, and she is frequently cited and quoted by climate skeptic blogs and fossil fuel-funded politicians for her stance that the climate is “always changing.”
  • Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and Director of the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the official Alabama State Climatologist since November 2000, who routinely critiques climate modeling and has sung the praises of carbon dioxide.
  • Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., who is not a climate scientist, but a climate science policy writer working at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and who Joe Romm at Climate Progress once called “probably the single most disputed and debunked person in the science blogosphere, especially on the subject of extreme weather and climate change.”
  • “The witness panel does not really represent the vast majority of climate scientists,” said Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, an Oregon Democrat. “Visualize 96 more climate scientists that agree with the mainstream consensus … 96 more Dr. Manns.”

    <li>Dan Vergano at BuzzFeed: <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/danvergano/mann-inquisition?utm_term=.vwArzR8GR#.kaXl5RdKR">This Famous Climate Scientist Just Endured A Washington Inquisition</a></li>

    Climate science went on trial on Wednesday at a hearing held by Congress’s notoriously grouchy science committee.//

    The witness list pitted Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann — a lightning rod for energy industry-funded attacks on scientists for two decades — against two scientists critical of their own field, former Georgia Tech scientist Judith Curry and University of Alabama satellite scientist John Christy, as well as a political scientist, Roger Pielke Jr. of the University Colorado, who has argued against links between climate change and extreme weather. These three climate skeptics had collectively testified 20 times previously at similar Congressional hearings.

    As Dan implies, the gang of three deniers, and a few others, have been before this and other panels in the US Congress again and again. Interestingly, the short list of deniers available has grown shorter over the years. There are no new ones — that 97% consensus figure works only if you include everyone. If you look only at younger scientists, it is very hard to find any deniers — so there is some attrition for the usual demographic reasons. But also, at least one denier, Heartland funded alt-Harvard scientist Willie Soon, has been taken off the list because his reputation died an ugly death from self inflicted wounds.

    <li>Devin Henry at <a href="http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/326336-members-researchers-spar-over-climate-science-at-hearing">The Hill: House Panel Hearing Becomes Climate Change Sparring Session</a></li>

    “The current scientific consensus on human-caused climate change is based on thousands of studies conducted by thousands of scientists all around the globe,” committee ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) said.

    … Michael Mann criticized committee Republicans for their NOAA probe, saying it “is meant to send a chilling signal to the entire research community, that if you, too, publish and speak out about the threat of human-caused climate change, we’re going to come after you.”

    Mann sparred directly with Smith, highlighting a Friday article in Science magazine that criticized Smith for speaking at a conference for climate change skeptics. Science magazine is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    “That is not known as an objective writer or magazine,” Smith said.

    Mann replied, “Well, it is ‘Science’ magazine.”

    This part, which is also discussed in the above referenced piece at the Guardian, was amazing. When Smith called the United State’s primary science journal a biased source, I could hear the sound of jaws dropping in unison across the world.

    <li>Rebecca Leber at Mother Jones: <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/03/michael-mann-lamar-smith-house-science-committee">A Scientist Just Spent 2 Hours Debating the Biggest Global Warming Deniers in Congress</a></li>

    Michael Mann lamented that he was the only witness representing the overwhelming scientific consensus that manmade global warming poses a major threat.

    “We find ourselves at this hearing today, with three individuals who represent that tiny minority that reject this consensus or downplay its significance, and only one—myself—who is in the mainstream,” he said in his opening testimony.

    Mann blasted Republicans for “going after scientists simply because you don’t like their publications of their research—not because the science is bad, but because you find the research inconvenient to the special interests who fund your campaigns.” He added, “I would hope we could all agree that is completely inappropriate.”

    <li>Emily Atkin: <a href="https://newrepublic.com/minutes/141716/house-republicans-held-insane-hearing-just-attack-climate-science">House Republicans held an insane hearing just to attack climate science</a></li>

    The Trump administration has been nothing if not a master class in gaslighting—the art of manipulating people, often through lies, into questioning their own sanity—and its pupils on Capitol Hill have clearly been taking notes. On Wednesday, the Republicans on the House Science Committee held a three-hour hearing on the merits of climate change science, a cavalcade of falsehoods so relentless and seemingly rational that one might well need psychiatric counseling after having watched it.

    I’m going to disagree with Emily on the ordering of things. The Republicans were already very good at doing this. It may be that Trump learned from them, or it might just be that governing from the conservative agenda and real estate both involve a lot of gaslighting.

    But, she is right; this is gaslighting. EG:

    At one point, a Republican on the committee even tried to pin the label of “climate denier” on Michael Mann, a world-renowned climate scientist the Democrats had called to defend mainstream science. Georgia Congressman Barry Loudermilk asked Mann if he though it was possible, even in the slightest, that humans are not the main driver of climate change. Mann said that based on the current data, it’s not possible. Loudermilk concluded: “We could say you’re a denier of natural change.”

    Dave Levitan at Gizmodo: Today’s Congressional Hearing on Climate Change Was a Colossal Train Wreck

    It was, overall, a horrendously depressing display of scientific illiteracy, but there were some odd bits of optimism to be found. The witnesses all agreed at various points that yes, the climate is changing and that humans play a role (though they disagreed, contrary to overwhelming evidence, on the magnitude of that role), and they also agreed that the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to Earth-observing systems at NASA, NOAA, and elsewhere are a monumentally dumb idea.

    What’s more, perhaps the best point was made by one of the GOP witnesses, Roger Pielke, Jr.: “Scientific uncertainty is not going to be eliminated on this topic before we have to act.”

    In other words, not knowing everything is not a justification for doing nothing.

    One of the more disturbing moments during the hearing was when Republican representative Clay Higgins asked Mike Mann if he was a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. At first, I was surprised to hear the answer: “No.” Then, I realized, that if you are a smart witness, often called as a witness, then other than the major professional societies, it is probably better to not be a member of anything.

    It was even more shocking when Higgins, who is clearly not the sharpest bullet in the chamber, demanded that Mann provide proof that he is not a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Mann indicated that he had already provided his resume, which does not say that he is a UCS member, but would be happy to send a second copy.

    Sorry, Mike, that is not proof that you are not a card carrying member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. You will need something better than that. Here, for example, is a valid Not a Member card:

    Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 1.28.08 PM

    You’re welcome.

    I have placed the YouTube video of the entire hearing at the bottom of the post.

    Starts at about 15 minutes:

    Judith Curry Is In With The Koch Brothers

    I’m only just digesting this, but it appears that Judith Curry, climate scientist turned anti-climate change activist (more or less) has joined the Koch Brothers front group “Cause of Action“.

    How do we know this? Because she has filed an Amicus Brief (2017.01.25 Mot. for Leave to File, Nos. 14-cv-101 14-cv-126 (D.C.))( on behalf of the National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the case of Mann vs. Those Guys, with council at Cause of Action Institute.

    Go read the brief. It is pretty nasty.

    Also related, this: 2017.01.25 Br. of Amicus Dr. Judith A. Curry Nos. 14-cv-101 14-cv-126 (D.C.).

    Have at it.

    My impressions of the Ted Cruz Climate Denial Circus

    I watched most of yesterday’s Senate hearings live (ironically titled Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate), and what I missed, I sampled via the magic of recorded video. I considered fisking the hearings, in particular, the closing statement by Senator Ted Cruz (and his next-day interview on NPR). But I was distracted by work on Ikonokast, a new podcast Mike Haubrich and I are starting up (our first guest, taped yesterday, is Shawn Otto). And, many others had responses out on the internet quickly enough that my contribution was clearly not necessary (I’ve got some links below pointing to some of those commentaries).

    More on Ted Cruz here, at Ikonokast Episode One

    But even after that I’m left with a few impressions worth noting.

    Obviously this was a partisan hearing designed to insert a bunch of climate science denial into the Congressional Record. One part of the hearing, though, failed in that respect, because minority members are allowed to invite a witness or two. The minority wisely chose Admiral David Titley, a climate scientists and meteorologist and an excellent communicator. To give a flavor of Admiral Titley’s contribution, check out this segment in which he discusses satellite data collection and interpretation:

    That video is embedded and discussed in this post by Peter Sinclair, which you should check out as it covers other important things.

    Cruz’s closing statement and interview were astonishing to me, rather unexpected. Every point he tried to make was out of the denialist playbook. That might seem to make sense. But the key points in the denialist playbook are old, tired, discredited, debunked, so easily dismissed that they can’t possibly be taken seriously any more. One would have thought he would have come up with something more effective. But he didn’t. Possibly because there isn’t anything.

    Which brings us to this not-to-miss segment of the hearing, a statement by Senator Ed Markey and the denier’s (Curry and Steyn) reactions to that statement. Senator Markey made the poignant and relevant point that the empaneled witnesses represent the last redoubt of climate denialism, a strong contrast with the fact that every country in the world was at the same time busy in Paris trying to address climate change on the assumption that the world’s scientists have made a clear and honest case that global warming is the existential issue of the day. Watch the clip. The whole clip. Interesting things happen. If by the end of it you don’t want to have Senator Markeys baby, you might be a climate science denialist.

    Note the contemptuous last stand of Mark Steyn and Judith Curry (starting about 8:20). I didn’t know it was OK to talk to Senators that way during a hearing. I also didn’t know it was OK to lie to Congress.

    I said several months ago that we were at or near Peak Denial. Peter Dykstra seems to feel the same way (Commentary: Will we reach peak denial soon?). That was a somewhat risky statement at the time. It no longer is.

    Check out these reactions to the hearings:

    Everything Senator Ted Cruz said about climate change in this NPR interview was wrong.

    Most Hated Senator Shows Why in Denial Circus Hearing
    Ted Cruz’ Groovy Climate Expert

    Deniers Debunked, Corrected, Chastised, Exposed

    Ted Cruz’s Disturbing Views on Climate Change (and Other Things)

    Today’s Climate Change Congressional Hearings

    This afternoon in Washington DC, Texas Republican Ted Cruz, who does not believe in global warming yet is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing called “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate.” The purpose of the hearing appears to be to reify the false debate of the reality and importance of anthropogenic global warming, and is yet another step in the current McCarthyesque attack on legitimate climate scientists and their research.

    This is an important moment in the history of bullshit.

    Among the “experts” giving testimony will be the Canadian conservative shock jock Mark Steyn. Steyn’s relationship to global warming is similar to, say, Rush Limbaugh’s relationship to women’s rights. He is a bloviating ignoramus who treats the truth like so much dog poo on the bottom of his shoe. If he actually knows anything about climate science, he is doing a very good job of hiding it. His major contribution to the discussion is a continuous attack on climate scientists based mostly on cherry picked quotes. In fact, he recently self published a book made up, apparently, of cherry picked quotes and related material in an effort to discredit top climate scientists. For a flavor for what he has done, check out this analysis of the quotes he used of several established climate scientists.

    I have a copy of Steyn’s testimony. Steyn is being sued for defamation by scientist Michael Mann. I won’t go into the details of that suit, but a very large part of Steyn’s testimony before the Senate is about that law suit or related issues. It appears that the Republicans on the Senate science subcommittee are allowing an anti-science Canadian citizen to use the Senate hearing room to argue his side of a civil law suit. (Part of his argument, by the way, is to say several insulting things about the judicial branch hearing this case, and the judge. Entering these comments into the congressional record.)

    One of the interesting things Steyn does is to define a set of “experts” whom he claims make the case against global warming, and whose work has been either ignored or discredited by mainstream climate science. This set includes the recently turned Judith Curry; John Christy, one of the only climate scientists to believe that the Earth’s system is relatively insensitive to increases in greenhouse gas concentration; Meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson, famous for briefly joining the science denier organization “Global Warming Policy Foundation,” only to quit a short time later in what seemed to be a ploy to accuse mainstream science as being McCarthyistic (so yes, there will be irony in Washington DC today); Lord Nigel Lawson, a blue-blood non-scientist science denier which I’m pretty sure is a category (including Lord Christopher Monckton and coal baron Lord Viscount Matt Ridley); the economist Roger Pielke Junior, who is famous for being drummed out of the statistico-rationalist site FiveThirtyEight after he represented his research attempting to show that hurricanes aren’t really a problem, but accidentally let a bunch of actual statistics experts see what he was up to; and the recently discredited Harvard-Smithsonian not-a-professor soft money guy Willie “The Sun Did It” Soon.

    Roger is a real life academic who has climate change impacts wrong, in my opinion (and I’m not alone) and has stepped into a fight he was regrettably unprepared for. But otherwise he’s just some guy with a faculty job. Until now. Now, according to Congressional Testimony, he is part of a set that includes a handful of crazy anti-science rantologists. John Cristy and Judith Curry are both testifying today, along with Steyn. Curry was a legit climate scientists who, much to the horror and chagrin of her colleagues, has slid farther and farther into the anti-science abyss, who rarely makes sense any more, and who is probably the last established academic anyone would want to give testimony about such an important issue. But she is apparently very excited about giving this testimony.

    The point of these associations? Mark Steyn, who is a spiritual leader of the anti-science movement, has placed a couple of people who might not have wanted to be classified with discredited scientists and ranting yahoos into the same boat with said individuals. Maybe fairly, maybe not. I wonder how they feel about this.

    Now, to be fair, Steyn’s testimony, which is mostly him pleading his side of the law suit, is not entirely inappropriate for this particular hearing. The hearing is about the meta-context in which the science is being done, and the law suit is about nefarious accusations made by a guy who looks a lot like a bought and paid for science denier against Michael Mann. Steyn isn’t so much the problem here, but rather, the hearing itself, and the subcommittee, is the problem. Steyn is merely the poster boy.

    For those just tuning in, one of the things Steyn will yammer on about today (or at least, enter into the record) is this deal about Michael Mann and the Nobel Prize. According to Nobel, “The Nobel Peace Prize 2007 was awarded jointly to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” Mike Mann and others who were on that panel rightfully were credited, thusly, with winning the Nobel Prize. And they did. But technically, the Nobel Committee does not actually use that nomenclature. They say that the panel, not the people on it, won the prize. Once this semantic detail was made clear, the people on the IPCC appropriately adjusted their language to reflect the Nobel construction of things. But Steyn has been yammering about this since, claiming that his arch nemesis, the actual scientist Mann, claimed something that was not true. Apparently Steyn will continue this yammering this afternoon for the benefit of our Senate, and we the taxpayers will be paying for this.

    The highlight, I say non-sardonically, of the hearings may be the testimony of Rear Admiral David Titley, a PhD in Meteorology who has made significant contributions to understanding and communicating about climate change. I assume he was invited by the minority party. If you haven’t seen Rear Admiral Ditley’s TEDx Talk, you should. He was a climate skeptic, then he looked into it, and realized that climate change is one of the most important issues of the day. He is a great communicator and an honest interlocutor. He’ll be swabbing the deck with the likes of Steyn and Curry.

    Steyn’s testimony has the climate science wrong. I am pretty sure the minority members of the committee will be aware of this, and will address these issues in a well informed manner. But the truth is, with Republicans in control in the Senate, and with the current McCarthyesque attack on climate scientists well under way, this hearing will largely be a circus.

    In my opinion, the following statement by Steyn, from his written testimony, should be first, because it is the most important thing he has to say:

    In that respect, let me close by turning to my area of expertise. I am not a climate scientist, but I am an acknowledged expert in the field of musical theatre

    In response, the chair of the subcommittee would appropriately say, “Oh, excuse me, then, Mr. Steyn, we obviously invited you by accident. You may now return to Canada. Thank you for your time.”

    Photograph from here, “Protesters gather near the office of [Florida] Senator Marco Rubio to ask him to take action to address climate change. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images”

    How do you explain Judith Curry?

    How do you explain a person seemingly legitimately trained in science drifting off and becoming more and more of a science denier?

    In the case of Judith Curry I was unwilling to think of her as a full on science denier for a long time because her transition into denierhood seemed to be going very slowly, methodologically. It was almost like she was trying to drift over into denier land and maybe bring a few back with her. Like some people seem to do sometimes. But no, she just kept providing more and more evidence that she does not accept climate science’s concensus that global warming is real, caused by human greenhouse gas polution, involves actual warming of the Earth’s surface, and is important.

    And lately she has added to this slippery sliding jello-like set of magic goal posts yet another denier meme. She is certain, after a convoluted review of “evidence” that one of the classic examples of deniers lying, deniers making stuff up to confuse and mislead policy makers, reporters, and the public, is real.

    It is not real but she says it is real. If you were looking for a last straw required to place Judith Curry plainly and simply and undoubtedly in the category of Climate Science denier, this straw has fallen heavily on the camelid’s aching overburdened back. If you were looking for that one last fact that determines the balance of argument in favor (vs. against) Judith Curry being either nefarious (as all those who intentionally deny this important area of science must be) or just plain (and inexcusably) stupid (the only alternative explanation for pushing climate science denialism) than that fact has arrived.

    What the heck am I talking about? This.

    I’ve talked about it here. Go read that and the 100+ comments on it. In that post I contextualize and quote the following words from this source:

    One e-mail Phil Jones of CRU sent to my coauthors and me in early 1999 has received more attention than any other. In it, Jones both made reference to “Mike’s Nature trick” and used the phrase “to hide the decline” in describing a figure … comparing different proxy temperature reconstructions. Here was the smoking gun, climate change deniers clamored. Climate scientists had finally been caught cooking the books: They were using “a trick to hide the decline in global temperatures,” a nefarious plot to hide the fact the globe was in fact cooling, not warming! …

    The full quotation from Jones’s e-mail was …, “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” Only by omitting the twenty-three words in between “trick” and “hide the decline” were change deniers able to fabricate the claim of a supposed “trick to hide the decline.” No such phrase was used in the e-mail nor in any of the stolen e-mails for that matter. Indeed, “Mike’s Nature trick” and “hide the decline” had nothing to do with each other. In reality, neither “trick” nor “hide the decline” was referring to recent warming, but rather the far more mundane issue of how to compare proxy and instrumental temperature records. Jones was using the word trick [to refer to] to an entirely legitimate plotting device for comparing two datasets on a single graph…

    The reconstruction by Briffa, (see K. R. Briffa, F. H. Schweingruber, P. D. Jones, T. J. Osborn, S. G. Shiyatov, and E. A. Vaganov, “Reduced Sensitivity of Recent Tree-Growth to Temperature at High Northern Latitudes,” Nature, 391 (1998): 678–682) in particular …

    …was susceptible to the so-called divergence problem, a problem that primarily afflicts tree ring density data from higher latitudes. These data show an enigmatic decline in their response to warming temperatures after roughly 1960, … [Jones] was simply referring to something Briffa and coauthors had themselves cautioned in their original 1998 publication: that their tree ring density data should not be used to infer temperatures after 1960 because they were compromised by the divergence problem. Jones thus chose not to display the Briffa et al. series after 1960 in his plot, “hiding” data known to be faulty and misleading—again, entirely appropriate. … Individuals such as S. Fred Singer have … tried to tar my coauthors and me with “hide the decline” by conflating the divergence problem that plagued the Briffa et al. tree ring density reconstruction with entirely unrelated aspects of the hockey stick.

    In her most recent post, Judith Curry says:

    In hindsight, the way the Climategate emails was rolled out, after very careful scrutiny by the targeted bloggers, was handled pretty responsibly. Lets face it – “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline” means . . . “Mike’s Nature trick” to “hide the decline.”

    That statement by Curry is demonstrably wrong. That is a fact borne of logical and scientific examination of the information, and information is not lacking. Curry is wrong.

    Beyond that, I think, as implied above, she is either doing something here that is morally wrong (lying to slow down action on climate change) or stupid (she is not smart enough to understand what she is looking at). Here, I want to be clear. The argument that Curry is wrong is logical. Ends there. She’s wrong. The idea that she is either immoral or stupid is both my opinion and NOT an argument about her wrongness. I am not making an ad hominem argument. If you think that is an ad hominem argument then you don’t know what an ad hominum argument is (and isn’t).

    And yes, I understand that this is a rather insulting thing to say, that one is either immoral or a dumbass. But it is my children’s future that is at risk here. Expect insults.

    See also this:

    Mark Steyn and Judith Curry

    Two items related only because these two seem to like each other and there are coeval happenings.

    Mark Steyn and Dr. Michael Mann’s book

    Michael mann wrote a great book called The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. It really is a good book, I highly recommend it.

    Mark Steyn is a right wing talking head and shock jocky guy whose behavior is that of a seventh grader. Since Mann’s book was published, numerous anti-science and anti-environment Internet trolls have posted bogus, harassing, one-star reviews on Amazon of Mann’s book. Often, these reviews come in groups and have had the appearance of a coordinated attack. In many cases, Amazon has recognized this and deleted those reviews.

    Now we know that Mark Steyn is behind these attacks, or at least, he is behind an attack happening right now, not so subtly goading others to not only buy his own merchandise but to focus on Mann’s Amazon page. He has coordinated attacks on Mann before, such as his goading of his followers (and they really, truly are followers, which is probably not how they see themselves) to ruin a public Twitter discussion with Mann (hashtage #AskDrMann).

    (I know how this works because it happened to me as well.)

    If you’ve read “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” and you’ve not left a review on the Amazon page, and you are concerned about climate change and the practice and politics of science denialism, then you need to know the lack of your voice is meaningful. Go speak up. Only if you’ve read the book, of course (and I’m sure you liked it)

    Judith Curry In Denial

    Not long ago Judith Curry wrote a rather appalling editorial for the Wall Street Journal. Just now, Michael Mann has published a resonse, “Curry Advocates Against Action on Climate Change.”

    She ties her argument to a new study she has co-authored, as well as the global warming speed bump (or faux pause). Neither offers a compelling reason to avoid reducing emissions. Her study looks at recent temperatures and uses them to try and determine how much the atmosphere will warm from our CO2 emissions.

    The result is a figure low enough for contrarians to trumpet, but still not really that far from the official figures provided by the UN’s IPCC, the gold standard of climate science. This is why the new study (and the others very similar to it) have elicited only a collective yawn from serious academia.

    So the piece repeats the same tired claims about lowered sensitivity, using the “pause” meme and her own study as justification for delaying action.

    Go read the whole thing here, it is quite interesting.

    I hope Judith Curry apologizes for this.

    I’m not going to talk about Mark Steyn, other than to say that if you know who Rush Limbaugh is, Mark Steyn is a bit to the right and a tad more obnoxious, but not as smart.

    You can find out more by clicking here, using the Climate Change Science Search Engine.

    I’m also not going to say much about Judith Curry except that, unlike Steyn, she was a regular scientist who did climate science. Over time the material she has written, both in peer reviewed journals and on her blog, has become increasingly aligned with those who are highly skeptical that global warming is real. She has a theory that global warming is an artifact of models (even though we can see it without the use of models), and I’m pretty sure she’s been wrong about almost everything she’s done recently. But, that’s how science works. Sometimes a scientist is wrong. Some are not wrong very often. Some are wrong almost all the time. It’s a thankless job, but somebody’s got to do it. Maybe someday she’ll start getting more useful results with her work.

    Anyway, Mark Steyn has recently aligned himself with the Mens Rights Movements, and Slyme Pit (you know who they are), in other words, antifeminist, pro harassment, not-too-concerned-about-rape crowd, in their cottage industry of giving me a hard time on the Internet. That fits since he is, after all, to the right of, and not quite as smart as, Rush Limbaugh.

    And now, Judith Curry, has aligned herself with Mark Steyn and his systematic harassment of climate scientist Michael Mann, and to a lesser extent, me.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 10.09.27 PM

    This is a tweet favoriting a tweet by Mark Steyn pointing to his own blog post in which he carries out obnoxious attacks on Mann and me. For my part, he points to this post on my blog, which he takes to be an indication that I stalked a particular woman. Go read the post. Tell me if shutting down a crazed graduate student who was harassing other grad students, an undergrad, and a few others, using standard procedures (telling mom and dad, in this case) is stalking. It isn’t. Also, tell me if Judith Curry’s favoriting of this tweet indicates her approval of Steyn’s methods. Does it?

    This “favoriting” of Steyn’s tweet of his post by Curry seems to align Curry with the worst of the worst. Did she also “like” Rush Limbaugh’s assertion that Sandra Fluke needs to keep an aspirin between her knees, and that the tax payers should not be paying her to have sex? Or Rush Limbaugh’s comments making fun of kids who need help getting a simple lunch at school? I’m hoping, though, that Judith Curry simply was unaware of how much of a misanthrope Steyn is, maybe she’s never heard of him before and doesn’t know that he is this incredibly offensive person, and just saw someone taking a jab at Mike and clicked on the little “favorite” button.

    It was after all, just a “favoriting” of a tweet by Steyn. Which means Curry can step back from this with a simple apology to Michael Mann and me. Then, no big deal, I’d move on. Up to her.

    Or, she could not do that. But I really didn’t think she was that kind of person. But maybe she is.

    (See also this response to Steyn’s tweet.)

    Judith Curry Scores Own Goal in Climate Hockey

    Did you ever read a textbook on economic history, or an in-depth article on the relative value of goods over the centuries expressed in current US dollars? Have you ever encountered a graphic that shows long term trends in rainfall patterns or other climate variables, using a couple of simple lines, designed to give a general idea of relative conditions during different eras? Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.

    This is a graphic made by a major investment firm culling information from dozens or perhaps hundreds of sources into a single graphic. This is the graphic as it was initially provided by the researchers

    The value of gold in US dollars since the 14th century, from the Bank of England, Goldman Sachs Global ECS Research. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/charting-price-gold-all-way-back-1265
    The value of gold in US dollars since the 14th century, from the Bank of England, Goldman Sachs Global ECS Research. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/charting-price-gold-all-way-back-1265

    This is a graph of oxygen concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is culled from a large number of different sources. This is the graphic, based on numerous proxyindicattors, as published in a peer reviewed paper:

    From: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1470/903.full.pdf
    From: http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/361/1470/903.full.pdf

    This is a compilation from many different sources of stock market values assembled to show waves in stock market behavior over the last few centuries:

    Long term look at stock market waves. From: http://www.elliottwave.com/affiliates/featured-commentary/bear-market-formation.aspx?code=91715
    Long term look at stock market waves. From: http://www.elliottwave.com/affiliates/featured-commentary/bear-market-formation.aspx?code=91715

    This is a set of climate related variables show in relation to human “civilization” over 18,000 years (n.b.: the term “civilization” is reserved in archaeology and prehistory for specific phenomena which did not occur before about 10,000 years ago).

    Various climate variables in relation to human civilization (sic) over the last 18,000 years, from: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/17/climate-and-human-civilization-over-the-last-18000-years/
    Various climate variables in relation to human civilization (sic) over the last 18,000 years, from: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/17/climate-and-human-civilization-over-the-last-18000-years/

    In all these cases complex sources were culled in the peer reviewed literature 0r professional research literature, and turned into summary views of something happening over time. The graph itself is meant to show a derived variable, not the underlying complexity of the data. The graph is the sausage. The making of the sausage is laid out in the original documents, in some case in the peer reviewed paper the graphic appears in.

    Here, Judith Curry makes the argument, in an excessively tl;dr blog post, that climate scientist Michael Mann acted inappropriately, perhaps fraudulently, or perhaps as a matter of scientific misconduct, when the IPCC published a version of his famous Hockey Stick Graph that instead of looking like this:

    The famous Hockey Stick Graph with pretty colors and labels indicating which part of the data come from instrumental records and which parts come from proxies.
    The famous Hockey Stick Graph with pretty colors and labels indicating which part of the data come from instrumental records and which parts come from proxies.

    Looked like this:

    Dumb old black and white version of the Hockey Stick Graph that shows the key point of the graph but does not indicate the different origins of the numeric values being plotted.  Like the graphs above.
    Dumb old black and white version of the Hockey Stick Graph that shows the key point of the graph but does not indicate the different origins of the numeric values being plotted. Like the graphs above.

    For the record, here is the original version of that graphic from the peer reviewed paper. Note that it indicates where the data come from but that was back in the late 20th century when in order to have color graphics in your paper you had to hire monks to draw them and there weren’t any monks available.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 7.09.15 PM

    And here is the same graph in a similar updated paper a year later, looking much better:

    From Mann, M., Bradley, R and Hughes, M. Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 26, NO.6, PAGES 759-762, MARCH 15, 1999.
    From Mann, M., Bradley, R and Hughes, M. Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 26, NO.6, PAGES 759-762, MARCH 15, 1999.

    And, at the time of the publication, owing to the costs of monks and such, color versions of the graphics were made available. This is what anyone who wanted to could look at at the time:

    Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 9.19.50 PM

    Mann’s graphic representation of climate change, the Hockey Stick, is not fraudulent. But it is verified, real, and important. There are people in the climate discussion who make up graphs, of course (see this) but Mann is not one of them.

    So Judith Curry and the flock of winged monkeys and child molesters that comment on her blog are arguing that Mann carried out scientific misconduct when he did something that is normal to do, and in fact, that he didn’t actually do. This is an “own goal” for Curry because it is a clear cut case of making up a version of reality in order to denigrate a fellow scientist and discredit his research on the basis of color coding rather than the science. Curry has credentialed herself a denialist.

    (Related: Curry’s Credibility Crumbles by Climate Hawks.)

    That. Is. Science. Denialism. Welcome to the list, Judith.

    By the way have a look at this image:


    If you ever see an image like this used by a climate science denialist, ACCUSE THEM OF FRAUD AND MISCONDUCT because this graph shows NOTHING about the multiple sources used to create the single black line squiggle therefore it is ILLEGAL.

    Sorry… I get carried away sometimes. Anyway, I have a pro tip for those who are following along with the climate change discussion: Individuals who study climate change from any perspective (as a climate change scientist, some other kind of scientist, policy maker, communicator, interested citizen) should realize that some depictions or summaries are underlain by extensive and complex literature. A proper scholarly approach, even by an avocational scholar or journalist, requires keeping that in mind and digging beneath the surface where needed. So if you see a monochromatic hockey stick like curve, or any climate squiggle, hopefully there is a reference to where it comes from and then you can dig around and reconstruct the scholarship, if you are reasonably smart, reasonably diligent, not lazy, and well intentioned.

    Or you can be one of Judith Curry’s followers and just whine about it.

    Finally, here’s a recent version of the Hockey Stick Graph showing the many ways it has been verified. Checkmate, denialists.


    Added: Judith Curry Picks A Cheery…