Climategate 2.0: Bias in Scientific Research

November 23rd, 2011 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Ever since the first Climategate e-mail release, the public has become increasingly aware that scientists are not unbiased. Of course, most scientists with a long enough history in their fields already knew this (I discussed the issue at length in my first book Climate Confusion), but it took the first round of Climategate e-mails to demonstrate it to the world.

The latest release (Climategate 2.0) not only reveals bias, but also some private doubts among the core scientist faithful about the scientific basis for the IPCC’s policy goals. Yet, the IPCC’s “cause” (Michael Mann’s term) appears to trump all else.

So, when the science doesn’t support The Cause, the faithful turn toward discussions of how to craft a story which minimizes doubt about the IPCC’s findings. After considerable reflection, I’m going to avoid using the term ‘conspiracy’ to describe this activity, and discuss it in terms of scientific bias.

It’s Impossible to Avoid Bias

We are all familiar with competing experts in a trial who have diametrically opposed opinions on some matter, even given the same evidence. This happens in science all the time.

Even if we have perfect measurements of Nature, scientists can still come to different conclusions about what those measurements mean in terms of cause and effect. So, biases on the part of scientists inevitably influence their opinions. The formation of a hypothesis of how nature works is always biased by the scientist’s worldview and limited amount of knowledge, as well as the limited availability of research funding from a government that has biased policy interests to preserve.

Admittedly, the existence of bias in scientific research – which is always present — does not mean the research is necessarily wrong. But as I often remind people, it’s much easier to be wrong than right in science. This is because, while the physical world works in only one way, we can dream up a myriad ways by which we think it works. And they can’t all be correct.

So, bias ends up being the enemy of the search for scientific truth because it keeps us from entertaining alternative hypotheses for how the physical world works. It increases the likelihood that our conclusions are wrong.

The IPCC’s Bias

In the case of global warming research, the alternative (non-consensus) hypothesis that some or most of the climate change we have observed is natural is the one that the IPCC must avoid at all cost. This is why the Hockey Stick was so prized: it was hailed as evidence that humans, not Nature, rule over climate change.

The Climategate 2.0 e-mails show how entrenched this bias has become among the handful of scientists who have been the most willing participants and supporters of The Cause. These scientists only rose to the top because they were willing to actively promote the IPCC’s message with their particular fields of research.

Unfortunately, there is no way to “fix” the IPCC, and there never was. The reason is that its formation over 20 years ago was to support political and energy policy goals, not to search for scientific truth. I know this not only because one of the first IPCC directors told me so, but also because it is the way the IPCC leadership behaves. If you disagree with their interpretation of climate change, you are left out of the IPCC process. They ignore or fight against any evidence which does not support their policy-driven mission, even to the point of pressuring scientific journals not to publish papers which might hurt the IPCC’s efforts.

I believe that most of the hundreds of scientists supporting the IPCC’s efforts are just playing along, assured of continued funding. In my experience, they are either: (1) true believers in The Cause; (2) think we need to get away from using fossil fuels anyway; or (3) rationalize their involvement based upon the non-zero chance of catastrophic climate change.

My Biases

I am up front about my biases: I think market forces will take care of the fact that “fossil” fuels are (probably) a limited resource. Slowly increasing scarcity will lead to higher prices, which will make alternative energy research more attractive. This is more efficient that trying to legislate new forms of energy into existence.

I also think currently proposed energy policies will cause widespread death and suffering. The IPCC not only destroys scientific objectivity and scientific progress, it also destroys lives.

Therefore, I view it as my moral duty to support the “forgotten science” of natural climate change, a class of alternative hypotheses that have all but been ignored by the IPCC and government funding agencies.

I hope I am correct that most climate change we have experienced is natural. But I also know that “hoping” doesn’t make it so. If I had new scientific evidence that human-caused climate change really was a threat to life on Earth, I would publish it. It would sure be easier to publish than evidence against.

But from everything I’ve seen, I still think Nature probably rules, and that humans (as part of nature) also have some unknown level influence on climate. We know that the existence of trees affects climate – why not the existence of humans?

Countering the Bias

Scientists are human, and so you will never remove the tendencies toward bias in scientific research. You can’t change human nature.

But you can level the playing field by supporting alternative biases.

For years John Christy and I have been advising Congress that some portion of the appropriated funds for federal agencies supporting climate change research should be mandated to support alternative hypotheses of climate change. It’s time for the pendulum to start swinging back the other way.

After all, scientists will go where the money is. If scientists are funded to find evidence of natural sources of climate change, believe me, they will find it.

If you build such a playing field, they will come.

But when only one hypothesis is allowed as the explanation for climate change (e.g. “the science is settled”), the bias becomes so thick and acrid that everyone can smell the stench. Everyone except the IPCC leadership, that is.


110 Responses to “Climategate 2.0: Bias in Scientific Research”

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  1. Gary says:

    While I get your point, I think your labeling of “bias” being the problem is incorrect. Supporting “The Cause” is the corrupting influence, not bias, which you admit everyone has. Hegel’s identification of the dialectic (the struggle of thesis and antithesis biases) is correct, even though Marx destroyed much by using it to support his Cause. Biased viewpoints should contend in a free market of ideas, until resolution comes with the arrival of new data that demolishes one side’s foundation. Biases are good, corruption for the sake of the Cause is not.

    • Sorry Roy, but your epiphany is still less than complete. You can “believe” that hapless humanity has constatntly stumbled from one massive bloodbath to the next….or….that powerful money forces have stage set every war and profit from every conflict. The evidence is overwhelming. Please read “The Creature From Jekyll Island” to add to your world view.

      I have been engaged with you in major web posed articles and offline in private email chats for years. You still hold the incorrect view on CO2 and “back radiation” which has been repeatedly pointed out to you. Will you at last reject the “Yes Virginia, Cold Makes Hot” hypothesis which traditional science does NOT support ?

      As for the other elitist Faux Science of the Hubbert Peak Oil Hypothesis, please read “Fossil Fuel is Nuclear Waste”. As to the false claim of green energy, and photovoltaic in particular, read “Green Prince of Darkness”. We have all suffered by an elitist established ‘outcome based education’ to be trained as ignorant serfs. It is time for a new Magna Carta. Welcome to the world of universal freedom.

    • “Hegel’s identification of the dialectic (the struggle of thesis and antithesis biases) is correct…. Biased viewpoints should contend in a free market of ideas, until resolution comes with the arrival of new data that demolishes one side’s foundation.”

      When I studied Hegel, the progression of the dialectic went from thesis, to antithesis, to synthesis.

      The thesis of Roy’s scientific opponents will not be demolished, but demoted once the relatively minor role of co2 is recognised for what it is. It will become a footnote in our understanding of the physical processes which affect our climates.

  2. Bias and “supporting The Cause” = the chicken and the egg

    it’s a slippery slope, and no guarantee which comes first in a given individual’s mind

    Biases are NOT good. Gary, you are confusing bias with reasoned position based upon compelling factual evidence.

    • CB says:

      Gary: “…Supporting “The Cause” is the corrupting influence, not bias…”

      Harry Dale Huffman: “Biases are NOT good. Gary, you are confusing bias with reasoned position based upon compelling factual evidence.”

      @Harry: Um, no. You are talking nonsense, on par with the little problem-child Obscurity.

      Bias is when something is missed, and unwanted error resulted.

      Lying is when something is purposefully excluded, and the resulting ‘error’ is most definitely wanted.

      Mann is not biased: he is a liar.

      Let me also say this: on a personal level a Christian would have to be insane to lie for the sake of the ’cause’. But this is not the case for an atheist: if the importance of the ’cause’ is sufficient, then lying is not only a perfectly valid option – it may very well be an imperative.

      It is an unfortunate fact that hippies demand socialist systems wherein the ‘enlightened’ leaders do all the thinking for the unwashed masses. Here then is the difference between an atheist scientist, and a Christian: one will lie to you for your own good, the other will let you kill yourself in your own stupidy.

  3. Dick Porter says:

    There is nothing wrong with bias. We all have biases and if we didn’t we would probably be clueless more often. Having a world view, biases, is useful. As an economist, I fully agree with Spencer’s view that the market will gradually nudge us in the right direction vis a vis our limited amounts of exhaustible resources. In fact, Harold Hotelling taught us this about 80 years ago in his seminal paper “The Economics of Exhaustible Resources”. In Paul Samuelson’s review of Watson’s Double Helix he discusses the passionate seemingly nonscientific way successful scientists approach science. But climategate seems more about manipulating other’s predilections than searching for the truth. My prejudice on global warming owes to having taken an entry level course on earth science from Reid Bryson at Madison, now some fifty years ago. Reid was passionate about the truth. It is a pity the climategate conspirators were not!

  4. Jean-Charles Jacquemin says:

    Dear Dr Spencer,

    I read your books and I’m a regular visitor of your blog for my personal information and I have found it very useful

    Being an academic economist, I’ll like to react to a sentence in your last post.

    You write :”I think market forces will take care of the fact that “fossil” fuels are (probably) a limited resource. Slowly increasing scarcity will lead to higher prices, which will make alternative energy research more attractive. ”

    Yhis not exactly true because the Hotelling Paradox does not support this view.

    In a few words, owners of a natural exhaustible resources (like oil), will not let the average real price of the resource going higher than the level for which alternative(s) to the use of the resource become profitable.

    The price will explode when the resource is practically exhausted.

    Otherwise, if we agree with your theory, they will be left with unexploited resources which do not generate any rent for them.

    This is a dangerous thing because in that case the market signals lead the agents not to prepare themselves soon enough to the resource exhaustion.

    Hope this helps.

    JC Jacquemin

    • david says:

      Oil prices are on the verge of a major boom or bust (most likely the latter) based on long-term market-trend analyzes. How will a bust influence what the Hotelling Paradox?

    • pauld says:

      “In a few words, owners of a natural exhaustible resources (like oil), will not let the average real price of the resource going higher than the level for which alternative(s) to the use of the resource become profitable.”

      I dont see anything paradoxical about what you describe.  In a competitive market, the price of substitutes always places an absolute upper limit on the price a producer can charge.  That is true of all goods not just natural resources.

      With respect to oil, its price is currently far below the costs of its substitutes.  That is why alternative energy devolopment requires government subsidies.  Are you seriously  suggesting that oil companies are artficially suppressing the price they charge for oil? 

      If oil companies were selling oil below the market clearing price, one would expect to see physical shortages, such as the US experienced in the 1970s when the government controlled gas priced.  I see no evidence of that.

      Finally, the hotelling paradox describes something entirely different from what you describe.  http://glossary.econguru.com/economic-term/Hotelling's+paradox

  5. Obscurity says:

    Still censored?

  6. Obscurity says:

    Thank you for unbanning me and being upfront about your biases. But you are not telling readers everything Roy…

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/articles/read/an-evangelical-declaration-on-global-warming/

    Do you have any evidence to support your claim that
    “I also think currently proposed energy policies will cause widespread death and suffering. The IPCC not only destroys scientific objectivity and scientific progress, it also destroys lives.”

    Amongst the strongest proponents of reducing GHG emissions are poor countries. For example, the African, and least developed countries have just created new alliance to ensure measures are taken at COP17 in Durban to cut emissions and deliver on climate financing.

    You used present tense when suggesting that the IPCC destroys lives. Can you elaborate? To say that sounds very alarmist.

  7. Denis Rushworth says:

    Mr. Jacquemin,

    I do not believe oil works the way you describe.

    Oil companies do not have simple exhaustible resources; they have oil in the ground at various levels of recoverability, based on the price they can get for it. In earlier years, easily accessible reserves were pumped and the cost was very low. OPEC controlled price because of a glut of easy reserves. This is no longer the situation. As the more accessible reserve were pumped and sold, the oil companies moved on to the less accessible reserves and the price had to go up. If not, they simply did not drill. Current oil resources are, in the main, difficult and expensive to recover and the cost of recovery makes up part of the price – presently somewhere around $100 per barrel. A few lucky “firms” such as Saudi Arabia had and still have easy-to-recover reserves and they profit very handsomely at $100 – but there are not enough Saudi Arabias to satisfy demand. Hence we see tar sand recovery in Alberta, difficult deep water wells such as Macondo and other expensive recovery programs all pegged for their practicality at current oil prices or bets on higher prices in the near future.

    No one will drill or process sand or shale unless they know their costs will be covered and the cost will only be covered if the users are willing to pay. In short, I side with Dr Spencer on this one.

    Yours truly,

    Denis Rushworth

  8. GW says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    You need not call it a “conspiracy.” Anyone can see that it has progressed well beyond being a conspiracy to an outright, blatant collusion !

    Further, your statement “I also think currently proposed energy policies will cause widespread death and suffering” has already materialized.

    It has been confirmed that an additional 180 persons per day, over 20,000 (above the natural death rate) perished in the UK last winter – sick and/or elderly pensioners over 65 – as a direct result of fuel poverty and the harsh cold.

    Since the UK and the National Grid (whom I was once employed by) do nothing to alleviate the crisis, my interpretation is that is exactly what the eco-zealots and liberal MP want. They indirectly assist in the depopulation of the planet by allowing the least desirable (and most vulnerable) persons to perish because they do not contribute to (but take from) the tax base which is used to line the pockets of themselves and their cronies and fund their socialist progams, which help keep them in power.

  9. Obscurity says:

    Intrepid,

    You are trying to shift the goal posts and your cherry-pick quote does not change the fact that what Roy claims is at odds with what the people on the ground in Africa are actually requesting.

    Your argument is hypocritical and internally inconsistent, on the one hand you try and seem sympathetic to the poor and suggest that some efforts to address global warming are hurting the poor, but then you immediately berate them by suggesting that the poor are looking for “extra spending money”. How condescending and callous of you.

    Pursuing Roy’s and your “cause” is going to do more harm than good. The planet may be robust, life not so much.

  10. Obscurity, the African country’s leaders are looking for a handout, that’s all. Their leadership in general has a history of taking those handouts for themselves, to the detriment of their people.

    At the last IPCC meeting in Cancun, I talked with representatives from a couple of African countries who were quite wary of the offers of assistance from the West…based upon their peoples’ past experience.

    • Obscurity says:

      Hello Roy,

      As I noted to another poster, what people seem to be missing here is that it is the poorest nations who are advocating for the strongest reduction in GHG emissions.

      However, you and others are claiming that bringing those reductions to fruition is going to harm the poor and bring about suffering. That is a very misguided and uninformed notion. I hope you do not think them to be so foolhardy or ignorant so as to knowingly request a reduction in global GHG emissions knowing that it is going to (allegedly) deny them the right to hydrocarbons or cheap fuel or make them even worse off. Of course not.

      They are doing so because they have legitimate concerns and because they are already feel the negative impacts of global warming.

      As for aid, there are some legitimate concerns, but there are ways to deal with that, but aid is not your primary concern or that of the CA. You believe that:

      “We believe such policies [reducing GHGs] will harm the poor more than others because the poor spend a higher percentage of their income on energy and desperately need economic growth to rise out of poverty and overcome its miseries.”

      The poor nations seem to disagree with you, as I said, they are calling for stronger reductions in GHGs than are most industrialized countries. Nevertheless, there are ways to mitigate some of the aid issues, micro-financing, working at the village level, providing equipment and training instead of cash. I see a very defeatist and uncreative mind set here, and also the very real danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water when it comes to aid.

      I find it very of that you claim to support a free market but (to my knowledge) oppose carbon being traded or a price on carbon. The Chinese right now are embracing the free market and making a lot of money and creating “green” jobs in the process, jobs that used to reside in the USA. The USA is missing out on a huge opportunity here at a time that it needs to create jobs.

      You say,
      ” I think market forces will take care of the fact that “fossil” fuels are (probably) a limited resource”

      Peak oil is not the primary concern Roy, it is coal. There are still immense reserves of the dirty (and high carbon content) coal to burn that is known to have all kinds of negative health and environmental impacts. Not to mention the problems with continuing to increase atmospheric CO2 levels and ocean acidification.

      I have no doubt that your ideas are sincere and laudable, but I’m afraid that they are misguided and inconsistent with the reduction of GHGs that poor nations are calling for. Please don’t ignore their pleas for a significant reduction in global GHG emissions and provide aid to help them adapt to the impacts of global warming.

      Happy thanksgiving.

      • “they are already feel the negative impacts of global warming.”

        Uh huh?

        Evidence?

      • Having just returned from my 26th or so trip to China, I have to say I find it amusing to see the Chinese depicted as enthusiastic Green converts. China has recently blown past the US in CO2 production. Their coal mining industry is going full tilt. People are buying up cars like chopsticks. Sure, they’ll look into every form of energy, especially when the West is buying whatever green junk they produce — and I remember (trying to) get a warm shower in a solar-heated shower on my first long trip to China, 27 years ago. But the real environmental problems in China are pollution and deforestation.

        Just posted my own views as a religions scholar on AGW as a form of Buddhism, BTW: “Global Warming: The Four Noble Half-Truths.”

  11. Joe Madrid says:

    African country’s ruling classes are mainly interested in the handouts. Much like the IPCC and man made global warming scientists are. What were they promised in Copenhagen?– 100 billion or so. It is naive to think otherwise.

    Common sense tells you it saves lives. Green energy is very expensive just using the savings to buy the most basic food would save lives in an famished continent.

    I honestly thought for many years that man made global warming was a given…that is all you hear on the media. About 2 years ago I started researching myself (I have a degree in civil engineering from MIT so am fairly literate scientifically). To make a long story short it was evident after a little digging this was not at all the case. In fact the research was so shoddy and the climate models so manipulated that all credibility that this was somehow proven science flew out the window.

    Roy’s site is excellent.

    If you really want to understand why green energy is not feasible here is a good site.

    http://www.withouthotair.com/

    The author plays a little lip service to man made global warming ignore that….the economics of energy are what is very revealing.

    For instance 1 person flying 1 way to Durban produces as much CO2 as driving an average car for one year. It’s all in there. Hydrogen cars will never happen etc… very interesting and quantitatively proven.

    http://www.withouthotair.com/

  12. Obscurity says:

    Hello Roy,

    Thanks for unbanning me, I hope that you’ll continue to allow open and critical dialogue here.

    “the African country’s leaders are looking for a handout, that’s all.”

    That is certainly true in some instances, but you are generalizing and oversimplifying. Mechanisms can be (and have been) be put in place to empower the people. In South Africa the government (apparently one of those African governments that you accuse looking for handouts) is building housing for low income families that have hot water and electricity provided by solar. No FFs required. Here is another example

    http://www.sessa.org.za/home/members-press-office/item/hot-running-water-for-free-state-farm-workers?category_id=193

    Why did you not reveal all of your biases above, specifically those related to your involvement with the Cornwall Alliance?

  13. John Garrett says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    Your intellectual integrity and persistence in the face of continuing and numerous personal attacks are inspiring and worthy of praise.

    I wish to express my gratitude for your work.

  14. Transparency says:

    Obscurity,

    Are you referring to the same South African government making new inroads in to governmental transparency?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/8907057/South-Africa-passes-secrecy-bill.html

    Like suppressing the ability of journalists to report corruption?

    Yes, what excellent candidates for more international funding, I’m certain they’ll do what’s best for the population in obscurity.

  15. Obscurity says:

    Transparency,

    You are arguing strawmen and looking for excuses, besides the telegraph is not a reliable source of information. No country is without its issues, even the USA. Given how a lack of controls in the US banking system recently threw initiated a global recession one could argue that the USA should no longer qualify for international funding. But this all misses the point.

    How can you deny that progress has been made on the ground to provide the poor with clean and renewable energy in southern Africa? I gave Roy a concrete example, and there are many other success stories.

    I love how people here claim to want to help the poor in Africa, but then think of every excuse to not do so. Please step out of the way and stop being obstructionist.

  16. gofer says:

    But if there arrives another moment after which a revolutionary party — too long in power, too arrogant, too corrupt — can no longer claim to act for the people, for many South Africans it arrived on Tuesday when Mandela’s successors denied, in law, that there is such a thing as the public interest.

    The occasion was the passing of new legislation on guarding state secrets, the Protection of State Information Bill. Under it, the state now has the power to decide what documents to classify as secret in the “national interest.” Anyone possessing such classified documents can be sentenced to up to 25 years in jail. The law passed by 229 votes to 107 in the 400-member National Assembly, in which the ruling African National Congress holds a majority.

    Draconian laws to protect government secrets and national security are normal, even in the most liberal democracies. Also conventional is a counter-balancing defense, designed to protect whistle-blowers and journalists, of acting in the public interest. This the ANC refused to enshrine in law. State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele (whose wife was a international drug smuggler and of course he wasn’t unaware) even went so far as to describe inserting a legal clause that acknowledged the public interest as “reckless.”

    Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2011/11/22/south-africas-secrecy-bill-a-blow-to-post-apartheid-democracy/#ixzz1eZCy01Iu

    The article goes on to describe kickbacks, corruption at the highest levels…..of course maybe Time also isn’t a reliable source?!

  17. Obscurity says:

    Gofer,

    You too are arguing a strawman. I gave a concrete example. It seems now that you do not wish to hear about success stories of poor people using renewables to improve their quality of life.

  18. Adam Gallon says:

    “deliver on climate financing”
    I suggest that this is the reason for the support from the “poor” countries.
    A transfer of wealth from the poor in rich countries, to the rich in poor ones.
    What will this largesse be spent upon & why?
    Sea level rise in Zimbabwe?
    The further release of e-mails from our noble leaker, further highlights both the corruption in the IPCC processes & the pusilanimous attitude amongst those who inhabit the world of Mann.
    Renewables are Mickey Mouse, give the poor in those countries reliable energy, coal.

  19. gofer says:

    From Africa’s standpoint, the only critical renewable is aid money flowing in which allows people like Uganda’s prez. to buy a luxury long-range, private jet with UK “aid” money. Of course, there’s alway’s the solar hot water and some other “cover” stories, but the corruption is legendary. Now they pass a law, to make sure none of it is ever revealed…..how convenient, in light of Africa being a target for billions in funding for green corruption.

  20. Joe Madrid says:

    Dr. Spencer:

    Sort of an introduction won’t bore anyone with more of these.

    Have read your site for the last two years… I am always checking it for updates. It was the best over all site I found while investigating this issue.

    At the risk of heaping abuse on myself, I recommended your site to Limbaugh via listener comments…he does mention you from time to time. I doubt my email was the source.

    Your site covers everything in an easy to understand way.

    Some of the more damning stuff on the “settled science” I found during my investigation of climate change came in snippets here and there including a review of the climate models by Burt Rutan http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm

    He is someone one respects after you read him. He says without a doubt the climate models have been back engineered so to speak to produce desired results. He tells why he thinks so.

    Well keep up the posts.

    By the way I lived in Africa for 10 years (earlier comment) so my cynicism towards their leaders is learned by experience. I would say they also have absolutely no idea how impractical renewable energy is.

    Thanks,
    Joe
    Alamosa Colorado

  21. Rob says:

    It’s all about “The Cause”. It is very much the pack mentality of sub par climate scientists putting down intelligent individualistic climate scientists. For awhile it looked like the Mann made pack was going to win.

    In the intellectual world religion is morphing into more individual need based “Causes”. But like all religions “Causes” claim of superiority and there being only one correct answer is testament to how similar religion and bad science has become.

  22. Obscurity says:

    Rob you are very confused and/or projecting. You speaking about religion and “causes” on this site in a negative light on this site is odd. The reason being is that Roy Spencer is a signatory of a very real religious “cause” called the Cornwall Alliance. So in that sense you are right to equate bad science with religion, but you have got the players involved wrong– what you say applies to certain ‘skeptics’ (e.g., McKitrick and Cornwall Alliance members) who weave religion into their scientific work. Plus, it is quite the act of faith to assume that we can increase CO2 to its highest levels in millions of years and for there to be no significantly bad consequences.

    • John says:

      Obscurity,

      You name yourself and your reasoning capacity appropriately. Why do you berate Dr. Roy Spencer for not fully listing organizations and/or ideas he may share affinity with while you refuse to identify yourself at all? You also chastise Roy as a “signatory” to the Cornwall Alliance without providing any evidence of precisely what that relationship is or why it should impugn his capacity for empirical analysis and scientific reasoning. In addition, your inability to criticize another person without engaging in the very same character flaws was best displayed when in a fact-free, bigoted burst of nonsense you stated:

      “Plus, it is quite the act of faith to assume that we can increase CO2 to its highest levels in millions of years and for there to be no significantly bad consequences.”

      Please provide us the source of empirical/observational data that indicates (1) proof that the planet actually existed a million years ago and (2) what precisely CO2 levels were at that time. Since neither you nor anyone else alive today existed at that time and since no archival records exists of observational data acquired at that time, please let us know precisely how you acquired the data? Oh! I have one other request from the obscure one. Please do not provide ice-core projections or any speculative assumptions and/or conclusions derived from them. I am only interested in factual data you may or may not have available. If you are incapable of providing that data it will go a long way to prove that you do not seek rational answers to scientific questions and that the reason you seek to remain “obscure” may be a survival mechanism in the world rational discussion.

    • spinach.chin says:

      Explain how, despite apparently record levels of CO2 being released into the atmosphere, there has been absolutely no warming over the last 10 years.

  23. Hank says:

    Obscurity,

    I’ve been following your antagonistic comments on Dr. Spencer’s blog.

    I grew up in East Africa and witnessed first hand the death and suffering of innocent people for the corruption of African government. My family fled an explosive civil war in a hail of bullets and violence. I have seen no change in the fabric of African government since then that convinces me that you make an informed argument. To believe they are so virtuous when billions of green money is on the table is incredibly naive.

    Your concrete example – the article you link to – was nothing more than PR by the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA), a benefactor of the handouts. The governments certainly promotes such projects because it too must show something good to perpetuate the handouts. How better to put a good face on than to invite the SESSA to build solar powered homes for the poor. It does little to assuage the guilt or offset the human rights violations and ecological damage that occurs continually and unabated because of government corruption.

    Finally, you resort to vilifying Dr. Spencer’s association with the Cornwall Alliance as if it is somehow an unethical organization. The Cornwall Alliance is nothing more than a Christian organization that promotes free market solutions to environmental concerns. As a non-member scientist, I see nothing wrong with any organization that offers a unique facet to the multifaceted challenges of responsible management of the environment. Is it the religious aspect of the organization that you find objectionable or is it the free market aspect? Either way, your inference is disingenuous and non sequitur.

    Your question why Dr. Spencer didn’t reveal “all” of his biases was puerile. What do you hope to prove – that Dr. Spencer has biases? He already admitted that he does so why do you find it necessary to run a confessional? Why don’t you list your affiliations and biases so you can be equally critiqued?

  24. RW says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    “After considerable reflection, I’m going to avoid using the term ‘conspiracy’ to describe this activity, and discuss it in terms of scientific bias.”

    I can appreciate your characterization here, but ultimately I still think the ‘bias’ constitutes outright fraud. If perhaps not directly – then indirectly.

  25. Getting back on topic for a moment, I will observe that it is curious that the public tend to perceive researchers as dispassionate seekers of truth. Yet actual scientific protocols such as double-blind are considered the gold standard in experimental research, due to the serious problem of confirmation bias.

  26. Obscurity says:

    Hank,

    Save me your ridicule. There are many people who grew up in Africa who do not share your view. But you keep missing the point.

    Nice fact devoid conspiracy theory about SESSA. Like I said, that is just one example.

    http://www.info.gov.za/speech/DynamicAction?pageid=461&sid=18939&tid=34712

    “We will further roll-out a further 10 000 Home Solar Systems in un-electrified areas.

    We will, through this programme, contribute about 5 000 jobs across the country. ”

    “Solar Park

    Following the successful Solar Park International Investors Conference held in October last year, we have committed R18.6 million towards the completion of a comprehensive feasibility study by the end of July this year.

    We are very excited that South Africa can begin to seriously explore the possibility of solar technologies, being deployed as part of our broader energy mix, in a way that will also de-carbonise our energy.

    I need to state it categorically that localization is non-negotiable, and meaningful participation across the value chain for the benefit of our people will be pursued vigorously.

    Working together with the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Trade and Industry, this objective will be realised.

    Solar Water Heating (SWH)

    The SWH programme has to date delivered over 115 000 systems across the various provinces under the fiscal and rebate funding schemes. This is a significant increase from the zero base that we started from.We are still lagging behind our annual targets, mainly due to funding constraints, and we are working on various interventions in order to address the funding problem. The Standard Offer Programme will become operational this year, as an alternative funding scheme for solar water heaters.”

    “In responding to the policy positions of the ruling party, we have also established a new Branch for Clean and Renewable Energy, to focus on areas such as the use of alternative technologies, cleaner carriers and increase the use of renewable energy sources. This will include the work underway in the area of demand side management and energy efficiency. We have also partnered with the Energy and Water Seta and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) to train 45 youths (five from each province) in the renewable energy sector.

    This development will also enable the department to significantly better coordinate and enhance its contribution to South Africa, with a view to successfully host COP17 in December this year.”

    Oddly you and other posters here seem to think funding these initiatives is pouring money down the drain….

    “Finally, you resort to vilifying Dr. Spencer’s association with the Cornwall Alliance as if it is somehow an unethical organization.”

    I never said it was an unethical organization, you like Roy’s other supporters here are arguing another strawman. The issues is that he admitted some of his biases, not all of them, not the most relevant and important.

    You need to read the “Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming”. The fact that Roy endorses those beliefs immediately, by default, biases him when it comes to climate science. I would argue that endorsing those beliefs is at odds with objective scientific investigation, and probably clouds one’s judgement. It also makes those here accusing mainstream climate scientists catering to a religion look pretty silly when the host of this site is as signatory of a group who is pursuing a very real religious “cause”.

    But think what you will, I understand that people here are set in their views and that logic, facts and reason will not change that. But onlookers might notice and pay attention.

    Have a good night Hank.

    • To Obscurity at http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/11/climategate-2-0-bias-in-scientific-research/#comment-30790:

      You quote but ignore the most crucial phrase, capitalized here: “We will further roll-out a further 10 000 Home Solar Systems IN UN-ELECTRIFIED AREAS.”

      Solar homes make sense only in locales that can’t economically be put on a grid, because the cost per kWh of solar is multiples higher than the cost from nuclear and fossil fuels. Further, the “solar homes” have energy capacities that are far below those required for simultaneous operation of a good refrigerator (to keep food from spoiling and diminish the time and energy required for frequent trips to market), home heating or cooling, and the operation of most of the electric conveniences people in developed countries take for granted. And that’s not to mention that solar doesn’t supply that power at night or on cloudy days. For a few low-wattage light bulbs and one or two other low-demand appliances, okay. For the life-saving, time-saving apparatus of a modern, developed-country home, no.

      The real need in developing countries isn’t the minimal electric supply that can be provided, temporarily and intermittently, by solar; it’s getting people on a grid supplied by large-scale power plants operating on the cheapest fuels: nuclear and fossil. Abundant, affordable energy is crucial to human well being; solar isn’t it.

    • This, too, is in response to “Obscurity” at http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/11/climategate-2-0-bias-in-scientific-research/#comment-30790:

      You write, “You need to read the “Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming”. The fact that Roy endorses those beliefs immediately, by default, biases him when it comes to climate science. I would argue that endorsing those beliefs is at odds with objective scientific investigation, and probably clouds one’s judgement.”

      One’s worldview–including one’s epistemology, ontology, axiology, and aesthetic, and to come to more specifics, one’s beliefs about God, the nature of the cosmos, human nature and humanity’s role in creation, sin, and salvation–will indeed bias one with regard not just to climate science but also with regard to any science. But your objection assumes that it’s only a CHRISTIAN view on these things that biases one. On the contrary, the other major worldviews also all bias one: atheism, pantheism, panentheism, and animism all lead to particular biases not only in the interpretation but also in the recognition and search for data.

      The very failure to recognize and own up to such bias is itself one of the most dangerous biases, blinding one to the importance of questioning one’s own approach to data. Your comments exemplify that failure.

  27. Obscurity says:

    John,

    Please calm down. I am not intolerant of Roy’s religious beliefs as you presume, I just do not think they mix well with dispassionate and fact-based science.

    “Please provide us the source of empirical/observational data that indicates (1) proof that the planet actually existed a million years ago and (2) what precisely CO2 levels were at that time.”

    One cannot prove anything in science, nor can one provide “precise” values that far back. But you know that don’t you? ;)

    The planet is estimated to be about 4.55 billion years old.

    http://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/190/1/205

    Current CO2 levels are according to ice core data the highest in at least 800 000 years, perhaps even 20 million years

    http://atripati.bol.ucla.edu/23.pdf

    • Obscurity says, “I am not intolerant of Roy’s religious beliefs as you presume, I just do not think they mix well with dispassionate and fact-based science.” And atheism, pantheism, panentheism, or animism mixes better with dispassionate and fact-based science?

  28. Joe Madrid says:

    I need to withdraw my recommendation of Rutan

    http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm

    I just browsed his site again… it’s pretty low brow now.

    A couple years ago he just commented about the “electronic noise” in climate models. Now he makes all kinds of assertions. Perhaps a lot of them are true but the style is a decided turnoff.

  29. Noblesse Oblige says:

    “if you build a playing field they will come” from Field of Dreams.

    More to the point is Pushkin in Dobrovsky: “If there happens to be a trough, there will be pigs.”

  30. KevinK says:

    Dr. Spencer; well stated. I do believe that at some point the results from confirmation bias did in fact cause some of the scientists to “harden their belief” in the AGW theory. Once the accolades and grants came in, there was too much temptation to “help the cause”.

    Luckily as an engineer I rarely encounter confirmation
    bias, my design either works as advertised or I get fired.

    With respect may I submit this alternative hypothesis? Lest you think me a quack, I do in fact have master’s degrees in optics (lots of light radiation going on in our field) and electrical engineering (lots of complex systems with electrons flowing forwards and backwards at the same time) as well as three plus decades reconciling computer models with actual observations.

    Thanks for considering this, and keep up the good unbiased
    work.

    I will posit this hypothesis about the effects of adding GHGs to the atmosphere;

    1) Additions of GHGs are displaced by reductions in non-GHGs. After all there are only 1 million ppmv of gases in the atmosphere (by definition).

    2) Heat flows through non-GHGs at the speed of heat (aka thermal diffusivity).

    3) Heat flows through GHGs at close to the speed of light. A slight delay is added as some portion (less than 50%) makes a short side trip back towards the surface.

    4) The speed of light is SIGNIFICANTLY faster than the speed of heat.

    5) THUS; additions of GHGs to the atmosphere cause the gases in the atmosphere to warm up more quickly after an increase in energy arriving at a location in the system (i.e. sunrise or the dissipation of clouds). Alternatively, the gases in the atmosphere cool down more quickly after a decrease in energy arriving at a location in the system (i.e. sunset or the accumulation of clouds).

    6) This effect is so small that we probably cannot afford to measure it.

    7) The historical temperature databases (even after being water boarded into confessing to AGW) do not contain the necessary data (i.e. dT/dt) to confirm/refute this hypothesis.

    8) The “missing” heat is currently travelling through Space as a spherical IR wavefront that is “X + d” light years away from the surface of the Earth. “X” represents the elapsed time since the energy arrived (i.e. 100 years for sunlight from 1911) and “d” represents the slight delay from a few (maybe 10-20 at most) side trips back towards the surface of the Earth. “d” is measured in light milliseconds (1 light millisecond =~ 917,000 feet).

    In summary the “climate sensitivity” to GHG’s is EXACTLY 0.0000000 (not a small number approaching zero but exactly equal to ZERO).

    So we can proceed as we have and once some forms of energy become more costly than newer forms of energy the newer forms will replace the older forms. Just like coal did back in England when they had a “PEAK WOOD” crisis, lookup the meaning of the term “windfall” to learn more about this historical fact.

    Cheers, Kevin.

  31. John says:

    Obscurity,

    Please do not fear. I have been and continue to be quite calm. My post questioned your rational capacity in that you have the habit of reasoning from what you want to believe and not from observed facts just as you seem to implicate (but cite nothing to prove) that Roy does. Roy may share opinions/biases with the Cornwall Alliance, for example, but you need to state specifically what the biases are and how they have led him to error and what that error is if you wish to successfully impugn his character. The links you provided in your most recent post are speculative in nature and are therefore not scientifically/empirically derived. That is why I requested that you not provide ice-core data projections (but you insisted anyways) because they provide no factual evidence pertaining to CO2 levels in either past ages or previous mythological time periods only present CO2 levels. It is only speculation and hubris that connects such data to any past event. The same can be said about speculation as to the age of the earth. Such biases constitute wonderful conjecture but not observable fact or a law of nature. As Mark Twain said: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

    While I understand you believe that “one cannot prove anything in science” and I agree one should always be skeptical about any scientific claim, their have been factual observations and laws of nature that have withstood the test of time. Newton’s three laws of motion, Maxwell’s equations, the Law of Biogenesis (all life comes from pre-existing life and replicates after it’s own kind) and many others have provided a rational explanation of phenomenon that continues to lead scientists to further discoveries and have the added benefit of having direct observation and testing to support them.

    This same degree of scientific precision does not correspond to the anthropogenic global warming theories that currently abound. Humans have only measured global temperatures indirectly for about 32 years since satellites capable of estimating it were first deployed in 1979. Reliable CO2 records only go back to 1958 (if I remember correctly) when they began to be systematically measured at Mona Loa. The MSU global temperature data for the lower troposphere indicates no temperature increase from 1979 to 1997 despite increasing CO2 levels. Starting in 1997-8 estimated global temperatures increased on average about one half a degree centigrade. Average temperatures since the 1997-8 increase have not changed much according to the data. In fact, one can argue that 1998 remains the hottest year in the last 32 years. Review Roy’s data if you like. Is the recent temperature increase a result of unprecedented CO2 levels? Perhaps, but the data is not conclusive on that point and it’s difficult to prove that any unprecedented climate phenomenon with the exception of the extent to which glaciers have retreated has occurred in that time period. Of course, one should note that glaciers have been retreating for thousands of years prior to the industrial revolution. In any case, to propose as some do that governments should deny people access to the planets resources (i.e. hydrocarbons) on the basis of such a trifling of scientific data is not a question of science but a megalomaniac desire for control of the earth’s resources on the part of a few (who often want to remain “obscure”).

    P.S.- Just a factual note the hottest reported temperature recorded on earth remains the Libya record set back in 1922. It seems odd that after all the CO2 we’ve pumped into the atmosphere since then that the record has not been broken if CO2 gas was truly the main culprit in Earth’s temperature increases.

    • Obscurity says:

      John,

      “Roy may share opinions/biases with the Cornwall Alliance, for example, but you need to state specifically what the biases are and how they have led him to error and what that error is if you wish to successfully impugn his character.”

      I have provided an example of that, the ridiculous response of the Cornwall Alliance to the BEST research.

      “The links you provided in your most recent post are speculative in nature and are therefore not scientifically/empirically derived. That is why I requested that you not provide ice-core data projections (but you insisted anyways) because they provide no factual evidence pertaining to CO2 levels in either past ages or previous mythological time periods only present CO2 levels.”

      You obviously did not bother to read the scientific citations or abstracts that I provided. Ice cores can take us back about 800 000 years. I do not know what yo mean by ice core “projections” (what is being projected?). But your point is about ice cores is moot, because in the Dalrymple paper they speak about using “lead isotopic compositions of four ancient conformable lead deposits”. In the Tripati et al. paper they say in their abstract (!) that “We use boron/calcium ratios in foraminifera to estimate pCO2 during major climate transitions of the past 20 million years”.

      “While I understand you believe that “one cannot prove anything in science” …”

      It is not a matter of belief. If you understood the scientific method then you would know that.

      “The MSU global temperature data for the lower troposphere indicates no temperature increase from 1979 to 1997 despite increasing CO2 levels.”

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/uah/from:1978/to:2012/plot/uah/from:1978/to:2012/trend

      It is now 2011 and since 1979 the UAH MSU data have shown an increase of about 0.5 C. Other satellite MSU estimates are higher. Trends calculated for periods of 10 years or so are meaningless.

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

      “Of course, one should note that glaciers have been retreating for thousands of years prior to the industrial revolution.”
      You provide no scientific evidence of this, and it is a red herring. The fact that glaciers retreat when temperatures warm, as is the case during the current interglacial shows that the climate system is sensitive to i) relatively small external forcing ii) the cryosphere is also sensitive to relatively small changes in temperature. Just because we had wild fires in the past does not mean we humans cannot be responsible for starting wild fires now.

      “In any case, to propose as some do that governments should deny people access to the planets resources (i.e. hydrocarbons) on the basis of such a trifling of scientific data”

      Now you are just engaging in empty and alarmist rhetoric, and another strawman to boot.

      • John says:

        Obscurity,
        Just a quick note. You mentioned: “You obviously did not bother to read the scientific citations or abstracts that I provided. Ice cores can take us back about 800 000 years. I do not know what yo mean by ice core “projections” (what is being projected?).” Any ice core data scientists have would have been acquired relatively recently, in the last few years or decades. Any claims that the data pertains to conditions 800,000 years ago is pure projection and/or speculation.

  32. Streetcred says:

    Obscurity says:
    November 23, 2011 at 2:28 PM
    ============================

    As I happen to know a bit about Africa having been a resident for a few decades I can attest to the fact that African leaders in the main wait from one handout to the next and it is channelled very nicely into their personal treasuries … I give you Zimbabwe as the most current example. In so far as South Africa is concerned I can assure you that there is little noble in what they are doing. For years, funding for maintenance and development of power stations was cut; energy demand was increasing and no new power stations were constructed. This was a failure of the government to plan for the future and it basically ran the network into the ground … power blackout and brownout have been commonplace as a consequence.

    Along came solar power and the international inducements and the rest is history … the trick is going to be maintenance and panel replacements in the future as the ‘owners’ are sub-economic tenants.

    • Obscurity says:

      Streetcred,

      I agree. They have really messed up the power grid, but then so has the USA. You raise a legitimate points though. But be careful, some people might argue that you are claiming that the poor were better under the apartheid regime.

      What people seem to be missing here, and perhaps some of this is my fault for not being clearer, is that it is the poorest nations who are advocating for the strongest reduction in emissions. However, people like Roy are claiming that bringing those reductions to fruition is going to harm the poor and bring about suffering. I hope Roy and others here do not think them to be so foolhardy or inept so as to knowingly do that. They are doing so because they have legitimate concerns and because they are already feel the negative impacts of global warming.

  33. S. St. Florian says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    I applaud your courage to profess to the public your “bias” in climate science. I think it is something that all scientists should do. I am a Christian like you, and we Christians should not be intimidated by others from declaring that our faith in Jesus Christ takes precedence over the science of man. I think that your signed agreement with the Cornwall declaration should be a point of pride in this debate. It is the first and last word on climate science for a true follower of Christ.

    The first part of the declaration says it all. Since you agree, you should shout it out loudly for all to hear!

    WHAT WE BELIEVE
    We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.
    We believe abundant, affordable energy is indispensable to human flourishing, particularly to societies which are rising out of abject poverty and the high rates of disease and premature death that accompany it. With present technologies, fossil and nuclear fuels are indispensable if energy is to be abundant and affordable.
    We believe mandatory reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, achievable mainly by greatly reduced use of fossil fuels, will greatly increase the price of energy and harm economies.
    We believe such policies will harm the poor more than others because the poor spend a higher percentage of their income on energy and desperately need economic growth to rise out of poverty and overcome its miseries.

    WHAT WE DENY
    We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.

    We deny that alternative, renewable fuels can, with present or near-term technology, replace fossil and nuclear fuels, either wholly or in significant part, to provide the abundant, affordable energy necessary to sustain prosperous economies or overcome poverty.
    We deny that carbon dioxide—essential to all plant growth—is a pollutant. Reducing greenhouse gases cannot achieve significant reductions in future global temperatures, and the costs of the policies would far exceed the benefits.
    We deny that such policies, which amount to a regressive tax, comply with the Biblical requirement of protecting the poor from harm and oppression.

  34. Gary Hemminger says:

    Your analysis of scientific bias is absolutely right on. Everyone has bias but if they really search for the truth, then bias not be the primary factor in scientific research. Of course money, ego, and other factors may affect this search for truth.

    With respect to the market conditions for fossil fuels being eventually replaced as the price goes higher, I have a quote I heard from someone that I think might apply.

    “The stone age did not end because man ran out of stone.” I think this applies to oil and all fossil fuels. I believe oil and fossil fuels are limitless. The current Bakken and other shale discoveries, and new discoveries off of South America are making a mockery of the peak oil theory. What I can’t figure out is why people think that the process that creates oil has somehow ended.

    Anyway, in my opinion, the fossil fuel era will not end when fossil fuels run out. I don’t think they ever will run out. The fossil fuel era will run out when a significant technical advance makes fossil fuels unnecessary. Of course I could be terribly wrong, but I don’t think I am.

  35. MikeN says:

    Obscurity, you are trying to attribute to others views that you have. African emissions are increasing. Asian emissions are increasing. China is now one quarter of world emissions, and most Chinese are poor. The Chinese are looking for handouts, and for no limits on emissions.

    • Obscurity says:

      MikeN,

      The Chinese are also investing heavily in renewables and taking US jobs. Pity your ailing economy cannot take advantage of the growing global renewable economy.

  36. Hank says:

    Obscurity,

    No ridicule was intended.

    Accusing Dr. Spencer of committing some wrong because he failed to itemize to your satisfaction, every bias he has ever held comes across as a shallow and baseless attack on his integrity. If you disagree with him on some point, make your reasoned argument, prove it, and cease with the petty heckling from the back row.

    I admittedly do fail to understand your points. For example, why Dr. Spencer’s Christian beliefs or association with a Christian organization somehow disqualifies him from making meaningful contributions to science. I know of no research that supports findings that a religious belief necessarily results in any form of cognitive disability that would render everyone holding such belief incapable of being a scientist. I would like to hear a more convincing argument other than “probably clouding one’s judgement.” Otherwise, I’m calling it for what it is – the typical drive by character assassinations so common of alarmists who can’t muster a defensible argument of fact.

    We can unceremoniously dismiss your feigning a fact devoid conspiracy theory. SESSA is, by their own literature, a NGO that seeks and receives funding from African governments and mandated green initiatives – a fact you asserted yourself by holding them out as an example of green funding success. In all fairness, SESSA seems to be a respectable NGO that does positively impact the African people they touch in meaningful ways. However, you would do better to reference independent and trusted literature to champion your message. The whole SESSA discussion has become an off topic distraction so I think it best to agree to agree or disagree, whatever the case, and drop it here.

  37. James says:

    It is interesting how all the blogs seem to have a troll who is trying to change the subject away from Climategate 2.

    Here are some of the examples of the bias Roy is talking about, Jones and Trenberth discussing how to make the trend look as large as possible, and how to get people on their side involved, as they prepare chapter 3 of the IPCC report.

    4578: “it is possible to get a trend of nearer 0.75 if the trend starts around 1920 (especially if the cold year of 1917 is at the start).”

    0714 ” Getting people we know and trust is vital … “

  38. James says:

    See also 0778.txt. Even Phil Jones admits the IPCC SPM is biased!

    “I sent it. He says he’ll read the IPCC Chapters! He hadn’t
    as he said he thought they were politically biased. I assured
    him they were not. The SPM may be, but not the chapters.”

  39. DEEBEE says:

    Please stop feeding Obscurity and leave him to his name.

  40. This is my first comment at Dr. Spencer’s blog which I’ve been following for quite a while and find most interesting.

    The belief in market forces appears to me as something non-scientific when it comes to life essentials like oil. If there is not enough oil for the growing civilization, market can do nothing. If there is no technological opportunity to build an alternative energy supply, market can do nothing. In other words, the so-called market forces are inferior to the physical constraints that act on the system. Market works well when resources are abundant encouraging people to use them creatively and with a profit. When raw resources are in deficit, market is useless.

    Particularly the energy market is currently not a market at all, being dominated by what has been referred to as “non-market parasites on a market world”.

    PS The quote by Noblesse Oblige from Pushkin’s “Dubrovsky” is a Russian proverb.

  41. Leo Danze says:

    Roy I love your site and dedication to science.
    Its no accident that the the greatest advances in science have been made in the christian west. Christians believed that God was not deceptive (pagans differed). The result was a belief that the natural world was governed by immutable principles that are discernable. Those beliefs over many centuries caused a science to develop that passed through successive and cummulative stages, deductive, inductive, emirical, and the combination of these, called the scientific method.

  42. CBDenver says:

    Dr Spencer, I applaud you for a very well-reasoned article. I will share it will my friends and family to help them understand the cru of the “climategate” issue.

    Apparently in the past you banned the commentor called “Obscurity”, who has since been un-banned. I encourage you to restore the ban. His/her comments are not adding any value to the discussion here.

  43. I disagree that the price of oil ($95) a barrel is far below the cost of substitutes. Natural gas at $4 a thousand cubic feet if far cheaper than oil. $4 worth of natural gas has about 1 million BTU’s. Oil has 5.8 million BTU’s per barrel. Oil is equivalent to $16 natural gas or 4x as expensive. Natural gas can be substituted for oil in most ground transportation but the barrier is a lack of fueling stations and cars not equipped to burn natural gas.

    Coal can be converted to crude oil for about $50 a barrel. The investment required is about a billion dollars per 10,000 barrels of daily capacity. This is mature technology. The main barrier is opposition to CO2 emissions and a lack of will to do something about oil imports. What we spend in a year on oil imports would be enough to build capacity to eliminate a large portion of those imports.

  44. Obscurity says:

    For some reason I cannot post inline responses. Maybe it is a Mac thing. I’ll respond to posters and note the time of the post that I am responding to. One last round then you can go about discussing conspiracy theories again.

    Hank, November 24, 2011 at 6:19 AM,

    You continue to argue strawmen my friend, you guys are really quite good at it.

    “Accusing Dr. Spencer of committing some wrong because he failed to itemize to your satisfaction, ”

    The title of this post is about scientific bias. I find it more than a little hypocritical of Roy to be accusing others of bias, when he is a signatory of the “Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming” Here is one example, it has nothing to do with what I want, it is about being open and transparent. The Cornwall Alliance (CA) pride themselves on being affiliated with scientists. However, if you want an example of how their ideology limits their ability to interpret the science and deal with inconvenient truths then read this.

    http://www.cornwallalliance.org/blog/item/best-is-worst-the-irrelevance-of-richard-mullers-vaunted-proclamation/

    Muller was the darling of so-called skeptics when he started the BEST project, but that all changed when it became clear that he was not towing the line and that his findings do not jive with their belief system. So what do they do they ridicule him and try claim the results are irrelevant (funny Watts did not initially claim their research to be irrelevant), including the Cornwall Alliance.

    “If you disagree with him on some point, make your reasoned argument, prove it, and cease with the petty heckling from the back row.”

    Another strawman, but see above for a ‘reasoned’ argument (a subjective call on your part, so I’m sure that you will disagree).

    “Otherwise, I’m calling it for what it is – the typical drive by character assassinations so common of alarmists who can’t muster a defensible argument of fact.”

    And another strawman intertwined with some hyperbole; I also sense that you are projecting If you wish to be so naive to believe that a scientist abiding by the “Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming” is irrelevant or does not cloud Roy’s judgement or is not worth mentioning when he speaks about bias, then by all means feel free to do so. True skeptics are much more likely to think critically about this and be rightly concerned. Despite your whining, this is a legitimate concern.

    “The whole SESSA discussion has become an off topic distraction so I think it best to agree to agree or disagree, whatever the case, and drop it here.”

    In other words, it is a success story and you do not wish to pay too much attention to that. Fine, at least you agree that they do good work, using money from governments, probably aid money in some instances. Please read my post about what plans the SA government has in the works. Or is a document from the SA government web site not official enough for you? I might note that you have not cite done reference to back up your claims, so please cease providing unsolicited advice on that topic ;)

    • Hank says:

      Obscurity,

      You’re all over the map with the “Declaration”, CA, Muller, BEST, Watts’ opinions, skeptic’s opinions, your opinion, etc… Too much conjecture to respond to.

      In other words, it is a success story and you do not wish to pay too much attention to that.

      Jeepers, even when I acknowledge a point we agree on, you’re disagreeable. I followed your link and I spent at least an hour reading through the information it took me to. I would say that’s plenty of attention.

      I might note that you have not cite done reference to back up your claims

      If you had read the information you directed me to, you would realize how silly it is for you to infer that I’m making unsubstantiated claims. As for references or a cite, I’m using your reference as my only source. Since it is in your earlier comment, I’ll simply refer you back to it rather than post it again.

      Obscurity, you want me to stop giving you my unsolicited advice. While I disagree that it was unsolicited, I think it prudent to oblige. Thanks for a spirited exchange.

  45. Stephen Wilde says:

    I get the impression that one dedicated, impervious troll has been despatched to do his ‘duty’ on each sceptical climate blog.

  46. PaulinMI says:

    Oscur,

    I think you have hung yourself in your own noose.

    When something needs “funding” to proceed, it’s not a success story or sustainable or a straw man, etc.

    It is being forced against the market by stealing productivity from others.

    PaulinMI

    • Obscurity says:

      This was too good to pass up. I am not sure what you are talking about in terms of “funding” or “hung yourself in your own noose”. Your thinking is wrong.

      “When something needs “funding” to proceed, it’s not a success story ”

      The oil sands projects, for example, relied on and continue to rely on huge incentives and tax breaks. Same goes for other FF industries. But I bet you will try have us believe that they are “success stories” that did not need any government help to get off the ground and which to this day do not benefit from huge tax incentives from governments.

  47. harrywr2 says:

    @Obscurity,

    Thermal coal was selling in Asia for $22/ton in 2002. Today it is selling for $130/ton($6/MMBtu).

    Don’t make the mistake of confusing how much ‘inexpensively extractable’ coal is in the ground and how much coal is in the ground.

    The amount of coal in the ground is more then we could possibly burn in 1,000 years.

    With the exception of Wyoming and Australia, the amount of ‘inexpensively extractable’ coal left in the world is now precisely ZERO.

    Nuclear and wind are both cheaper then burning coal that costs more then $4/MMBtu.(Wind has some intermittancy issues)

  48. FundMe says:

    The message left at the time of release of the Emails will have some resonance with the following

    perhaps Obscurity might have a go at explaining it.

    “”"While the national government is paying the bulk of the costs to host one of the world’s biggest conferences, the eThekwini municipality will be expected to pick up part of the tab as the host city.

    Outgoing municipal manager Michael Sutcliffe has confirmed that eThekwini will pay about R50m, over and above the estimated R500m spent by the national government.”"”

    The money spent by the South African Government on renewables is chicken feed compared to this.

    It beggars belief that a country with the levels of poverty that SA have can spend this type of money on a jolly for climate junkies.

  49. Bevan says:

    To give some results to illustrate the post by John at November 23, 2011 at 8:22 PM, and comments by Obscurity, data freely available on the Internet shows, as follows :-

    at Alert, Canada, North Latitude 82.45 degrees, 1st differences of satellite Lower Tropospheric monthly mean temperature and CO2 concentration has a correlation coefficient of 0.016 with a 78% probability for retaining the Null Hypothesis that the two variables are independent,

    at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, N Lat 19.54 deg, correlation coefficient 0.029, probability 56%,

    at Cape Kumukahi, Hawaii, N Lat 19.52 deg, correlation coefficient 0.0077, probability 88%,

    at Ascension Island, Sth Atlantic Ocean, South Lat 7.92 deg, correlation coefficient -0.0059, probability 91%,

    as Ile Amsterdam, Indian Ocean, S Lat 37.8 deg, correlation coefficient -0.053, probability 34%,

    at Cape Grim, Tasmania, S Lat 40.68 deg, correlation coefficient 0.011, probability 83%.

    My conclusion from these calculations, which perhaps indicates my bias, is that there is little reason to assume that changes in CO2 concentration cause changes in atmospheric temperature. However the results are the logical mathematical summary of the data so any controversy must challenge not the result but the applicability of the least squares regression method, the accuracy of the measurements or the integrity of the data. Note that the temperature records applied were those relative to the appropriate zone being Northern Hemisphere, Tropics (+20 deg to -20 deg latitude) or Southern Hemisphere.

    There are many more CO2 stations to be summarised but there seems to be little interest, especially on the part of the IPCC and their cohort (my bias again?), of using the data.

  50. GW says:

    Dr. Spencer : This question was posted over at WUWT, and it appears it is referring to you.

    “Is this the same Robert Watson that told Spencer, around the time frame of the Montreal Protocol (before any of the GW “science” had been done), that the next step is regulation of CO2 emission?”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/24/world-bank-global-warming-journals-and-cru/

    Could you shed some light on any interactions with Dr. Watson ? You’ve said elsewhere that you resigned your position at NASA sometime in the early 90′s; did this play a role ?

    There is all kinds of stuff coming out on the linked thread regarding the World Bank’s role in AGW as shown in emails to prominent AGW promoting scientists and elsewhere. Dr. Watson appears to be another Maurice Strong and figures prominently in them.

    Worth taking a look through all the comments, especially Gail Combs’, if you haven’t already.

    Hope you had a joyous Thanksgiving.

    GW

  51. Richard Switzer says:

    Obscurity needs to read Paul Driessen’s Eco-Imperialism – Green Power Black Death and Roy Innis’s Energy Keepers – Energy Killers by two prominent black leaders to gain insight into how promotion of “Green” energy and retardation of fossil fuel energy negatively impacts poor & minority groups here and in Africa.

  52. Pierre R Latour says:

    Dr Roy Spencer,

    I agree with your essay “Climategate 2.0: Bias in Scientific Research”. The new revelations are appalling.

    In some circles, bias has a negative connotation. If by bias you mean background, education, experience, culture, talent, interest, capability, achievement and belief, I agree bias is unavoidable, obviously.

    Mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, history, economics, engineering and ethics provide people with ways to convert biases, beliefs, opinions and hunches into verifiable knowledge for reliable prediction and consensus on truth. At least until something better comes along. This is the only way I know to reduce bias to lasting agreement. It requires teaching and learning skills by those interested in such things. Truth exists; it is just not easy to discover. Engineers and physicians need to know what they are doing.

    Which is why I again recommend you review carefully my rebuttal of your claim hot radiators can reabsorb radiant energy from cold radiators, thereby emitting more intensely and causing the cold radiator to radiate more energy as well. This is one of several untenable beliefs of the UN IPCC theory on Greenhouse Gases and global warming.

    My recommendation is based on a sincere desire to strengthen your already strong position and credentials in the noble effort to correctly quantify the effect of changes in fossil fuel combustion on atmospheric CO2 content and Earth’s thermal and radiant temperatures. I want to help make your position unassailable and credentials (as a student) impeccable.

    I know CO2 is not a pollutant; it is green plant food. Its effect on temperature is vanishingly small. There is no gas greenhouse in the sky. In 1997 I proved mathematically using fossil fuel combustion for Earth’s thermostat would never work because it is un-measureable, unobservable and uncontrollable. Further research is unnecessary. Spain, EU and USA are going broke financing green energy for some bizarre reason.

    Pierre R Latour, PhD, PE, Chemical Process Control Systems Engineer, Former NASA Engineer

  53. Llew Jones says:

    Thank you Dr. Spencer for succinctly saying what is becoming increasingly obvious viz that alarmist climate science is built primarily, not on the science, but on a predisposition (bias) to a quasi religious view of the place of humans in the ecology of our planet. It’s interesting that many if not most alarmist climate scientists are “ecological activists” before they are scientists. That is true in America, Jim Hansen is an example and it is the same in my country, Australia.

    Interesting that a troll here is worried about a Christian bias, which of course puts humans and their welfare at its centre and is less concerned with quasi-religious ecological concerns.

    If one takes the time to read the basic presuppositions of many supposed Climatologists in Climate Change Departments in universities and government public service departments one quickly finds that it is this bias toward a quasi religious view of Earth’s ecology sometimes referred to as Gaia, rather than scientific considerations, that gives them a rationale to be Climate Change alarmists.

    In Australia Will Steffen, who is called a Climate Scientist is the adviser to the government on “Climate Change”.

    Here is a small part of his similar research indicating that he, like many alarmists, comes with a built in quasi-religious bias, masked as science but which is more akin to a sociological correction blueprint for imagined errant human misuse and over use of our planets environment:

    http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/935

    http://www.themonthly.com.au/surviving-anthropocene-will-steffen-1567

  54. sHx says:

    @Obscurity

    “You need to read the “Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming”. The fact that Roy endorses those beliefs immediately, by default, biases him when it comes to climate science. I would argue that endorsing those beliefs is at odds with objective scientific investigation, and probably clouds one’s judgement. It also makes those here accusing mainstream climate scientists catering to a religion look pretty silly when the host of this site is as signatory of a group who is pursuing a very real religious “cause”.”

    It is worse than you thought:

    #0999
    “Mike Hulme: My work is as Director of the national centre for climate change research, a job which requires me to translate my Christian belief about stewardship of God’s planet into research and action”

  55. Turboblocke says:

    I know this not only because one of the first IPCC directors told me so, but also because it is the way the IPCC leadership behaves. If you disagree with their interpretation of climate change, you are left out of the IPCC process. They ignore or fight against any evidence which does not support their policy-driven mission, even to the point of pressuring scientific journals not to publish papers which might hurt the IPCC’s efforts.

    So how come Dr. Spencer’s research appears in the IPCC reports and his partner Dr. Christy was a contributor and also a reviewer?

  56. Dr. Spencer’s claim that “It’s impossible to avoid bias” is false. For purposes of discussion, it can be replaced by the claim that “Few researchers know how to avoid bias.” This claim is true.

    Bias enters climatology via the actions that are performed by its researchers in their selection of the inferences that are made by the theories (aka models) which they construct. When an inference is made, it is usually true that many different inferences are possibilities for being made. The builder of a theory must select the single inference that will be made from the many possibilities. I’ll call this inference the “correct” inference.

    The science of the principles by which the one correct inference may be identified is called “logic.” These principles are called the “principles of reasoning.”

    More than two millenia ago, Aristotle identified the principles of reasoning for the deductive branch of logic but he left to his successors the task of identifying the principles of reasoning for the inductive branch of logic. The task of identifying the principles of reasoning for the inductive branch became known as “the problem of induction.”

    Most academics are effectively under the impression that the problem of induction remains unsolved. Thus, they fail to prepare budding researchers for the task of distinguishing the one correct inference from the many incorrect inferences. Consequently, in the performance of this task, the vast majority of researchers fall back on the intuitive rules of thumb that have been called “heuristics and biases by cognitive psychologists.

    Collectively, the heuristics and biases identify a wide variety of inferences as the one correct inference. Associated with the wide variety of supposedly correct inferences are disagreements among the researchers over the identity of this inference. More importantly, there is a violation of the principle of reasoning that is called the “law of non-contradiction.” The theories that are generated by the vast majority of researchers have this element of illogic.

    This illogic is, however, unnecessary for by 1975 we had a solution to the problem of induction. The person who solved this problem remains unknown to the vast majority of scientists. His name is Ronald Christensen.

    Christensen observed that an inference had the unique measure that was called its “entropy.” In view of the existence and uniqueness of the measure of an inference, the problem of induction could be solved by optimization. In the optimization of an inference, its conditional entropy was minimized or its entropy was maximized under constraints expressing the available information. Thus, for the inductive branch of logic, the principles of reasoning were “entropy minimax.”

    A host of successful applications of entropy minimax followed, including applications in meteorology. The first models to predict weather outcomes at long range with statistical significance were built under entropy minimax.

    I do not believe there have been applications in climatology. Ills of climatology that include bickering, ad hominem arguments and arguments from authority can be attributed to failure by climatologists to understand or use entropy minimax in their theorizing.

  57. Simon says:

    You really are incredibly naive aren’t you.

    • Simon says:

      Whoops, that was supposed to appear as a reply to

      Obscurity says:
      November 24, 2011 at 12:37 PM

      Apologies.

  58. Bill Hunter says:

    “The poor nations seem to disagree with you, as I said, they are calling for stronger reductions in GHGs than are most industrialized countries.”

    Nations are only poor on average. Its poor people who will be hurt. Poor people do not speak for poor nations as poor people have no voice. Your argument is a red herring. In fact, I suspect if a good study was done on the topic just the opposite would be found to be the case.

    What “poor nations” are looking at are the “exemptions” and the “foreign aid” all of which will be diverted into a few coffers.

  59. John says:

    Obscurity,,

    You truly seem to get a lot of exercise leaping to conclusions. You mentioned:

    “While I understand you believe that “one cannot prove anything in science” …”

    It is not a matter of belief. If you understood the scientific method then you would know that.

    I never claimed anywhere in the previous post that one could prove anything in science, and I am quite familiar with the scientific method (derived from the Socratic method of inquiry). In fact, I go on to state: “…I agree one should always be skeptical about any scientific claim, their have been factual observations and laws of nature that have withstood the test of time. Newton’s three laws of motion, Maxwell’s equations, the Law of Biogenesis (all life comes from pre-existing life and replicates after it’s own kind) and many others have provided a rational explanation of phenomenon that continues to lead scientists to further discoveries and have the added benefit of having direct observation and testing to support them. Never do I state that anything in science can be proven absolutely. Personally, for what it’s worth I believe as scripture states: “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he hath not yet known as he ought to know.” (1 Corinthians, Chapter 8, verse 2). As to your claim that “it is not a matter of belief” pertaining to your acceptance of the claim that you cannot prove anything in science, do you care to contradict yourself and prove that claim (that it’s not a matter of belief). Actually, the whole purpose of the scientific method is to prove or disprove (prove false) the validity of a hypothetical or theoretical claim. Historically, scientists have held different beliefs on precisely that point. Galileo believed that Copernicus’s heliocentric theory had been proven, Kepler later disagreed. By the way, do you believe that it has never been proven scientifically that the world is not flat?

    I will make further comments on your post later.

  60. You asked evidence that the IPCC destroys lives. U.S. biofuels policy has been driven at least IN PART by IPCC-driven fears of global warming coupled with belief that biofuels promise lower carbon emissions. Indur Goklany in http://www.jpands.org/vol16no1/goklany.pdf estimates that U.S. biofuels policy causes an excess 192,000 deaths among the poor in developing countries every year–and that’s in excess of those IPCC estimates are dying because of the effects of anthropogenic climate change, assuming IPCC’s right. This coupling of fears of AGW with belief that biofuels promise lower carbon emissions is, of course, not the only reasoning behind U.S. biofuels policy, but it has been a significant part of it. Assume for a moment that it constitutes 10% of the policy grounds; that would make the IPCC a significant contributor to 19,200 excess deaths per year. The real number may be higher or lower, but all you asked for was evidence that IPCC is killing people. There you have it.

  61. Peter Stroud says:

    I agree that there is no way that the IPCC can change, or be changed. Its charter specifies that its role is to investigate man’s influence on climate. This would not necessarily prohibit it from funding investigations into natural effects. But the unhealthy influence of fanatical green individuals and movements on the organisation will always assure that such research is boycotted.

    As you say, Dr Spencer, it is time that governments funded research into the natural influences on climate. You and Dr Christy are to be praised for pressurising your government on the matter. Perhaps we have similar pressure groups of scientists here in the UK. I hope we have. Unfortunately we have the Royal Society fully behind the CAGW hypothesis. Also successive chief scientific advisors have also supported ‘the cause.’ So nothing will happen here until a few senior members of our government begin to listen to the sceptics. Currently the only climate sceptics in the House of Commons reside on the back benches and have little or no influence.

  62. dp says:

    Dr. Spencer – It seems M. Obscurity has earned another term in the black hole. It is appropriate though that he be free to comment in a thread about bias. By example his contribution is valuable. I look forward to not reading more from this nameless poster who has the temerity to question your full disclosure. Gave me a chuckle.

  63. Tom says:

    It is incorrect to say that the only money in climate research is for global warming studies. I have worked on a range of climate research, including global warming under EU funding. For years, the people fatuously referred to as “warmists” have tried unsuccessfully to get industry and commerce interested in global warming. It doesn’t work because the timescales are outside the range of commercial planning (up to 5 years, or so) and, therefore, the uncertainty is too high to give such studies commercial value. Yes, some of us aren’t afraid to quantify uncertainty in our projected climate!

    However, as you point out, climate does vary considerably for reasons other than global warming, on all timescales. Study of this natural variability is much more interesting than global warming, probably more important, has always had commercial value, and probably always will have – so long as the science continues to deliver commercial forecasts with realistic error bounds. You would no doubt be surprised at the number of “eminent” climate scientists who would support these views, many of them also “warmists”! The point I’m trying to make is that, IPCC and global warming is not the be all and end all of climate science, nor is it claimed to be.

    • An Inquirer says:

      Tom, there are private organizations that supply weather/climate information for businesses whose operations are meaningfully impacted by weather and climate. As you may know, the most successful private organizations are pointedly not influenced by CAGW. Their analysis must be accurate and useful, and they have found CAGW threads in their analysis undermine the reliability of their analysis.
      The existence of these private organizations does not negate Dr. Spencer’s point on government climate funding. Indeed, connecting one’s research to CAGW is a most promising path government funding.

  64. slimething says:

    Would Obscurity take issue with James Hansen’s “religious cause” if he signed a declaration?

  65. marchesarosa says:

    Anastassia

    It is precisely when price goes up due to scarcity that the market mechanism, namely the alternative supply side of “supply and demand” kicks in, promoting investigation/research into alternatives to the dearer commodity. State direction is incapable of replacing this well understood market mechanism. The assumption that the market is no longer capable, in the 21st century, of fulfilling this function (Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”) needs some justification. Shale gas is currently a cheap alternative to oil. Nuclear is another under-utilized resource.

  66. Anteros says:

    I freely admit a wide range of biases – once admitted and acknowledged, my experience is that they have a much reduced impact. This is one reason why I have less of a problem with Pat Michaels than with many people I know. He says – “look, this is where I’m coming from and this is what I believe” Maybe it is just good PR but I am naturally suspicious of the Iagos of the world who say ‘I can’t help but be honest, I am only interested in the truth’. Especially when I get to see some of their emails…..

    Today I have a profound bias. I am biased in hoping that the UAH anomaly for November is -0.017 because I have bet 5 quatloos on that over at Lucia’s Blackboard.

    Hurry up Dr Spencer – spill the beans! :)

  67. JK says:

    Hi Dr Spencer,

    Could you flesh out your proposal that ‘some portion of the appropriated funds for federal agencies supporting climate change research should be mandated to support alternative hypotheses of climate change’?

    I presume you are talking about mandating the questions, not the answers.

    But then it is not clear to me what you are suggesting.

    For example, all work on paleoclimate reconstruction, where so much of the controversy has focused, is essentially an investigation of natural variability. Why wouldn’t all the tree ring reconstructions qualify for funding?

    It might be that the scientists carrying out the work are biased in favor of the theory of CO2 induced warming. But there is nothing in their formal methodology that excludes finding a strong Medieval Warm Period. If their future work was funded on the basis of searching for evidence of a medieval warm period, how would it be significantly different from what is done now?

    Also, is it the case that majority of funding goes to data collection? I presume that satellites are expensive, relative to climate science budgets. Are you suggesting that missions like GOCE, Aquarius and Glory are biased against the forgotten science of natural climate change? What alternative satellites would you suggest?

    How about systems such as ARGO and AERONET? Is there bias built into these systems, and if so what sort of observations are being neglected and should be considered for higher priority than these?

    Supercomputers are also expensive. I can imagine saying that regions of parameter space that are not fully explored by models, but could show natural variability, might be investigated. I can see the value in funding modeling of specific hypotheses about natural climate change. But I would be nervous about explicitly biasing parameter ranges explored say in perturbed ensembles, rather than just widening them. Would this be the sort of thing you have in mind?

    Rather than saying that politicians should fund science in a different biased direction, wouldn’t it be better to try to develop support for non-state funded basic curiosity driven science?

  68. Vincent Guerrini PhD says:

    Cant wait to see November’s UAH Satellite Temperature anomalies!

  69. chuck nolan says:

    “I fully agree with Spencer’s view that the market will gradually nudge us in the right direction vis a vis our limited amounts of exhaustible resources.”
    —-
    but you can’t get the “direction right” when the government offers almost unlimited money for providing their “right answer”

  70. thingadonta says:

    I think you are dead right and this is exactly my opinion. Human bias is very strong, always has been. How to clean up the excessive bias in climate science isn’t easy, but I think we will find a way, too much is at stake otherwise.

  71. BenjaminG says:

    Where are the November temperatures, usually published by the 5th?

  72. Ted says:

    “For years John Christy and I have been advising Congress that some portion of the appropriated funds for federal agencies supporting climate change research should be mandated to support alternative hypotheses of climate change.”

    Why would it be necessary to get federal funds? I’m sure that the Koch brothers would be more than happy to pay for another study.

  73. BilD says:

    The notion of ‘myth’ is, by definition, “an unproved collective belief that is accepted uncritically.” God is the most prevalent such myth, but to a somewhat lesser extent is this idea (myth) that resources (such as oil or natural gas) are exhaustible – in an economic sense. Clearly they are not if we live in an ever-changing world characterized by economic disequilibrium (and we most certainly do). Such is the proper, rational, crucible for testing/evaluating our situation, and not some hypothetical world of non-change, steady-state equilibrium. The latter exists only as a fantasy world, the former is the hard reality of economics, and our universe in general.

    So, Dr Spencer, I humbly submit that you are precisely correct in your analysis and synthesis of this matter. Your conclusion that market forces will adjust accordingly to scarcity is, on the surface, valid; valid if and only if the degree of government intervention in economics (and science, for that matter) is low enough enough to allow adequate signaling for the generation of “entrepreneurial rents.”

    That being said, I would mildly take issue with you to the extent you believe that market forces will respond to a “resource exhaustion” in a global, fixed, sense. The whole point of allowing markets to “work” freely is so that capital can be maintained and increased, in the long run, by individual firms. This idea that we will run out of natural resources to power our world unless governments intervene is completely and totally void of any rational basis. It is, in fact, the exact opposite. When individual businesses engaged in producing usable and useful energy are free to do so-so as to maintain their capital and to prosper-there never has, and there never can be, any ultimate scarcity of “resources.” This is as axiomatic as observing that a ball, if unimpeded, will fall to the ground if tossed into the air. The scientific principal at work in the latter case is gravity. The same phenomena occurs in economics insofar as the provision of energy is concerned.. Point being, if unimpeded, entrepreneurial firms will make strategic decisions well in advance of specific natural resource limitations so as to maintain and increase their capital – and they will only do so as long as a relatively unimpeded market exists, and governments do not intervene to adversely affect this process – this principal is known generally as the free market. It is also no minor point to note that heretofore governments have generally IMPEDED this process; we do not have, nor have really ever had, a fully free market. Certainly, with fiat currencies abounding to ever-greater extents, not today. To the extent we do have free markets, we have produced an almost mind-boggling amount of energy.

    And to your point about bias, just today we have this from Science Daily: ” ‘ScienceDaily (Dec. 5, 2011) — Researchers have added further clarity to the global climate trend, proving that global warming is showing no signs of slowing down and that further increases are to be expected in the next few decades. . . . The unabated warming is powerful evidence that we can expect further temperature increase in the next few decades, emphasizing the urgency of confronting the human influence on the climate,’ says Grant Foster, lead author of the study.’” Loaded commentary if I ever read any.

    Nice post Dr. Spencer, look forward to reading more in the future!

  74. nige cook says:

    The liars of the mainstream lyingly call critics “climate change deniers”, when climate change is natural: the argument is about whether the earth is a “greenhouse” that is super-sensitive to CO2 injections or not; the case for NOT being the earth is NOT a greenhouse. If the earth were a greenhouse, there would be no oceans (71% of surface area) and no cloud cover which varies in direct response to CO2. Pump in CO2 and you increase cloud cover, which reflects back more sunlight into space, keeping the surface cool. This is negative feedback, totally ignored by all IPCC models, which make the same collective politically-correct mistake of assuming that the greenhouse effect is true. In a greenhouse, water vapour is prevented from rising to from cloud cover that cools the greenhouse, because of the glass ceiling.

    So in greenhouse models, the water vapour is prevented from rising, expanding and condensing at high altitudes to form clouds, and instead stays in vapour (uncondensed) form, where it amplifies the warming effect of CO2 by absorbing additional infrared (water vapour is an excellent wide band IR radiation absorber, like CO2; water in white cloud droplet form works in a diametrically opposite way on the climate, as a reflector which shadows the lower altitude air and surface, cooling it).

    What’s fascinating is this physics is all proved fact. It’s a fact that warm air rises. It’s a fact that you can’t get warm air from the top surface of a cloud to the ground because of this (even if rain forms – usually from the middle or base of clouds, not the top warm reflecting layer – air drag conductively passes on the warmth to the air they move through long before they arrive at the ground, so the can’t warm the ground).

  75. nige cook says:

    “But when only one hypothesis is allowed as the explanation for climate change (e.g. “the science is settled”), the bias becomes so thick and acrid that everyone can smell the stench. Everyone except the IPCC leadership, that is.”

    Like the Emperor’s New Clothes, when the word goes around that the leadership is faulty, nobody dares overthrow the leader, or they bungle it. It’s precisely like the situation of Stalin or Hitler, who have got to the top by having a private army of bodyguards and propaganda chiefs, so that people like Delingpole can be pushed down. The claim that democracy would allow the people to overthrow a scientific dictatorship of quacks funded by political expediency is laughable and is well disproved by all examples of scientific corruption in history, from the injection of false Aristotlean physics into medieval Christianity by Thomas Aquinas, to 11-dimensional superstring M-”theory” (which contains no theory, merely a vacious framework in which 10^500 different metastable vacuum states can sit).

    Everybody can smell the stench from this piece of vile pseudophysics with its Gestapo response to critics, it’s abuse of the peer-review system for censorship of criticisms, and its patiently false “greenhouse” assumption which relies on an invisible non-existent glass ceiling to prevent water vapour from becoming cloud cover.

  76. nige cook says:

    “Scepticism is … directed against the view of the opposition and against minor ramifications of one’s own basic ideas, never against the basic ideas themselves. Attacking the basic ideas evokes taboo reactions … scientists only rarely solve their problems, they make lots of mistakes … one collects ‘facts’ and prejudices, one discusses the matter, and one finally votes. But while a democracy makes some effort to explain the process so that everyone can understand it, scientists either conceal it, or bend it … No scientist will admit that voting plays a role in his subject. Facts, logic, and methodology alone decide – this is what the fairy-tale tells us. … This is how scientists have deceived themselves and everyone else … It is the vote of everyone concerned that decides fundamental issues … and not the authority of big-shots hiding behind a non-existing methodology. … Science itself uses the method of ballot, discussion, vote, though without a clear grasp of its mechanism, and in a heavily biased way.”

    – Professor Paul Feyerabend, “Against Method”, 1975, final chapter.

    “The notion that a scientific idea cannot be considered intellectually respectable until it has first appeared in a ‘peer’ reviewed journal did not become widespread until after World War II. Copernicus’s heliocentric system, Galileo’s mechanics, Newton’s grand synthesis – these ideas never appeared first in journal articles. They appeared first in books, reviewed prior to publication only by their authors, or by their authors’ friends. … Darwinism indeed first appeared in a journal, but one under the control of Darwin’s friends. … the refereeing process works primarily to enforce orthodoxy. … ‘peer’ review is NOT peer review.”

    – Professor Frank J. Tipler, Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?

    “Centralization of information and decision-making at the top has been destructive to most organizations. The Greeks had a word for the notion that the best decisions can only be made on the basis of the fullest information at the highest level. They called it hubris. In a living scientific organization, decisions must be pushed down to the lowest level at which they can be sensibly made. … Leadership would be decentralized throughout, not concentrated at the top. … It would also facilitate the downward transmission of goals, the only things that can be usefully passed down from above, and make room for the upward transmission of results, which should be the basis for reward. It should be obvious that this structure need not be imposed from above. There is no reason to await a decision from the top to do so. Everyone in the chain has the flexibility to organize his own life and thereby to decide whether he is to be a manager or a leader.”

    - Gregory H. Canavan, The Leadership of Philosopher Kings, Los Alamos National Laboratory, report LA-12198-MS, December 1992.

  77. John Christensen says:

    That’s all very good, but when do we get the update on UAT global temperatures for November??? ;-) Very interesting to see if the current La Nina continues to impact the global temperature with the normal lag of 4-5 months.

  78. Mr. Vigilant says:

    John,

    The Berkeley BEST study is the latest and most detailed confirmation that the five main global temperature indices are showing essentially the same warming trend even though the measurements are taken in different ways. The recent paper by Foster and Rhamstorf in ERL shows an even better agreement after the effects like ENSO are removed from the data.

    We all know that the temperature numbers are faked and the earth is not warming.

    This can only mean one thing. Dr. Spencer is part of a multi-national conspiracy to needlessly alarm the world by faking data that shows the world is warming. How else could the data sets agree if the people responsible for the charade didn’t decide beforehand what temperature to report? I suspect that because of the ongoing IPCC meetings, some of the co-conspirators are busy, and the group hasn’t been able to decide what the November number will be. I am sure Dr. Spencer will report it once they get a chance to make it up.

  79. The purpose of the BEST study was to review the land surface data set (all land surface trends are essentially derived from a single data set) and review the “adjustments” made to the data in order to homogenize it. They were looking for anything “fishy” in those adjustments, which they did not find. The study does not directly address urban heat island effects, divergence with other data sets (SATS and oceans), and so on.

    • Ican Reed says:

      Will Nitschke:
      “The study does not directly address urban heat island effects”

      Uh, did you read the paper by the BEST team, or just WUWT?

      Here is the first sentence of the abstract, so you wouldn’t have had to read far.

      “The effect of urban heating on estimates of global average land surface temperature is studied by applying an urban-rural classification based on MODIS satellite data to the Berkeley Earth temperature dataset compilation of
      39,028 sites from 10 different publicly available sources”

  80. I believe the sole purpose of the IPCC is to create an acceptable reason for Global Governance. The work of the IPCC is a charade to promote this goal. Many scientists have chosen to accept that the problem is man because they are much more likely to be funded.

  81. Ansgar John says:

    Here are November figures from RSS Climate 4 You is an interesting site, hadn’t seen it before.

    http://www.climate4you.com/images/MSU%20RSS%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif

    Is Dr. Spencer OK ? What’s with the UAH figures?

  82. Threepwood says:

    every debate I’ve ever had with a believer always runs into the same solid core belief

    That the ‘solutions’ to global warming are ‘good ideas’ regardless of the ‘problem’- so what’s the downside?

    Also, where is the motive to scrutinize the evidence?

    Of course the opposite is true for skeptics, almost 100% are free market advocates- so I guess the political bias is a wash?, but the burden of proof lies with those pushing the theory that pushes their politics, skeptics are not trying to ram their ideology down other’s throats with laws, regulations, taxes, subsidies etc

  83. Colin Dixon says:

    Well done Dr Roy.
    I would not allow anon posters, why do people feel the need to hide their identity?
    Comment on Peak Fossil Fuels, the lowest cost available source of energy will be used 1st, then we will move up to the next.
    The biggest problem we will have as oil supplies are consumed will be the unique products, plastics etc that are made from it become unavailable.
    http://undeceivingourselves.org/C-comm.htm is a good Australian skeptics site on thinking.

  84. KevinK says:

    Colin Dixon wrote;

    “I would not allow anon posters, why do people feel the need to hide their identity?”

    In my case, my employer (whom I currently enjoy a positive relationship with, i.e. the paycheck clears when I deposit it) has among its customers those NASA folks. Very bright people they are. They have accomplished many amazing things (Apollo, Space Shuttle, Hubble, Weather Satellites, etc. etc. etc.) with a little help from us aerospace contractors of course.

    But like any organization, there are always a few “loose cannons” rolling around on the deck of the ship. These always end up CRASHING into something, thereby causing lots of splinters, and associated carnage. In the case of the CAGW meme the cannons have crashed head on into the scientific method and left in its wake a HUGE pile of splinters………

    In part I do not wish to annoy or embarass my potential customers, but at the same time I feel a need to YELL; LOOK OUT FOR THE LOOSE CANNON!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Cheers, Kevin