Not a Misquote. A Nonquote.

As many of you may be aware, a conference was arranged purportedly to “bridge the gap” between mainstream climate scientists and the so-called “skeptics.”

Fred Pearce reported in an article for NewScientist that Gavin Schmidt had declined the invitation to attend because the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss. Quoting from the article:

But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.

This isn’t a misquote — it’s just a fabrication. Schmidt has sent a letter to NewScientist objecting to someone making up such a story. Here is his letter:

In the piece entitled “Climate sceptics and scientists attempt peace deal” ( Fred Pearce includes a statement about me that is patently untrue.

“But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.”

This is completely made up. My decision not to accept the invitation to this meeting was based entirely on the organiser’s initial diagnosis of the cause of the ‘conflict’ in the climate change debate. I quote from their introductory letter:

“At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.

The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.”

Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

At no point did I declare that the ‘science was settled’ and that there was nothing to discuss. Indeed, I am on record as saying the exact opposite:

Pearce might well note that even I am included in the “spectrum” that “disagree[s] with Schmidt”!

Fred Pearce did not interview me for this piece. I should like to request that in future, if my views are of interest, that he (or anyone else) should actually ask me directly. I am not hard to contact.

Yours respectfully,

Gavin Schmidt

PS. I am not a ‘leader of mainstream climate science’ either.

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142 responses to “Not a Misquote. A Nonquote.

  1. Misquoting is bad enough. To make up a quote out of whole cloth is completely unacceptable.

    • And completely routine. Jones said no warming since 1995. Mann hid the decline in global temperatures. Latif said there would be two decades of cooling. Trenberth’s ‘travesty.’ Making stuff up is job 1 in the denierverse.

  2. My guess: Pearce asked why they’d rented such a big hall for so few people, or why they had so many empty seats, and they lied, claiming to have invited real climate scientists and making up reasons given for not having them there.

    I mean, who’s more likely to make stuff up, Fred Pearce, or the conference organizers?

    I’m waiting ….

    Hmmmm …..

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      > I mean, who’s more likely to make stuff up, Fred Pearce,
      > or the conference organizers?

      That’s a tough one, Hank…

  3. Misquoting is bad enough. To make up a quote out of whole cloth is completely unacceptable.

    …but not surprising, coming from Pearce.

  4. Yet more of the sort of reporting we’ve come to expect from Freddie Baby.

  5. Hank:

    I mean, who’s more likely to make stuff up, Fred Pearce, or the conference organizers?

    Are you likely to count more heads or more tails with 1,000 flips of a fair coin? :)

    Umm, Pearce made lots of stuff up regarding climategate … yet I certainly wouldn’t trust the conference organizers, either.

    Call it a toss-up … or … Lisboagate!

  6. So let’s see … one of the attendees (Pearce) to a conference intended to bridge the gap between the denialsphere and climate scientists … prints a total fabrication regarding one of those climate scientists …

    The helps bridge the gap how, exactly?

    Not that I imagine for a moment that gap-bridging was really the goal.

  7. Hank’s guess might be accurate; but if Fred is going to cite Gavin based on what the organisers said then he’s not off the hook, rather he’s just another “interpreter of the interpreters”?

  8. “The helps bridge the gap how, exactly?”

    How? In the same way that Curry’s blog meets its intially claimed goals. It does the opposite, just chumming the waters to increase the traffic, and attentions, (and then claim that attention means she’s on the right track).

    Look, thing are running dry, and Fred needs another bite:

  9. What first got my attention to this issue was a fabricated quote from Dr. Kenneth Tapping, a Canadian astrophysicist. For the past two decades I’ve been writing a weekly bulletin for amateur radio operators on sunspots, solar cycles, and how they affect shortwave radio propagation.

    Ham operators appreciate high sunspot activity (because it enhances the ionosphere’s refraction of radio waves) and long for the days of Cycle 19, the biggest sunspot cycle ever, which peaked around 1957-1959. Needless to say, many have been nervous the past few years as Cycle 24 emerges from slumber very slowly. I’m not kidding when I tell you I’ve received many emails from hams over the past few years who seem very depressed. You don’t see many sunspot cycles in your lifetime, and many older hams have been waiting for the return of Cycle 19 conditions for 50 years, after first getting licensed as hams in the 1950s.

    One day a few years ago I got a boatload of email from readers, most were very upset, and all contained a URL pointing to an article in Investor’s Business Daily (which they have now removed) that claimed that global warming was caused by sunspot activity, scientists say we will have no more sunspots, therefore the problem in the future will be an ice age, not global warming. The “no sunspots” scenario is what threw them into a panic attack.

    I was suspicious of the article, because although I am not a scientist, I try to keep up on the literature as well as any layman can, and I had read nothing about any scientist predicting a repeat of the so-called Maunder Minimum, a period several centuries ago in which sunspots seem to have disappeared entirely for decades. Not only that, I had never heard of a method for forecasting one.

    I was also suspicious because the article, which contained no byline, quoted Dr. Tapping making all kinds of wild statements about climate (which he is not qualified to do) and sunspots which seemed uncharacteristic. I know him via email correspondence and the occasional phone call, because his observatory in Penticton, British Columbia provides the daily 2.8 GHz solar flux readings, which we use in addition to sunspot numbers as indicators for solar activity. He always seemed a sober sort, worthy of trust.

    I sent an email to Dr. Tapping asking if he was quoted correctly, and as I recall, the opening line in his response was, “This has been the worst two weeks of my life”.

    He told me a few weeks earlier he received a phone call which ended up lasting over 90 minutes, from a woman he did not know (nor did he have any notes about where she was calling from or who she was) who asked him all kinds of questions about sunspots and climate. She kept running through various scenarios with him, and kept mentioning climate, which of course is way outside his field.

    When the article appeared, the quotes from him were a total fabrication.

    I googled several phrases from the article, and got hundreds of results, most from the conservative blogosphere. Since then I have watched the misinformation spread. A typical example:

    I then created a Google alert, in which I would receive a daily digest email of links to any new usage of the word ‘sunspot’ in blogs, web sites and news stories. What I found was all kinds of wild nonsense being presented as fact. A typical example would be comments on newspaper articles in which someone would remark that ‘there should be hundreds of sunspots on the face of the sun, and there is nothing’, always claiming that sunspots cause global warming.

    Their error (besides the false correlation with climate) I think happened when they did a search for old sunspot data on the web, came across some archive where in the peak of a previous solar cycle they found a day which showed a daily sunspot number of (for example) 347, so they assumed this meant that 347 sunspots were visible on that day.

    What they didn’t know was that a sunspot number is not the same thing as the number of sunspots.

    According to an arcane counting method developed centuries ago and still used today for consistency, to calculate the sunspot number you count the number of sunspot groups, each adding a value of ten, then count the number of sunspots inside those groups, and add one for each. So for instance, if there is a single sunspot, that day would have a daily sunspot number of 11, which is the lowest possible non-zero sunspot number.

    This figured into various new conspiracy theories that emerged. For instance, amateur expert writing in the comments on a news article would look at an image of the Sun, see what appeared to be one or two sunspots, but note that NOAA listed a sunspot number of 23 on that same day. So obviously NOAA astrophysicists must be in cahoots with Al Gore and all those evil climatologists, because they are reporting fake data, since everyone knows that sunspots correlate with warming, and it is plain as day that there are just one or two tiny spots today, not 23, and besides, it’s winter and there is snow outside!

    As I watched the level of nonsense rise, I noticed a curious thing. I often felt I was seeing the same writing styles, similar prose, and the same already disproved arguments over and over again.

    Gradually I realized that there were others using similar Google tools to track stories about climate, but instead of adding comments that might clarify something in the article, purposeful obfuscation was going in, coupled with a sort of willful ignorance. No logic or new information could dissuade them, as if I were trying to argue someone out of their religious faith, a fool’s errand, since matters of faith are basically non-testable and non-falsifiable. And I began to sense that this might be the work of a few professionals posing as fellow citizens, using ad hominem attacks and discredited science in a barrage of nonsense that might look believable to people outside the field, and create a sort of false consensus. At the same time I sensed a shift in public opinion, following the same talking points that these commenters were driving home.

    Then I heard about the Koch brothers, and the millions of dollars financing a disinformation campaign using astroturf groups and even some of the same players that were in the tobacco wars a couple of decades back, creating doubt about climate science.

    I guess the final confirmation was when I talked to someone who had attended one of those Tea Party rallies, and sat in on a training session which I believe was operated by one of the Koch “citizens” groups. One of the methods being pushed was exactly what I was seeing online, and a trainer described the process that I had imagined, exactly. One thing that was emphasized over and over was how a tiny group of people could influence big changes in public opinion and policy, exactly what I saw happening online.

    [Response: I hear ya, bro.]

    • Tad,
      The question I wonder about is whether the disinformation professionals are truly convinced of what they are saying or are merely “doing a job”. If the latter, that represents a level of cynicism that even I find distressing. If the former, the only way I can understand their actions is that they feel free to discount evidence because they believe they are serving a “higher” truth. That is not really a new attitude, and indeed such anti-empiricism dominated well into the Middle Ages and even into the early Renaissance prior to the development of the scientific method.

      Of course, there’s also the possibility that they are just blinkered idiots.

      • Ray, a modest estimate of the number of sociopaths in the population is about 2% (range 1-5%). Out of 300M pop in the US, that’s 6 million. More than enough to lie, cheat and steal enough to give us all grief. I imagine there are a number amongst the AGW deniers, making a small living posting fabrications and misinformation.

      • Susan, interestingly the requirement to select for a rise up the corporate ladder also select, and hence concentrate psychopathic traits. One figure I’ve come across the concentration of psychopaths in corporate executive positions is as high as 1 in 10.

        “This lack of reaction to the distress of others is what allows them to manipulate and control other people because they’re able to do that on a very rational logical level but at the same time they don’t feel the emotion or empathy for the other person. [...] employers aren’t just failing to screen for psychopaths, they’re unwittingly selecting them.”

        So we have created a system that both concentrates psychopaths and gives them disproportionate power. To make matters worse we then made a series of adjusted to our political systems over the last 30 year to give more and more influence to corporations and those with concentrated wealth. The latest of which being the Supreme Court ruling on “Citizen’s United”.

  10. Ray, the paid disinformation professionals know they are lying and gloat about it. The ones that help spread their disinformation because they think they are serving a higher truth are thought of as “useful idiots”.

    Tad, having been caught up in the chaos resulting from a similar situation I can strongly sympathize. I wonder if Dr. Tapping could make a good case for identity theft? After all it a case of someone using his identity to spread lies in his name.

  11. Berbalang, I’m willing to believe that about the “disinformation professionals,” but it would be a more useful assertion if sourced. Have you seen this personally, spoken to witnesses, heard something–or is this your personal assessment of ‘how it works’ in general?

    • Berbalang, I’m willing to believe that about the “disinformation professionals,” but it would be a more useful assertion if sourced.

      Go read up on Stephen Milloy, the “junk science” guy. No one can put together such a volume of misinformation with such skill (i.e. looks credible on the surface) without knowing a lot about the underlying science. Using that knowledge to cherry-pick bits and pieces of research in order to *refute* that science requires real skill, and can only be done intentionally, i.e. by lying on a large scale.

      • Sure. But that’s not “gloating about it,” and it doesn’t show that the ‘higher truth’ brigade are “thought of as ‘useful idiots.’”

        I’d love to have a ‘smoking gun’ on those.

  12. Tallbloke, the source, is now suggesting this can all be cleared up if Gavin will produce the email.

    Why hasn’t some “whistleblower” already produced it?

    • Notice the sidestepping: Tallbloke claims that he only provided his interpretation of why Gavin declined, and this was passed along to Pearce. He also claims that Gavin did not provide his reasons (noted above) in the e-mail.

      So Pearce did misreport Gavin’s position after all. Whether he gave those reasons in his e-mail to the organizers is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is whether or not Gavin “said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss”.

      Pearce provided incorrect information. It was his responsibility to get the story right. It sounds like Tallbloke was merely blowing smoke – I am not sure he meant for anyone to take him seriously. I do think he and Pearce owe Gavin an apology. It shouldn’t be so hard to do.

      • Right, someone sends you an invitation to seppuku and you politely decline without giving reasons. It is, of course, your fault for not giving your reasons so they then proceeded to fabricate some to ship to their paid for journalist consultant, who then plants it in a journal.

    • Maybe he can produce a birth certificate for the President while he’s at it.

  13. JCH:

    Tallbloke, the source, is now suggesting this can all be cleared up if Gavin will produce the email.

    Judith Curry:

    I would like to defend Tallbloke on this one.

    At the rate she keeps digging the hole she’s in, she’ll arrive in China before the end of winter…

    • Unless Gavin actually wrote “the science is settled” they will twist his words into meaning “the science is settled.”

      Just as they have already twisted “almost entirely” to to mean all the science is almost entirely settled.

      [Response: Prophetic. See the next comment.]

  14. Yeah okay, Gavin Schmidt isn’t one of the leaders of mainstream climate science. You guys just aren’t very smart.

    “Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.”

    Thus, Schmidt is essentially saying he thinks the science is settled. He doesn’t want to talk about any of the “science” issues, only the “political” ones. This seems to me to infer that he thinks the science is settled. Furthermore, as I am sure you are well aware Gambino, all 3 of the topics he stated are being intensely debated.

    [Response: Your dishonest, in fact perverse, twisting of his words was predicted. 13 minutes ago; see the preceding comment.]

    • The conference was billed as some sort of reconciliation. In the field of science is there some drastic divide among scientists who do work on climate sensitivity? No. Is there some sort of drastic divide among scientists who do work on ice? No. Is there some drastic divide among scientists who work on temperature reconstructions? Believe it or not, no.

      They are all being worked on all the time. RealClimate has had repetitive articles on new developments on ice and climate sensitivity and temperature reconstructions. This is hardly the behavior of somebody who thinks “the science is settled;” in fact, it is totally congruent with the behavior of somebody who follows the developments because he thinks the science ain’t settled.

    • Yes, it is “code” for the science is settled–”code” for conspiracy theorists and people you “see” controversy when there is none. Here, a tin hat for you. You are of course entitled to your own opinions, just not your own facts.

      Tattersall, the organizers of the workshop and Pearce all owe Schmidt an apology. Are they big enough to do so? Sadly, I doubt it.

  15. DeSmogBlog had a post about Tapping being misquoted:

    It is a good website for finding out more about the professional disinformation spreaders.

    It also mentions another blogger who contacted Tapping to find out the facts:

  16. Jeffrey Davis

    I suspect that after Delingpole’s disintegration and Monckton’s humiliation, that the denialist crowd suspect that even common courtesy is too much. In the rationalizations and web-spinning going on I see in my mind’s eye Darren McGavin’s efforts to keep his leg lamp intact.

    ” Naddafinga! “

  17. Tallbloke has posted the e-mail quote here.

    I’m a little confused at what conflict you feel you are going to be addressing? The fundamental conflict is of what (if anything) we should do about greenhouse gas emissions (and other assorted pollutants), not what the weather was like 1000 years ago. Your proposed restriction against policy discussion removes the whole point. None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions. No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.

    Doesn’t look like he said the science is settled, but that the real conflict is about what to do. JCH’s words will indeed be prophetic.

  18. tamino,

    Calling you “Gambino” is an insult, linking you to the well-known organized crime family. This Cadbury rat fink–I suggest youse send a couple of the boys to have a talk with him, capiche? Que melior!

    [Response: I've been called worse.]

  19. Thinking more about Gavin’s words, I think he is saying that most publishing scientists (not “blog scientists”) may have disagreements about certain topics, but that they work this out by gathering more information and challenging and improving each others work.

    There will always be some difference of opinion, but a “conflict resolution” workshop is not needed for these types of scientific disagreements.

    But this is just my interpretation – let’s see what happens when it makes its way to Pearce, who I think is the real culprit here.

  20. “… put to rest any skeptical debate about the basic physics of gaseous infrared radiative transfer.” — J. Curry

  21. The fact is, I’ve never heard any scientist say that the science is settled. Al Gore did say that, but it was clear to me, if not to the denierverse, that he was referring only to the broadest of conclusion: It’s settled that increased GHGs lead to increased temperatures, that increased temperatures lead to rising sea levels, that changing temperatures will lead to changing weather patterns. That sort of thing. No one, Gore included, thinks that we’ve fully quantified the problem, that we know everything about regional effects, etc.

    So, obviously, study continues, as it would not if scientists in general, and Gavin in particular–who I believe has not yet canceled his research– actually thought that the whole thing were settled.

    Oh, wait, I forgot. He’s just doing the research to get rich from gummint grants. There are no other fields that still need research. Never mind.

    • Gavin Schmidt isn’t in a position to “get rich from gummint grants.” Even if you believe that academics can do that (which is rubbish)…Gavin isn’t an academic who’s applying for government grants. He’s a federal employee of NASA. He’s salaried, and his salary isn’t funded by grants, and cannot be increased by “getting more grants.”

  22. “… the basic physics of gaseous infrared radiative transfer.”

    Think ‘least common denominator’ and hope.

  23. Missed point:

    1) Either the organizers authorized Tallbloke to comment publicly on Gavin’s words
    2) They didn’t, and Tallbloke thought this was just fine.

    Maybe the organizers should be asked whether it was 1) or 2), and if 2), what they are going to say publicly. Should they do anything other than distance themselves strongly, saying it was an accident and he had no business doing that, I’d suggest that anyone ever invited by these people think very hard before even replying,.

  24. 1) Either the organizers authorized Tallbloke to comment publicly on Gavin’s words
    2) They didn’t, and Tallbloke thought this was just fine.

    I don’t think Tallbloke’s sophisticated for option 1 …

  25. Sorry, sophisticated enough …

  26. From Deltoid,

    “It is so very unfortunate of the ‘skeptics’ and contrarians cannot being themselves to acknowledge that they erred and correct a wrong. They cannot even, to my knowledge, bring themselves to say “sorry” when they have knowingly damaged someone’s reputation and been the source of a myth that will be used by people with agendas to continue to smear Gavinn Schmidt.
    It is this dogmatic behaviour that will ensure that the ‘skeptics’ and contrarians will continue to have a serious credibility issue, will not be trusted and will be alienated. They have no-one else to blame but themselves.
    Today Roger had a chance to break that mould, he chose not to, at east not yet.

    PS: And if Tallbloke is so concerned about his employer’s take on this, then he should not have indicated his official affiliation as he did; instead he should have indicated that he was attending as a private citizen. It seems that he was not there in an official capacity on behalf of his employer– that is his error in judgement not that of others.”

  27. This Tallbloke character has rather wider ambitions than merely over throwing mainstream climate science.

    He is something of an ‘electric universe’ and ‘lumenous aether’

    Oh and the big bag is a myth

    Either the greatest genius to walk the earth or another weird crank.

    • Cranks rarely confine themselves to just one topic. Ever hear of Ted Holden? Google for a good laugh. It’s the same thing here.

  28. It was foreseen that there would be those who would seek to undermine the efforts at reasonable dialogue begun at Lisbon. So Mr Mashey’s weaselings come as no surprise.

    Of course the organisers didn’t sanction my summarizing of Gavin’s reasons for declining the invitation. I fully expect them to distance themselves strongly from the storm in a teacup I inadvertantly created.

    Why not go and have a gloat on stoat as well, weasel?

    [Response: You maligned the character of a skilled scientist and a true gentleman, by fabricating a false story about what he said. There was absolutely nothing inadvertent (note the spelling) about it.

    You owe Gavin an apology. A sincere, grovelling apology. You owe it to everyone (especially the readers of the NewScientist article) to admit not just how wrong, but how unethical your action was. Hell, you even owe your colleagues at the so-called "reconciliation" conference an apology. But you don't have the guts.

    And now you have the gall to call someone else a weasel? Are you trying to set a new low? Amazing.]

    • Part of any reasonable dialog is to respect those with whom you disagree. The thing is, we all engage in idle gossip; it’s just that our usual meeting conversations do not make it into news articles. It would have been no big deal to say, “Oops, my bad,” rather than run around the blogosphere trying to justify one’s misinterpretation.

      I always thought the greater sin was that of Pearce, but tallbloke seems to want to prolong the tempest and make himself into an even greater fall guy. If a goal of “reasonable dialog” was to engage mainstream climate scientists, I would have to say that this incident makes achieving this goal more difficult. Of course, the t-shirt cartoon doesn’t help, either.

      And I echo Tamino’s description of Gavin.

      • When you talk to a journo assume that nothing is ‘off the record’ unless you specifically state it as such and they reply, “Okay.” And even then, don’t be surprised if it turns up in print.

    • Tallbloke, grow a pair and apologise.

    • Tallbloke, while I sympathize with your situation, you have to realize that it was your lack of savvy in dealing with reporters that got you–and also an innocent victim–into this mess. The fact is that you misrepresented the views of a scientist and of the scientific community to a member of the press–and a particularly lazy, unscrupulous member of the press at that. This has had consequences that anyone who was familiar with the field and with the history of that journalist could have and should have anticipated.

      It is clear to everyone, that you were in the wrong. The only question is whether you will admit that you were in the wrong and do the right thing by apologizing. The reputation at stake is not Gavin’s–who has been above reproach–or Pearce’s–which is beyond redemption–but yours.

    • Tallbloke — “It was foreseen that there would be those who would seek to undermine the efforts at reasonable dialogue begun at Lisbon. So Mr Mashey’s weaselings come as no surprise. “

      Didn’t come as a surprise? Foreseen? Eli has the skinny at JC’s.

      Direct link to the blog comment by one of the organisers of your Lisbon workshop at NATURE’s blog. Look for comment by #9425 # 2010-02-08 / 06:52:36 AM / posted by: ANGELA PEREIRA

      It begins…

      One of the major shames about what seems to be a climate change sham…

      Quel surpris. It’ll be very interesting to see how her write up turns out.

    • Jeffrey Davis

      “It was foreseen.”

      The passive voice. Apt for someone who cannot attribute anything to its obvious source.

    • talkbloke wrote:

      It was foreseen that there would be those who would seek to undermine the efforts at reasonable dialogue begun at Lisbon.

      I strongly believe that Gavin made the right decision — even though it was based on fairly limited information at the time. He did not know that the main funders of the little get together is the Gulbenkian Foundation where “… the principal support of the Gulbenkian Foundation is ownership of a large share of Partex, Gulbenkian’s worldwide oil and gas company,” that is, that this attempt at “dialogue” was being financed by fossil fuel interests. He did not know that this would be roughly equivilent to scientists investigating the links between lung cancer and tobacco receiving an invitation to a similar (albeit hypothetical) event being held by Philip Morris.

      He did not know that he would be lending his credibility to an event designed to draw a false equivilence between him (a leading member of a team building Earth Systems Models based upon physics for NASA) and Steve Goddard, the fellow who argued that carbon dioxide falls as snow in Antarctica and against the well-established physics underlying the greenhouse effect. Steve Goddard, the fellow who has argued that high surface pressure is responsible for high surface temperatures on Venus — and who seems to have lost sight of how hot objects tend to emit more thermal radiation and thereby cool off.

      He did not know that he would be cooperating with individuals (such as Steve Mosher) that participated in the Climategate affair that — like Watergate — involved individuals breaking in to obtain material to be used in a well-orchestrated, politically-motivated smear campaign by means of the cherry-picking of words and quote-mining techniques of Young Earth Creationists. He did not for certain that this was simply meant as part of the wider smear campaign being waged by industrial interests and the ideologically-motivated libertarian organizations they have financed since the 1970s. Financed to defend their profits against science that exposed the harmful effects of cigarettes, asbestos, dioxin, CFCs, leaded-gasoline and whole host of other profitable products.

      But there was evidence in the very framing of the meeting to suggest as much — including the language describing it as a meeting between “alarmists” who support science and the “skeptics” who attack it. Arguing that what separates scientists and denialists consists of differences of opinion regarding scientific issues when what motivates denialists is generally financial or ideological. That it would be used to paint scientists as extremists (as you have done) rather than as individuals who investigate the world and regularly acknowledge and quantify their uncertainty and damage their reputation in the scientific community when they fail to do so. That it would be used to paint scientists as dogmatic in order to sell as a false alternative the same sort of doubt that is described in the Tobacco Institute memo where it states, ” Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public.”

      But in the time that I have observed Gavin I have come to see that he is an astute judge of character and motives, and I have little doubt that he strongly suspected as much.

  29. Dear Tallbloke,

    I’ve followed this little brouhaha from the start as a lurker. When Gavin’s response was posted, it became clear that his response was nothing like what was reported in the New Scientist article. You may disagree, but I can’t fail to think you’d understand the whys and hows of those of us agree with Gavin’s account.

    You may never have intended this, but your “interpretation”, which was far from “verbatim” has now been attributed to Gavin Schimdt, in the pages of a well read pop-science magazine. No indication is given in Pearce’s price that this is a your interpretation; that Gavin’s words were paraphrased into something that “sounds a lot like “The science is settled” to (you)”.

    This is wrong. This is unethical. It may be a tempest in a teapot to you, but your name is not in press next to a statement that attributes you as expressing an opinion contrary to what you actually believe. You’ve (I believe unintentionally) maligned the reputation of a scientist. In science, reputation counts.

    My mother told me that apologising hurts, but not apologising hurts more. I think you owe it to apologise to Gavin. Suck it up, and admit you were wrong. Seriously. You’ll feel better for it.

    If I may offer you some unsolicited advice. Next time some one asks you why X is a no show at Y, instead of giving your “interpretation”, keep your trap firmly closed and for the love of God, shut up.

    • If I may offer you some unsolicited advice. Next time some one asks you why X is a no show at Y, instead of giving your “interpretation”, keep your trap firmly closed and for the love of God, shut up.

      Some might think that … “why don’t you ask him?” would be the only alternative to keeping one’s trap shut.

  30. You maligned the character of a skilled scientist and a true gentlemen, by fabricating a false story about what he said.

    No I didn’t, I gave a brief characterisation of his response from my point of view (believe it or not, everyone is entitled to one of these), to people who had a legitimate interest in why Gavin declined the invite to Lisbon.

    [Response: You are so full of it. You misrepresented his comment, twisting it into the worst possible light, probably because you attribute to others the same despicable motives which govern your own behavior. Your denial of the truth is detestable beyond belief.]

    Gavin has proved himself a good deal more gentlemanly than some of the blogateers who want to make a mountain out of a molehill here, and gave his permission to publish his response. Perhaps he did that so folks could move on from cat calling to discussing the substantive issues concerning moderate thinkers on both sides of the divide. At the moment they can’t hear themselves think (let alone discuss with each other rationally) for the cacophany of babble emanating from the more extreme elements who drown out the discussion of uncertainty with irrelevances about who said what when about invites.

    [Response: Permit me to doubt your speculation of his reason for making public his response. Permit me to doubt that your side of the debate represents anything approaching "moderate thinkers." Permit me to doubt your ability to contribute anything meaningful to a scientific discussion of uncertainties.

    As for "who said what when" -- that's just a simple fact. You said it. It wasn't true. You refuse to accept responsibility for your own actions, hoping to drown out the well-deserved scorn with a cacophony of your own babble.

    I suggest it's far more likely he gave his permission so that everyone could see with their own eyes, just how perversely malicious was your "characterization." There's exactly one thing that will induce everyone to "move on." Admit your misdeed and apologize. It seems clear that you lack the strength of character to do so.]

    • Tallbloke,
      I would ask you in the cold light of reason to compare Gavin’s response to your characterization of it. Do you really think your characterization was accurate and fair? If you do not, then do you not think it would be the gentlemanly thing to apologize.

      If you do not, then perhaps you do not want to apologize, but certainly that would call into question your judgment–given that Gavin has repeatedly and at length said that there are many questions in the science that remain to be settled.

      The third interpretation is the most disturbing, and that is that you don’t care that you have mischaracterized–indeed slandered–a dedicated and talented scientist. I truly hope for your sake that this is not the case.

    • I suggest it’s far more likely he gave his permission so that everyone could see with their own eyes, just how perversely malicious was your “characterization.”

      Remember that tallbloke only published the first part of Gavin’s response, and left off the trailing paragraph in which Gavin offered positive advice to the conference’s organizers, i.e. that a more reasonable approach to bridging the divide would be to orient the conference around identifying various reasons why actions that would reduce CO2 emissions would be in general good rather than a strawman misrepresentation as to why there’s conflict over the science.

    • “At the moment they can’t hear themselves think (let alone discuss with each other rationally) for the cacophany of babble emanating from the more extreme elements”

      Yeah, shut up for a while, can’t you?

      Can’t stand cranks.

    • tallbloke tried to make a similar excuse over at deltoid:

      It seem he is immune to the logic of his error:

      From Deltoid:

      tallbloke writes:
      “I accept that people on opposite sides of the divide are going to perceive this differently. Can you?”
      But your crime tallbloke (and that of Pearce as well) is that rather than give readers the option to “perceive this differently”, you both, instead gave your own biased version rather than letting people decide based on the actual factual statement.”

    • Michael, posting at Curry’s makes an effiecnet and cutting point:

      Pity this sentance didn’t ‘jump out at you’;

      “the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding” – Gavin.

      Confirmation bias at work.”

      This exposes the gross bias involved in tallbloke’s selective interpretation of comments.

      More of the information that tallbloke/Pearce would decline to give to New Scientist readers in order to enable their making up their own mind.

    • tallbloke is helping us learn what a post normal conference is via post normal reporting published in “Post Normal Scientist”.

  31. ChrisC:
    “I think you owe it to apologise to Gavin.”

    If Gavin Schmidt will acknowledge that the people gathered at Lisbon who would have been happy if he’d joined us are not well characterised as:

    “people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.”

    I’ll happily acknowledge that my characterisation of his stance was overly coloured by that part of his response and unfair as a standalone comment.

    If he does that and specifically asks for an apology, I will apologise to him.

    [Response: Your attitude beggars belief.

    In my opinion, you and the other attendees *are* picking through the scientific evidence for cherries you can pick to support a pre-defined policy position. Perhaps Gavin shares the same opinion of you, but I don't speak for him. We're entitled to our opinion, as are you. But he never -- absolutely never -- attributed a statement to YOU that wasn't said by YOU.

    THAT is your transgression, it's plain and simple, it's undeniable, and yet you refuse to acknowledge your guilt. And now, in a truly infantile display, you offer a *conditional* apology?

    Don't contribute any more of your pollution to my blog. Or our atmosphere.]

    • If Gavin Schmidt resided in the UK, he would have excellent grounds to file a libel suit against Pearce and Tallbloke. That fact is lost on Tallbloke and Curry. Curry and Kloor painfully trying to paint Lisbongate/Pearcegate as a tempest in a teapot is ridiculous in the extreme. That workshop was a dismal failure and did more to expose their ideological anti-science leanings and malicious character than anything else– see the video of Curry receiving the T-shirt. And these clowns expect us to delay taking action on AGW? They couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery!

      I find it very convenient that McIntyre and his cohorts choose to slander and defame people from a safe distance. Ball and Corcoran now know the folly defaming a reputable scientist in public….

      Check at Deltoid (#54) summarized the situation nicely:

      “So to sum up, the ‘reconciliation conference’ actually achieved getting Curry to accept a t-shirt depicting climate science in the trashcan, and falsely attributing a fabricated denialist chum phrase to a respected senior NASA scientist. Mission accomplished, eh boys? One wonders what you might cook up when you’re not pretending to play nice.”

    • So you will only trade him an apology.

      You take a private email and start telling everyone who will listen a highly distorted version of that email and you will only offer an apology if the individual concerned meets your criteria.

      Can we expect the same level of confidentiality from you with all comunications people have with you? Can we take this as a clear indicator that you are not a person one can have an open and honest discussion with in private?

      • Actually, it turns out that Tallbloke was at dinner with Pearce and McIntyre and gave Pearce email to study… (whether on a device or a piece of paper Tallbloke just happened to have).

        See first comment by McIntyre @ Blackboard:
        “I can confirm with absolute certainty that Fred Pearce read Gavin’s email because I was sitting with both Pearce and tallbloke at dinner (we set out as part of a larger group and got separated) when tallbloke showed Pearce the email in question, which Pearce read carefully.”

        I do wonder if he was an unofficial 5th organizer beyond those who sent the invites (from McIntyre later in that thread):
        “The organising Team
        Ângela Guimarães Pereira – European Commission
        Jerome Ravetz – Oxford Univ.,UK
        Silvio Funtowicz – European Commission
        Jeroen Van Der Sluijs – Univ. Of Utrecht, NL
        James Risbey, CSIRO, AUS ”

        Now I get interested in how a Web Content Editor in Leeds’ School of Education gets included for such a role, and to suggest climate scientists to ask. Did Ravetz select Tallbloke? The EC paid for this? (yes, I know this puts me further into weaseldom, but in the interest of openness, inquiring minds really want to know how this was organized.)

      • Actually, it turns out that Tallbloke was at dinner with Pearce and McIntyre and gave Pearce email to study… (whether on a device or a piece of paper Tallbloke just happened to have).

        Why? There was nothing spectacular in that e-mail (which wasn’t addressed at tallbloke, but accidentally cc-ed) that needed to be shown immediately to a journalist. And if it was on paper, why would Tallbloke walk around with a print of Gavin Schmidt’s e-mail? I mean, this is pathetic enough as it is, but that would really be…

      • I wonder why Tallbloke didn’t say in the first place that he had shown Pearce the e-mail that had accidently fallen into Tallbloke’s hands?

        (sarcasm alert)

    • I’ll take “missing the point completely” for $500 Alex.

      But, since your on record as saying climate scientists are a bunch of communists dressed in lab coats, hell bent on world domination, who want nothing more than to return the world to the dark ages where we all live in caves, and should be rounded up and placed in either gaol or mental asylums*, so your response doesn’t surprise me.

      May I ask what your reaction would have been if the phrase “(climate skeptics) are people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.” had appeared, in print, in a well read magazine, next to your real name? Would you be so keen to dismiss it as a tempest in a tea-pot?

      Let me reiterate: in science reputation counts. Reputation matters. Reputation, that can take years to build, can be knocked down in an instant. I’m not suggesting for a moment you are going to get Gavin fired, but to be soooooo blasé about your actions, leads me to the conclusion that you don’t have a clue about what your actions mean.

      When in a hole, it’s a good idea to stop digging. Harden the hell up an apologise, unconditionally. Doing so will show the blogosphere that there is at least one climate skeptic who can admit a mistake.

      * Or at least that’s my point of view. What; you disagree? What; it’s not pointed out that it’s just an opinion? Stop making a fuss!

  32. Actually I’d love to see more posts by Tallbloke here. He’s digging his hole deeper and deeper, and having that documented as widely as possible seems like a good thing, to me.

    tallbloke saying he’ll apologize for lying about what Gavin’s rejection e-mail said if Gavin *first* apologizes for stating his *opinion* about the merits of the people likely to attend and then *begs* tallbloke for an apology is just perfect.

    All you need to know about his ethical standards are summed up in that statement.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      Actually tallbloke’s statement is as good as an apology in every sense but showing he’s man enough to own up to his mistakes.

  33. Keith Kloor and Judy both proclaim this to be a “tempest in a teapot”.

    While meanwhile Curry complains that Raypierre at RC misrepresents her knowledge of radiative transfer theory, saying:

    When I make a public statement about what a scientist does or does not know, I make a point of actually reading what that scientist has to say on the subject, rather than what other people say about that scientist on blogs

    Apparently forgetting the fact that she’s done so more than once, while simultaneously accusing the scientists she’s commented about as being part of the more-or-less fraudulent IPCC team…

  34. Steve McIntyre says he watched Fred Pearce study the actual email at the conference, so Tallbloke’s 15 minutes of fame has downgraded to no more than 15 minutes of perhaps minor influence, or perhaps none at all.

  35. JCH … this is a hilarious turn of events.

  36. Well it probably is just a tempest in a teapot for scientists. The sad part is we have columnist and others thinking its ok to just make crap up and then try to blame the one they made the story up about. It boils down to simple integrity. Who has it and who doesn’t.

    • FWIW, it’s a tempest in a teapot for me.

      Deniers lie? Say nasty things about climate scientists with no evidence whatsoever? Twist words shamelessly? That’s a dog-bites-man story.

      Actually, given past incidents, this one seems if anything less egregious–the ‘settledness’ of the science seems to me less of a hot-button issue than accusations of fraud, cupidity and malice–all of which have been quite commonplace.

  37. A perusal of Tallbloke’s website will quickly confirm him as a crank, and cranks never apologise as doing so would undermine the self-belief by which they overturn the scientific orthodoxy. I’m already wondering how many r.p.m. Einstein’s currently doing.

    Although I strongly suspect that being the nonentity who gave Curry the ‘climate science in the trashcan’ t-shirt will be the highpoint of his career.

  38. J. Bowers – Thank you for the link to JC’s.

    A very frank comment was posted by Ron Cram:
    “Since Gavin did not attend, the rules do not apply. That’s the way I see it at least.

    Gavin was invited to an event exploring the possibility of civil discourse. Gavin’s refusal was a refusal to attempt to be civil. As you can read from Gavin’s response, it was clearly “The science is settled. I can’t learn anything from them. I’m not coming unless we talk about policy.” This is clearly a cop-out. Gavin knows full well the science is unsettled and that they have been losing the climate debate in the peer-reviewed literature.””

    In other words, It doesn’t really matter what Gavin said (or what peer reviewed literature has to say for that matter). At least some folks still heard him clearly say “The science is settled”.

    [Response: I might agree that "It doesn’t really matter what Gavin said," since they'd have twisted his words regardless. As for "or what peer reviewed literature has to say for that matter," that pretty much sums up, in my opinion, the attitude of most of the attendees.]

  39. Ahh, at least one of my questions is answered.

    “”tallbloke | February 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Reply
    Ahh well, not exactly. I got Fred to read it out loud to Steve and Ross. So he couldn’t make notes at the same time. And we had a couple of beers, which may be why he didn’t remember it very clearly later.”

    • I just saw that too. Like I said on the Blackboard:

      We have grown-up men getting so excited about an e-mail that contains nothing spectacular that they walk around with it and read it aloud to each other over beers. And then when people ask questions they answer in parts. You’re right, Lucia. Completely normal behaviour.
      They are obviously going cold turkey after getting hooked by the cornucopia the climategate hack offered. How thrilled they must have been when Tallbloke accidentally received Schmidt’s e-mail.
      But that is normal. Completely normal. And all of it Gavin Schmidt’s fault, of course.

      • So when was Tallbloke telling the truth First he claimed that he told Pearce about the email. Now it comes to light that Tallbloke gave Pearce the email and Pearce then (allegedly) read the email to McKitrick and McIntyre (and others?).

        This revelation, IMHO, makes tallkbloke a liar, and irresponsible to boot; and second reflects even more poorly on Pearce than before– he (allegedly) read the email and still completely misrepresented what he said and then made a generalization about the science being “settled” applying to mainstream climate scientists. Pearce has a lot to answer for and should be hauled before a press counsel or similar professional association.

        And Lucia (and Curry it seems) thinks this is normal behaviour? Well maybe in the land of denial and conspiracy and nuttiness and a land which is morally bankrupt, but not in the real world.

        How much did this farce cost the organizers?

      • Why did tallbloke have an email that GS presumably sent to the conference organizers?

      • Jakerman, here’s what tallbloke said at Curry’s blog:

        Because I was an ad hoc member of the invite committee I got an email asking my advice on who to invite in lieu of Gavin Schmidt and some other prominent people who had declined. The organisers inadvertantly included Gavin’s response on that email, and when I was asked one evening in Lisbon why certain people weren’t there I gave a quick praisee, including a brief reference to Gavin’s response. This made it’s way to Fred, hence the reference in his blog piece reporting on the conference.

      • “praisee–”

        And who was being praised, precisely?


    • McIntyre has input, too, a bit further up. That entire thread is jam packed with sheer lunacy. I’ve read more rational comments on UFO sites. 25% of the world will never accept the weight of scientific evidence no matter what, even if sea levels rose 30 metres and everyone died of heatstroke. Just one of those things.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        Speaking of UFO’s, what do you suppose the aliens make of all this?

        Probably just shaking their disembodied heads and thinking “Thank God we’re smarter than they are” .

      • Oh, back home, I’m sure the aliens are dealing with people saying “the earth visits were fake” …

        That’s probably why they came to visit in the first place, seeking sanity, and oh my, how disappointed do you imagine they are?

      • Reminds me of one of the winners of a New Scientist Xmas competition a few years ago. Along the lines of “what would aliens revisiting the planet after several thousand years have to say about how things are now?”

        The answer that I like was ” Everything is just perfect the way it was last time I was here. But it’s still too dangerous to go onto dry land.”

  40. Philippe Chantreau

    Maple Leaf, “They couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery!”

    Precious!!! I’m still rolling on the floor.

    This is too much: A handful of buffoons fail at putting together a pseudo conference. They try to get mad over a non- statement at the guy who could have leaned some sort of meaning to their gathering. They relay that to their on-line following to try to hype it. And they want to be taken seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.

    In retrospect, Hansen was charitable with the “court jester” comment. As for Curry, one has to wonder what is her life and carreer risk/benefit analysis for associating with these clowns.

    • Ya know, since it’s Saturday night and a bottle of Stout is open, it may be time to just point and laugh. This is the crew that is going to bring down the edifice of climate science and they can’t even get the meaning of an e-mail right. I’ve seen first year grad students with more on the ball. No wait – freshman undergrads.

  41. What the heck is it with these people. Not being able to understand e-mails seems to be a recurring problem. I wonder if they broke off into groups and who was in charge of the e-mail interpretation group.

  42. So what was supposed to be a big of a PR moment for contrarians with them appearing like they are trying to find common ground has descended into another round of the blog wars with someone emerging from near obscurity to being key to all this because he wanted to read out a private email to titilate guests at dinner and a journalist taking his cues from that as his jump off point in his ongoing grouch with climate scientists. The net result is the contrarians look amateurish and a touch shifty and that a couple of them have some very fragrant views on physics….

    Its a peach of an own goal.

  43. This is almost sane compared to the “book review” going on over there.

    • Well, at least Curry’s trying to be reasonable, there.

      It’s obvious that her goal is to try to build a “do nothing” position that skewers real science and idiocy on an equal basis.

      It’s also clear that she’s skewering idiocy with science, while also skewering real science with personal attacks and innuendo.

      That’s probably a clear measure of her confidence in the science …

  44. That’s the Ron Cram who contributes stuff about global warming to wiki?

    The real reason climate scientists and denier/”skeptics” are not becoming reconciled is that the deniers cannot or will not be honest.

    Reading their comments sometimes makes me think of Dante:

    [Virgil]: “For we have reached the place of which I spoke
    where you will see the miserable people,
    those who have lost the good of the intellect.” (Inf. III, 16-18)

  45. Gavin’s mistake IMO was to provide polite (and valid) reasons for non-attendance. All refusals short of for hospitalisation would be turned against any genuine climate scientists who dared to refuse the bait … I mean the invitation to attend. Like Jones and statistical significance, the innate honesty of real scientists is being treated as a weakness to exploit by people who have no such scruples. No surprise they find it necessary to paraphrase with bias and cherry pick with intent to come up with a quote that suits their purpose.

    As for the science being settled, I’d think that a lot of the fundamental physics, chemistry and thermodynamics upon which understanding of current climate change is based mostly is. But real scientists are too scrupulously honest to say so. That is a strength not a weakness even if it might not seem so when the issues get politicised.

    • “Like Jones and statistical significance, the innate honesty of real scientists is being treated as a weakness to exploit by people who have no such scruples”

      Yes, well said – that’s exactly what’s going on.

  46. tamino, or anybody techie enough,

    I need some help with a problem. I wrote a program to find radiative equilibrium temperature on a sphere by breaking it up into latitude bands and using Lambert’s cosine law. I accounted for the relative area of the bands, of course.

    I expected that the discrepancy from discretization would decrease with the number of bands, and indeed it did. But there was an asymptotic discrepancy I couldn’t get rid of:

    Sum Area 1.00
    Sum F 237.02
    Sum Te 251.43

    Te(F) 254.27
    Delta: 2.84

    Even with 100,000 latitude bands in a hemisphere, that lousy 3 K discrepancy remained. I assume this is somehow a function of temperature being the one-fourth power of flux density…? How does this tie into the denier meme that “there are an infinite number of ways to calculate the mean temperature of the Earth, so the Earth’s mean temperature doesn’t mean anything?”

    Here’s my (VB 2008) code, just in case I made a logic error somewhere:

    Const A As Double = 0.306#
    Const Nbands As Integer = 100000
    Const S As Double = 1366.1#
    Const sigma As Double = 0.000000056704#
    Const v As String = vbCrLf

    Const BandHt As Double = (Math.PI / 2.0#) / Nbands
    Const F0 As Double = (S / PI) * (1.0# – A)
    Const HalfHt As Double = 0.5# * BandHt

    Dim HiLat, MidLat, LowLat As Double
    Dim Area, F, Te, TeF As Double
    Dim SumArea As Double = 0.0#
    Dim SumF As Double = 0.0#
    Dim SumTe As Double = 0.0#


    For i As Integer = 1 To Nbands
    HiLat = CDbl(i) * BandHt
    MidLat = HiLat – HalfHt
    LowLat = HiLat – BandHt

    Area = Sin(HiLat) – Sin(LowLat)
    F = F0 * Cos(MidLat)
    Te = (F / sigma) ^ 0.25#

    SumArea += Area
    SumF += Area * F
    SumTe += Area * Te

    TeF = (SumF / sigma) ^ 0.25#

    With TextBox1
    .Text = “Sum Area ” & SumArea.ToString(“f2″) & v
    .Text &= “Sum F ” & SumF.ToString(“f2″) & v
    .Text &= “Sum Te ” & SumTe.ToString(“f2″) & v & v
    .Text &= “Te(F) ” & TeF.ToString(“f2″) & v
    .Text &= “Delta: ” & (TeF – SumTe).ToString(“f2″)
    End With

    • Gavin's Pussycat


      why are you expecting the sum of the zonal Te’s to add up to the total Te?

      Obviously the sum of influxes area*F should add up to the total influx SumF, which is a condition implicit in your TeF computation. But the relationship between F and T is strongly non-linear. So, given that temperatures vary over a fairly wide range from pole to equator, there is no reason to expect that also temperatures will add (i.e., average) up in this way.

      From a slightly different angle: the amount of black (or gray) body radiation emanating from a body is a function not only of its average temperature, but also of its temperature distribution over the surface. Make the temperature distribution more uneven (while preserving the surface average) and outgoing radiation will increase.

      You code looks correct (to this Matlab geek). So does your output. But your looking for equality between SumTe and TeF is IMO not justified. They are different and supposed to be.

    • Also, you can’t expect this model to represent reality — or even close. It gives a temperature *at the poles* of absolute zero.

    • SumF and SumTe are (approximately) integrals of F and Te respectively, across the hemisphere, so your delta is simply the difference between 1) integrating F and then computing T from SumF, and 2) integrating T directly.

      Let s = sin(latitude), and think of F and Te as functions of s. F(s) is then proportional to cos(arcsin(s)), with s in the interval [0,1]. It should be pretty clear that taking the fourth root then integrating will produce a different result to integrating then taking the fourth root; if you work it out, you’ll find that the difference between the two is exactly what you need to produce your 2.84 K delta.

      In short, you’re getting two different answers because you’re asking two different questions.

  47. I know. I’m assuming an airless Earth of exactly zero axial tilt. But this means that the radiative equilibrium temperature equation used in planetary astronomy does not give the actual mean surface temperature for an airless body. Shouldn’t it?

    [Response: No, I don't think it should -- at least not exactly. And on a real planet, even an airless one, there will be some heat transport through the solid crust so the polar temperatures (even for obliquity zero) won't drop to absolute zero. I'd say that even for the extreme case you calculate, the difference in rather small.

    You can probably get a much better opinion by asking at RC.]

  48. From Deltoid:

    “This new “information” actually makes Pearce look even worse. Pearce read a private email, passed that information on to McIntyre who has a blog and could have shared it with his rabid followers to twist and distort at will (to his credit he didn’t).
    And even after reading the email Fred still managed to misrepresent Gavin’s position. Fred wrote that “who [referring to Schmidt] said….”. What Fred wrote is not what Gavin said at all….
    Journalistic misconduct much? And of course we have not even begun to highlight the other mistakes in Fred’s diatribe.
    And for the record, it seems that Pearce long ago went to the dark side, as far back as late 2009 in fact.
    The Lisbon farce was a huge fail for the contrarians and wannabe skeptics. So sad that they cannot see that. Instead they have to fabricate claims that the people who value facts and science are fighting amongst themselves, when in fact it was McIntyre who threw tallbloke under the bus, and Curry is trying to calm her rabid and foaming at the mouth band of acolytes. Not to mention the “skeptics” fighting amongst themselves about the greenhouse effect at Curry’s place and at Spencer’s place, Watts “firing” Goddard and Spencer’s scathing critique of L&C09 :)
    No, rather it seems the rabid denialists and contrarians and “skeptics” are turning on each other. Delightful.
    Maybe someone should file a complaint to the EC for a possible misappropriation of funds by the workshop organizers. After all, I’m sure EC funds are surely not permitted to be used to sponsor the circus that was Lisbon…;)”

  49. … it was McIntyre who threw tallbloke under the bus, and Curry is trying to calm her rabid and foaming at the mouth band of acolytes. …

    I clicked on his post moments after it appeared. I thought the person he threw under the bus is Fred Pearce. I think he was trying to take some heat off TallBloke: thinking his little tale of “how we really got Gavin” would look ingenious and be received with a standing ovation.

  50. Methinks the so-called “skeptics” have had their moment in the spotlight.
    Misinformation and outright lying has a lot of traction when applied to an uneducated or inattentive public and for the most part climate scientists have been far too polite in fighting back.
    But a another contestant has entered the ring.
    It’s called reality. Mother Nature if you will…
    Global climate events are taking the place of predictions.
    I personally think the spotlight “skeptics” are going to become smaller in number, but increasingly loony and paranoid.
    But just how late are we?

  51. Mentioned before; relevant here I think:

    “… it is one thing to generate policy-relevant knowledge to bolster your side in the political arena, it is quite another to have the ambition to change the very nature of knowledge production about both the natural and social worlds. Analysts need to take neoliberal theorists like Hayek at their word when they state that the Market is the superior information processor par excellence. The theoretical impetus behind the rise of the natural science think tanks is the belief that science progresses when everyone can buy the type of science they like, dispensing with whatever the academic disciplines say is mainstream or discredited science.”

    The Rise of the Dedicated Natural Science Think Tank
    By Philip Mirowski

  52. I would have to say that the “the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss” interpretation/paraphrase was not surprising. Or really that outrageous when considered from the point of view of those who interpret any scientific disagreements as the foundations of AGW being shaken; this is simply par for the course.

    Terms like “uncertainty” and “significance” are seized on precisely because scientists use them with specific meanings and they can be successfully made to mean something different when used in the manufacture of doubt.

    Even excessive focus on the genuine scientific disagreements and uncertainties looks like unhelpful distraction from development of effective policy. We know more than enough to know we should act. We’ve known more than enough for more than 2 decades. Gavin was wise to decline to participate in an exercise intended to inflate public perceptions of scientific disagreement into doubt there’s a problem serious enough to act upon.

  53. DC has dug up some interesting background on how the conference came to be.

  54. So this is how NewScientist decides to address an egregious error and defaming of a well-respected and prominent NASA scientist:

    “But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt. who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss. [Gavin Schmidt has asked us to clarify his reasons for not attending: see the bottom of this post.]“

    That is not a correction, nor a retraction, nor an apology. They are still biasing the reader, because one can read the text below the strikethrough. Although one could argue that to reasonable readers who read Gavin’s email, NewScientist and Fred Pearce are once again demonstrating their bias.

    IMHO, this “correction” does not go far enough, and I’m sure that it won’t satisfy Dr. Schmidt. Then again, at this point he may not care anymore.

  55. I don’t know; the strike-through allows the reader to compare what Pearce wrote to what Gavin wrote. But then the update does not include the invitation Gavin was replying to, so it still lacks context.

  56. Jeffrey Davis

    One of the methods of delay is to turn the focus of the discussion from facts to personalities. Al Gore. Michael Mann. Etc. As long as the focus is on personalities, the focus is off the issues. To a certain extent, even their tarnished spokesmen like Monckton, McIntyre, Delingpole, Tallbloke, etc serve that purpose. (Do they get these names from Discworld or what?) Pawns are expendable.

    Refute them. Mock them. And move on.

  57. Tamino you could have easily just allowed that previous comment to be posted before mine. Since you have such strict rules on this site, there is no way of knowing whether my comment was received before or after that previous comment. Anyway, can we at least get an admission that Gavin actively avoided controversial topics? I will agree that he never said the science was settled but he clearly dogdged hot topics.

    Here is a fine example: Half of the scientists believe the world was warmer during the MWP and half dont’ seem to believe it. From what I can tell, Richard Alley favors the Mann graph over the MWP. Recently, Dr. Easterbrook did a post online about the past 10,500 years which came under heavy scrutiny. It is upsetting that the historical temperature record is still being heavily debated. Scientists need to come to some agreement about this issue.

    [Response: First, it's easy to tell which comment came first. Just check the time stamp.

    And since they were submitted 13 minutes apart, and I hadn't checked the moderation queue in the intervening time, it was impossible for me to approve his comment before you posted yours. There wasn't any tactical move on my part to embarrass you -- you just embarrassed yourself.

    Second, the claim that "Half of the scientists believe the world was warmer during the MWP and half dont' seem to believe it" is total bullshit.

    Third, Gavin didn't avoid controversial topics. The fact that the MWP wasn't as warm as today, the rapidly deteriorating state of the cryosphere, aren't controversial, they're just disputed by those who are in denial. Scientists are in way more agreement than you are willing to admit to yourself, and continue to come to greater agreement about a range of climate-science issues. Climate sensitivity is the one issue on that list on which there is *not* agreement, except in regard to this: the low values suggested by denialists are implausible wishful thinking, and their arguments to support their claims are full of holes.

    Fourth, it's very revealing that in your first comment you said "This seems to me to infer that he thinks the science is settled" but now you say "I will agree that he never said the science was settled." Then you followed up by calling me "Gambino." Nice approach to "reconciliation."]

  58. Being European, I was surprised about reading “European Commission” next 2 names in the “Organisers’ List”:
    Ângela Guimarães Pereira – European Commission
    Jerome Ravetz – Oxford Univ.,UK
    Silvio Funtowicz – European Commission

    Our friend the search engine revealed that :
    Ravetz and Funtowicz “invented” the , more is available on . This might to be a good neighbour for Goddard’s “Real Science”…
    Senora Pereira and Funtowicz contributed to a book, “Science for Policy” – found on Amazon. None of them belongs to the European Commission, nor is entitled to represent it, nor to sign “European Commission”: according to Amazon, both are researchers (or grantholders?) at IPSC, in the “Knowledge Assessment Methodologies Group” – whose News page has nothing about the Lisbonn gathering : so I’d conclude it’s completely unofficial. Can you imagine one student at being introduced as “US Government” ??

    While reading pages about this “Post Normal” things and guys, I got the strong feeling that people working in this “Post Normal” field seem to be honest… but that they’ve been parasited (or are phagocyted?) by the skeptics. “Post normal” authors seem to say “things are complex, decisions are difficult to make”, which is very interesting for denyers and delayers.

    (sorry if any html markup went wrong)

    • Fredt34, you should share this information with DeepClimate

    • Pereira and Funtowicz are both listed on the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre: Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen’s staff page. Everyone there is involved in research:

      The Portugeuse ARCA blog has the workshop’s schedule.

      Via Google Translate:

      “This conference, sponsored by the Joint Research Centre (EU) in collaboration with the GULBENKIAN ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME aims to contribute to reduction of tension in the current debate on climate change. The voltage and polarity, which play not only reasons but also interests, passions and reputations, are factors that hinder a research framework where the gravity and complexity of climate change can be studied in an atmosphere that allows the cooperation of knowledge and methodologies and the test of competing hypotheses that help to explore trails and observation angles unpublished. In a subject so full of fundamental consequences for the possibility of a viable human future on this planet, winning the twitching, also through the use of techniques of conflict resolution in an epistemological context, it is undoubtedly a step forward in both the increase knowledge as the reduction of uncertainty. ”

      Viriato Soromenho-Marques
      Coordinator of the Environment Programme Gulbenkian

  59. Can you imagine one student at being introduced as “US Government” ??

    Having once been paid to go to a technical meeting at a university in Berlin which was partially (and officially) sponsored by the US Embassy in Berlin, who paid my way there (under the W administration, imagine that!), yeah, I can imagine it. I’ve also been an “official expert” for the British Standards Institute for an ISO standards effort despite never having lived in Britain.

    I’ve also attended small technical conferences sponsored in part, at least, by the EC.

    I don’t think there’s anything nefarious with the EC stamp on the conference. Some obscure organ within put their stamp on it and a private foundation hosted it and helped fund it.

    • Gavin's Pussycat

      I don’t think there’s anything nefarious with the EC stamp on the conference. Some obscure organ within put their stamp on it [...]

      Still, I would like to see the paper trail of that decision. Just in case :-)

      • Oh, yes, that would be great, for nothing else to make sure that people high enough up the food chain understand just how much of a fiasco this conference was, so that hopefully a future grant request including EU endorsement would get turned down …

  60. [edit]

    [Response: I'm not interested in discussing it with you. Read the latest post for some clues about why that is.

    If you really want your ideas to get serious attention, submit them to GRL. If you want me to continue ignoring them, publish in E&E.]

    • Let’s all try to forecast the ironic nature of the response to Tamino’s edit. One, two, three…

    • Horatio Algeranon

      If you really want your ideas to get serious attention, submit them to GRL. If you want me to continue ignoring them, publish in E&E.

      Neglected to mention “GRLEE” magazine.

      Horatio hears that one has a wide readership (and lots of good graphics).

  61. from that real climate link …

    “p.s. we’re not fooled by old trolls a.k.a. “Dr. Shooshmon, phd.” sock-puppetting as new trolls”

    Oh, good old Dr. Shooshmon.

    Good taste with the use of the delete button, Tamino …