While We Fiddle …

A Montana state congressman wants to legislate scientific truth about global warming. The so-called “journal” Energy & Environment tries to intimidate RealClimate with the threat of a libel action. Judith Curry flirts with becoming the “Sarah Palin of climate science.” And some scientists not of the climate variety, in regard to scientists of the climate variety, seem willing to read their personal email but not their scientific research. Madness …

Meanwhile earth heats up,

the arctic melts,

carbon dioxide increases,

and Nero tunes his fiddle.

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69 responses to “While We Fiddle …

  1. Meanwhile Earth heats up,
    the Arctic melts,
    carbon dioxide increases,
    Nero tunes his fiddle,
    And after many a summer, dies the swan.

    What for Tennyson was a romantic indulgence, for us is becoming a searing reality.

    • OK, poems at twenty paces

      The glass is rising hour by hour
      Now it will rise forever
      We haven’t broke tyhe bloody glass
      We’ve broke the f**cking weather.

      That’s MacNeiced you.

  2. If you haven’t seen it, this post about how exactly E&E came to publish an article arguing that the sun is a solid object made of iron is worth reading:

  3. Your NH ice extent anomaly plot is interesting. The variability since 2007 looks totally different.

    [Response: It's because the summer decline during/post-2007 has been far more dramatic than the winter decline, so the annual cycle has changed. Since anomaly calculation removes the *average* annual cycle, the difference between the modern annual cycle and its average remains, as a "residual" annual cycle -- which is plainly visible as the greater variability since 2007.]

    • Physically it’s because the Arctic ocean basin always fills in winter. What is really alarming is the decrease of ice in the far north outside of the basin. If you plot that anomaly your hair will stand on edge.

  4. Re your response to WMC: Could you then put up two graphs, one of the summer ice extent anomaly and one of the winter ice extent anomaly? (While I’m begging, is there an ice volume anomaly graph?)

    [Response: I don't have ice volume data, but there's an anomaly graph here.]

    • Francis.
      We have played a bit with the PIOMAS data, pointed to by Tamino, on Nevens blog. We recalculated the anomaly data to absolute values. These result in some really alarming graphs, like the possibility of zero summer ice cover withing a couple of years. It depends a lot on the reality of the PIOMAS data of course.

      Several curves fitted to September data:

      All months, with data fitted to exponential curves:
      <a href="all months

      Finally here is the data

  5. Pete Dunkelberg

    Yes. The professional deniers, confusionists and so on are very good at stirring up arguments that waste everyone’s time. The attack on MBH98 is eternal.

  6. Horatio Algeranon

    –by Horatio Algeranon (with apologies to Arthur O’Shaughnessy)

    We are the trouble makers,
    And we are the schemers of schemes,
    Blogging about lone hockey-stick breakers,
    And other such desperate themes;—
    World-losers and world-forsakers,
    On whom the Palin moon gleams:
    Yet we are the movers and shakers
    Of the world for ever, it seems

  7. I think it’s partly a reflection of how well the disinformation campaign has been run.

    It’s also a reflection of the general irrational nature of humans. Unfortunately, society often actually has to suffer some pretty serious harm before it galvanises into action even though the possibility of such harm may have been predicted. But people who are doing the serious and genuine research will most likely be vindicated in the longer term.

    Some time in the future the dedicated followers of Curry, Monckton, etc, will resort to feeble self-justifications. You know. “We were right to be cautious at the time. Sure we may be a bit screwed now, but we don’t have any regrets”. It’s the usual psychological self-denial thing.

    • No, their justification, and it is already starting, will be much more brazen than this. The claims will be (and in some cases are) that those stating the urgencyof the situation are undermining efforts to get things done. The Schmidts and Manns of this world destroyed any hope of action but the brave few were fighting a losing battle to maintain the credibility of science.

      Even the consolation of ‘I told you so’ is going to be hijacked.

      • And here it is, in the wild, courtesy of Steve Mosher over at the Curry House:

        From my discussions I find that the biggest cause of delay was NOT the existence of stupid shoddy junk science on the part of skeptics. It was and remains the stupid obstructionist actions by a few misguided scientists. they thought that by refusing FOIA they would make the problem go away. The HIDING of data did more damage than releasing EVER could. why? because there is nothing WRONG with the data. how do I know this, well I’ve plowed thru it all. They refused code. why? not because there was anything wrong with it. And Susan Solomon refused to send documents I requested in 2007. to what end?

        You wanna know what delays action? acting like you have something to hide when you dont. Ask sadaam about the wisdom of that.

      • Oh, I see Mosher was a revisionist history major. I hate to say it, but the even as they protest the apellation denialist because of of its associations with Holocaust denial, their own words keep bringing the comparison to mind.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        in the wild, courtesy of Steve Mosher over at the Curry House:

        You mean Mr. Edit at the O Curry Corral?

      • Thanks for that Stogy.

        I’m not sure what nearly made me puke more – just the fact that he said it, or the fact that he apparently believes it.

      • I can only conclude that Mosher is disingenuous or deluded. The overwhelming majority of data pertaining to climate always has been in the public domain, and denialists have done nothing with it.

        Does he honestly think that if a few pieces of proprietary data had been supplied to him that it would have persuaded those who ignore evidence to begin with? Being a lukewarmer is starting to look more and more like being a creationist biologist.

      • Philippe Chantreau

        Mosher’s comment is all the more ironic from the fact that Saddam had actually opened pretty much all the doors he could and even given up his Al Sahmoud missiles in a desperate attempt to comply with whatever was being asked from him. Yet some kept arguing that he was still hiding more and that whatever he was hiding was so bad it justified invasion. Yet there was absolutely no proof for it. None, zilch.

        We all know what happened after that, up until the fruitless months of searching led to the obvious conclusions that Saddam had been toothless for years.

        Interesting comparison from Mosher really. What he is telling is that even if all climate science data and code was out in the open, some would still claim that there is stuff hidden that justifies throwing away all the unpleasant results. And then when the obvious results of decacdes of inaction materializes, what?

      • Ray:

        I can only conclude that Mosher is disingenuous or deluded.

        Try totally friggin’ dishonest – he plays footsie with Tom Fuller, after all.

        The strategy he and Fuller and a few others have been over the last several months is roughly:

        1. The prominent climate scientists at CRU, NASA GISS, etc, are essentially unethical and guilty of scientific misconduct (“hide the decline”, “gaming peer review”, “refusing FOIA requests”, etc).

        2. AGW is real, it’s just that mainstream efforts to show it are fatally compromised by the scientific misconduct noted above.

        3. The guilty parties have done so because they’re not only Bad People, but incompetent.

        4. Because certain people have exposed their scientific misconduct for what it is (Mosher and Fuller et al), any chance of taking meaningful action in time is off the table.

        5. Therefore, it is the fault of climate scientists that the future is screwed.

        6. Mosher, McI, Fuller et al are guiltless, brave souls who’ve exposed those evil dishonest unethical incompetent mainstream climate scientists for what they are, while simultaneously trying to get the world to understand that there’s really a problem that should be addressed.

        7. They collectively own a bridge in Brooklyn they’d like to sell you – cheap.

      • Phillipe: regardless, it will be the fault of the scientists. It MUST be the fault of the scientists. All the Moshers of this world did was to demand more evidence. More, more, more. Not their fault, the scientists should just provide that more evidence.
        It’s a common tactic in many fields. In some areas, however, science moved a bit too fast for the obfuscators to get into real action. One example: Europe allows so-called biosimilars. It was very rapidly put into law, and caught the biotech pharma industry by surprise. The US was a bit too slow reacting to the European decision (*), and the US Pharma industry managed to get many years of delay likely worth tens of billions.

        (*) Funny thing here is that although the decision was scientifically tenable, it actually was mainly European politicians wanting to be ahead of the US, for once.

      • The thing is that to actually believe that, Mosher has to ignore the fact that the National Academies of dozens of countries, nearly all professional scientific organizations and even Dubya have all come down on the side of the consensus. This isn’t about a rumble between the Lukewarmers and the “Team,” it’s the lukewarmers vs. science–all of it. At it’s heart, I think the denialist cadre fundamentally misunderstand scientific consensus. You vote by publishing…and if you are so blinkered as to reject the only theory that allows you to understand the system, then you abstain.

      • What Mosher, Fuller et al. are engaged in is concern trolling/delaying till the cooling comes.

      • Neven said:”What Mosher, Fuller et al. are engaged in is concern trolling/delaying till the cooling comes.”,

        I’m glad you included et al. since I truly do not believe Mosher/Fuller to live for 260 years. (that is of course an opinion)

      • Ray Ladbury

        Anybody ever check to see of Mosher or Fuller cast a reflection? They certainly do not seem to be in the market for “brains, brains,” so that rules out another possibility.

  8. David B. Benson

    To replace poetry with reality, there were no fiddles (bowed stringed instruments) in Nero’s day. His “fiddling” was his refusal to allow the tenament fires of Rome to be fought, so the tenaments all were destroyed; Rome was then rebuilt in marble, the famous remains of which are only recently being destroyed by automobile exhaust; maybe coal flue gases as well.

    One of many references:

    • Yes, but they told me on the other thread that the metaphor is what matters!




      • My friends tell me I ruin a lot of metaphors with science

        [Response: Not in my book.]

      • The metaphor had to do with the anthropomorphism inherent in her analogy, which you used as a hook to conclude that her evaluation of the danger of AGW to biodiversity was a “freshman mistake”.

        C’mon, Dano, you’re a reasonable person, you don’t need to play unfair this way.

        Do you want her to hate all men just because you’re being a bit of an ass?

      • Yes, but they told me on the other thread that the metaphor is what matters!

        And, no, you were pointed to people who are at least as qualified as you, pointing out that current scientific understanding doesn’t necessarily back your opinion regarding the future. You’re a bit of an outlier amongst the PhD types I’ve been reading.

      • dhogaza | February 25, 2011 at 5:19 am |

        And, no, you were pointed to people who are at least as qualified as you, pointing out that current scientific understanding doesn’t necessarily back your opinion regarding the future. You’re a bit of an outlier amongst the PhD types I’ve been reading.

        Lay off the coffee. I made a winkie emoticon which signifies something.

        And it doesn’t matter to me one bit whether individuals have the entire picture and context, or if individuals are confusing some issues.

        Nothing I wrote was controversial or out on the fringe. Nothing. Give it a rest.



      • Dhogaza wrote:

        The metaphor had to do with the anthropomorphism inherent in her analogy, which you used as a hook to conclude that her evaluation of the danger of AGW to biodiversity was a “freshman mistake”.

        I hope no one will mind if I pick up this thread — as I lost sight of it when jumped pages and believe I might still have something of value to say…

        Dho Gaza, I disagree. I do not think that the charge of anthropomorphism is applicable to the statement “Life on Earth does not enjoy change”. Furthermore, I believe the metaphor is a very economical way of expressing a great deal. Yet I too have been troubled not by Dano’s criticism but the nature of it.

        Now consider: assuming you are dealing with large changes or fast changes it is generally difficult for life to adapt. But are there exceptions?

        To prove his point, Dano pointed out that a plant might be waiting for a niche to open up. But that is a small change — so does it really count as change? Well, yes, but only a small one. And with most rules, particularly in the biological realm, there tend to be exceptions.

        Generalizations and Exceptions

        In everyday discourse we might say that an elderly individual who is “set in their ways” does not like change. Nevertheless they might like having a flower placed on their dinner table if someone where to surprise them with it. Should that count as proof against the claim that they are not set in their ways or do not like change?

        We will say that winter is colder than summer. But some days in the summer may be unseasonably cold and some days in the winter may be unseasonably warm. Some winter days may actually be warmer than some summer days. Some winter days may even be warmer than the average summer day.

        We will say that days are brighter than nights, but what of a lightning bolt at night? Surely if you are near enough the night will at least temporarily be brighter than day. But the generalizations are generally true and serve to economically express a great deal of information.

        Matters of Degree

        If change is large enough or rapid enough life will find it difficult to adapt. A great deal depends upon things remaining at least roughly the same.

        Like the seasons. We have the timing of plants that bloom, bees that pollinate flowers, birds that migrate, polar bears that hunt fish ice that has been there in the past rather than melting early in the season. Like precipitation, where the swings in precipitation towards drought or drought then flood then back again threatens forests.

        Droughts per se aren’t a problem for the Amazon so long as they are few and far between. But if droughts happen every few years the tropical forest will give way to savanna.

        Or consider trees that depend on frost killing off beetles each winter to keep their populations down. A somewhat warmer climate might make for a longer growing season, and if there is still sufficient frost in winter the forest shouldn’t have that much of a problem.

        But if the frost disappears things become much more problematic for the trees. Changes in temperature or precipitation may require other species to migrate poleward or up mountains. But if it occurs too quickly plants may find it especially difficult to migrate. So will the animals that depend on them.

        The Forest for the Grass

        But what of the grasses of the savanna that take advantage of the withering rain forest or the beetles that take out entire forests? Well, there are exceptions. But for the good majority of the species the kinds of changes that are involved are too great and too fast.

        As for the beetles, once the forests are gone they will find it difficult to adapt. Even during the Permian-Triassic extinction there were exceptions — such as with the anaerobic purple bacteria that found it easier to engage in their peculiar sulfur-based photosynthesis in a water column that had become anoxic nearly to the surface of the ocean.

        But if life is to adapt, any life, all life, then at some point the environment has to reach a point quasi-stasis where there may be change, but only within certain bounds, or at least where change isn’t too rapid and for long periods of time.

        Enjoyment, Thriving and Adaptation

        Well then, what of the word “enjoy”? Animals may certainly be said to enjoy things. My cats will prefer one food over another and they will play with toys. I don’t think that using the word “enjoy” in this context is inappropriate. Nor do I believe it is inappropriate when you see cubs in nature engage in play. That is, unless you believe that all other species are cartesian automatons that only behave as if they are conscious — even though their brains, nervous systems and behaviors are quite similar to our own.

        One can recognize that animals show preferences for things, and that typically these are things that promote their lives. But looking at us as animals, we clearly tend to prefer foods that are fatty, too high in carbs, calories or are otherwise unhealthy for us. Certainly we can be said to enjoy such foods.

        But presumably at one time, when food was far less plentiful and humans lived as nomads with shorter lives such food, on the rare occasions that it became available, was good for us. Eating it gave us the fatty stores that made it more likely that we would survive the next famine or at least the ability to meet the challenges of a less sedentary life.

        The problem, then, is that we haven’t yet adapted to an environment in which food is far more plentiful. Domesticated cats haven’t adapted to the presence of chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes or raisins, either. Cats might enjoy the taste of these things, but they certainly can’t be said to enjoy the process of death that follows.

        So while cats might enjoy poisonous “treats” they will not enjoy the extended effects of such treats and thus may properly be said not to enjoy the change in their environment. And certainly domestication itself involves a process of adaption that typically requires several generations for a given species to become comfortable with it.

        Nevertheless there may be sufficient cryptic variation such that some might be some with the appropriate cell receptors or enzymes for the digestion of such foods, or in the case of onions and garlic, avoidance of the anemia that for many of their species would follow from ingestion. The species has the capacity to adapt — but not without the culling of the “herd.”

        Similarly, some human populations in the northern parts of Europe are immune to HIV — but only because their forebears encountered viruses that made use of the same receptors — and the “herd” was “culled”. Curiously, though, the very same mutation that protects them against HIV makes them more susceptible to West Nile virus. And as such if they were exposed to waves of both viruses, one and then the other, repeatedly, over a long enough period of time, it is quite possible that no one would survive. Change that is too great or fast may result in extinction.

        Essential Similarities Between Plants and Animals

        What then of plants? Lacking consciousness, they neither enjoy things nor suffer. However, as pointed out earlier, enjoyment is typically that which animals may be said to experience when they encounter something that promotes their lives. It is something that they seek. Enjoyment may even be said to be the form in which an animal is aware of that which promotes its life as something that promotes its life. But if that which brings an animal pleasure and they seek does not in fact promote its life?

        To enjoy something that is detrimental to one’s life is akin to a perceptual illusion, such as when a moth is adapted to navigation by stars, able to maintain a constant direction by maintaining a constant angle to a distant source of light at night, but when that light isn’t a distant star but nearby candle the illusion results in death. When something that an animal enjoys does not promote their lives then certainly the long-term effects of such things is something that they do not enjoy.

        Furthermore, if members of a population or species seek it out often enough then over time they will either adapt or die out. For example, they may adapt by acquiring a taste that results in their avoidance of point or by acquiring the ability to ingest the food without suffering its ill effects.

        As such, while in the case of plants “enjoyment” or “suffering” aren’t literally applicable, analogistically the are applicable in the sense that one might say that a plant “enjoys” that which it either “seeks out” (such as when the leaves of a tree follows the sun as crosses the sky or when the roots of a plant show a preference for growth along a gradient of increasing nutrients) or that which causes it to thrive.

        And when that which is sought does not cause members of the species to thrive but is actually detrimental to their existence? Either the population or species adapts or, if the threat becomes common enough, it goes extinct.

        As such I would argue that what has been expressed metaphorically in the statement “Life on Earth does not enjoy change” is generally true, highly insightful, and even where in a strictly literal sense isn’t applicable (e.g., with plants) it nevertheless expresses in a highly economical form a principle that is applicable to plants — one that is grasped analogistically and has its basis in an essential similarity between plants and animals. Namely, that organisms are adapted to their environment, and when that environment changes too greatly or rapidly they find it difficult to adapt, mortality rises, and populations and species either adapt or go extinct.

        Metaphor vs. Pedantry

        Now consider the length at which I had to argue in order to show that life does not thrive when changes are too great or too fast, and to show the very real basis for analogistic reasoning between animals and plants with respect to “enjoyment.” Yet the basics are succinctly expressed and understood by means of the metaphor “Life on Earth does not enjoy change.” Even where it clearly isn’t strictly applicable it gets one to think and per chance grasp the very real principles that are involved.

        Personally I believe that Dano is intelligent enough to see all this. And as such I have found his arguing against such an insightful statement something of a mystery. A measured criticism of the essay’s weaknesses would no doubt be appreciated, but a criticism of the essay for one of its greater strengths?

        Then I remembered a statement he made earlier:

        One observes there are an awful lot of people running around in circles rather than doing something useful [useful not including pointing out the 8,275,447th occurrence of duplicity and lots of work to point it out.

        Perhaps he intended this as some sort of an exercise in showing how much work may be needed in order to respond to someone who is willing to take a position that is nonsensical and willing to stand by it. But I am open to other hypotheses — including simple, obstinate pigheadedness.

        And as for his implied question?

        Perhaps you respond because while the person you are addressing will not change his mind or give up his duplicity others will find your response illuminating. Particularly if you often manage to say something original. You might even hope that some no matter how far away they might be will find in your efforts points of illumination that help them move forward when they would otherwise feel all alone in the night.

    • Well, I guess that’s *one* way to achieve urban renewal…

    • True, but it is also a fact that Nero was an amateur on the lyre, which he used to accompany himself singing. (He even won Olympic competitions at this, most likely by bribing the judges.)

      Wiki’s “Nero” article says:

      It was said by Suetonius and Cassius Dio that Nero sang the “Sack of Ilium” in stage costume while the city burned.[87] Popular legend claims that Nero played the fiddle at the time of the fire, an anachronism based merely on the concept of the lyre, a stringed instrument associated with Nero and his performances. (There were no fiddles in 1st-century Rome.) Tacitus’s account, however, has Nero in Antium at the time of the fire.[88] Tacitus also said that Nero playing his lyre and singing while the city burned was only rumor.[88]

      The fiddle–if by “fiddle” we mean the more-or-less modern violin–is, roughly speaking, a development of the 16th century.

    • Not only were there fiddles in Nero’s Rome but they were bigger too, only surpassed by the medieval period when they were, briefly, as big as cellos.

  9. When half of the WAIS slides into the ocean, gay marriage will be the cause. When drought wipes out half of the world food crops, abortion will be the problem. When there are biblical proportioned floods in California, it will because Tamino did not go to church.

    That man caused the devastation by buring too much fossil fuel way too fast, not a chance.

    Some will never be convinced.

  10. Oh, and don’t miss Tom Toles’s words, often as sharp as his cartoons:

    “Friday rant: Doesn’t add up edition
    I think I’m seeing a large overlap between people who don’t accept evolution, people who don’t accept climate science and also the supposedly deficit-obsessed Tea Party. Correct me if I am wrong here. I attribute this to a certain underdeveloped aptitude in processing data. …

    Irony of ironies: People who don’t believe in evolution are the most avid advocates for Social Darwinism. …

    So while there is no such thing as evolution, to the victors go the spoils, and cut loose the Undeserving. This also seems to be the position of those who want to get religion back into politics. –Tom Toles”

  11. True, the metaphor is what matters and poets are allowed to take some liberty. Anyways, to be pedantic Nero was playing a lyre.

  12. I emailed Oliver Manuel a while ago about his theory. He responded to my first credulous ‘wtf, do you really believe this? Just let’s be clear…’ thing, and then didn’t answer my questions about how to explain the Hertzsprung-Russel diagram or cosmology.

    Maybe he missed my email, but it seems to me that a scientist should be willing to say why they still support their theory against evidence.

  13. Over the past 12 hours I have been at Judith’s place to try and get some answers from her (to no avail). I wrote:

    “Dear Judith
    I have to say that I’m confused. I confess that I haven’t waded through all 650 or so comments so these questions may well all have been answered before. However, I can’t see where you are coming from. I see nonsensical points from denialists which you don’t repudiate. Does that mean you agree with them? So, can I ask. Do you accept:

    1 there is a greenhouse effect
    2 that CO2 is a GHG
    3 that humans have increased atmospheric CO2 to levels not seen for 650k and more
    4 that this MUST have a warming effect
    5 that the warming (pattern, rate etc) is consistent with GHG forcing
    6 that climate sensitivity is likely to be around 3C
    7 that, whatever the flaws of MBH98, there are numerous hockey stick reconstructions developed by numerous (and independent) scientists using numerous proxies (not just treerings)”.

    She clearly disagrees with 6 (although won’t say how or why) and 7 (says no proxies are calibrated). Frankly I don’t understand this last point, since we are looking at patterns and rates.

    The thread was hijacked by the usual trolls asking the usual questions. My main lesson from this is that she doesn’t like to be pinned down on questions. If she thinks sensitivity is low (which goes against all the palaeo record) then I’d like to see her reasons. All I have is silence from her.

    • Shell also question 3—saying the ice-core data are suspect– and 4–saying the system is too complicated to predict. That’s if she commits to a position.

      Judy seems to be satisfied with being “not even wrong!”

  14. David,

    Nero was actually out of town when the fire started, and hurried back immediately to supervise firefighting efforts. The guy was a creep, but he wasn’t insane. The fiddling story is apocryphal, even if it was a lyre.

    • David B. Benson

      Barton Paul Levenson | February 25, 2011 at 11:00 am — The fiddling could easily simply be slander, but fiddling in the sense of ” To occupy oneself in an aimless or desultory way: liked to fiddle with all the knobs and dials.”

      [So, by the waay, could be the charge of 'creep' or 'insanity'; the patricians of the day did not care for him, not at all.]

  15. Special Friday bonus to the first person to post that Rome burned due to climate change, not caused by CO2… Thus disproving, once and for all, AGW.

    • Isn’t that why it was called the Roman Warm Period?

      (Go here for Rimshot)

      The Yooper

      • Ah, Nero was fiddling around trying to open a vintage bottle of fine wine grown in the north of England … and let Rome burn.

      • Burning Roman tenements created what was known as the Urban Heat Insula effect. The Roman Warm Period is an artifact caused by Nero by siting thermometers near these buildings, thus becoming the first climatological lyre…

        Do I have that right…?

  16. Fielding Mellish

    “The fiddling story is apocryphal, even if it was a lyre.” That’s even better, BPL: the KochHeads, KurryKooks, and 1-Watt Bulbs lyred (modern: liared, to lie in past tense) while the planet burned, LOL! Geoff, that is one funny poem you have there. And Kate can ruin my metaphors with her science any day of the week, in the academic sort of way of course :)

  17. Judith’s recent exchange with gavin on her blog about the “hide the decline” stuff was very telling. She is reducing herself to calling people liars and not bothering to really read or understand the literature she is “skeptical” of, and continues to hold out on defending everything she says.

    Very disappointing.

  18. Good news is Australia will have a carbon tax next year… Small steps, but is a start!


    • Yeah, it’s a start… although, to be fair, they’ve just said there will be “fixed price permits” to kick of a carbon trading system. What they haven’t said, yet, speaks volumes:
      i) how much said permits will cost;
      ii) whether there will be any limit to # of permits issued;
      iii) what compensation will be made to heavy emitters;
      iv) whether some “trade exposed” heavy emitters will be partially or fully exempt from the scheme;
      v) what will be done with the money raised;
      …and many others.
      So, yeah, it’s a start, but it’s only a small step so far…

      • Sounds more like cap and trade than a carbon tax. . . ?

      • No one knows how it work yet, but this July the new Senate starts sitting and the balance of power lies with the Greens. They rejected the last trading scheme because it was poor and gave away too many free permits to industry. With any luck this legislation will be a genuine attempt. Crosss your fingers!

  19. Re: the recent Judy v Gavin exchange, I couldn’t help but have an image of Brave Judith typing one-handedly while wildly swinging a bottle of scotch in the other, then hitting the submit button with an audible “heh!”

    Or perhaps I’m projecting and her cool rationality goes way over my head.

    There’s s plausible assessment of where she’s going with this routine over at

  20. Cool rationality? I’ve not been over ‘there’ for some considerable time now, but I had a thought today about her apparently incoherent approach.

    Firstly, even if her maunderings about uncertainties and inaccuracies had any value – go on, use your imagination , the underlying issue is that she would be advancing a position of the perfect being the enemy of the good. If you overlook the accusations of others’ dishonesty and organisational fraud, her position amounts to “it’s not perfect / complete / finished ” or whatever about data or technology or scientific analysis, so therefore it can’t possibly be right. The careful answer that this is as right as it gets (for now) is apparently not good enough.

    Secondly, and much more importantly, she’s allowing her own intellectual rigour to slide away. I know she has many calls on her time – but thinking stuff through takes time. As does writing a few notes and coming back to them in a few days when the import and the implications may be clearer. She’s doing everything in a rush and she seems not to care that this gets in the way of clear thinking, forget all about careful analysis.

    This is all by way of me being really, really annoyed that she refuses to put in the work to understand the physics. Let alone to educate or restrain people advancing cranky notions about centrifugal force or strange thermodynamics. She’s abandoned her role as a scientist, and as a teacher, among the non-scientists.

    • To your first point: perhaps a trend towards black-and-white thinking? An inability to see they grays and nuances? I see that type of thinking among people with whom I argue. There’s is someone who believes that because analyzed data and charts have “error” they must be wrong (quote: “Either a piece of information is right or it’s wrong. If there’s an error, it’s wrong. “).

    • adelady,
      Oh, it’s worse than that. She’s not up in front of her minions presenting herself as an expert–not saying, “Well, let’s see if we can figure this out together. She is pretending that she has direct experience of the IPCC and so her accusations of “fraud” and “groupthink” are authoritative. In my opinion, she’s become as bad as Dick Lindzen–maybe worse, because she doesn’t understand the science well enough to really understand what the issues are.

      • In my opinion, she’s become as bad as Dick Lindzen–maybe worse, because she doesn’t understand the science well enough to really understand what the issues are.

        Worse, because their public persona’s more or less equally dishonest, but when out of view, Lindzen at least has *tried* to do research that would prove his skepticism to be the correct view.

        And Lindzen doesn’t appear to be calling his peers “liars” in public on a daily basis, either…so while his public persona’s no less dishonest than Curry, he’s much less visible on a daily basis.

      • Dhogaza,
        The thing is that I’ve caught Lindzen making arguments to lay audiences that I am sure he knows are false (e.g. It’s warming on Mars, Neptune, Jupiter…). Judy has given no indication that she is smart enough to know she is wrong. Indeed, her sole concern seems to be avoiding being wrong–to the point where she is willing to simply be incoherent.

  21. Judith Curry flirts with becoming the “Sarah Palin of climate science.”


  22. Firstly, even if her maunderings about uncertainties and inaccuracies had any value ….

    I advocate for a stronger Maunder Minimum.

  23. Don Gisselbeck

    Joe Read’s bill was killed in committee. I suppose this proves even republicans in Montana are’t infinitely stupid. (My state representative refused to introduce a bill mandating 30 days of powder skiing a year from Mother Nature even after I promised to tune her skis.)

  24. AGGGGHHH – didn’t mean to embed the video.

    Better Link.