The Real Problem with the Global Warming “Debate”

This post is not about the recent trend in global temperature or what the Berkeley data actually reveal about it. I already did that. This post is about the real problem with the public debate over global warming.

Judith Curry said “Our data show the pause” (her words, said to a reporter for the Daily Mail), refering to the Berkeley data of global average surface temperature over land areas. The phrase “pause” refers to a halting of global warming. She used that claim to accuse Richard Muller (leader of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project) of “hiding the decline” (also her words, said to a reporter for the Daily Mail). She insisted that “There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped” (also her words, said to a reporter for the Daily Mail).

As soon as I asked her (on her blog) what was the scientific basis for her claims, she started running away from her own words. But she wouldn’t retract them. Instead she replaced claims of “pause” and “stopped” with “There has been a lag/slowdown/whatever you want to call it in the rate of temperature increase since 1998” (her words on her own blog).

Here’s the Berkeley data from January 1975 through March 2010 (the final two data points, for April and May 2010, have such large uncertainty that they’re meaningless and should be omitted from analysis):

Click the graph for a larger, clearer view. Let’s estimate the trend before 1998 by least-squares regression using only pre-1998 data, call that the “model” trend, and plot it as a blue line:

Let’s extend that line to the future, call that the “predicted” trend, and plot it as a green line:

Finally, let’s compute the trend using only the data after 1998, call that the “observed” trend, and plot it as a red line:

The problem with the “debate” about global warming is that Judith Curry gets to call that a “pause.” She didn’t say “maybe.” She gets to use that claim to accuse another scientist of hiding something. She insists on a “scientific basis” for his claims but won’t apply the same standard to herself. When she’s asked point-blank for the scientific basis of her claims she changes the subject. When she’s shown the error of her ways she refuses to admit it. Her claims are publicized worldwide.

It’s not a crime. It’s a sin.


161 responses to “The Real Problem with the Global Warming “Debate”

  1. Just to dot the i’s and cross the t’s:

    What is the first month of the model trend? [Response: January 1975]

    What is the last month of the model trend? [Response: December 1997]

    What is the model trend? [Response: 2.2 deg.C/century]

    What is the first month of the Observed trend? [Response: January 1998]

    What is the Observed trend? [Response: 2.2 deg.C/century]


    [Response: Just to remind everybody — this post isn’t about the trend. It’s about the fact that Judith Curry gets to make any claim she wants, regardless of the truth, use it to accuse others, refuse to admit error, and instead of being held accountable she gets worldwide publicity.]

    • [Response: Just to remind everybody — this post isn’t about the trend. It’s about the fact that Judith Curry gets to make any claim she wants, regardless of the truth, use it to accuse others, refuse to admit error, and instead of being held accountable she gets worldwide publicity.]

      That’s the bit that really irks me. Remember when Phil Jones did the right thing in this context? None of the denialists then asked anything about statistical power or significance, or about greater periods of data or what might become apparent when more data were included.

      The hubris astonishes me…

      I’ve tapped Curry on the shoulder about that little example, though. I’ll be curious to see if she gives her statement and Jones’s a fair and considered comparison.

  2. i don’t understand why the relevant quantity is not simply the acceleration. Could you not just make a quadratic fit and determine the “best fit acceleration in data” ? is it compatible, within the uncertainties, with the acceleration predicted by models ?

    at 0.15°C/decade, it is unlikely that we expect severe damages from climate even in 100 years. What is the minimal acceleration rate which is supposed to produce some damages, and is there a hint that this rate can be reached (especially is fossil fuel production is to peak sooner that expected ?)

    • Halldór Björnsson


      Regarding rate of emissions & warming and the possibility that fossil fuel production may peak sooner than expected, the main point that it’s total accumulated emissions that you should look at.
      Raymond Pierrehumbert has a good post on this on real climate:

      Regarding the damages, the current warming rate is already causing some damages (see melting of ice caps, glaciers & ice sheets, sea level rise, enhanced frequency of certain weather extremes etc). Reasonable people may disagree on whether these constitute severe damages, but they do warrant attention. An example is the current melting of the Arctic sea ice, which is unquestionably a major event. The current warming rate is clearly to high for many natural systems.

      2°C total warming is a number that has often been used as the line-not-to-be-crossed. I am not suggesting that this particular number is not debatable, but serious damages increase with enhanced warming. (There is an excellent discussion about this in David King’s book, The Hot Topic).

      It looks unlikely that the planet will stop warming below 2.0°C warming (even with your 0.15°C per decade this century), the planet already warmed by 0.7°C in the 20th century and the forced greenhouse warming trend is part and parcel of that. There simply isn’t that much space left.

      So, it seems to me that the current rate of warming is already to too fast and whether we run out of fossil fuel (or get into the past-peak-production regime) in the first or the second half of the 21st century is not a major issue w.r.t. the damages. It may affect how quickly we run into serious problems but it does not make them go away.

    • WTF? Jarch, did you even think about what you were writing? You seem to imply we can warm at a constant rate for all eternity with no ill effects? I am sure my Thanksgiving turkey will find that quite comforting.

      However, even if you did mean rate of warming (a velocity, not an acceleration), that too is simply silly. Once warmed a few degrees, many of our crops will simply cease to germinate within much of their current range. Yields on many others will also decline. And we will keep warming until we reach TOA equilibrium again.

      Finally, mathematically, one could model the temperature data with two models–linear and quadratically increasing mean with noise superimposed. We could then use, for example akaike information criterion to show which was a better predictive model for future warming. The thing is, though, that you would need significantly more data for the quadratic model, and I suspect we aren’t there yet given the noise in the data set.

      • “Once warmed a few degrees, many of our crops will simply cease to germinate within much of their current range.”

        I imagine that you wouldn’t issue such an assertion without a solid theory behind. We are on a scientific site, proud of its seriousness and backing up its assertions with careful statistical studies, so could you please indicate an approximate value of the reduction of global crop yields as a function of global temperature (including of course the possibility of adaption and possible shift in cultivated areas) , and how it is supported by current data ?

      • Here’s the first result of a 10-second Google search:

        Search terms:

        how much will global warming reduce crop yields

      • And a 2004 result with respect to rice:

        Analysis of observed rice yields showed a 10% decline in productivity for each degree C in minimum temperature. (Interestingly, the maxima did not affect productivity.)

      • Well thanks, Kevin. Citing your source

        ““We aren’t talking about the sky falling,” Dr. Lobell said. “But we are talking about billions of dollars of losses. Every little bit of production is valuable when we’re trying to feed the world.””

        billions of $ seems to make a lot, but the world GDP is around 60 000 billions of $, so we’re actually talking about a very tiny fraction of the world economy , and even of the global food output. BTW, don’t you think that suppressing FF would impact much more severely agriculture ?

      • Not really my source, and just one paper, but you’re welcome, jarch.

        You ask, “BTW, don’t you think that suppressing FF would impact much more severely agriculture?”

        My (short-form) response, “Only if the ‘suppression’ was implemented very stupidly.”

      • Kevin,
        Jarch has a point at some level given current industrial farming practices. It would certainly impact yields per acre of the two most important staple crops in much of the world–soy for protein and corn for calories.

        However, industrial farming has disastrous implications for the future of agriculture–depleting soils as well as aquifers and leaving either a wasteland or a cycle of dependence on further petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides.

        The ultimate question is whether we can feed 9-10 billion people with sustainable agriculture. I suppose our progeny will find out, as continued reliance on industrial farming will render the point–and our survival–moot.

      • I wrote in haste, and perforce couldn’t expand for clarity. Certainly, no-one with a lick of sense can deny that FF are extremely important to agriculture ‘as she is spoke’ today, or that simply shutting off the spigot would kill millions. Hence, doing so would be, as I said, stupid (as well as evil.)

        But in addition to foolish, I think it’s actually not possible. For a thought experiment, let’s take the case of China–interesting in this context because its combination of authoritarian central government and economic dynamism is extremely unusual, and has enabled that nation to utterly transform its energy ‘scene,’ combining extremely rapid emissions growth with the largest cuts in carbon intensity of any nation (during the 90’s at least; I don’t have figures for this decade.)

        Now, what would happen in China if the Party abruptly decreed “no more FF?” No more Party, surely.

        But if China can’t do it like that, who can? Which is why we need to act intelligently but vigorously–the problem is not at all an easy one.

        All of which is to say that I think jarch’s question amounted to a straw-man–albeit unintentionally.

      • Kevin, the thing is that such industrial agriculture causes permanent damage to the ability of the land to sustain us in the long term–even as we cannot stop because the ability of the land to sustain us in the short term is insufficient without intensive fertilization, irrigation and pest control.

        It is the reason why I say that there are two types of demographers–neomalthusians and those who are bad at math.

    • Well obviously it is very difficult to suppress quickly a large part of FF consumption, without severe damages to the whole industrial society, as well. So I have some difficulties to understand which slope you hope to reach realistically ? you can’t advocate unrealistic claims. So what’s the average SLOPE you hope to achieve in the XXI century ?

      and I’m surprised to hear that 40 years of warming would be too short to detect a significative acceleration, but that it would largely exceed the error bars within 90 years ! there is something strange in this order of magnitude. If acceleration is supposed to be significant throughout the century, why don’t we detect it already now ?

      • jarch-kun,

        I regressed annual Hadley global average dT from 1850 to 2010 (N = 161) on the year, achieving r^2 = 65%. I then regressed it on year and year squared, achieving r^2 = 79%. By partial F-test, the decrease in SSE was significant at well beyond the 99.99% confidence level (F1,158 = 113). So yes, the acceleration is there, and highly statistically significant.

        I did not account for residual autocorrelation. Tamino may be able to punch holes in the analysis above.

        [Response: Wait a minute. You did numerical analysis? You applied statistics? You yourself pointed out a potential flaw in your analysis? You suggested that it might be wrong, and that others should check your results?

        You’ll never get into the “fake skeptic” club that way.]

      • I’m very glad to see these figures. But as the anthropogenic influence is supposed to be dominant only after 1970, I don’t see very well the relevance of the acceleration between 1850 and 2010, could you repeat the regression between 1970 and 2010 ? and compare to other historical periods, for instance 1850-1950 ?

        I think you will agree that a phenomenon can be considered as “significantly” new only if it exceed by many sigmas the former similar events. So what physical parameter do you claim exceeding significantly former values ?

      • jarch-san,

        Here are the linear trends for groups of 30 years, to make sure I had statistically significant samples. I also show t-statistics on each coefficient.

        1850-1879 0.0053 2.7
        1880-1909 -0.0069 -3.9
        1910-1939 0.0152 9.9
        1940-1969 -0.0031 -1.3
        1970-1999 0.0161 7.7

        Draw your own conclusions.

      • My Dad graduated from veterinary school in 1950, and purchased a tractor for his parents in 1951. Until that date, Gramps farmed the farm with mules. The tractor did not make fields bigger. The mule pasture eventually filled with cattle. It’s not that long ago, folks. If you’re talking ending FF used in the Green Revolution, then yes, a lot of people would probably die.

  3. If you can’t do science, do rhetoric.

  4. Whac-A-Mole: they pop up, you hit them on the head, then, without apology, they pop up somewhere else. How do you get people who aren’t really paying attention and are prejudiced against AGW (and perhaps science in general), e.g., Daily Mail readers, to see what’s going on?

    I had a recent meltdown elsewhere:,15511.msg173840.html#msg173840

    A longer reply wouldn’t have got through the forum’s swear filter.

    • A very good simile from a commenter (Martyn) there, re consequences and uncertainty:

      “I’d compare this to being punched in the face. We don’t know what the results will be, they could range from being a little sore, through split lip, bruising, black eye, broken nose, broken jaw, broken temple, all the way to death. The uncertainty of the final outcome may be used by some to imply that there may be no negatives, hell it may even be good for us, but this is untrue, the outcome is going to be bad, it’s only the scale that is an unknown.”

  5. Judith Curry:
    Here I define “pause” to mean a rate of increase of temperature that is less than 0.17 – 0.2 C/decade.

    A trend slightly less than 1.7°C to 2°C per century is a PAUSE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Sorry, I’m running out of question and exclamation marks here. Just what kind of insane definition of “pause” is this? Merriam-Webster defines “pause” as a “temporary stop”, . If your stated opinion was falls, go back and redefine the meaning of common words?!? NEWSPEAK HATH ARRIVED.

    And of course she sidesteps the issue of ten years not being enough to establish a statistically significant trend entirely.

    • Keenlyside et al put numbers to “the pause”, and I do not think them (A trend slightly less than 1.7°C to 2°C per century) are a close match.

    • “To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”

      From George Orwell’s 1984, which I read, like over 40 years ago in high school (circa 1969).

  6. It is said that BEST does not say anything about global. To do that, she goes solely to HadCrut. She is using the HadCrut pause to hide the evidence of no pause.

    On Climate Etc., Bart R. has laid out a very good argument for why BEST does say something about global, and GisTemp.

  7. Lars Karlsson

    That had my jaw dropping too!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Why do the people who claim that global-warming has “stopped” or “paused” always rely on that discredited CRU “climategate” temperature data-set?

      I mean, aren’t these the same people who were claiming that “climategate” had proved that the CRU data-set was fraudulent and couldn’t be trusted?

      I am soooo confused! Can somebody here help me out?

  8. Two questions – did Curry actually change the wording of her post? Did she acknowledge that she’d made the change in the post, the comments, or neither?

  9. The real problem with the global warming debate is that it’s over the wrong questions. The global warming debate should be about how we eliminate Carbon Pollution. The real debate should be how to encourage and help China and India to reduce their emissions. The political debate should be Republicans arguing for 450 ppm and Democrats for 350. The problem with JC’s noise is that it keeps us from having the debate.

  10. I’m curious about your statement that: “the final two data points, for April and May 2010, have such large uncertainty that they’re meaningless and should be omitted from analysis”.
    I’ve read back for a couple of your blogs and found it said previously, but I haven’t found the reason that you make this claim. Perhaps I’ve just missed it, in which case I apologise. Perhaps its something that’s already so widely known that you assume all your readers are aware of it; I don’t know.
    But certainly I’m unaware of why you say these two data points have such high uncertainty. Could somebody tell me?

    [Response: It’s here.]

    • Leo, the BEST source data only includes 47 stations for those last two months, all in Antarctica. That compares to 14488 stations in the previous month (March 2010). So the value for those two months in the global results is a significant outlier, and the uncertainty of those two months in the global results is huge. See Nick Stokes on this, here:

    • John Childress

      The data is only from 47 locations (all in Antarctica) – WUWT and others have used it to indicate a huge drop in temperature that never occured. Newspapers could be forgiven for not knowing the facts (though they should) but anyone like at WUWT doing it is outright lying as they know the “drop” is only due to a paucity of data in the last 2 months. IE, they are gaming the data and fully know they are gaming it.

      • “Newspapers could be forgiven for not knowing the facts (though they should)”

        it’s such a jarring outlier that it should have got the most mildly competent journalist’s alarm-bells ringing. the last time a temperature that low was reported was in the early 1960s!

      • it’s gonna be fun when they fill in the missing stations for May 2010 onwards, and it stops being such an anomaly. i’m sure Watts has got his “hide the decline” post already written.

  11. I like the sentiment I heard: “Climate change is an ethical problem”

  12. Halldór Björnsson

    The current debate is a step in the right direction from the “There is no warming” debate of the ’90s, and the “global warming has stopped” (from middle of last decade). Now the argument is one about whether the warming rate is 0.2 +/- 0.03 per decade or less (say, 0.15). And since we know that decadal trends are unstable this boils down to speculations about noise.

    In the meantime, Nature has no regard whatsoever for our opinions about warming rates, climate sensitivity, attribution or mitigation alternatives. Nature doesn’t follow the global warming debate. If radiative forcing increases, the globe will warm. If the globe warms, ice melts, sea level rises, etc.

    In some social sciences, the opinions about the object may affect the outcome. An example from economics is inflationary expectations that may affect inflationary pressures and eventually inflation.

    Climate Science is not like that. Our opinion on what, say the climate sensitivity is (2.5, 3, 4.5 °C or more?) does not influence the actual (unknown) true value.

    We cannot, through debate, alter the physics. All we can do is to react to limit the damage to physical, biological and social systems. The prudent cause of action is obvious.

    • “Nature doesn’t follow the global warming debate.”

      In mountaineering, there’s a common saying: “The mountain doesn’t care whether you live or die”. Meaning, don’t fool yourself with what you tell yourself about what could happen.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        If by some chance, Nature is following the debate, she’s undoubtedly rolling around laughing.

        She gave us a big brain and all we can seem to do with it is deny reality (something even amoebas don’t do).

  13. Some deniers are motivated by…
    This will sound so archaic and simplistic…

    I believe the GOP in our time is doing the devil’s work. And I am someone who believes in the devil.

    • Barton,
      Do be careful. If you turn this into a battle between good and evil, you open up the question of whether any means are inappropriate in combatting evil.

      I do not doubt that evil exists, but it exists within our brains–those of all of us. There are few humans who are truly evil–to do true harm, they must harness stupidity.

      I would never argue that Judy is evil, but she’s got a good down payment on stupid.

      • Don Gisselbeck

        We are dealing with people who will lie in order to get and keep power. I wonder what we can call them then.

  14. And of course the real problem with the global warming debate is that we are having one. The average guy in the street isn’t going to think about global warming much. So when called on to have an opinion, they look to see if the experts agree. As long as you have scientists like Curry, Lindzen, etc the average guy will think its too uncertain to merit anything more than token action.

    Normally, you can rely on politicians to be better informed than the general public – which is why we don’t have the death penalty in Australia – the politicians know its a bad idea, so it is never raised in elections, and never included in any parties policies.

    But for some strange reason, quite a few Australian politicians from the conservative side of politics (just like their American counterparts) don’t believe that AGW is happening. They choose to be lazy and opt for votes over an honest policy.

    • The real problem with the global warming debate is that the cost of inaction is going to prove horrific.

    • Even though “conservative” politicians and “conservative” groups have dishonestly opposed AGW in Australia, the climate legislation will pass our Senate on Tuesday. I hope that this event will get wide international publicity.

      • Congratulations to Oz!

      • I consider this to be an important event. Once the Aussie economy doesn’t go belly up, the denialists will have lost one of their talking points. Frankly, I think Oz could turn this to its economic advantage by levying tarriffs against any nation that isn’t combatting climate change.

      • Michael Hauber

        The denialists will not have lost one of their talking points. The carbon tax has been opposed in Australia as the highest carbon tax on the planet and predicted to destroy our economy even though much higher carbon taxes have been levied in other countries, such as Sweden for decades. I pointed this out to a denier recently, and although I got an admission that this claim was wrong, I was also accused of being just as dishonest because I didn’t mention that Sweden had a geographic advantage in heavy forestation allowing biomas to be a significant renewable energy resource….

      • The legislation passed today. Although I hope that Ray is right I expect that Michael might be correct as the deniers don’t care about the truth. Recently I was earnestly explaining to a denier that the Australian Academy of Science, the CSIRO and the Weather Bureau agree with AGW. She immediately replied “But they are corrupt organisations!” Debate stopped at that point.

  15. Here’s a little prediction, based on personal experience in a different field. If global warming continues and results in a disaster, those who will be blamed will be the scientists who predicted it – for not working hard enough to convince the human race that a disaster was coming. Those responsible for not doing anything will be absolved, for they will not have been warned in a manner they considered credible.

    • Oh, Muller’s already provided us with an example of that …

      “two years ago everyone should’ve been a skeptic”. Why, because skeptics brought up very good points (implication being that mainstream climate scientists hadn’t been smart enough to raise them themselves, had ignored them when raised, etc despite the fact that mainstream climate scientists had been looking into siting issues, station quality issues, UHI, etc for the last decade and despite the fact that none of the “good points” mean diddly in the end).

      Then there’s his take on Climategate, which he believes proves scientific misconduct. As to the people involved, “I won’t read their papers any more”. So Muller’s skepticism was *their* fault, not *his* fault.

      Lastly, he testified to Congress that he was “surprised” that the past efforts agreed with the BEST results, because, you know, of the misconduct by climate scientists etc (he didn’t explicitly say the last but the implication is there based on previous statements).

      Muller’s been full of shoot-the-messenger stuff and obviously the blame for the existence of skepticism lies with the conduct of mainstream scientists. Now that he’s straightened out the temperature record (barf) he claims that all the rest is still true.

      Curry’s even worse.

      The soil’s been tilled and the seeds sown for exactly the course you’re predicting …

      • Yes, when Muller goes to his little Crichton Place, he is in a little world of supreme idiocy of his own making.

    • I have noticed some of them doing the setup for just this eventuality.

    • Jon:

      Here’s a little prediction, based on personal experience in a different field. If global warming continues and results in a disaster, those who will be blamed will be the scientists who predicted it – for not working hard enough to convince the human race that a disaster was coming. Those responsible for not doing anything will be absolved, for they will not have been warned in a manner they considered credible.

      Your prediction is equivalent to my point number 16 here.

      It’s like playing a game of bingo,and knowing in advance what the numbers will be…

    • Jon I suspect you will be proven correct. There is always a strong desire to protect ones self and deflect any criticism, exemplified by many deniers.

  16. Leo Morgan, Robert Rohde, lead author of the BEST methods paper has said (private communication):

    “Yes, there is an issue with the availability and incorporation of very
    recent data not being uniform. As a result the last two months do have far
    less data, and analysis of those months isn’t meaningful. We expect to
    update the data set to incorporate more recent data in the near future and
    hopefully provide more uniform coverage at recent times.”

    So, straight from the horse’s mouth, the last two data points should not be used for analysis.

    Which begs the question as to why Judith Curry was happy to comment on a graph which included those two months without comment. Did she not know her own data? Or does she not care if the analysis “isn’t meaningful” so long as it encourages the right spin?

    • The WUWT crowd tends to be fascinated by revisions to the numbers, seeing conspiracies behind everything when in fact the revision might be due to something as simple as more data coming in from stations and countries that don’t report punctually. Maybe we’ll soon get to see some mindless froth from WUWT about how the IPCC gatekeepers made the BEST group “adjust” (always with the scare quotes) those months upwards.

      If the BEST people intend to keep updating their record, they’ll have to come up with ways to avoid putting out numbers where the data are so clearly insufficient. rookie mistake, I guess.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        The WUWT crowd would cry “conspiracy” if a correction was made in the trillionth digit to the calculated value of Pi — prolly something about scientists trying to redefine the circle to somehow boost the global average temperature, no doubt.

        …and if the BEST people (?) intend to keep updating their record, they’ll have to come up with a way of dealing with the inevitable FOI inundation and attorney general attacks.

    • Tom, the hilarious thing, if you go include the last two months and go back exactly 120 months, it’s still a positive trend.

    • Tom,

      Highly sensible. Both Curry and Muller should be referring those issues to Rohde .. something that struck me straightaway. It would have taken the sound and fury out of the equation.

      Richard Muller’s daugher, Elizabeth, is “Executive Director” of BEST. Maybe she could impose a bit of order on media communications?

  17. Tamino, maybe you expect to much. It’s not a matter of science but character to say “Sorry, i was wrong”.

  18. Horatio Algeranon

    “When I use the word ‘pause’, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” — Humpty Dumpty

  19. Stephen Wilde

    Why has the 1998 warming spike disappeared ?

    [Response: There’s still a spike there, but it’s nowhere near as outstanding as in other records. That’s may be because this is a land-only record.]

  20. Good work Tamino. It would be useful if your posts could be promoted via Twitter. Any chance?

  21. Stephen Wilde

    “There’s still a spike there, but it’s nowhere near as outstanding as in other records. That’s may be because this is a land-only record.”

    So if one includes the oceans there has indeed been a pause ?

    Why are you drawing conclusions from an area constituting only 29% of the Earth’s surface ?

    [Response: First: even if you include the oceans there’s still no pause. I drew that conclusion from the records for the entire earth and from statistical analysis — something we have yet to see from Judith Curry.

    Second: why are you changing the subject? This post isn’t about the recent trend, it’s about fake skeptics like Judith Curry making false statements, applying a double standard, and not being held accountable for it.]

    • Why are you drawing conclusions from an area constituting only 29% of the Earth’s surface ?


      Has it completely escaped your notice that Tamino is commenting on the statistical and ethical dubiousness of Curry’s ‘analysis’ of the very same data?

      Sheesh, strawman much?

  22. The problem with the debate is that only one side is trying to establish what the facts are. Judy would rather run around saying”can’t we all just agree we don’t really know anything and put all this behind us?”

  23. Jon Orloff is absolutely right. I don’t have it at hand, but I recall (perhaps with some incorrect details) a story in a John McPhee essay in which geologists who tried to prevent a housing development in a section of Los Angeles at the foot of the San Gabriel mountains were sued (successfully!) for failing to prevent the development after the inevitable damage occurred.

    And then there’s the phenomenon of Southern bigots who were in reality delighted that Martin Luther King was assassinated claiming that they were his supporters (although with the rise of the teabaggers, this fiction is less comon these days).

  24. That data is hugely different from the chart used to support this thread.

    Why ?

    [Response: No it’s not. Just looking at a graph isn’t enough to draw such a conclusion. Again you make a false claim with no analysis to back it up — just like Judith Curry.]

  25. How did you calculate the least squares regression? I used the Berkeley data, and collected the June annual data, which they said are they averages for the year. Averaging these together shows an average that is below the value for 1998. Are you basing this entirely on the idea that the value dropped after 1998?

    [Response: If you want to know how to calculate least squares regression, read a textbook or enroll in a class.]

    • OLS (Ordinary least squares) is one of many options available at (which now includes the BEST data), and don’t all spreadsheet apps include it too?

      • …and don’t all spreadsheet apps include it too?

        As a trivial aside, and because most denialists are unlikely to progress beyond what is no more than a dandied-up accounting package with lots of clunky addings-on and Easter eggs – some of the older Excel versions are buggy when calculating a LSR.

        User beware. Or use a proper stats application…

    • Wikipedia have a worked example of least squares at this page below that may save the cost of a whole text book.

  26. The past 10 years has NOT warmed GLOBALLY as confirmed by CRU and Satellite.

    If BEST is supposed to be the best it hasn’t done too well. It is clearly being oversold as an authority on GLOBAL temperature changes. For that purpose it is a misleading irrelevance.

    Not many lay readers will realise the limitations of the BEST data. Would that be the intention?

    Meanwhile, not much sign of a resumption of warming in the near future either.

    [Response: Evidently you really don’t understand what “trend” means, what “noise” means, and how one should disentangle the two. No wonder you support fake skeptics like Judith Curry.

    Those who are more interested in real science than in being suckered by convenient untruths may enjoy this.]

    • So BEST did not do a very good job because its independent work failed to duplicate CRU and UAH.


    • Stephen Wilde…

      Odin on a stick, you still haven’t cottoned on to the whole point of this yet, have you?!

      Or are you in fact aware of the actual point, but just trying to distract from having the spotlight glaring on Curry’s nonsensical bastardisation of statistical interpretation with respect to the BEST [sic] data?

  27. tamino

    If this is not a puase then what is it?

    [Response: Obviously you don’t know.

    And: why are you changing the subject? This post isn’t about the recent trend, it’s about fake skeptics like Judith Curry making false statements, refusing to show a scientific basis for them, applying a double standard, and not being held accountable for it.]

    • Most excellent doublespeak.

      Their outright liers, they are conspiring amongst themselves, look at their data, see the pause, their outright liers, they are conspiring amongst themselves …

    • If this is not a puase [sic] then what is it?

      Essentially, Orssengo, it is system noise over an AGW signal.

      Just as is your entire contribution to the discussion of climate change.

  28. It is noise.

    If it is a pause, it’s a pause of the same significance as (using the BEST data) the pauses over 10 year periods ending in 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1940 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1975 1976 1977 1979 1980 1987 1988 1990 1997 and 1998.

    Or it’s a “pause” of the same significance as the “disasterous accelerations” ending in 1916 1917 1926 1927 1928 1943 1964 1974 1982 1984 1991 1992 1993 1999 2001 2002 2003 2004 2006 2007 and 2008

    If you think noise is meaningful, you are wasting everybody’s time with more noise.

    If folks applied these same models and decision criteria to gambling or stock market analysis and decisions, they’d be busted flat and ruined.

    • Chris O'Neill

      If folks applied these same models and decision criteria to gambling or stock market analysis and decisions, they’d be busted flat and ruined.

      Indeed a lot of people do and a lot of people are. This very common human trait (an inability to understand uncertainty and probability) is one of the bases of science denialism.

      • I tend to think of it the other way — I’m sure many these folks who think that y_hat=y_bar is an adequate model for climate, do, in financial situations, pride themselves on their ability to deal adequately with noise, uncertainty, multiple factors, complex models, and risk. If someone tried to sell them some prior results guarantee future performance contract, (i.e., the y_hat=y_bar model) they’d recognize it as naive bullshit, and the bullshitter as a dangerous advisor or a easy mark.

      • in financial situations, pride themselves on their ability to deal adequately with noise, uncertainty, multiple factors, complex models, and risk

        Have you forgotten how many people get sucked in and ripped off by gambling?

      • I haven’t forgotten the many people that get sucked in and ripped off by gambling. I think there’s a still larger number who can and do make reasonable decisions in the face of financial uncertainty who become obstinately simple in the face of climate uncertainty.

        If ^GC_BEST was available as a symbol on Yahoo Finance like^GSPC people using the same modeling skills would think it was a better long term investment than the S&P500. Vice versa, the simplistic “it goes up, it goes down” model applied to the S&P500 would mark the trend denier as a fool.

        If the deniers managed their finances as well as they manage their understanding of climate data, they wouldn’t be able to afford internet access.

        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when [he thinks – dx] his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” — Upton Sinclair


    Promising title, no? Of course, the article is execrable and never answers the title’s question.

    It’s clearer than ever that the concept of statistical significance is little understood in the climate blogosphere (even mainstreamers commenting in that thread get it wrong). Ignorance on this has widespread appeal. :-(

    • It is a shame then that the skeptics need to consider statistical power to make an argument that the lack of a staistically significant trend means anything; statistical power is even less widely understood than statistical significance!

  30. Girma, can you explain to me why fake “skeptics” insist on going down the up escalator?

  31. Don Gisselbeck

    Can we truds the eyeball meter? Just looking at the second graph, you can tell the blue line extension will be too low.

  32. I’m reading Kahneman’s new book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. (Nobel prize in economics 2002.) I think part of the cognitive problem is that we have teh ol’ eyecrometer….we’re can’t turn it off and it says “10 year pause”. Kahenman points out that it’s experimentally demonstrated that humans are terrible intuitive statisticians, especially for small samples. Those of us trained to ignore the eyecrometer don’t “see” a 10 year pause….those without the training don’t get why we don’t trust our eyes or theirs.

    There is someone even more bizzare than Girma posting over on Curry’s blog who is claiming that global warming has peaked based on some odd theory he has about the sun, and that the next 30 years will all be decine. I doubt he’ll recant when it doesn’t happen. It will be fun to watch…also be fun to see Tamino take that one apart too.

    • Fr*gging Don Easterbrook was predicting that back in 1998 … has his predictive failures shut him up? Not a bit … Elsevier have just let him publish a crazy text book on climate change with a chapter by Lord Monckton! What on earth are they thinking? You can only shake your head at the nuttiness of it all.

  33. I don’t understand why the argument can’t be made that …pick a time frame..say the last 10 years, since 2001…every year has been above the Global annual average long term temperature, therefore the long term average temperature has been increasing therefore Global warming has been occuring.

    What has varied is how much the Average Annual temperature is above the longe term average, the Anomaly, but variation of the Anomaly describes rate of warming, if the Anomaly is high above the average then there is high rate of warming, if it is not high above the average then warming is at low rate, but it is still warming.

    The bottom line is that the long term annual Global average temperature is increasing thus Global warming is occuring.

    I don’t understand how people can say Global warming has stopped over the last 10 years, it is not accelerating.

    • Well, I’ve done something of the sort in discussion with folks who have even more trouble with stats than I do. I’ve pointed out the decadal averages just keep on warming (I won’t give the numbers here, as it’s redundant among the sane.) How can one claim “cooling since 1998” when the mean anomaly for 2001-2010 is decidedly higher than for 1991-2000?

      Most folks, even statistically challenged ones, can see that that doesn’t make a lick of sense.

      • The reason it is so important to the denialati to preserve ignorance is that it is the only strategy that allows them to posit an “unknown” mechanism. For if the current warming is due to CO2, it cannot just suddenly end–not until we have reached TOA equilibrium. And we cannot reach TOA equilibrium as long as we keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.

        As long as the warming is ongoing, it becomes increasingly less likely that any other mechanism can explain it. So we will always hear: “The warming stopped in 1995, er, um, 1998, er, um 2001…er, um last night about 6:00 PM.” And because the temperature data are noisy, they tend to concentrate on this data–and insist on ignoring all the other trends that the consensus model explains. It is the only way they can be anything but comic relief.

      • I just had a ‘oh shit’ moment, as everybody has been distracted looking at an accelerating warming over the last thirty years as indicated by positive slope over anomalys, the anomalys are added to the base line derived from the average between 1950-80 or whatever GISS,UAH,RSS or Hadley uses.

        The true temperature is the years anomaly plus the average annual temperature calculated up to that year, which is greater than the baseline, due to increased average year in and year out since the baseline period, thus the Globe has warmed more than everybody thought.

        Not so good times.

      • Chris Ho-Stuart

        The comment above about anomalies by criminogenic is incorrect. The true temperature is simply anomaly plus a fixed baseline. You do not add any other average. Several folks have been explaining this in another thread, but it is perhaps worth a quick note to put the record straight here also.

    • This thing, the pause/etc., was discussed and predicted in scientific papers. In one, Smith et al, they predicted that the early years in their prediction would see natural variability suppress AGW. An example would be 2008, which was pretty cold. They also predicted half of the years after 2009 would exceed 1998.

      BEST land, preliminary, is indicating the temp series being done by NOAA and GisTemp are pretty accurate. According to NOAA and GisTemp, 2010, and I have to help the Girmas of the world out here: 2010 is the first year after 2009, exceeded 1998.

      So I don’t know if Smith et al will prove to be right, but it appears to me they are off to a pretty good start. And all the skeptic team can say is:

      Skate to HadCrut.

      [Response: According to GISS, 1998 temperature was exceeded by that in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010.]

      • This whole red herring of ‘the pause’ would not be occuring if people were not confusing ‘rate of change of warming’ with warming.

        The last ten years has seen a steady increase in the Annual Global Average temperature, what has not increased is the rate of change of warming, showen by a flat line over annual anomalys, but agw doesn’t suggest a continually accelerating warming.

        The anomalys at the beginning of the period can be bigger than the anomalys at the end of the period and warming is still occuring, just the warming has slowed down over the period, but warming has still occured. It is only once the anomalies become negative can cooling said to have occured or temperatures plateaued

        Good times : )

      • The BEST data appears to agree reasonable well over the long term compared to GISS and CRU. The long term trend based on CRU from 1880 is ~0.61C/century, while the GISS data is slightly higher at ~0.67/century. BEST appears to be ~0.75 (eyeballing since I do not have the actual data) since 1800. Which brings up another question, how did they obtain data prior to 1880?
        The long term trend appears to be robust. Shorter term, the trend may br significantly above or below this trend as witnessed several times over the past two centuries. These shifts in the short term trend appear to be real as shown by several, but do not detract from the long term. Arguing over these short term changes, while interesting and of value, should not change the fact that the long term trend has been in place for over two centuries.
        There are several theories as to why the short term trend has changed (deep ocean heating, aerosols, solar cycle, ENSO, etc.), however, none of them indicate that the long term has seen any appreciable change.

        [Response: All you’ve done is admit that changes in the trend are real, then argue based on no evidence that they don’t matter, the “long-term trend” has been constant and it’s all that matters. But you seem to interpret this fiction as meaning that global warming is due to something other than greenhouse gases. It’s reminiscent of the “recovery from the little ice age” fallacy.]

      • Tamino – I really need to pay more attention to raw data.

        GISS –

        2010 – #Mean: 0.633333
        2005 – #Mean: 0.625
        2007 – #Mean: 0.580833
        2009 – #Mean: 0.5725
        1998 – #Mean: 0.563333

        same graph, BEST land –

        2010 – Girma’s nightmare
        2007 – #Mean: 1.20508
        2005 – #Mean: 1.10283
        1998 – #Mean: 0.908333
        2009 – #Mean: 0.905583

        [Response: Also for BEST land: 2002 – #Mean: 0.9763 and 2006 – #Mean: 0.9458.]

      • They also predicted half of the years after 2009 would exceed 1998.

        [Response: According to GISS, 1998 temperature was exceeded by that in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010.]

        When was Smith et al? It appears that it’s turned out that half of the years after 2004 exceeded 1998.

      • Chris O’Neill asked: “When was Smith et al? It appears that it’s turned out that half of the years after 2004 exceeded 1998”.

        August 10, 2007 in Science:

      • This website has more information on Smith et al.

      • To whose fiction are you referring? Kevin Trenberth’s model about the warming hiateus being attributed to heat sinking into the ocean depths? James Hansen’s recent paper that tropospheric aerosols have been the cause for the recent changes? Judith Lean’s claims about a solar minimum? Mojib Latif’s reportts about the climatic influences related to ENSO?
        I am also baffled by your fallacy statement concernign the Little Ice age. Are you implying that it did not exist?

        [Response: I’m not at all baffled by your misinterpreting my statement. I said the “recovery from the little ice age” fallacy. Was your attempt to turn it into “did not exist” just a failure of your reading comprehension? I’m skeptical.

        Nor am I baffled by the fact that when your claims about the “long-term trend” are shown to be utterly baseless, you want to change the subject. Judith Curry has taught you well.]

      • Baseless? It appears that the BEST data confirmed the long term trend. Both GISS and CRU temperature data for 2011 are within 0.1C of their respective long term trends. That is reasonably close considering that temperatures have deviated from the trend by 0.5C in both directions in the past half century.

        [Response: Let’s talk about GISS. The average for 2011 *so far* (2011 isn’t over yet) is 0.14C above the “long-term trend” (as you define it). Five-year moving averages of GISS have been more than 0.1C above the “long-term trend” since early 1999. The average for the 10-year period 2000.0 to 2010.0 is 0.18C above the “long-term trend,” the average since 2010.0 (brief, but the most recent 21 months) is 0.21C above.]

        Is it your contention that this long term trend no longer exists? If so, do you have evidence that the long term trend has changed? Note that I said long term, not short term.

        [Response: How clever — you define the “long-term trend” as the linear trend over the entire time span, refuse to consider anything else meaningful, then suggest that anybody who disputes that may be claiming that it no longer exists.

        The actual long-term trend is not linear, so yes, it has changed. This is rather easily proved, but seems to be far too difficult for you.]

        Now I understand that you are not saying that the Little Ice Age was a fallacy, but rather that our recovery from the Little Ice Age was a fallacy. Hmm.

        [Response: No, you don’t understand. The “fallacy” is the claim that modern warming is because of “recovery from the little ice age.”]

      • Snide remarks aside, I have neither refused to consider nor is it too difficult for me to understand other trends. You may remember my earlier post that the long term trend more closely resembles an oscillation about a linear rise. One of the BEST papers suggests that variation in the AMO may be responsible for these oscillations.
        Thus far, I see no indication that this long term trend has changed. However, indications are that the shorter term trend has changed from an acceleration (upward sinusoidal rise) to a deceleration (sinusoidal top).
        With regards to the LIA, how much warming and during which timeframe would you say the warming occurred?

      • Dan H,

        You should read the two posts on this site about the BEST decadal variations paper. When I first read it that paper struck me as the weakest of the bunch and Tamino has done a pretty good job of showing why (and the reasons were just what I suspected). Worth reading.

    • You are right. If a British summer’s day was 28C and and the following day was 27.5C, would anyone predict that winter was setting in? “Cooling” can be merely relative and not statistical significant. Absolute cooling would see a return to the decadal temperatures of the 1970s, or perhaps a global record cold month … something not seen since before 1920 (I checked).

  34. When Jo Public seeks out the science behind climate change, he will not be forming his own opinion but will be seeking the scientific consensus to graft onto his existing belief system. But when he looks he finds a choice – skeptic or alarmist – and chooses the one that best fits what he wants. That there are very few skeptical climatologists is not a problem and who would notice that these few skeptics present contradictory messages. As long as there’s one professor with all their climatological learning to give the message Jo Public wants to hear, the job is done.
    Then if you look into any scientific discipline, you will find cantankerous old professors (and young ones too) with their pet ideas that their colleagues find altogether embarrassing. It is the stuff of science that half-baked nonsense gets swirled around and in due course dumped and forgotten but pet theories do need their time in the sun.
    What has happened in climatology is a few cantankerous old professors have found an invigorating new audience – Jo Public.
    Demonstrating to Jo Public that they are (in scientific terms) taking up the beliefs of village idiots will take more than science. Perhaps branding these sceptics with their worst scientific howlers – “Dr Roger Pielke Senior, the climatologist who doesn’t understand forcing.” Perhaps by pointing out their contradictions such that one effectively calls the other a liar. The language will need to be strong or the message will not be heard.

  35. [Response: No it’s not. Just looking at a graph isn’t enough to draw such a conclusion. Again you make a false claim with no analysis to back it up — just like Judith Curry.]

    While Stephen Wilde acting just like Judith Curry reflects badly on him, Judith Curry acting just like Stephen Wilde is infinitely worse. Not that the Stephen Wildes of this world are aware of this.

  36. About the scientifically unsupported “pause.” Has anyone looked at what would have to happen for the trend to actually change from warming to cooling, given that we continue pumping the current amount of CO2 into the atmosphere? I mean, given the facts and laws of physics that we know, can’t it be proved that cooling is not possible given the level of CO2 being added each year?

    • Marcel Kincaid

      The Earth might be knocked out of its orbit, or aliens could put a giant screen between the sun and the Earth, or there could be massive eruptions that pour soot into the atmosphere … so no, that can’t be proved. Of course, without such things, we know that the globe will continue to warm … that was proved long ago.

  37. “The real problem with the global warming debate” is that the skeptics goal is for us to do absolutely nothing about it. If they admit that global warming is real and is caused by human greenhouse emissions, the public won’t accept their “do nothing” plan given those facts, so they lose. That means they must do everything in their power either to deny there is global warming altogether, or to deny that it is being caused by human activity. There is no other way for them to achieve their goal.

  38. Michael Hauber

    The phrase pause implies temporary, implies that global warming will continue as soon as the pause ends. I would think that anyone who claims that global warming has paused actually believes that global warming is real, and would expect it to continue again in the future. Otherwise they’d say global warming has ended.

    • Marcel Kincaid

      What word would you suggest for a neutral statement that warming is not currently increasing, while offering no implication as to what will happen in the future? “pause” is such a word, whereas “stop” and “end” are not. (Consider: If I hit the pause key on a recorder or playback device, that does not commit me to hitting record or play next; I could just as well hit stop or turn off the machine.)

      • Marcel Kincaid

        I should add that there is no correct word because it’s simply wrongheaded to try to characterize what is happening to the climate based on such a short period, especially when there is a demonstrable long term trend that is consistent with known physical causes.

      • xConsider: If I hit the pause key on a recorder or playback device, that does not commit me to hitting record or play next

        But it does commit you to the point of view that, absent some new external input (hit on a button), nothing will change.

        Sorry, climate forcing by CO2 as we continuously add it to the atmosphere. No “pause” button has been hit.

      • Horatio Algeranon

        No “pause” button has been hit.

        … ‘cept maybe in certain people’s brains.

        …while others are set on permanent shuffle

        …and still others on repeat.

        ..and some just skip around and you can’t even guess what will come out next (not even with the most powerful statistics)

        And worst of all, the volume is always stuck on maximum.

        As far as turning them off or even unplugging them: no such luck.

        Their power seems to come from cosmic rays.

  39. Michael,

    I think this is a matter of moving the goal posts. Now climate models must explain and model the noise, not just the AGW signal….otherwise the models can be dismissed as unskilled. If the models aren’t skilled about the noise, they can’t be trusted for the signal, and hence, even if the BEST work does show a rise in temperature, we still don’t know any more than we did before. Hence we must do more research, and above all keep the doubt monster well fed.

  40. Yes I know how to do a linear regression. What I was wondering was if you used the annual averages or the monthly values, and whether this is affected by each month having a different baseline for its own anomaly?

  41. Every year above average means the average increases.

  42. What I am not liking is how the resulting trend is affected by having lower values in the early years. Obviously that’s how a trend works, but it seems to me that having lower temperatures should strengthen their argument of cooling or flat temperatures, rather than increase the trend.

    • Sorry, this comment makes no sense to me. Cool temperatures in the early years should *not* “strengthen their argument.” There’s nothing wrong with “how a trend works” in logical (or physical) terms, and those years are part of the data.

      If you want to calculate a trend excluding those “early years”–and I have to say, it’s not clear to me just which years you are talking about–you are of course free to do so.

      • What I’m saying is the skeptics argue cooling/no warming/pause/plateau/flattening since 1998. Tamino responds that the trends are the same before and after(including) 1998. I think having lower values in 1999 and 2000 should strengthen the no warming argument, and yet it also increases the 1998-current trend.

      • Why on earth would having lower values in 1999 and 2000 strengthen the no-warming argument? ’98 was the mother of all El Ninos. Of course it was warmer. If the lower values of 1999 and 2000 had persisted, that would be reason to suspect that warming may have lessened. They didn’t.

    • Marcel Kincaid

      Nike: The whole point of identifying a trend is that it suggests that there is an underlying causal process that produces it … the lower the values were in the past, the stronger the effect of such a process. Your reasoning seems to assume that there simply is no underlying process and that low values in the past show that low values are possible … or something (I’m trying to empathize and think like you, but it’s really hard because it’s contrary to any logic I’m familiar with).

  43. So I don’t know if Smith et al will prove to be right, but it appears to me they are off to a pretty good start. And all the skeptic team can say is:

    Skate to HadCrut.

    [Response: According to GISS, 1998 temperature was exceeded by that in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010.]

    Smith et al specifically refers to the “record 1998 year”, i.e. they are using the HadCrut record. If they were using the GISS record they would have referred to the “record 2005 year”.

    So prediction success rate is 0/2 so far and I suspect it will be 0/6 over the period of prediction.

  44. MartinM, by lower values in 1999 and 2000, I mean lower than 1998. If you are going to argue that warming stopped in 1998, it surely helps to have lower values after that and not higher. Yet these same lower values help Tamino’s argument by raising the trend.

  45. This Richard Black BBC piece is not at all to my liking. He reports on the Oak Ridge CO2 emission estimates for 2010 which show a global annual 6% increase (a figure that’s hardily startling news today) and the consequences for cutting emissions in time to prevent the 2oC temperature rise. Lots of talk of dirty technology in the emerging economies. Not a squeek about the UK rise of 6% which is rather poor given UK is still in semi-recession.
    Black’s analysis leads him to see 4 options left open to mankind (i) Rush to nuclear, (ii) Rush to renewables and efficiency savings. (iii) A magic new technoligy (iv) Geoengineering. This listing raises questions for me & with Black’s concluding remarks (his option (v) ‘let the next generation sort out the problem we leave them’) I think demonstrate a closet skeptic, something I see evidence for at the BBC far too often.

    • >option (v) ‘let the next generation sort out the problem we leave them’

      I read the piece; can’t imagine this bit as anything other than rhetoric encouraging mitigation. (Even if that’s what we may end up doing, it’s not something anybody advocates. Even the hardest-core denialists can’t actually advocate that although it’s just what their actions may lead to; that’s why they have to deny the problem exists.)

  46. For all we know, geoengineering could already be underway.

  47. My first time participating in the comments at Curry’s blog, very discouraging. How does someone who claims to be clarifying the science to the public let people consistently get away with all the utter crap that’s spewed in there?


  48. Richard Tol and Curry are arguing over her justification for posting papers, here for example:

    • That link is good for another reason, follow the thread for a bit and you’ll see Curry begin to use the term “CAGW Ideologues” for those who accept mainstream science (and, while she’s not crystal clear, most likely those who practice mainstream science).

      • I fear that reading JC any more will make my head explode, but it’s such a trainwreck it’s addictive. Like watching the Osbornes or something.

        JC posits there that others are displaying “pseudo critical thinking” whilst simultaneously refusing to accept that her uncritical hosting of obvious garbage guest posts designed to misinform has any impact anywhere.

        Trying to hold these thoughts simultaneously causes me physical pain. I can’t even imagine what effect writing them would have.

      • Don’t forget “climate dittoheads”!

  49. As I have said before… Curry is evil. Not wrong, not misled, not confused. She is doing this deliberately, most likely for reasons of personal ideology.

    Here’s some more detail, for those who care (though not about Curry specifically):

    • BPL – I don’t think that’s helpful. Other people’s motives are unknowable, and the concept of treating someone as “evil” has the danger of putting them into the category of “other”, non – human.

      Such categorisation can lead to behaviour against them far worse than what we perceive them to be committing. – an example of how normal people can behave in what we see as an “evil” way.

      • VTG,

        Thanks, I’m familiar with the Millgram experiment and others like it (e.g. the fake prison). I’m not saying Republicans are evil and Democrats are not. I believe in the Fall, which is to say we are all evil. But I believe whoever is pulling the strings of the GOP (NOT the tens of millions of honest but deceived GOP voters) are dedicated to what I regard as evil. And I don’t just mean burning fossil fuels.

      • BPL,

        If read a comment on Curry’s that Tamino was “evil” I would disregard anything else that commentator had to say, on the basis that they had an absolute and fixed view, so engagement would be impossible.

        I understand that our reaction to our perception of the folly of the opinions and actions of others can be raw, visceral even, but I really think it is not a helpful way to frame a debate with anyone. It merely serves to help others portray you as irrational and dogmatic.

  50. The idea that we might share the planet with yet another maladroit that stupid really irks me, so I really hope she is being disingenuous. Very interesting read Tamino, as ever!

  51. OT here, but we don’t really have a current Open Thread. Here’s a non-debate response to the climate crisis that some here may enjoy–and equipped with a tagline some here will find familiar: