Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Birthday Cheer for Ricky the Special-Needs Monkey

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  • Don Christie,

    Don't, however, let that get in the way of good argument and good facts. All in short supply in this climate debate.

    This simply isn't true. The science is clear, if complex. So are the economics. The facts are out there and have been for nearly 20 years (when did Bill Clinton first agree to cut emissions to 1991 levels? Answer, 1993).

    The only people muddying the waters are self interest groups such as the Heartland folks.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    All my other criticisms stand though. And, explain to me again, why we shouldn't be criticising the Heartland Institute? They're the ones with it on their website.

    Well perhaps I shouldn't say "we shouldn't criticise them". If they were posting the list innocently, that might be the case, but obviously they're not.

    But they're using a published book to push their own anti-climate change barrow. They might not be angels, but the main fault surely lies with the original book - if that's a pile of crap, then that's what needs to be attacked. What Heartland have done is taken the citations used to support that book and published it as a list. If it was entitled "scientific articles used in this book here" then you couldn't really complain. It's the heading "Research by Hundreds of Scientists Undermines Global Warming Alarmism" that is, one suspects, wrong. It might be an accurate reflection of what the books says too, who knows.

    I just found the demands of scientists to be taken off a list strange. If you publish something people will use it. If they use it badly you debate that, you don't just demand that they not use your work. Surely that's at the essence of academic debate? What's next? Climate change denialists not allowed to use the scientific sections of libraries?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6208 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Oh this is just sad. One of their experts is a dead astrologer...

    There's some frothing on both sides on that page.

    Just because people are dead now, doesn't mean that they didn't write good quality articles when they were alive. I'd like to think that just because you die, the world doesn't suddenly ignore everything you said when you were alive. Yes sure, such a person could not defend themselves and disassociate themselves from the book and the list, but I presume reading the actual article listed could give us a fairly good idea of the conclusions they reached on climate change.

    The astrologer and "amateur climatologist" is indeed sad however. One suspects the list is littered with such 'experts'.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6208 posts Report Reply

  • James Francis,

    Somehow - goodness knows how - I managed 702,567 km. Now I feel really bad both because (a) I find out she's a really good person and (b) I played the game in the first place.

    On the other hand, if I could find Peter Brown listed...

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 117 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,

    </quote>If it was entitled "scientific articles used in this book here" then you couldn't really complain.

    But it isn't, so I am.

    <quote>I just found the demands of scientists to be taken off a list strange.

    The list calls them 'co-authors'. In light of this, surely they're entitled to ask for their names to be removed.

    Re the dead astrologer, I agree: it wasn't the fact that they were deceased that bugged me; more their profession.

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Terence W,

    arrggghh reposted with better tags:

    If it was entitled "scientific articles used in this book here" then you couldn't really complain.

    But it isn't, so I am.

    I just found the demands of scientists to be taken off a list strange.

    The list calls them 'co-authors'. In light of this, surely they're entitled to ask for their names to be removed.

    Re the dead astrologer, I agree: it wasn't the fact that they were deceased that bugged me; more their profession.

    YesWeCanberra • Since Mar 2008 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The list calls them 'co-authors'. In light of this, surely they're entitled to ask for their names to be removed.

    The first page of the media release says:

    A new analysis of peer-reviewed scientific literature reveals that more than 500 climate scientists have appeared as authors or coauthors of peer-reviewed scientific articles confirming that climate change is a natural phenomenon.

    Like it says, these 500 scientists are authors or co-authored articles. Whether or not those articles confirm that climate change is a natural phenomenon is the debate, as far as I'm aware, the list is entirely accurate in that those people did indeed write those articles.

    It's a list taken from the footnotes of the book. If someone uses your research in their book, you can't ask for your name to be removed from the book, attack how they've used your research.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6208 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    Kyle:
    their original book is a pile of crap.

    See my post earlier for both Singer and Avery's biographies. I have much more info on Singer but won't bore people with it here. The book has not been through a peer review process.

    Heartland does nothing "innocently", esp on global warming. Everyone's looking at their main website - but see the full and glorious extent of their global warming campaign here

    Their conference was, well, hilarious, is the only way to put it. Andy Revkin at the New York Times noted that when they went to take the photo of all the scientists (in room of 200 people), 19 men stood up.

    I think Real Climate has the best description of the conference's intentions in its blog "what if you held a conference and no (real) scientists came?".

    A brief glance through Heartland's full bibliography - the Peter Wardle DSIR reference is from a paper he wrote whilst at the DSIR in 1973. hmmm.

    Two of the other NZ science refs are from 1979 and 1988 - and Jim Salinger's from 1995.

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Smith,

    "This simply isn't true. The science is clear, if complex. So are the economics. The facts are out there and have been for nearly 20 years (when did Bill Clinton first agree to cut emissions to 1991 levels? Answer, 1993).

    The only people muddying the waters are self interest groups such as the Heartland folks."

    Don, you've done it again. The science is not clear. I can't see how you can be so confident in this issue. The Scientists aren't even clear. Here's a few of the latest facts:
    1. Last week a German study stated that the world will cool till 2015.
    2. The NOAA states that the Eurasian land mass had the greatest snow cover in January ever recorded.
    3. Tropical troposphere temperatures dropping to their lowest in 30 years
    ...and so it could go on...and no doubt from the warming side as well.

    Muddying of the waters is unfortunate, but let's not call the waters settled.

    Since Jan 2007 • 150 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    Andrew,

    I agree - there's so many bits of climate science that are still unclear: how much sea level rise, how fast, how much warming, how fast, etc etc.

    This should all be discussed and researched rigorously and with peer reviewed research, in the halls of science.

    But this is NOT what Heartland and its cronies do. They simply cherrypick bits of old science to come to the same [non peer reviewed] conclusion every single time.

    That is a little suspicious don't you think?

    it goes back to that great quote from Frank Luntz, republican comms advisor, which I'll repeat again here:

    "The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science...Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field."

    Luntz, however, changed his mind. But the Republicans (well the Bushies) haven't, thanks to Heartland et al.

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    As far as getting their names removed as co-authors goes, NZ copyright law provides for a moral right to not be misidentified as the author of a work. From the Copyright Act 1994, s102(2) says "A person has the right - (a) Not to have a literary ... work falsely attributed to him or her as author".

    Of course the flaw with this is that Heartland isn't based in NZ, making our copyright protections rather impotent. Europe has similar courses of action, the US doesn't. So it's certainly not a slam-dunk that Heartland can misattribute authorship of the paper without consequence, but actually forcing them to do anything could be tricky.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3910 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    1. Last week a German study stated that the world will cool till 2015.

    I am already sick of that talking point. I'm sure somebody who's actually looked can clarify but my impression was

    1) The study suggests there is a (local) cycle running across the top of whatever the long term trend is.

    2) It's prediction assumes the background level is going up, so their prediction is that after 2015ish it will go up rapidly.

    There is a fiddly point to be made about the advancedness or otherwise about our understanding of climate systems, but I've only seen that done once. Instead people are declaring global warming postponed on the basis of one study that has nothing to do with that conclusion.

    If I was a "so-called 'sceptic'" (and smart and sincere) I wouldn't bother trumpeting that study.

    </third version of rant repeated in various places>

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    their original book is a pile of crap.

    Oh I'm sure. I'm not defending it, I just think if that's where it starts from, that's what should be attacked. Not the bibliography that someone has ripped out of it.

    As far as getting their names removed as co-authors goes, NZ copyright law provides for a moral right to not be misidentified as the author of a work.

    As far as I'm aware the list is an entirely accurate list of what the authors have written. This isn't a case of misidentification, it's a case of being grouped together and put under a heading to support the work of climate change denalists that the authors aren't happy about.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6208 posts Report Reply

  • Chaos Buddha,

    This simply isn't true. The science is clear, if complex.

    I rampantly disagree.

    The documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle does the same thing, kick off proceedings by making great pains of how many scientists that are listed/cited as directly supposedly the IPCC's findings are outraged at being so, on account of them being heatedly against the current hypothesis of global warming.

    And while I am by no means citing this documentary as a) being the be-all and end-all on the subject, or b) being completely clear, concise, factual and trustworthy, it is on the same level as Gore's An Inconweenient Truth in that it makes the information it wants you hear sound very palatable indeed.

    This whole debate is still wracked by the same problems that it always has been - too little actual, reliable data is available for the non-meteorologist/ecologist thinker to ruminate on. Everything we have is heavily biased, and insufficiently peer reviewed.

    The science is most definitely not clear, Sir.

    Nirvana • Since May 2007 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    As far as I'm aware the list is an entirely accurate list of what the authors have written. This isn't a case of misidentification, it's a case of being grouped together and put under a heading to support the work of climate change denalists that the authors aren't happy about.

    Kyle, I think you're not quite grasping what Heartland has done here.

    They're covering their tracks a bit now, but the link at the bottom of this page still refers to the list as "500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares: Alphabetical List".

    It's a flagrant misrepresentation of the views of those scientists, and it's not being done for any kind of scholarly purpose: it's PR. The "lots of climate scientists disagree" list meme is a key plank of the message that "the science isn't settled".

    And perhaps I'm wrong, but I took "co-authors" as a claim of authorship for Heartland's paper. It's certainly an odd way of citing:

    http://www.heartland.org/pdf/21978.pdf

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    Global Sea Ice has last month reached an an extent that has only been exceeded twice in 25 years .
    jan 2008 was the second highest jan on record.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2008/mar/global.html#seaice
    Just maybe we are getting colder not warmer

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 229 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    The antarctic sea (not glacial) ice was noted and predicted to continue a few years ago as a consequence of warming. Warmer air carries more moisture far enough south to snow on antartica. I have no idea why the arctic would be different, but there is more land in the vicinity if not underneath.

    Geez, there is something addictive about this debate though. I mean, I am not even deeply informed and I also have work to do.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Judd,

    @ Steve Curtis -
    From the page you linked to:

    According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the March 2008 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent, which is measured from passive microwave instruments onboard NOAA satellites, was below the 1979-2000 mean, but greater than the previous four years. This was the sixth least March sea ice extent on record. The past four years had the least March sea ice extent since records began in 1979. Sea ice extent for March has decreased at a rate of 2.8%/decade (since satellite records began in 1979) as temperatures in the high latitude Northern Hemisphere have risen at a rate of approximately 0.37°C/decade over the same period.

    No mention of global cooling there...
    This is followed by the section you cherry-picked:

    Meanwhile, the March 2008 Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent was much above the 1979-2000 mean. This was the largest sea ice extent in March (28.6% above the 1979-2000 mean) over the 30-year historical period, surpassing the previous record set in 1994 by 10.9%. Sea ice extent for March has increased at a rate of 4.2%/decade.

    Clicking through the link provided at the bottom of that article one reaches the NSIDC news page and can read the following piece:

    May 5, 2008

    Arctic sea ice forecasts point to lower-than-average season ahead

    Spring has arrived in the Arctic. After peaking at 15.21 million square kilometers (5.87 million square miles) in the second week of March, Arctic sea ice extent has declined through the month of April. April extent has not fallen below the lowest April extent on record, but it is still below the long-term average.

    Taken together, an assessment of the available evidence, detailed below, points to another extreme September sea ice minimum. Could the North Pole be ice free this melt season? Given that this region is currently covered with first-year ice, that seems quite possible.

    No evidence of global cooling there either...

    Perth • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Judd,

    @ Andrew Smith -

    Don, you've done it again. The science is not clear. I can't see how you can be so confident in this issue. The Scientists aren't even clear. Here's a few of the latest facts:
    1. Last week a German study stated that the world will cool till 2015.
    2. The NOAA states that the Eurasian land mass had the greatest snow cover in January ever recorded.
    3. Tropical troposphere temperatures dropping to their lowest in 30 years
    ...and so it could go on...and no doubt from the warming side as well.

    The Scientists are clear - mean global temperatures are rising.
    The argument is now on the deatils - what will be the specific changes seen in the climate at point X?

    This is not evidence of a lack of consensus on the reality of a increase in mean global temperatures, it is hammering out the nitty-gritty of what the effects of that increase will be at smaller scales.

    Perth • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And perhaps I'm wrong, but I took "co-authors" as a claim of authorship for Heartland's paper.

    Well, I was looking at the first paragraph of their media release:

    A new analysis of peer-reviewed scientific literature reveals that more than 500 climate scientists have appeared as authors or coauthors of peer-reviewed scientific articles confirming that climate change is a natural phenomenon.

    That's pretty clear to me that they mean co-author in terms of the original articles. The pdf file that you've linked to, if seen out of context, could mean authorship of the book (I'm not sure what paper you're referring to). But since it's just a title 'Co-Authors: Alphabetical List', and then a list, out of context it could be the co-authors of an birthday letter.

    Maybe that's sloppy and unclear, but given that the first para of the media release makes it very clear what the list is, I'd struggle to call that dishonest or deliberately misleading.

    They're covering their tracks a bit now, but the link at the bottom of this page still refers to the list as "500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares: Alphabetical List".

    If you go here they say:

    In response to the complaints, The Heartland Institute has changed the headlines that its PR department had chosen for some of the documents related to the lists, from “500 Scientists with Documented Doubts of Man-Made Global Warming Scares” to “500 Scientists Whose Research Contradicts Man-Made Global Warming Scares.”

    The link you've found there links to the changed title in the actual page, someone hasn't changed the text in the 'related' link. I think that's more a case of out-of-date web page. Whether or not the changed title is better is I guess up to everyone, but it's now more a matter of opinion ("does XXX's research contradict man made global warming scare?") vs the old title where a scientist could easily say "umm, no I didn't document any doubts, because I have none".

    Heartland institute and the authors of the original book should be allowed to interpret research how they will (after all, scientists who believe in global climate change will do that as well), even if they do a really bad job of it. Debating and interpreting the meaning of data and research is at the heart of scientific debate. If people want to set store in the conclusions that non-scientists come to in those debates, up to them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6208 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __1. Last week a German study stated that the world will cool till 2015.__

    I am already sick of that talking point. I'm sure somebody who's actually looked can clarify but my impression was ...

    A lot of the analyses are kinda dense, but this one from Climate Progress is reasonably accessible:

    **Nature article on ‘cooling’ confuses media, deniers: Next decade may see rapid warming**

    The Nature article that has caused so much angst about the possibility we are entering a decade of cooling — “Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector” (subs req’d) — has, in fact, been widely misreported. I base this in part on direct communication with the lead author.

    In fact, with the general caveat from the authors that the study as a whole should be viewed in a very preliminary fashion, and should not be used for year-by-year predictions, it is more accurate to say the Nature study is consistent with the following statements:

    - The “coming decade” (2010 to 2020) is poised to be the warmest on record, globally.

    - The coming decade is poised to see faster temperature rise than any decade since the authors’ calculations began in 1960.

    - The fast warming would likely begin early in the next decade — similar to the 2007 prediction by the Hadley Center in Science (see “Climate Forecast: Hot — and then Very Hot“).

    - The mean North American temperature for the decade from 2005 to 2015 is projected to be slightly warmer than the actual average temperature of the decade from 1993 to 2003.

    Gareth Renowden has a more technical take on it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    Re: Great Global Warming Swindle

    A great critique of the Swindle was the interview by ABC Australia's Tony Jones with documentary maker Martin Durkin. WELL worth a watch. There's a lot of scientific critiques as well, and UK TV watchdog Ofcom ruling due out soon.

    part 1 here
    and
    part 2 here.

    Re: Gore - judgment... the judge kept referring to "Alleged errors" and "so-called errors". Deltoid covered it well.

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    And while I am by no means citing this documentary as a) being the be-all and end-all on the subject, or b) being completely clear, concise, factual and trustworthy, it is on the same level as Gore's An Inconweenient Truth in that it makes the information it wants you hear sound very palatable indeed.

    They two documentaries are nowhere near equivalent. The fact you can't even be bothered to spell Gore's film correctly speaks volumes.

    The maker of the GDWS lied, pure and simple. Just ask some of the folks that "participated" in the documentary. Trying to make this an equivalent of Al Gore's film is just as dishonest as Durkin was.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1616 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Heartland institute and the authors of the original book should be allowed to interpret research how they will (after all, scientists who believe in global climate change will do that as well), even if they do a really bad job of it.

    Well, yes, but for all their bitching about DeSmogBlog, they didn't change a word until they were called on it.

    I maintain, the purpose of the exercise, and the way the "co-author" list was presented was not scholarly, and it was not accidental.

    Its specific purpose was to generate headlines like these:

    500 Scientists Publish Peer-Reviewed Literature Refuting Man-Made Global Warming

    Over 500 Scientists Have Published Evidence Countering Man-Made Global Warming Fears

    Antarctic ice grows to record levels & Over 500 scientists published studies countering global warming fears

    500 Scientists Explain The Inconvenient Truth To Al Gore And The UN

    And there's plenty more where they came from. Like I say, it's not just an accident.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen,

    There are a LOT of complaints about 'Swindle' pending too...this being one of them http://flet.org/node/20. Wikipedia has much more, as one would imagine.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2008 • 47 posts Report Reply

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