Thursday, April 09, 2015

We will not be moved, says American Physical Society leadership

A lot of their members are not happy with the APS endorsing Warmism so it remains to be seen what the next meeting of the society will produce.  Will the proposed new statement get a majority in favour?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is APS revising its climate change statement?
A: The American Physical Society formally reviews its statements every five years. The APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) formed a subcommittee in fall 2013 to review its 2007 Climate Change Statement and 2010 Climate Change Commentary. After reviewing the statement, commentary and recent scientific reports, POPA developed a single, concise statement on Earth's Changing Climate.

Q: Who wrote the statement?
A: The entire APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) membership was engaged in drafting the statement. The panel's membership as well as the Charge to POPA and resource documents can be found on the APS Climate Change Statement review website.

Q: What was the process to revise the statement?
A: A detailed description of the process is included in APS News and posted on the APS Climate Change Statement review website. Briefly, the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) adhered to the process outlined in the APS Board & Council Joint Oversight Policies & Procedures, starting with a standard review of the 2007 APS Climate Change Statement and 2010 Climate Change Commentary. Then, a POPA subcommittee convened a workshop to inform itself on aspects of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) consensus view of the physical basis of climate science. That was followed by the drafting of a single, concise statement that was reviewed by POPA and the APS Council. The APS Board unanimously voted to send it to the membership for comment on Feb. 21, 2015.

Q: How does this draft statement compare to the 2007 statement and 2010 commentary?
A: In this draft statement on Earth's Changing Climate, APS "reiterates" its 2007 statement in stating that: the climate is changing, humans are contributing to climate change, and rising concentrations of greenhouse gases pose the risk of significant disruption around the globe. While there remain scientific challenges to our ability to observe, interpret and project climate change, APS continues to support actions - as it did in the 2007 statement - that reduce greenhouse gases and increase the resilience of society to climate change. A primary change is that the draft is succinct and does not require an associated commentary.

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Statistician Briggs replies to Ronald Bailey

Following up on the article behind my leading post yesterday

I have already changed my mind about global warming. I was initially a believer that bad times were on their way. Why? Well, I was young, fresh to the field. I knew how smart my betters were; I knew how wonderfully complex their models could be; I saw the increasing success in weather forecasting and the improvements in short-term (out to a year or so) climate predictions.

The temperatures, back then, were on their way up, too, in accord with what some climatologists were predicting. I never made the mistake, like Bailey, to count the same piece of evidence more than once. Rising temperatures were consist with the theory that increasing CO2 caused increasing temperatures. But a melting glacier is a consequence of that heating, it is not additional proof of the theory. What an elementary mistake to think it was! Likewise, nothing that was a consequence of increased temperatures counts as additional evidence of why the increased happened.

That I saw people making these mistakes, in a big, enthusiastic way, was what started my path back to Truth. How many papers announced "This evil will befall us once the temperature increases past the point of no return"? Thousands; more; they continue in a steady stream. And all of them were taken as evidence that the CO2-theory was right.

That being impossible, and stupid, I began seriously looking into the problem.

That's when I noticed climate model forecasts had no skill. Before, I merely took it for granted they had. The predictions models made were not as good as saying "next year will look like last year", i.e. persistence. The models were poor globally, and even worse locally. The temperatures, for some two decades now, are not going in the direction the models promised.

This can only mean that the models were (are) broken. Why? Well, the theory which underlies them must be busted. Where? Who knows? It could be many things, or just one big thing. It's not my job to find out, either. Though I and some pals of mine have some guesses.

Your car doesn't start. You can then authoritatively state, "My car is busted." It would be asinine and unscientific to say, "Even though my car doesn't start, it really does work and really is taking me places." Yet that is what supporters of the current models are saying. The models don't work but proponents still claim they're still taking us to the future. This is a form of politically correct lunacy.

But therein lies my answer to the question. I would change my mind and believe the models had a good, and not a dismal, handle on reality if they were to start making good predictions. About the future.

I had to add that, what seemed unnecessary, "About the future" because of the unfortunate habit of some modelers to claim their models make good "forecasts"--of the past. Yes, they do this. It's called "hindcasting" or "backcasting". It's a way of testing model fit with observed data. It can be useful to discover wild or egregious flaws in models, but no matter how well a model hindcasts, it's no guarantee it will make good future-casts.

Future-casts, i.e. predictions, are the only test. There is none other. And models have so far failed that test.

But if they were to pass that test, and pass it consistently, then I'd have to believe the models were on to something, and that the theories which drive the models are likely true.


Viscount Monckton replies to Bailey

Lord Monckton has done a most comprehensive reply to Bailey that does not yet seem to be online anywhere.  It is very graphics-intensive so I do not have the time to get it ready for publication here but I do reproduce below some excerpts

our emissions of CO2 and its atmospheric concentration are rising, but anthropogenic CO2 represents only 3% of the total free CO2 in the Earth-atmosphere system. But in logic – it cannot be repeated often enough – mere correlation does not necessary imply causation.

Professor Murry Salby, late of Macquarie University, Australia, has established that it is the time-integral of temperature changes that causes changes in CO2 concentration, leaving little or no room for any detectable anthropogenic contribution. He is not alone in his findings. If he is right, there is no need to posit any role for CO2 or other anthropogenic influences. On that analysis, climate sensitivity  may well be zero.

Cross-correlations by Professor Salby between CO2 change and temperature change. He has found by detailed inspection that the observed record shows CO2 concentration change lagging temperature change by about 8-10 months, approximately the lag that would be expected on the basis of an atmospheric residence time of about 5 years. It is a settled principle of logic that that which occurs second cannot have caused that which occurred first.

Will greenhouse-gas emissions cause much warming?

 No - and, on the evidence to date, certainly not as much as the IPCC predicted.

Near-term projections of warming at a rate equivalent to 2.8 [1.9, 4.2] K/century, made with "substantial confidence" in IPCC (1990), for the 303 months January 1990 to March 2015 (orange region and red trend line), vs. observed anomalies (dark blue) and trend (bright blue) at less than 1.4 K/century equivalent, taken as the mean of the RSS and UAH satellite monthly mean lower-troposphere temperature anomalies.

Do temperature feedbacks amplify direct CO2 warming?

No. Measurements suggest feedbacks are negative, attenuating direct CO2 warming.

Furthermore, the range of mean global surface temperature change over the past 810,000 years was just 3.5 degrees C either side of the long-run average - about the same as the range of temperatures permitted by an ordinary household thermostat. It is difficult to alter the Earth's temperature, because the atmosphere is sandwiched between two vast heat-sinks: the oceans below and outer space above.

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Has The Guardian “Rolling Stoned” Christy & Spencer?

The super-confident Warmist, Dana Nuccitelli, of The Guardian is good at "proving" his points by quoting what his fellow Warmists say but his repertoire is not limited to that.  He also does personal attacks. He has recently done a hit piece on two skeptical scientists.  His screed is mostly "ad hominem" so hardly worth replying to but one of those targeted, Roy Spencer, has replied as follows:

That tireless ecological zealot over at The Guardian, Dana Nuccitelli, took the opportunity of our 25th anniversary of satellite-based global temperature monitoring to rip us a new one.

Comparing John Christy and me to "scientists who disputed the links between smoking and cancer", Dana once again demonstrates his dedication to the highest standards of journalism.

Well done, Grauniad.

I prefer to compare us to Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, who rejected the scientific consensus that peptic ulcers were due to too much stress or spicy food.  While they eventually received the Nobel Prize after years of ridicule and scorn from the medical research community, we have no illusions that we will ever be credited for our long-standing position that global warming fears have been overblown.  I’m sure the UN’s IPCC will find a way to take credit for that, and get another Peace Prize for it.

(I wonder if Marshall and Warren were being paid off by the spicy food lobby?)

The "97% of all climate scientists agree" meme that Dana bitterly clings to has been thoroughly discredited…. as if scientific consensus on something so poorly understood as climate change (or stomach ulcers 15 years ago?) really means anything, anyway.

To prove that Dana should probably avoid trying to interpret simple graphs, let's examine this chart he so likes, which allegedly shows that our (UAH) global temperature dataset has been continually adjusted for errors over the years, resulting in an increasing warming trend:


Now, setting aside the fact that (1) we actually do adjust for obvious, demonstrable errors as soon as they have been found (unlike the IPCC climate modelers who continue to promote demonstrably wrong models), and (2) RSS gets about the same (relatively benign) warming trend as we do, let's examine some other popular temperature datasets in the same manner as the above graph:


Looks a lot like Dana's plot, doesn't it?   Do you want to know why?  Is it really because all those other temperature dataset providers were also busily correcting mistakes in their data, too?  No, it's largely because as the years go by, the global temperature trend changes, silly.

About the only thing Dana got reasonably correct is his article's tag line, "John Christy and Roy Spencer are pro-fossil fuel and anti-scientific consensus."

You're damn right we are.   But not because we are paid to say it, which we aren't.  (What are you paid to say for The Guardian, Dana?)

We are pro-fossil fuel because there are no large scale replacements available, wind and solar are too expensive, and you can’t just cut fossil fuel use without causing immense human suffering.  Yes, I’ve talked to some of the top economists about it.

And indeed we are “anti-scientific consensus” because the consensus (which mostly just follows the average of the IPCC climate models) has been demonstrated to be wrong.

Finally, if Dana objects to me tiring of being called a "global warming denier" (with the obvious Holocaust connotations) for the last seven eight years and fighting back, read this and then tell me where I am wrong.


Research known to be fraudulent gets published

The report below concerns the medical literature but if it happens there it surely happens everywhere

Research Misconduct Identified by the US Food and Drug Administration

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of the Peer-Reviewed Literature

By Charles Seife


Importance:  Every year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects several hundred clinical sites performing biomedical research on human participants and occasionally finds evidence of substantial departures from good clinical practice and research misconduct. However, the FDA has no systematic method of communicating these findings to the scientific community, leaving open the possibility that research misconduct detected by a government agency goes unremarked in the peer-reviewed literature.

Objectives:  To identify published clinical trials in which an FDA inspection found significant evidence of objectionable conditions or practices, to describe violations, and to determine whether the violations are mentioned in the peer-reviewed literature.

Design and Setting:  Cross-sectional analysis of publicly available documents, dated from January 1, 1998, to September 30, 2013, describing FDA inspections of clinical trial sites in which significant evidence of objectionable conditions or practices was found.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  For each inspection document that could be linked to a specific published clinical trial, the main measure was a yes/no determination of whether there was mention in the peer-reviewed literature of problems the FDA had identified.

Results:  Fifty-seven published clinical trials were identified for which an FDA inspection of a trial site had found significant evidence of 1 or more of the following problems: falsification or submission of false information, 22 trials (39%); problems with adverse events reporting, 14 trials (25%); protocol violations, 42 trials (74%); inadequate or inaccurate recordkeeping, 35 trials (61%); failure to protect the safety of patients and/or issues with oversight or informed consent, 30 trials (53%); and violations not otherwise categorized, 20 trials (35%). Only 3 of the 78 publications (4%) that resulted from trials in which the FDA found significant violations mentioned the objectionable conditions or practices found during the inspection. No corrections, retractions, expressions of concern, or other comments acknowledging the key issues identified by the inspection were subsequently published.

Conclusions and Relevance:  When the FDA finds significant departures from good clinical practice, those findings are seldom reflected in the peer-reviewed literature, even when there is evidence of data fabrication or other forms of research misconduct.


The trouble with Google defining "truth"

It thinks we're only entitled to seeing Google's "facts," especially on climate change

Ron Arnold

With its $385 billion share value, Google, Inc. has bumped ExxonMobil to become America's No. 2 ranked company in market capitalization.

That may not be a good thing. A February article in New Scientist announced, Google wants to rank websites based on facts, not links, and writer Hal Hodson said, "The internet is stuffed with garbage. Google has devised a fix - rank websites according to their truthfulness."

Not surprisingly, the idea of changing page rank from popularity to "truthfulness," based on a Google-made "knowledge vault," did not go down well.

Fox News reported, "Google's plan to rank websites is raising censorship concerns." Douglass Kennedy opened with, "They say you're entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. It's a concept not everyone is comfortable with."

They're saying we're only entitled to Google's "facts," which completely short-circuits how slippery "facts" can be and naively equates facts with truth. Ask any lawyer about truth.

Today's climate wars consist of arguments between highly qualified scientists about facts that some sincerely believe are true, and some sincerely believe are false, each for solid reasons. It should be an honest debate among equals, but it's degenerated into a power play by alarmists to kill debate to drive favored public policies that are pushed by certain politicians and their social and political base.

Google's truth plan is not so simple. Facts are statements about existence. Statements about existence can be true or false. Existence itself - your kitchen sink or the climate or whatever - can't be true or false; it just exists. Say anything you want about existence, and it won't change a thing. It still just exists. Existence doesn't give a damn what you think about it. Facts are statements about existence, and statements are always arguable.

But get everyone to believe Google Facts, and you can enforce political policies worth trillions of dollars to climate profiteers - and impose punitive, economy-strangling, job-killing regulations on millions of families.

You can see where this is going.

Imagine: Big Google the Universal Truthsayer. That's as scary as "Mr. Dark" in Ray Bradbury's 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, only worse. It's the perfect machine to kill all dissent and wither the Internet into a wasteland of groupthink, susceptible to disinformation campaigns from any power center from the CIA, to the rich bosses of Google, Inc. to Google's political friends and allies.

What about those rich bosses? Google's two co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created a corporate foundation in 2005. The Google Foundation has 2013 assets of $72,412,693, gave grants of $7.9 million, and added $29.4 million from corporate profits.

Three of Google's top-ten recipients are key climate alarmists: the World Wildlife Fund ($5 million); Energy Foundation ($2.6 million); and rabidly anti-fracking Natural Resources Defense Council ($2.5 million).

NRDC is particularly influential because it also received $3.01 million in taxpayer-financed Environmental Protection Agency grants since 2009 and has 50 employees on 40 federal advisory committees: NRDC has 33 employees on 21 EPA committees, and more in six other agencies.

The big gun in Google philanthropy is Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, whose Schmidt Family Foundation ($312 million, 2013 assets) is a major armory for groups that attack skeptics of dangerous manmade climate change. The Schmidt Foundation has given $67,147,849 in 295 grants to 180 recipients since it was endowed in 2007.    

Top Schmidt money went to Climate Central ($8.15 million), a group of activist climate scientists bolstered by $1,387,372 in EPA grants since 2009.

Schmidt also gave $3.25 million to the Energy Foundation, which was almost superfluous, since EF is practically the Mother Ship of green grants, with $1,157,046,016 given via 28,705 grants to 11,866 recipients since 1999.

Among the shadier grants in the Schmidt portfolio are anti-fracking, anti-fossil-fuel grants totaling $1.19 million to the Sustainable Markets Foundation, a shell corporation that gives no recorded grants, but funnels money to climate and anti-fracking organizations such as Bill McKibben's, so that the donors are not traceable.

Schmidt supported the far-left Tides Foundation empire with $975,000 for an anti-consumer film, "The Story of Stuff." It gave the Sierra Club $500,000 for anti-natural gas activism, the Center for Investigative Reporting $985,000 for an anti-coal film, and so forth. Schmidt's list goes on for pages.

With all the massive resources of wealth and power alarmists have, we must ask: Why do they give so much to destroy the climate debate and the debaters? What are they afraid of?

Perhaps they have staked so much money and reputation on manmade climate catastrophe claims that they are terrified by the prospect that inconvenient evidence, data, debate and scientists could destroy their carefully constructed climate house of cards.

Or perhaps it's what Eric Schmidt said at January's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, when he was asked for his prediction on the future of the web. "I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear."

How? The mature technology will be wearable, give us interactive homes and cars, and simply fade into the background - to become something that we all have, that most of us don't really know (or care) very much about, as long as it can do whatever we want.

That's the view from the pinnacle of wealth and power. On the ground, the joke is on Google.

Michael Humphrey, Forbes contributor and instructor at Colorado State University, sees younger people abandoning the public forum in favor of one-to-one connectivity. He says they don't trust the Internet.

Why? Millennials say the Internet is cheapening language, it is stunting curiosity (because answers come so easily), we are never bored so we lose creativity, it steals innocence too quickly, it makes us impulsive with our buying and talking, it is creating narcissists, it creates filter bubbles that limit discovery, it hurts local businesses, it is filled with false evidence, it desensitizes us to tragedy, it makes us lonely.

They want the real world.

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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