Response to Richard @ BH

Published March 3, 2010 by Sean

In response to the comments by Richard on this thread.

Sean Houlihane The practice of hiding the detail of a method is (and was admitted by Jones) not beneficial in the sense that a robust theory can look after itself. Transparency in the method will improve the method. This is not really a matter for sensible argument (and that was the IoP’s submission)


How can a theory be “robust” when the “detail of the method” is hidden? When that happens “the theory”, (read temperature trends), are not worth the paper they are written on, much less the basis on which to commit trillions of dollars of public money, shutting down our power generating infrastructure and moving us back to the stone age.

Stop for a moment and read what I intended to write, not what you think I wrote. I can see no logical argument which supports Gavin’s position that the secrecy is justified. Gavin says that providing more open access to the data and the method is risky because it might be abused. I say that if, and only if the theory happens to be correct as many people for various reasons believe then it can look after itself. At a scientific level, there is a need for as good a temperature series as is possible – this is how we justify having satellites and collations of instrumental data.

Not much new is known to suggest that the data is any different now compared with 6 months ago.

True but what is now known is that data is crap.

Not proven. In order to argue this, you need to be specific about which data and why you believe it is crap. Is Roy Spencer’s data contaminated by the problems you don’t elaborate on? Would you claim that the last 10 years might have seen strong warming? The only data issue I could imagine being affected by recent events is the question about comparing today’s temperatures with the MWP (and there the answer could be ‘maybe’ rather than ‘almost certainly not’)

No alternative temperature reconstructions have yet been accepted as moving the science forward, so the evidence is unchanged.

Because the bloody thick headed stupid deniers, or those who are crooked and willing to sell our future for 40 pieces of silver, will never accept the abundant temperature reconstructions which show that todays warming is in no way unique!

Too many variables. I was thinking of 1850-2010 temperatures, which are sufficient evidence for many who claim that something must be done. Go back to 1000, and the uncertainties are too large. Go back further, and the continents were not in the same place. Progress is being made, people are looking, but there is an abundance of short term environmental evidence that change is occurring which scares many people who imagine we might be at fault.

.The quality of the evidence is in question, but not by enough to justify a change in policy.

Its just a smidgen less is it? What would be enough to wake the warmists from their brain dead stupor?

You’ve got the logic back to front. Go back 30 years, and you’ll find a group of people with concerns about ozone, heavy metals, energy dependence, overpopulation, clean water, food and rain forests. They have seen the AGW issue as being aligned with their ideologies, and will take every possible fragment of supporting evidence to further their cause. They are scared, and even if this is irrational, it will take more than some scientific wrangling to convince them that the policies they support are either impractical or have significant un-intentional consequences. Try talking to a wamist about the relative costs of microgeneration and nuclear power for example.

This question is unrelated to the original submission from the IOP – they have not yet bothered to re-assess the scientific basis for current policy. It is not that they don’t care, it is not as simple an issue as ‘should the data be freely available‘.

. I can’t fail to see comments such as ‘Richard’ as being the cause for the IOP having to issue a clarification. I am disappointed that there are veiled accusations of bias being made here.

Bias? The managing committee issues a statement “The institutes position on climate change is clear: the basic science is well enough understood to be sure that our climate is changing, (changing? bloody hell – who would have known) and that we need to take action now to mitigate that change.”

The IoP has taken what you interpret as a biased position for many years. My issue was with this

This is very interesting. I think I follow developments on the climate front as closely as anyone, but I can’t say I’ve heard anyone suggest that the IoP was saying anything more than it actually did – that the climategate affair had worrying implications for the integrity of climatology.

In these circumstances, one also wonders who it was that “forced” the IoP to issue a clarification.

The forcing of the issue was fairly clear to me, the various contributors to the comment threads who were claiming that ‘this means it’s all over’. All they said was the behaviour of this one group of scientists did not meet the standards they had assumed.

When some in the Institute of Physics state that the integrity of scientific research in the climate science field is in doubt and its credibility of their use of the scientific method is in question, how on earth can the managing committe state that we need to take action to mitigate that change? How will that action be any more effective than throwing rice over your shoulder or doing a rain dance? Just because it will cost trillions of dollars more?.

The IoP has taken a clear position on the climate change/response issue for several years. Some of this is motivated by their interest in high energy physics, and some seriously expensive research going into using fusion for power generation, solar generation, efficient lighting technology. Some of it is motivated by an academic membership with personal opinions. Regardless of how stupid you feel these policies are, they were derived over a period of time based on the current understanding of the time. I’m not sure how you would want them to update their policy?

Should they say that change is not happening?
Should the focus be on adapting to the inevitable changes?
Should we just ignore it all and carry on regardless?
Should we assume CO2 is not a problem and focus on sustaining a larger population?
Should research focus on long term cost efficiency?
Maybe they will discuss questions like this, on the assumption that the IPPC reports are complete fabrication, or maybe they will turn their attention instead to asking how to improve the science. That is a question for the next 6-12 months at least, and is not covered in any way by the scope of their submission to the CRU leak inquiry.

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  1. Richard says:

    “if, and only if the theory happens to be correct as many people for various reasons believe then it can look after itself” –

    But we have no idea it is correct. The proof of the theory hinges on the temperature records. And what do we see about the records? Much if not all of the raw data has been “lost”. So what we have is “adjusted” data. We have an analysis carried out by Dr Roy Spencer of alternative data, which gives trends over 1973 to 2009 as 20% less than Jones’. We find proxy reconstructions being manipulated to do away with the Medieval warm period and little ice age.

    In short the credibility of the records is completely shot. We can say some warming has taken place say since 1973 but not by how much and we can be fairly sure that it is in no way unique. Absolutely no cause for alarm.

    In the face of such doubt and uncertaintly if the pompous governing body makes a policy statement – you can bet your bottom dollar that statement is a political one, not a scientific one.

    “how you would want them to update their policy?”

    Should they say that change is not happening? –

    They should say that change is happening as part of an ongoing process that started 150 years ago. That we have no idea in what direction the change will continue over the next decade, leave alone over the next 100 years.

    Should the focus be on adapting to the inevitable changes?

    As always. Have we not adapted over the last 150 years, and indeed over and since the last ice-age?

    Should we just ignore it all and carry on regardless?

    What do you mean by that? Carry an umbrella when it rains and cancell flights in a snow storm. What is your exact question? Ignore what?

    Should we assume CO2 is not a problem and focus on sustaining a larger population?

    How are the two related? Tackle population with education, family planning and more food growth. CO2 is not the cause and solution of the worlds problems.

    Should research focus on long term cost efficiency?

    It should focus on real science. Physics, chemistry, medicine and not be hijacked by the fraudsters of climate science.

    Posted March 4, 2010 @ 5:39 am (UK)

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