Sunday, January 20, 2008

The art of climate auditing

Climate auditing is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy (from Ernest Benn).

35 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

Hmm, that doesn't seem to fit perfectly. How about "... hoping to apply the wrong remedy, but reduced to teeth-gnashing frustration owing to an inability to do so."

Anonymous said...

Climate audit- finding enough holes in AGW to let feel good about buying my gas guzzling car.

JohnS

Anonymous said...

Climate auditing. The latter-day art of tilting at windmills.

Climate auditor. Synonym: Alonso Quixano (variations: The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha; JohnS; bender; ...)


Cymraeg llygoden

slevdi said...

Climate Science is the art of looking for anthropogenic global warming, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy (paraphrased from Ernest Benn).

-- Slevdi Davoteca

Anonymous said...

...and idiocy is the art of saying the same stupid thing over ("Global warming stopped in 1998") and over (Did I mention that "Global warming stopped in 1998"?) and thinking that it is brilliant each time.

Anonymous said...

According to Steve McIntyre, the art of climate auditing involves taking minor issues of contention and becomes part of the denialist chorus.

Sing loudly until chorus catches the attention of elected offical whose hearing has been tuned by corporate cash.

Repeat cycle.


Mus musculus anonymouse

Anonymous said...

AGW is a serious issue. As indeed is simple GW. Too serious for this stuff. There is no reason to treat with rudeness, condescension and outright contempt people who are, whatever you say about their success, genuinely reading the materials and trying to find out what exactly they say, and what exactly their assertions are based on.

It seems to me a wholly admirable undertaking, regardless of whether you think they succeed. Their success is considerable, regardless of the fact that Steve M is not infallible. Who is? Well, you guys obviously think you are, or you wouldn't conduct yourselves as you do.

They are paying the compliment of actually reading the papers, reading the IPCC reports, and not wasting their time being snotty and intolerant of any scrutiny of the Party Line.

We don't know where its going, but its an interesting journey. And there have already been a couple of significant casualties. Expect more.

Steve M by the way is as far away from denialism as you can get. He is on record as saying that the raising of CO2 levels we are currently indulging in seems to him ill considered and risky. He's also on record as saying that he has no doubt of warming, and would probably, if in a policy making position, accept the IPCC recommendations.

I don't really see what your problem is with CA. Unless its just that you cannot stand anything but slavish echoing of the party line? Your real problem with it seems to be that it exists in addition to Real Climate.

Anonymous said...

Stepping into his wayback machine, Mus brings you the Anonymous above, only ten years prior.

"I don't really understand what your guys problem is. It's not like he's saying that cigarettes are not bad for you. He agrees with the surgeon general that smoking can cause harm.

He just doesn't want to toe the party line that second hand smoke can hurt the other people in the room. We don't yet know where the science is on this, but you guys keep talking about small children getting asthma because their parents smoke, and....."

Yea, right dude. We're all a bunch of crazed loonies walking in lock step. Thank goodness we've got cutting edge thinkers like Steve McIntyre who are brave enough to challenge us ideologues.

Only Steve makes honest debate possible.


Mus musculus anonymouse

Anonymous said...

Climate alarmism is the art of looking for warming, finding it in every weather event be it hot or cold, misdiagnosing weather as climate, and not reducing one's own carbon footprint until draconian remedies are forced on all.

Anonymous said...

Looks like someone here got sent to the wrong operating room. The operation was scheduled to have been a sense of humour transplant, but it seems the bypass op got carried out by mistake.

Cymraeg llygoden

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:59 said

"There is no reason to treat with rudeness, condescension and outright contempt people who are, whatever you say about their success, genuinely reading the materials and trying to find out what exactly they say, and what exactly their assertions are based on."

No, but there is every reason to do so with people who are not reading the stuff before they start ranting about it.

If McIntyre is genuinely interested in "reading the material", then he should do just that. He should RTFP -- I mean really read it carefully so he sees what it says, not what he wants it to say.

He obviously did not do so before he started critiquing Hansen 88.

Otherwise he would have known from the text of the paper itself (ie, Hansen's words) that Hansen considered scenario B to be the most plausible of the 3 scenarios. It was all there in black and white for all to read.

Those who try to argue that this is not the case (that Hansen thought scenario A was most plausible, for example ) have not themselves RTFP. They should just STFU.

Even McIntyre himself now admits he was mistaken.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Actually, I think that McI ought to RTFTB (read the F'in Textbook) before he goes much farther in his "audit". It would help keep him from asking stupid questions and looking like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

You are all continuing with the same wrongheaded approach and the same irrelevancies.

The point is not whether McIntyre is right. Sometimes he is, sometimes not. The point is, its a legitimate activity in an open society to try to read and publicly question.

It is not an appropriate reaction to it to greet it with a chorus of howls of indignation and accusations of bad faith. Has he made errors, point them out clearly and specifically. Specifically.

Saying that it is like the connexion between smoking and cancer is common. It proves nothing, analogies never do. Any more than if one says that AGW is like some other scientific prediction or theory subsequently refuted. This sort of thing is totally unhelpful. It does not move the debate forwards. You notice that what moved the smoking debate forward was statistics. This is similarly what is moving the cholesterol debate forwards. If you notice Business Week's recent article however, its being moved in a different direction: the sceptics are gradually being proved to have a point on this one. Happens sometimes in a free society. Could happen with AGW. Even suppose its basically correct, we certainly don't fully understand everything there is to understand about the climate yet. There may well be surprises, but in the end what will end the debate is observation and statistics, not abuse. One way or the other.

I am not sure that M is wrong about Hansen's paper but nothing much hangs on it as to the legitimacy and value of his activity. Nor for that matter does it matter a whole lot if Hansens paper was very wrong. It has sparked debate, enquiry and further understanding so it is valuable even if refuted. And anyway, if M only ends up proving Hansen right, that will have been a legitimate outcome too.

As to my sense of humour. No, I don't find this stuff funny. Without the least desire to be sarcastic, this is a topic of the greatest importance. The future of the planet depends on it. It is not exactly a laughing matter. Any more than mercury poisoning was. No apologies for that.

anon 9:59 AM

Boris said...

McSteve's main goal is to raise doubt. He does not admit this, but it is what he does, as any observant anonymous would know. For instance, you want to talk about models, well, McSteve will undoubtedly bring up Ellingson 1991 because Ellingson found that some radiation codes were pretty bad. Of course, he never mentioned any other part of the ICRCCM project. I mean, why follow up on 16 years of research when you've found the bit that you want? Lather, rinse, repeat with the rest of his postings.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above: "[Stevie Mac] has sparked debate, enquiry and further understanding so it is valuable even if refuted. And anyway, if M only ends up proving Hansen right, that will have been a legitimate outcome too."

Yep, and if my plumber proves that red meat is good for your heart, then cardiologists all across the planet will rejoice at his approval.

Eli, I've said it before and I'll say it again. The large number of contrarians on this site is definitive proof that your blog has finally arrived.

These guys just won't give up.


Mus musculus anonymouse

EliRabett said...

Let us consider:

"It is not an appropriate reaction to it to greet it with a chorus of howls of indignation and accusations of bad faith."

Eli grew up in the public square, in particular Union Square in New York. It definitely IS the appropriate reaction in the public square to greet obfustication, misleading statements and outright falsehoods with jeers. As a matter of fact we used to travel miles to do it and bring popcorn. Note that Rabett Runs style runs to jeers rather than howls. Howls we leave to teh other side.

"Has he made errors, point them out clearly and specifically. Specifically."

We have. Read the jeers.

"Saying that it is like the connexion between smoking and cancer is common. It proves nothing, analogies never do."

Now this one is something between misleading and obfustication. As the Big Bunny has pointed out, the characters are the same, the tactics are the same and the funders are pretty much the same. Reflect of viruous anon at all of the climate denialists who appear in the tobacco archives, their hands out seeking succor.

Type tobacco into that little search box at the top oh incurious.

Anonymous said...

anon 11:32 said: "You are all continuing with the same wrongheaded approach and the same irrelevancies.

The point is not whether McIntyre is right. Sometimes he is, sometimes not. The point is, its a legitimate activity in an open society to try to read and publicly question."

Actually, it is you who missed the main point. That point was not that McIntyre was wrong. It was that he was so careless in his reading of the Hansen 88 paper that he "missed" the obvious -- something that Hansen stated outright: that he (Hansen) considered scenario B the most plausible of the 3.

McIntyre's "misread" in this case is extremely relevant because he claims to be an "auditor".

Well, good auditors (even junior high school "auditors in training") do not take such a half-assed approach to reading the stuff they are auditing.

How would you like it if someone who called himself an "auditor' "audited" your business and then, based on a sloppy reading of your tax material, claimed you had not paid your taxes when you had?

If this show anything, it is that McIntyre is sloppy in the extreme.

Anonymous said...

Yes, maybe Hansen did consider scenario B the most plausible. But what exactly was scenario B is the question?

I don't think you can have read M's post of Jan 18 with any care. It is a rather measured and it gets to a quite reasonable conclusion, as follows:

"I agree that it’s unfair for Hansen critics to compare Scenario A temperature results to actual outcomes as a test of the model mechanics. On the other hand, Hansen’s supporters have also been far too quick to claim vindication given the hodgepodge of GHG concentration results. If it’s unfair to blame the blame the model for differences between actual and projected if the GHG projections are wrong, then it i equally unfair to credit the model with “success” if it gets a “right” answer using wrong GHG projections."

I cannot for the life of me see anything in this that justifies all the venom. It seems common sense.

He will make errors from time to time, some of them will be careless. He is human. We all do that. Climate scientists are not immune from error and obfuscation. Glass houses.

I'm not by the way interested in smoking and tobacco - Dixon Doll was right, no-one has ever cast any serious doubt on his work. What on earth is all this about? It has nothing to do with climate. Neither does evolution. I can't understand why you guys go on and on about these irrelevant topics.

Jerry Fodor by the way has interesting thoughts on evolution, if the subject interests you. I read them quickly because he's Fodor, but couldn't tell you any more than that.

anon 11:32

EliRabett said...

Dear Anon 11:32

We on the other hand are interested in the entire it sounds like science movement which was started by the tobacco companies to obfusticate the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke. They latched onto climate change pretty early. The same characters led that parade as are leading the science parade, the same funders, the same tactic and in both cases the clowns have imposed major procrastination penalties on everyone.

Boris said...

"How would you like it if someone who called himself an "auditor' "audited" your business and then, based on a sloppy reading of your tax material, claimed you had not paid your taxes when you had?"

Clearly this is the analogy of the year, except that the auditor posted the accusation on the internets.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Eli, there is no connection between being unconvinced about tobacco or evolution, and being unconvinced about AGW. And particularly, no connexion with Steve M. No-one to my knowledge has ever accused him of disbelieving in either evolution or the tobacco issue.

Not that it would make the slightest difference to the merits of his views regarding climate if he did. It is not only a completely stupid sort of argument to be making, it is also completely irrelevant to the merits of the case. You should know better. If it works, it can only do so by petty intimidation.

Now, take the analogy further, and what you are all objecting to about "auditors" happens all the time. Have you never read Herb Greenberg's blog? Or Reggie Middleton? Or Cassandra? Or Calculated Risk?

These guys are all looking with a wary jaundiced eye at the economic and financial scene, publishing what they think, and they are rarely complimentary about either rating agencies, companies like Krispy K, or the Fed.

Get used to it. This is America. People who publish do not have to please you. They do us all a service by furthering the debate. Get back to the library and take out that copy of John Stuart Mill, and the Constitution, and when you refresh your memory of where you live, get yourselves focussed on some of the real issues about climate and write something as substantial as Steve M about them.

Like, for instance, feedbacks. You could start there. Do some work for a change.

anon 11:32

void {} said...

Do you mean mistakes like these?

There are always more than enough errors to go around in all Big Science projects.

Anonymous said...

Yes, maybe Hansen did consider scenario B the most plausible. But what exactly was scenario B is the question?"

Again you miss the point (I am beginning to think it is purposeful)

McIntyre did not even read the paper he claimed to be auditing -- or if he did, he did not read it at all carefully.

That's my point -- my only point.

I am really sorry if you don't like my point.

That's fine, but don't try to twist it around to "McIntyre made a mistake and everyone makes mistakes", OK?

Lazar said...

anon 11:32 wrote

"Get used to it. This is America. People who publish do not have to please you. They do us all a service by furthering the debate. Get back to the library and take out that copy of John Stuart Mill, and the Constitution, and when you refresh your memory of where you live, get yourselves focussed on some of the real issues about climate and write something as substantial as Steve M about them."

Although I generally agree...

J S Mill (On Liberty) advocates for the expression of false information against threat of censorship, we are not talking about censoring CA.

He claimed the open expression of false ideas as beneficial to the testing, the confirmation and the spread of truth, but he implicitly assumed everyone is rational and well informed, now if not everyone is particularly rational or well informed but practically everyone has the vote... what is the danger propaganda poses in a democratic society under imminent threat?

The people generally come to the right idea but the question is time... how much time have CA and Inhofe and others wasted?

It seems to me Steve McIntyre tries very hard to not understand.

The errors he makes all seem to fall on one particular side.

Dano said...


Get used to it. This is America. People who publish do not have to please you. They do us all a service by furthering the debate. Get back to the library and take out that copy of John Stuart Mill, and the Constitution, and when you refresh your memory of where you live, get yourselves focussed on some of the real issues about climate and write something as substantial as Steve M about them.


Funny.

Publish.

"further the debate".

Sure. All those publications from the denialists: journal articles, letters, peer-reviewed papers, model output, testable hypotheses, scribbles on a napkin.

*snork*.

Best,

D

Anonymous said...

Dano,

The funniest thing about that comment was that it was in response to criticisms of McIntyre.

"It's un-American to criticize McIntyre! The US Constitution says so. Read it!"

Anonymous said...

No, it is not unAmerican to criticize McIntyre. It is however both unAmerican and profoundly illiberal to object to the existence of CA and scepticism generally. And to use acceptance or non-acceptance of a scientific hypothesis as 'marks of grace' - indicators of whether one is a good person.

Perhaps the most revealing comment of recent ones is lazars. Mill's point was that the nature of the electorate and its education level do not matter to the issue of the value of open expression. It is if you like a version of the wisdom of crowds. Now yes, they may be uninformed, and they may be misled. But there is no better way, that was Mill's point, and CA is valuable because its playing a role in this.

Efforts to preserve the uninformed from manipulation by propaganda always end up in the Gulag. Its just a matter of when.

Anonymous criticizes me for taking a different view of M's posts than he does. He takes what is becoming the traditional tack of accusing me of deliberately not understanding something, because I take a different point of view. Its simply wrong. I do not think that M does misrepresent what Hansen said, nor do I think he failed to either read it, or read it carefully. You have not read the posts if you think this. There are around 4 of them, and quite dense. He does, it is true, take an apparently different point of view from anon on how the different scenarios were rated in the testimony. He is fully entitled to argue his point on this, and even if wrong, the evidence of the whole series of posts supports neither carelessness, silliness or bad faith.

In the end however, the interesting thing about the CA posts on the Hansen papers is the treatment of other greenhouse gases than CO2. I learned something from this. I had not realized how much difference there was between those early forecasts and what happened, nor did I have the slightest idea how they had been used in the forecasts.

So, thanks to CA for that.

anon 11:32

Lazar said...

No, it is not unAmerican to criticize McIntyre. It is however both unAmerican and profoundly illiberal to object to the existence of CA and scepticism generally.

The world would be a better place without propaganda... that is not the same as advocating for censorship.
Propaganda delayed taking action against Hitler. Propaganda delayed taking the communists at their word. Propaganda is delaying action against AGW and other environmental stresses and the 20-tonne fossil fuel crunch heading our way. Propaganda has often been used to undermine the very freedoms Mill valued.
The science was 'in' long ago. If I was McIntyre, I would ponder in private, or if I published, it would be under the heading "my attempt to understand climate science", I would not spread my ignorance and confusion as an 'audit'.
Most adopting the label 'skeptic' in the climate debate are anything but... they are extremely gullible and driven by ideology.

Anonymous said...

One anon to another said "It is however both unAmerican and profoundly illiberal to object to the existence of CA and scepticism generally."

And another anon to the one says:

I don't object to the existence of Climate Audit -- just to the name. Just to the fact that McIntyre implies that he is somehow an "auditor" of climate science.

Just as I would object to Dr. Zeuss calling himself an MD.

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Lazar said:

"If I was McIntyre, I would ponder in private, or if I published, it would be under the heading "my attempt to understand climate science"

I would correct this statement. McI should pulish under the heading "My Attempt to MISunderstand climate science". This because he seems to try very hard not to understand things which are quite clear.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:32 says "I do not think that M does misrepresent what Hansen said, nor do I think he failed to either read it, or read it carefully. You have not read the posts if you think this.'

No, it is YOU who have not read McIntyre's posts because you are clearly not aware that the post that McIntyre currently has up on Climate Audit was amended from its original form.

Here's what McIntyre originally posted:

"Hansen has subsequently said that Scenario B was said by him at the time (in his testimony) to have been the "most plausible", although the article itself contained no such statement.

McIntyre removed the false bolded statement and replaced it with

"then inconsistently with the graphic shown on the right side only showing Scenario A out to 2050, said (p 9345) that Scenario B was “more plausible”, an aside that subsequently assumed considerable significance."

The fact that McIntyre initially posted a patently FALSE statement that flat out contradicts what Hansen stated CLEAR as day in his paper about scenario B is proof that McIntyre did NOT read the hansen 88 paper carefully before he first posted about it.

That is precisely what I referred to previously when I said McIntyre had either not read Hansen 88 or that he had not read it carefully before he posted about it. And he had not.

This is not merely a matter of opinion or interpretation. McIntyre himself admits in the comments (#10) at Deltoid (see above link) that he amended the post in question regarding the statement about Scenario B. That you are ignorant of McIntyre's initial post does not make you right -- or even excuse you.

Do try to RTFP next time, will you?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:32 says "It is however both unAmerican and profoundly illiberal to object to the existence of CA and scepticism generally."

Where was that done above?

I do not recall anyone "objecting to the existence of Climate Audit (or scepticism generally)

Climate Audit serves a valuable purpose: to remind us all how not to do science.

Anonymous said...

Don't really see that the problem justifies all this abuse. M made an error about exactly how scenario B was represented, and he corrected it. Good for him.

The name 'auditor'. Its within common English usage to call yourself something which is used as a qualification in some contexts, but in your context is a metaphor. Look at CBS Marketwatch, Minyanville, lots of people calling themselves "Professor" Depew and so on. It is rather clear that they are neither professors, nor associated with any organization which has real professors. I guess we could, as the 19c European countries did, go to a restricted use of these things so that only people with certain qualifications can refer to themselves or name their sites with the use of the word 'audit'.

Or we could save our breath to cool our porage....

anon1132

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:32 "M made an error about exactly how scenario B was represented".

So, you finally admit that you were mistaken (after I pointed it out to you multiple times)

I guess we should all be thankful for small favors.

You are entitled to choose your own "auditor" (even yourself), of course, but I much prefer "auditors" who read the paper before expressing their opinion.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:59 said

"There is no reason to treat with rudeness, condescension and outright contempt people who are, whatever you say about their success, genuinely reading the materials and trying to find out

and further on down:
"Don't really see that the problem justifies all this abuse. M made an error about exactly how scenario B was represented, and he corrected it. Good for him."

When McIntyre originally posted that
"Hansen has subsequently said that Scenario B was said by him at the time (in his testimony) to have been the "most plausible", although the article itself contained no such statement."

McIntyre was claiming, in effect that Hansen had been lying, or at least "disingenuous".

There was just one problem for McIntyre this time: he was intellectually sloppy (did not actually read Hansen 88), exposing the game he was playing.

The guy is just pathetic and should not be given the time of day by scientists or anyone else.