Tuesday, December 08, 2009

An innocent question

Somebunny wanna tell Eli what Real Climate's politics are? Please no venting and if you think they are collectivists, provide evidence or Eli will pull a William on you

UPDATE: For extra credit, what are Roger Pielke Sr's politics (Jr has given one of his mathematician answers so we won't go there)

Eli is going to grow this post, so stay tuned.



carrot eater said...

there are multiple contributors there, you know. they could all be different politically, for all you know. in any case, it was very wise for them to keep the site clear of politics.

James Annan said...

Actually I thought the other question was more pertinent, and a bigger challenge for RP - ie, is it possible that understanding of reality may narrow (or at least clarify) options? RP's weaselling over what an "honest broker" may or may not be is transparent enough though.

FWIW it is pretty obvious to me that RC's politics are generally of the "something must be done" stripe, this does not necessarily map perfectly onto left/right but by RP's definition of politics, it is a political stance.

I remain to be convinced that his definition of "political" has any value other than as a totem for the peanut gallery, as it seems so broad as to encompass the realisation that reality impinges on some policies (see my first paragraph).

EliRabett said...

Well yes to both. Eli was going to get to the second question a bit later. Think of this as guided inquiry.

What CE describes is a position on an issue guided by understanding of the underlying facts, it is NOT a political position.

However, you both know that there is considerable chatter (some of it quite loud) about how political RC is so Eli though it would be good to ask some of the usual suspects WRF they are screaming about.

carrot eater said...

Some people are given to screaming. You expect them to come here and calmly explain their screaming?

The absorption spectrum of CO2 doesn't change based on your personal ideas on politics or policy. Some sceptics have trouble with this.

Background does matter. The writers at RC spend all their time studying the physics, and probably very little time studying policy or economics. I think that naturally leads to a position of "do something; I don't know what." That isn't a complete analysis; you need the Sterns and Lomborgs of the world to do cost-benefit analysis of different policies. But that opens a different can of worms.

I think somebody like Hansen has the personal right to speak out on policy matters, but I won't necessarily pay him much heed when he does so.

Anonymous said...

MarkeyMouse says: RealClimate are clearly a bought and paid for left wing propaganda organ of the Tides Center/Fenton Communications clearing house for extreme left wing political groups.

"Among the most unbelievable “projects” of the Tides Center is something called the Institute for Global Communications (www.igc.org). IGC is a clearinghouse for Leftist propagandists of all stripes, including living-wage advocates, anti-war protesters, slave-reparations hucksters, and a wide variety of extreme environmentalists. In February 2002 Orange County Register columnist Steven Greenhut called it “a network of the loony left” that “has to be seen to be believed… One alert posted in an IGC member conference calls for financial support for the Earth Liberation Front… Another message warns readers against cooperating with the FBI.”


"Foremost public relations firm of the political left
Past clients have included Marxist dictatorships in Central America
Represents environmentalist groups, pro-Democratic political action committees, labor unions, and the anti-war movement."


This AGW CO2 business is such a winner for the International Communists, it weakens Western Economies, transfers huge sums from Capitalist to "Non Aligned" countries. Part of a pattern. Attack Big Oil, Tobacco,Pharma, Energy, Banks, Industry, Agri. All Capitalist entities are under attack.

How about any fighting bad things in Commi Countries like Russia/China/Cuba etc? Not a chance. It's all one way traffic.

And it is all orchestrated.

Why do you think the US squashed Able Danger?

Data mining showed up the links all too clearly.

carrot eater said...

Well, there you have it, Eli. You asked for crazy, and now you've received an overdose of crazy. Hope you're happy.

Dallas said...

By a process of elimination:

They have knowledge of radiative physics so they are not ultra conservative. That eliminates quite a few.

None are Baptists so they are not republican.

There is no mention of Ron Paul on the blog so they are not libertarian.

None to my knowledge are African American contributors so they can't be true Democrats.

They have to be Socialists :)

Dano said...

Are we talking the oversimplified politics of left v. right? Or are we talking about "who gets, who pays?"?

Or are we talking policy formation?



Word verif agrees: sonsfu

ourchangingclimate said...

As I also tried to say over at Roger's, RC's political stance is to "do something" about the impending problem. I haven't quite figured out yet what Roger's problem is with them, but I think it is in de way they do it, and indeed, what James said, he seems to find that even that claim should be clearly labelled as "personal, political opinion" rather than packages as "the science sais that something must be done".

In Hell's Kitchen said...

Has anybody ever bothered trying to
"unpack" Sr. from Jr. and arrive at
Jr.'s h-index ? I tried doing it with
SCOPUS and it's impossible sort of
wading through 370 or so papers spanning
1966 to date. It almost appears
intentional that such "unpacking" is
difficult to do !

Roger Jones said...

Interesting question. For me, everything revolves around risk. So part of that is the science, which has an element of social construction. To the degree that science is reproducible and verifiable (and can be explained relatively simply for the lazy of intellect), it can be separated into facts, theories, hypotheses etc. And climate is a complex system, so there are inherent uncertainties. So some science is easy to interpret as 'fact' and some is very messy. At the messy end, interpretation will have a greater degree of social construction.

Risk is hazard (probability) outcome. Science tells us a lot about the hazard and something about the outcome. It can even tell us something about the management. The outcome and the management are both informed by values that are socially constructed. Social science can tell us a lot about value and how people deal with it. Policy negotiates outcomes with certain values embedded in them. So science is informative, but risk makes the science/policy interface messy.

Neuropsychology is suggesting that when people think about risk, it shunts through the emotional parts of the brain. In evolutionary terms there isn't a part of the brain that divides emotions from rationality, so both risk and the way we think about it is also messy. If the idea of a risk (or its management) causes a fear reaction, thinking about the problem means the logical part of the grey matter is more likely to be bypassed. Training in clear thinking can certainly assist this. Self knowledge of one's biases is part of this.

So we have complex systems with inherent uncertainty, multiple feedbacks and so on interacting with a series of wicked problems. To suggest that this can be dealt with in a bicameral system of science and policy, where the two can be demarcated is dreamin'. Furthermore strong dualism where everything is either/or is a social construct of modern western thinking and is not necessarily shared by other cultures.

So the long answer is that the whole issue of AGW is complex and it is impossible to keep the science out of the mess. So RC do a pretty good job, but cannot be totally independent of social construction, especially where this affects the science (i.e., natural scientists as a group are highly averse to environmental risk because they know a lot about natural environments). RC does engage in a bit of snark, which gets interpreted politically.

An honest broker, if there is ever such a person, is going to be aware of socially constructed knowledge and especially of their own cultural constructions. I like Kahan et al.'s version of cultural worldview's based on Douglas (1970) which is “hierarchy - egalitarianism”
and “individualism -communitarianism.” Someone trapped in this framework will view all information through a particular lens. Understanding one's own biases contributes to a healthy scepticism, understanding other's biases helps one communicate better.

I'm getting to the stage where I'm pretty sick of 'intelligent' commentators who continually construct straw men then smash them to bits. The straw men may be based on dualist constructions of science-policy, or play to a given meme that appeals to the 'peanut gallery' as Eli coins it. This is a nod to the two kinds of denialist - those who are aware of their denial and those who are not. And then there are those who play to one group or the other, because they have their own barrow to push. If it's done with the open admission of one's priors then I can wear that. If not, then I am suspicious.

FancyRat said...

RP jnr's thought sequence seems to be that if Gavin Schmidt does something political, without naming Real Climate or involving anyone else from Real Climate, then Real Climate has engaged in politics, and their stated goal of keeping the site non-political is therefore hypocritical.

This sort of thinking makes Wikipedia political too, and makes conservapedia a sensible response.

Of course Real Climate does engage the political debate - it argues against errors, falsehoods and lies and in favour of reality. That harms the politics of those whose ideologies conflict with climate reality. All political parties' ideologies conflict with aspects of reality, so most educational efforts can be accused of engaging politics.

David B. Benson said...

From the definitions in
I state that RC has no politics at all.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rabbet. Any promoter of 'unprecedented" or "catastrophic" is part of a socialist , elitist "Animal Farm" view of the word. You, the Team at RC, play at being the "Animal Farm" pigs. Trying to see "unprecedented" trends from a few decades(satellite) or a century(instrumental temperatures) of data really is a bit of a joke. Then tree rings start to diverge- bit of a bugger, that.

If you believed your catastrophic warnings you would return to your caves, eat your muesli bars, blow out your candles and freeze in the dark. You don't, you are all more than happy to drive your cars, eat you meats from farting cattle, keep your homes warm and start up your computers and blog the elitist nonense you do. I'm happy to point out your hyprocrisy, but thats what trolls do.

But,Rabett, you, the RC Team, Pielke Sr and Jr, don't matter. Your politics don't matter. You really think one billion Chinese one billion Indians are really going to give a stuff about RC politics. You really think Copenhagen grand pronouncements will make one bit of difference.

You continue with your warm inner glow politics "if only the world knew of the righteousness of our arguments" rubbish. However if it keeps Dano active with his commenting then you have served a purpose, a limited purpose, but still a purpose.

Are we still on for an Arctic 14 M sq km ice area for winter maximum by , say, end March 2010?


Jim Bouldin said...

Wow JohnS, that was one impressive mix of condescension, arrogance, misinterpretation and labeling. Best I've seen in a while in fact! (and man is there a lot of it to see out there in web-land). I bet you could get work filling in for Limbaugh if you worked at it a bit. Remember, there's good money to be made in vitriol and noise if one hasn't the machse to actually learn the science.

Dirk said...

I'm with Annan on this one with regards to the RC politics. I'll bite on the bonus extra credit question.

Sr's climate politics are geared towards whatever position that allows him to be viewed as in agreement with the major conclusions of the IPCC WG1 (world is warming, we are responsible) BUT simultaneously allowing him to dispute several of the other conclusions, such as the validity of the surface record, the impact of local/regional forcings, and of the general validity of GCM results.

It is the latter proclivity - as shown by (a) his endless, mostly irrelevant and emotive-filled inflammatory ad-hom harrumphs and guest posts from people with axes to grind (including the well-known Nobel-winning climatologist Monckton of Brenchley) in his comment-free "weblog"; (b) his continued association with Tony "I am now a peer-reviewed science author" Watts and his surfacestations.org project and; (c) poorly-argued and error-filled recent papers (PM05, Lin etal07, K etal09 etc.) that endears him to the peanut gallery.

Too bad these actions also (largely) erode whatever credibility he built as a pretty decent mesoscale climate modeller.

On another note, I wonder why Jr. doesn't bother to critique his dad's politics, or is it just fodder reserved only for(e) the Boulder golf courses they usually play at? It would be a nice read, but I doubt this instance of blogging patricide would happen, alas.

So what's this bunny's grade, Professor Rabett?

mrpeteh said...

Good question, Mr Bunny! :)

My approach to this:

1) Politics is about influencing government action or policy.

2) In an ideal world, science is about science. Politicians lean on science to help inform their politics. Science has no political goals.

3) "Real Climate" is not just a website. It is a Team of people, and a (non-incorporated AFAIK) organization.

4) IPCC is explicitly a political entity with a political purpose: its charter is to influence governmental action. In addition, its charter is not purely scientific, in that it explicitly is built on an obvious confirmation bias. IPCC purposefully ignores scientific evidence for any other outcome than the preferred perspective. Any person or organization directly participating in the non-scientific final editing phases of an IPCC report is acting in a political, not scientific capacity.

Given those background items, we can examine further facts:

* RC has a relationship with an organization whose purpose is unabashedly political. (Fenton Communications' front page claims expertise in "Political Advocacy")

* RC folk have worked hard to ensure particular governmental outcomes through IPCC and more.

Conclusion #1: RC is clearly political.

Now the question is, "what kind of politics?"

As another commenter has mentioned, RC is clearly for governmental action, ("politically") influenced by the UN at least via IPCC.

From this, we can eliminate Libertarian.

Other than that, I think it would be very hard to draw valid conclusions. I could give both "conservative" and "liberal" justifications for a "government action" stance.

birdbrainscan said...

In Hell's Kitchen asked:
Has anybody ever bothered trying to
"unpack" Sr. from Jr. and arrive at
Jr.'s h-index ? I tried doing it with
SCOPUS and it's impossible sort of
wading through 370 or so papers spanning
1966 to date. It almost appears
intentional that such "unpacking" is
difficult to do !

I found that Google Scholar accepts suffixes on surnames and appears to use them to good effect.

Here's a query for RP Jr:

RP Jr. at Google Scholar

raw URL:

Here's one for RP Sr

RP Sr. at GS

raw URL:

RP Sr. gets 283 GS hits, top bunch all about land use change
RP Jr. gets 149 GS hits, top set about climate extremes and hurricanes

Using their exclusion option with a minus sign, this query gets all articles by RA-Pielke with neither suffix:

RA Pielke neither Sr. nor Jr. at GS

raw URL:

this query returns 639 hits on GS, and the top four are quite widely cited, by 977, 933,437 and 379. The top batch are all about modeling and must be Senior's. It would take a long manual screening to see if RP Jr has any works showing up here. It's understandable that Dad would not have consistently supplied his suffix of "Sr." at least up to the time that Jr. started publishing.

- Jim

TCO said...

burden of providing evidence is only on one opinion (collectivists)?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

These maniacs in Copenhagen are voting on your future:

President Chavez brought the house down.

When he said the process in Copenhagen was “not democratic, it is not inclusive, but isn’t that the reality of our world, the world is really and imperial dictatorship…down with imperial dictatorships” he got a rousing round of applause.

When he said there was a “silent and terrible ghost in the room” and that ghost was called capitalism, the applause was deafening.

But then he wound up to his grand conclusion – 20 minutes after his 5 minute speaking time was supposed to have ended and after quoting everyone from Karl Marx to Jesus Christ - “our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell....let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.” He won a standing ovation.


And at the end of this first clip, Chavez rouses the rabble with more anti-Americanism, too:

I don’t think Obama is here yet. He got the Nobel Peace Prize almost the same day as he sent 30,000 soldiers to kill innocent people in Afghanistan.

And a mass-murderer at Copenhagen lectures us about our crimes:

The anti-capitalist theme was picked up on by Mr Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s veteran President, who is the target of Western sanctions over alleged human rights abuses.

“When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous emissions, it’s we, the lesser mortals of the developing sphere who gasp and sink and eventually die.”


Nothing is real in Copenhagen - not the temperature record, not the predictions, not the agenda, not the “solution”. In fact, here’s how fake it all is:

The lead negotiator for the small island nation of Tuvalu, the bow-tie wearing Ian Fry, broke down as he begged delegates to take tough action.

“I woke up this morning crying,” and that’s not easy for a grown man to admit,” Mr Fry said on Saturday, as his eyes welled with tears.

”The fate of my country rests in your hands,” he concluded, as the audience exploded with wild applause.

So moving. But let’s now learn more from Samantha Maiden about this former Greenpeace official from “Tuvalu”:

But the part-time PhD scholar at the Australian National University actually resides in Queanbeyan, NSW, where he’s not likely to be troubled by rising sea levels because the closest beach at Batemans Bay is a two-hour, 144km drive away. Asked whether he had ever lived in Tuvalu, his wife told The Australian last night she would “rather not comment”....

Still, it’s a long way from the endangered atolls of Tuvalu, with his neighbour Michelle Ormay confirming he’s lived in Queanbeyan for more than a decade, while he has worked his way up to being “very high up in climate change”.


indulisb said...

It has also been reported from reliable sources (Fox news) that as part of the anarcho-syndicalist commune trying to bring down "all that brings hope and succour to the decadent West", RC was responsible for the cancellation of the TV series Firefly, Star Trek (the original series), and the "Louie the Fly" Mortein commercials http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcO2UlIMkpo