Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Axe Grinding

A recent rather scary example of the speed of blogs and how even small mistakes can be amplified in service of serial axe grinding.  It is also a story of how news organizations and reporters can behave ethically in timely correction of mistakes.  

It may come as a surprise to many bunnies, but Joe Romm is really despised by many out there in Blogland.  The obvious come to mind, Tony Watts, Hans v. Storch, Keith Kloor, Roger Jr, etc., but in this particular case, David Appell (here, here and now here), and also many of the Kool Kids (that's you Weasel and James).  The latter class think that one should be, well, cerebral about the threats of major global warming, and well, Joe is hot.  Eli was holding off on this little tale to give it a chance to settle after the original  small burn, but it has gone thermonuclear and needs to be discussed immediately. 

Recently an article appeared in Reuters which quoted the Chief Economist of the IEA, Fatih Birol, as saying

 "When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet,"
Joe Romm picked this up but omitted the (2050) which turns out to be correct.  David Appell on the other hand, went into full attack mode on Romm for predicting a 6C change by 2050.  As the subsequent comments show, Romm did no such thing.

In fact, after reading the Appell post, Eli asked a question at ThinkProgress
  1. Eli Rabett says:
    In the Reuters piece it says 6 C by 2050 which makes no sense. What did Birol really say?? any idea

    • Martin Vermeer says:
      Good question Eli. I only find 2050 in the Reuters piece,
      “When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet,” Fatih Birol, IEA’s chief economist told Reuters.
      It’s not in Birol’s slides, and not in his transcript. And it doesn’t make sense.

      • Joe Romm says:
        I meant to post that 2050 is obviously a mistake by the reporter.

        • Steve Bloom says:
          If the 2050 figure did get mentioned, it could perhaps refer to a commitment to 6C by then given a continuation of current emissions trends.
Now one of the annoyances of blogs is that people would rather discuss endlessly what they thought somebunny said, rather than ask that bunny. Eli and others finally got Appell to write to Birol, but Birol is a big cheese, and no reply yet.  It occurred to the Rabett to write to the person whose byline appeared on the Reuters piece. So he did (much more background below in the letter)
Dear Sir

In a recent article published with your byline in Reuters

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/24/co2-iea-idUKL5E8GO6B520120524

Fatih Birol is quoted as follows

"When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050), which would have devastating consequences for the planet," Fatih Birol, IEA's chief economist told Reuters.

To be frank 6C by 2050 is risible, and there are good reasons to think that Birol simply said 6 degrees Celsius without a date including the IEA 2011 World Energy Report and a recent panel discussion in which he participated, where he said “the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius [11°F], which would have devastating consequences for the planet.”

http://carnegieendowment.org/files/112811_transcript_energyoutlook1.pdf

This has been picked up in several places, particularly by David Appell

http://davidappell.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/11-f-warming-by-2050-no-way.html

who explains why 2050 is not reasonable by going through some of the numbers. Joe Romm while using the 6 C figure did not quote the date and, indeed there is some published work out there that there really is a chance of 6 C by 2100, though they predict a median of 5.1 C (not much of a difference).

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/climate-change-1002.html
http://globalchange.mit.edu/research/publications/1989
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/roulette-0519.html
http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2009JCLI2863.1

The question is what is the source for the 2050 date?

Thanks for your attention to what may on the surface appear to be a minor matter, but which, given the politicization of climate issues is likely to spread and to be used badly

E  
and received this useful reply from the reporter, Michael Rose
Dear Eli,

Thank you for your email. As you said in your message, Birol did not specify a date for that 6°C increase, and that’s why “by 2050” was between brackets in the story, to show that this was added by Reuters for context. Considering the target for a 2°C trajectory is 2050 and this is the timeframe always referred to in climate change discussions, we thought Birol was comparing like for like, or else why give a number and no date. After reading what you sent me, I’ll certainly check that with him and issue a correction if need be.

Cheers,
 It is so bad to be proven right.  Eli had hoped that with a quick resolution this would go away and was waiting for Reuters to catch up with Fatih Birol and get this straightened out, with perhaps a note on the original article, but alas, Hans von Storch put the boot in
A forth [sic] interesting issue is that climate science has become irrelevant; it shows up in passing, when "limit devastating climate effects like crop failure and melting glaciers" is mentioned, and the quote "the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050)" is made.This is a pretty bold prediction, given that we have so far less than 1 degree warming since pre-industrial times, so that the warming must be more than 5 degrees/38 years, i.e., about 0.7-0.8 deg/decade. I consider this pure alarmism, which is related to the timing, and a misuse of scientific analysis for creating some unsustainable short term drama for the Bonn-negotiations. I wonder if this 6-degrees claim is really from IEA, or just an addition by Fatih Birol, because is no not mentioned in the IEA's announcement
Eli got there a bit late in the comments
This attack on Joe Romm and Fatih Birol is an argument in bad faith which originated in David Appell's dislike of Joe Romm and which you are amplifying for similar reasons. The 2050 is an insertion by Reuters based on a misunderstanding.

On Appell's blog, Eli pointed this out and suggested that Appell ask Birol. In the discussion there scientific sources were found by others for the 6C claim in 2100. Eli himself has asked Reuters and received a response

Tony Watts has now leveraged your bad faith posting into an attack on Joe Romm.

Be proud
It had already bled over from the Pielkesphere into the Blogs of Denial and from there, but a short hop to the Capital, Wattsville
This is sad. Joe Romm promotes another overt fabrication, and some poor kid writes in despair, hoping all the “oil/coal people” here die “a horrible death, preferably caused by climate disasters”. If that were sent to somebody at ANU, it would by the Appell/Stokes rule, be declared a “death threat”. Since it’s on Romm’s site, the poster gets sympathy and counseling instead of admonishment. See below.
and they are off!!!  and how.  But Reuters has issued a correction
11:41 30May12 RTRS-CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Global CO2 emissions hit record in 2011 led by China-IEA
(Corrects MAY 24 story to fix timeframe reference in fourth paragraph) 
  * CO2 emissions rose by 3.2 pct last year
  * China the biggest contributor to the global rise
  * Trend could have "devastating consequences" -IEA's Birol
  By Michel Rose 
  PARIS, May 24 (Reuters) - China spurred a jump in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to their highest ever recorded level in 2011, offsetting falls in the United States and Europe, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday. 
  CO2 emissions rose by 3.2 percent last year to 31.6 billion tonnes, preliminary estimates from the Paris-based IEA showed.   
China, the world's biggest emitter of CO2, made the largest contribution to the global rise, its emissions increasing by 9.3 percent, the body said, driven mainly by higher coal use. 
  "When I look at this data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius (towards the end of this century), which would have devastating consequences for the planet," Fatih Birol, IEA's chief economist told Reuters. 

Scientists say ensuring global average temperatures this century do not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is needed to limit devastating climate effects like crop failure and melting glaciers.
They believe that is only possible if emission levels are kept to around 44 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2020.
Negotiators from over 180 nations are meeting in Bonn, Germany, until Friday to work towards getting a new global climate pact signed by 2015.
The aim is to ensure ambitious emissions cuts are made after the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of this year.
Procedural wrangling and a reluctance to raise ambitions to cut emissions due to economic constraints is threatening progress, however. (ID:nL5E8GLCRU]
"I think it would be unrealistic to think that there will be major breakthroughs very soon," Birol said.
"Climate change is sliding down in the international policy agenda, which is definitely a worrying trend."
 There are several morals here, certainly Reuters and Michael Rose, the journalist, behaved responsibly when informed of the issue, investigating and then issuing the correction.  Similar action may limit the damage that Appell and v. Storch are doing to their reputation.  In Watts' case the Bunnies strongly suspect what the answer will be. 

133 comments:

Anonymous said...

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We apologize if this is considered as spam! We have few channels to access and this seems to be one of the most popular blogs out there, so we thought we might give it a go.

Cheers

Martin Vermeer said...

Something here reminds me of an article by Dennis Rawlins in Astronomy Magazine, September 1981, called "The Unslandering of Sloppy Pierre [Lemonnier]", which concludes:

"If an academic ever takes leave to draw lessons from a consideration of your life, hie thee to a libel lawyer or (the budget option) seek sanctuary on an undiscovered planet."

Anonymous said...

Much like the situation with Goldenberg and Gleick, Appell has very little interest in getting the story correct. Notice how he'll jump out with information that supports his preferred narrative (Romm is alarmist!) without getting the information beforehand. Then he'll be very lax at getting to any correction. This is journalism at its worst.

Is it ironic that these initial posts were here to criticize other journos?

Nick Barnes said...

I blame Reuters for using parentheses where they should have used brackets. Obviously everyone taking potshots at Romm is barking.

Martin Vermeer said...

Reuters made a mistake, admitted it, and put out a high-profile correction.

There could be more of that.

willard said...

Michael Rose might need a template for How to concede that P:

http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/24061798780

J Bowers said...

Could have been worse: could have been David Rose. Still, Romm will get to bash Watts again. Every cloud...

Anonymous said...

Nick Barnes beat me to the point about square brackets, and J Bowers to the fact that Romm now has a juicy amount of material for a thread or several aimed squarely at those who can't check facts.

It seems that there are a lot of deniers who want to follow Heartland's foot-shooting example.

Oo, and good onions Eli for doing the sensible thing.


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

Marion Delgado said...

Sorry, but my very first thought is - all these hacks pretending to be criticizing journalism - Tom Fuller, Keith Kloor, David Appell - and SOMEHOW they STILL haven't discovered the Josef Oehmen hoax - the article that virtually every science or climate blog where it could possibly be germane posted prominently, the one that assured people there would be little to no radiation released from Fukushima, that the stupid journalists were alarmist and wrong as usual, that an MIT scientist with expertise on nuclear plants (actually a glorified MBA whose father is employed by the industry) would educate you on nuclear reactors more than "all the journalists in the world put together" (even those of us who'd actually studied, e.g., the physics of nuclear reprocessing).

It's pretty obvious that all of them refuse to do their watchdog duty with a site like Brave New Climate and its repeaters - because it's doing goodthink.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

You know it's really ashame that somebody posted a fake comment pretending to be a little kid, no young kid would write that.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

yeah even though I don't agree with anyone here, I will give you guys this: Watts cannot do false outrage, it just comes off as far too false, whereas you only want a little bit of falsehood emanating from the false outrage.

And frankly I would love to die in a climate disaster, preferably a tornado, and I would preferably be swept up really high in the tornado so everybody could see me and I would die a hero.

Hank Roberts said...

Thank you Eli. Good major effort to clarify.

You get the reward anyone does who tries to intervene in a spitball-and-food-fight, I fear.

Plus the warmingspam blogbot got in the first post.

Sigh

Anonymous said...

David Appell is not just slow with his updates for inaccurate information, they are totally non-existent.

He also comes up with this howler.

"That study gives warming of 9 F by 2190, not 11 F by 2050. Huge difference."

Not a huge difference, 9F by 2190 is still going to be a disaster, just for a different generation.

Anon(1)

William Connolley said...

I'm not sure I believe all this. Romm's post now says "UPDATE: Anyone who reads this blog or any of my links knows that the warming of 11F would be by 2100, not 2050 as (mis)stated in the original Reuters piece. I left out that obvious mistake." I'm dubious. I think if Romm had truely realised it was a mistake, he would have put that in his original post.

Also, the current title of his post is "IEA: Global CO2 Emissions Hit New Record In 2011, Keeping World On Track For ‘Devastating’ 11°F Warming By 2100". Is that really the original title? I don't think so, because the URL is "http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/05/25/490463/iea-global-co2-emissions-hit-new-record-in-2011-keeping-world-on-track-for-devastating-11f-warming". He appears to have silently updated his title.

Hank Roberts said...

JR needs to update the Reuters URL at the top of his topic; that link still points to the incorrect "UPDATE2" Reuters page that has the mistake on it.

I'd like to see him use the strikeout-and-underscore method to correct text. But while his stuff drives me crazy nitpicking, I've come to believe he knows what he's doing better than I would -- he gets the attention needed to make people realize there's a problem.

Those whose work is closer to perfect lose attention the more they caveat.

You know how to train a mule? First hit it between the eyes with a 2x4, thereby getting a mule's attention.

You know how to educate the public?

Russell said...

"One of the annoyances of blogs," writes Eli,

" is that people would rather discuss endlessly what they thought somebunny said, rather than ask that bunny."

That applies to erstwhile historians as well.

Thomas said...

Let's see who are honest enough to apologize...

Anonymous said...

"I'm dubious. I think if Romm had truely realised it was a mistake, he would have put that in his original post"

He left the year out of the original post. How do you explain that? Are you saying he believed it to be Birol's position but his copy/pasta was broken?

dbostrom said...

What is it about otherwise rational British persons believing they're able to tease reliable inference from insufficient evidence? Annan w/Gleick, now Connolly w/Romm.

John said...

Re Hank R’s question.

How do you educate the public?

You alert them to the pervasive and pernicious industry/media misinformation campaign with emotional pleas, giving them justification to be disgruntled, getting them angry about being constantly being abused, and, yes, even alarming them.

All are genuine, effective strategies to lift the meticulously manufactured cloak of proud and aggressive ignorance suffocating us. And all are strenuously attacked with mockery, derision and "civil concern" by the misinformation gurus who realize that effectiveness.

John Puma

EliRabett said...

Romm represented Birol's actual position by omitting the (2050). He certainly said that it was a bad date on the 29th (see post). Beyond that it is all spinach.

EliRabett said...

BTW if there is a bad link at someotherblog, tell them, not Eli. Contrary to rumor the Bunny does not own Blogger.

Hank Roberts said...

I did, Eli; just takes longer over there for posts to appear.

David Appell said...

Reuters issued a correction this afternoon:

http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/05/reuters-correction-on-11-f-by-2050.html

Hank Roberts said...

So yez know, I mentioned the Reuters correction at JR's place -- that has appeared.

The comment below over there is awaiting moderation, posted at
May 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm

For Joe Romm, re the Reuters correction:

Your first link at top still goes to Reuters’ mistake in “UPDATE2″ — the uncorrected page — here:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/24/co2-iea-idUKL5E8GO6B520120524
“… 6 degrees Celsius (by 2050) …”

The corrected page is here:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/30/co2-iea-idUKL5E8GO6B520120530
“… 6 degrees Celsius (towards the end of this century)….”

It’s a pity they use parentheses inside quoted text — do UK readers recognize that as an editorial insertion? For US readers, using square brackets would be more helpful showing that both insertions were by the Reuters staff.

Suggestion — since this error has been widely spread, it’d be a good way to track who made the mistake and who copied it without checking. So I suggest you edit by using strikeout and underscoring new, rather than replacing the mistakes quietly.

Ordinarily cleaning up makes sense for general purpose writing. When the mistakes become the story, showing them and the corrections is helpful for later readers to follow what changed and when.

Brian said...

Seconding what many people have said about using brackets instead of parantheses, like way back when I was an editor, (except for "(sic)" sometimes, because History). That would've fixed this whole mess.

I poked around the Reuters style guide online and didn't find what their rule was, but they oughta just do what's typically done.

bill said...

Completely agree about the square brackets.

The 'skeptics' are well named as a group in one arena, anyway: they are hyper-skeptical of both the motives and good-faith of others. And not above drawing a very long bow indeed in pursuit of their quarry.

And it's not just them, it seems.

I suppose Romm receives so much flak - including a surprising volume of friendly fire - because he really is right over the target.

This all reminds me of a cabinet colleague of former (and deposed) Australian PM Gough Whitlam's description of his relationship with one Rupert Murdoch.

During the 1975 constitutional stand-off, News Limited was so biased in its political coverage that Bill Hayden joked to Gough Whitlam: if the dismissed Labor prime minister had walked across Lake Burley Griffin, the Australian’s headline would have been ‘Gough can’t swim’.

Hank Roberts said...

> right over the target.

Yep, he's picked'em early and accurately.

From the tone he takes, you'd get the feeling that he is a worried man.

Aaron said...

An estimate of 6C in 50 is the same order of magnitude as 6C in 88 years. That is, they are both really, really bad. That really bad thing does not come in the 49th or 87th year, it started coming as soon as we started down the path.

We are on the wrong path. One sign post is the condition of the Arctic sea ice. The models missed this sign post. We need to stop, and go back. However hard and expensive it is to turn around now, it will be harder and more expensive to turn around later.

Your local alarmist

David Appell said...

Aaron: But the difference between 6 C in 38 years and 6 C in 88 years is about 2700 gigatons of emitted carbon -- a huge, huge amount.

If humans are so stupid as to not make drastic changes by 2050 (when BAU would cause about 3 C of warming), and to continue on blindly to 2100 by emitting another 2700 GtC, then we are truly too stupid to deserve to continue as a species.

Unfortunately many other species will go extinct because of us, but a few will survive and have another go. In the long run the universe will be better off without such stupidity, lest we get out there and cause some real damage.

John said...

Hmmm, the entire species deserves to die because it is systematically kept un-, mis- and dis- informed by the VAST MINORITY of its members who are even more stupid than they are (monumentally) greedy [and power hungry.]

Now that IS alarming!

John Puma

Neven said...

What is it about otherwise rational British persons believing they're able to tease reliable inference from insufficient evidence? Annan w/Gleick, now Connolly w/Romm.

They are too rational. I know that rationality has been put on a pedestal ever since the Enlightenment, but it isn't the whole story, and it can do more bad than good.

Anonymous said...

The use of parentheses instead of square brackets in quotes is accepted Reuters style, see their handbook of journalism:

http://handbook.reuters.com/index.php/Q#quotations

William Connolley said...

I said:

">Also, the current title of his post is "IEA: Global CO2 Emissions Hit New Record In 2011, Keeping World On Track For ‘Devastating’ 11°F Warming By 2100". Is that really the original title? I don't think so, because the URL is "http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/05/25/490463/iea-global-co2-emissions-hit-new-record-in-2011-keeping-world-on-track-for-devastating-11f-warming". He appears to have silently updated his title."

Clearly this was a very boring thing to say, because no-one is in the slightest bit interested. I take it that all the foam-at-the-mouthers here think its quite OK for Romm to silently update his post titles in important ways?

Anonymous said...

"
David Appell said...
Aaron: But the difference between 6 C in 38 years and 6 C in 88 years is about 2700 gigatons of emitted carbon -- a huge, huge amount.

If humans are so stupid as to not make drastic changes by 2050 (when BAU would cause about 3 C of warming), and to continue on blindly to 2100 by emitting another 2700 GtC, then we are truly too stupid to deserve to continue as a species.
"

Which sounds as alarming as anything as Romm says. Yet you prefer to pick a fight with Romm over whether he is being more alarming than that or not.

Anon(1)

Neven said...

Clearly this was a very boring thing to say, because no-one is in the slightest bit interested. I take it that all the foam-at-the-mouthers here think its quite OK for Romm to silently update his post titles in important ways?

Hold on one sec while I wipe away the foam from the mouth.

Yes, it was a very boring thing to say, but to be expected from über-rationalists. Romm changed it because otherwise the Appells of the world go nuts and start quoting Tom Nelson. The whole post is about that silliness. Big deal.

Are you implying that Romm wanted to shock people even more by leaving out that 2100 on purpose? Because otherwise it isn't alarming enough? That's funny. Funny and boring.

Anonymous said...

Connelly, you never answered my question. "Are you saying he believed it to be Birol's position but his copy/pasta was broken?"

As far as the title, what gives you the idea that he was silent about it? Are you saying he's done nothing to highlight exactly what's happened here?

It appears we've found a new tribe, one so steeped in its anti-Romm ideology, it can't see simple facts. I might even want to join if it could ever get its act together.

Anon(2)

dhogaza said...

WC:

"I take it that all the foam-at-the-mouthers here think its quite OK for Romm to silently update his post titles in important ways?"

Why, yes, after people like you previously inserted a non-existent "by 2050" when referencing the article, behavior which you and Appell and others apparently think was just fine.

dhogaza said...

I suppose it would've been better if Romm had said 'I'm editing the title because Connelley and Appell and a bunch of other people are lying about what I believe".

I mean directly, with names, and all that.

Y'all owe the man an apology. He owes y'all an old-fashioned kick in the ball. In the proper, gentlemanly british society of times not so long ago, he'd ask you to settle the issue on a cold misty morning on a remote field somewhere ...

Anonymous said...

"Swan Song"
-- by Horatio Algeranon

When some are wrong
They sing a song
Instead of just admit

They do a dance
As in a trance
Reality to fit

Neven said...

If humans are so stupid as to not make drastic changes by 2050 (when BAU would cause about 3 C of warming), and to continue on blindly to 2100 by emitting another 2700 GtC, then we are truly too stupid to deserve to continue as a species.

This is great Morano material, that is already spread by Tom Nelson (h/t-ed by Appell for the Von Storch Romm-bashez-du-jour). If I wouldn't know any better, I would think that David Appell is some sort of denier double agent.

Brian said...

I've usually acknowledged it when I've changed post titles. Not sure that I've always acknowledged but I should for important changes, and Romm should've as well. I think it's a minor issue here, though, the post has clearly been updated.

Appell's real issue IMHO is that ThinkProgress follows standard non-profit practice of not revealing funders. There are reasons to be concerned about that standard practice, but I also believe that journos lose their objectivity when told they can't see something. I've been on the receiving end of that attitude.

David Appell said...

Brian: CAP's refusal to reveal their funders is only part of my complaint. A bigger issue is that Romm is a serial extremist.

Anonymous said...

" A bigger issue is that Romm is a serial extremist."

Dave,

The problem with this is that you haven't shown this to be the case here. Id he is extremist, then find more evidence that is not included in outerbound risk. And therein lies the issue of what risk people are willing to excuse in the name of the energy quest. I'd say Bill McKibbon and Hansen would be more extreme in what outer bound risks they highlight with Romm being just below, and others like Eli and Tobis etc just below that. Point being that a discussion that doesn't take into account the outerbound risk is one not worth having if we plan to fix this mess. Just because you are willing to deal with risk at a different level doesn't mean there is something 'wrong' with the way Romm discusses it, and certainly doesn't give you a good excuse to go off half-cocked on something you are clearly misinformed on, and then not set it straight (without all the caveats).

See David Ropeik.

Your other concern, the funding aspect, I agree with. Although it's not Romm's decision, as far as I know, and it's a common, but distrusting, practice. But if that were a real issue with the press then they wouldn't defend these think tanks and constantly go to them looking for quotes, would they?

Hank Roberts said...

> If humans are so stupid as to not
> make drastic changes by 2050 ...
> we are truly too stupid to
> deserve to continue as a species.

I disagree there. No other species we know is able to make such drastic changes in group behavior when overshooting its environment. Why should people be any different?

And if it could happen, what would it take?

I'd suggest what's needed is serious, studied, parallel alarmism -- an alarm raised on every important issue, early on, as accurately as possible, and the alarm kept ringing.

Not one at a time.
Not one after another.
Not the worry-of-the-week.

There are many alarms going on all the time--antibiotic resistant bacterial gene lateral transfer; persistent organic chemicals; tobacco; asbestos; lead; groundwater pollution by nitrogen fertilizer; groundwater pollution by rocket fuel; groundwater pollution by undisclosed chemicals used to fracture rock to release gas or hot water or petroleum ....

If the species is going to take notice, it's the _pattern_ that matters. The pattern is parallel, multiple, shortsighted decisions.

Serial alarms are for pikers.

David Appell said...

Hank: I kinda get what you're saying... but people are different than other species because we are enormously smarter, able to reason about the world and the broad consequences of our actions, and able to make big decisions about how we will live.

[As far as we can tell.]

David Appell said...

Anon 9:21am - I think there is copious evidence of Romm being a serial exaggerator; here are some relevant links from my blog:

http://is.gd/toRB4j

Martin Vermeer said...

Changing the subject now, are we David?

I don't think you should apologise to Romm after all: guilty debating tricks are so much more entertaining :-)

John Mashey said...

This whole fight seems a distraction, but each to their own. But David A offers optimism about human abilities.
Climate change is complicated, so let me use a simpler example.

Almost 50 years after the Surgeon General report on smoking, ~20% of American adults still smoke, and half will likely die of related health problems. Most adult smokers started by 14, almost all by 19.
Put another way, almost anyone born after 1952 started smoking as a kid *after* the Surgeon General report, meaning that society couldn't figure out how to protect children from something that would end up killing half, slowly. Of course, the USA has lower smoking rates than places like China.

Of course, tobacco uses good farmland or newly-cut forested areas, then in some places, more trees are cut to burn for curing.

All this is a simple problem compared to climate change.

Hank Roberts said...

You can still find this proclaimed as having been alarmism -- do you remember what you thought of it?

I took it seriously then.

Did you? How does it look now after four decades have gone by?

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2012/05/what-will-the-world-look-like-in-2052.html

Brief excerpt from the link follows:

"... Limits to Growth was not strictly a forecast, but rather a warning of the kinds of things that can go wrong when you have finite resources and social systems that are slow to react; by the time people realise they are running out of fish, or soil, or a stable climate, it is often too late to change fast enough to save what’s left of that resource. The idea of the book was to get the world to stop in time.

Few listened, and in forty years Randers has turned from the idealist who thought the book would change things, to a grumpy grandfather wondering what kind of world will result instead.

In this follow-up book, 2052: A global forecast for the next 40 years Randers makes predictions based on current data, simpler calculations and a lifetime’s experience analysing global systems.

Interestingly - and plausibly - he doesn’t anticipate global apocalypse, but instead a slow, sad decline, in which pockets of collapse and misery develop while business largely as usual carries on around them. Overall he sees a poorer, less democratic world as resources run out and more must be spent simply to keep overstretched systems running - echoes of other theorists of collapse such as Joseph Tainter.

In Randers forecast, we don’t just muddle on into the future, though. “Irritatingly”, he sighs, few adopt the cheap solutions that could keep climate from unleashing all hell after 2052. Over that, he draws a regretful curtain.

Just another prophet of doom? Well, no - a uniquely well-qualified one. And he is not alone. In a fascinating assemblage of current, authoritative thinking on all these issues, the book includes “glimpses” from 34 top experts in everything from energy to the Arctic. In these short, thoughtful essays they outline what they feel is likely on their patch. Not only do they make this book a very wide-ranging and up-to-date snapshot of these issues, they also make it all easier to take in and digest...."

Anonymous said...

Dave, since you are here, just to let you know, in case you have forgotten about the Goldenberg/Gleick report you did, Watts now has a UK press agency investigating Goldenberg.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/31/uks-press-complaints-commission-responds-to-the-premature-gleick-cleared-guardian-article-by-goldenberg/

All this based on your inaccurate reporting. I'm kinda hoping you understand what people have been trying to tell you at your blog, but I'm afraid you still don't understand.

PI told you about their review.

Goldenberg reported on the independent investigation.

I don't understand why you won't put up a new post making this clear.

climatehawk1 said...

John Mashey quoth: This whole fight seems a distraction, but each to their own.

Not really, John--it's actually a lot like what DeSmogBlog does all the time, trying to cut through the BS and misinformation.

Mr. Appell was notified within half an hour of his first post that there might be a problem with it. Instead of walking back a bit and promptly investigating, he compounded the error with two more posts expanding on it.

Mr. Appell believes global warming is a very, very serious problem. So do Mr. Birol and Mr. Romm. The only folks who benefit from falsely accusing Mr. Birol and Mr. Romm of exaggerating are those in denial.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

@John Mashey

what is your deal with tobacco? Advanced apologies if you had a family member die from it, which I heavily suspect.

Personally, I find the evidence against second hand smoke to be very dubious, I think studies on direct smokers are better and I think there is a link to smoking and lung cancer, but I'm not so sure about second hand smoke.

What machine or device can a doctor use to analyze a cancer and say "yes, after years of exposure to second hand smoke, this is what caused the cancer." I need to see more direct observation about this.

Also, I think your post about the surgeon general and kids smoking is misleading because I think you present the problem as modern, when factually it is really an ancient problem. Tobacco has been smoked long before we were born, and frankly even if somebody is damaging their body, you do not have the right to stop them from doing it.

My personal opinion about smoking is that I would prefer the number of smokers to stay at the same level or see a slight increase, because they are funding a children's health program called SCHIP, and as the number of smokers decreases, all of our taxes will increase.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous

what ho! I can't wait to figure out who this PI is that gave Rosenberg the false tip.

But its just as I suspected, there is an alarmist on the inside that will try to whitewash the investigation.

That's fine if and when they do that, but if they find Gleick innocent and leave it at that, everybody will assume it was Gleick. They have to name a culprit.

William Connolley said...

> Why, yes, after people like you previously inserted a non-existent "by 2050"

WTF are you on about? I've made no comments about this sorry saga except in this blog, here.

Have you been mislead by Eli ref'ing me at the start?

The people that inserting the non-existent 2050 was Reuters, not me, and not DA.

> Y'all owe the man an apology

What the fuck for? Come on man, think straight. I know Eli is whipping up a storm of moral indignation, but you don't have to fall for it.

And you aren't obliged to mis-spell my name, you know. If you don't feel competent to type the letters correctly, "WMC" is quite acceptable.

> Connelly, you never answered my question

(a) Spell my name right. Its a basic courtesy. (b) Don't refer to people just by their surnames. That too is just rude. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:William_M._Connolley/For_me/The_naming_of_cats

> A bigger issue is that Romm is a serial extremist.

I'm with DA on that one.

John Mashey said...

climatehawk1:
'The only folks who benefit from falsely accusing Mr. Birol and Mr. Romm of exaggerating are those in denial.'

I think that supports my view of distraction :-) At some point, this general topic might deserve a serious essay, when there's time.

J Bowers said...

"I can't wait to figure out who this PI is that gave Rosenberg the false tip."

Pacific Institute? People seem to forget that journalists sometimes get tips and run the story. The story was taken down from the Guardian's website. One might plausibly assume that was because the facts needed to be somehow verified.

A shame there are those here doing a "Look over there!", when the fact is that Romm and Eli got the story right. Marc Morano's smoking one of his fat Cubans. Well done, boys.

J Bowers said...

"A bigger issue is that Romm is a serial extremist."

Or maybe Romm just brings knives to a knife fight?

David Appell said...

Or maybe Romm just brings knives to a knife fight?

They may be big knives, but they are dull-edged.

His kind of extremism actually harms the cause of solving the global warming problem, because many who might be convinced instead wonder if such exaggerations are par for the course, and/or truly part of an agenda.

Aaron said...

David

"2700 gigatons of emitted carbon"

That is a huge amount of carbon that requires a fully functional industrial economy supported by fully functional, large scale agriculture. We are not likely to have either after the first couple degrees of warming.

The first couple of degrees of warming will disrupt agriculture and that means loss of industrial workers. Without workers, your plans to emit large amounts of carbon are doomed to failure.

We either plan for a total of less than 2 degrees of warming, or we are planning to fail.

There are failures that result in soft landings; and there are failures that result in hard, unpleasant landings. Planning to emit carbon for 6 degrees of warming is the latter.

And, unlike the IPCC models, you need to account for carbon feedbacks as you plan your carbon spew.

J Bowers said...

David Appell -- "His kind of extremism...if such exaggerations are par for the course, and/or truly part of an agenda."

Assuming they're exaggerations, he's an extremist, and you're not being a tad hyperbolic?

A bit of context, as I see it.

J Bowers said...

And a bit more context, which will no doubt be reported on at Climate Progress. Here's the Jeff Masters original....

Unprecedented May heat in Greenland; update on 2011 Greenland ice melt

But of course, nobody can lose face in this game.

Hank Roberts said...

C'mon.
He brings _pamphlets_ to your knife fight.
Hastily written, incompletely checked, more often left behind than revisited to be tightened up. Never revised to pass academic peer review. Not what he's doing.

What he does works.

Yeah, you have to learn to check facts to read his stuff. But he's more fun to fact-check than anybody of the septic persuasion.

Sou said...

I've not found Dr Romm to be an extremist. Climate Progress is a must read for those interested in climate science implications, particularly technology and policy.

I suspect some people get put off by his direct style. I'm glad he's direct and doesn't pussy foot around.

Some people seem to think it will all go away by itself. It hasn't so far. Thanks to people like Joe Romm (and our friend Eli), crap gets pointed out, as does progress in clean technology.

Or they think it might not be so bad. Might not be so bad as what? And what if it's worse? Climate Progress sticks to the issues and gets in your face - and that's a good thing.

None of the above is any excuse for falsely bagging Joe Romm or Fatih Birol.

David Appell said...

Aaron: I suspect you're right that at some level of warming our ability to continue to emit ever more carbon will be jeopardized. But I don't know what that is. But I do know that humans will do anything to keep warm and power their homes and offices, even if it means burning nothing but coal. And there are about 2 billion Asians who are very interested in using as much energy as they can in the near future.

If every person on the planet used energy like the average American, global emissions would be 32 GtC/yr (instead of the current 8.6 GtC/yr).

David Appell said...

Anon 1:51 - there was nothing "inaccurate" about my reporting. I simply asked the Pacific Institute for a copy of the report that reportedly cleared Gleick, and published their reply.

David Appell said...

John @ 5/30 9:52pm - I didn't say the species deserves to die because they are kept misinformed by greedy people etc etc. I said that *if* humans continue to emit carbon at an exponential rate ever after 3 C of warming in 2050 -- by which time there will be no doubt at all about AGW -- then the intelligence of the species is in serious question.

Don't misquote me and then skewer me based on it the misquote.

Anonymous said...

It looks like as I expected you don't get it. Your reporting was inaccurate. You asked Pac Inst for a report, then set it up like it was countering Goldenberg's report.

"Pacific Institute is telling me that no such clearing has occurred:"

You showed in the comments, you didn't know the difference between the independent investigation and the Pacific Institute's decision based on that independent investigation.

"A review is "actual" before the Board clears it? Please explain."

Goldenberg showed the difference in her report.

"It was not immediately clear the findings would allow Gleick to make an early return to his job at the Pacific Institute"
"He has been on leave from the institute pending an external investigation into the unauthorised release of the documents"

(Caps are for emphasis, not yelling)
As you can plainly see, Goldenberg NEVER SAID THAT PACIFIC INSTITUTE CLEARED GLEICK, only that the INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION HAS FOUND HIM TO NOT GUILTY OF FORGING THE MEMO.

Now Watts read it wrong and has sent in the dogs to attack Goldenberg. He has told his readers to report her to UK press agencies for investigation and they have complied.

Your report in no way counters Goldenberg's, but that was how it was set to be read and that is how it was read.

Your inability to recognize your mistake is remarkable. It would merely take an admission that you didn't know certain things at the time and now you know them.

What a mess...

David Appell said...

Anon, you're very wrong -- and a coward, for attacking me anonymously.

Who are you and what are your motives?

The sum total of what I wrote on this, other than giving two exact quotes, is

"Gleick Review Not Finalized, Pacific Institute Says"

"Last week Suzanne Goldenberg of The Guardian reported"

"But the Pacific Institute is telling me that no such clearing has occurred"

In the comments I asked three *questions*. Questions aren't statements.

The headline to The Guardian's article is "Peter Gleick cleared of forging documents in Heartland expose." That is untrue, since the Pacific Institute clearly said Gleick is not considered cleared until the review of the report is finalized by the PI Board of Directors.

Watts and his readers are free to do what they want. As far as I can tell the UK Press Complaints Commission told them, basically, it's outside their realm. So who are you that you think that's a big deal?

Hank Roberts said...

Aside, summing up:

JC dropped the parenthetical from the original quote, recognizing it as wrong and as something that had to be an editorial misimprovement of the quotation.

Someone above (thank you!) confirms the stylesheet used by those odd British editors allows them to make their misimprovements using parentheses where God meant for square brackets to be used, to indicate editorial insertions.

JR didn't have a year to replace the mistaken one editorially inserted in the quote, so he just dropped the parenthetical.

Of course his URL didn't include a year. Once he got a better year -- 2100 -- he put that in the title of the page without changing the old URL.

This proves he's imperfect.

I like his style the better for the criticisms being made.

Look at the physics, not just the words on the page.

He sounds like a worried man.

Hank Roberts said...

PS, the obvious error in the previous post is there for you. Savage it.

J Bowers said...

Sorry, Hank, remind me again of how many attempts to throw scientists into Federal penitentiaries for doing their jobs?

Anonymous said...

"The headline to The Guardian's article is 'Peter Gleick cleared of forging documents in Heartland expose.' That is untrue, since the Pacific Institute clearly said Gleick is not considered cleared until the review of the report is finalized by the PI Board of Directors."

You are 100% demonstrably wrong here. This is obvious to everyone who can read past a headline to see what Goldenberg is reporting on. Gleick was cleared by the independent investigation hired by Pacific Institute. PI now gets to decide whether Gleick can be 'cleared' to return to work based on all the report's findings. Do you get it? The reason you hire an independent investigator is to get to the truth by experts with no stake in the matter. You don't then get to 'clear' the results of that investigation. You make decisions based on it.


"Watts and his readers are free to do what they want. As far as I can tell the UK Press Complaints Commission told them, basically, it's outside their realm"

That's not what was said. They said they are contacting Pacific Institute and taking the complaint seriously. Did you read it?

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/31/uks-press-complaints-commission-responds-to-the-premature-gleick-cleared-guardian-article-by-goldenberg/

Aaron said...

The bottom line is having enough food to keep an industrial economy functioning. That requires predictable weather for an industrial agriculture.

At the point where the Arctic loses enough sea ice that it becomes a seasonal net source of water vapor, the thermodynamics of atmospheric circulation change rapidly, and summer weather becomes unpredictable from our present knowledge base.

Industrial agriculture will have difficulties dealing with the different weather patterns resulting from seasonal loss of Arctic sea ice.

The problem is that we do not have a food surplus that would allow a comfortable period of farmers learning to deal with the new climate.

Remember standard for measuring global warming is atmospheric temperatures, of a system not at equilibrium. However, most of the heat from AGW goes into the oceans, thus our AGW total heat accounting is poor. We do not have a good idea of how much additional heat (already in our oceans) will be transported to the Arctic as the current level of warming comes into thermal equilibrium. We may already have enough heat in the Earth's oceans to give us a seasonally ice free Arctic ocean.

We need to figure out how to survive current warming at equilibrium, before we talk glibly of surviving another 5 degrees of warming.

David Appell said...

Anon: I stand by what I wrote, and am glad I reported it.

You don't "read past" a headline -- if headline is wrong, the article is wrong.

If The Guardian did nothing wrong, what do they have to fear from an investigation.

Again, who are you and what are your motives. Stop hiding.

Brian said...

Anon - here's how Michael Tobis read the Guardian: "the Pacific Institute itself has apparently concluded that the disputed document is not a fake, or at least not one concocted by Peter Gleick."

http://planet3.org/2012/05/21/fakegate/

IOW, he read it the same way as David (no one in the comments contradicts this reading either). I can see how the article can be read the way you see it as well, all of which means to me that it's too-vaguely written (or edited).

I think we're seeing multiple examples here of people insisting that language can only be understood in a certain way.

People need to take a chill pill.

EliRabett said...

What do they have to fear from an invetigation: See Clinton, Bill.

In other words, everyone has a lot to fear from any investigation pushed by the Axe Grinders (TM ER). In the case of the PI investigation, Goldenberg's report was accurate. The PI had an independent investigation made, they are in receipt of the report, the report says that Peter Gleick did not forge the material from the HI.

You have problems with the headline? Remember reporters don;t write headlines.

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Tobis did not interpret the article similar to David. And more importantly, Tobis isn't writing articles saying that Goldenberg's article was wrong without getting the information correct. And there is no ambiguity about the Goldenberg article's message to be interpreted to say what Appell is saying.

David,

The headline is not wrong. It's just that you see the word 'cleared' and have applied that to Pacific Institute's decision on what to do about Gleick's employment. The article is about the independent investigation. You've gotten this wrong and created a mess. Not sure how else to tell you. You've also interpreted my actions as being biased and continue to pressure me to reveal my identity. I will not succumb to this juvenile posturing to question what I am doing. It's none of your business, no matter much you think it is. Everything I've said is verifiable by anyone who wants to check. My identity is not relevant. You should see this as trying to help you get it right, but you've declined that also.

Both here and at your blog you've shown that you refuse to see the difference between the independent investigation and the Board's decision process based on that report. That's a rather important detail that you miss. That's on you as you've refused the offers of help.

As to whether the Guardian should fear an investigation, I don't care. That's just a messy result I would thing you would want to clear up. Apparently not. This makes you look really bad.

- anonacoward

Anonymous said...

Just to be clearer, Brian, when you say,
"IOW, he read it the same way as David"
I think we need to understand the amount of energy being put into helping David get this correct. I'm sure if it was pointed out to Tobis that it wasn't the PI that found Gleick 'innocent' he'd change it, as it really isn't important to his article. It's not the initial mistake I find importnat, it's the continued ignorance of the truth and the implications of that.

This is what people (especially David) should care about.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

David illustrates perfectly the problem I have with "framers". They care more about narrative than accuracy.

Anonymous said...

Had a comment lost. Shorter version.

Brian - there's no real ambiguity about the point of the article. Initial mistakes can be excused, of course, because there is background about the investigation being "independent" that people didn't know, so they might have missed that stated in the Goldenberg article. But after looking at it, is there any question about what Goldenberg is talking about? I don't see it, nor does anyone I've asked. That is David's problem.

David - the headline is not wrong. You saw the word 'cleared' and applied that to PI's review. The article is about the independent investigation.

Don't care that Guardian or Goldenberg is being investigated. You should.

Don't care that you want to know who I am. It's not your business. Everything I've said is 100% percent verifiable.

The issue here is your continued denial of your obviously misinformed blog post. You showed it here and there. This makes you look bad. You should've seen this is as helpful, instead you've doubled down.

David Appell said...

The Guardian's article says, "That investigation is now complete, and the conclusions will be made public." The Pacific Institute says not until their Board approves it, which makes me wonder exactly what the word "cleared" is supposed to mean in The Guardian's headline.

My post added valuable information to the situation.

And why should I care about whether The Guardian is being investigated?

And, yes, it does matter who you are and why you refuse to reveal your identity. Without that your motives (and methods) are suspect. I've already said that, as a journalist, I protect sources. So the fact that you won't even go off the record makes one wonder.

Hank Roberts said...

So Romm got it right, tho' some clarification by some other bloggers did add valuable information, while other comments added confusion. Net effect?

Steve Bloom said...

There are two things at issue, first Gleick's deception of HI to obtain documents and second HI's allegation that one of the documents was forged by Gleick. The Guardian article discussed thing two. The contents of the report with regard to thing one, and the PI board's decision in that regard, remain to be seen. This was entirely clear to me when I first read the Grauniad article, although arguably they should have anticipated and tried to counter in advance the proclivity on the part of some to misinterpret things in support of a prior narrative. That does not, note, make them in any way responsible for the misinterpretations.

Re the Grauniad headline in particular, I would point out that the basic facts regarding thing one were made public by Gleick himself, so there probably wasn't much to investigate. This leads to a situation where the report can be accurately characterized as vindicating Gleick (clearing him on thing two and finding nothing of substance to add about thing one) but the board could nonetheless take disciplinary action based on thing one.

As far as I can tell, David's query to PI conflated the report with the potential board action and so just served to confirm his confusion.

I stopped visiting David's blog when it became clear that he's not only become prone to this sort of misunderstanding but has become unwilling to make corrections when called on the errors. The crusade against Romm and the over-reaction to Climategate II didn't help.

(Re the latter, I thought the story would get buried quickly not just because it added nothing to Climategate I, but because the hacker was so blatant about playing the media. How could an experienced journalist not have seen that coming? Speaking of Climategate I, there's a bit of an irony relative to the article under discussion since things wouldn't have gone nearly as far as they did had the Grauniad not gone to such lengths to try to blow it up into a scandal. Given that, it's not inappropriate for them to bend the other way a bit.)

Anonymous said...

"makes me wonder exactly what the word 'cleared' is supposed to mean in The Guardian's headline."

'Cleared' meant cleared of guilt of forging the climate strategy memo (or any of the leak). And this was not cleared by Pacific Institute, as they did not do an investigation. This was done by an independent firm.

"your motives (and methods) are suspect."

Perhaps, but to be honest, at first, I just wanted to help and make sure people understood the situation correctly. Your reaction was strong and you misdirected with the anonymous talk. That made the endeavor frustrating and I reacted accordingly.

"My post added valuable information to the situation."

I very much agree, and thank you for doing that. It confirmed that the investigation was likely done, and Pacific Institute was in the process of reviewing Gleick's future. The problem with your post isn't that you relayed the information. It the that you set it up to counter other information written by Goldberg and realy confused things.

"I've already said that, as a journalist, I protect sources."

I trust journalists do that. I'll think about it, but I'm a little burnt on this at the moment. Just to warn you, you'll be disappointed, as I can guarantee I have no skin in the game and you've never heard of me.

Anonymous said...

"makes me wonder exactly what the word 'cleared' is supposed to mean in The Guardian's headline."

'Cleared' meant cleared of guilt of forging the climate strategy memo (or any of the leak). And this was not cleared by Pacific Institute, as they did not do an investigation. This was done by an independent firm.

"your motives (and methods) are suspect."

Perhaps, but to be honest, at first, I just wanted to help and make sure people understood the situation correctly. Your reaction was strong and you misdirected with the anonymous talk. That made the endeavor frustrating and I reacted accordingly.

"My post added valuable information to the situation."

I very much agree, and thank you for doing that. It confirmed that the investigation was likely done, and Pacific Institute was in the process of reviewing Gleick's future. The problem with your post isn't that you relayed the information. It the that you set it up to counter other information written by Goldberg.

"I've already said that, as a journalist, I protect sources."

I trust journalists do that. I'll think about it, but I'm a little burnt on this at the moment. Just to warn you, you'll be disappointed, as I can guarantee I have no skin in the game and you've never heard of me.

Anonymous said...

"makes me wonder exactly what the word 'cleared' is supposed to mean in The Guardian's headline."

'Cleared' meant cleared of guilt of forging the climate strategy memo (or any of the leak). And this was not cleared by Pacific Institute, as they did not do an investigation. This was done by an independent firm.

"your motives (and methods) are suspect."

Perhaps, but to be honest, at first, I just wanted to help and make sure people understood the situation correctly. Your reaction was strong and you misdirected with the anonymous talk. That made the endeavor frustrating and I reacted accordingly.

"My post added valuable information to the situation."

I very much agree, and thank you for doing that. It confirmed that the investigation was likely done, and Pacific Institute was in the process of reviewing Gleick's future. The problem with your post isn't that you relayed the information. It the that you set it up to counter other information written by Goldberg.

"I've already said that, as a journalist, I protect sources."

I trust journalists do that. I'll think about it, but I'm a little burnt on this at the moment. Just to warn you, you'll be disappointed, as I can guarantee I have no skin in the game and you've never heard of me.

Neven said...

the over-reaction to Climategate II

Ah yes, now I remember.

susan said...

lost comment but here's a copy, apologies if it appears twice:

Well, herein people might notice a whole lot of hot air masquerading as fact-checking self-righteousness from the less than truthful ones who want to put profit before risk, and politics before trudth. If he didn't mind, I'd throw my hat in the ring with Hank Roberts, who provided a reference that included this quote:
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2012/05/what-will-the-world-look-like-in-2052.html

"like any good grandfather, Randers has advice. Once again he can’t resist telling the world what it should do to prevent the worst. And failing that, as he seems resigned to accept as inevitable, he also suggests 18 things you can do all by yourself to ride out the coming storms. Some - teaching your children Chinese, but not to love the wilderness, avoiding investments vulnerable to social unrest and maybe moving somewhere climate-proof - show his cynicism. But there are also prescriptions for trying to make a difference, if only for an easier conscience.

"His final plea, though, shows that some of his 1972 idealism still lingers. “Please help make my forecast wrong. Together we could create a much better world.” Still trying, after all these years."

He's right, we need continuous alarm, noisy, everywhere, wakeup calls, on all the issues, which are all being obfuscated in the same ways.

And the late pre-emptive campaign claiming that violence will come from progressives is, IMNHSO, a smoke screen for a really nasty escalation from those who think violence will cover up the facts.

And perhaps because I'm aging and an interested relatively powerless bystander in this hateful and dangerous obfuscation campaign, signed ...
Susan Anderson

David Appell said...

Anon 2:16 - How do you know who did the investigation?

Again, by remaining anonymous your motives are extremely suspect -- and hence your information is untrustworthy, and hence useless.

David Appell said...

Re: Climategate II

The revelation that Mann tried to interest investigative journalists to "investigate and expose McIntyre"
(http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=1630) puts a lower bound on the relevance of CGII, and the level of that bound is already quite high.

Einstein said, "Most people say that is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character."

So I do not agree that I overreacted to CGII. In fact, I haven't seen things quite the same way since.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

David,
The character needed to make a great scientist doesn't necessarily preclude pettiness, craftiness or even meanness. Newton at times in his life was all three. And both you and I could cite many other examples. The truly remarkable thing about science is that it works humans as we are with all our foibles.

In any case, I think investigative journalism would find plenty of meat in a story about Stevie McI.

Anonymous said...

"How do you know who did the investigation?"

I'm finding it hard to believe you are actually still stuck on square one. Everyone else is already well beyond this.

I am supplying the following information for other people reading this, not David, as he has been given this information many times. Just for my own sanity, I won't be addressing him anymore.

1) According to the Pacific Institute, they hired an independent firm to do the investigation into Peter Gleick's situation.
link:
pacinst.org/press_center/press_releases/statement.html

statement:
"The Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute is deeply concerned regarding recent events involving its president, Dr. Peter Gleick, and has hired an independent firm to review the allegations. The Board has agreed to Dr. Gleick’s request for a temporary leave of absence. Following a distinguished career in energy and environmental policy, Elena Schmid has been appointed as the Acting Executive Director. The Pacific Institute will continue in its vital mission to advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity."

2) Here is Goldenberg talking about it:
link:
guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/21/peter-gleick-cleared-heartland

statement:
"He has been on leave from the institute pending an external investigation into the unauthorized release of the documents"

3) Here is the Pacific Institute in their response to David Appell.
link:
davidappell.blogspot.de/2012/05/gleick-review-not-finalized-pacific.html

statement:
"The Pacific Institute Board of Directors has not finalized its review of the investigation or announced any decisions at this point."

It is not ambiguous as to whether the investigation was carried out by an independent firm, nor is the difference between the independent firm's investigation and Pacific Institute's review of that investigation ambiguous, nor does it matter who I am or my motives, as all this information is easily verifiable.

Lastly, I'll just say that this has been much much much worse than trying to explain to the most ardent denier about how the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn't invalidate the greenhouse effect. I've done my best, if people want to be ignorant, than it is on them, and now also, easily verifiable.

Bye

Anonymous said...

"How do you know who did the investigation?"

I'm finding it hard to believe you are actually still stuck on square one. Everyone else is already well beyond this.

I am supplying the following information for other people reading this, not David, as he has been given this information many times. Just for my own sanity, I won't be addressing him anymore.

1) According to the Pacific Institute, they hired an independent firm to do the investigation into Peter Gleick's situation.

statement:
"The Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute is deeply concerned regarding recent events involving its president, Dr. Peter Gleick, and has hired an independent firm to review the allegations. The Board has agreed to Dr. Gleick’s request for a temporary leave of absence. Following a distinguished career in energy and environmental policy, Elena Schmid has been appointed as the Acting Executive Director. The Pacific Institute will continue in its vital mission to advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity."

2) Here is Goldenberg talking about it:

statement:
"He has been on leave from the institute pending an external investigation into the unauthorized release of the documents"

3) Here is the Pacific Institute in their response to David Appell.

statement:
"The Pacific Institute Board of Directors has not finalized its review of the investigation or announced any decisions at this point."

(links are spamming the comment, I believe, so Googling the words will bring up the webpages in searches)

It is not ambiguous as to whether the investigation was carried out by an independent firm, nor is the difference between the independent firm's investigation and Pacific Institute's review of that investigation ambiguous, nor does it matter who I am or my motives, as all this information is easily verifiable.

Lastly, I'll just say that this has been much much much worse than trying to explain to the most ardent denier about how the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn't invalidate the greenhouse effect. I've done my best, if people want to be ignorant, than it is on them, and now also, easily verifiable.

Bye

David Appell said...

A_Ray: Yes, but as the greatest scientist in history, Newton is an exception to everything.

> The truly remarkable thing
> about science is that it
> works humans as we are with
> all our foibles.

I agree with that, of course, but Einstein's statement was about scientists, not science.

> I think investigative journalism > would find plenty of meat in
> a story about Stevie McI.

Investigative journalists can find plenty of meat in anything -- that's their job. But of all the skeptics, Steve McIntyre seem to me to be one of the most decent, and most impersonal, out there. He commendably said at one of the recent Heartland Conferences (not this year) that he disagreed with the personal attacks that so many skeptic bloggers pursue, and tellingly got a cold reception for it. And most importantly, McIntyre has done what almost no other skeptic has done: dig deep into the data and methodology, with doggedness and intelligence, to make and defend his points. And as a result, he has made change where no other skeptic has, such as his convincing argument about an error in the USHCN temperature data. He studied the data inside and out, and GISS acknowledged him in it correction. Everyone else just either accepted the data or rejected the data wholesale... (It makes you wonder what other subtle errors might be out there.) And he has done a lot of work to insist that data be open, which much of it now is as a matter of course, even though he had to press through some heavy resistance to get that done. And he files FOIAs and doggedly (and yes, pedantically) pursues issues he believes are important, but then that's often what it takes. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, I think all of that is very admirable, as opposed to the zillions of blog commenters who routinely imply that the data is manipulated but can't produce a shred of evidence beyond some 2-minute spreadsheet, or even bother to ask the datakeepers why data changes are being made.

Even though he's been through a huge amount of crap, Mann should fight his most ardent scientific opponents on the field of science instead of encouraging others to dig up dirt on them.

John Mashey said...

David A: re McIntyre

Can you defend Bradley Copi1es Fritts and then !Bradley Copi1es Fritts #2?

Those of course propagated around the net, leading many to think Ray Bradley was a plagiarizer and repeat it.

Martin Vermeer said...

Even though he's been through a huge amount of crap, Mann should fight his most ardent scientific opponents on the field of science instead of encouraging others to dig up dirt on them.

So you don't even believe that journalism can be investigative yet fair and balanced. What kind of journalist are you?

And... what John said. While some of what McIntyre has done may be fairly called science, there's been precious little of that lately.

David Appell said...

Martin Vermeer wrote:
So you don't even believe that journalism can be investigative yet fair and balanced. What kind of journalist are you?

Did I say that? No.
Journalism can be fair and balanced, but sometimes it is not. There are plenty of "news" organizations who have an agenda.

In any case, my comment wasn't about investigative journalism, but about Mann's seeking it to "expose" McIntyre. His default position, as demonstrated throughout his entire book, is that everyone opposed to his science has an ulterior (and usually nefarious) purpose.

Martin Vermeer said...

His default position, as demonstrated throughout his entire book, is that everyone opposed to his science has an ulterior (and usually nefarious) purpose.

I haven't seen a whole lot of counter-evidence to that. Have you?

David Appell said...

I haven't seen a whole lot of counter-evidence to that. Have you?

I said I did: Steve McIntyre. His work is published in peer review journals. That doesn't mean it's conclusive, or even correct overall (but then, many published papers aren't), but some people (like Peter Huybers) found it worth looking into.

Martin Vermeer said...

Yes, McIntyre has published in reputable journals, but that was a while ago. And history has not been kind to those papers: if you do your homework on them, you'll see that they were thoroughly refuted. Yes folks, somebunny did take the trouble to look into this; see, e.g., Wahl and Ammann (2007).

Let's not mention more recent "publications" in Energy and Environment. Or McIntyre's extensive "publication" activity on his blog (did I hear "Yamal"? Hope not).

His only real, honest-to-goodness contributions to the science that I am aware of are corrections to the US surface data and (IIRC) to one temperature proxy that had latitude and longitude reversed. That's it, and worthy of acknowledgement. But against the background of his ongoing relentless -- and, as John Mashey illustrated by one easy example, deeply dishonest -- hockey stick blog war, I think Mann's assumption of bad faith is pretty accurate.

John Mashey said...

In Replicaiton and Due Diligence, DC looked at the code used for McIntyre & McKitrick's Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious significance, i.e., the BIG peer-reviewed paper.

(While the post references Wegman, it is really about the original M&M analysis, since the WR apparently just re-used the code.]

1) M&M used absurd statistical parameters that do not match real life, i.e., with too-high autocorrelation and persistence.

2) Then they did a 100:1 cherry-pick to get the most extreme upward hockey-sticks and then sampled from that. At least one serious statistician told Wegman not to do that, when they re-used the code, but his advice arrived too late. I suspect one or more others said the same thing, but was ignored.

I looked at McI's R code and DC had it right.

item 1) could be serious incompetence, but 2)? Explicit code for a 1:100 cherry-pick? That doesn't happen by accident.

Martin Vermeer said...

John, this goes a little further already and concerns the good faith of some of McIntyre's writing. But already in Wahl & Ammann there is an enlightening example of McIntyre's signature combination of being wrong and accusing others of bad faith, which it seems some here are seeking to emulate. Go to Appendix 1 and Figure S1, read carefully until you understand why "RE" is a useful measure of the "goodness" of a proxy reconstruction, while Pearson's r is not.

As background to this, McIntyre accused Mann of "suppressing" the r statistic. And as further background, McIntyre never addressed this paper on its content, but rather started insinuating how it dishonestly got included into the fourth IPCC report.

...and Dr Mann is supposed to lean over backward to give McI's "science" a fair hearing? Yeah sure.

Steve Bloom said...

OT: Worth a read re Heartland and the campaign to defund it.

Anonymous said...

I for one would like to applaud David Appell's persistent promotion of McIntyre's work.

Without this dogged pushing, we might not have had the salient reminders above of just how abjectly baseless McIntyre's claims were, and how justifiable are the criticisms of the same.

With friends like David...


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

David, Your last reply to me really has me wondering. OK. Stevie has some climate pubs. In that he's a cut above the average denialist. However, what deep insight do we have into Earth's climate that we would not have without Stevie's Ouvre.

And when you couple this with his tendency to--for example--call for his minions to spam scientists with FOI requests for data he already has, but still hasn't done jack with... well it becomes hard for me to take anything you say seriously.

David Appell said...

However, what deep insight do we have into Earth's climate that we would not have without Stevie's Ouvre.

Since you won't even use his proper name -- a sign of simple respect, whether you agree with him or not -- it's clear that no answer I could give would matter to you. So I won't waste my time.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

David,
Tone trolling. How convenient since your contention is utterly unsupported and indeed unsupportable.

grypo said...

I'd be curious if David agreed with the following statement from McIntyre because it pretty encapsulates his entire reason for being in this debate:

"I am completely convinced that they would have used it in Briffa et al 2008 and/or their October 2009 online article without a second thought. My surmise is that the apparent failure of the (still withheld) Yamal-Urals regional chronology to accord with their expectations caused CRU not to use it in Briffa et al 2008. I realize that this is a harsh statement, but it’s what I think."

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Grypo,
In my opinion, that statement by Stevie is in the same league as:

"Ah, the strawberries, that's where I had them. I proved by deductive logic that a duplicate key did exist..." I can just see Stevie playing with those ball bearings.

EliRabett said...

Well, AFAEKS, McIntyre has made a couple of worthwhile, but not ground breaking technical corrections and consumed a lot of everyone else's energy. He is a rent seeker who makes so much noise that people have to do his work for him to get him to shut up.

grypo said...

yes, and it looks like he has new target to harass, Joelle Gergis. She told him to do the work himself, pretty much what everyone else tells him, until he effs it up like he did with the Russian data a few weeks ago. Of course, he's having none of it, but would rather continue to harass people until they erase their blogs.

It's interesting to watch people hitch their caboose to that trainwreck.

David Appell said...

grypo: I would have to do a lot of research and investigation to begin to answer your question.

As I wrote earlier, I don't follow every little twist and turn in the climate blogosphere. I need to make a living, and I have my own interests that I prefer to pursue.

Neven said...

I don't follow every little twist and turn in the climate blogosphere.

You need to follow it a bit more before making sweeping statements. Beware the Honest Broker-virus.

David Appell said...

You need to follow it a bit more before making sweeping statements.

I don't think my comment was "sweeping."

And I think it's a huge waste of time to spend all day reading the climate blogosphere. It's like candy for the mind.

J Bowers said...

"I said I did: Steve McIntyre. His work is published in peer review journals. That doesn't mean it's conclusive, or even correct overall (but then, many published papers aren't), but some people (like Peter Huybers) found it worth looking into."

Well, that's one example, and a "not so reliable" one at that.

* Ch.1: Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 1: In the beginning
* Ch.2: Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, part 2: The story behind the Barton-Whitfield investigation and the Wegman Panel
* Ch.3: McClimategate continues: Yet another false accusation from McIntyre and McKitrick
* Ch.4: Wegman and Said on social networks: More dubious scholarship
* Ch.5: How to be a climate auditor, part 1: Pretty pictures
* Ch.6: How to be a climate science auditor, part 2: The forgotten climategate emails
* Ch.7: Mann exonerated by PSU inquiry: "No substance to the allegation"
* Ch.8: Wegman Report update, part 1: More dubious scholarship in full colour
* Ch.9: What have Wegman and Said done lately?
* Ch.10: Wegman report update, part 2: GMU dissertation review
* Ch.11: John Mashey on Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report
* Ch.12: Wegman under investigation by George Mason University
* Ch.13: David Ritson speaks out
* Ch.14: The Wegman report sees red (noise)
* Ch.15: Replication and due diligence, Wegman style

J Bowers said...

Addenda:

* USA Today: Experts claim 2006 climate report plagiarized
* Gerald North dishes
* A Dummies Guide to Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report
* A Dummies Guide to Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report II
* A Dummies Guide to Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report: The Shorter Version
* Climate study gets pulled after charges of plagiarism

David Appell said...

J Bowers wrote:
Well, that's one example, and a "not so reliable" one at that.

Some people spent far too much time and far too much energy caught up in the intricacies of the blogosphere.

David Appell said...

Martin Vermeer wrote:
Yes, McIntyre has published in reputable journals, but that was a while ago. And history has not been kind to those papers: if you do your homework on them, you'll see that they were thoroughly refuted.

I didn't say McIntyre was perfect. I said he often raises legitimate points and deserves to be taken seriously.

Few scientists publish work of huge importance, or work that is undoubtably correct. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be taken seriously.

And it doesn't mean their scientific opponents should try to get investigative journalists to discredit them.

Mann has many forums -- papers, a blog, academies, interviews -- to make his work and opinions known. He shouldn't be trying to discredit his opponents through secret backchannel innuendo.

David Appell said...

Anonymous 6/2 2:16 pm wrote:
>> ...but to be honest, at first, I just wanted to help and make sure people understood the situation correctly. <<

How incredibly naive of you.

You're anonymous. (For all we know, you're Peter Gleick.) That immediately makes anything you write suspect, as likely to be disinformation, misinformation, uninformation, or crap-information, as it is to be information.

The world doesn't trust anonymous information, for good reason.

I don't believe a word you write -- in fact, I immediately begin to question something the very moment you publish it here. What kind of person thinks he/she has something vital to share, but lacks the courage to share it?

We all know the answer: a coward who has shyed away from ever saying anything important to begin with.

David Appell said...

Anonymous 6/2 2:16 pm wrote:
>> "My post added valuable information to the situation." <<

I very much agree, and thank you for doing that. It confirmed that the investigation was likely done....


A complete lie. In fact, my post said absolutely nothing about an independent investigation. Reread it:

http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/05/gleick-review-not-finalized-pacific.html

grypo said...

I suppose this means that David will not be looking into the reasons that would lead Mann into wanting an investigation into McIntyre's "ties". It is unfortunate because it is the blogesphere that McIntyre uses as his weapon of choice. But don't ask me, ask another scientist whose passing personal thoughts deserve to be encapsulated by an Einstein quote.

--
My research is subject to rigorous scrutiny. Mr. McIntyre’s blogging is not. He can issue FOIA requests at will. He is the master of his domain – the supreme, unchallenged ruler of the “ClimateAudit” universe. He is not a climate scientist, but he has the power to single-handedly destroy the reputations of exceptional men and women who have devoted their entire careers to the pursuit of climate science. Mr. McIntyre’s unchecked, extraordinary power is the real story of “Climategate”. I hope that someone has the courage to tell this story.

Benjamin D. Santer
--

In the words of a famous auditor, this deserves due diligence.

David Appell said...

grypo wrote:
>> I suppose this means that David will not be looking into the reasons that would lead Mann into wanting an investigation into McIntyre's "ties". <<

What a complete failure of understanding.

My comment meant that I hadn't LOOKED into the matter. That I'd have to research and investigate the issue.

And that I'd do the same with any other issue.

I'm not willing to make quick, off-the-cuff conclusions about technically complex issues without doing the necessary work.

It's very telling that grypo doesn't grok that.

grypo said...

It appeared you had no interest in it from your comments about the blogesphere.

Glad to be wrong on that.

Neven said...

You're anonymous. (For all we know, you're Peter Gleick.)

The world doesn't trust anonymous information, for good reason.

We all know the answer: a coward who has shyed away from ever saying anything important to begin with.


David, do you yourself notice how very much you're sounding like Anthony Watts? What's next, posting the anonymous coward's address?

And I think it's a huge waste of time to spend all day reading the climate blogosphere.

Then you are obviously not qualified to come up with handwaving statements such as these: "But of all the skeptics, Steve McIntyre seem to me to be one of the most decent, and most impersonal, out there."

To quote Bernard J:

I for one would like to applaud David Appell's persistent promotion of McIntyre's work.

Without this dogged pushing, we might not have had the salient reminders above of just how abjectly baseless McIntyre's claims were, and how justifiable are the criticisms of the same.

With friends like David...


But feel free to do as much pearlclutching as you like.And good luck with pissing off both sides and thinking you're the smartest boy in the room. Maybe Kloor, Pielke and Revkin can make some space for you.

David Appell said...

Neven: Why do you believe someone who won't sign their name to their words?

Confirmation bias?

Steve Bloom said...

McI has a number of anonymous pals he thinks highly of. Go figure.

You're getting old and bitter, David, and it's really showing.

Martin Vermeer said...

Don't feed the troll folks

Anonymous said...

The Quark Soup post does confirm that Pacific Institute is reviewing that investigation, which is an independent one, letting us know that it is likely completed.

"The Pacific Institute Board of Directors has not finalized its review of the investigation"

The investigation that Goldenberg reported on:

"He has been on leave from the institute pending an external investigation into the unauthorized release of the documents"

The investigation announced by Pacific Institute on 2/27/12

"The Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute is deeply concerned regarding recent events involving its president, Dr. Peter Gleick, and has hired an independent firm to review the allegations."

If anyone doubts this, let them point to the flaws, or possible misinformation.

A referee or fact checker would be useful in this situation.

EliRabett said...

To Eli, McIntyre is a very high maintenance qvetch. His mission in life is to consume others time and energy.

Anonymous said...

Davey boy.

"You're anonymous. (For all we know, you're Peter Gleick.) That immediately makes anything you write suspect, as likely to be disinformation, misinformation, uninformation, or crap-information, as it is to be information.

The world doesn't trust anonymous information, for good reason.

I don't believe a word you write -- in fact, I immediately begin to question something the very moment you publish it here. What kind of person thinks he/she has something vital to share, but lacks the courage to share it?

We all know the answer: a coward who has shyed away from ever saying anything important to begin with.
"

Snort.

Prior to the appearance of this thread I'd never heard of you, and your output beyond the confines of the Rabbet Run are still unknown to me. You are to all intents and purposes as anonymous to me as is anyone else here.

I judge you only on the substance (or rather, the lack thereof) that you present here. I judge you only on the scientific evidence (or lack thereof) and the logic (or screaming lack thereof) that you present here.

Apparently you're a journalist. A paid one. And one who is to busy with his own pursuits:

"I need to make a living, and I have my own interests that I prefer to pursue. "

which don't seem to coincide with pursuing the facts of matters scientific.

You definitely exhibit a fixation on the manner in which people use names with which to refer to others, and you exihibit the enthusiasm of one who has a man-crush on Steve McIntyre, but you're not actually constructing a resilient narrative that supports your suggestion of any notable flaw in the character or of the science of professional climatologists.

Oh, you may gnash your teeth and pull your hair and stamp your feet and wail to the contrary, but there's a whole bunch of real, actual, trained and experienced professional scientists here who are very aware that you're not pursuing investigative journalism with anything like the vigour that you pretend. With nothing resembling investigation, truth be said...

If someone is actually paying you to produce "journalist" output, they're misplacing their money. Given the very tenuous understanding of rational investigation and analysis that you have exhibited here, I would be very dubious about the quality of any work that you produce. Seriously, if you're making a living from your journalism, tell your boss to come here and offer me a job instead - I'll provide better-researched material that is orders of magnitude more scientifically/logically defensible, and is very likely far cheaper to boot.


Bernard J. Hyphen-Anonymous XVII, Esq.

J Bowers said...

"Some people spent far too much time and far too much energy caught up in the intricacies of the blogosphere."

Said the blogger.

willard said...

> Why do you believe someone who won't sign their name to their words?

From the top of my non-existent head:

Because you believe what that person says, not his authority to say it.

Because credibility is not an issue in the specific case.

Because it would be a pro hominem.

Because you don't need to believe anything.