Wednesday, May 30, 2007

We have a problem Mission Control

Tip of the ear to K. Vranes

UPDATE: Eli is a tired old Rabett who intends to go plant some carrots and lettuce in his garden tonight, so he is more than happy to let Rick Piltz carry some of this load (besides, this crap does not go well with a white fur coat). According to Rick, Jim Hansen had some calming thoughts
“It’s an incredibly arrogant and ignorant statement,” Hansen told ABC News. “It indicates a complete ignorance of understanding the implications of climate change.”
Jim, evidently is in a serious FU mood.

NASA Watch has more on this, but it is by far not the most amusing thing over there, for example,

"NASA SPACE FLIGHT MEDAL ... Lisa M. Nowak [NASA Space Flight Medal (flight crew members) An award given for significant achievement or service during individual participation as a civilian or military astronaut, pilot, mission specialist, payload specialist, or other space flight participant in a space flight mission.]"

She really went off the deep end. On the other hand Lisa is a much nicer character than the the astronette from hell
Finally, indeed! Marsha isn't the only one who displays this behavior, but she is the current poster child, since Jay Greene (her mentor) has retired. Want to know what I did when I learned that Marsha was to be (Constellation Program Office Manager) Jeff Hanley's special assistant? I quit. Turned in my resignation and walked away from NASA and JSC. If Hanley and Griffin have the monumental bad judgement to put Marsha in a place with that kind of power and lack of accountability, the Constellation Program is doomed.
Her reputation Go(e)th before her like a shield.
Houston we have several problems. . .

The Rachel Carson Death Toll:

Marion Delgado has some important updates on the Rachel Carson Death Toll, originally placed as a comment in Eli's memorium, the Bunnies in the Snark Room have moved it to this more appropriate place:

The Rachel Carson Death Toll

1913: 6 year old rachel carson wins an essay contest "why little disease bugs have mommies and need a break! Let's not be mean" The essay is reprinted nationwide and president Wilson decides not to fight or quarantine the Spanish influenza:

RESULT: Tens of millions of deaths. Rachel gets a new bicycle.

1917 - 10 year old Rachel Carson sends a letter to the Finnish King suggesting he allow a sealed railroad car bearing Vladimir Ilich Lenin, Communist Butcher, to travel through the nation because "scientists like me know sharing is nice." The Finns mistakenly listen.

RESULT: 100 million deaths in Russia, 200 million in china, another 100 million in vietnam, cambodia, and cuba. Rachel Carson becomes the first American to win a Red Star Bolshevik Anti-American Jesus-Killing Order of Merit First Class. She and her family move to a dacha on the Black Sea.

1935 animal behaviorathiest Rachel Carson sends fan mail to Neville Chamberlin "Dear Mr. Prime Minister: I think appeasement is sexy, and its the way to peace. Keep up the good work!"

RESULT: The ensuing war against the wrong enemy kills many. Also, domestic Nazi policy is believed by some experts to have claimed hundreds or even thousands of victims.* Still, war is hell, and we have to up Rachel's toll to 600 million. Margaret Sanger awards Carson the Paul Ehrlich Euthanasia and Eugenics Zealot Medallion.

1950s: Behavioratheist sea psychologist Rachel Carson declaims that Asians are superior and should not be resisted. Harry Truman's Communist Cabinet agrees.

RESULT: Millions of Deaths. Rosenbergs give Rachel a signed printed first edition of Das Kapital.

1960s: Rachel Carson lights her cigarette with a naive fan's draft card. Ecoterrorists led by Carson firebomb every DDT plant on earth. Mosquitoes and dragonflies reinherit the uninhabited Earth. Billions die.

RESULT: millions of deaths among americans and laotians. Rachel Carson is named Time's Woman of the Year.

1970s: it is finally determined by the Rachel Carsonology cult that her ashes won't unacceptably pollute the ocean.

RESULT: Shuttle Challenger takes in her ashes and explodes on takeoff. Rachel Carson immortalized on Mt. Rushmore in a stealth ecovandalism raid.

Final death toll: 10 billion and 7 people.

Argue all you like but these are the facts

*David Irving, op. cit.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ethon gets a new Roger

Ethon was chewing over his livertarian flavored Roger, Bate, happy that he had a new chew toy which did not require a long commute, when, to his great surprise, who should show up but Martin Durkin, director of the Great Global Warming Swindle and several other confidence tricks, a real live Living Marxist. Ethon spit up. While livertarians have a somewhat plastic taste, it is hard to keep a Living Marxist down, better to microwave them, but oh my it is a rich stew, with Lydon Larouche, Roger Bate and Co. cooperating with the Revolting Communist Party types such as Martin Durkin, the Revolting Communist Party being a livertarian front group. Andy Rowell, a journalist found this out

Firstly that the Institute of Ideas (IOI) and Spiked collaborate with known climate sceptics such as Roger Bate and Julian Morris of the IPN. Their collaboration began in the late nineties when two key Living Marxism activists, Frank Furedi and Bill Durodie, started writing for the European Science and Environment Forum and Roger Bate, ESEF's founder, began writing for Living Marxism (the forerunner of Spiked and IOI).

Bate has also contributed to Spiked-Online, writing on issues such as DDT, GM[1] and depleted Uranium. The latter article by Bate is co-written with Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski,[2] who writes for 21st Century Science and Technology - the magazine of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche, a scientist who believes that 'The Ice Age is Coming.'[3]
and an interview with George Monbiot
There are two reasons why I find it worrying. The first is that the agenda they pursue appears not to be pursued overtly. For example, when they ran the magazine Living Marxism it was very far from a Marxism journal - it was just about as far from a Marxist journal as you could possibly get. And it seemed to me that the title was a direct and deliberate attempt to distract attention from the fact that this was a far right wing libertarian publication which was using the terms of the left to make it look as if the positions it was taking were new and unusual ones. Whereas in actual fact they were very well trodden ones, but well trodden by people like the Libertarian Alliance who in theory were at the other end of the political spectrum.
*I have never heard of the Libertarian Alliance before.

George: Mad as a pile of buckets. But what Living Marxism did, I felt, was to give the impression that it was saying something new because it was dealing with the issues from a left perspective whereas it was very plainly dealing with them from a right perspective. And it was taking a line almost identical to that taken by right wing organizations - particularly some of the business come lobbyist organisations in the US, such as the Heritage Foundation, the CATO Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute - and so they were able to play very effectively on this semblance of left parties. People find it is very hard to believe that a magazine called Living Marxism would be a right wing magazine. And so they said ‘oh look - the left has come up with something new - really I think that maybe we should be following this line ourselves’. It led to a great deal of confusion really, including among some people I know.
A rich stew but hard to swallow.

Monday, May 28, 2007

In memoriam, Rachel Carson

Born: May 27, 1907
in Springdale, Pennsylvania
Died: April 14, 1964
in Silver Spring, Maryland
Ignoring time and a few kilometers of space, Rachel Carson was a neighbor. She wrote with passion, she wrote with care and caring. She was a naturalist who shared her love with us. As a young boy, Eli absorbed some of her spirit. Although now mostly (and sadly) forgotten, her The Sea Around Us, and The Edge of the Sea capture beauty and introduce science, bringing both to us, or perhaps better said bringing us to both. Read the first paragraph of the Edge of the Sea
The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place. All through the long history of Earth it has been an area of unrest where waves have broken heavily against the land, where the tides have pressed forward over the continents, receded, and then returned. For no two successive days is the shore line precisely the same. Not only do the tides advance and retreat in their eternal rhythms, but the level of the sea itself is never at rest. It rises or falls as the glaciers melt or grow, as the floor of the deep ocean basins shifts under its increasing load of sediments, or as the earth's crust along the continental margins warps up or down in adjustment to strain and tension. Today a little more land may belong to the sea, tomorrow a little less. Always the edge of the sea remains an elusive and indefinable boundary.
The last things she wrote was Helping Your Child to Wonder, on one level a description of introducing "Oceanus" to her nephew Roger, first as an infant and then as a young child, but on a deeper one it explains why and how we grow to the study of nature. From a review at Amazon
By dragonfly333
This book was recommended to me by a friend some years ago. She told me that she had read this book in her youth and it had changed her life. At the time, the book was still out of print, but I managed to find a well-read copy through inter-library loan. After reading it, I can well understand how this little book can transform a person's way of thinking. In a very personal and lyrical remembrance, Rachel Carson shares her vision of the natural world and the wonder it inspires. "A child's world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood,"
When curiosity and awe are joined to an inquiring mind, some cleverness and not a little bit of hard, frustrating but ultimately elating labor, science and understanding result. Rachel Carson provided many from my generation the path

(Linda Lear writes a Rachel Carson web site. Besides providing the picture of Rachel Carson Eli has learned and remembered much else from it).

The price of defaming Rachel Carson

About £10K per month (About U$18K then) to Roger Bate, who fronted Africa Fighting Malaria for the tobacco industry. In October of 1998 when negotiations were getting started to establish AFM, John Roberts, in Philip Morris' UK office sent a memo to Matt Winokur, PM's Directory of Regulatory Affairs,

Winokur, Matt
From: Roberts, John
Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 199810:55 AM
To: Bushong, David; Winokur, Matt
Subject RE: Bate
I think Bate is a very valuable resource and have strongly recommended that he play some role at UN level . I recall that we paid him up to GBP 10,0000 per month. There is one additional person I would recommend as deserving of consideration too and that is John Bowis . Where Bate's principal interest Is Malaria, Bowls's is mental health, t believe them to be complementary resources . Best wishes,


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Original Sin

Tobacco denialism is the original sin. The tobacco companies fought a fifty year battle to deny the harm that they have done and are doing, the myriad deaths caused by the evil weed. Some time ago, Eli dug out information showing that tobacco is responsible for over 20 % of male and 8 % of female deaths in developed countries.

To maintain their profits the tobacco companies created a sophisticated public relations effort supported by a small but virulent group of professionals including scientists, economists and policy sluts. Among these were our old friends the Freds, Seitz and Singer who have gone on to further dishonor and but, alas, good fortune.

The centenary of Rachel Carson's birth has brought one of these, a Roger Bate to the forefront. Bate, an economist, currently dishonouring the American Enterprise Institute has set up a front organization, Africa Fighting Malaria, but to what purpose the innocent bunnies ask.

Not to fight malaria, but to fight the World Health Organization while it attempts to battle the twin curses of malaria and tobacco. Yesterday, Eli pointed to Roger Bate's solicitation letter to Philip Morris, today Rabett Institute will briefly consider the funding proposal SENT TO THE TOBACCO COMPANIES in which the clear purpose of Africa Fighting Malaria is layed out

(UPDATE: Somehow Eli originally omitted the URL. Thanks to the anonymouse who pointed out the omission)

We have had significant media attention to our ideas and have supporters within political circles. The idea of sound science, thresholds and tradeoffs, have been enhanced, and appear periodically in circles of opinion formers. However, we have been, and will probably remain, largely unsuccessful in changing policy for several reasons :
• Our ideological supporters are believed to have hidden agendas - the vested interests of industry and pro-industry politicians.
which, in view of what follows appears to be a pretty accurate description of the situation
• Our opponents are quite disparate, yet we have not divided them and shown each how the other's agenda is damaging their own .

To be more successful we need to do the following :
• Simplify our arguments .
• Pick issues on which we can divide our opponents and win . Make our case on our terms, not on the terms of our opponents - malaria prevention is a good example .
• Show our opponents where their alleged allies are harming their cause - environmental regulations often harm public health in the west and western policies often harm health in Less Developed Countries (LDCs).
• Target messages to show politicians and journalists how to make political capital out of supporting our ideas.
• Involve opinion formers in LDCs to make our case .
Which gives one a pretty good opinion idea of what is to follow
The first stage is to develop some literature which explains the harm that a preoccupation with virtual risks in the west is causing in LDCs (to create support in the LDCs) . At the same time we must continue to explain the dangers this preoccupation has for those in the west (to increase support in the west) . The aim of the papers will be to highlight two tensions : between the actions of environmental and public health policies, and between OECD and LDC aims . It will also question what the aims of international health agencies (primarily WHO) should be .
Well, the Tobacco Institute already had funded one book by Bate
As part of this process I have produced a cut-down version of "What Risk?", with two new papers, for think tanks to publish in their own languages/countries . . .
but the Tobacco lobby always did have money for unworthy causes
Each will provide a speaking platform for me, and work with local media - however, all will require some funding support,
and then the new front group can start to work
A new initiative to bring interest back into combating malaria, Africa Fighting Malaria, will be collection of groups of individuals and institutes, working from a base in Cape Town, South Africa .
The purpose of this all
this will create tensions between LDCs and OECD countries and between public health and environment.
How noble. Bate goes on
The third part of the strategy will be to constructively look at the future role of international agencies such as UNEP, UNDP, WHO etc . For example, WHO's new Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland comes from an environmental background. As the originator of the phrase 'sustainable development', and a guiding light in both the Montreal Protocol, and Rio Summit, she has a superb grasp on manipulating international political structures . According to one insider she is after the top job at UN . Her two targets of malaria and tobacco control if `successful' could propel her towards that goal . . The tobacco control protocol is based upon the Montreal Protocol and as such, although she did not originate the tobacco document, she is comfortable with its approach. Indeed, the tobacco control document may lead to a binding WHO/UN convention .
The final paragraph is a keeper
At UNEP, the desire to push through treaties on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change, Hazardous Waste, to name but a few draw heavily on the Montreal Protocol as well . However, the Montreal Protocol is highly flawed (like the tobacco control document) . It contains inaccuracies, cost underestimation and dubious ethics . To influence the direction of future UN legislation we must criticise the Montreal Protocol. A paper is proposed to accurately apply the lessons learned from the Montreal Protocol to new or developing conventions (especially POPs, tobacco and climate change).
As we saw in the earlier post, the cost of this piece of work was small, Bate even offered a discount
As you probably know I was working for PMCS Brussels at a rate of 800 pounds sterling a day . I would be content to continue to work at the same rate.
It is truly difficult to understand someone as evil as Roger Bate, it is hard to understand why anyone with self respect would associate with him and surely, Roger Bate's existence is a strong argument against the existence of a just God.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Who Ordered That

The hundred year wingnuts have emerged to devour the centenary of Rachel Carsons death birth (tip of the ears to Steve Bloom. You can read about the various abuses over at Deltoid, Deltoid, Deltoid, but that being an Aussie blog, Eli will point to the local inaction:

The U.S. Senate adjourned for the Memorial Day weekend yesterday without taking up a resolution honoring environmental author Rachel Carson, meaning that the measure will not be passed in time for the 100th anniversary of her birth, congressional staff members said. . .
But plans were stymied when Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) used Senate rules to block the measure. Coburn said Carson's "junk science" improperly stigmatized the pesticide DDT and prevented it from being used on malaria-carrying mosquitoes. As a result, Coburn said, numerous people in the developing world have died of the disease.
Susan Sullam, a spokeswoman for Cardin, said yesterday that she was unsure whether he would continue to press for the resolution's passage.
Those who wish to honor Carson, might write to Senator Cardin. OTOH, they might also write to Sen. Coburn. Of course, this being Washington DC, we have our local infestations, one of which emerged from larval form onto the Washington Post letter page, a Roger Bate of the American Enterprise Institute who said (in part)
David A. Fahrenthold quoted me in his May 23 Metro article "Rachel Carson Bill From Cardin on Hold" but misunderstood my point. While one cannot blame Rachel Carson for things done in her name after her death, she was undoubtedly wrong about DDT and a host of other issues. She was known to be wrong in 1972, 10 years after "Silent Spring" was published, as the back cover of the 1972 Penguin version acknowledged.
Bate being one of the fabricators of the Carson as a killer myth as well as the type of all around scum who tried to make a living by shilling for tobacco. Sourcewatch thinks Philip Morris turned down the book proposal. Well Philip may have had better taste and told Bates to walk the streets for free, but Sadly No, the Tobacco Institute funded the book, "What Risk".

The proposal is worth reading, if only for the budget (£50K of which £5K was to go to distributing the book to thems what counts - sadly, thems what counts ususally can't and their reading skills are none too good) and the proposed list of authors, among which we find such familiar luminaries Zbigniew Jaworowski and Princess Denial, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen . Ziggie made it into the book, providing a chapter on how radon is good for the health, but as interestingly, the proposal had one Julian Morris as co-editor. George Monbiot recounts how Morris told him he had and wanted nothing to do with the book
Julian Morris insists that his name was added to the document without his consent. He says he had “nothing” to do with the book(9). It was published in 1997 under the title “What Risk?”(10). It has a foreword by David Davis MP. It claims that passive smoking is no more dangerous than “eating 50g of mushrooms a week” and attacks “politically correct” beliefs such as “passive smoking causes lung cancer” and “mankind’s emissions of carbon dioxide will result in runaway global warming.” Julian Morris is not named as its co-editor, but he is the first person thanked in the acknowledgements, for his “editorial suggestions”.
Monbiot goes on to talk about the players
The book’s editor, Roger Bate, is currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute – which has received $1.6m from ExxonMobil(11) – and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has received $2 million(12). Until 2003, he was Julian Morris’s predecessor as head of the IPN (International Policy Network). When the book was written, he ran the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF), which published “What Risk?”. The registered owner of ESEF’s website is Julian Morris(13). He claims he had nothing to do with ESEF either, and registered the name purely “as a favour to a friend”(14).
and their teams
PRWatch alleges that ESEF was originally called Scientists for Sound Public Policy (SSPP), and was founded by a public relations agency working for the tobacco company Philip Morris(15). Documents in the tobacco archives show that SSPP was the subject of a fierce turf war between the PR firms Burson Marsteller and APCO, who were vying for Philip Morris’s account. Burson Marsteller’s proposal argued that “industrial resistance” to regulation is “perceived as protection of commercial self-interests”. A different “countervailing voice” was required, consisting of “international opinion formers supported financially by the industry”. Their role would be “educating opinion leaders, politicians and the media.”(16) The group would also seek funding from other industries. Some of the people ESEF recruited as “academic members” were people working for US lobby groups later funded by Exxon, who have made false claims about climate change(17).
but how, young innocent bunnies, you ask, does this have anything to do with Rachel Carson. Ah, you have to remember that in the late 1990s, the World Health Organization was organizing a global response to the plague of deaths due to tobacco. Eli reading in the Tobacco Archives comes across this interesting dot connector from the good Roger Bate to David Greenberg of Philip Morris
It was a pleasure to meet with you last week . Following our discussion I have done as you suggested and thought about topics and areas of interest where I can possibly either do some work for you, or you may interested in supporting our work .

As outlined in more detail in my previous correspondence, the antimalaria project is one that I hope you will be able to support . Other than its humanitarian, scientific and public policy interest it should enable me to build contacts with politicians and scientist/thinkers from developing African countries . As demonstrated in the debate and policy shift on ivory trading, these representatives are particularly important in the UN/WHO process . I would be happy to regularly inform you of the progress on this front .

It will also afford me, and several colleagues, the opportunity of writing opinion articles and books (see Public Health book outline from previous correspondence) about the disparity between the current and correct roles of environmental public health . Usual first world targets, such as FT, WSJ, etc . will be complemented with other less known but important African papers.

If you are able to donate to the Malaria campaign, I will pass on the coordinates for the new operation, initially based in UK, but soon to have offices in South Africa.

In addition to this support, I would like to propose that I work on projects for you on an ad hoc basis . In your work, influencing the WHO on their tobacco protocol, there are probably several areas where I can help . For example, contacts who may be appreciative of your efforts and arguments may develop via the malaria work and I could probably act as a liaison between you and them.

I can also write short reports on subjects salient to your interest in the protocol. The first that could be attempted is a brief history of the Montreal Protocol and its relevance to the proposed tobacco protocol . I'm sure other topics will spring to mind that I can work on but let me know if, in principle, you are interested in this approach and in particular the Montreal Protocol paper to start with . Its probably three to five days work.

As you probably know I was working for PMCS Brussels at a rate of 800 pounds sterling a day . I would be content to continue to work at the same rate.
Nice of him

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ask Al Gore

Well the book tour for Assault on Reason is underway, so there will be local opportunities to Ask Al Gore. Our question to the mice is, what question would you Ask Al Gore, in 25 words or less. Questions by nature are short and not political speechifying, the person who answers the question gets to do that. However, for the purpose of this exercise, after asking the question (politely, we are well behaved furry creatures, unlike them pushy Stoats), you may rant at will.

Oh yes, you can put your question out to the Huffington Post who will Ask Al Gore tomorrow and more opportunities at the draft Gore site, even at the gore Gore sites. There will be an interview on Charlie Rose tonight which should eventually be available on line.

It is a 12 stop tour which started in CA. Some of the upcoming dates are

Friday, May 25
New York City
Barnes & Noble (Union Square)
33 E. 17th Street
Talk & book-signing
12:30 pm

Tuesday, May 29
Washington, DC
The George Washington University Lisner Auditorium
730 21st Street, NW
7:00 pm

Wednesday, June 6
Chicago, IL
Borders Book Store
150 North State St.
Phone 312.606.0750
12:30 PM

Why stock markets are evil

Ethon came back on the overnight from Basingstoke UK where he is working with the Editors to improve Climate Feedback. On his way out the door he noticed that Kevin Vranes was busily at work reviving the argument that all markets are useless because they can be manipulated. This was news to our new liverterian friends, but of course he is only talking about carbon markets, which are, of course, evil because they represent an attempt to reign in the unbridled vigor of free markets.

As Eli understands this argument it goes markets can be manipulated therefore markets are evil and we don't need markets. What it should be is that markets can be manipulated therefore we need regulated markets and regulators who can and will impose drastic penalties on the manipulators.

Michael Milken-bond manipulator

It should be expected that initially there will be attempts at manipulation of carbon markets until the regulators choke them off. That is the nature of the beast.

Kevin Vranes' argument is but another example of the but we can't do anything about it strand of denialism. You can take the lad out of Prometheus, but you can't take Prometheus out of the lad.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yah gotta pay attention

Deltoid and Climate Audit tell how the Killer McIntyre uleashed his Lego** Robot Anonymouse on GISS to harvest all of their climate station records. Turns out that the rapid polling of the robot resulted in denial of service to everyone else, and the webmaster told McIntyre to bug out,

Please note that the robots.txt file on that website includes a list of directories which any legitimate web robot is _forbidden_ from trying to index. That list of off-limits directories includes the /work/ and /cgi-bin/ directories.
Because the robot running on the network has rather obviously and blatantly violated those rules, I placed a block on our server restricting its access to the server.
which was not kindly received. Lots of harumph on Steve's part, but they did provide him with access within a few hours, and this interesting comment
After a short meeting with Dr. Hansen, we were advised to let you download whatever you want as long as generally accepted protocols are observed. Please try to do so at a time that does not impact other users, i.e. late nights, weekends.
What we did with the GHCN data is carefully documented in the publications listed on our website. We are not creating an alternate version of the GHCN data, we are mainly combining their data in various steps to create our anomaly maps.
While the whole thing was a farce, those seven words are the take home. It's obvious what Steveo intends to try, Hansen, otoh is a lot older fox than Michael Mann.

** Lego has a huge market among robotics courses. Eli just took delivery on 8k$ worth of stuff for next year

Monday, May 21, 2007

Down the Borehole . . .

Tamino has a wonderful post up on boreholes

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sucking thumbs

A few days ago, when Ethon flew in with the news that Prometheus was taking a sabbatical, Eli promised the mice a thumb sucker. Well, we have been sucking our tasty thumbs all weekend, and this is it.

There have been both posts and and comments across the usual links (see our link list for examples) about these goings off, and the universal truth that emerges is that Prometheus made his comments a much more boring place when he invited Eli to take his bird shove it. Not only yours truly, but Dano and others, who, when invited to get up and leave, left. What remained was, with exceptions (Tokyo Tom, Fergus, Steve Bloom) an amen chorus, considerably to the denialist side of Prometheus hisself but one whose care and ego feeding the lad fell to with dispatch.

A successful blog requires a community. The community can be broad, snarky, fracticious, single channel, or whatever, but for people to keep coming back the comments are more important than the posts, the posts are what attracts the comments. For example, Real Climate posts attract hundreds of comments. A good bunch of anonymice allows the owner operator to figure out what interests the audience as well as the management and set out tasty fresh bait. A blogger (IEHO) should only inject himself into the comments when absolutely necessary

Rabett Run has very different goals than Prometheus or Real Climate. It is quite meta-science, in the sense adopted by Nisbet and Mooney (Rabett was there very early), discussing how the debate is being manipulated with the goal of informing the side of truth, justice and yes, we are screwing ourselves and our children. There are also a bunch of comments on the science of climate change and a few other things. The tone ranges from snarky to bemused (theory and practice can differ as can perception). Climate Audit and Deltoid also do not seek to be universal.

Prometheus had very different goals. It sought to become the meeting place for climate policy discussions and the climate science that shaped that policy. Its success required that everyone would go there, posting, commenting replying. It would have worked, had Roger loosely held the reins rather than trying to control the discourse. For example, he could have had a revolving set of posts by Landsea, Trenberth, Webster, and himself on the hurricane issue. The comments could have been a free for all, with the occasional behave yourself. It would have required that Roger accept some pretty strong criticism, but in the end that criticism was what strengthened interest in the forum and differentiated it.

Things worth looking at elsewhere. . . .

Fergus translates from science speak to public dialects

climate science = science fiction.
John Fleck, points to a new statement on climate change issued by 13 national academies of science, including the Chinese, Russian, US, and UK academies
The problem is not yet insoluble, but becomes more difficult with each passing day. A goal of confining global warming to an average of 2 centigrade degrees above pre-industrial levels would be very challenging, and even this amount of warming would be likely to have some severe impacts. . . .
We call on world leaders, especially those meeting at the G8 Summit in June 2007, to:
• Set standards and promote economic instruments for efficiency, and commit to promoting energy efficiency for buildings, devices, motors, transportation systems
and in the energy sector itself.
• Promote understanding of climate and energy issues and encourage necessary behavioural changes within our societies.
• Define and implement measures to reduce global deforestation.
• Strengthen economic and technological exchange with developing countries, in order to leapfrog to cleaner and more efficient modern technologies.
• Invest strongly in science and technology related to energy efficiency, zero-carbon energy resources and carbon-removing technologies.
Eli is happy to see them adopting his earlier suggestions.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ethon relocates

Via James Annan a rather good summary of what happened to Prometheus

It had appeared for some time that RPJr's his blog was on the wane, attracting little more than a handful of denialist ditto-heads, and now he's decided to knock it on the head. Personally, I found much of Roger's blogging to be interesting and thought-provoking, although I'm a bit baffled by some of the clangers he dropped (eg his bizarre cheerleading of air capture of CO2, and his lame attempt to discredit Hansen's 1988 forecast).
short, but go read the rest, including Eli's comment:
If you go back and look at what I have written about Roger and his blogging, what I admired was his early awareness of the uses of the blog. Where (again, in my humble opinion) he failed was getting locked into a model and a number of obsessions and was not willing to change. A strength of his blog was the authority he and his institute brought to it, a weakness was that he took criticism personally, which, of course, some of it was. That is a big advantage of quasi anonymity. The blog lost steam when he tried to control the comments precisely because it was the friction in the comments which gave the flavoring.
The Editors are working on a longer thumb sucker for tonight, but we close with elegies from the mice which capture both the tragedy and the farce. Fergus said...
From Private Eye: the poetic obituarian. E.g:

So farewell, then,
Finally freed by Hercules?
You were an Honest Broker,
you said,
but now the blog
you helped to start for Nature
is honestly broke.
and Anonymous said...
Prometheus of Old was known,
For stealing fire from Zeus,
And giving it to the mortals
So they could cook their goose.

Prometheus of Young was known,
For stealing the publics' attention,
And giving it to himself,
With a William J. Broad mention.

Prometheus of Old was punished,
Chained to a mountain peak,
Where an eagle ate his liver,
Extracted with his beak.

Prometheus of Young was punished,
Chained to a policy blog,
Populated by nitwits,
And the neighbor's yappy dog.
Roger is going on sabbatical. Sabbaticals are like senior year, you get to burn the candle at both ends and take a blowtorch to the middle. A time of great productivity, new learning, new friends, new collaborators, excessive play and discovery. Eli, the lab bunnies and all the mice (ok, maybe not ALL the mice) wish him all of these.

A defense of reason

Excerpts from Al Gore's new book, An Assault on Reason, are now available at Time Magazine's website

The potential for manipulating mass opinions and feelings initially discovered by commercial advertisers is now being even more aggressively exploited by a new generation of media Machiavellis. The combination of ever more sophisticated public opinion sampling techniques and the increasing use of powerful computers to parse and subdivide the American people according to "psychographic" categories that identify their susceptibility to individually tailored appeals has further magnified the power of propagandistic electronic messaging that has created a harsh new reality for the functioning of our democracy.

As a result, our democracy is in danger of being hollowed out. In order to reclaim our birthright, we Americans must resolve to repair the systemic decay of the public forum. We must create new ways to engage in a genuine and not manipulative conversation about our future. We must stop tolerating the rejection and distortion of science. We must insist on an end to the cynical use of pseudo-studies known to be false for the purpose of intentionally clouding the public's ability to discern the truth. Americans in both parties should insist on the re-establishment of respect for the rule of reason.

along with an article on what he is doing on climate change policy with the usual political speculation thrown in.

The hounds are baying

UPDATE: Well we all have see arguments from ignorance, but it takes a libertarian to make an argument for ignorance

Since the 1950s, economists and political scientists have known that it is actually rational for voters to be ignorant, because the chance that any one voter will have a significant impact on the outcome of an election is infinitesimally small. There is little incentive to spend time and effort acquiring knowledge about politics that won't make any difference to political outcomes anyway.

Bryan, however, goes beyond the standard rational ignorance analysis. He emphasizes that it is rational for voters to not only learn very little about politics, but to do a poor job of evaluating the information they do have. Good analysis of political information - like learning the information in the first place - requires considerable time and effort that rationally ignorant voters have little incentive to undertake. Instead, voters are likely to fall prey to systematic errors in considering political information. As Bryan shows in detail, this helps explain why the majority of voters routinely fall prey to gross fallacies in their analysis of public policy - such as the belief that protectionism helps the overall economy; that the rise of modern technology is a major cause of long term unemployment; and that foreigners are beggaring the American economy (all of these are actual examples from the book).

Since libertarians are at heart solipsists it is clear that their vision of community extends to their nose, and their understanding of policy not a nanometer farther than their pocketbooks, but this argument ignores the public context in which policy is functions.

Ethon needs a new roost

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Teething troubles. . .

Nature's Climate Feedback is relaunching

Coming up for two weeks in, a few words about this blog and its somewhat chequered early career.
somewhat along lines that Eli and the mice suggested, but of course with some differences. Anyone who listened only to small furry animals should rent space between their ears, but we are cute. Their intention is
. . . to offer a wide range of interesting, if controversial, views and in doing so, to represent a diversity of expert opinions over time. News travels fast in the blogosphere, however, and our somewhat unclear beginnings did not go unnoticed. As a result we found that some researchers who had previously offered themselves as willing bloggers no longer wished to make that offer, leading us, as William noted, to revise our “core contributors” list to “recent contributors”, just listing those who had posted on the site to date.

This change also reflects our intention to broaden our blogging base;
Anyhow, take Olive Heffernan up on her suggestion
We remain open to suggestions from you all about how to make the blog a useful addition to one of the world’s most pressing conversations. We look forward to many fruitful discussions on climate change in our journals and others, in the news, and in the world at large.
but, please remember to play nice (or was that mice?).

UPDATE: On the other hand,
The Importance of the Development Pathway in the Climate Debate
Posted by Olive Heffernan on behalf of Roger Pielke Jr.

Today I am testifying before the House Committee on Science and Technology of the U.S. Congress. In my testimony I argue that we should pay attention to development paths in addition to the mitigation of greenhouse gases. You can see my testimony in full here
but who ever heard of a one handed climate science blog?
Global climate change and hurricanes
Posted by Olive Heffernan on behalf of Kevin Trenberth

There seems to be general agreement on these points, yet the whole issue of Atlantic hurricanes is mired in controversy over the role of global warming. It is not a disagreement that SSTs are higher but rather whether the warming is due to natural processes such as the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation or global warming. To the public, the result is the same for now. To me this is obvious: global warming is “unequivocal” to quote the recent IPCC Working Group I report and global SSTs have increased about 0.6 degrees C. In the last half century this warming is associated with increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It is not possible that the Atlantic has escaped from this warming.
A Rabett could get whiplash on that blog if they keep this up. . . .

Monday, May 14, 2007

Talks I wish I gave. . . .

UPDATE: The powerpoint presentation can be downloaded

Full circle. . .

Anonymouse 6:49 in the comments points to an article in today's Washington Post Federal Loans for Coal Plants Clash With Carbon Cuts which describes how low interest federal loans to rural electric coops are being used to build coal plants. The Rural Electrification program was a key New Deal (1930s, FDR) initiative that brought a progress and prosperity to farmers and others who lived in isolated areas. Essentially it was a subsidy for electrification where low density made it unprofitable or less profitable. Given the costs of transmission, these are the places where (somewhat) off net power makes the most sense.

Of course, many of these electrical coops are now at the urban fringe, and a lot of the new capacity is for anything but farmers and miners and all around hermits who live in cabins with candles, and as the every perspicuous mouse points out (our mice are smarter than your psychologists) are very heavy into coal

...which, of course, is why renewable energy has a hard time competing with fossil fuel and nuclear power plants (or nukyaler, to those from Texas)
But Eli digresses. Cast your minds back to yesteryear (7/2006) and the great Is Pat Michaels Virginia State Climatologist or Who Appointed Pat Debate. That was touched off when
RealClimate received a copy of a letter from the General Manager of the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA, an energy cooperative in Colorado), Stanley R. Lewandowski (Jr), to other utilities (G&T's in the jargon) in the US discussing fundraising and tactics for a new disinformation campaign on climate change
The letter starts out
Most of the electrical power furnished by rural electric cooperatives is produced by coal fired power plants. That will also be true for the foreseeable future. This then raises a concern about all of the publicity on global warming and costly measures being advocated to control CO2 emissions
They sign on to the then popular there is no such thing as global warming
Al Gore and others state that the scientific community has reached consensus and that the debate is over. That is simply not true. Disputing this contention are climatologists, meteorologists and astrophysicists like Richard Lindzen, William Gray, Fred Singer, Roy Spencer, Patrick Michaels, Robert Balling and Craig Idso and the 17,000 signatories to Dr. Arthur Robinson's Petition Project who said of the Kyoto Accord: "there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable futher cause catastrophic heating of the earth's atmosphere and disruption of the earth's climate.
but of greatest interest wrt [(c) Stoat] the Washington Post article was the statement towards the end of the letter
The lobbying effort in the political arena will be done by the professionals at the NRECA (National Rural Electrification Cooperative Association [(c) anti-Stoat].
and the other action item was, btw
We decided to support Dr. Patrick Michaels. ... In February of this year, IREA alone contributed $100,000 to Dr. Michaels. In addition, we have contacted all the G&T's in the United States ... and obtained additional contributions and pledges for Dr. Michaels' group. We will be following up the remaining G&T's over the next several weeks.
Which, of course, leaves open the question as to what they did when Pat jumped ship. Is the money now supporting retirees in Boulder and other resort towns (yes'm very unfair, but there are strong links, both geographic and other). Eli also wonders how much those additional contributions and pledges amounted to.

But as importantly, the penultimate paragraph outlines the strategies for the evil day (defined as release of the AR4 WGIII report)
Realizing that this issue is not going to go away, the next best solution in our opinion is for any carbon reduction to be voluntary and let technological advances solve the issue, if it even exists. The least desirable would be a carbon tax or a mandatory cap and trade program. It this occurs the following criteria should be used (one that is supported by the administration and some members of Congress)

1. China and India must be included
2. All emitters of Co2 must be included in a program (not just power plants)
3. The US economy must not be damaged
Hmm. . a strident call for inaction were there ever one

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Earth opens and swallows. . . .

As many of you may know (see, you should join Google's Global Change group, see box on the side of this page, and Eli should read it more daily, Stoat and Michael have beat me to this), the Earth has opened and swallowed the past American Association of Petroleum Geologists statement on climate change. The new draft statement is a major step forward starting with a recognition of the obvious. . . .

Public concern over the potential impacts of climate change is growing because observations demonstrate that the planet has been warming since the middle to late 19th century and increasingly sophisticated climate models predict increased future warmth (IPCC 2007). These conclusions have been articulated mainly by climate scientists, through reports of the National Academy of Sciences, American Geophysical Union, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Meteorological Society. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) respects the conclusions of these professional scientific organizations.
although they are quite muddled about it, a point that the membership comments makes clear
Climate research provides a consistent view that agents that increase incoming energy (an increase in the solar output) or act to selectively absorb outgoing energy (a greenhouse gas) will promote warming at a global level. Today's climate is a product of several contributing factors, including greenhouse gases, solar variations, volcanism and aerosol production. Since the middle to late 19th century the sum of these factors have promoted a warmer climate. Climate models predict additional warming at a global scale.
this is still a huge step forward from their previous basakwards policy statement
  1. Scientific research has been stimulated by the proposal. Recently published research results do not support the supposition of an anthropogenic cause of global climate change.
  2. Detailed examination of current climate data strongly suggests that current observations do not correlate with the assumptions or supportable projections of human-induced greenhouse effects.
Now this is important, but understanding the issues from the viewpoint of the AAPG membership is equally important, and you can follow the discussion. Among the most interesting so far is a statement from a previous past president of the organization
The AAPG position on Climate Change will never be accepted as objective since we are considered part of the oil industry. I suggest that we get with the GSA and let them put forth a statement that the AAPG approves of.
(Editor\’s Note: Harrison Townes is a past President of AAPG)
which shows exactly how far the Overton frame has moved, a point that many PG members make both for and against the new proposal. Eli thinks that his framing of the issue is superior to that of Mooney and Nisbet, although they have a better megaphone.

Those who do not like what is happening retreat to the idea that the AAPG should not take a position on a political (read public policy) issue
I do not think it is AAPG’s role to take a position on political issues or to engage in political lobbying of any kind. It is not AAPG’s role to issue political position statements.
Some want much more
Once again, AAPG is so obviously acting in its own interests that any unbiased reader of our statement will label us as self-serving pseudo-scientists with our heads in the sand. This statement will maintain AAPG\’s position as a (lunatic?) fringe group with little to add to the debate on global warming.
There are a large percentage of comments along the line of
In my mind, as a member of this association for nearly 30 years, the issue is fundamental: act now, or study and debate. I have been a petroleum geologist for nearly 30 years and have never been involved in a decision where there are no uncertainties. This is the same professional society that thrives on deepwater, sub salt exploration, signing billion dollar deals with emerging third world countries, and buying and selling old fields that are trash to one company and gold to another. 

I believe that a Climate Change Statement issued by AAPG must support efforts to reduce carbon emissions. What is more basic than recognizing that global warming may significantly change the way my grandchildren and great grandchildren live in this world? I for one, want to be a part of a society that errors on the side of my children’s future. AAPG is grounded in ethical behaviors and actions. Let our ethical foundation guide our Climate Change Statement.
Now there has been a recent trend amongst climate blogs to declare victory and go home, or at least play nice. The repetition in a policy debate of the trophs we have come to love and adore demonstrates the folly of doing so, as ignorance is recycled as faux wisdom to support bad policy.
We know that climate zones shift through time. Would it be that horrible if Germany developed a Mediterranean climate and Siberia and Sweden had milder winters or if Chicago got St. Louis weather, St. Louis got Houston weather, Houston got San Antonio weather and San Antonio got Cozumel weather? We also know species diversity increases exponentially toward the tropics. Wider tropical zones may be a good thing for the Biosphere and they are definitely preferable to another ice age. But we must also adapt and mitigate in economically sound and thoughtful ways as suggested.
Even that represents a large shift for the AAPG (which, btw like the APS, the ACS, the AGU has a large number of non-US members and is really an international organization), but still many have swallowed the Kool Aid
The levels of CO2 today (+/- 350 PPM) are far too small to be the actual cause of global warming. Therefore all we can say is that CO2 levels seem to correlate to global temperature in the past, though the reasons are not known to me. There is no conclusive evidence that man’s input of atmospheric CO2 in ways not seen before in Earth’s history will result in additional warming. It is more likely that levels of CO2 will not be as good an indicator of global temperature in the future. . .
There is no evidence that carbon emissions cause warming; on the contrary, there is hard scientific evidence that increased CO2 is an effect of warming.
The Earth is a large place covered 2/3 by water. Of the remaining 1/3 much is unpopulated. I believe it is pompous and unscientific to think that humankind living on less that 1/4 of the planet can undo the naturally occurring processes of photosynthesis that have taken place for eons.
Folks like John Gray (the hurricane expert at U of Col - google him) thinks this cycle of global warming is about over. Many climate experts in Russia (who didn’t vote for Al Gore) also think this current period of global warming is either at its end or will soon be. . .
Google mars ice cap, and you will see that the polar ice on Mars is also melting rapidly - probably not related to the pick-up truck you’re driving!
On the other hand, the correlation between sun spot activity and global temperature is an outstanding match. Work done by Nir Shavir (Univ. of Jerusalem), Piers Corbyn (Univ. of London), Friis-Christensen (Norway Met. Service), and others show that global temperature correlates with sun activity closely.
This brings up the question of what to do now if anything. Since it is unlikely that PGs will read this blog, perhaps the NAS would send the AAPG a letter welcoming the new draft and dealing with some of the issues raised in the comments in a friendly way. Real Climate might be the only climate blog with enough juice and readership to do this in the form of an open letter.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mr. Coffin, meet Ms. Nail

As the attentive amongst the mice have noticed, Ethon has been guest dining on liver and cheese pudding over at Climate Feedback. There, as others have noticed, Roger took out after the NY Times which attributed changes in growth zones to climate change with illustrative reference to the Atlanta GA area. Roger used this figure from NOAA

pointing out that the trend from 1901 to today in the region was actually a slight cooling. Eli pointed out that

Except that if you look at trends from say 1980 to 1990 or 1990 to 2007 in the southeast US you get a significant warming trend vs a standard 1951-1980 period.
which got swallowed up in Olive's weekend fun, but no never mind, Tim Lambert had seen the same thing, and he RTFR, posting the figure immediately to the right of the one Roger had used.
showing how climate had warmed. In the words of Ike Solem in the comments at CF (to use a Stoatistic description)
What seems to be going on in the above post is that Pielke is choosing a baseline that reduces the trend (i.e. back to 1901) - in other words, as a political strategist, he is following his own advice and choosing the baseline that supports his political goal - which is apparently to get attention as a 'noted climate skeptic'.
BTW, the comments, well some of them at Deltoid and CF are particularly worth reading to understand the arguments (and the errors in the original post). Looking up a different issue Eli came across an image which really puts Ike's lesson home. It comes from Global temperature change by Hansen, Sato, Ruedy, Lo, Lea, and Medina-Elizade PNAS September 26, 2006 103 (39) 14288-14293

(Let me know if you cannot see this. It is from the PNAS site and should be open)

Figure A shows the rate at which isotherms (lines of constant temperature) have moved away from the equator (negative numbers correspond to moving towards the equator in km/decade from 1950 to 1995. It appears that there was hardly any change in the SE US, however, if Eli may direct the attention of the mice to Figure B, we see that the change has been 30-60 km/decade in the period 1975-2005. Hansen, et al point out that
A study of 1,700 biological species (36) found poleward migration of 6 km per decade and vertical migration in alpine regions of 6 m per decade in the second half of the 20th century, within a factor of two of the average poleward migration rate of surface isotherms (Fig. 6A) during 1950–1995. More rapid warming in 1975–2005 yields an average isotherm migration rate of 40 km per decade in the Northern Hemisphere (Fig. 6B), exceeding known paleoclimate rates of change. Some species are less mobile than others, and ecosystems involve interactions among species, so such rates of climate change, along with habitat loss and fragmentation, new invasive species, and other stresses are expected to have severe impact on species survival (37).
Figures C and D are for a business as usual situation (BAU in Stoatspeak) and for a proposed alternative scenario. As can be seen below, the northward shift at the northern edge of growth zone 8 encompassing Georgia was a bit less than 2 degrees latitude (Georgia is about 4 degrees latitude from north to south). Of course, growth zones correspond to minimum winter temperatures, a climate parameter of great interest to growers and NOT what Ethon's friend wrote in Climate Feedback
In most places the range of increased average minimum temperature has moved north as can be seen from a difference map between the two time periods.
The sources that Roger Pielke Jr. points to to buttress his claims, of course, refer to average minimum and maximum temperatures, an irrelevant thing. To finish this off, let us actually LATFM from the Arbor Day Foundation which shows the changes.

(BTW there is a great interactive version of the 1990 map at the National Arboretum, perhaps the best museum in Washington DC. Not to be missed by all who favor botanizing and munching on the grass)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Nominations are open

The envious green nenner Stoat marks the festive beginning of the end at Climate Feedback and tosses a friendly brick Eli's way. So we here by declare name that blogger season open. Send in your cards, letters and emails with those folk you would enjoy seeing contribute to Climate Feedback if it ever makes it back. Remember Nature is a big noise, so aim high. Rules of the game are if they blog they are out.

Eli's list would start with Mario Molina and Paul Cruitzen who are still very active. The Rabett would enjoy hearing from a bunch of atmospheric chemists like Susan Solomon, Guy Brasseur, Maggie Tolbert on aerosols, Pat Hatcher on biogeochemistry, some english wildmen like Richard Wayne (whose textbook I particularly like) and Tony Hynes on gas phase chemistry, and a US one, Mike Kurylo, and on and on.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

It's good work if you can get it

In 1997 a mass mailing appeared across the US sent by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, a one barn, no horse outfit that had specialized in curricula for home schoolers of the frum persuasion. The mailing included a letter from Fred Seitz, who signed as the former president of the National Academy of Sciences, neglecting to mention his extremely profitable experience as a front for the tobacco industry. There was also a manuscript formatted to appear as if it had been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and asked the recipients to sign a petition denying that greenhouse gases forced climate change

The manuscript was authored by Arthur B. Robinson and Zachary W. Robinson, his son, of OISM and Sallie L. Baliunas and Willie Soon who gave their institutional affiliation as the George Marshall Institute. Robinson et fils had no experience in climate issues. Baliunas and Soon were already well know. All this has been hashed out in detail before. See the links.

What's new is what Baliunas got from the Marshall Institute in 1997. $52,000 green smackers for consulting from their Form 990 (It's behind a subscription wall).

The Marshall Institute is required to report consulting fees about 50K$, not those below. There is no evidence that Baliunas received such a large fee in any other year since then. She served as a director from 2001-2004, and received nothing in 2001 and 2004. There is no report in 2002, and in 2003 she received ~24K$. Eli reports, you have the dirty thoughts.

How to ruin a perfectly good idea

The animal underworld is full of news that the mice are leaving the sinking Climate Feedback. That is too bad. With Nature's resources the blog could have been a powerful presence. Indeed their original plan

What will we host on the blog?

  • Discussion of the weekly content of Nature Reports: Climate Change and of our monthly podcasts
  • Comment and analysis on climate science in our journals, other journals and in the news
  • Musings from us on meetings and conferences we are attending
  • Details of upcoming events, books, interesting sites, articles etc.
  • Notes from climate scientists in the field ….updating us with their in situ observations
  • And much more, of course!
was a pretty good one, but they lost editorial control. They are going to have to break some eggs to get control back and establish some credibility. They also are going to have to understand the mechanics of running a blog. Eli had some ideas which actually were not too far from the original

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Climate Feedback

As most mice know, Nature Climate has launched a new blog, Climate Feedback. Ethon having flown over for the liver and cheese lauch party, remarked that they blew it big time. If nothing else the first two posts, by Roger Pielke Jr. and von Storch and Zorita were much in the Michael Corleone mold, settling old scores and starting new fights. Pielke's was not even wrong although he is digging in as usual and has to be pryed out of his position point by point. The best comments are over at Deltoid.

Now clearly they rushed the launch, not being prepared to deal with comments on a timely basis, which has lead to some unhappiness but there is a major concept problem that, IEHO, must have started at conception. Steve Bloom is of the opinion that

I have a feeling that RP Jr. may have lobbied Nature to start this blog, which would tend to explain the presence of Kevin Vranes. Note that of the five contributors who aren't Nature editors, three are from Boulder! Does the third one (Paty Romero Lankao of NCAR) have an RP Jr. connection?
Maxine Nature disagrees, seeing Roger as a distinguished professorial type. Eli has a slightly different point of view. The Rabett suspects that the boys in Basingstoke (thanks for the geography lesson Fergus) were sitting about chewing their carrots one day, when Olive spoke up brightly and said let's have a blog. We can use it as a gateway to our Nature Reports: Climate Change. Or maybe it came from the Big Bunnies in London as part of their NLife initiative.

And one bright bunny piped up. Oh good, whom do we know who knows something about blogs. And guess whose name came up. And guess who said, I could help out, every so helpfully and I know some other honest broker blogger types. Well, that was not too hard, was it.

Suffice it to say the whole thing threatens to sink before it swims, so whither Climate Feedback.

Eli's suggestion is ditch the outsiders, and put out a call for submissions, say 500-2000 words with links and maybe even references. Have the internal people function as an editorial board with very occasional posts. When something important (or maybe just interesting) is published in Nature ask the authors to provide a thumbnail about why their work is important. Do the same for climate related news items asking the reporters to write additional material for the blog. Hire a couple of experienced climate bloggers to run the comment sections (Kevin Vranes and Michael Tobis come to mind, maybe Andrew Dessler or Coby Beck) and insist that anyone who posts has to participate in the discussion but run even those comments through the VTDB editorial filter. Pay Eli a couple of tons of carrots for these useful suggestions. He has lost his paymaster and does not know where to find him.

Be kind to Roger

Ethon, and the other charter members of the "be kind to Roger" club went out for beers and liver nachos. They fell to talking about how mean the folk over at Real Climate (ok, Mike Mann) were to Roger and how it wounded him to the core. Now obviously this traumatic experience has wounded Roger very close to Ethon's food source, and Ethon is quite concerned, what with the other scandels over chicken feed and all. Thus the were quite concerned when we read at Deltoid

I'm happy to see that the Nature blog will attract the usual online trolls and conspiracy theorists, should ensure a continued focus on ad homs which I am sure Nature will love ...
New responsibilities are getting to the kid.

However, there are points to be made. Some of which are that as Michael Tobis put it in our comments
In a public forum, when somebody exasperates you to the point where you become emotional, you should STFU and leave the floor to someone else, lest you harm your cause.

I don't deny that Mann was at the end of his rope, and I am certainly willing to entertain the hypothesis that Pielke deliberately pushed him there. Nevertheless, Mann is in a position of considerable responsibility.
The other is Eli's position
there were better ways for Michael Mann to handle Roger Pielke's taunting, but one can understand his exasperation. In cases like that it is important that the rest of us provide support by demonstrating how out of bounds Roger was.
Something that appears to have happened very well at Deltoid and even in Climate Feedback. Eli has been giving some thought to that misadventure

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Things heat up

Climate change and the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report have indeed become the hot thing. Eli has noticed posts and comments all over the net, and not just in the usual places. Climate centered blogs and wanna be blorgs are breeding like Rabetts. Anyone with their ears in the wind can sense a policy earthquake coming. The mice are getting twitchy, the Rabetts have lost their paymasters and can't find a carrot to feed the bunnies and Richard Lindzen is publishing the Godwin's Law Daily. But how, dear readers can we show this.

It occurred to the lab bunnies that Technorati had an interesting tool for this, a way of plotting the number of posts on any subject within the last year. To keep things cool, Eli only looked at blogs with "a lot of authority", you can play with the pull down menu to look at all blogs, etc. Searching on IPCC is perhaps the most interesting, with a big surge when the WG I report was released, and smaller ones for WG II and WG III

"Climate change" also shows the WG I release date peak. Interestingly both graphs show a peak in early December. Anymouse remember what happened then?

And finally we have greenhouse gas.

A warning to the lab bunnies: This tool is not reliable beyond 180 days. You can check this by searching on common terms such as rabbit, mouse, green, etc. Evidently Technorati has been adding capacity or a lot more folk are joining in, kind of like CB radio.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Scientists gone wild (or getting perpendicular). . . .

The Rabett Foot Appeal

It writes itself

Ethon, after sharing a hardy liver plant snack with Tim Lambert flew on to his new roost at Climate Feedback where von Storch and Zorita are engaged in a tag team match with McIntrye and McKitrick, whacking each other with broken hockey sticks for honors. Lubos Motl and others sitting in the front row join in.

There have been a lot of reconstructions since 1998, most of them since 2001 when the TAR was published. Eli thought he would go see what the new WG I report says about all this. We are used to the spaghetti graph, but the AR4 has a nice way of showing the overlaps between the various studies

Section can't make the M&M boys very happy

McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) reported that they were unable to replicate the results of Mann et al. (1998). Wahl and Ammann (2007) showed that this was a consequence of differences in the way McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) had implemented the method of Mann et al. (1998) and that the original reconstruction could be closely duplicated using the original proxy data. McIntyre and McKitrick (2005a,b) raised further concerns about the details of the Mann et al. (1998) method, principally relating to the independent verification of the reconstruction against 19th-century instrumental temperature data and to the extraction of the dominant modes of variability present in a network of western North American tree ring chronologies, using Principal Components Analysis. The latter may have some theoretical foundation, but Wahl and Amman (2006) also show that the impact on the amplitude of the final reconstruction is very small (~0.05°C; for further discussion of these issues see also Huybers, 2005; McIntyre and McKitrick, 2005c,d; von Storch and Zorita, 2005).
and we can see why von Storch and Zorita have their knickers in a twist on p 473

Using pseudo-proxy networks extracted from GCM simulations of global climate for the last millennium, von Storch et al. (2004) suggested that temperature reconstructions may not fully represent variance on long time scales. This would represent a bias, as distinct from the random error represented by published reconstruction uncertainty ranges. At present, the extent of an such biases in specific reconstructions and as indicated by pseudo-proxy studies is uncertain (being dependent on the choice of statistical regression model and climate model simulation used to provide the pseudo-proxies). It is very unlikely, however, that any bias would be as large as the factor of two suggested by von Storch et al. (2004) with regard to the reconstruction by Mann et al. (1998), as discussed by Burger and Cubash (2005) and Wahl et al. (2006). However, the bias will depend on the degree to which past climate departs from the range of temperatures encompassed within the calibration period data (Mann et al., 2005b; Osborn and Briffa, 2006) and on the proportions of temperature variability occurring on short and long time scales (Osborn and Briffa, 2004). In any case, this bias would act to damp the amplitude of reconstructed departures that are further from the calibration period mean, so that temperatures during cooler periods may have been colder than estimated by some reconstructions, while periods with comparable temperatures (e.g., possible portions of the period between AD 950 and 1150, Figure 6.10) would be largely unbiased. As only one reconstruction (Moberg et al., 2005) shows an early period that is noticeably warmer than the mean for the calibration period, the possibility of a bias does not affect the general conclusion about the relative warmth of the 20th century based on these data.

Confused on the concept. . . . .

So your hmble and obdient Rabett went over to post a comment on Nature's new blog, and he gets this out of office reply for the lord high controller of the comments

From Heffernan, Olive Thu May 3 19:47:49 2007
Subject: Out of Office AutoReply: [Climate Feedback] New Comment Posted to 'Confusion on Climate Variability and Trends'
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 03:47:49 +0100

I am out of the office until Wednesday, 9 May and will respond to any queries on my return,

Many thanks,
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Ethon always did want to visit London for liver pudding snacks.

UPDATE: As the mice have spotted, Tim Lambert has put out a tasty liver a la Nature Blogs, and as you might guess from the lawyerese above the harumphing has already started. Did you know that Roger Pielke Jr. is a PROFESSOR!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

From our Canadian correspondent....

Breaking news: B sample confirms warming

By Simon Donner. . . . . (excerpt go there to read it all)
PARIS (Unassociated Press) - The climate’s second doping sample contained elevated levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, scientists at a French doping lab confirmed on Friday. . . .

. . . . The result comes after years of speculation by scientists, environmentalists and the French media that the climate was participating in an elaborate, clandestine doping program. The test appears to confirm that ingestion of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by the climate is the primary cause of global warming.

Lawyers for the oil and coal industry continue to claim that warming is due to natural variability, and questioned the motives of the scientists at the testing lab.

“The climate has never knowingly ingested any illegal substances to enhance performance,” said spokesman Michael Henson. “This is the same old witch hunt, led by a group of maverick scientists jealous of the size of American cars and homes.”
Much more good stuff looks like Eli's kind of snark stuff.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Zero crossing....

James Annan has heard from his eagle friends about further goings with Hegerl et al. Annan has heard from Tapil Schneider about how

Hegerl et al used a regression to estimate past temperatures anomalies as a function of proxy data, and estimated the uncertainty in reconstructed temperature as being entirely due to the uncertainty in the regression coefficient. The problem with this manifests itself most clearly when the tree ring anomaly is zero, as in this event the uncertainty in the reconstructed temperature is also zero! Steve McIntyre's plot of the data that Hegerl et al supplied as supplementary information illustrates the effect neatly (and the problem is quickly diagnosed in the comments following).
Eli thought he had seen this before, and indeed he had,

in the discussion about Huang, Pollack and Shen's's boring hole long term global temperature reconstructions that were later commented on by the Fuzzy Blogger's Group Blogfather, Stoat. Stoat got an explanation from Pollack on the differences between different versions of their reconstructions which casts considerable doubt about the one above. Of course, the one above also was a favorite of Lord help us Monckton which is what made us twitch our noses in the first place when he blew the first 1K year section up.

1600 is clearly a point of zero anomalie. Huang, Pollack and Shen do not quite have "isobestic points" in their confidence limits, but close enough to imagine the same mistake has been made. Monckton is, of course, a point of infinite error.