Friday, December 18, 2009

Slamming the Overton window shut

Eli suspects that Rabett Run was the first to introduce the Overton window to the climate policy fray, back in 2007, pointing out that too many were shutting out what might be called the Romm/Hansen/Gore position while trying to "engage" on a pretty-pretty basis with the denialists. It was a classic case of slamming the window shut on your allies, with, of course, encouragement from the tutt-tutters and false friends and as the Bunny predicted it has come to a sad end with the theft of the CRU files. DON'T DO IT. OK?

This Email theft has concentrated the minds of many, not all, some, such as Judith Curry still think there are converts to be made, some such as Edmund Zorita and Hans v. Storch, see it as a wonderful time to stick the knife in, and most were very slow off the mark. How people react in a time of stress is a mark of their character. This week has seen a turn, with Myles Allen and Ben Santer taking leads.

The reaction at the AGU meeting was straightforward, unanimous (well, Willie Soon was there with a totally incoherent poster, at least the one he put up, and another that said he was protesting that he didn't get his own session, Scarfetta stood like a lost boy in front of his and there were a couple of others). There was general agreement that the WGI science is settled, that the wave of negative effects from climate change is beginning to emerge, and that the world needs immediate action to avoid disasterous consequences in the future. It was well summarized by Santer:

As climate scientists, this is what we know with great confidence:

* We know that human activities have changed the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

* We know that these changes in the composition of the atmosphere have had profound effects on Earth’s climate.

* We know that the human “fingerprint” on climate will become ever more visible over the next few decades, and will impact many aspects of our lives.

* We know that we are at a crossroads in human history. The decisions our political leaders reach in Copenhagen – or fail to reach – will shape the world inherited by future generations.
Oh yes, Real Climate appears to be down (just maintenance ...). Were Eli not such a cautious fellow, he would say that there is a denial of service attack going on. Time will tell, but the lesson to be learned is not to trust, cozen or praise the denialists.


Dan Satterfield said...

Thanks for reprinting Ben Santer's statement.

I had the honor to appear with him at a seminar to educate meteorologists who work in TV on climate science.

His work on fingerprinting is must read science.

That someone like him has to put up with these attacks is illustrative of the amazing ignorance of those screaming hoax.

WHNT Hunstville

Anonymous said...


Impressive post. I can't believe that Romm-Gore-Hansen are considered fringe, though I'm not denying it. They are simply taking a longer view; knowing inherently that the adverse effects we are now irrevocably setting into motion will occur; therefore, they don't care about how accurate the timing of their predictions are. Whether the ice sheets melt in 100, 1,000, or 3,000 years, what difference does it really make?

My point is that what has set apart the so called left fringe of the Overton Window is a disagreement over event timing; not whether the events will occur (ex. ice sheet melting). Are there any real scientific arguments (maybe yes, re:hurricanes)?

I would define fringe as those who believe the earth will go Venutian on us (scientific fringe), or that we should blow up coal plants to save Tuvula (political fringe).

Anonymous said...

And which is more extreme: blowing the tops off mountains and filling in valleys or filing a lawsuit to seek compliance with the law? Chaining oneself to a bulldozer or threatening to slit someone else's throat? How long before Peabody starts telling us they are fulfilling scripture and making the way straight for the coming messiah?

NikFromNYC said...

Why should any open-minded skeptic take you seriously when you label us "denialists" (sic), claim we had anything to do with the action of a single whistle blower, and you prefer the end of the world to nuclear power?

Hop on the nuclear option and you wouldn't be laughed at. Really, how serious can you be about this stuff when you know the only politically viable option is nuclear? Rationing will not be accepted, as Copenhagen should have taught you. Windmills?! Get real. France is almost 80% nuclear, not 80% wind power. It's not the science that is kicking your ass but the puritanical religiosity of your proposed solutions that make common people scoff. Where's the "settled science" that says France should move from nuclear to wind power, and if not them, they why developing countries? Anti-nuclear blah, blah, blah doesn't cut it when you claim the End of The World is at stake. Flower Power as your only solution is a hilarious farce. The Climatologists have allowed Greenpeace to dictate their politics! Oops. That's why the public views you as just another greenie cause instead of as the serious scientists you claim to be.

Martin Vermeer said...

Eh, why still isn't there a climate science legal defense fund?

Zero tolerance for libelers. And that includes journalists.

Anonymous said...

Hop on the nuclear option and you wouldn't be laughed at. Really, how serious can you be about this stuff when you know the only politically viable option is nuclear?

James Hansen and Steven Chu are big proponents of the nuclear option (and I fully agree with them). But has that stopped any of you loony tinfoil-hatters** from dumping all over them?

**I prefer "tinfoil-hatter" to "denier" because it doesn't carry the historical baggage of "denier" and it much better captures the complete looniness of the AGW "skeptic" community these days.

--caerbannog the anonybunny

EliRabett said...

Nik should hie himself over to Brave New Climate (on the blog roll at the left), but you know, concern trolls are such fun.

FWIW Eli also rides in airplanes

EliRabett said...

Not that Eli really cares, but denialists have killed millions, just not yet with their denial of climate change, but tobacco, asbestos, HIV, lead and other flavors of denialism have done their jobs.

Don't like it Nikki? well you have some interesting allies