Patterico's Pontifications


Climate Change Drama (Updated x2)

Filed under: Environment,Obama — DRJ @ 4:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Dramatic Quote-of-the-Day by climate change supporter Dr. James Hansen in an interview with Eric Berger, the Houston Chronicle’s science blogger:

BERGER: “I gather from what you were saying earlier about the bills in Congress, you feel the same about President Obama’s proposal for a 17 percent reduction in climate emissions by 2020.”

HANSEN: “Yeah. Obama is a very smart person and the hope was that he would try to understand this problem. But instead his approach seems to be, “Oh let the politicians, let the House and Senate come to some sort of compromise on this.” But this is not something you can compromise on.

This is analogous to the situation Abraham Lincoln faced with slavery, or Winston Churchill with Nazism. You can’t compromise and say we’ll reduce the number of slaves by 50 percent or something.”

I sense desperation.


UPDATE 11/30/2009 — Mike K alerts us to this Chicago Boyz post that makes several important points about the computer software failures in ClimateGate, including these:

  • “There is no peer review of scientific software!”
  • The old saying is still true: Garage in, Garbage out.
  • UPDATE 2: More on the Hansen interview here.

    61 Responses to “Climate Change Drama (Updated x2)”

    1. I agree with Hansen; either we are for freedom and honesty in science and politics or we are slaves. We cannot continue half slave and half free. Now, if the warmer alarmists would only agree.

      Mike K (2cf494)

    2. So, what does that mean? Hansen thinks we should all stop exhaling or something? Won’t all the trees die if the CO2 production completely stops?

      Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

    3. Hansen has become a loon, you can find older comments by him with ludicrous Holocaust references.

      SPQR (26be8b)

    4. Slaves, global warming

      One of these is not like the other.

      Bill M (e29ffd)

    5. Here’s an idea. We dig a VERY deep hole. They we invite all those really concerned about warming to jump in and sequester their carbon.

      Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

    6. You can’t compromise and say we’ll reduce the number of slaves by 50 percent or something.”

      Hansen’s ignorance extends to Lincoln, who took exactly that approach to slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t affect slaves in Union-held territory. Had he followed Hansen’s advice, Lincoln would have lost the Civil War.

      Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (f87e26)

    7. Lincoln did that not as a practical matter, but because he had no power to free slaves in the “loyal” areas.

      Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

    8. Hansen has skin in the game. He’s been the leading pro-warming face at NASA for years. Hansen has also controlled access to the climate data gathered by NASA. He’s made claims of censorship and interference by the Bush administration on his speech. All the while getting rich on speaking tours while he was being censored. I would not be suprised to see him charged with fraud when all this comes to light.

      rudytbone (5b375a)

    9. It is amazing what you can get away with when you enjoy Civil Service protections.
      Your tax-dollars at work.

      AD - RtR/OS! (eab8f3)

    10. For that matter, don’t forget that it was not that long ago that Hansen got caught in his own data manipulation when it was discovered that his own software had some blatant errors in calculating the GISS series. And when corrected, the result was a disappearance of warming that he “fixed” with undocumented changes to data sets.

      SPQR (26be8b)

    11. I wants me some butts! Lots of ’em. CRU-flavored, NASA-flavored, IPCC-flavored… and I want to bite them real hard!

      Karma (e1e91e)

    12. Karma, you are a bitch!

      rudytbone (5b375a)

    13. It was not that long ago that Hansen was calling CEO’s of energy company war criminals that should be prosecuted and about three years ago he was making veiled death threats about skeptics.

      Frankly, Hansen is so loony that this is among his more moderate rhetoric.

      SPQR (26be8b)

    14. Venus Syndrome

      “The Earth’s climate becomes more sensitive as it becomes very cold, when an
      amplifying feedback, the surface albedo, can cause a runaway snowball Earth,
      with ice and snow forming all the way to the equator.
      If the planet gets too warm, the water vapor feedback can cause a runaway
      greenhouse effect. *The ocean boils into the atmosphere and* *life is

      Secret Squirrel (6a1582)

    15. That’s a great example of lunacy, Secret Squirrel. Good find.

      For those who don’t realize it, there have already been periods in the geological past when the Earth had concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere many times the current.

      And we are not Venus.

      SPQR (26be8b)

    16. Indeed.

      The real issue is not global warming; it is about imposing a regressive consumption tax, whose monies will be used to pay for further taxcuts for the rich, and to add to the nine hundred billion in corporate welfare illegally received, according to Ralph Nader.

      Secret Squirrel (6a1582)

    17. Secret Squirrel, ROFL. That’s a funny one.

      SPQR (26be8b)

    18. Obama’s trying to stay in the middle of the road, which means he’s going to get run over by traffic from both directions.

      Socratease (02c2d9)

    19. Hansen’s past, and current, indiscretions are worthy, in the government’s manner, of a promotion.
      I suggest Chief of the Antarctic Meteorological Observatory – then, he’ll be able to give us first-hand observations on the thinning of the South Polar Ice-Cap.

      AD - RtR/OS! (eab8f3)

    20. i liked this from Squirrel’s thinger…

      In the attached below email, Jim Hansen, NASA’s Goddard Space Institute Director, is predicting that we are heading for a catastrophic collapse of the earth if we continue to burn coal or oil sands. He calls it the Venus syndrome — making the earth so hot that it just spirals into a total evaporation of the oceans. I wonder if this had been modeled in a way that policy makers could somehow absorb the gravity and possibility of this. The powerpoint quote is the following. (please take a look at what he is saying.) Thanks. And have a good holiday season.

      Peggy Miller
      Highland Winds/High Ground Communities

      happyfeet (0003d3)

    21. More lunacy as the AGW advocates continue to blame their mythical boogyman – the “fossil fuel lobby”.

      They’ve been claiming that skeptics are funded by big oil for years. I’m still waiting for my check.

      SPQR (26be8b)

    22. Rajendra better get to sucking

      happyfeet (0003d3)

    23. I don’t know if this link will do the trick but this is of our times…

      Sole of integrity: Reduce your carbon footprint in a pair of fair-trade shoes (£120) made from recycled materials such as rice husks, and dowry quilts worked by a nomadic tribe in Pakistan so no two pairs are quite alike.

      they have to be kidding

      happyfeet (0003d3)

    24. Tangently o/t…
      Has anyone else been following the Comments at the WSJ-Online re AGW columns, and the fruit-loop from Australia, Barrie Harrop?
      The guy is to die for.
      A combination of AlGore & Myron!

      AD - RtR/OS! (eab8f3)

    25. John Tierney at the NYT weighs in on ClimateGate with a decent piece, although it’s kinder than I would have been to the liars and fraudsters. He still exposes the hypocrisy and precisely explains why the “hide the decline” chart was wrong.

      In a statement last week, Dr. Jones said there was nothing nefarious in what they had done, because the problems with the tree-ring data had been openly identified earlier and were known to experts.

      But the graph adorned the cover of a report intended for policy makers and journalists. The nonexperts wouldn’t have realized that the scariest part of that graph — the recent temperatures soaring far above anything in the previous millennium — was based on a completely different measurement from the earlier portion. It looked like one smooth, continuous line leading straight upward to certain doom.

      Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

    26. Is this the first break in the MSM dam?

      DRJ (dee47d)

    27. Fikes, interesting, at times the AGW crowd had specifically denied that splicing of proxy temps with direct measured temps on a graph had ever been done, and attacked McIntyre as I recall for that claim. A claim that he proved true repeatedly.

      SPQR (26be8b)

    28. Lincoln did that not as a practical matter, but because he had no power to free slaves in the “loyal” areas.

      And to be quite direct about it, he didn’t have a whole lot of authority in non-Union held areas, either…

      I mean, if he did, I think he might have considered saying “Stop shooting at us” or maybe “Surrender”.

      Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

    29. SPQR:

      The left talking point is now the “pollution lobby.”

      Carville says it’s winning.

      Sign me up, let’s get those smokestacks chugging and people working.

      Ag80 (3d1543)

    30. More lunacy as the AGW advocates continue to blame their mythical boogyman – the “fossil fuel lobby”.

      The fossil fuel lobby provides goods and services that people choose to pay for.

      What have the environmentalist parasites offered?

      Michael Ejercito (6a1582)

    31. Invective, Michael, nothing more. They’ve fed no one, housed no one, and only enriched Al Gore.

      SPQR (26be8b)

    32. Truly, environmentalists have the same value to society as the Anopheles mosquito.

      Michael Ejercito (6a1582)

    33. I think those interested in the programming part of the story, which I believe to be the most significant part, should look at the discussion at Chicago Boyz. It is a nice discussion of the problem with scientific programming. I was a programmer 50 years ago when computers were so slow they could not get you into trouble.

      Mike K (2cf494)

    34. Let’s rename it the GodWIN Space Institute.

      Mitch (e40959)

    35. Great link, Mike K, and I’ve added it in the Update. I especially like this description:

      Institutions pay for all this oversight and double-checking and programmers tolerate it because it is impossible to create a large, reliable and accurate piece of software without such procedures firmly in place. Software is just too complex to wing it.

      Clearly, nothing like these established procedures was used at CRU. Indeed, the code seems to have been written overwhelmingly by just two people (one at a time) over the past 30 years. Neither of these individuals was a formally trained programmer and there appears to have been no project planning or even formal documentation. Indeed, the comments of the second programmer, the hapless “Harry”, as he struggled to understand the work of his predecessor are now being read as a kind of programmer’s Icelandic saga describing a death march through an inexplicable maze of ineptitude and boobytraps.

      DRJ (dee47d)

    36. Comment by Mike K — 11/30/2009 @ 9:01 pm

      This comes to mind…

      Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

    37. I just read that CB piece and while it describes the problems with the CRU code reasonably well it does have some important mistakes as well.

      CRU’s product is not a climate model. It is a global temperature series built by reconciling numerous station readings. This product is not the base software that the AGW claim is made upon. It is an important product, but it is used for other purposes than described in the article.

      At least one of the climate models that the claims are actually based on is freely available, although due to the lack of personal supercomputers no one other than NASA has been able to run it. Manual examination of that code has demonstrated numerous problems.

      When you are going to put forward these types of claims though, it is best to be accurate else you give your opponents a sideshow to focus on.

      Soronel Haetir (2b4c2b)

    38. Soronel Haetir,

      Thank you for making that important point. It’s soooo easy to make mistakes because of jumping to conclusions without making the case airtight. That’s what the AGW folks did, and skeptics need to set a better example.

      Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

    39. One of those mistakes skeptics need to avoid was made by skeptic Ian Plimer, an Aussie who claims volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activity does. I read a couple of articles about this claim, such as this one and this one. As far as I can tell, it’s not true, and Plimer gives no source in the articles. Not very good for a skeptic.

      If Wikipedia is right, Plimer does much better as a skeptic of creationism:

      Plimer is an outspoken critic of creationism and is famous for a 1988 debate with creationist Duane Gish in which he asked his opponent to hold live electrical cables to prove that electromagnetism was ‘only a theory’. Gish accused him of being theatrical, abusive and slanderous, calling it “the most disgusting performance I have ever witnessed in my life”

      Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

    40. Yeah, late to the party but WTH:

      UK climate scientist to temporarily step down
      (AP) – 2 hours ago

      LONDON — Britain’s University of East Anglia says the director of its prestigious Climatic Research Unit is stepping down pending an investigation into allegations that he overstated the case for man-made climate change.

      The university says Phil Jones will relinquish his position until the completion of an independent review into allegations that he worked to alter the way in which global temperature data was presented.

      The allegations were made after more than a decade of correspondence between leading British and U.S. scientists were posted to the Web following the security breach last month.

      The e-mails were seized upon by some skeptics of man-made climate change as proof that scientists are manipulating the data about its extent.

      Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

      Dr. K (eca563)

    41. “… seized upon by some skeptics …”

      More like “confirmed long-held suspicions of rational observers”

      Robert N. (6a1ca9)

    42. Hey, I just copied the AP report. I did not write it.

      Dr. K (eca563)

    43. No problem – I knew I was pointing out the AP slant.

      Robert N. (6a1ca9)

    44. Prolly I mighta’ coulda’ pointed it out in first post to avoid unintentional slight – sorry.

      Robert N. (6a1ca9)

    45. its so fun to watch the wheels come off this climate change thing. pjamas media is doing pulitzer level work on this, too. bravo all around.

      and these climate scientists are so thoroughly ridiculus. according to the UN in order to save ourselves in time, we would have to cut our emmissions down to 19th century level.

      does anyone seriously believe that will happen, ever? i mean seriously, will anyone go and live like the amish?

      So what is the point of destroying our economy if the warm-mongers think that even that is not enough? it won’t even significantly slow anything down. its nothing.

      so even if you believe in global warming, you should realize it is pointless to do all of this.

      And frankly i don’t believe it anyway.

      A.W. (e7d72e)

    46. You know, if global warming is really an imminent danger to civilization, their conduct is even worse. Instead of just lining their pockets and making political hay, they are playing a game with the existence of the human race. They take this so unseriously, and their tactics demonstrate great insecurity as to the strength of their evidence. Or rather, show great confidence that the evidence proves they are wrong.

      More than Phil jones’s resignation is required, either way. These people are criminals.

      they say ‘fixing’ the ozone layer had a negative impact on global warming. That’s a good example of the reason why playing games with the research is of deadly significance. Screw with industry and farming enough, and people start to starve. Go further, and you risk actually affecting the world in unforseen ways. Lying about the urgency is the only way these people can get that kind of power.

      Dustin (cf255c)

    47. Slant as much as they want, at least someone is taking the issue seriously enough to have Jones step down until the investigation is made. It would not have been unthinkable for them to say an investigation will be done “to exonerate Jones and fellow scientists from accusations resulting from a breech in security and emails leaked to the public” and their is “no reason why his work should be interrupted in the meantime”.

      MD in Philly (227f9c)

    48. Dustin

      If they really believed our civilization was in serious danger, they wouldn’t fly there. they would teleconference.

      Its like a restuarant owner who refuses to eat at his own establishment–you have to wonder what he knows that you don’t?

      A.W. (e7d72e)

    49. Yes, and maybe the investigation will lead to the fact that Jones and his merry band conspired to commit what would be considered felonies in the US (destroying FOIA data).

      So, investigations leading to charges, leading to a trial, leading to jail.


      Dr. K (eca563)

    50. This comes to mind…

      Comment by Scott Jacobs — 1

      Actually, I was taking a C course about 14 years ago at the local junior college just for fun. I found that I could not write code after drinking even one beer. Of course, anybody trying to write code after the age of 50 should be doing something else anyway.

      MIke K (2cf494)

    51. Dr. K

      Well, now you got me thinking, if we didn’t have a politicized justice dept, then they could investigate these men for wire fraud.

      A.W. (e7d72e)

    52. While “Garage in, Garbage out” might technically be true, the saying is “GarBage in, Garbage out”.

      Kevin Murphy (805c5b)

    53. Dishonest science:
      More people have been negatively impacted by ethanol, than by any “warming” of the Earth.

      AD - RtR/OS! (66f601)

    54. AD

      well, for me growing up the issue was methane emmission. from my brother.

      A.W. (e7d72e)

    55. Penn State Will Investigate ‘Climategate’
      November 30, 2009 02:40 PM ET | Jeff Greer | Permanent Link | Print
      Among other things, the Watergate scandal of the 1970s gave us a great naming convention for future scandals. Take “Climategate” at Penn State. That’s what people are calling the controversy surrounding leaked E-mails among climate change researchers that climate change opponents say expose the researchers’ falsification of data. One Penn State professor is involved in the scandal.

      The Penn State administration plans to investigate Climategate and determine if it needs to take further action, the Daily Collegian reports. A little more than a week ago, E-mails exchanged among an English university’s climate change researchers were illegally obtained from a server and posted online, the report says.

      Climate change opponents say the E-mails indicate that climate change researchers—including Penn State Prof. Michael Mann—exaggerated or fabricated global warming data. And, according to the report, some E-mails indicate that the director of the research unit in question may have contacted researchers and asked them to “delete certain E-mails.”

      Dr. K (adb7ba)

    56. Boy, if the GOP takes the house, they will have plenty of fodder for bloviating hearings. I want these researchers to explain themselves, under oath.

      Dustin (cf255c)

    57. I looked at the link at #56. Good News!! Going through the first few dozen responses to the article it was about 20:1 on the side of “they finally got caught, yeah!!”

      Including alumni who say they will not give any more until Mann is fired.

      Here is one example:

      Here in Michigan, for example, the climate changes dramatically from -10 degrees in January to 95 degrees in July. We’re not talking the wimpy one-tenth of one degree increase here that the UN eggheads have discovered; Our temperature fluctuates 100 degrees or more in a single year!
      Quick! Call Al Gore!
      Back in the old days, we used to call such phenomenon “the weather”.

      And, as my bumper sticker says, “Only a Liberal Would Raise Taxes to Try to Change the Weather”.

      MD in Philly (227f9c)

    58. Oh LOOK! Another thread on the down-stepping.

      Dr. K (adb7ba)

    59. Dr. K,

      Not sure your point at #59. Were you referring to mine at #58? I enjoyed your link (referred to it), especially when I not only looked at the article itself, but even moreso when I looked to see what kind of response it was getting among the PSU students and alumni, which is what I was pointing out. The link I gave was to the specific comment I quoted.

      MD in Philly (227f9c)

    60. I saw that crap AP piece on the wire feed this afternoon. Fitting there was no name attached to it.

      Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

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