Der Spiegel Reports: Sceptics Now On Equal Footing

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I wasn’t really following this get-together in Lisbon, but Der Spiegel has just come out with a report about the subject tilted: The Climate War Can Continue, and there are a few interesting points. You could call it the German view. Of course, Der Spiegel used the opportunity to take some cheap shots at the sceptics – calling them conspiracy theorists and grumblers. But nothing we aren’t used to.

Yet, at least Der Spiegel admits that there are indeed “alarmists” on the other side, and that there is no consensus. So the real story here is that the sceptics are presented as a force equal to the warmists, and that it is not 98 – 2.

The fronts are deeply entrenched, pouring oil into the fire

The goal of the conference was to get both sides to take a step or two towards reconciliation. But as Der Spiegel writes, the prospects of that happening are very slim. Some participants in Lisbon even poured more oil into the already hot fire. Der Spiegel quotes Jerome Ravetz:

 The fronts in climate research are fully entrenched, says Ravetz’s diagnosis. The result is a huge credibility problem.'”

Some examples of oil in the fire, quoting Hans von Storch:

‘The sceptic side is comprised of everything from academics to confused grumblers.’ “

That didn’t go over too well with some sceptics. I don’t know if von Storch is the right guy to say such things, as he’s been doing his share of grumbling himself. Der Spiegel also wrote how comments by Steve McInytre also provoked the warmists, Spiegel provides quotes by McIntyre:

“Climate scientists have to be obligated, just like investment bankers, to make the information that support their projections public.’ “

Or else face sanctions:

‘The managers of Enron didn’t go to prison because they blew billions of dollars, but because they deceived investors by withholding information.’ “

Judith Curry on models and consensus:

‘The uncertainties in models are completely inadequately researched, and the established research is trying to hide this from the public.’ “

So the complaints, or provocations as Der Spiegel calls them, continue to be the same: the hiding of data and the inadequacy of models.

Gavin Schmidt chickens out

On Gavin Schmidt, Der Spiegel wtites: “He was invited but he declined to show up, which was probably because Steve McIntyre said he would attend.” Der Spiegel then focused in on McIntyre, recognising his important role in the climate debate and mentions his Climateaudit.org blog and how he found errors in Mann’s hockey stick. Der Spiegel took no cheap shots at McIntyre.

Von Storch on public opinion and ignoring sceptics

As sceptics have known for a long time that opinion and the science is all moving to the state of non-alarmism. Hans von Storch is quoted by Der Spiegel:

‘As knowledge increases, the percentage of people who believe that change is dangerous gets smaller.'”

And of course, the warmists and the alarmists would like nothing better than for the sceptics to go away. Or at least that they be ignored. Hans von Storch had the following to say about that strategy:

We simply cannot ignore the sceptics and think they will eventually go away. We have to discuss with them.’ “

Conference is sponsored by the EU

I wasn’t aware of this, but according to Der Spiegel, the Climate Debate Reconcilaition Conference was also sponsored by the European Commission, which has the official target of limiting global warming to 2°C, an endeavour that has been a favourite target of attack among sceptics.

In conclusion, the two sides were unable to agree on a mutual statement. And so the warmists will continue hoping that the sceptics will go away, or at least be ignored. Unfortunately for the warmists, the sceptics are going to do just the opposite, as surveys have shown. More and more are going to come, and they are going to get a lot louder. So much so that it will be impossible to ignore them.

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44 responses to “Der Spiegel Reports: Sceptics Now On Equal Footing”

  1. DirkH

    I always thought that it was the goal of Der Spiegel to hide the existence of people like McIntyre from the German public. Maybe they felt compelled to report because of Der Focus’ piece about skeptics; maybe they felt they were losing ground. They even admit the existence of ClimateGate; i don’t know if they ever mentioned it before. (I’m too lazy to search their archives)

    And they even say “Droht der Welt der Hitzekollaps oder nur die Öko-Diktatur?” – “Is the world threatened by a collapse through heat or only by an ecological dictature?” It is quite unheard of in the German mainstream to mention the dictatorial or absolutist nature of the green movement.

  2. DirkH

    O/T Jo Nova has an interesting post about a dutch professor who doesn’t believe in CO2’s controlling role, and has a very interesting set of charts. Oops! Outgoing longwave radiation increased; albedo as well! Throws a wrench into the CO2 GH effect’s dominance.
    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/02/the-oceans-clouds-and-cosmic-rays-drive-the-climate-not-co2/#more-13061

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      Dirk… That popped up yesterday. An un-published paper done my a scientist who is a former head of research at a decorative paint and coatings company.

      Far from compelling.

      1. DirkH

        You said you are interested in the science; but your argument is a smear, so i conclude you were lying when you said you were interested in the science – you did nothing to disprove any of his arguments. So long, Rob.

        1. Rob Honeycutt

          Dirk… I am interested in accurate science. I can get my gramma (who is quite liberal) to produce a paper saying anything we want on climate change. That doesn’t make her right nor accurate.

          Credentials matter.

          1. Bernd Felsche

            Credentials are crutchesat best.

            Fallacy: Appeal to authority.

        2. Rob Honeycutt

          Honestly, if Dr Noor van Andel wants to be taken seriously then he needs to publish. Short of that I’m not going to waste my time on every Tom, Dick and Harry that has a pet theory.

          1. Bernd Felsche

            So we’re not to take you seriously.

          2. DirkH

            Nobody forced you to answer, Rob – if you don’t want to argue with what the Dr. says, you are free to stay silent. BTW, i don’t publish in the climatological journals, so you should say the same thing about me – “oh just a dolt on the Internet”; that should suffice to dismiss whatever i say, no?

      2. Bruce

        Rob, you should be a bit more careful in what you say. Pigment people know quite a lot about scattering of photons, from the low IR up to the high UV end. They have been studying and publishing about this stuff for many more years than climate scientists have.

        For example, high quality car paint is only about 30 pigment particles deep, yet these 30 particles completely scatter incident light so that no hint of the colour of the underlying steel can be seen in the car colour. Increasing this to 31 particles would raise costs by 3%, a not insignificant amount in industry.

        The difference between a climate scientist at a government lab and a paint scientist in a company lab is if the latter gets things wrong he or she can lose their job and/or cause their company to go bankrupt. Tends to focus one’s mind about the quality of the science.

        1. Rob Honeycutt

          Then he should publish his paper.

          1. Peter Wilson

            Rob
            As usual you choose to smear someone with a different view to you, without even examining their argument. I don’t know if this case is any good or not, but I do know your reasons for rejecting it out of hand are just childish.

          2. Rob Honeycutt

            Tell me why this is a smear. Is there something inaccurate about what I’ve said? All I’ve done is presented accurately who this person is. Do you think Dr van Andel is embarrassed about his past?

            Do I trust the scientific research of someone like Dr Trenberth, who has spent a large part of his professional career researching climate, or someone who has spent his career researching paint?

            I do not think there is anything wrong with the man’s chosen field. I assume he has done his work well over the years. But do I think he’s qualified to produce a publishable paper on climate? Possibly, but very unlikely.

            If he can pass peer review then it might be worth considering.

          3. Rob Honeycutt

            By the way… My dictionary defines smear as to damage the reputation of someone by false accusations; slander.

            There is nothing inaccurate about what I said about Dr van Andel.

  3. R. de Haan

    Rob Honeycutt
    1. Februar 2011 at 22:54 | Permalink | Reply
    An un-published paper done my a scientist who is a former head of research at a decorative paint and coatings company.

    Far from compelling.

    On the contrary, this man is brilliant.
    He’s not only a Dr. but also an engineer and a damn good one.

    But of course he’s no match for your superior insight’s.

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      R de Haan… I’m fully confident that Dr van Andel is perfectly brilliant in his chosen field. I have to reason to think anything else.

      But he’s choosing to create a paper on climate, which is NOT his chosen field.

      Again, if he gets the paper published he might gain some credibility in what is a new field for him.

      1. Rob Honeycutt

        That was supposed to read… “I have *no* reason to think anything else.”

      2. Bruce

        I have not made a study of this hypothesis, but on the surface it appears to be in a similar area as Svensmark’s hypothesis and the recent paper by U.R.Rao. These seem to be peer reviewed studies.

        1. Rob Honeycutt

          Then when the paper is published we will see how it is received. As yet it is still unpublished. Once it is published we will see how the broader scientific community responds to the findings. Maybe it’s a good paper. Let’s wait and see.

          Just remember, peer review is just a filtering process. The findings have to fit into the broader science as well.

        2. Bruce of Newcastle

          Rob – I am well aware what peer review is as I’ve been a working scientist for 30 years. Yes it is a filtering process. But the filter it uses work primarily on tribal parameters not scientific ones, in all scientific fields. I think an editorial review model with registered open commenting would be preferable, but the existing tribes wouldn’t go for it as they’d lose out in more open and fair system.

          I reverse your approach, as I fit these things into the broader science first, preferably using the raw data (this tends to be ‘cleanest’). The data is pretty much available to anyone with an internet connection nowadays. Doing this converted me from warmist to sceptic – since the temperature record can overwhelmingly be explained by solar influence, particularly the relationship between solar cycle length and temperature. I do accept a CO2 effect, which on curve fitting the data appears consistent with the 2XCO2 experimentally measured value of about 0.6 C (eg Spencer & Braswell 2009). I am aware that ‘2XCO2’ is a bit of a misnomer in these regards since there is more than just CO2 forcing in the measured value, but it is a reasonable value for the overall CO2/CH4/N2O effect net of water vapour, clouds etc.

          1. Rob Honeycutt

            Bruce… ” …since the temperature record can overwhelmingly be explained by solar influence, particularly the relationship between solar cycle length and temperature.”

            Really? Overwhelmingly??? Please show me.

            So, where do you see the 11 year solar cycle in the temperature signal?
            http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Solar-cycle-data.png

            Why does any relationship between between solar forcing and the temperature trend break down post ~1980?
            http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/Solar_vs_Temp_basic.gif

            I keep going to back to the compiled data on radiative forcing:
            http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-2-1-figure-2.html

            Why do we have tropospheric warming with stratospheric cooling? Nights warming faster than days? Rising tropopause? Shrinking thermosphere?

            I’m sorry but the consensus of the hard science says it’s not the sun.

          2. Bruce of Newcastle

            Rob – the 9 to 13 year solar cycle length is apparent in the temperature data of Butler and Johnson 1996 (see Fig 7), who were following up on Friis-Christensen and Lassen.

            You can check that data easily since solar cycle length and temperature data are both easily obtainable on the net. You will note that I am using the whole dataset, not the couple of cycles shown at the Wikipedia link.

            I have used that data, with 2XCO2 of 0.6 C and an AMO sinusoidal signal to recreate the CET trend (since CET is at about the same latitude) and it matches the CET trend exactly (slope 0.24 C/century both the CET and the recreation).

            This is science, ie analysing and interpreting data. The IPCC and SkepticalScience have political barrows to push. As to consensus, there was a consensus, and billion dollar industry, 20 years ago saying that ulcers were due to stress and the like, a hypothesis which was neatly overturned by a single study showing that heliobacter pylorii was the cause.

          3. Rob Honeycutt

            Bruce… Do you realize that Friis-Christensen withdrew his paper after errors were found in his calculations?

            Solar output and temperature diverged in the 1980’s.

            And again, there are a host of other factors that rule out solar forcing. This was ruled out decades ago. Catch up.

          4. Bruce of Newcastle

            Rob – please be polite enough to read what I wrote. I said that solar cycle length AND the AMO cycle AND a CO2 signal corresponding to 2XCO2 of 0.6 C together explain the CET. This includes the last three decades. You will note that the pCO2 from Mauna Loa fits an exponential curve, although that is a short term fit (since there is only so much coal in the world to burn). I use a wavelength of 65 years and amplitude 0.14 C for the AMO, which is about at peak right now. In fact with these the fit I get over the last few decades is visually better than for the early dataset, probably because instrumentation has improved since then.

            And don’t dissemble, you can graph averaged solar cycle temperature vs previous solar cycle length just as easily as can anyone who can pilot a spreadsheet. I gave you the link to solar cycle length, you can get the CET data same as I could. So go do it, cut out the middle men, do some science & see what you think.

  4. skylarker

    To Rob Honeycutt.

    Who peer reviewed Sir Issac Newton’s Principia ?

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      Skylarker… Are you in high school?

  5. R. de Haan

    yeah, yeah, let’s face the facts.

    The peer review process is corrupted and besides that, did one of our biggest scientists ever published his scientific reports? Yes, Albert Einstein has a poor history of publishing.

    Van Andel took another road and presented his report to the Meteorological Society where all scientists present could take a shot at it.

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      Honestly guys, I’m not dissing Van Andel. I’m dissing the blogging echo chamber for broadcasting an unpublished paper from a non climate scientist and promoting it as if it’s the latest final word on the matter.

      Maybe Van Andel has nailed it. Maybe he’ll get the Nobel Prize for this paper. First it needs to get published.

  6. R. de Haan

    Eighteen hardcore AGW alarmists threaten U.S. Congress
    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/02/eighteen-hardcore-agw-alarmists.html

  7. R. de Haan
    1. Mindert Eiting

      Thanks Ron, for the link. We humans cannot prevent supernova’s either. We have to observe, do some calculations, make weather forcasts for a few days, and have interesting discussions about our theories. I have the impression that on the internet a new open university is developing with a new kind of peer review. The exchange of information goes with the speed of light!

      1. Rob Honeycutt

        That’s probably the silliest thing I’ve read all week. What you describe is a recipe for chaos. The worst part of the internet right now is that, essentially, everyone is a reporter and everyone is an expert. There are no filters. There is no editorial process.

        In order to actually understand whether what you read is real or not, these days, you have to spend huge amounts of time tracking down every source. And almost no one does this. They merely accept what every version of the news (or science in our case here) they want to believe. Or they only track as far as the conclusion they want to confirm.

        Literally, almost every time I read a blog – even ones that say things that I want to believe – I find I have to dig 3 or 4 or even 5 levels deep to get to the original source. This used to be the province of the reporter and his hard nosed editor. …No more.

        And you think this is how SCIENCE should be performed?

        1. Mindert Eiting

          Yes, science is digging. A problem for the scientists at the Open University may be that they don’t get payed.

          1. Rob Honeycutt

            What you’re proposing is essentially Napster for science.

            Remember how well that went over?

  8. R. de Haan

    Good News: Senators vow to strip Obama Climate Powers
    http://www.climatedepot.com/r/9627/Senators-vow-to-strip-Obama-climate-power

  9. Lawrie

    The web is the only method left to the average person who seeks the truth. The MSM is very biased with regard to climate science as it is with many social issues. The very fact that there are conflicting theory and data concerning the climate means we are being short changed by those who claim the science is settled. It isn’t. The more people discuss these topics the more likely we are to arrive at a workable solution.

    While most would like to see a cleaner and more prosperous world for all it’s inhabitants, we are unlikely to arrive at such a position if we are starting from a false base. Currently that false base is AGW. For proof see the poor performance of the various government meteorological organisations vis a vis the commercial forecasters who rely on historical records.

    1. Rob Honeycutt

      You’ve got the whole world flipped on its head. Whether you like it or not, the scientific consensus on AGW (yes, there IS a consensus in real science circles) comes from very hard nosed science. What you believe to be challenges to that prevailing view are the product of a very small minority of scientists, but a larger group of oil funded political organizations (Cato, Heartland, AFP, SPPI, etc.) who have a vested interest in making you believe the science is still not resolved.

      The mistake the MSM is making is giving equal voice to these people when there is not a equal basis for their science. If you interviewed each and every working climate scientist once on TV for an hour each, you’d never remember the guys that challenged the prevailing position.

      If we want our children to inherit a livable world at all we best start listening to the scientists.

  10. Edwin Adlerman

    >For proof see the poor performance of the various government meteorological >organisations vis a vis the commercial forecasters who rely on historical records.

    Total BS! You obviously have no clue as to what you are claiming.
    There isn’t a SINGLE commercial forecaster in the entire United States that doesn’t use the same exact models that the NWS uses. Sure, some may add in some regional forecasts using the WRF, but the global assimilation necessary for long-term forecasting that the models depends on comes from NCEP. Even if you run your own models, the boundary conditions are coming directly from the NCEP models. No daily forecaster is forecasting relying on “historical records.” Day-to-day forecasting could NEVER rely on historical records. Some people might try to find historical analogies for long-term forecasting, but once again, your main point is complete nonsense.

  11. GoFigure

    Thanks to the internet we now have the ultimate peer review system in place, and the world is better off for it.

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