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Comments 601 to 650:

  1. CO2 lags temperature

    I don't have much of a problem with CO2 lagging behind temperature at the end of a glacial period. It isn't all that surprising and the explanations are convincing.

    That CO2 still lags behind temperature (though apparently by only a matter of months rather than hundreds of years,"Changes in carbon dioxide content lag those in temperature by five months."[1} is more of a puzzle to me and I havn't seen an explanation for it yet.

    I'm sure there is one that wont require denial of recent anthropogenic climate change, but I don't know what it is.

    This enquiry arose because I'm teaching using an online resource that includes the following question for students
    5. Using Models To Make Predictions

    "Why is there a lag between changes in CO2 levels and temperature?
    (Hint: Remember that there are many reservoirs for carbon dioxide. Where can carbon dioxide be stored when the temperature is low?)"

    I find this question unclear (Do they mean changes in atmospheric CO2, in which case the "hint" doesn't appear to make any sense?) and it implies that CO2 leads temperature change, which wasn't the case in 1990 

    {1} Kuo, C., Lindberg, C. & Thomson, D. Coherence established between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature. Nature 343, 709–714 (1990).

    Moderator Response:

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  2. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Clarification to my comment at 26: However its not tenable to claim these far left environmentalist somehow triggered any of the climate denialism. 

  3. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Nick Palmer @23

    I didn't say Exon had clear and certain knowledge of the dangers of climate change way back then. I think the oil companies knew there was a problem, but not the full extent, like anyone else at the time. Remember I  said this "Exon knew there was a climate problem but told the public a different story. Theres no way of excusing this. Even if Exonn didnt really understand the true extent of the problem it doesn't change the utterly mixed messaging."

    While you're right that companies use lobbying organisations to fend off government regulation, its very hard to believe that big oil funded these lobby groups but didnt realise they were promoting denialism, or didn't fund them to assist in promoting denialism . The most I would concede is that not all fossil fuel companies would be the same.

    Yes many of the very active environmentalists lean very left politically and want to smash capitalism. Michael Moore's film Planet of the Humans perhaps falls into that category. It was a very frustrating film full of inaccurate information and anti renewables rhetroic. I fall into the camp that thinks capitalism needs some reforms, but I don't think anyone has come up with a completely new alternative thats workable or ever will. I find the far left almost as annoying as the far right. But environmental activists will do what they do and believe what they beleive just as libertarians do the same.

    However its not tenable to claim these far left environmentalist somehow triggered right wing climate denialism. If you look at the history of denialism of science in general its driven by a variety of things from vested interests, political views, religion, human psychology and some of these are politically neutral things. The far left environmentalists might have added a bit to the polarisation of the climate issue. But so have the far right denialists! Hugely so. 

    Of course big oil won't have its own internal documents talking about denialist myths like solar forcing and cosmic rays. They are not stupid. They outsource this to the lobby groups. But like I said in my previous comment, demonising the oil industry on and on seems ultimately a bit pointless.

    Ok maybe I was too dismissive of Stephen Schneider. However the point I'm trying to make is the number of climate scientists that come across as serious, over the top  alarmists is in a minority. In my admittedly anecdotal experience most seem pretty measured in their comments. The IPCC reports are very measured. So its unfair to accuse the scientific community of over stating the nature of this climate problem. One or two scientists go crazy, claiming climate change will kill billions of people in a decade, etc,etc. I find this rather frustrating because it feeds the denialists, but they are in a small minority.

  4. Antarctica is gaining ice

    WEP. Yes, the two key early papers that Manabe was involved in were:

    Manabe and Strickler, 1964.

    Manabe and Wetherald, 1967

    Figure 16 from the second paper illustrates the stratospheric cooling associated with surface warming:

    Manabe and Wetherald (a967)  Figure 16

  5. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Nick Palmer:

    I agree with what Phillip and NigelJ have said to a much larger extent than I agree with what you have said. I will focus on a few points in your latest comment.

    "I was referring to the definite and real uncertainty in the science BEFORE Hansen's 1988 speech"

    Give me a break. I was studying climatology for 10 years before Hansen's speech, and a dozen years before the 1990 IPCC report. I did not need Greenpeace or any other media reports to know what was going on - I was reading the primary literature. I found about papers like Manabe and Wetherald (1967) by reading them when they were still <20 years old.

    "It is less than honest of people to assert that our modern established science in any way is comparable to the nascent science back then,"

    It is less than honest for people to assert that there was not a lot that we knew back then, either. We knew in the mid 1980s that Sherwood Idso's arguments for negligible warming were wrong. That did not stop special interests from funding him for decades afterwards. That funding was not intended to pursue a legitimate sicentific goal - it was to sow doubt.

    Climatology was not "nascent" in the 1980s. It was "nascent" in the 1880s.

    "I submit that these tactics of Big Oil were just ordinary political manoeuvring to resist irrationally draconian 'green/red' calls until the science got strong enough. "

    I submit that if this were the case, then Big Oil would have tried to argue the real science and legitimate uncertainty, instead of funding positions that were already known to be bunk.

    "...government pandering to the views of misinformed activists ..."

    You mean like the denial industry that was created specifically to maximize the extent to which politicians and the public were provided with misinformation? As you point out, right-wing politicians like Margaret Thatcher had a reasonably realistic view of the science several decades ago. Something - someone - managed to convince them otherwise.

    "It is a matter of record that the fossil fuel industry increasingly deserted the early 'denialist' fossil fuel organisation - which was formed in 1989 - the 'Global Climate Coalition' - until by the early 2000s it was disbanded, and this was because the science had got strong enough."

    Alternate explanation: as early denial organizations lost credibility, it was easier to let them die and fund new organizations that could spout the same misinformation under a new name. Until that organization loses it credibility. Or don't even wait - just create a whole bunch of them and make it look as if there is widespread doubt.

    Much of the rest of your comment dives into "the mean lefties made them do it". I heard the same kind of arguments being made about general environmental issues when I worked in the oil patch in the early 1980s. It was not a reaction to climate isuses - it was a standard rhetorical tactic long before then.

    "BTW, are there are any links to Big Oil documents which actually deny the science in the way that deniers do - it's the Sun - it's cooling - it's cosmic rays - the temperature record was tampered with - it's all fraud etc? I've never seen any actual full-on denialism in them. "

    Because they learned from the problems the tobacco industry ran into over their internal documents? And funneled the money through shell corporations or institutes to hide the source, letting the denial groups do this for them? People that don't want to get cuaght doing what they are doing usually figure out eventually to not keep records.

    It doesn't matter if Big Oil believed the denialism or not - they sure funded it. Out of the goodness of their hearts, or because they thought it made good business sense?


  6. One Planet Only Forever at 04:01 AM on 11 June 2021
    The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Nick Palmer @18 and 23,
    I have the following perspective to add to the responses provided by Philippe and Nigel.

    Be careful. You may be presenting a defence similar to claims that atrocious things, like slavery and racism, unjustly prolonged by previous generations were done "at a time when people did not know better".

    Reading evidence based presentations like "A People's History of the United States", by Howard Zinn, exposes that what people today often fail to understand is that better understanding did exist but failed to be "Beneficial to the wealthy and powerful" and as a result it failed to be "Popular".

    Also, claims of the Boon to humanity from fossil fuel use is misleading. There is very little lasting benefit for humanity from this burst of harmful unsustainable human activity. Many technological developments did not occur because of the use of fossil fuels. In fact, a focus on benefiting from fossil fuel use significantly distracted effort from other potentially less harmful and more sustainable developments. And the easy access to power has allowed far more harm to be done by humans than the harmful climate change impacts. Any perceptions of advancement that depends on cheaper higher artificial energy use is destined to fail to continue in the future. The perception so ending poverty are a particularly galling case. Any part of that perception that relies on fossil fuel use or comparably cheap energy use has no future. Sustainable development limits the need for artificial energy and requires all the artificially generated energy to be obtained sustainably, which include not using up non-renewable resources and requires no lasting accumulating harm to be done by the energy production, distribution or use.

    In spite of global wealth rising far faster than global population there continues to be horrid inequity and injustice. Getting richer and more powerful clearly does not mean getting better. Note that at the time of slavery there was a very long period of time where the unacceptability of slavery was understood, but popularity of profit and other benefits traumatically prolonged the activity. And the worst part of the end of slavery in Europe was that in the end the rich people decided that their peers who were wealthier because of slavery would be financially compensated when the forced end of slavery happened, with no compensation give to those who had been enslaved and were now disadvantaged by the socioeconomic-political system and on their own.

    I strongly urge everyone to be better informed about what is harmful and what is sustainably helpful.

    • Read "The Age of Sustainable Development", by Jeffrey D. Sacks, or take the MOOC of the same name. It is not new. It is the result of continued pursuit of increased awareness of the harm being done by human development.
    • Read the first global recognition of the harmful unsustainability of human actions that was recognized globally as early as 1972 at the Stockholm Conference.

    Claiming "Exxon didn't know better" fails to admit that they were not "responsibly thoughtfully doing what the most responsible and thoughtful people were aware of and doing at the time".

    The “Fog of misleading marketing compromised democracy, consumerism and capitalism” is like the Fog of War, a lousy excuse for horrible things being done.

    Exxon had been on a more helpful leadership track in the 1970s. But something changed in the 1980s (Reagan/Thatcherism was a significant result of that change). And Exxon's approach to climate science appears to have changed at that time as well. The timing of Reagan/Thatcherism looks like a reaction to the growing awareness and understanding of harmful human developments that needed to be corrected, a fearful aggressive misleading marketing response to the increasing awareness and improving understanding that things needed to change and government action was required to make it happen. It was a reaction to the realization that the Free Competition for superiority in systems like Capitalism causes problems it resists correcting (popular and profitable things are hard to correct). And that realization meant that some wealthy powerful people would not maintain their developed sense of status. And the required corrections and potential for wealthy people to be losers would be in many industries like chemical and food companies, not just fossil fuels.

    More than a decade ago, the understanding developed that a rapidly increasing Price on Carbon along with other Government actions to curtail fossil fuel use, including actions to encourage renewable energy system implementation and development of improved renewable energy systems.

    The questions become things like:

    • Was Exxon's messaging leading the promotion of that helpful understanding?
    • Or was Exxon pushing misleading marketing like claiming that corrective action to limit harm should not happen until there was "More certainty" regarding the need for the corrections? That is the way the current system has developed so harmfully and so harmfully resists correction.
    • Did Exxon promote a significant and rapidly increasing Price on Carbon along with other Government actions to more rapidly end the use of fossil fuels? Or did they promote the idea that a fixed certain "Price on Carbon" could be determined by an economic evaluation comparing benefits that would have to be given up today to reduce the harm done to future generations, with the future harm discounted (see my comment @17)?
    • Did Exxon executives do what the law of the USA regarding Publicly Traded corporations requires them to do - “whatever they can get away with to maximize shareholder wealth”? Exxon could have been sued by shareholders if they acted to educate about the need to reduce fossil fuel use. That is an example of the harmful flaws that have developed in the Freer competition for superiority that so many wealthy people, and people who want to be like that, will excuse and defend.

    Raising awareness and improving understanding regarding harmful activity and how to limit harm done should not be done by misleading marketing. But misleading marketing that achieves that objective is helpful in spite of perceptions of harm done. Without “Dramatic attention getting” the issue would be something people are less aware of and less understanding of. As for “getting more people to support the actions” ... Leadership compromising awareness and understanding and delaying required corrections in order to appeal to more people is Harmful Unsustainable Leadership. The sooner that type of Leadership fails to be influential the better the future for humanity will be.

    Perceptions of success and progress based on unsustainable activity, especially harmful activity, are delusions no matter how popular or profitable they are at the time. And undeserving wealthy powerful people have been masters of harmful delusion, misleading marketing, throughout history. That is what needs to change. And that means a deserved loss of status for many high status people rather than “excuses, appeasement and delays trying to maintain undeserved perceptions of superiority” that compromise what is understood to be required to limit harm done so that humanity can have a sustainable improving future on this one amazing planet that may be the only planet that humans can be certain of being able to sustainably live on for many millions of years into the future.

    The unjustified lack of leadership through the past few decades by the wealthiest and most powerful on the transition to rapidly ending the accumulating harm done by fossil fuel use is a travesty. The wealthy and powerful cannot claim they were “unaware”. They also have little ability to claim uncertainty about the magnitude of impact. The fact that fossil fuel use was unsustainable needed no research. Burning up non-renewable resource has no potential in the future of humanity. It was only ever a temporary ability for some to benefit in ways others never would be able to. Even now people try to argue that the less developed portion of the human population should not be allowed to use fossil fuel energy at the level that the Supposedly more Advanced, higher status, portion of the population still do (30 years after clear indications of the need to end fossil fuel use). And using Bob Loblaw’s concern “what if I am wrong?”, the 1.0C of warming already experienced is producing harmful climate changes impacting many people, especially the poorest. And that warming is less than the low end of the 1.5C to 4.5C warming due to a doubling of CO2.

  7. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Phillipe and NigelJ. I think you two have somewhat missed that I was referring to the definite and real uncertainty in the science BEFORE Hansen's 1988 speech and the formation of the IPCC. That is when the documents in 'Exxon Knew', which are now held up as evidnec of 'certain' knowledge and associated deceit, were created. It is less than honest of people to assert that our modern established science in any way is comparable to the nascent science back then, upon which it would have been simply wrong to base far-reaching, global economy affecting/dismantling policies. It is verging on deceit to cast aspersions at targets who are not guilty or, at least, very much less guilty than they are being accused of being, using sophisticated rhetoric, cherry picking, misattribution of motivation etc and all the liguistic techniques that such as John Cook has clarified the denialist 'side' as using.

    The uncertainty I was referring to (ordinary man-in-the-street definition, not the scientific one), at the relevant time, and what was not well understood then, was of such a magnitude (look again at the Dessler quote I gave) that it was entirely justified that Big Oil did not turn on a sixpence and shut down when the environmental organisations seized on this new way to attack Big Industry by using activist's frequent tendency to make unwarranted speculations on fragmentary evidence, then deciding that whatever unlikely speculative doomy result they came up with is almost certain to happen and then using that to justify calling for bans and authoritarian restrictions to avoid that end.

    There can be no doubt that Big Oil sponsored think tanks, Institutes and lobbying organisations that used actual denialist rhetoric as part of their portfolio of techniques to try to influence politicians and policy formulations but, and I think this is where a lot of people go wrong, this should not have caused people to jump to the conclusion that Big Oil was deliberately spreading denialism because they were actually in denial of climate science - pause for a lot of screaming and gnashing of teeth by the extremists! I submit that these tactics of Big Oil were just ordinary political manoeuvring to resist irrationally draconian 'green/red' calls until the science got strong enough. The primary function of such lobbying organisations is to help their clients fight back against what they see as heavy handed legislation or inappropriate policy making by government pandering to the views of misinformed activists and those members of the voting public whose views have been changed by them to the point where they would vote in such draconian and misconceived action.

    It is a matter of record that the fossil fuel industry increasingly deserted the early 'denialist' fossil fuel organisation - which was formed in 1989 - the 'Global Climate Coalition' - until by the early 2000s it was disbanded, and this was because the science had got strong enough.

    "The GCC dissolved in 2001 after membership declined in the face of improved understanding of the role of greenhouse gases in climate change and of public criticism"

    Anyone who engages with denialists, the right wing or who defends the basic priciples behind environmentalism (which are, of course, still very valid) will pretty soon be accused of being a 'watermelon' - green on the outside, red on the inside, by which they mean that environmentalists have a superficial layer of concern for the environment masking a far left 'smash capitalism' ideology underneath. This is not a conspiracy theory! It is clear that many recent significant spokespersons indeed do have a very deep seated antipathy towards the capitalism system, upon which they lay the blame for all sorts of mankind's woes and they have an ideological zeal that only their pet version of international socialism will save us all - which goal, to them, justifies the deceit and propaganda they use as they try to 'socially engineer' the masses.

    It is these 'fifth columnists' who created the Patrick Moore's, the Patrick Michael's, the Bjorn Lomborg's and who gave such as the Heartland Institute such large amounts of ammunition to doubt the integrity of the genuine, reasonable scientifically based policies. Bear in mind that one of the very earliest politicians to warn about the dangers of potential climate change in public and political circles was the rather far right Margaret Thatcher

    and it was the far left who more or less started denialism off by insinuating that it was all fake science to justify shutting coal mines down, to handicap the development of the Third World and to accelerate the expansion of nuclear power. It was only afterwards that the left realised that if they became anti-global warming they could have a powerful stick to hit Big Industry, the international monetary system etc and slip their desired political outcomes in by the back door. That change in outlook in turn created the right wing/libertarian opposition - first to the 'solutions' the left claimed were mandatory and then their political 'chess moves'  generated out and out deceitful-but-plausible-sounding denialism to undermine the legitimate science by appealing to the U.S.'s conservative blue collar population that it was actually a reds-under-the-bed attempt to undermine their freedoms.

    Here is the very rational Zion Lights explaining why she disavowed her earlier extreme, ideology based, environmental beliefs and how she sees those beliefs as counter-productive these days.

    Whether activists like it or not, I believe it was the environmental organisations excessive and unwarranted views, and the political engineering of (some) of their leaders, which led them to make simplistic and ill thought out (or craftily planned) demands for policy changes which would have been disastrous. A far more likely explanation of Big Fossil Fuel's stance and acts is not that their execs were real denialists possessed of a psychopathic disregard for humanity but that their adverts and public facing statements were their attempt to resist politicians moving against them and implementing the type of draconian policies called for by those with fallacious, or at least well over-the-top, views in some cases motivated by an underlying 'closet' political ideology - Smash Capitalism! - that the public would never actually vote for if it was expressed out loud.

    BTW, are there are any links to Big Oil documents which actually deny the science in the way that deniers do - it's the Sun - it's cooling - it's cosmic rays - the temperature record was tampered with - it's all fraud etc? I've never seen any actual full-on denialism in them. That's why I made my point that the words in the documents have likely been mischaracterised by Oreskes and Supran et al to insinuate and attribute motives which really weren't there.

    I think you really shouldn't characterise Stephen Schneider's views as "the opinion of one person". He was a very well regarded early climate scientist, who was also acknowledged as a brilliant communicator of that science to the public. His (unedited by denialists) quote which I gave is still a very accurate statement on the science and its communication and comprehension by the public. Unfortunately, in this area, he is almost peerless these days. Richard Alley, Katharine Hayhoe, Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann are really good but, in my opinion, they are not quite at the same level. Schneider could take on a hostile audience of denialists and either defeat them or make their apparently plausible views look as irrational as they really are.

    BTW, Phillipe, I actually referred to the CMIP6 models (not the CMP5 ones, as you incorrectly stated I did) running (considerably) too hot. This is not contentious. Ask Gavin Schmidt or any other similarly credentialled scientist...

  8. DMI show cooling Arctic

    Hi WEP,

    The "freezing point" of salty sea water is below 0C. As luck would have it DMI "Arctic" temperature has just surpassed that temperature for the first time in 2021, and earlier than the climatology:

    Note that the blue line at 0C is therefore actually above the "melting point" of ice floating in said salty Arctic sea water. Note also that air temperature above the ice won't rise very far above that line for the rest of the brief Arctic summer.

  9. wideEyedPupil at 14:28 PM on 10 June 2021
    DMI show cooling Arctic

    "car" → "case"

  10. wideEyedPupil at 14:27 PM on 10 June 2021
    DMI show cooling Arctic

    "e plate" → "polar" 

  11. wideEyedPupil at 14:26 PM on 10 June 2021
    DMI show cooling Arctic

    Is the mean ocean temperature and/or mean air temperature at the e plat regions greater than the global mean (1.0-1.1 °C in the car of air temperature) or less than. I take it from this thread that it's the ice mass which determines the air temperature, rather than the other way around,  acknowledging there must be a conservation of energy.  

  12. wideEyedPupil at 14:07 PM on 10 June 2021
    Antarctica is gaining ice

    Edit> "predicted in 1967 that the lower atmosphere and the stratosphere would act in opposite ways: that warming  in the former would be accompanied by cooling in the later"

  13. wideEyedPupil at 14:03 PM on 10 June 2021
    Antarctica is gaining ice

    I was reading today that Manabe and Werherald, working at NOAA, predicted in 1967 that lower atmosphere would act in opposite ways warming in the former would be accompanied by cooling in the later. And that it wasn't until 2011 that atmospheric testing was able to confirm this until 2011. Another prediction by Manabe and two other scientists is that land areas warm faster than oceans, with the slowest warming around Antartica. My understanding has been that while Land masses do warm faster than oceans (for more than one reason) but that warming at the polar regions had been more like 2-3 °C compared to the global average of 1.0-1.1 °C. 

    is there a different thread on this site where I can learn about polar warming in comparison to other regions? And the relevant mechanism. I'm aware of ozone depletion over Antartica for example which is a seperate but interconnected mechanism.

    thanks in advance. the book I'm reading (The Wizard and the Prophet, an excellent read) may have got it wrong I guess but Charles C Mann is a long time science writer/journalist. 

  14. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Micawber - I'm reminded of the quote (which may or may not be real, but still relevant):

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

    ― Winston S. Churchill

    The same applies to peer review. There are occasional failures, biases, and downright foolishness (especially for off-topic or denier controlled venues) - but in the end it's the best system we have, and inherently (over time) self-correcting. 

  15. The day Oil Giants lost the Climate Fight

    Encouraging note: the company behind the XL Pipieline (tar sands crude oil from Canada, massively polluting in extraction and use) has officially dropped the project given Biden Administration resistance.

    Nice to see some good climate news.

  16. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Nick Palmer @18, I think you are largely wrong about the fossil fuel companies, especially the view that their own internal scientists were outspoken alarmists who exaggerated things. Stephen Schneider's views that climate scientists exaggerate and use scare stories are the opinion of one person. All the material I've seen from the IPCC is conservatively worded and full of caveats, ifs and buts. Theres no reason to believe Exons own internal scientists were much different. At worse they may have said theres potentially a big problem here, and there would be nothing wrong with saying that. Yes climate activists do sometimes get carried away, but they are not the scientists.

    Exon knew there was a climate problem but told the public a different story. Theres no way of excusing this. Even if Exonn didnt really understand the true extent of the problem it doesn't change the utterly mixed messaging.

    Lets look at oil companies more generally. At least some oil companies have clearly been involved in spreading campaigns to create doubt, amply proven in books like Dark Money. I've seen polling studies showing most employees of oil companies are climate sceptics. This is probably not surprising because they are obviously worried about losing their jobs. But the fact remains oil companies have helped spread denialism and doubt. They may be worried about their kids and the climate problem but that doesnt mean they arent sceptics of one sort or another or oppose mitigation.

    However theres obviously another side to it. Its fair to say that expecting oil companies to just shut down their operations in a voluntary way is unrealistic. They aren't breaking any laws, and there is no society wide consensus that they should just shut down.  Companies exist to make profits and ignore environmental issues the "tragedy of the commons problem". People are rightly worried about their job security. Climate change is a complex costly sort of problem but doesn't fall into the same category as an immediate threat to people lives like an industrial toxin. If companies cover up issues like that they would be potentially legally liable. But I can still understand the anger of the climate activists.

    The issue is entirely about what society and its governments does about oil companies. This is about what laws, regulations and taxes it applies. Without that nothing much will change.  I notice that the Netherlands have recently imposed a law requiring Shell oil to cut emissions 40%. Other countries are imposing carbon taxes.

    Of course its also about individual carbon footprints. Another issue.

    Yes you are right theres hypocrisy and finger pointing etc on both sides of the debate, but theres a huge volume of people that are less vocal and strident in their views.

  17. Philippe Chantreau at 04:17 AM on 10 June 2021
    The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews


    You just reiterated the points you made earlier.

    Uncertainties have not been represented inadequately in the IPCC reports. Cloud feedbacks have always been at the top of the uncertainty ladder.

    You are sliding toward the very behavior you condemn by saying the CMIP5 models run "too hot." In reality they run slightly warmer than observations, and slightly is even generous. There is plenty of good posts on that RealClimate and even here showing how well within models' expectations the observations have been. The cloud feedback underestimation has not prevented actual temps of increasing beyond .15 degC/decade. Everything considered, the models have performed remarkably well, even the old ones. Describing it as "too hot" does exactly the same as what all the sides you accuse of taking liberties with the facts do.

    I'll add that over-emphasizing uncertainty is Judith Curry's preferred method of manipulation and it is every bit as bad than anything done by so-called alarmists. It is a free pass for do nothing or slowly do a little, neither of which are adequate.

    I can understand the pressures and imperatives that a business like Exxon has to reconcile. The state of their knowledge, and the remarkably reasonable tone in most of the old documents (see the wayback machine link) are so far removed from the propaganda they pushed that your excuse falls short. Why such an immense disconnect? Sure there was significant uncertainty in 1979. Less so in 1989. Much less in 1999. All the uncertainty that could justify not seriously starting a transition was gone in 2009. Exxon kept on pushing the same narrative, and still does, through the same actors. 

    I do not disagree that, if one wants to understand the science, the message coming from activist organizations is often not helpful. I do not disagree that some have a wholefully unrealistic perception of the difficulty of a full energy transition. The energy transition we are faced with is a major undertaking. Both the magnitude and urgency of it have been made far worse by the decades of inaction caused by the fossil fuel backed opinion campaigns.

    As for myself, I strive to be reality-based and firmly believe that no option should be off the table, except those whose range of consequences can not be well assessed )atmsopheric geo-engineering comes to mind). I am not opposed, in principle, to nuclear. I believe that existing dams that can produce electricity and allow to store water should be kept. I think that enhanced geothermal deserves more attention. I also know for sure that a world in which the pursuit of more profit at any cost all the time is the main driver is a world doomed to fail.

  18. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Here's a live link to the skepsci article which I neglected to do in my previous long comment

  19. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    When activists try to bad mouth Exxon et al they speak from a 'post facto' appreciation of the science, as if today's relatively strong climate science existed back when the documents highlighted in 'Exxon knew' were created. Let me explain what I think is another interpretation other than Greenpeace/Oreskes'/Supran's narratives suggesting 'Exxon knew' that climate change was going to be bad because their scientists told them so as far back as the 70s and 80s. Let me first present Stephen Schneider's famous quote from 1988 (the whole quote, not the edited one used by denialists).

    "On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both."

    I submit that part of the apparently damning content of the documents was exactly caused by Exxon's scientists, Schneider-like, simplifying their message to initially present it to their corporate employers. In exactly the same way that the denialosphere combed though the Climategate emails to find apparently damning statements and then interpreted them through a filtered 'lens' to insinuate fraud and data manipulation, usually by editing out context etc and even previous and subsequent sentences which changed the meaning completely, I submit that Greenpeace's 'Exxon knew' team did that too. They knew that the majority of people who read their report would assume that the current science that projects the bad consequences that we are (fairly) sure about today was as rock solid back way back then as it is now and would therefore jump to their desired conclusion that Big Capitalist Oil was just being evil. I'm absolutely not suggesting that Greenpeace's team were consciously being deceptive, just that they allowed their zealotry to run away with them so they saw just what they wanted to see...

    Today's science, that projects bad outcomes, was by no means solid back then. I think that what Big Oil should be fairly accused of is the much less 'evil' culpability of not adequately informing the public about the full probabilities of the risks - which again is the 'Schneider' method of tailoring one's output for one's audience. Perhaps they didn't get "the right balance is between being effective and being honest" quite right. As denialists will endlessly tell us, the use of fossil fuels has been on balance a huge boon to humanity and I suspect that past one-dimensional calls by activists (including those I naively made!) to not use or explore for any more fossil fuels almost overnight, to a corporate mind, would require a public relations strategy to counter that extremist view while waiting for the science to get solid enough to start serious corporate planning for change should it be needed.

    'Ban all exploration for or use of fossil fuels today' is a frequent call of today's extremists and no doubt they are sincere that they think the risks are such that such draconian action must be justified, and that things such as new technology, carbon capture, Gen3/4 nukes, agricultural changes etc must be Machiavellian Big Industry just manouevring to do nothing now to protect their financial bottom lines - delaying tactics that must be resisted. I think Professor Mann too has fallen in to the trap of feeling 'certainty' about what he thinks the solutions should be and this has lead to his dismissal, even libellous characterisations, of those who offer up a more nuanced way forward. Activists who call for an immediate ban on fossil fuels and 100% renewables by next Tuesday do not seem to realise that they are thinking in a one-dimensional way. Their 'solution' might address climate change, but such a solution would instantly cause enormous global disruption and would likely spark off the mother of all global economic recessions, which would rapidly cause long lasting extreme global hardship much greater, at least in the short to medium term, than anything global warming is scheduled to do for several decades.

    So what were the 'uncertainties' back then? Some of the most important parameters plugged into climate models are those for climate sensitivity. While (widely varying) estimates existed before 2000 it only got well constrained and modelled within firm(ish) limits by papers published after then. Check out the links in this Skepsci article to see when the major papers were published.

    Here is explaining the lack of certainty back then

    "From Carbon Brief

    "In 1979, the Charney Report from the US National Academy of Sciences suggested that ECS was likely somewhere between 1.5C and 4.5C per doubling of CO2. Nearly 40 years later, the best estimate of sensitivity is largely the same.
    However, Prof Andrew Dessler at Texas A&M University pushes back on this suggestion. He tells Carbon Brief:

    I think that the idea that ‘uncertainty has remained the same since the late 1970s’ is wrong. If you look at the Charney report, it’s clear that there were a lot of things they didn’t know about the climate. So their estimate of uncertainty was, in my opinion, way, way too small"

    "Back in 1979, climate science was much less well understood than today. There were far fewer lines of evidence to use in assessing climate sensitivity. The Charney report range was based on physical intuition and results from only two early climate models.

    In contrast, modern sensitivity estimates are based on evidence from many different sources, including models, observations and palaeoclimate estimates. As Dessler suggests, one of the main advances in understanding of climate sensitivity over the past few decades is scientists’ ability to more confidently rule out very high or very low climate sensitivities.""

    Activists try to insinuate that the documents and memos show that Big Oil 'knew the scientific truth' back then and adopted a position of denial, or psychopathic deception for the sake of profits, in the face of noble environmental groups campaigning against them because they also 'knew the truth' too. Much though it pains me to admit it, I was part of the campaigning certainy of those groups back then. I used to coordinate a Friends of the Earth area group and all the material I saw did not mention any of the scientific doubts and the uncertainties which featured in the scientific literature. I trusted it - it was the same thing we see today when such as Extinction Rebellion go waay over the top with the certainty of their assertions and the cherry picked nature of the information they present to the public. This is why I think that all sides - denialist/alarmist/doomist/sceptic etc - use misleading rhetoric to spin their narratives. I realise that many of the environmental activist 'troops' in their crusades like to feel certain that they know the 'truth' that Evil Big Industry had psychopathically tried to hide but I think total honesty is necessary to enable the public to judge the situation properly, so that policy changes we need are not based on the shifting sand that the 'divine deception' of the rhetoric of extremist campaigners and political forces is. Noble cause corruption is not a good strategy whether it is that of the greens, the left or right.

    It's not as if even today's science is completely bulletproof, as a new paper about clouds shows. Consideration of it offers up an explanation as to why the new CMIP6 models are running too hot, and that is because observations show that some parameters plugged into current cloud models about longevity, warming and precipitation are wrong which mean that clouds cool more than previously thought. It doesn't,as it happens, change what we need to do but it does demonstrate that even today a fairly major part of the mechanics of climate changee can - uh hm - be changed.

    New paper on clouds

  20. One Planet Only Forever at 05:07 AM on 9 June 2021
    The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Bob Loblaw,

    I will definitely check out The Authoritarians, reading the complete book. A shorter read on Authoritarianism is On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder.

    There are many other helpful references including How Fascism Works, by Jason Stanley. Jonathan Haidt's book, The Righteous Mind, also presents important understanding, however, I suggest being skeptical of his recommendations regarding how to deal with them. Harmful people should not be engaged by compromising efforts to limit harm done.

    I have read many books laying out reasons for the tragic ease of obtaining popular support for harmful Nationalism, Authoritarianism and Capitalism.

    The key is Governing to limit harm done based on the constant pursuit of increased awareness and improved understanding of what is harmful. Some people will responsibly self-govern that way. But many people develop temptations to not self-govern that way. And harmful wealthy people maintain and increase their status relative to others through misleading marketing and appealing beliefs in systems that are actually unjust and unfair, especially if awareness and understanding of what is harmful is not diligently pursued.

    Any socioeconomic-political system can be compromised by harmful pursuits of status "Winning". But misleading marketed Capitalism and Free Market Consumerism is potentially very harmful because the harmful stuff can become popular and profitable which makes it seem even more justified and excusable. And Capitalism has a fundamental need for constant expansion which is a serious problem on a finite planet. The Capitalist free market requires significant effort to identify and limit harm being done. And history proves that the participants in the system will not do that very well. A clears example is the stagnation of opportunity for the middle and lower classes in the USA since the 1970s in spite of massive increases in perceptions of total wealth. And very little of the economic activity that generated those perceptions of wealth are sustainable. And much of the activity is harmful.

    A nasty climate impact example of unjustified justification and excusing is the way some people try to compare "their evaluation of the Benefits that would be lost if the Harm to future generations was reduced" with "their evaluation of the Harm done to future generations, with the future harm done discounted because that is what you can do with future harm". Having an MBA, I appreciate the merits of net-present-value obtained by discounting future costs and revenue when comparing investment alternatives. But I understand that methodology should not be applied to cases where a person or group benefits at the expense of others, especially future generations. Even Stern's use of a low discount rate is likely inappropriate. Harm done is not justified by benefits obtained that way.

    An even nastier reality of those Benefit-Harm evaluations is that the people doing them claim that whatever Status Quo has developed has to be maintained and improved on, even though the wealthier people who benefit form harm done deserve a loss of status. And they over-state the Benefits that have to be given up, including ignoring the activity in the alternative economy. And they understate the harm that will be done. Then they discount that low-balled harm because it happens in the future they will likely not experience.

  21. Philippe Chantreau at 04:35 AM on 9 June 2021
    The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    One of the links in the SkS post I linked is no longer working, but this one does:


    The complete investigation by ICN is available on kindle, titled "The Road not Taken."

    Plenty of documents from inside Exxon available through the wayback machine:


    The Harvard paper perhaps says it best:

    "[A]ccounting for expressions of reasonable doubt, 83% of peer-reviewed papers and 80% of internal documents acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, yet only 12% of advertorials do so, with 81% instead expressing doubt. We conclude that ExxonMobil contributed to advancing climate science—by way of its scientists’ academic publications—but promoted doubt about it in advertorials. Given this discrepancy, we conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public."

    Is it of any interest to know why they misled? What is that going to change? It's not like any of these people will ever experience any serious consequence to their (possible, right Nick?) harmful actions.

  22. Philippe Chantreau at 04:15 AM on 9 June 2021
    The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Of course Nick, they do.

    However, I'm sure that I don't have to remind you of the infinite ability of humans to rationalize any decision they make. It is entirely possible that these executives feel that their children will be shielded from adverse consequences because their parents have amassed a little fortune, which can afford one a lot of protection against a degrading world. It is possible that they find that to be enough.

    It is entirely possible that they estimated that every parent should do what they can to protect their own children and that if they fail, it's their fault, regardless of the obstacles these parents face.

    It is entirely possible that they have convinced themselves that it's natural cycles, or this, or that, and they sincerely believe it to be the case. Executives are good at finance and the human relations of power games, but they can very well suck at judging scientific information.

    It is entirely possible also that they made a risk/cost/benefit analysis that, somehow, placed profits at the top of the priority scale. Stranger things have happened. Look at the opiates crisis.

    It is possible that these executive have absolutely zero notion about ecosystem services, treshold events in biodiversity and all sorts of concepts that belong in areas of studies and activity other than the ones where they operate. Even if they do hear about, they will be much more likely to dismiss such seemingly "abstract" concepts in the face of hard financial targets.

    Anything is possible, we'll never know because we are not in their heads. What we do know is what Exxon's own research showed in the early 80s, and the direction the company took in the late 80s and 90s, SkS has actually looked at that:

    One is free to draw any conclusion about the executives' motivations or thoght processes from the company's actions. I agree that it is indeed of little usefulness to do so. Fighting the disinformation put forth by the actors they supported and still support to this day is more useful. It does fit into that effort, however, to point attention toward the extreme dissonance between the serious research done by the company and the crackpottery they decided to promote instead, and continued to promote even after it failed to be confirmed by all the rest of the scientific litterature.

  23. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews


    I have been studying climatology for about 45 years - since I started my undergraduate program. I have seen all the attempts to discredit the science, even as I have seen the science develop. For me, the first IPCC reports represented a summary of what I had already learned about climatology over a period of 15 years - not a news story. The attacks on the science grew exponentially as the science grew stronger.

    I said above that I always keep in mind "what if I am wrong?", but I have very little doubt that that massive efforts were made by the fossil fuel industry to deflect risks to their business model. They did not develop the skills on their own - they had decades of tobacco industry activity as a guideline to what worked and what did not.

    Have you ever read Chris Mooney's The Republican War on Science? It details how similar approaches have been taken by right wing politics and industry for a wide variety of topics. This did not start with climate science.

    Not all people want the same things for their children and grandchildren. Maybe try following the link I gave above to The Authoriarians - or go directly to the link on that page that has a more recent discussion of Bob Altemeyer's new book in the context of other books on Donald Trump. Read that, and ask, what does it suggest about the Trump family's desires for its children and grandchildren? I'm willing to bet that it is not the same as yours.

  24. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    3 very thought provoking comments from Nigel J, OPOF and Bob Loblaw. I'm still considering Supran/Oreskes' paper and Supran's presentation. So far I'm still seeing that a (possible) misattribution of motives for the actions of Exxon/Big Oil is at the root of the (possible) misrepresention to the public that these two, and in particular Greenpeace's prior 'Exxon knew' report, have created. I'm not attibuting sinister motives to the researchers, they're probably sincere in the beliefs and judgements that framed their interprations, but I can see other far more benign interpretations than the simplistic one we are presented that 'Big Oil is evil, knew the dangers they were subjecting the public to and didn't care as long as the dollars kept rolling in'.

    Perhaps people ought to remember that Big Fossil Fuel's executives and C.E.O.s have got children and grandchildren they worry about too...

  25. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    One of the basic principles I try to keep in mind is "what happens if I am wrong?".

    Unfortunately, the highly partisan, toxic environment that much of the 'debate" happens in includes a large number of people that absolutely refuse to consider the possibility that they are wrong. My impression is that this tendency is much stronger on the side of Authoritarians - a life view that is generally stronger on the right wing part of the political spectrum. I strongly recommend reading The Authoritarians, by Bob Altemeyer. ( The original eBook is long, but I see the web page has a recent commentary.

    Much open "debate" is geared towards shifting the Overton Window ( Make an extreme position look reasonable, whle trying to make a reasonable middle-of-the-road evaluation look as if it is extreme.

    ...and of course, there is always the aspect of tellng people what they want to hear, so you can manipulate them.


    An Inconvenient Truth

  26. One Planet Only Forever at 23:14 PM on 8 June 2021
    The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    The questioning of Mann’s actions and statements, which would extend to others who express similar perspectives, has prompted me to develop a set of questions for everyone who is questioning Mann’s, or any other person’s, actions. The questions are apolitical. And they apply to any socioeconomic-political environment a person has developed in. And they apply to the full range of important considerations like the Sustainable Development Goals, not just the important Climate Change impact issue.

    As a lead in to the questions I will share how my perspective developed. I continue to develop my thinking on this issue. As a Canadian Registered Professional Engineer, my starting point is the things that make Engineering successful. The things that make Engineering successful, and also apply to many other situations, are:

    • not allowing harmful things to be done (Do No Harm, to the environment or any other people)
    • because there is always uncertainty, focus on reducing and limiting harm and risk of harm
    • constantly pursue increased awareness and understanding of the potential harm of things, especially for any new way of doing things before they are implemented, but also of already developed and built things
    • if something has been built and in service or is being built but is learned to be harmful or risky it is repaired or removed from use.

    The following are an incomplete set of questions, perhaps not in the best order or phrasing, that people questioning things, or thinking about or doing things, should consider (everyone should be curious and question and wonder about things):

    • Who is responsible when something develops popularity or profitability but is discovered to be harmful?
    • Are the developers of a new activity or institution (institution meaning: a developed cultural belief or formal aspect of social organization) responsible for thoroughly investigating the potential for harm?
    • Are the first consumers or beneficiaries of the activity or institution responsible for thoroughly investigating the potential for harm?
    • Is a person who benefits more from the activity or institution more responsible for thoroughly investigating the potential for harm?
    • Is a person of higher status (wealth, power, or influence) obliged to also provide a higher level of leadership regarding awareness and understanding of what is harmful and how to limit or stop harmful actions?
    • Are the higher status people obliged to help lower status people live better (live at least a basic decent life, not be harmful), including by setting a good example for others to aspire to?
    • What about Marketing or Educating? What is the Merit of marketing or education that does not pursue and promote increased awareness and improved understanding of how to be less harmful and more helpful to Others?
    • Should something that is understood to be harmful be allowed to continue until something more popular or more profitable is developed to displace it?
    • Who should be determining how harmful something is? Should people who benefit from the harmful activity or institution have a say regarding how harmful it is? Should people who would potentially benefit from something harmful be allowed to compromise the efforts to limit the harm done?
    • In what situations is it acceptable for an evaluation of benefit to be used to negate or counter an evaluation of harm being done?

    The perspective a person develops as they consider these questions can relate to their pathology. It is important to consider each question from a perspective of not knowing what position or role you would have in any situation. A responsible rational person would adopt the perspective of a person potentially being harmed. A harmfully selfish person, however, would adopt a perspective of hoping to benefit from harm done.

    I support the position that actions like CCS, afforestation, nuclear, soil regeneration etc are harmful actions if they are used to justify ‘more fossil fuel use’, or in the case of nuclear are considered to be a sustainable solution that future generations can continue to benefit from and face no risk of harm. In addition, it is undeniable that the energy consumption by the highest consuming people, the ways of living that less fortunate people would see as the example to aspire to, need to be reduced. And harmful risky unsustainable systems like nuclear used to prolong the over-consumption of energy by the more fortunate is unacceptable. These things are helpful as temporary actions in addition to rapidly ending fossil fuel and reducing the energy demands of the highest demanding people. Attempts to claim that curtailing fossil fuel use, especially by the more fortunate, can be slower if these action are employed are indeed misleading marketing games played by the likes of 'delayers, dismissives, inactivists'.

    A root of the socioeconomic-political problems that develop appears to be that harm done will often be ignored or excused, especially when there are potential benefits. Medical treatments where the potential benefit for the patient outweigh the potential harm are exceptions where benefits should be allowed to excuse harm. Another example would be a business investment where the person or group of people making a financial investment will be solely at risk for any financial loss. Things get problematic when there are personal differences in Benefit and Harm, when the person or group benefiting more is not the person or group harmed more. Particularly problematic are cases where the harmed people cannot effectively penalize those who harmed them such as: future generations, people in other legal jurisdictions, people with different degrees of legal power.

    Problems develop in Business and Social matters when the focus on “Do No Harm” that produces engineering success fails to be rigorously applied. The result can be the development of the unethical/immoral/unjustified belief the “Harm Done can be Justified by Benefits Obtained”.

    If something harmful or risky is allowed to compete for popularity or profit, the risk is that it will become popular or profitable. And something that has developed popularity or profitability becomes harder to correct or stop, especially with the power to abuse misleading marketing.

    An obvious conclusion is that misleading marketing is a serious part of the problem. What is required is significant penalties for participating in being misleading, with more serious penalties applied to wealthier and more influential people, including penalties for elected representatives who participate in being harmfully misleading or who fail to properly learn and educate others on important issues.

  27. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Nick Palmer @9 wow reading your comments was a bit like looking in a mirror. I am also towards the political centre and I have an eclectic mix of views. I think this is because I'm an individualist and not a group orintated sort of person. Not saying this is necessarily a superior thing but its how I'm built. Most people appear more group orientated and tribal (that dreadful word) and very reluctant to adopt any idea coming from the "other side". This is hard to change, and is probably why politics has cycles of progressive and conservative governments.

    I agree both sides of the climate debate misbehave. I've been labelled a luke warmer for suggesting some warmists get utterly carried away and feed the denialists or have confirmation bias etc. Its tough going taking a contrary view to your "group". However its important to avoid false equivalence. The denialists are clearly the worst offenders. Don't loose touch of that.

  28. Talking about climate change: Necessary, yet so uncomfortable

    "...although they "believe" in the problem of climate change, they are not willing to allow uncomfortable... policies to be introduced to counteract the problem."  Lately, I've sifted my conversation toward discussion of risk: What is the risk of making a permanent mistake, from a particular course of action?  Mistaken policies to fight climate change can be undone with the stroke of a pen, and there is nothing permanent about a wind turbine, or a field of solar panels.  They are even dismantling dams in the State of Oregon.  But the excess carbon dioxide we're putting into the atmosphere will be there, in human terms, forever.  It's reasonable to assume that future technologies to reduce that CO2 back into fuel of some sort will require at least as much energy as was released when that fuel was first oxidized.  Although I understand there are promising technologies in underground injection, we should assume the excess CO2 will be up there for hundreds of years, and we already know a changed climate is proportional to a changed CO2 content.  So, on this problem, the risk of the 'do nothing alternative' is quite high, due to its irreversibility.  It matters, as well, that the relevant experts charged with understanding the costs associated with that excess CO2 are themselves alarmed by the prospect of this change.  Meanwhile, the risk of taking action is quite low, due to its reversibility.  Wind and solar farms can be put up and taken down as needed, but once you put excess CO2 up into the atmosphere, it's not coming down, by any technology and expense now imaginable.

  29. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    libertador @5

    I'm not sure I have a political ideology any more. I've settled on a rag bag of right and left wing concepts ending up somewhere 'in the middle'.  I think it's singleminded one-dimensional dogmatic political ideologies, and the activists that they spawn, which are now the major obstacle to humanity getting things moving. I've found that the proponents of all ideologies use misleading language and rhetoric etc to try to make the case that their way is 'the way' because, unfortunately, that is how politicians get elected and retain their support. Just you try getting elected by telling the people the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth - I did and all I can say is 'good luck with that'!

    As I said, I've been active in engaging climate science denialism for over 30 years (and other forms of pseudoscience long before that). After a while, one gets to recognise when someone arguing a point is using certain rhetorical techniques to sway their audience to form certain conclusions. This applies whether whether the case they are arguing is true or fallacious and whether they are trying to deceive or genuinely believe what they are saying.

    It would be less than objective to not notice when the proponents of the 'side' that one's heart favours use the very same methods to sway their audience as those who try to, consciously or unconsciously, mislead their audience. Integrity is not best served by demonising one's opponents for deception whilst giving those supporting whatever 'cause' floats your boat a free pass for using exactly the same methods - it's a bad strategy to believe that 'the ends justify the means' - apart from anything else, using misleading facts and statements, because one believes it justified if it sways sufficient numbers of the general public to vote your way, is counter-productive because the opposition immediately seize on and amplify any 'divine deception' one might have used to smear the whole scientific case by proxy as can clearly be seen in how the denialosphere reacts to the ever more soldifying scientific postion on climate change by endlessly recycling unwise statements and 'forecasts' from yesteryear of top scientists and activists.

  30. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Nick, I don't think the whole world is taking sides in US cultural wars, nor are wrapped in the strange ideologies rooted there. I would also agree with libertador, that people abilities to do Bayes evaluation of evidence differs somewhat to put it mildly.

  31. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Micawber @6, you seem unhappy with the quality of the peer review system and that it stops new ideas getting through. The Peer review process isn't perfect, perhaps because ultimately it relies on human beings making judgements and human beings are fallible. Its not clear what magic answer there is to that. But the peer review process hasn't stopped publication of the greenhouse effect, and a few crazy opposing theories like adiabatic heating. The point being the peer review system does work ok overall in terms of publishing new ideas and not surpressing things.

    I thought your comments on all the rest were interesting and I agree overpopulation is a problem. Bit its all off topic.

  32. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Michael Mann is correct in thinking that our information is totally controlled by media giants.
    Scientists are charged to read their own publications and “peer reviewers” stack the peers so that no new ideas can get through. Rarely if ever do you find references to key earlier work by retired or deceased scientists. I give a few examples.
    Microsoft Office still uses years beginning 1 January 1900. They charge for updates but still have a fatally flawed program. Why is he allowed to pose as a scientist and innovator?
    Even David Keeling was nearly prevented from continuing verification of CO2 infrared heat blankets by rigged peer review. He gives a vivid account in his autobiographical review:
    Keeling, C. D., 1998, Rewards and Penalties of Monitoring the Earth, Ann Rev. Energy Env, 23(1), 25-82, doi:10.1038/nature105981.
    Blair Kinsman had earlier shown how the misuse of statistics and inability to take daily validation data could mislead to wrong conclusion. Unlike in lab experiments geophysical data once not taken cannot be repeated at will. This has happened with our gross neglect of near surface ocean data where is located most anthropogenic heat.
    Kinsman, B. 1957, Proper and improper use of statistics in geophysics, Tellus 9(3), 408-418, doi:10.1111/j.2153-3490.1957.tb01897.x
    Free access
    "The dangers facing the earth's ecosystems are well known and the subject of great concern at all levels. Climate change is high on the list. But there is an underlying and associated cause. Overpopulation."
    Sir David Attenborough
    "Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?"
    "The Greatest Shortcoming of the Human Race is our Inability to Understand the Exponential Function" Bartlett, Albert A., 1979 › watch › v=F8ZJCtL6bPs
    Wherever humans are involved we HAVE the Weimar greed equation. Better snap up fish stocks, or oil or whatever before someone else grabs it.
    Graham Hancock has beeN ridiculed for suggesting there was a great civilisation as early as 400,000 years ago. Yet there are pyramids dated 130,000 years old in the Mississippi basin. Genetics link Oceania to S America. The compact nature of the Antikythera Clock suggest it was used for navigation. Why else would one cram a complete astronomical clock into a case the size of a sextant? The clock could predict lunar eclipses 78 years ahead as well as their colour. Many wheels have prime number of gears to give highly accurate astronomical times. There were even wheels for the Olympic and other games. Silicon valley may think of it as a mechanism or computer. But it was a clock long before Harrison’s. Such sophistication suggests many years development. It clearly could not have sprung up 350BC, any more than modern printed circuits could have been envisioned in 1957.

    Sealevels averaged 50m below present in prehistory before 1750AD. There were many rich landmasses where merchant sailors could establish empires. They were wiped out by catastrophic sea level rise both cyclical and from asteroid impacts. We are at the top of earth’s remaining peaks.
    Melting ice of Greenland and Antarctica is proceedING exponentially leading to rapidly rising sealevels, floods and storms as well depleted fish stocks.

    Waters around Faeroes does not get cold enough for cod and halibut to breed. They need to be at least 10 years old before they start. (netflix seaspiracy)
    The north sea herring disappeared before 1950s, the Newfoundland cod in the 1980s. Gunboat diplomacy could not save them.
    What do you think we should do? Perhaps include the equatorial undercurrent in climate models?
    There has been too much about hot air instead of hot water.
    I have not heard Dr Mann mention this. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
    There needs to be a real focus on what the great oceans are telling us.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB]  The remainder of your long comment is far too broad, and thus off-topic, for this post.  Other discussion threads exist on ocean heat content, sea level rise and land-based ice mass losses.

  33. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’


    As part of my Arctic alter ego's current project I have recently been archiving several WUWT articles. Rather than sending traffiic to the Dark Side perhaps you would prefer to view this archive, which may well be updated as time passes:

    In similar vein please also see:

    "#Unsettled #CommentsOff Please share!"

  34. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    @ Nick Palmer

    "My position, to which I have come after more than 30 years trying to hold on to the truth, is that nowadays all sides"

    What kind of political ideology motivated this statement of yours?

    I think it is only reasonable to ask that, because as you said, there is no undistorted summing. At least if I recall correctly, that no hen has teeth. Actually, my question is motivated by the fact, that such a general claim of ideological motivation is either a truism or bullshit. It is a truism insofar everybody has some political convictions, which are in some way connected to what they believe about how the world is. It is bullshit insofar it might asserts, that everybodys consideration of evicendence is equally distorted.

  35. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Eclectic @18, I read some of the WUWT Comment Rebuke, starting with something about convection and working down to socialist conspiracies to control the sheep. Strangely entertaining and very crazy.  

  36. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Nigelj, if you can spare the time to be amused ~ there is a real bunfight going on at WUWT.   Date 6th June , thread title: A WUWT "Comment Rebuke" .

    Thread 12 hours old, right now, and over 200 comments.  Between those who believe in some sort of GreenHouse Effect . . . and those who maintain that the GHE is zero or negligible.   And one or two other similar threads there, recently, with hundreds upon hundreds of comments.  Marvellous stuff !

    In a sense, these people are the children of Koonin.

  37. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Nick Palmer @1, yes its a little bit hard to know why Michael Mann is quite so dismissive of those things you list. Even if the people promoting them have agendas or ulterior motives it doesn't mean they are not useful things.

    However Michael Mann sounds like hes right about the two crucial things: Fossil fuel lobbies do promote reducing carbon footprints, and its obviously to deflect attention from the governmnets proposing things like carbon taxes and regulations. And hes right the main focus has to be on renewable energy etc. Imho this is because expecting people to make huge reductions to their carbon footprints is nonsensical. I'm talking big reductions in levels of consumption, stopping flying, going vegetarian, walking everywhere etc. Its incredibly unlikely people will do this and if we delay building a new energy grid on the assumption they will, we could end up in big trouble, because we have one chance to build a new energy grid, and it has to be done in the next couple of decades. 

    Clearly we could get a modest reduction in consumption levels, and  a carbon tax (as you mentioned) will  help with uptake of things like electric cars. 

  38. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Thanks for the links Baerbel - I'll try to make time to watch them carefully tomorrow. I'm not a great fan of Oreskes ever since her polemic 'Merchants of Doubt' which, to me, seemed chock full of leading assertions about what any particular act or cherry picked sentence meant - the (potential) misattribution/misinterpretation of motives to which I referred before.

    My position, to which I have come after more than 30 years trying to hold on to the truth, is that nowadays all sides - denialists, alarmists, activists and industry - have had their thinking, even their rationality, contaminated by political considerations which distort their vision, whether that is why they choose to doubt climate science or whether they believe those who go far beyond what the science says to spread excessive and counter-productive alarmism. In all cases, I think none have got a strangehold on honesty and integrity, and finding views, even those of many prominent figures, which represent a fair and objective summing up of the situation, undistorted by whichever political ideology motivates them, I think is as rare as hen's teeth.

  39. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    Nick Palmer @1

    We obviously don't quite agree about Michael Mann's new book, but I'm particularly wondering about your statement regarding "Exxon Knew". What do you make of the scholarly publications and presentations by Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes which to me seem to make a clear case regarding what Exxon (and others) knew and what they did (like in the recently published "Rhetoric and frame analysis of ExxonMobil's climate change communications"). Geoffrey Supran also explained Exxon's M.O. in a hearing in the European Parliament in 2019 - you can watch his presentation here starting at 11:53:01. I find this rather compelling and it fits well with what Michael Mann describes in his book.

  40. The New Climate War by Michael E. Mann - our reviews

    I'm really not happy about the direction Dr Mann has been going. Whilst obviously not doubting his extreme scientific credibility in the field of climate science, I think he is increasingly adopting the appearance of some of the more extreme campaigning activists by, in my view, misattributing dark motivations to and unfairly demonising the actions of governments, the fossil fuel industry etc.

    Dr Mann is speaking well ouside of his area of special competence when he dismisses CCS, afforestation, nuclear, soil regeneration etc as unworkable or as a Machiavellian poker play of the 'delayers, dismissives, inactivists' etc. It seems like he has seen a holy light that dictates that only 100% renewables can allowed in his vision and that any other possible solutions must have been manufactured by dark forces to muddy the waters and prevent this one-dimensional solution coming to pass. It's going to be hard enough decarbonisng fast enough using everything we can throw at it - Throwing out everything but Dr Mann's 'pure' solution will make it harder or even unachievable early enough.

    In recent months it has become increasingly common to see extremist activists more or less entirely blaming the fossil fuel industry for the situation. Probably the original root of this was Greenpeace's highly misleading report 'Exxon knew' which, in my opinion, uses every one of the deceptive rhetorical tricks that the denialosphere use to make their cases, including the wilful attribution of sinister motives where there are other more benign interpretations.

    Very recently, and this seems to be in Dr Mann's book now, the valid response that the consumers of fossil fuelled energy and products, services and materials manufactured and extracted with that energy - the great mass of the public - are at least as responsible as the sellers is being portrayed as a malignant tactic by the 'delayers, dismissives etc'. This is a seriously warped thing to assert. The public's choices every time time they go to the shops or buy a car or complain about their energy bill means that they must share at least some of the responsibility for those choices - in my view most of it - because there are alternatives available which the majority are still not choosing. Activists who are trying to portray the public as innocent fluffy bunnies manipulated by Evil Big Fossil Fuel are, frankly, away with the fairies (being kind) or more likely pursuing some hidden ideologically based poltical agenda which the public would not suport if they realised it.

    Knowledge of anthropogenic climate change has been widespread since James Hansen's 1988 speech to Congress - no-one can say that the public are still ignorant of the science and there has been a million articles, TV programmes and broadcasts delineating the risks. Whatever concerns the great mass of the ordinary public may have had and now have is clearly outranked by their desire to continue using the products and services more or less as usual.

    But, obviously, Dr Mann is still a leading light in 'our side' and his powerful arguments that the consequences of the use of fossil carbon based energy must be priced into the economy is, in my view, the single most important thing that can be done to turn the market away from greenhouse gas generating energy by enabling the public to, by simply voting with their wallets, favour the cleaner green alternatives.

    It's clear that many top economists favour the 'rising carbon fee and dividend' championed by that other prominent climate scientist/activist James Hansen. Excitingly, these economists come from all sides of the political spectrum and there seems to be acceptance from both the left and right wing of opinion that this relatively simple measure could be, if not a silver bullet, massively helpful at giving the market, and the great mass of the public who participate in that market, a strong signal which way to go without introducing authoritarian legislation and all the other heavy handed political tools which cause people to resist and fight back.

  41. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Nigel @16 - I am also intrigued by what you refer to as "psychopathologies".

    You may be interested in this video I recorded at a "Pint of Political Neuroscience" presentation I attended, fortunately with my surfcam in my backpack, at an Exeter, UK public house?

  42. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Eclectic @15

    "I myself do spend time "there" because (A) I am entertained & intrigued by the range of psychopathologies to be found in the comments columns, and (B) it allows me to construct & internally rehearse counter-arguments to the rubbish currently fashionable ....etc..."

    I totally understand. Nothing wrong with that. To be clear I'm equally intrigued by such psychopathologies and their seemingly endless varieties , having done a couple of psychology papers at Univerity many moons ago, but I get enough of them popping up here and over at and in our local media.

    Talking about the denialists hypocrsisy that JH mentions. Another feature of scientific cranks in their shameless hypocrisy. They seem completely unable to see it in themselves. I see some hypocrisy in myself sometimes, painful though it is to admit.

    Is WUWT a good or bad thing? They cook up all this nonsense and feed off and strengthen each other, and you can bet they spread it elsewhere as well. Hard to see it as a good thing.

    Of course I  would be worried if there was no climate scepticism, but when the scepticim descends into cherrypicking and stubborness its no longer scepticism. As we both know.

    The thing is we have free societies with freedom of speech thankfully (with a few justified commonsense restrictions) so you will get crazy comments and websites like WUWT. Theres probably no alternative but to rebut them while trying hard not to give these guys too much oxygen. The climate science community appears to have generally taken the view better to ignore the denialist crazies (with the exception of a few websites like this and people like MM) and that may have been a mistake in my view. I know facts wont convince the angry politically motivated hard core of denialists, but there are a lot of other people in this world watching.

  43. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Nigelj @12 , please excuse my lengthy reply.

    ( I have been pondering your analysis of the denialati at WUWT blogsite.)

    As you have seen, I enjoy bagging WUWT  ~ and I have been over-indulging a bit, lately  ~ but perhaps justifiably, in view of WUWT's  "facilitation" of Dr Koonin's half-truths & propaganda.   The editors  and chorus at WUWT  have given Koonin plenty of headlines plus glowing review of his new book plus praise for his contrarian attitude plus scathing denigration of his critics/opponents.

    Nigel, I don't advise you to spend much time on WUWT.   I myself do spend time "there" because (A) I am entertained & intrigued by the range of psychopathologies to be found in the comments columns, and (B) it allows me to construct & internally rehearse counter-arguments to the rubbish currently fashionable in the deniosphere, and (C) there are some - not many - points of information to be picked up (mostly in the OP's).  And I will grant that WUWT  has value in its (frequent!!) enumeration of the difficulties we are & will be  experiencing in attempting rapid transfer away from fossil fuels.  We definitely should not be viewing these difficulties through rose-tinted glasses.

    You are right, as to the types of denialists to be found at WUWT.   About half of them are pretty hopeless intellectually ~ they come to vent their anger into a receptive echochamber.  They are angry - in a wingnut extremist way - "libertarian" anger about Big Government and any taxes [except for military expenditure].   Anger about their money being siphoned off to go to the poor (especially to poor foreigners).   Anger about their [USA] nation being degraded and taken over by The Left and by The Woke and by the socialists / communists / Warmunists / Chinese / communists / socialists / socialists (have I mentioned "socialists" enough?)   I suspect there's a lot of wh-supremacism in there too  ~ but the "race" word is taboo in the comments columns there.  

    Very little of this has to do with climate science, but WUWT  is certainly a magnet for it all.  Basically they are an angry crowd, with little or no charity or compassion for other human beings.

    The other half of them are educated and moderately intelligent ~ some, very intelligent.  But their emotional baggage causes them to view the scientific world through a powerfully-distorting prism.   Cognitive dissonance & motivated reasoning are rampant, and debilitating.

    As you say, Nigel, they can start off looking fair . . . until their scaly netherparts hove into view.   Sad.

    Constituents : mostly American (plus expatriate Americans) and a modicum of Brits, and a surprisingly large component of Aussies.  Kiwis rare.

    As to loneliness ~ well, they get a sort of community at WUWT.   From time to time, you will hear a confession that "all of my family disagree with me : they are dupes of the leftist media propaganda, and I can't budge them."   [ A pleasant sign to you and me, eh, Nigel.]

    Saddest and loneliest are the handful of complete climate science crackpots.   Week after week, they keep publicizing their screed of crackpottedness.  Sometimes ridiculed, but mostly ignored by the other denialists (some of whom are GHE deniers also!).   Some - but not all - also fit in the political extremist basket.

    Overall, Nigel, the WUWT  is a magnet for quite a range of dysfunctional characters.   I am uncertain whether the WUWT  blogsite is a bad thing (in echochambering and reinforcing their nonsense) . . . or whether it is a good thing, in keeping the denizens occupied among themselves, with less time to get up to other mischief.

  44. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Jim Hunt @13 and prior :-

    your guerrilla tactics to get your comments onto WUWT  blogsite must provide you with some entertainment, despite your low success rate.  However, the WUWT  Moderators - and the Chief Grouch - enjoy the strategic advantage of the veto . . . and they use it very often (and not just on you).

    Few of us are entirely free of all hypocrisy : and WUWT  is outstandingly possessed of a large share of that vice.   While continually decrying the "Cancel Culture" wielded so unfairly by The Woke Left & socialists/communists & Hollywood & the ubiquitous Democrat-leaning media & so forth . . . nevertheless the WUWT  hierarchy are quick to cancel nearly everyone that they themselves disapprove of.  [So far, the many comments by the excellent scientist Nick Stokes are an exception ~ I suspect that's because he is "kept on" as a token sign of WUWT's tolerance.]

    But it's all an uphill battle for the WUWT  tribe.   Why, why, why oh why won't those venal corrupt leftie scientists come and front up and debate with us real scientists here at WUWT ?

    Well, we here at WUWT  are consoled by the Shades of Galileo & Feynman.  We alone hold high the flickering Torch of True Science & Western Civilization.   Barbarians like Jim Hunt are not welcome.

  45. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Nigel @12 - All that being the case you may well be interested in taking a good long look at my new WUWT/Koonin Venn diagram?

    The greatest danger posed by Steve and Tony isn’t their ideas, it’s the attempt to silence all dissent.

    That and their corruption of science.

  46. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Eclectic @11, I've only read the WUWT website a few times but I still notice a strong pattern. About half of the denialist comments I read sound like the writer's had science degrees, and were quite correct sounding until you get towards the end of their posting, then some jaw droppingly stupid denialist comment or theory comes out that is obviously plain wrong, and a school student would probably see it. This is a characteristic of scientific cranks. I wonder if the website is a sort of 'magnet' for lonely all purpose scientific cranks, as well as the usual subjects (fossil fuel people, libertarians etc).

  47. Ambitious action on climate change could be Biden’s ‘moon shot’

    nigelj @1

    When we ordered our Tesla M3 in 2019 we were lucky and "only" had to wait for two months. Since then I've observed many people ordering EVs and then waiting for many months for delivery. In the case of the Kona EV some people waited for more than nine months. A far cry from the millions of ICE vechicles sitting on dealer lots.

    Yes, that's anecdotal but I have also observed that, with the exception of Tesla, auto makers consistently announce new EVs then restrict production to a token amount, i.e. less than 50,000 a year. So supply is definitely constrainted - by choice.

    That approach is supposedly changing this year with recent announcements from VW, Ford (F-150 pickup), and others. Some auto makers seemed to change their tune on EVs just after Biden was elected US President.  Funny about that.  We'll see how committed they are or whether Tesla will continue to eat their lunch.

    That's my Canadian perspective.  FWIW.

  48. A critical review of Steven Koonin’s ‘Unsettled’

    Jim Hunt ~ sorry but at WUWT , my status is persona non existens , for I have never bothered to register and join the bunfight.

    When I read the comments columns at WUWT , I do occasionally pause to read some of the more-intelligent denizens [e.g. Willis and Rud] in order to marvel at their Cirque Soleil  gyrations & contortions of motivated reasonings & cognitive dissonances.  But mostly I skim through to find genuine logical scientific comment by recognized names such as Nick Stokes plus a band of other pseudonymous commenters of proven rationality.  They are a small band !   It's always amusing to see how many petulant "down-votes" which Nick & crew will garner from the peanut gallery.

    There are several deep-dyed denialists who do sometimes contribute some informative points.  These folks are sometimes well-informed . . . but despite their intelligence, they seem incapable of synthesizing a logical overview of the climate situation.   The other denialist commenters are mostly Dreck.   ( I would never ever use another D-word such as Deplorable.)

    Jim, in my usual decrepit mental state, I could rarely tell you what I had for lunch yesterday.  Yes, I have recently seen your comments pop up at Curry's ClimateEtc  and elsewhere, but I generally disremember which forums I have seen [you] on.

    Presently: on WUWT , the good Mr Watts is fizzing hot bubbles from under his collar, and has on 3rd June presented a post "Koonin responds to Sci Am" . . . but I don't see any substantive points raised therein ~ and I am not surprised  that Sci Am  has (so far) declined to give Koonin the oxygen.

    To me, it is not immediately clear which parts of the post are written by Koonin and which by Watts.  Sort of interleaved, perhaps.  Though some phrasings - such as "Oreskes and her gang of slimers", and perhaps "SciAm years ago ... turned into a socialist cesspool of opinion, with science as an afterthought" - might be thought more likely to come from the mild-mannered Mr Watts, than come from a respected left-leaning climate scientist from the Obama era.

    Jim, with a very large coffee in hand, I will look through the 120+ comments under Koonin.  But I probably won't soon re-surface from the Dark Abyss.

  49. Ambitious action on climate change could be Biden’s ‘moon shot’

    Hi Nigel,

    I'm glad we got that straightened out. I'm afraid a bit brusque on here just at the moment given the time I'm spending taking down some of the "trolls" you mention.

    Yes, we do seem to be on largely the same wavelength. However even Elon does have his shortcomings. He claims that the concept of "Bi-directional power transfer (AKA BPT), as we refer to V2G in the smoke filled back offices at the IEC, makes no sense:

    However there are some who think he just wants to sell lots of Powerwalls!

  50. Ambitious action on climate change could be Biden’s ‘moon shot’

    Jim Hunt @7, I didn't get your sense of humour. Normally I can read between the lines and I like the English sense of humour.  I think I'm just a bit on edge due to all the internet trolls out there. You clearly aren't one. Currently enjoying Bill Bailey the stand up comedian / musician. Sophisticated and sardonic.

    Looks like we are  more or less in agreement on the EV issue. Thank goodness for Tesla. They seem to be genuinely trying to step up production.

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