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Climate Hustle

Rachel Maddow Debunks Climategate Myths Using Skeptical Science

Posted on 18 March 2012 by dana1981

Rachel Maddow is a journalist with a show on the MSNBC network in the USA (The Rachel Maddow Show).  Similar to Skeptical Science, she's known for her fact-based debunking of various absurd myths - in Maddow's case, those which tend to arise in the realm of politics. 

In a recent show regarding Senator James Inhofe's new book, Maddow debunked the Climategate-related 'hide the decline' myth, and referenced Skeptical Science in the process (see the 3 minute mark in the video below).

We will be addressing the various myths repeated by Senator Inhofe during this interview in a future post.  In the meantime, Joe Romm at Climate Progress has a good post about the interview.

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Comments 1 to 47:

  1. Sincerest thanks to SKS for not making anyone sit through the interview with Senator Inhofe.

    The missing link in Ms.Maddow's terse deconstruction of the decline issue, was the revelation at the time that the divergence problem was known and peer-published before the temperature reconstructions.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mikes-Nature-trick-hide-the-decline.htm
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  2. How refreshing to see a member of the MSM actually seeking the truth! I'd love to see her debate Jo Nova, for example, but she makes a pretty good job of deflating Inhofe. I wonder how much hate mail she gets from the pawns at WUWT?
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  3. The Inhofe interview can be found on youtube. It should be required watching, as it fully illustrates the duplicity of this Inhofe character. 'I was on your side until I found out how much it would cost' is just the tip of the iceberg.
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  4. Rachel Maddow has long been my favourite on-air journalist. She's possessed of a sharp mind and the willingness to use it in her job without worrying who objects.
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  5. Ms Maddow did well with respect to challenging most of Inhofe's "mythy" statements. And overall, she is also very good about not losing her cool with those who make up fake "facts". The only let down for me is that it turned out Maddow mistakenly called Inhofe to task for a reference he made about her in his book The Greatest Hoax: in short, Maddow told Inhofe that she never mentioned Inhofe's impending protest trip to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference in a Dec 2009 episode of her show, as he contends in his book. While watching the interview I thought wow, Inhofe really feels like he has to make things up in order to make it look like "the liberal climate change alarmists" in the media are aligned agaist him. But it turned out she had in fact discussed Copenhagen in the episode in questioin(simply gave the facts and maybe poked a little good nature fun). However, climate change deniers, if any watch the Rachel Maddow show, would see the interview as a he said/ she said affair regarding the climate change discussion and would believe Infhofe probably made sense with respect to that topic: And when they find out Maddow got a non-science related point wrong they'd interpret her mistake as confirmation Inhofe was correct about his contentions regarding the science. Otherwise, I agree with the other commenter's above.
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  6. @5

    Which just goes to show the kind of rigged game it is:

    A denier gets anything right (reads watch for time of day) and that proves everything they say is right

    A "warmista" gets anything wrong, and everything on the warmist side is wrong.

    Climate doesn't care
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  7. I posted a similar comment on the Spencer Thread but, again, you can see what sort of rubbish Inhofe believes in when you look into the 'sources' he brings out at the beginning of the interview - the "liberal" British Telegraph (actually columnist-in-denial Christopher Booker in the famously right-wing Telegraph); the Financial Times (actually ex-blogger Clive Crook in the pro-business Financial Times); and the UN and IPCC, or some blustering, incomprehensible combination of the two, somehow (actually Hal Lewis's resignation letter from the APS, and Dr Philip Lloyd, MD of Industrial and Petrochemical Consultants company).

    As for the Newsweek 'condemnation' and the study (the link here is a response to Inhofe's assertions) in the "liberal" Nature : Inhofe is seeing exactly what he wants to see, rather than what is actually there in real life. What a surprise...
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  8. Dave123, that reminds me of this quote:

    "For a creationist to believe in evolution, no evidence is good enough. For a creationist to believe in a god, no evidence is good enough."

    I suspect something similar applies to AGW "skeptics"
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  9. JMurphy @7. What you didn't note about this article that Inhofe quotes, is the fact that it was written on 28th Nov 2009, i.e. just a few days after the CRU emails were "released", before the context of the emails was understood and long before the independent investigations that Rachel Maddow refers to were carried out.
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  10. jmurphy@7

    The FT is less a denialist than "hopefully" skeptical paper in regards to Global Warming. Effects of Climate Change and costs of action remain uncertain for them.

    Search "Climate Insight" on their site.

    yours
    Frank
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  11. Here is the so-called 'article in Nature' that Inhofe touts. It is in reality a column by David Adams in Nature News.

    This column cites a report by Dr. Michael Nisbet, as evidence for the apparent 'closing of the funding gap' between industry-funded denial lobbies and environmental groups.

    Nisbet responds to Infhofe here.

    Nisbet makes it clear that Inhofe's presumptions about more spending by environmental groups towards climate change action are unfounded. He describes Inhofe as an ideologue:

    What explains the stark differences between the objective reality of climate change and the partisan divide in Americans’ perceptions? In part, trusted sources have framed the nature and implications of climate change for Republicans and Democrats in very different ways. ...

    In speeches, press releases, and on his Senate Web log, Inhofe casts doubt on the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other major scientific organizations, selectively citing scientific-sounding evidence. To amplify his message, Inhofe takes advantage of the fragmented news media, with appearances at television outlets, such as Fox News, on political talk radio, and Web traffic driven to his blog from the Drudge Report.


    Nisbet's report is sobering, as it documents the continuing failure of climate science communicators at winning the battle for hearts and minds (at least in the US).

    How surprising is that, as US climate action is apparently held hostage by readers of Drudge?
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  12. "I was on your side until I found out how much it would cost"
    ... a perfect example of deliberately blurring the lines between science and politics. Inhofe appears to believe that the laws of physics will bend and change according to America's financial situation...
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  13. Very true, Phil, and that is laughable enough : but hearing Inhofe using it as a supposed quote from a "liberal" newspaper (rather than the reality of it being a quote from a columnist-in-denial, in a right-wing paper), is the reality-creating icing on the cake of delusion.

    fpjohn, I didn't know for sure what its general position was and have discovered that they do have a reasonable Climate Change section, but further investigation requires registration, albeit for free. The section you mention, though, doesn't appear to have been updated this year - unless I was looking at something else.
    Generally, though, most people would agree that they were pro-business and, therefore, the sort of paper that someone like Inhofe would generally approve of...if only he knew what he was talking about.
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  14. Life is a gift from God. It's up to Him to grant it or take it away. My point is, God's still up there. The arrogance of human beings who think serial killers can change what He is doing with life is outrageous.

    Now more seriously: Kathy Hayhoe put it very beautifully when she pointed out that instead of using faith and values to inform our poitics, we're using politics to inform our faith. Sad.
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  15. I felt that Rachel, whom I adore, lost control of the interview early on. Inhofe was doing a Gish gallop, which is impossible to deal with unless you insist that your opponent name names (not just "a scientist with the IPCC wrote") and cite sources completely.

    Inhofe made a big deal about media reports on climate science, but as we well know, the media do a piss-poor job of reporting on science issues and often have to issue corrections of early reports. Yes, there was a flurry of reports in the 1970s that there was an impending Ice Age,but in actuality the majority of climate scientists at the time were concerned about the emerging warming trend.

    She also let a couple of references to the Oregon petition slip by unchallenged. I don't think a fence-sitter would be swayed to our side by this confrontation.
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  16. monkeyorchild @ 12

    Of course the laws of physics bend and change according to America's financial situation! Money seems to be the only thing that nation worships. I imagine they even believe that you have to pay an entrance fee to get into heaven. Honestly, what self-respecting god would miss such an obvious business opportunity? Not one that blesses America, for sure.

    I imagine the likes of Inhofe and the Tea Party believe that they will be able to solve climate change, in the unlikely event it proves necessary, by slipping the big fella a few dollars to prove Lindzen's numbers for climate sensitivity to be correct. Let's face it, it is going to take something like an act of god to do that.

    But of course, they are going to have to get to heaven first. Unfortunately for them, If their behaviour has the results it is on course to, it will be "Tea break over you miserable wretches, get back to stoking those fires!" If you believe in all that sort of thing, of course.
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  17. I agree with Pieter. I get the sense that Rachel and her amazing team are not as up on the climate change issue as maybe they could be. That leaves Inhofe an open window to gish gallop his way through the interview.

    It was interesting, too, that Inhofe mentioned Michael Moore in a discussion on his book on global warming. I think he may have meant Michael Mann being that Moore does nothing regarding the AGW issue. I could be wrong but it sure seemed odd.

    The other thought I had was, I would guess that Inhofe did not write his book but instead used a ghost writer, since he didn't seem to know what Maddow was talking about with the reference to her in his book. Instead of addressing it Rachel let Inhofe change the subject.
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  18. It's all in how you position the discussion. Score another card-trick victory for the pro-pollutionists. Comparing traceable lobby efforts from the smokers to environmental groups efforts is where numbers score a triumph over common sense (neither the first nor the last).

    The smokers spent $294mil (traceable) to fight a pollution cleanup of their own creation. It's like BP decding to spend all the money claiming Macondo was a natural variation in the Gulf bedrock - and they're not going to clean it up.

    This is isn't about comparison - it's 'what the smell is the Energy Industry doing spending all that money defending their pollution?' ... We're just lucky they're not in charge of the garbage collection.
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  19. Rachel was far too polite. Inhofe knew she could be a pushover showcase for his book. It would have been more responsible of her to not give him a soapbox or be better informed. She was media-bullied by him.

    Is anybody contacting the show with offers to explain this better? Every show should have a climate expert contact

    So far the best media presentation comes out of Australia 3 years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBzR0-j0O0o
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  20. I wish when they did these things that they put together a "war room" of google-wizards. Basically, the instant Inhofe (or whomever) says anything, have a dozen bright interns whizzing away on their keyboards, digging up the facts, getting screen caps, and passing them on to someone with a mike to the bud in her ear, telling her what they found and how to counter the flat out lies.

    It would be great if off the cuff Rachel could have come up with something better than "did, not! did, too!"

    For instance, that the Financial Times quote was only from an online blog post by someone who doesn't even work at FT anymore.
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  21. MonkeyOrchid @12

    To be fair Inhofe did not say that he changed his mind about global warming because fixing it would cost too much. He did say that when he found out how much it would cost he decided to dig deeper and based on that digging concluded that it was not happening.

    From this one can conclude that, like many others, he did some very selective digging.

    I don't think that it is a good idea to imitate the fake skeptics' technique of out of context quotations.
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  22. What I wish Maddow would do is "teach a man to fish," to find disinformation rebuttals. She could replay one of Inhofe's climate statements, then say to her audience "All right, how can we check this out?" and then, on air, go to Skeptical Science (or check her iPhone) and find and show the rebuttal.

    My impression is that even the science-aligned public does not yet know about Skeptical Science; when I surveyed a group recently and asked where you can go to check on a doubter talking point, nobody mentioned the site.

    Word needs to get out.
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  23. Sceptical Wombat, to be even fairer, his exact words were :

    "I was actually on your side of this issue when I was chairing that committee and I first heard about this. I thought it must be true until I found out what it cost. When I started questioning the science..."

    Therefore, he thought it was true, didn't like the cost so, only then did he start to question the science. How can that be taken out of context when he makes it so clear himself ?
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  24. muon @11

    "Here is the so-called 'article in Nature' that Inhofe touts. It is in reality a column by David Adams in Nature News."

    There is also an editorial (no byline) in Nature, which can be found at the link below. Whoever did write it will be collecting brickbats for the foreseeable future.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v472/n7343/full/472260a.html

    Thanks for the other links.

    Mole
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  25. Old Mole, the Nature link is going to a status page at present. Either they are having network issues, or your link is incomplete (although I would have expected a 'page not found' error, if that was the case).
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  26. I cannot make sense of the climate change discussion whatsoever.

    Who is right and who is wrong? Neither side has coherent and verifiable answers because the whole climate science appears to be at a similar stage where e.g. chemistry was with alchemy. Climate research has a long way to go before it even should be considered in formulating public policies or be used for fear mongering. Most likely the truth might fall somewhere in between both camps: One, that claims man is the culprit by burning carbon and carbon compounds the other camp who claims it's just mother nature's nature.

    What causes me to remain optimistic is the fact that the scientists actually admit that they first, don't know what's going on with the climate and second, they can't predict the future: IPCC-III-2001: 14.2.2.2 (Page 774), http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/pdf/tar-14.pdf:

    “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    The other interesting read I just completed, “Die kalte Sonne” (“The Cold Sun” by Fritz Vahrenholt, Sebastian Luening, Verlag Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg, Germany), seems to confirm that the science is very much in flux, consensus has not been reached in the scientific community and that reality will most likely require backing off from the infantile notion that anthropogenic CO2 is the one omnipotent driver of the climate.

    It is refreshing to read that both camps are willing to fight it out (Thesis vs Antithesis) on the scientific as well as on the political stage (see https://climateis.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/climate-confusion-carbon-cops-sustainability-summit-march-17-20121.pdf as an example).
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    Response:

    [dana1981] Please see Fritz Vahrenholt - Duped on Climate Change and the rebuttals to the myth 'There is no consensus'

  27. "because the whole climate science appears to be at a similar stage where e.g. chemistry was with alchemy. "

    Since that statement is complete nonsense, perhaps you could tell us why you believe it so we might be of some help?

    Type "Vahrenholt" into the search box to find out what the science says. Hint, if it isnt published in peer-reviewed science journals, then dont waste you time.

    Ditto for "both camps fight it out". Nothing of the sort, apply some skepticism.

    You quote the TAR (why not AR4 by way), in support of the statement "scientists admit they dont know whats going on". Bewildering. Can you point me to what statement make you think that?

    Better still, in your search for what is the truth, how about you point to some published science that you think make a strong case for the idea that conventional climate science is wrong (as opposed to disinformation from various sources).
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  28. @DougH 25 - works on my machine. Try this:

    Nature Editorial

    If it doesn't work, try another machine. :)
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  29. 26, West129,
    ...the whole climate science appears to be at a similar stage where e.g. chemistry was with alchemy.
    This is not true. If you believe it's true, you've been listening to people who either don't know themselves or want you to believe it's true.
    Most likely the truth might fall somewhere in between both camps...
    Um, no. That's like saying the truth between the earth and the sun being the center of the solar system must fall somewhere in the middle, or the truth between the earth being flat and round.

    There does not have to be a middle ground answer, and presuming that there must be, a priori, with no real reason to do so, is a huge mistake.
    ...scientists actually admit that they first, don't know what's going on with the climate...
    Citation, please? Where exactly did you read this?

    Climate scientists know a whole heck of a lot, there is very little doubt on the issue, and for the most part the only people who think otherwise are very loud, very arrogant non-climate scientists.

    Please note that you are quoting from IPCC AR3... 2001, more than 11 years old. It refers to techniques and computing power 10 years ago. Do you think computers are a little faster now? Most of the models have advanced several versions since then.

    You are also misunderstanding what it is saying. The section in question is discussing the fact that because the system is chaotic no one model run is going to mirror events, but in the long run the averages will be the same. This is no different from writing a program to predict coin flips. The computer can't tell you the exact sequence of heads-tails that will turn up, but it can tell you the average number of heads and tails over a long enough period.

    The bottom line is that everything you believe and think you understand is wrong. Your perception of the state of the science is woefully incorrect.

    I'd advise you to make use of this site. Study things yourself. Learn for yourself what we do and do not know.

    Then make a decision. Right now, you're fighting a gun battle with no ammunition.
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  30. J Murphy @23
    I don't have a problem with Inhofe questioning the science because it implied the need for expensive action.

    If my child told me he needed an IPad for school and I thought it was some kind of exercise book I would probably say "fine." If he then told me it was actually a computer and would cost aroud $600 I might start asking questions.

    I do have a problem with the fact that Inhofe is very selective about who he asks and only listens to the answers that fit his world view.
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  31. @Sceptical - Inhoffe didn't personally question the science. He used his political power to ridicule it, slander it, and disrupt it. He's one of the ringleaders that has steered the USA towards the intelligence desert.

    Here's the bottom line on his judgment - "Global warming is the greatest hoax of all time." There's no 'question' in that - only judgment of the biggest pair variety.
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  32. West129... Just to reinforce Sphaerica's comments. I think you're misreading that passage of the IPCC TAR.

    First, it's probably a good idea to move on past the TAR and read from AR4. And bear in mind even that report came out in 2007 and was based on science that was current in 2005. They are starting up work on AR5 now.

    Second, what they are saying they can't do is predict exactly what parts of the planet are going to be affected in what ways. This is what's important for individual countries in how they will each respectively deal with mitigation efforts.

    The overarching science is settled. There is a greenhouse effect. Adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere will warm the planet. We are the cause of most of the current warming. Things are going to get warmer if we continue to add GHG's to the atmosphere.

    There are also uncertainties but they are pretty well constrained. Climate sensitivity is likely somewhere between 2C - 4C. The difference being, we have some time to bring out GHG levels down or we have very little time to bring our GHG levels down.

    As Dr Stephen Schneider said, "'Good for you' and 'end of the world' are the two lowest probability outcomes." There is a legitimate discussion to be had about how long we have to get the problem under control. Whether this is real or not is not a legitimate discussion.
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  33. JMurphy @23

    What is really astounding about the statement you cite is "I was actually on your side of this issue when I was chairing that committee ... " ... a larger load of balderdash would be hard to find anywhere. He didn't become committee chairman until (albeit very briefly) 2001, and actually got to sit there for a while in 2003. Prior to that, he was best known for calling the Environmental Protection Agency "the Gestapo" and comparing the EPA administrator to Tokyo Rose.

    Calling the Torygraph a 'left-wing paper' seems like a mischaracterization, but he is actually so far to the political right that from his standpoint it is accurate. The scary thing is that there are actually seven sitting Republican Senators even farther to the right than he is.
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  34. Interesting follow-up on the Nisbet study - one of the co-authors, Robert Brulle, considered the report trash, and apparently returned the money as he walked away from it.

    Check the comments out:-

    Christain Shorey comment
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  35. 29, Sphaerica
    ….the whole climate science appears to be at a similar stage where e.g. chemistry was with alchemy.

    From my perspective and considering its age this is in deed still true. Otherwise, why does research continue if we already know it all, and why do the predictions become revised or outdated so fast?

    I pointed at the two factions of the present while you point at the scientific battle between two camps in the past. That past battle isn't over. As you well know, the center of the universe was or is the earth. But that merely depended what point one picked as a reference. Believe it or not, now science tells us we are wrong again and our universe isn't the center either. Also, may I remind you, by “scientific consensus” the earth was declared to be flat much like what climatologists attempt with AGW-CO2. History tells us not to swallow any proclaimed axiom or rally behind a science that appears to be more destructive than the CO2 itself.

    Yes, I was quoting from IPCC AR3... 2001, more than 11 years old. But not much has changed since then except the computing power. It might have increased by a magnitude making the simulations run faster but not much better. Let's understand what the computers are used for: To simulate the past (back-cast) and if it seems to fit to be able to project into the future.

    Nowhere in the ICPP AR4 (2007) report do I read that those calculations are forecasts. There is talk about more models and capabilities to run several scenarios or “What ifs” very fast. The models are still manipulated with assumptions, corrections compensation or amplification factors. Therefore, those computers are like any other computer: depending on the inputs they will provide outputs with multiple adjustments to produce the desired results.

    The limitation remains that at the current time we are dealing with an rather infantile science. Not all parameters of the climate are known nor are their actions and interactions. E.g. it may appear that it should be a simple task to use a computer as a random number generator. Does anyone have a computer yet that can produce true random-numbers? No.

    Why would one assume that by running a scenario on high powered computers would produces a climate forecast? Scenario, after all, is a fancy term for a “what if calculation”, a very useful research tool for the scientist but dangerous in the hands of politicians.

    ICPP is aware of its limitation an has never retracted its position: “... we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible”. AR4 looks to be a bit closer by harping on the term “forcing”, which is to say by considering another factor for the models but there is still a long journey ahead for them.

    My recommendation is not to overestimate the capability of models but to appreciate the distinction between scenario and forecast to avoid conclusions base on a misconception.

    IPCC, AR4 reports re-confirms that they don't have all the answers. And let's be realistic, if they would claim to know it all we are in deep trouble because we would know that they are not scientists. One most interesting admission appears to be an attempt to re-introduce solar radiation:

    “.... However, the relationship between the isotopic records indicative of the Sun’s open magnetic field, sunspot numbers and the Sun’s closed magnetic field or energy output are not fully understood ...”

    This is in conjunction with Fig. 6.13. This figure shows that +0.5 C of the Hockey stick is the direct result of the sun's solar irradiance forcing. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-6-3.html ). What is one to make of that? It says that the sun influenced past climates but for some reason IPCC claims the sun is “extremely unlikely” to influence future climates.

    The reports serve their purpose of not being truly scientific material but means to aid those removed from the science valuable information and aid in rendering an optimum public policy decisions. At the same time the reports are more than outdated and still have that famous disclaimer everyone likes to overlook:

    “...the complexity of the climate system and the multiple interactions that determine its behaviour impose limitations on our ability to understand fully the future course of Earth’s global climate. There is still an incomplete physical understanding of many components of the climate system and their role in climate change. Key uncertainties include aspects of the roles played by clouds, the cryosphere, the oceans, land use and couplings between climate and biogeochemical cycles. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/tssts-1.html
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    Response:

    [DB] Please note that this is a website which discusses the scientific evidence for & against climate change and debunks skeptic memes about the science.  As such, it is implicit on all parties to back up assertions with citations and links to the peer-reviewed papers appearing in reputable journals that support their assertions.  Additionally, all comments made must be on-topic to the thread on which they are placed and also be constructed to comply with the Comments Policy.

    The portions of your comment in conflict with the above were struck out.  An earlier comment of yours pretty much containing the same issues was judged to be trolling and was deleted as such.  Future comments such as this will be deleted in their entirety, as will responses to it.

    Note that nearly 5,000 comments threads exist here at SkS on pretty much everything there is related to climate science.  None are closed for discussion.  Find the most appropriate thread (via the Search function in the Upper Left of every page) and place the relevant portions of your intended thoughts there.

    FYI.

  36. West129 You cite "There is still an incomplete physical understanding of many components of the climate system and their role in climate change." from an overview of climate science.

    I'd suggest that a very similar statement could be published from any number of medical science overviews. "There is still an incomplete understanding of the many interactions of the dozens of hormones and their precursors and their role in fertility, psychiatry, obesity, allergies, arthritis, cancer and other instances of physical health or ill-health."

    And they'd be right. But we still go to doctors and specialist endocrinologists or oncologists or rheumatologists or allergists and send blood samples off for pathology tests of various kinds.

    The view of experts in these fields is exactly that. The view of experts. Their job is to identify areas of further research which might or might not apply to us personally nor to the daily practice of clinics and hospitals.

    But they would never say 'we have no idea why the spleen is where it is let alone what it can and can't do'.

    And the same thing goes for climate science. The UN happens not to have established an overview group for endocrinology in the same way as it has for climate. But you can be absolutely sure that if they did produce such reports, non-experts would wonder when they read them how anyone ever got diagnosed with diabetes let alone geto prescribed an accurate dose of insulin.

    Medical science has a lot still on its plate. As does climate science and every other area of scientific endeavour. They all suffer the same fate. The more you know, the more you find questions that need answers.

    This indicates neither ignorance nor immaturity. It's just science.
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  37. West129 @ 35, you say:
    History tells us not to swallow any proclaimed axiom
    Surely, history tells us not to accept anything uncritically, but to confirm our theories with evidence, evidence, evidence.

    Then you say:
    or rally behind a science that appears to be more destructive than the CO2 itself.
    I take this to mean that you would reject a science which gave you answers you didn't like?

    Clearly, science is not destructive in and of itself: it is merely enquiry and understanding. CO2 is not destructive in and of itself, but the result of adding too much to our atmosphere looks like being destructive of ecosystems we value. Thus, it would be correct to say that failing to act upon the warnings science is giving us is what would result in destruction, not the science itself. What we know (scientific learning) does not matter; what matters is what we do (public policy) with what we know.

    You may be willing to proceed through life ignoring the best available advice, but I hope our political leaders will follow a more prudent course. For the same reason, I buy insurance for my home and my car, even though I consider the risk of loss to be low. The future cost of governments acting as though there is no problem and being wrong is unimaginable.
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  38. West129 wrote : "...the whole climate science appears to be at a similar stage where e.g. chemistry was with alchemy.
    From my perspective and considering its age this is in deed still true. Otherwise, why does research continue if we already know it all, and why do the predictions become revised or outdated so fast?"


    Could you substantiate that a bit further by telling how old you think "climate science" is, and how old it would have to 'become' before you would accept it in the same you can accept Evolution or the prevailing Cosmological Model, for example ? (That's assuming you do actually accept them in some way ?)

    By the way, neither of the latter can or have actually been 'proved' - that is not how science works, as explained by the letter from 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences :

    For instance, there is compelling scientific evidence that our planet is about 4.5bn years old (the theory of the origin of Earth), that our universe was born from a single event about 14bn years ago (the Big Bang theory), and that today's organisms evolved from ones living in the past (the theory of evolution). Even as these are overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, fame still awaits anyone who could show these theories to be wrong. Climate change now falls into this category: there is compelling, comprehensive, and consistent objective evidence that humans are changing the climate in ways that threaten our societies and the ecosystems on which we depend.

    What are your arguments against that statement ?


    West129 also wrote : "...I pointed at the two factions of the present while you point at the scientific battle between two camps in the past. That past battle isn't over. As you well know, the center of the universe was or is the earth. But that merely depended what point one picked as a reference. Believe it or not, now science tells us we are wrong again and our universe isn't the center either. Also, may I remind you, by “scientific consensus” the earth was declared to be flat much like what climatologists attempt with AGW-CO2. History tells us not to swallow any proclaimed axiom or rally behind a science that appears to be more destructive than the CO2 itself."

    Historical arguments/controversies about the Earth's place in the universe or its shape had/have nothing to do with science (if you can even call it that) and everything to do with religion. When rational investigation had taken place into those questions, they came to the conclusions that later scientific investigations 'proved'.
    See the 'battle' between Geocentrism and Heliocentric at the Wikipedia page, where you will see that both systems had merits and had been debated for many centuries even up to the 17th/18th Centuries.
    You can read about the Myth of the Flat Earth at another Wikipedia page.

    Ultimately, in both cases it was science which prevailed, as it does with regard to the Theory of AGW - unless, of course, you know of any science which says otherwise ?

    And do you have any further information about your belief about "a science that appears to be more destructive than the CO2 itself" ? What does that mean ?
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  39. West129 wrote: "...the whole climate science appears to be at a similar stage where e.g. chemistry was with alchemy.

    From my perspective and considering its age this is in deed still true. Otherwise, why does research continue if we already know it all"

    So from this we must conclude either that: all research in the field of chemistry has ceased or you are making a blatantly irrational argument. I wonder which it could be.
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  40. West129,

    I try not to waste too much time with people who are completely ignorant of the realities behind climate science, and yet saunter in to write long, authoritative, declarative speeches about how things really are and how dumb everyone else is.

    Other readers can take what they choose from what you say. To my mind it speaks volumes in identifying how entrenched the ignorance is among those who adamantly don't want to understand or recognize the climate science... and these are the same small, easily-manipulated minds that are such easy prey for predators like Inhofe.

    You would do well to turn your critical, un-accepting eye on Inhofe and his ilk, rather than on the climate scientists.
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  41. Inhofe's comment about God reminds me of a joke about a Christian who keeps saying "God will save me" as he refuses various offers of help as rising floodwaters increasingly threaten and then take his life. In heaven he asks God why he didn't save him and the punchline has God replying, "I sent you a raft, a boat and a helicopter, what more did you want?"

    While I'm at it skeptics' focus on the lack of short-term warming reminds me of the joke about checking if a car indicator is working - "It is, it isn't, it is, it isn't..."
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  42. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming theory not supported by science but by crude climate models.

    I accept the reprimand from your blog. (-snipOn the other hand I appreciate the honesty reflected in the official IPCC documents which were arrived via “scientific consensus” and “rigorous peer reviews”. In multiple places the documents clearly admit that at the current state of the art the climate cannot be fore- or back cast. The admissions bolsters the much needed credibility for climate scientists:

    “In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” IPCC-III-2001: 14.2.2.2 (Page 774), http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/pdf/tar-14.pdf

    IPCC, AR4 reports re-confirms that all the answers are not in:

    “.... However, the relationship between the isotopic records indicative of the Sun’s open magnetic field, sunspot numbers and the Sun’s closed magnetic field or energy output are not fully understood ...” This is in conjunction with Fig. 6.13. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-6-3.html ).

    “...the complexity of the climate system and the multiple interactions that determine its behaviour impose limitations on our ability to understand fully the future course of Earth’s global climate. There is still an incomplete physical understanding of many components of the climate system and their role in climate change. Key uncertainties include aspects of the roles played by clouds, the cryosphere, the oceans, land use and couplings between climate and biogeochemical cycles. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/tssts-1.html

    Therefore, one should not overestimate the capability of models because they are just models and are not proof . Ignoring the distinction between a scenario run by model and a forecasts may lead to and has been used to assert conclusions that may be base on incorrect/incomplete concepts/models.

    To claim “peer reviewed”, “scientific consensus” and “indisputable fact” does not advance science but are stifling. Research has to continue in all directions, because what we ”know” today might be looked at differently tomorrow. This was my point and it is more eloquently expressed very recently by Richard S. Lindzen, Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate, MIT: http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02148/RSL-HouseOfCommons_2148505a.pdf
    -)
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    Response:

    [DB] "Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming theory not supported by science but by crude climate models."

    There are two problems with this statement.  The first is the reliance upon a vaguely defined fake-skeptic term ("Catastrophic").  The second is the gross mischaracterization of models as being "crude" (another vague term).

    You then proceed to erect straw man arguments also built on ill-defined premises and fake-skeptic talking points, the main thrust of which are off-topic on this thread.  Please keep in mind that this thread is about Rachel Maddow Debunks Climategate Myths Using Skeptical Science.

    Off-topic portions snipped.

  43. West129 "eloquently expressed" ??

    If you look at the left hand column you'll see one of the more recent posts is titled Lindzen's Junk Science

    As always, when you want to make a point in discussion here, check for the appropriate thread. In this case, I strongly recommend reading that particular item and commenting there if you still feel that you would want to.
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  44. West129 - I would strongly suggest taking your arguments against models to the appropriate thread, How reliable are climate models, where these points are rather extensively discussed. And, I will note, generally debunked.

    It's quite off-topic here.
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  45. West129,

    Your failure to understand the meaning of the quote you posted, as well as your need to quote from an 11 year old version of that report, speaks volumes for your level of understanding of the issues.

    Your first failing is your complete misunderstanding of how climate models work and what their limitations are.

    As far as research continuing in all directions... well, what do you know, it is.

    As far as Lindzen's opinions and disinformation, they are a crock (and you will find that much of what he presented to members of the House of Commons was false).

    All in all... you so far have nothing to say except for utterly vacant falsehoods. Your lofty, arrogant tone is belied by your complete and total ignorance of the issues.
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  46. Sphaerica wrote : "As far as Lindzen's opinions and disinformation, they are a crock (and you will find that much of what he presented to members of the House of Commons was false)."


    It must be remembered that Lindzen did not actually speak to members of the House of Commons - he actually spoke in a Committee room, privately hired, in front of a mainly public audience of those who were already convinced by what he was going to talk about. There may have been two MPs there at most - one who booked the room and an ex-Tory minister.
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    Response:

    [DB] Intermission is over; let us all return to the central premise of this thread.  Thanks!

  47. I'm generally a fan of Rachel Maddow, but feel she did a poor job handling this interview, particularly in allowing Senator Inhofe to persistently play the "two-sidedness" card, where he presented the "two sides" as is they were more-or-less equivalent in their approach and methods, but differ only in their conclusions--one "side" accepting AGW, the other "side" rejecting it. Forget about the "details" of whether he was right or wrong about this or that. He won simply by staking out a "side" in the "debate".

    In actual fact, there is very little equivalency between the two positions. One is borne of a more than a century of accumulated scientific evidence, while the other is borne of politics and ideology. One is built principally on a foundation of peer-reviewed publications, while the other is built upon op/eds published in ideologically friendly newspapers, politically-infused web sites, pseudo-academic journals and technical meetings, and an army of Angry Bird Bloggers who fling themselves against the pig-infested institutions of science, intent on bringing them down.

    In other words, there's very little equivalency, yet in Sen. Inhofe's version, it comes down to a question of which "side" you happen to prefer.

    One of the great ironies of the "debate" over AGW is that those cleaving to the premise that AGW is wrong, have the impression that since their own conclusions are linked to politics, and since (in a disturbing application of "circular reasoning"), they have the impression that the "other side's" conclusions must be based on politics as well, that the two positions are fundamentally equivalent in stature.

    This is essentially what Senator Inhofe conveyed, and my impression was that he 'got away with it'.
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