Nature Climate Change | Climate Feedback

More for the annals of climate misinformation

I’m all for a website that distills climate science papers into something easily understood by the general public, especially if it avoids the hype and hysteria all too often employed by headline news.

Such is the claim of CO2 Science, a weekly newsletter published by the not for profit Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, with issues that include editorials, book and media reviews, and mini-reviews of the recent peer-reviewed literature.

But rather than its promise of “separating reality from rhetoric in the emotionally-charged debate that swirls around the subject of carbon dioxide and global change”, on the contrary CO2 Science twists the most recent science, ever so subtly, to suggest that there is no link between carbon dioxide levels and climate change.

For a case in point, check out the feature entitled “Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week”. This showcases records of temperature or environmental changes during the Medieval Warm Period (aka the Medieval Climate Anomaly). The conclusion is that if the MWP was warmer than present – still debated – obviously CO2 isn’t driving current warming. There is even a list of 576 scientists who have found evidence for the MWP – the thinly veiled conclusion being that they agree that an increase in CO2 isn’t behind the recent climate change.

FYI scientists – if you’ve ever compiled a climate record for the past 2,000 years, your name is probably there. These folks are thorough.


However, the most insidious feature of the website are the mini-reviews, where the editors (presumably the board) kindly reinterpret your results for you (beware of this in the MWP tracker as well). Here is their recent description of a 2007 Science paper by Stott et al:

Stott et al. conclude that the cause of the deglacial deep-water warming ‘does not lie within the tropics, nor can its early onset between 19 and 17 thousand years before the present be attributed to CO2 forcing.’ And since the rate of deep-water warming after the start of the increase in the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration did not increase (if anything, it declined), there is no compelling reason to believe that the deglacial increase in the air’s CO2 content had anything at all to do with any of the warming that led to the ultimate development of the current interglacial.

Hmmm…I don’t seem to recall Stott et al. reaching any such conclusion (beyond that directly quoted) in their paper. And technically the above paragraph doesn’t say that they do. But the casual reader would definitely come away with that conclusion. I’m usually willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, but there is no way that I can possibly conclude that the writer wasn’t trying to imply that a well respected scientist said that atmospheric CO2 has nothing to do with interglacial warmth.

Although the mini-reviews do tend to highlight papers that show that plants like CO2, and can thrive under elevated CO2 conditions, I can’t imagine that an interpretive review of a palaeoclimate like the one above is an isolated incident. This goes way beyond any healthy skepticism and into the realm of active disinformation.

What’s especially frustrating is the way they veil their agenda in peer-reviewed science, liberally using the names of well respected scientists who probably have no idea this site even exists. The site – which, according to the information page is run by three PhD-level scientists and an additional eight board members –preys upon the casual reader, and exploits the scientific illiteracy of the general public all under the guise of a registered charity that accepts completely confidential donations.

Alicia Newton is an Associate Editor of Nature Geoscience

Comments

  1. Report this comment

    PI said:

    In fact, the authors of the paper come to a conclusion opposite that of “CO2 Science”. The press releases in which they were interviewed make it clear that they do believe CO2 contributed to the current interglacial, just that it was not the only contribution.

    “I don’t want anyone to leave thinking that this is evidence that CO2 doesn’t affect climate,” Stott cautioned. “It does, but the important point is that CO2 is not the beginning and end of climate change.” […] “In addition, the authors’ model showed how changed ocean conditions may have been responsible for the release of CO2 from the ocean into the atmosphere, also accelerating the warming.”

    “The outgassing of this significant greenhouse gas [CO2], then contributed to warming globally.”

    “That warmed things up locally and shrank the sea ice back toward Antarctica, uncapping the Southern Ocean and freeing much of its carbon dioxide to begin warming the whole world.”

    Finally, some of the authors of that paper have a new preprint which further supports the existence of CO2 contributions to the current interglacial. From the abstract (emphasis mine): “Orbitally-driven insolation changes in the southern hemisphere, combined with a rise in atmospheric pCO2, were sufficient to jump-start the deglacial warming around Antarctica without direct northern hemispheric triggers.”

    The “CO2 Science” conclusion, “There is no compelling reason to believe that the deglacial increase in the air’s CO2 content had anything at all to do with any of the warming that led to the ultimate development of the current interglacial”, is therefore directly contradicted by the authors of the paper they cite.

  2. Report this comment

    George Tobin said:

    If your example of alleged reinterpreting of results invalidates this site’s (CO2Science.org) content, then by that standard, the IPCC should withdraw every report because its scientists clearly did not write nor authorize the gist or spin in the summary statements about their work.

    What the Idsos brothers do at CO2 Science.org is much more up front. They include studies that do not support their viewpoint. They do not weight them in comparison to the bristlecone pine nor denigrate, exclude or filter out the work that does not support their position regarding the MWP. Any misstatements as to substantive conclusions would be pretty easy to disprove given that sources are all expressly listed.

    (It is noteworthy that one of the Idsos brothers was among the first to publish about the bristlecone pine.)

    Their as yet unrefuted point is that the clear majority of published proxy studies indicate that the MWP was warmer than the present warming period. Unless they have misstated that express and narrow finding concerning the MWP, it stands on its own as a pretty clear demonstration that the “hockey stick” was largely a cherry-picked contrivance and that breezy assumptions of past blissful invariance have to be discarded.

    Allusions to their “insidious” practice of making a point based on the correctly quoted findings of scientific studies is tendentious if not outright silly. If they are wrong about the findings they have collected, that would be noteworthy. Decrying the supposed scandal of skeptics daring to quote studies done by presumed non-skeptics does not rise to the level of argument.

    They say that the preponderance of evidence and weight available professional scientific work says that the MWP was as warm or warmer than now—and they provide the sources and studies to back up that claim. How are they wrong?

  3. Report this comment

    Steve Bloom said:

    Hmm, apparently they draw the line at Mike Mann, athough they did pick up Bradley and Hughes.

    Re their fradulent summaries, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but what makes it really egregious IMHO is the failure to reproduce or link to the actual abstracts.

    An interesting compare and contrast is the more subtle approach taken by Pat Michaels’ World Climate Report.

  4. Report this comment

    Alicia Newton said:

    Actually, my main concern was not the reinterpretation, it was that the editors did not make any distinction between their own conclusions and those reached by the authors of the study.

    Although this week’s MWP record summary makes a more careful distinction about their assumptions versus the authors’ work – questions regarding a direct linear correlation between temperature and drought not withstanding – this is simply not the case for many of the other records. I’m including another example (found on my second click of a random link) below. But that’s not necessarily the main point of my argument regarding reinterpretation.

    Science certainly thrives when scientists look at others data and reinterpret meanings and links. However, most scientists properly attribute the data and state that they are reaching a different conclusion than the original researchers (or even that they have themselves come to a new conclusion). This is how science advances.

    However, the blurbs in question mislead readers not familiar with the paper as to what exactly the researchers themselves have said. Journalists get fired for misattributing quotes or wrongly implying that a particular person said something. As scientists and science writers, we cannot hold ourselves to any less of a standard. If the authors want to add a well reasoned scientific commentary, that’s fine. In order to make projections about what is to come in the future, and what we as a society need to do to meet the challenges of a high CO2 world, we need to establish an open dialogue based on sound scientific reasoning well above the soundbite tennis match that is currently playing out.

    But in order for CO2 Science to reach this level, the editors need to clearly distinguish between their conclusions and those put forth by the authors. Anything less just blatantly misleads lay readers.

    Seager et al 2007

    In their summary, the editors state that “Consequently, because the AD 900-1300 time interval (representing the core of the Medieval Warm Period) was host to the most severe and long-lasting drought of the last eleven centuries, that period must also have experienced the warmest tropical temperatures of the last 1100 years.” In the original paper, the authors conclude that “Due to both greater solar irradiance and fewer volcanic eruptions, the late 12th–early 13th centuries is a time of greater heating compared with the centuries since up until the last decade or two. […]The model and data agree on a counterintuitive result: the eastern equatorial Pacific is colder when the heating is greater and visa versa.” Thus by this logic, tropical east Pacific temperatures are actually cooler during the MWP. This is the conclusion also reached by Cobb et al (2003) study. You’ll also note that although CO2 Science has done a summary on the ENSO implications from the Cobb paper, the associated temperature record is nowhere to be found.

  5. Report this comment

    bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said:

    Any discussion of the Medieval Warm Period by climate inactivists tends to ignore the facts that

    (1) the MWP was largely a European phenomenon, not a global phenomenon; and

    (2) global temperatures during the MWP were probably lower than nowadays.

    There’s an effort to `prove’ that the MWP was global, but it involves a crank theory about the Rapa Nui and isn’t anywhere near peer-reviewed.

    And the misrepresentation of science has only gotten worse and worse now. There’s the “Heartland 500” list, where Avery didn’t even bother to write up summaries of the papers by the authors in the list. (Oh, and somewhere along the line the list of scientists became a “petition”. And no, none of these got much of a mention in the US mainstream media.)

    And then there’s the mythical `mass conversion’ of the 50,000-strong American Physical Society to the global warming skeptic side. This time, Milloy can’t even be bothered to list the scientists.

  6. Report this comment

    Ron Cram said:

    Alicia,

    I agree with your post – to an extent. The website took the author’s conclusion and then extrapolated their own conclusion from there. That was wrong. I disagree that we should be looking for bad motives or financial contributions to explain their actions. Play the ball, not the man.

    Let me give you an example. When Nature published its story “Academy affirms hockey stick graph” – See http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v441/n7097/full/4411032a.html – they made a number of statements which “went into the realm of active disinformation.” While the academy was polite to Mann and his co-authors, they did not affirm the hockey stick at all – except around those issues which were not controversial.

    McIntyre had said the strip-bark bristlecone pine tree series were not a temperature proxy and should not be used in temperature reconstructions. The academy agreed. Mann said his reconstruction was “robust” and said there was a high degree of confidence in the reconstruction. The academy said there was not a high degree of confidence (except for the first 400 years – the period known as the Little Ice Age). McIntyre said Mann’s method produced a hockey stick even if trendless red noise was used for data. This is known as the Artificial Hockey Stick issue. Unfortunately, the Academy did not even look into this one. Hans von Storch and Eduardo Zorita did and they agreed with McIntyre (although they said it didn’t matter because MBH had so many other problems – at least that is what Zorita said to me in an email).

    This is still a big issue because all of the reconstructions used by the IPCC since MBH make the same mistakes. They use strip bark tree series or discredited statistical approaches.

    The truth is the Academy agreed with McIntyre on all of the disputed points of science. Why would Nature publish the story they did?

    It would be easy for people to start speculating about Nature’s motives. But I don’t think that is helpful. It is far better to point out the facts. If Nature ever corrects its own story on the Academy’s conclusions, it will raise my opinion of Nature. But until then, my opinion of Nature is about as high as my opinion of the website you wrote about.

    [Response from Olive: Ron, thanks for commenting. Regarding your comment on the story on the hockey stick graph, Nature stands by the published account of that story].

  7. Report this comment

    PaulM said:

    Ron is quite right. Yes, CO2science puts its own spin (‘ever so subtly’) on the research. But this pales into insignificance beside the spin and distortion of the IPCC for example, see http://www.climateaudit.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=176.

    and many of the alarmist web sites.

    It is interesting to see that Alicia is guilty of exactly the same thing she accuses CO2science of! (‘The thinly veiled conclusion’ etc).

  8. Report this comment

    bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said:

    “The website took the author’s conclusion and then extrapolated their own conclusion from there. That was wrong. I disagree that we should be looking for bad motives or financial contributions to explain their actions.”

    So are we to believe that CO2Science was merely making a colossal, but honest, mistake, while their web site also coincidentally happens to be funded by ExxonMobil?

    Well, it is a possibility, but I think it’s a very, very remote one.

    • * *

    “It would be easy for people to start speculating about Nature’s motives.”

    That’s the easy part; the hard part is coming up with a “motive” that actually makes sense. As shown in my genealogy of climate conspiracy theories, lots of possible “motives” have been proposed:

    (1) the anthropogenic global warming theory is a huge communist plot created to impose Marxism;

    (2) the AGW theory is a new doctrine to replace Marxism;

    (3) climatologists promote AGW alarmism to get more funding;

    (4) climatologists on both sides of the `debate’ deliberately sustain the debate to get more funding;

    (5) … … …

    And all these these conspiracy theories have a few things in common: they don’t agree with one another, they’re (individually) unfalsifiable, and they’re based on nothing but a huge cloud of fluff.

  9. Report this comment

    Hank Roberts said:

    Olive, you write that co2s is

    > liberally using the

    > names of well

    > respected scientists

    > who probably have no

    > idea this site even

    > exists.

    You, from Nature, would be in the best possible position to invite those scientists to comment to you on how their work is being interpreted, as a group effort.

    It would make an interesting summary, if put together ahd checked thoroughly rather than just accreting blog-style with layers of baloney between the facts.

  10. Report this comment

    Sean Egan said:

    Most in the field believe in global warming and their papers reflect this view. Hence each group is likely to see their MWP as a local warming event.

    The CO2 Science point is that different groups find MWP all over the place.

    How else would you make the point enough “local” events makes it in fact not just “local”?

  11. Report this comment

    Dave D said:

    Good article.

    It is pretty obvious to any credible researcher working in the field that the CO2 science site is pushing disinformation. What Joe public makes of it though may be another thing altogether…

  12. Report this comment

    Darrell Bosch said:

    This article points to a significant flaw that CO2Science.org can correct to improve its site. All editorial comments should be identified and flagged in bold.

    An additional kudo for the article is that it did not mention (as was suggested) that “… CO2Science.org has received 6 figures in donations from ExxonMobil between 1998 and 2006 alone”.

    Yes, money can be a corrupting influence. But, to be fair (when I last checked), the 2008 U.S. budget for climate research was slated at $7.5 billion. Given only a few thousand climate scientists, that’s 7 figures annually, per scientist!

    On the other hand, divide ‘6 figures’ over nine years by 11 people and it’s only thousands of dollars per year. If CO2Science.org scientists are for sale, it’s clear that they could do much better by going mainstream.

    It’s unlikely that all government funded scientists are immune from corruption, but my point is not to insinuate that some are being swayed by money. Rather, given the paltry evidence of monetary reward, it’s proper that the article avoided the projection of money as the motivation for CO2Science.org.

  13. Report this comment

    Ron Cram said:

    Paul,

    Thank you for agreeing with me. Although I would not say Alicia is guilty of the same thing as CO2science. Nature’s article “Academy affirms hockey-stick graph” by Geoff Brumfiel is guilty of diving into “the realm of active disinformation” by claiming the NAS panel supported Mann. It is not true.

    Alicia seems entirely sensible to me. She writes: “the editors need to clearly distinguish between their conclusions and those put forth by the authors. Anything less just blatantly misleads lay readers.” I think this is exactly what Geoff Brumfiel did in the report on the NAS panel.

    I disagree with Alicia’s actions on one point. I think she should have contacted CO2science blog and asked them to correct the record. If they refused to do so, then she should complain publicly about their “disinformation.” It seems to me she wrote this blog entry without confronting them first.

    This the course of action I intend to take. I have asked Nature to set the record straight and Olive has said Nature stands by the story. This is unfortunate because it misleads lay readers.

  14. Report this comment

    bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said:

    Sean Egan, given that the point of the initial post was that CO2Science misrepresents the papers it supposedly `summarizes’, it’s a bit presumptuous to reply to that by using CO2Science as a `reliable’ source.

    And, what Hank Roberts said.

  15. Report this comment

    Bishop Hill said:

    Alicia

    It’s interesting of you to say that you stand by your published account of the story. I wonder if you could explain the thinking which leads you to the conclusion that you should stand by it.

  16. Report this comment

    john kdrew said:

    Since the British Royal Society found that Exxon-Mobil funded global warming ‘denialists’ back in 2005, this oil giant has been under pressure to ‘switch off’ fossil fuel anti-greenhousers. But it took until just a couple of months ago to actually happen — if it has! In May this year, Exxon-Mobil finally acknowledged what it had been doing and announced that it would cease funding nine groups that had fuelled a global campaign to deny climate change. We need to make sure they do as they promise… but then, more importantly, engage Exxon in quality triage information management. For mroe go to http://www.climatechangetriage.net

  17. Report this comment

    Richard said:

    Hmmm… Alicia. I suggest you stick to your editorial work and not play politics. It is no wonder that the reputation of Nature is going south at a great rate of knots. Most of my scientific colleagues see nature as just another populist scientific news mag these days.

  18. Report this comment

    bi -- International Journal of Inactivism said:

    It’s interesting that people try to downplay CO2Science’s lies, and then turn around to accuse Nature of “playing politics” merely by calling attention to these lies.

    It’s almost as if these people are trying to change the discussion topic!

  19. Report this comment

    Hank Roberts said:

    > How else would you

    > make the point

    Sean, that’s the PR question. They’ve answered that clearly.

    Try asking the science question: how can you test whether there was a global pattern?

    Short answer: you don’t just list the studies that favor the answer you want, you look for comparable studies and review a broad range regardless of their suitability for your beliefs.

    Longer answer is available; it’s been done, and you can look it up.

    Try it. It’s good exercise.

  20. Report this comment

    Richard C said:

    I would ask those defending CO2 Science if they have ever compared any CO2 Science articles with the original source data. I have.

    I support Alicia’s article!

  21. Report this comment

    JamesG said:

    Does anyone actually realize what is meant by the reconstruction being “not robust”? It means that if you remove just one tree series (bristlecones) from the Mann et al. reconstruction then the blade of the hockey stick disappears. If you then remove one other (Gaspe) then you get a lovely Medieval warm period. These two series had been artificially weighted to dominate all the others.

    You can even test one aspect of robustness of the other reconstructions yourselves simply by studying the IPCC spaghetti graph. Every reconstruction bar 1 diverges from the instrumental record at precisely the period when there is supposed to be the least uncertainty – the 20th century. This screams out that tree rings are intrinsically poor temperature proxies. So even though you can get an MWP with Mann et al using the proper methodology, it likely represents just noise. This is all pointed out in these reports and papers for those who care to read them. You have been sold fictions as facts but you just don’t like to believe it, or even investigate for yourselves. This is classical cognitive dissonance.

    Of course the famed bristlecones didn’t even match up to their own local temperature, which was actually the point of the study that spawned these proxies – by Idso of CO2 science, who said it was likely due to CO2 fertilization. Hence Idso’s work was misrepresented by Mann et al. in the first place. Irony of ironies.

  22. Report this comment

    Hank Roberts said:

    Olive, if you’re screening comments at all, it might be useful to do some searches to help you recognize material repeated endlessly by people denying climate science.

    Hint: trolls don’t footnote their beliefs.

    Else your topics sink under the ability of the copypasters to always get the last word.

    Bye for now.

  23. Report this comment

    Michael Rowan said:

    Many people who oppose the scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels and other human activity is causing global warming say they are ‘climate change skeptics’, and thereby present themselves as rationally hard headed, not to be swayed by the fashions of the moment.Some contributors to your discussion use this terminology too.

    In fact the self titled skeptics would be better described as ‘gullibilists’.

    If you are willing to pick scraps of evidence from here and there it is child’s play – better, fool’s play – to find reasons to reject any theory. All theories are born refuted, as the philosopher of science Imre Lakatos observed.

    But that there are facts which apparently conflict with one theory does not establish the contrary position, and to think that it does, and accept the contrary view on that basis alone is to be gullible indeed.

    To reject the theory of human induced climate change you would need to establish either that human activity is not increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; or that an atmosphere richer in carbon dioxide does not absorb more heat; or that while these first two claims are true, there are other factors which are cooling the planet faster than the greenhouse effect is warming it.

    I’m sceptical that the ‘no climate change gullibilists’ will be willing to publicly defend any of these three options, let alone that they would have evidence to back their choice.

    Emeritus Professor Michael Rowan

    University of South Australia

    Adelaide

  24. Report this comment

    Olive Heffernan said:

    Hank, thanks for your suggestion and I take your point. We do screen comments, but our policy is to let comments through as long as they don’t target individuals or troll particular contributors. Olive

  25. Report this comment

    Hank Roberts said:

    Judith Curry (whose work you probably know) was pointed toward CO2science a while back and commented on it beginning here:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=803#comment-45463

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=803#comment-45522

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=803#comment-45546

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=803#comment-45621

    If you all here at Nature want a level-headed look at advocacy sites on all sides of the political wheel and how and how much and how convincingly they spin, her posts are a good start.

    (Cautionary note — her last comment linked above refers to my post #309 -which is now numbered 307. Two prior posts must have been deleted after she wrote that; the autonumbers decrease when that happens. Don’t rely on CA for a complete record. Do look for Dr. Curry’s posts there - consistently very helpful.)

  26. Report this comment

    JamesG said:

    People should learn to read what they link to. they might then realize that their links don’t actually support their arguments. I might also have linked to the NAS report because it does not support the idea, propounded in the Mann et al. and similar copycat papers, that there was no actual medieval warm period. The Wegman report rejects the Mann methodology with more rigor and the NAS panel agree with that too.

    And yes facts which reject parts of a theory are not enough to reject a whole theory. But there is certainly enough to reject the notion that there was no Medieval warm period, which is the whole point of this post.

    Consider instead the scientific idea, well supported by current evidence, that CO2 affects the planet a lot less than is widely supposed – and indeed may even be insignificant. That argument requires no counter-theory at all and there are actually plenty of willing debaters.

    As for screening. Yes when you have no argument that is the appropriate response from a dogmatist but not for a true scientist.

  27. Report this comment

    mikep said:

    A quote from North’s testimony in the link provided:

    “Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. (1998, 1999) and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium. However, the substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming. Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium” because the uncertainties inherent in temperature reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods, and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short timescales. We also question some of the statistical choices made in the original papers by Dr. Mann and his colleagues. However, our reservations with some aspects of the original papers by Mann et al. should not be construed as evidence that our committee does not believe that the climate is warming, and will continue to warm, as a result of human activities.”

    Note this is not the report, just a summary by the chairman. It is worth reading the whole report to see what they really said. Plausible is an almost meaningless word in this context. Some might say with equal justice on the evidence from the Mann papers (only 10 years ago if my counting is correct….)that it is equally plausible that the medieval period was warmer than now. But we can’t determine from this evidence even which is more likely. Chairman North’s framing of his results e.g the proclamation that we could be pretty sure it is warmer now than 400 years ago, which was never in dispute, is quite on a par with the Idsos. But North, when questioned, also agreed that the conclusions of his report were entirely consistent with the Wegman report, which stated unequivocally that Macintyre’s criticisms were justified.

  28. Report this comment

    Steve Bloom said:

    This interview with NAS panel chair Gerry North (and see also the two linked articles) give an accurate impression of the situation. His final comment is telling:

    “There is a long history of making an inference from data using pretty crude methods and coming up with the right answer. Most of the great discoveries have been made this way. The Mann et al., results were not ‘wrong’ and the science was not ‘bad’. They simply made choices in their analysis which were not precisely the ones we (in hindsight) might have made. It turns out that their choices led them to essentially the right answer (at least as compared with later studies which used perhaps better choices).”

    Finally, JamesG, try to keep the basics straight: MBH did show a low-amplitude MWP (and LIA for that matter). The point of this post wasn’t whether there was one, rather it was whether it was warmer than the present.

  29. Report this comment

    Steve Bloom said:

    “But North, when questioned, also agreed that the conclusions of his report were entirely consistent with the Wegman report (…)”

    Really, mikep? Link for that? Note that his response quoted in my last comment was in response to a question about the Wegman report. You call that an endorsement?

  30. Report this comment

    mikep said:

    Extract from the record of the Barton commission hearings

    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman’s report?

    DR. NORTH. No, we don’t. We don’t disagree with their criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our report. But again, just because the claims are made, doesn’t mean they are false.

    CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that you can have the right conclusion and that it not be–

    DR. NORTH. It happens all the time in science.

    CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, and not be substantiated by what you purport to be the facts but have we established–we know that Dr. Wegman has said that Dr. Mann’s methodology is incorrect. Do you agree with that? I mean, it doesn’t mean Dr. Mann’s conclusions are wrong, but we can stipulate now that we have–and if you want to ask your statistician expert from North Carolina that Dr. Mann’s methodology cannot be documented and cannot be verified by independent review.

    DR. NORTH. Do you mind if he speaks?

    CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, if he would like to come to the microphone.

    MR. BLOOMFIELD. Thank you. Yes, Peter Bloomfield. Our committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his coworkers and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate. We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented at much greater length by Dr. Wegman.

  31. Report this comment

    Darrell Bosch said:

    Back to the article: it can be improved by removing the following insults in the final paragraph:

    1. “(CO2Science.org) … liberally (uses) the names of well respected scientists who probably have no idea this site even exists.”

    Scientists know how to google themselves and thus are aware of Sherwood Idso’s CO2Science site and the occasional contrary interpretation of their data. When Michael Mann, (lead author U.N. IPCC) in MBH99 cites Idso, it is to legitimize certain data adjustments and it is a de facto acknowledgement of Idso as a respected scientist. Ironically, it is quite likely that Idso finds Mann’s manner of applying his work to be in error, which is why I find all this as oddly humourous rather than malevolent.

    2. “(CO2Science.org) … exploits the scientific illiteracy of the general public …”

    As climate science has become more politicized and popularized, the scientific sophistication of site viewership at CO2Science.org has probably declined. It is unecessary for Ms. Newton to divine intentional exploitation of ignorance as an explanation for potential confusion. Worse, it detracts from the most reasonable point of her essay: CO2Science.org ought to allow for “…the scientific (naivete) of the general public…” by making a clear delineation between editorial comments and scientists’ conclusions.

  32. Report this comment

    mikep said:

    Steve Bloom may also find the views of Ian Jollife,a well known expert on principal components analysis, of interest. the link is here

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3601#comments.

    I quote part of the final paragraph

    “I am by no means a climate change denier. My strong impressive (sic, but obviously should be impression) is that the evidence rests on much much more than the hockey stick. It therefore seems crazy that the MBH hockey stick has been given such prominence and that a group of influential climate scientists have doggedly defended a piece of dubious statistics.”

    It is the dogged defence that has made me wonder about the reliability of the rest of the supposed evidence….

  33. Report this comment

    Pete said:

    Steve Bloom. No comment? Funny that.

  34. Report this comment

    Kate said:

    Does anyone else out there feel quite depressed about humanity?

    As if we’re standing in the mdidle of the highway when a truck is coming, but we’re not moving away – no, we’re walking towards the truck!

    Get off the road!

    On a slightly happier note, I think you might be interested in my blog, which has to do exclusively with climate change. The purpose of my blog is:

    1) to help the public realize their place in the climate change debate

    2) to decide which sources to trust for scientific information

    3) to decide what action to take against climate change, given the risks and uncertainties

    4) to share sources and ideas that seem promising.

    I’d love for you to check it out – there’s probably a link attached to my name – or Google “climatesight” (one word).

    Thanks.