01 June 2010

A Call for Violence Against Me

The Climate Fix is coming out, so let the attacks begin. This one sets a high bar:
What matters is that Roger Pielke Jr. is the most heinous climate villain academia can muster. He’s a Green Herring, a liar. He doesn’t deserve to be eaten by hyenas from the future. He deserves to be kicked in the nuts in the present.
My crime? I have cited Ravetz and Functowitz. Seriously, that is it.

The image above depicts the theme of post-normal science from Ravetz and Functowitz, and comes from the website of Steve Schneider, who says:
The climate problem, like the ozone problem (see, e.g., the EPA ozone website or the NOAA ozone website) and, in fact, almost all interesting socio-technical problems, is filled with “deep uncertainties,” uncertainties in both probabilities and consequences that are not resolved today and may not be resolved to a high degree of confidence before we have to make decisions regarding how to deal with their implications. They often involve very strong and opposite stakeholder interests and high stakes. In fact, sociologists Funtowicz and Ravetz (see, for example: Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1993) have called such problems examples of “post-normal science.” In Kuhn’s “normal science” (Kuhn, 1962), we scientists go to our labs and we do our usual measurements, calculate our usual statistics, build our usual models, and we proceed on a particular well-established paradigm. Post-normal science, on the other hand, acknowledges that while we’re doing our normal science, some groups want or need to know the answers well before normal science has resolved the deep inherent uncertainties surrounding the problem at hand. Such groups have a stake in the outcome and want some way of dealing with the vast array of uncertainties, which, by the way, are not all equal in the degree of confidence they carry. Compared to applied science and professional consultancy, post-normal science carries both higher decision stakes and higher systems uncertainty, ...

The climate change debate — particularly its policy components — falls clearly into the post-normal science characterization and will likely remain there for decades, which is the minimum amount of time it will take to resolve some of the larger remaining uncertainties surrounding it, like climate sensitivity levels and the likelihood of abrupt nonlinear events, including a possible shutoff of the Gulf Stream in the high North Atlantic.
I wonder if he also is going to be threatened with violence.

Here is my full email exchange with Ian Murphy (now formatted in chronological order ... if you want to jump right to my replies to his questions scroll down to my email of Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 8:31 PM):
On Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 3:02 AM, Ian Murphy wrote:

Dear Mr. Pielke,

Hi! I'm the guy that wrote about you being eaten by hyenas. Don't take it personally.

I've spent the last week reading your literature and trying to decide whether or not to print a correction. I've come to realize that while 98% of things you write and say are green and brilliant, the remaining 2% seems to be firmly against reducing carbon emissions – which is a position I find odd considering what you know about the atmosphere. And Joe Romm characterizes your policy positions as ones that will result in a 5-7 degree Celsius rise in global temp.

I realize that perhaps you didn't deserve to be on the same list as Don Blankenship or Steve Milloy. I know you're not a denier. I never wrote that. And I certainly never meant to imply that you're Holocaust denier. Only assholes evoke Holocaust denial to paint their enemies a ignorant scoundrels. But unless I have misread your position on refusing to cap, trade,regulate or sufficiently tax carbon emissions, they read as corporate cover for our suicidal status quo.

Tell me if I've made a mistake. And if you don't mind, maybe you could tell me what this is supposed to mean:

“Policies to reduce global warming must be pursued independently of policies to reduce climate impacts.”

What?

Thanks for your time,
Ian Murphy
On Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 8:47 AM, Roger Pielke, Jr. wrote:

Dear Ian-

I've long argued that adaptation and mitigation necessarily must be pursued on twin tracks. They are not trade-offs with one another and mitigation, no matter how successful, does not reduce the need to improve adaptive policies. This seems rather obvious and straightforward. If unclear, please ask again.

As far as: "corporate cover for our suicidal status quo" -- what complete nonsense. If you have questions about my views, please ask them. I'll be happy to answer. I'll also be happy to have my policy analyses produced over the past several decades compared head-to-head with Joe Romm's -- he talks louder, I'll grant him that.

And yes, printing a correction would be absolutely the right thing to do.

All best from Boulder,

Roger
On Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 7:52 AM, Ian Murphy wrote:

Roger,

Thanks for writing back! It's expansive of you, considering what I wrote. I now realize that I am profoundly guilty of lazy editing and the piece has been corrected. I am sincerely sorry for the undeserving ad hom attack. Please forgive me.

Mike Roddy, who came up with that list, is convinced you're some kind of tyrant and the cursory information he provided me with had me under the impression that you're against capping, trading, regulating or sufficiently taxing carbon emissions. I think it was this quote that rankled him so:

"Indeed, the whole idea of mandated national emissions reductions reflects an insensitivity to the highly decentralized, historically contingent, uneven manner in which new technologies emerge and diffuse."

Just to be completely clear: does your idea of mitigation include capping, trading, regulating or sufficiently taxing carbon emissions?

Of course, we need to mitigate and adapt, but what kind of mitigation doesn't include emissions reductions? Have I read you wrong? How can we mitigate greenhouse effect warming without reducing CO2? Will the pollution cool us as a global parasol? Please, enlighten me.

Humbly in Buffalo,

Ian
On Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 11:06 AM, Roger Pielke, Jr. wrote:

Dear Ian-

Thanks for the follow up. I have a book in press this fall which will provide more than you want to know on my views about how to decarbonize the global economy. Meantime, I suggest starting here to better understand why setting targets and timetables for emissions reductions is unlikely to be a way forward (and if that is of interest I have similar analyses of Japan and Australia):

http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1748-9326/4/2/024010/erl9_2_024010.html

I discuss the consequences of such "magical thinking" here:

http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2175

So what then instead? Along with a large group of scholars, last summer we outlined an alternative approach to addressing accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and putting a price on carbon is an important component:

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-2731-2009.17.pdf

Given the progress made over the past 20 years focused on mandating emissions reductions along a Kyoto-style approach (that is to say, not much)

I continue to be surprised that those of us offering alternative approaches as a way to get past policy gridlock are so routinely castigated as "tyrants" as you suggest. Climate change is incredibly complex, and it is safe to say that no one has all the answers. Given this circumstance I would think that a bit more ecumenicism in the discussion would serve climate policy well.

I do appreciate your reaching out and willingness to correct the record. And again, if you have any questions about the materials I linked to above, just ask, I am happy to respond.

Best regards from Boulder,

Roger
On Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 3:11 PM, Ian Murphy wrote:

Dear Roger,

Correcting the record was literally the least I could do. I intend to write a piece fully detailing my crimes (with a suitably awful punishment), and this odd obsession Joe Romm and his henchmen have with you in the near future. You guys crushed Roddy in the BTI comments. Easy work. That's the first and only time he's going to write for us. We're definitely jerks, but we also try to be accurate. I'm the only working editor here and sometimes I screw up. It's no excuse, but again, I am truly sorry for the error.

I'm going to try to interview Joe Romm about his bizarre war against you, and I'll get back to you. Thank you for your civility and grace in this matter. You're a nice guy.

Sincerely,

Ian
On Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 5:28 PM, Roger Pielke, Jr. wrote:

Wow Ian, I am floored. Apology accepted, no worries. We all make mistakes, and I very much appreciate your willingness to set the record straight. If you have any questions, please just ask. All best, Roger
On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 8:42 AM, Ian Murphy wrote:

Roger,

I've had a tumultuous few months, computer crashes, lost data, moving, etc., but I'm still working on my followup to "the 14 Most heinous Climate Villains," which I'm calling "Misadventures in journalism." I've been talking to both Michael and Ted at BTI, and they've been nothing but kind in answering my questions. I have one more round of questions to send Ted, and then I was hoping to ask you a few.

Is that offer still on the table?

Ian
On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 5:54 PM, Roger Pielke, Jr. wrote:

Absolutely, send any questions along ... all best, Roger
On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 5:02 PM, Ian Murphy wrote:

Roger,

Awesome. Thanks, again, for being so kind. And I hope that the following questions will clear up some of the hyper-partisan confusion, which surrounds your work. I might have some followups, but here you go:

I came across the concept of post-normal science on your blog post, which links to Jerome Ravetz's essay on wattsupwiththat.com. What the heck is post-normal science and why is it important in terms of climate change?

What role does the blogosphere play in conducting post-normal science?

What lessons can we learn from Climategate?

Now that the IPCC has been so thoroughly discredited, for their “stealth advocacy,” where can people turn to for objective climate science?

You routinely take climate scientists, and fear mongers like Al Gore, to task for conflating single weather events with AGW. Weather is not climate, as you say. You astutely observe that one “Snowpocalypse” is not “consistent with” AGW, and that that's not the best way for CAP to talk about climate change. In that post, you highlight a debate between Daniel Weiss of CAP and Marc Morano of climatedepot.com, which aired on MSNBC. You are likely right to criticize the efficacy of Weiss's argument, but you don't level one criticism against Morano, who is not a friend of things like truth and science. Also, you never explicitly mention that one weather event is not inconsistent with AGW, as has been repeatedly claimed by the denier crowd. Do you understand why some people may see those omissions as irresponsible?

Between whom are you an Honest Broker?

Why won't cap and trade work and what should we do instead?

If carbon reduction strategies fail, for reasons political or scientific, what are our viable geoengineering options?

Thanks again!

Ian
On Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 8:24 PM, Roger Pielke, Jr. wrote:

Great questions ... I'll try to get these back to you by Monday, is
that OK? Thanks ...
Ian Murphy Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 8:25 PM
To: "Roger Pielke, Jr."

Thank you. I tried. Of course, whenever you have the time to respond is OK with me. I'm honored that you're even talking to me. I think the irrational distrust built up between BTI and more traditional environmentalists is very counterproductive and I hope we can cut through some of the confusion.
Roger Pielke, Jr. Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 8:31 PM
To: Ian Murphy

Ian- Please find some replies below .. if anything is unclear of if you'd like to follow up, just ask, I'm happy to answer ...

>> >
>> > I came across the concept of post-normal science on your blog post,
>> > which
>> > links to Jerome Ravetz's essay on wattsupwiththat.com. What the heck is
>> > post-normal science and why is it important in terms of climate change?
>> >

Post-normal science refers to situations in which knowledge is uncertain, values are contested and stakes are high. Climate change is perhaps a canonical example of such a situation. The concept, proposed by Functowitz and Ravetz, leads to a different set of strategies for decision making than one might find in normal science. The highlight the need for an "extended peer community" to participate in evaluating knowledge claims and their implications, which can be interpreted in the context of climate change as opening up scientific discussions to a broader community, including (yes) skeptics and non-professionals. Such opening up is important to build trust in and legitimacy of expert advice.

My book, The Honest Broker, adopts a framework consistent with that proposed by Functowitz and Ravetz, and I argue that where knowledge is uncertain (or contested) and values are in conflict, experts face a choice between open advocacy and honest brokering, where the foprmer is an effort to reduce the scope of political choice (usually to a single preferred option) and the latter seeks to expand choice. Often, experts serve as "stealth advocates" where they claim to be focused only on science, but are really pushing for a particular
course of action. I have argued that such stealth advocacy can lead to a pathological politicization of science.

Climate science is full of stealth advocacy and pathological politicization. Paying more attention to the messy world of post-normal science (and I'd argue, the framework in my book) might offer some guidance on how to navigate the reality of science and politics being deeply and irrevocably intertwined.

>> > What role does the blogosphere play in conducting post-normal science?
>> >

The blogosphere is part of the "extended peer community" that - for better or worse, is part of how knowledge claims are presented, debated and evaluated. Understanding that these many and diverse voices are a part of the broad relationship of science and society, rather than something to be excised or defeated through asserting authority or credentials.

At the same time, the blogosphere is also a place where scientists engage in advocacy and stealth advocacy.

So we see the non-professional scientific world impinging upon traditional science via the blogosphere and at the same time we see traditional science engaging politics. From both directions the blogosphere blurs boundaries and really fosters conditions of post-normal science. Post-normal science is not something to be upset about or to deny, it is simply an effort to describe this messy world. for the purpose of better undertsanding that world.

>> > What lessons can we learn from Climategate?
>> >

The release or stealing of the emails showed a surprising picture of climate science for many people. It showed scientists who appear to have lost some perspective and focused unhealthily on their political and scientific opponents. The emails showed a willingness to cut corners and even suggest breaking the law. While there are many tactical lessons (like don't write things in your professional emails that you'd regret if released) the larger lesson should be that efforts to defeat the "skeptics" in political battle is just as likely
to backfire. And make no mistake, these scientists were engaged in political battle.

>> > Now that the IPCC has been so thoroughly discredited, for their “stealth
>> > advocacy,” where can people turn to for objective climate science?
>> >

I have written (last week at Yale e360) that the IPCC is important and should be reformed. It operates in much too ad hoc a manner and lacks anything resembling mechanisms of accountability. Trust in institutions is just as important as the quality of its products.

>> > You routinely take climate scientists, and fear mongers like Al Gore, to
>> > task for conflating single weather events with AGW. Weather is not
>> > climate,
>> > as you say. You astutely observe that one “Snowpocalypse” is not
>> > “consistent
>> > with” AGW, and that that's not the best way for CAP to talk about
>> > climate
>> > change. In that post, you highlight a debate between Daniel Weiss of CAP
>> > and
>> > Marc Morano of climatedepot.com, which aired on MSNBC. You are likely
>> > right
>> > to criticize the efficacy of Weiss's argument, but you don't level one
>> > criticism against Morano, who is not a friend of things like truth and
>> > science.

In that particular debate Morano wins on criteria science as well as efficacy. He says that he knows that weather is not climate and that he was just having some fun with Al Gore when raising the issue of the blizzards. Whether he believes this or not, he takes the high ground and Weiss concedes it.

But I've frequently clashed with Morano, even challenging him to a debate, which looks like it may take place fall, 2010. But it won't be a debate about science, rather about policy. I have long argued that climate policy suffers when political debates are waged in terms of science, so why in the world would I take that approach myself?

>> Also, you never explicitly mention that one weather event is
>> > not
>> > inconsistent with AGW, as has been repeatedly claimed by the denier
>> > crowd.
>> > Do you understand why some people may see those omissions as
>> > irresponsible?

I apologize, but I have to disagree with this cliam 100%. On Feb 11 I wrote the following, which speaks directly and explicitly to claims made by the "denier crowd":

"Let's see if I can make this simple.

What happens in the weather this week or next tells us absolutely nothing about the role of humans in influencing the climate system. It is unjustifiable to claim that a cold snap or heavy snow disproves or even casts doubts predictions of long-term climate change. It is equally unjustifiable to say that a cold snap or heavy snow in any way offers empirical support for predictions of long-term climate change. This goes for all weather events.

Further, it is professionally irresponsible for scientists to claim that some observed weather is "consistent with" long-term predictions of climate change. Any and all weather fits this criteria. Similarly, any and all weather is also "consistent with" failing predictions of long-term climate change. The "consistent with" canard is purposely misleading.

Knowledge of climate requires long-term records -- on the time scale of a decade and longer. Don't look to the weather to learn about climate, unless you have a long time to watch. Using the weather to score cheap political points in the climate debate appears to be a tactical area of agreement among those who otherwise disagree about climate change. "
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/weather-is-not-climate.html

I'm not sure how much more clearly I can make the point that you suggest is omitted. I have been making this point for years.

>> >
>> > Between whom are you an Honest Broker?

I am not an honest broker. In my book I argue that individuals are ill-suited to such a role, and what we really want in this capacity are pluralistic committees of experts expressing diverse views. The function of the honest broker is to lay our a range of policy options, and the role of the decision maker is to select among those options.

On climate change I am a passionate advocate for the actions that I think make sense. I have never labeled myself an "honest broker" and have consistently explained that such a role is a group exercise.

>> >
>> > Why won't cap and trade work and what should we do instead?
>> >

Cap and trade won;t work for the simple reason that it is politically impossible to set a price on carbon high enough to induce a technological revolution. A carbon tax suffers the same problem. Cap and trade makes it easier to pretend that something is being done when it is not. If the goal of cap and trade is to stimulate innovation, then there are many other approaches that can be used to that end. I am in favor of a carbon tax, at whatever level is politically acceptable, but the goal is not to try to change behaviors but rather
to raise revenue.

>> > If carbon reduction strategies fail, for reasons political or
>> > scientific,
>> > what are our viable geoengineering options?
>> >

I my book I argue that efforts to tinker with the earth system, such as through stratospheric aerosols, don;t meet basic criteria for a technological fix. They are unlikely to work as advertised and the track record of tinkering with earth systems (such as introducing foreign species) is pretty dismal and full of unintended consequences.

One approach that might make sense, though not everyone classifies it as geoengineering, is the air capture and sequestration of carbon dioxide directly from the ambient air. This can be done via chemical, biological or geological means. The technologies are, lie much else on this issue, not well developed and certainly not ready for deployment at scale. but I'd argue that they should be looked at ... who knows, 20-40 years from now we may wish we had a backup plan if conventional mitigation doesn't work and other forms of geoengineering are infeasible,.

OK, that is a lot of ground, so if anything needs further explication, just ask.

All best from snowy Boulder,

Roger
Ian Murphy Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 12:27 AM
To: "Roger Pielke, Jr."

Roger, thank you! Great work. Too bad about the FP piece, you're clearly not a "skeptic." The "telling quote" didn't really prove their point either. I'm going to contact them, too, but I'm hoping you could clarify this for me.

If I read your work accurately, the increased costs associated the extreme weather phenomena can be blamed on human development -- more buildings, more damage = higher costs. You cite a lull in hurricane activity in the seventies, during which time damage costs continued to rise, as proof of this common sense correlation. Correct?

And to completely debunk your FP "skeptic" status:

Do greenhouse gases cause global warming?

Does a hotter atmosphere mean more extreme weather?

And, if not kept in check, will AGW be a source of increased "costs of damage associated with hurricanes, floods, and extreme weather phenomena" in the future?

Sorry to take up yet more of your time, but the scope of this piece keeps growing. Now I have to sort out Foreign Policy, too!

Ian
Roger Pielke, Jr. Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 8:05 AM
To: Ian Murphy
Ian-

Some additional replies below . . .

On Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 11:27 PM, Ian Murphy wrote:
> Roger, thank you! Great work. Too bad about the FP piece, you're clearly not
> a "skeptic." The "telling quote" didn't really prove their point either. I'm
> going to contact them, too, but I'm hoping you could clarify this for me.
>

Here is the address of the FP editor:
"Blake Hounshell"

> If I read your work accurately, the increased costs associated the extreme
> weather phenomena can be blamed on human development -- more buildings, more
> damage = higher costs. You cite a lull in hurricane activity in the
> seventies, during which time damage costs continued to rise, as proof of
> this common sense correlation. Correct?
>

This is just about right. The example I often use is the fact that 1991-1994 was to that point the quietest 4-year period in terms of activity since 1900, yet it was also by far the most costly (to that date).

There has been no increase in storm landfall intensity or frequency since 1900, so why would we expect storm's themselves to account for increasing damage?

> And to completely debunk your FP "skeptic" status:
>
> Do greenhouse gases cause global warming?
>

Yes.

>
> Does a hotter atmosphere mean more extreme weather?
>
>

To be more technically precise, the consensus position of the scientific community, which I accept, is that rising greenhouse gases will led to more extreme events.

> And, if not kept in check, will AGW be a source of increased "costs of
> damage associated with hurricanes, floods, and extreme weather phenomena" in
> the future?
>

Yes. I have discussed this in the peer reviewed literature and quantified the magnitude of projected increase in the context of continued accumulation of societal wealth:

Pielke, Jr., R. A., 2007. Future Economic Damage from Tropical Cyclones: Sensitivities to Societal and Climate Changes, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Vol. 365, No. 1860, pp. 1-13.
http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-2517-2007.14.pdf

If you have further questions, or if any of the above needs additional clarification, please send them along.

Finally, I note that your friend Mike Roddy foreshadows this piece at Climate Progress::

http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/28/foreign-policys-guide-to-climate-skeptics-includes-roger-pielke-jr-meanwhile-andy-revkin-campaigns-for-him-to-be-an-ipcc-author/#comment-264678
Ian Murphy Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 10:49 AM
To: "Roger Pielke, Jr."
Roger, I do have one more question:

You wrote: "Post-normal science refers to situations in which knowledge is uncertain, values are contested and stakes are high. Climate change is perhaps a canonical example of such a situation."

Are you saying that the science of climate change is uncertain, or do you mean that the best methods for mitigating and adapting to climate change are uncertain?

Roddy's a well-meaning chap, though he can be a tad excitable. He's not privy to the details of my forthcoming article, but he's right about one thing: I hope to be the best Piekologist possible. That's, apparently, a thing. I'm not going to be completely uncritical of you, but I'm also going to be very critical of myself and others who have misread your work. Objectivity is the goal. Though it may be hard, because I'm sort of a fan of yours now : )

Ian
Roger Pielke, Jr. Mon, Mar 1, 2010 at 11:18 AM
To: Ian Murphy

Ian-

I write in my forthcoming book that there are many aspects of the climate issue that are uncertain. At the same time, there are some core issues for which there is much less uncertainty.

What I argue is generally accepted by all sides is that (a) human activities are dumping massive amounts of carbon dioxide (and other GHGs) into the atmosphere, (b) CO2 is accumulating, (c) scientists expect that accumulation to have a net warming effect, and have shown that to be the case in the past, (d) but there are other effects as well such as rising seas and more intense extremes, (e) the consequences in (c and d) could be significant for people and ecosystems.

That leaves plenty of areas of uncertainty, such as how much change? how fast? What about specific phenomena, like hurricanes? Or in specific places, like the US southwest? And there are uncertainties on the policy side, how much would it cost to stabilizae? Is it political will or technology at the core?

There are countless uncertainties, even in the presence of a well established core of knowledge. So note that my view is very much that of the IPCC. I am not a climate scientist, so I defer to the IPCC assessment on these matters, which for all of its flaws, remains the best and most authoritative summary of the science. Note that of course the IPCC could be wrong (on either side of the issue), and this simply adds another layer of uncertainties. So the IPCC view sets the stage for post-normal science.

In the debate there are those who like to exaggerate uncertainties and exaggerate certainties, and often they debate these issues, rather than policies than are robust to uncertainties. In other words, we can make progress without everyone agreeing on all of the science issues.

I hope this makes sense. If not, ask again!

All best,

Roger

44 comments:

Craig 1st said...

At least you weren't threaten with the fires of a peer-review do loop for your apostasy.

eric144 said...

I do not believe that any urgent decisions about global warming are required. The small possibility of future problems caused by Co2 emissions can be dealt with if and when they arise.

If you disagree Roger, you deserve to be a last minute call for Team USA and play against Didier Drogba. That will entail more physical stress and pain than you can handle :-)

Roddy said...

I'm sorry - but who is this Ian Murphy?

To write that article following that email exchange is just creepy.

Ian Murphy said...

Dearest Roger,
What an interesting post! I guess my disingenuous emails belong to the ages now.
I love you,
Ian Larry Murphy

jstults said...

who is this Ian Murphy?
Who cares? Roger's link probably doubled his page views...

I think the gut reaction a lot of people have against 'post normal science' when they first hear it is that they think it's about science (easily forgiven since that is in the name), when it is really about decision making.

kicked in the nuts in the present
How creative! He must be about 14.

Craig 1st said...

jstults--

Thinking about that kick is enough to make the bell clanger hit a sour note.

mike roddy said...

I don't know who the "Roddy" commenter is above, but it's not me, Mike Roddy.

I will take some time to think about a response and submit it to this blog. You probably won't like it, Roger, but it would seem only fair that I be given a chance to weigh in here.

mike roddy said...

The "Roddy" commenter above is not me, Mike Roddy, the coauthor of the widely read "14 Most Heinous Climate Villains" piece, which, as noted above, originally included Roger.

In case my prior comment did not go through, I will take some time to prepare a response.

Nandra said...

So, call me confused. The dates on the emails are during the January through March period. Why is this old exchange of opinions relevant now?

Richard Tol said...

I guess that Ian Smith's job is to make Joe Romm look respectable.

markbahner said...

"And Joe Romm characterizes your policy positions as ones that will result in a 5-7 degree Celsius rise in global temp."

God has spoken! (Oh, brother.)

P.S. It's interesting that God is not willing to bet on His predictions. One would think that such predictions would be a Sure Thing (as A.A. Milne would write it).

mike roddy said...

The recent NAS letter on climate change states that

"When someone says that society should wait until scientists are absolutely certain before taking any action, it is the same as saying that society should never take action".

This is why most climate scientists don't like you, Roger. By dwelling on uncertainty, and implying that the science in some way is not "settled", a perfect excuse is made to do nothing. This is much more credible than, say, Monckton, but is equally damaging to doing something serious and perhaps difficult about rising CO2 and temperatures.

I would like to know the specifics of your proposals concerning adaptation and mitigation. Those are vague and weak sounding terms. As with Breakthrough, they do not appear to include difficult and temporarily costly efforts to make the desperately needed transition to renewable energy. For at least 20 years, the coal and oil companies have been putting this decision off into the future. We have to make serious changes now. By saying, let's listen to all sides, let's make sure the science is solid, let's do careful economic analysis to make sure it doesn't cost us anything... We're right back where we started, which is letting the fossil fuel companies call the shots.

That's why the original Most Heinous Climate Villains included you on the list, along with the Breakthrough Institute. I stand by that selection.

Mike M. said...

Hey, how do we know you're the Roddy from the Dark Side and not the Good Roddy who comments here? Prove yourself and show us the bitter anger we know and love from DotEarth.

Jonathan Gilligan said...

Regardless where one stands politically, everyone ought to speak out to condemn this kind of crap.

It might be tempting to laugh it off, since Murphy's blog is so clearly a puerile provocation, but Murphy's stunt deserves clear and unambiguous censure nonetheless.

Murphy's post is scurrilous and contributes to poisoning the waters for anyone trying to have a serious public discussion using his indoor voice.

Disingenuous email exchanges poison the waters further. It's important to be able to exchange views by email without worrying overmuch that one's words will be taken out of context and used to launch personal attacks.

That happened with the purloined CRU emails and it's happened here. Instead of actually grappling with Michael Mann's or Roger Pielke's work, some people resort to the ridiculous hyperbole of criminal indictments or physical assault.

Whatever became of the quaint customs of debating civilly with facts and reason rather than insults; of fairly and accurately representing your opponent's views; or of entertaining the notion that reasonable people might disagree about important matters without one of them being a monster?

There's altogether too little of any of these anywhere in the current debate over climate policy; and far too many, on all sides of the debate, aspire not to the debating style of Lincoln and Douglas, but of Charles Sumner and Preston Brooks.

Marlowe Johnson said...

Well said Jonathan. While i have serious disagreements with Roger wrt to his policy recommendations re AGW and his choice and coverage of related issues, Murphy's piece is outrageous both in terms of tone and content.

Nevertheless Roger I'm curious if you'd agree with an observation that he suggests Revkin made; namely that you're invoking PNS in the context of mitigation/adaptation policies rather than the WG I bits.

Is that correct? If so, I'd agree as I'm sure would most people. If not then once again we'll have to agree to disagree :)

Nicolas Nierenberg said...

Mike Roddy,

I have never heard Roger say that action needs to wait for certainty. Do you have a reference for that?

Also when you discuss policy actions, who do you see taking the action. It has been my experience that most Americans have an American centric view of this believing that unilateral action by the U.S. will somehow solve what is, in fact, a global issue.

Craig 1st said...

Nicolas Nierenberg -- 16

In my opinion your experience about Americans is utter rubbish. I have my examples at the ready, you first in support of your claim.

C3 said...

Roger, although I disagree with many of your statements/opinions, you're the antithesis of a villain, as one commenter labeled you.

You are a hero of anti-group think, which more persons should embrace, encourage and exhibit themselves. Yes, I find your opinions infuriating at times - keep it up, please.

(BTW, your post title is over-the- top, IMO. I'm sure you got a lot of hits, though.)

Bradley J. Fikes said...

A more accurate statement:

This is why most climate activists don't like you, Roger. By dwelling on uncertainty, and implying that the science in some way is not "settled", a perfect excuse is made to do nothing.

FIFY

Jonathan Gilligan said...

@Mike Roddy (#12):

I'll echo Nicholas Nierenberg (#16) in asking where you saw Roger saying anything like "society should wait until scientists are absolutely certain before taking any action."

I've been reading Roger's stuff for many years and he seems very consistent in arguing against "the false assumption that policymakers require reduced uncertainty in order to take action." Rather, he has clearly written that "the science of climate change is quite good enough to justify action," and goes so far as to suggest that "scientists [should] oppose research whose funding is predicated on the claim that action depends on further reduction of uncertainties."

More recently, in the Hartwell Paper, he and his colleagues wrote, "the Mauna Loa CO2 trend line alone justifies action to abate its rate of rise, even if---and, in fact, particularly because---we do not know for certain what its causal effects are or may be."

I don't know how much clearer Roger could be that action does not need to wait for complete certainty, or even for any more certainty about climate science than we already possess. One can disagree with Roger---I'm certainly no acolyte at his altar---but let's do so by arguing with what he actually wrote, not words someone else tried to put in his mouth.

Additionally, you criticize Roger's use of the terms "adaptation" and "mitigation," which you find "vague and weak sounding," without acknowledging that these are the very terms the IPCC uses to describe WG2 and WG3, respectively.

I do share your concern in your last paragraph that Roger's proposed solutions are far too modest. However, this takes us completely out of the realm of climate science and into that of pure politics. We're arguing over what measures voters and political leaders around the world might support.

You also seem to mistake Roger's positive description of the way the political landscape is for a normative prescription of how he would like it to be.

Roger looks at the current state of affairs, in which voters and politicians strongly oppose the "difficult and temporary costs" of cleaning up the energy supply, and he is very pessimistic that this opposition might change much in the near future. This is a descriptive, not a prescriptive statement.

I hold onto the hope that the people might mobilize to support as rapid and radical a change in energy consumption and supply as we saw in race relations in the 1950s and 60s, when Martin Luther King, Jr., was advised to settle for modest measures on the ground that the American people were not ready for full equality and integration, yet swung for the fences nonetheless. You seem to share my hope and desire.

However, the facts---public opinion surveys and the accomplishments of domestic legislation and international diplomacy in the 12 years since the Kyoto protocol was finalized---support Roger's assessment of the factual state of affairs, so the onus is on us to prove that a much more ambitious program has any chance of success in Washington, Beijing, and other capitals around the world.

Jonathan Gilligan said...

@Nicholas Nierenberg (#16):

"It has been my experience that most Americans have an American centric view of this believing that unilateral action by the U.S. will somehow solve what is, in fact, a global issue."

Since other nations are unlikely to accept any arrangement in which their per-capita emissions are limited to less than those of the US; and since the US, Canada, and Australia have per-capita emissions so enormously larger than those of any other sizeable nation; achieving any kind of international agreement will require the U.S., Canada, and Australia to radically cut emissions while China and other populous developing nations grow theirs toward some ultimate convergence.

Thus, while American action is not sufficient to solve the problem, willingness by the U.S. to lead with dramatic cuts, while Chinese emissions continue to grow, is a necessary first step to any plausible international agreement to limit atmospheric CO2.

Bishop Hill said...

Mike Roddy said:
"By dwelling on uncertainty, and implying that the science in some way is not "settled", a perfect excuse is made to do nothing."

The recent press release by the Royal Society was quite clear that in their view the science is not settled.

eric144 said...

mike roddy

"This is why most climate scientists don't like you, Roger"

There must be thousands of climate scientists these days Mike, can you tell us the top 15 Charlie's Angels who told you they didn't like Roger.

How many did you ask ?

Hugh said...

Masterly.

A great exchange, and a good summary of your views. How you manage to be a brilliant skeptic and still not be called one is probably why you annoy alarmists like Mike Roddy so much.

But I do think calling a book The Honest Broker leads to confusion. It does sound like a single scientist can be one and having read the book and noted the way you use single and pleural terms I think it still confuses.

It is a good metaphor but it is not explicitly aligned to the group of scientists as opposed to a single scientist.

You are very precise in your language but that precision, as with the fraud vs fudge debate, leads to confusion in others.

But hey, that is no crime, it just means we need to read more carefully!

Love the football coverage, it is going to get mad here in the UK. Already numerous cars have St George flags flyinq.

mike roddy said...

To clarify:

Yes, I am the Mike Roddy that comments on Dot Earth. I have no problem with pissing people off, because truth is often uncomfortable.

Roger's niche is to occupy the middle ground, which includes those who are reluctant to act until further research- either in alternative energy or climate science itself- is completed.

In reality, there is no middle ground. If you study and understand the science of climate change, it becomes obvious that prompt and serious action is required. Roger instead finds an audience among those who are looking for an excuse to not make any changes, which is an intellectually scurrilous position.

The other issue, of course, is the people that Roger hangs out with- classic deniers such as Watts and McIntyre. That will give you a clue about where his heart is.

mike roddy said...

However, Roger, you could really be a force for good here. Things have become pretty obvious in the last year with regard to climate signals and political intransigence.

It's not too late for you to change, renounce people like Watts, accept the reality that has now become so clear, and move to act aggressively and rapidly to but a brake on emissions worldwide. We would all forgive you, and welcome your support. Due to your past positions, including influences from denier Dad, this switch would be big news, hearten a lot of people, and discredit others. Pielkology would go to the dustbin. What do you say?

Bradley J. Fikes said...

Is this guy Roddy posing as a caricature of a frustrated global warming activist, or is he serious? It's really hard to tell the difference anymore.

Recant and all will be forgiven, heretic Pielke!

jstults said...

Things have become pretty obvious...It's not too late...renounce...forgive...welcome...
It's a simple three-step process: Believe, Repent, and be Saved! Mike and Ian will welcome you with loving arms...

Harrywr2 said...

Jonathan Gilligan said... 21

"Since other nations are unlikely to accept any arrangement in which their per-capita emissions are limited to less than those of the US;"

No nation is going to accept limits on the prosperity of their citizens. Hence, absent a cost effective means to achieve some target, there will be no 'global' agreement.

Even if we had a global agreement, it would be unenforceable. No one is going to invade China because they exceeded their CO2 limits. No one is going to invade the US over CO2 either.

The only 'leadership' that will be effective is if someone works out how to reduce their CO2 emissions without negatively impacting the prosperity of their citizens.

Spain made a herculean effort to demonstrate the workability of a 'Green Economy'. Their unemployment rate is sitting at 20% and they are experiencing some 'civil unrest'.

Politicians are not going to vote for 20% unemployment and civil unrest regardless of the 'certainty of the science'.

Nicolas Nierenberg said...

Jonathan Gilligan makes my point. Action by the U.S. is required then we can see what others do. He would view it as pragmatic, I would see it as U.S. Centric.

The idea of China and India rising to meet the U.S. at some "middle ground" mathematically has no chance of achieving the 80% reduction from current output levels that is required simply to stabilize CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Certainly not in any time frame that matters.

The science is clear enough on this if someone were King of the World with absolute authority. What is needed to create action are policy proposals that would actually work. In the cases of Acid Rain and Ozone, there were policy solutions that were clear and could be taken. Those actions would clearly result in a solution to the problem. I have seen nothing close to such a proposal on the fossil fuel/CO2 issue.

Nicolas Nierenberg said...

Mike Roddy,

Again, I don't believe you have characterized Roger's position in any reasonable way. Your best argument seems to be guilt by association in that he is willing to occasionally reference people that you disagree with. It would seem more useful for you to actually find something that he has said that you disagree with.

Craig 1st said...

Nicolas Mierenberg - 30

"Jonathan Gilligan makes my point."

Actually, no. Your point was about unilateral action. JG's point was about leadership.

wattsupwiththat.com said...

Wow.

I carried several posts from Ravetz on WUWT. Maybe I should start wearing an athletic cup?

eric144 said...

Jonathan Gilligan

In my opinion, it is outrageous to compare the civil rights movement with corporate global warming.

It is farcical to equate great human beings like Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X with business operators like Al Gore (lifetime shill for Occidental Oil and hugely prolific earner since leaving the White House) or Rajendra Pachauri (on the Board of Directors of the Indian Oil Corporation when he joined the IPCC, plus many other alleged conflicts of interest). The scientists themselves are a public relations catastrophe.

There were huge demonstrations for civil rights, and similar against the Vietnam War, and millions protested the Iraq war. Where are Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, or 1970s ecopop icons Neil Young and Joni Mitchell ?

Is Lloyd Blankfield the Abbie Hoffman or Jerry Rubin of global warming ? Where is the movement ? In short, no one is protesting to save the planet from Co2, despite endless pro AGW propaganda.

Why do you think that is ?

Jonathan Gilligan said...

@Nicolas Nierenberg #30:

Curious that you cite ozone as an example to emulate. There, the U.S. led (e.g., banning CFC propellants in spray cans in 1978) long before there was any international agreement on the science, much less policy. Much of the rest of the world followed the U.S. lead many years later (Australia didn't ban CFCs in spray cans until 1989).

The series of protocols to implement the Vienna Convention had accommodations to allow former-Soviet and third-world countries to continue manufacturing and using CFCs long after the US, Europe and Japan had phased them out.

Also, it's worth noting that the original Montreal Protocol would not have stabilized CFCs by 2100, and thus was not remotely a solution to the problem; merely a first step. It was only under the 1990 London revisions that sufficient emissions cuts were agreed upon to reduce atmospheric concentrations.

This was the model envisioned for Kyoto: initially cutting emissions, but not sufficiently to stabilize concentrations or solve the problem, followed by later rounds of negotiation in which further cuts sufficient to stabilize atmospheric concentrations would be considered in light of experience with the first round of cuts.

CO2 is, of course, a much harder nut to crack because CFCs were only a global market of a few billion dollars and inexpensive replacement compounds were much more plausible than inexpensive renewable energy sources. But your comment does strike me as curious, given the extent to UNFCCC and Kyoto clearly drew from the experience with the 1985 Vienna Convention to Protect the Ozone Layer and to which the two treaties shared many similar strengths and weaknesses.

jgdes said...

I hate to be grubby but since Mike Roddy apparently sells solar panels then he is well placed to profit from any "difficult and temporarily costly efforts". I don't see Roger, Watts or McIntyre making any money from pointing out the clear errors, weaknesses and downright falsehoods in the IPCC documents. That's the real reason for the hate-mongering of course :- exposing the weak underbelly of the case for action.

If only they'd realize it wasn't doubts that stalled Copenhagen it was because the main priority for India and China is to reduce poverty and that involves burning a lot of coal.

I too would like to know anyones "specifics of proposals concerning adaptation and mitigation". All we ever seem to get is 'we need cuts in CO2 therefore we need cap and trade and if you oppose that you are a killer of unborn children'. It rarely gets any more sophisticated. There are vast armies of penpushers spending their days repeating the same 'we need cuts' mantra in various imaginative ways but with not a single, coherent plan between them for achieving said cuts. Of course greenpeace have a nice new plan on their site and maybe that could be discussed.

Probably Mike's home state of California will be voluntarily showing the way ahead to the rest of us again. Unfortunately they seem to keep being baulked by petty environmental activists and even pettier bureaucrats.

eric144 said...

Disclosure: I finance utility scale solar thermal in the desert, through *******


Mike Roddy


http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/02/clean-energy-project-rules-for-california/

LOL !

Industry funded hysteria and personal abuse. Call this number ...

Richard Tol said...

-25- Mike Roddy
"If you study and understand the science of climate change, it becomes obvious that prompt and serious action is required."

I've studied climate change for 20 years now. Nothing is ever obvious about climate policy, but this I've learned: Deep and swift cuts in emissions cannot be justfied, and calling for them is probably counterproductive.

Nicolas Nierenberg said...

Jonathan, I will accept your history on the ozone issue as I haven't studied it closely. But they key point is not the process by which international agreement was gained. The key point is the feasibility of the solution. As you point out it was a relatively inexpensively replacement technology, that was manufactured by just a few countries. The solution was, quite simply, to replace it.

So if there had been a relatively inexpensive replacement for fossil fuels then perhaps the same approach would have worked.

Frontiers of Faith and Science said...

Reading 'Miike Roddy' is an excursion into the miasma of the extremist mind.

markbahner said...

"If you study and understand the science of climate change, it becomes obvious that prompt and serious action is required."

I "study and understand the science of climate change" and my conclusion to this point is that climate change is probably the most overblown problem in the history of environmental study. I wouldn't even put it in the top three environmental problems, or the top ten overall problems in the world today.

For example, the main reasons to reduce coal usage (for example) have nothing to do with climate change. Coal mining environmental problems and conventional air pollution from coal burning (e.g. particulate, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide) are much more significant problems.

EliRabett said...

Nicholas, at the time of the Montreal Protocols CFC production in the developing world, (China, India, etc.) was ramping up, so no, it was not so simple. In the aftermath Fred Singer and friends went on forever about how China and India were cheating.

The more it changes, the more it is the same.

omniclimate said...

Why, Murphy has his own Wikipedia entry where he's characterized as "gonzo journalist", i.e. "tends to favor style over accuracy", "strives for the gritty factor". What more,"use of quotations, sarcasm, humor, exaggeration, and profanity is common".

In other words, the poor chap is an otherwise decent guy (as per his e-mails) but as a writer is prisoner of a reporting style. To be surprised at the incredibly tasteless content and style of his articles, it's like to be surprised that a French journalist interviews Roger via e-mail in English and then writes an article in French.

If that's what the readers want, that's what and how the guy's going to write.

Paradoxically, the only way to respect Murphy as a human being, is to make him a figure of fun.

omniclimate said...

For the record, thanks to the inspiring gonzo, I have now transformed the barrage of questions about being a climate denier in a Facebook quiz: Twenty Steps of Climate Denial. Enjoy!

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