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The IPCC May Have Outlived its Usefulness - An Interview with Judith Curry

By James Stafford | Mon, 27 February 2012 23:22 | 39

As the global warming debate increases in its intensity we find both sides deeply entrenched, hurling accusations and lies at one another in an attempt to gain the upper hand. This divide within the scientific community has left the public wondering who can be trusted to provide them with accurate information and answers.
The IPCC, the onetime unquestioned champion of climate change, has had its credibility questioned over the years, firstly with the climategate scandal, then with a number of high profile resignations, and now with the new “Gleickgate” scandal (1) (2) – One has to wonder where climate science goes from here?

We have just had the pleasure of interviewing the well known climatologist Judith A. Curry in order to get her thoughts on climate change, the IPCC, geo-engineering, and much more.
Judith is the current chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and hosts sensible discussions on climate change at her popular blog Climate, etc.
Considered somewhat of a black sheep within the scientific community Judith was a one time supporter of the IPCC until she started to find herself disagreeing with certain policies and methods of the organization. She feared the combination of groupthink and political advocacy, combined with an ingrained "noble cause syndrome" stifled scientific debate, slowed down scientific progress, and corrupted the assessment process.

OP: What are your personal beliefs on climate change? The causes and how serious a threat climate change is to the continued existence of society as we know it.

JC: The climate is always changing. Climate is currently changing because of a combination of natural and human induced effects. The natural effects include variations of the sun, volcanic eruptions, and oscillations of the ocean. The human induced effects include the greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, pollution aerosols, and land use changes. The key scientific issue is determining how much of the climate change is associated with humans. This is not a simple thing to determine. The most recent IPCC assessment report states: “Most [50%] of the warming in the latter half of the 20th century is very likely [>90%] due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.” There is certainly some contribution from the greenhouse gases, but whether it is currently a dominant factor or will be a dominant factor in the next century, is a topic under active debate, and I don’t think the high confidence level [>90%] is warranted given the uncertainties.

As I stated in my testimony last year: “Based upon the background knowledge that we have, the threat does not seem to be an existential one on the time scale of the 21st century, even in its most alarming incarnation.”

OP: You have said in the past that you were troubled by the lack of cooperation between organizations studying climate change, and that you want to see more transparency with the data collected. How do you suggest we encourage/force transparency and collaboration?

JC: We are seeing some positive steps in this regard. Government agencies that fund climate research are working to develop better databases. Perhaps of greatest interest is the effort being undertaken by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which is a (mostly) privately funded effort to compile and document a new data base on surface temperatures, in a completely open and transparent way.

OP. Do you feel climatologists should be putting more effort into determining the effect of the sun on our climate? As the IPCC primarily focuses on CO2 as the cause of climate change – Is the importance of CO2 overestimated and the importance of the sun is underestimated?

JC: I absolutely think that more effort is needed in determining the effect of the sun on our climate. The sun is receiving increased attention (and funding), and there is a lively debate underway on interpreting the recent satellite data record, reconstructing past solar variability, and predicting the solar variability over the 21st century. Nearly all of the solar scientists are predicting some solar cooling in the next century, but the magnitude of the possible or likely cooling is hotly debated and highly uncertain.

OP: You are well known in climate and energy circles for breaking from the ranks of the IPCC and questioning the current information out there. What do you see as the reasons for the increase in skepticism towards global warming over the last few years.

JC: Because of the IPCC and its consensus seeking process, the rewards for scientists have been mostly in embellishing the consensus, and this includes government funding.  Because of recent criticisms of the IPCC and a growing understanding that the climate system is not easily understood, an increasing number of scientists are becoming emboldened to challenge some of the basic conclusions of the IPCC, and I think this is a healthy thing for the science.

OP. What are your views on the idea that CO2 may not be a significant contributor to climate change? How do you think such a revelation, if true, will affect the world economy, and possibly shatter public confidence in scientific institutions that have said we must reduce CO2 emissions in order to save the planet?

JC: Personally, I think we put the CO2 stabilization policy ‘cart’ way before the scientific horse. The UN treaty on dangerous climate change in 1992 was formulated and signed before we even had ‘discernible’ evidence of warming induced by CO2, as reported in 1995 by the IPCC second assessment report.  As a result of this, we have only been considering one policy option (CO2 stabilization), which in my opinion is not a robust policy option given the uncertainties in how much climate is changing in response to CO2.

OP. There has been quite a bit of talk recently on geo-engineering with entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson pushing for a “plan B” which utilizes geo-engineering to manipulate the environment in order to cool the atmosphere.
Geo-engineering could be much cheaper than reducing emissions, and also much quicker to produce results and scientists are lobbying governments and international organizations for funds to experiment with various approaches, such as fertilizing the oceans or spraying reflective particles and chemicals into the upper atmosphere in order to reflect sunlight and heat back into space. What are your thoughts on geo-engineering? Is it a realistic solution to solving climate change or is it a possible red herring?

JC: With regards to geo-engineering, there are two major concerns. The first is whether the technologies will actually work, in terms of having the anticipated impact on the climate. The second is the possibility of unintended consequences of the geoengineering.

OP. You have been noted to criticize the IPCC quite openly in the past on several topics.
Even going so far as to say: “It is my sad conclusion that opening your mind on this subject (climate change controversy) sends you down the slippery slope of challenging many aspects of the IPCC consensus.”
Do you believe that the organization as a whole needs to be assessed in order to better serve progress on climate change? What suggestions do you have on how the organization should function?

JC: The IPCC might have outlived its usefulness. Lets see what the next assessment report comes up with.  But we are getting diminishing returns from these assessments, and they take up an enormous amount of scientists’ time.

OP. Would renewable energy technologies have received the massive amounts of funding we have seen over the last few years without global warming concerns?

JC: I think there are other issues that are driving the interest and funding in renewables, including clean air and energy security issues and economics, but I agree that global warming concerns have probably provided a big boost.

OP. What do you believe are the best solutions to overcoming/reversing climate change; is a common consensus needed in order to effectively combat climate change?

JC: The UN approach of seeking a global consensus on the science to support an international treaty on CO2 stabilization simply hasn’t worked, for a variety of reasons.  There are a range of possible policy options, and we need to have a real discussion that looks at the costs, benefits and unintended consequences of each. Successful solutions are more likely to be regional in nature than global.

OP. I saw an interesting comment on another site regarding climate science that i thought i’d get your opinion on as it raises some very interesting arguments:
Climate science has claimed for 30 years that it affects the safety of hundreds of millions of people, or perhaps the whole planet. If it gets it wrong, equally, millions may suffer from high energy costs, hunger due to biofuels, and lost opportunity from misdirected funds, notwithstanding the projected benefits from as yet impractical renewable energy.
Yet, we have allowed it to dictate global policy and form a trillion dollar green industrial complex - all without applying a single quality system, without a single performance standard for climate models, without a single test laboratory result and without a single national independent auditor or regulator. It all lives only in the well known inbred, fad-driven world of peer review.

JC: I agree that there is lack of accountability in the whole climate enterprise, and it does not meet the standards that you would find in engineering or regulatory science. I have argued that this needs to change, by implementing data quality and model verification and validation standards.

OP: Do you believe that the language used in papers and at conferences is a problem? The public just wants straight answers to questions: Is the climate warming, By how much, and what will the effects be? Scientists need to step out from behind the curtain and engage the public with straight answers and in their own words. Is this achievable, or is climate science too complex to be explained in laymen’s terms? Or is it because even climate scientists can’t agree on the exact answers?

JC: I think the biggest failure in communicating climate science to the public has been the reliance on argument from consensus.  We haven’t done a good job of explaining all this, particularly in the context of the scientific disagreement

OP: What resources would you recommend to people who wish to get a balanced and objective view on climate science and climate change.

JC: There is no simple way to get a balanced and objective view, since there are so many different perspectives.  I think my blog Climate Etc. at judithcurry.com is a good forum for getting a sense of these different perspectives.

Thank you Judith for taking the time to speak to us. For those who wish to engage in balanced discussion on climate related issues we recommend you visit Judith’s blog Climate etc

I should mention that there was no fee exchanged for this interview – Oilprice.com has no affiliation with any oil, gas or energy majors and has been in contact with Judith for some time now and it was our pleasure to speak to her about her views on climate science and why the climate community needs to work together to solve the problems facing humanity.

Visit our homepage for the latest oil prices and energy news.

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  • Fred Banks on February 28 2012 said:
    Funny, isn't it. I'm the leading academic energy economist in the world, and I NEVER give a second's thought to climate change.

    One of the reasons why is a conclusion reached in this interesting article: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET A BALANCED AND OBJECTIVE VIEW OF THE TOPIC. So why bother?

    The same is true of just about all of the energy topics, especially natural gas and nuclear.(Oil has fortunately become a bit different.) The reason of course is the sad state of higher education, and in particular the failure to introduce LOGIC into the educational curriculums as a mandatory subject for everybody.

    I can remember with enormoust fondness those days and nights I spent studying logic after being expelled from engineering school for failing just about everything there was to be failed twice, and waiting to go into the army. Learning that subject was almost as valuable as learning to do pushups.
  • Kevin Hearle on February 28 2012 said:
    Pity the politicians don't take the advice of a balanced view as espoused by Judith, Policy might benefit from a little more Curry and a lot less Pachuari.
  • tomwys on February 28 2012 said:
    Fred: I take issue with your suggestion "So why bother?" Not using your own knowledge of Science and Logic and not bothering to form an opinion just leaves the future in the hands of those who do, and most are in an apparent cabal to do you (and the planet) harm, or at the very least, lighten your wallet. Abdication is not a useful policy - take Judith's actions for a decent example - well reasoned, non-histrionic, "Lindzen-like" observation and conclusions where appropriate.

    My great fear is when the CO2 oriented attack collapses, as it is already beginning to do, EPA's (now minimal) concentration on real pollutants and carcinogens will be similarly discredited. Not a good thing!

    The stunning disconnect between steadily rising CO2 and (Hadley CRU, GISS, NOAA, take your pick) flatlining temperatures over the past 15 years is waking up the population. Phil Jones' latest declaration of 95% confidence in temperature rise (taking a longer time sequence sample) is ringing hollow, and as 2012 is already downtrending to the lower end of the < 0.2C > surface temperature range of the last 15 years, his claim appears to be just some more AGW foolishness.
  • roy ostrom on February 28 2012 said:
    The IPCC should be closed.But, those above must know that a grab sample of opinion is much less than a rigorous statistical conclusion Myself, i prefer to start with the first law of Energy using Earth as the control volume,including man's energy release and Co2 and carbolic
    acid energy retention.
    Roy Ostrom PE[ret]MS Astronautical Engineering
  • Jerrymat on February 28 2012 said:
    Those who say that the global warming skeptics are deniers of science, do not understand the nature of science.

    Let's compare a recent scientific finding and see the difference. An experiment at CERN, in Switzerland, seemed to show that there might be evidence to give doubt to a premise of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. The evidence seemed to show that a subatomic particle could move faster than the speed of light, thereby invalidating a fundamental idea. Notice that all the nuclear scientists did not file a report with the United Nations demanding that everyone believe this or risk being called a science denier. No, instead they looked for a possible flaw in their evidence. It seems they have found it in a component and the headlines say it may be a flaw in data collecting due to a loose wire.

    This shows science working in the manner it uses best: make hypotheses, set up tests, measure and analyze results. If the results are inconclusive or inconsistent analyze the results and sometimes re-perform the the experiment or design new ones.

    In contrast, the climate scientists are working on the hypothesis that CO2 produced by humans is causing and will cause in the future an increase in the temperature of the atmosphere. That is a perfectly valid hypothesis. Yet they have not tested it.

    They have played with fancy computers to predict a possible future set of events and then declared they have done science by, essentially, making a series of hypotheses. It turns out that virtually all of these predictions: climate warming, sea warming, sea level rise, decreased ice at poles, etc. have failed for more than a decade. The logical thing to do would be to go back to the first step and question their original opinions. Rather they declare a consistency of scientific opinion and issue reports that the U.N. uses to try to effect political and economic results. This is clearly not science.
  • Oliver K. Manuel on February 28 2012 said:
    The purpose of the IPCC was to advance a social engineering decision reached in ~1971 to avoid the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation by these actions:

    1. End the arms race
    2. End the Apollo space program
    3. Unite Nations against global climate change
    4. Base future government policies on outout of
    __ a. "Manageable" computer models of Nature, not
    __ b. "Unmanageable" experimental observations of Nature

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/Climategate_Roots.pdf

    Former President Eisenhower warned of this potential danger to our society in 1961. His speech is the first video in this historical summary of the distortions that culminated in Climategate in Nov 2009:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/Summary_of_Career.pdf

    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo
  • Allencic on February 28 2012 said:
    What a wonderful, sensible and honest interview. The more I follow AGW the more I'm convinced that the climate models have a perfect analog in the famous Drake equation for determining extraterrestrial life. Fancy equation, lots of individual terms in the equation and not a single term that is anything but a WAG. Same with the climate models. Sure you can get an answer that can be out to many decimal places but the answer is still total nonsense. Climate or Drake, perfect examples of gigo. The world need more Judith Currys and fewer Al Gores. Or maybe no Al
    Gores.
  • Mel Tisdale on February 29 2012 said:
    Anyone who actually cares about what climate change might do to our children and grandchildren, and us to some extent, should go to skepticalscience.com. There you will find practically all the points made by Ms Curry dealt with calmly and clearly. In particular, look at the graph labelled ‘The Escalator’ and it will put a stop to any thoughts that the global temperature has ceased rising, unless of course it is a case of “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.” (It will also show just how lacking in scientific expertise, or devious, are those that say it has.)

    Just to highlight one point: Ms Curry is keen to agree with the interviewer that it could be due to the sun. Strange, considering that the sun has shown a slight cooling trend over the last 35 years while the temperature has risen inexorably. You would think that a climatologist would know this. Well, I suspect that she does and is just doing what the denialati do all the time i.e. deliberately trying to deceive.

    Very recently, a prominent denialati organisation, The Heartland Institute had its internal correspondence leaked to the press, and very revealing it was too, It showed just how deceitful the sceptics can be, where they get some their money from and who receives it. This interview with Ms Curry looks very much like a damage limitation exercise on their part. If it is, shame on her.

    The IPCC comprises the world’s leading climate scientists and the overwhelming majority of them (97%) are of the opinion that the world is warming and that we humans are responsible. It would be an act of utter folly to disband it now, no matter how much it would play into the hands of Ms Curry and her ilk. If we let climate change continue on its current trajectory, future generations will suffer terribly. For Ms Curry to say it is not urgent reflects a level of ignorance one would not expect from an expert. Thanks to the likes of her it might already be too late. Recently, a team of Russian scientists have found that there has been a dramatic increase in methane release in the Arctic. If this proves to be due to clathrate melting, it might be that we are going to see that continue to increase exponentially due to positive feedback and if so, heaven help us. The great dying at the end of the Permian is thought to be possibly due to such an occurrence and it killed 90% of marine species and 70% of land species. Bear that in mind when you bounce your grandchildren on your knee.

    Lord Monckton is a prominent member of the denialati. I recommend watching Lord Monckton Bunkum on YouTube. There you will see just how far the denialati will go in order to influence opinion and it seems to me that the above commenters must have been taken in by the likes of him and Ms Curry.
  • Bill Conley` on February 29 2012 said:
    Well Mel you dit it. You missed the whole entire point.
  • Jacques Voorhees on February 29 2012 said:
    Was that post from Mel Tisdale for real? That was either a brilliant parody of an alarmist troll (he even managed to work in that tired old 97% of whatever agree with whatever...), or--if it was for real--makes me think it was computer generated by some alarmist software bot. No rational alarmist would ever make the mistake of calling Judith Curry a denier. That would be like calling Andrew Revkin a denier. So it MUST have been a software bot, and not a real person. Or, if it was a parody of a troll...my hat is off to you, the satirist! Utterly brilliant and convincing, and five stars for entertainment value!
  • tomwys on February 29 2012 said:
    Sorry, Jacques, but the Tisdale troll serves to create interest, and I believe, does so intentionally. Amazing saying "... how deceitful the sceptics (sic) can be,..." when the Heartland material was obtained through outright deceit and add-on fabrication to boot!

    I also get asked about the lame 97% figure that hobbles into climate discourse weekly. My usual response is to source Senator Inhofe's list of dissenting scientists ( and I'm on that list (and pleased to be there too)). Then I say if Senator Inhofe's list of 1000 = 3%, then there must be more than 33,000 other scientists in the claimed 97% that we know nothing about in the climate field, so please get me their names. Usually I get silence after that!!!

    If you want to dig further, get a PDF by Andregga, Prall, Harold and Schneider, (google them) that probably is a more reliable source for the so called "97%" figure. With some real irony, only one of the authors can be considered to be even peripherally in the "Climate" field.

    Of course the major problem is the small number of eligible researchers considered, in this case only about 1000, and weighting according to articles published and cross-citations.

    Considering the funding sources for the research conducted, the bias towards AGW is VERY easy to predict, and the cross-citation ratio would be similarly biased and obviously multiply the result beyond the limits of decency.

    Extreme and moderate support of AGW is lumped together, while only extreme non-AGW statement support is considered in the counter AGW category.

    Fortunately, he remained quiet about Sea-Level. If he resurfaces on that topic, there should be much more worthy entertainment (maybe six stars???).
  • eyesonu on February 29 2012 said:
    Very good interview and responses by Dr. Curry.

    Readers should check out among several sites, WUWT.com, BishipHill.com, Climate Audit.com, and of course judithcurry.com.

    This will get you started. Make your own decisions.
  • ralfy on February 29 2012 said:
    Unfortunately, the NAS generally confirmed IPCC arguments. See

    http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/

    for details.
  • Laurie on February 29 2012 said:
    "The public just wants straight answers to questions: Is the climate warming, By how much, and what will the effects be? Scientists need to step out from behind the curtain and engage the public with straight answers and in their own words. Is this achievable, or is climate science too complex to be explained in laymen’s terms? Or is it because even climate scientists can’t agree on the exact answers?"

    I do wish Dr. Curry had answered this part of the question.

    Concerning the Mel Tisdale post, did someone pass around the new talking points memo? Please make sure Tisdale gets a copy including the Hearland update. That "big oil, Koch, big money" revelation has been deleted and the substitution point, "Gleick is a hero and sacrificial lamb" inserted.

    And you're right, Tisdale, I hate my children and my childrens' children, so I'll just hang on to my privately owned property, my retirement and my gas run car and let the chips fall where they may because I'll be dead soon anyway. "Anyone who actually cares about what climate change might do to our children and grandchildren..." How insulting can one be? Who told you insults change minds?
  • robert barclay on February 29 2012 said:
    We know that oceanic surface tension exists but is never mentioned. Would it have anything to do with the fact that surface tension blows the whole agw argument to bits. No feedback.
  • Ron Manley on February 29 2012 said:
    As a hydrologist who has worked with climate data my entire professional career I have a lot of respect for Judith Curry. The more I delve the more I more I find rough edges to the smooth story put out by warmists such as Mel Tisdale. There is no doubt that some of the recent warming has been caused by CO2, that more CO2 will lead to further warming and that more warming will lead to increased evaporation. At this point the consensus breaks down. The IPCC’s projections are predicated on the assumption that the extra water vapour will stay in the air and enhance the greenhouse effect; if the extra water vapour becomes precipitation the greenhouse effect will not be enhanced. Given the poor performance of climate models in simulating precipitation there is a high degree of uncertainty in the projections. (http://www.climatedata.info/Precipitation/Precipitation/global.html).

    There is also a second argument not related to the science. If people are happy to retire from Chicago (average temperature 50 F (10 C)) for Florida (average temperature (75 F (24 C)) and its hurricanes, would a few extra degree really be so harmful?
  • Mel Tisdale on February 29 2012 said:
    Re Bill Conley

    Of course my post was for real, my children and grandchildren are at real risk from climate change. I am extremely glad that I am not American, because there is going to come a time when the world is going to demand retribution for America's lack of leadership on this issue, and all that at a time when it is losing its ‘world leader’ mantle. Now there’s forward thinking at its best! If anything, America has strived to stop the world taking action despite the fact that it is going to severely affect the lives many of the world’s population. The fact that America will be among the least affected just goes to show how lacking in Christianity it is as a nation despite its deluded belief that God blesses it. It is edifying to watch the Republican Party parade its Christian credentials while forgetting to 'Do unto others as thy would be done by.' And it accuses others of being in "An axis of evil." Duh!

    I invite anyone who seriously thinks temperatures have stopped rising to explain the results from the GRACE satellites that show that we are losing 150 cubic miles of ice each year. Even the most fervent of climate deniers will have a job explaining that without rising temperatures.

    I am sorry that the fact that 97% if climate scientists are in agreement that climate change is real, human in origin and potentially dangerous rather spoils the denier position. Perhaps one day they might grow up a bit and be brave enough to admit that they are wrong. But bravery is not what one expects from a nation whose 'men' need guns to fight with. Hollywood is not real, sorry to disillusion you. And all the while sea levels are rising even faster than predicted and the seas are becoming more acidic, which, if it continues, will lead to a loss of marine life. (For 'marine life' think food. For 'food' think population growth.) This is something Ms Curry is obviously oblivious of. Some expert! You would think she would know how our pollution is doing more harm than simply changing the climate. Obviously not, otherwise she would not be taking the stance that she is. Ocean acidification might just become the most urgent reason for reducing atmospheric CO2.

    What can one expect when someone can make the claim: “I'm the leading academic energy economist in the world, and I NEVER give a second's thought to climate change.” Mind you, it is necessary to believe the claim before one gets too alarmed at just how dangerously stupid the claimant might be. We do know one thing about them, however, and that is that they obviously know nothing about climate change and therefore how climate change is going to dictate energy policy. I rather think a real expert energy economist, and the world’s leading one at that, would have an in-depth knowledge of climate change, if only because it is going to dictate economic policy on energy supply. Perhaps they are not dangerously stupid, but severely deluded and certainly not the expert they claim to be.
  • Michael Petterson on February 29 2012 said:
    Actually Mel you missed a few issues. Let me point them out for you.you claim that "Heartland Institute had its internal correspondence" It was stolen by Peter Gleick as Gleick has already confessed that he impersonated a Heartland director; that, using that identity, he obtained confidential financial information from Heartland, including their donors’ list and records of their contributions; and that he disseminated that confidential information with the intention of making it public and that the information did become public. There is ample evidence that Gleick’s intent in making the information public was to damage Heartland by placing them in breach of their undertaking of confidentiality to their donors and to cause donors to withdraw from funding Heartland (as appears to have already happened with one donor.)

    These points are established quite separately from the further question of whether Gleick forged the Confidential Strategy memo (as many people, including Mosher and me, believe) and potential offences arising from that action.

    Inexperienced commentators might well argue at this point: Gleick didn’t actually remove Heartland’s list of donors or financial records; therefore, he didn’t deprive them of any property; ergo, no offence. Unfortunately for Gleick, it isn’t as simple as that.

    Also you claim that "The IPCC comprises the world’s leading climate scientists and the overwhelming majority of them (97%) are of the opinion that the world is warming and that we humans are responsible"
    Can you prove that? I'd like to see proof that clearly and concisely proves your claim in black and white.
  • tempterrain on February 29 2012 said:
    Once upon a time Judith Curry would write articles for the Washington Post berating the so-called scepticism of people Bjorn Lomborg saying things like

    " I have yet to see any option that is worse than ignoring the risk of global warming and doing nothing."

    Judith Curry, now, isn't like she was in her previous personality. She's somehow convinced herself that the science has changed and what was the worst option in 2007 is somehow the best option in 2012.
  • Robert G on February 29 2012 said:
    Not only has the IPCC outlived it's usefulness (that happened on day one), it's also time that those lying criminals be jail for the fraud they have committed against the world.
  • stanS on February 29 2012 said:
    I am not a scientist just an ordinary person with enough intelligence to know Co2 is not a pollutant
    By all means lets get rid of all Co2 that way we will kill every kind of life and all vegetation on the planet.You will most likely say what a stupid statement,i would agree because it would be impossible to do so.97% of Co2 is created by nature 3% by human activity world wide.How absolutely arrogant of human kind to think their puny efforts can change nature.I would agree the IPCC is well passed it's use by date,the scientists who have manipulated the data (climategate and climategate 2) and ignored huge chunks of past events are a disgrace to their profession.The UN is also a body that as it stands,is also well past its use by date.A body of unelected people who's only agenda is world domination.How many more times will the IPCC have to be proven wrong before the Governments of the developed nations admit their rhetoric is rubbish.We are now in a cooling period and have been since 1998,but will the scientists employed by the UN agree no of cause they won't,why should they,they are employed by the UN because they agree with them and any scientist's that don't are immediately given the boot.It's about time the so called intelligent Governments of the world followed Canada and told the UN what they can do with the Kyoto Protocol and any other ludicrous plan they come up with.These,as an ordinary person with a modicum of intelligence,are my thoughts on the subject.
    Just to add i would agree with Robert G,it is about time the lieing,deceitful people that call themselves scientists were jailed for the fraud they have commited against the world.
  • Jose Ortiz, physics student at UW on February 29 2012 said:
    You guys make it sound like there is some kind of CONTROVERSY within the scientific community: "This divide within the scientific community has left the public wondering who can be trusted to provide them with accurate information and answers.

    Furthurmore, you guys actually think its alright to put forth your beliefs, eg "OP: What are your personal beliefs on climate change?"

    As a physics and engineering student at the University of Washington, I can assure you that the fact that HUMAN-CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE IS BEING TAUGHT AS CONSENSUS SCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY LEVEL is more than enough reason to believe that there is no controversy anymore: Those who choose to ignore/ are ignorant of the measurements, data, theory, and supercomputer models that have been exceedingly scrutinized and have passed all logical tests are not qualified to say anything about the validity of climate change. I can assure you that whatever your beliefs may be, human-caused-and-accelerated climate change has been very well studied, and the consensus among the scientific community leaves no room for logical speculation about its validity. The IPCC represents the consensus findings of 600-700 scientists from around the world, in contact with a dozen supercomputer climate models and the largest and most diverse collection of data in history. There consensus AS OF 2007 was clear enough that year's "sythesis report" : "Summary for Policymakers":

    Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is
    now evident from observations of increases in global
    average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting
    of snow and ice and rising global average sea level
    (Figure SPM.1).

    PLEASE READ THIS SUMMARY IF YOU ARE ON THE FENCE - If you have the logical maturity to do so.

    - undergraduate physics student, Jose Ortiz
  • Ron Manley on March 01 2012 said:
    Mel Tisdale "I invite anyone who seriously thinks temperatures have stopped rising to explain the results from the GRACE satellites that show that we are losing 150 cubic miles of ice each year. Even the most fervent of climate deniers will have a job explaining that without rising temperatures."

    Since the global volume of ice is around 7.5 million cubic miles can you explain why losing 0.002 % per year of it a year is sign of impending catastrophe?
  • geronimo on March 01 2012 said:
    As with all things coming from the alarmist camp the "97% of climate scientists agree" meme needs to be examined and conclusions drawn appropriately. As far as I'm aware it was from a paper by Doran et al of the University of Maryland. They asked 10000+ scientists two questions, 1. Do they believe it is warming and 2. Do they believe that the warming is substantially caused by humans.

    3000+ responded, but for reasons no clear, Doran et al reduced this to working climatologists, of which they decided there were 79. Incredibly 77 out of the 79 agreed to both questions, hence we have 97% of climate scientists.

    I leave you to draw your own conlcusions about the merit, or otherwise, of a study that asks 10000 people their opinion and ends up publishing the opinion of only 79 of them.
  • geronimo on March 01 2012 said:
    "As a physics and engineering student at the University of Washington, I can assure you that the fact that HUMAN-CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE IS BEING TAUGHT AS CONSENSUS SCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY LEVEL is more than enough reason to believe that there is no controversy anymore."

    Jose, when you graduate there is no doubt in my mind that you'll take a much more humble view of universities than you appear to now. For a start, if you stay in academic life, you will become aware of the day to day hunger for money to keep the university going that pervades every minute of the day for departmental heads. Then, you might be able to connect what is taught at the university is what brings money into the university.

    Anyway, with a gazillion of mistakes and misunderstandings behind me I am willing to overlook the youthful arrogance of the above statement because of your lack of experience. Just one word of advice though, humility will always trounce arrogance, if you are humble about your assertions and you prove to be wrong then you'll be forgiven.
  • Ryan on March 01 2012 said:
    Perhaps Curry should just stick to opinions she has actually published and defended. Heck, even some of her claims here are directly contradicted by the BEST report last year that she helped author. This malarkey about the sun? Yes, people are investigating the sun, and it is not a significant(or even positive) forcing in the multi decadal range at the present time. Repeatedly claiming that something "should be looked into" while completely ignoring the conclusions being reached by people who have looked into it just makes you look incompetent to people who follow the literature.
  • tempterrain on March 01 2012 said:
    StanS, So you have enough intelligence to know that CO2 is not a pollutant because it occurs naturally?

    Do you have enough intelligence not to want to breathe in ozone? I wouldn't recommend it. However, ozone does occur naturally in the atmosphere and at the right concentrations and the right height, in the atmosphere, plays an essential role in attenuating levels of harmful UV light.

    Do you have enough intelligence to read Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Goldilocks had the intelligence to understand that sometimes things have to be just right. Not too little and not too much.
  • Fred Banks on March 01 2012 said:
    You got it right that time, Mr Geronimo. I was walking down Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago one day about a hundred years ago, and ran into one of my fellow students from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. It seems that all except a few of our classmates had left the academic world and were concentrating on the great world of money. How well they were concentrating is another matter however.

    If (academic)physics and engineering was what Jose mistakenly things that it is, at least half of the classmates would probably still be integrating and differentiating. The sad fact is that physics and engineering students obtain educations only slightly better than students of economics and finance, and gentlemen, students of econ and finance get zip for the most part.
  • spalding craft on March 01 2012 said:
    "I can assure you that the fact that HUMAN-CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE IS BEING TAUGHT AS CONSENSUS SCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY LEVEL is more than enough reason to believe that there is no controversy anymore."

    WRONG. If there were ever a bastion of conventional wisdom, it is higher education in America. If you choose to believe it and not exam it on your own, then that's obviously your business.
  • admrich on March 02 2012 said:
    Jose Ortiz, you state => "I can assure you that the fact that HUMAN-CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE IS BEING TAUGHT AS CONSENSUS SCIENCE AT THE UNIVERSITY LEVEL is more than enough reason to believe that there is no controversy anymore"

    Can you tell us accurately to what extent they are changing & likewise accurately what the impact & implications are for us all.

    Climate-change isn't at all being argued by many so-called Skeptics & Deniers. Neither is human contribution to factors with capacity to contribute to Climate Change. You'd know this if you were asking questions & thinking about what you are being told.

    So-called Skeptics & Deniers are indeed questioning the extent of Climate Change & the level of human contribution to Climate Change & whether CO2 is the only 'forcer' of significance.

    For others => "The 97% number stems from a 2009 online survey of 10,257 earth scientists, conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois. The survey results must have deeply disappointed the researchers – in the end, they chose to highlight the views of a subgroup of just 77 scientists, 75 of whom thought humans contributed to climate change. The ratio 75/77 produces the 97% figure that pundits now tout."

    A good read from Dr Roy Spencer one of the men responsible for those Satellite Temperatures mentioned often. He makes 19 points worth considering in all your reading =>
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/07/my-global-warming-skepticism-for-dummies/

    At least with Judith Curry, Roy Spencer & others such as Pielke Sr, Pielke Jr, Ross McKitrick & Stephen McIntyre there is some balance, openness & honesty in all that they say & a willingness, as there should be in real science, to consider the unknowns & investigate/consider more than the accepted knowns.
  • tempterrain on March 02 2012 said:
    Spalding Craft,

    You can't blame those in higher education for teaching what might be termed conventional wisdom. Sure, CW ,is not an infallible guide to the truth. Sometimes, it can be wrong, but it's the best there is and most times it is right. If it isn't, as with well quoted examples like tectonic plate theory, the causes of stomach ulcers etc, any errors are corrected and science does get there in the end.

    There's been a similar process with climate science too. Arrhenius first proposed that CO2 emissions would cause global warming at the start of the 20th century. However, the 'conventional wisdom', which followed in subsequent decades was that the C02 effect was already saturated and so human emissions were essentially benign. It was later realised in the late 20th century that he'd been qualitatively, if not quantitatively, right all along.

    Where else would you say CW has it wrong? Darwinian Evolution, AIDS/HIV, Smoking and health ?
  • tempterrain on March 02 2012 said:
    "I staunchly support the IPCC....."

    Did Judith Curry really say that?

    http://insiderinterviews.nationaljournal.com/2009/12/email-controversy-divides.php
  • Jose Ortiz on March 02 2012 said:
    A properly trained scientist, the vast majority, will predict no more climate change than is born from a predictive model. This is where supercomputer models are changing everything. Before, the inability to perform the billions of calculations necessary to make a model applicable to the real world were impossible to do fast enough, and thus, predictions could vary wildly. On the other hand, the dozen or so supercomputer climate models give strong agreement in predictions. Predicting accurately the last 100 years of the climate is just one test for these models, a test they have passed with surprising precision. Take a real look if you believe there is little precision in modern climate science: The bounds on future estimates are based on calculations of what is physically probable, taking into account more things than I am qualified to talk about. Basically, quantitative sciences are exceedingly good at calculating within physics-defined bounds what will happen. Since these bounds are derived sensibly, and the predictions are based on a physical model that has been verified exhaustively in its wide-ranging historical calculations, these models should represent to some degree what will actually happen.

    However, your belief in the accuracy of these models depends on your experience with critically analyzing physical theories. Most likely maybe you haven't put that much time in learning the background of these models, and maybe don't have that much experience with their successes. Noone blames for not being a scientist...
    But scientists HAVE to do this. Their beliefs in the strength of predictions, models, and theories are based on precise correlation with measurements the real world.

    Universities go into lengthy detail about "how likely to be reality is this theory/model/predictions" because if this doesn't happen, physical science falls apart. It breaks down into controversy over opinions, which is what has happened OUTSIDE of science. I consider this article to be representative of that, looking inwards on a community that has -=nearly=- unanimously agreed on the power of the "standard Model of climate change". The scientist mentioned in this article serves good purpose in science. Skeptics retest theories. However, when articles use skeptics to support unfounded notions, like "we don't know very well the extent of human climate change, what will happen, what's your 'opinion' on climate change, science is fragmented/bullshit" and really this isn't helping anyone. you guys are perpetuating this bullshit that lets people act irresponsibly, misusing natural resources in their justified naivety. the best people to describe, interpret, and predict physical reality are the scientists, and their conclusions are forever-waiting public acceptance, especially where it goes against peoples "beliefs" or rather unfounded conclusions, over and over again.
  • WhenTheEagleFlies on March 06 2012 said:
    Deniers of climate change spend too much time worrying about what the other side is planning. We are all human: Change has to be forced upon us by something much larger than legislation. Without an imminent threat to our comfort level, no concerted effort to bring about change will ever happen. Five years away is an eternity and America in particular has no history of planning ahead. Why would it start now?
  • Jose Ortiz on March 06 2012 said:
    Just to add to what has been said, here's a Q&A with whoever is willing to participate.

    Q: Could science be the best way to measure and describe reality, and thus the most accurate way to predict changes in the physical world? (Yes/No)

    A1: Yes. See the definition of science.

    A2: No. Science does not accurately describe reality.
    --> you apparently literally don't know the first thing about science, and don't have a good grasp on objective reality. You probably don't know very much about reality (and if you think you do know something, try making a physical prediction and measuring it! Your doing science!).

    A3: No. Science is corrupt.
    --> The last time science was corrupted was during Nazi suppression of "jewish science," during which scientists were killed on the findings of their experiments that disagreed with Nazi philosophy. Even when science's funding is corrupt, its findings adhere to reality. Scientists who are not objective in their findings are useless at describing reality, and thus are rejected by the community as "black sheep". Even the most unpopular scientific ideas (like Einstein's "jewish" theory of relativity within Nazi German physics) are seen as probably reality if they are supported by measurements. (Sadly, religion and politics do not operate with so much intellectual integrity..)


    Q: Is it working at measuring the rate of climate change, the portions of its various causes, and making predictions?

    Possible answers

    A1) No, science does not know enough about climate change to do any of this, or is in too-much controversy to be taken seriously. The IPCC should not be taken seriously.

    ---> Sorry, scientists actually are good figuring out how much they know by using the usual methods (testing predictions, gathering more measurements). Since the IPCC is a volunteer panel of 2000 scientists from around the world, and because its publications are heavily peer-reviewed (they are reporting reality for free and judging each other's arguments, not selling some skewed half-baked version of it), its reports' contents show that the community is at consensus about all the things they published. Since scientist's jobs are to figure out reality, plain and simple, the IPCC's views reflect reality, as they are based on measurements of reality and verified predictions.

    A2) No, science is corrupt, its scientists are paid to produce lies, and whatever the IPCC agrees on is probably not reality.

    --> You have no idea what were paid to do, apparently. Our jobs are simple to explain. We try to figure out what is -really- going on. We cannot, however, agree on lie (something that simply isn't happening), no matter how well-funded that lie is: we think ideas are real when the are supported by measurements and have been well-tested. We have responsibly come to agreement over the last couple decades about many aspects of climate change, and the IPCC's report reflects this.

    A3) Yes. I believe the IPCC has objective reports that are accurate in describing reality. Its findings should be taken as fact. (in this case, are you familiar with its reports?)

    Q)"But Judith Curry says ______"

    A)What? What does she say? That scientific consensus is too-heavily relied on? That the IPCC's reports are having a hard time finding new material? That "I don’t think the high confidence level [>90%] is warranted given the uncertainties."? What is she saying exactly? She obviously gives the IPCC credit where its logically imperative to do so, and does very little in falsifying the organization's findings, although the article certainly tries to do this with her interview. Sorry that she's a scientist! Maybe you should have picked a better "black sheep" scientist, or rather a "black wolf" double-agent scientist who actually doesn't try to figure out reality. Judith Curry's work as a scientist is good, strong, objective work, look at her C.V. Shes a good scientist. Her exploitation by anti-IPCC articles is, on the other hand, relatively weak in its argumentative power.
  • Laurent on March 15 2012 said:
    Mel Tisdale "I invite anyone who seriously thinks temperatures have stopped rising to explain the results from the GRACE satellites that show that we are losing 150 cubic miles of ice each year. Even the most fervent of climate deniers will have a job explaining that without rising temperatures."

    Actually, without any impact on the debate but just for fun:
    If I put an ice cube in a glass with waterr at temperature >0C, the ice will melt. At the same time, the temperature of the water will decrease. But still more ice will melt, until either the whole system reaches 0C or the whole ice is gone.

    In short: If the climate is "hot enough" to melt ice on a yearly average, ice will keep melting even if climate stays stable or cools down a bit.
  • John Ca..rson, P.E. on March 22 2012 said:
    >Before, the inability to perform the billions of calculations necessary to make a model applicable to the real world were impossible to do fast enough, and thus, predictions could vary wildly. On the other hand, the dozen or so supercomputer climate models give strong agreement in predictions. Predicting accurately the last 100 years of the climate is just one test for these models, a test they have passed with surprising precision.

    Jose, you don't know what you're talking about. But I don't blame you. I once believed what I was told too. Especially as physics student, it will be hard for you to understand how the world really operates until you have left school, but after a few years working in the real world you'll catch on quite quickly

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDWFKbRwQmg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP7Q4IpVXQw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKOjnLaWJeI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1op2A5yxTDw
  • John Carlson on October 15 2012 said:
    This "interview" was rigged, asking only questions that would give a positive spin. Curry is a shill for the oil industry. No point in assessing here alleged "expertise" or opinions about what is happening now with the climate. Far from a "balanced perspective", the purpose of this article is to mislead people who are not up to speed on climate science.

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