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Delusionists demolished

July 12th, 2007

The presentation of The Great Global Warming Swindle on ABC TV was a huge success, but not of course for the delusionists who pushed for it, notably including Michael Duffy. Tony Jones comprehensively demolished Martin Durkin, doing an excellent job of covering the critique from all angles including
* Durkin’s past history of fraud
* The fraudulent history and Big Tobacco links of people like Singer and Seitz (Lindzen got a passing hit on this later on)
* The bodgy qualifications of many of the so-called experts on the show
* Dodgy and doctored graphs dating back 20 years or more
* The Wunsch misrepresentation
* The absurdity of the conspiracy theory central to the show
* The drastic shortening of the version we saw, reflecting the deletion of the most outrageous lies

Of course, he only covered a fraction of the lies, and while the panel discussion pointed to even more (the ice core stuff) a film like this takes longer to refute than to watch. I’ve already linked to some replies and I understand that the Federation of Australian Science and Technology Societies will have more.

After all this, Michael Duffy got the first chance to respond and Jones asked him straight out whether he backed the film. Of course, Duffy couldn’t defend it, so he dodged into a tu quoque about the Stern Review. His only subsequent contribution was to flash some props meant to back the conspiracy theory he was unwilling to endorse out loud. Bob Carter was similarly evasive, launching into a rambling postmodernist thought experiment that apparently showed that there is no such thing as truth so it doesn’t matter if Durkin lied. Later he dragged out his 1998 cherrypicking line. By contrast with these two, Ray Evans was refreshingly straightforward in his wrongness, making even more explicit claims of fraud and repeating all the old stuff (satellite data, the hockey stick and even urban heat islands).

Overall, a good night for science and the environment and a bad night for delusionists, including those in government ranks, such as Nick Minchin, who will doubtless be regretting his endorsement.

UpdateI didn’t bother watching the audience discussion section, but the comments I’ve seen (and the cheers when silly things were said by Carter and Evans) indicate the presence of a strong contingent of obviously unhinged delusionists. So much the better, I’d say.

Further update There’s video here “Unhinged” doesn’t begin to describe it. Even Ray Evans, representing the lunar right Lavoisier Group, has his head in his hands as Tony Jones fields a string of increasingly bizarre questions/statements from LaRouchites, several of them cunningly disguised as ordinary people. Carbon-14, Kepler, Plato, and of course the Royal Family’s plot to wipe out most of humanity all get a run.

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  1. James Farrell
    July 12th, 2007 at 23:28 | #1

    A tidy summing up. I agree that Tony Jones did a very good job. So did Duffy, actually, in conveying accurately what a preening, narcissistic donkey he is. I’ve never heard of David Karoly, but he was excellent value.

  2. James Farrell
    July 12th, 2007 at 23:30 | #2

    The discussion part was a bit of comic relief. Two thirds of the questioners were certifiable nutters.

  3. July 12th, 2007 at 23:47 | #3

    I agree that the presentation of this movie was a huge success. It would have been silly to avoid showing it.

  4. July 12th, 2007 at 23:49 | #4

    Good summary. To expand a bit on the “nutters”, there were a couple of the “all environmentalists are Nazis” variety, one who studied with Larouche and made some incomprehensible argument involving Keppler and a guy who rambled on excitedly about Carbon 14 who I suspect to be a creationist.
    I think Tony Jones did a good job overall.
    I was surprised that Duffy didn’t bring up the “forecasting” paper that he wrote about earlier in the week (I had a read of it and was not terribly impressed), perhaps someone was able to point out to him that it wasn’t quite the devastating critique that he thought it was.
    I was disappointed that Durkin didn’t live up to his reputation for dishing out abuse … he could have at least called someone “a big daft cock”.

  5. July 12th, 2007 at 23:54 | #5

    What can be done to stop the “nutters” from voting? :-)

  6. rdb
    July 13th, 2007 at 00:03 | #6

    Lateline followed up with an interview with Wurst(?)

  7. Ernestine Gross
    July 13th, 2007 at 00:05 | #7

    I watched Dunkin’s movie and the subsequent panel discussion. Concur with the summary.

    While watching this program I observed what I have observed in a different context and I wonder whether there is a manual which contains the following steps:
    1. The target (in this case climate scientists who research the role of human activity induced global warming)is falsely accused of exactly what the accuser is doing (swindle)
    2. Manufacture data (eg by omission)
    3. Link the falsehood to the metaphysical world by making out the target has an ‘attitude’ problem.
    4. Publicise the falsehoods as widely as possible (and try to make a living out of it).

  8. July 13th, 2007 at 00:14 | #8

    Ernestine,

    In marketing there is a whole school of thought built around openly attacking the market leader. Richard Branson has over the years gained loads of free publicity via exactly that method. In marketing ideas I suspect that attaching the dominant idea has similar advantages.

    Regards,
    Terje.

  9. TJW
    July 13th, 2007 at 00:14 | #9

    I agree with your view that the documentary was a bunch of poor and unsubstantiated claims. I agree with the consensus view of climate scientists on global warming (or at the very least there is a strong presumption in favour of the scientific consensus and I’m hardly capable of arguing against it). However I think that it’s incredibly inappropriate that the ABC give one documentary such special attention. They have shown documentaries in the past that made serious claims but never saw fit to append a segment to the end of them that examined the character of the documentary maker nor the qualifications of the experts involved (at least in the manner they did with this film). Are they going to do this for all of their documentaries or only some?

    I suspect that the manner in which the film was presented will simply cause the sceptics to become even more sceptical. Either do the same thing with all documentaries or do it with none. The end part they tacked on (whilst completely correct) may have done more harm than good.

  10. BilB
    July 13th, 2007 at 00:26 | #10

    Determined to watch, I tried, but fell into a deep sleep during the presentation. Judging by the panel discussion, the end of which I woke for, I did not miss much. What was most interesting, though, was the Lateline Wurst (if that was the guys name) interview. But even more telling was the following Myspace article which pointed to the issues of choice for the young voter. These being environment/GW, work choices issues and the cost lockout of the young from property ownership. Reading that into the general poll trend I think that Howard is facing a support implosion that, to take a line from Meet Joe Black, will lead to a “finality beyond comprehension”.

  11. Stephen L
    July 13th, 2007 at 01:37 | #11

    As far as I could tell all but one of the denialists in the audience were La Rouchites. One openly admitted it (bad move mate) but we had one attack Prince Phillip, two go after Julian Huxley and one waffled about Kepler (one of these may have been the same person twice). All stock standard La Rouche themes.

    Basically the right in Australian politics are now so degraded they have to rely on La Rouchites as their shock troops, and many are not even embarrassed about it.

  12. July 13th, 2007 at 01:38 | #12

    See Ove Hoegh-Guldberg’s response over at http://www.climateshifts.org to the whole audience discussion debacle.

  13. mugwump
    July 13th, 2007 at 06:20 | #13

    I am a skeptic. The science behind AGW is shaky, and often conducted by scientists who have too little understanding of statistics to do a decent job. Even the surface temperature measurements are highly suspect.

    However, I agree that “Swindle” does more damage than good. Environmentalists, climatologists and AGW advocates are free to make any number of outrageous claims (and regularly do so) under the protection offered by the herd mentality. Skeptics have no such luxury.

  14. Paulkelly
    July 13th, 2007 at 08:09 | #14

    Yes, the audience was nutty. Often ABC audiences in these sorts of things are excruciating lefties, so it was refreshing to see Duffy et al squirm at the company they are keeping.

  15. BilB
    July 13th, 2007 at 08:12 | #15

    Scepticise away, mugwump, but do it with solid information and a beneficial purpose.

  16. July 13th, 2007 at 08:16 | #16

    The major flaw in the movie is not it’s clumpsy means of exposing the gaps in AGW (and there are real gaps in this puzzle) it is it the attempt to promote an alternate theory as the gospel truth. However if nothing else at least by taking an extreme view it allowed Wurst in the lateline interview to look moderate when he said that nobody “knows” what the climate will do in 20 years time.

    The risk of AGW is real enough. There is also a risk that our policy response will go too far. There is a risk that carbon trading may create a whole class of middle men that will make it difficult to base subsequent policy on a reasoned and evolved future view of risk (ie a new class of rent seekers). And whilst I am quite comfortable with a carbon tax that reduces other taxes there is a risk that many will never see any such tax as ever being high enough and will lobby endlessly for more action and higher taxes/restrictions.

    And in terms of Africa I can’t see any reasonable way that we can ask them to deploy electrical system via anything other than the cheapest means possible. Alternative energy needs to get cheaper.

  17. July 13th, 2007 at 08:21 | #17

    p.s. I would not be shocked if Howard promised a revenue neutral carbon tax on the eve of the next election.

  18. crispinb
    July 13th, 2007 at 08:45 | #18

    I’m amazed at the positive reactions here to Tony Jones’ performance. The stark contrast between his bullying “but…b.b…but” political interviewing style with Durkin and Carter to his revolting unctuousness in response to Karoly was embarrassing. If I were a GW sceptic, I would be more convinced than ever of ABC bias. As it is, it just convinced me to put the TV away for another year or two.

    And where on earth did they dig up the loony audience from?

  19. Jill Rush
    July 13th, 2007 at 08:45 | #19

    The sceptics in the audience put questions which were supposed to be clever and educated but were quite impossible to understand – however they were also long winded like the delusionist panel members. I have never heard such audience questions on any show before. The two who were keen to link the climate change argument to eugenics showed evidence of paranoia.

    The movie itself was interesting from the start which reminded one of a c grade spy movie from the 60′s based on teh music. The camera shots were also manipulative and filmed from a position to make the speaker seem powerful.

  20. July 13th, 2007 at 09:02 | #20

    I think the point of the eugenics statement was to say that both sides of the debate have some dirt in the closet. It was a somewhat weak point however akin to mentioning that Hitler was vocally against pollution.

  21. rdb
    July 13th, 2007 at 09:06 | #21

    Lateline interview with Carl Wunsch
    LEIGH SALES: Well, Professor Wunsch joins us now from Boston.

    Professor, when you were contacted about appearing in Martin Durkin’s documentary, what were you told about the project?

    CARL WUNSCH, MASSACHUSSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: I was told that this was to be a film about the science of global warming, and that it would be an opportunity for me to explain that it is a very complicated problem, and I would be given an opportunity to explain particularly about the ocean, where I do have some expertise, why I thought one needed to be very careful about making any inferences based upon what we know today.

    Durkin says that I reacted to the way the film portrayed me because of pressure from my colleagues. This is completely false. I did hear almost immediately from colleagues in the UK who saw the film who didn’t berate me. They simply said, “This doesn’t sound like you, this seems to be distorting your views, you better have a look at this”.

    And having had a look at what they did with my comments in the film out of context and cutting away many of the important things that I thought were important that dealt with the science of it, it was a complete distortion of what I had told Durkin I believed.

  22. rdb
  23. rdb
  24. Hal9000
    July 13th, 2007 at 09:33 | #24

    The nutters were a particularly ripe bunch. The wild-eyed youth who announced to add weight to his question that he’d studied astrophysics and the violin under the hitherto little known laureate and maestro Lyndon LaRouche sent me scurrying for the ‘off’ switch, though.

  25. wilful
    July 13th, 2007 at 09:38 | #25

    The best bit of the whole evening was the excerpt from the previous Durkin doco, Storm in a D-cup.

  26. KYC
    July 13th, 2007 at 10:23 | #26

    One argument that the “sceptics” make is that rises in carbon levels is a naturally occuring phenomena and it’s something that has happened before in the planet’s long history. I never understood how this was relevant as it does not address two key propositions: (i) an increase in carbon leads to potentially adverse climate change; and (ii) human activity (such as burning fossil fuels) contributes to more carbon in the atmosphere. Even if some of the carbon increase is “natural”, all the more reason to cut back on anthropogenic generated carbon, yes? So the point about natural changes in carbon levels seems neither here nor there.

    What puzzles me is why the scientists defending climate change models do not make this seemingly obvious point. Instead, their response seems to be along the lines that the climate change models do take into account natural increases in carbon levels, which seems to be an unnecessarily complicated answer. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood something?

    The only relevance I can see is that if carbon rises are naturally increasing anyway, then the earth is “doomed” regardless of how much we reduce anthropogenic generated carbon. So we might as well eat, drink and be merry. Is that what the sceptics are arguing? (If so, I think they bear the burden of showing that carbon is in fact naturally increasing and at such a level that there is no point doing anything to reduce anthropogenic generated carbon.)

  27. Helen
    July 13th, 2007 at 10:37 | #27

    John, if you turned off before the audience discussion, you missed some wonderful entertainment!
    Hal9000, you’re a killjoy!
    The LaRouchies and population cranks were priceless.

  28. Ken Miles
    July 13th, 2007 at 10:47 | #28

    Environmentalists, climatologists and AGW advocates are free to make any number of outrageous claims (and regularly do so) under the protection offered by the herd mentality. Skeptics have no such luxury.

    Keep on telling yourself that Mugwump.

    Helen is right, the audience discussion was spectacular. I didn’t think that it would be possible to get so many cranks in one room. No wonder they were cheering the skeptics.

  29. mugwump
    July 13th, 2007 at 12:36 | #29

    Ken, how much of the science have you actually read?

    Whether AGW turns out to be an issue for humanity or not, we’re clearly in the midst of mass-hysteria.

  30. Helen
    July 13th, 2007 at 12:39 | #30

    Does anyone know which of Durkin’s wingnuts was the one who advanced the theory that it was all because of Maggie Thatcher? I know it’s available on YouTube, but due to school hols, we have used up all our broadband and been busted down to Dialup. You know how it is.

  31. Ken Miles
    July 13th, 2007 at 13:06 | #31

    Mugwump, I’ve read quite a bit of the science in peer reviewed journals and have studied it at a university level. Plus, as part of my PhD in chemistry, I’ve got a reasonable understanding of much of the theory which global warming rests on.

  32. Ken Miles
    July 13th, 2007 at 13:14 | #32

    I’m not sure who started the whole global warming and Thatcher theory, but it’s been around for quite a while. John Daly has some garbage by Richard Courtney on it, so it might have been him.

    The speech by Thatcher which started these conspiracy theories can be found here.

  33. July 13th, 2007 at 13:15 | #33

    I’ve noticed a bit of criticism (here and elsewhere, such as the Oz) of Tony Jones for his “one-sided” interview with Durkin. Given that we’d just had one hour of Durkin’s unchallenged views what did they expect? Of course Jones’ job was to challenge Durkin on the content of the program.

  34. MikeM
    July 13th, 2007 at 13:22 | #34

    Ernestine,

    I don’t know of a manual on how to manufacture bogus controversies, but philosophy professor Daniel Dennett wrote an Op-Ed piece for The New York Times back in August 2005, discussing how the controversy over Intelligent Design has been manufactured:

    “… the proponents of intelligent design use a ploy that works something like this. First you misuse or misdescribe some scientist’s work. Then you get an angry rebuttal. Then, instead of dealing forthrightly with the charges leveled, you cite the rebuttal as evidence that there is a ‘controversy’ to teach.

    “Note that the trick is content-free. You can use it on any topic. ‘Smith’s work in geology supports my argument that the earth is flat,’ you say, misrepresenting Smith’s work. When Smith responds with a denunciation of your misuse of her work, you respond, saying something like: ‘See what a controversy we have here? Professor Smith and I are locked in a titanic scientific debate. We should teach the controversy in the classrooms.’ And here is the delicious part: you can often exploit the very technicality of the issues to your own advantage, counting on most of us to miss the point in all the difficult details….”

    The article is posted online at http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge166.html#ss

    The global warming denialists have used a slightly improved version of this approach. They have dredged back through the science, finding bits of evidence which, though now satisfactorily accounted for, might once have raised doubts about the extent of human influence on climate change. So some of the controversy they want taught once existed but is now obsolete. The rest has simply been manufactured as Dennett describes.

  35. tom
    July 13th, 2007 at 15:03 | #35

    For those interested in the more endearing characters in the audience discussion I have a video up:

    http://auxedit.net/?p=21

  36. booger
    July 13th, 2007 at 15:07 | #36

    MikeM – Its is interesting that the very same technique is used by Keith Windschuttle in his denialism of Aboriginal History. Jsut substitute a few key terms and we get the so called History Wars.

    “… the proponents of FABRICATION use a ploy that works something like this. First you misuse or misdescribe some HISTORIANS work. Then you get an angry rebuttal. Then, instead of dealing forthrightly with the charges leveled, you cite the rebuttal as evidence that there is a ‘controversy’ to teach.

  37. Lobes
    July 13th, 2007 at 17:09 | #37

    The crazy violin dude turned up when Alan Pears launched his book recently asking the same questions.

    Nobody there understood him either.

  38. BilB
    July 13th, 2007 at 18:32 | #38
  39. Jill Rush
    July 13th, 2007 at 21:04 | #39

    The Oz cartoon today showed Tony Jones cosying up to Al Gore whilst Durkin looked on.

    On the show Tony Jones didn’t cosy up to anybody. He sat apart – although he did ask difficult questions. There were those who knew their stuff and there were those who blustered.

    The cartoon bore no reality to what had occurred and yet sent a strongly prejudicial message. This kind of inaccuracy does the paper no credit and adds nothing to the global warming debate.

  40. mugwump
    July 13th, 2007 at 21:05 | #40

    Ken, with your hard-science background I am somewhat surprised that you are not also appalled at the poor state of climate science. There are hundreds of examples over at climateaudit, eg: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1798 .

    These are not cherry-picking fringe publications. They are from the mainstream “IPCC feedstock” if you like.

    BTW, my PhD is mathematical statistics, with a reasonable publication record (eg, slightly better than our host in terms of H-index, if you believe google scholar (and if you believe anonymous claims)).

  41. mugwump
    July 13th, 2007 at 21:33 | #41

    BillB, a very interesting quote from your link:

    “All the graphs they [the Swindle producers] showed stopped in about 1980, and I knew why, because things diverged after that”

    “You can’t just ignore bits of data that you don’t like”

    I couldn’t agree more. But the Swindle authors are not scientists. Whatever scientific standards they are held to should apply doubly so to the IPCC.

  42. BilB
    July 13th, 2007 at 22:04 | #42

    For my own existence the science, mugwump, only confirms my personal observations. The weather is changing, the ozone hole is getting bigger (I know that because I could feel the skin burn intensity increasing living in New Zealand). I know that the worlds coal and oil stocks are finite. The worlds human population is increasing. Humans use energy at an ever increasing rate. I do not have to be a genius to determine that these forces will accelerate towards a finality that could be comapared to jumping of a platform with a rope around ones kneck. I don’t give a damn about the science. Simple logic is sufficient to determine that we have to stop squandering the carbon, because when it is gone it will not be recoverable.

    From my point of view the science is a CONVENIENT truth, simply because it makes people stop and think. Basic arithmetic is all that is need to evaluate our precarious human position. The sun is the only energy source that will out persist human habitation of this planet, and I do not need a PhD to be sure of that.

  43. jquiggin
    July 13th, 2007 at 22:06 | #43

    Mugwump, I followed your first link and it was a lengthy quibble about urban heat islands based on a single station. As was pointed out at length last night, the whole urban heat island line has long since been refuted, notably by ocean observations. And of course, the satellite data confirms the surface data, contrary to TGGWS.

    I followed McIntyre & McKitrick reasonably closely on their hockey stick stuff and the story changed every few months. First they were just correcting the data, then they were quibbling about principal components then they wanted to delete the bristlecone pine data. The only thing that didn’t change was their conclusion which was announced well in advance of doing any research.

    AFAIK, McIntyre hasn’t published anything except his work with McKitrick, so the credibility of this stuff stands on that of McKitrick, someone who denies the existence of a mean global temperature, can’t tell degrees from radians, invented his own temperature scale etc.

    If your publications are as you say, you must know this. So why do you keep making a fool of yourself, believing a bunch of shills whose claims happen to suit your ideological prejudices.

  44. mugwump
    July 14th, 2007 at 00:26 | #44

    jquiggin, parsimony dictates leaving one link. If you want, I can insert many more. But if you’re interested in weather stations and the dubious manual adjustments made to the temperature record by the climate modelers, I suggest surfacestations.org for starters. Then read back through McIntyre’s surface record thread.

    None of this constitutes a refutation of the AGW hypothesis. But from a hard-science/statistician’s standpoint it is all remarkably sloppy. Why don’t they just use raw data and rely on the law of large numbers to average away any local effects, rather than make dubious manual adjustments that purport to account for local effects but in reality tend to bias the historical temperature record downwards?

    As for UHI, urban transects show significant local heating. The classification of weather stations as “rural” to avoid this problem has been questioned by McIntyre for some time and is now being systematically investigated by contributors to surfacestations.org.

    Again, this does not constitute a refutation of previous “refutations of UHI”, but does show that the question is far from settled as you (and the consensus climate scientists) claim.

    As far as McIntyre and the hockeystick is concerned, the argument has been pretty constant AFAIK: tree-rings are proxies for many things – temperature, precipitation, fertilization, etc; hence to use them as proxies for temperature alone one needs to select “Temperature only” tree-ring proxies from the rest. One way to do this is to see which tree-ring series correlate with the recent temperature record (although given the questions surrounding the manual adjustments made to the temperature record, even this may be non-kosher, but since a faulty temperature record is a disaster for all prediction methods, such objections are irrelevant to the specific problems with the hockeystick). All well-and-good. The problem is, Mann’s hockeystick is not robust to removal of the Bristlecone series (ie, take out that series and you don’t get a hockeystick), and it turns out the Bristlecones are actually lousy temperature proxies.

    As for McIntyre’s credibility: call me old-fashioned, but for me it stands on the quality of his work. Read his papers. Read his blog. He is very good at what he does.

  45. jquiggin
    July 14th, 2007 at 08:25 | #45

    I believe I’ve read all of McIntyre’s published (in peer reviewed journals) work, as well as the early M&M stuff. If bristlecone pines were the central issue all along, it was certainly far from clear. Rather, the material jumped from substantive issues, to complaints about data access to questions about modelling techniques and diagnostic statistics. For this reason, it was just about unreadable, and the blog is totally unreadable.

    I had the same problem with Ian Castles’ work, but since it was in my field I took the trouble to go through it carefully. My conclusion, which seems to have been accepted pretty generally now, was that while he had a point, using PPP numbers was unlikely to make a big difference.

    The NAS report on the MM critique hockey-stick reached a similar conclusion.

    If you want to convince me that McIntyre is worth taking seriously, point me to what he’s written about the McKitrick claim on global mean temperature. This is an important claim, made by his main co-author, so presumably he has had something substantial to say about it.

  46. jquiggin
    July 14th, 2007 at 08:26 | #46

    As an aside, if the need to throw out the main North American proxy is the central claim, it comes down to the statement that we don’t have enough data to talk about the “Medieval Warm Period” one way or the other. That’s fine by me – this point is peripheral to the scientific case on global warming but central to the arguments of Durkin and others.

  47. July 14th, 2007 at 09:54 | #47

    If bristlecone pines were the central issue all along, it was certainly far from clear.

    John I think that you followed it much more closely than me. However from what I have read in the past I always thought bristlecomes and proxy selection was the central point of concern. At least in so far as the hockey curve is concerned.

    Even if we throw out North American proxy data we do still have a “Medieval Warm Period” we just don’t know it’s geographic extent. Alternatively we could seek better proxies.

  48. jquiggin
    July 14th, 2007 at 10:07 | #48

    Here’s the abstract of MM03, the paper that, in their words, started it all

    “The data set of proxies of past climate used in Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998,
    “MBH98� hereafter) for the estimation of temperatures from 1400 to 1980 contains
    collation errors, unjustifiable truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data,
    geographical location errors, incorrect calculation of principal components and other
    quality control defects. We detail these errors and defects. We then apply MBH98
    methodology to the construction of a Northern Hemisphere average temperature index
    for the 1400-1980 period, using corrected and updated source data. The major finding
    is that the values in the early 15th century exceed any values in the 20th century. The
    particular “hockey stick� shape derived in the MBH98 proxy construction – a
    temperature index that decreases slightly between the early 15th century and early 20th
    century and then increases dramatically up to 1980 — is primarily an artefact of poor
    data handling, obsolete data and incorrect calculation of principal components.”

    I searched it both manually and electronically for reference to bristlecone pines and couldn’t find any.

  49. July 14th, 2007 at 10:26 | #49

    The only thing that didn’t change was their conclusion which was announced well in advance of doing any research.

    Which was?

    Defending the prior understanding of the temperature record which had stood for a long time may constitute a pre-concieved conclusion but it hardly seems radical. If a paper came out tomorrow that said that global warming was not happening then I am sure that many would approach it with a similar defensive stance and would probe it for weaknesses from multiple directions.

  50. July 14th, 2007 at 10:31 | #50

    Here’s the abstract of MM03

    Okay. However it is talking about proxy data and how it gets used.

  51. July 14th, 2007 at 10:38 | #51

    Here is a little bit of a primer for anybody new to this discussion:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature_record_of_the_past_1000_years

  52. July 14th, 2007 at 11:08 | #52

    mugwump – “None of this constitutes a refutation of the AGW hypothesis. But from a hard-science/statistician’s standpoint it is all remarkably sloppy.”

    This is how the temperature record is quality checked:

    “Peterson, T.C., R. Vose, R. Schmoyer, and V. Razuvaev, 1998: Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) quality control of monthly temperature data. International Journal of Climatology, 18 (11), 1169-1179. (PDF Version)”
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/ghcn-monthly/images/ghcn_temp_qc.pdf

    I imagine that you have read this and contacted the International Journal of Climatology to to print your new paper pointing out the sloppy work given your expertise in mathematical statistics.

    “As for UHI, urban transects show significant local heating. The classification of weather stations as “ruralâ€? to avoid this problem has been questioned by McIntyre for some time and is now being systematically investigated by contributors to surfacestations.org.”

    Its not even close to being systematically checked. There is no review of the photographs that these jokers are sending in. How do you know if the photos are genuine? They could be sending in any old photo of any surface station. Again given your picking up of sloppy work by climate scientists surely this also needs your attention to quality control this.

    “As far as McIntyre and the hockeystick is concerned, the argument has been pretty constant AFAIK: tree-rings are proxies for many things – temperature, precipitation, fertilization, etc;”

    Yes they are and that is why it is so difficult to get any quality data out of them at all. Contrary to the claims of the skeptics evidence of past temperature is NOT central to either present climate models or the theory of AGW. AGW theory rests on solid physical data and observations. The only thing paleoclimate studies do is give a context for recent warming – no more no less. If the proxy record did not exist then the case for AGW would be just as robust as with the proxy data. The central role of the proxy data exists only in the parallel universe that McIntyre exists in where mining engineers can be climate scientists.

    Removing one dataset does not affect the analysis at all contrary to what McIntyre claims. He had to jump through hoops and botch the data analysis to remove the recent warming, a fact that he does not trumpet nearly as stridently as his claims for Mann’s fraud.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/the-missing-piece-at-the-wegman-hearing/
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=8&lp_lang_view=fr
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/02/dummies-guide-to-the-latest-hockey-stick-controversy/

    The second one is a technical rebuttal of the false claims of M&M. The last link contains links to other studies that confirm and extend the original proxy study.

    Before dismissing other scientists’ work as sloppy you need to talk to them or ask them what their methods are or publish rebuttals. If you are relying on what M&M say and follow their example of blogging non peer reviewed work then you will be contributing as little to the overall understanding of AGW and climate change as they are.

  53. jquiggin
    July 14th, 2007 at 11:34 | #53

    “Okay. However it is talking about proxy data and how it gets used.”

    This would be rather hard to avoid in a paper criticising MBH. The point is that there is no suggestion of removing the bristlecone data – it was only when their first exercise fell apart that they went on this more desperate expedient.

    Mugwump’s arguments remind me of one of those believers in the paranormal who admits that the great majority of psychics are frauds, but claims that are some genuine ones (it would have been Uri Geller back in the 70s), then complains that real scientists are just as bad.

  54. Mark U
    July 14th, 2007 at 14:04 | #54

    John

    The presence of strange people in a Lateline audience proves nothing.

    Just as there are some very strange people on the denialist’s side there are no doubt some extreme and unhinged people on the pro-AGW side. I think, for example, that Flannery has made some extreme and alarmist statements that are not backed by the science.

    I think the end of the interview of Wunsch on Lateline (http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2007/s1977366.htm ) probably matches my attitude the best.

  55. owls001
    July 14th, 2007 at 23:14 | #55

    The trouble with both docs, this and Al Bores is that I can falsify them both.

    You see Darwin’s theory of evolution is more than a theory because not only has it won its home games (it stands up to falsification ) but its won its away games, (other ideas have been falsified), This is not the situation with MMGW.

    But then again, falsification is not something non-scientists such as economist understand as they don’t think it apply s to them. but then again you probably have to be a delusionist to be a economist.

    Now MMGW is a good enough theory, but the problem with it, is that climate science is still in its infancy and the theory is incomplete, so the issue is based on what we know how best do we spend the trillions we are thinking of spending, living with it, or believing we can combat it.

    I am for the former as there really is only one way of reducing carbon footprints is to reduce the human population, or we could start WW4, wars do tend to peg the population back a bit!

    as for the rest…
    Climate models are next to useless, and way too much cash is spent on them. the very great physicist Prof, Freeman Dyson has dealt with that recently.

    Climate forecasts..
    Scott Armstrong and Keston Green have recently dealt with that too, and as someone who has worked in the field of game theory, I agree with them.

    Running part of the IPCC report through their long developed 140 point checklist Scott Armstrong and Keston Green found:

    “Of the 89 forecasting principles that we were able to rate, the Chapter violated 72.”

    I invite bets also based on the next 10 years mean global temps..any offers? and any explanations of why the global temps seen to have flat lined since the high of 1998 would be handy.

    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2

  56. mugwump
    July 14th, 2007 at 23:53 | #56

    jquiggin, the Bristlecones appeared in their E&E paper.

    Can you show me where MM03 has been discredited?

    it comes down to the statement that we don’t have enough data to talk about the “Medieval Warm Periodâ€? one way or the other. That’s fine by me – this point is peripheral to the scientific case on global warming

    It’s central to the scientific case on AGW, for two reasons: the obvious one is if such prominent climatologists can get it so wrong, all is not well in Denmark. But more directly, if the MWP was as warm as today through natural variation, the attribution of current warming to human activity is also more difficult.

    Rather, the material jumped from substantive issues, to complaints about data access to questions about modelling techniques and diagnostic statistics. For this reason, it was just about unreadable, and the blog is totally unreadable.

    Funny, a lot of us manage to read it. McIntyre covers a lot of ground, but then he has a lot of material to work with. If you start at the beginning of most of his threads, follow along as they develop, and do a bit of background reading along the way, 99% of the time they turn out to be very solid analyses of very real problems.

    Yes, it is very detailed, but since the physics is very basic – CO2 absorbs in the infrared – the devil is all in the details.

    If I have a complaint about the blog, it is the lack of synthesis; McIntyre is great at drilling in on problematic areas in climate science (particularly data issues), but there is little analysis of how the issues dovetail into the overall global warming picture. Then again, he is not claiming to do anything other than audit.

    If you want to convince me that McIntyre is worth taking seriously, point me to what he’s written about the McKitrick claim on global mean temperature. This is an important claim, made by his main co-author, so presumably he has had something substantial to say about it.

    Since you’ve admitted being unable to read his blog, I doubt I could ever convince you to take him seriously. Your obsession with judging McIntyre as if he was McKitrick’s identical scientific twin shows you are not genuinely interested in getting to the bottom of this.

  57. Mark U
    July 15th, 2007 at 02:15 | #57

    Owls001

    My impression is that MMGW has stood up reasonably well to the evidence and that there is no alternative that provides an adequate explanation at this stage. This suggests to me that we take reasonable steps to address the problem, as failure to act if MMGW is true could be far more costly than the cost of acting and later finding out that it is not true.

    As to the 1998 peak in the data you have linked to, the temperature record is quite volatile and there are peaks and troughs in the data record from year to year. So the temperature dropped off in 1999 but then began to rise again. If you take an average over 3 to 5 years then the last few years have been the warmest period in the last quarter century.

  58. jquiggin
    July 15th, 2007 at 07:12 | #58

    “jquiggin, the Bristlecones appeared in their E&E paper.”

    The link you’ve sent is to another paper (I think this is the one they got in a real journal, maybe Geophysical Research Letters) that cites “McIntyre, S. and R. McKitrick (2003), Corrections to the Mann et. al. (1998) Proxy Data Base and Northern Hemispheric Average Temperature Series, Energy and Environment 14, 751-771.”

    That is the E&E paper I was referring and the one where they originally claimed to disprove the hockey stick without any suggestion of deleting data.

  59. jquiggin
    July 15th, 2007 at 07:22 | #59

    Responding to your claims that this stuff matters

    “It’s central to the scientific case on AGW, for two reasons: the obvious one is if such prominent climatologists can get it so wrong, all is not well in Denmark.”

    This is all-purpose antiscience claim, very heavily used in creationist literature. Prominent evolutionists have got things badly wrong in the past, therefore (according to the creationists)we can reject evolution.

    “But more directly, if the MWP was as warm as today through natural variation, the attribution of current warming to human activity is also more difficult.’

    You missed the point I was making. Accept for the sake of argument, everything claimed by M&M. The result is that we don’t know about the MWP one way or the other. So, an argument based on the premise that the MWP was as warm as today is built on sand.

  60. Ian Castles
    July 15th, 2007 at 08:41 | #60

    John, A friend alerted me to the gratuitous criticism you made of my work yesterday. I’ll reply when I get the chance, but in the meantime let me comment on your exchange with Mugwump on M&M.

    The paper to which Mugwump provided a link wasn’t published in Geophysical Research Letters: it couldn’t have been because it is way over GRL’s word limit. It was published in Energy & Environment, which can accommodate these studies in which “the devil is in the detail.� As you said that you believed that you’d “read all of McIntyre’s published (in peer reviewed journals) work, as well as the EARLY M&M stuff�, you had presumably missed this paper that appeared in E&E in 2005.

    I’ll take your word for it that bristlecones didn’t feature explicitly in the first E&E paper, but here you are missing the point. As Dr. Wegman explained in evidence to the House Energy and Commerce Committee:

    “Where we have commonality, I believe our report and the NRC panel essentially agree. …We believe that our discussion together with the discussion from the NRC report should take the ‘centering’ issue off the table. [Mann's] decentred methodology is simply incorrect mathematics … I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn’t matter because the answer is correct anyway. Method Wrong Answer Correct = Bad Science.â€?

    You argued that M&M’s first exercise (MM03) “fell apartâ€?, and that M&M were then forced on to a “more desperate “expedientâ€?. But Wegman et al, who unlike you had studied ALL of the papers. “found MBH98 and MBH99 [the original ‘hockey-stick’ papers] to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling.â€? So in the opinion of Edward Wegman – Chair of the US National Academy of Sciences Committee on Theoretical and Applied Statistics, author of over 160 papers and eight books and former President of the International Association of Statistical Computing – E&E published two of the three ‘valid and compelling’ papers. The ‘obscure and incomplete’ papers were published by “Natureâ€? and “Geophysical Research Letters.â€?

    Thanks to McIntyre’s well-directed efforts, the IPCC has been forced to release the Expert and Government Review Comments on the IPCC Working Group I draft reports. As a result, we now know that, sometime before 2 June last year, Gavin Schmidt of Realclimate sought to have the reference to M&M’s first exercise deleted from the Report (“M&M2003 is a non peer reviewed publication, and as such should not be referenced here�: Comment No. 6-740 on the Second-Order Draft). Then, when the Wegman Report was released in mid-July, Schmidt reproduced on Realclimate the shameful press release in which Michael Mann alleged that the Wegman Report “simply uncritically parrots claims by two Canadians.�

    Contrary to the claims in Mann’s statement, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Panel also endorsed specific criticisms of Mann’s methodology and concluded that no statistical confidence could be placed in his claims that temperatures in the 1990s exceeded those in the medieval warm period.

  61. jquiggin
    July 15th, 2007 at 09:05 | #61

    Ian, my “gratuitous” criticism was one I’ve made several times before, and one we’ve discussed at length. The way you presented your criticism made it difficult to work out the main point.

  62. owls001
    July 15th, 2007 at 22:19 | #62

    Sorry Mark U I think thats a weak explanation.

    As for as i can see as a layman, Linzden thus far is right, although the future could prove him wrong. His general thrust is that there has been 3/4 rise in atmospheric carbon and a 3/4 rise of one degree thus generally agreed, and a doubling of co2 will lead to a rise of one degree, as opposed to the ipcc “forecast” of 3-5.

    So give us a prediction of the future (which is what science is really about), at what point will I as a layman be able to say that Linzden has been falsified? this year? next? 5 years? 20 years? at some point the 1998 peak should be broken, i am very surprised in 9 years of watching it has not based on the predictions, in fact I would say if you took me back to 1999 in a time machine, I would expect it to be beaten within 5 years on current forecasts of the theory. and we are now at year 9. nearly a 10th of the way to 2100 and 20th of the way to 2050.

    I was reading Climate Change in Prehistory,The End of the Reign of Chaos, William James Burroughs (Cambridge uni press) and was part of the Time team special on doggerland.

    http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/T/timeteam/2007_dogger.html

    That doggerland went under water very quickly after the temp rose 7oC in 15 years, in the neolithic, now that does tend to falsify the “unique” rapid warming theory, does it not? and no we don’t know for sure if that was a wobble in the oscillation of the earth, real scientists don’t pull rabbits out of hats, unless your name in Mann.

  63. Bruce Everett
    July 16th, 2007 at 02:43 | #63

    Personally speaking, I would be apprehensive about citing Dr. Wegman’s opinion on the use of statistics in any area of climatology after his obvious misapprehensions about the relationship between climatologists and statiticians. The testimony of Dr Von Storch on the topic at said House Energy and Commerce Committee had to be embarrasing.

  64. jquiggin
    July 16th, 2007 at 06:12 | #64

    I had my say on Wegman here. Embarrassing is right.

  65. July 16th, 2007 at 09:53 | #65

    owls001 – “That doggerland went under water very quickly after the temp rose 7oC in 15 years, in the neolithic, now that does tend to falsify the “uniqueâ€? rapid warming theory, does it not?”

    Not really because 1 data point does not make a global temperature record. This could have been a uniquely local phenomenon. Also no-one is saying that warming has not happened in the past. What is happening now is that human activity releasing a key driver of global temperatures is affecting the climate in the same way as what happened naturally in the past.

  66. July 16th, 2007 at 09:59 | #66

    Ian Castles – “Gavin Schmidt of Realclimate sought to have the reference to M&M’s first exercise deleted from the Report (“M&M2003 is a non peer reviewed publication, and as such should not be referenced hereâ€?: Comment No. 6-740 on the Second-Order Draft).”

    I thought that the standard before a paper could be included in any IPCC report was that is was peer reviewed. Are you suggesting that the IPCC should lower it’s standards just so work that can be peer reviewed be included. Particularly as the paper in question holds no original work advancing knowledge of the climate. It is merely a criticism of one of the thousands of papers that were included and does not advance our knowledge of climate science one iota.

    Anyway Ian the hockey stick is old news. Didn’t anyone send you the script? You are supposed to be questioning the surface temperature record now.

  67. July 16th, 2007 at 10:00 | #67

    Are you suggesting that the IPCC should lower it’s standards just so work that can be peer reviewed be included.

    should read

    Are you suggesting that the IPCC should lower it’s standards just so work that can not be peer reviewed be included.

  68. Ian Castles
    July 16th, 2007 at 12:30 | #68

    No Ender, I am not suggesting that “the IPCC should lower its standards just so work that can not be peer reviewed be included.” Your belief that a paper must be peer reviewed before being included in any IPCC report is entirely mistaken. If the IPCC has such a rule, it is disregarded in practice.

    For example, among the papers included in the list of references to Chapter 3 of Working Group III is “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2003: IPCC Press information on AR4 and emissions scenarios. Press release 8 December.� This is a document published on the IPCC website which states that “In recent months some disinformation has been spread questioning the scenarios used by the IPCC�, and refers to Professor David Henderson and me as ‘so called “two independent commentators�’. Do you believe that this paper was peer reviewed?

    Another item in the same reference list is “Manne, A.S. and R.G. Richels, 2003: Market exchange rates or purchasing power parity: does the choice make a difference in the climate debate? AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, 14 pp.� This was published in the Center’s Working Paper series (No. 03-11), but this fact is omitted from the citation for obvious reasons. The working paper was strongly criticised by Professor Alan Heston of the University of Pennsylvania (an expert of the highest calibre). as a result of which it was substantially revised (as reported by Professor Henderson to the House of Lords Committee inquiry into The Economics of Climate Change in response to Q97 from Lord Macdonald, Evidence, p. 39). The Lords Committee Report noted that the paper had been superseded, and cited a paper with a similar title, but with a third author, which was forthcoming in Climatic Change. Only the original Working Paper version is cited in the IPCC’s 2007 report, presumably because (a) it had been used by the IPCC in its press release of 8 December 2003; and (b) Rich Richels, a co-author of the paper, was a lead author of the IPCC chapter.

    The Reference list for the same chapter lists several research reports published by ABARE or other bodies which were co-authored by members of the Chapter 3 writing team who were affiliated with ABARE (e.g., Ahammad et al, 2006; Fisher et al, 2006; Fisher et al (in press); and Rose et al, 2007); and statements made by experts during discussions at the IPCC Expert Meeting on Emissions Scenarios in Washington DC in January 2005 (e.g., Nordhaus, 2005; Timmer, 2005; and Worrell, 2005). I do not believe that any of these reports or interventions were peer reviewed.

    Against this, the report prepared by Professor Bill Nordhaus for the same meeting (“Alternative Measures of Output in Global Economic-Environmental Models: Purchasing Power Parity or Market Exchange Rates?â€?) which is cited in the Lords Committee Report and which, following peer review, has subsequently been published in Energy Economics, is not included in the same reference list. Nor is my paper, co-authored with David Henderson, “International Comparisons of GDP: Issues of Theory and Practiceâ€?, which was published in World Economics, vol. 6, no. 1, Jan. Mar. 2005: 55-84. (The publisher of World Economics, David Roberts, agreed to my request that this paper be republished by ANU ePress because of its importance and, in response to a request from the ANU for DEST auditing purposes, Mr. Roberts advised that “All papers published in World Economics are read and reviewed by executive editors who are all professors of economics of international repute”).

    Professor Nordhaus’s paper was published online by Energy Economics in March 2006, well before the publication of a number of the research reports and non-peer-reviewed papers listed above. Do you believe that this paper (or Castles and Henderson, 2005) is less worthy of inclusion in the IPCC Assessment than those other papers? If so, why?

  69. July 16th, 2007 at 14:03 | #69

    Ian Castles – “Your belief that a paper must be peer reviewed before being included in any IPCC report is entirely mistaken. If the IPCC has such a rule, it is disregarded in practice.”

    However the MM03 was trying to be included in a different section that sets out the basic science of AGW where the convention or rule of peer review I would think would be applied far more rigorously than in the economics section that deals with scenerios.

    I am sure that you can list examples in the economics section however are there any in the science section?

  70. July 16th, 2007 at 14:31 | #70

    Isn’t economics a science?

  71. wilful
    July 16th, 2007 at 15:06 | #71

    Didn’t Prof Quiggin say he wasn’t going to debate climate science again until there was some new evidence? All of this debate seems depressingly familiar, and was comprehensively won by Pr Quiggin several times here in recent years.

  72. Ian Castles
    July 16th, 2007 at 15:10 | #72

    Ender, The answer to your question as to whether there are any non-peer-reviewed papers in “the science section” is an emphatic “Yes”. One of the expert review comments on Chapter 11 of the First Order Draft of the Working Group I Report was from Aurel Moise of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, who commented as follows:

    “References: I only looked through the references concerning the initial part of Chapter 11 and the section about Australia and New Zealand and I was surprised to see that there are quite a few references to non-peer-reviewed publications such as reports, departmental assessments and so on…”

    The response from the Lead Authors to this comment was: “Where relevant work only appears in reports etc, but these are published and available they have been used.”

    I’ve checked the Australian section of the final report and there are scores of references to non-peer-reviewed work.

    So much for the convention or rule of peer review being applied far morre rigorously than in the economic section!

    Are you able to answer my question about whether you think that the peer-reviewed work of (say) William Nordhaus, who has been developing economic-environmental models of climate change for over 30 years, is less worthy of inclusion in IPCC Assessments than IPCC press statements, government reports, etc?

  73. July 16th, 2007 at 17:34 | #73

    Honestly, when are you denialists going to give it up?!

    Your team looked a complete rabble during the swindle panel discussion. Bob Carter came across as a mumbling, confused old man, Ray Evans like some kind of deranged Rex Hunt, Duffy was the usual pompous twit he is, and as for the fruitloops in the audience, words fail me.

    All in all it was a devastating night for the denialists. Andrew Bolt would have done a better job presenting your case.

    We lock up holocaust deniers don’t we? Perhaps its time to do the same with climate change deniers. The damage they are doing by delaying action is undoubtedly criminal, and when AGW becomes undeniable in a few years they’ll be going to jail anyway. Locking them up now just saves time.

  74. Roger Jones
    July 16th, 2007 at 17:54 | #74

    Regards non-refereed or grey literature in IPCC.

    The IPCC allowed grey literature this time around. The rule was that it had to be logged with the Technical Support Units so that reviewers could view that literature. Some took that option.

    That said, the effort was always to go for refereed papers if possible (but published books are always cited – refereed or not, so this is not always consistent). Some Working Groups went harder on that than others – earlier only refereed literature was permiited old habits die hard. If you asked individual authors, some would have said grey lit was permitted, others not.

  75. Bruce Everett
    July 16th, 2007 at 19:13 | #75

    We lock up holocaust deniers don’t we?

    Not that I agree with them, but thankfully we don’t.

  76. peterd
    July 16th, 2007 at 19:21 | #76

    owls001 wrote (July 15th, 2007 at 10:19 pm)

    “As for as i can see as a layman, Linzden thus far is right, although the future could prove him wrong. His general thrust is that there has been 3/4 rise in atmospheric carbon and a 3/4 rise of one degree thus generally agreed, and a doubling of co2 will lead to a rise of one degree, as opposed to the ipcc “forecastâ€? of 3-5.”

    (1) To the best of my knowledge, Lindzen has claimed that water vapour is responsible for 98% of the current atmospheric greenhouse “warming”.
    This is not an accepted result in climate science: the contribution of CO2 is put at about one-third of the total. You don’t have to read IPCC reports to get this: try K. Ya. Kondrat’yev’s text on atmospheric radiation or Sir John Mason’s 1995 review in ‘Contemporary Physics’.
    (2) The “pre-industrial” CO2 level was about 270-280 ppmv. The current level is about 380 ppmv, or an increase of 35-40%, not 75%.

    You should read up on these topics a little.
    Cheers.

  77. peterd
    July 16th, 2007 at 19:31 | #77

    More generally, on the ABC’s screening of TGGWS and the debate after, I am astonished that the likes of Ray Evans are still being allowed to get away with their slanderous attacks on Mann and co-authors. In the programme, the “hockey stick” was described as “fraudulent”. This word means, to my ears, to mislead deliberately. Where is the evidence that Mann et al did any such thing? If I were Mann or a co-author, I’d be getting my lawyer to write a letter. Evans came out with this slander last year on ABC radio, on (guess whose) Michael Duffy’s radio programme, broadcast 8 May 2006. In that interview, he was informed, by Michael Manton of Monash, that the Mann et al study had “… been repeated by independent groups and they all get similar results”. Evidently, this was not enough for Evans, who had to be informed by Robin Willimas the other night that NAS had re-analysed the work and supported it.
    When will Evans give up? Maybe not till he gets a lawyer’s letter.

  78. jquiggin
    July 16th, 2007 at 21:30 | #78

    Wilful, I agree that it’s a mistake to “teach the controversy” but I have a soft spot for mugwump (and his previous incarnations such as dogz).

    Tactically, at this point I think delusionists (and particularly those clearly affiliated with the government, rightwing thinktanks and the political right in genera) should be encouraged to let it all hang out. The scientific debate is over, and the Australian public knows it, so the more the delusionists publicise their views, the more marginalised they become.

    It’s striking looking at the TGGWS show, how small is the gap between LaRouche and Lavoiser, and how small the gap between Lavoiser and (the more Neanderthal sections of) the Liberal Party. The more publicity Evans gets, the more this chain of connections is emphasised.

  79. owls001
    July 16th, 2007 at 21:36 | #79

    >>We lock up holocaust deniers don’t we? Perhaps its time to do the same with climate change deniers.

  80. July 16th, 2007 at 21:46 | #80

    Bruce Everett wrote:

    We lock up holocaust deniers don’t we?

    Not that I agree with them, but thankfully we don’t.

    We deny them visas though, and as Kevin Andrews knows, there’s not much difference these days :)

    ProfQ wrote:

    and how small the gap between Lavoiser and (the more Neanderthal sections of) the Liberal Party. The more publicity Evans gets, the more this chain of connections is emphasised.

    I’m assuming the Neanderthal sections of Liberal Party include our dear leader, because Howard is very, very close to Hugh Morgan, Ray Evans, Tony Staley and other members of Lavoiser. But I agree, the more the public sees of Ray Evans and his lunatic rants about climate change the better.

    To think this man has the ear of the Prime Minister. Truly frightening.

  81. owls001
    July 16th, 2007 at 21:48 | #81

    My grandfather was one of the first troops to reach bergen belsen concentration camp and paid with his mental health for the rest of his life, dying an early death in papworth hospital waiting for a heart transplant.
    If you made that comparison to my face, AGW would be the last thing you had to worry about.

    I DON’T TAKE TOO KINDLY TO POST MODERNIST, MORAL RELATIVISTS WHO DON’T KNOW WHAT SCIENCE IS NEVER MIND WHAT SCIENCE MEANS. SCIENCE IS POPPER NOT KHUN SO GO BACK TO YOUR SOCIAL SCIENCES DEPT AND FIND SOME OTHER STUFF TO DECONSTRUCT.

    Would by put Newton in the Gulag for believing in gold alchemy? or Einstein for saying “god does not play dice” or even Lindzen for smoking a cigarette? I suspect you would, just like the Ideology worshipers who went before you did.

    Lets get it right once and for all, MATHEMATICS IS NOT SCIENCE, Its the language that science hopes to be translated in.

    Science is a value free pursuit, that means in simple terms, if the KKK put forward a theory, then regardless of your political feelings towards the KKK you evaluate the evidence on its merit alone, that also applies to Exxon or evil “right wingers” or folks like me who look at the numbers and ask themselves how in the hell did they come to these conclusions with this evidence.

    Stop pretending you know the future, you don’t and neither do I.

  82. July 16th, 2007 at 21:51 | #82

    Ian Castles – “Are you able to answer my question about whether you think that the peer-reviewed work of (say) William Nordhaus, who has been developing economic-environmental models of climate change for over 30 years, is less worthy of inclusion in IPCC Assessments than IPCC press statements, government reports, etc?”

    As answering this question is irrelevant to the original issue of MM03 not being included I will say neither yeh or ney. As someone else said on this thread it was up to the individual chapter writers.

    As for the central issue try and look past the petulant bleating of McIntyre for a minute and look at it from the point of view of the Chapter Authors. For a tiny part of the chapter on the science of global warming there is the interesting question of the paleoclimate and how recent warming fits in. By 2007 there were at least 6 studies using a variety of methods that all pretty much agreed that recent warming is unprecedented at least for the period covered by the proxies. All of the studies are peer reviewed. Now MM03, which raises a minor criticism of one of the first studies, is not peer reviewed and says nothing about the recent studies. It also contributes nothing further to the science of the paleoclimate. This is also only one small part of the entire scientific case for global warming. It is little wonder that the chapter writers passed over non-peer reviewed work when there is such a wealth of material on the paleoclimate available that in the best traditions of science replicate and extend the original study that was done.

    As the decision to include or exclude such material was entirely in the hands of the authors and reviewers then that such a minor paper as MM03 in the scheme of things was passed over is natural. M&M like to think that they are at the centre of the climate change debate when in fact they are barking at the periphery, all the while getting more and more shrill as the evidence for global warming and climate change builds. M&M have been very effective at sowing doubt and delaying action on climate change which may yet prove to be fatal.

  83. owls001
    July 16th, 2007 at 22:23 | #83

    Why all the fuss about peer review? every one knows its a crap system.

    There are over a million peer reviewed papers every year, and you can pick and mix them to get the answer you need to almost anything you might want.
    The majority of peer reviewed published papers are basically business plans for further research money.

    A better system would be a Iowa electronic market type system where researchers invest and bet their knowledge against the knowledge and credibility of other researchers, YES of course the academics would be against it, they would have to justify themselves and their work against the work of others, “not in the spirit of science” they would cry, but what they would really mean is “not in the spirit of paying my mortgage”

  84. July 16th, 2007 at 22:51 | #84

    Oh God, here we go again with the denialist vs delusionist debate. I’m sorry I ever mentioned the H-word and no offence was meant, however I’m not going to apologise for suggesting these people should be silenced.

    And for the record, I think Costa, Marn, Laurie and any other lefties who deliberately deny the science and delay action should be locked up as well!

  85. peterd
    July 16th, 2007 at 23:15 | #85

    owls001 wrote (July 16th, 2007 at 9:48 pm)

    I DON’T TAKE TOO KINDLY TO POST MODERNIST, MORAL RELATIVISTS WHO DON’T KNOW WHAT SCIENCE IS NEVER MIND WHAT SCIENCE MEANS. SCIENCE IS POPPER NOT KHUN SO GO BACK TO YOUR SOCIAL SCIENCES D
    EPT AND FIND SOME OTHER STUFF TO DECONSTRUCT.

    So, owls, I assume that your concern for the grand Popperian (not Kuhnian, or Feyerabendian, or Lakatosian) sweep of Science accounts for your lack of concern as to the details of actual, real science?

  86. owls001
    July 17th, 2007 at 03:58 | #86

    Well I am part of the great big lovely consensus, after all I believe all things being equal putting more carbon into the air will make the temps go up

    But within this “paradigm” there is such a range of opinion has to the render the “consensus” meaningless, from Lindzen on one hand right thru to the “world is dying later today” green crackpots on the other.

    Too much money in “models” not enough money in real hard science to answer the questions that are added to the models as assumptions, and projections that are really hunches all add up to science on the cheap.

    Can facts can stand on their own? A scientist gathers results because he or she has a hypothesis to explore. Scientists, as well as lay people, have their own individual perceptions of the world.

    The questions that a scientist asks are not neutral, but colored by the premises that chooses from those that look plausible. Collecting theory-free data, as proposed by the ultra warmist supporters of inductivism, has been a difficult, largely fruitless, task. Charles Darwin remarked that “one may as well go to a gravel pit and count the pebbles and describe the colours.” Thus, DATA ARE ALWAYS THEORY LADEN.

  87. jquiggin
    July 17th, 2007 at 06:14 | #87

    It’s pretty clear who the postmodernists and social constructionists are in this debate, as in the debate over creationism.

  88. Ian Castles
    July 17th, 2007 at 08:36 | #88

    Terje, Economics in the hands of practitioners such as Bill Nordhaus of Yale is certainly a science. During the past year or so, he has published in draft a completely revised, monograph-length study of the economics of global warming using a new version of the DICE model which he and his collaborators originally developed in the 1970s. He has also produced a Review of the Economics of the Stern Review (NBER Working Paper, May 2007, forthcoming in Journal of Economic Literature); the PPP vs MER study I’ve already referred to (originally prepared as the invited keynote speech at an IPCC Expert Meeting, now published in Energy Economics); the paper “After Kyoto: Alternative Mechanisms to Control Global Warming” (American Economic Review, May 2006); the study “Geography and Macroeconomics” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 2006), the supporting database of which incorporates 27,500 observations and does well what the IPCC-sponsored “downsized” database at Columbia University does poorly; “The Economics of Hurricanes in the United States” (NBER Working Paper, December 2006); and miscellaneous supporting documents and lab notes.

    This impressive corpus of work is almost completely disregarded by the IPCC network. However, as Ender says, the content of the IPCC reports is up to the individual chapter writers – and most of them seem to be more interested in promoting their own work than attempting a serious survey of the literature.

  89. July 17th, 2007 at 09:33 | #89

    Ian Castles – “However, as Ender says, the content of the IPCC reports is up to the individual chapter writers – and most of them seem to be more interested in promoting their own work than attempting a serious survey of the literature.”

    I didn’t say that, I was just going on what Roger Jones posted about Grey Material. I am sure the Chapter authors after the many many unpaid hours spent over the thousands of papers that were reviewed would really appreciate your kind comments of “and most of them seem to be more interested in promoting their own work than attempting a serious survey of the literature.”

    How can you possibly make such a sweeping generalisation? This is slandering the dedicated scientists that spent man years producing this report that just might save your sorry arse one day.

    I apologise for the insult however it is justified if you can write off these people’s efforts with such a throwaway comment as you did. It belittles you as a serious scientist to dismiss others work in such an offhand manner. I think that you have been hanging around McIntyre too much and it is rubbing off.

  90. July 17th, 2007 at 10:15 | #90

    Hey owls, quit it with the SHOUTING please.

    Talking of Marn, did anyone notice that Ferguson was quick to dismiss a $30 greenhouse tax on all flights proposed by the Australia Institute recently?

    Marn says:

    Mr Ferguson pointed to the Australian Greenhouse Office’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Accounts that show that civil aviation contributes just 0.9 per cent of Australia’s emissions. He said getting rid ofthe aviation industry would still leave 99per cent of Australia’s emissions but with a great cost.

    Just wondering whether that 0.9 per cent includes international flights? I seem to remember from Monbiot’s Heat that international flights aren’t counted in the UK’s greenhouse inventory. Is it possible that international flights aren’t counted in any country’s greenhouse emissions? If so, this would seem to be a bit of an oversight.

  91. Ian Castles
    July 17th, 2007 at 11:15 | #91

    Ender, I asked you twice whether you thought that the peer-reviewed work of (say) William Nordhaus “was less worthy of inclusion in IPCC Assessments than IPCC press statements, government reports, etc.â€? In your reply you said “I will say neither yeh or ney. As someone else said on this thread it was up to the individual chapter writers.” Those are your exact words and I don’t understand how can you argue that you didn’t say them.

    The IPCC invited Professor Nordhaus to give the keynote speech at an Expert Meeting on Emissions Scenarios and he produced, without charge to the Panel, a report of 10,000 words, Most of the lead authors of Chapter 3 of WGIII were members of the Organising Committee for that Meeting, as was Dr. Pachauri, the Chairman of the IPCC.

    These authors should have cited Nordhaus’s paper in the Report whatever they thought of its quality – if only as a matter of common courtesy. But I think most economists would agree that Nordhaus is a more eminent and experienced economist than any of the IPCC lead authors. And most of them would say the same of the late Professor David Pearce, who was the economic adviser to the House of Lords Committee that produced a report on “The Economics of Climate Change” (not mentioned in the IPCC Report).

    Like Professor Nordhaus, I was asked by the IPCC to make a presentation at an Expert Meeting on Emissions Scenarios. I wasn’t paid for my work either, nor were several dedicated people at the Australian Bureau of Statistics who assisted me to prepare material during the 2002 Christmas/New Year break for the Meeting in Amsterdam early in January 2003. More than 60 experts attended, including Dr. Pachauri himself and Co-Chairs from all three IPCC Working Groups. But the IPCC never got around to producing a report on the meeting, an omission that I regard as almost scandalous.

    Am I supposed to be grateful to the IPCC for issuing a press statement that was specifically and exclusively devoted to brushing aside the critique I had developed with David Henderson? We were both identified, by name, as purveyors of “disinformation” – yet you accuse ME of slandering people.

    I haven’t slandered anyone. You can accuse me of making a sweeping generalisation if you want to, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Two of the three IPCC reports are now in the public domain, and the lists of references show that the lead authors have been highly selective in the literature that they have cited. In the area that I know most about, the works of the IPCC writing team feature prominently and those of many serious scholars have been dismissed or ignored. If I may borrow your elegant phrase, that sort of behaviour is not going to help anyone’s sorry arse.

  92. Roger Jones
    July 17th, 2007 at 13:27 | #92

    Ian Castles: These authors [lead authors Chapter 3 WGIII]should have cited Nordhaus’s paper in the Report whatever they thought of its quality

    Do you mean this paper?
    Nordhaus, W.D., 2005: Notes on the use of purchasing power parity or actual market prices in global modeling systems. IPCC Seminar on Emission Scenarios. IPCC, Washington DC.

    Quoted in this context?

    Nordhaus (2005) recommends, for principle and practical reasons, that economic growth scenarios should be constructed by using regional or national accounting figures (including growth rates) for each region, but using PPP exchange rates for aggregating regions and updating over time by use of a superlative price index.

    In all, Chapter 3 cites four of Nordhaus’ papers.

  93. Ken Miles
    July 17th, 2007 at 13:42 | #93

    These authors [lead authors Chapter 3 WGIII]should have cited Nordhaus’s paper in the Report whatever they thought of its quality

    At face value this statement is ridiculous. The authors of a review should cite works which they think are relevant. If they feel that a paper isn’t up to scratch, then they should ignore it.

  94. Ken Miles
    July 17th, 2007 at 13:48 | #94

    According to todays Australian, TGGWS has some more fans of the same calibre as the LaRouchites and Lavoiserists. It has been positively cited by a lawyer arguing that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS.

  95. Stephen L
    July 17th, 2007 at 16:29 | #95

    Quiggin: It’s striking looking at the TGGWS show, how small is the gap between LaRouche and Lavoiser, and how small the gap between Lavoiser and (the more Neanderthal sections of) the Liberal Party.

    Actually you don’t need to take that route. Denis Jensen, the MP for Tangney and the most qualified scientist in the Liberals have, quotes La Rouche sites to support his denialist positions. I doubt he is the only one. Moreover, it’s likely like he’ll be on the front bench post election (he’s one of the few whose seat will withstand the landslide polls are predicting).

  96. July 17th, 2007 at 17:01 | #96

    Ian Castles – “Ender, I asked you twice whether you thought that the peer-reviewed work of (say) William Nordhaus “was less worthy of inclusion in IPCC Assessments than IPCC press statements, government reports, etc.â€? In your reply you said “I will say neither yeh or ney. As someone else said on this thread it was up to the individual chapter writers.â€? Those are your exact words and I don’t understand how can you argue that you didn’t say them.”

    I didn’t say whether it was worthy or not and refused to be drawn on a straw man argument. I simply repeated Roger Jones who said that what was included was up to the chapter authors. I have not checked that this is correct. I do not care whether Nordhuas was worthy of inclusion or not as this is a clear straw man when the main argument was about MM03.

  97. July 17th, 2007 at 17:31 | #97

    Ian Castles – “Am I supposed to be grateful to the IPCC for issuing a press statement that was specifically and exclusively devoted to brushing aside the critique I had developed with David Henderson? We were both identified, by name, as purveyors of “disinformationâ€? – yet you accuse ME of slandering people.”

    It is not really a defence to say “They did it first” That is just childish. You accused the lead chapter authors of self promotion. In your opinion the authors have been selective however others have different opinions. Prof Quiggin took you you to task here on this blog on the PPP question as his area of expertise is much the same as your own.

    This sort of childish behaviour is characteristic of Climate Audit and is exactly why I never read it. I am sure that you have forgotton in the last 10 minutes more that I will ever know about economics however that does not give you the right to judge the scientists in charge of the chapters of AR4.

    I do apologise for the sorry arse comment however I do get annoyed when people that are I am sure have only the best interests of science in mind are treated in this manner by people that should know better. If someone called you “purveyors of disinformationâ€? then that is their problem not the lead IPCC authors.

  98. July 17th, 2007 at 17:49 | #98

    Stephen L: I didn’t know about Jensen. His Wikipedia entry says:

    Dr Jensen is a skeptic of human induced global warming and, on behalf of the Lavoisier Group, organised the release of a book [1] entitled Nine Facts About Climate Change by former mining CEO Ray Evans [2]. In February 2007 during a Parliamentary sitting, Jensen quoted the IPCC Vice Chairman Yuri Izrael who stated that “there is no proven link between human activity and global warming”.[3]

  99. Ian Castles
    July 17th, 2007 at 18:13 | #99

    Ender, It was the IPCC that called David Henderson and me purveyors of disinformation, and not one of those 2500 authors objected.

    No Roger, I didn’t mean the “Nordhaus, W.D. 2005â€? item that you cite, which isn’t in fact a paper but appears to be the WGIII Technical Support Unit’s paraphrase of Nordhaus’s remarks as recorded in the Report of the Expert Meeting. I’d already mentioned that citation in my comments above (July 16, 12.30 pm), where I noted that the Reference list for Chapter 3 of WGIII includes “statements made by experts during discussions at the IPCC Expert Meeting on Emissions Scenarios in Washington DC in January 2005 (e.g., NORDHAUS, 2005; Timmer, 2005; and Worrell, 2005)â€? (EMPHASIS added). I’d gone on immediately to say, and I now reaffirm, that “I do not believe that any of these … interventions were peer reviewed.â€?

    The sentence that you quote from the WGIII Report is immediately followed by the statement: “In contrast, Timmer (2005) actually prefers the use of MER-data in long-term modelling as data is better available, and many international relations within the model are based on MER.â€? It doesn’t seem to me to be very sensible to use the wrong data because the right data isn’t readily available – and in any case there is no way of knowing whether Hans Timmer actually said this because Timmer did not provide an extended abstract of his paper for incorporation in the report of the IPCC meeting.

    Professor Nordhaus did provide an extended abstract, which is not cited in the WGIII Report. More importantly, Nordhaus published his full paper (as I said, of about 10,000 words) on his website soon after the meeting. The following comments from the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Lords on Economic Affairs on Nordhaus’s paper provide a rather striking contrast to the sentence that you quoted from the IPCC Report:

    “Professor Nordhaus’s paper to that [IPCC] conference seems to us to be particularly important. First, he shows why using MERs is categorically the wrong procedure for aggregating world income. He remarks ‘estimates of output or income at MER are simply wrong – they are constructed on an economically incorrect basis’, and ‘Incomes estimated at MER are fundamentally wrong because they use the prices of a non-reprentative bundle of goods to compare the different countries.’ Second, … Professor Nordhaus demonstrates that the error in using MER can be very large compared to the use of correct PPP measures. Third, economic growth rates should also be computed using PPP data …â€?

    Ken Miles unwittingly reveals a good deal about what is wrong with the IPCC process with his remark that if the lead authors felt that a paper wasn’t up to scratch “they should ignore it.� Obviously the Lords Committee, which included several professors of economics and other eminent people from across the political spectrum, felt that the paper WAS ‘up to scratch’ and was ‘particularly important.’ And the Organising Committee for the meeting, which included most of the lead authors, presumably invited Nordhaus to give the keynote speech because of his high reputation in the long-term modelling field. It seems fair to conclude that his views were inadequately reported by WGIII for no other reason that that the lead authors disagreed with them.

    Roger Jones says that, “In all, Chapter 3 cites four of Nordhaus’ papers.� The first of these was published in 2000, and was cited by the IPCC team in support of their dismissive rejection of the Castles and Henderson critique (Nakicenovic et al, E&E, vol. 14, nos. 2 & 3: 192-93). BUT PROFESSOR NORDHAUS HAS WITHDRAWN FROM THE POSITION THAT HE TOOK ON THE PPP/MER ISSUE IN 2000. In his paper quoted by the Lords Committee and now published in Energy Economics, 29 (2007) 349-372 (“Alternative measures of output in global economic-environmental models: Purchasing power parity or market exchange rates?�), Nordhaus refers to global economic model-building for climate change being reliant primarily ‘until recently’ on MER accounts and then says, in a footnote, “The present author pleads guilty to having followed this incorrect convention in the RICE models� (n. 6, p. 353).

    In his 200-page study “The Challenge of Global Warming: Economic Models and Environmental Policy� (version of 7 June 2007), Nordhaus reports that “The conceptual basis for outputs has been changed from market exchange rates to purchasing power parity (PPP) rates� and cites his detailed paper on the subject (p. 13). He also says that “The DICE model projections are developed completely independently and using different methods and more recent data (the SRES were developed approximately a decade earlier)�. And he repeats in his conclusions (p. 137); and that “all dollar values in the text, tables, and graphs represent 2005 US dollars and measured in purchasing power parity exchange rates.�

    I admire Professor Nordhaus for having acknowledged that his earlier position was mistaken, and hope that I would be ready to do the same. And I was very pleased to receive an email message from him on 2 February 2006, which included the following:

    “I am personally and professionally extremely grateful for your role in raising the issue of proper measurement of output in the context of global economic modeling and global warming. It is clear to me that your intervention will be seen as playing a pivotal role in changing the way modeling is done in this area. I have always used MER accounts in my own modeling. I was aware of the controversy over the last few years, and my inclination was that MER accounts were theoretically preferable because energy and carbon are tradable goods. It was only when I made a careful study of your papers and the broader literature, particularly the index-number theory in this area, that I realized that my earlier thinking was wrong. I am cautiously confident that, over time, models will migrate to appropriate PPP accounts, perhaps something like superlative PPP accounts, but definitely away from MER accounts. The credit for the initial insight is yours. Bravo!�

    Regrettably, however, the MER fallacy has a good long way to run yet. The US Climate Change Science Program has just published new reference scenarios from three modelling groups, all of which use MER conversions to construct estimates and projections of GDP and energy intensities. The same is true of the scenarios produced for Australia by the Energy Futures Forum, which was initiated by CSIRO and ABARE.

    It is ironic that, in the course of dealing with a challenge that is widely expected to require unprecedented levels of international cooperation, the IPCC and many national governments have disregarded the internationally-agreed statistical conventions for measuring output and ignored or disregarded the views of their national statistical agencies.

    The IPCC’s rearguard action is especially inappropriate for an organisation that rightly presents itself as a scientific body. I find it amazing that all of those authors, expert reviewers and national governments can solemnly approve of a document that says that “the general recommendations are to use PPP WHERE PRACTICALâ€? (EMPHASIS added), and then proceed to quote the recommendation of the Statistical Commission of the United Nations (welcomed and approved unanimously by the Commission when I was Australia’s representative) that says that “data in national currencies MUST be converted … by means of purchasing power parities and NOT exchange ratesâ€?, and that “Exchange rate converted data MUST NOT … be interpreted as measures of the relative volumes of goods and services concernedâ€? (EMPHASES added).

    The context of the WGIII Chapter 3 reference to “Nordhaus 2006� (the paper in PNAS about Nordhaus’s GEcon project) is a list of ten researchers who in six different papers “have indicated different opinions on this [PPP v. MER] issue or explored it in a more quantitative sense� (p. 19). I don’t know what this is supposed to mean, or why the IPCC authors think that the GEcon project has any particular connection with the PPP/MER issue.

    In the course of the discussion in the WGIII Warwick McKibbin is twice spelled “McKibben�, and the publisher of one of his papers is reported as “Lowy Institute for International Policy Centre for Applied Macroeconomics, ANU, Brookings Institution, Sydney�.

    I suppose some readers of the blog will object to me picking up these errors when the IPCC work is all done on a volunteer basis. I find this argument pretty thin. Unlike David Henderson and me, most of the IPCC lead authors and reviewers are in well-paid positions in areas of research that are relevant to their IPCC tasks. And most of those who attended the meeting convened by the Australian Greenhouse Office to discuss Australian Government nominations seemed ready enough to allow their names to be put forward.

  100. owls001
    July 17th, 2007 at 18:35 | #100

    “It’s pretty clear who the postmodernists and social constructionists are in this debate, as in the debate over creationism.”

    You see JQ, inductive approaches lead you directly to assumptions.

    The post modernist view of science is that of the “paradigm’s”, Kuhns “structure of scientific revolutions”, is a bit of a bible to them!
    more here.

    http://www.amazon.com/Kuhn-vs-Popper-Struggle-Revolutions/dp/0231134282/ref=sr_1_1/105-9935373-8227640?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1184660029&sr=8-1

    I think the main difference between popper and kuhn, is that the later describes science as it is done (with plenty of error) and popper describes science how it should be done. There is little doubt in my mind with regards to AGW we are dealing with big science, with too much vested interest in the paradigm.

    As for social constructionist, I think its you how wants trillions spent on “reducing” the world thermostat, I am the conservative one that wants money spent on development which will lead to a lower and more stable world population which would be desirable regardless of AGW. I suggest Lomberg has some good things to say on the issue.

    As for creationism, unlike you I am not a secular fundamentalist, I recognize that science can only answer the question HOW, not WHY, as Einstein himself pointed out. And as I pointed out in a earlier post, Darwins theory of evolution is MORE than a theory, AGW is still just a theory.

    AS for the title of your thread “Delusionists demolished” one of the guys on TGGWS was a guy called Piers Richard Corbyn, at the begining of this English summer he was on SKY tv giving his forcast ( using sunspots and making a shed load of money in weather bets to boot ) a forecast that went directly against the “AGW” forecast of the met office, a indifferent summer with plenty of rain……..how right he was and is. :0)

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