Back Home to Talk About Upcoming Changes

Hello, readers. Finally made it back home and am certainly more lukewarm after transitioning from 100 degrees in Ho Chi Minh city to 65 here in San Francisco.


I think I should update you on some changes to my life that will impact my efforts on this blog.

Barring radical developments I will be taking up a permanent position located in Shanghai, China. And, although I’m greatly excited about this, it will of course have serious impacts on this labor of love here.

First, I cannot access WordPress from China. Sad, but true. I won’t be able to post from there. I won’t even be able to comment on other weblogs, which will at least please Michael Tobis, as he won’t have to agonize about censoring my comments on his weblog before heroically deciding to spare his readers from my nefarious and insurrectionist thoughts. Second, this position will require a bit more of my time than it should–I won’t have time to really research what I write and I don’t want to see a drop-off in quality–although folks like William Connelly might argue it wouldn’t be noticeable. And finally, I have been advised that lowering my public profile would be ‘a good thing’, for a variety of reasons…

So, after retiring from a couple of years ago, I think I will soon be retiring from this weblog (and the companion weblog at 3000 Quads) at the end of this month. I still have a few thoughts I want to express, so this isn’t the final post.

I am writing this now because I wanted to offer the possibility of transferring this blog to some interested person or a team. If someone (well, maybe not Stoat or Tobis) who has posted here frequently enough to have a track record would like to assume the glorious position, he or she might well be able to continue this and show the world how I could have done better.

If not, my final post will be an open thread that you are all invited to keep using ad infinitum. I will still be able to comment on this blog via a tunnel email connection, so I’ll at least be able to say hi. And before that happens I will be reposting the major Lukewarmer arguments so they’ll appear at the top of the thread.

It’s nice to be back in San Francisco–even if I’m a bit too jet-lagged to really appreciate it. But this is a move I have been preparing for for several years and I’m really jazzed about it.

So watch this space and I’ll keep you up to date–and like I said, I still have a few things I want to say.


49 responses to “Back Home to Talk About Upcoming Changes

  1. Godspeed Tom on your new job. Don’t get Shanghaied, and don’t forget to bring a respirator with you.

  2. Hi Anthony–thanks for the best wishes. Funnily enough, my recent visit found the air not bad at all–it kind of reminded me of Turin, Italy back in the 1980s. You could taste metal in the air, but it didn’t really slow anybody down. And considering the Torinese lived to be about 200 years old on average even back then, whatever was in the air couldn’t have been umicidiale…

  3. Congrats on the new gig, Tom. Sounds like you had a really interesting trip. And you got out of the far east before North Korea did whatever it’s going to do.
    I nominate Tom Scharf and Marty to be the takeover team. I’d read that point-counterpoint.

  4. This is unfortunate because you are one of the few trying to host a non-extreme discussion on climate change Tom. Doesn’t mean I agree with everything you say at all, but that’s beside the point really, because I don’t think you expect me to anyway, and vice versa.

    On the other hand, I’m rapidly becoming of the opinion that blog discussions are generally a large waste of time for complex and difficult topics like this one, so no big deal really. But I would think you could probably find a go-between who could put up stuff you email to them if you wanted. Or some other work-around by which you can gain some degree of satisfaction at having subverted The Man’s goals a tad.

  5. Glad to hear about your opportunity, sorry you are signing off. I appreciated visiting a site with thoughtful posts rather than the tribal chest-thumping found elsewhere.

  6. Congratulations on the big move. China is an interesting opportunity in many ways and I hope you are able to build a great success over there. Modern Chinese culture is extremely interesting. I hope the that you find a good long term fit that is rewarding and sustainable.
    You will certainly be missed here. Your voice is one of reason, good faith, insightful wisdom and uncommon civility.
    My lovely Mrs. and I will b e traveling to see our son in the Bay Area before too long, and it was my hope to be able to meet you in person. Sadly that now looks unlikely. Perhaps you will be able to find a pipeline for communication from China once you settle in?
    Please do keep in touch. You have my email address. Please feel free to drop a line.
    Very best regards,

    • Hiya Hunter

      You’re going to be one of many I’ll miss. When were you thinking of coming out this way?

      • Tom,
        Hopefully later this summer. Our son has met the future daughter in law, and we are fortunate in that she is wonderful and even likes Texans. It would be great to be able to meet you if possible for an adult beverage or two and solve the world’s problems in person.

  7. Good luck Tom. I spent a few days in Shanghai a while back and it’s one of the most interesting cities I’ve been to, so I’d love to be in your shoes.

  8. Tom: Your columns have always been one of my regulars. It will be sad to see a sane voice leave.

    Do keep in touch, on email or in Linkedin.

  9. Tom, Congratulations. I’m glad that something big panned out for you. And thank you for creating this blog and the time you put in on it.
    As far as someone else taking over your blog, I have to respond. I encouraged you to start it and at times criticized how you did it. So I almost have to step up. Over the next couple of days I will try to explain why I should and shouldn’t take it over, and what I would do the same and what I would do differently.
    The first thing I would do is to decide on a target audience: Whose mind do I want to change and what to I want to change it to? I want to encourage the “environmental left ” to look at CAGW with more scrutiny than they have. I am not going to waste my time reasoning with anyone repeating FOX talking points.
    The first topics that I would concentrate on would be natural cycles in climate, sea level, non-co2 impacts, and political history. I’m not up to rehashing the hockey stick.

  10. Hiya Marty

    I was hoping you would at least consider this as an option, maybe as part of a team.

    As for rehashing the HS, well we did that and hopefully got it out of our systems, right? (Although I hope it has legs as an open thread on HS issues.)

    Give it a good think-through.

    • Where we agree. I think that a good guess for warming from green house gases is around 0.05 C/decade. Your guess is a little higher. We both would like to see more emphasis on non-co2 mechanisms. Politically, you’re a liberal democrat. I hate the word liberal. Its meaning has changed more than the meaning of left. But we both agree that government is a big part of the solution, I might think that it has a larger role than you. And back in the 60’s or 70’s, we both read some uncommon political theorists and listened to the best music composed.

    • Tom, Some things where we disagree.
      You have a lot of energy and patients, I don’t.
      You won’t censor. I think that the worst form of censorship is something like Citizens United. By saying the haves can spend an unlimited amount of money, they are really censoring the have nots. I am not going to let a bunch of Stouts or FOXists dilute my labors. Their propaganda is well funded, they can’t talk on my dime.
      You favor nukes and fracked gas (you re getting more cautious on the latter). I think they’re as rediculous as industrial wind.

    • “maybe as part of a team” I used to describe myself as a team player, then I realized there were a lot of teams I wouldn’t play on. Maybe agree on a certain number of columns and then re-evaluate.

  11. I worked in China for a while and enjoyed it. I don’t think I’d go and spend a lot of time there if it meant I had to give up some of the freedom I’ve grown up with though…

    All the best!

  12. Tom,
    Allowing someone to take over a site that is based on free speech yet thinks Citizens United *creates* censorship would be madness. The sort of convolutions that can lead to that sort of surreal rationalizations for censorship has no place in an open forum, much less a free society.
    You would frankly be better off to let the site go fallow, as a small gem of wisdom, than let it be turned into some sort of mini-me of Real Climate infamy.

    • I don’t see you stepping up.

      • Tom,
        I would be honored to step up and moderate. I pledge no ideological censorship, A forum where those who notice the absence of the apocalypse and wonder why can speak freely. A forum where facts trump models. A forum dedicated to civility.
        In other words, as close to what you have built as possible.

  13. Tom –

    Congratulations on your opportunity. I’ll be sorry to see you disappear from the climate debates, both here and at other sites. A voice from the middle, willing to entertain that both sides might be rational, is a rare thing.

    I’m with Hunter on the takeover, though. Marty frequently has much to say worth listening to, but what he says would be his modus operandi would make this nothing but yet another blogospheric echo chamber – far more concerned about controlling the message than exploring the issue. If that represents your best option, then please let this blog a clean death.

    • You either.

      • Nice response. Short, pithy, and to…what point, exactly? What are you showing by attacking me, rather than what I said? That my fear for the future of this blog in your hands is right?

        Read my comment again, this time without assuming any personal attack on you. I understand that you have strong views, but what I’ve liked here was that it was a blog on which some of the implications of AGW could be discussed without having to accept the proprietor’s preconditions as to politics, policy response or certainty level of the problem. You’ve been part of those discussions, and I’ve appreciated it. However, what you say you’d do would change all that – making this site vastly less interesting or useful to anyone trying to grasp the whole of this issue.

        I have little enough time to follow this stuff – echo chambers simply don’t make the cut.

        And why don’t I step up? Well, in no particular order: wasn’t asked; wasn’t suggested as a possibility; don’t have time; don’t have clue how to do this type of thing; can’t imagine I have anything original or interesting to offer the debate; my spouse would kill me; not thick-skinned enough to deal with the (check the spelling!) Connolleys of the world; can’t trust myself to not turn it into a boring echo chamber for my beliefs.

      • kch, I would nominate you to the team but you seem to have offered all the reasons why you can’t in advance… 🙂

      • I have more respect for kch than anybody else who posts here. He’s the sole person who’s actually demonstrated a real interest in understanding the *scientific* issues behind the tree ring issues I’ve raised, including slogging through the whole series of articles, and asking several good questions. Many people on the skeptic side (most, probably) just want to use my stuff as ammunition to bolster their prejudices, but he actually wants to understand things. Big, big difference.

  14. Tom,
    You’ve been a sane, measured, civil voice of reason ever since I began researching the climate debate. Thank you for your immensely important contribution.

    • Donna,
      Do you have a take on the lack of reporting from those who received the CG3 data and the password?
      It seems to me that there should be something to report by now.

      • In all honesty, I don’t think there’s much there–unless you’re willing to catalogue and cross reference. Which I haven’t seen anybody say they are willing to do.

        I honestly think it would be a worthwhile exercise–but it’s not something I’m prepared to do. If someone coordinated an army of Davids to ease the pain, I’d do a little of it. But man, that’s a lot of emails.

      • Tom,
        Thanks for the response. Given your track record, I can take comfort that you are playing it you see it.
        At the least the community deserves closure and some updates. I suggested crowd sourcing. This is the perfect project for just that.
        Someone like Mosher could be project manager.
        The annoying thing is the dog not barking.

  15. I would be happy for the tag-team duo of Marty and Hunter to take this over. I think the balance would be good and I trust both of you to handle it. In fact I’ll bet the blog would improve as a result.

    • “I would be happy for the tag-team duo of Marty and Hunter to take this over.” Not interested.
      The best approach would be to vet all comments. I don’t have the time for that.

    • Tom, I went back 50 days to see who posted that I would consider working with. If Jim Bouldin ws interested, we could talk. Going back further, maybe Norm or Fergusen.
      Aside from that, I will offer to do it but I will have to do it my way.

    • Tom,
      Marty is a good guy, I am sure, but it would be tough. The role of moderator requires balance and perspective. I am flattered that you believe in me enough to think this about me. I would certainly seek to honor that trust in word and deed. I wonder if Marty could overcome his stated interest in censorship?
      He seems to have dismissed me and a lot of others out of hand. Could he overcome that and build a working relationship? Might be tough.

  16. On a lighter note, I read that the most requested song in Britain today is “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead.”

    • Marty, you say, ” On a lighter note, I read that the most requested song in Britain today is “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead.”

      You are considering taking on Tom’s blog and you are too stupid to understand that Lady Thatcher saved the UK from socialists like you.

  17. Tom, I reserved the site for my new blog. The name of the site is “There is more than one pattern in the Universe.” The title is a combination of “The other pattern in history” by George Ball and the saddest Ukrainian folk melody, “There is more than one path through the field.” I am going to start slow. The first topic will be the one where my thinking first parted with what I was taught–Patterns in Earthquakes. From there I will branch out with one path going to periods in volcanism and then to short term periods in climate. It probably will not be in full swing until fall.

    Tom, I have the greatest respect for the job you’ve done. I can’t say the same for your crowd of regulars. There are many forms of censorship. A bunch of nutjobs ganging up on a site and acting like ******** is every bit as much censorship as blocking an address.

    Right now I’m guessing that you are trying to simplify things. I’ll try to help. I’m withdrawing my offer to take on the blog.

    Good luck and all the best,

  18. The person who takes on The Lukewarmer’s Way should be able to:
    1) Explain the lukewarmer position on the science.
    2) Recognize the goal is to replace carbon fuels.
    3) Recognize the ineffectiveness of the information deficit communication model.
    4) Understand the role the role of climate in the variety of reasons message framing.
    5) Understand and promote the bottom up approach to mitigation.

  19. Well. Sorry, Marty–I hope your new blog is really successful.

    Now what? Hunter, I think you’re one-half of a great team. Where’s your counterpart?

    • Tom,
      It would be a real challenge to convert from radical lukewarmer to wise moderator. I would have to balance my *strong* views with encouraging discussion from a wide range of perspectives.
      I would build on our work. Paul’s list is an interesting place to start. I would dispute, however, his #2 goal of lukewarmers: carbon is just another chemical. The question is climate and impacts on climate. Arbitrarily replacing carbon as a fuel may or may not be good for climate, the larger environment, and humanity.
      For #5, I would ask “mitigation in what sense?” There are no CO2 mitigation technologies that actually exist, except for possibly simply using a lot less carbon, which raises the concerns regarding #2.
      I think #3 & #4 are sides of the same coin. I would suggest that communicating science is not science. It brings to mind the industry that has grown around walkathons, marathons, etc. and colored ribbons: The causes they claim to be raising money for seem remarkably unaffected by the walking, bicycling, but those running the causes seem to be pretty doing pretty well. Climate science suffers from many problems. Communication is not one of them, anymore than selling cigarettes was not the problem of tobacco companies. They were pretty good at that.

  20. Dearest Tom,
    I am going to send an email to all of the addresses that I have for you. Please read it before you make any decisions.
    The best approach would be for anyone who wants to continue what we are trying to do on this blog to simply get a wordpress blog and do their thing like me. And you could simply have a link to them. It wouldn’t be any more work for anyone.

    • Hiya Marty

      Well, I may end up doing that.

      We’ll see.

      How’re you doing? I’m finally over the jet lag stuff.

  21. Let me add my best wishes for you in the future. It sounds like an exciting opportunity. At the same time I am disappointed because I welcomed the opportunity to discuss some issues at your site that normally get swept aside in the loud debates.

  22. ” You could taste metal in the air, but it didn’t really slow anybody down. ”

    Sounds a little like the frog in the pot, on the hot burner: a little steamy but I’m doing fine.

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