The Boy Who Cried Werewolf


Because I spent a year of my life over at my companion blog 3000 Quads demonstrating that it is quite likely that we will be using six times as much energy in 2075 as we do today, I am very much prepared to believe that we can and probably will change the weather–in part from our increased CO2 emissions, in part from the changes in land use that accompany the growth and development of human population.

So if you tell me that some time after 2040 we will have to cope with changing patterns of rainfall, increased precipitation (about 5% worth) globally, droughty areas getting droughtier and rainy areas getting rainier, like the IPCC I will agree. This will most likely occur even if we don’t measure dramatic temperature changes, although I believe we will see notable rises in temperature after 2025.

But if you tell me that those changes are happening now, you are either crazy, ignorant or evil. Current climate and notable weather events are not the result of the 0.8C rise in temperatures experienced over the past century. That’s not my opinion. It is the opinion of the IPCC and the scientists who provide the results of their studies to them. It is the opinion of scientists who do not work for them.

Now there are some notable scientists who disagree with the IPCC and my own illustrious self, Kevin Trenberth and James Hansen among them. But they never dispute what mainstream science says–they just assert that global warming is influencing current weather. Bloggers like those at Planet 3 go along for the ride, and propagandists like Joe Romm re-trumpet their assertions. (Is that like re-tweeting, but way older?)

But as more and more people look around them and notice that current weather looks very much like past weather, claims regarding all potential impacts of global warming lose their force and credibility. And the number of people in the general public and in power turn away from concerns about the energy we use and where it comes from. The panic-mongers, agenda-pursuers and their sheep have lulled us to sleep.

As I’ve said many times, here and at 3000 Quads, this leaves us in the position of sleepwalking into the future. And I just want to repeat once more that sleepwalking along a path we share with wolves is not likely to end happily.

37 responses to “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf

  1. Right, the hyperventilating argument that extreme weather changes caused by AGW are already occurring is not supported by the facts. 99% of all articles making this assertion never show any trends or data to back it up. They are all of the “some scientists say” variety. It is pure propaganda, and it is amusing that supporters can’t see how this is going to backfire on them. Desperation.

    Speculation on what will happen in the future is worthy of debate, but I don’t think anything has been established here either. My guess is there will be a measurable effect, but it will be small, and it will take a 50 year trend to even find it at all. Trends changes of < 5%? Yawn.

    Even with no real shift in trends, some dry areas will get dryer, and some wet areas will get wetter. That is the way random erratic processes work. News bulletin: Some dry areas will get wetter and vice versa as well. The endless pointing out of specific anecdotal events is tiresome.

    The mile high view argument that enacting AGW legislation will improve the weather down the road is of course ridiculous, but that is effectively the argument being made. Enact progressive policies! Enjoy better weather!

  2. “But if you tell me that those changes are happening now, you are either crazy, ignorant or evil. Current climate and notable weather events are not the result of the 0.8C rise in temperatures experienced over the past century.”

    Climate activist and money manager Jeremy Grantham must be either crazy, ignorant or evil. In a just published interview he says things such as

    “The sceptics are getting angrier and more vicious every year despite the more storms we have, and the more mad crazy weather we have…
    [Superstorm] Sandy was probably the closest thing we’ve had [in the US] to a Pearl Harbour moment in terms of moving public opinion of whether climate change is real.”

    Whatever he is, Grantham is losing his credibility, which is not rational for a money manager. He is at least crazy.

  3. Great blog post.
    You forgot greed as a motivation.
    The problem is the insurance industry has already started pricing their premiums to the alleged reality of apocalypse now.
    We are being hammered in the pocket book *today* by the AGW hype. Pielke, jr. has spoken about this many times.
    What do you think of the new papers showing a luke warmer reality?

  4. A bit off topic…

    Europe Faces a Crisis in Energy Costs

    This one from the NYT reads like something you would get at Fox News or the WSJ. As some point the reality of higher prices has to be acknowledged by even the most googly eyed advocates. It. Matters. A. Lot.

    “Even the European Union’s flagship environmental achievement of recent years, its Emissions Trading System for carbon dioxide, is beset by existential doubts”

    “Evidently, members of the European Parliament were more concerned about any further raising of energy costs that some European companies already say are putting them at a competitive disadvantage.”

    “Most green electricity sources cannot compete with coal and natural gas on their own and require subsidies that are passed on to industry and consumers.”

    “Britain, where the average annual household energy bill has doubled to about £1,335, or $2,040, since 2006, is approaching a “tipping point” where large numbers of people decide to “switch off heat permanently,”…

    • That article wasn’t off-topic at all.
      I was amazed to see this paragraph:

      “A real debate on energy may be in the cards for the first time in years. “We are in the realpolitik of climate change now, where costs and competitiveness do matter,” said Fabien Roques, another analyst at IHS CERA. ”

      What do you know, we’re having the first “real debate” on climate sensitivity (see judy curry yesterday) and the first “real debate” on energy at roughly the same time.
      And it only took 20+ years to get to a “real debate,” stage. This is what happens when you cry wolf and demand Easter Bunny solutions.

  5. Yep. Consider right this minute.

    Midday April 18 and the temperature in Dallas is just inching over 50 F. Rochester, NY, at 77 degrees is warmer than San Antonio, TX at 68. Over 7 inches of rain have fallen in parts of the Chicago suburbs in the last 24 hours and every inch of Chicago is currently underwater.

    I look around and notice that this is completely normal. What on earth was I thinking?

    • You are correct in what you are thinking. It is completely normal. Weird things happen in weather all the time. They always have and, until we learn to control the weather, they always will.

    • Notice how your comment goes straight up on the weblog here, while my comments at Planet 3 are censored, deleted or delayed? You haven’t changed at all, Dr. Tobis. Still crying doom, still pretending to be a sincere and honest voice of concern, still trying to stifle debate and preserve the airwaves for one voice only–yours.

      As you’ve yet to be correct about anything substantive, don’t you think that’s a bit arrogant?

  6. Weird things do happen in weather all the time. The question is whether “weird things” are happening more often than they used to do.

    I believe that AR6 (if it ever somehow comes together as a credible document, despite the vortex of postnormalcy that IPCC has inevitably created around itself), will tell a different story from previous WGI reports, not because anything in scientific methodology has particularly changed, but because the facts on the ground have changed.

    • I agree that weird things are happening more and they are do to human activity. If we stopped this preoccupation with co2 and started looking at the other stuff, we might figure it out.

  7. As to comment moderation, I follow Gavin’s brilliant inspiration. There’s a borehole, much like on RC. All moderated-out comments at P3 go there. It’s by design not easy to find unless you look for it, but a link to it is provided for any article in which any comments are moderated out.

    Look at the end of the article text where your comment was moderated out for a link to the appropriate section of the borehole. Further, per Paul Acciavetti’s suggestion if I recall correctly, my reply as to why it is not a positive contribution to the readers of P3 is appended.

    Unfortunately 95% of my incoming is caught by a spam filter so if something is altogether too spammy it will get skimmed out by Akismet; there are occasional false positives.

    But ultimately the P3 moderation policy is whether the editor likes it. Stuff is moderated out when it bores the editor, or more usually, where it’s long since stopped being interesting to the editors we’re afraid it’s boring our audience. I make no apology for that. That is how and why P3 is already as good place to converse about sustainability as any other; that there is a little bit of judicious editorial pruning of the comment tree is a feature, not a bug.

    You started the year being dignified, and pleasant. I had thought you and I were burying the hatchet. But as usual your impulse is to argue without giving your opponents’ arguments a chance to sink in, never mind to be properly accounted for.

    Your policy ideas are in themselves appealing and well-argued, and might reasonably be considered by inexpert readers quite plausible. But you hardly ever listen to anything I (for one) say, or make any attempt to postulate, even for the sake of argument, that there is any sense to it. I am sure others agree with my perception of conversing with you on this subject. It feels like willful obtuseness to many of us, but perhaps you just haven’t been listening very carefully to our side of the story.

    Anyway after a while it gets enervating and I decide to stop for a while.

    Since you keep bringing me up, I will tolerate much more of it on your site. But if you want me to show up, I still expect you to treat me with a *little* respect. I mean I *want* to be mentioned. By respect, I mean please PLEASE please just entertain for a moment the hypothesis that I am making some sort of sense when I say something, before trying to find a way to mock or rebut it.

    (By respect I don’t mean calling me Doctor, though I don’t object to that. I’d prefer just “mt” though.)

    However, there is that guy try to spin a quote of mine as genocidal, which does peeve me no end. Would it be a reasonable request to ask you to remove it? I don’t like to pull the victim card very often but you probably know I have very little extended family as a result of a genocide, so I have some right to take it personally.

    Does your eschewing of editing your comments field allow for removing something like that? It seems to me that such unbelievably harsh and unfair talk ought to be discouraged somehow.

    • Do you ever read your own writing? You really do come off as an arrogant elitist. Your *** opinion *** means as much, and as little, as everyone else’s.

    • One last comment for you, Dr. Tobis–you wrote that I started off the year being dignified and pleasant. Then you started censoring my comments. Comments that were dignified, pleasant, on topic–but with which you happened to disagree.

      See any connection?

  8. All scientists can be seen as “arrogant elitists”, yes. Your doctor’s opinion about your intestine is, in fact, worth more than your barber’s.

    • If you hung out here a little more, Dr. Tobis, you would see that I do listen to and respect climate scientists, ranging from Jim Boulding to James Annan–and I have written in praise of James Hansen. I was the guy who awarded Gavin Schmidt my blogger of the year award two years ago. I was the guy who wrote a letter to Cuccinelli defending Mann. And you sat on your duff and did nothing, despite my urging you to act.

      It’s not that you’re on the other side that causes our differences. It’s the fact that you’re never right and you never admit it.

    • Yes, appealing to one’s own authority is a common sign of arrogance. What you peddle in is a lot closer to astrology than astronomy. Don’t bore us with the supporting data, we only want your precious conclusions on what lies for us in the future. Please, Tobis, save us all.

  9. For what it’s worth, I absolutely defer to James Annan on any point of statistical reasoning, and think he’s right about many other things more often than not, when he expresses an opinion. I absolutely defer to Julia’s and James’ expertise on the equilibrium climate sensitivity question. They are also delightful company.

    Me writing a letter to Cuccinelli to ask him to knock it off would achieve nothing, given my position at the time, but I am very grateful that you did.

    Whether I am “always wrong” or not is not for you to decide, until such time as you actually approach what I say as if it might make some sense before you dismiss it. You always seem to be responding to things I didn’t actually mean to say. I am asking you for the sake of decency to try to understand what I mean before dismissing it in this way.

    If you can’t do that, bye.

  10. Well, as I’m not going back to your island of censorship, you can either live with my lack of censorship coupled with opinions I have formed of you over three years of heavily censored conversations at your various venues or do without the pleasure of our company here.

    But on the other hand, your tactics are good practice for my future place of business and living–maybe I should re-think!

    • Tom –

      While I admit myself surprised to be on the same side of any issue with mt or (check the spelling!) Connolley, they do have something of a point wrt censorship. Any form of moderation is, at a basic level, a type of censorship, and you have in fact done so. I think you have been justified in this (not that my thoughts should carry any weight – your blog, your rules), and would encourage anyone wanting their blog to be a place for debate to moderate for topicality and civility.

      A lack of this type of moderation can far too frequently lead to comment threads with such low signal-to-noise levels that the threads become not worth wasting time one’s time on. Climate etc. is a good example: I learned a great deal from the comments in the first year or so, but now generally don’t bother with the comments there (1000+ comments of the same few people shouting past each other is *truly* boring).

      Otoh, going beyond the basic level of topicality and civility becomes a method of controlling the message, not of encouraging a discussion. And if promoting the message is more important than debating your detractors, perhaps removing comments altogether is the more intellectually honest approach. Possibly even a reexamination of the purpose of the blog.

      Admittedly, I can’t think of a blog that gets this completely right…human nature is what it is.

      “But on the other hand, your tactics are good practice for my future place of business and living–maybe I should re-think!”

      Well, it has been occasionally lauded as the kind of caring, egalitarian society all progressives should strive for – hopefully you don’t learn too much from them. 😉

  11. It is entertaining to witness the verbal gymnastics that people go through to rationalize their support of censorship. The edifice they construct almost always ends up looking just like a cow pie.

  12. Nullius in Verba


    I enjoyed my time recently over at P3, but my perception of it mirrored yours of us. I found that people reflexively argued with me, and seemed more interested in rebutting what I said than engaging positively. We had a very long conversation on thunderstorms for which your sole apparent aim was to demonstrate that I didn’t know anything about meteorology – although I had not claimed to, nor had I expected anyone there to think I did. I had simply been asking a question about why the equatorial convection cells were expected to expand polewards.

    Many of your arguments I can see would seem superficially plausible to people who didn’t know the subject, but this seemed to rely heavily on the audience having an extremely narrow viewpoint, and not being exposed to alternative points of view. Nobody seemed to be aware of the often obvious counter-arguments. In many cases, they seemed to be arguing vehemently against people’s positions without understanding what those positions actually were.

    And throughout, there is a constant attempt to patronise – to imply that anyone who disagrees is deluded, and while it might superficially look like a good argument, it’s wrong for reasons you are slightly too avuncular to discuss for the moment. Care is taken not to imply for a moment that there might be anything at all to anything sceptics say. Any interaction with them is only in the hopes of saving them from themselves, and not of learning anything. To open your own minds would be to concede too much, it seems, but you require us to open ours before you will talk to us?

    And I got the material part of a comment consigned to the borehole because I had in passing used the word ‘ClimateGate’ – not even in an insulting or controversial manner, but simply factual, as the most commonly known term for the event. It seemed such a weak excuse to butcher a comment that I just found it funny. That sort of behaviour does far more damage to your cause than I ever could have, even if I wanted to.

    I want to be clear that I never minded any of that – we are on different ‘sides’, we disagree profoundly, and the race is not to be run without dust and heat. I still think there is benefit in people of different worldviews conversing respectfully. But it seems that others did not see the same benefits, and found even carefully polite disagreement distressing. So I withdrew voluntarily. But I think you will find this applies more generally.

    I expect your community will remain isolated from alternative viewpoints for as long as the editorial approach continues, and I consider this to be the equivalent of putting your ideas on a remote island with no predators; like the Dodo. It might seem like the best way to protect them, but in the long run I don’t believe it is a good survival strategy. I’m not sad about it.

    • I wrote long ago about Only In It For the Gold (P3’s predecessor) that it seemed designed to be a refuge for those that shared the blog owner’s POV and was not designed for a debate with those who didn’t share it. I said at the time that this was a completely legitimate justification for a piece of Internet real estate and that if they want to be left alone over there we should honor their wishes.

      The problems start when they claim to want to engage with a larger community without specifying that they only want newcomers who already are on board. When Planet 3 started they were explicit–they would issue invitations to the Elect and everyone else would be judged on a comment by comment basis. But the ground rules were courtesy and staying on point–not adherence to their belief system.

      Sadly, that proved to be an implicit rule anyhow. And so despite trying to engage respectfully over there, we get censored.

      Dr. Tobis and those at Planet 3 can solve this quite easily–just by saying that skeptics and lukewarmers are not welcome there. But I for one refuse to comment where I am likely to be censored. And I think it the height of hypocrisy for Dr. Tobis to ask me to delete a comment criticizing him, given the really vile nature of comments about me that he has allowed on his blogs.

      • Nullius in Verba

        I seem to remember when they started they were pretty explicit about not tolerating dissent from the articles of faith. It immediately got criticised as an echo chamber, “clubby”, a Potemkin village, and “RealClimate 2.0”, which I think stung mt into saying something about seeking a broad representation of opinion and not only tolerating respectful disagreement but thriving on it. I was sceptical, but intrigued enough to try it out. The result was much as the cynics predicted.

        To be fair, when I went over there recently, they did seem to have improved considerably and virtually all of my comments got through. But it was always lurking around on the edge of the conversation. I expect it varies depending on their mood.

        I’m still a bit surprised, though, after my recent experiences over there, to see mt virtually inviting you back in. Could it be that he enjoys the experience more than he lets on?

      • Doesn’t matter. Once deleted, twice shy.

      • > I wrote long ago about Only In It For the Gold (P3′s predecessor) that it seemed designed to be a refuge for those that shared the blog owner’s POV and was not designed for a debate with those who didn’t share it.

        It might be tough to find a week that the author of the above quote does not say something along those lines.

        It’s just a variation on “Yes, But RC Moderation”, really.

  13. Because 3.0 is a membership blog dedicated to the information deficit communication model, it makes perfect sense that nonmembers’ comments are moderated for content. I thought that Bart was treated rather shabbily there.

  14. The reason no one wants to have a discussion with you about whether global warming is true is because that issue has been settled by the science, and we all are sick to death of dealing with deniers for the past decade or so. It is time to move on with more productive discussions.

    Denial of global warming is no different, at this point, to belief in a flat Earth, a denial of heliocentricity, opposition to the Germ Theory of disease, or whether the Bible is inerrant.

    Here is some advice:

    If you think you have something meaningful to say about whether global warming is true or not, you will get nowhere by quibbling over whether any particular measurement or proxy or record is in error, while then inductively asserting that this means that AGW is false. You have a much larger responsibility.

    Because the laws of physics demand that increased atmospheric CO2 will cause retained heat to accumulate on Earth. And Nota Bene: This is confirmed by orbital satellites which measure incoming and outgoing energy from the Earth. They are out of balance exactly as predicted by the Greenhouse effect.

    So, either offer an explanation for why this is in error, or why the Greenhouse effect is invalid, or, more to the point – if indices you claim are not indicative of AGW are in error, then understand that you have an obligation to explain where the extra heat generated by the greenhouse effect has gone.

    And, if you can’t do that…. please just STFU and get out of the way of those of us who are trying to do something constructive.

    • Nullius in Verba

      “The reason no one wants to have a discussion with you about whether global warming is true is because that issue has been settled by the science”

      That’s not how science works. And it is this fundamental misunderstanding of science that gets you into so much difficulty.

      “Denial of global warming is no different, at this point, to belief in a flat Earth, a denial of heliocentricity, opposition to the Germ Theory of disease, or whether the Bible is inerrant.”

      Yes. But you’re wrong to think that the position of science on a flat Earth, say, is to dismiss it without discussion and to demand trust in their assertions. The position of science is to offer once again the evidence and reasoning for a round Earth. And this is what believers in climate catastrophe are unable to do. They know the climate catastrophe is coming and that the Earth is not flat because they have been told that this is so. But they don’t know why; they are themselves incapable of understanding. If you ask them, they stutter and splutter that you should even ask such a question, and appeal to the authority of ‘experts’, but they can’t answer.

      An actual expert would be able to explain, simply and concisely, how we know. It’s a lot more convincing.

      “And Nota Bene: This is confirmed by orbital satellites which measure incoming and outgoing energy from the Earth. They are out of balance exactly as predicted by the Greenhouse effect.”

      Actually, no they’re not, and this is not what the greenhouse effect predicts anyway. The actual imbalance is tiny, and far smaller than can be measured with current sensors. (Do you really think they can pick up the heat associated with a few degrees per century in a system that can warm or cool the surface by more than ten degrees in a few hours?) What they can pick up is changes associated with the change in forcing, which is something different. The greenhouse effect predicts that outgoing radiation should almost exactly balance incoming radiation, but that the surface temperature is affected by where the outgoing radiation is outgoing from.

      I know how the greenhouse effect works, and I have no doubt of its existence. But I’m constantly bemused by the way those shouting loudest about the laws of physics apparently don’t. You don’t understand it. You don’t know how the laws of physics operate to achieve that result. But you’ve been told that this is what physics implies, and you trust those telling you. That’s faith, not science.

      • There’s scientific skepticism and then there’s using the term as a front for dishonestly undermining scientific results.
        Climate denialism hasn’t been in the first group in decades.

      • Next time I run into a climate d******isterite I’ll let him, her (or is it ‘it’ these days?) know. I certainly don’t know many.

  15. I cant accept the IPCC argument that drier places will get drier and wetter places wetter, increasing CO2 is helping plants grow with less water, and plant biomass is increasing, causing deserts to recede, more plants means efficient water cycles, the soil can hold more water before run-off, and plants recycle water through transpiration. I think drier places will get wetter, and wet places also wetter (5% increased precipitation)

  16. Pingback: Knee in the Curve or Calm Before the Storm? | The Lukewarmer's Way

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