Position Statement

Update: I also write on similar matters at 3000 Quads.

Over at Climate Etc., Judith Curry is asking frequent visitors to describe their background and evolution of attitudes towards climate change. This is following Paul Matthews paper on the backgrounds of frequent visitors to Jeff Id’s blog The Air Vent. (Which started following a comment from the wonderful and now absent Kendra on a guest post that I wrote at TAV long ago.)


I won’t do that here–traffic is too spotty and I feel I already know all the regulars. Oh–okay, if you want to, do so in the comments.

I’m posting what I wrote at Judith’s here. The moral of my story is Stay In School. Anybody under the age of 80 reading this–go back and get the degree. No excuses.

“I started off as a skeptic. My skepticism was a reaction to the horrible behavior by some of those in the climate community (starting off with the hounding of Lomborg) and their transparent scare tactics, from doomsday imagery to incendiary labeling to hysterical exaggeration.

I have since moved to my current Lukewarmer status, as good people (mostly but not all) in the blogosphere walked me through various elements of the science and answered a host of questions. I have no issues with the science, although it’s clear many questions still need to be answered. My continued participation in the climate conversation is focused on attribution, adaptation and impacts–and the nature of the debate itself.

Skeptics, although I consider them off base with regards to much of the science, are essentially taking brass knuckles into a knife fight. The climate consensus is playing with big budgets, close connections and no scruples in a struggle to control the language and grammar of the debate. The real struggle is political, not scientific. Scientists who have focused on WG 1 issues are doing good work in framing boundaries and I think finally we will see saner descriptions of atmospheric sensitivity and attribution of anthropogenic contributions other than CO2e gases.

But NGOs and a complaisant media are decidedly ahead on points with regards to the iconography, labeling and deligitimization of their opponents. As an illustration, Al Gore and Peter Gleick are still being listened to with regards to climate change despite offenses which would disqualify them from public discourse in almost any other field.

As for my background, I was educated in electronics and physics by the U.S. Navy (to what they claim is degree level) and studied anthropology during a brief spell at university, but left without taking a degree, one of my major regrets.”

5 responses to “Position Statement

  1. What can I say?
    I became interested in human impacts on climate in 1970. I started studying it full time in 1973. I took a class where we calculated the change in temperature if all proven reserves of coal were burned. We got around 1degree C. We made different assumptions than they do today about how much heat the oceans would take up.
    When I started reading Phil Jones papers on UHI in 1989-93, I became convinced that he was deliberately exaggerating the role of co2. When I saw the way they treated water vapor in their models I was sure that they were trying to get the scariest scenario that they could.
    The problem with the skeptics is that they really aren’t skeptics. They decide what they want to believe based on their politics.

  2. The big stories in climate while you were on hiatus:
    1. They finally made an honest effort to measure fugitive gas from horizontal drilling. Obama’s climate policy doesn’t make a lick of sense as if it ever did.

    2. The Koch brothers and the Heinz foundation are funding both skeptics and alarmists.

    3. Scafetta et al have come up with a solid way of estimating the % of warming due to natural variation, and they were jumped on by both the pseudo skeptics and the warmers. They must be doing something right.

    • The point I’m trying to make is that it is more than obvious to the real environmental left that co2 is being demonized to sell nuclear power.

  3. ‘the horrible behavior by some of those in the climate community’

    Oh yes. Dismissing errors when they are done by someone whose position one shares. Namecalling. Hopeful straws as arguments. Politization. Activism. Scaring. Baseless refusal of facts. Aggressive behaviour. Group think.

    There are lots of things that make climate blogosphere and mass media covering climate topics horrible to read.

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