The East is Red [Stoat]


The East is Red [Stoat]

oglaf-dick Rather appropriately, with all the murk swirling around Trump’s ties to the Commies, Judith Curry and John Christy are looking for new sources of incomesuggesting that Congress fund “red teams” to investigate “natural” causes of global warming and challenge the findings of the United Nations’ climate science panel according to the WaPo. In case you’re in the slightest doubt about where La Curry was aiming her testimony, she concludes Let’s make scientific debate about climate change great again. FFS. This, in case you’ve been asleep, is all in the context of the House Committee on un-American Climatology aka Full Committee Hearing- Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method.

I couldn’t bring myself to do much more than skim Curry’s words, because it is the same old stuff all over again. To pick out some bits:

* I realized that the premature consensus on human-caused climate change was harming scientific progress because of the questions that don’t get asked and the investigations that aren’t madeand yet she is rather short of ideas about things to investigate. Like the denialists, she knows that she doesn’t like the IPCC conclusions, but that’s about it.
* As a result of my analyses that challenge the IPCC consensus, I have been publicly called a serial climate disinformer, anti-science, and a denier – this is dishonest, and from the std.septic playbook. The truth is that she has many any number of inaccurate or unsupported statements, and wild allegations about people who should be her colleagues. That is what people have attacked. See Judith Curry WTF? and links therein, which helpfully provides my title image, too.
* A scientist’s job is to continually challenge their own biases and ask “How could I be wrong?” – but obviously this only applies to other scientists; not to Curry or Christy. At least, I can’t find any reflection of that sort in her testimony.
* As usual, her only real contribution is “things are more uncertain than we think”. And this might be true (how certain are we of our uncertainty, after all). But the clear implication of her testimony is “and this means we don’t have to worry”. Her implication is that if we’re uncertain, we don’t need to worry about the impacts of GW; completely forgetting that (a) it could be worse, as easily as it could be better; and (b) if it is worse – in terms of temperature deviation from the expected mean – then the impacts increase non-linearly, so the overall effect of uncertainty is to increase, not decrease, the expected damages.

Enough of Curry. What of Christy? I don’t think I have his testimony available. The WaPo reports him saying credible ‘red teams’ that look at issues such as… the huge benefits to society from affordable energy, carbon-based and otherwise,” said witness John Christy… “I would expect such a team would offer to Congress some very different conclusions regarding the human impacts on climate. Which is stupid. Your views on the benefits of fossil-based energy should not affect your conclusions on the impacts in the slightest1.

I suppose I should discuss the “red teams” idea a bit. The idea isn’t to bring in the Commies, this is a different sort of red, though actually it is really the same sort of red. Try reading wiki if you’re confused. Anywaaay, where was I? Oh yes: why this is a stupid idea. Well to start with it isn’t necessarily totally stupid, unless it is being run by a group of ideologues with a fore-ordained conclusion for which they’re desperately searching for evidence. How likely is that? Secondly, this is language from a different area (the military; business) being imported into science. If it was being done by the pols, you could simply put it down to ignorance. That it is being done by scientists in an effort to sell their ideas to pols I think you put down to something rather different. But the military and business are areas with rigid hierarchies and enforced obedience and suppression of dissent2. C+C are trying to tell the pols that science is like that; and it isn’t. Science already provides all the internal red teams that it needs.

Could the idea actually be of any use? In the present context, I think that’s doubtful. Suppose they did it anyway, what happens? Probably, C+C and their ilk get thrown some taxpayers money to attack their should-be-colleagues, which would be galling but minor in the great scheme of things. They would fail to do anything of scientific use, and that failure might ultimately be revealing, and therefore good. But in the meantime they get a platform to spout nonsense. Ah well, these are difficult times, you cannot expect to choose amongst different good outcomes.

Finally, notice that the WaPo calls La Curry “professor emeritus” which AFAIK is wrong; she is simply ex. Anyone know for sure?

Anyone got links to the testimony of Mann or Pielke?

[EFS wins the race: Curry, Christy, Mann, Pielke. Thanks.]


1. That’s Bellamy logic.

2. At least, that’s my picture of the mils. I have had no experience of it since CCF3 whilst at school. I can assure you that dissent, and it’s expression, was not encouraged then.

3. Try Though I did it in the not-really-voluntary phase, during middle school. And we didn’t get to carry guns much.


* House Science Committee Comes to Agreement on Climate Science – Just kidding! – QS

Rogues gallery

Stilz from the vidz.

Curry. A bit untidy.
Christy. Very buttoned-down and engineer like.
Mann, our Hero.
Pielke. Looking a little round.


Published at Wed, 29 Mar 2017 19:25:47 +0000