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Michael Mann explains the evidence for anthropogenic climate change

He’s not a very exciting speaker, but he does present the compelling evidence well.

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. Brownian says

    That’s Michael Mann?

    He is a little quiet. You’d think he’d be all coked up an’ shit for all the money he’s being paid by the UN’s NWO department. Nonetheless, he is wearing the dark, muted tones required by all Black Helicopter passengers to ensure radar-undetectability. And he’s still sticking to his anthropogenic climate change story, eh?

    Hey Michael, how much thermite are the Reptilians paying you to peddle your lies?

  2. Nerdette says

    Michael Mann is coming back to his old department at UVA to speak for Enviroday – the grad students are pretty pumped!

  3. Paul from VA says

    FYI the video is getting a lot of downvotes from a certain denialist blog. You all should pharyngulate the video’s likes…..

  4. juice says

    So the evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is that there are a lot of stupid republican politicians? A review of republican politicians and their talking points seemed to be the vast majority of the talk.

  5. idonotknow says

    Not a great talk. Fell awkwardly between science and politics for me. Not enough science to be a good science talk, not insightful and pointed enough on the politics to be a good politics talk.

  6. MetzO'Magic says

    6. juice says:

    So the evidence for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is that there are a lot of stupid republican politicians? A review of republican politicians and their talking points seemed to be the vast majority of the talk.

    The point is that the science is pretty much done and dusted, and it’s become *all about the politics*. It’s long past the time when we should have taken serious action to develop a carbon neutral economy. The Rethuglicans are overtly supporting their campaign contributors’ vested interests at the expense of future generations.

  7. Doug Little says

    Does this blog get the same influx of deniers as other science blogs when a post on AGW is up? Inquiring minds with big buckets of popcorn want to know.

    p.s. I’m thinking we will get an AGW is false because Al Gore is fat in the first 50 comments.

  8. Nerdette says

    slc1 #5 -

    Is our numbnuts attorney general planning to have him arrested?

    That would be an interesting turn of events. We haven’t heard much from the Cooch since we started sending him a climatology article on AGW a day in hope he would learn something.

  9. says

    Doug Little #9 – Big buckets of popcorn? Is it buttered?
    I pharyngulated the Like button #3, even though I wanted him to say it’s all the Christian deniers fault, but Republican is close enough.

  10. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    META: I am amazed that this post has not been flooded with denialists. Rabid denialists. In large packs.

  11. says

    I suspect the denialists stayed over at scienceblogs, after the move, and are now exclusively harassing Deltoid

    not that I mind just now. I just had to deal with a mindnumbingly stupid denialist on the Pirate Party (german political party) forum. did y’all know that

    –CO2 is heavier than air, therefore can’t rise high enough to function as a greenhouse gas?
    –CO2 only makes a teeny tiny bit of the atmosphere?
    –water is more dense than ice, therefore melting icebergs can’t make the oceans rise?

  12. slatham says

    I’d never heard him speak before. He didn’t come out and complain that he was persecuted. He HAS been persecuted. Perhaps this was before the latest attacks. Thanks for posting this, PZ — I haven’t seen it on the climate blogs I frequent.

  13. David Marjanović says

    –water is more dense than ice, therefore melting icebergs can’t make the oceans rise?

    *facepalm*

    Hey, it’s literally true. Icebergs don’t raise the sea level when they melt. Glaciers raise the sea level by calving into the sea in the first place.

  14. jh0008 says

    This is a very poor lecture. Climate scientists constantly talk about trends only being valid over very long periods such that we can’t just take a couple of decades to demonstrate a real trend … whereas the only evidence here for accurate computer models is just one model that provided predictions that were vaguely in the correct area over just 20 years. The speaker also builds a straw man of right wing politicians to argue against … rather than addressing genuine scientific criticisms of climate scientists. For example, see this lecture that was publicized by the Richard Dawkins Foundation …

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/ridley_rsa.pdf

  15. jh0008 says

    I’ve no idea who runs the ‘Whats Up With That’ site. At any rate, I’d rather judge the arguments on their merits rather than someone’s subjective views on moral bankruptcy. I found the text of the excellent lecture on confirmation bias from here …

    http://richarddawkins.net/articles/643807-thank-you-matt-ridley

    … but then you probably think Richard Dawkins is proven liar and morally bankrupt bullshitter too, so you probably won’t follow that link.

  16. slc1 says

    Re jhooo8 @ #17 & 19

    Mr. Anthony Watts, who is no more qualified to pontificate on climate science then he is on string theory, is as phony as a three dollar bill. The proof of this is his reaction to the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study, led by physicist Richard Muller, a noted skeptic of global warming. Mr. Watts stated before the study began, that he would accept its results without question as he considered Prof. Muller to be a fair and honest student of the subject. When Prof. Muller testified before a Congressional committee that the results of his team’s study agreed with the global warming consensus, Mr. Watts changed his tune, bad mouthing the study and the professor. This despite the fact that the study was, in part, financed by the Koch brothers, notorious climate change deniers, whose billion dollar fortune rests, in part, on the fossil fuel industry.

    As for the reprint of the Watts article on Richard Dawkins web site, this in no way, shape, form, or regard implies that the Richard Dawkins Foundation or Prof. Dawkins himself endorses its contents. They often reprint or give links to articles that they vehemently disagree with.

  17. jh0008 says

    I’ve no idea who Mr. Anthony Watts is. I have posted two separate links to the same lecture on confirmation bias within scientific research. The lecture was delivered by Matt Ridley. Perhaps you are commenting on the links that I posted without having read the links that I posted?

  18. Matt Penfold says

    I’ve no idea who Mr. Anthony Watts is. I have posted two separate links to the same lecture on confirmation bias within scientific research. The lecture was delivered by Matt Ridley. Perhaps you are commenting on the links that I posted without having read the links that I post

    If you are that ignorant maybe you need to stop commenting on things you admit you do not understand.

  19. Matt Penfold says

    jh0008,

    Also you are simply lying when you say you have no idea who Anthony Watts is. You linked to his blog.

    Why the lie ?

  20. says

    Scientists have been warning each other against the dangers of institutionalized bias ever since Francis Bacon. That does not mean that everything science has done is wrong.

    Matt Ridley is a journalist with a background in biology. I’ve liked several of his books very much. I was not at all impressed with his denialist arguments minimizing the potential impact of global climate change, especially given that the sources he used were largely ideologically-driven, frequently debunked denialists who epitomize the bias Ridley was arguing against.

    I’m afraid you’re also an untrustworthy liar. Your first link was directly to Anthony Watt’s blog o’ lies, and your second link was to an excerpt that then linked to the text of the speech on Anthony Watt’s site. The speech specifically cites “Anthony Watts who…runs wattsupwiththat.com” And now you’re trying to tell us, all disingenuous-like, that you never heard of this Watts fellow?

    Right.

    Why can’t you guys ever be honest? You’re like a bunch of shifty-eyed car salesmen — you know you’re trying to sell us a bunch of crap.

  21. jh0008 says

    Thanks slc1. A discussion on the issues and their relative merits would indeed be interesting. Does this mean that by sympathizing with the position expressed by Matt Ridley, I am no longer deemed a person who is morally bankrupt and lacks a cogent argument? To be honest, I think that this thread alone provides ample support for the position described by the Matt Ridley lecture.

  22. Matt Penfold says

    Matt Ridley is a journalist with a background in biology. I’ve liked several of his books very much. I was not at all impressed with his denialist arguments minimizing the potential impact of global climate change, especially given that the sources he used were largely ideologically-driven, frequently debunked denialists who epitomize the bias Ridley was arguing against.

    Ridley is a self-identified libertarian, who was chairmen of Northern Rock when it went bust and had to be taken into public ownership. He is good on biology but I would not trust on him on anything else.

  23. Matt Penfold says

    Thanks slc1. A discussion on the issues and their relative merits would indeed be interesting. Does this mean that by sympathizing with the position expressed by Matt Ridley, I am no longer deemed a person who is morally bankrupt and lacks a cogent argument? To be honest, I think that this thread alone provides ample support for the position described by the Matt Ridley lecture.

    No, it has not provided such evidence, though it has provided evidence you are not honest. No apology for the lie about not knowing who Watts is I note.

  24. jh0008 says

    Dear PZ,

    I had never heard of Anthony Watt before I engaged on this blog. I have at most a passing interest in climate change science. I read the Matt Ridley lecture on the Richard Dawkins web site and ended up at the link I provided when trying to find the pdf copy of the lecture text. I am not a climate change denier and I don’t think Matt Ridley is either.

    I think Matt Ridley’s lecture is interesting. It doesn’t prove or disprove climate science and I quoted it in order to demonstrate that the TED lecture in your post did a poor job of presenting it’s case. I think you were also less than complimentary about the presentation in parts.

    You may well be unimpressed by Matt Ridley. When I find time to read the BBC link provided by slc1 I may well find it much more convincing than the Matt Ridley piece. I don’t know yet. I think I’ll make up my own mind. What I certainly won’t be doing, is calling someone morally bankrupt or an untrustworthy liar without any reason. I am neither or those things and those comments are entirely unfair.

    John Hamill ([email protected]).
    Ireland.

  25. Matt Penfold says

    I had never heard of Anthony Watt before I engaged on this blog

    You linked to his blog. Why the lie ?

  26. jh0008 says

    Dear Matt Penfold,

    I regularly read the Richard Dawkins web site. If you read the Matt Ridley lecture on the Richard Dawkins web site and follow the links to find a nicely formatted pdf version of the lecture then you end up at the link I provided. That’s all I did. I have no clue who Anthony Watts is … other than the fact that you guys don’t seem to like him much.

    John.

  27. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I found the text of the excellent lecture on confirmation bias from here …

    Note the peer reviewed scientific literature. Which is what you need to be citing. Science is only refuted by more science. Where is your SCIENCE?

    A discussion on the issues and their relative merits would indeed be interesting.

    Try the scientific literature. Otherwise, you have nothing to say, and sound like a bot since you keep repeating nonsense… I am less than impressed with your lack of cogent points, and evidence to back up your claims.

  28. Matt Penfold says

    I regularly read the Richard Dawkins web site. If you read the Matt Ridley lecture on the Richard Dawkins web site and follow the links to find a nicely formatted pdf version of the lecture then you end up at the link I provided. That’s all I did. I have no clue who Anthony Watts is … other than the fact that you guys don’t seem to like him much.

    So your defence is you are stupid and not dishonest ?

  29. jh0008 says

    Nerd of Redhead,

    I agree I wasn’t trying to cite peer reviewed scientific literature in order to debunk climate change science. I have no interest in trying to debunk climate change science. I know very little about it.

    What I did was to argue that Michael Mann made his case poorly in the lecture that was posted by PZ. I am a Computer Scientist and I know a little about computer models. The cases presented in the lecture did not seem convincing to me. That of course does not mean that there aren’t loads of other presentations on climate change computer models that are hugely convincing. I just don’t think Michael Mann did a very good job of presenting the case that he chose.

    I also think that the presentation was overtly personalized and political. I would have been more convinced by his case if he was less concerned with point scoring against particular politicians and more concerned with the evidence. The Matt Ridley lecture I linked to was pertinent to this point. Of course, this again does not mean that he doesn’t have great evidence on his side … just that he didn’t present any of it especially well.

    Sorry … but I just didn’t like the talk. If that makes me morally bankrupt and an untrustworthy liar then okay.

    John.

  30. jh0008 says

    Matt,

    Nope. My defense to the charge of being an untrustworthy liar is that I am not untrustworthy and I didn’t lie. I said I had no idea who Anthony Watts was before I posted on this blog and that is entirely true. I posted a lecture by Matt Ridley. I liked the lecture. You guys then made a bunch of erroneous assumptions and immediately branded me an untrustworthy liar and morally bankrupt as a result. Your assumptions were wrong.

    I wanted a nicely formatted pdf version of the lecture. I found one. I don’t think that makes me stupid. I think you are being deliberately obtuse by failing to grasp that.

    John.

  31. slc1 says

    Re jh0008 @ #19

    but then you probably think Richard Dawkins is proven liar and morally bankrupt bullshitter too, so you probably won’t follow that link.

    Mr. jh0008 appears to be insinuating in this sentence that Richard Dawkins endorses climate change denialism. I have downloaded a number of lectures by the professor and have read most of his books and I cannot recall him ever commenting on the subject. However, it is my impression that, unlike folks like Anthony Watts (who is a former self taught TV weatherman, not a climate scientist), he is quite careful not to pontificate on subjects that are outside his areas of expertise, and climate science, is certainly one of those areas.

  32. Matt Penfold says

    Nope. My defense to the charge of being an untrustworthy liar is that I am not untrustworthy and I didn’t lie

    You did link to Watt’s blog, so either you did so in ignorance, or you knew what you were doing. The former makes you stupid, the latter dishonest.

    However it is now clear you are both stupid and dishonest. Begone with you, after you have apologised to us.

  33. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    jh0008,
    First, Anthony “Micro” Watts is an professional idiot. He has posted some of the most egregious anti-science on his site that has ever disgraced the web. And what is more, he usually posts the diatribes of others so he can merely wrap himself in the mantle of free speech and say he just thought it was “interesting”.

    Watts is on record as having said that he’d accept whatever conclusion Muller and the BEST team reached. Then when they confirmed warming, he viciously attacked Muller on his blog. He is not a skeptic. He is an ideologue and liar.

    Now to Ridley. Matt Ridley’s essay is a wonderful example of how you can say lots of reasonable things in a piece and still arrive at conclusions consisting of utter bunkum.

    He does this by getting every single last little bit of science in the piece wrong. For one thing, it is quite simply invalid to take the warming we have seen to date and use it to extract a CO2 sensitivity. To do so demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the physics involved.

    When you add a greenhouse to the atmosphere, it takes a big bite out of the outgoing IR radiation–the only way heat ever leaves the climate system. The only way you restore equilibrium is for the temperature of the planet to rise to the point where energy out under the new blackbody curve (raised temperature + greenhouse bites) again equals the energy in. Planets are big. Warming–especially of the top 100 meters of oceans–takes time. In the process of warming, the planet will also respond (e.g. increasing water vapor in the atmosphere a la the Claussius-Clapeyron equation), further changing the equilibrium point. Since the temperature must rise to the new equilibrium point, it is very likely that we still have a lot of warming ‘in the pipeline’.

    It is quite likely that the climate takes more than 30 years to recover equilibrium. It is very clear from what Ridley writes that he doesn’t understand this or really anything else about climate science. Why should he? He’s a fricking biologist. He is also an idiot for thinking he is in a position to comment far, far outside his expertise. You are an idiot for getting your climate science from a fricking biologist. I hope that helps make things clear.

  34. Matt Penfold says

    Mr. jh0008 appears to be insinuating in this sentence that Richard Dawkins endorses climate change denialism. I have downloaded a number of lectures by the professor and have read most of his books and I cannot recall him ever commenting on the subject. However, it is my impression that, unlike folks like Anthony Watts (who is a former self taught TV weatherman, not a climate scientist), he is quite careful not to pontificate on subjects that are outside his areas of expertise, and climate science, is certainly one of those areas.

    From what I recall Dawkins accepts climate change is real, and caused by human activity but does so because that is scientific consensus of qualified scientists.

  35. says

    I don’t think that makes me stupid.

    You keep saying that. But you found two copies of the same lecture on Watt’s site, a lecture that plainly praises Anthony Watts of the wattsupwiththat site, and now you say you’ve never heard of Watts…do you understand how that would look very silly?

    And then you say you didn’t care for Mann’s lecture because it didn’t provide any information, but you liked Ridley’s lecture…which was a horribly biased mess that parroted oft-refuted doubts from low-credibility denialist websites.

    Your comments on this thread make you look very stupid. Very stupid indeed. I’ll do you a favor and suggest that you look up the first rule of holes, immediately.

    Maybe you’ll even find it on Watts’ blog.

  36. jh0008 says

    Matt,

    I linked to the Watts site in order to provide access to a nicely formatted version of the Matt Ridley lecture. I had no idea who Anthony Watts was. I found the link to the pdf on the Richard Dawkins site, which I read regularly and enjoy greatly.

    I am neither stupid nor dishonest. In a more reflective mood Matt, you might accept that you seem to have jumped to an erroneous conclusion that put me in a pigeon hole of being a climate change denier who is in league with this Watts character. No matter how many times I tell you I do not deny climate change and I do not know who this Watts guy is you seem to feel more comfortable with insulting me than accepting you jumped to the wrong conclusion.

    Poor you.

    John.

  37. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    John Hamill,

    The reason you look stupid is because you seem to care more about formatting than about scientific accuracy or correctness. If you cared about the science, you would have perhaps devoted even the merest moment to checking out the veracity and validity of the arguments upon which Ridley was basing his absurd slander of climate science. His entire argument is crap of the purest ray serene.

    Your failure to exercise even the tiniest amount of due diligence before similarly slandering climate science–and indeed science in general, since every professional society of scientist that has taken a position has supported the consensus of climate scientists.

    So, John, you may well not be stupid. You have yet to present any evidence that you are not.

  38. Matt Penfold says

    I linked to the Watts site in order to provide access to a nicely formatted version of the Matt Ridley lecture. I had no idea who Anthony Watts was. I found the link to the pdf on the Richard Dawkins site, which I read regularly and enjoy greatly.

    You linked to Watts’ blog. Either you did so knowingly, in which case you are lying, or you did so in ignorance of who he is, which makes you stupid. There are no other options.

    If you are being truthful when you tell us you had no idea who Watts is, and I am not convinced you are, then you would have apologised for your mistake. You refuse to do so, which tells us a lot about you, your honesty and your motivation.

  39. jh0008 says

    Dear PZ,

    You are wrong on point of fact. I did not find two copies of the same lecture on the Watts site. I found the lecture first on the Richard Dawkins site. I enjoyed the lecture for the broad point on confirmation bias, although I’ll happily accept that there may be other much stronger arguments that Ridley’s on the climate science.

    The only link I provided to the Watts site was for the nicely formatted pdf. I arrived at that pdf by clicking on a link in the Dawkins site without knowing anything about Watts. I really don’t know why you feel it is impossible that this is exactly what I did. You seem determined to believe that I am some kind of climate change denier nut job.

    I do not deny climate change. I’m happy to accept that Ridley’s arguments may be wrong and I’ll read the BBC link provided by slc1 to find out. Do I really sound like a climate change denier?

    I still think the Mann presentation was poor. I still think the computer model case he used was poor. Sorry if that is now illegal.

    John.

  40. jh0008 says

    Matt,

    I linked to the Matt Ridley lecture. I liked that lecture. At no point did I mention, express a view on or endorse the views of this Watts guy. The reason for that is that I’ve no idea who he is and I’ve never read his blog.

    I didn’t lie. I’m not untrustworthy. I’m not morally bankrupt. I don’t owe you an apology.

    John.

  41. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    The question, John, is why you think a biologist is more qualified to pontificate on climate science than the vast mojority of climate scientists.

    That is what makes your judgment suspect.

  42. jh0008 says

    Ray In Dilbert Space,

    I was expressing a view on the Mann lecture. I didn’t like it because it was too political and seemed to ‘play the man and not the ball’. I think Mann was guilty of some of the broader points in the Ridley lecture around confirmation bias. That’s all.

    John.

  43. Matt Penfold says

    I linked to the Matt Ridley lecture. I liked that lecture. At no point did I mention, express a view on or endorse the views of this Watts guy. The reason for that is that I’ve no idea who he is and I’ve never read his blog.

    You linked to Watt’s blog. Did you not bother to read at least some of the blog ? It would be pretty stupid to link to a blog you did not bother checking.

    I didn’t lie. I’m not untrustworthy. I’m not morally bankrupt. I don’t owe you an apology.

    OK, you did not lie. In which case you were stupid weren’t you ? In which case you owe us an apology.

    How fucking stupid is this to understand ? If you did not know who Watts’ was, you should have done. There is no excuse.

  44. jh0008 says

    Ray In Dilbert Space,

    I agree. The climate science may well be strongly in favour of Mann and against Ridley. You’ll notice that I did not express a view on that one way or the other. I merely criticized the Mann presentation and indicated that he chose poor examples, which didn’t support his case very well.

    That doesn’t mean there aren’t other great examples around … but it doesn’t mean my criticism is invalid either.

    John.

  45. Matt Penfold says

    The only link I provided to the Watts site was for the nicely formatted pdf. I arrived at that pdf by clicking on a link in the Dawkins site without knowing anything about Watts. I really don’t know why you feel it is impossible that this is exactly what I did. You seem determined to believe that I am some kind of climate change denier nut job.

    It is quite possible that is how arrived at the PDF. However when you claim that was not as the result of you being stupid then it becomes impossible to believe you. Either you were stupid, or you lied. No other options are open to you.

    Of course, you have now denied you either so often it makes you a liar for having done so.

  46. jh0008 says

    Matt,

    Okay. Maybe you should read this very slowly so that you can understand …

    I did not link to the Watts blog. I linked to the Ridley lecture.

    John.

  47. says

    Good grief. The Dawkins site only has the beginning couple of paragraphs — to read the whole thing, you have to click through to Watts’ site.

    And if you read the whole thing, it cites Watts and gives the url of his site.

    Seriously, stop digging. Your denials are making you look even more stupid, and it’s painful to see.

    Stop. Stop now.

  48. jh0008 says

    Matt,

    I wanted to provide a link to the Ridley lecture. I had read it on the Richard Dawkins web site. The Dawkins web site had a link to a more easily readable version of the same text in pdf format. I used the link with the superior format. I had never heard of Watts when I did that and I have never read his blog. Ever. Just got the link from the Dawkins site.

    You believe that this makes me stupid or a liar or both. Fine. I don’t agree. Rather, I think you jumped to the erroneous conclusion that I am some kind of Watts proxy and then heaped insults on me, which were entirely unjustified. Straight to the personal abuse first and find out the facts later.

    I think it would be better for you to just admit that you jumped to the wrong conclusion. Don’t worry. I’m a nice guy really. I don’t call people names or anything. I’ll forgive you.

    John.

  49. Matt Penfold says

    I think it would be better for you to just admit that you jumped to the wrong conclusion. Don’t worry. I’m a nice guy really. I don’t call people names or anything. I’ll forgive you.

    You lied.

    Why not just admit it. I just caught you lying, when you said you did not link to Watts’ blog.

    Decent people apologise when they act dishonestly or stupidly. You don’t.

    Why are you so adamant you have done nothing wrong ? Is your ego so fragile you cannot admit you fucked up ?

  50. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    John,
    You also linked to a lecture by a nonexpert, riddled with long debunked and in fact egregious examples of antiscience when you could have taken a mere moment and actually looked into the science. Why?

    That, John,is the question. Why trust the opinion of non-experts in the field over those of experts? Can you explain that?

    The thing is that climate science is over two centuries old. The fact that greenhouse gasses warm the planet has been known since the 1850s, and the fact that burning fossil fuels would warm the planet has been known since 1896.

    Over 97% of climate scientists say we are warming the planet and that it is a threat. Not one single National Academy dissents. Not one single professional organization of scientists dissents. And yet, in the press and in politics, we continue to see long discredited antiscience quoted as if IT were established scientific fact. Michael Mann himself has been the subject of witchhunts by States Attorneys general and Senators–all for doing his job. Do you not comprehend why folks might wonder whether the problem is politics?

    Question: Have you read Spencer Weart’s excellent history of global warming?

    http://aip.org/history/climate/index.htm

  51. KG says

    John Hamill,

    I do not deny climate change. I’m happy to accept that Ridley’s arguments may be wrong and I’ll read the BBC link provided by slc1 to find out. Do I really sound like a climate change denier?

    Yes. You have the slipperiness typical of the type. Consider what you said earlier:

    The speaker also builds a straw man of right wing politicians to argue against … rather than addressing genuine scientific criticisms of climate scientists.

    What are those “genuine criticisms”? If, as you also say, you know little about climate science, how do you know whether there are such criticisms? Why is it a “straw man” to attack the anti-scientific vapourings and conspiracy claims that have come from many right-wing politicians, and indeed are now all but universal on the American right?

    I still think the Mann presentation was poor. I still think the computer model case he used was poor. Sorry if that is now illegal. [my emphasis]

    And here in confirmation we have the typical denialist paranoia and hyperbole.

  52. slc1 says

    Re jh0008

    Apparently, Mr. jh0008 is not familiar with the rules of TED presentations. As I understand it, they are limited to 10 minutes in duration so there is no way that Prof. Mann or Phil Jones or James Hanson or anybody else could make a definitive case for global warming or any other complex scientific theory in that short a time period.

    Quite clearly, the purpose of the presentation was to note the politicization of the subject in pointing out the machinations of political right wing whackjobs like Senator James Inhofe and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

    Just for the information of Mr. jh0008, the aforementioned Koo Koo Ken Cuccinelli has misused his office to engage in a witch hunt against Prof. Mann and his former university, UVA, for the purpose of intimidating climate scientists who have the temerity to have an un-Cuccinelli thought in their heads.

  53. jh0008 says

    Dear PZ,

    Correct. The Dawkins site has only the first few paragraphs and an interested reader who is a big fan of the Dawkins site might reasonably follow the link to read the rest of the Ridley lecture.

    Now imagine that said reader is not some kind of climate denier nut job and has only a passing interest in climate science (you’ll notice that Ridley doesn’t mention climate science until well into the piece and actually there is a long introduction on confirmation bias). Now image that this nerdy science fan who reads the Dawkins web site a lot, has never heard of Watts and just follows the link to finish reading the Ridley piece. Said reader may well complete the Ridley piece without reading anything else on the Watts site and remain blissfully ignorant of who this Watts guy is.

    Now image that said reader is little old me. Not a clime change denier. Not a right wing nut job. Not a liar. Not morally bankrupt. Just a fan of the Dawkins web site who enjoyed the start of the Ridley piece on confirmation bias and wanted to finish it. I’m actually a reasonably nice guy. Honest.

    By the way … I still think the Mann lecture was poor.

    John.

  54. Matt Penfold says

    jh0008 should have been born 200 years ago. He is so good at digging holes he would have made a brilliant Navvy.

  55. jh0008 says

    slc1,

    I know TED … and your point is well made that it is not possible to provide a detailed explanation of complex science in 10-15 minutes. I just think that Mann chose his examples poorly.

    John.

  56. says

    I think the Mann lecture was awkwardly presented, but the content was solid.

    The Ridley lecture was awful…nothing but rubbish, with content derived from denialists, not scientists.

    And you’re discovering that as you continue to dig, the temperature rises. STOP DIGGING, YOU’RE LOOKING LIKE A RAVING MORON.

  57. Matt Penfold says

    You are better at personal insults than me. I’ll grant you that much.

    More intelligent and honest as well. I think you might be a prime example of Dunning-Krueger in action.

  58. says

    rather than addressing genuine scientific criticisms of climate scientists

    What does that even mean? What about genuine scientific criticisms of the science supporting AGW? What do you think those are? Given that you’ve said “I have no interest in trying to debunk climate change science. I know very little about it,” on what basis do you think yourself capable of assessing which criticisms are valid?

    Do I really sound like a climate change denier?

    You sound very much like an AGW denier, in fact. You claim that you were merely suggesting that the presentation was lacking, but then you go on to make broader, unsupported claims about climate models themselves. Your posts contain other suspect elements as well, as several people have pointed out.

    You seem determined to believe that I am some kind of climate change denier nut job.

    Are you stipulating that you accept the IPCC assessment, then? Or that you are too ignorant to speak on the subject and should probably shut up?

  59. says

    Seriously. Stop. This is your final warning. If you continue to obtusely wrangle, I will ban you for being stupid. Take a break, step away from the thread, and put it behind you…because the rabid hounds here will tear you to shreds if you continue to put up this patently false pretense, and I’d rather not see all the blood and gobbets of flesh spattered about the place.

  60. jh0008 says

    Ray In Dilbert,

    Happy to accept that point. I wasn’t trying to take a position on climate science in terms of accusing Mann of being on the wrong side of the argument. As you say, I don’t know enough about it. Rather, I made the point that I thought the Mann lecture was poor. I thought he chose bad examples to try and make his point and I think he displayed some of the characteristics of confirmation bias, described by the Ridley lecture.

    Apparently that makes me morally bankrupt and an untrustworthy liar … but I still think the presentation was poor (not wrong … just poor).

    John.

  61. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    slc1,
    Actually, making a case for anthropogenic causation would be relatively easy in 10 minutes:

    1)It is generally accepted that gasses that absorb radiation in the wavelength range of Earth’s thermal radiation will warm the planet. Without these gasses, it is generally accepted on the basis of simple radiative physics that Earth would be cooler by 33 Kelvins.

    2)Carbon dioxide CO2 is the second most important greenhouse gas after water vapor. However, CO2 has some very important properties that water vapor does not. First, it is a gas over all of Earth’s temperature range, and so it is well mixed in the atmosphere. This means that it persists in the atmosphere independent of temperature while water vapor concentrations are determined mainly by temperature. This means that while CO2 is an independent knob on regulating temperature, water vapor is better treated as a feedback.

    It also means that the effects of CO2 continue even at altitudes above the cloudtops, so it is more effective at stopping radiation radiated high in the atmosphere.

    CO2 is also a long-lived greenhouse gas. It’s effects persist for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years.

    3)Increasing the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere further raises the planet’s temperature. The effect for CO2 is roughly logarithmic in CO2 concentration.

    4)Burning of fossil fuels by humans has increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere by roughly 40% over pre-industrial concentrations. We know that the added CO2 is coming from human activity because 1)we’ve actually released about 2x as much CO2 as has actually stayed in the atmosphere (much of the rest has gone into the oceans where it is increasing acidity) and 2)the increased carbon has an isotopic concentration depletec in carbon 13 and completely lacking in carbon 14–identical to that of fossil fuels

    5)Even with the modest amount of warming we have seen to date, we have seen serious effects: 1)rapid loss of polar sea ice (I estimate the Arctic will be ice free by September 2043 +/- 2 years based on my own analysis; 2)loss of over 2 trillions of tonnes of ice in 5 years; 3)sea level rise’ 4)most worrying of all, and increase of ~20% in the land area in drought since the 1970s.

    6)Several independent lines of evidence show that we can expect about 3 degrees of warming for a doubling of CO2, and that all of the above effects will get significantly worse as a result.

    That’s the basic case right there.

  62. jh0008 says

    Dear PZ,

    It’s true. I’m a big science fan. I read the Dawkins site religiously (sorry for the pun). In fact, I wrote you a “why I’m an atheist” email a while back. I’m not a climate change denier. I just didn’t like the Mann lecture.

    This should be easy to resolve. How can I prove that what I am saying is true? Just tell me what you expect me to do or say? Seems like on this site, I am a witch unless I burn well at the stake, in which case I may have been innocent.

    John.

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How can I prove that what I am saying is true?

    Deal with the real science, not appearances of what you appear to consider as science not looking at everything. And you have no science, and scientists considered your bullshit complaints from the git-go. So, either put up the science, or shut up. Only liars and bullshitters can’t put up, and can’t shut up.

  64. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    John, Why not just commit to reading the Weart piece. It is very well written and meticulously researched. Hopefully, it will give you better perspective so you don’t make similar errors in the future.

  65. says

    jh0008:

    Rather, I made the point that I thought the Mann lecture was poor. I thought he chose bad examples to try and make his point and I think he displayed some of the characteristics of confirmation bias, described by the Ridley lecture.

    As I see you haven’t put down the shovel, I’ll jump in here too.

    So. You thought the Mann lecture was poor. Your argument includes the accusation of confirmation bias. To demonstrate this, you link to a well-debunked lecture by an AGW denialist. You claim this is because it has a good description of confirmation bias.

    Correct so far?

    Several problems with your presentation that work against you here.

    First, it’s much easier, and less loaded, to link to the Wikipedia article on confirmation bias. We all know what confirmation bias is. If you’d merely indicated that was your primary issue without invoking the specter of denialism, you’d’ve received less resistance.

    But, that’s not how you presented your original criticism:

    The speaker also builds a straw man of right wing politicians to argue against … rather than addressing genuine scientific criticisms of climate scientists. For example, see this lecture that was publicized by the Richard Dawkins Foundation …

    So, you presented the Ridley lecture as valid scientific criticism, not as a description of confirmation bias.

    It most definitely appears you are attempting to rescue your credibility, which you shot in the face when you presented Ridley as “genuine scientific criticism.”

  66. says

    My suggestion that you made larger claims about models was somewhat misleading. you wrote:

    This is a very poor lecture. Climate scientists constantly talk about trends only being valid over very long periods such that we can’t just take a couple of decades to demonstrate a real trend … whereas the only evidence here for accurate computer models is just one model that provided predictions that were vaguely in the correct area over just 20 years.

    So you planted a seed – that the presentation is somewhat at odds with the way climate scientists “constantly talk about” modeling trends (I’m surprised to hear someone admittedly so ignorant on the subject claim to know what climate scientists constantly talk about). You planted the seed for ignorant people reading that to think that, rather than the short video being incomplete, climate scientists don’t really have the evidence to back up their conclusions. You then say “I am a Computer Scientist and I know a little about computer models. The cases presented in the lecture did not seem convincing to me.” But you don’t discuss any aspects of any models specifically that you found lacking. This is all very suspect and typical denier stuff.

  67. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    OK, so why is it that these idjits come on here and quickly go from anti-science to claims of persecution (“Sorry if that is now illegal.”) to freaking delusions of martyrdom. Ferchrissake. Isn’t it simpler to say. OK. Maybe I was wrong. Sorry.

    I’m gonna go way out on a limb and guess that John ain’t married.

  68. slc1 says

    Re a_ray @ #69

    Actually, it is my information that methane is a much stronger greenhouse gas then either water vapor or CO(2). Other then that, a good argument.

  69. says

    slc1:

    Actually, it is my information that methane is a much stronger greenhouse gas then either water vapor or CO(2). Other then that, a good argument.

    Very true — methane is about 20 times more potent than CO(2) as a greenhouse gas. However, arids said “important.” As it stands, CO(2) and water vapor are the most prevalent greenhouse gases. Methane contributes some, but not nearly as much as those two.

    That could change. There’s a lot of methane sequestered in the arctic tundra. As the permafrost melts (as it has been doing), methane is released, accelerating the greenhouse effect.

    But, methane isn’t as persistent as CO(2) — it persists only about 10-15 years in the atmosphere. It’ll have a drastic short-term effect, but only for a couple of decades.

    Those won’t be pleasant decades, though.

  70. naturalcynic says

    Alternative hypothesis: jhooo8 is naive. Maybe not hopelessly so, but certainly approaching that level.
    Evidence: Assuming that Mann was presenting a complete case in a TED presentation;
    Assuming that denialist politicians and industrialists would be agenda-free;
    Assuming that Ridley was agenda-free;
    Assuming that Watts had any credibility;
    Assuming that presentation skills trump evidence;
    Assuming that Mann was presenting the only climate model;
    Assuming that pharyngulytes had no knowledge of climate science and weren’t a slavering mob of denialist stompers;
    Assuming that PZ had infinite patience;
    Assuming that he could continue to be naive and believe that it was an adequate defense;
    Assuming that assuming would not bear out the old saying;
    etc, etc, etc

  71. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    SLC1 and Nigel, Nigel is correct in his interpretation. However, the only reason CH4 has a higher greenhouse potential is that it is present in much smaller quantities than CO2. As such, it’s effect increases nearly linearly with concentration rather than logarithmically as for CO2 (due to its higher starting concentration).

    Moreover, CH4 only survives roughly 10 years in the atmosphere before it is oxidized (usually via O3) to CO2 and H2O. So, in reality, unless there is a continual source of CH4, it is not all that much worse, long term, than CO2. Even so, the methane bubbling up from the Arctic is a significant concern.

  72. MetzO'Magic says

    I remember reading that Matt Ridley piece a few months ago on Watts’ site. He does a masterful job of explaining what confirmation bias is, and then conspicuously leaves global warming denial out of his list of examples of it. Then he proceeds to (rather transparently, I thought) demonstrate his own confirmation bias as he trots out nearly every AGW denier canard in the book. What a fucking idiot.

    And of course, Watts and his army of drooling sycophants just lap that stuff right up. Then jh0008 comes onto a science blog (a *real* one, unlike WTFUWT) and tries to market the steaming pile of Ridley droppings as “genuine scientific criticisms of climate scientists”. Pffft!

  73. mikeh says

    Michael Mann explains the evidence for anthropogenic climate change

    No he doesn’t, not in that video anyway, at all. He says that the greenhouse effect caused by certain gases has been known for a 100+ years, then he says that Hansen ran some simulations in the early 80s, doesn’t say a word about how the simulations were done, then shows a picture of the hockey stick, then talks for ten minutes about politics. We are told that Hansen predicted the observed warming correctly for a 15-year period or so (the graph doesn’t extend to today), and that the hockey stick has been confirmed to be right by many methods. Not a word about the actual evidence or the modeling methods.

    I know that Mann is not making all this up and that there probably are a lot of peer-reviewed publications in support of the hockey stick. However, Mann doesn’t explain any of the science behind them, which is too bad, since he would probably be a lot better at talking about those than talking about politics. PZ’s title for this post is very sloppy.

  74. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Mikeh,
    The physics that gives rise to anthropogenic GW is the same as that which gives rise to the 33 degrees of warming due to greenhouse gasses even in pre-industrial times. There is no reason to expect CO2 to stop acting like a greenhouse gas when its concentration reaches 280 ppmv (the preindustrial concentration).

    I laid out the basics in post #69.

  75. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Devad,

    You know, if you quote newsbusters, all you’re gonna generate are snickers.

    Muller was called to testify before the Senate by Inhofe–denialist credentials don’t get any more pure.

  76. mikeh says

    @a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Yes. You laid out the basics, but Mann didn’t in that video, and moreover, he really didn’t explain what the evidence for the hockey stick is apart from referring to corals and whatnot in passing. My objection was to PZ’s title saying that “Mann explains the evidence”, which he doesn’t. He spends ten minutes out of sixteen talking about politics.

    I’m not a denialist or a conspiracy theorist and I understand that TED presentations are short and that Mann’s purpose for this talk was probably not to explain the evidence, but to talk politics. I’d like him or someone with similar expertise to actually do 20 well-prepared minutes on the evidence for AGW.

  77. devad says

    Please bear in mind the difference between ‘denialist’ and ‘skeptic’. I doubt that Muller disbelieved the theory of AGW at any point, but I gather he was skeptical of some of the claims and data used to support it.

    As for the link, yea I probably should have linked directly to the source or pulled out the relevant text.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Please bear in mind the difference between ‘denialist’ and ‘skeptic’. I doubt that Muller disbelieved the theory of AGW at any point, but I gather he was skeptical of some of the claims and data used to support it.

    Oh, we understand the difference between between denialists and real skeptics. We also understand how hard it is to get the agreement that has been reached in the field that AGW is happening. After all, scientists will disagree just to argue. If someone is skeptical and has real evidence, there is always the peer reviewed literature available for a manuscript to show their points…

  79. says

    I doubt that Muller disbelieved the theory of AGW at any point

    why would you? is this some sort of “if you’re an atheist now, you’ve never been a Real True Christian” sort of thing?

    No, Richart Muller was a full-blown denialist (and the difference between “AGW denialist” and “AGW skeptic” is nonexistent in fact; one is what we call them, the other is what they call themselves)

  80. David Marjanović says

    So, I wanted to go to bed (it’s half past 1 am over here), and then I noticed all the traffic… I’ll have to stay for a little while. :-]

  81. David Marjanović says

    An instructive thread… instructive about psychology.

    That could change. There’s a lot of methane sequestered in the arctic tundra. As the permafrost melts (as it has been doing), methane is released, accelerating the greenhouse effect.

    Posted on TET earlier today: we’re living in interesting times.

    Latest comment on that article at the time I read it:

    jesus_v_gojira
    Funny, scientists predicted this might happen. You know, all of those scientists who are involved in a world-wide conspiracy to make Al Gore rich.

    (And fat.)

    Moreover, CH4 only survives roughly 10 years in the atmosphere before it is oxidized (usually via O3) to CO2 and H2O.

    Oh, so, the ozone layer is toast? Hooraaaaay.

  82. David Marjanović says

    Argh. Wrong number of blockquote tags. This part

    ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

    Latest comment on that article at the time I read it:

    jesus_v_gojira
    Funny, scientists predicted this might happen. You know, all of those scientists who are involved in a world-wide conspiracy to make Al Gore rich.

    (And fat.)

    ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

    has no connection to this:

    ░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

    Moreover, CH4 only survives roughly 10 years in the atmosphere before it is oxidized (usually via O3) to CO2 and H2O.

    Oh, so, the ozone layer is toast? Hooraaaaay.

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, so, the ozone layer is toast? Hooraaaaay.

    *facepalm, headdesk*

    Depends on the kinetics of formation of ozone, an equilibrium reaction, and the kinetics of destruction of methane by ozone. It could have no effect at all, or reduce the ozone levels until the methane is oxidized. Destroy it, no.

  84. devad says

    More like the other way around.
    Being a professing Christian, then questioning some tenants of the faith, then those questions being answered.