Monday, April 18, 2011

peer-reviewed? not

The last line of defense regarding the AGW mantra for any advocate of human induced climate alarmism is always the 2007 IPCC report.  Not only is it consistently cited as the definitive perspective on climate, it is robustly defended as being the consensus of over 2,500 scientists and the best of science because it is peer-reviewed.  Inferred in that defense is that the IPCC is to be trusted as the authority because it is so unlike all those pesky blogs that have ripped holes in the IPCC science, the consensus and the combination of inaccuracies, mistakes and ideological contrivance that is the IPCC report.

Unfortunately for AGW advocates the credibility of the IPCC process and its report suffered in the wake of Climategate, Himalyagate, Amazongate and the rest, the collapse at Copenhagen and the general ignoring of Cancun.  Despite this, many have persisted with the peer-reviewed, best science narrative as their rationale for retaining both their belief in AGW and their assertion that the IPCC should be trusted.

Over at her blog, Donna Laframboise has slowly but methodically been scrutinizing the both IPCC and its report, first ripping apart its claims of wide consensus and participation, and now, its claims to peer-review gold standard excellence.  Seems fully 30% of the citations contained within the 2007 IPCC report do not originate from peer-reviewed sources.

So, to re-cap.  Not only do we know that the IPCC process contrived to exclude data and papers that contradicted its dogma, we now have evidence that 30% of those sources that were used were non peer-reviewed.

Trust: not so much.
Authoritative: hardly.
Driven by ideology: definitely.

We only get answers to the questions we ask.  The IPCC was never mandated to ask the right questions.  Still isn't.

Monday, April 11, 2011

why climategate won't go away

The mainstream reaction to Climategate within both the climate orthodoxy and within academia more generally, has been to hang tough and downplay its significance.

The preferred narrative is still to portray Climategate as a theft of emails, an illegal hack of irrelevant personal "boys will be boys" jocularity and mischievousness: oh, those naughty climate guys.  In best British tucker it is sometimes OK to admonish the lead climateocracy mafia with a simple "awfully bad form old chap" and the US equivalent has been to rally a well orchestrated and funded round of media spin and redemptive pap.

Academics largely don't sully themselves with such mundane politics and, thus, the prevalent institutional and individual response within academia has been to hunker down, keep the peer review, graduate studies and grant treadmill ticking over and wait for the winds of outrage to blow themselves out.

Well, despite these best attempts at ostrich personification by the academy, Climategate simply refuses to go away. 
First, James Delingpole's various postings and characterisations of CRU and Phil Jones in particular were validated by the British Press Council.  Showing it had learnt nothing from the Climategate debacle, the University of East Anglia had objected to Delingpole's language and characterisation of Jones as “disgraced, FOI-breaching, email-deleting, scientific-method abusing”.

You would think the lessons would have been learned by now.  But no.  The Team and their respective institutions continue to obfuscate and drag their heels rather than simply comply with FOI requests and the requirements for data disclosure.  Which only makes their continued reluctance more damning when further evidence of the real reasons behind the Climategate leaks slowly become more apparent as they have with this post over at Climate Audit, nicely summarized for the non-technical by the Bishop.

Climategate now appears to be a deliberate leak to point out the true nature of the data manipulation and selectivity driving the hockey stick and the perpetuation of the myth of contemporary climate change being unprecedented.

The silence from other climate scientists is deafening.  In particular, other reputable climate scientists need to step up:
  • condemn the actions of the Team revealed by Climategate
  • not defend those actions as irrelevant
  • not dismiss the Hockey Stick as unimportant to the AGW narrative, and
  • accept that we do not have enough definitive knowledge to either verify the original IPCC premise of CO2 driven AGW, nor to sustain its pre-emptive focus within climate study
Climate changes.  The time has come to remove climate science from the political spin of the IPCC and re-insert it back into the realms of scientific enquiry and discovery free of public policy obligations and political agendas.  Moreover, the time has come to recognize that climate change was used as a contrivance to hijack and define the central narrative for environmental politics. 

Update: time enough to add another excellent cartoon from Josh 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

the winds of change

Change in axiomatic constructs always is slow but it is both insistent and inevitable once reasonable people beginning questioning assumptions and examining, causality rather than merely accepting ideological assertions.  Today, I want to highlight two examples of the extent to which orthodoxy and dogma are no longer being automatically accepted as axiomatic.

The first is the latest in a series of studies that examine the actual performance of windmills as a power source.  The significance of this latest study is that it was commissioned by an environmentalist organization predisposed ideologically towards the promotion of wind as a power source.  The study finds that wind power is not only unreliable, but actual generation of power occurs less than 20% of the time in over half the installations and power generation is less than 10% pf capacity in over 30% of cases.  Simply put, wind power is not only massively inefficient, it also is massively ineffective: current wind power technology will never be anything but a small sporadic supplemental power source.

The second example is a wonderful summary of the latest research on the potential (apparent?) influence of solar variation on climate change.  The presentation is available as a YouTube video and is an excellent example of how science will eventually act to right itself.  The IPCC models and mantra are dismissive of solar as a forcing mechanism within climate change, partly from a lack of understanding and appreciation, but mostly from an ideological commitment to the exclusive promotion of CO2  as the sole driver of climate change. Coutillot's presentation is informative and summarizes much of the latest research.  However, it also alludes to the ongoing difficulty still facing scientists who work outside the parameters of the IPCC agenda. 

People of integrity expect to be believed.  And when they are not, they let time prove them right.

Monday, April 04, 2011

good reads from down under

In the wake of the floods this Spring and the continued uncertainty over the Federal government, the issue of climate change continues to be more central within Australian politics than to other jurisdictions where it has quietly slid on to the back burner (and beyond in some instances).  In a policy climate that continues to be volatile, it is gratifying that this week two postings emerged that illustrate a balanced and credible delineation of the issues.

The first is a post on Roger Pielke Jr.'s blog by Neville Nicholls which discusses the causes of the recent extreme rainfall in E. Australia. He concludes that the cause was the record La Nina event, but, no, that event is not related to AGW, nor was it driven by human induced climate change. Moreover, to conflate the true cause, the extreme ENSO, with AGW-related aspects of global warming, is not scientifically credible.

The second  was over at Judith Curry's blog and was an essay by Don Aitkin on the current state of the climate debate.  Aitken offers a wonderfully balanced summation of the contrasting perspectives of both the supporters of the AGW orthodoxy and its dissenters, offering a description of the myriad a variants inhabiting both broad perspectives.  Along the way, he offers an accurate asse4ssment of why the climate debate has faded from both public and political centrality over the past 2 yrs. and the challenges that the invigorated blogosphere discussion of climate presents to another orthodoxy, that of academic peer review.

Too often discussion and perspective are subsumed within a morass of confirmation bias, ideology and self-interest.  These two posts illustrate that intellectual discussion does not have to be that way.