Junk from von S

A tedious detail in the fall-out from the latest Lovelock nonsense. If you’re not following, our favourite electron-capturing emeritus has recanted, or perhaps not, who knows.

Klimazwiebel has a thread in which, clearly over-awed by his early reputation, they delicately tip-toe around the fact that he has been talking nonsense for years. Apparently we are to believe that But Lovelock is unique in his self-critical attitude. Twaddle. Lovelock knows precious little about climate science, and is merely flip-flopping around, lost.

I pointed this out to von S, and got a pile of garbage in return. Is von S lost too? Seems so. Hopefully he’ll recover; he hasn’t dared reply to my reply.

I had the temerity to suggest that Lovelock’s stuff was the toothless mumblings of an old man by the fire bemoaning the evil of the younger generation and that was too much; its fallen down the memory hole. Of course von S – well, its his blog – allows himself to tell me that I’m the gatekeeper for climate issues at Wikipedia, right?. So I think von S has suffered a certain amount of Curry-like “capture”, though not nearly as far down as her.

Ha ha, it gets better. this comment (which was a simple link to this post) has been deleted, as has this comment (which was a complaint that they’d been lying about me and didn’t much seem to care). That enough for me: Klimazwiebel is off my watchlist and von S is forgotten.

[Update: BS points out that he, and Tim Lambert, also called out Lovelock ages ago:

I’ll just parachute in here to mention that in addition to scientists like Connolley and Annan, the non-scientist climate hawk bloggers also called out Lovelock in ’06 as being full of it. See, e.g., me:

“exaggerations like his just get the environmentalists in trouble, even the people who don’t exaggerate. How do we rein him in? Is it through a bet offer?”

also Tim Lambert:

22 thoughts on “Junk from von S”

  1. It’s not as if Lovelock has become a denier. He has just retreated from the extreme predictions made in ‘The Revenge of Gaia’ (which I’ve just finished reading, as it happens) to more reasonable views: I was wrong, it’s not happened as I expected, but it’s still warming and we need to do something about CO2.

    [I agree, its just a stick the WUWT folk are using. However, it does point up his essential cluelessness (and, less charitably, his desire to sell books). He is like the Dysons of this world: his has a big reputation, but rather than using it responsibly he shoots his mouth off about things he doesn’t understand.

    Also, his *reason* for changing his mind is also clueless: “The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added. is twaddle -W]


  2. William, please do me a favour: Do not shorten any German word to “KZ”. It is the abbreviation for “Konzentrationslager” = Concentration Camp.

    [Oh sorry – its just because I can’t spell “klimazwiebel”. I’ve fixed that up now -W]


  3. 1 W,

    Yes, of course. It’s weird that he can say “We’re all doomed” in 2006 and now say that he was wrong after only a further 6 years. The evidence hasn’t changed that much has it, only confirmed that it’s still happening, and that there’s a huge amount of short-term noise swamping the signal. It would have made more sense to have made the extreme predictions in, say, 1998 and changed his mind in 2006!

    I think he’s right about wind- and nuclear-power, though. WP can never produce more than a tiny part of what we need, even if we built the turbines everywhere we can, and if we cut down on coal and gas, what can plug the gap until fusion arrives except fission?

    [He may well be right about WP, but he still isn’t worth listening to about it :-). You’re better off with David MacKay, who has done the numbers well -W]


  4. Speaking of Pielkes, a rather foolish blog post by Pielke Senior is currently being absolutely demolished over at Tamino’s. RP keeps issuing increasingly irritated updates to the original post.

    [This? Pielke is being a silly person. Anyone capable of writing “There are also very recent discussions on the Arctic sea ice anomalies at WUWT and Real Climate” can be safely ignored -W]


  5. Anyone capable of writing “There are also very recent discussions on the Arctic sea ice anomalies at WUWT and Real Climate” can be safely ignored

    I think you’ve hit on a new internet meme.

    “There are also very recent discussions of economic policy at the Brookings Institution and at the Onion.”

    “British mountaineering has a glorious history; whose heart does not beat a little faster when contemplating the daring alpine feats of men such as my nephew Oscar, George Mallory, and Eric Shipton?”

    “Many people are responding to the crisis caused by Monday’s earthquake and tsunami, including the Red Cross and the Wimborne-St Giles UFO aficionados club.”

    “I have always loved poetry. My favorite poets include the authors of the Burma Shave signs, John Donne, Emily Dickenson, and William Butler Yeats.”


  6. 5 J,

    Pielke clearly doesn’t understand what Tamino’s error bars mean, and I notice comments there are closed so no one can correct him.

    Doesn’t Watts run Pielke’s blog for him, or it is that RPJr?

    [Sorry, this got missed and published late. I think RP Sr runs permanently with comments closed, which is why its not a real blog -W]


  7. This may or may not be a sufficient explanation for present behavior, but way back (I guess ~10 years ago) when von S. first stuck his nose into the HS controversy, someone who seemed familiar with the German climate science scene said that he suffers from Schellnhuber envy.


  8. Eberhard:
    William, please do me a favour: Do not shorten any German word to “KZ”. It is the abbreviation for “Konzentrationslager” = Concentration Camp.”

    William: Looks like you mentioned the war and you didn’t get away with it.


  9. I see HvS or his gatekeeper has now removed a number of your comments over there. Any chance of sticking them up top in an update?

    Ah! Never mind. I’ve now read the last para of your OP

    [I would have put them here. However (unlike at WUWT where I now routinely keep my comments) I didn’t suspect von S would indulge in this kind of shit, so I didn’t keep them -W]


  10. Actually, vS doesn’t post much any more at the Onion (they really weren’t thinking in two languages, were they?) mostly this guy Reiner Grundmann, the occasional Eduardo and a couple of others to be named later.

    Their aspiration to be “Honest Brokers” says it all

    [von S still owns it though. I’m holding the organ grinder responsible, not the monkeys -W]


  11. So am I getting this straight; Now that Lovelock has backtracked to a less catastrophist alarmism, he is now condidered an apostate?

    Was he even aware that he was a member of your alarmist faith?

    [I think L was too individualistic to ever work with anyone else. As I’ve pointed out that I’ve never agreed with him, I’m not sure why you think he’s part of my anything -W]


  12. hey be junk from konunuzu anlaşım bir anltamıla yayınladığın için sizelree çok teşekkür ediyorum. turükyied tib denen bir kurkumum yaptıkahlır işçelr acısı. bu kurum derhal kapatılmalı. tbüten çalışanları ömürk boyu hapseatılmalı, bidaha çıkmamak üzer hücer cezasına kapıtmalı. turkseksi hakındam heryeşe yaksaklayan bir zihtiyet.


  13. @richardabetts Spoke to him [Lovelock] today as it happens and he said he’s v miffed with way that interview is being spun/misrepresented by others

    [Poor darling. It would be very cwuel to miff him -W]


  14. 15 J Bowers,
    Much as I said in (1).

    We know that you don’t have much time for him, but isn’t this a bit much? (I think he’s one of the “good guys”, even if he gets it wrong from time to time. There are many other targets more worthy of your time.)

    [Its easy to go too far. But its also far too easy to give a pass to people who are “on the right side”. This post, after all, is about von S, who is also fundamentally “on the right side” whatever his mistakes -W]


  15. “The electron-capture detector actually was invented by Lovelock in four stages: around 1948, 1954–1955, 1956–1957, and finally in 1959…. These represent a fascinating story, illustrating how a scientist gradually perfects his work.”

    DDT, chlorofluorocarbons, and other persistent artificial chemicals would have accumulated rather dramatically longer but for his timely invention of that device. Go figure.



    At the end of that long fascinating story, they describe Lovelock — standing on the western Irish coast — noticing an unexpected haze in the west wind, taking his instrument, and detecting chlorofluorocarbon blowing in from the United States.

    That reminds me of the last lines of John Brunner’s “The Sheep Look Up” — someone on Britan’s Atlantic coast, puzzled, smelling smoke in the sea breeze.

    “We dodged a bullet” — Crutzen, in his Nobel Prize speech.

    [That is what his reputation is built on. later on he did Gaia, which was interesting, but didn’t really mean what he thought it did; but was valuable. But after that it seems he has nothing to say, and should have said it -W]


  16. OK. Not ‘too individualistic to ever work with anyone else’ looking at his long record. Diminished in his later years — well, no surprise there. Consider the alternative….


  17. While I wouldn’t actively disagree with any of the above, I’m slightly surprised everyone is taking the Lovelock stuff at face value- and particularly the spikiness of W’s response.

    Several things are clear from reading his autobiography ‘Homage to Gaia’, and his best known popular work, ‘Gaia, a new look at life on earth’.
    1. he’s highly individualistic and unconventional, did much work as an ‘independent scientist’, doesn’t care much about what other people think or say
    2. he was a medical biochemist by training, not a climate scientist
    3. seems to delight in taking contrary positions
    4. goes for metaphor, analogy and myth in a BIG way. I think this is the key thing. Always has done, at least in his popular writings. Sometimes this stuff just illustrates, in a vivid way, a more rigorously derived idea, making it accessible to non-scientists but also leaving it wide open to misinterpretation- see the Gaia metaphor. Sometimes these flights of fancy just make him look plain loopy- see stuff about using whale brain power to travel in the mind, or somesuch, in the epilogue to Gaia ANLALOE.

    I can see how this might infuriate some- maybe W included? I suspect all his emeritus pronouncements are made in this vein, so when he says climate change will reduce human population to a few breeding pairs at the poles in a hundred years, it’s his poetic way of saying ‘climate change may alter conditions on the planet and greatly reduce human population in a surprisingly short period of time’, which is not inconsistent with his ideas about planetary homeostasis. Though twas a mistake to ever put numbers on a completely non-evidence based assertion, as he has now realised.

    None of this is very earth-shattering either way, it’s just an old man now a long way from the mainstream expressing his thoughts the way he always has done. You don’t have to pay it much attention. When you get to 90+ yrs old I think you’ve probably earned the right to do this without getting too much vitriol sent your way.

    (Yes, climate contrarians may try to turn these reports to their own purposes, but then they’ll try that with anything even vaguely climate-related that comes into the public sphere)


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