MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen urges Trump: “Cut the funding of climate science by 80% to 90% until the field cleans up’?

Via Twitter via ClimateDepot (hold your nose) we come to RealClear Investigations which quotes Lindzen as saying, inter alia, They should probably cut the funding by 80 to 90 percent until the field cleans up… Climate science has been set back two generations, and they have destroyed its intellectual foundations.” This is classic crusty old boy down the club stuff: it was all better when he were a lad, and so on. Just to remind you, I declared Lindzen emeritus in 2011, but he only became a shark-jumper in 2013. Although now I look he was pretty wacky even back in 2005 (older readers may remember 2005). There’s also a piece in which I side-swipe his work: his contribution and status is often over-stated.

The rest of the article appears to be a not very interesting collection of quotes from the usual suspects about what Trump might do. But my eye was caught by Nevertheless, new organizations like the CO2 Coalition, founded in 2015, suggest the debate is more evenly matched intellectually than is commonly portrayed. In addition to Happer, the CO2 Coalition’s initial members include scholars with ties to world-class institutions like MIT… The language here is characteristically evasive, as it so often is when talking about the “skeptic” bench, in order to hide the thinness of the lineup. “with ties to” is weak, and none of them are named. So I pop across to and am greeted by a picture of happy smiling people eating lard and the words “CARBON DIOXIDE IS ESSENTIAL FOR LIFE Learn the facts about the vital role that CO2 plays in our environment” which doesn’t sound very new; I’m sure I’ve heard that message before, but it is too dull to be worth looking up1. Anyway, the question was, “who are these bozos?” and the answer is, of course, the standard set: one or two you’ve heard of before and a pile of non-entities.

The ones you’ve heard of are the afore-mentioned Lindzen, Roy “sad lonely and wrong” Spencer – probably now the most credible one such an organisation could hope for, and probably the only one left still doing science. Otherwise its Happer, Idso, Michaels… and then tails off into blanks. Just where is Trump going to get all the hordes that the denialists are hoping will flood in? Perhaps that’s why Lindzen is so keen to cut the numbers: somehow the absence of anyone with any credibility on the “skeptic” side has to be hidden.

Oh yes: and Happy New Year to you all. My resolution for the New Year is to be more positive, friendly, and welcoming. But then again, that was my resolution last year too.


* Gina Miller vs the Sec of State on the need to have the spineless Commons vote on article 50. Spoiler alert: may contain boredom and closely reasoned analysis.
* CIP isn’t totally happy with L either.


1. has some useful history: “established in 2015 from the remains of the now-defunct George C. Marshall Institute” and appears to have rather the same views as CO2 science.

Climate change and the Great Lakes

sub-buzz-27900-1479116711-1 The latest vandalism from the Dork Side is censoring the concept of “climate change” from a Wisconsin governmental website (Snopes; see-also Sou and of course half your fb and Twitter feed). As Sou points out this minor vandalism seems to have over-excited certain sections of the denialist crowd, which is to be expected: they need a constant stream of news, and are on edge waiting for Trump to do something thrilling. This latest episode has no obvious connection to Trump, and indeed has no clear author. So you don’t have to go elsewhere, a present-day snapshot is this and an older pre-vandalism version is that. It is kinda interesting that there is a just-pre-vandalism snapshot; methinks whoever was ordered to do it made sure that the damage would be visible.

The page is now so absurdly anodyne (As it has done throughout the centuries, the earth is going through a change. The reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth’s long history are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources…) that it might as well not exist. Naturally, the “dangerous” links from the page have also been purged. One internal link to the even-more dangerous has been disappeared entirely and is now a 404. But predictably enough the thing it was a springboard to – – still exists. So, the reach of the vandals is still narrow.

The damage has been done (perhaps deliberately, by those who had no choice but to do it) incompetently; although the phrase “climate change” has been scrubbed from the page – indeed, the word “climate” has been scrubbed – the page URL is still “…/climatechange.html”, and the link to it from is still under the text “Climate change and the Great Lakes”.

But all this brings me back to what I said earlier: where will you get your information from about Global Warming? Probably not from a site about the Great Lakes. Indeed, hopefully not from such a place. It will – weakly – affect your perception (I’m trying to see it from the viewpoint of a hypothetical intelligent unbiased person looking around them and trying to work out what’s what) of the general state of belief in the world around you. But only weakly; and anyone actually interested would inevitably find the obvious sources – IPCC or wiki – and have the truth available.

The year in stoats: 2016

A vintage year, for which the title must be Oh, and we were Gone / Kings of Oblivion. Something for everyone. Here, after review, is what catches on my mind. But first, my favourite mountain picture of the year.


Other reviews of the year: ATTP; me in 2015. Not a review of the year: Eleven Years Of Blogging by Martin Rundkvist.

* Jan: Science advances one funeral at a time discussed the unlamented death of Robert Carter, somewhat ironically preceded by WATN 2015.
* Feb: CSIRO: science as a public good because of some recent echoes; I’ll probably blog those separately. And The Greatest Liberty Of Subjects, Dependeth On The Silence Of The Law from old Hobbes.
* Mar: And what rough beast, its hour come round at last / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? on the great issue of Hansen’s paper. Salby-world was quiet in 2016; I suspect that him losing his case is about the last we’ll see of him1.
* Apr: Storelvmo et al. by proxy was a brief foray into the now-unfamiliar world of science, but I quickly returned to easier ground with was to become something of a theme for the year, Yet more Exxon drivel. With Rex Tillerson to be Sec of State, this should run and run.
* May: Climate sensitivity, again mercifully required no great ability to think; unlike Say no to Brexit
* Jun: …which segues onto Boris Johnson is a tosser. Or more interesting, The sea ice post! which was another topic of the year. In the fish-in-a-barrel category is coolfuturesfundsmanagement; remarkably, my link to my blog post is still on their fb page but there’s little other sign of activity there.
* Jul: I spared you the Mays in June even though it was dead exciting, but I don’t see why you’d want to miss the real event; town bumps. Apart from that July was quiet; so I’ll just remind you of my bad beekeeping.
* Aug: I asked Who is the farting three-legged dog in this scenario, you ask? and apparently-presciently reported that Antarctica’s sea ice said to be vulnerable to sudden retreat? But you’d be wrong to think it prescient. Hayek vs Hobbes and the theory of law was my discovery of Hayek and the beginning of a long slow process of reading him; more to come, you lucky and grateful people.
* Sep: Sea ice: dull as expected was reasonably accurate as to the annual minimum, but remarkably un-prescient for the year. Back at the comic relief was A Falconer Uppermost twitting the usual suspects.
* Oct: my valiant attempts to convince the nice lefty folks of obvious truths such as We Don’t Need a ‘War’ on Climate Change, We Need a Revolution? fell on deaf ears, as ever. Don’t worry, I’m not downhearted.
* Nov: Trump am all de rage, so I had A proportionate response to Trump’s climate plans? and response, though neither are really about La Donald. Trump’s Plan to Eliminate NASA Climate Research Is Ill-Informed and Dangerous? is more the kind of entrail-reading we can look forward to.
* Dec: Leak reveals Rex Tillerson was director of Bahamas-based US-Russian oil firm? is a correction of shameless drivel from the Graun, not that they thanked me. Scott Adams is a tosser proves I’m still on the side of Truth and Light. And so as to not end on that, U.S. Needs a Robust Carbon Tax, not an Exxon Carbon Tax? is yet another appeal for sanity from the left.


1. Yes I know he turned up at Curry’s Pizza Parlour but that’s hardly a claim to fame.


* Thom Hartmann Does It Too – QS

Hayek and Climate

Found, at last, the connection between Hayek and Climate! And from a most unlikely source, Climate Etc. Because it is at CE it is, of course, wrong. Even better, it is merely copied wrongness, from King Canute vs. the Climate Planners by “Jeffrey Tucker” (who?) at the Foundation for Economic Education, whoever they are (you might prefer the RationalWiki take).

Ignore the gumpf about Paris, wade through the irrelevance about Canute, and come to the interesting (to me; I’m not claiming to have carried you along) bit:

…the extraordinary speech F.A. Hayek gave when he received his Nobel Prize. He was speaking before scientists of the world… Rather than flattering the scientific establishment, particularly as it existed in economics, he went to the heart of what he considered the greatest intellectual danger that was arising at the time. He blew apart the planning mindset, the presumption that humankind can do anything if only the right people are given enough power and resources.

If the planning elite possessed omniscience of all facts, flawless understanding of cause and effect, perfect foresight to know all relevant changes that could affect the future, and the ability to control all variables, perhaps their pretensions would be justified.

But this is not the case. Hayek called the assumption the harshest possible word: “charlatanism.”

In the climate case, consider that we can’t know with certainty…

So, there’s lots wrong with this. Hayek doesn’t have a Nobel prize; he was awarded the 1974 Prize for Economic Science in Memory of Alfred Nobel (jointly with Gunnar Myrdal); but to be fair it is commonplace to glide over the distinction, so almost-never-mind. The reason I say “almost” is because of the segue into before scientists of the world: this was the Economics prize, so wouldn’t have had the same audience as the Science ones (at least, so I’d guess; if anyone knows better, do let me know). What’s happening here is that “Jeffrey Tucker” is unsubtlely and dishonestly building a non-existence connection with Science in general and GW in particular.

That Hayek was opposed to central planning of the economy is just bog standard. It was part of what he got the prize for, so inevitably it was what he talked about. To go from there to suggest that he opposes all planning, which is what the article does, is ridiculous. The article itself is a foolish mish-mash of confusing different ideas; Hayek himself would have ripped it to shreds with precision; I’ll just content myself with insulting it1. But what of Hayek on planning? Hayek’s main emphasis is to oppose central planning, so it is easy to find lots of quotes with him saying Bad Things about planning. But what about the reverse? The Road to Serfdom (condensed version) section “The liberal way of planning” says

The dispute between the modern planners and the liberals is not on whether we ought to employ systematic thinking in planning our affairs. It is a dispute about what is the best way of so doing… It is important not to confuse opposition against [central] planning with a dogmatic laissez faire attitude. The liberal argument does not advocate leaving things just as they are… It emphasizes that in order to make competition work beneficially a carefully thought-out legal framework is required, and that neither the past nor the existing legal rules are free from grave defects… There are, too, certain fields where the system of competition is impracticable. For example, the harmful effects of deforestation or of the smoke of factories cannot be confined to the owner of the property in question…

And I’m sure I could find more. But whoever the FEE are, they aren’t honest.


1. It is drivel written by a twat. There: I’ve done my duty and can stop.

Leak reveals Rex Tillerson was director of Bahamas-based US-Russian oil firm?

The latest in a long line of Exxon related drivel, this one from the Graun. It isn’t drivel because it is wrong – that Rex Tillerson is a director of Exxon Neftegas is entirely true – it is drivel because it has long been public knowledge, and so the “leak” is irrelevant. The very first version of the wiki “Rex Tillerson” article from 2006 says In 1998, he became a vice president of Exxon Ventures (CIS) and president of Exxon Neftegas Limited with responsibility for Exxon’s holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea. That information has been there continuously since then to the present day. So the Graun needs to do less pratting around breathlessly with leaks; stop writing lies like Though there is nothing untoward about this directorship, it has not been reported before; and instead hire some competent journalists who, whilst not actually sourcing their stories to wikipedia, are at least capable of doing basic research, unlike idiots like “Luke Harding and Hannes Munzinger”.

[This post only written when the second of my friends decided to post this crap to fb without even bothering to check.]


* The Tillerson story bears watching, and I will. Via RS, I discover that the egregious Delingpole considers RT amongst Trump’s picks as “some of his picks are less than ideal—starting with Rex Tillerson”; and continues “ExxonMobil had been carefully selected as the Green Blob’s shakedown victim… under its CEO Rex Tillerson, it had a track record of corporate cowardice (withdrawing funding from right-wing think tanks; failing to speak up for fossil fuels; kow-towing to greens) which meant that it was considered highly likely not to contest any court action but instead to settle.” Which, considered as a post diction, is a pathetic failure.

Surface Melting an Increasing Factor in East Antarctica?

Or so says Climate Denial Crock of the Week. There’s no real text behind the headline, just a link to a WSJ video. This seems to be about Meltwater produced by wind–albedo interaction stored in an East Antarctic ice shelf, J. T. M. Lenaerts et al., Nature Climate Change (2016) doi:10.1038/nclimate3180, published online 12 December 2016. Here’s the abstract:

Surface melt and subsequent firn air depletion can ultimately lead to disintegration of Antarctic ice shelves1, 2 causing grounded glaciers to accelerate3 and sea level to rise. In the Antarctic Peninsula, foehn winds enhance melting near the grounding line4, which in the recent past has led to the disintegration of the most northerly ice shelves5, 6. Here, we provide observational and model evidence that this process also occurs over an East Antarctic ice shelf, where meltwater-induced firn air depletion is found in the grounding zone. Unlike the Antarctic Peninsula, where foehn events originate from episodic interaction of the circumpolar westerlies with the topography, in coastal East Antarctica high temperatures are caused by persistent katabatic winds originating from the ice sheet’s interior. Katabatic winds warm and mix the air as it flows downward and cause widespread snow erosion, explaining >3 K higher near-surface temperatures in summer and surface melt doubling in the grounding zone compared with its surroundings. Additionally, these winds expose blue ice and firn with lower surface albedo, further enhancing melt. The in situ observation of supraglacial flow and englacial storage of meltwater suggests that ice-shelf grounding zones in East Antarctica, like their Antarctic Peninsula counterparts, are vulnerable to hydrofracturing7.

The paper itself may be marvellous, I wouldn’t know, it is paywalled. I don’t understand the bit about the katabatic winds properly: in my world, katabatic winds are cold, which is why they flow off the continent. If they were warm, they wouldn’t. I can see that they will entrain air from outside the boundary layer that would be warmer, but if they warm too much again they stop flowing. The bit about winds blowing the snow clear and exposing blue ice is familiar, though. And that the albedo of such ice is lower than the snow is kinda obvious. That East Antarctic (as opposed to West) ice shelves are warm enough to melt from above is something of a surprise for me. ScienceDaily’s Mysterious ‘crater’ on Antarctica indication of vulnerable ice sheet is the same story I think, and includes “The crater isn’t new; we found it on satellite images from 1989. The amount of melt water differs immensely from year to year, but it clearly increases during warm years”. Ah, but that is them finding it retrospectively: it probably wasn’t known in my time.

What seems to be missing is context: how large is the melt, what fraction of snowfall is it, what would it be if translated into mm of SLR?

Apparently co-incidentally Scientists confirm that warm ocean water is melting the biggest glacier in East Antarctica (an improvement on the dreadful fb link I got it from, titled “warm ocean water is slamming into – and melting – the biggest glacier in East Antarctica. Which is really Ocean heat drives rapid basal melt of the Totten Ice Shelf in “Science Advances” by Stephen Rich Rintoul et al., 16 Dec 2016: Vol. 2, no. 12, e1601610, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601610. This essentially confirms what we already knew, because altimetry tells you the surface is sinking, but it is nice to have direct observations. Sub-ice-shelf melting was a thing the glacios loved, well before I left.

U.S. Needs a Robust Carbon Tax, not an Exxon Carbon Tax?

Via email spam, I end up pointed at U.S. Needs a Robust Carbon Tax, not an Exxon Carbon Tax. It is more Exxon stuff, fashionable again now that Rex Tillerson is confirmed as Trump’s pick for Sec of State (if you want to see exactly the kind of stuff you’d expect – so much so that I hardly see why they bothered write it, it is so drearily predictable – see the Graun of course).

Anyway, after a bit of #exxonknew drivel they try desperately to explain why their wheel carbon tax is so much better than Exxon’s wheel carbon tax. Because when you’re both supporting the same thing, and yet clearly you’re the good guys and they’re the bad guys, there has to be an excellent reason why your wheel carbon tax is so much better than theirs. In this case the answer is dull: they’d like it set at a different value. Or at least, they’d probably like a different value, because as they’re forced to admit after a bit, they don’t actually know what level Exxon are proposing (largely because Exxon has been so vague on the subject).

But really, couldn’t they try to be a bit more positive? “We want a carbon tax, you say you want a carbon tax, let’s see if we can work together and maybe get one; and worry about the exact level somewhat later” would be so much better than “we don’t want your stinkin’ carbon tax and we’d like to make it plain that we won’t cooperate with you in any way shape or form”.


1. I know; with a bit more effort I could have faked up a XX to replace the BOC symbol; and maybe drawn something entertaining on one of the cards. Sorry.