An open letter challenging the EPA on CO2 regulation

An open letter challenging the EPA on CO2 regulation (2012-12-28). A line has been drawn in the sand! The environmental gauntlet has been thrown! A fist has been clenched! A steely gaze has been directed! The GIANTS of climatology have been aroused! (Maybe we could have phrased that last one better.) Anthony Watts has added his name to a newspaper opinion piece!!!

So, preeminent 21st century climatologist (Not really. In fact, not even a bit), Joe D’Aleo has written a damning critique (not) of the EPA’s conclusion three years ago that rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations will have harmful environmental consequences. And an important newspaper, the Washington Post has printed it! (Err.. the “Examiner”.) The usual denialist travelers like Fred Singer, Tim Ball, Don Easterbrook and Anthony Watts have signed on along with others we will leave unmentioned out of pity.

Here’s the laser-sharp money quote fired, like a diamond bullet, at the very core of the EPA, that Anthony urges his readers to “consider widely republishing”:

“In summary, it is not incorrect to argue that further study of the role GHGs play in climate is in order.”

My mind is spinning! From trying to decipher the meaning. I guess they want the EPA to stop trying to “P” our “E”?

What are Joe & Co. steamed about? Well mainly they hate government regulation on principle. Also they think that the EPA should have spent ten years replicating all the findings of modern climatology instead of just pulling out the relevant peer-reviewed journals. By the way, did you know that some of those journals aren’t American?

In what alternate reality is this proud “Open Letter” anything other than a kick me sign? Have D’Aleo, Watts and pals forgotten that their grade-school assertions were all shot down three years ago? Maybe they’re hoping that we’ve forgotten.

Rabett Run has an amusing sampling of the EPA’s responses to various inept denialist complaints. I wish there was an index to them, but here’s a useful Google search string. Plenty of chuckles in there.

Anthony Watts Defeats Himself

Hump day hilarity: Chris Mooney’s abby-normal post modern science” (2011-11-09) and “Mooney pulls a Muller” (2011-11-10). After years of announcing how he was going to prove Global Warming was a lie (but utterly failing to do so), Anthony decides to castigate anyone else who talks about their conclusions before formal publication. Only the targets of his hypocrisy have simply released drafts of submitted papers (the previously beloved Dr. Muller) or described a book they are still writing (Chris Mooney’s The Republican Brain). Anthony, you may recall, loudly and repeatedly announced that he was going to prove that the temperature record was both inaccurate and tampered with, and that climate scientists were corrupt socialists. You may also recall that he was 99 44/100%  wrong.

So what has twisted Anthony’s shorts this time? You’re going to love this: He’s attacking a book that hasn’t been finished yet, claiming that it portrays conservatives as idiots who jump to conclusions! Nice stick-work there, Anthony.

Seems like finishing your book is kind of redundant now, Chris! You can read his take on the response is here: Conservatives Attack and Misunderstand A Book They Haven’t Read… A Book About Flawed Conservative Reasoning.

ATI press release on the Mann UVA emails

ATI press release on the Mann UVA emails” (2011-08-27). Funny. You’d think that Anthony Watts would report the conclusions of the National Science Foundation Inspector General’s investigation into the accusation that climatologist, and denialist flash-point, Dr. Michael Mann falsified his data when he “created” the famous “hockey stick” historical temperature chart.

Instead Anthony offers the American Tradition Institute’s op-ed whining (italics mine).

The University of Virginia has joined a list of institutions claiming that there has been an actual inquiry into, and even ‘exoneration’ of, scientists exposed by the November 2009 “ClimateGate” leak, while simultaneously through its actions making a mockery of the idea.

Spoiler for you impatient types who can’t be bothered reading (or are trying to ignore) the National Tradition Science Foundation’s PDF:

We found no basis to conclude that the [Climategate] emails were evidence of research misconduct or that they pointed to such evidence.

Also,

There is no specific evidence that [Mann] falsified or fabricated any data and no evidence that his actions amounted to research misconduct.

Funny as in slapstick. Funny as in a bungled magician’s trick.

NCDC cites “controversy” with the UAH temperature record, and the search for a “true climate signal”

NCDC cites “controversy” with the UAH temperature record, and the search for a “true climate signal” (May 13, 2011). Anthony Watts still thinks the NCDC is after him because of their “ghost authored attack on me and the surfacestations project” back in 2009. I guess it’s easier for him than admitting that their scientific evaluation of his claims found no support whatsoever for his bellowed accusations.

Even the paper that poor Anthony was recently involved with came to the same conclusion, although much more quietly and with a healthy dose of self-congratulation. There was, and is, no warming bias in the US average temperature record. There is no warming bias associated with urbanization of temperature recording station locations. The warming trends are real and the product of human environmental impacts.

What reminded the thin-skinned Anthony of this past insult? A new article by NCDC scientists titled Tropospheric temperature trends: history of an ongoing controversy (full pdf here). They conclude:

The state of the observational and model science has progressed considerably since 1990. The uncertainty of both models and observations is currently wide enough, and the agreement in trends close enough, to support a finding of no fundamental discrepancy between the observations and model estimates throughout the tropospheric column.

Anthony tries to make hay of the bland ‘admission’ that researchers need to “calibrate the data and unambiguously extract the true climate signal from the inevitable nonclimatic influences inherent in the routine observations.” What? “Inevitable nonclimatic influences?” The use of these words mean that Anthony’s accusations were right all along!!!!

Not. It’s quite bold-faced of Anthony to claim that climate scientists have, until now, discounted “noise and uncertainty”. In fact this has been a core concern for decades. He also throws in a snide reference to “observational uncertainty” to insinuate yet again that climate scientists are manipulating the temperature record for their own purposes.

Noise. Something Anthony’s quite familiar with generating in order to obscure facts.

Wegman paper retraction by Journal

Wegman paper retraction by Journal” (May 16, 2011). Anthony Watts tries to dismiss the retraction of the denialist’s beloved Wegman Report because of “the caterwaulings of the anonymous Canadian named Deep Climate and his accusations of plagiarism”. Anthony sneers: “congratulations to Deep Climate for being able to attack a man in another country without having having [sic] to put your name behind it. Such courage. You must be proud.”

I always get a chuckle when Anthony’s howls for blood flip to whimpers of pain. It’s purest irony when a victim-bully accuses someone of cowardice.

Unfortunately, Deep Climate’s accusations were true. Wegman’s Report to Congress in 2006 was a sloppy piece of work produced to meet the political needs of the denialist Republican Congressman Joe Barton. Although widely rebutted, denialists held the Report up as evidence of both faulty statistical underpinnings for Dr. Mann’s so-called global temperature “hockey-stick” and of corruption in the scientific publication process. That Report[‘s” social network” accusations were] hastily reworked as Said, Wegman, et. al. (2008) in the un-related journal Computational Statistics and Data Analysis which has now, to their undoubted reluctant embarrassment, retracted it.

This is not a little technical “oops”, this is academic incompetence and ethical failure. Still, it’s an easy “spoonful of sugar” fix according to Anthony:

So, no problem from my view. I expect the report will be rewritten, with citations where needed, maybe even adding extra dictionary definitions of words and their origins to satisfy the imagined slights against our lexiconic ancestors envisioned by DC and Mashey man,  and they’ll resubmit it with the very same conclusions. That’s what I would do.

It sucks when something that denialists like yourself have been falsely clinging to for years is pulled down by a couple of intelligent observers, doesn’t it Anthony?

Extra irony: The Said, Wegman, et. al. (2008) paper was personally reviewed” by CSDA chief editor Stanley Azen. Exactly the kind of cosy ‘social network’ peer-review manipulation they tried to accuse Dr. Mann and his co-authors of.

Update on May 18, 2011: Anthony has elaborated on his “no problem” plagiarism assessment, clarifying that he is in fact opposed to plagiarism. Also, Anthony has been the victim of it so he knows what he’s talking about. Anthony’s referring to the fact that someone (Dr. Menne) discourteously took his loud allegations of poor surface station data quality and proved him wrong using his own claims (this is now confirmed by Anthony’s own lame-duck paper). And then Menne failed to attribute a photo of a weather station to Anthony’s website!!!!!!!! Horrors. But that’s “attribution” not “plagiarism”.

Real Climate on Spencer – Bad timing or just bad judgment?

Real Climate on Spencer – Bad timing or just bad judgment?” Anthony Watts decides to read nefarious purpose into the timing of a RealClimate review of denialist scientist Roy Spencer’s book “The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists”. They seem to have posted it on the same day that a series of massive tornadoes (nothing to do whatsoever with global warming!!!!!) took out power in Spencer’s hometown of Huntsville, Alabama.

Did they deliberately release their review when they thought they would be safe from Spencer’s devastating intellectual rebuttal? Those cunning, corrupt, dishonest communist climate scientists! But the always high-minded Anthony Watts sorted it out with an e-mail offering ethics advice. Anthony’s readers start the libeling by themselves.

So what of Spencer’s book? Could he be right? Would it really take “only one research study to cause the global warming house of cards to collapse”?

Well unless you embrace Spencer’s astonishing belief that decades of work by thousands of scientists around the world could actually flip into untold thousands of admissions of “my bad”, no.

Instead Spencer accuses “the IPCC researchers” of “fundamental mistakes” that only he has discovered, but never identifies the dumb scientists or references their alleged mistakes. He waves away detailed paleo data with “we don’t have a clue”. (I suppose as a creationist he is uncomfortable with any date before 4004 BC.) He’s so intellectually flexible that he’s already contradicted his own book in later papers. Is it true that “short-term fluctuations in the energy balance and surface temperature are consistent with a low climate sensitivity” (the whatever-he-can-get-away-with book, April 2010), or  that “the climate system is never in equilibrium” ( the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research, August 2010)? I guess the ice ages are impossible.

Perhaps next Spencer will be confidently asserting that toothpicks are made when beavers sneeze? He should stick to remote sensing, where he actually has some expertise.

Read some other critiques at Climate Progress and Barry Bickmore. Anthony Watts and right-wing blogs such as “The American [un]Thinker” offer gullible high praise of course.

George Mason University “Climate Change Communicator of the Year” – where only one viewpoint is allowed

George Mason University “Climate Change Communicator of the Year” – where only one viewpoint is allowed“. George Mason University, reluctant home of the notoriously failed denialist statistician Edward J. Wegman, has a Center for Climate Change Communication. Anthony Watts is irked that their Center is running an internet poll for Climate Change Communicator of the Year and there isn’t a single denialist on the slate. They would be found over there on the Climate Change Deceiver of the Year poll (you’d have a solid shot at it, Anthony, although Lord Monckton is certainly more entertaining).

Anthony deflects his critics with this self-appraisal: “Lest some think this is some sort of sour grapes, it isn’t.” After all, who won the anything-goes 2011 Bloggies mob-athon, where responsible science communication was honored? Anthony did, that’s who.

The discredited 2006 Wegman Report is still clutched by denialists as some sort of proof of “warmist” fraud and collusion, but it is Wegman who is now under investigation for misconduct.