25 February 2010

Defining Skepticism Down

[UPDATE: The editors at Foreign Policy have added this text at the bottom of the page describing my views:
*Editor's note: Pielke has informed the editors of FP that he strongly objects to being included on a list titled "Climate Skeptics." The aim of the list was, as the introduction states, to separate "the noise from the serious concerns" with regards to those offering critiques of either climate science or institutions charged with presenting climate science to the public or policy-makers; the article was explicitly not intended to equate the viewpoints of all people contained on the list. Pielke has been quoted in the mainstream media voicing concerns about the IPCC, as in today's Wall Street Journal, as well as questioning sloppy logic on the part of some environmentalists, for instance objecting to overstatements about hurricanes being linked to global warming. That is not the same as doubting the reality or significance of climate change. Pielke has not raised objections to the text or any factual details in the article, but he feels that inclusion in a list that carries a politically loaded name -- "climate skeptics" -- is potentially misleading; a reader who scans only the title and the list of names could draw the wrong assumptions about the nuances of his views.
I appreciate their responsiveness.]

Somehow I made the Foreign Policy "Guide to Climate Skeptics." Here is how they quote me:
"Climate change is a huge problem, and it's a problem linked to human activity. Greenhouse gases are an important part of that, but it's not only greenhouse gases. And we need to respond accordingly."
Am I the only one who finds this a bit incongruous? But up-is-down has always been a part of the climate debate.

[UPDATE #2: It has been pointed out that the profile of John Christy includes this quote from me:
"I respect him," Pielke says. "I disagree with him, but I respect him."
I do not recall saying this to the FP nor does provide and context to suggest what they are implying that I disagree with.]


  1. The second sentence sounds like your Dad. The first doesn't sound like either of you. The third is the sort of vague statement that could be attached to anyone. It entirely leaves any reader to guess what "responding accordingly" might mean and agree or disagree based on what their imagination tells them that statement might mean.

  2. Note, they listed Ross Mc, but didn't list Steve Mc.

    They tried to look "fair" but put in a classic AGW ad hominem into each profile.

  3. Just another bit that confirms that it was good to cancel my FP subscription.

  4. Judean People's Front...splitters!

  5. Given how the AGW community seems to have a problem accurately quoting you, the logical question is to ask if this is, in fact, a quote of something you have actually said?

  6. The Ministry of Truth has spoken.

    It is True and we must Believe it.

    Over and Out.

  7. This part about Lindzen is straightforward libel:
    "while others charge he has effectively made the transition from working scientist to professional shill"

    I highly doubt any climate scientist said that about Lindzen. Probably it is not traceable back to anyone with any standing in science at all.

    What other scientists say is that Lindzen agrees with 90% of the climate science but the part he disagrees with, CO2 sensitivity, is the most controversial because it affects all the projected warming scenarios. Since he now backs his theories with data, unlike too many others that seem to prefer mere circular reasoning, he stands a good chance of being proven correct like many skeptics in the history of science.

    At what point are these self-righteous hypocrites going to realize that until they stop putting fossil fuels in their cars or turning on electricity that came from burning coal then they are implicated just as much as any skeptic?

    All appeals to mythical "action" (basically a plea that the government force them by taxation into using less fuel) have utterly failed, and not because of skeptics, but because every politician at some point has to face the reality of what cutting CO2 involves.

    If anyone has a good idea how to seriously decarbonize without doing more harm than good then they should tell us! If not, then it's no surprise to us realists.

  8. I don't even take "foreign policy" seriously on matters related to Foreign Policy.

    It's nothing but a bunch of talking points memo's for talking heads.

  9. @Harrywr2-

    More like wisdom from Jeff Dunham puppets.

  10. These folks don't know the difference between a critic and a skeptic. The same is true of the IPCC.

  11. Roger - I knew I had seen the image you used for this post recently:


    Is this a coincidence?

  12. Craig,

    Foreign Policy magazine is to Foreign Policy what Entertainment Tonight is to Entertainment.

    The focus tends to be on Personalities and Politics rather then Process and Policy.

  13. I thought that all true scientists were 'skeptics'. However perhaps FP means 'skpetic' as in opposition to 'true believer', This appears to be how climate science works.

  14. Originally skeptic (or denier) was used to refer to people who disagreed with some aspect of the AGW theory.

    Now it's being widely used to also refer to people who (even if they believe in AGW), do any of the following:

    1. Criticise some aspect of the IPCC
    or 2. Criticise some aspect of the CRU
    or 3. Believe some aspect of climate alarmism is excessive or over-stated (wildly over-stated alarmist predictions do not however get you called a skeptic)
    or 4. Believe some aspect of the science data or policy debate needs to be more open
    or 5. Propose policy responses other carbon caps, trading, etc.
    or 6. etc. (such as offend somebody at certain AGW blogs)

    It's part of the polarization of the debate: With us on everything, or against us.

    And it's not healthy or intelligent. But that's how things are going at the moment.