15 February 2010

From a Mistake to a Lie

If you want to understand why so many people have lost trust in the climate science community, due to the acts of a few, just take a look at what Real Climate has done to spin the disaster issue regarding the IPCC. They write in a post that (emphasis added):
WG2 did include a debatable graph provided by Robert Muir-Wood (although not in the main report but only as Supplementary Material). It cited a paper by Muir-Wood as its source although that paper doesn’t include the graph, only the analysis that it is based on.
As readers here well know, the analysis of the Muir-Wood mystery graph does not appear in the cited source (or any other). Real Climate's claim is easily shown to be wrong. Perhaps they made an honest mistake. I pointed this fact out to them and asked that they correct the error:

This statement in your post is in error:

“It cited a paper by Muir-Wood as its source although that paper doesn’t include the graph, only the analysis that it is based on.”

The cited paper does not include the analysis that the graph is based on. In fact, it includes no discussion of temperature trends and disasters. You can confirm this for yourself:

You should correct the error in this post.

Real Climate has decided to leave the error uncorrected. When does an honest error become something different?

Instead of just correcting the factual record Real Climate responds to my request with the following:
You've been working hard to scandalize your personal quibbles with IPCC here - how consistent is this with your self-proclaimed role as "honest broker"?
Lies on top of lies. Not good. If they want to understand why their community has lost so much credibility, they need only look to their own actions.


  1. I think the most interesting thing here is that the RMS document implicitly retracts the Muir-Wood's comment in the audio tape (as you suggest yourself in the last post). And this still leaves the main issue, which is that you are outraged by the treatment of this paper by the IPCC and Muir-Wood quite clearly is not. Why your outrage and his lack?

  2. -1-bigcitylib

    Actually no. The RMS statement does not even mention the graph. Muir-Wood was quite clear about his views of the graph at the Ri.

  3. And his silence speaks volumes. I mean, the timing of this document is clearly significant, as it comes after weeks of you trashing the IPCC in Muir-Wood's name. And in it he essentially greens lights their treatment of his paper. The obvious interpretation is its a repudiation of YOU. No?

    Again: why your outrage and his lack of same? You hint at an answer in your last post--"I know why"--but don't come clean.

  4. I was at the debate in London and my feeling was that Robert Muir Wood was embarrassed about the graph rather than having a lack of outrage.

    Also 'outrage' for Roger's reaction seems the wrong word too. Both in the Newsnight programme and the RI debate I thought Roger was remarkably composed and reasonable.

    But for Real Climate to call this factual error a 'personal quibble' is outrageous - but sadly not unexpected. I'd ignore them.

  5. Roger, the 'responds to my request' link seems to be broken, I get a 'page not found error'.

  6. Of passing interest;



    "Like many other trained scientists, I was deeply rattled by the leaked accusations of data and other fiddling at the CRU (Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia), host to one of the most important datasets used for Climate Change policy, HADCRUT.
    As a result of this and other erratic statements on the subject, the attached is my analysis of hurricane frequency and intensity from publicly available data from NOAA and other sources. The point of this was to check the IPCC 2007 claims that hurricane frequency and intensity are increasing in recent times and its one of the few datasets which are genuinely available to the public at large. I found that there is no significant evidence supporting the IPCC 2007 claims and their conclusions are in my view woefully at odds with these data. Maybe they have their own private data."

  7. There is a fundamental point Hansen, Schmidt et al are missing.

    If Al Gore tells a half truth, he's a politician, I expect that half of what comes out of his mouth is a lie anyway.

    When Hansen tells a half truth, I lose trust in NASA as an institution.

    When the IPCC tells a half truth, I lose trust in the IPCC as an institution.

    Whether or not Pachiuri gets fired won't re-instill my trust in the IPCC.

    Whether or not Hansen gets fired won't re-instill my trust in NASA/GISS.

    I might as well get my climate information from the American Coal Association.

  8. When someone in power has incorrect information, in the old days they could choose to ignore the complainant (not publish their corrections in newspapers or journals). The advent of bloggery has made this more difficult.

    So the next "level of security" is snarky comments and personal attacks.
    Of course, this shows we are in the realm of politics rather than that of science as portrayed as "self-correcting" and "objective."

    You know you are in political world when discourse favors polemics over precision.

  9. It appears to me that RC is saying that you two are on the same side of the policy argument. You both see AGW as a significant influence upon climate. You both agree upon reducing green house gases as crucially important. Therefore, team players do not quibble over decimal dust, periods, and commas. I think that is what their message is...not unlike what the IPCC has been saying as well. Social scientists are suppose to get this. ;>p

  10. Has anyone seen this http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026317.ece

  11. For good measure, RealClimate does not allow me to comment on their blog.

  12. @Harrywr2
    You paraphrase the comment I was not allowed to make.

    The literature is still by and large the same as it was in October. Climate change is still the same problem as it was 3 months ago.

    In the public mind, however, climate change is a broken hockeystick and a gentleman with his hand in the cookie jar.

  13. -3-bigcitylib

    You are apparently unaware of the fact that there are 2 Muir-Woods papers. Please catch up, we'll have a better discussion if you are fully informed.

  14. Roger,

    Pls ignore BCL . . . he's a Toronto based extreme warmist who is having a lot of psychological difficulty as his AGW world collapses around him.

    His blog is a highly biased support centre for the Canadian Liberal Party which is our official opposition party and strong supporter of AGW hysteria and the associated tax increases, highly intrusive big government intervention and general hysterical "we are all gonna die" agit prop.

    He's pretty much igniored up herein the Great White North. He has taken on Steve McIntyre a few times and Steve has chewed him up and spit him out with ease. Shreded him actually, into little tiny laughable pieces.

    He won't be able to keep up with your arguments becuase he is too wrapped up in his AGW belief structure which precludes him from any semblance of exercising fair and balanced judgement.

    His desperation is getting quite tragic actually and I am starting to feel sorry for him. The psyschologicl strain, the overwhelming cognitive dissonance levels he must be enduring . . . something is going to go "pop".

  15. -14-Fred

    BCL has been here before and not always showed his best side. That said, I think we are past that episode and I fully welcome his participation here and constructive comments and challenges. He will want to be better informed that he has shown so far ;-)

  16. 12, Richard Tol:

    "The literature is still by and large the same as it was in October. Climate change is still the same problem as it was 3 months ago."

    Yeah, maybe. But the warmers keep saying something to the effect that "the overwhelming evidence still shows AGW is a fact and will cause severe problems." I wish someone would provide an example of some "literature" that actually proves (or even strongly indicates) that AGW is a FACT (as opposed to speculating and showing computer models and "correlations"). I admit that I have not read all the IPCC documents, but I have scanned quite a bit of it and I keep seeing the words "may," "could," "appears," and most of all, "the computer model indicates." Where is the the real meat?

    Judging by the number of 'gates appearing day after day, it's looking as though the primary source of much of IPCC's scare story originates with phamphlets published by WWF and other NGOs.

    Until someone explains what caused the MWP, I am going to have an extremely hard time agreeing with the AGW idea, especially that it is catastrophic.

  17. Sharon, yes, that is true and a great problem.

    There are usually only two sides in polemics. For example, when I (a climate believer) commented on the realclimate blog, I was immediately ridiculed and taken as a sceptic by two different persons. Without any questions of qualification asked. Only because I did not say cheers to the whole thing. You are a no-man if you dont agree to be a yes-man.

  18. The entire RealClimate comment thread for the post cited by Roger Pielke is here (direct links to comments go to pages containing 50-comment "bites" of the entire thread).

    By using one's browser to search the entire thread for "Pielke", one can find comments that address Dr. Pielke's statements in comment #17 (as well as his follow-on remarks).

    Along with the typical red-noise diatribes, there are --

    #38, Maurizio Morabito's brief seconding of Pielke's remarks;

    #71, Peterr's lengthy and informed essay on the AGW movement (the sort of comment that seemed to rarely pass moderation, pre-Climategate);

    #104 and #105, Bob Ward's rebuttal of Roger Pielke.

  19. -18-AMac

    Thanks for this summary.

    Interestingly, and like the Ri debate, Ward's "rebuttal" at RC essentially confirms the points that I made.

  20. Hi Roger,

    I posted on this yesterday and more fully today, and I think it would be useful for you to post a summary of the entire story. I think I linked to about five of your posts today. I think this is important, and would love to have it all in one place for future reference.

  21. What is becoming clear is that yes, CO2 is an important forcing.
    But it is not forcing anything close to the frenzied outer edges of the range of possibility like the AGW social movement claims so loudly.
    Those promoting and clinging to the extreme outcomes are doing so by means that have little to do with accuracy, honesty and transparency.

  22. If they want to understand why their community has lost so much credibility, they need only look to their own actions.

    Heh. Modus tollens.

  23. It would be fascinating to find out how many "seekers of climate truth" have become "skeptics" because of time they spent at RealClimate.

    If you read climate science papers the work looks very impressive. Even those who politicize it in public, when they write in papers, are fully expressive of the uncertainties, the problems, the further work needed and so on.

    But 99% (99.99%?) of the population can't read these papers (don't know where to start, no access, no physics background, etc).

    So those with real questions go to RealClimate. If only RealClimate knew!

  24. Roger - if you keep going back to RC, they're going to take you away in a straight-jacket:

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  25. Mark B. said:...if you keep going back to RC...
    You gotta give em an opportunity to respond.

  26. Robert Muir Wood just called you out:
    4. Does RMS believe the IPCC has fairly represented the research findings?
    Yes, RMS believes the IPCC fairly referenced its paper, with suitable caveats around the results, highlighting the factors influencing the relationship that had been discovered between time and increased catastrophe costs. We believe it was appropriate to include the RMS paper in the report because, at that time, it was the only paper addressing global multi-peril catastrophe losses over time that had been normalized for changes in the values and exposure at risk.

  27. Steve, count me for one. Two days there and I knew whatever RC was, it certainly wasn't science - or anything I wanted to be associated with. That was when I went elsewhere looking for honesty and openness.

    RC just doesn't get it, that whenever they behave like this a whole lot more people smell a rat.

  28. Elirabett -27-

    It seems like you haven't been following, or you are simply dishonest, or not very smart. I would guess the later (but I admit that I'm cynic toward the RC cult).

    You realize that what you posted is written by RMS and not Robert Muir-Wood. There was little if any disagreement between Roger and Robert Muir-Wood at the RI debate.

  29. Steve, me too. It was reading realclimate that was the main factor in converting me from an agnostic to a skeptic a few years back. The blatant distortion and exaggeration, the vitriolic witch-hunts against anyone who dared to question the theory, and then the deletion of my inconvenient questions and comments on their blog, convinced me that these people were not scientists as I understand the term.

  30. And what do you say Eli? Do you believe that RMS document and the IPCC report fairly reflected the conclusion; "We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and normalized catastrophe losses."

    I'm frankly not surprised Bob Ward was confused about it but now the truth is out from behind the weasel words, he is man enough to repeat the real conclusion and wonder why Muir-Wood produced the misleading chart in the first place. Are you?

    It sure looks to the rest of us that RMS likes to mislead the IPCC from a safe distance but Muir-Wood can't quite bring himself to do it face-to-face with Roger. A good totem for the evidence-free, opinion-led farce that is WGII.

  31. I'm a solid-earth scientist, not a climate specialist. I am inclined to believe there is anthropogenic climate change and went to RC looking for information useful to a non-specialist scientist. What I found was sciency-sounding spin that gave me no confidence in the quality of the "consensus". One does not have to be a climate specialist to spot the BS.

  32. The realclimate people gave me this response:
    "We've been watching you carry on with these arguments based in your personal impression of the behavior of various groups and individuals for some time now. I have one question for you: Do you believe that scientists have the ability to discriminate between different possible causes of the observed temperature changes over this past century or not? --Jim]"

    The behaviour of a policy at duty, isn´t it?

  33. "If they want to understand why their community has lost so much credibility, they need only look to their own actions. "

    Roger, as someone who has published on climate science, i.e. Klobatzch et al 2009, aren't you also part of the same climate science community? I would note that this is the position taken by Richard Tol...

    Incidentally, what was your contribution to the Klobatzch paper in light of your background in science policy studies and mathematics?

    slightly OT, but I'm also curious if you've come across Spencer Weart's reaction to recent events and what your thoughts are.


  34. -34-Marlowe

    Thanks for the comments. Yes, I've published peer reviewed work in Journal of Climate, BAMS, Climatic Change, Journal of Geophysical Research, and other "climate science" journals.

    I have conducted what many people would call "climate science" research (along the lines described by Richard Tol and Hans von Storch). But no I don't see myself as part of the "climate science" community.

    I discuss the origins of the Klotzbach et al. paper here:

    I have not seen Weart's comments.

  35. Steve (#24),

    Me, too. On the few topics I was (am!) familiar with, I found that RealClimate consistently skewed the discussion towards the Consensus view. Their comment-moderation policy was (is) a particularly unattractive feature.

    Since they have a history of misleading about some things, why would I believe them on others? Why would I extend trust to a movement that puts that sort of forum on a pedestal?

  36. First time poster trying to make sense of all this. I was reading through the PDF you linked to and note that it starts on page 188. IS there more to this paper that may include the analysis you suggest is missing?

  37. -37-Calvin

    No, that link goes to the entirety of the Muir-Wood et al. 2006 paper. It starts on p. 188, because all of the white papers that we solicited are printed together in a single volume.

  38. -38-Roger Pielke, Jr.

    I see, thanks. I was confused since the abstract ends basically by saying the analysis you were looking for ("exploration of correlations with global temperatures") was in the course of publication. Thought maybe that's what was in later pages. Guess they just never got that stuff published. Shame on the IPCC.

  39. -39-Calvin

    They did eventually get that second paper published, after the IPCC deadline for inclusion of material.

    1. The IPCC thus falsified a citation to the earlier paper

    2. That second paper disclaimed a causal relationship between temperatures and damage.

    3. That second paper did not include the graph which appeared in the IPCC.

    Even so, the graph appeared in the report. Go figure.

  40. Hi,

    Roger asked Real Climate:

    1. Was the intentional misciting of Muir-Wood’s work to avoid the publication deadline appropriate?

    2. Was the inclusion of the dubious graph appropriate, given that it appears in no literature before or since, peer-reviewed or gray, and was called by more than one reviewer “misleading” and recommended to be removed? Muir Wood now agrees that it should not have been included. Do you disagree?

    3. Was it appropriate for the IPCC to make stuff up about my views?

    Stephan Rahmstorf replied,

    "Response: Clearly there are different views on this, which is why we called this graph "debatable". But let's keep things in perspective: we're discussing Supplementary Material and a response to one of those 90,000 review comments now, not even the report itself. You've been working hard to scandalize your personal quibbles with IPCC here - how consistent is this with your self-proclaimed role as "honest broker"? Stefan]"

    Those are three (or four, depending on how one counts them) simple questions. The could each have been answered with a "Yes," "No," or "Don't know"...followed by an further explanation if desired.

    Instead, not one question was answered. Pretty sad. Not unexpected, but sad.

  41. -40-Roger Pielke, Jr.

    Thanks for the clarification. Cheers!

  42. Roger: By any chance, was Rahmstorf a Lead Author on this chapter?

  43. -43ljohnson

    No. Authors listed here:


  44. markbahner, not just sad but incomprehensibly foolish.

    Any normal scientist instantly picks up that evasion and draws the obvious conclusions about its author and those who support him.

  45. Right. Sure. And oh yeah, Muir Wood was a contributing author to the chapter so he say everything, and where do you think that graph came from

  46. The discussion on RealClimate about Whatevergate is telling: We are right. If you disagree, that is because you're an idiot.

    Whatever happened to the Enligthenment?

  47. A prominent scientist is quoted in today's Wall St. Journal.

    "It's important to say that the scandals we've had don't change the fundamental point that global warming is man-made and we need to tackle it."

    Roger, would you agree or not?

    Spoiler alert.


    That scientist's first name is Bjorn.

  48. RealClimate have a spam filter for comments. Rather interesting, since I tried to make a valid point on the problem of specialisation, that climate scientists due to their training are ignorant on many issues, e.g. communication with the public and the logic of media.

    The spam filter took it. I wander what kind of words they have in the filter that blocks out social science talk.

    Seems like they have a anti-drug policy to. lol

    You have posted a comment that has been flagged as spam. If this is incorrect, please check your text for potential spam words (poker, mortgage, loan, prescription, common drug names etc.) and try again. Using geocities in a URL will cause the comment to be rejected due to the amount of spam associated with that site. Also note that socialism and specialist contain cialis, Somalia contains soma, reciprocal has cipro, and ambient has ambien. If you cannot resolve the problem, please email us at contrib -at- realclimate.org.

  49. Richard Tol,

    That's not what is being said at RC. The point is that a lot of stupid things are being said. Talk about climatemaffia and fraud, hoax etc. That's something entirely different than what you make it out to be.


  50. I see Kaser was a contributing author too yet he somehow couldn't remove that glaring error from the glacier chapter that he was supposedly contributing to. Weird science!

  51. Roger: "...people have lost trust in the climate science..."

    There is no such thing as "climate science", it is climate quackery and fraud with a religious wrapping, nothing more.

    I don't understand the preoccupation with RealClimate - they are part of the the conspirators of this fraud. Why do any of you expect honesty from them? Ignore them. If there is any justice in this world (and I have no reason to believe there is), they will all be in prison before too long.

  52. This is hilarious. Roger, do you really believe this? Might you reconsider? One could write an Encyclopedia Britannica SET FULL of egregious and worse mistakes and misrepresentations that have been made by the, I guess "anti climate science"community.

    Has that discredited and caused the same masses to lose faith in that community?? A community that has almost no real scientists but for a few who have repeatedly made (and stuck) to enormous errors? (R Spencer and J Christy,,and maybe Richard Lindzen, who has repeatedly shifted theories, and almost all have been wrong, and his latest, the iris theory, discredited?)

    So DO YOU REALLY think your example (above) is "why so many people have lost trust in the climate science community," or is it possibly because of the anti science community in, among other things, constantly seeking to discredit the climate science community, both by making far more egregious mistakes and representations in order to do so,as well as turn every mistake by the climate science community into some sort of international scandal?

    -John Carter