Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Heartland Expert Exodus Update: 3 Staunch Defenders, 1 Quiet De-Listing

A number of folks I've emailed re the HI Institute billboard fiasco, who you'd think would probably come out in defense of the institute, have done so.  Here's a response from Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen, of Energy And Environment  fame:

Being listed as an expert need not imply a close association with, or even general support for an institution.

I do respect HI for its support of IPCC critical (‘consensus’)scientists, several of whom I know personally, respect and have published. These genuine scientists are not funded by Big Oil, Dirty Coal or even ‘Fracked’ Gas, but tend work in isolation and without official grant support. They have been much insulted by the ‘warmers’ , especially the proselytising members of assorted lobbies (from environmentalist and nuclear to renewables and investors) as well as expanding bureaucracies. They all expect to benefit from the scare of dangerous, man-made climate warming, combined, please note, with promises of ‘salvation’ that are also research and technology intensive.

I firmly believe that negotiated consensus does not have place in science, but is indeed a desirable and sought after goal in politics.

I am not a supporter of the HL’s economic or social ideology and am under no illusion why many of its supporters are attracted to ‘climate scepticism’.

However, as long as there is no rational dialogue between government funded ‘global warming’ researchers (they are funded to prove a politically attractive hypothesis rather than to test it, and as long as the opponents of IPCC critics (the ‘realists’ ) are insulted by the other dies as denialists, deniers, flat earthers and worse, I shall not ask the HI to remove my name. As a political scientists specialising in environmental science as a tool of policy and politics, it is my professional duty to listen to (and publish) all sides in a scientific debate. Several years ago I was asked by students at IDS, the International Development Institute at THE University of Sussex why I was a ‘sceptic’. My reply was: to protect science and to prevent growing poverty. I stick to this.

Sonja B-C

PS You are free to publish. May I also remind you that some rather violent threats, including trial for mass murder, have been made against the ‘deniers’. I do not know whether your organisation was involved.

Dr.Sonja A.Boehmer-Christiansen
Reader Emeritus, Department of Geography
Hull University

I will just note, Ms. Boehmer-Chistiansen, that I have not issued any threats against AGW deniers.  I think I might have called Pielke Jr. a prick one time, but that's it.

S. Fred Singer chimed in with this letter, sent to the Chicago Sun Times but as far as I know unpublished there or anywhere else:

To the Editor

I have only two questions. My first one is: Is it true? Is the Unabomber really a passionate believer in [human-caused] Global Warming?

I suppose so -- but I have not read his manifesto.

My other question: Is this a good way to inform the public that believers in GW are not necessarily wonderful, caring people?

In other words, does the billboard message counter the propaganda that if you really care about the planet and humanity you must accept the results of mathematical models that the climate will undergo catastrophic warming in the next decade (or century -- take your pick) -- destroying life on Earth as we know it (according to some).

There may be better ways to inform the public; I just don't know; I am a climate scientist and not an expert on PR. All I know is that thermometers show no warming since at least 1998 and that therefore model results are suspect.

If that makes me a climate skeptic -- and evil (in some people's eyes), so be it.

Full disclosure: The Heartland Institute is the publisher of some of my climate books and pays me author's royalties.

Also, Brian Valentine of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy sent me this steamer:

Thanks for asking, I am removing my name from nothing, and you can print my response thus:

"Brian Valentine believes that the promotion of junk science is as damaging as terrorism, and "eugenics" is a good historical example of that. Brian Valentine supports the end of junk science applied to manipulate an honest Public."

You may also mention that Brian Valentine never received a dime from Heartland or anybody else for his views, unlike a notorious few unscrupulous individuals in scientific positions such as Mr. Hansen of NASA, who was given millions from greenie groups and others who wanted him to support a certain position. I'll bet you don't have the guts to mention that. 

I hope he didn't write that one during work hours.

But the day's most interesting result came during a couple of very brief email exchanges with G. Cornelis van Kooten.  When I asked him about his association with The Heartland Institute, he seemed to have no idea what I was talking about, responding to me as follows:


But as of May 13th he was definitely on the HI list, though he has been removed since.  That's where I got his email, after all.  The question thus arises: did the Heartland Institute recruit people to their expert lists without even asking permission?

And finally, the HI's ongoing problems with its experts and, more importantly, its donors has made the U.K. Guardian.  Chris Landsea and yours truly get a mention.

1 comment:

b_nichol said...

Fred Singer: "I am a climate scientist and not an expert on PR. All I know is that thermometers show no warming since at least 1998 and that therefore model results are suspect."

Fair enough. Fred's hypothesis is that the temperature record shows "no warming since at least 1998". Whether that demonstrates that the model results are suspect is better left to smarter people than me.

However, in examining his claim, I downloaded the yearly (Jan-Dec) temperature anomalies from the GISTEMP land-based record
and plotted the various slopes ending in 2011.

Much to my surprise (or perhaps not), Fred's claim does not hold up to scrutiny. At no point in time before and including 1998 does the thermometer record show no warming - neither a negative nor neutral slope.

Start Years Slope
1972 40 +.21C /decade
1977 35 +.20C /decade
1982 30 +.22C /decade
1987 25 +.21C /decade
1992 20 +.28C /decade
1993 19 +.25C /decade
1994 18 +.21C /decade
1995 17 +.18C /decade
1996 16 +.18C /decade
1997 15 +.17C /decade
1998 14 +.13C /decade
1999 13 +.19C /decade
2000 12 +.16C /decade

So, what am I doing wrong, BCL? At least two responders to your email campaign have indicated some lack of warming in the temperature record since 1998. Are my time periods too long to discern the short-term trends? That does not seem to be the case, in statistical terms, because the R-squared values increase the longer the period evaluated.

Years R^2
40 0.80
35 0.76
30 0.77
25 0.66
20 0.68
19 0.63
18 0.57
17 0.49
16 0.45
15 0.35
14 0.23
13 0.44
12 0.33

Am I missing something here, or is Fred better at PR than he claims?