01 August 2012

IPCC Lead Author Misleads US Congress

The politicization of climate science is so complete that the lead author of the IPCC's Working Group II on climate impacts feels comfortable presenting testimony to the US Congress that fundamentally misrepresents what the IPCC has concluded. I am referring to testimony given today by Christopher Field, a professor at Stanford, to the US Senate.

This is not a particularly nuanced or complex issue. What Field says the IPCC says is blantantly wrong, often 180 degrees wrong. It is one thing to disagree about scientific questions, but it is altogether different to fundamentally misrepresent an IPCC report to the US Congress. Below are five instances in which Field's testimony today completely and unambiguously misrepresented IPCC findings to the Senate. Field's testimony is here in PDF.

1. On the economic costs of disasters:
Field: "As the US copes with the aftermath of last year’s record-breaking series of 14 billion-dollar climate-related disasters and this year’s massive wildfires and storms, it is critical to understand that the link between climate change and the kinds of extremes that lead to disasters is clear."

What the IPCC actually said: "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"
Field's assertion that the link between climate change and disasters "is clear," which he supported with reference to US "billion dollar" economic losses, is in reality scientifically unsupported by the IPCC. Period. (More on the NOAA billion-dollar disasters below.) There is good reason for this -- it is what the science says. Why fail to report to Congress the IPCC's most fundamental finding and indicate something quite the opposite?

2. On US droughts:
Field: "The report identified some areas where droughts have become longer and more intense (including southern Europe and West Africa), but others where droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter."

What the IPCC actually said: "... in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, central North America ..."
Field conveniently neglected in his testimony to mention that one place where droughts have gotten less frequent, less intense or shorter is ... the United States. Why did he fail to mention this region, surely of interest to US Senators, but did include Europe and West Africa?

3. On NOAA's billion dollar disasters:
Field: "The US experienced 14 billion-dollar disasters in 2011, a record that far surpasses the previous maximum of 9."

What NOAA actually says about its series of "billion dollar" disasters:  "Caution should be used in interpreting any trends based on this [data] for a variety of reasons"
Field says nothing about the serious issues with NOAA's tabulation. The billion dollar disaster meme is a PR train wreck, not peer reviwed and is counter to the actual science summarized in the IPCC. So why mention it?

4. On attributing billion dollar disasters to climate change, case of hurricanes and tornadoes:
Field:  "For several of these categories of disasters, the strength of any linkage to climate change, if there is one, is not known. Specifically, the IPCC (IPCC 2012) did not identify a trend or express confidence in projections concerning tornadoes and other small-area events. The evidence on hurricanes is mixed."

What the IPCC actually said (p. 269 PDF): "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"
Hurricanes are, of course, tropical cyclones. Far from evidence being "mixed" the IPCC was unable to attribute any trend in tropical cyclone disasters to climate change (anywhere in the world and globally overall). In fact, there has been no trend in US hurricane frequency or intensity over a century or more, and the US is currently experiencing the longest period with no intense hurricane landfalls ever seen. Field fails to report any this and invents something different. Why present testimony so easily refuted? (He did get tornadoes right!)

 5. On attributing billion dollar disasters to climate change, case of floods and droughts:
Field: "For other categories of climate and weather extremes, the pattern is increasingly clear. Climate change is shifting the risk of hitting an extreme. The IPCC (IPCC 2012) concludes that climate change increases the risk of heat waves (90% or greater probability), heavy precipitation (66% or greater probability), and droughts (medium confidence) for most land areas."

What the IPCC actually says (p. 269 PDF): "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"

and (from above): "in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, central North America"
Field fails to explain that no linkage between flood disasters and climate change has been established. Increasing precipitation is not the same thing as increasing streamflow, floods or disasters. In fact, floods may be decreasing worldwide and are not increasing in the US. The fact that drought has declined in the US means that there is no trend of rising impacts that can be attributed to climate change. Yet he implies exactly the opposite. Again, why include such obvious misrepresentations when they are so easily refuted?

Field is certainly entitled to his (wrong) opinion on the science of climate change and disasters. However, it is utterly irresponsible to fundamentally misrepresent the conclusions of the IPCC before the US Congress. He might have explained why he thought the IPCC was wrong in its conclusions, but it is foolish to pretend that the body said something other than what it actually reported. Just like the inconvenient fact that people are influencing the climate and carbon dioxide is a main culprit, the science says what the science says.

Field can present such nonsense before Congress because the politics of climate change are so poisonous that he will be applauded for his misrepresentations by many, including some scientists. Undoubtedly, I will be attacked for pointing out his obvious misrepresentations. Neither response changes the basic facts here. Such is the sorry state of climate science today.

113 comments:

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
n.n said...

This effort to editorialize the IPCC's findings can only mean that Field and the interests he represents are desperate.

Thank you, Professor Pielke, and others, who have chosen to keep the honest people honest and others from running amuck.

A said...

Hello Dr. Pielke, you've made a strong claim I don't see supported in your arguments.

For point 1, you have referenced the IPCC statement on financial loses. As Field is discussing the connection between climate change and extreme weather, I do not think this refutes his point.

For point 2, I agree Field should have mentioned this. Though he is given very little time to discuss such a complex issue, so "conveniently neglected", implying deliberate misleading of Congress by Field, is unwarranted.

For point 3, To his credit Field does follow this statement with your quote in point 4. As he's been called to testify on climate change and extreme events, I see no problem with him mentioning this.

For point 4, from your previous blog post, http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.ca/2009/06/schmidt-et-al-replication-of-pielke-et.html, the evidence does appear mixed to a casual reader such as myself.

For point 5, Field does not discuss floods. You quote the IPCC on flood losses. This is not a good example.

Claiming the IPCC Lead Author has mislead US Congress needs some stronger evidence.

ob said...

Thanks A.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-3-A

Thanks for the comments, a quick reply.

1. Field is clearly talking about 'disasters"
2. Glad we agree
3. Agree to disagree. If a climate skeptic cited bad, unpeer-reviewed science he'd be rightly skewered.
4. Look again, its not even close.
5. Actually, he mentions floods in the testimony twice

Thanks!

A said...

1.) He sure is. But not in the way you frame it. As Field quotes the IPCC, "A changing climate leads to changes in.. extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.” That this link is not yet apparent in financial losses is of course not surprising, and Field does say "For several of these categories of disasters, the strength of any linkage to climate change, if there is one, is not known."
3.) You're right.
4.) "The IPCC states that humans have, “more likely than not”, contributed to the trend towards intense tropical cyclone activity since the 1970s. Therefore, any increase in losses could, more likely than not, be partly related to anthropogenic climate change" - Looks like mixed evidence to me.
5.) The rest of Field's paragraph on this issue clarifies it well. He has said nothing misleading.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-6-A

Thanks ... few further replies ...

1) Had Field left it at "extremes" he'd have been fine (dodgy, but fine), but he goes further, saying: "the link between climate change and the kinds of extremes that lead to disasters is clear"

Sorry, but that is not at all what the IPCC says, in fact it is the opposite of what the IPCC says.

4) The IPCC is unambiguous: "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

It is fine if Field wants to disagree with this finding of the IPCC, but it is clearly not "mixed". I know because the IPCC relies on work I've been involved in, and the IPCC accurately characterized the science;-)

5. Field explicitly references "categories of disasters" in that part -- what category of disaster do you think he is referring to with the reference to precipitation?

Thanks!

Johnathon Dorridge said...

Presumably misrepresenting evidence to Congress is action likely to fall under some sanctions, criminal or otherwise. Additionally, surely it is important that members (and the media who present such evidence they receive to the wider public) are informed about this inaccuracy and/or deceit?

So, have you, or anyone of influence been able to, or will, contact the members of the Congress and inform them about this issue? It is such an important policy area that they must be told...

Harrywr2 said...

"Such is the sorry state of climate science today. "

Only 25% of the US population believes what climate scientists have to save anyway according to this survey.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-03/global-warming-no-longer-americans-top-environmental-concern-poll-finds.html

Jos said...

Given the well-known and common used expression "fact free politics", maybe it is time to start talking about "fact free science"?

Bjellekua said...

Yes Christopher Field seems to be very UNFCCC conform.

Has anyone observed UNEP/IPCC members lately that are not UNFCCC conform?

Richard Drake said...

Very helpful post Roger. The applause misrepresentation consistently gains shows that we are dealing with pure politics and propaganda, as far from true science as can be. Which is why this clear expose counts so much.

Sean Peake said...

Perhaps Field has revealed what's in the next IPCC report?

Joshua said...

Wow! Roger.

Each of your points includes a non-sequitor. That's impressive.

I was going to go into detail, but I think that A did a passable job. I'll just summarize by saying that in each of your points, you address a different topic in your response than what was spoken about in the testimony (or quote a non-sequitor from the IPCC).

Sometimes when you're carrying a hammer, Roger, everything looks like a nail.

I know that you have staked your professional reputation on refuting claims that evidence of past events doesn't support claims of increases in extreme weather events - but allow me to ask you a more a question:

You don't doubt that ACO2 will change the climate. Do you believe that increased ACO2 will increase extreme weather events going forward?

Joshua said...

And Roger - care to do some "auditing" of Singer's testimony?

Joshua said...

Arrggh!

Preview!

I know that you have staked your professional reputation on refuting claims that evidence of past events [does] support claims of increases in extreme weather events - but allow me to ask you a question:

dana1981 said...

Pielke says - "If a climate skeptic cited bad, unpeer-reviewed science he'd be rightly skewered."

You mean like John Christy did in referencing the unreviewed Watts paper in his written testimony? Not to mention Christy's other gross distortions of the scientific literature. Field's testimony was loads better and more accurate than Christy's.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-14-Joshua

Welcome back;-)

If you'd like to make a substantive critique, you are welcome to do so. The issues are plain and simple, so should be easily resolved.

Do I think that CO2 will increase extreme events going forward? Tsk Tsk, you haven't read my Congressional testimony or book? ;-)

The short answer is yes. We even have a paper on how long it will take to detect that signal, have a look.

Thanks!

Joshua said...

Heh!

I meant Christy's testimony. Freudian slip.

eric144 said...

Excellent post, but it gets steamrolled in the liberal corporate media every day. The person who invented the phrase 'climate change' is looking at a Nobel Prize (in economics).


P.S.
I believe that the world is dangerously warming, the weather is getting more extreme and humans are primarily responsible for both.


Money (Pink Floyd)


Money, it's a hit
Don't give me that
Do goody good bullshit

I'm in the hi-fidelity
First class traveling set
And I think I need a Lear jet

Money, it's a crime
Share it fairly
But don't take a slice of my pie

Money, so they say
Is the root of all evil
Today

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-15-Joshua

Thanks, Singer didn't testify ... On Twitter I was asked the same and I said I'd have a look at Christy's testimony.

But let's be clear about one thing. Christy was cherrypicked by Republicans to deliver a certain message that they find convenient. The IPCC does not have that luxury. Field was representing climate science, Christy his personal views of the science. Field had an obligation to accurately represent the IPCC report, or alternatively to present his personal views.

Christy deserves scrutiny, no doubt, and he gets it to be sure. But you'll pardon me if I have decided that the integrity of the IPCC is far more important than whether I agree with an individual scientist or not. I have ignored McCarthy too, but no one seems to care about that ...

I am sure I'll find some things to agree with in Christy's testimony and some things to disagree with.

Thanks!

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-17-dana1981

Field's misuse of non-peer reviewed work was less bad than Christy's misuse of non-peer reviewed work?

My we are lowering expectations for the performance of the IPCC ;-)

Joshua said...

I think that an honest broker will see the logical problems with your post, Roger.

I think it's a little disingenuous to say that Christy was only representing his own personal viewpoint. His language certainly never reflected any such context. He was there to testify about the science and that's what his testimony reflected.

I have no problem with scrutiny of Field's testimony. Clearly, his testimony was *intented* to support claims that past data correlates with past weather, and specifically recent extreme weather. As you don't agree with that interpretation of the data, it certainly fair game for you to question that scientific evaluation. My objection to this post is that I think that you aimed in the wrong direction, and fired blanks.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-21-Joshua

Thanks ... as I state in the post, my critique of Field is not over whether he and I see the science differently, it is that he has fundamentally misrepresented the IPCC report that he was presenting. That is a big deal.

Of course, agreeing to disagree is where we may have to leave it. Thx

Joshua said...

Man - even more distracted than usual (and just to save a little face, I want to make it official that I acknowledged the Christy/Singer Freudian slip).

Correction:

Clearly, his testimony was *intented* to support claims that the data support arguments that recent climate change has resulted in extreme weather, and specifically recent extreme weather in the US.

Johnathon Dorridge said...

Joshua obviously likes to ask questions! May I ask him a couple?

What direct, demonstrable, proven evidence do you have that co2 emitted by humans is/will/can affect global temperatures as much as the IPCC claim? Direct rather than assumed, claimed by some coterie of scientists and activists (not scientists all!) or modelled to explain a debatable, gradual, rise as the earth emerges from the LIA.

What evidence do you have that extreme weather events are increasing over the historical record (as such exists), that co2 is really a driver or that the recent events ascribed to mmgw by Field are anything demonstrably to do with co2?

Note Joshua, the stress on demonstrable.

Joshua said...

# 9 - harry -


Here you say this:


===>>> Only 25% of the US population believes what climate scientists have to save anyway according to this survey. <<<===


Whereas earlier today at KK's crib you said this:



==>> Trust in scientific opinion on global warming continues to be less than robust. About a quarter of the public trusts what scientists say about the issue “completely” or “a lot,” while 35 percent, trust scientists only a little or not at all. Thirty-eight percent trust scientific opinions a moderate amount. <<==


Please reconcile. Also, have you not seen poll data that support different conclusions?

Joshua said...

#24 - Jonathan -

Is there some reason why I shouldn't like to ask questions?


===>>> What direct, demonstrable, proven evidence do you have that co2 emitted by humans is/will/can affect global temperatures as much as the IPCC claim? ,<<===

I'm obviously not a climate scientist, I haven't studied the science in dept, and I'm not smart enough to understand it even if I did... but...

Given that the IPCC includes estimates that include quantification that has a fairly wide-ranging probability, that question seems a bit misleading, or at least would be difficult to answer. Do I think that their estimates of probability might be wrong? Sure, I think it's possible. I think some "skeptics" raise some interesting questions in that regard. Unfortunately, I also see a lot of dreck from "skeptics" and I see very little willingness amongst "skeptics" to identify over politicization (Christy is an excellent example), so as someone without the brains or chops to evaluate the science myself, the best I can say is that there are a lot of credible experts who say that there is potential for ACO2 contributions to manifest dangerous climate change, and so it would only be prudent to consider policy options.


===>>> What evidence do you have that extreme weather events are increasing over the historical record (as such exists), <<<===

I'm not sure about the existing evidence that extreme events are increasing. I tend to accept statements like: "No specific event can be attributable to climate change, but the odds of the events that we've been seeing are likely to increase with climate change."

===>>> that co2 is really a driver or that the recent events ascribed to mmgw by Field are anything demonstrably to do with co2? <<<===

Here is what Field said:

===>>> "As the US copes with the aftermath of last year’s record-breaking series of 14 billion-dollar climate-related disasters and this year’s massive wildfires and storms, it is critical to understand that the link between climate change and the kinds of extremes that lead to disasters is clear." <<<===

I realize it seems like he said that recent events were attributable to climate change, but it isn't actually what he said. Notice that he said "lead" not "led" to disasters. I see his statement as consistent with the one I said I had no particular problem with.

He said that as we think of the cost of recent events, it is important to note that the science supports linkage between climate change and extreme weather events (apparently Roger agrees).

If someone actually says that recent events are attributable to MMGW, I would say that statement is inconsistent with most of the the statements I've read from climate scientists, and which I think appropriately represent uncertainty.

Robert Grumbine said...

It takes a rather, specialized, notion of honesty to look at testimony to the US Congress, and decide that A matters more than B. Given the sharply limited time available, _anybody_ testifying to the Congress is quite important. Their honesty and accuracy is also important -- equal to the time they've been granted by Congress.

If Congress chooses to have a fiction author or a serial conspiracy theorist testify on a scientific topic, it is because they consider that testimony to be meaningful on the science. If it's a scientist, that's better in general, but they're still there to present on the science of that topic. Doesn't matter if that scientist is involved with IPCC or not.

Yet you dismiss concern about Christy's dubious material on grounds of him being 'just' an individual. (Field is what? Looks like a single person in his photo. If IPCC wrote his testimony, you have a point about him representing IPCC. Otherwise, he's exactly as many people as Christy.)

Given the preceding, why exactly should I care less about honesty/accuracy/completeness in one person's testimony to Congress than another's?

Joshua said...

#27 - Robert -


===>>> If Congress chooses to have a fiction author ... testify on a scientific topic, <<<===

Despite Roger's concern that Field's testimony was important, I guarantee that we will hear far more in the future about Michael Creighton's testimony on climate change than we will about Field's.


In terms of the politicization of science - which is a concern of Roger's - I can assure you that Crieghton's testimony will have much greater impact. And I would guess so will Christy's.

dana1981 said...

I like it how you first set up this strawman Roger:


"Undoubtedly, I will be attacked for pointing out his obvious misrepresentations."


Disagreeing with you or pointing out where your bias and agenda have led you astray is not "attacking", you need to stop engaging in such rhetoric and attacking your own strawmen ;) By your logic, every time a reviewer points out problems with a manuscript that you have submitted they are "attacking" you.


I agree with what Asaid noted. You also seemed determined to engage in a game of semantics to force through your point.


Now you can choose to "agree to disagree" when someone (like Asaid) points out your errors or problems with your arguments (but that is not a legitimate defense by the way it is a cop out) or twist things to try and claim that Dr. Field misled Congress, but none of that changes the facts.


Might I note too that you are engaging in a knee-jerk reaction to attack and attempting to discredit Dr. Field while giving free pass to the very obvious errors in Dr. Christy's evidence; something that Dr. Christy has done repeatedly, despite being told what he is claiming is neither wrong or not supported by the literature. Funny how you do not appear to have an issue, or feel compelled to loudly trumpet the repeated and very real factual errors and misinformation in Dr. Christy's evidence ;)

Salamano said...

Perhaps Field is talking about what will be showing up in the up-coming IPCC report, rather than what the IPCC has researched in the past.

Science is full of examples of complete about-faces on many different aspects of the discipline. Perhaps the others took decades to flip-flop (vs. a few short years), but it does happen.

In the case of climate science, all you really have to do is include certain papers and minimize/ignore others, and you'll have all the 'review of the literature' you need to conclude whatever you want.

I suspect Field will be shown to be 'accurate' by the 'new' IPCC report coming out. Perhaps that means more 'dreadful' Pielke papers will be conveniently ignored

(or perhaps hand-waved away by personal comments by authors of yet-unpublished works to lead authors who may or may not have strong ties to advocacy groups).

dana1981 said...

You also make this comment:

"Field fails to explain that no linkage between flood disasters and climate change has been established."

This looks like an attempt at prestidigitation here by you Roger. Extreme precipitation events tend to cause disasters, otherwise they would not be classified as extreme in the first place. It is well established in the literature (and by the physics, i.e., the Clausius-Clapeyron relation) that heavy and even extreme precipitation events (no reference to damages) are indeed the increase (I can provide you a list of papers if you like). Like it or not Roger, extreme precipitation events can and do result in 'disasters'. One reason being that runoff tends to increase as precipitation intensity increases. Given that some areas are considered to be so-called "non-contributing" areas, using river flow is not always an appropriate metric. But you say on your blog that no linkage exists. The literature proves your assertion to be wrong. From Pall et al. (2011):

"Here we present a multi-step, physically based ‘probabilistic event attribution’ framework showing that it is very likely that global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions substantially increased the risk of flood occurrence in England and Wales in autumn 2000"

From Min et al. (2011):

"Here we show that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the observed intensification of heavy precipitation events found over approximately two-thirds of data-covered parts of Northern Hemisphere land areas."

You assert "The fact that drought has declined in the US means that there is no trend of rising impacts that can be attributed to climate change"

I note that you use a paper from 2006 to back up that claim. Dai (2010) undertook a meta analysis of this global issue. Dai finds that:


"Regions like the United States have avoided prolonged droughts during the last 50 years due to natural climate variations, but might see persistent droughts in the next 20–50 years"


Also, the USA is not the centre of the world Roger. Dai et al. (2004) found that:

"The global very dry areas, defined as PDSI < -3.0, have more than doubled since the 1970s, with a large jump in the early 1980s due to an ENSO-induced precipitation decrease and a subsequent expansion primarily due to surface warming, while global very wet areas (PDSI > +3.0) declined slightly during the 1980s. Together, the global land areas in either very dry or very wet conditions have increased from ~20% to 38% since 1972, with surface warming as the primary cause after the mid-1980s."

Do you claim to know more than Dai et al.?

Here is Dai et al. (2011):

"All the four forms of the PDSI show widespread drying over Africa, East and South Asia, and other areas from 1950 to 2008, and most of this drying is due to recent warming. The global percentage of dry areas has increased by about 1.74% (of global land area) per decade from 1950 to 2008. "

A new paper by Schwalm et al. in Nature also shows that people in the USA should have reason for concern with regards to droughts in the future, especially in the southwest.

Now that is drought, do you want me to address extreme precipitation too? Also, are you going to back off and correct your errors or are you going to double down? Going by previous experience it will be the latter, but you may surprise me yet.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-31-dana1981

Thanks for the comments .. a few replies.

You are right, reasoned debate, critique and discussion is not an attack. Here that is welcomed, always has been. I've got no problem with that.

In contrast, this is an attack:
https://twitter.com/RogerPielkeJr/status/229741426714488832

Also, this post has nothing to do with John Christy. I view any such comments as an effort to change the subject. I don't blame you;-)

Thanks!

nutso fasst said...

"Field was representing climate science, Christy his personal views of the science."

It's my understanding that Field was purportedly presenting the IPCC's conclusions regarding climate science, something he clearly did not do. Christy, on the other hand, was expressing his own conclusions as an individual climate scientist. Can you please explain why Christy's conclusions are any less "climate science" than the IPCC's conclusions?

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-33-dana1981

Thanks again ... But you are again trying to change the subject. The main issue with Field's testimony is how he characterized the IPCC SREX report versus what it actually says. You seem to want to argue about the scientific conclusion that are in that report. That is fine, of course, but is not a critique of this post.

Your beef on flood seems to be with IPCC SREX, as they concluded, quite rightly, that the scientific literature does not support claims of attribution related to flood disasters. (You may wish to take it up with them).

On the issues with Min et al. and Pall et al. related to such attribution see:
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/02/flood-disasters-and-human-caused.html

Extreme precipitation is defined in many ways, and many such definitions have no relationship with flooding or damage (e.g., 50 mm of rain is a typical threshold for "extreme" and has essentially no impacts). You can look up Pielke and Downton 2000 in Journal of Climate to read why.

On drought you are confusing a range of issues, both scale and climate metrics versus impact metrics. The focus of this post is on disasters.

Dai agrees that the US has "avoided prolonged droughts" which is exactly what the IPCC says and exactly what Field did not. Odd, no?

Should people in the US have concern about future drought? Absolutely. I never said otherwise.

Thanks!

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-29-Robert Grumbine

Thanks, you ask a very good question: "why exactly should I care less about honesty/accuracy/completeness in one person's testimony to Congress than another's?"

Let me give you a hypothetical. Let's say I was invited to give testimony on the Iranian nuclear program. The head of the CIA is also invited. Would you care about one testimony more than another? If so why?

Now I will admit that there are many instances (especially in Congress) where expertise and information do not matter, and it is all theater. Perhaps climate change has gotten to that point. But I'll hold on to the idea that expertise matters.

Thanks!

nutso fasst said...

"If Congress chooses to have a fiction author or a serial conspiracy theorist testify on a scientific topic, it is because they consider that testimony to be meaningful on the science. "

Well, shucks, gol durn, yep, that's why they do it all righty. Surely can't be on 'count'a their want'n to give credence to their political agenda.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-35-nutso fasst

Thanks, and sure: Science is so rich and varied that it is possible for there to be a wide range of views on scientific questions. In such a situation it would be very easy to simply cherrypick a result from the field that conforms to some preconceived notion.

This is fine if you believe that all knowledge claims are of the same quality. But if you believe that some knowledge claims are more accurate or reliable, then selecting science according to political expediency is problematic.

So to ferret out the more reliable from the less we put together expert advisory bodies to "arbitrate" scientific claims. Hard to do, never perfect, but necessary.

This post discusses several examples:
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/07/evidence-based-policy-which-side-are.html

Field's testimony was representing one such process. Christy's was not. If the IPCC does its job, which it has not, then its claims are trustworthy and reliable.

That is why. Thanks!

Joshua said...

====>>>> Would you care about one testimony more than another? If so why? <<<===

That would depend on whose testimony would have more political impact. If your testimony would have more political impact, then I would care more about your testimony.

Do you assume that Field's testimony will have more political impact on the science than Chrisy's? If so, why? Given that what relatively few credential scientists espouse "skeptical" views such as Christy's, and the extent to which their views are used to justify policy, it seems to me that their input has proportionally more political impact. I'd be willing to make a wager with you that a LexisNexis search on Christy's testimony will turn up more hits than Field's.

Given your focus on politicization of the science, it would seem that political impact should be the criterion you'd want to use.

gallopingcamel said...

31. dana1981 said...
".......giving free pass to the very obvious errors in Dr. Christy's evidence; something that Dr. Christy has done repeatedly..............."

Assumes facts not in evidence.

Why should we take your view of reality seriously based as it is on suspect surface station data?

Christy's testimony relies on his own analysis of satellite data which many of us find more convincing than data tortured by Menne, Hansen, Peterson, Jones and their comrades feeding from the CAGW trough?

nutso fasst said...

-39-Roger

Thanks for your prompt reply. Unfortunately, for me (and for you, apparently), IPCC spokespersons and their defenders (as represented here) have done little or nothing to engender trust.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-4-Joshua

Here we have a key difference in our perspectives, when you write:

"If your testimony would have more political impact, then I would care more about your testimony"

Evaluating expert testimony according to political impact is exactly how the IPCC (and many areas of climate science) went off the rails.

Thanks!

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-42-nutso fasst

"IPCC spokespersons and their defenders (as represented here) have done little or nothing to engender trust"

I agree.

Joshua said...

===>>> Evaluating expert testimony according to political impact is exactly how the IPCC (and many areas of climate science) went off the rails. <<<===

Straw man.

I am not "evaluating" the testimony, let alone the science of the testimony, on the basis of the political impact.

I'm asking about the impact of the testimony based on the political impact.

You asked whose testimony would I "care about" the most re: Iran's nuclear program. I'd care about both the political impact and the scientific validity. They aren't mutually exclusive as you're trying to argue.

If both you and the head of the CIA testified to Congress about Iran's nuclear program, and in spite of conflicting testimony from the head of the CIA, Congress decided to launch a war on the basis of your testimony, your testimony is what I'd care about.

You set up a lame analogy - with a scenario where, obviously, the head of the CIA would be accorded more importance than you when giving testimony.

There is no such parallel between Christy and Field testifying before Congress. Field's testimony does not necessarily have more impact because he's representing the IPCC. The whole thing is a political dog and pony show. The metric to use in measuring impact is political impact. The testimony of neither will make any difference, scientifically and you know it.

In point of fact, I'd argue that Christy's testimony has more impact (political impact) - and I challenge you to make an argument otherwise.

If you, personally, think it's more important to focus on Field's testimony, so be it. But that's your personal concern, and it's based on your biases. There's nothing wrong with that. It's your blog. Just don't try to fly a weak objectified explanation by offering a non-analogous analogy.

Mike said...

FWIW Field stated at the beginning of his testimony: In my testimony today, I will be presenting information from a variety of sources, including the assessments from the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the IPCC, and papers in the technical scientific literature.

tallbloke said...

I said Field was one to watch out for a couple of years ago after Stephen Schneider died. He has taken up the mantle of climate worrier in chief from his old boss it seems.

He learned well from his former master the art of twisting the public's perception of science through economy with the actualité.

His omission of North America from the list of places "where droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter" puts me in mind of ray Bradley's omission of co2 from Fritz' list of factors which affect the rate of tree ring growth. Strange when he re-used the rest of the captions to figures verbatim no?

Lorenzo da Baja said...

.
Part 1-

This is a very interesting discussion.

Although, what about the full context of all this?

Relating only to item one (1). Here is the complete opening paragraph and statement of Professor Fields.

Sentence One: Thank you Chairman Boxer, Ranking Member Inhofe, and members of the Committee. I am delighted to appear before you today to discuss one of the most important issues facing the nation – the serious challenge of a changing climate and especially the links between climate change and extreme events.

Sentence Two: As the US copes with the aftermath of last year’s record-breaking series of 14 billion-dollar climate-related disasters and this year’s massive wildfires and storms, it is critical to understand that the link between climate change and the kinds of extremes that lead to disasters is clear.

Sentence Three: Overwhelming evidence supports the conclusion in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that “A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.” (IPCC 2012).

In the second sentence, it must be noted that the first element of that sentence is separated from the second element of the sentence by a comma thereby marking-off separate elements within that sentence. If the two elements were meant to be conjoined the sentence would not use the comma.

Now placing that statement after the comma separately, I also find it is critical to understand that the link between climate change and the kinds of extremes that lead to disasters is clear.

By that I mean, there should at the least be high confidence, based on high agreement and medium evidence, that economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters have increased.

Now, taken in it's entirety, although Fields mentions the 14 billion-dollar climate-related disasters and this year’s massive wildfires and storms in the second sentence, his statement in the separate third sentence relating to "overwhelming evidence" is distinctly separate and directly related to climate change leading to "changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration, and timing of extreme weather and climate events, and can result in unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.”

Nowhere in that sentence are disasters mentioned.

My take on Field's statement it's entirety of the opening paragraph leads me to my conclusion that Fields was not mixing the massive wildfires and storms that have been experienced lately in the first sentence with the second sentence, nor with that of the third sentence.

(continues next post)

Lorenzo da Baja said...

Part 2 – continuing…

Now, let's look at the IPCC statement in it's entirety that also includes that small cherry-picked citation that Professor Pielke has cited:

4.5.3.3. Attribution of Impacts to Climate Change: Observations and Limitations

Page 268 - Paragraph 5.

http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/images/uploads/SREX-All_FINAL.pdf

There is high confidence, based on high agreement and medium evidence, that economic losses from weather-and climate-related disasters have increased (Cutter and Emrich, 2005; Peduzzi et al., 2009, 2011; UNISDR, 2009; Mechler and Kundzewicz, 2010; Swiss Re 2010; Munich Re, 2011). A key question concerns whether trends in such losses, or losses from specific events, can be attributed to climate change. In this context, changes in losses over time need to be controlled for exposure and vulnerability. Most studies of long-term disaster loss records attribute these increases in losses to increasing exposure of people and assets in at-risk areas (Miller et al., 2008; Bouwer, 2011), and to underlying societal trends – demographic, economic, political, and social – that shape vulnerability to impacts (Pielke Jr. et al., 2005; Bouwer et al., 2007). Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research. Attempts have been made to normalize loss records for changes in exposure and wealth. There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change (Choi and Fisher, 2003; Crompton and McAneney, 2008; Miller et al., 2008; Neumayer and Barthel, 2011). The evidence is medium because of the issues set out toward the end of this section.

--end citation--

Out of all the citations, I find it highly irresponsible to overlook the very first citation, yet cherry pick the one citation that best supports the contention that Professor Pielke found to best support his particular fallacy in that Professor Fields had misled the Senate.

In my line of work, that's considered lying by omission. Although to be fair, I'll simply ring this one up to, Stacking The Deck: using arguments that support one's position, but ignoring the arguments against.

And typically, the presence of one omission means that there are most likely other omissions to be uncovered.

That is why I elect NOT to take any further time and effort with the rest of Professor Pielke's fallacies here.

Respectfully, Larry

Elby the Beserk said...

A Said

"financial losses" does not, of course, not that huge developments have taken place in recent decades where, **because of the frequency in these places of extreme weather**, they should not have.

Of course the cost of such disasters has risen hugely. There is no limit to mankind's stupidity. Over here in the UK, we have been building on flood plains for two decades, and people keep complaining that they are getting flooded.

Again. There is no limit to mankind's stupidity.

ilma630 said...

In 28. Joshua, you highlighted the future rather than past tense in Field's statement "As the US copes with the aftermath of last year’s record-breaking series of 14 billion-dollar climate-related disasters and this year’s massive wildfires and storms, it is critical to understand that the link between climate change and the kinds of extremes that *lead* to disasters is clear.".

The problem is, to make such a prediction, you have to have a verifiable past record of demonstrable evidence from which an hypothesis is formed that has survived considerable falsification testing. Unless you have that, any such prediction such as Field's is not worth the paper it's written on. Separately to Roger Pielke's argument, that in itself is misleading Congress.

You also say "No specific event can be attributable to climate change, but the odds of the events that we've been seeing are likely to increase with climate change.". You can equally say 'No specific event can be attributable to season change, but the darkness events that we've been seeing are likely to increase as we move into winter". You see how illogical the argument is? You write from pure AGW *belief*, and not any scientific understanding.

bernie said...

Roger:
Your patience is awe inspiring.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

So the defenses of Field in the comments here are that he was not really talking about disasters, with evidence provided about the placement of a comma and the difference in tense between led/leads. Or to point fingers at John Christy. Ahem.

Most notable is not the comments here, welcome as they are, but the utter and complete silence from the many IPCC contributors and scientists. Does anyone in that community think that Field accurately represented their report? Leaving him out to dry sends a strong message.

I'll gladly highlight such responses as I see then, but so far nada.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Saw this image via twitter in a defense of filed:

http://i.imgur.com/FslL3.png

What 4 words did the creator of this graphic choose not to underline? I couldn't make my own point any better.

Denial ain't just a river (or a pejorative in the climate wars!) ...

Joshua said...

- 51 - ilma630 -

==>> The problem is, to make such a prediction, you have to have a verifiable past record of demonstrable evidence from which an hypothesis is formed that has survived <<==

Your point is interesting, but we need to be more specific in the discussion. When you speak of hypothesis, are you referring to one that states that in the past, climate change was associated with more extreme weather? Because that is the hypothesis as Field stated it.

As to a hypothesis that recent extreme weather is caused by recent climate change - that isn't a hypothesis that Field stated outright.

I agree that the testimony was not sufficiently specific (however, with the additional context provided by Lorenzo, and left out by Roger, it was more specific than I originally thought). In that, I think that Roger has a valid point. But please bear in mind, that although Roger fallaciously equated the two, criticizing Roger's criticism is not the same thing as "defending" Field's testimony.

Please note, however, that Roger apparently agrees that there is scientific evidence sufficient to support the hypothesis that climate change will increase extreme weather, and that we should expect more extreme weather as the result of higher ACO2 emissions.

As I understand the literature, the time horizon for when that extreme weather may be unambiguously observed is rather large. My guess, without understanding the science but through parsing what I have read, is that expecting an unambiguous footprint in less than 100 years or so may well not consistent with the probabilities. Nonetheless, it does seem to me that saying that the odds of extreme weather will probably increase with AGW is entirely appropriate if we're trying to evaluate the advisability of different policy options.

On that topic, I will refer you to a link that Roger provided in an earlier post:

http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2012/07/twenty-times-more-likely-not-the-science/

I think that analysis does a nice job of laying out the issue of how rhetoric does or doesn't match the science.

Joshua said...

==>> Leaving him out to dry sends a strong message. <<==

Roger, a couple of more questions (sorry Jonathan):

First, have you considered the possibility that IPCC contributors don't think your post particularly worthy of response and, (2) have you determined how many IPCC contributors and scientists read your blog (particularly those who are not likely to align with you in the climate debate constellation - and thus feel that your analysis should be challenged)?

Maybe they don't share your own assessment of the importance of your analysis?

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Stanford has issued a press release on Field's testimony that addresses/skirts many of the issues raised in this post, resulting in a much less sensationalistic framing of the issues:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-08/su-seb080112.php

Still a bit dodgy, but conventionally so. Not over the top like the testimony.

Robert Grumbine said...

roger @37: So you stand by it's ok to lie to congress. Or that truth is only required of certain people.

In your example of you and the CIA director, you're both in front of congress. You, not any of the other 300,000,000 of us. Time in front of congress is a very limited resource, and an opportunity afforded to few. If you take up that time with lies or misrepresentations, I care quite a lot. I could have gone myself, as could most of the other 300 million, and at least not propagated lies.

But you want to be excused your lies to congress. It's only the other guy who has to be honest and accurate.

Not buying it.

@nutso: If you're right that testifiers to congress are there only to tell the politicians what they want to hear, then you and Roger have no basis for complaining about the accuracy of anybody's testimony.

Note: I'm not saying word one about the accuracy of IPCC or Field. Roger claims that Field's testimony to congress has a higher requirement for accuracy than someone else's. I'd like to see some support for that assertion. It fails the moral standard -- honesty is required of all in most moral systems I know of.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-26-Joshua

Thanks ...

(1) Maybe. Nonetheless, silence speaks.
(2) Lots.

Joshua said...

Wow!

==>> "We can point clearly to the causal mechanism, but it's still difficult to predict exactly when or where the crisis – either the accident from speeding in a car or the disaster that's related to climate change – will occur, he said. "But still, we can have high confidence in the driving mechanism." <<==

Just as it's interesting to note what was underlined in the "twitter defense" (is that like the Twinkie defense?) - it is interesting what you left out in your criticism of Field's testimony, Roger.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-58-Robert Grumbine

Thanks, I won't be responding to things I never said. I am sure you can do better, and you are welcome to try again.

I consider the testimony of the IPCC to be more important than that of individual scientists. i think you'll find broad agreement about that in the science-policy community. That said, honesty is expected from everyone (including you, when you characterize my comments;-)

Thanks!

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-60-Joshua

Field didn't get everything wrong;-)

marke said...

Forgive me if I'm misreading this.

There seems to be an argument being put forward that Field is not actually linking these mentioned costs with climate change.

Is it that he just accidentally used them in the same sentence, not realizing people may assume he meant there is some connection?

Or is this just 'deniable political speak' at its basest?

Field: "As the US copes with the aftermath of last year’s record-breaking series of 14 billion-dollar climate-related disasters and this year’s massive wildfires and storms, it is critical to understand that the link between climate change and the kinds of extremes that lead to disasters is clear."

Papa Zu said...

@56

Josh - people associated with the climate rapid response team are here responding and over the years many IPCC scientists have commented on Roger's blog so the probabilities favor the likelihood that IPCC scientists are aware of Roger's criticisms of Chris Field.

The Right Wing Professor... said...

and by the physics, i.e., the Clausius-Clapeyron relation) that heavy and even extreme precipitation events (no reference to damages) are indeed the increase

As a physical chemist, I must object to this. The Clausius Clapeyron equation (inexactly) relates vapor pressure to temperature. It says nothing about extreme precipitation events.

Joshua said...

Papa -

==>> "...people associated with the climate rapid response team...." <<==

Who are you referring to? Dana?

Joshua said...

- marke -

==>> There seems to be an argument being put forward that Field is not actually linking these mentioned costs with climate change. <<==

If that is in reference to my comments, then either I wasn't clear or it is a misreading.

I think that Fields was clearly stating that with climate change odds of extreme events increase, and with more extreme events costs increase, and that is an important policy consideration.

The question I have (specific to that one point, I have similar questions with Roger's arguments on the other points) is whether he asserted that it is *proven* that recent extreme events (and associated costs) are attributable to climate change. I view what I think is an ambiguity in his statement differently than how Roger reads it.

I will reiterate that my interpretation is supported by some of Fields' testimony that Roger chose to leave out of his analysis.

Of course, Fields could simply have made contradictory statements, but I think it is reasonably clear that Fields believes, from a scientific perspective, that no direct or categorical attribution for recent weather can be made, and I think it is likely to interpret ambiguities in what he said in light of what he seems likely to believe and thus would be likely to be trying to say.

If we have some unambiguous evidence that Field believes that recent extreme weather (and the associated costs) are definitively attributable to MMCC, then I would change my assessment of what Fields was saying.

Robert Grumbine said...

61 Roger:
By your policy of different standards for different people, and with you as the high profile person here and me as the nobody, I need not be as accurate as you. At least your policy as applied to Field vs. Christy and multiply repeated. And same as you vs. the CIA director in your own illustration.

In any case, you've yet to present anything material to suggest that I am indeed mischaracterizing you. Taking just this one (61) "... testimony of the IPCC to be more important than that of individual scientists." What does that 'more important' mean? Really.

So far, you've demonstrated that it means that you write about errors you believe were made by someone you take as representing the IPCC in testimony to congress. And you've ignored errors made by someone, testifying in the same hearing, you characterize as an individual scientist. You also proffer the comment (21) "But let's be clear about one thing. Christy was cherrypicked by Republicans to deliver a certain message that they find convenient." Quite possibly true, and reads exactly like an excuse.

Let's see some substance: What requirements exist for the 'more important' speaker that don't exist for the 'less important', and why don't they exist for all?

MattL said...

-68- Robert Grumbine,

You're either being disingenuous or just not very sharp with your analysis of the CIA Director analogy.

The IPCC is nominally an authoritative survey of climate science. So it represents multiple scientists. A single scientist's opinion represents...a single scientist.

Please stop the sophistry. The fact is that you're not offering anything material to the discussion.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-68-Robert Grumbine

Thanks ... but I don't play the blog game called "prove you didn't say what I accuse you of"

My assertion that institutional practices of science arbitration, like the IPCC, are important is not one needing much further defense. That said, I respect that you may disagree with my view. Fine, no worries.

It is true that I did not comment on any of the 5 other people who testified at that hearing, nor on the countless other climate hearings held in recent years. You are free to consider that a factor in evaluating the testimony offered by Field. Though I am pretty confident that most people will view my focus of attention as irrelevant to that issue.

Thanks!

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-63-marke

+1

"There seems to be an argument being put forward that Field is not actually linking these mentioned costs with climate change.

Is it that he just accidentally used them in the same sentence, not realizing people may assume he meant there is some connection?

Or is this just 'deniable political speak' at its basest?"

Mike said...

I don't know why some people seem unable to get the point. From my standpoint, what's defensible are statements that various things (including disasters of various kinds) are expected to increase in the future, based on theoretical arguments. What's not defensible are all the statements that "it's already happening". Because of the low numbers and poor statistics of these events, it is simply not accurate to say that we can already see the effects of global warming on disasters -- and it won't be possible to make such a statement any time soon (honestly, that is).

Joshua said...

==>> Is it that he just accidentally used them in the same sentence, not realizing people may assume he meant there is some connection? <<==

It is interesting that you make that statement after just saying that you don't want to have to defend making statements that you never made.

That's another straw man, Roger.

Joshua said...

Roger -

Do you not see a difference between these two statements?

(1) In light of recent extreme weather events and the associated costs, it is prudent to consider that scientific evidence supports a conclusion that with climate change will come increases in extreme weather events. (Please see the work of the esteemed Roger Pielke Jr. to see explication of the association between climate change and extreme weather events).

(2) Climate change causes extreme weather events and the costs of recent extreme weather events is attributable to climate change.


I (for one) have never suggested that the proximity of the two phenomena spoken about in Fields' statement was "accidental." Arguing by reducing what someone says to an inaccurate absurdity is weak, and it's beneath you.


Fields testimony could certainly have been less ambiguous - and if you had left your criticism at that you would have done everyone a service - but once again, the testimony that you left out of your analysis is very instructive as to clarifying the ambiguity of Fields' testimony. So then the the question is, why did you leave it out?

My guess is because it would have undermined your agenda.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Joshua, repeatedly raising issues that have been discussed, and if not resolved at least aired, is (I believe) called "trolling." Please do not expect me to participate. Thanks.

Joshua said...

Consider this:

==>> Joshua, repeatedly raising issues that have been discussed, and if not resolved at least aired, is (I believe) called "trolling." <<==

and this:

==>> Is it that he just accidentally used them in the same sentence, not realizing people may assume he meant there is some connection? <<==

I already addressed this misconception on your part, yet you continued to post on that misconception.

Is it possible to "troll" on your own blog, Roger?

The Right Wing Professor... said...

Great quote from the latest Reason article about the dueling climate change studies of last weekend:

As is usual in the debates over issues in climatology, the online discussion was measured and polite.

Joshua said...

==>> Please do not expect me to participate. <<==

For the sake of future reference, I would never have an "expectation" that you would participate, Roger. Obviously, you participate when you feel so moved, not based on my expectations. Why would I ever think otherwise?

I will point out that you responded multiple times, in this thread, on the topic you accused me of "trolling," - so it appears that there is an arbitrariness to when and how you define trolling, as in my experience there always is in blog debates.

There is no consistently objective definition of trolling that I've seen, and btw, I love the coy rhetorical flourish of "(I believe)" meant to create false distance from outright accusing me of trolling.

With that, I won't speak again on this thread unless spoken to.

Tamara said...

Whenever I read Joshua's comments, I can't help thinking of The Ashley Book of Knots.

Joshua said...

Well - except this, because it's interesting re: the discussion of the relationship between warming and extreme weather:

==>> There were only 24 tornadoes throughout the United States last month, according to preliminary data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, by far the fewest for a July since records began in the 1950s. This shatters the record low of 42 tornadoes set in July 1960.

Why so few twisters? "The one-word answer is drought," said Bob Henson, a meteorologist and science writer for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. <<==

http://tinyurl.com/bo56e3z

Robert Grumbine said...

mattl 69:
You and Roger are focused on 'organization', whether IPCC or CIA. A very bad analogy in any event, as the CIA director gets to fire those who don't do what he wants, or reach conclusions he doesn't want. But no matter here. More relevant is that Field is not 'The IPCC'. There's no such person. Same as Christy, he's giving his understanding of what the case is.

I'm focused, pretty explicitly, about "testimony to congress". Whether it's Roger or CIA Director who gets that time, my standards for their accuracy are the same. Congress doesn't get to hear much. What little they do hear, I'd like to be as true as possible. Where it's opinion, have at it. Where it's, say, ignoring elementary school science that it's warmer in the afternoon than the morning, I'm peeved. Regardless of who made that error.

Perhaps you consider it important whose testimony is likely to have more political impact (as did Joshua, 40). Roger (43) rejects that approach. If so, it's far from obvious to me that it is the CIA director who is going to do so. Out of 300 million people, congress in its collective wisdom chose to bring in Roger and the CIA director as the two people it would listen to. Somewhere close to at least half of congress, in his hypothetical,
considers what Roger has to say to be worth listening to, and to be more important than what any of the other 300 million might say.

In making that selection, Congress has declared that what Roger says _is_ of equal importance to what the CIA director says. True, and obvious to me, regardless of your basis for looking to organization vs. individual.

TLITB said...

What I have learned here? I’ve learned that taking Field as a representative of the IPCC and also holding him up to a high standard causes a conflict.

Everybody agrees. ;)

What the Carnegie web site says about Field election is this:

“The [WMO and UNEP] established the IPCC 20 years ago to provide objective information about climate change.”

“Field will lead the group as they develop their next major report on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability, due in 2014.”

What the “objective information about climate change” *will* be in the next iteration is clear now from Fields selection and demeanour.

Here in the comments, covering agreement, condemnation and vacuous sophistry, is a tacit consensus across the board that the IPCC will have lost some further credibility after its next iteration ;)

Lorenzo da Baja said...

@ 53-

Professor Pielke stated the following:

"So the defenses of Field in the comments here are that he was not really talking about disasters, with evidence provided about the placement of a comma and the difference in tense between led/leads."

Professor Pielke may be highly respected in his particular field of environmental studies, although his ability to fully grasp the proper usage of sentence structure is less than adequate.

It's not all about that comma. Although in the testimony that comma clearly separates the two elements in that sentence.

What really still stands out is the glaring failure to address my point I made in Part 2 at Thu Aug 02, 01:43:00 AM MDTM

There, I pointed to the fact that Professor Pielke omitted the entire list of citations and listed only one citation that supports his position relating to the IPCC's report not supporting Fields' testimony.

Here is the section, first citation [my bold highlights the support of Fields' statement]:

4.5.3.3. Attribution of Impacts to Climate Change: Observations and Limitations

Page 268 - Paragraph 5.

ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/images/uploads/SREX-All_FINAL.pdf

There is high confidence, based on high agreement and medium evidence, that economic losses from weather-and climate-related disasters have increased (Cutter and Emrich, 2005; Peduzzi et al., 2009, 2011; UNISDR, 2009; Mechler and Kundzewicz, 2010; Swiss Re 2010; Munich Re, 2011). A key question concerns whether trends in such losses, or losses from specific events, can be attributed to climate change. In this context, changes in losses over time need to be controlled for exposure and vulnerability. Most studies of long-term disaster loss records attribute these increases in losses to increasing exposure of people and assets in at-risk areas (Miller et al., 2008; Bouwer, 2011), and to underlying societal trends – demographic, economic, political, and social – that shape vulnerability to impacts (Pielke Jr. et al., 2005; Bouwer et al., 2007). Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research. Attempts have been made to normalize loss records for changes in exposure and wealth. There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change (Choi and Fisher, 2003; Crompton and McAneney, 2008; Miller et al., 2008; Neumayer and Barthel, 2011). The evidence is medium because of the issues set out toward the end of this section.

---end citation---

So instead of this being only about a comma, my complaint is really more about Professor Pielke's omission of that very first citation, in addition to NOT providing the entire list of citations for full context

By this omission it gives the appearance that this brouhaha is more about Professor Pielke grinding his axe.

Respectfully, Larry

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-83-Larry

Thanks for your comment, but respectfully you have some homework to do.

There is no doubt that damages from disasters have increased dramatically. See Hoeppe and Pielke 2006, here are the first three conclusions:

"1. Climate change is real, and has a significant human component related to greenhouse gases.

2. Direct economic losses of global disasters have increased in recent decades with particularly large increases since the 1980s.

3. The increases in disaster losses primarily result from weather related events, in particular storms and floods."

There are 17 more, all consistent with IPCC SREX:
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/10/hohenkammer-consensus-on-climate-change.html

Ask if you have questions, thanks.

Mario said...

@-33-dana1981:
When you argue, you seem to add your own interpretation to what other's have written. Did you know that extreme weather is caused more by a larger delta T? Did you know that most of the warming is happening in the northern hemisphere? Did you know that as the northern hemisphere warms while the equator does not warm, there is less delta T and there should theoretically be fewer extreme events. Do you understand that there has not been any increased extreme events?

Mario said...

@-33-dana1981:
When you argue, you seem to add your own interpretation to what other's have written. Did you know that extreme weather is caused more by a larger delta T? Did you know that most of the warming is happening in the northern hemisphere? Did you know that as the northern hemisphere warms while the equator does not warm, there is less delta T and there should theoretically be fewer extreme events. Do you understand that there has not been any increased extreme events?

ilmasto said...

Roger, you state: "1. Climate change is real, and has a significant human component related to greenhouse gases.

How do you prove that climate change has a significant component related to ghg's? This is just echoing the unproven views of the IPCC.

Furthermore, you mention that financial losses are due to increasing global disasters. That is not, however, due to an increase in disaster, but due to expensive properties built in wrong places, etc.

David Appell said...

Roger Maue's data shows a clear increasing trend in North Atlantic tropical storms since 1970, and, it seems, major hurricanes:

http://policlimate.com/tropical/north_atlantic_hurricane.png

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-87-David

Yes, this is correct and widely known. Thanks.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Seth Borenstein of AP quotes me in an article on Hansen's new paper. He completely botched the is/ought distinction, perhaps I should have explained. Here is what I shared with Seth:

"Hi Seth-

Yes, I've seen the paper and assume that you are also talking to Dole et al. at NOAA.

This assertion by Hansen is unsupported by evidence: "Actions to stem emissions of the gases that cause global warming are unlikely to approach what is needed until the public recognizes that human-made climate change is underway and perceives that it will have unacceptable consequences if effective actions are not taken to slow the climate change."

Hansen is repeating the so-called "deficit model" of science communication, which holds that the public operates at a "deficit of knowledge" and once that deficit is closed, then they will act in a certain way. This theory of science to action has been long debunked.

The main reason is that it confuses an "is" with an "ought".

Evidence for this can be found in places as diverse as Boulder, CO, British Columbia, Australia and Germany -- where there is very broad acceptance of mainstream climate science (and many who are ready to go way beyond that), especially in government, yet none of these governments has been able to implement a high carbon price despite efforts to do so. In each of these places efforts to implement a high carbon price have been halted or are rolling back. Why is that?

Because there is far more to the issue than public understanding of science and perception.

Hansen's use of science as a political fulcrum encourages over-the-top claims by scientists and an effort to squelch opposing voices.

The fact of the matter is that the world will accelerate the decarbonization of its economy when clean energy is cheaper than dirty energy. The remarkable transition to natural gas shows that.

Hansen is pursuing a deeply flawed model of policy change, one that will prove ineffectual and with its most lasting consequence a further politicization of climate science (if that is possible!). His paper will add to the pile of science and attract attention during a brief part of the news cycle and then we will move on, until the next paper comes out.

All best,

Roger"

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

AP has fixed the story:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/new-study-ties-global-warming-recent-year-heat

Fast action by Seth Borenstein to get things right, much appreciated!

EliRabett said...

As far as a Bunny can parse this Prof. Pielke's point appears to be that Prof. Field was speaking for the IPCC and therefore had a special responsibility to enunciate the IPCC position.

Prof. Christy, OTOH, according to Prof. Pielke was speaking for himself. BUT according to Prof. Pielke, Prof. Christy was picked by the Republican minority to represent their position, and the Republicans are a pretty powerful and important group. Thus Eli comes down on the same side of this as Dr. Grumbine. Whatever.

charlesH said...

Roger,

Someone sent me this link as evidence for increasing storm intensity (driven by agw).

Thoughts?

http://policlimate.com/tropical/north_atlantic_hurricane.png

David Appell said...

Roger, regarding your 6:17 pm comment above: in many cases "clean energy" is already cheaper than "dirty energy," if you consider negative external costs. But people don't want to pay those up front (instead, they pay them via hospital bills, etc.).

Anyway, your comment got me thinking: what if the US obtained *all* its energy via natural gas, instead of a mix of coal, natural gas and oil. The savings would be modest: approximately 13% of current emissions:

http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/08/what-if-natural-gas-produced-all-our.html

Not shabby. But not nearly enough.

Mark Bahner said...

"Despite Roger's concern that Field's testimony was important, I guarantee that we will hear far more in the future about Michael Creighton's testimony on climate change than we will about Field's."

Perhaps because Michael Crichton's predictions about future global temperature changes will be shown to be more accurate than the IPCC's?

:-)

http://longbets.org/180/

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-94-David Appell

Thanks, in TCF (p. 101) I calculate that replacing all US coal with NG results in a 16% reduction from 2005.

Not even enough to reach the US 2020 target of 17% reduction.

FSM_47 said...

As just a common taxpayer who actually lived during droughts and floods, cold and hot, I am only interested in one thing: As climate changes(and it does because I have lived it) I want a reasonable, cost effective response using my tax dollars to offset the worst effects.
It is using the climate as a socialist-edged political football to be tussled over that has driven us non-elite tenured professor types away from any faith in 'science'.

Unknown said...

But Ropger, the central US is now in a "non-random" mega- drought and heatwave cycle that has broken thousands of weather records. Go figure! The IPCC is really slow to catch up with reality, Hansen isn't.

scottar said...

Regards: 84. Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

1) The temperature records on NASA site shows that the rate of warming has been the same prior to the industrial revolution as after with flattening in the past decade.

Data Sources: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NOAA National Climatic Data Center,
Met Office Hadley Center/Climatic Research Unit, and the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The CRU graph. http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk


2) Economic losses have increased due to more stuff has been built that reoccurring storms can tear up in a 60 year cycle frame.

Reliving the 1950s (and 1890s): the 60 Year Cycle

By Joseph D’Aleo, Weatherbell.com

3) This is assumed based on increasing infrastructure due to projected population growth in storm affected areas.

I conclude that climate change is mostly due to sun and orbital variations while CO2 has little to due with it.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/08/venus-envy/

Venus Envy
Posted on May 8, 2010

By Steve Goddard


http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/06/hyperventilating-on-venus/

Hyperventilating on Venus
Posted on May 6, 2010

By Steve Goddard

Most of the reported climate change events have been ignoring the historical perspective of reoccurring climate bubbles that have occurred with respect to the present climate optimum period (4 according to proxy data and historical records). The earth is no where near a tipping point. Pure hysterical, fear mongering to scare up power and money.

Mark B. said...

So now that this has died down, we can look back at it. An IPCC lead author goes to Congress to give the IPCC consensus. In doing so, he directly contradicts the IPCC consensus positions repeatedly. Since then, I see no evidence that anyone from the IPCC or the climate science community is taking issue with that testimony. Two questions:

1. What does that say about the integrity of the IPCC?

2. What does that say about the integrity of the climate science community?

The more general question being, what should the average citizen take from the answers to questions one and two?

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

After interacting with the folks at Skeptical Science, my opinion of them is similar to my opinion of Climate Progress. Here is a final comment I left over there, put here just in case (if you don't know or care about the context, it is not worth your time):

"dana1981-

To set the record straight, MacCracken said:

"it appears to me they [Congressional Democrats] invited two leading scientists (McCarthy and Field) to testify about what science is now finding, and that is what Chris did. That it goes beyond IPCC, well the science has gone beyond IPCC."

Obviously, there is no doubt that Field's testimony "goes beyond" what the IPCC SREX reported. Now, whether that "going beyond" is appropriate is worth discussing.

In what ways did Field "go beyond" IPCC SREX? As I explained to Mike in that thread:

"I critiqued Field's testimony on 5 points:

1. Linking human-caused climate change to economic disasters via extremes
2. Neglecting to mention that the US has seen a decline in drought
3. Citing the NOAA billion-dollar disasters
4. Asserting that the role of climate change in hurricane disasters ($$) is "mixed"
5. Implying that the role in climate change in flooding disasters ($$) is increasing

Each of these 5 are at variance with the conclusions of the IPCC SREX."

I offered to Mike the chance to back up the appropriateness of each of these 5 deviations from IPCC SREX with specific post-SREX scientific references.

Contrary to what you report, MacCracken declined the opportunity to discuss the science:

"I made my comment on this blog as I really only wanted to discuss the context for the discussion, not the science, as was going on on your blog. I have been working mainly in other areas of research and am just not going to get into a detailed discussion with you on all of this."

As far as SkS, it has been eye-opening to see what you do, from your gratuitous insult of my father and me via a Tweet to the above characterization of my interaction with MaCracken, what I have seen is a lot of innuendo/insults and little actual science. I really did expect better. I will repost this at my blog in the event that it does not get published.

Anyone wanting to discuss issues 1-5 above is welcome at my site. Thanks!"

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

More safekeeping from SkS where I am defending the science of the IPCC against a bunch of skeptics who think it is wrong;-):

" RogerPielkeJr at 04:19 AM on 16 August, 2012
-74-dana1981

Thanks ... of the five papers that you cite in the post above, four were in fact reviewed by the IPCC SREX (Pall, Min, Dai, Zwiers), thus have been determined to be consistent with the findings of that report as judged by its contributors all the way through the SPM. So citing them as a defense of Field's deviation from SREX won't work. In any case the four papers have nothing whatsoever to do with the points 1-5 that I summarized in #72 above.

The fifth paper that you cite Coumou and Rahmstorf, is not cited by IPCC SREX, so it is properly post-SREX, however, it has nothing to do with the 5 points that I raised in #72 above.

In any case, Field cites none of these five papers you bring to his defense to make any of his points. He does however cite 2 NOAA websites plus 3 post-SREX papers from the recent BAMS special issue on attribution. But again, neither of the NOAA press releases nor the BAMS special issue speaks to the science underlying the five points that I list in #72.

So, I still await a discussion of "science" at "Skeptical Science." Is there post-SREX literature which justifies overturning findings of the IPCC SREX as described in the five points listed in #72 above? Either there is or their isn't. MacCrcken argued the former (i.e., SREX is outdated by new science), which I think is unsupportable (maybe if he accepts your invitation to participate here he can point to that post-SREX literature that he alluded to but did not cite). If it is the latter then you will have to argue that the SREX got things wrong, which is always possible.

Either way, to make your scientific argument, you will need to discuss post-SREX literature. And to keep the focus on science, let me plead nolo contendre to whatever ad hominem or personal characterizations you wish to make about me or my writings.

Thanks! "

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

Looks like my participation at SkS will be short:

"RogerPielkeJr at 04:41 AM on 16 August, 2012
Dikran Marsupial (sounds familiar, did you participate at my blog some time ago?)-

Thanks, appears that I get very special treatment here -- no worries it is your blog -- but for anyone curious as to what has violated rules, I am mirroring my comments made here at my own blog for the term of this exchange:

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2012/08/ipcc-lead-author-misleads-us-congress.html

In fairness, please do let this through. Thanks. "

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

SkS deleted my comment above. He is what appears to be the natural end of the conversation:

"-76-dana1981

Good, sounds then like we agree on the science, specifically the follow conclusions associated with IPCC SREX:

1. Linking human-caused climate change to economic disasters via extremes is not scientifically supportable
2. The US has seen a long-term decline in (midwestern) drought
3. Citing the NOAA billion-dollar disasters is a scientifically unsupportable to claim anything to do with long-term changes in climate
4. The role of climate change in hurricane disasters ($$) is not detectable
5. The role in climate change in flooding disasters ($$) is not detectable

Let us please leave aside whether Field stated or implied anything to the contrary of these five, people can well look at his testimony and decide that for themselves (here: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=fe138741-9ce8-4444-9912-c2004ae9e955)

If we agree on the science underlying these five statements, then this has been a productive visit.

Thanks!"

Dikran Marsupial said...

Roger, that post was deleted as all discussion of moderation is by definition off-topic and hence deleted after being read. You had already been told that such comments were by definition off-topic, ( http://skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1566&p=2#83572 ), so you ought to have realised that the post would be deleted.

In this case a full response was given to the points you raised and the post only deleted after your subsequent post, so you had plenty of chances to see the response.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-105-Dikran Marsupial

Thanks for visiting, you are welcome here and your posts won't be snipped, edited or deleted ;-)

The irony of having my comments (seen above) tightly edited for content on a blog post which is titled with an outright lie is ironic (I assisted Christy with nothing and it turns out that SkS objected not to my views on extreme weather but how I interpreted Field's testimony). But hey it is your blog and you can run it how you like. But do know that you guys are skating very close to the edge of respectability with that sort of behavior.

Thanks!

dana1981 said...

"More safekeeping from SkS where I am defending the science of the IPCC against a bunch of skeptics who think it is wrong"

If by "it" you mean your misinterpretation and misrepresentation of Field's testimony, then you are correct. If by "it" you mean the content of the SREX or IPCC in general, you are entirely wrong.

David Appell said...

IMO, deleting any comments just makes a blog look bad, regardless of who's right and who's wrong.

Dikran Marsupial said...

Sorry Roger, I snipped two sentences, neither of which were relevant to the discussion, neither of which were conducive to fostering a civil discussion. I fail to see how this is "tightly edited".

I also deleted one of you posts, which was a comment regarding moderation policies, after I had already told you that such comments were off-topic and would be deleted. I did read it (I value the feedback on my moderation), and did respond to it, which is more than was required of me.

It seems to me to be a little unreasonable to post something you have been told will be deleted and then complain elsewhere that it has been deleted, without mentioning you had been told that a comment of that nature would be deleted and without mentioning the response.

Now this is the last comment I will make on this subject. Life is short, lets spend it wisely, discussing the science rather than engaging in pointless rhetoric. I have better things to do.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-109- Dikran Marsupial

Thanks, as I said it is your blog, run it how you'd like. But when you lie about people and then trim their comments it looks bad, it would be a good thing if you of used on science, there we agree. thanks!

Dikran Marsupial said...

Sorry Roger, I am not going to rise to the bait.

Roger Pielke, Jr. said...

-111-Dikran Marsupial

Thanks

Papa Zu said...

Roger - I concur Sks is pretty much Think Progress redux.

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