Climate activists show us why they lose

Summary: Yesterday’s post described how climate scientists could have won the climate wars, with massive public policy action to fight climate change. Today we look at what they have done instead. Personal attacks on fellow scientists isn’t science. It is one reason why they have lost.

This isn’t science.

Mob protest - dreamstime_111755862
ID 111755862 © Siarhei Nosyreu | Dreamstime.

Cliff Mass: victim of academic political bullying

There is a disturbing story coming out of the University of Washington surrounding Cliff Mass.

In preparing this article, I have received material from a member of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. I also ran into another member of the Department while at the AGU meeting this week, who corroborated these events. I conducted a 30 minute phone interview with Cliff Mass.

Cliff Mass

Who is Cliff Mass?

Cliff Mass  has been a faculty member in the University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences Department since 1982.   His research focuses on numerical weather modeling and prediction, the role of topography in the evolution of weather systems, and on the weather of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to his research publications, Cliff Mass has published a popular book entitled ‘Weather of the Pacific Northwest.’

Since 2008, Cliff Mass has maintained a popular blog Cliff Mass Weather and Climate. Mass posts regular articles on meteorology, Pacific Northwest weather history, and the impacts of climate change written for the general public.

He has 13,000 twitter followers. Mass also has a weekly radio show with 400,000 weekly listeners.

Cliff Mass – climate ‘denier’?

Cliff Mass has been characterized as a ‘sort of’ climate denier. The first reference to this is a 2015 article Cliff Mass: Scientific lies and the new climate deniers.

“He is also a dangerous new breed of climate skeptic. He has made a theme of downplaying the role of global warming in extreme weather events, and in exposing what he calls “overzealousness” in the scientific, media, and activist community.”

A 2017 article in Stranger entitled Why does Cliff Mass believe scientists and leftist journalists are exaggerating the dangers of climate change?

“Cliff Mass is not a climate denier, but he is their ally, which is as good as being a climate denier.”

The accusation of ‘denier’ got more explicit when Sarah Myhre (a research associate at U Washington) testified before the State of Washington House of Representatives: “Can you be a climate scientist and an advocate?

“In February 2017, Sarah Myhre traveled to Washington’s capital, Olympia, to give testimony to the state House of Representatives Environment Committee. There, Representative Shelly Short, a Republican from northeastern Washington, asked her to comment on her colleague Mass’ unwillingness to link recent wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes to climate change. Myhre responded that she and many of her colleagues saw Mass’ recent views “as coming from a denialist or contrarian place.

The Cascadia Daily states …

“Seattle weather guy and climate change denier Cliff Mass …”

So, what does Cliff Mass have to say about climate change, in his own words? From an interview with the UW Alumni magazine and summary from the Wikipedia (based on my knowledge of Cliff’s opinions and writings, this is correct):

“According to Mass, “Global warming is an extraordinarily serious issue, and scientists have a key role to play in communicating what is known and what is not about this critical issue.

“Mass has stated publicly that he shares the scientific consensus that global warming is real and that human activity is the primary cause of warming trends in the 20th and 21st centuries. He has been critical of the Paris Climate accord for not going far enough to address the negative impacts of climate change. However, Mass is also frequently critical of what he has characterizes as exaggerations of the past and current impacts of climate change in the news media, including the attribution of individual extreme weather events to global warming.”

The most recent ‘denier’ claims are associated with Cliff’s statements about the causes of the recent California fires: “Cliff Mass: Climate change is real but …” in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

“But Mass takes issue every time someone points to local extreme weather and says ‘that’s caused by climate change.’ The extremes we’ve seen in Seattle, around the region and even across the U.S. – most of them anyway – are caused by anomalous weather patterns, not climate change, Mass said.

“There are, of course, those who would argue that by nitpicking such details, Mass only feeds ammunition to climate change deniers. Mass doesn’t want to downplay global warming; he just doesn’t want to stretch the truth to try and out-extreme those who would deny it. ‘So global warming’s very serious,’ Mass said. ‘But it’s coming up in the future, not right now, for us.'”

Sarah Myhre is not happy with Mass’ recent statements about the California wildfires. From an article by James Delingpole at Breitbart: “Brown Fiddled While California Burned.

“One Dr Sarah Myhre – who, gloriously, bills herself as a ‘public scholar scientist advocate communicator‘ [actually, you know, just ‘activist’ would have done] – tweeted at him “This. Is. Pure. Propaganda.” And then told a Washington radio station that had given him airtime that giving Cliff a “platform” was a “form of violence.”

So in summary, Cliff Mass accepts the consensus science. However he breaks with the ‘activists’ in terms of thinking it is a bad idea to falsely claim that extreme weather events are caused by AGW.

Washington Initiative-1631.

Most unforgivably, Mass broke with the progressive activists in terms of not supporting the latest carbon fee initiative in Washington, I-1631. Mass has long advocated for some sort of carbon tax: “How to make a carbon tax work in Washington.” Mass was a strong supporter of a previous carbon tax initiative (which was voted down). His concerns with I-1631 are described in three blog posts:

I don’t pretend to be an expert on I-1631 (Wikipedia) and I am not passing judgment here, but I will say that Mass’s position is well-supported and defensible.

For a perspective from the supporters of I-1631, I refer to Sarah Myhre’s article in the Stranger entitled “New carbon tax initiative drafted with more color and less white supremacy.” Reducing CO2 emissions seems to be a relatively minor factor; climate policy has become a crusade to change the balance of power.

“When climate policy is written by white men in a closed room, that is white supremacy.”

Things got really ‘interesting’ as a result Mass’ blog post “If you worry about climate change …“, which had this statement …

“The initiative hardwires money to certain special interest groups–the left-leaning supporters of the measure. A minimum of ten percent of the money goes to Indian tribes, who are exempted from paying any carbon fee by the initiative. Labor advocates got a fifty million dollar fund, replenished annually, for worker support programs. And to provide funding to the social action groups pushing the initiative, 35% of the money goes to “pollution and health action areas” of minority and “vulnerable populations.” There is more, but you get the message (see the picture below).” [The picture was of pigs at a trough.]

Mass’ point was that special interest groups were hardwired for a good portion of the funds. He wanted an image that illustrated ‘political pork’ and special interest groups feeding at the public trough and so he used the pigs at a trough image.

While there were no complaints about the image in the blog comments, a few of the activists at the UW claimed it was racist. Imagery of pigs at a public trough has been used for over a century, and has never been used to refer to minorities as far as Mass could identify. ‘Pigs at a trough’ is about the well-connected and privileged. Mass decided to be sensitive to the ‘feelings’ of thee activists and pulled the image. Then Mass received a number of messages after he pulled it, accusing him of giving in to mob rule. There was nothing racist or anything else inappropriate in the text, and no one has suggested there was. Apparently the mention of the phrase ‘Indian tribes’ in the same paragraph that references an image of pigs at the trough is sufficient to trigger an accusation of racism.

Note: I-1631 was voted down in the November election.

The Department of Atmospheric Sciences speaks.

Any scientist that is active in the public debate on climate change (no matter what their actual position in the debate) will invariably be subject to attacks on twitter, the blogosphere and even by journalists. That is part of the noise associated with the public debate on climate change. This noise shouldn’t matter, in the overall scheme of things.

However, it is a different kettle of fish when people from your own university, and even your own Department, go after you publicly, with the objective of stifling your freedom of speech. And then when University administrators get involved, a threatening situation can emerge.

A number of University of Washington graduate students have taken a vocal stance against Cliff Mass, particularly on twitter. These same activist students that were so upset about the pig picture participated in online character assassination, calling Mass every name in the book over the past six months because they are unhappy with his rejection of 1631 and his research/blog posts on wildfires and attribution of extreme events.  They have accused him of deception, being on the payroll of oil companies, purposely obfuscating with multiple twitter accounts, racism, misogyny, tokenism, Trumpism. They  are hypersensitive about any indirect criticism of their ‘side’ but are fine with name-calling and personal attacks on those they disagree with.

The attacks ramped up when a group of students complained to the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion {Terryl Ross?}. Rather than meet with Cliff Mass to discuss, the Assistant Dean sent a mass email to the faculty of the Atmospheric Sciences Department, with the following lede …

“a recent blog posting by a member of our community on a personal website included imagery and text that was racially insensitive and caused offense to a significant number of members in the departmental community.”

No attempt was made by this Assistant Dean to meet with Cliff Mass, or to understand that there was no racism evident or intended, and that the image in question was quickly removed from the blog post.

I will not ‘name and shame’ any of the graduate students here, who in any event are probably proud of their behavior. (JC note to students applying for jobs: search committees will check your social media presence). However, one graduate student in particular gets a ‘dishonorable’ mention here: Alex Lenferna, a Ph.D. candidate in the UW Philosophy Department with a Certificate in Atmospheric Science. He wrote a blog post that is basically a ‘hit-job’ on Cliff Mass, owing to his failure to support I-1631, including playing the ‘racism’ card. The blog post includes an image: Cliff Mass ‘hearts’ oil.

Cliff Mass hearts Oil

I won’t dignify Lenferna’s slime by reproducing any of it. This blog post is significant, however,  because the Atmospheric Sciences Department Chair (Dale Durran) sent a mass email to the Department faculty including the link to Lenferna’s post, and voicing concern about Mass’ behavior and ‘racism’, and including the image Mass ‘hearts’ oil.

The Chair then called a general Department-wide meeting about the blog post Mass wrote, with the event billed as ‘controversy.’ An ombudsperson was enlisted to run the meeting, but the Chair took over, serving as inquisitor and critic. The Chair prevented Mass from finishing his opening comments and hectored Mass throughout the meeting. The activist students were true to form, hurling all kinds of insulting, personal and inappropriate remarks.

So what is going on here? Is the Department of Atmospheric Sciences making a stand against political activism by its faculty members? Hardly. In fact, the Chair, Dale Durran, pressured each of the faculty members to sign a statement supporting I-1631. This statement was published by the Seattle Times :

“Some know they must stop smoking, but can’t, and it wrecks their health. As spelled out in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, humanity has been acting like a chain smoker. Initiative 1631 gives us the chance to change. The opposition to I-1631 is largely concerned with the politics of taxing and spending. These are important matters, but they should not be endlessly debated in lieu of taking action. I-1631 is the third major effort to discourage carbon emissions in Washington state.

“Science shows carbon emissions remain in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years, warming and dramatically changing the climate. Because of the way carbon accumulates, the emission reductions required to hold future changes in climate below any given level become more drastic with each year we wait to begin serious cuts.

“Unlike the carbon emitted while waiting for a perfect law, passing I-1631 does not represent an irrevocable hundreds-of-years commitment. After a short period, I-1631 could be amended to make it even better. Now is the time to take a big step to kick our carbon habit.

“Dale Durran, professor and chair, and 21 other professors in the Atmospheric Sciences Department at the University of Washington, Seattle (the views expressed here are those of the authors and not UW)”

While many of the faculty members appear to have signed this enthusiastically (based on their signatures on other lists related to I-1631), I’ve been told that several faculty members felt uncomfortable signing this. One of the faculty members I spoke with said they felt compelled to sign the letter since they didn’t want to stand up to Chair; this individual told me they voted against I-1631.

There are several people in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences that don’t like Cliff Mass (including, obviously, the Chair). They are concerned about his status as Washington’s ‘celebrity’ scientist – being either envious of this status or concerned that this status makes Mass relatively immune to ‘pressure’ from Departmental leadership. But most fundamentally, they seem to dislike that his blog is getting in the way of their own political advocacy.

JC reflections.

The climate change advocacy disease seems to have affected many of the UW faculty and graduate students. Apart from the issue of activism potentially getting in the way of scientific objectivity, the big issue here is that the Chair attempted to ‘institutionalize’ this activism with the I-1631 support letter. I find this inappropriate behavior for a Chair, and I’m surprised that the higher administration didn’t reprimand him for this (in the old days I would have been reprimanded for this at Georgia Tech, but under the current administration, who knows).

Faculty members were pressured into signing that letter,  since the Chair controls their reappointments and promotions, salary, teaching assignments, etc. The public ‘shaming’ meeting is beyond the pale, particularly the Chair’s behavior during this meeting. After this behavior, I cannot imagine how the UW faculty and administration can have any confidence in the leadership of their current Chair.

And finally, a closing comment about Cliff Mass. While this can’t be fun for him, I’m not too worried about Cliff Mass: Cliff has friends in high places and an enormous ‘bully pulpit’ in terms of his blog and radio show. Trying to take him down isn’t going to work.

I have much more to say on this situation and the broader implications, I will write more in a follow on post.


Sarah Myhre responds

That is her schtick: childish insults, devoid of logic or fact. For lots more like that, read her tweets to see the failure of the movement for policy action to fight climate change. Strong on emotion; not much science.

About Cliff Mass

Dr. Mass is a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the U of Washington, and leads their Mesoscale Analytics and Forecasting Group. See his home page at the U Washington website, his Wikipedia entry. and his website. He is the author of The Weather of the Pacific Northwest.

Other posts in this series

  1. Focusing on worst case climate futures doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work.
  2. Fix the mistakes that killed the climate change campaign!
  3. Lessons from the failure of the climate change crusade.
  4. Climate activists show us why they lose.
  5. Simple steps to prepare for climate change.

For More Information

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If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information about this vital issue see the keys to understanding climate change and these posts about ways to end the climate wars…

  1. Importantclimate scientists can restart the climate change debate – & win.
  2. Thomas Kuhn tells us what we need to know about climate science.
  3. Daniel Davies’ insights about predictions can unlock the climate change debate.
  4. Karl Popper explains how to open the deadlocked climate policy debate.
  5. Paul Krugman talks about economics. Climate scientists can learn from his insights.
  6. Milton Friedman’s advice about restarting the climate policy debate.
  7. A candid climate scientist explains how to fix the debate.
  8. Roger Pielke Jr.: climate science is a grab for power.
  9. Lessons from the failure of the climate change crusade.

Alarmists worked hard to keep you from reading this book.

Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.

Alarmists have worked long and hard to discredit Roger Pielke Jr., because he tells us about the IPCC and peer-reviewed research. Things that violate the “narrative” about our imminent doom. They really do not want you to read this book, the revised second edition of …

The Rightful Place of Science:
Disasters & Climate Change
By Roger Pielke Jr.

See my review of the first edition. Here is the publisher’s summary …

“After nearly every hurricane, heatwave, drought, or other extreme weather event, commentators rush to link the disaster with climate change. But what does the science say?

“In this fully revised and updated edition of Disasters & Climate Change, renowned political scientist Roger Pielke Jr. takes a close look at the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the underlying scientific research, and the climate data to give you the latest science on how climate change is related to extreme weather. What he finds may surprise you and raise questions about the role of science in political debates.”

27 thoughts on “Climate activists show us why they lose”

  1. The primary reason activism has lost is that the policy prescriptions of the activists do not address the problems the activists claim to believe are so acute.

    It is because there is no justification for their prescriptions in their views of climate that they don’t even try and so resort to negative campaigning and personal abuse.

    You can see this clearly in the case of I-1631. Just ask, how much difference will it make to global temperatures, supposing a Climate Senstivity of 3C. The answer is, none.

    You can also see it clearly in the case of Paris. This was a prescription for de-industrializing the West while China, India and the developing world continue to emit, continue to install coal plants and airports, continue to increase car use, and continue to increase emissions. Its effect on the climate, even or especially assuming improbable Climate Sensitivities, would be for temperatures to continue to increase over catastrophic levels.

    Willis has a vivid post which shows this up. He shows in detail, what is anyway obvious in outline from the raw numbers regarding emissions, that even were the US to cease emitting totally, as of now, and assuming 3C per doubling of CO2, the effects on global temperatures would be imperceptible.

    If, despite this, you desperately want to make Seattle or Philadephia a carbon neutral zone, you cannot argue for it in rational terms and so you are driven to resort to personal abuse.

    In the case of wind power, you have the advocates agitating for measures which not only do not lower emissions enough to affect global warming, they are advocating something which will not even lower emissions at all and may increase them.

    Of course they can’t argue for any of this rationally. There is no rational case for it.

    The other issue they have is that the measures which the 3C catastrophe theory would require, were they consistent about it, would be absolutely huge and would involve, for instance, abolishing ICE use, China cutting back from 10 billion tons a year to under 2 billion, closing down coal globally (where China is producing and using more than the rest of the world put together). So they are afraid to advocate them. Maybe they are in denial about what their climate views require? Don’t know.

    But in any case, they don’t advocate doing what the theory would consistently require, and thus are driven to hysterical emotional appeals to do things which, if it is true, make zero sense.

    1. I’m not sure which group of “They” they fall under, but:

      “closing down coal globally (where China is producing and using more than the rest of the world put together)”

      There are a lot of people who seriously discuss ending the significant use of coal as a source of electrical power. (I choose these terms carefully. There may be marginal cases that do not end quickly. And there are other uses for coal.) These people are not necessarily extremists, and indeed the market seems to have gotten on their side given all the economic problems being faced by coal exporters.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        “There are a lot of people who seriously discuss ending the significant use of coal as a source of electrical power.”

        Not “a lot” in terms of percent of the population in the developed nations. “A tiny fraction” is more accurate. Including the less developed nations – they’re people, too – that becomes “a microscopic fraction.”

        “These people are not necessarily extremists”

        If by “closing down coal globally” you mean “closing down coal globally in the next decade” (rate of change is everything), then they are either extremists or ignorant.

        “indeed the market seems to have gotten on their side given all the economic problems being faced by coal exporters.”

        First, that is not correct. US coal exports hit a trough in 2016 – prompting the headlines about “death of coal.” They almost doubled in 2017. In the first six months of 2018, they rose 32% over 2017. At this rate, US exports in 2019 will exceed the peak rate of 2012. This is being driven by exports to Asia.

        Second, the “market” does not care about climate change. Coal has become less competitive in the developed world due to mining regulations and standard pollution control laws – and new tech lowering the cost of alternatives (chiefly natural gas). That is also happening in the less developed nations, but more slowly.

    2. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “The primary reason activism has lost is that the policy prescriptions of the activists do not address the problems the activists claim to believe are so acute.”

      That’s not remotely true, on several levels. First, public policy is often about changing trends rate of change and direction. There are seldom the kind of cures you want. Public policy solutions are limited by what is politically possible. The scale of change needed to solve problems is seldom possible to achieve today. So we do fixes.

      When William Wilberforce joined the British anti-slavery movement in 1786, he did not propose that Parliament end slavery in British Empire – let alone the world. He proposed an end to the transport of slaves in British ships. As he said, “They had for the present no object immediately before them, but that of putting stop directly to the carrying of men in British ships to be sold as slaves.” The Slave Trade Act received royal assent on 25 March 1807. It was the first step.

      Second, incremental steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases are valuable because they “buy time” for tech advance to produce more effective solutions.

    3. @Larry: Thanks for the link. I had known there was an uptick but I did not know it was that high, although I see we are pikers compared to Australia.

      Regarding rates of change, you’re entirely right. Ten years seems theoretically feasible with great disruption; twenty to thirty years and we probably would not notice if we did not work in the coal industry.

    4. I am 36. When I was in elementary school, all they talked about was the “depletion of the Ozone Layer” and how we were all going to fry stepping outside in 5 years. I was out this morning and nothing happened, my skin did not light ablaze from sun due to depletion of Ozone Layer.

      When I was in middle school, all they talked about was the “greenhouse effect” where CO2 emissions got “trapped” inside Ozone layer and planet would become like a tomato greenhouse and we would all suffocate. I am still breathing right now, just fine BTW.

      When I was still in middle school, they said by the year 2000, every major coastal city from Rio de Janeiro to New York to London to Yokohama/Tokyo would be under wader due to melting polar caps. I often travel to coastal cities in Florida and the issue is the beach areas have grown some and oceans have receded, not moved into land.

      When I was in high school, they said in 3 years, all polar bears would drown because there would be no ice left for them to live on anymore and they would swim and then die of exhaustion and drown. The polar caps have grown since.

      Spoiled rich brats like Al Gore, and Prince Harry both said we had something like 30 months to “save the planet” or we would all die and that was 4 years ago. I seem to be alive and just fine.

      Then we have rich people fly around in highly-polluting private jets and spend more electricity in their mansions every week then most families spend each year. Think Tom Styer, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Suckerberg of FB, and Leonardo DiCaprio, just to name some.

      These alarmists are all the same. The whole Global Warming thing is a ruse designed to enrich the elites and repress the freedoms of the “masses”. Their goal is power and money and what better way to get it by accusing and making Mr. Jones from Main Street in suburban Ohio that he is responsible for the destruction of the planet and the deaths of billions of people because he wants to run his A/C in July or drive his 3 kids in an SUV?

      Global Warming is such a great power-grabbing and money-making scam, Ponzi and Bernie Madeoff wish they had thought about it first.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        I suggest you listen to scientists instead of Left and Right extremists. You’ll learn a lot.

  2. In the Soviet Union, people quietly joked in their kitchens that all hurricanes, earthquakes and floods magically stopped at the border.
    Weather figured in Soviet propaganda with claims that they would soon know how to harness the powers of the atmosphere and make everyday comfortable.

    Calling someone dangerous for their discussion of climate is rather histrionic as if Myhre wants to be laughed at.

    1. That twitter feed reads like rambling of an insane person. This who has been entrusted with a important scientific field of study? We are doomed.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        It is vital to know that she is – so far – part of a failed political movement. They have earned their failure.

        Let’s hope that scientists have learned. See tomorrow’s post for more about about this.

  3. Climate change is real but natural. The current global warming cycle began around 1850 with the end of the mini ice age. AGW is being used by leftists and is a scam to increase taxes and increase their power over us serfs. THAT is the real anthropogenic disaster we should fear

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      It’s sad that you disagree with almost every climate scientist. I admire your self-confidence, but wish you would instead apply your genius to curing cancer.

    2. Anon, Larry,

      I too am a skeptic (not only on this matter) so I learned to comment like this:
      Does the climate change? Does it seem to be on a warming trend now? Are humans part of that process?
      Of course, yes, yes and we are!
      On question: To what extent is the human activity responsible for the latest climate trend?
      The honest, yet politically almost-correct, answer: Who knows? The politicians (as the IPCC), the Activists and the opportunistic “Climate Scientists” wielding h.sticks certainly don’t!

      Going further would require a bit of gall though:
      Will we ever know?
      Let’s see — how far can the Weather Office forecast the weather reliably? — Three to five days, perhaps?
      — how far can the best models accurately predict ENSO (el Nino / la Nina)? — Five to eight weeks, it seems?
      (both above — if they’re lucky)
      — what is the accountability of the “creators” of AGW super-computer (super-expensive) “climate models”?
      So, unless we start asking the right questions (as in understanding of what’s really going on) instead of stumping about chanting: “Ho, ho, ho, GHG’s, must go” — NEVER!

      It is really sad that we have entered this bizarre epoch of Post-Modern Galileo-s and even Giordano Bruno-s. There are many fields of science again, where the scientists dare to state their deeply held opinions only after their retirement. And even then — losing their well deserved status, i.e. Emeritus…

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        There’s not much to say. I suggest reading the IPCC reports, or some climate science textbooks. These will tell you where the actual frontiers of knowledge are.

        If you’re not interested in what actual experts say, and you prefer your wild guessing, well OK then. Why not try curing cancer? You can buy some excellent lab equipment for your kitchen.

    3. Larry,

      Let’s not fool ourselves — reading papers, reports and/or a bunch of textbooks on such a huge complex of phenomena as is The Earth Climate doesn’t even inch one to expertise nor does that allow one to appreciate where are the limits of knowledge standing at a particular point — result of attempting this is, at best, frustration and, at worst, an illusion. That’s why I will always base my judgement of any progress in these fields not by admiring the endless inventory of difficulties and achievements in their overcoming, but by the actual, down-to-Earth, results; and, IMHO, so should most. Unless one spends a good part of one’s productive life in a specific field, regardless of that person’s cognitive capacity, that person is still an amateur. The days of true poly-maths are long gone.

      OTOH: I think most of people here do appreciate your contribution to understanding of today’s problems (this article is surely one of these) — from rabid pheminism through the imperial politics and the politics of science to the affairs of every-day’s life — your sincerity was never in my doubt; and I understand where your frustration comes from; however, especially in this web-site setting, a bit of “soft touch” would, IMHO, go further than the brashness often demonstrated and would be worth it, to either side…

      BTW, I got your point, but still — to counter your advice — my former vocation / today’s hobby stuff does not fit well into my spouse’s kitchen; and I’d never been into curing cancer, she had.

  4. Best wishes to Cliff Mass and Judith Curry.

    Too many climate scientists are being shouted down and relegated to the dung heap of academia because they are brave enough to speak their minds, rather than repeating the cant of the orthodox elites who control the funding and publishing.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      This is quite common in the history of science. Thomas Kuhn describes it as defending the paradigm in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. This is why, as Max Planck said (in 1906 or earlier):

      “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

      That’s fine in normal science. But when science is needed to serve urgent public policy debates, we cannot afford the usual gamesmanship of academia. We must require higher standards of conduct. Since we are paying for most climate science research, we have the right to do so.

  5. Many many livelihoods are dependent on the Climate Change hoax. When you question the narrative you are basically threatening their livelihoods. They will fight viciously against that.

  6. Fabius Maximus would have us believe that climate science has no settled consensus among the world’s top experts.

    Fabius Maximus provides links to economists, whose expertise is in a completely different domain than climate science.

    Fabius Maximus . . . is part of the problem.

      1. Larry Kummer, Editor


        The IPCC’s AR5 stated the consensus statement about the past as follows (AR4 stated it in roughly similar fashion):

        “…human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”

        Many different surveys found almost unanimous agreement among climate scientists with this. See the surveys done

        up to 2014 on this

        Many surveys found almost unanimous agreement among climate scientists with this. See those done up thru 2014. Others were done after that.

        AR5 stated this with an explicit degree of confidence (one of the reasons it is among the highest quality works of its kind):

        “It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that “

        Only one survey asked for agreement with not just the thesis, but with AR5’s degree of confidence in it. Only 47% agreed wit both. This is one reason that scientists such as Judith Curry say that the IPPC gives too high confidence in its conclusions. That is different than disagreeing with its conclusions.

        This shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s human nature, and scientists are people.

        Note that even this bit of reality was too disturbing to be told. I am the one who discovered it, and received my 15 minutes of fame in the form of brutal attacks. See Politifact’s lies about me – an important lesson to remember when you read their “fact-checking.”

        Activists have exaggerated, misrepresented, and outright lied about the “97%” consensus. Most commonly shifting it from a statement about the past to a statement about the future. I’ve seen no surveys asking climate scientists about future warming, but I doubt that is much of a consensus beyond expecting additional warming in the 21st century.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “Fabius Maximus would have us believe that climate science has no settled consensus among the world’s top experts.”

      That’s quite delusional. There is nothing in this post saying that.

      I’ve written several posts giving detailed descriptions of the current consensus of climate scientists (see my reply to Chad for links).

      My posts about climate change policy work on the foundation laid by the IPCC and major climate agencies, as stated in Important things to know about climate change.

      Please don’t lie in your comments. That will get you banned as a troll.

    2. I’ve seen no surveys asking climate scientists about future warming, but I doubt that is much of a consensus beyond expecting additional warming in the 21st century.


      And surely this is the problem? The issue is not so much with what the climate scientists do or do not think. I don’t even think its their conduct. Its about the level of certainty about results of proposed policies that prudent governments ought to require.

      We have seen an example of the kind of thing that can go wrong in the move to the low fat diet. The feeling at the McGovern Commission in 1977 was that they didn’t want to hear about scientific uncertainty, the problem (of high and rising CHD) was so great that they could not afford to delay.

      Unfortunately their desire to act overcame their caution, with the result that they acted in a way that made the problem worse.

      There are two questions about the consensus. One is whether its certain enough to justify massive changes in public policy. The second is whether there is consensus about the effectiveness of these changes.

      You need a much higher level of certainty about the scientific theory before moving to public policy than you need to answer the question of what, as a practising scientist, you now think is the correct theory, because the risks and expense is so huge. And then, you need some evidence that what is proposed is going to solve the problem.

      In the case of the low fat diet there was no evidence it would solve the problem, and it didn’t. In the case of climate there is no evidence moving to electric cars and wind power will solve the problem. I would love to see electric cars, but where’s the evidence is will lower emissions? As to wind and solar, which country has reduced its emissions by installing it? Where is the evidence that doing Paris will make any impact on temperatures?

    3. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “Fabius Maximus provides links to economists, whose expertise is in a completely different domain than climate science. Fabius Maximus is part of the problem.”

      That is a statement of impressive ignorance. The IPCC’s Working Group I reports are by climate scientists, and scientists in related fields. The other two bring in a wider range of experts. Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change.

      Ditto for the most recent IPCC report – “Global Warming of 1.5°C” – and Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA). Economists played a central role in the conclusions of both reports.

      Also, “Fabius Maximus” was a Roman leader. The website is named after him. I am the editor, and have my own name. That’s an impressive reading FAIL.

  7. And here is Sarah Myhre writing in The Stranger, quoted by Judy Curry:

    “Feminist rage has burned through my days and nights this last week, leaving me exhausted and anger-hangover every morning. Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, Roy Moore, Al Franken – take them all down. I have fiery images in my mind’s eye of the careers of powerful men toppling like Saddam’s statue. BURN THEM ALL DOWN. I rage silently in my lipstick and heels, dressing as powerfully and sexually I can – as if to say, “try it on me motherfuckers”. I rage-walk from the bus to day care to work to the grocery store and I stare down every man on the street, silently shaming him with my eyes. It is a game I play through these rage-soaked days.”

    She is unhinged.

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