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Reply to RealClimate's attack against the IPCC

Rasmus Benestad and similar hardcore green Marxists are dreaming about the past that will never return again

Since its initial fabrication in 2004, RealClimate.ORG was one of the most notorious websites of the climate propaganda, at least among those that attempted to look like an official arm of the scientists.

Because I wrote an essay about the IPCC report for the Václav Klaus Institute two months ago and the title was Fifth IPCC report: a blow of glasnost into the climate panic (where I compared the ongoing sizzling of the climate panic to the reforms in USSR under Gorbachev), I am not surprised that hardcore demagogues at RealClimate.ORG are offended by the toned down character of the IPCC report, especially the Summary for Policymakers that used to compete with the most radical Greenpeace booklets until AR4.

Rasmus Benestad made his unhappiness clear in the new RealClimate.ORG text titled

A failure in communicating the impact of new findings
where he claims that the writing of the summary followed wrong procedures, led to a wrong result, and should be completely changed. What Rasmus Benestad overlooks is a subtlety known as the "reality".




He begins as follows:
I was disappointed by the recent summary for policymakers (SPM) of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) assessment report 5, now that I finally got around to read it. Not so much because of the science, but because the way it presented the science.

The report was written by top scientists, so what went wrong?
What I find surprising is that you only read the summary now, two months after it was published. I read it on the day when it was released (and quick-read the previous drafts before the final version was out, too).

Again, I am not surprised that hardcore demagogues such as yourself had to be disappointed, Mr Benestad. What went wrong for people like you? That's a good question but it has an even better answer.




What went primarily wrong for you – and well for the mankind – is that the most despicable and dishonest demagogues and ideologues who would write a summary that you would like were sidelined because their dishonesty and fraud became way too self-evident, especially during and shortly after the 2009 Climategate scandal.

Because it has become clear to pretty much everyone that the work by Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Ben Santer, and a dozen or two of similar "leaders" of the hysteria within the climatological circles may have been classified as scientific fraud; and that their dealing with inconvenient scientific results or alternative theories resembles the daily practices of Gestapo, these folks were simply no longer usable by the IPCC.

The IPCC could have organized whitewashes that would say that these people were largely innocent but it couldn't make them look innocent in the eyes of the people who have actually read some of the e-mails and who are not hopelessly naive and gullible sheep. So these people had to be removed from the writing process of the Summary for Policymakers.

But once you remove this dozen of hardcore fraudsters, the tone of the climatological community radically alters. The climate hysteria is mostly powered by thousands of blinded and scientifically illiterate green activists and Luddites, a couple of folks who are making millions of dollars out of the "renewable technologies", some inkspillers who were partly brainwashed and who partly love to write repetitive articles about the same "fatal threat" all the time and be paid new money for each copy of this trash, and a dozen or two of corrupt and politicized left-wing climatologists. Hundreds of other climate scientists have been sort of "playing the game" with the hardcore demagogues within the climatological community but it's obvious that if you decapitate the octopus, something has to change.

The IPCC had to decapitate the octopus because its "greatest heads" have become self-evident toxins and the smaller heads that were left were simply not as radical as the cutoff ones. It's that simple. Get used to it. The worst criminals who should have been arrested for many years will never influence the climate debate again. Occasional articles boasting that Michael Mann hasn't been electrocuted yet, despite the numerous observers who believe that he should have, is the maximum he may achieve when it comes to his influence on the world.
My impression is that the amount of information crammed into this report was more important than making a few strong messages.

The SPM really provides a lot of facts, but what do all those numbers mean for policy makers? There was little attempt to set the findings in a context relevant for decision making (ranging from the national scale to small businesses).
The most recent Summary for Policymakers hasn't highlighted any strong messages because the climatological research doesn't bring us any strong messages. To be more accurate, it hasn't brought us any insights that should influence policymakers whatsoever. The people who were writing the summary sort of know it and they are not dishonest enough to completely turn the reality upside down – even though their predecessors had enough dishonesty for that and more.
A summary should really start with the most important message, but the SPM starts by discussing uncertainties. It is then difficult for non-scientists to make sense of the report. Are the results reliable or not?
No, the results are not reliable. That's really one of the points of the Summary for Policymakers. None of the activists' claims about the worsening weather or increasing catastrophes is backed by the actual scientific research. The toned down writers of the most recent Summary for Policymakers know it as well as I do. That's why they were obliged to write that the confidence in any of these statements is low or very low. In other words, any claims about climate threats in the future are either very unlikely or unsubstantiated wild speculations. The writers' stomach is still strong enough to add 80% to the climate sensitivity that actually follows from the research; but it is not strong enough to write downright lies such as the claims that there is scientific research implying that the extreme weather will get detectably worse. This would be a qualitative lie and one needs a stronger type of dishonesty to write similar things than the dishonesty needed to "push" a continuous number to the North a little bit. So they had to admit that this fearmongering is based on wild speculations.

I think that most readers do understand that this is what the summary says. I will discuss Benestad's hatred towards the concept of "uncertainty" later in this blog post.
My recommendation is that next time, the main report is published before the SPM. That way, all the space used on uncertainty and confidence in the SPM could be spared.
There won't be any "next time" when people like you could dictate the tone of similar institutions. Much like the arms races and the continued economic growth of the Western bloc has forced the Soviet Communist Party to soften the tone, elect someone like Mikhail Gorbachev, and take the path towards a gradual surrender, the public uncovering of the fraudulent nature of the climate alarmist "science" combined with the absence of any warming trend for almost two decades forced the IPCC to soften the tone of its summary writers and the summary itself.

The next step in the process isn't another third or fourth IPCC report. The next step is the sixth report which will either be completely non-existent because the IPCC will have been abolished by that time; or it will be written pretty much by some climate skeptics and some climate lukewarmers who will eliminate "less dishonest but still somewhat dishonest" people who wrote the latest Summary for Policymakers and who failed to apologize for the false alarm in the 25 years although they apparently know that they should apologize for that.
I also recommend that people who decide the structure of future SPMs and undertake the writing take a course effective writing for non-scientist. At MET Norway, we have had such writing lessons to improve our communication skills, and I have found this training valuable.
Even if you took these propaganda lessons directly from your colleague Joseph Goebbels, they won't help your "cause". You have lost the credibility. People know that you're dishonest. You are openly writing blog posts claiming that the summaries of the IPCC reports should be demagogic. You seem to naively assume that only the most powerful people in the world read your texts and your "clever advises" will help them to manipulate the billions of people in the world; in reality, your texts are being read by normal folks who either realize that all your behavior is driven by an agenda or who belong among the most clueless and inconsequential people in the world. Intelligent people just don't trust you and you can't fix this problem by another course on propaganda. People know that along with Mann, Rahmstorf, and other accomplices, you are a fraudster, a shame, a dirty inkblot on the scientific community. Joseph Goebbels could have been influencing masses because he was backed by Gestapo and other enforcement forces that would silence everything that was inconvenient for his "cause". You are fortunately not backed by anything like that and when you are lying – i.e. when you are talking – most people will notice that you are lying. So even if you could prove that you are the most efficient demagogue in the world since Joseph Goebbels, you will not be allowed to brainwash millions again. This era has already ended.
It takes some training to find more popular ways to describe science and spot excessive use of jargon. Many words, such as ‘positive feedback‘ have different meanings if you talk to a scientist or a non-scientist (a bad phrase to use in the context of climate change for people with very little science background). Also the word ‘uncertainty‘ is not a good choice – what does it mean really?
First of all, it is negative feedbacks and not positive feedbacks that dominate in Nature. In the case of the climate sensitivity, it has not been settled whether the overall feedbacks are positive or negative. Whether the net feedbacks are positive or negative is a key question that decides whether the influence of the carbon dioxide in coming decades will be detectable. The latest Summary for Policymakers has more or less conveyed this key scientific fact (that *is* comprehensible for the intelligent public, whether you like it or not), and it is shameful that you want these essential issues of the climate debate to be censored or obscured.

The concept of "uncertainty" is one of the most critical concepts in all of science. If you don't really know what it means, you have no right to oxidize in science. The focus on the uncertainty *has* to play a key role in a presentation of this subject to the policymakers (or the broader public) *especially* because this is a field that is riddled with uncertainty.
The World Bank report of last year also comes to my mind – I think that is a much clearer form of presentation.
The World Bank doesn't claim it is an institution consisting of scientists; the IPCC does. That's why the IPCC simply cannot afford the same level of scientific dishonesty as the World Bank.

A radical left-wing reader named Sean agrees with Benestad that "there is a problem" (not enough Goebbelsian training for the writers of the Summary for Policymakers) and he also writes:
There are well qualified people, in and out of Academia, all over the world who would be very willing to donate their time and talents to ensure the IPCC reports, and other Press Releases made about new Climate Science studies are communicated properly and effectively to the Media, to the PUBLIC, and to Politicians globally from the get go.
Comrade Sean, the World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace, and others were already writing the IPCC reports and the summaries in the past. The reason why they didn't do it the last time is that the IPCC has realized that it's pointless – they are willing to write "strong messages" but no intelligent people believe them because everyone realizes that these people are biased and lack the scientific integrity.

That's why it was realized that the IPCC must return the job of producing the messages to the actual scientists – a category that doesn't include the likes of Michael Mann, everyone has realized – and the reason why there are no "strong messages" in the latest IPCC report is simply that no "strong messages" have been uncovered by any of the legitimate research in climate science. All the "strong messages" we were hearing up to recently (and still see in some news outlets that are really retarded) were fabricated by activists and pseudoscientists.

Just give it up, comrades. Stop dreaming about the world of unlimited brainwashing and intimidation. The climate hysteria has peaked several years ago – in 2007 – and the peak will never return again. The question is not whether the full-fledged hysteria will return; it will not. The only question is how much more time the countries of the world will need to remove still very strong traces of this toxic ideology from their mainstream public life. Will it be as painfully slow as the gradual demise of the climate hysteria since 2007, or will it be sped up?

That is the question. Whether Michael Manns and Phil Joneses will return to the steering wheel isn't the question that any sensible person is asking.

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reader Honza said...

HI Lubosi.

You say: "The climate hysteria has peaked several years ago – in 2007 – and the peak will never return again." I would be willing to bet, that in 30-40 years there will come global cooling hysteria peak, and another half century later there will be yet another global warming hysteria outbreak. (But you will not be able to collect on that bet anyway.) I would soften the statement to: "the peak will not return within our lifetime."
Other than that, very nice article. Thanks.


reader Day Day said...

Doom saying has long been part of the human condition. So we haven't seen the last of that, but global warming/climate change has run out of steam. Only the holdouts in the EU remain.
The wheels of political bureaucracy turn slowly, so it will take it's time to work through. Changing politicians sometimes helps.


reader Rog Tallbloke said...

Thanks for telling it straight Lubos. This Yorkshireman appreciates it.


reader BMWA1 said...

Nice (also, nice bank robbers!)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/czechrepublic/10497797/Czech-bank-robber-hands-himself-in-after-paying-back-his-friends.html


reader Tim Groves said...

Very nicely explained. Of course, the alarmists won't give it up. They will insist on stringing this farce out for as long as they can.


reader Smoking Frog said...

What I find surprising is that you [Benestad] only read the summary now, two months
after it was published. I read it on the day when it was released (and
quick-read the previous drafts before the final version was out, too).



Yes, I thought that was odd. You'd think Benestad would have been more interested in what it had to say. He could say he's not a policy-maker, but I'm not even as clueless as a policy-maker :-), and I read it very soon after it was published.


I "like" the name "Rasmus." It sounds as though it was a nickname for "Erasmus" adopted by a teenager or gang member or personal friend of Obama or something. Maybe it's entirely legitimate in Norway. If so, I apologize to that nation. :-)


Lubos, don't you think you lose some part of a potential audience by talking about electrocuting Michael Mann, etc.? Are things like that hyperbole or joking on your part, or do you really believe that some of these people should get the death penalty? It's hard to tell, you say them so often. Frankly, I think it's nuts.


reader bwbeeman said...

Great post, Lubos. I certainly hope you are correct. I am not sure this climate madness is over. It will take a long time to get those crazy ideas out of the public consciousness.


reader Smoking Frog said...

The concept of "uncertainty" is one of the most critical concepts in all
of science. If you don't really know what it means, you have no right
to oxidize in science.



Huh? Oxidize?


reader Luboš Motl said...

I share your expectations, Honzo, there will be new hysterias but they can't be "collectively promoted" by the same groups of people - and by the same websites like RealClimate. It will have to be rebranded, recycled, reorganized.


reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, it is a Czech idiom, sorry for that. If someone is "oxidizing" somewhere, it means that he is there and it is not really pleasing for others. This idiom is accurate because people undergo lot of oxidation processes as they live, too.


reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, a bank robber with a human face.


reader lukelea said...

Color me dumb but reading through the first few highlights of the latest summary for policy makers it still seems pretty alarmist to me. E.g.:

1. "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed
changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have
warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the
concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased."

2. "Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850 (see Figure SPM.1). In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983–2012
was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years (medium confidence)."

also: "There are likely more land regions where the number of heavy precipitation events has increased than where it has decreased. The frequency or intensity of heavy precipitation events has likely increased in North America and
Europe."

3. "Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass,
glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide, and Arctic sea ice and Northern
Hemisphere spring snow cover have continued to decrease in extent (high confidence)"

4. "The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate
during the previous two millennia (high confidence)."

5. "The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have
increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years."

6. "Climate models have improved since the AR4. Models reproduce observed continental-
scale surface temperature patterns and trends over many decades, including the more rapid
warming since the mid-20th century and the cooling immediately following large volcanic
eruptions (very high confidence)."

I'm not disputing any of these findings (who am I to dispute?) but I was under the impression that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets were not losing mass.


reader Rathnakumar said...

Quite heartening development this is!


reader papertiger0 said...

Is that your way of saying we're all going to have to find a new hobby?


reader Eclectikus said...

Humor and satire (as brutal as possible) are the weapons of mass destruction against this nonsensical religion named CAGW. In this direction, don't miss this hillarious small piece:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uif1NwcUgMU

(coming from a twitter war with Fray Nuccitelli against Roger Pielke Jr:

https://twitter.com/hebrooks87/status/408288581799538688

and later is also featured in WUWT)

By the way, Nuticcelli is is co-autor with Rasmus Benestad in this little piece of shit: http://www.mdpi.com/2225-1154/1/2/76


reader Eugene S said...

Nice, now please do a number on Thomas Stocker. The entire nation of Switzerland should be punished for having produced him. Maybe take away their cowbells.


reader BMWA1 said...

Not back in Prague until January, but here (N. Texas) we are in bigice storm from jet-streamed tracked storm. According to Vaclav Buch, these should increase with a negative PDO (like in the 1960's and '70's). There was a death on the bridge to Dallas this morning as authorities are not prepared. It makes a difference when academic community does not advise the authorities properly (like, in the fixation upon a limiting (CO2) factor in photosynthesis as opposed to actual natural parameters.
.


reader Luboš Motl said...

Interesting. In Czechia, we received the first season's proper snow on my birthday. It was arguably related to the "hurricane" Xaver in Northern Europe except that there weren't exceptionally strong winds in Pilsen and it looks like completely normal snow we have always known.


I am sure there used to be similar "hurricanes" almost every year but people just didn't call them this way and didn't invent big hype about them.