Wednesday, September 21, 2011 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

William Happer vs Michael MacCracken

A few months ago, physicist and climate skeptic Prof William Happer of Princeton wrote this article:

The Truth About Greenhouse Gases: The dubious science of the climate crusaders
for First Things. An extensive 42-page reply has just been released. It was written by Dr Michael MacCracken, a fat cat alarmist.
The Real Truth about Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change: Paragraph-by-Paragraph Comments on an Article by Dr. William Happer
The length is impressive, indeed.

Kraken: note how friendly it or he or she is. It only becomes MacKraken once the meat is processed by McDonald's. Sorry, I need this picture to be reminded that his name isn't MacCrackpot. Still, I apologize if I ever misspell the Gentleman's name in the text below. For example, I may misspell his name as MacA****le because these words just look almost indistinguishable to me (when I imagine the content behind them).

MacCracken divides Happer's text to 43 points and replies to each of them. It's very long so you surely expect some compactification. I don't expect a typical TRF reader to read the whole text by MacCrackpot; I didn't read every word, either. Here is an abstract:
  1. Happer describes the personality of various "climate crusaders". MacCracken objects that "for Dr. Happer to suggest that the entire set of nations and international scientific organizations has been corrupted [... is insulting]". So MacCracken wants to bring some friendship in the climate debate, right? He describes the skeptics in this way: "...the leaders of the fossil fuel companies that had a hidden strategy to sow uncertainties, than the supposedly independent individuals and organizations that get major support from the fossil fuel companies and have as a major purpose the critiquing climate change science, than the non-scientific believers that climate change cannot be man-made, and than the coal companies funding curricula and the teaching of the benefits of coal to elementary school children." Very friendly indeed. MacCracken asks whether the alarmists are more money-hungry than the skeptics (while inflating each of the words "skeptics" and "alarmists" to half a page). The answer is yes, by the factor of 4,000. That's very easy to calculate: the U.S. government has paid $79 billion to climate alarmists since 1989 while all the "bribery" by the "Big Oil" to climate skeptics from all the alarmist libelous articles adds up to $20 million (none of which came in recent years, by the way). Try to divide these two numbers, Mr McKraken.
  2. Happer says that the CO2 concentration has fluctuated; Kraken uses a Zeno paradox and says that when we look at sufficiently tiny periods of time, the fluctuations become small. Indeed, when you deny 99.99999% of the history of the Earth, you may make yourself not see that CO2 concentrations have wildly fluctuated, Mr Kraken. But Prof Happer may still see that they did: the concentrations used to be in several thousands of ppm at various points (when most life forms we know existed). Kraken tries to talk about acidification and "safe range" but utterly fails in the identification of what the safe range is.
  3. Happer shows that CO2 doesn't satisfy the usual definitions of a "pollutant". Kraken says that it doesn't matter and offers some incomprehensible gibberish indicating that with enough political power, one may redefine what the words mean even if the new definition doesn't make any sense. Indeed, when similar Krakens contaminate political institutions, they may force people to misunderstand and incorrectly use the word "pollutant", to redefine it much like in Orwell's 1984. But that's exactly the kind of liquidation of justice and people's rational thinking that skeptics really oppose. So Kraken only confirms that brute power, and not consistency of the science, is behind the fact that some people have been brainwashed to use the word "pollutant" for CO2. Kraken admits he's the new Goebbels.
  4. Happer says that plants prefer a higher CO2: Kraken says that CO2 is next to irrelevant because of other things so "it's a misleading oversimplification" to say that plants like when lots of CO2 is available. Holy cow, CO2 is their main food. And main food is damn important for the life of anything and anyone. Prevent Kraken from eating for a month and then we may discuss whether it was a misleading oversimplification. In reality, CO2 as a food for plants is many orders of magnitude more important than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. The very idea that the scientific discipline that should primarily study CO2 is climatology is utterly preposterous because CO2 plays a vastly larger role in dozens of disciplines of life sciences, Earth sciences, and engineering than it has in climatology.
  5. Happer says that quantitative arguments and not superficial qualitative ones are needed to decide how much CO2 is good or bad for something. Kraken agrees but tries to diminish the role of CO2 in the processes of life. No, Mr Kraken, nitrogen is not quite as important as carbon.
  6. They agree that below 150-200 ppm of CO2, plants see shortage of CO2. Kraken just illogically talks about the temperature at times when CO2 was this low, secretly trying to indicate that CO2 caused those low temperatures. But as everyone who has basic knowledge about the climate knows, it's the other way around. The fluctuations of CO2 and other gases in the glaciation cycles were a consequence of the temperature variations – which were themselves a consequence (mostly) of the astronomical Milankovitch cycles. I am sure that most climate alarmists already know that this only scientific argument in Gore's movie was a malicious lie but they still believe that the misunderstanding of this elementary point will kind of spread in the public. Well, I assure you that it's the actual knowledge that is spreading: lies have short legs, crooks and MacCrackpots.
  7. Happer says that an optimal CO2 is likely to be higher than the current one; Kraken replies with some fog. It would be true if the plant growth were the only factor. Well, it is almost the only factor in Nature because no one else except for plants cares about the CO2 concentration and the other e.g. physical effects of CO2 in the air are negligible.
  8. Happer says that CO2 below 5,000 ppm and maybe even 8,000 ppm is OK for human health, according to science and regulations of NASA etc.; Kraken replies with some non-quantitative fog that health limits should be determined by the least vulnerable people etc. This makes no sense. You may find organisms that die whenever the CO2 concentration is positive. That doesn't mean that you can demand CO2 to be absent. It's obvious that if 99.999% of the people won't feel health problems neither in the short term nor in the long term in a given environment, the environment has to be considered healthy.
  9. Happer says that CO2 between 150 and 5,000 ppm is fine. Kraken doesn't like the upper bound but doesn't offer any quantitative argument that could weaken Happer's rock-solid explanations why 5,000 is OK. We only hear qualitative propaganda about acidification etc. Even with 5,000 ppm in the atmosphere, the pH of the ocean would actually stay well above 7, in the alkaline territory, and would be OK for ocean life. This is of course just a fantasy because we won't get to 5,000 ppm in the following centuries but it's a simple way to show that claimed "emergencies" about CO2 levels' being too high in the next century are pure MacCrackpottery. Kraken randomly invents some ludicrously small and arbitrary numbers as his preferred upper limits but unlike Happer, he has absolutely no science to back these numbers. Happer talks about 5,000 ppm because it's been measured that some sensitive people may start to feel a bit dizzy. Kraken may talk about 400 or 450 ppm but he has no argument: he's just parroting equally irrational delusions of his fellow crusaders.
  10. Happer explains that a doubled CO2 has no effect on animals, is great for plants, and has no measurable effect on the climate etc. Kraken wants to send him to the Arctic, to Greenland whose 15% has disappeared, to Maldives that were erased off maps, and all this Al-Gore-level rubbish. Weather events have taken place on Earth for 4.7 billion years but what Prof Happer and every sensible person says is that there is no evidence, neither theoretical nor empirical evidence, that the human activity has led to an increase of an important kind of unpleasant weather events. It's a conclusion based on the empirical data that MacCrackpot and other crackpots just refuse to understand because it is not convenient for their crusade.
  11. Happer enumerates some incredible things that were claimed to be caused by CO2 and says that the greenhouse gases should be thanked for making the Earth warmer and hospitable. Kraken criticizes him for "making very light" of some very serious studies: it's almost a blasphemy to "make very light" of them. Well, it's not. Happer is a scientist so he is more than free to make fun out of childish pseudoscience and papers claiming that a flood was caused by CO2 are nothing more than childish pseudoscience. Kraken mentions random places on the globe and random catastrophe that he foresees. He could play one of the brainwashed savages on Al Gore's 24-hour show of utter stupidity right away.
  12. Happer says that the warming by CO2 is a quantitative question and one must consider both possibilities whether the changes would be good or bad, anyway. Kraken admits that a higher CO2 won't kill all life on Earth but he claims that it will sink the New York City, London, and a part of Bangladesh. It is not easy to intelligently debate with an imbecile.
  13. Happer says that correlation (well, I would only say coincidence) between a rising CO2 and rising temperature doesn't imply causation. Kraken says that this statement is "astounding or perhaps unethical" and Happer should have a failing grade. Kraken boasts "fingerprints in the IPCC reports". But all detailed fingerprints disagree. The warming doesn't seem to have a hot spot 10 km above the equator as the CO2-led climate models predict. The warming isn't the same on both hemispheres. It doesn't depend on the daytime and seasons properly. In the last 10 years, no one knows where the "missing heat has gone" – which is just another huge discrepancy in the fingerprints, and so on. Kraken says that he would give Happer a failing grade. Well, indeed, he would: that's another proof of the fact Kraken is an idiotic jerk who politically prosecutes everyone who is more educated and smarter than Kraken himself. It's Kraken who should be forced to leave the college where he had, because of his complete inability to rationally think, no moral right to oxidate and pollute the intellectual environment.
  14. Happer says that the climate has been naturally changing as it went from the medieval warm period to the little ice age etc. Kraken agrees but says that one should be hysterical because this proves that the climate can change! ;-) I kid you not. Well, a rational person is never hysterical when he learns something about how Nature works. Climate has always been changing, whether the reality deniers such as MacCrackpot are hysterical about it or not. MacCrackpot said that civilizations in the past sometimes died so we will surely die, too. He pays no attention to the fact that it's trivial to see that we couldn't die just because a temperature change by one or two or three degrees. The actual reasons why some old nations had problems were more complex and mostly related to their limited technological power. It's just normal for animals and primitive people to die: that's what Nature has been about for 4.7 billion years, MacCrackpot. We became able to circumvent these threats recently. But the reason why we could do it is that we gained some poweful technological edge; the reason is not that the climate would be getting less variable or something like that.
  15. Happer says that CO2 is correlated with temperature in the glaciation cycles but CO2 is the consequence and lags by 800 years in average. Kraken suddenly admits it's the case but says that there must have been a powerful greenhouse feedback to explain the differences between ice ages and interglacials. This is just bullshit. No such feedback is needed to explain the measured data. The whole dynamics is compatible with the Milankovitch cycles driving the changes of the volume of the Arctic ice, and consequently the other regional climates as well.
  16. Happer mentions that 12,000 years ago, the Earth cooled and warmed by 10 degrees in just 50 years. Kraken says that the temperature change wasn't global: well, most of the important temperature changes are not global, either. The temperature change in the last 100 years isn't global, either: 30% of the HadCRUT3 stations display an overall cooling trend. This fact only reinforces Happer's point: the climate has always been changing and the life on Earth easily dealt with many and many degrees of temperature change, even in short periods of time.
  17. Happer enumerates many natural climate drivers. Kraken emphasizes that there has been no climate change for 8,000 years. As long as one chooses the period of time appropriately (short), he may keep the temperature in a narrow interval: this method by which Kraken chose the number 8,000 is known as cherry-picking. Note that 8,000 is much smaller than 4.7 billion and even half a billion when most of the life forms we know existed. Still, even in the last 8,000 years, the global mean temperature has varied by one or several degrees in both directions, in roughly the same way as during the last 100 years (it can't be "exactly" the same change because the changes are chaotic). Kraken attributes the rise of civilizations to a constant climate; the real advantage was something else, namely a warm climate. Kraken tries to suggest that all natural factors may be ignored. Well, they can't – as the alarmists who are struggling to explain why their predictions for the most recent decade (and any other decade) failed have already understood. Even at the decadal scale, natural drivers are totally paramount. There's no time scale at which natural changes turn off.
  18. Happer talks about MWP and LIA which were found inconvenient, so the IPCC wanted to get rid of them – a process we know in quite some detail from the ClimateGate e-mails of Phil Jones, Michael Mann, and their fellow fraudsters. Kraken denies that we know these things and only presents what Mann et al. wanted to be the new predetermined conclusion. MWP and LIA had to be just some local irrelevant bumps, and so on, and so on. Except that there's no evidence that the global average didn't have the fluctuations we know from the North Atlantic region. Instead of evidence, Kraken tells us that some 190+ political U.N. assholes unanimously (he uses bold face here!) endorsed the IPCC reports. Well, you may have the whole Nazi party endorsing you, MacCrackpot, but what you're saying is still demonstrably rubbish according to the actual evidence. There is evidence for MWP and LIA, no evidence that those changes were compensated by the rest of the globe, and there's lots of evidence that corrupt "climate scientists" found these facts inconvenient and worked hard to hide them.
  19. Happer reviews how the hockey stick was being gradually flattened in the IPCC report, with the flatness of the shaft proportional to the amount of money flowing into this industry. Kraken says lots of foggy things but doesn't really give an alternative explanation why the graph was getting flatter. At any rate, it's known that the hockey stick graph papers were methodologically rubbish.
  20. Happer says that MWP and LIA were silently erased, like Trotsky and Yezhov from Stalin's photographs. Kraken wants Happer to read the literature to understand why they were erased. But obviously Kraken himself doesn't know any other explanation of the silent disappearance than the Stalin-like censorship. In true science, when a long-believed misconception is shown to be invalid, people know the reason of the changed opinion. Here you can't offer any legitimate explanation because none exists: MWP and LIA were silently erased simply because they were as inconvenient as Trotsky and Yezhov were for Stalin and the writers of the reports were much closer to Stalin than to a proper scientist.
  21. Happer offers some material describing the work of McIntyre and McKitrick etc. about the hockey stick which unmasked the actual facts. Kraken again replies that 190 political fat cats from Maldives and many other superpowers raised their hand which proves that McIntyre and McKitrick have to be wrong. Kraken is a fascist asshole without a rudimentary understanding of the scientific method, indeed. At least, Kraken is capable of switching a topic and attacks UAH AMSU (which have really nothing whatsoever to do with this topic) for some mistakes in the past. This inability to focus on a particular topic also shows that MacKraken is inadequate.
  22. Happer quotes e-mails showing that East Anglia's climatologists didn't want to share their data. Kraken says that he wanted them to be public and offers lots of comments about the history of records that has nothing to do with the desire for secrecy in East Anglia.
  23. Happer says that peer review may be useful but it has failed in the climate science. Who wants to see the answer and investigates, he will agree. Kraken doesn't agree. Instead, he attacks Happer for another blasphemy because Happer's words have surely offended many international fascist organizations and so on and so on. I don't have the nerves to read this stuff in its entirety, as you can imagine. Happer compares the alarmist establishment to Gaddafi's regime and Kraken's reaction only emphasizes how valid the comparison is. Kraken himself should be treated like a Gaddafi family member, too.
  24. Happer shows the mails proving that the "team" is choosing what may appear in the IPCC report and what may not. Kraken claims that the quote was taken "out of context" but he offers no explanation how the "context" could possibly be different than what the e-mail very clearly says. In a long monologue, Kraken essentially endorses the idea that instead of a peer review, editors should just ask the "team". No comments necessary.
  25. Happer quotes Madison who said that men shouldn't be judges in their own cases – a conflict of interests. Kraken says that he likes Madison but the IPCC had to ignore Madison's recommendation because we don't have time and there isn't a sufficient number of experts (beyond the thousands of parasites) so the team members must be allowed to judge their own work in the IPCC reports. No comments necessary.
  26. Happer explains how the CO2 will change and what it will imply (almost nothing) and why. Kraken protests that Happer doesn't have "peer-reviewed publications in this field". Well, according to the IPCC standards, Happer surely has peer-reviewed publications on the climate. He has reviewed his own publication much like the "team" does. In the very same point, Kraken tries to teach the Clausius-Clapeyron equation to Happer. Unfortunately, Kraken – unlike Happer – doesn't have any peer-reviewed publications about this equation.
  27. Happer says that mitigation is a waste of money that only brings profit to a few and Spain is an example. Kraken thinks it's "beyond the pale" to talk about a "favored few" if you are a defender of the use of coal, oil, and natural gas. However, MacCrackpot fails to notice that there are roughly 6.9 billion people on Earth whose life depends, in one way or another, on fossil fuels, so they're surely not "favored few". Kraken says that if every country will do insane and suicidal things like Spain, the world will be happy and cool. Kraken also incredibly accuses Happer of not knowing economics: if the demand in rich countries goes up, the oil price for poor countries also goes down. A subtle assumption that MacAsshole failed to mention is that some countries in his world pay the carbon indulgences while others obviously don't. If this unjust system is imposed, the relevant parts of the industry will simply move to whatever country where fossil fuels are allowed.
  28. Happer quotes evidence that the net feedback is likely to be small or negative, according to the evidence, in a striking contradiction with the assumptions of most models. Kraken calls it "unsupported nonsense" and only enumerates a positive feedback (based on water vapor). But there are many known feedbacks that are negative (iris/clouds) and the question is what is the total. The total may be measured, like in Lindzen Choi 2011 or Spencer Braswell 2011 and it may be shown that the net feedback isn't large and positive. Instead, Kraken says that the models underestimate the sensitivity. So it shouldn't be 5 °C for doubling but 10 °C, he implicitly suggests. But if this were true, the Earth would have warmed up by 5 degrees in a century which clearly didn't happen. That proves that Kraken is on MacCrack.
  29. Happer explains that the models have been tuned which is a part of the reason why they predicted nonsensically divergent, failed predictions even for periods as short as 15 years. It's like if you're trying to interpolate points by a polynomial and then you extrapolate the polynomial: it instantly starts to diverge. Kraken tries to deny that there are parameters that are unknown and completely ignores the failed predictions of the models. Long vacuous babbling about nothing that would be relevant for Happer's point.
  30. Happer compares the modeling to modeling in economics which remains far from being a reliable guide for the future. Kraken responds that the two systems are very different because economics depends on the people. That's a bizarre comment from an alarmist whose very main (mostly flawed) point is that the climate depends on the people as well. Kraken only offers some general explanations what he imagines that a model is.
  31. Happer says that there are probably honest scientists but the work of everyone in the field became questionable because of the hockey stick and related scandals. What made the climate science drop in this way? Kraken responds by recommending Happer to read a book by a hardcore communist bitch called Naomi Oreskes: "Merchants of doubts: how a handful of scientists obscured climate planetary emergency and tobacco smoke and how some of them even dared to oppose the Soviet Union and why they should be sent to Gulag". Nice reading but only for MacAssholes.
  32. Happer talks about the funding that goes directly to "research meant to save the Earth": $79 billion went to climate science just in the U.S. since 1989, a vast majority of it in the recent decade. Kraken replies that it's not that much money. If you want a part of $79 billion, you even have to write a grant proposal, so it's not an easy source of money. No comment, he must be joking. Just the crackpot Dessler got an extra $150,000 just for his two-year "research" in which he writes silly appendices for Spencer's papers.
  33. Happer compares the climate science budget with other fields – only life sciences can compare. Kraken blames him for a possible mistake in some obscure number but doesn't address the main point.
  34. Happer describes the obstacles that authors of politically inconvenient papers face. Kraken says that heretical papers should be published but only in irrelevant journals reserved for the heretics.
  35. Happer says that skeptics are being harassed in a similar way as inconvenient scientists in the Soviet Union. Kraken agrees that the discussion should be civil and he uses the term "skeptics" in quotation marks for skeptics and accuses them of being constantly wrong attack dogs. In the last paragraph, Kraken says that "skeptics" are dirty and will have to clean themselves a lot: not sure whether he means by Zyklon B but the basic idea is the same.
  36. Happer explains why politicians and political organizations of scientists have an interest for the panic and the government control to grow. MacCrackpot again replies that Happer is a huge heretic who insults "virtually the entire scientific community" (well, surely not anyone whom I would count as a member of the scientific community) and who lost credibility. Unfortunately, McCrackpot has no argument beyond this childish would-be fascist bullying.
  37. Happer quotes a statement by the APS which is incompatible with the physicists' reasoning. Kraken says that the APS statement was "addressed to the public" (oh, really?) and the public needs simplification and boiling down. But it didn't misled the public, Kraken says. It just directly lied to them, I add.
  38. Happer describes the fate of a 2009 APS petition led by Roger Cohen. The committee was made out of those who were affected and the statement was kept. Other societies were even worse because a modification wasn't even considered. Kraken says that they couldn't open it to changes because if the had opened it for changes, they would have opened it for changes. And that would be bad. ;-) It's also known as a tautology and the people who use such tautologies as explanations, such as Mr MacCrackpot, are known as dogmatic bigots.
  39. Happer compares the brainwashed of Joe the Sixpack in the media to the brainwashing in Orwell's 1984. Kraken objects that such a brainwashing is fully legitimate because even the Big Brother agrees that all the people should be brainwashed in this way.
  40. Happer offers some optimism: people are starting to see the light, skeptics are getting more numerous and more organized. Kraken, realizing he's losing the war, suddenly turns into a little sheep, and prays for compassion. Never do it. Such hardcore totalitarian MacAssholes are wolves who only show they sheep-like face when they want to bite your non-Mac asshole just a minute later. Beat them as long as you can. He says that he's been always willing to adjust his views and never saw any clear barrier separating the two camps. Oh, sure. Give me a break, MacAsshole.
  41. Happer recalls a quote that people fall into groupthink en masse; but they recover one by one. Kraken writes "skeptics" and their "science" in quotation marks and demands that the skeptics' conferences will be inviting alarmist MacAssholes so that they become unhinged alarmist conferences just like other unhinged alarmist conferences. But that's not the goal of these conferences: they invite people whose talks make any sense. If there will be an alarmist whose ideas make any sense, she will probably be invited to the skeptics' conference as well. At any rate, this issue has nothing to do with Happer's original claim that alarmism is based on organized groupthink, as Kraken is proving pretty much in every sentence he writes, while people become skeptics and sensible only when they learn how to use their brain individually.
  42. Happer says that we should focus on genuine environmental problems and real pollutants and damages. Kraken is "glad that Happer agrees that fossil fuels cause problems". Kraken thinks that Happer is cherry-picking because Happer wants to solve the other problems but not the climate cataclysm. Well, the difference between the climate cataclysm and other problems is that the latter exist but the former doesn't. Got it, MacCrackpot?
  43. Happer says that the life is about trade-offs and suppressing the cheapest source of energy is unwise. Kraken thinks that this proves that Happer has an agenda because if he didn't have an agenda, he would have to agree with the global communist conspiracy that we must make the green (and inside red) revolution and eliminate fossil fuels (and capitalists). Holy cow, Mr Crackpot, what is exactly "agenda-like" about the statement that people think in terms of trade-offs and suppressing the cheapest source of energy is unwise? I can only understand that those people who deny that this reasoning is a totally essential part of any rational planning have an agenda. There is no green revolution going on; only unhinged mental cripples are using such messianic words. But even if there were a revolution in which the bulk of our energy sources would be replaced by a completely different one, whether or not this should be done would be a political and economical question, not a question for the "global scientific community". People use some sources of energy (developed by someone in the past) because they need it, they can afford it, and they just generally find it good for them, not because of some cutting-edge expert scientific insights.
Sorry, I won't fix the mistakes because it's very time-consuming and this arrogant MacAsshole is just driving me nuts. And I just find it offensive when a political fat cat such as MacCrackpot feels that the environment allows him to attack a scientist who is orders of magnitude more achieved than himself.

Just compare the papers by William Happer, including a paper above 1,000 cits and 6 above 100, with those by Michael MacCracken, with only one paper above 100. It's just silly: MacCrackpot is just a zero. But he gets a position in a pressure group so he immediately feels the support to officially attack Princeton physics professors.

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