Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lisbon Meeting

My last post said that I would be away - the main object of my travel was to attend the Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate. For an excellent summary of the meeting, and its background and purposes, I recommend Judith Curry's two threads (Part I and Part II ). The discussion is interesting too - other participants chime in.

WUWT also has several threads (here too) and has posted the organisers' statement of purpose. Other atttenders have blogged - Tallbloke, Steven Goddard.

I won't at this stage try to add to the facts of what Judith has said. My assessment was similar too. I was interested in Jerome Ravetz' ideas, and impressed by his guidance of the meeting. But I don't have much to say about postnormal science, which I regard as being about society rather than science.

I am very glad I attended the meeting, to hear and meet the participants. I think an agreed outcome was always unlikely, so I was not disappointed there.

I will be travelling for another few days, so apologies in advance if my responses are sometimes delayed.

Update - Deep Climate asked for the list of participants. Here it is, as circulated at the meeting:

Jerome Ravetz James Martin Institute, Oxford Univ., UK
James RisbeyCSIRO, AUS
Jeroen van der Sluijs Univ. Utrecht, NL
Alice Benessia Univ. Torino, IT
Tom Boersen Aalborg University Copenhagen, DK
Judith CurrySchool of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Ga Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GE, USA
Steve Goddard Science and Public Policy Inst., VA, USA
Sofia Guedes VazNew Univ. of Lisbon, PT
Bill Hartree UK Measurement Institute, UK
Werner Krauss Center for Mediterranean Studies, Bochum, DE
Steve McIntyre Climate Audit, CAN
Ross McKitrickDepartment of Economics - University of Guelph, CAN
Jean-Paul MalingreauEuropean Commission – Joint Research Centre
Steve MosherIndependent consultant, USA
Ana LopezLondon School of Economics, UK
Fred Pearce The Guardian, UK
Tiago Pedrosa New Univ. of Lisbon, PT
Roger TattersallLeeds Univ., UK
Gerald TraufetterSpiegel, DE
Louise RomainThe Center for Nonviolent Communication
Viriato Soromenho MarquesUniv. of Lisbon, PT
Nick StokesCSIRO, AUS
Peter WebsterSchool of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GE, USA
Hans Von Storch Meteorological Institute, Univ. Of Hamburg
Ângela Guimarães PereiraEuropean Commission – Joint Research Centre
Silvio FuntowiczEuropean Commission – Joint Research Centre
Ines Crespo European Commission – Joint Research Centre
Paula Curvelo European Commission – Joint Research Centre

65 comments:

  1. G'day Nick.
    It was great to meet you at Lisbon and thanks again for your input to the proceedings.

    The debate at Judy Curry's site has been lively. :)

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  2. Is there an official website? List of participants? Published statements?

    Anyway, while awaiting further info, it looks like a "lukewarmer"-"skeptic" dialogue of some sort.

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  3. Thanks, TB
    I'm currently enjoying some great English hospitality. I also ejnjoyed meeting you and the others there, and I thought the meeting was conducted in a great spirit.

    I've followed the thread at Judy's. I'd like to be able to contribute more, there and here, but family comes first. I'll be able to join in more in a few days, back in Oz.

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  4. Deep,
    I don't think there is an official website. As I mentioned above, WUWT published the statement of purpose. I believe there will be some follow-up documents. Two journalists were there - Fred Pearce, (New Scientist and Guardian)and Gerald Traufetter. Gerald has a post up at Der Spiegel.

    Judy had a list of blogger participants in her first post. I have added a more complete list as an update above. I don't think it can usefully be taken as representative of "sides".

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  5. For some reason the link to Gerald's post doesn't show. It is at
    http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/0,1518,742612,00.html

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  6. Some interesting quotes from McIntyre about climate science and Enron in the der Spiegel post. Same old, same old.

    As far as I can tell:
    - The "skeptics" keep making the same old false accusations.
    - The "lukewarmers" keep refusing to call them on it.

    I notice that one of the organizers (Ravetz, I think) proposes "post-normal science" as the middle way forward between "alarmists" and "skeptics". Curry seems to approve this, except that she carefully removed the word "post-normal" because it's a red flag to "skeptics". Or something.

    How can anyone take such an outlandish framing of the so-called "climate science debate" seriously?

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  7. Actually it was the other organizer, Jeroen van der Sluijs who framed the "climate science debate" as between "alarmists" and "skeptics". Both are PNS proponents, however.

    More here:
    http://deepclimate.org/2011/02/01/open-thread-8/#comment-7723

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nick,

    While you're posting crucial information that has been withheld by the organizers up until now, how about posting the full letter of invitation? It appears to be quite different from the "statement of purpose" from last November that was posted
    at WattsUpWithThat.

    Also maybe you could settle exactly who paid for what i.e. travel, honourarium if any etc.

    As you have no doubt heard, Gavin Schmidt was badly misquoted by Fred Pearce as to his reasons for declining the invitation. Do you have any idea how that happened? Did the organizers mention Schmidt's absence at all? It's hard to avoid the impression that someone may have misled Pearce on this. Although Pearce does get lots of stuff wrong on his own, it would be a new low if he made this up out of whole cloth.

    Thanks!

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  9. By the way, Risbey's papers are great. I'd say the other participants, not to mention the organizers, would have been better off staying home and reading the collected works of Risbey.

    That goes double for Fred Pearce.

    Oh well.

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  10. Deep,
    There's nothing of interest in the formal letter of invitation. It's standard EU, admin, nothing about the purpose of the meeting (beyond title). Probably most participants, like me, got an informal letter with the WUWT doc, and the formal letter only after indicating a wish to attend.

    IIRC, the organisers said nothing in the sessions about other invitees. Others spoke of it, though I can't remember whether it was in plenary session or just table chat. I don't know what source Fred had in mind.

    As to funding and sources, the sponsors listed were EU JRC and the Gulbenkian Foundation. I don't know who paid for what, though EU handles the mechanics. Travel costs were covered; a per diem allowance for meals etc. No substantive honorarium that I'm aware of.

    I don't think organisers have been deliberately withholding information about attendees. There was a public session at the end where some attendees spoke and most were present, though not formally identified.

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  11. The parts of the letter (whether informal or formal) quoted by Schmidt are at odds with the WUWT doc.The letter refers to specific scientific issues to be discussed, with no mention of the heart of the problem in the so-called "climate science debate" i.e. the clearly political dimension.

    Now noone is suggesting (least of all climate scientists) that the "science is settled". But the so-called scientific issues raised by the naysayers of various stripes are really just cover for attacking the credibility of climate scientists and the IPCC.

    How can there be reconciliation with those who perpetuate such false accusations such as "Mann deleted Briffa's data after 1960" or with those who refuse to condemn those falsehoods?

    I'm not suggesting nefarious motives on the part of the organizers, who are probably highly confused do-gooders. But at best this was a muddle-headed waste of time; at worst, it will serve to further legitimize indefensible attacks on climate science and climate scientists by the likes of McIntyre, McKitrick and Watts.

    According to Pearce, the main emerging theme was the "corruption" of climate science and the IPCC. What a crock.

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  12. "Others spoke of it, though I can't remember whether it was in plenary session or just table chat."

    So, essentially, somehow it became common knowledge that Schmidt had been asked and he had turned it down. And along the way his reasons for doing so got spun. That explains a lot.

    The organizers and Pearce have a lot of explaining to do.

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  13. Curry says:
    "At the meeting, I recall hearing something like this, but by the time this got to me, who knows how it might have been mangled. I understand that Schmidt sent an email reply to Ravetz, declining the invitation. Tallbloke apparently actually saw the email. I recall some discussions about this, maybe Tallbloke can clarify."

    Sounds to me like lines were blurred between the roles of organizers and certain attendees.

    Ravetz is clueless. He got spun and used. Next.

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  14. Here's a key quote from Ravetz:

    Problems with severe uncertainties and high decision-stakes are so different from those of ‘normal science’ that its traditionally-trained practitioners are not fully competent to assess quality in that sphere. Hence the ‘extended peer community’ has a vital role to play.


    The obvious implication of this point of view is that "blog scientists" and fringe researchers have a "vital role" in assessing the quality of policy-relevant climate science.

    Are you really on board with this?

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  15. Deep,
    No, I haven't acquired an enthusiasm for post-normal science. But I don't believe going to the meeting implied agreement with everything Ravetz has said.

    On the issue of what people said about why Gavin declined - I mostly ignored it, since I had no reliable information. Though I can't recall anyone saying it was because the science is settled.

    I don't think the conference will legitimise any kind of attack - it basically had no agreed outcome at all.

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  16. Nick,
    How about agreement with Lisbon organizer and JRC rep Angela Pereira (h/t Rabett)?

    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100202/full/463596a.html#comment-id-9425

    Any problems with that?

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  17. "I don't think the conference will legitimise any kind of attack - it basically had no agreed outcome at all."

    But it did have the *desired* outcome, thanks to Fred Pearce. Is there a more gullible journalist on the planet?

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  18. PolyisTCOandbannedFebruary 5, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    It's just some bloggers wanting attention, Deep. Don't get all buttlocked over it.

    And drop the funding brouhaha thing. You make me laugh when you go into your DC mode. There's a lot less dollars and people feeding their family's from the wingnut rightist funding sponsors than from the huge budgets of universities and government grant support. (and before you whine that they arne't making much and could all go be rocket scientists at Goldman, try RIFing some and listen to the screams. ;)

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  19. Having had the experience of taking in orphans, let Eli tell you that there is a lot more riffing out there than the average wingnut thinks. Even in universities large parts of engineering and science faculty are on non tenure tracks.

    However, it is a mistake to think of what happened in Lisboa as a blogger ethics panel, more seriously it was an attempt by a bunch of marginalized social science types to draw attention to themselves by leveraging bloggers, the Gulbenkian Foundation and periphery EU support, and to some extent it appeared to work. Think of it as a Roger Jr. project with a smarter and smoother Roger Jr. and you see the point.

    ReplyDelete
  20. TCO,
    Actually I don't think there's anything nefarious about the Gulbenkian Foundation.But the question should always be asked. For instance think about the Fraser Institute - $2 million and counting from Encana and its founding CEO Gwyn Morgan. One think tank and on ecompany only - there are plenty of others, right up to the Koch brothers funding the Tea Party.

    Meanwhile, real climate science research in Canada is getting cut back, in favour of subsidies to industry for doubtful carbon sequestration projects.

    Eli,
    But that implies Ravetz is a smarter smoother Roger Jr? He looks more like a confused "gone emeritus" type to me.

    It seems that a lot of the invitees were suggested by fringe blogger Tallbloke, whose key role in all this is just emerging.

    If there was a "smooth operator" behind this, how did Steven Mosher and Steven Goddard ever get invited?

    I will admit, though, co-opting the two journalists was brilliant. I wonder who thought of that.

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  21. Climate change should not even be debated. It doesn't matter if it's really happening due to man or nature, or if it's happening at all. A cleaner planet is a better planet. It's interesting to note that this meeting took place in Lisbon, the capital of a country that's becoming a leader in renewable energy. You may want to read this: http://www.lisbonlux.com/magazine/is-climate-change-and-global-warming-a-reality-or-a-hoax-in-lisbon-it-doesnt-matter/

    ReplyDelete
  22. The organising Team

    Ângela Guimarães Pereira – European Commission
    Jerome Ravetz – Oxford Univ.,UK
    Silvio Funtowicz – European Commission
    Jeroen Van Der Sluijs – Univ. Of Utrecht, NL
    James Risbey, CSIRO, AUS

    So Risbey *was* on the organizing team, although I guess Pereira and Ravetz were the main players. I was wondering how CISRO got involved. Why no one bothered to publish this before is beyond me.It explains a lot. I'd realized Risbey went back a ways with Ravetz and the others, but I didn't think he would let himself be used in this way. I'm guessing he got involved as a favour to Ravetz. And it makes sense that no other self-respecting scientist would have gotten involved.

    It's very sad. Oh well, learn for the next time.

    I've been reading Tallbloke's blog. Maybe Nick you could post a clear unambiguous statement on Tallbloke's role (preferably from one of the organizers). Also if you or James Risbey were aware of Tallbloke's involvement. I hope you are not one of those who thinks it was appropriate for Tallbloke to share Gavin Schmidt's private email with other attendees. A clear stance on this issue would be helpful; so far, neither Curry nor McIntyre seem willing to do that.

    Now here's an idea for a more reasonable post-normal climate conference. A detailed rigourous look at the main work (i.e. blogs and non-scientific reports) of the "skeptics". E.g. McIntyre's climategate posts, or the Wegman report. A detailed examination of claims such as "As IPCC lead author, Mann deleted Briffa's post-1960 data" (McIntyre, 2009) and "M&M demonstrated extreme bias of short-centred PCA on AR1(.2) noise" (Wegman et al, 2006), along with all the "scholarship" issues (quote mining, plagiarism etc.).

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  23. That should be: And it makes sense that no other self-respecting mainstream "consensus" scientist would have gotten involved. Von Storch and Curry are bona fide scientists to be sure, but both critics of the mainstream.

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  24. And by the way Tallbloke's story keeps changing. So I think the organizers also need to be very clear exactly how Tallbloke got Schmidt's email. It seems pretty clear that the goal was to get Pearce to spin the story that way. And it worked.

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  25. Deep,
    Apologies for the hiatus there, but I arrived back in Melbourne last night from London.

    I don't think I can help with whatever went on at the meeting re Gavin. I have forgotten the details of how I heard that Gavin had been invited and declined. Since I found his decision quite understandable, I wasn't curious about the reasons. But it appears now that the main discussion happened at a dinner where I was not present.

    I wouldn't make too much of the questions of who saw the email. It's Gavin's response to the meeting organisers, and he would have to expect it to be circulated among "them", possibly loosely defined. It seems that if the email had been reported correctly, there would have been no controversy. The issue is that Fred Pearce gave a bad report, and while it may have reflected informal conversations, it was his responsibility to get it right. I wouldn't be conspiratorial about it - I don't think anyone could have expected him to be so careless.

    I can't get excited about Dr Ravetz getting advice from Tallbloke or anyone else about invitations - he can do that. It might be an issue for the funding agency.

    I don't think James Risbey was involved as a CSIRO representative. I made it clear to the organisers that I wasn't (my status with CSIRO is now emeritus anyway). I think the attribution of affiliation on the doc I posted was just background info for other participants. Incidentally, we didn't know who else was invited until just a few days before the meeting.

    Just to clear up an earlier confusion, the invitation from the organisers to Gavin that was posted was not issued generally. Mine was quite different (much shorter). I think everyone got something individual. And I suspect the plans for the meeting changed after Gavin and others declined. They may even have listened to him.

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  26. Nick - the picture they have described is McIntyre, TallBloke and Fred Pearce in a group. The email was read to Fred Pearce. TallBloke claims TallBloke's paraphrase was "the science is settled." Curry says that paraphrase is "not irrational:" his champion to his defense. Beer was mentioned. If they can rationally read "the science is settled" into Gavin's email, why can't I see it as a drunken "let's get Gavin" moment, and that Curry, who acknowledges hearing about it, was in on it?

    Well, okay, I don't know that they were drunk. I apologize and withdraw that.

    Well, okay, I don't know that Curry was in on it. I apologize and withdraw that.

    Well, okay, I don't know that they were conspiring to get Gavin. I apologize and withdraw that.

    So I conclude it was serendipity.

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  27. Well I agree that Fred Pearce has a lot to answer for - thoroughly unprofessional and gullible. I do agree that is the main issue here, as he is the one, of all the players, who should have known better. In fact, some real journalism would be welcome, including a through examination of the provenance of this workshop, going back to a full airing of Ravetz's extraordinary attacks on climate scientists a year ago at WUWT.I'm still shaking my head at those.

    Regarding the appropriateness of the email being circulated outside the organizer committee, to a journalist yet, in order to put a certain "spin" on the proceedings, it would be good if at least one of the organizers would speak for themselves. Do you not see - irony of ironies - there is an issue of trust here? Should we expect that replies to invitations to all contrarian conferences are to be subjected to a full airing from now on? In that case, the proper response is obvious - straight to the trash.

    Apart from that, the involvement of "tallbloke" strikes at the credibility of the workshop which is crumbling fast as far as I can tell.

    I'm glad to hear that CSIRO was probably not involved, though.

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  28. JGH -
    Actually, the email was read *by* Pearce, to McIntyre and McKitrick. And then taken away ("tallbloke's" laptop, maybe?).At least I think that's the story - it is hard to keep up.

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  29. That's right, deepclimate. Sorry. That way he could not take notes.

    The "I was the reader and could not take notes" defense.

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  30. That should be:

    Should we expect that replies to invitations to all contrarian conferences are to be subjected to a full airing from now on, subject to any desired spin for the purpose of attacking that scientist or his work? In that case, the proper response is obvious - straight to the trash. I suppose then the scuttlebutt would be so-and-so wouldn't even answer - the nerve and the arrogance.

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  31. As they say, you can't make this stuff up:

    http://deepclimate.org/2011/02/07/post-normal-meltdown-in-lisbon-part-1/

    Lots of hilarity, but this one stands out.


    But Gavin is not a worthy scientist anyway:

    "People with closed minds are by definition non-scientists as I see it. Gavin is a computer programmer, who by definition go about their work by defining the variables before they start. See Feynman on scientific method."

    I wonder if “tallbloke” let Pearce in on his expose of Gavin Schmidt as a “non-scientist”. Who needs him anyway?

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  32. More seriously, I think the invitation of "tallbloke" - let alone designation of as an ad hoc member of the invitation committee - is just a small symptom of the deep problems that have emerged concerning this conference. Ditto for all the other dubious invitees, which pretty much includes all the actual attendees (except the actual scientists).

    Even "tallbloke's" indiscretion is hardly the major issue as it turns out, although I'm somewhat mystified at everyone's casual attitude about this attempt to spin Schmidt's absence.

    I am deeply shocked - in all seriousness - at Ravetz's casual, uninformed and frankly libelous attacks on climate scientists at WUWT. And even the toned down Lisbon rationale statement was clearly a non-starter.

    This conference should never have happened, and I can't believe James Risbey would knowingly allow himself to be associated with such nonsense.

    I think this blog is the only one where the workshop is being discussed where the invitation and Schmidt's reply have not been shown. I think that it perfectly describes the problems with the conference, although it may have been overly restrained.

    To follow ...

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  33. Here is the key excerpt from the Lisbon organizers’ letter of invitation.

    At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.

    The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.


    Here is Gavin Schmidt’s reply:

    Thanks for the invitation. However, I’m a little confused at what conflict you feel you are going to be addressing? The fundamental conflict is of what (if anything) we should do about greenhouse gas emissions (and other assorted pollutants), not what the weather was like 1000 years ago. Your proposed restriction against policy discussion removes the whole point. None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions. No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.

    You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.

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  34. Deep,
    Thanks for posting that. This thread was not originally about Pearce's statement, which it preceded.

    A curious wrinkle that no-one seems to have noticed is that the rationale statement, posted at WUWT, says:
    "The organisers are aware that many participants had been looking forward to a debate on the scientific questions. We have come to believe that at this time that would be premature."

    They then went on to give reasons that I don't agree with, but I did agree that it would be impractical. It looks like there was a change of thinking between when Gavin's invite was written and when the statement of purpose was written. When I got my invite, the statement of purpose was attached, and so the letter was much shorter, because it didn't heed to cover that ground.

    That excerpt seems to undercut the rationalisation that Gavin was "really" refusing because there was no point in debating "settled science". They weren't going to debate the science anyway. However, again it's possible that the plan was different at the time of correspondence with Gavin.

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  35. Nick,
    The statement of purpose is from November 2010 (according to the PDF creation date), although it was posted at WUWT later I gather.I have no idea when Gavin Schmidt's invitation went out or if it was before or after the rationale sattement. However, I did note exactly that discrepancy in my piece - since uncertainty was supposedly the only scientific issue to be discussed.

    When did you get your letter? My understanding is that it was quite late, and only after it was apparent that no "mainstreamers" were showing up. What a fiasco!

    I also noted the *huge* discrepancy between the rationale and the WUWT pieces. Have you read those yet, by the way?

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  36. Tallbloke has already noted the outcome of a session on temperature data, exactly as stated in the Gavin's invitation, but missing from the rationale. So without information to the contrary, it appears that Gavin's invitation is closer to what actually happened. Right?

    According to Bill H, Chatham rules in this case are quite limited. Therefore of course I won't ask you to talk about the views that you may have expressed or to attribute views of others.

    However, apparently the views themselves are fair game, and presumably membership at different "session" tables.

    So perhaps you could list the members of all your sessions. Did folks change around? Or stay together?

    Tallbloke has mentioned that you, Ross McKitrick and he all discussed "natural variation" on day 1 I think. Who else was there for that?

    I'm also very interested in the temperature data session that Tallbloke showed the result of. Were you in that one too, by any chance?

    Thanks!

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  37. Deep,
    On dates, Gavin's invite came 6 October; the PDF says the version of the rationale posted was in November, and my invite came in December. It occurs to me that the part "We have come to believe..." probably does refer to a post-Gavin change.

    I hadn't read the Ravetz essays at WUWT, but I did now - they are here, here and here. I agree that they make unjustified slurs on some climate scientists.

    On the table statement that TB posted, one could exaggerate its status. On the last day, there was a suggestion that some statements agreed by the meeting should be made, and tables then formulated statements to be presented by an agreed nominee for possible adoption by the meeting. The table process had no formal voting structure; in that case some compromise did occur. I was on that table. As it happened, the idea of endorsing statements did not prevail, so that statement was not formally endorsed by any group, and was left in limbo, as were the others.

    I changed groups once, on the second day. I think the discussion you mention on natural variation must have been on the second or third day. I don't think (Chatham) I should identify others on the table, but I don't think any could be said to have played a dominant role.

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  38. Yes I see that now (this stuff happened a lot of different places).

    That doesn't really help though, does it? Since all these "scientific issues" that Gavin Schmidt rightly dismissed as irrelevant and covers for political positions ended up getting discussed, and more.

    Not to mention that exactly those with whom Gavin said "reconciliation" was pointless (again, rightly) were in the vast majority among attending invitees.

    I've started looking at van der Sluijs's stuff. As gullible and off the rails as Ravetz in his own way. Worse really, because he actually acknowledges the phenomenon of "merchants of doubt". But fails miserably to actually recognize them in the domain of climate politics. Downright pathetic.

    Now Ravetz is complaining that PNS is under attack. No, it's not. Just his complete misunderstanding of climate science and climate politics.

    -sigh-

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  39. Deep,
    No, there wasn't much discussion of specific scientific issues in the meeting generally. One of my objections in that final session was that some of the proposals for meeting statements covered matters that had not been discussed at all. I don't think this was quite true of the temperature measurement proposal, but there wasn't much. In particular there were recommendations for supposedly new practices when there seemed to be inadequate reference to what current practices are.

    I think this may have been one of the reasons why no statement emerged.

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  40. Well the only things I've heard about is natural variation and, yes, temperature data "practices", which sounds like trying to get the same old tired issues through the back door, frankly.

    Plus a lot of whingeing about the IPCC use of the "hockey stick" etc. Again the MWP through the back door.

    Was there anything discussed that wasn't a complete waste of time?

    Now here are two issues I'd really like you to give your full frank opinion on:

    1) I notice you haven't addressed one of Gavin's main concerns where he rejected even the possibility of reconciliation with the non-scientists who were present, for very apposite reasons.

    2) How does having two journalists present square with the idea of reconciliation behind closed doors? Especially when one of the journalists has misrepresented the views of one of the absent scientists based on unattributed rumours and a quick view of an incomplete, out-of-context email? And has failed to adequately correct or aplogize for the misinformation?

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  41. Deep,

    Remember Gavin wouldn't have known who the other invitees were.

    My contention in my contribution was that reconciliation at such a meeting is not likely to be useful, even if possible, because of the unstructured nature of scepticism. If you reconcile with some leaders, others will take over the lead. But I agree that there was not much likelihood of reconciliation anyway, for the reasons he gave. A meeting with a few Gavins present would have been interesting, and maybe positive, but I quite understand his unenthusiasm.

    I was actually surprised those journalists came. It's quite a time investment for one story. I don't think the Chatham rule means closed doors - you've heard plenty about what went on, and there was a public session. Fred Pearce made a bad error, but otherwise I don't think the reporting has been particularly slanted, and in any case, there wasn't much of it.

    I don't know whether other journalists were invited.

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  42. "Remember Gavin wouldn't have known who the other invitees were."

    Nevertheless he described them correctly. He understood perfectly well what this was really about.

    "I agree that there was not much likelihood of reconciliation anyway".

    Much likelihood? Try zero, as in "not possible". Again, Gavin nailed it.

    "I don't think the Chatham rule means closed doors". Agreed - in this case, it just means people talking about what they want to, according to their own agendas. And citing it as a cover for what they don't want to discuss.


    "Fred Pearce made a bad error". I'll say - he sacrificed his credibility by even going.

    Don't you understand there's a huge conflict between buying into this "reconciliation" of "honest brokers" and contrarians as an active participant, and actually reporting properly on it?

    "I don't think the reporting has been particularly slanted".

    Then you're not paying attention. And I understand Traufetter "gave it with both barrels" on "climategate" at the public meeting.

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  43. Traufetter
    http://www.thegwpf.org/science-news/2361-climate-war-continues-despite-reconciliation-meeting.html

    "The uncertainties in climate models are researched completely inadequately. The science establishment attempts to conceal this fact from the public," said Curry.

    Even Curry doesn't stand behind the second sentence (which was actually attached in the German version) even though it is presented as a direct quote. But I don't know if she's done anything about it.

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  44. Deep,
    OK, I've re-read Traufetter's post, which does indeed have a strong pro-McIntyre slant. However, as a report of the meeting, it's reasonably correct. The last Curry quote may be wrong, but she did speak of IPCC's allegedly poor rendition of uncertainty. The slant was mostly in the meeting, not the report. So perhaps you could say the slanting was that der Spiegel gave too much prominence to the views expressed at the meeting.

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  45. Slanted but correct. Got it.

    I mean, honestly, why do both these journalists (and you) think it is acceptable to "report" these outrageous accusations from contrarians and "honest brokers" at face value? And not even ask scientists for a response? And misquote out of context from stolen or leaked emails?

    Of course, by this point any scientist would think twice before trusting either of them.

    This meeting should have been reported for what it really was. Or completely ignored.

    Keep going, you're doing great.

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  46. "This meeting should have been reported for what it really was. Or completely ignored."

    Yes, I agree. And I think largely they did correctly report what happened. You may not like what was said at the meeting; I didn't agree with much of it either. And ignoring was an option. If by "what it really was" you mean they should have taken a slant against the meeting because of its contrarian dominance - well, I think that is best left to the readers to judge.

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  47. McIntyre did imply Gavin would have known one the of participants, and the implication was that Gavin would not like the guy. I believe McIntyre indicated the person wrote something at WUWT about Climategate. It's on Climate Etc., but it is so hard to find stuff over there.

    I'm glad Nick went because he got to see Lisbon. That cannot be bad.

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  48. "And I think largely they did correctly report what happened."

    Climate science is the only field I know of where outrageous, unfounded accusations are routinely parroted (or "reported", if you want to call it that). Without even the courtesy of a response from those attacked. Sorry that is not professional or ethical reporting, "correct" or otherwise.

    And wait until you see what happens to Pearce's article when you put in what Schmidt really said, instead of the "science is settled" that Pearce then went on to report the contrarian "disagreement" with. Is it "correct" to report "disagreement" with something Schmidt didn't actually say? Is it "correct" and balanced to leave out that the fact that one of the organizers' confidants improperly leaked and distorted confidential communication in an effort to spin? But if he reported that, then he would have to admit that he had been gullible and should not have accepted to participate.

    JCH, Maybe he meant the Ravetz WUWT pieces. That was a pretty good indication of the real purpose of the meeting.


    Nick, Are you trying to make my case? If so, you are doing a pretty good job. Thanks!

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  49. One more:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/odonnellgate/

    "Sadly, attacking climate scientists by mis-quoting and mis-representing private correspondences or confidential materials appears now to be the primary modus operandi of climate change deniers. To those that still don’t get this — and who continue to believe that these people can be trusted to present their scientific results honestly, and who continue to speculate that their may be truth in the allegations made over the years against Mike Mann, Ben Santer, Phil Jones, Stephen Schneider, Andrew Weaver, Kevin Trenberth, Keith Briffa, Gavin Schmidt, Darrell Kaufmann, and many many others, just because they ‘read it on a blog somewhere’ — I’d be happy to share with you some of the more, err, ‘colorful’, emails I’ve gotten from O’Donnell and his coauthors.

    If you still don’t get it, then I have a suggestion for a classic short story you should read. It’s called, The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson."

    As noted previously, Chatham House rules permit the repetition of any statements as long as they are not attributed. Perhaps you could repeat the most outrageous, incendiary accusations you heard. Personal slurs would be best. You know, just "report" them.

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  50. Can you handle the truth? (From the same post)

    "Perhaps there is a silver lining here. Perhaps the utter silliness of the shrill accusations that O’Donnell made against me — based on a version of the facts, in his head, that are demonstrably and unequivocally false, coupled with the fact that he then retracted them (or at least has promised to do so), will help more people see what the steadily growing list of other scientists who’ve been accused by McIntyre and his associates of plagiarism, dishonesty, data manipulation, fraud, deceit, and duplicity have been telling me for years: these people are willing to say anything, regardless of the cost to others’ reputations and to the progress of legitimate science, to advance their paranoid worldview."

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  51. Deep,
    Not sure why you're getting into the ODonnellgate stuff. I'm very well aware that sceptics say nasty things about scientists. And I defend them, on the blogs where the slurs originate. eg Steig
    here, or
    here, or
    here

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  52. There's a difference between outrageous and manifestly false accusations and saying "nasty things".

    The point is reconciliation is impossible (not to mention undesirable) with those who have made and continue to make these reprehensible false accusations. Many of whom you sat down with and attempted this so-called reconciliation, under the facilitation of those who refuse to call a spade a spade.

    If you don't want to accept exactly what you were dealing with in Lisbon, we'll have to agree to disagree. If you don't agree that reporting on the "sceptics" has been shamefully gullible - or worse - well, we'll have to agree to disagree about that too.

    I was just curious to see how far you would go in defending the Lisbon farce. I think the answer is there for all to see.

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  53. Hello, Nick, it's Bill Hartree here: we met in Lisbon, so I thought I'd renew acquaintance. I have been finding out about the shenanigans there on the Friday night, after I had departed, not least through Deepclimate - yes, DC, I'm the "Bill H" who provided some info on your blog about the Science is Settled story.

    What I find strangest is that the various participants are so anxious to sound off publicly about the meeting. Sure, the Chatham House rules were soft but for a meeting that styled itself as "talks about talks" I would have expected a distinct reticence from the attenders, and yet we have Tallbloke commenting at enormous length on a variety of blogs about a boozy revel during which Schmidt's email was hauled out for general viewing, and exactly who read it to whom, and why. We have McIntyre contradicting Tallbloke's original version of events with his own, and then TB admitting that McIntyre's version was actually correct. Mosher then chimes in to say that he advised against publicising the contents of the email at this drinking session. Apart from anything else this seems to flout the Chatham House rules - but then Judith Curry tells us that it doesn't because the events took place after the completion of the formal conference, though this seems to be pure conjecture on her part, and I have no idea whether the organisers would agree. I have indeed contacted the organisers to express my disquiet and been told merely, and bizarrely, that I should "forward my email to Tallbloke". They already seem to be past caring. I did indeed contact TB, who defended his actions with the claim that all publicity is good publicity (an adage for which there seems to be no empirical evidence).

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  54. Well I'm not sure if all these events happened at the same time. I think Mosher was talking about an earlier time as the discussion swirled about Schmidt's absence. The reading of the email happened after the conference was over and apparently only McIntyre, McKitrick and Perace were there with tallbloke. No one has contradicted that. I admit it's hard to keep track, as the story kept changing.

    Bottom line, Pearce wrote about it in fairly favourable (and misleading) terms. Mission accomplished. In fact, it sounds like "tallbloke's" real role was to get press coverage. I guess he did whatever it took.

    I think it's surprising that so far only one attendee appears to find this very problematic. And the cavalier attitude of the organizers is puzzling, to say the least.

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  55. Oh, and, Nick: Did you not notice that Eric Steig directly tied what O'Donnell to what happened in Lisbon? Of course, it's all part of the same outrageous pattern. Over and over.

    Personally, I've had enough.

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  56. Thanks, Bill - hope you enjoyed the train trip. Yes, I've tried to stick to the Chatham rule - fortunately I skipped that Friday evening meal (long day), so I'm not under pressure there. I think the rule has merit, mainly because otherwise there would be a cacophony of claims about who said what when, probably contradictory.

    Of course the organisers probably can't do much about breaches anyway.

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  57. Deep,
    54 - well I can help you on that one - each dinner on that Fri night was populated by one taxi load (4 people) - the taxis never met up. So I think your inference is right.

    No, I didn't see Eric Steig mentioning what happened in Lisbon. In the latest RC post?

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  58. Well, of course, it's right. I wouldn't have said it otherwise.

    My post was linked in this passage from Steig.

    "Sadly, attacking climate scientists by mis-quoting and mis-representing private correspondences or confidential materials appears now to be the primary modus operandi of climate change deniers."

    That's exactly what happened at your nice Lisbon workshop.

    "Of course the organisers probably can't do much about breaches anyway."

    Well, they can could at least pretend concern, instead of suggesting contacting the worst offender. Sheesh.

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  59. "My post was linked in this passage from Steig" (I mean hyperlinked, not just figuratively - another few hundred get to see the truth).

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  60. Nick (& Bill H)
    I ask since you were there.
    this comment, and next few @ Deltoid summarize some information from Tallbloke's site.

    I am curious if TB's discussions at Lisbon were consistent with the worldview shown there. [This is worded carefully to not break Chatham.]

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  61. John,
    Tallbloke is always keen to talk about his current ideas. He did so in Lisbon. I don't think he presents them differently in different places.

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  62. Nick: thanks.
    He certainly does seem fond of a certain related cluster of ideas.

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  63. Hi Nick,
    In fact the posts and topics on my blog listed by John Mashey are not really representative of the 'related cluster of ideas' which form the central core of my research. He cherry picks science issues mentioned there to suit his pre-concieved agenda. ;-)

    These core topics are easily found by reference to this recent post:
    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/statement-of-intent/

    Also, I have an interesting analysis of forcing factors and ocean surface temperature from Roger Andrews fresh up today in which he concludes co2 could be the major forcing factor from 1960 onwards. I hope this goes some way to showing people that I'm happy for the chips to fall where they may on attribution, once the uncertainty is reduced, and that people with a full range of opinions on the subject are welcome.

    I am for open debate of the actual science, rather than the usual character assassination and misrepresentation indulged in by deep and friends.

    By the way deep, Bill Hartree and I exchanged emails this morning and he assures me he will be setting the record straight concerning the reasons I gave him for mentioning Gavin Schmidt's response to other conference delegates in reply to their questions.

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  64. Summing up, Lisbon was not 'neutral'. Tallbloke demonstrated that, as did Curry.

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  65. Summing up from someone who was actually there:

    It was a mixed bag of successes, failures and positive interactions.

    I don't think anyone went with the expectation or hope that it would be 'neutral'.

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