Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Mann v. Hansen: They Aren't All the Same

My interest in the global warming controversy centers mostly on the question, largely although not entirely economic, of what the net effect for humans would be of global warming on the scale suggested by past IPCC projections; for details see my previous posts on the subject. I have, however, also been an observer, mostly from a safe distance, of the ongoing war between proponents of the conventional view of global warming and critics. For anyone else interested in observing it, I suggest the RealClimate blog for the former side and Anthony Watt's What's Up With That for the latter. They represent the more reasonable range of their respective factions. For the less reasonable range, a sample of both sides can be found on the Usenet group alt.global-warming.

One not surprising feature of the argument is that each side tends to demonize everyone on the other side. That is a mistake. Some people hold a position for good reasons, some for bad. Some supporters of a position are honest, some are not. And that is true both of correct positions and of incorrect ones, given that most such disputes are over questions complicated enough so that there are good arguments for both sides.

I was reminded of this point by a recent link on WUWT to a paper coauthored by James Hansen, who has been a prominent supporter of the idea that global warming is a very serious problem and strong measures should be taken to deal with it. The paper is a defense of nuclear energy, both on the grounds that it results in many fewer deaths than conventional energy sources and on the grounds that it does not produce CO2, hence shifting to nuclear energy would reduce global warming.

That is interesting because, while the second point is clearly true and the first may well be, it is not a position popular with environmentalists. I pointed that out in an old post on this blog, and ended with:
I am sure there are people who are both seriously worried about global warming and in favor of nuclear power. But how many of them are there? How many high profile spokesmen or organizations have taken that position?
 I now have at least one example.

This is the second time I have noticed Hansen getting something right. The first was a video of a talk he gave on how to control global warming. It was in favor of what economists call a pigouvian tax, in this case a tax on putting CO2 in the air, as a superior alternative to more direct forms of regulation. Given his underlying assumption—that global warming produces large net negative externalities—he had the economics right. In that case as well, although not as clearly, he was going against the consensus of "his side," most of whose members, in my experience, support a range of more direct regulations and many of whom disapprove of the idea of allowing firms to "buy the right to pollute."

I offer, as a contrast to Hansen, another prominent figure on the same side of the dispute, Michael Mann, most famous for his role in the hockey stick controversy, the argument over whether features of a graph of global temperature in an article he co-authored were real or were artifacts of an error in the statistical procedure he used to produce it. That particular controversy is complicated enough so that I have no strong opinion on it, although I do have the opinion of one statistician I know that there was a real problem with the analysis. 

But I also observed, mostly via arguments on the Usenet group, a less important controversy over a simpler issue, the claim by Mann, his university, and his supporters, that he was a "Nobel winning scientist."

[Later addition: Tim Lambert in the comments points out that the university web page claimed Mann won a Nobel prize (along with others), but specifies the peace prize, hence does not describe him as a "Nobel winning scientist."  The claim on Mann's facebook page was similar. 

So I don't have evidence that Mann or the university described him as a "Nobel winning scientist," merely that they (falsely) claimed he had won a Nobel prize. On the other hand, a quick google finds lots of stories by supporters, including stories of interviews with Mann, which do describe him as a "Nobel winning scientist," which seems unlikely if he made any effort to correct those who so described him.]

That claim was bogus twice over. To begin with, the Nobel prize in question was the Peace Prize, so even if Mann had won it, the description, although literally true, would be misleading. But in fact, the prize did not go to him, it went to the IPCC. His claim was based on a certificate from the IPCC, sent to a substantial number of people, crediting them with work that helped the organization win the prize. 

Doing work, along with others, that helps an organization win the Peace Prize does not make you a Nobel prize winning scientist, as should have been obvious to anyone not blindly partisan—but wasn't to a considerable number of people who were. Mann's university, many of his supporters, and (I think) Mann himself, finally abandoned the claim after someone got in touch with the Nobel committee and got the response that the prize had been given to the IPCC, not to Mann et. al., and he was thus not a Nobel winner. That does not tell me whether the hockey stick is or isn't bogus, but it does tell me something about Mann that makes me very reluctant to trust anything he writes.

I could, I suppose, make longer lists of good guys and bad guys on both sides of this and other controversies—Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, would be on the same list as Mann, for his role in the Himalayan glacier controversy. So would some people on my side of other issues. But I think two examples are sufficient to make the point.

32 Comments:

At 12:10 PM, April 03, 2013, Blogger EH said...

The best 'skeptical' place on the web is in my opinion Climate Audit, hands down. It may be a bit technical sometimes, but that is what it takes to get to the heart of the matter, rather than having the wool pulled over your eyes, or having to agree to disagree. Steve's attention to detail, commitment to the truth, and politeness to a fault, is paralleled only on one other place on the web that I know of; which is right here. WUWT is a bit sensational by comparison, I would say.

If you want to know the details of the hockey stick, steve has it all archived. The issues he raised were undoubtly valid. Their significance to the relevant papers was also unquestionable, although one shouldn't overblow the significance to the overall AGW debate. As with the nobel claim, the most striking conclusion to emerge from the whole circus however, is the complete and utter lack of integrity of Mann and his inner circle. Even without any kind of training in statistics, that is a conclusion which should stand as a sore thumb to anyone willing to engage with the subject matter with an open mind for a little bit.

 
At 7:52 PM, April 03, 2013, Anonymous Douglas Knight said...

I now have at least one example.

You would have a lot more examples if you read the comments on that post. One example was Stewart Brand, who is interesting for the 2005 prediction that the green movement would embrace nuclear power in the next decade.

 
At 11:55 PM, April 03, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Douglas:

I put up that post five years ago. I certainly don't remember the comments now.

So far as Stewart Brand is concerned, I wouldn't consider him a conventional environmentalist, judging mostly by the _Whole Earth Catalog_.

 
At 4:07 AM, April 04, 2013, Blogger Tibor Mach said...

David:
The hyperlink to previous posts is not working, you have a link in the form "../search?q=global+warming" while it should be "../search?q=global&warming" in order to find the results.

 
At 5:00 AM, April 04, 2013, Blogger Tim Worstall said...

Re Hansen.

Yes, he gets the Pigou Tax idea right. But he goes entirely off the rails when he tries to calculate the value. $1,000 a tonne he says.

What he's done is take all of the extreme values. So climate sensitivity is high, emissions are high, damages from increased temperatures are high.

Of course, what you're supposed to do is take the expected values: it's fine to have the extremes in there, but they should be multiplied by hte probability of their happening. It's this that he fails to do.

So what he's really calculated is that the tax might, conceivably, be as high as $1,000. Rather than the conclusion he's reached, which is that the tax should be $1,000.

 
At 7:41 AM, April 04, 2013, Blogger Tim Lambert said...

Mann's lawyers wrote this "Dr Mann shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the other IPCC authors for their work in climate change" instead of "Dr Mann contributed to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC for their work in climate change". This seems to me to be a rather pedantic distinction.

Similarly, people describe Diego Maradona as a World Cup winner even though it was his team that won the cup. If someone made a big deal about something like that, you would suspect that they had a rather large axe to grind.

You yourself have said that your father won the Nobel prize when in fact he won The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Should we discount everything you write in future over such a pedantic distinction?

I also note that Mann's lawyers wrote "Nobel Peace Prize" rather than "Nobel Prize". Again, should we discount everything you write now because you got that wrong?

Hansen is hardly the only pro-nuclear environmentalist -- there are plenty more listed here.

 
At 7:42 AM, April 04, 2013, Anonymous Robbo said...

"Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" is a harsh rule, but a practical one.

 
At 10:12 AM, April 04, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Tim:

You are citing Mann's lawyers. I was referring to what used to be on his University's web page and what was routinely asserted by his supporters. I'm pretty sure it was also asserted by him, in the form "Nobel Prize winning" in various contexts, but I could be mistaken.

 
At 10:29 AM, April 04, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Tibor:

Both versions of the URL work for me. I don't know why one of them doesn't for you.

 
At 10:57 AM, April 04, 2013, Blogger Tibor Mach said...

David: Strangely it started working even with the "+" now that I turned the OS off and on again...like a lot of problems with software :)

Sorry for the sirrelevant message then.

 
At 4:06 PM, April 04, 2013, Blogger Tim Lambert said...

Checking with the wayback machine I find that in Nov 2012 his PSU page stated "Co-awarded (along with several hundred other scientists) the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for involvement in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (lead author of chapter 2 of the Third Assessment Report, 2001)".

So you are wrong. According to David Friedman this means that you should be very reluctant to trust anything he writes.

I also note that you are wrong about Pachauri as well. You claim that he dismissed as "voodoo science" experts saying that the IPCC WG2 report was incorrect in its statement that Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035. You are wrong. His "voodoo science" comment was about a report that claimed that the glaciers were "just fine", that they weren't melting at all. I read that report and "voodoo science" is a reasonable description. The author doesn't offer any scientific evidence in support of his claim.

The Himalayan glaciers are melting and projected to disappear, but it will take centuries, not decades. The error in the IPCC report (now corrected) was about when it would happen, not whether it would happen.

 
At 6:34 PM, April 04, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Tim:

The PSU page you are quoting it from Nov 2012, which is after the reply from the Nobel committee forced various people to drop the claim. Mann's claims in his suit against NRO are webbed at:

http://legaltimes.typepad.com/files/michael-mann-complaint.pdf

They include the statement:

"Dr. Mann and his colleagues were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize."

Mann's Facebook page from October of 2012, a month before what you quoted, contains the statement:

"along with Vice President Al Gore and his colleagues of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for ..."

https://www.facebook.com/MichaelMannScientist/posts/437351706321037

Checking his PSU page just a few months earlier than you checked it, I find:

"Co-awarded (along with several hundred other scientists) the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize"

http://web.archive.org/web/20100714161943/http://ploneprod.met.psu.edu/people/mem45/

Any reason you chose to look at the November page instead of the July one?

With regard to Pachauri, can you give a link to Raina's report, which is what Pachauri dismissed as "Voodoo Science?" I can only find references describing it. It sounds from those as though the report said that glaciers advanced and retreated and it wasn't yet clear whether global warming was responsible, which is a good deal short of your description.

Do you deny that Pachauri, for a considerable period, fiercely defended the original claim about the glaciers being very likely to melt by 2035, a claim he eventually conceded had no scientific basis at all? And a claim of enormous importance, given that those glaciers provide the water supply for a very large number of people?

 
At 7:39 PM, April 04, 2013, Blogger Tim Lambert said...

David, all of the quotes you have found say "Nobel Peace Prize", not "Nobel Prize", contrary to the claim in your post. Surely it's past time that you made a correction?

I linked the Nov 2012 version because it's the most recent version before he corrected it. It says the same thing as the previous version (which is a couple of years earlier, not a few months as you claimed).

Raini's report is here. It does not say anything about the 2035 error in the IPCC report. It does not even mention the IPCC report.

I'm not aware of Pachauri specifically defending the 2035 error as opposed to defending the IPCC report in general. Feel free to provide an example.

 
At 9:25 PM, April 04, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Tim wrote:

"I linked the Nov 2012 version because it's the most recent version before he corrected it. "

As I just demonstrated, it's a version after he corrected it. A very brief google will find people commenting in late October over the fact that he and others were doing so.

I didn't say that he said he had won the Nobel prize, I said he was described as a Nobel prize winning scientist. That's certainly the way his supporters described him, because I was arguing with some of them online at the time--indeed, some refused to believe that the report of what the Nobel people had said was true. I haven't yet found a quote of him so describing himself, but I presume that if, when he was repeatedly described that way, he corrected the people who did it, they would have stopped.

I notice, for instance, an interview with him from October which repeatedly refers to him as a "Nobel prize-winning scientist."

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.org/news/story/20544/20120925/nobel-prize-winning-scientist-michael-mann-talks-climate-change-politics

The people who wrote that piece obviously talked to him at some length, so it's hard to believe they would have used the term if he objected to it.

Do a search for [Mann "Nobel prize winning"] and you find lots of references making the claim. When I did it, eight of the first ten hits referred to him that way.

"It says the same thing as the previous version (which is a couple of years earlier, not a few months as you claimed)."

The web page at:

http://web.archive.org/web/20120618005130/http://ploneprod.met.psu.edu/people/mem45

claims to be showing the page as of June 18, 2012--I don't know why I thought it was July, but it has the text I quoted. That's not a couple of years earlier. Perhaps you were confused by the copyright date, which is presumably when the page was originally written, not the latest date at which it was up.

 
At 9:25 PM, April 04, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Tim Wrote:

"Raini's report is here. It does not say anything about the 2035 error in the IPCC report. It does not even mention the IPCC report."

It does, however, repeatedly mention the belief that the glaciers are shrinking very fast and argue against it.

"on account of the general belief that global warming and climate change is leading to fast degeneration of glaciers in the Himalayas."

"Perception, among the general public is that the global warming is likely to lead to rapid melting of the ice cover in the Himalayas, which could have devastating effects."

Given that the paper was produced by a group called together in response to the IPCC prediction, that's pretty clear.

You wrote: "His "voodoo science" comment was about a report that claimed that the glaciers were "just fine", that they weren't melting at all. I read that report and "voodoo science" is a reasonable description."

Interesting claim. Did you somehow miss passages such as:

"Data that has been generated from the glacier studies, in the Himalayas, over the last 100 years or so, indicates that the glaciers, in the Himalayas, have been, by and large, shrinking and retreating continuously,"

"Himalayan glaciers, although shrinking in volume and constantly showing a retreating front, …"

"All the glaciers surveyed, during this period, showed a continuous retreat as compared to their earlier positions and also a considerable vertical shrinkage."

And yet, according to you, the paper claimed that glaciers were "just fine" and weren't melting at all. That statement was flatly false, as you should know if you read the report. What it did say was that "but the rate of retreat can not be considered as alarming/abnormal, especially in the last decade or so." That's very far short of "not melting at all."

What your reason is for thinking that it could be described as "junk science" I don't know--it's a detailed report about what was known about Himalayan glaciers.

"I'm not aware of Pachauri specifically defending the 2035 error"

Aside from describing a report by Indian glaciologists that criticized the belief that the glaciers were melting rapidly as "junk science?" Aside from waiting two months--until after the Copenhagen Summit--to publicly admit that the prediction was wrong?

"But, according to a report in New Scientist, Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC’s chairman, has hit back, denouncing the Indian government report as “voodoo science” lacking peer review.

He adds that “we have a very clear idea of what is happening” in the Himalayas."

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health/pachauri-calls-indian-govt-report-on-melting-himalayan-glaciers-as-voodoo-science_100301232.html

Assuming the quote is correct, it sounds like a defense to me.

 
At 8:37 AM, April 05, 2013, Blogger Tim Lambert said...

David, in your post you wrote: 'the claim by Mann, his university, and his supporters, that he was a "Nobel winning scientist."'
and yet in your comment you now say: 'I didn't say that he said he had won the Nobel prize,'

You made a mistake: Mann and PSU did not say Nobel prize but rather Nobel Peace Prize as testified by the quotes you showed. It would be better to make a correction, as Mann did, rather than denying that you made the error.

The page I linked to is the uncorrected version, something you could verify by reading it. A little Googling finds a blogpost from the end of October stating that one the his PSU pages had been corrected but another had not. The one that had not been corrected at the end of October is the one I linked and was still not corrected by Nov 6. It has since been corrected.

 
At 9:10 AM, April 05, 2013, Blogger Tim Lambert said...

I meant that Raina said that Himalayan glaciers were not melting at all due to global warming, which was the point at issue.
Raina concludes with "fluctuations exhibited by the glacier of the size of Gangotri or Siachen, along the snout today, based on glacier ice fl ow movement, may, in fact, be in response to the climate of 6,000y BP in the case of former and around 15,000y BP in
the case of latter. Fact remains that the glaciers, so far as the snout fluctuation is concerned, do not show any immediate response to meteorological parameters."

Kagen et al commented in Dec 2009 on this: "A discussion paper of the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forestsa speculates that observed fluctuations of large Himalayan glaciers may be in response to the climate of as long as 6,000-15,000 years ago. Glacier response times are obtained in the discussion paper by dividing the length of the glacier by a typical ice velocity. For example, for Siachen Glacier, about 74 km long, an ice velocity of about 5 m a-1 leads to a response time of 15,000 years.

"Although some observations in the paper appear to be reasonable and accurate, this speculation about response time is in error and could seriously confuse the media, the general population, and policy makers if not corrected.

"The source for the ice velocity is not clear. It seems improbably low. Other similar, large debris-covered South Asian glaciers typically flow at average speeds that are factors of 2 to 20 times fasterb, the only exceptions being clearly stagnant and thinning or disintegrating glacier tongues.

"This is a legitimate way to calculate the maximum travel time of ice through the body of the glacier, but it gives a grossly excessive estimate of the response time of the glacier to climatic changes.
"A well-accepted methodc uses a measure of thickness (for example, near the equilibrium line) divided by the ablation rate close to the terminus, which yields response times of several decades to a century or two for very large alpine glaciers.
"This method, or suitable modifications to account for different mountain relief characteristicsd, gives reasonable response times that accord well with some glacier response and climate histories."

They also say "the glaciers will not disappear by 2035, but that they are melting rapidly in some areas and responding differently to climate change in other areas of the Himalaya/Hindu Kush (including some glacier advances)."

The 2035 error was pointed out by Cogley et al in a letter to Science and Pachauri did not respond by dismissing their concerns. Rather, the IPCC issued a correction. Something you might like to consider for your post.

 
At 1:21 PM, April 05, 2013, Blogger Lex Spoon said...

I agree with your broad points, David, especially about being generous as a starting point. As well, the discussion around CO2 policy should focus more on overall effects and costs of different policies.

That said, those of us interested in science should speak up when people have demonstrably behaved unscientifically. Let me give three examples.

First, the Climategate emails show that Michael Mann and Phil Jones have long been abusing their influence and positions. They have been giving each other favors, and they have been collaborating on techniques to reject perfectly good science from being published.

Second, the IPCC is falsely claiming to only rely on peer-reviewed papers. Independent audits show that only 70% of their citations in the 2007 report are to peer-reviewed sources. Moreover, several whole chapters of the report have nearly no peer-reviewed sources. It's wrong for the IPCC to say they are summarizing the literature, when in fact they are producing more of a position statement.

Third, Real Climate routinely suppresses comments that oppose the catastrophe thesis. More broadly, I am currently unaware of any pro-catastrophe web site that has clean intellectual practices.

 
At 1:57 PM, April 05, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Tim Writes:

"I meant that Raina said that Himalayan glaciers were not melting at all due to global warming, which was the point at issue."

I don't believe he did say that. As I read the piece, he said that it wasn't certain that they were melting due to global warming. But he clearly said that they were, slowly, melting. The point at issue was whether there was an urgent risk to the source of water for northern India, which is what the IPCC has claimed, and the answer was that there was not.

"The 2035 error was pointed out by Cogley et al in a letter to Science and Pachauri did not respond by dismissing their concerns. Rather, the IPCC issued a correction."

And how many years was that after the error was made, and contradicted by Raina et. al. in a paper that Pachauri attacked?
His response wasn't to check whether there was any basis for a conclusion of enormous importance that a number of Indian glaciologists disagreed with--it was to defend the conclusion without checking.

On the question of Mann, I think you are correct and I was wrong about the university page you quoted vs the one I quoted--they say the same thing. Mine was, however, from a few months earlier than yours, not years.

And although they specify the Peace Prize, they also say he was awarded it, which was not true--that was the point that was put to the Nobel people and caused him to alter his claims. The prize was awarded to al Gore and the IPCC, and contributing to someone else getting a Nobel prize is not the same thing as being "co-awarded" a Nobel prize. Similarly for his facebook page.

I agree that neither his facebook page nor the university page obscures the fact that it was the peace prize, but both claim that he was one of the people it was awarded to. And I point out again that he was routinely referred to as a "Nobel prize-winning scientist" by people who not only supported him but interacted with him, such as interviewer.

 
At 6:44 PM, April 05, 2013, Anonymous tiffany267 said...

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I've always been a proponent of nuclear energy, though I'd never considered the fact that it doesn't emit CO2. It gives me a new reason for supporting it! This conclusion has important implications as far as economic liberty is concerned. For instance, I believe that most in the free market/libertarian camp could agree on opposing government restrictions on mining uranium.

I hope you might consider posting future content related to nuclear power as an alternative to the oil and coal industries with their government privileges and costly externalities. Are there any privately owned/operated nuclear power plants? What are the economic considerations for the nuclear power industry?

Thanks for this neat post. Please feel free to check out my blog as well. Capitalism, free markets, and economic liberty are particularly important themes for me.

In love of liberty.
tiffany267

 
At 10:36 PM, April 05, 2013, Anonymous Jim Rose said...

david, didn't popper say something about it does not matter who made the argument. what matters is the critical discussion of the argument.

a great many great thinkers are flawed individuals.

the biography business would be one-tenth of its current size if great thinkers were mostly fair minded people who were good parents and loyal spouses.

 
At 10:53 PM, April 05, 2013, Anonymous Jim Rose said...

it is easy to tell if you won a nobel prioze. the king of sweden gives a certificate to you.

 
At 9:59 AM, April 06, 2013, Blogger Tim Lambert said...

Raina's summary of his paper was "nothing abnormal is happening to Indian glaciers" and "There's no evidence of climate change".

You claim that Pachauri defended the IPCC's conclusion without checking but you have no evidence for this. Indeed, the evidence we have contradicts your claim. Pachauri accepted Cogley's accurate criticism and rejected Raina'a inaccurate criticism. If his practice is to reject criticism without checking, then how come he didn't reject Cogley? Pachauri is an ecomonist, not a glaciologist, so you would think he consulted with glaciologists before commenting. This would explain why Raina was rejected and Cogley accepted.

Cogley'a letter was published two months after Raina's report.

 
At 10:08 AM, April 06, 2013, Blogger Tim Lambert said...

David, Mann made a mistake and corrected it. You have a made a mistake (your claim that Mann and his university said that he was a "Nobel winning scientist") and not corrected it. If we follow the standard you propound in your post, surely we should be very reluctant to trust anythng you write?

 
At 12:21 PM, April 06, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Tim writes:

Raina's summary of his paper was "nothing abnormal is happening to Indian glaciers" and "There's no evidence of climate change".

The former appears to accurately describe what the paper says—do you have evidence that it isn’t true? Did Pachauri? The latter is a snippet from a newspaper story, pretty clearly in the context of glaciers, not of global climate.

Reading more of the story we have a more precise statement:
“Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said Monday there was no "conclusive scientific evidence" linking global warming to the melting of the glaciers and questioned work by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”
“No conclusive scientific evidence linking global warming to the melting of the glaciers” is a lot weaker a claim than “no evidence of climate change.”

“The IPCC, a UN body regarded as the world's top authority on climate change, has warned Himalayan glaciers are receding faster than in any other part of the world and could "disappear altogether by 2035 if not sooner".” (Same story Tim linked to)

Which makes it clear that the argument was over whether the IPCC prediction was correct—and it was not only not correct but entirely baseless. And Pachauri, in that story, is defending the IPCC prediction against the criticism.

And you are defending him for doing so.

As to the question of Pachauri’s response to Cogley, googling around I find multiple reports that Pachauri was informed that Cogley and others said the claim was wrong and waited two months, until after the Copenhagen summit, to publicly concede it. The fact that he conceded it at a point when it was no longer possible to plausibly defend the report isn’t evidence that he is honest. The fact that he defended the report up to that point is evidence either that he is dishonest or, what I find more plausible, that he was more interested in defending his organization than in finding out whether it had made a very serious error.

 
At 12:31 PM, April 06, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

"David, Mann made a mistake and corrected it. You have a made a mistake (your claim that Mann and his university said that he was a "Nobel winning scientist") and not corrected it."

I have now corrected it.

And Mann corrected his mistake only when it became impossible to maintain it—after the Nobel people had responded to multiple queries that Mann had not won the peace prize.

Rather like Pachauri.

 
At 9:39 AM, April 07, 2013, Blogger Tim Lambert said...

David, you seem determined to pretend that Raina didn't say what he did say, which was "There's no evidence of climate change". Raina denied that the receding glaciers had anything to do with global warming but rather was caused by climate change 15,000 years ago. That's wrong as already explained.
Are you trying to defend this or just pretend he never wrote it?

The IPCC reported 1. Himalayan glaciers are retreating because of warming and 2. they will disappear by 2035. Proposition 1 is true and proposition 2 is false. Raina disputed proposition 1 and Pachauri was correct to dismiss his claims there.

Pachauri is an economist, not a glaciologist, so he would have to check with glaciologists before responding to Raina or Cogley. The fact that he rejected the invalid criticism from Raina and accepted the valid one from Cogley suggests the folks he consulted knew their stuff.

Yes, it took a month for the IPCC to make the correction, but they were very busy at the time with the Copenhagen conference and would need to take some time to make sure that there weren't any more mistakes.

As far as I can tell, both Mann and Pachauri made corrections when they were convinced that they were wrong. I'll ask you again, how is their behaviour different from yours in your correction to your post? It certainly took a lot of prodding from me to get you to make the correction.

 
At 11:35 AM, April 07, 2013, Blogger David Friedman said...

Tim writes:

"David, you seem determined to pretend that Raina didn't say what he did say, which was "There's no evidence of climate change". "

Is that a quote from what he wrote, or a quote of a single sentence out of context from a newspaper story? Reading the piece you linked to, I find no claim that climate change isn't happening, merely that it doesn't clearly explain observations of Himalayan glaciers and, in particular, that it doesn't imply rapid shrinking of them.

So far as Mann making a change when he was convinced he was wrong, do you really think he was unaware of the difference between receiving a Nobel prize and being credited as one of the people who contributed to the work that led to someone else receiving it? Do you think it likely that Gordon Tullock believed he had shared in Jim Buchanan's Nobel? He had a much stronger claim than Mann did. I never noticed any attempt by Anna Schwartz to claim to be a Nobel prize winner either.

In judging people's honesty, one relevant factor is motive--a false statement that benefits the person who makes it is better evidence of dishonesty than one that doesn't. Being a Nobel winner is worth a great deal of money and status, and Mann made the claim as long as he had any chance of getting away with it.

Admitting that the IPCC had published a baseless scare story relevant to hundreds of millions of people cost the organization prestige, so it's suspicious that Pachauri waited until after an international meeting whose results depended in part on that prestige to admit it. Not admitting it for as long as possible also got money for an organization that Pachauri runs, grants to study the terrible threat that the IPCC claimed was hanging over India--the organization that employed the climatologist responsible for the original claim.

Pachauri probably didn't know the claim was false until a month or two before Copenhagen, but he would have known it if he had made any effort to find out--and it was a very striking claim on a very important question being disputed by at least some people who were experts in the field.

 
At 9:40 AM, April 08, 2013, Blogger Tim Lambert said...

David, I take it that you think that the difference between your error and Mann's is that Mann's statement was so obviously incorrect that he must have been lying. You are wrong here as well.

First, is not like the case of someone who contributed to the work claiming to share a prize awarded to "someone else". The prize was awarded to a group of which Mann was a part.

Second, consider team events in the Olympics. The IOC gives members of winning teams olympic medals, even though it is the team that wins the competition. It's an arbitrary choice whether you describe members of a wining team as sharing in the prize. The IOC chooses to refer to it one way, the Nobel Prize Committee chooses the other. It is reasonable to refer the prize or the medal the way the Nobel Prize Committee or the IOC does, but you can't say that one usage is obviously correct.

Thirdly, it is easy to find lots of examples of people make similar statements. For example, Climate scientists share in Nobel Peace Prize and Climate expert shares Nobel Peace Prize and B.C. scientists share in Nobel Peace Prize. Are all these reporters dishonest?

 
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At 3:53 AM, April 11, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi David:

You wrote:

"That does not tell me whether the hockey stick is or isn't bogus, but it does tell me something about Mann that makes me very reluctant to trust anything he writes.".

I believe you also ought to use that yardstick when Tim Lambert comments on your blog.

Christopher Monckton was also involved in some way with IPCC and he too, like Mann, suggested he was a Nobel prize winner.

Lambert attempted to belittle him over claim Monckton was a Nobel prize winner.

Take my advice, Lambert whom I believe is formally from UNSW or not in the same capacity he once held there, can't be trusted on any subject. Not even what he ate for breakfast. He is so dishonest and so deceitful it's incredible to many how he lives with himself.

Lambert says:

"Are all these reporters dishonest?"

Then perhaps you could justify the claims you made about Monckton being a Nobel prize winner.

Here's Lambert at his Blog about Monckton's claim.

"I think the funniest part of Monckton’s open letter to John McCain is his description of himself at the beginning: .................

I don’t know which person is nuttier. Monckton, for saying that he is a Nobel laureate, or the guy (presumably Robert Sproull) who gave him the fake Nobel prize pin.


Perhaps Lambert could also explain to you if he agrees with the piece in Punch about Monckton's claim.

http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/lord-monckton-nobel-prize/

Lambert's hypocrisy knows no bounds.

 
At 3:59 AM, April 11, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Pachauri is an economist,...."

This is factually incorrect. Pachauri is a railway engineer.

Pachauri was born in Nainital, India. He was educated at La Martiniere College in Lucknow[4] and at the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in Jamalpur, Bihar. He belongs to the Special Class Railway Apprentices,

Another lie.

 

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