Barton "Op Ed"

US Congressman Joe Barton expressed some thoughts here (link courtesy of Jerry Brennan).

38 Comments

  1. Posted Aug 2, 2005 at 5:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What an impressive, dispassionate, reasoned, reasonable piece. The world needs more Joe Bartons.

  2. Greg F
    Posted Aug 2, 2005 at 6:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The best line in the article:

    The plant worker in Ennis who contributes some of his paycheck to public science is not a “peer” of the scientist — neither am I — but he is worthy of respect and the occasional explanation.

  3. Posted Aug 3, 2005 at 4:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The outrage from the scientific community at this blatant politicization of the global warming debate has been very strong. To my eyes, Barton’s op-ed looks like an attempt at damage control.

    This is the Joe Barton who secured billions of dollars of tax subsidies for an energy industry already reaping enormous profits from spiking demand and tight supplies of fossil fuels.

    The government is full of Joe Bartons. That’s the problem.

  4. Posted Aug 3, 2005 at 4:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The outrage from the scientific community at this blatant politicization of the global warming debate has been very strong. To my eyes, Barton’s op-ed looks like an attempt at damage control.

    This is the Joe Barton who secured billions of dollars of tax subsidies for an energy industry already reaping record profits from spiking demand and tight supplies of fossil fuels.

    The government is full of Joe Bartons. That’s the problem.

  5. Doug L
    Posted Aug 3, 2005 at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    "Worthy of respect and an occasional explanation"

    That point can’t be repeated often enough, you should see the reception I got in Google Groups Sci.Environment by people who put on airs of being scientists.

    Admittedly, I provoked them, but if anyone wants to have a look at the attitude, here are some links to discussions of the Barton hearings. I post my provocative article on August first: "Barton Investigation Uncovers Key Puzzle Piece In Global Warming Mystery"

    VIEWER ADVISORY: If you can’t stand to see a pathetic display of bad logic by educated men, do not tune in.

    The Not So Clear Consensus: http://groups-beta.google.com/group/sci.environment/browse_frm/thread/46f5ae3a3e51ecd4?scoring=d&

    Tree Ring Circus: http://groups-beta.google.com/group/sci.environment/browse_frm/thread/3483ab4af58b8fbc?scoring=d&

    Paleoclimatology or Paleopolitics: http://groups-beta.google.com/group/sci.environment/browse_frm/thread/83e3a75b8848f7c4/7c21007aaec9828f?lnk=raot#7c21007aaec9828f

    Steve: I notice that the sci.environment guys were fussing about using “R2″ as an alternative to “r2″. Mann twitted the House Committee on this. It’s easy to find usage of “R2″; what a stupid issue for them to waste twitting on.

  6. Posted Aug 3, 2005 at 3:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The outrage from the scientific community at this blatant politicization of the global warming debate has been very strong. To my eyes, Barton’s op-ed looks like an attempt at damage control.

    This is the Joe Barton who secured billions of dollars of tax subsidies for an energy industry already reaping record profits from tight supplies of fossil fuels. Energy corporations send millions of dollars to Barton and his cronies, and reap billions at the taxpayers’ expense. Pretty good return on investment.

    The government is full of Joe Bartons. That’s the problem.

  7. Reid B
    Posted Aug 3, 2005 at 5:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #4 “The government is full of Joe Bartons. That’s the problem.”

    The problem is that the AGW hypothesis is not compelling despite it’s being “settled science”.

  8. Ed Snack
    Posted Aug 3, 2005 at 6:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Michael, the “blatant politicisation” as you put it, occurred years before, as part of the IPCC process. The scientific approach ? Release your data & code, have it tested, argue the scince and the data, and the view best supoported by the evidence should “win”. And, mark you and important and, the “winner” is itself subject to review in the light of fresh evidence, new theories, and new analysis. That way, we all win.

    I think we would all rather have got there without Rep Barton’s assistance, but read Steve’s correspondence with the climatologists, they were simply unwilling for their work to be reviewed by an independent. That is politics, not science.

  9. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 8:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #7. Ed, I’m a farmer, I don’t know what you do, but can I come and review your work? I’ll spend a lot of time doing it, ask you countless questions, spend a lot of time looking over you shoulder checking you work, and I expect to be able to review all your work over the last two decades (you do have the records don’t you? if not why not???). I presume, given your views, that will be OK? I’ll then set up a blog, if you’re at all critical of me I’ll post that for all to see, and I’ll let people critice you, make fun of you and be vile to those who defend you. OK?

    PS (get out clause) Actually, I can’t affored to spend the time doing it, or flying over to question you, but you get the drift I hope (probably not actually……).

  10. John F
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 8:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter, the Kyoto crowd advocates spending Trillions to try to stop a problem which may not even be a problem at all. If it is taking my tax money, yes farmer Joe please question the AGW partisans to check their data–some one has to.

  11. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 9:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 10, ah, but if we stop Kyoto it might cost us trillions in adapting to climate change – cue the myth about the cost of Kyoto (why a myth, because the costs are just one side of the balance sheet!) no doubt….

    So, perhaps you better explain why we should listen to you when doing nothing about AGW might well cost us trillions?

  12. John F
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 9:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter, GW is proven. AGW is NOT PROVEN. In addition even the Kyoto advocates state that even fuly implemented will have no major effect on the climate. So go spend your own money and not mine.

    PS. Ross and Steve are not farmers but they sure found problems with Mann’s work

  13. Reid B
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #11 “Peter, GW is proven. AGW is NOT PROVEN.”

    Global warming ended in 1998. That was the peak temperature year according to satellite data. The last 7 years of cooling from the 1998 peak was predicted by 0% of the IPCC global climate scenarios. Now why should I take the IPCC and their cadre of scientists seriously?

  14. John F
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 10:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Reid, There has been warming since the 1900′s. It warmed in the 1st few decades of the 1900′s, cooled in the 50′-70′s and warmed again in the 90′s. So I would call that GW. Is it abnormal? No–way! The earth warms and cools all by itself. Is it AGW? That is where I consider it NOT PROVEN. I am no fan of the IPCC and think their work needs to be audited.

  15. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #11. Crikey, I’m not I think sure either are proven in the strict sense. But I do think that if you accept the warming seen, then it’s pretty difficult to explain it (well, I don’t know of such an explaination) without recorse to an anthropogenic climate forcing being present and increasing.

    Re #12. Keep calm and wait for the announcement from S&C, it’s due very soon. This year is very warm, but there is no 1998 style el nino – think about that :)

  16. John F
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter, AGW has not been proven. There are many explanations, including AGW which have no objective proof. Hell we can’t explain much of Earth’s past climate why it has warmed and cooled.Past Ice core data shows CO2 following Temp and not the other way around.

  17. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “If it is taking my tax money, yes farmer Joe …”

    If Peter is a farmer in the UK, then the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy means he’s already taking my bloody taxes …

  18. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 1:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE#14

    Re #12. Keep calm and wait for the announcement from S&C, it’s due very soon. This year is very warm, but there is no 1998 style el nino – think about that

    S&C have already adjusted May and April…50-60% of surface-based readings.

  19. Ed Snack
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter, you JUST DON’T GET IT !

    For around about the 23rd time, I will try to explain what you seem totally incapable of understanding. Mann and others are paid from public funds for the work. They have a responsibility to their funder. If their work has only minor flaws and will stand up under scrutiny, WHY WON’T THEY RELEASE THE DETAILS ?

    I am not paid out of public funds, you could not come and interfere with my work as you have no legal interest to do so. However, the companies that employ my services as a consultant and pay me have the absolute right to look at my work, see my source notes, examine my records with respect to them (but not with respect to other independent companies), and generally to ask the Barton style questions with regard to work I do for them. If they are not satisfied with my conclusions or recommendations they can ask me to prove them to their satisfaction including asking others to review my work. If you were paying me, then you could do the same. If I was being paid from the public purse, then the right is for the funder to specify, but ultimately that right goes up to the legislature or executive where appropriate, in the same way that any parent company could “inherit” the rights from a subsidiary that I was working for.

    If my work had conclusions that reached into the public sphere and I advocated action based on them, I would expect to have to defend the work, the data, the analysis, and the conclusions, and allow others access. Of course if I had fiddled the data and the analysis I might be very reluctant to reveal my data and workings, as any deception would be revealed. See the connection ? But I would still ultimately have the responsibility to provide the details, or I would expect my work to be dismissed as unverifiable.

    So which is appropriate do you think ? Mann & Co release their code and data fully, the work is verified (or not) on the basis of the data, and we proceed with as much knowledge as we can get. Or, we dismiss MBH and related reconstructions as unverifiable. You of course want a third way, we accept the assertions (which have already been proven false in several particulars) of the study’s authors, that their results represent a true and correct interpretation, and that no verification is needed. In other words we take on FAITH based on figures of AUTHORITY.

  20. John F
    Posted Aug 4, 2005 at 5:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ed, it’s even worse then that. If Mann and his ilk worked in the public sector they would be FIRED for such behavior. If a big corporation held back data which affected the whole world and they refused to supply that information, they would be sued to turn it over.

  21. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 1:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #16. Ffreddy, *my* basic farming activities recieve no Eu money. We, note the *we* (family farm), recieve money in the form of grant for such things as hedges maintainance, protecting or enhancing wildflower meadows and the rest. I don’t deny that. We’re not the only businesses in receipt of government aid. Indeed, most businesses get some – right?

    Ed, sorry but it’s you who doesn’t get it. Firstly, I doubt even if MBH showed you their clean underwear you’d accept they’d been open with you. It’s like if I demanded of you all the work you’ve don’t over the last two decades, and all that that any collegues in related fields (‘other independent companies’) have done. Then it has to be all checked and verified (by me, in a self appointed way), and until thats done you’re under suspicion and your reputation openly besmerched (you did that in your post for example). That’s not an audit, it would be a one man attempt to dismantle your reputation and that of your field. You have to ask, why?

    Whatever, it will be clear within a decade or two if I or you are wrong. They’ll either be wasted decades, or decades we could have moved away from oil and didn’t until forced.

  22. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 1:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ed “In other words we take on FAITH based on figures of AUTHORITY.” . How many critical questions have you asked of Steve? YOU accept his word! You accept he is right, you believe him. Don’t talk to ME about faith LOL. Indeed, I’ve made it clear I don’t think MBH the last word – if I did your jibe would be correct.

  23. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 2:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter, you are missing the point again.

    Firstly, I doubt even if MBH showed you their clean underwear you’d accept they’d been open with you.

    MBH have been asked for very specific items with very specific relevance, which they have refused to produce. You have no basis for implying, even in a figure of speech, that this is a random search for anything the searcher feels like.

    It’s like if I demanded of you all the work you’ve don’t over the last two decades, and all that that any collegues in related fields (‘other independent companies’) have done.

    Are you really misunderstanding Ed here ? He is saying that he works for several different funding sources; any given source has rights to all details of the work he does for that source, but no rights to work he does for any other source. MBH have not been asked for work done by others with which they were not involved.
    So, no, it is nothing “like if I demanded all the work …” etc.

    Then it has to be all checked and verified

    Yes. It’s called science. (Although in this case, it’s largely maths.)

    …until thats done you’re under suspicion and your reputation openly besmerched…

    No, absolutely wrong. Having your work checked and reviewed is one of the most basic tenets of the scientific process. MBH are the ones damaging their own reputations by refusing to cooperate.

    For the rest …

    …in receipt of government aid. Indeed, most businesses get some – right?

    I don’t.

    *my* basic farming activities recieve no Eu money.

    Hmmmm. Are there any non-basic ones besides the meadows etc. that you mention ? Or a patch of land you are selling to one of these hideous wind generation stations ? Maybe the only way to understand Peter’s strange views will be to audit him …

  24. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 2:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hmmm. John A’s been having fun …

  25. John A
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 3:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #23

    You call it fun. I call it “modifying php files on a live weblog without crashing it, all at the weblog owner’s request”

  26. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 4:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Heh, sorry John. For what it’s worth, the recent comments and posts by date features are excellent stuff. Will they also be triggered when Steve makes a response within the body of a post ?

  27. Paul Gosling
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 5:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter

    Though I am broadly with you on the general point of releasing everything to anyone who wants to see, you have to ask why Mann does not release everything to end this debate once and for all, (though like you my suspicion is that the argument would simply shift to another target). I suspect it is because Mann knows the original analysis is a bit dodgy (he would not be the first scientist to rush to publish some exciting new data only to notice after that he had made a mistake in his calculations), but his whole reputation and career now rests on that one paper. If he admits he was wrong its bye bye career, but there is also the political angle. If the Mann hockey stick is proved wrong it will provide a large stick (no pun intended) for the sceptics to beat the whole of climate science with. Every time a piece of work came out which supported AGW we would hear – But what about the hockey stick, that was wrong, why should we believe this? We already hear this from the less informed sceptics – scientists were predicting a new ice age in the 1970′s blah blah blah….. It may even be that Mann is being pressured from the other side not to admit he is wrong for that very reason. Though I have absolutely no evidence for it.

  28. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 6:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As to handling the hockey stick situation, think of how best-managed corporations handle a problem. (Yes, everyone can cite examples of the opposite). But if you’ve got a problem, you try to get to the root of it and then try to get ahead of the problem. You don’t try to tough it out. Someone like the IPCC or the NSF or the National Academies should have said to Mann long ago – look, we don;t care about your theories of who owns the source code, we’re making big policy recommendations, we’ve used your stuff, we want to know to know if there’s a problem, you’ve got to show everything, including the kitchen sink. Then they’d really try to understand themselves what’s going on.

    Could you imagine Pfizer or Boeing presenting a study like Mann’s in a huge presentation. If afterwards there was the slightest whiff about it, they’d tear it apart line-by-line. (Actually they’d have done so ahead of time as well.) They wouldn’t sit there having their tail cut off one inch at a time. Compare that to IPCC – Mann says on realclimate that everything’s fine, so the climate scientists all say : Mann says it’s fine, so that’s the end of it. But no one at IPCC has dug into it.

    There are two distinct issues on the Mann paper: 1) rightness or wrongness; 2) full disclosure. Paul, you’re only talking about rightness or wrongness. The cross-validation R2 was not left out because of a rush (or the censored bristlecone calculations). They may have been in a rush to get something flashy (before Jones and Briffa), but it seems implausible that they accidentally left out the adverse cross-validation R2 (for example). And these guys are still trying to be cheeky with a tough guy like Barton.

  29. Paul Gosling
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 7:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve

    Do you think that MBH decided that they could get away without R2. Thinking, we have spend X years and X money to get this far, the statistics are not 100% but they are near enough. Perhaps also feeling confident that the hockey stick was correct and others would also find it, so not being too concerned if the bent the data a bit? If so, then that is even more of an embarrassment for them than the rush to publish and got it wrong theory. No wonder they are worried.

    Do you have any inkling whether Mann is being pressured not to give in by the IPCC because the TAR rests so strongly on that piece of work?

  30. John A
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 7:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #25

    I don’t think so

  31. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 7:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #29
    It would be nice …

  32. Reid B
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 8:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #28 “Do you have any inkling whether Mann is being pressured not to give in by the IPCC because the TAR rests so strongly on that piece of work?”

    When the IPCC responds to the Barton inquiry we will have better idea about their reasoning. I predict the IPCC sees the writing on the wall and will junp out ahead of the problem by appointing a blue ribbon commission to study the issue and issue a report. The commission will conclude that Mann’s numbers were wrong but it was an honest mistake. The report will add that the controversy should serve as an example of why much more research must be undertaken and the budget for climate science should be doubled immediately. The NY Times will then headline the report on their frontpage above the fold, “Future in doubt unless climate science budget doubled”.

  33. Paul Gosling
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 8:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 31

    Cheaper than implimenting Kyoto!

  34. John A
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #30

    Yep it would be nice to implement Google AdSense and make some serious money from this weblog rather than just getting a lousy check in the post from Exxon, but nooo Steve knows best…

  35. Ed Snack
    Posted Aug 5, 2005 at 7:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sigh, I guess I have to rest my case. I do try to make my case in ways that can be understood, but Peter simply fails to engage. Is it a form of selective blindness, or is it more trollish behaviour in the Hunter or Lambert style ? I don’t know.

    One last attempt then. Peter, the companies I work for generally are privately owned corporations, and I provide a form of consultancy. They pay me for the work I do, and they, as a result, have a right to examine that work at whatever level of detail is necessary. If one of those companies was in fact, say, a government agency, then that agency, and by extension the executive branch of government, could examine my work if they chose. They could ask questions however, only with regard to the work that they had paid for, they have no rights to examine other work unless under specific legislation or as a, say, criminal investigation, which is an entirely different situation.

    Are you suggesting that Michael Mann has the right, when taking money from the government, to produce results and yet to conceal from the funders how he arrived at those results ? If you do NOT believe that, then you must support the right of a qualified government agency (and Rep Barton’s committe is one such) to ask for the details of the research.

    Frankly Peter, I don’t care about the state of M, B, or H’s underwear, although I reckon it must be under threat with the focus that is on them. However, if they produce their data, their methods, and their code, AND, people work through it and the result is just what they say (or close enough, anyone can make small mistakes), then contrary to your assertion, I for one would accept their conclusions and at least reconsider my position vis-a-vis AGW. As for the comment about fiddling, there is a simple and direct answer, release the data & code, now.

    The problem is Peter, that I am at least capable of following the arguements made on this site. I don’t accept what Steve says uncritically, but it is striking to me that despite the enormous quantities of bile and bombast thrown at Steve’s work, there have been no substantive refutations of his main points. No one at Realclimate or elsewhere has successfully challenged the three key assertions: That the MBH method “mines” for “hockeysticks” in any kind of data (supported by Cubasch and von Storch); that the BCP records are NOT temperature proxies (original research, GBraybill & Idso 1993) and their inclusion is the primary cause of the hockeystick shape; and that the MBH reconstruction anyway lacks statistical significance to support its conclusions (where are their r2 statistics). None, and W&A (unpublished) undermines none of these either. If you think you can challenge any of the above, feel free to try, but as your posts are always data free, I doubt that even if you understand what any of them mean, that you can cogently consider what is involved.

  36. fFreddy
    Posted Aug 7, 2005 at 7:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #33 – LOL – come on, John, we all know it’s the shadowy Newtonian think-tanks who really fund you …

  37. Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The link is dead and no good 404 compensates, like this one : http://meenainc.com/404.php

  38. Posted Feb 8, 2010 at 5:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The link is dead.

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