Some seasonal remarks – a few substantive and a few personal.
While people tend to lump me with contrarians, no one has proved to me that 2xCO2 doesn’t matter and I’ve never suggested this. I don’t have defined views right now on whether it will have a big impact or a little impact and I think that the issue is very important. Criticizing some overblown studies like MBH doesn’t put an end to the policy issue and I’ve never suggested that. Having said that, I see no harm and much benefit in criticizing overblown and oversold studies. I got into this because no one had ever checked the multiproxy studies and it seemed like someone should.
I am against hypocrisy and over-promotion. I sincerely hope that I do not fall into either category. When you get public attention, it’s a risk that your ego gets inflated. Again, I hope that it isn’t/doesn’t happen to me and I try to avoid it. Over the years, I’ve concluded that you’re never as smart as you think you are when you’re doing well and never as dumb as you think you are when you’re doing poorly. So I try to stay even. I am sometimes sarcastic. I don’t think that I have ever been sarcastic with civilians, only with people that have used weapons. And sometimes, sarcasm is the only response- what else can one say about Jones’ excuse for not releasing data? When you’re dealing with pompous people, sometimes sarcasm is the most effective way of dealing with them. Having said that, it’s a risky road and I try to be careful and am prepared to back off. I sometimes put in obscure "cultural" references, probably to not get stereotyped as a right-wing Republican. Obviously, many of my views have received a lot of traction within that community (and I appreciate this), but it’s possible to be critical of the Hockey Team without being a Bushie.
I find the topic of climate change very interesting in its own right, aside from the policy. There are historical issues e.g. the presence/absence of the MWP; statistical issues e.g. handling and confidence intervals of autocorrelated series; the causes of paleoclimate change – not just the Ice Ages, but the long downtrend from the Eocene through the Pliocene. Each is intrinsically interesting even if they do not "matter" to Kyoto. I’m disappointed that so many climate scientists seem to think that their topic is interesting only if it "matters" to Kyoto.
I try hard to make topics accessible. Sometimes I accomplish this, sometimes not. Other than some math points, I strongly believe that most points can be explained to a general audience inclusive of all relevant details without relying on ex cathedra announcements. As TCO observes of realclimate, even when they are speaking to a general audience, they tend to preach at you. One doesn’t get the sense that they trust a general audience to engage in the details.
The blog has been both work and fun. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like doing it and I wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t an audience. When you’re producing as much material as I have, you do find that you sometimes play to the audience, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The blog was John A’s idea and design and I’m glad that people other than me have thanked him for his efforts. I repeat my thanks.
I’ve met some nice people through the process, sometimes in person, sometimes by email. I’ll cite Ross McKitrick in particular, who, in addition to being a clear and insightful writer, is a kind and generous person.
I got interviewed recently by several students at Seneca College, who were doing an assignment on M&M (in a communications course). One of them asked me to comment on a description of me as being "fearless". While I was proud of the adjective, it’s the kind of question that can go to your head. I didn’t think that there was anything "fearless" about what I was doing – I didn’t have a young family to support; none of my children were at risk; I was doing this for fun. Needless to say, reality set in soon afterwards and no one would have described me as "fearless" during December. Our Christmas present is that our grandson has so far recovered far ahead of schedule and looks like he will make a full recovery.
On my side, there will be an armistice for a few days. Merry Christmas.