SPM4 Preview: The Hockey Stick Lives

Andrew Weaver in an article here says of the SPM: “This isn’t a smoking gun; climate is a batallion of intergalactic smoking missiles.” Wow. Even better than Space Invaders. There was a big front page preview of the SPM in the Toronto Globe and Mail today here all of which is worth reading, but for now I draw your attention to the 2nd paragraph of the article:

Humans have already caused so much damage to the atmosphere that the effects of global warming will last for more than 1,000 years, according to a summary of a climate-change report being prepared by the world’s leading scientists.

The draft, seen by The Globe and Mail yesterday, also says evidence the world is heating up is now so strong it is “unequivocal” and predicts more frequent heat waves, droughts and rain storms, as well as more violent typhoons and hurricanes. It concludes the higher temperatures observed during the past 50 years are so dramatically different from anything in the climate record that the last half-century period was likely the hottest in at least the past 1,300 years.

I wasn’t sure that the Hockey Team would even make the SPM this time, but here there are in the 2nd paragraph. The Team stayed in the spotlight.

Not just in the spotlight – but maybe they’re what Weaver meant by a “battallion of intergalactic missiles”?  “Look, up in the sky, It’s a bird, It’s a plane, It’s the Team.”  Who would have guessed? Do they get spandex suits? It puts Mann’s instruction to Rutherford – “Beam me up, Scottie” – in an entirely new light.

In case you are wondering how they knew that this was the hottest in 1300 years, the “battallion of intergalactic missiles” is a new spaghetti graph (although I doubt that the spaghetti graph will itself will make the cut this time), more or less as emulated below (although this lacks the instrumental splice). Readers of this blog will be familiar with all of these reconstructions, though not necessarily the nomenclature. See caption.

Figure 1. Spaghetti graph of reconstructions (without temperature splice and short glacier and borehole series). JBB98 – Jones et al 1998; MBH99 – duh; BOS01 – Briffa et al 2001; CED04 – Cook’s rescaling of Esper et al 2002; B2000 – Briffa 2000; MJ2003 – Mann and Jones 2003; RMO05 – Beam me up, Scotty 2005; MSH – Moberg et al 2005; DWJ06; D’Arrigo et al 2006; HCA06 – Hegerl etl 2006

In addition to a spaghetti graph, the WG1 repot itself includes an interesting “Fiery Hockey Stick” diagram. For each of the reconstructions, they calculated 2-sigma “confidence intervals” – ignoring the NAS Panel view that confidence intervals could not be assigned in the early portion – from which they made a type of density graphic using fire colors (their Figure 6.10c). Graphically, it’s done in an interesting way. The calculations appear to have been done using calibration period residuals – again contrary to NAS panel recommendations.

Readers of this blog are obviously familiar with problems with hockey stick manufacture and I won’t re-visit them in this note. My most recent visit to this topic was in my Dec 2006 presentation at AGU, where I observed that the NAS Panel had stated that bristlecones should be “avoided” in temperature reconstructions; that many of the “independent” reconstructions used bristlecones, including the studies used in the NAS panel illustration and without bristlecones, the medieval-modern relationship was reversed.


  1. jae
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I’m dumbfounded by this. I’m glad you still have your sense of humor though.

  2. Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    Local newspaper headline:

    IPCC Report Leaked: Warming of the Climate System is Inevitably Due to Human Activities. (my translation)

    leaked … wtfigo.

  3. John Lish
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Nice to see that the IPCC retains its high standards by rigorously examinating the current debate on palaeoclimatology…

  4. Gary
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    It looks like we are entering the “Shock and Awe” phase of the campaign.

  5. Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    I think its important in these modern times, that in order to reduce our carbon footprint, we should conserve our dwindling supplies of paleoclimatic proxies and recycle hockey sticks wherever possible. There are only so many ones and zeroes in the world, so utilizing modern statistical techniques should be done sparingly.

    I’m sure our children and grandchildren will be grateful that we didn’t spend too much time investigating methods or even arguing about the science, but made the bold steps necessry to reduce unnecessary science to the bare minimum to avoid confusion about what we should do help our descendents into a brighter, cleaner world of energy poverty.

  6. Reid
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 2:04 PM | Permalink

    Prediction: The WG1 report will mention the Wegman report and M&M’s work. The politically edited version that is eventually released will not.

  7. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Re # 6. Will we see “plausible” somewhere?

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

    They discuss us in the First Draft and Second Draft, essentially adopting the position taken by Ammann and Wahl. Wegman came out after the original cut0ff date, but they did a last canvas in July 2006. My guess is that Wegman will not get mentioned but the NAS report will. Just picture realclimate’s take on it and you’ll have the IPCC position.

  9. Follow the Money
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 2:43 PM | Permalink


    “It looks like we are entering the “Shock and Awe” phase of the campaign.”

    Excellent observation.

  10. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    The Suzuki website stops before getting to Wegman.

  11. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    I noticed that “warmest” is replaced by “hottest”. Just trying to squeeze every possible bit of alarm from the studies, I suppose. “Warm” is not very scary.

  12. Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    The pasta graph looks so unspectacular. Not only there are no terribly interesting non-random patterns but the different components look as (un)correlated as you would expect random datasets that share a couple of proxies.

    Even if the statement about 1300 years were right, it is so unspectacular. The warmest year in the last 1300 years is less than 10 years away. The probability is about 1%. The probability of the same statement with a coolest year – which would cause the same movement backwards – is also 1%. It’s already 2%. Because of natural long-term trends, it is actually much more likely that the years at the beginning of the intervals are extreme. So what we see in these conclusions, even if we believe that all the inequalities arising from wishful thinking are right, is well compatible with the assumption that things are random with a certain color of noise.

  13. Jim Edwards
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 5:30 PM | Permalink


    So does that mean AGW is going to become AGH [Anthro-Global Heating] ? Why not AGB [AG Baking / Broiling, your pick.]

  14. Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

    After reading this and with the media friendly report coming out on February 2, all that’s needed is a picture of Punxsutawney Phil carrying a hockey stick. And to think Bill Murray even played a weatherman in the movie.

  15. TAC
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    Given Mann’s claims last year of having “moved on,” accompanied by others’ declarations that the hockey stick was not needed as a pillar of the AGW construct, it is hard to know what to say upon learning that the hockey stick is once again prominently on display in SPM4.

    I am reminded of the National Academy of Sciences Report, the Wegman Report, Steve and Ross’s meticulously documented analyses, and everything that we have learned from each other while dissecting the hockey stick here at CA. All of these efforts were interesting and useful, in part because they introduced much-needed rigor into our thinking about climate reconstructions. Among other things, they opened our eyes to the complications that can arise when trying to draw inferences from proxy data.

    However, it appears that the IPCC has not moved on. Apparently the IPCC still regards the hockey stick as among the best pieces of evidence of AGW. Are we to infer from this that the other evidence is no better?

    I have believed for some time that AGW may in fact be the greatest threat to life on our planet since the dawn of the last ice age. However, if we’re going to understand and address this concern, the IPCC had better take some care in getting its science right.

    What we have seen so far is not reassuring.

  16. John West
    Posted Jan 31, 2007 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

    Back in the 1980s there was a nine-part documentary series on PBS called ‘The Africans,’ narrated by Dr. Ali Mazrui (a Marxist and a Moslem apologist for sharia law and other infelicities, but that needn’t detain us here). In one episode he told an anecdote, in his rich Kenyan brogue, that has stuck in my head all these years. It was about an idealistic young bureaucrat in a ministry of the government of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, shortly after independence from Britain. The young man is shocked to discover corruption in his department and takes his concerns to the senior minister in charge. The minister listens patiently and then puts a fatherly arm around the young idealist’s shoulders. “Don’t worry, my son,” he tells him, “Kwame Nkrumah has slain an elephant. There is plenty for everyone to chop.”

  17. Steve Viddal
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 1:30 AM | Permalink

    The shock and awe is indeed upon us. Setting my trusty old radio alarm clock late last night, a regular Pandora’s AGW Horror beginners kit were emptied on the unsuspecting listeners by BBC world services.
    Ahh, the horror, the horror.

    More random news from Norway:
    The Prime Minister and Minister of Environment (a priest by occupation, how fitting, as the age of science is coming to an end) announced recently that all schools would be given a copy of Al Gore’s AIT. The statement did not say if it was for use in science classes or religous teaching.

    Yesterday two parlamentarians, one from the left wing Socialist Party and one from the moderate Conservative Party (sic!) announced that they had nominated no other than Al Gore to the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

    Even if this is just the beginning of the campaign, I am already a bit shocked and awed.

    Cry “havoc!” and let loose the dogs of war,
    That this foul deed shall smell above the earth….

  18. John Lang
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    Don’t you think the public is now growing tired of this doom and gloom and exageration.

    I sense climate change fatigue. I think the climate change “believers” have over played their hand.

    We will get blasted with continuous propaganda for the next month but the general public is starting to tune out and and will increasingly do so the more these claims sound so ridiculously exagerated. The general public doesn’t like being lied to and they are starting to get that feeling now.

  19. Paul Linsay
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

    Have you noticed how all the furor about the evils of tobacco has stopped? It stopped the instant the lawyers and State governments won their lawsuits against the tobacco companies and got huge payouts. I predict the noise level will go way down as soon as the big money types (thanks to Follow-the-Money for the insight) get cap-and-trade emission limits in place and can start making billions in the futures market. Maybe even Al Gore will shut up because his VC firm will be rolling dough. The nail in the coffin will come when Drudge shows pictures of weather stations located in parking lots with the headline “Global Warming Traced to Wal-Mart.”

  20. Jeff Norman
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    Re:#12, Lubos,

    “The pasta graph looks so unspectacular” because they haven’t slapped a big black instrument record on the end yet.

  21. Bill F
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 12:04 PM | Permalink


    I know you did pretty detailed reviews and reconstructions of most of the papers whose plots are included in that graph. Have you considered doing a summary post showing how few actual proxy series all of those papers are based on? It strikes me that they are putting all of those lines on thr graph to create a much larger task for anybody seeking to debunk the graph after learning their lesson with MBH previously. Since you have already broken down most of those papers it would seem to me that a very effective answer to IPCC’s use of the new graph would be to show how similar all of the papers are to each other in proxy selection and then to juxtapose that against the NAS comments on the use of bristlecone proxies. Just a thought, and i know you are busy, but I think such a summary would be very useful and effective.

  22. Mingy
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    John Lang #18

    I don’t think fatigue has set in – yet. In Canada, the media is stoking the polititicans and everybody is getting more and
    more hysterical about the end of the world, etc.. Every now and then Suzuki or another member of the priesthood throws in a few
    more kicks and off we go.

    This is, however, starting to few like the 2nd half of 1999, when most everybody was getting more and more panicky about Y2K.

    Then Y2K came and went and that was that. Never mind.

    I figure that to get people more and more excited, the ‘threat’ has to become bigger and bigger and nearer and nearer.

    The problem with dire, near term, predictions is that you lose a fall back position when they don’t come true.

    I think in terms of 10 years, not 10 weeks, before they slink away.

  23. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 12:33 PM | Permalink


    Lubos, right here for one. Maybe one of the last refuge’s for those who refuse to blindly accept the scientific “consensus” and instead want to ensure that the science is right, regardless of direction it points.

  24. Reid
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

    Re #20 Paul Linsay comments: “The nail in the coffin will come when Drudge shows pictures of weather stations located in parking lots with the headline “Global Warming Traced to Wal-Mart.”

    The Drudgereport has been very balanced in it’s AGW reporting. Drudge gives skeptics equal time. And considering the Drudgereport has more readers than the NY Times, it may be one of the reasons 50% of the American public doesn’t believe the AGW alarmists.

  25. Dieter Riedel
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    I have no idea if the public is growing tired of this “debate,” but to be sure newspapers and other media have yet to finish milking the doom and gloom elements from this story. With the next Canadian federal election looming, it is quite clear that the political parties will now be tripping over themselves to posture for the title of “greenest of them all.”

    How this belief plays itself out in terms of larger public policy is yet to be determined. Will there eventually be top-down pressures by funding agencies to be critical of “skeptical” research with respect to climate change? Will advocacy rule the day when determining what science gets funded with respect to climate research? Is this something to be concerned about? I would think so. Politics is not governed by reason, and the desire to “save” the world from humanity is gradually converting the politics of environmentalism into a folk religion of sorts.

  26. John West
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

    As we prepare to destroy our way of life so some strip mall in Tampa-St. Pete doesn’t wind up with a foot of water in its parking lot a century from now, we’ll want a catchy slogan to mobilize public money, umm, better make that public opinion.

    I propose the simple yet sturdy War On Warming (WOW). Certain boutique locations (Marin County CA, Sedona AZ) may prefer Never-Ending War Against Gaia’s Enemies (NEW AGE), and feminists are sure to cotton to War On Over-Warming Our Ovaries (WOO-WOO). Any other ideas?

  27. David Smith
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Re #26 My sense is that the US is about to enter a “symbolic” stage, where things of maximum visibility but minimum impact will be done. That’s similar to what I think much of the rest of the globe did some years ago.

  28. Dex
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    I wonder why they always schedule these big releases just in time for the coldest weather of the year. Just think if they had released this report before Christmas when it was 60 plus in DC. Instead they release it just in time for some of the coldest weather in years (atleast in the Midwest). It brings to mind the big AGW fest in Montreal a couple of years ago. I am sure it is just bad luck (or the malevlolent humor of the universe), but one of the true believers should take responsiblity for scheduling it during the last week of January and be cast adrift on a melting ice flow somewhere to apease Gaia.

    Seriously, is there a point where year after year of unspectacular temperature increases will lead to people begin to doubt some of these growth projections. It looks like the temperatures will have to average more than 0.3 deg C/decade for the rest of the 21st century just to hit the low end of the range. I would think it cant all be backloaded in the models. Is the sea level rise back loaded as well?

  29. Spence_UK
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

    The bbc has an article up on the SPM4:


    Nothing on the hockey stick debate though – the line seems to be more about how recent measurements are at the top end of the model predictions (doncha just love the temperature graphs that seem to completely miss 1998?)

  30. Mark T.
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    My guess is that it will end when the planet starts to cool again due to the pending decrease in solar activity. Since nothing we can do to kick-start the cooling will be in place for a decade or more, we’ll all get a chance to see the inevitable reality. Of course, this will all occur after spending trillions on what will then be useless efforts to save the planet. I’m not sure how’ll they’ll explain things when the truth comes out, but they’ve already marginalized the “ice age” hype of the 70s to “only a few scientists.” I’m sure there will be some rationalization.


  31. Mark T.
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    (doncha just love the temperature graphs that seem to completely miss 1998?)

    Yeah, 1998 was an El Nino year, therefore it doesn’t count. Of course, the heat had to come from _somewhere_, but that doesn’t matter. Nor does it matter that this year started out El Nino as well, though it has since declined into “normal,” which means cold for everyone (at least in the US).


  32. jae
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    I’m sure there will be some rationalization.

    I imagine they will just brag that all their efforts were successful in saving us all.

  33. Carl N.
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    Re # 30. Look at the caption of BBC’s temperature and sea level graphs. One gets the impression that, in 2001 the IPCC has compiled a range of predictions that had the early 90’s as a starting point. That can’t be a mistake of prof. Rahmsdorf, can it?

  34. MarkW
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 3:38 PM | Permalink


    I’m sure you have the right of it.
    The public has a very short memory, and the media is not interested in present the science.

    When the cooling starts, the UN will fall all over itself to congragulate the world’s govts for
    saving the world from the evils of capitalism.

    Then they will proceed to find a way to blame the coming ice age on capitalists so that they can
    gather even more power unto themselves.

  35. Ron Cram
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 4:15 PM | Permalink


    I am always interested in good information I can use to help explain climate change issues to wikipedia readers. I am interested in this graph. Is this exactly the way it will show up in the IPCC report or did you make changes? (For example, did you remove the instrument splice or did the IPCC?)

    Wikipedia is pretty tough against using images without proper rights or approvals. If it is possible to obtain the rights to the image, I would love to use it on wikipedia.

    Also, on such a large timescale it is difficult for me to know where certain points are located. For example, does the data go through 2000 or 2006? Is the high point in the 20th century in the 1930s?

    If we were to assume there were no problems with this graphic, what would you say are the important lessons or takeaways? It seems to me there are several that indicate that it was warmer in the past than it is today. It also seems that climate history is pretty uncertain.

    Of course, I may be looking at the graph wrong. I am not exactly color blind, but I am color deficient so I may be following the lines incorrectly. I appreciate some help in figuring this out.

  36. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    Ron, I said that it excluded the instrumental splice. The WG1 image looks a lot like this though the match isn’t 100%. The color coding is pretty close. The nuances of a couple of series were a bit different, for reasons that I couldn’t figure out. I used public data. Tell you what I’ll post up my script to generate the image. Of course you can use the figure.

  37. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    There’s a script which should work (provided I’ve tidied references ot my own d: file out) at http://data.climateaudit.org/scripts/spaghetti/spaghetti.feb06.txt

  38. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    It also seems that climate history is pretty uncertain.

    And you’re looking at a chart without error bars.

  39. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    There’s an article in the Boston Globe about how the delegates to the SPM4 are having trouble getting the language right. It finishes with this absolutely priceless quote:

    Negotiators started discussing the trickiest issue Wednesday: predictions of rising sea levels. Scientists are trying to incorporate concerns that their early drafts underestimate how much the sea level will rise by 2100 because they cannot predict how much ice will melt from Greenland and Antarctica.

    In early drafts, scientists predicted a sea level rise of no more than 23 inches by 2100, but that does not include the ice sheet melts. Many scientists, particularly those in the United States, said that may be too low an estimate and that the computer models that estimate sea level rise do not take into account ice melt.

    The authors of the early drafts are changing what they wrote to try to get some of that concern in, Petersen said.

    “The question is,” Petersen said, “how do you compute this factor that you really don’t have?”

    Ummm … well … errrr … oh, never mind, I’m sure they’ll just make something up and call it science. After all, “we don’t know” doesn’t seem to exist in their lexicon.


  40. Duane Gillies
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    Why should we be surprised? When has the UN be right about anything from the oil for food scandal to the Somalia fiasco ad infinitum? The track record of the UN is to waste enormous sums of with with no tangible results. It is in the best interests of the two bit dictators in the UN to have the massive exchange of money much of which will end up in their Swiss bank accounts. This is all about money,

  41. Duane Gillies
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

    Why should we be surprised? When has the UN be right about anything from the oil for food scandal to the Somalia fiasco ad infinitum? The track record of the UN is to waste enormous sums of money with no tangible results. It is in the best interests of the two bit dictators in the UN to have the massive exchange of money much of which will end up in their Swiss bank accounts. This is all about money,

  42. A.Syme
    Posted Feb 1, 2007 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

    These are strange times we live in, very strange.

  43. Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 12:33 AM | Permalink

    Here comes the Big Government Money Grab!!!!!!

    Thanks to CA, I know about Piltdown Man. Are there other examples of scientific consensus being wrong about other things?

  44. Bob Weber
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

    See Sen Imhofe’s Sept. 25, 2006 Senate speech http://www.epw.senate.gov/pressitem.cfm?party=rep&id=263759


  45. John Baltutis
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 2:56 AM | Permalink

    Re: #44

    Are there other examples of scientific consensus being wrong about other things?.

    Somethings such as the sun revolves around earth, the universe’s center, if you go far enough out to sea, you’ll fall off the earth’s edge, or the orbits of earth and the other planets around the sun are circular and conform to Ptolemy’s epicycle theory?

  46. MarkR
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 5:32 AM | Permalink

    #44 or Malaria/Cholera are caused by “bad air”, also called miasma. Lots of people died as a result.

  47. Mike
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 6:55 AM | Permalink

    Ha-ha! Just wanted to see how the village idiots were coping with reality. Obviously not well.

    You guys are in the last throes of your campaign of climate change denial. You lost on the science; you lost on the moral case for action. All you’ve got left is a suitcase full of cash.”

    Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.
    Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


    On Monday, another Exxon-funded organisation based in Canada will launch a review in London which casts doubt on the IPCC report. Among its authors are Tad Murty, a former scientist who believes human activity makes no contribution to global warming. Confirmed VIPs attending include Nigel Lawson and David Bellamy, who believes there is no link between burning fossil fuels and global warming.

  48. Hans Erren
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Thank you very much for drawing attention to this study. You forgot “noted climate researcher Dr. Ross McKitrick as well as Dr. Andrei Illarionov, former advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Professor David Henderson, former head of Economics and Statistics at the OECD.”


  49. L Nettles
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

    Are there other examples of scientific consensus being wrong about other things?

    2005 Nobel Prize for Medicine

    Peptic ulcer — an infectious disease!

    This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine goes to Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, who with tenacity and a prepared mind challenged prevailing dogmas. By using technologies generally available (fibre endoscopy, silver staining of histological sections and culture techniques for microaerophilic bacteria), they made an irrefutable case that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori is causing disease. By culturing the bacteria they made them amenable to scientific study.

    In 1982, when this bacterium was discovered by Marshall and Warren, stress and lifestyle were considered the major causes of peptic ulcer disease. It is now firmly established that Helicobacter pylori causes more than 90% of duodenal ulcers and up to 80% of gastric ulcers. The link between Helicobacter pylori infection and subsequent gastritis and peptic ulcer disease has been established through studies of human volunteers, antibiotic treatment studies and epidemiological studies.

  50. Mike
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    Didn’t realize Fraser was giving its own “independent” (or lone wolf as I like to call it)analysis.


    Total funding to Fraser Institute from Exxon corporations since 1998: $US 120,000 

    $60,000 ExxonMobil Corporate GivingClimate Change
    Source: ExxonMobil 2003 Corporate Giving Report

    Click to access giving_report.pdf

    $60,000 Exxon CorporationClimate Change
    Source: Exxon Giving Report 2004

    Click to access giving04_publicpolicy.pdf

  51. Jaye
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

    RE 50

    I believe both researchers were ridiculed by the medical research establishment at the time.

  52. PhilD
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    Re: #51

    First post here too! (really enjoy reading this site BTW!)

    I’ve seen various figures bandied around for the amounts that people receive from Darth Vad….sorry, Exxon and they never amount to much. $120,000 over 9 years? Wow! They must all be driving around in Mercedes’. Actually, that would be one Mercedes, and only if they had saved up.


  53. Mike
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    Wikipedia on Fraser Institute:

    The last year for which financial data is available for is 2004. The Institute reported in its 2004 year-end annual report that it had $6.9 million CAD in revenues that year. The annual report outlined that 62% of this sum came from charitable foundations, 25% came from organizations including pharmaceutical and oil and gas corporations [2]

    Fraser Institute “Analysis” of IPCC Report Out of Date, Oil-Soaked and Incorrect
    A Canadian think tank’s “independent” analysis of the upcoming IPCC report is based on out-of-date information and is specifically misleading about the nature of the scientific summary that it presumes to criticize, DeSmogBlog.com President James Hoggan said Wednesday. The Fraser Institute had planned to release their report Feb.5, at a press conference in the United Kingdom.

    The Fraser Institute, a right-wing think tank that has recently received annual grants from oil-giant ExxonMobil, promised an independent summary of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Institute claimed that the IPCC’s own summary is a political document “neither written by nor reviewed by the scientific community,” while the Fraser Institute version was “prepared by qualified experts in fields related to climate science.”

    In fact, the IPCC summary was written and reviewed by some of the most senior climate scientists in the world, without political or bureaucratic input . And the Fraser Institute’s “scientific” staff — which is led by an economist — includes a group of junior or retired scientists, most of whom have direct connections to energy industry lobby groups (see attached briefing note).

    Dr. Andrew Weaver, the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis and a lead IPCC author, called the Independent Summary “highly ideological.” While the Fraser Institute summary says, “There is no compelling evidence that dangerous or unprecedented changes are underway,” Weaver counters: “The IPCC report presents 1,600 pages of compelling evidence, that’s the whole point.”

    Weaver also criticized the Fraser Institute’s contention that climate change may not be happening or that if it is happening, it may be “a good or bad thing.”

    Finally, Weaver pointed out that the whole Fraser Institute analysis is based on a document that is almost a year out of date. “I was most surprised that this analysis was written based on our second draft” (released in Spring 2006), said Weaver. “We incorporated changes in response to well over 1,000 reviewrs’ comments before preparing a final draft last fall.”

  54. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

    Are there other examples of scientific consensus being wrong about other things?

    Eugenics is the best example, in terms of a scientific consensus having social policy consequences (Steve please don’t snip!).

  55. Hans Erren
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    That’s a fast analysis on a study that

    isn’t even published yet!

  56. Mike
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    Oh, it’s out! LOL! And already panned.


  57. Hans Erren
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

    re 57:

    No it isnt’t “out” yet, it’s a draft version.

    Click to access draft%20fraser%20institute%20report%20IPCC%20small.pdf

    And the alternative summary was done on the draft 4AR, which has been around since last march.
    You can read the IPCC draft here

  58. Michael Kozuch
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    Are there other examples of scientific consensus being wrong about other things?

    A 20th century example is Continental Drift. On 1912 Alfred Wegener proposed that the continents were drifting apart, and had few supporters, who were generally hated by the consensus, which thought the continents were static, until the 1960’s.

  59. Dieter Riedel
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    Concerning scientific “consensus” being wrong (or very incomplete),

    Please consider the “age of the earth” controversy of the late 19th century. According to the iron-clad laws of thermodynamics it was estimated (modelled) that the earth could not be older than 100 millions years. Such an assertion disallowed Darwin’s Evolution by Natural Selection because, in such a scenario, there would only be 10 to 20 million years available in which the planet would be comfortable enough for life to exist, and not enough time required for Darwin’s predicted gradualism in speciation. Those who argued for natural selection, and geologists who accepted uniformitarian principles, were faced with a very restricted time frame because of these clear thermodynamic restrictions.

    On the basis of the existing information at that time, the experts in thermodynamics were correct.

    But scientific knowledge moved on, and radioactivity changed everything.

    Past IPCC reports outline a number of potential climatic “forcings” where there is a low level of present understanding. The indirect link here is that any one of these forcings, or a combination of them, could (and do!)make a very significant contribution to changes in climate. One can always be 90% sure about what he or she knows, but the unknown can always go a very long way to eclipsing that confident certainty.

  60. Kevin UK
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    #48 and #51

    Mike, you’ve upset deeply now. I haven’t received my cheque for $10,000 from AEI. Could you please do me a favour of remind them of this fact as we had agreed 10 day payement terms, and I’ve just chequed my Swiss bank account and its clear that AEI have not made the BACS transfer yet.


  61. Kevin UK
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    #48 and #51

    Mike, you’ve upset deeply now. I haven’t received my cheque for $10,000 from AEI. Could you please do me a favour and remind them of this fact as we had agreed 10 day payment terms following my invoice, and I’ve just chequed my Swiss bank account and its clear that AEI have not made the BACS transfer yet.


  62. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 12:26 PM | Permalink


    Continental Drift is an interesting case, but had no bearing on social policies. Apart from geologists, nobody cared if continents were moving or not. However, that controversy is a good example of how the scientific establishment can essentially ban from discussion a theory that it doesn’t like, and more so, the more threatening that theory is to the reigning consensus. Faced with a possibly revolutionary theory, the scientific establishment has two choices: get on the bandwagon and eventually take the credit for the new discoveries, or resisting as much as possible. Wegener was too easy a target, not being part of the establishment. He was essentially an outsider, and with no academic position, could not start his own “school”. Plus he died in 1930, so the theory was left without its main champion.

    Eugenics is in many ways very similar to climate change. In the 1920’s, genetics was the hot new science, confirming Darwin’s theory of evolution. The geneticists were led to believe that “bad genes” were a threat to mankind, just like GHG’s are “bad gases”. The thinking was that, by letting, and even helping the poor (associated with the “feebleminded”) reproduce, e.g. with welfare policies, the gene pool would deteriorate. You see, poor people have this nasty habit of making many children. The main fallacy was not that bad genes are bad, it is that geneticists as well as everybody else greatly overestimated the proportion of such “bad genes” in the population, and thus were convinced that stopping such feebleminded people from reproducing would rapidly improve the genetic “quality” of the human race. In reality, the smaller the occurence of a recessive gene, the longer it takes to get rid of it by just acting on the reproduction of the homozygotes (those who have two copies of the bad gene). So a more realistic assessment of the “bad gene” frequency (however you define “bad gene”) rapidly demonstrates the uselessness of any eugenics policy. And, of course, the “feebleminded” were mostly poor people, immigrants, whose feeblemindedness was mostly due to poor education or poor language skills (for immigrants), not “bad genes”.

    So it was all a question of proportion, just like AGW. Now some think that GHG’s are the main contributor to the warming, and argue for emissions reduction, otherwise mankind will suffer (thus a similar argument of a “threat to mankind”). It may turn out that AGW is true, but that the “A” is much smaller than what the current consensus says. In any case, what looked like scientific certainty in 1920 turned out to have many flaws. The famous “unknown unknowns”. One could say that Eugenics was eventually “Rumsfeldized” (nice neologism if it weren’t so hard to pronounce!).

    Note that in the 1920’s, all geneticists agreed with the fundamental tenets explained above. After WWII, the history of eugenics was conveniently rewritten to make it look like the wild ideas of ultra-conservative politicians. But the book I linked to in my previous post, written by Diane Paul, explains that scientists and politicians from both the right and the left adhered to the consensus. Marxists (e.g. J.B.S. Haldane) were especially enthusiastic about eugenics.

    All in all, a very interesting piece of history. But like all history, different people tend to interpret it differently.

  63. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    DWJ06 appears to have a negative sign bias in its spliced in proxy section. How convenient. “Neither the MWP nor the LIA matterrrrrrrrrrrrrr, let’s move on.”

  64. Ian
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

    To the ongoing inner thread here on “has scientific consensus been wrong in the past?” Michael Crichton has quite a few examples in his speech here:


  65. trevor
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #59, 63 etc

    Are there other examples of scientific consensus being wrong about other things?

    Some current issues where the overwhelming consensus is likely to be proven wrong in time:

    1. The “Big Bang” hypothesis re formation of the Universe. (Check Arp, Alfven, Lerner).

    2. Constant radius earth and subduction: (Check S Warren Carey, Vladimir Larin, others).

    3. All granites form by slow cooling of a molten magma: (Check John Elliston)

    4. All petroleum and natural gas comes from biogenic sources: (Check Russian workers, Thomas Gold, C W Hunt, E A Skobelin, L G Collins).

    5. Salt is bad for you: (Check http://www.watercure2.org and celtic sea salt).

    The alternative hypotheses are regarded as so radical by the majority “consensus” that most refuse even to look at the evidence for and against each. Refer Thomas Kuhn “The Structure of Scientific Revolution” for the reasons why.

  66. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Feb 2, 2007 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

    Re #54 – **Finally, Weaver pointed out that the whole Fraser Institute analysis is based on a document that is almost a year out of date. “I was most surprised that this analysis was written based on our second draft” (released in Spring 2006), said Weaver. “We incorporated changes in response to well over 1,000 reviewrs’ comments before preparing a final draft last fall.” **
    Weaver claims it is out of date, but has he noted any comments on out of date items? I do not think too much has changed especially a significant comment by the Fraser Institute about no scientific measurement of the amount of attribution of temperature change to CO2.
    And the question to ask them is: Name one paper that has measured the amount of the temperature change that is caused by CO2.
    I posed that question on the David Suzuki website and they have not responded.

  67. TAC
    Posted Feb 3, 2007 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    The SPM statement on recent millennium is intriguing:

    Average Northern Hemisphere temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were very likely higher than during any other 50-year period in the last 500 years and likely the highest in at least the past 1300 years. Some recent studies indicate greater variability in Northern Hemisphere temperatures than suggested in the TAR, particularly finding that cooler periods existed in the 12 to 14th, 17th, and 19th centuries. Warmer periods prior to the 20th century are within the uncertainty range given in the TAR.

    It recognizes that the TAR (i.e. MBH98, 99 — the hockey stick) assessement was flawed, which I take as acknowledgement of Wegman and NAS and vindication for M&M.

    Then it introduces a half-century warmth statistic in the context of the past 500 years — does anyone know where this result can be found in the literature? — which, even if true, is not a very surprising result even assuming a white noise error model (i.e. if we break the 500 years into ten 50-year intervals (likely not precisely what they mean), there is a 20% chance that the last interval will be either the warmest or coolest, either of which would presumably draw attention).

    The reference to the 1300-year period is also interesting. If it is “very likely” (i.e. greater than 90 percent chance) that the last 50 years was the warmest in 500 years, then, knowing absolutely nothing about the preceding 800 years except that they were drawn from same population, one can infer that it is “likely” (i.e. greater than 66 percent) that the same 50-year period was the warmest in the 1300-year period as well. Hmmm.

  68. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Feb 3, 2007 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    #68. This language was in the Second Draft from April 2006 prior to NAS or Wegman. So there is no indication of any recognition of these reports. We’ll see whether they’re mentioned in the WG1 Report. My guess is that they will pick the parts that support the Team and ignore the parts that are critical. Whatever their final take, it’s one that has not been reviewed by stadiums of scientists, but is Briffa’s opinion.

  69. Ian
    Posted Feb 4, 2007 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    The sad thing about “Mike’s” posts in this thread is that he’s a turkey who voted for christmas, laughing at those wise old birds who voted against.

    “Christmas is going to be great! I hear there’s going to be lots of tasty food!”

  70. Mike
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    Frazier Institute fires off a damp squib?

    Fear not! We don’t need facts or data. We can just make fun of hockey sticks, make it confusing enough to create doubt and global warming will go away! Save the oil industry! Keep profits soaring! Because if Exxon looks good, we all look good! 😉

    Now if only we could get some of those top tier scientific journals to accept some of our “research” . . . All we can get are trade magazines and these Internet weblogs :\ Buy them, Exxon!!! Buy them!!!

  71. welikerocks
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    #71 look at which blogs on the internet are linking to that RC post from their track back link. It shows you exactly the kind of people that this farse appeals to. Is that commentary supposed to be “scientific” and informative? Sheesh. Those men should be ashamed of themselves for misleading the public.

  72. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    Mike, if you have evidence that some or all of the Frasier Institute’s statements are incorrect, by all means, present that evidence so it can be fairly evlauated. Otherwise, you are just cheerleading and wasting electrons.


  73. cbone
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    Re: 71

    Ahh yes, I have to chuckle evertime I see RC go for the big oil attack. Why do I chuckle? Because it is so deliciously hypocritcal of them. A simple whois reveals that RealClimate is registered to Environmental Media Services. A quick check of EMS reveals that they are a nonprofit front group for Fenton Communications. Who are they? Why they are a PR firm for environmentalist organizations. Rather amusing, eh? They attack skeptics for being funded by activists, when they themselves are funded by activists.. how delightful.

  74. george h.
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 9:53 AM | Permalink


    Thank you for your insightful comments.
    Among other suspect organizations receiving dirty oil money from those greedy capitalists at Exxon:

    The Audubon Society
    The Nature Conservancy
    Wildlife Habitat Council
    American Red Cross
    American Cancer Society
    World Health Organization

  75. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Feb 5, 2007 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    RE: #74 – Fenton are also linked to MoveOn and International ANSWER. I will not share any more tertiary links than these … suffice it to say, it makes an interesting study in what has happened in the Western World ever since rooting out subversives became politically incorrect from the 1950s onward.

  76. Mike
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

    Real Climate is a Top 50 research site by Scientific American. I think Exxon and the Frazier Institute ought to come with their own list of top 50 *cough* “research” *cough* sites. I mean we can’t allow these real climatologists to keep making us look bad. 95% of the world think we’re idiots right now and patsies for the half of the oil industry still trying to pretend, oops, I mean still trying to prove global warming doesn’t exist and if it does it’s actually a good thing. Damn BP!!! Damn BP straight to he!! for being traitors!

  77. Gaudenz Mischol
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 4:04 AM | Permalink


    where did you find this information on the RC-site? I tried to find it but can’t see it.



  78. Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 4:56 AM | Permalink

    How much money will it take, from Exxon or elsewhere, to get the withheld hockey team data released?

  79. fFreddy
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 5:16 AM | Permalink

    Re #78, Gaudenz Mischol
    Realclimate says so here.
    Wiki on EMS here.

  80. Gaudenz Mischol
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    Thanks fFredy for the info

  81. cbone
    Posted Feb 6, 2007 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    Here is another more biased opinion of EMS: http://www.activistcash.com/print.cfml?oid=110&loc=overview

  82. John Simmons
    Posted Feb 9, 2007 at 10:12 PM | Permalink

    Today, Feb. 9, 2007 is the 13th day of below zero temperatures here in the North East United States. And like David Letterman said a few nights ago… it’s so cold that the people at the global warming convention packed their bags and went home.

  83. David Smith
    Posted Feb 10, 2007 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    RE #83 It looks like another week to ten days of cold weather for the Northeast US.

    Toronto should stay below freezing through that period.

  84. Jaye
    Posted Feb 10, 2007 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    Without getting into a political discussion let me just say that International Answer is bad juju with strong connections to the World Workers Party…some say its a front group for the WWP.

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