Monday, October 22, 2012

Please Slam the Door on Your Way Out

Eli runs a full service blog, so to spare the bunnies the pain of surfing over to Willard Tony's (and since Eli is banned in where ever), here is a letter from there, that Roger W. Cohen, another of the incontrovertibly emeriti (anybunny wondering where that image came from?)sent to the American Physical Society.  Makes you wonder about their standards and why Eli is just a Bunny.  Nominations would be appreciated.

Reading between the lines readers can play guess who as a supplement to John's recent post about the APS Topical Group on the Physics of Climate
Dr. James G. Brasseur
Chairman, Topical Group on the Physics of Climate
American Physical Society

Dear Jim,

It has become clear that I can no longer contribute effectively to the progress of the Topical Group on the Physics of Climate (GPC) as it was originally envisioned. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation from the Topical Group and the Executive Committee.

The GPC Executive Committee has yielded to pressure from within, and from others involved in the development of GPC activities, to exclude discussion of science that does not conform to the doctrine of strong anthropogenic global warming. This disregards the desires of a substantial fraction of the membership to discuss all the relevant science. Furthermore, without having demonstrated that the fledgling GPC can actually achieve the inclusive science-focused objective set forth in the Bylaws, we are moving to explore joint activities with other societies which are completely invested in climate alarm and which will not support GPC’s objective. These developments indicate that the GPC has set a course to become yet another outlet for promoting the doctrine.

As demonstrated in the development of the inaugural GPC speakers program (to be presented in March 2013), we have effectively drawn a boundary around the science so as to substantially exclude peer-reviewed, published work that conflicts with the doctrine of strong anthropogenic global warming, regardless of a speaker’s credentials and distinguished research record. For example, one accomplished physicist, an expert on the key issue of solar variability effects on terrestrial climate, was shunted off to “back up speaker” status due to the intervention of an IPCC lead author with a demonstrable vested interest in the IPCC’s posture on the solar issue. Another proposed speaker’s peer-reviewed, published work on the integrity of the land temperature data was completely discounted because he had endorsed a public expression of religious faith and its connection with science.

While skeptics’ public statements were considered evidence of bias, there were no qualms about applying a double standard that excused doctrine supporters from such considerations. One invited speaker has ventured into public environmental advocacy for reduced meat-eating, vegetarianism, and limiting natural offspring and airplane travel. Another invitee’s public statement of opinion on a supposed human contribution to a single hurricane (Katrina) was not judged grounds for questioning his objectivity. This double standard was no accident: one member of the committee charged with choosing speakers was quite explicit about skeptics’ participation when he warned against an “argument that winds up giving more effective weight to the ‘skeptics’ over the consensus viewpoint.”

None of the proposed speakers’ expressions of belief bear on their qualifications to speak on their scientific work in climate.  The science must be considered in isolation – as science and only science.  To do otherwise is to act as thought police.  The selective application of these expressions of belief as a basis for excluding one kind of science is wrong and biases GPC activities toward support of the doctrine.

My participation in the GPC development process was the result of a grass roots petition signed by more than 200 APS members, most of whom eventually joined the GPC. I now feel compelled to inform these petitioners of the outcome so that they can make their own assessments. Also, since I have supported the GPC in public and private statements, I will be updating these statements in the future.

As you know the GPC was intended to channel strong APS member disagreement over the Society’s 2007 Statement on Climate Change into a productive scientific enterprise. But there was also a greater opportunity: to demonstrate that it is still possible to convene a forum that would present and discuss, as scientists, the broad body of climate science with all of its complexities, uncertainties, and interpretations. Alas, despite good faith efforts made by some, this opportunity appears to have been lost, and I fear that another may not come along soon.

Roger W. Cohen
Fellow, APS


Unknown said...

I notice the Roger has been suitably vague about the two wronged speakers.

Just flying a kite here, but perhaps their presentations just weren't that good.


Anonymous said...

Willie soon and Roy spencer would be my guess

Anonymous said...

Roger Pielke Junior sure does like to lie with facts:

Keep your eye on the pea folks, Roger is at the table ;)

1) "What we found may surprise you: Over the past six decades, tornado damage has declined after accounting for development that has put more property into harm's way."

The "adjusted damages" gambit is growing tiresome. Roger's preferred "metric" it is not the same as counting actual number of severe thunderstorm events, or the area affected by such events. Also, Roger ignores the fact that building codes, warning lead times and the accuracy of warnings issued by the NWS/SPC have improved dramatically since 1950.

2) "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded earlier this year that over the long-term, damage from extreme events has not been attributed to climate change, whether from natural or human causes."

Astute bunnies might also want to carefully check this claim made by Roger. I'll get the ball rolling from Page 7 of SREX (The IPCC document that Roger cheery picks from):

"Observed changes in climate extremes reflect the influence of anthropogenic climate change in addition to natural climate variability, with changes in exposure and vulnerability influenced by both climatic and non- climatic factors."

Not quite the same as the little white lie told to the media by Roger now...

From page 9 in SREX:

"There is evidence that some extremes have changed as a result of anthropogenic influences, including increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. It is likely that anthropogenic influences have led to warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures at the global scale. There is medium confidence that anthropogenic influences have contributed to intensification of extreme precipitation at the global scale. It is likely that there has been an anthropogenic influence on increasing extreme coastal high water due to an increase in mean sea level.

Also on page 9:

"Long-term trends in economic disaster losses adjusted for wealth and population increases have not been attributed to climate change, but a role for climate change has not been excluded (high agreement, medium evidence). These conclusions are subject to a number of limitations in studies to date. Vulnerability is a key factor in disaster losses, yet it is not well accounted for. Other limitations are: (i) data availability, as most data are available for standard economic sectors in developed countries; and (ii) type of hazards studied, as most studies focus on cyclones, where confidence in observed trends and attribution of changes to human influence is low. The second conclusion is subject to additional limitations: (iii) the processes used to adjust loss data over time, and (iv) record length."

Anonymous said...


3) "Remarkably, the U.S. is currently experiencing the longest-ever recorded period with no strikes of a Category 3 or stronger hurricane."

This is a cheap strawman argument, Roger needs to up his game. To totally avoids the issue at hand and is so asinine that it really is not worth addressing.

"The major 2012 drought obscures the fact that the U.S. has seen a decline in drought over the past century."

Now Roger is skating on very thin ice, oops it just cracked. He really, really needs to pay attention to the "Climate Extremes Index" (aka CEI). See here for the PDSI (a measure of how wet or dry conditions are):

That shows that since the early seventies the area int he Contiguous USA affected by drought has increased . Concurrently, the area affected by much-above normal PDSI has plateaued.

So Pielke's claim that drought is on the decline is demonstrably false.

Also, the number of heavy daily rainfall extremes has increased, consistent with a more vigorous hydrological cycle operating on a strong steroid (increase water vapour thanks to the Clausius-Clapeyron relation):

Yet Roger Pielke Junior is so deluded as to hop around accusing others of lying.

Take a look in the mirror Roger.

Anonymous said...

Aaaah, wrong thread! Sorry Eli! Those posts were meant for the Munich Re thread.


John Mashey said...

Having gotten little traction from a 200-person petition (mostly old guys), less than 0.5% of the APS membership, they tried to get candidates of their choice elected, but failed. Apparently, they mostly failed to get chosen speakers into the the forthcoming symposium.

'Another proposed speaker’s peer-reviewed, published work on the integrity of the land temperature data was completely discounted because he had endorsed a public expression of religious faith and its connection with science.' = McKitrick.

'For example, one accomplished physicist, an expert on the key issue of solar variability effects on terrestrial climate, was shunted off to “back up speaker” status' = Nir Shavivv, and "not shunted."

I'd guess his departure will be less noticed than Lewis or Giaever.

David B. Benson said...

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

rab said...

Cohen sounds like a sore loser.

Rick Baartman
Fellow, APS

John Mashey said...

See COhen's new(?) role.
Note the claim:
'Dr. Cohen is the author of over 50 publications, including the lead author for key chapters on major IPCC reports.

Arthur said...

Did they really think they could bully their way into creating an APS topical group that highlighted the kind of nonsense non-science that Watts posts? What were they thinking in this whole mess? Could they really believe they are right and the science supports them? Cohen's Exxon-Mobil connection (almost nowhere mentioned in the various places this has been discussed) suggests naive innocence is not the most likely explanation... but what were they thinking???

John Mashey said...

Actually, they had a better chance of doing this with a small group. They had a good list of 200+ signers of the 2009 petition, with a good email list, and they got a large fraction of those to sign up. They got candidates sympathetic to their views for most slots. Had the committee not kept the candidates to two per slot, vote-splitting might easily have let them elect a few, as the APS petitioners would have voted for them.
When somebody writes a position statement as a candidate, they do not say "I proudly signed the Oregon Petition and I know global warming us a hoax," and all the statements looked reasonable. (I'm an APS & GPC member.)

This happens, as at the IOP in UK, or the use of the APS NES (New England Section) newsletter as a platform for climate anti-science for years by L. Gould, another one of the petition organizers, who spoke at Heartland conference and got Monckton invited to speak st his university.

In ACS, there's a group that dies similar things, got an amazing climate session at ACS meeting in Denver a year ago.

John Mashey said...

See APS NES newsletters.

Just try Fall 2012, start at p.6.

'The issue of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is not settled..'

pp.812: Fred Singer + editor's notes.

And if that is not enough, you can work backwards through the issues. Laurence Gould has found his calling, see his website.

Anonymous said...

A Roger W. Cohen bio from the Aspen Global Change Institute:
"Roger W. Cohen holds a Ph.D. in physics and is a former Manager of Strategic Planning and Programs for ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co. He has more than forty years experience in the electronics and energy industries. He is a recent recipient of the Otto Schade Prize for Image Quality for research leading to improved digital television, work that was also recognized by an Emmy in 2000. He is currently working with a group of partners on developing and commercializing a technology for extracting carbon dioxide from the air."

Good for the APS for not letting a corporate shill corrupt their meetings.

Gator said...

A lot of Roger W. Cohen's recent bios online claim he was a "lead author for key chapters on major IPCC reports." (That's from the Global Thermostat website.

What chapter was he a lead author on? I looked through the FAR, SAR, TAR, AR4 and AR5 lists and couldn't find him. I found other Cohens, but no Roger Cohen, R. Cohen or R. W. Cohen.

Was he actually the lead author of something for the IPCC??

Turboblocke said...

An article written by Cohen:

...I have supervised climate scientists working in the area of climate change and have followed the area closely. Over the years our researchers have served as authors of key IPCC report chapters. I would like to share some perspectives with you...

Apparently written in 2008, so after AR4, he doesn't claim to be an IPCC author.

John Mashey said...

Lead author ha a fairly specific meaning in IPCC-land.

EliRabett said...

Watch the moving ball

"Dr. Cohen is the author of over 50 publications, including the lead author for key chapters on major IPCC reports. "

which in cohenland means that he wrote something including a chapter ON his evaluation of the IPCC report.

You gotta use a sharp pencil with these clowns

Gator said...

So he wasn't "the lead author for key chapters on major IPCC reports" he was the lead author of his own paper that reported on something the IPCC wrote? You think that's what he meant?

Why, if true, that seems misleading at best...

Russell said...

Arthur, my guess is yes , they really did " think they could bully their way into creating an APS topical group "

Tree house construction costs are low, and zoning precedents easy at APS, and any quorum in the forum can coin a new medal and award itself the glittering prize.

John said...

Following that logic, if I write an article about the Bible, then I can run around claiming that I am "a lead author of the Bible," if not "THE lead author of the Bible"...

John Mashey said...

Actually, lot of reasonable people thought the creation of APS GPC was a good idea, assuming it actually was run by competent people (which it is). I certainly signed for it to be created.

The issue was to make sure it didn't get hijacked. By the way, Judith Curry is one of 6 people running for 2 slots in Members at Large of Executive Committee. I wonder who nominated her.