Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus started off the day with a rousing speech. I hadn’t known he was an economist, but it was obvious quickly through his use of phrases like “maximize their personal utility function” and “is there statistically significant global warming?” This was not a standard political speech.
He joked that certain people “want to stop economic growth [in Europe]; though, not their own,” particularly in developing countries. Klaus was most authoritative by reminding us of living under communist rule which featured “central planning of all kinds of human activity.” Communists, and the socialists like them, “believe in their ability to assemble all relevant data” and to give instructions to millions of people. He talked of how some enlightened folks want a return to this type of control because, of course, they are experts and know what’s best for everybody. Sound like academia to anybody else?
I believe his speech will eventually be made available on the Heartland website.
Bill Gray went next, but started off with what I felt was an unfortunate comment. He said that model climate modelers “don’t have much background on how the atmosphere ticks.” The statement is strictly false, and even ridiculous. It was offered in a friendlier spirit than it reads: more of a “weather weenies” (yes, this is what we call them) versus “climate modelers”. The former are the day-to-day weather forecasters, the guys who memorize the pressure, vorticity and CAPE of each storm back to 1965. The later are the guys who sweat over partial differential equations and, obviously, write computer code. There is always a tension between the two groups, but a good natured one.
But some people won’t understand the “inter-service rivalry” undertone. All they’ll hear is that Bill Gray said climate modelers don’t know how the atmosphere “ticks”, which will cause them to then trot out the qualifications of some climate modelers saying, “Look here. This guy has a PhD and 82 papers and can integrate you under the table.” And they’d be right.
It’s understandable for some people to want to score some points against the more outrageous claims of the “other side”, but I think it’s best done through plain writing or through humor. Public petulance and overstatement just will not work except against you.
If you’ve ever been to a science conference you’ll know that much of the best stuff happens out in the halls, which is where I spent the rest of my morning chatting with Jennifer Marohasy, Craig Loehle, Willie Soon, David Legates, Joel Schwartz and others. We talked mostly of work and upcoming papers and went through the standard ritual of griping about journal editors and the ridiculous hoops we sometimes have to jump through to get papers published. But some of the guys had absolute horror stories of what happened to them when they tried getting papers published that explored non-“consensus” views. Really outrageous and unethical behavior on the parts of some editors. I was shocked. I’d like to be able to tell some of these stories, but they belong to their owners, and I’ll let them do it.
Lord Monckton joined our group and said that he was off to, inter alia, the University of Rochester to talk about his climate sensitivity work. He’ll be writing it up soon and working with some scientists there to better quantify some of the ideas. I look forward to this because it is an excellent opportunity to not only get better point estimate of the quantities involved, but to also quantify their uncertainty. Specify error bounds, if you like, which is something that is almost never done!
Monckton also spoke on Glen Beck‘s radio show this morning and had some words to say about Jim Hansen who, as a government official, “condemned” two of Lord Monckton’s speeches. The transcript of the Beck interview is here. Here’s a blurb
So I wrote to the administrator of NASA and I said, [Hansen’s] conduct is not acceptable; I want it investigated and I think there are financial irregularities behind the conduct of your people in this matter and given that they have financial links with Al Gore. And so they are, in fact, now investigating it. It was referred to the inspector general of NASA who is their internal affairs officer, and he is now looking at this. And if they don’t come back to me very soon and say that they have disciplined this man for making unscientific statements when he’s a paid public official against a private citizen — that’s what he did — then I am going to refer this case via diplomatic channels to the U.S. attorney general’s office because they are the only office who are allowed to refer investigations to the Securities & Exchange Commission.
Oh. I also asked if his “stellar solar scientist” remark from yesterday was a planned pun. He said, with body language indicating the opposite of his words, “Well, of course it was.”
I had to get back by noon and so missed the wrap up talks, including one by John Stossel which I would have liked to have heard.
Though there was the “Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change”, which can be found here. This was circulated late this morning and people were asked to sign in public or anonymous support. Go and read it and see what you think.
The natural question is: Was the conference a success? To answer that requires time and waiting. For me it was successful because I got to meet some colleagues that I had only previously corresponded with. I got some work to do out of it, too. Plus, I was able to learn about some of the political aspects of the debate, though I am still abysmally ignorant here.