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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 09/ 2/2009

Response to Climate Depot's Distortions

By Andrew Freedman

Climate Depot's home page yesterday featuring the "shock" blog post by CWG's Andrew Freedman.

Dear Mr. Morano of Climate Depot,

Your lengthy response to my piece "Obama Needs to Give a Climate Speech - ASAP" contains numerous errors of fact and interpretation. I think you revealed your politically driven agenda quite nakedly when you assailed the United Nations for its role in climate and energy policy. The fact that you think the solutions to climate change will cost more than letting the climate system run amok, particularly in the developing world, does not stand up to close scrutiny in the academic literature.

I stand by what I wrote, especially the criticism of your venture as existing largely to create the impression of a crumbling scientific consensus on climate change, when in fact there is no such trend taking place in the scientific community.

Furthermore, your argument is breathtakingly heartless: You're actually pitching a do-nothing approach to climate change on the grounds that it would protect citizens of developing nations. If that is true, then why are leaders of developing countries, such as the African nations and small island states like Tuvalu and the Maldives, clamoring for the industrialized world to take action on climate change?

They rightly recognize the threat that it poses to their populations, through effects such as altered precipitation patterns, sea level rise, and the spread of tropical diseases, etc.

Study after study has shown that it is the world's most vulnerable who are going to suffer most from climate change, and yet you wish to focus on protecting them from the comparatively tiny risks of fighting the problem? What a remarkable argument. I can only imagine what the reaction to it might be in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where millions are at risk from sea level rise and increasingly intense tropical cyclones.

You make it hard to counter all your claims, yet easy to see through them, since you swiftly dismiss the Nobel Prize-winning U.N. IPCC as a "political" entity, rather than the scientific organization that it is. The U.N. sponsors it, but does not control its agenda. Scientists chart its course, not politicians. The IPCC follows one of the -- if not the most -- rigorous peer-review processes in all of modern science, and it has faced such criticisms before and consistently withstood them on the basis of the quality of its work. Only the Summary for Policymakers, which is a tiny fraction of the organization's report, must be approved line-by-line by political officials.

Your strategy is to dismiss the IPCC as political, and then swat away the joint statements of the world's major national academies of sciences and scientific organizations such as the American Geophysical Union etc., which then leaves you in the position of relying on the peer-reviewed academic literature, which you cherry pick to fit your preconceived political notion that is based on an antipathy to government.

Such reverse-engineered reasoning, in which you start at the desired political outcome and seek scientific evidence to support it, is nothing more than an anti-science and anti-science journalism agenda.

(Note: Opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer, Andrew Freedman. The Capital Weather Gang has no official position on climate change science or policy matters.)

Another reaction:

Climate Science Watch: Washington Post Capital Weather Gang agrees: "Obama Needs to Give a Climate Speech"

By Andrew Freedman  | September 2, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change, Freedman, Policy  
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Next: Tropical Storm Erika: Danny Deja Vu?


IPCC - The IPCC Panel is composed of representatives appointed by governments and organizations. Participation of delegates with appropriate expertise is encouraged. Plenary sessions of the IPCC and IPCC Working Groups are held at the level of government representatives. Non Governmental and Intergovernmental Organizations may be allowed to attend as observers.

When the Govn't appoints representives there is going to be political influence, no?

Posted by: dave09 | September 2, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

dave09: I think you are ignoring the participation of hundreds of scientists, and are focusing only on the political-level reviews that occur when the IPCC finalizes its assessments and writes the Summary for Policymakers. The question isn't so much whether there is some political influence, but rather to what extent that influence alters the scientific content, and there is very little evidence to show that it has affected the science. I have reported on the IPCC for several years, so I am basing these assertions on numerous interviews with supporters of the IPCC process and critics alike.

I will try to have an IPCC participant address this issue, either here in the comments section or in a separate post. For now, here are some details from the IPCC web site: "The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences."

"The IPCC is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters. Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis. Review is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment of current information. Differing viewpoints existing within the scientific community are reflected in the IPCC reports."

"The IPCC is an intergovernmental body, and it is open to all member countries of UN and WMO. Governments are involved in the IPCC work as they can participate in the review process and in the IPCC plenary sessions, where main decisions about the IPCC workprogramme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. The IPCC Bureau and Chairperson are also elected in the plenary sessions."

Because of its scientific and intergovernmental nature, the IPCC embodies a unique opportunity to provide rigorous and balanced scientific information to decision makers. By endorsing the IPCC reports, governments acknowledge the authority of their scientific content. The work of the organization is therefore policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

This isn't my battle, and I am sure that Mr. Morano does not need by assistance, but this is just way too much!

Mr. Freedman wrote, "The work of the organization is therefore policy-relevant and yet policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive."

You MUST be joking!

Didn't they endorse Kyoto? How is endorsing the Kyoto Accord remaining policy neutral??

Here is the main problem I personally have with the IPCC. People like you, and your fellow reporters will do endless reporting on the IPCC summary for policymakers, which you acknowledge is written by POLITIICANS, while simultaneously saying that the IPCC (this time referring to the actual scientists) is not political. It makes me want to puke. You continuously try to have it both ways!

You want to cover the science and the scientists? Fine! I will help get you started.

Start here -
UN IPCC Scientist Richard Courtney responds to new peer-reviewed study calling climate models "fundamentally wrong."

Then go here -
UN IPCC Scientist: 'No convincing scientific arguments to support claim that increases in greenhouse gases are harmful to the climate'

You want to cover the science? Riiiiiiiight. What about those last four peer-reviewed scientific studies that I pointed out to you? Do you plan on covering those any time soon? I won't hold my breath.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 2, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Q: I will look into whether the IPCC endorsed Kyoto, I hadn't heard that before. You have a good point about reporters quoting from the Summary for Policy Makers, which is approved line-by-line by political representatives, rather than the scientific reports. I have tried not to do that, but probably have done so in the past. I think the problem stems more from deadline pressures than anything else (a 20 page document vs. a 400 pager).

Also, please keep in mind that the comment you responded to contained quotes from the IPCC itself, not my writing. Thanks.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with both of Mr. Q's references.

Another interpretation of the PETM study, when temperatures increased drastically millions of years ago, is that the climate models appear to underestimate the response of temperature to carbon dioxide, because the temperature response to an increase in carbon dioxide was much greater than what climate models say is the sensitivity.

The second reference says that climate models have not been validated. Climate models have been run over the past century
and do reproduce the past century, but only with the observed increase in carbon dioxide. They cannot reproduce the observed warming in surface temperature without carbon dioxide increasing. That to me is validation. They have also been judged on their ability to produce the current climate and have done fairly well.

The physics in climate models were also introduced into weather models, their first cousins, and produced a great leap forward in numerical weather prediction, another validation.

Posted by: Dadmeister | September 2, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I actually made the mistake of clicking over to that ClimateDepot link yesterday. I got about halfway down the page and stopped reading. It sounded like it was written by a young teen who was off his Ritalin. Much, though not all obviously, of the climate "skeptic" stuff does.

The dismissal of the IPCC as a politicized entity is just the tip off that a group is completely out of touch with the scientific community. One only has to open ANY major scientific publication (either peer-reviewed one or one for lay consumption) to know the esteem in which that gathering is considered. It was indeed made up of the world's most respected climatologists, give or take a few who may not have been able to participate for logistical reasons.

I thought about writing a rebuttal to that page but it just didn't seem worth it. Anyone who's going to take it seriously is just trying with all their might not to see anything that is going on.

About the only shred of sane commentary on that page, though in typical fashion presented with little constructive addition to the conversation, was their gloating over Andrew's correct catch of Pres. Obama's inapt characterization of the stakes. Of course the planet is not "in peril". It is our planet's ability to sustain human life that is. But that's a shorthand that many use, probably unhelpful in that it gives the yahoo crowd something "exaggerating" to crow about. But most well-meaning people know what the phrase means. The planet will survive us. It's just unclear if WE will survive us. That is the issue at hand.

Posted by: B2O2 | September 2, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, per your Bangladesh disaster prediction, when do you expect these stronger cyclones to begin? Florida State is reporting a negative trend in global cyclone intensity since the 1990s here.

Posted by: MattRogers | September 2, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Q, policymakers eventually get involved whenever the consensus of society is that policy is needed. You would prefer that it be termite exterminators, or semi-pro bowlers, who instead carry out the task?

Let me clarify for you the model when large-scale problems arise in our biosphere. This is how it worked with the ozone hole, and it is quite fortunate that it does. First, the scientists discover a problem that we are causing with our actions. When a critical mass of them (as we have had for some time now on climate change) are in consensus, they reluctantly* go to the policymakers (here, Congress). They beg them to act.

[* note that scientists as a breed are very shy creatures in this way. Most of them would rather be doing their work, and they generally feel much more comfortable communicating with other scientists, who speak the same language. Thus, on climate change it is the fringe skeptics who actually make more noise because most of them are not publishing papers and haven't been for many years. They are activists, for whatever cause they are being paid for by industry (usually). The real scientists are busy with their noses in their research, with little taste for the political arena. It's been a problem for some time.]

Eventually, when the problem is so evident that fear of catastrophe becomes strong enough to overcome the hold that industry donations have on said Congress critters, they act. With ozone it was to ban CFCs. It worked. The model works.

If you want to replace this model with one where the publishing scientists are swapped out for the fringe wackos, and the policymakers with termite exterminators, please move to a universe that I do not live in. That does not seem like a very functional model.

Posted by: B2O2 | September 2, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Freedman, my last comment could have been less contentious in nature. For that, I apologize. It just so happens that this is a hot button issue with me.

I could spend literally all day detailing the problems with the IPCC and their reports. Anyone who has read these comments over the years knows that I am not exaggerating. I have repeatedly pointed out the flaws with the IPCC.

Alas, I don't have all day, and I would without a doubt bore everyone silly. So I will try to be brief.

The simplest proof concerning the U.N.'s bias is in the money. They wish to control, via different regulatory methods, trillions of dollars. Now anyone who thinks that their desire to control that money has no influence whatsoever over -
1. the scientists that they pick to participate at the IPCC
2. the process used by the IPCC
3. the summary for policymakers, which is what gets almost all the news coverage

is 100% delusional! Of course it does!

That is the easy to understand, common sense argument.

continued in next comment

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 2, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

continued from my previous comment

Now for a few (I will limit myself) direct points.

--begin quote--
The co-author of the relevant Report chapter, Martin Manning, said “Many of us in the WG I community think the A1FI [fossil-fuel intensive] emissions are unrealistically high”. So how did they get there? To quote Manning again: “the fossil intensive scenario was not introduced by climate modellers or indeed anyone directly associated with the WG I report.” Instead it “was a response to final government review comments” on earlier, less drastic scenarios.
In other words, it was the RESULT OF POLITICAL INTERFERENCE.

Then Richard Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology at MIT, weighed in. He had once again been a lead author of a Report chapter. He scoffed at the idea that the Summaries for Policymakers represented a consensus of scientists. “The truth is”, he said, “that we are not even asked”. Lindzen then gave a public lecture showing how the Summary had misrepresented what the scientists had said, and exaggerated the authority of “undistinguished scientists” who backed the IPCC line.

John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama, and another lead author of the TAR, then told the London Times that the 5.8 degree model result was “not going to happen” and added that climate models “are not the real world. They have many shortcomings - the sort of tiny shortcomings that can make long-term predictions suspect.” Christy also debunked alarmism about droughts, floods, tornadoes and the spread of malaria.

Several other top scientists who had contributed to the scientific part of the IPCC Report echoed these criticisms. This follows a pattern which can be observed over the past decade. The IPCC claims scientists world-wide agree with its alarmist predictions. But only a handful of these scientists ever appear, and they are almost invariably dependent on government greenhouse budgets for their livelihood. By contrast, really top experts who have genuine independence are often scathing about the greenhouse scare.
--end quote--

source of the above quote

After you have digested the above, go here for more criticisms of the IPCC -
"50 articles that seriously question the credibility and integrity of the IPCC's activities and claims"

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 2, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Dadmeister wrote, "Another interpretation of the PETM study, when temperatures increased drastically millions of years ago, is that the climate models appear to underestimate the response of temperature to carbon dioxide, because the temperature response to an increase in carbon dioxide was much greater than what climate models say is the sensitivity."

Even the people at realclimate acknowledge that temperature increases PRECEEDED (not followed) increases in CO2.

First the temperature of the planet increased. THEN, approximately 700 years LATER, the levels of CO2 increased. Not the other way around.

It amazes me how Al Gore's distortion of science lives on to this day!! That is a direct reflection on the quality (or lack thereof) of reporting. Take note, Andrew. You aren't doing your job very well.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 2, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

B2O2 wrote, "If you want to replace this model with one where the publishing scientists are swapped out for the fringe wackos, and the policymakers ..."

For someone who primarily engages in ad-hominem attacks and never provides a source for his opinions, this may be difficult for you to comprehend, but I shall try anyway.

I quoted and linked to peer-reviewed, published scientific studies. I am sorry if that eluded your keen powers of observation.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 2, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Condidering the tone of Andrew's words yesterday and response to Mr. Morano today, the growing disappointment and frustration with our new President,among many, whether or not they voted for him last November, is screaming with crystal clarity of annunciation.

Depending on personal priorities, Obama supporters or non supporters can focus disappointment or opposition in various directions. Many are,as the poling data reveals!

To suggest that "Obama Needs to Give a Climate Speech-ASAP" is completely tone deaf, politically, and please, don't be so naive as to believe that science will control the agenda.

Climate Change is almost certainly, very low on his agenda at this juncture for reasons that have nothing to do with science, but everything to do with his political survival and success in the Oval Office.

Support for my thoughts is in the news today, along with reinforcement of disappointment, frustration and even oppositional rage by opponents as well as former supporters. Politico reported this morning that the Obama Administration is considering putting Cap and Trade on the back burner,in favor of a more politically palatable mission such as going after the bad boys on Wall Street.

Posted by: AugustaJim | September 2, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Freedman would have a point except his demigod/demagogues are provably WRONG .

Classical physics shows our temperature , like any object in our orbit is tightly constrained to be about 1/21 the temperature of the sun . Skilled programmers can translate the algorithm on my to any array capable language and check the computations themselves . Overall , the quality of the physics seen in the AGW debate is pathetic . The most common "null hypothesis" has the earth absorbing heat as a gray body but emitting it as if black . Starting from that false assumption , the sky's the limit on their "forcings" . I wouldn't be surprised if Freedman himself believes the common howler that Venus's extreme temperature is the result of some "runaway greenhouse effect" . I have NEVER seen an AGWer disavow that idiocy . FYI , Venus is more than twice as hot as any object in its orbit could be heated by the sun . Therefore by basic physics it is radiating 16 times as much energy as it is receiving from the sun .

Howard Hayden put it well recently when he asked which of the 20 odd climate models is the right one so the others can be discarded . It may be all 20 if they begin with the falacy I pointed out above . Far from being settled , a real science of global temperature tied correctly to basic physics is only just beginning . But that physics already rules out unconstrained "runaways" and "feedbacks" .

I don't know how to put it , Mr Freedman , , but you've been scammed , you've been duped , you're the one who needs to open your mind to the possibility that governments at all levels up to the global , are as self interested as any other organization -- and less intelligent than the best of a free population .

It is indeed heartless to condemn the world's population to lives of politically rationed energy on the basis if this historic falsehood more damaging than Stalin's Lysenkoism .

Posted by: CoSyBob | September 2, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Matt, thanks for the link. The hurricanes/climate change issue is very complex, but there is considerable evidence showing that a warming world may increase cyclone intensity, while decreaing the frequency of storms. Some scientists, like Kerry Emanuel of MIT, claim that hurricane theory suggests that there will be a large increase in cyclone intensity with rising sea surface temps, however the models don't show that. Some observational studies have detected trends already, in contrast the to the FSU chart you referenced. Regardless of trends in storms, sea level rise and increasing coastal populations are likely to cause far more damage in terms of $$$ and lives from storms that do occur, especially in low lying areas like Bangladesh.


Also: Emanuel, K. A. Increasing destructiveness of tropical cyclones over the past 30 years. Nature 436, 686–688 (2005).

Webster, P. J., Holland, G. J., Curry, J. A.&Chang, H. R. Changes in tropical cyclone number, duration, and intensity in a warming environment. Science 309, 1844–1846 (2005).

Trenberth, K. Uncertainty in hurricanes and global warming. Science 308,
1753–1754 (2005).

Elsner, J. B. Granger causality and Atlantic hurricanes. Tellus 59A, 476–485

Nyberg et al "Low Atlantic hurricane activity in the 1970s and
1980s compared to the past 270 years", Nature, 2007.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Freedman:

Being a social scientist, I don't have a strong opinion about climate models. From a statistician's persepctive, however, that so many models wide such wide confidence bands (wide even to economists) have led to the same normative conclusions (man made climate change is occurring) and furthermore that the the normative judgment of this effect is seemingly always that it is "bad" (there should be a significant probability that climate change would be neutral or even beneficial) leads me to believe that what are being constructed are not climate models, but models of the negative effects of climate change. Yes, there difference between a climate model and a climate-change-is-bad model is a gulf the width of the universe, because in the latter case, all hypothesis testing (which, if you had been careful to understand the models, is not conducted statistically, but also normatively) is completely invalid. That is, the null hypotheses seems to be that "bad" climate change is occurring, any detection of that in the models is taken as a validation of such a hypothesis. This approach seems to defy the elementary steps required for rigorous scientific method taught even to high schoolers. Again, I am not criticising the modeling--for all I know, they may be spot on--only pointing out that there has simply been no valid hypothesis test of them that would survive a mathematician's laugh test. So you are defacto left with faith and politics.

You should also be aware that climate-change scientists (not climate scientists) have covered their ears about the numerous and damning criticisms from economists of public policy that seeks to reduce carbon emissions. I'll go on record (under my WaPo pseudonym!) that fighting the negative "symptoms" of climate change even indefinitely will be cheaper than making the entire industrial world carbon neutral. I'll also say that some of the negative externalities associated with the "remedies" are simply appalling--I don't relish the idea massive groundwater contamination from mercury in CFLs and chemicals left behind in the mass proliferation of batteries all in the quixotic attempt to *maybe* stop the tiny rise in average temperatures because *maybe* it is really bad.

Last, if there is a climate "catastrophe", it is approaching at glacial speeds, whereas numerous natural and man-made cataclysms can literally end life on the planet tomorrow (or even by the time I finish typing this). But, I guess they aren't as popular, so we shouldn't worry about them, and devote all our resources to one nebulous, contentious area with completely uncertain outcomes.

Don't be a fool and claim that this is a politically netural topic. Just the amount of attention it gets over more ciritical issues utterly dispoves that.

Posted by: Wallenstein | September 2, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Andrew. I'm aware of the research, but was wondering when this expected increase is going to take place. The ACE index offered by FSU is a very accurate way of tracking global storm intensity. Other respected researchers like Chris Landsea, would also disagree with the research you offered there. As you correctly noted, this is indeed a very complex issue and specific destruction forecasts may be difficult to verify. Thanks!

Posted by: MattRogers | September 2, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Matt, I think ACE is different from PDI, which Emmanuel's group and others use, and to which I was referring. You are correct about Landsea (along with Stan Goldenberg) and others who disagree with the studies I mentioned. As a journalist, I am trying to communicate where the scientific community stands on the issue, while avoiding presenting only one side. That is why I said that some studies show the trend already occurring, and provided references for some of those. I should've included Landsea's recent work in my recommended studies, but I suspected you were already familiar with those. The bottom line is that it is a very complicated area of active research, and the modern hurricane record is so short and riddled with inconsistencies that it makes it very hard for researchers to firmly discern what is going on.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

For a more detailed analysis go to:

(Under Global Warming at

Global Warming: Since When and Says Who

Posted by: trib1 | September 2, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I wish Mr. Morano would have responded here, but he hasn't. But he has responded to you over at his site. I want to provide a snippet of his response here, just because it is soooooooooo relevant to the IPCC discussion we were having.

--begin quote--
Here is a very small sampling of what current and former UN scientists have to say about the UN and its scientific methods.

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history...When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn't listen to others. It doesn't have open minds... I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists.” - Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

“Temperature measurements show that the [climate model-predicted mid-troposphere] hot zone is non-existent. This is more than sufficient to invalidate global climate models and projections made with them!”- UN IPCC Scientist Dr. Steven M. Japar, a PhD atmospheric chemist who was part of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Second (1995) and Third (2001) Assessment Reports, and has authored 83 peer-reviewed publications and in the areas of climate change, atmospheric chemistry, air pollutions and vehicle emissions.

"I was at the table with three Europeans, and we were having lunch. And they were talking about their role as lead authors. And they were talking about how they were trying to make the report so dramatic that the United States would just have to sign that Kyoto Protocol," Christy told CNN on May 2, 2007. - Alabama State Climatologist Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, served as a UN IPCC lead author in 2001 for the 3rd assessment report and detailed how he personally witnessed UN scientists attempting to distort the science for political purposes.

to be continued in my next comment

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 2, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

continued from my previous comment

“Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp...Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact.” - Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.

“The quantity of CO2 we produce is insignificant in terms of the natural circulation between air, water and soil... I am doing a detailed assessment of the UN IPCC reports and the Summaries for Policy Makers, identifying the way in which the Summaries have distorted the science.” - South African Nuclear Physicist and Chemical Engineer Dr. Philip Lloyd, a UN IPCC co-coordinating lead author who has authored over 150 refereed publications.
--end quote--

source of the above quote

The IPCC is a mockery of a sham of a mockery of sham.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 2, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Woah! His response is thorough. It takes some time to read, but it is well worth it. His rebuttal thoroughly dismantles your rebuttal.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 2, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

"Methinks thou dost protest too much." Morano called you on your alarmist rant and you acted like someone guilty of bad journalism. You have no one to blame but yourself. Suckling on Obama's teat is so early 2009. Take off the blinders and I'll bet you'll see things even Hamlet didn't.

Posted by: Danno1313 | September 2, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

This pinhead needs to be fired.

As for commentors who believe the IPCC is a scientific body, even the IPCC admits they are not composed of climatologists (check their web site).

Desperate, desperate, desperate.

Climate pseudo-science can only claim proof of one scientific conclusion - computer aided analysis is prone to Garbage In, Garbage Out results.

Anthropogenic global warming theories are evidence of such garbage.

No one on the planet has enough real-time, never mind historical, climate data to build a working model on accurately predictable climate outcomes.

Posted by: pub123 | September 2, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I tend to agree with AugustaJim regarding agenda, though given high-visibility moves early on (not to mention rhetoric of the campaign) for this admin, the climate issue seems to have gone not so far. I could think of a few other immediately pressing problems on the foreign policy front that deserve some action too. These arguments are always interesting one way or another, both sides seem hard to budge on their stance.

Posted by: Ian-CapitalWeatherGang | September 2, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Mr Freedman,

I've read your critique of Mr. Morano and I've read his rebuttal. He's kicking your ass, hands down.

You need to produce evidence to support your assertions. Right now, you have nothing. Unless you can back up your alarmist claims, you owe him an apology.


Posted by: hititgood | September 2, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, you asked "why are leaders of developing countries, such as the African nations and small island states like Tuvalu and the Maldives, clamoring for the industrialized world to take action on climate change?"

You don't know the answer? Here it is:
MONEY. Lots of it. Hundreds of billions of dollars PER YEAR.

Posted by: SoCal_Mark | September 2, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

"If that is true, then why are leaders of developing countries, such as the African nations and small island states like Tuvalu and the Maldives, clamoring for the industrialized world to take action on climate change?

Surely you have heard the expression "Follow The Money!"?

Poor nations need 'wartime' support against climate change: UN

From the link:
Developing nations need a 600-billion-dollar "Marshall Plan" annually to tackle climate change with support from rich nations on a scale not seen outside wartime recovery, a UN report said Tuesday.

You do recall the UN's Oil for Food scam? How much of that 600 billion will be going into Swiss bank accounts?

Posted by: MrPoole | September 2, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Gobal Warming (GW) is real or not, nobody has the evidence, maybe AGW is real or not, it's the same.
But what's evident:
-during the night the sun is not shining
-mostly the wind is not blowing feasible for Wind-generators
-one cant store current on stock or produce in advance.
I.E. if somebody really would care for a perhaps real problem he should start to develop power-generation in an apropriate way instead of dreaming of Voltaik, Solar and Windpower.
To provide worldwide power without fossil combustion 7.000 nuclear power-stations of the French EPR -Type or app. 10.000 of the Chinese CWR100 would be neccessary.
But indeed none is under construction in the States and especially the ridiculous Germans are shutting down there very productive and safe nuclear power stations and they are beleaving in Wind and Voltaik.
Or is there perhaps an other story behind? Just to gain subventional money by ptc or tricks like the German EEG!
B.t.w. price for electric-power in Germany has inbetween climbed to the double of the US-price outcoming from the German Wind- and Voltaik-dreams (indeed for technical resans it would be lower than in the States without Wind and Voltaik)

Heinrich Duepmann
President of German NPO naeb nationale anti EEG-Bewegung

Posted by: hkd123 | September 3, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Andrew you are totally out of your league.

Nice try anyways.

Next time open your mind and do some homework. Maybe then you'll be on the correct side of the argument.

Posted by: member8 | September 3, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Contrary to Andrew Freedman's claim, UN IPCC is NOT a scientific organization. Any IPCC insider can wink at such naive characterization. IPCC is actually the UN equivalent of a department in a national government, and as such, regardless of how many scientists that department employs for policy advice, the final decision of the department ("a tiny fraction of the organization's report," according to Freedman's extenuation) is always politically motivated and the most important.

It is obvious that from Freidman's ignorance of the inner workings of IPCC that he has taken someone else's characterization of IPCC as scientific organization to his heart without doing the obligatory due diligence investigation of the organization and its true nature

This is hardly the manner by which a responsible, objective journalist should attempt to inform his readers, unless his ulterior motive is to lead his ignorant readers to his point of view on the matter of global warming. Friedman in his writing, it appears then, is proselytizing rather than informing his readers, which would put him in the same ranks as those proselytizers of religions and ideologies who are invariably convinced of their narrow and parochial visions of the world as the only truth.

Detecting such coloration from Freeman's article, it is apparent that objectivity is no longer, if it ever was, part of his journalistic ethics, and his posturing in regard to global warming proves that liberals, in spite of their advertised credentials for open-mindedness, are as likely to be close-minded as their conservative counterparts, whom they accuse of such debilitating mental perdition.

In conclusion, despite Freedman's posturing, there is far more climate science based on the latest reports and studies found at Climate Depot than in his article that is replete with bleeding heart romanticization of climate science that has more to do with social ideology than with real science. For Friedman to be able to sincerely claim that Climate Depot has an anti-science agenda, he would have to be blind to science and its methodology.

Posted by: DrSerendipitous | September 3, 2009 2:21 AM | Report abuse

Climate Depot provides links to serious scientific research, much of it published in top peer-reviewed journals. At the very least, it seems to me you might acknowledge that Climate Depot provides a useful public service in doing this. As for Climate Depot's political valence: at least it is honest that it has staked out a strong position on a live controversy.

Posted by: coastofutopia | September 3, 2009 5:20 AM | Report abuse

M. Freedman
Can you say with a straight face that "The debate is over" or "It is an indisputable fact that GW is caused by the industrialized nations emitting greenhouse gases"
Please respond

Posted by: jdelayknee1 | September 3, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

This neo-Bolshevik approach to science (or any subject), especially the use of media pundits such as Freedman and what is so typical of the sputum implicit to newspapers inside-the-beltway, should be EXPECTED to be exaggerated when the handouts involves TRILLIONS over periods of decades. We should EXPECT that the Freemans of the world would resort to inbred, self-absorbed diatribe and diversion rather than direct factual discourse and/or substantive rebuttal.

With that fulfilled expectation in full view, let us look at two connected quotes from this inside-the-beltway pundit (I am being generous) in the context of the standardized albeit juvenile deployment of lying-by-omission:

"The IPCC follows one of the -- if not the most -- rigorous peer-review processes in all of modern science, and it has faced such criticisms before and consistently withstood them on the basis of the quality of its work."

WOW! So, from within Freedmans's claim of a "rigorous peer-review process" emerges the vile, putrid sputum originally called MBH 18/19, now commonly referred to as the "HOCKEY STICK." This Freedman would have us believe that the simpleton outright fraud of the IPCC's "HOCKEY STICK" is something that has "withstood (criticisms) on the basis of the quality of its work."

Isn't at least curious to people with integrity that this "science community" that the sychophant Freedman parrots about never caught the HOCKEY STICK FRAUD in the first place, and now cowers in shame collectively as IPCC-4 just drops the whole subject like it never happened??

Freedman babbles on (at the behest of his neo-Bolshevik masters one must presume): "The question isn't so much whether there is some political influence, but rather to what extent that influence alters the scientific content, and there is very little evidence to show that it has affected the science."

WOW!! (again). Could perhaps, given the abject ignorance demonstrated by some posts here about (ostensibly) the Montreal Protocol, this Freedman will preview for all to see his detailed knowledge of the facts that led to FIRING of Dr. William Happer ala the theologian named Al Gore?!

Posted by: pvsheridan | September 3, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The short answer to Mr. Freedman's reply to Marc Morano is it is Mr. Freedman who, with the UN, is distorting the science, pursuing a politically motivated agenda and misleading the public.

Three developments support me:
1) despite continuing increases in the concentration of CO2, the climate is cooling or generously, static since 1998.

2) the decadal oscillations of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans have turned to the cooling phase. It is no coincidence that the warming of the late 20th century correlated to their warm phase.

3) the sun reached its grand maximum in the late 20th century which also coincided with the warming. Since then total solar irradiance has declined, the sunspot count is down and solar cycle 24 is taking its own sweet time in starting. A 51 consecutive day of zero sunspots was just ended by a tiny spot that already disappeared. Mr. Freedman, the climate is cooling, get used to it.

In fact climate change is driven by natural forces including the sun, the oceans and winds which are all connected. CO2 and the all living things are just along for the ride.

Mr. Freedman does the public a great disservice by publishing his sadly uninformed opinion.

Posted by: Kenneth2 | September 3, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

What everyone should be alerted to is the fact that the inside-the-beltway WP would actually pretend to be discussing and/or presenting science per se ala this Andrew Freedman.

The WP blog rules strictly prohibit so-called personal attacks but Freedman is allowed to "run amok" in his personal and subjective attack of Marc Morano ala unsubstantiated slanders of the latter being "heartless."

With that in hand we ask, just who is this Freedman; the one that babbles on about science? Is he even REMOTELY qualified to debate ANYONE regarding climate SCIENCE? Well, you can answer that rudimentary question for-yourself by viewing his statement at the Tufts website, and simultaneously determine if it is FREEDMAN that reeks of politics "run amok."

Freedman states:

" . . . to focus on sustainable development and international negotiations to give me new insight into the political dynamics at work with global climate change and other environmental issues."

His undergraduate degree? Why, political science of course! Gore would be proud.

By the way, what exactly are the axioms of this thing called political "science."??

Posted by: pvsheridan | September 3, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Young Andy,

You have Mr Morano and Climat Depot beaten by only one measure: You have much better editing and graphics capabilities than he does.

Besides that, when it comes to facts, analysis, and considered opinions, Mr Morano has simply built a solid case, while your case is built on airy conjecture, naive trust in corrupt institutions, and partisan close-minded self-deluded, politically correct group-think.

When the Post folds, maybe you can take your rolodex over to Mr Morano's outfit and learn how to be an objective journalist.

Posted by: ColorMeCapitalist | September 3, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

pvsheridan: You seem to have omitted from your search of my bio the fact that I also just completed an M.A. in Climate and Society through Columbia University, which is an interdisciplinary climate science program.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | September 3, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

pvsheridan: I just want to congratulate you on being the first person (that I know of) to use the word "sputum" on this web site.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | September 3, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention being compared to Lenin-era Russian revolutionaries.

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | September 3, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Freedman should do his homework before trying to discredit those who disagree with cap & trade legislation growing out of the UN requirement for the U.S. to cut our emissions 80% by 2050.
The book Carbon Folly explains why Mr. Freedman is wrong in trying to get the U.S. to follow the U.N. requirements. He should read it before writing another word about global warming and cap & trade.

Posted by: dddusmma | September 3, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

For the record Kenneth, solar irradiance reached its maximum in 2002-2003, after being at its minimum during the latter half of the 90's. As for your first two points, have you considered the idea that the cooling phases of the oceans may have the effect of flattening the underlying trendlines? Leaving a staircase pattern instead of a sin curve?

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | September 3, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Freedman wrote, "Also, please keep in mind that the comment you responded to contained quotes from the IPCC itself, not my writing. Thanks."

OMG! In one fell swoop, you managed to hit upon two of the most deceptive and unethical journalistic practices currently employed by the dinosaur media.

I already covered the first nauseating practice, quoting from the Summary for Policy Makers (which is written by politicians) while simultaneously trying to obfuscate the fact that it was written by politicians by pointing at the scientists and claiming that they are not political. (On a side note, take a guess at how much clout scientists will have with the public when this scam is eventually revealed for what it is. Make maximum use of that little bit of journalistic malpractice while you can. ;))

The second most disgusting journalistic practice is quoting someone else (who we all know that you believe 100%!) and then when someone points out that what they claim is not true, you attempt to regain what integrity you think have by pointing out that you were only quoting someone else. Please! You quoted what you did because -
a. you were using to refute what someone else wrote

There was a time when ordinary readers would have found it difficult to point out falsehoods in quotes from a journalist. Do you know why? Because the journalist would have beat them to it!!! He would do his job and vet the quotes he used for truth and honesty!! If they were found lacking, he or she would have pointed it out! Journalists are supposed to report the facts! They are NOT supposed to be the media arm for people and institutions that they believe in! Parroting their PR mindlessly without vetting it. WTF! If I want the IPCC propaganda I can go to their website and read it for myself. We don't need you to parrot it mindlessly. Why do you think the media is struggling so badly right now? This is one of the reasons.

You can't quote from someone else when you are trying to refute a point one of your readers made and THEN, when someone else points out that what you quoted isn't true, try to claim " ... please keep in mind that the comment you responded to contained quotes from the IPCC itself, not my writing." How dishonest can you get? How stupid do you think your readers are?!?!

That is a disgusting habit and if you want to be one of the people left standing (in the journalism profession) when this whole journalism & newspaper quagmire sorts itself out (assuming that it does, and that is a BIG assumption), you had better stop doing that.

Believe it or not, I am trying to help you (although I don't know why - you haven't done anything to warrant assistance). If I weren't trying to help you, I wouldn't have pointed it out. I would sit back and watch you destroy yourself.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 4, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

dave09 wrote, "When the Govn't appoints representives there is going to be political influence, no?"

Of course there is! They will pick scientists that they know will give them the results they want. Duh!

Andrew, you wrote a 391 word reply to dave09's simple 13 word question. And you failed to answer it! But you did manage to employ journalistic malpractice trick number 1.

You could have shortened your response and replied thusly -
"Don't look at all of the politicians. Look at the scientists! Look at the scientists!"

How many people do you think were fooled by that trick? Please tell me that you aren't falling for your own trick.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | September 4, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Every major scientific organization on earth agrees that humans are largely responsible for the climate change, well perhaps with the exception of the Petroleum Geologists,

but even they are inching closer to reality.

Moreover, all these scientific organizations agree that these changes will become more dangerous and costly in the future. There is overwhelming scientific evidence for this which has not been countered. Allegations of a “growing divide” are wishful

Survey, after survey shows that large majorities of scientists acknowledge the reality and danger of climate change, and the more that any scientist knows about climate, the more likely that they do so.

The reality and danger of climate change have been acknowledged by the science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the UK and the US representing the best scientists and engineers in those countries. In their latest joint statement, issued in May 2009

"... climate change is happening even faster than previously estimated; global CO2 emissions since 2000 have been higher than even the highest predictions, Arctic sea ice has been melting at rates much faster than predicted, and the rise in the sea level has become more rapid. Feedbacks in the climate system might lead to much more rapid climate changes.

The need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable. "

Posted by: EliRabett2003 | September 7, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

It's always painful to see these discussions. People who fail to understand the science always make their positions known with such vehemence.

The most extreme example of the many already appearing on this thread is that of CoSyBob, who claims:

"I wouldn't be surprised if Freedman himself believes the common howler that Venus's extreme temperature is the result of some "runaway greenhouse effect" . I have NEVER seen an AGWer disavow that idiocy . FYI , Venus is more than twice as hot as any object in its orbit could be heated by the sun . Therefore by basic physics it is radiating 16 times as much energy as it is receiving from the sun."

In fact, the surface of Venus is in radiative balance with the atmosphere, and the atmosphere is in radiative balance with the sun and space. How energy piles up at the surface is accessible as an undergraduate level calculation.

To suggest that a body the size of Venus is actually an energy source goes totally against astrophysical principles. So to hold on to his political philosophy, CoSyBob is inclined to abandon several sciences.

Looked at in detail, it's an absurd argument, beyond circular. "The greenhouse effect is unreal. Look at Venus! Venus couldn't possibly be that hot because of the greenhouuse effect, which is unreal! Therefore it's unreal!"

The Washington Post is not the place to work out the details, of course. It's unfortunate that we don't have more scientists rising to the occasion to put all the hopelessly misplaced confidence in antiscientific ravings that appears in the comments to an adequate refutation. Of course, one has to understand that scientists are busy, and that, thanks to people like Morano, the supply of addled misinformation is vast.

Many thanks are due to Andrew Freedman for having the seriousness of purpose and tenacity to see through the mendacious nonsense and call it for what it is. Andrew, I strongly hope that your efforts are rewarded and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Michael Tobis, Ph.D.,
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
U Wisconsin - Madison 1996

Posted by: mtobis | September 7, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

The president making a speech would help a lot, but the US is very polarized. In addition, I think we need to have those in government support a "Scientists Bill of Rights" such as the one requested by the Union of Concerned Scientists or something like the Bill of Rights (and responsibilities) for Scientists and Engineers of the The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

It should be a firing offense to do what was done at NASA during the last administration (editing out the Big Bang to please creationists, putting gag orders on climate scientists that didn't tailor their work to administration campaign contributors, etc.), and an impeachable misdemeanor on the part of the chief executive for starters. The executive should be statutorily prohibited from ever imposing a blockade of the public's access to scientific knowledge their taxes paid for, regardless of the spurious unitary executive power arguments that partisan or corrupt lawyers want to bring to the table. If the public and press can get to the scientists, then they can get to the truth.

Looking at comments here, I wonder, would the climate denialism community, already content to be led by someone from the public relations industry in the service of a creationist politician, like to up the ante and base its understanding of science on Velikovsky's work? That's all I can infer from the oddball Venus stuff - unless it's retroactive spite because Carl Sagan and James Hansen were involved in establishing Venus' atmosphere and conditions - correctly - before being confirmed by robot craft observations.

Posted by: MarionDelgado | September 8, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse


Don't let the know-nothings bog you down or back you off your positions. There are plenty of sane people who appreciate what you write, who lack the spittle-flecked zeal of the typical climate denialist and don't post in the comments. We all should make more of an effort to support journalists like yourself who are part of the reality-based community.


Posted by: thingsbreak | September 8, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I think the bottom line of this discussion is that those who are opposed to action on climate change see that they must discredit the IPCC --- otherwise, they've lost the debate before it started. That's the entire reason behind this "the IPCC is biased" debate. There is no evidence to support it, and the explanation for why the IPCC is biased actually would apply to almost all fields of science ... so are all scientists corrupt?

What about the scientists who studied the connection between cancer and smoking? Wasn't their funding dependent on generating a crisis? Didn't they have to toe the line to protect their career? etc., etc.

The only reason that the tobacco companies were not making this exact argument in the 1960s and 70s was that they hadn't thought this attack up.

These exact same nonsense arguments appear everywhere on the Internet. For example, read this little gem about skin cancer (

But why would the cancer industry go along with the deception, you might ask? Because the continued commercial success of the cancer industry depends on more people getting cancer. In previous articles, I've clearly shown that the cancer industry has no interest whatsoever in preventing cancer. The industry, in fact, takes steps to interfere with prevention efforts and thereby ensure the growth in the number of future cancer patients.

The American Cancer Society, for example, still will not recommend that anyone take vitamin D supplements, even though the vitamin can prevent nearly 4 out of 5 cancers. The cancer industry simply has no interest in preventing cancer. It is only interested in treating cancer and profiting from those treatments. (That's why genuine cancer cures have been routinely suppressed, censored or discredited in the United States.) Read my book, Natural Health Solutions and the Conspiracy to Keep You From Knowing About Them, to learn the shocking truth about how the cancer industry really operates in America today.


If you just replaced cancer with global warming, you'd have an argument as coherent as the ones above.

Keep up the good work, Andrew.

Posted by: ozoneguy | September 8, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

On where the most qualified scientists stand right now, I've found very informative Tim Prall's list of top climate scientists here:

Of the top 100 most-cited scientists, only 2 are on any list like Mr. Morano's, and one of those is economist William Nordhaus who personally advocates for a global carbon tax to combat warming, so hardly a resounding voice against the IPCC.

In contrast, more than a third of the top 100 scientists have signed one of the statements, declarations, letters or appeals listed on the above page, calling for action to fight climate change. The position of qualified scientists is overwhelmingly in favor of the IPCC.

Posted by: arthurpsmith | September 8, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Let me say up front that my grandfather was an "Octoberist"
The UN is a large organization, and large organizations do poor science. Note the very bad science done in the early days of the Soviet Union. The IPCC does not so much do science, as review science under the rules of a large organization. Such rules make sure the IPCC reports are outdated before they are published. To work on the IPCC the scientists had to be "good boys", no alarmists and no revolutionaries. If I would gradeing the last IPCC report, I would give it an "A" for spelling and neatness, but an "F" on science as it missed the coming loss of ice in the Arctic and the breakup of the Larson Ice Shelf and thining of the the Pine Island Glacier. This was detectable and predictable as early as 2002 and should have been in the FAR. Global warming is much farther along than the IPCC admitted.

Posted by: agres | September 8, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse


Great article; you hit the nail on its head.

If you get a second opinion on your health condition, and it confirms what your specialist said in the first place, your trust in the diagnosis probably increases. Now imagine that you collect the interpretations of medical professionals all over the world, and by and large they their conclusions converge to the same broad picture. This happens to be how the IPCC comes to its conclusions. The UN may have secretarial duties, but the IPCC process is first and foremost driven by scientists.

If the likes of Mr Q and others would hold the same contempt for their medical doctors as they have for climate scientists, their health would probably suffer. But at least the consequences for their contempt would fall solely on their own shoulders. With global climate change it’s different.

Bart Verheggen, PhD
Atmospheric Chemistry, YorkU, Canada, 2004

Posted by: bverheggen | September 8, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, thanks for a great article aptly summarizing the obvious weaknesses in Morano's assertions. It amazes me that so many folks want to continue harping on the the alleged shortcomings IPCC, Al Gore and climate models, when so many observable manifestations of physical evidence of climate disruption is readily observable right now around the world - melting glaciers, declining Arctic summer sea ice, droughts associated with expanding Hadley cells, a ~30% change in ocean pH levels, extended wildfire seasons... Many of the Morano fans wouldn't be willing to acknowledge there was a problem even if copious amounts of evidence for climate disruption was staring them right in the face (which it is, actually).

Posted by: lgcarey | September 9, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Great article. I agree the Sun is a major culprit. I can think of only one long term expert prediction that seems to have worked out: computer power will double every 2-3 years. This seems to have worked since the 50's.

Keep up the great work.

Posted by: hmschallenger | September 15, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

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