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« What's up with Norfolk Police? | Main | Bit distracted »
Tuesday
Jun212011

Leo Hickman on peace talks

Leo Hickman in the Guardian muses about the possibility of peace talks to end the climate wars. Yours truly is mentioned:

I admit that I sometimes find it hard to detect the signal from all the noise when observing climate sceptics, but the most positive contribution the more moderate climate sceptics (or "luke-warmers", as they are sometimes described) such as McIntyre and Andrew Montford have brought to the debate is their dogged insistence that climate science must be transparent, open, fair and free from influence. I don't think anyone could argue that this is not a worthy goal and, even if you disagree with their motivations, tone and methodologies, we will come to thank climate sceptics in years to come for forcing these obvious improvements. So, would a "meeting of the moderate minds" within this debate be productive?

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Reader Comments (233)

BBD

hahaha well he did have about 2 years to make up some excuse for his statement.

He also said "Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based. " - wow scientific facts should ALWAYS be debated.

He also said "Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence." The IPCC said that warming had taken place and that was equivocal, not that it was equivocal that man had caused it. Nice bit of Anti-Science though

I am afraid I view Keith Trenberth as a discredited "scientist"

Jun 21, 2011 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterCinBadTheSailor

@Jun 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM | Richard Drake

Once Steve and Andrew are being honoured for this (and quite rightly) by green journalists and activists the end of the battle isn't so far off. I felt that the moment I read Mark Lynas actually naming and praising Steve. Now, what are we all going to do with the IPCC and AR5?

Good question, Richard! Seems to me that we do have some time to ... uh ... get our ducks in a row. I believe it was Richard Tol who, at the time the AR5 authors were announced, suggested that all one would need to do is read some of their most recent papers, and one would have a fair idea of what to expect in AR5.

This being the case, perhaps we could develop a series of "scenarios" and "models" which would enable us to project the extent to which each chapter will meet the following objectives:

transparency
openness
fairness
freedom from influence.

Then, when AR5 is released, we can see how close our projections were to reality;-)

@Jun 21, 2011 at 5:32 PM | Maurizio Morabito

What will Ahmadinejad say?

Oh, come on ... silly question, Maurizio! You know darn well that his answer will be the same as always: it is the evil Joooooish conspiracy™ that is refusing to let the rest of the world stop "climate change" ;-)

Jun 21, 2011 at 8:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterhro001

CinBad

I do not wish to come across as an apologist for Trenberth, who frequently oversteps the bound between objectivity and advocacy.

His remark regarding scientific facts not being open to debate is odd (is there a link BTW?). The process by which a theory is modified or invalidated is not debate in the political sense, but beyond that everything hangs on exactly what is meant by the term itself. It's not how I would have expressed it though.

The challenge to sceptics to provide evidence for the null hypothesis is perfectly reasonable. That's how science works and I assume that's what he meant when he said that evidence-based, incremental scientific reasoning was not 'debate' or 'opinion'.

Jun 21, 2011 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

There will be no peace talks in your time, Hickman, only unconditional surrender.
After that, the trials for crimes against humanity.

Jun 21, 2011 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

Don't go. It's a TRAP!

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Another welcome call for openness and transparency, good.

I can't help thinking though, from Leo's point of view it's pretty much a done deal; AGW is real and catastrophic.

The opening up of the science and process will just reveal to everyone what he already knows. Which may, or possibly not, be the case.

If it starts looking a little 'iffy', we'll be back were we started, ideologically driven science and policy - with Leo in the front row brandishing a (metaphorical) baseball bat, "Championing the Cause".


We'll See.

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterGSW

John Silver

Will you make him walk the plank ;-)

Come on. If the rhetorical blowtorch is out, there's no hope for anybody's ideas.

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I agree with FergalR, John Silver and the others who reject this overture as hollow and absurd. Hickman and his clique are part of the problem and will remain so until their political beliefs change, as well as their views on what is and what isn't science, and what science is actually for.

The smarter warmists finally see the end of their scam looming and invite their opponents to accept a negotiated peace allegedly for the good of all, despite the fact this is bound to involve acting as though the warmists sort-of won, instead of completely lost.

Negotiated peace? With these people?

No thanks. Unconditional surrender or Machiavelli's complete destruction is what's needed, nothing less.

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

"Here we have a seemingly intractable, bitter, hostile conflict between two firmly entrenched foes with no obvious sign of resolution ahead. (And I won't dare for a second suggest who might be analogous to the Taliban!)"

Yeah, Right.

Now I don't suppose he means that it is the sceptics who are "analogeous to the Taliban" because we are fighting a highly 'asymetric' war against an infinitely more powerful and richer enemy.

I also doubt that he means that it is the sceptics who are "analogeous" to the Coalition who at least have some principles and concern for society whereas the Taliban are true believers of an archaic, anti-scientific and vicious religious dogma.

In fact I don't know what the hell he means except that it seems a handy kind of slur and a change from the usual 'deniers' tag.

Bish, if you are tempted to sup with Hickman, I suggest you take a very long spoon indeed. What kind of scam is he trying to sell this time?

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

I think the most important impediment to such a debate is that McIntyre is not viewed as a moderate by many of the key scientists involved (Mann, Jones, etc).

Both in Climategate correspondence and on blogs such a RealClimate, he is bandied about as a caricature of the Neanderthal skeptic... ignorant, "anti-science", unteachable, corrupt, and pathologically prone to dishonest misrepresentations of situations and data.

I don't believe any of those things, but McIntyre is absolutely vilified by a large number of the primary players in this field. He is not seen a moderate championing an uncontroversial goal of transparency.

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterThomasL

Martin Brumby

Hickman's rhetorical blowtorch needs to be checked at the door too.

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

ThomasL

Indeed. The problem is that the climate establishment screwed up so badly with the Mannean Hockey Stick PR campaign that they simply cannot disavow it. The 'optics' would be too bad.

So SM must be misrepresented as you describe.

It's so bloody daft, but so horribly unavoidable.

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

[Snip - venting]

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

I took the quotes from his AMS speech 3rd version -
http://ams.confex.com/ams/91Annual/webprogram/Manuscript/Paper180230/ClimategateThoughts4AMS_v3.pdf

No BBD - what Keith Trenberth is trying to do is pretend the evidence is so overwhelming that one can reverse the null hypothesis and thus the sceptics have to disprove CAGW. No this is NOT science.

Science = hypothesize > theorize > predict > compare with observations - just picking evidence that suits your belief is not science

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterCinBadTheSailor

Leo's reached the bargaining stage.
==========

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

It's taken us a long time to get this far and they've done too much harm to defenseless people around the world. They'll never face trial for any of it in the Hague, they'll get away with it unpunished and what's more, they'll reminisce about what could have been in the years to come.

The only justice to be obtained is to demonstratably grind the whole political idea of the monster into the history books. Any sort of accomodation will only allow them to slip away with face saved.

The realists among them have know for the last year that the writing was on the wall, which is why those selfsame realists have been realigning themselves centrewards. We've all seen of late this process occurring with several media people. We've all got to make a living after the war's over, even the whores.

Pointman

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

CinBad

No BBD - what Keith Trenberth is trying to do is pretend the evidence is so overwhelming that [no?] one can reverse the null hypothesis and thus the sceptics have to disprove CAGW. No this is NOT science.

It doesn't matter what Trenberth thinks. Science works by showing that something is a better description of reality than the previously accepted theory.

If sceptics can demonstrate a null hypothesis that invalidates AGW, then AGW will be displaced. Surely Trenberth is arguing that this has not been done?

At which point we all start to look very hard at the 'missing energy' problem. And there's no doubt that it is a problem. What happened?

- Is radiative physics fundamentally flawed (to be fair, this seems unlikely)?

- Is the climate system responding to CO2 forcing by storing energy in the oceans (if so, where?)

- Is it aerosols (observational evidence and origins required)?

- Is the climate system radiating the extra energy into space more efficiently than hypothesised?

Admittedly the last point doesn't get the airtime it deserves. Yet.

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Richard Betts I suggest you review how Leo and Monboit have approach AGW skeptics in the past , using insults and smears by the hat full. This means if his really interested in how the conflict developed in the way it did, he could do a lot worse than look in the mirror .

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Remarkable. Absolutely remarkable!

“even if you disagree with their (McIntyre’s and Montford’s) motivations, tone and methodologies,”

Now who could disagree with McIntyre & Montford’s motivations, tone and methodologies? Having just read Andrew’s book (twice) I can take a very good guess!

The two M’s:
Motivations. The search for truth. To expose the liars.
Tone. Polite, correct, respectful.
Methodologies. Tenacious, scientifically astute, courageous.

The Warmist/Alarmist:
Motivations: The burial of truth. To hide the liars. Funding, funding, funding.
Tone. Rude. Insulting. Condescending. Disrespectful.
Methodologies. Lies. Obfuscation. Back-stabbing. Mendacity. Following Goebbels' little handbook.

Is he really suggesting that any correct-thinking person should disagree with the two MM’s methodology as against theirs?

I know whose side I’m on.

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterFijiDave

If there is going to pace talks let one condition be that Hickman tells us who at CIF environmental passed the article to Bob 'fast fingers ' Ward before it was published so that Bob could get his attack planed before it was seen in public. After all is his really concerned about ethical practice what better place to start than his own door step?

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR


[Snip - venting]

Jun 21, 2011 at 9:29 PM Foxgoose

Sorry Bish - what I meant to say was that Leo is a thoroughly reasonable, all round, good bloke -

........as evidenced by his ground breaking headline only ten days ago:-

Climate sceptics flirt with intelligent design and Islamophobic group

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/jun/10/climate-sceptics-intelligent-design-multiculturalism

Quote:-

Here we go again: prominent climate sceptics gathering together to meet under the welcoming awning of a right-wing, libertarian thinktank. And some people still choose to question the notion that climate scepticism tends to be far more motivated by rigid ideology rather than reasoned objections to the science?

Jun 21, 2011 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

BBD

No this is not how science is done

"If sceptics can demonstrate a null hypothesis that invalidates AGW, then AGW will be displaced. Surely Trenberth is arguing that this has not been done? "

CAGW proponents have to show that their hypothesis has validity. The burden of proof is with them as they are making the claims. Sorry but this is how science works, Currently the proponents of CAGW have failed to provide convincing evidence - therefore one cannot state that their CAGW hypothesis is valid, The argument is about whether the evidence for CAGW stands up to scrutiny and not whether sceptics can prove or disprove anything. This how science has be done for thousands of years.

I believe that there are little green men living underground in Mars plotting our downfall - you need to disprove it - yeah yeah blah blah - its worse than we thought, we need to do something immediately, we are all going to fry in damnation - devastating attacks by Martians are imminent. We all need to live in caves.

Jun 21, 2011 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterCinBadTheSailor

I can never understand why people always go into battle on technicalities - eg has the planet warmed or not over the last y years. Why not focus on what cannot be equivocated - eg the gaps between the models and the temperatures as measured by the approved agencies?

They produce the models. They produce the temperature anomalies. The comparison can be done by anyone. There is no need to go into wormholes such as UHI and bias etc etc. Just focus on what the warmists themselves produce.

Jun 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Rhoda wrote:
"But the idea of debating it, on coming to some compromise agreement, that ain't gonna fly."

Exactly right. There are structured methods for dealing with hierarchal logic. A lot of theories have to be true to get from a CO2 molecule coming out a tailpipe to global warming. The probability that these lower level theories are right will always be less than unity. They must be aggregated to get the probability that the entire theory (actually I thing AGW is still a hypothesis since no nontrivial predictions have been proven correct) is right. To get a final number of 95% confidence, you need 98s and 99s at the lower levels. With cloud feedback, just taking one example, we cannot do much better than 50% confidence. There is no emipirical testing of the earth's climate. In short, climate science lacks the tools to yield "settled science" on climate prediction, and that is why AGW will never see open debate. It will slowly fade away as people gradually lose interest, just like the ice age stuff of the 70s.

Jun 21, 2011 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatt Skaggs

Thanks for responding to my Guardian article. Unless Andrew has his own views, I'll conclude from the reaction here that the answer to my headline question is a resounding 'no'. It's a shame that there doesn't appear to be any common ground at all, but I'm glad I asked the question.

Jun 21, 2011 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo Hickman

It is curious that Leo is calling for a truce and rational argument. All the while complaining that the other side isn't looking at the science or believing the problem.

I can't see any middle ground when both parties hold a truth. Surely one can't climb down from a position of truth and start to believe something slightly less than true.

In this particular editorial, Hickman puts too many apples in the basket, and then asks that it should be a reasonable request. It’s a wrong argument, it’s a wrong approach, and it’s a wrong selection of subjects to be agreed upon.

It is the individual items within the claim of "human caused global warming" which need to be looked at item by item. Do not add stuff like pollution into the argument, do not add species decline, do not add energy sustainability, they are irrelevant to the subject at hand "human caused global warming".

Only when this subject is fully explored and convincing, can other causes and remedies be looked at. Leo and his article missed by a mile.

Jun 21, 2011 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

What Fiji Dave said at 9:55 PM.

Jun 21, 2011 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

CinBad

The argument is about whether the evidence for CAGW stands up to scrutiny and not whether sceptics can prove or disprove anything. This how science has be done for thousands of years.

I'm a lukewarmer. I'm not persuaded that the evidence points to catastrophe, nor that it doesn't exist.

I don't see a good sceptical null hypothesis that shows why CO2 should suddenly cease to be a factor in determining the Earth's temperature.

What suggests that recent climate is unusually warm and needs a sceptical explanation? This came up on the 'Reliable sources' thread. Have a look at Jun 21, 2011 at 12:26 PM (too long and OT to paste here).

Decadal GATA and TLT observations trend below the multi-model mean referenced by the IPCC.

But why did the Iceman appear?

Jun 21, 2011 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I think Leo's worked it out. If things are open and transparent, you may not get the result you "know" to be right.

Briffa, Jones, Mann etc know this already. That's why they hide behind/lose/prevaricate at every opportunity. Think about it Leo, if the 'science' case went away, would you settle for that?

If it the case was solid & open, I'd be happy.

Jun 21, 2011 at 11:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterGSW

Thanks for responding to my Guardian article. Unless Andrew has his own views, I'll conclude from the reaction here that the answer to my headline question is a resounding 'no'. It's a shame that there doesn't appear to be any common ground at all, but I'm glad I asked the question.
Jun 21, 2011 at 10:43 PM | Leo Hickman

Leo, people have made a range of arguments about your article on this thread and it's odd that you don't seem able or willing to engage on any of them.

It's almost as if you're hoping for some some good copy for your follow up.

"I offered the right wing, libertarian, creationist, islamophobes an olive branch but the evil b*stards turned it down"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/jun/10/climate-sceptics-intelligent-design-multiculturalism

Jun 21, 2011 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

I don't think you really understood the answers given Leo. Its not that there isn't common ground but that people just don't trust you based on your past behaviour. Your comment merely re-enforces that viewpoint.

Jun 21, 2011 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterLiKW

Leo, as the first person to post a comment, I did ask a valid question, based on actual observation that you have made.

BBD has also suggested grounds for agreement/disagreement wrapped around current scientific understanding.

I always read BBD's comments, I do not claim to undestand them all, but I suspect you do not either.

For the Guardian to rush off to Bob Ward for technical support, is not a good idea, please at least confirm that your withdrawal from this debate was not his suggestion?

Jun 21, 2011 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Hickman's search for peace talks lasted between 3:41PM and 10:43PM today. That's seven hours two minutes for the math-challenged warmists in the audience.

Call me a cynic, but I have seen more honesty displayed by used-car salesmen. He can really go back to dance with Ahmadinejad as far as I am concerned.

Jun 21, 2011 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

BBD: I don't see a good sceptical null hypothesis that shows why CO2 should suddenly cease to be a factor in determining the Earth's temperature.

With respect, that's not the sceptical argument but a strawman.

If all other things were equal, a doubling of CO2 at 3.7 watts per metre squared (the IPCC figure) gives you an increase in the Earth's energy budget equating to 1 degree Celsius. And because of the established knowledge that the effects of CO2 are logarithmic (19th century knowledge), it takes a further doubling of concentrate to create a further 1 degree increase (e.g. 400ppm to 800ppm then to 1600ppm).

Its not about whether CO2 has an effect but how the system response to the increased concentration - are feedbacks positive or negative? The null hypothesis is that the feedbacks are minimal to non-existent and its up to scientists to prove otherwise in either direction. The CAGW case is based on strong positive feedbacks - its up to them to prove that hypothesis. The small amount of warming that has occurred suggests that the hypothesis is false and that the feedbacks are slightly negative in effect.

An example of negative feedback is seen in your question: Is the climate system radiating the extra energy into space more efficiently than hypothesised?

Jun 21, 2011 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterLiKW

He was just after a subject for his next article after all. Like I said, we've all got to make a living.

Wouldn't we have looked foolish if we'd swallowed the bait?

Pointman

Jun 21, 2011 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

Pointman

I have learnt a lot from you too.

Please let Leo Hickman respond for himself.

He does write for the Guardian afterall, where comment is censored.

Freedom of speech is so important, unless people point about the problems

Jun 21, 2011 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

LiKW

I'm not sure that we are disagreeing about much that matters. I'm a lukewarmer. Of course it's all about how the climate system responds to the initial ~1.0C CO2 forcing.

The feedback/forcing mechanisms aren't fully understood.

Jun 21, 2011 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD, we crossed?

Where are the actual observations that AGW is actually happening?

People displaced by sea level rise?

Temperature rise?

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:02 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Leo Hickman
'I'll conclude from the reaction here that the answer to my headline question is a resounding 'no'.

Now that is funny given that your own article on CIF is full of the usual insults and put downs against AGW skeptics by the AGW supporters which are common , included above the line , on CIF, but then I know that's 'different' .

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Thank you Mr. Leo Hickman for your kind response. I hope we were gracious co-commenters and I certainly hope you continue to engage with sceptics on this blog, and beyond. Unfortunately a good number of us cannot reciprocate the gesture at your venue at the Guardian, so I hope you can remain understanding. You can take my case, as a representative example. This is a screenshot, from just now.

Just in case you were wondering, I did nothing terribly untoward to attain this special status at the Guardian. I posted a link to this article at your colleague Mr George Monbiot's blog at the newspaper website. So, as far as the meeting of the moderate minds is concerned, we meet you but only your moderators meet us!

In any event, Mr Hickman, I wish you the best of luck in what would hopefully be the beginning of a series, involving a deeper and closer examination of the IPCC to be undertaken by you. Once again, I and I am sure other here as well, will continue to assist your endevaours - from the outside. You might even consider taking our lead, at times! It is my humble opinion, but we seem to have a pretty good nose. You know, especially,...when it comes to the IPCC, the CRU, PSU, the UNEP amongst others.

Lastly, I hope to have an article on my blog soon about your sincere overture and I do hope you are able to read it.

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

I would like to offer my own list which would go a long way towards bringing the two sides of the debate closer together.
1) Unimpeachable, transparent, uncorrupted science.
2) Unimpeachable, transparent, uncorrupted science.
3) Unimpeachable, transparent, uncorrupted science.
4) Unimpeachable, transparent, uncorrupted science,
5) Unimpeachable, transparent, uncorrupted science.

That might just solve the problem.

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

@pesadia

Agreed.

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterGSW

golf charley

Where are the actual observations that AGW is actually happening?

People displaced by sea level rise?

Temperature rise?

The observations, for all their faults, look like this..

They are observations. What you are asking for is a hypothesis that describes why they happen. And of course its null.

I am very sceptical about current claims of SLR and their alleged societal consequences because there isn't any evidence to support them. I am not saying that sea levels will not rise in the future. This is why the exaggerations are being made.

I'm equally sceptical of the assertion that increasing levels of CO2 will not warm the climate since there is no null hypothesis to support it.

Tricky, isn't it?

Jun 22, 2011 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

The observations, for all their faults, look like this..

For fun, I write Irish Fairy tales. It appears to me someone has been writing Climate Temperature Curve Fairy Tales. At least I call my fairy tales fairy tales and not science. I have zero faith in those data reflecting reality, BBD and neither should you.

Jun 22, 2011 at 1:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Don Pablo

I am sorry you feel this way.

Jun 22, 2011 at 1:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

The English have an impecable way of putting you down without saying anything objectionable.
Mr. Hickman has just done that. Don't fall for it!

Jun 22, 2011 at 2:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Steiner

The English have an impecable way of putting you down without saying anything objectionable.

Or just differing with a respected commenter profoundly but without recourse to abuse.

I can't speak for Hickman.

Jun 22, 2011 at 2:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

How does one negotiate with an enemy that wants us exterminated?

As Jill Singer writes in the (Aussie) Herald-Sun:

I'm prepared to keep an open mind and propose another stunt for climate sceptics - put your strong views to the test by exposing yourselves to high concentrations of either carbon dioxide or some other colourless, odourless gas - say, carbon monoxide.

You wouldn't see or smell anything. Nor would your anti-science nonsense be heard of again. How very refreshing.

Back to the gaswagen approach again....

Jun 22, 2011 at 2:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

BBD
"I don't see a good sceptical null hypothesis that shows why CO2 should suddenly cease to be a factor in determining the Earth's temperature."

That doesn't make sense BBD. I think a good sceptical 'null hypothesis' is the temperature over the last 50 years or so where CO2 is supposed to have a difference has gone up and down in exactly the same way that it seems to have done the last few thousand years in this current interglacial, so doesn't seem to have any meaningful effect.

Jun 22, 2011 at 2:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob B

I think some people may have missed the implications of one phrase from Leo Hickman in his post here:

Unless Andrew has his own views, I'll conclude from the reaction here that the answer to my headline question is a resounding 'no'.

One difference between Andrew Montford's view and almost all the others on this thread is that Andrew is a known person to Leo Hickman. (I'm not. So note this is a subtly different point from one I began to make in earlier threads.) As far as weighting of the opinion goes, if I was Leo, I'd use 99% for someone like Andrew and 0.001% for someone unknown to him on this blog. And from what he writes above, that seems to be exactly what he is doing.

To take the most extreme example of the failed negotiator, here's Rick Bradford:

How does one negotiate with an enemy that wants us exterminated?

That's in the context of a peace overture by Leo Hickman, a real, known person with no previous convictions for manslaughter that I know of. He's part of the enemy, though, according to Rick, and the enemy wants us exterminated, implying therefore that Leo Hickman wants us exterminated. That really helps to build bridges, brilliant, well done.

All this stuff is to be totally ignored, Leo, because for most of the people that produce it there's no reputation cost at all - it doesn't matter to them what they say, as few if any people that know them in real life will ever judge them for it. They don't have the courage to be known here, despite their big talk. So it shouldn't matter to any of us.

But I think from what you originally said - "the more moderate climate sceptics ... such as McIntyre and Andrew Montford" - you already understand that. Develop the relationship with Andrew and Steve, not least through careful reading of The Hockey Stick Illusion, which is written in an exemplary gentle, if ironic, style. You'll be the wiser.

Jun 22, 2011 at 3:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

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