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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)

mr. hickman - the guardian has become a bad joke. today we have fiona allowing Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace to insult people over a matter that concerns many millions of non-conservatives such as myself. your constant attempts to portray CAGW scepicism as a rightwing thing is more than offensive, it is wrong.

21 June: Guardian: Fiona Harvey: Tory MEPs defy David Cameron over greenhouse gas targets
Conservatives threaten to scupper EU vote on carbon reduction by opposing the 30% cut in emissions committed by the PM
"Cameron should step in," said Martyn Williams, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth. "He should tell his MEPs 'we look stupid if you vote against this'."...
The move comes as EU environmental policy was undermined by one of the most important figures in the European commission, causing alarm in Brussels. Janusz Lewandowski, the commissioner in charge of fraught negotiations on the future of the EU's €130bn budget, cast doubt on the science of climate change and the future of emissions policy.
In an interview with a Polish newspaper he said: "We already have overambitious agreements on CO2 emission reduction. There is a notion that the thesis that coal energy is the main cause of global warming is highly questionable. Moreover, more and more often there is a question mark put over the whole [issue of] global warming as such."
Lewandowski said the CO2 targets "are too ambitious for the Polish economy … Polish politicians have to persuade that there cannot be a quick jump away from coal. For Poland it would be a disaster."
His remarks were all the more pointed as the Poles at the European council blocked progress on the carbon roadmap to 2050, which the commission hoped would be the basis of a strengthening of climate policy. Poland will hold the revolving presidency of the EU from 1 July.
Ruth Davis, chief policy adviser at Greenpeace UK, said: "It's terrifying that the man in charge of Europe's budget is someone you might expect to see in Sarah Palin's Republican party...

Jun 22, 2011 at 3:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Hickman I'm afraid is not an insider. He does not get it. There can be no profitable "moderate" or "denier" position. If the believers concede the possibility of "moderate" climate sensitivity, say 1.2C, or that feedbacks are negligible, or poorly understood science, the whole modus of panic and fear to drive the warmist scientists, investment banks, manufacturers, and all profiting on AGW will be undercut. Plus a lot of them are on the industry dole via NGOs and such (I have my suspicions why the Greens in Australia are so panicky and insist the carbon tax turn into a cap and trade in three years. When did politicians ever give up tax money? Are they on the take?)

But by all means I say this not to discourage Hickman. Rather, go for it. Probe the warmists on "moderation," on no feedbacks, on low climate sensitivity. See if they react reasonably to the proposal people can honorably believe in AGW science but that the effect is small, even negligible. See how they react, how they turn it around or not.

Go for it.

Jun 22, 2011 at 4:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack

Examine the Hickman piece.

First 5 paragraphs (Blah Blah...climate...Taliban..skeptoid....Blah)

Then the first substantive passage: The IPCC 'handled' the Greenpeace affair poorly. Vested interests should be involved in the drafting of IPCC reports. But the IPCC should be'open' about it.

Then the next paragraphs: (Lynas' written a new book...blah...right-wing...blah)

Then the next substantive passage: Can a call for 'unimpeachable, transparent, uncorrupted science' be grounds for a meeting of moderate minds?

The simple answer is: yes. To date, bloggers have put good efforts into demanding transparency and open availability in climate science and criticizing corruption and conflict-of-interest. What has the media done? More specifically, what has Leo Hickman done? Why, even within the same article he thinks that vested interests (i.e., entities like Greenpeace) ought to be involved in writing IPCC science assessments.

But I think a stepwise solution would be acceptable. Let Hickman use his position in the Guardian to call for the IPCC to not employ any (not a single one) material from environmental and advocacy organizations - no WWF, no Greenpeace, no IISD, no IUCN, no World Bank, UNEP, Sierra Club, TERI, WHRI, BMA, EREC. None should be cited in the IPCC reports. Excluding 'gray literature' is not easy. Excluding material produced by agenda-driven pressure groups is easy.

That would put the element of reciprocity back in the game, and the, the ball would be in the sceptics' court. Criticizing the IPCC merely for being not careful enough in rigging its public image does not impress this blogger.

Jun 22, 2011 at 4:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub said it well for me.

But while he is only premoderated at CiF, I am excommunicated. I know not why or what sin I committed. The secret police of the grauniad decided I had done something that offended their sensibilities and I was summarily banned without any means of appeal.

The 'Free' part of 'Comment is Free' seems to be identical in concept to the 'Democratic' part of the Deutsche Demokratische Rebublik.

Delingpole decribed that blog as 'Arbeit macht Frei' in a conscious echo of The Holocaust and uber-contributor Moonbat's frequent and unpleasant use of the term. He had a point.

If Hickman really wants to discuss things fairly and openly he has to remove the barriers to that discussion that he has himself created and enforced

Bish ... if you should be having further discussion with Hickman, please ensure that he fully understands the depth of feeling on this point. Open and honest discussion cannot take place when one side frequently and seemingly arbitrarily uses the sanction of banning dissent.

Jun 22, 2011 at 7:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

I was in Berlin last month, and arpopos of my previous remarks, this speech has some resonances.
I doubt if Leo Hickman will suddenly acquire a cranial birthmark, but Reagan had a point

and what seemed impossible in 1987 came to fruition - by popular rising and a bit of lucky plotting - less than three years later.

Mr Hickman..Tear down Your Wall!

Jun 22, 2011 at 7:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Thanks for your continued comments. Please allow me to respond to a few points.

1) I can see that I'm something of an obstacle. Fair enough. So please ignore the messenger if you can and just consider the thrust of the article without the byline (or even the publisher). All I'm asking really is if there's any common ground and whether that's worth cementing in some way.

2) I don't have plans to do a follow-up article (unless something constructive emerged, of course) so please don't view my article as a "trap". What I said was heartfelt.

3) I understand people's frustrations about moderation at the Guardian. I, too, have had my comments deleted on occasion. And I have had lots of internal discussions about whether a lighter hand can be used which would be my own preference. But these decisions are taken at a much higher pay-grade. All I can say is that the mods are very few in number and over-worked. (There is no huge call-centre, as some seem to imagine.) I also have no contact with them. There is an intentional and sensible policy to distance writers from mods. By far the most common reason that comments get deleted or put in pre-mod is due to persistently going off-topic. And mods will only have a few seconds to adjudicate a flagged comment before moving onto the next. This is what I am told. It's not a perfect system, obviously, but I hope that helps to add some insight.

Jun 22, 2011 at 7:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterLeo Hickman

Leo, if you really want to have a discussion of this kind you will have to hold it somewhere other than CiF. I'm sure that almost any of the lukewarmer blogs would offer you a guest post if you wanted one.

There is, of course, plenty of common ground. But what you don't seem to realise is that the lukewarmers are already sitting there. They already accept almost everything of value in what you said, and indeed they have thought about these issues far longer and much harder than you have. Stop patronising them and try to learn from them.

Jun 22, 2011 at 8:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterOxbridge Prat

I think a good, open, honest debate is all most of us on the 'outside' of the science have really wanted.

But be careful, don't forget the last time you 'engaged' with the Graun - make sure Mr Ward isn't involved - in fact insist on it in writing first ;)

Jun 22, 2011 at 8:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

Leo - seven hours was all you needed to renege on your own call for peace talks. and a bunch of strangers. if you can't see what's wrong with that...

Jun 22, 2011 at 8:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

Leo’s description of the moderation policy at the Graun rings true. However, this comment is disingenuous.

“By far the most common reason that comments get deleted or put in pre-mod is due to persistently going off-topic. And mods will only have a few seconds to adjudicate a flagged comment before moving onto the next”.

By far the most common reason that comments get deleted is a concerted campaign by opponents to “report abuse”. I know, I’ve done it myself. It’s the commenters themselves who are practicing censorship. Hickman and Monbiot have both criticised the system, but are apparently powerless to enaage in the debate with their opponents which they say they want. They are therefore complicit in the censorship of the threads to their articles - an uncomfortble situation for an investigative journalist.

Jun 22, 2011 at 8:38 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

@Latimer Alder,

I lived in Berlin for a time. How's the old place?

I suppose what we've just experienced here is what the Germans call Funkspiel.


Jun 22, 2011 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

@leo hickman

'By far the most common reason that comments get deleted or put in pre-mod is due to persistently going off-topic'

In the case of the climate-related stuff, their definition of off-topic appears to be 'does not agree slavishly with Monbiot and the party line'. i.e. anything remotely sceptical. Two strikes and you are banned without appeal or explanation.

If you want a peace treaty that'll have to change first.

And you will have to be the person changing it. You are the one who has access to the 'higher grade' ones at the grauniad. Not us. And if you can;t organise even a change to that minor but intensely annoying thing, what purpose is there in a 'peace treaty'? We eventually need to deal with far greater issues than that. Falling at the first minor hurdle does not bode well.

Jun 22, 2011 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

The debate should be about what is known of the science, with regard to global warming; the natural long term variation (being the fact we are[or were] still coming out of the little ice age; and the really big question, Anthropomorphic global warming.

Exclude from all discussions things like peer review ( I know it has affected the science, but it’s not what "the science says"). Exclude energy security, exclude clean energy, exclude deforestation (unless it has an imperially measured effect), exclude biodiversity loss, exclude conservation of marine environments, exclude economic instability, exclude the poor, and exclude food.

They are all political hand waving, not having anything to do with the question "are humans affecting the global temperature".

You know; the science. That is what can be agreed upon and the first place middle grounds can be found.

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh


Want to know what the UEA paid the Norfolk Police for? Well here it it:

Whilst conducting their investigation into the access to and downloading of data from the computers at the University of East Anglia, the Major Investigation Team engaged the services of a company with the ability to forensically examine the computers system. The University made their own decision to engage that company to review the security of their system and carry out work on their behalf. The company completed the work and invoiced Norfolk Constabulary for all of the work undertaken, and UEA reimbursed Norfolk Constabulary for the work that had been completed at their request.

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I've sent you an email with the FOI response as an attachment

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS


Thank you for returning to the fray.

I think the progress you seek is certainly possible - but, as many have said here already, the key to progress is in your own hands.

Apart from a couple of mavericks like Delingpole and Booker, there are no journalists in the mainstream UK media doing critical analysis of the pronouncements of establishment climate science.

Just in the last week, we have learned that the IPPC "80% renewable energy" claim was inspired and manipulated by Greenpeace" and the IPSO "dying oceans" story was a press release from a thinly concealed activist group, rather than original science.

Both press release headlines were seized on and broadcast uncritically by the whole of the mainstream media.

Climategate confirmed sceptic's fears that the message of climate science was being deliberately manipulated by activist scientists - but the mainstream media remained strangely incurious about investigating further.

The result of this has been the bad tempered, strident and hostile attitude you have experienced from people like me - here and at CIF.

The first step towards reconciliation has to come from people like you who have been the conduit for propaganda disguised as genuine scientific knowledge. All you have to do is take a leaf out of Lynas' book and start looking behind the headline press releases and "lifting up the carpet" a little bit.

You don't have to compromise your environmental principles and opinions - just be open about them and try and put them to one side when the next press release arrives and try and look at it like a proper journalist.

I think you have also seriously missed the point about CIF moderation. Nobody minds their comments being openly moderated and most of what you say about the moderation process is perfectly reasonable.

What infuriates people is the selective and invisible pre-moderation and suspension of commenting privileges.

I have given up on CIF now, having worked my way through six or seven registrations and usernames over the past couple of years. I've never used bad language or been any ruder than many people here were to you last night - but all my accounts were suspended after a few weeks (sometimes hours).

Even that wouldn't be so bad if environmental threads on CIF weren't dominated by a bunch of hard line green activists like Dorlormin and GPWayne - who cheerfully throw insult, invective and obscenity at non-believers on an hourly basis.

Sure, they get moderated quite often - but their accounts have persisted for as long as I've been looking at CIF.

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

Leo, so what do you think of the comments on CiF from your usual faithful?
It's full of the usual ranting abuse and accusations of lying from the likes of gpwayne, jbowers, localhost and pittthewelder. All of these violate the CiF rules regarding personal attacks, abuse and hate-speech and yet are allowed to remain by your so-called moderators.

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaulM

I, like apparently others here, gave up on trying to comment at the Guardian. At the end of the day, what I said about censorship at another newspaper applies more strongly at the Guardian.

"If you care about what is being debated and I do, then you must have the freedom to speak your mind. If you participate in a debate shaping your words to avoid possible censorship, then you’re not debating. You’re taking part in a show debate and what’s infinitely worse, lending it a bogus integrity by your participation. I won’t have any part of that."


Jun 22, 2011 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

Leo, it is nice to see you engaging with comments here. Also, I found your analogy with Northern Ireland peace negotiations a reasonably good one, in the sense that any attempt to talk sensibly between people who sit at fairly opposite ends of the spectrum of opinion is going to involve engaging with views that are rather uncomfortable.

You mention that a basis for dialogue must be "Unimpeachable, transparent, uncorrupted science". I agree, as do many here. But we also sense that for you, that means basically accepting everything that comes from the consensus side in terms of science. I can understand that as a non-scientist, the credentials and confidence of the consensus side may have convinced you that they must be right about pretty much everything. Well, one thing you will have to discover is that there are lots of people with serious science backgrounds who don't agree with everything the consensus side says. Though I write here in a personal capacity, a short trip to Google would show you that I am professor of chemistry in a major UK university, and that I have published to date something like 170 'peer-reviewed' papers in international science journals. I am not an expert on climate science, but as a practicing research scientist, there are two things I have come to strongly believe which you probably do not:

1. A lot of the "scientific facts" about climate change are much less certain than they are presented as being in the media. To take an extreme example, the recent story in the Guardian about the state of the oceans is perhaps 10% science, and 90% nakedly small-p political campaigning.

2. Even well-meaning, careful scientists can get things wrong, and often do. "Wrong" does not imply ill intent or stupidity: science is hard. Peer review does not prevent incorrect conclusions being published. Being wrong happens to me all the time, to people in my field, and it can also happen to whole communities for significant periods of time. Researchers investigating small effects that are hard to pin down unequivocally, and who work in a field where their conclusions are likely to interact significantly with political views, are probably especially vulnerable to this.

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Harvey

"Beware the Greeks bearing gifts."

Have the alarmists shot their bolt? More wild hype; of stories of ocean extinctions, more rumours - AR5 reports are already widely ridiculed, McIntyre, a formidable foe is truly hated [because he is absolute], Kyoto is in it's final death throes year and has no chance of renewal....... is the game up Leo?

What was it that Rudolf Hess wanted to bring to the party?

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan

BH: "I'm in discussions about a formal response to Leo Hickman's suggestion. Watch this space."

My formal response would be along these lines.

"After much careful consideration of the serious scientific matters and the political issues at hand, reflecting on past events, thinking of the future, where we are at the present and how we can go forward, I have decided after much consultation that my reply to this offer of peace talks is this - GO **** YOURSELF LEO! ................ Yours sincerely"

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

@ Leo Hickman, earlier today:

'Common Ground' is being debated already.
You might like to look at and, perhaps, participate in the ongoing debates at Lucia's 'Blackboard', or at Judith Curry's 'Climate etc'.

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

I disagree and your comment is unnecessarily rude in the circumstances. This blog intends to maintain politeness of discourse and does, on the whole, succeed in being polite. To reply like that would be wasting what might turn out to be an important opportunity to encourage Leo H. to look at things differently.

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

My formal response would be to ask Mr. Hickman to return to this subject, and this blog, after he has read the HSI, and not before.

Jun 22, 2011 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

So LeoHickman broke off negotiations last night on this thread, then came back this morning (7.43am) in a more conciliatory mood.
Funny thing is, none of this is known to readers of his Guardian article. He has intervened below the line there, but no mention of what he has been saying on this thread. Is he perhaps not allowed to mention BishopHill at the Guardian?

foxgoose, PaulM
On the warmist commenters who get away with murder: gpwayne, whom you both singled out, once offered to bugger me over a table on CiF, and we haven’t even been introduced. He’s now a Guardian contributor, and HIckman was conversing amicably with him just yeasterday evening (21 June 2011 4:56PM).
I’m so jealous..

Jun 22, 2011 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers


You say you "find it hard to detect the signal from all the noise when observing climate sceptics"

What signals do you detect in favour of AGW? As I recall, Michael Mann had to make his up.

Jun 22, 2011 at 10:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Contrary to what Leo says, what really annoys the moderators at CiF is if you persistently pose arguments and objections for which the warmists have no answer. Another thing they hate is if you graciously acknowledge error when you have made one. If you do both you get banned.

I have repeatedly invited the loony element at CiF to justify the reliance on 100-year projections of climate based on 100-year projections of emissions when no credible projections of energy supply, demand or prices exist for such horizons. Answer comes there none.

I've also invited people to identify what will be the most important technology development of the next 100 years: the 2045 equivalent of the atom bomb, for instance, or the 2097 equivalent of the internet. Again, answer comes there none, yet if in 1911 you had failed to predict the eclipse of the horse by the car your estimates of 2011 land use, energy consumption and global population would have stood no chance of being right.

I have also conceded error in thinking that satellite estimates of temperature were calibrated off ground temoperatures and thus repeated the latter's errors. This comment was deleted.

They particularly don't like comparisons with other consensus opinions that are just as obviously stupid. If you point out that the percentage of people who believe in CAGW is about the same as the percentage that believes in ghosts, homeopathy, astrology and reincarnation, the commentariat go absolutely berserk even before you suggest that it might be the same people in each case.

Finally, I have invited commenters there to come up with any examples of peer reviewed papers where the peer reviewers checked the data, tried to reproduce the results, and were selected in the first place for their expertise in some highly relevant field, such as statistics for MBH98. No answer there either, and they do not like it one bit when you then point out that in that case, a lot of climate peer review involves neither peers, nor review.

The only sceptic arguments the moderators are prepared to tolerate are stupid ones they can easily refute, and they censor anything that they can't answer, or that shows their opponents in a good light. I only went there because it was the only place you could find warmists to argue with. Where there is free speech it is sceptic, and where there is warmism there is censorship, so finding some live examples you could actually debate with was and remains unusual. From the Narugdia's perspective it obviously still is unacceptable.

Jun 22, 2011 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

I've largely kept out of this debate and left it to the heavyweights but if I might be allowed a couple of points ...
I would endorse Foxgoose's remarks about press releases. Anyone who has read my comments here and elsewhere will know that a good journalist's first reaction to a press release is cui bono. Who is it from and why does he want me to use it? It is a racing certainty that its content is not objective and possibly is not even accurate. Go and ask questions. Take a sceptical approach, especially if it's coming from a source that you personally would like to agree with. He's hoping you'll be less critical.
My take on the IPCC report and the state of the oceans report is that they both seem nicely timed just ahead of the summer holidays. They give the activists a boost just as the silly season starts and they can provide a few weeks of interest with little opposition. (But then I'm a cynic!)
As far as the meeting of minds is concerned, this is going to be difficult if the climate science community is not prepared to be less defensive and less offensive. I am not a scientist but I line up with Jeremy Harvey. There is no shame in being "wrong" provided your aim is to get it right as much and as often as possible.
As long as climate scientists prevaricate, mislead, refuse to listen to those who identify errors in their work, and seek to attack all those who hold a different point of view as "deniers" or "anti-scientists" there is little chance of reasonable dialogue.
Finally, my position (and I suspect that of a lot of lay sceptics) is and always has been: If you can provide me with any empirical evidence that late 20th century warming is different from any earlier period or that this time it is likely to be in any way unstoppable, I will listen.
I haven't heard any yet. I have heard about climate models; I have heard "it must be CO2 because we can't think of anything else"; I have seen a lot of hand waving and scare-mongering and refusing to answer and assertion and displacement activity and appeals to authority and ad hominem attacks, but no empirical evidence.
And that, Leo, is the problem. All I am asking is for your scientist friends to explain in simple language and with observational evidence why they believe their hypothesis to be correct and they refuse to do so. What's to debate?

Jun 22, 2011 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson


You are evidently NOT a scientist and have NO knowledge of the way in which science moves forward. Just because you turn the method inside out does not make it the right one. When Einstein proposed his theories, sceptics didn't come up with another different theory, how could they IF he was correct, they tested his theories in physical, non-virtual, experiments. That's how it works. When Dirac came out with his theory, after much self debate and anxiety, the challenges were to his theory not the devising of a different one. Go educate yourself. READ.

Your defense of Trenberth and his NUL reversal is inexcusable. In french the word NUL is used to indicate stupidity, nothing, useless. Used alongside Trenberth it seems very appropriate.

Jun 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Leo, welcome! But I have to agree with the comments here about the 'common ground' that exists already.

To use your own analogy, we have been playing football between the trenches for ages.

Do join in, you might get the occasional foul, but otherwise it is quite fun ;-)

Jun 22, 2011 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Sorry Messenger but you are wrong.

No attempt is made by CIF moderators to remove offensive comments made about sceptics on Guardian blogs, such as Leo Hickman's.

Sceptics are involved in a 'dirty' war - you have to be prepared to throw **** when and where it is required. It is only because the likes of Leo Hickman now find themselves up to their necks in it that we are hearing cries of "peace in our time".

Bollox to all that. There are times when you have to put the boot in. Until the Guardian mends its ways in dealing with sceptical comments on CiF we keep on kicking.

Jun 22, 2011 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMac

Mike Jackson

Great piece of sanity. Heavyweights are irrelevent. Everyone has a right to express their thoughts but with logic and clarity. You are a heavyweight compared to some of the drivel here and elsewhere.

you have produced a great blog which you manage well and a great piece of journalism. This has given you a strong position ahead of many others who have been arguing against AGW for some 20 years. Do not abuse them or your position by falling for some pathetic attempt at necogiation. These people can see their 'theory' dying on it's feet and are seeking to keep it alive by any means possible. Moving toward a compromise position through 'transparency' etc is not to be made available to them. They have it in their own hands to change the way they work, communicate and promulgate environmental studies. No negociation is necessary. Just make them change themselves.
Those who have distorted the scientific method for personal and political gain MUST be ostrocised from any further participation in both science and politics. If not they will persist and pollute the younger members of our community to promote and promulgate their evil.

We have not 'won' (I hate that but I don't see any other word) until government, particularly yours and the EU) have ceased their spending of our money on this crap and these frauds are no longer being paid for by us to produce their alarmism. Use your newly gained notoriety to push toward the full destruction of this stupidity and DON'T compromise our efforts.

Thanks for your work.

Stephen Richards BSc MSc ChPhy retired

Jun 22, 2011 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered Commenterstephen richards

Have a skim through this.

Not one dissenting voice on the renewables report fiasco, they've all been banned long ago. Is this the future of the climate debate? No it isn't, it's the past circa 3-4 years ago. It's the raison d'etre for all the independent blogs like this. CiF is just the barely "acceptable face" of this sort of rigidly controlled debate.


Jun 22, 2011 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

@geoff chambers

I'm sure the Bishop is persona non grata at CiF. I believe he has been banned since at least 18 months ago. Just before the Bishop's Inquiry into the Inquiries came out for GWPF, he was not even allowed to reply to comments on his own article which he wrote in rebuttal to Bob Ward's potentially libellous comments on him.

Jun 22, 2011 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Jeremy Harvey

“Being wrong happens to me all the time”

How refreshing to read. It should be a regular occurrence in any scientific exploration, but unfortunately the MSM regards ‘being wrong’ in any field as a cardinal sin. Look how politicians are castigated for changing their minds or acting on unfavourable feedback. These, of course, are the same journalists who in the same breath call for more consultation and, as Private Eye is fond of pointing out, will say the opposite thing the next day (or even on the next page) if it makes for an arresting headline.

Since scientists rarely have untainted funding any more, it is not surprising that they are looking over their shoulders half the time, but that doesn’t excuse sloppy work or bias. Science isn’t science if it’s trying to prove a point of view.

Paul Eckman, the psychologist, said of some of his research: “I was dead wrong, and it was the most exciting discovery of my life.”

It's not difficult.

Jun 22, 2011 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P


If you wish to contribute to open and reasonably civilised climate-related debate in your personal capacity you are of course welcome to do so here, at Judith Curry's and at many other places. I'm sure that your inside knowledge of the MSM and its dealings with some of the key players will be of value and interest. You will be heard with attention and respect...and debated with vigour and vitality.

But if you are wearing your Guardian hat, forget it. You will have seen that the issue of unreasonable and partial moderation at your newspaper is one of considerable importance to many here. and you have said (by implication) that you are powerless to change it, because of the 'powers that be'.

Pointman said it well

"If you care about what is being debated and I do, then you must have the freedom to speak your mind. If you participate in a debate shaping your words to avoid possible censorship, then you’re not debating. You’re taking part in a show debate and what’s infinitely worse, lending it a bogus integrity by your participation. I won’t have any part of that."

If you cannot provide an environment where such freedom is available, then I too want no part of it.

Jun 22, 2011 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

foxgoose, PaulM
On the warmist commenters who get away with murder: gpwayne, whom you both singled out, once offered to bugger me over a table on CiF..........
Jun 22, 2011 at 10:06 AM geoffchambers

Be fair Geoff - he was only trying to "share the love".

Jun 22, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

Re Leo

So, would a "meeting of the moderate minds" within this debate be productive?

Potentially. Problem is as others have said, debate is not permitted in your house. Comment is not free at the Guardian, dissenting views are shouted down and often erased or deleted by your mod squad. Dissenters are then banned or put on pre-mod with no warning or explanation. That moderation often appears very one sided. You won't get any debate at CiF unless you can get your moderation policies away from providing an echo chamber. That's something you can have more luck with than we can.

Alternatively, you can contribute to debates here, or at many other sceptic or luke warm blogs where your commenting ability is more free. That won't help drive traffic to CiF though, if that's what your paymasters want.

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

Leo, it's simple. The sensitivity of climate to CO2 is unknown, but has been exaggerated by the alarmists. Very few skeptics insist that man has no effect on climate, but we'd like more proof of the severity of the effect before throwing all our babies out with the bathswater. Then there are those like me, who are convinced that CO2 has a warming effect, but that it will be far too small to counter the cold that lies immovably in our future. What ya' gonna do then, Boy? I gotta know right now.

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I am amazed at the disingenuous nature of the current suggestion from Leo Hickman. He has enjoyed a bully pulpit in the Guardian for a very long time, a pulpit from which he has preached his political ideas without even a suggestion that he could be in error; he has also used 'the science' quite selectively as a convenient vehicle to support his views. He has also unreasonably excoriated those who do not share his politics and his understandings of the science and now talks about reaching a peaceful accomodation of some kind.
To suggest that sceptics should forget the extremes of vilification he, Monbiot and others who write for the Guardian have encouraged their followers to heap upon those of us who have pursued the objective of open dialogue and honest behaviour from scientists, the media and others all along is to miss the point entirely.
If Hickman cannot see why sceptics do not agree with him, he needs to examine his own history as a first step toward understanding.
How long does the actual climate data have to diverge from that of his preferred scientists' models before he realises that the 'significant global warming' he and his cohort insist we should have experienced as a result of the addition of small amounts of a beneficial trace gas to the atmosphere has not happened and does he not realise that this failure of rising temperatures to materialise nullifies much of his position?

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K


Let me sleep on it and I'll give you an answer in the morning.

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Ya, sure, you slide in home safely, late as usual, and I gotta wee toddler, whining from cold and hunger. Leo, it's cold outside. Would you go scavenge a few unburnt remnants of fossil fuel from the ash heap outside?

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim


Extraodinary telepathic relay from JS/LH. This is how they see the future......

It's only two o'clock
And the temperature's beginning to soar
And all around the city
You see the walking wounded and the living dead
It's never been this hot and I've never been so bored
And breathing is just no fun anymore

Jun 22, 2011 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Meanwhile, back at the fort, the Grauniad is still enthusiastically banging on the same old drum:-

This one should be fun.

The "reasonable revolution".


Jun 22, 2011 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby


If they offer you a spot in the Graun - make sure you insist on moderation being suspended, so that your supporters can attempt to counter the co-ordinated deluge of sh1t which the faithful will pile on you.

Jun 22, 2011 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterFoxgoose

I suspect that Leo is trying to keep his options open, but he might as well go out in a blaze of glory. His paper may not be around for a lot longer..


Jun 22, 2011 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

@james p

Perhaps the grauniad could sack all the Stasi at Moderator House to save money? Employ real people instead?

Jun 22, 2011 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Justice4Rinka is right about the kinds of comments which get deleted, but once again, it’s not the fault of moderators. Comment start disappearing when warmists are losing the debate, and it’s pretty clear there are certain who specialise in “reporting abuse”, which is easy, given the wide nature of possible crimes.
The rules are generally fair, but the nature of the debate is such that any comment denying the existence of a problem can be considered off-topic in the discussion of the problem. Also, if a comment is deleted, so are all the replies, leading to surrealist situations where entirely innocuous threads disappear.
I too have had comments banned where agreed with someone on the “other side”. I was finally banned outright for pointing out what a good investigative journalist Monbiot used to be. They hate the idea that we might be reasonable human beings, don’t you Leo? Leo, we know you’re there. Stop sulking and come out and play.

Jun 22, 2011 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Foxgoose 1.01pm
No, don’t suspend moderation, it would only encourage them. But a general amnesty for those of us who’ve been banned would be nice.

Jun 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Couple of drive-bys, and he's gone. Fact is that no compromise position can logically be found between catastrophists and lukewarmers. They need the catastrophe part for reasons which are (IMHO) not scence-based. So the debate never ends up being about a scientific optimum position, an agreement about what is known and what is theorised. There is no compromise on 'the sky is falling'.

How I'd like to see Leo engage with the smarter ones here. Ain't gonna happen though, journalists are paid to write for their paper, not just any old blog. Will he read the book? Will he admit the cheating, or dispute it?

Jun 22, 2011 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

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