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« A fistful of share options | Main | GCSA can't tell weather from climate »
Thursday
Feb142013

Warm letters

GWPF has published some interesting exchanges of letters. There's Turnbull and Whitehouse versus Rapley on the subject of sea level rise and Peiser versus Weintrobe too.

I was amused by Weintrobe's accusation about GWPF's nefarious intent...

GWPF’s aim is primarily to sew doubt on the findings of mainstream climate science.

...which conjures up lovely illusions of Lawson and Peiser stitching away furiously with blankets over their knees and cups of tea by their sides. It's not exactly how I imagined the great oil-funded conspiracy though.

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Reader Comments (91)

Weintrobe's comment had me in stitches...

It's OK, I'll let myself out

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean Peake

His arguments are threadbare

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

C'mon Josh!

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Jones

Whitehouse demolishes Rapley quite comprehensively, in a demonstration of what scientific thinking is all about. But what is this reference to Rapley's scant publication record?

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterbarb

Sew petty. The arguments are hanging by a thread...

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

Such insults are so passé.

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:43 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

It's fascinating that a psychologist like Weintrobe, without a scientific bone in her body, can feel confident enough to leap unblushing into a technical debate with her two penn'orth of secondhand propaganda.

She's nothing more or less than another green activist in the Adam Corner mould - using her academic position to bat for "the cause".

She should stick to her knitting - her science is rather sew-sew.

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:44 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

What exactly is a "Climate Psychologist"?

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

I have a question.

What is a Climate Psychologist?

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered Commentertimg56

She certainly needled me. Her assertions just followed the same old pattern. Sorry, I will cast-off now..

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:47 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

What exactly is a "Climate Psychologist"?
Feb 14, 2013 at 4:44 PM TerryS

The answer appears to be a person of left-of-center political inclination - who finally finds a profitable use for that pointless degree they took, when they couldn't get a place to study anything useful. ;-)

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:54 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

How feeble are the arguments of those who wish to alarm us about human impact on the climate system, and how numerous their followers and apologists seem to be!

It is all very strange, and has been going something like this:

Extraordinary hypothesis that rising CO2 is a major driver of climate in recent decades and those to come.
Ambitious characters seize and trumpet it. (somehow making a gentle warming into a very bad thing)
Huge funds are raised.
Uncounted opportunities arise for academics to get grants to study the effect of this imagined new climate on sundry organisms, sea levels, and much else besides.
Many papers are published.
Many press releases go forth.
Many headlines and much fear is generated.
Earnest people intent on doing good see heroic roles for themselves in adding to the general hullabaloo. (while others spot a chance for making a lot of loot from taxation at the same time)

Meanwhile, back in the real world, nothing particularly extraordinary is happening - not to sundry organisms, not to sea levels, not to temperatures, not to much else besides.

Perhaps there may yet be this development:

Extraordinary (de nos jours) notions that other factors are more important for climate, and that other issues are more important for humanity, starts spreading and causing considerable unease in certain quarters.

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Sounds to me as if she is knit-picking.

Feb 14, 2013 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTony Windsor

Why can't Sally ask her self why she thinks that is their aim!

Conspiracy theorist,

Feb 14, 2013 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Etui, Bish? You people are so crewel. Yet there are some purls here.

Feb 14, 2013 at 5:23 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

OK, there are no sewing puns left so I am going to comment on Rapley's appeal to SkepticalScience.

If he had a reputation, he just poured it down the pan.

He must be desperate.

Feb 14, 2013 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Wasn't it Chris Rapley who, as Director, put on the childish climate change exhibition at the Science Museum a few years ago? It was laughed out of court as people rushed past it to see real science.

Feb 14, 2013 at 5:32 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

And in fact he meant "sow", but actually wrote "sew", thus leaving a typo sewn onto his comment. Much ado about little, I'd say.

Feb 14, 2013 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterH.M.

And in fact he meant "sow", but actually wrote "sew", thus leaving a typo sewn onto his comment. Much ado about little, I'd say.
Feb 14, 2013 at 5:37 PM CommenterH.M.

"He" is a very vocal and fairly prominent climate activist/psychologist called Sally Weintrobe.

Are you sure you're fully informed about this discussion.

Feb 14, 2013 at 5:45 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Whitehouse wrote: "During those 8,000 years seal [sic] level rose 100 metres or about 1.2 mm/year – just about what we are seeing at the moment."
I get 100 m / 8000 years as 12.5 mm/year. So I think Rapley had it right that recent rates are near 20% of the peak rates during the transition from the last glacial maximum.

Feb 14, 2013 at 5:46 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Sally had better be careful.

As she sews - so shall she rip.

Feb 14, 2013 at 5:47 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Feb 14, 2013 at 4:36 PM | barb

But what is this reference to Rapley's scant publication record?

Well, he did publish an article in the British Medical Journal in 2012 entitled: 'The Science of Climate Change'.

Before that he published an article in Nature in 2007 as a co-author with James Lovelock entitled: 'Ocean pipes could help the Earth to cure itself'.

Is that 'scant'?

Feb 14, 2013 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

It looks as if the communication problems that the warmists are experiencing are fundamental.

Feb 14, 2013 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Old Man

Phillip Bratby (Feb 14, 2013 at 5:32 PM)
Yes it was Rapley who put on that exhibition when he was head of the Science Museum - at a couple of months’ notice in response to a request from Environment Minister Miliband, who wanted something done fast fast ahead of the General Election. The lamentable exhibition was organised by a PR company. Such kowtowing to political interference in the affairs of a major cultural institution should have caused a major scandal.

Sally Weintrobe is a psychoanalyst. Her description of herself as a “climate psychologist” is puzzling. Academic psychologists like Adam Corner and Stephan Lewandowsky have no time for the unscientific practice of psychoanalysis, which is a kind of therapy which treats certain forms of mental illness. She clearly doesn’t treat climate or study climate, so what’s the word doing in her job description? Someone should take a close look at the rules of the Institute of Psychoanalysis.

Feb 14, 2013 at 6:13 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

From wiki:

Karl Popper argued that psychoanalysis is a pseudoscience because its claims are not testable and cannot be refuted; that is, they are not falsifiable.

I can see now why Sally Weintrobe believes in CAGW

Feb 14, 2013 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Chris Rapley's publication list is here;
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/es/people/staff/academic/rapley/publications
and for someone who lectures about climate science it is pathetic. Indeed for a scientist of 40 years only 39 publications, many summary presentations at conferences or just articles, is a very poor strike rate. He has done very little what we would see as climate science and that almost 30 years ago. Most of his publications are on astronomy and mostly in second-level journals. In only a few is he the sole or lead author. No proper climate scientist would get a job or research funding on the strength of these publications.
And he lectures us about climate science!!!

Feb 14, 2013 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSiComb

geoffchambers

"Sally Weintrobe is a psychoanalyst. Her description of herself as a “climate psychologist” is puzzling. "

That CO2 stuff is amazing - it is obviously causing a lot of people to imagine strange things.

Anybody who goes to a psychoanalyst needs their head looking at.

Feb 14, 2013 at 7:02 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

As ye sew, so shall ye rip.

Feb 14, 2013 at 7:03 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Chris Rapley became Director of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) when I was seconded to do some work with them.
He completely dismantled the way in which science was conducted at BAS, to focus on Climate Change.
Whilst I'm sure this burnished this credentials in Government eyes, it did little for the advancement of scientific knowledge.

Feb 14, 2013 at 7:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Really all this sniping at the other side's qualifications to speak seems to me more like what they do to us. It's all fun but it does not substitute for argument. Of course the other side do this as a way of avoiding engagement. Let's not sink to that.

Except in the case of Weintrobe who can only accuse us of being evil or nuts. Argumentum ad asylum, as I call it. She doesn't deserve consideration until she can prise her head out.

Feb 14, 2013 at 7:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

It is exactly because Rapley had the gall to recently write letters to the media saying the public should "ask a climate scientist" that his non climate science credentials should be exposed. He has very little. He is not a scientist but an administrator with fewer scientific papers than a 25-year old starting out on a research career, and all his research was decades ago and is out of date. Whitehouse is quite right to point out the qualifications of someone who says "ask a climate scientist" and puts himself up, puffs himself up, as an authority.

Feb 14, 2013 at 7:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterSiComb

Foxgoose and Mojo, sew, rip, hilarious ;-)

Feb 14, 2013 at 8:02 PM | Registered CommenterJosh

Retired Dave, Terry S,
When I told my psychoanalyst about my obsession with global warming alarmism, she simply shrugged her shoulders ( I was lying on the couch at the time so couldn’t see. But she’s French, so I expect she did) and said “mass hysteria”.
Psychoanalysts, like scientists, can have any opinions they like, and can express them, if they think it’s useful. The fact that psychoanalysis is not science in the Popperian sense should not be seen as a criticism. Lots of things, like teaching and art history, which I’ve done, are not science, but they can be conducted on rational principles, or not.

Chris Rapley introduced the Tavistock Institute’s Climate bedwetting seminar to publicise Weintrobe’s book, wrote the introduction to the book, and one of the first reviews of the book on Amazon.

Rhoda
I think Weintrobe deserves consideration, simply because of the importance accorded to psychoanalysis in our society, the importance of the Tavistock Institute in the world of psychiatry, and because she was (is?) senior lecturer at UCL where Rapley is professor.
She accuses the GWPF of “sewing doubt and undermining urgently needed action”. Gags apart (and there have been some good ones) she is stepping outside her professional role in accusing Benny Peiser of what could be considered misconduct. In claiming to be a “climate psychologist” she is drawing attention to the fact that she is a social scientist, like Dr Peiser. There is surely a good case for the two of them to argue it out in the context of an academic debate.

Feb 14, 2013 at 8:14 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

No sewing puns left?
It 'seams' you need to get some things 'ironed' out, as that almost 'unraveled'.
So come on and clip your comments, just taper it a little bit and quilt being silly.

Feb 14, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreenMD

It’s pure coincidence, but I”ve just written a story about a simple seamstress who’s been lecturing the European Union about climate change.
http://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/knickers-to-climate-change/

She wants to save the rainforests because “..they produce ten times more atmosphere, absorb ten times more carbon because they’re directly underneath the sun.”

Feb 14, 2013 at 8:31 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Geoff Chambers:

Psychoanalysts, like scientists, can have any opinions they like, and can express them, if they think it’s useful. The fact that psychoanalysis is not science in the Popperian sense should not be seen as a criticism. Lots of things, like teaching and art history, which I’ve done, are not science, but they can be conducted on rational principles, or not.

I think that needed saying, thanks. And where can I find a nice French female psychoanalyst? Oops, Valentine's Day, and my better half is working late. Please don't give me the expert prognosis.

In climate psychology things are seldom what they seam.

Feb 14, 2013 at 8:37 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Sally Weintrobe is a psychoanalyst. Her description of herself as a “climate psychologist” is puzzling. Academic psychologists like Adam Corner and Stephan Lewandowsky have no time for the unscientific practice of psychoanalysis, which is a kind of therapy which treats certain forms of mental illness. She clearly doesn’t treat climate or study climate, so what’s the word doing in her job description? Someone should take a close look at the rules of the Institute of Psychoanalysis.
Feb 14, 2013 at 6:13 PM geoffchambers

Geoff - forgive me if I get some of this wrong, Elec Engg is a poor preparation for the human behaviour business.

Are you saying that Silly Sally, as a paid up psychoanalyst shouldn't interfere in the work of the ancient long established craft guild of Climate Psychology?

Can we therefore expect those twin pre-eminences of the Climate Psychology trade, Corner & Lewnadowsky, to publicly denounce her as a charlatan?

Will she have to set up her own rival discipline of Climate Psychoanalysis?

How much will it cost us to set up a chair of Climate Psychoanalysis in all the more experimental provincial universities?

Am I right in thinking these rival disciplines will eventually have to negotiate & divide their workload along the lines that Adam & Lew;s crowd will attempt to bring sceptics into line using propaganda & social pressure - with Silly Sally's bunch coming along in the rear to have any survivors committed for "treatment" to her NHS institution at the Tavistock?

It's all a bit confusing - but at least it's comforting to know that our NHS has such a good grip on looking after our medical problems that it can extend its franchise to politics.

Feb 14, 2013 at 8:57 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

In climate psychology things are seldom what they seam.
Feb 14, 2013 at 8:37 PM Richard Drake

They're doing their best Richard - stop needling them.

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:05 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Rapley is one of those establishment figures whose reputation is more than the sum of his achievements. He ran the international biosphere project badly - who has ever heard of it - and left before it fell apart. Thence to the British Antarctic Survey where he trashed so much long-term good science in favour of climate change - everything was climate change. I recall in a base he only ever appeared when the TV cameras were out as he stood - Robert Falcon Scott like - steadfast and proud against a white horizon - yuk. Then it seems he made a mess of the Science Museum with his propaganda-like exhibitions that went down with the public like a cup of cold sick. He left before his contract expired and was replaced by an accountant.

Now he's a professor of climate change giving lectures on communicating climate change but can't quite seem to get the hang of it himself. Does he ask himself how the communicating climate science to the public business has been going in the past few years? Is it working? Might Rapley just be one of the reasons it isn't working?

In the end science will not be kind to him.

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterSCom

So many good puns have left me in stitches.

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Foxgoose
As a graduate of UCL, I do object to you referring to it as an experimental provincial university. It was alright before Rapley and Weintrobe got there.
I only spent one term in the psychology department. You only got to do psychoanalysis in the second year, and I couldn’t wait.
The psychology department had this peculiar admissions scheme whereby if you got through their rigorous interviews, they let you in with two Es at A-level. Consequently I did no work in 6th form and flunked maths S-level. That’s why, nearly half a century later, I’m hanging around here hoping to learn something from you lot.
Don Keiller, SiComb and SCom haven’t let me down.

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:33 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

Just heard a trailer for this program. I think it started, "As sea levels continue to rise...". No mention of the word "predicted" as per the text below. We are all doomed I tell you.

THE DROWNING CITY BBC RADIO 4: Monday 18 February 8:00pm-8:30pm

In October last year Hurricane Sandy ripped into New York, taking lives, sparking a huge fire, flooding subways and tunnel connections and leaving thousands without power for days.

Isabel Hilton reports on the aftermath of the hurricane in New York. As sea levels are predicted to keep rising, she looks at what New York and other threatened coastal cities might do to prepare for future storms.

Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call to New York and to many other coastal cities that have to face the reality of rising sea levels and increased chances of hurricanes and storm surges. Much of lower Manhattan was up to 10 feet underwater, and the storm sent a 14-foot surge into New York’s harbour that continued for miles up the Hudson River.

Isabel also looks at the ways in which the city might prepare for future storms and flooding, from building great walls and sea defences to sealing the subways and tunnels

Producer/Anthony Denselow for Whistledown Productions

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMan With a Polish Wife

We know that Miss Weintrobe is in the habit of being litigious. I wonder - will she be taking legal action against the GWPF through her solicitors, "Sew, Grabbit & Run"? I also wonder if she is related to our dear activist friend Deirdre Spart. I have fond memories of the 1970-80s when Private Eye was actually humorous and used to deride the Grauniad, rather than be a sad supporter of the liberal establishment.

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterWellers

You reap what you sow (Hoe Hoe)

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames

Sally Weintraub: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7aFm0I2y2s

Psychobabble on steroids.

PS. I got as far as 'I will now explain some ways that capitalism in its current deregulated form works like the big bad wolf in the fairy story to attack the psychic home...' [looks like no one told her that you can't say fairy anymore, oh well, throw another peasant on the fire]

Can anyone beat this feat of endurance?

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

@Academic psychologists like ... and Stephan Lewandowsky
Feb 14, 2013 at 6:13 PM | geoffchambers
===============================================================================

Geoff, you are hugely generous, I have to say, to accord Lewandosky the title of "Academic Psychologist". "Obsessive nutjob" would be mine.

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Just had a preview peep of Sally Weintrobe's book on Amazon. Small world. The Foreward is by none other than Chris Rapley, who also writes a review comment.

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:50 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Pharos.
So Rapley has reviewed Weintrobe's book on Amazon. He will no doubt add that to his publications list. It could do with some bolstering!

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterScom

This has become a bit of a sewing thread. Perhaps Kim can provide one of his seams. "===="

But no zigzags: " NNNNN?" or is it "ZZZZZ"

On a less serious note, is not psychoanalysis a trade one picks up after completing medical school, or is that psychiatry?

Feb 14, 2013 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Jeremy Poynton
“Academic psychologist” is what Lewandowsky is. And with security of tenure, I hope. Because I’m seriously disturbed to see people on what is supposed to be a libertarian blog suggest that people should be deprived of their livelihoods because of their (admittedly absurd) political beliefs.
I’ve made very clear what I think of Lewandowsky on my blog. I’ve revealed inaccuracies which should result in two of his recent papers being retracted - we’ll see.

ZT
“... you can’t say fairy any more”.
I didn’t know that. At
http://geoffchambers.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/psychoanalysis-and-climate-change-the-doctors-take-over-the-asylum/
I quoted Sally Weintrobe’s colleague and coauthor Rosemary Randall as saying: “For each tonne of carbion dioxide I’m responsible for, someone else, somewhere loses a year of their lives”
which is a rather neat rewording of Peter Pan’s “Every time a child says ‘I don’t believe in fairies,’ there’s a a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead.”

Feb 14, 2013 at 10:03 PM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

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