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« Causes for the pause | Main | Some comments on the Royal Society report »

Climate scientists

Judith Curry appeared on the BBC World Service last night (podcast here, from 19:45). Of course, the corporation's new policy on who is allowed to appear opposite scientists only applies to when the scientist is not criticical of alarmist positions, so they could have picked anyone they want to face off with Judy. In the event they went for Bob Ward but, interestingly, and perhaps keen to lend an air of authority to a mere public relations man, they decided to describe him as a "climate scientist".

I guess we are all climate scientists now.

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Reader Comments (49)

I was wrong yesterday when I suggested that Lew's comment about ethics was likely to be joke of the week.
But then it never occurred to me that even the BBC would describe Grantham's mouthpiece as a 'climate scientist'.
Putting the organ grinder's monkey up against somebody of Curry's stature is precisely what the likes of Monty and Chandra whinge about. Perhaps one of them would like to explain why it is all right to do it "in reverse" as it were.

Mar 26, 2014 at 9:51 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Ward had nothing interesting to say. The interviewer kept asking about the 'broader picture' and Ward kept coming back to the Mann case. He is suited to be a religious leader.

Mar 26, 2014 at 9:57 AM | Registered Commentershub

Mike Jackson

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommentersandyS

In principle they can pick any two people they like who are sufficiently informed to discuss a subject. No credentialism required. But if one of them is a PR person fronting a billionaire with financial interest in the outcome, that ought to be made known.

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Agreed. And it is doubly misleading to describe him as a "climate scientist" unless, as Andrew says, "we are all climate scientists now". My Nobel Prize has no doubt got lost in the post along with my cheque from Shell.

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:08 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Climategate, Lewgate, 28gate, the political and biased contortions of the BBC to present relentless propaganda, data manipulation, hiding the decline, the corruption of the energy industry, politicians with their snouts in the green trough, watermelons, these are just a few of the nasty aspects of climate science and its consequences.

There are some exceptions, such as Judith Curry, who refuses to peddle the alarmist line and has to suffer abuse as a result.

The whole subject really has become a cess pit.

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterSC

Interesting that at one point Bob Ward said that the only people who should publicly be discussing climate science are those who are actively engaged in research and publication of the science. I guess that means he should excuse himself from any further public engagement or statements.

Judith Curry also made him look stupid as he defended Mike Mann yet seemingly had no comment to make about Mike Mann's libellous statements about Judith Curry.

Simply put Mike Mann has all the attributes of a playground bully and Judith Curry's dignified shrugging off of his comments paints him in the worst possible light.

It is just a shame that few will have heard Judith Curry's reasoned response to questions about freedom of speech, about the need for all to be involved in the debate and her statements about there being few verifiable facts about climate change.

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Dennis

A shoal of fish, a swarm of bees, herds of cattle, flocks of birds. A propaganda of climate alarmists?

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered Commentermariwarcwm

I don't have a problem with the producer bringing on a 2nd 'expert' to challenge Judith Curry, but they have broken their own guidelines about describing interviewees correctly. Someone should complain, as describing him as a climate scientist has clearly misled the public.
- But then if the BBC were bothered about truth and context they would mention him being the PR guy for BigGreenHedgefund, but the BBC's integrity doesn't stretch that far. the difference between alarmists and skeptics is their arguments don't stand up to challenging so they want to ban it, whereas the more they challenge us the more ridiculous they look.

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered Commenter mariwarcwm

My collective noun for climate 'scientists' is: a "steaming"...

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Aren't all climate "scientists" spin doctors?

Mar 26, 2014 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

It's a pity Judith didn't congratulate Bob on his promotion.


Mar 26, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Bob has a first degree in geology and an unfinished PhD thesis on palaeopiezometry.

Climate scientist?

Did Bob lie to the BBC producer, or did the BBC producer lie to their listeners?

Mar 26, 2014 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Direct link to moment of interview
- I can't stand the waste of downloading 22Mb of file just for a 5 min of listening

Begins : "If the weight of scientific opinion turns out to be so strong & so gloomy about CC how far should their be limits on denying it's existence.. In the US acase is trundling towards the courts, which pitches the columnist Mark Stein & 3 co-defendants against the climate scientist Michael Mann.
..DrM is suing them for disparaging his work on CC, descibing that work as fraudulant ...Dr Mann M has some powerful allies " plays Al Gore clip "...we have to put a price on denial in the political system.. "

"What do 2 climate scientists (OK that is themistake) who both subscribe to the reality of CC (jeez as if is already a crime to describe it otherwise), make of this..
..Prof JC "..correctly titled
.."Bob Ward is policy director of Gratham Institute of CC

other interesting items preced that interview :
- US law makers urged to expand gas exports to Europe due to Russia
- "Within the week we may all beigin to get some very sobering news" (why the hyping laguange you BBC idiot ?) Top scientists meet in Japan to discuss what we know andwhat we can expect from CC ..part of a huge review of the IPCC

Mar 26, 2014 at 11:17 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Guys contextualise that Climate scientists description .. I wouldn't go all conspiracy theory on this even though I think that BW is a devious twit
"What do 2 climate scientists ..make of this"
he should have said "What do 2 EXPERTS in the field ..make of this" as that would have been accurate

Mar 26, 2014 at 11:37 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Back to that item on Japan : Eco-warrior M McGrath did begin with extreme examples
but them went straight on to say "some researchers say that is alarmist and one asked for his name to be removed ..another said it won't be just be doom and gloom" ..only at the end does he correct the initial impression the meeting was scientists by concluding "the scientists and top officials .will go thru the report line by line" (misleads cos we know they will be reviewing an already doctored report)

Mar 26, 2014 at 11:42 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Just listened. Outstanding, Judith Curry. The greater quality of your thinking didn't need any credentials to support it - it was clear to any discerning listener. I wish they'd put you in with Dr Mann himself but of course he'd never agree. Too good for him, in every way.

Mar 26, 2014 at 12:05 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Starts at 27:30 in not 19:45.

Mar 26, 2014 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Bob Ward makes interesting points. A lay person should never debate an expert. No one should ever knowingly misinform.

I agree with the latter point but disagree with the former.

I wish Mr Ward would hold himself to his second point, and my life would be quieter if he kept himself to his first point.

Mar 26, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

BBC - Biggest British Censorship

Mar 26, 2014 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Bob Ward is also a 00 special agent, licensed to kill not only truth but enemies of the Crown.
The BBC's efforts to find new ways to be phony news organization continues to break open new frontiers.

Mar 26, 2014 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Following the BBC's description of Bob as a climate scientist, UCL chemist Andrea Sella promoted him to Professor:

Andrea Sella ‏@SellaTheChemist 14h
That said, Prof Bob Ward excellent on @BBCnewshour, however, with clear exposition of the legal positn and refusal to be pulled off topic.

He also showed how desperate the alarmist case is by resorting to the cigarette slur in an attempt to disparage Curry:

Andrea Sella ‏@SellaTheChemist 14h
@BBCNewshour The reason Judith Curry can’t sue is because she can’t defend her position. Why did you choose her??? She’s notorious.

Andrea Sella ‏@SellaTheChemist 14h
@bbcnewshour Would you bring someone on the programme to argue that cigarettes are harmless? In the name of free speech? Let’s be serious.

Mar 26, 2014 at 12:35 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Hey guys, the BBC moderator was I thought pretty good. Won't give chapter and verse this time but prejudice = inability to hear what you don't already believe. There were some good signs here.

Paul Matthews: Amazing. They can only do ad hom and dirty metaphors, it's all they've got

Mar 26, 2014 at 12:43 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Just listened thanks to stewgreen direct link (thanks). Kudos to Judith, great to hear her defend the right to free speech, even when it has been used against her by the likes of Michael Mann. Aside from the inference that Steyn 'denied climate change' (because he questioned the scientific integrity and honesty of Michael Mann's hockeystick graph - two different issues), and the introduction of Bob Ward as a climate scientist, and the BBC presenter was reasonably impartial.

Mar 26, 2014 at 1:03 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

The Daily Mail reports Richard Tol's withdrawal from the latest IPCC report with these comments from Bob Ward: "Prof Tol's contribution to the IPCC report has been under scrutiny because he inserted - at a very late stage, so avoiding the IPCC expert review process - a section which publicises his own work.

"The section contained a number of errors. Prof Tol has expressed extreme reluctance to correct the errors in his work and it does not surprise me that he alone among the 410 authors of this report has refused to endorse the summary."

What an unpleasant little tick Ward is.

Mar 26, 2014 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

mariwarcwm, Jimmy Haigh --
I have previously suggested "clamour" (as of rooks) in this context.

Mar 26, 2014 at 1:50 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

It is a pity they did not mention the Tim Ball case and the procrastination protecting the e-mails and data.

I am convinced that because he is fighting so hard to keep the e-mails etc secret, there is something damning hidden there.

Also the huge financial backing Mann has so his own money is not at risk unlike Prof. Ball.

The warmists are running scared because they know their case will not stand up to serious scrutiny and hence try to suppress any scrutiny especially by informed sources.

Mar 26, 2014 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

I've explained what I think was the most important moment in the broadcast, before we even heard from Dr. Curry, on Climate Etc. Just four words but a significant sign to me of stiffening sinews in defence of free speech at the Beeb.

Mar 26, 2014 at 2:18 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

But ...

Should we really object to Bob Wards elevation to 'climate scientists' in this case?

As I See it in this case one person was presented as a (climate alarmism) skeptical climate scientist, and the other as a 'climate scientist' supporting the full blown climate catastrophy narrative ...

One of them came out as balanced, open minded, reasoned and capable of arguing here case convincingly and fact based. The other was very adamant about that he wanted not only to ban opposing views from the media, but also making utterance of 'false' claims on the same subject actionable.

I cannot see that this helped the side which usually claims exclusivity to 'climate science' and to speak for it and its 'climate scientist', or did it any good.

However, I had hoped for Judith Curry pointing out that Michael Mann very much has put himself forward as a political figure and agitator wrt to 'climate change' and catastrophism. And stridently argues political action, and that therefor him being treated, criticized, respondend to, heckled and attacked as a political figure is not only legit, it is the quintessence of societal and open political debate. And that those who enter that stage, but demand others to be shut och shouted down only are showing how weak their arguments must be ...

BTW, the relevant section starts at 29:45 minutes!

Mar 26, 2014 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonas N

It gets worse - not only is Bob Ward a climate scientist, now he's an IPCC author!

Ein anderer IPCC-Autor kritisiert den Rücktritt: Tols Kritik sei zu spät gekommen, erst nach dem Begutachtungsprozess, erklärt Bob Ward vom Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change

(Another IPCC author criticizes the resignation: Tol's critique had come too late, after the review process, explains Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change)

Mar 26, 2014 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Richard Drake,

Excellent point about prejudice...... Ofc anyone can accuse anyone of being mired in prejudices but still, highly pertinent to viewing a climate alarm bigot such as Bob Ward.

Btw, one of my favorite quotations deserves to be known more widely:

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."

William James

Mar 26, 2014 at 2:59 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

As the Lewandowsky paper shows global warming believers like the BBC are very suggestible and so they will bend their interpretation to fit their preconceived notions.

The effect is so acute in some like Lewandowsky that he completely "missed" this obvious conclusion in his own data.

Mar 26, 2014 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterSkience

I remember when Al Gore did his Pop Concert Against Warming the BBC evening news that night referred to him as "Al Gore is a climate scientist". Not sure if there is any lie these scum won't say.

Mar 26, 2014 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

Quite right Paul. It's only right that Sir Bob's myriad achievements are recognised.

Mar 26, 2014 at 3:48 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

As ever with news context is everything
- Their context .."Hey did you know those nasty skeptics are trying to bully nice climate scientists, forcing them into court"... The snakes ..playing the victim !

Talk about PROJECTION ! the truth is not even 180° different it is 100miles to the right as that statement is 1 mile to the left.
- JC should have jumped up at BW "Bob you snake , you know the repression of skeptic scientists is 100 times that of those toeing the line ..I can give examples 1 to 100 !"

For years skeptic scientists have hounded banned, harassed, namecalled, careers destroyed etc. How many threats and legal cases ..even whole books like the Merchants of Doubt given vast time by ABC etc.

- It was the very BBC Feedback prog that devoted lots of time to activists to defame BoB Carter..I didn't notice Bob Ward jumping up to protest

Mar 26, 2014 at 3:52 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The BBC can call Bob Ward whatever they like, and I encourage them to do so.
I know I do.

BBC journalists frequently trip themselves up by trying to identify what they perceive to be scientific 'authority figures'. Those who have been closer to the coal-face of science know that if the question is a good one, there is actually no requirement for such borrowed authority. They are also more likely to possess the self confidence to ask the penetrating questions needed.

Honestly, I suspect that despite their general journalistic training, more than a few BBC interviewers are just too frightened of making a fool of themselves to ask the questions that may come to mind. Andrew Neil is a fine example of someone who isn't afraid. But if they employed more journalists with a scientific background then the problem wouldn't arise so often.

Mar 26, 2014 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

The BBC can call Bob Ward whatever they like, and I encourage them to do so.
I know I do.

Freedom at its most satisfying.

Mar 26, 2014 at 4:48 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Yes strange that BBC item on whether deniers should be repressed didn't mention The 2008 New Statesman piece where Mark Lynas defamed David Whitehouse for being a "liar" for saying there was a pause in global warming
.. A pause that NOW almost everyone acknowledges does exist

Mar 26, 2014 at 5:06 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Meanwhile at the 'other world ' that is the Guardian their attacking the BBC for being 'pro-sceptic ' would you believe it.

Its one of those rich ironies that Bob 'Fast fingers ' Ward is actual a paid shrill ; not the many sceptics the alarmists have claimed are.

Mar 26, 2014 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

I see that Steve Jones of 28gate fame has been having another rant about denying platform to sceptics on the BBC

“It seems to me that the BBC has not learned the lessons. After the International Panel on Climate Change report on the recent rain storms the Today programme had a debate between Brian Hoskins, director of the Grantham Institute for the Study of Climate Change, and Lord Lawson of Blaby...who is a denier of climate change.

“The Panorama programme that day had Kevin Anderson, professor of energy policy at the university of Manchester, and Andrew Montfort who blogs about climate change and is an accountant…

“They wouldn't do that to politicians, they would be more serious about it. It seems to me that BBC News is sticking two fingers at BBC management and the BBC Trust and saying we are going to do this anyway and I think it's a real problem.”

Mar 26, 2014 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Since Professor Curry first emerged as a champion of actual scientific method and discourse, she has been one of the few truly admirable international figures in climate science. Bob Ward, on in extrem contrast, is noticed for his extreme willingness to hurl vituperation, misinformation and slurs that are random enough to suggest he is more than a little unhinged. Is the Beeb developing a clever stratagem for ensuring that, when the tide eventually turns as it must to the sceptical point of view, it can shout 'We were sceptical all along but were not free to show it'. Or maybe I'm being too hopeful.

Mar 26, 2014 at 8:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

"A shoal of fish, a swarm of bees, herds of cattle, flocks of birds. A propaganda of climate alarmists?"

Put me to thinking of rooks: for which the most familiar collective noun is 'parliament' but also next is a 'clamour'.

So maybe a 'clamour' of alarmists? trouble is rooks are possibly more intelligent...

Mar 26, 2014 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

Mike Jackson (Mar 26, 2014 at 10:08 AM): you ARE a Nobel Prize winner – it was given to the EU in – when? 2011? – remember? As members of the EU, that means that we are all winners! Obviously printing and posting 700 million certificates does take time, but they do seem to be a bit tardy…

Obviously, the term “Climate Scientist” only applies to those whom the BBC thinks is worthy of the term, and the BBC only thinks that a person is worthy of the term if that person fully agrees with the propaganda that the BBC is promulgating.

Also, the BBC considers that anyone labelled “scientist” is an expert in ALL sciences, as shown on Question Time in the not-too-distant past, when Dumbledore turned to Robert Winston and said words to the effect: “Professor Winston; you’re a scientist. What is your answer to climate change?”

Mar 27, 2014 at 3:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Philip Foster -
Re: clamour -- see this comment. Great minds &c.

Mar 27, 2014 at 4:24 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

""A shoal of fish, a swarm of bees, herds of cattle, flocks of birds. A propaganda of climate alarmists?"

Put me to thinking of rooks: for which the most familiar collective noun is 'parliament' but also next is a 'clamour'.

So maybe a 'clamour' of alarmists? trouble is rooks are possibly more intelligent..."

I always thought it was a 'murder of crows' because they're vicious in flocks but cowardly alone. I'd vote for a 'murder of climastrologists' or 'murder of alarmists' as they're vicious creatures in flocks too, though they're more unhinged alone than cowardly. So how about 'cracked as an alarmist' for talking about them singly? 'Deranged as a CAGWer'?

Mar 27, 2014 at 6:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

Ross Lea

My personal view is that Mann isn't hiding anything huge on the science front. I don't think there's a 'smoking gun'.

Anyone with a brain can already see he's wrong about the science. Its not about that.

I think he's hiding vitriol against his so-called colleagues and, much more damaging, evidence of deep ties with the media and establishment.That's why they are all fighting so hard to protect him when even many seem to think he's a liability.

They're terrified of the central figure in CAGW being revealed as a megalomaniac with politicians, journos and celebs on speed dial.

Mar 27, 2014 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

The biggest bullies* in the playground are Playing the Victim.. & shouting "teacher it's not fair"
*(Bob Ward, Michael Mann)
Ironic ! How many documented cases can we show when they have terrorised other individuals ?

- it's only 3 weeks since Ward duffed up Laframboise defaming her about her evidence under oath to the UK parliament climate committee, knowing she would not have the resources to sue him. - But She touche-ed him; as her "Lying snake Bob" video clearly challenges him to use his vast resources to come into the libel court. He hasn't cos wr know his playground tales won't stand up in court.

- And Mann .. who spends much of his life screaming abuse over social media at others who doen't toe his line.. Cries "I was forced into court to defend my reputation" Que ? Seems to most of the world it's just a cynical attempt to shut down criticism by threatening to sue people who dare to challenge him, rather than a genuine attempt to recoup lost earnings , due to small man Steyn's effect on his earning power.

Mar 27, 2014 at 11:28 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

There's now a transcript of the BBC World Service item, with Judith Curry and Bob Ward, here:

Mar 27, 2014 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

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