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« IPCC hides the good news | Main | Comedy debate »

Whole lotta wally

Anthony Watts is covering Bob Ward's latest attempt to enliven the global warming debate. Bob's main problem is that he has only one card to play, namely to accuse his opponents of dishonesty, usually at the top of his voice. In this case, he has accused no less than three people: Nic Lewis, Donna Laframboise and Richard Lindzen.

As you can tell, this rather betrays Bob's other problems, namely an almost complete lack of a sense of proportion and and almost unerring ability to overplay his hand. People don't generally lie very much, particularly when they are giving evidence to Parliament. So to accuse three witnesses on the same panel of dishonesty smacks of a desperation rather than meaningful criticism. The committee are going to find themselves thinking that he is a bit of a wally. Or a lot of a wally.

They wouldn't be the first.


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Reader Comments (33)

Do you really mean Bob Lard?

I know he is a bit slippery....

[BH adds: whoops!]

Mar 5, 2014 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Alternatively, the committee could be quite grateful for Mr Lard confirming them in their prejudices, especially when you consider the connections of Deben and Yeo.

Mar 5, 2014 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Lohse

Are all climate psientists/alarmists fat balding males?
All our mentally-challenged Bob needs is a goatee and he is a spit of Mann.

Were they separated at birth?

Mar 5, 2014 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Bob "Rat Snake" Ward
has a good ring to it, as well as being quite descriptive

I think it'll stick.

Mar 5, 2014 at 10:07 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

Richard Tol has a post on "The Ward effect".

Mar 5, 2014 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBebben

One organisation which is hedging its bets (only joking) on "Catastrophe Risk" (BH 27/2/14) is the re-insurance giant and scaremonger Munich Re.

And Bob Ward's 'evidence' states:-

"Supplementary written evidence submitted by Bob Ward, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (IPC0060)

The Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP) was established in 2008 to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research. The Centre is hosted jointly by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and Munich Re. " [My bold]

Mar 5, 2014 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

He's also targeting Richard Tol. See

Mar 5, 2014 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterLiT

People don't generally lie very much, particularly when they are giving evidence to Parliament.

Hmmmmmm. After 50 years of observing them, my experience is that people, in political circles at least, lie a great deal especially when advising parliament. Your own posts on the parliamentary process exposing the mendacity of this or that hireling over recent years tend, I'd respectfully suggest, to bear this out. That doesn't of course prove that Ward is (or isn't) a liar but it does seem to sort of suggest that, if he is (as we both suspect) a liar, then he's in good company.

Mar 5, 2014 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

Don Keiler

> Are all climate psientists/alarmists fat balding males?

What's the personal abuse for? Does it serve a purpose? Does the Bishop look that different from Ward (a fat, balding, male)? Do you think the worse of him for it? Should I?

Ward's criticisms look reasonable to my brief perusal. Trouble is I think many skeptics no longer recognize the difference between truth and lies.

Mar 5, 2014 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

I noticed on Donna's blog that she gave details of the following:

The Rt Hon Lord Melvyn Bragg is the Chancellor of Leeds University. He can be contacted by sending e-mail to the secretary’s office: a.l.laverton AT

Who is going to break it to Donna that our Melv is also an immovable fixture and King Luvvie at the BBC, one of the country's greatest unquestioning promoters of catastrophic AGW and that any sort of action from him that might change that "status quo" is highly unlikely.? If she is looking for some sort of objective examination of Bob Ward's antics, or indeed any examination, from that quarter she will wait a long time. It is a small connected world in GB's media-judicial-political elite.

In passing, I would just like to say that the word "wally" has an almost affectionate connotation and is therefore one I myself would be very unlikely to use in connection with the Rat-Snake.

Mar 5, 2014 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

I would tend to agree with Chandra that personal remarks about Bob Ward's (or indeed anybody's) appearance should be beneath us.

There are plenty of other perfectly legitimate and more pressing reasons to develop a loathing for the man.

Mar 5, 2014 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Play the ball, not the man.

Any debating society judge will tell you that insulting ones opponent is usually a sign that you cannot answer their argument.

Mar 6, 2014 at 12:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Libel cases pending?

If so, Richard Lindzen and Nic Lewis may be eligible for help from the Climate Scientists Legal Defense fund.

Mar 6, 2014 at 12:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnything is possible

Is it possible that Mr. Ward so misunderstands the science facts and history that he really thinks these folks were lying and that he is doing the world a service by pointing it out. Outspoken ignorance is often mistaken for deceit.

Mar 6, 2014 at 2:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterDMA

The real problem Bob Ward faces is that he is the charlatan in the room. He is not a scientist. He is not even a journalist who has carefully studied the issues, as Donna has done.
He is just a hack. An influential hack hired to promote hype. He may even be sincere. But he has no special insight or credibility. He is merely a sales clerk with a loud megaphone. Whose master's money buy him access to nice settings in the public square.

Mar 6, 2014 at 2:50 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

.......Trouble is I think many skeptics no longer recognize the difference between truth and lies.
Mar 5, 2014 at 11:28 PM Chandra

I don't think that that problem is unique to skeptics.

100% agreed about the irrelevance of someone's appearance.

Mar 6, 2014 at 8:26 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

He isn't even a hack. He's an organ grinder's monkey and the organ grinder is committed to making a fortune out of the global warming scam which only makes the monkey's repeated claims that all sceptics are lavishly funded by oil companies — the same oil companies that are themselves up to their necks in the same scam — a superb example of the pot calling the kettle black, or would be in any sane environment.
Ward is either a knave or a fool or a liar and that, Chandra, is not "personal abuse" but a simple statement of the truth. If he believes what he is saying then he is a fool; if he doesn't then he's a liar; if he doesn't care then he's a knave.
Whichever is the case he needs to be challenged every time he opens his mouth.

Mar 6, 2014 at 8:32 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Bob seems a tad academically-challenged:

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

He is a Fellow of the Geological Society. "

(I also wonder why the BGS is giving away fellowships to people of such low calibre - or is that being elitist?).

Mar 6, 2014 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Bob who?

Mar 6, 2014 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterFred Colbourne

Mike Jackson,

> Ward is either a knave or a fool or a liar and that, Chandra, is
> not "personal abuse" but a simple statement of the truth.

Well again the journalist shows his ability completely to mistake what I referred to. So I guess he will have no objection if from now on I refer to AM as a balding Bishop, or a corpulent clergyman. Great!

So can you point out what was actually untrue about Ward's comments?

Mar 6, 2014 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

>Bob "Rat Snake" Ward

He's a bit chubby for a snake. I'm still going with 'Honest Bob', as in car salesman...

Mar 6, 2014 at 1:01 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


I will rise to the bait. Mr Ward is wrong to characterise Professor Lindzen's contribution as either incorrect or misleading. Professor Lindzen was providing, from memory, pretty well a straght quote from a famous "Opinion Piece" by sixteen sceptics published in the WSJ in January 2012. It presents their case about cost-benefit analysis accurately. All Mr Ward means is that he disagrees. It is disrespectful to dress this up with talk about being misleading. In fact it is simply rude. The Opinion Piece was contested, of course. That's how debate in science proceeds, although Mr Ward appears not to understand this. The point of disagreement comes down to the ancient debate about discount rate and judgements about whether ratios of cost and benefits are to be preferred to net benefits. As you will be aware, the "benefits" in any case are guesses - often wild guesses.

Mar 6, 2014 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan kennedy

Bob Ward is the UK's version of Peter Gleick!


Mar 6, 2014 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Alan Kennedy, you say Lidzen was referring to a WSJ article, but Ward was complaining of a reference to a book by Nordhaus. Lindzen said,

"An economist at Yale, Bill Nordhaus, has a book on on climate policy and if you look carefully at that book, he estimates the cost-benefit and so on of various policies and it’s clear that there is virtually no policy that beats doing nothing for 50 years"
and now says he was referring to a book from 2004 (I think) whereas Nordhaus most recent 2013 book is quoted by Ward saying:
"A fair verdict would find that there is clear and convincing evidence that the planet is warming; that unless strong steps are taken, the earth will experience a warming greater than it has seen for more than half a million years; that the consequences of the changes will be costly for human societies and grave for many unmanaged earth systems; and that the balance of risks indicates that immediate action should be taken to slow and eventually halt emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. These basic findings must be qualified and constantly updated because of the uncertainties involved at all stages of the link from economic growth through emissions and climate change to impacts and policies. But the basic findings have stood the test of time, rebuttal, and multiple assessments by hundreds of natural and social scientists. There are no grounds for objective parties simply to ignore the basic results, to call them a hoax, or to argue that we need another half century before we act"

It is quite possible that Nordhaus changed his mind the in period between books or that either Lindzen, Ward or both have misunderstood, selectively quoted and misrepresented what Nordhaus really thinks. But on the basis of these quotes, and assuming you agree that an author's most recent book is probably the best reflection of his or her current views, it would indeed seem to be "inaccurate or misleading" for Lindzen to use the authority or Nordhaus using views obtained from a decade-old book.

Mar 6, 2014 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra


With respect, I think you are missing the point. This issue is about the interpretation of Nordhaus' analysis of costs and benefits. Nobody doubts Nordhaus strongly disputes the interpretation of Lindzen as represented by the Opinion Piece. His views are well known. The Ward quotation illustrates that perfectly well. But so what? Lindzen isn't saying what Nordhaus believes - he is saying what the cost benefit analyses provided by Nordhaus ("the book") actually lead to. He is perfectly clear about that. Incidentally, I think Professor Lindzen is right. But that is as much beside the point as Mr Ward saying he's wrong.

Mar 6, 2014 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan kennedy

Alan Kennedy, you could be right (about missing the point) and I admittedly haven't seen the cost-benefit analysis in Nordhaus book. But unless Nordhaus is talking emotionally, as opposed to speaking as an economist, I find it strange that a suggested lack of evidence on a 50 year timescale in an older book can be compatible with a recent view that that the consequences of the changes will be costly for human societies and grave for many unmanaged earth systems, or that "There are no grounds for objective parties simply to ignore the basic results, to call them a hoax, or to argue that we need another half century before we act" unless the analysis has changed.

Mar 6, 2014 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

Chandra et al who believe we should play the ball not the man.

We've tried that. what some believe is that it would be below us to sink to their level and we ought play Marquis of Queensbury whilst they kick us in the 'nads!
Bull-freakin-crap. It DOES NOT WORK!
They only understand THEIR rules: "Identify-Isolate-Ridicule {by lying your asses off}"

Time we gave back in spades.

Mar 6, 2014 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJim A

Chandra is just whining because targeting Bob Ward is as easy as hitting the broad side of a barn.
Chandra never has troubled him/herself to not call skeptics 'deniers'.
So stuff it, Chandra.

Mar 6, 2014 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I have to agree that playing the man and not the ball is correct behaviour, but despite that, I have a very powerful urge to reply to Chandra's provocative posting in very strong language. But even after many decades, parental strictures to 'be a gentleman' are firmly fixed so I shall not.

Mar 6, 2014 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Jumbo at WUWT seems to nail bobs problem to a T!

"Bob Ward cannot debate skeptics because he is a ‘wanker’."



Mar 6, 2014 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

This latest piece of shoddy from Ward has been quickly trounced by Donna. What is interesting is the very low calibre of worker which Jeremy Grantham, one of the world's wealthiest men, can get for his money. I remain convinced that the alarm about co2 and climate has been raised, promoted and sustained by remarkably unimpressive people. Their combined effect, however has been dramatically impressive. In part, I presume, because their platform was an attractive one for existing interests to adopt to pursue their own and various advantages be they financial, political, emotional, or religious.

Mar 7, 2014 at 10:00 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

John Shade,
In what seems like the distant past, the term "banality of evil" was used to describe a number of very shabby people who did some very bad things.

Mar 7, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Google censorship, again?

Tol's site white screens here, no content. Tried other Google Blogger sites, they render.

Mar 18, 2014 at 2:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterTim Channon

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