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Discussion > Lukewarming

This thread is an attempt to continue a discussion which is somewhat out-of-place in 'unthreaded' and likely to get lost. It started with this:

dung, the lukewarmers are the worst. They would have no reason to exist, independent of the alarmists.

Imagine a climate activist saying, "we think it is going to warm a bit. Not a lot, just a bit". You can only go, "So...?"

In some ways lukewarming makes no sense. Say an alarmist proposes that CO2 will cause '10 C of warming'. Lukewarmism says 'oh noes, we say it'll only be 5C'. What the heck kind of a statement is that? Yet, that is what we hear from them all the time. Such a statement differs from the alarmist only in the rate of temperature change. In which case, even in the lukewarm scenario, 10C will eventually be reached,...and then what?

The more important critique would be to cross-question the basis and confidence of attribution of the alarmist, which the lukies simply do not want to do, because in their view, just as with the dogmatist alarmists, that is 'settled'. On the other hand, by some baseless miraculous revelation available to them, lukewarmers know somehow that factors other than CO2 must have a greater cooling effect than what the alarmists allow. Why? No one can tell.

In other words, if you accept alarmists' arguments, but only want to differ from them in the matter of various magnitudes and effect sizes, you are no different from them. Climate alarmism, like a religion, is a complete package. You either buy into it or not. Lukies want to do both.

Of course, in operational terms, there is no point in fighting with everybody. Many folks don't make the distinction between "you haven't conclusively demonstrated that CO2 caused all this" and "I don't think CO2 has any effect". If you say the former, they assume your position as being the latter. While the latter may well be true, that is a far deeper discussion and there is no need to get into it at every turn, and many bubbles can be pricked with merely the former.

Feb 5, 2013 at 1:39 AM | Registered Commentershub

Followed by TBY's reply:
shub,

You're off on one again. You make so many straw men when stating the Lukewarmer position that I thought your post was an episoide of Worzel Gummidge. If I hadn't known your posts on here for a long time I would class your last post as pure troll, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. But since you seem to be lumping Lukewarmers in with the enemy with your "with me 100% or against me" philosophy, I have to assume you've gone off the rails. I think it's rather silly, because it's going to be Lukewarmers who save you in the end, so it seems rather churlish of you.

You say:

the lukewarmers are the worst. They would have no reason to exist, independent of the alarmists.

This was almost the stupidest thing I've ever seen on this blog. NONE OF US would be here without the alarmist position. If establishment Science thought there was no AGW, slayers would not exist, deniers, doubters, skeptics, lukewarmers, believers, advocates, alarmists, warmers, none of us. I think what you meant to say was that the Lukewarmer position is just a diluted version of CAGW, yet like some weird homeopathic medicine contains all the vileness and evil of the full strength variety. This is pure polemic, and shame on you for it.

You then repeat:

In some ways lukewarming makes no sense. Say an alarmist proposes that CO2 will cause '10 C of warming'. Lukewarmism says 'oh noes, we say it'll only be 5C'. What the heck kind of a statement is that? Yet, that is what we hear from them all the time. Such a statement differs from the alarmist only in the rate of temperature change. In which case, even in the lukewarm scenario, 10C will eventually be reached,...and then what?

I can see why you would hate such a person, if that is how Lukewarmers truly behaved. But again, Worzel appears with his stupid head on in your account of the story. Do you truly believe that the only difference between an alarmist and a lukewarmer is the rate of change or temperature? Or is this just a polemical device to aid this particular rant? I am asking seriously, because you seem to either deliberately or accidentally misunderstand the Lukewarmer position. You say that Lukewarmers believe we'll reach 10C, which is patently rubbish, since the very definition of the LUKEwarmer is that we will not. Your misunderstanding, or mis-description of Lukewamers is egregious.

The more important critique would be to cross-question the basis and confidence of attribution of the alarmist, which the lukies simply do not want to do, because in their view, just as with the dogmatist alarmists, that is 'settled'

Why would - or should - Lukewarmers cross-question alarmists about anything? Why is this the duty of the Lukewamer to justify their position by questioning those they consider wrong, currupt or deluded? This makes no sense. As for 'not wanting' to do it, why should doing it help their case in any way? And why should the accusation of them not wanting to do it have any bearing on the validity of the Lukewamer position? You are rambling here.

On the other hand, by some baseless miraculous revelation available to them, lukewarmers know somehow that factors other than CO2 must have a greater cooling effect than what the alarmists allow. Why? No one can tell.

I'll put this one down to ignorance on your part, which is a shame because you need to stay informed in this game. As you know (I hope) the AGW argument is in two pieces. 1. Increased GHE due to increase in CO2 and 2. Positive feedbacks amplifying the effect of 1.

Lukewarmers believe that 1 is possible because there is an observable proven physical principle at play and there is some indicative instrumental evidence that it may have occurred. Note the caging of the words. Like any belief based on physics, it leaves the door open to new evidence.

They do not believe that 2 has been proven because it has not been observed, and we do not understand climate feedbacks in enough detail yet, and that negative (dampening) feedback effects such as clouds may well counteract any posited positive feedbacks. Lukewarmers believe that we simply don't know enough about it yet to say that this part is proven. Again, open to new evidence if it appears.

Then you're off on one again:

In other words, if you accept alarmists' arguments, but only want to differ from them in the matter of various magnitudes and effect sizes, you are no different from them. Climate alarmism, like a religion, is a complete package. You either buy into it or not. Lukies want to do both.

Lukies, as you affectionately call us in an attempt to demean and pigeonhole us, do not want to do both. Lukewarmers BY DEFINITION, are not alarmist. Lukewarmers simply go along with the best science of the moment, minus the policiticsed speculation about the positive feedbacks which is unproven science at this moment.

shub, you can mis-state the position of Lukewarmers over and over again, using more and more strawmen examples. but it never stops being wrong.

I'm much more interested in why you feel such hostility towards Lukewarmers.

Feb 5, 2013 at 1:46 AM | Registered Commentershub

TBY
That's a substantial reply with several points. I'll try to address a few:

[1] The term 'lukies' was, as you correctly guessed, used in an endearing sense. It just makes the use of a label somewhat easy to bear. No demeaning - by the use of the term

[2] I read your post several times. Your definition/designation of lukewarmer appears to be one who accepts the orthodox framework of climate description, and the major claims made within it (CO2 is increasing, temp is going up, man has caused it etc). 'Alarmists', 'warmists', etc, occupy the same position. This is exactly what I said earlier. You disagreed but yet your reply contains all elements of acceptance. The only difference is some agnosticism about positive feedbacks.

[3] If you go back in history and read the earliest accounts of the global warming enterprise, you'll be surprised to see how the movement smoothly transitioned from ozone control activism to CO2 control. Several popular accounts are quite different from the picture warmists insist, as being the unchanging version of reality they know of ever since enlightenment dawned upon them. CO2 doesn't occupy quite as prominent a role. An important one no doubt, but still it was just one among a handful of players. The re-arranging of the importance in factors and the rise to prominence of CO2 should have taken place with key scientific advances adding knowledge or revealing facts that were previously unknown. I do not know of these advances which persuaded scientists to the importance of CO2 at the timescales we are familiar with discussing. Absent such evidence, it is intriguing to note the lukewarmer, somewhat innocently, being willing to accept the role (relative position) of CO2. On the basis of what? Physics? But the warmies themselves used the same physics to accept a lesser role for CO2 not too long ago.

Part of the 'hostility' I feel for lukewarmers comes from them playing double-games, and their smugness in believing they have something different to offer. Based on what you write, you, for example, do not fit the profile at all. I have certain individuals in mind. But more specifically, I am thinking of an archetype which emerges from a reductionist reading of 'the lukewarmer position'.

Feb 5, 2013 at 3:50 AM | Registered Commentershub

I understand now, I think. Certain alarmists are trying to reposition themselves as Lukewarmers now (see the current main topic thread where Gavin and Hansen try to claim they were always in favour of a sensitivity in the 2s)

I can understand your anger with them.

Feb 5, 2013 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Partly, yes. But I am more concerned with certain long-termers.

Your earlier post contains several subtle contradictions.

For e.g., you say:

Lukewarmers believe that 1 is possible because there is an observable proven physical principle at play and there is some indicative instrumental evidence that it may have occurred.

This belief may well be owing to the way you describe the greenhouse effect and the time period during which you chose to interpret them.

Secondly, and more specifically, when I say that your position doesn't match a lukewarmer's, I would like you to think who the real lukewarmers are, and what they think.

A lukewarmer is just the same as a warmist, except somehow, he or she *knows* that bad things won't happen. Just as bad, even more all-knowing, and cowardly enough to reject bad outcomes. There was a long time when lukewarmism was a viable option to practice because alarmism was on the ascendancy and you had to hide out in the landscape and escape being labelled a skeptic or denier. These are the people who had some niggling questions with the whole thing but didn't voice them because of fear of being labelled deniers.

In your demonology, it appears to me, that people can be arranged as:

skeptics/deniers - lowliest form/just denies things
warmists - practices alarm/cries doom/uses science/religious
lukewarmers - keeps fully open mind/accepts some reality

If true, that is a flattering picture of lukewarmism. But that is just taking many of the good attributes of all participants in the debate and pinning it on a category.

Feb 5, 2013 at 11:12 AM | Registered Commentershub

I suppose it's because "Lukewarmer" in its basic definition just means "someone who thinks any warming will be small"

When I refer to Lukewarmer, I'm talking specifically about someone who goes along with the Lindzen null hypothesis, in that all things considered there's a plausible small warming trend which we will have to keep our eye on over the next 50 years in it's the case it turns dangerous, but nothing to worry about now because it could be nothing.

Note how that definition deliberately doesn't try to attribute it to anything. It could be natural variation, it could be a small GH warming, it could be instrumental inaccuracy, it could be UHI, it could be deliberate meddling. Wait and see is the Lukewarmer position.

The upshot is you need to expand your demonology to have three layers of Lukewamer:

1. Former alarmists who realise it's not as bad as they thought
2. Long-time lukewarmers who always believed it's not as bad as they thought
3. Deniers who feel uncomfortable going against the totality of science

You are describing 3, I think, those people who just hope it's not as bad as they thought, but don't base that on any science as such, and don't want to be one of those scary foaming-at-the-mouth deniers. And we are gaining loads of 1s as time goes on, in fact given Gavin's latest, I'd put him and Hansen in the Lukewamer camp these days - anything under 2.5 is pretty much Lukewarmer territory.

But although I welcome the extremists to the fold, they are still 'bad' Lukewarmers :)

Feb 5, 2013 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I agree with your description. I was referring to (2) as well. (2) don't have any basis for rejecting the more outright false claims of the warmies, but they do it anyway.

Feb 5, 2013 at 1:15 PM | Registered Commentershub

shub, not quite true, we 2ers have the null hypothesis, and that's a cornerstone of science.

Feb 5, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

What is this special null hypothesis you refer to?

Feb 6, 2013 at 1:20 AM | Registered Commentershub

It's not special, it exists in every branch of science (or is supposed to) in that it's a formulized version of Occam's Razor in that there is no need to invent complexity when a simple explanation will suffice. Moreover in science, if a simple model explains all of the observations, there is no need to invent a more complex model until observations invalidate the simple model. In short, a simple model is much more likely to be correct than a complex one.

A small GH signal in amongst a poorly understood natural cycle is sufficient to explain all of the observed warming trend (even if we take that trend at face value, which I don't).

The whole CAGW tipping point bandwagon is not supported by observational evidence - it was always based on conjecture like methane outgassing, H2O positive feedbacks etc which are interesting conjectures but have never formed part of the science (except in some deluded activists' heads) because they had not been observed in nature. And as it turns out, they are not as large as the doom-mongers hoped.

Equally, the highly complex conjecture of static-pressure induced warming, or the overturn of
physics because of some alleged mistake in basic thermodynamics that justhapens to have been missed by millions of eager PhD students, but can be grasped easily by amateurs reading a blog post, is a much much more complicated model than the simple GH model, and by Occam's Razor, is not required to explain the observations.

The observations support the Lukewarmer viewpoint, and by the null hypothesis, we don't need anything else.

Feb 6, 2013 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

"The observations support the Lukewarmer viewpoint, and by the null hypothesis, we don't need anything else."

Well, they don't really support lukewarmer(CO2) vs natural variation alone. They seem to rule out serious levels of warming but that could be masked by a downturn in the natural variation. Seems unlikely to me, but there. We don't have enough data to even guess the limits of natural variation, but we do have 1910 to 1940. If CO2 didn't play much part then, maybe it isn't now. There is too much certainty in the statement I quote above.

(And I don't accept the concept of CS over wide areas and timescales averaging out to some nice easy number. My CS post is an attempt to get someone to justify the concept. No takers.)

Feb 6, 2013 at 9:34 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

We need more data to decide between the flavours of Lukewarmism which say CO2 signal is real but small, or the one which says warming is natural but small. Neither can be disproved for now.

Feb 6, 2013 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

tby
I know what a null hypothesis is. I was wondering what specifically your version was, and how it came to be arrogated to the lukewarmer camp.

Could you explicate it? I have a feeling the lukewarmer null hypothesis' limb belongs in the sceptics' camp and the head in the warmies'.

Feb 6, 2013 at 10:40 AM | Registered Commentershub

This is probably off topic, but several discussion have gone round surface temperatures and related topics in recent weeks. So here's something that puzzles me greatly, the moon has no atmosphere, and a dusty surface so matching theories to actuals is a simple problem (compared to earth). Taking shub's original "In which case, even in the lukewarm scenario, 10C will eventually be reached,...and then what?" and TBYJ responses; and applying to Mars* <10mb and 96% CO2 is Mars as warm as it is going to get thereby implying that there is a natural maximum for all planets and their satellites?

* or Venus for that matter?

Feb 6, 2013 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I thought I had. It starts from the assumptions:

1. the idea that science and physics are generally correct
2. the idea that the instrumental upward temperature trend is real (if open to question)

Slayers don't like 1. Conspiracists don't like 2.

Given those assumptions, a scientific skeptic looks for the best physical model that can explain what we have actually observed. And the null hypothesis says that any model which has complexity that is not required to support observation can be discarded.

The simplest model (null hypothesis) for temperature trends is the natural variation one. Since the variation in surface temperature are still within natural limits (both in terms of value and acceleration) the scientific skeptic concludes that the data supports this simplest model of natural variability. There is a small problem with this, though, as a null hypothesis. The model of natural variability isn't really a model, since we haven't modelled it yet. It's more of an assumption.

The conclusion from this is that since the temperatures have been rising steadily since the LIA, then the temperatures will continue rising at a very slight rate for the forseeable future. Thus the scientific skeptic is Lukewarmer. Note that the the model hasn't explained the rise, since we don't really know why we go in and out of glacial periods anyway, but the data is consistent with the model, so the model is a null hypothesis.

Scientific skeptics also have to keep an eye on the data, because in order to discard more complex models that are produced from time to time, they must hold those models up against the data and say "is the complexity of this model justified to explain the data, or can it be discarded based on Occams' Razor?"

So comes along the CO2 hypothesis. Since GHGs cause the earth to be warmer, could an increase in those GHGs cause a warming trend? And yes, it might be the case. The current warming trend could just as easily be caused by increases in CO2 and not by the slow interglacial rise, which may have stopped. Does this make it also a null hypothesis? I'm afraid so. The data does not invalidate it.

Is it more complex than the steady-state rise from the interglacial? We don't know, since we don't fully understand that rise. The CO2 hypothesis gains an equal footing with the steady state theory - neither of them is invalidated by the data, neither of them are completely understood. Neither of them is inherently more complex than the other. We cannot discard one or other using Occam's Razor.

Therefore both of them are null hypotheses. Very unatisfactory. The scientific skeptic has to be open to either of these models being ultimately proved correct. Since both produce a small amount of warming in the next century, whichever one is right, leads to being a Lukewarmer.

The (Enhanced) greenhouse effect from positive feedbacks hypothesis comes along. We look at this idea, with methane outgassing, H2O content accelerating warming, and we hold it up to the data. Does the data invalidate it? Yes it does. All of the models from the late 1990s and early 2000s which used these positive feedback mechanisms predicted temperatures way above what we have now. For now, the data invalidates that model, and we discard it.

Feb 6, 2013 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I'll buy that as a position, although CO2 lukewarmers are in the same boat as skydragon slayers in a post-LIA rise world. To continue to support the warmist position in the face of the measurements and their failure to match the predicitons means resorting to hand-waving and epicycles. 'The heat went down into the sea and may not come up for two thousand years but oh how hot it will be then' sort of thing. Which Entropic man was going on about until it became apparent that we don't need to worry if that is the case because temps now depend on weather that affected Julius Caesar and his mates. Now I don't mind folks holding theories that I regard as untenable, but for so many to be clinging to that sort of thinking shows a certain amount of desperation.

Feb 6, 2013 at 11:33 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

CO2 Lukewarmers are having to guess, but we all are to a certainextent or other. The only sensible scientific way to proceed is to look at what is most likely - given current data.

In 2000 when temps were on the up much faster than the LIA upward trend, then the CO2 explanation was looking good. Now it's all gone slow, the natural variation camp is equal in standing, I think.

If the temperature starts going down in the next 10 years, then the CO2 Lukewarmers, if they are fact-based skeptics, and not ideaology-based skeptics, will go to the natural variation camp.

But it has to be evidence-based. If the evidence is not conclusive you have to not be inconclusive too. Some people don't like that. It smarts to be accused of being a 'pie in the sky wishful thinker' when all you're doing is going on the evidence so far.

Feb 6, 2013 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

I'm thinking of resiling from the position of lukewarmer to the empirical 'nothing much is happening' which does not address the theory but says, well, just that. Based on observation. If nothing much is going on, you don't really need to explain it. Is that distinct from lukewarmer? I think it is.

Feb 6, 2013 at 11:54 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Yes it is different.

The ideological outcome from having Lukewarmer beliefs is not that here is nothing to see but that there is nothing to be alarmed about.

Also, I wouldn't say "nothing much is happening" - temperatures shot up over 15 years, and now have stayed the same for 15 years. What happens next? It's nail-biting stuff! But it's nothing to be alarmed about yet, since it's happened before. What is more interesting is working out why it's doing it.

Feb 6, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

No, nothing much is happening that I can see out of my window. The weather is not behaving outside of limits I am accustomed to over the years. The Koeppen-Geiger climate map has not changed. Nowhere has a different climate than it had a century ago. No unprecedented weather events are taking place. If somebody starts making much of a global average which goes up and down, that is nothing to me if it has no observable results. And it would seem that the onus of showing it includes the ability to show that you know how everything works. Who can do that?

Feb 6, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Registered Commenterrhoda

I agree. The rises and falls of global average teperature can go back to being a scientific curiosity, like why are parrot populations with red heads and blue wings go up and down, or why do snail populations go up and down. These things are only of interest to those who are interested in them.

Too many of us have had to become interested in another niche science recently.

Feb 6, 2013 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

Interesting description over on WUWT of the 'Lukewarm' [AGW Lite?] vision of how the climate works.

“lukewarmers”—those intrepid souls who accept that human activities are impacting the character of the world’s climate, but hold the opinion that, when taken together, these influences are–and will be–relatively modest."

To which the obvious question must be - If that's how the climate works then PROVE IT with sound science [NOT the usual lukewarmist 'gut feeling'], or stop sitting on the fence shouting down those who argue against radiative AGW and waving your hands in the air.

Feb 6, 2013 at 5:42 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

RKS it would have been helpful if you'd read my previous post before re-iterating the popular yet mistaken belief that Lukewarmers just have a gut feeling, so are no better than wishful souls.

Lukewarmers are simply properly applying the null hypothesis to the evidence, and as such are the closest adherents to the scientific method. You might not like what applying the scientific method is saying, but that it what it says.

As for shouting down slayers, since they are trying to overturn physics, it's up to them to prove what they're saying, and in my experience, it's always slayers doing the shouting, over and over again in every thread until they are asked not to.

Feb 6, 2013 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

"Lukewarmers are simply properly applying the null hypothesis to the evidence, and as such are the closest adherents to the scientific method. You might not like what applying the scientific method is saying, but that it what it says.

As for shouting down slayers, since they are trying to overturn physics, it's up to them to prove what they're saying, and in my experience, it's always slayers doing the shouting, over and over again in every thread until they are asked not to.

Feb 6, 2013 at 6:24 PM | TheBigYinJames"

Null hypothesis? - nice copout line and fine weazel words when you have already stated you agree with the radiative AGW HYPOTHESIS widely touted as a source of AGW. You just can't put a figure on it yet but think it's insignificant [with what evidence?] That is NOT the null hypothesis. To me this middle of the road bullshit is even worse than the poor science of your favourite all purpose bogey men the 'slayers'.

Feb 6, 2013 at 6:41 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

RKS, I can see you're unfamiliar with the concepts of scientific knowledge, and you seem to be brimming with bile at the moment, so I'm not going to continue this with you. You are wrong, it will be a long and painful road for you, but good luck with it.

Feb 6, 2013 at 6:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames