Science magazine is confused about who is a “prominent climate scientist” — so is Richard Tol!

UPDATE:  Amazingly, economist Richard Tol in the comments section appears to argue repeatedly argues that he and Pielke are indeed climate scientists.  Pielke, not surprisingly, makes no such assertion.

In Science magazine’s “News of the Week” section (subs. req’d) they hype a piece on their blog:

Writing in Der Spiegel, three prominent climate scientists have criticized the policies of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its chair, Rajendra Kumar Pachauri. The Wall Street Journal reprinted the column, which says the panel should adopt conflict-of-interest policies, a mechanism for dealing with errors, and more transparent policies for selecting its leadership and authors.

You won’t a surprise to learn that an opinion piece reprinted by the uber-anti-science editors at the WSJ isn’t in fact written by “three prominent climate scientists.”

In fact, as that piece explains, the piece was actually written by “Richard Tol, Roger Pielke, and Hans von Storch.”


Memo to Science:  Two of the people you call “prominent climate scientists” aren’t even climate scientists!

Richard Tol is an economist, a Bjorn Lomborg favorite (see “Lomborg’s main argument has collapsed“).  His economic analysis strikes me as less than stellar (see Voodoo Economists, Part 3.5: Richard Tol says wildly optimistic MIT/NBER study, beloved of deniers, is “way too pessimistic”).  I’m working on my long-promised analysis of his dubious recent work that Lomborg uses to push his message of inaction and delay.

Pielke is … well, he’s Pielke.  I’m quite confident that even he would not call himself a climate scientist.  Everything that could usefully be said about him has been said by DeLong and Deltoid and Rabett.

The only thing more amazing than the fact that Science bizarrely called them “prominent climate scientists” is that they made that blunder a week ago and haven’t bothered to fix it.  Hmm, maybe they need “a mechanism for dealing with errors.”


90 Responses to Science magazine is confused about who is a “prominent climate scientist” — so is Richard Tol!

  1. Prokaryote says:

    Spiegel is big fail when it comes to science ;/

  2. Richard Brenne says:

    Maybe Science meant this for their joke section: “An economist, a political scientist and a climate scientist walk into a bra. . .”

  3. Richard Tol says:

    Climate science is the whole of research into climate change, its impacts, and policies.

    Roger Pielke Jr is well-qualified in impacts research and policy analysis.

    See also

    [JR: I am rather stunned that you are defending this. You and Dr. Pielke are certainly more than qualified enough to write your op-ed. But neither of you are climate scientists.

    By your definition, anyone who spends their time on some aspect of climate change, its impacts, and policies is a scientist. Economists, political science professors, lawyers, politicians — they’re all climate scientists. Rubbish. It bastardizes the meaning of climate scientist, let alone “prominent.” Perhaps that is your intent.

    Applying your logic, I am a prominent climate economist.]

  4. danrod says:

    If the Spiegel would mention 3 well known leaders from the Green party as “three proeminent economists” in an article making the case for more wind energy in Germany, next day there would be a round of laughing and finger pointing at the Spiegel, the writer of the article, etc, in the other german newspapers and medias.

    I keep thinking about mechanisms to bring about the same reactions in mass medias among themselves than what would happen when one of them, here the Spiegel, commits this kinds of “errors” or misrepresentation in the climate change area.

    But one simple answer is that in the former case there would be an editor in chief at the Spiegel asking the author if he’s dumb and why he’s calling these green politicians “proeminent economists” – and it would barr the way for the publication in case the author doesn’t correct the article…
    Whereas in the climate change arena the editor in chief has no clue and the article is seen as representing “one view”, or “one side of the debate”. One “side” or “view” that the editor in chief has not enough knowledge to understand is increasingly hard to take serious or even consider “neutrally” without seriously endangering the reputation of your newspaper.

    I personnally started a few years ago evaluating newspapers according to their coverage of global change issue, in which I have enough understanding to evaluate the performance of the articles. Most if not all don’t rate well in this field, and thus I have no reason that they do a better job in other areas such as politics, economics etc.

    That is one of the main reason for relying mostly on blogs for real info, like your excellent one here!

  5. Peter Houlihan says:

    Since when is policy analysis the same as physical science?

  6. One might add to the above, that Al Gore is therefore a prominent climate scientist; after all, he has a genuinely substantive background in policy issues.

  7. Doug Bostrom says:

    Chris Horner, too!

    Horner analyzes climate science, writes on climate science, and most especially litigates on climate science. So he’s a climate scientist, and certainly more prominent than Dr. Tol. Just count television appearances– Horner wins on name recognition, hands down.

  8. Andy says:

    From the opinion piece: “It will take many electoral cycles and all major countries to address the problems associated with climate change. Partisan advice will be unpicked, sloppy research will be exposed. New observations and theory will change aspects of the current understanding. Sustaining a climate policy that is effective, acceptable and durable can only be based on sound and impartial advice from institutions that do their science sustainably over many decades. The IPCC was supposed to provide that advice……” Herein follows a bunch of bull.

    This is a common debating technique. State some truths few would disagree with and then follow with outrageous made up junk. Arguing in this fashion is illogical, invalid, petty, childish and full of it. So are those who employ it.

  9. Bill Waterhouse says:

    Now reading “The Rising Sea” by Pilkey & Young (excellent book). At p 96 they note that specialties matter a lot: in a 2009 poll of geoscience departments, 82% of overall geoscientists believed in human-caused climate impacts, only 47% of petroleum geologists but fully 97% of climatologists. I think I’ll listen to the climatologists about climate impacts, not economists or policy analysts.

  10. Wit's End says:

    Personally, the only climate scientist I really trust is Dr. Inferno at Denial Depot:

  11. Richard Tol says:

    @Joe Romm
    It is outdated to equate “science” with “physics”, and particularly so in as multidisciplinary field as climate research. Pielke Jr and I are social scientists, specialised in climate.

    [JR: I’m afraid that you have jumped the shark here, to use the slang term. You and Pielke are indeed “social scientists, specialised in climate” specializing in climate. And yet you are still not climate scientists. Go figure!

    “Science” is much broader than “physics” — but, as the term is normally used in this context is, it ain’t so broad as to include economics or policy analysis. Not even close. But in any case, “climate science” is a term that certainly does not include either of those disciplines. I can’t imagine even Pielke himself would claim he is a climate scientist.

    Please, just post a retraction and let’s move on!]

  12. Prokaryote says:

    If you look at the coverage of spiegel climate science you will find that almost all article focus on science sceptics (CRU mails, Climategate, IPCC erros etc).

    For example the last NEWS
    (google translate it)

    The english website

    The wording is always doubtful and they do not report major climate science news such as NASA/NOAA temperature records 2009

    If you look at the forum, you will find 90% sceptics.

  13. Stuart says:

    Delay, delay, delay. The same old story until it’s too late.

    I wonder how they can sleep at night.

  14. Tim L. says:

    The limited thinking reflected in Richard Tol’s self-serving, asinine assertion in his above comment tells me that we shouldn’t take his opinions or observations seriously.

  15. mike roddy says:

    Fox has Sarah Palin as a global warming policy expert, to support Philosopher King Bill O’Reilly. The New York Times relies on Science Editor John Tierney. Maybe Science just decided that everything in the media these days is just talk, including credentials, so why not just go with it?

    Eli Rabett at rabettrun had a great section on Pielke Jr. a few days ago. He and one of the commenters are fascinated by the man- it’s like listening to The Mad Hatter. The commenter said he loves to read Pielke, and hangs on his every word. It’s a twisted but fascinating journey into the land of utter nonsense.

  16. SecularAnimist says:

    Richard Tol wrote: “Climate science is the whole of research into climate change, its impacts, and policies … Pielke Jr and I are social scientists, specialised in climate.”

    Thanks for making it very, very clear that you have no idea what climate science really is.

    Moreover, your Wall Street Journal piece makes it clear that you are not any kind of scientist at all, but a purveyor of pseudoscientific propaganda.

  17. Ian Forrester says:

    Richard Tol and Pielke Jr. are perfect examples of an oxymoron (with the emphasis on “moron”) since once claims to be a social scientist and the other is a political scientist. Very little science is involved in either of their activities (honest science that is).

  18. Cadric Naromure says:

    Joe (Dead fish) Romm is not a scientist. Unless eating science diet dog food makes you one.

    Of course arguing some one is not a scientist because they reject the global warming movement is about as ignorant as can be.

    [JR: Not what I’m arguing.

    But “Dead fish” as a nickname? That’s what happens if we turn the oceans into one large hot acidified dead zone.]

  19. Mr. (Dr.?) Tol,

    Being a social scientist does not make you a climatologist. It is scarcely possible to imagine how this fact could be any more obvious than it already is, but let me present an analogy.

    Many people were involved in the changes that led to the elimination of sulfur based polutants that were the primary constituents of acid rain over the North East. You may recall that President Obama was just recently in New Hampshire giving a speach in which he celebrated the success of the programs that led to this reduction.

    Without even troubling to look up even the most abbreviated history of the events and actions around this success, I am more than happy to assert with unqualified confidence that among the people who were involved in making these changes were persons whose primary focus was in areas of policy. I would shave my head and wear a dress for a week if I were to learn that among those policy experts there was not at least a few “social scientists.”

    But according to you, those social scientists were actually chemists, since the policy they were experts on and involved with touched on matters of chemistry.

    I would like to imagine that my pointing out the absudity of such a claim is rather otiose; yet this is exactly the claim you are making about yourself and Pielke in respect to climatology. How is it even possible that one should have to point out a fact so irrefutibly obvious as this: that being an expert in policy does not make you a scientific researcher (a “scientist”) in the related fields of study?

  20. ken levenson says:

    The only positive thing i can see here is that with Andy Revkin’s departure, Pielke Jr. has been mercifully absent from the pages of the NY Times. A move to the WSJ Opinion page is the right direction. May it be a precursor to his complete marginalization.

    It’s interesting the Roger hasn’t jumped into the fight here – he is usually undaunted, no matter how wrongheaded his “position”. Perhaps being called a climate scientist is even a step too far for him. Hmmmm…

  21. Dana says:

    Economists and social scientists are not climate scientists.

    If an economist studies the economic impacts of a health care reform bill, does that make him a medical doctor too? I’m sorry, but that’s an asinine argument.

  22. John P says:

    Does anybody else have a guess when Pachauri steps dowm from the IPCC? I say he steps down on February 19th. He is one large Liability. Sincerely, John

  23. Benjamin says:

    OT: Record high January satellite temperature estimate: +.72 anomaly.


    With El Nino still cranking, and the solar cycle picking up, 2010 is looking like an exceptionally warm year.

  24. John P says:

    Does anybody know how well the UAH satellite handles snow cover. Seems odd when the NH has the largest January snow cover percentage and at the same time the UAH shows the warmest January. Sincerely, John.

  25. David B. Benson says:

    Attempting to find a definition of climate science on the web locates only
    which certainly does not include economics (not a social science, by the way) nor indeed any of the social sciences.

    But maybe some anthropology/archaeology (a social science) ought to be thrown in; see W.F. Ruddimans “Plows, Plagues and Petroleum” for my reasoning.

  26. Chris Dudley says:

    Richard (#2),

    That must have been a tempest in a D-cup.

  27. Colin J. Cameron says:

    1st post.

    This is a bit of a segue but let me go off on a tangent.

    My interests are more in the area of agnotology and political psychology although I’ve always had an interest in the ‘hard’ sciences.

    What caught my attention was the use of an argumentative technique of narrative, which is somewhat different than simple logical argument. In particular, the use of the what I call the “Rove technique,” in which one accuses the opponent of the infraction that one is engaged in. I was checking into Storch’s past comments in order to gain a better understanding of the types of rhetorical appeals he’s made in the past, and his accusations of playing politics & favoring evidence that supports one’s perspective struck me as part of a narrative.

    Catering to pre-existing beliefs or myths is part of the repertoire of disinformation techniques that have become the favorites of Storch, et al. General descriptions of inefficient bureaucracies and partisan science are ‘button-pushing’ motifs that embellish a narrative that doesn’t require empirical data, but instead relies on often-told and retold stories that are well-known to the intended audience. These stories, or images, are more effective in the general form so actual details are unnecessary and even counterproductive. Particular instantiations of bureaucratic inefficiency are merely touchstones that allow the reader to make the imaginative leap to a stereotyped and caricatured image.

    My feeling is that attempting to knock down advocacy such as Pielke, Tol & Storch’s through rational arguments is ineffective. A counter-narrative would be more effective. And it would also be effective to point out the “stigmatized” aspect of their performances since most of their persuasive appeal stems from stagecraft and posturing.

  28. Dan R says:

    “I am not a climate scientist” – Roger Pielke jnr. June 22, 2006

    End of argument.

    [JR: Thanks for finding this. Whatever else one can say about Pielke, he knows what he is and he knows what he isn’t. He would never claim to be a climate scientist.]

  29. Chris Dudley says:

    “You might just as well say,” added Richard Tol, which seemed to be talking in its sleep, “that ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!”

  30. Richard Brenne says:

    So given Joe’s enormously common-sensical comment at #11 and the non-sensical comment at #18 we could have “Economist and Prominent Shark-Jumper Richard Tol debating Joe ‘Science Diet-Eating Dead-Fish’ Romm.”

    By the way, Cadric, a PhD in physics from MIT plus scientific work at Scripps as only part of Joe’s impressive CV usually qualifies one as a scientist. While physics is not the sum total of all science as Tol (#11) mysteriously appears to believe, physics is foundational to all science and physicists move into more areas of science with more success than those from any other discipline.

    And current conventional economics will one day share offices with the astrology, alchemy and eugenics departments because it does not consider the entire human economy as a wholly-owned subsidiary of nature, does not believe that there are any limits to growth or that Earth is a closed system, and does not teach that humans need to live off only the interest of renewable resources like topsoil, fish, trees and fossil water rather than drawing down their capital as we’ve done and continue to do at an ever-accelerating rate.

    Thus conventional economics that ignores each of these factors is morally, spiritually and intellectually bankrupt. Now excuse me, Joe and I are having lunch and he’s bringing a 40 pound bag of Premier Science Diet, the good stuff.

    [JR: Yes. I do eat a lot of dead fish.]

  31. Richard Brenne says:

    David B. Benson (#25):

    I agree with your larger point about climate scientists being those studying and researching the physical science of climate.

    Just to nitpick your parenthetical, as you can see above I don’t give conventional economics much credit, except as the high priests of our religion of unrelenting growth in all areas that has climate change as one of its symptoms. I’m friends with many top physicists and conventional economics makes absolutely no sense to them or me. As physicist Al Bartlett says, “For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD.”

    But the one thing I will concede is that economics is a social science. You are so right about so many things in all your comments here and elsewhere that I just thought I’d do this one tiny fact-check -and I appreciate you and others doing the same for me, because I’m nothing if not anal about accuracy.

    This from Wikipedia under “List of Social Sciences”:

    The social sciences are a group of academic disciplines that study human aspects of the world. They diverge from the arts and humanities in that the social sciences tend to emphasize the use of the scientific method in the study of humanity, including quantitative and qualitative methods.

    The main social sciences include:

    Cultural studies
    Human Geography
    Law (but see below)
    Political science
    Psychology (but see below)
    Social psychology
    Development studies

  32. David B. Benson says:

    Richard Brenne — Well, here and I suppose many other places it is in the College of Business and Economics (except that now it is also in the Ag school). The divsion is obviously arbitrary, but I certainly would not have included study of the law (unless one also includes history) and I continue to question whether mainstream academic economics actually studies human aspects of the world. There are a few outliers attempting to humanize economics, some maybe one little toe in the door…

  33. Benjamin says:

    Error in your link to the Pielke piece up top, Joe.

    Up top broken link:

    The ‘%20’ strings above appear as blanks in the url before copying it.

    Working link in the comments:

    [JR: Fixed. Thanks. Weird bug.]

  34. Richard Brenne says:

    David B. Benson (#32) –

    What university do you work at and in what discipline? My economics hero is Ecological Economist Herman Daly. Also peak oil and related topics blogger John Michael Greer has posted much about ecological economics – better than anyone else I’ve found – in the last few months.

    John has a BA in history but is quite scholarly, as is Richard Heinberg. Their voices need to be part of the full-cost accounting of all we discuss here. James Howard Kunstler isn’t quite as scholarly (actually in his own way he is and he’s wildly entertaining – I’ve done six hours of events with him as a panelist and I’m planning to get these three together on one of my panels) and makes predictions tied into dates that don’t usually come true within the time-frames he says, but he and the other two have been more right about more of the events of the last couple of years than all conventional economists and mainstream media types I know put together.

  35. MarkB says:

    “Pielke Jr and I are social scientists, specialised in climate.”

    So if one is a social scientist, specializing in space missions, does that make one a rocket scientist?

    Since Pielke Jr. has already said he’s not a climate scientist, I’m not sure why Tol is defending his statements.

    I would recommend that Joe distinguishes between Pielke Jr. and Sr. in this post. Pielke Sr. is a climate scientist. Jr. a political scientist.

  36. Wit's End says:

    Chris, #26, forgive Richard, #2, that was no doubt a befuddled Freudian slip as a result of this CP post:

    Which is sad, because I think the most important recent, and commenter neglected, CP post is this one:

    If only Obama was wearing a thong in that picture, it might attract more scrutiny.

  37. David B. Benson says:

    Richard Brenne (34) — The Wikipedia page about me is probably accurate (I’ve never looked at it). Locally there is a psychoeconomist in the psychology department attempting to explain who people actually make economic decisions. As I expected from long ago, not rationally according to standard rational decision theory.

    I’m all in favor of sustainable economics, whatever that is.

  38. leftymartin says:

    Quite right, of course, neither Pielke nor Tol are climate scientists, and good for you Joe for pointing that out.

    Curiously, though, I don’t see similar criticism whenever Pachauri is referred to as a “climate expert”, the “leading climate scientists”, and similar. He is a railway engineer and economist. Look forward to your pointing that out to the media, for however long Pachauri has left before he is made to walk the plank.

    [JR: I think I’ve been pretty good at pointing out that Pachauri — who was hand-picked by the Bush administration to replace the “alarmist” climate scientist Bob Watson — is an engineer and economist.]

  39. David Stern says:

    Tol and Pielke aren’t meteorologists but “climate science” is so vague that I don’t think Spiegel made a big error in calling them “climate scientists”. On the other hand, I wouldn’t claim to be a climate scientist myself though I’ve published papers on time series analysis of climate change in Nature, JGR and other journals. There is a fuzzy area I think of interdisciplinary climate science so this isn’t as clear cut as you think.

  40. Dan B says:

    Colin J. Cameron at 27.

    Excellent comment! I absolutely agree. The only way to counter a well crafted but deceptive narrative is with a well crafted and accurate counter narrative.

    I’ve spent the last six years studying everything I could find about communication. And I’ve studied with several significant communications experts from academia.

    The problem with most experts and scientists is they’re not genuinely scientific, at least not when it comes to modern cognitive science. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve told our local climate scientists from the Program on Climate Change that the vast majority of people don’t like science and trust it less, because they don’t like it. More facts produce more confusion and more distress.

    My family was half scientists and half musicians. The scientists learned how to communicate with the musicians. Holiday gatherings were wonderful times to learn about my uncles’ exploits building spacesuits and Mars Explorers. The musicians forced the scientists to communicate effectively. They went on to head major divisions of Goodrich, JPL, and PPG. Because they explained science as a wonderful journey of discovery it always felt like we were privileged to a fantastic tale, a living tale.

    Lately I’ve been telling my lower middle class non-white neighbors (few white faces in this ‘hood’) about the amazing developments in clean energy and green economy. They’re excited. They want to be a part of it. Now they get why the fossil fuel industries are running scare campaigns.

    Getting people excited about the clean green 21st Century economy is the way to counter Tol and Pielke.

  41. Eli Rabett says:

    Joerg Zimmerman takes the three amigos apart quite nicely noting that (in translation)

    “As word about such discussions burst onto the public scene in the stolen CRU emails, they provided other concern trolls the opportunity to complain about the politicization of scientists, as if this was produced not by the attacks on the science, but by the scientists who were under attack. Among those who volunteered, what a surprise, appeared the “honest broker” von Storch. In the U.S. there are others who claim the mantle of “honest brokers” for themselves itself, and use it to troll. There is Roger Pielke Jr., an environmental political scientist and economist who generally has adopted the view that while there is global warming, we do not know exactly how damaging it will be. Since dealing with global warming would cost money, one should weigh the costs of damage from global warming and dealing with it against each other. Of course, if Pielke Jr. deals with the issue, the costs of warming are low and the cost of fighting it high. The cheapest option in the opinion of Pielke Jr., is to wait until new technologies are developed which will make the cost of dealing with greenhouse gas emissions cheaper. Until then, it is better to do nothing. This mind set has lead to economic losses of at least 100 billion Euro in the period between 1979 (JASON report) and 2007 (4. IPCC report). It would have been at least that much cheaper to have begun limiting greenhouse gas emissions around 1980. Pielke Jr. is a special form of denialist according to environmental activists such as Joe Romm of Climate Progress, who calls him a delayer, one who does not deny climate change but collects arguments for delaying any action – this too is a tactic to maximize profits in the energy industry and to prevent tax increases.”

    “Examples of concern trolls include two of the aforementioned individuals and a third, von Storch, and Roger Pielke Jr. and Richard Tol who have written an article in Spiegel Online “Save the IPCC”, which at least for Pielke Jr. is hardly anything he would like to save, but rather hinder as much as possible. Basically this comes down to that in the more than 2000 pages of the three reports by the IPCC Working Groups two paragraphs concerning details are in error or misinterpretations. Errors are inevitable in such a report, von Storch quickly adds, only then to argue as if they are avoidable. Or what is the reason to demand that the IPCC’s chairman shall resign?”

    I’ll have the complete translation up as a post at Rabett Run in the morning

  42. Richard Tol says:

    Many of the comments above, as indeed the original post, are silly ad hominems.

    The underlying belief is seriously wrong. The climate problem straddles many domains, including the economy and politics, and climate research covers many disciplines, including economics and political science.

    It is naive to believe that splitting “climate research” into “climate science” (the serious stuff done by physicists) and “climate non-science” (the fluffy stuff of economists and political sciencists) would do any good to the understanding of the problem or its solution.

    [JR: The original post was exceedingly mild, as blogs go. Your defense of the indefensible — which you continue today — brought some very unsurprising derision in the comments. I rather expect that will continue here and elsewhere as long as you continue to claim you are a climate scientist.]

  43. David Stern says:

    Many members of the public have the same opinions about “climate science” as a lot of the commenters here have about economics and other social sciences. Think about that next time you’re wondering why people don’t believe in climate change…

  44. Prokaryote says:

    David you seem to dedicate alot of your time to confuse the public.
    Soon a point will come when things change and than you and your friends will be the focus of intrest. Than when people realize that things went awefull wrong and demand justice.

    Thales says we predicting a bad year and another bad year, followed even by another one and on. The survival of the species is at risc and much is already gone for ever. The public will listen again to the science and industrie of spreading orwelian opinion about climate change will soon be considered a greatest crime.

  45. Dan R says:

    Another useful clarifying statement:

    “By the way, E&E is not a science journal and has published IPCC critiques to give a platform critical voices and ‘paradigms’ because of the enormous implications for energy policy, the energy industries and their employees and investors, and for research.”

    – Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen, chief editor of Energy and Environment (E&E), 3 Sept 2009 (in comments)

    If the editor of the journal says it isn’t a science journal, then it really isn’t a science journal.

    This may also be of interest – John Christy in his publication page, stating that his 2009 E&E paper with Douglas was an “Invited paper, reviewed by Editor.”, one Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen. Useful to know next time someone claims E&E is peer reviewed.

  46. Richard Tol says:

    @Joe Romm
    Instead of playing word games, would you mind responding to our call for IPCC reform? I would think that the content of our op-ed is more important than its label.

    [JR: The funny think is that your piece is mostly an ad hominem attack on Pachauri, an approach you claim to disapprove of, and a largely overblown attack on the IPCC, which simply failed to adhere to its own guidelines here. I think the IPCC should be reformed, but you offer little in the way of useful, substantive recommendations. I count only a few sentences on that important subject, which I will write about next week.

    And it is you who are playing “word games” by claiming to be a “climate scientist.”]

  47. Dennis says:

    Richard Tol wrote: “Instead of playing word games, would you mind responding to our call for IPCC reform? I would think that the content of our op-ed is more important than its label.”

    Joe Romm’s concerns are not mere wordplay. I am part of a community of non-scientists who care about what information I read from the science community. There has been a marked increase in the obfuscation of facts, the blending of fact with opinion, and outright deception coming from people who claim to be speaking on behalf of science. In truth, many of these people — people like Monckton, Watt and Morano — do not know what they are talking about, but know enough to be dangerous.

    There are many scientists who follow the rules of the natural sciences — adhering to matters like peer-review and publication — yet continuously find themselves under attack and shouted down by the faux-scientists because these faux scientists do not like the results of the science. Too many readers and listeners do not know enough about the complex subject to separate fact from fiction and fall for the nonsense. It only adds to the obfuscation of facts when social scientists step into the mess and say “hey — I’m a scientist too and I have something to contribute.”

    When you write something about climate change and use the word “scientist” to describe yourself, you need to be aware that for every person who actually reads what you write, there are probably dozens more who will NOT read your words but will read about it through blogs, word-of-mouth, or brief citations (like the one above) and won’t get all the facts right. One of those lost facts will be just what type of scientific research you are qualified to undertake. Joe Romm is right to point out that you are not qualified to conduct climate science research, and that you should not be describing your qualifications is a way that can be interprated as such.

  48. Richard Tol says:

    @Joe Romm
    One of the problems with the IPCC is the behaviour of the chair. You can’t write about that without attacking the person.

    A more serious problem with the IPCC is that there are no guidelines for the behaviour of the chair, and no one to correct the chair’s behaviour if so required.

    [JR: I see, so in your Bizarro double-standard world (where you are a climate scientist), your strong ad hominem attacks on people are perfectly justified, but the mildest comments about you are off limits. Seriously?

    Hmm. There are also no guidelines for economists attempting to pass themselves off as climate scientists and no one to correct their behaviour if so required. Someone should do an op-ed on that! The credibility of the entire economics profession is at stake, no?]

  49. JMurphy says:

    @John P

    “Does anybody know how well the UAH satellite handles snow cover. Seems odd when the NH has the largest January snow cover percentage and at the same time the UAH shows the warmest January. Sincerely, John.”

    Doesn’t the satellite measure the temperatures in the Troposphere (and Stratosphere) ? I can’t see how snow would have an affect on that but am only an interested layman, so would welcome any enlightenment on it. Something to do with reflecting heat back up into space or something, perhaps ?

    And that snow cover percentage you mention, seems to disagrees with Rutgers University ‘Global Snow Lab’, which shows (as far as I can make out) January 2010 as 6th out of 44.

    See here :

  50. Stuart says:

    Eli (and Zimmerman) above are right, this is nothing more than an elaborate concern trolling of the IPCC designed to discredit it even more in the public eye.

    As I said before – delay, delay delay. It’s all a game to them.

  51. espiritwater says:

    Isn’t this what they do in communist countries: just make up stuff to fit their agenda?

  52. Andy says:

    Dr. Tol: if you’re going to make your argument you need to detail a list of errors in the IPCC and their probable causes. I haven’t seen anything that indicates panel chairs or the IPCC head disregarded information or deliberately skewed findings; but that is what you need to show in order to support the last lines of your opinion piece.

  53. Richard Tol says:

    @Joe Romm
    I would be interested in your thoughts about the IPCC and whether it needs to be reformed or not; about whether you think the chair of the IPCC is behaving appropriately or not; and about whether climate research is exclusive to the natural sciences or inclusive of the social sciences and humanities.

    [JR: I’m a long-time critic of the IPCC for consistently understating and lowballing the likely climate impacts in a world where we listen to the likes of you and Pielke and don’t take any serious steps to restrict greenhouse gas emissions. Your last question is a classic misstatement of the actual issue we have been debating. Normally I’d put someone who did something so blatantly underhanded on permanent moderation, but since you keep demonstrating to the world just how unscientific and indefensible your views are, I’m letting you go on and on, for now.

    We aren’t debating whether you are doing “climate research” — though I suspect most people would say you are not. If you were to tell 100 people you were a “climate researcher,” I imagine over 90 would assume that you were a natural scientist, and be quite surprised to learn that you were economist. But exactly what connotation “climate researcher” has is a classic red herring, an attempt to shift the debate from the hole you have dug for yourself.

    The fact that you just can’t admit that your not a climate scientist — perhaps the most transparently ridiculous claim you’ve ever made in your entire career — is staggering and speaks louder than all of your “climate research.”]

  54. Dr. Tol, I would be interested in you addressing the many legitimate complaints levelled against you and your multiple logical fallacies in the above.

    (1) You continue to assert your basic argumentum ad vericundiam, claiming for yourself and Pielke a kind of expertise you irrefutibly do not possess.

    (2) You justify that fallacy with another, a specious analogy (the literature usually refers to this as a “weak analogy;” my reasons for considering that name inadequate need not be explored here), making comparisons that simply do not stand up to any measure of critical evaluation.

    (3) You then equivocate and deny there is any meaningful distinction to be made, and in the process commit something of an argumentum ad hominem tu quoque accusing others of doing nothing but engaging in “word games.”

    (4) You finally try to muddy issues with a blatant Red Herring, attempting to redirect attention from the issue here — your specious claim of expertise as being a “climate scientist,” which you obviously are not — by raising irrelevant questions about the IPCC. The IPCC could be entirely reducible to the Marx brothers and the Three Stooges, and this would have absolutely no possible bearing on the legitimacy of your claim for yourself and Pielke.

  55. Richard Tol says:

    Google would quickly reveal a long list of errors in the Fourth Assessment Report.

    The Himalayan glaciers is one error. The root cause of the error is that the teams of the regional chapters do not have the approriate expertise. The IPCC has recognised this error, and I understand that it will not be repeated.

    The ice climbing and natural disaster damages are other errors. These would have been prevented had WG2 adopted the same practices as WG1.

    WG3 will now come under close scrutiny. The problem there is that key authors were appointed for their political colour rather than their academic credentials. The solution is to transfer the power of nomination, away from the environment ministries and agencies, to the national academies.

    [JR: No, the IPCC already debunked the “natural disasters” claim by your fellow “climate scientist.” In fact, Murari Lal (a lead author of the Asia chapter) is exceedingly highly qualified — and very highly regarded. But Asia is big ground to cover and he wasn’t a glacier expert and NOBODY who reviewed it posted a comment online or submitted it to the right person.

    Given that Lal has has the requisite academic credentials, your comment would appear to have racial overtones. I suggest you retract it.]

  56. espiritwater says:

    Social sciences and humanities has nothing to do with climate research. Tol (#53) nauseates me!

  57. Eli Rabett says:

    The entire translation of Joerg Zimmerman’s post is now available for your viewing pleasure

  58. espiritwater says:

    Concerning Tol’s question (#53, “I would be interested in your thoughts about the IPCC and whether it needs to be reformed or not; about whether you think the chair of the IPCC is behaving appropriately or not…”

    I feel the IPCC DOES need to be reformed. They’re way too conservative.

    1)Scientists have to submit their work to the IPCC 2 years ahead of time, making much of it obsolete. 2)A lot of crucial informatioon is left out of IPCC reports because they can’t incorporate it in the models.

    I think that’s the reason a lot of people are so complacent about climate change– the IPCC reports. The situation is obviously much worse than the IPCC reports indicate.

  59. toby says:

    Richard Tol, who is with the Economic Social and Research Institute, blogs on The Irish Economy ( and his blog posts on energy policy are cogent, interesting and useful. He professes to accept the fact of climate change and AGW.

    However, Richard periodically delivers pronouncements that might have come straight from Climate Depot or Steve Milloy. He will state that the “IPCC is scandal-ridden”. He will say “those guys” are “religious believers rather than scientists” (he never named any of “those guys”). He attacks Dr. Pachauri regularly. He put the worst negative spin possible on what he insisted was a major “Climategate scandal”.

    Naturally, the denialists lap up his stuff and his blog posts get many responses cheering his negativity – I actually think some of his commenters are too stupid to realise that he professes not to be “one of them”.

    In short, Richard Tol seems to be of a kind with his co-authors Pielke & von Storch. From being in the mainstream, they have somehow become disgruntled with the way climate science has developed. Though Richard denies any affinity with Bjorn Lomborg, he is still Lomborg’s “favourite economist”. Richard does not agree with major action to cut emissions in the short term. He agrees with Bill Gates that some sort of technological whizz is the way to go.

    These are debatable and defensible positions – Richard is probably best at explaining where he stands. I note his position here on calling for reform of the IPCC is not accompanied with demands that Dr. Pachauri resign or be fired – but he had make those statements elsewhere.

    The mystery is why Richard Tol pads out his published articles with some of the worst pieces of obfuscation that comes from the denialists. It beats me – it is as if he is saying that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”, and his enemies are the mainstream of climate scientists.

  60. John Hollenberg says:

    Note to Richard Tol: when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. You have certainly lost all credibility here by redefining “climate science” to fit your own agenda.

  61. Peter Sergienko says:

    This thread is a perfect example of the futility of attempting to engage in reasoned debate with unreasonable people. Monty Python’s “Argument” sketch anyone?

  62. Richard Brenne says:

    (#43) David Stern (and the combination of publishing in Nature, commenting here and running the NBA is impressive) says:

    “Many members of the public have the same opinions about “climate science” as a lot of the commenters here have about economics and other social sciences. Think about that next time you’re wondering why people don’t believe in climate change…”

    David, I have thought about this a great deal. There is a scale of objectivity in all academic disciplines beginning with mathematics, physics and chemistry as most objective and running into literature and art as most subjective.

    I feel economics is on the subjective end of the social sciences.

    So the better the scientist the more they seem interested in objectivity, facts, reality or the more loaded term truth.

    Conversely in social sciences like political science and economics where there is less objective reality, scholars often form themselves into camps and appear more interested in winning arguments than learning the truth of a situation. (Interestingly faculty in most science departments are far friendlier to all than most political science or economics departments where incoming faculty members have to decide between at least two of these kinds of factions. Also I find the best scientists to be humbled by how much they want to know, while I find many more social scientists more arrogant about how much they do know.)

    When a good scientist is presented with new data they will reverse their previous position if need be. This appears to happen less often with many social scientists.

    This determines whether one is working in good faith or not. Given the track record of those we’re discussing here, it appears to me that they may be trying to win or merely perpetuate arguments rather than sincerely trying to learn the truth about climate change and then how best to deal with this truth.

    Anyone who is sincere and working in good faith to reform the IPCC deserves to be heard – anyone insincere and working in bad faith or working to confuse the public or delay needed action deserves not to be heard.

  63. Chris Winter says:

    This invocation of the charge of “ad hominem attacks” by climate change skeptics (as they tend to call themselves) is a personal interest of mine, because it occurs so frequently from their side whereas, to the best of my knowledge, it’s never made by members of our side — that is, the side that “climate-change skeptics” tend to call “alarmists.”

    In response to post #42 by Richard Tol, I’ve gone back through this entire thread (through post #58) and I find nothing which could be fairly called an ad hominem except #17, which comes close to calling Pielke and Tol morons. But even that one doesn’t quite get to ad hominem level.

    The two next closest are from danrod (#4) where he projects that the magazine Der Spiegel would be laughed at if it ran a certain type of article, and that its editors would, in turn, ask the author of the article if he was dumb, and Tim L’s (#11) which calls Richard Tol’s assertion “self-serving” and “assinine.”

    Note: These posts attack behaviors and statements, not people.

    In contrast, we have #18, which accuses Dr. Romm, a Ph.D. physicist, of not being a scientist, refers to him as “Joe ‘Dead Fish’ Romm,” and says he eats dog food. (I’d say “sharp contrast,” but that’s not a very sharp post. Now you can accuse me of going ad hominem too. With just as much validity.)

    On the other hand, in addition to Joe Romm and danrod, there are 16 posts which, directly or implicitly, point out the fallacy of describing Tol, Roger Pielke Jr and Hans von Storch as “prominent climate scientists”.

    (Those posts are numbers 5, 6, 7, 9, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 25, 28, 30, 35, 38, 47, and 54.)

    By this point in the thread my pedantic rebuttal qualifies as “contusing the deceased equine.” But the bottom line remains vitally important — and that, Richard Tol, is that your arguments here are fundamentally deceptive.

  64. Richard Tol says:

    @Joe Romm
    You reasoning is circular. The IPCC is criticised. Your response: The IPCC says the critique is not true.

    Note that I wrote “regional chapters” (plural). I did not single out any particular region.

    [JR: You cannot be serious. By your “logic,” no one can refute any criticism of themselves. The IPCC was criticized on the insurance matter by the most debunked person in the climate blogosphere — and the IPCC quickly explained why the charge was baseless. I and others debunked it also. That ain’t circular.

    Your statement was in the context of the only real serious mistake the IPCC made, the one that has been associated with the Asia chapter and Murari Lal. Your statement would straightforwardly be taken to mean that you were accusing him of being chosen for “political color.” Your explanation is, by your own logic, circular. You were criticized. Your response: You say the critique is not true.

    You need to identify who specifically you are talking about or retract your statement about “political color.” It is a vicious smear to every IPCC author to simply toss out such an accusation without identifying who you mean.]

  65. Phila says:

    I think Tol’s argument here is completely nuts. I guess that makes me a psychiatrist.

  66. rumex says:

    @ Richard Tol

    Many of the comments above, as indeed the original post, are silly ad hominems.

    Shocking behaviour. A man of your superior moral probity would never stoop to such nefarious depths. Meanwhile, you might want to have a word with the poster on Pielke Jr’s blog who goes by the name of “Richard Tol” and writes things such as (referring to the Ward vs Pielke Jr debate):

    “That’s not fair: Intelligent, knowledgable, well-spoken guy v …

    The only advantage for Ward is lack of jetlag.”

    Wouldn’t want to get the two of you confused would we.

  67. Jim Prall says:

    I looked at the Spiegel english language link, and on that version, they call the three “climate researchers” – thus dodging the complaint about the original german and the overstated writeup in Science’s News of the Week.

    I have a real problem with the attacks on Dr. Pachauri. The alleged “failings” of the IPCC hardly add up to scientific scandal (one actual wrong date, one flap over which source they used for “40% of the Amazon” which the original source *supports*). But the anti-IPCC bloggers are whipping this up and getting loads of media coverage. I suspect they believe, probably with justification, that forcing his resignation would tarnish the IPCC itself in the public eye and weaken public support for any form of carbon reduction along with confidence in all climate scientists (and even climate economists, perhaps?)

    To me, this Spiegel piece is simply piling on in the anti-Pachauri clamor. Dr. Tol: can you support, from original sources, your claim that Dr. Pachauri won grants for his TERI research “on the back of” the 2035 date error?
    Can you explain why the IPCC chair should express no opinion on cutting back on beef (a simple and useful first step for lowering one’s individual carbon footprint, which I have already done, independent of his views)? Are there some people you fear would needlessly avoid beef on the authority of the IPCC chair per se?
    Also, why is it so objectionable for the chair to have his own view on 350ppm as a long-term CO2 target?

  68. toby says:

    Richard Tol has taken every opportunity to attack Dr. Pachauri (whom he persists in calling Mr. Pachauri) in his Irish Economy blog over the last three months.

    As Jim Prall points out above, the claim seems to be that Dr. Pachauri somehow faked the IPCC statement about Himalayan glaciers so that he could obtain grant money for his institute. But the glaciers are of high scientific interest even if the IPCC had written nothing about them. Why should it be surprising that an leading Institute on the sub-continent should receive a grant to investigate?

    As I said above, while accepting climate change and AGW, in practice Riachard Tol and his colleagues adopt the accusatory tone, conspiracy theories and anti-science posture of denialists. While they claim their goal is to “clean up climate science”, objectively their methods are set to be deeply damaging, as well as less effective than if they worked along with colleagues to improve matters.

  69. David B. Benson says:

    David Stern (39) — Anayone contributing to climatology is a climate scientist. You qualify.

  70. Doug Bostrom says:

    Jim Prall says: February 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    “Dr. Tol: can you support, from original sources, your claim that Dr. Pachauri won grants for his TERI research “on the back of” the 2035 date error?”

    Yes, let’s hear more about that.

    Dr. Tol, if you were advising a PhD candidate, what you suggest they do to support such a controversial claim? Or would you advise them to drop it?

    Surely you must have some supporting evidence for that assertion?

  71. Richard Tol says:

    Sorry. I guess this a US blog, and you guys do not read UK newspapers. Here’s a summary:

    The IPCC is supposed to be policy-relevant but policy-neutral. The IPCC should stick to the facts, and let others pass judgement on these facts. The IPCC is not an advocacy organization. The IPCC chair should restrain himself, and not use the IPCC megaphone to broadcast his personal opinions.

  72. David B. Benson says:

    I asked a acquantance about whether economics was a social science. He said that since the data used is economics is human interactions, only “economic” ones to be sure, economics was a (highly mathematized) social science.

    I’ll agree about the source of the data. The sources of modern mathematical economic theory remains, for me, suspect. That doesn’t diqualify the subject, just indicates its immaturity IMHO.

    Obviously politics and economics are related to what to do about climate change. We need a snappy name to distinguish this growing and interdisciplinary subfield; climate change policy studies is a bit unwieldy.

  73. Hank Roberts says:

    “There appears to be a concerted and systematic effort by some individuals to undermine and discredit the scientific process that has led many scientists working on understanding climate to conclude that there is a very real possibility that humans are modifying Earth’s climate on a global scale. Rather than carrying out a legitimate scientific debate through the peer-reviewed literature, they are waging in the public media a vocal campaign against scientific results with which they disagree…..”


    “It is not worth while to try to keep history from repeating itself, for man’s character will always make the preventing of the repetitions impossible.” (Mark Twain in Eruption: Hitherto Unpublished Pages About Men and Events (1940), ed. Bernard DeVoto.)

  74. Doug Bostrom says:

    Richard Tol says: February 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    “Sorry. I guess this a US blog, and you guys do not read UK newspapers. Here’s a summary:”

    Thanks, I read it. Then I read the actual press release Dr. Pielke quoted. That’s when I realized the strangely vague and circumstantial nature of the charge made by Dr. Pielke was reflective of its actual validity.

    You find Dr. Pielke’s claim persuasive?

    Here’s Dr. Pielke’s conclusion:

    “If the above facts and time line is correct (and I welcome any corrects to details that I may have in error), then what we have here is a classic and unambiguous case of financial conflict of interest. IPCC Chairman Pachauri was making public comments on a dispute involving factual claims by the IPCC at the same time that he was negotiating for funding to his home institution justified by those very same claims. “

    Look at the date of the press release. Read the content of the press release. Do you imagine a multi-institution, international collaboration of the type described in the press release was thrown together in a matter of days or weeks? You think organizers just picked up the phone after an all-nighter and called the President of Iceland to stop by while they clashed glasses over a job well done? Told the guys from Ohio they had to spend extra on walk-up tickets so they could join the celebration?

    Do you believe a synthetic quotation buried in a subsection of the IPCC report was on the minds of Hasnain and Pachauri while they were working out the details of their collaboration, way back whenever? Remember, this quote only became a serious issue very recently, thanks to a concerted effort to publicize it. It was never “a central claim” of the IPCC report as the meme purports.

    I don’t find Dr. Pielke’s hypothesis at all persuasive. I’m amazed he dares publish such a thing based on what appears to be no evidence whatsoever.

    Now, what would you tell your PhD candidate? Keep it in, or drop it?

  75. ken levenson says:

    Come’on Roger, come out and play! Aren’t you going to back-up your buddy Tol – he is seriously out numbered here.

    Your silence is deafening.
    (Or are you just busy?)

  76. Andy says:

    “The IPCC is supposed to be policy-relevant but policy-neutral. The IPCC should stick to the facts, and let others pass judgement on these facts. The IPCC is not an advocacy organization. The IPCC chair should restrain himself, and not use the IPCC megaphone to broadcast his personal opinions.”

    This is just a bunch of made up hooey. Where have the IPCC made up facts? Did they not prepare the report for policy makers to pass judgement on? Is the chair supposed to utter “no comment” when attacked as he has been?

    Thanks Eli and Hank. Excellent links. The dissection of the 2035 date pretty much proves there was no sinister plan behind it (i.e. the change of the date from 2350 to 2035, etc.). Also, Bernard DeVoto really was a modern day Ptolemy.

  77. Richard Tol says:

    Pielke Jr only summarises the case.

    TERI expanded its glacier research after AR4.

    The EU cites the IPCC claim about Himalayan glaciers in its call for proposals.

    TERI wins an EU grant for glacier research from the EU.

    That is all fine. (I understand that TERI won a Carnegie grant as well, but that the grant was suspended because of the situation with the banks in Iceland.)

    The glacier error resurfaces but is initially ignored. The Indian government releases a report on glaciers. It is dismissed by Dr Pachauri citing the IPCC. The glaciers make headlines, and the IPCC admits its error.

    So, was that Pachauri defending the IPCC or was that Pachauri defending TERI? If Pachauri had had no stake in glacier research, would he have reacted in a calmer way and avoided the damage to the reputation to the IPCC?

    The chair of the IPCC is an honorary position, so situations like these are unavoidable. But I think that Pachauri was wrong to step into this debate. He should have delegated this to the second-in-commands in TERI and IPCC.

    Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case.

    [JR: The charge is utterly inane, as many others have pointed out. There was and is lots of other data supporting the fact that glaciers were melting and things were going to get far worse as warming and emissions accelerated. Of course people were going to fund more work in this area. It is preposterous to claim that this sentence made any difference. This statement didn’t even make it into the summary for policymakers. Seriously. You are just pushing unfounded conspiracy case. For a self-proclaimed climate scientist, you produce a great many logical fallacies that are inconsistent with the scientific method. Hmm. Maybe you are actually scientist after all, but a poseur.]

  78. Prokaryote says:

    Arctic ice melting faster than feared
    It’s now up to governments to find solutions for climate change.

    R. Tol is a threat with his lies to national security. Similar to holocaust deniers he manipulates the public opinion and is a risc for the entire world.

    [JR: I wouldn’t compare him to holocaust deniers. Denying the terrible things that happened in the past is heinous. But what he is doing is trying to convince people not to prevent the terrible things that are coming. Very different.]

  79. Doug Bostrom says:

    Richard Tol says: February 6, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Pielke Jr only summarises the case.”

    Dr. Pielke summarizes thusly:

    If the above facts and time line is correct (and I welcome any corrects to details that I may have in error), then what we have here is a classic and unambiguous case of financial conflict of interest.IPCC Chairman Pachauri was making public comments on a dispute involving factual claims by the IPCC at the same time that he was negotiating for funding to his home institution justified by those very same claims.

    Dr. Pielke clearly says it is his belief that Pachauri was actively negotiating the collaboration described in the press release even as Pachauri was making public statements about the WWF matter. Dr. Pielke is so explicit about this it’s actually not easy to paraphrase his words.

    Yet the date of the press release describing the celebratory meeting concerning the collaboration clearly does not comport with this– what’s the word? Charge? Innuendo? Implication? Smear? You choose.

    Did Dr. Pielke look at the date of the release, read it, or bother to inquire as to the history of the collaboration, before essentially leveling a charge of corruption? Is he reckless with his claims?

    Did Dr. Pielke check his facts before publishing his report?

    Will he resign?

  80. Richard Tol says:

    On this, Pielke Jr is more outspoken than I am. I do not know whether the Carnegie grant was agreed well before or shortly before it was announced.

    Was Pachauri’s behaviour appropriate or not? Did he use the IPCC to keep TERI out of trouble? I think he did. What do you think?

    [JR: I think all your claims and unsubstantiated charges, including ones with racial overtones, are as laughablly illogical as your claim that you are a climate scientist.]

  81. toby says:

    Richard Tol asked

    “Was that Pachauri defending the IPCC or Pachauri defending TERI?”

    Richard is confusing what is written with what is real.

    Clearly the first. The Himalayan glaciers are continuing to melt in spite of anything in the IPCC report & are a strong support for a grant to TERI.

    The evidence for wrongdoing on Dr. Pachauri’s part is so flimsy that anyone with a sense of decency and fair play would allow the benefit of the doubt to the TERI Director. Certainly, calling for him to be fired, or to resign, is gross overkill. But then, this is clearly another instance where Richard Tol is taking his moves from the denialist playbook.

    It may get Richard exposure from the Wall Street Journal or Murdoch’s newspapers, but are these media really on the side of the science that Richard professes to support?

  82. Richard Tol says:

    So flimsy that several politicians felt compelled to publicly express their confidence in Pachauri?

  83. Ian Forrester says:

    Richard Tol, if you really were a “climate scientist” as you proclaim, you would be discussing the science not slandering scientists. You are a political animal and you know nothing about the science. Where are your arguments, as a “scientist”, which show that “AGW is a myth” or “AGW is a hoax”. You have none. You are a poor example of a political beast whose only means of attack is to slander and belittle your betters.

  84. Doug Bostrom says:

    Richard Tol says: February 6, 2010 at 5:20 am

    “What do you think?”

    Your dogged defense of Dr. Pielke’s ridiculous accusation will boost your reputation in the circle of those for whom facts mean little and appearances count for much. For the rest of us, allying yourself with a character assassination attempt centered on a fabulous tale is deeply corrosive to your reputation.

    Honestly, I did not even know who you were before I bumped into this thread. Now, already, I don’t care; I certainly won’t be reading any opinion pieces you author because your opinions seem entirely divorced from facts. As to collaborations, if this situation is exemplary of the company you keep I’ll also think twice about people choosing to work with you.

    “Scientist.” Not.

  85. Bob Murphy says:

    @Richard Tol,

    I am a “friend” and fellow economist. I have approvingly cited your work. I agree with Romm that it is misleading to call yourself a “climate scientist.” I’m not quibbling with your own view, and you can argue that the dividing line is purely arbitrary, but nonetheless to say “climate scientist” would indicate to the general public that you have been trained in meteorology or physics or at least state-of-the-art computer modeling.

    I think Joe’s argument about flipping things is decisive. If he went around calling himself one of the most prominent climate economists, that would be absurd.

    Why not just use “climate researcher” for now and see if public opinion moves in the next decade? Again, I’m not saying you’re objectively wrong, but word meanings are all about (somewhat arbitrary) conventions, and right now “climate scientist” denotes the hard sciences.

  86. Richard Tol says:

    Sure. I have never called myself a climate scientist — although I have published a good few papers in natural science journals, and was a professor in the department of geosciences for a long time. Spiegel called me a climate researcher, and Science mistranslated it.

    [JR: FALSE! You have repeatedly asserted on this very website that you deserve the label climate scientist.]

    Who cares?

    Joe Romm seems to reject the piece in Der Spiegel because Science got one word wrong; and seems to reject the contribution of social scientists to the body of academic knowledge on climate change, its impacts, and its solutions.

    [JR: FALSE! I repeatedly cite social scientists on this website. What I reject is your repeated assertion that you deserve the label climate scientist — a claim so absurd even now you try to assert you never made it. Just retract the comment entirely, already. Until then, I just can’t let you keep printing falsehoods here. It wastes my time.]

  87. David B. Benson says:

    Richard Tol — At this point you are simply making economists (if that’s what your are), look bad.

    Bob Murphy — He isn’t a “climate researcher” (as I understand it), but a climate change policy researcher. I think.

    In this case, correct appelations are important.

  88. Martin says:

    Toby: The evidence for wrongdoing on Dr. Pachauri’s part is so flimsy….
    Tol: So flimsy that several politicians felt compelled to publicly express their confidence in Pachauri?

    Martin: Tol, your argument is nonsense. If no politicians had expressed their support you would have made the equivalent argument against the flimsiness of the evidence. I can only presume your academic writing is more substantial.

  89. Hank Roberts says:

    When all else fails

    > # Richard Tol says: February 8, 2010 at 3:11 am
    > The discussion continues here:…

    Move the goalposts, take the ball, and go home.