Hiding the Decline and Bob Ward’s overactive imagination corner
November 25, 2012 11 Comments
I am currently engrossed in reading Andrew Montford’s latest book: Hiding the Decline: A history of the Climategate affair (HTD) which is – as promised on the cover – a sequel to Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion. As I have previously noted, this earlier work by Montford prompted climatologist, Judith Curry to write:
I give Montford’s book The Hockey Stick Illusiona full 5 stars. Montford’s book will stand the test of time in terms of a history of science book about this episode, and it is being cited in scholarly papers (check google scholar).
Like its predecessor, I’m finding that HTD is definitely a page-turner; and while I do have a few quibbles (mostly of the techno-virtual kind and on which I shall elaborate in a future post – when I’ve completed my reading), I would urge all who haven’t done so to buy your copy now!
My Kindle version (which, for the most part, I’m reading via Kindle for iPad … just love the ability to instantly magnify the graphs!) tells me that I’m now 67% of the way through – having reached location 3981.
So I found it somewhat surprising to encounter in Adam Corner’s corner of the twitterverse [see below, for explanation regarding the divergent path of my mouse to such terrain], the following from CAGW promoter par excellence, Bob <fast fingers> Ward:
I certainly recalled from my reading of HTD to date that Ward was mentioned a few times; and my search for “Bob Ward” confirmed this. His illustrious name can be found at Kindle locations: 1476, 2896, and 2952. But – unless he has conveniently redefined “featuring” – Ward’s self-declared billing is as far from warranting the adverb “featuring” as his “conspiracy yarn” is from being an accurate depiction of a book he admits he has not read. Even the fourth – and last – mention of “Bob Ward” [Kindle location 4356] is not an account of which (IMHO) he has any reason to be proud.
UDATE 11/27/2012: Paul Matthews advises that when he saw the above Ward-tweet, he responded:
Paul Matthews @etzpcm
@ret_ward So you didn’t listen to the radio programme featuring you and @aDissentient where he said it definitely wasn’t a conspiracy?
Paul Matthews @etzpcm
@ret_ward @aDissentient “Andrew Montford: I think there’s absolutely no doubt that there was no conspiracy” @AJCorner
The latter is from a transcript of this recent BBC radio program in which Ward’s voice was also heard. Yet the cat seems to have gotten Ward’s tweeting-tongue (and/or his fast fingers), because all Matthews has heard in response is … you guessed it … “Sounds of silence”. The “expertise” these activists have developed when it comes to ignoring inconvenient questions is something to behold, is it not?! [end Update]
So what made my mouse meander into Corner’s corner, you might be wondering. Adam Corner (not unlike Bob Ward) unabashedly wears his deep-green advocacy heart on his sleeve; but he is neither “featured” nor mentioned in HTD. Corner’s unconscionable flogging of Lewandowsky’s pseudo-academic “findings” last July did little, if anything, to convey an impression of one who does his homework before posting.
More recently, Corner posted his take on a November 15 seminar on “Communicating Risk and Uncertainty”. One of the scheduled presenters was Myles Allen (who makes two cameo appearances in Montford’s HTD, one of which happens to be a platform he shared with Bob Ward on the heels of the infamous Oxburgh Report pursuant to Climategate). Allen’s presentation topic was “The IPCC’s communication of risk and uncertainty”. For the record, Ward’s role in this seminar was to chair an earlier session entitled, “Public Understanding of Risk and Uncertainty”.
Here’s how Corner had described Allen’s presentation:
In a sentiment that seemed to be widely shared by the climate scientists present, Myles Allen argued that the forthcoming 5th Assessment Report should be the IPCC’s last. Allen’s view was that a monolithic statement of climate science knowledge every five years was no longer the most helpful way to communicate climate change. Instead, smaller, more focused reports aimed at specific target audiences would make not only a more useful statement of current knowledge, but a less vulnerable target for climate sceptic attacks. One mistake in the entire document can currently provide a reason for some to doubt the veracity of the whole cannon of climate knowledge. If it were not designed to be one, single, definitive statement, this situation could be avoided.[emphasis added -hro]
I had commented on this in a Discussion hosted at Montford’s blog, Bishop Hill [Nov 16, 2012 at 10:13 PM]. At that time, there were no comments on Corner’s post. In the interim, only three comments have been posted (one of which was from Corner). But a few days ago, Tom Nelson had alerted his readers to a Nov. 22 report of this same seminar by SciDev’s David Dickson, which I found to be far more informative than Corner’s, so I added it to the Discussion thread at Bishop Hill [Nov 23, 2012 at 3:10 PM].
Yesterday (which was already today in Corner-blog time: November 25, 2012 at 12:33 am) I had posted the following comment on Corner’s blog:
Speaking from the audience, the IPCC’s communications director, Jonathan Lynn, defended the structure of the organisation, and argued against more participative forms of engagement like blogging.
How very predictable of Lynn – and how very typical of the IPCC’s control the message modus operandi. But here’s another perspective on this seminar, offered by SciDev’s David Dickson [h/t Tom Nelson], which includes:
Jonathan Lynn, head of communications for the IPCC, points out that it is up to the 195 member government of the intergovernmental panel to decide on the type of reports it should produce, and that it already publishes reports on specific topics, in addition to its synthesis reports.
One can well imagine that Lynn would have been none too thrilled with the following comments Dickson attributes to Myles Allen:
as a result of criticisms of earlier reports “IPCC statements are becoming so legalistic that their value as a communication tool is diminishing”.
“We should give up on the ‘Stalinist’ notion of a single information vehicle,” Allen told the meeting, organised by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, part of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford.
Allen suggested that the IPCC process was partly motivated by a desire “to make a big media splash,” as a way of getting key messages through to policymakers.
But this could backfire when it came to conveying the uncertainties contained in climate change predictions.
It is interesting to compare Dickson’s take with that of Corner. Kinda makes one wonder if Corner’s summary of Allen’s observations – in which he depicts (and seems to attribute to Allen) skeptic views as “attacks” – is not heavily weighted by Corner’s own preconceptions and enviro-activist views.
As of 11/25/2012 10:14 PM PST, this comment is still “awaiting moderation”. Which is why my mouse and I had earlier today gone off in search of any cyber-activity on Corner’s part elsewhere on the ‘net. For the record, Corner’s last tweet appears to have been:
Perhaps Corner has “taken a powder”, or perhaps the Apple Crumble Cocktail proved to be too much for him. Or perhaps he had anticipated the advice I gave at the beginning of this post … and he’s decided to curl up with a good book by Andrew Montford, Hiding the Decline: A history of the Climategate affair ;-)
UPDATE: 11/27/2012 Corner has released my post from moderation. But he did not deign to respond to my observations. From his sparse responses to those who’ve asked about the involvement of “the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, part of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford”, my guess would be that the imprimateur was granted by virtue of the fact that the convenor, James Painter, is a member of the Institute’s staff. Although any journalist (except perhaps Adam Corner) might wonder why the Institute’s site makes no mention of this event. Perhaps it was really arranged by the BBC’s (now formerly) favoured secret seminar organizer, IBT;-)