2010-10-22 15:32:35Request for help finding quotable quotes from climate scientists
John Cook


A while back, I started developing an idea Climate Scientists Respond where we'd have guest posts by climate scientists discussing their area of expertise. I tweaked the concept then created a pitch page called Climate Scientists Explain which I started shopping around to a few climate scientists I knew. I already got a few sign-ups (as seen on the pitch page). One scientist I approached, Steve Sherwood said what he'd rather see was a big collection of quotes from climate scientists, along with a photo, name and position of the scientist. I liked this idea very much, not least because it would be much easier to get a single quote from a scientist rather than a whole article. So I decided to do the quotes idea first - it was a valid project in its own right but would help build a network making it easier to recruit scientists for the Explain series.

So I created a new pitch page, Climate Scientists Talk Climate Change. Last night, I emailed it to a bunch of Australian climate scientists and several have said they'd submit a quote. One of the scientists I showed it to suggested rather than just get new quotes, why not use existing public quotes from climate scientists. Cue forehead slapping moment!

So my request to SkS authors - if you know of or can find any good quotes about climate change from climate scientists, could you post them in this thread? I'll then contact the scientist as a courtesy to ask if they mind me using their image alongside the quote on my site. And I'll contact any climate scientist who doesn't have a public quote to ask if they're interested in writing one.

Note - also, if you can find any good quotes from skeptical climate scientists, I'll use those too. I remember something by Spencer about the temperature record being reliable and being consistent with his satellite record, that kind of thing. Thanks!

2010-10-22 15:49:46


Will do.

Tobis is a collector of quotes, maybe worth emailing him for his "best of" recollections.

Might check the "Great climate quotes" thread, too.

2010-10-22 16:01:47Movies filled with quotes!
Robert Way


Episode 2:


Skeptics versus warmers

Great video to see too!

The climate wars on BBC
2010-10-22 16:42:49Michael Mann quote
John Cook

"Scientific evidence for the reality of human-caused climate change includes independently replicated data documenting the extent of warming; unprecedented melting of glaciers; rises in global sea levels; increasingly widespread continental drought; and models that predict all of these things but only when human impacts are included. Those same models project far more profound and potentially damaging impacts of climate change if we do not take action to stabilize greenhouse gas levels."

Washington Post

2010-10-22 17:57:32Andy Dessler


"it all fits together, its this coherence of data, and even if any one of these data set is wrong, it really would not affect your confidence because we have so much other data which suggests it's warming and because of this the IPCC calls this unequivocal, which means essentially beyond doubt. . . . The key thing to look at is look for coherence, look for lots of evidence supporting a point and you will clearly see why scientists are convinced that the mainstream view of climate science is right"

h/t to Eli Rabett

2010-10-22 18:07:14Dessler's quote
John Cook


I loved that quote - I watched the first 15 minutes of the debate before my internet connection conked out and it was his speech on coherence that really grabbed me - touched on one of the major themes here at SkS. Love it, thanks Riccardo!

Am emailing Mann and Dessler now to ask if they're okay with me posting their quotes.

2010-10-23 10:15:01


I like this for its simplicity and common sense: 

 "When you add energy to things, they heat up," Denning said. "It's not that hard to explain. I mean, what the heck?"

Said by Scott Denning: 


who complains about the "crappy job" done by scientists and journalists:


He obviously needs to be contacted and suborned into John's Vast Conspiracy.

Hat tip to Accuweather Climate Blog... 


2010-10-23 20:42:48
Rob Painting


13.32 - This (one method of calculating climate sensitivity) is not derived from a model, this is derived from data" 

19.53 - "I think we should very concerned about warming of a few degrees"

Andrew Dessler

2010-10-23 22:19:34Added Mann & Dessler quotes
John Cook


Heard back from Mann & Dessler pretty quickly and have added both to the Quote Page. It's amazing how quick the response is when all that's required is a yes or no answer :-) Thanks for the suggestions and please keep posting quote ideas - I'll email the scientists as they come in.

Am emailing Scott Denning now (that quote is not as meaty as the others but has spunk, I like it)

2010-10-24 01:52:12Dessler vs. Lindzen


I agree that Dessler generally came off better than Lindzen. He did a good job of deconstructing Lindzen's positions:

- Lindzen: "No cause for alarm." Dessler: "1) That's a personal judgment. 2) Did you notice that Lindzen still smokes cigarettes?"

- Lindzen: "Correlation isn't very impressive." Dessler: "Lindzen's paper got reamed in the literature, for being arbitrary in methodology. Of course the correlation doesn't look strong - if you leave out the data you don't like."

The only point on which I thought Lindzen might have raised a genuinely memorable head-scratcher: In the equation:

dT_f = dT_i/(1 - f)


dT_f = final increase in temperature

dT_i = initial increase in temperature

f = feedback factor

Lindzen points out that there is an infinity when f = 1 (or greater). Yet if you think about the physics of the situation, there would be no reason upfront to preclude f up to 1.

This was one reason why, in my write-up on positive feedback, I used a different model to illustrate feedback than the "classical" amplifier; using instead something like:

dC' = f*dC/C

which doesn't behave in a singular manner at any particular value of f. 

But I'm not sure how seriously anybody takes the equation above anyway: These systems are not linear anyway.

2010-10-24 06:31:51

Sorry for the OT. The equation quoted by Lindzen keeps coming out here and then and it's important to be aware of where the error lies. The equation comes from the linearization of the temperature response to forcing which, of course, have limited validity. When f is near 1 and DT is large it does not apply any more. I'm sure Lindzen knows.
2010-10-24 06:42:13
Rob Painting

Neal, but how many people were still awake during Lindzen's lecture?. How often did he infer most people were too dumb too follow the reasoning and equations?. His whole take is: I'm smart, you're not particularly bright, so just take my word on it. Mumble,mumble, mumble.

Dessler on the other hand does a great job in explaining humidity and climate sensitivity, and doesn't assume the audience are a bunch of nitwits. He's a far more articulate.

Personally I wasn't aware that there was another method (Allen & Sherwood 2008) for estimating humidity. Lindzen's response?, he suggests it's laughable, and never attempts to argue the science. What a plonker.



2010-10-24 07:15:47



I don't disagree with you concerning the equation - but it was Dessler than introduced the equation. 



I think Dessler did a better job, on balance. But I don't believe in under-estimating the opponent.

I don't remember the humidity question. What I recall was his critique of a method of evaluating temperature at a horizontal displacement from vertical wind shear (or something like that). I think he was effective at suggesting that this was too poorly constrained to be reliable.

I think he didn't do a particularly good job defending his revised paper. "I fixed the problems after I got caught" is not a very convincing answer to "Why did you make arbitrary and unjustifiable cherry-picking decisions?" There is something incongruous about claiming to be a victim of unfairly careful critiquing after promoting yourself as a world-wide expert.

2010-10-24 10:40:21

Neal I'm not arguing with you. I was just pointing out the inappropiate use of that equation we sometimes see.
2010-10-25 00:41:26Denning quote
John Cook


Emailed Scott Denning re his 'what the heck' quote, just heard back, he suggested a better quote and emailed me something. Just added it to http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate_scientists_talk.php

Please keep on the look out for more quotes - I'd like to really build the page into a substantial body, at least 100 quotes, so lots more to go yet.

2010-10-25 04:43:37Comment
Robert Way

Dr. Patrick Michaels says somewhere
"it's warming, get over yourselves"

at a skeptic conference

Forget the location though but it might be funny to include:P
2010-10-25 05:06:07


John, I guess Prof. Denning would not like it, but it would still be a grin to add to his quote: 'Shorter version: "When you add energy to things, they heat up. It's not that hard to explain. I mean, what the heck?"'

He neatly summarizes what we know, after all the sophistry and rhetorical tinsel is stripped away. :-) 

2010-10-28 07:47:06More quotes and names


You might find some more quotes and/or scientists to contact in this new post on ClimateProgress:


2010-10-28 08:17:20


Not sure it's appropiate to quote a report and not a scientist. Here is one from the Charney Report.

"If carbon dioxide continues to increase, the study group finds no reason to doubt that climate change will result and no reason to believe that these changes will be negligible."
2010-10-28 09:39:49Denning quote
John Cook


Denning preferred I use something not so flippant so I won't use the 'what the heck' quote.

Baerbel, thanks for the CP link. I've emailed a few of those scientists asking for permission, as a courtesy.

Riccardo, I'd actually prefer to use direct quotes from scientists - make it come from a human with a photo and qualifications. I think that might resonate more with people.

BTW, when I launch this page, I'm going to remove the tweets in the right margin and instead display a few random quotes - so each page shows different quotes. Should value-add the content on the site considerably.

Anyway, the process of hunting down quotes by scientists is very time consuming so if anyone happens to read a good quote (about the science) from a climate scientist, please continue to post them here and I'll get in contact with the scientist.

2010-10-28 13:12:59Comment
Robert Way

Patrick Michaels


57 minutes 32 seconds

Global Warming is real and the second warming of the 20th century, people have something to do with it alright. Get over it okay now that youre all mad I said that...

I wonder would he support this quote being on the website...haha
2010-10-28 19:28:00Anything from James Hansen?


Short and to the point from Jim Hansen (as posted on ClimateProgess eg. in this article about the "Chiclone"):

“Given the association of extreme weather and climate events with rising global temperature, the expectation of new record high temperatures in 2012 also suggests that the frequency and magnitude of extreme events could reach a high level in 2012. Extreme events include not only high temperatures, but also indirect effects of a warming atmosphere including the impact of higher temperature on extreme rainfall and droughts. The greater water vapor content of a warmer atmosphere allows larger rainfall anomalies and provides the fuel for stronger storms driven by latent heat.”

I "guess" that there are a lot more quotes from Jim Hansen which would be great for the page.


2010-11-05 23:02:30
Mark Richardson

Mike Lockwood came up with a good'un!:


"This is not good news for skeptics" of the idea that humans largely cause global warming, said Lockwood, who was not involved in the study.

Some such skeptics "have been proposing that because the solar variation is not what we thought, that means we just got it wrong [all] along, so how can we trust our climate models?" he added.

"But that's rather like saying that because I found one word spelled wrong in Shakespeare, none of Shakespeare is worth reading. It's about on that level."


2010-11-12 10:26:56
Michael Searcy


"The implications of ocean acidification cannot be overstated. Unless we cut our global CO2 emissions by at least 50% by 2050 and thereafter, we could be looking at fundamental and immutable changes in the makeup of our marine biodiversity. The effects will be seen worldwide, threatening food security, reducing coastal protection and damaging the local economies that may be least able to tolerate it."
Chen Zhu and Howard Alper, Co-Chairs, InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP), June 2009


And several from the Copenhagen Diagnosis press release...


"Carbon dioxide emissions cannot be allowed to continue to rise if humanity intends to limit the risk of unacceptable climate change.  The task is urgent and the turning point must come soon. If we are to avoid more than 2 degrees Celsius warming, which many countries have already accepted as a goal, then emissions need to peak before 2020 and then decline rapidly."Professor Richard Somerville, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, USA, November 24, 2009

"This is a final scientific call for the climate negotiators from 192 countries who must embark on the climate protection train in Copenhagen. They need to know the stark truth about global warming and the unprecedented risks involved."Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Chair of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), November 24, 2009

“Warming of the oceans and increased uptake of CO2 is of increasing concern for the marine environment. The loss of biodiversity due to upper ocean warming, ocean acidification and ocean de-oxygenation will add dramatically to the existing threats of overfishing and marine pollution".Professor Martin Visbeck, Professor of Physical Oceanography and Deputy Director of IFM-GEOMAR, November 24, 2009

"Climate change is coming out even clearer and more rapidly in the recent data. The human contribution is not in doubt."Professor Corinne Le Quéré, University of East Anglia School of Environmental Sciences, UK, November 24, 2009

"Reducing tropical deforestation could prevent up to a fifth of human CO2 emissions, slowing climate change and helping to maintain some of the planet's most important hotspots of biodiversity."Professor Peter Cox, Climate System Dynamics at the University of Exeter, UK, November 24, 2009

"The reconstruction of past climate reveals that recent warming in the Arctic and in the Northern Hemisphere is highly inconsistent with natural climate variability over the last 2000 years."Dr Alan Haywood, Reader in Paleoclimatology, the University of Leeds, UK, November 24, 2009