Clarifications and How Better To Communicate Science


Originally blogged at Realclimategate

(I changed the name of the blog, because of this post)

Reputation is everything on the internet.

Last week I was very concerned to see that Peter Gleick had publically claimed on Twitter he had blocked me because I had made ‘incredibly offensive’ tweets to him. I was very concerned by this public claim from such a senior scientist, as this implied that I had been abusive to him in the same manner as the vile threatening emails, one of our mutual Twitter followers Katie Hayhoe had received (like this)

I asked him (a lot) to substantiate this, or to correct this publically, yet he repeated it, it was only I believe with the input of Dr Tamsin Edwards, Professor Richard Betts and Katie Hayhoe that Peter relented and clarified matters.

Tamsin Edwards, Peter Gleick and I had a very frank email exchange and I found it quite enlightening to see a VERY different perspective on how to communicate climate science between a ‘relatively junior (as he made clear) UK climate scientist (Edwards) and a senior climate scientist (Gleick) in the USA.

In Tamsin’s closing email to Peter Gleick ( that I am party to) I think she inadvertently identifies exactly the feeling of many sceptics, being dismissed as a group to be ignored.

“I would personally be infuriated if I was dismissed on account of the behaviour of a group of people I talk with. Every single person I talk with has a different viewpoint, and I learn a lot about how better to communicate climate science by listening to them. If we dismiss swathes of people by association then our attempts at communication become futile: we end up only ‘preaching to the converted from an ‘ivory tower’, as it were”.

Of course, if communication of climate science is not your aim, then it is your choice if you prefer to communicate with nobody! – Tamsin Edwards

I’m sure many people can only imagine Peter’s reply/thoughts to that (if any).

In the email exchange Peter recognises the extreme polarisation of the debate (especially as Tamsin points out in the USA) but seem totally unselfaware that his approach and attitude that are shown in the email exchange (and that it seems to of many senior scientists in the media) helps drive it.

Peter says he stands by everything he said and I have confirmed with Tamsin (3 times!) that she is OK  with publishing the correspondence as well. So to be fair, I do not wish to misrepresent anybody, I have included ALL the emails I was party to, so that everyone can see the exchange in full context.

In the USA it appear questions around climate science can be ‘attacks’ any criticism or debate of a contentious issue, can be seen by some as ‘incredibly offensive and those people that dare do this are to be dismissed and ignored. I do not find that healthy position for science to be in.

I was personally infuriated when my Prime Minister (Gordon Brown) made ‘anti-science flat earther denier’ remarks (and double denier) in the run up to Copenhagen. Awful political rhetoric to deny the validity of other opinions or even to prevent questions being asked at all.

And here I am 2 years later.

All Correspondence in full – Reverse order,last first (my Bold)


From: Tamsin Edwards

Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 6:29 PM

To: Peter H. Gleick Cc: Barry Woods

Subject: Re: Clarification

Dear Peter,

Just a quick note.

One of the most important things I have learned in my (fairly extensive) public engagement activities is not to lump people together in a homogenous group. I repeatedly defend Barry because he works hard *not* to be Anthony Watts.

I hope you’ll consider taking each person and their views on their ownmerits, or lack of, in future conversations. I would personally be infuriated if I was dismissed on account of the behaviour of a group of people I talk with. Every single person I talk with has a different viewpoint, and I learn a lot about how better to communicate climate science by listening to them. If we dismiss swathes of people by association then our attempts at communication become futile: we end up only ‘preaching to the converted from an ‘ivory tower’, as it were.

Of course, if communication of climate science is not your aim, then it is your choice if you prefer to communicate with nobody!

My best wishes,



From: Peter Gleick

Sent: 26/01/2012 18:13

To: Barry Woods;Tamsin Edwards


Again, I am not going to spend more time on this, but I will try to be clear. My comments about your communications with me were not meant to suggest that you were either abusive or threatening to me in the nature of the kinds of emails/comments Hayhoe (or I or others in the climate community regularly receive).

You have not been so far as I know, and *I will try to make that clear in a tweet, when I get a chance*. And perhaps “incredibly annoying” or “incredibly frustrating” or “incredibly discourteous,” or “incredibly uncivil” or some other synonym would have been a better choice. Do you really want me to pick one?

I stand by my other comments in the email I sent to you, about how I personally perceived your participation in exchanges in the fall when I ran out of patience with any chance of rational discussion with WUWT, Bishop Hill, or the regular tweeters and bloggers of that group. It became clear it was an unproductive time sink with a group whose minds were closed to fact, and whose primary tool was ad hominem attack.

The systematic and coordinated and dishonest attack on me after my
negative review of LaFramboise’s book was only one example that made it
clear that rational debate was not possible and dissenting views not tolerated.

The fact that WUWT blocked me from adding comments more than a year ago to his routinely biased and often dissembling blog further convinced me that there was little interest in discussion among that group.

Perhaps you’re having more luck, or have more patience.

Peter Gleick


At 06:31 AM 1/26/2012, Barry Woods wrote:


As you requested my email address, I must apologise in the delay replying back to you. I have been in the process of moving everything from my old
(expired XP PC) to a new Win 7 PC, this did not run very smoothly.

As I and Dr Edwards have expressed, my concern (which your email to me, does not really address) was about your public tweets, that you tweeted that I had directly sent you ‘incredibly offensive’ tweets. I thought that this very public claim could be construed by all your followers, my followers or anybody that receives your public RSS feed, (including the highly influential Huffington Post where you write publically) that I had directly sent you personally threatening or abusive tweets.

All this, at a time where climate scientists, like Katie Hayhoe or journalists like Leo Hickman in the past (Guardian) have received the most vile abuse, of an incredibly offensive nature, using very threatening language, via email and other social media.
Additionally, this issue has recently received a great deal of media attention in the USA (i.e. Katie’s rejected book chapter, for a US potential US Presidential candidate) My concern was that your followers (and all mine) and the wider media, might perceive that I had directly sent you tweets of a similar personally abusive nature.

As my Twitter followers actually include Katie Hayhoe and Leo Hickman, I hope you can understand my particular concern and why I perceive this so seriously. Following your original tweet, I asked you to clarify/substantiate this public claim. As did a number of our mutual twitter followers, including Professor Richard Betts & Dr Tamsin Edwards.

It was then brought to my attention that you publically implied in a tweet to Prof R Betts that I had been less polite to you.

PeterGleick: “and perhaps, Richard, he’s been more polite to you than to me?”

Prof Richard Betts, asked you what I had tweeted that offended you
and you tweeted that you had reviewed my tweets and found some of them
to be ‘incredibly offensive’

I again asked you to substantiate this, that all that would required is  just ONE tweet (url) to demonstrate your assertion, I also stated that I would publically apologise if you could substantiate with just ONE example. It was then brought to my attention, a tweet of yours to @Richardabetts that you had perhaps not actually re-viewed my tweets of the time when you blocked me, and your concerns were perhaps more in-keeping with those expressed in your email to Dr Edwards and myself below (however that email is not public knowledge)

PeterGleick:”@richardabetts I won’t re-read his tweets/WUWT comments on my work from last fall when I blocked him, but our exchanges were unproductive.”

This seems to to me, to run counter to your public claim of ‘incredibly offensive’ tweets, where tweets were just ‘unproductive’ and refers to blog comments now, as well.

As I recall it, you blocked myself and Andrew Montford at the time of Prof Judith Curry’s blog post about your review of Donna Laframboise’s book about the IPCC. Richard Betts, Andrew and I recalled this this article, and that we had all commented in that article and recalled the twitter chats aswell. .

@aDissentient Bishop Hill: @Realclim8gate I read your exchanges with @petergleick at the time. You were not offensive. @richardabetts @flimsin @dougmcneall @nmrqip

RichardaBetts: @Realclim8gate @petergleick Don’t remember you being “incredibly offensive”, just speaking your mind. Maybe I am thick-skinned! 🙂

At that time, my only comment addressed directly to you at Climate Etc I think is totally civil.

As Andrew Montford commented in that article that you had just twittered blocked him at about time of this comment

Peter, Is it perhaps possible that your recollections of their [that] time are unclear, and perhaps you blocked me then and others, more by ‘guilt by association’ with other comments/tweets, than for anything I actually said at Climate Etc. or tweeted. There were very many critical comments of your book review at Climate Etc., by a number of scientists, Prof Curry, Prof Jones & Prof Tol and the whole article comments and your replies got very heated. As you can see, my only comment to you there was very civil, just asking a question.

As you said publically on the 23rd Jan, 2012 that you had reviewed my tweets to you, and found some to be ‘incredibly offensive’ and you publically repeated this. I remain very concerned that all the scientist and journalists that follow me might think that I had been highly personally abusive to you.

I joined twitter with the hope of having civil, informal conversation with a broad range of people, to get a way from the blogs. As you noticed, I have only a small group of followers, I like to think that I have attracted views of quality rather than quantity and enjoy a generally [good] humoured communal debate with a number of people who
have a range of views.

These followers include scientists (among many others), Dr Katie Hayhoe, Prof J Jones, Prof R Betts (Met Off, IPCC), Dr Doug McNeall (Met Off), Dr M Brandon, DR Richard Gilham (Met Off, UEA) Dr Katharine Giles.

Influential writers and highly respected journalists include: Andy Revkin (New York Times),Leo Hickman (Guardian), Mark Lynas (author, & Maldives Climate Advisor)

Thus, I am sure you can acknowledge, my personal reputation for civil polite behaviour, on twitter or anywhere else, is of great concern to me and that your public tweets I believe have put this reputation at risk, however inadvertently on your part. Although, additionally I am concerned that you seem unwilling to actually check/substantiate your comments as I requested.

Peter, as you have made it quite clear that you wish to spend no more time on this issue, but you have yet not made any public clarification/substantiation.

I intend to write a blog post where I quote your email, that I believe does demonstrate, that I have never directly sent you tweets, that might be considered ‘incredibly offensive’ in the nature of the vile abuse threatening emails that Katie Hayhoe has received.

As a gesture of goodwill, on my part, I will include of course the full content and context of these emails, for utmost transparency/clarity, as I have no absolutely no wish to misrepresent you in any way. In fact by doing this, it will bring to the attention of all my scientist followers, your criticisms, concerns and warning to scientists about me, for all scientists to see.

(I will of course, remove all personal contact information)

If I may ask you one personal favour, if you could spare just a moment of your time (only 140 chars) to publically tweet, that I had never sent you anything of personally abusive nature (i.e. swearing, abusive or threatening).

Very Best Regards

Barry Woods


The only WUWT with comment of mine, that I can find from last year about you/your work, was this one, where I defended you:

because this guy had been rude about all climate scientists, picking on you especially:

As you mentioned blog comments in your email, as I described above, in that quite heated article by Prof Judith Curry, at the actual time that you twitter blocked me, perhaps you ‘associated’ me with these scientists by mistake.

For example Prof Jonathan Jones comment (Physics, Oxford University) whilst critical, not ‘incredibly offensive’?

Or Prof Richard Tol: who was a draft reviewer of Dona’s book (and
a IPCC lead author) who asked you to substantiate your claim of

Perhaps you just confused me with someone else… that is why I asked to check and substantiate your public tweet that I was ‘incredibly offensive’. I do note that it appears to that you did not substantiate your claim of ‘lies’ when Prof Richard Tol requested you to.

as he said.

Richard Tol (speaking to Peter Gleick)

 “Now that we are on the subject, you accuse Laframboise of telling lies. Can you quote chapter and verse?  Please note that I have a stake here. I reviewed two drafts of the book. I did not find any falsehoods (let alone lies, which imply intention). I would like to know where I went wrong in my duty asa reviewer.”

Reputation is clearly very important to everyone, especially academic ones …..


From: Peter H. Gleick

Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 12:20 AM

To: Tamsin Edwards  Cc:

Subject: Re: Clarification


I am not going to deal with this anymore. It has taken far too much of my constrained time and bandwidth already.

I am glad Woods’ exchanges with you seem to have been decent. We’re probably all far more polite one-on-one than in public online screamfests. I’m sorry he didn’t like my comment. But I’ve reviewed his tweets, blog posts, status, web URL, and comments and contributions in places like Bishop Hill and WUWT (where, by the way, I’ve been blocked for more than a year from posting comments, presumably because my comments are “incredibly offensive” — yet I’m regularly and personally attacked on these kinds of sites).

His adoption of the language, often coded, of the denier/skeptic/contrarian community, his amplification of memes around “climategate,” “AGwarmists,” “hide the decline,” “the hockey stick,” the straw man of “catastrophic” climate change, etc. may have changed since I blocked his Twitter feed to me last year, but I simply don’t find his input to the debate helpful or informative, and I’m certainly entitled to both my opinions and to decide what part of the climate controversy comes to me through different media.

By the way, I also block people I LIKE, when I can no longer tolerate
or filter their massive overuse of Twitter.

I do what I can to communicate rationally with open-minded participants in this debate, but the polarization makes it hard to find them. If this is something you’re committed to diving into, I wish you the best of luck. I hope you’ll continue to publish in
the scientific literature as your top priority — in the long-run, your reputation as a scientist (and your influence in the associated policy debates) will benefit from it.

Barry, if you want to pursue this further, feel free, but
honestly, you should consider cutting your tweet rate by a factor of 10
until your ratio of tweets to followers improves, you might consider
what you really believe and how you express it, and we should
probably ALL count to 10 after writing anything and before hitting

(and Tamsin, your note about how Barry regrets the domain name,
but “has kept it because it’s known” might be a warning to you,

“All Models Are Wrong…” But I’ve already made my opinion known
on that.)

Peter Gleick

Dr. Peter H. Gleick

President, Pacific Institute


At 01:57 PM 1/24/2012, Tamsin Edwards wrote:

Yes…he says he regrets it actually, but has kept it because
it’s known.


And he changed his Twitter biog after I pointed out it was more antagonistic than his actual views.



On 24/01/2012 21:36, Peter H. Gleick wrote:

OK, not to be pedantic, but I find his URL to be offensive…. Maybe not “incredibly offensive” but….




At 01:21 PM 1/24/2012, you wrote:

Thanks Peter.

I’ve never emailed him, only DMed and spoken on the
phone. I’ve asked for his email but no reply yet – think he is fixing
his skirting board.

He has a contact form on his blog:




On 24/01/2012 17:05, Peter H. Gleick wrote:

Can you send me Barry’s email?

I will respond shortly, when I have time, and will
copy the two of you.

[Katherine, a week ago I got a long rambling phone
message from your  admirer Stan Lippmann — not nearly as horrible
and offensive as his to you, but bad enough. He apparently took offence to one of my posts at Forbes and has no mental brakes on his mouth or fingers. My condolences…]



At 07:30 AM 1/24/2012, Tamsin Edwards wrote:

Dear Peter, (Katharine),

Following on from my DMs to you Peter, I’m writing because I’d like to defend Barry Woods (@realclim8gate). He has always been an absolute model of politeness and good intentions when conversing with me and  all the other climate scientists I know. He actively defends us against others’ (i.e. sceptics’) rudeness when
we post on the Bishop Hill sceptic blog, and always calls for the
debates to be civil. In fact, I would say he does accept the science
and is sceptical mostly about policy choices and the media’s
representation of our results.

So I was surprised to hear that you’d found his tweets “incredibly offensive” and would be very interested to hear what these were. It’s not clear to me (from your tweets to Barry and Richard Betts) whether you have re-read these messages recently, or
whether they were more “unproductive” than offensive.

I have just spoken to Barry and he is genuinely upset and concerned about this. The reason I have copied Katharine into this is that she recently started following him and he is concerned she will write him off due to your description. He describes the
abuse Katharine and Kerry have received as “despicable” and worries that your comments will have branded him in the same category when he takes great pains to be polite. This is one of the reasons I have chosen to write to you. Barry is not a troll, not a mindless frothing angry commenters we so frequently see. He does get frustrated (and
verbose) but is good-humoured with it.

Fortunately for me and my colleagues, in theUK the debate is much less heated than in the US, and some of us have made great progress in holding civil and productive conversations with a range of sceptics, bringing them round to our point of view. I
want to defend Barry’s part in this: to stick up for someone I owe a
lot in developing the conversation.

You may think this issue is not worth giving a moment more of your time. And this would be your decision, of course. But I hope you can.

Best wishes,




There lies a very interesting and remarkably  frank discussion:

Peter has now tweeted this:!/PeterGleick/status/162619414271901696

and I thanked Peter:!/BarryJWoods/status/162835967818993665

but without a considerable amount of effort and Richard, Tamsin and Katies input I don’t think this would have happened.

If it is considered offensive, incredibly offensive, closed minded or even an an attack on a scientist or climate science presumably, to be asked to backup words and accusations like ‘lies’ (Donna’s IPCC book) I am afraid in my opinion that scientist fails in trying to communicate and just alienates people

Reading his comments above, it is sad to see that he presumeably must include Professor Judith Curry, Professor Richard Tol and Professor Jonathan Jones (and Professor Richard Mueller – ‘Hide the decline’ video) in those he has lot pateince with and find ‘incredibly offensive’? as they have all spoken highly critically about ‘Hide the Decline’.

Additionally, as they were FAR more critical than I was of him with respect to Donna Laframboises book. I’ve met Donna once and she is a very nice lady who deserves to be respected to have PUBLIC  accusations of ‘lies’ to be substantiated (and a belated thanks to Donna for the kids, maple leaf lollies & sweets she sent before Xmas)

“…The systematic and coordinated and dishonest attack on me after my negative review of LaFramboise’s book was only one example that made it clear that rational debate was not possible and dissenting views not tolerated…” – Peter Gleick

All Professor Tol, Curry, Jones and myself and Andrew Montford were attempting to clarify with Peter was his claim that Donnas’ book was full of ‘lies’. we were asking for pg number, reference and reasoning from him to substantiate the VERY strong public claim. As a draft reviewer of the book in question, I can imagine Richard Tol’s annoyance.

So this is where Peter has infuriated me, for someone in his position, his refusal to substantiate PUBLIC statement, when he is asked to back up his statement.. ie pg number, url, ref, and reasoning, as it seems to be a worrying attitude that appear to frequently expressed within ‘climate change science’

To be willing to substantiate something is something ANY student would expect of their teacher, or public figure, and Peter is both.

Peter Gleick is no doubt an expert scientist in his own field, but I do think he could learn from Tamsin Edwards approach in attempting to communicate to the public, not least withrespect do not dismiis people because of who the talk with (or percieved sins of association) and yes it is infuriating. This is a point that Tamsin Edwards makes in her new blog after apprently learning the hard way in public debate (bold).

Twitter and Bishop Hill have

(a) toughened me up a bit

(b) taught me to be very precise and ready to back every statement up

(c) taught me not to assume anything about people’s opinions or knowledge, though I admit I forget sometimes (c) given me many friendly allies from across the spectrum of opinions. I recommend them both as places to start.” – Tamsin Edwards

Tamsin thought it odd that Peter had forwarded to me in his email all their previous correspondence, presumably to to beclear about how he felt? I am glad that he did because it gave me a small, but important pause for thought.

As I MUST give Peter Gleick some great credit for even twittering with me and Andrew Montford in the first place.

Why do I give him this credit, because he mentions in passing that he received phone calls from the same ‘gentleman’ that had been given Katie Hayhoe a very hard (abusive time) and again refers to regular abusive emails, that no doubt other high profile climate scientists in the USA recieve (primarily from Americans?)

[Katherine, a week ago I got a long rambling phone
message from your  admirer Stan Lippmann — not nearly as horrible and offensive as his to you, but bad enough.

The situation is no doubt due to the highly politicised polarisation of the issue in the USA, withMarc Morano’s Climate Depot, no doubt NOT helping by publishing climate scientists email addreses alongside ‘tabloid’ style headlines.

So despite my criticism, I do have to give Peter a huge amount of credit for talking to me on Twitter,  in the first place due to the very different highly politicised situation in America, that I was only vaguley aware of. Same credit is due to Katie Hayhoe for talking for someone called – @realclim8gate at all, and I would like to thank her again.

All I wanted to is to persude some in USA/UK climate science that they may be mistaken, and that the highly polarised climate in the USA/UK is preventing the normal civil but lifely debate of the issues.

The reason I choose Realclimategate is like Tamsin to be provocative, to be noticed, and at the time I choose itbecause Realclimate had really irritated me, by just deleting me out of hand in their comments.

I had suggested they just add Steve Mcintyre, Peilke and Lucia’s Blackboard (to their Other Opinion blog roll, and the reply was tha tthese people were dishonest! (Dr Eric Steig – this did not go unoticed by the people I mentioned) and ALL my further comments at Realclimate were modereated out of existance.

The irony is I had gone originally (when climategate happened) to RealClimate in total good faith, on the personal recommendation of a climate scientists  and a very good personal family friend (someone who was part Editorial Team of IPCC TAR, WG1 with a high profile UK role to this day) so I was genuinely openminded about Realclimate.

Ie I did not even know who Steve Mcintyre, Michael Mann, Anthony Watts were,  nor heard of Andrew Montford, Mark Lynas or Leo Hickman (sorry guys!) either.

In Peters and other climate scientists world view it seems to me to even mention, ‘Hide the decline’ climategate, etc is seen as very offensive and ‘attacking scientists’ or attacking science’ and to me this world view is odd.

Think of me what you will, call me a sceptic, denier, crank, flat-earther, anti-science and more names intended to portay me as someone to ignore, as bad, crazy or stupid. But if scientists like Prof R Muller, Prof J Jones, Prof J Curry and UEA Paul Dennis publically have stateded their criticisms their concerns wiht the ‘HIde the Decline’ and the scientists involved,  then I am going to damm well talk about it to, until science deals with it ‘properly’ and moves on.

As in my opinion, Peter  reaction to this (like very many others within ‘climate change’ science) shows them more to be like someone who is an advocate for ‘the cause’ and not behaving as a scientist should.

As demonstrated by the criticism of Tamsind Edwards new blog name, because his primary concern is that ‘sceptics’ might misuse it.

As I have pretty much commnted every in the last 2 years under my name (as Barry Woods) I’m going to drop @RealClim8gate, as It is has become unproductive to what I want to achieve, a civil discussion with no mention of deniers, watermelons, cranks, alarmist, or whatever label anyone denigrates the other to deny them a voice.

So, whilst I am proud/pleased what achieved (and @RealClim8gate ) times are changing, more questions are being asked, a broader audience is gradually engaging the debate and hopefully the need for provocative challenge to a ‘consensus’ will fade away.

So, I have changed my Twitter name already from @RealClim8gate to @BarryJWoods

I might just park this old blog, (don’t want to lead dead links all over the place) and I am proud of the small achievements it has contributed, and thank to those like Katie, Tamsin, etc who saw past the name.)

and of course I will need to come up with a new name for a new blog.

Any thoughts?

So hopefully, Peter will perhaps think some of his communication events effort was not so totally  ‘unproductive‘ after all.

Or I might just retire from blogging (it’s been a long very frustrating 2 years)

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21 Responses to Clarifications and How Better To Communicate Science

  1. So who was this mysterious senior climate scientist? NOT Gleick I hope?

    Ps there is no option to subscribe to comments, or to new posts?

  2. Tamsin Edwards says:

    Oops, forgot about the mention of Anthony Watts! *hides behind the sofa*.

    • Pharos says:

      That Watts tweet puzzled me too. Beware the tweet!

      I met him once and found him very amicable, genuine and open. I have also heard him lecture and learned much nerdy background detail having followed his blog for years. He is a dedicated workaholic and although he has on rare occasions made mistakes, he is only human and following his instincts. In presenting such a huge range of pertinent subject material that is no surprise. Also it is no surprise that his blog is one of most successful science blogs of all time. Without meaning to be too provocative (only slightly) he has probably provided more diverse climate educational science to more readers than any formal climate lecturer.

      • BWoods says:

        No need to beware.. Tamsin doesn’t realise yet that WUWT’s entire PR has come from his ‘opposition’ (ie the Gleick’s of the world, in ahighly politicised USA science scene) UK scientists seemed to have picked up on this ‘pr’ without looking too closely.

        Tamsin has said she has casually used ‘denier’ in the past as do colleagues.. and that she no longer does so, and explains why.

        Anthony can be grumpy at times, … then again if you give him good reason, as I have (more than once 😦 ) so can we all.

        I have a dozen guest posts, etc at WUWT now, and he has always been very generous.

  3. Mailman says:

    Good on you Barry.

    The reality is if you remove all the distractions then the climate scoentists cannot ignore you. In this instance Glick was using your email address to give him cover for not engaging you openly and honestly. Remove the email address ABD you remove an excuse until eventually you get to the point where they HAVE to engage with you as they have no out.

    As I’ve been saying for a whole though, had these so called climate scientists invested just a fraction of the energy they have put in to keeping their work, data, communications secret then in all likelihood climate science would most like be far more advanced than it is today.



  4. Anteros says:

    Hi Barry –

    I admire your persistence in this – and I think you are entirely right.

    My observations are the same as Tamsin’s and Richard Betts. You have a remarkable ability to remain civil in an particularly uncivil environment. In comparison, I have a painfully thin skin and am frequently (and regrettably) less than polite.

    P.S FWIW, putting myself in the position of a confirmed believer, I do think I’d find your blog title something to raise my hackles. Maybe emotionally that is at the root of Gleick’s seemingly OTT behaviour?

  5. Perhaps you’re having more luck, or have more patience.

    Or she’s a better class of human being. Very well done for pursuing this Barry.

  6. lapogus says:

    Tasmin – that was naughty. I am in two minds about WattsUp – I moved to the Bishop’s diocese a year or so ago – mainly because I got fed up with the number of overtly political (rather than scientific) right-wing commenters on wattsup who still seemed keen to drop bombs on Russia. That said, Anthony himself, and what he has achieved though WUWT in terms of getting people to think and question rather than just accept what they read and hear in mainstream media I will happily defend. [He does have a closed mind about some things though]. I also think that Anthony’s Surface Stations project deserves much more credit that it has received to date. The idea that weather stations surrounded by concrete, and air conditioning exhausts won’t be affected by UHI is laughable. I think the climate debate is much more politically framed in the USA; quite a few of my American clients are staunch warmists, not because they know anything about the science, but primarily because they as Democrats, see themselves in a war of words with the Republicans, on each and every issue, regardless of the merits of the issue, or evidence (failed models) or common sense (the long thaw from end of the LIA). In the USA, most sceptics tend to be Republicans (and some for good reasons and some for bad I am sure), and in my view Democrats have tended to be warmists as a consequence/reaction, rather than because they have looked at the issue dispassionately. ( The mainstream media can also be blamed for that). Thankfully things are not so politically polarised in the UK, but like Barry, I too was appalled when Gordon Brown came out with his flat-earthers remark, and the little Milliband boy proclaimed war on deniers. Sorry, this is a digression. I agree with Mailman. And Gleick should apologise to Barry if he has not done so already.

  7. lapogus says:

    Sorry, I should have clarified – the main reason I think Gordon Brown and Milliband’s attacks on verbal sceptics were so appalling was because aside from Prof. Philip Stott (a well known sceptic) I don’t recall one scientist (climate or from any other field) making any negative comment on it. True scientists should always stand up for the right for sceptics to question and challenge the consensus, because that is how good science works. The silence from within the climate and earth science disciplines spoke volumes.

    • This is an absolutely key point, parallel to the very same silence about egregious abuses in the IPCC, as Donna pointed out in The Delinquent Teenager.

      What this means is that this area of science has become corrupted. And one bad apple in the barrel will eventually turn all others the same way. We can see this in the Royal Society and its sister organisations. But thank God for Pat Frank, Jonathan Jones and others like them. I don’t care how junior they may seem, they are the only hope for keeping any semblance of true science for the next generation.

  8. LC says:

    Well done to Barry for perservering with this and getting a withdrawal (of sorts) of the accusations made. As an aside, I think this little piece of advice Dr Gleik gives Tamsin – “…in the long-run, your reputation as a scientist (and your influence in the associated policy debates) will benefit from it.” (my emphasis) – tells us an awful lot here.

  9. LC says:

    My apologies, should be Gleick, not Gleik.

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  11. wildlandjeff says:

    I read the letter to Katie Hayhoe and the name Stan Lippmann from Seattle struck me as familar having lived there in the past. Just a quick google search confirmed who I thought I remembered. Ms. Hayhoe should do a little back ground on Mr Lippmann before she tries pin his associations on any one group of individuals.
    She could just as well blamed his Actions on any one who has been a Lawyer, pushed for high speed rail, Government run health care, Been to an OWS protest or is a 911 Truther. I would also suggest she forward his letter to the Seattle P.D. to add to his file.
    Just a few quick quoates from when he ran for Congress.

    What, if anything, should Congress do to expand health-care coverage?

    “We should adopt a universal health-care system like the ones in Europe. We already spend more public money than Europe, but on top of that we pay $400 billion privately that goes to insurance companies and bureaucrats for inferior care, as measured by our world life-expectancy ranking of 28.”

    If you could pass one bill, what would it be and why?

    “Congress should follow the intended mandate of the Constitution and increase the size of the House to 10,000, or 30,000 people per representative, instead of the 600,000:1. At the last minute of the Constitutional Convention, an aristocratic cabal mysteriously inserted the words “at least” without debate, slowly poisoning the government with the corrosive effects of power and money.”

    What should be done to safeguard civil liberties and privacy as federal investigators gain broader powers to pursue suspected terrorists?

    “Before Sept. 11, the word “homeland” was not part of our vocabulary. It sounds like “fatherland” and has the same police-state overtones. The stock market was crashing before Sept. 11, and it seems likely to me that rogue elements in our own government set into motion the Saudi terrorist cells to divert attention and stimulate a war economy.”

    What more should the federal government do to address the region’s transportation problems?

    “The U.S. should give Washington $10 billion a year for high-speed rail projects. In a few years someone in Seattle could commute to Portland or Vancouver, B.C., in under an hour, to Spokane in under an hour and a half. We should impose a higher gas tax and stop federal highway spending.”

    From when he ran for Seattle City Council

    “During the course of this campaign, I intend to develop a sensible transportation plan for the lower Puget Sound Region. I am doing this because with current leadership of the region left in place, we will continue to follow the conventional path of more taxes, more roads, more automobiles, more pollution, more stress, and more health care expenses from the ensuing mental and physical diseases. I am doing this because this is not the future that I want to live in, and because I believe by taking these steps, I will be personally contributing to a better outcome. The cynicism about politics today is understandable, but there is hope that through rational dialogue about our problems, we together can build the future.
    The only way to avoid the current path of slowly worsening conditions of life is to face the fact that we have neglected to develop our physical economy in a rational direction. It is understandable that people will prefer to drive their cars as a means of transportation as long as it is the best mode available in terms of a combination of time and comfort. Whereas our current leaders call for us to sacrifice in the face of mounting traffic woes, I believe we can make a mass transportation system so good that most people will prefer it to driving, even without the traffic jams.

    I propose building a 200 mile maglev monorail system, stretching from Everett to Olympia, including local loops in the City of Seattle, and a line on the Eastside. A fair estimate of the capital cost of this system is $90 million per mile, for a total cost of $18 billion dollars. This is the roughly equal to the expected costs of the I-405 expansion and the 520 bridge replacement alone, yet it will eliminate the needs for these projects since automobile commuter traffic under this plan can be reduced to less than half its current level. The maglev system will be able to pay for itself through the collection of fares, saving commuters money and time relative to automobile travel, and thus the plan will not be costing the taxpayer money but instead saving the taxpayer much of the projected $50 billion in taxes over the next 30 years that the government is planning to spend not to solve the problems.”

    Mr. Lippmann s history shows him to be equal opportunity letter writer and offender.

  12. BWoods says:

    souns like a bit of a nut.. Thus Morano.. should NOT encourage this sort of nuttery, by publishing email addreses.. More on that another day.. More emails to be published (with Morano’s agreement, I might add)

  13. Gras Albert says:


    The ‘Delinquent Teenager’ episode encapsulates the lack of trust of informed laypersons in ‘climate change science’ spokespeople. Glieck could have defused the entire debate by providing either evidence that he had purchased the book before he reviewed it or references to those parts of the book that were inaccurate.

    He chose to do neither, the observer must draw their own inference. For myself, the impact is negative, both to his credibility and that of ‘climate change science’, for which he claims to be an advocate.

  14. Peter says:

    I understand your concerns about being publicly labelled as ‘abusive’ by someone who is internationally acknowledged as being at the ‘front’ of his field. As an outsider looking in, and as a psychologist (lapsed) the concerns expressed by Dr Gleick seem to me to be irrational, or at the very least very intemperate.
    I have felt for a while that some of the most eminent people in this field suffer from a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance. They are so heavily invested in their role and their position that they simply can’t acknowledge the worth of a dissenting opinion. This is a very limiting position.
    Congrats on taking the rational response that you did.

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  17. Barry Woods says:

    [Just a reference to a blog post elsewhere]

    Thanks for listening.

    ‘off topic’ might have been better? as ‘discredit’ also implies nefarious intent.
    I don’t think I was as harsh as WMC for example…

    from my perspective, i was trying to continue (expand on a frustrating twitter conversation, with the host here, ie more than 140 chars, about SkS and included the contentious links, that I thought he had not seem and if you recall, I did explain that in my now moderated comment.

    personally I think i was criticizing Dana, not trying to discredit him, I even suggested better for SkS to explain it, and move on.. similar to WMC telling Dana to ‘man up-’ quick apology and move on being better, we ALL make mistakes, I have made many, but a quick sincere apology goes a long way. I was even trying to make light of it with Delingpole jokes, I also said, when all my comments were still visible, I would leave it at that (ie drop it)

    from my perspective, i was trying to continue a twitter conversation, with the host here, ie more than 140 chars, about SkS and included the contentious links, that I thought he had not seem
    and if you recall, I did explain that in my now moderated comment.

    But to readers here they obviously perceived something else. All my comments were approved (following pre-mod) but now they have been moderated, it looks like I attempted to ‘smear’ was edited, then tried again, then was edited, which is not what actually happened. Which I think misrepresents me.

    Now, I’m SURE that is not Rachel’s intent, and I think she has been doing a good job moderating..

    Perhaps, something that might be useful to you both.. is to have different moderating policies depending on the post/article concerned.. Something Judith Curry does..

    ie for a highly technical post, a note saying, strictly on topic, anything off will be removed..

    to a discussion thread, where the blog owner allows a lot more leeway, and the discussion goes where it flows.

    therefore giving pre-announced control, depending on the type of article,

    Additionally, a solution that Bishop Hill uses, is a separate discussion page, where user can start a topic. If 2 or mre people dominate and want to talk about a certain thing, (not to do with the article) he suggests, off-topic, or please take this discussion to the discussion board. this works quite well and can keep the article much more easily on track..Some discussions are very interesting, some just fizzle out

    In my view SkS are not as many skeptics perceived them, which those images fed a negative perception, but are people just like them, the ‘images’ explained by insider gallows humour, self parodying the cliched sceptics view of them, herrscooterboy, being most probably a parody of a Josh Cartoon of Dana on a scooter (the headshot, Dana uses as an Avatar) I see EVERYBODY that writes at SkS as totally sincere, with good intentions, but I also think they are wrong in a number of things they do and how they do it. I would love to meet them, get to know them chat, get away from cliches. I have done that with Mark Lynas, talked to Leo Hickman met Myles Allen and corresponded with a number of high profile people a number of the ‘perceived other side’, and found that we AGREE on far more things we disagree on, and have learnt a lot, it then becomes very hard to believe prejudices against the ‘supposed’ ‘other side’.

    Reading John Cook, on how he got involved in the issue, in his experience,I probably have done just the same (Yale forum interview)

    I don’t want to smear anybody, nor ‘discredit’ them, I have no ulterior motive, and I believe I have always tried to operate in good faith (though I’m sure I’m not perceived that way by some), and have criticized my ‘own side heavily when conduct or behavior warrant it. I can’t help it, when ‘sceptics’ butt in on twitter conversation, and annoying you, nor can you when Willard (or some other person does the same and winds me up (too much history there getting in the way of a sensible chat)

    I suggested to TP ages ago, that me commenting on the blog would probably not go well, and so it has proved. Far better to meet, chat in person, as I suggested originally, maybe at the OU in Feb, that offer remains open (anonymity assured), and I would include Rachel in that as well. (Warren, Mark, Tamsin all people I have met, Joe Smith who I have criticized a lot, invited me and is buying me lunch, and I hope to get to know and a few others)

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