In Praise of Patrons – Particularly Mine

God, I enjoyed my book launch party last week. (Though not as much as some people, eh, Toby?) So much so that I’m not sure I can ever forgive myself. I keep thinking not of the fun I had but of all those friends I wish could have been there but weren’t. My fault, totally, in most cases: I’m horrendously disorganised when it comes to party invitations — and it’s entirely possible that you’re one of the people I love most in the world but forgot to invite because, hey, I’m just a bit useless that way.

Anyway, this party. As you’ll probably be aware — and if not let me spell it out — the launch was for — the launch was for this incredibly readable, well-researched, funny but also ‘serious and significant’ (says Matt Ridley in The Spectator — and who I am to disagree with so distinguished an expert in so important a publication?) book I recently published. It’s called Watermelons: How Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children’s Future.

I think the main reason the party went so well was that, invitations apart, I had nothing to do with the organisation.

(to read more, click here)

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17 thoughts on “In praise of patrons – particularly mine”

  1. Nige Cook says:23rd March 2012 at 7:43 pm“I keep thinking not of the fun I had but of all those friends I wish could have been there but weren’t. My fault, totally, in most cases: I’m horrendously disorganised when it comes to party invitations … When at school I learned that even a talent as great as Shakespeare could only make ends meet by fawning before toffs like the Earls of Pembroke and Southampton I remember being appalled. But as I grow older and wiser — and the times grow more difficult — I realise that there is nothing shaming or unfair about patronage. It’s merely an honest acknowledgement of how the world works. … I’m less overjoyed by the simultaneous deaths of my two main sources of income — publishing and print journalism — but even here I think there are grounds for cautious optimism.

    “At my launch a friendly City type and his charming wife told me how interesting they thought my life was. I in turn told them how much I’d like their money.”

    This pandering to Mammon will infuriate the miserable self-deluded commies who frequent your website.

    Remember, James, that proper lefty Marxist liberalism insists that money is dirty, greasy stuff you’re far better off without. True happiness is abject poverty. If you were a billionaire you’d waste the rest of your life cruising the Caribbean, watching sunsets while sipping Martinis and complaining about boredom.

  2. Martin Lack says:27th March 2012 at 11:46 amHere’s a poster for you to display at your next book launch (not).
  3. Martin Lack says:27th March 2012 at 3:39 pmAnd here’s another…
  4. Martin Lack says:27th March 2012 at 4:15 pmDear James,

    I know you will cite the Met Office as being part of some anti-libertarian plot to install worldwide Socialist governance but, will you please do us all a favour and suspend your belief in conspiracy theories just long enough to take on board some new information:

    “A project running almost 10,000 climate simulations on volunteers’ home computers has found that a global warming of 3 degrees Celsius by 2050 is ‘equally plausible’ as a rise of 1.4 degrees. The study addresses some of the uncertainties that previous forecasts, using simpler models or only a few dozen simulations, may have over-looked. Importantly, the forecast range is derived from using a complex Met Office model that accurately reproduces observed temperature changes over the last 50 years. The results suggest that the world is very likely to cross the ’2 degrees barrier’ at some point this century if emissions continue unabated. It also suggests that those planning for the impacts of climate change need to consider the possibility of warming of up to 3 degrees (above the 1961-1990 average) by 2050, even on a mid-range emission scenario. This is a faster rate of warming than most other models predict.”
    Citizen science looks at future warming uncertainty.

    N.B. The ability of these computer models to recreate historical trends over the last 50 years is not evidence of fudge factors having been applied: It is evidence of model validation, which – along with calibration and sensitivity analysis – is an integral part of establishing the accuracy of such modelling techniques. You can – or should – trust me on this because, unlike you, this is what I have been doing for the last 20 years or so (i.e. using probabilistic computer modelling in environmental risk assessments).

    Your beloved marketplace of ideas is a dangerous fallacy; of which your success in getting your ill-informed unscientific opinions plastered all over the media and infecting people’s minds is profound evidence. And for what purpose? You may think you are acting in the public interest but, unfortunately, like everything else in Watermelons 2.0, this is an inversion of reality: As Peter Jacques (University of Florida) has pointed out, it is precisely because environmental scepticism is not in the public interest, the tobacco industry invented the sound science versus junk science debate (now being used to great effect by the fossil fuel and energy industry) to confuse people and prevent sensible regulation of their product.

    1. Eworrall says:31st March 2012 at 9:35 amAnyone can retrofit fit any curve by adding enough adjustment knobs to the model , but fitting an old data series is no guarantee of predictive skill. And a model which requires a monster supercomputer array to run has a lot of adjustment knobs.

      Predictive skill is the test of the validity of a theory. And so far, the predictive skill of climate models has been a flat bust. The most likely explanation for this lack of skill, despite decades of research, is that they have selected the wrong forcing (CO2) as the dominant driver of climate.

  5. Angus says:31st March 2012 at 9:05 amGeneral Motors Decides Climate Change Is Real, Pulls Support From Heartland Institute
    I am sure James will have a tantrum over this.
  6. Letusthink says:5th April 2012 at 9:44 amPublishing has a huge influence over our lives and James has a great platform over us as publishers pay him money to write articles. Does James really care what he writes about as long as the cheques keep rolling in?
    1. EricW says:5th April 2012 at 12:57 pmThe Warmists have all the big money – multi billion dollar WWF, Greenpeace, EU climate budgets, as well as all the national backing for Climate Change efforts, such as the new UK Climate Change Fund. Even big oil can’t compete with that kind of money.
  7. Letusthink says:5th April 2012 at 9:53 amThis denial is complex, involving a variety of defensive response from the familiar ‘climate change is a myth’ to the more understandable (but ultimately no more useful) ‘but I need my car for my job’. It is of course no coincidence that the same people who are deeply wedded to high fossil fuel use . . . are the ones most likely to deny the reality of climate change . . . there is nothing so difficult as trying to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it. This is classic denial: no one wants to hold a mental image of themselves as bad or evil, so immoral acts are necessarily dressed up in a cloak of intellectual self justification.
    1. EricW says:5th April 2012 at 12:58 pmI wonder how much money the CRU scientists would get if politicians were convinced that Climate Change is not a threat? It would certainly be the end of their multi million pound government research grants.
  8. Letusthink says:5th April 2012 at 1:52 pmEworrall – “all the big money” doesn’t really mean very much. They don’t exactly have a pot of money sitting around in a bank account. And what do you mean by “compete”. What is the competition here? Do you mean in convincing people about the truth about global warming? OK, unfortunately it is a bit of a competition, but what I don’t understand is how you can set it out so rigidly . . . We don’t want people to believe in manmade global warming . . . why is that helpful? To protect certain interests? To protect human intectualism? Because you have a deep seated love of the ‘truth’. I just can’t see why you would get so passionate about it unless you were earning a nice crumb from embracing denialism. Good luck to you.
    1. EricW says:5th April 2012 at 6:33 pmI’m glad you think hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, for Warmist propaganda doesn’t really mean very much. I’d like to be that rich.

      As for why I am a “denialist”, the reason is simple – I believe, from reading the Climategate emails, and my own research, that Warmist climate science is corrupt, and that the CO2 theory is persisting for political rather than scientific reasons.

      I also think that if you guys truly get the upper hand, more than you have already, a lot of people will die. There are already casualties thanks to biofuel policies – even the UN admits that biofuel subsidies are exacerbating the risk of famine. . Making energy more expensive, through expensive renewables programmes, would kill even more people – all for a cause which is based upon scientific fraud.

      A lot of people died in the 20th century because of scientific fraud. I’d like to avoid repeating that mistake, if possible.

  9. Letusthink says:5th April 2012 at 9:56 pmEWorrall – I think for a few billion dollars is not really here or there when the national US defence budget was over $600 billion in 2010. There will of course be mistakes made along the way as we feel our way into the right policies. Interestingly enough – how many people die in car accidents every year? Cars are not only polluting our planet but killing our citizens in accidents everyday in a more direct way. I just can’t believe scientists/politicians have come up with some elaborate giant fraud – life is too short.

    1. EricW says:6th April 2012 at 6:28 amCar accident casualties are not a justification for ignoring the consequences of policies which cause mass famine in the third world. The famine can be alleviated with the stroke of a politician’s pen, while car accidents are a more intractable problem.

      As for scientists getting it wrong or behaving fraudulently, it unfortunately happens all the time. The scientific method, with it’s standards of openness and reproduceability, was developed to try to prevent episodes of mass delusion. When the method is abused, by scientists concealing data and trying to suppress critics, then science becomes dysfunctional, and theory is no longer verified by facts.

      Such abuse is institutional in the dysfunctional climate science community.

      Note I am not saying the Climategate scientists dont believe in global warming – their problem is they believe too much. Since they already know

      1. EricW says:6th April 2012 at 6:36 amA climategate email you might find interesting – Mr. Smith tries to pressure Ben Santer into revealing method and data behind hid models.

        Climategate Email 1233326033.txt

        > The American Physical Society on line statement reads (in part):
        > “The success and credibility of science are anchored in the willingness
        > of scientists to:
        > 1. Expose their ideas and results to independent testing and
        > replication by others. This requires the open exchange of data,
        > procedures and materials.
        > 2. Abandon or modify previously accepted conclusions when confronted
        > with more complete or reliable experimental or observational

        1. Eworrall says:6th April 2012 at 6:52 amBen Santer is finally forced to publish some of his data. He still does not publish his method. He feels the need to write an apologetic email to colleagues in the climate science community.

          Climategate Email 1229468467.txt

          > I just wanted to alert you to the fact that Steven McIntyre has now made
          > a request to U.S. DOE Headquarters under the Freedom of Information Act
          > (FOIA). McIntyre asked for “Monthly average T2LT values for the 47
          > climate models (sic) as used to test the H1 hypothesis in Santer et al.,
          > Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical
          > troposphere”. I was made aware of the FOIA request earlier this morning.
          > McIntyre’s request eventually reached the U.S. DOE National Nuclear
          > Security Administration (NNSA), Livermore Site Office. The requested
          > records are to be provided to the “FOIA Point of Contact” (presumably at
          > NNSA) by Dec. 22, 2008.

          > Over the past several weeks, I’ve had a number of discussions about the
          > “FOIA issue” with PCMDI’s Director (Dave Bader), with other LLNL
          > colleagues, and with colleagues outside of the Lab. Based on these
          > discussions, I have decided to “publish” all of the climate model
          > surface temperature time series and synthetic MSU time series (for the
          > tropical lower troposphere [T2LT] and the tropical mid- to
          > upper-troposphere [T2]) that we used in our International Journal of
          > Climatology (IJoC) paper.

          > After publication of the model data, we will inform the “FOIA Point of
          > Contact” that the information requested by McIntyre is publicly
          > available for bona fide scientific research.
          > Unfortunately, we cannot guard against intentional or unintentional
          > misuse of these datasets by McIntyre or others.

          >This will make it difficult for McIntyre
          > to continue making the bogus claim that he is being denied access to the
          > climate model data necessary to evaluate the validity of our findings.

          1. Eworrall says:6th April 2012 at 7:06 amBen Santer reveals he wants to hoard method and data secrets because he sees other scientists outside his group as “competitors”, instead of welcoming fresh viewpoints in his search for truth. This attitude seems to be common in the Climate Science community, which is what I mean, when I describe it as dysfunctional.

            Climategate Email 1231257056.txt


            Can any competitor
            simply request such datasets via the U.S. FOIA, before we have completed
            full scientific analysis of these datasets?

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