Who knew what when?

PXL_20210918_165105157See-also: Yet more Exxonknew drivel or #exxonlied.

When they run out of reality to talk about, people often drop back to arguing exactly when a thing was known. In this case the "thing" is GW, loosely defined... but what people are trying to say: see, people knew, all those years ago, is just wrong. Similarish points are made by ScienceOfDoom: #CaliforniaKnew, and the debate is over. And this kind of stuff matters because in the Alsup case the questions turn not so much upon climate science but upon blame, and uncertainty.

There are two linked reasonable questions: when would a reasonable, perhaps somewhat conservative, person have concluded there was strong scientific support for the attribution of warming to human activity; and when would such a person have concluded that "action" was desireable?

[Textual note: see note 4.]

Attribution of warming to human activity

This is sort-of the easy one, because the answer is the IPCC reports. You may - if you like - assert that various earlier reports were strong evidence to contradict the IPCC conclusions on this, but I won't believe you. Further, I don't think a court will believe you; it is clear that IPCC is the authority in this area - when it chooses to speak - and any Evil Oil Company that cares to rely on the IPCC will be able to put forward a host of official govt documentation that describes IPCC as authoritative.

IPCC '90 says: Global - mean surface air temperature has increased by 0 3°C to 0 6°C over the last 100 years... The size of this warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability Thus the observed increase could be largely due to this natural variability, alternatively this variability and other human factors could have offset a still larger human-induced greenhouse warming. That's unambiguously ambiguous.

[2021/11 update: for 1992, see here.]

IPCC '95 says Our ability to quantify the human influence on global climate is currently limited because the expected signal is still emerging from the noise of natural variability, and because there are uncertainties in key factors... Nevertheless, the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate. "Balance of evidence" is the familiar common-law phrase, and is distinct from "beyond reasonable doubt", the criminal-law phrase. "discernible influence" is quite weak.

The TAR says There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.

I think that a reasonable person could hover between '95 and TAR as to when human influence was "established", whatever that might mean; but that even a conservative reasonable person ought to have been convinced by the TAR in 20012. Notice that all these reports were public, were discussed in the media and have been substantially disseminated by govts. No reasonably well informed person in the West can be excused from ignorance of their broad outline.

When would such a person have concluded that "action" was desireable?

"action" goes into quotes, because I don't care to try to define it here. It could mean anything, from fervent political attempts to impose carbon taxation, to banning or restricting fossil fuels, or pushing renewables, or whatever. Note that I'm not stating in advance that you need to have been convinced of the "attribution" question before agreeing on this one1. Another question in this area would be "action by whom exactly?"

I don't really have a good answer to this question. As hinted at above by #CaliforniaKnew, and by some of my prior art, one could make a not-unreasonable case that a great many people jumping up and down about Evil Oil Companies are not walking the walk themselves, yet, and therefore that action by individuals, or even individual companies, is not yet warranted or obligated.

Lay that aside for the moment and consider two opposing viewpoints. The first is that although human-caused warming wasn't clearly visible by, say, 1990; nonetheless the principle that emitting large and increasing amounts of CO2 was indeed clearly visible by then, and well agreed on. The other might be that only after attribution would you seriously consider future impacts. I don't think that latter is reasonable5.

However, even after agreeing that CO2 emissions will undoubtedly cause future warming, you're still left with the problem of how much. This is where stuff like the Callendar pic come in: if you don't even agree on the observed warming, you're not in much of a position to predict the future. Even now, substantial doubts remain about, say, climate sensitivity just for starters. I don't think that doubt is enough to stop us raising Carbon Taxes, but sadly I find myself in a minority on that score.


I still think that a finding against the FF companies on the grounds of "you burnt it, you pay" is unlikely; unless the judge concludes that FF sponsored propaganda was a significant factor in derailing efforts to reduce emissions.

Update: oops

I've added a note that I misread the graph (I blame Callendar4: he should have written "0.2", not 2-with-a-nearly-invisible-dot; did the man have no standards?). I've struck some text out that is no longer sustainable, and I haven't tried to find an alternative piece of wrongness. But - after not very much thought - I stand by my "see, people knew, all those years ago" being wrong because people didn't know; they were tentative and unsure. Feel free to argue this point in the comments; you might convince me.

Myles Allen: He's from Oxford. He talks a little funny, but I'm sure you'll be able to understand him.

Now the transcript is available - apologies for the source - we can see MA's view, which is, abbreviated:
Drawing all this together, drawing both our understanding of basic physics and understanding of the -- both understanding of the basic physics and the early simulations from global climate models, the 1979 National Academy of Sciences was able to draw the conclusions that they were expecting a warming of between one-and-a-half and four-and-a-half degrees for the equilibrium warming on doubling CO2. 
Hmm. Maybe.

I'm here today representing Chevron Corporation

Not me of course. That nice Boutrous, Jr.
Chevron does not do original climate science research. Chevron accepts the consensus of the scientific community on climate change. That scientific consensus is embodied in the results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. And that has been Chevron's position for over a decade. 
That's a good line, if he can stick to it. As is:
it won't surprise the Court we believe the resolution of climate science issues aren't going to be determinative here for all the reasons in our motion to dismiss. That's for another day.
There's also a tantalising "Chevron does not agree with all the policy proposals analyzed by the IPCC" but he doesn't give details. More later, perhaps?


1. Boutrous (p. 88) gets this one wrong. I think, though he doesn't quite address it directly.

2. Boutrous rather "rolls" over the TAR, and puts more faith in AR4. That wasn't very subtle of him. Also, p. 96, both he and Hizzonor misread the CO2 feedbacks during the ice ages, so Myles did a poor job on that.

3. P. 119 is the court noting that it's going to approve the amicus submissions, sadly, so we won't have the pleasure of seeing them rejected.

4. When I first wrote this, I got carried away and wrote some nonsense re reporting Callendar. That got corrected, almost immeadiately, as soon as someone pointed out my error (see comments). But, it gets in the way of reading this post, so I've now [2021/04/28] updated this post to remove the error entirely. If you'd like to see me getting it wrong, fear not, you can, I've archived it at https://archive.is/CXIYX. I've had to slightly mangle the text because it couldn't be cleanly cut out.

5. [2021/04/28] Added on re-read: is that confusing? Obviously you'd only consider action after attribution? No. Attribution is a sort-of technicalish thing. It would be entirely possible to know that GW would, unabated, increase temperatures by X oC by 2100 even if you couldn't yet see the signal for the noise in 1995.


Should we care about the world after 2100?
Europe's $38 Billion Carbon Market Is Finally Doing Its Job
* Frontline's The Power of Big Oil transcript (arch) is useful. But, beware hindsight.
* 2023/04: even SR agrees with me, see this Twit pushing the cartoon I've added.
* 2024/07: SR comes out even further: Stop blaming fossil fuel companies – Climate Change is our own fault. Has she been reading me?


Anonymous said...

The temperature did not go up by about ~3 oC from ~1890 to ~1930

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but I think the scale shown on the y-axis of the top graph 0.4C, not 4C. See here, for example.

Victor Venema said...

ATTP made the most important point. Once you know it you can see the subtle points in front of the numbers of the y-axis.

There is also an article comparing it to the modern reconstructions and the trend was amazingly accurate. (Surprisingly, there is less noise in the estimate of Guy Callendar, although he used less stations (only 200), which suggests he also averaged in time, although as far as I know that is not described in his article.)

It is also not the global temperature, but land temperature, which shows more warming.

dave said...

Interesting argument, but the focus on whether significant AGW had already happened seems off the point –
"Attribution of warming to human activity"

FAR 1990 "We are certain of the following: .. emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and nitrous oxide. These increases will enhance the greenhouse effect, resulting on average in an additional warming of the Earth's surface The main greenhouse gas, water vapour, will increase in response to global warming and further enhance it"

So, in 1990 the IPCC was certain that human activity was causing unquantified warming.

The oil firms could have accepted that, and looked to ways of adapting their business to the need for change. Instead, relevant firms (all or some?) funded misinformation to play down the issue and foster public opposition to doing anything. Successfully.

That doesn't mean this court case will prevail, or that these firms bear sole responsibility for the effects. It does mean that they contributed to the problem. It's a legal question whether they are liable for some of the costs of remedial action.

Victor Venema said...

"unless the judge concludes that FF sponsored propaganda was a significant factor in derailing efforts to reduce emissions."

If that was all there is, I would argue that the citizens had the responsibility to ignore the propaganda and inform themselves.

The bigger influence these corporations have is probably via bribing politicians and civil servants with campaign contributions, nice diners, and cozy jobs when they leave government. And if that does not help with contributions to your opponents.

As even Trump said: politicians are petrified of the political power of the NRA. Well over 90% of Americans want universal background checks, but in Congress this proposal does not have a minimal chance. The NRA is a relatively small club. Corporations would not invest in politicians if they did not expect a good return on investment.

I would expect that the main reason for the "sponsored propaganda" is the same: to bribe the media and ensure that they are nice, not talk about climate change too much and put on Lord Monckton. When I was in the States I saw a TV add for the military industry. Not many TV viewers buy a fighter jet or tank, but somehow the US media was sure Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, while the media in continental Europe did not buy the story.

The problem with using this in court will be that even bribing politicians has been legalized in the USA.

Steve Bloom said...

The tobacco precedent will loom large in this ruling.

This being a US court, the judge might give US gov't reports as much or more weight than the IPCC ones.

William M. Connolley said...

ATTP / VV: oops, thanks. I've put up a temporary note of that in the post; I'll have to think a bit more about the consequences.

Dave: FAR: yes, but *how much* is at issue here. It isn't hard to find denialists who will accept words entirely and literally compatible with that IPCC statement, by simply saying "of course it will warm, but only by a small amount".

> they contributed to the problem

Via propaganda, or via FF emissions? The two issues are quite separate, but in much public "discourse" get blurred together. I don't think hizzonor will accept that blurring. If you read the original complaint in this case, it is that "Oakland Asked State Court to Require Oil and Gas Companies to Fund Climate Adaptation Program. Oakland filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court against five oil and gas companies alleging that the carbon emissions from their fossil fuel production had created an unlawful public nuisance". Not that propaganda from said company had contributed.

> bribing politicians and...

You use the word bribery - implying illegality - and yet I doubt that anything in that way was strictly illegal. So one is down to, instead, "influencing" said pols. After all, if you wanted to sue them for illegally bribing pols, you'd do that instead. In which case, the issue of who is actually responsible re-emerges. Why aren't the myriad of pols responsible for their own actions?

> tobacco

Doubtful. It exist as a precedent but I don't think the connections are strong. People keep waving it around like a flag to gather under; it will be interesting to see if it can be made into a coherent idea that can survive cross-examination.

Everett F Sargent said...

So we are left with the drug lords (FF companies and interests), the drug dealers (FF distribution networks and byproducts (e. g. plastics)) and the drug users (e. g. humanity).

Litigation, in and of itself, is not a solution. The FF companies and their infrastructures will continue to exist, just as the tobacco companies and their infrastructures do so today, just with higher taxes and/or costs passed on to the drug users (e. g. you/us all).

Not all people need/use tobacco, however, all people do need/use energy. Wants versus needs.

Time/money is being wasted on blaming ourselves, one human loses so that another human wins, zero sum game, time to move on and do something real and substantive.

Millicent said...

If the fossil fuel companies are going to argue their campaign had no effect then they are guilty of spending shareholder money on something that only damages their companies reputations. To continue spending money for decades on something that had only a negative impact would be a very strange thing to do.

William M. Connolley said...

I doubt that they will argue it had no effect. They will argue they were pushing care, precaution, avoiding precipitate action, and a balance between economy and environment. Or, something along those lines.

Everett F Sargent said...

The easiest way to beat this BS is to show that San Francisco and Oakland already knew about sea level rise BEFORE circa 1980.

Exhibit A ...
Changing Sea Levels Along the California Coast: Anthropological Implications (1978)

See Figures 1 and 2.

Google search ... sea level rise san francisco filetype:pdf (set date before 1/1/1980) ... D'oh!

Everett F Sargent said...

Geodetic leveling and the sea level slope along the California Coast

"This trend indicates that San Pedro is rising with respect to San Francisco or that San Francisco is subsiding with respect to San Pedro at an average rate of about 70 mm/yr. However, an examination of the tidal records does not reveal large changes in the trend of mean sea level with respect to the land at the tide stations. Hicks and Crosby (1972) report that the mean sea level trend with respect to land (1940–1972 series) is −0.3 mm/yr at San Pedro and +1.8 mm/yr at San Francisco. Thus the indicated relative movement rate (70 mm/yr) from leveling is about 30 times greater than the rate indicated by tidal observations. The reasons for the large discrepancy between relative movement rates from repeat levelings and tidal observations are presently unknown."

So 1.8 mm/yr RSL for San Francisco was already known in 1972.

So 46*1.8 mm/yr = 8.28 cm (the last 46 years, 1972-01 thru 2018-01 inclusive = 1.73 mm/yr).
and from 1897-09 thru 1971-12 = 1.96 mm/yr (yeah, I picked a low starting point because NOAA said "Apparent Datum Shift" break in time series, so sue me).

So if anthropogenic reclamation of former swamp land and lack of timely renewal of coastal infrastructures (which has been going on nationwide for nearly a century now) in an area with an extremely high available tax base ... well then you figure out who exactly is at fault. Personally, I blame San Francisco and Oakland.

Does this scenario even sound remotely familiar to the general AGW situation? I think it does.

Everett F Sargent said...

Forgot NOAA RSL link ,,,

Nick Barnes said...

[As you know, ...]
IPCC reports are agreed by all the governments, and so are always very conservative. The IPCC was originally set up because of serious concern about AGW, so it's obvious to deduce that such concern was sufficiently serious, and sufficiently widespread, at sufficiently high levels of sufficiently powerful governments, to create (first some advisory group and then) the IPCC, and then (after the FAR) the whole UNFCCC/COP system.
It is my clear recollection that a widespread view among experts in the mid 1980s was that anthropogenic gases would probably cause several degrees of warming (let us say: 1-4) per century, and that over the course of a few centuries this would lead to many metres of SLR. That big picture hasn't really changed in 30 years.

William M. Connolley said...

> and so are always very conservative

Agreed. But then again, so are large companies and govts. Well, some of them. And the IPCC was setup because of concern - that's self-proving - but also in the absence of certain knowledge - ditto. So it is "evidence" for both sides.

I also agree re the views of experts, but 1-4 oC is a very wide range (probably 1.5-4.5 is better). You could, perhaps, plausibly argue that ~1979 the range was 1.5-4.5, and there was good hope of narrowing it. By ~1990 that hope was still there, by 2001 it was rather weaker. Today I think one would say that the "true believed range" (whatever that might mean) is narrower, but still distressingly wide, and the hope of narrowing it significantly soon, still weak.

> San Francisco and Oakland already knew

Indeed; see the #CaliforniaKnew link.

wereatheist said...

nonetheless the principle that emitting large and increasing amounts of CO2 was indeed clearly visible by then, and well agreed on
There's something amiss in this phrase, I'm afraid.

Everett F Sargent said...

#CaliforniaKnew in 1960! As it should come as no surprise that Revelle, Kelling and Munk were all at SIO at that time.

(thermosteric changes seen in Figures 90-100 while Figure 101 shows SF sea level rise circa 1898-1957, 0.005 foot per year ~1.50 mm/yr)

Ironically, Munk concludes ...

"Munk: Raubrich and I have obtained the power spectrum from mean monthly sea levels for all stations (one dozen) having more than a century of record. For frequencies lower than the annual frequency the spectrum is a typically noisy (or continuous) spectrum, with no significant frequency “lines”, not even well developed broad bands. It is then predictable only in the sense the stock market is predictable."

Fast forward to 2002 and Munk gave us (a denier favorite) ...
Twentieth century sea level: An enigma

So I say that Munk takes all the blame, he single handedly set back sea level rise research by about four decades (meh slight exaggeration).

Everett F Sargent said...

Did Wadhams and Munk (2004) get sekrit monies from the oil companies?

Ocean freshening, sea level rising, sea ice melting

"Uncertainties in our estimates are large and do not exclude a negative eustatic rise, that is, a net movement of water mass onto the continents. Nevertheless we do obtain a total rise which is at the lower end of the range estimated by IPCC."


"Not all people need/use tobacco, however, all people do need/use energy. Wants versus needs."

Everett might give it a try - the climate wars are certainly a two pipe problem.

Unknown said...

I'd say the scientific community knew about AGW when serious peer reviewed papers disputing AGW stopped getting written. If I have my history right there were some respectable challenges to AGW on grounds such as absorption window saturation and ocean capacity to absorb Co2 which were resolved roughly mid century?

Phil said...

I'd suggest several different events.

1) Keeling curve, by the mid 1960's at the latest. This removed all realistic doubt that we could change the CO2 content of the atmosphere.

2) Vostok ice core, 1985. This removed all realistic doubt that CO2 and temperature were closely related.

William M. Connolley said...

I think changing CO2 is a relatively small part; the issue is what CO2 does. That applies to Vostok, too: you must be aware of the arguments about forcing versus feedbacks.

Everett F Sargent said...

#CaliforniaKnew in 1932 ...

Figure 4 and Tables VII and VIII (2 mm/yr +/- 0.2 mm/yr, so borderline)

#CaliforniaKnew in 1955 (paywalled) ...
Tide Height Along the Coasts of the United States

1.8-1.9 mm/yr

#CaliforniaKnew in 1962 (paywalled) ...
Sea Level and the Southern Oscillation

Figure 5 is taken from the 1955 publication cited above

#CaliforniaKnew in 1972 ...

Figure 2 (2.0 mm/yr +/- 0.21 mm/yr)

What is rather remarkable is the ~2.0 mm/yr has held up for so long (1932-2018) ...

"The monthly extreme water levels include a Mean Sea Level (MSL) trend of 2.01 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.21 millimeters/year based on monthly MSL data from 1897 to 2006 which is equivalent to a change of 0.66 feet in 100 years."

Everett F Sargent said...

"Figure 4 and Tables VII and VIII (2 mm/yr +/- 0.2 mm/yr, so borderline)"

... should read ...

"Figure 4 and Tables VII and VIII (2 mm/yr +/- 2.0 mm/yr, so borderline)"

Sorry about that one.

Everett F Sargent said...

Well it looks like I'm the finder of stuff ...

The Saving of San Francisco Bay
(byline A Report on Citizen Action and Regional Planning By Rice Odell)
The Conservation Foundation
Washington, D.C.
Copyright © 1972 by The Conservation Foundation

Beginning at the section titled "The Threat" ...

"Slowly and steadily, man encroached on the shores and waters of the bay. So deceptive and gradual was the process-and so much was the splendid environment taken for granted-that few noticed what was happening. Man was preoccupied with other things-survival, housing, commerce, making a living, making a killing.

The bay has always been a great temptress to fillers, not only because of its beauty and recreation potential, but also because so much of it is shallow enough to be filled economically. As planner Mel Scott said: "To attorneys, developers, title insurance companies, manufacturers of salt and cement, innumerable government officials, members of the state legislature and many others it is some of the most valuable real estate in California."

And so it was treated by the state itself for decades. Much of the bay including marshlands, tidelands and submerged lands-was sold by the state to private interests, sometimes for as little as a dollar an acre, and sometimes under shady circumstances. The sales were not stopped until 1879 with adoption of a new state constitution. Some of the lands were filled and built upon; large areas were diked off and used as "salt ponds," for production of
salt from sea water by evaporation, or as wildlife preserves, or for farming.


With gradual shrinkage, the bay changed substantially. In 1850, when California was admitted to the Union, the surface of the bay at mean high tide was about 680 square miles. Little more than a century later, this had been reduced to some 430 square miles."

It does have a happy ending of sorts circa 1972.

Current ... State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance (2018 Update) ...
(PDF last updated 2018-03-05 so still rather hot off the presses so to speak)

WHC, hope you don't mind my parking of links here, I think I'm about done with the links.

Everett F Sargent said...

WHC should be WMC. Damn it!

William M. Connolley said...

There can be no forgiveness.

Millicent said...

"unless the judge concludes that FF sponsored propaganda was a significant factor in derailing efforts to reduce emissions."

Given that (say) 50% of Republicans are climate change deniers, what are the odds that (say) 50/52 Republican Senators are climate change deniers? That's simple maths.

William M. Connolley said...

Well, exactly. But blaming the Senators is going to be tricky, so a cheaper shot is to go after the companies.

Phil said...

"I think changing CO2 is a relatively small part; the issue is what CO2 does."

True today or in 1970, wasn't as true in 1950 or 1960. There was realistic doubt at that time based on the thought that the oceans would quickly absorb almost all of the added CO2.

"That applies to Vostok, too: you must be aware of the arguments about forcing versus feedbacks."

Sure. Here is a good discussion of the issue. Far better than I could write.


Everett F Sargent said...

Fate of fossil fuel carbon dioxide and the global carbon budget (1979)

"The fate of fossil fuel carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere depends on the exchange rates of carbon between the atmosphere and three major carbon reservoirs, namely, the oceans, shallow-water sediments, and the terrestrial biosphere. Various assumptions and models used to estimate the global carbon budget for the last 20 years are reviewed and evaluated. Several versions of recent atmosphere-ocean models appear to give reliable and mutually consistent estimates for carbon dioxide uptake by the oceans. On the other hand, there is no compelling evidence which establishes that the terrestrial biomass has decreased at a rate comparable to that of fossil fuel combustion over the last two decades, as has been recently claimed."

On the carbon dioxide–climate confusion (1975)

"A number of estimates of global surface temperature sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide to 600 ppm are collected here and critically reviewed. The assumptions and formulations that lead to differences between certain models' estimates are explained in some detail. Based on current understanding of climate theory and modeling it is concluded that a state-of-the-art order-of-magnitude estimate for the global surface temperature increase from a doubling of atmospheric C02 content is between 1.5 and 3 K with an amplification of the global average increase in polar zones. It is pointed out, however, that this estimate may prove to be high or low by several-fold as a result of climatic feedback mechanisms not properly accounted for in state-of-the-art models."

If climate scientists could not close the carbon budget in 1979 (there are still some issues today with mostly the land sink AFAIK) and Schneider in 1975 stated that 1.5C < ECS < 3.0C I'm pretty sure you would have to pick a date post 1979.

For me this is all new, the actual climate science history as it was presented in the peer reviewed literature of those earlier times. My own 1st hand knowledge only goes back to ~2005 but even there I would not rely on that history currently stuck between my ears (I also would not rely on any non=peer reviewed book purporting to be the history of climate science)

Hank Roberts said...

Say, speaking of climate science history, is this old thread still available anywhere?


The link just goes to the top of this blog, now.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you'd want to draw attention to that thread, HR. 29 of the 37 non-spam (strictly defined) comments were by you.

But try here:


- VB

William M. Connolley said...

> http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/02/05/why-do-science-in-antarctica/

Sorry. When I imported the scienceblogs stuff to wordpress, I munged the URLs for some of the years but not the others. WP makes it hard, because while you can import, you can't overwrite, so you only get one chance. See welcome to the archive.

The re-write rule is:

http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/X maps to http://wmconnolley.wordpress.com/X

So in this case you want http://wmconnolley.wordpress.com/2007/02/05/why-do-science-in-antarctica/.

Every now and again, when I browse old posts, I edit them to be correct.

William M. Connolley said...

From https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/the-power-of-big-oil/transcript/:

BENJAMIN SANTER, Lawrence Livermore Natl. Laboratory, 1992-2021:

We knew. We knew in '95 that humans were affecting the global climate. In 1990, the First Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, concludes that it's too soon to tell definitively whether there is or is not a human-caused global warming signal. Five years later, a very, very different finding: People at different institutes, using different statistical methods, different models, formally identified a human-caused global warming signal. This was a paradigm shift in scientific understanding of the reality of human effects on climate.

William M. Connolley said...

And (same source, lower down, and yes I'm being somewhat unfair):


I’m 83 years old. Three or four decades ago, we predicted it... I'm furious.

Notice the lack of precision. What's a decade here or there to MH, he is after all 83. But a decade is a long time. Note also the fury: there's no pretence of objectivity.