Arguments with climate change deniers

For the sake of organization, here is a list of some of the disagreements that have arisen on this blog between those that accept the scientific consensus that climate change is real, caused by human activity, and dangerous and those who do not. Given that a lot of the deniers seem to flit from blog to blog, leaving misleading comments, cataloging some rebuttals to them seems worthwhile.

This list includes people who believe that climate change is real and a serious problem, but believe for one reason or another that nothing should be done about it.

They are listed here in the order in which they first appeared:

I will add more as they crop up.

See also:

A trio of other blogs that do an especially good job of debunking the arguments of so-called skeptics are: DeSmogBlog, RealClimate, and the ‘How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic‘ series on A Few Things Ill Considered.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

71 thoughts on “Arguments with climate change deniers”

  1. ‘Global warming as new religion?’ Give me a break — climate change is serious
    By Jim Hoggan, Special to the Vancouver SunJuly 30, 2009

    There is a strange conviction, in certain circles, that the world’s environmental community has grown superhumanly strong — an idea that, with the cock of an eyebrow or the curl of a lip, any leading environmentalist can strike fear into the hearts of academics, politicians and businesspeople around the globe.

    As the chair of the David Suzuki Foundation, the leading environmental organization in Canada, I wish that it were so. To borrow the fiery rhetoric of Vancouver Sun columnist Jonathon Manthorpe, I would be delighted, if only for a day, to be one of the “ayatollahs of puritan environmentalism” or the “Torquemadas of the doctrine of global warming.”

  2. The rules

    Hello world. It’s your friendly neighbourhood denialist here. Look, we need to talk. I think we got off on the wrong foot. You’ve got me all wrong. I’m really an open-minded guy. All I’m asking for is evidence of your AGW claims. Surely that’s not too much to ask?

    And please note, that when I say evidence, I mean:

    1) Nothing that was recorded by instruments such as weather-stations, ocean buoys or satellite data. Since all instruments are subject to error, we cannot use them to measure climate.

    2) Nothing that has been corrected to account for the error of recording instruments. Any corrected data is a fudge. You must use only the raw data, which is previously disqualified under rule #1. Got that? OK, moving along…

    3) Nothing that was produced by a computer model. We all know that you can’t trust computer models, and they have a terrible track record in any industrial, architectural, engineering, astronomical or medical context.

    4) Nothing that was researched or published by a scientist. Such appeals to authority are invalid. We all know that scientists are just writing these papers to keep their grant money.

    See? I’m a reasonable guy. I’m perfectly open to being convinced by real evidence — you know, the kind that doesn’t rely on scientific instruments, or corrected data, or computers, or results recorded by other scientists. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I’m sure you’d agree that any evidence which meets my criteria would be extraordinary indeed.

  3. Are Climate Deniers Crazy?
    By Mitchell Anderson on US

    Because the end of the world has never happened before, it’s understandable many people have a hard time wrapping their heads around the potential apocalyptic consequences of climate change.

    Floods, famines, mass-migrations – it might be a little too Old Testament for many folks to want to think about.

    But what about climate deniers? Those people who don’t react with honest skepticism or debate, but vitriol and spleen-venting anger?

    Psychologist Linda Buzzell was wondering the same thing. In an interesting post last week on Huffington, she tried to plum the depths of why some people can’t seem to have a civilized conversation about climate science.

  4. Hey, global warming skeptics, take your heads out of the sand
    Column: New report reinforces import of climate change.

    By Robert C. Cowen | Columnist for The Christian Science Monitor/ September 4, 2009 edition

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has seen the meltdown of the Arctic for himself. Alarmed at the changes, he warned that “our foot is stuck on the [climate change] accelerator and we are heading towards an abyss.”
    It might be easy to dismiss this as more alarmist hype except for the coincidental publication of a major Arctic climate study. This latest research makes it crystal clear that the forces of human-driven climate change have overwhelmed the natural forces that had put Arctic climate on a long-term cooling trend.

    Mr. Ban, who recently visited the Arctic, was addressing a 150-nation climate conference in Geneva on Sept. 3. The research, published the next day in Science, backs up his concern point by point. Led by Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., this five-year international study reconstructed 2,000 years of Arctic summer temperatures. Until now, the record extended back only 400 years. The research team combined data from lake sediments with previous data from ice cores and tree rings to build the longer record.

    Ban noted that “the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth.” The study shows the Arctic is warming two to three times faster than anywhere else at a time when it should be cooling down. Natural changes in Earth’s orbit vary our distance from the Sun over a 21,000 year cycle. The closer we are, the warmer the Arctic and vice versa. Right now, we’re in the cool down part of that cycle. The study confirms a cooling trend over the past 2,000 years until it reversed about a century ago. The Arctic summer now is about 2.5 degrees warmer than it should be.

    In an announcement of this result, team member Nicholas McKay explained that, “The 20th century is the first century for which how much energy we’re getting from the Sun is no longer the most important thing governing the temperature of the Arctic.” His co-author, Caspar Ammann at NCAR, said, “This study provides a clear example of how increased greenhouse gases are now changing our climate.”

  5. UK climate scepticism more common
    By Sudeep Chand
    Science reporter

    The British public has become more sceptical about climate change over the last five years, according to a survey.

    Twice as many people now agree that “claims that human activities are changing the climate are exaggerated”.

    Four in 10 believe that many leading experts still question the evidence. One in five are “hard-line sceptics”.

    The survey, by Cardiff University, shows there is still some way to go before the public’s perception matches that of their elected leaders.

    The results were announced at the British Science Festival in Guildford by Cardiff’s Lorraine Whitmarsh.

    A questionnaire survey was filled in by 551 people, from a range of ages and backgrounds, between September and November last year.

    Although the findings are similar to those of other UK surveys, this is the first to show that people may be becoming “tired” of claims surrounding climate change.

  6. Answers Come There None
    Posted September 14, 2009

    As the Plimer affair shows, climate change deniers are all leaf and no plums

    By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian, 15th September 2009

    Creationists and climate change deniers have this in common: they don’t answer their critics. They make what they say are definitive refutations of the science. When these refutations are shown to be nonsense, they do not seek to defend them. They simply switch to another line of attack. They never retract, never apologise, never explain, just raise the volume, keep moving and hope that people won’t notice the trail of broken claims in their wake.

    This means that trying to debate with them is a frustrating and often futile exercise. It takes 30 seconds to make a misleading scientific statement and 30 minutes to refute it. By machine-gunning their opponents with falsehoods, the deniers put scientists in an impossible position: either you seek to answer their claims, which can’t be done in the time available, or you let them pass, in which case the points appear to stand. Many an eminent scientist has come unstuck in these situations. This is why science is conducted in writing, where claims can be tested and sources checked.

    So when the Australian geologist Professor Ian Plimer challenged me to a face-to-face debate in July(1), I didn’t exactly leap at the chance. His book Heaven and Earth, which purports to destroy the science of climate change, contains page after page of schoolboy errors and pseudoscientific gobbledegook. As the professor of astrophysics Michael Ashley wrote, “It is not ‘merely’ atmospheric scientists that would have to be wrong for Plimer to be right. It would require a rewriting of biology, geology, physics, oceanography, astronomy and statistics.”(2) But never, as far as I can determine, has Plimer responded to the devastating points made by his critics. He just keeps shifting his ground.

  7. Ask Umbra on combating climate denial

    Posted 9:00 PM on 15 Sep 2009
    by Umbra Fisk

    This “year with no summer” and some alleged statistics I have seen quoted about earth-wide temperatures for the last ten years have resulted in claims that the earth is not heating—it may even be cooling. What about it?

    Arthur Waskow
    Shalom Center, Philadelphia

    That would be great. The planet needs some cooling, and humans certainly aren’t doing anything to help. But let us remember the difference between weather and climate.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does confirm that summer 2009 in the contiguous U.S. was 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit below the 20th Century average of 72.1 degrees. We notice no concomitant change in policy from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, or any other reputable source, so we must conclude that a cool summer was only weather, and that in general the overall climate remains on track for warming.

    After all, the last decades have included the hottest years on record, when you look at ocean and surface temperatures. Last year was the eighth-warmest on record; full stats are not yet in on 2009, of course, but already we know that the world’s oceans set a heat record in July. All this does not seem to indicate ten years worth of cooling temperatures.

  8. Behind the Furor Over a Climate Change Skeptic

    Published: September 24, 2009

    WASHINGTON — Alan Carlin, a 72-year-old analyst and economist, had labored in obscurity in a little-known office at the Environmental Protection Agency since the Nixon administration.

    In June, however, he became a sudden celebrity with the surfacing of a few e-mail messages that seemed to show that his contrarian views on global warming had been suppressed by his superiors because they were inconvenient to the Obama administration’s climate change policy. Conservative commentators and Congressional Republicans said he had been muzzled because he did not toe the liberal line.

    But a closer look at his case and a broader set of internal E.P.A. documents obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act paint a more complicated picture.

    It is true that Dr. Carlin’s supervisor refused to accept his comments on a proposed E.P.A. finding, since adopted, that greenhouse gases endangered health and the environment, and that he did so in a dismissive way.

    But the newly obtained documents show that Dr. Carlin’s highly skeptical views on global warming, which have been known for more than a decade within the small unit where he works, have been repeatedly challenged by scientists inside and outside the E.P.A.; that he holds a doctorate in economics, not in atmospheric science or climatology; that he has never been assigned to work on climate change; and that his comments on the endangerment finding were a product of rushed and at times shoddy scholarship, as he acknowledged Thursday in an interview.

  9. 8 October 09
    Who’s paying for McIntyre’s attack on Hockey Stick?

    In the Canadian tradition, it would be “unparliamentary” to accuse ClimateAudit’s Steve McIntyre of purposefully misrepresenting climate science, but his latest attack on the so-called “hockey stick” suggests that McIntyre is a great deal more interested in scoring distorted debating points than in saying anything that is actually factually correct.

    McIntyre, apparently a retired mining stock promoter, has enjoyed a certain degree of fame in the denier community since 2003, when he and an economist named Ross McKitrick launched an attack on a graph (inset) by the highly respected actual scientist, Michael Mann.

    In response to the M&M attack, Mann published an amendment to his original work, giving deniers the world over the courage to say that the original graph had been “debunked.” They then extrapolated to say that if there was an error in this single graph, that must mean that climate change wasn’t happening or wasn’t caused by humans – that the whole anthropogenic theory had collapsed in the math of a single published paper. Here is a recent and typically ridiculous example.

  10. Consensus, what is it good for?
    Posted on: October 16, 2009 6:35 PM, by coby

    There is an overwhelming consensus supporting the basic tenets of anthropogenic global warming theory. Those tenets are that CO2 levels are rising, this rise is caused by human activity, this rise is causing a rapid warming trend and this trend will continue unless CO2 levels stabilise. Contrarians still like to deny this, but the existence of this consensus is an indisputable fact.

    Additionally, but with much less certainty, the general picture emerging from scientific research is that the kinds of temperature changes that may be in the near future (~50 years) will cause problems ranging from very difficult to catastrophic.

  11. 18 October 09
    Pity Rex Murphy. At this point, he has no place to go.

    For years, Canada’s most famous climate denier —- a national broadcaster, columnist and author -— has railed against science.

    He’s positioned himself as a kind of noble dissident, one of but a few remaining voices of “reason” questioning the motives of the more than 450 lead-author scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Now he’s inched further out on his already cracking and splintering limb with a column that equates climate activists such as Al Gore with crazed zealots. The occasion is the release of Canadian Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s new green-economy platform, which the parliamentarian calls “the most significant investment in clean energy jobs this country has ever seen.”

  12. Expertise, and “expertise”


    STEVEN LEVITT and Stephen Dubner have reprised their Freakonomics roles in “SuperFreakonomics”, which is due out in just a few days. As it happens, some chapters from the book are already in circulation, including one on “global cooling” which has drawn quite a bit of criticism, including responses from respected climate scientists and environmental economists. Mssrs Dubner and Levitt have attempted to respond, but I find the criticism of their work to be quite compelling; it appears that the authors made a number of outright errors and generally opted to present their case in a manner aimed more at provoking controversy than informing, which is highly irresponsible given the subject matter.

    With the reputation Mr Levitt built for himself through the first book and his New York Times blog, he could easily have made himself millions of dollars with a sequel focused on these kinds of questions. But instead he and Mr Dubner wrote a chapter that differs dramatically in style and method from what we’ve all come to understand as the Freakonomics way.

  13. Skepticism over global warming on rise, poll suggests

    By Dina Cappiello
    Associated Press / October 23, 2009

    WASHINGTON – The number of Americans who believe there is solid evidence that the earth is warming is at its lowest point in three years, and the number who see the situation as a serious problem has also declined, according to a survey released yesterday.

    And the share of people who believe pollution caused by humans is causing temperatures to rise has also taken a dip, even as the United States and world forums gear up for possible action against climate change.

    In the poll of 1,500 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, the number of people saying there is strong scientific evidence that the earth has gotten warmer over the past few decades is down to 57 percent from 71 percent in April of last year.

  14. Local authors take on climate change deniers
    By Charlie Smith

    Climate Cover-Up is one of two new books written by local authors—the other being Donald Gutstein’s Not a Conspiracy Theory: How Business Propaganda Hijacks Democracy (Key Porter Books, $22.95)—that show how the fossil-fuel industry has sunk millions of dollars into campaigns designed to derail public concerns about human-induced climate change. Both books demonstrate how the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil, has funded numerous think tanks, including the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute, which later issued reports criticizing the IPCC’s scientific consensus on global warming.

    In December, a major United Nations climate conference will begin in Copenhagen to try to reach a new international treaty on global emissions that will be approved by the United States, China, and India. Climate Cover-Up and Not a Conspiracy Theory offer compelling insights for anyone interested in learning why there is so much confusion about this issue in the media. The Hoggan and Littlemore book focuses exclusively on global warming, touching on such things as the coal industry’s efforts to sideswipe mitigation measures. It also focuses on how clever use of language is helping to undermine action on climate change.

    In the other book, Gutstein, a retired SFU communications professor, doesn’t merely look at how industrial forces have used propaganda to stall action around climate change. He includes case studies showing how business groups have also influenced the debate about medicare, continental integration, DDT, and other areas through slick public-relations techniques that often zero in on key decision makers and sympathetic national media commentators.

  15. Rejecting the “Global Cooling” Myth

    By Al Gore

    Global cooling is a myth, designed by climate deniers to prevent us from having a real debate on this vital issue. Don’t take my word for it. Here is what the AP and four independent statisticians say: “It’s not true, according to an analysis of the numbers done by several independent statisticians for The Associated Press.” “The case that the Earth might be cooling partly stems from recent weather. Last year was cooler than previous years. It’s been a while since the super-hot years of 1998 and 2005. So is this a longer climate trend or just weather’s normal ups and downs?” “In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.” “”If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect,” said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina””. Facts should drive the debate, not myths from those intent on keeping the status quo in place.

  16. Nicholas Stern’s 2009 book A Blueprint for a Safer Planet: How to Manage Climate Change and Create a New Era of Progress and Prosperity contains a good quote about climate science and risk management:

    The argument for inaction, or for weak or delayed action, would make sense on the basis of reservations about the science only if one could assert that we know for certain that the risks are small. In the face of the evidence we now have, that is a complacent, ignorant and dangerous position to take. It is not healthy skepticism or an openness of mind; it is a denial of evidence and reason.

    We have to hope that message gets through to policy-makers in states that are major emitters, and that it does so while the costs of mitigation are still manageable.

  17. Skeptics claim global warming is fake after top scientists’ emails hacked at CRU

    Posted 4:43 PM on 20 Nov 2009
    by Ashley Braun

    With the Copenhagen climate talks upon us we learn that hackers recently broke into thousands of emails and internal documents from a leading climate research center and dumped them onto an anonymous Russian server. The hacked emails (160 MB worth, unzipped) came from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU). They allegedly include 20-year’s worth of exchanges between top U.S. and British climate scientists who were debating the latest developments in climate research. Global warming skeptics, the internet over, are using the (illegal) hacking to claim that global warming is a hoax, full of fudged data and dishonest, conspiratorial scientists. It’s “the global warming scandal of the century,” claim conservative bloggers.

    A CRU spokesperson confirmed that their server was hacked; however, the spokesperson told the BBC that “Because of the volume of this information we cannot currently confirm that all of this material is genuine.”

    The exchanges reportedly include discussions about climate data and how to respond to climate skeptics, a few blunt comments about the most fervent deniers, and one doctored photo of climate skeptics stranded on an ice floe.

  18. “Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

    Orwell, George. “Politics and the English Language.”

  19. Climate Change: Countering the Contrarians

    By Maggie Koerth-Baker on zomgwereallgonnadierunhide

    Scientific American talks evidence, digging into seven arguments against the reality of climate change that, if not the most frequently-cited in general, are certainly the most frequently cited in BoingBoing comment threads. Personally, I’ve started trying to avoid the snarky, dismissive tone this piece veers a bit into…I just don’t think it helps anything to make the honest skeptics feel mocked. (The oil lobbyists, the anti-semetic conspiracy nuts, etc. can be easily and freely mocked on an individual basis.) But that aside, the article is worth reading. Good answers given for:

    * Anthropogenic CO2 can’t be changing climate, because CO2 is only a trace gas in the atmosphere and the amount produced by humans is dwarfed by the amount from volcanoes and other natural sources.

    * The alleged “hockey stick” graph of temperatures over the past 1,600 years has been disproved. It doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of a “medieval warm period” around 1000 A.D. that was hotter than today is.

    * Global warming stopped a decade ago; the earth has been cooling since then.

    * The sun or cosmic rays are much more likely to be the real causes of global warming.

    * Climatologists conspire to hide the truth about global warming by locking away their data. Their so-called “consensus” on global warming is scientifically irrelevant because science isn’t settled by popularity.

    Climatologists have a vested interest in raising the alarm because it brings them money and prestige.

    * Technological fixes, such as inventing energy sources that don’t produce CO2 or geoengineering the climate, would be more affordable, prudent ways to address climate change than reducing our carbon footprint.

    Scientific American: Seven Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense

  20. Thomas Homer-Dixon and Andrew Weaver
    Responding to the skeptics

    Despite wide agreement among scientists on the basic facts of global warming, many people remain confused about the issue. The vigorous efforts of skeptical commentators have raised doubts about the scientific consensus. These skeptics use four arguments most commonly. Here we offer a short refutation of each.

  21. Don’t let the climate doubters fool you

    By Alan I. Leshner
    Wednesday, December 9, 2009; 6:48 PM

    Don’t be fooled about climate science. In April, 1994 — long after scientists had clearly demonstrated the addictive quality and devastating health impacts of cigarette smoking — seven chief executives of major tobacco companies denied the evidence, swearing under oath that nicotine was not addictive.

    Now, the American public is again being subjected to those kinds of denials, this time about global climate change. While former Alaska governor Sarah Palin wrote in her Dec. 9 op-ed that she did not deny the “reality of some changes in climate,” she distorted the clear scientific evidence that Earth’s climate is changing, largely as a result of human behaviors. She also badly confused the concepts of daily weather changes and long-term climate trends when she wrote that “while we recognize the occurrence of these natural, cyclical environmental trends, we can’t say with assurance that man’s activities cause weather changes.” Her statement inaccurately suggests that short-term weather fluctuations must be consistent with long-term climate patterns. And it is the long-term patterns that are a cause for concern.

    Climate-change science is clear: The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide — derived mostly from the human activities of fossil-fuel burning and deforestation — stands at 389 parts per million (ppm). We know from studying ancient Antarctic ice cores that this concentration is higher than it has been for at least the past 650,000 years. Exhaustive measurements tell us that atmospheric carbon dioxide is rising by 2 ppm every year and that the global temperature has increased by about 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century. Multiple lines of other evidence, including reliable thermometer readings since the 1880s, reveal a clear warming trend. The broader impacts of climate change range from rapidly melting glaciers and rising sea levels to shifts in species ranges.

    Thousands of respected scientists at an array of institutions worldwide agree that major health and economic impacts are likely unless we act now to slow greenhouse gas emissions. Already, sea levels are estimated to rise by 1 to 2 meters by the end of this century. Some scientists have said that average temperatures could jump by as much as 4 degrees Fahrenheit if the atmospheric carbon dioxide level reaches 450 ppm. We may face even more dangerous impacts at 550 ppm, and above that level, devastating events. U.S. crop productivity would be affected, while European communities might suffer increased fatalities because of intensely hot summers.

  22. Here are some ways in which deniers are hypocritical (feel free to add suggestions in the comments):

    1. They profess that markets can solve all problems while simultaneously preaching that businesses will never be able to adapt to higher energy prices.

    2. They argue that siting problems (e.g. urban heat island) render temperature data useless, while simultaneously arguing that adjusting for those problems constitutes scientific fraud/ fudging the data.

    3. They say they support free markets, but oppose cap-and-trade (the free market solution to climate change).

    4. They advocate skepticism and oppose proclamations that “the science is certain,” while simultaneously claiming certainty that all climate science is one big hoax.

    5. They argued that averting a 1% chance of catastrophic terrorist attacks justified spending $100 billion a year on the Iraq war, but oppose investing billions of dollars per year in averting a much higher risk of catastrophic climate change. (see this Tom Friedman article)

    6. They said the US did not need a permission slip from other countries to go to war in Iraq, but don’t want to act on climate change until poor countries have done so.

    7. They claim that the US temperature record is unreliable when it reports warm temperatures, but have no problems using the US temperature to report cool temperatures.

    8. They say it is arrogant and “elitist” for climatologists to defend their science, but have no problems with the arrogance of laypeople questioning a science they have never studied.

    9. They support subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power but not for renewable energy.

    10. They claim to believe in property rights, but don’t stop polluters from sending their CO2 onto other people’s property (or the common property of the atmosphere).

    11. They call themselves “conservatives” but oppose efforts at conservation.

    12. They claim humans are not wise enough to intervene in the economy without causing unintended consequences, but have no problems with humans massively intervening in Nature by pumping CO2 into the atmosphere (WAG).

    13. They say it’s unwise to make decisions off of uncertain climate models, while basing their own predictions of economic doom off of uncertain economic models (WAG).

    14. Humanity adding ~15Gt/year (net) to ~3000Gt baseline atmospheric CO2 is “pissing in the ocean” but spending 0.1% of GDP per year on reducing emissions will precipitate world-wide economic collapse (anonymous).

    15. They removed regulation from banks in the name of free markets, then spent trillions of dollars to rescue banks because they were too big to fail. But they refuse to spend smaller amounts on the greater damage of climate change, even though it’s more important that the planet not be allowed to fail (anonymous).

    16. They say 30 years is too short a time to conclude there’s a global warming trend, but base their own claims of “global cooling” on a 10-year trend (Tony O’Brien).

    17. They say scientists don’t respect skepticism or disagreement, then point to disagreements between scientists as evidence of conspiracy or that the science isn’t “certain” (Tony O’Brien)

    18. They say CO2 can’t affect climate, but also use the argument that CO2 must be saving us from an ice age (Tony O’Brien)

    19. They demand more science/research before we can make a decision, then oppose funding for that research (Tony O’Brien).

    20. They never criticise each other even when taking opposite sides. Just ignore the discrepancies and charge ahead. When one argument looses traction recycle an old one, e.g. they say it’s the sun causing global warming, and when the sun cools down they say it’s cosmic rays (Tony O’Brien).

    21. Denier Willis Eschenbach falsely accuses Australian scientists of fraud for “blatantly bogus” adjustments of temperature data – without ever contacting the scientists to ask why the adjustments were made, or even mentioning their previously-published explanations. Then, when The Economist calls him out, Willis whines, “the Economist did not contact me before publishing an article full of false accusations, incorrect assumptions and wrong statements.” (WAG)

    22. They accuse university scientists, small renewable energy companies, and Al Gore of manufacturing “alarmism” for money, while ignoring the far greater financial incentives of the giant fossil fuel industry to manufacture doubt, denial, and delay. (WAG)

    23. They call their opponents “alarmists”, but warn of impending economic doom should we try do anything to counteract AGW (anonymous). [I particularly like this one – I’m going to dedicate a whole post to it soon. In the meantime, here’s a previous post to help visualize what “economic doom” looks like.]

    24. They promote nuclear power (and pooh-pooh small scale “roof-top” photovoltaics), while decrying government control over anything else (anonymous).

    25. They plead for balance and respect of dissenting opinions, and yet they continually insult people who disagree with them. (Steve Carson) [e.g. “Leftists, Communists, eliteists snakes that prey on our children in their quest to take over the world.”]

    26. They say, “You can’t trust proxy data so the hockey stick is wrong,” but then they claim “Loehle’s reconstruction shows the Medieval Warm Period is warmer than today!” (Prof. Mandia) [One of my favorites]

    27. Denier S. Fred Singer: “From the very beginning, the IPCC was a political rather than scientific entity, with its leading scientists reflecting the positions of their governments or seeking to induce their governments to adopt the IPCC position.” But then: “A reviewer of IPCC reports, Singer now shares the 2007 Nobel peace prize with Al Gore,” according to materials announcing his keynote speech at a one day conference ‘Have Humans Changed the Climate?,’ hosted by Roger Helmer, a British conservative member of the European Parliament.” (Prof. Mandia)

    28. They claim that temperature data that shows warming cannot be trusted because it has been fraudulently adjusted, but then use that same data when it shows temporary cooling to say that “observations prove the models’ predictions wrong.” (WAG)

    29. They say climate scientist have a “bad scientific attitude”, never criticising each other. And when there is a scientific discussion they claim it proves that “the science is not settled”. (Anonymous)

    30. They demand full disclosure of data and code from scientists who agree with the IPCC’s conclusions; and yet, when asked for their code or data to replicate denier studies, they try every weasel way to avoid sharing code and data (see Scafetta’s dodging at RC) (True Skeptic)

    31. They challenge the scientific consensus and demand empirical “proof” that it is correct, yet at the same time insist that they don’t have to prove anything themselves. “I’m just asking questions!” (Rumble) [Here’s where the proof is]

    32. They oppose government regulation to control CO2 emissions, improve fossil fuel efficiency, encourage energy conservation and encourge research into and development of renewable energy, because that would be “too much government intervention in people’s lives.” Yet by and large they are the same people who will pass laws to prevent/regulate abortion, gay marriage. (Anonymous)

    33. Climate change deniers demand unequivocal proof that CO2 is causing dangerous global warming, even though they are unable to present any evidence at all that it is safe to allow atmospheric CO2 levels to continue to rise indefinitely. (RF Shop)

    34. They do not trust the reliability of modern instrumental records, citing poor calibration and inadequate coverage, but are quick to point to anecdotes of Vikings or of other early Europeans as evidence that the entire planet was warmer in preindustrial times. (Mike G)

    35. They claim proxies are also unreliable during modern times when they show dramatic warming in agreement with the instrumental record, yet denialists use them to show with great certainty that it was much warmer at various points in Earth’s history, back to several million years, or that CO2 was much higher at certain times in the past to high degrees of precision. (Mike G)

    36.They say instrumental measurements are unreliable for measuring surface temperatures and as evidence of such, deniers point out that the measurements are being corrected constantly. Then they say that it is much more accurate to measure temperatures from 200 miles up by converting microwave measurements to temperature and then attempting to filter out signals from each layer you’re not interested in. The constant corrections for computational errors and orbital drifts are not evidence against reliability in this case. (Mike G)

    37. They say it’s disingenuous to point to extreme weather events (Hurricane Katrina, wild fires, etc.) as evidence of warming, but crow joyously over every cold weather event (“it’s snowing in Texas!). (WAG)

    38. They point to the “decline” in tree-ring proxy data as evidence that Michael Mann is covering up cooling temperatures, but criticize proxies as unreliable when they show past temperatures cooler than today’s (and when temps look warmer in the past, they accept the proxy data as reliable again). (WAG)

    39. They say the US can’t act on greenhouse gas reductions until other countries agree to, and then fly to Copenhagen to try to prevent other countries from acting (WAG)

    40. When climate scientists don’t speak publically about their work they are accused of hiding in their ivory towers’. When they do talk publically they are accused of politicising science. (Anonymous)

    41. When climate scientsits don’t respond to attacks and smears they are again accused of hiding in their ivory towers’, when they do defend themselves they are accused of circling the wagons and promoting the party line. (Anonymous)

    42. Deniers claim that projections of warming can’t be trusted because (they think) scientists made doom and gloom predictions of global cooling in the 1970’s. However they accept the claims that regulation will be ineffective and/or economic suicide despite the fact that the think tanks and lobbies that are pushing those predictions also made (incorrect) doom and gloom predictions that phasing out CFCs and leaded gasoline would be ineffective and/or economic suicide. (Anonymous)

    43. Deniers claim that anthropogenic global warming is a partisan, political line rather than legitimate science, and then argue against it by citing talking heads and press releases from industry front-groups, or “free market” think-tanks. (Wheels)

    44. Taking as gospel truth sources which up until that moment they had previously castigated as never to be trusted (e.g. last year’s Pravda article claiming the Sun was the cause of GW) (Sergei Rostov)

    45. Criticizing AGWers [people who accept the reality of anthropogenic global warming] because of their political and/or religious leanings while complaining they are being criticizing solely because of their political and/or religious leanings. (Sergei Rostov)

    46. They say that we know nothing about clouds and subsequently they say that clouds can explain the warming trend. (Jesús)

    47. They say there hasn’t been any warming, but later they explain the warming with mechamism different than CO2. (Jesús)

    48. They explain the warming with mutually exclusive theories (eg. cloud albedo, sun, ocean currents…) (Jesús)

    49. They criticize climate advocates for “wanting to send us into a technological dark age,” even though they themselves advocate the use of 19th century energy production technologies over innovation and research. (WAG)

    50. They favor the UAH satellite data and say it is the most accurate – until that data also shows warming, and they start looking for errors in it.

  23. RealClimate’s April Fools post does a good idea of highlighting the incoherence that exists in denier circles:

    “The contrarians have made a convincing case that (a) global warming isn’t happening, (b) even if it is, its entirely natural and within the bounds of natural variability, (c) well, even if its not natural, it is modest in nature and not a threat, (d) even if anthropogenic warming should turn out to be pronounced as projected, it will sure be good for us, leading to abundant crops and a healthy environment, and (e) well, it might actually be really bad, but hey, its unstoppable anyway.”

  24. “Ed Miliband, the U.K. Climate Secretary, had some tough words for climate crisis deniers: “Miliband declared a “battle” against the “siren voices” who denied global warming was real or caused by humans, or that there was a need to cut carbon emissions to tackle it.” “It’s right that there’s rigour applied to all the reports about climate change, but I think it would be wrong that when a mistake is made it’s somehow used to undermine the overwhelming picture that’s there,” he said. “We know there’s a physical effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leading to higher temperatures, that’s a question of physics; we know CO2 concentrations are at their highest for 6,000 years; we know there are observed increases in temperatures; and we know there are observed effects that point to the existence of human-made climate change. That’s what the vast majority of scientists tell us.” Deniers have been grasping at straws, attempting to make the case that there is no climate crisis. But the evidence is simply too overwhelming. As we learned a few weeks ago, 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record. The fact is, the media has been complicit in these efforts, often giving equal voice to those attempting to distort the truth for political or financial gain. Ed Miliband is exactly right to take them head-on.”

  25. Questions and answers on climate change
    Clearing the air on some of the issues surrounding global warming

    Is there scientific consensus?

    The 2007 report from the IPCC, a group of scientists from 113 countries who studied the peer-reviewed research, concluded they are 90 percent confident that global warming is caused by humans. Scientific research does not claim anything with absolute certainty, but this is about as close as it gets.

    The conclusion that humans are causing global warming also is shared by the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s leading scientific advisory body, and similar academies in 18 other countries.

    The level of confidence has increased over the years as research improved. A 1975 report from the National Academy concluded “we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course. Without the fundamental understanding, it does not seem possible to predict climate.”

    By 2001, with more information in hand, the Academy was more certain: “Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise.”

    Scientists say the changes can’t be explained by natural climate influences such as sunspot cycles, volcanic eruptions, water vapor, natural absorption of carbon dioxide, or shifts in ocean and atmospheric conditions. Computer models only reproduce warming measured during the past 50 years when the observed increase in greenhouse gases is included.

    “This is not a small change in the history of climate,” said Ray Pierrehumbert, a University of Chicago geophysicist who helped write an earlier IPCC report.

  26. July 19, 2010, 12:45 pm
    The Passing of a Climate Warrior

    Stephen H. Schneider, a Stanford University climate scientist who for decades built the case that global warming, while laden with complexity, justified an aggressive response, has died. Ralph Cicerone, the president of the National Academy of Sciences, of which Schneider was a longtime member, said he had confirmed the news.

    Schneider, who was 65, spent decades studying the forces influencing climate and the policy implications of human-driven warming, as well as pressing the case for action to curb emissions of greenhouse gases even as he battled and subdued a rare cancer in recent years. In an e-mail message to a group of contacts, his wife, Terry Root, a biologist at Stanford, said it appeared that he died of a heart attack today as a flight he was on was landing in London…

    In a phone chat, Cicerone at the academy described Schneider’s core traits, particularly his approach to forging policies that made sense even in the face of the persistent uncertainty about the worst-case impacts from warming:

    “His biggest goal in life was to see a rational approach to policy about climate change, where he tried to evaluate the odds and show people, just like in many other decisions in life, with climate they had to play the odds. He was trying to produce probabilistic ways to make evaluations that could work. In his lifetime, his approach on this became progressively more sophisticated.”

  27. Monckton makes it up
    Guest commentary by Barry R. Bickmore, Brigham Young University

    If you look around the websites dedicated to debunking mainstream climate science, it is very common to find Lord Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount of Brenchley, cited profusely. Indeed, he has twice testified about climate change before committees of the U.S. Congress, even though he has no formal scientific training. But if he has no training, why has he become so influential among climate change contrarians? After examining a number of his claims, I have concluded that he is influential because he delivers “silver bullets,” i.e., clear, concise, and persuasive arguments. The trouble is his compelling arguments are often constructed using fabricated facts. In other words, he makes it up. (Click here to see a number of examples by John Abraham, here for a few by myself, and here for some by Tim Lambert).

    Here I’m going to examine some graphs that Lord Monckton commonly uses to show that the IPCC has incorrectly predicted the recent evolution of global atmospheric CO2 concentration and mean temperature. A number of scientists have already pointed out that Monckton’s plots of “IPCC predictions” don’t correspond to anything the IPCC ever predicted. For example, see comments by Gavin Schmidt (Monckton’s response here,) John Nielsen-Gammon (Monckton’s response here,) and Lucia Liljegren. Monckton is still happily updating and using the same graphs of fabricated data, so why am I bothering to re-open the case?

  28. “I have shown here that in order to discredit the IPCC, Lord Monckton produced his graphs of atmospheric CO2 concentration and global mean temperature anomaly in the following manner:

    1. He confused a hypothetical scenario with a prediction.

    2. He falsely reported the data from the hypothetical scenario he was confusing with a prediction.

    3. He plugged his false data into the wrong equation to obtain false predictions of time-series temperature evolution.

    4. He messed up the statistical analyses of the real data.

    These errors compound into a rather stunning display of complete incompetence. But since all, or at least nearly all, of this has been pointed out to Monckton in the past, there’s just no scientifically valid excuse for this. He’s just making it up.”

  29. “The second recurring “red herring” is the equally absurd claim that scientists are blinded in their quest for research money and so have some conflict-of-interest in climate change research. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s just review the facts. It is the vast majority of scientists (me included) who argue that the scientific case for climate change has already been made and that it’s now time for action. It is the deniers who argue that not enough is known and more research is needed before action is taken. How can someone like me, who has repeatedly claimed “The science is in, it is time for action” be accused of concluding that greenhouse gases are causing climate warming for the simple reason of generating more research money? My main work on climate change has been completed. For me, the remaining issues are now largely political and policy related. My role as an environmental scientist is to move on to new problems and issues, while other scientists, engineers, and policy makers determine how best to deal with this serious issue.”

  30. Deutsche Bank Debunks Skeptics, Focuses Investment on Global Warming Solutions

    Deutsche Bank’s Climate Change Advisors released an excellent report this week drawing the “clear conclusion” that “the primary claims of the skeptics do not undermine the assertion that human-made climate change is already happening and is a serious long term threat.”

    The report, “Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments,” deftly refutes each of the major conspiracy howlers often made by climate skeptics and deniers – that global warming is a hoax, that the globe has been cooling since 1998, that higher temperatures caused by CO2 emissions will be good for people and agriculture, and of course the Climategate nonsense alleging climate scientists are part of a grand conspiracy.

    “The claims of conspiracy are not borne out by the facts,” the report states.

    The bank’s Climate Change Advisors, working with the Columbia University Climate Center at the Earth Institute, easily debunked each of the denier myths, and noted that extensive scientific studies have confirmed the world is facing a long-term climate threat.

  31. “I had an interesting experience talking to Dyson and Will Happer at a meeting last year. I was thrilled to talk with Dyson. I have loved his writing since my first mentor in physics handed me Dyson’s Disturbing The Universe along with the Feynman lectures when I started working in a big laser lab during high school. Later I enjoyed his papers when I got to field theory.

    Dyson’s comments on climate were disappointingly shallow. I said, “Are you concerned about the exaggeration of climate impacts or do you have serious concerns about the science?”

    “Both”, he replied. But when I pressed him on the science the only thing he said was that CO2 radiative forcing was logarithmic and complained that nobody knows this or talks about it. It was disappointing to hear such a shallow commentary from such a great man. Everyone who needs to knows that CO2 forcing is (roughly) logarithmic. This science is more than half a century old; it is in any textbook; the I.P.C.C. even as an “official” log forcing function that is widely used in simple policy analysis models. This science of building good high-resolution radiative transfer codes was nailed by Gilbert Plass and others at the air force geophysics lab in the 1950’s.

    If one is going to attack the climate science this is a very odd place to start.

    I also talked to Will Happer who testified in Congress, slamming climate science is nonsense. The conversation was much the same. When asked for some specific critique of the science his only answer concerned the saturation of the CO2 spectral lines, yet he seemed to have little or no familiarity with the content of modern (i.e. the last 30+ years) radiative transfer models which treat such line broadening with high accuracy; and, unlike some other components of climate models, this stuff can be well validated from both first principles and experiment (N.B., I built a high accuracy radiometer that flies on the U-2/ER-2 that does this). This critique is closely tied with Dyson’s comment about logarithmic response to CO2. It is likewise trivially without foundation. From Happer, a very smart and creative experimentalist in the same atomic and molecular physics world that I came from, this is embarrassing and disappointing.”

  32. This article really needs someone to write a detailed response:

    “It’s laziness. An urban legend,” says Mr. Harris, director of the International Climate Science Coalition, a league of researchers who maintain that the science of climate is copiously unsettled and, therefore, caution against premature policy prescriptions to address it. “You can say thousands of scientists agree, and then you don’t have to get into the actual facts.”

    Unfortunately, I am super busy at the moment.

  33. Prof. Richard Muller of Berkeley, a physicist who has gotten into the climate skeptic game, has been leading the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, an effort partially financed by none other than the Koch foundation. And climate deniers — who claim that researchers at NASA and other groups analyzing climate trends have massaged and distorted the data — had been hoping that the Berkeley project would conclude that global warming is a myth.

    Instead, however, Professor Muller reported that his group’s preliminary results find a global warming trend “very similar to that reported by the prior groups.”

    The deniers’ response was both predictable and revealing; more on that shortly. But first, let’s talk a bit more about that list of witnesses, which raised the same question I and others have had about a number of committee hearings held since the G.O.P. retook control of the House — namely, where do they find these people?

  34. “Emily Shuckburgh spends much of her time wrapped up against the cold on the far side of the world, measuring atmospheric and ocean eddies for the British Antarctic Survey. But over the past few months she has been rolling up her sleeves and travelling across the UK to confront the public heat over climate change.

    With support from Living With Environmental Change, a partnership between government departments and funding agencies, she has run a series of focus groups exploring people’s views on media coverage of science. She endorses projects such as, an attempt to engage the public directly in analysing historical sea temperature data. On secondment to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, she has also been posting videos on YouTube and engaging with “sceptics” via blogs.

    “It’s quite clear there has been a breakdown of trust between scientists and the public, and it’s important that we try to articulate more clearly what our processes are,” she says. “I’ve been working hard to find ways to communicate our findings. A lot of climate science is difficult and counter-intuitive. We really have to put more effort into explaining our work and making it understandable and relevant.” “

  35. The world is getting warmer, countering the doubts of climate change sceptics about the validity of some of the scientific evidence, according to the most comprehensive independent review of historical temperature records to date.

    Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, found several key issues that sceptics claim can skew global warming figures had no meaningful effect.

    The Berkeley Earth project compiled more than a billion temperature records dating back to the 1800s from 15 sources around the world and found that the average global land temperature has risen by around 1C since the mid-1950s.

    This figure agrees with the estimate arrived at by major groups that maintain official records on the world’s climate, including Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), and the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, with the University of East Anglia, in the UK.

  36. Climate change
    The heat is on
    A new analysis of the temperature record leaves little room for the doubters. The world is warming

    FOR those who question whether global warming is really happening, it is necessary to believe that the instrumental temperature record is wrong. That is a bit easier than you might think.

    There are three compilations of mean global temperatures, each one based on readings from thousands of thermometers, kept in weather stations and aboard ships, going back over 150 years. Two are American, provided by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one is a collaboration between Britain’s Met Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (known as Hadley CRU). And all suggest a similar pattern of warming: amounting to about 0.9°C over land in the past half century.

    To most scientists, that is consistent with the manifold other indicators of warming—rising sea-levels, melting glaciers, warmer ocean depths and so forth—and convincing. Yet the consistency among the three compilations masks large uncertainties in the raw data on which they are based. Hence the doubts, husbanded by many eager sceptics, about their accuracy. A new study, however, provides further evidence that the numbers are probably about right.

  37. A common argument against global warming is that the climate has always varied. “Temperatures rise sometimes and this is perfectly natural,” is the usual line. However, Svante Björck, a climate researcher at Lund University in Sweden, has now shown that global warming, i.e. simultaneous warming events in the northern and southern hemispheres, have not occurred in the past 20 000 years, which is as far back as it is possible to analyse with sufficient precision to compare with modern developments. Svante Björck’s study thus goes 14 000 years further back in time than previous studies have done. “What is happening today is unique from a historical geological perspective,” he says.

  38. Dan Pangburn’s argument, that if you integrate some property of the sunspots (number? energy? I’m not sure and it doesn’t matter) between some point in the past and now with respect to time, you arrive at the conclusion that the Earth is warming.

    Obviously, as the Earth is not a closed system with regards to energy from space, there is no merit to this approach. It is the idea of a teenager who has been exposed to integrals on the first day of Math 101.

    Furthermore, he tries to sound as though he is knowledgeable by employing math and science lingo as a version of an appeal to authority argument.

  39. Anti-Climate Change Extremism in Utah
    A Local Front in a Global Battle

    I’ve recently been involved with other scientists and scholars in Utah trying to stop the spread of outright lies, half-truths, abuses of data, and distortions about climate change. Much of this disinformation is coming from (or through) some Republican members of the Utah Legislature, and the other Republican (and some Democratic) members have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. A few local media outlets, like Provo’s Daily Herald, have also been active participants. Climate change is not just a global or national issue–it will also be played out at the state and local levels. Therefore, I see a need for some watchdogging specific to our neck of the woods. (In addition, I’m a Republican myself, and it galls me that my own party has locally fallen for a bunch of conspiracy theories and scientifically incompetent trash. In my opinion, something has to be done to save the party from disaster in the long run.)

    This blog is meant to 1) archive a record of the ongoing disinformation campaign in Utah, and 2) examine it in detail. Democracy depends on accurate information being readily available to the public, and I see people who propagate such disinformation campaigns as enemies of Democracy.

  40. Over the line
    Journal name: Nature
    Volume: 482, Page: 440
    Date published: (23 February 2012)
    DOI: doi:10.1038/482440b
    Published online 22 February 2012 

    Dishonesty, however tempting, is the wrong way to tackle climate sceptics.
    In a much-quoted Editorial in March 2010 (Nature 464, 141; 2010), this publication urged researchers to acknowledge that they are involved in a street fight over the communication of climate science. So would it now be hypocritical to condemn Peter Gleick for fighting dirty? Gleick, a hydroclimatologist and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security in Oakland, California, admitted in a statement on news website The Huffington Post on 20 February that he had duped the Heartland Institute, a right-wing think tank based in Chicago, Illinois, into handing over documents that detailed its financial support for climate sceptics. Gleick had passed these documents on to the website, which made them public on 14 February.
    Gleick’s deception — using an e-mail address set up in someone else’s name to request the documents from Heartland — is certainly in line with some of the tactics used to undermine climate science. When in November 2009 a hacker distributed thousands of e-mails stolen from climate researchers at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, Heartland was prominent among those who criticized not the hacker, but the scientists who wrote the messages. However, Gleick, as he has admitted, crossed an important line when he acted in such a duplicitous way. It was a foolish action for a scientist, especially one who regularly engages with the public and critics. Society rightly looks to scientists for fairness and impartiality. Dishonesty, whatever its form and motivation, is a stain on the individual and the profession. Gleick does deserve credit for coming clean — but, it must be said, he did so only after he was publicly accused on the Internet of being involved.
    The original accusation, incidentally, was more serious: that Gleick had deliberately forged a Heartland Institute memo that brought together, with suspicious convenience, the most incriminating sections of the other climate documents, which seem to have been presented to the Heartland board meeting in January. He denies doing so, and says that he received the memo, in which he is named and which Heartland says has been faked, separately from an anonymous source. The e-mail chicanery, he says, was an attempt to check whether it was genuine.


  41. While scientists and environmentalists criticize him for doing little to fight climate change, Environment Minister Peter Kent also has been questioned by his Conservative party colleagues, including the prime minister, about whether the scientific evidence is real and requires a government response.

    A series of letters signed by Kent have revealed he has faced many questions from colleagues in recent months about whether Canada needs to take action to reduce consumption of fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline that produce heat-trapping pollution and other toxic emissions in the atmosphere.

    But in each of the letters, released through access to information legislation, Kent defended scientific evidence, while dismissing myths such as a suggestion from one Conservative that volcanoes were a major contributor to global warming.

    “Even major volcanic eruptions emit only a very small fraction of carbon dioxide compared to annual human emissions,” Kent wrote in a Sept. 6, 2011 letter to one colleague that noted volcanic ash can cause short-term cooling in the atmosphere, lasting up to three years. “Volcanoes, in short, are not a major contributor to global warming.

    Although Environment Canada’s access to information office removed the name of this “colleague” who wrote to Kent about volcanoes after receiving an article from a constituent, the letters revealed the names of other MPs who had asked the environment minister to respond to similar questions from constituents casting doubts about scientific research on climate change.

    They included Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ontario MPs Barry Devolin and Terence Young and B.C. MP David Wilks – who recently sparked controversy for suggesting he didn’t fully support the government’s budget legislation.

    Kent also used his letters to defend the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has been targeted by climate change contrarians for more than a decade.

    “The intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, published in 2007, concluded that the climate system is clearly warming, as shown by increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level,” Kent wrote in a July 14 letter sent in response to questions raised by someone who had contacted Wilks. “The report also concluded that it is very likely that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for most of the observed warming since the mid-twentieth century, and that a human influence is now evident in many other aspects of the Earth’s climate.”

  42. Whatever the final outcome, it’s worth noting that, in a larger sense, Bast is correct: this tiny collection of deniers has actually been incredibly effective over the past years.

    The best of them — and that would be Marc Morano, proprietor of the website Climate Depot, and Anthony Watts, of the website Watts Up With That — have fought with remarkable tenacity to stall and delay the inevitable recognition that we’re in serious trouble. They’ve never had much to work with. Only one even remotely serious scientist remains in the denialist camp. That’s MIT’s Richard Lindzen, who has been arguing for years that while global warming is real it won’t be as severe as almost all his colleagues believe. But as a long article in the New York Times detailed last month, the credibility of that sole dissenter is basically shot. Even the peer reviewers he approved for his last paper told the National Academy of Sciences that it didn’t merit publication. (It ended up in a “little-known Korean journal.”)

    Deprived of actual publishing scientists to work with, they’ve relied on a small troupe of vaudeville performers, featuring them endlessly on their websites. Lord Christopher Monckton, for instance, an English peer (who has been officially warned by the House of Lords to stop saying he’s a member) began his speech at Heartland’s annual conference by boasting that he had “no scientific qualification” to challenge the science of climate change.

    He’s proved the truth of that claim many times, beginning in his pre-climate-change career when he explained to readers of the American Spectator that “there is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life.” His personal contribution to the genre of climate-change mass-murderer analogies has been to explain that a group of young climate-change activists who tried to take over a stage where he was speaking were “Hitler Youth.”

    Or consider Lubos Motl, a Czech theoretical physicist who has never published on climate change but nonetheless keeps up a steady stream of web assaults on scientists he calls “fringe kibitzers who want to become universal dictators” who should “be thinking how to undo your inexcusable behavior so that you will spend as little time in prison as possible.” On the crazed killer front, Motl said that, while he supported many of Norwegian gunman Anders Breivik’s ideas, it was hard to justify gunning down all those children — still, it did demonstrate that “right-wing people… may even be more efficient while killing — and the probable reason is that Breivik may have a higher IQ than your garden variety left-wing or Islamic terrorist.”

    If your urge is to laugh at this kind of clown show, the joke’s on you — because it’s worked. I mean, James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who has emerged victorious in every Senate fight on climate change, cites Motl regularly; Monckton has testified four times before the U.S. Congress.

  43. Recently two research teams, working independently and using different methods, reached an alarming conclusion: The West Antarctic ice sheet is doomed. The sheet’s slide into the ocean, and the resulting sharp rise in sea levels, will probably happen slowly. But it’s irreversible. Even if we took drastic action to limit global warming right now, this particular process of environmental change has reached a point of no return.

    Meanwhile, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida — much of whose state is now fated to sink beneath the waves — weighed in on climate change. Some readers may recall that in 2012 Mr. Rubio, asked how old he believed the earth to be, replied “I’m not a scientist, man.” This time, however, he confidently declared the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change false, although in a later interview he was unable to cite any sources for his skepticism.

    So why would the senator make such a statement? The answer is that like that ice sheet, his party’s intellectual evolution (or maybe more accurately, its devolution) has reached a point of no return, in which allegiance to false doctrines has become a crucial badge of identity.

  44. “Ideologies are problem because they’re very broad umbrellas of ideas and all fit together, like a puzzle it’s been assembled, you know a jigsaw puzzle has been assembled into a big picture. And so usually it covers lot more territory than climate change, climate change is one of the pieces of the puzzle. And so the difficulty with the ideology is that if the rest of the ideology fits climate change in a skeptical or denialist way, then it’s very hard, because it’s like taking trying to move the whole puzzle around. Between you and me I’ve never used this analogy before, but it seems to fit, but the obvious one is generally conservative politics. It’s hard, but not impossible, to move that one puzzle piece with the rest of, you know, big business—“business is good,” “more and more,” “grow or die capitalism,” etc., it’s hard to square that– that’s not the right word with a puzzle piece–it’s hard to fit that in with climate change. Although, I have to say that recently I’ve read some pieces that the real change some people think, is going to come when top business leaders see that it’s actually going to hurt their business. And apparently there is a fair amount of movement among big business CEOs to say, “Yeah, it doesn’t fit with my traditional views, but I’m convinced that this going to have a negative impact on my shareholders, and my shares.” So this is a bit strange, and a bit new, but this is great, because those people do have a lot of power. So that’s one,

    System justification is more about the average middle-class person, who says, “Well, does this mean my lifestyle is going to change? I don’t really want to do anything because I don’t want this boat to rock, I got two cars in the driveway, and a nice house here in the suburbs, I don’t really want that to change.”

    And then you have people who were kind of engineer-oriented, I know a lot of engineers who are on board, but some engineers, or some people who think engineers can solve every problem, have a techno-salvation problem, and in my view and think, well, it’s not my job to do anything, the engineers will fix it.”

  45. Survey: Canadians are increasingly denying science, climate and vaccines

    43% of Canadians believe “science is a matter of opinion,” 47% think the science of global warming is “unclear”; 24% of Canadian millennials are anti-vaxxers, all according to a Leger survey of 1,514 Canadians.

    The key numbers are up from last year (climate denial was 40% last year).

    Under 12 years of Stephen Harper’s Petro-Conservative government, climate denial was official government policy, with the state literally incinerating its climate archives and appointing unqualified adolescents from among the party’s doorbell ringers to serve as political minders for the country’s scientists.

    Many welcomed the election of the young, photogenic hereditary Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, despite a host of reactionary policies he had backed in opposition, especially continued explansion of destructive oil pipelines, a promise Trudeau renewed once Trump was elected.

  46. In Fight Over Science Education in Idaho, Lawmakers Move to Minimize Climate

    When Idaho lawmakers scrubbed all mentions of human-caused climate change from the state’s education standards last year, they faced a swift backlash from teachers, parents and students who said that censoring science would leave students disadvantaged, jobs unfilled and the state unprepared for the future.

    On Wednesday, the Idaho House Education Committee approved a revised set of standards that included some discussion of climate change. But the committee cut a section on the environmental impact of nonrenewable sources of energy and removed supporting content for standards that contained multiple references to human-driven warming.

    The House committee’s decision is not final. The state’s Senate Education Committee will have a chance to weigh in, and the standards will need final approval from both chambers.

    The sections on climate change that were cut had been watered down to satisfy lawmakers, and science education advocates had hoped the House committee would accept the revised standards in full. They said they were disappointed but not surprised by the committee’s decision.

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