Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.


Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe

Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...

Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts


Climate Hustle

Recent Comments

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next

Comments 1 to 50:

  1. Scientists are figuring out the keys to convincing people about global warming

    This is terrific and I think people's attitude does change when they discover that the science behind it is something a high-school grad can easily grasp - the link to how global warming works is a very good illustration of just that

    On my university radio show I like to repeat the number 36 Billion Tons - because that's annually how much CO2 is spewed - I believe that number may even be a little low for last year - and of course, how could 36 Billion Tons of anything put into a system (climate) not have an effect?

  2. Scientists are figuring out the keys to convincing people about global warming

    I'm with bozzza. Need more information in sources the general public sees. I'm no expert, not even close, but read this blog and the other sources, including the denialist's sites. Without going overboard and being careful to preempt the traps of "it's been warm before"and "the temperature data is phony" for consumption by the average American in news stories, in print (where us seniors still get a lot of our information, pand TV, documentary programs like NOVA. More, thought provoking information on changing animal migration habits, growing seasons, droughts, frequency of  record temperatures, and (at least to me) the increase in frequency and intensity of violent weather, Ft McMurray fire, melting ice and glaciers, including Glacier NP, geared to the average citizen. 

  3. funglestrumpet at 01:47 AM on 6 May 2016
    Scientists are figuring out the keys to convincing people about global warming

    As far as I can make out, time is not on our side. Indeed according to some scientists it is already too late and we might as well 'eat, drink, laugh and be merry' etc. Before I join them I would like to see those who have done their darndest to do harm to our species punished for their behaviour. 

    As background for public consumption, how about a weekly feature that shows progress towards known tipping points - in ascending order of importance and showing ramifications if crossed? (I guess the clathrate/methane situation would be at the top.)

    We could have a Kickstarter campaign to fund litigation against those who can be legitimately accused of abusing their position of influence on the issue of climate change.

    It would be unusual for the scietific community to take such action and should draw attention to the message that action is essential and long overdue.

  4. Handy resources when facing a firehose of falsehoods

    @ Digby Scorgie & chriskoz


    I did not respond back due to his last comment "its only a theory or idea."  That pretty much suggested to me that his "said" credentials were false, not to mention his WUWT link and not addressing my direct question asking if he had sourced the actual published paper he was trashing, which BTW was the Cook et al, 2015 Consensus paper. 


    I appreciate your comments and suggestions, I think I'll go back and address the specific fallacy to see what response I get back.  I also like the idea of asking what evidence he would need to see in order to accept global warming.  Thank you both for your input.

  5. Scientists are figuring out the keys to convincing people about global warming

    Here are my three sentences to start the ball rolling:

    _WE_ are the polluters.

    _WE_ contribute CO2 to Global Warming when we drive our cars and use energy generated from fossil fuels.

    _WE_ must reduce energy use and go for renewable energy generation.

  6. Digby Scorgie at 20:16 PM on 5 May 2016
    Handy resources when facing a firehose of falsehoods

    RickG @2

    It's too late to tell your friend that he's been caught for a sucker by the psycopaths of the fossil-fuel industry.  However, I'm curious to know what he would consider as "proper" evidence of global warming.  In other words, if in his eyes global warming were really to occur, what would he expect to see happening around the world?  I speculated on this elsewhere at this site, but was told I'd get nowhere.  What do you think?

  7. Scientists are figuring out the keys to convincing people about global warming

    The article above talks a lot of sense. This got me pondering about the scientific theory of evolution, and when it was first introduced. There was a lot of scepticism from various groups, especially religious groups.

    The theory of evolution was also difficult to grasp if you didn't know much science. More importantly is it required visualising many small compounding changes over big time scales. Even now some people are still sceptical that this could lead to something like the human eye or ear.

    See the obvious parallels with climate change denial?

    In time more people will grasp climate change and its causes, and will put their ideological biases aside. But lets face facts, some people will never be persuaded, just as with evolution.

  8. Scientists are figuring out the keys to convincing people about global warming

    The key is getting the multi year sea ice figures on the front page !


    I say we all utilise the YouTube comments section !!


    Problem solved!!!

  9. Handy resources when facing a firehose of falsehoods


    I know it's time consuming but did you try the debunking recepe from Cook, Lewandowsky (2011) (on the right margin) to your denier:

    - start with the heading about the fact, followed by explanation of the fact,

    - then a short mention of the myth,

    - then explain the fallacy involved.

    Last point is simple in your case, even without the details. The logical falacy of latest argument by your denier is argumentation from authority. Obviously a false authority, because a practicing meteorologist is not an expert in climate sicence.

    Don't leave the denier without the response, because s/he be under impression of winning the argument which reinforces a false belief. Respond honestly with "You're wrong on it but will respond with details later" if you don't have time or patience anymore.

  10. Scientists are figuring out the keys to convincing people about global warming

    The Shi et al. study may have finally gotten to the root points that need to be communicated to and understood by the average person/voter for them to appreciate the need for serious action on climate change. What we need now are specific sentence(s) that can be repeated ad nauseum until finally they are heard by the average person for the first time.

    I'd like to propose that SkS run a contest to solicit the most effective 1-, 2-, and 3-sentence standard message intended to get the whole picture across in a relatively simple and clear soundbite aimed at the average (or better yet, below-average) person. Maybe some social scientist(s) would be interested in evaluating the submissions (who knows, there might be a paper or two in it!).

    My pet peeve about point #1 is that the human cause is usually stated as, "Climate change is caused by human activities". This has got to be about the dumbest and least effective sentence possible. If you're already in the know, then you know this mainly means burning fossil fuels, but also things like land use changes and agricultural practices. If you're not in the know, like most people, this is a say-nothing sentence (WHAT human activities?). It would be much better to be less all-encompassing or general in unstated inference and just communicate the most important cause: "Climate change is mainly caused by humans burning fossil fuels for energy, which puts heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air". Many people don't get the connection between "human activities" and "carbon dioxide", and therefore balk at the need for a "carbon tax".

    Note that the above sentence covers both points 1 and 2, and point 3 could be brought in like this: "Almost every climate expert in the world agrees that climate change is mainly caused by humans burning fossil fuels for energy, which puts heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air." Many people may not totally get "fossil fuels", so maybe it would be better to say "coal, oil, and natural gas".

    So, back to the proposed communication contest. It would be a great way to engage the brains of some smart people to revamp the soundbite background for discussing the climate crisis. The 1-, 2-, and 3-sentence idea is inspired by the 3-level SkS climate myth rebuttals. The time to do this is definitely now, in advance of the general election campaign and debates in the U.S., where hopefully climate change will be a more prominent topic than in past elections.

  11. Handy resources when facing a firehose of falsehoods

    The theme of my 1* review of Alex Epstein's The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels is cherry picking. It's the second most-helpful 1* review, despite the trolls.

  12. Handy resources when facing a firehose of falsehoods

    @ Digby Scorgie

    I think there is a lot of merit to your post. What I have encountered almost exclusively with deniers is that their positions are politically based. That is, a conversation never goes very long without me being called a liberal an/or alarmist. The funny thing is that I am not a liberal, I'm a conservative and have been all my life (68 yrs). In fact, I was once caught up on the denial side myself, not actively, just accepting it on face value. What changed my mind was my background, a degree in Earth Science and a life-long career as a chemist. After a while, I begin hearing things in the conservative media (basic facts) that I knew were not correct. So I begin reviewing the actual scientific literature, and wow, what a wake-up call. I am so glad I had the interest and know-how to fact check, verify "openly and honestly" what was undeniabally factual, and most importantly accept those facts.

    But as you suggest, some people are so caught up in their denial, they are not willing fact check, even when they have the background to do so. As an example, a couple of days ago I responded to a facebook friend concerning one of his climate denial posts. All I did was point out a few facts and made no judgements. One of his friends responded with a link to WUWT, along with a few side remarks. I responded back asking that person if they were open to checking the actual scientific literature and compariing his source with what the actual source said. The response I received was that they had a bachelors in meteorology and math and a masters in physics and that climate change was only an unproven theory or idea.  I left it at that and did not respond. 

  13. Digby Scorgie at 11:34 AM on 4 May 2016
    Handy resources when facing a firehose of falsehoods

    I managed to silence a doubter another way, but perhaps he just avoids the subject now.  He is a former team-mate of mine in Antarctica, and we are in occasional e-mail contact.  Last year sometime he commented that he believed the changes in the climate were due to natural causes.  I replied that he'd "been caught for a sucker" by the fossil-fuel industry.  I mentioned the disinformation campaign modelled on the tobacco industry's campaign to hide the link between smoking and cancer.  And this was before the revelations of Exxon's shenanigans.  (Those Exxon executives can only be psycopaths.)  Pointing to the latter would now be an extra weapon for us to wield.

    However, I've also learned that there are psychotics in this world who refuse to accept any reality that does not fit their irrational world-view.  One can do nothing about such people.  They are fanatics, and one does not attempt to reason with fanatics.

    In conclusion then, faced with a firehouse of falsehoods, I would ask, "So what kind of denier are you: psycopath, psychotic or sucker?"  All right, it probably won't work, but it's fun to dream!

  14. CO2 effect is saturated

    ConcernedCitizen @410, ignoring clouds, the consequence of there being no GHG in the atmosphere (not just CO2) is that there is no IR radiation to space from the atmosphere; but also no absorption by the atmosphere of surface IR radiation.  The consequence can be seen in the surface energy balance diagram below:

    Specifically, because there is no IR absorption in the atmosphere by your scenario, the 397 W/m^2 IR radiation from the surface would escape to space.  On the other hand, there would be no 342 W/m^2 back radiation (thermal down surface), so the incoming energy would be only 240 W/m^2 (Incoming solar minus solar reflected).  The resulting energy imbalance of -157 W/m^2 would result in very rapid cooling until the IR radiation from the surface matched the incoming solar (ie, to - 18 C).

    Atmospheric IR emission is not a "cooling effect".  You can only think it is because you do not take into account all of the related energy exchanges.

  15. Mal Adapted at 08:34 AM on 4 May 2016
    Tracking the 2°C Limit - March 2016

    Tom Curtis @6 is correct.  That was demonstrated  by Kosaka and Xie in 2013.  They compared model runs in which tropical Pacific SST (sea surface temperature) was a dependent state variable, with runs in which the actual observed timing and strength of ENSO events was input along with incoming solar radiation and atmospheric CO2 levels. They found that constraining SST to observed values accounted for most of the divergence between the observed and modeled (without forcing SST to observations) temperature trend between 1970 and 2012, including the so-called hiatus:

    We present a novel method of uncovering mechanisms for global temperature change by prescribing, in addition to radiative forcing, the observed history of sea surface temperature over the central to eastern tropical Pacific in a climate model. Although the surface temperature prescription is limited to only 8.2% of the global surface, our model reproduces the annual-mean global temperature remarkably well with correlation coefficient r = 0.97 for 1970–2012 (which includes the current hiatus and a period of accelerated global warming). Moreover, our simulation captures major seasonal and regional characteristics of the hiatus, including the intensified Walker circulation, the winter cooling in northwestern North America and the prolonged drought in the southern USA.

    Some AGW-deniers claimed that K&X had "tuned" the model.  More rational observers agreed that K&X had advanced the physical understanding of climate, by resolving decadal "noise" (i.e. internal variability) into forcing.  IOW, scientific progress!

  16. Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    I apologize for continuing the descent into a GMO discussion. It is, at least, immune to political rants as both republican and democratic administrations have come down solidly on the side of protecting the chemical industry rather than protecting the public. Ian (11 and 13) thank you for the great replies. The criminal activity of private labs producing research in support of approval of new pesticides, etc. is part of the book Poison Spring. One large lab was caught and several members received (short) criminal sentences. Other small labs produce more reports with a small number of poorly trained personnel than a real lab with an adequate number of highly trained researchers could ever hope to produce. The EPA looks the other way. Any attempt by EPA scientists to show contrary research quickly gets them relegated to a clerk position.

    The saturation of America with pesticides and herbicides has been going on since the late 1940’s. The GMO revolution has made that worse. Don Huber is a retired colonel from the Army’s biological warfare program. He taught plant diseases and soil microbiology at Purdue for 35 years. He also has been the coordinator of the U.S. Agricultural Research Service National Plant Disease Recovery System, a program of the U.S.D.A. Huber worries about glyphosate not only for its affects but as a driver of genetic engineering. With decades of experience in biological warfare and crop diseases, Huber was convinced, in 2011, that the use of glyphosate had brought about a new pathogen that was endangering American agriculture.

    I will be offering to buy my local library a copy of Poison Spring.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Enough. This is off-topic. Further off-topic posts will be deleted.

  17. Peabody coal's contrarian scientist witnesses lose their court case

    California uses a baseline of SCC that was $12.00 and then adjusted for inflation in 2007 to slightly over $13.00.  This value was the mean reported value by Richard Tol in a 2005 published report review.  In it he gave equal weight to the 9 papers published on the social cost of carbon, some published as early as 1994, 3 published by Nordhaus and 2 published by Tol.  Without regard to the evolution of the IAM models over time, the changing inputs provided by the development of climate science over the previous 10 years, or the fact that the climate science projected impacts from 2005 have been heavily revised, and considered to be much more impactful in the AR5 published in 2013, AND that even these results understate the impacts.  

    Clearly the application of social welfare to the realm of fossil fuels and economics is still verboten in the halls of power and corruption that our political and business leaders frequent.

  18. CO2 effect is saturated

    ConcernedCitizen @410.

    You say "If the CO2 molucule wasn't there, the energy wouldn't even radiate. It would stay as kinetic and remain in the atmosphere." That's a bit tricky. (I'm reminded of the rhyme ".../He wasn't there again today/I wish that man would go away."

    So if the CO2 molecule isn't there, where exactly in the atmosphere is this kinetic energy you speak of and how did it get there?

  19. One Planet Only Forever at 23:47 PM on 3 May 2016
    Peabody coal's contrarian scientist witnesses lose their court case


    The action by the current US Government to have existing rules that would have reduced the burning of coal actually enforced was thwarted by a 5 to 4 Supreme Court unprecedented directive stating that the lower courts are not to enforce the established laws prior to the Supreme Court hearing of a coal lobby funded challenge.

    The challenge is scheduled in 2017. And it involves the support from 27 states that are in the grip of the callous greedy minority who have effectively taken control of the Republican Party (a group with a clear history of trying to get what they want any way they can get away with).

    And that challenge would have been heard by the same 5-4 Supreme Court that refused to allow established laws to actually be enforced. However, that unprecedented Supreme Court directive was finalized only days before the passing away of one of the 5 judges that supported it.

    So it is very likely that the group behind the challenge of the enforcement of existing laws will fight to get their type of judge to be the replacement on the Supreme Court. Actually, that is exactly what has been happening. And if that group succeed in getting their type of judge onto the Supreme Court then the decision of the 27 state appeal is likely to be contrary to the advancement of humanity to a lasting better future for all with a very weak justification.

  20. ConcernedCitizen at 22:26 PM on 3 May 2016
    CO2 effect is saturated

    TomCurtis @409.   Putting your insults to one side,  what you are talking about it kinetic to radiative change in energy.  However, if the CO2 molucule wasnt there, the energy wouldnt even radiate, it would stay as kinetic and remain in the atmosphere.

    (This cooling effect of GH gasses at low pressures by kinetic->radiative change is well understood)

    Now, if you can answer the question ina civilised maner it would be appreciated.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Civility all round would be appreciated. CC it also behoves on you to study the answers and resources suggested to you for understanding if you are asking questions, otherwise people quickly lose patience. If you have not read Ramanathan and Coakley 1978  I suggest you do so and make it clearer whether you contest the Radiative Transfer Equation fundamentals or their particular application in discussions with people here.

  21. ConcernedCitizen at 22:18 PM on 3 May 2016
    How Increasing Carbon Dioxide Heats The Ocean

    Dont forget the SAGE COARE results used above (the .2C/100wm^-2 data) used clouds s the DLR source.

    CO2 DLR penetrates water even less so wil have less warming effect.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] I dont think you have understood the article. There is a 6 part series here which goes into the physics in exquisite detail. I suggest you read that first.

  22. michael sweet at 19:47 PM on 3 May 2016
    Peabody coal's contrarian scientist witnesses lose their court case


    Many conservative judges in the USA do not care about the facts.  Look at the Supreme Court and its election of Bush for President.  Peabody was hoping to get a sympathetic judge and they didn't.  

    Obama's clean power plan got a judge sympathetic to polluters.

  23. Glenn Tamblyn at 19:33 PM on 3 May 2016
    Peabody coal's contrarian scientist witnesses lose their court case

    When will these guys ever learn.

    You go before a judge - you have to drop the BS. If you don't have solid arguments and evidence, the steely eyed gaze of the judge will wither your soul.

    Sometimes a legal judgement is a long-winded thing of beauty.

  24. Tracking the 2°C Limit - March 2016

    Trevor_S @5, Gwynne Dyer is wrong.  El Ninos have large impacts on global temperature on short term time scales (sub decadal), and ENSO is the dominant cause of subdecadal global temperature fluctuations.  You can see the extent of that impact at this page, which shows the regression (as a variation in temperature per degree K relative to the NINO 3.4 index, and correlation).  It causes variations of global temperatures on subdecadal scales of +/- 0.166 C, or the equivalent of 8-10 years of global warming.  That means it requires 15-20 years before global warming is sufficient such that the warmest El Nino 15-20 years earlier is nearly certain to be cooler than the coldest La Nina now.

    There is, therefore, no reasonable doubt that the current El Nino made a substantial contribution to the very hot temperatures in 2015/16.  On the other hand, almost certainly, the contribution of global warming accounts for more than the difference between the 2015 Global Mean Surface Temperature and that durring the stronger El Nino in 1998.

  25. Tracking the 2°C Limit - March 2016

    Interesting article here

    Indeed, each of the past 11 months has beaten the highest previously recorded average temperature for that month.

    Some people try to explain this all away by blaming it on El Nino, a periodical rise in the ocean surface temperature in the eastern Pacific that moves the rainfall patterns around worldwide, causing droughts here and floods there. But El Nino is a LOCAL rise in temperature, it does not normally affect the average global temperature much.

    The frightening acceleration in the warming in the past three months has no precedent in any El Nino year, or indeed in any previous year. It could be some random short-term fluctuation in average global temperature, but coming on top of the record warming of 2014 and 2015 it feels a lot more like part of a trend.


    I have been 'blaming' the way above trend increase on El Nino, this seems to insist that's a false assumption ?

  26. 2016 SkS Weekly Digest #18

    Kiwiiano - my understanding is that on a very long time scale, warming oceans will release CO2, but with mixing rates of around 1000 yrs, this isnt an immediate (100yr) concern. On the shorter time scales, you would expect the ocean to become less efficient in soaking up CO2. See here for more.

  27. Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    Factotum @20:

    1)  Your definition of "conservative" is very selective.  One might even say "cherry picked".  Here is a fuller definition:

    "Full Definition of conservative
    : preservative
    a : of or relating to a philosophy of conservatism
    b capitalized : of or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism: as (1) : of or constituting a party of the United Kingdom advocating support of established institutions (2) : progressive conservative
    a : tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions : traditional
    b : marked by moderation or caution
    c : marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners
    : of, relating to, or practicing Conservative Judaism"

    The fuller definition clearly does not support your specious ad hominen.

    2)  The political philosophy conservatism was articulated by Edmund Burke as a reaction to the excesses of the French Revolution.  He argued that the preservation of England's ancient institutions acted to avoid the excesses to be found in the French Revolution.  Given the nature of those excesses, his argument cannot be considered unintelligent.

    Indeed, true conservatism in politics is based on one simple principle - that our political institutions of the past have handed us a workable, if not ideal society.  Given this, our natural tendency should be to preserve those institutions absent a clear and convincing argument that any change in those institutions will improve the situation.  Again, this is not an unintelligent position.  Quite the contrary.  It is certainly far more intelligent than the position that change should be accepted for changes sake, which you appear to articulate.

    3)  What is missing from your ad hominen attack on conservatives is any recognition that changes need to be justified in order to be accepted.  Apparently, for you, any proposed change should be accepted simply on the basis that it is a change.  No requirement of evidence in favour of the change is apparently required, let alone a requirement that the evidence be robust.  You would have our political institutions become as arbitrary and changable as fashion.  I would struggle to find a less intelligent position.

    4)  Your gloss that conservatives are people who " someone who [do] not want to learn or is unable to learn new stuff" does not follow even from your cherry picked definition - and represents an unsupported, arbitrary insult.  It requires no further refutation.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] To all commentators -this article obviously invites political commentary, however, please note the comments policy, specifically.

    "Rants about politics, religion, faith, ideology or one world governments will be deleted."

    "No profanity or inflammatory toneAgain, constructive discussion is difficult when overheated rhetoric or profanity is flying around."

    Please keep this civil or risk having your post deleted.


  28. 2016 SkS Weekly Digest #18

    Fairoakien - "the higher price will not reduce cement use". You think? How about the development of carbon-neutral cement eg. see review article from Nature or here. Recent news here. How would you propose such research is paid for if not by tax? And what about the role of tax in making the new product competitive with tradition concrete or would you prefer blanket ban on traditional cement as green cement becomes available?

    Of course, someone who figures how to do construction with less concrete may have competitive advantage over someone doesnt in tender which also works to reduce cement use.

    If you dont like tax-based solutions, what is your preferred solution to reducing emissions?

  29. 2016 SkS Weekly Digest #18

    In california we have cap and trade

    That's added 12cents to the price of gasoline.

    But what's worse its added 15Cents to the price of a bag of cement. This is Because it tajes enormous energy & heat  to make cement. But how does making cement more expensive green house gases. the higher price will not reduce cement use. Its just a form a taxation. And the revebue appears to be going into the genmral fund , not even supporting green house reduction opportunities.

  30. 2016 SkS Weekly Digest #18

    The thought occured that if the warmer oceans hold less oxygen they may be holding less CO2 too. Is that bad news for the atmosphere or is the CO2 chemically bound to the water, not just 'dissolved' in it?

  31. Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    An article that I wrote after being a ron paul delegate to the 2008 Nevada state convention that I called orwells boot became #1 and has been #1, after paid links, on all search engines for the past 7 years.   Do a search on orwells boot.   Spend a 1./2 hour to read this 6000 word article:

    That pleasant response has lead me to do more research and I came up with this:

    Look at the definition of conservative. A person adverse to change. It is someone who does not want to learn or is unable to learn new stuff. Personally? I can think of no better definition of stupid. Of course, stupid people can not follow complex chains of logical reasoning, live in a state of denial, and are often surprised by the logical consequences of their actions. When change becomes undeniable, they still deny it or are surprised by it.   Sometimes they accept the new idea, and say that they have always accepted it.   Stupid people are very good at self deception

    Now think about scientists. If they refuse to learn new stuff they fail. There is a reason that less than 5% self identify as conservative or republican. Scientific minds -— minds that can not be both successful and stupid -— they are wired different than minds that are, by definition, stupid.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] This is stepping over the line. Please read and comply with the comments Policy.

  32. Rob Honeycutt at 21:37 PM on 2 May 2016
    Tracking the 2°C Limit - March 2016

    Yes, it is, Barry. That's partially why I end up with two different baselines for the two temperature series, though it's manual and not a calculated figure in my graph. 

  33. Tracking the 2°C Limit - March 2016

    Rob, am I correct thinking that the ONI data is detrended relative to global warming?

  34. Ian Forrester at 11:31 AM on 2 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    Digby, you can add to your list the asbestos industry and the chemical industry who denied CFCs harmed in the ozone layer.

    Fred Singer has been involved with just about all of these industries.

  35. Ian Forrester at 11:28 AM on 2 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    PS: I have figurd out what i did wrong. i was in a hury both times and pasted the url link into the top line instead of the second line. Sorry about that.

  36. Digby Scorgie at 11:16 AM on 2 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    I've always had a gut-feeling that there was something dodgy about the GMO industry.  It seems I was right.

    However, has anyone noticed the pattern: a powerful industry (often American, I'm sorry to say) resorting to reprehensible methods to silence critics, bury adverse scientific findings, and sabotage attempts at regulating their industry.  I can think of the following examples:

    (1) Sugar industry and deleterious effects of sugar on diet

    (2) Chemical industry and DDT

    (3) Tobacco industry and smoking

    (4) Fossil-fuel industry and climate change

    (5) And now, GMO industry and deleterious effects of GMOs

    Any more?  I'm reminded of that saying: "A psycopath born into a poor family goes to jail; a psycopath born into a rich family goes to business school".

  37. Ian Forrester at 01:12 AM on 2 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    Same thing happenned again. Try copying it and pasting it into your browser window.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Sorry about that. I have asked our technical team to look at the problem. I assume you are using the link button in the comment editor to create links?

  38. Ian Forrester at 01:10 AM on 2 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    OK let's try that link again


    I don't kinow what happened last time.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Fixed link.

  39. Rolf Jander at 00:57 AM on 2 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    Thank you Ian. It is refreshing to hear from someone who thinks that both AGW and the GMO industry are threats to our well being. I have long thought so myself. The Union of Concerned Scientists also campaign for action on climate change and issuses about food saftey and the risks to pollinators from big Ag.

    Here in Canada, Glysophate is widely used though the government cannot show that they have proved its saftey. I am not feeling too well myself. I may well have some kind of chronic inflamation. I try to eat healthy but probably am exposed to glysophate and GMO's.

    BTW your link just goes to the sks homepage for some reason. I did visit the gmwatch site. Thanks again.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] To all commentators: while government evaluation of science and industry influence are definitely on-topic, please do not this thread degenerate into a discussion of GM technologies. There are more appropriate websites for such a discussion.

  40. Ian Forrester at 13:20 PM on 1 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    Rolf, I have spent countless hours studying the similarities and differences between AGW deniers and GMO apologists. The similarities are staggering, in many cases the same people are best described as both, Matt Ridley and the Averys spring to mind. The same think tanks that attack climate science and climate scientists support GMOs and smear any independent scientist who publishes a paper showing the negative effects of GMOs. Of course these people and their organizations receive money from the companies involved in these areas. The Science Media Centre has a cabal of GMO apologists hiding under their identification as “independent experts”. They do not disclose their close financial ties to the GMO indiustry.

    The big difference is that at the start the GMO apologists and their companies did and controlled the research. Any scientist wishing to study the GMO crops had firstly to get samples from the company involved and had to allow the company to vet and veto any results before they could be published. It is no wonder that the initial impression was that these crops were safe, the only research allowed out was controlled by the companies. It was only later that independent scientists such as Arpad Pusztai published results showing negative effects. The industry and its apologists were so incensed by this that they got him fired from his position at the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen. Since then there have been quite a few similar studies showing problems. The industry has responded in a similar fashion smearing and vilifying the scientists.

    The other big difference is the argument about consensus. The AGW deniers argue that there is no consensus regarding AGW when in fact approximately 97 % of scientists and science papers agree that there is. The GMO apologists claim that there is a consensus supporting “GMOs are safe”. This is just not true.

    You are perfectly correct when you state that the science involved in rDNA technology is much more complicated than climate science. I’ll just throw out a few terms which I’m sure most people have never heard of but are critical to understanding what could go wrong with the technology: post-translational modification, cryptic transcription, horizontal gene transfer, activation of silenced genes etc.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Fixed link

  41. Rolf Jander at 11:51 AM on 1 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    Ian: The article linked to @11 is shocking. I have heard that these BT crops are devestaing to polinators including butterflies, but the reasearch into the effects on rats is something else again. It gives The Royal Society quite a black eye as well. The wikipedia article @9 goes over my head I'm afraid. The physics of climate change is simple enough for a layman like me but genetics is just too much.

    It has always annoyed me, the implication that if one accepts AGW that one should accept having GMO's rammed down one's throat as well. As far as I am concerned the big gmo outfits are just as much of a threat as the fossil fuel interests. A disturbing of the article aspect is that a respected science organization seems to be playing ball with the gmo industry and putting the public at risk. Also disturbing is that when trying to communicate with climate deniers,we often hold up organizations such as The Royal Society as trustworthy and refer to their position on global warming. Now they have lost some of their esteem in my eyes.

  42. The climate change generation gap

    Suggested supplemental reading:

    Millennials love clean energy, fear climate change, and don’t vote. This campaign wants to change that. by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Apr 30, 2016

  43. Ian Forrester at 03:23 AM on 1 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    dklyer, I haven't read the book you mentioned but I have been a follower of rDNA technology since the original work by Cohen and Boyer (I was a post doc doing cancer research at the time, mid 1970's). I watched the technology develop through human insulin and other human pharmaceuticals to the prospect of using rDNA to produce GM crops. I was sceptical about their use at an early stage, I felt that they would not be good for the environment, nor a benefit to farmers since it appeared early on that it might get farmers too dependent on one particular crop, herbicide and company. Initially I had no worry about the health effects of anyone or any animal eating them since how could adding a single gene cause a problem? However, it eventually became known that it was not just one gene but several that were added to produce a GMO. Two of these added genes raised red flags to me. The first was that they were adding a very powerful promoter gene to make sure the gene of interest was turned on to produce as much of the gene product as it could. My work in cancer research involved what are known as onco-fetal genes and there gene products. These are genes which are turned on during fetal development, turned off after birth but can be reactivated either by adding a known chemical carcinogen or in an actual tumour. This meant that in normal adults there are a number of what I refer to as “silenced” genes which can become activated later in life with problematic health effects. What if the promoter gene was added close to a “silenced” gene, could it become activated with negative results for the organism?
    The other red flag is the use of antibiotic resistant genes during the recombination. It is well known those antibiotic resistant organisms are a very real threat to modern medical control of bacterial pathogens. Adding them to crops which could then potentially transfer them thus infecting someone who ate the crop was very troubling to me.

    Of course the industry just laughed off these suggestions when independent scientists brought them up. Most of these problems have now been shown to occur, weed resistance to glyphosate, horizontal transfer, insect resistance to BT etc.

    I am not completely against them but I am strongly in favour of having every new “event” independently tested over a long time period, not the 90 days usually used by the industry. Multi-generational studies should also be done.

    I’m not sure if you have read any of the reports submitted to regulatory agencies for approval but they are terrible, some wouldn’t even make it to a high school science fair project e.g the evidence in favour of the Flavrsavr tomato.

    Read references at 10.

  44. Rolf Jander at 02:01 AM on 1 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    Thanks Ian, will read later. I agree that non GMO soloutions are great.

    This organization

    is probably doing more good than the GMO companies.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Fixed link

  45. Ian Forrester at 01:26 AM on 1 May 2016
    Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    Rolf, there have been a number of crops developed to combat problems which many farmers, especially in developing countries, encounter. Drought resistance, flood resistance, salinity resistance and others have been developed. They do not use the GM technology of the large corporations (rDNA and gene silencing) but use a technology called “maker assisted selection” which allows for much faster breeding of these traits than normal cross breeding since it identifies suitable partners with much more precision.

    Unfortunately these strains are developed either by university researchers or small companies and do not get the publicity and support that they should. In fact, many times these successes have been wrongly attributed to GMO technology. Sir David King, ex-UK Chief Scientist, did that on at least two occasions. Sometimes the strains are acquired by the large corporations who then add there RR gene or some other patented genes then claim to have developed “drought resistant “ strains, now owning the crop.

    You can read about this successful technology here:

  46. Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    Some great comments here. I don't trust Monsanto or Bayer as far as I could throw Exxon. But I do think that GMOs could be developed for legitamatly good reasons like adapting crops to a changing climate. The current model seems to be just an excuse to sell extra chemicals. They also use heavy handed tactics that make it very hard for farmers. Especially small farmers in poor countries.

  47. Tracking the 2°C Limit - March 2016

    It's interesting that we no loger hear about the "hiatus" - not even from politicians.  Perhaps its proponents are waiting for the upcoming La Nina to give them another one?  The escalator is more and more scary each time I look at it.

  48. Tracking the 2°C Limit - March 2016

    UK Met Office, which baselines at 1961 - 1990, and will therefore have lower anomalies relative to GISS baseline (1951 - 1980)

    Dec: 1.010 C
    Jan: 0.908 C
    Feb: 1.061 C
    Mar: 1.063 C

    NOAA, which uses 20th century average as baseline:

    Dec: 1.122 C
    Jan: 1.042 C
    Feb: 1.191 C
    Mar: 1.218 C

  49. Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    @ Hank,

    I share your grumble mumble! Too often agricultural questions are posed in such a manner as to spin them! I would point out though that the primary reason GMOs might have that problem is the GMO was designed for that industrial ag system that is harmful. It is not necessary to produce food that way, and thus any GMO designed for an ecologically sound agricultural system could actually be beneficial.

    Even now many GMOs are designed for use in that destructive industrial system, but designed to make them less destructive. So the template is there. It just won't happen until regenerative systems are the norm instead of the exceptions. Once that happens then GMOs designed for those regenerative systems would be profitable to develope and sell.

  50. Can the Republican Party solve its science denial problem?

    [A new YouGov poll provided yet more data, asking, “Do you think it is generally safe or unsafe to eat genetically modified foods?”.

    Wrong grumble mumble question, asking this is pre-spin.

    "Eat" is the wrong word.  "Make" is the question and it has to be specific.  Some genetic modifications some ways, and look at each.

    What's the issue with gm foods? It's environmental protection, not personal poison.

    If the genemod industry were to follow the path of the synthetic organic chemicals industry and the plastics industry — pollute first, no throttle unless there's immediate and serious harm turning up and attributable — it'd be a disaster.

    An environmental distaster, though, not a personal mortality/severe illness disaster.

    Most people dont' know and don't care.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  Next

COP21 LiveBlog

The Consensus Project Website



(free to republish)



The Scientific Guide to
Global Warming Skepticism

Smartphone Apps


© Copyright 2016 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us