Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

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

Settings

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

Settings


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...



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

Latest Posts

Archives

Nazis, shoddy science, and the climate contrarian credibility gap

Posted on 22 February 2014 by dana1981

Because the pool of climate experts who dispute that humans are the primary cause of global warming is so small, representing just 2 to 4 percent of climate scientists, climate contrarians often reference the same few contrarian scientists. Two such examples are Roy Spencer and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), both of whom have testified before US Congress several times, and are often interviewed and quoted in the conservative media.

And because that pool of contrarian climate experts is so small, their credibility often seems indestructible. For example, Richard Lindzen has been wrong on essentially every position he's taken on major climate science issues over the past quarter century, and yet the conservative media continue to treat him as a foremost climate expert. Therefore, it's important to remind ourselves what these few climate scientist contrarians really believe, and whether their arguments have any scientific validity.

Yesterday, Roy Spencer took to his blog, writing a post entitled "Time to push back against the global warming Nazis". The ensuing Godwinian rant was apparently triggered by somebody calling contrarians like Spencer "deniers." Personally I tend to avoid use of the term, simply because it inevitably causes the ensuing discussion to degenerate into an argument about whether "denier" refers to Holocaust denial. Obviously that misinterpretation of the term is exactly what "pushed [Spencer's] button," as he put it.

However, this misinterpretation has no basis in reality. The term "denier" merely refers to "a person who denies" something, and originated some 600 years ago, long before the Holocaust occurred. Moreover, as the National Center for Science Education and Peter Gleick at Forbes have documented, many climate contrarians (including the aforementioned Richard Lindzen) prefer to be called "deniers."

"I actually like 'denier.' That's closer than skeptic," says MIT's Richard Lindzen, one of the most prominent deniers. Steve Milloy, the operator of the climate change denial website JunkScience.com, told Popular Science, "Me, I just stick with denier ... I'm happy to be a denier." Minnesotans for Global Warming and other major denier groups go so far as to sing, "I'm a Denier!".

Spencer is also on the advisory board of the Cornwall Alliance, a group with 'An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming' claiming that "Earth and its ecosystems—created by God's intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory." The declaration also has a section on "What We Deny," and Spencer recently wrote in The Christian Post,

...we deny "that most [current climate change] is human-caused, and that it is a threat to future generations that must be addressed by the global community."

Thus it's rather hypocritical of Spencer to complain about the use of a word meaning "a person who denies" when he has expressly admitted to denying these climate positions.

In his blog post, Spencer also wrote of those he calls "global warming Nazis,"

"Like the Nazis, they advocate the supreme authority of the state (fascism), which in turn supports their scientific research to support their cause (in the 1930s, it was superiority of the white race)."

Aside from being incredibly offensive, these comments are extremely hypocritical coming from Roy Spencer, who previously described his job as a UAH climate scientist as follows.

"I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government."

The day before Spencer's blog post, John Christy along with another UAH colleague Richard McNider, published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. Their piece was in response to comments by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who said,

"We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact,"

Christy and McNider believe it's climate contrarians like themselves who 'embrace the facts.' To support this claim, they tried to argue that mainstream climate scientists are in denial about the accuracy of climate models.

"We might forgive these modelers if their forecasts had not been so consistently and spectacularly wrong. From the beginning of climate modeling in the 1980s, these forecasts have, on average, always overstated the degree to which the Earth is warming compared with what we see in the real climate."

First of all, modern climate modeling began in the 1970s. It's also wrong to claim that their forecasts have always overstated global warming. Just as one example, NASA's James Hansen published a paper in 1981 with a model that slightly underestimated the ensuing global warming.

Hansen et al. (1981) global warming projections under a scenario of high energy growth (red) and slow energy growth (blue) vs. observations (black).  Actual energy growth has been between the two Hansen scenarios.

Hansen et al. (1981) global warming projections under a scenario of high energy growth (red) and slow energy growth (blue) vs. observations (black). Actual energy growth has been between the two Hansen scenarios.

Climate model global warming projections have also far outperformed predictions made by climate contrarians, and have performed fairly well overall (including current climate models).

 IPCC AR5 Figure 1.4. Solid lines and squares represent measured average global surface temperature changes by NASA (blue), NOAA (yellow), and the UK Hadley Centre (green). The colored shading shows the projected range of surface warming in the IPCC First Assessment Report (FAR; yellow), Second (SAR; green), Third (TAR; blue), and Fourth (AR4; red).

IPCC AR5 Figure 1.4. Solid lines and squares represent measured average global surface temperature changes by NASA (blue), NOAA (yellow), and the UK Hadley Centre (green). The colored shading shows the projected range of surface warming in the IPCC First Assessment Report (FAR; yellow), Second (SAR; green), Third (TAR; blue), and Fourth (AR4; red).

On the other hand, Christy and Spencer's estimates of the temperature of the Earth's atmosphere have consistently underestimated global warming. In the 1990s, they initially claimed the lower atmosphere was cooling, and had to make several warming adjustments when other groups identified errors and biases in their data set.

Changes in UAH lower atmosphere temperature trend estimates, growing consistently warmer over time. Created by John Abraham.

Changes in UAH lower atmosphere temperature trend estimates, growing consistently warmer over time as cool biases are removed. Created by John Abraham.

In their opinion piece, Christy and McNider present a graph that's supposed to prove their argument that climate models have overestimated global warming. However, rather than compare models and observations of global surface temperature, which are of the greatest importance for those of us living on the Earth's surface, they instead show temperature data from higher up in the atmosphere, the temperature of the mid-troposphere (TMT).

The figure in the Wall Street Journal piece suffers from several problems. First, it improperly averages the data (also known as "baselining") in a way that results in shifting the observational data downwards with respect to the model data, visually exaggerating the discrepancy. Second, it doesn't show any error bars or uncertainty ranges, and the error bars on the TMT data are large. Third, it simply averages together two satellite TMT data sets (presumably from UAH and Remote Sensing Systems), ignoring the fact that there is a large difference in the estimated warming trends from these two data sets, and that other TMT data sets that Christy and McNider excluded show even greater TMT warming, more in line with model projections.

The other problem is that Christy and McNider assume that the observational data are perfect, and thus that any discrepancy must mean the models are wrong. However, a U.S. Climate Change Science Program report co-authored by Christy concluded that the difference between satellite estimates and model projections of atmospheric warming is probably mostly due to errors in the observations.

"This difference between models and observations may arise from errors that are common to all models, from errors in the observational data sets, or from a combination of these factors. The second explanation is favored, but the issue is still open."

For more details, see Climate Science Watch. Christy and McNider's 'skepticism' now only seems to apply to the models and not to the observations, despite their long history of needing to make large adjustments to correct for cool biases in their own observational data. As climate scientist Andrew Dessler said,

Click here to read the rest

0 0

Bookmark and Share Printable Version  |  Link to this page

Comments

1  2  Next

Comments 1 to 50 out of 60:

  1. One can tell that Dr. Spencer has gone bat guano crazy by seeing his other posts such as this one.

     

    0 0
  2. I think that John Kerry was being too polite when he said: "We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact,"

    The facts of the matter clearly indicate that Non-science is popular. That popularity is what needs to be scientifically investigated and reported.

    Building on my post on the recent SkS article "'Its been hot before': faulty logic skews climate debate" I postulate that:

    "The desire to benefit from burning fossil fuels is causing many people to readily accept non-Science that sounds like what they wish to hear and prefer to believe. And many powerful and knowledgeable but wicked people are trying to take advantage of that potential popularity any way they can get away with."

    I believe there is ample evidence that almost everyone is already aware to support my claim (though some will try to deny it, ha-ha).

    The actions of many contrarians, even knowledgeable ones, are unsustainable and damaging (deliberately by some of the knowledgeable ones), just like the unacceptable economic activities they want to expand, prolong and protect. They are not interested in developing a better understanding of the complex way our planet functions and how human activity affects it. They are not interested in helping to develop sustainable ways of living that everyone can enjoy improving through the hundreds of millions of years humanity has to look forward to on this amazing planet. They only want to prolong the vicious fighting over the unsustainable and damaging ways of benefiting they, and those they act in the interest of, have benefited from getting away with. And they will even partner with the socially intolerant to provide mutual support for each other’s unsustainable and damaging ideological desires that ‘miraculously’ do not conflict in any way.

    The sooner that wicked pair lose their high-stakes gamble on the popularity of non-science the better it will be for everyone else. Whenever the greedy win everyone else loses, especially the future generations (and even the greedy ones in the future lose).

    1 0
  3. That's a classy presentation from Spencer. Although there is plenty to chose from (which you expect when an idiot starts mouthing off), my favourite passage from his little rant is:-

    "I have read that Nazi Germany had more PhDs per capita than any other country. I’m not against education, but it seems like some of the stupidest people are also the most educated. "

    As for what manner of idiot to describe Spencer as being - for myself, I call Roy a Denialist because he is in denial. But I suppose, because he also goes mouthing off about it, the term Denier is also appropriate.

    0 0
  4. Anyone who mentions Spencer gets my rejoiner "Oh, you mean the author of 'Fundanomics: the Free Market Symplified'?"  Firstly, someone so enamored of Free Market ideology as to publish a book on the subject is 'fundanomically' untrustworthy as to motivation in Climate advocacy.  Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation, WallStreet Journal, American Enterprise Institute: these prominant Climate denial institutions are also fundamentally anti-regulation.  They see the free pursuit of capitalistic profit as a God-given Right of Man, and there are no circumstances where that Right can be curtailed.  The rest of us worry about 'the Commons', these people do not recognize the Commons as a thing.  There is only a God-granted exploitable resource.

    Charles Krauthammer, American pundit on the Right, wrote an opinion piece about Global Warming, and also complained about the term 'denier'.  One paragraph later he calls those concerned about Global Warming 'whores', quoting Deuteronomy.  He repeats the slander a paragraph on: 'But whoring is whoring and the [Earth] gods must be appeased'.  One wonders what sort of sympathy this 'denier' sought to generate through this tactic.  Personally, I think that if we could get real 'Nazi's' and real 'whores' to sue for trademark infringement, we could yet rescue this 'conversation' we are having.  Not to mention the English language.

    0 0
  5. Two years ago I took the time to read “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” by William Shirer.  I found it interesting to learn that a big part of the coalition that brought the NAZI’s Nazi's to power was from conservative protestant Christians, anti-union working class labor and rich industrialists.  Just saying! 

    Hitler was anti-intellectual, anti-union and anticommunist.   I feel when I hear people like Spencer use the term NAZI Nazi they they're attempting to pound square pegs into round holes.

    1 0
    Moderator Response:

    [JH] The use of all caps is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy.

  6. It seems to me that we have let the origin of global warming get in the way of taking action on the matter. We have let concerns as to whether the 'iceberg' of climate change has 'Caused by Humans' stamped on its bottom get in the way of avoiding the damn thing.

    The fossil fuel industry has not funded a campaign to ascertain the whos, whats, whens and whys of the matter i.e. the science. It has funded a campaign to deny the need for action so that b.a.u. is maintained. And a very successful campaign it has proved to be.

    We need to seriously consider whether we have lost the fight to combat climate change and face up to it. With a 97% consensus on the science, yet little in the way of action, it is difficult to consider any other conclusion?.

    If we cannot hand down a safe planet for future generations to live upon, perhaps we can seek retribution on their behalf while there is still a functioning system of law and order. We know that many nay-sayers are funded to a greater or lesser extent by the fossil fuel industry and as a consequence it is possible to legitimately investigate whether they have let personal gain sway their professional advice on the matter. Opinions which upon whatever basis have in turn succeeded in detering action to combat climate change; action that has been so evidently needed for so many years.

    Surely, considering the consequences of that failure to act, the least these nay-sayers should face is a jury of their peers who can judge their actions and their motives, both stated and hidden. A jury that can, on the basis of their considerations, determine the level of culpability and upon which they can thus mete out any appropriate punishment.

    It needn't be a dull affair. We could have a lovely bonfire of the membership papers of scientific societies from which they have been expelled and the letters patent for those then ex-members of the peerage who have been found to have harmed their nation for personal gain. And there would also be the opportunity to take the keys to their punishment cells and see who could throw them furthest away.

    I write this on behalf of my current family and any future members of it.

    4 0
  7. For those who might find such a reference useful, according to Johnson's English Dictionary (5th ed, 1773) the word DENIER is defined as follows:


    DENI´ER ∫. [from deny]
    1. A contradictor ; an opponent.       Watts.
    2. One that does not own or acknowledge.       South.
    3. A refuſer ; one that refuſes.       King Charles.

    ==========
    Always a good excuſe to uſe thoſe long letter ſ's...

    (ſmile)

    Johnson's annotations refer to his contemporary literary sources, so that first citation is from the logician Isaac Watts, definitely not Anthony Watts!

    This edition of Johnson's dictionary was the last revision by himself during his lifetime, and set the standard for the more widely disseminated editions printed in the Georgian period. The word "denier" clearly has hundreds of years of precedence as a generic term for a person adopting a contentious and contrarian position in argument, making an appeal of ignorance, or actively refusing to consider, or grant something. Such have been common understandings of the term for at least a dozen generations of common use.

    Roy Spencer and others who claim that 'denier' impugns holocaust deniers specifically and exclusively, are truly oblivious to the broader basis of the language and concepts they engage with. Let alone in invoking Godwin's Law as it is called, in such a mawkish and pious claim of victimhood.

    0 0
  8. Andrew Mclaren @7, very interesting.  I fact checked this to the limits I was able without going down to a good university library, and can confirm that while the term does not appear in Johnson's original dictionary of 1755 (at least as searchable on the internet), it does appear in the version of 1785 (page 567 on the 127 MB PDF).

    We also have from the online version of Mirriam-Webster:

    "1 de·ni·er noun \di-ˈnī(-ə)r, dē-\

    Definition of DENIER

    : one who denies <deniers of the truth>
    First Known Use of DENIER

    15th century"

    I can also confirm that the term appears in the 1992 edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary:

    Denier:  One who denies.

    They also give a as a different term:

    Denier: The act of denying or refusing

    with an earliest noted precedent in 1532; and which is the meaning used by King Charles in the passage quoted by Johnson.

    The term "denier" has a more ancient history than that, being a moderately common title of the Apostle Peter.  I that use it appears as the title of a poem by William Preston Johnston.

    It is offensive that AGW deniers are trying to blacken the name of people who describe them with a very standard word of the English language that has been in common use for over 500 years.  It is even more offensive that while doing that, they use the term themselves of more extreme deniers, thereby showing that their puffing and blowing about the term is sheerest hypocrissy.  But more offensive even than that is Spencer's latest where, in essence he claims that because he has been compared to people who downplay the Nazi's greatest crime, it is OK for him to compare his opponents to the Nazis themselves.  In doing so, he treats inaccurate history of the holocaust as morally equivalent to the holocaust itself.  And, of course, he does so on the on false grounds.  Calling him a denier is not a direct comparison to holocaust deniers, and is only an indirect comparison in that they are alike in denying facts well established as true.  No moral equivalence is asserted by the term. 

    3 0
  9. I may be wrong on this, but doesnt Roy Spencer have a huge conflict of interest? Someone with those particular types of religious and political beliefs, putting together satellite data? It must be right on the edge of acceptability.

    1 0
  10. Dr. Spencer's outrage presumes that the first stage of grief is "Holocaust denial" and not "denial". However, some accusations of denial are more explicit:

    "While most environmentalists continue to insist that there is no connection between international bans on DDT and human deaths, such protestations really are like denying that the Holocaust ever happened." [Dr. Roy Spencer, 2008]

    Because I deny Dr. Spencer's DDT conspiracy theory, Dr. Spencer referred to me using a more explicit version of the "repulsive, extremist" comparison that pushed his buttons. But I won't call Dr. Spencer names, because that seems unproductive and incredibly unprofessional.

    (h/t to Kilby at Hot Whopper and Tim Lambert.)

    1 0
  11. Regardless of the rights or wrongs associated with labels, it is still got a good idea to labels which cause offense when trying to a have dialogue with someone.

    0 0
  12. scaddenp @12, that depends on the purpose of the conversation.  Due to the unusual nature of the situation, we are forced (at various levels) to have conversations with people who are not open to rational persuasion on the facts.  We have those conversations for onlookers, not the person with whom we are debating.  For those onlookers, it is convenient and appropriate, IMO, to signal that our opponents are not open to rational persuasion.  That is, to signal that they will use (variously) blatantly fallacious arguments, outright falsehoods, and deceptive graphing to win the debate.

    Not only is it appropriate.  It is necessary.  In any discussion, we will face a gish gallop of sorts.  It may not be intentional, but simply as a matter of fact, we will have far more points of disagreement than can be covered in any single discussion.  Therefore, we need to advise onlookers to no trust our proponents claims, even if we did not get around to discussing a particular point.

    Our opponents feel the same need, and have no hesitation in making accusations of fraud and conspiracy against working scientists to serve that need.  Are we then to hesitate in likewise advising onlookers that we do not trust Watts or Spencer to pursue, or be persuaded by rational argument?

    0 0
  13. Further to my @13, I would be more persuaded by scaddenp's point if it were not so obvious in so many cases that the offense taken by our opponents is false umbrage - as is demonstrated by the sheer distortion of the language involved, and by their free use of the term to describe others with whom they disagree.  

    0 0
  14. funglestrumpet @6, I have been through this a couple of times with others (and given my poor memory, possibly with you).  Let me again categorically reject the idea nurnberg climate trials.  There is a case that can be made for the trial of deliberate misinformers where the misinformation leads to deaths but in such a trial, it must be established "beyond reasonable doubt" that:

    1)  The person being tried knew the information they were providing was false;

    2)  That they also knew that people acting on their false information would result in very many deaths;

    3)  The people who acted would not have acted in the way that resulted in many deaths even without the misinformation; and

    4)  That the deaths actually occurred.

    That is a set of conjunctions.  That means to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt, each individual term clause must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.  It is very dubious that we will ever have sufficient information about any individual to prove all four terms, and we certainly will not and do not have that information about prominent deniers in general at the moment.  Until you have a prima facie case that you can prove these points beyond reasonable doubt about anybody, you should not call for the trial of anybody.

    I will add that if we had enough people convinced to make such trials possible, we would have enough people convinced to make mitigation possible politically.  Consequently such fantasies about trying the deniers are pointless, in addition to being wrong.

    0 0
  15. TC - no need to wrestle in the mud with them.

    0 0
  16. Dana,

    What is the definition of a "climate scientist"?  Is it based on training, education, research, etc...?  

    Anyone can answer the question, but I am most interested in Dana's reply.

    Thanks

    0 0
  17. Someone actively publishing climate-related research in mainstream peer-reviewed journals would be my definition. Works by replacing "climate" for any other science discipline too.

    0 0
  18. Moderator-JH @5:

    "The use of all caps is prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy"

    In all fairness the word nazi is an acronym like, for example, the nra. :-)

    0 0
  19. Stranger @5...

    You should go read the comments on Spencer's website. I can hardly count the number of times people post saying, "Oh, you know, actually, Nazis were left wing...blahblahblah."

    If you can stomach the comments, it's fascinating to read.

    0 0
  20. Rob @19:

    A good comeback to that is to inform them that Hitler killed the Socialist leaders in the Nazi party. The Nazis originally drew from both left (socialist) and right (Nationalists) Germans. This was to attract disaffected Germans from both sides and win (barely) the elections. After they won the real face of anti-left Fascism showed itself.

    Then there's Franco, Spain's Fascist dictator. The Socialists were trying to kill him during Spain's civil war.

    0 0
  21. Rob @19

    I can only read a few of those comments.  It's too bad that for what ever reason,  we don't teach students any relevent history.  I suspect they're just to many inconvient truths that the status quo finds disturbing.

    I think Jonah Goldberg got the ball rolling on the whole of liberals and Nazi's.  What folks don't realize is that in 1932  all German political parties and their members were socialists, except Hitler who also ran as anti abortion as well as restoring German values.

    Villabolo, another good comeback would be to inform them that American socialist joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and went off to fight fascism on the side of the Republicans while Hitler gave support to Franco.

    0 0
  22. I agree with TC @14,

    Staged trials are not what is needed. They would just create bigger False Idols for the deniers. Winning in the court of public opinion is required. And that is an uphill battle. A lot of Science can be brought to the creation of deliberately deceptive message creation and delivery. The marketing community has tremendous amounts of research showing the effectiveness of attempts to succeeed through deliberate deception. They have less evidence of success from full communication of the facts of the matter.

    I admit that the infatuation with Image makes winning public opinion a challenge. However, as Susan Cain presents in her book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts", the switch from admiring substantive claims and civil character to simple adoration of Image is rather recent. It happened in the late 1800s. That unsustainable and damaging change just needs to be reversed.

    I would like to see more people actually want to become better informed. People could read the IPCC Summary Report for Policy Makers for themselves in less time than it takes to watch 'part' of a sporting event. Or they could read publications by the WMO or NOAA, or many other extensive presentations of information on this issue. However, I know that a few refuse to do that because they anticipate the result of becoming better informed will not suit their preferred interest.

    Even the majority of Americans ackowledge that the CO2 from burning fossil fuels is causing consequences that people in the future will have to deal with. The main problem I see is the way the unsustainable and damaging socioeconomic system they are immersed in makes it very difficult for them to accept the small sacrifice that must be made, because deliberately deceptive fear mongering tells them they will suffer horribly.

    I believe the real focus needs to be on using issues like climate change and other evidence of unacceptable impacts of human activities, particularly when one group benefits frmo creating harm that other suffer the consequences of, to highlight that the socioeconomic system needs to change. It needs to include consideration for thsoe in the future who have no vote and have no buying power.

    The unsustainable and damaging activities need to be seen as unacceptable, rather than somehow deserving a 'fair and balanced' treatment (that is heavily biased in their favour), compared to the fundamental requirements of sustainable activity. No amount of percieved profit or popularity should trump the requirement to meet the fundamentals of sustainability.

    Paul Hawkin presented an example of the type of changes that could be made and would be benficial in his book "The Ecology of Commerce" written in 1993. Of course Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" was published in 1962. And there is so much that has been provided over the decades that I hope it eventually all "Just Makes Too Much Sense to be Ignored Anymore". The sooner the better for the future of humanity.

    0 0
  23. As I recall, many of the older, distinguished physicists who rejected the new field of quantum mechanics eventually retired, their reputations largely undamaged but resting solely on their earlier work. The same was true for the leading geologists who rejected plate tectonics ('continental drift'), and I suspect for eminent biologists who dismissed evolution in the late 19th century. The main paradigms of their fields had shifted, leaving them behind, but their contributions were acknowledged and respected.

    I do not think the same will hold for the small group of climate scientists (in the broadest sense) represented by the likes of Lindzen, Spencer, Christy and more recently Curry.

    0 0
  24. "Villabolo, another good comeback would be to inform them that American socialist joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and went off to fight fascism on the side of the Republicans while Hitler gave support to Franco."

    Indeed, such socialists were labelled "premature anti-fascists" ...

    0 0
  25. It always strikes me as self-serving to label anyone today who is ideologically opposed to you as Nazi. The Nazis were such a mish-mash of ideological positions both left and right (though, generally fascism is accepted by scholars to be a right wing ideology). Nazism is sort of a food fight buffet of positions. You can pick and choose what you like to splatter onto someone you don't agree with.

    Ultimately, whenever one discusses Nazis the first thing that should come to mind is the fact that we're talking about the politics of 70 and 80 years ago. It's so far removed from today as to be mostly not comparable.

    What is shocking to me is that Spencer, who is supposed to be a respected scientist, who is repeatedly being selected to present to Congress, doesn't have the presence of mind to realize this. Not only that, he's so lacking in presence of mind that he actually doubled down on his own position... and has yet to retract his comments.

    0 0
  26. As far as I can tell, the Cornwall Alliance basically holds that God wouldn't let the environment be seriously harmed by the burning of fossil fuels because oil and coal have allowed some people to become more prosperous.


    It sounds like a health and wealth gospel more or less, that God desires his elect to be materially rich. This is really very dangerous stuff because it’s confusing a scientific question with a religious one and will only make the denier movement more fanatical.

    Funny, I thought Pope Francis mentioned that "when nature-creation-is mistreated, she never forgives". I guess he's reading a different bible. 

     

    1 0
  27. Spencer's participation in the Cornwall Alliance appears to indicate that his Doctorate of Philosophy is in Spiritual Reflections that cannot be proven or disproved, just be discussed for as long as some are willing to potentially believe them.

    That explains his persistence at a hobby he has little evidence of skill in, climate science.

    However, his person view that "God has ensured that Humanity can do no wrong" contradicts the clearly established and open admission of the fallibility of humans and the need many have to confess their sins. And it is not likely to be the motivation for his persistence in arguing against climate science (he is not participating in developing the fullest and best understanding. He is clearly struggling to argue against that effort.

    There has always been a strong motivation in some people to disbelieve that benefiting from burning fossil fuels was unacceptable. It fits the pattern of reluctance to accept any new information and better understanding that indicates the unacceptability of what a person is accustomed to enjoy getting away with. As examples of this obvious and powerful motivation to dismiss new information and discredit those attempting to lead to a more sustainable society and economic arrangement I offer the following unacceptable things that are persistently fought against:

    • driving after drinking
    • speeding
    • newly established parking fees
    • smoking in public places
    • high-fructose corn syrup
    • pesticides and herbicides used for pleasure or convenience
    • antibiotic use to deal with the problems developed by cows fed grains to make them grow quicker. Feeding grain to make cows grow quicker also leads to greater risk of contaminated meat because the bowels of those cows contain compounds poisonous to humans.
    • non-Caucasians are equal and acceptable (and the versions that have struggled to be applied in many other cultures).
    • non-Christians are equal and acceptable (and the versions that have struggled to be applied in many other cultures)
    • private ownership of killing devices and carrying them in public is unacceptable.

    The motivation of Spencer and others is clear. Their interest is not in the Science, it is abusing their understanding of the popularity of Non-Science to prolong the ability of some people to benefit more and longer from unacceptable attitudes and behaviours. Al Gore may be best known for "The Inconvenient Truth", but his book "The Assault on Reason" is more pertinent to the climate science 'debate' (and calling it a debate is clearly debatable)

    The actions of the contrarians are unsustainable and damaging, just like the popular and profitable activities they persistently struggle to defend. The sooner they are unable to get away with the unacceptable things they want to get away with the better it will be for everyone else.

    0 0
  28. Correction of my @27 comment: My list is a muddled mix of unacceptable things that are fought for, and actions to try to limit unacceptable things that are fought against

    0 0
  29. Reflecting on the Parking Fees point in my list of things fought against @27, it is very pertinent to the possible actions regarding CO2.

    Parking is a limited opportuity that everyone tries to enjoy. But it is actually something that needs to be discouraged until the use of private vehicles is sustainable, something that everyone can choose to do forever.

    However, a parking fee is only addressing part of the issue, the fighting over the limited opportunity. And it addresses it in a socially unacceptable way, by saying those with more money get the right to benefit from doing the thing that only a few can be allowed to do. A better solution would be much more effective ad affprdable  public transportation systems (subsidized by taxation of the wealthier people who want to park). But even that better solution creates the socially unacceptable desires to be like the wealthy and be able to do unacceptable things.

    A focus on parking, like a focus on CO2, can become a distraction from the bigger issue of the wealthy needing to be the leaders toward totally sustainable living.

    0 0
  30. Elmwood, it could just be the evolution of the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings, since the Carbonist Barons seem to see themselves as the new Monarchy.

    0 0
  31. Regarding mid-troposphere datasets, it’s important to note that UAH and RSS differ by a factor of three in temperature trend, despite the fact that these two groups use the exact same raw data from the exact same satellites. Thus at least one of these two groups is doing something pretty badly wrong in their analysis. So when you average one good dataset with one bad one, as Christy and Mcnider have done (and as Spencer did before them on his blog), you know for sure you’ve got bad data in the mix.

    The same criticism applies to balloon-borne datasets: the underlying data is the same, but it’s being analyized differently by different groups. Thus by averaging you’re putting bad data in with the good.

    A far better procedure is to actually look at the way these groups analyze data and figure out who’s doing it best. For example, when you take RSS as the best of the two satellite datasets and RATPAC as the best of the balloon datasets, most of the discrepancy between that and models disappears.

    0 0
  32. Another huge discrepancy!

    Here's Christy & Mcnider's WSJ graph:

    http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/EG-AD687A_McNid_G_20140220095703.jpg

    Note that these are supposed to be 5-year averages. Note that the satellite 5-year average begins in 1980, and ends in 2013.

    So how did they get that 5-year average in 1980, when they only had 2 years worth of satellite data in 1980?

    I smell a rat.

    0 0
  33. Cornwall Alliance - "Earth and its ecosystems—created by God's intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory."


    Well the bit - '...are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting...' - is correct but since God has defined the rules of Physics and let us know those rules, we know that the rules can result in harm to humans.

    In other words it is self regulating and correcting, but that doesn't mean that process will always sustain humans. You would have to deny there was ever an Ice Age to believe that the only outcome good be good for humans.

    I think the Cornwall Alliance statement is a creation of the human mind not God.

    The problem Spencer has is that he may have to create 'fictions' eventually in order for his religion to match his science. It's already looking like that, which might explain why he and others are getting cornered and becoming more extreme.

    0 0
  34. Keithpickering, according to Roy Spencer UAH and RSS do not use the same data anymore. UAH switched to the newer NASA Aqua AMSU satellite while RSS use data from the older NOAA-15 satellite. Spencer claims that the older satellite  "has a decaying orbit, to which they are then applying a diurnal cycle drift correction based upon a climate model, which does not quite match reality".

    This is what is causing the divergence between the two data sets.

    0 0
  35. I would actually have expected Spencer to try to align more with the reality based side of the ''debate'' rather than doing this. The next El Nino will very likely push the UAH dataset to a new global record, so that would mean that somewhere between 2014 and 2016 there is a very good chance that Spencer/Christy will be thrown under the bus by the ''skeptics''. Unless there is a plan.

    0 0
  36. KeithPickering @32, the graph:

    You might will as also, how did they get a five year average for the interval 2011-2015 for their final value?

    However, what is very clear to me from the grap is that they used different baselines when comparing satellites to radiosondes (balloons), to that which they used when comparing satellites to baloons.  Had they used the same short baseline that they used for the satellite/model comparison for the radiosonde/sattelite comparison, it would have lifted the balloon data relative to the satellite and model data by 0.05 C.  That would have only slightly decreased the discrepancy between them, but would have clearly shown a disagreement between satellites and radiosondes.

    Alternatively, had they used the same long baseline for satellites and models that they used for radiosondes and satellites, that would have decreased the apparent discrepancy of the models to the satellites and radiosondes substantially.

    This is a cooked graph.  It is designed to distort the presentation so as to suggest a misleading conclusion. 

    0 0
  37. @36 Tom Curtis @32 Keith Pickering.


    I use rolling (4 week in my case) averages all the time at my work. I don't take an average every 4 weeks. Instead, I calculate a number every week by going back 4 weeks and dividing by 4. So if I averaged weeks 1 through 11, I can still have a 4 week average at week 11 by using weeks 8, 9, 10 and 11. Of course, I would not be able to get a 4 week average for week 1 (unless I have data from the previous year, which in fact I do).


    What confuses me is the manipulation Spencer engaged in by using different baselines. Can anyone explain this?

    (My former boss wanted me to change the scales on graphs to make data look greather or smaller--I refused.)

    0 0
  38. paulh:

    ...but the graph Tom shows in #36 starts one year after the data starts (1980 vs. 1979) and it stops the same year the data ends (2014, which is barely under way). If the last value is the five years up to 2014, where does the data come from to get the value for the five years up to 1980?

    You can do smoothing with methods that go to the ends of the data, but running means ain't one of them. Tamino has a series of three posts on smoothing. This is the third. You can get to the other by the links at the start of each part.

    0 0
  39. paulh @37, the first data point on the graph for satellites and radiosondes is 1980.  Assume that to be the data point for the average of 1979 (the first year of available data) to 1983.  It then follows that the last data point is the five year average 2013 to 2017, which a remarkable average to have in early 2014.  Alternatively, assume the last data point is the average from 2010-2014.  The the first data point is the average from 1976-1980, which is extraordinary given that the first year of data is 1979 (for satellites).

    Any way you cut it, Spencer has averaged across over three years of non-existent data; or he has treated a two year average as being a five year average without notice.

    As shonky as that is, however, I do agree that the baselining is even more shonky.

    0 0
  40. Tom Curtis @ 14

    I would have thought that this site would not only attract scientists, it would attract scientists with families to protect. Judging by the total lack of support for either your views or for mine, I have to assume that I was wrong on the families bit.

    The evidence is hardly hidden. Apart from promises to act, what the global community has achieved compared to what needs to happen is miniscule. You seem to have put yourself into the position of judge and jury as far as the point is concerned. We get "I think", "I believe" or any such phrasing that might indicate that you are just another commenter. No, you, Tom Curtis, have decided to act as spokesman for this site in total. Very democratic!.

    I have deliberately delayed my response to see if either of our comments would attract discussion, but sadly, none has so far surfaced, I suppose it is more fun to concentrate on the science instead of taking that science into the political arena which is where it matters. Let's face it, with 97% support for the case that we are in trouble and it is our fault, the science battle is won. The problem is, we are in a war and the science of the issue is only one of its battles, albeit a major one. The danger is, to quote Bob Dylan, that those resisting action to fight climate change will 'win the war after losing every battle.'

    I would have thought that if a climate scientist can be shown to have testified to Congress, Parliament, etc. with evidence that they know, or can reasonably be assumed to know, has previously been proven false, then that should attract sanction of some kind. I need hardly add that that should also apply anyone behaving in like manner, particularly including British peers of the realm. If the scientific community are not sufficiently annoyed to rise up and demand action to stop such behaviour when they see it repeated again and again, then it is hardly surprising that the politicians see no reason to take the action we all know to be essential and overdue. On this issue, as with many others, silence can be deafening.

    We can all follow your lead, Tom, and snuff out any demand for positive action to shut up those who commit the 'crime' of misinforming those in parliament and even government on the issue of climate change. Or we can rise up and create a situation where the politicians are forced to either support those who have misled them, or act to ensure that they are removed from any position of influence in order to stop them doing so ever again. We would be in a much better place in the fight to combat climate change if we had only managed to treat the scientific 'guns for hire' that so managed to delay action on the tobacco and lung cancer issue.

    If the mechanisms to silence those people are not in place, such as stripping them of their scientific credentials, or letters patent for their peerages, then there should be a campaign, and a prominent one to boot, that creates those mechanisms

    Or we can continue polishing the science, who knows, we might even achieve 97.5% consensus, while climate change marches inexorably on and the fossil fuel industry and those in its pay laugh all the way to the bank.

    I don't think this side of the fence will take any solace in being able to utter the words, "Told you so!" I think our children and grandchildren would prefer a cry of "Phew, that was close. Thank goodness we managed to get the politicians to act, albeit belatedly"

    Make no mistake, how we as a species deal with climate change has ramifications way outside that of changes to the climate. There are many issues where public opinion has been swayed away from hard science by a media that is obviously working to a hidden agenda. An agenda which seems to follow what most affects their advertising revenue. How we react to that media and its influence will affect how we deal with those other major issues. We will get nowhere if we just let one person decide for the rest of us with little or no discussion. Judging by this particular comments thread, the portents are not good.

    0 0
  41. funglestrumpet @ 40

    I would never become a proof reader! @ line 8 should read: 'We get no' instead of simply 'We get'. It makes a difference. The other proof reading errors are about par for the course, sorry.

    0 0
  42. I agree with Spencer on one thing... we shouldn't call him a 'denier' any more. Given his forays into... less than accurate representations of the facts (e.g. the graph in #36) he is not merely denying the evidence of AGW. He is actively distorting it. SkS policy forbids any speculation on certain motives for such, but he can certainly be called a 'distorter', 'disinformer', 'fabricator', et cetera without getting into why he would do such things.

    As to Esop's point in #35 about Spencer's data inevitably disproving his own position... it already does. He frequently makes the 'no global warming for XX years' claim despite the fact that his satellite data does show statistically significant warming for the time period in question... he instead relies on the Hadley Center data to make the case. To all appearances, Spencer is a 'true believer'. I think he believes the things he says, even when they are obviously false. Thus, there is no 'plan' in place for when his data shows a new record high temperature. He simply doesn't believe that is possible... and when it happens he will undoubtedly come up with a way to believe that it hasn't, or that it doesn't matter. The man believes, and wrote a book arguing, that scientific facts and economic results must conform to his personal religious views. At that level of self delusion there isn't much which you can't rationalize away.

    0 0
  43. funglestrumpet @40

    " I suppose it is more fun to concentrate on the science instead of taking that science into the political arena which is where it matters."

    I tend to agree that the first part is a problem, but I think your 'call to arms' is an illustration a larger tactical failure. You want to drum these contrarians out of the community, and the denial industry would like nothing better. Isn't it obvious how it would be played?

    The 'skeptics' are very good at tweaking scientists and bloggers into chasing their own tails and creating a false equivalence, giving the most bizarre 'skeptic' arguments legitimacy. People tend to want to do what they are comfortable with; for many capable in science, it is obvious that thinking and communicating outside their peer milieu is not their strongest suit. So, rather than respond at the level appropriate to the debate as presented by skeptics, and the audience it is aimed at, they foster the impression that rebuttal requires an ever-more complex analysis. Conclusion: The contrarian claims are on the same level, no matter that in reality they can be refuted with the most fundamental argument.

    I would say that you are succumbing to the same jiu-jitsu; light the torches and bring the pitchforks, and the cries of Socialist Conspiracy will fill the airwaves.

     

    0 0
  44. Funglestrumpet @40:

    1)

    "You seem to have put yourself into the position of judge and jury as far as the point is concerned. We get [no] "I think", "I believe" or any such phrasing that might indicate that you are just another commenter. No, you, Tom Curtis, have decided to act as spokesman for this site in total. Very democratic!."

    That is an odd sort of rant.  Particularly so given the almost complete lack of such qualifiers in your post @6.  There "it seems" to you that we have let the exposition (or understanding) of the science get in the way of taking action on global warming, but when you call for a witch hunt against deniers, it no longer seems, but is (apparently to your mind) uncontestable fact.  We cannot take you as a spokesperson for the SkS community, for you explicitly state that you are the spokesperson for, not just your familly but all future generations of it.  A self appointed spokes person, off course.

    That may be the problem.  I have always, emphatically insisted that I speak only for myself, and nobody else unless I specifically specify that I am speaking in a formal capacity.  I certainly do not speak for SkS, nor purport to, as I am no longer part of the SkS community in any formal way - having publicly resigned from whatever capacities I served in.  I do not even speak for my familly, who are all perfectly capable of speaking for themselves; and nor do I pretend to speak for future generations even of my descendants (whose opinions I do not know - so how can I speak in their name).  My overwhelming impression of people who purport to speak for others without officially being appointed to do so is that they are charlatans (for they invariably misrepresent the opinions of those they claim to speak for) who are claiming a false authority for their views because those views will not stand on their own.

    Further, and as I have said before:

    "You should also not be confused by my confident tone. I eschew the false humility of prefacing comments as IMO (or worse IMHO). Of course all that I write is my opinion, unless specifically identified as a quote. Even when I cite facts, the facts are only my best understanding of them. This is again something that should not need saying, but I have seen too many writers on the internet who strew their comments with IMO and the like, and genuinely seem to believe that any sentence they do not so adorn is some how unimpeachable truth."

    2)  

    "I would have thought that if a climate scientist can be shown to have testified to Congress, Parliament, etc. with evidence that they know, or can reasonably be assumed to know, has previously been proven false, then that should attract sanction of some kind."

    In fact, such sanctions already exist, and are quite appropriate.  I think a case can be made that in some instances various deniers have been in breach of those provisions, and should accordingly be penalized.  They should be penalized, however, on the basis of existing law - and no change of that law should be made to make the test for attracting penalties less strenuous for AGW deniers.

    Your post @6, however, did not restrict itself to discussion of people in contempt of parliament, or who perjured themselves.  It as a general claim that prominent (and not so prominent) deniers in general should be penalized.  That is not acceptable.

    This is an issue on which I am very passionate.  Democracy, and with it a commitment to free speach are the highest achievements of the human species.  So high an achievement that if we would sacrifice them for survival, we are not worthy of survival.  And your impassioned plea @6 was de facto a plea for an abandonment of those principles.  A plea to replace the rule of law with the rule of vendetta.

    If you want to back down from that position, and defend the use of existing provisions against false testimony alone, by all means say so.  We might then find a measure of agreement.  But if you are not backing down, then do not pretend that your original position concerned only cases of breaches of existing law with respect to perjury and contempt of parliament (or other national equivalents).

    0 0
  45. Tom, seriously, are you happy that this site can publish a post entitled 'Corrections to Curry's Erroneous Comments on Ocean Heating' concerning her flawed evidence to the Senate? Surely, in the light of that post, the sanctions that you say are already in effect, cannot be described as “appropriate.” They are supposed to be a deterrent. If they really are as effective as you claim them to be, Dana should have raised the fact that she had contravened them and unless she can provide an extremely good reason for such behaviour, faces … (add a fitting sanction).

    I too am a champion of free speech and see it as a right. Indeed, it is impossible to have a functioning democracy without it. However, it needs protection from abuse and here is possibly where we differ most. Considering what it means to the lives of our progeny, I really don’t think that we should simply wring our hands and say “What can we do? It is just the way they are” when contrarians, such as those named in this post, pump out the 'same old same old' despite there being ample evidence that that 'same old same old' is false. It is important that they be brought into line with the existing science if they cannot provide a rebuttal to the received position on the matter in hand. Furthermore, unless you can suggest some alternative, I think that they need to face some sort of sanction. If science is about anything, it is about seeking the truth. The deliberate publication of what can legitimately be said to be flawed at best and downright wrong at worst, does, after all, provide the politicians with an excuse to not act, and, one suspects, get their envelope of thanks from the fossil fuel industry, which has a lot to gain from the b.a.u. that results from that inaction.

    By all means support free speech, but not without sanction for abuse of the right to speak freely. Even with free speech we cannot stand up and be ‘phobic about many of society’s issues, even if we want to. I have no objection to homosexuals, but if I had, I certainly could not publish work that would reflect such a view. Not where I live at any rate. I have no objection to such constraints.

    To conclude, I think that it is well past time to take the gloves off and do whatever we can to bring the debate round to a discussion of the facts. Surely, one has only to watch any of Potholer 54’s videos on Monckton to support the creation of a mechanism that would shut him up until his presentations follow the science and not be fodder to a media that is more interested in its advertising revenue than it is about its kids or its country, be it the one they were born in, or the one where they currently rest their head. If I have his lordship measured correctly, the threat of losing his title would be very effective at closing the said lord's cake hole.

    Alternatively, perhaps we should all take James Lovelock’s latest advice and eat, drink and be merry for climate change is going to “hit the fan” in twenty years or so no matter what we do. If he is right, it is all too late to do anything meaningful about it anyway. I just happen to think that it would be a good thing for those who have done so much to ensure the b.a.u. that might have led to such a situation should pay a price for their actions. I suspect you don’t agree, though I am darned if I can understand why. Sod “Vengance is mine, sayeth the Lord.” I want to actually see it when the punishment is dispensed to fit the crime.

    0 0
  46. Terranova @16 - I would define a climate scientist as someone whose profession involves doing scientific research related to the climate.

    0 0
  47. @ 38 Bob Loblaw  @39 Tom Curtis.

    Bob, thanks for the link to Tamino. That's very interesting stuff.

    Tom, my question about how Spencer manipulated by using two different baselines was not a rhetorical question. I actually don't understand the sleight of hand he used. Can anyone help? Usually Skeptical Science includes very good explanations and graphs.

    0 0
  48. funglestrumpet@45,

    Most of the climate scientists who are affected by 'skeptic' distortions, do not share your opinion. I've never heard of any proposition of 'sanction' or 'Nuremberg' to be imposed on even the most prominent deniers.

    Jim Hansen, like yourself, talks a lot about the ethical obligation to our children and grandchildren. But unlike yourself, he never considers that failure to comply with those ethical standards should incur penalties of any kind. He rather suggest that all deniers, when converted, be taken 'on board' because we need their expertise to find the scalable solution to the problem of global clean energy.

    And of course Mike Mann. Note that his lawsuit (which progresses well and has big chance of winning), is not about science denial by NRO and by Mark Steyn. It is about personal harassment. If it was against science denial it would have no stance.

    As much as I sympathise with your opinion, I have to agree with Tom Curtis that our society did not develop the necessary law to sanction science denial. That of course may change in the future. Future generations, especially when pressed by negative effects of AGW that are predicted to surface soon, may change their laws, like we recently changed our laws with respect to homosexualism (a good example you provide), but it's up to them to do that. The laws cannot work backwards.

    Meanwhile, we should be working to set the grassroots. Mike Mann's type of lawsuit is the only reasonable sanction we have at the moment. And, as I said before, even though it's not about sscince denial but personal harassment, its eventual success would send anyway a powerful message to all denialists and make the task of eradicating denial easier.

    0 0
  49. paulh:

    As for baselines: look at the top figure in the blog post itself. It's hard to read the axis labels, but I'm pretty sure it starts in 1950 and goes to 2010 in 10-year increments. In the first four years, the GISTEMP observations go from about -0.24 to +0.03, and then in three more years they drop back to about -0.25. These are all anomalies, not temperatures - they are the difference between the actual temperature that year and an arbitrary baseline (usually the mean for a period of years, often up to 30).

    If you wanted to start a comparison between a model and GISTEMP, beginning in 1950, the question is whether you align the model and GISTEMP for a single year (1950), or for a period of years. Using the mean of several years smooths out the GISTEMP observations as well as the model results, reducing the effect of short-term noise on the comparison.

    If you chose a single year, 1950 was "cold" in GISTEMP, so matching the model for that one year starts it off cold for the entire comparison. Let's say you pick 1954 instead, which has a spike in GISTEMP running above the general trend. From that point, your comparison would be biased on the high side (GISTEMP above the model).

    As a general rule, there is no particular reason top favour 1950 over 1951, 1952, 1953, or 1954, etc. - they are all just years in a sequence. Yet we can easily see that picking different individual years in that short period will give a very different visual impression, ranging from GISTEMP well below the model to GISTEMP well above the model. A different choice in which single year to use can shift the position of the model values by close to 0.3 in relation to the observations.

    In jargon-speak, the result (using a single year) is not robust: a different (arbitrary) choice gives different results. Cherry-picking is the art of knowing that your choice makes a big difference in the results, and choosing the one that misleads the reader down the path you want to take them.

    When considering climate models, you cannot expect them to exactly mimic all the short-term variations. Some types of models generally give smooth variations, by their nature, but complex GCMS have their own "internal variability" and thus can show larger year-to-year ups and downs, just like observations such as GISTEMP. This gives the cherry picker yet another opportunity to mislead: if you can pick a low point in the observations that matches a high point in the model run, you can make the visual difference even greater.

    The proper way to "match" the starting point is to average over several years in both the observations and the model results - enough years to average out that short-term variation.

    Looking back at the figure showing Hansen's projections in the blog post, notice how the model projections (starting around 1988) begin in the middle of the range of GISTEMP values for that period - not at a spike (upward or downward). The model just happens to fall very close to the value for that individual year, but it is clear that the starting point of the comparison is in the middle of the range, not at an extreme.

    Rob Honeycutt provides a visual on what not do to in a recent comment on the IPCC overestimate temperature rise post.

    0 0
  50. Kriskoz @ 48

    I could agree with both you and Tom Curtis if we had time for the system to change organically. But we just don't have that time. I have been following the problem of climate change since the mid-eighties, when it first gained public prominence. Since then we have had all kinds of major conventions, meetings, and the like, with a lot of fine words about what needs to happen and how we are going to go about it. What we very definitely have not had is meaningful action to combat climate change, apart from some token gestures that the politicians think will placate the public.

    With the levels of temperature rise currently predicted, it is difficult not to invoke the expression: Desperate needs call for desperate measures. I, as much as anyone, support the democratic process and abhor injustice. But I abhor even more the idea that this generation is, thanks to its inaction, going to impose conditions on future generations which will be unbearable and with an almost certain considerable loss of life. In my book that trumps any desire to protect the status quo. Sometimes one is faced with having to decide on the better of two evils, unpleasant is such a choice ever is.

    I choose to sacrifice some of the niceties of today’s society in order to achieve some meaningful action to protect future generations. If we do not get that action, and get it soon, then the very real danger is that there will not be any social niceties, because there will not be any society in which those niceties can exist.

    Perhaps you and Tom are unaware of the other major issues that face the next generation, and even the younger members of this generation. Issues that are all exacerbated by a failure to tackle climate change. We face a major problem with oil supply. Despite all the jubilation about fracking, we are just not discovering anything like enough new oil fields to meet the demand in the near future as existing oil fields dry up, let alone demands further into the future. Oil cannot readily be substituted by electricity, yet it is central to agriculture and to transportation of its produce. Oil is not the only commodity facing shortages. We have a major problem with potassium and phosphorus depletion, which are essential to food production. We cannot simply build factories to produce more. Supplies are finite as far as planet earth is concerned. We face copper shortages and all that that means for electronics and electrics and the role they play in today's society. On top of all those we have population growth, which is going to significantly raise the demand of all commodities and oil to use in transportation of same. I recommend Our Finite World blog for detailed discussion of the foregoing. Climate change, important as it is, does not exist in a vacuum.

    Perhaps I am wrong and you and Tom are fully aware of these issues and I am missing something, but if that is the case, I cannot understand your complacency. As I see it, the need for positive action is urgent. Yes, there are standards to protect, but only until they are superseded by more important issues. Had I and my family been on the Titanic, I would have joined an orderly queue for the lifeboats, but only for so long. When it dawned on me that if I continued to queue, i.e. maintain my standards, I would not get on one, I would have left the queue and fought tooth and nail to get myself and my family onto one of them so that they might survive. My take on climate change is that we are now at that point.

    You and Tom are welcome to continue ‘queuing’. I have decided that the time has come to start fighting and fighting dirty if necessary. Yes, we will lose some standards. But at least if we fight hard enough, soon enough, we might be able to save the society in which those standards be reinstated when things are more stable. If we fail, what value those standards? They will only be part of a memory of better times.

    If you disagree with the above, please put forward your ideas as to how we can get the meaningful action that our current behaviour has so clearly and spectacularly failed to deliver.

    B.A.U. not only leads to climate change because of increased fossil fuel usage, it also leads to it because the politicians will contine their inaction unless we change the business as usual of not forcing them into action.

    1 0
    Moderator Response:

    [JH] You are now skating on the thin ice of sloganeering and excessive repitition, both of which are prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy. Please cease and desist. If you do not, your future posts that are in noncomplioance will be deleted in their entirity. 

1  2  Next

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.



The Consensus Project Website

TEXTBOOK

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)

THE DEBUNKING HANDBOOK

BOOK NOW AVAILABLE

The Scientific Guide to
Global Warming Skepticism

Smartphone Apps

iPhone
Android
Nokia

© Copyright 2014 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us