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Climate Hustle

Podcast on National Review & the science of climate science denial

Posted on 15 May 2017 by John Cook

National Review recently published an article by Oren Cass that misrepresents a 2016 paper on the scientific consensus on climate change, written by coauthors of 7 leading consensus studies and members of the Skeptical Science team (coauthors include Naomi Oreskes, Peter Doran, William Anderegg, Bart Verheggen & Stuart Carlton). I asked National Review for a right-of-reply and to their credit, they agreed. Here is my reply to Oren Cass: How to Recognize ‘Science Denial’.

National Review also published a reply-to-my-reply from Oren Cass: John Cook’s Leap of Faith. Unfortunately, Cass justifies his use of the fake expert strategy because, well, Bernie Sanders. He also misrepresents Gavin Schmidt and the IPCC, attempting to argue that I am an outlier compared to them

Interestingly, this is the same strategy that Richard Tol once tried in arguing our 97% was an outlier compared to other consensus studies, which led to my co-authoring the 2016 consensus-on-consensus study with other consensus researchers (which was the paper that Cass misrepresents, everything is coming full circle). The position of the IPCC, Gavin Schmidt and myself are in perfect agreement: our best estimate of human contribution to global warming is 100% with the lowest bound being around 50%.

Anyway, I also recorded an Evidence Squared podcast with Peter Jacobs, where we critique the original National Review article. We discuss the techniques of climate science denial, focusing on the technique of fake experts that Cass uses to cast doubt on expert agreement.

Links from this episode

Follow Evidence Squared on FacebookTwitter and Soundcloud.

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Comments 1 to 4:

  1. Nice podcast. I have noticed most climate sceptics embrace or indulge in logical fallacies, and often also have vested interests, or ideological beliefs that are anti tax and anti government regulation. This appears to be the root cause that drives their climate science denialism.

    Both these denialist issues, embracing logical fallacies, and being driven by strident ideology, are fundamentally lazy thinking, that is a form of anti -intellectualism and self centredness. It's little more than a shallow gut reaction. And the current White House are massive examples of all of this.

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  2. Totally agree, nigelj. Whenever I discuss climate change with my dad, his denialism always boils down to his fear of socialism and one world government. 

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  3. Essentially all denial is implicatory denial of one form or another. Maybe the view that the detested implication will occur is true or false, but that still doesn't change the underlying fear/detestation motivation.

    Is dealing with Climate Change going to lead to  socialism/one world government. No, So the implication is false.

    Does the reality of Climate Change imply that a Christians view that God wouldn't allow the world to be like that is wrong? Yes, the implication is true.

    Either way, they both trigger denial. However, where the implication is false, there is more room to work with that. It's hard to work with the grieving Christian who has to confront their worldview being destroyed in a profound way. Because it is being destroyed and that will be painful for them

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  4. This article makes some good points about climate science denial. However in the subject which is the article “Climate- Change Activists Are the Real Science Deniers” by Oren Cass, May 1, 2017, I was blow away by the admission of Cass in the article that:


    “Not so. I addressed these issues in a recent Foreign Affairs essay, in which I called the IPCC “the gold-standard summary,” cited it repeatedly, and adopted its estimate that temperatures could rise by 3 to 4°C this century. My essay further embraced the Obama administration’s “Social Cost of Carbon” analysis and adopted its high-case model for economic cost. But the essay argued that the likely impact of all this was “manageable” rather than “catastrophic.”


    I’m certainly not an expert in climate science but consider it a high risk to our future and as a result have tried to educate myself on the subject. From my studies it appears to me there is more than ample evidence that a 2 degree rise will create life-altering problems and that 3 to 4 degrees will not be close to being “manageable”. I’m surprised someone has not brought this up in this discussion.


    Cass doesn’t seem to be denying global warming but denying that it will be catastrophic. Guess that depends on the definition of ‘catastrophic’.

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