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Climate Hustle

A new SkS resource: climate skeptics and their myths

Posted on 18 August 2011 by John Cook

Lately, I've been receiving more emails than usual asking about recent climate myths (or depressingly, confusion about very old climate myths). Often the responses to these myths are already available at Skeptical Science but it seems people are having trouble finding it. So I'm planning to add a number of features making our information more accessible. The first step is a resource of Climate Skeptics. It features a number of prominent climate skeptics - click on any photo and it will show quotes and articles from the skeptic, a list of their climate myths (along with the SkS rebuttals, of course) and all relevant SkS blog posts.

The short URL is http://sks.to/skeptics


Over time, we'll be adding more skeptics. If you'd like to help us build the resource, please contact me.

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Comments 51 to 100 out of 106:

  1. While browsing through books in Toronto stores this past week, I noticed that only a small number of books on "climate change" were located in the the sections labeled "general science" or "geoscience". The majority of "climate change" books were found in the section titled "History & Political Science" and included authors like Spencer and Plimer. I'm not sure who suggested this organizational scheme to the bookstores but I think it is safe to assume that anyone outside of the influence of Rupert Murdoch's "megaphone" (publishing and broadcasting empire) already knows the truth. Unfortunately, the fossil-fuel industry is still making such obscene amounts of money that there is no way petroleum businesses in Canada, the United States, or Australia will ever give up without a fight. (think "big tobacco"; they never really went away)

    Why do Americans Continue To Deny Climate Change?

    NSR (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
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  2. Coincidentally, I just read the first chapter of Stuart Ewen's PR! A Social History of Spin. It is indirectly relevant to this and other threads, and it may answer guiganbresil's concerns about why this thread attacks individuals and, as in neilrieck's link, "Why Americans Continue to Deny Climate Change." Briefly: because SkS wouldn't exist if concerned science knew how to effectively battle the forces arrayed against it. The science doesn't explain itself. Explaining the science isn't enough. Every attempt to misrepresent the science must be addressed, and that must be done efficiently, because organized misinformers are allowed every PR trick in the book. They don't have to make sense; they just have to do what it takes shift public opinion. It then becomes efficient to attack individuals who have become PR-bots repeating the same range of arguments--not ideology-driven arguments, but arguments for the sake of power: arguments for the sake of opinion-making. Devalue a robot to the extent that it becomes useless, and the purchaser of robots is forced to buy another one. And occasionally one of these discarded robots rediscovers his/her humanity. Hammer Bastardi's bizarre physical model. Hammer Spencer's Fun With Variables. Hammer Salby's New Improved Physical Model for a New, Postmodern, A-Historical You. Hammer E&E and their potpourri of industry-friendly, uhhh, research. Hammer their "science" through them. Kill two birds with one stone.

    As for neilrieck's linked question "Why?": because they've been largely constructed to be receptive to the tools that power uses to make their opinions. Conspiracy? Not at all. Read the chapter.
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  3. Tom Curtis @44, at no time did I "insist that not only should deniers be able to libel climate scientists and launch vicious attacks against climate scientists, but they should also have the advantage of effective immunity..."

    It is undeniable that Skeptical Science has "personalized this": Names & Pictures, references in the comments to "rogues gallery", "dammed(sic)" etc. The question is whether or not it stoops to Alinsky's level.

    les @10 rightly warns of a "witch hunt" domain.

    Moderator [JC] @40, from your response I understand where you are headed with this new SkS resource - it is reasonable and I believe it can be done professionally.

    I apologize for my evisceral response @40. On my first read, I saw "denier" vice "skeptic" in the post and my error put the whole post in a very negative light - admit it or not, the term "denier" is a not-so-veiled allusion to "Holocaust Denier".

    There are plenty of other sites to organize personal attacks, it would be a shame for SkS to join them.
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] The term "denier" is in no way an allusion to holocaust denial. "Denial" has a specific meaning in psychology that is pretty close to its usage here, note that Wikipedia gives defintions of:
    • simple denial - deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether
    • minimisation - admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization)
    • projection - admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility.
    It is not difficult to find examples of these types of denial in the list of most used climate myths ("its not happening","its not bad","its not us"). Yep, seems like a good match to me. It isn't a term I like to use, except where unequivocally warranted, but linking it to the Holocaust is just hyperbolic rhetoric.
  4. guinganbresil @53, like it or not, the first recorded use of the word "denier" was in 1536 (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary). That it was then used some 450 years later to describe holocaust deniers is no reason for it to be suddenly cease being used in any other context. In particular, that climate change deniers are working themselves into a manufactured outrage over that descriptive term is no reason to cease accurately describing them.
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  5. guinganbresil @53:

    1) A person can reasonably be understood as insisting upon the logical consequences of that on which they do insist. Insisting that the names of proponents of views not be mentioned when discussing those views, or that opinions not be indexed by their proponents has the effect of granting the benefit of anonymity to people who are using their apparent immunity to criticism in public life to launch vicious and slanderous attacks against climate scientists.

    2) It is quite clear that Skeptical Science has not personalized this. They have done no more than index opinions by the names of the authors of those opinions. The fact that those people espoused those opinions was already a matter of public record, so if anybody has personalized this, it is those authors in not issuing anonymous opinions.

    You seem fundamentally confused about the difference between critiquing a persons views and launching an attack on their person. Skeptical Science does the former. It tries to restrict the later with its comments policy.

    Les @10 was frankly, talking nonsense. This is a witch hunt, what we see above is an index.
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  6. garethman - if there really is a piece of actual science that runs contrary to the main line view, then it will be published and then get commented on. What's around in the pseudo-science blogs etc just does not cut it. If you want see real skepticism then try our tearoom, but junk "science" doesnt cut it.

    So do you have a peer-reviewed science paper that you think should be discussed? An idea has got to clear that bar to get much serious consideration.
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  7. After spring chicken Motl (1973), I think that Tony Abbott (1957) is the youngest of the lot.
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  8. Can we have Bolt & Jones as well?

    Also, I think Muller deserves an honourable mention for infuriating the denialists by replicating the existing terrestrial temperature data with his own analysis. I'm almost thinking that he is a mole in the denialist ranks.
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  9. alan_marshall at 09:59 AM on 19 August, 2011
    What I notice is the abundance of grey hair.
    ----------
    I have noticed that old people feel the cold more. So maybe it's a case of not wanting to move to warmer climes like old people do now. They want the warmer climes to move to them.
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  10. ginckgo at 10:28 AM on 19 August, 2011
    Do we really have to bow to their bullying and call them 'skeptics' instead of 'deniers'?
    --------
    No, but this is the name they want to use. They have made an iron rod for their own back, since they have changed the meaning of climate skeptic to mean " I will believe anything as long as it makes my fear of AGW go away."

    Terms like denier they can twist: those wicked warmists are calling us Nazis, cry, sob.

    They cannot twist "climate skeptic" because it is their own. Use the term "climate skeptic. As often as possible.
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  11. If you look at the arguments behind the photos many don't actually address the so-called 'Climate Myth' but rather just play an exercise in tit for tat. Look at Muller's entry for a prime example: "claims that global warming has harmed the Earth so far are not scientific". Well are or aren't claims that the Earth has presently suffered harm scientifically based? The 'reality' posted is that negatives outweigh positives. That doesn't address what he said at all. I could mention a lot more that's just one concise example.
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    Response:

    [dana1981] Every rebuttal specifically addresses the myth in question.  If the one-liner response is too succinct for your taste, click the link to see more detail.

  12. "Well are or aren't claims that the Earth has presently suffered harm scientifically based?"

    Yes, but your choice of words is a trick and a trap, isn't it? There's scientific support to the claims of some of the damage. Extreme events like record floods, storms, droughts, heat waves, arctic disruption, all combine the science, the expectation, and the observation. It shows up in places like your insurance premiums and food prices.
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  13. John Brookes wrote: "Also, I think Muller deserves an honourable mention for infuriating the denialists by replicating the existing terrestrial temperature data with his own analysis. I'm almost thinking that he is a mole in the denialist ranks."

    Muller definitely isn't a 'mole'. He has been spreading too many ridiculous 'skeptic' claims (e.g. 'not a single polar bear has died due to global warming') for too long.

    Whether having independently confirmed that things he previously promoted as heroic truths are in fact completely false (e.g. the surface temperature records are heavily biased by urban heat island effects) will cause him to re-examine the rest of the BS he has been peddling remains to be seen. If he stops saying things which are demonstrably false then I'd agree he wouldn't belong on this page any more... however, if he continues doing so then the links to pages debunking false claims should remain.
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  14. "The results presented here provide (to our knowledge) the first experimental observation of changes in the Earth's outgoing longwave radiation spectrum, and therefore the greenhouse effect..." Harries 2001

    "Changes"? Did the OLR actually go down? Really? All sky? - Oh, Clear sky only... Oh, over the GHG bands only...

    "and therefore the greenhouse effect..."? Really? Doesn't that require an actual decrease in the total heat loss to space?

    Since this forms the connection between increasing CO2 and global temperatures and thus the basis for climate alarmism, this might be worth more rigorous investigation.

    Griggs 2004, Chen 2007 added additional data sets, but did essentially the same thing - clear sky only, and still showed increasing brightness temperature in the window region over time (exceeding the decrease in the CO2 band...)

    Did Harries or others ever follow up on All Sky analyses as they said they would? Has the observed decrease in the CO2 bands actually impacted the overall OLR measured by non-spectrally resolved sensors?

    Has anyone closed the loop on this? Or has the climate science community really built their house on this soft sand of incomplete analysis?
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  15. Tom Curtis @55,

    Your 1) I think both of us misunderstood SkS's new resource... I thought (in error) it was a forum for personal attacks against skeptics, you apparently believe it is a record of their personal attacks on proponents. A quick check would show that SkS has stuck to the science (see Monckton, no reference to Hitler Youth...)

    I stick by my statement: "it is reasonable and I believe it can be done professionally"
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  16. guinganbresil wrote: "'and therefore the greenhouse effect...'? Really? Doesn't that require an actual decrease in the total heat loss to space?"

    Ummm.... no.

    The energy still leaves eventually. Most of it is just at different IR bands by that point. I'm not sure why you would think that GHGs need to have an impact on non-GHG radiation bands in order to prove the greenhouse effect... but, by definition, they don't.

    If the total outgoing energy decreased by any significant amount while the incoming energy remained the same (what you describe as required to prove the greenhouse effect) then the planet would be burned to a crisp in short order.

    Rather, what happens is that energy in the GHG bands is blocked from escaping and remains within the climate system... which causes the climate system to be warmer... which causes more radiant energy to be emitted at non-GHG bands... which results in incoming and outgoing energy being balanced - just with a higher surface temperature than would have existed without the GHGs. Same principle as putting insulation on a house to keep it warmer.
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  17. CB, I think confusion results unless we state more explicitly what you stated implicitly: Total energy loss to space across all wavelengths does decrease temporarily in response to increase of greenhouse gas insulation of infrared wavelengths. That temporary decrease is what causes the extra energy to accumulate, which manifests as greater temperature, which then causes an exactly compensatory increase in total outgoing radiation across all wavelengths.

    But in practice we don't expect to measure such a distinct step-set of stimulus-response changes in outgoing total radiation. Changes in greenhouse gas insulation are continuous rather than discrete, and the resulting increases in temperature are continuous and instantaneous. Further smearing of the radiation response times is done by the existence of the various energy sinks such as the oceans, and noise from the large number of influences over incoming and outgoing radiation other than greenhouse gases.

    Finally, when the temperature increases, the system's attempt to emit more radiation is not restricted to non-infrared wavelengths. If greenhouse gases do not block 100% of a given wavelength, then an attempted increase in radiation at that wavelength can cause some successful increase at that wavelength.
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  18. 64, guinganbresil,
    Since this forms the connection between increasing CO2 and global temperatures and thus the basis for climate alarmism, this might be worth more rigorous investigation.
    Please:

    1) Tell me that you understand CBDunkerson's explaination in 66. If not, visit this post:

    Stratospheric Cooling and Tropospheric Warming

    and here:

    Empriical Evidence for Global Warming

    2) Once you understand this, please openly and publicly withdraw your remark above, as well as the following:

    Or has the climate science community really built their house on this soft sand of incomplete analysis?
    In addition, in the future please demonstrate more skepticism by properly investigating issues with an open mind, rather than assuming that your are smart and all climate scientists are dumb.
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  19. Guinganbresil @64, under an enhanced greenhouse effect due to increasing greenhouse gases, and before the temperature has increased to match the equilibrium climate sensitivity, we expect that:

    1) Globally and temporally averaged, the OLR in the GHG bands will be reduced relative to the reference;

    2) Globally and temporally averaged, the OLR outside of the GHG bands will be increased relative to the reference; but that

    3) Globally and temporally averaged, the area under the black body curve will be slightly reduced relative to the reference.

    The global and temporal averaging are important. If a particular region or year are unusually warm due to natural weather changes, that will easily overwhelm the slight reduction in outgoing power, increasing the overall OLR. If the particular region or year are unusually cool it will show a reduced OLR.

    Consequently, when you compare the OLR over the Central Pacific from a La Nina year (such as 1970) with that from the strongest El Nino on record (such as 1997), it is hardly surprising if the overall OLR is increased in the later case relative to the former. Even with such a comparison, however, the reduced OLR in the GHG bands can be detected, and the existence of an enhance GHE inferred.

    Clearly, if the reduced OLR in the GHG bands exists, than averaged over a decade, to iron out ENSO effects and solar cycles, the OLR in the non GHG bands must increase to maintain energy balance.
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  20. Guinganbresil @65, you may have misunderstood the index, but I did not. What I objected to is a false claim that SkS was personalizing the issue presented as an objection to an index of denier myths. Given the vicious way in which the deniers have personalized the issue, to object to having their pseudo-scientific views clearly identified on the grounds that is is "personalizing the issue" is too much hypocrisy for me to swallow.

    Having said that, I certainly agree with you that it is reasonable, and there is every reason to believe it will be done to SkS's usual high standards.
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  21. LazyTeenager@60 Yes, I use "skeptic" also because it sets a high standard that nearly all climate "skeptics" fail to meet.

    It's strange that certain "skeptics" get so wound up about being called "deniers" of AGW when what they do, in fact, is deny AGW. This is particularly odd when nobody prominent (to my knowledge) has ever explicitly likened them to Holocaust deniers. Where it gets really weird is when "skeptics" remain silent when one of their number likens climate scientists to the perpetrators of the Holocaust.

    In the real world, people who deny war crimes get derided and booed; people who actually commit them get tried and severely punished. Yet,some "skeptics" think it's an outrage to be even accidentally compared to the former group, while they think it's only fair to liken their opponents to the latter, far worse, category.
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  22. CBDunkerson, Tom Dayton, Sphaerica - Thanks for engaging...

    CBDunkerson says: "what happens is that energy in the GHG bands is blocked from escaping and remains within the climate system... which causes the climate system to be warmer..."

    I agree with the first part, but the temperature would only change if the total energy balance tilts in the direction of warming...
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  23. garethman,

    So far, there is no official polar bear death attributed to climate change (even those found drowned), so do not hold your breath with regards to a citation. Polar bear populations are difficult enough to document, let alone the logistics of each death. Numbers are difficult to attribute to climate change, since hunting (and other human encounters) have had the greatest impact on their numbers. The increase in the past few decades is largely attributed to the international hunting ban.
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  24. 73, guinganbresil,
    I agree with the first part, but the temperature would only change if the total energy balance tilts in the direction of warming...
    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "total energy balance tilts in the direction of warming." That entire phrase is nonsensical to me, but I think what you mean to say is exactly what is expected to happen, what is happening, and what has been observed.

    It's very simple. Radiation is emitted from the earth in a perfect, unblemished spectrum. Picture that perfect curve.



    Add gases that block certain bands and they create notches in that spectrum.



    But the earth must still emit that much energy, so the entire curve has to shift up, so that the area under the curve (i.e. the total energy emitted) matches that of the original, unblemished curve.

    In this way, emissions at TOA continue to equal incoming radiation, but the way that this happens is for the planet to warm. More radiation in one band is blocked, so the entire planet warms and radiation in all bands increases just enough to compensate.
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  25. Tom Curtis @70, Cogent explanation.

    So the increasing CO2 changes the OLR spectrum, but since the system is essentially in a quasi-equilibrium when averaged spatially and temporally, the integrated spectrum would have essentially the same total value so you wouldn't expect to see it as a drop in measured total OLR.

    I will have to think about that.

    Would you agree that the work of Harries 2001, Griggs 2004 & Chen 2007 covers only:

    1 - The Central Pacific Region (108N-108S, 130W-180W)- not the whole globe?

    2 - The spectral range 710-1,400 cm-1 which is only about half the IR emission range of the Earth?

    3 - The Clear-Sky condition, so does not look at the effect of clouds?

    4 - Covers only the months April, May and June?

    5 - Covers snapshots in 1970, 1997, 2003 and 2006 only?

    Would you also agree that they show an decrease in the spectrum over time in the CO2 band due to increasing CO2 concentrations, but does not show that this spectral change translates into a change in overall outgoing radiation?
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  26. Sphaerica @75, I think my big issue hinges on the window region 800-1200 cm-1. From my understanding of the spectra and the atmosphere, this window region will vary greatly depending on the cloud fraction and cloud top temperature. This is not evident in the frequently cited graphs since they are almost exclusively for clear-sky conditions.

    Are there any papers on the behavior of this emission spectrum over non-clear sky conditions that might give better insight into how this spectral change due to CO2 translates into temperature change on a local or global scale?

    It is treated almost as a given that increasing CO2 translates into increasing average temperatures, but it seems just as plausible that it could show up as a change in average cloud fraction, cloud altitude, or time of the onset of afternoon thunderstorms - all would impact the average OLR over the window region, and thus total OLR...
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  27. guinganbresil - Doesn't this belong in The CO2 effect is saturated?"
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  28. guingenbresil, I have responded here and here.
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  29. Eric the Red at 13:11 PM on 21 August, 2011
    garethman,

    So far, there is no official polar bear death attributed to climate change (even those found drowned), so do not hold your breath with regards to a citation. Polar bear populations are difficult enough to document, let alone the logistics of each death. Numbers are difficult to attribute to climate change, since hunting (and other human encounters) have had the greatest impact on their numbers. The increase in the past few decades is largely attributed to the international hunting ban


    Many thanks Eric, I thought I’d missed some important information.
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  30. Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] The term "denier" is in no way an allusion to holocaust denial. "Denial" has a specific meaning in psychology that is pretty close to its usage here, note that Wikipedia gives defintions of:
    simple denial - deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether
    minimisation - admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization)
    projection - admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility.
    It is not difficult to find examples of these types of denial in the list of most used climate myths ("its not happening","its not bad","its not us"). Yep, seems like a good match to me. It isn't a term I like to use, except where unequivocally warranted, but linking it to the Holocaust is just hyperbolic rhetoric.


    Many thanks for that. I just have to beg to differ. The link was useful, it also quotes on denialism:

    "The broad use of the word denialism is controversial, as it has been criticized as a polemical method of suppressing non-mainstream views.[17] Similarly, in an essay discussing the general importance of skepticism, Clive James objected to the use of the word denialist to describe climate change skeptics, stating that it "calls up the spectacle of a fanatic denying the Holocaust".[18] Celia Farber has objected to the term AIDS denialists arguing that it is unjustifiable to place this belief on the same moral level with the Nazi crimes against humanity.[19].


    So I suppose like many subjective terms, our use of terminology is a personal choice, and one which probably says more about us than the subject. While I don’t like the term, to be honest I cannot think of an alternative title for someone who just rejects obvious evidence. Monckton for instance is not in denial. He is knows full well he is wrong and is doing what he does for philosophical reasons that are selfish, wrong and damaging. Someone in denial is not necessarily a bad person. Monckton almost certainly is.
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] While there may be controversy over the use of "denial" that doesn't mean that the objections have any validity. You could equally say that there was controversy about whether the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic becase e.g. Salby and Essenhigh have published artciles saying it isn't; however that doesn't mean their arguments have any validity (or indeed that there actually is any genuine controversy). The point was that "denier" is not used here as an allusion to Holocaust denial, which is what was suggested. It is used to mean someone that rejects evidence that refutes their position (which fits in with the usage in psycology).

    As for Monckton, I find Hanlon's razor is a good maxim, always try an view the motives of others in the best possible light; in this case "never attribute to dishonesty that which can be adequately explained by Dunning-Kruger syndrome".

    Please read the comments policy this post is sailing close to the wind in several respects, namely quoting large sections of other comments (give a link instead), accusation of dishonesty etc. Note that the comments policy says that the use of words like "alarmist" and "denier" is "skating on thin ice"; so SkS does not encourage the use of this particular term anyway.

    "is not" added, as per request.
  31. garethman & EtR, the point was that Muller has been promoting the claim that climate change has not killed even one polar bear. Not (as you have 'revised' it) that there is no way for a necropsy to show 'death by climate change', but that it absolutely has never happened. Not even once. Which, obviously, is equally impossible to prove... yet he goes about claiming it is true.

    As to the fact that polar bears which have died due to drowning, starvation, and moving into human areas in search of food display no physical signs of having done so due to climate change vs some other reason... what a ridiculous example of denier logic.

    Polar bears which have drowned in areas that were previously covered by ice clearly could not have done so if the ice did not melt. Polar bears which starved in areas which previously had plenty of food for a larger polar bear population clearly would not have done so if climate change hadn't reduced their hunting habitat. Et cetera. Numerous studies have shown that polar bear deaths are increasing and polar bear populations decreasing in direct relation to climate change reducing the available sea ice. On the other hand we've got Muller (and you two) making logic-defying claims without ANY evidence at all.
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  32. CBDunkerson at 19:11 PM on 21 August, 2011

    [quote snipped]

    I have not made any claims, I just asked if anyone had any citations. Read my post.
    You are correct of course that you cannot prove they have, or have not died of climate change.Some ice melts every year, so there will always be areas where there is water where there was previously ice in the short term. Bears are feeders in the pack ice, not in the thicker old ice, and not particularly on shore. When the ice melts in the summer in coastal areas they lose weight, though do scavenge. Old and infirm bears are likely to die at this time. Generally well fed bears in prime condition are not the ones who die, except of course from hunting. All bears do die at some point.
    I just wondered whether there were any records or firm correlations with climate change.
    As an expert maybe you could point me in the direction of good peer reviewed papers that demonstrate an increase in starvation levels in areas which previously had plenty of food? Even if the reduction in food is not linked to climate change it is still a critical factor which is likely to have an impact on bear populations.
    The link as you say is at present hard to define or refute due to an absence of reliable data on bear deaths. But a bullet in the head is easy to connect with bear deaths, and there many thousands of those recorded over the last few years, and many more to come. Logically climate change will unavoidably effect bears. But hunting has a here and now catastrophic effect. Any real concern with the wellbeing of bears should look at what we know are mortality issues, as opposed to what we surmise could be an issue. That is what deniers with their logic do apparently.
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] As previously requested please refrain from quoting large sections of other peoples posts in your replies; add a link instead. Please review the comments policy.
  33. 82, garethmean,

    Get real. Hunting polar bears in the Arctic wastes is never, ever going to have the same impact as permanently destroying their ecosystem.

    Please.

    The fact that no bear deaths can be attributed to climate change is a distraction from the real problem.

    The fact that bears die (from hunting or anything else) is another distraction from the real problem.

    The fact that the effective destruction of their ecosystem hasn't measurably happened yet is yet another distraction from the real problem.

    The fact that Those-Who-Deny-AGW-But-Aren't-Deniers-In-Any-Other-Sense (TWDAGWBADIAOS, for short) love the polar bear issue because they can make a lot of straw men with it is the real problem.
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  34. Sphaerica,

    I beg to differ. Human impacts from hunting, habitat dectruction, human hunting of polar bear food supplies, and other encounters have had the greatest impact on polar bear populations during the past several decades.

    CB,

    Increased polar bear deaths may simply be due to the large population increase. More bears mean greater competition for the prime hunting territories, and weaker bears being pushed to less favorable areas. Did the bears drown because there was less sea ice, or because they were forced out further than ideal due to the presence of the stronger bears?

    Sphaerica seems to be using as a distraction the remote possibility that their ecosystem might be effectively destroyed. That is pure speculation, not supported by scientific research. Obviously, if the Arctic turned tropical, the bears would be in deep, deep trouble. However, there is no indication that that will happen, and he is just distracting from the current situation. This is just a straw man argument with little supported data.

    This is one of the weakest of the AGW arguments, and should be avoided by those who wish to convince others of its validity. Sphaerica is correct in that it is a distraction. But it is a distraction for the wrong reason, there simply is no evidence that climate change is affecting the polar bear populations. Hence, skeptics can use this argument effectively to counter AGW supporters.
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  35. garethman wrote: "But hunting has a here and now catastrophic effect."

    Nonsense. The world polar bear population increased from ~5000 around 1965 to ~25000 by 2000 while suffering this supposedly 'catastrophic' effect.

    Uncontrolled hunting is a major problem... which ended fifty years ago. Controlled hunting is scaled back or increased based on polar bear numbers and thus does not cause any significant reductions. It certainly cannot wipe out populations.

    EtR wrote: "Sphaerica seems to be using as a distraction the remote possibility that their ecosystem might be effectively destroyed. That is pure speculation, not supported by scientific research."

    Actually, it is accepted reality amongst most of the scientific community... not to mention oil and shipping companies. The summer Arctic sea ice is going away. The claim that this is not supported by research is just fiction. Ditto your statement that, "there simply is no evidence that climate change is affecting the polar bear populations".

    If you want to pursue these blatantly false statements further please do so on any of the existing threads which already cite evidence disproving them. For instance;

    Muller's false claim about not a single polar bear having died

    EtR's false claim about global warming having no impact on polar bears
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  36. Etr#84: "That is pure speculation, not supported by scientific research."

    And your speculation in the prior paragraph about a large polar bear population increase is supported by what research?

    But we just went around the polar bear question with friend pirate. It's vastly off-topic here, so I will reply here.
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  37. My response to CBDunkerson has also gone in that direction http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-does-global-warming-affect-polar-bears.html
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  38. 84, ETR,
    ...during the past several decades.
    Read what I actually wrote. Your comment is a case in point. The constant Those-Who-Deny-AGW-But-Aren't-Deniers-In-Any-Other-Sense (TWDAGWBADIAOS, for short) straw man is to talk about what has happened recently and ignore the future, or to hold it up as some sort of argument against what a very different future might hold.
    Sphaerica seems to be using as a distraction the remote possibility that their ecosystem might be effectively destroyed. That is pure speculation, not supported by scientific research. Obviously, if the Arctic turned tropical...
    "As a distraction?" What's that supposed to mean (outside of just being an out and out personal insult meant to belittle me and my statements)?

    "Remote possibility?" That we're destroying the Arctic? Are you kidding me?

    "Pure speculation, not supported by scientific research?"

    "Turned tropical?" Oh? Your "scientifically supported" contention is that unless palm trees grow on the Arctic shores, polar bears will be just fine? Really?

    No, you use "it hasn't happened yet, so don't worry" as a "distraction" from the gravity of the issue. As far as your claims about scientific research... well, hounding such a researcher out of his position is hardly a good start. But I don't think it takes rocket science or a whole lot of research to recognize that accelerating Arctic ice melt is going to do destroy that ecosystem (as it is defined for polar bears).

    Of course, if you need to wait 35 years (as you do) just to "buy into" the idea that climate change is happening...

    Sigh. I'm tired of you, Eric. It's always the same story... wait and see, it's not happening, and don't worry yet (until it's actually bad that it's too late).
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  39. Sphaerica,
    I guess the feeling is mutual. There is nothing bad happening now, but wait until the future comes and disaster hits. You use this future disaster concept to overcome the fact that currently there is no problem. No one knows what the future will bring, so no one can dispute your contention. However, we do know the present, and polar bears are currently not endangered.
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  40. 89, Eric the Red
    No one knows what the future will bring...
    Wrong!

    You don't know what the future will bring, because you refuse to learn and open your eyes.

    I'll say it one more time.

    You are the guy who jumps off of the skyscraper and is heard to say, each time he passes an open window, "so far, so good!"

    Intelligence is about being able to see beyond the present. The science is solid, and anyone who takes the time to learn it knows that.

    You don't take the time to learn. You come into every thread expressing tangential doubts and reasons not to worry or even look too closely at the problem. Doubt, doubt, doubt. They also become, for you, reasons to avoid paying attention to the facts or learning what you don't know.

    The difference between you and I is that take the time to learn about gravity and anticipate the splat (or not even jump), while you're willing to talk happily to people as the windows magically fly by.
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  41. #89: There is nothing bad happening now???? I suppose as usual you'll 'wait and see' if the rising trend in natural disasters, the faster-than-expected melt of Arctic ice, the acidifying oceans, or the large spikes in food prices continue (to use just a few examples). You advocate waiting on just about every thread, even when there's ample evidence to act now. There's plenty happening right now that's definitely not good, but only if you open your eyes Eric.

    Well said Sphaerica.
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  42. 55 Tom Curtis "Les @10 was frankly, talking nonsense. This is a witch hunt, what we see above is an index."


    Frankly, I'm not. I never said this is a witch hunt. What I said is that there is a risk that it could degenerate into one if not managed properly or over-done.
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  43. Sky and Sph,

    What evidence do you have that the polar bear populations will be devastated in the future? Certainly not the recent many-fold increase in numbers that has occurred since the international hunting ban.

    Crystal-ball projections are poor subsitutes for scientific research. The scientific research shows a stable polar bear population today. This is especially significant given the many species which have declined in the past few decades due largely to human interactions. I suggest you both open your eyes to what is happening to the polar bears today. That may yield better insight into what tomorrow will bring.
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  44. EtR wrote: "The scientific research shows a stable polar bear population today."

    WHAT scientific research shows that? I don't believe I've seen a single paper making the claim that the total world polar bear population is currently stable.
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  45. I'll bet the polar bears are looking at a bright future...

    ... given all the new food that's heading their way:

    Rapid Range Shifts of Species Associated with High Levels of Climate Warming
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  46. Absolutely les, all the polar bears need to do is migrate to their new territory by heading North from the North Pole.
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  47. 93, Eric the Red,
    Crystal-ball projections are poor subsitutes for scientific research.
    You love to trot out "science" as a debate tool, but it's just empty words (just as for the "heroes" of the post above). I realize now where you are coming from since you said:
    No one knows what the future will bring...
    The reality is that you don't believe in science.

    You do believe in engineering and technology. You believe in what you can see and use. You believe in what you can buy at Walmart for $59.99 to use in your kitchen or bathroom or house or yard. That's real to you, and that's as far as science goes.

    Real science... understanding the universe and how it all fits together (so that engineers can make those wonderful labor-saving toys for you) is beyond your grasp. Real science is superstition, magic and voodoo to you.

    You can't actually understand real science, which is why you don't get it, and why you fall back on using the words "scientific research" as a ploy in an argument, and yet thread after bleeding thread you are unable to accept even one single aspect of current climate science.

    You refute all -- all -- of climate science, while trying to stand behind science as your shield -- selected parts of science that you use to keep your eyes tightly shut.

    You don't believe in science, only technology (which is science that you can see and feel without entirely understanding, and so is real to you).

    That's the bottom line with you, and anyone that discusses anything with you needs to recognize that.

    As far as your unsubstantiated claims about polar bears (while demanding proof of the opposite from everyone else), visit this post: Polar Bears

    or any of these papers:
    Climate change threatens polar bear populations: a stochastic demographic analysis (Hunter et al, 2010)
    Rebuttal of “Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit (Amstrup et al, 2009)
    Polar bear population status in the northern Beaufort Sea, Canada, 1971–2006 (Stirling et al, 2010)
    Polar bear population status in southern Hudson Bay, Canada (Obard et al, 2007)
    Predicting 21st-century polar bear habitat distribution from global climate models (Durner et al, 2010)
    Effects of Earlier Sea Ice Breakup on Survival and Population Size of Polar Bears in Western Hudson Bay (Regher et al, 2010)

    I suggest you take further arguments about this to the thread I already posted above, where it belongs. It does not belong here, although this is the perfect place for someone such as yourself to emulate the stars of this post in misrepresenting, denying, or dismissing the actual science.
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  48. Really Sphaerica,

    [incendiary comments deleted]

    I will however take this argument to the appopriate thread.
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    Moderator Response: [Dikran Marsupial] Please both of you moderate the tone of the discussion back to less personal terms.
  49. #93 Eric, I mentioned no polar bears. You moved the goalposts.

    I mentioned declining Arctic sea ice, rising food prices, increasing natural disasters, ocean acidification. They're all happening now, not in the future, and none are 'crystal-ball projections'. All in correction to your erroneous statement that "There is nothing bad happening now" (#89).

    Obviously you feel none of these things are bad - I presume you can afford costlier food, do not fear the next massive drought, bushfire, flood or heatwave arriving at your front door, and are unconcerned about the world's ice cover (or do not rely on snow/ice melt for our water supply), and you don't care about the pH of the oceans. Lucky you.
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  50. 55 Tom Curtis - "This is a witch hunt."

    Just for everyone's amusement, from the Dept. of fact-twisting...

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/08/john-cook-will-receive-lots-of-money.html
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