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2012 SkS Weekly Digest #36

Posted on 10 September 2012 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights

John Cook stirred up a virtual hornet's nest with the posting of A vivid demonstration of knee-jerk science rejection. Many biases are being confirmed on the comment thread. You have to read it to believe it. Speaking of comment threads, the topic of the week is the word "warmist." See the What say you? section for details.   

Toon of the Week


An original cartoon by SkS author Ari Jokimäki. Way to go Ari! 

What say you?

How do you react when somebody labels you or a prominent climate scientist such as James Hansen an "alarmist"?

Paul Revere is perhaps the most famous alarmist in the history of America. Is there a comparable figure in your country's history?

Quote of the Week    

“And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet—because climate change is not a hoax, More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it,”  - President Barack Obama

Source: Part of remarks delivered by President Obama when accepting the nomination of the Democratic Party for the Office of President, Charlotte, North Carolina, Sep 6, 2012.

New Tool

The World Resouces Institute has created a timeline of extreme climate and weather events in 2012. It include some of the most significant occurrences this year and will be periodically updated.


Must Read

The Week in Review

Coming Soon

  • New research from last week 36/2012 (Ari Jokimäki)
  • Obama, Romney, and Various National Climate Policies Around the Globe (Dana)
  • Climate Change and the Weightier Matters: a Christian view on global warming (John Cook)
  • How to Solve the Climate Problem: a Step-by-Step Guide (Dana)
  • Skeptic Magazine vs. Heartland and Monckton Cherrypicked Denialism (AlexC and Dana)
  • Doffing the cryosphere cap: a new source of Arctic methane? (Andy S)
  • Fred Singer - not an American Thinker (John Abraham and Dana)
  • Arctic Sea-ice minimum 2012 declared - it's the Silly Season! (John Mason)

SkS in the News 

Dana's Record Arctic Sea Ice Melt to Levels Unseen in Millennia was re-posted on Climate Progress and Tweeted by The New York Times' Andrew Revkin and The Sunday Times' Jonathan Leake.

Rob Painting's Sea Level Isn't Level was also re-posted on Climate Progress.

SkS Spotlights

The Open Climate Network (OCN) brings together independent research institutes and civil society groups from key countries to track and report on their countries’ progress toward addressing climate change. OCN operates with a view toward identifying and removing barriers to effective policy implementation, and we are committed to developing a robust analytical framework that can be applied consistently across countries, while respecting unique national circumstances.

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Comments 101 to 114 out of 114:

  1. The guy who jumps to mind immediately is poor old Tim Flannery here in Oz. he gets lampooned and derided and accused of lying and inflating information. Papers,radio,Internet and tv all have a go at him, by the usual suspects (shock jocks, columnists etc). I don't get labelled in any particular way. My GF thinks CC is not a problem but that's probably because she likes to disagree with me.
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  2. Dunkerson@96...this one is *your* fault...;) "Dark is *plant* food."
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  3. @ Bob Loblaw #92: It took me a while. Brilliant! PS - For future reference, please bracket suggested balloon text in quotation marks.
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  4. John Hartz @ 103: ...but if I put it in quotes, then I'd be implying that I'm a denier admitting I'm in denial, which wouldn't work.... and calling myself a denier might violate the comments policy...
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    Moderator Response: [DB] Only if used in a self-pejorative sense.
  5. @Bob Loblaw #104: Like the Wattsonians, you excell at tying yourself up in a Gordian knot. Where's Alexander the Great when we need him?
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  6. John: As long as I'm role-playing a "climate skeptic", it behooves me to maintain a fairly large degree of self-inconsistency....
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  7. One more before I take the dogs out for their long walk... Dang it all, I told Watts not to turn off the lights when he left.
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  8. John, you are *clearly* better at this than I: however, I have a spark of inspiration, which I'll lay upon you, then you can run with it.... Something along the lines of, 'How many Watts does it take to power a light bulb....' The rest is up to you!
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  9. With regards to being labelled alarmist, in order for the labelling to be accurate, the framing around it must also be accurate (that is, the person labelled as an 'alarmist' must actually be making unwarranted claims about the dangers of global warming). When the full body of evidence is examined, as well as the positions of the vast majority of scientific societies (but also of third parties such as reinsurers or, say, the branches of the US military), it is IMO unequivocally clear that the circumstances surrounding global warming are genuinely alarming. As such, as long as someone being labelled 'alarmist' is making their case with reference to the scientific evidence, it is IMO best to reject the label and the framing that goes on with it.
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  10. @Composer #99: Thanks for articulating your perspective. If we were to openly embrace and proudly wear the alarmist mantle, do you think we could diminish the ability of the Wattsonians to use the word pejoratively?
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  11. Post dog walk... "Drats! We simply have to stop using the dimmist light bulb in the box."
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  12. John Hartz @110: I am not up to speed on sociological literature relating to pejoratives, slurs, and the reclamation thereof, so the best I can say is that I do not know whether an attempt to reclaim 'alarmist' will diminish its rhetorical power when used as a pejorative by others.
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  13. If you run from the label “alarmist” you undermine all your arguments for immediate action. You might reply by saying, “I am alarmed and you should be too!” Or “A great many respected climate scientists are alarmed as well.” Or “If you are not alarmed you just have not been paying attention.” Or “Churchill was called an alarmist too” Or “I am alarmed about the disaster we bequeath to our children and grandchildren.” You all have been doing such a fine job with the toon balloons that I’m sure you can do better than I have with rejoinders.
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  14. Q: How many? A: None! It's arrogant to think that mankind can possibly affect the level of illumination in a room.
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