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Climate Hustle

Are you a genuine skeptic or a climate denier?

Posted on 30 May 2011 by John Cook

The ABC Drum have just published my article Are you a genuine skeptic or a climate denier? Right now, there are no comments but I imagine the discussion will get fierce shortly so be sure to keep an eye on it (expect to see all the traits of denial I describe rear their ugly head in the comments and be quick to point them out). An excerpt:

In the charged discussions about climate, the words skeptic and denier are often thrown around. But what do these words mean?

Consider the following definitions. Genuine skeptics consider all the evidence in their search for the truth. Deniers, on the other hand, refuse to accept any evidence that conflicts with their pre-determined views.

So here's one way to tell if you're a genuine skeptic or a climate denier.

Read full article... Science and our book Climate Change Denial have been popping up elsewhere in the media over the last few weeks. My co-author Haydn and I appeared on Robyn William's Science Show a few weeks ago - you can listen to streaming audio or download the interview in mp3 format. The Science Show webpage also has a transcript of the whole interview.

On the morning of the Sydney book launch, I did an interview with John Stanley from the Sydney commercial radio station 2UE. You can listen to an mp3 of the interview here. Many thanks to 2UE for letting me republish the interview here on Skeptical Science and thanks to John just for having the interview - I wonder how many angry emails he received from 2UE listeners afterwards.

After our Sydney and Canberra book launches (more on that in a future post), Haydn and I returned to Sydney to record an interview with James Valentine at ABC 702. This interview gave us the opportunity to do something I've been looking forward to for a while - respond to talk-back callers. Sure enough, the first caller was a geologist enquiring about past climate change!

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Comments 151 to 200 out of 298:

  1. L.J. Ryan... I think dhogaza's point is quite clear.

    He's saying the properties of CO2 are extremely well understood.
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  2. JMurphy 150

    What is the question?
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    [DB] Let's assume you are confused and not being intentionally obtuse:

    Dhogaza pointed out that the physical properties of CO2 are extremely well understood. 

    You answered by asking "So what's your point?"

    JMurphy wanted to know what your point was in asking Dhogaza "So what's your point?".

    Do you have one?  If not, let's let this drop.

  3. Thanks dhogaza, but I was asking what Tom's hypothetical "fair minded casual reader" would think. That means we have to agree on the mindset of an FMCR. I'm pretty sure that an FMCR would not equate the death threat with the accusation of criminality, but I asked whether the FMCR would find them both unacceptable. I hope that clarifies.
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  4. DB 152 & Rob Honeycutt 151

    Understanding CO2 is no more important then understanding juggling, coffee beans, or why canines like peanut butter. The issue, how GHG physics radiative insulation,re-radiation warms the surface.

    CO2 laser (not of my introduction)a have nothing to do with atmosphere CO2...that's my point.

    ( - Complaint about moderation snipped - )
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    Moderator Response:

    [e] The comment policy of this site has already been clearly pointed out to you. Any comments that violate this policy will be trimmed or deleted.

    Sphaerica's Dhogaza's point is that CO2 lasers function due to the radiative properties of CO2, the understanding of which is a component of atmospheric physics and climate models. Now, please get back on topic.

  5. L.J. Ryan, how about telling us what evidence in say 10 years time would convince you that you were wrong? (ie. convince us that your opinions about the world are based on data).
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  6. Note - L.J. Ryan has spent quite a bit of time here (on the 2nd Law thread) and upon Jonova (two different 2nd law threads where Jo Nova pointed out quite correctly that there is no conflict with the greenhouse effect) insisting that, no, indeed, the radiative greenhouse theory is thermodynamically impossible.

    This is denial, not skepticism, asserting things that are flatly contradicted by the world around us.

    scaddenp, I don't know what evidence would be sufficient for a denier at this level.
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  7. Moderators - I'm noting the other blog threads here because I was personally involved in discussing this topic with L.J.Ryan in both locations.
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  8. Thanks, KR. This is a closed mind. No possible engagement.
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  9. e 154

    Ah e Sphaerica's point is skeptics are(Deniers)and equating skeptics to Holocaust deniers. No mention of CO2 lasers.
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    [DB] e meant Dhogaza.  Please return to being on-topic.

  10. L.J. Obviously e meant dhogaza.
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  11. This 'conversation' is incoherent.
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  12. L.J. Ryan will believe in climate change when you pry the gas can from his cold, dead fingers.

    And even then he'll still insist that it wasn't due to CO2, because that would violate the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, you know, the one that says deniers can apply any hard science and mathematics they like, as long as they do so incompletely and with a flawed understanding, because to actually understand and apply the science properly would lead to the wrong conclusion (i.e. the correct, real-world, truthful conclusion that they don't want to reach, no matter what the cost).
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  13. "I don't know what evidence would be sufficient for a denier at this level."

    That's the reason I asked - there is absolutely no point having discussions with anyone (Poptart springs to mind) who can imagine no evidence that would change their mind (or demand that climate theory comply with predictions that it doesnt make). On the other hand, for more open-minded people, this is a very good (the scientific) way to think about the issues involved. A lot of denial is rooted in political values (anti-Gore, anti-greenie, stinking taxes, World gov'nment) and its interesting to see whether such people can consider the hypothetical question of what action should be done if they were convinced it was true. I'm hoping that from such discussions, we might actually find effective policy directions that are acceptable to conservative/right wing values.
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  14. I am of the opinion that negative feed backs will limit the long term contribution of co2 doubling to one third of its actual forcing in the atmosphere! That would amount one third of one degree C by 2100.There would of course be an additional amount of warming from another doubling in another 300 years but that would require every every barrel of oil and ton coal on the planet.Somehow I don't see that as very likely!
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    [DB] Unless you can offer up some physics-based mechanisms to justify said opinions you are telling us that you are a climate denier.  Given that the climate has already warmed from pre-industrial CO2 levels by more than your vaunted one-third of 1° C.

    Is that correct?

  15. Let's see the evidence for your opinion, adrian smits.
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  16. 163, adrian smits,

    Okay, now that's really interesting.

    You are of the opinion that...

    Doesn't that strike you as funny? Read the words. Opinion. As if you get to believe whatever you want, as in choosing a religion or a political candidate to support.

    You do understand the problem here, don't you?

    Do you think maybe you could quell that opinion for a while, and instead invest a goodly amount of time into researching the facts, so that you can ultimately replace that opinion with, oh, I don't know, maybe a confident understanding of the situation, and the likely (not desired) outcomes?
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  17. And I am of the opinion that the Washington Generals would beat the Miami Heat four straight in a seven game series if they ever met on the basketball court.

    In fact, I'm willing to bet Adrian Smits' life savings on that!
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  18. Eric(Skeptic) @145, I think a fair minded casual reader would recognise that it is unethical to use a quotation out of context in order to attribute to a person a more extreme view than that which he actually holds. Hansen testified before Congress that:

    "... Solution of the climate problem requires that we move to carbon-free energy promptly.

    Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future. Instead of moving heavily into renewable energies, fossil companies choose to spread doubt about global warming, as tobacco companies discredited the smoking-cancer link. Methods are sophisticated,
    including funding to help shape school textbook discussions of global warming.

    CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature."

    (My emphasis)

    A fair minded person would recognise that deliberate deception which probably will, and subsequently does result in death is, or should be a crime. If I knowingly advise you that a nearby acid bath is in fact a pool of water, and encourage you to dive in, should you dive in I am ethically responsible for your death, and should be tried for murder. The probable consequences of global warming include hundreds of thousands, potentially billions of premature deaths. Deliberate and knowing deception that leads to hundreds of thousands of deaths is mass murder, ie, a crime against humanity. That the deaths will probably occur decades after the act is of no consequence.

    Hansen believes that the CEOs of fossil fuel companies know that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and that it will cause the death of thousands. I am not certain that they do know that, and doubt such a claim would stand up in a court of law in the absence of revealing internal documentation as was found in the tobacco companies.

    What I do know is that the CEOs of fossil fuel companies have no excuse for not recognising the possible consequences of fossil fuel use from 1990 (publication of the IPCC First Assessment Report) and its probable consequence by 2001 (the IPCC Third Assessment Report). I also know that they have funded organisations which are major disseminators of denier misinformation, and several cases the same organizations that disseminated (and where paid to disseminate) misinformation for the tobacco lobby. There is at least a prima facie case that the fossil fuel industry has acted in the way Hansen describes. Therefore his opinion is rational, if probably unsustainable in court.

    To be very clear, it is not the production of fossil fuels alone which potentially makes the CEOs of fossil fuel companies guilty of crimes against humanity, rather, it is the deliberate and knowing dissemination of misinformation the probable, and subsequent consequence of which is mass deaths. A fair minded person might doubt the evidence is sufficient to conclude the CEOs have acted in this way, but they would not doubt there is evidence to suggest that they have, and nor do I believe they would doubt that such activity should be criminal.

    What the fair minded reader also would conclude is that, apparently, you have truncated the context of Hansen's quote in order to make his opinion seem more extreme. They would consider that unethical, because plainly it is. It is possible, of course, that you have merely made the accusation against Hansen without checking the context. The fair minded reader would probably find making accusations on partial information also unethical.

    Finally, the fair minded person would probably consider making accusations of crimes against humanity against people for accepting, and acting on the consensus of 97% of experts in a field, with no forseeable consequent deaths is unacceptable. They would probably be even more appalled when such accusations are made to an audience, a significant number of whom are known to be sending death threats to prominent people whose opinions they disagree with. They might consider such accusations a form of incitement. But that is exactly the accusation that Christopher Monckton has made against former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.
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  19. Tom, the parts of Hansen's quote that I left out and you put back make a case of libel by Hansen even stronger. The "crimes against humanity" include funding for textbooks. Does he have factual examples of such funding?* Otherwise it is not his first amendment right to accuse people of crimes, it is simply libel (calling it "opinion" was not deemed a defense by the Supreme Court). HIs motive is clear, he wishes to confiscate the property of those companies for what he deems to be a greater good. His method is clear: accuse them of nonspecific crimes using guilt by association with the tobacco companies.

    * I consider a reply such as "Exxon funded CATO" is a direct accusation against me to be either a small-time criminal or a useful idiot, since I am a long-time CATO sponsor at $100-200 per year.
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    [dana1981] Um, Exxon has funded Cato.  That's not an accusation, it's a fact.

  20. Sphaerica, DB, e,

    Lets see:
    Skeptics are Holocaust deniers, L.J. Ryan will believe in climate change when you pry the gas can from his cold, dead fingers. To be very clear, it is not the production of fossil fuels alone which potentially makes the CEOs of fossil fuel companies guilty of crimes against humanity, rather, it is the deliberate and knowing dissemination of misinformation the probable, and subsequent consequence of which is mass deaths.

    And my comments are too controversial (-SNIP-)...or do you fear loosing the undecided readers?

    Which of the Comment Policies did my deleted posts violate?
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    Moderator Response: [e]

    Accusations of deception, idealogical rants and comparisons to religion, as well as cyber stalking.

    In general this thread has a bit more leeway due to the subject matter, but your deleted comments crossed the line. Note that cyber stalking is especially frowned upon, and typically results in banning. Please use this as a guideline for what is acceptable in the future.

  21. e 171

    Got it e...I'll make adjustments which meet your approval...I think. But cyber stalking, what the "heck" are talking about?
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    [DB] Try reading the Comments Policy, which spells that out for you.  Focus on the science, not the individual.

  22. LJ,
    Do you have anything constructive to add to the discussion or are you only interested in baiting rationalists?
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  23. Eric (skeptic) / Dana1981 (#169),

    Exxon openly admits that it funds CATO and climate-specific public policy organizations, such as the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (

    ExxonMobil: Public Information and Policy Research Contributions (pdf)
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  24. Eric(Skeptic) @169, I'll pause for a moment to ponder the irony of your accusation that Hansen libelled the CEOs of fossil fuel corporations. It is ironic in that it is itself a libel, and (as I understand the law) Hansen's testimony to Congress cannot be a libel even if it were false, for it is protected by privilege. (I'm not a lawyer, still less an American lawyer, so I may well be wrong on that point).

    More importantly, Hansen's claims are not libellous because they are true. In particular, various fossil fuel companies have funded the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and Patrick Michaels. They also funded the Global Climate Coalition, and in doing so, it turns out, they acted against the advise of their own scientists.

    As to your criminal status, are you claiming that you are knowingly obfusticating the issue? In this case ignorance of the facts, while puzzling, and irrational, is a defence.
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  25. KR @ 102 & 127,
    Interesting history of climate4you, but as I noted, I use them as a convenient source of basic data. sites (Hadley, HadCRUT, GISS, etc.), since I prefer to do my own analysis. In the long term temperature plots presented above (J. Bob @ 52), data from Hadley, Debuilt and Rimfrost formed the basis of this ~300 year analysis view.
    Rimfrost was picked up from WUWT, as I have no problem using sources that provide quality information, be it WUWT, RC or whatever.

    The above mentioned figures are only part of a more extensive set used to evaluate long term measured temperature changes. But those figures, seem to sum it up for me anyway, that there is a long term upward trend stretching back to the 1700’s, with various up’s & down’s (including ~50 year almost periodic cycles) along the way. But I don’t see a prominent effect of man induced CO2. What I do see, is a terribly complex non-linear system, that we are only beginning to scratch the surface on, and have a long way to go.

    Hence my feeling is that were are probably in a natural cycle, with some, yet to be qualified, effect do to human intervention.

    Your thoughts.
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  26. Eric(Skeptic) makes false statements about Hansen in order to promote his faux outrage at being indirectly libeled.

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  27. Eric, that is an interesting statement. Would you continue to fund CATO if you became convinced that it was funding disinformation?
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  28. J Bob, right. How come it looks a lot less terrible complex non-linear if you assume that climate will conform to known physics and is thus a function of total forcings?

    If the warming is coming from some natural cycle, then where is that energy coming from ie - how is 1st Law maintained?
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  29. Just one note for the fair minded casual reader:

    You will notice that Eric(Sceptic) in his post 169 does not acknowledge that deliberately deceiving people in the full knowledge that it will probably result in hundreds of thousands of deaths is in fact criminal. That should put into context this (as dhogaza puts it) faux outrage.

    You will also notice that in his outrage that anyone should libel anyone, he slips in an utterly baseless accusation that Hansen was motivated in statement because "...he wishes to confiscate the property of those companies...". He even, again without basis accuses Hansen of using a contrived method, ie, of lying about his claims of fossil fuel funding of deniers.

    This clearly puts into context the contrived outrage of the deniers regarding the vitriol from a poster on this thread. Their outrage is entirely without self reflection. Frequent commentators on this site are used to fresh new deniers coming on, posting a screed of nonsense complete with accusations of fraud or worse, including the most belittling language - ie, of treating it as though the standards here are the standards of WUWT. They are then outraged to have their post snipped. Even many long term denier contributors (all for all I know) habitually include sly imputations of fraud, or insulting language on a regular basis, and complain if it is snipped.
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  30. ( -SNIP- )
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    [DB] You have been counseled in proper posting here at SkS numerous times now, yet you persist in posting the same ideological off-topic comment that has not passed moderation yet.  If you persist in this endeavor, your participation privileges here at SkS will be rescinded.  Your call.

  31. John Donovan 181
    That something cooler (an igloo's ice wall for instance) can make something warmer (the igloo's inhabitant), is nothing new, but the article unfortunately attempts to prey on the reader's lack of preparedness on this subject.

    As far a the diagram on back radiation, it shows vectors of equal length pointing up and down, whereas there should be an overall preference for those pointing upward to be greater, for even though the CO2 molecules will in principal want to radiate isotropically, there is a higher probability for this energy to emanate towards "something" cooler (i.e. skyward). This is not unlike resistances in a parallel circuit. As you increase the number of passive resistors in parallel, the resitance decreases.
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    Moderator Response: The appropriate thread is 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory .
  32. Dhogaza

    And what does "complete belief in climate change models" mean, anyway? No modeler holds that view. No serious student of the subject holds that view. Yet, they've proven themselves useful”

    To say no “Modeler?” holds that view is to deny their humanity and give them some sort of quality not usually seen in H.Sapiens.
    I’m looking at the people side of the debate. Humanity covers a wide field of beliefs. Most are not radical. but the fringes are covered in all directions. So for every extreme right wing believer, there will be an extreme left wing ideologue, for every barking mad right wing religionist there will be an evangelical atheist. I note there is the use of the word denier here to describe posters who reject current accepted thought. They could be also called dissidents, dissenters or lots of other titles, but deniers being generally used only in holocaust or climate related subjects is a powerful term. If we take the idea that beliefs in humans are at the end of the day spread out like a bell curve withe majority in the centre and the radical at the fringe, deniers must have an opposite group. I note in reading many passionate responses from pro and anti proponents of established science and belief, but only the anti appear to have been named and quantified. Hence my question. To doubt such a situation exists with regard to how people view the world and this subject could be described as denialist in itself. So how do we describe the mirror image of climate denialists? Posters may feel that the science is objective and largely proven so these theories are not relevant, but humans are still subjective with their own beliefs, especially when all agree there is room for doubt.
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  33. scaddenp, in the actual case of CATO being unacceptably silent on a libertarian issue (bank bailouts in 08) I wrote an email and got a full reply and there was some change eventually. I would do the same for disinformation. Dana, you missed my point, I didn't deny that Exxon funded CATO and I welcome their support of one of my favorite organizations. CATO's support of individual rights is outstanding.

    Tom, is it true that Hansen wishes to confiscate the property of fossil fuel companies or not? I don't see it anything other than true, his proposed fossil fuel tax does not refund any monies to the owners of the fossil fuels. Another point you may not realize is that your 401k is probably invested in some fossil fuel corporations that are not very well known as such. As for my comment being snippable, yes you are basically correct; it violates the policy against inflammatory comments. I made it because of your comment 168 which is also inflammatory. You would probably disagree and I don't envy the moderators, a no-win situation on threads like this that are inherently political and especially this thread which directly speaks to the question of motivation.

    My basic point is this: the difference between deniers like Exxon who funded CATO and myself (whatever label people use) is primarily motivation. Exxon is simply protecting their rights to their property. I defend libertarian principles having carefully studied the lack of direct evidence for CAGW (vice AGW) as well as the practical aspects of policy such as international trade (exporting our carbon emissions to China, etc)
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  34. Is anyone else surprised, considering previous examples of AGW deniers also being Smoking/Cancer deniers, that CATO should have published this :

    The Case Against Smoking Bans
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  35. The paper's argument is that the owner of the establishment owns the air inside of it and his customers can decide whether their health is being risked by being there. That argument and the paper have merit and I support CATO's publishing of it.
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  36. Eric (skeptic) at 20:26 PM on 2 June, 2011

    It seems to me that libertarians, in its over-individualistic approach, end up ignoring some emerging properties of collectivities. Diffuse externalities are something that become a problem only when done collectively by large groups. Coase's theorem is rendered useless by the practical impossibility of individual negotiation of rights, even if the externality as a whole is huge and undesired by virtually everyone.

    I see the carbon tax as an efficient way to internalize these externalities. It is also a fine compromise between the need to manage the externality and keeping individual rights as much as possible - it allows much more freedom than direct regulation of who can do what, for instance.

    I understand the Cato approach very similar to Heartland's (feel free to explain some difference I'm failing to grasp): since you cannot solve the problem simply by laissez-faire, the way out they're left with is to deny the problem itself.

    I suggest an exercise of imagination: consider for a moment AGW is real, and the scientific consensus is there just because the evidence points that way. What would be an acceptable policy to tackle this that would respect your ideological beliefs?
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  37. Alexandre,
    First note that I am not teh same Eric.
    A direct carbon tax may be efficient, as long as it is not set up similar to the European cap and trade. The net result is no net change in CO2 output, with vast profits made by middle men (not to mention abuse). Remember, it was Enron who first proposed a cap and trade, because they wished to make billions off the trading market similar to their profits in the sulfur market. Some argue that they bet their future on the cap and trade market, ultimately leading to their downfall (of course the company was basically a house of cards waiting to fall anyway).
    Going with the assumption in your last paragraph, a combination of government taxes and credits may work best, gradualy phasing out as new technologies become common.
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  38. Eric(skeptic): what makes you think the fossil fuel companies actually own the carbon they peddle? They are permitted to dig it up and sell it in return for giving the state a cut, but it's not theirs to begin with. If the state (or the majority of voting citizens of the state) decides it doesn't want them to dig it up any more, what legal right do they have to do so?
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  39. Tom Curtis @ 138

    1) While the vitriol may do poorly influence the casual reader, the fair minded casual reader will probably be more concerned about the side that sends death threats along with a torrent of vitriol both by email and in blogs;

    Response: I would rather not wade into finger pointing. It accomplishes nothing and only inhibits progress. Both sides are guilty of ill-mannered behavior. On another website I've received death threats and was even accused of "being a Christian", as if it were evil.

    2) While possibly concerned at the frustration so evident in Sphaerica's comments, the fair minded reader would have been more concerned by the casual accusations and insinuations of fraud by scientists which have been posted by deniers on this site over the last two days, and which can be found in overwhelming numbers on denier sites, often accompanied with self congratulating posts about how high a standard of debate, and how polite the debate is on those sites. It is noticable that those accusations and insinuations pass without censor from you, while you argue that the websites that started those accusations are good sites for students to use as sources when studying science.

    Response: I never said such. I stated that WUWT and SKS are both good places to start, but the true sources of information should be the ultimate goal (NASA, NOAA, University of Colorado, etc...).

    3) Any chance of reconciliation between climate science and deniers is entirely illusory and has been for some time. This is because the scientists insist on reporting reality, and its reality that the deniers have a problem with.

    Response: I agree with the denier statement, but that does not and should not cover skeptics.
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    [DB] "Response: I never said such."

    Actually, you were counseled against committing such behaviour here.

    BTW, I hope your Achilles tendon is feeling better.

  40. EricSkeptic @184,

    1) Hansen does not want to confiscate any property, SFAIK. He wants to tax certain emissions, but taxation is not theft, and is not confiscation of property. At its simplest, any person holding a property right holds that right from the state as societies agent. They hold that right conditional on those conditions imposed by the state in granting the property right, and one of those conditions is the right of taxation.

    Hansen also wants the state not to grant some particular types of property rights in the future, ie, rights to mine coal, oil shale, tar sands, and so on. But these are not property rights currently held, and no person or corporation has a right, of can have a right to compell the state to grant them property rights they do not possess.

    Finally, Hansen also wants the state to not continue granting permission to various entities to continue dumping their rubbish in to the commons, ie, CO2 emissions into air. But the air, as commons is not the property of any individual or corporation, so no individual or corporation has a right to use it as a dumping ground as part of their property rights in any other property.

    2) It is extraordinarily hypocritical of you to first raise Hansen's statements in a misleading way, and then to condemn an explanation of them as "inflammatory". If you read my comments again, I accused nobody of any crime. I said I doubted one of Hansen's premises, and that further doubted a prosecutable case could be made in any event. I clearly stated that a fair minded person could disagree with Hansen on the factual basis in this issue. There is a real question as to what could be considered inflammatory in my 168, except by one keen to take offence and not particularly concerned if the remarks warranted the offence taken. Or perhaps you are defending your right to quote out of context and not be picked up on it?

    3) I quite agree that motivation is a key issue, and did not draw any conclusions about any other funders of CATO for that reason among others. I do not even draw Hansen's conclusion about the fossil fuel industry because I am uncertain about their motives. And frankly, I don't care how carefully you claim to have studied the issue; you daily prove on SkepticalScience that your study has been sloppy, cherry picked or ideologically driven.
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  41. Eric(skeptic): "Exxon is simply protecting their rights to their property." I have not met many libertarians who go to this extreme, so of course they may not be "true" libertarians. So tobacco companies are within their right to deceive the public in order to protect their property too? The tobacco scientists told their companies the same thing, "we have a problem", and their companies did the same thing with that information.

    Garethman: "So for every extreme right wing believer, there will be an extreme left wing ideologue, for every barking mad right wing religionist there will be an evangelical atheist." Really? Is there actual evidence of this fact? I would think it depends on the decade or era you are in, the topic being considered, etc...

    For example, with regard to global warming action, what is the center of belief? Are there more libertarian viewpoints (no regulation of C02) on this issue, or more communist viewpoints (complete government control of C02 emissions)? In my view, the centrist view "some government regulation" exists, but outside the center, far more people take an extremist libertarian view, than take an extremist communist view...
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  42. Eric (sceptic) wrote: "The paper's argument is that the owner of the establishment owns the air inside of it..."

    Ownership of air?

    Good luck with that.

    "Hey! That's my air you're breathing! There's a $0.25 cent charge per lungfull!"
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  43. 192, apiratelooksat50,
    On another website...
    People being rude and angry on the Internet? What a shock! Who'd have thunk it?

    So look at a site (like some you have mentioned) where the regulars routinely gang up on and belittle anyone who disagrees with the site's party-line (i.e. WUWT), and treat it as you should when you were the recipient of the vitriol, i.e. get the heck out of there.

    By contrast, look at a site where the conversation tends towards logical dialogue. Because it is a controversial subject with passionate participants, you must expect a fair degree of frustration and anger to eventually get through. But I would point out that if you read most comment threads (not this one, because the subject is so not-science) you will find that the little, subtle digs and the nastiness tend to come from the deniers, and that the number of purely abusive comments is nothing compared to the threads on Watts' or Nova's sites.

    [On those sites, when you start to make incontrovertible scientific points, a legion of people descends with nothing more to do than cast aspersions on the commenters themselves.]

    Most of what you see here is [snip]s and complaints about moderation from deniers who want to be able to unilaterally bypass the comments policy, because they're right so they deserve to get the word out. At the same time, they perceive the gravest personal insults themselves in others' comments (because they literally can't see the difference, they are so blinded by their own anger and personal opinions).

    Sorry, but you don't have a leg to stand on with a complaint about either behavior, or moderation, if you think WUWT is a great place to visit.

    ...WUWT and SKS are both good places to start...
    WUWT is not a good place to start, it's a travesty of misinformation, misrepresentation, conspiracy theories, vitriolic anger, and quite simply time wasting.

    Anyone who goes there to do anything but laugh at it is going to come back confused, and anyone who thinks that it is a worthwhile place to go is confused.

    Go to serious places, and study harder and learn more. The moment you see invective -- accusations of fraud or dishonesty, conspiracy or the word "money," anger at professional scientists for doing their jobs (right or wrong in their conclusions) or the implications of the results -- move on. That's not to say that such invective does not have its place. There are definitely dishonest scientists somewhere in the mix, in my opinion, but what the true skeptic should be doing is to develop the understanding, knowledge and skills to be easily able to identify those personalities themselves, without being told by trumpeting ideologues like certain bloggers or blog commenters.

    I agree with the denier statement, but that does not and should not cover skeptics.
    The day I meet an actual skeptic, I'll let you know. Until then, IMO, anyone who thinks they are a skeptic needs to wake up and admit to themselves that they are a denier (yourself included). Until they do so, they are closed to the truth, avoiding the actual facts and science, and fooling themselves by clinging to a belief in what they'd like to be true.

    [Actually I have met true skeptics... that would be anyone who believes in climate change now, because they must have been appropriately skeptical, and appropriately open minded, at some time.]

    The reason that I make those last statements so adamantly is because the science is very, very clear (contrary to denial efforts to portray it otherwise). There are fringe gray areas, where there is room for doubt in degrees, but overall, anyone who actually has studied and understands the science should be very, very afraid. Climate change will not obviously kill anyone in the next decade or two, but our actions are irreversible, and what we do in the next decade or two will almost certainly have dire effects on the lives of our children, grandchildren, and many generations thereafter.

    If you are able to find convenient reasons not to accept that fact, then you are not a skeptic, and you need to study more.
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  44. Eric the Red, yes we are different and I agree with you. Alexandre, my ideology is to have the government put the least amount of restriction on market efficiency. For example, I am unable to save money by using less peak power in my not-smart grid despite having lots of energy flexibility, some solar and batteries, etc. The problem is not particularly government but often local governments will run electric monopolies into the ground by preventing rate increases that would allow smart grid or even basic reliable service (in Maryland for example). On the Federal level, almost every Federal energy program is a waste, the Feds should stick to basic research. Many Federal policies work against energy efficiency, for example irradiation of food used mainly to promote long haul shipping. In contrast my local flea market has a ton of wholesome food without any way to spend food stamp money which has to be spent at the large supermarket.

    Tom, property rights with unlimited taxation are hardly rights. And if you insist on making my "out of context" quote into an issue, why don't you defend the remarks that I left out? Do you really believe that funding an institute that supports liberty is a crime against humanity? If so, I disagree most strongly. If not, please explain if Hansen meant something else.

    Utahn, the tobacco analogy is too stretched and is now broken. The science and economics promoted by CATO is not the same as denying the tobacco-cancer link, as the paper JMurphy linked above shows (property rights + rigorous analysis = good policy). CBD: very humorous, but that bar would soon go out of business.
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  45. Actually, it's not Exxon doing the release of the CO2. They simply provide the drug. Like illegal (and legal) drug operations, they'll buy the cops and judges, and they'll hit hard against anyone who threatens their market. But they will not take responsibility for the results of the addiction. After all, drug use is a choice--right? There is one of the core problems for the libertarian philosophy. The culture that normalizes drug use, smoking, and unlimited fossil fuel consumption starts in childhood. When do children become fully responsible ethical/moral agents capable of simplifying the world into a series of contracts? When do they begin thinking beyond mating (the drive that blots out all other concerns), into their long future? If a young adolescent engages in smoking in order to be cool (attract a mate), as I did (and everyone else I know who smokes), did I have the ability to make a rational choice, knowing the consequences? Tobacco companies and addictive drug suppliers depend on young adolescents not having the ability. Children are easy targets. And once the behavior is normalized, it's very difficult to stop.

    The tremendous growth of the last 150 years is largely based on easy energy and the productive engine of capitalism. Both have been used with very little concern for either the externalities or sustainability. Whose fault is it? Who developed the culture? How is the cultural momentum maintained? When responsibility is subdivided and allowed to be bought and sold like any other commodity, then there is no responsibility.

    Whose responsibility is it, Eric (skeptic), when your carbon escapes your private space and enters mine? Get it out, or I'll start litigation. You'll have another, more complex lawsuit coming when your carbon redirects a third party's infrared heat and causes me discomfort. Ridiculous? It is, but it all lies on the same slope of private property relations.

    Garethman, the "right wing" is not "fringe"; it is currently the cultural norm in the U.S.: capitalism and Christianity. I'm not saying everyone wants or believes these features, but they do dominate everyday cultural reproduction.
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  46. Eric(skeptic)
    I still do not see why you insist that fossill fuel companies should get to pollute the air we all live in for free for ever. This pollution that will eventually kill millions of people should be stopped. The method Hansen has proposed to stop this unabated polluion of the atmosphere is to use a carbon tax. Why do you insist that FF companies should get to pollute my air for free?
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  47. Tom Curtis @ 193

    Redistributive taxes (money) is most certainly theft. What then is the difference between me as individual redistributing your money to me, or having a third party (the government) do it on my behest. Carbon tax schemes simply facilitate this redistribution. By the way a de facto carbon tax is already in place. Looking at Exxon Mobil 2010 financial statements you will see $28.5 billion was collect as sales tax. Ostensibly, these monies are to cover road and highway maintains. In actuality, 1/3 of those collection support public transportation. So although I do not ride light rail I pay for it. Every public transit system, e v e r y one, in the US loose money every year. The sole occasional exception (twice is the last 13 years) is MTA (NY city transit).

    And all these transit systems are horribly inefficient. You need only consider the resistive breaking systems and idle waste.

    Making gas more expensive (carbon tax) will at best make us all poorer, at worst make us poorer and move oil company headquarters...redistributing an industry to a more friendly countries. Likely this move will increase the companies bottom line.

    Exxon's 2010 profits before income tax...$53 billion.
    Exxon's 2010 income tax liabilities...$21.5 billion.
    Exxon's 2010 profits after income tax...$31.3 billion.
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  48. DB at 192
    My statement in #2 was referring to the last phrase of the referenced paragraph. "starting points"

    And, thanks, I am in a walking boot and stitches are out.
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  49. Eric the Red at 22:34 PM on 2 June, 2011

    Carbon tax instead of cap-and-trade: I agree. C&T looks beautiful in theory, but it's all too vulnerable corruption. The carbon tax is simpler to understand and enforce. Besides, it's a much clearer price signal to investors of renewables.

    Never heard of the idea of phasing it out. The idea would be to gradually increase it to garantee the complete phase out of fossil fuels. Unless we find a way to efficiently sequester carbon from the air, much of the coal will have to stay on the ground. I only see it happening if we keep it prohibitive.
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  50. 197, Eric,
    And if you insist on making my "out of context" quote into an issue, why don't you defend the remarks that I left out? Do you really believe that funding an institute that supports liberty is a crime against humanity?

    Did you really say that?

    Do you really not get it?

    Can you really not see how you've twisted things?

    Go back and re-read the full Hansen quote, in context. If you need to, underline the parts you think are important.

    Then re-read what you said at first.

    Then re-read what you just posted.

    Can you not see the differences, and the point?

    Hints: No one ever said or implied anything as ridiculous as "funding an institute that supports liberty is a crime." You are either purposely or foolishly misunderstanding and twisting people's positions.
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