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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 401 to 450 out of 488:

  1. Adelady,
    That sounds fine, but I do not see the lines of evidence converging. The models appear to converge but the data appears to diverge.
    Yes, this is probably the most researched topic of our time (possibly all time). While many papers support previous conclusions, others do not.
    I do agree with garethman that any theory (even if it is only a small portion of the whole) is met with ridicule, and that the current science is settled. This is not the response of someone who is absolutely sure about his belief, but rather someone who is desperately afraid that his belief is losing ground. If the science is sound, then let it be proven. If a new theory is invalid, let it be proven false. However, the amount of unsults hurled at those who merely suggest an alternative is unfathomable.
    One of my favorite contradictions is the denier label thrown at those who suggest any kind of natural variability or forces, and then those same hurlers acknowledge that there is natural variability when accused of ignoring it by others.
    The science is not as solid and well known as many people here appear to think. This is what we are discovering as more and more research is undertaken.
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  2. scaddenp, sorry not much time, but the short answer is nukes will be cheaper.
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  3. garethman " There is much evidence out there, but all evidence is interpreted, correlated and projected. Models in psychology and climate are not the real world.”

    Thanks adelady, sensible post. I agree it is up to dissenters to produce evidence to back up claims that the science is wrong, otherwise it’s a faith based idea which may have no grounding in reality. But we should never condemn people who do not agree with us or who sometimes behave and think in a illogical way. We all behave in such ways at times, it’s part of being human. Hopefully all initiatives are based on evidence only, but we must remember that the most powerful country in the world often had policies influenced by those who ideas and beliefs are completely illogical. Many many people have been killed to prove that one persons imaginary friend is better than someone else's imaginary friend . I would hate that concept to invade climate science. If people are wrong, they are wrong, let them plough on, as long as it does not harm the rest of humanity I see no problem. ( No I don’t agree that they influence government as almost all administrations are signed up to the belief in climate change, if not taking action which I don’t think in reality is going to change)
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  4. Interesting article on denialism can be found here.
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  5. DB @ 387
    You're welcom. Your explanation makes perfect sense.
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  6. Nice article pirate. There is a strong element of truth about what happens when facts butt up against someone's ideology.
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  7. garethman,
    To also make grandiose predictions which do not materialise is also damaging. ... Every time the prediction falls flat more people become sceptics.
    This is a big problem, and if this is your perception, then you are listening too much to denial blogs, and not looking at the real science yourself.

    There is not one single prediction, grandiose or otherwise, that has not materialized. Why? Because we are dealing with climate. Things change slowly. Almost every dangerous and frightening prediction lies 50 to 100 years in the future. We are at the very, very beginning of this process.

    No one says that the Arctic would absolutely melt all year long starting in 2005, or that all polar bears would be extinct by 2012, or that drought would make Texas uninhabitable by 2013, or that rising sea levels would swamp Miami by 2015. If you believe anything close to that, you don't understand and have not looked at the actual science.

    But bad things will happen eventually. Not to the horrible, exaggerated extremes presented above, but badly enough to cause widespread, unnecessary suffering. And the only way to stop that suffering in the future, is to begin to take reasonable, moderate but effective action now.

    That's the problem, that our actions today are irreversible, but the dangers are horrific.

    I often equate this to the old story of the man who jumped off of the skyscraper. As he passed any open windows, he could be heard to say "so far, so good."

    So we have two problems. The first is the denial spin which creates strawmen by first exaggerating the actual climate science predictions, and then secondly exaggerating the time frame in which they might be expected.

    The second problem we have is that you are not nearly skeptical enough about those false denial claims, so when they are made you get all upset and bothered that climate science is "alarmist," when it's not true, and you're just not bothering to educate yourself properly to find out where the truth actually lies.

    So, once again, are you a denier, or someone who is trying to get to the truth. Are you stopping and agreeing the moment that you see something that fits with your already established views (and an agenda that is already embedded in your psyche), or do you always keep going, and keep digging, because nothing is never as black and white as all that.

    Pick. Denier, or not.
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  8. Eric(skeptic)@387: "Clean air and safety have added considerable cost and inefficiency to automobiles with a modest social benefit compared to factors like cracking down on drunk driving, urbanization and interstate highways, teen driver restrictions, etc.. Many people compensate for safety systems by driving less safely although that is hard to quantify. The clean air stuff is expensive and some articles link go one way while later articles say benefits outweigh costs."

    This is OT, I know, but the article you linked was an attempted forecast, whereas the more recent articles are generally looking at what actually happened. Don't you think there's a difference in the relative merit of these types of studies?

    As for the rest of this interesting discussion, I'm continuing to use the cumbersome(but less likely to lead to this type of discussion), "those in denial of climate science"...To me typing those few extra words is worth the price of not having this discussion. Of course, it might not actually work all of the time, since it still uses "denial"...but so far so good.
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  9. Eric the Red,


    One short post, and so much denial crammed right in.
    That sounds fine, but I do not see the lines of evidence converging.

    Okay, first, please realize that this statement puts you squarely, categorically, and without question, into the status of "denier." You cannot say anything close to this without wearing that label. There are so many lines of evidence, and it is all so damning, that to say otherwise is nothing but denial
    The models appear to converge but the data appears to diverge.
    Look closer. There's no need whatsoever to qualify it with "appears." And the data converges. It absolutely converges, and to think otherwise is denial (either willful, or through ignorance).
    ...that the current science is settled. This is not the response of someone who is absolutely sure about his belief, but rather someone who is desperately afraid that his belief is losing ground.
    Again, another comment that squarely identifies you as a denier.

    There is another option is that the science is so strong that cockamamie wishful thinking ideas (like GCR's and the Iris Effect) are not going to change anything.

    Please note that using the word "settled" is another strawman... no science is ever "settled" because it's always advancing and progressing, and in complex systems, there will be lots of mistakes... but the overall direction is solid, and we are quickly approaching the point where it will be impossible for any body of evidence to overturn enough of it to support the denialist position.
    However, the amount of unsults hurled at those who merely suggest an alternative is unfathomable.
    First, I don't see anywhere near this volume of insults. Certainly not here at SkS, and certainly not at WUWT. I think you are being overly sensitive, or perhaps view being corrected as an insult. You must be able to take criticism, particularly if you are going to be tragically wrong, and then cling to your mistakes like an, oh, I don't know, let's call it "a denier."

    And "merely suggest" is another strawman. You're not talking about cases where someone merely suggests something. You are without question talking about a case where someone suggests something, has their errors pointed out to them, and then clings to that belief and hammers at it and sticks to it and won't let go.

    Big difference.
    One of my favorite contradictions is the denier label thrown at those who suggest any kind of natural variability or forces, and then those same hurlers acknowledge that there is natural variability when accused of ignoring it by others.
    Another example of denialism, and a lack of understanding of the science. Why can the system not have natural variability, but be dominated by a particular imbalance? The scenario you portray is another typical denial ploy, by first misinterpreting the facts behind natural variability to imply or even "prove" that anthropogenic effects are negligible, but then to accuse the scientists of ignorance by implying that the existence of natural variability hasn't really occurred to them.

    This is a total non-issue, or rather, it's only an issue manufactured and supported by deniers.

    It's nonsense.
    The science is not as solid and well known as many people here appear to think. This is what we are discovering as more and more research is undertaken.
    The science is far more solid than you portray it, and with every passing month more and more papers are published that support, not refute, the current science.

    You are deluding yourself.

    In that one, short post, you made statements that provide strong evidence that you are unequivocally and inarguable a denier. You included five typical, indefensible denial talking points, and in a sixth, you used a typical denial tactic (using exaggeration to create a strawman).

    I really don't know why you guys are so sensitive about the word. Call yourselves deniers and be proud of it.

    Or change your behavior, look more closely at the data, and figure out where you are going wildly, unarguably and dangerously wrong.

    You are responsible for what you believe! You will be responsible for whatever actions we take, or fail to take, as a society.

    There is no escaping this. You are being vocal. You are deciding that your opinion matters, and that you must stem the flow and tide of climate science.

    You are responsible. Live up to that responsibility.

    Instead of seething with anger and coming back with a post to show what a meanie I am, and how you're right and I'm wrong, use your time go study.

    Find out how the lines of evidence do converge.

    Find out how the data is converging.

    Find out exactly where natural variability does or does not influence the system, how and why.

    Find out what the latest papers say (really say, not what Anthony Watts or Steve Goddard claims that they say).

    Find out what the vast, huge, damning bulk of the papers say.

    Look with an open mind at how deniers are actually treated here, and on other sites (as in, are their ideas new and well thought out, and presented politely, or are they foolish Internetisms that have been seen over and over again, debunked a hundred times, and yet they cling to them and will not let go).

    Stop fighting with me. Stop for five seconds to think that maybe you are wrong, and this is important, and maybe you have been mislead, by your own desires, and by others.

    Stop being a denier.
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  10. Eric (red) @ 401: "One of my favorite contradictions is the denier label thrown at those who suggest any kind of natural variability or forces, and then those same hurlers acknowledge that there is natural variability when accused of ignoring it by others."

    The problem here is that science gives evidence why natural variability is not the cause of recent warming. People who deny this either 1) don't provide evidence or 2) provide evidence that looks convincing (but is actually goofy) to the people doing no. 1. Garethman said that it's easy to post to the sites everyone shares the same opinion. This is true of posters, but it's also true of readers. It's easy to believe what one wants to believe, what fits into one's pre-existing understanding of the universe. Understanding one's own historically-developed beliefs is the first step in the critical process.

    "The science is not as solid and well known as many people here appear to think. This is what we are discovering as more and more research is undertaken."

    Eh, if you're trying to say that the basics are not solid, think again. Are we discovering with more and more research that what we know about the physics of radiative transfer is starting to crumble? Are we discovering with more and more research that the earth is not warming due to the increasing addition of human-sourced GHGs? Are we discovering that the natural cycles are in fact in line to produce the observed warming? "No" in all three cases. Science has had doubts about each of these answers. There is much less doubt now. The uncertainty now sits in the fine details--precisely how much forcing, are clouds +/-, how will food plants respond, what is the connection with extreme weather, etc. Look at the development of "official denialism" at sites like WUWT. There has been a painfully slow acknowledgement that yes, the planet is warming, and yes, CO2's radiative transfer does not violate the 2nd law, and yes, the Arctic seems to be losing some perhaps barely slight summer sea ice. These days, the arguments are no longer "it's not happening." Instead, it's more about "it's not us" or, increasingly, "it's not bad." I'd say that with more and more research, the basics are becoming more and more settled, and we keep opening up areas of fine detail that aren't settled.

    I come to this from the humanities. I teach young people how to think critically. Even in (or perhaps because of) the open age of the internet, students come to college with several large suitcases of uncritical understandings about the way the world works. Sometimes those understandings are accurate--by accident or intuition. For example, probably 45-50 of 60 first year students believe that the planet is warming. Maybe two can explain why. Over the past several years, I've been learning the math and theory--slowly, painfully (thanks, SoD). I want to make sure I'm right. Yet the rhetoric is much more interesting to me. I am professionally interested in the psychology of what happens (in the short and long term) when someone is publicly confronted with evidence that cannot be accounted for in his/her existing belief set or system. It's my job to help people think through those moments (where moment can be a few seconds or a few years) and help them build a mind that will more readily adjust to new information. When I read some of the "spinning wheels" on this site (the 2nd Law thread, for example), I want to give it all up and move to Montana (maybe grow a crop of dental floss).

    Finally, and this dovetails with Sphaerica's comments, if while crossing the street I suddenly find a bus headed straight at me (yes, stupid me for not looking, but this is part of the analogy as well), and someone crossing with me says, "don't worry, it's just an illusion, and if it's not then it will suddenly swerve aside or start going backward," even though the physical detail tells me that this is a multi-ton, momentum-bearing reality 20 yards away, then I'm going to suspect (as you would) that the stranger must be insane, temporarily (and fatally) irrational, or murderous. Yes, I have such faith in the empirical--don't you? The analogy doesn't hold completely, though, because I can only catch glimpses of the GHG bus in store windows, sounds, and smells--and what the people on the sidewalk (scientists, who can see the bus more clearly) are screaming at me: "do something now!"
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  11. Garethman "... we should never condemn people who do not agree with us or who sometimes behave and think in a illogical way..."

    I'd rephrase that - we should never be too quick to condemn people who...

    Here I'll take a liberty and cite Sphaerica as an example of one commenter here who is very patient and helpful to newcomers who have difficulty with science. Whether it's with tracking down information or in understanding the material when they get it.

    But there's a limit. When such people start citing nonsensical internetisms as 'valid' criticisms of data or papers rather than requesting explanations for contradictions, we can only be helpful for a while. I tend to ignore or retreat from such contributions. Others' fedupness can result in more direct challenge or criticism.

    And they are right to do so. We all have a responsibility to the readers and visitors who don't join discussions. This is a site offering valid climate science for people who may know very little about science of any kind. They need to know that certain 'facts' are wrong. They need to understand that science is not a matter of debatable opinions.
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  12. DSL,
    I never said that the recent warming was caused by natural variability. I habve acknowledged the effects of CO2, although apparently not strongly enough for Sphaerica. My point is that there is a natural component to temperature which has influenced the warming of the 80s and 90s, and the lack of warming in the past decade. To ignore this is poor science at the least, and possibly worse.
    The basics are solid. The direct effect of doubling CO2 will result in ~1.1C of temperature rise. I have never disputed the physics of that. When the feedback loops are incorporated, several different results occur. Hence, the reported climate sensitivity values are a range, not an absolute (deal with it Sphaerica). The recent Hansen paper admits that we may be underestimated aerosol effects. Does this challenge fundamental physics? No, but it does affect the more chaotic climate system. My personal opinion is that the climate sensitivity is in the low range. Bob wants to call me a denier because I believe that the climate sensitivity is lower than he believes. Fine, so be it. If that is his definition of a denier, then 90% of the world are probably deniers.
    Sphaerica appears to be falling into the trap outlined by garethman above; he cannot accept any fact that contradicts his beliefs. Hence, he believes that all the evidence is converging towards his views. It must be nice to live in such a bubble. Then he has the audacity to suggest that I "go study." Maybe Spaerica should study up on recent developments. Read all the papers, not just those by your friends.
    I will rephrase my statement to be more accepting to you: the models converge, while the data diverges. Settled was a word chosen years ago by certain climatologists in an attempt to sway the public. I strongly disagree with any suggestion that the science is "settled."
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    [DB] "My point is that there is a natural component to temperature which has influenced the warming of the 80s and 90s,"

    During which forcings other than CO2 have been flat.  Perhaps you conflate temperatures and anomalies?

    "and the lack of warming in the past decade."

    Provably oh-so-wrong. 

    10 Records

    Witness the "Aughts" as the warmest decade on record, with 2005 and 2010 being tied as the warmest years in the instrumental records.  It is poor science indeed to repeat a fallacy without any supportative documentation.

    You should indeed "go study", for your comments do indeed reveal the need.

  13. Garethman - instead of using your psychology to engage in a hand-wringing exercise that perhaps we are hurting the feelings of those who threaten human civilization (it is all about food; it is all about water) - why not do something useful and suggest ways that those who are in denial about climate science - the reality of what we are doing, the undeniable impacts and implications (think about food and water for 7-9 billion souls) can be educated or persuaded to take action.

    The takeaway point from my posts (and I suspect Sphaerica, adelady and many others) is the writing is on the wall. Our final understanding will be different than our current understanding. But not in any way that matters regarding the question of whether to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions.

    So instead of spending your time coming up with weasel-worded defenses of climate deniers, how about using your expertise to suggest *effective* ways of moving the conversation to how quickly (and how) to wean ourselves from fossil CO2?

    Your suggestion that climate deniers are having no impact on public policy directly contradicts recent history in the US - where the ascendant political party has a litmus test that you must deny ALL climate scientist in order to be a candidate for office.

    Words (and ideas) have meaning and impact. Those impacts will determine our future on this happy little rock.
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  14. DSL - great post and great area of inquiry. I love the bus coming around the bend analogy (to suggest an improvement...). Wonderful way to think about this, the bizarreness of denialism, and why/how something in the physical world, not front and center, can have a huge future impact unless mitigated now.
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  15. Eric the Red,

    So wrong, so often, in so many ways.
    To ignore this is poor science at the least, and possibly worse.
    Strawman. No one is ignoring it, or ignored it even before it happened. Everyone recognizes natural variability. They also recognize the indisputable march of CO2 in the picture. Everything else (which isn't a feedback on CO2) will even out in the end. So there's noise in a 5 or 10 or 20 year span. Big surprise (not).

    But you and deniers use this to imply that the science is uncertain, that climate is unpredictable, and maybe we should wait a decade or five to be really, really sure about how things will play out (and to conveniently have reached a point where it won't affect our own lives, because we'll be dead by then).
    Hence, the reported climate sensitivity values are a range, not an absolute (deal with it Sphaerica).
    Yet another strawman. Is that all you've got, a field full of strawmen?

    Everyone knows this is a range. But the low side of the range is dangerous if we take no action whatsoever, the most likely value in the range (3+˚C) is very dangerous, and the upper bounds (the long tail) extend much further than the short, low end tail. More than this, every year more and more studies confirm that this sensitivity is at least 3˚C, so the chance of anything lower gets less and less with every passing day.

    To present these plain, incontrovertible facts otherwise is misinformation, and to believe otherwise is denial.
    The recent Hansen paper admits that we may be underestimated aerosol effects.
    Admits? Admits? More denial-speak. Hansen warns that we may be underestimating aerosol effects. This is a gigantic problem, and a reason for far more aggressive action. It is a frightening prospect.

    To explain, since you do not seem to comprehend, there are several positive and negative feedbacks which are recognized, but quantified to different degrees. We know there is a negative anthropogenic aerosol effect. It's actually a forcing, not a feedback, in that we are pumping the air full of CO2 and anthropogenic aerosols. The former raise temperatures through radiative effects. The latter lower temperatures by blocking incoming sunlight.

    The larger that negative forcing is, the worse the effects of CO2 truly are. It is masking the full power of the CO2 problem.

    But wait, there's more. What happens when we stop pumping fossil fuels into the air, either because we smarten up, or because they become too expensive to continue to use (as world demand far exceeds supply), or (God help us if this happens) when they run out?

    So, there is all of this CO2 in the air, gigaton after gigaton of it, driving temperatures up. It stays there for centuries or even millenia.

    But the aerosols don't. We're no longer pumping them in, but the drop out of the atmosphere in anywhere from years to at best decades.

    So the negative forcing goes away. The positive forcing stays in place.

    Temperatures skyrocket.

    Really, please Eric, take the time to read and understand this stuff. It is important, and your field of strawmen and mis-characterizations are doing the world a huge injustice.
    My personal opinion is that the climate sensitivity is in the low range.
    Keyword = opinion, and one that is not only unsupported by but heavily contradicted by the facts, and clear evidence of denial.
    ...he cannot accept any fact that contradicts his beliefs.
    Again with the word "belief." Everything is belief, because that's what you work with.

    Educate yourself!
    Settled was a word chosen years ago by certain climatologists in an attempt to sway the public.
    More denial lies! Man, please, do some reading. Can you find this quote anywhere except on denial sites? Who said this? Not even one person, let alone "certain climatologists" (plural).

    This is a denier's fantasy. Please, really, stop with the nonsense. You are so lost that it's laughable. You have eagerly and willingly bought into every urban myth, superstition, and silly trope that denialism has manufactured in the past decade.

    Please, get some new material. And as a starting point, open your mind, become a true skeptic, and figure out where all of those false beliefs are so severely flawed.
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  16. Correction.

    In my previous post I said "Temperatures skyrocket" (after we cease pumping CO2 into the atmosphere).

    That's the wrong thing to say.

    What I should have said was simply "temperatures continue to rise for many decades after we have actually completely stopped pumping CO2 into the atmosphere."

    Sorry for any confusion.
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  17. Moderator: Thanks for the help. Still trying to get the image & thumbnail postings straight. Would using the Preview option help to make sure the image postings are correct?

    While I will agree, a detail discussion on the specific topic of CO2 & temperature would be better discussed on the appropriate thread, my primary point is to show how a skeptic becomes a skeptic. Not by just reading items or papers, but by doing some careful thought and analysis to make sure opinions presented stand up to questions by opposing views. Anyway, back to the fray.

    Adelady @393,
    You asked why I used local temps instead of global? The reason is that there where no “global” temperatures prior to 1850, if you would call it that. Even in 1850, almost all were in the Northern Hemisphere. But there were quite a number of individual station records starting in 1659, so one has a longer time span to compare one variable (temperature) to another (CO2), hence the use of Ave14. You will notice I included the HadCRUT NH as a check on Ave14, and the patterns do seem to track, especially when both are compared to CO2.

    Both Ave14 & HadCRUT showed strong variations, while CO2 showed none. If I added a HadCRUT global plot, it would appear to change nothing. Your plot, you referenced by Meehl, uses models, and again show little compassion of GHG to temperature, except they both go up over time. I don’t see the up and down motion that would give stronger correlations. This process is my idea of a skeptic.

    Your thoughts?
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    [DB] "Would using the Preview option help to make sure the image postings are correct?"

    Yes.  If they don't show properly after pushing the Preview button, then something is wrong.  Typically it is the inclusion of an extraneous space after the URL but before the second parenthesis.  Or the transposing of the closing slash and the HTML tag command being used.

    Please remember to keep widths at 450 pixels or less.  Lastly, PNG, JPG or GIF work best (avoid TIFF).  DOC and PDF will not result in a viewable picture (you will have to separate the graphic in question from the document and upload it to the Web first).

    The sample HTML commands at the TIPS page have all been tested by me and work in the SkS Comment posting windows.

  18. J. Bob, Adelady had carried the conversation across to this thread where it is on topic. May I suggest that you do likewise.
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  19. Let's see, GISS, NOAA, and UAH all show a slight warming trend for the past decade, while CRU and RSS show a slight cooling trend. Examing the 5-yr movign averages yields similar trends; NOAA, and UAH peaked in 2005, whereas CRU and RSS yielded a maximum in 2002. (UAH shows the most recent peak occurring in early 2006).
    Apparently, this is appaling to many on this site who cannot accept facts that contradict their beliefs, even Sphaerica's.
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    [dana1981] Examining statistically insignificant trends over such short timeframes is rather pointless.  You're just seeing short-term noise.  But for the record, RSS has a positive trend over the past decade.

  20. Eric the Red @419, yes. If you take a temperature index which excludes the fastest warming area on Earth, and then take the annual temperatures from the period of the last solar maximum until the lowest solar minimum in nearly a century, with several large El Nino's in the early period, and several large La Nina's in the later period, you do get a trend of - 0.028 Degrees C per decade (HadCRUtv3 2001-2010).

    In contrast, if you don't exclude the fastest warming region, the trend for the last decade is 0.075 degrees C per decade (Gisstemp 2001-2010).

    It takes a denier, to find great significance in that. Most of us would look at those figures and say that if the increase in CO2 forcing over just one decade can cancel out that large a combination of cooling factors, it must be very significant indeed. We worry about what the trend will be as those cooling factors reverse.
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  21. The issue was whether temperatures have risen or fallen over the past decade. Very few trends are going to be statiscally significant over such a short timeframe. However, the trends are obviously different from the preceding two decades (which differ from those before). Many have attempted to gloss over these seemingly insignificant trends, and focus on the longer term.
    For statistics, I prefer the long-term, and coincidentally, the latest CRU data falls almost exactly on top of the long-term trend (since 1880) of 0.6C / century.
    Although not statistically significant by our measurement methods, these short-term changes may yield some insight into various forces at play in global temperature records. For the record, RSS is negative for the past decade (-0.003 C / year excluding 2011, -.006 C / year if you do an exact 120-month analysis).
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    [DB] "The issue was whether temperatures have risen or fallen over the past decade."

    Umm, no.  The issue of this thread is Skepticism vs climate Denialism.

    Quite frankly, there's so much wrong with your comment I scarce know where to begin.  The focus on RSS, insignificant timescales, cherry-picked start dates (Tamino has many posts on this), etc.

    Cherries Jubilee:

    Cherries Jubilee


    Your attempts to stay off-topic merely reaffirm the perception of denial (which is on-topic) you convey.  If you wish to discuss temperature records or something other than Skepticism vs climate Denialism, please use the Search function for a far more appropriate thread.  Thanks!

  22. And he throws in a cherry pick to top off the denial sundae he's been concocting.

    Really, one couldn't ask for better examples.

    The point is made by the deniers themselves.

    I'm even beginning to think that Eric the Red is a Poe.
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  23. And yet Sphaerica, I suppose you will be the first to deny the actual graph. Are you not the leats bit curious as to why all the dips in the graph occur at roughly 7.5 year intervals? Although it wouldn't surprise me it you denied that also.
    With regards to skepticism and denial, if scientists would squelch any investigation into plausible explanations in the same way much of this crowd does, science would still be in the middle ages. A good dose of skepticism will keep science from getting complacent.
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    [DB] You strain credulity, sir.

    Why anyone (let alone a scientist) would try & read into a short, noisy time series dataset and see things that aren't there and then declare (without a postulated physics-based mechanism to explain it) that the quasimythological oscillation/trend/periodicity du jour explains away the temperature rise so that there's nothing to worry about, is beyond me.

    Tamino describes the thought processes involved here, among many other similar posts.

  24. 423, Eric the Red,

    This isn't the place to discuss this graph, only how you can personally (in your opinion) read something from the graph that actually isn't there, and yet with a straight face insist that it is.

    The trend for the thirty year period is undeniable.

    The trend for the selected 7.5 year period, and only that precisely selected period, is also undeniable.

    The intent of offering the second, in complete disregard to the first, and then actually sticking to your guns on it is, to me, also undeniable.

    As far as your lectures about science and skepticism, as I have repeatedly said, you demonstrate not one hint of actual skepticism, and calling daylight the darkness of night is not skepticism, it's foolishness. There is a serious and obvious line between "squelching any investigation into plausible explanations" and just plain making nonsense up to see if it somehow sticks somewhere.

    Scientists do not need to respectfully consider every ounce of drivel that deniers can think of in order to do their job properly. Quite to the contrary, they are wasting far too much time on denial nonsense when we have very, very important things to be researching and considering.

    By the way, the backhanded comment implying that deniers keep science from getting complacent is patently absurd. Science does just fine without worrying about Eric the Red's insightful 7.5 year cooling trend.
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  25. Eric the Red @423
    Do the dips occur in 7.5 year intervals? Hard to tell eyballing a graph. Assuming they do what is your explanation for it and why does it matter if the overall trend is still up?
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  26. Tom Curtis @ 418
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  27. pbjamm,
    I do not have an explanation, but there have been 5 such dips in the past 35 years (they show up better in the surface temperature data). I was simply curious. In the same way that I am curious as to the larger 60-year cycles. However, Spaerica seems to think that my curiosity means that I am just a denier for thinking such. Yes, the overall trend is up, but one must be careful not to measure trends that are influenced by these cycles (see the graph above).
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  28. 427, Eric the Red,

    They're called La Nina's. They are a well known phenomenon. Go study it. It's interesting. It also says nothing about the warming trend, because they've been happening for as long as records have been kept, and probably for thousands and thousands, if not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, of years.
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  29. Eric the Red@427
    Curiosity is different from casting doubt.
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  30. Eric(sk) - but what if nuclear power wasn't cheaper? To me this pushes close to the hub of the issue. It seems to me that libertarian ideals require an ideal market. But our hypothetical question (that at some point you became convinced that cost of adaption is going to exceed cost of mitigation) has the scenario where individuals choosing coal-power on price are not paying the full cost of it; the cost instead is falling to another generation. It is also exceedingly difficult to actually cost that properly. So what is acceptable way to proceed (other than sweep the problem under the carpet)? I see a similar issue for clean air. While emission controls irrelevant for country, people die without pollution control in large cities. Consider again the hypothetical, that failure to control pollution from cars kills x people a day in large cities and these deaths are unequivocally linked to the pollution. As I understand libertarian principles, the protection of individual rights (to non-lethal air for an asthmatic say) should be through courts. But how do you sue the individuals who chose engine efficiency over clean air? If there is a valid libertarian way, then it has to answer these kinds issue for credibility. The most common response I've had from our local variety on similar issues is, worryingly, denial - just like you get over climate. If the problem doesnt fit the model, then the problem cant exist.
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  31. Eric the Red @ 421,
    Smoothing, or filtering of data can have an effect of how results are interpreted. The following shows how different smoothing intervals, of filter cut-off frequencies can lead to different interpretations. Three different smoothing, or filtering methods are used:
    Moving average (MOV) centered
    Recursive forward & reverse [“filtfilt” MATLAB] (Chev ff)
    Fourier Convolution (FF)

    In the top figure a 10 yr. or 0.1 cycle/yr. cut off was used. In the lower figure, a 30 yr., or 0.03 cycle/yr was used. As expected, the top figure is more responsive to the input data, then the lower. So while the top figure might indicate a flattening or dipping of the global temperature, the lower on would indicate the temperature is continuing to rise.

    Filter effects on HadCRUT3 Data

    Kind of like results can be in the eye of the beholder.
    0 0

    [DB] Fixed image (you used ” instead of "...makes a difference[don't ask me why]).  Please remember to keep image widths below 500 pixels.

  32. 431, J. Bob, and DB...

    431, J. Bob, and DB...

    Because it's a computer. A curly quote is an entirely different encoded character than an ASCII quote. The HTML standard is to recognize ASCI single ' or double " quotes as delimiters for HTML tag attribute values, but not curly “ ” quotes, which shouldn't be generated anyway in a browser text box, but would be if you, for instance, composed your message in Word and then tried to copy/paste (because Word very helpfully converts your quotes to pretty curlies for human consumption, but the computer puts into the same category as bullets and all sorts of other characters, meaning it ignores them).
    0 0

    [DB] Thanks for filling my daily quota of learning 1 thing.  Time for bed.

  33. scaddenp, I believe nuclear will be cheaper under the conditions I specified above: that private insurance companies enforce safety and the government enforces measurement and payments for injury (rational payments based on statistical cancer risks). Your other point, that coal is cheap, is valid. People didn't like my Rube Goldberg idea for cutting travel fuel in half and they probably won't like my cut electricity in half ideas either. But since my early posts here I have supported the smart grid and that would greatly smooth out the expensive peaks. But that still leaves cheap coal baseload production.

    Addressing the externalities, we need to be more precise about the costs. Droughts, floods, heat waves, and other weather need to be costed with regard to their natural variations. Sea level is easier since it isn't weather, so let's pick that. It will cost you a new airport. The late Senator Byrd would literally move a mountain, fill in a valley and get you a new high elevation airport (see route 55 in WV). Millions of people on the deltas will need to be moved and compensated for losses, but that will be relatively cheap compared to 100 years of cheaper power in the developed world. The actual number of years will be a lot less with technological progress. The doomsday scenarios ignore facts (e.g. calthrates don't melt in the Gulf of Mexico and won't melt in the Arctic below the same or higher levels). We can argue these details on other threads, but my point is that the external costs need to be realistic otherwise it will be a nonstarter academic exercise.
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  34. Eric (Skeptic)
    "Millions of people on the deltas will need to be moved and compensated for losses, but that will be relatively cheap compared to 100 years of cheaper power in the developed world."

    That statement strikes me as incorrect. Many threads on Skeptical Science show that renewable energy is relatively cheap (and my own work in the field verifies it). I believe the "millions" can only count the US, and it will be billions (note the consonant) that will need to be relocated.

    The whole point of talking about AGW (once you study the science) is to prevent it.

    And of course, your points only relate to the physical location of people and things, not the fact that a warmer world is a natural-services poorer world (ie food and potable water are harder to come by).
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  35. Eric (sk), I agree that nuclear might be cheaper under your scenario, but that's not the point. We both agree that only way to get rid of coal without my arbitrary government imposed methods is for an alternative to be cheaper than coal. "Cap and trade" and "Fee and dividend" approaches are attempts at "market solutions" to the problem, both unacceptable to libertarians because of the role in government. But I am really interested in the question of what happens when a market fails (eg no way to make an alternative cheaper unless a way is found for coal pay for environmental damage which is difficult because of unknown and future nature).
    To me, libertarian ideals derive from a value system. It proposes a model of state in accordance with those values. The issue is what gives when model doesnt fit well with reality. Libertarians readily concede a role for government in protection from agression and upholding of the legal system. What is conformal with the values from which libertarism springs for dealing with market failures? eg costing of coal, or urban air quality.

    We make fun of the argument "AGW leads to ergo AGW doesnt exist" but noone actually makes that calculus at a conscious level. Its more a question of an assault on values and no amount of argument will change a person's values. Ergo, we need solutions talked about that dont conflict a person's values.

    On cost - probably belongs in the "Its not bad" thread but...
    I dont deny a technological solution is possible - just that it is beyond the economic means of our small city and external help unlikely when you consider implications for rest of country. Do we have legal redress on CO2 emitters to help build a replacement? There are estimates of climate change cost - eg Stern. Sure they are criticised but only alternatives I have seen assume smaller effects that the science does not support. From this I would assume the compiler knows that WG2 scenario costs are too expensive.

    And on that note, clathrate release, while a risk, is not supported by the science, definitely not part of AR4 WG2. I asked earlier what you meant by "C"AGW - ie what parts of WG2 did you have scientific support to disbelieve, but you answered that effectively you believe sensitivity is lower than estimated but havent provided science to support that position.
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  36. J. Bob @ 431
    How far back past 1850 can you take the graphs? Do you have the source site?
    0 0
  37. apiratelooksat50 @ 436,
    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "how far past 1850 can you take the graphs?".

    Are you talking about:

    1- Projecting past the end points (based on the 1850-2010 set)

    2- Looking at data sets which began prior to 1850, as presented at J. Bob @ 52 & 391.
    0 0
  38. The CRU data commences in 1850, although Phil Jones asserts that data prior to 1880 has higher uncertainty. The graphs do show the influence of the 60-year PDO cycle quite nicely when incorporating the 30-yr filter.
    0 0

    [DB] It might be helpful to read this.  The conclusion:

    "Has global temperature evolution over the last century+ been cyclical? Not."

  39. Eric the Red, perhaps you should look at this post .
    0 0
  40. scaddenp, maybe the cost of your new airport is beyond your means, but that doesn't mean it can't be assigned a cost. Consider too that there are "airports" in Alaska that service a handful of people at very little expense. The cost for moving people from undeveloped countries is less than in developed countries and those in developed countries usually have the resources to move themselves. What I am looking for from you is a discussion of the external costs without which a libertarian solution is impossible. In a similar vein I owe you a discussion on the estimation of sensitivity in the appropriate thread.
    0 0
  41. Eric (skeptic) @440, I have laid down the challenge for you in this post. From the challenge you have made, I assume you are making a challenge to test the ability of libertarianism to cope with the real world. As massive ecosystem loss is certainly a potential consequence of human activity, an argument that the Great Barrier Reef is not threatened, while certainly on topic on the thread of the post, will be an evasion of the issue between you and scaddenp. I therefore request that you accept, for the sake of the argument, that the Great Barrier Reef is under threat as the experts claim. The question then becomes, IMO, can such a loss be valued in a way in which libertarian solutions are possible, but which do not (again, IMO) evade the issue by accepting only dry econometric values, and/or setting discount rates so low that even moderately distant generations are counted as having no worth.
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  42. I have no problem assigning a cost Eric to airport. We are currently serviced by 747s so reducing us to hilltop airstrip to service a city of 120,000 seems like we are taking a loss caused largely by action of others. Why is this exempt from legal remedy?

    "What I am looking for from you is a discussion of the external costs without which a libertarian solution is impossible."

    Okay, I dont follow this so perhaps that is my problem. What do you mean by external costs?

    You so far havent commented on liability, air pollution control or what happens if coal is always cheaper unless its environmental cost is taken into account. My impression is that you are implying that a solution cant be found by reduction in government, then a problem cannot be solved inside your value system. Clearly, if say 500ppm of CO2 would unequivocally kill us, that would not be case.

    Also, I notice you appear to prefer geoengineering to emission reduction. What I dont like about this, is that costs of geoengineering would have to be borne by people taking the loss (eg tourist operators and fishing industry for reef damage) instead of the people creating the problem in the first place (the emitters).

    Certainly lets also have discussion of scientific points in the appropriate threads.
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  43. I find it amusing that so many can deny the effects that the PDO has on temperatures over the past 130 years. Even when the data is clear as day, they close their eyes.
    0 0

    [DB] Scaddenp kindly pointed you previously to this post on the PDO.  That would be an appropriate venue to discuss it, if that is your wish.  It is off-topic here.  Please kindly reconsider your tone, as others are trying to help you.

  44. Eric @443,

    "I find it amusing that so many can deny the effects that the PDO has on temperatures over the past 130 years."

    You are arguing a strawman.
    0 0
  45. scaddenp, legal remedy requires actual harm. My understanding is the lowest point in NZ is near your airport (-2m) and not full of seawater so that offers the possibility that the airport could have a wall around it. Your overall point that "stopping CO2 is much more direct" is valid, but that doesn't automatically deprecate mitigation measures, they should all be examined thoroughly.
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  46. Eric, lets not get too hung up about airport. Dunedin would lose its function as city if it lost the rail/road link to south and airport is just part of that. We arent happy about losing substantial part of city either. The only viable solution really is dam at mouth of Taieri river to prevent incursion from sea and pump the river over it. Cost is enormous but it preserves the link and the airport not to mention the towns on the plain like Mosgiel.

    The philosophical point here is that this adaption measure is cost (harm) to us largely inflicted by people in other countries. The same goes for your suggestion about the reef preservation.

    For me to understand your philosophical stance, I need to know the answer to question about why you would consider it acceptable that say fishing/tourist to pay cost of reef protection rather than creators of the problem? You havent answered about way to protect people with respiratory problems from urban air pollution in an minimal government world either. As a matter of interest, does the freedom of the individual and property rights extend to say building a piggery/car-crusher/munitions factory in an suburban area and if not how is such a conflicts of rights resolved?

    I'm pushing for this, because I suspect that solutions to these conflicts in a libertarian world could be applied to CO2 emission as well.
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  47. Just to make it clearer, whatever innovative solution you propose for our issues, is something that costs the city residents either in losses due to abandonment of the city or in funding adaption. This cost is a harm inflicted largely by others. Such harms that are not from natural cause are not insurable.
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  48. Scaddenp, you asked "I need to know the answer to question about why you would consider it acceptable that say fishing/tourist to pay cost of reef protection rather than creators of the problem?" After I thought about my answer to okatiniko /news.php?n=785#54211 I acknowledge that the libertarian free market is part of the problem of your hypothetical harms (but "let's not talk about the airport"). That market satisfies the whimsical desires of consumerism but also the needs of billions of people. In comparison a relatively small number of people will be harmed by climate change, and when I ask for specifics I get "estimates" of meters of rapid sea level rise (rate since 2003: 1 inch per decade). When I propose specific solutions I get blown off as too complicated or not workable or your answer which is we should simply do nothing and ask the culprits to pay. I am simply frustrated by your apparent lack of willingness to adapt.

    OTOH, I agree the free market is far from perfect. The essential problem is that short term profits don't account for long term costs. A good example is a company that buys up a forest to clear cut and uses the proceeds to buy a bigger forest to repeat the process. The answer is that a wealthy society does not require the products of clear cutting but can instead demand the products of mixed use resources. Case in point, Haiti has no forests, all were cut down for cooking fuel. Where I live in Virginia we have lots of new forests that were once completely clear cut for charcoal for smelting and lime kilns and then for farming and ranching. The demand for nature from tourists is somewhat offset by the horses which require pasture and hay production. But the result is a large amount of robustness to climate change such as it is here (perhaps a few more floods) without an oversized contribution to CO2.

    My own transitional forest of red cedar is being replaced (by nature and my help) by hardwoods and native understory. My steep slopes to a major river now have water retention and Prairie Moon seedlings. I am not wealthy but have enough spare resources to take really good care of 5 acres (although I ought to have and do more). I can easily handle any climate contingencies having unlimited water supplies and the ability and resources to easily deal with floods.

    If I lived in Haiti I would be stripped of my land by the authoritarian government who would then pretend to mitigate climate change using proceeds from a carbon tax that would actually just be squirreled away in Swiss bank accounts. My example is hardly far fetched. You may consider it a red herring or false dichotomy but it is not. The way people gain the wealth and independence to mitigate the effects of any environmental disasters is by the free market. So I have to ask you, since your wealth came from the market, why won't you use your wealth to adapt? Second, why won't you promote the economic freedom needed to create that wealth in countries like Bangladesh. If you don't think that is feasible, why won't you give a small portion of your wealth to private relief organizations?
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  49. Eric (skeptic) - I don't often comment on politics here (I prefer to stick to the science), but I cannot let that last howler go by without a reply. Please see my post on the far more appropriate The economic impacts of carbon pricing thread.

    Now, can we kindly get back to the "skepticism versus denial" topic? Or move on to other discussions? Side tracks into extreme political arrangements such as pure libertarianism are really off topic...
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  50. KR - I would ask for indulgence in continuing this discussion. It is my opinion that current suggestions for limiting CO2 offend libertarian sensibilities and predisposes otherwise intelligent people towards denial. I am extremely interested to see if there is any approach to mitigation that might not offend those with libertarian values. I do not believe you can change a person's fundamental values and it is futile to try. Environmentalists screaming that AGW shows that capitalism is fatally flawed and must be replaced are doing more damage than good. I want to see debate about right wing versus left wing solutions rather a thinly-veiled grinding of political axes just promoting denial.
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