Victory Declared For The Climate Science Denialists

A VICTORY has been declared in the field of climate change but the lap of honour is not being run by research scientists or renewable energy bosses, or by coral reefs, drought-stricken farmers or the citizens of low-lying countries.

Rather, if you accept as valid this declaration of victory from one of Australia’s leading thinkers, then those popping the champagne corks are the fossil fuel lobby.

Standing by the track cheering this triumph, are the conservative think tanks and the free market ideologues that believe the world should be run on their terms.

To follow the analogy through to the bitter end, the losers are everyone else.

Professor Robert Manne, a political philosopher at La Trobe University, is making this declaration in a 7000-word essay published tomorrow in The Monthly magazine – its cover screaming “Victory of the Denialists: How Climate Science Was Vanquished”.

Manne’s essay charts the decades-long effort to spread doubt and confusion about the science of human-caused climate change, focusing on the think tanks and corporations that created and backed a “relentless” campaign in the United States which has infected other parts of the western world, including Australia.

Manne draws on already published books and research papers about the climate denial industry, and so in that respect close watchers won’t find anything new.

But it is his declaration that climate science denialists have won which will stick in the throat of many climate change campaigners and science communicators.

I asked Professor Manne why he had come to that conclusion.

I find it difficult to see how a reasonably objective observer could deny that this is what has happened–gradually at first but also dramatically since the end of 2009 due largely to the combination of the failure of Copenhagen and the impact of ‘Climategate’.

The victory I write about is limited to the United States, although denialism is an important and almost certainly growing movement in Canada, Australia and the UK.

If climate change denialists are pleased [by the conclusion] then they have chosen to ignore the explicit claim of the article that they are part of an irrationalist movement that is placing the future of the Earth at risk. The role of analysis is to be as faithful to the truth as one can be, not to boost morale or to support delusion.

For the denialists to be “victorious” they do not need to “prove” that global warming is a “hoax”. All they have to do is to “manufacture doubt”, that is to say to create a substantial level of public doubt about the solidity of the science.

According to Manne, President Barack Obama has been “nobbled” by the denialist campaign and the Republican Party almost “entirely converted” to denying the science.

Manne concludes in his essay that the success of the denialist campaign is one that subsequent generations will look upon “as perhaps the darkest in the history of humankind”.

But just as Manne makes his declaration, a project funded by two of America’s greatest supporters of the “denialist” campaign has backfired spectacularly.

Professor Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley, led a project that accepted a $150,000 donation from a foundation controlled by the Koch brothers to study global temperature records (the Kochs have pumped millions into the global climate denial campaign).

Muller had previously stated that claims by skeptics that temperature records were unreliable merited a major investigation. He has also previously criticised the work of Pennsylvania State University scientist Professor Michael Mann, whose research gave birth to the now famous hockey stick graph showing a sharp rise in recent global temperatures.

After going through 1.6 billion records from 36,000 temperature stations, Muller’s team says the world’s temperature has risen by 1.5C in the 250 years since the start of the industrial revolution. More than half of this increase has occurred in the last 50 years.

What’s more, Muller now says that human activity, mainly burning fossil fuels, is to blame for practically all of that warming.

Muller’s study, which has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, has been widely reported not because of a novel approach to climate science research, or because it tells us anything new, but rather because of his reported “conversion” from being skeptical to accepting the science.  He now describes himself as a “converted skeptic”.

Presumably, the oil rich Koch brothers were so convinced the world’s temperature gauges were lying, that they were happy to provide a no strings donation to Muller’s project, which stipulated its donors  “have no say over how we conduct the research or what we publish”.

But in a chronology, Muller’s work has come to essentially the same conclusion as the rest of the climate science community, except they got there a good decade or so earlier.

In The Monthly, Manne defines “denialists” as “orthodox members of a tightly knit group whose natural disposition is not to think for themselves”.

But on the same spectrum is a group of individuals, lobbyists and think-tankers who hide their skepticism behind a charade of pragmatism. Professor Clive Hamilton, recently appointed to board of the Australian Government’s Climate Change Authority, describes them as the “luke warmists”.

Luke warmists, Hamilton wrote recently, accept the science but relentlessly and unrealistically emphasise uncertainties, play down the dangers and advocate for only tokenistic, low-impact policy responses.

But what about those world leaders who have accepted the science of human caused climate change and have articulated the risks? Even these have hardly covered themselves in glory.

Because after Kyotos, Copenhagens, Durbans, Cancuns and revisits to Rio for new earth summits, the world’s emissions continue to boom reaching an all-time record last year.

Even though Australia has introduced a price on greenhouse gas emissions on the heaviest polluters, the scheme will allow these emitters to buy carbon credits from overseas to offset as much as half their liabilities.

This means that Australia’s domestically generated emissions will likely rise for the next 20 years, although not nearly as quickly as they would have risen without the scheme altogether.

Bizarrely, this situation is seen by some as major progress.

The carbon price is an important step forward and will help drive the roll-out of renewable energy in the same way that decades of subsidies have helped the fossil fuel industry to retain its market dominance.

But then there is Australia’s hypocritical position of claiming to be concerned about climate change while at the same time becoming a world leader in the export of coal and gas to be burned outside the jurisdiction of any carbon pricing mechanism (although plans to price carbon in China could change things).

Research just published by not-for-profit group Beyond Zero Emissions suggests when Australia’s domestic emissions are added to those from the coal and gas we export, Australia becomes a major global emitter, ranking sixth globally.

The BZE Laggard to Leader report finds that by 2030, the emissions locked-up in Australian coal and gas exports would combine with domestic emissions to give the country an annual carbon footprint in the region of 2.2 billion tonnes.

In terms of exports, these emissions from Australian coal and gas exports will be almost double those coming from Saudi Arabia’s exports of oil.

And this is the position currently being advocated by Australia, whose Prime Minister Julia Gillard says that inaction on climate change is “ultimately threatening for our planet”. She is certainly no “denialist”.

Robert Manne says the denialist triumph might not be stable “in the long term”.“Who can tell?” he said in an email to me. “As Maynard Keynes once famously observed: in the long-term we are all dead.”

 This post also appeared on The Drum and DeSmogBlog.

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Author: Graham

Graham Readfearn is a Brisbane-based journalist. Go to the About page in the top navigation for more information.

27 thoughts on “Victory Declared For The Climate Science Denialists”

  1. “Even though Australia has introduced a price on greenhouse gas emissions on the heaviest polluters”

    A PRICE is a value that will purchase a definite quantity, weight, or other measure of a good or service.

    A TAX is a TAX.

    This Carbon Tax is not a price, it’s a tax.

    And it’s not a tax on heavy CO2 emitters, it’s a tax on anyone who purchases from these heavy CO2 emitters. If you don’t believe that big business will pass on this tax cost in full, then you’re a fool.

    As for the apparent victory… that will happen next year when Abbott takes office and Labor’s Carbon Tax becomes nothing more than a bad memory.

  2. Skeptikal needs to understand the strategy behind the legislation. The carbon tax/price simply brings forward the inevitable price increase on fossil fuels that will be paid when people finally wake up and realize that the ‘skeptics’ have been fooling them and themselves. The planet really is heating up, and CO2 is responsible. We will stop using fossil fuels eventually, but by then it will be too late, and our grandchildren, and their grandchildren will pay the real price of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
    Having passed the tax on to the consumer, the big polluters hand the money over to the government, who in turn pass it back to the ordinary consumer. Low income consumers will be compensated in full, wealthy consumers less so. Some of the money will go directly to green projects,
    but here’s the most important thing. As a major polluter and therefore major carbon tax payer, it makes powerful economic sense to minimize your tax liability, and one way to do that is to avoid using carbon based fuel. For the consumer, rich or poor, the best way to minimize the price rises is to reduce energy consumption. Thus the consumer and the producer are encouraged to act to their own advantage, which just happens to coincide with the advantage of the planet. Before you guffaw, take the time to remember how the government had to shut down the home solar subsidy – because too many people took up the overly generous offer. Now one in ten houses in Australia sports a set of panels for hot water or photovoltaic electricity, up from one in a hundred a few years ago, and we have avoided the demand for the construction of the equivalent of two large conventional power stations. The price of solar has fallen by 75% as well, so you really don’t need a subsidy anymore to make it worthwhile, especially as electricity prices keep rising to pay for extra peak demand infra-structure.
    Debating whether it is a tax or a price is pedantic nonsense. It is an incentive to change behaviour. If you think I’m wrong then go tell Woolworths and Coles that their measly 4c per litre ‘discount’ on petrol, worth less than 3% on petrol at $1.40 per litre (which is also fully passed on to the consumer through the supermarket checkout) hasn’t been enough to transform the retail petrol market in Australia! You don’t have to understand the tax=discount=price=incentive=behaviour changing marketing strategy in order to be affected by it. Even the staunchest critics of the carbon tax will be doing all in their power to minimize their tax – it’s human nature.
    And when Abbott tries to remove the tax, those who have invested in carbon tax minimizing technology will punish him and his band of planet and economy wreckers at the ballot box. That’s why Abbott will break that promise, like every other one he’s made the moment he gets into office. We can change the government, but we can’t change the facts of climate change.

  3. “Skeptikal needs to understand the strategy behind the legislation.”

    The only strategy I can see is to lose the next election in spectacular style.

    “The planet really is heating up, and CO2 is responsible.”

    Except for the last decade, where the planet hasn’t heated up at all.

    “Low income consumers will be compensated in full”

    For one year, then the compensation will end.

    Seriously, haven’t you stopped to wonder why most Australians don’t want this tax?

  4. I don’t know why Robert Manne would think the denialist victory is confined to the US; as with the US Republicans, Australia’s LNP Coalition, is almost unanimous in adopting climate science denial as their preferred position. I have serious doubts that they all sincerely hold that position – most are smart enough to know that when it comes to science the scientists are almost certainly right and their preference for contrary ‘science’ from Mineral geologists who are mining company directors. The question is why they would go along with something they know isn’t true? The views of mining company directors are more important than those of the world’s scientists? Perhaps there is some element of that; commerce and industry seeing the costs of preventing climate impacts as harmful to their bottom line, and, having the ears of politicians, costs that can be successfully avoided using the well oil tools for influencing an ill informed public like PR, lobbying, tankthink and advertising. Hundreds of billions of future revenues of coal and gas revenues at stake and compared to that the long term future costs and consequences barely register? Or simply that it looks so hard and expensive to limit those future harms and the illusion that nothing we do can matter is much easier to cultivate?

    In any case they have seriously let down their constituency by giving legitimacy as well as lending their most persuasive voices to efforts to avoid having to face the climate problem head on and eyes open.

    The Greens are often accused of being irrational and irresponsible for insisting that the solutions not include nuclear, but for irrational and irresponsible the climate denial position of the conservative Right makes the Greens look amateurish. Anyway, it’s never been the strength of a small number of anti-nuclear activists that prevented nuclear in Australia, it’s been the weakness and even absence of support from the side of politics nuclear proponents see as their strongest political backers. As long as the conservative Right has climate science denial as their stance on climate and energy they will never back nuclear. I think they only tolerated renewables because they were sure they would so utterly fail that everyone would demand the fossil fueled status quo continue unimpeded.

  5. On the contrary, the alarmist case has been funded to the tune of several thousand times more. In comparison, the denialists (if you insist!) have been funded on less than a shoe string. The oil industry has actually funded both sides of the issue.

    We are winning because of the incontrovertible facts:

    1) Over a decade without warming despite sky-rocketing CO2 levels

    2) Failed predictions – for decades we have been forced to listen to scare mongering apocalypse theories from one ‘tipping point’ to the next – the 0.3 degrees/decade simply didn’t happen. Guess what, the sky isn’t falling.

    3) The collapse and disintegration of alarmist ‘evidence’ – broken hockey sticks, Vostok ice cores showed the opposite, corrupted temperature records, tampering and manipulating the data (climategate)

    4) Warmists have been simply bad sports – continually whining, ‘but all the scientists agree with me!’ – so what… none of the data does! Today people are savvy enough to not believe every end of the world scenario that gains prominence, they can judge and think for themselves and don’t blindly believe what they’re told by BIG government.

    5) Carbon credits in Europe are currently trading at less than $6/tonne, ours is set at $23/tonne – that’s more than 3 times greater. What happens when that glass floor is removed in 2015? Irrational economics anyone?

  6. Robert, That you feel competent to disagree with every scientific institution that actually studies climate and presume them wrong, backed by a few tankthink supplied talking points such as “no warming for a decade” – which a few minutes at a site like http://www.woodfortrees.org that can plot all the major temperature records would confirm is incorrect – is evidence of how pervasive the scare mongering of organised climate science denial and accepted it’s packaged misinformation has become.

    Over the last decade – ocean heat content has risen, ocean levels have risen, glaciers have retreated, Antarctic and Greenland icesheet loss of mass has accelerated. Arctic sea ice has seriously declined. And global temperatures have risen despite you insisting they haven’t. You know, all that data that shows exactly what you say it doesn’t. BEST if you revert to an “all the data is wrong” argument – could be more persuasive with people who don’t think it matters enough to check the facts.

    Yes I’ll take the word of the BoM, CSIRO, Office of Chief Scientist, NCAR, NASA, NOAA, Hadley CRU, the US Academy of Sciences, The Royal Society and The IPCC summaries of a world’s worth of serious study of climate, even with their acknowledged uncertainties, over your unsupported allegations of wrongdoing and your absolute conviction that you know better than they do.

  7. “ocean levels have risen, glaciers have retreated” – this is all well known – but it says absolutely NOTHING about what caused it – variations in solar radiation, milankovitch cycles, pacific decadal oscillation, la Nina…

    As for sea level, these have been rising at a fairly continuous rate since around 1780, considering the bulk of human CO2 emissions only began to accelerate post WW2 and were practically negligible before 1880, it is hard to conclude that sea level rise has much to do with human CO2 emissions.

    While the warmist campaign is lead by those that seem incapable of thinking for themselves, or able to assess opposing scientific view points but just lamely point to a list of crumbling institutional facades as to why the science is to be ‘believed’ – then I can only guess they will continue to be confused as to why the public aren’t convinced.

    In life there are two types of people, those who are skeptic and those who are gullible.

  8. Sometimes I can’t help but think that people like Robert are just some intern at the Institute of Public Affairs who has come in on Monday morning and checked the roster to find themselves on ‘Climate Troll Duty’ for the week. Basically, they trawl the internet for climate change related content and proceed to spam it with their repeatedly discredited talking points in an effort to turn people off participating in the discussion. Do they really believe churning out a list of denialist talking points like “No warming for a decade!”, “The models don’t work!”, “Broken hockey stick!”, “Urban heat islands!”, etc, is going to fool anybody? No. The goal is disruption, not debate.

  9. ‘If climate change denialists are pleased [by the conclusion] then they have chosen to ignore the explicit claim of the article that they are part of an irrationalist movement that is placing the future of the Earth at risk.’ – Manne the Marxist

    So, he considers it to be a sign of ‘irrationality’ if one has reasonable doubts regarding political spin dressed up as science. Without the ‘doubt’ that he denigrates, science simply would not progress, but of course since when has anyone so politicised as he ever understood this?

    This whole article is just sheer spin, absolute garbage. I myself am not rich and/or influential, do not work for the ‘energy industry’ and do not subscribe to the hideous notion that ‘the market’ should control our lives, and yet I cannot see how the evidence as it is now understood could possibly lead one to the notion that AWG is actually real. Then again, I am not a Marxist or ‘Post-Modernist’ ideologue with a hidden agenda to push; I actually care about real science, real environmental issues (like over-population; why is that never mentioned?), and am more than willing to – shock, horror – change my mind if and when the evidence warrants it. I am not a ‘heretic’ or ‘denier’, I am simply one who is smart enough to recognise bulls#$% when I see it.

  10. ‘Do they really believe churning out a list of denialist talking points like “No warming for a decade!”, “The models don’t work!”, “Broken hockey stick!”, “Urban heat islands!”, etc, is going to fool anybody? No. The goal is disruption, not debate.’ – post 9 by ‘Sammy’

    You really do not understand the issues involved, do you Sammy?
    1. ‘No warming for a decade’. This is simply a statement of fact, it is true that there has been a levelling off in mean global temperatures since 1998. Why do you have a problem with this reality?
    2. ‘The Models don’t work’. The models indeed don’t work if the modelling itself (i.e. the assumptions that go into them) is flawed. The ‘predictions’ that models give are not actually predictions as such, but possibilities, with the possibility that humans are responsible for an alarming increase in mean global temperatures since… whenever, being just one of many that may naturally result when data is entered into them. If there is an underlying goal by the researcher to validate the hypothesis that industrial CO2 is causing ‘global warming’, then there is always the possibility that the assumptions entered into the model may be biased to reflect this. The same holds true for a ‘denier’. They are just people, after all, they are not perfect. Mistakes can be, and are, made, and this is why we have peer review, which is meant to eliminate mistakes, sloppiness and bias, but even this process can sometimes fail, for it too is not perfect. My point here is that no single source of information should be sufficient for anyone who is really interested in uncovering the truth regarding any issue of importance; i.e. in this case, don’t place too much faith or emphasis upon ‘models’.
    3. ‘Broken hockey stick’. Ow gawd, don’t tell me you still believe in Alphonse Gore’s notorious hockey stick graph. It was debunked ages ago, almost as soon as it became popular with the press.
    4. ‘Urban Heat Islands’. This phenomenon is real. What is your point here? Just ‘Google’ it if you don’t believe me.
    5. ‘The goal is disruption, not debate’. The sheer, damn cheek of this! We (i.e. the sceptics) are not the ones who are trying to stifle debate by insisting that ‘the debate is over’, the ‘science is settled’, and that once we have reached a ‘consensus’ well… that’s it! Problem solved, science has ‘proven’ global warming, shut up, sit down, and don’t question the dogma. Scientific facts are not determined via ‘consensus’, it is not a democracy; objective reality is determined via the careful exploration of observed phenomena, the creation of hypotheses to account for said phenomena, and the testing of the above-mentioned hypotheses to determine if they are correct. Just remember, the ‘consensus’ during the time of Galileo was that the sun orbited the Earth, and elliptical orbits were considered to be, by the majority, implausible because, as we all know, only circular paths could reflect the perfection of God.

    So much for ‘consensus science’.

  11. Ken Fabian,
    “is evidence of how pervasive the scare mongering of organised climate science denial and accepted it’s packaged misinformation has become.”

    Scare mongering?… we’re saying that there is nothing to fear and you call that scare mongering?

    That’s not rational thinking.

  12. Peter, you’ve nothing to be proud of here. In your detailed discussion of the myths of denialand you make a statement:
    ‘No warming for a decade’. This is simply a statement of fact, it is true that there has been a levelling off in mean global temperatures since 1998. Why do you have a problem with this reality?’
    Now, this is, I believe a point of contention. One of the warmists invited you to examine the graphs of the major accredited measures of global temperature conveniently displayed at the woodfortrees website. All but one show that the warming has not stopped. It may have slowed a little compared with the extreme warming during the late 20th century, but the ‘slow down’ is not statistically significant because it is too short a period to make statements at the 95% confidence level – not even a sceptic can change the laws of mathematics. Any properly constructed trend graph of warming since the middle of the last century shows that the warming during the first decade of the 21st Century is well within the probability limits of that trend. Inescapably, therefore, the warming continues.
    Now, there is one measure at woodfortrees that does show a slight decline since 2002 (to cherry pick a convenient year, carefully leaving out three years of rapid warming immediately before then), and that is the HADCRUT v3. But you can’t use that one I’m afraid, because according to the bible of denialand, (sorry, the sceptical consensus) the Hadley Climate Research Unit at UEA was engaged in wholesale fraud and manipulation of temperature data prior to 2009, as ‘proved’ by the Climategate emails. Despite endless inquiries that exonerated the CRU and its scientists, your mates in denialand have continued to assert that their results are corrupted. So, in the absence of that single record, you don’t have a credible source of global temperature data that backs your unsupported assertion reproduced at the head of this post. The more comprehensive HADCRUT v4, which includes polar temperature data, has global temperature increasing in the last decade, as do the GISTEMP, the UAH NSSTC and the RSS MSU satellite data, and last but not least the BEST data produced by that inconvenient ex-sceptic Richard Muller, and paid for by the Koch Foundation from deep in the heart of denialand. All show temperature rises since 2000 (or 1998 if you prefer to cherry pick in that direction). So my cards are on the table, that’s why I believe that global temperatures have continued to rise during the 21st Century. Why aren’t we allowed to check the data set have you used to back your statement?
    A further note. In a different post you claimed that the ‘consensus’ of climate scientists were claiming in the 1970s that the world was heading towards a new glacial phase. Now that would be a reasonable hypothesis, based solely on the Milankovic progression, which has been steadily weakening the mid-summer insolation in the Northern Hemisphere for the past 8000 years since the Holocene maximum. It was that theory which lead some scientists to make their unfortunate prediction about the future of global cooling in the 70s. They had mistaken a minor multidecadal cycle for the hundred thousand year cycle, and completely ignored the growing impact of rising CO2. James Hansen and other scientists as far back as John Tyndall in the 1860s, had been warning of the potential impact of CO2 on global climate, and their predictions have unfortunately proved to be more accurate.
    You demonstrate your lack of understanding of the scientific method through your continual use of unsupported assertions and vehement language, which more closely resemble the rantings of a child than a mature and reasoned adult debate. Please present something you can be justly proud of, instead of all this hollow invective.

    A final point. You compound the fault by mis-representing the common beliefs concerning the nature of the heliocentric orbits as a scientific consensus, when it was, as you clearly admit, nothing more than a religious dogma . Scientists such as Copernicus and Kepler had begun a revolution a century before, that Galileo supported with empirical evidence using his improved telescope. A scientific consensus is one based on science, not uncorrected tradition and wishful religious thinking. There was a ‘consensus’ among uneducated people in the middle ages that the Earth was flat, despite the fact that classically educated people had accepted for centuries that the Earth was a sphere.
    I don’t want to stifle debate, but at the same time, I see no point in engaging in a childish is-isn’t-is exchange. So, may I look forward to some substantiated scientific argument backed up by referenced data?

  13. Skeptical:

    …we’re saying that there is nothing to fear and you call that scare mongering?

    “Carbon pricing will DESTROY our economy! It’s a communist plot to install a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT! Green totalitarians want manufacturing and coal-based power generation to be shut down OVERNIGHT! Experts from all of the national science academies are LYING so that they can line their pockets with YOUR TAXES!”

    No. No irrational scaremongering there.

  14. ‘Bible of denialland’, ‘sceptical consensus’ – okay, I’ll ignore the insults, but two good sources of information I mentioned in another post elsewhere on this site include ‘Heaven and Earth’ by Ian Plimer, which contains a great deal of statistical evidence and references, and ‘Climate: The Counter Consensus’ by Prof. R. M. Carter, which I am now getting through.

    The ‘woodfortrees’ website I am not familiar with, I have never visited it. What is the link? Is it any good?

    ‘It may have slowed a little compared with the extreme warming during the late 20th century, but the ‘slow down’ is not statistically significant because it is too short a period to make statements at the 95% confidence level – not even a sceptic can change the laws of mathematics.’ – Watson
    Yes, I agree, and I mention elsewhere that even a 150-year timescale is insufficient to determine long-term (i.e. geological era) trends, which is unfortunate for those who rely excessively upon temperature readings to support their contention that the Earth is being warmed by industrial CO2, which is demonstrated when you mention that, ‘James Hansen and other scientists as far back as John Tyndall in the 1860s, had been warning of the potential impact of CO2 on global climate…’ How can anyone be certain that what we have experienced since the 1860’s isn’t perfectly natural, and therefore no cause for alarm? The timescale is insufficient, and therefore one needs to gather more than just temperature readings in order to extend this timeline (ex. Antarctic ice core data).

    My point in mentioning Galileo was not to show how simple-minded people were during his time (they were not), or to highlight how crude and imprecise the science was back then, but to show that the consensus approach to determining the truth about anything, is wrong. Reality is not determined by a committee consensus, it remains what it is regardless of what one happens to believe about it. The belief that orbits were circular rather than elliptical was not just adhered to by ‘the church’; serious thinkers were reluctant to accept this notion because, among other reasons, a circular path seems far more intuitively correct than an elliptical one. ‘The Church’, as a general rule, stayed clear from such matters, they did not cause serious problems for ecclesiastics (read ‘God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science’, by James Hannam).

    Okay, well I’m not sure if you will accept the books I have mentioned here as being sufficiently useful as ‘referenced data’ but, there it is. I try to avoid using anything found on the internet, because I have learned through bitter personal experience that well over 80 percent of it is unreliable, whether it is ‘for’ or ‘against’ the concept of AGW. There have even been a few who have mentioned Michael Crichton’s novel ‘State of Fear’ – a NOVEL, to support their belief in a U.N. I.P.C.C. ‘conspiracy’ to introduce a New World Order. That is how nutty people can be on the internet; tread with caution.

    I suppose, when all is said and done, that statistical data can be found to support and justify almost anything that one may want to believe about the Earth’s climate. I don’t believe in AGW because the science is not ‘settled’; there are too many questions that have not been answered to my satisfaction. It also does not help the AGW crowd that there are far too many of its members who are obviously ‘watermelons’ – green on the outside, but red within (ex. isn’t it strange that they never seem to criticise the Chinese government’s huge expansion of coal-fired power plants, an annual expansion that, as I understand it, produces an equivalent increase of CO2 each year as Australia’s entire output. I don’t have the reference(s) for this, but if true it nullifies the effectiveness of any CO2 tax our government may impose upon us).

  15. “Carbon pricing will DESTROY our economy! It’s a communist plot to install a ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT! Green totalitarians want manufacturing and coal-based power generation to be shut down OVERNIGHT! Experts from all of the national science academies are LYING so that they can line their pockets with YOUR TAXES!” – Sammy, no. 14.

    Yes, that is exactly what I have come across, and it is truly depressing. It almost seems at times that the internet is controlled by a bunch of 15-year-old geeks who have seen too many episodes of ‘The X-Files’. Left-wingers advocating the introduction of socialism as a ‘solution’ to environmental degradation doesn’t help either. Are they completely unaware of the destruction of the Aral Sea in the Soviet Union, for example? Chernobyl? That’s socialism for you – blind and destructive.

  16. Peter the Proud Skeptic:

    … but two good sources of information I mentioned in another post elsewhere on this site include ‘Heaven and Earth’ by Ian Plimer…

    LOL! Classic! Have you considered a career in comedy?

  17. The data on the woodfortrees site includes satellite temperature data (which is far more extensive) so i’m happy to show how to use it. This plot compares the ‘BEST’ data produced by the fake sceptic Muller, with that of RSS Satellite data.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1990/plot/best/from:1990

    The well known spike in 1998 is not because we produced extra CO2 emissions that year, but due to the strong La Nina that occured in that year. As you can see from the Satellite data, no upward trend for over a decade despite sky rocketing CO2 levels.

    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/guest/de/uah-m-ppt.jpg

    The BEST data, like almost all ground based temperature measurements are corrupted by the heat island effect and for all scientific purposes practically meaningless. 89 percent of the monitoring stations used by alarmists fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements. It amounts to putting a thermometer next to a freeway and then claiming the planet is boiling. The full scientific paper is located here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/surfacestationsreport_spring09.pdf

    Peter, you raise some good points. You are very correct that our trillion dollar efforts to reduce carbon emissions by 2020 will be wiped out by China’s rate of emissions in just 78 hours and 25 minutes. Now that’s comedy!

    http://getcarbonpolicyright.com.au/the-facts.aspx

    And, as for who is the real scaremonger, answer here:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yF4_W0kHXso/UAGLgmYmK_I/AAAAAAAAEeA/ZtVlVETJ9OM/s1600/sermon-mount.jpg

  18. Ok, now I’m confused here. Two people who have a very low opinion of Ian Plimer. Oh well, I guess he isn’t to everyone’s ‘taste’ I suppose.

  19. Seems my last post was censored by the eco-stasi, so I’ll rephrase it sans links.

    The temperature data on the woodfortrees site (see link on #7) includes satellite temperature data (the only credible and far more extensive data) so you check yourself. Select the ‘RSS MSU’ option. Satellite temperature data only goes as far back as 1978. The well known spike in 1998 is not because we produced extra CO2 emissions that year, but due to the strong La Nina that occurred in that year. As you can see from the Satellite data, no upward trend over the last decade despite sky rocketing CO2 levels.

    The ‘BEST’ data produced by the fake sceptic Muller, like almost all ground based temperature measurements are corrupted by the heat island effect and for all scientific purposes practically meaningless. 89 percent of the monitoring stations used by alarmists fail to meet the National Weather Service’s own siting requirements. It amounts to putting a thermometer next to a freeway and then claiming the planet is boiling. The full scientific paper is located online “Is the U.S. Temperature Record Reliable” by Anthony Watts. The paper has also recently been updated.

    Peter, you raise some good points. You are very correct – our trillion dollar efforts to reduce carbon emissions by 2020 will be wiped out by China’s rate of emissions in just 78 hours and 25 minutes. Now that’s comedy!

  20. Correction – my post #18 has been restored. Something weird with the cookies? Or the moderator just passed it?

    1. Robert – your comment wasn’t “restored” which suggests it had previously existed. It was in fact moderated earlier this morning, before you were quick to brand me the “eco-stasi”. You’ll notice that I allow a great many comments from people who disagree with me.Please also read the comment policy.

  21. Graham, good article – as have been previous ones. Manne does look to be correct; disputing the combined conclusions of the world’s scientists by self appointed ‘experts’ has been given mainstream legitimacy and the bipartisanship the climate problem requires is put further beyond reach.

    For people in elected positions of trust to wilfully ignore or dismiss or dispute the seriousness and even existence of the problem is a profound betrayal of that trust; they have far greater access to sound scientific advice than the rest of us and only by seeking ‘advice’ more to their taste from outside of mainstream science have they managed to paint a veneer of cautious skepticism to their dangerously irrresponsible opposition to action.

    They even have the capacity to have ‘climate conspiracies’ and scientific fraud investigated and prosecuted (despite all the incentive no such conspiracy has been found) but the only real climate conspiracy is of otherwise highly regarded captains of commerce and industry and their friends in politics to game the political system to delay and avoid efforts to deal with a huge threat to our future security and prosperity.

    Whether it’s for fear of how costly and difficult the shift to low emissions is perceived to be, for the sake of future fossil fuel revenues, for the sake of populist anti-environmentalist politics or because their political ideology looks incapable of dealing effectively with a problem of such magnitude I don’t know. Some of each I think.

  22. “You’ll notice that I allow a great many comments from people who disagree with me.”

    Graham, credit where credit is due. I think it would be fair to say that our views are poles apart, yet you’ve never censored or deleted any of my comments.

    A lot of websites are quick to trim or remove dissenting comments and I suspect that people who are unfamiliar with your site will come here with the expectation of that also being the case here.

    Putting some kind of notation near the comment box informing people that their comment may take some time to get through moderation could help to stop people, who are unfamiliar with your site, from jumping to the conclusion that their comment was censored or deleted.

  23. Robert, I followed your link to woodfortrees, and was intrigued to see that you had created a graph with a vertical temperature scale covering 4 degrees Celsius (about as much change as you’d see between a glacial and interglacial period over 10,000 years) vs a horizontal time scale of just 20 years! Not even the most enthusiastic proponent of man-made global warming would suggest that we have seen 2-4 degrees of warming in the last 20 years, so no wonder your graphs look flat to the naked eye. The trouble is you have used the raw monthly data which shows quite extreme short term variations. The algorithms at woodfortrees, just ‘fit’ all the data onto the graph and adjust the scale accordingly. This has a powerfully compressing effect on the small but near constant temperature rise over the last 20 years.
    I have made your graph more informative by making two useful adjustments. (no bias, nothing hidden up my sleeve)
    1. I averaged out the monthly data to 12 months smoothing out the short term variations so that the automatic scaling improves, and
    2. added linear trends for each of your data sets, a statistical measure which plots the net change over the the 20 year period (which is still very short for demonstrating climate change). As you can see, the result looks like warming.
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1990/mean:12/plot/best/from:1990/mean:12/plot/rss/from:1990/trend/plot/best/from:1990/trend
    As a closing point, I’ve read a number of ‘sceptics’ using the ‘heat island’ excuse on Richard Muller’s BEST results. Now lets be a bit real. Muller began the exercise convinced that if he was able to plot the ‘warmists’ data fairly and without the bias of such things as the ‘urban heat island effect’, he would be able to show that global warming was a myth. You cannot deny that he was funded by the Koch Bros and Heartland institute (as Graham has detailed) to prove that the IPCC consensus was wrong. Unfortunately he was unable to do that and publically admitted he was mistaken. Do you seriously expect anyone to believe that he would not have corrected for the ‘heat island effect’?

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