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climate change deniers

Climate change deniers are contrarians who challenge the evidence that human activities such as deforestation and human behaviors that result in more greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are causing changes in our planet's climate that may prove devastating and irreversible. Contrarians pose as skeptics, refusing to accept consensus conclusions in science on the ground that there is still some uncertainty. True skeptics raise specific doubts about specific claims and do not try to debunk a whole area of science by an occasional error or by the general lack of absolute certainty, which is unattainable in any area of science.

The core of the consensus view of the scientific communityPhote courtesy of NASA has been stated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its "Climate Change 2007" report. The core of the consensus view is, among other things, that global warming is happening and that human activities are contributing significantly to the climate change, which is affecting such things as the intensity of hurricanes and rising sea levels. It would be absurd, of course, to claim that the consensus of the scientific community agrees with everything in the IPCC reports, especially since not all the scientists who worked on those reports agree with each other on every item.

The evidence is piling up that global warming is continuing at an unprecented pace and that much of it has been due to human activity. The IPPC "Climate Change 2013" report asserts that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal" and that "continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system." Global warming is having a seriously deleterious effect on our oceans:

The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Carbon dioxide concentrations have increased by 40% since pre-industrial times, primarily from fossil fuel emissions and secondarily from net land use change emissions. The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification.

According to the report, ocean warming accounts for more than 90% of the energy accumulated in the climate system between 1971 and 2010. Expect to see continued melting of ice sheets and glaciers, rising sea levels, and continued warming of the atmosphere and oceans. Climate change deniers are quick to find fault with climate change reports, mainly by finding errors in prediction by this or that scientist and by condemning the whole process of modeling as unreliable. The critical thinker should take in the whole body of evidence, not just part of it, and shouldn't reject the many lines of argument and evidence that have been put forth by the scientific community regarding climate change as real and partly caused by human activity. Modeling is just one of several lines of evidence and argumentation used. In any case, models have improved since the last report. They now reproduce observed continental scale surface temperature patterns and trends over many decades, including the more rapid warming since the mid-20th century and the cooling immediately following large volcanic eruptions.

In one important respect, it doesn't matter what the scientific consensus on climate change is, since what matters is what policies the powerful governments of the world institute, and those governments tend to ignore science. If they don't ignore the science, they find contrarians to argue that the consensus isn't absolutely certain* and therefore we're justified in continuing along our current course. Powerful governments tend to listen to scientists when the consensus science is compatible with their policies or when it is required because of catastrophes that have already occurred or are about to occur.

BBC News has posted 10 of the arguments most often made against the IPCC consensus, as well as some of the counter-arguments made by scientists who agree with the IPCC: Climate Skepticism: the Top 10. An even clearer contrast between the deniers and the consensus can be found here. Finally, an excellent account of the data regarding climate change has been provided by Donald Prothero in his article "How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused."


A common complaint echoed in letters-to-the-editor across the land, by seemingly informed citizens who care, harps on the inadequacy of models used to predict changes in the globe's climate. Here is a typical sample culled from my local fishwrap, The Davis Enterprise, parsed here for the reader's entertainment and, perhaps, education:

The computer models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to “predict” global warming were built by correlating past global temperatures with past carbon dioxide levels, and then introducing a few “fudge” factors to make sure the models fit the data (just remember that correlation does not imply causation).

comment: I love this conjunction of a true statement--experts use the past to predict the future--with bullshit, the claim that the experts cheat and deceive while being oblivious to a fundamental characteristic of all inductive reasoning. The implication that the experts don't know that correlation does not imply causation is based on what? On nothing. Making the claim, however, may give some readers the impression that the letter writer knows more than the experts do and is calling them out for being dishonest and ignorant.

What the writer of this letter fails to mention--perhaps because he doesn't understand what he's talking about--is that there is no other way to predict the future than by studying the past and the present. Unless, of course, you want to resort to so-called psychics with the alleged power of precognition. Another thing the writer fails to mention is that any attempt in science or any other field that attempts to anticipate what will happen in the future is, by the very nature of empirical reasoning from the past to the future, inductive and must be couched in terms of probabilities. Anyone who demands deductive models and absolute certainty in predictive empirical matters is demanding what is impossible and is, by definition, scientifically illiterate.

The worst omission by the writer on the issue of models, however, is the false implication that climate models are unreliable. Perhaps no other claim by climate change deniers has been refuted more clearly by the evidence than the claim that climate models are unreliable. G. P. Wayne of the website Skeptical Science demonstrates: "Climate models have already predicted many of the phenomena for which we now have empirical evidence. Climate models form a reliable guide to potential climate change." If the reader really wants to know how reliable models are, read Wayne's account. I won't repeat it here.

The models are very good at “predicting” the past temperature fluctuations upon which they were based. These models were then used to predict what future global temperatures would be, assuming that levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide were the primary factor influencing global temperatures.

comment: Again, the writer juxtaposes a true statement (actually two true statements) with bullshit. The writer's last statement accuses the climate experts of begging the question, assuming what they should be proving. They do no such thing. The data from the past are what lead experts to conclude that atmospheric carbon dioxide--among other things--is a primary factor influencing global temperatures.

The IPCC computer models continue to predict unrelenting global warming as carbon dioxide levels continue to increase. However, there has been no increase in global warming for the past 18 years (Remote Sensing Systems’ satellite-based monthly global mean lower-troposphere temperature data set) even though the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has continued to increase from 0.0365 to 0.0401 percent (this is analogous to adding 2.3 people to the population of Davis over the past 18 years).

comment: Three for three: another fact followed by bullshit. We'll forgive the loaded word 'unrelenting' in the writer's description of the IPCC's models regarding increasing global warming. The models do predict the warming of the planet is likely to continue if we humans don't change our ways. Specifically, we need to change the ways we live that lead to increased release of carbon dioxide, methane, and other harmful chemicals into our atmosphere and seas. The writer doesn't mention it but the experts are quite clear in their warning that even if we do change our ways drastically, it is not certain that it will do much good. In other words, we have dawdled for so long thanks to all those good folks who make sowing doubt about climate change their main goal in life that anything we do now may have little significant effect on the future of the planet.

The bullshit--perhaps 'lie' is a more accurate word in this case--is the claim that there has been no increase in global warming for the past 18 years. This lie has been making the rounds among climate change deniers for quite some time. The deniers claim there has been no global warming since 1998. To be charitable, this claim may not be only a lie; it may also represent a high degree of ignorance. Most of the increased heat on our planet--more than 90% of it--is occurring in our oceans. If you consider only land heat, the increase has been modest compared to the increase in ocean heat. The folks at Skeptical Science have reprinted a graph, based on real rather than made-up or partial data, that shows where the heat is going.

global warming graph


This lie that there has been no increase in global warming since 1998 has been debunked by our friends at Skeptical Science. In addition to ignoring the heating of our oceans, the liars or ignoramuses who put forth this claim ignore "the fact that short term temperature trends are strongly influenced by a variety of natural factors and observational limitations which must be analyzed to isolate the human contribution." (For an example of an attempt by climate scientists to do just that see "Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase" by Risby et al.) Looked at from the other side--the side of the experts--it would not be justified to make grandiose claims about continued global warming using only data from the recent past. The fact that last year (2013) was the sixth hottest year on record (tied with 2007) and the fact that "thirteen of the fourteen warmest years on record have all occurred in the 21st century" doesn't prove global warming will continue at a record pace. You have to look at data from a much longer period of time. It should be evident to even the dimmest bulb in the climate change denier lamppost that you can't reasonably conclude there is no global warming by ignoring the heating of the oceans and looking at cherry-picked data from short term temperature trends.

The discrepancy between the predicted and actual global temperature is rapidly increasing; i.e., the models are becoming increasingly inaccurate.

comment: Now the writer slips into the land of pure bullshit. Perhaps he thinks his previous mixture of truth and lies has laid the groundwork for the grand finale: a flourish of made-up claims that other equally ignorant souls may find attractive.

I am sure new computer models will be created to better fit the new data, but unless the assumptions underlying the models are correct (i.e., verified by unbiased testing using new data, not by back testing against the very data set that was used to create the model), they may be just as unreliable as the current models.

comment: More lies and false implications. Of course the experts are using new data to both check and modify their models. The evidence so far is that the models are working very well. Unfortunately, the future looks bleaker and bleaker with each new report from the IPCC.

It is obvious that we currently do not have sufficient understanding of the factors affecting global climate to predict how the climate will change in a few decades, much less in a century.

comment: Sufficient understanding? Nice try, denier. If it is absolute certainty you are looking for, try math or formal logic. Science doesn't deal in absolute certainty about complex empirical matters. The truth is that we have a very good understanding of what is happening to our global climate and of the effects human activities are having on changes in our climate. All our predictions, of necessity, must be couched in terms of probabilities. To demand more demonstrates one's ignorance about science and inductive reasoning.

Should we base critical economic decisions using predictions from the current flawed model, or should we take prudent actions to mitigate the near-term effects of the changing climate while engaging in open scientific research so we can devise a model that actually could predict future climatic changes?

comment: The letter writer concludes in grand fashion with a false dichotomy, each arm of which is loaded with false or misleading implications. All empirical reasoning about the future is "flawed" in the sense that it can never lead to absolute certainty. Only those ignorant of inductive reasoning, however, would consider uncertainty in predicting the future a flaw. (Remember Bertrand Russell's example of the chicken who gets fed every day by the farmer. Then one day, seeing the farmer coming toward him, the chicken expects to get fed. Instead, he gets axed.) Climate scientists are conducting open scientific research, continually checking and tweaking models, improving them as the data increases. The call to "take prudent action" is actually a call to take no action that would hinder the continued use of oil and gas to the profit of Big Petrol and to the continued comfort of those of us who already have the advantages of a comfortable lifestyle that includes having two cars in the garage and coal for our furnaces.

Also, several climate change deniers have noted that the ice in Antarctica is growing. This fact, they say, proves global warming is a hoax. I don't think so. Here's why.

While it is true that ice is growing in Antarctica, it is also true that "the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica has shown strong warming over the same period that sea ice has been increasing. Globally from 1955 to 1995, oceans have been warming at 0.1°C per decade. In contrast, the Southern Ocean (specifically the region where Antarctic sea ice forms) has been warming at 0.17°C per decade. Not only is the Southern Ocean warming, it's warming faster than the global trend. This warming trend is apparent in satellite measurements of temperature trends over Antarctica."

If the Southern Ocean is warming, why is sea ice increasing? There are several contributing factors. One is the drop in ozone levels over Antarctica. The hole in the ozone layer above the South Pole has caused cooling in the stratosphere (Gillet 2003). A side-effect is a strengthening of the cyclonic winds that circle the Antarctic continent (Thompson 2002). The wind pushes sea ice around, creating areas of open water known as polynyas. More polynyas leads to increased sea ice production (Turner 2009).

Another contributor is changes in ocean circulation. The Southern Ocean consists of a layer of cold water near the surface and a layer of warmer water below. Water from the warmer layer rises up to the surface, melting sea ice. However, as air temperatures warm, the amount of rain and snowfall also increases. This freshens the surface waters, leading to a surface layer less dense than the saltier, warmer water below. The layers become more stratified and mix less. Less heat is transported upwards from the deeper, warmer layer. Hence less sea ice is melted (Zhang 2007).

Those who care can read all about it at Skeptical Science.

See also manufactroversy, "Keeping a cool head about global warming," and SD Newsletter 11 Jan 2010: Global warming, climate changes, science, and politics.

note: In "Keeping a cool head about global warming," I wrote:

First, let me acknowledge that scientists who produce scientific work that conflicts with the consensus of scientists on climate change are not necessarily contrarians. There is room in any complex scientific inquiry for a variety of opinions on how to interpret various sets of data.

In a newsletter, I wrote:

The climate change skeptics page is now the climate change deniers page. A link was added to Greenfyer's take on what some are calling "climategate," the hacking of a computer belonging to the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain and posting hundreds of e-mails and other documents. The deniers are so hot and venting so much carbon monoxide and methane that global warming is said to be accelerating at an unprecedented pace and the axis of the Earth has shifted two degrees. Jim Lippard provides a sober view of the affair.

As the folks at Denialism.com note, deniers employ rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. Most deniers' arguments incorporate more than one of the following tactics: Conspiracy, Selectivity, False Experts, Impossible Expectations/Moving Goalposts, and Argument from Metaphor/violations of informal logic. Global warming deniers are big on conspiracy: according to them, an entire community of scientists has some ulterior motive for their climate research, such as an ideology or a desire to keep their funding. Global warming deniers are also prone to cherry-picking their data and their quotes, citing single errors or discredited papers as proof that a whole field of science is corrupt. Because many of those supporting the climate change denial campaign are corporations heavily invested in fossil fuels or are politicians who depend on those corporations for campaign funds, they are prone to put forth fake experts to raise some dust.

reader comments

further reading

books and articles

Friel, Howard. 2010. The Lomborg Deception: Setting the Record Straight About Global Warming. Yale University Press.

Hoggan, James. 2009. Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. Greystone.

Michaels, David. 2008. Doubt is Their Product: How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health. Oxford University Press.

Oreskes, Naomi and Erik M. Conway. 2010. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Bloomesbury Press.

Prothero, Donald R. How We Know Global Warming is Real and Human Caused. eSkeptic. 8 Feb 2012. An excellent article listing the main evidence for human-caused global warming and the main ojections (and scathing rebuttals) of the climate-change deniers. A must read for anyone still wondering who to trust: Rush Limbaugh, FOX News, a few outliers and outliars or the climate scientists.

Thompson, Lonnie G. 2010. "Climate Change: The Evidence and Our Options." The Behavior Analyst 33, 153–170 No. 2 (Fall). "Glaciers serve as early indicators of climate change. Over the last 35 years, our research team has recovered ice-core records of climatic and environmental variations from the polar regions and from low-latitude high-elevation ice fields from 16 countries. The ongoing widespread melting of high-elevation glaciers and ice caps, particularly in low to middle latitudes, provides some of the strongest evidence to date that a large-scale, pervasive, and, in some cases, rapid change in Earth’s climate system is underway."

book review

Mark Lynas reviews Watermelons: How Environmentalists Are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children’s Future by James Delingpole. "In case you don't know what the 'watermelons' of the title refers to, this is a pejorative term for environmentalists - the idea is that they are green on the outside but red on the inside. Green activists, in this view, are the new commie menace....

"Delingpole is so deluded that he misses the real story. It is true that there is a lot wrong with environmentalism. Most greens do reject perfectly eco-friendly technologies such as nuclear power or GM crops and their Luddite prejudices are as unscientific as Delingpole's right-wing ranting. And a minority of environmentalists are indeed fools who indulge in fantasies usually involving back-to-the-land romanticism, peculiar obsessions with obsolete technologies such as scythes and a hatred of the very industrially derived comfort that feeds them and affords them the cyberspace in which to spout their nonsense.

"In other words, some are 'watermelons'. I believe that capitalism and democracy sometimes need defending from the more deluded greens, and the environmental movement as a whole is far too much a creature of the political left. Delingpole, however, is not the man to make this case, because doing so would involve some original research."

Donald Prothero reviews James L. Powell’s book, The Inquisition of Climate Science, a compilation of the evidence for anthropogenic global warming (AGW). The book also describes the many distortions of the evidence by AGW deniers in their attempt to muddy the waters.


climate change denier Spencer exposing his soul

McNider and Christy Style Themselves Revolutionary But Defend Inertia Climate Science Watch
"Peer-reviewed comparisons between data and [computer climate change] models show that the models do a good job of simulating the observations. McNider and Christy's non-peer-reviewed comparison showing poor agreement requires flagrant cherry picking. In the end, like most scientific outliers, their ideas are destined for the dustbin of science.”

Scurvy Story: Why You Should Believe 97% Of Climate Scientists, Not Long-Wrong John Christy by Joe Romm, Climate Progress
Spencer and Christy sat by for most of a decade allowing — indeed encouraging — the use of their data set as an icon for global warming deniers. They committed serial errors in the data analysis, but insisted they were right and models and thermometers were wrong. They did little or nothing to root out possible sources of errors, and left it to others to clean up the mess, as has now been done....But what would you expect from a guy who contributed the chapter “The Global Warming Fiasco” to a 2002 book called Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths, published by Competitive Enterprise Institute, a leading provider of disinformation on global warming that was funded by ExxonMobil?

Nazis, shoddy science, and the climate contrarian credibility gap
Climate model global warming projections have far outperformed predictions made by climate contrarians, and have performed fairly well overall (including current climate models).

Must-Read: Scientists Uncover Evidence Of Impending Tipping Point For Earth "If we stay anywhere near our current greenhouse gas emissions path, we will cross many climate tipping points this century. There’s the nearby tipping point for an ice-free arctic, with all that means for making our weather much more extreme and for triggering another tipping point, the rapid loss of carbon from the permafrost. There’s the tipping point for the 'self-amplifying' disintegration of Greenland and, after that, an ice free planet (though we’d cross the point of no return long before the full melting ever happened)."

Arctic Ice Thinning 4 Times Faster Than Predicted by IPCC Models, Semi-Stunning M.I.T. Study Finds

OK, climate sceptics: here's the raw data you wanted Temperature records going back 150 years from 5113 weather stations around the world were yesterday released to the public by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. The only records missing are from 19 stations in Poland, which refused to allow them to be made public.

The top 5 ways the ‘birthers’ are like the deniers Birtherism is a manifestation of the GOP’s embrace of anti-intellectualism and anti-science ideology whose “most harmful delusion” is climate science denial, as even Washington Post’s Editorial Page Editor — the guy who runs the disinformation of George Will, BJorn Lomborg and Sarah Palin — acknowledged.....

5. Both groups are impervious to the evidence.
4. Both come from the same group of people.
3. Both groups get their disinformation from the same right-wing sources.
2. Both groups have an underlying motivation — their desire to obstruct progressive government action.
1. Both groups believe in a mammoth conspiracy theory.

Eight great figures summarizing the evidence for a “human fingerprint” on recent climate change The clever deniers these days don’t deny the painfully obvious reality that the planet is warming or that climate is changing — they simply deny that humans are a major cause.

Climatologists under pressure from the editors of Nature: To these denialists, the scientists' scathing remarks about certain controversial palaeoclimate reconstructions qualify as the proverbial 'smoking gun': proof that mainstream climate researchers have systematically conspired to suppress evidence contradicting their doctrine that humans are warming the globe.

This paranoid interpretation would be laughable were it not for the fact that obstructionist politicians in the US Senate will probably use it next year as an excuse to stiffen their opposition to the country's much needed climate bill....

In the end, what the UEA e-mails really show is that scientists are human beings — and that unrelenting opposition to their work can goad them to the limits of tolerance, and tempt them to act in ways that undermine scientific values.

See also: Presidential Address: Reflections On: Our Planet and Its Life, Origins, and Futures by James J. McCarthy for a brief overview of the history of climate science.

Swifthack - a clearing house for articles on "climategate."

Skeptical Science - Examining the science of global warming skepticism Deniers "vigorously criticize any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet eagerly, even blindly embrace any argument, op-ed piece, blog, or study that refutes global warming."

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

Scientific American

UN climate convention

UN Environment Programme data centre

World Meteorological Organization

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

US National Snow and Ice Data Center

British Antarctic Survey


Climate Audit

Gristmill: how to talk to a climate skeptic

The Lavoisier Group *

news stories

New Study Links Weather Extremes to Global Warming The study by Dr. Erich M. Fischer, lead author of a study published Monday by the journal Nature Climate Change, and his colleague Reto Knutti of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich is not the first to attribute large-scale changes in extreme weather to human influence on the climate. But it is among the first to forecast, on a global scale, how those extremes might change with continued global warming."

Merchants of Doubt' surveys the industry of climate denial "The new documentary “Merchants of Doubt” addresses the reality of corporate-sponsored public disinformation campaigns on subjects such as cigarette smoking, fire retardants and climate science....Cigarette companies discovered as far back as 1953 that through slick public relations, parading your own “experts” for media consumption and sticking with the mantra “We are just not sure,” how a small cadre can fend off overwhelming scientific consensus for decades. A few of the same scientists trotted out to argue for the safety of smoking are now at the forefront of climate denial."

Deniers are not Skeptics - December 5, 2014 - An Open letter to journalists "Public discussion of scientific topics such as global warming is confused by misuse of the term 'skeptic.'"

Global warming melts last stable edge of Greenland's Zachariae ice stream, scientists say The ice stream, called Zachariae, is the largest drain from an ice basin that covers16 per cent of the Greenland ice sheet. From 2003 to 2012, north-eastern Greenland disgorged 10 billion tonnes of ice annually into the ocean. "North-east Greenland is very cold. It used to be considered the last stable part of the Greenland ice sheet," said Michael Bevis, an Earth sciences professor at Ohio State University, who led the study. "This study shows that ice loss in the north-east is now accelerating. So, now it seems that all the margins of the Greenland ice sheet are unstable."

Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial think tanks Anonymous billionaires donated $120m to more than 100 anti-climate groups working to discredit climate change science. The millions were routed through two trusts, Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund, operating out of a generic town house in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC. "We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise," said Whitney Ball, chief executive of the Donors Trust. An interested thinker could chew on that bone for more than a few hours.

Boris Johnson says snow casts doubt on climate change science The mayor of London demonstrates why common sense is so common. He doesn't seem to think there is an important difference between weather (personal experience: he can see and feel the snow and the cold) and climate (scientific data: this requires thinking). According to this Guardian article, Johnson is "widely touted as the next prime minister of this country." That would be perfect for the climate change deniers who will block any efforts by Obama, who at least mentioned climate change--"we will respond to the threat of climate change"--in his cover-it-all second inaugural address.

According to a CNN poll released yesterday, only about half of the 814 adults in the nationwide telephone survey accept that global warming is a proven fact and due to emissions from cars, power plants, and factories. Another fourth of those polled accept that global warming is a fact but not due to human activities. About one-fourth of those polled think that global warming has not been proven. This might appear to be good news for those of us who are concerned that the longer nations put off dealing with global warming the more dangerous it becomes for life on earth. However, the percentage of those who accept anthropogenic global warming is down seven points from 2007. Even more distressing for Americans is that only one out of every three Republicans accept the fact of anthropogenic global warming. On the other side, one out of every three Democrats doesn't accept that global warming is due to human activities. Independents are split on the issue.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on Jan. 14-15. The survey's overall sampling error, we're told, is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate The Wall Street Journal "published "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" (op-ed, Jan. 27) on climate change by the climate-science equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology."

CO2 sensitivity possibly less than most extreme projections "A new study in the journal Science suggests that the global climate may be less sensitive to carbon dioxide fluctuations than predicted by the most extreme projections, and maybe slightly less than the best estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

Climate Change Skeptics Eat Crow Global warming skeptics suspected climate change scientists were hiding data. So the skeptics paid for a new study to find the real truth. The results are in! And they're identical to previous results: Humans are heating up the Earth.

Energy and global warming news for February 16: Trillions at stake from climate change by 2030 It would seem that the only people who think global warming is a scam are the industries that are set to lose the most: coal, oil, and gas companies.

and Two seminal Nature papers join growing body of evidence that human emissions fuel extreme weather, flooding that harm humans and the environment

New House Science Committee chair Ralph Hall (R-TX) threatens to subpoena climate scientists Ralph Hall (R-TX), the incoming chair of the House Science and Technology Committee: his anti-science pro-pollution denialist policies are poised to deliver a ruined climate to future generations....

Climate change means colder winters: study Climate change could lead to colder winters in northern regions, according to a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research on Tuesday.

Scientists launch climate science counterattacks The American Geophysical Union plans to announce that 700 researchers have agreed to speak out on the issue. Faced with rising political attacks, hundreds of climate scientists are joining a broad campaign to push back against congressional conservatives who have threatened prominent researchers with investigations and vowed to kill regulations to rein in man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Of the more than 100 new GOP members of Congress, 50% are climate change skeptics.

Report recommends UN climate panel shakeup

An enquiry by the InterAcademy Council into the UN's climate panel, the IPCC, has recommended administrative changes, including a full-time chief executive. It found the IPCC had "assigned high confidence to statements for which there is very little evidence," had failed to acknowledge criticism, or follow its own guidelines. The IPCC was also criticized for confirmation bias with lead authors placing "too much weight on their own views relative to other views."

The report is available online at http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/.

Giant Glacier Breaks on Anniversary of Global Warming "...the new ice island was born just in time for the 35th anniversary of the scientific paper that coined the term 'global warming.'"

Rebutting climate science disinformer talking points in a single line "Progressives should know the most commonly used arguments by the disinformers and doubters — and how to answer them. You should know as much of the science behind those rebuttals as possible, and a great place to start is SkepticalScience.com. BUT most of the time your best response is to give the pithiest response possible, and then refer people to a specific website that has a more detailed scientific explanation with links to the original science." Some examples:

“It’s the sun” -- The sun’s output has barely changed since 1970 and is irrelevant to recent global warming.  

 “Climate’s changed before” -- Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time, which now is dominated by humans. 

“There is no consensus” -- 97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.

“Models are unreliable” Models successfully reproduce temperatures since 1900 globally, by land, in the air and the ocean.

Open letter: Climate change and the integrity of science Full text of an open letter from 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences in defense of climate research

British lawmakers issue mixed report on 'Climategate' The 14-member parliamentary committee said in its report it had found nothing to challenge the "scientific consensus" that global warming is occurring and influenced by human activity. It also declared that the scientific reputation of Phil Jones, the head of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), remains "intact."

Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine Billionaire oilman David Koch likes to joke that Koch Industries is “the biggest company you've never heard of.” But the nearly $50 million that David Koch and his brother Charles have quietly funneled to climate-denial front groups that are working to delay policies and regulations aimed at stopping global warming is no joking matter.

Case Study: The Koch-funded “ClimateGate” Echo Chamber

Piecing together the temperature puzzle The past year, 2009, tied as the second warmest year since global instrumental temperature records began 130 years ago. Worldwide, the mean temperature was 0.57°C (1.03°F) warmer than the 1951-1980 base period. And January 2000 to December 2009 came out as the warmest decade on record.

Climate scepticism 'on the rise', BBC poll shows Some 35% of Brits believe climate change is either not happening or that it's happening but is not due to human behavior. Only 26% of those polled believe climate change is happening and that it is "now established as largely man-made."

Glacier-melting debate highlights importance of satellites Data from satellites allow scientists to measure glacier extent in detail, providing authoritative evidence of trends.

Climate Change in the American Mind: Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in January 2010 The researchers used an online research panel of 1,001 American adults. The completion rate was 50 percent. The sample was weighted to correspond with US Census Bureau parameters for the United States. The survey found:

Only 50 percent of Americans now say they are “somewhat” or “very worried” about global warming;

The percentage of Americans who think global warming is happening is 57 percent;

The percentage of Americans who think global warming is caused mostly by human activities is 47 percent.

2000s Warmest Decade on Record, Government Reports In 2009, global surface temperatures were 1.01 degree above average, which tied the year for the fifth warmest year on record, the National Climatic Data Center said. And that helped push the 2000-2009 decade to 0.96 degree above normal, which the agency said "shattered" the 1990s record value of 0.65 degree above normal. The warmest year on record was 2005 at 1.11 degrees above normal.

Heat Over Panel’s View of Asian Ice Projections on thawing Asian glaciers reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were not based on peer-reviewed research, but were drawn from a 2005 report on Himalayan glaciers by the World Wildlife Fund, which relied on an informal comment made by an Indian scientist to New Scientist magazine in 1999. (One panel contributor, Georg Kaser, has said there were warnings that this particular finding was wrong.)

Scientists make mistakes, but carelessness of this magnitude is unacceptable. Climate deniers will have a field day with this.

update: 24 Jan 2010. The source of the error on the melting of the Himalayan glaciers responds: UN climate change expert: there could be more errors in report “I know a lot of climate sceptics are after my blood, but I’m in no mood to oblige them,” he told The Times in an interview. “It was a collective failure by a number of people,” he said. “I need to consider what action to take, but that will take several weeks. It’s best to think with a cool head, rather than shoot from the hip.” In other news:

Rajendra Pachauri's Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to £310,000 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion's share of a £2.5m EU grant funded by European taxpayers. It means that EU taxpayers are funding research into a scientific claim about glaciers that any ice researcher should immediately recognise as bogus.

Global warming 'speeds' up gas emissions Higher temperatures on the surface of the earth are fuelling a further increase in emissions of methane, Edinburgh University experts found. Methane is a greenhouse gas which is more potent than carbon dioxide. The study indicated warmer temperatures in regions which were at higher latitudes increased methane - exacerbating global warming.

James Hoggan talks about global warming Hoggan is the author of Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. "One poll conducted in October by the Pew Research Center found that the percentage of Americans who believe that there's evidence global warming is happening shrank from 71 percent in 2008 to 57 percent this year. A more recent ABC-Washington Post poll found a slightly smaller, but nonetheless significant drop — from 80 to 72 percent.

"One of the more notable aspects is how the belief in human-induced climate change has become a partisan issue. The drop among Republicans and independents is more precipitous than among Democrats. The Pew poll found that 75 percent of Democrats believe in global warming, compared to 83 percent last year. But only 53 percent of independents believe, compared to 75 percent previously. And just 35 percent of Republicans believe, as opposed to 49 percent last year."

Climate scientist receives death threats An Australian born scientist at the center of the East Anglia University email affair says he has received a number of death threats.

Dr. Tom Wigley, a former director of the university's Climatic Research Unit, said "This sort of thing has been going on at a much lower level for almost 20 years and there have been other outbursts of this sort of behavior - criticism and abusive emails and things like that in the past."

The climate denial industry is out to dupe the public. And it's working by George Monbiot
When I use the term denial industry, I'm referring to those who are paid to say that man-made global warming isn't happening. The great majority of people who believe this have not been paid: they have been duped.

'Acidifying oceans' threaten food supply, UK warns Ocean chemistry is changing because water absorbs extra CO2 from the air. Some believe this could be as big an impact of rising CO2 levels as climatic change, though it is rarely discussed within the UN climate convention.

EPA: Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health - Announcement comes as big global warming conference begins in Copenhagen - This could signal a possible first step by the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and permit President Obama to take action without obstruction by a few Republican senators who heard from someone that global warming is a hoax being perpetuated by communists who hate the free market.

UN hits back at climate sceptics amid e-mails row The UN's official panel on climate change has hit back at skeptics' claims that the case for human influence on global warming has been exaggerated.

Statisticians reject global cooling In a blind test, the Associated Press gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time. "If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect," said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina.

PM warns of climate 'catastrophe' The UK faces a "catastrophe" of floods, droughts and killer heatwaves if world leaders fail to agree a deal on climate change. There is no plan B, says Gordon Brown.

What happened to global warming? (Click here for the answer, which is "nothing." The global cooling myth is the result of selective use of statistics.) "For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures....The UK Met Office's Hadley Centre, responsible for future climate predictions, says ... temperatures have never increased in a straight line, and there will always be periods of slower warming, or even temporary cooling. What is crucial, they say, is the long-term trend in global temperatures. And that, according to the Met office data, is clearly up....The Met Office ... predicts that from 2010 to 2015 at least half the years will be hotter than the current hottest year on record (1998).

Sceptics disagree. They insist it is unlikely that temperatures will reach the dizzy heights of 1998 until 2030 at the earliest. It is possible, they say, that because of ocean and solar cycles a period of global cooling is more likely."

Doctors warn on climate failure "Failure to agree [on] a new UN climate deal in December will bring a "global health catastrophe," say 18 of the world's professional medical organizations. "A low-carbon economy will mean less pollution. A low carbon diet (especially eating less meat) and more exercise will mean less cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Global warming has made Arctic summers hottest for 2,000 years "Warming as a result of increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has overwhelmed a millennia-long cycle of natural cooling in the Arctic.... "The accumulation of greenhouse gases is interrupting the natural cycle towards overall cooling," said Professor Darrell Kaufman....The Arctic began cooling around 8,000 years ago as natural variations in the Earth's orbit and angle of tilt reduced the amount of sunlight reaching high latitudes. Today, the planet is one million kilometres farther away from the sun during the northern hemisphere's summer solstice than it was in 1BC. This natural cooling effect will continue for 4,000 more years."

Fake EPA Scandal Of The Day "Earlier this year, when the EPA was putting together its finding that carbon-dioxide endangers the public health, an economist at the agency named Al Carlin drafted a short report disputing the scientific consensus on global warming and asked his bosses to consider it. The bosses heard him out, but decided, in the end, to leave climate science to actual scientists. And with good reason: As NASA's Gavin Schmidt explains, Carlin's "critique" makes a bunch of very basic errors—no surprise, given that he's not a climatologist and was mostly just parroting right-wing pseudoscience.") Even more interesting that this news about no news is the latest op-ed column from Paul Krugman about climate-change deniers in Congress, whom he accuses of betraying the planet. ("If there was a defining moment in Friday’s debate [on the Waxman-Markey climate-change bill], it was the declaration by Representative Paul Broun of Georgia that climate change is nothing but a 'hoax' that has been “perpetrated out of the scientific community. I’d call this a crazy conspiracy theory, but doing so would actually be unfair to crazy conspiracy theorists."

Ice sheet melt threat reassessed The collapse of a major polar ice sheet will not raise global sea levels as much as previous projections suggest.

Climate Change Myths and Facts by Chris Mooney "Readers and commentators must learn to share some practices with scientists -- following up on sources, taking scientific knowledge seriously rather than cherry-picking misleading bits of information, and applying critical thinking to the weighing of evidence."

The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus

Antarctica's cold awakening "90% of all the ice on the globe is locked into Antarctica. If all of it melted, the oceans would rise by 70m (230ft)...the latest research suggests wider areas are getting warmer."

Japan's boffins: Global warming isn't man-made; Climate science is 'ancient astrology', claims report In a new report from Japan's Energy Commission, three of the five researchers "disagree with the UN's IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases."

The Scientific Case for Modern Anthropogenic Global Warming by John W. Farley

Thaw of polar regions may need new U.N. laws

Mount Shasta glaciers growing, despite warming

Vast cracks appear in Arctic ice

Methane rise points to wetlands

Antarctic glaciers surge to ocean

Increasing Acid Could Kill Most Coral by 2050 by Andrea Thompson, LiveScience

Rising seas 'to beat predictions' BBC

Arctic ice melt spurs a dire new warning, AP, by Seth Borenstein

UN challenges states on warming, BBC News, by Richard Black

Cow dung for the climate


Cherry-picked data and denier dishonesty by Donald Prothero, Apr 11 2012 "One of the most familiar memes we hear from the climate-change deniers is the phrase, “Global warming ended in 1998 and it’s been cooling since then.” You find something along these lines on most of the AGW denier books and websites, and it is repeated endlessly as if somehow repetition makes it more true."

Five shots against global warming denialism taken by Phil Plait

  1. 2011 was the 9th hottest year on record
  2. National Center for Science Education is adding climate change to their syllabus.
  3. Scientists have filed a Freedom of Information request to find out who is bankrolling the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a denialist "think tank" with "shadowy funders."
  4. the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund has a new home: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
  5. Scientists are fighting back.

No, a new study does not show cosmic-rays are connected to global warming - the Bad Astronomer: "And my irony gland explodes every time I hear a global warming denier say that the science has become politicized (as the Financial Post OpEd piece did, and as Rick Perry does). Ya think? The problem isn’t the politization of global warming (since by its very nature the changing climate affects everyone, and is therefore a concern of politics), it’s the attacks on the science based on politics."

See also New Research Examines Role of Clouds in Climate Change Clouds change in response to temperature changes. There is no evidence clouds can cause meaningful climate change, concluded the report's author, Andrew Dessler​, an atmospheric scientist at Texas A&M University. "Suggestions that significant revisions to mainstream climate science are required are therefore not supported," he wrote.

John Shimkus: Only [a god] can change climate "Congressman John Shimkus (Rep-Illinois) is lobbying for the Chair in the House Energy and Commerce Committee partly on the basis of an argument that the actual "educated" guessers in the science community have no business telling him or his government whether human activity is hastening climate change. The very idea that humankind is capable of changing the climate is "arrogant," Shimkus says."

The Oregon Petition

"Did 17,000 scientists really say that global warming is a "lie"? I looked further and found the actual words of the petition. What they actually agreed with was this:

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate.

So they weren't saying that it was a lie or wasn't happening, just that there wasn't good evidence that it would be a catastrophe. The OISM people have misrepresented their own petition.

Still, why would 17,000 scientists agree with the far weaker statement above? Well, it looks like that involved misrepresentation by the OISM as well.

Skeptical Science now an iPhone app The app lets you use an iPhone or iPod to view the entire list of skeptic arguments as well as (more importantly) what the science says on each argument. To download the app, go to http://itunes.com/apps/skepticalscience

Skepticblog: Climate Skepticism by Steven Novella, Feb 08 2010 What is most disappointing about the AGW controversy is the degree to which self-identified members of the skeptical community engage in less-than-skeptical discourse on this topic....I am still waiting to hear a legitimate scientific argument from AGW dissidents why we should reject the claim that global warming is happening and is likely anthropogenic. I am not impressed by political arguments, calling my position a religion, or weaving liberal conspiracy theories.

NASA – Last Decade Warmest on Record by Steven Novella - Neurologica In the past climate science was an innocuous discipline, and the scientists fairly anonymous. Now they have been thrust into the middle of a raging political controversy, and big decisions are hinging on their data and analysis. I get the sense (reinforced by climategate) that the climatology community has not fully adapted to this reality. There is an opportunity now to accelerate this process. There needs to be more transparency in temperature data and its analysis, not because I think there is any fraud going on, but because we need transparency in order to have public confidence in the science.

AGW by James Randi "An unfortunate fact is that scientists are just as human as the rest of us, in that they are strongly influenced by the need to be accepted, to kowtow to peer opinion, and to "belong" in the scientific community....The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- a group of thousands of scientists in 194 countries around the world, and recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize -- has issued several comprehensive reports in which they indicate that they have become convinced that "global warming" is and will be seriously destructive to life as we know it, and that Man is the chief cause of it. They say that there is a consensus of scientists who believe we are headed for disaster if we do not stop burning fossil fuels, but a growing number of prominent scientists disagree. Meanwhile, some 32,000 scientists, 9,000 of them PhDs, have signed The Petition Project statement proclaiming that Man is not necessarily the chief cause of warming, that the phenomenon may not exist at all, and that, in any case, warming would not be disastrous....I strongly suspect that The Petition Project may be valid." (See also I am not denying anything, Randi's response to the criticism of those who, rather than setting him straight, denigrated his integrity or intelligence and tried to straighten him out by demanding that he kowtow to peer pressure.)

Bob Carroll comments: The fact that 32,000 scientists have not been influenced by the need to be accepted in going against the consensus demonstrates that it is very unlikely that scientists who accept AGW are kowtowing and do so out of a desire to belong. Still, it is a fact that the tendency to conform has led to many group errors in the past. It's a fact, but its relevance here is questionable. Also, there is an unfortunate series of sentences in Randi's response that seems to indicate that he thinks global warming is about heat being released into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels and forests. There are other problems with Randi's argument, but others with more energy than I have for this business have gone into great detail regarding them, so I refer the reader to Plait and Pigliucci. I don't necessarily agree with everything these bloggers have written about Randi's essay, especially those who charge Randi with committing a variety of logical fallacies. I don't want to get into this fray, and Randi can certainly handle the flack on his own, but I would point out that there is a major difference between bringing up a fact to illustrate that something is possible and bringing up that fact to prove that something is probable or actually true. That same fact may be relevant to establishing possibility, but irrelevant to establishing actuality. Also, you don't need a Ph.D. to be a career scientist. Meanwhile, the petition Randi speaks of has been thoroughly debunked already. (See next link.)

Misleading by Petition Just What is the Consensus on Global Warming? by Gary J. Whittenberger Ph.D. eSkeptic "...through his Global Warming Petition Project, Arthur Robinson has solicited the opinions of the wrong group of people in the wrong way and drawn the wrong conclusions about any possible consensus among relevant and qualified scientists regarding the hypothesis of human-caused global warming. His petition is unqualified to deliver answers about a consensus in which the public is interested."

Lippard blog: Who are the climate skeptics?  He compared the fourth-most-cited paper of the top 83 scientists of the IPCC to the fourth-most-cited paper of all of the 2008 NIPCC participants, "using Jim Prall's excellent website of citation counts for climate scientists. Of the 619 scientists of the AR4 (2007) Working Group 1 on the physical science basis of climate change, the top 83 each have more than 200 citations to their fourth-most-cited paper. There are only thirteen climate skeptics with that level of citation, most of whom received those citations for papers having nothing to do with climate science, and none of whom were involved with the 2008 NIPCC report."

Skeptimedia: Keeping a cool head about global warming ...a paper by Steven F. Hayward called "Scientists Behaving Badly; A corrupt cabal of global warming alarmists are exposed by a massive document leak" was published in The Weekly Standard, a neoconservative opinion magazine. Hayward's characterization of criminal theft as a "document leak" sets the tone, as does his characterization of the climate scientists whose e-mails were stolen as "a corrupt cabal of global warming alarmists." Hayward even speculates that the criminal theft might have been a leak by a "whistleblower from the inside."

Climate change Deniers hoax themselves … again by Greenfyres

Bob Park's comment on the theft of climate scientists' files:

CLIMATEGATE: WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT DID THE HACKING? Last week someone broke into the e-mail files of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, and posted the results on the web for the world to see. The Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily are having a field-day writing about "criminal conspiracy" and "scientific blacklisting." There were a few embarrassing comments about global warming deniers in a mountain of e-mails. I would hate to see some of my private e- mails on the web. The suffix was added to invite comparisons to the infamous break-in at the Watergate Hotel by Nixon's goons, but in this story the unnamed burglars are treated as heroes. No one wrote even a line about what was probably the only criminal offense in this sordid affair: hacking into private files. There are angry demands in Congress for an investigation of the affair. So far the only effect has been to shift the focus away from bad news about rising oceans and stranded polar bears to climate scientists more interested in scoring points than advancing science. All that's left is to figure out who paid for the break- in. That book has already been written.


Climate Denial Crock of the Week Climate Change Deniers depend on 10-second sound bites that serve to muddy and confuse the complex issues of climate change. Crock of the Week takes these talking points, one by one, and breaks them down for the intelligent layman who lacks the time to wade through the thicket of information. Here's an example:

How Will They Spin This? by Paul Krugman So, via Joe Romm, the NASA-GISS data show that the past 12 months were the hottest 12-month period on record.

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