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Monday, March 30, 2015

The Evolution of a 97% Conspiracy Theory - The Case of the Abstract IDs

Sou | 11:04 PM 84 Comments - leave a comment

Update: OMG! If you can believe it, even after all this, Richard Tol, in the comments below, is still indulging in a Recursive Fury of Gish gallops. He's taken the new (to him) facts and, instead of letting go of his wacky ideas as he should, he's gone and woven still more new conspiracy theories. (Has Richard not got any friends to have a quiet word in his ear? No-one who cares for him? How sad.)
[Sou 6:17 pm 31 March 2015 AEDT]

If you've been following this blog for the past few days, you'll have noticed the fine illustration of denier-weird in action, including a Gish gallop evolving live (here and here).

This article is more by way of a post-script. An extraordinarily long post-script. As you probably know, I don't normally repeat a theme over consecutive days. The reason I'm writing this up as a separate article is because it is a wonderful chance to see how a conspiratorial notion was developed over a few short hours, at the tail end of a Gish gallop.

It's a conspiracy. I just know it!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The fall and fall of Gish galloping Richard Tol's smear campaign

Sou | 6:42 PM 40 Comments - leave a comment

A short while ago I wrote an article demolishing Richard Tol's latest demonisation of Cook13, the well known 97% consensus paper. (Update: there's still more to the saga - see here.)

"The consensus is of course in the high 90s" - Richard Tol

As you know, Richard agrees that of all the scientific papers that attribute a cause to global warming, the percentage that attribute it to human activity is "in the high 90s". Here is his confirmation at ATTP's blog:

Richard Tol says (my emphasis):
June 14, 2013 at 11:44 am
The consensus is of course in the high nineties. No one ever said it was not. We don’t need Cook’s survey to tell us that.
Cook’s paper tries to put a precise number on something everyone knows. They failed. Their number is not very precise.

So why does he think Cook13 failed, even though it "put a number" that "everyone else knows"? He doesn't say - anywhere.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

How not to frame an FOI request - if you really want information

Sou | 5:06 PM 35 Comments - leave a comment

I don't normally bother too much with the denier blogger "Steve Goddard". Even among mainstream deniers he's viewed as shonky. However, something popped up at WUWT today (archived here) which is a great example of how deniers manufacture situations to suit their message, and how some disinformers (like Eric Worrall) misrepresent other deniers when it suits them.

This is what happened. "Steve Goddard" and someone I've never heard of, Kent Clizbe (a shady character), submitted an FOIA request to NOAA (the "Steve Goddard" version is archived here). They asked for a huge amount of information going back in history, minus the kitchen sink.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Deconstructing the 97% self-destructed Richard Tol

Sou | 1:38 AM 179 Comments - leave a comment

If you're a mediocre academic who yearns to be in the spotlight, what do you do? If you've burnt your bridges academically and cemented a reputation as a bit of a hack who isn't too fussed about accuracy.  If you aren't too worried that you'll end your lack-lustre career on a third-rate public speaking circuit, talking to a handful of doddering deniers in seedy back rooms of government buildings, then you might consider a career as a climate science denier.

That's the image that comes to mind when I consider the antics of Richard Tol over the past few years. Richard managed to snag a position as Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex in the UK. He specialises in the economics of climate, sort of, though he's had mixed success. That's mainly because he's not a detail person. He isn't too fussed when he lets mistakes slip through - unless, that is, someone catches him out.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Slowing ocean circulation prompts more Mann bashing from deniers at WUWT

Sou | 5:29 AM 62 Comments - leave a comment

Update: The Rahmstorf paper is getting more important by the minute. Now there are not one, not two, but three protest articles by Anthony Watts in the space of a few hours. You'll be surprised (probably not) that what Anthony thinks refutes the study actually lends support to it. See below.

Added by Sou 6:30 am 26 March 2015

There is a new paper in Nature Climate Change by Stefan Rahmstorf and others, which is getting a lot of protest from deniers. This signifies that it is potentially an important paper. Stefan has written about it at

What the research suggests is that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) may have slowed a lot in the late twentieth century (particularly between 1970 and 1990). This is attributed to the influx of fresh cold water, primarily from melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A sensitive climate workshop - and freebies from the Royal Society

Sou | 3:45 AM 2 Comments - leave a comment

Some of you will know about the workshop on climate sensitivity that's taking place this week at Ringberg in Germany. The participant list includes some big names in the science world, and will ensure a wide range of views on the subject.

You can read about the workshop at, or visit the website.  You can also follow what's happening on Twitter, by searching #ringberg15. (There are some nuisance denier tweeters, but if you're on Twitter, you can just block or mute them and read what the scientists are tweeting.)

The workshop aims to get a better handle on climate sensitivity (and transient climate response), though I'm not all that optimistic that there'll be agreement on all counts. Here are the questions posed on the website:

Monday, March 23, 2015

WUWT strawman: Week 13 of 52 - not much extreme weather? So sez Anthony Watts

Sou | 5:22 PM 10 Comments - leave a comment

Anthony Watts, or one of his surrogates, has made a brief appearance at WUWT to write a headline and an opening salvo. Here is what he wrote (archived here):
So far, 2015 seems to be a bad year for the ‘severe weather caused by climate change” meme
Anthony Watts / 21 mins ago March 22, 2015
Looks like another “divergence problem” as tornadoes don’t follow the climatology

That's it. The rest was a copy and paste of an article from NOAA (archived here). The NOAA article was about how there have been no tornadoes reported in the USA this March, so far. This is a record - since 1970 at any rate.

Anthony Watts talked about a "meme", but what he wrote is a logical fallacy known as a strawman, as you'll see below.

Tim Ball recycling Medieval Warming conspiracies at WUWT

Sou | 7:39 AM 18 Comments - leave a comment

At WUWT, Tim Ball is pining for the good old days - twenty five years ago. He's written (again) about the medieval warm anomaly and wishing it was global (archived here). I don't know why he harps on about it so. I think it's an excuse to name drop - he says he once met up with Hubert Lamb and he tells everyone so at every opportunity. He likes to pretend they were bosom buddies, though I doubt Hubert Lamb would have remembered Tim Ball, even had he met him.

I've written about the medieval warm anomaly on previous occasions - here and here and in some detail here, for example. There's really not that much more to be said, so I'll just repeat what I've written on another occasion when Tim moaned about the MWP:

Another conspiracy theory at WUWT - birthers and more

Sou | 5:39 AM 6 Comments - leave a comment

Anthony's still pretty well AWOL. Meanwhile the conspiracy theorists are hard at it. This time it's Eric Worrall again - that is, Eric "eugenics" Worrall to those who aren't familiar with the name.

Someone started a rumour that President Obama had bought a beachfront property in Hawaii. Not just any property, it was the property used in Magnum PI - a television show from way back when starring Tom Selleck.

The rumour was quickly squashed, on both CNN and Fox News. However no-one bothered to correct the WUWT article itself (archived here). Why spoil a good rumour with facts?

As many people know, WUWT is a climate conspiracy website mainly, but it's not averse to a bit of birtherism and it most certainly panders to all those to the right of the extreme right. Given the USA has no leftist politics to speak of, the best WUWT can manage is to take a shot at centrist politicians like President Obama. And why not toss a bone to all the WUWT conspiracy nutters when the opportunity presents itself?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Roy Spencer PhD and Steve "mad, mad, mad" Goreham on defying laws

Sou | 11:52 PM 11 Comments - leave a comment

Deniers are making hay while the sun beats down - or the little mice are playing while the boss is off doing something or the other.

As I've commented before, Anthony Watts has all but disappeared from WUWT recently. While he's gone AWOL, there are a lot of deniers using his blog to peddle their denial.

Yesterday it was David Middleton who seems to be a greenhouse effect denier. Today it's Steve "mad, mad mad" Goreham, who is employed to reject climate science. It's his job. I've just noticed that he is the Executive Director of one of those pretty well one-man bands that pretends to be a real organisation by giving itself a fancy name and building a website.

AGU Fall Meeting 2014

Click here for instructions on how to view the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting sessions, how to navigate the program, plus more. (This notice will remain as a sticky for reference.)