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Monday, March 4, 2013

WUWT Recipe: Baked Denier on Toast

Sou | 1:58 PM Feel free to comment!

Update: See Tamino's take down here.

OMG - now Anthony Watts is posting "CO2 is plant food" articles on his blog.  I suspect he's trying to prove @bloggies really are, as is generally accepted, a farce that no reputable science blogger would touch with a ten foot pole.

Let's all be "reasonable" deniers

Let's have a look at what his guest blogger, John Coleman* writes because it's a good example of a 'let's be reasonable, all the world's scientists are committing fraud' approach to denying science (as opposed to a more aggressive "CAGW Lysenko commie-socialist-fascist all the world's scientists are committing fraud" approach):

We'll say it's warming but try to prove it isn't

First he presents what he says are recent USA land temperatures, choosing a cherry-picked start date and with random green line drawn underneath the chart, purporting to be a 'trend':
Wonky temperature drawing by denier

Compare this to a real chart showing USA temperature trends from the EPA website:

Fig 1. Temperatures in the Contiguous 48 States, 1901-2011

And the global land-ocean surface temperatures from NASA (with my arrow pointing to temperatures of a century ago):

NASA Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index

Then we'll cook up a nice little conspiracy theory

Next the conspiracy theories:
" if the temperatures and the means of processing the data had not been “adjusted”
Here is a paper by Hansen et al (2010) Global Surface Temperature Change, that includes a good description of how and why adjustments are made to account for differences such as time of observation (US particularly), changes to weather stations, UHI effect and other events (such as moving or altering weather stations) to ensure the record is accurate. Or see here, for an NOAA summary of adjustments to the US temperature record.

Add a cup of strawman

Then the strawman (assumption that evidence for global warming rests solely on the US temperature record of the past 15 years!):
...while the recent hot, dry weather is clearly out of the ordinary, as it stands for now, it is not the sort of extreme event that might prove global warming. 
SkepticalScience has short summaries of the multiple lines of evidence for global warming.  Much more detail can be found in the IPCC reports.

Add a pinch of doubt, a tablespoon of lies and mix well

Then the bold and confused lie:
any connection between the hot, dry weather and warming caused by the activities of mankind remains totally unproven
Evidence is mounting as discussed by Hansen, Sato and Ruedy (2010) Perception of Climate Change and RealClimate discussing a paper on the Russian heat wave (among other papers).

And another bold lie (what hole do these people crawl out of?):
Global warming is about a predicted dramatic increase in the temperature year after year leading to the melting of the polar ice caps resulting in a dramatic rise in ocean water levels producing coastal flooding. It also predicts non-stop droughts, massive world-wide, killer heat waves and super storms.
For what is actually expected to happen if we don't cut greenhouse gas emissions, the most comprehensive discussion is in the IPCC reports.

If you prefer youtube, the BBC has produced a video showing what might happen if we don't act, looking at temperature rises of one, two and three degrees. It also discusses what we can do about it.

(Tip o' the hat to Watching the Deniers)

Stir briskly with emotions and add another cup of lies

Then, for good measure, having warmed up the denialist crowd, Coleman throws in Al Gore and the IPCC, which can be guaranteed to make every true blue denier see red.

Then another bold lie as a segue into 'computer models' (just in case "Al Gore" and "IPCC" weren't sufficient to upset denialists, "computer models" are guaranteed to stir up an absolute frenzy of angry emotions):
The runaway heating predicted by the global warming advocates computer models...
No, Mr Coleman, 'computer models' do not predict 'runaway heating'.   Earth is not Venus.  Climate scientists model projections of temperature, sea levels and other effects, based on different scenarios such as different amounts of CO2 we choose to pour into the air.

Then Coleman makes a statement with a rather odd adjective (extraordinary!):
The theory is that carbon dioxide (CO2) in the exhaust from burning fossil fuels is an extraordinary greenhouse gas that amplifies the greenhouse effect in our atmosphere.
There is nothing extraordinary about either CO2 or greenhouse gases.  What is extraordinary is that despite knowing very well what we are heading towards, the world is not clamouring more loudly and acting more quickly to stop adding emissions of CO2.

Bake in a hot oven fuelled by more lies

Then he says that "Even if the predicted warming of the climate occurs, that does not prove the CO2 causative theory".   

Scientists theorised and proved by experiment that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, decades before anyone knew of genetics or molecular physics, which no-one questions these days. Coleman needs a history lesson.  He couldn't do much better than physicist and science historian Spencer Weart's "The Discovery of Global Warming".

More lies here - playing Merchant of Doubt:
There is no consensus on what they show and why, just prolonged and spirited debate among the scientists. In the end, I fear, neither side is going to “win” this argument.
There are no 'sides' nor 'spirited debate'.  The evidence is clear and has been for a very long time, which you'll know already because you read Spencer Weart.

Geoscientist and science historian Dr Naomi Oreskes writes about the Merchants of Doubt.  Presumably Coleman thinks there is 'spirited debate' about the shape of earth (the earth is flat!) and ponders when "lizard men" first arrived on earth, birther-ism, 911-troofs and thinks smoking is good for your health.  

Click here for weird denierisms of all sorts of science.  Or read what Lewandowsky found in his "NASA faked the moon landing" paper, followed up by "Recursive Fury" based on the 'coming out' of dozens of conspiracy theorists.

While still hot, decorate with classic "golden oldie" denier memes

Then, after "proving" that "we" don't know if it's warming or not, he then rolls out one denier meme after another, "yes it's warming but it's natural", "CO2 is not a 'major' greenhouse gas", "no tipping point", "CO2 has been higher in the past" and penultimately the classic "CO2 is plant food" finishing up with "I don't know therefore no-one 'knows'".

Denialist defined

A classic piece of denialism - compare it with RationalWiki:
In scientific denialism, the denialist can deny a cause (carbon dioxide does not cause global warming), an effect (global warming does not occur), the association between the two (the earth is warming, but not because of carbon dioxide), the direction of the cause-and-effect relationship (carbon dioxide concentrations are increased because the earth is warming) or the identification of the cause-and-effect relationship (other factors than greenhouse gases cause the earth to warm). Often denialists will practice minimization (the earth is warming, but it's not harmful) and will use misplaced skepticism in the veneer of being a scientist when it is unwarranted..

I couldn't find John Coleman easily doing a plain google search, so refined the search adding KUSI-TV.  Coleman has both a wikipedia entry (a television weather presenter and science denier) and a DeSmog Blog entry.  Coleman was a co-founder of the Weather Channel, since forced out.  His main claim to 'fame' these days seems to be as a minor player in the science denying fraternity promoted here by denialist  Anthony Watts.

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