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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Almost everything we know about fake sceptics like "Joanne Nova" is spot on...

Sou | 9:07 PM Go to the first of 18 comments. Add a comment

While WUWT is trying to get warm (posting articles about ice at the moment), I popped over to see what "Joanne Nova" was doing on her blog.  I found this:

Almost everything the media tells you about skeptics is wrong: they’re engineers and hard scientists. They like physics too.
...96% of respondents said that atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing with 79% attributing the increase to man-made sources. 81% agreed that global temperatures had increased over the 20th century and 81% also agreed that CO2 is a warming gas. But only 2% believed that increases in CO2 would cause catastrophic global warming....

Now that's not necessarily a survey of "skeptics" (ie fake sceptics or science deniers).  In fact going by the first three lots of responses, there were something like 20% of responses from flat out deniers, with around 4% being completely deluded deniers.  (I've previously written about the survey itself, here.)

"Jo" had 210 comments to her article.  Since she seemed to be arguing that fake sceptics accept the science in regard to climate change, I decided to check the comments to see how many of the people commenting on her blog accepted the science.

This is how many of Jo Nova's respondents, writing 210 comments, agreed that atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing and attribute the increase to man-made sources and that global temperatures had increased over the 20th century 81% and that CO2 is a warming gas.


One - I can't even be sure about that.  That one person did explain in detail the evidence for 'CO2 is increasing from "man-made" sources'.  That's probably not a completely fair reflection though.  There was one other person commenting who didn't actually come right out and say that he accepted the science.  However, going by the reaction of other people to his comments, he does accept science.

For the rest, it's pretty obvious that Jo Nova's readers are the 20% who reject global warming including some who don't even accept that atmospheric CO2 is increasing.  The talk consisted mostly of comments full of words like "scam, BS, and bottom feeding" and "CAGW" and "falsify[ing] records" and "nobody has a clue" and "tampering" and "climategate" and "evil mongrels" and "warmists" and "Al Gore" and "outrageous propaganda" and even "Those of us who accept that CO2s net effect is to cool the atmosphere are treated like lepers, even by the ‘mainstream’ sceptics."  Oh, and the people who owned up to their quals mostly said they were engineers.  (I make that observation, knowing it is a generalisation having a basis in the numbers and offer my apologies to intelligent, educated engineers.)

Only a couple of people seemed to have read the article Jo posted, one writing mournfully:
So four out of five have bought in to the simplistic warmist arguments. 

And another bemoaning the fact that the fake sceptics who answered Mike Haseler's survey must in reality be non-genuine fake sceptics, writing:
Therefore it seems to me unlikely that all these highly qualified people have looked at the published evidence and formed their own opinions on the basis of the evidence.

Jo Nova is a genuine fake sceptic

Enough said on that score.  You might be interested to read what Jo Nova said, two articles after her claim that "Almost everything the media tells you about skeptics is wrong".  She was writing about a new article in Nature Climate Change (open access), which demonstrates that "observational data show a continued increase of hot extremes over land".

It's getting hotter

Here's a summary from
While there are claims that there has been a hiatus in global average temperatures, no such hiatus has occurred at the extreme end of the temperature spectrum. New research shows extremely hot temperatures over land have dramatically and unequivocally increased in number and area despite claims that the rise in global average temperatures has slowed over the past 10 to 20 years.

Jo Nova falls back on the dumb denier meme: "the models and theory are wrong"  - but it's Jo Nova who's wrong

Jo doesn't believe it.  She's a genuine fake sceptic, not like all those non-genuine fake sceptics who responded to Mike Haseler's survey.  Jo found six points to protest the observations, calling it "strained nonsense", and then added another protest at the end. The main text is Jo Nova's with my comments in italics:
If the world was warming, they wouldn’t bother with this strained nonsense, would they? They are talking about 15 year trends in air over land, in summer, on the hottest 10% of days.
  1. Seneviratne et al acknowledge the pause in global temperatures. Therefore the models, and the theory is wrong. Every other incidental trend in smaller markers is a deckchair on the Clitanic. [Sou: What a load of rot. Jo's still riding the denier's escalator.]
  2. There is no causal connection with CO2. The greenhouse effect is supposed to be full time. It’s not like there are days when it doesn’t work. CO2 is either making the global average warmer as predicted or… it isn’t and their models are useless. [Sou: For all her denier talk, Jo is claiming there is either unnatural or natural variation, there can't be both. Dumb as!  Hasn't she heard of ENSO, or solar variation, or volcanos?]
  3. The paper admits the summer extremes are warming over land, but not the warm winter extremes. So the greenhouse effect switches off in winter? That will be news. Wait, they also find there is a cooling effect in the mid-high latitudes of the northern hemisphere during the boreal winter? Isn’t that pretty close to when and where peak CO2 levels occur? I guess that’s only 10ppm of extra CO2, but this is not “parts of a jigsaw” coming together — it’s cherry picking. [Sou: This is a misrepresentation of the paper, of science as well as a misrepresentation of "peak CO2 levels", which don't differ by 10 ppm NH summer to NH winter and are highest in May, at the start of the boreal summer, not in the boreal winter.
Data Source:

  1. Extreme heat doesn’t necessarily mean hot. Looks like some of these extreme warm days occurred in places like Russia, Alaska and Greenland. As far as I can tell, they define “hottest extreme days” as being the hottest 10% of all days in a grid cell from 1979-2010. The average July temperature in Nuuk, Greenland is 10C (50F)  so the top 10% of “extreme hot weather” there is not so scary. [Sou: Jo, come back when the ice melts on Greenland and seas rise by seven metres and let us know how "scary" it is!]
  2. Are they serious? A 15 year noisy trend in 30 year dataset is irrelevant. The graphs start in 1979 (when satellites start) but that’s also near the start of the last long warming cycle. For all we know it is connected to the natural upswing in the 60 year PDO cycle. Indeed, if surface cooling of the ocean is reducing global averages now (the explanation Seneviratne offers for the lack of global warming), obviously surface warming of the ocean could have been doing the opposite before. Without longer records this is meaningless, mindless PR headline hunting with no scientific significance. [Sou: Oh, so RSS data from 2002 or whenever is the ants pants and disproves global warming, but careful measurements of heat extremes over 30 years have "no scientific significance"? Pull the other one!]
  3. Just because something is statistically significant doesn’t mean it is meaningful. Since it warmed for the first 20 years of the dataset and then paused at the warmer level, it’s hardly surprising that someone can still “discover” some short trends that are rising. [Sou: ha ha ha.  This is too weak to comment on except to ask why non-significant data since 2005 are worth thinking about but statistically significant trends from 1979 that are consistent with AGW are not?]
Are the UNSW scientists trying to learn something about the world, or are they trying to generate headlines with the words “extreme hot temperatures”? Judge them by their press releases….

I'd say the UNSW are trying to learn something about the world, wouldn't you?  It's the Jo Nova's of the world who want to hide the data.

Sonia I. Seneviratne, Markus G. Donat, Brigitte Mueller, Lisa V. Alexander. No pause in the increase of hot temperature extremes. Nature Climate Change, 2014; 4 (3): 161 DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2145


  1. See also Euan Mearns for someone 'skeptical' who allows all sorts of nutty comments on his blog to go unchallenged (or worse, agreed with) yet engages much more critically of anyone who supports the consensus i.e. only skeptical when it suits him.

    A shame as he writes about things which I find interesting, yet he's a die-hard oil and gas man who can't see the damage his industry causes. What's worse is that he apparently lectures to undergraduates.

    1. Euan is very pragmatic and as you note his commentary on the UK O&G industry is second to none in the blogosphere...

      FFs are going to get burned, whether we like it or not... Even if there was the political will to phase out FFs, it will still take at least 20 years to get there...

      My own prediction is that those corporate entities with a vested interest in promoting FUD will soon be touting the "reliable" output of the very GCMs that doubt is being currently cast on when they that show stratospheric S02 spraying will "fix everything"....

  2. If they are still wittering on about climategate then its hard to believe they understand written English let alone science.

  3. The seasonal cycle of CO2 is also nearly irrelevant. The temperature response to the energy imbalance takes many years, decades.

    1. Deniers have nothing to gain by being relevant. They just need to produce something that sounds comforting, like a mother crooning to a babe. The fact they mention something means it must be relevant, otherwise why would they mention it? Goes to reason. Like if something's on the news it must be newsworthy, you know?

  4. Just stepping back for a moment, as I was reading, I remembered somebody saying, about 5 years ago, that deniers would start shifting their own goalposts as more and more evidence piled up against their increasingly tenuous positions. I wish I could recall exactly who it was or had kept a screenshot, but I do recall that this person mentioned the deniers would shift from "flat out denial that there was any global warming" to " there is warming butits natural" to "there is CO2 induced warming but it won't be catastrophic". I've noticed the narative in a number of the standard deniers and their faithful flying monkeys has shifted to include "catastrophic". The loony fringe is getting frayed.

    1. UKISS.

      I have a file from 2008 where I listed the ten stages of human-caused global warming denial, which I would likely have posted in soome form on Deltoid or at Eli's. I know that others had said pretty much the same thing before I did, but I don't remember the first time I saw the shifting of these goal posts - I too would be curious to see the history...

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  7. Let me try that again without the typos this time:

    How do obviously intelligent people, such as J. Nova, descend into this world of smoke and mirrors. Have they lost all self-skepticism because they are so attached to their ever bigger cars and other fancy toys that they've actually become blind to the impossibly of endless growth and riches? Or is it because J.Nova is so desperate to be in the lime-light that she does not care what she needs to say to stay there.

    The self contradictory nature, and cognitive dissidence, of these fake skeptics in amazing -


    Is Cognitive Dissonance Fueling Conservative Denial of Climate Change?
    by Rania Khalek | Published on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 by

    1. When Jo Nova was a children's tv entertainer she was a "warmist" - here's an archive of her old website.

      I think it was after she left that she decided to become a born again denier. She published her skeptics handbook shortly after.

      I'm not sure that she's found being a fake sceptic is quite as lucrative a career change as she planned. She could change back again and write another book - "how I saw the light and became a warmist", or something like that. But she'd probably have to find a new set of friends, which would be a big ask at her time of life.

    2. In the genre of "I'm not a climate scientist but …"

      I'm not a forensic psychologist however, Jo Nova is a 'media tragic' as witnessed by (a) the use of a stage name, (Joanne Codling not being good enough - Jo Codling has the phonetic encumbrance of Joke Oddling) (b) the website photo of herself, i.e. the poseur shot, with the head thoughtfully tilted to one side, that comes from her audition resume/CV and (c) her U-turn on climate science to enable a 'successful' entry into the climate denialosphere after the TV gigs dried up. She craves relevance, not just in a personal sense but also amongst a wider audience. What better way to achieve that than to appeal to the non-discriminating, conspiracy-loving, science-illiterate fringe dwellers?

      In my non-professional opinion, JoN ova realised that she was small change in the Climate Science community and took to the contrarian path because it was easier for her to be negative, pedantic and nit-picking than to contribute to providing a genuine analysis or insights into climate science research. She has a status amongst the illiterati that she could never achieve in mainstream climate science. Plus, what angry, conservative white male wouldn't be a sucker for the perceived allure of an ex-TV personality who is 'easy-on-the-eye' and has views that align with theirs? It's the old 'to hell with substance, pander to the audience's prejudices' gambit to achieve a successful career. Excluding blind faith, there's not a lot of difference between Jo and Ken Ham, the Noah's Ark entrepreneur. Actually, if Nova really believes what she writes, the blind faith difference between her and Ken disappears. And who knows, one day it may all pay off for Joanne when she is invited by a Republican senator to appear before a US Senate Environmental Policy and Public Works Committee.

    3. That sums her up nicely George, she certainly has gained more notoriety running her blog than she ever would have as a TV presenter. You could not say however that she is appealing to the more intelligent reader with her continued bleatings about the data "adjustments" and the models being all wrong. A quick review of any of her posts will show any comment by a non denier is met with a tirade of abuse, some of it quite nasty. The main offender was "AndyG55" who now posts as "The Griss". Non-discriminating, conspiracy-loving science-illiterate fringe dwellers is probably being too kind.

      Whenever she is challenged she will always reply with a question to try and move the goalposts. Also she has no issue with quoting people like Flannery out of context, but hired her own cameraman when filming for "I Can Change Your Mind On Climate" so she could prove the evil ABC edited her comments. The word paranoid comes to mind.

      Codling's Codswallop would be a more appropriate title for her blog.

    4. We don't want to be friends then, Sou? Poor Jo, she'll feel like 'once a skeptic always a skeptic' :)

  8. Here's an even more interesting article since it's supported by a study:

    "Yale study concludes public apathy over climate change unrelated to science literacy" | May 27, 2012

    Are members of the public divided about climate change because they don't understand the science behind it? If Americans knew more basic science and were more proficient in technical reasoning, would public consensus match scientific consensus?

    A study published today online in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that the answer to both questions is no. …

    ~ ~ ~
    The study itself"
    The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks

  9. Speaking of soul-selling deniers, COALition member Dennis Jensen MP is having a bash at climate science on Twitter. What a fracking iriot.

    I am very pleased though that he is clearly recording for posterity his position, his (and his party's) essentially-criminal negligence, and the drivel on which he bases it. There will be no escaping from this for him, or for his allies. I think that we should make every effort humanly possible to instill in all Australians' minds that the Liberal and National Parties of Australia are the people who determinedly and doggedly moved to dismantle all action on climate change, that they polluted the Great Barrier Reef, that they are attempting to delist World Heritage, and that they are dismantling Australian technological capacity, that they are committing humanitarian crimes.

    Make sure that all Australians are sure, and forever sure, that it is these people who are responsible. Let there be no doubt. Tell everyone you know that this is mother's milk for the Coalition, their raison d'etre, their morning, noon and night. Make sure that everyone knows for whom you voted, and make them acknowledge their vote for the Coalition if that's what they did.

    The time will come soon enough when the waves of environmental destruction wash away the sands in which the denialist heads are buried, and when this time comes there must be no doubt that it is these heads that should be on the block. The Australian Democrats set a precedent for what happens to a political party that back the wrong horse... there will come a time I suspect when the LNP similarly loses so much support that it vanishes as an entity.

    Let's hope that there is a full accounting at this time.

    Cement this in history, carve it in stone.

  10. Dikran MarsupialMarch 5, 2014 at 3:08 AM

    It doesn't surprise me at all that the "one" is Ferdinand Engelbeen, who is an all-round good egg. While I don't agree with him on absolutely every detail of the carbon cycle, virtually all of his posts are informative and helpful, and he is also endlessly polite and good natured, whatever the provocation. If only there were more skeptics like him!

    The skeptic blogs (such as WUWT) should be deeply embarrassed that only 78% of respondents think that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic, rather than advertising the fact, given that the evidence for this is quite unequivocal.


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