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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

No, Anthony Watts, this global warming is not "natural"

Sou | 6:27 PM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment

They really are a pack of duffers at WUWT, aren't they. Anthony Watts has an article about a doctoral thesis on climate change communication, which was based on farmers in Sweden (archived here). The paper was by Therese Apslund of Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Water and Environmental Studies. Anthony reckons that:

Swedish farmers reject the 97% climate change consensus
...The researcher who discovered the degree of scepticism among farmers was surprised by her findings. Therese Asplund, who led the study, was initially looking into how agricultural magazines covered climate change, but got a lesson in reality from swedish famers [sic].

I looked over the paper and, while many of the farmers involved in the study were questioning whether global warming is anthropogenic in origin or merely some local variability, it's clear it wasn't all farmers in Sweden who doubt climate science. However farmers are a conservative lot in the main. If Swedish farmers are anything like Australian farmers then there will be a large proportion of them who are slow to accept science (including agricultural science). The more progressive the farmer in regard to adopting new farm technology, the more likely she is to accept climate science.

Climate change and agriculture

Here's a short article on some of the downsides of climate change and opportunities that climate change may create for Australian agriculture. And here's a list of just some of the research that is going on in my part of the world, to help farmers adapt. And if you think farmers as a whole are oblivious to the science you'd be wrong. Australia's peak farmer organisation, the National Farmers' Federation has this to say in it's policy statement on climate change:
The changing climate is potentially the biggest issue facing Australian farmers in the future. As a sector so dependent on natural resources, climate change poses a significant challenge to agriculture.

Anyway, the doctoral paper was about communication and framing of information about climate science and its implications. It wasn't an opinion poll of Swedish farmers.

Cyber-clubs for fools

As you know, deniers will turn to anyone to support their rejection of science. They find it reassuring that there are other wilfully ignorant people in the world. That doesn't make the science wrong, it just means that if you reject science (be it evolution, climate, geology, medicine or whatever) you can find like-minded people on blogs created as cyber-clubs for fools - like WUWT.

From the WUWT comments

Jean Parisot says:
June 30, 2014 at 7:07 pm
So the hypothesis that the farmers are right didn’t make it into the study?
God Forbid we listen to people with decades and generations of experience dealing with weather and climate professionally.

earwig42 doesn't realise that consensus is intrinsic to science. There'd be virtually no scientific advances if not for consensus. Researchers would be stuck in a loop forever repeating research from first principles. earwig42 says:
June 30, 2014 at 7:12 pm
Consensus is (or should be) irrelevant in Science. In Politics it is everything.

john piccirilli has a very strange view of scientists who research how the earth works, and says:
June 30, 2014 at 7:16 pm
Who do you believe, a farmer who is out in the weather every day 12hours a day, or some clown
Sitting in an air conditioned cube playing with his computer trying to get grant money? 

Mac the Knife is proud of his scientific illiteracy and says:
June 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm
God Bless the Farmers, every one!
From an old Wisconsin plow boy, bale chucker, and …. manure shoveler,

ntesdorf mimics john piccirilli says:
June 30, 2014 at 10:16 pm
Farmers around the World are practical people. Their livelihood depends on their having a knowledge of weather that is rather lengthy and rather detailed and which is passed on over the generations. Who would you rather believe on the Climate, a farmer who spends much of his day out in the weather or a government paid scientist who spends his day hunched over his computer, submitting applications for CAGW Grants?

NikFromNYC is a very mixed up chappie. He believes in the "climate science is a hoax" conspiracy but at the same time denounces Tim Ball's idiocy when he says:
June 30, 2014 at 10:54 pm
The full opening sentence is: “Researchers the world over almost unanimously agree that our climate is changing because of the increasing amounts of carbon dioxide humankind pumps into our fragile atmosphere.”
This claim lives on and on as if alarm too is agreed upon and as if mainstream skepticism denies the textbook greenhouse effect. Alas, just enough do in fact loudly deny it to allow this slander to continue. Gee thanks, Tim Ball, a regular writer here, coauthor of the Sky Dragon book. Thankfully Mark Steyn has taken Ball’s ball and run with it with a counter suit against Mann, minus the maverick background. Sure, perhaps the greenhouse effect is lesser than assumed, but it’s self-defeating to promote that idea out of the blue in the face of clear evidence of scientific fraud coupled to highly speculstive amplification of that assumed greenhouse effect. A focus on fraud is now dearly needed, and you can’t cry fraud unless you also utterly and fully distance yourself from mavericks, because it won’t otherwise work, since no layperson will believe you when Al Gore can sincerely point to your association with greenhouse effect denial. 

Mario Lento has no idea that the climate has been relatively stable throughout human civilisation. He's going to be in for a rude shock in coming decades (depending on how old he is):
June 30, 2014 at 10:57 pm
The argument is silly. Climate changing is a given. Otherwise the word climate would have been defined as “homeostasis until the advent of industry.” The real deniers are CAGW believers.

Asplund, Therese. "Climate change frames and frame formation: An analysis of climate change communication in the Swedish agricultural sector." (2014). DOI:10.3384/diss.diva-105997


  1. The other problem with having the opinion of Swedish farmers about their local weather trump the competent analysis of climate scientists about global climate is that the temperatures in Sweden (less than 1% of world) are currently influenced more by Gulf-stream changes rather than global AGW trends. That will also create a huge problem for them if AGW will make the Gulf-stream even weaker in the future -

    1. That's a good point, Catalin. This paper suggests the gulf stream isn't slowing down, yet. ScienceDaily article here.

    2. Sou, the Gulf Stream and the AMOC aren't the same thing. The former is a western boundary current driven by Coriolis force. The recent attention has been to a measured slowing of the AMOC, which is something to worry about. See e.g. this new paper.

      OT: Are you familiar with the Crackpot Index developed by John Baez? It could come in handy...

    3. Steve, did I miss something? Catalin spoke of the gulf stream, which was what I responded to.

      Thanks for the link. Oddly enough I nearly mentioned that one myself till I realised it was about something different to what Catalin wrote :)

    4. Catalin's link refers to the gyre (and the AMOC, although not by name).

    5. You're right, Steve. (That's how I first came across the paper you cited. Both are of interest.)

  2. 'Cause farmers, you know, they just "understand" the land they live on...

    Rational Troll

  3. off topic so please delete

    The recent noise made by watts about Mann and his (justifiable in my view) defamation cases (Mann overboard! ‘robust debate’ edition) has now hit a problem.
    tony's mate monkton is threatening Leif, Wilis and others on the thread A Cool Question, Answered?Posted on June 28, 2014

    How will tony keep peace in the ranks?

    a quote-
    For my part, I am referring Mr Svalgaard’s long list of malicious comments about Dr Evans (but not about me: I give as good as I get) to his university, which will know best how to handle the matter, for there is a rather delicate aspect that I am not at liberty to discuss here. The university will most certainly realize that the do-nothing option is not an option. The libel is too grave and too persistent. My lawyers are looking at it tomorrow to see whether malice is present, in which case the damages would triple, to say nothing of the costs. Their corresponding lawyers in the U.S. will be giving advice on whether Dr Evans would count in U.S. law as a “public figure”,

    Mr Eschenbach, who seems suddenly prone to claim knowledge of various matters that seem beyond his competence, has suggested that in the British system of justice truth is not a defense against a libel claim. In fact it is the standard defense.

    1. It's dog eat dog again. Remember when Sencer and Eschenbach had a spat. Monckton spits his dummy quite often, threatens libel (has he ever gone to court?), complains to people's employers (usual response is go away OWTTE) and nothing is ever heard about it again. I wonder if Moncktn learnt his technique while being picked on by the older boys at Harrow.

    2. Yes, it's fascinating to read. Monckton threatens to sue or get fired anyone who disagrees with him but I haven't seen him threaten an ally before. I don't know if Anthony Watts and Jo Nova will ever be allies again after this. Though there's always that powerful uniting force against a common foe - in their case the common foe is science.

      It's also interesting that so many deniers are now agreeing "it's not the sun, stupid".

      There's another thread about that article. In fact two of them, sort of. The second one is a compilation of Jo and David's articles on Force X. I added updated links to the WUWT archived thread in both of them.

      I'll be writing more on this too.

    3. Catmando : regarding Harrow, I think Monckton's frequent use of the term "bed-wetter" reveals a lot. Some dormitory trauma lies behind that, I'll be bound.

    4. If Bullshit was music Monckton would be a brass band.

  4. Consensus is irrelevant....unless it's a consensus of farmers.

  5. Captain FlashheartJuly 2, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    Monkers today:

    And those who think I should have “corrected” a graph published without my knowledge alongside an article of mine would assist me if they were to let me know, after looking at the page in question, what corrections they would have made. The graphs did not purport to be the IPCC’s graphs and were not labeled as such: they were plainly schematics (as was the 1990 IPCC graph); and they seem to have been drawn with the intention of demonstrating that the 1990 graph showed the medieval warm period and the little ice age and no 20th-century uptick, while the 2001 graph showed no MWP or LIA but did show a 20th-century uptick (which the squidging of the graph to make it fit the page had the effect of minimizing).

    I did get the date of the 1990 graph wrong by five years because the graph was sent to me by an eminent professor who had inadvertently misdated it, and I was not able to verify it directly because the IPCC reports in question were not then online and I was a very sick man, confined to barracks and quite unable even to travel to the nearest village, let alone to the nearest university library 150 miles away. It was not until two years later that I was cured, and by then the world had moved on.

    The fuss over these graphs seems to have been circulated by a particular individual with the intention of doing harm to my reputation, and not with the intention of making any legitimate or serious scientific point. But, if there is some scientific significance to whatever is thought to be wrong with the two graphs in the form in which they appeared in the Telegraph, then I should be interested to be let in on the secret of what the significance is.

    None of it's his fault!

    1. Note, if Monckton were too ill to check a graph, he was clearly well enough to write two lengthy articles and forty pages of supporting material. The man is worried about his reputation. He need not worry. His reputation was in the gutter years ago.


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