WUWT gets it woefully wrong again. Back to front. Deniers deal in black and white, they do not "get" subtle. They are extremists and only understand extreme language. Overstatement might register. The understatement for which the UK (and Australia) is known, doesn't register at WUWT. If you want to make a point with a science denier, do not expect them to understand you if you speak normally. As we've seen here on many occasions, deniers will ignore what is actually said and substitute their own weird narrative.
Today Anthony Watts gets several things back to front (archived here). He post another silly article by ignorant Eric "eugenics" Worrall. (Anthony Watts has been really struggling to find anyone half decent to write for his blog these past few weeks.) Anthony wrote:
Eric Worrall writes about “The Conversation” Austalia’s favorite hangout of climate doomers:
Except this article was in the UK edition of the Conversation. It was about one of Owen Paterson's recent gaffes. Owen Paterson is the Conservative MP for North Shropshire who's been in the headlines in the UK lately. He was sacked as Environment Secretary back in July this year. The article was about how Owen Paterson was exaggerating. The headline of the article reads:
Notice the last part - science itself does not exaggerate.
Anthony Watts and Eric Worrall twisted that to claim:
So you see, its not the fault of advocate scientist that anyone took their claims of imminent arctic melting, approaching climatic catastrophe, and irreversible tipping points literally. Its our fault, because our feeble intellects were simply incapable of comprehending that they were just talking about worst case scenarios, which they didn’t expect would actually occur.
Yes, Anthony Watts and Eric Worrall, you suffer feebleness of intellect. The Arctic sea ice melting isn't "imminent" it's been happening for a few decades now. Irreversible tipping points have been reached already. The melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now considered to be unstoppable. It is your fault you do not understand it. You cannot blame it on your feeble intellect, though you use that as your excuse. It's not a reason. If you exercised your intellects more they would probably become less feeble.
Owen Paterson (and other science deniers) are the ones who "widely exaggerate"
It isn't science that "widely exaggerates". It is deniers like Owen Paterson. The other day he spoke at some denier fest put on by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (archived here). Among his exaggerations were the following:
In the context of meeting the 2050 carbon reduction target of cutting emissions by 80 percent, he widely exaggerated, claiming:
In the short and medium term, costs to consumers will rise dramatically, and the lights would eventually go out. Not because of a temporary shortfall, but because of structural failures, from which we will find it extremely difficult and expensive to recover.
How's that for alarmism and "wide exaggeration"! The actual target is to cut emissions by 80% from those of 1990. To get an appreciation of what this means, there was an article in The Guardian a couple of years ago, showing that the UK's emissions fell by 25.2% between 1990 and 2010. (However when imports were factored in, the emissions actually increased. Imported goods don't count in the UK's emissions.)
A bit later on, Owen indulged in more wide exaggeration, saying:
I also note that the forecast effects of climate change have been consistently and widely exaggerated thus far.
The stopping of the Gulf Stream, the worsening of hurricanes, the retreat of Antarctic sea ice, the increase of malaria, the claim by UNEP that we would see 50m climate refugees before now – these were all predictions that proved wrong.
For example the Aldabra Banded Snail which one of the Royal Society’s journals pronounced extinct in 2007 has recently reappeared, yet the editors are still refusing to retract the original paper.
Seriously? He is citing mostly newspaper speculation, if not straw men built by the denialati, as "wide exaggeration".
He has a weird view of scientific papers, too. He wants to retract a paper because some researchers recently found that a snail that was thought to be extinct has been discovered alive, and is now only almost extinct. Seriously!
As for malaria, it is one of the diseases that has been the subject of quite a lot of research in regard to climate change. The World Health Organisation is concerned about future trends of malaria and other diseases. A recent paper in PNAS looked at different modeling exercises and stated:
The results of this multimalaria model, multi-GCM, multiscenario intercomparison exercice are consistent with previous studies in indicating that the most significant climate change effects are confined to specific regions (highlands in Africa and parts of South America and southeastern Asia); in other regions climate change is likely to have no or a lesser effect on malaria owing to other important socioeconomic factors. Large uncertainties are present in the multimodel ensemble, especially over the epidemic fringes of the current malaria distribution. The impact of climate change on future malaria must be seen in the current context of a decline in malaria at global scale (13); however, there are concerns about future support for national-level malaria control efforts (4).As you'd expect, with the increase in weather-related disasters, climate refugees are on the increase. From the UN:
...climate change is already undermining the livelihoods and security of many people around the world. The Norwegian Refugee Council and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have estimated that in 2008 alone, at least 36 million people were newly displaced by sudden natural disasters, including over 20 million displaced by disasters related to the climate.This is the chart from a recent report from Munich Re: TOPICS GEO: Natural catastrophes 2013 (click to enlarge it).
|Source: Munich Re|
Climate change may one day turn dangerous
Owen Paterson is not an out and out denier like the people who flock to WUWT. He did say to the GWPF:
Despite all this, I remain open-minded to the possibility that climate change may one day turn dangerous. So, it would be good to cut emissions, as long as we do not cause great suffering now for those on low incomes, or damage today’s environment.
Conservatives in the UK would be viewed as radical left-wingers in the USA
Most of Owen Paterson's speech was about his vision of how the UK can shift away from carbon-emitting energy generation, rather than climate science. Some of his ideas may have had merit, a lot may not. I don't agree with his plea to drop the 2050 target though. Without a target there is nothing to aim for.
Despite his digs at climate science and his alarmism over the UK emissions targets, after reading his speech, it struck me that if Owen Paterson were speaking to the GOP, he'd probably be booed off the stage as a radical left-winger. The Overton Window is positioned quite differently in Europe.
People exaggerate, science doesn't
Here are the first few paragraphs of The Conversation article by Rob MacKenzie, University of Birmingham
To exaggerate is human, and scientists are human. Exaggeration and the complementary art of simplification are the basic rhetorical tools of human intercourse. So yes, scientists do exaggerate.
So do politicians, perhaps even when, as the UK’s former environment secretary Owen Paterson did, they claim that climate change forecasts are “widely exaggerated”.
A more pertinent question is: does the way in which scientists and politicians speak publicly lead to wild exaggeration? When both are engaged in advocacy, there is little difference; both politicians and scientists will use whatever rhetorical devices they have to win an argument.
But this is not the case when scientists speak publicly through their own very special form of mass media, the peer-reviewed literature. In peer-review, statements that do not follow deductively from the data are subject to forensic examination and often expunged, or at least subjected to the “death by caveat” that makes so much academic writing almost indigestible.
Scientists, wandering unwarily into the realm of advocacy, may be guilty of taking the results out of context, as may be activists and politicians, but it is not the science itself that is “widely exaggerated”.
Science is exaggeration-phobic
Is UK energy policy informed solely by the exaggerations of advocacy – political or scientific – or, at least in part, by the exaggeration-phobic scientific literature? As a taxpayer I would like to believe that physical and computer models provide evidence to politicians who use it to assess the strength of the arguments of the various advocacy groups. I am not so politically naïve as to believe that all policy is, or even should be, based solely on objective evidence.
I do hope, though, that claims of scientific exaggeration are seen for what they are: advocacy targeted not just at winning the rhetorical argument but also aimed, rather cynically, at undermining the evidence.
Rob MacKenzie receives funding from the UK Natural Environment Research Council, the European Research Council, and the JABBS Foundation.
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article in full.
From the WUWT comments
Ian H says nothing at all, just mouths meaningless platitudes:
October 18, 2014 at 6:32 am
If you read the actual papers they did try to pepper them with “woulds” and “coulds” and uncertainties to try to leave themselves some kind of escape. But it was a pretty prefunctory effort; the mainstream media completely ignored that stuff and reported only worst case scenarios; and nobody made any effort to correct the resulting misleading impression. Now that the storm is upon them and it is time to take to the lifeboats I think they are going to find they don’t have nearly enough of them and those that they do have are far too small and not nearly strong enough enough to weather the coming storm.
Pamela Gray's intellect seems to be getting more feeble with each passing day. She is trying to emulate Christopher Monckton's gobbledegook (at his worst). (Do I detect she is an anti-vaxxer, too?)
October 18, 2014 at 6:50 am
In reality, there will be no consequences for these chicken littles. These scientists, with their new fangled way of analyzing data and presenting graphs will be unscathed all due to buck passing. Even better, because this was an international effort, each country gets to pass the buck across the boarder. This will not end up with license to practice revocations, as it was over the vaccine scare, originating in one individual with a charismatic style (and he does indeed have one). He also over simplified plus over reacted, and called out an alarm that the media picked up on and that bled all over front page news reports. Turns out his findings were in need of replication but he let the horse out of the barn too soon (thinking he was doing what was best to possibly have a positive impact on a potentially devastating disorder).
Safety is in numbers and the number of climate warnings out in left field from a cadre of international scientists will unfortunately actually serve to protect them. It is the swarming group of arm chair amateurs like us who will feel the brunt of this, as we go to our graves forever jaded in our now broken beyond repair idealized vision of what science is, or should be. As for me, my only recourse is the vote. Which I will use with fury for sure.
Monroe sums up WUWT
October 18, 2014 at 6:51 am
Religon = Alarmism = Money
Caminade, Cyril, Sari Kovats, Joacim Rocklov, Adrian M. Tompkins, Andrew P. Morse, Felipe J. Colón-González, Hans Stenlund, Pim Martens, and Simon J. Lloyd. "Impact of climate change on global malaria distribution." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111, no. 9 (2014): 3286-3291. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1302089111