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Monday, September 7, 2015

Only at WUWT is acceptance of science "denial"

Sou | 2:04 PM Go to the first of 25 comments. Add a comment

Tim Ball has another climate conspiracy article at WUWT. This time he defined who has been taken in by the climate hoax. It now include arguably the majority of the world.  That's right. Everyone except extremist right wing ideologues and conspiracy theorists. Tim claims that it includes:

  • Pope Francis
  • The President of the USA and his Cabinet
  • Most world leaders, 
  • A majority of the world’s politicians, 
  • All environmental groups and their followers, and
  • Most with a left political leaning. 

That's a lot of people. How do they keep this climate conspiracy secret? Given how Tim Ball and other extreme right-wingers define "left political leaning", it arguably includes about 80% or more of the 7.3 billion people in the world today.

Which means that by now he should be asking himself if there's a possibility that he is wrong and the rest of the world might be on to something.

All the world is wrong except for crank conspiracy theorists

Not at all. In Tim's world everyone is wrong except him and the few weirdos who promote wacky conspiracy theories. They hold onto their delusions because they've found each other. If not for the internet, they'd be relegated to a couple of columns in a magazine on alien invasions and UFOs, stacked next to the comics in the local newsagent. Now they congregate on conspiracy blogs like WUWT and Prison Planet and feed each other their (often contradictory) conspiracy theories.

Geographer Tim Ball fails geography

According to Tim Ball, the website was set up at the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. He can't even get his geography right, let alone his climate scientists. (For those who are not familiar with, no scientists from CRU have ever been part of the team. Most of the core team members were from the USA - Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann, Ray Bradley, David Archer, Ray Pierrehumbert, and Eric Steig - with others from Europe - Rasmus Benestad and Stefan Rahmstorf. William Connolley was the only person from the UK, and he wasn't associated with CRU.)

Contradicting deniers

Tim did get almost right, describing it as "another web page designed to contradict or deny evidence that shows the AGW hypothesis is wrong". Thing is there is no evidence that shows that his "AGW hypothesis is wrong". was set up to show, with evidence, why denier arguments are wrong. It has evolved to be much more than that now, and has lots of articles about advances in climate science.

After all his finger-pointing, Tim did admit that "Finger pointing rarely includes facts, especially in the climate debate." Since his article contained precious little about climate science and a lot of wrong information about things peripheral to climate, you'd think again that he'd have a moment of clarity. But not so. He quotes the journalist George Monbiot, from a six-year-old article:
There is no point in denying it: we’re losing. Climate change denial is spreading like a contagious disease. It exists in a sphere that cannot be reached by evidence or reasoned argument; any attempt to draw attention to scientific findings is greeted with furious invective. This sphere is expanding with astonishing speed.

Tim wasn't agreeing with his quote. He was complaining that science denial wasn't being given the respect he thinks it deserves. He thinks that Jesus would not have approved of Pope Francis not giving science deniers a seat at his table. Perhaps on the grounds that Jesus forgives sinners, which would be yet another self-indictment by Tim Ball.

Tim's odd assortment of conspiracy heros

Tim tossed in a few of the denier memes and wrong allegations by deniers to support his denial. He didn't bother trying to explain what has caused global warming. He denies it is happening. His "heros" are other wack-a-doodle deniers who think climate science is a giant long-standing hoax involving all the climate scientists in the world, probably starting with Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier back in the early 1800s.  His "heros" are Jo Nova of "Force X and the Notch" fame; and Jennifer Marohasy, who doesn't believe that a weather station in Rutherglen was moved; and "Steve Goddard" who claims every correction is a "fake".

What Tim doesn't tell his readers

Here is what Tim Ball didn't tell his readers - that global surface temperature is rising:

Data source: GISS NASA

That sea level is increasing:

Data source: U Colorado
That Arctic sea ice is declining:

Source: University of Bremen

Contradicting and denying denier memes

Tim complains about articles that contradict and deny denier memes and replaces them with science. So he won't like me writing this. Tim didn't talk about the inexorable rise in global surface temperature, or ocean acidification, or rising seas, or melting ice. Instead he picked out a few denier memes as if it were an afterthought to his long complaint that deniers are derided.

  • Christopher Monckton and lower troposphere temperature not rising "in 19 years", which Tim claimed was "global average temperature".
  • Every IPCC temperature projection was wrong - no evidence of that. The IPCC projections have been a lot more "right" than any you'll see on a denier blog like WUWT. If you read the IPCC reports, you'll see they've been very close to what's happened so far.
Tim also wrongly claimed that "Temperature increases before CO2 in every single record for any period. The only place in the world where CO2 increase precedes a temperature increase is in the IPCC computer models." First of all, he's wrong. For example, CO2 is what caused the "Lethally Hot Temperatures During the Early Triassic Greenhouse".  Also, he is committing a logical fallacy. At times CO2 did increase following another trigger, such as orbital forcing. What this did is add to warming. Nor does it mean that an increase in CO2 without a preceding trigger won't cause the world to warm. That's plain silly - of course it is causing global warming. More CO2 means more "greenhouse effect" warming.

When Tim wrote that "CO2 is only 4 percent of the total greenhouse gasses and the human portion is only 3.4 percent of that total." I can only guess that he is including water vapour. But that's always in the air and it's not normally included. CO2 is only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, currently at 400 parts per million. We have made it rise from 285 to 400 ppm. The human contribution is more than 40% of the current CO2 in the air. It's quite a bit more than ozone, which prevents harmful rays from reaching the earth. I wonder if Tim is an ozone effect denier, too.

Tim wrongly claimed that "Predictions of more severe weather are proving incorrect." He provided no evidence. There is lots of evidence accumulating that heat waves are worse, droughts are worse, wildfires are worse and flash floods are worse - because of human-caused global warming. For example. there is a new study showing that there has been a "Substantial increase in concurrent droughts and heatwaves in the United States".

I've no idea why he claims that "The continued failure of medium forecasts, such as the most recent debacle in the UK, further the already high public skepticism about weather forecasts." The ability to predict weather is not the same as climate projections. Weather can be predicted up to around seven days ahead, a lot more than used to be the case. Medium term predictions of three to six months ahead do not claim to be particularly reliable. Climate projections are not weather forecasts. Bob Tisdale and other science deniers confuse the two, but normal people can tell the difference between climate and weather.

The fallback position of deniers: the fake debate

Tim claims that setting the record straight is an attempt to "silence" deniers and "stifle debate".  Except that there continues to be debate in science (and precious little in the deniosphere). And he's not been silenced by anyone. WUWT is still going strong, if looking ratty around the edges. Anthony continues to post articles claiming an ice age cometh, and has fans that agree. Tim Ball's weird conspiracy theories have their adherents - who are every bit as loony as Tim is.

What Tim is trying to argue is that people who accept science are "deniers".  How does that work?

From the WUWT comments

The first conspiracy nutter to comment is HAS, though he has a different definition from Tim. He wrote:
September 6, 2015 at 2:58 pm
The only deniers in this game are the ones that deny the uncertainty.

Gamecock takes up the religious theme:
September 6, 2015 at 3:15 pm
Climate change is in the realm of Operating Thetans. When the high priests of climate change call people deniers, they may be correct, for we non believers really don’t know what they mean by climate change. The priests will tell us what to believe; we are not supposed to doubt priests. 

Neville really should read the latest IPCC reports if he wants a comprehensive document about all this:
September 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm
I think there needs to be a comprehensive post comparing all of their CAGW icons from 1950 to the present day.
Here’s just a few, SLR, polar bear numbers, deaths from extreme events, wild fires, the hot spot, droughts, snowfalls, NH and SH sea ice etc. 

PiperPaul wonders what it's called:
September 6, 2015 at 3:47 pm
What’s it called when you accuse your adversary of what you yourself are doing? I think ‘projection’ refers to someone unknowingly doing so, there must be a specific term for doing it as a deliberate tactic.

Marcus thinks it's called 'pathetic'. Works for me.
September 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm
Pathethic ???? 

Charlie sees the day when anti-social behaviour is deemed criminal:
 September 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm
The politically correct nonsense is beyond out of control. If you have a stance on immigration you are a racist. If you support the free market you have no empathy for the poor. If you are skeptical of cagw you are souless and don’t care about the environment. All these stances will just about run you off the campus of any university. The time might soon come when individuals are prosecuted or jailed for these ideas and opinions. 

François GM doesn't know that he only knows that "CO2 is plant food" because of science, and might not realise that rapid climate change is, on balance, harmful:
September 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm
There is other evidence that something is rotten in the state of “climate science”. First, increasing ice in Antarctica has systematically been downplayed if not denied. Second, I don’t recall EVER having seen a study showing or predicting a positive effect of warming on humans, wildlife, crops or on anything else, anywhere on the planet. Sorry, not possible. This is proof of a powerful publication or confirmation bias or both. The corollary is that cooling would only have positive effects, which is demonstrably false, at least where I live (Canada).

References and further reading

Sun, Yadong, Michael M. Joachimski, Paul B. Wignall, Chunbo Yan, Yanlong Chen, Haishui Jiang, Lina Wang, and Xulong Lai. "Lethally hot temperatures during the Early Triassic greenhouse." Science 338, no. 6105 (2012): 366-370. DOI: 10.1126/science.1224126 (pdf here)

Omid Mazdiyasni, Amir AghaKouchak. Substantial increase in concurrent droughts and heatwaves in the United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015; 201422945 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1422945112 (open access)


  1. "The corollary is that cooling would only have positive effects, which is demonstrably false, at least where I live (Canada)."

    Of course, if large parts of the Earth become uninhabitable, then many people will be moving to countries like Canada, whether wanted by Canadians or not ... I wonder if "François GM" would consider that a positive effect of warming?

    1. It's also a logical fallacy, which is the No. 2 Telltale Technique of a Climate Science Denier:

      I'm guessing François GM has never heard the fairy tale about Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

  2. Sou:
    Gavin Schmitt is Britsh.

    1. Yes, he was born and raised and educated in the UK, but for a long time now he's worked at NASA's GISS and was working there when he and others set up

      Tony, I'm pretty sure you're not arguing that:

      a) he lives or works in the UK? (he doesn't) or

      b) he works at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia; (he doesn't and never has) or

      c) Tim Ball is right that was, and I quote: "set up at the Climatic Research Unit "? Tim's wrong about that. It's another of his weird conspiracy theories - in the style of recursive fury. (Tim is getting all caught up in his stolen email conspiracy theories.)

  3. Tony I don't think Sou was suggesting otherwise. Gavin was never a member of CRU and his defence of it (in the face of the lies conjured from criminal activity and yes Mosher you are an accessory) was done from the US as a GISS employee prior to his elevation to boss.

    1. I meant no criticism ... I merely read the the wording to mean they were American. And Gavin is not. That's all. Just attributing correct nationality. Reading it now I can see Sue meant that they were working from the US. I'm on your side !!

  4. Sou

    Thanks for the link to Sun et al. I hadn't come across that.

  5. I think we should thank Tim Ball for reminding us all how black and white this issue is. On the one side we have every single prestigious scientific institution on the planet. On the other we have a motley bunch of tobacco scientists, shills, conspiracy theorists, the fossil fuel industry, and the venal politicians they corrupt.

    1. A motley bunch of tobacco scientists Millicent is there any other type of tobacco scientist?
      There is no proof that side stream GHGs adds to the green house effect and we must nuke the Soviets.... and possibly France

  6. Obviously, what Ball claims about Monckton ("As Monckton demonstrates, the global average temperature has not risen for 19 years") is false. Nineteen years takes us back to September 1996 and when one selects that as a start date for RSS temperatures and a September 2015 end date, the resulting graph shows a distinctive upward trend.

    It is hard to understand how the 'renowned Dr Tim Ball' can make such a foolish mistake. Is it perhaps because to him, like to most of the deniers, Monckton's claim is just too appealing that they cannot be bothered to check?

    As a side note; this Monckton xx years xx months of no warming claim needs more attention (debunking) from the 24/7 skeptics. In his latest WUWT post, Monckton wrongly claimed 'that the pause continues', a highly misleading claim as the pause is merely the result of him cherry-picking the start-date of his xx years xx months. He's changed the start date at least 10 times over the past 2 years. Had he stuck with one of the earliest start dates he used (August 1996), he'd soon have been confronted with the RSS data not supporting his 'no warming' claim.

    1. Eli Rabbet informs us that Monckton who lead authored the most-downloaded scientific paper in the 60-year archive of the Science Bulletin has been cited once.

    2. We all know how little (if any) Monckton has on the scientific community. But that is not the point.

      The real issue is how easily Monckton can fool others into believing that his 'xx years and x months of no warming' claim is not only true but also and more importantly that the 'no warming' is continuous (which it is not).

      There are hordes of people out there who vehemently believe Monckton's graphs and claims, people who do not know nor care how many times Monckton has been cited in the scientific literature.

    3. Oops, first sentence should read "We all know how little (if any) impact Monckton has on the scientific community."

    4. Philip Cohen:

      If you refer to the Eli Rabbet reference, I guess PG means this:

    5. The question in my mind is why they even bother giving a precise time period anymore. They can afford to just straight up lie -- they often have, without much negative effect.

    6. Looks to be about 2, if you include non-peer-reviewed publications (google scholar). Somewhat less, counting normally.

    7. I went here:

      Yeah, there is something wrong when UAH gives you .125 / decade and RSS gives you .034/ decade from 1995. I think it looks like RSS is the outlier here.

    8. Rattus, as far as I can determine the only Monckton Of Brenchley in Scopus is Bridget, who published four letters in the early 60's in the Lancet about the Polish Association. Scopus is usually my index of choice, as they are quickest to list and in many of the hard sciences it now seems to capture most of an author's corpus.

      Web of Science lists 4 publications for him. The three climate-related ones have no citations, and the letter amongst a bunch of others under the banner "HIV transmitted by kissing" has two citations. Counting this letter he has a WoS H index of 1.

      I am very skeptical of Google's H index, as they are notorious for double-counting publications, and hence I never use it.

    9. Joseph.

      I think UAH uses some infilling from surface data, and RSS does not.

      Also the way the two homogenise their data is different. The data is very noisy, so I guess it is not surprising random factors are dominating the warming signal.

  7. Anthony Watts considers "denier" a hateful word, until he wants to publish it on his website.
    @wattsupwiththat, 19 Aug 2015

    1. Ball and Watts demean memory of Holocaust victims by their use of the d-word, at least if they stood by their own principles. Oh, forgot. They have no principles.

  8. Yeah, and any psychotherapist who uses "denial" as a term of art is demeaning the memory of Holocaust victims, too!

  9. I'm deeply shocked by Ball's exclusion of the oldest environmentalist demographic:

    Right wing republicans who want to conserve biodiversity so our posterity will have plenty to shoot with the guns we will leave them, along with the waterfront property we want to keep above the tide line.


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