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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Anthony Watts promotes Ari Halperin's climate conspiracy theories at WUWT

Sou | 7:28 PM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment
Anthony Watts is busy trying to divert attention from all the record hot temperatures. He has posted another article from Ari Halperin. He's the chap who created a Google search tool for deniers, which filters out science websites and only leaves in denier websites.

Here is what Anthony doesn't want to say too much about:

Figure 1 | January only - global mean surface temperature January 1880 to January 2016. Data source:GISS NASA


And below are six denier talking points, with full on conspiracy ideation, that he posted instead.

1. Scientific consensus on the greenhouse effect goes back to the 1800s


Ari's first point is, in typical denier fashion, non-specific:
  1. The alarmists first declared “scientific consensus” in 1988, and have been digging their heels in, persecuting skeptics, and constantly suppressing scientific inquiry since then, just as Richard Lindzen reported in 1992. They have been repeating their mantras and persecuting all other viewpoints.
That point that he listed is very mixed up. Ari doesn't indicate what the consensus he's complaining about was. Nor does he cite any evidence, which might have given a clue. Is he referring to global warming? That was known way back when. Callendar made detailed calculations of how the increased CO2 would warm the planet way back in the 1930s. Gilbert Plass wrote an important paper after the war in the 1950s. Over subsequent decades there were more and more papers written on the subject. Why Ari has picked out 1988 as a year for a declaration of scientific consensus on who knows what, I don't know. Nor do I know who he thinks has been persecuted. Is that denier-speak for refuted, rebutted or debunked?


2. Ari's "soviet plot" conspiracy, tinged with Al-Qaeda


Ari's second point is laced with conspiratorial ideation:
  1. The term “climate change denial” entered the language in 2004 suddenly and without identifiable real-world cause. This is consistent with the existence of a centralized (like Sovinform) or semi-centralized (like al-Qaeda) body, which determines the party line and issues marching orders to writers and activists. Of course, a single phrase does not prove this, but there is multiple other evidence to that effect.
Ari seems to think that there is a secret global organisation that has marshalled "writers and activists" to use the term "climate change denial". It's not a term I usually use. I favour climate science deniers, or just plain old deniers (or conspiracy nutters or similar).




3. National consensus vs scientific consensus


My guess is that Ari is referring to the USA when he writes of "national consensus". He's pointing out that there are a very large number of science deniers in the USA. Not just climate science deniers, but evolution deniers and even HIV/AIDS deniers. It's apparently Republican Party policy to reject science these days, and although most conservative voters don't comply, many do.
  1. As the alleged “scientific consensus” has grown in the last 30 years, the national consensus has declined.

4. The "global cooling" myth

  1. Before global warming hysteria, there was a global cooling hysteria.
Like many science deniers, Ari subscribes to some "global cooling" myth. Back in the 1970s parts of the northern hemisphere had some very cold winters. That led to a couple of articles in popular magazines, and a half a dozen or so articles in scientific journals. The majority of climate-related articles in the scientific literature were about global warming, not global cooling. It doesn't matter how many times the utter nutter brigade are shown the evidence (from Petersen et al 2008), they continue to claim the opposite:

Figure 2 | The number of papers classified as predicting, implying, or providing supporting evidence for future global cooling, warming, and neutral categories as defined in the text and listed in Table 1. During the period from 1965 through 1979, our literature survey found 7 cooling, 20 neutral, and 44 warming papers. Source: Peterson et al (2008)

5. Science is Orwellian


Ari doesn't like the terminology used to describe greenhouse gases. He finds it confusing. He'd be right if there was someone who's never heard of greenhouse gases in their life. However, just like many other strictly incorrect terms, we're now stuck with it. If there's anyone alive who doesn't know what a greenhouse gas is, then they can easily find out
  1. “Greenhouse gases” is an Orwellian Newspeak phrase, popularized by the alarmists to confuse the public, and thus does not belong in the English language. Infrared absorbing gases might be better. On the other hand, the greenhouse effect is an old scientific term, which became misinterpreted by people who are familiar with neither agriculture nor science.

6. Carbon pollution has an ominous meaning


That's right, carbon pollution does have an ominous meaning. It describes the fact that we're polluting the precious air surrounding our planet with a waste product of fossil fuel combustion. That pollution is what is causing our world to heat up at a dangerous pace. You'll notice Ari's use of the term "czar", which ties in with his Soviet-Al Qaeda conspiracy, mentioned above.
  1. An even worse offender is the term “carbon pollution,” which seems silly rambling at first sight, but acquires a very ominous meaning when used by the Obama administration with John Holdren as science czar.

Using Google's nGram


In the rest of his article, Ari has obtained some metrics using Google Books nGram Viewer. That's the same Google of which he has previously written, with evident distaste for Google:
Usually, I do not give much weight to claims that Google Search unfairly discriminates against X or Y. These complaints sound like sour grapes, and Google has too much to lose and too little to gain from such actions. But the case of climate change seems totally different. Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, talks like a fanatical alarmist. He really believes that the orthodox alarmist position is the scientific truth.
When I clicked on Google Books nGram Viewer, it came up with a search for the words "Albert Einstein, Sherlock Holmes, Frankenstein". That might have come from an old search that I've forgotten about, or it might have just come from Google. Anyway, using Ari's logic, this probably means that Frankenstein, Albert Einstein and Sherlock Homes are part of an Al Qaeda plot of Soviet proportions or something (click to enlarge):

Figure 3 | How Albert Einstein, Sherlock Holmes and Frankenstein are part of a Soviet/Al Qaeda plot. Source: Google


National and scientific consensus about what?


Ari plugged in the terms "national consensus" and "scientific consensus" (without qualification - no climate word was included), and came to the rather odd conclusion:
Unfortunately, as the fake scientific consensus has been growing, the phrase national consensus has been declining (Fig. 2). It is hard to write this off as merely coincidence. But I am not certain of cause–effect relations. It is possible that the spread of climate alarmism has contributed to political polarization, or that the increasing political polarization allowed climate alarmism to flourish.
One thing it does show is that Ari is not at all competent in analysing data. Here is a site mentioning "national consensus", and below are some sites mentioning scientific consensus:

Conspiracies abound at climate conspiracy central: WUWT


As you have probably guessed, Ari harbours lots of climate conspiracies. He wrote how accusations of climate change denial are a shadowy George Soros plot (click the link to see the Soros quote: "A full and fair discussion is essential to democracy").
The term climate change denial is strange on its own: skeptics do not deny “climate change,” but rather debate its nature, definition, magnitude, causes, and consequences. But the really striking thing is how the use of this incoherent term skyrocketed after it first entered book publication in 2004. Just in 2007 alone its use increased 7 times! This term did not appear because of some real-world event. Instead, somebody made it up, then ensured that it stuck and spread. This suggests the existence of a centralized or semi-centralized body behind climate alarmism, making decisions on strategy and messaging and then passing these decisions down. Foot soldiers and even lieutenants do not need to know the process, and the marching orders might be conveyed in the form of recommendations. One small example is this Media Matters article, which provides instructions in the form of New Year’s resolutions. Media Matters is just one component of George Soros’ shadowy political empire. And Soros is not necessarily a member of the decision-making body, whatever he thinks himself.

There's more. Ari promotes lies about realclimate.org. No - it's not a creature of Fenton Communications. It was establshed and is run by some of the world's leading climate scientists. He's a fan of WUWT's most extreme (and extremely ugly) climate conspiracy writer, Tim Ball.

That's probably enough of that. If you want to see a good example of bad deductions from word searches, mixed with lots of climate conspiracies, you can read the archived WUWT article.


From the WUWT comments


There haven't been a lot of comments as I write this.

markl seems to think there has been some official degree in the USA:
February 17, 2016 at 8:16 pm
Good analysis of the “conspiracy theory” as claimed by MSM. The trend in climate realist growth really took off in the US when carbon dioxide was declared a pollutant. Only chutzpah and ignorance by the government led them to think they could make people believe such nonsense….by decree!

Nimrod buys into the climate conspiracy and writes:
February 17, 2016 at 9:09 pm
Now the task is: find the originators and show clearly who they are. It is the first couple of months that counts! This could be very revealing, especially if it’s the same source.


Mike Bromley the Kurd is upset that Albertans voted in more reasonable people in the last election:
February 17, 2016 at 9:19 pm
Well done, Ari. These talking points are all the average science-illiterate citizen alarmist have to use in their arsenal. Perhaps one could research “muzzled scientists” and “science deniers” amongst the dross, terms popular in Canada during 2015, and trotted out at every opportunity by the meme-infested left wingnuts who took over Alberta and Ottawa. 


John Coleman is going to fight something or other until he dies. Surely he has better things to do:
February 17, 2016 at 9:45 pm
The skyrocketing rise in the use of the expression ‘carbon pollution’ in recent years is far and away the biggest issue to me. Carbon dioxide is not carbon, and it is not a pollutant. And the increase is tiny, less than 1 percent of the atmosphere. Yet it is being constantly publicized as a problem greater than ISIS, a problem that threatens to end our civilization. I will fight this till I die. 

Even Willis Eschenbach, who's also a climate denying conspiracy theorist, but usually eschews the most extreme of WUWT's climate conspiracy nuttery, chimes in, but says it isn't necessarily a conspiracy, it's just the internet. This is the same internet that's allowed weird and wacky climate science deniers to find each other and pretend to each other they aren't utter nutters.
February 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm (excerpt)
...I would suggest that’s what happened with the term “climate denier”. It filled a niche so well for assigning guilt to your enemies that it went viral. I see the speed of acceptance as a measure of the weakness of the alarmists, that they were desperate to reverse their ongoing losses.
In any case, the existence of the phenomena we call “going viral” certainly proves that you don’t need any “centralized or semi-centralized body” of any kind for something to become hugely popular overnight.
Thanks for all your work, a good post.
w.

References and further reading


Fourier, M. "Les températures du globe terrestre et des espaces planétaires." Mémoires de l’Académie Royale des Sciences de l’Institut de France 7 (1827). (pdf here)

Callendar, Guy Stewart. "The artificial production of carbon dioxide and its influence on temperature." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 64, no. 275 (1938): 223-240. (pdf here)

Plass, Gilbert N. "The carbon dioxide theory of climatic change." Tellus 8, no. 2 (1956): 140-154. (pdf here)

Peterson, Thomas C., William M. Connolley, and John Fleck. "The myth of the 1970s global cooling scientific consensus." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 89, no. 9 (2008): 1325. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1 (open access)

From the HotWhopper archives

7 comments:

  1. I use Google's ngram viewer for other purposes, but for tracking the use of terms in climate change, it is worse than useless. Firstly, the x axis stops at 2000. Secondly, it searches Google books, not the internet!

    The "Albert Einstein, Sherlock Holmes etc." graphic is the ngram viewer default, not a former search by you. If you want to see how it could be useful for writers, etc. enter "today, to-day" and you will see when each version of "today" was more common in books. I use it when I am creating free ebooks from public domain works. I have to decide if I should remove a hyphen from a word split across lines or pages. Many words which aren't hyphenated now, were when the original book was printed. Ngram is very helpful in those specific circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "1. The alarmists first declared “scientific consensus” in 1988, and have been digging their heels in, persecuting skeptics..."

    Persecuting 'sceptics' with facts, while acknowledging their right to their own malicious stupidity. Poor paranoid Ari and the Wattsies.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The term climate change denial is strange on its own: skeptics do not deny “climate change,” but rather debate its nature, definition, magnitude, causes, and consequences. But the really striking thing is how the use of this incoherent term skyrocketed after it first entered book publication in 2004. Just in 2007 alone its use increased 7 times! This term did not appear because of some real-world event. Instead, somebody made it up, then ensured that it stuck and spread. This suggests the existence of a centralized or semi-centralized body behind climate alarmism, making decisions on strategy and messaging and then passing these decisions down. Foot soldiers and even lieutenants do not need to know the process, and the marching orders might be conveyed in the form of recommendations. One small example is this Media Matters article, which provides instructions in the form of New Year’s resolutions. Media Matters is just one component of George Soros’ shadowy political empire. And Soros is not necessarily a member of the decision-making body, whatever he thinks himself.

    Ari you are a bright, shiny, spectacular moron
    http://climatecrocks.com/2016/02/11/truthsquadding-ted-cruz-climate-denial/

    ReplyDelete
  4. "the fake scientific consensus has been growing"

    That phrase seems to be denying its own meaning.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Typo: markl seems to think there has been some official degree in the USA

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sou,

    1988 is the year Dr. Hansen went to Washington:

    http://climatechange.procon.org/sourcefiles/1988_Hansen_Senate_Testimony.pdf

    A year which shall forever live in infamy, not least because that's also the year when I obtained a license to operate motor vehicles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, but why that particular event (if that's what he was thinking of. It might have been the establishment of the IPCC).

      Why not 1861 when Tyndall first showed it experimentally, or 1896 when Svante Arrhenius first published his calculations, or 1938 when Callendar published his. By 1884 the science of the greenhouse effect was popularised (it was written about in a rural newspaper in Australia).

      Or he could have jumped ahead to 1965 when Revelle informed the US President of global warming, or the First Earth Summit in 1972, or 1974 with Kellog and Schneider in Science, or 1975 when Wallace Broecker's paper was published in Science, or some other year in the 1970s (I was introduced to the greenhouse effect in 1975 or 76 IIRC).

      What I'm saying is that by 1988 scientific consensus that there is a greenhouse effect was very well established. The UN couldn't have acted to set up the IPCC otherwise.

      Delete

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