Monday, September 16, 2013

Attacks on science are getting weaker but there is no room for complacency

Sou | 5:02 PM Go to the first of 27 comments. Add a comment

Every time there is an important event relating to climate science, the disinformers try to wage a coordinated attack.  This time around, the attacks on climate science have been coordinated but weak (so far).  The disinformation machine has given up on outright denial that humans are causing global warming and restricting themselves to making up lies about what is written in past IPCC reports and the yet-to-be-released IPCC report.  Plus throwing in a lie about a fictional IPCC event.  Their argument these days has shifted from "it isn't happening" to "it's real but it won't be bad".

Australia's Prime Minister ignores science (and women)

The incoming Australian government under Tony "climate change is crap" Abbott has decided that climate change doesn't matter.  He has got around his "problem" of denying science by ignoring it.  He has decided to not appoint a Science Minister at all!  (That's better than appointing rabid science denier Dennis Jensen I suppose.)  No science Minister, no science portfolio.  What are you thinking, Tony?

He's also got around his problem in regard to women - by appointing only one - out of nineteen Ministerial appointments.  One!  He says he's disappointed there aren't two.  TWO out of NINETEEN!  What about aiming for ten out of nineteen, Tony?

Leading the charge against science

The disinformation charge began with Matt Ridley with an article in the Wall St Journal.  There were also two articles by David Rose in the Daily Mail (discussed here and here), which in turn were regurgitated by anti-science editor Graham Lloyd in The Australian.

There were some preliminaries.  For example anti-science campaigner and blogger, Donna Laframboise, put together articles from her silly little blog and published it as a book.  But that seems to have fallen flat.  I've not seen much on it apart from an equally silly article on WUWT.  Steve "mad, mad, mad" Goreham wrote on WUWT about a new Heartland Institute report by science deniers (an updated NIPCC report), but that didn't get much cyber-play either.  Which isn't surprising given the "arguments" these "not a climate" scientists put up in the past.

Anthony Watts is trying to get mileage by blowing the lies up into a ridiculous sounding sound-byte with an empty: "the IPCC edifice is crumbling".  His tweets are equally moronic. For example:

  • Tweeting to Brad Johnson of Forecast the Facts: your religion just died.
  • Tweeting to no-one in particular that: Amazed watching response 2 David Rose article. Warmists really DO want a catastrophe & are angry with anyone who suggests there might not be

Anthony Watts thinks climate science is a religion.  He joins economist Richard Tol (here and here) and others who protest climate science is a "religion" (see HotWhopper's Law of Science Denial).  And does he really think that people are pointing out his lies because they don't want the world to take action to mitigate global warming?  Talk about spin!

Deniers are shifting towards science

What is interesting is that the science deniers are accepting the IPCC report.  Instead of pretending it's wrong, they are misrepresenting what it contains.  That could be called progress of a sort and shows that the science maybe ahead in this war being waged on it by the anti-science crowd.

The list of most prominent deniers this time around is a bit different from George Monbiot's compilation back in 2009.  Some of his list have fallen by the way.  The one thing this current crop seems to have in common is an ideological opposition to doing anything to mitigate global warming.  They prefer a pay-after-disaster scheme, like the flood levy imposed on Australian taxpayers last year.  Here are some of the events that will require a "pay-after-disaster" rather than a cheaper preventative approach:

No room for complacency

Despite the fact that disinformers are showing signs of weakening there is no room for complacency.  For everyone's sake, it's important to take a strategic and multi-pronged approach to combating the people and organisations that want to destroy the world as we know it.  We need to keep "demolishing disinformation" when and where we find it.  Otherwise this new era of civilisation that showed such promise will be "stillborn".


  1. While I'm reluctant to attribute international significance to the recent election of Rupert's Rabbott, I suspect that the recent surge in international anglophone denialism (Willard, Rose, Lloyd & the rest of the Murdochrats) has a lot to do with the erection of the Prime Mustelid. Having lied their way into office, the relish with which the Hayek-lickers are going about decimating a rational response to climate change is obscene. This Oz election vindicates all of the Greedy Party's collective power fantasies: 52% of the vote gives Greg Hunt a "mandate" to demand that no one should oppose the LNP's policy of doing nothing about climate change? Bullshit.

  2. Hi thomas, could you direct me to which of these studies you refer too

    extreme events studies



    1. let us start with the european heatwave 2003


      90% likely that humans have doubled the likelyhood of this event occuring

      accepted or denied ?

    2. Here are 82 citations for Rahmstorf et al on attribution of european heat wave 2003


      again, accept human contribution to 2003 heatwave or deny?

    3. Thomas Murphy, you do not even answer the question. You do not agree with the European 2003 heatwave to be *attributable*, but this is not what John Byatt is asking you.

      Oh, and "biased methodology"? Surely we will now get an exposé of how the research was biased, yes? If not, summarily dismissing scientific results because you don't like the outcome, yes, that makes you a denier.


    4. I believe the conclusions of the reports are suspect at best

      Then please state *why*. Your childish evasiveness on this point heavily underscores the fact that you are arguing from assertion and that you know it.

      This is yet more denier dishonesty.

    5. Thomas, the comparison is incorrect for the simple reason that "attributable" means "sole cause" (or "main cause" - I'll give you some leeway), while "human contribution" may be, but not necessarily isn't.

      A heatwave is attributed to a number of factors coming together, and one of those factors is human greenhouse gas emissions. In the case of the European heatwave of 2003 this human contribution was significant. Without it, the heatwave would have been much less severe.


  3. Your first paragraph contains a strawman: no one argues that humans 'control' continental weather. The clear finding is that we are providing an input into the frequency of some extremes, and that AGW is proceeding as predicted,which then has influence on continental weather. Your second paragraph makes a simply wrong claim. Papers on the European heatwave of 2003 and Russian ditto of 2010 identify that internal natural variability cannot entirely suffice as exlanation, likewise other events have been identified as potentiated by atmospheric blocking events that are becoming more pronounced due to changes to Arctic albedo.

    Your third paragraph is a typical and tired argument from incredulity,with lashing of the absurd. There is no analogy between lightning god believers of pre-history and those who acknowledge attribution studies and their cautious conclusions.

    Carbon pricing,and renewable energy policy, in this country saw 'resource wasting' [i.e. burning coal] fall in this country. You're calling the world's scientific community fools? Wow! What was that about hubris?

  4. Thomas is our resident nutty "skeptic" who rejects science in favour of denialist memes. He gets caught up in knots a bit and likes words like "hubris" (like the creationists, except I think he's an atheist).

    Apart from longish comments and likening progressive thinkers to "Neanderthals" (with no sense of the irony) he's fairly harmless.

    He is absolutely certain he is right and all the tens of thousands of climate scientists in the world are wrong. He's also a bit of a fan of an ex-tv-weather announcer from somewhere in California, who rejects all the world's accumulated scientific knowledge because he doesn't like paying tax.

    1. yet I'm still confident to admit that I... matter

      Thomas, arguments from ignorance and from incredulity such as yours upthread never matter because these are logical fallacies. You are saying *nothing*.

    2. Argument from assertion is another logical fallacy committed above. We can also add evasiveness, dishonesty and misrepresentation.

      How much more of this tripe are you going to inflict on us?

  5. Thomas, you really think that building dams hasn't caused earthquakes? Or that humans have never altered the landscape or affected hydrological cycles by changing waterways and by deforestation, or that polluting the air with chemicals hasn't caused cooling, or that aeroplanes don't create contrails, or that bad farming practices haven't destroyed vast areas of land by making it saline or removing topsoil, or that Chernobyl and Fukishima have had no effect on nature, or that polluting the air with CO2 can't cause warming?

  6. Believing that the “extremeness” of recent, natural disasters is due to humanity’s minuscule contribution to a trace atmospheric gas

    **Physics denial**. You might as well deny the existence of gravity. You have just exiled yourself from rational discussion.

  7. the Earth because it will seek its own balance, regardless of what we do or not do.

    The climate system will tend towards quasi-equilibrium as CO2 forcing increases. GAT will increase until quasi-equilibrium with the elevated forcing is reached.

    You are either absolutely clueless or you are deliberately misrepresenting the way the climate system responds to changes in forcing.

  8. "please identify a locality that has higher surface temperatures with respect to its surroundings due to increased atmospheric CO2 (Hint: you cannot)."?

    "with respect to its surroundings" constraint is really really dumb, Thomas. You hint "you cannot" but why would one want to? It's meaningless.

    At least two thirds of earth has higher temperatures now because of the excess CO2 from global warming - dot points on the globe and their surroundings. Even if you live in one of the places where the temperature isn't going up by much, you must have seen the charts of global surface temperature.

    Where I live heat records of various sorts are being broken constantly. To wit: Australia's Angry Summer 2013; the fortnight record heat wave (and record heat) that caused the catastrophic Black Saturday fires in 2009. There is an increase in warmer nights, fewer cold nights, warmer winters, heat waves in spring - even dangerous bush fires in early spring this year.

    You really are a goose, Thomas.

    As for the rest of your comment - that's not worth a response. (Nor was the response I did supply, come to think of it. Too obvious. And only a hard core science denier would deny the way you do. And hard core deniers aren't worthy of a response.)

    BBD - clueless it is.

  9. Not just anecdotal, Thomas. Measured officially by BoM and with the human influence shown scientifically.

    For example:

    If I get time later and if you still haven't learned how to use google, I'll help you out with more when I get time later.

  10. @TM

    As stated, I was speaking more metaphysically and not scientifically via quantified processes, but you can ignore that, as you so artfully demonstrated.

    Now you are lying. You said this, on several occasions:

    Believing that the “extremeness” of recent, natural disasters is due to humanity’s minuscule contribution to a trace atmospheric gas

    That is a gross misrepresentation of the efficacy of CO2 forcing, and as such, it is clear-cut physics denial.

    * * *

    The models aren't designed to predict decadal variability exactly as it happens in the real climate system. Like most deniers, you don't understand what they are for and what they actually do. They are not weather models with multi-decadal predictive skill! They are climate models designed to provide insight into long-term change over the course of this century. Note that they *do* demonstrate decadal pauses. The issue here is not if, but when. Deniers have over-played this hand from the outset.

    As for a slight reduction in the lower bound for ECS - so what? It has not bearing whatsoever on your physics denial ("trace gas... minuscule contribution... very small carbon emissions input" etc). Further desperate evasion on your part. Own your physics denial - don't deny it!

    Finally, the fact that a lower bound of 1.5C is actually inconsistent with paleoclimate behaviour should give you pause. Is this really what is going to be in AR5? ~1.8C is about as low as you can plausibly go (and that's pushing it, but hey, it's a lower bound). I suspect you are overplaying your hand again.

  11. @ TM

    You said this:

    However, nudging an already trace atmospheric gas up a couple hundred parts per million – even with the known and as yet unknown forcings included - will have a negligible impact on the Earth because it will seek its own balance, regardless of what we do or not do.

    Here you combine physics denial (gross misrepresentation of the efficacy of CO2 forcing) with further nonsense.

    As I stated upthread, the climate system will tend towards quasi-equilibrium as CO2 forcing increases. GAT will increase until quasi-equilibrium with the elevated forcing is reached.

    As I stated upthread, you are either absolutely clueless or you are deliberately misrepresenting the way the climate system responds to changes in forcing.

    You dodged the original comment. Please indicate whether you are clueless or if you are deliberately misrepresenting the basics of physical climatology.

  12. But do they display multi-decadal "pauses" as we are experiencing now, gong on 15-17 years?

    Your "argument" is based on denier memes, not data. Look at the data. There *is* no 17yr (or 15 yr) pause. You have no argument.

    GAT should be increasing and not flat - unless you whimsically allege the missing heat is buried deep in the oceans as some have done.

    More denier rubbish. There is nothing "whimsical" about what the data show. The rate of vertical transport of warm water to below ~700m increased over the last decade as equatorial windspeeds increased slightly, "spinning up" the subtropical gyres. Enhanced Ekman pumping at the centres of the gyres provided the physical mechanism for vertical transport of warm surface waters to depth. This is exactly the kind of transient variability that causes the rate of tropospheric warming to fluctuate for a decade or so in the models. It passes. The forced tropospheric trend resumes its long-term upward slope.

    Once again, you have no argument, just empty denier memes.

  13. denier "SST is not warming"

    so what we measure OHC

    denier " zero to 700M is cooling"

    so what zero to 2000M is warming

    denier " we cannot measure OHC"

    we have heard it all before tom


  14. So, if you think we can measure accurately sea temperature changes in thousands of a degree, I have an orgone bucket blaster I want to sell you.

    But they do, Thomas. From the Argo website:
    Two temperature/salinity sensor suites are used - SBE, and FSI. The temperature data are accurate to a few millidegrees over the float lifetime. For discussion of salinity data accuracy please see the section on the Argo data system.

    And that's for individual floats. So when the readings are combined, the error is reduced much further than thousandths of a degree - more like of the order of 100 thousandths of a degree.

    If you'd ever bothered to investigate the nonsense that comes off your keyboard before you typed it, you'd know such things. But then I'm realising you probably do know better. You aren't just a science denier, you're using my website to try to peddle disinformation and doubt.

    Your talk of "sides" is a big givewaway.

  15. Thomas, you fail arithmetic as well as logic and are a good example of the Dunning Kruger Effect. You claim to know better than all the world's top experts but you're just another armchair nutter.

    As for labels - you have repeatedly denied science on this website therefore the label "denier" fits. Suck it up.

    Thanks for explaining what you meant by "sides" and pointing out that you are anti-science. As if you needed to. We know that already.

    Within science there are no "sides" but, as your posts here illustrate, you aren't interested in science and are in the disinformation game - anti-world not just anti-science.

    While you can comfort yourself that you "matter" to someone somewhere, your stupid uninformed and worse than wilfully ignorant "opinions" on the topic of climate do *not* matter. You're just another empty vessel making too much noise.

  16. Thomas Murphy, you say:

    "ARGO errors are NOT reduced because of the many temperature readings. Such an assertion MIGHT be true if the ARGO units comprising the system were truly independent readings obtained from the same, discrete ocean, but each ARGO unit measures (all by its lonesome) a different patch of ocean in which conditions vary greatly. Said otherwise, X Argo units do not report X independent readings at X time. The readings are NOT collected from the same one quantity or ocean, although many are tempted to assert that (like you, Sou) solely because each Argo unit reports temperature as a reading and floats in water."

    Really? Seriously?! Do you stand by this? Especially "...each Argo unit provides one reading at a specific location and time"?

    This is worth unpacking, because it takes the cake for one of the most egregious pieces of ignorance I've had the misfortune to read this week. I'll warn you in advance though - I've just had an extremely interesting ten minute conversation with a CSIRO oceanographer who works on the ARGO project, so I have a bit of a clue...

    Do expand on your claim though. I'm very interested to hear just what you think about this subject before I correct your ignorance.

    Bernard J.

  17. There are hundreds of scientific papers addressing the issue of measurement error with the Argo floats.


    I can guarantee that this clown has not read one of them. His nonsense comes from his usual feeding ground, climate crank blogs.

    I am with you Sou. Thomas the DuKe is all piss and wind.

  18. Bernard J.
    Ignore the clown and post anyway. I read a paper a while ago on the Argo measurement methodology. From memory it was similar to gridded surface temp analysis. But I should have linked it as I cannot find it again.

  19. @ TM

    My reference to sides was a play on past comments between BBD and I, as well as others, where I assert science has no sides, while BBD disagrees wholeheartedly.

    I see others have debunked your Tisdalian rubbish above. Data denial, Thomas, and on false premises at that.

    Now, about your lie. I have never said any such thing, so you are guilty of gross misrepresentation. What I have said is that there are two sides here: the scientific and the denier. You are a denier, and true to form, you deny your denial despite it's being pointed out to you over and over again.

    You start - and end - with physics denial. This was demonstrated above when you denied the efficacy of CO2 forcing, denied the forced change from anthropogenic emissions to date and grotesquely misrepresented the way the climate system responds to a change in forcing.

    I have grown increasingly frustrated with your lies and your refusal to accept valid correction. You now stand revealed as ignorant, wrong, dishonest and frankly rather stupid.

  20. Thomas Murphy.

    Are you going to explain your statement
    that "...each Argo unit provides one reading at a specific location and time"?

    Further, can you explain what you meant by "...X Argo units do not report X independent readings at X time. The readings are NOT collected from the same one quantity or ocean..."?

    Bernard J.


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