Monday, August 28, 2017

Stefan Rahmstorf wins the AGU Climate Communication Prize, so WUWT compares him to Hitler

Sou | 2:57 PM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment
Is it the horrors of Hurricane Harvey that have unhinged deniers at WUWT? I don't know, but something has.

There have been two articles bashing Stefan Rahmstorf, one of the world's leading ocean scientists. He is Professor of Physics of the Oceans at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The AGU is awarding him the Climate Communication Prize, which he richly deserves. As some sort of payback, deniers are using the Serengeti Strategy to defame Dr Rahmstorf in two (so far) ugly and ridiculous articles at WUWT.

In the first WUWT article, Charles the Moderator has copied and pasted an unhinged article by someone called Duane Thresher, who has a huge chip on his shoulder against climate scientists. Charles the Moderator included a photo of Hitler because that's what deniers do when they want to smear and defame. It's a Law of Deniers. That article is a nasty denier take on how Dr Rahmstorf took a newspaper to task way back in April 2010, after it published false information about an IPCC report. You can read about this on Dr. Rahmstorf's blog (if you don't read German you'll need to translate).

See the update below for more context.

Next Willis Eschenbach had a shot, with a wrong article about something that also happened seven years ago, even earlier than the first. This one was back in February 2010. In this case, Dr Rahmstorf was one of the scientists who pointed out errors in a paper in Nature Geoscience. The paper was subsequently retracted, with the authors thanking Drs Rahmstorf and Vermeer for finding the errors.

The really weird thing about Willis' article, and why I've speculated on the unhinging of deniers, is that in his article he links to an article in the UK Guardian, which points out that it wasn't Stefan Rahmstorf and Martin Vermeer who made the errors, it was they who found errors in the Nature Geoscience paper (by different authors). Yet Willis misinterpreted this as if it was a Rahmstorf paper that was retracted. He wrote (referring to Dr Rahmstorf):
Now, however, he’s had to retract one of his usual BS claims due to errors that he is unwilling to specify … details here.
The "now" is February 2010 - seven years ago. The "details here" show that it wasn't Stefan Rahmstorf who retracted any claims. It was he who discovered errors in a paper by different authors, that caused it to be retracted, way back in 2010. (The NatGeo authors included some of the biggest names in climate science, by the way.) Willis Eschenbach is nuts.

If you need more evidence that deniers are sleazy nut cases who have totally lost the plot, visit any denier blog of your choice.


After I published this article, Stefan Rahmstorf wrote to me to tell me about his correspondence with a bloke called Klaus Kaiser who writes for denier and right wing publications. (I didn't cover that part of Duane Thresher's article up top, but this is a story in itself.)

If you check you'll see that Duane Thresher has a habit of linking people who write about climate science with Nazis, including the Washington Post journalist, Chris Mooney, and Stefan Rahmstorf. In his WUWT article, Duane Thresher wrote:
After I posted the Heil KlimaFuehrer Rahmstorf! article I got an email from a Dr. Klaus Kaiser recalling his run-in with Rahmstorf. Kaiser had posted some climate articles on websites that had nothing to do with Rahmstorf (not even in the same country). Rahmstorf disagreed with the articles and “threatened to sue me [Kaiser] into financial ruin”....
Anyway, Kaiser just ridiculed Rahmstorf and left his posts up. I doubt PIK, where Rahmstorf holes up, even has lawyers and if they do, they and Rahmstorf should read Real Climatologists’ Legal page. 
Rahmstorf, with his Gestapo tactics, is using the Nazi-like fear that climate change warriorism has produced. ... 
Well, there were no "Gestapo tactics", and while some copies of Kaiser's uncorrected articles were left up as originally published, one of them was removed by the publisher and another was altered by the publisher (but not by Klaus Kaiser).

To see what Duane Thresher regards as "Gestapo tactics", this is what Professor Rahmstorf had written to Kaiser on 10 August 2015. (I've substituted the link in the email with a link to the archived article):
Dear Dr. Kaiser,

in the article http://www.principia-scientific.org/do-you-believe-in-climate-change/ you claim:
If I remember correctly, in 2008 one of PIK’s finest climate-warmists, Prof. S. Rahmstorf, claimed that by 2015 the last bit of sea-ice in the Arctic summer would disappear.
This is a false statement: I have never claimed such a thing, neither in 2008 nor any other time.
If the Gestapo had been as polite as Dr Rahmstorf, the world might not have suffered WWII.

In response Kaiser wrote that Dr Rahmstorf's request for correction "is falling on deaf ears all around" and that "you have repeatedly made claims as to the rapid disappearance of sea-ice in the Arctic with false or misleading information as to the actual facts." Rahmstorf responded with a straightforward and polite request:
Please provide the source of such a statement - if I have made a statement that has turned out to be incorrect, I will be very happy to correct it.
Stefan Rahmstorf
Needless to say, Kaiser was unable to provide any evidence that either Rahmstorf or anyone from his institute, PIK, had claimed anything like summer sea ice in the Arctic disappearing by 2015. In contrast, Rahmstorf had written in his popular 2006 book on climate change:
Older model scenarios still assumed that the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summer towards the end of the century. In the meantime it looks more likely that this will already be the case before the middle of the century.
Kaiser himself refused to correct the false statement so Dr Rahmstorf contacted the website hosting Kaiser's article, Principia Scientific, which removed his name from the false claim. However they retained the equally false claim that "...in 2008 PIK appeared to support the alarmist view that by 2015 the last bit of sea-ice in the Arctic summer would disappear. ", arguing that this wording "is not pertaining to you personally but to PIK and as such you have no legal standing under UK law to make demands concerning removal".

That paragraph looks odd now, because the editors left in this sentence, which after removing the previous reference to Professor Rahmstorf, has no context: "I wonder if Rahmstorf has ever been to the Arctic—in winter of course." Incidentally, Dr Rahmstorf has been to the Arctic in summer and in winter!

Photo: Stefan Rahmstorf in the Arctic.

Professor Rahmstorf told me that another website which had also published the Kaiser article, Canada Free Press (Kaiser's a regular author there), removed the offensive and wrong article altogether after Dr Rahmstorf complained, so he let the matter rest.

This all goes to show that science deniers are not merely dishonest, they are not at all interested in getting the facts right or in correcting false information.  (Some do comply with Godwin's Law, if not that of civilised society.)

Sou 4 September 2017

From the WUWT comments

I won't repeat the disgusting comments at WUWT.  There were at least a couple of comments from people who thought the Hitler photo was over the top. However I don't give them any praise because those same people weren't honest enough to point out that Stefan Rahmstorf was correct to call out the lies about the IPCC that were published in the media all those years ago.


  1. Perhaps, in these days of Trump, we should be grateful that Charles the Moderator still sees Hitler as a bad guy.

    1. I expect he's just faking that too. WUWT is still very pro Trump even though he's a white supremacist who just pardoned a sadistic racist killer. (I don't know much longer they can keep up the pretence.)

    2. "I don't know much longer they can ..."

      To infinity and beyond. h/t Buzz Lightyear

      How many times have you said something like this Sou? Their indefatigability is, well, indefatigable.

    3. I meant the pretense that deniers are against what Hitler stood for. (Tim Ball has quoted Hitler as if he's a hero, but no other WUWT author has done that yet.)

  2. Trump tweet on Harvey.

    "Even experts have said they've never seen one like this!"

    Are experts OK now? Presumably if they talk about the correct sort of expertise.

  3. 'If you need more evidence that deniers are sleazy nut cases who have totally lost the plot' - sorry, they have just won the US presidency. That is not totally losing, that is a total win.

    1. Hopefully not a "total" win. Surely there is some recovery from that.

      Even if they have won the the president does not mean they have not lost the plot.

    2. Its rather like here in the UK where the hard line Brexiters are celebrating even as we topple over an economic cliff.

    3. "Lost the plot" is an expression. It's hard to explain exactly what it means, but this comes close:


  4. Willis misinterpreted this as if it was a Rahmstorf paper

    I think the explanation is quite simple. Skim the first five or six paragraphs, and don't read the rest of the article.

    A very quick skim of the paper could give the impression that it was he Ramsdorf paper that was retracted. Well, that's how it struck me on a quick skim,and I had to go back and check my proper names and the sequence to see where the problem lies. I think it was somewhere between parap 4 and 6, inclusive.

    Don't bother reading the last paragraph and voilĂ .

  5. "Willis Eschenbach is nuts."

    Ya think? Also an egomaniac, but one who (unfortunately) knows how to write complete sentences. That's what makes him more evil.

  6. I am proud to say Stefan Rahmstorf did his PhD at Victoria University of Wellington. But did that Auckland University denier de Freitas (deceased) do his PhD at Queensland? And didn't denier Christy do his PhD under Kiwi Kevin Trenberth at Illinois?

    Quite clever people can be truly foolish no matter the training.

    Sadly Watts uses them to conduct an orchestra of windbags, blowhards and organ grinders.

  7. I noticed that this Duane Thresher claims to have worked with Gavin Schmidt over a period of 7 years, and claims him as "a friend". I checked on Google Scholar, and found precisely one paper authored by Thresher. It was indeed co-authored by Schmidt. Only problem: it was authored by more than 30 other people, so his link with Schmidt seems pretty tenuous. No other papers by anyone called Duane Thresher, or D. Thresher

    1. Actually, believe it or not, but Thresher does have more papers with Gavin Schmidt than just the one you found.

      Somewhere down the line, however, something seems to have gone really, really wrong with Thresher. I guess it was because of what happened with his wife

    2. I only found one paper in Google Scholar. There are four other published papers listed on his website (making it five in total) plus a PhD thesis. Most of them were from a whole bunch of authors and over a two year period - 2005-2007. The only one in the last ten years was seven years ago in 2010, and that's just a report of a workshop on dendrochronology. He's also listed a paper he couldn't get published, and what looks like a conference abstract from years ago.

      It looks as if he was a dogsbody for a while, not a publishing researcher, maybe employed as a post-doc.

      He's got a huge chip on his shoulder. It might have something to do with being knocked back for a job he wanted. He's obviously given up on that score now and decided to lash out at all and sundry instead. Not the wisest course of action I'd have thought.

      He might be trying to get on a denier speaker's circuit and make a few bucks that way. Who knows. He's making an insalubrious start by getting WUWT to copy and paste some silly whining bordering on defamation of scientist he envies.

  8. "Somewhere down the line, however, something seems to have gone really, really wrong with Thresher. I guess it was because of what happened with his wife"

    You can't leave me hanging like this! What happened?

  9. I've added an update to the article, after correspondence with Stefan Rahmstorf. He sent me info about the email exchange that Duane Thresher calls "Gestapo tactics".


Instead of commenting as "Anonymous", please comment using "Name/URL" and your name, initials or pseudonym or whatever. You can leave the "URL" box blank. This isn't mandatory. You can also sign in using your Google ID, Wordpress ID etc as indicated. NOTE: Some Wordpress users are having trouble signing in. If that's you, try signing in using Name/URL. Details here.

Click here to read the HotWhopper comment policy.