Climate Shift

by Judith Curry

Matt Nisbet has published a new report entitled “Climate Shift: Clear Vision for the Next Decade of Public Debate,” that is generating substantial controversy in the blogosphere.

Nisbet provides this background information on the study:

I wrote the Climate Shift report to inform the decision making of environmental leaders, philanthropists, scientists, scholars and others as they consider next steps in the effort to mobilize societal action on the undeniable, human causes of climate change. The report is the first independent, academic analysis to examine several longstanding questions that remain at the center of discussion over the cap and trade debate.

My hope is that the report encourages a substantive discussion of the questions addressed, the implications of the findings, as well as further study and analysis.

As I write in the report, following the failure of cap and trade, environmental groups are identifying a new policy agenda while also focusing heavily on the role of spending by opponents and on investing in communication efforts. As these plans move forward, a range of scholars and policy thinkers have argued for a deeper reconsideration of the problem and for a diversity of new policy approaches.

In order to inform planning and discussion, I spent the past five months gathering and analyzing data relevant to the following major dimensions that remain the subject of interest and much speculation.  In no place in the report do I make recommendations about what policy path should be taken.

From the Introduction and Overview:

As a range of environmentalists, scientists, philanthropists and scholars consider next steps in the debate over climate change, in this report I examine several longstanding questions that remain at the center of discussion. Effective strategy requires clear vision. The goal of this report is to provide analysis and insight that informs decision making.

Assisted in my research by a team of American University graduate students, I examined:

• the financial resources and spending of environmental groups and their opponents;

Overall, in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available, the major conservative think tanks, advocacy groups and industry associations took in a total of $907 million in revenue, spent $787 mil- lion on all program-related activities, and spent an estimated $259 million specific to climate change and energy policy. In comparison, the national envi- ronmental groups took in $1.7 billion in revenue, spent $1.4 billion on program activities, and spent an estimated $394 million on climate change and energy-specific activities.

• the planning efforts and investment strategies of major foundations;

Leading the report [Design to Win: Philanthropy's Role in the Fight Against Global Warming] was the recommendation that “tempering climate change” required a strong cap and trade policy in the United States and the European Union, and a binding international agree- ment on greenhouse gas emissions. The report predicted that passage of cap and trade legislation would “prompt a sea change that washes over the entire global economy.” The report included little to no discussion of the role of government and philanthropy in directly sponsoring the creation of new energy technologies. The report is additionally notable for the absence of any meaningful discus- sion of social, political or cultural dimensions of the challenge.

• the patterns in news attention and media portrayals of climate change;

Specific to the portrayal of the reality and causes of climate change, across the two years at The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN.com, approximately nine out of 10 news and opinion articles reflected the consensus view on climate change. At Politico during this period, at least seven out of 10 articles portrayed the consensus view. Only at The Wall Street Journal did this trend not hold up, yet even in this case, the difference in portrayal was confined largely to the opinion pages. Across the two-year period, at least eight out of 10 news articles at the paper reflected the consensus view, but at the opinion pages, less than half of articles asserted that climate change was real and that humans were a cause.

• the factors shaping the recent decline in public concern and belief in climate change;

Just as public opinion needs to be considered in the context of the economy and the message strategy of prominent political figures, belief in the reality and risks of climate change are also linked to the proposed policy solutions. Polling experts assert it is wrong to assume that questions asking about the causes and impacts of climate change are in fact measuring knowledge. Instead, answers to these questions are much more likely to be indirect opinions about cap and trade policy and an interna- tional agreement, explaining why even highly edu- cated Republicans appear in polling to doubt human caused climate change. Academic studies reach a similar conclusion. In these studies, perceptions of scientific consensus vary by an individual’s underly- ing ideological values and in relation to the inferred course of policy action.

• the factors influencing how scientists and environmentalists interpret and make sense of climate change politics.

As a result, in discussion of communication initiatives and political strategy, scientists and envi- ronmentalists tend to overlook how economic trends and their own actions might diminish public concern, and instead focus on presumed flaws in media cover- age or the activities of conservatives. Moreover, as organizations such as the AAAS train and encourage their members to engage in public outreach, most participants are likely to view politics very differently from the audiences with which they are trying to engage, a challenge that merits greater focus as part of these trainings.

From the Conclusion:

In the conclusion, I discuss the future of the envi- ronmental movement as one of two major coalitions that exist in American politics today—one motivated primarily by climate change and the other by energy insecurity. The “Green” network, as examined in this report, is composed of national environmental groups; allies among the Democratic Party and pro- gressive groups; politically active scientists and affili- ated organizations; and the philanthropists who have traditionally invested in their efforts. These groups continue to focus primarily on the urgent threat of climate change, the need for policies that regulate greenhouse gas emissions and conservatives and industry as the major obstacles to progress.

The “Innovation” network includes a coalition of left-leaning, centrist and right-leaning organizations joined by universities, groups such as the National Academies, energy scientists, technology entrepreneurs, business leaders and supporting foundations. The Innovation network’s portfolio of policies focuses on increasing research spending; improving science education; creating regional hubs for tech- nology development; reforming subsidies for fossil fuel industries; using defense spending and the mili- tary to catalyze wider changes in energy technology and use; and promoting such specific technologies as small-scale nuclear reactors, batteries, geothermal power, wind and solar power, carbon sequestration and biofuels. Instead of viewing conservatives and industry as obstacles to these goals, the innovation network tends to view them as potential partners.

Controversy

Before the press embargo had lifted, Joe Romm hit back hard with a piece, and then a follow on piece as well.  Romm’s criticism focuses on the financial analysis (i.e. who is spending more: the enviro groups or the libertarian think tanks).

Nisbet responds here to Romm’s criticisms.

Further discussions on this report are occurring at collide-a-scape.

JC’s comments:  Nisbet has raised a host of very interesting and “inconvenient” issues for the climate change movement. Nisbet’s points generally make sense to me, but I don’t know how to evaluate the details of the financial analysis.  Pondering the issues raised by Nisbet is important to foster innovation and new ideas for dealing with the climate change issue.

271 responses to “Climate Shift

  1. This is really interesting.

    It’s surprising how much money the right is meant to have spent as well. The big right wing think tanks seem to cover a lot of issues.

    It’s also interesting that Romm is so clearly losing now that he has to cheat to try and push his cause. He’s really become a bit of a relic now. He’s a prime example of an unbalanced environmentalist who is losing his grip.

  2. I find it absolutely fascinating and telling that academic studies are being done to explain why society is rejecting “climate change”. If the academics were not so smart they might realize that it is as simple as the whole man made global warming theory does not pass the “smell test”. And it is stinking up society the more they push it. It just does not occur to them that they are wrong and by whatever means necessary they are going to find a way to “prove” that they are right.

    The irony is that the harder they try the more pathetically stupid they look to the people who they not only look down upon, but are attempting to convince. In my lifetime perhaps ever, has academia been so corrupt and disengaged from the public at large, they live in a bubble which will not pop but is leaking credibility at an ever increasing rate. Sad, so sad.

    The only thing interesting about this “study” is that people actually think it is important, and that someone was willing to put up 100K to produce it. Imagine how many “climate refugees” a $100,000 could have fed, or how many clean cook stoves it could have bought.

    • Bruce Cunningham

      Spot on! There is a pertinent post right this moment at Climateaudit, that almost directly reflects this situation. Some comments there point out that when you are trying to market a Yugo, it is still a Yugo. Nothing kills a bad product quicker than good marketing.

      http://climateaudit.org/2011/04/17/the-smug-loop/

    • You profile Chris Mooney, Joe Romm, and their ilk perfectly.

    • In my lifetime perhaps ever, has academia been so corrupt and disengaged from the public at large, they live in a bubble which will not pop but is leaking credibility at an ever increasing rate. Sad, so sad.

      Your opinion is based on evidence:


      The verification period, the biggest “miss” was an apparently very warm year in the late 19th century that we did not get right at all. This makes criticisms of the “antis” difficult to respond to (they have not yet risen to this level of sophistication, but they are “on the scent”).

      http://bit.ly/ggpyM1

    • I am still waiting for one of these “mental illness studies” by the echo chambers in the social sciences and academia to put this item on their multiple choice tests:

      ( X ) The scientific data is inadequate to support the conclusion that humans are the primary cause of recent climate change.

      Let’s not ask the scary questions. Almost every one of these self serving studies poses the same false choice selection in a very transparent way:

      Please answer the following question:

      1. Do you agree that … fill in blank with AGW cause or effect …?

      If you answered no to the question above, please list all your mental deficiencies below. Leave blank if you are a simply a right wing anti-science moron.

      If you answered yes, there will be milk and cookies provided after the test.

  3. I hate labels, but it looks like Nisbet has me nailed for right-center “Innovation” kinda guy. The bucks for votes ratio is pretty interesting. The Left gang seems to be paying more to shoot themselves in the foot than I thought.

  4. The first sentence reads “I wrote the Climate Shift report to inform the decision making of environmental leaders, philanthropists, scientists, scholars and others as they consider next steps in the effort to mobilize societal action on the UNDENIABLE, HUMAN CAUSES OF CLIMATE CHANGE.” (My capitals)

    There is no need to read any more garbage. If you start off with the wrong assumption, you are bound to get the wrong answer. There are no “human causes of climate change.” Period. Really, Judith, I dont know why you bother to put up this complete and utter nonsense for us to consider.

    • Sounds like ample proof Dr. Curry’s aim is once again true. ;)

    • Well there are SIGNIFICANT amount of monies to be made on the exceptionally poorly designed and regulated carbon market- so i’m not at all suprised the political groups are pushing for it.

      I too got to the ‘undeniable’ statement and switched off.

      Dr Curry, with the greatest respect, a few of your last blog-posts have not exactly been…. up to your usual standard.

    • Labmunkey I agree – a few more posts like the last three and JC will be removed from my bookmarks.

      If there is nothing very interesting to say, say nothing. McIntyre often goes 10 days without a posting.

    • Its a tradeoff between my time constraints and blog dynamics. Some regulars like frequent new topics to discuss, even if not much original content is provided by me; others are dismissive of posts that do not have much content from me or otherwise don’t strike the “chord” that they are looking for. Stay tuned, by this weekend I will have an integrative past that clarifies why the issues of my recent posts are being raised.

    • I’m constantly trying to integrate the past. Commonly, I consider myself merely clinging to the wreckage.
      =============

    • Ok- thanks for the update Dr Curry. I look forward to your post.

    • Jim… I had just copied the same quote to make the same point. Great minds think alike or something.

      On the bright side, if anyone ever actually thought this issue had any real basis in any real science, this emerging propaganda battle is showing what it is really all about.

      There is a lot of money riding on the gang selling this, so they are spending full tilt and using plenty of cheap puppets.

  5. The first line has Nisbit as Nesbit.

  6. Dr. Curry, there is nothing in the report that surprises me. The fact environmental groups outspend libertarian groups should not surprise anyone. Neither should the portrayal in the media be a surprise to anyone. Everyone knows the editorial pages of WSJ are conservative and the news pages are left-leaning.

    But none of this really goes to the heart of the issue which is “what does the science say?” Unfortunately, the AR4 is biased in its assessment. We do not have a unbiased assessment of the science.

  7. “The Innovation network’s portfolio of policies focuses on increasing research spending; improving science education; creating regional hubs for tech- nology development; reforming subsidies for fossil fuel industries; using defense spending and the mili- tary to catalyze wider changes in energy technology and use; and promoting such specific technologies as small-scale nuclear reactors, batteries, geothermal power, wind and solar power, carbon sequestration and biofuels.”

    Its the AGW crisis research-industrial complex. Modeled after the military-industrial complex. Promote real or usually imaginary threats to extort taxpayer money. Also known as blackmail when little people do it.

    • CHARLES KELLEY

      “Promote real or usually imaginary threats to extort taxpayer money.”

      Perhaps you are you referring to Homeland Security here!

  8. None of this “substantial controversy” focuses upon the fact that the greenhouse effect has been definitively disproved, by data that is nearly 20 years old (and by me, an independent physical scientist, not a climate scientist), and that James Hansen and others who have promulgated it all these years are now known to be simply incompetent. So this “controversy” has all the credibility of a TV “reality” show, or what previous generations called a dog-and-pony show: Sheer entertainment for the geeks (the largely deluded public), to keep them from waking up to the fraudulent science behind the politics.

    • ” the fact that the greenhouse effect”

      Wa?? News to me.

      Or are you reffering to the application of this effect wrt c02 in the earths atmosphere? as that’s a slightly different thing.

  9. It occurs that the who-outspends-whom question is arising more and more often, and taking on a life of its own.

    I know John Mashey on his side has been tabulating his own figures diligently with assiduous attention to evidence and detail, while some quite incredible figures float around in both camps, like Joanne Nova’s famously bloated guesstimate, alongside some quite well-grounded bookkeepping by others.

    Is it time for the topic to get its own thread, perhaps with opposing views presented by champions for their case? John Mashey vs. Joanne Nova seems unlikely, but I’m sure someone from each side could be persuaded to venture their opinions on Climate Etc.

    Though this thread itself is a significant and worthwhile topic.

    I want to know what the subtext of the movies and television news I’ll be avoiding for the next ten years will be.

    So if you have a scheme to deliver your best +/-AGW dogma, stand forth and deliver.

    Be brief.

    Be bright.

    Be entertaining.

    • Jo Nova’s estimate is famously bloated says who?
      AGW extremists have already earned a severe lack of trustworthiness on most climate topics. Why is Jo Nova’s estimate so bad?
      Please be specific.
      TIA,

    • andrew adams

      The arguments about the funding of climate change “skepticism” have never been about whether Heartland is spending more than Greenpeace. I think the line of argument Nisbet is pursuing here is a red herring and Romm is missing the point in the way he has responded. The amounts spent may be instructive in indicating the scale of what is happening but ultimately it is the manner in which those funds are being spent which is the issue for those of us on the pro-AGW side.

      Greenpeace, WWF, FotE etc are unashamedly advocacy groups. They are open about their aims and people can take this into account when making judgements about their claims regarding the dangers of AGW. The accusation against the likes of Heartland, Cato, Exxon Mobil etc. is that they have been practising advocacy in a particularly underhand way and trying to disguise the fact that they are doing so.

  10. Consider A and B arguing about proposition X.

    A: It’s agreed that X is true.

    B: No, it’s controversial.

    Who won that argument, and how much money did he or she need to spend to win it?

    The creationists deduced this a long time ago when they decided not to ask schools to teach that evolution was false, but only that the schools “teach the controversy”.

    The climate contrarians have come to same conclusion. This does not mean that they are either right or wrong.

    None of this relates to the merits of the argument on any side of any issue, but simply to the fact that a proposition becomes controversial merely by stating it is, and that takes little spending. The left over money can then be spent supporting political candidates sympathetic to one’s cause.

    Regarding human responsibility for addressing climate change, the issue remains politically divisive in the U.S. Opinion polls that include addressing environmental concerns overall, including but not limited to climate change, show that few members of the public consider those concerns an urgent priority. On the other hand, those are the concerns most often cited as a long term threat if unaddressed. These views are likely to reflect current economic realities and the sense of urgency they engender, and will probably change when the recession ends.

    • None of this relates to the merits of the argument on any side of any issue, but simply to the fact that a proposition becomes controversial merely by stating it is, and that takes little spending.

      Corollary: claiming that the science is settled is a really dumb idea.

    • Fred,
      Bunk. In fact you are rather offensive in your mild way in relentlessly pursuing the smear of skeptics by way of religious fanatics.
      Your closing para is pure bs: You assume there is a human responsibility to be assessed.
      You are in effect the banal, bland side of AGW extremism. But you are no more amenable to fact than any 350 kook who thought blowing up skeptical kids was really cute.

    • Are you saying that in making a comment, it’s wrong to link people you disagree with to other people who are ill thought of?

    • Fred,
      I am saying that if I connected an AGW promoter to, say for example only, a Nazi propagandist for the way you persistently push the AGW position all the while feigning a cheery reasonable attitude, you would be rightly offended.
      But it is ‘cool’ to beat up on creationists by way of caricatures of their beliefs (which I absolutely have no interest in discussing) and pretend that it is OK to paint skeptics with a brush as prejudicial and inflammatory as you do.
      Well it is not.
      I have yet to see any skeptic here
      1) use the tactic you claim creationists use
      2) invoke creationism as a supporting idea for skeptical belief.
      So to do it is to simply by inflammatory and prejudicial and i am tired of it.
      You guys are losing not only because your science stinks and your claims are crap. You are also losing because so many of you think it is cool to denigrate and belittle skeptics.

    • andrew adams

      hunter,

      Once again, you are extremely quick to take offence at Fred’s extremely mild remarks whilst never being slow to throw much worse stuff at people on the other side of the argument yourself, although to be fair you are hardly the only culprit here. Personally I don’t have a problem with “robust” debate but people really shouldn’t dish it out if hey can’t take it.

    • aa –
      Personally I don’t have a problem with “robust” debate but people really shouldn’t dish it out if hey can’t take it.

      Something you should think about – the creationist thing is also extremely racist.

      How many creationists are there on the planet? Why do you think all of them are old, rich, white males as Martha has put it?

      How many religions are there? Let me count the ways – the many varieties of Buddhism, Muslim, Hindu, a large number of Amerind variations, Voodun, and a large number of African variations – that’s enough to make the point.

      The point being that every one of those religions and all their followers are CREATIONIST.

      And very few of those followers areold, rich, white males. In fact, very, very few of them are even white.

      All of which reduces to – dissing creationists is racist.

      So – as a liberal/progressive, how does one reconcile to being a racist?

      One last point – how many of those brown, black and red people are believers in AGW? And believers in their religion as well? How do you reconcile that dichotomy?

      The “creationist” argument is meant as an insult – but the reality is that it exposes the ignorance/stupidity/prejudice of those who use it.

    • andrew adams

      Jim,

      I don’t agree that dissing creationists is racist. I don’t doubt that there are many people of varying creeds/races who one could class as “creationists” in the sense that they believe that their god created the earth and all life on it, and if people want to believe that I really don’t care.
      But I don’t see why anyone shouldn’t be free to point out that such beliefs are nothing more than myths which have no basis in science and I certainly object to such beliefs being taught in schools (at least in science lessons) as a credible alternative to evolution. And as there are people who do hold up creationism (or intelligent design, which is no more than creationism in fancy trousers) as such an alternative ISTM reasonable to hold it up as an example of people pushing an unscientific agenda. I would make no distinction between those who are white/black/Jewish or whatever.

    • aa –
      I don’t agree that dissing creationists is racist

      I didn’t expect you to agree. Few racists are capable of seeing their own prejudice.

      But I don’t see why anyone shouldn’t be free to point out that such beliefs are nothing more than myths which have no basis in science

      lol – care to try that in Baghdad or Basra? Or a lot of other places.

      I certainly object to such beliefs being taught in schools (at least in science lessons)

      We can agree on that, at least.

      STM reasonable to hold it up as an example of people pushing an unscientific agenda.

      So, like Fred, you’re a believer in PC when it’s convenient but you ignore it whenever it suits you.

      I would make no distinction between those who are white/black/Jewish or whatever.

      You might best rethink your position if you ever find yourself in a crowd of Muslims or Voodooists. It’s guaranteed that “necklacing” or other local customs won’t improve your health. :-)

    • andrew adams

      I didn’t expect you to agree. Few racists are capable of seeing their own prejudice.

      So you are actually caling me a racist?

      lol – care to try that in Baghdad or Basra? Or a lot of other places.

      How does that contradict what I said? The fact that one should be able to express an opinion unfortunately does not mean that it is always safe to do so.

      So, like Fred, you’re a believer in PC when it’s convenient but you ignore it whenever it suits you.

      This is nothing to do with PC.

      You might best rethink your position if you ever find yourself in a crowd of Muslims or Voodooists. It’s guaranteed that “necklacing” or other local customs won’t improve your health.

      Again, see my comment above.

    • aa –
      So you are actually caling me a racist?

      I don’t label people – they label themselves.

      How does that contradict what I said? The fact that one should be able to express an opinion unfortunately does not mean that it is always safe to do so.

      What makes you think it’s EVER safe? I actually agree that one should be able to express an opinion. There is, however, the point that there are opinions that should not be expressed out of common courtesy and decency.

      This is nothing to do with PC.

      Of course it is. you’re OK with verbally attacking a particular group that’s never done you any harm and, in fact, is incapable of doing you harm. That’s one of the definitions of a violation of PC.

      Again, see my comment above.

      I did. It makes no more sense the second time around.

    • aa,
      The point is not creationists, and you should know it.
      The point is pretending and make-believing that somehow skeptics are like creationsists.
      “creationist”, like “denier” is an adjective designed to stifle discussion and to make the one brushed with the monicker an irrelevant marginalized person whose ideas are unworthy of consideration.
      I can dish it and take it at least as well as anyone here.
      You on the believer side of the issue are the ones who have to resort to false characterizations to even stay in the game. No wonder you cling to your falsehoods so hard.

    • Fred –
      Are you saying that in making a comment, it’s wrong to link people you disagree with to other people who are ill thought of?

      Yes. The only way it would be acceptable would be if it’s provable that the analogy is valid. This was blindfolded handwaving in the dark.

      The creationists deduced this a long time ago when they decided not to ask schools to teach that evolution was false, but only that the schools “teach the controversy”.

      Not sure where you got that from but even if it were acceptable argumentation, it’s wrong. The history of “evolution and the schools” is a lot more complex than your simplification. And the decision you attribute to them is non-existent/never happened. You should have dumped that entire thought.

      FYI – I know a fair number of creationists with a number of entirely different varieties of belief. And few, if any, of them are as stupid as you imply. I’d suggest that you learn, at the very least, what they believe – and how many variations of those beliefs there are before dissing them. Some of them are better scientists than some of the climate establishment.

      A final thought here – liberal/progressives are the originators of PC. And they are the most constant and egregious violators of the behavior they demand of the rest of humanity. We can discuss that sometime if you want, but I should caution you that you wouldn’t be happy with the conversation. I have family, friends and acquaintances who have been on the receiving end of all that kinder, gentler liberal PC. It ain’t a pretty sight.

      And to answer your obvious question – I was, but I’m not. But the transition was a long, hard, bumpy and very educational road.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      The “creationists” Fred Moolten refers to aren’t creationists as a whole. Unfortunately, the group chose the label, and it has caught on. That said, normally you’ll see the word capitalized (Creationists) to distinguish them from creationists in general.

      A creationist is just a person who believes some form of creation outside natural processes happened in the chain of events which led to humans coming into existence. They’re exact beliefs can be any number of things, ranging from believing the Christian God caused the Big Bang (and did nothing else) to believing aliens are responsible for life on Earth forming.

      A “Creationist” is typically just a member of fundamentalist Christianity. By picking that name, they can shroud themselves and make it harder for people to oppose them. They shouldn’t be allowed to hold claim to the name, but non-religious people don’t care much about the distinction, and religious people don’t want to fight them.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      I responded to the wrong tree, but you can see what I said here.

    • andrew adams

      hunter

      In fact you are rather offensive in your mild way in relentlessly pursuing the smear of skeptics by way of religious fanatics.

      Yeah because you would never accuse us pro-AGW types of being akin to religious believers.

    • Yeah because you would never accuse us pro-AGW types of being akin to religious believers.

      I would. I don’t have any issue with the religion and faith of others, so long as they do not force me to tithe and respect my aversion to being converted.

      The idea that AGW Skeptics are injecting ‘controversy’ into the debate for reasons similar to creationists’ supposed interest in injecting creationism into their local schools a non sequitur. It is not controversial to question one’s methods or conclusions especially when both are vague at best and are being found to be dubious at an increasing rate. Evolution is not vague nor are the methods and conclusions, it describes the best Natural Cause for life as we know it today.

      Furthermore, it is the creationists that are attempting to describe a non-natural cause for the diversity of living species and those that have gone extinct. So follow the AGW Advocates/Believers attempting to describe a non-natural cause for it being warm in the middle of an Interglacial. It is the AGW Skeptics who are the defenders of Natural Cause/Law in the case of Climate.

    • A very nice point. In fact, the metaphor is reversed. Fred had no idea the irony of his analogy. But not many understand your point, End is Far Off and Cold.
      ============

    • “pro-AGW types of being akin to religious believer”

      Science and religion (or at least their followers) have a lot in common. Both purport to reveal truth.

    • aa –
      Yeah because you would never accuse us pro-AGW types of being akin to religious believers.

      Don’t get silly on us – you’re a card-carrying member of the High Church of CAGW.

      There are a number of places on the Web that define – and justify – CAGW as religion.

    • andrew adams

      There are a number of places on the Web which say all sorts of very silly things.

    • Yes – RC, ClimateProgress, skepticalscience and others.

    • andrew adams

      Haha – neat response, although I would trust any of those over WUWT any day.

    • aa,
      Don’t like the similarity being pointed out? Then stop fabricating one on skeptics.

    • andrew adams

      hunter,

      My point was to point out your apparent hypocrisy in objecting to skeptics supposedly being labelled as religious fanatics when you do the same to us pro-AGW types.

    • Robert E. Phelan

      Michael Crichton laid it out pretty well:
      http://sitewave.net/news/s49p1521.htm

      And the sociologist Max Weber’s address on Science as a Vocation is relevant:
      http://www.ne.jp/asahi/moriyuki/abukuma/weber/lecture/science_frame.html

    • Fred,

      Surely you understand that the skeptical position has nothing to do with what you claim is a strategy of creationists. Trying to draw equivalence between the two is remarkably disingenuous. The skeptical position is simply dictated by the nature of science itself. One cannot prove a negative. Therefore all a skeptic can say for sure is that the CAGW proponents have not proven their hypothesis. That is hardly “teach the controversy”.

      If anything, the shoe is actually on the other foot. “Intelligent Design” and CAGW are both unproven, but passionately proselytized, hypotheses and neither should have a place in a science classroom. The first is non-falsifiable and the second is constantly being redefined by its proponents to such a degree that it is now essentially non-falsifiable (warming vs change vs disruption and drought vs flooding, big freeze vs big melt, etc). One is motivated by the proponent’s non-scientific faith in a deity and the other is motivated by the proponent’s non-scientific faith in a political ideal (collectivism, anti-industrialization, etc). There. Now, how’s that shoe fitting?

      BTW: I don’t believe in god(s) and I’m not a conservative. I’m rabidly pro-science and I call BS on both CAGW and god for exactly the same reason. No credible evidence. Oh, and just to be equal opportunity (so no one feels left out); UFOs, Bigfoot, homeopathy, spoon-bending, ESP, Bermuda triangle, chiropractic, dead Nigerian dictators, acupuncture, Santa Claus, magnetic bracelets, Elvis sightings, et al are no different.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Period.

    • Oh, I think the analogy to Intelligent Design is fairly sound–both it and climate skepticism are a rejection of the official party line on the grounds that, when you scratch the surface, it turns out neither is supported by sufficient evidence. I realize it’s not quite so sheik to be a skeptic about evolution, but like CAGW, the present theory of evolution is more faith than science.

      Ben Stein’s movie on the subject was a brilliant illustration of the point. When confronted with the shortcomings of the present theory of evolution, its leading champtions literally defended evolution on the grounds that life on Earth might have been seeded by aliens. Well, I suppose it might, but surely that doesn’t deserve to be regarded as a settled scientific proposition.

      Incidentally, much as climate skepticism does not assert that the Earth is not warming, Intelligent Design does not assert that natural processes are not the origin of species. It simply contends that the presently accepted hypothesis, that all forms of life are the products of random mutation followed by natural selection, does not appear to explain either the observed diversity of life, or the origin of life itself. I, for one, fully expect their are other natural and scientifically identifiable processes that account for both, but we’ll never find them if we’ve been persuaded that there’s no need to look.

      So like I said, the parallel seems pretty good, to me.

    • Can you explain how the Theory of Evolution is based on faith?

      Furthermore, ‘champions’ are not needed nor desired for good theories. If the evidence does not provide a sound defense for the theory, then the theory is bad. If it takes PR, Champions, Experts, Authority, Consensus, etc then prudence dictates skepticism with increasing ardor as the above increase.

      Further furthermore :) Evolution does not state that all forms of life are the products of random mutation followed by natural selection. Evolution is the change over time in one or more inherited traits found in populations of organisms. Natural selection, the ability to survive within an environment (highly variable as it turns out), and genetic drift are the two causes of change over time in inherited traits.

      Evolution does not attempt to explain the origin of life, only the variation over time. And while ‘random’ is often used to describe genetic drift, it is only as random as the number of gene variants available. Natural selection is fairly well explained, more so since Darwin, and today the causes of genetic drift are better understood since the genomes of many species have been recorded and the role of retroviruses and their variety is better understood.

      If you turn off, replace, or remove a particular gene, exact predictions can be made. Not ‘almost’, no need for averaging the multiple results to give a sliding scale of ‘likeliness’, exact predictions. Any theory that ‘almost’ gets it right is not useful for making predictions and therefore is a poor theory.

    • “Can you explain how the Theory of Evolution is based on faith?”

      Sure–though I believe you already understand it, since you recognized the distinction between the theory that random mutation followed by natural selection happens, and the theory that it, alone, explains all biodiversity. I very much agree that the one does not imply the other. So what I’m asserting is that the “orthodox” position on evolution is, in fact, the stronger proposition, not the weaker (but sounder) one.

      But I’ll answer your question anyway; I think it’s important. I find two different lines of analysis persuasive. The first is syllogistic. Obviously, the fact that random natural mutation happens does not prove that there are not other forces at work. Without further information, Occam’s razor might suggest that as the most reasonable initial hypothesis. But we do have further information. I won’t belabor it here, but suffice it to say, at least for the moment, there are quite a few shortcomings in our knowledge that make it unreasonable to assume random mutation is the sole driver of biological diversity.

      However, I think the other line of analysis is actually the more persuasive. It follows from direct observation of the mental and emotional behaviors of the adherents of the “orthodox” theory. The relevant data include strong and bitter emotional responses to religious faith, coupled with a stated belief that their evolutionary theory renders religious faith irrational and stupid. (Note that the “weaker” theory of evolution does not have this trait.) In other words, when you spend time around these people, it becomes apparent that they have an irrational affinity for the theory, rooted in their irrational antipathy for religious faith, and a desire to “negate God.” See, e.g., Dawson and his book, “The God Delusion.” (BTW, I don’t mean to suggest that religious faith is any more rational–just that there seems to be an ulterior motive among those who profess “strong evolution.”) Indeed, a good friend of mine who was a molecular biologist at a research institution became the target of a controversy when it was discovered that he was a Christian. There was a serious debate about whether he could be permitted to remain with the department, despite the fact that he’d been working there for years, and had been highly regarded for his work.

      All of this is especially ironic because if you spend any amount of time around these folks in the lab, and you’ll discover that “Intelligent Design” is actually closer to their working hypothesis than random mutation. It’s quite routine to hear them anthropomorphize DNA, talking about how a given gene sequence “wants to do this” or “likes to do that.”

    • None of this relates to the merits of the argument on any side of any issue, but simply to the fact that a proposition becomes controversial merely by stating it is, and that takes little spending.

      Fred M: Not really, unless you mean that any proposition becomes controversial if only a few persons say so, in which case you are saying very little.

      For instance, there are those who claim that the Apollo moon landings were hoaxed and therefore controversial, but does that mean the Apollo moon landings are controversial? Of course not.

      That skeptics have said the claims of climate scientists are controversial and made it stick because climate scientists have presented a muddled, arrogant, propagandistic and at times dishonest case to the public that has turned a substantial number of people against climate science.

    • I’ve debated many a 9/11 truther, and there’s a clear distinction between doubt and paranoid fantasy. This is actually an interesting subject, because people let their cognitive biases determine what’s reasonable doubt and what’s paranoid fantasy, but it all comes down to burden of proof. Nobody bears the burden of proof when they state that the moon landings are real or that 9/11 was exactly what our eyes told us it was. Making predictions about the future falls in the other category. And AGW falls under the heading of making predictions of the future.

    • Fred’s problem (as demonstrated on this thread and others on this site) is that he is a “believer” in the pseudo-religious dogma that AGW is a serious threat to mankind and our environment.

      This goes one step further than being stuck in a scientific paradigm and being unable to see outside the box of that paradigm (Kuhn), because it is primarily emotional rather than rational. Is the basic emotion one of “fear”? Is it one of “guilt”? Is it some sort of combination of these emotions with ideological views on capitalism and industrialization? Who knows?

      Anything which conforms his dogma is eagerly accepted as “gospel truth”. Anything that puts it in doubt is simply rejected (or ignored).

      Fred is clever enough to cloak all this in “rational” sounding verbiage and “scientific” sounding double-talk, but his underlying dogmatic belief is hard to hide.

      Debating AGW with Fred is very much like arguing with a “creationist” (an analogy he likes to make for those who disagree with his dogma, but which more aptly applies for himself).

      These are just my observations here.

      Max

    • Max, that is a good assessment.

      I believe AGW is the ideological out come of environmentalism and like all ideologies it will be tested for its validity and will either be accepted or rejected. It is an extremely powerful movement. In my life, I have not seen any movement that succeeded in scaring the world of human existence. Fortunately, they put into paper a projection of 0.2 deg C per decade global warming that has not materialized. Most of them are questioning their predictions in private as evidenced in the climategate emails, but they don’t admit it in public. The global mean temperature anomaly has been flat for more than a decade. With a couple of more years of no global warming, AGW will be buried, as it deserves. Unfortunately, that will be the birth of AOA (Anthropogenic Ocean Acidification).

    • Fred, you are wrong on two counts. First, the question as to whether a proposition is agreed to or controversial (by some population) is an empirical one. So evidence can be presented both ways, as it is in the climate debate. B’s claim is only automatically true if the population in question is limited to A & B. Then the argument has the form “We agree,” “No we don’t.”

      Second, your claim that ” a proposition becomes controversial merely by stating it is, and that takes little spending” is false when a large population is concerned. It takes a great deal of money to get a message out, especially when the mainstream press is against you, as is the case with climate skepticism. Fortunately the Internet revolution has fundamentally changed the equation.

      (BTW I too find the reference to creationism offensive. It is a common ploy.)

  11. Gee, I’d rather read a scientific debate than a sociology debate. People like Nisbit would just believe anything Hansen told him.

    • Bill,
      The AGW movement has always been a social studies phenomenon, not a real hard scientific issue (no offense to my sociology friends).

    • these social studies people seem to publish a lot in high impact science journals. How do they manage to contribute around 97% of all peer reviewed articles in climate science with just a sociology training?

      On checking the facts I have discovered that they have covered their tracks by obtaining science qualifications, research positions and expertise in different sciences related to climate, conducting research and publishing the findings after a process of peer review. These sociologist sure do have a lots of time on their hands if they go to all that trouble to cover their conspiracy!!!

      http://mitigatingapathy.blogspot.com/

    • Your numbers are nonsense. The only sociology articles in climate journals have to do with the human side: emission scenarios, impact analysis and adaptation.

    • David,
      paul is trying to pretend that I am accusing hansen, for example, of being a social scientist.
      He missed the point completely.
      Or saw it and hoped to dissemble away from it.

    • paul,
      That went ‘whoosh!’ over your head.
      Sorry about that.
      In the days of uegenics and Lysenkoism, a lot of highly respected scientists published a whole lot of stuff about how great eugenics or Lysenkoism respectively were.
      That did not make them any less pernicious social movements that did not help science or accomplish the stated goals.
      Is that clearer for you, or are you still going to wander around with your need to make up ridiculous plots out of what I did not say?

  12. So, next time Man and Co. shout ” deniers funded by big oil ” etc. how about somebody throws this at him and calls out his falsehoods?

    The report states what is well known, which is the pro-AGW crowd rake in and spend a lot more money trying to promote their garbage and most of the media has been supporting them so far. Yet, mystery of mysteries, joe public is not having it and scepticism has increased. The AGW crowd then seem to thin k that it is a ” communications ” problem.

    They still have not get it that their science and data is rotten and people can see through that.

    And people like Joe Romm, true to form, act more demented, showing the world what kind of people this crowd is comprised of.

  13. “….dealing with climate change….requires us to fundamentally question basic principles of societal organization…”

    There is no doubt in my mind as to the meaning of this statement!

    Cheers,
    Big Dave

    • Big Dave,
      The part of society organizations we ahve need to deal with are the crazy amounts of influence granted to NGO’s, academics and other industrial lobbyists who use fear to demand money and laws that just happen to by the way give them lots and lots of moolah to study the very thing they claim is such a big problem.
      We need to make sure that never again do spouses of elected or bureaucratic officials lobby for groups that bring matters before the Congress or bureaucracies.
      No more interlocking boards of political hacks, academic opportunists and industrial profiteers moving in a mobius strip conveyor belt grabbing money on their endless looping and looting trips.
      For starters.

  14. “Specific to the portrayal of the reality and causes of climate change, across the two years at The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN.com, approximately nine out of 10 news and opinion articles reflected the consensus view on climate change. At Politico during this period, at least seven out of 10 articles portrayed the consensus view.”

    How laughably unpersuasive this is. Liberal media embracing liberal orthodoxy. Who could have imagined it?

    I’ve a plan for resolving the climate debate once and for all. All those who are believers must spend an hour a day for 3 months reading skeptical blogs. Meanwhile, all skeptics must devote the same amount of time to warmist blogs. At the end of this period we’ll take a poll among the participants.

    Is there any doubt at all about which side would prevail? Or at the very least, any doubt about which side would lose the most adherents?

    • I tried to read warmist blogs, but it hurt. What should I do?

    • Edim

      You can read them (warmist blogs, such as RealClimate or ClimateProgress), but don’t try to post there.

      They have strict censorship rules with gatekeepers like Schmidt and Romm making sure no skeptical views are posted. These rules allow “ad hom” attacks on non-believers to pass through.

      Strangely enough, the “skeptical” sites (ClimateAudit, WUWT) do not need to censor out dissenting views and “neutral” sites (such as this one) do not censor out any views. Neither of the latter allow open “ad hom” attacks using profanity or vulgarity to pass through (at least I’ve never seen any such attacks posted there).

      Just a matter of style, I guess.

      Max

    • Just like Hansen’s paper, a little more science and a little less Wagnerian drama would make it easier to swallow. All Hansen needs to add is a few old Norse gods, and…

    • That’s what I meant by “hurt”. I can not stand the…

      The only interesting thing is if you are interested in psychology. Then it’s very interesting! All that projecting, denial…

  15. Interestingly,
    When eugenics was falling apart, the same sort of elites- intellectuals, academics, rich private foundations and activists allied themselves to push even harder for their power in the public square.

  16. Once again, the committed AGW believers can only come up with a solution that consists of pushing more propaganda and yelling more loudly. Once again allegedly smart AGW people are unable to consider the possibility that perhaps they should maybe consider checking their basic assumptions about catastrophic climate change caused by CO2. As a group, AGW believer seem only able to yel louder or more rudely, like Romm, for instance, when things don’t go their way. And our idiot political and business leaders seem to just schlep along for the nice sciencey feel of the AGW promoter arguments.

  17. If Professor Curry will allow me to speak frankly:

    There is no need to “mobilize societal action on the undeniable, human causes of climate change” because the stormy Sun, not CO2 controls Earth’s changing climate – as explained in papers published in 2002, 2009 and 2011 [1-3].

    You, me, Al Gore, members of the UN’s IPCC, the US National Academy of Sciences, and the UK’s Royal Society have all been living in the outer layer of the Sun, the heliosphere (a sheath of waste products from the neutron star at the core of the Sun that extends beyond the furtherest planet), most assuming that TSI is the only solar variable that might cause climate change.

    That assumption is false, as reported in these papers [1-3]. Neutron repulsion as an energy source in the strong gravitational fields at the cores of the Sun, other stars and galaxies is now at the cutting edge of the latest discoveries in physics [4-7].

    1. “Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate”, Journal of Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002):
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0501441

    2. “Earth’s Heat Source – The Sun”, Energy and Environment 20, 131-144 (2009):
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

    3. “Neutron Repulsion”, The APEIRON Journal, in press, 19 pages (2011):
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

    4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13097370

    5. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1104.0699v1

    6. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1104.0116

    7. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1103.1496

  18. Willis Eschenbach

    Fred Moolten | April 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Consider A and B arguing about proposition X.

    A: It’s agreed that X is true.

    B: No, it’s controversial.

    Who won that argument, and how much money did he or she need to spend to win it?

    The creationists deduced this a long time ago when they decided not to ask schools to teach that evolution was false, but only that the schools “teach the controversy”.

    The climate contrarians have come to same conclusion. This does not mean that they are either right or wrong.

    None of this relates to the merits of the argument on any side of any issue, but simply to the fact that a proposition becomes controversial merely by stating it is, and that takes little spending.

    1. When you equate skepticism about Tinkertoy™ models on the one hand, with disbelief in evolution on the other, you do your own cause harm. Nobody buys that one, it’s too transparently and obviously not a parallel situation, so the metaphor doesn’t work.

    2. Science doesn’t “become controversial”. It starts with controversy, that of the null hypothesis and whether it is falsified. (In the case of climate, we haven’t gotten past that controversy.)

    Then, if the null hypothesis is falsified, science moves forwards to the controversy about the cause of said failure.

    Now, you want to ignore all of that, act like the null hypothesis has been falsified, claim that there was some kind of consensus, and say that we skeptics were able to “make it controversial”?

    MAKE it controversial? It’s been controversial from the start, the so-called “consensus” was only ever in the imagination of the AGW supporters. I note that nowadays everyone is running from the “science is settled” meme, busy proclaiming before HUAC that they were never members of that pernicious theory … but they still want to claim that there is a “consensus”, even as they claim that the science is not settled. Don’t know how that works.

    In summary: there has always been a controversy about climate. There was an attempt to cover that up, which seems to have come unravelled.

    w.

    • Willis – I think the contrarians have a better case than the creationists, but that doesn’t mean I think it is a particularly strong case, nor do I believe that what is controversial in the blogosphere is equally controversial within the community of scientists actively working in the area. I therefore disagree with your perception about current thinking within climate science – something I’m familiar with. What is clear, though, is that the strategies are parallel, and that they are effective at low cost. Although the parallel seems obvious to me, and is relevant to the theme of this post concerning relative spending levels, I regret using it because it has provoked some resentment that distracts from the sociopolitical point I was trying to make.

    • Fred,
      You are still trying to flip the burden of proof regarding a controversy.

    • Fred,
      Since you insist on using creationists as a metaphorical tool in this, perhaps you should start using that tool in the way it truly fits.
      The creationists you seem so resolute to tag to skepticism are actually much more in fellowship with AGW believers.
      It is AGW believers who cling desperately to the apocalyptic tenets, and it is AGW believers who use arguments based on condemning those who dare disagree.
      It is AGW believers like yourself who have to ignore the history of geology and get caught with tedious regularity, like the creationists, twisting and fabricating evidence.
      Skeptics are the one who love the truth and decline to follow mob thinking and apocalyptic cult culture, like creationists and AGW believers do.
      So do what you seem committed to do, but please don’t abuse the tools. Doing that only makes you look bad.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      I have a comment which was caught by the spam filter addressing this. The short version is the creationists referred to by Fred Moolten are actually a subset of creationists. You usually see them called “Creationists” to distinguish them from the broader category.

    • andrew adams

      hunter,

      In any debate on a scientific question it is easy to tell if each side’s arguments is based on “science” or “belief”. Simply look at whether they can draw on a substive body of published science to support their argument. In this case us “warmists” can easily do so and therefore cannot be reasonably said to fall into your category of “believers”. If you want to make the case that there is a similar body of published science supporting your position and that you don’t deserve to be placed in that category yourself then please feel free.

    • You merrily gloss over the fact that this substansive body of evidence doesn’t actually refer to the issue at hand.

      How many papers are there that specifically and empirically tie co2 to rising temperatures with demonstratable methodoolgy and reproducable results?

      On the other hand, if you’re looking for papers that address symptoms of a changing climate (yet use it as proof of a cause), that rely heavily on un-validated models, that use circular reasoning/referencing and are passed through perr-review with nary a thought for basic scientific protocol (such as thoroughly supporting every conclusion)- then sure- there’s ton’s of work out there to reference…

    • andrew adams

      I don’t gloss over anything – the case for AGW depends on multiple lines of investigation, into the greenhouse effect, the specific radiative properties of CO2 and other GHGs, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and their cause, climate sensitivity and feedbacks. Put them together and they very much address the issue in hand.

    • I’m afraid they don’t.

      We have rising co2 levles, stalled temps. A missing hotspot, stalling sea level rises (rate), climate sensitivity work that doesn’t include clouds (past an arbitrary figure) and next to no knowledge on feedbacks (especially clouds).

      There is a significant amount of work on the peripheral issues and the symptoms, but this is not the same as saying that there is lots of work that supports cAGW.

    • aa,
      No, you can draw on massive levels of repetitve, derivative and cenosred junk, just like you can walk into any religious bookstore and find shelves bulging with support for the faith.

    • andrew adams

      hunter,

      Dismissing a vast body of work by thousands of scientists over decades in this way is a sure sign of someone who is driven by “belief” and not by science.

    • aa,
      Tell that to Galileo.

    • andrew adams

      Ah the Galileo gambit.

      As Robert L. Park put it

      “It is not enough to wear the mantle of Galileo: that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment. You must also be right.”

    • aa,
      Speaking of being right,
      Where is your climate catastrophe?
      lol.

    • “…nor do I believe that what is controversial in the blogosphere is equally controversial within the community of scientists actively working in the area.”

      Exactly. Within the comunity it’s even more controversial. We’ve read the e-mails.

    • Fred Moolten | April 20, 2011 at 12:06 am | Reply
      “…I think the contrarians have a better case than the creationists, but that doesn’t mean I think it is a particularly strong case…”
      So what? I think the warmists have a better case than the creationists, but that doesn’t mean I think it is a particularly strong case. Fred, how about we leave the creationists out of it and discuss climate?

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Fred Moolten | April 20, 2011 at 12:06 am | Reply

      Willis – I think the contrarians have a better case than the creationists, but that doesn’t mean I think it is a particularly strong case, nor do I believe that what is controversial in the blogosphere is equally controversial within the community of scientists actively working in the area. I therefore disagree with your perception about current thinking within climate science – something I’m familiar with. What is clear, though, is that the strategies are parallel, and that they are effective at low cost.

      Thanks, Fred. Again I say, you misapprehend the situation. There is no parallel.

      The Creationists are working to overturn a theory which is a hundred and fifty years old, and which has been extensively tested and widely debated to the point where it is generally accepted by the overwhelming majority of the planet, particularly scientists of all fields.

      The skeptics, on the other hand, are working to overturn a false “consensus” among a handful of scientists which is only a few years old, regarding a hypothesis which the proponents have done all they could to prevent anyone discussing or testing (and which rarely makes falsifiable statements in any case).

      Although the parallel seems obvious to me, and is relevant to the theme of this post concerning relative spending levels, I regret using it because it has provoked some resentment that distracts from the sociopolitical point I was trying to make.

      Parallel? How on earth are those even remotely similar?

      Finally, the idea that we skeptics have won because we had the big money or the cheap task is risible. The main actors on the skeptical side of the game, the people who have made the difference, have been Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick and Anthony Watts and Steven Mosher and myself and a host of other writers and bloggers on the one hand, and Richard Lindzen and John Christy and Roy Spencer and the Pielkes and Ryan Maue and the Idsos and like-minded honest scientists on the other hand. There’s no big money behind any of us … and yet we have made a huge difference.

      We were helped immeasurably by Climategate, it’s true, but again as far as anyone knows that wasn’t an affair of money but of the passions involved.

      We had to go against all the major media, billions of dollars from all the governments, all the NGOs, three hundred million dollars from Al Gore alone, and a host of scientists … and it’s driving you guys nuts that we’re winning.

      You try to explain that it’s the money, or that we understand how to get the message out, or that the AGW supporting scientists are not good at manipulating public opinion (I wish!). Any excuse will do except the truth …

      Because the truth is, we won because we stood up loud and clear for good, honest, transparent science, and as a result, we have the good, honest, transparent science on our side.

      And no amount of money, no amount of PR expertise, no amount of spin, no attempt to reverse the null hypothesis, nothing has been able to erase that, and the public knows it and sees it …

      Thanks

      w.

    • Willis,
      Fred is just hoping that he can sound resonable enough to distract poeple fromthe fact that he is only able to offer the most shallow reactionary and vapid answers to support his case.
      His main strategy seems to be to hope to be the last person talking.

    • andrew adams

      Although the parallel seems obvious to me, and is relevant to the theme of this post concerning relative spending levels, I regret using it because it has provoked some resentment that distracts from the sociopolitical point I was trying to make.

      Fred,

      No need for regrets, it was a perfectly valid analogy. The limitless capacity for the “skeptics” to take offence at the most innocuous pro-AGW argument or any suggestion that they may be pursuing an agenda of their own instead of pursuing a noble pursuit of scientific truth in the tradition of Feynmann should never be underestimated but if you took heed of it you would never make any comment at all.

    • No it wasn’t.

    • Marginalize, marginalize. Haven’t you read the book? Maybe Fred hasn’t read it. He could be more useful, perhaps, if he did?

      But maybe less useful. Choices. Choices.
      ===========

    • aa,
      Your cowardice does sustain you well.

    • aa –
      The limitless capacity for the “skeptics” to take offence at the most innocuous pro-AGW argument or any suggestion that they may be pursuing an agenda of their own instead of pursuing a noble pursuit of scientific truth in the tradition of Feynmann should never be underestimated

      1) Are there any innocuous pro-AGW arguments? Please list them. It shouldn’t be too much to ask of you because it would be a very short list – if any at all.

      2) Precisely what agenda do you imagine the sceptics to be pursuing? Other than pursuit of scientific truth in the tradition of Feynmann? It certainly isn’t money as is the case with the pro-AGW contingent. It can’t be religious, because the sceptics can only be legitimately compared to agnostics. And I have yet to see or hear of anyone running for Congress or President – or even dogcatcher – with scepticism as their platform.

      What, then , do you imagine the agenda to be? Please be specific.

    • andrew adams

      1) Well there are a great many arguments that make up the case for AGW being real and being a threat. Pick any you like.

      2) So the motive of the pro-AGW contingent is money? When do I get mine. As for the skeptics, in a lot of cases it is clearly to prevent action to mitigate AGW. You may think that is a worthwhile agenda but it is an agenda nonetheless and I don’t doubt that in some cases the motives are more noble than in others.

    • aa –
      there are a great many arguments that make up the case for AGW being real and being a threat.

      And just which of them are innocuous? If any?

      So the motive of the pro-AGW contingent is money?

      Which Universities/scientists get the big grants?

      Unless you want to talk about government agencies which have fattened very nicely at the trough.

      As for the skeptics, in a lot of cases it is clearly to prevent action to mitigate AGW.

      There’s no case for mitigation. There’s ALWAYs a case for adaptation, which does not require either breaking the bank or global oversight.

    • Comparing the disgusting pile of rubble your side is making of science to Feynmann is amazing in its dishonesty.

    • Invoking Feynman isn’t a smart idea for someone trying to proffer a strained theory based on consensus. I could pick a number of quotes, but this one seems apt:

      Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

    • Another choice Feynmanism:

      For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

      It’s almost like he’s talking specifically about WG2/WG3 and the windmill brigade.

    • aa,
      And since you think such false and idiotic strategies are useful, surely you will be OK as skeptics continue to point out the valid historical comparisons between AGW and eugenics?

    • David L. Hagen

      The science & policy issues at stake are:

      What scientific evidence is there for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming over the null hypothesis?
      (In light of temperatures declining rather than warming for the last decade).

      What policy issues are involved? What do they cost?

      1) Provide $75 billion to cover most global humanitarian projects

      2) Invest $10 trillion to preserve modern economies by replacing 100 million bbl/day of depleting oil consumption with alternative hydrocarbon fuels at $100,000/bbl/day
      (ORreduce GDP of importing economies in proportion to loss of available liquid fuels over the next decade.)

      3) Bury $1,900 trillion through carbon sequestration to possibly reduce global temperature by 1 C by 2100, following the EPA policies?

      Is there sufficient evidence to deviate from the null hypothesis of:
      Have the courage to stay the course – do nothing that does not provide the greatest economic benefit to the most?

      To date – UNPROVEN!

  19. Paging Naomi,
    Driving Miss Oreskes nuts.
    Follow the money, Hon.
    =============

  20. “I don’t know how to evaluate the details of the financial analysis”

    Nisbet has explained some of it e.g. that the numbers are for available data (of note, alot of funding related to thinktanks and industry PR is undisclosed); and that funding for the environmental lobby to facilitate the bill was enabled by strategic alliances with corporate environmental partners. These are the kinds of interpretative details that help explain how information is summarized and reported in any social science research. What is highlighted by Joe’s critique, with Brulle, is how social science data is only as good or comprehensive as how it is collected, used, and presented.

    Regardless of the now somewhat debunked financial chapter, I would agree that Nisbet can help explain some aspects of why the political culture of the United States has come to be the headquarters of climate change denial.

    In the United States, your communication climate has not been true to the underlying science, and has played only to a particular sector of society.

    Your blog is representative of the problem. You communicate all the usual Republican talking points (they have been using ‘uncertainty’ for 20 years now) and run a highly partisan blog. Both you and the majority of your ‘participants’ are echo chambers for some of the lamest climate change denial pseudoscience and antiscience nonsense. You play up emotional fears about the dire economic consequences of mitigation policies. You do what the media has done and give equal weight to neocon ‘contrarians’ in the name of fairness, falsely giving the impression that expert agreement on the reality of climate change is not what it is – namely, overwhelming.

    And the internet is one of the most fragmented media, so it is relatively easy to see why you think you are part of the solution, even though print and t.v. media are moving away from this in order to better serve their accountability to the public in 2011.

    While Nisbet’s report is typical of the dominant lens of policy and technical response that has narrowed discussion, he does understand that climate change is a moral and ethical issue; and a healthcare issue; and that it requires meaningful communication with the public.

    • Martha
      Have a little background in public relations and marketing and I am truly curious on what you think “meaningful communication with the public” would look like. I promise not to use ad hom attacks or appeals to authority and answer any straight forward questions if you do the same. I do think it is possible for proponents to achieve their aims but not with their current tactics.

    • Jeff

      Actually I would like to hear how you see it. Please take the time needed and I will take the time to read and try to understand what you say, too.

      How I’m seeing things: Nisbet’s earlier work on ‘framing’ is smart stuff, but not as smart as all the stuff written in adult education and direct education. As Nisbet suggests in this and some past work, participation or meaningful discussion at this point is more about educating and informing in order to get support for a plan – rather than, say, to elicit a real voice. That is where you are at, in the U.S. People now have to be managed, rather than being provided with the opportunity to shape policy. I have no doubt that this is correctly understood by a lot of people and is largely what they are reacting to. Nontheless, it is what it is. American culture is not presently strong on public engagement and the ability to work together. Since people can’t be forced to participate, and they are largely choosing not to, what we now therefore will observe is attempts at inclusion that are not honest about the fact that the situation is one of mere management. In other words, issues of public engagement are now extremely limited, thanks to all the delaying strategies of the past couple of decades. It did absolutely did not need to look like this.

      So my answer at this juncture is not to list all the ways to elicit meaningful participation, at a point when this is not possible. Instead, my answer is to point out that no processes are going to emerge from the general public or grassroots, in the U.S., at this time.

      International realities, including the realities of people in other countries (especially women and children, who comprise the majority of the world’s poor and most vulnerable to the differential impacts of climate change and who are pretty much ignored or nonexistent in the ideological discussions of the climate crisis) will effect and affect policymaking, with or without the participation (or support, if that’s really not possible either). Visions for sustainability, resilience and better chances for the future could and should be a big part of American culture, but since it isn’t at this time, we need to recognize that the U.S. is not the rest of the world and understand that decisions will be made in other countries, anyways.

      Things have moved forward. The public in other countries, and also industry and international business both here and internationally, are moving along. The nature of internationalism is that the U.S. is only one country and other countries are free to take steps with unilateral regulations and multi-lateral agreements that will affect the U.S. and limit further delay. The breakdown of U.S. participation in the available U.N. decision-making framework (ironic, for anyone familiar with history) and communication with its own people tends to overlook the fact that the rest of the world is not chained to American decision-making, important as it is.

      It seems that American culture has been very slow to gain confidence in a more co-operative world. Fair enough, and there are historical reasons for this. Societies move at their own pace. The political culture of a country is shaped by many things.

      On a more immediate basis, Americans are stressed by job loss and increasing poverty; but when we really think of it, there is no good time for the millions of poor people in the most vulnerable regions, already struggling, to be viewed as having any better timing for all the things they are having to do. Or any reason to view the public in many other countries, already informed and participating, as any more able to take responsibility.

      To me, Americans seem very disconnected from other people, from one another, and from the mechanisms and structures of their government. I think that’s where things are at, and that opportunities for meaningful broad public participation in the policymaking is now going to happen on a managed basis e.g. by continuing to ensure better media accountability for accurate information, having scientists figure out how to extend their educative role, etc. In future, it will hopefully happen more naturally, as it should have all along, as we go along and have to adapt to climate change and respond to what others are doing to solve the problem and plan for the future.

      Now I’d like to know how you are seeing things.

    • The breakdown of U.S. participation in the available U.N. decision-making framework (ironic, for anyone familiar with history

      Martha,

      Care to lay out the irony? I have a feeling your familiarity with history isn’t quite as deep as you assume. The US has a very different history with the UN General Assembly and its organs vs the Security Council.

    • Martha,

      Even more than usual, Martha, your last comment is provocative and, for me, a welcome challenge to any drift in the direction of complacent thinking, on my part. So I thank you for your continued commentary in the face of the hot reception many of your comments receive and despite your many criticisms of this blog and Dr. Curry, personally (though in defense of this blog, I’d note that authors of guest posts on this blog are not thrown under the bus by Dr. Curry, even if a guest post encounters some unexpected flak–not all blogs can make a similar claim, as you, yourself, may have had occasion to observe recently).

      If I understand your sense of the climate science issue:

      -There is a plan.

      -If the plan is not implemented, the vulnerable will suffer miserably, especially non-American women with children of color.

      -America is not doing its part to see the plan through and is unlikely to assume its just obligations under the plan due principally to a bunch of nativist, dissatisfied, old white-guys on Social Security pensions gumming up (a dental in-joke among us geriatrics) the works.

      -Fortunately, others “get it” and the plan is being implemented, as we speak, through a work-around of America’s repugnant “cowboy” aversion to co-operation.

      -”People now have to be managed rather than being provided with the opportunity to shape policy.”

      While I’ve employed a bit of levity, above, I seriously share with you, Martha, a desire to see the world a better place and my fellow man (and woman) living a dignified, good life, one and all. At the same time, your plan to this end, leaves me a little leery, given what little you’ve revealed of its contents and on-going implementation. Indeed, given my youthful and brief, but heady infatuation with conventional Marxism, your plan looks uncomfortably familiar:

      -A Manichean dialect, but one based one race and gender, rather than economic class.

      -Management of people to “the plan” which, in turn, necessarily entails “managers.” Although a presumption on my part and possibly mistaken, I take it the current managers of the plan have dispensed with obsolete notions like the “consent of the governed” and accountability to the people. Perhaps these managers may even belong to a self-selected elite whose “enlightened” understanding of the plan entitles them to be in the vanguard of the revolution and then to serve us “little people” as our philosopher-king shot-callers in the aftermath of the revolution.

      -And perhaps the plan regards certain of the “managed” people as so many “eggs” to be broken on behalf of the plan’s “brave-new-omelette” (I fear I am a member of that expendable demographic).

      Sorry, I’m a creature of my experiences, but the last century cured of any enthusiasm I may have once had for gulags, chekas, death camps, killing fields, and “big” plans for the “little” people. So is there anything in the plan, that’s unfolding as we speak, that I might be worried about? I mean, like what happens to folks who don’t want to “get with the program?”

    • That’s manichean “dialectic” not “dialect”

    • Martha
      I agree with you completely that American Society is not based on a social cooperative or collectivist mentality, individualism has been historically accepted, glamorized and rewarded by us. It is possible for our Society to form a temporary cooperative on issues. These temporary cooperatives are either based on perceived immediate risk, potential short term reward and or conscience. So your choice is to work within that framework (that I think we currently agree on) or change that framework.
      Your solution of education, scientific progress, and media responsibility virtually requires a collectivist mentality by these prospective groups to work for a near term solution or agree that your solutions require a generational change for an immediate problem.
      My solution is to work in the current framework by forming several temporary co-ops based on short term reward but it might require giving up on most proponent’s ideology. Essentially be willing to break the issue up into smaller bites to co-opt segments of your opponents. I admit this is very cynical but I hope you would admit that it would be effective.

    • And Martha shows up to demonstrate why lefty anti-democratic, anti-freedom loving people glom onto the promise of using climate fear and CO2 obsession as an excuse to destroy freedom.

    • …”he (Nisbet) does understand that climate change is a moral and ethical issue; and a healthcare issue; and that it requires meaningful communication with the public.”

      hummmmm… he may very well “understand” as you say but I thought he was trying to help your side sell widgits. I don’t think your tone and accusations will help you. If we are, as you say, so dense and bent and one-sided, whatever do you espect to gain by your tone and accusations? Do you think we are going to see the “truth” of your mud, jump in the nearest river, clense ourselves, and kiss your feet? You seem to be a good representitive of the “problem”, have you looked in a mirror lately?

    • Martha –

      In the broadest sense, I think your characterization of this blog as an echo chamber for politicized analysis of climate change science is accurate. On the other hand, there are valid issues that are raised and well-debated – yes such as questions about the uncertainty levels in the science and economic outcomes of climate change-related policies – and those questions are important to address.

      For example, by coincidence, I was at a Seder on Monday night and met a graduate student who is studying climate science. (Interestingly, he will be TAing for one of Kerry Emanuel’s classes and will have Lindzen on his upcoming preliminary exam committee.) We spoke about the importance of working to quantify uncertainties, and essentially that is how you could describe his research focus. Also by coincidence, I was at a Seder last night with someone who has been researching the economic and qualitative costs of coal at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. It is also fair to characterize his work as quantifying the uncertainties related to climate change.

      Not all of what you see here is pseudoscience or anti-science nonsense, and I think that you potentially contribute to the ‘narrowing’ of the discussion if you don’t take pains to be specific.

      Unfortunately, the “echo chamber” aspect of the climate debate is reflective of the way that, as someone says below, many issues these days become “proxies” for larger political arguments. And in such politicized debates, there are usually competing echo chambers. Just yelling in parallel echo chambers will not enhance communication. While I am critical of what I see sometimes as a lack of comprehensiveness in Judith’s examination of the political influence on the climate debate climate, I think that you are mistaken in your categorical dismissal of her work or of this blog.

    • J, Martha’s just the ‘true believer’ dissolving in cognitive dissonance. We are cooling, folks; for how long even kim doesn’t know.
      =============

    • Marlowe Johnson

      Well said Joshua.

    • Martha, I note your extreme claim that “Both you and the majority of your ‘participants’ are echo chambers for some of the lamest climate change denial pseudoscience and antiscience nonsense.” Let me suggest that given this view, you, like Nisbet, are unlikely to frame a good explanation for the present state of affairs. Nor will anyone who assumes that skepticism is true and alarmism is some sort of grand delusion.

      A social scientist will seek explanations of a controversy that do not prejudge that controversy. That is the art of any science. For example, I study the diffusion of ideas within science itself. I do not judge which are true and which false, just how they are moving and why.

      Unfortunately the bulk of sociological and psychological studies we are now seeing are coming from within AGW, just as most of the physical science studies are. They assume that skepticism is problem to be solved, like a disease. As such they are merely feeding the controversy. As science they are worthless.

      Here is the latest example. Note the moralizing by the sociologist: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419111425.htm

    • It is interesting that the attached article (and many others) references the “scientific consensus”. I do not how anyone can accurately claim that such a consensus exists. There may be one on some specific points, but certainly there is no general consensus on most of the points being considered.

    • As the polls show, this is fundamentally a political debate and in this case “scientific consensus” is a political concept. It’s value lies in its vagueness, not in its accuracy. It is a rallying cry.

      If claim of “scientific consensus” were a scientific claim then we would be polling the heck out of the scientists, to find out what the demographics and distributions of various beliefs really were. No one is doing that, even though the claim is central and constantly made. This scientific silence is a testimony to the strength of control of the movement.

  21. Based on Romm’s reaction I don’t think he is open to innovation or new ideas. Regarding the Financial Analysis, Nisbet clearly admits that comparing corporate apples to nonprofit oranges is very difficult so why all the controversy. IMO it is based on proponents self view. They must be David vs. the skeptic Goliath because David is both small and good. To remain good they must always remain small. Anything that might challenge that self verification must be rejected. A key conclusion that both sides should take note of is this.
    “However, as detailed in this chapter, the great proportion of this spending by environmental groups is restricted, limiting their ability to engage in direct lobbying efforts or mobilization campaigns on behalf of a specific bill. Still, environmental groups spent large sums on general education efforts, engaging policymakers, journalists and the public.”
    I take this that currently proponents cannot leverage their money because of their current Tax structure. If they would be open to change their structure to be more like goliaths 501 (c) (6) they would be much more effective.

  22. Each of the articles should have been valued at standard advertising rates according to length and location and included with the other expenditures. I think that would reflect a more accurate relationship of the efforts put forward by the opposing sides in trying to influence the public.

  23. Alexander Harvey

    As best as I can tell, there is a particular aspect of the debate that is exclusively “New World” (actually America & Canada, plus Australia, and maybe New Zealand).

    For these, there is a parallel political debate or perhaps only a political debate as the “science” debate is a proxy for it. If it is little more than trying to decide what is in the private interests of nationals, I cannot see what is so wrong with that.

    But if it is just that, there is little point in this whole thread because the global environment simply isn’t the issue. Maybe the issue is jobs, or cheap fuel, or simply being free to live the dream, or perhaps a heartfelt pushback against perceived coercion, or generalised disillutionment.

    There is an argument that says America in particular must be nuts to be worrying about this right now. The economy is hemorrhaging private wealth overseas and the government is hemorrhaging foreign-borrowed wealth at home.

    There is another argument that says that in the long run what this group of countries does hardly matters in physical terms. Today it is China, then there is India, and then the biggest Africa plus Central Asia. We may not have to worry about Amazonia, if it’s toast.

    There is another issue, that hardly dares to speak its name, that the US & Canada as a whole, like many northern regions including Russia and much of China might not suffer much from moderate global warming and might benefit from it. That is clearly not certain but worth bearing in mind. I must wonder whether the AOGCMs approval ratings would go up if that is the way the AR5 impacts come out.

    Taking a very cynical viewpoint, all those 100s of millions in cash mentioned above must buy a lot of lying from both sides, lest truth must come very expensive in the US. For commonly it comes for free. I really do not think more persuasion, coercion, call it what you will, can make one jot of difference.

    All these countries have more than enough politicians but do they have enough leaders. Is it still possible to look far enough into the future to make judgments that aim to maximise happiness over a generation hence? Was it ever the case?

    It is in the business of the nation state to act in its own interest after taking into account the likely actions of others. It is the actions of others that must colour judgment, figure out what they are going to do, and what means for you, and the decision may be obvious or even mandated.

    Alex

    • Alexander

      You wrote:

      I really do not think more persuasion, coercion, call it what you will, can make one jot of difference.

      I fully agree.

      But the real underlying problem here is that most people are astute enough to see that imposing a (direct or indirect) carbon tax will cost them money and, at the same time, will have absolutely no impact on our planet’s climate (no tax ever did).

      That’s the real problem here (which the Nisbet article seems to ignore).

      Max

  24. Go to any showroom, the sales person will show you a product. You will look at the product and say, “that is great, I want one, how much?” If the price is right you will buy, if not you will walk away.

    This has been largely ignored in the talk about climate change. Climate change is a product – something to separate people from their money in return for a benefit. Helping prevent climate change looked good in the show room, until we asked the price.

    What is needed is not more communications over the benefits of taking action. What is required is low cost solutions that deliver positive, measurable result in the short term.

    The average person in the street see’s the cost of proposed government programs to deal with climate change as a bigger threat than climate change itself.

    Based on the past history of government programs, the average person believes the government and UN will be largely ineffective. They will likely spend a lot of money on climate change without solving much of anything. They could even make it worse.

    As such, it is better to spend the limited money available on programs that deliver immediate benefit, rather than risk it on programs that cannot be measured for decades to come.

    • However, you’d best be sure that you have a good cunsumer rights, as if the project doesn’t behave as advertised- you’re well within your rights to ask for your money back…

    • A very sensible perspective, ferd. So yes, when the price is wrong, normal people dream on.

      So the proponents of a carbon tax in Australia have to face the reality that at the proposed starting level, the only technology that can compete is nuclear. And that non-nuclear renewable energy sources will cost three times as much, which nobody thinks is worth it at present.

      So please can’t we all just invest in research and development and stop wanting to flush money down the drain to fix a problem which is still controversial.

      All earthbound energy liberation (no matter what the source) is 100% guaranteed to make the earth warmer. At least coal burning releases particulates which cause some cooling. Nuclear only generates heat. So we could easily spend billions making the problem worse. That would be really brilliant.

    • ferd

      Your analogy is correct.

      Add to it the fact that this particular “product” (i.e. a direct or indirect carbon tax) has a high price tag but offers no perceptible benefit.

      How will this tax change our planet’s climate one iota?

      Even the proponents of such a tax (or the “salesmen” of the “product” you describe) are unable to come up with any tangible benefit resulting from their “product”.

      So it’s actually worse than “selling snake oil” (to use a term coined by Judith Curry).

      At least the snake oil salesman promises a “cure” (for whatever ailment the customer happens to suffer from).

      But these “snake oil salesmen” can’t even do that!

      Max

    • The problem, of course, is that there’s a big difference between private goods and public goods. No amount of money I personally spend to buy climate protection (mitigation, that is) will do me any good. It’s a commons problem that requires global cooperation, and for which the results of today’s expenditures will not be seen for decades.

      That is, if you believe it’s a real problem. Which most experts on the subject do.

    • Gee, I know a lot of experts on the subject that do not believe it is real. By most do you mean more than half? That is no basis for action, that is a debate.

    • No, by most I mean about 90% or more. Judy, help me out here?

    • Paul, a complicated issue, this will be part of the subject of my weekend post

    • The claim I was making (albeit not explicitly) is that >%90 of experts agree that unrestricted increase in anthropogenic GHGs will cause warming with harmful and potentially very damaging impacts, and thus that restricting GHG emissions is necessary in the long run. I will wait to see your weekend posting, but I would be very suprised if you disagree with this relatively modest statement of the “expert consensus”.

    • Paul– That comment is utterly incorrect. It is not necessarily a “commons problem” simply because you have described it as such. The earth is made up on nation states and not a one world government sharing resources such that all benefit equally.

    • By “a commons problem” I am referring to its physical structure – each person contributes infinitismally to global GHG emissions, and therefore can do nothing to directly influence the global climate change that may occur. So a private cost – a tax, or whatever – will always have a terrible personal cost-benefit ratio.

      But that’s true of lots of problems we’ve solved, like paying for national defense. That’s why we cooperate. It just happens to be that since this is a global problem it requires global cooperation to solve.

      Again, of course, if you think it’s a problem…

    • Paul

      If 95% of any climate related issues potentially caused by a warmer world could be solved by the building of proper infrastructure, and if the cost to build this infrastructure was less (or more likely) than the elimination of CO2, why isn’t that a viable alternative?

    • Well, it would depend on what the last 5% of the issues were. Ocean acidification, for example. Or melting the Greenland and Antartic Ice Caps. I might argue those are important enough to worry about.

      William Nordhaus once famously said that “Agriculture is only 3% of US GDP”. Like the heart is less than 3% of body mass.

      I’m not against thinking about the tradeoffs involved; at this point we simply disagree about where to make them.

    • And who determines the level of taxation? Who administers the collection – and the use of that tax revenue?

      What global entity do you have in mind?

      And why do you think anyone should trust that solution?

    • Well: suppose for a moment that you were convinced it is true that CO2 over 550 ppm would cause unacceptable risks of climate change and associated impacts. What would you do about it? Would you use a carbon tax to address it? How would you propose the global community regulate CO2 emissions? On the assumption (that I and most climate experts hold) that the problem is real, these are pratical institutional design questions, not reasons to reject addressing climate change.

    • Paul Baer

      That’s a mighty big “what if” there.

      The truth of the matter is (as Matt Nisbet has documented in his 84-page treatise): the US public is NOT “convinced it is true that CO2 over 550 ppm would cause unacceptable risks of climate change and associated impacts”, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars spent trying to sell them this message.

      The same is true in Europe today, as an article by Dr. Benny Peiser points out.
      http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/136/climate-fatigue-leaves-global-warming-in-the-cold

      It appears that the AGW scare is dying a natural death, not because the proponents have not spent enough money trying to sell the message, but because the public has grown skeptical and weary of disaster predictions, which never come true.

      Max

    • Paul –
      At one time (not long ago) the magic number was 350. Then it seems to me it became 390. Now you’re moving the goalposts again – to 550. That’s not a good sign. And it’s certainly not convincing.

      But that wasn’t your question. The question was IF I were convinced. But the real question would be – what would it take to convince me?

      So … the answer would be – incontrovertible evidence from people I trust. There are scientists I trust. I probably have known more atmospheric scientists than you have – I go back a long, long way with this. But most of them are sceptics and the rest are lukewarmers.

      It would also take a complete revolution in the climate community. Meaning the kind of openness that has been missing for the last 20+ years. It means open source data AND code AND processing notes. It also means a vast improvement in the data sources. The BEST effort “may” be a step in the right direction – depending on the results. Not talking about the end result of their processing, but about the openness of their data/code/processes (as noted above). BUT – it would also mean installing, maintaining, operating and archiving a “good” data network – which is something we DO NOT have even with the BEST effort. That last would be an indication of actual commitment to real science that has been missing througout this entire mess. And it means losing the “faith” in the models – which means learning that model outputs are NOT data but only estimates of what the data “might” look like IF one has chosen exactly the right inputs to produce a proper output – AND if one has included ALL the pertinent factors affecting the data AND if one has actually coded the model correctly. There has been NO indication that any one of those conditions has been met, much less ALL of them.

      So how soon do you think this will all happen?

      Now – IF you convinced me, we would still have a problem because I’m guessing that your preferred global entity for administration of the problem would be the UN. And you’d have a harder time convincing me to accept that than you would with convincing me to accept CAGW. The UN has an unenviable record with administration/resolution of the worlds problems. So we’d be talking about another agency – and NOT the US EPA. I was there when EPA was founded. I knew the people then – and the present crew couldn’t tie the original people’s shoelaces. I’m afraid we’d have to go with a NEW agency. And that has it’s own unique set of problems.

      There’s more, but I think I’ve already overloaded the next 3-5 generations of AGW believers.

  25. The “Climate Shift” paper by Matthew Nisbet starts off emphasizing the
    “undeniable human causes” of the “climate change problem”:

    - Catastrophic AGW is a given
    - Decarbonization is the only true solution

    (No surprise here that ClimateProgress has published this study.)

    But those evil Republicans have now thwarted environmental groups, scholars and scientists from saving the planet by blocking cap and trade legislation.

    Then comes the standard “conspiracy with big oil” canard:

    Many scientists similarly view themselves in a battle with conservatives and their industry patrons.

    The rest of the study is all about spending for PR and lobbying and identifying the sources of funding of the two interest groups, supporting or opposed to the cap and trade bill.

    These show that those supporting the bill spent a total of roughly twice as much money as those opposed to it ($1.4 billion versus $780 million).

    Reference is made to a 2009 Pew Center survey of AAAS members, linking AGW belief to political leaning:
    83% of “Liberals” believe that AGW is a serious problem
    28% of “Conservatives” believe that it is.

    The report also touches on the educational and ideological differences between AAAS members and the general public.

    Then there is a brief discussion of the “Bush Administration interference with government scientists” conspiracy suggestion.

    The report shows historical Bush/Gore popularity figures (both are at 44-45% today).

    A chart shows that the MSM essentially ignored Climategate in the USA.

    A graph shows the decline of global warming as a “top priority” from ~40% to ~25% today, linking this to U.S. unemployment rates (but strangely ignoring the impact of Climategate, etc., the failures at Copenhagen/Cancun and the recent harsh U.S. winters as factors contributing to this trend).

    Finally the report concludes that it is “very difficult for many scientists and environmentalists to understand why so many Americans have reservations about complex policies such as Cap and Trade that impose costs on consumers without offering clearly defined benefits”.

    Duh! C’mon. These are “scientists”. As such they should have above-average IQs. And they have difficulty understanding why the public rejects something that will impose costs but offer no perceptible benefits?

    That’s the whole problem here, folks. This is not a communication problem.

    C+T legislation will cost the average consumer an undefined and open-ended amount of money but will not change our planet’s climate one iota – and the general public is intelligent enough to see this, despite the millions being invested in CAGW PR and lobbying.

    This report reminds me of many, which are coming out now as the scientific basis for alarming AGW as promoted by IPCC is being challenged by new observations and studies and by revelations of bogus information in the IPCC reports.

    The report takes the rather elitist stand that the general public is not intelligent enough to grasp the complex problems related to CAGW and that the scientists and environmental groups have been unable to adequately communicate these problems to the public.

    But I’d say that the general public is much more intelligent than the author gives it credit.

    And that is the basic problem here.

    Max

  26. Judith,

    The system is severely broken. It is far too late to come up with a last minute strategy when there are massive political hoops to jump through. The promises of jobs has not materialized. The subsidizing and government grant system in place has killed off prospectively new technology. R and D is at it lowest level as the markets do not want to invest into anything of risk anymore.
    Individual States are trying to balance their books with great difficulty. The federal government HAS to have massive slashing of funding if the U.S. does not become bankrupt. To suggest to raise taxes in a political election is suicide. This is a huge problem and can only become worse as time is not on the side of governments.
    Now start to include higher food and gas prices.
    Not a healthy looking future for science.

  27. Nisbet’s expensive report investigating which side spent more or got more media coverage deals with peripheral issues in the climate debate. What is at issue, as Willis identifes, is whether the Null Hypothesis has been falsified. Yamal? Feedbacks? Hot Spot? But for Nisbet, the science is settled.

  28. Martha’s comments frequently garner a significant reaction from readers of this site as her views seem different from those of many of the readers here. She frequently attributes those differences in views to basic ideological differences and often criticizes the rationale of the readers of this site.

    I hope to actually get into an exchange of information with Martha or other of a similar perspective on the key points of that viewpoint.

    Martha writes:
    1. “Why the political culture of the United States has come to be the headquarters of climate change denial”.
    2. “In the United States, your communication climate has not been true to the underlying science, and has played only to a particular sector of society.”
    3. “he does understand that climate change is a moral and ethical issue; and a healthcare issue;

    My analysis- of Martha’s points:
    1. I would generally agree that the US has been reluctant to accept the implementation of many of the actions advocated by people like Hansen and Martha. I disagree that it is necessarily an issue of climate change denial, but really more of one in the US that says “what actions should we take that make sense for the US”. It really all comes down to supporting or rejecting SPECIFIC ACTIONS. Unfortunately from Martha’s perspective, many of the specific actions recommended by Hansen (I have not scene many by Martha) have not seemed to make sense. (Immediately shutting down all coal fired power plants).
    2. Regarding communication of the science, imo the science has been communicated very adequately in the US and that is not the source of the lack of acceptance of her position. The rejection of her position is based upon the fact that the “specific actions” that have been proposed up to now do not make sense given the overall situation in the USA. The USA is in a unique situation in its history today. The economic condition of the country is markedly different and worse than it has ever been. Given the economic environment, it is a natural byproduct that Americans will wish to ensure funds are spent more wisely. Given that either current services will need to be cut by 1/3, or taxes raised by a similar amount people do not want to agree to new programs that may make that situation worse and certainly do wish to ensure that their taxes are spent primarily for the benefit of Americans. It seems very, very difficult for Hansen et all to make a case that demonstrates that is the case.
    3. I agree that there are moral and ethical and healthcare issues related to climate change. Where I seem to disagree is that potential climate change is of a greater concern from a moral, ethical, or healthcare perspective than a wide variety of other issues requesting taxpayer funding. Issue #1 in the USA today is finding a path to put our economic house in order and not to continue to spend over 30% more than our revenue. In the USA, that is really a much greater moral, ethical and healthcare issue than is climate change.

    • Martha

      FYI—I am not a Republican, I am considered quite liberal on social issues, and have masters degrees in engineering and economics. I believe I have a reasonably good understanding of the science and the economics. It would seem highly inaccurate to classify me as what you have described as a “neocon” or a classic “denier”.

    • Rob Starkey

      You comment that the recommendation by Hansen et al. to shut down all coal-fired power plants in the USA by 2030 does not make sense.

      I did a quick calculation on what that would cost and what the benefit would be.

      Theoretically, this would reduce the temperature in 2100 by 0.08 degreesC (using Hansen’s figure of 3.2C for 2xCO2 climate sensitivity).

      Replacing these plants with new nuclear plants would involve a capital investment of $1.5 trillion.

      So that’s not much “bang” for a helluva lot of “bucks”.

      But Hansen does not run us through this “cost/benefit” analysis (for obvious reasons).

      This all just points out that we are not able to change our planet’s climate, no matter how much money we throw at it.

      Max

    • Max

      Please reread what I wrote. I wrote that Hansen’s plan to shut down all coal fired power plants does NOT make sense.

    • Rob,
      Except for Hansen’s support of nuclear power, nothign he says makes sense.
      No policy promoted by AGW believers has been anything but a failure: No change in CO2, no change in climate, no reliable replacement of energy sources the AGW community dislikes, no improvement in people’s lives, no impact at all- except on the wallets of the AGW profiteers.

    • Rob

      Yeah. That’s the way I read it, too.

      And I agree.

      Max

  29. Read Pielke Pere today.
    ===============

  30. A comment from Pielke Jr on his thread:

    Here is a good response to your question:

    http://ecologicalsociology.blogspot.com/2011/04/climateshift-controversy.html

    In particular:

    “Unfortunately, Romm has drug the discussion down to a focus on simplistic and, if not irrelevant at least secondary, concerns. If the climate change advocacy community dwells exclusively on these matters and fails to address the need for serious attention to the content of their message and the way it is framed, Romm will have won the battle while helping lose the war.”

    • RP Jr. missed two very important sentences just before that quote:

      It is tidy and simplistic to feel that there are powerful forces out there that are corrupting the public’s view. The reality is much more complex.

      Dragging out the “vast rightwing conspiracy” bugaboo comes across as wingnutty as the “new world order conspiracy”.

    • According to Romm:
      The 99-page report’s two central, but ridiculous, claims are:

      The environmental movement outspent opponents during the climate bill debate.
      Media coverage of climate change has become balanced and was not a factor in the defeat of the cap-and-trade bill.

      So Romm’s a Climateshift denier, huh?

    • Dr. Curry,
      The problem is that believer community still thinks they have a war to win.
      Nisbet and Romm are just points on a spectrum of believers in a false claim:
      That we are facing a world wide cliamte crisis caused by CO2.

  31. The Nisbet paper points to the real issue here.

    It seems to me that a lot of the academic elitists of this world are wringing their hands worrying about what we should do to stop catastrophic AGW from becoming a serious threat to humanity and our environment.

    Let’s leave aside the questionable science behind this fear for now (as the author has done) and concentrate on the proposed solutions to the problem.

    So far the only specific action proposed is the imposition of a (direct or indirect) carbon tax. [Nisbet laments the fact that “Cap and Trade” was rejected by the U.S. Senate.]

    Now everyone in his right mind knows that imposing a tax will not have any impact whatsoever on our climate. No tax ever did.

    There have been “pledges” by some politicians to reduce the CO2 emission levels from their nations to X% of the level of year Y by year Z (a date usually well after the politician will be long gone). An even sillier (and more arrogant) pledge is to “hold global warming by year 2100 below 2°C”.

    This is simply hollow political posturing, because these “pledges” do not contain any “actionable proposals” for how to get there.

    In fact, there have been only a few such actionable proposals.

    James E. Hansen and some co-authors made one proposal to shut down all coal-fired plants in the USA by 2030. This proposal did not include a “cost/benefit analysis” (for a very obvious reason). If implemented as Hansen et al. suggest, the proposal would result in a theoretical reduction of global temperature by 2100 of 0.08°C (using Hansen’s assumed 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2°C). The cost to replace the coal plants with nuclear plants would be around $1.5 trillion. So this is obviously a hare-brained scheme that no one in his right mind would seriously consider.

    Carbon capture + storage costs are even higher per fraction of a degree of averted global warming, as the earlier thread with the CCS proposals from Rutt Bridges here showed, not even including the great unknowns regarding ecological feasibility (geology, etc.).

    James Holdren (President Obama’s science “Czar”) has proposed shooting sulfuric acid up into the stratosphere to cool things off, but this scheme is so blatantly absurd that no one in the administration is taking it seriously.

    In fact, there have been NO actionable proposals, which would result in a perceptible change in our planet’s climate.

    The elitists who are wringing their hands about the dilemma of coming up with hypothetical solutions to the theoretical AGW problem should all come back down to Earth and realize that

    we are unable to change our planet’s climate no matter how much taxpayer money we throw at it

    So let’s be prepared to adapt to any future climate or weather that nature throws at us, if and when this becomes necessary.

    Max

  32. I’m pretty certain I’ve never described denialists as “scum”, or “kooks” for that matter. There are plenty who qualify as “anti-science” though.

  33. This blog has seen many posts related to specific scientific themes. However, the theme of this post is not primarily scientific – rather, it concerns communication strategies and relative dollar spending to implement them by opposing sides in climate science debates, one side supporting the scientific mainstream position, and the other the contrarian views claiming that that the mainstream had not made its case, and that its conclusions are subject to legitimate controversy. I addressed that theme yesterday and would like to return to an issue surrounding the strategies and their attendant costs that provoked many comments as well as some indignation.

    I pointed out above that it is easy (and relatively inexpensive) to prove something controversial simply by controverting it. My next point was to draw a parallel between climate contrarian strategies of emphasizing controversy and a similar strategy by creationists and their ID colleagues in challenging the theory of evolution. In my naivete, I assumed that by making clear, more than once, that the parallel related only to strategies, and not to the respective merits of the arguments, I would not be accused of “guilt by association”, whereby climate contrarians were linked to the absurdities (in their view) of creationist thinking. The ensuing indignant comments proved me wrong. My apologies to those commenters contemptuous of creationists who believe they were unfairly linked to them.

    But I don’t think I was wrong about the parallels between creationist and contrarian strategies to convince the public that the issue in each case is highly controversial among the relevant experts. Despite claims that an orchestrated creationist campaign to “teach the controversy”was a fiction, that campaign has been well documented and advertised by its originators – Teach The Controversy. Despite disclaimers that similar campaigns have been orchestrated by contrarian advocacy groups, the evidence is also clear in the efforts of groups such as the Heartland Institute, political allies (e.g., Marc Morano), and others to circulate long lists of individuals purported to be both experts in climate scientists and rejecters of consensus views on global warming. An interesting example is a list of 500 scientists who were claimed to have “documented doubts” about global warming. Other lists have been much longer, but this one was notable in the number of listed individuals who asked that their names be removed because their views were misrepresented. The Heartland Institute refused the request on the grounds that the listed individuals had no legal right to be removed from the list, but did in fact change the title of the list to remove the claim about Documented Doubts.

    Among the responses to my original comments were assertions that climate science was “legitimately controversial” by its nature and that contrarians were merely reporting that fact. That struck me as disingenuous for two reasons. The first is that communication strategies are about communication, not science, and publicized lists of climate “doubters” are part of a “teach the controversy” strategy, whatever the scientific evidence. The more important point is that the strategists, in my view, have seriously misrepresented where the lack of agreement exists, which is mainly in the blogosphere and media. Within the climate science literature, skeptics can be found, but they are few, and their disagreement with mainstream conclusions is mostly a matter of degree rather than an absolute rejection of anthropogenic contributions to climate change, which is almost universally accepted within climate science. This reality may be apparent to participants in this and other blogs, but it is not apparent to members of the public targeted by the communication strategists.

    The topic of this post was not scientific evidence per se, but communication and its expenses. The dollars that the blog post cited are therefore, in my view, aimed at creating an inaccurate picture in the public mind.

    • Regarding “documented doubts” above, the Heartland Institute listed scientists it claimed had “documented doubts about global warming scares”, but changed that designation when a number of scientists asked to be removed from the list.

    • Fred
      You wish to frame the discussion/debate as “one side supporting the scientific mainstream position, and the other the contrarian views claiming that that the mainstream had not made its case.” The framing of the issues in that context seems completely incorrect.

      I do not believe there is a single scientific mainstream position in 2011 on the topic of climate change, but a number of different positions associated with different climate related issues and multiple potential views regarding the specific actions that should be taken by different countries.

      It appears that your personal strategy is to dismiss those that do not agree with your view of being outside this supposed mainstream belief (which I challenge you to fully define). You wrote that it is “disingenuous” to claim that the topic of climate science being legitimately controversial and sited two reasons. Neither of those reasons have anything to do with much of the topic of climate change being legitimately controversial. The degree of potential negative impact to the environment of human released GHG’s, the timing of those potential impacts, and the regional impacts are without a doubt subject to different opinions in the science community. The answers to the questions on these topics are keys to real consensus on policy implementation. You claiming that those that disagree with you to not agree with the scientific mainstream is a losing argument.

    • Fred,
      You are demonstrating a very important strategy of the AGW faithful, which you guys learned from every propaganda campaign in history:
      repeat your lie over and over until people become desensitized to it.
      Eugenics pushers used it, Lyskeno stooges used it, creationists, ironically, use it, and now you and many of the AGW faithful use it.
      Your tedious wordy repetitious bs on this only makes the point more and more clear.

    • hunter,

      I would respectfully submit that it’s evolutionists, not creationists, that should be on your list.

      Andrew

    • Bad Andrew,
      That is a discussion I am not going to participate in on this thread or this board.

    • Amen! Err…uhh…

    • Fred
      While there are certainly, non science, rhetorical based stances on either side of the debate, are you willing to defend all the claims in “An Inconvenient Truth”. You conflate two issues. You use the ambiguity of the meaning of the word “where” to state that skeptics “seriously misrepresented where the lack of agreement exists” and then suggests that the failure of consensus is in the blogasphere. Then you go on to suggest that real scientist accept the greenhouse theory. Which I have no problem with, but by implication you suggest that skeptics in the blogasphere, as a whole, don’t. Then you go on to make the hackneyed argument that one should only pay attention to peer reviewed literature. This belays the question of skepticism because, in this where, all accept the greenhouse theory and are interested in merely “where” the small differences in interpretation exist and therefore do not really qualify as skeptics, and two, those few who are outside the pale are so rare that they need not really be taken into account. What a nice straw man that is, but it leads me to wonder if you have read this blog at all. Skepticism deals with issues like degree of climate sensitivity, amount of uncertainty, separating natural from anthropogenic forcings, discrepancy between models and real world data, etc. In other words many of the topics this blog addresses. Oh sorry you were referring to the laity who are “targeted by the communication strategists. ” They might misconstrue bold statements about the melting of the ice caps by 2035, movies about the drowning of our cities, or cropped pictures of polar bears standing on ice along the sea shore as representative of the science of global warming and be distracted from meaningful scientific discourse.

    • CMS – I agree with many of your specific points, but my focus was simply on “controversy” as a communications tool. I contended that (a) it doesn’t cost much to be controversial; and (b) the degree of controversy within mainstream climate science on global warming scenarios involving significant CO2 effects has been greatly exaggerated. I don’t disagree with your contention that views among skeptics vary widely, nor that there is extremist rhetoric on each side outside of the scientific community. I’m not defending the extremists.

    • So are you willing to defend the extremists within the scientific community? Or do you just ignore them?

    • Jim – The question was about extremist rhetoric regarding the role of anthropogenic influences in global warming. I haven’t seen that in the scientific literature, and I’m fairly familiar with the literature. If it occurs, I wouldn’t defend it. Almost universally within climate science, anthropogenic CO2 emissions are perceived to be a potent warming influence, with very few scientists asserting their influence to be trivial, and almost none claiming that their influence must inevitably be catastrophic. Much of the literature involves evidence bearing on small elements within the framework of climate change, with a relative paucity of overarching claims, and so extremist statements are extremely unlikely.

      Extremism other than that related to anthropogenic influences is probably not a good idea either, and I doubt that I would often find it defensible, but that’s a distraction from the topic at hand.

    • Fred –
      almost none claiming that their influence must inevitably be catastrophic

      Sorry, but I ran into that me first week on this forum. Yo may not see it, but I do – continually for the last 10-12 years from both scientists and others. Should I even bother mentioning Hansen? Yes, he’s an extreme case, but he’s also developed a following. Or maybe you don’t remember Schmidt, Trenberth and others. But I do.

      Or maybe you’d like to say on some of the leftist blogs what you’ve said here? How about ClimateProgress? What do you think the response would be? Those people believe the most extremist claims.

      You talk about the literature – but you ignore or dismiss out of hand anything that doesn’t support your particular POV. That’s not unusual – nor is it wrong. BUT – it makes it a whole lot harder for me – and some others – to take you very seriously. And that’s too bad because you have a lot to offer – at least when you don’t get into “it must be this way” mode. Truth is I’ve walked away from several discussions with you because I considered it a waste of time that I didn’t have to waste. But that’s my problem, isn’t it.

    • Jim – Although I’m familiar with the literature, I may have missed the paper you refer to. Please either link to it or cite the exact reference – authors, journal, volume, page numbers, years. Otherwise, I wonder whether you might not have misremembered the article.

      You are wrong about Schmidt and Trenberth, and I’m confident you will not be able to reference a paper by either of them, nor by Hansen in recent years, claiming the inevitability of catastrophe. The possibility of catastrophe is well supported by the data in the literature, and few would disagree, but almost all climate scientists would simply include that as one end of a range of outcomes if we continue to consume fossil fuels without curtailment. Most might not consider it the most likely outcome, although that would depend on how catastrophe is defined.

      Blogs are a different matter, because extreme statements are not uncommon and have fewer consequences than would such statements in the journals. However, even there, my experience has been that little of the extreme rhetoric comes from scientists currently active in the field of climatology. I can’t say that I’m familiar with all the blogs, though, and so I have to be tentative in that conclusion.

    • “You are wrong about Schmidt and Trenberth, and I’m confident you will not be able to reference a paper by either of them, nor by Hansen in recent years, claiming the inevitability of catastrophe.”

      What a completely meaningless statement. Of course we wont find a direct quote from these reasoned, cautious scientists about “the inevitability of catastrophe.” But that is not the question.

      The question is, do these paragons of humility believe that their perception of the risk of catastrophe justifies radical decarbonization of the world economy in general and massive tax and regulatory efforts in the U.S. in particular.

      Taxes aren’t raised, and regulations aren’t written, in the peer reviewed literature. I couldn’t give a tinker’s dam what quotes can be mined from their peer reviewed papers. What I care about is the wreckage their hubris could wreak on the world and national economy.

      They don’t begin to know as much as they think they know. And their arrogance in attempting to aid progressive politicians in attempting to conduct a massive experiment on the world economy (to borrow a rather florid phrased used around here), is what the whole climate controversy is about.

      Blame the politicians and NGOs all you want. Without the climate scientists providing them ammunition, and supporting their progressive madness from the start, we would never have even come close to the true catastrophe we could have suffered at Copenhagen.

    • Fred –
      I referenced no specific paper. I made a general statement based on observation of your words and actions (and those of others) over the last several months.

      You are wrong about Schmidt and Trenberth, and I’m confident you will not be able to reference a paper by either of them, nor by Hansen in recent years, claiming the inevitability of catastrophe.

      Again, you’re not getting it. What statements have they and others made outside of the “literature”? Or haven’t you been paying attention to the ridiculous catastrophic prophecies that keep showing up in the media. I know – you think scientists have nothing to do with those things, right? Then just where do you think those things come from – are there Martians out there spreading those catastrophic rumors? Or maybe just the usual gremlins? How many times has the accelerating sea level rise been recycled? Or the unprecedented temperature increase? Or a dozen more of the same genre? If the scientists aren’t part of this cycle, who do you think is? And why don’t the scientists denounce the garbage?

      There’s nothing technical in those questions, Fred, but they are related to this particular thread. The “consensus” has been losing ground, and will lose more in the future. Not because of the technical questions, not because of communication failures, but rather because of the failure of the “consensus” to understand the “human” part of the equation. Those pesky humans always get in the way, don’t we? :-)

      Enough – have a good night anyway.

    • One of the tricks of the believers is to, when confronted by the calamitism AGW is utterly tied in with, to pretend that if it is not in a journal the believer chooses to recognize, it must not exist.
      This is just a form of intellectual cowardice, an expression of what is at the heart of all apocalyptic cults.

    • Jim Owen and Fred Moolten

      The “inevitability of catastrophe” (unless we take action now to reduce carbon emission) has been a key feature of Hansen’s publications and testimony before U.S. Congress.

      Let me remind you of his testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives on April 25, 2007, where he made the following statements in invoking the specter of an imminent man-made climate disaster for the environment, human civilization and the planet itself:
      http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2007/Testimony_20070426.pdf

      “Crystallizing scientific data and analysis reveal that the Earth is close to dangerous climate change, to tipping points of the system with the potential for irreversible deleterious effects. The information derives in part from paleoclimate data, the record of how climate changed in the past, as well as from measurements being made now by satellites and in the field.”

      “The Earth’s history shows that climate is remarkably sensitive to global forcings. Positive feedbacks predominate. This has allowed the entire planet to be whipsawed between climate states. Huge natural climate changes, from glacial to interglacial states, have been driven by very weak, very slow forcings and positive feedbacks.”

      “Now humans are applying a much stronger, much faster forcing as we put back into the atmosphere, in a geologic heartbeat, fossil fuels that accumulated over millions of years. Positive feedbacks are beginning to occur, on a range of time scales.”

      Other quotations:

      “For humanity itself, the greatest threat is the likely demise of the West Antarctic ice sheet as it is attacked from below by a warming ocean and above by increased surface melt. There is increased realization that sea level rise this century may be measured in meters if we follow business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions.”

      “The dangerous level of CO2 is at most 450 ppm, and it is probably less.”

      Hansen discusses extinction of species resulting from human-caused global warming, and then switches into policy proclamations, stating that “science” (who’s that?) “provides a clear outline for what must be done”.

      It is clear that Hansen is painting a prediction of inevitable catastrophe (unless drastic action is taken now) to the U.S. House of Representatives in order to sell his “four point strategy”:
      · Phase out coal with a moratorium on coal-fired power plants
      · Enforce a rising tax on carbon emissions
      · Focus efforts to reduce human emissions of methane, ozone and black carbon
      · Take steps to draw down atmospheric CO2 via farming/forestry and burning biofuels with CO2 sequestration

      One could ask: what in the world is a U.S. taxpayer funded climate scientist (and self-made environmental activist) doing, telling the U.S. Congress what policies they should pursue?

      Hansen has whined about being “muzzled” for his views, but he generates articles and other doomsday rhetoric on AGW at an alarming rate.

      Far from being muzzled, Hansen has released his catastrophe predictions via ABC News:
      http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/GlobalWarming/story?id=3223473&page=1

      Here he writes:

      With just 10 more years of “business as usual” emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas, says the NASA/Columbia paper, “it becomes impractical” to avoid “disastrous effects”.

      Sounds like “catastrophe is inevitable” to me.

      What do you think?

      In a lead-in to this article by the Inhabitat environmental site, entitled, “NASA puts global warming tipping point within 10 years” the following statement was made:
      http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/05/31/nasa-puts-global-warming-tipping-point-within-10-years/

      “The forecast, as articulated by the study’s lead author, James Hansen of NASA, sounds like the worst parts of the Bible, predicting everything from ‘increasingly rapid sea-level rise, increased frequency of droughts and floods, and increased stress on wildlife and plants due to rapidly shifting climate zones.’ The 10-year timeframe shows other recent climate studies to have underestimated the urgency of the window.”

      Indeed, it does sound like the “worst parts of the Bible”, with all the religious implications of punishment by the Almighty (in this case “Nature”) for human sins and transgressions (in this case burning fossil fuels), using a clever combination of fear and guilt to motivate the public into accepting draconian measures presented as a “four point strategy”.

      Hansen is not an elected public official responsible to his constituents for making policy recommendations. He is a US Government employee, paid by taxpayer money to provide a transparent and unbiased temperature record to the U.S. public, rather than moving away from his area of expertise and getting into politics and policy issues, much less making morality statements.

      In testimony to the US House of Representatives, another equally well-respected climate scientist, John Christy, directly contradicted Hansen’s disaster predictions in testifying that projections of drastic climate changes in the future from global warming have not been adequately proved. In his testimony he told the lawmakers that, “scientists cannot reliably project the trajectory of climate”, adding “whatever happens, we will adapt to it”.

      In my opinion, the more levelheaded statements of Christy make much more sense than the shrill, headline grabbing catastrophe predictions of Hansen.

      If you have a different opinion on what I have just written, I would invite you to present it by all means.

      Max

    • Fred
      Yes controversy is an excellent tool. It seems that the medium love the most wildly exaggerated claims and are happy to report on press releases of organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund or use their spokesman as experts as if they represented the mainstream of academic thought. Even the IPCC is not adverse to treating these organizations as objective source of information even though they have an obvious vested monetary interest. But suggest that the effects of water vapor are not fully understood or agreed on and you will not find a place in the main stream media. I do not consider Fox to be MSM in the journalistic sense . Yes controversy pays. But skeptical controversy will not get you on CBS, ABC and most especially NBC. The idea of presenting another side to Global Warming was barred many years ago as you know. In point of fact I think that that is exactly your point and you agree with it. Controversy in your sense is exactly that and while we may see a spokesman for an ecological organization presented as representative of scientific thinking, we will not see John Christy.

    • Fred seems to be hoping to use the tool de-legitimization, by pretending that skeptics are merely cynical sales hacks stirring up those religionist techniques (which do not actually exist and are not winning any changes in curriculum anywhere) to make skeptical arguments look like they are only winning because of clever marketing.
      That is the flip side of the believer fantasy that if only they could market their enlightened truth a wee bit better, we proles would see it their way.

    • I do not consider Fox to be MSM in the journalistic sense .

      I’m curious as to why.

    • I pointed out above that it is easy (and relatively inexpensive) to prove something controversial simply by controverting it.

      Everybody has read Alynsky’s Rules for Radicals…including top CEO’s of top Corporations. Both sides know how to play and play by Alynsky’s rules when it is in their interests to do so.

      Cap and Trade didn’t fail because of ‘messaging’. There isn’t a single Senator that doesn’t do an ‘economic impact’ in my state of a policy. If there is then they need to be fired.

      The reality is no one uses an ‘average amount of energy’ or pays an ‘average price’.

      The people in Wyoming use 5 times as much energy as the people in new York.
      http://www.eia.doe.gov/states/sep_sum/plain_html/rank_use_per_cap.html

      I seriously doubt that the people of Wyoming are any more wasteful in their energy use then the people of New York. The burden of ‘Cap and Trade’ would fall disproportionately on the people of Wyoming.

      Regardless of how cozy the Senator’s from Wyoming may or may not be with ‘big coal’ or whether or not they believe in ‘climate change’, they aren’t going to vote for a policy that disproportionately penalizes the people of Wyoming five times as much as the people of New York.

      Waxman-Markey was put together by two congressman from ‘low energy consumption’ states. California is #47 and Massachusetts is #48.

      Cap and Trade was DOA in the Senate and will never be revived. It never stood a chance.

    • Fred,

      You’re not being specific enough here. What are you saying there is no controversy over in ‘mainstream climate science’? A greenhouse effect? 3 degree C increase in tropospheric temps in response to a doubling of CO2 concentrations? How many more category 5 hurricanes will hit Miami in the next 100 years?

      In the interests of getting to root of this disagreement, just make a claim and we’ll see how well we can all decide if that claim is worth support or not.

      Having been to a few geoscience talks in the past few weeks, one phrase has been heard over and over again on the topic of climate change and its place in research being conduct as we speak: ‘I don’t know’. To me, those words are pretty controversial, much for the same reason why your comments in this blog post are controversial. When you are on the sharpest of cutting edges in research, much of what you say is your judgment. Much of judgment is based on speculation. Speculation is hard to back up and, therefore, controversy rears its head.

      In fact, I had the same issue yesterday in a meeting with a collaborator of ours. While he felt what I was overviewing was reasonable, he instinctly picked up on the points where I had to speculate on the root of the variation we observed in our data. I used my best judgment, but controversy was created nonetheless.

      So I will agree that almost all climate scientists (as well as laypeople) believe that people are affecting climate via burning stuff, there is a genuine scientific controversy over how that effect will affect civilization. Because the predicted outcomes are based on judgments at this point (not good enough data to predict how regional and local climates will be affected, most importantly), controversy will be here for a while. I don’t see any reason to deny that for now.

    • Maxwell – I would probably frame the issue in terms of what a pollster might typically ask the public. Are we contributing to global warming, and is this something we should respond to by trying to reduce our carbon footprint? Mainstream science will almost universally answer yes to the first question, and a large majority will answer the second affirmatively as well, although with some differences about the timing and magnitude of our carbon reduction efforts.
      I was not referring to climate issues unrelated to whether or not carbon emissions should be reduced.

    • Fred, the second question is not scientific. Mainstream opinion is irrelevant or worse. It is an engineering and policy question.

    • Fred, moreover the first question does not call for action if the effect is benign. This is the common fallacy, to confuse some effect with danger, when the difference is enormous.

      Is this a strategy? Speaking of which, skeptics do not have a strategy. We are thousands of individuals. There are of course standard shallow arguments and fallacies on both sides. Calling these strategies makes it sound like a conspiracy. Nisbet documents half a billion dollars spent by just 9foundations. they have strategies.

    • Fred,

      I agree with your assessment that most scientists would agree that people are contributing to the climate in some way. I also don’t think that there is a great deal of controversy in the media or public about this fact. The vast majority of the public believes that people are affecting climate.

      As to whether we should ‘reduce our carbon footprint’, I agree with David that this can and is easily misconstrued as a question that should be answered ‘objectively’ by scientists. Unfortunately, scientists are poorly armed with models and measurements to determine a specific course of action with respect to climate change, even if as a group they have agreed on such a plan.

      And even in that determination, with uncertain and ad hoc scientific tools, there still is controversy. Some scientists are willing to say that the sea level rise in the western Pacific is due to thermal expansion tied to global warming. Some are not. Some are willing to claim that accelerated glacial melt in Greenland is due to global warming. Others are not so fast to get to that judgment.

      But again, we’re left with individuals and groups of individuals making judgments as to what he/she/they feel is the best decision given the uncertain and poorly conditioned information we have at our fingertips.

      In such a situation, how can we expect that there not be controversy?

    • Fred -

      In my naivete, I assumed that by making clear, more than once, that the parallel related only to strategies, and not to the respective merits of the arguments, I would not be accused of “guilt by association”,

      I can’t understand, frankly, why you were surprised at the reaction that you got. I don’t see how any argument which seeks only to simplistically create a misleading sense of controversy would have “merit” – so if you generally compare “contrarians” in climate science debates to creationists (who seek to create a false sense of controversy about evolution), how would anyone that identifies with “contrarian views” not feel you are criticizing the merits of his/her viewpoint?

      While I think that your larger point about there being similarity (and, I would add overlap in the sense of individuals involved and/or ideology) between some creationists and some climate science “contrarians,” it seems to me that the problem with how you worded your point is that you didn’t take care to make clear whether there might be a differentiation between creationists and/or “skeptics/deniers” who do utilize such strategies and those who don’t.

      Would there be no examples of people who use facile arguments of “controversy” to undermine opposing opinions who are less extreme (particularly in their anti-science orientation) than creationists? Why would you use creationists as your example for comparison unless in doing so you were effectively also making a comparison related to the merits of argumentation of the two groups you were discussing?

      I raise this point because when I read someone like Lindzen or contributors to this blog comparing environmentalists to Eugenicists, particularly (but not only) when those comparisons are poorly specified (as those arguments I’ve read have invariably been), I see little serious about their arguments. It seems rather obvious that if anyone identifies any subectively limited subset of characteristics of people from any particular group (let’s say Eugenicists) and identifies how people from any other particular group (let’s say environmentalists) share in those characteristics, then the point being made is typically one of “guilt by association.” When the particular group being used as a basis for comparison is creationists, or Eugenicists, then it is logical that people will respond that there is a subjective and rhetorical rationale for that standard of comparison. Are environmentalists like Eugenicists in that they care passionately about an issue, and in that their advocacy could, theoretically have negative ramifications socially? Sure. Are environmentalists like Eugenicists in that they “advocate the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population?” No. Are they alike in that environmentalists advocate for “ enforced racial hygiene, human experimentation, and the extermination of “undesired” population groups?” No. So what, then, is the point of analogizing environmentalists to Eugencists, (or climate change “contrarians” to creationists)?

      If you aren’t comparing climate contrarians as a group to creationists as a group (as opposed to identifying a select set of strategies that a particular group uses), then it would seem that you should: (1) simply state that some climate change “contrarians” seek to create a false controversy, or, (2) specify which creationists and which climate change contrarians you are referring to very specifically. “The creationists,” and “the climate contrarians,” as you referenced in your original post, IMO, is not sufficiently specific.

    • Joshua – If it wasn’t already clear, I should certainly emphasize in response to your comment that I wasn’t trying to characterize all contrarians, but rather to state why I believe a communication strategy by contrarian advocates that uses controversy as a tool costs less per point made than a mainstream strategy aimed at emphasizing the lack of controversy.

    • That does seem clearer to me – in addition to being unarguable, IMO. Of course, then there’s the debate to be had about when controversy is being used as a tool and when it reflects valid arguments. I think you did a good job of describing the parameters of that debate – particularly after responding to maxwell’s comment.

    • communication strategy by contrarian advocates that uses controversy as a tool costs less per point made than a mainstream strategy aimed at emphasizing the lack of controversy.

      Once more, Fred – can you prove that point or are you just handwaving in the dark? What I’m seeing is an unsupported opinion stated as fact. Or is that wishful thinking?

      In reality, trying to <i emphasize the lack of controversy is a losing game, especially when the controversy is out there for everyone to see.

      “In vain in the sight of the bird is the net of the Fowler displayed.”
      – Certain Maxims of Hafiz, Rudyard Kipling

    • Jim,
      If Fred stops hand waving, he will disappear.
      He maligns skeptics, ignores their points,and then pretends they are doing what believers are in fact doing: trying to reshape their message in an effort to accomplish some strategic marketing goal.
      But he does it all so politely.
      IOW, he has nothing but his good manners to keep him in the game.

    • Yup

    • Jim – Unless I misread your comment, you contradicted yourself – first challenging the notion that it’s cost effective to assert that the climate change issue is controversial, and then claiming that it’s a losing game to claim the issue is non-controversial. I can’t prove that controversy “works”, but the advocates who use it – who circulate the long lists of dissenters – seem to think that it pays off, and I believe there’s logic to their judgment.

      I think this is particularly likely to be true when the users of controversy as a tool want the public to defer action, and when deferring action is more convenient for most people than acting. Controversy relieves them of a sense of obligation to act that might be harder to resist if everyone were telling them the same thing.

    • Fred,
      Bunk on you.
      We are not pushing for delaying action.
      We are saying that the ‘actions’ called for by the AGW community are detrimental to people.
      History happens to prove us right.
      Again, beyond your increasingly bizarre calmness, combined with non-responsive answers and comments, you are really no different from Joshua on a stem winder or Martha with an improved gibberish to info ratio.

    • Fred –
      Unless I misread your comment, you contradicted yourself – first challenging the notion that it’s cost effective to assert that the climate change issue is controversial,

      Yo need a parity check on your memory circuits. I’ve never touched that particular concept.

      and then claiming that it’s a losing game to claim the issue is non-controversial.

      It is when the controversy is plainly seen by those you’re trying to convince. And especially when the controversy is exposed and confirmed by something like Climaegate.

      “In vain in the sight of the bird……”

    • Hyping the “controvers”y takes many forms. The misleading reports of petitions signed by “scientists” is one example. But hyping the “controversy” isn’t limited to the more scientific domain of the debate. Another example would be the deliberately deceptive hype (promoted at WUWT) about the % of Scientific American readers who think that GW is most likely A. We’ve also seen on these very threads a misleading hyping of the “controversy, or impact of climategate on public opinion.

    • Another example would be the deliberately deceptive hype (promoted at WUWT) about the % of Scientific American readers who think that GW is most likely A.

      Do you have the “real” numbers perchance? you’ve presented insufficient information to prove anything/

    • The Google is your friend, Jim.

    • No, Josh – you brought the subject up and said nothing substantive, just innuendo. Trot out your numbers.

    • If you’re interested what is known about Scientific American readers’ views on climate change, Jim, the Google is your friend.

      I would give you the links myself – but as I recall in your last post directed my way, you explained how I lacked common sense and the rhetorical skills you would expect of an adult. You read my like a book, and because of those deficiencies you identified, I am incapable of using The Google to find easily available evidence. But if I had more common sense and better rhetorical skills, I would suggest that you try using the following search string:

      Do 80 percent of Scientific American subscribers deny global warming?

    • Joshua
      I took the time to read the article in Sci Am and unfortunately based on the article I don’t think it supports you conclusions or even the articles. Not having access to the raw polling data I can only use the ones shown in the article. The question was over the last year have your views about climate altered in any way.
      46% My views have not changed. 40% I am more certain that humans are changing the planet: 14% I am more doubtful human activity is affecting the climate.
      The article concludes based on these numbers
      Among those respondents who have changed their opinions in the past year, three times more said they are more certain than less certain that humans are changing the climate.
      The respondents have not changed their opinions they are only acknowledging that their existing opinion has been reinforced over the time period.
      If you have the raw data or can point me to it I would be curious to look at it.

    • The ‘momentum’ is not your friend, Joshua. What’s winning is skepticism about the alarmism. What’s winning is that people are getting a more realistic view of man’s effect on the earth and the climate, and it is not as dominant as the Gores and Hansens of the world would have had us believe. The moment of hysteria has passed, and we are more likely to make good policy decisions in the future. This whole event has been a cautionary tale, with many morals to it.
      ==============

    • Jeff – Here was my “claim.”

      Another example would be the deliberately deceptive hype (promoted at WUWT) about the % of Scientific American readers who think that GW is most likely A.

      I have seen claims made by “sketpics/deniers,” some of whom were linked by WUWT, that a majority of Scientific American readers deny global warming. These claims were made based on an online poll not of Scientific American readers, but of visitors to their website – many whom only went to the website (urged to do so by a “skeptic/denier” site, specifically to vote on that poll. The particular claim made spoken about in the article you read was even incorrect in another aspect, in that the claim was that 80% of Scientific American readers, most of whom are scientists deny global warming.

      Why were such deceptive/inaccurate claims made? They were made because some “skeptics/deniers” chose to hype the “controversy.” The editors of Scientific American obviously thought that using the poll to characterize the opinions of their readership was deliberately deceptive.

      The reference to a poll of SA readers was flat out wrong. The reference to most of SA readers being scientists was flat out wrong. If you are holding onto a belief that the claims about the opinions of SA readers has not been proven wrong, then are you telling me that you find the claims to be credible? You think the claim that 80% of SA readers doubt AGW is a credible claim?

      The results of the survey given in the link that you read – showing that 14% of Scientific American readers became more doubtful about anthropogenic climate change during the year of climategate (while 86% did not) – is certainly suggestive that the claim that 80% of SA readers deny climate change is wrong, although it isn’t conclusive in that regard.

      The respondents have not changed their opinions they are only acknowledging that their existing opinion has been reinforced over the time period.

      I’m not sure why you think that point is germane (although I should say that logically extending your point would lead to the conclusion that only 14% of SA readers were doubtful about AGW prior to the year the survey covered – since only 14% had “doubtful” opinions reinforced). The original claims made that hyped the “controversy” about opinions of SA readers were not about the % of SA readers who had changed their minds. Those deliberately deceptive claims were made with respect to the % of SA readers who doubt AGW.

    • One question, Josh –
      Did Anthony Watts make those claims – or did you get that from the comments?

      If he did then you need to provide a link to the article that was written under his name. Otherwise your analysis is opinion rather than fact.

      If it came from the comments section, then it wasn’t Watts who said it.

      Now – that poll was an on-line PUBLIC poll, NOT specifically for SA readers as was later claimed by SA. Do I KNOW that? Yes – I was one of those who responded. Do I read SA? Sometimes, but I’m not a subscriber.

      Would I trust the results? No

      Are there those who distorted the importance? Yes Just as there are those who minimize it. Witness the present “conversation.”

      you explained how I lacked common sense and the rhetorical skills

      I didn’t say that, but if it’s all you got out of it, then you need to read it again.

      Note – on the internet sarc ALWAYS comes across as anger. No exceptions.

    • Joshua
      First let me admit that I had no prior memory of the controversy that you and Jim were discussing. I actually took your suggestion and looked up
      Do 80 percent of Scientific American subscribers deny global warming?
      This led me to this blog article in Sci Am
      http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=do-80-percent-of-scientific-america-2010-11-17
      Which I basically agree with. Internet polling like this sucks and is meaningless. Unremarkably Watts’s kind agrees in a less stringent tone I think.
      I should add that this poll is rather poorly designed. On that, Mr. Romm and I agree. Bear in mind that many of the questions are multiple choice, and more than one answer can be selected. You can also skip questions that you feel don’t offer a representation of your view. – Anthony
      The blog article then highlights another poll that I assumed was more scientific and therefore much more interesting.
      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=in-science-we-trust-poll
      Unfortunately I was disappointed. Sci AM did not show or link to the data but merely highlighted certain results. I mentioned the highlighted results of “Climate Change Denial on the Decline” because their data as shown can be interrupted several different ways. Which I guess is my point. Polls are just like any other data in that if the interpreter wants to they can selectively use the data to support many and even opposing positions. All you have to do is close one eye and never show your work. Both sides do this to gain Headlines in any debate and that is a damn shame .

    • Joshua –
      I still haven’t watched the video. But what I started between emergencies here is an analysis of the SA poll. Only have part of it done but – once you separate out the blog inputs what’s left is the SA readers (and general public). Of those numbers, 46.4% believe GHG’s are the cause of GW and 53.6% believe it’s Solar, Natural variation – or no GW at all.

      In addition, 73.7% of SA readers (and the general public) believe the IPCC is corrupt, 25% believe IPCC is effective and 1.2% is stupid/ignorant (don’t know what IPCC is).

      More bad news will wait till Sunday. I have to be on the road tomorrow.

    • Wow! That was a lot of work, Jim. To bad it was time poorly spent.

      From the beginning, I said that the deceptive hype was promoted at WUWT. No matter how much you try to finagle your way around that, you can’t change the simple facts. Despite your mischaracterization that I “blamed Watts for deceptive hype,” you can’t change what I actually said. It’s right there on your computer screen. I said that he promoted deceptive hype, and he did, by referring readers to a video that contained deceptive hype. You know, I assumed that you are a conservative, and so you are concerned with “personal responsibility.” Guess not, huh? Because you went to all that trouble to defend Watts for promoting deceptive hype as if he isn’t personally responsible for what he puts up on his website?

      As for Coleman’s deceptive hype (that was promoted at WUWT), again, here is what he said in the video:

      “A Scientific American poll shows that science readers at least have abandoned the global warming bandwagon”

      Apparently, I need to explain to you why that is deceptive. Only someone choosing to deceive, or just plan ignorant, could confuse an on line poll with “science readers.” In other deceptive hyping of that poll, it was claimed that the respondents were “SA readers” along with the incorrect claim that most SA readers are scientists. So we have two different kinds of deceptive hyping. One of them was promoted at WUWT.

      No matter how you get out your calculator to break down how many respondents to the poll came directly from WUWT, you can’t tweak the numbers in such a way to make either of those statement accurate. The poll doesn’t tell us squat about “science readers.” It doesn’t tell us squat about “SA readers,” and SA readers are not mostly scientists.

      In addition to which, you have no way of knowing how many WUWT readers might gone to the poll because it was posted about at WUWT but without WUWT showing up as a direct referral.

      Then you make the following statement?


      Later, Joshua made this claim –
      Another example would be the deliberately deceptive hype (promoted at WUWT) about the % of Scientific American readers who think that GW is most likely A.

      That is just flat out false. There was no “then” about it. That was in my first post. So, now we see that you are deceptively hyping about my post about deceptive hype?

      Interesting.

    • Joshua –
      I’m beginning to wonder about your logic, Josh.

      I said that he promoted deceptive hype, and he did, by referring readers to a video that contained deceptive hype.

      There has to be deceptive hype in order for it to be promoted. There was none.

      Coleman mentioned no numbers or percentages of SA readers. In the last minutes of the video he said that science readers are abandoning AGW. you can interpret that to mean SA readers if you like. It still doesn’t make it untrue – or deceptive – or hype.

      Do you believe that the following is NOT a shift in the SA readership? What reason/explanation would you propose for these numbers? After all, the SA people were shocked.

      Question 3. What is causing climate change?
      GHG’s from human activity – 46.4%
      Solar, Natural variation, NO CC – 53.6%

      Regardless of what numbers Coleman might have used, he didn’t use any. He made a general statement that you’re not capable of refuting because what he said is true. If you think you can refute it, then go for it. But don’t come back without numbers.

      Once more you’ve come in here with a statement that has no facts, no basis – and therefore no proof. You present a statement that you claim is hype – and yet the facts don’t back you up.

      No matter how you get out your calculator to break down how many respondents to the poll came directly from WUWT, you can’t tweak the numbers in such a way to make either of those statement accurate. The poll doesn’t tell us squat about “science readers.” It doesn’t tell us squat about “SA readers,” and SA readers are not mostly scientists.

      Josh – that’s just dumb. The SA editorial tells you how many WUWT and SDA and CP respondents there were. And the poll results are on-line. Which in turn, tells you how many SA readers there were. Which then reduces to the above numbers. (53.6% vs 46.4%). If you really can’t do that, let me know and I’ll walk you through the process. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, just some elementary arithmetic and some common sense.

      You also need to realize that anything you do to change those numbers will make that 53.6% increase – not decrease. I stacked the deck in your favor. Say “thank you.”

      Oh yeah – the scientist thing – neither Coleman nor Watts mentioned “scientists” in relation to the poll. Others may have, but we’re not talking about “others.” Nor do I intend to explain all the screwups in the world to you.

      There is no hype there – and no deception, Joshua. If you don’t understand that then it’s your problem not mine, not Watts’, not Coleman’s.

      Truth is that I found more wrong with that video than you did – but that’s not because of deception.

    • I usually have to deal with Joshua misrepresenting my comments here, so imagine my amusement upon seeing this exchange between him and Jim Owen.

      “Another example would be the deliberately deceptive hype (promoted at WUWT) about the % of Scientific American readers who think that GW is most likely A.”

      becomes

      “(Coleman says that’”A Scientific American poll shows that science readers at least have abandoned the global warming bandwagon’).”

      becomes

      “And while he didn’t directly state that it was a poll of SA readers, when you say that it is a Scientific American poll, and then talk about how the results are evidence of what ‘science readers’ think, it’s clearly an implication.”

      becomes

      “The obvious implication was that it was a representative sampling of ‘science readers.’”

      In short, in Joshua speak, ” Scientific American readers” became “science readers” became an “implication of SA readers” became “a representative sampling of ‘science readers.’” Joshua must be exhausted.

      And all because Joshua began by misrepresenting something Coleman said at the end of a video linked to on WUWT. Think of all the typing that could be saved if Joshua could just stick to what people actually say and write.

    • Jim – here’s a post from WUWT, where Watts links to a video that contains deceiving claims about the SA poll (in addition to deceiving claims about “thousands of scientists” who signed petitions).

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/26/john-coleman-on-the-state-of-global-warming/

      As I said, the deceptive hype (contained in Coleman’s video) was promoted at WUWT. In fact, the originator of the deceptive hype was invited to guest post.

      Oh, and right – this:

      And, truthfully, there are times when I’ve questioned what you’ve done. Specifically, I’ve wondered how you got to be as old as you are without learning better rhetorical/argumentation skills.

      isn’t questioning my rhetorical skills. And this:

      As for IQ – I’ll presume you know that IQ is nothing more than a measure of the ability to learn. It doesn’t measure knowledge or how “smart” you are, much less one’s level of “street smarts.”

      Wasn’t meant to question my common sense?

      The truth of the matter is, Jim, that you’re absolutely right; my “street smarts” are highly questionable as are my rhetorical skills. But hey, I do the best with the limited resources I have at my disposal.

    • Joshua –
      I’m unimpressed, under whelmed, even.

      You link to a blog post – a guest post – and blame Anthony for the content. Dr Curry has had a number of posts here, some of which she absolutely disagrees with. Are you therefore going to blame her for the content of those posts and claim that she’s deceiving her audience? If you want to blame someone try John Coleman.

      Watts doesn’t censor his guest posts any more than Dr Curry does. Or any more than other blog hosts do (in general). Nor should they if they’re looking for honest discussion. Your jumping on Anthony is your problem, not his.

      Now – for content – SA put the poll out there- publicly, on the Internet. People responded. Coleman’s numbers were correct – whether you like it or not. Did SA squawk? Yes. In fact, after the fact they claimed that the poll was only for SA readers. Bullfeathers – if that were the case, it wouldn’t have been open to public input. Were the numbers skewed? Absolutely. So what? SA got what they asked for (public input) – and then went into deception mode when it didn’t turn out the way they intended. In fact, if you break down the numbers, even without the WUWT input the numbers would have been higher than SA would have been happy with.

      The poll results were what they were. And like any other public Internet poll, taking it seriously is an exercise in self-deception.

      Does Coleman claim “thousands of scientists’? Cool – cause there are thousands of people on that list. And they’re there voluntarily – AFAIK you have to apply to be on that list. They don’t just pick names out of a hat.

      Does he use the SA poll results deceptively? I’ll find out later – don’t have time to watch his video right now, but I will watch it later. And if I have comments, I’ll get back here.

      Finally, As for IQ etc – was a comment, not a judgment of your common sense. But given your over-the-top reaction to Watts, etc, you’ve made me wonder…….

      As for rhetorical/argumentation skills, one of those skills is to know how to pick your battles (what’s important – and what’s not) – and when to walk away. Have you learned that yet?

    • Jim – Watts wrote a comment directing his readers towards the video.

      Watch John’s video that accompanies this essay here at his web site

      </strong?

      So, we have a twofer.

      First we have a famous "denier/skeptic" deceptively hyping "controversy," (Coleman says that "A Scientific American poll shows that science readers at least have abandoned the global warming bandwagon").

      And then we have a famous "denier/skeptic" promoting the deceptive hyping of a controversy.

      I didn't blame Anthony for the content of the post. I blamed Anthony for promoting deceptive hype.

      Watching you defend Watts' promotion of deceptive hyping of "controversy" is almost as hilarious as watching you trying to defend the deceptive hyping of the "controversy."

    • Joshua –
      First we have a famous “denier/skeptic” deceptively hyping “controversy,” (Coleman says that “A Scientific American poll shows that science readers at least have abandoned the global warming bandwagon”).

      I haven’t gotten to watch the video yet, but if that’s all you’ve got then it may not be worth talking about. If Coleman made one wrong statement, that doesn’t make it deceptive hype – it would a mistake, Josh. Or have you NEVER made a mistake?

      If I spent my time finding and publicizing all the truly deceptive hype put out by your side of the dance floor and hyperventilating about it as you have here, I’d have no time to do anything else – including sleep. If this is the best you can do, you’re really in desperate need of some education wrt the climate debate.

      Yes, I’ll watch the video. And THEN we’ll talk again about this.

    • Last week Joshua started hyperventilating about a statement referring to the Scientific American poll attached to their hatchet-job article about Judy Curry. I didn’t have time to deal with it then. But between phone calls relating to a family emergency Friday, I started looking at the reality.

      First, Joshua blamed Anthony Watts of deceptive hype. But Anthony did NOT say what he was accused of saying. That deceptive hype came from a guest post by John Coleman – and doesn’t actually show up in the post at all – only in the last minute of a 32 minute video that’s attached to John Coleman’s website. You have to dig deep for this particular deceptive hype. Which kinda negates the hype part of the argument.

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/26/john-coleman-on-the-state-of-global-warming/

      Later, Joshua made this claim –
      Another example would be the deliberately deceptive hype (promoted at WUWT) about the % of Scientific American readers who think that GW is most likely A.

      So Joshua switched to the but Anthony referred his readers to the video blame game – as if that implicated Anthony as an accessory to murder. But neither Watts nor Coleman said that. What was said – in the last minute of the Coleman video was that science readers are abandoning AGW. No specific mention of SA readers.

      So – in the little time I had on Friday, I went to the poll results and the SA editorial about the results where SA whined that they were shocked by the results of their own poll –

      The poll results show that 77.8 percent responded “natural processes”; only 26.4 percent picked “greenhouse gases from human activity.”

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=do-80-percent-of-scientific-america-2010-11-17

      But it was an open Internet poll so their whine that Anthony and Kate referred their readers to the poll should be neither surprising nor upsetting to anyone with two brain cells that are connected.

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/26/take-the-scientific-american-poll-on-judith-currry/

      http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/015346.html

      In any case, according to the SA website, the results of the poll were skewed by input from the WUWT and SDA (Small Dead Animals) – and Joe Romm’s Climate Progress blogs. .

      when the poll went live, to November 1 (the latest for which we have data on referrals) indicate that 30.5 percent of page views (about 4,000) of the poll came from Watts Up. The next highest referrer at 16 percent was a Canadian blog site smalldeadanimals.com

      on the other side of the climate debate, Joe Romm’s Climate Progress drove just 2.9 percent and was the third highest referrer.

      So – let’s take a closer look at the poll results – And we’ll use the SA numbers. There were 7028 total active respondents to the poll, of which about 3269 could be claimed to have come from WUWT (30.5%) and SDA (16%) and another 204 (2.9%) from ClimateProgress.

      http://www.surveymonkey.com/sr.aspx?sm=ONSUsVTBSpkC_2f2cTnptR6w_2fehN0orSbxLH1gIA03DqU_3d

      What I did next was to separate the “blog respondents” from the legitimate SA readers (and probably a few of the general public) and then recalculate the percentages for the answers to some of the SA questions based on SA reader numbers. So there were then 3473 (49.4%) respondents from the blogs and 3555 (50.6%) supposed SA “readers”.

      Some of the blog respondents were on one side of the fence (WUWT and SDA) and the rest would logically be on the other side (Climate Progress). It would NOT, in actuality, break down that cleanly, but this is the best case analysis for Joshua’s purposes, so he and the other warmists have no reason to complain. Specifically, WUWT and SDA readers were assigned to the specific answers they would most likely have given and CP readers were assigned to the answers they would most likely have given. Except for those questions that allowed for multiple answers, which got a little more complex.

      The recalculated results of the poll based only on supposed SA readers are as follows –

      Question 1. Should climate scientists discuss scientific uncertainty in mainstream forums?
      Yes – 87.9 %
      No or Maybe – 12.1%

      Question 2. Judith Curry is:
      A peacemaker – 40.8%
      A dupe or both - 16.9%
      I’ve never heard of her – 42.2%

      Question 3. What is causing climate change?
      GHG’s from human activity – 46.4%
      Solar, Natural variation, NO CC – 53.6%

      Question 4. The IPCC is:
      Effective – 25.0%
      Corrupt/political – 73.7%
      something to do with
      Internet protocols – 1.2%

      Question 5. What should we do about climate change?
      Nothing/More technology – 45.3%
      Less technology/carbon-free sources - 54.7%

      Queston 5 answers are greatly uncertain because the skeptics rarely break down that cleanly. But we’ll give it to Joshua and Co. anyway.

      I didn’t bother with the rest of the questions –

      Two more notes – first that Anthony’s comment on the poll was as follows –

      NOTE: I should add that this poll is rather poorly designed. On that, Mr. Romm and I agree. Bear in mind that many of the questions are multiple choice, and more than one answer can be selected. You can also skip questions that you feel don’t offer a representation of your view. – Anthony

      Second – that the follow-on SA poll was open only for their readers. And looking at the results, I’m not personally impressed by their readership. YMMV

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=in-science-we-trust-poll

    • Jim, honestly, I expected better than this from you:


      In the last minutes of the video he said that science readers are abandoning AGW. you can interpret that to mean SA readers if you like.

      He said that the Scientific American poll says that science readers have abandoned AGW. First – he wrongly implies that the poll is a poll of science readers. Second, he wrongly states that an online poll of web-surfers tells you what “science readers” think.

      And while he didn’t directly state that it was a poll of SA readers, when you say that it is a Scientific American poll, and then talk about how the results are evidence of what “science readers” think, it’s clearly an implication.

      It is such an obvious implication that another “denier/skeptic” deceptively hyped the results as those of an online poll of Scientific American readers.

      They were respondents to an on-line poll. That does not equate to “science readers.” It doesn’t equate to SA readers (as was claimed in deceptive hype by someone else).

      It is a laughably bogus statement, Jim. Deceptively hyping controversy. It’s positively hilarious that you would defend such a terribly supported conclusion. Show some self-respect, man.

      Anyway, I applaud your dedication; for you to spend so much time on this is true testimony to your desperation to defend Watts and Coleman. Your loyalty is commendable. If you want to insist that what Coleman said about the poll – that in any way it is a valid indication of what “science readers” think about climate change, then more power to you, my man.

    • Josh –
      he wrongly implies that the poll is a poll of science readers.

      Just who do you think reads SA? Trolls, maybe? Zombies? And even if someone is not an SA reader – do you REALLY think that the readers of WUWT/SDA/CP are NOT “science readers? Don’t get silly on me here.

      he wrongly states that an online poll of web-surfers tells you what “science readers” think.

      Have you failed to note the credentials of those on this blog? Do you really think that those on WUWT, etc are not “science readers”? Your logic circuits need to be reset.

      while he didn’t directly state that it was a poll of SA readers

      Your words, my friend.

      They were respondents to an on-line poll. That does not equate to “science readers.”

      In this case, it does. They were either SA readers or WUWT or SDA or CP denizens – ALL of which qualify. With the possible but unknown exception of some few of the general public – but not likely enough to skew the results.

      You’ve beat that dead horse 3 times in one comment – and it’s still dead. Don’t you thnk it’s time to bury it?

      for you to spend so much time on this is true testimony to your desperation to defend Watts and Coleman. Your loyalty is commendable.

      I don’t know either Watts or Coleman. Nor do either of them need me to defend them. But I know BS when I smell it. And this had that smell from the beginning. I learned that smell many years ago – it hasn’t changed regardless of the source.

      If you want to prove something, trot your numbers out here, cause my numbers say you’re wrong.

    • Jim –

      He said that it was a poll that showed what “science readers” think on the issue of climate change. The obvious implication was that it was a representative sampling of “science readers.” That poll, at best, was a poll of a select group of science readers.” When polls are intended to indicate a representative sample, they utilize controls. That poll was, in no way, controlled to offer a representative sample. For anyone to argue that you can draw conclusions about what “science readers” think about climate change from that poll is ridiculous. Do you think that some 80% of science readers reject the argument that GW is likely to be A? Really?

      Just who do you think reads SA?

      Apparently you were confused by the deceptive hype, Jim. It wasn’t a poll of SA readers. If you bothered to read the polls of SA readers, you would see plenty of evidence that contradicts the implications of Coleman’s statement.

      That’s what happens when you sign on to deceptive hype, Jim. You get confused.

    • Anyway, have a nice rest of the evening, Jim. NO is leading LA and I need to concentrate on seeing Kobe lose.

    • I read the SA follow-on poll results. Underwhelming.

      You’re the one who called it wrt this poll. Now you’re wiggling out on me – as you’ve been doing all along by trying to bring in other garbage. Been here before, Josh. If you can’t prove your original argument, then you’ve lost it. And you’ve moved the goalposts once too often.

      We’re done here, Josh.

    • Still whining about eugenics and hoping to bluff your way into people not noticing the similarity?

  34. david douglass

    Judith;

    Readers of this blog may be interested in the published paper by Knox and Douglass.

    Recent energy balance of Earth

    Abstract

    A recently published estimate of Earth’s global warming trend is 0.63 ± 0.28 W/m2, as calculated from ocean heat content anomaly data spanning 1993–2008. This value is not representative of the recent (2003–2008) warming/cooling rate because of a “flattening” that occurred around 2001–2002. Using only 2003–2008 data from Argo floats, we find by four different algorithms that the recent trend ranges from –0.010 to –0.160 W/m2 with a typical error bar of ±0.2 W/m2. These results fail to support the existence of a frequently-cited large positive computed radiative imbalance.

    The paper may be down loaded at

    R. S. Knox
    D. H. Douglass

    Dept of Physics
    University of Rochester
    Rochester NY

  35. david douglass

    Try again. The address to get the Knox/Douglass paper is
    http://www.pas.rochester.edu/~douglass/papers/KD_InPress_final.pdf
    D. H. Douglass

    • Thanks for link.

      Max

    • I have expressed a couple of times my amazement on the fact that the paper contains four different algorithms for determining the trend, while only one of them is reasonable.

      The first one emphasized through its use in Fig. 1 is simply wrong as most of its trend comes from the regular annual variation. The first halfyear is always warmer than the second, but the second half of 2003 and the first half of 2008 get less weight than the other period. The difference from the correct fourth method is totally due to this simple mathematical error.

      The methods 2 and 3 are not biased, but random variation influence one-month values so much that they are of little value.

      I still cannot understand, how the paper got through to publication without correcting these errors and weaknesses. Only the last method, which gave essentially zero trend should have been included in the paper.

  36. After browsing this thread, I can’t resist making a ‘meta’ response.

    I sometimes view life as a series of little intelligence tests. When the self-serve check-out machine at the supermarket fails, does the customer stand there, staring at the machine, or do they go get help? That’s an intelligence test.

    The subject of this thread is a particular study by a particular person focusing on particular topics. The study has been excerpted above by the blog owner for a particular reason. So how far down the responses do you have to go to find people discussing creationism and racism?

    This, too, is a test of sorts. You’ve been asked a question. Did you answer the question? If not, why did you bother responding to this question at this place and this time? Allow me to suggest that there is a relationship (linear?) between intelligence and ability to stay on topic on internet comment boards.

    As to the topic at hand, I don’t need grad students to tell me that print media coverage of global warming has been overwhelmingly supportive of the consensus/apocalyptic line. I am also not surprised that the money spent by pro-AWG advocates is so high. Along those lines, I would suggest the appellation ‘Big Prog’ for the self-styled big spenders of the progressive left. Fits right in with Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, etc

  37. This and other sociological studies in the last year, which are debated in the various pro- and contra blogs, show up an interesting feature which seems to get lost in the debates about name-calling and who’s being paid by whom and how much.
    This is the nearly feverish drive by AGWers to find a communication strategy to inform/rescue/teach the public which is sliding out of their grip.

    That illustrates yet again nicely the hybris of all those involved, from NGOs and the IPCC down to the various AGW blogs. After all, scientists are more clever than the dumb Joe and Jane Sixpacks, aren’t they?
    So if the stupid people won’t believe, they must be made to, with all the modern techniques available.

    What they do not grasp is that they themselves have made the public stop believing. After all – three bad winters in a row when people were told this wouldn’t happen is something everybody experienced, and gave food for thought. And when every MSM blares forth with ‘hottest ever – we’re all going to fry’, for years, and nothing at all happens – then why should the people not start using their own observations? Warm is nice, none of the predicted climate catastrophes have happened, but everybody must pay higher taxes and prices for living, for us to go back to the old days of scarcity and cold?

    Not even the most sophisticated communications strategies will make people discard their own experiences or make them accept something which goes against common sense.
    After thirty years of fear and panic, induced by AGW advocates, people have seen and experienced in their lives that this emperor has indeed no clothes …

  38. I actually read Matt’s report in full because I suppose I have a morbid interest in the pathology of denial. On the plus side, anything so misguided and causing even mild schism in the church of climatology, can only be viewed as a good thing.

    I’ve rarely read anything produced by a supposedly educated person which was so badly written either, never mind non sequitur after non sequitur …

    Pointman

  39. When it comes to spending, why did he not include the value of all the “green” advertising by oil companies and others? There is an oil co. ad (think it’s Chevron, but not sure) which ran many times a day on CNBC where a young woman (looks to be a student) talks about the crisis and demands to know where the solutions are. Then the show a company engineer who confirms that the company is hard at work to implement these solutions. It’s a daily reminder by a oil company that ‘confirms’ to the viewer that CAGW is real. Most oil co. ads that I see work in similar ways.

    Does anyone want to argue that this advertising spending wasn’t designed to support the CAGW crowd? GE is out there pitching for it all the time. State and local governments (and their utilities) have spent enormous sums of money pitching CAGW. Don’t see them in this analysis. They have so many tax credits and subsidies available to anyone who adopts solar, etc. that it is difficult to keep up with all of them.

    What is the value of all the corporate communication within and without the business which assumes that CAGW is real? We see it all the time. The money it would take to purchase advertising to counteract that type communication is off the charts.

    Same thing for the news coverage. The bias alone is worth more money to the CAGW crowd than all the cash spent by the other side. You simply cannot spend enough in ads to balance (in the minds of news consumers) the bias that news sources exhibit.

    Finally, what is the value of all the billions spent by the govt on research in terms of persuading those who are dependent thereon to propagandize their friends and families. Personal financial self-interest is a powerful motivator. Never underestimate its influence.

    • One might wonder, if personal financial self interests is such a powerful motivator, why the oil companies (which along with other fossil fuel owners/suppliers have the most to lose from emissions restrictions) find it necessary to print advertisements supporting (broadly) the reality of AGW?

      Perhaps they were convinced by the consensus reflected by, say, every major scientific society on the planet (give or take a few, maybe)?

    • Just a couple examples –
      Shell supported the story because they thought they would make big bucks in the wind business. But that didn’t work out for them, did it?

      GE – had multiple irons in the fire. Wind is only one of them – they’ve been working on that dog since 1970 or so.

    • Three more examples:

      ExxonMobil has had many TV ads showing their “renewable fuels from algae” project.

      Chevron has had a whole series of ads discussing the “we must act now / we are acting now” theme.

      BP had a whole series of “beyond petroleum” ads (but these slowed down after the Gulf catastrophe).

      Max

    • ian (not the ash)

      Paul…off the top of my head…

      I suspect the fossil fuel conglomerates suspect that they are in a win/win situation. Because many of them are investing heavily in ‘renewable’ energy alternatives (BP is one of the world’s largest solar companies), whether the ‘catastropic’ AGW scenario develops or not they will continue to dominate the market. If AGW is a ‘storm in a teacup’ their former perturbations over a potential ‘climate crisis’ are quickly forgotten – they were simply alligning their policies with concensus science and diversifying appropriately; the globe will continue to demand greater and greater amounts of relatively cheap energy which they will continue to supply (the ‘peak’ oil, coal etc. debate notwithstanding). If the climate situation steadily becomes dire and the demand for energy alternatives develops, they are in the box seat. One way of looking at the situation…

    • Frankly I would really like to know whether the decision-makers at the relevant companies consider the risk of AGW well-established or not.

      It seems implausible to me that Shell could believe it had more to gain from its wind business than it did to lose if strict carbon regulations were imposed. Thus it would have to believe that its green advertising didn’t significantly increase the risk such regulations would be implemented.

    • I would suspect that they are savvy enough to know that until a viable energy alternative is available (and affordable), “strict carbon regulation” is DOA. Take away the PR value and government subsidy and Shell’s wind business would be history.

    • It was a bandwagon. Most people usually just jump on it. It’s humane nature.

      Personal financial (or any other) interests do not have to be real, just perceived as such.

      But in case of AGW, they were very real.

    • The energy companies are making their choices based an a judgment of what way of being in public is likely to be most beneficial for them. In this case Shell and BP have judged it beneficial to present such a view of the company in public. They think that it’s more beneficial to tell about concern on environment.

      They have also some business activities in renewable energy, but oil is their main business, where they earn their profits. They do not want to be seen as opposing environmental issues. For a long time Exxon made openly a different judgment, but that doesn’t imply that the companies would see their business interests so different. The difference concerns rather thinking on, how to influence best the business environment. The fact that Shell and BP are European companies is also of significance. Lobbying behind the scene may also be in may ways contrary to the message presented by the PR department in public.

  40. The type of analysis comparing various groups’ spending and guessing numbers is interesting, but not very meaningful – who can interpret what the numbers he came up with mean, I can’t. It certainly isn’t a conventional media analysis. I’m inclined to think that if you intend to dollarize two sides of this issue, then you have to dollarize newspaper articles, TV coverage, lectures, TV ads, etc. No matter how you look at it, the topic is clearly big business.

  41. What seems to be largely ignored in this debate is that for much of the past 2 thousand years, the “scientific” consensus was humans were created by god and that the earth was flat.

    Those that believed in creationism and the flat earth were the consensus. The ideas came from the best educated and most powerful people on the planet. Those that did not believe were the heretics, the deniers, and were persecuted and even put to death for daring to question.

    The situation is little changed. Those that forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      It always amazes me how many people genuinely think the flat Earth model was believed for most of the last two thousand years. The truth is plenty of people during that time knew better. In fact, the sphericity of Earth was common knowledge in Europe by 500 AD. It had been known to some for at least a thousand years prior, and the famous map maker, Ptolemy, made maps based upon it shortly after the time of Jesus.

      In short, be careful when you think you know people hold a foolish belief. A lack of understanding can often lead you to looking like the fool.

      Also, I think it’s important to once again emphasize the fact “creationism” doesn’t just mean “God created humans.” There are creationists who believe in direct creation by God, but they are a small subset of all creationists.

    • The ‘Flat Earth’ argument, the moon-landing argument, the Creationist argument, even the argument that the leftness or rightness of politics determines climate views, are all inadequate rhetorical devices quite impotent in the face of Science. The alarmists throw these straw dummies around like they actually prove a point, and they do, but the one they prove is that alarmists haven’t a scientific leg to stand upon and need to attempt to marginalize the skeptics.

      Ongoing observations will always eventually rule, and the lesson from them so far is that the role of CO2 as a climate determinant has been exaggerated. This is an important first step for figuring out what its true role is, a question worth spending the money to answer rather than to waste money begging it.

      Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming came to us as a ‘fait accompli’. Few noticed that the blitzkrieg was virtual, and not real.
      ==================

    • “The truth is plenty of people during that time knew better”

      That was not the consensus view. The consensus view was that the earth was flat.

      There are plenty of people today that know better about CO2, but are they the consensus?

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Can you do more than just say, “You’re wrong”? I gave some detail to support my response to you, but you’ve apparently just ignored it.

      It is impossible to have a sensible discussion if one (or more) parties just ignores what the other says.

    • Sure, happy to:

      “You’re wrong”

    • ferd –
      Those that believed in creationism and the flat earth were the consensus.

      You and I nearly always agree, but we just parted company over that line. The first part wrt (creationism) is true.

      The second part (flat earth ) is NOT true. “In the Beginning” it was probably true. But sailors knew that the Earth was round by at least the 12th C BC when the “Sea Peoples” invaded the Middle Eastern empires. It was an early Greek who first calculated the diameter of the Earth – and he wasn’t far wrong. Nor was Columbus ignorant of the spherical nature of the Earth 2600 years later. His problem in that regard was that he underestimated the distance to China westward and overestimated the distance eastward as well as underestimating the Earth’s diameter. OK – he also ignored those who had a better handle on the numbers because their estimates didn’t agree with his ideas. He also had maps that your teacher didn’t tell you about.

      But nobody who was educated after the time of Aristotle had any illusions about the shape of the Earth.

      I know – your teacher told you that people believed the Earth was flat. S/he lied. Neither literature nor history nor archaeology nor practical experience support that concept.

  42. Judith Curry

    This article by Dr. Benny Peiser gives a good summary of the current status of AGW as an issue of public concern in Europe, which may also be true for the USA.
    http://www.publicserviceeurope.com/article/136/climate-fatigue-leaves-global-warming-in-the-cold

    This analysis presents a totally different viewpoint than that offered by Matt Nisbet.

    While both authors conclude that AGW has lost importance in the eyes of the public, Peiser believes that this is not simply a matter of spending more money in order to do a better job of communicating the message as Nisbet does, but that the message itself has irreversibly lost its relevance in the eyes of the public.

    Peiser’s opening line:

    The global warming hysteria is well and truly over. How do we know? Because all the relevant indicators – polls, news coverage, government u-turns and a manifest lack of interest among policy makers – show a steep and deepening decline in public concern about climate change.

    Despite the extensive backup data presented by Nisbet, it appears to me that Peiser has analyzed the root cause of the current situation more accurately than Nisbet, but I would be interested in your thoughts on this as well.

    Max

    • manacker,
      It is the lack of introspection and self-awareness of so many in the AGW community that assures they will learn no lessons from this.
      In five years, we will still see Fred plodding on, treading the same ground for the 10-to-the-umpth-power time, pretending that skeptics are creationists and confabulating a vast effective campaign by creationists which skeptics use to help keep people from the great enlightenment of CO2 obsession.

  43. In summary, Matt takes 84 pages to try and figure out why nobody cares any more about Climate Change, nee Global Warming.

    It is simple . . when you tell people over and over and over that the sky is falling, that you saw the wolf but people wake up every day and the there are no wolves and the sky is fine, you realize that someone has been trying to con you and you tune them out.

    Simple human nature.

  44. Nisbet has a response to Romm up on his site (mentioned by Keith Kloor on Collide-a-scape).

  45. There’s an interesting interview with Nisbet at Climate Central
    http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/changes-in-public-perception-of-climate-change-qa-with-matthew-nisbet/

    And a new essay from Nisbet that takes on Romm’s critiques (and Romm), which has some very interesting analysis:
    http://climateshiftproject.org/2011/04/22/response-to-joe-romms-statements-on-spending/

    Both of these are definitely worth reading IMO

    • Dr Curry –
      I think there may be at least one place where everyone fails to track down climate related expenditures. From a NASA release –

      NASA is partnering with other federal agencies to fund new research and applications efforts that will bring the global view of climate from space down to Earth to benefit wildlife and key ecosystems.

      NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Smithsonian Institution will provide $18 million for 15 new research projects during the next four years. Organizations across the United States in academia, government and the private sector will study the response of different species and ecosystems to climate changes and develop tools to better manage wildlife and natural resources. The projects were selected from 151 proposals.

      $18 mil may not look like much in comparison with other expenditures, but I get the same kind of release at least once per week. And it’s been ongoing since at least 2001.

    • The part that disappeared from that last comment was that I get the same kind of release ($ for NASA partnerships at least once a week.

  46. Dr Curry –
    I apparently blew it with an html tag again. Would you please fix it? Thank you.

  47. Nisbet’s data, contradicts Nisbet’s thesis. By his own count, those who reject the idea of humans driving climate change significantly outspent those who accept the idea by large factors for political contributions, advertising and lobbying, even with Matt’s thumb on the scale.

    The point he makes about Prop 23 in CA last year is even stronger proof that this imbalance has affected the situation. In that case the rejectionists were outspent and lost, but on Prop 26 which was also a rejectionist special they had more money and won.

    • Your first grade teacher would be disappointed in your inability with simple arithmetic.

    • For starters.

    • So let’s see, the rejectionists spent what, 73 million in 2010 on political contributions, those in favor of cap and trade 7.2 million, and you think that means the supporters of cap and trade spent more?

      So let’s see the rejectionists spent 167 million on advertising and the supporters of cap and trade spent 48 million and you think that means the supporters of cap and trade spent more?

      So let’s see the rejectionists spent 272 million on lobbying and the supporters of cap and trade spent 229 million and you think that means the supporters of cap and trade spent more?

      Those are Nisbet’s numbers.

      Interesting caps youse guys are wearing.

  48. Andy Revkin has a thoughtful reflections on the Climate Shift discussion
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/beyond-the-climate-blame-game/

    • Judith

      Andrew Revkin’ analysis may be thoughtful, but he has left out the most important question: is the premise of alarming AGW backed by sound science or not?

      To worry about mitigation, C+T, etc. before answering this basic question is foolish.

      And this basic question is far from answered, even if Revkin hasn’t quite gotten the word yet.

      Max

  49. Following the money

    the financial resources and spending of environmental groups and their opponents…
    …in 2009…conservative think tanks…spent an estimated $259 million specific to climate change and energy policy
    …national envi- ronmental groups … spent an estimated $394 million on climate change and energy-specific activities.

    So it looks about equal, right ?

    Except that what seems to have been left out is the money spent by government on climate science and parts of related disciplines, in universities and colleges and laboratories, almost all of which goes to feverishly promoting CAGW. Which probably dwarfs the above figures, perhaps by a factor of thousands **.

    Which in effect means THOUSANDS of times more money is spent promoting CAGW than is spent questioning it.

    Hence the apparent ‘consensus’ – in reality nothing but the effect of an utterly dominant, single funder with a huge vested interest in the said ‘consensus’ it funds being believed.


    ** Anyone have accurate figures for total government spending on climate science ?

    • Punksta

      Funny, when I look at Lamont Alexander’s 2007 figures (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/subsidy2/pdf/subsidy08.pdf which we must believe are accurate figures for total government spending on CO2E), it appears your random guesses have it exactly backwards.

      Government outspends on subsidies to fossil and related endeavors over climate science by a ratio of 2000:1 or more, and when you follow the American tax money most of it ends up in the pockets of the most profitable fossil and agribusiness multinational companies and their foreign owners.

    • Bart;
      Although your presentation of this report on subsidies to energy industry was an egregious non-answering of the actual question put to you, let us separately examine it anyway.

      I have noticed your (somewhat token) adoption of market principles, and in that at least we are in agreement – just scrap these subsidies, along with any green ones (windmills etc).

      You are mistaken though if you think that subsidies simply benefit the industry in question. Since they keep prices down, they mainly benefit the consumers on an ongoing basis. Any benefits to a given energy company’s shareholders would be once-off, at the time the subsidy was introduced, a windfall effect. Thereafter profits would be only normal.

  50. Why are even energy companies toeing the CAGW line now?

    As Pekka notes, “In this case Shell and BP have judged it beneficial to present such a view of the company in public. They think that it’s more beneficial to tell about concern on environment. “.

    Exactly. B

  51. Since Bart ducks the question I will re-ask it :

    What are the relative amounts of money spent promoting CAGW thinking versus questioning it?

    • Punksta

      You took a long time to review the report Alexander sponsored to address pretty much exactly that question in 2007.

      Seems you don’t like the answer any more than he did, and want another answer instead to the same question.

      If you’re only going to reject all answers that don’t match your political philosophy, such as it is, why not spare us the grief, and just make up something you do like?

  52. Since you again duck the question I must again present it.

    I asked about the money put into CAGW propaganda by government universities etc. You ‘reply’ by citing alleged subsidies to fossil industry.

    So we’re still waiting for an answer.

  53. Re: Paul Baer’s question about why fossil fuel companies are toeing the CAGW line with public ads:

    More or less as Pekka replied, they are simply trying to curry favour with the voting public, prostrating themselves before the state in the hopes of it will be less harsh in its taxing on emissions. And of course to get on the subsidy wagon with windmills etc.

    What they actually believe re: CAGW, is anyone’s guess.

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