Making (non)sense of climate denial

by Judith Curry

See update

I’m wondering how we can inoculate ourselves and broader public from the latest nonsense from John Cook: an online MOOC Making Sense of Climate Denial.

The online course Making Sense of Climate Denial is offered through the University of Queensland (Australia), you can enroll for free [here]. John Cook has a 2 minute youtube advert [link].

BadAstronomer has signed up for the course, given an overview of the course in this post Making sense of nonsense: a MOOC about climate change denial,  BadAstronomer is very excited about guest lecturers Michael Mann, Katherine Hayhoe, and Naomi Oreskes.

The ‘philosophy’ behind the course is described by John Cook in an article in the Conversation, entitled: Inoculating against science denial. Excerpts:

How then should scientists respond to science denial? The answer lies in a branch of psychology dating back to the 1960s known as “inoculation theory”. Inoculation is an idea that changed history: stop a virus from spreading by exposing people to a weak form of the virus. This simple concept has saved millions of lives.

In the psychological domain, inoculation theory applies the concept of inoculation to knowledge. When we teach science, we typically restrict ourselves to just explaining the science. This is like giving people vitamins. We’re providing the information required for a healthier understanding. But vitamins don’t necessarily grant immunity against a virus.

There is a similar dynamic with misinformation. You might have a healthy understanding of the science. But if you encounter a myth that distorts the science, you’re confronted with a conflict between the science and the myth. If you don’t understand the technique used to distort the science, you have no way to resolve that conflict.

Half a century of research into inoculation theory has found that the way to neutralise misinformation is to expose people to a weak form of the misinformation. The way to achieve this is to explain the fallacy employed by the myth. Once people understand the techniques used to distort the science, they can reconcile the myth with the fact.

The response to science denial is not just more science. We stop science denial by exposing people to a weak form of science denial. We need to inoculate minds against misinformation.

The practical application of inoculation theory is already happening in classrooms, with educators adopting the teaching approach of misconception-based learning (also known as agnotology-based learning or refutational teaching).

This involves teaching science by debunking misconceptions about the science. This approach results in significantly higher learning gains than customary lectures that simply teach the science.

At the University of Queensland, we’re launching a MOOC that makes sense of climate science denial.

Our approach draws upon inoculation theory, educational research into misconception-based learning and the cognitive psychology of debunking. We explain the psychological research into why and how people deny climate science.

Having laid the framework, we examine the fallacies behind the most common climate myths. Our goal is for students to learn how to identify the techniques used to distort climate science and feel confident responding to misinformation.

No, I have not signed up for the course.  However, I did receive a lengthy email from someone who did sign up for the course, who emailed me transcripts of everything provided during week 1 of the course.  Here is the course overview:

Denial101x includes 6 weeks of lectures. The first week looks at the psychology of denial – what drives people to reject a scientific consensus? Understanding the psychology is crucial because we lay out a framework for science denial that will be used throughout the rest of the course. From weeks 2 to 5, we debunk myths about climate science – Some of them may be very familiar to you and some might be brand new.

Week 2 looks at myths that cast doubt on the reality of global warming. Week 3 looks at myths related to what’s causing global warming. We’ll look at the many human fingerprints being observed through our climate that not only confirm our role in recent global warming but also rule out other possible causes. Week 4 looks at the past and the future – paleoclimate research into the Earth’s past and climate model projections into the future. Week 5 looks at climate impacts, specifically we look at myths that try to play down the impacts of climate change.

Finally, in week 6, we answer the question – how do we respond to climate science denial? We look at psychological research into how to respond to
denial and give practical advice on debunking misinformation. Throughout this course, we’ll include interviews with some of the world’s leading climate
scientists. 

.
The guest lecturer for Week 1 is . . . . Stephan Lewandowsky.  I looked through the entire transcript, usual nutty stuff.  A few excerpts:

Well, I think the most important thing, to my mind, is the scientists, climate scientists, to realize that the public sphere is awash with agents who are not acting in good faith, who are not interested in dialogue, who are pursuing their own interests whatever they may be and for whatever reason, and who will not respond to communication in the same way that you and I would engage in a dialogue. 

JC comment:  Sounds like a conspiracy theory to me.

Now what’s happened is that on the blogs, the University of Western Australia is being maligned and smeared and is now pulled into this bigger conspiracy. 

Some of the characteristics of conspiratorial thinking or conspiratorial discourse are well understood, and there is a number of them. I think the most important one, the most powerful one, is an overriding sense of suspicion, something that goes beyond skepticism that goes into suspicion and can be—can approach paranoia even, and that is that nothing will be accepted at face value if it comes from somebody who’s presumed to be involved in this conspiracy. It doesn’t matter what you say, if you’re the target of a conspiracy theory, because whatever you say will be taken with the greatest suspicion and it will not be seen in the light in which it is intended. That, I think, to my mind, is the most important one.

JC comment:  can you guys please look in the mirror?

If the public knows that the scientists have formed a consensus on climate change, then that allows them to rely on that trust that they have in scientists anyway and to accept the fact that, yes, we have a problem and we should do something about that. It turns out that there is a number of studies that have looked at this, and in pretty much all cases that I know of, over and over again, if you tell people that there is a scientific consensus on climate change, then that is affecting their acceptance of the science. We know that people’s perception of the consensus is related to their policy preferences. The more people think there is a strong consensus among scientists, the more likely they are to support mitigation measures.

JC comment:  Sounds like ‘motivated reasoning’ for writing a bogus paper on 97% consensus.

JC reflections

Well, I’m not even sure where to start with this one.

Going through all this did make me realize something:  Cook, Lewandowsky, Mann, Oreskes et al. are conspiracy theorists – they see a fossil fuel funded, conservative conspiracy of ‘climate denial,’  the so-called merchants of doubt meme.

The facts of the matter are this (from my recent Congressional testimony):

Scientists agree that surface temperatures have increased since 1880, humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have a warming effect on the planet. However there is considerable disagreement about the most consequential issues:

  • Whether the warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes
  • How much the planet will warm in the 21st century
  • Whether warming is ‘dangerous’

If Cook et al. think that there is a 97% consensus on the the three bulleted points, well then they are the true ‘climate science deniers.’

It is clear from all this that Cook et al.  are UNFCCC/IPCC ideologues.  There is nothing wrong per se with ideology; it is the ideologues that are the problem – absence of doubt, intolerance of debate, appeal to authority, desire to convince others of the ideological “truth”, and a willingness to punish those that don’t concur.  They need to look in the mirror and understand their own motivated reasoning.

And finally, a word about agnotology.  Cook cites a paper on agnotology-based learning, which is rather painful.  I suggest reading my previous post  Agnotology, agnoiology, and cognitronics , and specifically Michael Smithson’s post  Agnotology, Uncertainty, and Ignorance.

Well, it will be sort of interesting to see how Cook’s latest attempt at ‘consensus’ enforcement plays out.

Update:  I thought it would be fun to make some suggestions for John Cook’s final exam, to see if the students REALLY are inoculated against climate denial.  Here are my suggestions for a reading list (accessible to nontechnical students), I look forward to your suggestions:

425 responses to “Making (non)sense of climate denial

  1. My alter-ego has signed up.

    From the course notes so far, it appears to be a massive circle-jerk.

    I’m unsure if the ‘marks’ that are awarded, are for comprehending the tasks, or, for veering towards the consensus from one’s originally admitted position.

    • David Springer

      Time is running out for global warming science. The pause killed the cause. I saw this played live in concert at Anaheim Convention Center in 1977. Man was I wasted…

      “Time” (Pink Floyd, 1973)

      Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
      Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
      Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
      Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

      Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
      You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
      And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
      No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

      And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
      Racing around to come up behind you again
      The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
      Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

      Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
      Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
      Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
      The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say

      Home, home again
      I like to be here when I can
      When I come home cold and tired
      It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire
      Far away, across the field
      The tolling of the iron bell
      Calls the faithful to their knees
      To hear the softly spoken magic spell

  2. When it comes to the global warming debate, no [sic] sense is common.

  3. iiequalsexpipi

    I liked this sentence:

    “Week 4 looks at the past and the future – paleoclimate research into the Earth’s past and climate model projections into the future.”

    So they plan to purposely ignore instrumental data… How convenient.

    • rogercaiazza

      +1

    • catweazle666

      “The data doesn’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations on the data. We’re basing them on the climate models.”

      ~ Prof. Chris Folland ~ (Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research

  4. daveandrews723

    Skeptics are not “climate science deniers.” They have viewed the evidence and say “the science is not settled” and “the observations do not support the warmists’ models.” Anyone who claims the science is settled and claims to understand the impact of CO2 on temperatures goes against the scientific method and is promoting a social agenda, not the furtherance (sp?) of science.

    • Well…

      The fact that global warming is split along Republican/Democratic party lines indicates it is political and not scientific.

      About 2 1/2 times as many Republicans think global warming is a hoax as believe the current POTUS is the antichrist.

    • Curious George

      Skeptics are now simply Climate Deniers. An inconvenient reference to “science” was deleted.

  5. Would you care to justify your 3 points with some evidence? You claim “considerable” disagreement – that implies at least a significant minority who dispute that (a) Whether the warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes – have you actually done a count of papers to validate the positions on this or are you simply making a claim without any?
    (b) How much the planet will warm in the 21st century – again a spurious statement – there is considerable uncertainty about climate sensitivity – with many papers publishing different ranges – this is hardly “new” and does not constitue “considerable disagreement” since the uncertainty and wide band of possibilities is almost universally acknowledged – including by the IPCC
    (c) Whether warming is ‘dangerous’ – this statement is almost inane in its unscientific nature. Clearly if climate sensitivity is high (and there is a non negligible risk it may be) then warming will be correspondingly high and will be dangerous

    It is these last two points where proper reasoned debate is taking place within the science community – I don’t see your post doing anything but detracting from that and adding to public misinformation.

    But you could always put up some evidence?

    If climate sensitivity is low and correspondingly planetary heat retention (not just atmospheric temperature) is low then we have much more time to take reasoned corrective action. It is to be hoped this is the case – but we do no-one any service by motivated reasoning either way – and certainly not by claiming “considerable disagreement” without providing substantive evidence for the claim

      • No evidentiary support there for “considerable disagreement” or even an attempt to quantify or cite a significant minority doubting human attribution – just your opinion. I think that’s a fail.

        The rest of your testimony is an argument for low sensitivity and hence low warming hence low danger – hardly consensus breaking though proper cause for discussion – still not supporting your “considerable disagreement” claim,

      • ‘No evidentiary support there for “considerable disagreement” ‘ Show agreement if you think it’s there. You don’t get to invent a 97% consensus out of thin air.

      • Mark

        You seem to suffer from biased reasoning. Do you doubt that a significant percentage of those who have studied the climate over the last decade are unsure of what percentage of any warming that has occured in the last 50 years is due to AGW vs. natural variability?

        Can you meet the standard that you are applying to Judith? What is the of the data or survey that you are relying upon to lead you to conclude that there is a concensus that:
        1. The vast majority of any warming that has occured has been caused by humans

        2. That warming will result in a net negative for humanity overall over the long term?

      • Temperature is well inside the bounds of the past ten thousand years.

        There is no data that suggests anything different.

        Climate alarmism is based on Computer Model Output and Computer Model Output has always been wrong.

      • And model alarmism is based on a misunderstanding of models.

    • I am with you on this one, Mark. But the pause is killing the cause:

      http://www.gallup.com/poll/182105/concern-environmental-threats-eases.aspx

      We are still where we were back in 1989. Where have we gone wrong? Do we need to drop the denier BS and debate the Merchants of Doubt? Do we need online seminars on how to deal with Big Oil conspiracy funded deniers? WTF is going on Mark? How can smart people like us be this inept?

      • There is no pause – you have to look at all the data (e.g. sea levels, ice mass, ocean warming etc) and understand the total physics and science – not just atmospheric temperature records too grasp this though.

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/02/climate-oscillations-and-the-global-warming-faux-pause/

        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/has-global-warming-paused/

      • Mark
        It has been warming since around 1700. Giss is merely a staging post for warming, not the starting post.

        Tonyb

      • I didn’t mean there is actually a pause, Mark. But there is a perception of a pause and all of the excuses that we have thought up to explain away “the pause” have not dispelled that obvious mis-perception. WTF are we going to do Mark? We are losing Big Time to the Big Oil Denial Machine.

        I don’t visit realclimate, even though I know I should to show my solidarity with the cause. I asked a question over there years ago and they were very nasty. Maybe if I worked on my purity and gave it another try.

      • Mark, on this general assertion (all evidence points to warming) you lose. There certainly is a pause all surface and satellite temperature records. OHC measured by ARGO to 2000 meters is significantly less than models predict should be there if none is in the atmosphere because of the pause (Essay Missing Heat). Sea level rise is not accelerating. Essay PseudoPrecision. Ice sheet mass loss is hard to measure precisely, and there is the closure problem, but it is much less than was predicted. Essay Tipping Points. There is substantial variation that has not somehow miraculously disappeared. Essays cAGw and Northwest Passage. Climate models supposed to knit all this together don’t, and can’t. Essay Models all the way Down.
        If you would take the time to individually study these things (all essays in ebook Blowing Smoke are extensively referenced for your convenience), you would likely form a different opinion.

      • “There is no pause…”

        http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2014/10/much-ado-about-sensitivity.html
        “And despite what some people might like to think, the slow warming has certainly been a surprise, as anyone who was paying attention at the time of the AR4 writing can attest. I remain deeply unimpressed by the way in which this embarrassment has been handled by the climate science insiders, and IPCC authors in particular. Their seemingly desperate attempts to denigrate anything that undermines their storyline (even though a few years ago the same people were using markedly inferior analyses of this very type to bolster it!) do them no credit.”

      • Mark Harrigan –

        There is no pause – you have to look at all the data (e.g. sea levels, ice mass, ocean warming etc) and understand the total physics and science – not just atmospheric temperature records too grasp this though.

        At the risk of becoming repetitive I will point out that if you look at page 92 of the APS Climate Change Statement Review Workshop, http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/upload/climate-seminar-transcript.pdf, you will see this statement by Dr. William Collins, head of the Climate Sciences Department, and director of the Center at LBNL for Integrative Modeling of the Earth System (CLIMES) at the Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory (LBNL), as well as lead author on the Fourth and Fifth Assessment of the IPCC:

        “Now, I am hedging a bet because, to be honest with you, if the hiatus is still going on as of the sixth IPCC report, that report is going to have a large burden on its shoulders walking in the door, because recent literature has shown that the chances of having a hiatus of 18 of 20 years are vanishingly small.”

        Are you saying that Dr. Collins does not have the expertise to be able to effectively evaluate whether or not there has been a pause?

      • Don, I did a quick study of my local climate as a “what if it warms” experiment. I went to Weather.com and downloaded the daily highs and lows for the past decade, pasting it into a spreadsheet. I took the high and low over the entire decade to be my local climate’s natural range of variation. Then I created another column that added X degrees of warming to every day in the dataset, to see what the climate would be like with X degrees of warming. How often would the artificially warmed data go outside the previously established natural variation?

        For 2 F of warming it went above the old norms on just one day, and probably for only a couple of hours – over an entire decade. For 2 C of warming it went outside the natural range on only three days – per decade.

        So my global warming survival plan for the next decade is to stay inside and watch “Ice Age 2” during those two hours.

        Anyway, the investigation was so simple that I thought I’d mention it, since everyone could pull up their local weather data and do the same.

      • Mark Harrigan (@Oz_Mark) | April 28, 2015 at 1:03 pm |
        There is no pause – you have to look at all the data

        Are we at Climate Etc. witnessing a trail balloon for another rebranding of climate change, global warming, weather weirding, etc. What shall it be called? Climate Warming Faux Pas or Climatique Bourde de Réchauffement? Although you have plenty of reason to criticize my French, in this case blame Google Translate.

      • Rud,

        RE: Mark “likely form a different opinion” – not likely. Can’t you recognize a member of the true faith? He isn’t going to deny what has been revealed to him by the Lord High Bishops at RealClimate. Apostasy.

      • Curious George

        Mark, you are moving your goal post. There is a pause now in surface temperature – that’s what was used to sell the IPCC nonsense. Ohhh, that one is no longer rising, now we must include more data, preferably those showing no pause.

        Mark, have you already graduated from the online course?

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Mark said:
        “There is no pause – you have to look at all the data (e.g. sea levels, ice mass, ocean warming etc) and understand the total physics and science – not just atmospheric temperature records too grasp this though.”

        NO, Mark, what you just did is to move the goalposts. The global surface temps were used to create the hysteria, not deep ocean – and again once suface temps hit a record last year, it was back to surface temps – to convince the public that global warming hasn’t stopped.

        Your goalposts move is is called a fallacy in argument.

    • I am not sure what is bothering you here. Why are you asking Dr. Curry for evidence on these three points? She is making a simple claim: when people talk about near-unanimity and consensus, they are talking about something that does not include these three points, but are pretending that it does include them. You are the one who needs to bring evidence: is there even one survey of climate scientists that shows consensus on these points?

    • Mark Harrigan –

      You claim “considerable” disagreement – that implies at least a significant minority who dispute that (a) Whether the warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes – have you actually done a count of papers to validate the positions on this or are you simply making a claim without any?

      Do you have a reference supporting your apparent assertion that there is “considerable agreement” that the warming expected in the 21st century will be dominated by human causes and will be dangerous? Whose opinions count here?

      You say that using the term “dangerous” is “almost inane in its unscientific nature.” What term would you use, or how would you describe the result that could be expected from the type of climate change in the 21st century that you would find alarming?

    • c) Whether warming is ‘dangerous’ – this statement is almost inane in its unscientific nature. Clearly if climate sensitivity is high (and there is a non negligible risk it may be) then warming will be correspondingly high and will be dangerous.

      Actually the reverse is true. Cooling would be dangerous. Warming is very unlikely so, or Canadian climate scientists wouldn’t always vacation in places like Cancun or Rio – where the climate is so much warmer that they might as well be on another planet. People near the equator thrive with a grass hut, flip-flops, and T-shirts. People near the arctic have to gear up just to survive at all. You’d think this would be obvious, and it is, except to people who’ve been convinced to fear warmth for political or religious reasons.

      • David Springer

        +1

      • One would think it obvious that guys like Lewandowski and Cook are nut jobs, but apparently not to everyone, including the administrators at a certain University in Australia.

    • I would very much like to see the evidence as well. In particular the evidence for a 97% consensus. There is certainly none in Lewandowsky’s ludicrous paper

      • One point I would like Cook to clarify. On the Real Climate post about the course they show the icons used to identify what they think are specious arguments.

        But the ‘red herring’ icon is not red. I would like an explanation.

        Of course I’d like also to understand why one of the gentlemen icons is wearing a condom on his head…

    • Mark Harrigan (@Oz_Mark) | April 28, 2015 at 12:18 pm |
      ReplyWould you care to justify your 3 points with some evidence? You claim “considerable” disagreement – that implies at least a significant minority who dispute that

      (a) Whether the warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes

      The only actual study (and a very recent one) indicates forcing = 3.49 ln (C/C0) or 0.24°C for GHG warming since 1900. AGWers claim post-1950 warming is more than 0.5°C therefore CO2 is less than 1/2 of the post-1950 warming. Since the actual increase claimed is around 0.7, CO2 is pwned by natural forcing.

      (b) How much the planet will warm in the 21st century
      About 0.24°C same as last century. AGWer have no mechanism to cause high enough CO2 levels for a different result.

      (c) Whether warming is ‘dangerous’ – this statement is almost inane in its unscientific nature.
      The claim that a plant nutrient is dangerous, a nutrient that massively benefited us in the 20th century, truly deserves the title of inane. The rise in CO2 has given us trillions of dollars in benefits. AGWers have to scramble to synthesize even a theoretical projection of harm, and not nearly enough to offset even a tiny fraction the benefits. At realistic 2100 atmospheric CO2 levels even that fig leaf disappears.

    • Mark:

      (c) Whether warming is ‘dangerous’ – this statement is almost inane in its unscientific nature. Clearly if climate sensitivity is high (and there is a non negligible risk it may be) then warming will be correspondingly high and will be dangerous

      First, it is the burden of the one making the extraordinary claim to present extraordinary evidence. That the world will have have dangerous consequences due to industrialization has been a claim since the first English textile workers (the Luddites) smashed the newly steam-powered looms. Their evidence proved lacking. The ones claiming in 1981 Aids could take a third of the world’s population turned out to be wrong. The one’s predicting ozone catastrophe like Aids saw a real problem but exaggerated with wide eyes. Dr. Curry has seen all of the evidence evolve and knows current happenings in climate science on perhaps a broader scope than anyone. I would give that some respect.
      Second, if it is worse than we thought we have time. Research into alternative energy has not stopped. Batteries are being revolutionized with nano-colloidal electrolytes, etc… (one glimpse from my industry). We will be fine if we don’t throw away our liberty, sovereignty and capital on emotional propaganda substitute for science.
      Perhaps this whole climate science thing is an inoculation on civilization that will be taught in books 30 years from now like the Luddites were taught as lesson when I was in school.

    • Looking like a “considerable” disagreement to your CAGW judging by the comments.

  6. If it turns out that natural variability is .2C/decade instead of .1C/decade, and on par with human’s contribution to Global warming (i.e. 50/50) – then the consensus Cook relies on will have turned out to be wrong.

    It doesn’t matter if they teach people that anti-vaccine people are wrong – that won’t make the climate consensus group correct (if the data continue along the same vein they currently are).

    At some point in the future – scientists will be studying Cook and his group and will conclude his group was in the wrong, and study their thinking.

    I marvel at how sure Cook et al are that they are right and everybody else is wrong, when our current climate is still well within the historical norms.

  7. The practical application of inoculation theory is already happening in classrooms, with educators adopting the teaching approach of misconception-based learning (also known as agnotology-based learning or refutational teaching).

    Indoctrination inoculation theory at its finest.

    Did I strike the correct term? hmm.

  8. “Inoculation theory” is already at work. The global warming alarmists are discovering that a growing percentage of the public has been inoculated and is not buying their scare stories. That is what is driving the alarmists to ever more extreme measures to suppress/intimidate dissent.

  9. Seems to feature the usual ‘missionaries’, all already discredited as producing bad science (Mann hockey stick, Cook97%, Lewandowsky) or distorted representations of it (Hayhoe, Oreskes). Repetition of their stuff in this MOOC won’t improve it. Just shows how these ‘missionaries’ are incapable of comprehending that they have already been thoroughly and publicly debunked.

  10. Are the lectures in English, or Australian?

  11. Virtually always, “The Man” (general term from the 60’s, not Mann) gets way too much credit. When I was promoted to the role of The Man, I thought I’d learn the programs and spreadsheets, not to mention secret handshakes and winks that made all the twisted machinations of corporate life clear. What I learned instead is that big business usually stumbles forward like a drunken sailor on shore leave. It survives based on the focused, ethical and concerted efforts of the relatively few. The ability to attract and hold those few is the key to long term survival and success.

    There will always be greed in some corner (or greater) of every enterprise. However, the very nature of greed makes it difficult nigh on to impossible to coordinate the string pulling necessary to accomplish conspiracy.

  12. I contributed the following comment on the RC thread for this course, which of course was banished to the borehole:

    Stephan Lewandowsky has a very decent series of papers, with various associated authors, on cognitive bias effects. These effects underpin the Lewandowsky / Cook Debunker’s Guide, and likely are also employed as justification for this course per hints within the above intro. However, the series of posts below show how all the main bias effects described in the above papers apply to the climate Consensus, using only Consensus sources / quotes and extracts from the papers themselves. The only way for some to avoid a clash of worldview and reality which would be caused by an acknowledgement that all the above biases do actually apply to the climate Consensus, is to de-emphasize the uncertainties inherent in a wicked system and promote the socially-maintained Consensus as an unquestionable scientific certainty, thereby enabling a platform to also frame skeptics as deniers and deniers as conspiracy theorists, as is evident in this course and in later Lewandowsky papers re conspiracy ideation. This approach can only result in still more undesirable polarization. Acknowledgement of genuine uncertainties and indeed bias effects, will help to reduce polarization and allow the re-entry of a plurality of views, hence also encouraging the more productive advancement of proper science.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/06/wrapped-in-lew-papers-the-psychology-of-climate-psychologization-part1/

    for second part change ’11/06′ to ’11/08′ and ‘part1′ to ‘part2′.
    for third part change ’11/06′ to ’11/09′ and ‘part1′ to ‘part3′.

    • My comment went to the borehole too, when I suggested that if people were interested in why people were skeptical about climate change they could read my recently published paper on the subject. Interesting that the realclimate team are more interested in Cook’s conspiracy theories than peer-reviewed papers.

  13. “Well, it will be sort of interesting to see how Cook’s latest attempt at ‘consensus’ enforcement plays out.”

    Really? Surely it is obvious this will play out very well since it is guaranteed no real challenging critique in the peculiar academic/media milieu that this work exists in?

    Why care?

  14. I’d change two words in Ms. Curry’s post: from “a willingness to punish those that don’t concur” to “an eagerness to punish those that don’t concur.”

  15. There is nothing wrong per se with ideology

    Well … yes, there is. Functionally, ideology works like this.

    – Get some simplifying assumptions.
    – Make them axioms.
    – Interpret the world through these assumptions
    – Use a hammer if it doesn’t fit.

    OK, not everyone gets the illness in the same degree. But, still …

    • plazaeme | April 28, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Reply
      – There is nothing wrong per se with ideology

      Well … yes, there is. Functionally, ideology works like this.

      Well…

      It really depends on the ideology and whether the ideology or the facts arrived first.

      Policy on global warming lead the facts. When you are implementing a solution ahead of knowing much about the problem or indeed which problem you are solving, your chances of being correct are significantly reduced. It really helps to aim before you pull the trigger and not afterward.

  16. Pingback: Making (non)sense of climate denial | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  17. If you haven’t read Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, you should as you can see that is the ideologues’ playbook as you have summarized. http://www.mynacc.org/Rules_for_Radicals.pdf

  18. I recommend signing up for the course just so you can see what is said in it. I think it should be fairly interesting for anyone, no matter what their view on global warming may be. That said, I might advise people to avoid the discussion forum. I decided to ask a simple question in it:

    This course often refers to there being a consensus humans cause global warming. That is a position I agree with – I agree humans cause global warming. However, I have a question.

    Is that all the consensus is? Is the 97% consensus this course repeatedly refers to merely humans cause some unspecified amount of warming, or is it something more detailed? Is the consensus humans cause 50+% of the warming we’ve seen? Is the consensus humans are causing a dangerous amount of warming (as said in a [1] on Barack Obama’s Twitter account)?

    It seems to me there are many different questions when it comes to global warming, and each could have its own level of consensus. The idea humans are contributing some amount of global warming is not the same as the idea humans are causing all the observed warming, so shouldn’t we be clear which (if either) we’re talking about when we say “the consensus”?

    [1]: https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/335089477296988160

    And many of the responses I’ve gotten have been to say the definition doesn’t matter. One person even said:

    All this unfortunate argument is similar to Big Tobacco wanting super detailed information as a stalling tactic.

    Because I asked for a definition! The course refers to the 97% consensus over a dozen times in its first section without ever clearly defining what that consensus is, and when I ask for a definition, people act like I’m being unreasonable.

    I’ve never heard of a class where you were expected to learn about an idea when you couldn’t even ask what the idea is.

    • You are going to get expelled for some kind of trumped up naughtiness.

    • Insightful of you to differentiate the nuanced questions.

      There are five attributes of ideologues:
      1. Absence of doubt
      2. Intolerance of debate
      3. Appeal to authority
      4. A desire to convince others of the ideological “truth”
      5. A willingness to punish those that don’t concur

      Looks like an exhibition of Intolerance of debate and Appeal to authority ( the authority of the consensus ), and a desire to convince

      Hmmmm….

      I just realized I have a significant desire to convince others. Am I an ideologue? Maybe not. I have doubts, like the debate, don’t care much about authority, and don’t want to punish anyone.

    • Brandon, how did you escape liberal indoctrination. Were you home-schooled? (Actually, that is growing mode of education.) Or, did you spend a lot of time arguing with authorities?

      • Ron Graf, I actually did have a problem with authorities growing up. I kept getting in arguments because people like my teachers would say or do things which were wrong, and I didn’t understand why I should keep quiet about it. I’m not sure why I was that way, but I was doing it even when I was really young.

        In either kindergarten or first grade, I got in an argument with my teacher because she said you can subtract a larger number from a smaller number. I pointed out you could because there are negative numbers. The teacher later explained she was just trying not to confuse the students by giving them too much material all at once, but we were in Ohio. Temperatures went below zero every year. None of the kids had a problem understanding that. To this day, I can’t understand why the teacher thought they’d have difficulty understanding negative numbers.

        You could say I haven’t really changed since then. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

      • You could say I haven’t really changed since then. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

        Brandon, that’s a good thing. Now that you’ve made it through relatively unscarred you only need to refrain from correcting police officers, partners and Mosher.

        You are obviously going to be your own boss or be too valuable to lose so no worries there.

  19. plazaeme:

    No human operates outside of a “worldview”. We all have an ideology. Without it we would not be able to filter the incredible amount of data/noise that we receive continuously.

    What is important is to be aware of our filter grid and not allow it to blind us to data that “doesn’t fit”.

  20. Lewandowsky: “the public sphere is awash with agents who are not acting in good faith, who are not interested in dialogue, who are pursuing their own interests whatever they may be and for whatever reason, and who will not respond to communication in the same way that you and I would engage in a dialogue. ”

    What a hypocrite he is. He’s the one who’s not interested in dialogue. He’s repeatedly failed to engage with his critics, McIntyre, Duarte, Shollenberger etc., and I’ve just found out that he’s blocked me on twitter!
    As Judy says, he needs to look in the mirror.

  21. Theory inoculation is fun fun fun.
    Means yr never wrong wrong wrong.
    And knowing yr position ain’t falsifiable
    can make yr feel that you’re infallible,
    kinda’ like … well …you know.

  22. “BadAstronomer”

    Somebod tryin’ ta swim in Bad’s wake.

    Andrew

    • Well…

      When our dog did something bad we would rub his nose in it and go “bad doggy, bad doggy” in a disapproving tone.

      “Bad astronomer, Bad astronomer”.

  23. Re: Making (non)sense of climate denial, 4/28/2015

    This involves teaching science by debunking misconceptions about the science.

    So it is with teaching any religion.

    Science is taught by showing how its models of the real world happen to have predictive power.

    Scientists agree that … humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere …

    Agree to agree, with the understanding that added atmospheric CO2 from emissions and land use changes is, on climate timescales, immediately absorbed in surface waters according to Henry’s Law and its coefficient for CO2 in water, which governs the atmospheric concentration, notwithstanding misguided use of the carbonate equations.

    The Causation Principle of science, namely that a Cause must temporally precede its Effects, means that warming can be the Cause and atmospheric CO2 concentration its Effect, but the reverse is impossible. The former is the case, both à priori (in theory) and à posteriori (experimentally), each missed by IPCC.

    If Cook et al. think that there is a 97% consensus on the three bulleted points, well then they are the true ‘climate science deniers.’

    Cook’s 97% calculation is an update on Oreskes’. The problem is that neither Cook, et al., nor Oreskes surveyed scientists, climate-types or not. As posted on this blog over four years ago with respect to the latter,

    Her conclusion, popular within the AGW movement, of course didn’t follow from her research. She did not survey the scientific community, and that should have been obvious. She surveyed refereed journal articles. A correct conclusion from her effort is that refereed journals do not publish papers critical of AGW dogma. Climate Etc., Confidence in radiative transfer models, 12/5/2010, comment posted 12/21/2010.

    These experts dabbling in climate are disconnected from science and even measurement.

    • Well…

      That bad methodology, bad sampling, and observer bias make for bad science really isn’t news.

    • The Causation Principle of science, namely that a Cause must temporally precede its Effects, means that warming can be the Cause and atmospheric CO2 concentration its Effect, but the reverse is impossible. The former is the case, both à priori (in theory) and à posteriori (experimentally), each missed by IPCC.
      <<
      Are you saying it's impossible for solubility to decrease with increasing temperature?

      Do you know what the definition of a 'complex system' is?

      • Abbott IsGone, 4/28/15 7:08 PM asked:

        Are you saying it’s impossible for solubility to decrease with increasing temperature?

        To the contrary, it, along with spectral absorption, are key mechanisms behind CO2 and climate. The theory (Henry’s Law), confirmed by the Vostok records, is shown by Figure 6, The Acquittal of [CO2]. http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/2006/10/_res/CO2-06.jpg,

        And Figure 7, http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/2006/10/_res/CO2-07.jpg

        and continuing. Solubility is the mechanism by which warming, the Cause, releases CO2 from the waters to the atmosphere, the Effect. The curvature in Henry’s Coefficient is the signature of that relationship. The fact that the solubility decreases (monotonically) with increasing temperature is the reason that warming releases CO2 instead of the reverse, absorbing more of it.

        Abbott IsGone also asks,

        Do you know what the definition of a ‘complex system’ is?

        No. Per the discussion in Wikipedia, a complex system refer to a model of the Real World, not to the Real World per se. And the choice of models, whether complex or simple, is up to the designer and the objectives set for his model. But Wikipedia has two competing articles: Complex system, a mathematical subject, and Complex systems, including mathematic modeling and something called philosophical foundations, meaning punts to external articles.

  24. I knew Phil Plait when we both worked at the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center. I’m sorry he’s succumbed to the global warming/climate change hysteria. Phil, I hardly knew ye!

    • Have you seen the graphology on Arctic sea-ice lately?

      • To be sure, Arctic sea ice extent has declined over the last few decades.

        To be complete, however, consider also the ice volume, which has increased for the last six years:

        And the average age of the Arctic sea ice, which has been increasing ( getting shinier ) for eight years ( Multi-year ice percentage bottomed out in 2007 ):

        These things are the subject of many of Dr. Curry’s research, books, and papers, of course.

        And more than half of the Arctic Sea Ice decline was due to dynamics of ice motion, similar to what is indicated by the drift of bouys ( or so concluded the Rigor and Wallace paper ):

        Be careful not to assume that Arctic sea ice decrease is due to global warming, because much of it may have been due to natural fluctuation which appears to be reversing.

      • “Arctic” sea ice estimates typically include the Sea of Okhotsk which is a different kettle of ice entirely.
        That’s one way you can get the “lowest” maximum extent on record without much reducing ice extent in the Arctic Circle/Arctic Ocean.
        http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2015/03/2015-maximum-lowest-on-record/

  25. johnvonderlin

    Dr. Curry,
    Your first excerpt from Mr. Lewandowsky begins with a sentence so dysfunctional I was amused. He begins the sentence with a redundancy, as “I think” and “to my mind” express the same concept and are interchangeable. The sentence then continues with “scientists, climate scientists.” What is he trying to say? Does he mean all scientists, but particularly climate scientists? Or does he mean specifically climate scientists of the larger group of scientists? ?
    To this garbled beginning of his sentence he appends a diverse string of assertions and concepts (8?), making it difficult to follow, let alone believe. Given the subject, improving communication, this sentence is truly an ironic mess of blather.
    “Well, I think the most important thing, to my mind, is the scientists, climate scientists, to realize that the public sphere is awash with agents who are not acting in good faith, who are not interested in dialogue, who are pursuing their own interests whatever they may be and for whatever reason, and who will not respond to communication in the same way that you and I would engage in a dialogue.”

    • I estimated CO2 peak at around 630 ppm. We must have a disconnect with resources or possibly with the carbon sinks.

      • Was 2013 the year CO2 emissions peaked?

        Earth may never have a 2x CO2 world ( at least until geological processes eventually increase CO2 much much greater )

      • How did you estimate this peak?

      • http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

        Lets assume some facts:
        1. Rough average of 2.2 PPM increase for the last five years.
        2. Rough five year average of 1.7 PPM increase in 1985.
        3. Emissions of roughly 5.45 GT in 1985 and 9.8 GT in 2014 and 2013
        4. We only have 76 years of fossil fuel at current consumption rates.
        5. Absorption is independent of emission and only dependent on CO2 PPM.

        The 1.7 PPM increase (1985) is roughly 3.62 GT. The 2.2 PPM (2014/2013) increase is 4.69 GT.

        The difference between the emissions and the atmospheric CO2 level is the amount absorbed by the environment.

        We’ll ignore the fact that virtually all the increase in emissions (85%+) in the last 30 years occurred in the last 14 years (mostly due to China and India).

        The absorption almost tripled and the emissions didn’t even double. With absorption over 55% of emission (and emission basically flattening out again) it isn’t hard to see what the trend is. Further the rate of absorption increase – is accelerating (the 1960 to 1985 trend was lower). And there isn’t enough fuel for another doubling of CO2 emissions. Claims of over 500 PPM by 2100 are difficult to defend.

        Anyway – play with the numbers and draw your own conclusions.

      • How did you estimate this peak?

        The International Energy Agency estimated that 2014 emissions were flat ( no change from 2013 emissions ). A peak would indicate knowledge about future emissions, which we can’t have, of course. But there are some good reasons to believe that 2015 emissions may be even lower, namely continued demographics ( ageing and shrinking populations for 5 out of 6 continents ), continued migration from coal to cheaper natural gas, and improved efficiency. Factors auguring for increased emissions would include high rates of growth in the relatively young and growing nations in Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

      • Hoy did i estimate the peak? I used an estimate of worldwide fósil fuel resources. This requires segregating the NGL and the extra heavy oil, and using judgement as to the growth, plateau and eventual declines. It also requires a guess as to which fraction becomes asphalt, plastics, etc. I documented some of it in something I called Burn baby burn, CO2 emissions.

        Later I did a similar exercise assuming the Paris conference would be a great success. I had to make some assumptions, and in the end the temperature difference was about 0.2 degrees C. I think that was the delta by 2075. I don’t try to be too fine with the estimates for something like this, it’s just too hard to forecast the future.

  26. Well…

    The basic problem is there are a bunch of deniers out there that hide behind opinion, consensus, and half truths.

    There are a couple of facts these “deniers” have not refuted:

    1. CO2 is beneficial.
    55% more growth due to increased CO2 is a benefit worth trillions of dollars per year. No harm approaching even half this benefit has been demonstrated.

    2. GHG TSR from a recent study and model performance during the hiatus is F = 3.49 ln (C/C0) or about 0.24°C since 1900 or 1/3 the IPCC TSR.

    3. CO2 environmental absorption is accelerating and has effectively capped the rate of atmospheric increase.
    The increase in absorption of 180% in the last 30 years is more than twice the increase in emissions of 80%.Current environmental absorption is over 55% of emissions and gaining rapidly.
    CO2 absorption in GT of carbon was roughtly 0.865 exp (t/33.5) where t is in years from 1960 to 1985.
    CO2 environmental absorption in GT of carbon was roughly 1.829
    exp (t/29) where t is in years from 1985 to 2014.

    Absorption has reached the point where CO2 in the atmosphere can’t be increased more than about 25% through burning of available fossil fuels and unavailable fossil fuels (the IPCC virtually infinite fuel supply) can’t be burned.

    4. The 760 GT of fossil fuel carbon makes any scenario that features CO2 over 500 PPM improbable and at worst only temporary. The current 5.1+ GT per year of absorption is increasing as 5.1 exp (t/29). This absorption will continue after fossil fuels run out.

    5. There is no evidence the rate of atmospheric CO2 increase is rising

    Basically the reality deniers have no case. The forcing is 1/3 what is claimed and the possible 100 PPM increase in atmospheric CO2 is 1/5.4 (18%) of the RCP8.5 scenario. Heck, the deniers can’t even prove CO2 is harmful.

    • CO2 is not necessarily beneficial: a simplisitc statement like that needs a source to back it up.
      The ocean remains a net carbon sink even though a warmer ocean should be degassing because the partial pressures won’t allow it.
      Reitterating that it can’t be proved that CO2 is harmful doesn’t make it true… are you suggesting CO2 is the only limiting factor to plant growth? You can’t even post a source backing your claim extra CO2 is good for all plants!!

      • Abbott IsGone:

        It might be helpful if you could tell us what level of atmospheric CO2 counts as “extra.”
        Given that some plants react more strongly to CO2 than others, making blanket statements (on either side) leaves one open to criticism. Nevertheless, some of the best “climate” science has been conducted on plant responses to CO2 (growth rates, nutritional content, drought tolerance, etc.). These are controlled variable experiments and, therefore, much harder to dismiss than, say, poorly parameterized computer model projections.

        And it would not be unfair, in my opinion, to state that most plants studied respond positively to higher CO2 levels. However, high temperature stress would likely diminish plant performance (some studies have varied both CO2 and temperatures). On balance, it seems that increases in CO2 have thus far been beneficial to most plants. If and when summer temperatures rise significantly above current levels, that observation may need to be revisited.

      • Check out co2science.com – read it completely and carefully, then get back to us. Lots of data for you to reference.

      • An easily understood “starter” discussion of the science of plant responses to CO2 can be found at:
        http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/effects-of-rising-atmospheric-concentrations-of-carbon-13254108

      • Abbott IsGone | April 28, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Reply
        CO2 is not necessarily beneficial: a simplisitc statement like that needs a source to back it up.

        http://www.itwire.com/science-news/climate/60575-rising-co2-level-making-earths-deserts-bloom-csiro-study
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract

        Plant growth has increased 55% since 1900. 11% from 1985 to 2010.

        1/3 of all the farm, fish, and forest products we use come from post 1900 warmth and CO2.

        The are a number of attempts to show that warmth and more CO2 are harmful to plants. If this was true, greenhouses (which use more warmth and CO2 – typically 1000 to 1200 PPM – to increase plant growth) wouldn’t exist.

        Now the typical warmer comes back with “you’re hurting plants by making them grow too much”, “plants need to sleep more and grow less”, “there aren’t enough animals to eat all that food so it just goes waste”, or similar silly argument.

        Anyway 55% more growth since 1900, CO2 is a necessary plant nutrient, more CO2 cuts water consumption, CO2 under 200 PPM stops plant growth (this occurs in the middle of corn fields in the peak of the day), and more CO2 is necessarily beneficial particularly since modern crops are exhausting the ground level CO2 supplies during what should be the peak growth period of the day.

  27. First of all , thanks Judith for providing this forum for actual debate on the issues. I have been trying to make sense of this mess for some time now.
    .
    I somewhat of a science junkie and was drawn in to this debate by my interest in the beauty of fractals which lead me to Chaos Theory and then to Lorentz and modeling of weather and finally into the warming debate shortly after “An Inconvenient Truth”. When I first heard about the IPCC report and attribution of warming to one variable Human co2, I asked how can they reduce an extremely complicated (wicked) formula to one single input variable and produce one single output (temperature)? My education continues. It seems they cannot , but continue anyway.
    In the face of another inconvenient truth, co2 increasing but temperatures leveling out, they have increased their confidence in their claim that most of the warming is due to Haman influences. I laughed when you said (paraphrasing) you could not see a case where their confidence would not increase.

    In spite of the facts, if I understand them correctly, Obama the EPA and other politicians continue to attribute extreme events to climate change , even the IPCC has rejected this now. Let alone wildfires having anything to do with it. The policy of eliminating all fires for about a hundred years then reintroducing controlled burns again might have something to do with wild fires increasing.

    I have been trying to get people (friends on Facebook ) to look past the sound bites and have a critical ear for the truth. One recent post I was sent alluded to the increase in co2 being 25% of the Energy diet. (budget). M friend trusts Mauri Pelto’s elevator pitch. I explained the best I could that the Human contribution to co2 is much less than 25% of the total energy budget. If I understand correctly about 2%?
    It is so interesting I was personally attacked and nothing could get the debate back to the science. I was told; I was confused, MISINFORMED,could not comprehend what I had read, I was a denier. Even though I had not stated my opinion. I need to be fixed. And I was told to sign up for this course. Having been familiar with skeptical science WEBBLOG and it’s constant name calling, you are one of the Climate Misinformers, I declined. I prefer to learn from less biased sources.

    I have been trying to separate the politics from the science and came to the conclusion where there is certainty it’s politics and where there is uncertainty that is where the science is.
    Thanks again, I will continue to learn and become better at articulating the science and why this is not settled.

  28. About six years ago, I understood climate change as dead polar bears,
    and decreasing arctic sea ice.
    My adventure to actually studying global warming and climate change
    (really, I think, two different issues) began with Steve M.s denouncing the so called hockey stick and all of its faults, in science, in statistics, in presentation and in acceptance in the science community.

    I have the background of a relatively advanced high school teacher.
    After studying the issues, of which analyzing statistical methods presented the most significant challenge. I have advanced from a babe in the woods to a toddler with red lights on my shoes.

    If I have twenty more years I might advance to the climate change prom.
    Now, I have to make three observations.

    1) The hockey stick originator and all the other ideologues on the same climate ship have really disillusioned me to a portion of the nature of the science community (like I said, I was a babe in the woods)
    On that ship which may have the name Al Gore at its helm, Gore’s creed of never engage with a skeptic, you will lose, is wholly endorsed,
    Silly me, I thought positive skepticism was a cornerstone of science,
    Certainly not the “The Science is Settled” vernacular of major science organizations. Well, I do not belong to them anymore.

    2. I have engaged with various instructors in science, some at the college or University level. First stating that regarding the concept of so called greenhouse gases,
    models using the S.B. and so forth, even I can see various shortcomings and assumptions. Iis hard to obtain specific models only general ideas of models.
    But the vast majority of the instructors, like maybe biologists, or some other science are experts in there area, would probably be in the so called 97%
    but honestly don’t have a clue of the relative They simply think I am quite challenged if I would challenge them.

    3. Finally, my conclusion has to be close to what Dr. Curry, Dr. Spencer or some scientists like Dr. Will Happer. with whom I have had the honor of
    communicating state. Just too many unknowns..
    Incidentally, I would like to add that Dr.Happer, a terrific gentlemen, and Dr. Freeman Dyson are writing a paper together and he stated he would send it to me before it is published. I consider that a great honor.

    ,

  29. khal spencer

    There needs to be a better public discussion of what we know, what we think we know, what we don’t know, what we are hypothesizing, how we test our hypotheses, and how we search for the stuff we don’t even know we don’t know. Enough ideologues already!

  30. I’ve added an update at the end of the thread:

    I thought it would be fun to make some suggestions for John Cook’s final exam, to see if the students REALLY are inoculated against climate denial. Here are my suggestions for a reading list (accessible to nontechnical students), I look forward to your suggestions:

  31. Well, I think the most important thing, to my mind, is the scientists, climate scientists, to realize that the public sphere is awash with agents who are not acting in good faith, who are not interested in dialogue, who are pursuing their own interests whatever they may be and for whatever reason, and who will not respond to communication in the same way that you and I would engage in a dialogue.

    Perfect synopsis of Michael Mann.

  32. Pingback: Climate “Denial” | Transterrestrial Musings

  33. It is worth enrolling for those of a masochistic inclination, or just for a laugh. It is great to see Scot Mandia pretend he is a psychologist. It is fun (for a while) to try and answer ill-formulated questions, or chose from leading answers. It does make you wonder, though, how eDX and U Queensland do quality control on teaching.

  34. Well, I’m not even sure where to start with this one.

    Not to worry: Andy West and I have already started it for you! Our comments can be found in the Bore Hole at RealClimate.org, and in the thread that they have put up announcing the course:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/04/an-online-university-course-on-the-science-of-climate-science-denial/

    I thought it would be fun to make some suggestions for John Cook’s final exam, to see if the students REALLY are inoculated against climate denial. Here are my suggestions for a reading list (accessible to nontechnical students), I look forward to your suggestions:

    Too late for you! You are adopting their language already. (smile) There is no “climate denial”. Full Stop, the entire scientific debate is about the relationship between CO2 and global warming: how strong is it? (almost everyone asserts that there is a possibility) What can be accomplished by reducing CO2 emissions?

    • I posted there too, but put in only a mildly subversive one, fearing that if I did anything else it would glide through to the Trash bin. But yours was a beauty! I have a post coming out tomorrow on this ludicrous attempt to provide ‘education’.

  35. I asked what the consensus actually is (not how many agree, but what they actually agree about) One person in the comments suggested a very reasonable possibility (no word from the moderators, or John Cook yet

    posted about 4 hours ago by JordiJanssen

    “It is extremely likely [95 percent confidence] more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.”
    This is what the fifth IPCC report states.
    This page might help you answer your question a bit better though: http://skepticalscience.com/wigley-santer-2012-attribution.html
    I have the feeling that your question itself is more about the terminology used “Humans cause global warming”, and especially the word “cause” than the meaning of that sentence in general.

    My Comment:

    so – more than half [of the warming, is anything in the range of 51% upwards? is that the object of the 97% consensus used in this course?

    The UK government Department of Energy and Climate Change regularly surveys the public, and find, nearly half of the public, consider climate change is caused partly by humans, partly by natural causes.

    I would sit happily in that group of the public.. I imagine, those people would also have no problem with a consensus among st scientists (97%) consider the IPCC statement to be the consensus either..

    Unless the actual object of the consensus, is clearly defined, it can (and does mean) all things to all people, and progress becomes impossible.

    ref:
    Q22) Thinking about the causes of climate change, which, if any, of the following best describes your opinion? (Possible answers range from ‘all caused by human activity’ to ‘all caused by natural processes’ and includes the response ‘I don’t think there is such a thing as climate change’)

    The answer that has shown a rise is: Climate change is partly caused by natural processes and partly caused by human activity 2012: 42%, 2013: 42%, 2014: 47%

    While ‘all human’ and ‘all natural’ have both shown modest falls (38 to 35% and 15 to 13% respectively). Only 3-4% ‘don’t believe’ in climate change at all.

    Data in spreadsheet here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/public-attitudes-tracking-survey-wave-12

  36. I’d like to suggest adding to your reading list our recent Commentary (Dixon and Jones) in Psychological Science in which we show that the main conclusions of Lewandowsky’s ‘Conspiracist Ideation’ papers are not supported by his data. We find, contrary to Lewandowsky’s assertion, that climate sceptics are no more likely than the climate convinced to believe in conspiracy theories.

    Our Commentary is open access and is discussed on my blog. We also responded to Lewandowsky’s reply to our Commentary (also published in Psychological Science), which we found unconvincing.

    While there has been much valuable criticism of Lewandowsky’s methodology on blogs, we think that ours is the first peer-reviewed critique, and could be cited by anyone taking the course.

  37. Whether the warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes

    There may not be a 97% consensus on whether “warming since 1950 has been dominated by human causes,” but Bart Verheggen’s recent study seems to confirm there a very strong consensus agreement with the IPCC on this on

    Whether warming is ‘dangerous’

    I think there is strong consensus that there are risks from climate change and that some are those risks are severe.

      • And all this is occurring while actual, real live, observable, empirical evidence indicates…………

        Danny, what impacts have not happened that were predicted and generally accepted would happen by the science? The threshold for the worst impacts from climate change is around 2C. We still have over a degree to go.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        Frames of reference. (just to hit a few highlights)
        1970’s ice ages.
        1980’s indications of SLR of 10′ in NYC “within 30-40” years.
        Loss of Polar Bears
        Temps “projected” to increase yet “paused” (Yea, I know, 12…uh…..15…I mean……16……..or 17…….18 years not considered a “climate scale”)
        Arctic Ice disappearing
        Antarctic Ice disappearing.
        Unprecedented this and that with precedents. (do you really need a list, or is your emotional bias showing?)

        I understand that you’re keeping your eye on the prize of some future occurrences, but you’re also forgetting all those in between projections which have not turned out to have actually happened then “hand waving” or goal post moving says “well that wasn’t climate scale”, or that was just mass media. Yet there was science behind each of those projections.
        Question for you, what if we’d performed “risk associated mitigation” for each of those? We’d be scaling back “policy”.

      • 1980’s indications of SLR of 10′ in NYC “within 30-40″ years.

        I thought you were skeptical.

      • Danny Thomas

        JCH,
        I am. I’m just a bit skeptical that there will be SLR of 10′ in NYC within the next 5 years (based on that projection and the +/1 1.7 mm/yr current rate). You?

      • NYC is big place. Exactly which part is going to 10′ under, and who made the prediction?

      • Danny Thomas

        JCH,
        Sigh. Memory failed. It was one foot in 30-40 years……..etc. (but still a miss):
        “According to recent calculations by the Environmental Protection Agency, the sea level around much of the United States will climb by one foot over the next 30 to 40 years and by three to five feet over the next century, according to James G. Titus, who directs the agency’s research on the problem. These estimates include the effects of the gradual subsidence of land, which is about eight inches per century along the eastern coast.”
        http://www.nytimes.com/1986/02/18/science/signifigant-rise-in-sea-level-now-seems-certain.html

        So ya got me on this one. I’ll await your rebuttal on the others (which I don’t expect to be forthcoming).

      • Titus projected a high range, a high midrange, a low midrange, and a low range. Somehow I do think 1′ in 30 to 40 years quite covers it.

      • Danny Thomas

        JCH,
        Well, you’ve got about 5 years or so to go and are a bit short.

        And once again……….the others? (crickets?)

      • It was Hansen who claimed the west side highway would be underwater by now in an interview with salon. Actually, not perfectly acurate, but then, he did make predictions which are far less acurate than this assertion . Based on his predictions, slr would be seriously flooding major parts of NYC by now.

      • Hansen’s was based on doubled CO2. It’s 400, or ~160 ppm short of doubled.

        I find the list, and that sort of approach, uninteresting and pointless.

        Right now, It’s warming very fast, and the list is not going to stop it. I ask what is. Crickets. I try to be helpful: the KimiKamiKaze Wind.

      • Danny Thomas

        JCH,
        Just another prediction, JCH. Just another prediction. None of those I listed have been accurate, and yet we’re all supposed to reframe the world economy based on “just another prediction” because it’s all about “risk management” subject to revising the policy at some point in the future and “it’s warming very fast”. It’s gonna cool, I mean warm, I mean polar bears are disappearing, I mean SLR of 1 foot in NYC in 5 years, I mean………………
        Yep……let’s get right on that.

      • I said:

        that were predicted and generally accepted would happen

        So were those predictions generally accepted by the climate science community? Does that mean the other risks are not valid? I would suggest you read more on all of the impacts that are possible with changes to the climate. The IPCC is a good source and this one is a little less technical:

        http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        What makes you “believe” I’ve not been reading? While much of the science is over my head I can grasp that there are competing discussion on sea levels. Attribution of CO2, sensitivities to same, albedo changes, clouds (which I gather no one can accurately represent), oceans “climate capabilities”, etc.
        And for me, “all of the impacts that are possible with changes to the climate” have and will continue to morph no matter what. It’s a chaotic, non-linear system with some net benefits, some detriments, and we just don’t know. So for this observer, the “risk management” is key and actions mitigate as well as create alternate risk.

        Yes, they were “generally accepted” and projections were based on them. (If you find differently, please show me where.) MSM references the resources and when following those trails they simply do not lead to a single focused point.

      • have and will continue to morph no matter what.

        What??

        Yes, they were “generally accepted” and projections were based on them. (If you find differently, please show me where.)

        I don’t know Danny. It seems climate science was still a new field in the 80’s. I don’t think there was a real consensus about specific values at the time. But I guess I could do a comprehensive literature search on each subject and then I would know if your examples met my criteria blah..

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        I’m not clear on how you can state this: ” It seems climate science was still a new field in the 80’s.” I’d suggest that based on the levels of certainties (GHG’s warm) and uncertainties (Albedos, oceans, ice, El Nino/La Nina, PDO, AMO (Jch’s impotent lackey), water vapor, senstivities, etc., and all their interactions) that climate science is not much more than in it’s infancy today. Others can evaluate more so than I, but this is my impression.
        That “new” science led to today’s models and those models appear much like a web than a “consensus” except with general agreement of warming. Near term, not effective, long term…..who knows?
        So taking the middle road with fewer “risk creations” and evaluation of results as we go may lead us to a determination of greater or lesser mitigation need. But taking the greater mitigation pathway addresses the “maybe” of future catastrophe while definitively creating greater risk today. Yes, we can take that path and pull back on policy in the future, but why? There lies the crux.

      • I want to hear more about how the risks will morph as though they aren’t real, Danny.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        Misunderstanding? “And for me, “all of the impacts that are possible with changes to the climate” have and will continue to morph no matter what.”
        Intending to communicate that climate on this planet changes no matter. It has, is, and (hopefully) will continue to cycle. So no matter what man does, should we continue on this planet, we will have to adapt to a morphing (local, regional, global) climate as we always have. Never meant to indicate “it wasn’t real”.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        (I’m talking too much again). Ran across this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/28/nestle-california-drought_n_7166066.html
        They use 1.39 gal. of water to bottle 1 gal. for sale in PLASTIC bottles, shipped all around the country, and state “it’s no more than what a couple of golf courses use in a year”. And at least a couple of their plants are tap water based.
        You want to be mad at FF industry? Evaluate this for common sense.

      • I’m talking too much again

        Yes let’s stay focused. I don’t have the time or inclination to follow your tangents.

    • three recent studies that surveyed scientists on this question, main results are: 52%, 81%, 87%. Yes, a majority; no – not an overwhelming consensus that would imply that the scientific debate is over

      Re risks from climate change, these are hypothetical (speculations from model simulations); no demonstration from observations that humans are causing bad things to happen in terms of ‘risks’.

      • hese are hypothetical (speculations from model simulations); no demonstration from observations that humans are causing bad things to happen in terms of ‘risks’.

        The impacts are based on numerous scientific papers. Skeptics should publish more work demonstrating all the papers and assumptions are wrong or just “guesses”.

      • Go read the IPCC SREX and AR5 WG2 report, pretty much says the same thing I’m saying

      • Joseph,

        “The impacts are based on numerous scientific papers”

        First, most of the papers you refer to are based on model results and therefore are hypothetical speculations as Dr Curry states.

        Second, a published paper is not the same as established fact. I suspect you really do not understand how “peer-reviewed” publishing works. Peer-review does not mean the author(s) conclusions have been established as fact, only that there appear to be no significant flaws or errors in methodology. At one time it also was supposed to ensure that others could repeat the research to confirm independently that the same results could be achieved.

      • Curious George

        “Skeptics should publish more work demonstrating all the papers and assumptions are wrong or just “guesses”. That route has been blocked very effectively. A peer review has been redefined.

      • no – not an overwhelming consensus that would imply that the scientific debate is over

        To me a scientific debate that depends on future outcomes is never over. But we don’t have to have absolute agreement about something to act. If we did, we would never do anything. I find these numbers pretty impressive. If you think about how we could have something like the IPCC if there weren’t shared views about climate change in the scientific community? And finally we are talking about risks. There will always be uncertainty about what the future will hold, but it is also the current mainstream view is that severe consequences are possible if we continue on our current path.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,

        In interaction between CAGW/AGW’ers and “skeptics” there seems to be no recognition that “skeptics” grasp there is some level of “risk”. But what I don’t see much of is the CAGW/AGW’s side acceptance that addressing that “risk” comes with ………..well…………..risks.
        Even this so called course (and I’m signed up) gives no credence to the varying levels of “skepticism” grouping all who do not tow the party line and labeling same as “deniers”.
        All in all, it’s kind of a hoot.

      • But what I don’t see much of is the CAGW/AGW’s side acceptance that addressing that “risk” comes with ………..well…………..risks.

        Thank you, Danny. Yes but the key difference is that the risks from addressing climate change have to do with policy and we can always modify or slow down any change in policy. Like ATTP has saiid, if we are wrong about climate change we can’t reverse it.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        We’ve touched on this before. There is no evidence that I’ve seen for CAGW/AGW to accept the “low hanging fruit”. There is damning of the FF industry to the level of divestment (against self interest) by universities (in discussion if not in fact). There is willingness to subsidize (effectively taxing us all) competing interests. There is not even discussion of land use which accounts for some 10-30% of emissions, is an area of reduced contention, and has political acceptance on all sides. And all this is occurring while actual, real live, observable, empirical evidence indicates…………hmmm………the “risks” may not be all that bad. So why does the persistence of “denying the denier’s” school even exist when effort can be made to address “risk” while discerning need.
        You want to “risk” slowing down policy that based on approach entails strong friction while ignoring gaining ground via more frictionless pathways. Makes me shake my head in wonder. Is there a problem to address, or an indoctrination taking place? Do you truly not see that?

      • joseph, “But we don’t have to have absolute agreement about something to act.”

        True, but it is the choice and degree of action that depends on realistic estimates of the potential threat. Most of the warmists have a China Syndrome mentality i.e. something has to be avoided at all costs no matter how small the probability might be. That leads to over playing the hand. When anyone points out that something is over-played, they are labeled denier.

        Polar bear studies are so laughably bad that scientist in the field started speaking out.

        Earth Energy Budget estimates so laughably bad other scientists in the field began speaking out.

        Climate Sensitivity estimates so laughably bad scientists in the field started speaking out.

        Cloud parameterization, aerosol direct and indirect effects, etc. etc. so the trend in the consensus, just like climate sensitivity is moving toward the lower side, once details are examined.

        The majority of the actions proposed seem to avoid mentioning the changing or refinements in the “science”. No one on the warm side mentions that it appears to be not as bad as they initially thought or there is a lot more time to plan responsible actions.

      • Earth Energy Budget estimates so laughably bad other scientists in the field began speaking out.

        Climate Sensitivity estimates so laughably bad scientists in the field started speaking out.

        Cloud parameterization, aerosol direct and indirect effects, etc. etc. so the trend in the consensus, just like climate sensitivity is moving toward the lower side, once details are examined.

        So if skeptics speak out that means the mainstream view is wrong? hmm So which mainstream idea in modern science remain mainstream after it was decidedly proven wrong?

      • joseph, “So if skeptics speak out that means the mainstream view is wrong? hmm So which mainstream idea in modern science remain mainstream after it was decidedly proven wrong?”

        Now you are confusing science with policy. Those skeptical science that are indicating that parts of the science is wrong. Some parts of all of it are likely wrong to some degree, that is pretty much science. The political “consensus” implies that climate science’s poop don’t stink, it is settled enough to “demand” actions x, y and z. It is not, x maybe but not z and y is a bit iffy as well. The “consensus” is a “my way or the highway” political tool no t anything “scientific” as used by Cook and company.

        Coal is a great example. Mosher now has this infantile thought that for x number of billions he can buy out coal rights and leave it in the ground. He uses pm2.5 as the reason. pm2.5 will likely be the next “scientific” battle ground since coal used in a responsible manner with current technology isn’t that bad. Germany for example will be using coal and improving coal performance and the Chinese will most likely steal German technology or at least start using the pollution control equipment they already have installed once they black mail enough nations into financing the costs. That means significant coal use is going to be around for another 50 years or so. The largest source of anthropogenic pm2.5 right now appears to be land use related, agriculture, roadways, construction mainly. Even if there is some energy magic bullet that shows up, pm2/5 will still be around. Killing coal ain’t happening anytime soon.

      • Danny Thomas – exactly! There are risks with inaction but also risks with action. E.g., the cure is worse than the desease. Apparently, the true believers think that the climate would stop changing if we just stopped burning fossil fuels and we would all live nice comfortable lives is some kind of climate utopia free of any extreme weather events. Isn’t that what we are being promised?

      • Danny Thomas

        Barnes,
        And yes, AGW wins! The jury has deliberated and based on the preponderance of evidence it’s AGW. 51%/49% and jury awards…….one dollar. There is fairly clear (for this observer) confirmation that warming is occurring. Attribution, not so much. Risk management is so one sided as to be intolerable for the other. The CAGW side has no apparent understanding of the reasoning. This leads to the need for a course to “Make sense of climate denial” when from my view no one any where denies……….climate!
        So I’m taking the course so I can better grasp my denial of ……….well…………nothing. (Skepticsm. You bet!)

      • Joseph: To me a scientific debate that depends on future outcomes is never over. But we don’t have to have absolute agreement about something to act. If we did, we would never do anything. I find these numbers pretty impressive. If you think about how we could have something like the IPCC if there weren’t shared views about climate change in the scientific community? And finally we are talking about risks. There will always be uncertainty about what the future will hold, but it is also the current mainstream view is that severe consequences are possible if we continue on our current path.

        On the face of it, this position is reasonable. It is essentially the precautionary principle. But climate change, whether or not caused by man, comes benefits as well as risks. Then there is the issue of cost versus benefit, and the double edged sword of the precautionary principle:

        – Any cost relating to mitigation of a speculative (but possible) outcome in the future is a cost that cannot be expended on non-speculative, known and certain risks we face today. We maybe might save X number of people in the future, but at the cost of Y number of people that might have been saved if we used our resources towards that.

        – It may be that we are mitigating for the wrong thing. There are risks associated with a colder climate as well. If consensus science is right, and the climate is very sensitive to CO2, then we may be inadvertently staving off a potentially worse outcome from global cooling. Reducing emissions of CO2 might be the riskier option.

        – Finally, emissions, energy production, and wealth creation are inextricably linked. In 50 years time we will be vastly, orders of magnitude, wealthier than we are today. Just as today we are wealthier than those 50 years ago. We will have unimagined technology and resources we can bring to bear on all sorts of as yet unknown problems – one of which could be climate change – whether made by us or not. It makes no sense to hamper progress in that direction, and prefer mitigation of a speculative future risk against known existential ones.

    • Joseph –

      but Bart Verheggen’s recent study seems to confirm there a very strong consensus agreement with the IPCC on this on

      Whether warming is ‘dangerous’

      Can you point to the part of the study that shows this?

      • Two questions:

        1. Is this a consensus of opinion, like “blue is nicer than red”? We have tried warming for about 200 years and the experience has been positive so far. Evidence it is bad is in short supply.

        2.. How much warming is bad? We are in for about 0.24°C and even if we assume 100% error – that is 0.5°C or about a 45 minute drive further south (if you assume 2/3rds of the warming is at night it is only a 30 minute drive).

    • Intending to communicate that climate on this planet changes no matter. It has, is, and (hopefully) will continue to cycle.

      So what? That doesn’t mean there can’t be severe impacts through artificially changing the climate. Many of which are documented in the link I gave you.

  38. Go read the IPCC SREX and AR5 WG2 report, pretty much says the same thing I’m saying

    Does the report say the risks increase as the temperature increase or not?

    • Not in the observed data record; little evidence of any trends, and the few trends that are identified are not attributed to human caused warming with any confidence.

      There is definitely a trend in rising sea levels, but they have been rising for thousands of years, for details see my senate testimony http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=07472bb4-3eeb-42da-a49d-964165860275

      • Judith
        Your testimony does not seem to provide the written evidence for your assertions on sea levels. They seem to follow temperatures in rising and falling. The last high level stand was around 1600 then much water was locked up in ice until around 1700. I have previously posted a graphic from the geologist showing the likely sea level fluctuations.

        Do you have access to some more recent information?

        Tonyb

      • Tonyb, while I agree with you in principle on SLR (warming out of the LIA should produce SLR), one has to be very careful. Tide gauges are influenced by isostatic rebound/subsidence, and tektonics. Essay PseudoPrecision. The ‘closure problem’ shows how much uncertainty exists. There is a European geologist who doped out an area along the European coast (Denmark/ Netherlands IIRC) which is supposedly geologicaly stable. Don’t know whether that was subsequently checked by differential GPS. Some of the greater delta SLR archeological stuff (Roman seaports) is unquestionably tektonics contaminated. Since plate tektonics geologic theory only got accepted circa 1968, and research into consequences is still immature (discussed in the recognition chapter of Arts of Truth), the Uncertainty Monster lurks.

      • I would appreciate it if you could answer my question.

      • bedeverethewise

        Some day in the future, I may be able to open my swimming pool in early May. For now I will have to wait until mid to late May. Somehow, I will learn to adapt.

    • Using generous scenario/risk numbers, .5C per decade rise gives you 15 years to do something about it – allowing a decade for panic to build up.

    • Joseph:

      Most would concede that at some point higher temperatures would be net harmful. There is a legitimate debate over when and if we might reach such temperatures. As far as the modest increases in global average temperatures seen since, say, 1880, they remain largely (possibly entirely) within the bounds of natural variation and cannot be linked to any specific weather events — whether beneficial or harmful.

      Reasonable people may differ on the uncertainties in our current state of knowledge. Please be reasonable.

  39. I thought it would be fun to make some suggestions for John Cook’s final exam, to see if the students REALLY are inoculated against climate denial.

    Using the principles presented in this course, address the following questions. ( ClimateEtc readers, Note that these are leading questions!)

    1. Why did a small and politically active group of scientists try to deny the evidence for a Medieval Warm Period? (iirc, they tried to make it “disappear”.)

    2. Why did Naomi Oreskes (in Merchants of Doubt and since) deny the evidence that claims of public health damage caused by second hand tobacco smoke were grossly exaggerated?

    3. Why has a small and vocal clique of scientists denied the evidence that there is an oscillatory process with a period of about 1000 years that might explain global warming since 1880?

    4. Why has a small and politically active tribe of scientists persistently denied the evidence that the net warming, net increase in CO2, and net increase in rainfall since 1880 have been a net benefit to agriculture and natural net primary productivity ?

    5. What accounts for the persistent denial that the Earth climate system is a high-dimensional non linear dissipative system without the possibility of an equilibrium?

    6. Evaluate the effects of the conflict of interest created by the need for continuing and expanding government-funded research for university and government scientists. What accounts for the denial by university and government scientists that such a conflict of interest, and its effects, could possibly exist?

    • perhaps a formal mechanism for collecting these suggestions and forwarding them to the faculty could be arranged. Just as a vaccine may inoculate against small pox but not diphtheria, perhaps this class will inoculate against some denialist diseases but not others.

      • A behavioral or narrative vaccine that prevents influence by particular memes, is called a ‘vaccime’.

      • andywest2012, “vaccime” is a good word. thanks.

        For the fun of it, I posted my “final exam questions” at realclimate, in the thread describing the course.

      • In a rational scientific world, a good suggestion. But their world is neither rational nor scientific. See all the factual observations shoved down the memory holes at RC or SkS (for starters). See all the resistance to disclosure, like Tol’s strenuois multiyear efforts concerning Cook’s 97% confabulation.
        The CAGW skeptics ‘battle’ is best fought otherwise, elsewhere. On more even ground. In a more public view. 10000 people signing up for this MOOC is still less than some evangelical megachurchs draw on a single ordinary Sunday in the US.

  40. Danny Thomas

    Adding a couple.
    If the science were so “settled” why is there a need for: a consensus; Psychology of Climate Change Communication; this course.

    • DT, that is IMO a potent observation. They know they are losing on many fronts. Gaia is not cooperating, public feed up with falsified scary predictions, inceasing evidence of ‘corruption’ since Climategate, grid renewables an increasingly evident failure, …
      So the notion that it is a communications failure, not a science/policy failure, takes hold amongst warmunist believers. And silly stuff like this results. Pure propaganda indoctrination. Spiked Cool Aid. When the history of this ‘madness of crowds, popular delusion’ is written, this MOOC will provide comic relief.

  41. patmcguinness

    Dr Curry,
    I was eating my carb-free lunch today while listening to your excellent Congressional testimony that showed up on youtube , and your comment in response to the question about openness of debate, comparing the climate change debate to the previous Government/FDA ‘consensus’ that dietary cholesterol and fat cause heart disease. Your comment struck me like a thunderbolt.

    A few years back, I went through a low-carb diet and successfully lost 20 lbs. The diet, I had to read up on the latest science on diet to understand why, which led me to Gary Taubes’ “How We Get Fat” and his other writings. He explained how since the 1970s, the FDA and US Govt have been making claims based on shaky science regarding the dangers of fat and cholesterol in diet. The FDA told us that cholesterol caused heart disease, bacon and eggs were bad for you.

    Turning people off fat in diets and towards lowfat diets meant more carb and sugars in diets, which had the unintended consequence of increasing diabetes and obesity. actually, its carbohydrates spiking insulin that both makes us fat and drives more insulin resistance.

    People who didn’t agree with that govt-approved ‘consensus science’, who were skeptics of this were vilified. Even qualified, eminent people like Dr Atkins (of Atkins diet fame), were considered dangerous and berated in Congressional hearings for their ‘dangerous’ ‘fad diets’.

    The analogy fits in many ways. If it’s any consolation … the analogy means that a) The truth will win and b) It will take about 20 years or so before the reality / truth wins over the flawed ‘consensus’. It takes that long for stubborn facts and data to finally get the ‘experts’ to fess up.

  42. I find the use of “conspiracy therory” accusations to discredit arguments quite interesting. Despite the fact that “conspiracies” are omnipresent in social life (e.g., arranging to go to dinner together, organizing a professional association meetings, running a political campaign, or collaborating on writing or reviewing a grant application), it is considered an irrefragable refutation — that’s a “conspiracy argument!” In truth, it is only “grand” or “grandiose” conspiracies that are doubtful. Many others, are not only possible, but highly probable — need I name names?

  43. Being upfront, I’ve had problems with the Bad Astronomer that go back to before he was cheerleading for climate certainty and the 97% meme.
    Whatever your take on climate change this quote of his, “But the media still give “equal time” to climate change deniers, who flood the public with misinformation”, shows that he seems to have some disconnect from reality. I could understand he might want to argue, from his perspective, that too much time is given to “deniers”, but seriously claiming equal time?

    • Huh?

      Anyone who would claim the MSM give equal time to the conservative side of any issue that has a right/left orientation needs a serious reality check.

      After Journolist and Gameschanger Salon scandals that vampire has been throughly staked.

  44. curryja, I don’t know that there’s a need to inoculate anyone from John Cook’s new class. For most people, global warming and climate change are low priorities, so the vast majority of the general public wouldn’t waste their time.

    Who are most likely to sign up for the class? The answer likely is, those who are already indoctrinated into the religion of catastrophic human-induced global warming…who would be, as you noted, “very excited about guest lecturers Michael Mann, Katherine Hayhoe, and Naomi Oreskes”.

    • Who are most likely to sign up for the class? The answer likely is, those who are already indoctrinated into the religion of catastrophic human-induced global warming…who would be, as you noted, “very excited about guest lecturers Michael Mann, Katherine Hayhoe, and Naomi Oreskes”.

      Or those who would find it amusing to audit such a class, perhaps out of concern that the inoculations might best be administered in conjunction with exposure to authentic “denier” arguments.

      • Exactly: in other words it’s for deniers who want to make a full recovery.

      • “it’s for deniers who want to make a full recovery.”

        Based on comments in the denizen pages, it would appear the most of the folks who are recovering are doing so from the perspective of previously believing in CAGW.

    • I don’t know if there’s a need to inoculate against the course, but I felt an urgent need to write a parody, which I did. I couldn’t help myself after I read the plug at the University of Queensland.

      Off topic note: a couple of days ago I wrote the Spanish grid was keeping the fuel consumption records at short intervals, but I was wrong. They report it every ten minutes, but the fuel use and emissions are estimated based on the kW being generated for each of the power generation types. They use a single factor, therefore there’s no way to extract inefficiencies from the public data set.

    • David Springer

      My wife’s church offers lots of free classes. Who signs up? Church members.

      I don’t believe the Queensland Church of Carbon Sin (CCS-Queensland) class is any different. It’s for believers who want to strengthen their faith. The recognition by CCS-Queensland that believers need help to keep believing is testimony to the fact-free nature of said belief thus a need for groupthink therapy sessions like this class.

  45. “Half a century of research into inoculation theory has found that the way to neutralise misinformation is to expose people to a weak form of the misinformation. The way to achieve this is to explain the fallacy employed by the myth. Once people understand the techniques used to distort the science, they can reconcile the myth with the fact.”

    In 1965 the US Surgeon General placed health warnings on packages of cigarettes. Subsequent packaging warnings included people with disfiguring cancers/post treatment surgeries all designed to influence smoking behavior of young people into not start smoking: “See the terrible consequences of cigarette smoking.”

    The warnings and pictures didn’t seem to reduce young people from starting to smoke cigarettes. Another strategy was price, increase the price of cigarettes as adolescents are price sensitive. The response was for cigarette packages opened and sold one cigarette at a time.

    Still no reduction in young people starting cigarette smoking. Then enforcement of 18 years and older to buy cigarettes. We really mean this was regarded as an inconvenience.

    All through this last half century has been the campaign of “See through” messaging. See through the subliminal advertising of “Joe Cool” etc.

    The message got distorted in the translation to read: when you take up cigarette smoking, you are bonding with your peers.

    What has happen since the tobacco industry has been shamed and thoroughly outed as the scoundrel they really are? bing drinking is rising quickly amongst all drinkers and in particular, young and illegal drinkers. Marijuana is the new cool drug with a very large number of adolescents regularly using marijuana (and they get to share a family value). And my favorite: E-Cigarettes: all the benefits of nicotine without the stink of your clothes, yellowing of your skin between the index and middle finger, and you can calibrate the dose to higher and higher levels. What’s there not to like.

    What has been learned through all of the messaging, legal shenanigans, and strong talk from people in authority? Really not much. The decrease in prevalence of cigarette smoking in the US at least has decreased. Is this due to messaging? or that many of the WWII vets who received cigarettes while in the Armed Forces or working at the shipyards, or tank plants, who went on to be auto workers, construction people, or middle class buearucrats smoking in the offices, have died off of one reason or another, decreasing the demand for cigarettes.

    What has all this tobacco story have to do with today’s topic? The offered free course on: “seeing though the denial of the climate skeptics” will more likely than not have the same outcome as previously very well funded anti-smoking messaging; unsuccessful. That is because the message is not in harmony with the perceived benefits the skeptics receive. Namely, the ability to sleep at night. That is, live with one’s self, having not gone down the CAGW pathway.

  46. By the way, the inoculation of a weak poison to build up the immune system to ward off bad things is called….Homeopathy: expensive; all the details not completely worked out; and no better than a placebo effect to boot.

  47. Please vote for Da Mann! ;-)

  48. stevenreincarnated

    The University of Queensland takes coal and oil money. Those associated with the University are not to be trusted.

  49. Don’t inoculations cause autism? I think they mean indoctrination.

    • Just in case you’re not joking, the evidence that inoculations do not cause autism is overwhelming – cf a major large-scale long-term study reported in the last few days which confirms earlier findings in other studies. (link not to hand, but should be easily found)

  50. JC: “Well, I’m not even sure where to start with this one.”

    The trash can?

    As far as I am concerned, a good sign that someone is a true believer is their listening to, referencing Lewandowski or Cook. Take our little buddy “Scooter” Nuccetilli as a prime example. He’s out to make deacon with his ferver.

  51. Steven Mosher

    attacking cook is tactically misguided.

    The basic premise is that one inoculates people to science denial by exposing them to the weakest form.

    Agree! and generalize: we can inoculate people to any belief system by exposing them to the weakest form. Pretty common sense

    Want to inoculate people to religion? show them christians acting poorly
    Want to inoculate people to climate science denial?, expose them to sky dragons, Salby, solar nuts

    Want to inoculate people to AGW? expose them to catastrophic predictions
    like ice death spiral, or the HS or extreme weather attribution)

    By this of course I dont mean that the HS is as weak as sky dragonry, but you get the principle. I’m not suggesting a balance but merely that the principle is in play in all belief systems

    This is why when I give skeptics hints I tell them to avoid the weak arguments. Its also why AGW folks should avoid weak arguments.

    Its a hoax: weak argument, even if true
    Its a merchant of doubt conspiracy: weak argument, even if true

    It also tells us that the tribes need to control their message and manage their borderline members.

    • the problem with both sides make is in the belief that people make up their minds about climate change based on the information that they’re giving. There’s a ton of evidence that that’s not really the causal mechanism in place. But both sides, because they can’t accept it to be true of their own side, either ignore that evidence based conclusion as it applies to ver side exclusively or just ignore it all together.

      • John Carpenter

        “the problem with both sides make is in the belief that people make up their minds about climate change based on the information that they’re giving”

        Joshua, did you mean ‘given’?

        “There’s a ton of evidence that that’s not really the causal mechanism in place.”

        What does the evidence say is the causal mechanism? Is there a consensus on that?

        “But both sides, because they can’t accept it to be true of their own side, either ignore that evidence based conclusion as it applies to ver side exclusively or just ignore it all together.”

        Is this argument specific to the climate ward? Or is this a general argument for any issue with sides?

      • Hey John Carpenter –

        Not sure if your questions were sarcastic (or sardonic?) – but on the chance they aren’t (you don’t usually go there with me at least)….

        Yeah, I meant ‘given.”

        ==> “What does the evidence say is the causal mechanism?”

        I think it’s a lot easier to say what aren’t causal mechanisms than what are. As such, I think it’s pretty clear that for the vast majority, it isn’t the information that they’re given that determines their beliefs. It tends to work the other way, as their beliefs strongly influence how they choose information, receive information, filter information, etc. Keep in mind how many people there are who have strong beliefs on this issue but in reality don’t have the skills to evaluate the evidence let along an in-depth understanding of the evidence. It seems to me that the causality at least to some degree lies in the desire/need/tendency to affirm identity and/or group affiliation. It rests on the pattern-finding attributes of our cognition and the psychology of identity protection. Particularly when the issues become polarized, identity-aggressive and identity-defensive behaviors become dominant characteristics. IMO,that’s basically what the course being offered is about as well as the reactions we see running all throughout this post and thread

        ==> ” Is there a consensus on that?”

        I dunno. I think that there is a lot of supportive, empirical evidence, however. And I think that often we can find combatants willing to identify what I’m talking about on the other side of the fence but steadfastly hold on to a refusal to accept it as dominant on their side of the fence. Keep in mind, that it gets very difficult to talk about these mechanisms at causation at the individual level.

        “But both sides, because they can’t accept it to be true of their own side, either ignore that evidence based conclusion as it applies to ver side exclusively or just ignore it all together.”

        ==> “Is this argument specific to the climate ward? Or is this a general argument for any issue with sides?”

        We can easily see other issues that similarly play out along well-worn grooves – that reflect a similar pattern of ideological correlations. I think that it is mistake to dismiss those striking and clearly distinguished parallels. So I wouldn’t say any issue, but there are certainly many that are quite similar. Of course, heavily invested combatants think that this issue is unique, just as heavily invested combatants would think that other issues are unique.

      • John Carpenter

        Thanks Joshua, Everything you said is consistent with what you have said before.

        “…in reality don’t have the skills to evaluate the evidence let along an in-depth understanding of the evidence. It seems to me that the causality at least to some degree lies in the desire/need/tendency to affirm identity and/or group affiliation. It rests on the pattern-finding attributes of our cognition and the psychology of identity protection. Particularly when the issues become polarized, identity-aggressive and identity-defensive behaviors become dominant characteristics. IMO,that’s basically what the course being offered is about as well as the reactions we see running all throughout this post and thread”

        If that is what you believe the course is about, how are the biases, evident in the course outline, being accounted for by the course instructors? Do you agree there appears to be an element of ideologue thinking going into this course? That their personal bias’s are not being tabled as influencing how they see things? I don’t see a week being spent on how the instructors explain how their personal bias’s could be/are a part of the problem of identifying who deniers are.

      • John Carpenter –

        I haven’t looked at the course in any detail, so I have no informed idea whether the instructors offer evidence that speaks to the potential biases on both sides of the issue. I can say that in my experience of watching some “realists” who probably can fairly be categorized as being in the same camp as the designers of this course engage with the evidence of symmetrical biases and the associated dynamics behind “denialism,” I have seen the same resistance that I see in these threads. Most directly, I have observed this in discussions about the effectiveness (for the lack thereof) of 97% messaging. Kahan references Travis Bickle and the “Me? You talkin’ to me?” mindset (which I have often referenced in these threads) and I think it fits. People recognize the dynamic in an abstract framework but exempt themselves and those who agree with them from bias for a variety of self-serving reasons. What is amusing is that such dismissive behaviors are EXACTLY what the theory behind cultural cognition would predict.

    • Steven, is there a particular attack on Cook that you are characterizing as misguided? Is this post by Judith an attack on Cook? Does pointing out that Cook is a charlatan count as an attack?

      • Steven Mosher

        no. none of them are misguided. they are TACTICALLY misguided.

        rather than fight cook, use his argument about inoculation against him.

      • Thanks, Steven. That’s what I thought. Like that jiu jitsu. I was planning to use his argument about inoculation against him. I expect it will lead to his downfall.

      • My first thought on reading Judith’s post was similar to Mosher’s. I wondered if the clowns gave any thought to how their own tactics would likely be more effective against them than they would against the “deniers” they worry so much about.

        Probably not. For people as intelligent and educated as they are, they are amazingly bozo like.

      • timg56, ” For people as intelligent and educated as they are …” Perhaps my definition of intelligence is different. Or it may just be that I don’t think that my intelligence is best used in self-aggrandisement through spouting nonsense to attract unsophisticated followers.

      • rather than fight cook, use his argument about inoculation against him.

        97% of all scientists agree we’re all going to die from climate change!!!

        Is that what you mean?

      • genghiscunn is seems to tacitly agree with timg56 description ” For people as intelligent and educated as they are …” I for once, beg to differ because IMO the level of intelligence displayed by AGW alarmists and their acolytes is undoubtedly on the low side and their education seems to have been all in vain.

        In this context, intelligence IMO represents the ability to think originally about the current suite of problems that mankind is grappling with and to come up with workable solutions. In the context of climate change alarmism, no original thinking has been demonstrated and their solution is unworkable, economically and politically.

      • David Springer

        Nature (science is the study of nature) is putting the kabosh on global warming quite nicely. The measured rate of warming is now much slower than modeled and the measured detrimental effects of warming are inconsequential. Meanwhile the measured effect of fertilizing the atmosphere with CO2 is a greener planet and the benefits of low cost energy from fossil fuel on health and longevity are inarguable as every population that gets an electrical grid immediately sees drastic increases in life expectancy. The cost vs. benefits equation is evident enough to politicians so it makes CAGW fear a self-limiting phenomenon leveraged for political purposes but only so much that when economic pain begins real world spending on it halts. Witness Australia who succumbed to temporary insanity moreso than any other nation and then quickly reversed course once the CAGW nutters went too far.

        In the meantime attacking CAGW douchebags like Cook, Nucitelli, Oreskes, Lewandowski, Mann, Hansen, and the rest of the usual suspects is harmless entertainment.

    • Mosher,

      Do you really think John Cook is qualified to teach anyone about anything (except maybe at clown school)? I don’t advocate attacking the guy. Simply treat him with the respect he deserves – which is none.

      • I am sure that Mosher is about to explain how the skeptics use this inoculation nonsense against Cook. Do they find a co-operative skeptical university and set up an anti-anti-denier MOOC? The Battle of the MOOCs! The suspense is building. We await the Mosher plan for the jiu jitsu anti-inoculation strategic tactical MOOC thingy. Cook has really stepped in it this time. I almost pity the fool.

      • Steven Mosher

        jiu jitsu

        glad somebody gets it

      • Steven Mosher

        ad hom. weak skepticism. thank you for helping to inoculate people

    • Curious George

      It is an old tactic “I may lie, but the other party lies as well”. Propaganda, not inoculation.

      Yes, there are dragon slayers. Do they cause more harm than good? But I won’t ban them. Or a belief that ERL is a physical mechanism and not a mere mathematical abstraction.

      • This is a problem with beliefs on the left. There is a persistent assertion that they have to cheat because the other guy is doing it, without providing any proof (or just superficial anecdotal proof) the other guy is cheating.

        This is hard to explain unless you assume that the people on the left are inherently dishonest and it is projection (they don’t know any honest people so they assume the people on the right are dishonest).

        The evident discrimination against conservatives in academia, psychology, and the MSM is just supporting evidence that they don’t like having honest people with integrity around, perhaps because it makes them uncomfortable.

      • Steven Mosher

        thank you for the weak skepticism

      • Steven Mosher | April 29, 2015 at 4:23 pm |
        thank you for the weak skepticism

        Well…

        The AGW crowd has a weak case. GHG causes some warming but not most of the warming in the past 115 years.

        The AGW crowd resists more accurate measurement of the actual effect. They enjoy the uncertainty, since that lets them model an extreme worst case that is unrealistic. They then claim this unlikely case is certain to happen, and enjoy predicting the various forms of doom that could flow from it.

        AGWers attack people who point at the issues with their presentation by saying they should be arrested, ignored, or condemned as tools of big oil or {insert interest group here}.

        The way the AGWers respond to skeptic isn’t scientific, it instead resembles some of the dirtier political strategies.

        It is much harder to plan without accurate information and the AGWers don’t appear to want more accurate information.

      • Curious George

        Steven, I am honored. I’ll be in Berkeley in the second half of June. Would you consider a beer together (take your pick; not everybody likes beer; I don’t object even to water.)

    • Steven, you mentioned Salby in your coment. Can you cite a paper that disputes his work? I haven’t found one yet.

      • Can you cite a paper that explains his work? I have an open mind, but don’t want to slog through “presentations” and do screen captures on slides with essentially no references.

      • Steven Mosher

        you cant dispute what hasnt been published. his videos and slide shows are not science. GO FOCUS ON THE GOOD ARGUMENTS

      • David Springer

        Of course they’re science. He’s a former tenured full Professor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at University of Colorado at Boulder. He’s written two textbooks on the subject He has written two textbooks, Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics (1996), and Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate (2011) both of which are way over your uncredentialed head.

      • Of course they’re science.

        No they’re not. They look like advertisements for science. But without proper reports of the real science (if any), they’re barely that. Until those reports appear (and they don’t need to be peer-reviewed, I’m sure our hostess would publish them if Salby would only make them available), they look as much like scam as advertisement for science.

        He’s a former tenured full Professor in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at University of Colorado at Boulder. He’s written two textbooks on the subject […]

        Fine. He has credentials. But the reports of “science” aren’t there.

      • David Springer

        Science is the study of nature. If scientist is describing his study of nature that by definition is science.

        Which part of that don’t you understand?

      • David Springer

        You and Mosher both read Salby’s latest textbook (2012), right? And you are both sufficiently educated in the field to understand and critique it?

        When I get done rolling on the floor laughing at you two poseurs I’ll look for whatever ridiculous replies you might have come up with.

        Thanks for playing. You’re a barrel of laughs!

        http://books.google.com/books/about/Physics_of_the_Atmosphere_and_Climate.html?id=CeMdwj7J48QC

    • Another form of inoculation is to expose followers/acolytes to the challenging material in a “supportive” group setting. Challenging material is carefully rebutted by the leaders and group as it is discussed. Much like in the Asch conformity experiments people go along with the group against their own judgement. People who learn anything in this way will react very differently than those who undertake self study of such materials.

    • Steve, I ask the same question down thread. Cook is being countered in the literature by Duarte, Tol, and Jones. They are doing the hard and necessary work. You must admit though that Cook and Lew are propagandists and not scientists.

  52. Pathologising disagreement and presenting opponents as cases for treatment…That’s usually the end of something pathetic or the start of something very bad indeed.

  53. This MOOC is a crock!

  54. Dissent as disease, against which society must be inoculated.

    Well, at least they aren’t arguing for forced quarantine.

    Yet.

  55. stevefitzpatrick

    Steve Mosher,
    “This is why when I give skeptics hints I tell them to avoid the weak arguments. Its also why AGW folks should avoid weak arguments.”
    Your advice falls mainly on deaf ears. The silly arguments about the cause of rising atmospheric CO2 continue unabated at WUWT. The wild eyed insistence that rising atmospheric CO2 is an existential threat to humanity continues at the rabid CAGW blogs. Nobody seems to want reasoned debate or even discussion about policies, costs, benefits, and tradeoffs. Your’s is a voce in the wilderness.

    • Danny Thomas

      SteveFitzpatrick,
      “Your’s is a voice in the wilderness.” But a choir begins with one voice. And I personally credit Mr. Mosher for being a reasonable one. Having personally experienced rejection as Matthew Marler has expressed on the RC site, it’s a pleasure (usually) to interact with Steven (and most others) here.

      I for one, would like to see us meet in the middle and work our way out from there. (I also wish I was 6’4″ and handsome).

      • Steven Mosher

        Danny it is not meeting in the middle WRT the science.
        Policy can meet in the middle..

        With science I see the Lukewarmer position as being UNDERNEATH
        the two extremes.. the focus is on whats most certain.

        1. C02 is a GHG
        2. GHGs make the planet warmer than it would be otherwise
        3. Man is responsible for the increase in c02
        4. Man is contributing to climate change.

        That’s the consensus and the sooner skeptics JOIN that consensus
        the sooner they banish their nutjobs, the sooner they can join the debate

        How much warming?

        traffics clear.. gotta drive

      • Danny Thomas

        Steven,
        Please don’t drive and blog. There is a substantial level of evidence which indicates doing so may lead to hazardous conditions in you personal climate!

        1). Yes
        2). Yes
        3). would ask that the word ‘some’ be added (determination of quantity TBD)
        4). Yes

        Policy can meet in the middle, but it’s not put forth in that fashion. (I’ve seen effectively zero conversation on land use policy from those with phones and pens). Based on your question of “How much warming” (adding “and what will be the effects”), I’m all for policy which “first does no harm” while we figure this out and that’s where the science does not need to “meet in the middle” but instead returns to being a passive interested observer. Those heading this class might be classified as (near?) nutjobs as well, and are every bit part of the problem as any so called nutjob on the skeptical side. Each house needs to look inside first prior to “fixing” any other. That list may “be the consensus” but we know that’s not how “the consensus” is being used.

      • Steve

        You point out the easy points of the science, but miss the key issue. Will the result of humans actions be harmful? Without knowing the answer how can a path forward on suggested actions make sense?

      • Are lukewarmers having a debate with the alarmist crowd, Steven? The alarmist position is that the debate is over. Lewandowsky and Cook are in the mainstream. Propaganda and intimidation is their strategy, not debate.

        If all the nutjobs aligned with the skeptics disappeared today, the consensus climate establishment wouldn’t be any more interested in a debate with lukewarm non-believers. Remember the trouble you BESTers had with the consensus goons when you were trying to publish your papers?

      • while we figure this out

        And when exactly will you be satisfied that we have “figured it out?”

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        I truly have no idea, and am “skeptical” of those who indicate they do. You appear, based on your postings, to perceive it’s figured out. Is that an accurate assessment?
        So in the interim, “first do no harm” policy seems prudent. Do you have argument with Mosher’s “prepare for yesterday’s weather”? We’re no where near that yet, and yet the CAGW “strategy of policy” wants to lead us towards some amorphous future when we’re not yet ready for the past.

      • GHGs make the planet warmer than it would be otherwise

        Which part of the planet?

        2xCO2 makes not just the stratosphere, but also the upper troposphere cooler than it would otherwise be.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Steve Mosher,
        I think that many (probably a majority?) of skeptical people can comfortably accept those 4 items. I certainly can… but I am more a ‘lukewarmer’. Unfortunately, a loud (and disconnected) minority insist that list is factually wrong… no matter how clear the underlying scientific arguments. As you have noted before, this just gives the green extremists an unlimited supply of paint for their very broad ‘climate den!er’ brushes, and to claim that only draconian measures are acceptable. The disconnected can’t see that they keep the discussion from focusing on reality (yes, GHG emissions warm, but it looks more and more like the warming is ‘not as bad as we thought’), and so cede public policy, justified mainly on crazy climate model projections, to green extremists and their political allies like Mr. Obama. I am happy to base sensible public policy on solid empirical evidence (like Lewis & Curry and many others), not on kludged up model projections. IMO it is ONLY by accepting empirical data which demonstrate the model projections are almost certainly very wrong that the economic and political damage of draconian energy policies can be avoided. By keeping the discussion from focusing on reality, the disconnected are making those damaging policies ever more likely. I wish they would stop helping so much.

      • I truly have no idea, and am “skeptical” of those who indicate they do.

        You either trust what the vast majority of scientists in the field are telling us or you don’t, Danny. You and I aren’t qualified to independently to assess all of the claims. I don’t believe in conspiracies or that I am being lied to for political purpose. I find the claims made believable.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        I do trust a consensus that it’s warming. I don’t trust a years ago derived “consensus” being applied so generally to varying, evolving, ever changing, bits and pieces after the fact in a chaotic, non linear system.
        And what I hear when that is quoted is that if one made up their mind on something years ago in general support of something and are blindly applying that support to pretty much everything associated going forward then one is not looking at the new evidence. If you’re trying to state that some 97% of folks support 100% of 100% of the IPCC’s statements including confidence levels and polices…….forgive me, but you’ll just have to prove that. Folks just aren’t wired that way. And that’s how the consensus is being used.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        I don’t believe I’m being lied to either, and certainly don’t perceive a conspiracy. I do have issue with statements of some of the representatives of IPCC with stated socialist leanings, and that there is any sort of “consensus” of the entirety. I’m fully with Dr. Curry that IPCC is the wrong tool for the job. IPCC politicized the discussion, and it’s attempts to mitigate that error are proving ineffective. Time for a change. This course rings much of IPCC rhetoric and “consensus building” but only a “consensus” of the far left. And that’s no consensus at all.

      • Steven Mosher: 1. C02 is a GHG
        2. GHGs make the planet warmer than it would be otherwise
        3. Man is responsible for the increase in c02
        4. Man is contributing to climate change.

        How much warming?

        Even Christopher Monckton agrees with that. He has written it many times. He has written that the thinks the future effect of a future doubling of CO2 concentration will be no more than 1C; He certainly does not deny that it will likely be positive. I wrote a brief argument that the future effect of a future doubling of CO2 concentration might be no more that 1/3 C; it was based entirely on results published in peer-reviewed research but used in a novel way.

        You have outlined the “lukewarmer” position with respect to CO2 effects, and the skeptical position with respect to likely benefits of CO2 reduction efforts.

        More about point 4: is the effect of anthropogenic CO2 as large as the climatic effects of deforestation or any other land use change? Before redirecting capital investment away from deforestation and flood control and irrigation, should we not have a very accurate answer to that question?

      • Steven Mosher

        “Steve

        You point out the easy points of the science, but miss the key issue. Will the result of humans actions be harmful? Without knowing the answer how can a path forward on suggested actions make sense?”

        You think they are easy? Go convince the folks at WUWT. go convince one person who doesnt believe them.

        1. Will the result of humans actions be harmful?
        A) answer how much warming.
        B) It’s potentially harmful to some, answer who and on what timescale
        C) its potentially beneficial to some, answer who on on what time scale.
        D) at some level we know its harmful to all.
        2. Without knowing the answer how can a path forward on suggested actions make sense?”
        A) Without knowing the warming harm, I can know that black carbon
        is a bad thing
        B) without knowing the warming harm I can know that pm25 is a bad thing
        C) without knowing the harm, I can know that nukes are a good thing
        D) without knowing the harm, I can know that increased R&D on carbon free energy production is a good thing

        If you are concerned about the potential danger from c02 and the potential economic danger from policies like carbon taxes, then you take a diffreent view of things.

      • Joseph: You either trust what the vast majority of scientists in the field are telling us or you don’t,

        The problem here is that the speakers speak with multiple voices, the majority of which are somewhat muted: (1) in grant proposals the scientists stress what isn’t known, and how expensive it is to find out anything; (2) in the peer-reviewed literature they make a case for a not very large amount of warming from CO2, and no harm to the biosphere; (3) in speaking at rallies, writing editorials, and petitioning Congress in large numbers they make exaggerated claims of the damages to be expected from CO2 increase, and the benefits to be expected from reducing CO2.

      • Steven Mosher: D) at some level we know its harmful to all.

        When “it” is anthropogenic CO2, the case for that “know[ledge]” is full of liabilities.

      • “The disconnected can’t see that they keep the discussion from focusing on reality (yes, GHG emissions warm, but it looks more and more like the warming is ‘not as bad as we thought’), and so cede public policy, justified mainly on crazy climate model projections, to green extremists and their political allies like Mr. Obama.”

        No, it’s the connected science-is-settled consensus goons who keep the discussion from focusing on reality. They learned their lesson a long time ago:

        http://www.npr.org/2007/03/22/9082151/global-warming-is-not-a-crisis

        Do you think the consensus goons would stop calling Judith a serial disinformer, if the Skydragons turned lukewarm? Would they re-open the debate? Have they ever given an inch?

      • Steve writes–“If you are concerned about the potential danger from C02 and the potential economic danger from policies like carbon taxes, then you take a diffreent view of things.”

        Steve- I will try to interrupt what you have written. I assume you mean that people who are concerned about the dangers of CO2 viewing things differently and being at odds with people who are concerned about the economic cost of policies that would reduce CO2 emissions.

        I disagree with your conclusion. I started out very concerned about the dangers of more atmospheric CO2 but am now much less so based on better information. I view the potential for overall harm as being low and therefore need to be convinced that the proposed actions make sense economically.
        People who fear AGW do so because they believe great harms will occur as a result. Reliable science can and should inform the public of the potential harms, but should be honest regarding the basis of the conclusions and probabilities.

        Will there be more and more severe weather as a result of more CO2?

        Will the rate of sea level rise increase substantially due to more CO2?

        Will human food production be threatened due to more CO2?

        Any rational person knows that the climate/environment changes over time and that some places benefit from the change while others are harmed. People are harmed from black soot regardless of CO2 emissions. Reducing CO2 is independent from reducing soot. The process may well be related and overlap, but the need to take action on one is independent from the other.

        Steve’s other points:
        “without knowing the warming harm I can know that pm25 is a bad thing”- Yes. If you have reliable data to demonstrate that small particles are harmful to human’s health then there would be a valid reason to preclude them in the atmosphere.

        “without knowing the harm, I can know that nukes are a good thing”- No-this one is pretty silly.

        “without knowing the harm, I can know that increased R&D on carbon free energy production is a good thing”- No you can’t. What government spends its limited resources on is dependent upon the priorities established to allocate the limited funds available. (this is only untrue in the highly unusual and short term case where one government has the ability to print money and not have it negatively impact the value of its currency overall.

      • Steven Mosher

        Rob

        ‘Steve- I will try to interrupt what you have written. I assume you mean that people who are concerned about the dangers of CO2 viewing things differently and being at odds with people who are concerned about the economic cost of policies that would reduce CO2 emissions.”

        Wrong that is not what I meant.

        A) the question is how much warming

      • Steven Mosher

        Rob

        “I disagree with your conclusion. I started out very concerned about the dangers of more atmospheric CO2 but am now much less so based on better information. I view the potential for overall harm as being low and therefore need to be convinced that the proposed actions make sense economically.”

        1. The science is not settled enough for you to conclude anything about the overall harm. harm to who, when how much.
        2. And the economics is not settled enough for you to be convinced of anything.

        You believe to much.

      • “A) the question is how much warming”

        I think the question is: “Can the science tells conclusively what we want to know?”

        Andrew

      • Steve writes–“The question is how much warming
        I agree that is step 1 and the range of estimates are quite wide.
        I do not understand your comment “You believe to much.” You seem to enjoy making cryptic comments, but I’d like you to elaborate.

        “1. The science is not settled enough for you to conclude anything about the overall harm. harm to who, when how much.” I generally agree if by overall harm you mean net overall harm. It is not only harms that will occur.

        “2. And the economics is not settled enough for you to be convinced of anything.” I do not agree with that statement.

      • I’m for banning cement manufacturing and relying on wood and rocks.

      • bits and pieces after the fact in a chaotic, non linear system.

        Why are you so sure the climate is a chaotic, non-linear system? Did you figure that out on your own?

      • I do have issue with statements of some of the representatives of IPCC with stated socialist leanings, and that there is any sort of “consensus” of the entirety.

        Do you doubt the IPCC fairly represented the science? Do you know of a better more comprehensive review?

      • The issue is not comprehensiveness, rather the issue is that the IPCC doesn’t really get to 2nd base, since they get a ‘D’ grade in detection and attribution (see my numerous posts under ‘attribution’ tag). Without a convincing case of detection and attribution, the rest doesn’t make sense.

      • Are we sure that the climate is a chaotic, non-linear system?
        “Small changes in the climate system can be sufficiently understood by assuming linear relationships between variables. However, many climate processes are non-linear by nature, and conclusions based on linear models and processes may in these cases no longer be valid.” http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/306.htm

      • detection and attribution

        I just don’t have the background to adequately assess your arguments. What I can say is that if your case is airtight then you should be able to convince a number of others in your field to accept it. Why hasn’t it been very persuasive? I trust that science will discard bad ideas and is not blind to contradictory evidence/conclusions.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        But while not being able to personally “adequately assess” you do possess the capability to see that the science is in the information gathering stage and has already jumped to conclusions for some amorphous future conditions.
        In my (relatively speaking) short time I see basically zero evidence based reason to doubt the greenhouse theory. But I’ve read (and posted here) evidence of sea level issues. Hay, as example, took and modified some 90+ years of what was considered the state of the art using tidal gauges to raise the projections of SLR from the IPCC stated range of +/- 1.7mm/yr. to 3.2 mm/yr. The very same IPCC who “projected” temps to rise in one fashion while instead “the pause” occurred sending “science” scurrying to explain. IPCC projected loss of ice in the Arctic which turned out to be overstated yet not unreasonable. The Antarctic, however, was a big miss. IPCC clearly indicates issues with modeling of water vapor. Science is grasping at an understanding of “the blob” in the Pacific. Dr. Curry has an offering of attribution of CO2 at 50% +/- 30%. Gavin sees it differently at RC. Dr. Chambers finds a SL cycle of 60 years. What are the sensitivities? Are clouds a positive or negative feedback (or both?). Maya Angelou attributes some CO2 to undersea volcanos. And so on (these are off the top of my pointy little head and I’m a rookie). And yet, we’re supposed to make “risk based decisions” on worst case? Until recently worst case was 2-4.5C or so. Now we’re being told 1.5C is the new “danger” threshold. Moving goal posts all around and settled decision making based on unsettled science. You’ll just have to forgive my willingness to accept more conservative approaches vs. more draconian ones w/r/t policy.

      • > Without a convincing case of detection and attribution, the rest doesn’t make sense.

        An argument to that effect would be needed to turn this ad nauseam into something more than a oriif by assertion.

        No, handwaving to a blog category is not an argument.

      • a casual comment on a blog gets a casual response; most significantly i make the point that comprehensiveness of the assessment isn’t a good metric if you fail on detection and attribution. this is the key point.

      • Steven Mosher

        “2. And the economics is not settled enough for you to be convinced of anything.” I do not agree with that statement.

        you believe to much.

        Simply, the case for economic damage is as weak if not weaker than the case for damage from say rising sea levels.

        Simple question: what’s the esitimated damage for instituting a revenue neutral carbon tax for the US?

        Now I bet you know the uncertainty for ECS off the top of your head.
        What the estimated economic damage for a revenue neutral carbon tax?
        go ahead.. show me the work

      • Joseph: I just don’t have the background to adequately assess your arguments. What I can say is that if your case is airtight then you should be able to convince a number of others in your field to accept it. Why hasn’t it been very persuasive? I trust that science will discard bad ideas and is not blind to contradictory evidence/conclusions.

        You ask an extremely interesting question. Hypotheses have been formulated.

        As to your trust, Max Planck said that when scientists are wrong, you can’t change their minds, you have to wait for them to die out. He was referring to scientists who would not accept his ideas. Individual scientists, and sometimes large groups of scientists, have persisted in errorful ways for decades, without much understanding of why on the part of others. For about a half century or a little more, physicists agreed with Ernest Rutherford’s dictum that a power source big enough to break apart the continents as outlined by Alfred Wegener did not exist, instead of thinking that it might be worthwhile to investigate whether such a thing might exist. On a smaller scale, scientists have believed that aspartame, dietary salt, and dietary cholesterol posed public health risks.

        The general rule (“if you are correct you should be able to convince the experts”) is not dependable.

      • Matthew but we have thousands and thousands of papers on climate change. Did we have that much research on continents?

      • Steven Mosher: What the estimated economic damage for a revenue neutral carbon tax?

        Has anyone introduced one into the US Congress? As far as I can tell, the people who are worried about CO2 really can not get behind a revenue neutral carbon tax.

      • Danny, the only thing that is not melting is Antarctic sea ice. The rest is melting as predicted. Yes the conclusion is that the sea level has accelerated to around 3.2 mm/ year (unless they are lying, right?). Climate is about longer term differences. That is why 30 years is generally regarded as the best measure for temperature trends. The pause (short term fluctuation) doesn’t mean they have to change a theory which is based on the long term. And now go read about all of the other numerous impacts that you think won’t happen.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        I am not some conspiracy theorist. This: “Yes the conclusion is that the sea level has accelerated to around 3.2 mm/ year (unless they are lying, right?)”
        comes from one paper, which changed 90+ years of history (that’s climate scale in your book, correct?) and went against the IPCC “consensus” (if there’s a consensus for one part, there must be for all parts from your approach, correct?) which clearly stated +/- 1.7 mm/yr.
        I’m in no way saying they’re lying. I’m saying if one accepts the IPCC as the be all and end all, then this 3.2mm/yr must be wrong. Either that, or the IPCC was in fact WRONG!. Which is it?
        IPCC’s representatives have scurried around to explain your “short term fluctuation” 18+ years now, unexpected and unprojected. So is IPCC “wrong” to have not projected the pause, for trying to explain the pause, or for trying to state the pause isn’t in existance? Can’t be all three can it?

        I find this all to be quite interesting. While I understand that you have argument with my impressions as I’m just some guy on the internet, what is your argument with the succinct commentary of attribution (which is one area I mentioned) and detection?

        It seems you’re in a category of if an authority states something it must be unquestionable. I’m maybe a bit older/experienced (?) and have found in my lifetime that sometimes authority is off base and my own lying eyes are more accurate. I realize some folks are just wired differently. Were this a negotiation between you and I, my offer is on the table. From you, I’m hearing flat out rejection of that offer and I must accept your view or we’ve stalemated. So for this negotiation, I’m willing to meet you part way. It sounds like if I don’t move fully your way then you’re willing to take nothing. And this is your mode of “risk management”? Interesting.

      • Danny Thomas

        Joseph,
        “And now go read about all of the other numerous impacts that you think won’t happen”. Maybe some of the “projections” have low likelyhoods.

        http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/10/2/a-report-from-the-royal.html

      • Steven Mosher

        matthew

        ‘Steven Mosher: What the estimated economic damage for a revenue neutral carbon tax?

        Has anyone introduced one into the US Congress? As far as I can tell, the people who are worried about CO2 really can not get behind a revenue neutral carbon tax.”

        Like I said you dont know enough about the potential economic benefits or damages from possible climate policies. you believe too much.

        Note how you tried to answer my question about the basis of your belief by asking me unrelated questions. Finally you really should read more , perhaps on Hansen and his support for a revenue neutral carbon tax.

        When I say that the economic damages ( or benefits ) are uncertain, a large part of that uncertainty comes from the various ways we can work to accelerate decarbonization.

        When you consider the possible damages and benefits from limiting c02
        when you consider the possible damages and benefits from economic policies aimed at that… you look at this differently.

        You look for policies that are low regrets– like advancing nuclear and getting rid of black carbon.

      • Danny Thomas

        JCH,
        It’s not me specifically. I’m parroting the infamous…….uh, what’s it called………oh, yeah……The IPCC!

      • Steven Mosher: Note how you tried to answer my question about the basis of your belief by asking me unrelated questions. Finally you really should read more , perhaps on Hansen and his support for a revenue neutral carbon tax.

        It isn’t an unrelated question. There are zillions of abstract ideas, as with unicorns, but without an actual law proposed law to debate, there is an emptiness in the discussion. I might support a carbon neutral tax, but I would have to read the bill, and the CBO report on it; you wouldn’t want another law that had to pass first before anyone knew what was in it, would you?

        If you asked me a question about the “basis” of my “belief”, I missed it.

      • Joseph: Matthew but we have thousands and thousands of papers on climate change.

        Few of those address evidence of attribution and causation: the evidence supporting CO2 as a major cause is spotty and weak, and heavily dependent on the denial that the ~1000 period in the temperature data can represent an important causal agent. There were indeed thousands of papers on the biological and geological evidence addressing Wegener’s hypothesis.

      • Steven Mosher: Simple question: what’s the esitimated damage for instituting a revenue neutral carbon tax for the US?

        The answer to that question depends on the details of the tax law.

      • Joseph: “I trust that science will discard bad ideas and is not blind to contradictory evidence/conclusions.”

        Joseph, I was only mildly skeptical until I started down a trail that led here, fed along the way by a bunch of OMGs, I can’t believe this is not getting reported.

        Evidence in point: One of the strongest points in “The Inconvenient Truth” is showing the correlation of CO2 in sync with ice core temperature proxy charts going back through the last four ice ages. Arrhenius would have been jumping for joy; his theory was proven correct after a 100-years of doubt. The only problem is that was 1987 ice cores. In the late 1990s (well before Gore’s 2006 movie) it was shown through higher resolution studies that temperature swings led CO2 by 300-800 years. That makes a difference. It is understood that the ocean is a vast reservoir of dissolved CO2 have will slowly emit it when temperature increases. Right now it is rapidly absorbing, equilibrium being forced by the higher concentration.

        You can search ice age right now on Wikipedia and find pages about the state of our knowledge. There is a section on CO2 correlation, but the most important piece of information, which I just gave you is missing. Oversight?

        Go to climateaudit.org that see what Scientific American just did to the truth.

        I am here because science is getting its butt whipped by ideology.

        Read the last comment at climateaudit.org.

      • Richard Alley of Penn State started an AGU lecture a few years ago with a letter from a skeptic that said he should be fired because in the ice ages temperature led CO2. It got a laugh from that audience, and at the expense of the skeptic. The rest of his talk was about how it works both ways in paleoclimate. It is worth watching.

      • David Springer

        1. C02 is a GHG
        2. GHGs make the planet warmer than it would be otherwise
        3. Man is responsible for the increase in c02
        4. Man is contributing to climate change.

        That’s the consensus and the sooner skeptics JOIN that consensus

        =======================================

        Consensus isn’t science. When a group claims something is true by consensus then it ceases to be a scientific finding and makes itself into a a political finding. Duh. If your academic background had included Philosophy of Science 101 you wouldn’t make such asinine claims about consensus.

      • Steve asks- “What the estimated economic damage for a revenue neutral carbon tax?”

        My response- You ask a flawed question.

        The issue regarding such a tax (imo) is the on-going cost to administer the program. It is an inefficient means to collect revenue or to reduce CO2 emissions. I have read estimates that a “revenue neutral” carbon tax would entail an administrative cost (additional government employees to implement, monitor and contiinually change the fees etc) of up to 20% of the expected revenue generated. The actual cost to administer depends on the details of how it is implemented.

      • David Springer

        Revenue neutral carbon tax described and supportrd below in WSJ article is redistribution of wealth. It simply distorts the free market in pursuit of a goal which has no quantifiable benefit. How much global warming would be avoided in 50 years by this tax and how much economic benefit would that entail? Let me know when you have some hard numbers.

        http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323611604578396401965799658

      • iiequalsexpipi

        I think I am with Steven Mosher, in that the ‘lukewarmer’ position that ‘the economic costs of mitigation are not worth it’ cannot be justified based on the level of uncertainty on the magnitude of climate change and the economic costs of mitigation. There is simply too much uncertainty, so I’m not sure how anyone can know with such confidence whether mitigation is or is not optimal.

        Although Peter Lang makes an interesting argument below.

        I’m not sure I agree with this statement:

        “When you consider the possible damages and benefits from limiting c02
        when you consider the possible damages and benefits from economic policies aimed at that… you look at this differently.
        You look for policies that are low regrets– like advancing nuclear and getting rid of black carbon.”

        Why not look at the entire probability distribution of net benefits and make and informed decision about what the optimal policy response is? Or even wait a decade to get better data (and hopefully resolve the discrepancy between model ECS estimates and empirical ECS estimates) so that a more informed decision can be made?

      • Peter Lang

        iiequalsexpipi @ April 30, 2015 at 4:56 pm

        Although Peter Lang makes an interesting argument below.

        I’m not sure I agree with this statement:

        “When you consider the possible damages and benefits from limiting c02
        when you consider the possible damages and benefits from economic policies aimed at that… you look at this differently.
        You look for policies that are low regrets– like advancing nuclear and getting rid of black carbon.”

        The sentences you quoted were not said by me; they were said by Steven Mosher said it here: https://judithcurry.com/2015/04/28/making-nonsense-of-climate-denial/#comment-698525

        However, I agree with Steven Mosher on this.

        You then said:

        Why not look at the entire probability distribution of net benefits and make and informed decision about what the optimal policy response is? …

        But that is exactly what is done (to the extent ;possible with the poor pdfs available for the many inputs needed (see the Nordhaus DICE 2013R model for the inputs needed).

        Using the default values (which are on the CAGW side of central estimates), the costs greatly exceed the benefits for all this century. The only way you can justify policies other than ‘No Regrets’ policies is to sum projected benefits and costs for hundreds of years. It’s totally ridiculous. There can be no rational justification for any policy that is not economically benefical at all time scales irrespective of any projected ‘climate damages avoided‘, that may be realised many generations nfrom now. See chart here: http://catallaxyfiles.com/2014/10/27/cross-post-peter-lang-why-the-world-will-not-agree-to-pricing-carbon-ii/

      • iiequalsexpipi

        @ Peter Lang

        I am sorry, I did not intend to mean that you said what Steven Mosher said, but I guess my comment was poorly worded.

        With respect to mitigation policy, are you just comparing a large amount of mitigation with no mitigation? What about a small amount of mitigation via a global Pigouvian tax?

      • iiequalsexpipi

        @ Peter Lang –
        Sorry, disregard my last post about the small pigouvian tax.

    • stevefitzpatrick,

      We all appreciate Mosher more than we let on. I can testify that I have learned a lot from the little fella. He could be more effective if he were less cryptic. And more even tempered, like myself.

      • Steven Mosher

        When the traffic on the bridge is stalled, you will get more substantial posts. of course they tend to be less even tempered.

        I love my Galaxy mega.. Opps popo is spotted ahead.. no more texting

    • iiequalsexpipi

      @ Peter Lang –
      Actually, I have a question regarding your link. Is one of the assumptions in your analysis that the rate of ocean uptake of atmospheric CO2 is slow? Because if it is relatively fast (say a decay time of ~50 years rather than ~150) then wouldn’t that mean that an optimal tax would start to see benefits sooner rather than later?

  56. Is there a vaccine for climate change ideology? Yes, a daily dose of common sense with Judith and those of her denizens that are balanced in their comments on Climate Etc.

  57. I live near UQ, my kids all studied there, I did think of signing up for the course in the hope of putting a counter-view, but once I saw the staff list and online drivel, I was too appalled to proceed. A further indication of the depths to which Australian academia has fallen is the outcry against Bjorn Lomborg’s appointment as head of a think tank at UWA, focussed on the best policies to help poor countries. I’m a Lomborg fan, I spoke to him briefly when he gave a talk at UQ (no chance of that now!), he was very impressive. The event was marred by a pathetic intervention by a UQ environmental prof, who felt threatened and went on and on about the value of his unit – totally unrelated to the talk. I had an interesting few days with this academic once – I had to consult him re a Cabinet submission on Kyoto, at the same time as I had to give one of my staff emergency leave to go into hiding with his environmental science girlfriend, who was being severely stalked by the ageing professor. Fair to say that the Australian university sector has expanded far beyond the point at which there are useful contributions to be made to society.

    Faustino

  58. Danny Thomas

    Talk about making (Non)sense out of “climate denial”: (How about that for a headline?) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/11569839/Pope-attacked-by-climate-change-sceptics.html

    • The subtext is:
      “Climate change sceptics claim Pope Francis is being fed false information by the UN as he prepares to release an encyclical on the dangers of global warming”

      There isn’t much chance he would be fed true information by the UN so this could be a valid claim.

      • Danny Thomas

        PA,
        Yeabut……readers certainly don’t get “fed true information” when their headline screams “Pope Attacked by Climate Skeptics”. (That floored me.)

      • Mehmet Ali Ağca actually attacked the pope.

        I can’t find any evidence that the climate skeptics attacked the pope. The news reports seem to indicate they merely disagreed with him..

  59. JC

    The ‘philosophy’ behind the course is described by John Cook in an article in the Conversation,

    This shows the slant of The Conversation editors, the audience they are catering to, and their ideological agenda.

    Recall this series of 13 articles organised by Lewandowski and endorsed by 87 Australian academics, mainly environmental and climate scientists:
    Lewandowski The false, the confused and the mendacious: how the media gets it wrong on climate change
    http://theconversation.com/the-false-the-confused-and-the-mendacious-how-the-media-gets-it-wrong-on-climate-change-1558

    This is the final part of our series Clearing up the Climate Debate. To read the other instalments, follow the links below:

    Part One: Climate change is real: an open letter from the scientific community.

    Part Two: The greenhouse effect is real: here’s why.

    Part Three: Speaking science to climate policy.

    Part Four: Our effect on the earth is real: how we’re geo-engineering the planet

    Part Five: Who’s your expert? The difference between peer review and rhetoric

    Part Six: Climate change denial and the abuse of peer review

    Part Seven: When scientists take to the streets it’s time to listen up.

    Part Eight: Australia’s contribution matters: why we can’t ignore our climate responsibilities

    Part Nine: A journey into the weird and wacky world of climate change denial

    Part Ten: The chief troupier: the follies of Mr Monckton

    Part Eleven: Rogues or respectable? How climate change sceptics spread doubt and denial

    Part Twelve: Bob Carter’s climate counter-consensus is an alternate reality

    Here’s the list of 87 signatories: http://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-real-an-open-letter-from-the-scientific-community-1808

  60. How can an unqualified bloke like me dare to deny? What gives me that certain ring of confidence when I dump on the klimatariat?

    White elephants.

    I know I do go on about those pale proboscidea, but they are the simple reference for reminding us just how sloppy, muddled and incapable the klimatariat is.

    The white elephants of the climate bubble are among the largest advertisements for general incompetence ever conceived. Those who initiated or encouraged Sydney desal, woodchips-to-Drax, German solar at 50N, Spanish wind, Timmy’s Geothermia, the Oceanlinx wave generator etc must say nothing more about anything. Don’t even ask them for the time. If you need to send someone to the shop to buy a bag of lollies and come back with the right change, don’t send any of those guys.

    The white elephants. You’ll never live them down, warmies. And we’ll never finish paying them off and carting them away. One of history’s great mass bungles.

    Let a hundred monorails blossom!

    • And those elephants can play havoc with bamboo!

      • That reminds me, Great Cunn. I’m thinking of selling your new Labor government on my idea of a bamboo monorail: organically grown, 100% renewable, a traffic hazard, a business strangler, a total debt hole and certain to fail from day one.

        I think I’ve covered all the bases for an acceptable urban green project, wouldn’t you say?

  61. Judith, This is important stuff but I do sometimes question whether “feeding the trolls” is a good use of our time. Duarte and Tol and Jones are doing that in the literature.

    Bottom line: Cook and Lew are just so clownish and hypocritical, I wonder how many people take them seriously who are not already true believers in the Al Gore religion.

    • I thought the ‘inoculation’ concept was worth talking about. Also, it clicked in my head who the true ‘conspiracy theorists’ are in all this

      • Also, it clicked in my head who the true ‘conspiracy theorists’ are in all this

        A classic case of projection

      • You may be right Judith. Some one needs to point it out.

      • Steven Mosher

        when people complain about you hosting skydragon stuff or other nonsense, just tell them you are following their guidance and inoculating people by exposing them to weak forms of skepticism.

      • good point. This whole approach seems to be SkS philosophy, only ‘pre-/de-bunking the weak skeptical arguments (and ignoring the strong ones)

      • > it clicked in my head who the true ‘conspiracy theorists’ are in all this

        Who?

      • David Springer

        curryja | April 28, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Reply

        “it clicked in my head who the true ‘conspiracy theorists’ are in all this”

        Better late than never I guess.

    • I knew about the course, but didn’t investigate. I’m pretty impressed at the level of religion on display here.

      “The word “rite” is sometimes used with reference only to liturgy, ignoring the theological, spiritual and disciplinary elements in the heritage of the churches. In this sense, “rite” has been defined as “the whole complex of the (liturgical) services of any Church or group of Churches”.[14]”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_rites_and_churches

  62. So much wailing and gnashing of teeth over a little on-line course?

    Don’t like it? Don’t enrol.

    • Danny Thomas

      Thinking about starting an on line course for those who may be interested. Working title is :Making sense of Being Skeptical: A course for Climate Science Skeptics wondering why climate science as is coalesced around by IPCC is not seen by adherents to CAGW with a skeptical eye especially based on the record of observation vs. “projection”, and how to respond to that lack of skepticism.
      Textbook: Psychology of Climate Science Skepticism Communication.
      Instructors: (Auditions to be determined based on names of those submitted).
      Those not interested need not enroll, and those wondering why such a course is necessary……..well, just keep on wondering.

    • John Carpenter

      Yeah, all the wailing and whining over only 3% of scientists.

      Don’t like them? Ignore them.

    • Michael: wailing and gnashing of teeth

      Is that your mechanism for denying that the course is biased and intellectually shallow? There’s a cognitive defect that does it to you.

    • Have enrolled. feels like becoming a scientologist. Apologies to those bloggers who are scientologists.
      John Cook is the leader. 97% is the mantra.
      Get on board, Michael and meet your heroes.

    • David Springer

      No gnashing and wailing on my part. It’s cheap entertainment at the expense of some academic douchebags with tenuous connections to reality in a marginal remote corner of western civilization.

  63. To be clear, I meant Duarte, Tol, and Jones are exposing the truth in the literature. That is definitely very worthwhile.

  64. Here’s an article from The Onion seems to fit the message John Cook and Company “Accept our view (which has been sanctified) or you’re a schizo-break-from-reality denier.”

    College Encourages Lively Exchange Of Idea

    Students, Faculty Invited To Freely Express Single Viewpoint

    BOSTON—Saying that such a dialogue was essential to the college’s academic mission, Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea.

  65. Will it cost me money to do the course?
    Cheapskate here.
    I will look at it and try to sign up.
    Maybe I will come back and agree with Joshua more often.

  66. Perhaps the new course at UQ is an opportunity to test a pet theory of mine, particularly because Brisbane lies within the sub-tropics.

    How many of those enrolling are from inner-urban areas and wear scarves even at the height of summer? This scarving tendency in UHI zones – persisting through all seasons and even observed in heavily bearded young males – may explain why that demographic is more prone to believe in a warming climate.

    Let’s get some hard science going here.

  67. If the skeptics think that there is a conspiracy, or self-serving, or peer pressure among climate scientists, they need to go to neutral arbiters on the science, such as NAS, RS, or APS, etc., and see how they weigh the science on its own merit. These have nothing to gain and everything to lose in going against the scientific evidence, and they are immune to the “pressures” or “incentives” of the climate scientists. Which way do they lean and why? A true conspiracy theorist would have a preconceived notion that these must be “in on it” too in some way, and probably have an explanation of exactly why.

    • Jim D: These have nothing to gain and everything to lose in going against the scientific evidence, and they are immune to the “pressures” or “incentives” of the climate scientists.

      If you think that “money talks”, you should examine the money that flows their way, and consider the consequences of that flow if global warming is not a problem, or is unrelated to CO2 increases.

    • Jim D | April 29, 2015 at 12:09 am | Reply
      If the skeptics think that there is a conspiracy, or self-serving, or peer pressure among climate scientists, they need to go to neutral arbiters on the science, such as NAS, RS, or APS, etc., and see how they weigh the science on its own merit. These have nothing to gain and everything to lose in going against the scientific evidence, and they are immune to the “pressures” or “incentives” of the climate scientists. Which way do they lean and why? A true conspiracy theorist would have a preconceived notion that these must be “in on it” too in some way, and probably have an explanation of exactly why.

      Blatantly obvious to everyone, including the vested-interest deniers who claim to not see it. One way or another, they are all in the pocket of government, your “neutral” arbiters included. And of course government’s interests lie firmly in a public credulous about CAGW, so we know which scientists will be more in the paymasters’ good books, and which less so.

      Any truebeliever who wants to believe there is any integrity and openness in government climate science, would first need to provide evidence of this alleged ‘conspiracy of honesty’ hiding out somewhere in the ranks, whose creed gives proper science priority over the naked vested intererest of their paymaster the state, quite unlike what we saw in Climategate and the ensuing and still unrepentant coverups of it. Such truebelievers are the only conspiracy theorists in the picture here- not skeptics, who merely follow the money and observe self-interest at work.

      Of course were they to discover and ‘out’ any such pockets of integrity, this would be the end of them, as funds were soon diverted to more compliant scientivists. An unenviable decision to have to make.

  68. Identifying fossil fuel funding for organizations like Heartland who go out to state governments and try to oppose renewable energy, or who go to the Vatican to oppose the Pope’s ideas on climate change, may be regarded as a “conspiracy theory”, but it is well supported by evidence of money flows. These folks are not science purists, and don’t even try to hide their ties. Similarly other thinktanks. So that is not a conspiracy theory, but just the way money talks. On the other hand, many skeptics do belong to a widespread conspiracy theory on Agenda 21, Club of Rome, etc. See any of the missives by Tim Ball published at WUWT, for example, or see any right-wing talk radio show when they interview these people, that include Monckton in their number. No one calls them out in those circles. They view the ultimate goal of global warming science to be world government in order to control the world population. It may sound crazy, but look it up. I wonder if the course mentions these people, or perhaps Australia has less of that stuff than the US.

    • Jim, I will grant you that there is corporate interests involved in most political debates. Where there is politics there’s money and opportunity. However, you have been here long enough to know that is not the driver of the skeptical side or the government control side.
      Also, there are those opportunists, like Brandon S, who are shamelessly exploiting the wide interest in the topic to line his pockets.
      (Sorry Brandon, I’m on to you.) ;)

      No, for real, this John Casey, NASA retired guy can’t seriously believe the primary cause of our warming and variability is solar. I saw his infomercial for his book, Dark Winter. He’s claiming that we are entering a new solar minimum and you better hold onto your galoshes (snow shoes), the big chill is coming.

      So Jim, there is coolers that are from NASA. Whooda thunk?

      But, here is a video of the Dr. Richard Milne, an Edinburgh University biology prof giving a lecture on the real scoop on climate science. Please watch and give me you opinion.

      • Danny Thomas

        Ron Graf,
        No!!!!! Please not another “global cooling” warning. I’ve not gotten the AGW side to accept that there was an earlier one, yet (and doubt I will).

        Dr. Milne, although a seemingly nice guy, has only one playbook. And it’s AGW all the way. (Took a class w/ him on line and he’s strictly party line).

    • Those are really good arguments, jimmy dee. Very persuasive. You have won us over this time. Don’t you ever get tired of yourself?

    • Jim D

      You have allowed yourself to take your eye off the ball. Implied in your argument is the assumption that most skeptics have been persuaded by any number of individuals or organizations named and unnamed. You do it to make yourself feel better. Deep down, subliminally, you know the run of the mill skeptic have a case. You are struggling with their core argument-the observational data.

      A skeptic doesn’t need a PhD to read simple declarative sentences or a simple chart dealing with temperatures, SLR, global cyclonic activity, Antarctic sea ice extent or any number of other irrefutable facts which should make the normal observer with modicum critical thinking skills at least wonder why the theory is not being confirmed by the facts.

      So, I invite all the conspiracy nuts to hide behind their wonderfully elegant equations and their opaque wall of delusional cognitive gymnastics and hold on for another decade or so until their temple of crystal crashes down on them.

      The observational data will always kick -ss.

      • “The observational data will always kick -ss.”

        Yep.

        The pause is going paws up.

        A few years ago the ‘skeptics’ were made keen on telling you that there had been no warming for 15 years.

        Now they have no interst in the last 15 years.

      • um 18 years now, Michael
        and very interested.
        Why do they not fix that faulty data set?
        and run by a warmist to boot.

      • BASED ON LINEAR TRENDS, THE NEW UAH LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURE DATA SHOW NO WARMING FOR 18+ YEARS, LIKE RSS article re Tisdall

      • perhaps JCH could help you?
        Actually UAH also shows a pause but he is a lukewarmer.

      • The cartoon that the satellite surface air temperature series has become just got funnier. What is wrong with them is obvious, if you look.

      • Danny Thomas

        JIM D,
        Nicely done. A short term time frame of 15 years is invalid when it doesn’t suit your needs, yet now you’ll state “A new warming trend started 15 years ago.” I like how you did that. 15 years is a trend, except when it’s not, but it is, not really. And that infamous entity known as the IPCC says it is (or isn’t it?). I’m learning about this whole fruit picking stuff: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1950/mean:12/plot/gistemp/from:2002/trend

      • Just what the skeptics have been doing, so it should be an accepted method to them, no?

      • http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1950/mean:12/plot/gistemp/from:1950/trend
        1950 is probably a cherry picked year as it shows about 0.8 C / 65 years or about 1.2 per century.

      • The trend since 1950 translates to 2.2 C per doubling. Skeptics don’t like to just project this forwards to see what happens at 700 ppm for example.

      • David Springer

        Denial of a pause in the warming force is strong with this one.

      • Jim D | April 29, 2015 at 11:52 pm |
        The trend since 1950 translates to 2.2 C per doubling. Skeptics don’t like to just project this forwards to see what happens at 700 ppm for example.

        There are two problems.
        1. 0.2 W for 22 PPM. A study measured the change in radiative forcing from 2000 to 2010 (10 of the years in your period).

        http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2013/05/09/400-ppm-carbon-dioxide-in-the-atmosphere-reaches-prehistoric-levels/

        Since CO2 radiative forcing is approximately logarithmic this translates to Forcing = 3.49 ln (C/C0). The CO2 level in 1950 was around 312 PPM. The current level is 400. F = 3.49 ln (400/312) = 0.867130144 = 0.87. Since S/B radiative forcing is short term linear to about 3.7 W/K, Fc = 0.87/3.7 = 0.2343594984 = 0.23 or 0.234 if you want to push the significance of your answer. I round it up to 0.24 just to be nice.

        That is it, 0.24°C, the total GHG forcing.

        Adding CGAGW doesn’t increase the CO2 forcing. We measured the forcing. Saying that inflating the warming trend since 1950 increases the CO2 forcing is bovine excrement.

        The correct approach is to count CGAGW as additional natural forcing which dilutes the effect of CO2. I’m happy to use the AGWers 0.7 °C warming since 1950. 0.24/0.7 = 0.34 or 34%. 34% of the warming since 1950 was CO2 and 66% (100 – 34) was something else.

        That’s the sciency answer. And because I improperly rounded the GHG effect is actually less than 1/3.

        2. The CO2 environmental absorption is basically 5.1-5.6 GT a year.
        It is increasing as exp (t/29) where t is years. In less than 19 years it will be 10 GT per year (the amount of current emissions). From 1960 to1985 the trend was exp (t/33.5) so the trend is accelerating not slowing down as some people contend.

        You can’t get to 700 PPM from fossil fuel emissions. It looks increasingly likely you can’t get to 500 PPM. If the average annual atmospheric CO2 increase for the next decade isn’t higher than the current about 2.2 PPM/y the goose of global warmers is cooked.

      • David Springer

        For the sake of argument I’m happy to ascribe all warming since 1950 to anthropogenic CO2.

        Almost seven decades and just about 0.7C warming. Or about 0.1C/decade.

        Compare the standard of living then to now the increase in number of souls living under those standards in 1950 to that of 2015.

        What harm did either the warming or the CO2 in the atmosphere cause?

        What’s the panic about? What evidence is there of future harm that outweighs future benefits?

  69. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “It is clear from all this that Cook et al. are UNFCCC/IPCC ideologues. There is nothing wrong per se with ideology; it is the ideologues that are the problem – absence of doubt, intolerance of debate, appeal to authority, desire to convince others of the ideological “truth”, and a willingness to punish those that don’t concur. They need to look in the mirror and understand their own motivated reasoning.” ….

  70. For anybody convinced that we are all doomed due to increasing CO2 levels, I recommend the following honours program course from a U.S. University :

    “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” The course includes an option to include global warming in the “design your own apocalypse” section.

    Any takers?

  71. Half a century of research into inoculation theory has found that the way to neutralise misinformation is to expose people to a weak form of the misinformation. The way to achieve this is to explain the fallacy employed by the myth. Once people understand the techniques used to distort the science, they can reconcile the myth with the fact.

    The absolute unquestioning conviction they are right and any “wrong thinking” person is a poor misinformed person who believes myths rather than facts.

    No possibility of doubt, no range of reasonable interpretation.

    It is scary. George Orwell was British so he didn’t get the idiom quite right. But he came frighteningly close. Global warming theory is so newspeakish that you wonder if they are doing it deliberately for effect.

    How can anyone be so biased and tone deaf to what they are saying?

  72. harrytwinotter

    Judith Curry.

    “Sounds like a conspiracy theory to me.”

    No, it is the way they are behaving and in public. It is no conspiracy. They want people to reject established science.

  73. harrytwinotter

    “Going through all this did make me realize something: Cook,Lewandowsky,Mann,Oreskes et al. are conspiracy theorists – they see a fossil fuel funded, conservative conspiracy of ‘climate denial,’ the so-called merchants of doubt meme.”

    Judith Curry is becoming more and more divorced from reality. Too much ideologically-motived pseudoscience for me, time to avoid this website.

    • Sorry that you feel that way harrytwinotter because I learned a lot from your commentry.

    • Science doesn’t trump sociology. Scientists are probably the most naive about this.

      There is, though bad sociology just as there is bad science.

      Poetics govern both cases in the end.

      Just try to characterize the situation well. Carve the duck at the joints, as Aristotle says.

    • David Springer

      hairytwinkspotter writes: “time to avoid this website”

      Great. Take some of your imbecilic CAGW pals with you if possible? Thanks in advance.

      • harrytwinotter

        Looks like I got moderated so I will try again.

        David Springer, the other good thing is I won’t have to read any more of your idiotic insulting posts. Honestly, get a life.

    • tomdesabla

      Please just stop it Harry…you know you aren’t going anywhere. I for one think that Judith’s thinking is getting more and more clear

  74. The trouble with looking in a mirror is that mirrors reverse front and back.

  75. PA wrote on April 28, 2015 at 3:52 pm:

    “The fact that global warming is split along Republican/Democratic party lines indicates it is political and not scientific.”

    Not quite so fast. Most folks see the climate debate from a pragmatic view of known present costs vs speculative future benefits.

    Those who identify as Republican tend to place a higher value on personal and political freedom, and thus see the loss of these as a great cost. Those who identify as Democrat are more likely to see personal and political freedom as a sandbox for those who will abuse and use others, and thus place a lower value on these freedoms.

    Does that make this a political debate? In one facet, perhaps. But for a typical “sceptic” it really boils down to known cost vs speculative benefit.

    Meanwhile, most sceptics are hardly “science deniers”. That argument is purely an Alinsky-like strawman.

    • sciguy54 | April 29, 2015 at 8:03 am | Reply

      Does that make this a political debate? In one facet, perhaps. But for a typical “sceptic” it really boils down to known cost vs speculative benefit.

      Meanwhile, most sceptics are hardly “science deniers”. That argument is purely an Alinsky-like strawman.

      It is what it is. There are 5 facts that I just get hand waving on from the AGWers on:
      1. Warmth is good. Has been since 1800s. Much more life in tropics than tundra.
      2. CO2 is good, 55% growth since 1900, slam dunk, nothing but net.
      3. CO2 forcing is 1/3 IPCC estimate (via the only study that actually measured it, and models are running 3 times too high during the hiatus).
      4. Peak CO2 levels are going to be much lower than the IPCC scenarios since environment absorption is provably accelerating, and the levels will decline rapidly with emission reductions due to fossil fuel exhaustion. Hard to justify any atmospheric CO2 level prediction higher than 500 PPM.
      5. For most of the planet global warming is going to be the equivalent a 30 minute drive (or less) further south.

      If emissions don’t increase (and they were the same for 2013 and 2014 by most estimates) atmospheric CO2 levels will stop increasing in 19 years, or less, given current trends. That would mean 440 PPM or less. But CO2 emissions are likely to increase a little.

      Until these 5 facts get solidly refuted on the basis of actual measurements in the field, not thumb twiddling on a computer, CAGW will remain a pipe dream.

    • But for a typical “sceptic” it really boils down to known cost vs speculative benefit.

      That sums up where I am at. I am persuaded that any policy that raises the cost of energy will cost more than the benefits. Carbon pricing is one policy that would raise the cost of energy, but there are many others.

      I replotted the results from Nordhaus’s DICE2013R Model using his defaults. I replotted to show the net benefit (i.e. cost – benefit) for the world per 5 years. This is different to the way Nordhaus and most of the other climate economists plot net benefit. They normally plot the cumulative net benefit instead of the per period benefit. They sum the benefits and the costs out to 2300 and discount them. But making assumptions out even 10 years is pretty speculative, let alone out 300 years. So, I’ve used his same numbers and plotted them per period instead of cumulative. I also added a seventh scenario. Most of the scenarios assume the whole world will implement carbon pricing in unison and then ramp it up regularly and frequently in unison. The Copenhagen scenario assumes a rate of countries coming on board the global carbon pricing scheme. But it is a highly optimistic rate of participation. I added a scenario at 1/2 the Copenhagen participation rate. It is the red line on the chart below. This is still a highly optimistic and achievable participation rate, IMO.

      The red line, is the closest to being possible, but still highly optimistic. And all the major inputs are on the CAGW side of the IPCC central estimates:
      ECS = 3.2
      RCP 8.5
      Damage function is high plus a 25% safety factor for risk

      Even all this that inflate the projected benefits (i.e. the projected climate damages that are assumed to be avoided by the optimal carbon tax), the net benefits are negative for all this century – i.e. the costs would exceed the benefits for all this century.

      Read about it here: http://catallaxyfiles.com/2014/10/27/cross-post-peter-lang-why-the-world-will-not-agree-to-pricing-carbon-ii/

      • should read “… unachievable participation rate, IMO.”

      • Well, Stern is the worst case (shows most benefit).

        http://mudancasclimaticas.cptec.inpe.br/~rmclima/pdfs/destaques/sternreview_report_complete.pdf
        If no action is taken to reduce emissions, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could reach double its pre-industrial level as early as 2035, virtually committing us to a global average temperature rise of over 2°C. In the longer term, there would be more than a 50% chance that the temperature rise would exceed 5°C. This rise would be very dangerous indeed; it is equivalent to the change in average temperatures from the last ice age to today. Such a radical change in the physical geography of the world must lead to major changes in the human geography – where people live and how they live their lives.

        A couple of points:
        1. Stern is talking about 2°C over 1900 temperatures. 1°C down – beneficial so far, the 1°C “to go” is “bad”.
        2. Stern is talking about 560 PPM for his doubling.
        3. After 14 years of the most massive increase in emissions in modern history, the rate of atmospheric CO2 increase is still about 2 PPM/year.
        4. 2035 is 20 years in the future. 400 PPM + 20*2PPM is 440 PPM.

        the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could reach double its pre-industrial level as early as 2035,
        No, it can’t, short of volcanic disaster or asteroid strike.

        The Stern curve overestimates the amount of harm by a significant margin and is unrealistic..

      • PA,

        My reading of Nordhaus is that he includes all these scenarios because he needs to to show he hasn’t ignored anybody. But Stern’s analysis is ridiculous and not worth wasting time on. I ignore all the scenarios except the Copenhagen Scenario. Then change the key inputs from the default values to more realistic and defensible values,

      • The problem with carbon pricing is that is a highly inefficient means to achieve the stated goal. It involves the need for significant additional government administration.

      • Rob Starkey (@Robbuffy) | April 29, 2015 at 4:57 pm |
        The problem with carbon pricing is that is a highly inefficient means to achieve the stated goal. It involves the need for significant additional government administration.

        The problem with carbon pricing is that it is a stupid means to achieve the counterproductive goal. Adding significant additional government administration is just compounding stupidity with more stupidity.

        All government is evil. Any program that doesn’t have a huge obvious (not subtle) net benefit, that involves more government, is net evil.

        More CO2 is beneficial. Spending money to limit it, is like paying a service to take your money from your wallet and flush it down the drain. Getting government involved, is paying taxes, to hire someone, to pull money from your wallet, and flush it down the drain.

        We are better off just keeping our hands and money in our pockets.

      • The CO2 abatement cost under the Australian carbon tax amounted to ~$1300 per tonne CO2

        Minister for Environment, Greg Hunt:

        At most, the carbon tax helped reduce emissions by less than 12 million tonnes.

        Labor’s $15.4 billion carbon tax reduced emissions at over $1,300 per tonne.

        http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/hunt/2015/mr20150423a.html

    • Interestingly, the desire is to paint skeptics as delusional deniers that, in order to rationalize their disbelief, must paint all climate scientist as part of a inter-governmental conspiracy. Lewandowsky et al, in his 2012 paper did not try to prove that all conspiracy theorists are Republican but did point out that most ill-thinking was associated with belief in the free market.

      I suppose it’s is true that those free-marketers who believe in the IRS scandal likely also refuse to believe Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to a Youtube video and that Iran, Cuba and Russian regimes just need more engagement to support.

      Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.

      April 3, 2009 Presidential world tour

  76. Perhaps someone should design a MOOC on ‘Climate Realism’

    There is no one more qualified than our hostess to do this.

  77. Doing the course, week 1
    Interesting to hear and see videos of the people we blog about all the time
    The message on every video was pushing the 97% meme.
    If every warmist tells everyone he meets John Cook’s inspired 97% of Climate scientists believe global warming is influenced by human activity, the world will believe.
    Pure indoctrination.
    Furthermore any argument can be dismissed out of hand if it disagrees with the great body of scientific evidence for AGW as everything that disagrees must be cherry picking.
    A great argument for not having a discussion. I cannot find a flaw in it although it is a logical fallacy.
    Finally no true Climate scientist can possibly disagree. Anyone who does is a false expert with no qualifications.
    Tough luck Judith and Spencer!
    BTW most people seem to be true believers but there are still not too many of them and a certificate of completion costs 100 Australian Dollars.

    • Belief in new evidence is dependent on background assumptions. Bayesian approach for finding probability density functions is very much logical reasoning. Complex logical reasoning is judgement. If one is presented with evidence one applies their prior assumptions to determine if the evidence fits. To the extent one needs to re-shuffle or discard prior accepted beliefs is the test that new evidence faces for acceptance. If the evidence challenges an entire background of complex assumptions, we call a belief system, the hurdle is so high the evidence is repulsed. Conspiracy thinking is simply a method of reconciling the improbable. It is not inherently unhealthy. Any organizational corruption is just a conspiracy theory until one has the tapes, emails or video.

      Neither unhealthy is the rigid, simplistic of a belief system that we recognize as uncritical thinking necessarily unhealthy. The mind has but a limited capacity to deal with complexity so even non-critical thinking is healthier than overwhelmed rationality, which can lead to breakdown or mental illness. The by-product, however, of uncritical thinking is obviously problematic. What we call an open mind is an intentionally flexible belief system, willing to accept many ideas with probabilities attached rather than full acceptance. The only remedy for an open mind is more data, more debate and more tolerance.
      I’m glad for the Etc. in Climate Etc. I hope this was relevant to analyzing complex messes.

      BTW, I believe Republicans are just a prone to corruption as Democrats. It’s a human trait, not a political one.

  78. My daughter recently took me to task stating “You know, Mom, it’s not fashionable to question climate change.” Ugh. That is the problem right there. It is not science, it is a religion. This course looks like the fundamentalist Christian way of teaching about evolution in the context of literal bible belief. Come on! If it can’t stand on it’s own merit, it’s not worth trying to prop it up with simple minded attempts to trick people.

    • David Springer

      Loved your blog. Long time camper here. I even have a macerator! Mine’s heavy duty 120V I originally purchased to empty out a pair of 75 gallon blackwater holding tanks in a boat. Impellers needed to be replaced regularly. More often than yours. What’s up with that? You’d think they’d make them to last longer. I bet it was because I wasn’t pre-mixing the sludge with fresh water now that you mention it.

  79. I strongly suggest that recommended reading for course participants ought to include Steve Hassan’s – Combating Cult Mind Control. Because those that believe the AGW dogma are surely victims of a cult. http://www.amazon.com/Combatting-Cult-Mind-Control-Best-selling/dp/0892813113

  80. For an interesting refresh on history, use Bing or Google to translate the article about how… A piece of wood brought Christian Schlüchter Bernese geologists in conflict with climate research (see, the Christian Schlüchter interview in Der Bund ). Schlüchter learned that Hannibal didn’t cross the icy Alps: his army crossed a forest. Meanwhile, we all learned that glaciers come and go on a lot faster Earthly timetable than we realized (i.e., they were gone both 2,000 and 4,000 years ago not just 10,000 years ago) and, the reason for their demise obviously had nothing to do with us moderns injecting our CO2 into the atmosphere.

  81. The bottom line is though, is that these clowns are in fact the public face of Climate Science.

    Climate Science as a whole is largely discredited due to the antics of this small band of obviously misguided activists.

    What I really want to know is:
    Are the majority of real climate scientists OKAY WITH THIS!???

  82. “Climate Change” is a tautology. IMO, that’s why it was chosen.

  83. As for science by statistics and computer models: Quote of the Week: “Give me four parameters, and I can fit an elephant. Give me five, and I can wiggle its trunk.” John von Neumann

  84. “It doesn’t matter how much you want to continue riding, beating a dead horse is not going to get you anywhere”. — Urban Dictionary

  85. Geoff Sherrington

    Some more from here Down Under.
    BadAtrronomer is Phil Plait, long active in The Australian Skeptics group. This did a SciAm style KoolAid bout 3 yrs ago on CC, when I cancelled my subscription.
    Qld Uni awarded my science degree, but I was not involved with them after that. If a useful tactic can be found, I am likely willing to write to them as a late-60s grad.
    The influence of the Estab is strong here, with the ABC state media unbalanced. One tactic to condider is an exam for the Chief Scientist and the ABC Board. The BoM head embarrased himself 3 weeks ago with astonishingly ignorant comments off the cuff.
    The ignorance of the Estab shows itself when there is opportunity. Can we create some?
    Geoff

  86. What I get from this is some morbid entertainment watching a drawn-out Warmers meltdown.

    Andrew

  87. Interesting too, is what AGW mania has done to the economy and where it’s taking us, such as fueling a market that produces, “vanity toys for the wealthy—a form of conspicuous consumption for the all things green crowd,” all while third world countries languish and developing countries thumb their noses at the Western pseudoscience of global warming –e.g., https://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/tesla-bonfire-of-the-money-printers-vanities

    • “Interesting too, is what AGW mania has done to the economy and where it’s taking us…”
      I believe we are having somewhat of a rebound from consumerism. We are slowly becoming wiser about products we choose and reasons we choose them. I think it’s Ironic that Al Gore jets around to his mansions as opposed to Ralph Nader who I can respect (and even occasionally agree with). Nader purchased a case of black socks in the 1960s to last him most of his lifetime so he would never have to throw out a good sock for missing its twin. I think he wears the same suit and ties since then too. That is my kind of conservationist.

      “Western pseudoscience of global warming –e. g.,”

      My animosity is that were are making science look silly and corrupt to the developing world. What if the temperature simply meanders sideways for a decade? What will Mann, Oreseks, Hayhoe and Schmidt say then?

      • David Springer

        “That is my kind of conservationist.”

        Mine too. Process engineer. You need socks all your life and size doesn’t change after teen years. Nader came up with an optimized way of dealing with it. Einstein did similar things. He bought a plethora of exactly the same articles of clothing which freed his mind from thinking about getting dressed each morning. The process became mechanical allowing it to be encoded in muscle memory like walking, swimming, riding a bicycle…

      • …or, you can get married and your wife will tell you what to wear.

      • David Springer

        Nope. It frees up your wife for more important things too.

  88. For the few of you who are following my conversation about this course with the denizens at RealClimate, the following comment was consigned to the Bore Hole:

    BEGIN

    46, Brian Dodge: Clausius & Claperyon have already done the heavy lifting.

    In the dynamic atmosphere, the water vapor content of the air can not be accurately modeled; the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship gives the equilibrium vapor pressure, but not the water vapor content when there is no equilibrium.

    Consider the rising column of moist warm air under a growing cumulonimbus cloud; and consider the toroidally shaped surrounding region of descending, dry, cool air. In neither of these regions, each part of a copious energy transport process, is the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship accurate.

    in 16 I wrote this: Likewise, the student will be instructed that the well-understood concepts of equilibrium lead to the derivation of really accurate consequences of CO2 increase; but to point out that high dimensional non-linear dissipative dynamic systems, like the Earth climate, do not have equilibria will be presented as a “motivated” septic (i.e. repeated) denialist trope, or perhaps bought by a rich energy company

    In response I have received references to the an equilibrium Clasius-Clapeyron result that is inaccurate in the Earth atmosphere almost everywhere at almost all times; and without a link to a single empirical demonstration that the C-C relationship is ever accurate, or an acknowledgement that it is, indeed, an equilibrium approximation.

    Is it so hard to understand or accept that the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship is an approximation that has never been shown to be accurate in any natural dynamic setting?

    Comment by MatthewRMarler — 28 Apr 2015 @ 12:30 PM

    END

    Barton Paul Levenson’s response to a selection from that was posted in the course description thread. We’ll see what happens to my response to his response.

    As I am sure everyone expected, my final exam questions were suppressed completely: the moderators there are biased and totally lacking what in clinical psychology is called “self awareness” (insight, and other terms are used as well), and lacking what a lot of people call a sense of humor. You can learn a lot from reading at RealClimate and following links, but you should be aware that their conversations are moderated in a biased manner; they will put up absurd criticisms of the CO2-warming hypothesis, but not reasonable critiques that they can not answer.

    • Quick update: I looks as though the following response to Barton Paul Levenson has been suppressed.

      BEGIN
      49 Barton Paul Levenson: MRM: Is it so hard to understand or accept that the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship is an approximation that has never been shown to be accurate in any natural dynamic setting?

      BPL: Please present your alternative.

      – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/04/an-online-university-course-on-the-science-of-climate-science-denial/comment-page-1/#comment-629202

      Is that the closest you can come to admitting that the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship is an approximation that has never been shown to be accurate in any natural dynamic setting? The fact is, that the equations that can be solved do not provide approximations that are accurate enough to predict the climate change engendered by increased CO2 concentration, and are not accurate enough to predict the changes in energy flows engendered by a 1C increase in global mean surface temperature. For cloud effects, even the sign of the response is not known. That is not a criticism of the many fine scientists who have worked on the problems, and are working now; it is a statement of why so much work remains to be done in research and modeling. It is a criticism of people who claim that the knowledge is complete and accurate.

      END

      They can’t bring themselves to accept that their knowledge base is incomplete and inaccurate. And that is in a thread devoted to limits of cognitive abilities. It is a place that calls itself “RealClimate”, and one of the managers, Gavin Schmidt, won an award from a professional organization of scientists for communicating science.

  89. > I suggest reading my previous post Agnotology, agnoiology, and cognitronics […]

    Why? There’s no there there.

    • johnvonderlin

      Willard,
      I’d suggest you read Gertrude Stein’s Wikipedia page before you ever use that tired, old and misunderstood quote by her again. The baggage she carries is not something I would want to remind any reader of or be associated with by quoting her. And she was referring to the changes to what she remembered as a child living there decades before, not to a lack of substance, your apparent meaning.
      You’d be better off quoting Charlie Manson, “I’m not very wise to many things,”

      • > And she was referring to the changes to what she remembered as a child living there decades before, not to a lack of substance, your apparent meaning.

        I don’t think “the changes to what she remembered as a child living” does justice to the fact that Stein was speaking about Oakland, johnvonderlin. The Wiki you asked me to read contains this reference:

        This is precisely the point: “…there is no there there.” Stein realized that there was something ungrounded about America, but although it was ungrounded it did not admit it to itself; consequently, for her it did not produce a propitious environment for creative growth. She went so far as to suggest the need for all writers to live in two countries, and is well-known for having said, “America is my country and Paris is my home town.” This doubleness allowed her to see the fragmentary nature of identity, as is clear from the following passage from the same book, in response to a visit to her home town: […]

        http://members.chello.nl/smetaal/usu1.htm

        The lack of grounding in Judy’s handwaving is exactly what I wanted to convey.

        Thanks for playing.

      • Are you saying Judith needs to move to Paris, willy? I bet gertie was happy to see the arrival of those rube Americans in 1914, and again in 1944.

  90. Is it time to paraphrase Ernest Rutherford who famously said that if you need statistics to analyze your results you need to design a better experiment. In climate science, if you need a psychologist to to get people to accept your consensus, perhaps you need a better argument for your point of view.

  91. richardswarthout

    This may be relevant:

    The Paradox of Dogma: How the Left is Crippling Itself

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/04/29/the-paradox-of-dogma-how-the-left-is-crippling-itself/

    Richard

  92. We need to read up on why some societies have problems while others do not. Rather than inoculations to increase resistance to skeptics we should consider what causes Western scientists to require increased resistance. Scientists outside Western civilization liken climatology to the ancient science of astrology. The cure is more good science to force the bad science out: we’re not getting that because government has something to gain from promoting bad science.

  93. Doesn’t EdX have some upholdable academci standards? Surely someone like Judith could complain about a course on propaganda masqerading as an academic course??

    • I don’t see it that way. They are presenting this as a propaganda course. A course in brainwashing. They don’t claim anything different. This is only about bashing anyone who does disagree.

  94. Cook, Lewandowsky, Mann, Oreskes et al. are conspiracy theorists – they see a fossil fuel funded, conservative conspiracy of ‘climate denial,’ the so-called merchants of doubt meme.</i/

    But strangely no government-funded conspiracy of 'climate belief' belief – with government having untold orders of magnitude more to spend, untold orders of magnitude more to gain, and untold dishonesty and bias (eg Climategate) in the process followed by its climate science stooges like Mann and friends.

  95. That which may not say it’s name.

  96. How can anyone be so biased and tone deaf to what they are saying?
    It is not bias when you truly believe, and when you truly believe they are not tone deaf, they cannot hear and will not hear.
    Totally vaccinated.
    Works both ways and whoever gets the vaccination in first wins, why Cook is trying so hard to get followers to spread the dogma

  97. I have taken numerous MOOCs on several topics, including climate science. In every case I felt that the instructors were qualified to teach the course, and in several cases they were among the best in the world. However from the information on this course’s Web page, I find it difficult to see how the instructors are qualified to deliver a course on two of the main topics listed in the course information–“science of climate denial” and “how people think about climate change.” Perhaps someone can shed light on qualifications that I may be missing. For example, do any of the instructors have training or acquired expertise in psychology (i.e., beyond the naïve conjecture that comes from looking at someone else’s profession and thinking you are an expert)? Below is a list of the instructors, their titles, and affiliation.

    John Cook: Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute, University of Queensland

    Daniel Bedford: Professor of Physical Geography and Climate Science, Weber State University

    Gavin Cawley: Senior Lecturer in Computing Sciences, University of East Anglia

    Kevin Cowtan: Research Fellow, Department of Chemistry, University of York

    Sarah A. Green: Professor of Chemistry, Michigan Technological University

    Peter Jacobs: Graduate Student, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University

    Scott Mandia: Professor of Earth and Space Sciences and Assistant Chair of the Physical Sciences Department, Suffolk County Community College

    Dana Nuccitelli: Environmental Scientist, University of Queensland

    Mark Richardson: Researcher, CalTech/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    Keah Schuenemann: Meteorology Professor, Metropolitan State University of Denver

    Andy Skuce: Independent Geoscience Consultant, University of Queensland

    Robert Way: PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography, University of Ottawa

    Ove Hoegh-Guldberg: Director of the Global Change Institute and Professor of Marine Science, University of Queensland

    • They’re surely making a number of violations of the <a href="http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/&quot; APA ethics code, including General Principle E, Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity. The right of self-determination includes the need for “Psychologists try to eliminate the effect on their work of biases based on those factors, and they do not knowingly participate in or condone activities of others based upon such prejudices.”
      There is also Principle A: Do no harm.

    • gjw2,
      Did you read the actual topics

      1. How to recognise the social and psychological drivers of climate science denial

      2. How to better understand climate change: the evidence that it is happening, that humans are causing it and the potential impacts

      3. How to identify the techniques and fallacies that climate myths employ to distort climate science

      3. How to effectively debunk climate misinformation

      You may not like John Cook, but his PhD relates to topic 1. Scott Mandia, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Mark Richardson, Daniel Bedford and Robert Way are all climate scientists, 4 of whom have PhDs and one who is working towards his PhD. Peter Jacobs studies climate communication and has published with Sarah Green. Kevin Cowtan is actually a physics lecturer (Senior, I think) who has published in the area of climate science. Gavin Cawley, has expertise in statistics and has also published in climate science. Dana Nuccitelli (who does not work at UQ) has an MSc in physics and has also published in climate science. So, it would seem to me that their expetise roughly covers the topics being presented. So, isn’t it more accurate to say that this is a group that you don’t like or trust, than a group who are not suitable to teach such a MOOC?

      • Dear “an then there’s…”

        You wrote, “So, it would seem to me that their expetise roughly covers the topics being presented. So, isn’t it more accurate to say that this is a group that you don’t like or trust, than a group who are not suitable to teach such a MOOC?” No it is not more accurate to say that. I am an economist and other than reading the 97% consensus journal article, do not know anything beyond what I put in my comment about these individuals. My main point is that this course is being advertised as, “This isn’t just a climate MOOC; it’s a MOOC about how people think about climate change.” They appear to have the climate change portion covered, but you haven’t convinced me that their expertise goes beyond “roughly covering” the psychological portion of the course, which appears to be the most important contribution the course is trying to make. And the MOOC instructor’s credentials I’m familiar with have gone well beyond “roughly covering” the topics covered in their MOOC. You may be familiar with one instructor that taught a climate science MOOC I took–David Archer. That is the caliber of qualifications I’m talking about.

        I fear your climate science biases and the climate warfare in which you are engaged may have clouded your viewpoint.

  98. “2. GHGs make the planet warmer than it would be otherwise”

    I love this. And I love it because the “otherwise” is (and will always be until some unforeseen discovery) entirely imaginary. And meaningless. This is bare assertion. And Mosher promotes it as science. What a joke.

    Andrew

    • As JC and others have pointed out, the of a perfect, unspoiled Eden is not relevant to science, efficacy or even morals. We are making changes to ourselves and nature all the time. There is no going back. I think research should be put into geo-engineering. Modulating albedo through MGO spume making sea organisms could reflect just a well as clouds. As proved in a recent post, a pilot can’t tell the difference.
      If the Earth due to volcano or other cause become unexpectedly cold we can then kill the spume makers with a pre-made vulnerability to a selective virus. Presto! We have a temperature control knob.

  99. The nonsense is no surprise: Empty barrels makes the most noise.

  100. I would think the near absence of water vapor in the desert would be a place to test the effects of co2 warming. If historical records are available there would be a decrease in the diurnal temperature range. Have there been any studies to determine if this is happening?

    • The course has been renamed in line with its highly academic credentials:

      Become an accredited credulous truebeliever in government climate science.

  101. “1. How to recognise the social and psychological drivers of climate science denial”

    Does anyone really need a MOOC to help them identify people who can’t or won’t ignore the inherent vested interests corrupting government climate ‘science’ ?

  102. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

  103. I just completed the first week of the class.

    Professor Peter Doran, University of Illinois says there is a strong consensus. Then he says:

    • scientists, the real experts, that self-identified themselves as climatologists, that’s 97, I
    • think it was 98 percent. It’s a small group; you get down to only about a hundred people
    • that are in that expert group, but they are overwhelmingly in support that humans are
    • causing global warming. I don’t know how much more we have to do to prove that there’s a
    • consensus. It seems like a silly argument at this point. We’ve proved it over and over
    • and over, and clearly there is a strong consensus. It’s time to take the next step, whatever
    • that is.

    There is a list of 31 thousand people who have signed a statement the climate consensus is wrong. I do know a lot of those people.
    You have only about a hundred people in the 97% extreme consensus group and you don’t have a statement and you don’t have the names and they have not signed anything.

    • This class is a class in how to brainwash and intimidate people.
      It is nothing about science. But then, it did not claim to be.

      It is all about beating down everyone who dares to disagree.

      With only about one hundred, hard core alarmist people, they are going to have a hard row to how. I always expected that the 97 percent was only about 97 people. Now, they have said it.

      You should take the class just to hear this from Professor Peter Doran

  104. I would like very much to see their list of the 97 scientists that make up the 97% and I would like to see their list of the 3 scientists that disagree and still get counted as scientists. So, there are only 100 real climate scientists. I want to see their names and signatures.