Friday, August 14, 2009

Climate Scientists Need A War Room

Chris Mooney triggered an interesting line of thought about a month ago when he suggested that folks interested in winning the political debate over what actions should be taken to combat Global Warming needed an anti-Morano. What, or who, is a Morano?

Marc Morano has long been Senator James Inhofe’s top global warming spinmeister and talking head. His special ability is to argue super-fast, spewing out questionable claims, a kind of howitzer of climate “skepticism.” (Below, for example, see Morano’s recent debate with Joe Romm provided in its first installment, with the second here. Joe tries to be patient in debating Morano, and to correct him as much as possible–a valiant attempt, but it’s simply impossible to correct everything Morano says as he bowls you over with dubious assertions.)

In recent months, Marc Morano has left the employ of Senator Inhofe a launched Cimate Depot, a Drudge-style aggregator which links almost exclusively to material from AGW denialist sources. All the "big name" skeptics appear--McIntyre, Monckton, Watts--as well as somewhat more credible researchers like the Pielke's. The end result is a seeming torrent of "counter evidence" to AGW theory, all ready for the picking by journalists willing to hack for the denialist cause, whose columns are then recycled onto the front page of the site to keep the flow of fake news coming.

The response to Mooney's proposal among those following the climate science debate has been, for the most part (but not entirely) negative, largely because people have interpreted Mr. Mooney's proposal as meaning "our side needs a lying ass of its own". But he brushes against an excellent point--those members of the scientific community that want to see real action taken on the AGW file need some kind of PR counter to the work of Morano and people like him (Joseph D’Aleo for example, who runs Icecap, which was one of the first denialist "news" sites though now but a pale shadow of Climate Depot).

So here's my take on Mooney-- a counter aggregator, a rapid response website that would:

1) publish links to new papers/newspaper stories dealing with new developments in the actual science as these appear in the MSM. Links would go to material featuring the work of legitimate researchers like Landsea, who question certain details of the overall picture, but would exclude folks like Monckton, who essentially spout nonsense.

But more importantly, the site would

2) aggregate on-line refutations of junk science papers as soon as these become available. For example, blogs like Deltoid, DeSmog, and Tamino have developed well-deserved reputations for debunking AGW related pseudo-science, but there are many other science bloggers out there with expertise to share. In fact, an attempt might be made to solicit responses from these people to whatever the pseudo-science story du jour might be.

3) Since the vast majority of AGW denialists simply do not engage in rational debate(witness this outburst of literal gibberish from Ian Plimer), the website should encourage and participate in various campaigns to ridicule and prank the lower echelons of the denier community. For example, why attempt to parse Monckton's pages of senseless equations and foamy denunciations when it is simply enough to post (or link to) a picture of him? See? Refuted already. In fact, every time someone gets a look at Monckton, the credibility of the whole movement is shaken. The method is the same as that employed against creationists. The message is: you don't deserve to be included in an honest discussion, you deserve only to be mocked. It sounds harsh, but in Canada at least we have learned that it can also be highly effective as a political strategy.
The point of all this of course would be to provide a place for sympathetic journalists and other members of the on-line citizenry to find ammunition for the ongoing debate. More specifically, it would (hopefully) create a conduit from the blogs to the professional press on issues surrounding AGW (the way National News Watch serves to get political news from Canada's blogging underground to our community of journalists).
Now, one of the problems with bringing such a plan to fruition lies in the science blogging community itself. With a few exceptions, these folks present as a cross between Dudley Do-Right and a bunch of leaf eating vegans. Some are still pushing the line that "The Public" needs to be "better educated" around science issues. And that's all very nice but its also something I've heard throughout the entire length of my adult life and it appears that any attempts in this direction have failed quite utterly.
So why not try Plan B, which is to develop a killer instinct politically and build an on-line war room.


Jerome Bastien said...

BCL: As a staunch denier of AGW, I would welcome such a move. Of course, your point that deniers should be mocked rather than debated represents essentially the approach taken by the AGW-side ever since the debate began, and if latest polls are any indication, it hasnt worked out that well for your side. So please, by all means, let's have a pro-AGW website that deals with actual science and forces the AGW side to show its hand. And then maybe we'll get discussions from the AGW side which are actually convincing instead of just insults.

So Im curious, what empirical evidence convinced you that anthropogenic CO2 will lead to catastrophic warming? Since the science is so settled and so obvious (unless you're a complete moron or an Exxon stooge), this should be rather straightforward question to answer.

Ti-Guy said...

Step no. 1. Delete the comments of time-wasters like JermoSapiens.

I think the goals of the anti-denier PR campaign need to be better articulated:

1. No one is suggesting an end to good faith discussion. What we want are the frauds, the kooks and the sell-outs removed from public debate.

2. Laymen will not understand or will misunderstand the science, so links to research papers will be a waste of time and will just invite highly-educated people who think they're scientists (IT professionals, engineers, economists, financial advisers, patent lawyers and anyone who got good marks in grade 13 Calculus) fodder to confuse people with pointless and impenetrable nit-picking. The effort should be focused on material that interprets well-founded research for the popular audience. Admittedly, this has been a big problem in the academic scientific community, and has not been addressed very well.

3. Overtly, the campaign should limit itself to gentle ridicule and good-natured pranking.

4. Covertly, out-and-out ratfucking should be entertained, but only directed at those who've engaged in it themselves (and most of the deniers or their associates have). Honey traps, bribe stings, smear campaigns involving personal matters, ritual humiliation, withholding of denier necessities such as Depends and Viagra, etc. should be considered. These initiatives should be distributed so that plausible deniability can be maintained. "Technically legal" should be the operating principle.

Just a few thoughts on a hot summer day...

Jerome Bastien said...

Hey Ti-Guy, its been a while since we butted heads.

Surprisingly, the IPCC reports and scientific papers on the greenhouse effect and such are not that hard to understand for those who have a basic science education. It doesnt fly to say that its above our heads and so we should just trust those scientists who happen to be on board AGW and dismiss as kooks those who dont - well it doesnt fly with public opinion, which shows a steady decline of faith in the AGW hypothesis. Im sure it flies here in the echo chamber but I dont think you need to convince BCL and your other friends.

Besides, since the comparison to creationism is often made, belief in evolution is supported by the fossil record and the diversity of species, and even though Im not a biologist, I can totally back-up my belief in evolution with actual evidence that laymen can understand. Thats what Im asking you guys to explain to me, can you justify your belief in AGW?

But if you think the science is so hard to understand, do you just believe it based on faith of the scientists involved? What's your rationale - is it "the UN supports this so it must be true", or is it because of the celebrities involved? I must admit that when Leonardo DiCaprio started preaching, I became very concerned. I mean I trust my own bullsh1t detector and I have a pretty good understanding of the science involved, but when Leonardo speaks, I have a hard time staying objective.

And this is not about nitpicking. Its the most basic of all questions for any scientific theory. What is the evidence to support it? The IPCC's own reports only attribute the current warming to CO2 because their models cant replicate past warming trends without CO2 forcing. This is not empirical evidence.

Its also very easy to understand that the IPCC's own models predict a warming signature which would support the AGW theory if it was confirmed by observation. This CO2 signature is a hotspot in the uppper troposphere. Unfortunately for the AGW hypothesis and the models, this hotspot is not found in the observed data. So, not only is the only "evidence" from computer models, these computer models have been falsified by experiment.

But anyways, clearly from your condescending tone you must be extremely convinced of your position by some denial-shattering piece of evidence. And Im very much looking forward for you to share it with me, even though I am clearly not worthy.

Ti-Guy said...


What empirical evidence convinced you that random mutation and survival of the fittest leads to speciation/biological evolution?

Steve Scolnik said...

The basic problem here is that debate is fundamentally a civilized process with rules of behavior. By engaging in swift-boat smear campaigns (Moron-o was literally the original inventor of the technique), these clowns have intentionally renounced the privilege of participating in the debate process. Any approach that doesn't clearly delegitimize the fraudsters will be counterproductive.

Jerome Bastien said...


Primarily the answer to your question is the fossil record, in particular when viewed chronologically. The older fossils are the most primitives - things like jellyfish, but even more primitive are sponges, and anemones. Further the fossil record allows us to draw a family tree of sorts which shows that we are all related, and that about 400 million years ago something grew a backbone (current hypothesis for the oldest vertebrate is a sea squirt), and then came sharks, and then bony fish. Later the fish design evolved more complexity, and likely a coelecanth with fins that look very much like legs came out of water and became the first amphibian and tetrapod. I could go on. But the evidence is overwhelming that we are at least all related because all tetrapods share characteristics like a rib-cage, five fingers and five toes, and all came after the cambrian period.

So clearly, all animals are related and have evolved from the primitive to the complex. The fossil record on that point is absolutely overwhelming.

As to the actual mechanism which drives this evolution, I find the best evidence is found in the current animals living among us today. However, before getting into that, allow me a brief interlude.

When Darwin formulated his theory, it flew in the face of conventional wisdom (i.e. the bible). What's more, he had no idea of any mechanism by which traits were inherited as genes were not discovered until 1/2 century later. It was generally known however that certain features were inherited. The fact that Darwin didnt know about genes make his theory all the more impressive, and also shows the predictive power of his theory (a predictive power that AGW lacks). But what he did find is that everywhere he went, and most famously the galapagos, creatures varied slightly but seemed to be adapted to their particular environment. So galapagos turtles who had a "lip" on their shell which allowed them to lift their neck and reach leaves who were higher up lived on islands where the leaves were higher up - conversely turtles on a neighboring island with lower lying vegetation did not have that lip on their shell.

In any event, Darwin's theory did not become mainstream right away, but importantly his theory predicted that within every animal, some sort of information was stored to define all the animal's characteristics, and that this information was passed on to the next generation, yet this information had to be subjected to mutations once in a while. This all seems very obvious today but you have to put yourself in the mind of a victorian era englishman, and it goes against everything you "know".

And then DNA and genes were discovered, giving Darwin the very mechanism he needed. His seemingly preposterous prediction came to pass with amazing precision. And today its conventional wisdom.

But you have to keep in mind, in his day it wasnt - Darwin even withheld publishing for 20 years and its only when Wallace (another brit who had the same idea) forced his hand that he decided to publish.

Jerome Bastien said...

Steve Scolnik:

Love your consistency. You first scold Morano for allegedly failing to live up to rules of behavior, than call him a moron and suggest that the primary objective should be to delegitimize your opponents.

How convincing. Anyways, I see you have your own climate blog. How nice. Are you able to answer my simple question: what empirical evidence convinces you of the AGW hypothesis?

Ti-Guy said...

Too long, Jermo. I was hoping for a short discussion on the fact that you've never actually witnessed random mutation or speciation and yet you have no problem supporting the theory of evolution. Your request regarding AGW is of the same nature.

The principles underlying the theory of anthropogenic global warming are even more simple than what supports biological evolution. What we're arguing about now are the predictions and the science involved in that is decidedly *not* accessible to the layman, such as computer modelling, advanced statistics and theories applicable to what are called "complex systems".

All I want are the frauds, the kooks and the sellouts to stop misleading and interfering in that discussion.

By the way, did you follow BCL's link to the issue involving Plimer? Don't you find that astonishing? Shouldn't that be something that grabs your attention? If not, why not?

Scanner said...

There is no need for a war room for Climate Change Scientists. The Climate Change is upon us, it is too late to do anything about it. We need a war room for the Climate Wars that are already starting to occur. For a chearful estimate of what is about to happen, read Gwynn Dyer or the Pentagon.
The people who have been supporting the denialists figure they've got theirs and will be able to maintain their power and luxury despite what a hellhole earth becomes. They're wrong.

Ti-Guy said...

The Climate Change is upon us, it is too late to do anything about it. We need a war room for the Climate Wars that are already starting to occur.

Loony moonbat socialist alarmist! Shriek!

...just anticipating the response some of this blog's right wingers like Jermo will surely provide instead of responding to *my* questions.

Jerome Bastien said...

Too long? Geez, no wonder you dont read the IPCC reports. And no, I've never witnessed personally speciation but I am aware of repeatable studies with fruit flies where they can subject them to some selection process and change the species characteristics significantly. And that is good enough for me and Im not asking for more than that with respect to AGW.

In fact, if the models used to support the theory were actually capable of predicting a warming pattern which was observable I'd say that was a major point for AGW.

The principle underlying AGW are the following:
-extra CO2 heats up the atmosphere
-extra heat caused by CO2 increases the water vapor content of the atmosphere, and this extra water vapor causes catastrophic warming.

The extra heat from the original CO2 is not in dispute. You can calculate it in a straightforward way and a doubling of CO2 corresponds to about 1 degree C (regardless of what you're doubling from, because the greenhouse effect follows a logarithmic curve). Even the IPCC is not warning against this baseline warming from CO2 - its not scary at all. What people are concerned about is the alleged amplification of this warming by water vapor.

The question is what happens with this extra heat. Is it amplified or dampened? In other words, positive or negative feedback. The IPCC models all posit strong positive feedbacks involving water vapor, and this part of the theory is what's in contention (although everything points that's its dead wrong). The missing hotspot is the first clue, as the prediction of the hotspot stems directly from the alleged extra water vapor.

Perhaps even more convincing is the outgoing radiation. IPCC models predict (more precisely, they are based on the idea) that as the earth warms, it releases less and less heat to space (because of the GH effect of the extra water vapor). That is slightly counter-intuitive but not completely ridiculous at first glance. I mean, as a theory, it ought to be entertained. And it was, thanks to ERBE satellite data, Lindzen showed that in fact, as the earth warms, more radiation is emitted by the earth. That is more intuitive, i mean consider a hot body in a cold room, the hotter it is the more heat it emits in order to reach equilibrium with the cold room at a faster pace.

So the observational temperature data from the upper troposphere points to:
-no positive feedback from water vapor.

and, the observational satellite data points to:
-negative feedbacks from additional outgoing radiation

Lindzen has also found other potential negative feedbacks.

So this particular foundation of AGW also needs to be "revised".

Still waiting to hear on what is the actual basis of your faith in AGW.

Jerome Bastien said...

...just anticipating the response some of this blog's right wingers like Jermo will surely provide instead of responding to *my* questions.

have i not answered your questions politely?

you or BCL or Steve Scolnik havent answered mine yet, and mine is the simplest one of all.

bigcitylib said...

Ti Guy, 2 is probably right. But the problem with "boiling down" the science for a popular audience/MSM is some of the hard stats stuff simply won't boil. Tamino, if you read his blog, is very good at this kind of thing, but he still loses me about 40% of the time.

Ti-Guy said...

Geez, no wonder you dont read the IPCC reports.

That wasn't it. You seemed to understand from my question that I either needed to learn about biological evolution or that I assumed you knew nothing about it. I don't think you're uneducated and, it goes without saying, I'm not either.

As for the rest of that; this isn't a discussion about AGW, but about the the anti-AGW propaganda campaign and the response to it.

Ti-Guy said...

you or BCL or Steve Scolnik havent answered mine yet, and mine is the simplest one of all.

No it isn't. It's a trap. We've all been there before.

Why you're insisting on an answer from two online nobodies is actually far more interesting.

bigcitylib said...

"Nobodies"? I'll have you know I am the 37th most popular political blogger in English Canada. Almost important enough to have a wiki entry.

Ti-Guy said...

But the problem with "boiling down" the science for a popular audience/MSM is some of the hard stats stuff simply won't boil.

Oh, there's always a way. If it's a detail of minor significance, it's probably not important that everyone understand it.

You know, everyone laughed about the Internet being a series of tubes (and in the context of what was being was laughable) but in fact, that metaphor works reasonably well for most people.

Ti-Guy said...

"Nobodies"? I'll have you know I am the 37th most popular political blogger in English Canada. Almost important enough to have a wiki entry.

Given what it takes to be a "somebody" these days, you should take that as a compliment.

I enjoy being a nobody.

Jerome Bastien said...

Actually Ti-Guy I understood your question to mean that if I asked you guys to support your belief in AGW i should be able to do the same for my belief in evolution.

I never thought you needed a lesson on the matter and in fact im convinced evolution is one of those few things we might agree on.

I also wanted to illustrate that the broader points of scientific theories are available to laymen and give you a kind of example of an answer i was seeking.

And I really am curious to know the opinion of "an online nobody" and the 37th most popular english canadian blogger, just because Ive discussed with you guys on other topics before and I know that you can usually back up your positions coherently, even if I dont agree with your positions.

And seriously its not a trap. I can see how you can see it as one, but if your answer ends up being "because we trust what seems to be mainstream", that doesnt make you an idiot. (it does however make your demonization of those who've looked at the science and have been less than convinced a tad reprehensible).

Jerome Bastien said...

Oh, and for the record, I checked out Tamino (first time I go, thanks BCL for the link), and a few posts in he discusses the water vapor feedback that i mentioned in my other posts. He points to this paper which I read and found less than convincing (lots of bragging about evidence, but no actual evidence). These types of papers smell fishy by their tone and the fact that they never deliver what is actually promised. And its not phd level stuff, you and I can both read it and understand most if not all of it.

Ti-Guy said...

And seriously its not a trap. I can see how you can see it as one, but if your answer ends up being "because we trust what seems to be mainstream", that doesnt make you an idiot.

Well, that's not me. What's mainstream is not what interests me. It's mostly the fact that what I personally believe matters very little in the grand scheme of things.

Since I'm not a climate scientist, what's more interesting to me are the disinformation campaigns and the frauds, kook and sellouts who are part of it. On that note, did you follow BCL's link to the discussion about Plimer? What do you think of that?

Jerome Bastien said...

6 From ocean current velocity, palaeotemperature and atmosphere measurements of ice cores and stable and radiogenic isotopes of seawater, atmospheric CO2 and fluid inclusions in ice and using atmospheric CO2 residence times of 4, 12, 50 and 400 years, numerically demonstrate that the modern increase in atmospheric CO2 could not derive from the Medieval Warming.

This is not literal gibberish but a badly phrased question in what seems to be like a half-hearted effort by Pilmer. Anyways he's asking Monbiot to show that increases in CO2 could not be attributed to the MVP (because increases in temperature lead to increases in CO2, thats in fact what the lake Vostok ice core data shows). According to that link isotope analysis shows that the CO2 increase is in fact from human emissions.

Nothing earth-shattering.

Anyways, allow me to shed light on the "disinformation campaigns" you're interested in.

Its just that considering the sacrifices we're being asked to make, we want to be convinced of the science, not just take a scientist's word for it. I think that's a perfectly legitimate endeavor to question things until and unless you're satisfied of the answer. I dont necessarily believe that guys like Pilmer, Lindzen, Jan Weizer, Buzz Aldrin, and plenty of others are arguing in bad faith, I think they're genuinely not convinced. I have no problem believing that because I've checked out the AGW science and Im not convinced at all.

That's also why I want to know what makes you and BCL trust these guys so much, maybe you know something I dont and if you could convince me I would in fact be grateful.

bigcitylib said...


"Anyways he's asking Monbiot to show that increases in CO2 could not be attributed to the MVP (because increases in temperature lead to increases in CO2, thats in fact what the lake Vostok ice core data shows)."

You're right. He is asking Monbiot to prove that stuff that happened 400 years ago is behind
C02 increases today. Which is why the guy at Deltoid thinks he's nutz.

PS. If you're still going on about the Global Warming "Wet Spot", check out here:

Ti-Guy said...


You need to check out George Monbiot's blog to get the full context of what's going on between him and Plimer and then ask yourself again who's arguing in good faith.

Deep Climate said...

Some good ideas here. Ultimately, though, I think climate disinformation must become a political issue in of itself.

How? Well, for one thing there ought to be a law (or laws) that would, say in Canada:

- Revoke charitable status from organizations involved in distortion of science for political ends (bye, bye Fraser Institute, you too Frontier Centre, Energy Probe etc.)

- Require all major corporations (and their officers) to publicly list past and current donations to all think tanks, NGOs, political campaigns etc. (sorry, Encana: no more trumpeting the piddling amounts given to Suzuki while hiding massive donations to Fraser Institute).

- Require all public relations professionals, including lobbyists, to belong to the relevant professional society, and to adhere to that body's code of conduct (sorry Fleishman-Hillard, Morten Paulsen, Tom Harris - no more pretending you represent one client, when really you're working for someone else)

- Tighten the third party election advertising laws to broaden the prohibition on "issues" oriented advertising and to include regulation of advertising that points to websites (sorry Friends of Science - no more barely veiled messages about "find out the truth at our website", which turns out to be full of political hate statements).

And, absolutely, the Liberals and others should make an issue of the scientific consensus on AGW, which the Cons *still* haven't clearly endorsed.

Here in Canada, such proposals would back the Cons into a corner. Besides, the proposals make a whole lot of sense. After all, the disinformation is bad enough, but why should the taxpayer subsidize this garbage? Climate change disinformation is a political problem; it probably requires a political solution.

BTW, for the latest on Friends of Science, see:

John Mashey said...


Can you explain what you mean when you say:

"I have no problem believing that because I've checked out the AGW science and Im not convinced at all."

Jerome Bastien said...

John Mashey:

I mean that I have no trouble believing that high profile deniers are arguing in good faith because based on my current understanding of the AGW science, its not that convincing. Computer models are not evidence, yet that is the only basis for attributing the current warming to CO2, by the IPCC's own admission.

And besides, Ive followed scientific issues long enough to know that disputes in emerging science is the norm.

Yet you guys want to plot all sorts of nonsense against people who have legitimate objections to what is at heart a scientific question, and an unsettled one at that. Im sorry but you guys still havent been able to justify your own actual belief in this theory yet you are perfectly willing to suggest that those who dont share your belief are engaged in disinformation and deception.

Deep climate:

I see you're so convinced of the weakness of your own position that you've already fantasized about legislation to silence your opponents. It's pathetic, hilarious, and I love it.

Jerome Bastien said...


regarding Plimer's question to Monbiot, its commonly accepted now that the lake Vostok ice core data shows that over long timescales CO2 follows temperature after a lag of on average 800 years. So, the available data actually suggests that not only its possible that the MWP should raise CO2 levels today or in the future, it's actually expected. Im sure the guys at Deltoid are having a fun time painting Plimer as nuts, but frankly even I had no problem understanding where Plimer was coming from even though I admit he could have phrased his question more clearly.

Re: the hotspot, I checked out that link, and except for the opening line I dont see him addressing the missing hotspot at all.

bigcitylib said...

So Plimer is arguing that it has in fact been warming for the past 800 years and the C02 is only now being released? Gibberish or loony, take your pick?

John Mashey said...

Jerome Bastien:
I asked a simple, neutral question, basically trying to understand your meaning of "checking out". I made zero comments about what you, I, or anyone else believes.

Is this such a hard question to answer? (Assuming you're this Jerome Bastien in Ottawa?): I'm sure that in a patent or trademark case, you could easily enumerate your due diligence sources.

Scale K is a tentative chart that relates people's backgrounds and knowledge / expertise levels, and I'm just trying to calibrate that by asking people with clear opinions what they've done to reach those opinions.

Ti-Guy said...

I'm just having such a hard time believing a sophisticate like Jerome is just innocently missing the point with respect to the altercation between Monbiot and Plimer.

Jerome Bastien said...

BCL: no it seems to me that Pilmer is arguing that because of the MWP we are now seeing today CO2 rising.

Im not sure I agree with Pilmer and Im not very familiar with this particular aspect of the science, but I do know that as oceans heat up, CO2 is released (same as heating up a bottle of coke, it will explode).

I suspect that what Pilmer is saying is that the extra heat from the WMP is now being reflected as extra CO2. From what I know, this is certainly possible. After all, lake vostok data shows CO2 rising after temperature increases with an 800 year delay, and we are now 800 years after the WMP.

But since the temperature hasnt been steadily rising since WMP, I dont know if we should still expect that.

Jerome Bastien said...

John Mashey:

You want to know what Ive done to research AGW science?

Happy to oblige.

I read the IPCC reports (at least the parts which I considered most relevant to the central question of attribution).

And I've read extensive literature on it, mostly in the form of blog posts and scientific papers. I read both sides of the issue.

On the AGW side I read mostly and ive read a bunch of "how to talk to a skeptic" or "answers to global warming denial talking points" type articles from the newscientist, and a bunch of other stuff i forget.

My sources for the skeptic side are generally jonova, lubos motl (the reference frame), and a bunch of others i have set up as links on my work pc.

And, yes I can support my conclusions by citing scientific papers. But all I really need to support my conclusion is to cite the IPCC report, like I did here.

Jerome Bastien said...


I totally agree that Pilmer's question is badly phrased. But I know what point he's trying to make, although he's doing it clumsily. That particular quote from him doesnt seem to me like evidence of bad faith.

Steve Scolnik said...

Hard to believe you're reading (and understanding) RealClimate when you can't even get the link right. Kind of a rookie mistake for a CS major, dontcha think?

Your attitude betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of how science actually works. It's neither a matter of belief nor of proof. And it's certainly not a popularity contest (whose blog gets the most hits or can make the slickest legalistic arguments). Just as you lawyers would be rightly offended if a group of scientists started proclaiming, "We don't need no stinkin' law school or bar exam to practice law," we scientists are similarly offended when paid propagandists like Morano smear the science with deliberate misrepresentation.

Ti-Guy said...

I totally agree that Pilmer's question is badly phrased. But I know what point he's trying to make, although he's doing it clumsily. That particular quote from him doesnt seem to me like evidence of bad faith.

You obviously didn't check out Monbiot's blog. Let me spell it out for you: this question is part of a set of questions Plimer sent Monbiot in response to Monbiot's request that he answer some very straightforward queries he had about Pllmer's Heaven and Earth, part of debate Plimer agreed to take part in. They constitute an evasion on Plimer's part, although I'll give him points for it not being a particularly sophisticated one.

It's the clearest evidence of bad faith we've come across in quite a while.

Deep Climate said...

What I'm suggesting is the end of de facto subsidies for propaganda as well as more tansparency on the part of corporations.

It's interesting that you equate that with legislative "silencing". What a crock!

You contrarians have the right to your opinions. But you don't have the right to your own facts. And you certainly don't have the right to have taxpayers fund the organizations that spew forth disinformation.

Oh, and let me guess, you're a Conservative supporter, right? And you live in Ottawa?

Congratulations: you live in one of the areas targeted by the Friends of Science ad campaign in the 2006 election. The ads attacked the then Liberal government's Kyoto policies, and were specifically targeted at close ridings in Ontario. The ad campaign was run by Conservative spokesperson Morten Paulsen.

Are you really saying that was a legitimate use for funds that came from a University of Calgary "research" fund?

John Mashey said...


Have you read any actual books by real climate scientists, say like (using that K-scale I suggested earlier):

1) K2: David Archer's "The Long Thaw? "(general audience) or

2)K2: Bill Ruddiman's "Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum

and, if those are too simple:

3) K3: a basic undergraduate text for non-science majors like Archer's Global Warming - Understanding the Forecast."

Trying to build a coherent knowledge base on a topic from Blogs is extremely difficult, like watching random soap-opera episodes.

Steve Scolnik said...

Another excellent source for the general reader, clearly written and not too long, is The Discovery of Global Warming. This book also puts the science into historical context. One thing you might want to do is take this one or any of Mashey's suggestions and compare it with any of the leading skeptics' books, such as Michaels, Spencer, or Singer. (Yes, I've read all of them.) See what the proportion of political rhetoric to science is (especially Spencer).

Steve Bloom said...

After lengthy reflection and for the record, it's become clear to me that the potty peer's left eye is insufficiently oogly-googly.

Jerome Bastien said...


Your attitude betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of how science actually works.

Right. Cause asking for a theory to make verifiable predictions has nothing to do with how science works. Sorry, but that is how science works, by making predictions from theories and comparing it to real world data. In that regard, AGW fails.

Jerome Bastien said...


I'll concede that point to you. Pilmer should have answered Monbiot's questions with answers.

John Mashey:

You're right about blogs, but I also read the scientific papers referenced by blog, which are often, but not always, surprisingly readable. Anyways thanks for the book titles, I might check those out.

But by reading blogs from both sides, I do feel pretty certain that the crux of the matter right now is that AGW rests on a strongly positive water vapor feedback, which hasnt been shown to exist empirically yet. I read papers from the pro-AGW side, which promise to show that the water vapor feedback is real, only to find that this is not the case (one from Tamino in particular, which ended up saying only that warmer areas are more humid than cooler areas - you dont say!)

John Mashey said...

All 3 of those books together cost ~US$50. Both Archer and Ruddiman are serious, well-respected scientists with good publication records, which are easy to check with Google Scholar.

Amazon has my reviews of The Long Thaw and PPP.

Steve Scolnik said...

If you don't want to send any of your money to Big Science, The Discovery of Global Warming is available completely online. There are also links to 19 other totally free non-ideological tutorials at CapitalClimate.

Jim Acker said...

I'm circulating this because I thought it was a good idea at the time on RealClimate. Blogs are insular; people find the ones they like, which reinforce their own thinking, and ignore the rest. The news media is tanking as a major informational source/resource; ideologues hear something they don't like on the reg'lar news and say that whatever outlet they heard it or read it on is biased.

So for that reason I tried to come up with something different (1st posted on Real Climate, just reposted on Only In It For the Gold, and I'll do it here and stop).

"So here’s a modest proposal (and I’m not Jonathan Swift). A reality-based TV show (or Webcast) where a group of actual climate skeptics come to real science class about climate. In each episode, one or two or three of the most popular circulating misconceptions is presented by one of the skeptics to the instructors of the class. The instructors calmly, methodically, and systemically deconstruct the misconception, explain why its wrong, and then explain the proper and correct scientific understanding of that particular topic. After the whole class (8-10 episodes), the skeptics are then asked to honestly assess what they think about climate change now. (Kinda like “The Biggest Loser” — which one of the skeptics attending the class would end up being the “biggest loser” of their host of climate change misconceptions? Of course, there would have to be an emotional angle, but I can leave that to the producers.)"

So who's gonna call Al Gore to fund this one... I misplaced his number when he minimized advocating nuclear energy as a major part of the solution, but he still might like my idea.

Unknown said...

As the world cools its going to be harder and harder to argue with the facts but then they never got in the way of a good snake oil salesman

Climate communism is simply all it is