It’s climate denial all right

I have just been referred to this savage attack on Chris de Freitas by student Lola Thompson published in Craccum last July (thanks, Andy). It’s a fact-free romp through the ad hominem glories of Real Climate and Hot Topic, commissions the scientific skills of the Herald’s Chris Baron [sic], adds some insipid remarks from Martin Manning and learns from Gareth Renowden that Lord Monckton “doesn’t have a single climate science qualification.” Of course, neither does Renowden — and de Freitas is a professor in “climate science” — but that doesn’t slow Renowden down. With breath-taking irony, Renowden has the gall to claim that de Freitas doesn’t mention the IPCC “or current climate information” in his lectures (which I know is untrue). But he doesn’t reveal that the IPCC reports omit current (inconvenient) climate studies and that the IPCC has never investigated whether DAGW might be falsified — they take it as a fact without looking. So Lola quickly and easily learns about climate “denial” and how to write (and craft it well, I must say) a poisonous polemic but finds it hard to learn the objective science of geography, poor thing. She does not know, and is maybe too young to know, that scientific scepticism is the single attribute most likely to keep a scientist at the top of his field for a very long time. However, she so much doesn’t like having to learn climate skepticism [sic] that she insists on misspelling it. Her article reveals plenty of climate denial, but not where she claims it to be. Where is her refutation of de Freitas’ course? Where, for heaven’s sake, is even her description of it? Where is the science?

Should we be paying to be taught climate denial? | Craccum Magazine.

By Lola Thompson · In Columns, Eco-Matters, Issue 01 2012
On July 3, 2012


Chris De Freitas is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland employed by the School of Environment as a lecturer in Climatology.

I encountered De Freitas during the first semester last year when I took Geography of the Natural Environment (101), a compulsory course for all geography majors.

After the first few lectures taught by De Freitas I became increasingly concerned about what I was being taught. Prior to attending the class I was under the impression that the debate around climate change was no longer in questioned and anthropogenic climate change is now a scientific fact.

However, De Freitas presented the changing climate as a natural cycle, to which fossil fuels were not a contributor.

I found what I was learning incredibly alarming, as it went against all the information I had ever read about climate change. I began expressing my concerns to other students, who had previously taken courses taught by De Freitas and found I was not alone in my concerns.

I began asking questions to people I knew with knowledge in climate science and discovered De Freitas was a known public figure as a climate skeptic – or denier.

The more I learnt about De Freitas the more frustrated I became, but as his classes were optional I could not simply ‘drop it.’ As I looked around the lecture theater of at least 150 fellow students I started to think about how much students were paying to learn this sketchy science.

Geography 101 costs $717, with approximately 150 students enrolled but the course is taught with four components, climate being only one of these students are collectively paying $26,887.50 per semester to learn what has been proven to be cherry-picked science.

The last lecture of the series for me was the most concerning. I left almost convinced by De Freitas’ argument that climate change was a natural cycle.

Wanting to let other students know about my experience I passed my workbook on to the people I had spoken to earlier about De Freitas, and, with my permission, they passed this on to the New Zealand Herald’s Chris Baron, a senior feature writer with years of experience.

He wrote a story on De Freitas at the University of Auckland using my work book and interviews with students from the School of Public Health who were also outraged about the advice De Freitas had given them for an assignment – also along similar lines.

Victoria University’s Dr Martin Manning told the NZ Herald “I think Auckland University does have a bit of a problem with a course looking like it is taking one side of the story and a minority view of that. The right to have individual views is something that’s preserved because it is important – but there does become a point when you have to ask should you be teaching that?”, a climate science blog, also looked closely at the de Freitas workbook. Editor Gareth Renowden went through the graphics and lectures in great detail and published a blog about them. He said:

“He uses old, out-dated resources, as well as misleading stuff concocted by Monckton and Spencer. As Barton’s Herald article confirms, at no point does he bring the IPCC or current climate information into his lectures.”

“[the workbook] includes material from sceptic blogs and US think tanks”.

It included a misleading graph prepared by Lord Christopher Monckton who is a mouthpiece for the climate denial industry. Monckton doesn’t have a single climate science qualification and, in 2010, stood for the right wing UK Independence Party.

Renowden wrote: “This is not a matter of ‘academic freedom’ — de Freitas is perfectly entitled to believe what he wants — but he should not be teaching foundation courses in climate that depend on the output of US lobby groups and far-right British politicians or are so far out of touch with the mainstream of the science he is purporting to present. “

“His students deserve to learn the subject as we best understand it, not just the painted pig that de Freitas dangles in front of them. In the meantime, the University of Auckland has a problem. What price academic excellence, when you have an associate professor determined to ignore that fine idea?”

I looked further into de Freitas and the more I found the more I became worried – and angry – about how my money (and that of other students) – was being spent.

De Freitas, Climate Research and the Hockey Stick

From1997 to 2003, de Freitas was an editor at a climate journal called “Climate Research”. John Mashey, who blogs at “deepclimate”, last year conducted a very thorough investigation into our lecturer’s behaviour when he was there.

During de Freitas’ time as an editor at “Climate Research,” half of his editorial workload involved publishing papers written by 14 different, well-known climate deniers with whom he had close ties.

One of those deniers was prominent climate sceptic Patrick Michaels. De Freitas published no less than seven papers by Michaels in this six-year period, accounting for half of Michaels’ peer reviewed papers.

Michaels is one of the more high profile of the world’s climate denier scientists, and is closely associated with a number of think tanks who have been running campaigns on climate denial, funded by the fossil fuel industry.

One of them is the Heartland Institute, a US think tank that runs annual climate denial conferences. A recent leak of internal Heartland Institute documents show that it has been planning to try to get the teaching of climate science out of primary schools in the US.

The most interesting thing about Mashey’s research is that none of de Freitas’s sceptic friends had been published in Climate Research before – or after – his tenure as an editor there.

The most famous piece he published was a study by Drs Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas that supposedly challenged the “hockey stick” temperature record of Penn State University’s Dr Michael Mann. This has been a central focus of climate skeptics and US Republicans who deny the climate science.

As a result of de Freitas publishing the Soon/Baliunas study, other editors at Climate Research protested – about the peer review process he’d conducted, and resigned at the way the situation was handled by the journal. De Freitas left Climate Research soon after.

It’s important to note here that since Mann’s original study, his “hockey stick” has been reconfirmed by at least 12 subsequent scientific papers, using a variety of statistical methods and combinations of proxy records, produced reconstructions broadly similar to that of Mann. Almost all of them supported the IPCC conclusion that the warmest decade in the 1000 year temperature was probably that at the end of the 20th Century. Indeed, that hottest decade is now 2000-2010. Yet none of this absolutely key data appears anywhere in de Freitas lectures.

More research has emerged showing that since 2002, Willie Soon, one of the authors of this disputed Climate Research study, has been funded only by fossil fuel companies and interests. The Hockey Stick study was funded, in part, by the American Petroleum Institute. Other funders include ExxonMobil, oil billionaires and funders of the Tea Party, the Koch brothers, and the US coal corporate, the Southern Company. He is also very closely associated with a number of think tanks running the anti-climate science campaign in the US.

Other work with think tanks

So I go on looking at de Freitas’s history. Next thing I find that in 2007 his name was on an “Amicus Brief” – a legal document submitted by yet another right wing US think tank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The CEI submitted the scientist brief to the huge court case in the US Supreme Court where coal states and think tanks were suing the US Environmental Protection Agency to try to stop it listing the major greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, as a pollutant.

The CEI paper quoted De Freitas along with a bunch of other climate skeptics, including Patrick Michaels, Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas and Roy Spencer (whose graph appears in the workbook). What did it say? Climate change isn’t happening, it isn’t a threat to public health… all the stuff that the deniers have been saying for years (and which have all been proven wrong).

The CEI has received more than $2 million from oil giant ExxonMobil.

Auckland University’s Environment Department underwent a review late last year. The results were due out last November, but appear to have been delayed. If you want a copy, email g.mcgregor [at] [editor’s note: This article was published in Craccum in July, 2012, and I don’t know the status of the review. – RT].

This department prides itself on the quality of its teaching, ranking 34th in the world in environmental sciences, and 30th in geography. I’m not sure that teaching climate skepticism is something that will keep it there.

Further reading and references:

105 Thoughts on “It’s climate denial all right

  1. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 2:45 pm said:

    It’s tempting to write to Auckland University and ask them if I can do a correspondence course in “climate denial”

  2. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm said:

    This Craccum rag has some other morsels to digest too.

    This piece is by a certain Kate Bone (Outreach Campaigner for Greenpeace)

    “Green Piece: OMG! What if the Hippies are right?! LOL!”

    Unfortunately there are a lot of ignorant people out there who just aren’t willing to engage critically with environmental issues. Many people have the assumption that ‘if the government’s allowing it, it must be alright’. People that lack critical thinking ability and who aren’t willing to listen or open their minds are a worry! Fortunately there are many awesome people who are engaged, happy and motivated to jump on board and be active citizens.

    Hello Lola?

  3. Magoo on May 29, 2013 at 2:58 pm said:

    In the case of Greenpeace I think it’s dishonesty more than ignorance.

  4. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 3:35 pm said:

    Fortunately there are many awesome people who are engaged, happy and motivated to jump on board and be active citizens.

    i.e give us some money

  5. David the fat bastard on May 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm said:

    I really don’t see anything in that article that could be described as a “savage attack on Chris de Freitas”. The author reported that Hot Topic editor Gareth Renowden criticised the course workbook produced by de Freitas for using “old, out-dated resources, as well as misleading stuff concocted by Monckton and Spencer. As Barton’s Herald article confirms, at no point does he bring the IPCC or current climate information into his lectures. “[the workbook] includes material from sceptic blogs and US think tanks”.

    The article referred to third party criticism of his record as editor of Climate Science and that “half of his editorial workload involved publishing papers written by 14 different, well-known climate deniers with whom he had close ties.” It then went on to point out (using very neutral language) that de Freitas published people with clear links to the Heartland Institute and funding from fossil fuel companies. At no point was de Freitas even criticised, let alone subjected to a “savage attack”.

    Describing a very moderately worded criticism of whether de Freitas’s should teach a paper as a “savage attack” is over reacting the tiniest bit. When this is combined with the (generally baseless) criticisms of Renowden, Chris Barron and Martin Manning it makes you look as though you just can’t stand it when anyone dares to criticise anything or anyone you agree with. And have you thought how the condescending and even nasty way you talked about Lola Thompson looks? Is there a reason you called her by her first name when you used the surnames of everyone else? Do you not see that calling her a “poor thing” makes you sound arrogant and condescending? And how do you know that she “does not know, and is maybe too young to know” about the role of scientific scepticism?

    Normally you guys are funny, but this make you look like a whiny little brat that is unwilling to accept any criticism, yet is happy to dole it out in buckets.

  6. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 3:48 pm said:

    Actually Fat Bastard, if you substitute the term “climate denial” with “jewish science” you might get a little more insight

  7. David the fat bastard on May 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm said:

    what is “Jewish science”? Science conducted by Jews? A branch of anthropology studying Jews and the Jewish people?

  8. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm said:

    “Jewish science” is what the Nazis attacked in WW2. They banned it from Universities and burned their books. It went counter to their state endorsed world view

  9. Magoo on May 29, 2013 at 3:55 pm said:

    What’s the implication of these comments about de Freitas?

    The article referred to third party criticism of his record as editor of Climate Science and that “half of his editorial workload involved publishing papers written by 14 different, well-known climate deniers with whom he had close ties.” It then went on to point out (using very neutral language) that de Freitas published people with clear links to the Heartland Institute and funding from fossil fuel companies.

    What’s so bad about de Freitas doing that? Do you think that valid scientific papers with opposing views should be censored, or is the implication that you & Lola think de Freitas is corrupt in some way?

  10. David the fat bastard on May 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm said:

    So you are suggesting that anyone who disagrees with you is like a Nazi?

  11. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm said:

    David, Maybe you don’t know that other stuff that has gone on with de Freitas. The climategate 2 emails showed a concerted attempt to get him sacked from his position at Auckland University (mainly by Jim Salinger)

    He has been consistently attacked in the NZ media (mainly the Herald) who seem to enjoy these kind of witch hunts.

  12. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm said:

    Oh FFS. Here we go, the Godwin card

    What I find remarkable is how the term “climate denier” has somehow got into polite conversation, as if you are like a Holocaust Denier if you dare to question any aspect of the state sanctioned politically correct narrative

  13. David the fat bastard on May 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm said:

    Nothing wrong with “valid scientific papers with opposing views” being published, but when these authors were only ever published when Chris was in the big chair, their findings had been widely discounted and they are also employed by organisations that are financially dependent on us not reducing carbon emissions; well it would be plain dumb not to ask a few questions.

  14. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm said:

    Of course, just so long as we never ask questions when papers that support the “consensus” are published. Never ask questions on how easily they get published. Never ask for the raw data, or code
    Never ask on why “adjustments” were made. Never ask why those with financial interests in carbon trading, renewables or other green rent-seekers get a free ride in the press.

    Never ask questions, otherwise you will be branded a “climate denier”

  15. David the fat bastard on May 29, 2013 at 4:18 pm said:

    Could he just be the wrong person for the job? And is it only a “witch hunt” when it’s against someone you support?

    And you brought the Nazis up, not me.

  16. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 4:20 pm said:

    If he is the wrong person for the job, do you not think this is the responsibility of the University and not Jim Salinger, the staff of UEA and the chairman of the IPCC? (all of whom were cc’d in on the emails)

    Maybe while you are at it, you’d like to give us an example of a scientist who supports the IPCC world view who has been consistently attacked in the media.

  17. David the fat bastard on May 29, 2013 at 4:26 pm said:

    Have you ever read a scientific paper in an academic journal? Not having either the source data or the ability to access to it is very unusual. And do you know ANYTHING about science and scientists? Or how research is conducted?

    As for the media giving preferential treatment to “those with financial interests in carbon trading, renewables or other green rent-seekers” – I refer you to about where the NBR published an article based on false material by Rodney Hide.

    Must go, I have work to do

  18. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm said:

    Have you ever read a scientific paper in an academic journal? Not having either the source data or the ability to access to it is very unusual. And do you know ANYTHING about science and scientists? Or how research is conducted?

    Yes, yes, and yes

  19. Magoo on May 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm said:

    So you do think de Freitas is corrupt then?

    Does an accusation like that from both you and Lola without any facts to back it up qualify as a ‘savage attack’ on de Freitas’?

    I’d say so. You and Lola are just too bigger wimps to admit to it. All you have is ad hominem attacks with no science to back you up.

    Looking at de Freitas’ vast contribution to the scientific literature on the matter I’d say that he is the exactly man for the job:

    Looking at the track record of those who promote AGW I’d say they should be kicked out on their asses:

  20. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm said:

    This is probably the definitive account of the Climategate 2 / de Freitas saga

  21. Bob D on May 29, 2013 at 5:12 pm said:

    The paper in question (Soon & Baliunas, 2003, “Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years”) is simply a review of the literature supporting the existence of the MWP and LIA. As such it has no “findings” to dispute.

    Soon & Baliunas are from the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysics Lab and Mount Wilson Observatory, so they are not some upstart “deniers” who couldn’t get published elsewhere, as you are trying (unsuccessfully) to imply. Also, I don’t see how those organisations profit from keeping carbon emissions high.

    In the letter written by the Climate Research Editor Hans von Storch to the UEA cabal, he stated quite firmly that there was nothing wrong with the process that Prof de Freitas had followed. The peer reviewers did not reject the paper, and all comments were responded to correctly. There was no wrong-doing by Prof de Freitas in any way, and no suggestion of any by the journal chiefs or the scientific community outside of the UEA activists.

    The only objection they (the activists) had to the paper was that it exposed Mann’s hockey stick graph to the ridicule it deserved. This made the IPCC, and by extension, them, look foolish – there was all this scientific evidence from around the world showing how incorrect Mann was. In fact, S&B even reference Briffa, and in one of the Climategate emails Briffa admits that even he believed there was a MWP!

  22. SimonP on May 29, 2013 at 5:21 pm said:

    Umm, you played that card Andy and I don’t think your analogy is valid.
    “Jewish Science” was theoretical physics and was seen as abstract and not real, unlike hard, engineering-based “German Science”. However, that “Jewish Science” was fundamentally sound and correct, and Germany lost many of its best scientists in the mass exodus. Heisenberg remained, but he had great trouble in even convincing the Third Reich that nuclear weapons were possible.

  23. Bob D on May 29, 2013 at 5:21 pm said:

    Sorry, it was Otto Kinne, not von Storch.

  24. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 5:47 pm said:

    OK, so if you don’t like Jewish science, maybe you could take the Lysenkoist analogy. Those that followed the junk science genetics of Lysensko were lauded by the Russian government. Those that criticised either kept quiet or were herded off to the gulag for “re-education”

    If you think these ideas are fanciful you just need to look at the language used by climate activists.

  25. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 6:00 pm said:

    For example, you might take a look at the Daily Blog

    where the commenters are suggesting Nurenberg style trials for those who have promoted fossil fuels, and also that the policies of Hitler Mao and Stalin would be an acceptable way to deal with carbon emissions
    ( I am not making this up)

    This kind of fascist rhetoric appears almost every day on NZ “left-wing” blogs

  26. SimonP on May 29, 2013 at 6:07 pm said:

    The scientific consensus agreed that the so-called “Jewish Science” was fundamentally correct.
    The scientific consensus knew that Lysenkos’s ideas were fundamentally wrong.
    The scientific consensus broadly agrees that AGW is occurring.
    Individual governments and states may disagree with the science and try to stifle it, but such tactics never prosper.

  27. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm said:

    “The Scientific Consensus” is a fundamentally flawed concept, with regard to any science

    In fact, if you want a good read, I can recommend “Quantum” by Manjit Kumar, which gives a history of the “Golden Years” of theoretical physics in the time of Einstein and Bohr.

    There was lots of disagreement and very little consensus.

  28. Simon on May 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm said:

    Thanks for the recommendation. When a science is new there is considerable disagreement. By 1913, Bohr and Rutherford had got the model fundamentally right. I’d argue that by 1930, which is the period that we are talking about, the science was fundamentally agreed on but no-one understood why things were the way they were.
    Back on topic, most climate scientists agree on the basic model, it is the coefficients and complexity of dealing with a chaotic system that is uncertain.
    A cartoon which will probably really annoy you:

  29. Thomas on May 29, 2013 at 9:35 pm said:

    Amen to that David TheFatBastard. Well said indeed.

    This student rag has been published in Jan 2012, yet thanks to me mentioning it at HT, the hyenas have woken up to it. Obviously they jump to the defense of “Their very own Professor” at AU.

    I am all for the freedom of science. Dr Freitas has all the right in the world to do research (if he actually does any research of his own…?) in whichever direction he wishes to drive his boat. That is the freedom of science we need to bring us further.

    However, when teaching is involved, De Freitas and any other lecturer has the obligation to differentiate from his personal views on the matter and foremost teach the mainstream scientific consensus and then offer and contrast his personal views for the consideration of his students. That would the ethical way for a lecturer to proceed. However from what transpires, this is not the way De Freitas operates and if what is reported is factual then his lectures are not fitting with the standards expected from an institution such as the Auckland University.

  30. Thomas on May 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm said:

    …however Andy, not much of the Oxford days has been able to rub off the thick skin of yours which protects dogmatically held views on the “RIGHT” way we ought to be as a society, correct? Your disgusting derogatory remarks and the “J” word in your comments above say it all. Yuck!

    There are people who go through some university education or the other without ever really getting it or leaving the place with a mind….

  31. David the fat bastard,

    The “false material” was published by TVNZ, not by Rodney Hide. If that’s your best attention, I’m not impressed.

  32. Thomas on May 29, 2013 at 9:56 pm said:

    Great Cartoon Simon! Says it perfectly.

    I wish to see a single model brought forward by those who claim that the data (facts!) are created by something else than AGW, that explains where the excess energy is coming from that we are currently accumulating AND where the know effects of the rising GHG concentrations play out their deeds if not in form of the very excess energy we measure.

    So far the ring is indeed empty and all that the contrarians do is shout abuse at the science that is presented to them. Ridiculous!

  33. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm said:

    My derogatory words and the “J” word.

    You mean “Jewish” Thomas. Is this offensive to you?

  34. Thomas on May 29, 2013 at 10:05 pm said:

    Oh, and another one Andy: Scientific consensus is a very valid concept. When a theory is well tested and confirmed it achieves status and becomes part of the ‘scientific consensus’. You will need extraordinary evidence and convincing facts, calculations and predictions to move that consensus. Quantum Theory (QT) is the one of the best, if not the best, tested theories in in science. It is working like clockwork in the inside of your computer at present and banks even use entanglement to exchange secret encryption keys. The predictions and calculations performed using QT are extraordinary in their precision.
    Funny you would have chosen this one to score a point. Shows how little you know indeed.

  35. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 10:06 pm said:

    Back on topic, most climate scientists agree on the basic model, it is the coefficients and complexity of dealing with a chaotic system that is uncertain.

    Simon, which model is this? Going by the discussion between the two Dougs concerning the statistical model of global temperatures, they can’t even agree on that and it took five questions in the House of Lords to even get anywhere close to an answer.

    So I disagree that there is any agreement at all. The only agreement is that all climate scientists need to agree with each other in order to hang on to their precarious careers.

  36. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 10:15 pm said:


    Funny you would have chosen this one to score a point. Shows how little you know indeed.

    Of course Thomas, I know so little and it is always a pleasure to be in the company of such intellectual greatness as yourself

    The issues around quantum theory I was referring to were around the Copenhagen interpretation of QM, not to mention Einsteins issues around probability and “god not not play with dice”

    Anyway, your patronising remarks are much appreciated, and I didn’t go to Oxford by the way.

    As for the “great cartoon”, it does some up our knowledge of climate science quite well, in that we don’t know whether the effects of clouds are net positive or negative on the climate. In fact we know so little about the climate really.

    But anyway, feel free to have your “fun’ at our expense

  37. Thomas,

    Please use the correct “Reply” button, or it makes it hard to know what you’re replying to. Thanks.

    You call us hyenas. How charming. Sorry we overlooked this article in an obscure third-rate left-wing rag until now. Our bad.

    Obviously they jump to the defense of “Their very own Professor” at AU.

    You conveniently overlook that she attacked the man, not the science that he teaches. So what else can we do? Praise her writing? It wasn’t possible to address her scientific failings, as she demonstrated no errors of that nature. The mere fact that she showed no discernible grasp of climate science while complaining about climate lectures appears to pass her by, but we noticed it. But we can’t address it, we can only address what she said, and we disagree with it. Methinks you accuse us of the failing you see in yourself (jumping to the defence).

    It’s easy to locate De Freitas’ publication record at the UofA web site but you don’t even look because you want to imply he does no research. You lazy fraud. Is yours as extensive?

    You speak glibly of his “obligation” to divorce his “personal views” from his teaching. But in describing a scientist you agree with, I bet you’d be happy to describe him as “a man of principle” who “passes on his hard-won insights” and similar sentiments.

    In other words, you’re a hypocrite.

    Finally, you remark “if what is reported is factual.” Well, that’s the nub. You reckon it is factual? If you do, why ask? If you don’t, why make these slurs against the professor without evidence?

    Your science is counterfeit, your reasoning a sham.

  38. Thomas on May 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm said:

    Thanks for clearing up the Oxford confusion. My memory of what your alma ata was must have failed me. Perhaps you wish to refresh it.

  39. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm said:

    However, when teaching is involved, De Freitas and any other lecturer has the obligation to differentiate from his personal views on the matter and foremost teach the mainstream scientific consensus

    translation for you”

    However, when teaching is involved, Dr X and any other lecturer has the obligation to differentiate from his personal views on the matter and foremost teach the politically correct mantra that was decided at the Rio Earth Summit that has subsequently, via various COPs and IPCC reports, reinforced a group-think mentality that has stifled intellectual thought and possibly killed off science as a discipline worth pursuing for several generations.

  40. Thomas,

    You say: “So far the ring is indeed empty and all that the contrarians do is shout abuse at the science that is presented to them. Ridiculous!”

    No, we don’t shout abuse. When the scientist shows us a model, telling us “the temperature will therefore rise by 0.2°C per decade for ever” and then, some time later, we see that for 15 or 20 years no rise has occurred, we will say: “the warming your models predicted has not occurred.” That alone damages or even invalidates his model, but we don’t need to first produce our own model.

    That’s unreasonable.

  41. Thomas on May 29, 2013 at 11:00 pm said:

    Richard, De Freitas’ teaching has been brought to the attention before, evidence of graphs used included. I have no reason to doubt that he is preaching his personal contrarian views on the matter given what transpires of his lectures.

    On the matter of his research (I put a question mark there as an indication that I was unaware at the time of his current contributions to science) I must admit that he has indeed been doing quite a bit of research and its easy to find.

    He has been researching in particular the implications of climate change on tourism as I could see. An interesting topic certainly, especially as De Freitas really does not think that the climate will change in a critical way in the near future. I guess one could describe his research as ‘far sighted’ then, certainly from his point of view.

    A typical paper of his can be read here:

    De Freitas co founded the “International Society of Biometeorology’s Commission on Climate, Tourism and Recreation (CCTR)” together with Andreas Matzarakis of the University of Freiberg, Germany in 1999.

    Since then the two have been involved with papers on “cross-cultural analysis of climate preferences for tourism” and “Climate Change Adaptation in Tourism and Recreation” among others also “a research project investigating climate change and tourism in the Black Forest and North Sea region of Germany” or “an investigation into the effects of climate change on the climatic tourism potential in Austria”.

    Three workshops of the CCTR have been held in Greece (nice place indeed) and I guess that has to do with De Freitas collaborators origins.

    On these workshops they concluded among other insights: “The fact that little is known about: a) the effects of climate on tourism, or the role it plays; the economic impacts of climate on commercial prospects for tourism; and c) which climate related criteria people use to make decisions about tourism choices.” … and mused about the heat factor for tourists in a warmer world. I guess they have a point!

    Anyway, I’ll have a Retsina with that, or perhaps something stronger, an Ouzo would do. Then off to the beaches of Crete. Hellas oh you wonderful land…….

  42. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm said:

    Liam Dennis writes in The Independent

    The climate change sceptics are winning – and the environmental lobby only has itself to blame

    For all the Nobel prizes and predictions of global apocalypse and preaching to the converted, climate change remains a niche issue–and-the-environmental-lobby-only-has-itself-to-blame-8634681.html

    Richard North has a suitably phrased response

  43. Thomas,

    You comment on his Applied Climatology in tourism but minimise his effort by omitting any mention of his extensive writings under Books, Bioclimatology, Climatology and Meteorology – General, Environmental Change, Microclimatology, Media Commentaries and Reviews. Hundreds of titles, many highly technical. And you meander on about Greek islands.

  44. Thomas on May 29, 2013 at 11:12 pm said:

    Uh, no sorry Richard, the linear trend over the last 4 decades (1970-2013) has been (not a model, measurements) very close to 0.2 C/decade, well within the range of model predictions.
    Play with the data yourself:

    And yes, if you use just the last decade the trend is down. But that could well be a statistical outcome. Besides over the last 10 to 15 years China has massively ramped up coal burning resulting in an increase in SO2 and particulates release. We know that SO2 is a potent agent to combat climate change. In fact suggestions have been made to artificially release SO2 into the high atmosphere to raise the Earths albedo. It is astonishing how little would be needed to do so which shows how effective certain molecules are to interact with light even at ppm concentrations.
    So there are valid reasons, all debated in published literature, to muse about mitigating factors that reduce some of the AGW impact over the last decade. We also had a prolonged La Nina season. Plus, looking back at the temp graph over the past four decades, there have been several periods where you could have drawn a trend line though a decade and proclaimed that warming had stopped, only to be proven wrong a few years later.
    So far it remains that over the last 40 years we have seen a 0.2C/decade trend in line with predictions. The BEST data came out with an even higher trend.

  45. I have played with the data there, it’s a great site. But you overlook that I said the last 15 or 20 years.

    The models weren’t created 40 years ago, so how could they predict the last 40 years, silly?

    I never said global warming was finished, I just said the models are broken because they didn’t predict the hiatus for the last 15 or 20 years. That’s a correct statement.

    “there have been several periods where you could have drawn a trend line though a decade and proclaimed that warming had stopped, only to be proven wrong a few years later.”

    But not for a stretch of 20 years. That’s a giant chunk of the 30 years for climatology.

    You acknowledge that for the last 10 years the trend is down, which means you also know that your linear trend, for the last 10 years, soars above the observations. So it’s unrepresentative of the trend. So you agree that there’s a hiatus. Try to say it out loud. Remember, I’ve never said that global warming, either anthropogenic or the normal kind, has finished — for the simple reason that I acknowledge that nobody knows the future.

    So it DOES NOT remain that over the last 40 years we have seen a 0.2C/decade trend in line with predictions. No predictions were made that long ago and you yourself say that for the last decade we have not seen a trend of 0.2°C/decade.

    There’s so much wrong with your claim that I think you’re left with only one decade at that rate of warming. About 1985 to 1995. Just guessing.

  46. D Cotton on May 29, 2013 at 11:32 pm said:

    The issue is not whether “climate denial” is right or wrong, but rather that the explanations pertaining to the greenhouse conjecture just simply don’t adhere to well known physics, and ignore the physics which explains the warming of the surface by non-radiative processes.

    The IPCC (in its Glossary of Terms under “Greenhouse Effect”) refers to a “radiative forcing” effect which is by no means adequately explained in terms of physics. The concept of all radiation coming from a certain altitude is pure fiction. In fact most radiation comes from where water vapour is most prolific, somewhere around an altitude of 3Km. Radiative flux is quantified with the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, and it is nothing like a nice linear function declining with altitude. Quite a bit comes from the surface straight to space anyway. The altitude at which equal amounts of outward radiation come from above and below (including the surface) can be shown to be about 3.0Km to 3.5Km. The whole plot rotates around this pivoting altitude such that it has a less steep gradient in moist regions, and thus intersects the surface at a lower temperature.

    Now, it is blatantly obvious that a planet’s atmosphere does indeed lead to the surface being hotter than it would have been if it only received the same amount of incident Solar radiation but had no atmosphere. Venus would receive only 10W/m^2 and would thus be far colder without an atmosphere. Uranus would receive nothing from the Sun, and would thus be colder than 3K. Even if it received all of the Solar radiation reaching its TOA (about 3W/m^2) it would be colder than 60K.

    So it is very clear that the concept of energy budgets supposedly balancing energy and, in effect, instantaneously determining surface temperatures is fictitious. The energy required to maintain these surface temperatures has built up over the life of the planet from just a small amount of the daily dose of Solar radiation, most of which, but not quite all, was radiated back to Space.

    It is not a day to day balancing act, and so all radiative forcing and all energy budgets, even for Earth, are totally irrelevant.

    The Sun is not heating the atmosphere and outer crust from zero K each day. Thermal energy has built up over many years and is trapped by the gravity effect which keeps more of it closer to the surface than to the top of the troposphere. It does so by the spontaneous evolving process described in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Heat can and does flow up the very shallow thermal gradient which represents the thermodynamic equilibrium described in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In doing so, flowing away from a new source of energy which is disturbing the thermodynamic equilibrium, it is merely acting with a propensity to restore the thermodynamic equilibrium, just as the Second Law says it will.

    That is how some of the incident Solar radiation absorbed by the atmosphere as night becomes day makes its way towards the surface, maintaining the thermal gradient determined by gravity (and reduced a little by inter-molecular radiation) so that the base of the troposphere is kept warm and thus “supports” surface temperatures. This is a non-radiative convection process which has nothing to do with radiative forcing.

    Radiative models are simply not relevant.

  47. Andy on May 29, 2013 at 11:38 pm said:

    We know that SO2 is a potent agent to combat climate change.

    No we don’t. SO2 is an agent for changing climate, possibly. It doesn’t “combat’ climate change

    Sulfur dioxide (also sulphur dioxide) is the chemical compound with the formula SO2. It is a toxic gas with a pungent, irritating smell, that is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel. Further oxidation of SO2, usually in the presence of a catalyst such as NO2, forms H2SO4, and thus acid rain.[2] Sulfur dioxide emissions are also a precursor to particulates in the atmosphere. Both of these impacts are cause for concern over the environmental impact of these fuels.

    If anyone thinks that injecting large quantities of this substance to “combat” the hypothetical effects of dangerous warming from the non-toxic, lifegiving CO2 , then they have seriously lost the plot

  48. Thomas on May 29, 2013 at 11:41 pm said:

    I linked to his record of publications at AU. Here it is again:
    Reciting it all seems pointless.

    But it is interesting, don’t you think, for a scientist who does not share the outlook that the world might warm by several degrees towards the end of this century, to spend as it would seem, a significant part of his career in the last decade or more on the effects of climate change on tourism?

    Would it not seem paradoxical that if one was of the position that climate change was rather limited to study its effects on tourism? Hello, what is CF doing??? Is there going to be warming significant enough to worry tourism operators or will all this not amount to much?

    ” Future warming could occur, but there is no evidence to suggest it will amount to much.” (CF in the NZ Herald).

    Or, is the study of climate effects on tourism perhaps a nice way to write off travel expenses to places with a warmer climate than ours where one can hold “workshops” that ascertain that we need to make more workshops to know more about what effects climate change might have on tourism….. (I actually think that in principle this is a valid idea. I guess if I was responsible for tourism planing for say, Venice or Kiribas, what would I do? Blackforest? well that is another matter. But I would have been interested to hear CF’s ideas and recommendations on Venice!)

    One might ask the question perhaps if Lucy (the student who wrote in the student rag) is wondering is she is paying for CF’s research with her study fees? I am just not sure, just wondering aloud how the cost and the travel and speaker fees for these sort of workshops get paid for, especially if the two conveners and founders of the “COMMISSION ON CLIMATE, TOURISM AND RECREATION” are undertaking these workshops?

    Alas, its getting late…

  49. Thomas on May 29, 2013 at 11:55 pm said:

    May I recommend to read this?

  50. Thomas on May 30, 2013 at 12:04 am said:

    For once we do agree!!

    I do not advocate SO2 injection to combat climate change at all! But I make the point that the significant release of SO2 by the massive build out of China’s coal fired power stations over the last 15 years will have made its mark on the radiation balance of Earth.

    Besides, even if one would inject SO2 into the upper atmosphere to lower temperatures, we would be left with ocean acidification through CO2 which is a very significant matter in its own right besides the warming, and in the discussion on the climate effects of CO2 that is often overlooked. We may still to learn to our detriment how significant this will be.

    BTW if you are in any doubt about the effects of CO2 on acidity, you can buy a digital pH meter from Trademe for $18. A great science tool!
    Insert in a glass of water and measure pH. Then blow into the water through a straw, your breath carrying excess CO2 and observe the pH meter….
    Of cause this is just a crude demo, but its astonishing nevertheless, especially for those who think that ocean acidification is just another ‘hoax’….

  51. Andy on May 30, 2013 at 12:08 am said:

    Yes you can also perform a similar experiment by putting a plastic bag over your head and taping it shut with duct tape to show that co2 is toxic.

    Of course it is as valid as your straw experiment but hey?

  52. Thomas on May 30, 2013 at 12:15 am said:

    Andy: Did you read the Independent article beyond the headline???

    I did. The Independent carries on to say:

    The fact that climate-sceptic arguments continue to be heard would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. But they have taken on the fight, muddying the science at every opportunity, creating confusion and doubt.

    Tabloid newspapers have also become mouthpieces for the sceptics. Their on-going, daily onslaught against the science of climate – which David Rose in the Mail on Sunday labelled ‘The Great Green Con’ – is influential and damaging.

    Right now however, uncertainty and government indecision are deterring investment and threatening the remarkable positives – that despite lack of government support, and during a recession, the low carbon economy grows at 4 per cent and is accounts for one third of all growth in the economy.

    Very true indeed. The damage that you – yes you personally too Andy! – and the people representing the views of this blog – are doing is potentially serious. Future generations will look back at this time. Remember!

    Oh, and do read the sources that you cite. It normally pays to do so.

  53. Thomas on May 30, 2013 at 12:22 am said:

    Andy, CO2 in xxx ppm concentrations in air is not toxic but an acidified ocean however is another matter for life evolved over millions of years with the pre-industrial pH levels:….
    Greenhouse gases are making seawater toxic for many species of marine life, warn experts

    The surface, or top 100 metres, of the ocean is now about 35 per cent more acidic than it was at the start of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century, with potentially huge implications for Arctic ecosystems.

  54. Andy on May 30, 2013 at 12:25 am said:

    Yes I read the article, but only after I read Richard Norths reference to it, whose opinion I hold in much higher regard than any dweeb that writes for the Independent,

    Maybe in future times when you are holding your Nurenburg trials for people like me that into your fossil fuel addicted lifestyle we can discuss this in a more relaxed manner.

  55. Thomas on May 30, 2013 at 12:30 am said:

    Again you mind twister, try to convert the issue. How silly of you. You do not force me to consume oil.
    But you have your share of the burden to carry in confusing others over the significance of AGW and in hindering the public to come its senses and much more proactively work towards a fossil fuel free future!
    And when people will look back at these times, they will wonder who these people were, who spend so much time fighting against the public recognition of our predicament and its possible solutions.

  56. wWilliamS on May 30, 2013 at 3:28 am said:


    It is incorrect to describe the ocean as having become more acidic. The ocean has become very, very slightly less alkali. Also, before acidic pH values are reached the ocean would become neutral (pH7). Therefore, it would be more accurate to use the term ‘ocean neutralisation’ but even this is a long way off.

  57. Andy on May 30, 2013 at 9:16 am said:

    Remarkable comments from Tim Yeo MP

    Who think that Natural Phases ™ may be responsible for the recent warming.
    Remarkable words for someone who has had his snout in the UK renewables trough, making himself weathy at the expense of the UK taxpayer thanks to the climate change policies he advocated and supported.

  58. Bob D on May 30, 2013 at 10:17 am said:


    “And when people will look back at these times, they will wonder who these people were, who spend so much time fighting against the public recognition of our predicament and its possible solutions.”

    No, they’ll wonder who those scientists were, who obsessively perpetuated the nonsense of AGW in spite of 17 years of no temperature rise. They’ll shake their heads in wonder at the abject stupidity of the people of our time, much as we do at some of the practices and beliefs of people in the Middle Ages.

  59. Bob D on May 30, 2013 at 10:31 am said:

    I think you have a misunderstanding of Prof de Freitas’s position. He is a scientist. A real one. You may not have encountered one before. He looks at the science, at the hypothesis that is AGW, and he teaches it to his students. He doesn’t hype it up, or get all alarmist, he simply teaches it. The squeals of complaint come from the activists, who don’t like the fact that he doesn’t follow their ideology while he teaches it. Rather, he encourages his students to think for themselves, and look for scientific evidence to support or refute a theory.

    And let’s face it, at the moment evidence is scarce indeed. No atmospheric temperature increase for 17 years, no upper ocean warming, no tropospheric hot spot, no Antarctic warming at all, no 99% confidence warming of 0.4°C, accelerating all the time (Hansen, 1988). No increase in extreme weather events like hurricanes, droughts or floods. Complete stasis. This isn’t Climate Change, it’s Climate As Usual.

    You see, what honest scientist worth his salt could state with any kind of certainty that these facts support the theory of AGW at the 90% level?

  60. Bob D on May 30, 2013 at 10:34 am said:

    35% more acidic?! Evidence please.

  61. David on May 30, 2013 at 10:51 am said:

    ” it went against all the information I had ever read about climate change.”

    Oh dear,what a silly little fool.Imagine what she said when she found out there was no Santa Claus!
    “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do sir?
    John Maynard Keynes

    I bet she got a D-

    Andy- yep the worm is really turning now. I see more fact free posting from Bryan Walker in the NZH today. Still, he’s a Christian so well versed in faith based beliefs. I do note the number of comments refuting him. They seem to be ever increasing over time.

  62. Alexander K on May 30, 2013 at 10:56 am said:

    Thomas and his cohort are very obviously promoting a belief system rather than any kind of science, and the tell-tale is their being very willing to attach the scurrilous ‘denier’ tag to any person who does not agree with their beliefs.
    For those who are familiar with Climategate 1, the infamous attack on Chris de Freitas’s employment and the efforts to have Auckland University end it, led by Jim Sallinger and carried on by ‘The Team’, is an incredibly nasty and unprincipled incident exposed by Climategate 1.
    I have some experience of the nastiness that can arise when students with an excellent grasp of language but only a slim notion of the ideas and knowledge which their lecturer/teacher is attempting to expose them to, and I see Lola Thompson’s article in this light. But Lola, I suspect, is very young and idealistic, and de Freitas’ lecture material has challenged the belief system she has acquired on her journey through school and she has reacted combatatively to that challenge. Lola will, I hope, grow in knowledge and change her perspective with that growth in knowledge. I fear Thomas et al are a lost cause.

  63. Bob D on May 30, 2013 at 10:56 am said:

    According to Dore et al. (2009) and Byrne et al. (2010), atmospheric CO2 is causing a decrease of 0.0017 pH unit per year. How on earth do you get to 35% from this?

    Also, you may want to glance at this graph, and explain how all those species survived natural fluctuations greater than this in the recent past?

    According to Hofmann et al (2011) natural variability right now is far higher than the projected 2100 figures. They found numbers varying by 1.43 pH units across the oceans right now.

    And finally, enrichment with dissolved CO2 produces an increased photosynthetic rate which increases phytoplankton biomass, which implies that fish will do better under higher dissolved CO2.

  64. Andy on May 30, 2013 at 11:12 am said:

    Here is the offending course

    What have previous students said about GEOG101?

    GEOG101 S1 2012

    “Lectures were all interesting and the course was presented really well. The lecturers own research which was incorporated sometimes was also interesting and helped my learning”

    “The labs were very interesting in the way it applied the material into real life scenarios and practices. Overall labs were the best part of the course”

    “The lecturers were clearly passionate about their subjects which made it interesting for us to learn”

    “The field trip was great and a good mix of learning and ‘fun stuff’. Really put what I had learnt into practice”

    “Awesome class”

  65. Thomas on May 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm said:

    Bob D, you have not been listening in high school science as expected, given your ill informed comments.

    Otherwise you would know that the pH scale is a logarithmic scale! The concentration of H+ ions – the measure of acidity – in Mol/Lit in a solution is = 10 ^ (-pH).
    You may also want to freshen up on what a Mol is…..

    A change in pH level by one is a 10 fold change of the concentration of H+ (or H3O) ions in the solution. A drop of pH by 0.02 on the pH scale is a rise of 5% in the acidity or the concentration of H+ (or H3O) ions in the solution. A change of 0.2 on the pH scale is a change in 58% of the acidity.

    A reasonable primer on ocean acidification is here:

  66. Thomas on May 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm said:

    Technically you are correct that the ocean is still on the alkaline side of the pH scale. However a drop in pH level is referred to as ‘acidification’ of a solution.
    Here is a good primer for you on the science of OA:

    And you should also know that the pH scale is logarithmic. The change in pH since the industrial revolution represents a 30% or regionally more, change in acidity.

    Another very good and technical introduction in from of a PDF booklet into ocean chemistry and ocean acidification can be downloaded from Doug Mackie, Christina McGraw and Keith Hunter from Otago University.
    Professor Keith A. Hunter is Pro-Vice Chancellor – Sciences, Marine chemistry and biogeochemistry at Otago University.

  67. Thomas, you say:

    an acidified ocean … is another matter for life evolved over millions of years with the pre-industrial pH levels:
    Greenhouse gases are making seawater toxic for many species of marine life, warn experts.

    The surface, or top 100 metres, of the ocean is now about 35 per cent more acidic than it was at the start of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century, with potentially huge implications for Arctic ecosystems.

    You really should provide references. The Independent you cited has no reference, nor the name of the study, but I found a news report about it at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA). They said

    In the past 200 years the average degree of acidity in ocean surface waters has increased 30 percent worldwide.

    I don’t know why the newspaper increased it to 35%. I haven’t looked further for the paper itself. Would you prefer to verify or change your statement?

    NIVA quotes opinions from the researchers as scientific fact, like: “The ocean in the Arctic region is especially vulnerable.” It would be equally true to say that, over uncounted millenia ecosystems have adapted to large swings in acidification, especially in the polar regions which absorb CO2 more quickly than temperate zones.

    The pH levels vary wildly around the world and there’s every sign of amazing adaptation to strong natural sources of CO2 and the subsequent acidification.

  68. Bob D on May 30, 2013 at 3:11 pm said:

    I understand that the pH scale is logarithmic, which is why I made my point that a percentage scale for pH is misleading. To see why, consider a “100% increase in acidity”. The amount of pH change for this is 0.3. Technically it’s correct if you’re talking about counting H+ ions, but is totally misleading for the general public, as to change a pH from 8.3 to 8.0 doesn’t change the acidity by the complete acidity range possible (a full 14 pH unit domain), and that’s the way most folk think.

    So to use this term for laymen is just misleading, unless you explain that a relatively small change of pH from say 8.2 to 7.2 represents a 10x increase in acidity, or acidity is 900% greater.

    It’s why the pH scale is used, instead of trying to alarm people.

    Also, as I mentioned already, phytoplankton biomass increases with raised CO2 levels, so your argument falls flat anyway.

  69. Rob Taylor on May 30, 2013 at 3:58 pm said:

    RT, you quiz Thomas for references, which he has supplied, but then omit to cite your own sources for your comment “there’s every sign of amazing adaptation to strong natural sources of CO2 and the subsequent acidification.”

    References please – sorry, the Daily Fail or the equally failed meteorologist at WUWT don’t actually count….

  70. Rob Taylor on May 30, 2013 at 4:19 pm said:

    Speaking of reality, Magoo, have you seen this:

  71. Alexander K on May 30, 2013 at 5:35 pm said:

    Magoo, when Rob Taylor adds a link to SkS in a comment in answer to a reference you provided ( a graphic from Dr Roy Spencer), that gives a fair indication that he’s not dealing from an awareness of real science and scientists and gives a strong indication that there is no point in further discussion.

  72. Rob Taylor: Get the story straight. He supplied no reference except to the Daily Fail, but I found and supplied the name of the institute that published the paper (that he mentioned but failed to reference).

  73. Andy, you’re funny. It would redress the balance nicely, though, wouldn’t it? Not to mention cater to popular demand.

  74. Andy on May 31, 2013 at 8:04 am said:

    I was a parent helper at my sons school camp to Mt Cook last year. We hiked up to the snouts of the Hooker and Tasman Glaciers, and were given a slide presentation by DOC staff.

    One of the kids asked the presenter why the glaciers were melting. The answer was that glacier retreat or advance was a complex process dependent on precipitation in the accumulation zone and melting at the snout. (Ie the correct answer)

    No mention of Global Waming was made at all.

    In the visitor centre, there was a single poster about global warming, tucked away somewhere.

    That pretty much sums it up really.

  75. Andy on May 31, 2013 at 8:12 am said:

    Commenter Rachel at HT wrote to the University of Auckland for info about the review into the school that was alluded to in the article in Craccum

    As expected, it was a review of the whole dept and was very glowing. Poor Rachel was “shocked” that Climate Denial was being taught, and the review made no mention of this Denial that is apparently funded by Big Oil and Right Wing Think Tanks.

    By the way, has anyone got their cheque yet?

  76. Alexander K on May 31, 2013 at 9:32 am said:

    Andy, just my standard pension payment from WINZ arrives in my bank account each fortnight, no supplement from Big Oil…yet!
    Father Christmas stopped leaving gifts by my fireplace some time ago, too!

  77. Magoo on May 31, 2013 at 11:00 am said:

    I see Rachel at Hot Topic is saying that de Freitas isn’t teaching the course anymore. A quick check on the Auckland University website shows that, not only is he still teaching it, but he’s also the course coordinator. Considering the uni gave a glowing review of the dept, and de Freitas is basically running that paper, I’d say that’s a glowing endorsement of de Freitas and the courses that he oversees.

    Thomas crows about how he set the flames going at Climate Conversation over it, but the truth is the Hot Topic crowd are gnashing their teeth over the fact that the uni is backing de Freitas.

  78. Rob Taylor on May 31, 2013 at 11:35 am said:

    I have spoken with Chris de Freitas, who confirmed that he is no longer teaching any climate change material in Geography 101, which is the only course he is teaching next semester.

    This does not surprise me; the University of Auckland does not teach Creationism, Palm Reading or Astrology, so why should it teach Climate Change Denial?

  79. Andy on June 1, 2013 at 10:06 pm said:

    You have spoken with Chris de Freitas.

    Is this you in the first person Rob? Did you communicate verbally or by email?

    Is his crime not to present the Hockey Stick in class?

    I am sure you will be able to clarify if you have actually spoken to him.

  80. Magoo on June 1, 2013 at 10:49 pm said:

    That’s because he’s teaching it at stage 3 Sherlock.

    Are you ever right about anything Rob?

  81. Mike Jowsey on June 2, 2013 at 4:23 am said:

    Oops! Time to apologise, Rob Taylor. Which I guess has got as much chance of happening as a 6 metre sea level rise by 2100.

  82. Andy on June 2, 2013 at 8:50 am said:

    ” Themes covered in the course include selected topics in applied climatology, anthropogenic global climate change, urban climates, boundary layer processes, and synoptic climatology in environmental analysis”

    What no climate denial?

    Shocked I am, shocked

  83. Rob Taylor on June 2, 2013 at 9:15 am said:

    Gosh, guys, how did you all somehow just happen to miss this:

    “The course is divided into sections in which lectures are provided by staff with research expertise and interest in the topics covered”

    When I spoke to CdF by telephone, he stated that he was no longer teaching any climate change material.

    Therefore, it will certainly not be he who is teaching the section of the course that deals with anthropogenic global climate change.

    Whoever does teach it will doubtless include the fact that the hottest years in the surface temperature instrumental record are 2005 and 2010.

    Which gives the lie to your little denier chorus that “there has been no warming for the last 16 years”.

    You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

  84. Andy on June 2, 2013 at 11:57 am said:

    No warming for 16 years and the hottest decade are not mutually contradictory statements as we know.

  85. Rob Taylor on June 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm said:

    “No warming for 16 years and the hottest decade are not mutually contradictory statements as we know.”

    Yeah, right… you may be fooling yourself, Andy, but you’re not fooling anyone else.

  86. Andy on June 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm said:

    If I climb a hill and walk along a summit plateau for 10km, I can at many points be at the highest point on record for my walk, yet my rate of climbing is effectively zero.

  87. Andy beat me to it. Here’s a picture that should help you to visualise things.


    Imagine the green line is an elevation of Andy’s trek over the mountain. The portion between the black lines represents any period — let’s call it the latest decade. The highest points reached are indeed minor records. But by the end of the period it has not been warming. I’m not forecasting, nobody can know what will happen to global temperatures, but this illustrates what you said was impossible: high temperatures without significant warming. You might imagine a descending line, the high record at the beginning, which would make the point more strongly, but I’ve chosen a wiggly line.

  88. Rob Taylor on June 2, 2013 at 3:48 pm said:

    You problem is, gentlemen, that if you zoom out to the big picture, you see that there is a general warming trend; only if you narrowly restrict your field of view and carefully select the starting point, do you see an artificial “cooling”.

    Which, of course, is why you have done exactly that in your “no cooling in 16.75 years” schtick – it’s just yet another trip down the up escalator….

  89. Magoo on June 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm said:

    But the warming attributable to anthropogenic origins is only supposed to be noticeable from around 1980, giving us a maximum of 17 yrs of AGW. This is followed by a minimum of 15 yrs of no warming.

    The beginning of the cooling depends on the dataset used and can be checked at skepticalscience.conjob (don’t forget to adjust the autocorel dates). Your ‘16.75’ is the minimum:

    ‘Data sources: GISTEMP, NOAA, HADCRUT, RSS, UAH, BEST.’

    No warming trend greater than the +/- error margins from the following dates:

    GISTEMP 1994
    NOAA (Land/Sea) 1994
    HADCRUT3 1993
    HADCRUT4 1994
    BEST 1998
    NOAA (Land) 1997
    RSS 1990
    UAH 1994′

    17 years (maximum) of supposedly anthropogenic global warming followed by 15 years (minimum) of no warming isn’t a good record for AGW. Perhaps we should look at the ‘big picture’ that you suggest and use the dataset with the longest time of no warming (RSS) that gives us 10 years of AGW followed by 23 yrs of no warming.

    Only an idiot would place their faith in something with such a bad track record.

  90. Andy on June 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm said:

    Getting back to topic, I think this is my summary of this “teaching climate denial” issue

    Teaching climate denial (sic) = teaching climate science as branch of physical science

    Teaching climate change science = teaching climate science as branch of sociology/social sciences

  91. Richard C (NZ) on June 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm said:

    >”You problem is, gentlemen, that if you zoom out to the big picture, you see that there is a general warming trend”

    OK, zoomed out to 1850. Now what?

    I see: warming – cooling – warming – cooling – warming – cooling. All superimposed on a rising 164 year trend which, by all accounts, started at the end of the LIA. Like this:

    Where does CO2 come into all of this Rob?

    I note ‘IPCC Prediction’ looks a bit wild – is that what CO2 is supposed to be doing to temperature?

    If so, why isn’t it doing that?

  92. Andy on June 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm said:

    Richard C – also if you look at the Met Office response to Doug Keenan, the Anthropogenic part of the warming only really started around 1960.

    What then?


    Oops I see Magoo beat me to it

  93. Magoo on June 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm said:

    I might just add here that any warming shown in these time ranges is statistically insignificant as the +/- error margins are larger than any warming trends

  94. Richard C (NZ) on June 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm said:

    >”..the Anthropogenic part of the warming only really started around 1960″

    Not even one complete multi-decadal cycle period.

    >”What then?”

    I’m inclined to think it’s a case of mistaken attribution Andy. Or am I stating the obvious?

    BTW, I don’t subscribe to Akasofu’s projection as a matter of course. There’s a stronger and longer cycle that that is invalidating that linear trend. Something Scafetta will have to address soon too even though his model, based on a rising quadratic and also being invalidated, is tracking far better than ‘IPCC Prediction’.

  95. Richard C (NZ) on June 2, 2013 at 6:41 pm said:

    And in Obama’s US and elsewhere, questioning climate science is characterized as an “attack on science”.

    As if all scientific disciplines were of a similar uncertain nature and immaturity to climate science so that questioning one is to attack all.

    But it helps “the cause” I suppose, to keep pushing that meme.

  96. Richard C (NZ) on June 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm said:

    In keeping with Andy’s summary, should be – “questioning climate [change] science is characterized as an “attack on science”.

    Although “change” tends to be dropped in the attack allegations.

  97. Andy on June 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm said:

    “An attack on science” meaning you are irrational or a flat-earther, etc

    All standard tactics out of the Alinski and cultural marxist playbook. Nothing new here

  98. Although “change” tends to be dropped in the attack allegations.

    Yes, I think I’ve noticed that, too, now you mention it. It’s an important distinction. Thanks for pointing it out, because we should use it in our replies.

  99. Andy on June 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm said:

    Richard Betts wrote this a while back

    *I prefer to distinguish between “climate scientists” (who are mainly atmospheric physicists) and “climate change scientists” who seem to be just about anyone in science or social science that has decided to see what climate change means for their own particular field of expertise. While many of these folks do have a good grasp of climate science (atmospheric physics) and the uncertainties in attribution of past events and future projections, many sadly do not. “Climate change science” is unfortunately a rather disconnected set of disciplines with some not understanding the others – see the inconsistencies between WG1 and WG2 in IPCC AR4 for example. We are working hard to overcome these barriers but there is a long way to go.

  100. Richard C (NZ) on June 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm said:

    Here’s a subtle variation from the ABC:

    ‘Critic questions Canadian researcher’s challenge to conventional climate science’

    TONY EASTLEY: One of Australia’s most senior climate scientists is highly critical of Canadian research suggesting a re-think on the reason behind global warning.

    A paper from Canada’s Waterloo University suggests banned aerosols, or chloroflourocarbons, are responsible for global warming.

    […] In essence, it argues CFCs are to blame for global warming since the 1970s and not carbon dioxide.

    # # #

    Here “conventional climate science” is implied to be that carbon dioxide is to blame for global warming since the 1970s. I’m not even sure what “conventional” climate science actually is, but what the term is being used to describe is climate change science, and even that not really being conventional either

  101. Richard C (NZ) on June 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm said:

    And here’s an attack:

    ‘Ed Davey attacks ‘blinkered’ climate change sceptics’

    By Roger Harrabin

    Energy Secretary Ed Davey is to make an unprecedented attack later on climate change sceptics.

    In a speech, the Lib Dem minister will complain that right-wing newspapers are undermining science for political ends

    # # #

    Climate change morphs to science in the space of two sentences – nice going Roger.

    Of Davy “He believes editors are corrupting public understanding of science”. Really?

    Then Davy further down:

    “Of course there will always be uncertainties within climate science and the need for research to continue.”

    So we have climate science eventually but nowhere in the article is climate change science mentioned. And climate change [science] sceptics are attacked, along with right-wing newspapers, for “undermining science” and “corrupting public understanding of science”.

    Change dropped and climate dropped too in this attack. This has to be the most insidious conflation ever perpetrated, or as Andy puts it “All standard tactics out of the Alinski and cultural marxist playbook”.

  102. Our prophet McKibben is coming to our shores to tell us of eco-armageddon if we do not mend our evil ways

    “Climate prophet McKibben brings message to Dunedin”

    (Interesting that the ODT put this in their lifestyle magazine – is eco-fundamentalism and CO2 Jihadism now a lifestyle choice?)

  103. Rob Taylor on June 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm said:

    I see your little claque gets smaller and less relevant by the day, Richard.

    It was, of course, very courageous of you to ban Thomas – after all, you wouldn’t want too much knowledge spoiling the “conversation”, would you?

  104. Magoo on June 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm said:

    The lifestyle magazine is the first stop for the trendy champagne socialists that try to be hip by taking up the cause of the day. The latest fashion tips in designer curtains and environmentalism.

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