Yet again: climate scepticism is founded on facts, not faith

Scepticism is not a psychological disorder, you morons

Though climate alarmists have claimed for several years that evidence for dangerous man-made global warming is “overwhelming”, it’s actually becoming harder and harder to find.

Thus it has instead become fashionable among climate alarmists to ignore what climate sceptics say and to discredit them with pseudo-psychological, ethical or moral inventions to explain why they say it. Anything but actually address what they say. Here are five examples. At the end are four facts that explain why climate scepticism arises spontaneously around the world — even without oil money.

•ONE•

Talking Climate is a UK-based part­ner­ship between the Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN), the Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC) and the ‘Climate change as com­plex social issue’ research group at the School of Sociology and Social Policy, Nottingham University. That’s a coalition of two charities and a university.

The Talking Climate web site has an article asking Why are people still sceptical about climate change? that explains:

It is nat­ural to assume that if people do not accept the sci­ence of cli­mate change, it is because they do not under­stand it, or per­haps need to know more about it…

But while dis­pelling myths about cli­mate change is a valu­able public ser­vice to offer, the truth about cli­mate scep­ti­cism is that it is not just a dis­pute over the sci­ence. Accurate fac­tual inform­a­tion has been avail­able for anyone who has wanted to find it for a long time. And still some people say they are uncon­vinced that cli­mate change is actu­ally hap­pening – or express more uncer­tainty than sci­ent­ists do about the ser­i­ous­ness of the problem.

There’s a possibility they don’t mention: that certain facts raise genuine questions about the so-called “science of climate change.”

•TWO•

Kari Norgaard is Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. She presented a paper at the London “Planet Under Pressure” conference held at the end of March. An incautious press release about her paper caused a storm in the blogosphere when climate sceptics thought her to be saying their inability to accept climate change meant they were sick and needed treatment.

It was a storm in a teacup, based on a misunderstanding, because Norgaard didn’t use the words “treatment” or “sick”. But what she did say was:

“This kind of cultural resistance to very significant social threat is something that we would expect in any society facing a massive threat” … The discussion, she said, is comparable to what happened with challenges to racism or slavery in the U.S. South.

This is worse than calling sceptics “sick”. Being sick is beyond one’s control, but she compares them with voluntarily being slavers and racists. This detached, academic designation of hideous appellations is truly revolting.

•THREE•

Adam Corner, in the Guardian last week, claimed:

… a decade of social science research on public attitudes shows that in fact, scepticism about climate change is not primarily due to a misunderstanding of “the science”.

Corner explains why sceptics don’t “believe”:

… in studies that have asked who is sceptical about climate change and why, we find not a story about scientific ignorance, but a link between social attitudes, cultural beliefs and climate change scepticism.

… free market and fossil-fuel industry lobbyists have shamelessly acted as “merchants of doubt,” exaggerating the level of uncertainty about climate change, or downplaying its importance.

and:

Without belief in climate change, scientific evidence simply bounces off. And it is social views and cultural beliefs that predict climate change denial, not people’s level of knowledge about climate science.

This is shameless anti-science propaganda. For their reasons are spurious and there is actually good evidence to question the so-called “consensus” view of dangerous global warming.

•FOUR•

Just two days ago Professor Jim Hansen was mentioned in the Guardian ahead of receiving the Edinburgh Medal for his contribution to science. He’s reported as saying:

“We’re handing future generations a climate system which is potentially out of their control.”

No, it’s not potentially out of control, it’s actually out of control. This pathetic activist is deep in delusion. Jim, listen: the emperor has no clothes!

If I claim that we control the climate of this enormous planet my friends will laugh at me. Have his friends all left him? But there’s more.

Hansen told the Guardian that the latest climate models had shown the planet was on the brink of an emergency. He said humanity faces repeated natural disasters from extreme weather events which would affect large areas of the planet.

But immediately he forgets about only being on the brink and says: “We’re in an emergency.” Make up your mind, Jim.

Averting the worst consequences of human-induced climate change is a “great moral issue” on a par with slavery.

So it’s a moral issue now? Not a scientific one? Sure it’s not pseudo-scientific? Or is it pseudo-moral?

He’s promoting a global “carbon tax”. Let’s wish him luck with that. All the countries of the world couldn’t agree even on Kyoto, which is passing into history still unfulfilled. China and India have said they’re not interested in paying any taxes or reducing their people’s access to the abundant energy that fuelled the rapid industrialisation of the West.

Yet without those huge emitters, no meaningful reduction in human emissions will be possible. Forget it, Jim, it’s a hopeless task. But look on the bright side: there’s been no global warming for 15 years now. Maybe things are looking better. Maybe the world is cooling and your 1988 forecasts were dead wrong.

•FIVE•

Ahead of a conference in 2009 on the psychology of climate change denial, Brendan O’Neill at Spiked online said green authoritarians, in a real-life Orwellian nightmare, are treating debate as a disorder. He explains:

A few months ago, for a joke, I set up a Facebook group called ‘Climate change denial is a mental disorder.’ It’s a satirical campaigning hub for people who think that climate change denial should be recognised as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association…

The idea that ‘climate change denial’ is a psychological disorder – the product of a spiteful, willful or simply in-built neural inability to face up to the catastrophe of global warming – is becoming more and more popular amongst green-leaning activists and academics. And nothing better sums up the elitism and authoritarianism of the environmentalist lobby than its psychologisation of dissent. The labelling of any criticism of the politics of global warming, first as ‘denial’, and now as evidence of mass psychological instability, is an attempt to write off all critics and sceptics as deranged, and to lay the ground for inevitable authoritarian solutions to the problem of climate change. Historically, only the most illiberal and misanthropic regimes have treated disagreement and debate as signs of mental ill-health.

Those ready to discount the effects in society of these extreme views should seriously admit of the possibility that our entirely reasonable sceptical view of climate science could quite soon get us admitted to a treatment facility. It’s already possible, in Britain, to be jailed for 56 days just for insulting someone.

Some common extremist tactics

A common straw-man argument is that some people disagree that climate change is occurring. It’s easy to show it is occurring (because it is), so there is some faulty psychology involved in the disagreement — we shall examine it — perhaps they have a sickness? But most sceptics agree both that climate change (or global warming) has been occurring and that there must be a human component to it — what they question is the magnitude of the warming, the size of the human contribution and the modelled forecasts of dangerous future warming.

Warmists go around with blinkers on, mischaracterising the dispute only because they cannot answer awkward questions about the climate.

Another source of confusion is to conflate “climate change” with “dangerous man-made global warming.” That commingling began in the 1992 founding document of the UNFCCC (the governing body of the IPCC), which deceptively jumbles them up (on purpose) by defining climate change as:

“a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”

Notice that to show climate change you only have to “attribute” a change to human activity, regardless of the truth, and even “indirectly”, whatever that means. So far nobody has measured the human contribution to global warming. The best the IPCC can say is that it’s “likely” we’re influencing the climate. How underwhelming. On this meagre evidence, they want us to spend trillions to fix it. Yet we don’t even know the size of the problem.

The deception has been totally successful, because mentioning climate change makes people think about dangerous man-made global warming, not natural climate variability. It was clever, it took a few years, but it worked.

The thoughtful among us might consider that it only works because many, many people don’t reason clearly. Or, to be charitable, perhaps some of them couldn’t spare the time to study a bit of climate science for themselves and instead they trust leading scientists.

However, facts are facts

Here are four verifiable statements justifying a healthy scepticism towards the theory of dangerous anthropogenic global warming. Some say they blow the ill-defined AGW theory out of the water; I’m one of them.

  • Data from real-world observations of global warming and cooling since the post-WWII industrial boom clearly show that carbon dioxide is not a major determinant of global temperature.
  • There is no real-world data proving that increases of atmospheric CO2 will lead to dangerous global warming.
  • The cost:benefit ratio of ETS policies is simply absurd. The cost is billions per year for a theoretical and insignificant cooling of less than 0.0001 °C by 2100.
  • The IPCC, from whom the NZ government takes its advice, is now discredited (McLean, La Framboise). They provide ample evidence that the IPCC system as it stands cannot be relied on.

If anyone disputes these simple facts, feel free to refute them.

14 Thoughts on “Yet again: climate scepticism is founded on facts, not faith

  1. Mike Jowsey on April 9, 2012 at 8:34 am said:

    Data from real-world observations of global warming and cooling since the post-WWII industrial boom clearly show that carbon dioxide is not a major determinant of global temperature.

    Shakun et al 2012 attempts to show CO2 leading (causing) the Holocene deglaciation. Unfortunately, their cherry-picked data omits 8000 years of slightly cooling global temperature despite 8000 years of increasing CO2. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/07/shakun-redux-master-tricksed-us-i-told-you-he-was-tricksy/

  2. Pingback: climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz posts April 8, 2012 | All That Stuff

  3. Alexander K on April 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm said:

    It is wildly unfashionable to invoke memories of the Hitler era in Europe, when tens of thousands of rational, school-educated Europeans (not only Germans) saw Judaism as a problem and favoured Hitler’s ‘final solution’, the extermination of the Jewish people. The same mechanism in the human brain seems poised to deal in similar ways with those of us that the Warmist religionists term ‘deniers’. They have been lied to and have accepted a canard as the absolute truth and the psychological mechanism of cognitive dissonance will ensure that they cling to the myth, as to understand that they have been fooled is not an option for them. Just read the comments about ‘deniers’ on the more rabid blogs such as ‘Hot Comment’!

  4. Alexander K on April 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm said:

    It is wildly unfashionable to invoke memories of the Hitler era in Europe, when tens of thousands of rational, school-educated Europeans (not only Germans) saw Judaism as a problem and favoured Hitler’s ‘final solution’, the extermination of the Jewish people. The same mechanism in the human brain seems poised to deal in similar ways with those of us that the Warmist religionists term ‘deniers’. They have been lied to and have accepted a canard as the absolute truth and the psychological mechanism of cognitive dissonance will ensure that they cling to the myth, as to understand that they have been fooled is not an option for them. Just read the comments about ‘deniers’ on the more rabid blogs such as ‘Hot Comment’!

  5. Richard C (NZ) on April 10, 2012 at 9:04 am said:

    “….nothing better sums up the elitism and authoritarianism of the environmentalist lobby than its psychologisation of dissent”

    Brendan O’Neill – take a bow.

  6. Richard C (NZ) on April 10, 2012 at 9:26 am said:

    Seems JoNova is a luke-warm site along with WUWT. I pointed out the opposing paradigms (GHE – warming/cold space vs GHE – cooling/neutral space) and I ended up in moderation (just like Hot Topic).

    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/04/satellites-show-a-warmer-earth-is-releasing-extra-energy-to-space/#comment-1034960

    Worse happens at WUWT, see ‘ClimateRealists.com is promoted at WUWT as a “Transcendent Rant” blog site with “way out there theory!”‘

    http://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=9408

    A very touchy subject among luke-warm “sceptics”.and some perplexed comments under the Climate Realists article. I’m disappointed that JoNova is taking similar actions to WUWT, Skeptical Science and Hot Topic to protect the cosy illusion that it’s only the degree of warming that’s at issue.

  7. The publications at Principia Scientific International show why carbon dioxide has absolutely no effect on climate, so sensitivity is zero. See, for example, my peer-reviewed paper Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics on the site.

    I am proud to be an active member of PSI and, as such, I am in daily email contact with many of these main stream scientists, including professors and PhD’s in various disciplines such as physics, applied mathematics, chemistry, climatology and astro physics. The numbers are approaching 40, including well known new members just announced.

    What I write are not just my theories. We are all in agreement that standard physics and empirical results back us up.

  8. Anthropogenic Global Cooling on April 10, 2012 at 11:39 am said:

    My comment got moderated out completely never to return at Jo Nova’s for asking whether the temperature of the stratosphere (which alarmists say is accurate) was measured in the same way as the troposphere (which alarmists say is inaccurate). There was nothing else in my comment that required moderating. Perhaps my question was stupid for some reason, but if satellites & radiosondes are ok for one height why not another?

    I quit an anti-AGW group on facebook because it got taken over by 9/11 conspiracy theorists. The reason I quit was I felt the lunatics were side tracking the issue to the point that it reinforced the alarmists line that those who are sceptical are deranged (I actually wonder if they were trolls). Not that I’m implying anything like that about you Richard, quite the contrary. I think if the guys at WUWT think that climaterealists are going down the wrong path they should perhaps raise the issue with them in a non public manner (infighting is counter-productive), or mind their own business.

  9. Australis on April 10, 2012 at 11:58 am said:

    “Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
    This oft-quoted sentence from 4AR establishes that, within the recorded 0.6°C of actual warming, Human Warming exceeded Natural Variability (by an unknown margin) during 1951-2000.

    The IPCC ascribes the 20th-century “observed increase” prior to 1950 (0.5°C) to Natural Variations, probably due to the sun and volcanoes, whereas most of the “observed increase” in 1978 – 98 (0.4°C warming) is due to Human Warming.

    The “observed increase” is a small residue of many far larger influences. The small difference between two large numbers for heating and cooling.

    The IPCC wording does NOT suggest that the aggregated total of Natural Variability was smaller than total Human Warming. Internal variability might have been unusually warm but offset by a cool forcing (eg cosmic radiation); two natural forcings might have cancelled each other out; the aggregate of opposing natural forcings might well have been a large multiple of human forcings.

    The AR4 did not suggest that the 1950-2000 phenomenon was likely to be repeated. And repetition now seems unlikely.

  10. Richard C (NZ) on April 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm said:

    We may be accusing the mods of something that only happened by coincidence but to read of your similar experience is disturbing AGC. I’m inclined to think it was something other than coincidence though because of a) the particular post topic and thread and b) Jo’s reply to Ross James:-

    “REPLY: Ross, you keep repeating that there’s proof of the greenhouse effect – we already know that – most skeptics agree — it only adds up to 1.2 degrees (Hanson 1984). You have no observational evidence for the assumed feedbacks, except models. All your raving “embarrassment” for skeptics is a bluff. — Jo”

    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/04/satellites-show-a-warmer-earth-is-releasing-extra-energy-to-space/#comment-1034699

    What is the difference between Jo’s “most skeptics agree” and the consensus “most scientists agree”?

    And the moderation policies are getting disturbingly similar in the blogs (alarmist warm and luke warm) but not here at CCG thankfully. I note Climate Realists even post articles from the opposing camp (the green text posts) i.e. they go out of their way to be evenhanded.

    Jo’s position seems almost contradictory (internally conflicted) because in a followup post she says this:-

    The warming trend expected from CO2 without any feedbacks at all is 0.07 ºC/decade. The trends from the UAH satellites are 0.06±0.01ºC/decade. Since the two figures are almost the same, no one needs a super-computer to tell them that this implies that the sum of all feedbacks (and the sum of all fears) is zip, nada, nothing.

    Furthermore, this study likely overestimates the effect of CO2. There is clearly a 60 year cycle of warming and cooling due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and the 28 year study period was the steepest part of that 60 year cycle. Hence, trends over longer periods are likely to be smaller, which implies that feedbacks are negative.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/04/last-30-years-shows-climate-feedbacks-are-zero-at-best/#comment-1035806

    It’s as if she is not sure of her position and is leaving the door open to the possibility that even the 0.07 ºC/decade CO2 effect may be under threat from natural cyclicity. Nicola Scafetta takes a similar fence-sitting position by making cyclic predictions with (Black) and without (Yellow) posited anthropogenic CO2 effect.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/scafettas-solar-lunar-cycle-forecast-vs-global-temperature/

    Scafetta though has a delicate problem, how to appease Journals and a wider audience so as not to be ostracized completely and also to retain guest status at WUWT. It’s hard to discern his personal position when there’s a dual hypothesis (for want of a better word). Or maybe it is just a dual between two cyclic subsets in his case (and the IPCC is not invited).

  11. Anthropogenic Global Cooling on April 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm said:

    Just a quick clarification on my part there Richard, in case it’s relevant. When my comment was moderated into oblivion at Jo’s website it was on a different thread about 2 months ago.
    I think the end might be in sight for the alarmists & WUWT & Nova’s websites might be trying to be a bit conservative so as not to blow it at the last moment perhaps.

    Off topic, but check out this comment I made at the NBR on an anti AGW article (it’s reached 100 BTW). I’m particularly proud of this one:

    ‘When the amount of comments on this article reaches 100 we can draw the percentage of consensus on who agrees with AGW & who doesn’t. So far I’d say we’re looking at around 97% of readers that think AGW is a load of trash. Using the alarmist tactics we can then apply that number to the entire world population and grandly state that 97% of the world’s population think that AGW is unsubstantiated rubbish.

    Don’t you just love a consensus.’

  12. Richard C (NZ) on April 11, 2012 at 8:46 am said:

    That clarification is good to know AGC. i get a bit paranoid when reasonable dissent gets moderated on “our” side (I expect on the other side). I think you are right that JoNova is acting strategically. Also Jo has made no secret that much of her understanding of feedbacks etc is due to David Evans influence so that’s another factor.

    BTW, you forgot the NBR link.

  13. Richard C (NZ) on April 11, 2012 at 9:05 am said:

    Re “I think the end might be in sight”

    This might speed things up a bit:-

    50 Top Astronauts, Scientists, Engineers Sign Letter Claiming Extremist GISS Is Turning NASA Into A Laughing Stock!

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/04/10/50-top-astronauts-scientists-engineers-sign-letter-claiming-giss-is-turning-nasa-into-a-laughing-stock/

    March 28, 2012
    The Honorable Charles Bolden, Jr.
    NASA Administrator
    NASA Headquarters
    Washington, D.C. 20546-0001
    Dear Charlie,

    We, the undersigned, respectfully request that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites. We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.

    The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.

    As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate. We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.

    For additional information regarding the science behind our concern, we recommend that you contact Harrison Schmitt or Walter Cunningham, or others they can recommend to you.

    Thank you for considering this request.

    Sincerely,

    (Attached signatures)

  14. Anthropogenic Global Cooling on April 11, 2012 at 11:03 am said:

    Hey Richard. Here’s that NBR link:

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/sanity-prevail-climate-change-policy-115955

    I saw the NASA letter this morning & was particularly impressed by the amount of signatories at the end. It’s not the end yet, but I think when it finally does come it’ll happen very quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hansen goes the way of Salinger.

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