The Denial Industrial Complex

Matt Nisbet reports:

A new study by a team of political scientists and sociologists at the journal Environmental Politics concludes that 9 out of 10 books published since 1972 that have disputed the seriousness of environmental problems and mainstream science can be linked to a conservative think tank (CTT). Following on earlier work by co-author Riley Dunlap and colleagues, the study examines the ability of conservative think tanks to use the media and other communication strategies to successfully challenge mainstream expert agreement on environmental problems.

(Clarification: A couple of readers thought Nisbet was saying that one particular CTT was linked to 90% of the books. Nisbet means that 90% of books can be linked to CTTs.)

Some extracts:


A key to the success of CTTs has been their ability to establish themselves
as a true ‘counter-intelligentsia’ that has achieved equal legitimacy with
mainstream science and academia — both of which have been effectively
labelled as ‘leftist’ in order to legitimise CTT’s as providing ‘balance’ (Austin
2002). Beder (2001, p. 129) highlights this, noting that even though ‘think tanks
have more in common with interest groups or pressure groups than academic
institutions’, their representatives ‘are treated by the media as independent
experts and … are often preferred to representatives from universities and
interest groups as a source of expert opinion’. This has been a particularly
notable accomplishment in the realm of scientific and environmental issues
because CTTs are populated primarily by economists, policy analysts and legal
scholars rather than natural scientists (Fischer 1991); the George C. Marshall
Institute is an exception (Lahsen 2005).

The lack of in-house scientific expertise helps explain why CTTs have been
quick to form relationships with the small number of academic scientists who
support their views, as in the case of ‘climate sceptics’ (Lahsen 2005; McCright
and Dunlap 2003). Doing so helps shield the fact that the sceptical position is
strongly aligned with conservatism and the economic interests it represents
(Austin 2002; Mooney 2005b), thus hiding from the public the underlying
source of what appears on the surface to be another ‘policy debate’ among
equally qualified experts (Ehrlich and Ehrlich 1996; Lahsen 2005). …

As a result of their ready access to media (Dolny 2003), CTTs were able
to create a situation in which major media outlets portrayed climate science as
an evenly divided debate between sceptics and non-sceptics (Boykoff and
Boykoff 2004) employing what McCright and Dunlap (2003, p. 366) term the
‘duelling scientists’ version of the balancing norm. The result is that US media
have given disproportionate attention to the views of a small number of global
warming sceptics (Antilla 2005; Boykoff 2007), and as a consequence have been
significantly more likely than media in other industrial nations to portray
global warming as a controversial issue characterised by scientific uncertainty
(Dispensa and Brulle 2003; Gelbspan 2004; Grundmann 2007). …

The timing of sceptical books follows a noticeable trend, as illustrated in
Table 2. There is a consistent increase in sceptical literature over time, starting
with only six books in the 1970s and 14 in the 1980s. All save two of these 20
are by US authors. The 1990s saw a five-fold increase in sceptical literature
over the preceding decade. Further, judging by the number of books published
in its first six years, the current decade is on track to surpass the 1990s (see
Table 2). …

Our analyses of the sceptical literature and CTTs indicate an unambiguous
linkage between the two. Over 92 per cent of environmentally sceptical books
are linked to conservative think tanks, and 90 per cent of conservative think
tanks interested in environmental issues espouse scepticism. Environmental
scepticism began in the US, is strongest in the US, and exploded after the end
of the Cold War and the emergence of global environmental concern
stimulated by the 1992 Earth Summit.

Environmental scepticism is an elite-driven reaction to global environmentalism,
organised by core actors within the conservative movement. Promoting
scepticism is a key tactic of the anti-environmental counter-movement
coordinated by CTTs, designed specifically to undermine the environmental
movement’s efforts to legitimise its claims via science. Thus, the notion that
environmental sceptics are unbiased analysts exposing the myths and scare
tactics employed by those they label as practitioners of ‘junk science’ lacks
credibility. Similarly, the self-portrayal of sceptics as marginalised ‘Davids’ battling the powerful ‘Goliath’ of environmentalists and environmental
scientists is a charade, as sceptics are supported by politically powerful CTTs
funded by wealthy foundations and corporations.

Comments

  1. #1 bi -- IJI
    June 5, 2008

    Ugh… I can’t read the paper. Which is sad, because I do want to know more about the network of think-tanks…

  2. #2 Monsoonevans
    June 5, 2008

    This is the most insane commentary I think I have read yet. I dont even know where to begin.
    Honestly, you do yourself a disservice by putting your opinions on paper.
    ‘Sceptics’, as they are called, use science to prove the point that AGW is not only categoricaly false, but more importantly, WRONG.
    Tim, there are 2 foundations that support the AGW house of cards;
    1. That atmospheric CO2 drives temperatures.
    2. That human emmissions of CO2 drives atmospheric CO2.

    Point 1- As clearly illustrated using the Vostic Ice Core Samples, CO2 levels FOLLOW Global temps. Al Gore was kind enough to provide that information to everyone in his ‘film’.
    Point 2- Proven fact #2 is that human emmissions contribute at an almost untraceable level to Atmospheric CO2 levels. The Oceans and decaying carbonic rock inside the earth generate almost all of the CO2 thats makes it into the atmosphere.

    These facts come to us from individuals that are brave enough to stand up and speak the truth.
    The vast majority of climate scientists rely on ‘Governmental grants’ and not private funding from businesses. And by the way, look up the head of the IPCC and look at all the boards he sits on.
    One last thing that you may want to do is look at the trends of atmospheric CO2 up till the late 1920’s and see what happens to that trend when the Great Depression hit and human emmissions of CO2 dropped by 30% over a 4 year period. Guess what happened? Nothing. Atm CO2 levels continued at the exact same rate. How is that possible????

  3. #3 bi -- IJI
    June 5, 2008

    Yet another person who totally ignores the post to spew his own talking points.

    In return, I’ll just ignore him.

  4. #4 t_p_hamilton
    June 5, 2008

    “Point 2- Proven fact #2 is that human emmissions contribute at an almost untraceable level to Atmospheric CO2 levels. The Oceans and decaying carbonic rock inside the earth generate almost all of the CO2 thats makes it into the atmosphere.”

    Drink deep from the Kool-Aid, or not at all. :)

  5. #5 bi -- IJI
    June 5, 2008

    Can we get back on topic please? Monsoonevans obviously has nothing to contribute except the same old tired tripe.

  6. #6 bi -- IJI
    June 5, 2008

    > even though ‘think tanks have more in common with interest groups or pressure groups than academic institutions’, their representatives ‘are treated by the media as independent experts and … are often preferred to representatives from universities and interest groups as a source of expert opinion’.

    Um, how true is this? My impression was that think-tankers work through the commentary page, and it’s more like some sort of “right of reply” thing.

  7. #7 Monsoonevans
    June 5, 2008

    bi–IJI,
    I didnt ignore the post. The whole reason I wrote a reply was because of the post. I may have incorrectly implicated Tim when it should have been directed to Mr. Nisbett. My comments were to do 2 things. First to present the facts to the author regarding the issue that the so called ‘deniers’ are denying. Its important to understand what the scope of the discussion is all about.
    Secondly, one can go down the list of proponents of AGW and clearly see that they ALL receive funding/grants from some type of organization or another. Some even get their funds from both private and governmental agencies(Rajendra Pachauri for starters). My point is that the conflict of interest is much greater for the AGW proponents. Their jobs/existence depends on it. Think about it, if your a climate scientist and you go for your interview or ask for funds, what side do you want to be on? Not to hard to figure that out.
    You can choose to bury your head in the sand and decide to ignore the evidence, or we can actually debate the merits of the issue at hand. It is disingenuous to suggest that those who back ‘deniers’ are anywhere close to the ‘support’ behind the alarmists.

  8. #8 Peter Bickle
    June 5, 2008

    Bi – All this bluster when 2008 is a cold year, no temperture following CO2 here chappie. How do you keep a straight face? I suppose Gistemp will show a record May, only to be down graded later in the month, just like April. Using GisTemp the world has not warmed in 5 years but CO2 has increased 2-3%, I see divergence here.

    Regards from a remarkably cool New Zealand
    Peter Bickle

  9. #9 ben
    June 5, 2008

    Er, if you look at voting records, don’t the vast majority of college faculty in the US vote Democrat? Is that because they’re smarter than us unwashed conservatives?

  10. #10 Paul H
    June 5, 2008

    “Bi – All this bluster when 2008 is a cold year, no temperture following CO2 here chappie. How do you keep a straight face? I suppose Gistemp will show a record May, only to be down graded later in the month, just like April. Using GisTemp the world has not warmed in 5 years but CO2 has increased 2-3%, I see divergence here.”

    Peter,

    You do realise that you are trying to interpret noise don’t you? It’s funny, you look at the temperature records fail to see the consistent noisy nature of that data and see trends, but I see consistently noisy data.

    We’ve seen “divergence” approximately 10 times since 1970 according to HADCRUT. I’d say that this “divergence” tends not to be very persistent.

  11. #11 Tushara
    June 5, 2008

    “Point 2- Proven fact #2″ … really a fact? I don’t know where to begin. Ever heard of isotopes? Ever heard of carbon-14?

    Sorry, your fact is wrong. Anthropogenic carbon dioxide can be measured.

    It is really sad when skeptics trying to deny the work of Charles Keeling and more.

  12. #12 Tushara
    June 5, 2008

    Btw if human emissions are indeed ‘untraceable’ and this is a fact, your point

    “One last thing that you may want to do is look at the trends of atmospheric CO2 up till the late 1920’s and see what happens to that trend when the Great Depression hit and human emmissions of CO2 dropped by 30% over a 4 year period. Guess what happened? Nothing. Atm CO2 levels continued at the exact same rate. How is that possible????”

    Makes no sense, how do you prove this then?

  13. #13 Sock Puppet of the Great Satan
    June 5, 2008

    “Proven fact #2 is that human emmissions contribute at an almost untraceable level to Atmospheric CO2 levels.”

    Err, no. We can detect human contribution by measuring isotope ratios.

    Isn’t it sweet to be lectured on the mad science skillz of AGW deniers by someone who hasn’t the foggiest notion of what the underlying science of the AGW theory is?

  14. #14 James Haughton
    June 5, 2008

    So Peter (8) the president of Kiribati has asked NZ (and Australia) to accept his entire population as refugees as ocean rising is making his islands uninhabitable. Why don’t you (and the rest of the NZ sound climate lobby or whatever they call themselves) invest in Kiribati real estate? Since global warming is a myth and the Kiribatians have been hoodwinked, they’ll sell for peanuts and you could make a killing in the resorts and tax haven business when the ocean doesn’t rise.

  15. #15 John Quiggin
    June 5, 2008

    Could I suggest not feeding the trolls. As the post shows, they are not merely deluded on this issue, but wrapped in an entire parallel universe of delusion. Debating them is a waste of time. The important thing is to publicise the facts about how their bogus worldview has been construct, so that media organisations stop treating conservative thinktankers as legitimate participants in scientific debate and start treating them as the hacks they are.

  16. #16 z
    June 5, 2008

    “The Oceans and decaying carbonic rock inside the earth generate almost all of the CO2 thats makes it into the atmosphere. ”

    I’ll bite; is this a property of all water, or only sodium chloride solutions?

  17. #17 Dano
    June 5, 2008

    Quick! Someone get on the phone, ring up Benny Peiser, and get him on this list of 141 books!

    Benben, the world needs you!

    Best,

    D

  18. #18 Paul Murray
    June 5, 2008

    “Debating them is a waste of time.”

    Very much so. Ditto creationists, moon-landing deniers, and “9-11 was an inside job” nuts.

    Why are these people so often Americans, do you think? Something to do with your founding myths: the moral goodness of america, the endless frontier, the unlimited natural wealth of the fruiting purple plains. Some people just cant let these myths go.

  19. #19 Chris O'Neill
    June 5, 2008

    PB:

    Using GisTemp the world has not warmed in 5 years but CO2 has increased 2-3%, I see divergence here.

    Yes and CO2 has abolished natural variation. How do you keep a straight face?

    Regards from a warm and very dry southern Australia.

  20. #20 Dano
    June 5, 2008

    Frank, your

    Um, how true is this? My impression was that think-tankers work through the commentary page, and it’s more like some sort of “right of reply” thing.

    isn’t quite correct. NPR’s Morning Edition has been fond of using Ken Green lately, and their use of CEI-AEI folks has increased since the Repubs got into their corporate office.

    And the Sunday morning politics shows? Watch them. Rife.

    Best,

    D

  21. #21 bi -- IJI
    June 5, 2008

    Dano: aww crap…

  22. #22 Jeff Harvey
    June 6, 2008

    “These facts come to us from individuals that are brave enough to stand up and speak the truth”…

    while many are coincidentally and conveniently getting paid huge sums of money by industries with a vested interest in denial…

    Just thought I’d add in what Monsoonevans didn’t.

  23. #23 Chris O'Neill
    June 6, 2008

    drongo:

    I doubt if southern Australia is very warm

    Arrogant Ignoramus.

  24. #24 Joe
    June 6, 2008

    Interesting thing about the denialists is that they have this (Huxley?) view of the way science works, that ‘a beautiful theory can be killed by a single nasty fact’. But of course if science worked that way, we would have given up Newtonian physics in the early nineteenth century, when it couldn’t account for the motion of Uranus.

  25. #25 Bernard Blyth
    June 6, 2008

    Why bother with yet another post exhibiting the logical fallacy of “poisoning the well”? This blog has so many of them its make another superfluous. Are you going for some kind of award as the most illogical blog on the web?

    What is important is whether the arguments used by sceptics are true and valid, not whom those who make them are linked with. That cannot logically have any bearing on the truth or validity of the arguments.

    The green movement has to answer for the effects of its campaigns whether it is malaria killing poor people because of the anti-DDT campaign, or food shortages caused by anti-GM and pro-Biofuel lobbies. It cannot get off the hook by attacking the morals, politics, or business-links of anyone who points this out.

  26. #26 Chris O'Neill
    June 6, 2008

    Bernard Blyth:

    What is important is whether the arguments used by sceptics are true and valid

    Your own post shows that these are not the only things that matter to you.

  27. #27 Cairnarvon
    June 6, 2008

    What is important is whether the arguments used by sceptics are true and valid, not whom those who make them are linked with. That cannot logically have any bearing on the truth or validity of the arguments.

    This would normally be a fair point, except that if their arguments were valid, we’d see a lot more independent studies confirmed them. Instead, what we see is that the only people repeating them are people who are paid specifically to repeat them.

  28. #28 guthrie
    June 6, 2008

    Wow, a new level of silliness has been reached. WE know pretty well how much CO2 humans are producing, because we know how much fossil fuels are being burnt. This should be obvious. The changing isotope ratio allows us to prove that it is man made CO2 hanging around in the atmosphere.

  29. #29 Jeff Harvey
    June 6, 2008

    When Bernard Blyth writes, “food shortages caused by anti-GM” he is creating the perfect straw-man argument. There’s tons of evidence that the push for GM crops from the developed countries has absolutely nothing to do with alleviating hunger. The spectre of hunger and the starvation card is just another absolute good example of corporate greenwash in promoting a technology that is aimed at increasing profits for companies investing in the technology.

  30. #30 bi -- IJI
    June 6, 2008

    Cairnarvon:

    > Instead, what we see is that the only people repeating them are people who are paid specifically to repeat them.

    Indeed… which must be why the inactivists here have avoided claiming that the “Do Nothing Now!” results don’t come from a bunch of non-scientific think-tanks. Instead they just keep repeating the same old talking points they heard from the very same think-tanks

    Jeff Harvey:

    > while many are coincidentally and conveniently getting paid huge sums of money by industries with a vested interest in denial…

    I argued in blog comments that the inactivists aren’t motivated by good old things like power, money, or sex; instead they’re motivated by plain old hatred for all things environmentalist. And the oil and coal industries, well, simply found in them a quick way to prop up their business models, and next we know they’re in a sort of symbiotic relationship.

  31. #31 Tim Worstall
    June 6, 2008

    Pity I can’t access the whole paper, would be interesting to see the whole thing.
    One point that might be worth considering is who, if anyone, published and funded whatever books there were in the same period that supported the “environmental” view of the world.
    Who is publishing what attempts to disprove such a view is interesting, but isn’t it also interesting to see who publishes the original views? How much did the WorldWatch Institute publish over those years? And are we really supposed to take them as impartial promulgators of “science”?
    There’s also a bit of a mixn’match there between “climate sceptics” and the more general “environmental sceptics”. If, for example, I were to publish something stating that curbside recycling programmes are more expensive than simpler landfill based methods of domestic waste disposal (as I have in an article or two, pointing out that none of the cost benefit analyses, even when they do include pollution externalities, include the cost of the time spent on the sorting by households) then I might be counted as an environmental sceptic but that doesn’t then follow that I’m a climate change sceptic.
    Or as Jerry Taylor at Cato has pointed out that some regulations on contaminants cost $ billions per life saved…this might be scepticism about certain plans of some environmentalists, but it’s, again, not climate scepticism.

  32. #32 Jeff Harvey
    June 6, 2008

    Bi, I don’t totaslly agree with your statement, “I argued in blog comments that the inactivists aren’t motivated by good old things like power, money, or sex; instead they’re motivated by plain old hatred for all things environmentalist”.

    To me, this is too simple. At the root of it all is money because money is power and money is control. Andy Rowell’s excellent book, ‘Green Backlash”, although written in 1996, is still very relevant today. It details how the ‘brownlash’ see any kinds of environmental regulation as a denial of liberty and as a threat to maximizing profit. In my view this has always been their primary aim: eviscertaing the role of government in the economy in pursuit of private profit. The denial lobby has invested billions of dollars in attacking the science they hate and to promote a pre-determined worldview and political agenda. They see the environmental movement as a threat to the way they do business, hence their vilification of it.

  33. #33 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 6, 2008

    Moonsoonevans writes:

    Point 1- As clearly illustrated using the Vostic Ice Core Samples, CO2 levels FOLLOW Global temps. Al Gore was kind enough to provide that information to everyone in his ‘film’.

    In a natural deglaciation, CO2 follows temperature and amplifies the slight increase into a large one. That is NOT what is happening now. For the past 200 years, CO2 has led temperature.

    There are two different sources involved. In a natural deglaciation, temperature rises, CO2 becomes less soluble in water, and it is emitted from the ocean. In the present situation, the CO2 is coming largely from the combustion of fossil fuels. We can tell from its radioisotope signature.

    Point 2- Proven fact #2 is that human emmissions contribute at an almost untraceable level to Atmospheric CO2 levels. The Oceans and decaying carbonic rock inside the earth generate almost all of the CO2 thats makes it into the atmosphere.

    Not the whole truth. The vast natural sources of CO2 are balanced by vast natural SINKS for CO2. That’s why ambient carbon dioxide was steady at around 280 parts per million by volume for thousands of years. Since the industrial revolution began, the small additional output from human technology has raised the input above the output, and the background amount has increased from 280 to 385 ppmv. Thus 27% of the CO2 in the air around us is from human technological sources.

    These facts come to us from individuals that are brave enough to stand up and speak the truth.

    Right — climatologists.

    The vast majority of climate scientists rely on ‘Governmental grants’ and not private funding from businesses. And by the way, look up the head of the IPCC and look at all the boards he sits on.

    And your point here is…?

    One last thing that you may want to do is look at the trends of atmospheric CO2 up till the late 1920’s and see what happens to that trend when the Great Depression hit and human emmissions of CO2 dropped by 30% over a 4 year period. Guess what happened? Nothing. Atm CO2 levels continued at the exact same rate. How is that possible????

    Because, as you yourself noted, the human addition is very small compared to the natural background. For more on why this argument is bogus, try here:

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/Cockburn.html

  34. #34 Dano
    June 6, 2008

    One point that might be worth considering is who, if anyone, published and funded whatever books there were in the same period that supported the “environmental” view of the world. Who is publishing what attempts to disprove such a view is interesting, but isn’t it also interesting to see who publishes the original views?

    What we can count on is not a well-controlled study to find this out, but rather a slapdash petition or Mike Morano press release or ululating op-ed picked up by the National Post

    Fact is, this industry has published very few credible pieces of work.

    Best,

    D

  35. #35 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 6, 2008

    Bernard Blyth blythely posts:

    The green movement has to answer for the effects of its campaigns whether it is malaria killing poor people because of the anti-DDT campaign,

    A myth. It has been widely discussed in this very blog. How long have you been reading it? The key fact of interest is that, contrary to right-wing propaganda, DDT was never banned for antimalarial use in the third world.

    or food shortages caused by anti-GM and pro-Biofuel lobbies.

    The amount of GM food being produced is small compared to non-GM, and most of it is consumed. No shortage there. Biofuel hasn’t been a big problem either, though it will become one if countries go into it carelessly. The rising food prices of the present are caused largely by drought in Europe, Australia, the southeastern USA and Africa. BTW, global warming results in more droughts in continental interiors.

  36. #36 bi -- IJI
    June 6, 2008

    > To me, this is too simple. At the root of it all is money because money is power and money is control.

    But that’s definitely not the whole story. For instance, why did Nierenberg, as director of the SIO, decide to deny global warming instead of making a good name for himself by doing some cool stuff at the SIO? Can’t he continue to get power, influence, and money by this route?

    The oil and coal industries obviously have a motive to get folks to shill for them — this is what I said. But what was in it for Jastrow and Nierenberg, for example? The standard account by Oreskes et al. simply goes that after the Cold War they suddenly decided to attack AGW, for no (stated) reason whatsoever. I do think there’s an element of hate in there (though admittedly, that’s not exactly a very good theory either).

  37. #37 Tim Lambert
    June 6, 2008

    Tim W:

    >One point that might be worth considering is who, if anyone, published and funded whatever books there were in the same period that supported the “environmental” view of the world.

    Going through books just to hand: Andrew Dessler, Texas A&M; Chris Mooney, freelance journalist; James Lovelock, Oxford; Ian Enting, Melbourne; Tim Flannery, Macquarie; Al Gore;

    No think tanks or equivalents unless you want to count Al Gore.

  38. #38 John Quiggin
    June 6, 2008

    Tim L, the books you list are mostly responses to the attacks on science. I’d suggest the correct answer to Tim W is found by looking for the funders of Nature, Science, Scientific American and so on, where the science attacked by the likes of Steve Milloy and PlanetGore is typically first published.

    You could also look at the US NAS, CSIRO and so on, funded by governments that have, for the last decade or so been violently hostile to climate science and the environment.

  39. #39 Dano
    June 6, 2008

    Q is correct – you want to look at Island Press and other such imprinters. How many has Soros funded vs Scaife? How many green books go on the discount shelves 2 weeks after release like Scaife’s do?

    In fact, some of you well-funded enviro-**zis+ should preempt the piece of cr*p Mike Morano-PR poll that will come out in two weeks and do your own list of green books.

    Best,

    D

    + Right Tim and Q? ;o)

  40. #40 Tim Worstall
    June 6, 2008

    OK, is Worldwatch a think tank or equivalent? Certainly arguable, don’t you think?
    Their (incomplete) publication list is here:
    http://www.worldwatch.org/taxonomy/term/45
    I don’t think any of us would argue that they’re impartial promulgators of straight science, would we? That’s why I mentioned them above: what is the comparison between rightie tankers and their books on the environment and greenie tankers and theirs?

    Off topic, this is good from their press release for the first book on the list:

    http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5300

    “The increase in world agriculture prices caused by the global boom in biofuels could benefit many of the world’s rural poor, according to the Worldwatch Institute.”

  41. #41 Vagueofgodalming
    June 6, 2008

    Bi, I think in her online lecture (linked by Tim a few months back but Google will get it for you quickly enough) Oreskes said Jastrow and the other Marshall Institute founders were motivated by ideology: to them, any government regulation was backdoor communism. So ‘environmentalism’ was bad because its supporters agitated for regulation.

    I tend to share Jeff Harvey’s view when considered at a collective level: given that there are a number of scientists around with sufficient ideological biases to override their scientific objectivity, the ones who float (sink?) to prominence will be those whose biases can get financial support.

  42. #42 Jeff Harvey
    June 6, 2008

    Bi, we agree on most points. As you said, I do think there’s an element of hate in there against the environmental lobby, but my five cent’s worth is that certainly some of this hate is projected for financial/profit related reasons, because many corporate elites see public opinion as a threat. If there are too many people promoting regulation to protect the environment, as influenced by a strong environmental lobby, then this will have profound fiscal repercussions. This might help to explain why there’s so much money sloshing around in the anti-environmental coffers.

  43. #43 Dano
    June 6, 2008

    Worstall tries in vain:

    I don’t think any of us would argue that they’re impartial promulgators of straight science, would we?

    Those of us who can identify science don’t say WW conducts hypothesis tests on a regular basis. Or an occasional basis. But we say their sources and refs – FAO, scientific journals, usually no polemic books from people with no training in the sciences – are generally solid, not cherry-picked, quote-mined or mischaracterized.

    Those of us who don’t know a T-test from hemorrhoid cream look at their Board and their mission statement and find that their goal is to promote sustainability, there are no big energy companies on the board looking to greenwash their reputations, nor does their mission statement have phrases like “balanced view” or “sound science”, and the alarm bells go off and we wonder about their agenda. Horrors! Oh, the humanity! They want to send us back to the Stone Age!

    Best,

    D

  44. #44 Monsoonevans
    June 6, 2008

    Barton Levenson writes:

    “In a natural deglaciation, CO2 follows temperature and amplifies the slight increase into a large one. That is NOT what is happening now. For the past 200 years, CO2 has led temperature.”

    Were are you getting that information? In your 1st sentance you state the CO2 FOLLOWS temperature. In your second sentance you say CO2 leads temps?!?! According to any reliable source I have seen, CO2 has always followed temps. Please point me to the research and samples that say I’m wrong.

    I would also like to correct myself when I said human emmissions were almost untraceable. It would be more accurate to say; ‘relative to naturally occuring events (ie., oceans, carbonic rock).
    You can do all the name calling you want and claim we are using the same tired arguments, but at the end of the day, nature rules. This shouldnt be a political or economical debate but rather one based purely on science and common sense. Once you involve self interested parties (business, scientists, governments, capitalists), you lose objectivity.
    The science as we know it says that were we are NOW is historically inline with were we should be. Milankovich clearly demonstates that.
    Common sense clearly shows that atmospheric CO2 comes after temperature. The carbon ‘sink’ theory is just that. An attempt to rationalize a position with something that is just not accurate.
    Last bit of common sense is why there can be No REAL answer to why temperatures keep going up and down if rising CO2 is directly causing the earth to warm. How does that make any sense??
    Bottom line is that the proper people arent sitting down and hamming this thing out. It is being settled by disengenous people. When the IPCC refuses to allow dissenting views prior to final reports, then we have a problem with taking anything they say as fair or impartial.
    I wish you didnt resort to name calling and using excuses as to not answering questions directly and addressing major problems with the AGW theory. It would go a long way in settling this debate if we debated the ‘facts’. Just need to make sure we are using ALL the CORRECT facts.

    I should have said, ‘relative’ to naturally occuring Atmospheric CO2. My mistake.

  45. #45 Bernard Blyth
    June 6, 2008

    BPL sets up a straw man in response to my post. I did not say that DDT has ever been banned anywhere. That point – despite being the subject of dozens of threads on this blog – is totally irrelevant. Many countries and aid/health agencies chose quite freely not to use DDT against malaria because of the widespread and successful campaigns of the green lobby; following Rachel Carson’s false belief that even the smallest contact with DDT can cause cancer and other serious diseases.

    But in any case my main point is unanswerable. Attacking the people making the arguments against you does not logically help your case one little bit, but instead diminishes your own case in the eyes of the neutral observer.

  46. #46 sod
    June 6, 2008

    sorry, i ll bite:

    Last bit of common sense is why there can be No REAL answer to why temperatures keep going up and down if rising CO2 is directly causing the earth to warm. How does that make any sense??

    funny, CO2 is constantly increasing, but temperature rises every morning and sinks every evening. obviously you just gave us the proof, that CO2 is not related to tempearture in any way.

    please give this man a medal!

    ====

    on topic, nobody who has been following the denislaist sphere for more than a couple of months can ignore the fact that they are intervoven with a handfull of institutes and thinktanks.

  47. #47 Boris
    June 6, 2008

    What is frustrating about this is that the media treats these conservative think tanks as if they were actual reliable sources. The intellectual dishonesty it takes to remain a free market libertarian in the face of reality is quite impressive.

  48. #48 WaitaSecond
    June 6, 2008

    How may pro-global warming books can be linked to funded pro-global warming sources, I wonder?

    Bit of logical fallacy to assume that because a book is “linked” to a conservative think tank, the book must be propaganda. Don’t you have to argue each book on its merits? I would argue that the same logic, applied to pro-environmental books, would probably yield similar results. Does that mean we should dismiss such works also?

  49. #49 Dano
    June 6, 2008

    Many countries and aid/health agencies chose quite freely not to use DDT against malaria because of the widespread and successful campaigns of the green lobby;

    You “forgot” to mention:

    The green lobby found that the application techniques led to increasing resistance and decreasing effectiveness.

    The overapplication because of decreasing effectiveness (the hallmark of most insecticides, BTW, which is why licensed applicators must take entomology classes to understand this) was a causative factor in the dirty green lobby’s pointing out the increased cancer rates and environmental damage caused by the mindless application of DDT.

    But odds are if you are promulgating these talking points you don’t want to hear this, so I merely post this whack-a-mole for the record and wonder why I wasted this time, which I’ll never get back.

    Best,

    D

  50. #50 WaitaSecond
    June 6, 2008

    DDT:

    Still, you can’t really make the argument that cancer deaths from potential DDT overexposure would be greater than lives saved from Malaria.

    The math is pretty simple on that.

  51. #51 Boris
    June 6, 2008

    50: Read 49 again.

  52. #52 Dano
    June 6, 2008

    The math is pretty simple on that.

    Speaking of simple: [killfile]

    Best,

    D

  53. #53 luminous beauty
    June 6, 2008

    http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5703

    DDT isn’t a silver bullet for malaria control. Never was. Never will be. Broadcast spraying is pretty much useless. All DDT is good for is as a relatively inferior indoor repellent, which is just a band-aid approach.

    It’s all the greenies’ fault that effective local vector controls haven’t been established in Equatorial Africa. Sure.

  54. #54 Chris O'Neill
    June 6, 2008

    Bernard Blyth:

    But in any case my main point

    i.e.:

    What is important is whether the arguments used by sceptics are true and valid, not whom those who make them are linked with. That cannot logically have any bearing on the truth or validity of the arguments.

    is unanswerable.

    I’d like to live in an ideal world where I knew the truth all the time too. But given that I don’t, I need other ways of finding out what the truth is likely to be and then if I find some people are not telling the truth it’s interesting to know why they they are not telling the truth. I know enough about the science to know that the sceptic arguments are garbage and that they have been garbage for a long time. It’s interesting for other reasons to know what motivates sceptic arguments.

  55. #55 bi -- IJI
    June 6, 2008

    WaitaSecond:

    > Bit of logical fallacy to assume that because a book is “linked” to a conservative think tank, the book must be propaganda.

    Well, if 90% of books touting the benefits supposed magical elixirs are linked to the vendors of such elixirs, of course one should give the benefit of the doubt and assume first that the books aren’t propaganda. Of course!

    ===

    Jeff Harvey:

    > As you said, I do think there’s an element of hate in there against the environmental lobby, but my five cent’s worth is that certainly some of this hate is projected for financial/profit related reasons

    Oh well, I guess the ‘disagreement’ is on how much of the hate is genuine, and how much of it is merely faked by the Big Smog industries. I’m currently thinking more towards the former, but I may be way wrong…

    ===

    Vagueofgodalming:

    > Oreskes said Jastrow and the other Marshall Institute founders were motivated by ideology: to them, any government regulation was backdoor communism.

    I suppose what I’m looking at is how environmentalism (in general) came to be viewed as covert Bolshevism — Jastrow and friends didn’t exactly invent the “greenies are commies” meme. I’m still wondering where that come from, but at this point it still seems that it’s merely an extension of an older hatred. Bleh.

    ===

    sod:

    > on topic, nobody who has been following the denislaist sphere for more than a couple of months can ignore the fact that they are intervoven with a handfull of institutes and thinktanks.

    Clinton did it too, Clinton did it too, Clinton did it too, …

  56. #56 Lee A. Arnold
    June 6, 2008

    Worldwatch predicted the increase in grain prices, and oil prices, and the decrease in freshwater availability many years ago, while the Usual Denial Clowns were insisting it couldn’t happen because it would all be corrected by free markets, and anyway be of no concern to the world’s rich. Of course this is now one of the arguments by the global warming deniers. As for the observation that “higher food prices should benefit the world’s rural poor,” that is a standard, one-equation classroom syllogism in economics — since of course it should raise farmers’ incomes. Indeed, one of Worldwatch’s real failings is its occasional reversion to clownish economics arguments, ceteris paribus and without regard for complex systems. It is a sad reminder of the fact that, contemporaneous with the “Denial Industrial Complex,” since the early 1970’s there has been a concerted effort to flood the media with market fundamentalisms, and in the U.S. it was so successful that the man in the street is still spouting the gibberish. An investigation will perhaps show that those freemarket thinktanks are some of the same ones as the science deniers, and are funded by many of the same people — all in service to the business and financial sectors, and their bought-and-paid-for politicians. These people learned by the early 20th century that in a democracy, public relations is everything: because votes are everything. By comparison, economics is really a small subdivision of control theory. Its manipulation, however, can be highly profitable.

  57. #57 me
    June 6, 2008

    Could I suggest not feeding the trolls. As the post shows, they are not merely deluded on this issue, but wrapped in an entire parallel universe of delusion. Debating them is a waste of time. The important thing is to publicise the facts about how their bogus worldview has been construct, so that media organisations stop treating conservative thinktankers as legitimate participants in scientific debate and start treating them as the hacks they are.

    John’s definition of “troll”:

    “Anyone who does not march in lock-step with my agenda.”

    John’s definition of “hack”:

    “Anyone who does not march in lock-step with my agenda.”

  58. #58 bi -- IJI
    June 6, 2008

    me: You’re just screaing and saying nothing substantial. Good day.

  59. #59 Global Warming Is A Scam
    June 6, 2008

    Going through books just to hand: Andrew Dessler, Texas A&M; Chris Mooney, freelance journalist; James Lovelock, Oxford; Ian Enting, Melbourne; Tim Flannery, Macquarie; Al Gore;

    The question was who published and funded them, not who wrote the books. There’s a difference.

    This announcement brought to you by the Department of Duh!

  60. #60 Global Warming Is A Scam
    June 6, 2008

    me: You’re just screaing and saying nothing substantial. Good day.

    How does one screa?

  61. #61 Hank Roberts
    June 6, 2008

    Good news:
    http://www.penney.org/ggkiller.html
    Google Groups KillFile GreaseMonkey script

  62. #62 z
    June 6, 2008

    Still, you can’t really make the argument that cancer deaths from potential DDT overexposure would be greater than lives saved from Malaria.”

    but i can, will, and do make the argument that the ban on agricultural use of DDT saved whatever residual effectiveness remained after years of agricultural use generated enough resistance in insect species to make it useless in most of India, Ceylon, Africa, etc. In other words, every life which has been saved by DDT would not have been saved had the agricultural ban not been put into place, as you seem to think would have been preferable.

  63. #63 chrisD
    June 6, 2008

    Were are you getting that information? In your 1st sentance you state the CO2 FOLLOWS temperature. In your second sentance you say CO2 leads temps?!?! According to any reliable source I have seen, CO2 has always followed >temps. Please point me to the research and samples that say I’m wrong.

    Your definition of reliable… I’m afraid to know what it entails. For your research and samples, simply google PETM.

  64. #64 bi -- IJI
    June 7, 2008

    GLOBUL WARMINS A SCAY-UM writes,

    > The question was who published and funded them, not who wrote the books. There’s a difference.

    Of course, it’s the British royal court working with Bolshevists.

    Really, you inactivists should get together and come to a consensus on which of the numerous climate conspiracy theories is true. It only works to wave your hands and say “You didn’t see anything” if… you’re the CIA. Or penguins.

  65. #65 bi -- IJI
    June 7, 2008

    I’m referring to your claim that There Are No Conspiracy Theories. You can wave your hands to make the conspiracy theories disappear, but we’ll still see them.

  66. #66 Ian Gould
    June 7, 2008

    “This shouldnt be a political or economical debate but rather one based purely on science and common sense. Once you involve self interested parties (business, scientists, governments, capitalists), you lose objectivity.”

    So hoe exactly do you conduct a scientific debate if you exclude scientists?

    Actually judging by the list of people who should be excluded, I guess this is a debate best left to illiterate Mongolian yak-herders.

  67. #67 Ian Gould
    June 7, 2008

    “It’s all the greenies’ fault that effective local vector controls haven’t been established in Equatorial Africa. Sure.”

    Well obviously.

    After all Zimbabwe, Angola, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda to name just a few African countries have been so peaceful and prosperous and run by such well-intentioned, honest and competent governments over the past half century that it’s clear that access to DDT is the only conceivable factor standing in the way of them all running universal and 100% effective malaria eradication programs.

  68. #68 David Harmon
    June 7, 2008

    It occurs to me that the “balance” of the denialists amounts to epistemological Manicheanism — asserting a false equality between falsehood and truth, and then claiming the conflict thereof as a “natural balance”.

  69. #69 Barton Paul Levenson
    June 7, 2008

    Monsoonevans posts:

    Barton Levenson writes:

    “In a natural deglaciation, CO2 follows temperature and amplifies the slight increase into a large one. That is NOT what is happening now. For the past 200 years, CO2 has led temperature.”

    Were are you getting that information?

    From time series data. I have figures going back 127 years. Want ‘em?

    In your 1st sentance you state the CO2 FOLLOWS temperature. In your second sentance you say CO2 leads temps?!?!

    Read the whole sentences. I said CO2 follows temperature IN A NATURAL DEGLACIATION, e.g., 11,000 years ago. I said that is NOT what is happening NOW, since CO2 has led temperature FOR THE PAST 200 YEARS.

    Sometimes one leads.

    Sometimes the other leads.

    According to any reliable source I have seen, CO2 has always followed temps. Please point me to the research and samples that say I’m wrong.

    I can give you the figures, or you can just google NASA GISTEMP and MAUNA LOA CO2.

    The science as we know it says that were we are NOW is historically inline with were we should be. Milankovich clearly demonstates that.

    On the contrary. If you do the matrix math to calculate the effect of the Milankovic cycles, you find that the Earth should now be COOLING. We passed the peak of the interglacial 6,000 years ago.

    Common sense clearly shows that atmospheric CO2 comes after temperature.

    I don’t think most people have intuition about which follows which. It’s kind of something that has to be decided empirically.

    The carbon ‘sink’ theory is just that. An attempt to rationalize a position with something that is just not accurate.

    Huh??? Field work and lab work for over a hundred years has demonstrated that there are carbon sinks in nature. Plants do breathe in carbon dioxide. Soil can absorb it. The oceans absorb some. If there were no natural sinks for carbon dioxide, the rate at which it is accumulating in the atmosphere would be about twice what it is.

    Last bit of common sense is why there can be No REAL answer to why temperatures keep going up and down if rising CO2 is directly causing the earth to warm. How does that make any sense??

    Simply because CO2 isn’t the only thing that affects the mean temperature of the Earth. Changes in sunlight, albedo, other greenhouse gases, clouds and aerosols, and the heat balance between the atmosphere and the oceans also have an effect.

  70. #70 trrll
    June 7, 2008

    I don’ think there is any point to responding to these guys who parrot long-debunked talking points. Anybody who posts this kind of thing is either consciously trying to deceive, or else so irrational that no amount of reasoning will sway them. Just post the links, so that other readers don’t get the impression that such nonsense is unchallenged. For example:

    CO2 levels FOLLOW Global temps

    human emmissions contribute at an almost untraceable level to Atmospheric CO2 levels

  71. #71 Marion delgado
    June 7, 2008

    CO2 neither leads nor follows. The relationship is a feedback loop with an eventually terminating sum. At the end of glaciations solar forcing starts the loop. Now human carbon-dumping started it.

  72. #72 t_p_hamilton
    June 8, 2008

    Re: CO2 following temperature increase:

    Chickens always come from eggs, so that means the eggs coming from chickens theory is FALSE.

  73. #73 Lee A. Arnold
    June 8, 2008

    #70 trrll, I think we can safely cubbyhole it under “consciously trying to deceive.” After all of this time, and with all of the available resources, no honest person who is able to read and write, much less come up with these detailed links, will really get the science wrong. Conclusion? We’re reading public relations trolls, paid for by the petro industries. Hi, guys!

  74. #74 stewart
    June 8, 2008

    It looks like we’ve reached the point where arguing against CO2 affecting climate is crankery. It may have been debatable 20 years ago, like relativity, evolution through natural selection, the heliocentric solar system, or germ theory of disease, but now arguing against these things requires ignoring the host of accumulated evidence and requiring a conspiracy among those who actually study these topics for a living.

  75. #75 Steve Bloom
    June 9, 2008

    Re #71: Marion, in terms of the glacial cycle CO2 fluctuations, at the onset of either a glaciation or a deglaciation a CO2 feedback very definitely follows the initial change in temperature (driven in turn by the change in orbital forcing). See here for the details of the likely mechanism.

  76. #76 Steve Bloom
    June 9, 2008

    Re #74: Stewart, it wasn’t debatable then either. That the ice cores would show CO2 lagging T was not only predicted, had the opposite been found it would have required a complete revision of the science.

    What’s interesting about this particular argument is that only denialists seem confused by it.

  77. #77 John Mashey
    June 9, 2008

    re: #73 Lee

    Can you provide any evidence for your assertion that the trolls are trolls paid by petrochemical industries, as opposed to;

    – paid trolls, paid by thinktanks [possibly paid by certain family foundations, maybe petrochemical]

    or

    – unpaid trolls, doing it either because they like baiting people, or are of the hardcore anti-AGW views for either ideological reasons or fear of economic issues (but without actually getting paid by petrochemical folks)

    – From what I’ve seen, industries have paid for some specific thinktanks and marketing campaigns, and are relatively efficient in dispensing money.

    – There are clearly a bunch of people who will fight AGW (usually for ideological reasons), and will do it for free, and may even spend money to set up websites for such. Maybe some hope to get some funding.

    I conjecture that many trolls are of the latter category. Do you have any data that says otherwise?

  78. #78 Jeff Harvey
    June 9, 2008

    John,

    You are correct but so is Lee. The latter category you describe (# 77) are more often than not made up of people who, as the commentator Mickey Z says in his book, “The 7 Deadly Spins”, are doing well on the basis of the current global economic/political system (e.g. the beneficiaries of free market absolutism and the current economic order). They see any kind of change as a threat to their lifestyle, even if this would lead to some measure of social justice around the world. These people largely depend on the corporate media for their information – the same media that promote the ‘mass production of ignorance’ (to quote British historian Mark Curtis). These media outlets provide a conduit – a megaphone if you like – for the denial industry. It’s no wonder then that many people in the developed world exhibit profoundly ideological resaons for opposing AGW. As with the government and media lies that were used to justify the invasion of Iraq, that were largely based on fear, the same strategy is being used to attack the science underpinning climate change. The fear card works, as the population huddles under an unbrella of support for those who wish to maintain the status quo.

  79. #79 John Mashey
    June 9, 2008

    re: #78 Jeff

    Yes, I agree, more-or-less. My point was that it is a (counterproductive) over-simplification to assume that any troll is getting paid by petrochemical interests (directly or indirectly), just as it is a bad idea to assume that every known anti-AGW writer/speaker is so paid.

    In addition, I’d suggest that while there may be rich anti-AGW trolls, there are plenty who are not doing all that well on a local scale [although of course, anyone with a PC, internet connection, and enough free time to endlessly post... is better than average on a world scale].

    Especially sad is the fact that such people often argue against their own & descendants’ self-interest. [I.e., since many of the same actions needed to lessen economic downturn from peak oil+gas are exactly those (efficiency, renewable energy) are those needed for mitigating climate change. A lot of average folks are going to get hurt.

    But the bottom line is that it is impossible to convince a paid troll, and likely to convince an unpaid troll with strong ideology, but one might sway some of the less committed ones, and simply proclaiming that any troll must be a petrochemically paid … is of zero, and maybe negative value.

  80. #80 Lee A. Arnold
    June 9, 2008

    #77 John Mashey, hi. No hard evidence. I am going on inference only. I include most “thinktanks” with the “public relations” industry, so that obviates your first distinction. I infer from human nature however, that no one spends this much time being so wrong, since if you were really concerned you would eventually learn the science; although both Locke and Hume allowed that it might happen. We know that the U.S. public relations industry is worth several billions a year and is intimately entwined with Washington lobbying; we know from their public statements and marketing materials that they offer internet-monitoring and blog-activating divisions (as do by now all major political operatives;) we know that the petrochemical industry is spending millions annually on public relations; we know that setting up thinktanks is a longterm tactic (from the 1970’s)offering the veneers of certitude and respectability; we know that when trolls appear, they are usually on one or two talking points for that round, frequently with similar or identical phraseology, as off prompting lists. (For this one, it’s “who is paying for these warming alarmists?”) Through the last two elections on political blogs, the appearance of commenters cutting and pasting from prompt sheets with standard phrases was evident; and it turned out from revealed documents that many of these same phrases had been group-tested for emotional impact. (Questioning the motives and funding of the opponents was prominent.) I suppose some of our trolls may be independents, getting their scoops by reading denialist blogs which are in turn funded and vetted by industry; this could be more efficient. Much of it is a little too sophisticated. Most of the genuine denialists I have read, were on the attack with improperly-applied high-school physics, and were further educable. There just aren’t that many people who want to be so wrong that they won’t bother to try to follow and understand the entire science, before developing their own counter-hypotheses, before opening their mouths. Not trying to understand the climatologists’ arguments, in toto, is a big clue.

  81. #81 John Mashey
    June 9, 2008

    Lee:
    I am hesitant to ascribe all this to paid trolldom because I’ve had enough discussions with people who:

    – I knew were *not* paid
    – and yet had unshakeable anti-AGW beliefs for ideological reasons

    In some cases, such people had wandered into the denialist alternate universe and gotten convinced (“anchored” in psych terminology).

    You say:
    “There just aren’t that many people who want to be so wrong that they won’t bother to try to follow and understand the entire science, before developing their own counter-hypotheses, before opening their mouths.”

    Let’s see: with no particular economic or ideological reasons, large numbers of people believe in astrology or that they’ve been abducted by aliens.

    My *hypothesis* is:
    1) There is a modest amount of money from petrochemical companies, although in some cases they do all-out marketing campaigns. Naomi Oreskes has a great talk on the Western Fuels’ Association, which I hope will get available soon.

    2) There is money from foundations, which may be less than directly from petrochemicals or more.

    3) There are thinktanks and PR agencies, and I do differentiate, in that PR agencies rarely do things without getting paid, whereas at least some thinktanks have worldviews and then seek support. There are some politicians who get

    4) There are a few individual bloggers who may well get paid.

    5) There are lot who don’t.

    6) There are a few trolls who get paid.

    7) There are a lot who don’t.

    If anyone has real data, I haven’t found it, although I’ve spent a lot of time trying to track information flows, as in the Monckton-Schulte-Oreskes case.

    Anyway, you seem have a strong belief … but where’s the data?

    There is strong evidence that people can and do believe in sorts of wrong things… far less complex than climate change, and with far less reason.

  82. #82 Mike
    June 9, 2008

    Could I suggest not feeding the trolls….John Quiggin

    If you examine these threads, you will find that most information comes from those refuting posts by opponents. For that, and for reasons of free speech, I welcome the whacks: they ultimately provide the best data, albeit unintentionally.

  83. #83 Lee A. Arnold
    June 9, 2008

    John, as already I wrote: I made a strong inference. It comes from (1) the style of the arguments, (2) the existence and known modus operandi of the public relations industry, and (3) the emergence of the internet as a main formulator of public opinion. You are probably not going to find any data. The management of public opinion is not advertised as such.

    Watch the rhetorical style of the arguments. You can get a feel for the denialists who are genuine doubters, and the ones who are on fly-by tactical missions. Large numbers of people may believe in astrology, but I doubt whether this is the same type of person who takes enough care to make sophisticated arguments about certain sets of technical data, (for example,) and then draws overall conclusions while ignoring the rest of the science, and declaring that it is invalidated — and, the MOST important clue, the persistence: never giving up, never even SHOWING a sign of doubt, despite careful rebuttal. They wouldn’t handle any other type of information problem in their lives in this way! Even astrologers believe certain things — but you can’t be “half in” a science, believing only half its methodology. Not for long, anyway. If you have come this far, you want to understand it all, you want to be intellectually sound.

    One of Naomi Oreskes’ fine talks is here:
    “The American Denial of Global Warming”
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=2T4UF_Rmlio

    This video is the tip of the iceberg. The quest for domination of public opinion has itself become a huge, slick and sophisticated industry. The effort started many decades ago with tobacco, moved in the 1970’s over into denying chemical pollution, and has moved into the climate debate. (There has also been a steady funding effort behind goofy half-economics, “freemarket environmentalism,” for example.) The most important thing to realize is that public opinion is the absolute prize. It is the key to laws and liabilities and massive corporate profit. There is money to be made!

    By now there is a long shelf of books on the management of public perceptions of scientific issues, including climate, and there are more being published. If you will allow suggestive data, if you will allow a case to be made by “preponderance of evidence,” almost all of these books have citations; in the aggregate there are many thousands of cited examples of efforts to confuse the public, and the money spent to do it, often but not only while fighting a certain piece of legislation or getting another to the floor of Congress.

    If you are looking for additional financial data, there are now a few excellent websites following the money, for example SourceWatch.

    All the media are monitored by the public relations firms and now, one of the keys to public opinion is the internet — the money must follow. It is unrealistic (indeed lunacy) to suppose they WOULDN”T make an effort to manage opinion via blogs and comments. There are a handful of careful, credible blogs (including this one: all hail Tim Lambert!) which are read by newspaper editors and reporters to stay abreast of current news and events. It’s the thing here, plus the Lexis-Nexis database, the AP wire, and whoever they can get on the phone: this is how the “news and views” is put together. It would be lunacy of the p.r. firms NOT to throw wrenches in here, and it would cost peanuts. Will they leave a money trail? No. Can I tell you a certain troll is making money? No. As I said, I made an inductive inference.

  84. #84 Monsoonevans
    June 9, 2008

    You guys crack me up. I’m not sure if you realize how delusional you are or you have just become so indoctrinated by your own ego’s that you cant see whats right in front of your faces.
    I participate in many blogs were you guys would be considered the ‘trolls’. I would agree with the statement that the ‘tolls’ provide the ammunition. I just find it ironic that its the other way around in the other threads I participate in.
    Not sure who saw it but, I saw a couple of interesting reports today that talks about the Solar Irradience effect on global temps. Its remarkable to see this and not be struck by apparent direct relationship between the two. You can find it at: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/solar_variability/lean2000_irradiance.txt

    The graph (which this site doesn’t allow me to post)clearly shows the TSI beginning a sharp increase begging around 1910. Another spike in the early 30’s and again in the early 50’s. If you superimpose them with any of the available GST maps you will see a remarkable trend as it relates to GST.
    This is not to say that the sun is the only driver of the earths climate, but most certainly the primary. Human emmissions are laughable as it relates to GST’s.
    The other piece is a paper that will soon be in the “Journal of Climate” from Roy Spencer and William Braswell (peer reviewed for your satisfaction) that discusses how the ‘percieved’ positive cloud feedback is nothing more than known long-term modes of climate variability (PDO, ENSO, La Nina, ect.) and no measurable connection to AGW.
    Guys, these aren’t kooks, denialists, or trolls. These are reputable scientists using all the data, research, and, perhaps most importantly, common sense, to lay out a much more plausible explaination than what is being presented by the AGW crowd.
    And by the way, I am certainly not paid by anyone other than my employer who has absolutely nothing to do with any of this. I am just a weather enthusiast that has been drawn into this issue. I have a Bachelors of Science degree from a very well respected University with an associate degree in History. I have no vested interest in this other than, for reasons I dont even fully know, it angers me to see a small group of people manipulating a very suseptable public into something that is a ‘smoke and mirrors’ charade. Its been done throughout history and has never failed to amaze me how often the mass’s are duped into something by some very devious individuals.
    You guys all sound pretty book smart and I am really surprised that educated people could be so confused when the elephant is sitting right in front of them.
    Sorry for the grammatical errors as, as stated, I was in the business and not the liberal arts college.

    Monsoonevans

  85. #85 Boris
    June 9, 2008

    Monsoon,

    You still haven’t grasped the fact that CO2 can be a feedback during glaciations and a forcing during an anthropogenic atmospheric perturbation. This is an important point, but if you are actually confused, that’s fine. We can try to answer your questions. But asserting things leaves no room for learning.

  86. #86 Lee
    June 9, 2008

    Monsoon says:

    “The graph (which this site doesn’t allow me to post)clearly shows the TSI beginning a sharp increase begging around 1910. Another spike in the early 30’s and again in the early 50’s.”

    Well, yes. That would be one of the reasons that climate scientists for the most part argue that a substantial part of the warming in the first part of the century was due to changes in irradiance, but in the last 50 years, when there has been no net change in TSI, that TSI has not been a driver of the observed warming.

  87. #87 Dano
    June 9, 2008

    Can I tell you a certain troll is making money? No. As I said, I made an inductive inference.

    I nailed a PR firm in the Detroit area on Tech Central Station doing just what Lee said, during the time that set up the recall of the California governor and the installation of an actor to that post. The tipping point (remember, I caught a Detroit-area firm) was the suggestion of higher cafe standards to help combat AGW. It was very clumsy and I’m sure this firm suffered because of these chuckleheads. This was before TCS changed their code that allowed me to see the e-mail of the person who logged in.

    Best,

    D

  88. #88 z
    June 9, 2008

    well, that’s the argument in a nutshell. “we did not see in the past such things as CO2 leading temperature, or temperature rising without solar output rising, and we see those now, therefore, rather than this being evidence that the process has changed now from previously, it is more likely that we can not now be seeing what we are seeing now”

  89. #89 Dano
    June 9, 2008

    CAFE standards, of course.

    D

  90. #90 Peter
    June 10, 2008

    “I have a Bachelors of Science degree from a very well respected University with an associate degree in History”

    Yes indeed and I am the king of England. Toddle-pip chaps.

  91. #91 Peter
    June 10, 2008

    “I have no vested interest in this other than, for reasons I dont even fully know, it angers me to see a small group of people manipulating a very suseptable public into something that is a ‘smoke and mirrors’ charade.”

    I agree, those pesky climate skeptics make me angry too!

  92. #92 Noone Really
    June 10, 2008

    Thanks to all of you who have the stamina to go on debunking denialism. I don’t know how you do it.

    I want to give a shout-out to another very fine place to research the right-wing think tank apparatus – we could just call it a propaganda apparatus – which is http://www.mediatransparency.org. They have followed this for years and have a searchable database of donors, foundations, grants, recipients, important figures, etc. There really was a memo from the US Chamber of Commerce in 1970 (the “Powell memo”) which argued that industry had lost control of the culture in the ’60’s and needed a new, aggressive program to make sure that never, ever happened again. The program included the creation of “educational,” “charitable,” and “research” organizations specifically to pursue this goal of cultural control, and that program was followed. It’s quite plain in its language and is posted on the site.

    So when we speak of “right-wing” think tanks, this is what we mean. What is so maddening about today’s labeled world – there are “liberal” and “conservative” think thanks – is that, not so long ago, those now labeled “liberal” were in fact merely doing intellectually honest policy analysis. I know, my father worked in that world for many years. Conservatives may have felt that their results were too “liberal,” but that isn’t the same as having researchers deliberately set out to find ways to come to “liberal” conclusions.

    However, if one is setting out to create a right-wing propaganda machine which includes ideologically biased “think tanks,” one needs to create the impression that they’re ALL biased, so one’s own biased creations are merely doing what everyone else does. This impression is completely false, and is merely another aspect of the Powell project.

    It’s all about creating a false aura of intellectual respectability around ideas that are pure corporate-world PR (all the extremist free-market nonsense propounded on TV by “scholars” from Heritage and AEI would be just one example). And yes, with tons of money to put into it, this can be done. But it’s still a pack of lies. The worst part is that you have to smear the intellectually honest analysts as engaging in the same sleazeball business that you yourself are in, in order to get away with it. You have to create the impression, in fact, that no one is intellectually honest… which is, itself, false.

    It’s the same with the AGW specific case of this general effort. That’s why these people drive me nuts. I have never understood what the big ulterior motive on the “liberal” side is supposed to be (environmentalists and scientists are in it for the huge amounts of money to be made? Whereas oil companies are just trying to eke out an honest living? Please!). If you can stand to keep taking them on, good for you!

  93. #93 Chris O'Neill
    June 10, 2008

    Monsoonevans:

    The graph clearly shows the TSI beginning a sharp increase begging around 1910. Another spike in the early 30’s and again in the early 50’s. If you superimpose them with any of the available GST maps you will see a remarkable trend as it relates to GST.

    I presume “GST” means global surface temperature or something like that. In that case your quoted data from NCDC shows that TSI in 1957 was almost exactly the same as TSI in 2000. In spite of this, global average temperature has risen substantially since 1957. The thing that is remarkable is the remarkable divergence between TSI and global temperature since then. This is completely contrary to your assertion:

    This is not to say that the sun is the only driver of the earths climate, but most certainly the primary.

    You have shown that you are completely incompetent in making conclusions from available data. This makes nearly everything else you’ve said complete garbage.

  94. #94 Peter
    June 10, 2008

    “Sorry for the grammatical errors as, as stated, I was in the business and not the liberal arts college.”

    So much for the science degree then, eh?

  95. #95 Bernard J.
    June 10, 2008

    Noone Really, and others following this thread, might be interested (in the ‘pull-my-hair-out-and-scream’ sense) to read Ray Evans’ latest piece in the Quadrant magazine for June 2008.

    I think that I snorted aloud when I skimmed through the article at a news-stand this afternoon.

    Warming for the unsuspecting – Evans is the secretary for the Lavoisier Group…

  96. #96 Bernard J.
    June 10, 2008

    “Warming?” That’s “warning”, of course, and a big one at that. Evans spouts harder than a gargoyle.

  97. #97 Dano
    June 10, 2008

    You have shown that you are completely incompetent in making conclusions from available data. This makes nearly everything else you’ve said complete garbage.

    IIRC, TSI was in a trough during 1998, the warmest year on record. Some driver.

    Best,

    D

  98. #98 Chris O'Neill
    June 10, 2008

    Noone Really, and others following this thread, might be interested (in the ‘pull-my-hair-out-and-scream’ sense) to read Ray Evans’ latest piece in the Quadrant magazine for June 2008.

    It’s interesting for how it demonstrates how someone without a scientific education can spend so much time on the wrong track. I like his following little statement. It’s the sort of thing you expect from newspaper journalists.

    A household refrigerator is rated at 0.5 kW and will consume 1 kW per hour if it runs continuously for two hours.

  99. #99 Monsoonevans
    June 10, 2008

    Name calling is a rather interesting argument technique but not really that effective.
    My real question is why no one seems to want to answer some pretty simple questions. I have brought up the solar irradiance issue. This is a much more likely cause of warming than anything man can put into the air. How can we draw that conclusion? Well, if we look at the years starting in 1600 (per the NOAA chart) we can clearly see a correalating trend between GST and TSI. We dont see the same pattern with atmospheric CO2 and GST. What we see, and again please correct me if I am misinterpreting the data, is that atmospheric CO2 follows temp?
    In summary:
    TSI is a significant driver of temps.
    Atm. CO2 follows temps.
    Please SHOW me were I am wrong with both of those points.

    And to respond to the post from Chris O’Neill:

    “I presume “GST” means global surface temperature or something like that. In that case your quoted data from NCDC shows that TSI in 1957 was almost exactly the same as TSI in 2000. In spite of this, global average temperature has risen substantially since 1957. The thing that is remarkable is the remarkable divergence between TSI and global temperature since then. This is completely contrary to your assertion:”

    Actually Chris, this is the furthest thing from contrary. When one looks at the entire 400 yrs on the graph its pretty clear that we would expect the jump in temps that we got.

    To quote Dr. Stephen Wilde:
    “It is true that since 1961 the average level of TSI has been approximately level if one averages out the peaks and troughs from solar cycles 19 through to 23.
    However, those solar cycles show substantially higher levels of TSI than have ever previously occurred in the historical record.”

    If you take a look at the chart you will clearly see what I mean. Please look into this folks before you blast this.
    People being closed minded isnt going to help anyone. It takes a very smart and brave man to be able to look himself in the mirror and face his own limitations.
    I recognize mine. I am in a completely unrelated field so I dont try to pretend I am all knowing when it comes to climate. However, I am well trained, experienced, accredited in my field and I would still never pretend that I know everything with what I do. It would be foolish to do so. I wish many of you would do the same.

  100. #100 Lee
    June 10, 2008

    monsoon,
    That ‘graph’ you refer to is not a graph. It is the irradiance values by year, in a table, from the Lean reconstruction.
    But no matter – the graph you ddescribe exists all over the internets.. Here are two examples:
    http://www.brighton73.freeserve.co.uk/gw/solar/temp_vs_spots.gif
    http://www.mps.mpg.de/images/projekte/sun-climate/climate.gif

    Yes, irradiance has an effect on temp. Duh – this is basic to climate science. But note that something changes in about 1975 – 1980. Irradiance levels off, temps keep rising.With the newly-quantified bucket correction for the mid century years, that divergence may even push back to mid century. The fact is that in the most recent decades, something besides irradiance has been driving surface temperatures. Gee, I wonder what?

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