“Monckton is wrong”

John P Abraham has taken the time to go through one of Christopher Monckton’s talks and check whether the references that Monckton cites say what Monckton claims they do. Of course, as anyone who has checked Monckton’s work can discover, they don’t. But Abrahams has gone the extra mile and checked with the authors of the papers as well and again and again gotten replies from the scientists saying “Monckton is wrong”. The presentation is 84 minutes long and is devastating. Even at that length only some of Monckton’s errors are covered. It’s based on a Monckton talk from last year, before he came up with his misrepresentations of Pinker and Snowball Earth, so they’re not included.

Peter Hartmann has compiled a list of all the papers Abraham has cited.

Hat tip: too many people to list.

If you want to see a perfect example of the way Monckton operates, see this example from his self-serving report of an SPPI-sponsored debate:

He glared at the opposition again and demanded whether, since they had declared themselves to be so worried about “global warming”, they would care to tell him – to two places of decimals and one standard deviation – the UN’s central estimate of the “global warming” that might result from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration. The opposition were unable to reply. Lord Monckton told them the answer was 3.26 plus or minus 0.69 Kelvin or Celsius degrees. An Hon. Member interrupted: “And your reference is?” Lord Monckton replied: “IPCC, 2007, chapter 10, box 10.2.” [cheers].

Monckton impresses the rubes with by reeling off facts and figures with great authority and conviction. Monckton is wrong, of course, but who is going to have the IPCC report handy to contradict him in a debate? Box 10.2 concludes:

we conclude that the global mean equilibrium warming for doubling CO2, or ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’, is likely to lie in the range 2°C to 4.5°C, with a most likely value of about 3°C. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is very likely larger than 1.5°C.

Monckton’s numbers do come from box 10.2, but are the mean and standard deviation of the sensitivity for 18 different climate models, which is not the same thing at all.

Comments

  1. #1 Dr. Schweinsgruber
    May 31, 2010

    Monckton keeps winning debates but this does not stop the CO2 from holding back outgoing longwave radiation.

    How come that oral skills and basic physics do not rely on each other?

  2. #2 J Bowers
    May 31, 2010

    It’s pretty obvious anyone debating with the guy needs to have a laptop hooked up to the internet during the show to verify he’s actually telling the truth.

  3. #3 MikeB
    May 31, 2010

    Or even better, the Skepticalscience.com app http://www.skepticalscience.com/ – which is now available for the Nokia, as well as the Iphone. The perfect tool to take down the climate idiot your stuck next to at a dinner party.

    Of course, the best way to take down Monckton is to study how Tim did it!

  4. #4 MapleLeaf
    May 31, 2010

    Is Monckton also of the opinion that the radiative forcing for doubling of CO2 is much less than the accepted value of 3.7 W m-2? Why does he think so?

  5. #5 Dr. Schweinsgruber
    May 31, 2010

    In a debate, where most participants are scientifically unattentive however politically alert, you tell (a) whatever they want to hear and/or (b) whatever suits you best to create uncertainty. Nobody, in the shortness of time, can go and check the citations from obscure fringe-publications. And even if they could, it takes a lots of explaining and rambling to debunk a plain and plainly invented statement. Start by explaining that the tiny amount of COs does actually cause warming – but is not the CO2 fairy. OK, try this on an Alberta cattle farmer or petro engineer.

  6. #6 JamesA
    May 31, 2010

    This is a reason why charlatans like Monckton are forever calling for things like one-on-one debates and ‘court of law’ style hearings to decide climate science; they get their stuff heard and the fact-checking has to come later. This is one of many reasons why peer-review is so vitally important to science.

    But even so, this is all good work in exposing someone who is nothing other than an intellectual fraud. If any of the denialist groups had any integrity, they should be shunning him as a liability. But I doubt they will.

  7. #7 savemejeebus
    May 31, 2010

    My favorite slide (CM70) is when he subtracts one percentage concentration of co2 from the other to claim there has only been a 0.01% rise of co2 in the atmosphere since 1750. WTF??? He claims to be a mathematician: “I am … a mathematician. That was how I was able to invent a puzzle which had only 200 pieces and a £1 million prize for the first person to solve it … it was puzzle of the year in Australia.” SMH Jan 26, 2010.
    I think that I learned percentages in yr. 8. Perhaps he should go back and retake yr. 8 maths again.

  8. #8 Tony Sidaway
    May 31, 2010

    Why even give this idiot the courtesy of your attention? Just point out that he doesn’t just misrepresent science, he even lies about himself and his relationship with the House of Lords. He’s a liar and he will only have power if we grant it to him by conniving in his ridiculous Baron Munchausen act.

  9. #9 Robert
    May 31, 2010

    “”I am … a mathematician. That was how I was able to invent a puzzle which had only 200 pieces and a £1 million prize for the first person to solve it …”

    He doesn’t mention that he lost his money a few short months later when the puzzle was solved, years ahead of his estimate. Apart from that little embarrassment, he’s completely right: puzzle-maker=great mathematician. That’s why you so often see the Fields metal given to Suduko composers.

  10. #10 Tony Sidaway
    May 31, 2010

    Monckton lies and it’s easy enough to show that he has lied in the past, about himself and about climate science.

    Anybody who ever accepts a debate in which a proven liar is to present evidence should be absolutely certain that he will be permitted to annihilate the opponent’s credibility. If this is refused he should simply refuse and when asked to explain simply say that honesty in debate is a requirement.

    Liars like Monckton must be tagged and excluded from the debate. They must have no platform. Call them liars, let them sue as the nazis sued, they will lose because they lie and this can be proven in court.

  11. #11 Alex
    May 31, 2010

    Don’t know if anyone’s seen this, but it looks like the denialists are now trying to smear the Royal Society:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/science_and_environment/10178124.stm

  12. #12 TrueSceptic
    May 31, 2010

    3 Mike,

    That won’t work. If they have any clue whatsoever, they’ll just say “You got that from a Warmist liar, didn’t you?”.

    They will also say “You can’t think for yourself, can you? You depend on your widdle fwiends on the internet!”.

  13. #13 TrueSceptic
    May 31, 2010

    9 Tony,

    Anybody who ever accepts a debate in which a proven liar is to present evidence should be absolutely certain that he will be permitted to annihilate the opponent’s credibility. If this is refused he should simply refuse and when asked to explain simply say that honesty in debate is a requirement.

    That is excellent advice. If that is original, can I quote you? If not, do you know who you are quoting?

  14. #14 ChrisC
    May 31, 2010

    “Monckton is wrong”

    Quelle surprise! Next up, sky is blue!

  15. #15 Mac
    May 31, 2010

    Could someone please explain, for the benefit of a layperson, exactly why they are different things? Thanks!

  16. #16 John
    May 31, 2010

    Expected denier response:

    Obviously John Abraham is wrong because he’s not a Lord.

    This is timely because there is a bonehead in another thread who, by his own admission, thinks Monckton is an authority.

    The presentation is great, listening to it now.

  17. #17 JamesA
    May 31, 2010

    Alex@11: Saw that (fixed link here), but I don’t see how it’s going to go any other way than that botched attempt by the deniers at altering the American Physical Society’s stance on the topic. The only thing they might get out of it is some qualifiers on the level of scientific understanding attached with various statements, but the IPCC has been doing that since whenever anyway.

    There’s some shockingly naive reporting from the BBC on McIntyre though. The reason wannabes like him mainly exist in the bloggosphere rather than the peer-reviewed literature is precisely because most of the time they are flat out wrong in their accusations. McIntyre may have had a point on one or two occasions, but then a broken clock is still correct twice a day.

  18. #18 jakerman
    May 31, 2010

    Mac writes;

    >Could someone please explain, for the benefit of a layperson, exactly why they are different things? Thanks!

    Could you elaborate Mac? Which “they” are you refering to?

  19. #19 Lotharsson
    May 31, 2010

    That BBC article contains some awfully naive – or very subtly nuanced – statements, including:

    > But the blogosphere does not respect past reputations, only current performance. And some of the top performers in the blogosphere are critics of the establishment.

    I do wonder **what definition** of “performance” the writer had in mind, given that McIntyre is cited as an example of a top performer, and of whom it is said:

    > He arguably knows more about CRU science than anyone outside the unit – but none of the CRU inquiries has contacted him for input.

    > I have been told by the review teams that they can read McIntyre’s blog if they want to learn about his views. … And they would have saved a lot of time and effort if they had asked him to summarise his scientific scrutiny on a couple of sheets of A4

    Unless I am very much mistaken, McIntyre provided [a submission](http://www.cce-review.org/evidence/StephenMcIntyre.pdf) incorporating his views [to at least one of the inquiries](http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/climatedata/uc3202.htm). At least one of the McIntyre submissions [was **cited** in the resulting report](http://deepclimate.org/2010/03/31/climategate-investigations-round-1-cru-exonerated/).

    Could the writer *really* be ignorant of this fact, and compound the error by not bothering to spend two minutes with Google?

    Perhaps journalism ought to adopt the notion that you’re only as good as your current performance, in which case this particular writer is a failure.

  20. #20 crazy bill
    May 31, 2010

    Mac – the “3.26 plus or minus 0.69″ refers to the results of 18 different climate models, which are, after all, only models. By contrast, the “UN’s central estimate of the “global warming” that might result from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration” is based on much more than simply averaging a bunch of climate models. As the said box concludes, “the global mean equilibrium warming for doubling CO2, or ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’, is likely to lie in the range 2°C to 4.5°C, with a most likely value of about 3°C”.

    No scientist worth his or her salt would even think of giving an estimate of climate sensitivity “to two places of decimals”…

  21. #21 Hank Roberts
    May 31, 2010

    [Alex’s link unmangled using the method shown over the response box](http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10178124.stm)

    Or like this using angle brackets:

    < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science_and_environment/10178124.stm>

    Or like this using backslashes as literals:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science\_and\_environment/10178124.stm

    I can never remember this when I need to, only when someone else needed to.

  22. #22 Lotharsson
    May 31, 2010

    > Alex’s link unmangled using the method shown over the response box

    I wish scienceblogs would fix the auto-URL parser. It’s a well-defined problem to detect the start and end of a URL, and their parser is broken – and it shouldn’t be terribly hard to fix.

  23. #23 Mac
    May 31, 2010

    @Crazy Bill: Thanks! That’s a clear explanation. I have only the foggiest understanding of what climate sensitivity is or how it could have been expressed in terms of doubling CO2. (And I assume, wouldn’t climate sensitivity depend on where your climate “starts” from?) Google is helping… but I struggle with some of the numerical concepts in climate academia. Blogs do a great job with conceptual explanations but I never seem to be able to bridge the gap to understanding even the simpler math.

  24. #24 Bill O'Slatter
    May 31, 2010

    O/T but on the subject of scientific impostors (Bjorn Lomborg)
    http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2010/2912358.htm

  25. #25 John Mashey
    June 1, 2010

    re: 11 (that link is broken)
    For odd reason, I know some folks high up in the Royal Society.
    I believe they can handle this :-)

  26. #26 Marion Delgado
    June 1, 2010

    Hold up, has Monckton ever been wrong before?

  27. #27 Paul UK
    June 1, 2010

    Mac @23 and maths etc.

    I don’t know your level of knowledge/education but I found David Archers lectures useful. It is quite a long series and you need a few hours spare, but you can dip in when you want.

    I found the advantage of these is that you can pause and rewind them etc. Which is probably even better than a real lecture. It is also useful to take notes for reference later, which I have found really useful for jogging my memory in climate change discussions.

    Here’s the link:

    http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/lectures.html

    Archer builds a simple model of the atmosphere and makes comparisons with other planets in the solar system.
    BTW it is important to start from the beginning, if your maths aren’t strong, you might get lost if you jump in out of sequence.

  28. #28 3rd design
    June 1, 2010

    Still I am worried what is really happening to our climate. Tsk tsk tsk [3rd design](http://3rddesign.com)

  29. #29 Deech56
    June 1, 2010

    Mac, the IPCC climate sensitivity number comes from observations of past climate changes as well as models. See this post and the accompanying paper for details. Oh, and maybe the IPCC report. ;-)

  30. #30 bill
    June 1, 2010

    Ah, our fabulist friend – the most compelling entertainer the House of Lords never produced!…

  31. #31 Alan
    June 1, 2010

    For what it’s worth, here is how I handle deniers in person. Ask in rapid fire

    What is the Beer-Lambert Law?
    What does “adiabatic lapse rate” mean?
    What is the wavelength of the peak of the solar spectrum reaching the earth’s surface?
    What is the wavelength of the peak of the radiant heat leaving the earth’s surface?
    What is the power of the sun’s radiation at noon at the equator in Watts per square metre?
    How many extra Watts per square metre do we get if CO2 doubles from pre-industrial levels?

    Followed by

    You appear not to know much about climate science, so how did you come to your conclusion?

    It hasn’t happened yet, but if I ever meet anyone who can answer these questions correctly, I’ll send them to this slapdown of Monckton.

  32. #32 Donald Oats
    June 1, 2010

    That demolition of Monckton is bruising. I bailed about half way through because it was too much to consume in one sitting. Bit like eating a family block of dark chocolate in one go.

    In a word: devastating.

  33. #33 guthrie
    June 1, 2010

    John #11- It would be interesting to know what the complaints about the RS stuff involved. GRanted it was 3 years old and a bit out of date, but so far all thats come out makes the complainers sound like a bunch of whiners. They may have had a better case, but nobody is saying anything particularly intelligent.

  34. #34 JG
    June 1, 2010

    Is there a transcript anywhere of Abraham’s presentation for the sake of the deaf?

  35. #35 Bill Hutch
    June 1, 2010

    In response to comment 19 user (lotharson). Here is McIntyre’s most recent discussion of the CPU affair and rather long history of the events leading up to the controversy.

  36. #36 JasonW
    June 1, 2010

    @32: I had to sit through it in bite-sized chunks as well. The solar bit was especially brutal – paper after paper after paper, all in direct contradiction to Moncktons silliness. A sensational take-down by Abraham. Kudos to him for dogged perseverance.

  37. #37 Tony Sidaway
    June 1, 2010

    13 TrueSceptic

    The ideas I express in comment 9 are not original, but those are my own words and you may use them as you see fit.

    Monckton is a liar and we mustn’t give him a platform.

  38. #38 Marion Delgado
    June 1, 2010

    He arguably knows more about CRU science than anyone outside the unit – but none of the CRU inquiries has contacted him for input.

    I like “arguably.” As in “Arguably, that BBC writer is madder than David Icke and less worthy of a paycheck than American finance swindler Bernard Madoff. Arguably, because, well, I’m prepared to argue the pro side.”

  39. #39 John
    June 1, 2010

    How long until Monckton starts complaining to the University of St. Thomas?

  40. #40 pough
    June 1, 2010

    No scientist worth his or her salt would even think of giving an estimate of climate sensitivity “to two places of decimals”…

    Indeed, and if Chris is under the impression that he’s being more accurate then he’s an even bigger blustering buffoon than I already thought.

  41. #41 Rick
    June 1, 2010

    @39 How long until Monckton starts complaining to the University of St. Thomas?

    Monckton will probably make reference to Abraham and the University of St. Thomas as proof that he knows what he’s talking about. After all, his citations are a complete 180 from what he says anyway. Why change now?

  42. #42 Hank Roberts
    June 1, 2010

    JG, try emailing him. Most academics are happy to hear from people who’d like to read their work. Likely he has, or can extract, a text file from the presentation or tell you how. Most universities nowadays have a disability access program person who’d know how to do that. If the author was just speaking off the cuff without notes, this might spur him or the university to create the transcript you need. (Of course, it’s possible this is a work in progress and something more is already being prepared)

    Just hoping, but I’ve asked for this kind of help in the past for others and most universities really do respond.

  43. #43 Paul UK
    June 1, 2010

    John Abraham has put the presentation on Youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpOrjaWlC_E

    Although currently there is an error.

  44. #44 Paul UK
    June 1, 2010

    Well there was an error. It’s OK now!

  45. #45 JG
    June 1, 2010

    HankRobertts@42

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll try that.

  46. #46 Didactylos
    June 1, 2010

    Of course Monckton is wrong. He has no moral issue with lying through his teeth.

    Unfortunately, Abraham’s takedown is duller than ditchwater. Only people firmly in the pro-science camp are going to listen to more than two minutes of it.

    Which is a pity, because deflating self-serving and narcissistic eccentrics like Monckton is something which should be done before they gain a wide audience and a popular following. I feel some relief knowing that nobody, of any political stripe, can listen to Monckton without realising that he is a pompous jackanapes know-nothing.

    Maybe the best solution for such mendacious scumbags is to ignore them altogether.

  47. #47 JG
    June 1, 2010

    HankRoberts@42

    Again thanks for the tip.

    For general info: Alas, there’s no transcript.

  48. #48 Chris S.
    June 1, 2010

    #46

    “Unfortunately, Abraham’s takedown is duller than ditchwater. Only people firmly in the pro-science camp are going to listen to more than two minutes of it.”

    Which is why it is handy that the slides are numbered & titled so that you can point people in the direction of the requisite part of the takedown. Polar bears, for example, are covered by slides 11-21 and the “Railroad Engineer” epithet so beloved of Monkton is looked at on slide 37.

  49. #49 bill
    June 1, 2010

    Aaaargh!

    DON’T attack your allies for being ‘duller than ditchwater’!

    This plays straight into the Denialists hands: if someone’s thorough and measured in their approach they’re ‘dull’ and ‘pedantic’ and ‘boring’, dude. But if they’re flamboyant and entertaining then they’re ‘big fat liars’ like Al Gore!

    No, what the world really needs is more people who can combine an unequalled grasp of the ‘facts’ (albeit invented) with the natural-born huckster’s ability to sell the product; like Chris Monckton!

    Our opponents are only too happy for the public to have ridiculous expectations of the communications skills of scientists; to hold them to ludicrous standards of perfection in a media environment where honesty and integrity and a desire to communicate real information are at a distinct disadvantage.

    We should never be party to that.

  50. #50 Russell
    June 1, 2010

    Will the redoubtable Lord Rees confront this Discount Mosley, or is he running scared about the flack some Fellows have raised over the RS own polemic excess?

  51. #51 watchingthedeniers
    June 1, 2010

    Question: in addition to debunking, is the most effective strategy to combat the denial movement?

    By this stage anyone familiar with the debate and the actual science knows Monckton is not simply wrong, but not even close to being wrong.

    However, no matter how many times you point out the fact that Monckton is wrong he remains bulletproof in the eyes of the denial movement.

    He’s their “Dear Leader”, the charismatic Lord of Lies.

    Debunking is good, debunking is very necessary – and it’s what I and other bloggers do a great deal of.

    But, is there a limit to the effectiveness of debunking as our primary strategy?

    I will stress: debunking is very, very necessary and a powerful tool. However, like the creationists, these prophets of denial simply move onto the next set of lies and the baying crowd laps it up. The Gish Gallop is now the Monckton Gallop

    Not to sound pessimistic, but when your world view is so entrenched – conservative, libertarian, fundamentalist, Marxist – then you are going to filter information accordingly. This “epistemic closure” is almost impossible to breach.

    Recently I’ve recently spent a great deal of time talking to “ordinary” people about the “climate debate”.

    I’ve asked them a simple question: How do you understand the debate, who do you trust?

    Answer: they feel lost, confused and overwhelmed by it all. Both the “alarmists” and “deniers” make a lot of claims. All the noise they see simply implies that there is a debate, and therefore there most be dissent within science. Climate change is a terrifying concept, so even accepting it is a tough battle.

    This is of course the primary strategy of the denialists. They don’t need to convince people it’s not happening, they just need to create uncertainty.

    This is not to disparage the worthy, serious and great work of many blogs such as this, Skeptical Science, Climate Progress and Real Climate. They make available to the public invaluable information.

    However, what I’m starting to gain a greater appreciation of is that for most people the debate over facts is meaningless. Given the general level of scientific literacy within the general population is low, the majority of people find the intricacies of the debate hard to understand. Long wave radiation? Absorption properties? Carbon sinks? And what’s that about methane, I thought CO2 was the issue???

    In the end I’m finding that they don’t know *who to trust*.

    Cynicism of politicians, business and the scientific establishment is rife. It’s not helped by a complacent media and the “sea of disinformation” on the internet. “Alarmists” claim the oil companies are behind the denial movement while in turn the deniers claim government/scientists/monied interests are behind the “climate scam”.

    [And yes, I appreciate that attacking the credibility of science is their main strategy]

    Five months ago I had a rudimentary knowledge of the debate and the science. Now I can titter or roll my eyes at the patently false claims of people like Monckton. But the sacrifice in time, effort and hard work was enormous. We can’t expect everyone to make the same effort.

    So the question is, how can we win the battle for the “hearts and minds” of the people with the most to lose? The poor, the disenchanted of the Africa/Eurasia/South America and the lower-middle classes of the Western world?

    AIDS provides a good parallel: at first denial, then delay and then acceptance only when the bodies started to pile up. And yet >25 million deaths later we are still fighting AIDS denialists.

    It would seem we will act only when it gets bad. That’s my greatest fear. There is no comfort in saying “I told you so”.

    I ask this question because I’m curious to know what others interested in the debate think. Not to derail the thread, but I think it’s worth discussing.

    Note: apologies for the length of this post, I need my morning coffee perhaps ;)

  52. #52 MapleLeaf
    June 1, 2010

    Re @ 51,

    Excellent post! I concur with pretty much everything you say. I have often wondered what the point is of repeatedly debunking the deniers, is some respects we may even perhaps even be inadvertently amplifying their message, but that is because it is not a level playing field. Never was, never will be, and they know that.

    We need an honest equivalent of “Monckton”– we scientists are, alas, very often not great orators, and cringe about making references to Uba-juba island in Kanga kanga (a hypothetical place of course) which was “lost” not because of rising sea levels but because of subsidence, or speak latin to bewilder and wow the mignons. Munchkin has his act/performance down pat, and much to my bemusement it works. He tells people what they wish to hear.

    Anyhow, a great orator on the science side would be awesome, together with frequent public statements (quarterly maybe?) on the state of the biosphere from a reputable/esteemed science group. Images are very powerful (thanks Anthony Watts), and they can be used to effectively communicate the seriousness of the situation. I honestly believe that most people out there are not aware that Arctic ice volume is plummeting, for example. Thos eimahe son Billborads and/or TV screens state the case well. One, of course, has to be incredibly careful of not unintentionally exaggerating the situation!

    That is my, IMO, also why we need someone like Obama to really step up to the plate and for him to speak to those key images.

    And yes, debunking IS important. If one thinks the deniers are bad now, I am certain they would behave much, much worse (believe it or not) if people like Tim or Dr. Abraham did not invest the time and effort to keep them in check.

    On a happier note, Alexa sows that Deltoid is getting more traffic and page view than WFUWT (see Alexa.com) :)

  53. #53 Agnostic
    June 1, 2010

    Dr Abrahams critique is thorough, informative and, as one would expect, compelling in its finding that Monckton is a liar and a fraud. I have only one minor comment to make and that refers to Dr Abrahams use of the term “sceptic” when referring to Monckton.

    Surely a sceptic is a person who doubts available scientific evidence and puts forward credible alternative material for peer review. Monckton does not do this. He puts forward spurious and contrived data which he knows to be such and does so for the purpose of distorting the truth and misleading his audiences.

    On the other hand, Monckton asserts, that “there has been very, very sharp global cooling on all measures since 2001” See http://www.abc.net.au/rn/counterpoint/stories/2010/2800684.htm#transcript. In doing so, he is not just mistaken, he is lying and knows he is lying. To describe him as a “sceptic” seems wrong.

  54. #54 truth machine
    June 1, 2010

    Unfortunately, Abraham’s takedown is duller than ditchwater. Only people firmly in the pro-science camp are going to listen to more than two minutes of it.

    So you’re blaming Abraham for your own ineptness at communicating the work he has done?

  55. #55 jakerman
    June 1, 2010

    I agree with Maple, watchingthedeniers post is excellent. a vital question is what is the best approach is combined with debunking.

    Hank and Lotharsson have each linked to studies that show setting straight works to confirm their prior prejudice.

    IIRC the groups in the study Hank linked involved a sample with right-wing views who were given strong evidence that conflicted with their preferred narrative. And again IIRC the group in the study that Loth linked to were critical of the limits and methodology of studies depending on how the studies confirmed or conflicted with their initial outlook. More critical of findings which don’t fit easily with their ideology; but are less critical of studies that confirm their preferred view. (An over simplification, that could countered if someone can find Loth’s and Hank’s links).

    My take-away from these studies is that the studies findings polarize people. It is likely that effort is best spent communicating with people which aren’t yet polarised.

    This can be partially achieved by excellent balanced debunking sites (as mentioned by WTD and I’d add Science of Doom).

    Re-Deltoid, What are people’s views about role of exposing misrepresentation? I don’t like being deceived, and believe exposure of deceit is powerful.

    The volume of fact and misrepresentation seems terribly balanced on the net. Which lead me to wonder what proportion of us are active in AGW in public? I suspect it is harder to put your views out in public, where as in the intertbues every dog as his input. I suspect that local community actions say a lot to people who are confused by the competing claims.

    >We need an honest equivalent of “Monckton” […] a great orator on the science side would be awesome, together with frequent public statements (quarterly maybe?) […] we need someone like Obama to really step up to the plate…

    For me Gore played this role, and if Obama played it he’d face a similar assault as Gore did (remember Van Jones). Gore seemed to greatly influence the agenda in Australia with a few trips he made down under with AIC (combined with a devastating drought).

    That is why Gore had to be attacked. The effectiveness of Hansen is also why he gets so much attention from denialist. Can anyone imagine being subjected to the campaign suffered by Mann? Perhaps Jones can?

    Who’s got their backs? And who are we not going to allow to be thrown under the Bus?

    >On a happier note, Alexa sows that Deltoid is getting more traffic and page view than WFUWT (see Alexa.com) :)

    On a depressing note, my reading is that Watts is getting 4 times as much as all of Scienceblogs combined. Please disabuse me of this notion!

  56. #56 jakerman
    June 1, 2010

    BTW, I think we are seeing the results of disenfrachisment of people. Thus we need to avoid being suckered into the percieved roll of defending the powers that people understand to be disenfranchising them.

    We can openly look at the corruptability of science, eg. how are the focus and studies in Pharma, Biotech, influenced by the dominance of the concenrated wealth in those sectors.

    This is the opposite of AGW where the science has come through despite the power and profit motive of richest industries in history.

    And media, media consolidation, media industrial complex, the media propaganda model. Much of the disenfranchiesed rely on media that tells them a simplified story for why they are poorly off. part of that story is that governemnt are ripping you off (while at the same time the media industrial complex buy (and profit from)sucessful election campaigns and thus disproptionately shape that government’s decisions).

    I don’t think were going to properly address AGW without diversification of media funding models and diversification of media control.

    And behind that is one more tier in the anti-democratisation of power, that is the dis-regulation of finance and banking. But I leave that for now.

  57. #57 John Mashey
    June 1, 2010

    re: #50
    1) I’ve met Lord Rees. I doubt that he is running scared of Monckton. The RS is run by sharp people, but you can always guarantee that a few percent of any learned society will have odd views, and FRS (Fellows of the Society) are no different.

    A typical joke (Cambridge or Oxford) of some of the older fellows there goes something like:

    A group of fellows are eating at high table and are concerned about mad cow disease in UK.

    They express concern to the steward that the “Future leaders of the UK” may be eating bad beef.

    Steward: don’t worry, we switched the students to Argentinian beef long ago.

    Fellows: oh, good … and we assume you did the same for us?

    Steward: no, you’re all already mad as hatters so it doesn’t matter.

    [This is quite unfair to many fellows, but it is a jolly joke,

    2) In any case, another FRS and I were discussing Monckton a while back, and I quoted Monckton’s letter to Snowe and Rockefeller, the part that said:

    “You commend Britain’s Royal Society, once a learned body and now a mere Left-leaning political pressure-group”

    My FRS friend laughed aloud, as of course, FRS tend to be older and more conservative, and the idea of the RS as a left-leaning pressure group was ludicrous.

    3) Last year, when I studied the APS Petition, the signing group was heavily skewed towards the older members.

    4) Finally, I have observed to various (highly-placed) UK friends that Monckton was an unwanted import to the USA and couldn’t they please take him back? Sadly, all declined.

    The best offer I got was something like “How about we split the difference, leave him in mid-Atlantic.”

  58. #58 MapleLeaf
    June 1, 2010

    Hi jakerman,

    Good point about Gore. But then what is the alternative? It would sure help a hell of a lot if the media stepped up to the plate. Their behaviour has, for the most part, been truly awful on the AGW file.

    We can right off the WFUWT crowd and CA crowd. We should not forget that Gore did strike a chord with millions of reasonable lay people, we can’t get to everyone, but that should not preclude one from repeatedly trying.

    I guess it is important to have these debunkings saved for the future when the you-know-what really hits the fan. So at least the deception and lies of the deniers will all have been documented.

    As for Alexa, I’m pretty sure that I read the traces correctly. It is late here and I’m tired, maybe someone should double check…OK, I checked. I entered “www.scienceblogs.com/Deltoid”, but it seems to return stats stats for “scienceblogs.com” (i.e., all scienceblogs). Even so, all scienceblogs combined are getting much more traffic than WFUWT.

  59. #59 jakerman
    June 1, 2010

    >Good point about Gore. But then what is the alternative?

    A good question, perhaps a trusted figure in every neighbourhood? Speaking directly to communities rather than being only dependant of what filters through the media.

    Perhaps we could to phone some local scientist to see who can be made avaliable. [97%](http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus.htm) of climate scienctist will stetch a lot further than 3% if we take away the false balance of the intertube and the media.

    And the denialsist might look silly making their ideological claims in person.

  60. #60 MapleLeaf
    June 1, 2010

    Re #59,

    Scientists working for the Canadian government are muzzled. I thought about doing outreach in our community but fear a back lash from those who think it is a hoax. That said, education, it critical. So maybe I’ll dip my toes in the water and see what happens ;)

    Sadly, many (in fact most) of my colleagues in academia are reluctant to get involved- they seem to think that it is 1995, and one can simply dismiss the handful of crazy AGW deniers, there are oblivious to the success of the misinformation and confusion campaign of the AGW deniers. They think engaging them or refuting them is a waste of time. I beg to differ on the latter.

  61. #61 jakerman
    June 2, 2010

    >*Scientists working for the Canadian government are muzzled.*

    We had a similar freedom loving policy gagging scientist under our previous de-regulation loving government.

    >*I thought about doing outreach in our community but fear a back lash from those who think it is a hoax. That said, education, it critical. So maybe I’ll dip my toes in the water and see what happens ;)*

    Yes it would need to be well planned and delivered. An expensive investment of your time.

    >*Sadly, many (in fact most) of my colleagues in academia are reluctant to get involved- they seem to think that it is 1995, and one can simply dismiss the handful of crazy AGW deniers*

    Mmmm. And is much easier to not sacrifice time and energy. We are materially very comfortable today, and the stress involved with such sacrifices are real in terms of ability to provide for the health and wellbeing of our love ones and dependents.

    Others who have made sacrifices in the past have often been able to see the physical harm of slavery, opression, and terror which they stood against. Those making the sacrifices now need to see the conequences in the future with suffienct time to stop them.

    Perhaps we’re asking too much of our species? Perhaps we are not that different from other species with populations that boom and collapse?

    Maybe we’ll give away our souls and restrict the population collapse to those in among those least responsible for AGW?

    Would the poor really allow us to manage this type of survival?

    One thing I wonder about is that we’ve never seen a speicies population collapse who are in control of massive stocks of nuclear weapons. I wonder how that would work itself out? Things got shakey in the fall of the USSR but the population didn’t collapse.

  62. #62 watchingthedeniers
    June 2, 2010

    @ Mapleleaf and Jakerman,

    Thanks for your comments, I’m enjoying the discussion.

    I think we shouldn’t place our hope in one, individual “messianic” figure who will be “our” Carl Sagan or Ronald Reagan (the *cough* Great Communicator *cough*).

    Gore has done a amazing job in bringing the issue to the attention of millions of people. Without An Inconvenient Truth (AIT) it would be a much harder sell. But you can see how the denial movement goes after Gore’s credibility.

    The denial movement, lead by Mark Morano’s example are so good at “Swift Boating” these days that is hard for an individual to maintain credibility across partisan lines.

    Plus, in the highly polarised political discourse of US Red State-Blue State identity politics people such Gore do not reach the large conservative/Tea Party/fundie base. Palin plays to the crowd and her understanding of science is well… you get the point. AIT just no longer reaches a certain audience.

    IMHO, in order to explain the issue you need to entertain. The strategy needs to be broad based, and encompass several initiatives. I envision several crazy schemes:

    A kind of “Climate Busters” show, based on “Myth Busters” – a show in which the basics of science and scepticism are taught (with explosions of course, volcanoes are good for that). Get someone to built a big controlled room with plants, fill with a atmosphere gases, pump in CO2 and watch what happens as PPM go up… “Oh look, the plants thriving, oh look they are now dead…gosh is the temperature spiking?” This is a model volcano. Watch it go boom. This is how it effects climate.

    Yes, we need individuals with the gravitas and oratorical skills such as Obama to communicate to a wider audience. Not only did Obama electrify the US in the lead up to the elections, but the world. Perhaps an Obama-Sagan? But not one. We need many communicators from across party/partisan lines. “Climate change mitigation? Yes we can!”

    Of course satire such as “Climate Crock of the week” is great, humour is a great tool. More of that please.

    Re point about media behaviour… Information/briefing packs and sessions for journalists? This may have already been done, but teach them how anti-science movements work, how they spin and exploit “balanced coverage”. Remember the old physics guys who supported Reagan’s SDI did this. Let’s spell it out: “They lie, this is how”.

    There is a wealth of information out there on the reason for denial of climate change, how the denial machine works and how people accept or reject information thanks to cognitive biases. We also know what works as effective communication.

    Kinda needs to be pulled together as a multidisciplinary project. None of this needs to be a formal movement centrally planned and controlled (woo, da conspiracy!) but there is plenty of information that could be dumped into a wiki as a resource.

    Denial Database or Portal? Your one stop shop for fighting the denial movement? Links, resources, papers, tips and presentations? [See further discussion here](http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/the-denial-databaseportal-this-weeks-crazy-idea/)

    But then, I’ve had only *one* coffee and still not thinking straight. Overly optimistic? Crazy? Too ambitious?

  63. #63 jakerman
    June 2, 2010

    >Overly optimistic? Crazy? Too ambitious?

    Do and learn. We need lots of tries to get a win. If you find you’ve been too ambitions that you’ve gained real data and are better informed for your next ambitious effort.

    BTW if what want to see confident ambition see the [API 1998 Global Climate Science Communications Action Plan](http://www.euronet.nl/users/e_wesker/ew@shell/API-prop.html).

    Got make me one of those super powerful plans. How did they get such confidence? Oh thats right, they are the most profitable corporations in history.

  64. #64 jakerman
    June 2, 2010

    James Hansen [released this](http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2010/20100601_TemperaturePaper.pdf) today:

    >Given this situation, the best hope may be repeated clear description of the science and passage of sufficient time to confirm validity of the description. A problem with that prescription is the danger that the climate system could pass tipping points…

    Some strategies more than others will reduce the length that will be “sufficent time” to confirm validity of the predictions to sufficent people.

    Educating oneself if valuable, but then how do we best deploy that knowledge? Activists like John Mashey show a possible route. Several invaluable websites have been named. I’ve nominated community organising, WTD has nominated a porthole or information hub.

    What else does the hive mind suggest before we commit to the next step?

  65. #65 watchingthedeniers
    June 2, 2010

    Let’s bear in mind just how effective the denial machine *has been*, especially in the UK of late:

    The Populus poll of 1,001 adults found 25% did not think global warming was happening, an increase of 10% since a similar poll was conducted in November.

    The percentage of respondents who said climate change was a reality had fallen from 83% in November to 75% this month.

    And only 26% of those asked believed climate change was happening and “now established as largely man-made”.

    See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8500443.stm

    We are going backwards. It’s that simple

  66. #66 Tony Sidaway
    June 2, 2010

    If you’re relying on opinion polls you’re asking the wrong people. The policy-makers, worldwide, have been on board for years, all that we need to do is ensure that they take appropriate action. Global warming is not yet a big enough issue to tip large numbers of uncommitted voters and it’s unlikely to be so (let’s all hope) for a couple of decades. If it ever does become a big election issue, it will be a liability for those who are dragging their feet, not those who are proposing commensurate action.

    The skeptics and deniers lost the argument years ago. All they can ever hope to do now is make a confusing noise. Their more obvious lies should be noted, but they have little influence and should be ignored. There are much more important matters to deal with, and those concern the policy makers.

  67. #67 Lotharsson
    June 2, 2010

    > Hank and Lotharsson have each linked to studies that show setting straight works to confirm their prior prejudice.

    IIRC one of the links I posted some time back demonstrated that **how** you express the debunking is critical. If you repeat the falsehood on your way to debunking it, rather than expressing the truth without repeating the falsehood, you entrench the falsehood in people’s minds. (Hmmm, SkepticalScience may want to take note…)

    That second study (from Hank?) on entrenchment of existing attitudes was fairly depressing though. (I wonder if there’s a link to [Altemeyer](http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/)’s phenomenon of “[Right Wing Authoritarianism](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_authoritarianism)” (which is **not** talking about the *political* right or left wing, but a designation of the authoritarian followers’ chosen sources of authority.)

    Given that those studies likely represent real phenomena, I think professional communicators and communication academics need to help craft effective messages. I imagine most of us – and most climate scientists – have no particular skills in that area.

    > Perhaps we’re asking too much of our species?

    I’m fairly cynical that we’ll be able to get sufficient agreement before serious damage becomes inevitable. As a species we’re not that great at dealing with future threats where the signs are not obvious to the laymen, the tactics of the denialism promoters are quite effective on a significant portion of the population – and with slow-moving but high-momentum threats the threshold before action becomes popular can be crossed too late to be effective.

  68. #68 jakerman
    June 2, 2010

    >(Hmmm, SkepticalScience may want to take note…)

    I’d suggest that skepticalScience is still highly valuable inspite of the phenomena. (Not suggesting that Lotharson thinks contary to this). SkeptSci highly fact based, educational for scientific semi-lays like me, and puts most of the focus on the science and a minimum on the denialsit points.

    Lotharsson, on the value of debunking in geneal, are you of the opinion that the findings (re setting people straight) were relevent to polarised attitudes and less relevent to the people who are yet to be polarized?

    Tony writes;

    >The policy-makers, worldwide, have been on board for years, all that we need to do is ensure that they take appropriate action.

    The issues seem to currently require bipartisan agreement. We keep getting action held up by the out of government opposition simply running against action or watering down legislation until its worse than useless.

    i.e. Governments in power are reluctant to legislate serious mechanisms without bipartisan support. Thus action is held back by the minority. This problem is multplied by the prisoners delemma set up with internation trade competition and the need for rich nations to jump all together.

  69. #69 Lotharsson
    June 2, 2010

    > …are you of the opinion that the findings (re setting people straight) were relevent to polarised attitudes and less relevent to the people who are yet to be polarized?

    I’m not sure, and I have no particular expertise in this area.

    But if you meant – “Was the study I once linked to was more relevant to people who already have false beliefs on an issue than to those who have no beliefs?” – then that might be the case. (Caveat: I have memory issues some days…best thing to do is go back and find the studies.)

  70. #70 Paul UK
    June 2, 2010

    Talking of Skeptical Science…

    John Abraham does a guest post about Monckton:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Abraham-shows-Monckton-wrong-on-Arctic-sea-ice.html

  71. #71 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  72. #72 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  73. #73 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  74. #74 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  75. #75 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  76. #76 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  77. #77 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  78. #78 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  79. #79 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  80. #80 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  81. #81 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  82. #82 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  83. #83 Mike Marriott
    June 2, 2010

    @ Tony post 66

    Some valid points – though let’s also be frank, COP15 failed to live up to expectations (we can debate the reasonableness of those). No binding agreements, more slow incremental steps towards binding agreements “at some point” in the future.

    The whole situation reminds of what it was like in the finance industry prior to the GFC. The risks were known and openly talked about. Some thought it wouldn’t be so bad, others thought the sky would fall and some thought it couldn’t happen. I was at a major bank several years prior. People knew about the growing sub-prime mortgage problem years in advance. The implications for the global economy were fully understood. But nobody wanted the good times to end. It would happen “at some point in the future, hopefully when we were not around”.

    I think I share the view of other posters here: there will be understanding (if not panic) amongst the public after the serious effects kick in. Of course, known tipping points may have been crossed. Too late she cried.

  84. #85 Paul UK
    June 2, 2010

    BTW i’m waiting with bated breath for Watts to invite John Abraham to write a guest post on WUWT:-)

  85. #86 Jim Eager
    June 2, 2010

    jakerman wrote:

    Educating oneself if valuable, but then how do we best deploy that knowledge? Activists like John Mashey show a possible route. Several invaluable websites have been named. I’ve nominated community organising

    Like most other non-climate scientists here, I have spent a good deal of time educating myself about the science of climate change. I have also put in way too much time on popular non-science blogs refuting and exposing the nonsense of those aiming to cause confusion by spreading disinformation. I think the most effective use of my time and acquired knowledge has been working with a local grass roots environmental organization whose aim is educating people in our neighbourhood and city about the potential threat of AGW and about what they can do as individuals to reduce their own carbon footprint and leverage their personal actions by influencing various levels of government to address the issue.

    The education component has included arranging for a trained Climate Project volunteer to give a public presentation of the AIT slide show in the auditorium of the local high school, followed by a panel discussion on how individuals and society can respond to lower our carbon footprint (this was long before Gore’s Our Choice follow-on book was published). Other projects have been a monthly series of films, speakers and workshops on various aspects of reducing energy use and sustainable living practices, such as low water gardening and reducing household water use (purifying and pumping fresh water and treating waste water is the second largest municipal expenditure of electrical energy in in our city), how to weather seal and add insulation to your home, keeping cool in the summer without air conditioning, staycations, and other similar low-carbon themes.

    We established a volunteer project to help homeowners evaluate the energy use of their homes and identify what upgrades they could make and what government and vendor grants, rebates and incentives they would qualify for to offset their costs. The project included establishing a list of qualified contractors and vendors, and calculating household energy use pre and post upgrades to measure change in energy consumption and carbon emissions, surprisingly, something the government grant programs did not include.

    We held three candidate meetings during provincial and federal elections focussed on the issue of energy use and pricing carbon emissions, and have actively advocated municipal government for energy use reduction and instituting programs to assist homeowners in reducing their energy use.

    The success of our projects has varied, but attendance and participation in our events has steadily grown, and several projects have spun off into new stand-alone groups focused on such things as urban private and public space agriculture and organizing bulk purchase of household solar pv and domestic hot water hardware, contracting and financing. It’s quite clear to me that individuals can and will take action when properly educated and motivated to do so. It’s also clear that those who do take action have a multiplying effect on their neighbours and on their governments, at least on the local and provincial level. I strongly urge you to actually get your feet on the ground in a public and visible way to demonstrate that something can be done by individual citizens instead of waiting for government to do it for you.

  86. #87 pough
    June 2, 2010

    I still want to know what’s up with the Pretty Pink Portcullis of the House of Lord*. Is it clip art? Is it pink on purpose? Does Chris think it’s funny, too? Can we put it on all our documents?

    * singular for a reason

  87. #88 Dave Andrews
    June 2, 2010

    jakerman,

    Here you are again insisting if only the entire world system of operating could be overturned all would be ok,

    You need to get real and realise the world is not going to conform to your fantasies, that there are many, many different approaches out there to yours which people hold equally as sincerely and that progress will only come through compromise, respect and co-existence.

  88. #89 Dave Andrews
    June 2, 2010

    Jim Eager,

    I have a lot of empathy for what you say. It is ‘empowering’ to take ‘control’, to work with others and to feel you are making some kind of difference.

    But my experience of 25 years in anti nuclear weapons activism is that most people in such organisations don’t want to go beyond this initial ‘rush’. They are happy to be ‘against’ something but not really interested in finding the technical and political solutions to the problem. When you raise these issues
    they don’t really want to know.

  89. #90 Jim Eager
    June 2, 2010

    Which is why we didn’t just show AIC, Dave, but followed it with a panel to discuss what positive action people could take.

    It’s why none of our events or projects have been couched as “anti” anything, but rather “for” something, such as saving people money on their energy and water bills, making their homes more comfortable, or increasing the value of heir homes.

    We must be doing something right since the number of people involved in our events and projects continues to grow, and why our Ward has more installed solar infrastructure than the rest of the city combined. It certainly didn’t get that way by arguing with those in denial of physical reality because we simply don’t bother doing that.

  90. #91 jakerman
    June 2, 2010

    [Some context](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/05/255_members_of_the_natianal_ac.php#comment-2509392) for anyone wondering why Dave Andrews is responding to me is such an off target manner. (Possibly in his mind he thinks I wrote something else, which is what he has attacked).

    I think I’ve trained him to pay ‘special’ attention to me! Which might be more productive than his past contributions (paying special attention to Mann and Jeff Harvey).

    Dave its nice to see you engaging respectfully with Jim. Take care of your self Dave.

  91. #92 jakerman
    June 2, 2010

    Jim, Thanks for [your post](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/05/monckton_is_wrong.php#comment-2560219), It is inspiring what can be done.

    First question who can be contacted to discuss the process and practices that helped and didn’t?

    Second, given this experience what would you try next to build on this? What would be the most effective use of your limited time and energy?

  92. #93 jakerman
    June 2, 2010

    Correction:

    Dave its nice to see you engaging respectfully with Jim.

    Sorry to see you misrepresent what Jim is doing.

  93. #94 Jim Eager
    June 2, 2010

    jakerman asked: “First question who can be contacted to discuss the process and practices that helped and didn’t?”

    I guess that would be me, so ask away, although it might be more appropriate to take the discussion private. Is there some way to exchange email addresses securly?

    jakerman: “Second, given this experience what would you try next to build on this? What would be the most effective use of your limited time and energy?”

    Good question. We are currently discussing what our next project(s) will be. The Green Together project that helped homeowners navigate the energy upgrade and rebate program is winding down (our project grant has expired and the federal gov rebate program is not being renewed), although some of the GT project aspects are not dependent on grants/rebates so they will definitely continue. Our film/speaker/workshop program is ongoing. There’s a municipal election this fall so we may do another candidates meeting around city energy conservation programs and policies in conjunction with other environmental groups since our group mainly operates in only one ward. One long term project we are discussing is trying to convince the city to allow homeowners to use municipal curbside right of way and even the street right of way to put in ground source geothermal wells and loop piping for residential heating. There are precedents for both. I’m sure we’ll keep busy.

  94. #95 John
    June 3, 2010
  95. #96 Dave Andrews
    June 3, 2010

    Jim Eager,

    I wish you every success in your endeavours. Time will tell.

    Jakerman,

    Give up your cod psychoanalysis. Its as bad as your supposed world view.

  96. #97 jakerman
    June 3, 2010

    Thanks for your opinion Dave, Stay nice.

  97. #98 John
    June 4, 2010

    Hold on, Monckton’s credibility has just been given a major boost!

  98. #99 Lotharsson
    June 4, 2010

    > Monckton’s credibility has just been given a major boost!

    The way that press release is written the UKIP was responsible for the hung parliament – and Monckton wants to write a constitution for Europe, which might be overstepping his authority by a smidgin or two…

  99. #100 GWB's nemesis
    June 4, 2010

    From the UKIP page, quoting the Discount Monkfish “My first task will be to build on the Initiative Referendum Bill…by drafting new, radically democratic constitutions for Britain and for Europe.”

    I can’t wait to see these two documents. He is the comedy gift that just keeps giving.

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