Porky Pearce

WarWithTheNewts-BantamA1292 I suppose I could have made him a tosser, but I decided the the traditional rhyming slang was better.

Fred Pearce seems to have made a bit of a career out of being rubbish recently, but has now stooped to just making things up (or, just possibly, that good old journo standby, being so clueless as to what you’re talking about that your paraphrases are so inaccurate as to descend into lies).

Anyway, Pearce’s current lies [Update: as DC notes, the Newt updated its page on 2011/02/07, but without apology. Whether that means Pearce accepts his error or has been bludgeoned by the Editors, we don't know at this stage] are in the Newt Scientist where he says the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss. Gavin, of course, said no such thing. In fact, what he said was:

My decision not to accept the invitation to this meeting was based entirely on the organiser’s initial diagnosis of the cause of the ‘conflict’ in the climate change debate. I quote from their introductory letter: At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments. The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion. Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

(ref Eli I think). This is, of course, yet more fall-out from the silly workshop that Werner Kraus made such a prat of himself over.

If Pearce wasn’t entirely and utterly clueless, he’d have read RC, viz Unsettled Science.

And… if you haven’t been part of the climate wars, you might wonder why exactly any of this matters. But “the science is settled” has been one of the mantras used almost exclusively by climate denialists as a term of insult for those actually doing science (Pearce is fully aware of all this back story, of course. He isn’t using the phrase accidentally or carelessly). It is a feeble attempt at a double bind: is the science settled? ha ha, then you can’t be a scientist because real science is never settled. Is the science not settled? Oh great, then we don’t need to do anything until it is. The answer, of course, is that we know now (and indeed have for years) enough about the science to know that the world is warming now due to human activity, and will be warming more into the future from more anthro stuff.

A number of people (hello folks!) have pointed this out in the Newt comments, but as far as I can see there is no correction to the original article. In fact, this feels like one of those things that may get vanished, so I’d better go take a copy.

Not strictly relevant here, but yet another candidate for the tosser list is Lord Carlise, one more booster of the terrorism threat. Well, its his job. Monckton isn’t much better but Gareth has fun with him.

Refs

* That Ol’ Devil Rabett
* Things Break too.
* Deltoid has a nice round-up
* Bart quotes me, which is always a good way to get a link in return.
* Post Normal Meltdown in Lisbon, part 1 – highly recommended.

Comments

  1. #1 Gavin
    2011/02/03

    I put in a comment (which has not yet appeared) and sent a letter to the editor pointing to the problem:

    ========

    In the piece entitled Climate sceptics and scientists attempt peace deal, Fred Pearce includes a statement about me that is patently untrue.

    “But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.”

    This is completely made up. My decision not to accept the invitation to this meeting was based entirely on the organiser’s initial diagnosis of the cause of the ‘conflict’ in the climate change debate. I quote from their introductory letter (6/Oct/2010):

    “At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.

    The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.”

    Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

    At no point have I declared that the ‘science was settled’ and that there is nothing to discuss. Indeed, I am on record as saying the exact opposite.

    Pearce might well note that even I am included in the “spectrum” that “disagree[s] with Schmidt”!

    Fred Pearce did not interview me for this piece. I should like to request that in future, if my views are of interest, that he (or anyone else) should actually ask me directly. I am not hard to contact.

    Yours respectfully,

    Gavin Schmidt

    PS. I am not a ‘leader of mainstream climate science’ either.

    ============

    [Thanks Gavin. Still not appeared yet -W]

  2. #2 gofer
    2011/02/03

    “Only an insignificant fraction of scientists deny the global warming crisis. The time for debate is over. The science is settled.”

    So said Al Gore … in 1992.

    [Or... did he? I notice you don't provide a citation. Looking on google I see only the endless denialist echo-chamber quoting themselves again and again. But can you point to Gore actually saying it?

    You might find [[User:William M. Connolley/The science is settled]] enlightening -W]

  3. #3 gofer
    2011/02/03

    Robert Watson, newly elected President of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)] was asked in a press briefing about the growing number of climate scientists who challenge the conclusions of the UN that man-induced global warming is real and promises cataclysmic consequences. Watson responded by denigrating all dissenting scientists as pawns of the fossil fuel industry. “The science is settled” he said, and “we’re not going to reopen it here.”

    [Err no, that is more denialist fabrication. Read the link I gave you. That one comes from http://www.sovereignty.net/p/clim/kyotorpt.htm, not from reality -W]

  4. #4 J Bowers
    2011/02/03

    Good post! I do a lot of rubbing my eyes in disbelief, but that article took the biscuit.

    Could it be possible for climate scientists (real ones, proper ones, published ones, the ones who know what they’re talking about) to set up a Youtube channel to explain why all of these fallacies are just outrageously wrong and dishonest? I can’t help but feel that it’s easy for written words alone to be dismissed, but when someone watches an explanation being given by a real person, where they can see their face and hear the words actually being spoken, it makes it far more difficult for the words to be detached from the speaker or for a mental image that feeds the reader’s confirmation biases to be imposed on the text. Text can be seen as an effort to manipulate, but when you watch a person it’s a different thing altogether. Simple talking heads is all it needs. I know Gavin’s done a few at least, and the thing is that they work. People pick up on this stuff.

    Q: “Is the Sun causing the warming?”
    A: “Noooo, you numpty. Here’s why…. yadda yadda yadda…”

    Okay, not quite like that, but you know what I mean.

    Conversely, when I saw the video of Curry’s presentation of the t-shirt in Lisbon, I thought, “Is that them? These are the ones holding science to ransom? You’ve gotta be joking!”

    Just a thought. Better out than in, maybe.

  5. #5 dorlomin
    2011/02/03

    “Could it be possible for climate scientists (real ones, proper ones, published ones, the ones who know what they’re talking about) to set up a Youtube channel to explain why all of these fallacies are just outrageously wrong and dishonest? ”
    Potholer54 and Greenman3610 both have youtube channels that have many excellent videos addressing comon misconceptions. Potholer54 takes on a few that are held by those who are concerned about human activities as well as the usual contrarian talking points.

    Good places to start.

  6. #6 J Bowers
    2011/02/03

    Dorlomin, that’s not what I’m talking about. Potholer and Greenman do great vids, but I mean something as straightforward as this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krXF9Icfa6k

    Talking heads, straight from the horse’s mouth.

  7. #7 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/03

    > something as straightforward as this.

    Ah, relish the subtle mind-control tactics there, the naked women in the background to make the skeptics drop their, er, defenses ….

  8. #8 J Bowers
    2011/02/03

    Hank, you must have clicked on a bookmark. I meant this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krXF9Icfa6k

  9. #9 David B. Benson
    2011/02/03

    Churnalism.

  10. #10 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2011/02/03

    Naomi Oreskes.

    “No wonder the merchants of doubt have been successful. They’ve permitted us to think we could ignore the waiter, while we haggled about the bill. The failure of the United States to act on global warming as well as the long delays between when the science was settled and when we acted on tobacco, acid rain and the ozone hole are prima facie empirical evidence that doubt-mongering works.”

    [Ah, we're playing the "has anyone ever said it" game. The point you're missing is that this is (a) recent and (b) by Oreskes, not a scientist.

    Being a careful chap I'm sure you noticed the "almost" that I (carefully) inserted in "used almost exclusively by climate denialists".

    But since you dare to appear to defy my: do you accept my thesis that the phrase is "used almost exclusively by climate denialists"? -W]

  11. #11 pough
    2011/02/03

    Hank, you must have clicked on a bookmark.

    I think he’s referring to the two naked women paintings over Gavin’s left shoulder.

  12. #12 P. Lewis
    2011/02/03

    I was pointed in the direction of this FP piece “in” New Scientist over at Deltoid before coming here. NS has finally (and belatedly) lost me as a regular reader and subscriber. The latest FP piece just adds to my reasons for not bothering with the publication any longer.

  13. #13 Eli Rabett
    2011/02/03

    Eli believes in cutting the cards. What say that Pearce didn;t make it up but took someone’s word. Now who would that be. . . ??

  14. #14 crf
    2011/02/03

    The byline was:
    Fred Pearce, [i]consultant[/i].

    I noticed that other people who are writing on the site are called “editor” or “reporter”.

    Consultant might be NewScientistSpeak for a reporter who’s worked long enough on a subject that he’s deemed to ready to pass broad expert judgements upon it. Even though, his opinions (like so many journalists’) are mostly recyled soap-opera plots. He doesn’t actually know his subject well (that’s what 8+ years in universities are for), but to get the gumption to write about it, he has to convince himself that he does know it. So he “frames” it as a universal human conflict, which everyone knows something about. Sturm und Drang.

    He’s the newspaper equivalent of a Lord Moncton.
    They both are good writers.
    They both are smart enough.
    They both accept grand titles.
    They both read papers and style themselves self-declared experts.
    They both dramatize.
    They both make things up about people.
    They both misquote.
    They both find plenty of time for Hitler and Stalin.
    They both want to insert themselves into the story.
    They both tell pleasing stories with facts, but fail to apply the scientific method.

  15. #15 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/03

    Pough, thank you for the sanity check.
    J.B., you are to be congratulated on your focus.
    Eli, you betcha.

  16. #16 Former Skeptic
    2011/02/03

    @NN:

    Please re-read the Oreskes quote again.

  17. #17 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2011/02/03

    Former,

    I read it very carefully.

  18. #18 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2011/02/04

    Former,

    In case you don’t believe that careful parsing changes the meaning. Here is a quote from the web page for Merchants of Doubt.

    “…an important and timely book. Merchants of Doubt should finally put to rest the question of whether the science of climate change is settled. It is, and we ignore this message at our peril.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

  19. #19 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/04

    > cover blurb
    > text of book

    One of these things is not like the other.
    Traditional in the industry, you know.

    Read the “Slaying the Sky Dragon” website yet?

  20. #20 pough
    2011/02/04

    You might find [[User:William M. Connolley/The science is settled]] enlightening -W

    I certainly did. I found it very enlightening, in spite of how unoriginal the plot-line was.

  21. #21 Gareth
    2011/02/04

    Carrots for the Rabett. Pearce bought the denier framing of the CRU email theft, committed in a book and the Guardian to a position that aligns him with the “lukewarmers”. Why the author of The Last Generation should do that is something of a mystery, but speculation will not get us far… So he accepts a seat at a table in Lisbon, and to justify his ticket he writes a piece for Nude Scientist. He can’t be rude about all these people he’s just spent days fraternising with (even though perhaps he should), and so he dashes something off. Turns out to be sloppy. Like his coverage of the Latif presentation for the same magazine.

    But is he a lost cause? Spending a few days with “Steven Goddard” might have been instructive…

    Fred’s coming to NZ in March to attend a climate change forum. I’ll be there. It’ll be interesting to sound him out…

  22. #22 Paul Kelly
    2011/02/04

    Fred Pearce is a tosser because he missed the money quote from GS: “…the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.”

    [Yes, but I think Pearce would only have discovered that if he'd bothered talk to Gavin :-( -W]

  23. #23 J Bowers
    2011/02/04

    Hank, fair enough.

  24. #24 Paul Kelly
    2011/02/04

    W.,

    Quite so. The quote indicates that no amount of agreement on the scientific issues will affect the conflict in the climate change debate.

  25. #25 bigcitylib
    2011/02/04

    How does one make a career out of being rubbish RECENTLY?

  26. #26 Birger Johansson
    2011/02/04

    Do not demonize New Scientist as a magazine because F. P. tends to fuck up. Yes he and other science writers should be held to account on inaccuracies, but New Scientist usually publish corrections when they have slipped up.

    [A reasonable comment. So far they haven't published a correction.

    If they wait ~1 week, until this article has faded into history, and *then* get round to publishing a correction, they will earn Null Points -W]

    I can see why the editorial staff might have failed to catch this one. They publish articles about just about every subject known to science -and usually manage to do a great job balancing writing that is readable both to non-scientists and specialists, an incredibly hard task- but lack specialist knowledge in any given field. Thus they have to rely heavily on consultants (however they define it) and if the c. slips up, it is up to a hundred angry readers to correct the magazine.
    No matter how obscure the matter is, any error will send a storm of protests to the “letters” section. The wide readership guarantees that no falsehood goes unchallenged. In that way, New Scientist is like a microcosm of science.

    If FP gets chastised repeated times on a specific topic, it will be a signal to the editors that they may need another consultant for the coverage of climate science.
    So you are doing the right thing.

    As for science in general, N S is an excellent conduit of knowledge to the public, and generally dial down the sensationalism that is endemic in other science-for-the-lay magazines. Without an “intermediate” magazine for overlapping audiences like this, mainstream readers will be left to the dumbed-down accounts from Murdochland.

    [I sent in a mail, though it took a while to work out who to. They don't seem to have a blogs editor. I used http://www.newscientist.com/contact/person?recipient=feat via http://www.newscientist.com/info/in12?full=true#edito And I said:

    Your recent "article" http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/02/climate-sceptics-scientists-at.html is deeply disappointing.

    It badly misrepresents the scientist Gavin Schmidt, amongst other errors.

    In fact, "misrepresents" is being kind, because it simply fabricates words he did not say.

    The climate change arena is sureely charged enough without you publishing irresponsible material like this.

    This blog posting details the problems:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/pearcegate.php

    If you want to retain your credibility, not to mention your subscriptions, you need to publish a correct, sooner rather than later. -W]

  27. #27 Birger Johansson
    2011/02/04

    W, I get your point. This makes no sense. Once, when I described a planetoid as “1996 TL” instead of the proper “1996 TL 66″ the letters section promply corrected me, so it is not as if you can get away with errors in NS…
    I wonder if FP was writing this article from memory and didn’t bother to double-check. Not that this is an excuse, but anyone with half a brain knows that errors *will* be found out.

  28. #28 J Bowers
    2011/02/04

    26 Birger Johansson — “As for science in general, N S is an excellent conduit of knowledge to the public, and generally dial down the sensationalism that is endemic in other science-for-the-lay magazines.”

    That’s not a free pass to ramp up the sensationalism. Is it really likely that FP didn’t know that a climate scientist using the words “the science is settled” is guaranteed to cue music, kick of the brawl in the bar, flying balsa chairs and sugar-glass bottles included.

    If he wasn’t aware then he’s been reporting on a different climate on a different planet all of this time.

  29. #29 J Bowers
    2011/02/04

    What’s really sad to see is when a journalist becomes part of the story, intentionally or not, not just reporting on the story.

  30. #30 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/04

    But Pearce isn’t a journalist. He’s a consultant.

    For Nicolas:

    “… put to rest any skeptical debate about the basic physics of gaseous infrared radiative transfer.” — J. Curry

  31. #32 J Bowers
    2011/02/04

    @ Hank, FP’s a journalist, author and consultant. Perhaps on this occasion he got to wear all three hats at once?

  32. #33 Steve Bloom
    2011/02/04

    From the very first time I saw the phrase “the science is settled” used, I understood it to be shorthand for “the science is settled sufficiently to provide a policy basis for strong action to reduce GHGs,” which of course it has been for many, many years. Anyone who fails to understand that usage in context is either doing so on purpose or is blindingly dull. History showing that there was similar confusion sown in other environmental/health policy debates is icing on the cake.

  33. #34 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2011/02/04

    W,

    I’m not sure how to measure your claim “almost exclusively.” And I don’t believe you qualified it as whether the person speaking was a scientist.

    I’m not taking any position on the merits, I just happened to recall a fairly prominent historian who had used that phrase, and that others were happen to echo it.

    [OK. Then we may well not be in disagreement -W]

  34. #35 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2011/02/04

    Steve,

    So you are agreeing with me that the phrase is often used? I’m not arguing whether it is reasonable or not.

  35. #36 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/04

    > often

    Depends on what values of “often” you’re used to.
    I’d say not so often:

    “science is settled”
    About 87,700 results

    “hydrogen and stupidity”
    About 1,750,000 results

    “around the world before truth”
    About 1,410,000 results

    “climate fraud”
    About 142,000 results

    “all internet traditions”
    About 302,000 results

  36. #37 Steve Bloom
    2011/02/05

    Probably not often by now other than by denialists, precisely because it tends to get entirely insincerely leapt on and taken out of context. Which I think brings us full circle.

  37. #38 Eli Rabett
    2011/02/05

    There are certainly important parts of the science that are settled for all but the dead enders and a few outlying scientists, but why you give them such weight is an interesting questions.

    Of course you might be one of those who believes the Earth is flat, is that settled? What has happened is that a perfectly good phrase has been mangled by a well funded and long standing frontal assault from the political right.

  38. #39 paul Kelly
    2011/02/05

    Not having been part of the climate wars, I’d heard the science is settled mostly from AGW advocates(non scientist?). Ironic that it is now to scientists an unfair taunt, coded denialist talk. How did this happen.

    [But did you indeed hear that? Many people seem to think they've heard the same; I've provided a page of links demonstating the opposite. Of course many of those are from old debate; nowadays, stating that t-s-i-s isn't unreasonable. People tend to avoid the phrase because, as Eli says, its been hijacked by the denialists. Its a bit like "nigger" -W]

    Eli reminds that, for important parts, saying the science is settled is correct and wishes he could still use the phrase. In typical fashion, he blames the right and a well organized machine.

    [If you mean that Eli is typically correct, then you're right. Come on, it isn't hard: just try a google search on it and see what you get. What you get is the denialist echo-chamber. What you don't get is links to speeches by what you call AGW advocates -W]

    Gavin sheds the true light. It is not one’s view of the science, but of politics that matters in the climate change debate.

  39. #40 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2011/02/05

    W,

    And I believe that Gavin’s observation cuts both ways. He has made his relevant political views quite clear.

    [Has he? I must have missed that. Can you provide a reference or quote (from Gavin himself, of course, not from someone paraphrasing him) -W]

    Meanwhile last Monday I took delivery of my Chevy Volt, and my new Solar Panels, and Solar hot water heat were installed last September. Still working out some kinks in those. Nissan Leaf arriving in July or so True story.

  40. #41 JCH
    2011/02/05

    Why would you drive runts?

  41. #42 dhogaza
    2011/02/05

    Meanwhile last Monday I took delivery of my Chevy Volt, and my new Solar Panels, and Solar hot water heat were installed last September. Still working out some kinks in those. Nissan Leaf arriving in July or so True story.

    And this is relevant, how? I love how denialists trot out their green credentials as if this is somehow relevant to their views on those bits of climate science which are, indeed, settled to the satisfaction of most climate scientists.

    It’s sort of like a creationist touting a recent trip to the Galapagos as evidence that their motives are pure …

    [Argh, please stop to consider before posting like this. NN isn't a denialist and it isn't sensible to call him one, even by implication -W]

  42. #43 Paul Kelly
    2011/02/05

    Science is settled certainly has been hijacked from it’s original usage. At google, your wiki article is first. Next, is Al Gore using the phrase in Congressional testimony reported by NPR in 2007. The rest, all more recent usages, are as you describe. It has an air of schoolyard “I know you are but what am I” about it.

    [But notice again that NPR article doesn't actually quote Gore using the phrase - it just paraphrases it in. This is typical -W]

    Eli’s typical fashion is to be cleverly correct, or perhaps too clever to be incorrect. I think he would agree with GS (and me) that politics matters more than science in the debate. I’m not sure if either would agree with me that disagreement on the science is not an impediment to action, or that agreement on the science wouldn’t necessarily make action easier.

    [I doubt he would agree unreseveredly - it clearly depends on what you mean by "matters". On one view, the science isn't really debated: it is very rare to hear any meaningful discussion of same by the denialists, largely I think because thy don't know any. So yes, in debate with them, the politics is more important -W]

  43. #44 Paul Kelly
    2011/02/05

    Assuming “politics is used in its broadest sense, not narrow left right partisanship, by matters I mean what are the correct questions for debate.

    [Oh, then I doubt we disagree. As I said earlier, for practical purposes we already know enough of the science -W]

  44. #45 Eli Rabett
    2011/02/05

    Paul misses an important point, Eli, and he presumes William and Gavin, would quite wish to get to a policy debate, but simply are blocked by the bullshit science from the Steves and Tony shows.

    [I've said much the same. The slight modification is that I think the debate *should* move on to policy, and take the science - say, as presented by IPCC - as given. We should not even be bothering to listen to the people who talk about "warming pauses" etc, and I certainly am not. However, when the debate does move on to policy I may drop out (but I don't promise to): I don't claim any special expertise there -W]

  45. #46 Paul Kelly
    2011/02/05

    I don’t miss Eli’s important point. I think it is irrelevant. Nothing from the deniers prevents fruitful policy debate. It takes a recognition that climate is but one of several valid reasons for decarbonization. It is then possible to argue about how rather than why.

    Views on nuclear power, corn ethanol, renewable standards, subsidies and incentives cut across political and denier/warmist lines.

  46. #47 dhogaza
    2011/02/06

    [Argh, please stop to consider before posting like this. NN isn't a denialist and it isn't sensible to call him one, even by implication -W]

    Oh, he’s close, but I commented on a general trend. Watts says pretty much the same, touting the fact that he drives an electric car blah blah blah proving he’s “green” therefore his high-school science background disproving the work of … you! among others … must be true.

    Tom Fuller does the same, Mosher, Bishop Hill, etc.

    Actually, I’d say that NN’s adopting this mantra pushes him closer to the denialist camp than he’s been before. He’s obviously making the moral argument that since he’s doing this stuff, we should pay more attention to his criticisms than we should if he didn’t.

    For the record, I’ve been telecommuting for almost 30 years, bike commuted about 2/3 of the time before that, and still walk and bus as much as is practical, so, screw your volt, NN …

    And get off your moral high horse.

  47. #48 dhogaza
    2011/02/06

    Views on nuclear power, corn ethanol, renewable standards, subsidies and incentives cut across political and denier/warmist lines.

    Corn ethanol is just another typical government subsidy of Republican farmers in Republican (“red”) states, and will be defended by Republicans (including the current Tea Party types, or at least enough of them) for all time.

    One could spend a bunch of time wondering how the Republican beneficiaries of FDR’s more or less socialist invention of price subsidies to keep them in business could lead them to hate more or less socialist notions of doing the same for workers in cities, etc, but doing so might cause one to lose their minds. Their attitude is pretty much the same as those seen waving signs saying “Say no to Socialism! Don’t cut our (mildly socialist) Medicare!!!!”

  48. #49 dhogaza
    2011/02/06

    Nothing from the deniers prevents fruitful policy debate.

    Right … “there is no need to do anything because the science is a fraud” does nothing to prevent fruitful policy debate.

  49. #50 dhogaza
    2011/02/06

    [Argh, please stop to consider before posting like this. NN isn't a denialist and it isn't sensible to call him one, even by implication -W]

    The point is, it’s a meme. If NN doesn’t want to be associated with those using the meme as a moral foundation for denialism, then he should be smart enough to understand that touting the fact that he’s buying a Volt has absolutely no bearing on whether or not his arguments have merit.

    The fact that he spewed forth a string of “green stuff I’m doing” was done, without doubt, to bolster his other arguments, and the fact is that whether or not he buys a Volt or farms his own chickens or drinks his own piss to save on water consumption is irrelevant to whatever point he might be trying to make.

    It’s the flip side of “climate science must be false because Al Gore is fat and lives in a big house and flies here and there”.

  50. #51 Russ Finley
    2011/02/06

    Fred also treats us to a diatribe once a year on world population day about the overpopulation myth:

    http://biodiversivist.blogspot.com/2010/07/response-to-cornucopians.html

  51. #52 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/06

    [... when the debate does move on to policy I may drop out ...]

    Please don’t. Can you name any issue on which the remedies proposed stayed within the range of options the science supported? That’s where more scientists need to be most attentive and vocal, because the ‘policy’ suggestions will mostly come from the people who have been ignoring the science all along. As Donella Meadows observed, we know where the leverage points are — and usually push in the wrong direction.

  52. #53 pough
    2011/02/06

    Re: #46. William, you’re responding to a SPAMbot. What you really want to respond to is the original sentence in #40 by NN.

    [Thanks. 46 deleted -W]

  53. #54 Paul Kelly
    2011/02/06

    W.,

    Your comment to Eli’s #45 is better phrased than mine(46). Battling the deniers on the science is a distraction from answering the essential question. How do we best achieve energy transformation?

    I also echo Hank’s “please don’t”.

  54. #55 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/06

    The delay-is-ok argument by the big money is used to buy time to shift their investment away from the problem before the problem is addressed. They want you to believe it’s better to “preserve value” (of their tobacco processing gear, coal leases and mining operations) than to recognize the book value is dropping drastically as the cost of using their products begins to be accounted for. Of course there’s another way to ‘preserve value’ for the original owners: sell the company off to small investors, foolish mutual funds and pension plans.

    Altria, anyone? http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=altria+pension+investment

  55. #56 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/06

    > How does one make a career out of being rubbish RECENTLY?

    It takes constant effort to get ahead in the race to the bottom.
    An old warhorse is challenging for the momentary lead “recently’:
    OMG! ANOTHER GLOBAL WARMING SNOWSTORM!!

  56. #57 Holly Stick
    2011/02/06

    Speaking of policy discussions, there’s this new WWF/Ecofys report about moving to all clean energy by 2050.

    http://www.grist.org/article/2011-02-03-how-to-get-to-100-percent-renewables-globally-by-2050

    Besides the discussion at Grist, what other websites would be able to evaluate this report for the public? Is there an equivalent to RealClimate talking about what clean energy alternatives work, and could and should be implemented?

    [Not sure. Off the top of my head, their assumption of global energy demand peaking and then declining to 2050 looks unlikey -W]

  57. #58 Neven
    2011/02/06

    @ Holly Stick:

    The Oil Drum? (that’s one of the articles on the front page)

  58. #59 Holly Stick
    2011/02/06

    Thanks, Neven, that looks like a good one.

  59. #60 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/06

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=renewable-energy-myths-busted-by-ne-2010-04
    Roadmap 2050: a practical guide to a prosperous, low-carbon Europe
    European Climate Foundation (ECF)

  60. #61 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2011/02/07

    dhogaza,

    I have no idea what you are talking about actually. I’m just enjoying some interesting new technology that I think is the type of thing that will eventually lead to solutions. If any are to be found at all.

    I can’t believe the mean spirited nature of your comments. You are actually quite wrong about my views, but even if you weren’t it would be much more astute to applaud someone doing the right thing, even if you believe it is for the wrong reason.

  61. #62 Scott M.
    2011/02/07

    [[Ah, we're playing the "has anyone ever said it" game. The point you're missing is that this is (a) recent and (b) by Oreskes, not a scientist.]

    She holds a Ph.D. in Geology from Stanford University and was on the geosciences faculty at Dartmouth before moving into her current field (history of science). At least at one point in time, trained people thought she was producing pretty good science …

  62. #63 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/07

    > using the meme as a moral foundation for denialism

    Consider just that point — “‘has anyone ever said it’ game” is a denial theme. Look at how it’s used.

    Forget that he dissed your shiny new ride.

  63. #64 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/07

    Oh, I forgot to thank you for

    > it would be much more astute to applaud someone doing the
    > right thing, even if you believe it is for the wrong reason.

    I’ll point that out to the people still frothing over that first ‘hockey stick’ sketch.

  64. #65 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2011/02/07

    Hank,

    This business of labeling discourse is uncivilized in my opinion. WMC made the point that the phrase is used in a certain way, and I made the point that I was aware that this was not always true. And that I was aware of at least one prominent individual who uses it frequently. For me it is just an intellectual discussion. You guys take all the fun out of blogging.

  65. #66 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/07

    > labeling discourse is uncivilized

    “… and every reader’s interpretation is of equal merit.”
    http://shewonk.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/pns-pretty-nonsensical-stuff/#comment-3938

  66. #67 dhogaza
    2011/02/07

    Forget that he dissed your shiny new ride.

    Oh, I wasn’t dissing his new ride. I’m enthusiastic about the Volt, or rather that GM’s going to use the technology in several new vehicles over the next few years (which is pretty much rocket-speed progress for the auto industry, engineering, testing, tooling plants all throughout the supply chain, etc is a much more complex and lengthy process than most people realize).

    And I think that it’s great that NN buys fuel-efficient vehicles and takes other actions to cut his carbon footprint.

    I’m just tired of people trotting out their green credentials as though they have any bearing whatsoever on their understanding of climate science. Reading NN’s post in which he stated he’s taking delivery makes it clear I was leaping to a conclusion, he didn’t actually tie it into his credibility.

    Sorry, NN.

    As I said earlier, it’s a common denialist meme, not quite up there with “I used to believe the science until I actually studied it myself”, but still, somewhat prevalent. Watts in particular uses it as a “holier than thou” (and especially “holier than Gore” hammer to beat people with.

    So next time william puts up one of his hodge-podge threads, tell us what you think of the Volt.

    Off-topic but related, someone I know (through his son, actually) who made a fair chunk of money in silicon valley years ago was describing his test-drive of a Tesla …

    “I took along a fighter pilot friend to drive …”

    Apparently, it was a good time.

  67. #68 Nicolas Nierenberg
    2011/02/07

    Thanks dhogaza, accepted.

    Hank,

    You still confuse me. But I want to point out that doing the right thing for the wrong reason is not the same as doing the wrong thing for the right reason.

  68. #69 Deep Climate
    2011/02/08

    Apparently, Ron Cram is working on a Wikipedia article about the climate science debate, including the Lisbon fiasco.

    Or something like that.

    Might still be in the sandbox, though.

    [Rom was one of the Dear Departed for a while, and no-one missed him. You can see what he is up to though: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/RonCram . Looks like he is up to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:RonCram/ClimateScienceDebateSandbox . What an utter wazzock. No-one took Ron seriously on wiki. Does anyone take him seriously outside it? -W]

  69. #70 Hank Roberts
    2011/02/08

    NN — ‘right … for the wrong reason’ reminded me of these:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=mann+“hockey+stick”+”right+answer”+”wrong+reason”

  70. #71 MapleLeaf
    2011/02/09

    William,

    I get the impression that everyone is whining about what happened at NewScientist and not really following through. Has anyone filed an official complaint with them? NewScientist will not care unless a good many people do make the effort to complain officially.

    [I wrote them an email, for which they sent a formal-ack and then ignored. Gavin wrote them a proper let. They have had their chance; clearly the partial-withdrawl-without-apology is all they are going to do and I can't be bothered with them any more -W]

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