More wiki-fun. Or is this Google Truth in action? (Yeah, I know, the pic isn’t quite right but its good).

Which is more accurate?

Willard Anthony Watts (born 1958)[1] is an American blogger who runs the climate change denialism website Watts Up With That?.[2] A former meteorologist,[3][4] he is president of IntelliWeather Inc.[5] and directs the Surface Stations Project, a volunteer initiative to document the set up and maintenance of weather stations across the United States.[6] (link)


Willard Anthony Watts (born 1958)[1] is an American meteorologist[2][3] (AMS seal holder, certification retired by AMS),[4][5] president of IntelliWeather Inc.,[6] and founder of the Surface Stations Project, a volunteer initiative to document the set up and maintenance of weather stations across the United States.[7] He is editor of the blog Watts Up With That?.[8] (link)

Both are arguably true, but which one better reflects his actual status? All right-thinking people will obviously agree that the top one is better; WUWT is denialism, and AW is primarily known as a blogger, not a meteorologist. Exciting discussion of this very point is available on the talk page.

I notice that neither version mentions him as founder of the Open [sic] Atmospheric Society, which is clearly disrespectful.

Update: the new text survives, but there’s a discussion on the “Biographies_of_living_persons/Noticeboard” (from whence it will be archived after a bit, so try here). My favourite, from an uninvolved:

A quick look at the blog site and I don’t see how it could be described as anything else except a denialist site. Disagree with following the majority of sources, we should follow the best sources and it is hard to go past the nature one.

Uupdate: the onwikiwackos won’t give it up, but aren’t making much progress:

”’Denier”’, as in option 2 and firmly reject option 1 per [[WP:WEASEL]]. Every time, the same answer (and usually the same people asking the question). Watts is a climate change denier, the handful of editors who don’t like that fact just need to learn to live with it. The “skeptics” of climate change are [[pseudoskepticism|pseudoskeptics]], and Watts is a very obvious and thoroughly documented promoter of denialism. The fact that some sources fail to correctly make the distinction is a problem, and it’s one we deal with by blowing away the dust. I can find you a million sources that describe stage psychics as clairvoyant, but they aren’t and we don’t call them clairvoyant. This is the same. The absolute most we should say is that he is a denialist who describes himself as a skeptic, but even that is giving undue weight to a fringe view.


  1. #1 Russell

    As a reality check, on Famous Meteorologists, why not query what fraction of the population can name their local TV weather presenter ?

    It is odd that the temperature record of the past century seems more clearly presented by the absence of the data than most of Watts presentations.

  2. #2 Fergus Brown
    5 miles north of heaven

    When you haveTomasz Schafernaker as a weather person you don’t forget the name in a hurry. I had to cut and paste to get the spelling, though…

  3. #3 Eric Lund

    @Russell: I don’t watch TV, so I wouldn’t be able to name my local TV weather presenter(s). Actually, none of them are local: the nearest commercial broadcast TV station to where I live is about 60 km away, and most of my “local” TV news comes from stations in the big city about 100 km to the south. But I do know a former TV weather presenter (long since retired; the man is in his 80s). He actually got a degree in meteorology from a reputable institution, but he hasn’t kept up with his field, and it shows. For instance, he claims, with a straight face, that satellites play no useful role in collecting weather data–this would be news to the people who run the operational forecast models, as they routinely use satellite data to cover regions that aren’t well covered by ground stations (such as oceans and the high Arctic). And yes, the guy is in the denialist camp.

  4. #4 Quiet Waters

    John Kettley is a weatherman!

    […and so is Michael Fish!. Listen carefully to the opening and you’ll get a shock… but actually its “Mark Burano is a soprano” -W]

  5. […] and, I presume (although I haven’t looked) on WUWT. As an aside, Stoat has an amusing post on how best to describe Willard Anthony Watts and his […]

  6. #6 Steve Bloom
    United States

    Well done, Russell. Monckers will doubtless be pleased at his new buffed look!

  7. #7 Russell

    Nothing wrong with Moncktons cricket- defending a wicket with only a stoat for a bat shows good form.

  8. #8 matt

    > “denialism”

    Perhaps you should change that to “d*$&^#%*m”.

    Not serious. Also OT so delete if you want, but link is worth a read if you missed it.

    [I saw it. I think he’s wrong; he’s not allowed to steal the word “denial” -W]

  9. #9 Russell the Stout
    Benighted States

    Off topic, but I was wondering: I can’t remember if it was here, or perhaps on Russell’s site, I asked if it was possible evaporation/sublimation of ice on the higher areas of Antarctica was a significant thing. Since then, I found this:
    which, unfortunately I can barely comprehend, most of this business being so far from my field I can barely keep up. Does it imply more ice is vanishing from the Antarctic continent than previously thought?

    [That stuff used to be right up my street (; TL;DR: sublimation is much smaller than precipitation, averaged cross Antarctica. What they’re doing here is interpreting glaze regions as areas where sublimation is greater than precip, which is why they aren’t covered in snow. But I think those areas are not a large proportion of the continent -W]

  10. #10 Mal Adapted

    Russell the Stout:

    I was wondering: I can’t remember if it was here, or perhaps on Russell’s site, I asked if it was possible evaporation/sublimation of ice on the higher areas of Antarctica was a significant thing.

    You may have asked it elsewhere, but you definitely asked it on Real Climate.

    BTW, I appreciate your addition of the distinguishing qualifier to your nom de clavier here. At RC I took you for the other Russell. I’ve always wondered how Afghans and Indonesians keep all their singly-named countrymen straight!

  11. #11 Mal Adapted

    Drat! that’s Real Climate.

    [So I felt obliged to look something more useful up. Try Its old, but that’s OK. It has modelled and obs, and if you just want the punch line, scroll down to fig 10 -W]

  12. #12 Russell the Stout

    Thanks Dr. Connolley. Your link in #9 described the state of the art best for me.

  13. #13 Justin Matthews
    New Mexico

    Your Thoughts On Climate Change??????

    Humans emit on average 26 x 10^9 tons of CO2 each year, however there is currently 30 x 10^11 tons of CO2 existing. This makes yearly human emissions 0.26% of CO2 levels. On a hundred year model this means a quarter increase in CO2 levels which is cause for alarm when viewed independently. But in terms of overall atmospheric conditions CO2 accounts for 0.04 % of the total atmosphere which itself is approximately 51 x 10^14 tons. A 25% increase of 0.04% is 0.01 % net change in the composition of our atmosphere. My “common sense” tells me that a 0.01 % change in the atmosphere during the next 100 years cannot account for a raise in average yearly temperatures. In terms of MM it still makes up less than 1 percent of the total atmosphere. The IOPCC report on climate change cites other gases, such as methane, as being far worse for climate change than CO2. However, when viewed in terms of content these gases make up a statistically insignificant part of the atmosphere. (0.00018 % for Methane) What am I missing in all this? I do not believe an hour of my time and a Google search engine negates the entire scientific community, I just do not see the connection. I really would like answers and opinions, when I asked this question in class the professor got angry and I believe my grade may have suffered as a result.

    [What you’re missing is that O2 and N2 are radiatively inactive. This is explained in As that says: Greenhouse gases—including most diatomic gases with two different atoms (such as carbon monoxide, CO) and all gases with three or more atoms—are able to absorb and emit infrared radiation. Though more than 99% of the dry atmosphere is IR transparent (because the main constituents—N2, O2, and Ar—are not able to directly absorb or emit infrared radiation), intermolecular collisions cause the energy absorbed and emitted by the greenhouse gases to be shared with the other, non-IR-active, gases. By contrast, is a bit rubbish, but it does address the “things present in traces are obviously not harmful” question -W]

  14. #14 Justin Matthews
    New Mexico

    Please delete/do not approve my previous comment. (#13) I do not want the negative replies. I would appreciate an e-mail with any insight you may have though. It has been an unanswered question of mine for three semesters now and it is almost taboo to bring it up.


    [I considered doing as you asked, but haven’t. If you won’t want to read negative replies, well then: just don’t. I’ve already answered your comment, so you can just read that if you like -W]

  15. #15 Susan Anderson

    Justin Matthews, I’m sorry if you’ve been attacked about that question. It’s a reasonable one, and WC has done a good job of answering you. If you pay attention to the answer, you will learn something. We are so frustrated with the assertion of falsehood that you may have been attacked when you should have been answered before. This is an excellent place to seek a real answer. You might also try AndThenTheresPhysics blog. While these guys can be pretty technical, they really are interested in honest question.

    Good luck, and hope you will give it your best shot. Think of other things that are found in trace amounts that have disproportionate effects.

    I sure do hope your professor did not downgrade you for an honest question that, if answered properly with facts and information, should have been helpful to others who were not bold enough to ask.

    You may also find water vapor confusing. It too does not change the overall picture. As far as I’ve been able to figure out, it is largely constant and is not an actor but a reactor in the overall picture.

    This also looks good from my lay point of view, particularly because it does not try to provide definition where the definition is not fully understood.

  16. #16 Susan Anderson

    wrt the perfectly good dictionary definition of “denial” it should be noted that the reference to the holocaust is intentional and intended to distract. They are now working on how it is discreditable to call them fake/phony/false skeptics. So how about “unskeptical” “skeptics”. Our use of deniers is not nearly so iniquitous as naming constant tactical disinformation, biased in the extreme, as “skepticism” and kidnapping dead geniuses to advocate against the sense of what said clever people actually said and meant.

  17. #17 Raymond Arritt

    Justin, that’s a completely reasonable question and one that people outside the field often ask.

    First a little math. The concentration by weight of CO2 in the atmosphere is 0.06%, since the molecular weight of CO2 is higher than the molecular weight of air. The average body mass of an adult is 62 kg, or 136 pounds. So 0.06% of 62 kg is 37 grams (about an ounce and a quarter).

    If someone tells you 0.06% of something can’t possibly have any significant effects ask if they’d be willing to consume the following — each of which is equal to 0.06% of the body mass of an adult.

    114 aspirin tablets (standard U.S. tablet, 325 mg)

    137,000 doses of LSD (typical dose, mid 1960s)

    298 lethal doses of strychnine (at LD50 of 2 mg/kg)

    2 liters (1/2 gallon) of weed killer (equals 37 grams of glyphosate at 2% typical concentration)

    half a liter (a pint) of household bleach (equals 37 grams of sodium hypochlorite at standard concentration of 8.25%)

    Just a few examples. But I think this is enough to make the point.

  18. #18 Mal Adapted


    […Try Its old, but that’s OK. It has modelled and obs, and if you just want the punch line, scroll down to fig 10 -W]

    Thanks WC. It was Russell the Stout who originally asked the question on RC, but I thought it was an interesting one. That paper suggests that sublimation is important to the mass balances of portions of the Antartic ice.

  19. #19 Mal Adapted


    The experimental demonstration of the heat-absorbing power of relatively rare atmospheric gases like CO2 and water vapor, and the inactivity of O2 and N2, was made by John Tyndall in 1865. The excellent, concise history of the scientific case for AGW titled “The Discovery of Global Warming“, by Spencer Weart of the American Institute of Physics, is highly recommended. It’s available in both printed and electronic form.

    After reading it, you’ll be in a position to respond when an AGW-denier claims that AGW is a conspiracy to promote big government. Point out that the conspiracy would have to start with Joseph Fourier, the French mathematician and physicist, who proved that the Earth’s atmosphere traps heat in 1824

  20. #20 The difference

    […] William Connolley at Stoat for an example of the difference between sides in the climate […]

  21. #22 Frank Trades

    Try Googling NOAA Battery Sea Level. A chart of sea level rise there shows data for NYC back to about 1850. Notice the absolute straight line trend? Wouldn’t you think that if man had any significant impact on global temperature increase, it would certainly Shiw up there? It doesn’t. Why?

    [I think you mean Its certainly true that a straight line has been drawn on that. But why would you want to look at a single location? -W]

  22. #23 Susan Anderson

    JBL @21: wow, what a mess. It is unfortunate that the campaign to label the use of climate denial as implying holocaust denial has the additional liability of having caused many of us to seek alternate descriptions, resulting in a downward spiral. All the twisting and turning makes it a regular maze to call a spade a spade.

  23. #24 Susan Anderson

    I found a fascinating tidbit about knowledge, so am going a mite off topic to cite it:

    “There is a difference between knowingness and knowledge, but what is it? Knowingness comes after knowledge; it is only the echo of its source, and it is proud to be the echo. One of the liberties of our connected age is that we can be almost infinitely knowing, consoling our lack of true knowledge with an easy cynicism of acquisition.”

    It goes on, if anyone is interested, here:

  24. #25 Mal Adapted

    Susan Anderson:

    It is unfortunate that the campaign to label the use of climate denial as implying holocaust denial has the additional liability of having caused many of us to seek alternate descriptions, resulting in a downward spiral. All the twisting and turning makes it a regular maze to call a spade a spade.

    The solution to that is easy: screw alternate descriptions. Letting those Humpty Dumptys change the meaning of perfectly good words is letting them be the masters of the debate. They don’t get to decide for the rest of us that “denier” can only mean “Holocaust-denier”. Call a spade a spade and an AGW-denier an AGW-denier wherever you find them.

  25. #26 Russell the Stout
    United States

    As a Wikipedia writer/editor I have to go with different wording. I like a little too much the hint of lunacy that “denier” provides. But as an editor I would have to veto that. I am unsure if the same glee I would get from terming them “outliers” (say it aloud) would provide a reason to nix that expression also, but I don’t think so. It has no relation to fascism, anyway.

  26. #27 Steve Bloom
    SF Bay Area

    So, Russell, the collective editorial wisdom at WP is to in effect ring-fence your own article on denialism (which note has a long history in psychology dating back to the turn of the century)? Is this a template for how to manipulate WP?

    Or maybe do what the flat earth article does and refer to claims against the AGW scientific consensus as myth. I’m sure the flat-earthers must have squawked about that, so why hasn’t the term been pulled?

  27. #28 Aaron Sheldon`

    Okay here goes, I’m going to jump in here, with what is undoubtedly going to be an unpopular opinion..

    Labels are a tricky business and easily detract from or taint objective historical records; which I would assume Wikipedia aims to be. We need look no further than the on going debates on the political correctness of the labels found in biological sex versus self identified gender for evidence of the great deal of care that must be taken to use the most objective descriptions possible.

    Now in day to day conversations I am more than happy to use the terms “denialist” and “denialism” to describe my personal opinions of the deceit engaged upon by that community; because those terms best reflect my frustration, and infuriation with the obfuscation and deceit of that community. However, it is exactly because I know I use those terms in an emotionally charged context that would make me wary of using those terms in an objective record, such as Wikipedia.

    As a matter of precaution in authoring an objective record I would defer to the self identified description of the person or group who are the subject of the writing. In this case “anthropogenic global warming sceptic” would be a suitable term. However, I would not leave this phrase on undefined. I would link to a secondary article that outlines the tenants, claims, assumptions, and falsifying evidence against “anthropogenic global warming sceptics”. The only leeway for the use of the terms “denialist” and “denialism” in the main article would be in a subsection on “References in popular culture” or “Cultural references”, or perhaps “Critiques of work”. In that context it is fair game to discuss the references to the subject as being a “denialist” or engaging in “denialism”, provided, of course, those terms are carefully defined in linked secondary articles.

    In many ways this analogous to the difference between calling someone a “liar” (a characterization) versus saying someone has “engaged in lying” and then providing specific accounts of those lies.

  28. #29 Craig Thomas

    Aaron – what you are suggesting is that we defer to others’ mis-use of the label “sceptic” for their activities.

    Everybody knows they aren’t sceptics – they are a motley assortment of cranks and liars, and what they are doing is crystal-clear Denial of real-world facts, as everybody can see.

  29. #30 Craig Thomas

    @ Frank Trades:
    If you’re interested in sea level rise, you may be interested in this:

    I’m also curious about the point you are trying to make – as the oceans absorb heat, are they not expanding?
    As ice sheets and glaciers melt, does the resulting liquid water not reach the oceans and add to their volume?

  30. #31 Fergus Brown
    On the Road

    @ Russell @ 26: How about ‘out and out liers’? (sic)
    (w to your awareness of your own pun)…

  31. #32 Aaron Sheldon


    Believe it or not I have put some thought into this.

    No, we do not defer to other’s misuse of self identified descriptions. Rather we use the self identified descriptions to demonstrate the deceit of the those self identified descriptions.

    The secondary links to accurate descriptions and factual accounts of the self identified descriptions are critical, and no account of the main subject would be complete without that additional information.

    As risky as it is, it is important that we provide the readers with the evidence of the deception, and let the readers form their own characterization of the person, group or topic; rather than imposing our own characterization of the person, group, or topic. This is a central tenant of objective historical records, that the reader be granted the space to form their own opinions, based on the most truthful, factual, and accurate evidence that the author can provide.

    If, as you claim, the evidence makes the “Denialist” characterization crystal clear, which I do not dispute, then just presenting evidence will cause any sound minded reader to draw similar characterizations themselves. Furthermore, not only is their no harm in restricting the writing to truthful evidence, there are benefits: first, you do not turn off rational readers who will find the insertion of the writers opinions into objective accounts both glaring and detracting from the clarity of the writing; second, you give the reader the space to form there own judgement, opinion, and characterization based on the evidence; third, the material becomes an acid test itself of the reader, there will be a few readers that do not rational read the materially, so that the material itself becomes a sieve of future readers, sort of a “wow I did not get that from that article…” thing.

    For example you could write “On such and such an occasion so and so denied the evidence existed of such and such an effect…” But you should not write “so and so is a denialist…”. Not only is that a personal characterization that is potentially derogatory and pejorative, it can also be misconstrued as an ad hominen argument.

    Finally there is a fundamental impossibility of writing objectively about a persons character or personality. While we can know the evidence of a persons actions, at best we can only ever draw inferences about a persons character or personality. We can never know the inner nature of a person in the same way that we can know their outward actions.

    There is a time and a place for impassioned debate with strong opinions, characterizations, and judgement, comment threads are one of those spaces, but Wikipedia is not.

    Dear god why am I so long winded?

  32. #33 deconvoluter

    I used to visit someone who was in <b)denial about his inability to walk, following a hip operation. So he resisted the nurses attempts to make him exercise. I felt some sympathy for this behaviour because it provided protection against immediate mental and physical pain.

    On BBC Radio 4 this morning we were told how the Curie family were “in denial” about the hazards associated with their work on radioactivity. It is of no consequence whether this is historically accurate, as my point concerns the linguistic use of the phrase “in denial”.

    This and other examples illustrates that the term denier might have associations which are too bland for describing the PR activities of the fossil fuel industry. Anyway We are stuck with it now. It is not unusual for the name or title of a phenomenon to be emotionally misleading.

    Another example of dodgy wording is the BBC’s replacement of the clasification “Jihadists” with “militant” which brings up images of striking workers.

  33. #34 Russell the Stout

    deconvoluter, you have it backwards. Those strikers aren’t “militant” unless they are militarized. That’s just headline-writing, which makes every disagreement into a “clash” or an “attack.” I’ll get into an edit war before I allow criticism to appear as “attack” in an article, because it’s untrue and dishonest, no matter how many headlines or opinion pieces are used as citations. If used as quotes (and I don’t personally approve of headlines being quoted, only text from articles, because quite often the writer didn’t write the headline) that sort of thing can be used.
    Similarly, any inflammatory thing said about WUWT is fair to use in a “criticism” section if said by someone notable. Any working or former climate scientist, or politician, who says “denialist” can be quoted, if correctly.
    Outside of Wikipedia, I just refer to them as deniers, or “liars,” as I suggested.

  34. #35 Neven

    How about the term ‘climate risk denier’? Because in the end, that’s what they do: deny that AGW could ever have negative consequences.

  35. #36 deconvoluter

    RE:# 34: “Militant”: [Diversion ; so I hope not to add to it in this thread]

    Those strikers aren’t “militant” unless they are militarized.

    Perhaps its different here. In the UK the self named Militant Tendency ran Liverpool for a while leaving behind an illegal excess of council houses and some lost council jobs. They also published a left wing newspaper for quite a long time, which was called Militant. The most assertive thing its supporters would do is to offer it for sale, quite politely. I only read it rarely, but never saw it advocate any form of militarisation.

  36. #37 Susan Anderson

    Aaron Sheldon, I would disagree about “long winded”.

    That was a remarkably clear and dispassionate argument for sticking with the facts and avoiding presenting assumptions (doing it for money, denying evolution, flat-earther) that might be incorrect, and provide leverage and stiffen opposition.

    It would be nice if our situation did not require the cooperation of a variety of people with different belief systems, but to state it baldly, writing for the choir’s approval is self-indulgent.

    I am going to go back and reread what you said. Lately I’ve been writing unskeptical “skeptic” with a parenthetical remark about what real skepticism entails.

    Deconvoluter, glad to see you back.

  37. #38 climatehawk1

    Just sticking with “denier” here, for some of the reasons outlined above. I think the attempt to conflate with “holocaust denier” is nonsensical, particularly coming from folks who, in other contexts, throw around accusations of Nazism. My profession is communications, and “denier’ has clarity, always a valuable objective, as a description of someone who denies something.

  38. #39 climatehawk1

    I should also mention this tweet from @hogisol: “for the record: I’m really okay with being called a ‘pause denier’ or an ‘alarmist.'” I’m OK with those too. :)

  39. #40 Howard
    Pacific Plate

    Denier does track with holocaust denier, to claim otherwise is a first-order signal of passive-aggressive behavior. Hiding behind the dictionary is a second-order signal that puts the denier denial above the 99% CI.

    …and I thought “you people” we supposed to be the smart ones.

    Watts, Spenser, Curry and the Auditing Canuck are not deniers, but they run what are essentially blogs for deniers. Useful idiots for the republican country club.

    Alarmist, warmist and warmista are pejorative by definition. Realclimate and Skeptical Science are alarmist blogs by people who indirectly support policies that effectively promote environmental racism. Useful idiots for the democratic public employee unions.

    The bottom line is that the broad use of pejoratives and the denial of the bilious intent is not to call a “spade a shovel”, rather it is designed to end two-way communication and signal to the choir that you are all on the same sheet of muzak.

  40. #41 Tom Fuller

    “Kennedy’s libertarian vision legitimizes the usage of “nigger” as a matter of “freedom,” especially for those who are savvy enough to create art positioning the word “in a rich panoply of contexts and intonations.” Kennedy discounts emotion-driven, anti-nigger “protectionists” and “regulationists,” but he fails to counter serious, intellectual objections to the term. Morrison holds, for instance, that it “occupies a territory between man and animal,” and is “the generic and degrading term.” More problem- atically, the liberalism that shelters ethnic slurs can devolve into a species of sadism, with the powerful lording hate speech, with impunity, over the weak.”

  41. #42 deconvoluter

    re: #40.

    How about some science? and perhaps some evidence>

    Watts, Spenser, Curry and the Auditing Canuck are not deniers,…..

    ..Realclimate and Skeptical Science are alarmist blogs …..environmental racism.

    and more similar.

    To test this consider Roy Spenser (RS) who tends to be wrong. He is a scientist who has peddled the idea that CO2 warming has been overestimated because it is only a trace gas. There is a big difference between Justin Matthews raising this issue (see #13 WC’s inline reply and SA’s comment #15) and someone like RS who is a professional climatologist, who knows all about the electromagnetic properties of O2,N2 and CO2. That is why Parton Paul Levenson was justifed in attacking RS for his blog (which may now have been removed?).

    There is also a big difference between an amateur using models with 30 fully adjustable and unchecked parameters and a professional doing just that. Yes you can find RS being criticised by Realclimate and Skeptical Science but don’t forget about the careful work carried out by Republican Party (US version) supporter Barry Bickmore who has delved into this.

    Refs. to follow later.

  42. #43 Ned W

    Off-topic, commenting here because the “Spencer Is Sad and Lonely and Wrong” thread seems to be closed:

    A new paper out by P-Chedley, Thorsen, and Fu in J. Clim (link, discussion) seems to go a long way towards resolving the “tropical troposphere amplification” problem, along the way showing that UAH’s Mid-Troposphere data set is badly wrong.

    Not a word yet from Roy Spencer, though. He was quick to attack an earlier version of this work by Po-Chedley and Fu back in 2012, but this time there’s just silence.

    I suppose that might be because the long-anticipated Version 6 of the UAH data is “now close to completion” according to a comment by Roy on his own blog (9 March).

    They’ve been talking about this new version for years. But back in January Roy said he’d had a “paradigm shift” in how to analyze the data. Whatever that means…

    The Po-Chedley paper has been flying under the radar for the past week, but I’m sure at some point it will come to WUWT’s attention, and Anthony will need something from Roy that can be spun as a rebuttal.

  43. #45 Howard
    Pacific Plate

    deconvoluter: Thanks for that. I never paid that close attention to RS. You make a good case he flies close to denierville and you have confirmed my instinct to avoid spending significant time on his work. Is he the creationist? Is that Christy? I confuse the two of them.

    Evidence of skep/sci and RC being alarmist, I’m just recalling years of blog posts esp focused on super-storm gloom, ice-sheet and/or methane clathrate tipping points, etc. Not invested enough to provide detailed links. Cop-out, I know. Based on overall risk, prioritizing decarbonization, especially low density high direct subsidy boutique energy boondoggles above industrial air pollution emission control (PM2.5, O3, NOx, SOx, VOCs, etc.) and nukes is effectively (although not intentional) environmental racism (ER). This is why Hansen is an alarmist I can respect.

    A good example of accidental ER is the anti-fraking crowd who demand that we continue to obtain petroleum from oppressive dictatorships and theocracies with little environmental control of E&P. Environmentally sensitive land is codespeak for proximity to college educated middle-class whites.


  44. #46 Mal Adapted


    Denier does track with holocaust denier, to claim otherwise is a first-order signal of passive-aggressive behavior. Hiding behind the dictionary is a second-order signal that puts the denier denial above the 99% CI.

    You are free to arbitrarily conflate “denier” with “Holocaust” in your own mind, but you don’t own our language. I’ll stand on, not hide behind, centuries of common English usage and 90 years’ use as a psychological term of art. And when I call someone an AGW-denier, there’s nothing passive about it ;^)!

    Besides, it’s easy to demonstrate empirically that AGW-denier and Holocaust-denier are distinct categories. I’ve encountered many AGW-deniers. Some of them may have also been Holocaust-deniers, but they didn’t identify themselves as such, or give me any other reason to think they were. On that evidence, the overlap between the two categories is zero. QED.

  45. #47 JBL

    So, WMC, what’s the usual things like this get resolved at WP? Successively higher levels of bureaucracy accomplish nothing until at the end a random balanced collection of participants get banned? (That seems to be the present trajectory, except that everything is locked down so no one is actively edit-warring at the moment.)

    [This one is still “in progress”; I’ll probably do an update when/if it settles down. As you say, its currently locked down (a somewhat dubious decision, there’s probably some vile jobbery in that, though I know no secrets) and went through BLPN, the various participants clearly still disagree and there’s no obvious basis for agreement -W]

  46. #48 deconvoluter

    RE: #45

    I’m just recalling years of blog posts esp focused on…..
    ….Not invested enough to provide detailed links….

    So there is nothing to discuss. On the other hand, with “years of blog posts” it should not have required much of an investment to provide plenty of examples. If you narrow the search to say Gavin Schmidt, Mike Mann, Raypierre and WC (for earlier years) you can reduced the effort.

    By the way I couldn’t care less whether RS is a creationist. The issue is whether he has the scientific integrity and competence to be taken seriously, and that is tested by examining his publications and blogs.

  47. #49 MMM

    I disagree that people used “climate denier” as a reference to “holocaust denier”, but I still try to use “contrarian” as a replacement word just to avoid the stupid nomenclature arguments.

  48. #50 Susan Anderson

    I used to post the dictionary definition of “denier” whenever it came up; I agree the word is entirely apposite and the holocaust bit is intended to create sympathy and distract from the subject matter. However, in the service of clarity since everyone needs to get wise to what is real and what’s not, not just our tiny little scientifically literate bunch, I’ve followed the twists and turns, becoming more specific with each deviation.
    Going OT, but not entirely, as it fits with “victim bully” which is being bruited about:

    “… Noble victim of threats and McCarthyite oppression: Wherein Pielke the Younger Reprises his Role as the Victim Bully …”

  49. #51 GregH

    deconvoluter: I couldn’t care less whether RS is a creationist. The issue is whether he has the scientific integrity and competence to be taken seriously…

    Maybe your irony detector needs a look?

  50. #52 Russell

    Never understimate the motivational breadth of rent-seeking.

    The opposite numbers of fossil fuel employees touting climate denial are metal worker’s unions banging the political drums for tin-bending intensive wind farms in their neighborhoods.

  51. #53 Mal Adapted


    By the way I couldn’t care less whether RS is a creationist. The issue is whether he has the scientific integrity and competence to be taken seriously, and that is tested by examining his publications and blogs.

    One might wonder why RS persists in making scientific arguments that have repeatedly been shown to be incorrect. His religious beliefs offer some insight. Spencer is a signer of An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming. Signers affirm the following:

    We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.

    We deny that Earth and its ecosystems are the fragile and unstable products of chance, and particularly that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. Recent warming was neither abnormally large nor abnormally rapid. There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming.

    IMHO his signature on that document casts serious doubt on his scientific integrity. Per Feynman, “The first rule [of science] is you must not fool yourself”, but Spencer has declared his willingness to fool himself about AGW.

    Note that not all Evangelical Christians are tarred with the same brush. Katherine Hayhoe, for example, sees no conflict between her faith and her contributions to the scientific consensus on AGW.

  52. #54 Howard

    deconvoluter: You are right, I don’t wish to regurgitate pre-climategate blog history with you. As others pointed out, your lack of concern for a creationist who also claims to be a scientist is almost as concerning as the creationist thoughts themselves.

    Mal and Susan: you protest too much. It’s a pejorative because that is how people take it. Like calling a female co-worker “sweatheart”. Knowing that most people think it is an insult means that using it is an insult. Y’all don’t own the language either. Denier denial is just a pathetic passive aggressive insult employed by “(mostly male) mean girls” against everyone who does not wear the right club tie.

    …not that there is anything wrong with that. Just be a MAN and own it.

  53. #55 Howard
    Pacific Plate

    Russell: Rent-seeking patents are the mother of invention. It’s a term over-used by bible-banging, racist, denialist tea-baggers.

  54. #56 deconvoluter

    Re: my #48

    There are some valid points above. Perhaps I need to enlarge on the last paragraph which was not written very well. My point was logical.

    RS’s opinions in the past might have been an important part of evaluating his physics and climatology. They might also be relevant to someone who does not want to get involved with the technicalities.

    But there was always a logical possibility, that in spite of his belief background ,he might have struck lucky, and been able to show that the AGW researchers were seriously wrong. It is important therefore to consider his climate research on its merits without considering his views on free market economics (1st dogma involving an ‘invisible hand’ ) and intelligent design (ID)(2nd dogma involving an invisible hand). In my opionion the results have been in for a while now; many of RS’s contributions to overthrowing AGW have been shown to be junk, with very high probability (nearly 100%) and without reference to these dogmas.

    There is another kind of issue. How for example do you talk about AGW to someone who for religious reasons believes in ID? It must be difficult. However, one topic would be to draw a clear distinction between RS and good science.

    Incidentally, from what I gather after a brief look, RS’s unconvincing writing on ID consists of unoriginal repetition of points which had mostly been previously answered by the biologists.

  55. #57 deconvoluter

    Re: #53

    One might wonder why RS persists in making scientific arguments that have repeatedly been shown to be incorrect.

    Good summary. Borrowing a term from the IPPC I had in #48 restricted myself to the detection of junk , i.e. the ‘shown’ bit of your sentence. This involved ignoring the ‘why’ bit of your sentence which refers to the attribution of junk.

  56. #58 Howard
    Pacific Plate

    deconvoluter: the “invisible hand” of the free market is just a description of a theory that there are positive externalities associated with rational self interest. The western enlightenment, industrial revolution, the information age, civil rights, public health, environmental restoration, wilderness conservation and worker safety could be arguably attributed to the positive externalities of the free market that as wealth accumulates the invisible hand makes visible regulation. The recent past has shown that mass murder, enslavement and the theft of trillions are caused by governments and cartels (too big to fail) not subject to free market forces.

    A good analogy to the invisible hand in climate is the theory of CO2 feedbacks that produce positive feedbacks (negative externalities). This theory is constantly being reviewed and updated. Therefore, would you say that those who still believe in high climate sensitivities and fat tail tipping points are the same as religious nutters? Or is it those who believe in a mix of positive and negative climate responses and dynamic stability are the magical thinkers?

  57. #59 Russell Seitz

    The First Amendment protects religious nutters whose disbelief in climate forcing drives them to accuse those adding up its components of trying to establish a religion.

    What bothers me is ;

    1.Evangelical lawyers inflating that premise into the legal theory that Congressional funding of climate science is therefore unconstitutional.

    2. Environmental lawyers and divinity school dropouts who traduce the same amendment by preaching the debate is over and seeking to punish those who disagree.

  58. #60 deconvoluter

    #53. Mal Adapted.

    So RS signed this;

    …We deny … that Earth’s climate system is vulnerable to dangerous alteration because of minuscule changes in atmospheric chemistry. ..

    As I implied in my #42, RS may (?) have removed his trace-gas-blog. But here it is again [my bold]. This strengthens the strong criticism made by Barton Paul Levenson.

  59. #61 Steve Bloom
    SF Bay Area

    “Therefore, would you say that those who still believe in high climate sensitivities and fat tail tipping points are the same as religious nutters? Or is it those who believe in a mix of positive and negative climate responses and dynamic stability are the magical thinkers?”

    There’s other proof, but most prominently the Eocene hyperthermals win the case for the former view (although I wouldn’t quite state it as you did).

    I would add, though, that it’s rather missing the point just to focus on the global GMST response. Circulation changes are hard to model and even harder to tease out of the paleo record, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they’re going to bite pretty hard even before we get to +2C. Dynamic stability is a lovely-sounding phrase, but it won’t be much fun if it includes e.g. major shifts in the Indian monsoon pattern.

  60. #62 Mal Adapted


    Like calling a female co-worker “sweatheart”.

    Heh. I might be offended too, if someone called me that.

    It’s a pejorative because that is how people take it…
    …not that there is anything wrong with that. Just be a MAN and own it.

    Ya shoor, you betcha! I’ll freely acknowledge that “AGW-denier” is pejorative. I want AGW-deniers to know that their denial isn’t respectable! What I don’t agree is that “most people” make the automatic conflation of “denier” with “Holocaust”. I’ve seen no convincing evidence for that. On the contrary, “deny”, “denial” and “denier” have long-established meanings in common English usage and in the discipline of Psychology, pre-dating the Nazi genocidal campaign against Jews. They are aptly applied to anyone who refuses to accept his or her fair share of responsibility for AGW.

    I claim that those who insist that “denier” automatically implies “Holocaust-denier” are modeling Humpty Dumpty:

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

    When AGW-deniers complain that being called that implies that they’re Holocaust deniers, it’s a transparent rhetorical tactic. It’s obvious that they’re merely trying to be masters of the debate, by playing the victim card. Why should reality-based people concede mastery?

  61. #63 Hank Roberts
  62. #64 JBL

    What is one supposed to do in the face of this kind of inanity?

    [Did you mean that comment, or the one it was responding to? AQF”K” is a known evildoer, familiar from the climate wars. The Dork Side know they need to defend AW; wiki’s cretinous BLP makes their task much easier -W]

  63. #65 JBL

    The ones it is responding to. AQFK’s position is obvious, I am just shocked at the low level of competence — the behavior is so obviously incompatible with anything other than whitewash, it’s a little astounding. The peculiar inability to do anything other than repeat themself, etc. I just don’t get it.

    (I think I preferred the people who went around for a while retitling articles to remove diacritic marks from Hungarian, Czech, etc., names on the grounds that “this is English Wikipedia”.)

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