There is no doubt that Associated Press’s Seth Borenstein is a top notch science reporter. However, he is a professional journalist, and for this reason I expect him to be part of, and to be guided by, the culture of journalism. The culture of journalism involves a critical feature that makes journalism work: When researching and reporting a story, seek the other perspectives, those that for one reason or another come to a different conclusion than the perspective that may have initially gotten one’s attention. The Pope speaks to the Joint Session of Congress, and the most obvious thing we see is that he doesn’t say much about climate change. But some astute observers note that he really did, but he was just being subtle. Now, the interplay between the Pope’s overt and subtle messages is central to the story, and a journalist can bring together observation and analysis by multiple voices to dig below the surface.
You already know that the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, associated with the Center For Inquiry, recently took action in the form of a letter and a petition to encourage the Associated Press to stop using the term “skeptic” to describe those who reject mainstream climate science. The term “skeptic” and its derivatives was already in use by the community represented by CFI/CSI, who in fact call themselves skeptics. To be a skeptic means that you view claims and assertions made by individuals or organizations as a scientist might view data or propositions to explain them, using critically evaluated evidence in the context of provisional theories or models to come to a rational understanding of something.
Those who reject mainstream climate science are not skeptics.
AP agreed with that, and the reason I started out with a mention of Seth Borenstein is that he was involved in developing a proper response to CSI’s proposition. AP modified its owns style guide to recommend against the use of the word skeptic in this context. In truth, this has only a minor impact on the world, in my opinion, because we have many words that have multiple meanings, and it is not at all unusual for a word to connote very different things even in the same conversation. In theory, my friend is going to meet me for lunch so we can discuss my new theory about human evolution. I say “in theory” because my friend always forgets appointments, and spoken with a saccharine inflection I indicate that I suspect he isn’t going to show. But my new theory of human evolution is a carefully constructed set of interrelated propositions, based on several lines of evidence of varying qualities and subject to revision, contextualized in a set of basic biological and taphonomic principles that guide my scientific mind in interpreting this evidence, those principles also subject to revision. Vernacular theory, scientific theory. This is how we humans communicate, which makes our mode of communication both a wonderful and mysterious playground for the mind, and a very annoying place to think. We could probably have lived with the term “skeptic” having two distinct meanings.
But, the CFI/CFI had a legitimate, if somewhat self-concerned, beef, with which I fully agree. And it got fixed, and that is nice.
By now you also know that the AP decided that the term “skeptic” in the context of climate science should be replaced with phrases like “those who reject mainstream climate science,” which is very accurate and appropriate, or for short, the word “doubter.”
Unfortunately, the term “doubter” is abysmally incorrect and inappropriate.
Seth Borenstein did a very informative interview with Bob Garfield at On The Media. Listen to it here or here:
In this interview, Garfield isn’t having it. He is fine with phrases like “those who reject mainstream climate science,” but he is highly skeptical of the term “doubter.” Borenstein defends “doubter” but Garfield’s arguments, which are similar to those of most climate scientists and science communicators who have weighted in on this, stood.
During this important conversation, something was revealed (something already widely known) about journalism, and we heard an example of a top notch journalist, Seth Borenstein, being hampered at a fairly deep level by his own journalistic culture. The culprit here is that feature of journalism I mention above, the feature that gives journalism its power, and makes it an important part of, well, civilization.
First let me examine Borenstein’s argument for why “denier” is bad and “doubter” is good.
“Denier” is bad because of the existing association with the Holocaust. There are those who deny that the Holocaust happened, they are called “Holocaust Deniers,” and it is bad to associate people with such an obviously nefarious perspective.
This argument is incorrect for several reasons. Mainly, the term “denier” was already in use to describe the state of rejection of that which is well established. “Denier” was not invented to describe those who claim the Nazi Holocaust didn’t really happen. It was already there, and was simply applied to them. In theory, this could sully the term enough to make it undesirable for other uses. But, forms of the word “deny” are in widespread use. “Deny” and its derivatives are fallback words, words we English speakers automatically use. The Red Brigade was an organization of jerks who killed innocent people several decades ago, terrorists. We don’t say that we should get a different word for the color we call red because of that. That is a more extreme example than the case of Holocaust deniers, but it makes the point.
A second reason to not reject “denier” is that it is already in use to describe climate science, and other science, deniers.
So, the prior use argument, whereby “denier” as a term is indurated with ickiness, is not valid. Or, only a little valid, but not enough to matter.
Now we transition to Borenstein’s argument that “doubter” is better, and this starts with his assertion that denier is less precise and “doubter” is more precise, in describing “those who reject mainstream climate science.” Borenstein claims that this is true because among those who question climate science, there are some who agree that climate change is real, and human caused, but that it isn’t serious. Since there is a broad spectrum of claims among those who reject something about the science, a term must be used that applies to all of them.
And, he says, “doubter” is the word.
This is incorrect. “Denier” is the more precise term because it does not refer to a specific set of assertions, but rather, the denial of whatever assertions are on the table. This is a critical aspect of climate science denialism that is often missed in this conversation. I can show you the writings of a denier (I still use that word) who claims that the link between greenhouse gasses and surface warming is false. I can also show you the writings of a denier who claims that the link is real, but the effects are unimportant. And, I can do so by showing you the writings of the same exact person, at about the same time, but in different contexts where different sub conversations about climate change were happening.
Not all deniers do this, but most do, or have, and the community of climate science deniers as a whole does it all the time. They are not systematically and thoughtfully denying one or another aspect of climate science. Some are denying all of it, but many will deny one aspect and accept another aspect in one conversation, and swap that around for another conversation.
This is not doubting. This is systematic dancing like a butterfly stinging like a bee footwork sophistry.
Let me make the point about precision a different way. Doubting is skepticism, all skeptics doubt when they can, and pull back from doubt and “accept as pretty much true” when they are forced to by the preponderance of evidence. Doubter can also apply to deniers. Doubt is a very large, broad, word which can be applied across a wide spectrum. Denier refers to a specific community of individuals (and organizations), with specific tactics, and applies well to almost everyone in that community. There are few exceptions, but only a few.
“Doubter” will usually be wrong, “denier” will usually be right. “Doubter” is the imprecise term, “denier” is the precise term. Doubt means there is uncertainty, denial means refusal to accept a widely accepted truth.
So why is this happening, why does Seth Borenstein like doubter and not denier?
In the interview, Bob Garfield holds Borenstein’s feet to the fire, briefly, over the issue of false balance. That is a horrible thing to accuse a top notch journalist of, and Borenstein got a bit testy about it. Part of Borenstein’s argument is that it is the scientists, not the deniers, who use the word denier, so it comes from advocates of one of those alternative perspectives journalists are supposed to identify and report on. By downgrading the term “denier” because the scientists and many mainstream communicators use it, one is avoiding giving privilege to one “side” of an issue. Borenstein both uses this as part of his argument, but denies that he is doing so. I doubt Borenstein is being a bad journalist here. But he is being a journalist. As an anthropologist, I’ve learned to see this sort of surface incongruity as a possible indicator of a deeper culture-bound conflict in thinking. I think that is what we’ve got here.
Here is the part of the interview to which I refer.
SB: [the term denier] does most of the job pretty well according to one side. Granted, that side has the majority of science on it.
BG: [interrupting] Seth, I apologize, I’m going to cut you off here. One side? This is the very definition of false balance.
SB: No one has accused me of false balance. Don’t you go there. All you have to do is Google my name, Seth Borenstein, look at the images, and see what the group that you call deniers, we call doubters, look at what they’ve done to me personally, and to the AP. To say that I’m giving in to them, it is just not something that has ever happened. It is not something I’ve ever been accused of before.
BG: Can I say that there are two sides to the political debate, but if there is fundamentally no scientific debate, why would you think of this in terms of both sides that require fair treatment any more than you would treat holocaust deniers as having one side in the issue of history? …
SB: There is no false balance in the way AP covers the science. But there is a difference between the science and the semantics. We’re not talking, you and I, about the science right now. We’re talking about the semantics. And there are different sides on the semantics. I’ve been using climate doubter for months and no one has said anything.
Borenstein is right to be a bit defensive in this exchange. He has in fact been the subject of attack by deniers, and his record of excellent reporting on climate change, and his and AP’s rejection of false balance, are easily confirmed. If you look at what watchdog organizations like Media Matters say about AP in relation to “false balance,” AP gets good marks. Also, yes, Seth Borenstein has in fact been using “doubter” for a while.
Nonetheless, in this exchange you see one really smart well spoken person making a good case that giving sway to one group in relation to the semantics about what they say about science smells like false balance, and a second really smart well spoken person falling back on the “it is a semantic argument” argument. A nerve. It has been touched.
Don’t get me wrong. Borenstein, or the AP, is not exactly committing a false balance fallacy. If the main argument that “denier” is out and “doubter” is in came from the use of “denier” by mainstream science and the dislike of the term by, well, deniers, then we do have to ask why equal weight is given to both sides in considering this argument. But AP is primarily stepping back from a term that has a negative connotation because they don’t like to do that (see the original AP justification). This conforms to general practice in developing the AP style guide. Unfortunately, the outcome in this case is the substitution of a word that works very well with a word that does not work at all.
One only has to go slightly meta to understand why this is wrong. The term “denier” is in fact negative, but appropriately so. Science and journalism are carried out in different ways, and some of those differences can be rather startling when you try to mix the two. But both are professions involved in truth seeking. Deniers are truth obscurers. Deniers are lie-sayers. Deniers aren’t simply people with a non-mainstream opinion. They are individuals and organizations who identify the well supported mainstream thinking about a critically important issue, and actively try to subvert it. And they do it using an age old practice that has been called the same thing for a very long time. They deny. Not doubt.
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Deniers often get hot under the collar when described as deniesr or being in denial or as denialists because, they assert, one is comparing thenm to those "evil" Holocaust deniers. We know we are not directly doing that but my opinion is that the act of denial itself is the "sin" and should be called out as pathological thinking wherever and whenever and on whatever subject it is used.
From an interested layperson's perspective, I see the opposition to AGW as a wide spectrum of people who range from someone who is totally ignorant of the science and evidence, but who is motivated by their political ideology, to the well informed but venal and powerful interests that are essentially sociopaths.
There are many in-between, some of whom are simply misinformed and lack the critical thinking skills to realize that they have been had, to the ones who are steeped deeply in the arguments on each side, but like conspiracy theorists (actually this is a conspiracy from their viewpoint), they cannot or will not accept the science, because their world view is immune to evidence that contradicts their motivated conclusions.
I guess some of the marginal cases might be reasonably considered as 'doubters'. Skeptical Science went to the term "Climate Misinformers" which I also like for the prominent voices against consensus climate science, even though it lacks the punch of 'denier'.
All in all, I am less interested in the semantic argument between these two terms, as I am in the positive move of getting 'skeptic' out of usage for those who reject science rather than embrace it, but I do understand why it is important to many who have been on the front lines of this battle for reason.
The use of the term 'denial' has also long been common in psychology, referring to a defense mechanism that is consistent with its application in 'AGW denial'.
It is what it is, and muddying up the situation with inappropriate references to the holocaust, or by being afraid to upset the status quo with a demented segment of their audience is parochial thinking at best.
When they deny the Climate Holocaust (which has already begun appearing), what is the distinction?
A man-made situation comprising a system resulting in the deaths of millions of people, mostly looked down upon by the perpetrators, and denied by those who refuse to accept the evidence of its existence.
Now, which of the two did I just describe in the above paragraph, the Jewish Holocaust, or the Climate Holocaust?
Good for Bob Garfield. Seth Borienstein appears to be synaptically challenged. Quiet sad. (iii)D
Godwin's law. I don't think that's helpful. Not muddying up the conversation with unnecessary references to the holocaust cuts both ways.
"“Denier” is bad because of the existing association with the Holocaust. There are those who deny that the Holocaust happened, they are called “Holocaust Deniers,” and it is bad to associate people with such an obviously nefarious perspective."
I agree with the later comment that this hints at eliminating the use of the word in any setting other than the Holocaust - which, I'm guessing, the anti-science faction is thrilled with.
So, are they going to begin referring to Peter's "three doubts of Jesus" to be consistent?
Sure, by intention -- to make the point that anyone claiming "denier" is not valid because of any implicit, imagined, or claimed reference to the Nazi era is only muddying up the conversation with unnecessary and questionable references.
There is no inherent, implicit, or 'honorary' claim to the word "denier" for that use. And there certainly is nothing unique or even particularly extreme (other than time scale) regarding it -- because similarly malevolent minds are perpetrating similar scales of death & destruction for self-serving political agendas that will most strongly impact "social undesirables" with enormous collateral damage. (And many of the projections I've read about predict much larger numbers will be involved in the case of human-caused climate change.)
So bringing it up to defend an invalidation of the term in the context of climate science is itself invalid.
tl;dr: I agree with Greg.
You are merely trying to justify your name calling.
The AP is catching on that calling someone a denier is name calling.
You are still engaged in name calling, and appear to be proud of it.
I have been called a denier and I don't like it.
I am not even sure what I am supposed to be denying.
I agree that the climate changes - so I am not a climate change denier.
I agree that the Earth has warmed, so I am not a global warming denier.
I agree with the physics of CO2 as a GHG (at least the direct effects).
I do disagree with many climate models projections of future warming. But my disagreement is based on the fact that most of them do in fact over-estimate future warming (based on observations from 1880 to date).
I disagree with the amount of feedback amplification effect, indirect warming the models build in. But again, the errors the models have in this area is probably why they run to hot.
I would much rather be called a disagree-er than a denier.
If you have to call me something (ah the need to label) - why not call me wrong?
I think you are wrong.
Maybe I should label you and your group WRONGERS.
Both because you are wrong - and you are wronging people like me.
Naw, Peter was only having a spell of skepticism...
RickA, Greg, et al, have science data to support their positions.
You say they are wrong. Present us with your reasons that support your position. ("Because I think they are wrong" is not valid; that's being self-serving and begging the question.)
We will accept an answer of "I don't have evidence to back up my claims, but I really wish you and the other scientists are wrong about the implications & causes of climate change."
If AP's style dept. believes the use of "denier" in this context confuses the issue in some way, it is mistaken. Deniers of the Shoah are simply not large enough in the public's awareness to produce such confusion.
If AP is concerned that John Christy's feelings might get hurt if he is called a denier, I say let them be hurt and be damned to him, along with all the other "denier lites" like him, Spencer, Lomborg, et al. Deniers is what they are: calling them something as neutral as "doubters" is a misrepresentation of the truth.
Here are some things for you to think about.
It has warmed about .8C from 1880 to now.
How much of that .8C is due to the increase in CO2?
How much is due to natural climate variability?
How much of the .8C increase is due to deforestation?
How much of the .8c/ increase is due to waste heat from air conditioning, asphalt, concrete and other land use changes?
How much of the .8C is due to carbon black changing albedo?
It used to be that your side said 110% of the .8C was CO2 caused, because the aerosols had a cooling effect and without that human caused warming would be even higher.
Lately, your side has instead used natural climate variability to help explain the pause.
Until we can nail down all of the various components of what has caused the warming of .8C from 1880 to present, we have no hope that the models are correct in projecting things forward until 2100 or beyond.
We simply don't know enough about the climate yet, all of the processes, how they interact, to believe that we have a full and complete understanding of the climate.
I don't believe that the temperature of today is unprecedented in the last 2000 years. I think it was as warm or warmer in the past. I think the proxy data is crap and much less accurate than a thermometer. I think proxy data mutes the highs and the lows to an average and if humans were able to go back in time and take temperature measurements worldwide over the entire globe, we would see several times in the last 2000 years that the mean global temperature was at or higher than our latest 50 year period.
Looking at the bigger picture - we know that the ocean has risen 120 meters over the last 20,000 years.
That is 6mm per year.
Our current rate of 3 mm per year is only 1/2 of the average over the last 20,000 years.
It has been warming for 20,000 years.
We are in the middle of an interglacial after all.
It is natural for the Earth to warm during an interglacial.
It may even get warmer - and that will be natural also.
During the peak of the last inter-glacier the ice core data says it was 3 to 6C warmer at the poles.
Do we really have a good idea of what the temperature would be today if humans had never existed?
I don't think so - so how can we subtract that out to figure out how much it would have warmed just due to natural causes.
The latest sea level rise of about 8 inches over the last century represents only a small fraction of the 120 meters we have warmed over the last 20,000 years.
So I have no doubt that humans are causing warming - but not how much.
How much warmer are we making it than it would be otherwise - we have no idea.
Is the current warming rate a problem - I don't think so.
Am I in favor of making everything more expensive (food, fuel, transportation, energy) if doing so will not actually decrease future warming - no.
Am I in favor of nuclear power - yes I am. If I had my way the USA and the entire world would gradually phase out old power plants in favor of nuclear power over the next 50 years (as plants reached their end of life). That is pretty green.
Am I in favor of gathering data and trying to improve climate models - yes I am.
Do I think the climate models are currently correct - no.
I feel that any climate model has as much chance of projecting the climate of 2100 as a 10 day weather forcast has of getting the weather correct on the 10th day.
Am I afraid of the the future - no I am not.
Will we run out of hydrocarbons someday - probably.
Should we work on alternative energy - yes.
Should we shut down all coal power plants - no.
So after you reflect on these points - come back and tell me if you think I am a denier, a disagree-er or maybe just wrong? Or maybe I may even have a point or two on which I am correct?
You be the judge.
Pretty easy judgement to make, RickA: you're a climate science denier of the faux-reasonable sort. Fairly common.
You certainly have no hope of fooling anyone in a science-centered blog such as this one. Try Huffington Post, why don't you?
I am not trying to fool anyone.
What am I denying?
RickA #12: (At least read the last paragraph...)
First, I do not have a "side", other than, perhaps, to be "on the side of humanity" or "on the side of truth and wisdom". If you are taking a side, then you have fallen into error. Reality, as revealed by Science, does not favor sides -- in any issue. Ever.
"How much of that ..." questions: Let's both of us ask a group of climate scientists what those answers are.. and then accept the fact that they know better than the two of us put together!
"Until we can nail down all of the various components ... no hope that the models are correct" is a fallacy in reasoning. Science today still does not have a complete model of gravity; by your fallacious reasoning, we have no hope of projecting what will happen to dropped objects or an ability to trust if the moon will not crash into the Earth, or the Earth fly off into deep space.
"We simply don’t know enough about the climate yet, all of the processes, how they interact, to believe that we have a full and complete understanding of the climate" is an equal exercise in fallacious reasoning. We do not need to have (or believe in) a "complete understanding of the climate" to reach conclusions that have already been correctly arrived at, nor to understand the consequences of your advocacy of inaction.
Or, put the other way, "We simply don’t know enough about the climate yet, all of the processes, how they interact, to believe that that failing to take action to mitigate AGW will not result in death, property destruction, extinctions, and global economic collapse."
Do you buy insurance, RickA? Tell us why...
"I don’t believe that the temperature of today is unprecedented in the last 2000 years." Rick, Climate Science is not a religion. You cannot decide government policies suggested by science results by using approaches suitable for religious organizations.
"I think the proxy data is crap." You haven't said why, other than to indicate that you don't want it to be so.
"We know that the ocean has risen 120 meters over the last 20,000 years." Implies, "Therefore, AGW has the potential of raising the ocean levels to this height as well, and given the unnaturally rapid rate of temperature rise, it will happen relatively quickly, too. Best up that insurance policy, huh, RickA?
"That is 6mm per year." We'll give you a pass on math, but you just flunked science & basic reasoning with that flub.
"It may even get warmer – and that will be natural also." Why are you so carefully tip-toeing around the "unnatural" warming? Are you.. afraid to say it?
"Do we really have a good idea of what the temperature would be today if humans had never existed?" Exxon scientists, in 1981, certainly thought they did. Shall we trust the leader in the petroleum industry to answer that? http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2015/09/22/what-exxon-knew-then-is-wh…
"... can we subtract that out to figure out how much it would have warmed just due to natural causes[?]" Yes, we can. And it's been done already.
"So I have no doubt that humans are causing warming – but not how much." So again, Let's both of us ask a group of climate scientists what those answers are.. and then accept the fact that they know better than the two of us put together!
"Is the current warming rate a problem – I don’t think so." RickA... ::sigh:: You haven't said why, other than to indicate that you don't want it to be so.
"Am I in favor of making everything more expensive[?]" Well, neither do I. Neither does anyone else writing on this blog. And the most expensive option is to do nothing to mitigate AGW. Sorry to be the messenger, but the future will have expenses. It's a matter of pay some (mitigate AGW) or pay hugely (do nothing).
"Am I in favor of gathering data and trying to improve climate models – yes I am." And you are on record of being in contempt of the results -- when they fail to align with your wishes. I'm sorry that Science isn't political and can't deliver on your wishes...
"Do I think the climate models are currently correct – no." Rick! You haven't said why, other than to indicate that you don't want it to be so!
"I feel that any climate model has as much chance of projecting the climate of 2100 as a 10 day weather forcast has of getting the weather correct on the 10th day." You're telling us that you're ignorant and foolish. Curiously, we already knew this from your other comments...
"Will we run out of hydrocarbons someday – probably." Certainly. They will get progressively more expensive to find, and then we face the fact that they're being consumed at a rate of about, oh, 10 million times faster than they're being created. And we need them for chemicals, medicines, etc. and foolishly burning them up.
"So after you reflect on these points – come back and tell me if you think I am a denier, a disagree-er or maybe just wrong?" I think you're in denial, and that it's because the thought of what will happen if our politicians fail to take action is horrifying, and the thought of what will happen if our politicians do take action is unpleasant. None of us wants to have to give up our lifestyles, nor do we want to face the slow destruction of our ecosystem (i.e., our life support system) or our economies -- or watch more depressing news on TV as species go extinct, crops fail, and people riot & die. None of these are desirable, pleasant, or welcomed. That anyone would want to retreat into believing in a world where "this won't be happening to me" is very understandable... But it also contributes to a greater degree of suffering. No one is profiting from determining when & how these things are playing out, but it's already started. We need to start paying the "accounts receivable" of our former lifestyles: The bill has come due. And yes, it's expensive. That's a shame, but it's there. Mother Nature will not reduce it for us out of compassion.
" Now, the interplay between the Pope’s overt and subtle messages is central to the story, and a journalist can bring together observation and analysis by multiple voices to dig below the surface."
Just what we need - left wing Straussians.
Adam R. #13: "Pretty easy judgement to make, RickA: you’re a climate science denier of the faux-reasonable sort. Fairly common."
Yes, starting at about RickA's fifth point, and becoming increasingly obvious with each successive argument.
Adam R. #13: “Pretty easy judgement to make, RickA: you’re a climate science denier of the faux-reasonable sort. Fairly common.”
As common as dirt on a plow. Like Creationists who insist they would love to see evidence for evolution, if only it existed.
Yes, starting at about RickA’s fifth point, and becoming increasingly obvious with each successive argument
After about word 9 it became obvious "RickA" had nothing of value to wail.
Nice work, Brainstorms
It is not my place to tell you to buzz off, RickA: it's Greg's blog and that's up to him. But I must repeat that you are fooling no one except yourself. You are a sort of denier we've all seen before: a fake skeptic. It is obvious from your moldy old denier talking points and evident ignorance of climate science.
One wonders if RickA visits Skeptical Science for the lolz, and then just reverses everything to build his 'counterpoints'.
We might recognize that many who are in denial about what climate science reveals to us are not intentionally antagonistic. (Some definitely are...)
Many are like my own parents: They're understandably scared and much turned off by the implications of what it tells us. They don't want it to be true, and have a psychological reaction to it that manifests as a rejection of science in order to posit an unchanging world that they're comfortable to deal with. They don't know how to deal with the world we're entering now.
Mankind (or, more correctly, a portion of humanity) has had a most wondrous run of prosperity, productivity, and relatively lavish lifestyles for around a century. We live in a world that is way out of proportion to anything mankind has ever had -- or dreamt about. And that's largely due to cheap, plentiful energy. Energy that's been tapped from a giant solar-charged battery
And as we've been pumping and burning and enjoying the results, we've been running up a tab. Accruing an Accounts Payable -- but failing to make payments. Nature doesn't forget, nor does it forgive debts. And it's coming due for mankind. Time to pay the piper.
People don't want to pay their debts. The sentiment seems to have fallen out of fashion. Charge the credit card, enjoy, and move on. Someone will bail us out later. But not in this case...
This isn't a fight of dummies or trolls vs scientists. This is a rebellion of intellect in order to dodge the tax collector -- who is now going to want interest & penalties. And the payments for the fabulous lifestyle have built up to scary levels we now find out. And the payment scale is alarmingly steep and arriving too quickly.
Most of these people realize that science is informing us that THEY will have to deal with this payment plan -- they aren't going to be able to defer it to nameless future generations. That sucks, so the effort begins to come up with every conceivable reason to invalidate the messenger and deny that the bill collector is on his way.
These people are motivated from fear of what's coming and the desire to hang onto their lifestyles (and to allow their kids & grandkids to do the same). It's unfortunate to find out that that it isn't going to play out that way. (They ought to at least be consoled that they got to enjoy the peak, prior to payment time; my grandkids/great grandkids will be fully involved with the payments...)
It's probably hard to tell the true trolls from the people like my parents... But as I can empathize with their fears & discomforts, I see that they are at least owed some of the associated explanations, rather than sniping at them for "being a [stupid] denier". Some of these readers are, too.
Perhaps we should leaven the science ("this is what is") with some of this understanding, and support it with more of the "here's how scientists can help lessen the impact" so the scientists & their supporters don't look like dispassionate purveyors of a coming doom. I understand how that can look to someone who feels they're at the mercy of something they can't control and don't understand.
The point is, we do understand, we can do something to lessen the cost/impact, and we need to promote that. Humanity will ultimately depend on science/scientists to not only understand & predict what's coming, but to develop the best means of dealing with it. We need to learn how to be more persuasive in gaining the support of those who are starting to show this kind of desperation & fear. Without political support, we're all toast.
Well, I don't work for AP so I guess I am free to use the term denier. But I also don't want to use a term recklessly when it might hurt people's feelings or diminish the seriousness of the shoah.
Maybe we should create our own term, "deniar" , to denote the tendency of "deniars" in this game to also often be supported by and in the support of "liars".
Exxon Mobil knows that we have a problem. So do the other major oil companies. They are not denying that carbon dioxide is an issue, so anyone who has an hunky dory, AOK, business as usual attitude in the face of the threat of serious issues like sea level rise strikes me as being in a state of denial, and hence to be worthy of the appellation of "deniar".
Also mindlessly repeating that models are no good makes one worthy of being called a "deniar" in my book. Uncritically repeating the meme that any energy source other than fossil fuel is "too expensive" gets one an honorary "deniar " badge. Heck, if we all use less gasoline, doesn't the price of gasoline go down according to sacred economic principles? Finally, worrying about all those poor people of the world who deserve to have their own access to fossil fueled wonderland, while forgetting that a lot of them will drown from future storm surges caused by fossil fuel combustion will win you a first class "deniar" merit badge.
Have a nice evening all.
BTW, excellent posts, Brainstorms. Thank you for your efforts on this issue.
Sociologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists apply the words "denier" and "denial" when writing about the rejection of the evidence for human-caused climate change; that's good enough for me. It is silly to call them anything else--- we already have perfectly good and correct words to use.
People who reject Obama's certificate of live birth from Hawaii are deniers, not skeptics and not doubters. People who reject the evidence the World Trade Towers really did melt and fall down without dynamite are deniers, not skeptics and not doubters. The people who reject the evidence that Ms. Clinton did nothing wrong during the Benghazi attack are deniers, not skeptics and not doubters (even when the Republican Party agreed, twice, there was no scandal).
Global Warming’s Six Americas 2009 carefully characterized the belief patterns of Americans, which they survey regularly. The two groups Doubtful and Dismissive are different enough to have distinct labels.
The overall <a href="http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/"website has many useful reports.
John, what ever happened to blase'?
As I remain something of a technological optimist, and, absent a hard science handle on doubling sensitivity, have no idea whether the next N degrees will take 2, 4, or 8 N generations, it's hard to muster a conscientious, let alone fashionable level of snit, let alone regulatory enthusiasm.
As I remain something of a technological optimist, and, absent a hard science handle on doubling sensitivity
It's +2.9c +/- 0.6c
, have no idea whether the next N degrees will take 2, 4, or 8 N generations, it’s hard to muster a conscientious, let alone fashionable level of snit, let alone regulatory enthusiasm.
You mean you're a homicidal sociopath.
BTW Godwin's kae us not a law against referencing Nazis. You can reference Nazis and the holocaust. Godwin is more of a law of nature stating that someone will eventually do do.
Russell evidently is comforted by the idea that uncertainty is our friend. The entire insurance industry is based on the knowledge that it is not.
"Russell evidently is comforted by the idea that uncertainty is our friend. The entire insurance industry is based on the knowledge that it is not."
Indeed. In fact, uncertainty works the opposite way denialists wish people to believe it does. The more uncertain a high-risk outcome is, the more resources people must expend to avoid that outcome.
This climate "denier" issue is so old, I no longer remember just where I resolved it, for myself.
The earliest usages were before 1700AD. They referred to people who rejected aspects of the Christian religion they were raised in.
Presumably this would have been found in the internet
Oxford English Dictionary, with access provided via a local library membership number.
For frequency of use in books, there is the Google books 'Ngram Viewer'. The word "denier's" frequency after 1980 (.00002%) is the same as it was 1800 - 1940.
(Between these dates, there was a significant peak 1940 - 1960.)
"Holocaust denier" has a steep rise from zero to a small value (.000000012%) 1988 - 2000. So: 'Holocaust denier'/'denier' = .000000012%/.00002% = .0006%.
"Global warming denier", "climate change denier" and "climate science denier" are not listed.
From which we can reasonably conclude that for these subdivisions of "denier" that book-frequency is not necessarily a good gauge of current overall-frequency.
However, the point has already been made. If the book-frequency of 'denier' since 1980 is the same as it was for the 140 years before WWII, then current usage isn't necessarily associated with any WWII situation.
When I use the term I nearly always write it out fully as "climate science denier" so it's clear what I'm talking about.
RickA says sea levels have risen 120 meters over the last 20,000 years. What he conveniently leave out is that over the last 6,000 years sea levels have risen only about 2 meters, a rate of 1/3 mm/year. The current rate of 3 mm/year is nearly 10 times that.
He also says it's been warming for 20,000 years but again temperatures hit a peak during the Holocene Climatic Optimum around 8,000-6,000 years ago and have been slowly going down since, until recently that is.
I think his failure to get those two simple things right tells us he's not doing his research very deeply.
Huh?? Pardon the interruption.
There are only a limited number of defense mechanisms which is why 'denial' occurs in so many situations. It's 'denialism' when the denial becomes ideological with regard to a certain issue. No?
The point everyone is trying to make by now (including myself) is that reference to Nazis or whatever is not part and parcel of the meaning of 'denier'. Unless it is very carefully worded, suddenly comparing a potential climate collapse with the holocaust in the context of this thread only invites confusion over the definition.
So a more apt contrast and comparison that doesn't risk undermining your point, would demonstrate the range of applications of the term with an example of something smaller, like denying you need to go to a dentist when you have a toothache-- which would become denialism if you denied the efficacy of dentists altogether. This keeps the issues separate and doesn't push the buttons of people who are justifiably sensitive about the holocaust.
BTW, this should be a good thread for Russell to exorcise his neurosis over hyperbole vs. litotes.
Tomorrow's diatribe will be about prepositions and the current trend in communication to stupidly use the word 'to' where 'from' is the proper choice dammit.
Now back to your regularly scheduled chitchat.
In that Russell isn't alone, apparently. I was in a group of faculty who worked with some local insurance agencies developing courses and training for risk management, supplemented with some probability and stat. The stories the industry folks had about clients who bitched non-stop about the need for insurance for "things that won't happen" or were very rare were at times amusing and at times quite disconcerting.
Don't be sooooo gloomy gang! If we can just all 'believe' really,really,really hard, and all cross our fingers, and pray to the holy trinity of low climate sensitivity (Spencer, Christy, Curry),then I 'believe' that we have a chance (10% maybe) that climate sensitivity can be 1c.
"I see trees of green, red roses, too,
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world."
There is a common meme in Western culture (though less common than it was), originating in the Christian Bible, of a man who at first rejected Christ's divinity and specifically his having been crucified and risen from the dead.
This "Doubting Thomas", according to legend, was convinced when he saw and touched the wounds in the risen Christ's hands.
Common usage often forgets the latter part of the legend and equates being a Doubting Thomas with stubborn denial. This is why I consider "doubter" a poor choice to replace denier.
Thinking back over the use of "denier" wrt climate science, I seem to recall that the terms "climate science denier" and "climate change denier" predated by several years any purported association with the Holocaust. I could be wrong about that. But in any case, the claim that there is any inherent link with the Holocaust in the word "denier" is ludicrous.
Is Pam Tillis equating herself here with Holocaust deniers?
I don't think so.
I have been doing a little research on the first use of the term "global warming deniers". It dates back to before the change from "global warming" to "climate change", so I focused on the term "global warming deniers".
I had to eliminate a great many hits when I looked at the link and saw it was either finding an ad or some later dated post.
So what I found to be the earliest was a comment made at realclimate from Dec. 17, 2004 by Tangoman:
Let me know if anybody can find an earlier reference.
I found the Ellen Goodman reference from 2007 also - but that was 3 years later.
Here is a link to the Ellen Goodman quote:
" It dates back to before the change from “global warming” to “climate change”, so I focused on the term “global warming deniers”."
Yes, the USA Republican Party desperately tried to change the media's usage from "global warming" to "climate change." For almost 200 years scientists have used both phrases, the former to discuss one consequence of the latter.
The term denier, or climate science denier doesn't capture what these persons are about. Generally, they don't give a damn about climate science. What they do know usually comes from anti-science blogs. Their aim is not to deny or refute climate science – that's why they can use one argument one minute and a contradictory one the next. Their focus isn't science, but policy. Their aim is to prevent anything from being done. Their endeavor has more in common with vandalism than denial.
Their focus isn’t science, but policy. Their aim is to prevent anything from being done. Their endeavor has more in common with vandalism than denial.
The phrase "homicidal sociopaths" may be closer to correct than "vandals."
It's like a situation where a dam has been breached upstream, and the authorities are knocking on people's doors to warn them to evacuate, for their home is about to be swept away.
Their response? Tie up the peace officer in endless, fruitless argumentation to avoid having to leave their house & belongings. (Which of course prevents them from getting their neighbors to safety as well.)
That is an excellent analogy. I will use it in presentations, though the attribution "Brainstorms" will be hard to explain....
I'd argue that denialism does not exclude vandalism. The more extreme the denialism, the more delinquent and nihilistic the position becomes, requiring more and more energy to maintain it in the face of contrary evidence.
Either way, seen in that light, pandering to that side of the so-called "debate" by the media, however unconciously, is particularly pernicious.
In Usetnet's alt.global-warming newsgroup I have posted more than 3,000 science papers, abstracts, and articles about human-caused climate change this year (so far). The denialists who post propaganda there, and wail about how the world is conspiring against them, UTTERLY IGNORED almost all of them. Out of more than 3,000 I suppose denialists commented on six or seven.
As weak as the "doubter" language is, it is a guideline to AP writers and has no real influence other places. It is annoying that articles about climate change will refer to "doubters" rather than calling them what they really are, but chances are that the people who deny the most wouldn't read those articles anyway.
Outside of the AP, the terminology need not change.
"So after you reflect on these points – come back and tell me if you think I am a denier, a disagree-er or maybe just wrong?"
Your basic position is that of a so-called lukewarmer. Lukewarmers are the most dangerous, and often the most arrogant, of the deniers because they are totally convinced that a tiny minority of science (that posits a low climate sensitivity) indicates - such as Lindzen - is correct and the vast majority which finds otherwise is incorrect. This is not scepticism, this is dogmatism.
In making that long list of dubious doubts and alleged uncertainties, RickA makes it clear that he only doubts any figures which might put a dent in his Pollyanna'ish optimism - he seems to have no doubts at all that his lowball figures may be wrong or irrelevant or misleading.
A true sceptic would always consider what would happen if they or their sources were wrong. In the case of lukewarmers, if they are wrong, and too many voters listen to them, then civilisation is screwed. In arrogantly being so cock sure of which group of scientists to believe in, lukewarmers are being pathologically irresponsible - they are deniers of the threat we face.
He is not a sceptic - he is a denier.
How about "evaders", since their real goal is to evade the consequences of AGW?
...Or would that get pounced upon because it's too close to "tax evaders" and we might upset the 1%ers?
"I have been doing a little research on the first use of the term “global warming deniers”. It dates back to before the change from “global warming” to “climate change”,"
Busted RickA. You are a denier. You spout denialist memes. There never was a change from global warming to climate change to cover anything up. That is a deceptive denialist meme made up to deceive gullible deniers.
I prefer denialist and denialism to denier and denial, because I think those terms more explicitly contain the idea of an ideological commitment. Doubter is in no way acceptable. It turns denialist behavior into a legitimate exercise – the second side of a discussion – and ignores its destructive intentions. (As well as ignoring that the basics of AGW have been solidly established, and are no longer subject to doubt.)
I would disagree with you (and others) about the difficulty of maintaining extreme denialism in the face of stronger evidence. If you're impervious to evidence, its strength really doesn't matter. The reaction isn't increased effort, but the effortless repetition of denialist memes.
How natural this is was inadvertently pointed out by Nick Palmer in #45. “Global warming was changed to climate change” is the response of someone whose brain is on stand-by.
The insured do not ordinarily mortgage their posterity to pay their premiums, or allow the iflation of those premiums to pose an existential threat to their estates.
USA Citizens used to do exactly that, until the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act came along.
" It dates back to before the change from “global warming” to “climate change”,"
And when was that?
And when was that?
In year 1916, by Chamberlain and Fowle among others. Most recently it was the USA Republican Party who feared the phrase "global warming" and told their cult members to use "climate change" instead.
Indeed, Russell, they do not. Your straw man might advocate such things as being necessary for climate change mitigation, but sensible people are aware of more prudent strategies.
It is ironic that you fret about economic existential threats while being sanguine about the physical one currently faced by human civilization, a threat approached only by all-out thermonuclear war in its potential to send humanity into a new Dark Age. It's not certain to happen, though, so you're not much bothered.
The chance that insurance against climate catastrophe might cost some money? Well, now, THAT evidently worries you very much.
I would add my (not-reliable-enough) memory to Christopher Winter's (#37), that the "Holocaust denier" complaint did not exist when I began my AGW interest as a debunk-WUWT-groupie.
I do seem-to-remember that their then objection to the word "denier" was to its implication of an automatic rejection, rather than an honest skepticism.
And I can vouch for my later personal incredulity when I first encountered their argument, because in the US that I knew
then, Holocaust denial didn't exist. I'd only heard of it as existing in Germany, and from one Iranian.
If there were some Holocaust denial in the US that I, a recreational skeptic, had missed, it must have have been minuscule. And therefore there couldn't have been enough Holocaust-stain in the word "denier" to taint the AGW deniers. Until they started promoting a connection themselves.
WUWT's position at the center of the denial world would make it easier to prove a negative. When did the words "Holocaust denier" first appear there, according to Google?
In other words, when did they start complaining?
The "Google books Ngram Viewer" is very easy to use, but I didn't find anything more in my 30 minute effort. Anyone want to read the directions?
"Google Trends" (frequency of Google search terms) may be useful (?), though it doesn't seem to start until 2004.
Also, are there any first usages listed for "climate science deniers" in the Oxford English Dictionary?
For me, as in #29 above:
GIVEN that the book-frequency for "denier" is the same before WWII as it is today...
IT FOLLOWS that there is no need for the phrase "climate science denier" to have its origin in any WWII situation.
AND/OR it cleanses the word "denier" of any connotations of "Holocaust denial".
Still trying, Rick A?
"...before the change from 'global warming' to 'climate change' "
You are getting more foolish with each comment.
This is the wrong place to push that kind of worn-out nonsense. All it gets here is derision, as you should have known before you posted it. It plainly marks you for what you are: a denier.
I will use it in presentations, though the attribution “Brainstorms” will be hard to explain….
Well, you could just say "It came from a Brainstorm while blogging on the subject."
But I'm not happy with it -- because it implies that there's nothing that can be done; the house will be destroyed (pending Divine intervention) no matter what anyone does.
How about this revision:
It’s like a situation where a wildfire has spread into the neighborhood, and the authorities are knocking on people’s doors to warn them to evacuate, for their home is at risk of being burned down.
Their response? Tie up the peace officer in endless, fruitless argumentation to avoid having to leave their house & belongings, and pull the car into the street to try to block other evacuees from getting to safety, talk the like-minded neighbors into doing the same with their cars so that they all block the fire fighters & their trucks from getting in to put the fire out (which they may be able to do before too much damage has been done).
Their rationale? "There's no fire." "Okay, there's a fire, but it's not that big." "There's a big fire, but it's not coming this way." "There's a fire coming this way, but it will put itself out." "The peace officers are perpetrating a hoax about a fire." "The fire fighters started the fire so that they can scam money to go put it out." "There is no fire." "You can't prove there's a fire." "You say that there's a 'consensus' of peace officers who all agree there's a fire coming, but they're all in on the hoax." "Telling me there's a fire doesn't make it true." "You haven't proved that there's a fire." "Your model showing that the fire will burn down the neighborhood is no good." "There is no fire." ...
"AHHH!!! MY HOUSE IS BURNING DOWN!!!"
And the pièce de résistance?
"WHY DIDN'T YOU DOING ANYTHING TO STOP THIS?" "YOU HAVE TO SAVE ME!" "THIS IS YOUR FAULT!"
Re: Energetic vandals. Fair points all.
I guess I see it as there's energy and there's actual productive work. John Swallow, for example, is a low energy, cut and paste engine. True enough. But speaking as someone with a few anger management issues myself, I can't help noticing the amount of his own time he's willing to waste and the heated tone of his prose. I suspect he's burning up a fair amount of "psychic energy" as it were. He's not willing to let things slide--a quantum jump from simply denying the matter and getting on with life on the one hand, to becoming a dogged, if stupid, culture warrior on the other.
Like a "men's rights activist" (a phenomena I discovered three days ago). The more imaginary a social cause, the more effort it takes to "make people listen to meeeeeeeee!"
Rick : "It has warmed about .8C from 1880 to now.
How much of that .8C is due to the increase in CO2?
How much is due to natural climate variability?"
About 110 percent of it, because human activities have had both a cooling and warming effect (but more of a waring effect).
Also, a more correct number to use is about 1.0 degrees since pre-industrial.
"How much of the .8c/ increase is due to waste heat from air conditioning, asphalt, concrete and other land use changes?"
Studies show, not much if any. A very small effect.
"How much of the .8C is due to carbon black changing albedo?"\
If I get you right, a small fluctuation decades ago, not part of the big picture. Really, these are OK questions but you need to know that all of these questions have been addressed by scientists multiple times. You did not just think of them, and you could educated yourself about these issues rather than looking like you were born yesterday!
"We simply don’t know enough about the climate yet, all of the processes, how they interact, to believe that we have a full and complete understanding of the climate."
Here, fixe that for you:
"I simply don’t know enough about the climate yet, all of the processes, how they interact, to believe that we have a full and complete understanding of the climate."
"You be the judge."
I would rather use the word "estimate" rather than "judge," but OK, if you insist. I'd judge your level of understanding the climate system to be about kindergarten. There's a kid I see at the bus stop every morning who is in first grade who knows ten times more than you do.
Sorry, you asked.
There is a six-year-old girl who made a YouTube video that explained why human-caused climate change bad, and castigated adults for ignoring the crisis (my paraphrase). I suppose she's seven years old by now. She shows much more intelligence and ability to think than "John Swallow" here, and most of the Republican Party presidential candidates. The video is cute, but in a disgusting way, because her tongue was still too large for her mouth (compared to Donald Trump, who has the opposite affliction).
"” It dates back to before the change from “global warming” to “climate change”,”
And when was that?"
Clearly, by the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1988, i.e., under Reagan), the nefarious misnaming had already occurred:
See A/RES/43/53 Protection of global climate for present and future generations of mankind.
climate change: 14 hits
global warming: 3 hits.
Of course, it is possible that someone with opinions on climate has never heard of the IPCC, or if they have, thinks it meant Intergovernmental Panel on Global Warming. :-)
Book frequencies from "Google books Ngram Viewer" might provide a useful comparison for 'global warming' and 'climate change'. All in percentages x 10,000
1970 1980 1990 2000 2008
gw .005 .03 1.1 2.1 2.9
cc .030 .10 .9 3.2 4.9
On the graph they increase together, beginning to climb in 1985, until 1993. 'Climate change' continues on the same slope, while 'global warming' continues at a lower rate.
After 1993 the 'global warming rate' is reduced to about 40% of the 'climate change rate'.
Re. John Swallow
Swallow is an extreme manifestation of not atypical denialist behavior. He's combative, but he doesn't engage in combat. He doesn't rebut what others say, he ignores it or argues around it. He's a repository of climate septic memes. To a great extent his cuts and pastes are self-quotes, and his comments are essentially inner-monologues.
You could use a word like dogged, but I think obsessive is more appropriate.
Brainstorms #58- You left one out: "If they hadn't sent Al Gore to warn us about the fire, then we might have believed it....oh, and Al Gore is rich and fat, sooooo no fire"
Anybody want to place any bets on how long it will be before the Holocaust "doubters" start complaining that people are unfairly blackening their reputations by implicitly associating them with climate change deniers?
When talking about the origins of the term "climate change" it's impossible to ignore Gilbert Plass's 1956 paper "The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change".
"When talking about the origins of the term “climate change” it’s impossible to ignore Gilbert Plass’s 1956 paper “The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change”."
Yes, Al Gore was telling scientists what to say when he was eight years old.
Brainstorms @ #58
Excellent analogy. I've used the wildfire analogy often but you have developed it to a whole new level!
Actually, it's a prediction. Just change "wildfire" to any of the terms describing the damage brought about by the consequences of AGW.
Scientists & organizations like the IPCC will get blamed for "not having warned the public about this" after it's impossible to deny it any longer. (E.g., Miami's once-valuable beachfront property is half-way up to the second floor in salt water.)
Why did the wildfire spread? Because it was dry.
Why was it dry? Because "the weather has been taken over by government geoengineers."
I have been reading and commenting about this topic since 2009, and I can certainly attest to a switch (in blog comments and posts anyway) from global warming to climate change from 2009 to now.
However, it is true - this is anecdotal and based on my personal blog reading. I did start out at RealClimate in 2009 however.
If you search for the term "global warming deniers" and "climate change deniers" I think you will see that global warming deniers appears first (in blog comments) and climate change deniers only later.
The DeSmog global warming denier database is evidence of this also (it is not called climate change deniers database for example).
But feel free to disagree with me - that is ok with me.
All I can do is respond to questions as best as I can.
I must say that the general tenor of responses to my posts on this thread have certainly vindicated my claim that calling someone a denier is name calling.
Over to you.
"I must say that the general tenor of responses to my posts on this thread have certainly vindicated my claim that calling someone a denier is name calling."
It's a mixture of mirth and pity. The problem is that you did not choose to reject reality: it happened to you, like a broken leg.
By the way, you forgot to thank everyone for explaining to you when both phrases "climate change" and "global warming" became popular.
Question is, RickA, what do we do about them?
"Question is, RickA, what do we do about them?"
Both phrases are correct, and both have been used by geophysicists for over 100 years. That fact seems to upset "RickA" for some reason, but he cannot or will not articulate why. The globe (Earth) is warming anomalously; the globe (Earth) has been warming anomalously for at least 80 years, and noticeably so since year 1940; the globe (Earth) is still warming--- therefore "global warming" is used by scientists, non-scientists, and everyone else on the planet. Global warming has caused, is causing, and will continue to cause climate change--- therefore "climate change" is used by scientists, non-scientists, and everyone else on the planet. Why did "RickA" even mention it?
Your compassion is admirable, but there is simply no justification for saying that calling someone an AGW-denier in any way diminishes the seriousness of the shoah. Nor does sympathy for the victims of the shoah require us to forgo using a word that's been in the specialized vocabulary of Psychology since no later than 1925, "in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence". The Nazi Holocaust is not the only unpleasant reality that can be denied!
The forced association of "denial" and "Holocaust denial" is a transparent rhetorical tactic by AGW-deniers playing the victim card, in an attempt to gain legitimacy. What they are really objecting to is simply the use of "denial" in the Psychological sense, implying that they are fooling no-one but themselves. That's a correct interpretation on their part! They should understand that while AGW-denial isn't the same as Holocaust-denial, that doesn't make it any more respectable.
Mal, I agree with what you say--almost always do. We've certainly seen more than enough of the tactic you describe used all over the place by deniers.
I suspect that the strong association with the holocaust arose in peoples minds in part from influential shows on the subject from Donohue and 60 Minutes and perhaps some others as well. Unfortunately there have been no such mass media shows excoriating AGW denial or other forms of denialism, though you might hope that people would infer the definition from widely available pop psychology (usually discussed in connection with personal relationships as near as I can tell).
I'll throw one thing in just to mix it up a bit. I don't know if it's still the case, but Gavin Schmidt has long preferred the term 'contrarian'. It's not my choice; I don't agree with it, but I'm not inclined to criticize him for it. He's a practiced communicator, and I think it's well worth pondering and learning from why he's made that choice: why it may be appropriate for a prominent climate scientist, while being wrong for the AP and others.
I did start out at RealClimate in 2009 however.
It would have been better for all concerned if you had stayed there.
#9, 13, 38, 73
“I have been reading and commenting about this topic since 2009, and I can certainly attest to a switch (in blog comments and posts anyway) from global warming to climate change from 2009 to now.
However, it is true – this is anecdotal and based on my personal blog reading. I did start out at RealClimate in 2009 however.”
If you started out at RealClimate, then it's fair to say that you've had a negative learning curve, and that you've moved from science based sources to crap that supports your confirmation bias.
“I can certainly attest to a switch (in blog comments and posts anyway) from global warming to climate change from 2009 to now.
However, it is true – this is anecdotal and based on my personal blog reading.”
Based on what you write – “this is anecdotal and based on my personal blog reading” – you are not qualified to attest to anything. This is proof at the level of: It's cold where I am now. Therefore, global warming is not happening.
I expect your reaction will be that Skeptical Science is an agenda site, and is not to be trusted. This is the agenda: “Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation.” You might consider whether the sources referred to in the article say what the article claims they say, and whether there's any substantive evidence that shows they're wrong. Your own subjective, ideologically limited experience is irrelevant.
By the way, DeSmogBlog was founded 10 years ago, long after the term climate change came into use.
“I must say that the general tenor of responses to my posts on this thread have certainly vindicated my claim that calling someone a denier is name calling.”
If it can be shown that someone repeatedly lies, calling that person a liar is justifiable. There are different kinds of denialists, but common for you all is that you deny there's a problem that warrants remedial action, i.e. spending money to prevent it from getting worse.
“Am I in favor of making everything more expensive (food, fuel, transportation, energy) if doing so will not actually decrease future warming – no.”
Excuse me, but exactly who is in favor of “making everything more expensive” in order to accomplish nothing? Where does your manifestly ridiculous assertion come from?
Greg has already said a few words about your knowledge of climate science. I'll say a few more. You're a climate science ignoramus.
“How much of that .8C is due to the increase in CO2?
How much is due to natural climate variability?
How much of the .8C increase is due to deforestation?”
Are you aware that deforestation is a source of CO2? Are you aware that variability goes up and down, and that there's no natural mechanism that can explain the upward temperature trend? If you've discovered one, please tell us.
"It may even get warmer – and that will be natural also."
Now the argument is that CO2 has no effect. Absolute stupidity!
“How much of the .8c/ increase is due to waste heat from air conditioning..?”
“Considered globally, direct thermal forcing from fossil fuel combustion is about 1.71% the radiative forcing from CO2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere from past fossil fuel combustion.”
“How much of the .8C is due to carbon black changing albedo?”
Excuse me, don't you mean black carbon?
“I do disagree with many climate models projections of future warming. But my disagreement is based on the fact that most of them do in fact over-estimate future warming (based on observations from 1880 to date).”
Where's your proof?
“Are the models, in fact, untestable? Are they unable to make valid predictions? Let's review the record. Global Climate Models have successfully predicted:
That the globe would warm, and about how fast, and about how much. That the troposphere would warm and the stratosphere would cool. That nighttime temperatures would increase more than daytime temperatures. That winter temperatures would increase more than summer temperatures.
Polar amplification (greater temperature increase as you move toward the poles). That the Arctic would warm faster than the Antarctic. The magnitude (0.3 K) and duration (two years) of the cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
They made a retrodiction for Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures which was inconsistent with the paleo evidence, and better paleo evidence showed the models were right.
They predicted a trend significantly different and differently signed from UAH satellite temperatures, and then a bug was found in the satellite data. The amount of water vapor feedback due to ENSO. The response of southern ocean winds to the ozone hole.
The expansion of the Hadley cells.
The poleward movement of storm tracks. The rising of the tropopause and the effective radiating altitude. The clear sky super greenhouse effect from increased water vapor in the tropics. The near constancy of relative humidity on global average. That coastal upwelling of ocean water would increase.
Seventeen correct predictions? Looks like a pretty good track record to me. Are there problems with the models, and areas where they haven't gotten it right yet? Sure there are. The double Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone which shows up in some coupled models, ENSO variability, insufficiently sensitive sea ice, diurnal cycles of moist convection, and the exact response of climate to clouds are all
areas of ongoing research. But the models are still the best thing we have for climate prediction under different scenarios, and there is no reason at all to think they're getting the overall picture wrong.”
You ask: “Is the current warming rate a problem,” and you answer is “– I don’t think so.”
Considering that 2014 was probably the warmest year on record and that 2015 could exceed that by a significant margin, what is “the current warming rate?” Please provide a credible, scientific source.
How high would the rate have to be for you to see it as a problem?
How quickly and how much would ice have to melt for you to see that as a problem?
How much would sea-level have to rise? (Which coastal cities and river deltas do you think are expendable?)
As you're against spending money to mitigate climate change, you're comfortable with a BAU emissions scenario. How much would that cause global temperature to rise by the end of this century? How much sea-level rise would that inevitably lead to? Am I correct in stating that in your view inundating large portions of the globe later makes more sense than preventing this by reducing emissions today? If not, why not?
"If you started out at RealClimate, then it’s fair to say that you’ve had a negative learning curve, and that you’ve moved from science based sources to crap that supports your confirmation bias."
It is like "starting" with the Creation[ism] Research Institute to learn about biology. People who read "free market" propaganda web sites to learn about physics are to be pitied.
I agree that the Earth has warmed, just not how much of the warming is due to humans.
It has warmed since 1750, since 1880, and it has warmed since 20,000 years ago.
We know this because 20,000 years ago there was an ice age and a bunch of ice on top of North America, and it has mostly melted since then.
The oceans have risen 120 meters - and this is all based on natural processes.
What I don't know is how much of the warming since 1880 (or 1750) is due to humans and how much would have occurred naturally (even if humans were gone as of 1750).
Clearly some of the warming since the LIA is natural - but how much?
Do you think the warming process which took us out of the LIA is over? Did it finish in 1751?
My crude guess (and it is just a guess based on my reading) - is that 1/2 of the warming from 1880 is natural and 1/2 is caused by humans.
Some of the human caused warming is from emitting carbon, some is from emitting methane, some is from emitting carbon black (I have seen the term both ways)(carbon black has a cooling effect while it is in the air and seems to have a warming effect when it is on the ground), some is from covering large portions of the ground with asphalt, concrete, some is from cutting down large numbers of trees, and so on.
There are many ways humans have caused warming - but not all of the warming is due to just human emitted CO2.
I would like to know what fraction of the warming since 1880 is due to just CO2, what fraction is due to methane, and so on. More importantly, I would like to know what fraction of the warming since 1880 is completely natural.
I don't think anybody knows this information - we will have to gather data for a lot longer (maybe 60 years, maybe hundreds more) to tease out the warming due to nature from the warming due to humans.
Is it really so unreasonable to want to know what fraction of warming since 1880 is natural?
Excuse me, but exactly who is in favor of “making everything more expensive” in order to accomplish nothing? Where does your manifestly ridiculous assertion come from?
The cheapest forms of energy are hydrocarbon based - coal, oil and natural gas.
If we decrease the cheapest form of energy and increase other forms (wind, solar, nuclear, etc.) we will make anything which uses energy more expensive.
This is basic economics 101.
So anybody who advocates switching from a cheaper form of energy to a more expensive form of energy is advocating to make everything more expensive.
Now it may be that we will invent a new form of energy in the future which is cheaper than coal, oil or natural gas.
That would be great.
However, nobody has invented it yet.
You ask me if inundating large portions of the globe makes more sense than preventing this by reducing emissions today?
First, I want to know how much we would be inundated naturally, so I can subtract that out.
Maybe it is only 1 mm/year of the 3/mm - and so humans are causing 2/mm per year - maybe it is 2 mm/year naturally and only 1/mm per year human. I don't know and neither do you.
Secondly, I want to know if we take a particular action (you pick one) - how much will it cost compared to taking no action AND how much inundation will it prevent.
This is called a cost benefit analysis - and we need to do one before we take any action.
Because if we take action AND it makes everything more expensive AND it doesn't decrease the amount of warming we would have experienced had we not taken the action in the first place - wouldn't you agree that this would be bad?
Or if the action shaves off .01C of warming by 2100, but costs trillions of dollars more than otherwise - wouldn't you agree that would be bad?
I think you see where I am going here.
Not every action to mitigate is a good idea.
Each idea has to be tested and subjected to a cost benefit analysis before it is taken.
You and your friends (at least on this thread) do not appear to understand this simple fact.
"I agree that the Earth has warmed, just not how much of the warming is due to humans."
All of the evidence, without exception, shows humans were and are the cause of about 110% of the measured global average temperature increase. So please explain to us, Genius, what has caused it and is causing it, if the evidence is wrong. Thank you in advance.
P.S. You still have not thanked people for educating you. Were you raised by wolves?
"Are you aware that variability goes up and down, and that there’s no natural mechanism that can explain the upward temperature trend? If you’ve discovered one, please tell us." #80
Which natural mechanism do you claim is responsible for the warming trend? Please cite a credible scientific source.
"Which natural mechanism do you claim is responsible for the warming trend? Please cite a credible scientific source."
Ric A, nice tries, but you can't win in this blog. In an objective universe, yes, but this is reason-denial land.
For example, consider earlier threads about how Michael Mann was going to crush Mark Steyn in court. Greg and co. denied Mark could possibly prevail. Now, with "A Disgrace to the Profession", not so much.
You made cogent arguments in Steyn's favor. As did ACLU, Alternative Newspapers (Village Voice et al), WaPo, LA Times, National Press Club, and many others, mostly liberal. (Steyn declined their amicus curiae help, by not appealing DC Superior Court 's ruling, but will benefit from the ultimate appellate ruling ((it's not going to make it to SCOTUS, Mann will lose beforehand).
If Mann had gotten 10 amicus supporters, he had a chance to prevail.. He got zero--his counsel could find no interested-in-public matters supporters. Not even Greg Laden.
I don't deny the earth may be warming. I notice that Greg moved from northern NY to Minnesota. Not quite the same as moving to Hudson Bay, much less Nunavut, to escape the oncoming runaway global warming calamity. Where has James Hansen moved his children and grandchildren. I don't see them buying land (it's really cheap) in NW Territories or Alaska.
Al Gore moved to Montecito. Thousands of rich people have moved t SB, BECAUSE IT'S WARM. Ronald Reagan had a ranch near there. He wasn't trying to escape global warming now was he?
I tried to tell DP to look elsewhere. I suggested Volcano, HI because I've been there. Lots of artists (like Santa FE), no trashy global industrialist-related businesses like Walmart, McDonald's or Burger King. Enough natural rainfall to grow everything you need to live on. I didn't mention the Washington Olympic Peninsula, South Island NZ, BC Coast, but these are all sustainable-living places. Maui and Kauai also have sustainable places. Water determines sustainability.
Move to Patagonia in the foothills of the Southern Andes. South Island NZ in the drainage of the Southern Alps. You can raise families there. And grandchildren.
All you catastrophic anthropogenic global warming proponents, move way north, or into the higher mountains,or way south, or don't and prove yourselves to not believe what you are promoting.
DPhas already shown he lives in a trashy city. My parents loved Santa Fe in the early 50's. Today, it is no longer a "unique arts community".
I spent a month this summer in SF. The temps were way above normal. People were having a blast. They were digging the warmth. As to water shortages, they're moving on developing desalination and sewage-water purification, so problem solved. Summer days in the 70s vs. historic 50s-60s, they like the warmth.
Sorry, "SF" in the last paragraph meant San Francisco, not Santa Fe.
Sorry, last paragraph on "SF" referred to San Francisco, not Santa Fe. i haven't been to Santa Fe since 2005. Hotel Santa Fe had wonderful food.
I admit to being amazed and at the same time concerned at the immense amount of effort schooley and ric a put into repeating lies and misrepresenting the science (indeed, not even bothering to try to understand the science) as they post their screeds.
It's a level of dedication to scientific ignorance seen in my area in the most extreme anti-vaccination folks.
Your economics are as bad as your understanding of climate science.
“Our results suggest that regulatory impact analyses that use the government’s limited range of SCC estimates will significantly understate potential benefits of climate mitigation.”
“Each stage in the life cycle of coal—extraction, transport, processing, and combustion—generates a waste stream and carries multiple hazards for health and the environment. These costs are external to the coal industry and are thus often considered “externalities.” We estimate that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually. Many of these so-called externalities are, moreover, cumulative. Accounting for the damages conservatively doubles to triples the price of electricity from coal per kWh generated, making wind, solar, and other forms of nonfossil fuel power generation, along with investments in efficiency and electricity conservation methods, economically competitive...
The monetizable impacts found are damages due to climate change; public health damages from NOx , SO2 , PM2.5, and mercury emissions; fatalities of members of the public due to rail accidents during coal transport; the public health burden in Appalachia associated with coal mining; government subsidies; and lost value of abandoned mine lands.”
“Even as a growing number of coal-burning power plants around the nation have moved to reduce their air emissions, many of them are creating another problem: water pollution. Power plants are the nation’s biggest producer of toxic waste, surpassing industries like plastic and paint manufacturing and chemical plants, according to a New York Times analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data.
Much power plant waste once went into the sky, but because of toughened air pollution laws, it now often goes into lakes and rivers, or into landfills that have leaked into nearby groundwater, say regulators and environmentalists.”
“Air quality in communities near mountaintop removal is quite different from air quality in non-mining areas, with more particulate matter and higher concentrations of certain contaminants. Mountaintop removal neighbors have higher rates of certain respiratory diseases, including lung cancer. Also, air pollution particles in mining communities show higher levels of certain elements that indicate the dust is coming from “overburden,” or the rock that mountaintop removal operators blast apart to get at the coal underneath.”
“How much money does the U.S. government provide to support the oil, gas and coal industries?
In the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $10 billion to $52 billion annually yet these don’t even include costs borne by taxpayers related to the climate, local environmental, and health impacts of the fossil fuel industry. As of July 2014, Oil Change International estimates U.S. fossil fuel subsidies at $37.5 billion annually, including $21 billion in production and exploration subsidies.
How much money do governments provide to support the oil, gas, and coal industries internationally?
Internationally, governments provide at least $775 billion to perhaps $1 trillion annually in subsidies. This figure varies each year, but it is consistently in the hundreds of billions. Greater transparency would allow for more precise figures.”
“The IEA’s latest estimates indicate that fossil-fuel consumption subsidies worldwide amounted to $548 billion in 2013, $25 billion down on the previous year, in part due to the drop in international energy prices, with subsidies to oil products representing over half of the total. Those subsidies were over four-times the value of subsidies to renewable energy and more than four times the amount invested globally in improving energy efficiency.”
(Note: this figure does not include production subsidies.)
Financial benefits of renewable energy
“Onshore wind is cheaper than coal, gas or nuclear energy when the costs of ‘external’ factors like air quality, human toxicity and climate change are taken into account, according to an EU analysis.
The report says that for every megawatt hour (MW/h) of electricity generated, onshore wind costs roughly €105 (£83) per MW/h, compared to gas and coal which can cost up to around €164 and €233 per MW/h, respectively.”
A report from the Danish Energy Agency had already reached a similar result:
“Landvindmøller er den billigste måde at skaffe ny elkapacitet i Danmark. Det viser en ny analyse fra Energistyrelsen, der har sammenlignet omkostninger for 10 udvalgte teknologier.”
The following comes from Citi and Lazard:
The cumulative losses to global GDP from climate change impacts (‘Inaction’) from 2015 to 2060 are estimated at $2 trillion to $72 trillion depending on the discount rate and scenario used. Lower discount rates encourage early action.
If emissions continue to rise and therefore temperature continues to increase after 2060, the negative effect on GDP losses could become more than 3% of GDP with estimates ranging from 1.5% to almost 5%.
“Utility-scale solar and wind power are increasingly cost-competitive with traditional energy sources such as coal and nuclear, even without subsidies, according to the latest Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis – Lazard's annual study comparing the cost of generating energy from conventional and alternative technologies.”
The financial information you get from your climate septic blogs is rejected by those who have studied the costs of climate change, including major financial institutions. It has as little to do with reality as the scientific information you get from them. Evaluating sources is not one of your strong points.
By using the quotation marks operator on Google, we get a current count from the search for that exact phrase. Currently, about:
____247,000 results .48sec "Holocaust denier"
____612,000 results .5 sec "climate change deniers"
____114,000 results .31sec "global warming deniers"
_____29,700 results .40sec "climate science deniers"
101,000,000 results .57sec "climate change"
_44,200,000 results .43sec "global warming"
_____12,900 results .36sec "AGW denier"
Presumably the counts from earlier intervals (i.e., before 1994) might be useful.
Is there a way to count the 'one-who-denys' "deniers", while excluding the fabric measurement and French coin usages?
Holocaust denial was debated on Phil Donohue's talk show, 14 Mar 1994. It was also a topic on 60 Minutes in the first half of 1994. Did the discussion extend to other media outlets?
One complication is that in earlier times when there was less information and lesser consequences, there was more of a dichotomy between "climate skeptics" who were seemingly genuinely skeptical, and "climate deniers" who'd made up their minds. That's my memory of early WUWT.
____145,000 results .50 sec "climate skeptic"''
Were there previously any US national polls on the subject of Holocaust denial? A 'recent' poll, at the time of the movie Schindler's List, found that 22% thought it was possible and 12% didn't Know. But this says nothing about whether they'd ever heard of this conspiracy theory beforehand.
And, given anecdotal evidence of educational failures, in examples of what John Q. Public never learned (or has forgotten)...things you'd expect everyone to know - until you'd asked them...There are probably many people, particularly post-baby- boomers, who don't know anything about the Holocaust itself.
Congratulations for figuring out that "denier" has a pejorative connotation. It derives from the denotation of "denial" as it's used by psychological professionals, “in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence“. Of course you are insulted when someone calls you an AGW-denier, because they're telling you that you're fooling yourself. Fooling yourself isn't necessarily wrong, in some absolute moral framework, but it's always foolish.
It would be therapeutically counterproductive for a psychotherapist to call a client who is manifestly in denial a "denier". The goal of therapy would still be the client's eventual acceptance of the unpleasant reality he's denying, because no progress toward making reality less unpleasant can be made until he does. Thankfully (for lots of reasons) I'm not a psychotherapist, and RickA, Mark Schooley et al. aren't my clients. Whether or not they ever accept the reality of anthropogenic global warming/climate change, my hope is that they, and others who lurk here, will understand that denial isn't respectable. If AGW-deniers become more hesitant to voice it in public, we may finally make progress toward mitigating AGW.
Since science is a way of trying not to fool yourself, it's the antidote to AGW-denial. A genuine skeptic, as distinguished from a denier, will want to know what the experts (that is the peer community of climate scientists) know. If he can't invest the time to become an expert himself, he'll need to at least identify credible sources of information. Texas state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon has written about scientific meta-literacy:
Without either comprehensive literacy in climate science or sufficient scientific meta-literacy, however, an AGW-denier has little hope of escape. The campaign by fossil-fuel investors to protect their revenue streams will have its desired result, and the world will warm to truly catastrophic levels. I'm trying to remain optimistic it can still be prevented.
You asked: "what has caused it and is causing it . . ".
Milankovitch cycles is one possibility.
You should read up on those - they are a completely natural cause of long term trend warming and long term trend cooling, over 20,000, 41,000 and 100,000 year cycles.
We know that the sea level has risen 120 meters over the last 20,000 years - and all but about 8 inches of that rise is 100% natural.
So I would say that it is possible that whatever has naturally warmed the Earth enough to raise the sea levels 120 meters may still be acting today.
We are right smack dab in the middle of an interglacial - which is a naturally occurring phenomena.
It is 8 to 10C warmer than during an interglacial - and the entire temperature rise is natural (well except for however much was caused by humans - that is what we don't know to any degree of certainty - probably about .4C).
So we have to quantify the natural component and subtract it out to determine the correct human amount of warming.
I can tell you one thing - it sure isn't 110% human caused.
Otherwise there could be no pause.
Since there is a pause, it can only be caused by natural variation cancelling out some of the natural/human forcing.
Climate sensitivity has been dropping for years and is now down to 1.8 or even lower (based on the latest scientific papers) - so it is clear that as CS falls, so to does the amount of warming caused by humans.
This necessarily means that the difference must be made up by natural warming.
As I indicated earlier - my guess is 1/2 of the warming from 1880 to present is natural and 1/2 human caused.
Science will keep plugging away on this issue and I am sure we will get better and better and more accurate answers over time.
By the way - what is your explanation for the little ice age - what made it colder for a couple hundred years?
What is your explanation for the roman warm period or the medieval warm period?
How about the mid-Holocene warm period?
I assume you agree these were natural occurrences.
How do you rule out the possibility that part of the current warming isn't some natural warming mechanism such as whatever caused the prior warming periods.
We know it wasn't CO2 because it doesn't show up in the ice core data - so other natural processes can cause warming on century period time scales.
Also, you are insisting that over 48,000 climatologists who have published peer reviewed papers in science journals in the past decade, and all the reviewers of those papers, and about 45 science journal editors, are so ignorant about Milankovitch cycles that they are not qualified to do those jobs. Sheee4ish. What is more likely: all of the world's geophysicists don't understand Milankovitch cycles, or your political ideology has broken your ability to reason?
The problem is the current rise is sea levels, not the rise in the past 20,000 years if any.
Also, Earth is currently at the cooling end of the latest aggregate Milankovitch cycle; we should still be cooling now, and the ice should still be increasing. Perhaps you would be so kind as to point to evidence that there is a 70-year warming cycle of greater than +1.0 within the Milankovitch cycles---- which all of the worlds scientists just some how missed. Thank you in advance.
You can "tell" me that, but no scientists have ever said humans have caused 110% of Earth's warming. Your implication that scientists have made that claim is asinine. It is an observed fact that humans have caused, and are currently causing, about 110% of the observed (i.e., measured) warming. If you have any evidence that shows a different cause, please step forward and present it.
Okay, I give up: what "pause?"
Huh? No. Climate sensitivity has not changed at all. I suspect you mean "estimated climate sensitivity," not "climate sensitivity." And the estimated climate sensitivity is still +2.9c +/- 0.6c ignoring all of the feedback.
You mean you're smarter than all of the world's experts, and by god dammit they should just listen to (i.e., obey) you. There is zero evidence any of the current global warming has been caused by non-human forcings. If you have evidence to the contrary, step forward and present it.
The problem is the current global temperature anomaly. Past CO2-driven warming is not a problem; the current one is.
"Milankovitch cycles is one possibility."
No it isn't. It is really that extremely simple. We know the Milankovitch cycles. We know we are currently not in a convolution of cycles that would lead to significant warming. We also know they work on too slow timescales to explain the rapid warming currently observed (we're talking at least a factor 10 difference in warming rates).
There is a lot more to say about the rest of what you came up with, but I would like you to explain first why you think you are allowed to be so skeptical, when you so clearly know so little.
RickA is certain that the rise in global temperature in large measure has been the result of natural causes, but when asked which causes, he doesn't know. It could be Milankovitch cycles, he claims. One thing scientists know with certainty is that Milankovitch cycles are not contributing to current warming. In fact, there are other climate septics who argue that global warming is good because Milankovitch cycles are in a cooling phase. And this illustrates one of easily recognized characteristics of denialism. What climate septics say has no relation to facts, logic or coherency. It's about preventing any action from being taken that can threaten fossil fuel interests and limit the damage from climate change, and to that end they will say anything.
Instead of commenting on climate change, a subject he knows nothing about, perhaps RickA should attempt to attain some self-knowledge by reading about the Dunning-Kruger effect.
“People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
Confucius’ observation rings just as true today as it did 26 centuries ago. To achieve and maintain an adequate measure of the good life, people must have some insight into their limitations.
“In 1995, McArthur Wheeler walked into two Pittsburgh banks and robbed them in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He was arrested later that night, less than an hour after videotapes of him taken from surveillance cameras were broadcast on the 11 o'clock news. When police later showed him the surveillance tapes, Mr. Wheeler stared in incredulity. “But I wore the juice,” he mumbled. Apparently, Mr. Wheeler was under the impression that rubbing one's face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to videotape cameras (Fuocco, 1996).”
RickA has smeared himself with climate septic juice, and he believes that this enables him to speak competently about climate change. He's only fooling himself.
(As #93 is addressed to him, Desertphile can decide whether he'll pounce on RickA's mistakes and inconsistencies. I'll only say that RickA's comment is beyond ignorant. It's mind bogglingly stupid.)
Often it is the exact same individual "septic" making the mutually contradictory claim. That behavior is allowed in the USA criminal defense legal system (a lawyer is allowed to present mutually exclusive arguments defending a client, if neither argument is a positive affirmation such as "pleading the fifth amendment"), but in denialism (and reality) it's politics.
And this illustrates one of the easily recognized...
"but I would like you to explain first why you think you are allowed to be so skeptical, when you so clearly know so little."
I am allowed to think anything I want - and nobody has the right to tell me how to think.
You have the same right.
You say I know so little - and that may very well be true.
However, unless you are a climate scientist we are all in the same boat.
We all read what the climate scientists have to say, just as in every other expert field.
Then we test what the "expert" has to say with our own non-expert evaluation.
Sometimes a person agrees with the experts and sometimes they don't.
That is my right and yours as well.
Personally, I don't think climate science has a great record.
Their predictions have been wrong decade after decade.
That is ok - and understandable - it is a very new field.
What we know for sure is that CO2 is a GHG.
I will agree with that.
We also know that the direct warming effect of the CO2 we have pumped out and are projected to pump out is about 1.2 or 1.3C (to 2100).
That is physics and I accept it.
Beyond that I look around and see absolutely no evidence of the indirect feedback amplification warming which is supposed to be showing up - it isn't there yet.
We are running at least .1C / decade behind what the projections from 10 and 20 years ago predicted - so those predictions were wrong.
So the appeal to authority that a bunch of climate scientists say X and I should just believe it doesn't work for someone who looks at the evidence and says - nope - their predictions are not yet ready for prime time yet.
Like a weatherperson telling me what the weather will be in 20 days - nope - not going to believe it. They could be right by accident - but guess what - science has shown that weather prediction accuracy drops off and after about 10 days have no skill.
Climate scientists have shown no skill in their predictions - so you should take them with a grain of salt.
I at least admit I don't know how much of the warming is natural and how much is human caused.
Why do you think the people you rely on for your information are so correct when they have gotten everything wrong, decade after decade.
Guess what - they are still finding processes which need to be incorporated into the global climate models and they are constantly tweaking the models, year after year - they change and make different predictions for 2100 and beyond.
That is ok - I want them to improve the models and work to understand nature better so we can make better predictions.
But they are not "done" yet and they are not accurate enough to make any important decisions based on yet.
If you want to plan on .13C per decade warming - I would agree with that.
Hell - I will even round it up to .15C.
Is .15C warming until 2100 going to cause any problems - nope. Nothing we cannot handle with a little adaptation.
I hope that gives you a little insight into why I am allowed to be so skeptical.
I don't believe in a flat earth - but I am not going to tell somebody they have to believe the earth is not flat.
I don't believe that vaccinations cause autism - but I am not going to tell somebody they have to get their kids vaccinated.
I don't believe that fluoride in water causes any health issues - but I am not going to tell somebody they have to drink fluoridated water, if they would rather drink bottled water.
I don't believe the Earth is only 6000 years old - but I am not going to tell a creationist what they have to believe.
And so on.
If you wish to believe what the consensus climate scientists tell you - that is fine with me.
Just don't expect me to accept that they are correct just because they are climate scientists - that is just a big old appeal to authority and is no basis for winning an argument.
If you want to convince me (and other skeptics) you need to show skill in predictions - and that is what is sadly lacking in climate science.
Maybe in 100 years they will be better - but not today.
Sorry - I meant .15C per decade (1.5C per century).
"Sorry – I meant .15C per decade (1.5C per century)"
Very good. Now add all of the other physics involved.
"...show skill in predictions..."
cosmicomics discussed that at #80. For instance:
And RealClimate has a whole thing on skill.
Part of your problem is that
YOU DON'T LISTEN!
If you want to be taken seriously *you* need to show some skill in using your brain. Taking a position because it *sounds* reasonable to you is speciousness pure and simple.
Moreover, I don't see any evidence that the time you've spent at RealClimate and elsewhere wasn't completely wasted. Your whole approach to evidence, logic, proportion, and context is about on a level with a kid thrashing around in a ball pit. Either you're not being honest with yourself about what you're doing, or you're way out of your depth and need a new hobby.
We all read what the climate scientists have to say, just as in every other expert field. Then we test what the “expert” has to say with our own non-expert evaluation. Sometimes a person agrees with the experts and sometimes they don’t. That is my right and yours as well.
RickA appears to be a member of the camp who thinks that scientific results are/should be the product of a political debate: Whoever propounds the most convincing argument from personal conviction wins the day and decides the outcome.
"RickA appears to be a member of the camp who thinks that scientific results are/should be the product of a political debate: Whoever propounds the most convincing argument from personal conviction wins the day and decides the outcome."
Indeed. Here in the real world, which is far outside and distinct from the ricka world, scientific results are the product of arguments, criticism, threats of violence, and overt and covert hostility among one's peers. All of that comes after scientists have tried very hard to refute their own conclusions.
RickA, nice try evading the issue of you being so wrong about something so basic as the Milankovitch cycles. You do not need to be a climate scientist to know it does not explain the current warming. Not at all. Suggesting it as a possibility is a sign of profound ignorance. Some people would then say "oh wow, I better learn something before spouting more nonsense", but you just double down.
That makes you a completely irrelevant discussion partner. Whatever evidence will be provided will be ignored by you, because you do not realize your own ignorance. And as noted above, you have already been provided with evidence that climate science has given skillful predictions - and dutifully ignored them.
"RickA, nice try evading the issue of you being so wrong about something so basic as the Milankovitch cycles. You do not need to be a climate scientist to know it does not explain the current warming. Not at all. Suggesting it as a possibility is a sign of profound ignorance. Some people would then say “oh wow, I better learn something before spouting more nonsense”, but you just double down."
RickA has no valid excuse; he knows that all of the world's experts agree the current global temperature anomaly has been caused and is being caused by humans. If Milankovitch cycles were and are the cause, all of the scientists would be saying so.
Desertphile #102 - you said:
"You mean you’re smarter than all of the world’s experts, and by god dammit they should just listen to (i.e., obey) you. "
No - I never said I was smarter than all the worlds experts.
I have not told any expert what to do.
I am explaining why I am skeptical - and responding to your (the threads) questions.
I am explaining why I don't just roll over and believe what the consensus of climate experts say - just because they are "experts".
It is because they are wrong so much of the time.
They were wrong in the 90's, they were wrong in the 00's and they are wrong in the 10's (so far).
If you want to pretend they weren't wrong - and put your head in the sand - go right ahead.
The earth is warming - and I agree with that.
It will probably warm some more - maybe another .4C or .5C by 2100.
How much of the warming since 1880 is human caused and how much of the .4 or .5C we will by 2100 is human caused - and how much natural - I am not so sure of that.
I agree we will eventually run of of hydrocarbons.
As we run out, the price will go up and eventually some form of alternative energy will actually be cheaper than oil, coal or natural gas.
When that happens, we will switch - because people (collectively) always always do what is cheapest.
And by cheapest - I mean what people actually pay - not the made up world of externalities.
In my opinion, the best thing the USA could do would be to commit to replacing coal power plants with nuclear power plants as the coal power plants reach their end of life.
The drawback to that is that it is more expensive than hydrocarbon energy (at least presently).
But if we absolutely have to do something (I don't think we do) than lets do that - that would be a fairly no regrets action.
If you think I am a completely irrelevant discussion partner than just ignore me.
"If you think I am a completely irrelevant discussion partner than just ignore me."
Don't undervalue your entertainment value.
Mother Nature is a cold-hearted bitch who is completely lacking in compassion. She will not allow "do-overs", will not tolerate "I forgot", will not accept "I don't get it", and will give ZERO wiggle room on fudging the truth about reality.
She especially delights in crushing the life out of foolish humans who try to put political agendas by Her. She makes necklaces of their teeth, and puts candles in their skulls.
The only way to keep one step ahead of Her is to understand how she works in as great a level of detail as possible. This involves work, it's not easy, and it's expensive.
If you think you can cheat any part of paragraph 3, refer to paragraph 2 for the fate in store for you...
"because people (collectively) always always do what is cheapest."
Millions of people by Nike shoes for hundreds of dollars a pair. They are not of higher quality than many, many other, cheaper brands. Clearly, people do not always do what is cheapest.
Many in the US buy big SUVs for which they in reality have no need. They could easily buy a cheaper car with better fuel economy. Clearly, people do not always do what is cheapest.
People eat large amounts of meat, much more than they, physiologically, need. Meat is expensive, especially the more 'premium' stuff. Clearly, people do not always do what is cheapest.
People drink massive amounts of soft drinks and bottled water. These are much more expensive than just plain tap water (yes, I am aware there are places where the tap water is nonpotable). Clearly, people do not always do what is cheapest.
People do what they want to do, and often some real or perceived personal satisfaction is much more important than doing what is cheapest.
Using the cop-out "collectively" won't get you out of this either.
Also note that "irrelevant discussion partner" does not mean I will stop rebutting your nonsense.
Those of us who have been following climate science for a while look at your arguments and consider them simplistic with little depth.
For instance you stated that climate sensitivity is 1.8C. Well yes, the bottom end of the stated range in the latest IPCC report is around 1.8C but the top end of the range is around 5C and they can't rule out higher numbers. It seems like around 3C is still the most likely value for sensitivity.
Same thing with warming and sea level rise coming out of the last glaciation. Yes, temperatures and sea level rose a lot but that all ended around 6,000-8,000 years ago when Milankovitch Cycles hit their peak forcing. Since then they are on the way down and sea level has been relatively steady and temperatures were on a slight cooling trend. Of course that has changed in the last couple centuries.
So when we see simplistic arguments like yours we assume you haven't pursued knowledge in the field enough to start and understand some of the nuances. It's easy to think that your lack of digging deeper is because you have an ideological view of the matter.
"For instance you stated that climate sensitivity is 1.8C. Well yes, the bottom end of the stated range in the latest IPCC report is around 1.8C but the top end of the range is around 5C and they can’t rule out higher numbers. It seems like around 3C is still the most likely value for sensitivity."
In fact, one can calculate the confidence in the estimate based upon the many scores of estimates climatologists have made. The most confident estimate is "just under +3c" at about 2.9c without all of the observed feedback mechanisms.
"It is because they [climate experts] are wrong so much of the time."
When? About what? Provide credible documentation.
(Note - RickA never documents anything. Everything is a matter of personal belief.)
"“It is because they [climate experts] are wrong so much of the time.”
"When? About what? Provide credible documentation."
He read it on the "realclimate" web site, therefore he doesn't need evidence.
Third try (#80, 82)
“Are you aware that variability goes up and down, and that there’s no natural mechanism that can explain the upward temperature trend? If you’ve discovered one, please tell us.” #80
Which natural mechanism do you claim is responsible for the warming trend? Please cite a credible scientific source.” #82
Your first attempt, Milankovitch cycles, was a pathetic failure. You can't find credible scientific evidence for the natural mechanism that supports your claim, because there is none. All recent warming has been caused by human activity.
The first link goes through the possible natural causes and explains why they don't apply. It's written by a scientist who links to relevant scientific literature.
The second link is to an article by a scientist who was attempting to disprove AGW, but who found that the only thing that could account for the industrial age temperature trend was the increase in CO2.
Again, what evidence do you have? What you yourself believe or wish to believe is worthless.
"Your first attempt, Milankovitch cycles, was a pathetic failure. You can’t find credible scientific evidence for the natural mechanism that supports your claim, because there is none. All recent warming has been caused by human activity."
No scientists have found any non-human mechanism(s) either. If it was Milankovitch cycles, all of the world's climatologists would say so.
“When that happens, we will switch – because people (collectively) always always do what is cheapest.
And by cheapest – I mean what people actually pay – not the made up world of externalities.”
Whether RickA realizes it or not, he's paying for externalities. The ones who are paying least are the ones who cause them. His obliviousness to the suffering caused by externalities indicates that he's a stingy, cold-hearted bastard whose sole concern is whether mitigation will cost him anything.
“In my opinion, the best thing the USA could do would be to commit to replacing coal power plants with nuclear power plants...”
RickA contends that he's in favor of the cheapest source of energy, yet he supports nuclear power, which has become increasingly expensive and can no longer compete with onshore wind on the basis of cost. This is easily documented (#89), but for RickA facts are what he wants them to be, and he ignores whatever he finds inconvenient. In his world of confirmation bias, my facts are as good as yours.
In RickA's world “the cow jumped over the moon” – he's read it – is sufficient proof that scientists haven't yet understood gravity. (But maybe someday they will. RickA certainly hopes so. But for now we shouldn't do anything based on the idea that the theory of gravity is correct.)
"In RickA’s world “the cow jumped over the moon” – he’s read it – is sufficient proof that scientists haven’t yet understood gravity. (But maybe someday they will. RickA certainly hopes so. But for now we shouldn’t do anything based on the idea that the theory of gravity is correct.)"
Ricka will only believe a cow jumped over the moon if all of the world's scientists agree it didn't happen, and the "free market" depend on it happening.
Desertphile #122 said:
"No scientists have found any non-human mechanism(s) either."
The line of argument that climate scientists have ruled out any source of natural warming, other than anthropogenic is totally lame.
That is not science - it is a joke.
It is a lame attempt to reverse the null hypothesis (which has been tried before).
Look - the climate changes naturally and that is the null hypothesis.
It is up to scientists to PROVE that humans are changing the climate - by how much - and to show that human influences are GREATER than natural ones.
They have not done this yet.
They may be able to prove this in the future - but they have not proven it yet.
We just don't know how much of the recent warming (since 1880) is natural and how much is human caused.
We need more data, over a much longer time frame to answer this question.
Again - don't forget that I agree humans are causing warming (since 1880).
I just don't have a clue of how much is natural and how much is caused by humans.
It could be all of it is human caused, it could be 1/2 of it is human caused, it could be 1/4 of it is human caused.
The data do not allow us to say definitively one way or the other, because the signal is to small compared to the noise.
That is why CS (climate sensitivity) keeps jumping around - because we have no clue how much of the warming is natural and how much is human caused.
Most of the people on this thread are 100% sure that humans have caused 110% of the warming - but that is probably completely wrong and pure bunk.
Why - because with a 40% increase in CO2, if you were right, we should have seen way more warming than we have - and we have not seen it - so something is wrong with your model.
No doubt - 100% of the warming cannot be attributed to CO2 - and some of it will have to be attributed to other things - like deforestation, concrete and asphalt, land use changes, carbon black, natural causes and so on.
Moving something from the CO2 column to anything else lower CS, which is what has been happening for many years.
Since some ocean cycles last about 60 years, we will probably need data (satellite) for at least one period (60 years) and maybe 2 periods (120 years) to address this properly.
Since satellite data started in about 1978 or 1979, we will probably need data until at least 2039 to see the full cycle.
Right now, we are building models based on only 1/2 of the cycle of ocean currents - no wonder we overestimated the warming.
So I say come back in 2039, after 60 years of satellite data and lets see what the consensus estimate is for CS.
I predict it will be lower than 3C.
I will bet you a quarter it will be less than 3C.
Hey, I will even bet you a quarter it will be less than 2.5C.
Natural processes play out daily (it is warmer at noon than at midnight, usually); they play out annually (is is warmer in the summer than in the winter, usually), they play out over a decade, over a century, over a millennium and so on.
I am sure that scientists will not say that Milankovitch cycles no longer have any effect on the climate, over any time scale - because that would just be wrong.
What we don't know is whether something which happened a decade ago, or a century ago, or a millennium ago is still playing out today. It could be a cooling effect or a warming effect or some combination of both - but natural effects from the past are still playing out today - because they have to be.
So we cannot just ignore them and pretend they are 0 - because that is just wrong.
I for one am happy to wait for more data, to reduce the signal to noise problem and come up with better answers with better data.
In the meantime - I find this thread entertaining as well.
"The line of argument that climate scientists have ruled out any source of natural warming, other than anthropogenic is totally lame."
It is an observed fact. Every single climate forcing is already accounted for, measured, observed, quantified, and understood. It's a done deal, tool-boxed among all of the world's geophysicists, and no longer a topic for study. Humans are observed to be the cause.
I agree humans are a cause.
I do not agree that humans are the only cause.
I am glad you are so confident in your opinion.
I think you are wrong.
Not only do we have a good handle on all of the climate forcings we know of - but there are the things we don't know we don't know.
If you follow climate science at all you will see that some new process or wrinkle on an old process is discovered each year and the models are changed to incorporate it.
So it is laughable to think humans have as good a grasp on the Earth's climate as you seem to think.
I will come back to this post in one year and give you a list of all the new forcings or modifications to old forcings science has published between now and then, and maybe you will be forced to agree that our understanding of the climate is a work in process.
"I do not agree that humans are the only cause."
No one cares what you agree with or do not agree with. It's an observed fact that humans are the cause of more than 95% of the observed warming, and about 110% of the measured warming.
"I am glad you are so confident in your opinion."
My opinion? No.
Not only do we NOT have a good handle . . .
"Not only do we NOT have a good handle . . ."
Your we don't; my we do.
RickA, when experienced mathematicians and electrical engineers tell us that the square root of -1 is not just useful in modeling currents and signals, but accurately represents their behavior such that one can correctly model circuits and build them with the confidence that they will work as intended, it is not just laughable, but inappropriate for you to say, "We don't have a good handle on how electronics works", or "I don't agree with that", or "That's your opinion, but I think it works differently".
If you approach electrical engineering with the same absurd disregard for those who have devoted their careers to studying and determining not only the models for climate science, but also characterizing them and determining the extent to which they can be trusted, I hope to God you are not involved with anything having to do with safety characteristics (or high voltages).
You may get away with this crap when working the system for patent law, but when it comes to the laws of physics, you will get your ass handed to you for contempt. The results of climate science are just not subject to being maneuvered by skillful manipulation of the examiners.
Nor will you get an appeal to try to overturn the pronouncements.
"I predict it will be lower than 3C."
And you arrived at this by?...
And you arrived at this by... ?
His anus told him so. Or, more correctly, Mark Steyn's anus told him so.
Mud: what happens when you try to pull a Pielke out of your arse.
That science progresses is trivially true and adds nothing to make your case. Argument by platitude... typical crutch of barroom blowhards and far right wing nuts.
Likewise for uncertainty (the U in FUD). It is not your friend either.
'Nul hypothesis'... gibberish. That has a specific statistical meaning and is not relevant to this discussion. Scientists evaluate numerous factors to figure out attribution for the state of the climate. So, even though it may not be absolutely presice to say that natural variation has 0 role in the current fact of global warming, it's accurate enough. But hey, who knows! Maybe tomorrow the Earth will be sucked into an alternate icy dimension and poof! Instantaneously, no more global warming!
FYI, Radiative forcings by emissions and drivers
Why, hello there, world! I'm Mark Steyn's anus. Yes as usual, lately I don't have time to once again complain about being an asshole attached to an asshole, but I want you to all know that human-caused climate change is not a problem: it's good for us, it's making all the trees grow faster except for the Divergence Problem trees which don't exist and never did, it's 99% nature's fault, it will only get 0.4c above the pre-industrial average by year 2200, plus it isn't even happening!
Would I lie? And would you believe me if I am lying? Ask yourself: "Have I ever known *MY* anus to lie?" If the answer is "No," then you see my point. If the answer is "Yes," I see in the news that the USA Republican Party is looking for a new House Speaker so maybe you can apply for the job since the current talking asshole is quitting.
Thank you for your attention, and be sure to flush twice because it's a long way to Willie Soon's kitchen sink.
MSA, you should wipe that Santorum off your, um... yeah.
"MSA, you should wipe that Santorum off your, um… yeah."
Oy vey! (Not all anuses are Jewish; not all Jews are anuses.) Don't even get me started on what Santorum's anus talks about when we all gather at the water cooler on a hot, sweaty day. Santorum's anus is *STILL* complaining about having been shaved so that Donald Trump would finally have a covering for his head. A few weeks ago I asked Trump's anus what she thought about the new dead covering, but she was too embarrassed to do anything more than pucker up and pout in ire. We'd all pitch in and buy Trump's anus some anti-depressant medication, but it's too tight to get even 20mg of Paxil through.
Just remember: Never buy gribenes from a moyle...
Paul Krugman has a good commentary on the relationship between energy policy, climate change denialism, and the direction of the Republican Party:
Since "global warming" is more of a religious philosophy than a scientific one, the proper term for someone who disagrees with the religion of global warming is "heretic".
I'm a global warming heretic.
So far, the "science" of global warming hasn't been able to make any accurate predictions, because we DO NOT YET KNOW all the factors that affect climate. We DO know that it was at least as warm a thousand years ago as it is now, and that it was probably warmer in Roman times. And there were cold spells in between.
Is it going to get warmer? Yes. Is it going to get colder? Yes. When? THAT is the big question; which comes first, more warming (because it is CLEARLY warmer now than it was in 1800) or is it going to get colder, like it was in the 1400s? I'm reading interesting explanations of why it's likely to get colder, and I'm reading scatological insults about why I'm an idiot and OF COURSE it's going to get warmer.
"Since global warming is more of a religious philosophy than a scientific one...."
Just like the religion of gravity. Scientists are forcing us to follow their gravity religion, even though the First Amendment grants us the right not to. Damn them!
Oh great. Another ignorant pontificator with poor reading skills and no intellectual curiosity. Keep it up Ken Mitchell. If all you're going to do is spread bull stite, expect a lesson in scatology done properly.
"I’m reading scatological insults "
First, facts are not insults.
Second: do you understand them any better than you do science?
"We DO know that it was at least as warm a thousand years ago as it is now"
You mean "I claim this to be the case, because some others have told me this is the truth. I don't care what you scientists tell me, you cannot change my mind."
You mean “I claim this to be the case, because some others have told me this is the truth. I don’t care what you scientists tell me, you cannot change my mind.”
I wonder who his "we" are; I assume he means paranoid conspiracy alarmists. No scientists "know" that astonishing "fact" of his.