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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 06/ 9/2010

Unmasking disinformation, from tobacco to climate

By Andrew Freedman

* Sun & warmth return tomorrow: Full Forecast *

It's no secret that many climate skeptics have ties to the fossil fuel industry, or are ideologically opposed to the policy implications of mainstream climate science, which holds that emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global temperatures to increase. This has been explored in numerous books, most notably in Ross Gelbspan's "The Heat is On" and "Boiling Point," as well as the more recent work by James Hoggan, "Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming."

What's been missing from these accounts, however, are details regarding how the climate issue stacks up against major scientific controversies in the past, such as the debate over links between tobacco and cancer. Now a new book -- "Merchants of Doubt" -- by science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway finally explores such territory, creating a devastating portrayal of organized scientific disinformation campaigns that makes clear just how gullible the press, scientific community and the public have been (and to a large extent, continue to be).

Author Naomi Oreskes discusses her new book "Merchants Of Doubt." Also, see this video of a lecture Oreskes gave on American skepticism on climate science.

Through the use of original documents and other source material, Oreskes and Conway trace the history of organized scientific disinformation campaigns back to the 1950s. Although the book does not focus solely on climate change, it is highly relevant to anyone who follows the climate issue, from avid consumers of climate information to casual observers. The book demonstrates what many commentators, such as myself, have stated for years: that attacks on climate science and individual scientists are motivated more by a hostility to the proposed policy solutions to the problem than by clear scientific evidence showing that greenhouse gas emissions do not cause climate change after all.

I sat down with Oreskes at a New York cafe late last month to discuss the book and its implications for present-day climate science communication. She said the key finding contained in the book is that the pattern of purposeful obfuscation of scientific evidence is repeated from one issue to the next, including not just climate change and tobacco but also debates related to acid rain, the ozone layer and Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative.


"The pattern is actually hugely important to our claim. We're trying to show that the same strategy has been used over and over and over again and it's kind of amazing that we keep getting fooled by this," Oreskes said.

On climate science specifically, she said the pattern is essentially the same as it was in the tobacco wars: certain climate skeptics attack the science and individual scientists to make the science look far less certain than it actually is. "This is not about gaps in climate science... it's about a strategy to undermine the science whenever the science logically leads to need for government regulation. That's the pattern, that's what people need to understand. This really is about regulation."

In reading "Merchants of Doubt," what I found so staggering is the degree to which the current debates about climate science resemble the tobacco/cancer arguments, and the acid rain discussions. Scientists still have not developed an effective counterpunch to organized disinformation efforts that are designed to undermine public trust in scientific research, and the media still struggles to accurately communicate climate science. Perhaps nowhere was this continued struggle more evident than with the media frenzy over "climategate," a fracas that erupted after several prominent climate scientists had their emails stolen from a British university server and posted online late last year. Climate change skeptics used the emails to make the case that the consensus view on climate science has been manufactured, and is eroding.

Oreskes called the climategate coverage "unabashedly hideous," because many reporters jumped to the conclusion that scientists were guilty of manipulating scientific evidence for personal gain, and have not followed up on the allegations by reporting on the official inquiry reports, which to date have all vindicated the researchers of wrongdoing.

"You can accuse people of all kinds of horrible stuff, and the press is all over it, and then you find out that actually these accusations are without grounding, and that is not interesting to the media," she said.

"... The press also covered it as if it undermined the science, and that to me was the more egregious part," she continued.

Overall, the book serves as a definitive account of scientific disinformation campaigns, and what motivates their participants. It also amounts to an urgent cry for reforming science communication in order to limit the effectiveness of misinformation. As for how to do that, Oreskes suggested that scientists play a more active role in calling out bogus claims, something which they have done to a greater extent since climategate.

"If the scientific community doesn't explain why it's garbage, then how is anybody else supposed to know?" she said.

The views expressed here are the author's alone and do not represent any position of the Washington Post, its news staff or the Capital Weather Gang.

By Andrew Freedman  | June 9, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Books, Climate Change, Freedman, Media  
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The Post continues its totally one sided coverage with this article.

There are now billions of dollars at stake for the 'scientists' who promote global warming. They are the ones whose financial and professional success depend on proving that their global climate computer models are valid.

The oil company interests you continue to focus on have always known that there are no realistic alternatives to continued use of fossil fuels. They have little or nothing to fear or lose because the world has no choice except to use coal and oil for electricity, heat, and transportation fuel.

The 'scientists' and others with financial interests in worthless windmill farms and heavily subsidized corn to ethanol businesses get money daily and have lots to lose if the governments of the world stop funding them. Your own argument works best when used against the catastrophic predictions of the climate models perpetrators.

The world has warmed a little through 1998, and CO2 could be responsible for some minor warming as time goes on. Most of what has happened to the climate is completely within normal climate variability ranges and most real scientists know that to be true. The warmists have only computer models to say otherwise, and those have not predicted anything of substance in more than twenty years of trying. The ice is not melting, the polar bears are not endangered, the sea level rise of 3 millimeters per year means about five inches in the next fifty years.

There is no crisis except that a few years of cooling will mean the end of the gravy train for a lot of people who create the propaganda about catastrophic global warming and profit handsomely from it.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | June 9, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Al Gore has made a hundred million dollars on investments in so-called "green companies." Is he any less biased than your fossil fuel industry representatives? We have had massive periodic climate change on earth for over 5 billion years. Even if one agrees that the earth is warming, I have yet to see any "science" that convinces me we are responsible for the change. And remember, without skeptics, we would have autocracy.

Posted by: ijamsman | June 9, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

You could also read a better book called "Merchants of Fear" which is about how the environmental movement uses disinformation about the science, and attacks scientists who assert any skepticism of the global warming money machine.

The climategate emails showed scientists conspiring to blackslist scientists and their research if it doesn't support the AGW cause.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 9, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Some "harsh-ish" language, but I find it amusing:

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | June 9, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Brian: You should've seen it before I toned it down. :-D

Posted by: treelobsters | June 9, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

A silly and inaccurate ad.......the ad itself is based on false premises. Most (not all) opposition to the climate warming lobby is NOT based on drunkenness, denial, or ignorance, but on good, relevant data from established scientists. Ads like this don't discredit the climate-warming skeptics.....they simply make themselves look silly.

BTW, AGWsceptic99.......that was an excellent post. So was yours, ijamsman.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | June 9, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse


You can't expect anything better from the Climate Change community that name calling. They'll call you ignorant, crazy and corrupt, but they'll never discuss the science, that conversation is of course "over".

Its far easier to set up imaginary straw-men, put illogical statements in their mouths like "the climate never changes" than it is to stand up and admit you don't know jack about the science, and that really you're just displaying your slavish devotion to authority.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 9, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

No surprise...the fossil fuels industry is behind climate skepticism...but the oil industry in particular has really been circling the wagons in the wake of the Great Mile-Deep Gulf Gusher.

Just goes to show you that Sarah "Drill Baby Drill" Palin and her "tea party" friends are little more than right-wing apologists for the Wall Street crowd that brought you the Crash of 2008, not to mention carbon skepticism and a host of other anti-progressive reactionary policies climate-wise and otherwise.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | June 9, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

A couple of points: 1) This post pertains to a book by two well-respected science historians, who based their work on original documents from tobacco companies and other organizations that worked to confuse the public about scientific evidence.

2) The book focuses on a small group of scientists whose work informed each of the debates, from tobacco to DDT to climate change, it does not discuss in detail all of the climate skeptics, some of whom are TV meteorologists, statisticians and others who have little or no ties to the energy industry.

3) The meme that scientists determine the results of their studies in order to obtain research funding is incredibly ill-informed. In short: prove it. Every one of the official inquiries into "climategate" has cleared the scientists involved, so you can't rely on that alone to make your case.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | June 9, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I've got plenty of proof, but I think my links may be causing my posts to be yanked.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 9, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Andrew, stick to the weather. We don't go to the wx blog to get more left wing WP spin.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | June 9, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Andrew the proof is all over the internet that scientists fake data all the time. Here are just a few examples of the proof you ask for.

1. South Korean Cloning Scientists
2. The Link between Autism and Vaccination
3. Piltdown Man
4. Fernology
5. Cold Fusion

Those are just a few. If you actually READ the Climategate emails, you hear the scientists talking about manipulating their data in their own words.

Your "official inquiries" were conducted by the people employing those scientists! Do you really think that they would find themselves guilty, and be on the hook for the fallout?

Tell me Andrew, would you also be in favor of allowing BP to do the "official investigation" of the Oil Spill?

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 9, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Agree 100% with the previous poster about you guys should just stick to weather. I like your site a lot for local weather but don't come here to get preached at with a pro forma assertion that global warming is a truism and that anyone who begs to differ is immoral, uneducated, or has an ulterior motive....

Posted by: freemain | June 9, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Folks, I do not think, nor did this post state, that global warming "is a truism and that anyone who begs to differ is immoral, uneducated, or has an ulterior motive." Some who differ with many findings of climate science do have an ulterior motive. Some don't. Some have a science background. Some don't.

This site has covered climate change since its inception, usually one post a week. We cover weather several times a day, and will always be focused on the weather. Climate is an atmospheric science issue that has engaged much of our readership, and if you do not like reading our climate posts, feel free not to.

But I vehemently disagree with the notion that our climate coverage is "left wing WP spin." We cover the science, not the politics, and the science is neither Left, Right or Center.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | June 9, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Pasted from our FAQ section: Does Capital Weather Gang post on climate change and other politically charged issues? Is Capital Weather Gang a partisan blog?

The weather, and how it affects the daily lives of those living in and visiting the DC area, will always be our main focus. But we would be remiss to not comment from time to time on climate change and other politically charged issues related to the environment (this is Washington, after all). Capital Weather Gang is officially non-partisan. However, its writers may offer opinions on policies adopted or championed by a particular public figure or political party. These opinions are those held expressly by the writer and do not represent an official position of Capital Weather Gang.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | June 9, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

check out this site.

it's a catalog of oft-used false "skeptic" arguments. for example,

you said, "The world has warmed a little through 1998..." (by which i presume you mean it hasn't warmed since, right?)

that's false argument #7

you said, "Most of what has happened to the climate is completely within normal climate variability ranges and most real scientists know that to be true."

that's #2 and/or #21.

you said, "The warmists have only computer models to say otherwise, and those have not predicted anything of substance in more than twenty years of trying."

that's #5.

unbelievably, you said, "The ice is not melting..."

that's #66, #94, and it's covered here: and here

you said, "...the polar bears are not endangered..."


you said, "..the sea level rise of 3 millimeters per year means about five inches in the next fifty years."

that's #78.

any others?

granted, those would be serious concerns for global warming science. i WISH they were true.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 9, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Andrew you can even omit now that some scientists, politicians and journalists who promote global warming alarmism are ALSO in possession of ulterior motives.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 9, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the climate coverage! Its informative and clearly is scientifically based. I enjoy it.. and also find the comment section pretty amusing.

Posted by: where_is_snowmonster | June 9, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

for #4, what's your beef with pteridology (the study of ferns)? or do you mean "phrenology"? ;-)

as far as the stolen emails discrediting scientists: it's #30.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 9, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Yes, ecocampaigner, of course. (Although I think you and I would probably differ as to what constitutes "global warming alarmism.")

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | June 9, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

This column is garbage like most of the AGW "science."

The seas are not rising, the polar caps are not melting, and any warming falls well inside natural variability.

If you believe in AGW, make the case. Cite evidence, not models. Don't pretend predictions are evidence, they are not. What do you got? Prove the case.

Posted by: davidmichael1 | June 9, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse


I was refering to the study of skulls not ferns, i'm better with science than spelling.

I took a look at your link. It adopts the official position that the CRU was cleared by the British Parliament, and posts a mock article by Moinbot.

I would suggest that a person who wants to know the truth about the Cliamtegate emails, actually READ the Climategate emails. Read in their own words how the scientists have been conspiring for decades to present a pre-determined truth.

Tell me Walter, would you let BP do the official investigation into their own Oil Spill too? Thats about how much validity the "official inquires" had.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 9, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse


You listed these as "scientific hoaxes":
1. South Korean Cloning Scientists
2. The Link between Autism and Vaccination
3. Piltdown Man
4. Fernology (sic)
5. Cold Fusion

Every one of these was disproved by scientists, using the scientific method. These are examples, like AGW, of science working. Misreading intent into the meaning of private emails is NOT an example of the scientific method. Claiming scientists are getting rich by faking data is NOT an example of the scientific method.

Even if one of those emails said "We are faking data and getting rich because of it, yay!". It wouldn't mean a thing. Even if Al Gore said "My movie scared a lot of people and made them hate coal, yay!" It wouldn't mean a thing.

The only thing that matters is the data. The data says:
We are emitting a lot of CO2;
CO2 is a greenhouse gas;
greenhouse gasses trap the Sun's energy;
Trapped solar energy causes heating.

NONE of those are in dispute. None. Anyone who disputes any of those is completely wrong.

The question is: are we emitting enough to cause a dangerous change? Science says yes, from many different lines of evidence.

That's how science works.

Posted by: Data_Jack | June 9, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

This is typical AGW alarmism, however, the University of Pennsylvania Law School did a detailed "cross-examination" of AGW and found that the "evidence" used to prove man-made global warming is severely wanting. As a graduate of Penn, I can assure you that Penn is not, by any means, an institution that is sympathetic to those who believe that man has little effect on global warming. The link is here:

Posted by: TheChuckr | June 9, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse


Its also no secret that Greenpeace and the bulk of the environmental movement are the ones who are really funded by Big Oil.

John Harri's "Polluted by Profit" is a great piece about how the anti-global warming NGO's like Greenpeace receive tens of millions from Big Oil for greenwashing.

From the article:

"Christine MacDonald, an idealistic young environmentalist, discovered how deeply this cash had transformed these institutions when she started to work for CI in 2006. She told me: "About a week or two after I started, I went to the big planning meeting of all the organisation's media teams, and they started talking about this supposedly great new project they were running with BP. But I had read in the newspaper the day before that the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] had condemned BP for running the most polluting plant in the whole country... But nobody in that meeting, or anywhere else in the organisation, wanted to talk about it. It was a taboo. You weren't supposed to ask if BP was really green. They were 'helping' us, and that was it."

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 9, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

re the "official line" business: no, no, that's just in the "further reading" part. you must have jumped over the substantive part where john cook addressed mann's "trick" to "hide the decline", and trenberth's "travesty" about the "lack of warming".

are there other emails you're talking about?

as far as letting bp investigate itself, that's crazy. but that's NOT analogous to the house of commons investigating CRU.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 9, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: davidmichael1 | June 9, 2010 4:10 PM

you can keep repeating those lies to yourself, while humming and covering your ears, but that won't make them true. those are exactly the same claims made by AGWsceptic99. y'all must be readin' off the same script. if interested in learning how/why they're false, see my post to him at 3:07.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 9, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse


I've read all the emails. I'm more concerned with the ones that talk about blacklisting journals, and ousting their editors who might be "skeptical".

But I still do have huge issues with the real divergence problem behind "hide the decline". The Divergence Problem is that 1/3 of our tree-ring data doesn't correlate to modern temperatures. The explanation that the divergence is both proof of and caused by Global Warming is the worst circular logic I've ever heard.

I also take issue with the CRU team working so hard to break FOIA laws. The Climategate emails are full of it. He even says at one point "I hope no one figures out there is an FOIA law in this country." His own words.

And really you think that the House of Commons, lead by the Labour Govt (at the time), who is the single biggest cheerleader of alarmism of any government of the western world, is qualified as an independent investigator?

The investigation lasted 12 days, produced no notes or documents, interviewed no hostile witnesses, and looked at NONE of the science.

Lord Oxburgh, who headed the investigation is chairman of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and the wind energy company Falck Renewables. He's hardly neutral.

The only other "official" inquiry was done by Penn State of their own employee. The interviewed no one, simply rubber stamped a "all clear" on the issue.

So tell me again how this isnt' like BP conducting the official investigation of their own Oil Spill?

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 9, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey Andrew Freedman,

Regarding this:
"key finding contained in the book is that the pattern of purposeful obfuscation of scientific evidence is repeated from one issue to the next, including not just climate change and tobacco but also debates related to acid rain, the ozone layer and Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative."

Well, James Lovelock recently had this to say about the 'science' of the ozone hole:

"I have seen this happen before, of course. We should have been warned by the CFC/ozone affair because the corruption of science in that was so bad that something like 80% of the measurements being made during that time were either faked, or incompetently done."

Posted by: SoCal_Mark | June 9, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey Andrew Freedman, how do you explain the following story that shows a "green" being skeptical?

Guess ya can't chalk it up to anti-science attitudes, religion, big-oil, or ignorance...

Posted by: SoCal_Mark | June 9, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse


You study this enough, you will find that there is basically a tribe of people who promote CAGW. They write papers which are reviewed by fellow tribe members. There are never going to be any non-tribe members reviewing their papers, their monetary grants, or their scholarship. The Universities get a big chunk of their grant money, which may influence the review committees who found 'no evidence of wrong doing'. They slander anyone who disagrees with their propaganda with terms like: denier, oil company stooge, flat earther, creationist, tobacco supporter, etc.; none of these address the substance of the skeptics position.

CO2 does trap reflected long wave radiation, but there isn't any reason to believe that this extra warmth will cause runaway temperature increase. CO2 has been much higher at times in the past when temperatures were colder.

It is true that Dr. Hansen recently claimed that the 12 months ending in April were the warmest ever and proved the trend. The amount of increase isn't really mentioned much, but it confirms the recent century's trend of 0.2 C per decade. Given a fifty year trend without a change in direction, that makes it one degree C warmer in 2060. Takes a lot of faith and belief to make that into a crisis requiring the immediate shut down of all the coal fired power plants and the end of gasoline and diesel powered motors.

There are no open debates between skeptics and your 'scientists' because the 'science' just isn't very good. Reading the skeptical science site finds lots of the same propaganda regurgitated again. Pick something simple and relatively neutral like polar bears. There are four times as many polar bears now as there were fifty years ago, large populations are land based and they will do fine even if the ice melts. If seals will disappear when the polar ice melts, leaving no food for polar bears, then why are the seals not endangered also? The original prediction was for an ice free arctic in 2012, then 2016, now maybe 2035? Trouble is people keep records of these and the predictors lose credibility. The arctic ice has been increasing since 2007, and that low point was due to wind, not temperature. There isn't any dispute that antarctic sea ice has been increasing for decades.

There are some claims that antarctic land ice is melting, and similar claims for Greenland ice, but do you know the comparison between the claimed melt and the total ice in either place? You won't find it in the warmist propaganda. You will see comparisons to Lake Erie, and other similar techniques to divert your attention from the fact that that it will take 2 or 3 hundred thousand years to melt the antarctic ice at the claimed melt rate, and that melt rate is questionable. How do you measure a difference in the quantity of ice on Antarctica when your difference is 1/200,000 per year? What is the error bar like for the measurement?

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | June 9, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Freedman, you write with such confidence regarding the fact of AGW, perhaps you can clarify something which I find quite troubling:

In a nutshell: warming relative to what, exactly? The IPCC's AR4 WG1 (the scientific basis) contains values for outgoing shortwave (reflected solar) radiation which vary by a couple of percent.

Now, to establish the expected equilibrium temperature for Earth we need to know the incoming energy value (solar constant, although it isn't exactly constant), net solar absorbed after reflectance (albedo), net feedback (greenhouse effect) and net outgoing longwave radiation (emission to space). A 1% difference in albedo equates to roughly 1 °C change at surface.

At what point was Earth's precise "correct" temperature established and could you tell us what is should be please, because I can find no such fundamental information. Without that I do not have a reference for whether Earth is really warmer or cooler than should be "expected".

Worse, a NASA-hosted Q&A with Dr. James Hansen here: says we have no agreement of even what we are attempting to measure regarding Earth's temperature nor agreed methodology for establishing such metric.

Given that Earth's albedo varies with cloud proportion and density, which varies according to synchronicity and phase of major cycles (I'm thinking Arctic; Pacific Decadal; North Atlantic; Indian Ocean Dipole; El Niño Southern and other oscillations) how well have we established probable forcing changes over the last few centuries and the one coming?

These numbers must exist, calculated with great precision because, after all, we are told the science is settled. Please help me locate them so I, too, can state with great confidence that the world is n hundredths of a degree warmer than it should be.

Thanks in advance,
Barry Hearn

Posted by: BarryHearn | June 9, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Andrew Freedman,

Your comment on this blog is the first time I have ever seen evidence that a Post writer even reads the comments, let alone defends the article. Thank you for doing that.

"Left wing spin" looks to me like another false straw man. Could you point me to one single article in the Post that publishes even one reasonably accurate summary of a paper by a scientist who disagrees with CAGW?

For example, this guy seems to have reasonable credentials, but his paper apparently doesn't make the cut at the Post:
Jason Scott Johnston, Professor and Director of the Program on Law, Environment and Economy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Here is another one that doesn't make the cut: Warming in Last 50 Years Predicted by Natural Climate Cycles
June 6th, 2010 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

There are any number of specious articles about increased allergies, birds flying into cliffs, dying lizards, and so on that do make the cut.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | June 9, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

It's always bizarre to me to read about dangerous climate change. Lighten up folks, it's a model! As Walter's link helpfully points out (fig 1 in ), the "sensitivity" of a doubling of CO2 is "independently" analyzed at about 3C with mostly shared model assumptions.

Not true. Independent analysis ranges from negative to positive feedback from weather. Walter's favorite site uses the 2009 Lindzen paper to "debunk" negative feedback But the Lindzen paper was criticized early in the skeptic camp (e.g. ). Lindzen however was correct in presuming that the majority of the feedback is determined by the response to CO2 warming in the tropics.

It is misleading to say that climate feedback is a solved problem (e.g. ) For one thing the seasonal changes in forcing exhibit a variety of positive and negative feedbacks depending on latitude, land/ocean and many other variables (see ) with feedback most negative when forcing is the strongest.

This makes lots of sense when you think about it. When do we get most thunderstorms? Thunderstorms and other concentrated convection are cooling, locally and globally.

Posted by: eric654 | June 9, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Just taking one paper at random from the laundry list at which supposedly proves why climate change (as hypothesized by the model) is so bad. That paper is I chose it because it was first in the "poorest hit hardest" list.

As I suspected, while it might be peer reviewed by someone, it is junk. It essentially uses a curve (figure 1) which is "proven" in some other paper to prove that warming is bad for poor countries. It ignores the fact that wealthier countries will warm more (e.g. Canada, Europe, Northern Asia) under CO2 warming theory. The authors conclude that low latitude countries which are poorer on average (mostly because of socialism that they don't talk about) will fall down the downhill side of the curve into more poverty. I can't imagine a more myopic and unsupported analysis than that paper.

So question for the people who are afraid of climate change, why are you afraid? Please use your own words and link to papers about consequences to support your arguments so the rest of us can critique those papers.

Posted by: eric654 | June 9, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

i can't believe you chose that argument (why climate so bad.) at random. indeed, the effects of climate change are up for debate. skeptics are moving from "denial" to "bargaining".

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 10, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

To Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang,
You are a reporter, not a scientist. Don't pretend to be on the Science high ground.
If one cannot do something important himself, he is inclined to support something he believes important. Such is your mentality.
And yes, I'm a Ph.D, in this exact field.

Posted by: songkuan | June 10, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Walter, no I didn't choose the topic at random, I was responding to the "dangerous" claim made above by Data_Jack. What I chose at random was the paper. The paper doesn't prove climate change is dangerous, it only repeats a ridiculous curve from some other paper (shown in fig 1) that alleges that warming will cause economic decline.

I am still waiting for someone to tell me (in their own words) why climate change is dangerous. Please cite a paper or two.

Posted by: eric654 | June 10, 2010 5:35 AM | Report abuse

BTW Walter, it is kind of insulting to posters like AGWsceptic99 when you just post the #'s from The reason is that AGWs99 did not post "talking points", but original arguments. I agree that some people post talking points that are incorrect and has corrections. But most of are red herrings like the Lindzen09 paper that I mentioned above. That page, and many others, are not a debate about the issue, but rather simply responses to a red herring. Thus there is no light shed on climate sensitivity on that page.

If instead you want to get a good critique of that paper you can go to a page like although that site is mixed quality on other topics.

What it says when you post #'s to is that the other person's argument is a cheap talking point and not a serious argument. That is sometimes but not always the case.

Posted by: eric654 | June 10, 2010 5:59 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't Naomi Oreskes criticised for publishing a flawed study about the Global Warming consensus on the basis that scientific studies that did not 'explicitly' reject the AGW hypothesis were deemed by her as 'implicitly' supporting the AGW hypothesis?

Doesn't that qualify as disinformation?

It would seem that climate science is much worse that we thought.

Posted by: mac52 | June 10, 2010 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Oreskes wrote a book called the Rejection of Continental Drift which showed how the scientific community treated Wegener, a scientist who elaborated the theory that continents move laterally. Physicists said that continents could not move. Oreskes showed how the old paradigm was overthrown by the new theory of plate tectonics. This illustrated Kuhn's model of how scientific theories change over time. Oreskes has applied the same model to climate science claiming that an old theory has been overturned by a new theory.

There are two problems with this approach. The first is that Oreskes has failed to identify two theories, one of which has been overturned by the other.

Climate change has occurred periodically, measured in decades, centuries and millennia. What the climate scientists are saying is that climate is now changing according to a trend related to greenhouse gases. We already knew that! The ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica show that CO2 and methance have increased AFTER temperature has increased. Is Oreskes saying that there is now evidence that temperature is increasing AFTER CO2 has increased? And that this fact has overturned a paradigm? If so, I'm not the only one who would like to see the evidence.

The second problem is that climate science is not non-political like plate tectonics. Climate POLICY is political and the politics as well as the research money has contaminated the science.

Read the science in the IPCC reports and you can see that the science has been written as advocacy. Compare the first draft actually written by specialists and the final draft written by "lead authors" and you will see how the text has beeen slanted. Read the instruction that says the text of the science chapters must be adjusted to fit the text for policymakers. Yes, policy trumps science.

Someday maybe the science will show that climate change is now more secular and less cyclical. Some day manking may have the power to modify climate. But for now, global temperature change is best described as near to a "random walk with drift", a trifle less random than stock prices.

This means that the level of certainty in the science is not worth a trillion dollars of your money and worth none of mine.

Posted by: fredcolbourne | June 10, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

re, AGWsceptic99: i'm glad you were able to see that. i don't think those were "original arguments" at all. in fact THAT was my point. mind you i did not post anything about his speculative arguments about the motivations of scientists and the "gravy train" and so forth - but he did repeat several old saws, e.g., "the ice is not melting" and implied "no warming since 98" - that's why it was so easy to list argument #s...

i'll look into what you're saying about the lindzen paper.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 10, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Walter, yes it was a mixed bag. So by all means, post the numbers to debunk the "old saws". I have to admit he was subtle about the warming through 1998 (which implies no warming since). It is a fact that the 2000's are warmer than the 1990's although the amount is somewhat debatable (satellite says less difference than surface).

Then there are other arguments like polar bears in which he simply posted facts. Polar bear numbers are way up over the 60's and weren't endangered then either. Polar bear numbers are recently declining in a few areas due to hunting contrary to USGS via skepticalscience. So your response was ineffective. Unless Riccardo or someone else has an argument that hunting 200 out of 2000 polar bears each year is done because there is less ice.

Posted by: eric654 | June 10, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

The discussion about whether there has been warming, as measured and reported by the CAGW tribe, is still following the propaganda theme. We could discuss whether the surface station measurements, UHI adjustments, and reported polar warming where there are no thermometers to measure it, affect what the CAGW tribe reports but lets save that.

Their measured and reported increase is not statistically significant, and does not correlate with the increase in CO2, nor was the flat trend predicted by any of their own models. Finding that their series of temperature measurements slightly, but without statistical significance, exceeds 1998 isn't actually support for the CAGW models or their hypothesis.

Probably the reason Dr. Hansen chose now for the paper and press release is that the PDO and ENSO are likely to take temperatures in the opposite direction for some years. If they don't get the legislation and money now, their gravy train may have left the station.

Humans have been increasing the amount of CO2 produced by our activities for well over a hundred years. Maybe one of the posters can explain why three millimeters per year of sea level rise and 0.2 C per decade defines a crisis. Where is any evidence based on measurements or the historical record that we are about to experience runway positive feedback from a possible increase in atmospheric CO2 from .0038% to .0039% over the next decade, and again where is the crisis? CAGW models are not evidence of anything, except perhaps they demonstrate that models will generally predict what the person paying the bill wants them to predict, so please don't use them as evidence.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | June 10, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

someone once said,
"A more accurate phrasing would be "What the science says: polar bear populations are declining primarily due to overhunting. Their long term survival is at greater risk from declining sea ice."

polar bear numbers are much more a possible effect of global warming - not an indicator. who knows, they may be able to change their lifestyle to adapt to less ice. as far as there being "4 times the number as 50 yrs ago" (per AGWsceptic99), i've never seen data along those lines. if that's true, i've got to wonder if it's due to protection laws.

nonetheless, here's the best i could find on population:

remember, the claim i responded to was "polar bears are not endangered". i don't know if he's parsing endangered/threatened/protected or what, but this shows numbers declining. if there's data showing more sightings (is there?) it could be because lack of ice has brought the bears to land - where people are more likely to see them?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 10, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I do agree to some extent that the media has not been doing the follow up. to do as they always did in establishing credibility; Consider the source and follow the money.

The Public rarely has the ability to discern the real news from the purchased focus group tested ad campaign, which is carelessly blended in, at the news wire sources that fast tracked news rooms prefer to use.

I believe government intervention will eventually be the only solution in a complete void of an industry watchdog or virtually any interest in cleaning up its own yard.

From personal experience I have witnessed from the agenda driven and so called "science" community, which included any overnight invention in an organizational voice, which was formed for the sole purpose of presenting a made for media research study, which will never be published in the journals and the organization will never be heard from again.

The supporters of these scientific tidbits, or gotcha headlines, more often than not, pop up at just the right moment preceding a major decision. Established "facts" survive as credible, one feeding on the last in a bong smoking type logic formation process, which is established a cog at a time, in forming perverse public opinion. Amid a defensive stance on many topics which support the promotion of the day.

For instance when asking for a simple explanation as to why smoking kills so many today, with a numeric unchanged smoker population for over 50 years, why the same mortality numbers were seen to such a lesser
degree in 1960? As a private citizen with no associations to any organization; the A- typical responses I received, as the author confirms, is to accuse any inquiries or questions no matter how valid as an invention of the straw-man evil, Big Tobacco or in support of evil big tobacco. Ad Hominid is the only immediate response to embarrassing facts, until the ad agency focus groups are employed in damage control, to find the next response. The science of second hand smoke has not yet gotten to the point [give them time] to represent that tobacco smoke kills babies, as she alluded to as certainty. Is she is moving ahead of the pack with insider information? Perhaps a Journalist would ask her if she had Anything else she would like to disclose.

Her stance of backward "We already know the answers" technology, is an affront to what little scientific process exists, in front of the cameras. To actually request a silence of dissent confirms what she describes, as "science" has little connection to legitimate science at all, she is a politician and a technocrat, beyond all that she claims. The overt reasoning and apologist nature, in support of what we all know is a lie, speaks volumes in regard to her credibility, by the same rule book she would apply to others, who don't agree with her "opinions" or "postulates".

Posted by: kevin64 | June 10, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Andrew, tell me, if climate is not weather, why are you covering it as a weatherman? Does the WaPo forecast team think they are weatherman-groupies to the climatologist-rockstars?

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 10, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps I should also elaborate on the polar bear issue. I am a computer programmer, businessman, and former military intelligence officer. A long time ago, I learned to recognize propaganda and even had some training in how to produce it.

The polar bear component of the CAGW publicity was just one of the themes that raised a red flag for me. Another similar example is the intentional inclusion by the IPCC lead author of the Himalayan glacier melting story. The IPCC staff and management knew the date was bogus but used it for effect; they wanted governments and the public to join their advocacy campaign, and they deliberately waited until after Copenhagen to 'find' the error. The drowning polar bears are just more of the same.

I don't believe in compartmented integrity. People who intentionally deceive the gullible public to achieve their desired goals fall outside the group of people that I will trust. The CAGW tribe passionately believed in their mission to save the world when it started, but I suspect many of them wish that they had a way out now. Their own ongoing measurements just don't track their very public predictions, and the temperature trend is more likely to go down than up in the next decade.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | June 10, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Walter - try Google "Polar bear populations" and read some of the results. Bears were hunted and estimates were that about 5,000 survived in the 50's. Estimates now are in the 20 - 25,000 range, but counts are hard to come by. Contrary to the publicity, there isn't any shortage of polar ice habitat, and it is the habitat that makes them difficult to count. See they are white, mostly spend their time on white ice, and they tend to eat people who go looking for them, so actual counts are hard to come by. There isn't anything controversial about the counts; the EPA endangerment ruling was based on predictions of an ice free polar environment in 2012, or thereabouts, and that is just one more embarrassingly wrong prediction.

The low point in polar ice in 2007 was due to unusual winds, not thermal melting, and there isn't any controversy that 2008 and 2009 measurements showed more ice than 2007.

It might help you to find data on the actual amount of ice, as measured by volume or area, rather than focusing on the CAGW reported anomalies. At the low point this summer, you will still likely need an ice breaker to traverse the northwest passage, and 0.2 C per decade isn't likely to produce an ice free polar region in this century.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | June 10, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I find the one useful device of a non biased observer, in separating the politicians or advocates, from the postings of legitimate ethical voices, is the repetitive talking points we see among the many public discussion forums. The focus group tested chants you hear over and over until your ears bleed.

It makes it easy to identify those with an opinion from those with an agenda.

The ad agencies will tell you as Hitler once did; "If you repeat a lie long enough it becomes the truth" There are limitations to that truth, found with over saturation. The annoyance factor leads to investigation, if for no other reason, but to silence the cult like chanting of people claiming to be professionals, scientists and experts.

The technocrats who consider the rest of us in a global view, as ignorant children, who's personal autonomy is now solely in their self entitled care.

The simplistic view of technocratic statistics and "irrefutable scientific fact" production, entitles a more ignorant view, in an absolute failure to recognize our individuality and disparities.

Posted by: kevin64 | June 10, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

you said, "The low point in polar ice in 2007 was due to unusual winds, not thermal melting, and there isn't any controversy that 2008 and 2009 measurements showed more ice than 2007.

It might help you to find data on the actual amount of ice, as measured by volume or area, rather than focusing on the CAGW reported anomalies."

you mean like this?

we're back BELOW the old record-lows of 2007. you need to stay away from this talking point for a while. keep checking back though. someday it may go above the record-low 2007 figures - then you can say "arctic ice growing since 2007" again....

the polar bears one is good if you say "compared to 50 years ago" - when they were hunted almost to extinction. yes, polar bear numbers have increased since wacky environmentalists lobbied for their protection.

i googled "polar bear populations" as you suggested. the top result lead me to this chart, again:

so more populations are declining than increasing, agreed?

regarding the 19 "populations", i also came across this:

in 2009:
* 8 are declining.
* 3 are stable.
* 1 is increasing.

in 2005:

* 5 were declining.
* 5 were stable.
* 2 were increasing.

*Insufficient data to determine the fate of the other 7 populations

that website also had this to say about the meme that polar bears are increasing:

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 10, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

So your worries about polar bear habitat and declining sea ice are because the 'record low' now is about 10.5 million square kilometers versus the 'record high' of maybe 12 msk, and that some how threatens the polar bears. Or maybe you are looking at the 'record low' in 2007 of only a little over 4 msk versus the record high of a little over 6 msk, using the NSIDC or AMSR-E satellite numbers.

Of course, the historical records where the Skate surfaced at the North Pole and the sailors who either made it through the Northwest Passage or got stuck in the ice and died trying are not part of this record. The polar ice has melted before, and probably will melt again, but unless the polar bears evolved during the last few decades they probably adapted.

There are folks willing to wager that the 2010 numbers that matter (in September) will be above or below 2007, 8, or 9. There is a new satellite that will allow us to discuss volume measurements as well as area some day. But most of what happens to the permanent pack ice has a lot more to do with wind and current than it does temperature, because the North Pole is still a very cold place.

Your worry is that the portion of the 20,000 plus polar bears that don't live on land will be threatened if they only have 4 msk for habitat? Four million square kilometers probably still leaves a little room to spare.

The land based populations tend to be reduced when individual bears suffer from the 'worth $8k dead' or the 'threatened my family' mortalities cause by being too close to a human with a rifle.

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | June 10, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, can somebody explain to me why polar bears make any difference in the world whatsoever? Will the world end if there are less polar bears?

The truth is that the polar bear is absolutely irrelevant to the modern world, and only serves as a mascot to attract children and fools to the climate change cause.

You want to talk about how global warming relates to tobacco? Well the Polar Bear is global warming's Joe Camel or Marlboro Man.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 10, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse


In typical CAGW mode, you quote populations that decline or increase without mentioning numbers. All of those population counts are based on rough estimates, and neither small declines nor small increases are statistically significant. The idea that polar bears are endangered is pretty silly if you discuss it with people living near them. It is true that they were once hunted down to a small population, and have increased substantially since hunting was limited, but tell me again how those numbers help prove the need to shut down all the coal fired power plants in the world to avoid polar bear extinction?

Posted by: AGWsceptic99 | June 10, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

now, if you want to discuss how "catastrophic" losing arctic sea ice (or even polar bears) would be, that's fine. but to say things like "ice is not melting" is just, well, silly.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 10, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Ms Oreskes comments in the YouTube video seem to be a re-hash of Ross Gelbspan's Boiling Point book, particularly about the 'too balanced news media'. When it can be shown that a news outlet like PBS' NewsHour has not had skeptic scientists on its program to rebut IPCC scientists for 15+ years (see ), one has to ask Oreskes what the ratio of skeptics-to-IPCC scientists has been for any other news outlet over the same period of time.

Worse, careful readers will discover Oreskes' and James Hoggan's accusations are based on Gelbspan's so-called discovery of 1991-era coal industry internal memos. Has anyone in the mainstream media ever asked Gelbspan where he got those memos?

Posted by: RoaldA | June 10, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

here are some numbers from the pages i referenced:

Today the polar bears’ hunting season is significantly shorter, which has led to a scientifically documented decline of 22% since 1987 in the best-studied population, Western Hudson Bay, and predictions of decline in the second best-studied population, the Southern Beaufort Sea.


In 2009, IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group scientists reported that of the 19 subpopulations of polar bears, eight are declining (an increase of 160% since 2005), three are stable, one is increasing, and seven have insufficient data on which to base a decision.

now those are the numbers as best as we know them. of course they're estimates. they could be wrong. furthermore, all of those 7 populations whose data is "unknown" could be increasing. who knows? it's possible. but to the best of our knowledge, polar bear populations are decreasing. the fact that their habitat is disappearing too doesn't bode well for them. sure they'll probably adapt and spend more time on land, close to humans. who knows?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 10, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Busy day, but I'm back. After I found the $8k dead fact I found another. The polar bear hunt is worth up to $20k for a native American (Canadian). That means the allowed 106 (IIRC) are worth $20k each. The other 100+ each year are killed in self-defense or poached for the money (I suspect mostly poached). This is against a population of roughly 2000 in Baffin Bay, the one most cited as threatened by ice melt.

There is no international agreement to control trafficking of the furs unlike actually endangered species. The natives who want more hunting claim that estimates are low and numbers are increasing. Whether increasing or not, they would certainly be increasing rapidly without hunting. Since skepticalscience refuses to add simple facts like those it is hard to take anything seriously there.

Posted by: eric654 | June 10, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Freedman - echoing the enviro-wacko groups channelled by Oreskes -evidently believes that when you're losing a debate, all you have to do is shout "RACIST!" Thus silencing the opposition, allowing alarmists to claim victory!

That should work as well as it has for Obama since last August, no doubt. It's no different here.

Posted by: Orson2 | June 10, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

"Oreskes called the climategate coverage 'unabashedly hideous,' because many reporters jumped to the conclusion that scientists were guilty of manipulating scientific evidence for personal gain, and have not followed up on the allegations by reporting on the official inquiry reports, which to date have all vindicated the researchers of wrongdoing."

AND in these investigations, the number of skeptics interviewed are what? Exactly ZERO.

Well, I'm convinced!

Posted by: Orson2 | June 10, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Since skepticalscience refuses to add simple facts like those it is hard to take anything seriously there.

Posted by: eric654 | June 10, 2010 4:43 PM
please, please, please...

i would LOVE to see you (and AGWsceptic99) take all your issues up with john cook (or at realclimate). i think he, and the commenters at skepticalscience, treat educated skeptics well, no?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 10, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Oreskes claims that climategate is much ado about nothing since "official inquiry date have all vindicated the researchers of wrongdoing."

But as usual, it takes the dogged Canadian Steve McIntyre to do what investigative journalists used to do.

He has remarked that the 11 papers used by the Parliamentary inquiry headed by that wind-power magnate (no conflict of interest there-NO SIR!) Lord Oxburgh were so conveniently pro-UEA that they could not have been what they were held to be - ie, the considered recommendations of the Royal Society.

After a series of dismissive email exchanges and FOI requests, McIntyre finds out that the Royal Society simply rubber-stamped what the UAE wanted them to see!

"The total 'due diligence' – which involved no actual experts – took less than 20 minutes. [SEE email documents.]

"The claims in the Oxburgh report that the eleven papers were 'representative', were 'selected on the advice of the Royal Society' with the UEA then agreeing that they were a 'fair sample' are all untrue. Rees and Hoskins of the Royal Society know that these claims are untrue, but have taken no steps to ask Oxburgh to withdraw the false claim that they had been 'selected on the advice of the Royal Society'.

"In statements on release of the Oxburgh 'report', both Rees and Hoskins (as also Bob Ward) praised the 5-page and undocumented Oxburgh 'report' for being 'thorough' – the benchmark for Royal Society 'thoroughness' apparently being set by the 20 minutes taken by Rees and Hoskins to respond to Davies’ request.

"I understand that the Royal Society is BP’s first choice for an investigation of the Gulf oil spill."

The last bit of snark is almost as confrontational as McIntyre ever becomes. He never says what a straight-talking American simply has to say: Oreskes, you are full of s**t, and this 'investigation' was nothing less than a FRAUD FRAUD FRAUD!

And Freedman, you are aiding and abetting science fraud!

As MIT's Richard Lindzen says elsewhere, “In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, WHERE GOVERNMENT LARGELY DETERMINES THE NATURE OF SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITY, AND WHERE THE PRIMARY ROLE OF PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES IS THE LOBBYING OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR SPECIAL ADVANTAGE.”

Climategate II is upon us!

Posted by: Orson2 | June 10, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Walter, I did. You see my posts there, I suggested adding a statement about hunting. I think that the hunting of over 200 bears from a population of 1600 to 2400 is a relevant fact. I got a question from Riccardo saying that the Norwegian document doesn't mention hunting and I pointed out that "removal" mostly means hunting. After that I got no more responses and no change was made to the site.

What else am I supposed to do? People like yourself above continue to quote that site as an incorrect rebuttal to the fact that polar bears are not endangered by the accepted definition. Unfortunately this is a general pattern in sites like that. It is selective use of facts to present a particular spin. Polar bear hunting is obvious but many other topics require a great deal of research to get a balanced perspective.

Posted by: eric654 | June 11, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

As for realclimate, I asked questions several years ago about a number of topics. I was asked about picking my nose by "Mark" (an ad hominem that is still online today). I never once made an ad hominem or discourteous remark there. Then they censored some of my comments.

So tell me why I should post at a site that can't be bothered to police its own partisans (although I have heard they are better since climategate) but also will censor scientists while letting denialist talking points through to make it look like they aren't censoring. In that sense it's not much more than a seminar site or echo chamber with some red herrings allowed in.

Posted by: eric654 | June 11, 2010 6:16 AM | Report abuse

yes, i saw your hunting/removal comments there. i now also see that you found and referenced that same table i did. how 'bout that?! says there's uncertainty about polar bear numbers and goes on to say that the anticipated (and already begun) habitat loss will be a problem for seals and polar bears. that seems reasonable, right? it's just a reply to the "polar bear numbers are increasing" meme.

mind you, it's a climate site, so their making statements about seals and polar bears is a bit outside their bailiwick, but it does seem reasonable to say ice loss doesn't bode well for polar bears, though.

why do you think, "Whether increasing or not, they would certainly be increasing rapidly without hunting"?

anyway, what i'd like to see is your going there and talking about proxy data (as you did - any new comments there?), that ice-loss modeling program/paper, etc...

i totally understand your not wanting to post at realclimate. while i DO think gavin and most of the posters there are very knowledgeable and rigorous, they can be rude....

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 11, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I'll go back, but the main problem I have there is a hard time finding the threads that I previously commented or asked questions on. If you have an easy way to do that, please let me know.

Posted by: eric654 | June 11, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

i don't know how to easily find threads on which you've commented - other than maybe bookmarking them or similar. those articles on the left side of the page keep changing, and older ones go to the "archive".

as i recall there were several articles dealing with arctic ice. i wish he'd do something like realclimate does where there's an easily-accessible list of the 10 (or whatever) most recent comments.

let me know here at capwx if/where you do post something over there. you're interesting to me because you're a skeptic, but not dogmatic, and you seem to reside in the reality-based community...unlike many skeptics i know personally and have "met" online.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 11, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone noticed that RealClimate no longer produces as much science as damnation? Increasingly they have "apostate" articles about how a member of their flock has gone to the darkside, like with Judith Curry at the Atlantic, Revkin at the times and Moinbot at the Guardian.

RealClimate is more about censorship than anything else. Their posts are about climate traitors, and their comments are full of deletions.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 11, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

There are 2 huge difference between this and the tobacco debate:

1. In the tobacco debate there was really no one on the tobacco company's side when it came to the science. It was the tobacco company and their affiliated scientists. In this case there are real scientists with no affiliations who say that the AGW theory is wrong.

2. AGW is still a theory. It is not proven. If the weather continues to not cooperate, like it has for the last 10 years, it will quickly become a discarded theory. In the case of tobacco, we had years of evidence that we do not have here.

Posted by: cbm1 | June 11, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to add my few cents worth on this back and forth, but it's clear that virtually no views, opinions, etc will ever be changed, EXCEPT by those sufficiently open-minded to the vagaries of honest scientific discourse, such as Andrew Freedman.

Andrew is a scientifically literate, objective observer of current science and believer of the scientific method. Anyone is free to disagree with him with reasonable skepticism (as opposed to blind denial. But, attacking him personally amounts nothing more than a reflection of an anti science, politically/policy biased unalterable modus operandi.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | June 11, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

omg...where have you been? as far as we can tell, 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record..... 2010 is shaping up to be a record year (but there's a long way to go yet).

in case you haven't heard yet, i've found a site that's very useful for clearing up misconceptions about global warming:

you might find these interesting: #3, 4, 7, 32, 36, 43, 71 & 76. (especially #7)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 11, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

ecocampaigner, to be fair, a lot of sites on both sides veered into politics after climategate. For example climateaudit was almost all purloined email semantics for a while. But you are right about Judy Curry and the others. When they veer from alarmist to "lukewarmer", they get excommunicated. But if they keep their mouth shut, that's ok.

What's fascinating is the small, tight circle of alarmist scientists that claim a huge portion of science to their cause. For example they would say PCA was done incorrectly by previous statisticians until Mike Mann came along to show them how it is done. He performed completely dubious sampling, incorrect normalization, an unjustified limit on PC's, biased calibration, etc, but found some alarmist statisticians to back him up. A few statisticians had the nerve to call him on it, but they were quickly shown to be big oil stooges. The quiet majority of statisticians probably think Mann is a nut, but they have been effectively silenced.

Posted by: eric654 | June 11, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Walter, really? I'll have to go check that site out!

Posted by: eric654 | June 11, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

hahaha...hope i wasn't too insulting... ;-)

you know, i was going to let it slide until he wrote that bit about "the past 10 years"...

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 11, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse


"Anyone is free to disagree with him with reasonable skepticism (as opposed to blind denial. But, attacking him personally amounts nothing more than a reflection of an anti science, politically/policy biased unalterable modus operandi."

Who appointed you judge of what is denial and what is reasonable skepticism? Who gave you authority to label something as "anti-science".

Nothing is ever "reasonable skepticism" from an alarmist point of view, its always labeled as denialism.

The Capital Weather gang seems more motivated to sell alarmist books of their friends than forecasting the weather.

"The views expressed here are the author's alone and do not represent any position of the Washington Post, its news staff or the Capital Weather Gang."

The funny thing is you write that in your disclaimer, but this author clearly DOES represent your EXACT political opinion.

Climatology stopped being a science and started being a socio-religous-political moment when it demanded a trillion dollar payout.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 11, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Nice work, Andrew.

Regarding: "The pattern is actually hugely important to our claim. We're trying to show that the same strategy has been used over and over and over again and it's kind of amazing that we keep getting fooled by this," Oreskes said.

Actually the pattern is not amazing at all, as this article from 2005 explains:

Basically the pattern of recurring deception emerges in social systems because false memes are a superior strategy to true memes in most political issues. Why? The ability of the general public to detect manipulative deception is low. Because it is so low, “we keep getting fooled by this.”

Posted by: JackHarich2 | June 11, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

JackHarich2, the paper you link to asks "Why, since the ascendancy of the George W. Bush administration in the United States in 2001, has opposition grown to the point that progress in solving the environmental sustainability problem is moving backwards?"

Because the global warming problem is not a sustainability problem. The author is confused by rhetoric of imminent climate catastrophe. Ice free Arctic? Melting glaciers? Stormier? Even if one believes those to be somewhat correct, they don't matter for decades.

I'll ask again, what are people afraid of (in your own words but cite a paper if possible)?

Posted by: eric654 | June 11, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

It was Freedman himself who linked to a nasty cartoon mocking anybody who doesn't think the same way he does. Given that, he's no in position to complain when others use "harsh-ish" language about him. In fact, it's hypocritical of him to moan and groan. He got what he gives.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 11, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse


Didn't you realize there is a double standard here? If you are a believer, than you are entitled to use words like Steve of the Capital Weather gang. You are allowed to call anyone you like a "denier", with its holocaust implications.

Now Andrew is pushing a book where the Climate Change movement is deseperately draping itself in the cloak of scientific persecution. Being a Climate Change bully has stopped working, the people aren't afraid anymore, so the movement have now cast themselves as "victims".

Its just like tobacco, or its just like acid rain, or the ozone, or phrenology...wait, scratch that last one, science never lies.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 13, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Also, readers of this topic should be aware that the often repeated "2,500 Scientist Consensus" has officially died.

Mike Hulme, IPCC Lead Author, British Government Climate Advisor, Climategate University professor, and top-dog of the Warmist movement, has himself officially debunked the idea of 2,500. Its apparently more like about 12 scientists. WaPo doesn't like links, so google Mike Hulme, 2500.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 13, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

There is abundant evidence to show that scientists engage in dubious practices and the incidence level is quite high.

Just Google corrupt science and you will be astonished

Posted by: malhill4084 | June 13, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse


see false argument #3 at

btw, your conspiracy theory re links is amusing....but CORRECT! wapo only allows pre-approved liberal posters to include links. see, watch this: here's a link to the paper itself (not an editorial article about the paper...)

from the google search you inspired i can see that hulme's quote has made the right-wing rounds lately - associated with words like "phoney" and "liars" and characterizing hulme as a fed-up insider who's just blown the whistle on the ipcc....

puleeze...who's being disingenuous here?

hulme is just explaining how each consensus judgment in ipcc reports are made by a few dozen scientists who are experts in that particular field.

from the paper, in context:
"Without a careful explanation about what it means, this drive for consensus can leave the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism. Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies; other IPCC authors are experts in other fields."

see that? nothing conspiratorial there. it's still a consensus, and it's a consensus of experts in that particular field.... hulme is just a scientist trying to discuss something nuanced, which gets cherry-picked by climatedepot and foxnews et. al.

the paper continues:

"But consensus-making can also lead to criticism for being too conservative, as Hansen (2007) has most visibly argued. Was the IPCC AR4 too conservative in reaching its consensus about future sea-level rise? Many glaciologists and oceanographers think they were (Kerr, 2007; Rahmstorf, 2010), leading to what Hansen attacks as ‘scientific reticence’. Solomon et al. (2008) offer a robust defence, stating that far from reaching a premature consensus, the AR4 report stated that in fact no consensus could be reached on the magnitude of the possible fast ice-sheet melt processes that some fear could lead to 1 or 2 metres of sea-level rise this century. Hence these processes were not included in the quantitative estimates."

i can easily imagine "skeptics" taking the "no consensus could be reached" part out of context.

gee whiz, there's nothing in the paper that i could find that undermines the consensus. he's talking about how to communicate scientific judgments, with their inherent uncertainties, to policy-makers and the public.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 14, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Walter your skeptical science site is really not very scientific. They simply assert the AGW party line on any given issue, ignoring real criticism in favor of answering imaginary straw-man criticism.

No one believes its a conspiracy, but all the skeptics beleive its a "collusion of interest". Do you get that walter? It means they don't actively plan to commit fraud, but they all look the other way and profit. Scientists get their grants, journalists get their stories, NGOs give everybody tropical vacations, and the politicians get new tax money.

Even the UN realizes that the Global Warming scare is over. That's why they're so busy touting the next great scare, biodiversity.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 14, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

i'm trying to figure out how that makes sense. if scientists were trying to keep the research gravy-train going, wouldn't they try to maximize uncertainty? - you know, to maintain the need for research?

i guess if you're claiming "groupthink" on the part of nearly all climate scientists, well...that's hard to prove/disprove. i suppose in that case, skeptics are doing mainstream scientists (who, if they're good scientists, are skeptics themselves...) a favor in continually raising questions.

also, to the point about hulme, be sure to report back to wherever you got the "hulme debunked the consensus" meme and let them know that's NOT what he's done.

if they'll let you, maybe you can post a link to the actual paper, instead of papers about the paper. the parts they've twisted are on pages 10/11.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 14, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"NGOs give everybody tropical vacations, and the politicians get new tax money."

not sure what you're referencing here but, i suppose if global warming is real, they should start vacationing arctic locations....? ;-)

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 14, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Walter, regarding the vacations, I was refering to how many of these climate conferences are held in exotic locations like Tahiti and this year's in Cancun Mexico.

Here's Mike's quote, and a link to the paper as you requested.

"Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous. That particular consensus judgement, as are many others in the IPCC reports, is reached by only a few dozen experts in the specific field of detection and attribution studies; other IPCC authors are experts in other fields."

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 14, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

eco, huh?

i provided you with that link and provided you with the context of the quote. it's the context that undermines your assertion that hulme thinks the consensus is bogus. please re-read my 8:50 am post if necessary.

hulme appears to be saying that each ipcc statement represents a consensus of climate experts in that particular field of research.

if they were reporting on the health of a patient, it's like the heart experts arrived at a consensus about the heart, the liver experts arrived at a consensus about the liver etc....

about the vacation spots...yeah, that's always bugged me about conferences in any field. tax collectors and salesmen and architects and [insert field of study here] always seem to have conferences in great places. i don't think that criticism applies only to climate scientists. on the other hand, copenhagen is not exactly your classic summer vacation spot.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 14, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

look what i came across. due to all the cherry-picking by denialists mike hulme has issued this:

omg, it's like he's been reading my comments....hahaha. wanna bet THAT gets NO play on "skeptic" sites.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 15, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

The press is a double edged sword; it helped build the global warming movement, now its tearing it down.

Mike can try damage control, but the secret is out. There are no 2,500 scientists. Its always been a small cult of climastrologists leading this fraud. They write the IPCC chapters citing their own papers peer reviewed by their own colleagues and friends.

But the poor tax payer just has to take it all on faith, pay his carbon taxes, and make sacrifices so that politicians, journalists and scientists like Mike can keep the gravy train rolling.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 15, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

oh, brother. when you were tricked by cherry-picked quotes into thinking mike hulme was an "insider" "blowing the whistle" on the "climate fraud", you thought he's "officially debunked" the consensus.

now that it's been explained to you, you think he's doing "damage control"....? wow.... shows it doesn't really matter what anybody says, you'll construe it so as to fit your preconceived notions...

do you really think he thinks the IPCC consensus is fraudulent? even after reading his original remarks in context, and today's correction of "skeptics" misinterpretations of his remarks?

or have you just moved him back from the "hero whistle-blower realist" category back to the "alarmist" category?

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | June 15, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"eco, oh, brother. when you were tricked by cherry-picked quotes into thinking mike hulme was an "insider" "blowing the whistle" on the "climate fraud", you thought he's "officially debunked" the consensus."

I never imagined Mike was debunking the whole movement, nor acting as a whistle blower. I still think he's doing damage control, if he intended on doing damage or not.

Stop addressing straw-men and take his statement for what its worth. There are no 2,500 consensus scientists agreeing on everything, but only a small cadre of climastrologists who pick and choose the words that go into the important parts of the reports.

Skeptics like me know this isn't new information, but the public at large is led to believe, via the media, that 2,500 is a number of climate scientists all approving everything.

Posted by: ecocampaigner | June 15, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

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