The deniers’ little brains are overheating

Wednesday was Britain’s hottest July day on record, and got a lot of prerss coverage because it was a record breaker, and because we’re British, and love to talk about the weather.

It’s also a pointer to the way this year is shaping up to be the hottest year on record*, so the deniers need to make themselves feel better by pretending it, somehow, didn’t happen.

Take John Redwood, the Tory MP who looks like a house elf and is supposedly rather clever. In a post entitled What a scorcher?, he desperately tries to insinuate that the media is putting out climate change propaganda, by pretending they reported it as the hottest day ever. It appears that many of his readers are gullible enough to fall for his dim trick.

Britain’s hottest day on record was in August 2003**. What desperate lies are Redwood and the like going to come out with if we have a day this year that tops it?

*Beating out last year, isn’t it odd how the ten hottest years on record have happened during the eighteen years when the climate change deniers like to claim there’s been no warming.

**Oddly enough, a year that fell in those eighteen years when the deniers claim the world’s not been getting warmer.

Global Cooling is a con

This won’t be news to anyone who’s been paying attention, but it needs to be shouted out and repeated often, because the American public and even the BBC are falling for the lie.

There are many quote worthy lines in this report. Almost at random, let’s go with-

Saying there’s a downward trend since 1998 is not scientifically legitimate, said David Peterson, a retired Duke University statistics professor and one of those analyzing the numbers.

Identifying a downward trend is a case of “people coming at the data with preconceived notions,” said Peterson, author of the book “Why Did They Do That? An Introduction to Forensic Decision Analysis.”

The rules for debating with climate change deniers 1

Climate change deniers have rules that they expect you to stick to when debating their latest weak attempt to disprove the theory. They look a lot like the ones posted here.

And please note, that when I say evidence, I mean:

1) Nothing that was recorded by instruments such as weather-stations, ocean buoys or satellite data. Since all instruments are subject to error, we cannot use them to measure climate.

2) Nothing that has been corrected to account for the error of recording instruments. Any corrected data is a fudge. You must use only the raw data, which is previously disqualified under rule #1. Got that? OK, moving along…

3) Nothing that was produced by a computer model. We all know that you can’t trust computer models, and they have a terrible track record in any industrial, architectural, engineering, astronomical or medical context.

4) Nothing that was researched or published by a scientist. Such appeals to authority are invalid. We all know that scientists are just writing these papers to keep their grant money.

I still occasionally interact with some folks online for whom the rules above aren’t satire. A good response- which they’ll still ignore, of course- is given by one of the commenters on the post-

Mole, you’ve also got to factor in the consequences of inaction into the assessment of data.

If, for example, despite the existing scientific evidence, you personally would ONLY be satisfied by a longitudinal study over the next 30 years – well, what if it turned out todays’s scientists were actually right, and waiting for that study took us through the tipping point?

Why would policy makers be wise to adopt your approach?

See – even if I am wrong, cleaning up carbon emissions will do no harm. Clean the air up a bit, less pollution, fewer illnesses among kids, etc. No problemo.

If you are wrong, however: life on this planet could well be reduced to a few green sites supporting half a billion people – instead of 6 billion – by next century.

You see why doubt-mongers are losing this debate? And that that is a good thing?

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Global Warming Art

MAking climate change almost look pretty, Global Warming Art presents the data as clearly as possible.

Note I found Global Warming Art whilst researching a reply to this post. As I had comments deleted the last time I questioned the veracity of that particular graph, here’s what I said-

Thanks for the links, but I couldn’t find the graph in your post or the figures used in it. You should know that a number of the theories championed by Easterbrook have been examined and shown to be lacking.

For example- Mid century cooling- – CO2 isn’t the only thing controlling the planet’s temperature, during this period the global dimming effect of particulates overwhelmed it. Various other of his arguments, such as that it’s a natural cycle or all down to sun spot activity- and several other points- are addressed in articles linked to on this page-

But back to the graph at the bottom of your post. I wanted to address it because it just looks wrong. Not the numbers are wrong or it’s wrong because I don’t agree with your position, but wrong as a graph. Look at the red trend line. Before 2005 it’s steady, the wild variations of individual data points don’t make it jump around. After 2005 it’s following the data points almost exactly. The red line is based upon average anomalies over a given period, but it looks like the averaging was done over a far shorter period post ’05 than pre. If the average reacts that drastically to a dip in the recorded anomalies then it should also have kicked sharply up for the El Nino year of 1998 and less sharply down for 1985 (La Nina) and 1993 (Pinatubo volcano).

Basically I think someone has fudged the post 2005 trendline. Or, more bluntly, I think that graph is a lie. I’d recommend checking its provenance before using it again. For graphs of temperature change created from publicly available figures you could try

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I don’t think climate change deniers understand economics either

Because the folks at Stop the ACLU have a habit of deleting my comments when I take their arguments apart with logic, here’s the reply to this post. It’s a simplistic argument, but they’re simple people.

And next year the cap will be 49ppm, so you’ll either have to waste more money so you can waste money. Or you could exhibit common sense and cut your pollution by cutting energy use, which a good businessman should have been doing anyway. Efficiency savings affect your bottom line, even without a cap and trade. So if you’re not looking into them then you should rebrand Teach Enterprises as Company Pointlessly Wasting Money.

I don’t understand your reasoning. You moan about government interference and the government taking your money when most governments are giving away money that you could use to become independent of them. Take the government grant and invest in energy efficiency and microgeneration. Do it well enough to produce more electricity than you need and energy companies are becoming obliged to buy it back off you. You’re paying less tax on the energy you use and the energy companies have less money and lobbying power. If you still don’t want to admit that you’re doing it for your children and a better environment just pretend you’re doing it to be selfish. Whatever.

The polar bear cartoon is cutesy, it’s good to see you’ve embraced recycling by repeating the Very Cold Winter meme endlessly. However, Australia is in the midst of the worst heatwave in at least 70 years. You haven’t mentioned this. I guess you only want to point out the weather anomalies that seem to support your argument.

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Some interesting links on climate change

Behemoth of the blogosphere BoingBoing has a guest blogger on board this week who has posted a collection of climate change denial posts. Cory Doctorow has come back with a bunch of posts about the science of the subject. For instance-

The Discovery of Global Warming – a history, a hyperlinked text because there were/are so many pieces of research going on concurrently and independently that an attempt at a linear history of the subject wouldn’t work.

What we’ve learned in 2008– discoveries in the field of climate change last year.

Climate Change Economics. This looks like heavy going, but it’s all about the economics around cutting green house emissions and discussion of different incentives to do so.

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Climate change denial can lead to poverty

Iain Martin roles out is a tired old argument that I’ve heard several times before. So this is as good a time as any to reply.

but it makes no sense to send our economy, or those of developing countries, into reverse gear on the back of apocalyptic warnings by those who enjoy predicting disaster

Really? Who is going to build the windmills? Manufacture and mount the solar panels? Build all the low energy houses? Bring existing houses up to standard? Where are they going to spend the billions that stand to be made? What are home owners going to do with the money they save by cutting down on waste?

How blinkered do you have to be to miss the huge opportunities that are available to the early adopters of energy saving technologies? You can finesse your arguments against climate change as much as you want, but you’d be an idiot if you couldn’t see the advantages of switching to renewables and becoming more efficient.

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Censorship and anti-science

Every time another unscientific denial of climate change is debunked the deniers come out crying about censorship, or threaten to sue. In truth, as George Monbiot points out, it is the scientists doing the hard work that proves mankind is changing the environment who are the ones being censored.

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Lightbulb denial in the Daily Mail

Cheaper bulbs have some of the problems attributed in this article to all Compact Fluorescent Lights, but to pretend they all do is as lazy and shortsighted as they’re accusing the politicians of being. Better quality CFL bulbs (the ones from Philips are highly recommended) light up as fast as incandescents, have a pleasant colour and, even with normal switching on and off, last far longer then old style bulbs. And they pay for themselves within a year in normal useage.

Most of the people I know have houses lit with low energy bulbs and not a one of them has ever commented on problems fitting the lights. Now that everyone else is into CFLs I’m thinking of moving to LEDs, which are even more efficient.

As for China, so what if they’re not making changes right now? They will in the future. If your neighbour told you they hadn’t fitted smoke alarms, would you endanger your family by removing the ones in your house?

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The denial business is still going strong

I think the title says it all “All those Scientists may still be wrong“. All those thousands of intelligent, highly educated people, experts in their fields, who have spent billions of hours examining the data, testing theories and extrapolating alternatives might, just possibly, not be absolutely 100% correct in their predictions. So we should do nothing and hope they’re not right.

The question should be, what’s so wrong with reducing carbon dioxide output? What’s being called for is an increase in efficiency and a reduction in reliance on limited resources. It’s a winning combination for everyone and a great way to alleviate poverty. Even without global warming this should be the aim of every person on the planet. Or do the deniers not want to see poorer people leapfrog ahead of them into the future?

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