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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2010 :  22:21:04  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know I've mentioned a lot of these things before, but I wanted to gather them together in a single thread where they're not a side issue, but instead the actual topic.



The IPCC Report: It's been over two years since the publication of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a report with almost 3,000 pages, written by over 1,250 authors, with over 18,000 references, and 90,000 comments on the drafts by its 2,500+ reviewers.

What have the denialists been able to come up with in the past two years? Three or four problems (depending on how you count), none of which have any serious impact upon either the report's conclusions or its summaries for policy-makers.
  • Himalayagate: What amounts to a typo (2035 versus 2350) made it through the review process even though at least two reviewers of the drafts made comments about the error before publication. The removal of two sentences on a single page deep in the report would fix the problem. The denialosphere would have people believe that this invalidates the concept that the IPCC report was peer reviewed, and that the error was only discovered by a UK newspaper a couple of months ago.

  • Sea-levelgate: The report, in one spot, says that 55% of the Netherlands is below sea level and so at risk of flooding. Whoops. Only 26% is below sea level, and another 29% is at risk due to river flooding (adding up to 55%). The sentence was written by the Dutch government, then derided by the Dutch government, and then the Dutch government issued a retraction. Somehow, this mistake invalidates climate science.
And three mistakes by UK reporter Jonathan Leake:
  • Africagate: This was a new one to me. Leake contends that a summary of technical reports, by a climate expert, is a reference that the IPCC shouldn't have used because it wasn't itself peer-reviewed (nor were its references), and that a previous IPCC chairman says that he can't find support for a claim made based upon that summary that African crop yields could drop 50% by 2020. In other words, Leake doesn't provide a single reason why the projection might be wrong, he relies on an alleged lack of peer review (and not every reference that went into the IPCC report had to be peer-reviewed) and an argument from authority.

  • Disastergate: Leake says the IPCC was wrong to link global warming to natural disasters. The IPCC itself says that Leake wrote a "misleading and baseless story," and points out its errors. A single graph in the report might have been better left out, or maybe not.

  • Amazongate (a personal favorite): Leake complains about the IPCC statement that "Up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation..." Leake says that the reference used to support that statement said nothing of the sort, but it did. It was secondary literature, but the author of the primary literature has defended the IPCC in no uncertain terms. An investigation by a BBC reporter of Leake's correspondence with the various players in this issue showed that Leake was presented with the correct information several times, but ran articles with the completely false allegations, anyway. "Fraud" is a word that jumps easily to mind.
The fact that the denialists are making such a big deal out of these nothings is a testament to how little they've got in terms of serious criticisms. Our very own Bill scott has made unprompted and completely serious references to Himalayagate and Amazongate, showing that the average schmoe is eating this crap up. And other journalists are plagiarizing Leake, to better get the nonsense out to the public.

(Leake has also written that Richard Dawkins supports astrology.)



Quotegate (another personal fave): according to over 130,000 Web pages, Sir John Houghton (instrumental in setting up the IPCC) said in 1994:
Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen.
This quote is the basis for a zillion claims of "alarmism" all over the denialosphere. And it looks just that horrific, a mind-numbingly stupid thing for someone in his position to have said.

Of course, he never said it. Nor wrote it. He says that the attitude expressed in the quote is diametrically opposed to what he actually thinks about climate change activism.

The quote is referenced to Houghton's 1994 book, Global Warming: The Complete Briefing, but nobody has been able to find it (or anything similar in meaning) in that book, in any of its editions.

In fact, the earliest use of the quote seems to be in a piece by Australian reporter Piers Akerman in November, 2006, in The Sunday Telegraph (hence this dust-up being called "Akermangate" in some circles). But people who have abused the made-up quote, like social anthropologist Benny Peiser and whack-a-loon denialist Lord Monckton claim that the quote has been in wide circulation for 15 years.

This leads to the delicious irony of denialist commenters on uncounted blogs wondering "if the quote has been around for 15 years, why is Houghton only complaining about it now?"

Houghton is reported to be thinking about legal action to defend himself and climate science from the damage that is and could be done by the quote.



Surfacestationgate: across the U.S., there are tons of "surface stations" which record high and low temperatures every day. Anthony Watts created a Web site called surfacestations.org to enlist an army of volunteers to photograph surface stations that are situated next to rooftops, parking lots, concrete surfaces, airport tarmacs, air conditioners and anything else which might provide a heating bias to the recorded temperatures.

However, a study by Matthew J. Menne (et al, 2010) showed that the poorly situated stations are actually providing a cooling bias (the actual temperatures were higher than what the badly-sited stations reported), and provides the reasons why, which is the opposite of what Watts really wanted to show.

Watts' reaction seemed to be at first unresponsive and then irrelevant. Meanwhile, his volunteers continued to post photos and make comments about how silly the "warmists" were being.



I'm sure this only scratches the surface of denialist ridiculousness. Feel free to add your own examples, and/or discuss the above.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2010 :  22:36:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, dangit, I forgot Emailgate, for which nobody has been found guilty of any sort of ethical or legal wrongdoing. But, of course, denialists keep bringing it up as if the emails show a conspiracy to hide inconvenient data and/or suppress reports which go against the AGW "party line."

In context, scientists are human and sometimes get pissed off and say things which are less than politic. This doesn't invalidate the science, nor does it prove a concerted effort to deny the airing of any sort of scientific opposition.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2010 :  04:32:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Oh, dangit, I forgot Emailgate, for which nobody has been found guilty of any sort of ethical or legal wrongdoing.

Yet?

The investigation on Mann exonerrated him on three of four counts, the latter (more in the realms of scientific misconduct?) will be investigated by a group of scientific experts.

I have yet to see anything on the investigation of Jones.

I mean, from what I've seen I don't think there is anything of substance there. I don't think most of the out of context quotes even warranted an investigation, except for the e-mail by Jones that he had deleted files. This is the one thing that I'd say needs to be investigated. This is nitpicking, but the way you wrote the sentence to me implies that they are already cleared of all accusations, which isn't the case yet.

But, of course, denialists keep bringing it up as if the emails show a conspiracy to hide inconvenient data and/or suppress reports which go against the AGW "party line."

In context, scientists are human and sometimes get pissed off and say things which are less than politic. This doesn't invalidate the science, nor does it prove a concerted effort to deny the airing of any sort of scientific opposition.

If there had been a doubt in my mind that global warming deniers are exactly like creationists, the out-of-context quoting of these e-mails cured me of that affliction.

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2010 :  06:16:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't have any hard numbers to support it, but, from my reading here & there & yonder, a largish percentage of climate change opponents are creationists. I include the ID species of creationists, as can be easily seen during 'most any given visit at Dembski's dung heap.

Here's part of Conservapedia's take on it:


In 2008 86 evangelical pastors, including Rev. Dr.Rick Warren signed a statement titled "Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action", which called on Christians to acknowledge the moral importance of action to counteract man - made climate change. the statement includes specific support for market - based CO2 reductions such as a cap - and - trade program.[7] In contrast, a group of evangelical scholars, comprised of scientists, economists and theologians, contend that the liberal view of pending catastrophe caused by climate change is misleading and or exaggerated.

And as might be expected:
Commenting on the tendency to hastily issue dire warnings of Climate Change, seen in the coming Ice Age scare of the 70's, Maurizio Morabito asked, “Is the problem with the general public, who cannot talk about climate except in doom-laden terms, and for whom the sky is the last animist god?" [27]

Mark Steyn writes in Macleans,

"Forty years ago conventional religious belief was certainly in decline in what we once knew as Christendom, but the hole was not yet ozone-layer sized. Once the sea of faith had receded far from shore, the post-Christian West looked at what remained and found “Gaia.”

And while, "When man was made in the image of God, he was fallen but redeemable", among these devotees of Gaia,

Anti-humanism is everywhere, not least in the barely concealed admiration for China’s (demographically disastrous) “One Child” policy advanced by everyone from the National Post’s Diane Francis to Sir David Attenborough, the world’s leading telly naturalist but also a BBC exec who once long ago commissioned the great series The Ascent of Man. If Sir David’s any guide, the great thing about man’s ascent is it gives him a higher cliff to nosedive off.[28]

The entire article is worth a read. I suggest you get a rabies inoculation first though, just in case.

Great post, Dave!




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2010 :  08:16:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by tomk80

This is nitpicking, but the way you wrote the sentence to me implies that they are already cleared of all accusations, which isn't the case yet.
No, that's actually a good point, and I don't consider it nitpicking at all. My addendum was hurried more than it should have been.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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Why not question something for a change?
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13455 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2010 :  09:31:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave. I suggest you put together a version of this for the homepage.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Bob Lloyd
Skeptic Friend

Spain
59 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2010 :  10:22:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Bob Lloyd's Homepage Send Bob Lloyd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The desperation of the deniers was shown up recently by a Daily Mail article in the UK in which Professor Phil Jones was claimed to have made a complete turnaround, denying that global warming was happening. The DM is reknowned for stupidity, prejudice and misinformation which ought lead to its reclassification as a comic, but in this case it wouldn't even reach that standard.

Here's the original Daily Mail article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html

And here's a verbatim report of the actual interview:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

Unfortunately, the internet being what it is, the misquote and lies spread far faster than the verbatim report. The good thing though is that this provides an absolutely wonderful example of astonishingly bad journalism and does a lot to expose the bankruptcy of denier tactics.

Everyone seems to expect honest scientists to be as slippery and evasive as politicians when dealing with the press and we sometimes forget that the politicos became that way to avoid being twisted and distorted by the media - they preferred to do the spin and manipulation themselves. Honest scientists like Phil Jones are sitting ducks when faced with a dishonest journalist.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2010 :  11:19:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Bob Lloyd

...a Daily Mail article...
That paper is leading the charge towards tabloidism, if it hasn't gotten there already. Joe Romm has a bunch more details on what is becoming DailyMailgate.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 02/17/2010 :  23:57:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Akerman brings the crazy in his response to being named as the source of the fabricated Houghton quote. He seems to think that this real Houghton quote,
If we want a good environmental policy in the future, we'll have to have a disaster. It's like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there's been an accident.
which says that people don't get serious about a problem until bad stuff happens, means the same thing as his fake quote,
Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen
which obviously advocates exaggeration, if not outright lying.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2010 :  10:43:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Tim Lambert has introduced a game about UK reporter Jonathan Leake (three of his mistakes are mentioned in the OP). Here's how it goes:
Here's a game you can play at home. All you need is a search engine. Take a Jonathan Leake science story with a dramatic headline. For example, Facebook fans do worse in exams. Then do a search on the headline. You win if you can find complaints by scientists that their research was misrepresented by Leake.
And indeed, Lambert found the scientists complaining about how Leake has misrepresented their research.

Leake's got a lot to say about climate change, and is hopefully seen as massively embarrassing to the more-serious critics of AGW theory. Not that there are many, but perhaps they'll ask him to shut up "for the cause."

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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cantbe323
Suspended

242 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2010 :  13:58:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send cantbe323 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm sure this only scratches the surface of denialist ridiculousness. Feel free to add your own examples, and/or discuss the above. >>

It isn't about crucifying the deniers. It's about having the guts to
force the scientists who brought up the global warming issue to prove it, like you would expect anyone else who makes outrageous claims to do. Scientists are human, you know, and all humans make mistakes. You don't have to kneel at their feet, or kiss their arses.

cantbe323
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moakley
SFN Regular

USA
1880 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2010 :  14:32:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send moakley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
cantbe323

According to the IPCC Fourth Assessment the consensus among climatologists is:
On the issue of global warming and its causes, the SPM states that:

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal."
"Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations."
You should have opened some of the links provided by Dave. Or are you waiting for Beck, Hannity, and Imhofe to agree to the analysis of the experts about the data.

Life is good

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. -Anonymous
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2010 :  14:32:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by cantbe323

I'm sure this only scratches the surface of denialist ridiculousness. Feel free to add your own examples, and/or discuss the above. >>

It isn't about crucifying the deniers. It's about having the guts to
force the scientists who brought up the global warming issue to prove it, like you would expect anyone else who makes outrageous claims to do. Scientists are human, you know, and all humans make mistakes. You don't have to kneel at their feet, or kiss their arses.

cantbe323

Have you opened the links I gave you in this thread?

Thought not. Nor will you, as they might go aginst your lack of a theory. You might actually learn something about the science and that is unthinkable, isn't it?

Link 6




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25970 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2010 :  15:18:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by cantbe323

It isn't about crucifying the deniers.
No, it's not. But this thread is about watching the deniers crucify themselves. Because it's funny.

So, how about that debate?
Originally posted by filthy

Have you opened the links I gave you...?
Hell, filthy, he can't even be bothered to read the OP here. Open a link? Waaaay too much effort for him.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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podcat
Skeptic Friend

435 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2010 :  00:27:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send podcat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You forgot Snowjobgate where denialists say there can't be global warming because there's been lots of snow recently.

For those who are interested: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#35431886

In this clip Rachel Maddow responds to Glenn Beck taking exception for her calling Beck out on his denialism.
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Maverick
Skeptic Friend

Sweden
385 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2010 :  03:06:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Maverick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't think we should be surprised that there is snow in the winter. Snow in February does not prove there is no climate change towards a warmer climate. The lack of rain in the desert doesn't mean there will be less rain on a global scale either...

"Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." -- Carl Sagan
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