Jo Nova, Perth’s resident science mis-communicator, provides a text book example of how the denial echo chamber works in a recent post.
Her blog breathlessly announces “another” scientist abandoning the “green scare”:
“Another Green soul declares enough is enough. It’s a question of conscience. Physicist Dr. Denis Rancourt is a former professor and environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa (as green as they come), and has officially bailed out of the man-made global warming movement…”
Really Jo, another scientist declaring loudly their rejection of climate science?
Gosh that AGW theory must really be in trouble!
The reality is that Nova has simply recycled a story created by notorious spin-doctor, Marc Morano.
DeSmogBlog picked this story up already and informs us that Rancourt has not recently abandoned his belief in global warming, but has been loudly proclaiming his scepticism for years:
Took about 3 minutes on Google searching the name Denis Rancourt, who Morano is referring to in his post, to find that this is nothing even remotely new for Rancourt.
Rancourt has been writing rants against the science of climate change for years.
Morano is trying to spindoctor this into a newsworthy story by making it seem like Rancourt is someone who was completely accepting of the scientific reality of climate change and then just woke up one morning last week and decided to jump ship.
What makes this all the more ridiculous is that Morano himself pushed the exact same story about Rancourt in 2009 when he worked for Senator James Inhofe.
As usual it is the denial machine trying to whip up a story when none exist.
Indeed, I fully expert other denialists such as Andrew Bolt over at the Herald Sun to start repeating this one in the next day or so.
Cut and paste denial
If you go to Senator Inhofe’s US Senate Committe page you’ll note Rancourt is quoted as saying:
Rancourt wrote, “I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized.” “Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middle class,” Rancourt added.
I can see how a conspiracy theorist like Nova would love this kind of craziness. Nova then cut and pasts the same quote into her post:
“I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized,” Rancourt said. “Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middleclass,” he stated.
Cut, paste, post and voila!
Its a perfect example of the denial echo chamber in action.
Not Richard Courtney again! Nova lies about credentials of so called “expert”
Later in the same post Nova lists other experts that have apparently “jumped ship”:
UK atmospheric scientist Richard Courtney, a left-of-political center socialist, is another dissenter of man-made climate fears. Courtney, a UN IPCC expert reviewer and a UK-based climate and atmospheric science consultant, is a self-described socialist who also happens to reject man-made climate fears. Courtney declared in 2008 that there is “no correlation between the anthropogenic emissions of GHG (greenhouse gases) and global temperature.”
I had to laugh when I read Courtney being cited as an “atmospheric scientist”.
The truth is Courtney is not a scientist, though he likes people to think he is.
I caught Courtney passing himself off as a scientist on Jo Nova’s blog early this year. He has a long history of pretending to be a scientist (or letting others make the claim for him). Eli over at Rabbit Run exposes simular behaviour and even tries to determine his actual qualifications.
Hint, he lacks expertise in climate science.
Richard Courtney is one of the founding members of the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF), a think tank that not has not only published materials on climate denial, but studies attempting to discredit any link between second hand smoke and adverse health effects.
According to DeSmogBlog, Courtney’s career has almost been exclusively in communications and PR.
Courtney is a PR and think tank hack, working for groups directly funded by companies like Exxon Mobil.
Expert reviewer for IPCC?
Its been well established that Courtney is not a scientist. However, what about the claim that he was an “expert reviewer” for the IPCC?
Only in the sense that he read a draft version of the IPCC report. As DeSmogBlog notes:
A lot of climate change deniers like to tout the fact that they were an “Expert Reviewer” for the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and a few DeSmog readers have been asking what exactly if takes to become an “Expert Reviewer.” Well, thanks to our friend Tim Lambert at Deltoid Blog it turns out that an “Expert Reviewer” really isn’t as exciting and not nearly as prestigious as it sounds. Tim writes:
“Expert reviewer for the IPCC” doesn’t mean that they asked him to review material — all it means is that he asked to see the draft report. The only real requirement to be a reviewer is to sign an agreement not to publicly comment on the draft.”
I have confirmed this with one of the authors of the updated IPCC report.
The irony of course is that the denial movement works furiously to trash the reputation of the IPCC: however when it suits them they’ll try to claim its authority.
This is how the echo chamber works.
Take some half-truths and outright fabrications and spin a story.
Thank you for researching this. Very helpful.
Thanks – good to be back and blogging.
Quadrant nOnline, July-August 2010 Vol LIV Number 7-8
has it right:
Best to all, from The Commonwealth of Virginia.
Broken hockey stick? A well and truly debunked myth:
Bishop Hill’s reproduction of fawning reviews of his book falls short of a useful proxy for scientific credibility, John. More a proxy for desperate self-promotion.