War is over: victory over the deniers

Time for bold claims: the war is over.

The International Herald Tribune picks up on what may be an emerging trend: the decline of climate scepticism:

In a blog entry this summer, famed international correspondent Christiane Amanpour opined that the climate change denial club “is actually now shrinking faster than the polar ice caps.” 

Opinion surveys suggest she’s right. Two factors that may contribute to the changing attitude about the changing climate — and the melting away of many skeptics — are the extreme weather events that have affected the United States recently and the legions of climate activists who make it their business to convince and motivate an increasingly receptive public.

The post referenced above is titled The climate debate is over:

In the fierce and sometimes ugly fight over global climate change, we finally have an answer coming from the earth itself: the weather is telling us climate change is here and we are causing it. Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku is among the scientist who say the world is giving us signs that climate change is already happening (to see how he explains it, watch the video above).

This summer, there have been relentless droughts, wildfires, melting glaciers and unprecedented storms – all happening at the same time. And around the world people are demanding something be done about it. Even in the United States, ground zero for climate change denial, six in ten Americans say they believe it is indeed happening. But political leaders are missing in action – cowed by a vociferous climate change denial club, which is actually now shrinking faster than the polar ice caps.

In the video physicist Michio Kaku admits he was a sceptic until he looked at the evidence.

War is over…

Personally, I believe the climate change denial movement will splutter and rage on for a few more years as the most prominent voices and their well funded supporters continue to rage against reality.

But already one gets the sense the voices of Andrew Bolt, Jo Nova, David Evans, Anthony Watts, Marc Morano et.al are becoming increasingly marginal. Ironically they are becoming even more shrill in their claims of conspiracy theories and “It’s not happening”.

News Corporation and the think tanks will continue their desperate rearguard action against the public’s acceptance of the science: history’s judgement will be no doubt be unkind.

The deniers will achieve a few more Pyrrhic Victories: maybe they’ll find a flaw or two in the next IPCC report (AR5), publish a few hundred more op-ed pieces in major dailies and delay a carbon tax in the US for an electoral cycle or two.

Sure – public acceptance of the science will swing this and that for a few more years, but the trend is towards majority acceptance of the science. At some point public tolerance for the deniers will shift from a bemused indifference to disgust and exasperation.

Will that greater public acceptance of the science translate into voter demand for action?

The denial machine will attempt to arrest that as well – after all, that is their raison d’etre. They’re skilled at halting progress so they’ll continue to block, obstruct and show the seeds of disinformation.

But that’s all the denial movement has to look forward too: small scale, tactical victories in a war that is over. The funding for their activities will soon begin to dry up: they will retreat to the fringes of internet culture with flat Earth fanatics, UFO enthusiasts and other intellectual fringe dwellers.

How the war was “won”

However we must be honest: the victory was not achieved by activists or science communicators. Too late it was realized it was never about the science, but values and world view; ideology was the crucial driver of those rejecting the science.

We – the journalists, activists, bloggers, politicians, scientists fighting to bring climate to the forefront of public perception – fought the good fight. We did all we could have been asked to do: but the denial machine was more organised, better funded and prepared to engage in suspect and unethical behavior. Ruthlessness tipped the battle in their favor for close to three decades.

But at some point physics and chemistry was going to resolve the debate: brute reality was always the final arbiter.

And so 2012 will be regarded as the year the debate “shifted” against the sceptic movement – the extreme weather events of this year and Sandy ensured that.

But something like Hurricane Sandy was inevitable. Whether a storm of Sandy’s kind arrived this year or next, something of Sandy’s scale was always coming – and with it the profound  social and political implications of such a storm.

[Note: upon reflection, I think Tamino is very correct: activists and bloggers fought a valuable holding action, doing their best to hold off the onslaught against science.]

War is over – if you wan’t it

And so – with mock solemnity and virtual trumpets – I declare the end of hostilities in what is merely the opening phases of a longer conflict over containing climate change.

Let’s call it the “First Climate War”, a virtual battle over public perception fought in the opinion pages of newspapers, on blogs and social media and in back rooms across the globe. It was fought in the streets of Copenhagen and influenced the Australian election of 2007.

Participants included global media corporations, NGOs, sovereign nations, transnational bodies such as the UN, the fossil fuel industry, think tanks, scientists, eccentric billionaires, bloggers and politicians.

The First Climate War was a messy and brutal conflict more impenetrable and confusing than the Thirty Years War – and much like the Thirty Years War it was a conflict that drew in major powers, religious fanatics and obscure principalities, off of whom were sucked into its vortex by a mixture of principles and power politics.

But this initial phase of the conflict is coming to a close.

War is over…

Can we can go “home”; can we go back to how things were?

Can we dismantle our blogs; discontinue our Twitter accounts?

Can we can lay down our (metaphorical) arms, and begin to count the cost?

Those of you have been personally involved in this “debate” knows how it can feel: like brutal, bloody trench warfare.

But Like all wars, the cessation of hostilities is merely the prelude to reconstruction and new debates, the emergence of strange new alliances and emergencies.

As the World Bank notes in their recent report:

“A 4°C warmer world can, and must be, avoided – we need to hold warming below 2°C,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest.”

And that:

As global warming approaches and exceeds 2°C, there is a risk of triggering nonlinear tipping elements. Examples include the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet leading to more rapid sea-level rise, or large-scale Amazon dieback drastically affecting ecosystems, rivers, agriculture, energy production, and livelihoods. This would further add to 21st-century global warming and impact entire continents.

The projected 4°C warming simply must not be allowed to occur—the heat must be turned down. Only early, cooperative, international actions can make that happen.

95 thoughts on “War is over: victory over the deniers

  1. Eric Worrall says:

    An interesting perspective – with countries falling away from Kyoto 2 (Australia may be next, if Abbott wins), and the public tiring of job destroying green policies, declaring victory is at the very least, a little premature.

    All you’re seeing is a mild bounce, caused by tropical storm Sandy (not even a tornado when it hit New York, and a long way from the worst storm to hit New York in modern history). Its a bit like the aftermath of Katrina – exciting while you have people’s attention, with your dire unfounded predictions of doom, but their attention will soon wander when they realise you’re fully of hype.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      The fight over the public perception over climate change as a reality is pretty much over – as to the effective implementation of policy? A very long way off. Indeed, as I’ve always maintained on this blog: this is when the real debate starts.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        I don’t agree the fight over public perception is over.

        In Britain, there is a growing backlash against onshore Windfarms, especially from people whose properties have been blighted by adjacent turbines. Green businesses in Britain are in a state of panic, thanks to recent skeptical comments from newly appointed right wing Tory ministers.

        In America, people are fed up with seeing their jobs slip away to China, and other places with cheap energy. Green gets some traction, thanks to the relentless hype surrounding Sandy, but this will fade – just as the enthusiasm for Green faded in the wake of Katrina.

        Germany, once the staunchest of green countries, is currently building at least 20 new coal power stations, to fill the gap left by decommissioning nuclear power plants, and is steadily reducing Green subsidies.

        Noone important bothers to turn up to climate conferences any more – the highlight of the Rio conference was a speech from the Iranian President declaring the end of secularism.

        The IPCC didn’t get an invite to COP18.

        Trenberth is alternately complaining about being disappointed in the IPCC process, and hyping up the more alarming scenarios, in my opinion, in the hope of regaining people’s attention.

        Why have you failed so dismally to impress your view on the world? You can blame mythical well funded big oil conspiracies, but in my opinion the real reason lies much closer to home.

        As the Soviets discovered, fear only works so long. You have to offer people hope to keep their attention – and hope is not something you guys are good at.

      • john byatt says:

        Interesting article at the converstion.

        how to get the right wing on board, (australia)

        They will never accept wind and solar, they feel insecure about those power sources

        they will come on board if the mix includes nuclear,

        Gas was never going to help in the medium term (100 years)

        so get them to see a solution that does not violate their anti green bias and we will do it,

        I was talking to the local green candidate twelve months ago and he thinks that we must have another look at nuclear, no not giant reactors like Fukishma but rather small reactors that are buried and would be ideal for the gympie region, local power interconnected to neighboring areas,

      • john byatt says:

        MY comment went up a few seconds after eric, he does seem to prove the point

        • Eric Worrall says:

          If you guys dropped your support for non solutions like alternative energy, and stopped trying to push for left wing friendly wide ranging changes to society, it would certainly allay fears about your real agenda. Accusations that you were watermelons would not stick anymore. If you had done this from the start, right wingers might never have questioned green alarmism.

          But it is still a solution to a non problem. And nuclear power is more expensive than fossil fuel, especially gas from fracking, and it is questionable whether a modern economy can survive even with the kind of competitive disadvantage a wholesale switch to nuclear would impose.

          Still it would be interesting to build a few nuclear plants. Nuclear plants are good at providing a steady, high level base load – high energy consumption production facilities such as aluminium smelters are often sited next to nuclear plants, to soak up excess power.

        • Watching the Deniers says:

          What the hell does that have to with the science? Because you don’t like “alternative energy” you discount climate science? A non sequitur…

          It’s like saying you don’t like seat belts, therefore speed signs are an agenda.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Its a matter of trust.

          Consider the scandalous behaviour of radical Christian groups who fund third world medical missions which promote sexual abstinence, but refuse to fund medical missions which promote safe sex.

          Are they really interested in reducing the transmission of dangerous sexual diseases? Or are they more interested in promoting their own warped agenda, possibly at the expense of denying the people they claim to want to help the most effective solutions to their problems?

          Do you trust the good faith of said Christian groups, if they claim their promotion of abstinence is the more effective strategy, or do you feel a legitimate concern that their desire to promote their religious agenda could be undermining their objectivity?

          I see a parallel between such selfish behaviour by Christian fundamentalists, and the behaviour of alarmists who promote radical reforms to society, but who oppose, or are neutral towards rapid, effective solutions to decarbonisation like nuclear power, the implementation of which would undermine the case for their radical reform agenda.

      • rubber taster says:

        But what’s not said is that the new coal burning plants are replacing (not adding to) the older plants that either have been or will soon be decommissioned. Moreover, by 2020, 18.5 gigawatts of coal power capacity will be decommissioned, whereas only 11.3 gigawatts will be newly installed. Most of the new capacity is expected to come from gas turbines, assuming they find somebody to build them.

        Also: Germany’s emissions of carbon dioxide edged down by 2.2% last year, even though its use of coal rose by 4.9 percent. Moreover, it is simply not possible for Germany to increase its carbon emissions from the power sector because emissions trading sets limits on emissions.

        What’s also true though is that if the nukes had stayed online, Germany’s emissions figure would have gone down even further.

    • john byatt says:

      Abbot has confirmed that he will honor Kyoto 2, if Gillard signs and ratifies then he is stuffed, Canada only jumped ship because they had nowhere near met their obligations and were heading for a massive payout. They were not even close to meeting that commitment, The stupid bastards had no option but to pull out, they will pay for it in the long term,

      Still not interested in betting that 2012 will not be warmer than 2011 eric,?

      Just a small bet say $1000,

      watts reckons it is cooling, not confident about his prediction?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        As you regularly point out John, climate is a noisy – its entirely possible next year will be warmer than this year simply due to natural variation,

        And I don’t have a spare $1000 to splash on such foolishness.

      • zoot says:

        But you’re quite happy to cherry pick the years for your “It hasn’t warmed in 15 years” bumf.
        Now tell me it hasn’t warmed in 17 years, or 13 years.


        • Eric Worrall says:

          There has been no significant warming for 15 years. That doesn’t mean no warming at all – some years are slightly warmer, some are slightly cooler.

          Global warming has stalled, despite a 10% increase in CO2.

          A 10% increase in CO2 should have produced at least 0.4c warming – more if travesty Trenberth’s far side of crazy climate sensitivity estimates are anywhere near correct.

          Instead it has produced near zero. Nada. Zilch.

          I’m going to enjoy watching you guys squirm, as the years roll on with no significant warming.

          But my guess is you’ll still be here, clinging to your faith, as CO2 roars past 20, 30, even 40% above mid 90s levels.

      • john byatt says:

        No eric its not entirely possible, it is a dead cert, Why you ask ?

        If you had the slightest clue you would know why.

        ENSO, solar, AGW , a few clues

        reading those I would suspect midway between last year and middle of the 95% confidence range,

        lets see how close I get
        do you really think that I would bet $1000 on nothing more than a possibility?

  2. john byatt says:

    Eric “The IPCC didn’t get an invite to COP18.”

    the IPCC has nothing to do with COP, if any UN people wish to go they nominate, they are not invited, they only go as observers. the gulftimes story was crap

  3. john byatt says:

    Eric ” high level base load”

    what does that mean eric,? no mr google now

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Nuclear power plants have a far higher power density than any alternative energy system, but current designs are not good at providing rapid changes in output – they are good at providing a stead baseload, but not good at responding to spikes in demand.

      So traditionally nuclear plants are coupled with energy intensive industries such as aluminium smelting, which take advantage of cheap nuclear power at predictable times of low demand.

  4. john byatt says:


    Jorgen Randers is professor of climate strategy at the BI Norwegian Business School, where he works on climate issues and scenario analysis. He was previously president of BI and deputy director general of WWF International (World Wildlife Fund) in Switzerland. He lectures internationally on sustainable development and especially climate, and is a nonexecutive member of a number of corporate boards. He sits on the sustainability councils of British Telecom in the UK and the Dow Chemical Company in the United States. In 2006 he chaired the cabinet-appointed Commission on Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions, which reported on how Norway can cut its climate gas emissions by two-thirds by 2050. Randers has written numerous books and scientific papers, and was coauthor of The Limits to Growth in 1972, Beyond the Limits in 1992, and Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Updatein 2004.

    of course there is the obligatory W6 in the comments,

    • Eric Worrall says:

      What limits to growth? Why should there be any limits to growth?

      • zoot says:

        No limits to growth = cancer.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          So what is your cure for this “cancer”? Chinese late term abortions for parents who have more than the regulation number of children?

          Or is it morally better to find ways to provide everyone with a decent standard of living, and the freedom to have as many children as they want?

      • zoot says:

        What is your prognosis for “no limits to growth”?

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Simple. Modern technological civilisation has never hit any “limits to growth”, and there is no reason to think we ever will. History is littered with doomsayers who claimed it would all end by xxx (fill in your own date). Erlich, Malthus, etc., all purveyors of junk science.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I don’t agree that resources are finite. I mean, sure, in an absolute sense the Universe contains a finite supply of matter, but that is an awful lot of resources.

          Look how gas fracking, oil fracking and tar sands have transformed the US petroleum industry.

          Every time we run short of something, we find a new supply.

          There is no reason to think this will not continue.

          And if you’re right, and resources are finite, then WTF would you want to conserve anything for? No conservation / recycling system is 100% efficient, so in a finite world, doom is inevitable – all you can do is delay it a little. You might as well party on and enjoy the good times while they last.

      • john byatt says:

        history is also riddled with collapsed civilizations., climate change the cause for some of those

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Pre-industrial civilisations had limited options when it came to solving difficult problems, and often expended what limited resources they had on fruitless religious efforts.

      • john byatt says:

        finite?, not wind or solar

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Low intensity energy sources not suited to a modern technological civilisation – at least, not without a lot more development of the basic technology.

          And guess what? Given the steady rise in per-capita energy use, by the time solar at least is efficient and cheap, it probably still wont be enough to power the toys of the future.

      • john byatt says:

        Yes solving the problem of no rainfall would have been solved if they only stopped wasting resources on religion


  5. WTD, you hit it on the nose, furthered by Eric Worrall immediately illustrating your points for you.

    In the denialist world, where climate science is “all politics, all the time,” there is no possibility of recognizing that science is impervious to political beliefs and ideology. That the Eric Worralls of the world are blind to their own ignorance and have no desire to rectify it is ultimately irrelevant.

    WTD, your observation that, “But already one gets the sense the voices of Andrew Bolt, Jo Nova, David Evans, Anthony Watts, Marc Morano et al are becoming increasingly marginal. Ironically they are becoming even more shrill in their claims of conspiracy theories and “It’s not happening”,” is correct. In fact, it is the ultimate fate of every denialist movement in history, including Worrall’s Climate Science Denial Movement. Denialism, wherever it is found, is characterized by similar political motivations and methodology. Denialism always evolves from impossible conspiracy theories and eventually into a small cadre of fringe conspiracy theorists and true believers.

    (See: http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/about/ for a good definition of denialism.)

    There are those whose interests, political and/or financial, are to promote denialism; then there are those like Worrall who fall for the woo hook, line, and sinker. Watts, Morano, Bolt, Nova, and Worrall’s favorite, James Delingpole, use Worrall’s innocence and inability to see the forest for the trees, for their own goals. And it is Worrall’s arrogance of ignorance which desperately tries to keep his denialist house of cards afloat.

    A good example of the denialist yelling that his sinking ship is unsinkable is in Worrall’s first comment above, to wit: “All you’re seeing is a mild bounce, caused by tropical storm Sandy (not even a tornado when it hit New York, and a long way from the worst storm to hit New York in modern history). Its a bit like the aftermath of Katrina – exciting while you have people’s attention, with your dire unfounded predictions of doom, but their attention will soon wander when they realise you’re fully of hype.”

    This is an example of the climate science deniers ultimate denial of science and reality. Equally, Worrall is in complete denial of political reality and the ultimate fate of his political war against climate science. “Let’s not worry about Sandy,” Worrall proudly exclaims, “there have been worse storms in modern history.” No, Eric, let’s not consider that millions of people who inhabit places where they once did not, even recent history. Let’s not consider risk and uncertainty, Worrall advises, but ignore the thousands of people affected by storms like Sandy. It matters not the destruction of infrastructure on which a metropolitan of 14 million depends for it’s day-to-day existence; it matters not the cost to the economy nor do the lives of those affected. No, Worrall exclaims, “weather happens – get used to it.” Droughts and floods in agricultural regions are irrelevant, Worrall tells us.

    The election outcome shows how badly the fringe wingnuts of the Right were blind sided by their own denial of reality. Fortunately, as many of us long suspected, the wingnuttery of the Tea Party made itself visible for all to see after its success in the 2010 midterm elections. We thought that would be the source of its own demise; sure enough, the moderates of the Republican Party – and many wingnuts – recognized how much they were sucked into Worrall’s type of denialism. Now, they are fighting back against those who sucked them in to begin with.

    I warned Worrall over two years ago on the extreme denialist James Delingpole blog that he and his buddies’ denialism was headed for the dustbin of history. The Climate Science Denial Movement, of which Worrall and Delingpole are proud members, was no different than the Evolution Denial Movement, or the more recent 9/11 “Truth” Movement. They’re are inhabited now only by blinkered conspiracy theorists, the same ones who believed in the beginning that massive conspiracy theories involving thousands of people in highly intricate plots without being discovered in the act are both plausible and possible. Like Worrall, they never could present a stitch of evidence nor explain how such conspiracies could work. For them, merely postulating them is sufficient evidence.

    So, yes, Eric Worrall, your war against climate science is over. You’ve been sliding downhill since 2006 and you now just went over the cliff. You have a parachute. Will you choose to use it and save yourself?

    In the meantime, we will work the rid Congress of the remaining climate science denialists in the next mid-term elections.

    • john byatt says:

      Tks bje

      This environment minister would give our own QLD Newman government denialist climate change (environment) minister a run for his money


      • Eric Worrall says:

        Budgee, as John points out, the appointment of a skeptical UK environment minister is hardly evidence that you have won, and that the war for public opinion is over.

        And one of the most damaging legacies of Climategate is that it showed scientists whom people were trusting to be impartial behaving like activists. The Climategate scientists have strong political views, and aren’t afraid to discuss them with like minded colleagues, or to discuss how to conceal their bias behind a facade of impartiality.

        One of my favourite is Climategate email 1139835663.txt

        Mike Mann speaking:-

        The panel is solid. Gerry North should do a good job in chairing this, and the other members are all solid. Chrisy is the token skeptic, but there are many others to keep him in check

        In other words, they wanted to create the impression that the panel was inclusive, and had included a “token skeptic” to camouflage the bias of the panel, but were happy that it was stacked in their favour.

        Here’s a another good one:-

        Climategate Email 0837094033.txt

        Britain seems to have found it’s Pat Michaels/Fred Singer/Bob Balling/Dick Lindzen. Our population is only 25% of yours so we only get 1 for every 4 you have. His name in case you should come across him is Piers Corbyn. He is nowhere near as good as a couple of yours and he’s an utter prat but he’s getting a lot of air time at the moment. … He’s not all bad as he doesn’t have much confidence in nuclear power safety. Always say that at the beginning of his interviews to show he’s not all bad!

        So pretending there is not a political dimension to alarmist climate science, and the behaviour of alarmist climate scientists, simply wont wash. They play political games as much as anyone else, maybe more so. Now that many of their private prejudices are all out in the open, thanks to the Climategate emails, they can no longer pretend to be impartial advisors.

      • john byatt says:

        Wrong eric, it is only evidence that the right wing have a weird bias against modern technological advances in wind and solar power for no other reason than they equate those solutions with greens and hippies,
        Accepting these solutions is equated in their minds with “the greens were right all along”

        they hate and cannot come to grips with that, much like yourself.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          I wouldn’t have a problem with wind or solar if they were useful.

          Setting aside the exorbitant cost of wind and especially solar, the missing piece of the puzzle is an effective solution to energy storage. Without high density energy storage, wind and solar have to be backed by matching fossil fuel powered generation capacity.

          Since the fossil fuel capacity will be under utilised (playing second fiddle to wind and solar), fossil fuel operators will quite reasonably demand their plants also be subsidised, to compensate them for income lost when they have to switch their plants off because the wind happens to be blowing.

          This creates the insane situation where government will almost certainly have to subsidise both alternative energy, and their fossil fuel backup – a double whammy of wasteful expenditure of taxpayer’s money, where previously there was no need to subsidise anything.

          If decarbonisation is the goal, it is far simpler and more cost effective to build a handful of nuclear plants, than to cover the landscape with ineffective alternative energy systems, and their subsidised fossil fuel backup systems.

          When energy storage advances make high density energy storage cheap and practical, and advances in especially solar power produce cheap, high efficiency cells, alternative energy will be worth another look. But for now its a total waste of time.

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Well said.

  6. gofer says:

    As Edenhoffer, of Germany, stated, “Global warming is more about wealth redistribution than climate change.” Big Banks are wrapped up in “carbon trading” and they have salivated over a market worth trillions of dollars. Billions are spent annually on global warming “solutions.” Since 96% of CO2 occurs naturally, people are so stupid to think they can stop storms or the sea from rising. That’s fliriting dangerously on the edge of insanity. Paul Erhlich said in the 70’s that “England wouldn’t exist by 2000”, along with several other crazy predictions, the same type predictions we hear today from the doomers who are terrified that somewhere somebody might be enjoying life. I feel sorry for them. They’re nutters just like the “preppers”.

    Don’t throw that consensus around. It means nothing. In one of those “consensus” studies, they only agreed that man had “contributed” to warming, but made no efforts to define that or do predict the outcomes. The other study, they only agreed with the “basic tenets of the IPCC” and no predictions about catastrophe. There’s no evidence that such a process exists that could cause runaway warming. It defies natural laws.

    Even Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Science stated in at BBC interview that there’s “no evidence to support” catastrophic global warming. People just keep making their own facts up and spreading them around. Nobody knows, according to Phil Jones where the 2C limit on warming came from. He said, it appeared to be “pulled from thin air.”

    Show a list of scientists that will put their names on “catastrophic” global warming. You won’t find more than a handful of kooks that will venture there. And why is it, the consensus is unable to produce any real list of the consensus. Surely if the skeptics can produce a list of over 31000 names, the alarmists could come up with something other than the “TEAM” of climategate.

    What if we are entering a COLDER world and the planning has been for the opposite? That was where they were headed in the 70’s. It’s the exact same rhetoric today, only it’s been changed to warming.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      Given the likelyhood the world will start to cool in the next decade, I’m looking forward to scientists like John Holdren, who started their careers supporting the global cooling scare, flipping back to global cooling scares.

      They’re prepared the way with the recent flurry of papers blaming Chinese particulates for the lack of warming. All they have to do is crank up the particulate forcing a little in their models, and they will be able to claim that not only are we responsible for dangerous global cooling, but underneath the hood of our dangerous particulate emissions is the rising problem of suppressed global warming.

      At this point I think most of their remaining audience will start laughing – but you never know.

      • john byatt says:

        And I am looking forward to eric putting his cash where his mouth is

        2012 will be warmer than 2011, $1000 here and now

        eric? gofer? any denialist?

    • john byatt says:

      The easiest way to understand why the relative small amount of human carbon emissions is overwhelming the natural carbon cycle is with a thought experiment.
      Imagine a bath tub almost filled with water, pull the plug and adjust the water going into the bath with the water going down the drain-hole so that the water level in the bath remains static that represents the annual carbon cycle. To the bath tub add one cupful of water at a time, to represent the small human contribution, until the tub overflows. Now did the water overflow because of the amount going in and out via the tap and the drain-hole, or was it due to the extra cupfuls that you were adding? This basic experiment seems lost on those who call themselves The Climate Sceptics. One moment they claim that humans are only increasing the atmospheric levels by a small amount each year, the next moment they are claiming that the increase in levels are not due to humans at all but are rather a response to current global warming, only then to claim that there is no global warming.
      If you can ever work out the thought processes that allow them to hold these three contradictory ideas at the onetime then there is probably a Nobel Prize awaiting you.

      • Eric Worrall says:

        There is no evidence that “the bathtub is overflowing”.

        In geological terms, the current state of the Earth is best described as a state of “CO2 starvation”. We are perilously close, within a few hundred ppm, to the level of CO2 which causes plants to start to die. If the geological forces which caused CO2 to decline to such dangerously low levels had been a little more powerful, all life on Earth could have perished.

        There is no evidence a restoration to more normal CO2 levels will in any way endanger the biosphere. There is plentiful evidence from up until around 70 million years ago that CO2 levels far higher than the present level are associated with abundant land and sea life, and a completely habitable biosphere.

      • john byatt says:

        The last time carbon dioxide levels were apparently as high as they are today — and were sustained at those levels — global temperatures were 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than they are today, the sea level was approximately 75 to 120 feet higher than today, there was no permanent sea ice cap in the Arctic and very little ice on Antarctica and Greenland,” said the paper’s lead author, Aradhna Tripati, a UCLA assistant professor in the department of Earth and space sciences and the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences.
        “Carbon dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas, and geological observations that we now have for the last 20 million years lend strong support to the idea that carbon dioxide is an important agent for driving climate change throughout Earth’s history,” she said.

  7. Sundance says:

    In the USA the White House has responded to rumors of a carbon tax by announcing that there will be no carbon tax. The US is backing away from UN negotiations and CO2 reduction commitments. The head of the EPA is under investigation, the US military shut down their climate change division and Keystone is gaining momentum to go forward. In Obama’s first term fossil fuel production increased 30% over Bush.

    Then there is the news below about 1,200 new coal plants being built worldwide.


    Anyway congratulations on your victory over deniers.

  8. We shouldn’t be surprised that Eric Worrall evaded the fact that science is impervious to political beliefs and ideology. Pretending that political denialism or any political beliefs held by any scientist is going to make the earth flat is the height of ubsurdity.

    As justification for his science quackery, Worrall resorts to the canard of “Climategate”, the point in time where denialists effort to “prove” a massive conspiracy of climate scientists to perpetuate a “hoax” fell flat on its face and marked the real beginning of the climate science denialists’s downfall.

    • Eric Worrall says:

      If science is “impervious to political beliefs and ideology”, how do you explain creationism, or catastrophist Eugenics? Or Lysenkan Biology? Or highly qualified “deniers” like Singer and Pat Michaels?

      Science, in the sense of scientific truth, might be impervious to political beliefs and ideology, or other forms of corruption, but scientists and even scientific organisations most certainly are not.

      • Eric,

        My entire lengthy comment was precisely about the political influence of denialism on climate science. How can you possibly sit here and pretend otherwise?

        My point which you deny is perfectly clear: science will always win over political beliefs and ideology. As long as you believe science is “all politics, all the time,” you will continue to be entirely blinkered, Eric.

        Patrick Michaels is a perfect example of “…those whose interests, political and/or financial, are to promote denialism;” That he admitted that around 40% of his funding comes from the oil industry and that his “science” is politically influenced is well known. But like the 30 year political war waged by the tobacco industry against science, your silly war against climate science is coming to its inevitable end

        You are losing your war against climate science, Eric, as you have been for years. That no one can make a case against the overwhelming science that AGW is real, carries a global risk, and is informed by uncertainty has been in front of you for years. That your political ideology cannot deal with the policy implications is why you are a denailist. Denying reality is always a losing proposition.

        As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

        Get a grip on reality, Eric. You’ll feel a lot better.

      • zoot says:

        Eric thinks creationism is science.

        Why am I not surprised?

      • zoot says:

        If science is “impervious to political beliefs and ideology”, how do you explain creationism, or catastrophist Eugenics? Or Lysenkan Biology? Or highly qualified “deniers” like Singer and Pat Michaels?

        Creationism is a pseudoscience, like catastrophist climate science, or catastrophist Eugenics.

        So science is still impervious to to political beliefs and ideology.
        On the other hand, pseudoscience …

        • Eric Worrall says:

          The tricky bit is determining what is science, and what is pseudoscience.

          The number of people who believe something is an obvious non started – hundred of millions of fundamentalist Christians believe that evolution is a myth.

          The fact that large numbers of August scientific institutions make strong statements of concern is also open to challenge – at its peak, catastrophist Eugenics had a strong representation in many of the world’s most prestigious universities.

          The fact that scientists who promote a view work for government is a non starter – politicians are notoriously good at getting the answers they want from the people who work for them, and several of the Climategate emails allude to significant external pressure to tell the right story.

          The fact a number of scientists support a view is not significant. All popular scientific theories enjoy widespread support until they are overturned, and some of the Climategate emails hint at substantial dissent – for example, an email I have previously produced which suggests most of the solar terrestrial physics community do not agree with the CO2 consensus.

          The only way to be confident in a scientific theory is to ensure strict adherence to scientific best practice, to be as open as possible about method and data, and to engage openly with (at least) suitably credentialed scientists who challenge the theories.

          I would suggest that the numerous examples of Climategate scientists hiding method and data, exploring ways to deflect FOIA requests, attempting to suppress publication of other viewpoints, and calling anyone who disagrees a “denier” (with obvious connotations of a parallel with holocaust denial), and several examples of cherry picking data, to filter out data which undermines one’s own position, do not meet the usual high standard of scientific best practice.

      • zoot says:

        You tried to argue that science was not impervious to political beliefs and ideology. The evidence you cited was, by your own admission pseudoscience. Therefore, your argument fails.
        Blathering on about subjects you don’t understand (Climategate?? FFS!) does not change that basic fact.

        You were wrong.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          The underlying assumption of your position is that what you consider science (aka alarmist climate science) is in fact science – something I dispute.

      • zoot says:

        On what grounds do you dispute climate science?

        • Eric Worrall says:

          1. The poor quality of alarmist scientific practice – substantial efforts to keep it all “in house”, and avoid outside scrutiny, significant efforts to deflect FOIA requests, large opaque “adjustments” to data, cherry picking data to fit the theory, and other unsound practices – hiding declines and suchlike.

          2. The poor predictive track record of the models – despite almost 2 decades of research, the spread of climate sensitivities considered possibilities is still embarrassingly large. If the models were any good, we would have expected a substantial convergence on a single value for climate sensitivity by now, or a consistent way to calculate it.

          3. The political pressure to tell nice tidy stories – politics and science is never a good mix, there is a long track record of poor outcomes.

          4. The fact it hasn’t warmed for 15 years, despite a 10% increase in CO2. While this isn’t conclusive, it certainly undermines the case for urgency.

      • zoot says:

        Better still, what climate science do you not dispute?

        Remember, it must (by your definition) adhere strictly to scientific best practice, be as open as possible about method and data, and engage openly with (at least) suitably credentialed scientists who challenge the theories.

    • zoot says:

      No Eric. Stop waving your hands around.

      What climate science do you not dispute?

      • Eric Worrall says:

        I agree CO2 forcing, considered in isolation, should produce around 1c warming / doubling.

      • john byatt says:

        pity that you cannot consider it in isolation then

      • john byatt says:

        and your are more than ten percent out, big difference

      • zoot says:

        No Eric, we are talking about science here. Science, which is impervious to political beliefs and ideology, remember?
        How does your anodyne (and fallacious) statement about CO2 forcing adhere strictly to scientific best practice?
        How is it as open as possible about method and data.?
        When did you engage openly with (at least) suitably credentialed scientists who challenge the theory?

        What climate science do you not dispute?

        • eworrall1 says:

          Zoot, you asked me what alarmist climate science I do not dispute, and I told you.

          The rest of alarmist climate science is hokum, based on unobserved assumptions of wild amplification of the underlying CO2 effect by water vapour, and the unjustified assumption that it must be CO2, because solar effects are not strong enough to drive climate change.

      • zoot says:

        No, I asked you what climate science you don’t dispute.
        I was trying to find out which part of climate science is not alarmist according to you. However, it appears you deem climate science as a whole to be alarmist, which would indicate there is no scientific basis to your position.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          Zoot, where skeptics and alarmists part company is the issue of what happens to water vapour.

          Alarmists believe water vapour, a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, amplifies CO2 warming – that warming from CO2 causes more water to vaporise, which in turn causes even more warming.

          They predict an equatorial tropospheric hotspot, caused by water vapour accumulating in the upper atmosphere of the tropics. http://www.skepticalscience.com/tropospheric-hot-spot.htm

          Skeptics like Lindzen believe that the Earth’s climate has potent self stabilisation mechanisms which are not being correctly modelled – that extra water vapour has a tendency to form more clouds, which moderate CO2 warming by reflecting more sunlight back into space. Although water vapour is a powerful greenhouse gas, clouds are high albedo, and are good reflectors of sunlight.

          In addition, there are powerful mechanisms for dumping excess heat from the lower troposphere which bypass the greenhouse blanket – for example, if you’ve ever seen a thunderhead, you are seeing a storm transport heat to the top of the troposphere, where it can radiate into space, unimpeded by the bulk of the Earth’s atmosphere, and any significant heat capture effect from greenhouse gasses. So it is possible that any positive feedback would simply cause a mild rise in storm activity, until equilibrium is established.

          Either way, the current flat period in global temperatures shows no sign of ending anytime soon, and is deeply embarrassing for alarmists, who thought the 1980s was the point at which CO2 broke the climate system, and that the spike from 1980 to 1995 would continue until we cut CO2 emissions (hence the failure of Hansen’s emissions scenario models).

      • zoot says:

        Eric, upthread you set your conditions for what constituted science.
        You refuse to apply those conditions to support your denialism.
        I have been trying to draw from you the science (as a process) which supports your position.
        As an example, where has your assertion that warming ceased 15 years ago been tested according to the conditions you set for science?
        How does it adhere strictly to scientific best practice? Do you have any criterion for scientific best practice?
        Where have you explained as openly as possible your method and data? Which reputable scientific journal published them?
        Where have you engaged openly with (at least) suitably credentialed scientists who challenge your theory? Is your assertion peer reviewed?

        Where is the scientific basis for your assertion? It’s OK if you’re quoting someone who has been scientific, I’m not suggesting you are a scientist. But where is the science?

        • Eric Worrall says:


          The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade, amounting to a temperature increase of 0.05°C over that period, but equally we could calculate the linear trend from 1999, during the subsequent La Nina, and show a more substantial warming.

          Like I said, there has been no significant warming since 1997.

          What this means is still open to interpretation. But its an awfully long time for global warming to stall, given the substantial rise in CO2 since 1997. Even a climate sensitivity of 3c / doubling should have produced a warming of at least 0.3c, let alone Trenberth’s new push for more extreme sensitivities.

      • zoot says:

        Eric, you are labouring under the misapprehension that global warming is only to do with the temperature of the planet.
        You appear to have no clues regarding latent heat or the danger of adding energy to a system which is (was?) finely balanced to provide optimum conditions for human life and its attending support services.
        You are prepared to risk the future of your daughter and her children on a bet that the calorific content of the planet, for some unexplained reason, stopped rising in 1997.
        You accuse the thousands of scientists who follow the conditions you define as necessary for real science of being slaves to political beliefs and ideology because they report results which don’t suit your ideology.
        Despite repeated requests you offer no evidence that anybody following your definition of real science has come up with any evidence that does suit your ideology.

        You Eric, are a tosser.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          You appear to have no clues regarding latent heat or the danger of adding energy to a system which is (was?) finely balanced to provide optimum conditions for human life and its attending support services.

          This statement is just plain silly.

          Our ancestors evolved in the African equatorial jungles and savannah, so suggesting that current conditions are “optimum” for human life is just silly. Most of the planet is too cold for us to live without significant adaption. Away from our natural environment, we have to wear clothes, to protect us from the cold.

          In addition, the original flower of civilisation arose during the Holocene Optimum – a period far warmer than today, with a significantly higher sea level.

          You are prepared to risk the future of your daughter and her children on a bet that the calorific content of the planet, for some unexplained reason, stopped rising in 1997.

          Its called “falsification” – the planet stopped warming in 1997, because the models which predicted it would continue to warm are wrong.

          As for risk to my daughter, even if I’m wrong, a little warming won’t hurt her. But the kind of nightmare regimentation you guys would impose on society – strict birth control, unless you are really nice to the official deciding on your quota, limited personal travel, personal carbon trading (yet another expense in an already too expensive world), officials poking their nose into everything, and abusing their excessive power – is not a world I want to bequeath to her. Living in green Europe was enough of a warning of what could happen.

      • zoot says:

        I didn’t think anybody could be, but you really are that stupid. You have no conception of what you think you are arguing against. I pity your daughter.

        • Eric Worrall says:

          When Einstein was asked “what do you think of Hitler’s new book, 100 Authors against Einstein”, Einstein reportedly said “If I was wrong, then one would have been enough”.

          As for desmogblog, did you know they actually got a few mentions in Climategate? This is my favourite.


          I’m a DeSmogBlog writer (I got
          your email from Kevin Grandia) and I am trying to fend off … It looks to me like Gerd Burger
          is trying to deny climate change by “smoothing,” “correcting” or otherwise rounding off the temperatures that we know for a flat fact have been recorded since the 1970s, but I am out of my depth (as I am sure you have noticed: we’re all about PR here, not much about science)

      • zoot says:

        I repeat, you have no conception of what you think you are arguing against.

  9. Sundance says:

    It looks like the deniers don’t know they lost yet and they went to Doha.

    ‘CFACT takes on UN climate summit in Qatar’


    I guess Heartland didn’t get the “war is over” memo either. 🙂

    ‘Heartland Institute Hosts Eighth International Conference on Climate Change in Germany’


    To me it really doesn’t matter what the deniers do because they will not stop the technology that is being developed which will allow us to reduce/control CO2 effects and provide clean energy that is cheaper than fossil fuels and far more efficient machines that make life easier. It isn’t rocket science. I was able to get my CO2 emissions down to 5 tons/year without giving up a single luxury or using public transportation. I recycle 95% of what I consume, use LED lights, use energy star appliances, drive a ULEV car, use high efficiency HVAC, etc. I will convert to solar as soon as it is available for $1.50/watt installed (likely within 5 years) which will bring me down to 3.5 tons/year. No one has to force me to do any of this and the reality is that doing these things saved me a ton of money. The US can easily get to 3Gt/year CO2 emissions which is 40% below it’s 1990 emissions and roughly 10t/person, without any carbon tax if they educate people to make smart choices that will save them money in the long run.

  10. Sundance says:

    Mike deniers in China and the rest of the BRICS seem unaware that they are defeated. Please revist the Atlantic Magazine article that I linked above and look at the planned coal buildout for the BRICS, if you can take the time from celebrating your victory over deniers that is. 🙂


  11. The deniers’ failure in this regard is abysmal. They are lying every day. They are lying always, and mainly they are lying to their public opinion. The shock has backfired on them and, God willing, our heroic activists and bloggers are prevailing everywhere. Whenever we attack, they retreat. When we pound their think tanks with our peer reviewed science, they retreat even deeper. I can assure you that those denialist villains will recognize, will discover in appropriate time in the future, how stupid they are and how they are pretending things which have never taken place. We are winning!

  12. john byatt says:

    Wigley and Santer 2012

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