Andrew Bolt’s “The Death of Global Warmism”: false claims about the planet not warming and cherry picking his facts (part 3 of 11)

Summary of Bolt’s argument: The world has stopped warming; a famous scientist states this; even the IPCC makes this claim.

Summary response: Andrew Bolt cherry picks his data.

Logical fallacies present: Cherry picking (x2); association fallacy (x1).


Bolt’s claim: “Yes, the planet warmed about 0.7 degrees last century, but then halted. Professor Richard Lindzen, arguably the world’s most famous climate scientist, has argued for two years that “there has been no warming since 1997″. Others date the pause as late as 2000.”

Response: Andrew begins his list of 10 signs the global warming scare is “over” with an egregious falsehood which has been debunked more times that can be counted: the myth that warming stopped in 1997.

One of the sources for this myth is a 2012 Mail on Sunday article by David Rose. I won’t cover the same ground so many others already have. However I would point readers to the following:

As Gleick’s article notes, it is an example of cherry picking facts – its both a logical fallacy and intellectually dishonest.

Bolt – and sceptics who make the same claim – ignore the even more compelling evidence of a warming planet: rising levels of ocean heat content.

Bolt only refers to land temperatures, data that pertains to only 29% of the planet’s surface.

The other 71% of the planet is covered by water.

As this graph from Skeptical Science indicates warming has not paused, but is accelerating:

Note the warming of both oceans to 700 metres and below.

Bolt tries to bolster his claim by associating it with the views of “the world’s most famous climate scientist” Richard Lindzen.

Once again, Andrew Bolt employs another logical fallacy – the fallacy of association. His argument is no more valid than this:

Richard Lindzen likes cheese flavoured corn chips: Richard is famous. Therefore, cheese flavoured corn chips are the tastiest.

By associating a value with Lindzen – his fame – Bolt hopes to persuade the reader that his argument that the world stopped warming in 2007 is factual.

Lindzen’s fame has nothing to do with the truth of the claim: it is no more persuasive than stating Lindzen enjoys a particular kind of corn chip.

Even the IPCC admits the world has stopped warming?

Claim: “Even the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admitted in its latest draft report that while its usual measurements of global temperature found some warming trends since 1998, “none of these are statistically significant”.

Response: The last sentence contains a blatant example of cherry picking. While it is now difficult to obtain a copy of the leaked documents, the IPCC did not “admit” the planet had stopped warming.

If anything AR5 further confirms humanities role as virtually certain in causing climate change, as this article from The Conversation notes:

“The draft report, which was still undergoing a peer review process, said that “there is consistent evidence from observations of a net energy uptake of the earth system due to an imbalance in the energy budget.”

“It is virtually certain that this is caused by human activities, primarily by the increase in CO2 concentrations…”

Bolt has merely lifted a single phrase from thousands of pages and used it to misrepresent the conclusions of the IPCC.

Cherry picked facts, falsehoods and logical fallacies.

And this is only the first of Bolt’s ten signs.

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31 thoughts on “Andrew Bolt’s “The Death of Global Warmism”: false claims about the planet not warming and cherry picking his facts (part 3 of 11)

  1. Nick says:

    So what is Bolt’s source for the Lindzen quote :”there has been no warming since 1997″? Something he has apparently been arguing for “two years”….which really means.Lindzen may have put something resembling that quote in writing a couple of times in that period. Where?

    Has he put it in the peer-reviewed literature? Nope. Just at numpties like Watts and the GWPF…..that indeed sounds like something that the “arguably… worlds most famous climate scientist” would do,eh?

  2. john byatt says:

    It is what Bolt and his followers do, regurgitate the myths of he said she said,
    basically they have no science left so this is the only track they can go down.

    Now if Bolt had referred to a peer reviewed paper that claimed the globe has not warmed since 1997 it would have been worth discussing but this piece from bolt is simply drivel,

  3. BBD says:

    Nobody should ever say that “the planet” has stopped warming. This is the terminological imprecision exploited by deniers to great effect. “The planet” continues to warm as expected. Atmospheric temperature has warmed more slowly than in previous decades.

    Bolt only refers to land temperatures, data that pertains to only 29% of the planet’s surface.

    The denialist misrepresentation is even worse that that. It *also* ignores the far greater heat capacity of the oceans vs surface/atmosphere and the way this affects where energy accumulates in the climate system. This is explicit in the seminal review of OHC change presented in Levitus et al. (2012):

    We provide updated estimates of the change of ocean heat content and the thermosteric component of sea level change of the 0–700 and 0–2000 m layers of the World Ocean for 1955–2010. Our estimates are based on historical data not previously available, additional modern data, and bathythermograph data corrected for instrumental biases. We have also used Argo data corrected by the Argo DAC if available and used uncorrected Argo data if no corrections were available at the time we downloaded the Argo data. The heat content of the World Ocean for the 0–2000 m layer increased by 24.0 ± 1.9 × 10^22 J (±2S.E.) corresponding to a rate of 0.39 W m−2 (per unit area of the World Ocean) and a volume mean warming of 0.09°C. This warming corresponds to a rate of 0.27 W m−2 per unit area of earth’s surface. The heat content of the World Ocean for the 0–700 m layer increased by 16.7 ± 1.6 × 10^22 J corresponding to a rate of 0.27 W m−2(per unit area of the World Ocean) and a volume mean warming of 0.18°C. The World Ocean accounts for approximately 93% of the warming of the earth system that has occurred since 1955. The 700–2000 m ocean layer accounted for approximately one-third of the warming of the 0–2000 m layer of the World Ocean. The thermosteric component of sea level trend was 0.54 ± .05 mm yr−1 for the 0–2000 m layer and 0.41 ± .04 mm yr−1 for the 0–700 m layer of the World Ocean for 1955–2010.

    More than 90%. This simply cannot be overstated.

    Watch the deniers.

    • Atmospheric temperature has warmed more slowly than in previous decades.

      This might be true, but I haven’t seen any evidence of a statistically significant change in the rate of atmospheric warming.

      In my opinion, a convincing claim would specify the dataset and timespans used to show non-overlapping 95% confidence intervals on the estimated trends.

      But I agree: the rising oceans are the thermodynamic elephant in the room. Contrarians ignore it and focus on the mouse in the corner, just like they ignore the upper bound on the estimated trend and focus on its lower bound.

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        Good points DS – statistically speaking, slower warming a bit of noise. Multidecadal trends for land temp, SST, OHC etc. follow the same pattern: up.

        And I didn’t even mention the oceans PH levels, shifting precipitation patterns across the globe, Arctic summer sea ice decline, glacier retreats, Greenland melt etc.

      • FrankD says:

        Put another way, while a 0.00 degrees/decade trend over the last 16 years or so cannot be excluded at the 95% confidence interval, a trend of +0.25 degrees also cannot be excluded at the 95% confidence level, a trend which would represent a sharp acceleration of atmospheric warming. The data is simply too noisy to determine over this time frame whether the trend remains the same, has flattened out or has, in fact, accelerated..

        In effect, in talking about a “halt”, deniers are asserting as fact a trend that is 93% likely to be wrong.

      • john byatt says:

        My vote for best comment (Frank D)

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      Thanks BBD – great reference.

    • Mark says:

      Bolt only refers to land temperatures, data that pertains to only 29% of the planet’s surface.

      Does he? Where?

      I think its touching that you are so devoted to Levitus et al given the paucity of data on which the claims are made, and the contrary but contemporaneous data that seas aren’t heating faster than the atmosphere. eg

      I can remember a time when the consensus only ever wanted to talk about the atmospheric temps. But that was when those numbers were telling the approved story. Now that they aren’t playing nice, we are told that the heating is occurring in places that we know little about and have barely started to measure.

      • john byatt says:

        probably why they never mentioned SLR

      • Nick says:

        “I can remember a time when the consensus only ever wanted to talk about the atmospheric temps.”

        No, you can’t. Taking the IPCC assessment reports since 1988 as the repository of climate science consensus, show us where they [the consensus] only want to talk about atmospheric temps.

        Need better rhetorical claims,Mark!

      • Mark says:

        Dear oh dear Nick. Reduced to playing word games whilst ignoring the bulk of the post. My work here is almost done.

        you shouldn’t take “only ever wanted to talk ” so literally. Its just an expression conveying the notion that that was their primary concern.

        When my wife says I only ever want to talk about sex she doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes talk about other things….oh wait – maybe you’ve got a point.;)

      • BBD says:


        You shouldn’t parrot the lies and distortions you get from Watts and Tisdale. Instead, look directly at the primary literature.

        This is the first line of the abstract from the Roemmich et al. (2012) study misrepresented by Watts and Tisdale:

        Changing temperature throughout the oceans is a key indicator of climate change. Since the 1960s about 90% of the excess heat added to the Earth’s climate system has been stored in the oceans.


        Below the surface the mean warming decreases to 0.39 °C±0.18 at 366 m (200 fathoms) and 0.12 °C±0.07 at 914 m (500 fathoms). The 0.33 °C±0.14 average temperature difference from 0 to 700 m is twice the value observed globally in that depth range over the past 50 years, implying a centennial timescale for the present rate of global warming.

        This is where the liars have distorted what R12 *really* says. Which is that:

        – ~90% of energy accumulating in climate system since 1950 is in the global ocean

        – OHC has been increasing for about 100y

        – Half the OHC increase 1870 – 2010 occurred since 1950

        Hardly a nail in the coffin of AGW, is it?

      • john byatt says:

        Mark is using his own ignorance of the science to make this absurd claim,
        does not read science papers so is really left in the dark about what is being stated in the literature.

        god will not stop the warming Mark, get used to it

      • Nick says:

        Mark,so I’m not to take you literally,but you want to convey the notion that there was a time when the consensus only wanted to talk about air temperature? Have I got that right?

        You want to make a claim,but you don’t mean it? Oh,boy…

      • Mark says:

        No Nick, what I suggest is that you occasionally address the meat of a post rather than seek a way to distort the meaning of some peripheral issue as a means to a smart-alec response.

        When I (and the rest of the non-Nick planet) use the expression that so-and-so only wants to talk about this or that, we don’t mean that they never talk about other things. I know that the consensus discussed other things (eg which resort town they’d next take the UNCCC caravan to) and within their own circles the temperatures at 1000m below SL may have a hot topic.

        But in the days when the atmospheric temps were playing nice, the message to the populace was that those air temps were the primary proof that we needed to de-carbonise.

        When you find me examples of the consensus telling the world in the 1990’s that we need to reign in CO2 emissions because it was getting really hot in the Mariana Trench then I’ll reconsider my view.

      • john byatt says:

        Mark “I can remember a time when the consensus only ever wanted to talk about the atmospheric temps”

        rubbish, the science has always referred to melting ice sheets, glaciers, warming oceans and rising sea levels.

        arguing from your own ignorance kemo sabi

      • Nick says:

        But in the days when the atmospheric temperatures were playing nice,the message to the populace was that those air temperatures were the primary proof we need to decarbonise

        You’ve already said that, then stressed it was not meant literally when I disagreed.

        You’re very amusing,and it’s still bullshit. The message to the populace about the need to decarbonise was and is based on projections of climate change. The ‘primary proof’…there was no ‘primary proof’ residing in temperature trajectories back’ in the days’,despite what you may remember from some news media.

  4. Deniars don’t listen to science they don’t like. They’re more likely to listen to insurers though,

  5. rational troll says:

    Where’s Eric?… Seriously.

  6. klem says:

    Um, can you simply skip to part 11 already, this is really getting tedious. Seriously.

  7. Moth says:

    Did I miss something? Has Eric fallen off a cliff? Has he been driven to creating an Iphone app against WtD? I’m missing the ever quick Eric….

    • Gregory T says:

      It’s the new “Global Warming Is Crap App”

      • Moth says:

        Too long a title. Eric’s a troll. It’s probably just called; “I hate you!”

        All you need to do is find your favoured blog and forum through the app and press the one button it has for the app to produce random irrelevant bile in one quick step, freeing up today’s busy troll to skip from site to site in a matter of moments to get enough attention for a day’s worth of inflated ego.

      • FrankD says:

        Moth, I like it, but it should be IH8U if he wants the kiddies to buy it.

  8. Sou says:

    Just posted an article on Cook et al’s new paper on the scientific consensus – 97% and rising. Plus I took a few swipes as usual at the silliness of the deniosaurs.

    I don’t know what Bolt would think of the study. As a sworn member of the scientific illiterati, he might just pretend it doesn’t exist, or else subscribe to one of the internally inconsistent paranoid conspiracy theories.

    • Nick says:

      I don’t think he could resist the latter course. If he does I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

      Let’s see if he thinks Watts’ bumbling and dishonest take is adequate for his own purposes. There will be no doubt that his eager readers will fill Andrew’s suggestion box with Watts’,or Nova’s posts…but even Bolt should be able to see how stupid those two are.

      Maybe he’ll fall for the more ‘upmarket’ misdirection of Brandon Shollenberger, and Lucia Blackboards well-poisoning.

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