Watching the Deniers: holding sceptics to account

Email: watchthedeniers@gmail.com

About me

I’m Mike Marriott, a 40+ year old living in Melbourne. I work as an information manager for a large professional services firm. I have no affiliations with any political parties, NGOs or activist groups. My politics could be best described as “centre left” or “centrist”  (I’m pro-market, but supportive of progressive social policies).

This blog is my small contribution to trying to address the issue of climate change. All views expressed are my own, and not reflective of my employer/s past or present.

I recently established Climate Realities Research after many years of planning and consideration. CRR is focused on understanding environmental and policy issues in the context of public debate. Expect to here more about CRR over the coming months and years.

I’ve got email!

It’s been asked for, so here it is: watchthedeniers@gmail.com

My approach to the climate debate

“I have need to be on fire, for I have mountains of ice about me to melt.” – William Lloyd Garrison

61 thoughts on “About

  1. Graham Coghill says:

    Mike, I love your blog and really appreciate what you are doing.

    I hope you won’t mind, though, if I point out something, because the denialati will use any excuse to ridicule people like us.

    It’s just a small item of grammar. The contraction “it’s” is used exclusively to represent “it is”; it’s never used as the possessive. So when you write: “It’s a tabloid with a daily circulation exceeding one million. It’s web site is popular” the first usage is correct; the second is wrong. You should have “It’s a tabloid with a daily circulation exceeding one million. Its web site is popular.”

    This usage is particular to the word “it”. It’s fine to say “the newspaper’s web site” (with an apostrophe), but if you use the pronoun, the apostrophe must be dropped.

    I would have preferred to email you direct with this, but couldn’t find an address.

    • Mike says:

      Graham, thanks. Your are correct – indeed I’m painfully aware of the issue. I’ve mild dyslexia, and try and catch most things. However, you are correct suggesting my writing will be enhanced by attending to these small things.

      Cheers mate – thanks for the feedback, I’m very honoured that people find value in what I have to say.


  2. T.C says:

    Great stuff mate…this is exactly where the debate needs to move. We non-climate scientists can’t hope to get to the bottom of the AGW issue. We simply are not qualified (well I’m not). I’ve read a lot on the science, and I now know enough to know I know very little, and this is how it will stay…a true and somehow comforting realisation I see you have also reached.

    The issue for me is not what does the science says, but who do we trust? And why do we trust them? I know scientists can be tribal and egotistical. Yes, I was aghast to discover they were human too. But, at the end of the day, just like with astrophysics, neurology, nano-tech, or getting a heart transplant, we have to know when to defer to the experts. This is about ‘trust’ in information sources. And I am going to put my money on climate scientists the world over before I accept the rantings of some pundit lord who relies on the ‘grey literature’.

    This is no longer about natural science. It’s about social science- why people chose to believe what they believe. Monbiot said it best when he described climate change, not as the biggest market failure, but the biggest ‘psychological failure’ (possible misquote).

    Therefore, we need to educate people about how the scientific method- the greatest invention in history- actually works and how it is supported by the pair review process. Understanding the underlying institutional structure and culture of science is, in my opinion, more important than the quixotic (sorry always wanted to use that word) and infuriating quest to understand enough ‘climate’ science to debunk the denialists suffering from the ‘Dunning-Krugar effect’.

    I have resolved to never debate the science ever again, but I will happily challenge people’s claims to speak authoritively on the subject, and while I’m there, have them update me on astrophysics and quantum mechanics too. People should legitimately engage in these fields if they fancy- it’s dame interesting stuff. But don’t pretend you’re views hold water against the experts. Thus is my first venture into the blogosphere- quite cathartic. Best of luck with the blog. T.C Oh. and please excuse any mildly dyslexic grammar mistakes.

  3. […] His blog’s title and an excerpt from its raison d’etre: Watching the Deniers: holding sceptics to account […]

  4. elsa says:

    While you have probably gathered that I am not in 100% agreement with your opinions, I would like to thank you for continuing to allow the expression of alternative views.

  5. Trish Hunt says:

    I absolutely agree with your opinions. The carbon tax does not go far enough as the money is given back via the tax system. It should be increased and used only for alternative energy projects. It’s time that the federal government built its own clean energy power stations. Then they can mandate that all those polluting power stations be wrested off our terrible conservative governments and profit hungry polluting industries.

  6. John smith says:

    If you have no scientific expertise then you cannot judge the merits of either the pro or con AGW argument. You are nothing but a political schill. Go back to marketing cigarettes and alcohol to children or whatever you used to do.

    • mildaykerr says:

      John Smith – What rubbish! Everyone has a moral obligation to judge the merits of the evidence for climate change on the basis of their own capabilities. You seem to want people to accept something without thinking.

      I want government policy based on mainstream science not on the contrarians, outliers and egoists that represent denial and obstruction. And certainly not on your views that deny people the right to think for themselves.

  7. franbarlow says:

    Some typos in your piece on Plimer … “Pilmer” (under filed and the URL) “Hat’s” … no apostrophe needed {/syntax}

    Otherwise … all very good.

  8. Ross says:

    The ‘Left’ have been in denial of science since time began.
    Nothing has changed except now they are wasting vast amounts
    of community resources on junk science while attacking
    the courageous whistle-blower scientists who are calling fraud .
    Disgusted .

    • The left? I’m indifferent to political labels.

      I accept the consensus on evolution, physics and chemistry and the strength of the scientific method.

      Are you talking about “whistle blower” scientists like Ian Plimer who sit on the boards of coal mining companies and deny climate change? Obviously Plimer does not have a vested interest in denying climate change.

      • The scientific method calls for constant testing of hypotheses and throwing out hypotheses that fail a test.

        The hypothesis that CO2 emissions by man are causing the climate to change more than it would naturally merits testing. Repeatedly. Just as Newtonian physics was tested repeatedly.

      • Professor Plimer does NOT deny climate change. He knows that climate changes. He also knows that the hypothesis of man made CO2 emissions causing dangerous warming has been falsified.

      • The hypothesis of manmade CO2 emissions causing dangerous global warming is being continuously revalidated. More extreme weather, the melting Arctic, rising sea levels – there’s precious little else to explain these.

      • ozspeaksup says:

        pot kettle black!
        so does gore? whos now recanted after making millions on biofuels, not have a vested interest?
        and then the not so small chicago carbon exchange he flogged off before it crashed to 5c a share? megabucks again, then he got into algae fuels just before they publicised and started the push.
        nooooo he wouldnt also have vested interests would he?
        and flannery and the thermal investment issue?
        what REALLY! narks me no end is the same ones sledging our only means of cheap fuel n transport and survival for society as it is, good bad or ugly.
        is the constant claims of swap to XXX and make money on green schemes.
        so how is this better?
        changing the ones making the bucks off the less well off?
        thing is those oil n coal folks ARE also holding the cards and cash on green as well, hedged bets you could say, win win for them.
        for those who are so rabid re using less resources.. this means scrapping the entire worlds already made machinery transport etc so ? tell me again how smart or good this is for saving said resources? dont see anyone retrofitting much, its all scrap n replace.
        the Rare earths alone in ONE wind turbine, from chinas mines processed and closed market..polluting there. dandy?
        ditto the solar cells ripoffs n scams, how many Billions spent of public funds subsidising all those that went broke so far?

        ever read the statement by the Club of Rome?
        maybe you better
        convince mankind they are their own enemy basically
        CO2 is the present device to do that. psyops n then some.

  9. Sammy Jankis says:

    The ‘Left’ have been in denial of science since time began.

    Examples please. Are the 50% of US citizens who deny evolution of ‘the left’? Are those who believe the earth is about 10,000 years old of ‘the left’? Was is ‘the left’ who argued that smoking wasn’t so bad and that regulation of tobacco was just another step towards socialism? I don’t suggest that no one who could be characterised as ‘of the left’ has ever been on the wrong side of a scientific consensus, but if you want to throw out such a massive generalisation I’d like to see at least some evidence.

    Nothing has changed except now they are wasting vast amounts of community resources on junk science while attacking the courageous whistle-blower scientists who are calling fraud .

    Pointing out that somebody is wrong is not ‘attacking’ them. Furthermore, many of the heroes of climate contrarianism aren’t even scientists. The small number who do hold relevant scientific credentials, don’t publish their ideas in the scientific literature. They prefer to speak to The Heartland Institute, or the IPA, and have their assertions of scientific fraud, as you put it, broadcast in the media. Like creationists, they avoid the scientific arena and go straight to the public, because for them it’s not really about the science but politics.

  10. Conrad says:

    HI Mike. Many many thanks for your web site. I get so mad at how often the Letters Editor of The Australian prints letters proclaiming that the world of late has not heated up! Time after time I send a challenge letter in reply (even giving references to NASA and Brit Met Office documents proclaiming an 0.8 degrees temperature rise) but there is no hope the fossil Editor will print them. It is great to have your website as a source of analysis and reason. For a great treatment of both denialism and climate science might I promote the book MADLANDS by Anna Rose (a relative of mine). It is a great read.

  11. bexcobham says:

    I really enjoy your blog, but I just wanted to bring another kind of denier to your attention…

    Also, conspiracy theorist climate change deniers are bad, but those who are just plain in denial are worse. What about the family with solar panels who drive their 4 wheel drive to the supermarket to pick up their organic veg. The sort of people who chuff on about the environment, but who have to have the latest iphone and electronic consumer gadgets. They are in complete denial about the energy used to produce their ‘toys’, where they come from and the resources needed to sustain their lavish western lifestyles.

    Also, how many so called environmentalists are willing to give up their car, or stop eating meat and dairy?

    Those sort of ‘in denial’ deniers are just as much of a joke as the out and out conspiracy theorists and just as delusional.

    Although CO2 emissions are something we need to be aware of, I’d also like to see more being done about the chemicals used in domestic products. Right now anyone can pour all kinds of nasties down their loo and sink in the form of cleaning products and even some toiletries are culprits. Don’t even get me started on how many of these commonly used products are still tested on animals, or use chemicals that have been recently tested on animals.

  12. Barry Woods says:

    we are ALL deniers -according to George Marshall (no the other one, the veteran greenpeace campaigner..)

    writing in the Ecologist over a decade ago..

    The Psychology of Denial: our failure to act against climate change

    Oddly he seems to have created the whole field of eco-psychology all by himself..

    In the Ecologist essay, we have a holocaust connection.. the deniers were the victims, in denial of the coming catastrophy.. and the analogy is that we are all deniers of the comingclimate catastrophy (a future climate holocaust)

    but over the years this got twisted as sceptics, being as bad as people who denied the holocaust hapened.. (ie in the UK, Hari, Lynas and Monbiot, though Lynas has changed his mind a bit since)

    • Watching the Deniers says:

      To deny is a human trait. I’ve never denied that. My posts are full of such sentiments. But thanks for reference, shall enjoy reading.

  13. James Wight says:

    You contacted me about networking a few months ago, which I had forgotten about, but I intend to get back to you soon.

    In the meantime, I have nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. The details are at http://jameswight.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

  14. high treason says:

    Without getting bogged down in the science, just look at the process. To claim “the science is settled” and “the debate is over” as an excuse to avoid proper debate is totally against the grain of what science is all about. Science can NEVER be settled. Few theories stand the test of time, especially such a new and complicated “science” as climate. If it is science, it is not settled. If it is settled, it is not science.

    Have you ever noticed that those who believe in AGW very rarely agree to to debate the science? If they were so confident of the science, they would be happy to oblige. When there is a debate, the AGW side typically come off second best.
    The refusal by Michael Mann to hand over the emails (remember, he is an employee on the university payroll) reeks of cover-up. If his science is so pure and above board with nothing to hide, why is he hiding those emails?? Could it be that the content would be Climategate on steroids?
    The often quoted “97 % of climate scientists believe in AGW” was based on a cherry – picked survey . Several thousand questionnaires were sent out with about 3-4 thousand responses, but the 77 replies used(who identified themselves as climate scientists) yielded 75 opinions that humans cause some degree of global warming. This gives that magic 97% number, a very appealing number, a bit like the “golden proportion” used by marketers in their packaging to sell products from cigarettes to perfume. Cherry picking to give the illusion of some sort of consensus is scientific FRAUD. In reality, it is 75 out of 3 thousand plus, hardly a consensus.

    Several big stories relating to the whole AGW issue have been suppressed in the media. You would think the public have a right to know if there are major problems in the warmist camp. Here are some examples.

    Around April 25, James Lovelock, the originator of AGW theory and reviver of the “Gaia” theory publicly stated that the data do not match the theory, so the effects of CO2 are exaggerated. He also branded Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and Tim Flannery’s “Weather Makers” as alarmism. Do note, the extreme carbon mitigation measures proposed are on the premise that there is something to the dire and fanciful predictions coming from the likes of Gore and Flannery, neither of whom are climate scientists.
    Around Christmas, the UK Met office revealed (on the quiet) that there has been no warming for the past 16 years. Given that CO2 emissions have continued to rise, the data do NOT support the models. Isn’t just a bit suspicious that they have sought to bury this information? So where is the runaway “hockey stick” scenario that justifies carbon mitigation schemes?

    I read recently that the Nation Academy of Science 33 years ago had dismissed the Greenhouse theory of global warming, I am inclined to believe the greenhouse gas theory is rubbish and here is why. We all remember the equation PV=nRT from high school science to demonstrate the behaviour of gases. Pressure is directly proportional to Temperature. It is an observation that with altitude( and thus lower atmospheric pressures) temperatures fall. This has been observed on Earth, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. Note, Venus has 92x earth’s atmospheric pressure at ground level, as well as being closer to the Sun. IR emissions from Earth have also been found to be higher than what would be expected if certain bandwidths were being retained.
    It should be game over for the theory, but there are too many vested interests who would be in deep trouble if the truth were to be revealed, so it is not really a surprise that they will cover-up and lie to the bitter end to save their skins and fortunes.

    “Nothing so sullies the integrity of humanity as the subversion of science for the servitude of politics.”

    Perhaps humans were put on this Earth to recycle the carbon buried beneath the Earth during the Carboniferous Era ?

    • The National Academy stated that AGW is “accepted fact” in 2010.

    • zoot says:

      To claim “the science is settled” and “the debate is over” as an excuse to avoid proper debate is totally against the grain of what science is all about.

      What bollocks! Do you really believe you should debate people who accept the Heliocentric theory? Do you question the premise that planet Earth is an oblate spheroid? Do you argue against the existence of gravity? (it’s only a theory). Are you a complete prat?

  15. Bernard J. says:

    Hi Mike.

    It’s been a while since I dropped by your blog, and I’m very impressed by your recent posts. Excellent work!

    I have a question that arose as a musing on one of Tamino’s pages. I’m wondering if you have a list of Australian politicians who are climate change deniers, and which documents their public statements on the matter? If not, do you know of others who might?

    Such would be an invaluable resource for the campaign in the lead-up to the next federal election.

  16. john byatt says:

    google the Abbott team for more names to check

    george christensen denier

    • john byatt says:

      here he is


      the problem is that even though the catholic church now recognises evolution, that only changed in the late nineties, nearly every catholic over the age of twenty was brought up to accept creationism .
      we cannot afford a generational change that will be required to rid us of those indoctrinated at an early age.

  17. john byatt says:

    according to the daily mail suggesting a liberal source
    a quarter to a third of all libs in both houses are deniers

    eric abetz is a quoted denier

    daily mail extremism eric abetz should bring it up also
    it would appear that nearly all of the inside and ouside cabinet save hunt and turnbull poisibly deniers

  18. I’m a scientist, having started my career as a Medical-Physicist and shifting after 20 years towards Public Health. Every scientific research starts with a hypothesis and a true scientist is open to accept his/her hypothesis proved correct or wrong. Knowledge and understanding evolves slowly and serious researchers know that however much he/she knows about a topic, there is always a lot more to be learned. It may be true that many scientists are ‘prima donnas’ wanting to be heard. I haven’t seen many of those. However I do believe that when you feel strong about something and believe that what you have to say is very important, you have to try to be heard and use whatever platform you have at your disposition.

    In my experience, especially in Public Health, the media has played a major role in undermining the credibility of scientists. News about research findings are often reported with conclusions extrapolating widely from the published results. The study population is generally left out. The reports fail to give context. Therefore it is no wonder that, when new research emerges, the reported information may contradict earlier reports. Add to this the intentional misinformation by marketers, trying to sell a new product and you have a general population largely misguided. For someone like me, who reads primary research, the contradictions are much less obvious and the built on knowledge is more evident.

    Back to the subject of deniers, in my opinion, the biggest problem science faces is monetary. Staying a bit longer with the case of Public Health, the combined funds of all the health departments are pitiful compared to the money spent by commercial companies in a single advertising campaign.

    Climate change is no different. In my view, the only reason why there has been so much denying of its effect has been political. Lobbying by third parties who don’t want to see their profits diminished has manipulated and shifted the discussion and raised doubts about the quality of the science behind it. Unfortunately, where there is money, it is easy to pay ‘scientists’ to came out with arguments against good and genuine science.
    Why should be so difficult to understand this point? I think we can get a clue about the absurdity of American politics by watching the debate around gun control.

  19. ” the media has played a major role in undermining the credibility of scientists.”

    No, in the so called “Climate Change” field, the “Climate Change” scientists have undermined the credibility of scientists.

    They have fabricated data. promoted a falsified AGW hypothesis, tried to eliminate the MWP, created a fraudulent “hockey stick,” and generally created distrust of scientists.

  20. BigOil are terrible people funding those who you laughingly call “deniers,” whilst you people continue denying that the AGW theory has been shown to be wrong.


    • Hmm. I think he may be tinkering with the link. There was no video on my link. Still, another cartoonist takes aim at our deniars and hits paydirt.

      Thank you for double checking the link. After all, one can’t be too sceptical, can one? 🙂

  21. Anyone remember the inane “Who is FOIA?” strapline to CG3 (“CG3, return of the non-event, playing now at a deniar near you”)? Well, it looks like there is a real FOIA story on a slow burn. http://www.desmogblog.com/foia-facts-5-finds-friends-gwpf

  22. Ah, poor Roy. He’s not being funded. But then he’s not being scientific – or truthful. Or is this just dog bites man after all? http://davidappell.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/roy-spencer-writes.html. Those who believe some deniars are overwrought evangelicals will find their requisite confirmation bias therein. The comments are worth reading too…

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  24. 陈力看着这架势,喃喃道:“别动手,我投靠你们,你们不是要坑几百人吗?我帮忙嘛,我帮你们去坑他们。”陈力赔笑着道。
    ???????? http://2gl.com.cn

  25. Anonymous says:

    Great work mate.

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