Climate change sinks the Left, while scientists unravel mysteries we must solve

Summary: Climate change appears on the FM website (about geopolitics) because it shows how America deals with highly politicized and complex challenges. 150 posts later, somethings are clear. Climate scientists are moving the frontiers of knowledge (as shown in this post) and skillfully coping with the various audiences involved in this vital public policy debate. The Right has, as usual these days, slowly collapsed into ignorance (the comments on conservative websites like WUWT are horrifying). The Left’s reaction is more interesting, and the first subject of this post.

Over the top Climate Change drama
Over the top Climate Change drama



  1. The Left liquidates itself
  2. We listen to climate scientists & learn
  3. For More Information


(1)  The Left liquidates itself

It’s sad to watch the Left liquidating their reputation with hysteria about climate change. They can chant “the facts have a well-known liberal bias” and claim to be the “reality based community” — but it all goes away as they abandon the IPCC’s work, declare belief in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming the touchstone of truth, and label any who disagree “deniers” (even eminent climate scientists).

They seek to advance their goals of increasing the government’s revenue (carbon taxes) and regulatory power, but have instead mirrored the Right’s epistemic closure.– becoming ineffective and powerless.

Look at this post to see this in action: “Hot” by Erik Loomis (Prof of History, U RI) at Lawyers, Guns and Money. Loomis misrepresents the global temperature data, not mentioning there has been no statistically significant change in the global surface air temperatures since 1996 – 2000 (depending on the dataset used). He quotes Phil Phait (astronomer; propagandist at Slate): “making you think there’s a pause in warming when no such pause exists”. For 4 years climate scientists have discussed the pause (dozens of citations here); in recent years they have moved to analysis of its causes and probable duration. Yet poor Phil and others still rant that these scientists are wrong.

While pitiful, it gets worse. Their propaganda — exaggerating the IPCC’s odds of severe warming, and it effects — has decoupled many of their followers from reality. They become doomsters. See the comments to Loomis’ post:

  • “Nobody contests that the planet is f**ked, and there aren’t many solutions to it, and even fewer good ones. There are two solutions that real, flawed humans will be able to take — mass murder, and large-scale geoengineering.”
  • “On the contrary, literally millions of people contest this, and some of them have devoted enormous sums of money to convincing other people of it and to buying off politicians who might do something to stop the ongoing f**king of said planet.”
  • “Solving carbon emissions is simple {simplistic crackpot thinking follows}”
  • “Humans can personally adjust their carbon output to prevent any problems.”
  • “No, it isn’t a debatable point at all. We’re f**ked.”
  • “As long as the majority of people vote for death, then death is what we’ll get.”

Personal experience in the comments on the FM website prove these people unreachable by any combination of facts and science.

(2)  We listen to climate scientists and learn

Let’s look at how actual climate scientists discuss these issues. The truth is out there, if we wish to see it.

In the excerpt below Nielsen-Gammon describes some of his points of agreement with Curry. This nicely shows, roughly, the area of general agreement among climate scientists today. Laypeople can learn from this. People who get their information from climate activists will learn even more from this. Read the posts to see their equally interesting disagreements.  Red emphasis added.

Yet, we’re in the middle (or perhaps the end, or perhaps the beginning) of a hiatus in the rise of global temperatures. The evidence seems to be mounting that natural variability is more important than the IPCC reports had previously contemplated, yet the IPCC’s confidence in anthropogenic global warming grows stronger.

Curry says:

“The AR5 statement of ‘extremely likely’ implies that the overall arguments have strengthened. However, several key elements of the AR5 WG1 {Working Group I} report point to a weakening of the case for attributing most of the warming to human influences, relative to the previous assessment AR4 (2007):

  • Lack of warming since 1998 and the growing discrepancies between observations and climate model projections
  • Evidence of decreased climate sensitivity to increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations
  • Evidence that sea level rise during 1920-1950 is of the same magnitude as in 1993-2012
  • Increasing Antarctic sea ice extent”

Curry summarizes the first point as follows:

  • “After expecting a global mean surface temperature increase of 0.2C per decade in the early decades of the 21st century based on climate model simulations and statements in the AR4, the warming over the past 15 years is only ~0.05C.
  • The IPCC AR5 bases its surface temperature projection of 0.10 to 0.23C per decade for the period 2016-2036 on expert judgment, which is lowered relative to the climate model results that predict substantially greater warming
  • The IPCC does not have a convincing or confident explanation for the current hiatus in warming.”

All of these summary bullets are correct. No disagreement there. Curry summarizes the second point as follows:

“…[T]he AR5 reflects greater uncertainty and a tendency towards lower values of the ECS than the AR4. The discrepancy between observational and climate model-based estimates of climate sensitivity is substantial and of significant importance to policymakers — sensitivity, and the level of uncertainty in its value, is a key input into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses and estimates of the social cost of carbon.”

This summary is correct. No disagreement there either.  … Let’s look at her three-paragraph summary. Paragraph 1:

“Multiple lines of evidence presented in the IPCC AR5 WG1 report suggest that the case for anthropogenic warming is weaker than the previous assessment AR4 in 2007. Anthropogenic global warming is a proposed theory whose basic mechanism is well understood, but whose magnitude is highly uncertain. The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate.”

I agree!  Paragraph 2:

“If the recent warming hiatus is caused by natural variability, then this raises the question as to what extent the warming between 1975 and 2000 can also be explained by natural climate variability.”

I agree!

Truth Will Make You Free

(3)  For More Information

The follow-up to this post: Watch the Left burn away more of its credibility, then wonder why the Right wins.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information about this vital issue see The keys to understanding climate change and My posts about climate change. Other posts in this series about global warming:

  1. Still good news: global temperatures remain stable, at least for now., 14 October 2012 — Scientists’ analysis of the pause
  2. When did we start global warming? See the surprising answer., 18 October 2012
  3. One of the most important questions we face: when will the pause in global warming end?, 25 August 2013
  4. Possible political effects of the pause in global warming, 26 August 2013
  5. Scientists explore causes of the pause in warming, perhaps the most important research of the decade, 17 January 2014

5 thoughts on “Climate change sinks the Left, while scientists unravel mysteries we must solve

  1. I’ve not read anything by the IPCC referencing the current dearth of pirates. How can we take them seriously?!
    Excellent post. Off to read the full exchange from above…


  2. Frankly, GMO hysteris and anti-nuclear hysteria seems far more damaging to the Left, speaking just for myself.

    GMOs promise greatly enhance disease and pest resistance in vulnerable crops, while allowing us to eliminate the use of pesticides. Yet the Left continues to agitate in a frenzy against so-called “Frankenfoods.” The anti-nuclear hysteria is simply absurd. If we want to eliminate U.S. dependency on fossil fuels, nuclear power is the simplest and cheapest and most technologically proven way to do it.

    The Left has badly damaged itself with its anti-nuclear and anti-GMO frenzy, AFAICT.


    1. Thomas,

      “GMO hysteris and anti-nuclear hysteria seem far more damaging to the Left”

      I doubt many people even know about the GMO issue, and many of those probably agree when its described to them (that doesn’t mean they are correct, of course). Hence I doubt this issue has done much damage to the Left.

      Anti-nuke “hysteria” is a weird way to describe atomic power after its long history of close calls, plus Chernobyl and especially Fukishima. Fukishima still could have a third phase of the disaster if something happens to the wrecked structures, or there is another earthquake or tsunami. These are real events, not to be waved away. Just because you consider these risks trivial, does not mean that others can rationally differ. You’re not God, to rule on such things.


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