Climate denial by Left & Right dominates the public debate.

Summary: One of the oddities in American politics is how Left and Right clearly see each others’ faults, but remain blind to their own similar faults. The mainstream media reports the follies of the Right, but less often those of the Left — which are highlighted by their increasing abandonment of science in their quest to alarm the public about climate change. For example, their long effort to hide climate scientists’ work about the pause in warming of their atmosphere since roughly 2000. It’s a kind of denial, much as we see on the Right.

“… first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” — Matthew 7:5.

Global Surface Temperature

UK Met Office forecast, January 2015
UK Met Office forecast, January 2015

Observed (black) and predicted (blue) global average annual surface temperature difference relative to 1981-2010. Previous predictions starting from November 1960 are in red, and 22 model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) are in green. Shading in red represents the probable range, such that the observations are expected to lie within the shading 90% of the time. The forecast (blue) starts from November 2014. All data are rolling 12-month mean values. The black line is from Hadley Centre, GISS and NCDC data. {Caption slightly edited}

Left and Right work to mislead us

During the past few years scores of polls attempted to find the source of the public’s polarized views about climate change. Perhaps there’s a simpler answer. One group knows about the pause, and so has skepticism (for some grossly exaggerated) about the certainty of catastrophic future warming. The other group reads only activists and so remains ignorant of scientists’ research about the pause. For example, Joe Romm at ThinkProgress and Phil Phait in November 2013 and  February 2014 (he’s slacked off lately).

Climate scientists speak, even if we don’t listen

Meanwhile climate scientists continue their work, while Left and Right distort their findings to manipulate public opinion. As we see in the new “Decadal Forecast” of the UK Met Office. From the summary:

Global Warming Pause

“Averaged over the five-year period 2015-2019, global average temperature is expected to remain high and is likely to be between 0.18°C and 0.46°C above the long-term (1981-2010) average of 14.3°C. This compares with an anomaly of +0.26°C observed in 2010 and 2014 …

“Although the forecast generally indicates that global temperatures will remain high, it is not yet possible to predict exactly when the slowdown in surface warming will end.”

The UK Met Office also wrote about the pause in its 3 December 2014 report “2014: A year of record-breaking temperatures?

The changes seen in the surface temperatures of the Pacific Ocean might suggest that the ‘pause’ in global mean surface warming is coming to an end. There is as yet no evidence to support this …

Global mean surface temperatures rose rapidly from the 1970s, but have been relatively flat over the most recent 15 years to 2013. This has prompted speculation that human induced global warming is no longer happening, or at least will be much smaller than predicted. Others maintain that this is a temporary pause and that temperatures will again rise at rates seen previously. A wide range of observed climate indicators continue to show changes that are consistent with a globally warming world, and our understanding of how the climate system works.

Section 3, “The ‘pause’ in global warming”, states their conclusions.

So what can we conclude about the causes of the ‘pause’ in global warming and the likelihood that it will end?

… More research is needed that must involve a combination of theory, observations and modelling. Observations alone are too sparse in the oceans to describe and understand decadal and longer timescale variations in the ocean circulation and hence ocean heat uptake. Since these potentially lie at the heart of current ‘pause’ and therefore how it will eventually end, it is vital that this research is pursued as a matter of urgency.

Met Office report about the pause in global warming

These reports update the long-standing view of the UK Met Office, expressed at length in these reports in 2013:

Many, perhaps most, climate scientists share the Met Office’s view. Research into the pause, especially its causes and likely duration, has become one of its hottest subjects. How astonishing that the Left in effect closes its eyes — even denies — all this work. Here are links to scores of peer-reviewed publications (with abstracts), a sample of the vast research now in progress about the “pause”.

  1. Still good news: global temperatures remain stable, at least for now..
  2. Scientists explore causes of the pause in warming, perhaps the most important research of the decade.
  3. One of the most important questions we face: when will the pause in global warming end?.

The Truth is Out There


It’s sad that Left and Right depend on partisans for their information, both of whom have come to deny many aspects of climate science. Here we look at literal denial by the Left; the clown car of the Right has many equally bold deniers.

We need not rely on them. We have a super-abundance of journalists, an even larger number of amateur reporters, and quote clear publications by the major climate agencies. So why are we quite ignorant about vital public policy issues, as pollsters prove repeatedly? Yet we are, both Left and Right.

This disinterest in reliable information — even gullibility — makes it easy for the 1% to rule us. But we can change. We can swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America.

“Yet in our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.”
— Leo Tolstoy, “Three Methods Of Reform” (1900).

An hourglass for the world
Cover of Turning the tide on climate change by Robert Kandel. Wikimedia Commons image.

For More Information

(a)  Links to a wealth of information:

  1. The keys to global warming.
  2. Studies & reports, by subject.
  3. My posts about climate change.
  4. See all posts about the pause.

(b)  A few posts deserving special attention:

  1. Climate lies are the tool of choice by both sides to influence your opinion. Why is that?
  2. Scientists speak to us about the warming pause, while activists deny their work.
  3. A key to understanding the climate wars (about one of our big weaknesses).
  4. Facts are the enemy of both Left and Right in our America.

(c)  Posts about climate change as seen by the Right:

  1. About those headlines of the past century about global cooling….
  2. The facts about the 1970′s Global Cooling scare.
  3. Start of another swing of the media narrative – to global cooling?
  4. Global Cooling returns to the news, another instructive lesson about America.
  5. A look into the GOP mind: untethered from reality and drifting in the wind.
  6. Is the Tea Party wrong about global warming? Yes! And no..
  7. The climate wars get exciting. Government conspiracy! Shattered warming records! Global cooling!

(d)  Posts about climate change as seen by the Left:

  1. The North Pole is now a lake! Are you afraid yet?
  2. Climate science deniers on the Left, captured for viewing.
  3. Climate change sinks the Left, while scientists unravel mysteries we must solve.
  4. Watch the Left burn away more of its credibility, then wonder why the Right wins.
  5. Apocalyptic thinking on the Left about climate change risks burning their credibility.
  6. “Climate change is slowly but steadily cooking the world’s oceans”.
  7. The Left sees “Climate buffoons” and “deniers”. What do they see in the mirror?
  8. This is what defeat looks like for the Left, and perhaps also for environmentalists.
  9. Nine years after Katrina, climate activists have earned their reward. We might pay dearly for it.

3 thoughts on “Climate denial by Left & Right dominates the public debate.

  1. Increasingly I encounter blunt denial of documented facts from both left and right in America.

    When I cite an article like the New York Times’ “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” New York Times, 29 May 2012, liberals either claim ignorance (“I don’t know what `secret kill list’ you’re talking about”) or deny the facts outright (“that’s just Republican propaganda, president Obama isn’t murdering U.S. citizens without a trial!”).

    Likewise, when I cite evidence like “Debunking the Reagan Myth,” Paul Krugman, 21 January 2008, where Krugman points out that the economic “boom” of the 80s went mostly to the rich and left the middle class no better off than they had been under Carter, Republicans fanatically deny these documented facts, dismissing the charts of income growth for the mile class as “lying liberal statistics.”

    Patrick Moynihan quipped “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.” But increasingly, people in 2015 do think and act as though they really are entitled to their own facts, different from and separate from everyone else’s facts.

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