Climate activists’ final act, as they move into the last stage of grief

Summary: Trump’s election, solidifying the Republican’s dominance at all levels of the US government, has disheartened climate activists. A new article in The Atlantic attempts to build support, but only shows the weakness of their beliefs. Perhaps the skeptics have won this round of the climate wars, but only the weather will determine which side is correct.

Climate nightmares

For 29 years advocates for public policy changes to fight climate change have struggled to convince the US public to support their agenda. They have failed. Polls show it ranks near the bottom of American’s policy priorities, and the increasingly dominant Republican Party has little interest in their recommendations.

It’s taken a while, but it looks like climate activists have worked through the process of accepting their failure. Paul Rosenberg’s January 2 article at Salon and now Meehan Crist’s article at The Atlantic suggest activists are moving into the fourth stage of the Kübler-Ross process, depression — and their leading edge is moving into the final stage of acceptance — and finding new crusades to wage.

Rosenberg’s article is discussed here. Crist’s article is less interesting, mostly just the usual throwing chaff into debate. But it is revealing in its own way. The opening is a classic tactic by climate activists.

“There has been a subtle shift recently in the rhetoric of many conservative pundits and politicians around climate change. For decades, the common refrain has been flat-out denial — either that climate change is not happening, or that any change is not caused by human activity. Which is why viewers might have been surprised to see Tucker Carlson of Fox News nodding along thoughtfully on January 6 as climate scientist Judith Curry, a controversial figure in climate science, explained, ‘Yes it’s warming and yes humans contribute to it. Everybody agrees with that, and I’m in the 98% [of scientists who agree]. It’s when you get down to the details that there’s genuine disagreement.'”

The first point is an outright lie, evident from her failure to cite any examples. Only a tiny fraction of skeptics believe that “climate change is not happening,.” The climate is always changing. As for the second, there is a fringe among climate skeptics who believe that “any change is not caused by human activity.” But the debate for the past 29 years, since James Hansen warned the Senate in 1988, is and has been about how much of the past warming is anthropogenic — and about forecasts of future temperatures.  That’s true not just of skeptics (both scientists and laypeople), but among mainstream climate scientists as well. Let’s review the evidence, starting with what she said to Tucker Carlson.

Judith Curry

CURRY: “…what you’re seeing is this dominant theme of human caused climate change — which is where all of the research is being directed. And far too little funding and effort going to understanding natural climate variability. That’s my concern. …It’s been warming for several hundred years. The key question is how much of the recent warming, say for the last 50 years, has been caused by humans. My interpretation of the evidence is that we really can’t tell, and I don’t see a clearer signal that is caused by humans predominantly.

“…Humans are contributing something, we don’t know how much. From the evidence that I’ve seen, I don’t think that it’s the dominant cause. …It’s warming, humans contribute to it. Everyone agrees with that, I’m in the 90%. It’s when you get down to the details that there is genuine disagreement that is really glossed over in the media.”

The Summary of Policymakers in IPCC’s AR5 Working Group I said “It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”  More relevant to attempts to control CO2 emissions, chapter 10 said “more than half of the observed increase in GMST {global mean surface temperature} from 1951 to 2010 is very likely due to the observed anthropogenic increase in GHG {greenhouse gas} concentrations.”

In a 2012 survey of approximately 6,550 scientists studying climate change, 66% believed that greenhouse gases caused over 50% of this warming. Only 12% believed GHGs caused less than 51% of this warming. Another 10% said “unknown”, 9% said “don’t know”, and 3% said other.  More interestingly, they asked how confident these scientists were in their conclusion that over 51% of the warming resulted from increased GHG: 34% were virtually certain, 32% were extremely certain, 20% said very likely, 8% said likely, Curry clearly holds a minority opinion, but has company among other climate scientists.

But activists such as Crist have good reason to focus on past warming: there is little agreement about forecasts of future warming. That is so important to hide that there are few surveys of scientists about this key point. The dynamics of future warming are the “details” that Crist tries to conceal. Curry explains at her website.

“Our ability to predict the effect of increasing CO2 is very limited.  The IPCC AR5 puts the value of equilibrium climate sensitivity between 1.5 – 4.5 C, with ‘likely’ confidence, implying significant probabilities outside this range.  Referring to this as very limited ability to predict the effect of additional CO2 on climate is not only defensible, but it is in accord with the IPCC’s own conclusion on this.”

After a long discussion of past climate (ignoring the key issues), Crist gives this astonishing quote.

“But according to Maureen Raymo of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, we know why climate changes naturally, and non-human activity can’t explain the rapid changes observed in the past century. “The Ice Ages happen due to subtle changes in the sun-earth distance that unfold over thousands of years, and which can lead to sometimes rapid climate change, when thresholds are crossed.” These cycles are still happening, but “the same factors that cause these huge Ice Age swings could not possibly be invoked to explain the warming we now see.”

Crist does not tell us who says that the same factors causing the “huge Ice Age {temperature} swings” explain the present warming. To say that climate scientists understand the cause of the massive ice ages is irrelevant to explaining the relatively tiny 2°C increase since the mid-19th century (CO2 levels increased steeply only after 1950). But Crist’s analysis gets even stranger.

Gavin Schmidt

“As Gavin Schmidt, Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Principal Investigator for the GISS ModelE Earth System Model, put it, ‘In science, nothing is ever known perfectly. Is there remaining uncertainty in the exact value of gravity? Yes. But to something like the fourth decimal place. It doesn’t matter. So the question is: Is the remaining uncertainty relevant to any policy decision anyone would want to make? And the answer is: no.’ …

“According to Schmidt, ‘To say that science isn’t settled on things people are still researching is totally irrelevant. Does the earth orbit the sun? There’s no substantial ambiguity about the answer to that question, despite the fact that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of scientists working on gravity. There are lots of interesting things about gravity, it’s just that that is not one of them. There are lots of interesting things about climate change, and adaptation, and interactions between air pollution and clouds, but they’re just not relevant to the question, which is: Is what’s going on related to humans? And the answer is: Yes, it is.’”

It is absurd to consider scientists’ understanding of gravity, with their history of remarkable predictions (e.g., the New Horizons space probe’s journey to Pluto and beyond), equivalent to their understanding of climate — with a history of false or unproven predictions. It’s the kind of exaggeration which has produced three decades of failure for climate crusaders.

There is a second level to this. Public policy decisions about climate change — and the massive efforts proposed to fight it — require forecasts of future warming with proven reliability. Equating climate science with gravity is propaganda, not evidence. That Schmidt resorts to such rhetorical tricks shows the weakness of his belief.

Crist concludes with one of the oddest statements I have seen from a climate activist.

“The recent shift in conservative rhetoric exploits legitimate scientific uncertainty that most scientists agree is irrelevant to crafting responsible climate policy. Despite overwhelming evidence, many conservatives are still willing to ignore scientific consensus and stall political action.”

Crist quotes one scientist, and from this concludes that “most scientists agree”. That’s a guess, or a lie, or perhaps “fake news”. As for his last sentence, what is this “scientific consensus” about the need for policy action? Crist does not tell us, let alone give any evidence for it. As with Schmidt’s claims, that these are strongest claims Crist can give for her beliefs show their weakness.

Crist begins by mocking a distinguished scientist, but in 1900 words she presents no rebuttal to Curry’s concerns.

On Grief and Grieving
Available at Amazon (2005).

Are activists grieving for their failure?

In December 2015 I wrote that Activists go thru 5 stages of grief for the climate change campaign. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. We all have heard years of denial and anger. There was a brief period of bargaining, with activists attempting to deal with skeptics. Now we are in depression, and for a few — acceptance, as they find new crusades to pursue. Several recent articles support that theory. Crist’s conclusion, citing as his authority that not-a-climate-agency, the US military, shows depression and perhaps acceptance.

“In September 2016, carbon-dioxide levels in the air crossed the dreaded 400 ppm threshold, and we are not likely to dip back below that level in our lifetimes. Crossing this red line signals an irrevocable shift toward an increasingly unrecognizable planet. …According to the Pentagon’s 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, climate change will cause catastrophic changes to Earth’s ecosystems and wreak havoc on human populations, including famine, mass migration, and war. A carbon tax may be too little, too late, …”

Our dysfunctional response to climate change shows the decay of America’s ability to see and respond to our environment. We need a reality-based community. It won’t build itself. It won’t happen soon.

See Curry’s interview. Judge for yourself.


For More Information

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, see my posts about forecasts of the future world, and especially these posts about the campaign for public policy action to fight climate change — how it went wrong and how it can be fixed…

  1. Ten years after Katrina: let’s learn from those predictions of more & bigger hurricanes.
  2. Manufacturing climate nightmares: misusing science to create horrific predictions.
  3. Can the Left adapt to the Trump era? Watch their climate activists for clues.
  4. Good news for the New Year! Salon explains that the global climate emergency is over.
  5. The bottom line: How we broke the climate change debates. Lessons learned for the future.
  6. Important: Climate scientists can restart the climate change debate – & win.

To learn more about the state of climate change…

…see The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change by Roger Pielke Jr. (Prof of Environmental Studies at U of CO-Boulder, and Director of their Center for Science and Technology Policy Research).

The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.

73 thoughts on “Climate activists’ final act, as they move into the last stage of grief

  • I wonder if some of this is because there isn’t any “fame” to be won in climate advocacy any more. I don’t know if that’s quite the right word because it seems to impute a sort of conscious desire to mislead which I doubt is widespread. Maybe it’s more that there isn’t a “battle” to fight any more. At this point, the die is basically cast. CO2 levels will keep going up for at least the next couple of decades, at whatever rate (and it is probably harder to invest in ‘flatten and gradually decline CO2 emissions!’ vs. ‘We must tell the world what’s happening!’) That will do whatever it ends up doing.

    Meanwhile, renewable energy costs are falling through the basement and wide-ranging adoption is happening, rooted at least as much in economics as ecologics. There’s room for advocacy here but it’s basically industrial lobbying and research advocacy, valuable and important but… not a new frontier. Even the ‘enemy’ (Republicans, fossil fuel companies, etc.) are starting to get on board with your cause, if on their own terms (‘energy independence,’ etc.).

    So where do you go? I hope folks looking to save the world keep looking, though, and do find problems we haven’t considered.


    • Where do we go? Well as mentioned at the end, we strive for a reality based discussion. If this issue were anywhere close to Gravity, it would be settled. Very few would resist a reality of human caused GW. And those that did would be “sent to their rooms”.
      “Our ability to predict the effect of increasing CO2 is very limited. The IPCC AR5 puts the value of equilibrium climate sensitivity between 1.5 – 4.5 C, with ‘likely’ confidence, implying significant probabilities outside this range. Referring to this as very limited ability to predict the effect of additional CO2 on climate is not only defensible, but it is in accord with the IPCC’s own conclusion on this.”
      Ms. Curry tells us in the video what was written and explained by FM.
      Thinking is not easy, especially if you have strong beliefs about one side of any issue.
      Thx again for trying to inject clarity and reality into this discussion.



  • Judy Curry responded with a thoughtful comment on the Meehan article: The new ‘climate denial’. She writes:

    “Back to my original question: exactly what is being ‘denied’? As far as I can tell, here is what is being ‘denied’: that the policies put in place under the Paris Agreement will on net be beneficial to global societies and ecosystems, and that they will have any kind of impact on the climate of the 21st century.

    “Climate denialism is no longer about science; its about action versus inaction – in particular, the UNFCCC’s preferred actions. It doesn’t seem to matter that the emissions targets are woefully inadequate for preventing what they expect to be ‘dangerous’ climate change; emissions targets are unlikely to be met; and the climate will show little change in the 21st century even if the targets are met.

    “Let me take this opportunity to redefine climate denialism: denial that the UNFCCC policies will accomplish anything significant regarding improving the climate as defined by increasing human welfare and the health of ecosystems.”

    I have followed Dr. Curry’s commentaries and blog since she first emerged as a mainstream scientist who paid serious attention to the work of Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick on Michael Mann’s on Michael Mann’s abuse of dendroclimatology in his creation of the Hockey Stick. She has paid a heavy price for championing scientific skepticism and transparency over scientific orthodoxy.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    “It is absurd to consider scientists’ understanding of gravity, with their history of remarkable predictions, equivalent to their understanding of climate — with a history of false or unproven predictions. It’s the kind of exaggeration which has produced three decades of failure for climate crusaders.”


  • Curry said, ” From the evidence that I’ve seen, I don’t think that it’s the dominant cause. …”

    There is no evidence to BE seen. There are wrong assumptions regarding how “greenhouse” gases function. CO2 and water vapor are more accurately called “radiative gases” that can convert IR radiation to heat in the air and vice versa. Most IR absorbed by these gases is immediately re-radiated in its original direction in the lower troposphere and in all directions in the upper troposphere. During the day, these gases are saturated and constantly doing IR to heat and heat to IR such that their effect on the atmosphere are zero. By the way, the computer climate models do not model day and night. They are day 24/7 and ignore the significant cooling that is going on at the other side of the planet all the time.

    It is during the night that these radiative gases operate unopposed (not solar energy input) and actively convert heat energy in the air to IR, which is last to space. As the surface is always warmer than the air, the downward IR is reflected upward and to space. This is why the air chills down so rapidly after sunset and little breezes kick up in the shadows of clouds on a sunny day with scudding clouds. This gives an idea of how rapidly these gases actually cool the planet and do not and cannot warm the planet.

    The work of Fernc Miskolczi and his colleague M Zagoni should be made more public. Posted at Scribd.

    {***** Editor’s note: the rest of this comment is a copy of Charles Higley’s comment posted at on 30 March 2010.}


  • My issue with Dr. Curry and in fact many who may be defined at a moment as “technical skeptics ” who are buried deeply in current or past science research on the topic is clear. Climate has always been an offshoot of broader green political beliefs from inception. It’s a political consolidation of deeply held and by in large left-wing cultural identification and belief in central planning solutions. Failure to acknowledge this histography, Dr. Curry is classically in this category, only further delays the vast social conclusion and closing the climate movement once and for all. Her particular “Road to Damascus” to skepticism has been about as obtuse and prolonged as could ever be defended. Even now terms like “craziness” are obfuscations of the crass motivations the Climate political culture that existed all through career and which much of her grant income and pension were dependent.

    I don’t think the struggle over authoritarian science agendas is anywhere near finished . The climate culture might well retreat back to academic incubation only to be rolled out should political fortunes change. The Greenshirt belief system and their proponents might occilate currently to “victim” status but if skeptics fail to deliver a proper accurate historical narrative they may well return at freedoms throat.


    • At what point will studying the weather be considered a danger to freedom? You may want to draw this line fairly strictly because I think there is significant economic interest in weather prediction and it may be difficult to gather support for a formal suppression of its neighbor, climate research, as a result of that.


    • Cwon,

      “Climate has always been an offshoot of broader green political beliefs from inception.”

      Can you provide some support that large claim? As for the past, I have several shelves of my home library with books about climate going back to the 1950s. Not a sign of politicization until the 1980s. (My home has 9 bookcases, plus the cartons of books in the garage. My son posted photos of these on Facebook, saying this is unusual. Kids are odd these days.)

      Even today most climate scientists do their work without much interest in politics. But larger forces set the agenda in climate science — as in other sciences (e.g., macroeconomics) — by manipulating funding, hiring, and access to conferences and journals. Science is a social process, controlled by larger dynamics of society.

      Liked by 1 person

    • @Fab, re: weather prediction– exactly! Even if for some reason we had a complete purge of weather-related research from the public sector, the private sector would want to keep predicting the weather, heedless of any hypothetical pernicious anti-freedom memetics as cwon asserts.


    • Dana,

      “Even if for some reason we had a complete purge of weather-related research from the public sector”

      You appear to be listening to the Left’s fantasizing. Nobody in the Trump administration or senior GOP circles has suggested such a thing.

      The Left’s strategy to fight Trump has been large-scale lies. Much as the Right responded to Obama.


    • “You appear to be listening to the Left’s fantasizing.” On this one I was going entirely from what Cwon was posting. I would not be shocked if there are some funding cuts at NOAA under this administration, but that is as far as I would expect.


  • This is all utterly ridiculous as the facts are very simple:

    CO2 is a “trace gas” in air and is insignificant by definition. It would have to be increased by a factor of 2500 to be considered “significant” or “notable.” To give it the great power claimed is a crime against physical science.

    CO2 absorbs 1/7th as much IR, heat energy, from sunlight per molecule as water vapor which has 188 times as many molecules capturing 1200 times as much heat producing 99.9% of all “global warming.” CO2 does only 0.1% of it. Pushing panic about any effect CO2 could have is clearly a fraud.

    There is no “greenhouse effect” in an atmosphere. A greenhouse has a solid, clear cover trapping heat. The atmosphere does not trap heat as gas molecules cannot form surfaces to work as greenhouses that admit and reflect energy depending on sun angle. Gases do not form surfaces as their molecules are not in contact.

    The Medieval Warming from 800 AD to 1300 AD Micheal Mann erased for his “hockey stick” was several Fahrenheit degrees warmer than anything “global warmers” fear. It was 500 years of world peace and abundance, longest ever.

    Vostock Ice Core data analysis show CO2 rises followed temperature by 800 years 19 times in 450,000 years. Therefore temperature change is cause and CO2 change is effect. This alone refutes the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

    Methane is called “a greenhouse gas 20 to 500 times more potent than CO2,” by Heidi Cullen and Jim Hansen, but it is not per the energy absorption chart at the American Meteorological Society. It has an absorption profile very similar to nitrogen which is classified “transparent” to IR, heat waves and is only present to 18 ppm. “Vegans” blame methane in cow flatulence for global warming in their war against meat consumption.

    Carbon combustion generates 80% of our energy. Control and taxing of carbon would give the elected ruling class more power and money than anything since the Magna Carta of 1215 AD.

    Most scientists and science educators work for tax supported institutions. They are eager to help government raise more money for them and they love being seen as “saving the planet.”

    Read the whole story in “Vapor Tiger” at, Kindle $2.99 including a free Kindle reading program for your computer. We have an inexpensive demo-experiment that proves CO2 increases have no effect on IR heat absorption until 10,000 ppm and then it cools the atmosphere by driving water vapor out!

    Google “Two Minute Conservative” for more.


    • adrianvance,

      Thank you for your appearance doing cosplay of a scientist.

      “CO2 is a “trace gas” in air and is insignificant by definition. It would have to be increased by a factor of 2500 to be considered “significant” or “notable.” ”

      You miss the point. Nitrogen and Oxygen comprise the bulk of the atmosphere, but are relatively transparent to the sun’s radiation. The ratio of greenhouse gases (GHG) to them is irrelevant. The amount of GHG does matter.

      This isn’t amateur night at the FM website. Your future comments will be moderated. Only material supported by citations to actual scientists will be posted.

      Liked by 2 people

  • The IPCC (and its cohort ) also DENY the fact that the Medieval Warming Period (MLP) was a global phenomenon and warmer than now. “Why?” is likely best expressed by their own earlier ClimateGate emails which state that they must “get rid of the MWP”. (During the shrinking of the MWP temperature bandwidth these same analysts also apparently reduced the high temperatures of the Little Ice Age (LIA). Why so focused on the MWP? If the MWP was global and at least as warm as now, the man-on-the-street question would have been overwhelmingly embarrassing, namely – “If it was hotter 1,000 years ago and co2 level hadn’t yet changed from its constant level for hundreds of thousands of years, that warming was clearly not caused by human activity, so must have been brought on by natural climate variation. That being the case, why is our current warming not also due to natural causes?”

    Mann’s hockey stick graph “analysis” apparently remains at least partly hidden from the public. We know that McIntyre’s 30+ tree analysis does not show the hockey stick, and that Mann’s process frequently results in hockey stick type graphs when presented with random numbers. Evidently Mann dropped his suit against Dr. Ball without Mann having to release his data and process. (Even the major news media didn’t agree with Manns’ earlier legal success to retain control of his data. However, the major news media, acting more like an activist, continues to believe it!)

    Let’s take another brief look at that MWP issue, keeping in mind that I’m no climatologist, not an expert in climate science or anything related, just an old retired (but interested) observer.

    The Mendenhall glacier (Alaska) recently receded sufficiently to expose the remnants of a forest which has been dated 1,000 years old, so during the MWP period. No trees have grown at that latitude anywhere near that site since then, so it is apparent that area was warmer back then than now. There is a Greenland study (gisp2) which also shows the MWP to be much warmer than it is now. Note that neither Alaska nor Greenland are anywhere near Europe (the sufficiently “civilized” area which happens to have historical records). Then there is the site which contains links to hundreds of peer-reviewed MWP studies. Some of those studies predate the Hockey Stick Graph, which were all swiftly brushed away by the hockey stick fans, but many of these studies follow the hockey stick and confirming studies continue to show up regularly. A subset of those studies specifically address temperature estimates. It’s not difficult to pick out several, each remote from the others and also remote from Europe, Greenland, and Alaska, which show temperatures higher than now. This does not involve any mysterious computer modeling results, merely actual data collected by 40+ countries and numerous organizations and researchers. While the selected MWP studies are not likely to ever cover every square foot of the globe, it should appear obvious to rationale folks that the IPCC and/or its cohort, must defend its claim that “human activity is the PRINCIPLE cause” of our current global warming. Some of these folks have apparently claimed “95% probability”. Where is the EVIDENCE? Computer model output is NOT evidence of anything apart from the author(s) understanding and/or potential biases or agenda.


  • Climate change is a false premise for regulating or taxing carbon dioxide emissions. Nature converts CO2 to calcite (limestone). Climate change may or may not be occurring, but is is surely NOT caused by human fossil fuels use. Temperature changes cause changes in ambient CO2, with an estimated 800 year time lag.

    Others have shown the likely causes of climate change, and they DO NOT include human use of fossil fuels. There is no empirical evidence that fossil fuels use affects climate. Likely and well-documented causes include sunspot cycles, earth/sun orbital changes, cosmic ray effects on clouds and tectonic plate activity. The further point here is that earth naturally recycles all carbon dioxide.

    Here’s why. Fossil fuels emit only 3% of total CO2 emissions. 95% comes from rotting vegetation. All the ambient CO2 in the atmosphere is promptly converted in the oceans to calcite (limestone) and other carbonates, mostly through biological paths. CO2 + CaO => CaCO3 (exothermic). The conversion rate increases with increasing CO2 partial pressure. A dynamic equilibrium-seeking mechanism.

    99.84% of all carbon on earth is already sequestered as sediments in the lithosphere. The lithosphere is a massive hungry carbon sink that converts ambient CO2 to carbonate almost as soon as it is emitted. All living or dead organic matter (plants, animals, microbes etc. amount to only 0.00033% of the total carbon mass on earth. Ambient CO2 is only 0.00255%.

    Full implementation of the Paris Treaty is now estimated to cost $50 trillion to $100 trillion by 2030–$6,667-$13,333 per human being. Nearly two-thirds of humanity’s cumulative savings over history. And will not affect climate at all.

    A modern coal power plant emits few air effluents except water vapor and carbon dioxide. Coal remains the lowest cost and most reliable source of electric energy, along with natural gas. Coal has always competed effectively with natural gas. Illinois Basin coal now costs less than 1/3 the equivalent cost of natural gas at their respective sources. Coal is more competitive with gas today than it was twenty years ago.


    • Miner49,

      “Climate change may or may not be occurring”

      Weird. The climate is changing, as it has always been changing since the day the Earth formed.

      “but is is surely NOT caused by human fossil fuels use.

      Thank you for your appearance doing cosplay as a scientist. Future comments are moderated unless providing support from actual scientists.

      Liked by 1 person

  • 97% of Earth’s Greenhouse Gas is Water Vapor that can also absorb and release vast amounts of heat energy going to and from water and ice. CO2 is less than 3%, and it cannot go to liquid at all, or ice in Earth’s atmosphere. Humans contribute 10% of the 3% CO2. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR CO2 do dominate.
    To see proof, the science, and how and why we are being lied to, see and on YouTube, Adapt 2030.


    • Inconvenience’s comment nicely illustrates the problem with people who seriously think they know better than experts, and the networks of organized ignorance the Right has built during the past generation.

      “IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR CO2 do dominate.”

      Who says it dominates?

      As usual with these amateurs, a quick read of a basic textbook or Wikipedia (see Greenhouse Gas, role of water vapor) would give them some intro-level understanding and clear up their misunderstandings. But they don’t, powered by the invincible power of ignorance.

      Since starting the FM project in 2003, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with such people. Most of them had almost nil understanding of the subject on which they so confidently spoke. I quoted from Wikipedia, textbooks, peer-reviewed literature, and other sources. My success rate: zero.

      So I’ve given up. Debate with them is a waste of time (life is short). I moderate comments — allowing thru comments which cite actual sources. And move on.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Correction to my above comment

      “the networks of organized ignorance the Right has built during the past generation.”

      The right has played that game on a larger scale, but the phenomenon of organized ignorance exists on both Left and Right. I’ve had countless conversations about climate with leftists about their quite odd beliefs — with little or no foundation in science — about the past and future of Earth’s climate. They, like their cousins on the right, are equally unaffected by any scientific authorities.


    • co2islife,

      There is no NOAA scandal. In his interview at E&E (link in the post) Bates’ disavowed all the larger claims made in his name. All that remains is his claim that Karl 2015 should have contained a disclosure about the new dataset used. That seems reasonable, so far as I can tell. But I doubt adding that would have changed the course of history.


    • Read the article, that is what is predicted people would say. What you just did is exactly what Science did and it is addressed in the article.


    • The article connects the dots. Bates states “you never replace good data with bad data.” He also points out other deceitful practices. The article points out that those behaviors fit a clearly defined and documented pattern. Once again, read the article. Put in its entirety, what he is exposing is a pattern of criminal behavior.


    • CO2,

      You’re not listening. For the third time, in effect Bates’ retracted all that in his E&E interview, saying that the only thing wrong with Karl 2015 is that it needed a disclosure that it used a dataset that had not yet fully completed the review and approval process.


    • I am listening, did you read the article I wrote? It isn’t just about what Bates said, and don’t you find it interesting that he retracted his statements? Also, I reference the post he made on Judith Curry’s website so there is no chance of the reporter editing his comments. From your comments I take it you didn’t read my article.


    • CO2,

      I’ve discussed the larger issues you raise elsewhere, and am uninterested in them. I was replying to your specific statement about the “NOAA scandal.”

      “don’t you find it interesting that he retracted his statements?”

      No. I expressed skepticism about his article in my post written the day after his. I said that his news was of no relevance to the public policy debate about climate — and only time would show if it was of any significance to NOAA and Science. His E&E interview proved that forecast correct.


    • No I don’t find it interesting. It is now in the hands of the lawyers. There is a very very very long list of the Green Gestapo personally attacking those who speak out. To me the more important question is what motivated him to backtrack? The claim was made that the data wasn’t archived so there is no way to get to the truth. That is a problem right there. The claim was made that bad data replaced good data that is a problem. Eitherway, President Trump is unlikely to let this one pass. There needs to be an investigation, not only to this issue, but the entire climate science funding and research methodology. The days of unhindered data manipulation are over. Time for a complete overhaul.


    • BTW, there are countless examples of what Mr. Bates described. There is a pattern of corruption.
      Climate “Science” on Trial; Data Chiropractioners “Adjust” Data

      Here are many many challenges to the “Consensus.” Feel free to refute any of them. Climate “Science” on Trial; The Smoking Gun Files

      Matter of fact, I challenge you to do a series where you address each of those smoking guns. Prove to everyone this “science” is settled.

      Address each one of these and prove I’m wrong. I welcome the challenge.


    • co2 is life,

      I’m uninterested in refuting or even looking at those. I rely on expert sources. Those are not the Holy Grail, but provide more information than I can begin to process — even in my own narrow professional field.

      For climate science that includes people like Roger Pielke Sr and Pielke Jr, Judith Curry, and several others. If they tell me that NOAA is manipulating the data, then I’ll worry.

      More broadly, all high level data are abstractions. They are not like counting apples. In my own field, macroeconomic data and corporate financial data are abstractions from reality produced by models. But reality is too complex to be seen by people in any other way. We have to understand these models’ limitations, and rely on multiple perspectives to see events as best we can. As Scotty (Chief Engineer of the Enterprise) says, instruments measure only what they’re designed to measure. The most important insight is that we need humility about not only our analysis but also about our data.


    • The experts that you rely on tried to model CO2 and Temp and 100% failed, and 100% overestimated temperature. That is a fact. That demonstrates a bias, not science. What is interesting is why would 100% be wrong. There is only one answer, and you seem determined to avoid accepting reality. Understand why the models fail, and you understand why Mr Bates comments are so damning.


    • Are you telling me the IPCC models came close to predicting temperature? If a science is understood, it can be modeled. The IPCC models failed the moment the historical data ended. They curve fit garbage data. BTW, read the Climate gate emails, Bates is just repeating what is already known. Once again, if you can’t model it, you don’t understand it. It is that simple.


    • CO2,

      You appear to know nothing about model validation. I have some familarity with the subject from my work with econometric models, models for trading software, and my work as a consultant to a major weather forecasting firm.

      It takes a lot of data to validate a models forecasting volatile outcomes that depend on a large number of factors. Look at performance records for the best investors: it’s not certain that anyone has a statistically significant record at the 95% level. There are few candidates, with substantial outperformance over an extended period (e.g., Peter Lynch) — but I’m among the skeptics.

      We have useful data from models going back to the IPCC’s Second Assessment Report (SAR, 1996). There’s much discussion about what would be sufficient to validate them over the 20 year period, and if that would require re-running them with actual environmental data (e.g., emissions, volcanic activity) — since they were run with scenarios which of course could not predict reality.

      There is a large literature about this. See a selection (with full cites and links) from part D of the For More Information section at the end of this post.


    • Joshua,

      As usual for you, so few words — so many things wrong. But let’s just examine your big point. You question the statement that “only a fraction of skeptics believe that “climate change is not happening,” That’s quite true, since climate change has been happening since the Earth first formed. In rebuttal you show a slide by a Law Professor: “Belief in global temperature: Increase on recent decades” (shown below). That is a different — and far narrower question than “belief in climate change”. Nice attempt to move the pea, but you were caught.

      Also, it’s not clear that there has been a statistically significant change in global temperature levels since the previous El Nino peak in 1998 (2016 was 0.02°C warmer than 1998, per the sat data). Esp not warmer to a degree meaningful to laypeople.

      Consensus Messaging: slide 6


    • Joshua.

      Please read more carefully. Unlike you, my comment gave a large version of the graph you cited. No worries for those with poor eyesight.

      “Do you not like the links w/o the use of hyperlinks?”

      That makes no sense. I show the title and author, so people don’t need to guess from the URL if it’s worth clicking on. Good citations are useful.


    • Joshua,

      This is why you are a troll. You make a troll-like comment, trying to fool readers — assuming they won’t bother closely reading. Then you make 2 comments about the size of a graph. You’re wasting everybody’s time. Life is too short for this nonsense. Your comments are moderated. Anything serious will be posted.


  • Not seeing the reply button, so I’ll put an reply here:

    =={ You question the statement that “only a fraction of skeptics believe that “climate change is not happening,” That’s quite true, since climate change has been happening since the Earth first formed. {==

    Nice argument by assertion – which was the point of my pointing out the massive irony of your comment that I excerpted.

    Anyway, that is some impressive dissembling. Notice the use of the present progressive tense in Kahan’s question. So your reference to “since the Earth first formed” is a non sequitur. You talked about what fraction of “skeptics” think that climate change “is” not happening, and Kahan’s question related to the same point. You did not state that “only a fraction of “skeptics” believe that climate change has never happened.” If you had, I wouldn’t likely have pointed out the irony of your inconsistency towards providing data to support assertions of fact.

    =={ Nice attempt to move the pea, but you were caught. }==


    Anyway, it is a common misconception, and often stated, that “most ‘skeptics'” don’t doubt that the climate “is” changing, or that ACO2 emissions contribute to the change. The assertion is that they only question our certainty about the magnitude of the change and the magnitude of the contribution.

    Kahan’s data show that such a portrayal of “skeptic” belief is simplistic and misleading. There are other, similar data sources that show likewise.

    If you agree with the data that a large % of “skeptics” do actually question whether the climate “is” changing, then we have no disagreement.

    As to what it means that so many “skeptics” give such answers to the question of whether the climate “is” changing – and whether such answers are consistent with their behaviors, well, that’s another matter and one that is far more interesting. As Kahan often points out, the answers that you get when you ask such a question is more likely to indicate who someone is as opposed to what they know…and even about what they “believe,” as the question of what they believe is somewhat more complicated to assess. When people say that they don’t believe that the climate is changing (or that ACO2 emissions are causing such any change) but act in a way that isn’t consistent with such a viewpoint, then what do they really believe?


    • Cwon,

      That comment went through, so there must be something specific about your system. I suggest clearing your memory cache (under options), closing your browser, reopening and trying again.

      Comment software is always flakey. When posting a comment elsewhere I always keep a copy before hitting send.


  • Good advice on keeping a copy, I was foolish.

    “Can you provide some support that large claim? As for the past, I have several shelves of my home library with books about climate going back to the 1950s. Not a sign of politicization until the 1980s”

    I’ll try a Readers Digest version and copy it before send. My basic thought was that you are too young to remember the global cooling movement or Paul Ehrlich in the 60’s or you are a committed “type 1” skeptic that really believes “it’s about science”. The Type 2 skeptic knows better, science was always secondary to political agenda. From inception which was long before climate became weaponized to today’s levels.

    The IPCC didn’t appear in thin air, there were decades of lobbying before the movement took off at a new level. It morfed from global cooling over particles to switch to warming and the heat trapping concept. The GOAL WAS ALWAYS THE STATE OVER PRIVATE CAPITAL.

    I also made a reference to Kurt Vonnegut and the use of his brothers work, Bernard Vonnegut the man credited for the invention of cloud seeding with silver iodide. “Cats Craddle” includes a globally cooling plot device all-be-it science fiction…..”Ice-9″ and there is in interesting “Anti-Glacier” commentary in Slaughter House 5…..1967. These are just examples of how eco-fear was marketed in the earlier time. It is interesting how many other fear based green movements have been consolidated in the climate effort; various nuclear fear groups, animal habitat groups like the Sierra Club and so on.

    So the politics and culture proceeded the science.

    Finally, keep in mind the type 1 skeptic has been brought to the current Trump dance by the type 2 skeptic not the other way around. People in the Dr. Curry admiration society, the WUWT technocrats insisting it’s “about science” are as much a liability as ever. If you don’t have the narrative historiography correct then the debate will be lost to the cultural “man-as-evil” narrative that underlies basic climate advocacy reasoning. So the claim it didn’t “get political” until the 80’s is incorrect. Dr. Curry’s dreaded 10 year Epiphany and recent proclamation about “craziness” as if it were somehow recent instead of her entire career spent in obtuseness and the ridiculous climate history she presents are essential to losing the climate war.


  • > We need a reality-based community.

    We’re long past any likelihood of that happening.

    The left successfully colonised the climate change policy space. They’re claiming that the only way to save the planet is by doing things, that, by complete co-incidence, happen to be stuff they’ve been banging on about for the last 100 years.

    The right are in an unenviable position. Having initially taken the sceptic approach they are short on policy arguments that don’t include claims that it’s not going to be that bad really. So the temptation has been to try to dispute the science. The centre right seem to have given up entirely and now have massive green energy programs with concomitant high energy prices *and* taxation.

    It’s a mess. While I like the idea that it might be possible to create a reality based community, there are too many people with too many agendas and too many alternative facts to back them up. All we’re likely to get is alternate reality.

    There was a time when I thought Lomborg and Pielke Jnr were the cool heads that would, eventually, be listened to. I remember those days, I was young, foolish and optimistic. At the moment, the lunatics have control of the asylum I see no obvious route to regain control.

    It’s not just climate science that’s polarised. Look at the debates surrounding heart disease, obesity, and shaken baby syndrome. They’re just as unpleasant.


    • Steve,

      “We’re long past any likelihood of that happening.”

      In my darker moments I agree with you. In my more rational moments I agree with you. But history gives us one great lesson: renewal and reform are inherent aspects of human nation. American history overflows with examples of us being quite logically counted out, but coming back anyway.

      It’s all about choice. We will be what we want to be. I have faith in us.


    • Steve,

      There isn’t a global U.N. demanding WORLD GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY or people ready willing and able to surrender sovereignty over anything on your list. You should put your trust in the people who had the agenda figured out long before the IPCC was ever formed. Dr. Lindzen for example on the science side.

      Yes, it’s about a leftist world view and the rest is tactical. When the debate scales up in size much of the science mush falls away and the actual agenda becomes far more focused. Why you are surprised it was always a leftist agenda rather then science is what I have trouble squaring.


    • xwon,

      “Yes, it’s about a leftist world view and the rest is tactical.”

      Not even remotely correct. That’s a tribal view, seeing the world in term of good guys and bad guys. There are two sides to this game, with us in the middle.

      As I (and many others) have documented, the Right has worked systematically for decades to roll back the New Deal and return America to a plutocrat-run state as it was during the Gilded Age. Low social mobility, strong class structure, high inequality — with productivity gains going mostly to the 1%. It’s blindness not to see this.


    • @cwon: I think it is common on every issue that has multiple ‘sides,’ to see the other side as being drastically more efficient, effective, in-command and better organized than you. Not least because you see all the warts, flaws and idiocies of the side YOU’RE in. We’d all be better off if we listened to General Grant and focused more on what we’re going to do to the problem.


  • “As I (and many others) have documented, the Right has worked systematically for decades to roll back the New Deal and return America to a plutocrat-run state as it was during the Gilded Age. Low social mobility, strong class structure, high inequality — with productivity gains going mostly to the 1%. It’s blindness not to see this.”

    That’s a pretty tribal diatribe if ever there was one. Social mobility was far greater before the New Deal then after it. As for the framing of the Gilded age it could never have happened without the excess of central government largely in the aftermath of the Civil War.

    I fail to see what conspiratorial agenda is being set if markets and private capital, corrupted as they may be by cartels and state assets, flowing more freely. It seems collectivists want to bring the very worse excesses to what freedom remains. How does the crony intensions of say the Paris agreement only increase class structure and reduce mobility? It’s a global rationing design.


    • “Social mobility was far greater before the New Deal then after it.”
      I mean, to a certain extent you’re comparing apples (“homestead the West!”) to oranges (“thanks for whipping Hitler! Here’s a GI bill and a middle-class job in the largest industrial economy to escape bombs and tanks!”)

      As for the Paris agreement, if the Global Collectivist Insiders were trying to actually execute some dark and dire scheme, presumably they would have included an enforcement mechanism of some kind.


    • Dana,

      By most accounts, social mobility in the US began its great decline very roughly in 1880. The great expansion — as in the 1862 & 1966 Homestead Acts — was slowing. It was replaced by the Long Depression era lasting from 1873 – 1896, accompanied by persistent deflation. The result (along with tech change) almost liquidated American’s craftsmen, small farmer, and small merchant classes. Little House on the Prairie gives a vivid picture of this time, although the author was ignorant of the economic processes at work (and deliberately failed to mention the large role government assistance in helping them).

      This long stratification began to reverse as the Progressive Era reforms took hold in the 1920s (began — slowly — during the time of Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson). Lots of progress until the late 1960s and early 1970s, after which we began pissing it all away.

      It’s a complex and sad story.


    • Dana,

      Note how all the pieces of American history come together once one sees thru the charming fables we’re taught. The other hammerblow to Americans in the late 19thC was massive immigration — then as now an effective way to hammer down wages. Opposition from workers — let by unions — slowly increased. There was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1862, followed by many more — until FDR not only closed the door firmly but exppelled a million or so Mexicans (including some Mexican-American US citizens).

      With education opened up, progressive taxation, unions, and a halt to mass immigration — America built it first middle class since the early 19thC. We created what we think of as America. Now our negligence is allowing it all to be taken away.


    • Cwon,

      “That’s a pretty tribal diatribe if ever there was one.”

      False. I pointed out that both far left and far right have agendas for us, with us in the middle. That’s the opposite of tribal.

      “Social mobility was far greater before the New Deal then after it.”

      That’s quite a weird conclusion. Can you cite an expert source for it? Data is sparse before the large-scale collection of social data in the 1930s, but most work I’ve seen is clear. Social mobility (there are different ways to define it) declined during the Gilded Age (that and rising inequality are its defining characteristic), then declined as progressive era reforms began in the 1920s — thru the New Deal — and through the post-WWII era (e.g., GI Bill, massive aid to education of the post-Sputnik era) — then began to rise very roughly around 1970.

      Here’s a typical graph, from a study of US intergenerational mobility by Claudia Olivetti and Daniele Paserman of the London School of Economics. I like its vagueness, not the usual profusion of datapoints and sharp lines (unjustified by the sparse data). It’s measuring income elasticity — the opposite of mobility.

      US intergenerational elasticity 1870-1940

      “Gilded age it could never have happened without the excess of central government largely in the aftermath of the Civil War.”

      Wow. Too bizarre for comment. That’s just making stuff up. Faux history.

      “I fail to see what conspiratorial agenda is being set if markets and private capital, corrupted as they may be by cartels and state assets, flowing more freely.”

      That’s just sad. If you believe that’s what the far right wants, there’s no point to discussion. Time will tell which of us is correct.


  • Dana,

    ” think it is common on every issue that has multiple ‘sides,’……”

    If there were no collectivist design imbedded in the AGW belief system there would be no sides at all. The science would be a trivial debate only 1/1000th of the current debate population would care about. It’s because of the social and political stakes that make the topic relevant.

    The problem the type 1 skeptic has is that he can’t resolve the political ID, either because he shares the bias or it’s too astoundingly simple. In the line above it alluded to wealth concentrations might be mitigated by conservative free market theory. It isn’t freedom and markets that lead to wealth concentrations but crony markets and government authority, exactly like climate “policy”.


    • Dana,

      I’ll save you some time, based on my 40,000 conversations with people since 2003 from the FM website project, on a wide range of subjects. Talking with political extremists — left or right — is a waste of time. They rarely can provide any support for their claims. When they do, it’s usually from a non-expert fellow extremist — plus an ample serving of fake quotes and bogus data (fake quotes are more often used by the right, bogus data by the left).

      Very often I’ve diligently presented hard data as rebuttals. They seldom respond, instead presenting more extremist claims. If you pursue the conversation long enough, they will repeat their initial claim. That’s amazing, but true — and demonstrates the futility of the discussion. It’s like talking with a funhouse mirror, and you have identical odds of effecting even a small change of mind.

      There are exceptions to the above — there are always exceptions to such general statements about people — but they’re rare.


  • Well, there isn’t the time or inclination to convert your New Deal class structure narrative. On the other hand your claim that you didn’t see anything “political” in the climate science structure prior to the “80’s” is pretty well refuted as a logical claim. Science was corrupted by the politics pretty much with the broad adoption of the term “climate scientist” and in fact a good few decades before that.


    • cow14,

      (1) “Science was corrupted by the politics pretty much with the broad adoption of the term “climate scientist” and in fact a good few decades before that.”

      That’s got to be one of the oddest statements I’ve seen in the 50+ thousand comments here. Truly absurd mythology. I doubt you can support that any more than you can your other wild statements. But it nicely demonstrates what I told Dana — when political extremists are called on their bs, they don’t support it — they reply with another dose.

      (2) The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression

      Or in your case, you reply with a double does. I did a word search for “climate” using Google Books: nothing found (that’s not always accurate, however). It did return 3 hits for “science”, none remotely supporting your claim.

      (3) Amity Shlaes

      If you get your information from propagandists like her, no wonder you are so misinformed. Historians laugh at her “tweaked” economic statistics in that book. Here’s one of many reviews, milder than most, in the NY Review of Books. Most important, she is ignorant about the basics of the Great Depression. To mention a few of the long list…

      (a) Her core claims is the the New Deal did “cure” the depression. The purpose of economic stimulus — especially during a large depression — is not to “cure” the economy. It’s just first aid, to stabilize the economy and mitigate the damage until the imbalances that produced the downturn are burned off.

      (b) Her secondary claim is that Keynesian economics failed. That’s nuts for two reasons. First, Keynes published his General Theory in 1936, and it was not well understood by policy makers for many years afterwards (it’s a mind-numbingly comprehensive, technical, and complex work). Second, as Krugman explains, the New Deal stimulus was far too small to turn the economy around. FDR didn’t have the political support for such a radical experiment. Hitler did (“support” having a different meaning in Nazi Germany), and it worked. The US did apply Keynesian economics during WWII, and it worked quite well.


  • “As for the Paris agreement, if the Global Collectivist Insiders were trying to actually execute some dark and dire scheme, presumably they would have included an enforcement mechanism of some kind.”

    Do you think the climate cartel didn’t try? At the end of any climate conference there only the promise to have another conference on the public dime to talk about more rule making and “urgency”. During and in between the design is extract the frame work of authority at the expense of individuals and sovereignty. Paris was the usual press release nonsense to move the agenda on or risk further abandonment.

    Paris is just another attempt and evolution like Kyoto. Another reason that the IPCC should be disbanded.


  • You rail on about “extremism” then quote true quackery…..Paul Krugman?

    On the board you you noted you didn’t know of politicization of climate science until the 1980’s, which I informed you was obtuse at best. Carbon control green dreams can be dated before the 1960’s. It’s all the same poison Rachel Carson MO in another form.

    The links on Glacier Hysteria are easily found. Same junk science premise as the current state of affairs simply in another form; Climate Depot’s Factsheet on 1970s Coming ‘Ice Age’ Claims.

    Hmmm….I thought I was respectful and abstract in my comments only to to flamed as an extremist. Fine, you like your own voice. Got it.


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