Climate Change and Well-Informed Denial

Tue, 2011-05-03 08:52Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney's picture

Climate Change and Well-Informed Denial

On climate change, we’re politically polarized—which would be bad enough, but that’s not all. The hole we’ve dug is even deeper—as new research clearly suggests.

There’s yet another study out on Democrats, Republicans, and climate change, this time from Lawrence Hamilton of the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. Over the last two years, in a series of regional surveys, Hamilton asked nearly 9,500 people questions about climate change—from Appalachia to the Gulf Coast, and from New Hampshire to Alaska. 

Across all these regions, he consistently found the following phenomenon: Democrats and Republicans who claimed to know less about the climate issue were more like one another in terms of whether they accepted the science. Democrats and Republicans who claimed to know a lot about the issue, by contrast, were vastly polarized—with knowledgeable Democrats overwhelmingly accepting the science, and knowledgeable Republicans overwhelmingly denying it.

Political polarization is greatest among the Republicans and Democrats who are most confident that they understand this issue,” writes Hamilton. “Republicans and Democrats less sure about their understanding also tend to be less far apart in their beliefs.”

This core finding itself is not new—a 2008 Pew survey also found that Republicans with a college level of education were less likely to accept the science of climate than Republicans who lack such education. Other studies have also underscored this fundamental point. But for precisely that reason, Hamilton’s research kind of puts it in the realm of indisputable political fact. Not only are we polarized over climate change, but our knowledge and sophistication, when combined with our politics, make matters worse.

How could this be? For Hamilton, the explanation lies in the interaction between how we get information (from trusted news and Internet sources, we think, but we’re actually being selective) and our own biases in evaluating it (objectively, we think, but again, we’re actually being selective). “People increasingly choose news sources that match their own views,” Hamilton writes. “Moreover, they tend to selectively absorb information even from this biased flow, fitting it into their pre-existing beliefs.” In other words, we’re twice biased—based on our views and information sources—and moreover, twice biased in different directions.

Thus it really makes a lot of sense that those who are paying less attention to the climate issue, whether nominally Democrat or Republican, are less polarized and less sure of themselves. They’re not working nearly as hard at reaffirming their convictions, and refuting the convictions of the other side. (Hamilton’s study implies, though, that that they may have a different problem—they know so little that they may be more likely to be buffeted by the weather in terms of how they think about climate. If it’s hot out, maybe they’ll worry. If it’s cold, they’ll scoff.)

Overall, the big picture is that our society is not making up its mind in anything like a rational or scientific manner about climate change. That’s unfortunate–but it would be a form of denial itself at this point to reject the finding. 



I accept the science and reject the hypothesis of AGW. Noone has disproven natural variability as the cause of recent climate changes.

Unless you can provide peer reviewed science that rules out natural variability as the cause, we have nothing to discuss.

There is nothing unusual or unprecedented about the recent climate changes.

Again, unless you can provide peer reviewed science that rules out natural variability as the cause, we have nothing to discuss and I will not respond.

Find a new boogeyman.

Noone has disproven natural variability as the cause of recent climate changes.

Wrong again:

Again the Twain quote seems more appropriate for Gator. So little understanding, so great a certainty.

“There is nothing unusual or unprecedented about the recent climate changes.”


And look at what CO2 (remember, denialists, temperature changes AFTER forcings increase, not before, please get causality the right way round) has done:

“Again the Twain quote seems more appropriate for Gator. So little understanding, so great a certainty.”

Agreed. Dunning & Kruger would be proud.

“Unless you can provide peer reviewed science that rules out natural variability as the cause, we have nothing to discuss.”

Kids use that technique when they don’t want to hear something by holding their hands over their ears. Doesn’t make what is being said disappear.

Lets face it gator. Even if you were provided with them, it wouldn’t change your mind and you wouldn’t know what you were reading anyway.

“we have nothing to discuss and I will not respond.”

*yawns*…. Ok, bye…. *devastated*.

You have not accepted the science since you bring up the notion of “natural variability”. Please define what you mean by this term.

It does not been that the global temperature varies for the sake of varying. Temperature is not random but is dictated by what are called forcings. Some of these are natural e.g. solar variation, orbital distortions but they are not random in the sense that they cannot be studied and their effects measured. They have been accurately measured and have been shown not to be responsible for the warming over the past 50 or so years.

The green house effect is of course natural, it is the enhanced green house effect, enhanced because we are emitting huge quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels which is “unnatural” i.e anthropogenic. Scientists have shown that this is the only forcing which is acting in a manner to cause a rise in temperature. Other forcings have been shown not to contribute to the recent warming.

Chris, yes, it is important to see self-deception. It is also important to figure out how to move past it.

Are you engaged in building bridges, or pointing to the oteghr side as crazy?


Mike Mangan

Your comments about environmentalists and religion is a little off base. Much of the environmental movement of the 60s and 70s came out of the new spirituality that many were involved with or experiencing. The central theme, and primary realization of every spiritual path I know of, is that everything is connected, all is one. This isn’t just an idea, but an experience that is real. In fact, it might be the most real experience one can have. And if one looks deep enough and gets past the dogma, it is at the root of all the great religions as well. (Not that you would notice)

This is the root realization that stimulated much of the concern about the environment. The idea that the environment is us. All is sacred, especially living things. All inter-dependently linked in the web of life.

This brings to mind a line from the novel “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” by Tom Robbins.
The young lady who is the central character, after spending some time in a cave with an old hippie guru kind of guy, asks him about his beliefs about reality and spirituality. He leaves her a message, scribbled on the wall of the cave.

“Believe in nothing, everything is sacred.

Believe in everything, nothing is sacred.”

As Lao Tsu said 2,500 years ago,

“The Tao that can be named is not the Tao.”


“He who knows does not say. He who says, does not know.”

The wisest answer (IMO) to the big questions about the meaning of life and whether there is some divine intelligence at work, is - I Don’t Know. I have no problem with religion in general, but fundamentalism is another story.

Muslim verses Christian and all that nonsense is the antithesis of spirituality.

Us and them thinking is the antithesis of spirituality.
The central realization of any real spiritual path is that we are all one. This is universal.

This may come as a surprise to many, both religous and not religous, but spirituality does not depend on belief. In fact, belief is often the biggest obstacle to experiencing one’s spirituality. Why? because it’s a concept. The experience lies outside any conceptual thinking. Ever read Hermann Hesse’s - “Steppenwolf”?
If so, you might remember the image that the main character kept seeing, a sign reading:
“Magic theatre, for madmen only, price of admission- your mind”

Hesse knew his subject well. Step out of your mind to experience spirituality.
But use critical thinking when it comes to understanding science.

Popular author Carlos Casteneda’s shaman mentor Don Juan, told him
“when in the world of the Nagual (substitute spirit, or maybe Tao here), there is no time for rational crap.
But when in the world of the Tonal, (subsitute the relative world of everyday reality and reason) there is no time for irrational crap”

One doesn’t have to reject science to embrace spirituality, and vice versa. One can be spiritual, while still accepting that science is the best authority on how the physical universe works. One really can have both feet firmly planted in both worlds.

Am I an intelligent design adherent? No. A divine intelligence would be an infinite intelligence, and far more myterious than anything envisioned by such limited thinking.

You said

“I have followed these discussions for six years and if there is one consistent characteristic of a True Believer, it is their religious bigotry.”

And I have read something like 6,000 articles on climate change, mostly written by scientists, and it is patently obvious to me which side relies on belief. It isn’t the mainstream scientists.

There is no question whether the deniers use disinformation on a regular basis. It’s in plain site for anyone willing to open their eyes.

Faking graphs of Arctic Ice, sea levels, global temperatures, etc. (ala Steve Goddard at WUWT and others) Misrepresenting the scientific work of others, quoting out of context quote mined words, and twisting their meaning(Monckton, and too many others to name here). Citing scientific papers that come to the opposite conclusion of the point being made by a denier, misquoting the IPCC and climate scientists to distort their meaning, cherry picking almost always, flat out lying - like that Phil Jones said there had been no global warming since 1995, endlessly repeating long debunked skeptic arguments, etc. This is the means and methods of the deniers. John Cristy in front of Congress, encouraging the meme that scientists in the 70s were predicting global cooling, which is less than a half truth, and then saying that AGW is just as uncertain as that minimally researched hypothesis (7 papers) from nearly 40 years ago.

This sir, is not a search for scientific truth. It is pure PR. And it is dishonest. Misinforming Congress is a felony and Christy should be held accountable. Continuing to bring up the non scandal of climategate in congressional hearings, after 7 investigations have shown it to be a bunch of BS, including the 7th invesigation demanded by Sen. Inhofe had the same results, is not a search for scientific truth. It is disinformation and politics, plain and simple.

Anyone that gives credence to this crap is a true believer.
If the discussions you had were mostly at places like WUWT, then you probably know less than nothing about climate change.

More disinformation than factual information = minus information.

“Unless you can provide peer reviewed science that rules out natural variability as the cause, we have nothing to discuss.”

The IPCC used over 10,000 scientific research papers, most of which were already peer reviewed, then put them through four more levels of review by 2,500 climate scientists. That was for AR4, and science of 5 or 6 years ago. It’s much stronger now.
Is that enough peer reviewed evidence for you?

Perhaps the words of a true skeptic, Mark Boslough, a physicist at Sandia National Laboratories and member of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry will illustrate what I’m saying.

“Denialists have attempted to call the science into question by writing articles that include fabricated data. They’ve improperly graphed data using tricks to hide evidence that contradicts their beliefs. They chronically misrepresent the careful published work of scientists, distorting all logic and meaning in an organized misinformation campaign. To an uncritical media and gullible non-scientists, this ongoing conflict has had the intended effect: it gives the appearance of a scientific controversy and seems to contradict climate researchers who have stated that the scientific debate over the reality of human-caused climate change is over (statements that have been distorted by denialists to imply the ridiculous claim that in all respects the science is settled).”

“I accept the science and reject the hypothesis of AGW

What does that mean? AGW is a theory, not a hypothesis. The science supports the theory. So what are you rejecting?

The skeptics have a few hypotheses and scant evidence, but dont agree on which one is the right one.
A theory like AGW is based on large amounts of supporting evidence that can also stand up to scientific scrutiny, peer review. AGW has about 10 independent lines of evidence that agree remarkably well. It may be the most thoroughly examined scientific theory in history. Every major scientific organization in the world with any relevance to the subject, agrees with the IPCC, including every national academy of science in the world.

I suggest a book called “The Carbon Age” by Eric Roston

It’s a facinating book about the beginnings and development of the earth, it’s atmosphere, it’s life forms, and how carbon with it’s unique properties, make it all possible. Excellent description of the short term carbon cycle - how carbon cycles through the atmosphere, topsoils, oceans, life forms, etc. The skeptics are right about one thing. Carbon is not bad. In fact, it’s so essential to our lives and our world , that it’s important that the short term carbon cycle remain in the balance which is the only world we have known.
Besides global warming, ocean acidification is another reason this is important.

It took 65 million years for coal to develop in the earth, by precipitating out of the short term carbon cycle, and being locked away in coal deposits and into the long term carbon cycle, which occurs on geological time scales. I refer to this as mother nature’s carbon sequestration, similar to what is being proposed for clean coal. Now we are releasing this 65 million year accumulation of carbon back into the atmosphere and thus back into the short term carbon cycle, in a few hundred years, or a geological nanosecond. This is an unprecedented occurance, probably in the history of the planet.

I lied. There are two professioanal scientific organizations that do not agree with the IPCC on AGW.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Canadian Association of Petroleum Geologists (CAPG)

Surprising, no?

Many of them receive (guess what) …. government funds.
($$ not available unless CAGW is backed.)

Indeed, the oil industry gets billions a year in government money.

Money they dearly want to see continue pouring in.

as Skeptical Science reveals with the atrocious paper from Patrick Michaels with the assistance of Frauenfeld and Knappenberger but I’ll link to the article by Joe Romm which puts it to the knowledgable community over there:

Frauenfeld, Knappenberger, and Michaels 2011: Greenland ice melt and planned obsolescence

Two lessons there of which the most important is the accelerated melting with the other being how these people, one a supposed scientist, set out to deceive and mislead.

Global warming can’t be explained, apart from blaming it on man?
What about the 900+ peer-reviewed studies showing that the Medieval Warming Period was as warm, probably warmer, than now? (for names/studies, go to The studies (so far) represent the work coming from 40 different countries, and hundreds of different organizations. In fact, there were several warmings during this interglacial before the MWP.

What’s the explanation for the cooling after the MWP (the “little ice age”)?
That cooling lasted about 500 years. Would you not expect a subsequent warming period, perhaps as long? (Although, in fact, the temperature has been flat for over a decade now.)

We had a couple of brief cooling periods since the 1800s, the most recent from about 1940 to 1975, while population and CO2 continued to increase.

My google doc includes some history along with references to websites and authors.

You wrote, from a position of ignorance or as blatant propaganda:

‘Global warming can’t be explained, apart from blaming it on man?
What about the 900+ peer-reviewed studies showing that the Medieval Warming Period was as warm, probably warmer, than now? (for names/studies, go to’

CO2 Science - Oh! Please!

You need to understand who bankrolls these clowns:


in Mother Jones series of ‘The Dirty Dozen of Climate Change Denial’

No. 8: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (A.K.A. The Idso Family)

watch this too:

You will be quoting crap from We Use Wishfull Thinking next.

I came across another great piece explaining the mendacity of CO2 Science a couple of days ago, you don’t want me firing that at you as well do you.

The REAL bankrolling has been the government grants (not available to those who are skeptics).

Also, in the case of, the names of the investigators of the peer-reviewed studies, together with references to the studies are available. (co2science was not the solicitor of these studies - it’s merely referring to what is available out there. Satan himself could be funding - it isn’t relevant.

That lame-brained claim is no different than arguing that every book in your local library is not credible because the library took a contribution from the oil lobby.

“The REAL bankrolling has been the government grants”.

I pose the same question to you that I asked Titus. Should we strive to understand our planet, its climate & its weather systems? If so, how can we do this without scientists who will in turn need grants to buy equipment, pay for wages, transport, satellites etc?

“(not available to those who are skeptics).”

I dont think you realise how few practising “skeptical” scientists there are out there. I gather by “skeptics” you mean deniers? Because any good scientist is skeptical. They are skeptical until evidence shows otherwise. The “skeptics” you refer to are actually deniers. Paid for by fossil fuel interests. Most do very little field research if any & prefer to tour speaking circuits, media, blogs & analyse the research of actual on the ground experienced scientists to falsify their findings & paraphrase their words.

“That lame-brained claim is no different than arguing that every book in your local library is not credible because the library took a contribution from the oil lobby.”

There is a difference between funding something for the benefit of the wider community & funding something for the exclusive purpose of pushing your ideology, business case & used as a lobbying & propaganda tool. has a list of the 900+ peer reviewed studies. From the references you can determine the name(s) of researchers, the associated universities or organizations involved, and the contents of the study itself.

What you’re saying is that you refuse to look at the data because co2science itself is, very likely a skeptic. So what? In this case it is not their study that is in question.

(and by now you should know that the “peer-reviewed” studies by the IPCC’s two CRUs was generally performed (if at all) by the guy at the next desk. Now it’s always good to be suspicious of even peer-reviewed stuff, but there’s just no comparison in the real science versus what CRU folks did.

because he’s not even a peer.

If all that matters is “it’s been said it’s peer reviewed”, then the IPCC which has thousands of papers that are all peer reviewed in WG1 report beats your paltry hundreds.

Skepticalscience has demolished that piece of junk science:

Skeptical science is an appropriate name for that group. That’s the kind of science they’re delivering.

In the face of 900+ peer reviewed studies, you argue that the phony peer-reviewed studies by the IPCC are correct? (

The IPCC folks are desperately trying to hide the fact of both the little ice age and the Medieval Warming Period because the existence of those two eras completely demolishes their claims. They claimed n their own email that they had to get rid of those periods - particularly the MWP. Read the ClimateGate emails. They have not denied the accuracy of those emails. Along with that, they’ve refused to provide what is publicly available data to skeptical scientists for years — years!

The claims that the MWP was only a regional phenomena is ludicrous. Studies continue to come in, even now, confirming the many earlier investigations. The MWP was global. And there is also anecdotal evidence indicating the same. Antique vineyards in Europe found at latitudes where grapes cannot even now be grown. Then there is the fact that the Vikings had accurately surveyed the entire coastline of Greenland. (You better believe they didn’t do that by walking around that entire chunk of property. The coastline had to have been ice free during that period. It’s not ice free now.) Then there are the burials found beneath the current permafrost level. (Vikings may have been tough, but they clearly didn’t have incentive to push through that layer of concrete.)

(The hockey stick graph by Michael Mann (CRU player) was a complete fabrication. Even the UN has moved away from this claim (which “disappared” both the little ice age and the Medieval Warming Period). And long ago McIntyre demonstrated that that Mann’s graph was bogus. He showed that random numbers fed into that CRU model also generated hockey stick graphs. At least one subsequent review has shown that the statistics used by Mann were also (to put it politely) unsophisticated and erroneous.

There is no evidence for the claim that man has caused even a small part of global warming, let alone a significant part.

The quotes by Hansen and followers about current warming are based on some small fraction of a degree (and based on questionable surface temperature measurements). Even Hansen, after claiming 2010 was warmest, admits that the recent “increases” were so small as to not matter. Not only that, the errors in calculating a global temperature are considerably larger than a fraction of a degree - and may in fact be several degrees.

In order for the CRUs to determine temperature readings taken within urban areas (where most temperature recording stations are) they had to estimate and revise the reading to remove the UHI (urban heat island)influence. On current data at least there was some comparable nearby rural temperatures to help with that estimate. On historic data, it was basically just a guess, and we’re talking “revisions” of 5+ degrees. You might want to check Anthony Watts’ website (“WattsUpWithThat”). Volunteers have visited most surface temperature recording sites, and some 90% do not satisfy the government’s own basic (printed) requirements. Considering that the ocean makes up 71% of the land mass, one needs surface temperatures in that area as well, and those readings are scarce indeed and not based on the latest scientific measurement tools available.

The only possible way (if indeed there is one) to come up with a meaningful global temperature is by satellites or high weather balloons. These readings have been available for a few years now and are ignored by the AGW proponents in favor of the outdated techniques.

There is clearly no chance of measuring man’s contribution to warming if it is insignificant. Nobody has yet been able to figure out what part (if it’s not the whole thing) is due to natural variation.

I am skeptical of the (man-caused) global warming claims. I have no such issue with science.

My google document is available at the site below. If you can point out any misinterpretations of the facts, tell me about it. my email address is embedded in the document.)

Why do you lie, misinterpret, cherry pick, misinform and not understand anything about what you are discussing?

Ooh I forget, you are an anti-science AGW denier. You can’t get anything right.

By the way all honest scientists are skeptical, AGW deniers are just dishonest.

So Ian says: “Ooh I forget, you are an anti-science AGW denier”

And where did you get that idea from? You’re totally and absolutely WRONG. You’re making this stuff up as you go or pigeon holing me into some stereotype.

Please retract and apologize and I will forgive you.
(Checked for spelling to show respect)

Titus shows his confusion once again. Of course if he is using a sockpuppet then the person I responded to and called an anti-science AGW denier is both GoFigure and Titus.

If Titus was an academic he would know that the use of a sockpuppet is in the same category as plagiarism i.e. gross misconduct.

Anyone with any intelligence can see that my previous post was directed at someone who has called himself GoFigure. Now Titus is claiming that I was responding to him. How confused can you get? No wonder he has no clue about climate science.

Once again I state that I have no intention of ever apologizing to a dishonest anti-science AGW denier, no matter how many names he uses.

I’m so sorry. As far as I remember at the time I was replying to you on a thread. Cannot see how this happened as I know see the flow which is different!!!

So I retract and unreservably apologize for this error. Thank you for your gracious response in alerting me.

Attorney General Cuccinelli also claimed in one of his court filings that Dr. Mann’s graph disappeared the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warming.

The graph is here.

Here is what the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote about that:

Cuccinelli inaccurately asserts that the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age “disappeared” in Mann et al.’s original hockey stick paper. (page 3)

The Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were two natural climate fluctuations that took place over the past 1,000 years. Before the hockey stick papers were published, climate contrarians claimed that the Medieval Warm Period was just as warm as or even warmer than today. Therefore, they maintained, modern warming must not be unique. Mann et al.’s research showed that their argument was wrong. In fact, modern global temperatures are higher than they were over the past thousand years and climate change has been happening much more rapidly than it did during past natural climate fluctuations.

Cuccinelli’s claim that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age do not appear in Mann et al.’s hockey stick paper is baseless. Both periods are evident in the hockey stick graph.

…..Cuccinelli cites a study by Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick published in the social science journal Energy and Environment that erroneously criticized Mann et al.’s hockey stick. (page 5)

Cuccinelli fails to note that more than a dozen independent reconstructions reached largely the same conclusions as Mann and his colleagues did. He also fails to mention that papers published in a number of journals concluded that McIntyre and McKitrick did not invalidate Mann et al.’s original research. They found that McIntyre and McKitrick introduced their own errors that ultimately led them to a flawed conclusion.

Dr. Michael Mann did not disappear the Little Ice Age or the Medieval warm era from his graph. He writes about it.
Some of your knowledge about this time may come from this paper.

GoFigure tries to limit what we can consider to only two factors:

“The only two pieces of information that concern us are:
1. The increase in the level of CO2 since the beginning of our industrial revolution
2. Our land use which is related to the size of our population.”

GoFigure assumes that man has only affected the climate since the industrial revolution.

According to this Wikipedia article:

“William Ruddiman has proposed that somewhat reduced populations of Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East during and after the Black Death caused a decrease in agricultural activity. He suggests reforestation took place, allowing more carbon dioxide uptake from the atmosphere, which may have been a factor in the cooling noted during the Little Ice Age. Ruddiman further hypothesizes that a reduced population in the Americas after European contact in the early 16th century could have had similar effect.

A 2008 study of sediment cores and soil samples further suggests that carbon dioxide uptake via reforestation in the Americas could have contributed to the Little Ice Age.[72] Faust, Gnecco, Mannstein and Stamm (2005) supported depopulation in the Americas as a factor, asserting that humans had cleared considerable amounts of forests to support agriculture in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans brought on a population collapse.[73] The authors link the subsequent depopulation to a drop in carbon dioxide levels observed at Law Dome, Antarctica.[73]”

I think Rudman’s claims are at odds with Mann’s hockey stick graph. Mann’s graph pushed most warming into more recent times.

If Mann didn’t “disappear” the MWP and little ice age, he might want to recheck the graph circulating around. Both eras are certainly smoothed out of site on those.

Just because the atmosphere has been as warm or warmer during certain periods in the past, doesn’t necessarily mean this current warming period is natural.

That’s like concluding arson is natural because up until the appearance of humans fires were caused by lightning or lava, etc.

You’re fighting a non-existent strawman. It is certain that we cannot conclude from the MWP that every warm period is natural. However, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the null hypothesis remains - it must be natural variation.

The only two pieces of information that concern us are:
1. The increase in the level of CO2 since the beginning of our industrial revolution
2. Our land use which is related to the size of our population.

Based on historical data, CO2 has been much higher during 3 ice ages, and much higher going into one ice age. Over the short term, as opposed to the long term, CO2 has continued to increase during two cooling periods, the most recent past one being from 1940 to 1975. Also, there has been no statistically significant warming for the past decade (even admitted by Jones of the IPCC), as CO2 has steadily increased). In fact the historical record shows that temperature has been an influencing factor on the atmospheric CO2 level and not vice versa. It’s clear that there are feedback mechanisms in place which more than offset any possible impact that CO2 itself might otherwise contribute to global warming.

In the case of land use, we have the well known “urban heat island” (UHI) effect. Definitely man-made. But, the 5 to 7 degree increase in the UHIs has no effect on the surrounding rural area, let alone on the planet. (And UHIs represent a very small percentage of the globe’s surface.)

Get acquainted with the facts people, instead of all this worthless political babble.

It doesn’t really matter if there used to be more CO2 millions of years ago. The problem is that the temperature is changing very rapidly and civilization will have a terrible time adapting. Animals will die, people will starve, the glaciers that give Billions of people stable water will vanish. The oceans will become more acidic and effect the ocean’s food chain.

Denialists talk about “adapting,” future generations may say that we committed genocide.

You have mischaracterized what Phil Jones said. Temperature change may not be statistically significant in such a short time as ten years, but Jones said that he was positive there had been warming.

Whether a change in temperature is statistically significant depends on more than the real change temperature – sample size, or the period of time, is crucial. [“Figuring out how ‘global warming’ becomes ‘no global warming’ ” (2-22-10)]

If you read and understand the BBC (2-13-10) interview that the Daily Mail allegedly quoted, Phil Jones did not “admit” that “there has been no global warming since 1995.”

The BBC (2-13-10) interviewer asked this loaded question about a very brief period of time:

BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?

Phil Jones: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.


BBC: How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?

Phil Jones: I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 - there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.

Journalist Peter McKnight explains that the media does not seem to understand the term “statistical significance”:

First, the formerly private e-mails of the former director of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England were hacked, leading to the so-called climategate scandal. And now, media everywhere are putting words in Jones’s mouth, words that are the exact opposite of those he actually spoke.

In an interview with the BBC last week, Jones said he is “100-per-cent confident the climate has warmed,” and “there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.”

One day later, the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail newspaper’s headline read: “Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995.”

The fair and balanced followed that up with a story saying that Jones “dropped a bombshell” in admitting “there has been no global warming over the past 15 years.” Similar statements have now been repeated in media and blogs from around the world.

Now, how does “global warming” become “no global warming?” As the Center for Environmental Journalism explains, it’s easy: When the media either don’t, or choose not to, understand the concept of statistical significance.

Jones was asked specifically whether he agreed “that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically significant global warming.” He replied: “Yes, but only just. I calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. The trend (0.12 C) is positive, but not significant at the 95-per-cent significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level.”

Jones’s “admission” then is merely that the observed warming is not statistically significant. This is far different from admitting there has been no warming -indeed, by acknowledging a positive trend, he was stating that scientists have observed warming.

The trouble here revolves around the concept of statistical significance. Simply put, a research result is considered statistically significant if it is highly unlikely to have occurred by chance. For a result to be significant at the 95-percent level – the level accepted, by convention, in the sciences and social sciences – the probability of the result occurring by chance has to be less than five per cent.

If the probability is greater than five per cent, then the result is considered insignificant. This is the case with global warming between 1995 and 2009.

According to Jones, there is a greater – though not much greater – than five-percent probability that the observed warming trend of 0.12 C occurred by chance.

Does this mean that the warming was just a chance event, that there has been no global warming?

No. Real warming may have occurred even if the observed warming is statistically insignificant. This is, in fact, quite possible given that Jones was speaking of a 15-year period – a very short period, and it’s extremely difficult to find significant results with a short period.

On the other hand, if the period is very large – thousands of years, say – then a very small change in temperature would be statistically significant.

Jones clearly recognizes this, as he told the BBC: “Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods and much less likely for shorter periods.”

In other words, whether a change in temperature is statistically significant depends on more than the real change temperature – sample size, or the period of time, is crucial.

“temperature is changing very rapidly”

In order to believe that you have to deny the Medieval Warming Period. If you can’t get past that, there’s no point in continuing the discussion.

I don’t care to defend everything that some people (labeled by you as”denialists”) may have said. (Your position is known as “alarmist” or more politely, “warmist”). I doubt that any scientists I would recognize as credible would have said it. And as Lindzen of MIT says, even the term “skeptics” is misapplied. In order to be a skeptic the question in doubt, in this case anthropogenic global warming, must at least be plausible, and it isn’t. There is no evidence.

I repeat: Nothing stated in those “hacked” emails has been denied. The information gained from those should have been publicly available, and these CRU “scientists” were avoiding that possibility like the plague. Any investigator who makes a claim and won’t back it up by releasing both data and process has NO credibility. None.

While I don’t believe Jones’ comments on anything are reliable or worthwhile at this point, I brought up his claim (which was as I stated) because “warmists” tend to treat him as one of the mullahs in your Church of Global Warming. Keep in mind that the global temperature will, as of early 2011 likely show about a half degree increase, which is sufficient to erase most of the warming over the past few decades! (The sad part is that the errors in the surface temperature measurements and the CRUs “revisions” is likely even larger.

My position in any event, is that we could have more warming for a considerably longer period and still be within natural variation. But,in fact, there has been basically no change in temperature for more than the past decade (satellite readings). Jones treated that small change as positive, but if you understand anything about how those measurements are taken (check Anthony Watts site), the error is probably larger than that number.

Keep in mind that even Holdren, Obama’s current science adviser, was back in the 70s looking into ways humans could create global warming. (1940 to 1975 was (one of) the cooling periods during this warming). In fact, one must consider our current warming period to have begun in the 1600s, at the depth of the little ice age. The industrial revolution didn’t crank up until the 1800s, by which time the little ice age was considered over. (This warming thus began way before the CO2 level had moved off 280ppmv.)

And, since you insist (not unreasonably) on using the longer term in order to attain statistical significance, our planet has been around for quite some time. The temperature appears to have dropped 5 or 6 degrees over the past 65 million years. Also, we’ve had 13 ice ages during the past 1.3 million years, each averaging 90,000 years in duration and followed (on average) by a 10,000 year warming period. We’re near, possibly at, the end of our warming period.

I’ve established my position in a google document. My opinions are referenced and based on credible scientists, (there are many) and that obviously does not include any of the players at the IPCCs’s CRUs. The only reason I bothered to pursue this issue was because nobody could provide me with an answer to (what I thought) was a simple question… “What about the Medieval Warming Period? Mankind had no effect back then (CO2 was at the same level as it had been for at least a few hundred thousand years?” ) To this day I’ve not found any evidence (none, nada, zilch) backing the claim of significant anthropogenic global warming. (I use the term “significant” to avoid dealing with the butterfly effect. Anything MIGHT effect the climate, but science can’t do much with that proposition.

‘My opinions are referenced and based on credible scientists, (there are many)’

Now I wonder who you are thinking of.

‘What about the Medieval Warming Period? Mankind had no effect back then (CO2 was at the same level as it had been for at least a few hundred thousand years?” )’

You may be surprised that human kind has had a huge impact on life on Earth going back to hunter gatherer times helping to wipe out many large fauna species and with the development of agriculture the over grazing of lands susceptible to drought. How do you think the Egyptian civilization managed to sustain itself for hundreds of years but punctuated by the occasional collapse? Other earlier civilisations developed and crashed in similar ways from the Middle East (or near East as it once was) to Central and South America.

Try reading Jared Diamonds ‘Collapse’ (also some of his other thought provoking books) and reflect on the fact that the medieval warm period was a localised effect which moved around the northern hemisphere, it was not a global phenomenon. Many distort the timings of any warmer period and also The Little Ice Age to make an argument, a fallacious argument as can and has been demonstrated. But those of your ilk who prefer to draw poisoned water from WUWT, CO2 Science and the like never get to realise that because you have blinkered yourselves.

The problem is that you have a narrow focus. Others like myself who have had a broad experience of the sciences tend to see the bigger picture.

Climate science is like a jigsaw puzzle made of a large number of different coloured pieces, coloured by the specific scientific disciplines that provide the foundational data. There are a number of pieces missing and many are turned the wrong way thus difficult to fit in. However enough are recognised to see that warming is happening and humans are involved in this. Trouble is that mischievous scientists, who should know better, keep displacing pieces, turning them over or distorting them so that to the un-nuanced the picture changes to something that is not representative of the truth. And that is where you are in a position where bullshit has baffled your brain.

A broad picture of how the world works can be found in studies of Oceonography (try Garrison’s ‘Oceanography: An Invitation to Marine Science’, and paleontology (try works by Richard Fortey and also those Richard Corfield) for starters. It is no coincidence that scientists who have worked in those fields are often to be found amongst the ranks of renowned climate scientists, e.g. David Archer who’s books you should read and lectures you should watch. These are not founded on the nonsense seen at some ‘googlehocdoc’.

Until you have done some honest research using reliable sources there is little point in discussing with you further.

But I guess that you think that only CO2 has an effect on the climate.

Have a read of the science, kid.

“That’s like concluding arson is natural because up until the appearance of humans fires were caused by lightning or lava, etc.”

That’s one of the best analogies I’ve seen.

OOps. Forgot to include google doc

Here we go again:

OOps. Forgot to include google doc’

this is now nothing but spam, spam, spam and spam, more spam and spam, spam spam and even more spam spam and spam! Enough!

I see it as a distinct improvement over those folks who (attempt to) rebute a position by referring to half a dozen other websites. My reference is to my own google-doc, but I only after I first directly respond to the points being debated. Obviously the website has much more information available on the general subject.

If people don’t know the subject matter well enough to put forth a coherent response in their own words, they’re in over their heads. (Of course, the truly political responses are one step further down the ladder, and that seems more typical at this site. All they use is the usual “arguments from authority”, or plain old name calling.)

C’mon folks, it really isn’t rocket science. It all boils down to the IPCC folks playing with the data, and using bogus computer model output which the un-initiated refer to as “evidence” (it’s not).

Go read Spencer Weart’s book:

Of course, YOU won’t. But any poor fools who are swayed by your repeating of a Big Lie may find some sanity there. Historical facts and independently verifiable. Unlike GoFigure’s insanity-inspired conspiracy theory.

I didn’t call it a conspiracy, but a cabal would seem to be an appropriate descriptor.

that’s why you only hear a few names touted time and time again.

Denialism requires that any faults exist in others. You’re projecting again.

Well let’s see what is behind GoFigure. It appears he is some one called Denis Ables. Denis Ables is a prolific poster and supporter of one of the most nasty of the denier sites. I speak of John O’Sullivan’s site which is full of lies, slander and nasty comments about climate scientists. He is a very nasty person and knows nothing about science. Even J Curry says so in her blog. His followers are equally ignorant of science. A Google Scholar search for “Denis Ables” turns up no scientific papers and only one hit to a comment on the nasty JOS site. Yet, this GoFigure person tries to tell us that all of climate science is wrong and his piece of fishwrap is the real science.

Not content to linking it once we have GoFigure spamming us with this drivel over and over again. On progressive blogs this spamming is not allowed.

Enough is enough, either cite real science as found in the scientific literature or continue to show that you are part of the ignorant, arrogant anti-science AGW denier brigade.

I have visited O’Sullivan’s site, and I believe he’s on the right side of the issue. If that’s what you mean by an O’Sullivan supporter, you are correct.

Since you visited my google doc, you will note that I specified in the opening information that my conclusions are my own, but based on information from credible sources information which is available in both books and various websites. Those scientists (actually that title shouldn’t even be applied to the IPCC researchers) get the credit. I made it quite clear that I had no formal job or educational experience in the climate area.

Good for you, we’ve now established that you can read, but evidently not more than a line or two, or you wouldn’t have have found it necessary to google to obtain that same information.

The facts that I have provided in response to some of the commentary on this site are accessible by anyone with an interest in the truth and an IQ above that of a potted plant. You are free to decide which category you fall into.

It is indeed interesting that you can question my background experience as lacking, but ignore 900+ researchers who have clearly identified the Medieval Warming Period (in REAL peer-reviewed studies) as being as warm or warmer and of longer duration than our current warming period. How do you manage to make such “intelligent” distinctions? Aren’t you the least bit curious about all the credible scientists who “doubt” the AGW claims? (doubt is hardly a strong enough word)

As has been mentioned before that project on CO2nonsense has been critically reviewed by honest scientists (not the dishonest ones you are in love with) and shown to be rubbish. Cherry picking, misinterpretation and the usual dishonest tactics used by your friends do not turn a list of papers into a major project supporting your denier and politically motivated nonsense.

Now that critique is written by scientists who know what they are talking about not ignorant and dishonest ant-science AGW deniers.

seem to be in the same camp as that nutty Czech theoretical physicist (string theorist) Luboš Motl who is well known for his rants against AGW science having appeared at both Rabett’s place and at Tamino’s amongst others where he is quickly ‘put out’ like a raging fire would be.

I have also visited Motl’s site. He is a very smart fellow, and has good reason to rant. He fully understands how ridiculous the AGW claims are. Did you notice that India has decided to do their own investigation into climate warming. It seems they don’t have much faith in either the UN’s conclusions or in leader of that IPCC group (a railroad engineer from India).

I also visit WattsNewWithThat and Joanne Nova’s site, and on occasion various other sites. Your cohort mentioned Cury who evidently doesn’t like O’Sullivan. But she has recently become somewhat skeptical of the actions of the IPCC group.


‘I have also visited Motl’s site.’

You do surprise me, not!

The terminology you use already revealed that hand of yours. Motl is an ideological crank as is Watts and Nova but in the case of those latter, as with Andrew Bolt, they like how anti-science blogging pays.

You will one day be judged by the company you keep that day seems to be getting closer as even the dimmest science dullard twigs that the global climate has really gone south and that this is the underlying reason why feeding the family has become more expensive.

Do you really wish to remain such a lost cause? Start visiting some of the reliable sites that have cropped up in this thread if you do not.

Other than that it is a waste of time discussing with you further.

You have nothing to offer, merely ad hominem comments, so there really hasn’t been any discussion. From my perspective, it is the issue of AGW that is of interest. If there is any evidence for it, I’d love to hear it (altho’ that would be bad news for the planet)?

Does anyone on this site understand that the initial paleoclimate studies showed a perfect correlation between temperature and CO2 level? That’s what started the algorians down this path. Then, lo, it turned out later that while the correlation was indeed very good, the temperature fluctuations were preceeding almost identical CO2 fluctuations by 800 to 2500 years.

In the meantime the government (and politicians of most stripes) saw this as yet another crisis which also happened to be a great excuse for intervening. Literally billions of dollars in grants began pouring out, but the catch was, it had to be related to “global warming”, otherwise no $$ available. Scientists, it turns out, are just like the rest of us - at least in most respects. Many of them took the money. This monster turned into a completely political endeavor. Liberal politicians saw it as part of their one-world dream. The only way to control CO2 is for every country to be controlled by one body. (Naturally the UN had no problem with identifying itself as that body and its rewrites of what their scientists reported reflected that. Some of the scientists also became believers and gave up their very soul.) The liberal press jumped on the story and most are still in denial. Many conservatives, even those who know nothing about the science, knew they didn’t like any part of giving up more control - even to their own government, let alone to some entity such as the inept UN.

And now - right here on this blog, just as many other sites, I see a bunch of people basically arguing only politics. No science. There are many credible scientists, skeptics, who know the IPCC stuff is a hoax, but still are not ready to completely dismiss the issue because of the increasing level of CO2. Perhaps at some level CO2 will influence temperature even though there is no evidence now. Doubtful, since historical data indicates that it’s been at much higher levels during at least 3 ice ages, and going into one ice age. But what about CO2 itself? What is the highest acceptable level?

In the meantime, you evidently haven’t got a clue about the facts, and I doubt any of the readers here are at all interested in how you feel about others. Do you know ANYTHING at all about climate? You seem to simply dismiss anything that smacks of skeptical, or you point out 15 website references without so much as a word about what you are trying to rebut and except the other party to spend hours doing YOUR homework?

Not much content here.


To my knowledge, most basic research in EVERY field of science is government funded.

The Human Genome Project is one example. The internet, computers, biotech, you name it. After the government funded researchers do the basic research, corporations take it, do further research and develop products. Your tax dollars at work in the service of capitalism.

No problem with government funding. The problem is on an issue like global warming with costly policy potential, the point is to make sure you get both sides of the story. A group like the IPCC would basically put itself out of business by spending big bucks and concluding that they have no evidence. That kind of scenario is not healthy and shouldn’t be expected to produce satisfactory results.

IPCC scientists do not get paid for their work on the IPCC. You haven’t a clue about anything to do with climate science but you bluster on. A sure sign of Dunning Kruger.