The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Don't Actually Deny Global Warming

Thu, 2008-04-17 12:14Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

The Deniers: The World Renowned Scientists Who Don't Actually Deny Global Warming

Solomon's New Book Full of Hysteria, (Imagined) Persecution, and Fraud

Despite the uncertainties, there is general agreement that the observed warming is real and particularly strong within the past 20 years.

Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions

National Academy of Sciences, 2001

I am afraid you won't find that quote in within the pages of Lawrence Solomon's new book, The Deniers: The World-Renowned Scientists Who Stood Up Against Global Warming Hysteria, Political Persecution, and Fraud (and those who are too fearful to do so).

Nope, as the world's longest book title suggests, Solomon is not the least interested in considering a climate consensus - and if that means that he has to cherry-pick quotes, misrepresent data, cut off graphs before their curves become inconvenient and blithely ignore the logical inconsistencies in his own arguments, well, Solomon seems not to mind.

In fairness, though, he comes clean very early in the book (on Page 6, actually) and admits that the whole exercise is a parlor game, a work of sophistry. It all began because he was trying to impress some visiting Chinese environmentalists with the vigor of the environmental debate in North America. So he challenged a friend to “name three climate-change areas that he felt were settled. … I told him if he identified the areas of expertise, I would find a credible dissenting scientist in each.”

Though I can't believe anyone would have set up some of the silly points Solomon examines as the most settled in climate science, Solomon set off nevertheless to find any dissent and to write about his findings in a periodic column in the National Post. He later parlayed that series into this book.

The problem is that Solomon's “deniers” don't actually deny climate change. They quibble about the details. They criticize Michael Mann's now entirely dated hockey stick graph. They argue about snow temperatures in Antarctica, but they all still allow - what's the phrase? - that observed warming is real and particularly strong in the last 20 years.

Solomon even says so. He says that while reflecting on his own research, “I … noticed something striking about my growing cast of deniers. None of them were deniers.”

If you ask me how someone could make that concession on page 45 and then string the book out to page 213 (not counting footnotes), I have to say that I am still suffering some confusion. And all of it intentional, I am convinced.

Solomon has rounded up the usual suspects and reveled in the usual arguments. He has cherry-picked quotes like this, from the above-reference National Academy of Sciences report:

“Because there is considerable uncertainty in current understanding of how the climate system varies naturally and reacts to emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, current estimates of the magnitude of future warming should be regarded as tentative and subject to future adjustments (either upward or downward).”

Fair enough, the magnitude (if not the inevitability) of future warming is debatable. But Solomon follows that quote with this hysterical analysis:

“The press's spin? CNN, in language typical of other reportage, stated that it (the National Academy of Sciences report) represented 'a unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse, and is due to man. There is no wiggle room.'”

Click on the link at the top and I think you'll find that CNN’s reporting was accurate. “Real and getting worse” was the conclusion that was reported to President George W. Bush at the time, and while the White House was officially unhappy, they didn't challenge the finding.

But Solomon does. Using graphs that tend to end between 1980 and 2000, and throwing his lot in with the likes of Bob (Global-Warming-Ended-in-1998) Carter, Solomon adds brick upon brick to what remains a very low wall separating the purveyors of doubt from an overwhelming tide of agreement.

But, again, Solomon doesn’t make excuses for creating a phony balance between his handful of quibblers and the overwhelming scientific concern about climate change. He says: “… our job is not to settle which side is right but simply to demonstrate that there is a debate, a vigorous and serious one.”

So, he quotes Carter saying this: “There is almost universal agreement (my emphasis) that significant carbon dioxide increases – human caused or otherwise – will cause gentle* planetary warming.”

And, then later, Solomon concludes, “… our mission is accomplished. Knowing what we know now it is not possible to believe that the science is settled or that there is a scientific “consensus” for the doomsayer view of global warming.”

The best part of Solomon’s book is the last chapter, in which he suddenly starts to make sense (not counting a bizarre analogy between economics and science).

First, Solomon explains his motive for clinging so desperately to some notion of doubt about climate change: he has spent most of his adult life as a self-styled environmentalist, campaigning against nuclear energy and against the ravages of big hydro electric projects. Once he brought it up, I started to remember the incredibly good work that his organization, Energy Probe, did in the 1990s on the Three Gorges dam** in China.

Now, with fossil-fuel-sourced carbon dioxide identified as the overarching environmental threat, nuclear and mega-hydro projects are back on the front burner. Even people who consider themselves ardent environmentalists – frontrunners in the vegan Birkenstock crowd – are looking at those alternatives with a more open mind. And Solomon’s life work seems to be slipping away.

You have to be sympathetic.

Solomon also makes some very good points about the fresh batch of stupid decisions that are being made or justified on the basis of climate change. His attack on bio-fuels seems entirely reasonable. His condemnation of carbon credit trading scams is equally defensible. And his oddly contrarian call for the removal of “all the overt and hidden subsidies to road users, industries, and energy producers” is downright laudable.

That said, this book is nothing more than a gift to the denial industry, a clumsy favor to the oil-entrenched lobbyists who will do anything to slow our response to an issue that has given rise to a very convincing consensus.

Solomon says there are quibblers. He’s right. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there is a 90+ per cent possibility that global warming endangers the world as we know it. And on the central question, even Solomon’s selection of contrarian scientists won’t deny it.

If there is evidence of “fraud” in this book, it’s all in the title. Solomon should be a little embarrassed for having brought it up.

*Doesn’t Bob Carter’s use of the word “gentle planetary warming” make you feel better? And isn’t it creepy to think that a more honest sentence would have read, “gentle and cumulative planetary warming”?

** Solomon’s report of “fifty-meter-high waves” in the Three Gorges reservoir is, I have to assume, a typo.

Comments

“I … noticed something striking about my growing cast of deniers. None of them were deniers.” - Lawrence Solomon

That’s because the term “denier” is mostly a fiction invented by alarmist AGW proponents to demonize any questioning of alarmist claims. Few people are deniers; many people are skeptics. Another term you could use for us is to call us lukewarmers. We accept AGW; we still find outrageous claims of catastrophe to be of dubious merit.

And there are many things to question and discuss. Northern hemispheric sea ice area is nearly 1,000,000 square kms larger then last year at this time. Southern hemisphere sea ice area is 1,500,000 square kms larger then last year at this time.

Before you prattle on about how thin this ice might be, it is important to remember that ice extent is more important than thickness as it has a greater effect on albedo.

Another issue which the press has been silent on is the results from the world-class pioneering Argo ocean temperature monitoring system. Initial results show no warming, in fact a slight cooling, of the world’s oceans over the last 4 years.

Sustained global warming can not occur unless there is a sustained warming of the world’s oceans. Four years is a short time period but the Argo results are worthy of serious attention and their data will grow in importance as the years go by.

As our knowledge of the environment increases, debate over these issues will continue, in spite of a sustained effort to suppress debate and demonize skeptics.

Provide your sources Paul S. Oh right, you just make it all up, don’t you.

Just to take one of your statements:

…Before you prattle on about how thin this ice might be, it is important to remember that ice extent is more important than thickness as it has a greater effect on albedo…

Thin ice melts faster than thick ice; so when all this thin ice melts quickly, the albedo will quickly be much darker and will absorb much more sunlight.

Incorrect VJ. Melting of ice is dependent on temperature; thickness of the ice does not affect the speed at which it melts.

I think you’ll find, Paul S, that where the ice is thin it disappears more rapidly – just watch the spring melt. If you put two sheets of ice of the same surface area, one twice as deep as the other, out to melt in the sun, you’ll find the thin one will be gone first. The ice might be melting at the same rate, but the thick one will take longer. Result: more open water to feed the feedback loop.

Fern Mackenzie

Fern, what VJ said was:

Thin ice melts faster than thick ice.

It doesn’t.

You say:

Result: more open water to feed the feedback loop.

No. The thin ice would contribute less water.

Your first point; I was responding to your silly argument that it was more important that the ice covered a large area than how thick it is. You are wrong. A thin piece of ice will melt completely sooner than a thick piece of ice will.

Your second point is dumb. We are talking about ice on water melting so that the water underneath is darker and absorbs more sunlight when the ice floating on it has melted away. How much water the ice adds to the water already there is irrelevent.

VJ, you missed my point completely, it is the extent of the ice cover, and not its thickness that has the most effect on albedo. My point remains valid.

Paul S/G are you so stupid, do you come by it naturally or did you have to work at developing such a stupid way with words.

The most important factor regarding ice cover (or lack of it) is the time that the water is ice free. VJ and Fern have tried to explain to you that thin ice will melt and disappear much faster than thicker ice. Once the ice has disappeared the effect on the albedo will be much greater.

Larger areas of ice in the Arctic winter does not change the earth’s albedo since it is in darkness. Thin ice, which melts much faster in the Spring and early summer, has a much greater effect on the albedo.

It is not exactly quantum physics just simple application of elementary physics, how much science have you studied? Maybe you should go and read a high school science text before you make any more stupid statements.

Ian Forrester

ROB is doing us all a favour by showing how easy it is to label the lyin’, denyin’ slime-balls who pollute this site.

If he does a Google search for my use of “stupid” he will have shown us all that they are just really stupid, ignorant and disgusting people.

Keep up the good work ROB.

It will probably keep you from doing something really stupid which you might regret.

Ian Forrester

Watching your religeon crumble right in front of you will do that.
Take a deep breath and chant with me.
AGW is good, AGW is good.
LOL

to taunt and goad us with asinine lines like this.

Do yourself a favour and don’t respond.

ROB is doing us all a favour by showing how easy it is to label the lyin’, denyin’ slime-balls who pollute this site.”

Well, maybe easy for you to label people as such, but I suspect this has been a lifelong character defect with you, and didn’t just materialize when the Global Warming fad came along. Perhaps your brittle, vituperative manners would also account for the utter failure of your career as a chemist?

“If he does a Google search for my use of “stupid” he will have shown us all that they are just really stupid, ignorant and disgusting people.”

No, Ian, sorry, it wouldn’t show that. It would merely demonstrate your overuse of that epithet, along with all the other abusive shrieking which you compulsively employ, for lack of any rational argument.

“It will probably keep you from doing something really stupid which you might regret.”

Is that another threat, Ian Forrester of Calgary, AB? Are you going to bust a cap in my ass, using one of the weapons in your shotgun collection? But when you really think of it, whenever I “do something”, isn’t it usually you who ends up regretting their stupidity?

The fact remains that sea ice extent for the northern hemisphere is 750,000 square kilometers higher this year then last (and only slightly below the 1979-2000 mean).

For the southern hemisphere, sea ice area is 1,500,000 square kilometers above the 1979-2000 mean.

You too repeat the mistake VJ made, saying:

thin ice will melt and disappear much faster than thicker ice.

Sorry Ian, thin ice does not melt faster. For someone who pretends to spout physics, you should not be making such a simple error.

So leave the physics to someone with a modicum of understanding, you can stick to your arm waving.

You are not worth arguing with. Believe what you want but intelligent people know how stupid you are.

Ian Forrester

Did I just see the white flag go up? ;D

So far you have somehow managed to sustain the impression that your posts should be answered, even if only to prevent casual visitors to this blog from getting confused by your misinformation. But this latest exchange is so bizarre you have left me (and no doubt Ian, VJ and Exusian) shaking my head in wonder and asking myself “Who IS this guy?”, and “Does his minder know he’s online again?” You have exposed yourself. You simply haven’t the mental capacity to grasp the concept.

Fern Mackenzie

He gets his figurative butt kicked regularly at Rabett Run and other blogs.

Fern, only answer my posts if looking at some of the facts interests you. Global sea ice area is far above normal at present, is that of no interest to you?

VJ, in your fantasies you would like to kick my butt. So keep on dreamin’.

Liar. As of March 25 it was at maximum extent which was 3% above the maximum extent for the past three years. That is not far above normal. Further, much thick multi-year ice has been replaced with thinner one-year ice, which will melt a hell of a lot faster. http://www.socc.ca/seaice/seaice_current_e.cfm

Depends where you get your data from VJ. My data shows northern sea ice area to be nearly 800,000 square kilometers higher then one year ago. Thick or thin, that’s a lot more ice area.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

You can’t tell the difference between ice that forms and retreats from one season to the next (thin ice), and ice that remains frozen through the arctic summer (thick ice). Anybody who makes the statement, Thick or thin, that’s a lot more ice area is not comprehending the heart of the matter.

Fern Mackenzie

Fern, there is variation every year, last year being an extreme example. Still, massive new areas of ice have formed, larger then the province of Manitoba, yet even with this positive development, all the extreme warmers can do is complain.

Season = thin
old = thick
Until you figure out the difference I don’t think there’s much point pursuing this.

Fern Mackenzie

Thick = Paul S.

Thin = VJ’s knowledge

What’s your point Fern? Is it that increased ice cover larger then Manitoba (over 800,000 square kms) does not matter?

You’re a warmer. No good news will be tolerated.

Your lack of knowledge regarding ice rivals VJ’s. Old ice is not automatically thick. A warmer then usual summer season can make old ice thin.

Nobody said seasonal ice is old ice so why you bring us that canard escapes us all.

Please see Ian’s post below. I’m outta here. This is pointless.

Fern Mackenzie

Heh.

No, Paul S and Rob are the losers.

What a total burn, VJ. What’s next? Are you going to call us “big fat poopy-heads”?

Here is what scientists at the Arctic Regional Ice Forecasting System group at the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, CCAR have to say:

“The factors triggering the unusually strong July sea-ice decline appear to be a combination of less multi-year ice and more cloud-free days, which accelerated the melting effects of solar radiation on the ice, Drobot said. “Things can really change fast, which is why we continually update our forecasts,” he said. The sea ice research by the CCAR group is funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA. “We have been seeing a sharp decline in thicker, multi-year ice that has survived more than one melt season,” said CCAR scientist James Maslanik. “This has been replaced in many areas by a thin, first-year layer of ice as well as by younger, thinner types of multi-year ice. The thinner ice just does not have the mass to withstand the effects of warming climate,” Maslanik explained. The CCAR researchers used satellite data from the U.S. Department of Defense and temperature records from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the forecasts, which they have been producing for five years.”

But don’t take their word for it Paul, I know that you are an expert on everything. Why don’t you write them and tell them of your “theories”, I’m sure they will listen and offer you a prestigious position at their institution. After all, they will need some one to scrape the ice of their sidewalks and your expertise would be very welcome in that area. It would be an easy job for you since you would only scrape away the thin ice, knowing that the thick ice will melt much faster on its own and will not need to be scraped.

Ian Forrester

… and may it be the last word on the subject!

Fern Mackenzie

No matter how extensive the winter ice cover might be, if it is thin, it will disappear more quickly than old, thick ice – and the open sea thus exposed will absorb heat. Each year the effect will be more pronounced. It doesn’t matter how extensive the sea ice is over the winter if it can’t survive the summer to reflect light and fend off the warming of the Arctic Ocean.

I’m sorry, Paul. I didn’t realize before how limited your abilities are to process and understand these things. You’ll just have to accept that there are some things you will never be able to comprehend. It’s like a sparrow trying to understand how a cellphone works. Don’t fret. We all have our limits.

Fern Mackenzie

You’re simply changing the goalposts Fern. The fact is, you don’t know how the ice will behave this summer.

You say:

Each year the effect will be more pronounced.

Yeah right. That would explain the behaviour of sea ice cover in the southern hemisphere.

It is fact that the sea ice area in the southern hemisphere is nearly 2,000,000 square kms higher now then a year ago.

Unfortunately, you are so addicted to doom and gloom warming that you are incapable of even acknowledging the massive increase in ice cover in the southern hemisphere (and the dramatic recovery in ice cover in the nothern hemisphere).

My advice to you Fern: don’t take apart your cellphone.

I am simply trying to keep the conversation based in some kind of reality, something you seem determined not to acknowledge.

Fern Mackenzie

Do you believe that northern hemisphere sea ice area will drop as low this year as it did last year Fern?

But I am not a scientist, and have no idea what variables might affect the sea ice this year. It’s like the spike in temperatures in 1998, that all the deniers point at and say “See? Warming has stopped.” If the sea ice doesn’t withdraw to last year’s extreme, there will be a big “I told you so.” I am willing to state with some certainty that whatever happens will be consistent with the long-term warming trend.

Fern Mackenzie

“Melting of ice is dependent on temperature; thickness of the ice does not affect the speed at which it melts.”

It’s more complicated than that, Paul. Thin, first year sea ice is saltier than multi-year ice, so it melts at a lower temperature. It is also not as strong as thick multi-year ice, so it is more easily broken up by wind and wave action. Once broken up, more surface area is exposed to heating. And, as Fern wrote, thin ice has less volume than thick ice and thus less mass, so any given surface area of thin first year ice does indeed take less time to melt than an equivalent surface area of multi year ice.

Paul S/G, if you had done some reading on the results coming from the ARGO “divers” you would see that there are at least two important errors (probably more) in how they operate and transmit data. One seems to have been recognized and fixed and the new data does not support the “cooling” hypothesis that you are promoting.

You deniers (and I will continue to use the word for people like you) latch onto anything however spurious that supports your denier status without checking out if it is in fact true or not (a true skeptic would actually do some research and find the problems). Ignoring possible problems is the same as denying the results.

Ian Forrester

LOL Ian. Data is not a hypothesis, even you know that. It is data. And the newest, most comprehensive data from the Argo system shows (a slight) ocean cooling over the last 4 years.

Secondly, I noticed your claim of errors is unsourced.

Thirdly, you appear to argue the new Argo data is “spurious” but this claim of yours is unsupported also.

The Argo data will gain importance and relevance as the years go on. These new results remain most interesting.

I have already discussed the errors with the ARGO system on another thread. You can also Google for more information.

The data errors are well known and have been accepted by the operators and manufacturers and they are trying to solve them. Some have been solved, others I’m not sure about.

Try doing some reading before your typical knee jerk (emphasis on JERK) reaction to information which proves you wrong (once again).

Ian Forrester

The new Argo data only came out in the last few weeks. You didn’t post on that new data Ian.

You won’t reference to your supposed posts because they don’t support what you contend. Nice bit of arm waving Ian.

My post on the ARGO errors was on Deltoid not here, my mistake. Here is part of what I had to say on that other blog:

‘Here is a quote from the ARGO website: “it has just been learned that Argo profiles from SOLO floats with FSI CTD (Argo Program WHOI) may have incorrect pressure values. Profile data may be offset upward by one or more pressure levels, resulting in a significant cold bias for these instruments”.

Mmmm could that be where the “heat is hiding”?

Here is another error which was found, it too had a cooling bias: “While studying the pressure offset errors, a related problem was discovered in a group of WHOI/SBE profiles. Reported pressures from these instruments corresponded to the bottom pressure of bins rather than to the mid-bin pressure. This ½ bin pressure offset error is generally less than for the profiles noted in (1) above”.

More details can be found at:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/2tlluo and http://preview.tinyurl.com/2kc9mu ’

If you follow the links you will find the newer data are mentioned.

Ian Forrester

Mmmm could that be where the “heat is hiding”?

Probably not Ian. There were errors in two subsets of floats. One subset was immediately corrected and scientists have been aware of, and examining the second subset since at least October of last year.

The latest ARGO data came out in the last month so any scientist working with the data would certainly been aware of the warnings from last year.

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be much public information available yet about this newest ARGO data, but if the data is accurate, it is of great interest, though extreme warmers will be the first to ignore it.

Paul S/G you are the biggest liar on this site. Everything you say is based on fairy tales which seem to be the only things that are active in your (supposed) brain.

Here is a quote on the latest information on the ARGO data:

“Most of the rapid cooling reported by Lyman et al. (2006) is demonstrated to be the result of the combination of this cold bias in the spurious Argo data and the transition from an ocean observing system dominated by warm-biased XBT data to one dominated by Argo data.

Furthermore, these systematic errors are shown to be significantly larger than estimated sampling errors in OHCA. It is also shown that sampling changes from the Argo array in the Southern Ocean are unlikely to have made a significant contribution to the spurious cooling.”

http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/hc_bias_jtech_v2.pdf

There is only one thing worse than a stupid fool and that is a dishonest stupid fool. You fill the bill exactly.

Ian Forrester

That is an old report from last year. It predates the newest data which was released only one month ago. It refers to Lyman (2006) and not the newest data.

Your arm-waving (“lies, lies, lies”) does not hide that fact Ian. Really, I expected better then this dishonest attempt from you.

Paul S/G did you even read the report? The title page says:

“Revised and re-submitted 29 February, 2008
to Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology”.

Are you so up to date that you consider a report that was submitted 6 weeks ago, not yet in press, as being “an old report”? You are a joke, but I am not laughing since the results of what people like you are advocating are so dreadful for so many innocent victims.

You are a dishonest stupid fool.

Ian Forrester

“You are a dishonest stupid fool.”

You forgot to call him ignorant and disgusting.

“Revised and resubmitted.” Like I said, it is an improved version on an old(er) report.

Hmmmmmmmm … . and what does this report say? Remember, they have now corrected for the two flaws in the ARGO dataset. They say:

With biased profiles discarded, no significant warming or cooling is observed in upper-ocean heat content between 2004 and 2006.

Josh Willis is one of the authors of this report, and he has confirmed there has been a slight cooling of the world’s oceans.

Why don’t you e-mail Mr. Willis and call him a liar Ian?

Anyone who reads the report I referred to will be able to draw their own conclusions. The report refutes the negative OHCA which was widely distributed through the denier web sites as evidence that “the earth is cooling” lie. The earth is not cooling and your efforts to try and say otherwise just show how ignorant of the true facts you are. In fact what you are doing is even worse since you claim to have read the report and are now lying about what the authors are saying. Just look at Figure 2 to see what I mean.

Ian Forrester

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