Rush Limbaugh Seizes--and Freezes?--on "ClimateGate"

Mon, 2011-06-13 08:05Chris Mooney
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Rush Limbaugh Seizes--and Freezes?--on "ClimateGate"

For some time, it has been clear that “ClimateGate” has a dramatic meaning for the political right in the U.S. Somehow, “ClimateGate” gave those conservatives who had long been resistant to dealing with global warming a new license to dismiss the problem entirely. As a non-conservative, it’s hard to wrap your mind around how this could have occurred—after all, “ClimateGate” wasn’t a real scandal–but recently, I’ve come up with what may be a better understanding.

The inspiration came from checking in on Rush Limbaugh and noting, in more detail than I usually do, the particular flavor of his dismissiveness. Limbaugh took a call recently from one Michael Hillinger, a New Hampshire resident who had made news by asking GOP candidate Mitt Romney a question about whether he accepts the science of climate change (Romney said yes). Based on these statements, Limbaugh bade “Bye By Nomination” to Romney; he also had this “exchange” with Hillinger:

CALLER: …First of all, I wanted to specify the difference between policy and science… And I specifically quoted from a 2010 National Academy of Sciences report, and two quotes here. The first is, they concluded — and, by the way, the National Academy of Sciences, as you know, is considered the Supreme Court of science in this country. It was founded in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, and it’s charged with giving the Congress unbiased scientific information. Now, their conclusion was, quote, “A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.”

RUSH: Then they’ve lost all credibility. It’s a bogus claim.

CALLER: Let me go on. They then went on to say, “Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found wrong is vanishingly small. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities. And then I asked my question, so that’s the context of the question. Your response was that there was evidence even in the last year that established this whole premise of manmade global warming is a hoax.

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: I don’t know where you’re getting the hoax from, sir. I mean I’m looking at –

RUSH: It’s called the University of East Anglia in England and the Hadley Climate Center where they basically made it all up, pure and simple. It’s a hoax. There’s nothing true about it.

END TRANSCRIPT

It’s a truly extraordinary and revealing exchange–and you’ll notice that Limbaugh is nothing if not sure he’s right. “Bogus claim,” “hoax,” “there’s nothing true about it”—these are categorical statements, not admitting of shades of gray. And thus no wonder Limbaugh’s exchange with Hillinger went no further–if you’re absolutely sure you’re right about something, then you don’t want to be contradicted or have a big debate about it.

Based on this exchange and, indeed, his own words, it would appear that Limbaugh’s mind is made up–he can’t really consider the possibility of global warming being real and human caused. And how did he (and others who share his mindset) get that way? I sounds like the answer may well be “ClimateGate.”

Remember what things were like before it happened. We were coming off 2007, when Al Gore and the IPCC won the Nobel Peace Prize. We’d just elected President Obama, who was backing cap-and-trade legislation and a Copenhagen deal. The science—and the policy—of global warming had all the momentum behind them. If you didn’t believe that the problem was real and needed to be addressed, you were in a pretty difficult position.

ClimateGate was a true blessing in this regard for climate skeptics and deniers. It furnished a brand new excuse to dismiss it all. It was all a scam! Now of course, I am well aware that the evidence about what happened in “ClimateGate” doesn’t actually support this—that the scientists involved were vindicated, and so forth–but that’s still how ClimateGate was interpreted by many…including, it seems, Limbaugh.

So “ClimateGate” was seized upon—and then, to borrow a term from psychology, after “seizing” “freezing” may have occurred for some. Minds were made up, and no new evidence was admissible—because “ClimateGate” proved it was all a hoax. Thus, whenever global warming comes up, we now hear “ClimateGate” cited endlessly, as a way of shutting down further consideration–as a vindication, even. And it’s completely baffling, if you know (as we all do) that the science of climate is as strong as it ever was, the issue didn’t go away, and “ClimateGate” doesn’t really have any substantive significance.

If I’m right, what it all suggests is that at least until there is some dramatic new event that upends the climate discussion, “ClimateGate” will continue to be cited as the reason that there’s no reason to think further about global warming.

Previous Comments

Obviously Limbaugh has convinced himself that a belief in Global Warming will necessitate a denial of God’s omnipotence and thus his belief system would topple like a bad game of dominos (not to mention his ratings and big paycheck). It’s always interesting to see what money can buy.

Well, in this case it can buy articles written by paid shills, on a website run by a PR company, and funded by a convicted money-launderer, John Lefebvre. Welcome to Desmogblog.com.

So Mooney, are we in a war, or not?

You recognize that we are caught in a “Republican War on Science”. Yet you discuss this instance as if it’s nothing more than a clinical matter, and you don’t propose any war plan other than to sit around and wait for a miracle to happen.

I’m pretty sure that’s not how one would fight a war.

So are we still in a war, or have the metaphors changed while I wasn’t looking?

– frank

If someone looked inside his head, would they see the guy being honest with himself? Say he took one of those drugs which make you tell the truth, would he still be such a strong denier?

Limbaugh: “Global warming is a conspiracy between the liberals and the Chicoms.”

I suppose if 95% of the scientists in the world deduced that a comet was on it’s way to Earth, to wipe out life as we know it, there would be some (like Limbaugh, who is an entertainer, not at scientist) who for economic/political/religious reasons would deny it. But what about the consequences of being wrong? If you believe that the comet will strike, and take action (like in the movies!), and it doesn’t, well, no big deal. But if you do nothing, and it does hit Earth, well, oops!

The same thing with climate science. If the climate warming scientists are wrong, then no big deal. If they are right, and we do nothing, and temperature goes up four or five degrees Celcius and the seas acidify (the really big danger that few mention), then what? Who gives a crap about Liberals and Chicoms then? We’re all on the endangered list, even arrogant talk-show hosts.

By the way, the comet that struck the earth 65 million years ago destroyed most life on the planet by altering the climate, not by physically bonking the dinosaurs on the head.

Chris Mooney wrote: “it would appear that Limbaugh’s mind is made up”

Limbaugh’s mind is made up, all right. He long ago made up his mind to LIE for MONEY.

It is quite amazing how this group denies reality.
To claim that Climategate was not scandalous denies obvious reality.

but even worse is to pretend that the AGW scam still has any life left in it.

Alarmists are sooooooo like the Creationists I used to laugh at.

Remember to hide your decline well folks.

“but even worse is to pretend that the AGW scam still has any life left in it.”

Wow, in all the years I have been following this subject, it never ceases to amaze me how often deniers trot that line out.

Every week it’s the same “it’s over for the warmists” , “the hoax is up”, “the game is up for warmists”. And you rave on about us being creationists? When is the next coming of your denier messiah? When is your denial rapture?

Yet deniers are now to the stage of death threats to pro agw scientists. They have virtually no scientific research or papers to back them, they just criticize others papers & research. Plus, they have not a single major scientific institute on the planet backing them. Their war on science is led largely by right wing media personalities who are paid millions to regurgitate the pro market line & to always advocate a free market solution to everything.

Perhaps the above individual could explain to us why the US Navy says…

“Global Warming Is Real And Poses Threat To National Security”

http://thinkprogress.org/green/2011/03/11/174943/global-warming-navy/

are they part of your fantasy conspiracy too?

Why has the pentagon clearly stated

“Pentagon: “Climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked”

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2010/02/01/205431/pentagon-climate-change-energy-security-and-economic-stability-are-inextricably-linked/

“Oh no, shock, horror, probe, the Pentagon and the US Military are part of your fantasy conspiracy too”

“Alarmists are sooooooo like the Creationists I used to laugh at.”

Hope you like working with the people you used to mock! http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/12/243127/deniers-creationists-islamophobes-american-freedom-alliance-monckton-lindzen-crichton/

Firstly, I’m more a science watcher than someone versed in the technical issues related to climatology so I’ll appreciate any possible corrections from (actual) knowledgeable sources.

My understanding is that the problem with the undersea volcanic release theory is that there’s a negative forcing due to particulate release. Increases in volcanic activity have a depressing effect on temperature. Eruptions such as Pinatubo showed this. Moreover, I’m not arguing with the 1/100 CO2 number, which I’ve also seen in credible sources. What I’m not exactly clear on is the difference – if any – between the release of particulates from undersea volcanoes and land-based ones. Perhaps it’s merely a case of less negative forcing, but I’ll defer to anyone who knows about this.

Measuring CO2 isn’t that hard but the real question is whether CO2 has ‘increased’ and not whether there’s an unaccounted source of it. This is an attribution dodge. “Natural” causes of warming wouldn’t (purportedly) require the same solution because you can’t ‘turn off’ the volcanoes, although the problem of warming would still exist, albeit from a different source.

The appeal of the undersea volcano pseudo-theory is what interests me. There’s a visual element to it. A source that’s unobserved (actually they’re not un-monitored and you can go to a site on them) and hidden below the ocean appeals to the imagination. They epitomize the idea of an overlooked source.

Curiously, I first ran into this theory as one that the LaRouche organization was attempting to spread.

[note: I meant this as a response to a comment below on undersea volcanoes lost my place doing verification]

“To claim that Climategate was not scandalous denies obvious reality”

Reality: “The world or the state of things as they actually exist”

And so to reality.

Emails - Reality - Hacked and stolen in a criminal act
Emails - Reality - Information taken out of context

Reality - Independant Inquiries in multiple countries 6 guilty 0

Even if true (which it is not) in would have made not one iota of difference to the reality of the science.

For those who want to learn about the reality of this incident…

First this

http://climatecrocks.com/2011/04/28/unwinding-hide-the-decline/

Now these

http://www.skepticalscience.com/broken-hockey-stick.htm
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Climategate-CRU-emails-hacked.htm
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v441/n7097/full/4411032a.html http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptic_arguments/fakeddata.html

what i dont get is that you can read these emails and not conclude that scientific fraud was being committed. the headliner of all this…’hide the decline’ is indefenable. whats the point of defending it?

Climategate really did kill the discussion didnt it. Politicians moved on to other things.

Wait till they get to read the latest paper on Volcanic CO2 Release over the last few thousand years.

Turns out the rise in CO2 recently was natural afterall.

Completely destroys the AGW theory, but lets let them stew for a while till they find it for themselves.

then the will probably get some propogandist like Tamino to re-write the laws of physics in a desperate attempt to remain relevent.

It will be very amusing to watch.

Any cites to back up this extraordinary claim? Because CO2 from volcanoes in a typical year is about 1/100 of what we emit every year. Im sure the cite is from a good peer reviewed source, too, or you would not be so excited about it. Does it explain where all the gigatons of CO2 we are emitting is really going if about 1/2 of them are not staying in the atmosphere each year? The natural carbon sinks were already at equilibrium before the industrial revolution. The oceans can only absorb so much extra CO2, and the plants really cant absorb any more than they did before. Your source out to be quite revelatory.

Anon,

I call BS on your nonsensical claim. You seem to be referring to a hoax email that is doing the rounds in the denialosphere.

You do not strike me as someone who is interested in facts, but others here are, and the relevant facts can be found here (including scientific references):

http://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming.htm
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Two-attempts-to-blame-global-warming-on-volcanoes.html

Physics do not care what you or Limbaugh believe or think….and the irony of falsely labeling Tamino a “propagandist” when the post is about a very real propagandist called Limbaugh. The mental gymnastics that you are doing to continue delude yourself, while entertaining are a only great demonstration of someone in denial.

You need to try harder, much harder.

Actually it’s quite easy to understand Rush. Ever notice that dishonest people tend to question your honesty? And vice versa, honest people tend to be gullible? So Rush is the type of person who would construct a hoax if he thought it would further something he believes in. That’s why he so easily believes others are doing this.

anonymous said
“Obviously Limbaugh has convinced himself that a belief in Global Warming will necessitate a denial of God’s omnipotence”

or is it Limbaugh’s omnipotence? He is so full of himself he’s ready to burst.

Im pretty sure Limbaugh was convinced that global warming is a hoax, long before the non-scandal of climategate. It just helps support his confirmation bias.

in 2005, the UN predicted there would be 50 million global warming refugees.

whether or not the world is actually getting warmer, I think its probably a good idea to stop predicting when and where it will happen.

and just because you have a consensus, it doesnt make it true

“in 2005, the UN predicted there would be 50 million global warming refugees. ”

Please provide a link.

from the general assembly. SRGJAN KERIM, President of the General Assembly, opened the discussion by saying that 11 of the last 12 years had ranked among the 12 warmest since the keeping of global temperature records had begun in 1850. Two points were significant: that climate change was inherently a sustainable-development challenge; and that more efforts than ever before must be exerted to enable poor countries to prepare for impacts because it had been estimated that there would be between 50 million and 200 million environmental migrants by 2010.http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2008/ga10725.doc.htm next time look it up

Good article. Sad truth.

Paul Zappitielli is complaining that instead of 50 million climate refugees in 2010 there were only about 40 million climate refugees, so he wants everyone to stop figuring out what to expect over the next decade or so.
http://tiny.cc/6vfmr

Luckily the people that count are not listening to Paul or many cities would have already run out of water from not building desal plants, and towns would be frequently under water from not upgrading their stormwater systems.

Unfortunately all the people who have had to install air conditioners to be comfortable in the new heat waves are adding to the problem. But be careful not to work out how much they are adding. http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/our-costly-obsession-air-con

So… Sou.

Can you point us to ANY actual evidence that there have been ANY climate refugees?

I have certainly heard of lots of opportunists trying to milk the scam for money claiming that they “Will need to move”, when the fabled sea level starts to happen.

But so far NADA.

Just rent seekeers.

“Can you point us to ANY actual evidence that there have been ANY climate refugees?”

Obviously scientists are much more conservative in their analysis than deniers make out. They have said events like in QLD Australia and Pakistan where 20 million were displaced would be more frequent with additional water vapour in the air. But yes, they haven’t directly attributed those events & the recent droughts, torandoes or snow falls to climate change.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhCY-3XnqS0&feature=player_embedded

There is nothing in existing that can measure a flood, tornado, hurricane, drought or snow fall & give a print out saying “This event was attributed to climate change”. Your brain is just working inefficiently.

Include the people displaced by fires in North America and elsewhere, such as the town of Slave Lake in Alberta where many homes were burnt. Hotter drier weather leads to more wildfires

Ah…. got it.

Anybody that is affected by any NATURAL disaster is now considered a climate refugee.

Unless of course it happened before the magical 1950 date, then it was just Weather.

LOL… You just cant make this silly crap up as fast as they spew it out.

‘Can you point us to ANY actual evidence that there have been ANY climate refugees?’

One word: Darfur.

If you dont trust Associated Press, CBS, the Norwegian Refugee Council or the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre sufficiently, maybe you can go to China, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and other countries where people were displaced by natural disasters and count them yourself. http://tiny.cc/7fy33

so natural disasters and climate change are equal?

Ninety per cent of 42 million disaster refugees were related to weather disasters according to the article. Ten per cent would have been for events like the Haiti earthquake etc.

So in 2010, yes, natural disasters and climate change were pretty much equal. If you want to argue that weather disasters would still have occurred then I would agree. On the other hand they would not have been anywhere near as disastrous, especially extreme precipitation events - floods, landslides etc. and would have involved many fewer people of that number. The number of people displaced was double that of the previous year - it was a bad year last year.

Next question: do we only help people who have been displaced by weather disasters clearly attributable to climate change? Or maybe we say in any weather disaster we will randomly help 75 per cent of people and just say to the other quarter “Tough! you would have been displaced anyway.”

That would all be ok IF you or indeed anyone, could actually attribute those Natural WEATHER events to Climate change.

But since we all know that is pure speculation and propaganda……

Non issue.

‘That would all be ok IF you or indeed anyone, could actually attribute those Natural WEATHER events to Climate change.

But since we all know that is pure speculation and propaganda……

Non issue.’

Some education for you:

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/04/235903/heidi-cullen-tornadoes-extreme-weather-c-word/

http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/06/07/239084/wildfires-floods-masters/

And there is way more than this for those with OPEN MINDS and INTELLIGENCE.

i hope you are confusing weather with climate. and if the temps have been the same or cooler for the past 15 years where do u get the correlation anyway?

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/13/chris-mooney-must-not-be-from-missouri/#more-41593

From the Comments Section:

“Chris Mooney is first and foremost a BS artist. His job is not to actually prove, but convince the fence sitters and belittle the opposition.”

“Facts, they do not need facts, they have grants.
Grants outweight Facts.”

“An English Major, no less. Leave the kid alone, blame instead the fools listening to his empty pomposity.”

“English Major eh? Then I guess he understands the term “buffoon.”

“Of course you are hectoring if you ask an English major to do calculations! Who doesn’t understand that?”

“Dear Chris,
Thanks for providing me with today’s see?-now-that’s-why-I’m-convinced-AGW’s-a-crock moment. Weak bud. Really weak.”

“”An English Major, no less. Leave the kid alone, blame instead the fools listening to his empty pomposity.”

Interesting. What are the scientific qualifications of Anthony Watts, Willis Eschenbach, Christopher Monckton and Bjorn Lomborg? Yet you roll like a good dog when they tell you to.

I forget how many of the worlds major scientific institutions agree with your side…..how many? Wait ….it’s coming to me…oh yeah…0%

Why such opposition in the USA, Canada & Australia Pappy? Your con is complete. Back to your snow dome.

We all know who the dog is fido. Meaning of course those of us outside of the religion.

Bob Hunter of Greenpeace.

” Pat, this is the beginning of something really important and very powerful. But there is a very good chance it will become a kind of ecofascism. Not everyone can get a Phd in ecology. So the only way to change the behavior of the masses is to create a popular mythology, a religion of the environment where people simply have faith in the gurus.”

“Bob Hunter of Greenpeace.

” Pat, this is the beginning of something really important

From experience,you guys are big on the hearsay & lite on the facts. So, if you dont mind me asking, where is the reference?

Please don tell me you just made it up, or copied it from a chain email thinking it was real Pappy.

The collective scientific qualifications over at WUWT is about equal to a rubber frog.

Heres the deal pup. It doesn’t matter if I show you a reference. This is a religion for you and yours. You will just blather on and on about you ideals and theories.
And lets do it your way. You know. We have a theory. So it must be fact unless you prove it wrong. As we know,Thats the warmist way.
The collective scientific qualifications of the the scientific left is less than equal to a old shoe.

“Heres the deal pup. It doesn’t matter if I show you a reference.”

Translation. You havent got one & you lied.

That it what the denier church is built on…..hearsay.

Heres the deal pup. It doesn’t matter if I show you a reference. This is a religion for you and yours. You will just blather on and on about you ideals and theories.
And lets do it your way. You know. We have a theory. So it must be fact unless you prove it wrong. As we know,Thats the warmist way.
The collective scientific qualifications of the the scientific left is less than equal to a old shoe.

“by the way, the National Academy of Sciences, as you know, is considered the Supreme Court of science in this country. It was founded in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, and it’s charged with giving the Congress unbiased scientific information”

Sometime over the last year I read in Scientific American that around 92% of scientists vote Democrat. Surely this caller is not suggesting that the National Academy of Science votes 50% Dem and 50% Repub?

Just how ‘unbiased’ is that scientific information to which he refers?

“Just how ‘unbiased’ is that scientific information to which he refers?”

Well, it wasn’t based on opinion but on a compendium of research. You would do yourself a favor by actually reading the report. http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12782&page=19

“Sometime over the last year I read in Scientific American that around 92% of scientists vote Democrat.”

So much denier talk comes from hearsay. When asked for a link, they run for the hills.

I know its too much to ask…but…er got a link?

92 percent of scientists vote Democrat. Extraordinary if true.

Are you saying that Republicans are not brainy enough to become scientists? Or the salary is insufficient for them? Or perhaps they dont get science. Which would explain something.

Folks,
Chris Mooney is getting his ass handed to him over at WUWT, it’s hilarious, lol!
In REAL news, scientists at the US National Solar Observatory (NSO) and US Air Force Research Laboratory have announced that we’re most likely headed for a long spell of low solar activity that almost certainly will bring much cooler temperatures in the coming years. This is not a joke, go read about it. Mini ice age here we come! H

“Folks,
Chris Mooney is getting his ass handed to him over at WUWT, it’s hilarious, lol!

Oh haw haw haaaw! Right wing bloggers on a highly censored site, bragging about how they would let Mooney have it, if only they were allowed to comment, but chux, comments are closed, opportunity lost to expose it all…naawww.

“have announced that we’re most likely headed ”

Wait. Isnt that the language that them warmists scientists use? So “likely” means it wont happen or there is no chance its going to happen?

Ahhh, Fox News!!

Actually, it’s interesting stuff but more for deniers who think sun spot activity is at the root of global warming.

Here’s a point that has nothing to do with this, however. I just wanted to point out a bit of history. The predecessor to NSO is our HOA, in case anyone is interested.

http://www.hao.ucar.edu/hao/history.php

Here’s a link to the “grand minimum” story.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/06/110614-sun-hibernation-solar-cycle-sunspots-space-science/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/05/090504-sun-global-cooling.html

“- ‘We have some interesting hints that solar activity is associated with climate, but we don’t have any reasons for that association,” said Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).

Also, even if there is a climate link, Pesnell doesn’t think another grand minimum is likely to trigger a cold snap.

‘With what’s happening in current times—we’ve added considerable amounts of carbon dioxide and methane and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere,said Pesnell, who wasn’t involved in the suite of new sun studies.

“I don’t think you’d see the same cooling effects today if the sun went into another Maunder Minimum-type behavior.’ - ”

I think the irony is that solar forcing had been attributed by denialists for the current warming and now they’ll be claiming the opposite. In essence, both are being claimed, and both can’t be true. There’s going to be an added problem when temperature continues to rise, too, since decreased solar output could hardly cause warming.

The following story on sunspot activity is linked from the Nat. Geo. story. I initially mistook it for yet another about about the paper from NSO. It provides some background information on the subject of how sunspot activity and solar output are related. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/09/060913-sunspots.html

Is this like the recovery of arctic ice that watts predicted two years ago. I suggest you go over to NSIDC and check the state of the pole.

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I am a little reluctant to remind everyone about the so-called “Climategate” incident that was sparked this day five years ago.

Many people, in the end, were embarrassed by this major attack on climate change scientists when it turned out to be nothing more than manufactured media hype. Nine independent inquiries by multiple agencies all arrived at the same conclusion that the Climategate conspiracy was nonsense

Interestingly enough, the...

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