Friends of Science Ads Are Wrong and Should Be Pulled

Tue, 2009-11-10 16:48Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Friends of Science Ads Are Wrong and Should Be Pulled

Isn’t Halloween over? Then why is Friends of Science (FOS) rising from the dead with a new radio campaign.

Or maybe its April Fool’s because the FOS ads are so inaccurate or misguided that they must be taken as a joke - or must be playing us all for fools.

The ads, currently running on radio stations across the country, make the claim that there, “Hasn’t been global warming for over 10 years.”

I put this to a couple of top climate scientists and both said, unreservedly, that this is an outright false statement. Both pointed to temperature data on NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) that very clearly shows that temperatures over the last 10 years have been some of the hottest on record.

According to NASA, the five hottest years on record have been:

1) 2005

2) 1998

3) 2002

4) 2003

5) 2006

Then, there’s this graph of temperature measurements since 1880 that also clearly show it isn’t getting any cooler.

And if for some reason you don’t think NASA know what they’re talking about, there’s always the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which also measures global temperatue. Their measurements similarly debunk the claims made by the Friends of Science.

I know that media are hard up for ad revenue, but the Friends of Science ads are irresponsible; they  should be pulled immediately.

There are two ways this can be done.

The first (and the most effective) is to call or email the radio station when you hear the ad and demand that the ad be pulled AND that the station run a correction.

In fact one media personality is pretty much calling for this on his own station already.

Then, send a complaint to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which is in charge of regulating such things. Here’s the information you need to make such a complaint.

Now, before the trolls start complaining at the foot of this post, let’s deal with the complaints.

First, this is not an attack on “free speech.” This is “paid speech” and it’s wrong. If a company was advertising items for sale at a price they wouldn’t honor, their ad would be pulled. FOS are advertising a world that doesn’t exist, and recommending that we act on their erroneous counsel. It’s wrong, it’s dangerous and it should be stopped.

Second, there are surely some out there who will point to 1998 as the year that the Hadley Centre in the UK identifies as the hottest on record. Well, go slam your head against the evidence. “Statistics” and “damn statistics” should be left to people who are competent to deal with them. “Lies,” on the other hand, should be tracked down, rooted out and dismissed.


Formulate some proper sentences first, with links.

I commented on your claim to fame of the Heartland institute, telling you why no serious person should ever take them serious. And what do you do? You start pointing at RealClimate!

Oh, and regarding the latter:
1. Several examples you come up with are open admissions of mistakes. Ever seen that from, oh say, Fred Singer on smoking? Not? Gee…
2. Other examples are deniers CLAIMING something

Now, let’s go back to the Heartland institute:
Care to explain to us why an organisation that throws out so many claims of conspiracies should be taken serious? Next you tell us to take Alex Jones serious, too…

of the global warming/climate change denial community:

“Their smear job is so blatant, hostile, and inconsistent with any kind of a reasonable, balanced, open-minded, or scientific analysis of a question that I can’t really believe that there exist people who are intelligent enough to learn how to read but antediluvian enough to be influenced by this incredibly transparent propaganda.”

I heard the ads you are talking about the other day and I must tip my hat to the creators of those ads, well done.

Of course the Desmogblog would demand that these ads be pulled. Fortunatley we live in a democracy where free speech and relious choice is up to the citizen to determine for themselves. Until Global warmers can present some evidence to back up the theory, you must expect alternative views to be presented, afterall the scientific process calls for no less.

However you too can advertise global warming like the friends of science. If you are on a budget I suggest you get two large sized pieces of cardboard and soe string. Tie the two of them together and you have a sandwich board. Next take a felt marker and write on them, “The End is near, Repent Carbon Sinners”. Put this on and take to the streets, you too can have a media campaign like the friends of science.

Independent of the topic, I personally find the ads annoying. That’s too much of a hard sell - too shrill. I wouldn’t buy a car from the Friends of Science either. And I get the impression from the pronounciation of the letter ‘S’, the narrator has a hard time keeping his dentures in. This causes a very unpleasant tickle in my gums. Good that I do not listen to cheeseball radio stations.

“Global warmers”, I guess you mean the climate scientists, is an unrewarding, derogatory, “folsky” term for somebody doing independent, scientific research.

“Theory”, hmm sure, the sun is the forcing agent, according to our Friends. And this is scientifically proven by a group that does not do any climate research - other than performing partisan attacks?

When looking at your arguments/statements and the arguments/statements by other so-called sceptics, I observe many parallel lines to creationists, in particular their ignorance towards facts, their bias, their blind religious beliefs, and the ability to continue talking bs even when they have been proven 1000 times wrong. Organized sceptics, like creationists, have an agenda, scientists usually have not. What is also evident is that the creationists/sceptics project their own (limited horizon) thinking into the scientists, and reduce them to religious beliefs, too. Which is not justified. And they accuse the scientists preventitively of what they can be accused of by the scientists - to make the criticism against them sound like copycatted. Or, summarized: the skeptics apply different scales when judging their ideas and the ideas of dissenters.

Who’s doing the creating?

Dr James Hansen ‘adjusting’ past temperatures to further an ‘agenda?’

NASA officials admitting, not voluntarily mind you, that over a seven year period they used the wrong temperature statistics to assess weather trends? Guess which way they were skewed.

Good science honors skepticism and reason should always trump dogma.

Dr. Bob Parks (U. of MD) “In science refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy.”

True science places the burden of proof on the proposer, never on the skeptic. The flipside is accepting things on faith; kind of like
religion unquestionably accepting creationism.

“…Dr James Hansen ‘adjusting’ past temperatures to further an ‘agenda?’

NASA officials admitting, not voluntarily mind you, that over a seven year period they used the wrong temperature statistics to assess weather trends? Guess which way they were skewed…”

What evidence do you have for these accusations?

But here goes:…/growing-twilight-zone-inside-james-hansen/

What evidence do you have for AGW without your cherry-picked baseline, erased MWP, Hansenized temperature data, and Al Gore’s movie scaring you?

Get rid of volcanoes and termites and you’ve solved the problem of excess CO2, though even the Goreacle is now claiming it is not as big of a deal as he once thought. Good thing the debate is over and the science is settled, otherwise “The Consensus” would be susceptible to new evil observed and measured data.

Need the link for that?

Your first link is mis-spelled, it should be:…/growing-twilight-zone-inside-james-hansen/

It is to some blogger who smears Hansen using cherry-picked data. How unoriginal.

Hmm, I clicked around in these blogs. Sorry, cannot take that seriously. For obvious reasons. Science cannot be based on hate.

Using cherry-picked data is unoriginal.

*Keith Briffa, who can’t see the forest for the ‘tree.’
*Michael ‘Mann’-made Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Crisis/Atmospheric Change…
*Al Gore’s conclusions; using an Ouija board AND a Magic 8 ball.
*WA Governor Christine Gregoire firing those not in ideological lock-step.
The examples are endless.

Hansen is considered a loon by more than just a few of his NASA/GISS
cohorts though few speak out on record prior to retirement because of ‘The Consensus.’

According to Hansen, President Obama has three years to save the planet. Who’s the smart money on?

“Hansen is considered a loon…” This is a smear, because you have no good scientific argument.

I’d love to see some links for your claim that getting rid of volcanoes and termites would solve the excess CO2 issue.
For starters, the yearly emissions of CO2 by volcanoes is a whopping 0.5-1% of human emissions. Second, termites hardly emit CO2. They do emit methane, but only 5% of annual methane emissions. Moreover, methane isn’t the most important contributor to CO2-equivalents. That’s still CO2 from fossil fuels.

In addition, the climate reconstructions have very little impact on AGW. The latter is simple physics based on the known effect of greenhouse gases on the earth’s temperature, and isotope data showing that CO2 increases over the last century have a major fossil fuel signature. But this is probably to deaf ears. Too much actual science.

How long have records been kept since 1975? O boy 2002, one of the hottest years on our super long 25 year temperature record. So a lot of people are saying that this isn’t about a socialist take over. Well, I have some questions. Will I be able to drive any kind of car I want? Am I going to have to pay taxes on carbon emissions for my car and/or my pet? Is my electricity bill going to go up like president obama said? Will I have the same amount of hot water? I’d say if these things are going to be regulated then it is absolutely socialism and you’re outright lying if you deny it.

They invented thermometers a while before 1975. And you need to walk more.

Do you know why the minimum temperatures on earth are listed at -38C? Because thats the freezing point of mercury. Do you know why they do not use alcohol thermometers in arctic/antarctic research, which has a lower freezing point? Because the socialist scientists would drink them empty. Cheers!


yeah I love how they say oh oh oh climate depot is no good you have to go to real climate their so much better. Everything is great though if you think about it. There isn’t going to be any deal in copenhagen and so I think we’re headed away from global warming and hopefully onto a new topic like cleaning up the trash pile in the ocean.

For what it’s worth I just heard the radio spot throwing out basic talking points - I guess thats all you can really do on a short radio spot “no warming” “it’s the sun” etc.

My initial reaction was surprise to hear such an ad. On thinking it over I wonder who the target of the ad is. Most people will tune it out and others will just get mad about it. I’m sure airing the ad is just lost money.

You guys really want the crtc to shut down stuff like this? Let it be. It won’t make any difference anyway.

They try to get people to look at their website. In particular people who do not have an opinion on global warming. And hope to brainwash them there. My wife, who has no idea of the science behind global warming, heard the ad and thought it sounded outdated and was not at all convincing. Write the text down, word by word, and you will see how shallow and confused the message is. It is marketing, but done pretty poorly. You are right, it will make as much difference as a Jehovah witnesses ad. But it is annoying that North America is so full of strange fundamentalism, which makes it appear backward.. In Europe, people would collectively laugh about the Friends of Science, in fact even laugh about their name (sounds so forced) as there is 50 cents missing to the dollar. The problem is, I have to deal with people professionally who attend Friends of Science seminars and also tell me that the world has been cooling for he last 10 years. Honest, would you hire somebody who cannot interpret a simple graph?

They are not as dim as you think in Europe. Most Brits don’t believe in AGW, nor for that matter, God.
Smart Cookies!!

“Let it be. It won’t make any difference anyway.”

I think it has, and is, making a huge difference. That same thought pattern is evident in the decisions being made by government leaders in this country (Canada). Anyone who thinks propaganda that knowingly contradicts scientific consensus on a matter as serious as global warming is harmless may be forgetting history.

While relating whats happening with this “fake debate” to my 94 year old father his reaction was that he’s seen exactly this type of thing before. In fact he risked his life in 8 theaters of war from ‘39 to ‘45
to stamp out exactly this type of mind control. Made him sick to think that history is now repeating itself.

It’s one thing to argue opinions but when millions of lives hang in the balance if inaction continues it ceases to be “harmless”.

Economic prosperity has dulled our perception to the point where we tolerate the indifference of our leaders and consider it democracy. “Free speech” is a gift that was dearly paid for and this type of propaganda is an insult to those who paid that price.

It’s high time this nonsense stopped.

Yelling fire in a crowded theatre isn’t regarded as being covered by freedom of speech. Neither is false advertising. Yelling fire in a crowded theatre threatens loss of life. So does this. False advertising is a form of fraud that one engages in for profit. So is this. When two or more individuals conspire to commit an act of fraud this is Conspiracy to Defraud – which is recognized by both Canadian and US legal systems –and I suspect the good majority of European legal systems as well, though the exact details probably differ. That would appear to apply as well.

Hmmm… You may be on to something.

If you shut down radio spots like this, it’s a step towards shutting down organizations with messages that are officially deemed “misleading”.

It’s a short walk from there to shutting down religions and your eventual destination is a society where everybody thinks the right way - or else.

You have to leave stuff alone.

Note that the Friends of Science are playing both sides of the fence. They say both that there is no global warming going on, and they also say that global warming is caused by the Sun.

Really, Friends of Science, if you are going to spread propaganda you should at least be consistent.

The claim that it is the Sun that is the cause of the warming is discussed on their website. Take a close look: they claim the graph shows irradiance versus time matched with temperature changes. In fact, it is a temperature versus time graph with no scale for irradiance (irradiance is defined as the Watts per square meter, which may be either measured at the surface or above the atmosphere). They say that the scale-less irradiance curve is a proxy, and if you dig deeper you will find that it is derived from temperatures. They then say “Look! It matches the temperature curve!”. Can you say “assumptions” and “circular reasoning”, folks? If you derive it from air temperature, what are you assuming about the atmosphere? Did it not occur to you that less irradiance is needed to heat air if the greenhouse gas level is higher? That variable is not discussed at all in their analysis.

As an astrophysicist friend (a research scientist and professor) said about the so-called irradiance curve “There is not much information there”. He (and another researcher with 30 years of experience) have both told me “There is no discernible trend in the solar constant over the last thirty years”.

I have a degree in astrophysics myself and I know that if I produced a lab like that back in first year with no scale for a graphed measurement, no error bars, and suspect data sources (and no explanation of the origin of the proxy temperature-derived “irradiance” curve) then I would have failed the lab.

I would say Friends of Science is really Friends of Junk Science, based on this kind of nonsense, and very confused about what their message is.

The reason why the Friends are playing a double game? If they get attacked on one side, they can use the other side for distraction in their defence. Since 1984, there has been an Australian research group claiming that continuum mechanics does not work. They have published like crazy, and very inconsistently. So, if you attacked one of their arguments, they pulled another argument out of on of their papers to argue the opposite, although that was conflicting with their first argument. I wrote a peer reviewed paper about it claiming they were using selective data and arguing out of context. That stuck and I never got a reply from them other than they totally ignored my paper in their further publications. In this case, selective sampling is referred to as the infantile sounding “cherry picking” and the out of context are their T-t curve microtrends, which are variations about a larger trend and are hence not representative of the whole. There will be a long letter in the forthcoming PEGG (the newspaper of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologist and Geophysicists of Alberta) on the “last ten years of cooling” and the problems with microtrends. It will also eloborate on the credibility of professional organisations infested by partisan organisations like our good Friends.

So, what makes the Friends of Science do this? I think it is a mixture of things and not only the funding by the oil and gas industry. First, most of these guys have batchelors degrees (and hence not the proven ability to do independent scientific research) and here they can do a bit of pseudoscience by using the work of others, ripping it apart and use their figures in their online/non-peer reviewed publications. It is a bit like artistically challenged children using doodle books to express themselves - not much imagination needed. This science on training wheels gives them some publicity and a little bit of a claim to fame in their old days. Then, most of them are free marketeers/short term profiteers, an ideology they see jeopardized by global action on global warming (smaller cars, energy conservation, waning profits, resistance to change), and this comes with the respective political right-wing views and their fear of world socialism (Monckton, Albert Jacobs). Short: their ideology is selfishness! And they are all retired and have nothing much to do. Singer, for example, is 85. Many of these guys will not live to follow the upwards trend into the 2020s, which will have certainly separated sun from CO2, but also sun from lunacy.

In the US, similar brainwashing appears to work. People there dont want general health insurance, which has existed in all western democracies a far back as the 1870s. Go figure!

Where exactly do they say this? I can’t find this statement on their website.

Klapper quotes, “…They say there is no global warming going on…”

Then he states, “Where exactly do they say this? I can’t find this statement on their website.”

On their home page it states:

“Providing Insight into Climate Change
“Welcome to our website
“Listen to our new radio ads, click here.”

Then in capital letters, it states, “Six things everyone should know about climate change:”

Number one on the list that immediately follows is, “1. The earth is cooling. Click here.”

Please see:

Friends of Science

It is true that some datasets (lower troposphere) show cooling from 2002 to now. I don’t think FOS would deny warming in the latter part of the 20th century.

Like on their home page: “1. The earth is cooling. Click here.”

And if Swanson and Tsonis are right then FOS may well be right. I would guess the only global dataset that doesn’t show cooling since 2002 is the GISS SAT.

As Swanson has written:

“…Regardless, it’s important to note that we are not talking about global cooling, just a pause in warming…”


“…What do our results have to do with Global Warming, i.e., the century-scale response to greenhouse gas emissions? VERY LITTLE, contrary to claims that others have made on our behalf. Nature (with hopefully some constructive input from humans) will decide the global warming question based upon climate sensitivity, net radiative forcing, and oceanic storage of heat, not on the type of multi-decadal time scale variability we are discussing here…”

So Swanson and Tsonis may well be right, but FOS is dead wrong and lying again.

Every flavour of every major atmospheric temperature dataset, using monthly anomalies for all, shows a negative slope when analyzed via linear regression, starting January 2002 and ending September 2009 (93 data points). Every one, including NOAA/GHCN, GISS, HADCRUT3v, RSS and UAH Middle and Lower Troposhere (including the University of Washington corrected versions of TMT).

Now some of these slopes are barely negative (like GISS SAT) so really they are flat, but some have slopes that equate to almost 0.4 degrees C cooling per decade.

So technically speaking the alleged climate regime shift of Swanson and Tsonis of 2001/2002 looks more like slight cooling than a pause in warming. Maybe we should suggest that FOS change their blurb to to a more accurate: “most global datasets for atmospheric temperature show a slight cooling since 2002”.

FOS isn’t interested in being accurate.

And what about you? Are you interested in being accurate? You’ve made the admission that the climate shift proposed by Swanson and Tsonis might be likely. It’s not a big jump to admit there has been a slight cooling since 2002.

Obviously you are not interested in being accurate. Did you not read this post that says 2005 was the hottest year globally? Then 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006. Does that look like cooling? Not to anyone honest.

You are also dishonest when you suggest it is just a small jump from the honest scientific work produced by Swanson and Tsonis to the lies propagated by the Friends of Science.

….that you don’t understand what linear regression is. Anyway the numbers are what they are. Whether you like it or not every major global atmospheric temperature anomaly dataset since January 2002 to September of this year shows a negative number. That is as close as gets to an incontrovertible truth on this issue. You can debate the reasons for or statistical validity of this, but it is pure foolishness to debate the accuracy.

What’s your claim to expertise in this?

500-level university course in geostatistics (while I was doing a Masters in Structural Geology). If I was honest I would say I don’t remember a lot of the course, but I did pass it.

They are lying either way.

I mean, if you are going to lie, why not tell a big juicy one? Then you can repeat it over and over – hey, the denialists are already doing all that. Standard operating procedure. Nevermind.

Global Cooling: Hey - if you look at the right graph and start at about 850 ce , the general trend over the 1150 years does indeed appear to be definite overall cooling. Craig Loehle’s (non tree) proxy graph.

Hey - I think that will be my favorite graph of the day!

from article above:”According to NASA, the five hottest years on record have been:

1) 2005

2) 1998

3) 2002

4) 2003

5) 2006”

from latimes:The controversy began “when Steve McIntyre of the blog e-mailed NASA scientists pointing out an unusual jump in temperature data from 1999 to 2000,” reports The Los Angeles Times.

“When researchers checked, they found that the agency had merged two data sets that had been incorrectly assumed to match. When the data were corrected, it resulted in a decrease of 0.27 degrees Fahrenheit in yearly temperatures since 2000 and a smaller decrease in earlier years. That meant that 1998, which had been 0.02 degrees warmer than 1934, was now 0.04 degrees cooler.”
Put another way, the new figures show that 4 of the 10 warmest years in the US occurred during the 1930s, not more recently. This caused a stir among those critical of the push to stem human-induced climate change

so which is it?

What you quoted without a proper citation came from The Christian Science Monitor, not the LA Times. It was dated Aug 23, 2007, and written by Brad Knickerbocker. You cherry-picked a quote and failed to notice that the temperatures mentioned in the article are FOR THE USA ONLY which is only a small part of the globe.

So why are you trying to compare US temperatures with global temperatures, when the US temperatures are irrelevent?

The USA has by far the best historical climate network so while the USA temperature represents only a small part of the globe, it’s the most accurate part historically. If you say 1934 was warmer than 1998 for the US you have a good chance that is true. You couldn’t make the same comparison with confidence for say Antarctica, or Africa.

Nobody claims the arctic is irrelevant because it represents only a small part of the globe. North of latitude 70 represents between 3 and 4% of the globe area-wise but it’s discussed incessantly in the media with regards to climate (ignoring a lack of warming since 1980 in Antarctica along the way).

Of course you do Yank.

Data quality questions are the thing. Different places and different times and different qualities of data sources. It’s a big hurdle for the Climate Change industry.

Way to move the goal posts with this pathetic argument. The US covers about 2% of the globe. High temperatures in the US do not necessarily mean high global temperatures.

True enough, but would it surprise you to know that US surface temperature anomaly follows the global anomaly closer than the arctic? You are right that high (or low) temperatures in the USA don’t necessarily mean the globe is doing the same, but that’s even less true of the arctic for historical temperatures.

If you convert the GHCN temperature anomalies for all 3 areas to standard deviations and add up the absolute difference between each area (US and Arctic) and the global standard deviation for that year, you find the sum of the arctic differences are greater than the sum of the US differences, despite the fact that the arctic is a little less than twice the area of the US (annual anomalies since 1880).

Are you not aware that there is greater warming in the Arctic?

“…For years, climate scientists have believed that the Artic would likely be one of the first regions to be affected by global warming and would likely experience greater warming than the rest of the world. Recent evidence has validated these concerns. While the world as a whole warmed about 1oF over the entire 20th century, parts of the Arctic have warmed by 4-5oF just since the 1950s.

The Arctic continues to warm at a rate about twice as fast as rest of the world…”

And meanwhile your original pretense that 1934 was the warmest year globally has already been shattered.

1934 was just an example meant to show the wide disparity in the historical record over the globe as to quality of the record.

As for the Arctic warming, you’re forgetting a few important points. The Arctic warms fast, but it also cools fast. The cooling from the late 30’s to the early 60s was at a higher rate than the warming from the late 60s till now. For that matter the warming from about 1915 to the late 30s was faster than the 60’s to now, but not a lot of people would claim this as an anthropogenic effect. So we know the Arctic can warm fast and cool fast.

However, I dispute your number of 4 to 5 degrees since the 50s. If you took the absolute low of the latter half of the 20th century for temperature anomalies north of 70, it would be 1964, the high say 2005. The difference works out to 6 degrees F. However, that’s not the most honest way to do it. Using linear regression I would guess you come up with a rate which corresponds to 3.5 degrees F over the last 45 years or so.