Who is the Bernie Madoff of Climate Change?

Thu, 2009-11-05 00:39Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

Who is the Bernie Madoff of Climate Change?

DeSmog co-founder James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore have been taking to the airwaves regularly over the last few weeks to tackle recent news stories and promote Climate Cover-Up.

On Monday, Jim was interviewed by Josepha Planta of www.thecommentary.ca – you can listen to the interview here.

On Tuesday, Jim and Richard were featured on Thom Hartmann’s Midday show on WYPR – one of the most listened-to progressive talk shows in America. Also featured during the same show was notorious (and widely discredited) climate denier Fred Singer. Singer’s argument of the day, as far as we could tell, was that the fact that it was a nice day meant climate change was not real.

Dr. Cindy Parker, Co-Director of the Program on Global Sustainability and Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, was another guest. She put the perspective of real, credible, and up-to-date climate scientists well:

I am uncomfortable with the fact that radio talk shows such as this continue to give Dr. Singer airtime to present his views as if they were science and as if there was still some scientific debate…because there isn’t any scientific debate. 2500 scientists from around the world versus Dr. Fred Singer – that’s not a reasonable debate.”

As Jim put it “Asking Fred Singer for advice on climate change is like asking Bernie Madoff to manage your money.” Touché.

You can listen to that show in full here.


To be the Bernie Madoff of Climate change you first have to be believed by the public to be eminently credible and onside with the Global Warming theory but in reality is a complete fraud.

I would have to put Baraq Obama in the same catergory as Bernie Madoff as he has done everything he could to derail the coppenhagen deal while offer up sweet lip service at every occasion. Although many will now argue that he is a complete sham on just about everything. Renogotiating nafta, pulling the troops, institutionalizing gay rights etc. John Mccain would have implemented more pro-global warming legislation.

The bernie Madoff for those that do not believe in Global Warming would have to be Stephen Harper. He knows the science is bunk yet he still plays along. To his credit though he is dragging his feet. Although logically who would want to be in power if some kind of GHG legislation is passed. It would make the credit crisis look like an economic boom by comparison.

This question is just too tempting. Sometimes the obvious is too obvious. To find the Madoff of climate , you have to follow the money.

Ask David Letterman who is making money off climate.

no I’m not going to say it

softball question…it must be algore.. btw, what kind of slant does someone with the position of Co-Director of the Program on Global Sustainability and Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have on climate change. btw, dont you usually put the adjective “prestigious” in front of any “Science” article? ” A new study in the journal Science has just shown that all of the climate modeling results of the past are erroneous. The IPCC’s modeling cronies have just been told that the figures used for greenhouse gas forcings are incorrect, meaning none of the model results from prior IPCC reports can be considered valid. What has caused climate scientists’ assumptions to go awry? Short lived aerosol particles in the atmosphere changing how greenhouse gases react in previously unsuspected ways. The result is another devastating blow to the climate catastrophists’ computer generated apocalyptic fantasies.”

In a stunning article entitled “Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions,” a group of researchers from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University in New York, led by Drew T. Shindell, have called into question the values used to calculate the “forcing” due to various greenhouse gases. “We calculated atmospheric composition changes, historical radiative forcing, and forcing per unit of emission due to aerosol and tropospheric ozone precursor emissions in a coupled composition-climate model,” states the paper’s abstract. “We found that gas-aerosol interactions substantially alter the relative importance of the various emissions. In particular, methane emissions have a larger impact than that used in current carbon-trading schemes or in the Kyoto Protocol.

is this the same journal?

this must be from the prestigious Science journal’s Exxon division. no comments on the study? just a -3? thought i would have my new record on this one.

I certainly enjoyed the interviews. I had a buddy out in England and another in New Zealand and got chances to hear their voices on the radio on separate occasions. You always wonder what they sound like, and as with each of them, it was neat to hear you voice.

I think you did a good job in the interview. I knew Singer was part of the defense of tobacco and ozone destroying CFCs, but I didn’t he was involved in the defense of dioxins and the like as well.

However, I might consider mentioning a little of the science – things we are more or less certain about.

For example:

(1) We can actually measure the absorption spectra of carbon dioxide and water vapor;
(2) Given the advanced state of science we are able to image the reduction in thermal radiation escaping the atmosphere that is taking place due to the emission of carbon dioxide from the west and east coasts of the United States renders the atmosphere more opaque to thermal radiation;
(3) We can fingerprint the increased opacity as being due to carbon dioxide given its absorption spectra;
(4) We can fingerprint the carbon dioxide as being due to fossil fuel by the fact that it is lighter weight, with fewer neutrons;
(5) We can show that the increase in carbon dioxide corresponds to a measured decrease in atmospheric oxygen, indicating that the extra carbon dioxide is coming from the combustion of fossil fuel;
(6) As a matter of basic physics we know that for every additional degree Celsius the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere increases by 8 percent, and as water vapor is a greenhouse gas this pushes the temperature up further;
(7) The climate models are themselves based upon the principles of physics, and while they do not all model exactly the same physical processes or to the same degree of accuracy, there is very strong agreement among them (better than 95 percent) that the temperature will rise between 4°F (2°C) to 8°F (4.5°C) for every doubling of carbon dioxide and they center around a value slightly above 5°F (2.8°C);
(8) Paleoclimate evidence from the past half million years centers on roughly the same value;
(9) We can measure the expansion of the Hadley cells of atmospheric circulation that are pushing the dry subtropical climates northward and which will bring with them drought;
(10) As a matter of simple physics, if you increase the temperature, glaciers will melt, and just in Asia alone, in the next few decades over a billion people in Asia will be facing severe water shortages (both for drinking and agriculture);
(11) Cities don’t have to be submerged to become uninhabitable: if their sewers, subways, or aquifers become flooded that may be more than enough; and,
(12) For every three feet (meter) that the ocean rises, roughly one percent of the world’s population will be displaced due to sea level, and currently we are expecting 1.5 feet (0.5 meters) to 4.5 feet (1.5 meters) of sea level rise in this century alone – which will not simply displace people but, given the infrastructure that will have to be abandoned, damage the world economy as a whole.

Since such a list of points would be somewhat more detail than people could listen to all that easily on the radio or TV, I would give them a link to this blog, put a link to such a list up in one of the corners, tell them where to find it and then on the list itself include links to the relevant papers and/or scientific resources.

Since people are worried about the cost (economics) of doing something about climate change, the following may be of interest:

“A New York University School of Law survey found near unanimity among 144 top economists that global warming threatens the United States economy and that a cap-and-trade system of carbon regulation will spur energy efficiency and innovation.”

Economists Concur on Threat of Warming
November 4, 2009, 1:00 PM
By Todd Woody http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/economists-concur-on-threat-of-warming/

Im guessing your list must include distinguished economists such as Tom Friedman and Paul Krugman. What you all have in common is you want a bigger government, a world government and taxes on fossil fuel. Inevitably, this means more taxes because the more government you have, the more tax money you need to pay them. Additionally, there will be many new government regulation jobs to monitor emissions. Instead of trying to ruin the place I live, America, please just peddle your thoughts to Canada. I do not tell Canadians what to do, I don’t live there. I like our healthcare system, my copay is 0$ and I have a great dentist. If you want a public plan, move to Canada or move to Britain.

Oh, a libertarian.

Are you for getting rid of public schools? What about the police force? Would you want people buying the services of armed gangs instead – in the name of “free enterprise”? What about the taxes you paid to the military during the cold war? I presume that is an outhouse in your backyard…

I am a former libertarian.

Or to be more specific, I was an Objectivist, a follower of the philosophy of Ayn Rand. As a matter of fact, I founded “The Objectivist Ring” (as “Timothy D. Chase”) which for a time had over forty sites and where the home site (my personal website) was better placed in Google than the websites of any of the major organizations. But one of the most fundamental principles by which I guide my life is that identification must be given precedence over evaluation. You cannot know how you should act without first knowing what things are. To act in violation of this principle would be like walking across a busy highway at night dressed in black – blindfolded. And if identification has precedence over evaluation, then science has precedence over politics and ideology.

And I don’t know if you have noticed, but for all intents and purposes the science has spoken. (For examples, see my post below. I could provide you with links for each point, if you like.)

The bit where some people were critical of arguments to the effect that dissuading news outlets from interviewing Fred Singer (or better yet, Patrick Michaels) is an attempt to muzzle debate is perhaps more difficult than most issues. I thought that what you’ve said about Bernie Madoff is good, but I can see how coming out and say that new organizations shouldn’t interview such people might rub some audience members – even those who largely agree with you – the wrong way.

I would go ahead with the Madoff comparison, but I would also compare listening to denialist spokesmen to listening to a psychic surgeon as opposed to a regular doctor regarding the treatment of a life-threatening tumor, a known con artist regarding where you should put your retirement fund (although I suppose Madoff takes care of this one), or having the federal reserve regularly determine economic policy based upon the advice of a third-rate astrologer.

One could very well argue for “balance” in such cases, seeking the advice of psychic and regular surgeons, con artists and investment specialists, astrologers and economists in matters in which only the latter would typically be considered qualified, but nearly anyone would admit that seeking such “balance” is absurd. I would even remind them that in essence the denialist organizations and the fossil fuel companies who sponsor them are engaged is morally if not legally a large scale act of fraud, and that one could argue that to the extent that such spokesmen are given air time, those who give them air time might very well be viewed as complicit in that fraud.

However, I am not sure that I would actually come out and say that these people shouldn’t be interviewed. One could instead let the news people and the public decide for themselves how much air time and weight they should give to the stated opinions of conmen. Make plain what they are dealing with – then let them draw their own conclusions.

There is no better pontificator than Fred Singer at getting media time for hot air. His track record of preposterous pronouncements is no deterrent for the next reporter. He is quotable. He speaks with assurance. He can be cute and uses vivid metaphor. All “entertainment”.

I wish more scientists who do real research had his media talent. If Singer ever did useful research it missed me.

If you get on air with him again, ask him how come the Arctic ice keeps melting even though he predicted (in his book) it wouldnt in 2005.

I am disappointed that Hartmann put him on air.

Here’s an interesting blog post about a denialist writing to the Kingston Whig Standard using cut-and-pastes from a 1998 letter by Singer. The blogger writes: “…I wonder how much of global warming denialism is really just copying and pasting of old S. Fred Singer stuff that has been thoroughly debunked…” http://tedhsu.blogspot.com/2009/11/sociology-of-climate-denialism.html

Id like to lower some taxes I have but thats another story. I don’t see you guys putting any pressure on China to lower their emissions? All I’m saying is I don’t want to have to pay some new tax on carbon and I don’t want some world entity deciding how much carbon we can put into the air. Hasn’t the temperature been higher, and hasn’t there been more co2 in the atmosphere than we have now? Isn’t it true the ocean has 50 times more Co2 than the atmosphere?

The more CO2 in the ocean, the more acidic it gets, which kills ocean life. This is because the ocean does absorb some CO2 from the air; but it is not a good thing.

you can claim that all you want vj but there is no proof that co2 will cause the oceans to be more acidic

Shooshman is going to reinvent chemistry.

2005 report by the Royal Society on ocean acidification, be sure to open the pdf link and read it all. http://royalsociety.org/document.asp?id=3249