The Coming Classroom Climate Conflict

I’ve just completed a trip out to the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado—a town that’s in many ways the chief hub for our country’s climate scientists, as well as for a variety of other researchers (especially on weather and renewable energy) and many science education specialists. My visit was focused on science communication, but another theme kept coming up: climate science education, and the conflicts arising therein.

A lot of people out here seem worried about growing resistance to climate science teaching in schools. It was a regular topic of conversation, and at the end of my public talk, one audience member asked whether there needs to be an equivalent of the National Center for Science Education for the climate issue. (The National Center for Science Education is the leading organization defending the teaching of evolution in the U.S.). And no wonder: This state has already seen one of the most direct attacks on climate education yet—although it seems to have fizzled.

Last year, a group called “Balanced Education for Everyone” was linked to an effort to try to prevent teaching about human-caused climate change in Mesa, Colorado schools—although the Denver Post reports that the organization has since disbanded, for reasons that seem unclear. “Balanced Education for Everyone” had also been supporting including the anti-global warming movie “Not Evil Just Wrong” in schools, as well as a climate “skeptic” curriculum that went with it.

Similarly, in a recent study published in the Journal of Geoscience Education, researcher Sarah Wise reports on a 2007 survey of 628 Colorado teachers, which sought to determine what they currently teach about climate change and what kind of resistance they’ve seen as a result of doing so. The most troubling finding was that 85 percent of the teachers felt that “both sides” of the “debate” over whether climate is human caused should be presented in the classroom. Furthermore, 13 percent of the earth science teachers surveyed said they had experienced pressure from another teacher, parent, or other party not to teach global warming.  

Does the future hold more of these conflicts? I think the only reasonable supposition is, “yes it will.”

I’ve already discussed here the growing trend towards folding climate change into anti-evolution bills, and singling “global warming” out as a uniquely controversial subject to be critiqued in the classroom. I think the most logical expectation is that the national controversy over climate change will continue to filter into schools just as it diffuses across all levels of society–and moreover, it should follow a predictable pattern.

Just as the general public breaks into “6 Americas” when it comes to levels of knowledge about (and acceptance of) climate change science, so will teachers, school districts, and communities. And in those communities where the so-called “dismissives” (the most devout climate science rejecters, and currently about 12 % of the U.S. as a whole) are most prominent, conflicts will be most likely to erupt.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of what’s going on in schools will never draw significant public attention. A recent study on evolution education, for instance, found that 13 percent of public school science teachers in the U.S. actively teach creationism—even though this has repeatedly been ruled unconstitutional. Legally, every one of those teachers (and their schools) could be sued, but we see nothing like a proportionate number of lawsuits erupting. In all likelihood, this creationist teaching is mostly happening in communities where it is perfectly well accepted and not even controversial. It’s under the radar.

Meanwhile, the evolution survey also found that fully 60 percent of teachers “compromise” in some way on its teaching so as to avoid controversy—showing “both sides,” dodging the issue, giving caveats, etc. In light of the politicization of climate science—and the Colorado data above—we have to assume that many teachers will follow a similar pattern on the teaching of the anthropogenic causes of climate change.

What can we do about this? We certainly do need a national organization to defend climate education in schools—and we need much more focus on preparing teachers for handling controversies. Those teachers who are well informed, and confident in their abilities, will be the least likely to fall into the bad teaching traps outlined above, or to cave to political pressure from parents and others in the community. We need to empower them—so they can accurately inform their students about the single most important thing happening to the planet.


“The most troubling finding was that 85 percent of the teachers felt that “both sides” of the “debate” over whether climate is human caused should be presented in “…that is troubling to you? so when kids are shown inconvenient truth an average of 6 times while attendong jr and high school you dont see that as an issue? i guess your point is that there is no debate. that is beyond troubling to me. nothing gives you pause about any of this? nothing? these proxy issues. the divergence problem? adjusting GISS records? the models themselves? if you think there is nothing that is left to be debated then i question your motives. and your point about teaching creationism being unconstitutional is even more scary. Galileo and witchhunts come to mind. (btw, in the evolution camp does anyone find it odd, statistically damning or at least intellectually curious that we are the only species to evolve to our heights?).AGW.. so on your terms the debate is over? I wonder how you feel about fluoride?


Short question for you:

How many religious schools do you think teach Evolution?
Not many would be the correct answer.

How Many Religious School do you think teach both side of their religion?
Almost none would be correct.

Climate change is following the same path as Tobacco causes lung cancer. People are going to reject it because its not positive, or Oil Companies are going to try and put it down because its bad for business.

Based on the evidence there is no debate.
People are debating over the evidence, which to me is getting more and more obvious.


Its not that hard to believe.

Its survival of the fittest, And, Humans are different to Neanderthals (Which were found in the colder climates) And, we killed them off.

Do not forget, it took Humans around 2 Million years to develop to what we are. Do not expect everything to develop in front of your eyes, things in the biological and astronomy worlds take lifetimes to change.

There are species of monkey out there which are able to replicate human motions, Parrots can repeat sentences, Elephants are able to memorize huge journeys, Dolphins are intelligent.

And Evolution did NOT say that every species has to evolve equally.

Personally, I believe in Evolution, nut Evolution can be right and so can God, or Creationism. That would be like saying that if we found out that God exists (I am not saying he does not, I can not put it better) that we would have to throw things like science out.

Here is one way Evolution can happen:

We have a GLOBAL Disaster, poisonous fumes fill the air, killing off most of the human population. However, for the few that survive their DNA is irreversibly damaged, When they reproduce next their siblings DNA would carry the same attributes of their parents DNA. In this scenario The baby would most likely die if the damage to the sequence was severer enough.

If you want proof of evolution just look at people with birth defects those are caused by alterations to the DNA. And Evolution as most understand it is where the new DNA sequence is maintained.

Small Disclaimer: Even though I belive in Evolution, it does not mean that I think any other belief is wrong.

How many religious schools do you think teach Evolution?
Not many would be the correct answer.

right. they are religious schools where people with the same ideologies pay a school to teach what they believe. if you dont want your child to be taught a varying opinion on the subject of you evolving from a primordial soup or being created by our God you send them there. that was the main reason i sent my children to public school. i think presenting everything we know and continuing to examine the issue is the best way to teach. my children both believe in creationism but were able to look at the issue from both sides and make their own determination.

“Based on the evidence there is no debate…” just continues to amaze me that anyone can really think all the science behind this is one, irrefutable, two ,exact enough to stop debate and three honest enough to not give you any pause….it is your religion.

btw, does the theory of more snow because of the warming or the cold being from warming part of the ‘debating of evidence that is making this more clear’ to you? because the nonsense that i hear now (trying to defend why these models didnt see this cold coming etc) is nauseating.

“And Evolution did NOT say that every species has to evolve equally.” i didnt say equally by any means. and i dont think that species dont evolve. i just dont think its the answer for how or why we are hear. to NOT teach something about another side of the story when there are people smarter than you or me who think differently is scary. I am a geologist by degree and was lucky enough to study under two very prominent paleontologists. our endless discussions were invaluable in developing my understanding of these issues. Not allowing debate is the crime. chris evidently thinks its the way to go. to stick up for it (the non debate)makes me think it is your religion not your science.

Well, when I say Climate Change is a reality I provide reasoning. Remember, science is not exact, and so the predictions based on science are never going to be.

Do you have a model to explain why the cold happened? I know my weatherman gets it wrong sometimes. Sometimes he says its going to be rainy, and it turns out to be a really hot day.

When most people say Climate Change is a myth they do not say why. You sure did not. You just complained that the science is bad, but why? Why is it nonsense? You know, people said that the earth revolving around the sun was stupid a long time ago. And even more stupid was the idea that Dancing is the devils curse.

Well, Anything thats not proven is a belief isnt it? (Which is almost all of science)

What I believe:
* If Climate change is real, and I do nothing, then Me, or my children are going to pay the price
* Humans are here because of evolution and why we survived is luck and adaptability.
* I would much rather be going somewhere with something, than going nowhere deciding on a something to follow.
* As long as I am aware of the alternatives, listen to both sides and do not dismiss evidence because it does not support what I follow, then I believe I am doing no harm.


* You are deciding based on evidence collected by people who have already decided.
* Even if Climate change is wrong, there would be no harm in doing something about it, compared to the alternative.
* there is a difference between sticking up for what you believe in, and blindly following what you believe in.

If you believe in something, you should stick up for it. (In your case you believe in taking a hard look at all the evidence, and not picking a side until the evidence is determinate, although it appears you strongly disagree with Climate Change.)

I am not trying to debate with myself (which I dont need to post to a blog to do), I am debating with you.

i didn’t notice any reasoning in ur response.

let me start my response by saying that my original comment had to do with teaching all the aspects of global warming. evidently everyone else here thinks that only one side should be taught. i think that anyone that thinks that is scary. more of a religious fanatic.

“Do you have a model to explain why the cold happened?” why would i have to? i am not trying to change the world as we know it by following the advise of some scientists who use these models to predict what is happening to our world for the next thousands of years. i think they should have a better handle on the past 15 before we can decide about the next 2,000. but better yet and more to my original point: maybe we should teach only your side of the debate and put an asterisk after the lesson plan and add the point about the last 15 years being colder.(if you guys can say ‘hottest’ i can say colder). that was sarcasm just in case you didnt get the point….there are too many things left unanswered or answered without honesty that still need to be discussed and taught. that i am here defending that point is alarming.

“When most people say Climate Change is a myth they do not say why. You sure did not. You just complained that the science is bad, but why? Why is it nonsense? You know, people said that the earth revolving around the sun was stupid a long time ago”

where did i say it was a myth? i have questions about the science and some of the scientists. i think that not allowing us to teach that there is more than one side to this is beyond nonsense, its scary stuff.
why is the science bad? that the himalayan nonsense was included in the IPCC report is just one example about why i have questions about what is being preached. the divergence problem has to at least be considered dishonest. does it slay no means but it does lend doubt to proxy data and honesty. to just dismiss climategate as a bunch of emails gives me pause as well.

” As long as I am aware of the alternatives, listen to both sides and do not dismiss evidence because it does not support what I follow, then I believe I am doing no harm.”

so you get to be ‘aware’ but the highschoolers dont? its my point and thanks for making it.
“* You are deciding based on evidence collected by people who have already decided”
if there is a group who have already decided its your are you even saying? this is what i am talking about. your guys see warming as a problem and can’t find out whats causing it so you decide that it must be CO2 and go from there. are you trying to debate my side?
“Even if Climate change is wrong, there would be no harm in doing something about it, compared to the alternative”.
if this were true

i dont think anyone would have any issue and we would let the scientists do whatever they wanted but the bottom line is the solutions for what not may be a problem would change our way of living dramatically.
“If you believe in something, you should stick up for it. (In your case you believe in taking a hard look at all the evidence, and not picking a side until the evidence is determinate, although it appears you strongly disagree with Climate Change.)”
thanks again for making my point: if anyone has an issue with this it scares me. it becomes dogma, a religion or at the very least a stifling of thought.

The Vatican says that global warming is happening and that it will affect the poor who did not cause the problem in the first place.

Climate change is a social justice issue, and Cathoics are supposed to be good stewards of the earth. “Choose life” isn’t just about abortion; it’s also about climate change.

Catholic schools teach about global warming and climate change, and Senators and Attorney Generals can’t stop us from teaching about climate change.

“You [God] made humans ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under our feet: All flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.”—Psalms 8:6-8

David’s psalm in the Bible enjoins Christians to be stewards of the earth; but if God hadn’t sent us great scientists like the persecuted Dr. Michael Mann, how would we know how to take care of the earth? We would be stuck with bad advice from well-financed global warming denialists like Senator Inhofe, Marc Morano, Lord Monckton, Ken Cuccinelli, and the Russian propaganda from the Kremlin and Gazprom.

Recently the denialist John O’Sullivan appeared on the Kremlin-financed, English-language satellite TV “Russia Today” giving the denialist line. They have people on Russia Today who speak English so you will forget the Kremlin pays for this channel. They have also interviewed Lord Monckton on and that guy name Michaels from the Cato Institute. The propaganda is pretty slick because the interviewer pretends to give the “other side.”

Here John O’Sullivan articulates tne new party line because Russia Today gives the Kremlin perspective. The ruling party is called the Unite Russia Party. Putin is the head of the Party.

On May 10, 2007, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, H.E. MSGR. Celestino Migliore, addressed the United Nations on the issue of global warming and said:

“The scientific evidence for global warming and for humanity’s role in the increase of greenhouse gasses becomes ever more unimpeachable, as the IPCC findings are going to suggest; and such activity has a profound relevance, not just for the environment, but in ethical, economic, social and political terms as well. The consequences of climate change are being felt not only in the environment, but in the entire socio-economic system and, as seen in the findings of numerous reports already available, they will impact first and foremost the poorest and weakest who, even if they are among the least responsible for global warming, are the most vulnerable because they have limited resources or live in areas at greater risk…Many of the most vulnerable societies, already facing energy problems, rely upon agriculture, the very sector most likely to suffer from climatic shifts.”

I would like to comment on this rhetorical question which is not supported by any facts:

“How many religious schools do you think teach Evolution?
Not many would be the correct answer.”

Many Christians believe in evolution, and many Christians believe there is global warming. Catholic schools and universities teach about global warming and evolution. Main-line Protestant churches and universities ditto. Look at the science books. Look at the NASA posters about global warming in the classes.

There is an astroturf “religious” group called the Cornwall Alliance that tries to make it seem that Evangelicals don’t believe in global warming, but it is really one of those front groups. What Evangelical churches are part of this organization?

One of the clergymen for that group has even claimed he had a physics degree, but elsewhere he only mentions his Theology education. He may have removed that claim from the site now.

The Cornwall Alliance tries to fool uninformed people into accepting the notion that believing in global warming is “anti-Christian” by making the acceptance of global warming seem like some “nature cult.” This is just some bogus distraction that mischaracterizes and denigrates the views of Christians who believe in climate change.

I don’t think the Cornwall Alliance really represents any big religious organizations. They just call themselves Evangelicals. Monckton is in it.

Monckton disparaged the large Catholic University that John Abraham teaches at in Minnesota as a “Bible college” because they teach about climate change.

Monckton was trying to exploit anti-religious bigotry in the cause of denialism. Don’t believe him.

You really shouldn’t accept the propaganda about Christians being anti-science. You need to read what the leadership of each denomination says about these issues.

You can’t believe some astroturf “religious” outfit called the Cornwall Alliance that is affiliated with Monckton, a person who tries to incite religious bigotry.

Attorney General Cuccinelli went to Catholic school, but he is not giving the Catholic position on global warming. Monckton is Catholic, I believe, but he is not giving the Catholic postion.

Cuccinelli’s father is a career gas lobbyist. He gets money from his father’s company. I read on the Internet it was 96,000 dollars.

Please don’t blame denialism on Christians. The fossil fuel interests are promoting denialism and trying to trick less educated Christians into accepting the myth that believing in climate change is unChristian.

Many religious leaders say there is global warming.

Cornwall Alliance has even kidnapped the Biblical injunction about Christians being good stewards of the earth, but they turn the meaning inside out.

I think the scientists should talk about climate change in the churches because many people have speakers on various topics in church and would like to learn about this issue.

No climate scientist active in the field today is seriously questioning AGW anymore. The only debate lies in the details: the degree, the extent, will it be 3m of sea level rise or a whole lot more … If you really think that creationism should be taught as a scientific alternative to the theory of evolution, google “separation of church and state”. And as for being the only species that has evolved to these “heights”, I am continually amazed by the progress that we are making in understanding and appreciating the intelligence of other species in our biosphere. Whales, dolphins, birds, and other primates spring immediately to mind. These are not dumb beasts, but highly intelligent, highly adapted beings who deserve our respect and empathy as fellow travellers. And BTW, homo sapiens brutally beat down a whole lot of competitors on the way to becoming “highly evolved”. Our vicious competitive nature destroyed all other potential aspirants. Fluoride is a naturally occuring element in our drinking water. STop adding it if you like, but it will still be there. How are your precious bodily fluids doing, mascereye?* * see Dr Strangelove

No climate scientist active in the field today is seriously questioning AGW anymore. The only debate lies in the details: the degree, the extent, will it be 3m of sea level rise or a whole lot more … If you really think that creationism should be taught as a scientific alternative to the theory of evolution, google “separation of church and state”. And as for being the only species that has evolved to these “heights”, I am continually amazed by the progress that we are making in understanding and appreciating the intelligence of other species in our biosphere. Whales, dolphins, birds, and other primates spring immediately to mind. These are not dumb beasts, but highly intelligent, highly adapted beings who deserve our respect and empathy as fellow travellers. And BTW, homo sapiens brutally beat down a whole lot of competitors on the way to becoming “highly evolved”. Our vicious competitive nature destroyed all other potential aspirants. Fluoride is a naturally occuring element in our drinking water. STop adding it if you like, but it will still be there. How are your precious bodily fluids doing, mascereye?* * see Dr Strangelove

” The only debate lies in the details: the degree, the extent, will it be 3m of sea level rise or a whole lot more “…ok so you think there is a debate. and you think that it shouldn’t be taught in the schools. scary stuff. degree is the entire issue isn’t it. so showing 40’ sea level rise to our highschoolers never gets mentioned by mooney ,just that we shouldnt teach them that algore is full of shit. we should keep telling them that Katrina was from AGW even tho the science doesnt say that. we should keep telling students that the himalayan melt is from AGW even tho it was an afterthought by some rolling stoner. we should keep telling them that the debate is settled when there is no way that it is. right. we should tell them that signatures we should be seeing in the troposphere are there we just cant find them yet. but the science is settled.
and maybe you aren’t from the US so i’ll give you a pass but to say that we cant teach creationism in a high school because of separation of church and state is idiotic. has nothing to do with what jefferson meant. really.
and i guess your thinking about man and mine is what really separates the two camps. you keep thinking that the bad bad man is on par (or getting close)with apes and dolphins or and ant perhaps and i will keep thinking that man is special and above all other forms of life. and if i ever see an ape cut me off on the highway……
and for fluoride: the interesting thing to me about fluoride is who is on what side. for some reason the people who think rachel carlson was a goddess have no issue with fluoride and vice versa. I am really perplexed about that. Fluoride does occur naturally as do many other things which are toxic to us. arsenic does as well. radon is a pretty potent poison as well. if they showed promise in preventing tooth decay by ingesting it i dont think people would put it in vitamins to protect their children. and if it is put in my drinking water how do you propose i stop “adding” it. Did you know there are no double blind studies to show fluorides efficacy? did you know that the EPA has grandfathered the use of fluoride and it has not gone thru the usual channels to be ‘approved’? but its funny, i look at you as the dr strangelove of CO2. how ironic. edit: not epa but fda

i guess your point is that there is no debate. that is beyond troubling to me. nothing gives you pause about any of this? nothing? these proxy issues. the divergence problem? adjusting GISS records?


High-school students discussing proxy issues and the divergence problem? These are topics more suited for graduate-student/postdoc seminars than high-school classes. This all sounds suspiciously like letting high-school students “critically analyze” evolution.

And as for GISS “adjustments”? Another worn-out denialist talking-point.

Anyone with the requisite technical skills (i.e. can program in C++/Java/Python/whatever and has some basic RTFM skills) can replicate NASA’s results with just a few days of effort using *raw*, not “adjusted”, temperature data. I know this for a fact because I’ve personally done exactly that.

High-school students discussing proxy issues and the divergence problem? These are topics more suited for graduate-student/postdoc seminars than high-school classes. This all sounds su….

so you are saying because it is so complex that a high schooler would not be able to comprehend the science we should only teach them the side that you agree with because?…. its not as complex?

but once again the open minded are really closed.
so you , like chris, feel ‘the debate is over’ as per algore. as tired a point as my GISS adjustments.
and whats so hard to figure with the divergence issue? i dont see that issue being ‘worn out’. too complex to tell a highschooler that when proxy data didnt jive that they tried to hide the results? stuff like that gives me pause.
i think if the public knew what degree differences we were talking about so hansen can claim its the hottest year on record or that warming in the last century is 0.whatever it would only be fair.


I absolutely agree that nothing from the denier camp should ever be presented to high-schoolers, *except* as examples of how *not* to do science.

The “divergence” problem was anything but hidden – it has been openly discussed by scientists for years.

Here’s the *honest* way to present the divergence problem to high-schoolers:

1) Certain specific sets of tree-ring data show the divergence problem.

2) But only very certain, specific tree-ring data sets show this problem.
In particular, only certain types of tree-ring “density” data show the problem.

3) Most tree-ring data sets do *not* have a divergence problem.

4) So the very few tree-ring data-sets that *do* have a divergence problem can be compared with the majority of the tree-ring data sets that don’t have the problem. Over the time period when they match well (pre-1960), the “problematic” tree-ring data are useful.

5) Tree-ring data with divergence problems can be compared with other “non-tree-ring” temperature records for earlier periods of time. They can be checked against records of large volcanic eruptions (which cause temporary global-cooling). If the post-volcanic cooling “spikes” show up where expected in the tree-ring data with the divergence problem, then that’s another indication that the tree-ring data are useful for that particular time period.

6) There are numerous ways to cross-check tree-ring data with other types of other tree-ring data and non-tree-ring data. Where the data sets can be verified against other types of data, then that’s a good indication that the data sets are valid and useful for the time-periods over which the cross-checking/verification occurs.

That’s the *honest* way to present the divergence problem to students.

Presenting trash promoted by dishonest and/or incompetent deniers (and yes, deniers are *all* either incompetent or dishonest – whether their incompetence/dishonesty is driven by ideology or other factors is immaterial here – their pseudoscientific trash has no place in *any* classroom).

Failing to keep your garbage out of high-school classrooms would be doing our high-school students a terrible disservice.

Failing to keep your garbage out of high-school classrooms would be doing our high-school students a terrible disservice.

an inconvenient truth…fine science being shown in a high school near you. come watch the propaganda boys and girls then learn how to hide the decline.
btw, where did you get the raw data?
let’s title it “data mining: how choosing the right proxies (bristlecone in particular) which were determined to be poor proxies for climate representation but let’s use them anyway, can lead to a determination that warming in this century is unprecedented so that the IPCC report can show the hockey stick graph ad nauseum times so as to erase the memories of the original IPCC 1990 report of World Climate History that shows the MWP and the LIA.

One of the main people in the Cornwall Alliance is named Dr. James Tonkowich. On the Cromwell Alliance site he used to say he had a degree in Physics, but I don’t see that any more.

I was very sad to see James Tonkowich was a former head of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD). Many years ago I was a supporter of the IRD, and they used my research in some of their materials about religious persecution in the former USSR.

The IRD corrected some of the nonsense about the “happy lives of Soviet believers” spread by the Kremlin propaganda during communism. This Soviet propaganda was appearing in our Sunday school literature because the National Council of Churches was repeating some of these Kremlin falsehoods, such as the lie that people who went to prison for their religion in the USSR were “extremists and fanatics who had broken the law.”

The real problem was the repressive laws, not the religious people.

Now, I find that I am on the other side of the issue, but my name is in a book published by a past-President of the IRD.

As an old “cold warrior,” I am sorry to see the IRD was associated with someone who spreads denialist propaganda about climate change–the same propaganda you can read in the Russian media.

I published articles in defence of persecuted Christians in my younger days, and now I write in defense of persecuted climate scientists.

It seems to me that some of these people who call the climate scientists communists are pretty tight with the Kremlin propaganda agencies, and I know what I am talking about.

It isn’t just Exxon that is the problem these days. Gazprom and the Russian government are supporting the denialist propaganda campaign.

The most obvious example of this fact is that Monckton, Michaels and John O’Sullivan appear on the Kremlin-financed Russia Today (RT) satellite TV.

The newsmen are English speakers and the guests are typically English speakers. This way the Kremlin perspective seems more palatable to the English-speaking audience that they are targeting.

Cuccinelli cites an article from Russia’s official press agency RIA Novosti in his EPA brief as “proof” that climate scientists are rigging their results. The official Russian view is just a political postion of the Kremlin; it’s not scientific evidence of anything.

The article Cuccinelli cited was a short English version of an article published in the Kremlin-friendly Russian business daily Kommersant, which is owned by Asher Usmanov, a Gazprom operative with an education and career pattern that suggest an affiliation with the KGB.

The “expert” Kommersant cited was the ECONOMIST Andrei Illarionov, who was a Putin adviser and who also worked with Chernomyrdin, the head of the Soviet Gas Ministry and its post-Soviet reincarnation Gazprom. Illarionov was also employed for his “expertise” on global warming by the Libertarian Cato Institute.

I want to correct what I said about Tonkowich. I was a bit confused because there were three photos of him on the home page of the so-called “Evangelical” Cornwall Alliance.

Scroll down and read what are clearly presented as Tonkowich’s quoted comments under the THIRD picture of him:

by Dr. James Tonkowich
Senior Fellow, Cornwall Alliance

“Global warming is the central tenet of this new belief system in much the same way that the Resurrection is the central tenet of Christianity. Al Gore has taken a role corresponding to that of St Paul in proselytizing the new faith …. My skepticism about [anthropogenic global warming] arises from the fact that as a physicist who has worked in closely related areas, I know how poor the underlying science is. In effect the scientific method has been abandoned in this field.”


Now click on the link to his further remarks.

If you only read the home page, it seems that Dr. Tonkowich is claiming that he said these words and that he is a trained physicist, but if you click on the link, Dr. Tonkowich is actually quoting another person: “So wrote Atmospheric Physicist Dr. John Reid, quoted in a new report on more than a thousand scientists who dissent over the claims about man-made global warming.”

That seems a very deceptive to me. Also, these one thousand scientists do not represent the scientific consensus. Almost all climate scientists say there is global warming. The National Academy of Science says that global warming is happening.

It is hard to believe that this dishonest clergyman was once a leader of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Dr. Kent Hill, who led the IRD in the 1980s, would never have misrepresented himself like Dr. Tonkowich does.

Christians who believe in global warming are not cultists who have embraced a “new belief system;” rather, many Christians are educated people who read what our scientists and our religious leaders are learning about global warming. Educated Christians follow the discoveries of modern science and don’t swallow the stupid lies of the denialist “scientific” and “religious” organizations.
We know they are often just the mouthpieces of the fossil-fuel industry.

In my opinion, the Cornwall Alliance is really a bigoted, anti-religious site that shamelessly disparages Christians who are concerned about global warming by comparing them to the members of a cult who have replaced the central tenet of Christianity with the belief in global warming.

Characterizing Christians as extremist members of a cult is a tactic the communists used to denigrate and persecute Christians. Since Dr. James Tonkowich used to work at the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), he should know that. It is hard to understand how this Dr. Tonkowich was able to work for an organization that used to defend Soviet and East European Christians from religious bigotry.

It should be obvious that if religious organizations were really against global warming, the denialists would not need to make up FAKE religious organizations that deny global warming.

These denialist organizations that masquerade as religious organizations slander both scientists and Christians. They seem to have forgotten what the Ten Commandments says about bearing false witness.

Plenty of religious people look to religion for moral guidance while also maintaining a scientific outlook. Global warming is a moral issue, and educated Christians look to great scientists for guidance about how to solve this problem. I don’t think that the great scientists who are researching global warming are trying to “trick” people. I think that the fossil fuel industry, politicians who take their money, and the Russian petrostate are trying to trick people.

I have posted an article on my site with what I learned about astroturf religious groups. I hope that scientists don’t believe that these mendacious sites really represent the views of Christians. Maybe some less-educated Christians who aren’t too familiar with what the leadership of their denomination says would believe these sites, but I thought these sites were crude propaganda that insults people’s faith and intelligence.

Here is what I learned.

What I find troubling, Mascereye, is your implication that because we don’t know everything about climate change, everything we do know should be suspect.

i am just saying that to say we shouldn’t present everything to our high schoolers and to make believe the science is settled is a scary thought. what your saying i am implying is bs. we should be teaching everything we know, everything we think we know and what we are not sure of.

What you really mean is that students should be indoctrinated with “teach the controversy” propaganda.

This isn’t really ‘about’ educational decisions even though your comments rhetorically posture on that idea. Anything that is meaningful should be taught but that’s the problem here. Are computational artifacts meaningful? Is proxy data supposed to be discussed as a possible “trick.”

I’m in favor of teaching some ideas from philosophy of science such as falsifiability and replicability but – again – this isn’t really a discussion about curriculum. Science educators would have to teach about Noah’s Ark and the magical power of free markets to undo environmental damage to achieve this strawman balance. RealClimate had a listing of ‘gray areas’ such a carbon storage capacity of the oceans but there isn’t much agreement between it and the disinformation produced by oil & gas PR people.

right now the curriculum is to show an incovenient truth. i guess you dont have an issue with that. floating polar bears and and katrina oh my.

I think everything we think we know should be challenged - that is the only way that anything can truly be established as fact. Surely we shouldnt risk teaching our kids that untested theories are fact? They are taught in science class to start with a hypothesis, test, and then reach a conclusion. As adults it is our responsibility to make sure that we do the same for them.


canvas prints

I find it’s easier to discuss this issue from the ‘teaching of evolution’ point of view, so pardon my slight digression.

The “teach the controversy” strategy wasn’t intended as a remedy to deficiencies in biology curricula. The ‘teach all points of view’ frame was chosen because everyone agrees with the idea of openness in science. There was already universal agreement on the general idea. The problem was that Creationism wasn’t a theory and its proponents weren’t attempting to prove anything. Therefore, the teaching of Creationism hardly constituted an attempt to “open the debate.” The proponents of Creationism were merely using the preexisting belief in scientific openness and attaching a religious dogma to it, which was a non sequitur.

The so-called controversy in the Teach the Controversy campaign was contrived by Creationists. There were certainly disagreements amongst figures such as Gould or Dawkins but these disagreements were esoteric in nature and in no way challenged the theoretical framework. Creationists were merely using this professional sniping to create the impression that scientists disagreed and thus the general framework was still in doubt. And, of course, they did, but not in a way that laypeople usually could understand.

Part of the struggle in teaching the subject was in disabusing students of certain notions about science. Students believed that theoretical proof was like a long deductive chain that was invalidated the moment evidence for one link was weak or absent. A fallacy of ignorance was being applied that equated lack of proof with disproof. And, to make things worse, the so-called missing evidence was actually there, it was invariably a false claim by Creationists that led students to believe otherwise. It was a fallacy of credulity and anything that students didn’t understand (and I’m speaking mostly of non-students here) was deemed to be grounds to opt out. They had turned their lack of understanding into a virtue, a sort of skeptical wisdom.

Attacks on climate science and evolution aren’t motivated by the desire for the truth. In both cases, there’s a disinformation strategy being employed. Denialists are trying to either confuse people or make the argument that the truth can’t be known, by muddying the water. They aren’t attempting to prove a theory, but rather, they’re using propaganda techniques to attack existing theories. This is significant in itself, since it shows a deep emotional attachment to discrediting scientific knowledge.

I hope that you enjoyed your visit to Boulder, Chris.

This is one instance in which I’m tempted to hijack this post in order to plug some of the research institutions that you’ve missed. However, I’d probably still miss a few so I won’t attempt to provide a complete listing of all the climate science related research institutions connected to Boulder. An obvious addition to the NCAR, NIST and NOAA list is CIRES, where I worked as an undergraduate while attending the University of Colorado-Boulder. And there’s a rather long list of subsidiary organizations that are part of the aforementioned. Needless to say, there is a lot scientific research being conducted within Boulder and in conjunction with institutions connected to Boulder.

Oddly, I’ve been thinking about the similarities between the anti-evolution and anti-climate disinformation campaigns recently. There are dissimilarities between the motives of the two campaigns but the “wedge” strategy employed by the Discover Institute has a parallel strategy in the climate science debate. The “teach the controversy” strategy employed against evolutionary biology has a counterpart in many argumentative techniques used in the climate change debate. For both issues, the main goal of the detractors is to obfuscate and ankle-bite on any theoretical issues. As such, the point is to obstruct science and deny that aspects of the problem are knowable, which is itself an unprovable proposition.

> so you are saying because it is so complex that a high schooler would not
> be able to comprehend the science we should only teach them the side
> that you agree with

no, the side that those that are able to comprehend the science, and the evidence, overwhelmingly hold to be reality (you know, the stuff that’s still there after you close your eyes). Wake up silly man, for the sake of your kids’ life in the real world.

reality is, after all the prognostications, they somehow missed this cooling phase.thats overwhelming. 15 years of weather turned into bad climate science. reality got lost on the way to the himalayas. and my children will be just fine. i bought them houses that are oceanfront on each coast for a very good price. what about sea level rise you say. reality shows a rise in sea level at the rate thats been steady way before CO2 increases caused by us.i think algore ‘taught’ our high schoolers (the original point of this article-not to teach the other side)about 2 million feet of rising. yeah just show that movie. they dont need anything else.
let’s keep talking about reality…delusion: more severe storms ; reality:gavin schmidt says no such theory. maybe he didnt go back to grad school yet as was suggested at one time. more severe hurricanes nah. unprecedented warming:nope maybe even a little cooling so i closed my eyes and you know what was still there? arctic summer ice . now theres reality. i closed my eyes and when i re opened them i saw more polar bears and more healthy families than in the 1930’s. coral bleaching, killer bees, bird flu pandemics,ozone holes or malaria. oh sorry malaria did come back with a vengence but i forget why. maybe you can fill that in after you open your eyes. so now that you mention reality what have they said that is holding true? reality is steig trying to show the antarctic warming because it really screws up ur theory but good ole steve gave him a dose of reality also.

reality is that your trying to prove this warming is caused by co2 and is unprecidented but now you cant even find the warming. mann made it disappear once before maybe he did it again

Read up on the ninth commandment (or the eighth, if you’re catholic). It doesn’t exonerate you that you’re one of your own victims – you have a duty of honesty to yourself. And smearing good people with your lies – have you no shame?

Chris, it’s a coincidence that you should be talking about Boulder, education and climate change at this time, because I have just started exchanging opinions on climate change with a school teacher who hides behind the false name Snapple. My search into her background led me first to Pine Ridge Lane, Boulder.

When you “ .. focused on science communication, .. climate science education, and the conflicts arising therein .. ” did you also look at the conflicts relating to communicating the sceptical arguments to our vulnerable youngsters?

One of the things that disgusts me is the way that school teachers like Snapple in Washington DC and Jo Abbess in London UK are allowed to indoctrinate and frighten our vulnerable youngsters with their nonsense about our continuing use of fossil fuels leading to catastrophic changes to the different global climates (CACC). Neither of those teachers have a clue about the science behind those highly complex (almost chaotic) processes and drivers of global climates but are quite happy, despite their ignorance of the science, to parrot what they have selectively read in the media, ignoring anything that is published by sceptics (or “deniers” as they prefer to call them).

Snapple says “ .. I have a degree in Soviet Studies .. ” ( then pontificates all over the blogosphere about CACC. At least Jo Abbess (who, unlike Snapple, has the courage of her convictions and refuses to hide behind a false name) has a degree in physics and is following post-graduate studies in renewable energy ( Both Snapple and Jo Abbess admit to having no expertise in the sciences involved. Joe Abbess is trying to do something about it but Snapple seems to think that she is adequately qualified. “ .. I am not the least bit crazy. I have a degree in Soviet Studies .. ” ( says it all really.

Snapple has spent 6 of the last 7 years ranting on about the wrongs of Ward Churchill, communism, the KGB, American Indian Movement (AIM) and terrorists but for some reason has now turned her attention to “climate deniers”, the Cornwall Alliance, Lord Monckton and the fossil fuel industry.

On the other hand she loves America, the FBI, CIA, COINTELPRO, American Indians and Jamie O’Brian ( could be a different Snapple, but that’s one of the dangers of using a fizzy drink for a false name). Anyone who challenges CACC is in her opinion paid by the fossil fuel industry. My suspicion is that she’s paid by Al Gore and his politician friends to write her nonsense (teachers pay isn’t too good). After all, Gore has moved into his new winter home in DC, built by his friend Jim Inhofe (

In 2007 the UK’s Labour Government was in breach of UK law on indoctrination of schoolchildren when it issued secondary schools with copies of Al Gore’s propaganda movie “An Inconvenient Truth” ahead of guidance that “ .. teachers should point out controversial or disputed sections .. ” ( It is most reassuring that the “ .. finding was that 85 percent of the teachers felt that “both sides” of the “debate” over whether climate is human caused should be presented in the classroom. .. ”. That is what is needed, balanced education where there is uncertainty, the important thing being to encourage our youngsters to think for themselves rather than simply accepting dogma. You seem to be frightened of this – why? Are you afraid that your opinions will be rejected rather than accepted in blind faith?

I agree with your “ .. We certainly do need a national organization to defend climate education in schools .. ” but that education needs to be carried out in a balanced manner, with both sides of the debate openly presented and the significant uncertainties in both emphasised, but that is something that you appear to fear.

I doubt very much if either Jo Abbess or Snapple mention to their students the sceptical side of the debate other than to reject it as “ .. pseudoscientific denialist arguments .. ” ( I find this very puzzling because both are devout Christians (although of different denominations) and as such should be telling the truth, not just spreading political and religious dogma. Just because “ .. The Vatican supports the UN report on climate change, so that’s the real Catholic position. .. the Vatican says officially that there is global warming .. ” ( does not make it “gospel truth” that humans are causing CACC. Both Abbess and Snapple fall into the same trap, which is to equate the slight amount of global warming than Nature has blessed us with (less that 1C in 150 years) with catastrophic global climate change. Logic has no place in their CACC “religion”.

Even the researchers themselves acknowledge the significant uncertainties that need to be resolved before they can hope to understand how Nature controls climates. As recently as April 2009 ecologist Dr. Barry Brook, Professor/Director of Climate Change at Adelaide University and chief scientific advisor on climate change to the last Australian Government acknowledged this. He said “There are a lot of uncertainties in science, and it is indeed likely that the current consensus on some points of climate science is wrong, or at least sufficiently uncertain that we don’t know anything much useful about processes or drivers” ( Brook, whose expertise is not in processes and drivers of global climates but in specie extinction, tried to imply that uncertainty was minimal by adding an unscientific and disingenuous rider. He followed up with “But EVERYTHING? Or even most things? Take 100 lines of evidence, discard 5 of them, and you’re still left with 95 and large risk management problem”. The misleading implication was that only 5% of the science is not understood but no substantiation of this figure was provided. It appears to have been simply plucked out of the air, much as the IPCC did when trying to quantify uncertainty using “expert opinion”.

Best regards, Pete Ridley

He is a cyber stalker. There is no knowing what he will do with the information that he collects from the internet. He and his buddy poptart aka poptech put all my personal information including employer, work phone number, personal phone number, personal address, a map of where my house was located and a picture of it on the internet. They do this to intimidate people who are showing how dishonest they are in their denier lies.

People like those two should not be allowed near a computer until they have the decency not to abuse it.

Please be careful.

Hi Ian, long time no speak. Please don’t do your usual trick of spoiling a good blog thread by posting your usual invective. Just for once please try to contribute some science instead of insults and lies. You know full well that you can not provide a link to anywhere that I have ” .. put all my personal information including employer, work phone number, personal phone number, personal address, a map of where my house was located and a picture of it on the internet .. “. I have on several occasions referred to your love for fishing and hunting with your springers in Calgary and your career in biology, all things that you have made publicly available on the Internet. What you really dislike is the fact that I make it clear to everyone during our exchanges that you have no understanding of the processes and drivers of changes to the different global climates (have you heard of the Köppen System - ?).
For anyone who is interested you can find out more about Ian on Mike Kaulbar’s “Poptart’s 450 climate change Denier lies” ( in my comment of May 27, 2010 at 12:20 pm and subsequent comments from Ian (including that typical one at June 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm), Poptech and me. Ian may be able to point to contact details posted by “Poptech” (May 29, 2010 at 10:24 pm) but I see that one of his comments was deleted from that Greenfyre thread. I leave you to make your own judgement about which of Ian and me have the most open mind about climate science.
Meanwhle Ian, here’s an opportunity for you to put your money where your mouth is and demonstrate your superior knowledge of those climate processes and drivers. Roger Taguchi, retired Canadian science teacher of merit from Ottawa, has posted three excellent comments to Professor Judith Curry’s “Physics of the atmospheric greenhouse(?) effect” thread ( on Feb. 22, Feb. 7 & Feb. 9 (the last 3 major posts). These provide the best analysis that I have seen regarding the sceptical science that refutes the IPCC claims of CACC arising from our continuing use of fossil fuels. All that you need to do to get a sincere apology from me for stating that you know little if anything about the science behind the “greenhouse effect” is to show, with your own analysis, that Roger is wrong.
Mind you, I expect that all you will do is what you have always done in the past - scuttle away with your tail between your legs, just like Islay and Canna when you’ve been subjecting them to your invective (

Best regards, Pete Ridley

Please do not allow him to take over this blog like he has done to others. He and poptart did publish my personal information on Mike’s blog. Ridley has been banned from a number of websites because of his malicious and despicable behaviour. Please do not let him pollute this site since it only encourages others to appear. Remember how things were before when denier trolls took over?

Any mention of other people’s personal information should not be allowed by these trolls. You have no idea the pressure my family felt when they found out that malicious people had published our personal information, who knows what mad man out there could have acted on it and felt justified.

Please no more of Ridley’s nonsense.

I don’t know who Pete Ridley really is, but I went to John O’Sullivan’s blog on live Journal. I did a search for the ex-IA guy Kent Clizbe on O’Sullivan’s Live Journal blog, and the search engine turned out to be the Russian Yandex search engine blog search.

Live Journal is owned by a Russian company called SUP (СУП—Soup in Russian).

There are allegations reported on Wikipedia of SUP’s links to the Russian state security.

SUP is reportedly part owned by the Kommersant Publishing house. The Russian business daily Kommersant is owned by a Gazprom operative named Alisher Usmanov who has a career and education that suggest his ties to the KGB. Usmanov lives in England and sues people who write about his shady doings.

Ridley has engaged in the same behavior that you speak of, Ian, here on this site during the last few days.

It will be interesting to see how he justifies his behavior considering his implausible claim to being a climate “agnostic.”


Chris, thanks for posting my comment. I had half-expected it to be deleted or at least edited and appreciate that you are prepared to allow open exchanges frm both sides of the debate.

Martin (Vermeer) you appear to have learned all that you know about climate science from RealClimate ( and other other CACC doctrine sources. You said “ .. I did learn a lot (and I continue to do so), but this takes both a willingness to learn, and great teachers. RealClimate, and the community it represents, are an indispensable resource for that” but I suggest that you can only have received a very biased understanding of the numerous scientific disciplines involved. Computer programmers are minor contributors to the science. They are not experts in the processes and drivers of the different global climates (but do make their living out of it). All that they are able to do is model the flawed science that is fed to them by those who are still trying to unravel all of the significant uncertainties that remain. Their models are flawed because scientific understanding of that complex (almost chaotic) subject is flawed and as all good computer programmers and users know, “Garbage In Garbage Out”. In other words “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear”.

A good example of “experts” from other disciplines purporting to be able to teach others about the processes and drivers of global climates is Professor Barry Brook of Adelaide University. His bravenewclimate blog includes tutorials on the subject but see my comment above (2011-02-22 14:32).

If you want to learn properly about the “greenhouse effect” then I recommend a visit to Judith Curry’s “Physics of the atmospheric greenhouse(?) effect” (, most particularly the analyses on Feb. 22, Feb. 7 & Feb. 9 (the last 3 major posts), by retired award winning science teacher Roger Taguchi, of Ottawa, Canada. Roger was one of those rare teachers who can do more than simply spread the propaganda from Al Gore and the IPCC. Most have viually no understanding of the fundamental science and simply contribute to the indoctrination of our vulnerable youngsters.

The science is complex and that is why the is so much debate and argument between those who support the CACC doctine and those who reject it (ie. the “disciples” v the “deniers”). Even Roger Taguchi acknowledges that he has made mistakes in his analyses previously and there may be some remaining, but that is the rerason for carryng out open debate such as is being encouraged by Judith Curry.


“Judith Curry is Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology and President (co-owner) of Climate Forecast Applications Network (CFAN). She received a Ph.D. in Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago in 1982. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgia Tech, she held faculty positions at the University of Colorado, Penn State University and Purdue University. She currently serves on the NASA Advisory Council Earth Science Subcommittee and has recently served on the National Academies Climate Research Committee and the Space Studies Board, and the NOAA Climate Working Group. Curry is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Geophysical Union” (

She has since Climateghate expressed her concerns about the lack of trust that the general public has in scientists, beautifully summarised by her “The Nobel Peace Prize notwithstanding, questions regarding bias and the corruptibility of the IPCC’s consensus-based assessment process are of substantial concern” ( For that honesty she attracted the ire of supporters of the CACC doctrine, but she soldiers on in an honest attempt to encourage open debate between “deniers” and “disciples”. For that she deserves our respect.

It would be so nice if those of us who do not have a deep understanding of the science could exchange opinions without rancour, but that seems to be impossible. We are supposed to be adults and adults are supposed to set an example to the youngsters, yet we hurl insults as though we were possessed of irrefutable knowledge. What an example.

In you comment at Realclimate (linked above) you made reference to your joint paper “Global sea level linked to global temperature” with Stefan Rahmstorf and I see a lot of discussion about models but scant reference to either the greenhouse effect or CO2 in that regard. Coincidentally I have just been looking at his Chapter 3 “Anthropogenic Climate Change: Revisiting the Facts” in “Anthropogenic Climate Change: Revisiting the Facts” (” in which he makes it clear that he has accepted the IPCC position regarding the significance of CO2 on global climates. In “The Carbon Dioxide Effect on Climate” he goes to great lengths to argue in favour of “the consensus”. Although you probably will be unable to debate what Roger argues in his analyses, perhaps you can persuade Stefan to engage in the debate on Judith’s blog.

BTW, that joint paper of yours and Rahmstof’s has been refuted by Tom Moriarty, a Senior Scientist at the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in his November 2010 article “Rahmstorf (2009): (part 9): Applying three corrections”” ( Moriarty starts with “ .. Vermeer’s and Rahmstorf’s conclusions were scary: oceans rising by as much as 1.8 meters by 2100. Their results .. have been gleefully touted by those who crave the authority to reshape the economy of the planet to fit their more highly evolved ideals. .. But they were wrong”. He concludes “ .. What do these numbers mean? Everything .. When these numbers are inserted into Vermeer’s and Rahmstorf’s model equation, and 21st century IPCC temperature scenarios are applied, the resulting sea level predictions are half of what Vermeer and Rahmstorf claimed. It is just that simple. More details coming soon. Martin and Stefan, I still have a lot more cards to play. All in good time”.

Enjoy what is written between those quotations and while you are at it take a look at the full series “Critique of “Global sea level linked to global temperature,” by Vermeer and Rahmstorf” ( and learn a bit more about this very complicated subject.

Best regards, Pete Ridley

VJ, ref. your comment of 26th @ 17:40; “any sockpuppets? .. Do you know if he posts under other names?” – no I don’t! I have only ever used my own name, but sometimes as PeteRidley or Pete-Ridley if I’ve had problems getting into a blog that I had previously commented on and I always sign off with Pete Ridley.

I don’t use false names because it is a cowardly thing to do. I have a strong dislike of cowards who hurl insults while hiding behind false names and will do my utmost to ferret them out. I have a small degree of respect for Ian Forrester because he does at least use his real name when hurling his invective. I tracked him down from the numerous Ian Forresters because I wanted to find out if he had published any scientific papers at all in learned journals. Although he claims expertise in biochemistry I could find not a single paper of his. As for climate science, he has demonstrated no real understanding of any of the relevant disciplines yet I have only encountered one other individual (a coward who hid behind the name Cooloola on Australian Senator Steve Fielding’s blog) with such a disgusting attitude towards anyone who dares to challenge “the consensus”.

At one time I thought that there must be two Ian Forresters, one who was able to reason when debating biochemistry and another who could only hurl invective at climate sceptics. I was wrong. They were both the same Ian Forrester.

I have my own blog at and I have had the dubious pleasure of exchanging comments there (and elsewhere) with another coward who hides behind a false name – dear old high-school school teacher Snapple. She appears to love America, the FBI, CIA, COINTELPRO and American Indians. On the other hand she appears to hate communism, Ward Churchill, the American Indian Movement (AIM), “deniers”, “Cornwall Alliance”, Lord Monckton, Ken Cuccinelly, John O’Sullivan, Kent Clizbe and terrorists. She admits to knowing nothing about climate science and rants on endlessly about it, the KGB, Kent Clizbe and the CIA – oh, and I forgot to mention, she is very quick to comment on spelling mistakes (those 30-odd years of teaching children has taken its toll).

I have been impersonated several times by troublemakers and am exchanging E-mails with Mike who runs Watching the Deniers ( because he claims that I sent a nasty comment likening him to a paedophile. I did not send the comment that he claims I did and we are trying to resolve it. On that thread there is one John Byatt who admitted recently that he used the false name Cooloola. He often exchanges comments with one Ross Brisbane who tried to hide behind the false names DigitalAdvisor and Concerned Citizen on Senator Fielding’s blog.

Best regards, Pete Ridley

Pete, you could have done a better job of researching my background… Google is your friend. But then, finding out how things really are doesn’t seem your strong point – or even your interest.

About Tom Moriarty, Stefan already responded to that:

Science progresses by peer-reviewed publications, not blogs. We are well advanced in preparing a paper that includes the latest sea level data and groundwater pumping estimates, as well as looking at a number of other factors. That will be up for discussion once it appears in the peer-reviewed literature. (Without giving away too much, I can probably already say that we come to different conclusions from what you claim.)

I concur… and then there’s another paper currently in review that Tom Moriarty won’t like one bit either ;-)

Imagine my excitement when I found that my name had come up on the illustrious DeSmog blog. Martin

Vermeer is upset because I have written a series of posts pointing out of range of problems with

his 2009 PNAS paper “Global Sea Level Linked to Global Temperature.”

One of the most egregious problems is explained briefly below. You can get more details at



Vermeer and Rahmstrof created a model relating sea level rise rate to temperature. It goes like


dH/dt = a(T-To) + b(dT/dt)

Where H is the relative sea level, therefore dH/dt is the sea level rise rate. “T” is the

temperature, and therefore dT/dt is the time derivative of “T”. “To” is an equilibrium temperature,

presumably last seen in the 19th century, at which the sea levels are static. “a” and “b” are

constants that relate dH/dt to “T.”

Essentially, Vermeer works with a time series of sea level data and a time series of temperature

data, both starting in the late 19th century and running up to the beginning of the 21st century,

about 120 years. He got the temperature data from GISS. His sea level data came from Church and

White (“A 20th century acceleration in global sea-level 2006, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33).

He finds the values of “a” and “b” that give the best fit between the GISS temperature data and the

Church and White sea level data. Once “a” and “b” are calculated, then the above formula ia applied

to 21st century temperture scenarios generated by AOGCMs based on IPCC SRES emission scenarios for

the 21st cenury.

Here is the rub: Several months BEFORE PNAS published Vermeer’s paper Church and White updated

their sea level data. Their new version superseded their old version. The effect of the updated

version of sea level data was devastating to Vermeer’s thesis of drastic sea level rise rates. The

updated Church and White sea level shows much lower sea level rise rate acceleration.

When the new Church and White sea level data is put into Vermeer’s model it cuts his projected sea

level rise rates in half. Period.

Now, it wouldn’t have been a complicated matter to put the updated sea level data into their model

and test it before publication back in 2009. All they had to do was exchange one short ascii file

of the outdated version of sea level data with another short ascii file of the updated version,

then run their simple code (which is available on the web). We are not talking about massive

amounts of data, one data point per year is all. It takes a millisecond or so to run on a typical

PC. But for some reason Vermeer and Rahmstorf never got around to doing this.

They published their results based on the outdated sea level data, and it caused a sensation.

Their upper projection of 1.8 meters of sea level rise for the 21st century has become like gospel

to many people. It spread all over the media and internet. It is still quoted on a daily basis.

And as far as I can tell, Vermeer and Rahmstorf have made zero effort to correct this point by

corrigendum or single comment on one of the thousands of websites that quote their 1.8 meter


As you can see, my criticism is a technical one, and should be addressed as such. Instead, when I

post simililar technical points at Stefan Rahmstorf’s blog, RealClimate, they have been deleted.

Why? If I am wrong, then it should be an easy matter to for Vermeer and the smart folks at

RealClimate to point out my errors.

For the record, you can see who I am here…””

Best Regards,
Tom Moriarty


Hi Martin, thanks for your comment on 27th. I have looked more closely into your background and repeat my suggestion of 24th that “ .. If you want to learn properly about the “greenhouse effect” then I recommend a visit to Judith Curry’s “Physics of the atmospheric greenhouse(?) effect” (, most particularly the analyses on Feb. 22, Feb. 7 & Feb. 9 (the last 3 major posts), by retired award winning science teacher Roger Taguchi, of Ottawa, Canada .. ”. That word “if” is significant in this context and in the context of the entire CACC doctrine.

In the August 2009 Realclimate article “Ups and downs of sea level projections” ( by Stefan Rahmstorf and Martin Vermeer you wax lyrical about those computer models. You said “ .. if the 21st Century is warmer than the 20th .. ”, another of those significant “if”s. Models can be no better than the science that underpins them and the processes and drivers of global sea levels is no better understood that the processes and drivers of global climate change. Both are riddled with uncertainty, hence the models are little better than Xtal balls.

As I see it the models that you talked about use unsound empirical evidence to predict future sea level rise. You said “How do we know that the relationship between temperature rise and sea level rate is linear, also for the several degrees to be expected, when the 20th century has only given us a foretaste of 0.7 degrees? The short answer is: we don’t. A slightly longer answer is this. First we need to distinguish two things: linearity in temperature (at a given point in time, and all else being equal), and linearity as the system evolves over time. The two are conflated in the real world, because temperature is increasing over time.”

What convincing evidence are you aware of that justifies your “ .. the several degrees to be expected .. ” (am I correct in thinking that you are assuming several degree rise during the 21st century?). What convincing evidence do you have to offer that shows that “ .. temperature is increasing over time .. ”. All that I am aware of is that estimates of mean global temperature increase during the 20th century suggest a very slight increase overall (0.7C?), with no increase during the first decade of the 21st.

The estimated rate of atmospheric CO2 increase as measured at Mauna Loa indicate a roughly linear trend of about 1.8ppm/yr. during the last 40 years of the 20th century ( Present estimates of 21st century rate of increase are slightly higher at 2ppm/yr i.e. 200ppm in the century. If that were to continue it would place the 2100 level at under 600ppm. Roger Taguchi (see my comment of 25th Feb. @ 13:39) shows that the greenhouse effect will contribute a warming of less than 0.7C and that the IPCC estimates are a factor of 3 or 4 too high due to wild speculation about a positive feedback effect.


Anthony Watts had an article “2009 paper confirming IPCC sea level conclusions withdrawn, mistakes cited” ( That article mentions the paper “Global sea level linked to global temperature” ( by you and Rahmstorf which includes some of what you presented in the RealClimate article. Once again you squeezed in what looks like an “out clause” for when sea-levels don’t increase anything like your model predicts. “ .. If our method presents a reasonable approximation of the future sea-level response to global warming .. ”. Why nit just come straight out at the start of all of your articles and papers with “What follows is merely speculation about what Nature might hold in store for us and over which we have no control whatsoever”.

Just as with CACC, sea level projections are founded on uncertainty, assumptions and speculation. I noticed that in your article you made no mention of the real “expert” on sea-levels, Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden. Have you read his article “Claim That Sea Level Is Rising Is a Total Fraud” (

Best regards, Pete Ridley

Pete, I wasn’t going to respond as you’re beyond hope, but your reference to Mörner is hilarious… as pointed out by Graham Readfern (, “[Mörner] is treated like something of a joke among most oceanographers and quaternary scientists”. Indeed, having moved in those circles I share their amusement/bemusement. OTOH his slander of honest working scientists is distinctly less than funny.

For others (not you Pete) here are some pertinent links:

Hi Martin, thanks for you (well-reasoned?) response, which I understand to be saying that you support the opinion of some, that geologist Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner, the former head of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm “ .. something of a joke among most oceanographers and quaternary scientists .. “. With all due respect of course, I wonder what other scientists will be saying of geodesist Dr. Martin Vermeer in 15 years time (you’ll then be about the same age as Dr. Mörner now is).

I’ll keep my opinion on your level of expertise about the causes of changes in mean global sea level until others of at least as high a level, such as Tom Moriarty, have reviewed your and Stephan’s next effort to improve scientific understanding. Meanwhile, perhaps you’d like to give some pointers towards what significant improvements have been made during the past 4 years to scientific understanding of the causes of any estimated rise in sea level. Please don’t fall back on arguments which depend upon “what the models show”, because they can be no better than the science upon which they are founded – you know, GIGO.

It’s hardly surprising that there are so many highly respected geologists challenging the CACC doctrine. As one of Dr. Mörner’s many famous quotes goes “Geologists .. go out in the field and observe, and then we can try to make a model with computerization; but it’s not the first thing” ( It doesn’t surprise me that I could not find any quotes, “brainy” or otherwise, from Martin Vermeer. You’ll probably react with something like “only jokers get quoted”. Joking apart Martin, don’t you think that it is time you showed a little respect for your elders?

The IPCC’s AR4 WG1 Section 5.6 Synthesis statement aligns with my own opinion on the subject QUOTE: .. While there are many robust findings regarding the changed ocean state, key uncertainties still remain. Limitations in ocean sampling (particularly in the SH) mean that decadal variations in global heat content, regional salinity patterns, and rates of global sea level rise can only be evaluated with moderate confidence. Furthermore, there is low confidence in the evidence for trends in the MOC and the global ocean freshwater budget. Finally, the global average sea level rise for the last 50 years is likely to be larger than can be explained by thermal expansion and loss of land ice due to increased melting, and thus for this period it is not possible to satisfactorily quantify the known processes causing sea level rise .. UNQUOTE (

I paraphrase what is said - “Just as for the processes and drivers of those different global climates, we don’t really understand this very well at all and we can only speculate about how sea levels will change”.

Best regards, Pete Ridley

The Coast Guard has been measuring Tampa Bay, Florida since 1947. The bay has risen an inch per decade; however, for every inch of rising seas, the beach retreats 50-100 times as much:

“Water does not merely creep up the beach inch by inch. Our beaches are dynamic, shifting piles of sand that are sensitive to changes in water level. In fact, the shoreline retreats up the beach a distance 50 to 100 times the change in sea level. In other words, a seemingly benign inch of sea level change leads to at least 50 inches of shoreline retreat. That’s more than 4 feet, and it could be as much as 8….

We are already adapting to sea level rise. Sea walls are now ubiquitous fixtures of our landscape as we spend countless dollars hardening our shores against encroaching waters.

In addition, more than $1.1 billion was spent in the last 50 years to pump sand onto Florida’s eroding beaches, and 7 percent of that was spent in Pinellas County. The majority of these funds were federal, and given federal budget realities, we cannot count on these dollars in the future. If we continue to deal with sea level change and erosion by simply acting defiantly, the burden of increasing cost will increasingly rest on the shoulders of Floridians.

Furthermore, residents of Tampa Bay are well aware of the region’s exposure to hurricanes, and we are fortunate to have avoided the brunt of a major storm in recent decades. Eventually, though, we will have such an encounter, and the more sea level rises, and the more shorelines retreat, the more vulnerable we become.

Ultimately, sea levels will rise for the foreseeable future. Our current best guess is about 10 to 20 inches of rise by 2100, but scientists using new technologies are finding that glaciers and ice sheets are melting more rapidly than previously believed. Recent studies suggest 30 to 60 inches of sea level rise is possible. Thirty inches would flood more than $130 billion of Florida real estate and 99 percent of Florida’s mangroves.”

Pete Ridley ridicules the scientist Martin Vermeer:

“Please don’t fall back on arguments which depend upon “what the models show”, because they can be no better than the science upon which they are founded – you know, GIGO.”

This seems to me like a very odd criticism if you look at the first page of Dr. Vermeer’s PNAS paper. Dr. Vermeer’s paper seems to be saying that the models may not be quite right because they are underestimating what the observable measurements are saying about the rise in sea-level:

“…observed sea-level rise exceeded that predicted by models (best estimates) by ≈50% for the periods 1990–2006 (1) and 1961–2003 (2). The last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report did not include rapid ice flow changes in its projected sea-level ranges, arguing that they could not yet be modeled, and consequently did not present an upper limit of the expected rise (2).”

Could Dr. Vermeer explain for the layperson what his research says or give a link. I am interested in what a credentialed person like Dr. Vermeer says.

Also, can this site make sure that the real Dr. Vermeer responds?

I don’t believe anything this Pete Ridley says because he tried to threaten me that some off-message ex-CIA operative named Kent Clizbe might make trouble for me on the Internet with the help of his CIA friends.

The real CIA is studying the national security implications of climate change. I quote the CIA on my blog. If the off-message ex-CIA operative Kent Clizbe doesn’t know that the CIA gives climate scientists security clearances, probably he does not have friends in the CIA.

Kent Clizbe trashed Dr. Michael Mann and now he is trashing the climate change expert Dr. Christopher Field.
Kent Clizbe that he might be irritating the CIA when he trashes famous scientists who study climate change.

The crude propagandist Kent Clizbe writes:

“An initial review of Field’s background and snout in the trough seems identical to any number of “climate scientists” (Field’s scientific background is Biological Sciences. His PhD research was on Leaf Aging in a California Shrub) sucking off the National Academy of Sciences, NASA, NOAA, and other government teats.”

Kent Clizbe seems to be implying that Dr. Field doesn’t have the credentials to be a climate scientist, but scientists who study climate change come from many different fields.”

Kent Clizbe claims he was in the CIA, but he spouts the propaganda of the CRU hackers and of Russia’s President Medvedev, who claimed in early 2010 that global warming was a “trick.”

Kent Clizbe says he is writing a book about Russia, so why doesn’t he know that the Russians know that climate change is happening. The Russian state security has hired outside experts to study this problem and the Russians have a satellite that studies greenhouse gasses.

People like Pete Ridley and Kent Clizbe claim to speak as experts so they can fool people, but really they mischaracterize what the scientists and intelligence community are reporting.

After all of her huffing and puffing Snapple has the opportunity now to show her true mettle and put-up-or-shut-up. She can try to refute what Tom Moriarty has to say about Martin Verneer’s attempts to frighten schoolchildren and adults alike in to believing that our unstoppable use of fossil fuels is leading to CACC, including “death by drowning” ( under rising sea levels.

Best regards, Pete Ridley