BPSDBOn Saturday The Huffington Post inexplicably published a climate change Denier screed “Mr. Gore: Apology Accepted” by Harold Amber. The piece itself is a very juvenile collection of some of the standard Denier fables, easily exposed as false and of no great interest.
As such I will debunk it last and first ask the more interesting question, “why?”
Legitimate challenges to aspects of climate science appear in publications like New Scientist all of the time, as they should. There is no reason The Huffington Post should not do so as well. But make no mistake, this is not a “skeptical” article (as you will see).
Ambler’s piece is so lame it is worthy of NewsBlusters or The Examiner, particularly as it affects the same tone of self-righteous arrogance as only the truly ignorant can manage. It is pure Denierism unsullied by any stain of accuracy or logic.
The Huffington Post is typically more progressive so even a skeptical article would be slightly surprising. More to the point, their regular climate writers include Kevin Grandia and Jospeh Romm who are knowledgeable and write solid, science based climate pieces.
Given that they have people with real knowledge at hand, why didn’t they at least run it by them first? Not for approval of course, but just to ask “Are we about to totally embarrass ourselves?”, because that is most certainly what they have done. Hopefully they will know better next time.
So is this another American Physical Society debacle? ie some uniformed editor low in the hierarchy mistakenly believing there is real doubt about climate science and so calls for or accepts a “skeptic piece?” And of course lacking any knowledge themselves fail to recognize it for pure drivel?
Or is something else going on? Has Denierism penetrated The Huffington Post? Let’s hope not. I hope rather that once the magnitude of this gaffe becomes clear they will return to Grandia, Romm and other fact based writers for their climate stories.
Ambler’s insufferably smug diatribe is organized around a theme of accepting an apology from Al Gore for causing climate hysteria. Right there we see the overarching Straw Man fallacy of pretending that climate science comes from Al Gore rather than climate scientists.
The Straw Man is a standard Denier tactic (particularly using Gore) as it allows them to frame the issue as if it were “opinion vs opinion” rather than deal with the reality of the science. To the naive it seems somewhat credible that blogger Harold Ambler might be right and Al Gore wrong.
His false credibility and absurd arrogance is undermined if he were admit up front that he suggesting that tens of thousands of scientists are fools and that he is the only one who has figured it out correctly.
So instead he chooses to use Al Gore as a punching bag for this whole ridiculous piece. That way he maintains the fiction that is Gore’s word against his, rather than the reality that it is his very uninformed and error filled opinions vs science.
Ambler “the expression “climate change” itself is a redundancy“
He begins his article with this trivial observation that climate changes all of the time, and then mistakenly concludes that “the expression “climate change” itself is a redundancy.” Ambler’s apparent belief that he has noticed something that escaped the attention of millions of scientists defies belief.
Of course everything fluctuates if you pick the right scale. The point is to choose appropriate scales so that the terminology is useful. The term “climate change” was coined in 1979 and is used by science to describe dramatic and often sudden shifts in climate.
Ambler: “There has been no stable period of climate during the Holocene, our own climatic era”
Ambler: “Mr. Gore has used a famously inaccurate graph, known as the “Mann Hockey Stick,” “
The Mann graph is only “famously inaccurate” to people who get their information off of wingnut websites. Scientists know it is fine:
Ambler: “One last thought on the expression “climate change”: It is a retreat from the earlier expression used by alarmists, “manmade global warming,” which was more easily debunked.“
As noted above, it has been “climate change since 1979. And if “manmade global warming” was easily debunked, why has no one done it?
Ambler: “…now use instances of cold temperatures to prove the existence of “climate change,…“
2008 Coldest year of the century? every year this century is on the top-10 hottest list Stupid is as stupid does
Ambler: “Mr. Gore has gone so far to discourage debate…”
Gore has not discouraged debate, he called for an end to the oil industry funding deliberate misinformation campaigns. Campaigns which encouraged uninformed, misleading, commentary by dupes who seem to be unaware of their own incompetence. The name Harold Ambler leaps to mind for some reason.
Ambler: ” it turns out that there is an 800-year lag between temperature and carbon dioxide“
Actually the CO2 lag was predicted before it was discovered. If Ambler actually knew the science he would realize that one thing that they would have had trouble explaining is if there was no lag … he has it backwards.
Ambler: ” Carbon dioxide cannot absorb an unlimited amount of infrared radiation“
Ambler’s utter cluelessness just get’s worse and worse. The science (which he has obviously never looked at, not even the many excellent sites for children) is very clear, CO2 absorbs and then re-radiates the long wave heat that would have escaped to space, some of it to space, some back to earth.
Ambler: “This mechanism [CO2 trapping heat] has never been shown to exist”
The guy is just embarrassing. Actually it was “discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824 and investigated quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in 1896 ” (with surprising accuracy as it turns out).
Ambler: I will have to summarize. What we get here is a convoluted explanation of cloud formation acting as a feedback to cool the earth, the red herring that water vapour is the dominant greenhouse gas and not accounted for by climate science, the cooling oceans are driving climate, and noting that there has been a number of cold spells on the planet lately.
His whole description of the interactions with clouds which he presents as fact was merely an idea that has since been shown to be false, ditto his water vapour beliefs, add to his pile of errors the fact that contrary to his claims the oceans are warming, and finally the whole inability to distinguish climate from weather while cherry picking a few weather reports.
And the stupidities only get worse. He correctly notes that various factors have us in a cool phase (La Nina, Solar cycles), and somehow concludes that this means the earth is not warming.
IF climate change were not happening then these factors would have caused near record cold last year. What did we have instead? 2008 was the hottest La Nina-influenced year with no El Nino ever recorded, and the 10th hottest year ever.
Ambler: “In the book, the modern Galileo [Henrik Svensmark], for he is nothing less, establishes that cosmic rays from deep space”
His modern Galileo he has been repeatedly shown to be dead wrong.
Ambler: “I could go on”
Apparently there is no limit to his foolishness, and to prove it he adds:
Ambler: “the ice in the Arctic basin has always melted and refrozen”
Here’s the NSIDC commentary from Dec 3 (2008):
The period of very rapid ice growth that characterized October and early November has ended. The rise in ice extent over the past three weeks has been much slower, and should continue to slow until the expected seasonal ice extent maximum is reached sometime in March.
Ambler: “the ice has always been melted from above (by the midnight Sun of summer) and below (by relatively warm ocean currents, possibly amplified by volcanic venting) … 2007 happened also to be the time of maximum historic sea ice in Antarctica.“
Of course he is wrong about the volcanos “The scientists say the heat released by the explosions is not contributing to the melting of the Arctic ice”
In all of that he didn’t get a single thing right, not a single damn thing … impressive.
NB: This was largely written on Saturday but I was unable to finish it. Since then I see that there have been several good responses to Ambler, including 2 published by the Huff Post and all linked by them, so maybe they have learned.
A. Siegel — Global Warming Knowledge: “Perhaps it is worthwhile to take a moment to lay out some reasonable sources for actual knowledge when it comes to Global Warming science and discussion.”
Kevin Grandia — On Global Warming is it Harold Ambler or the Royal Society?: “It appears that Ambler’s background in the area of climate science is non-existent.”
UPDATES Jan 06, 11:00
It turns out Ambler has a website that is your standard collection of the irrelevant and the inaccurate, from cherry picked weather stories to the moronic “Gore Effect” urban myth.
I suspect that he misses the irony that his appropriately titled site “Talking About The Weather” has no information about climate; clearly a tragic case of ASS (see link above).
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
Denier “Challenge” aka Deathwatch Update: Day 76 … still no evidence.