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Archive for August, 2009

Combat Operations BPSDB Like all tragedies, the most terrible thing about the Afghan War is the utter futility of the suffering. Our determination to do nothing meaningful about anthropogenic climate change means that none of the sacrifices by any of those involved in Afghanistan are going to accomplish anything, not unless we honour those sacrifices by doing our part.

We all know about the war in Afghanistan, or think we do. Those who follow the news will know that the “trouble” is predominantly in the south and southwest, particularly the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. Do we wonder why that is? If “the problem” is government corruption, or religious extremism, or nationalism, or tribalism, or … why those areas in particular? why not all over the country?

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Soviet incarnation of evil - StalinBPSDBOthers are comparing this story to the famous Tennessee Scopes trial on the teaching of evolution. There are very good reasons to suggest that it has far more in common with the Soviet show trials of dissident scientists.

The bare bones of the story is that the U.S Chamber of Commerce (hereafter CoC) would like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (hereafter EPA) to hold public hearings on climate science.

Incredibly, the CoC wants “‘Scopes’-like hearing on the evidence that climate change is man-made.” For those who are not familiar with it, the “Scopes” reference is to the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial” where school teacher John Scopes was put on trial in Tennessee for illegally teaching Evolution science .

The EPA is dismissive of the petition, particularly as the basis for it are the usual collection of climate change Denier idiocies such as “climate change has stopped.” For more on those details and further analysis see here and the links at bottom. (more…)

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SkepticsBPSDBTo some that might seem to be self-loathing, but contrary to the climate change Denier claims, the fact is that real skeptics are not climate change deniers, and vice versa.

In this post I hope to convince you of that, then discuss the perspective real skeptics have on climate change science, and finally issue a question, with an edge of challenge, to the skeptic community.

Now generally climate realists make the ‘Deniers are not skeptics’ point by critically examining the Deniers and demonstrating that they are not actually skeptics based on what a real skeptic is. I propose to look at the skeptics and show that they are not climate Deniers (yeah, I’ve always been somewhat backwards ;) ).

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HMS Pinafore (10)

BPSDB The Plimer / Monbiot debate saga continues.  In brief, climate change Denier Ian Plimer challenged prominent (climate) journalist George Monbiot to a debate. Monbiot accepted but with the condition of the submission of written questions prior to the debate. Monbiot submitted a rational and reasonable set of questions directly related to Plimer’s book. Plimer responded with juvenile and irrelevant bafflegab.

What does the Plimer Monbiot debate tell us about how we approach educating the public about climate change / global warming? Is there anything more of interest to learn from the Plimer farce? can his recent infamy inform our efforts to better educate the public? are there any take away lessons?

Drops the wind and stops the mill

As reported earlier Deep Climate submitted a complaint to the Australian Broadcasting Company about giving Plimer a soapbox when they know full well he is distorting and misrepresenting the facts. Predictably the outcome is not satisfactory.

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BPSDBGrab the popcorn, it’s another videos blog

Denial was a River in Africa

I am so glad to see that Sinclair’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week series has taken on the climate change Denier attempt to co-opt the poor and marginalized, particularly from the Developing World. I have blogged on this before and most certainly will again as it has to be the most callous of all of the self-serving Denier lies they use to justify their dishonesty.

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Glamour is not for me...

BPSDBExxonMobil has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer,” said Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Director of Strategy & Policy. “A modest but effective investment has allowed the oil giant to fuel doubt about global warming to delay government action just as Big Tobacco did for over 40 years.”

Scientists’ Report Documents ExxonMobil’s Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science

Quiz: which of these two is actual tobacco industry denial, and which is climate change denial with “tobacco” and related terms substituted:

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daigaku oryoki

BPSDB

When I was first exposed to real Zen practice I was initially struck, and eventually awed at the deep ecological wisdom that is central to life within a Zen monastic community. Not merely taught, but lived.

The supposedly simple act of taking a meal is done in a way that grounds the practitioner in awareness of ecological fundamentals three times a day, every day. I’d like to walk through parts of the Zen practice of oryoki to review those ecological lessons.

The meal begins with a chant done as group in the meal hall, or during monthly sessions of intensive practice, in the Zen hall. The first three lines of one version of the chant is as follows:

First, seventy-two labours brought us this food;

These meal chants are ancient. They date from a time when monasteries grew most of their own food, or at most got it directly from the person who grew it. The “seventy-two labours” did not refer to the clerks and truckers that are now part of our food chain. They referred to the sun, the rain, the insect pollinators, the earthworms, the entire web of living and non-living elements that make up the biosphere.

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Darth Vader

BPSDB

.Last week Ian Plimer seemed to be just another climate change Denier who apparently wouldn’t know real science if it chewed his leg off.

Now with the evolving debate with Monbiot it seems to me that there are three major aspects to the Plimer story, which like all good stories is really about meta-stories playing themselves out in small.

The Phantom Science

First there is the issue of the well documented lack of actual substance to Plimer’s “science” generally. A case in point is back in May when Deltoid very helpfully sourced one of Plimer’s graphs to that appalling piece of garbage “The Swindle” (Plimer claimed he couldn’t recall where he got it).  It’s worth going to Deltoid and playing with the graphic ;) Three points to make, what kind of researcher:

  1. can’t recall/didn’t document the source for a significant piece of evidence for his main point?
  2. uses a source well known to be a fiction/fraud?
  3. lies about 1. to try and hide 2.

Seriously … this person is supposed to be a research scientist? for real?

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tapa Gossip #59BPSDB

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Meme watch

Inhofe

APS, ACS & AGU

PETM

McLean, de Freitas and Carter

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It’s all just the sun cosmic rays orbit

A new paper in Science, Evidence for Obliquity Forcing of Glacial Termination II has already become “Wobbling Earth Triggers Climate Change“. No doubt it is an interesting contribution to our understanding of Milankovitch cycles, assuming it holds up to scrutiny.

Needless to say this is meat for the climate change DenierNew Study disproves/overturns/undermines global warming/climate change science/models/theory!“ canard, and equally obvious is the fact that it does no such thing. Expect this one to be turning up in our comments sections, and on forums and news sharing sites for the next little while. If anyone puts together a quick rebuttal it would be appreciated. (more…)

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BPSDB

Update: Here

There has been a development of sorts in the “debate” between  George Monbiot and Ian Plimer (climate change / global warming Denier de jour), which is to say Plimer has sent Monbiot a series of questions for Monbiot to answer.

In response to Monbiot’s Queen pawn opening Plimer has answered “I like turtles.” Or more accurately, his actual response is not even remotely that coherent, rational, or relevant.

Of Plimer’s questions Monbiot said:

Fascinating as these questions doubtless are, … My answer to questions 1-13 is: “you’re asking the wrong person”.”

I disagree. In and of themselves the questions are not fascinating; they are pure juvenile bafflegab.  I won’t dignify the full set with repetition, but just so you can get a sense of how absurd Plimer is being, here is the text of the first question:

1. From the distribution of the vines, olives, citrus and grain crops in Europe, UK and Greenland, calculate the temperature in the Roman and Medieval Warmings and the required atmospheric CO2 content at sea level to drive such warmings. What are the errors in your calculation? Reconcile your calculations with at least five atmospheric CO2 proxies. Show all calculations and justify all assumptions. (see update)

Plimer resorts to attack as the best form of defence

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BPSDB Let battle commence! Climate change denialist ready for the fight

From Youngstown, Ohio, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini
A lightweight contender, like father like son
He fought for the title with Frias in Vegas
And he put him away in round number one

So hurry home early hurry on home
Boom Boom Mancini’s fighting Bobby Chacon

Warren Zevon – Boom Boom Mancini

Actually it’s Ian Plimer and “Boom boom Monbiot” who are going to debate climate change, but I presume that for those who read this blog that’s actually more interesting. In fact, this one promises to be significantly more interesting than the standard public debate. In the left corner we have …

Plimer is a Australian geologist and climate change Denier who authored “Heaven and Earth”, in which

Plimer likens the concept of human-induced climate change to creationism and asserts that it is a “fundamentalist religion adopted by urban atheists looking to fill a yawning spiritual gap plaguing the West“.

Heaven and Earth (book) – Wikipedia

In other words, it is a ridiculous collection of distortions, fables, and outright fabrications with respect to climate science.  As is usually the case with such abominations, it has proved very popular with the Denialosphere, even being featured as a cover story for the Spectator in the UK. (more…)

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http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/joshawvanover/life.gif

BPSDB

Over at Pharyngula Meyers has been discussing The dilemma of the anti-creationist, loosely the question of how does one apply the recommended strategies for engaging ones opponents effectively when they’re all crazy? The context for what Meyer has to say is the grid below.

” … it is a bad idea for critics to engage the very worst of the opposition, and to then congratulate themselves on their success in fighting off the enemy. We should be wrestling with the Green Zone of Worthy Opponents, not wasting our time with crackpots!

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BPSDB

Ain’t no rules, ain’t no vow, we can do it anyhow
I and I will see you through,
‘Cos every day we pay the price with a little sacrifice
Jamming till the jam is through.

Bob Marley. Jamming.

Culture jamming: is a tactic in which an activist attempts to disrupt or subvert mainstream cultural institutions or corporate advertising. … Culture jamming sometimes entails transforming mass media to produce ironic or satirical commentary about itself, using the original medium’s communication method .” Culture jamming – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Transforming climate change / global warming Denier propaganda “to produce ironic or satirical commentary about itself” is very straightforward, you just juxtapose their claim with reality and the fraudulent ridiculousness of it is immediately apparent. This is something I try to do whenever the opportunity for a good visual exists:

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BPSDBThe “George Will Defense” is, having been caught in a series of flagrantly ridiculous lies, tell some more in an attempt to justify them.  It seems that Manthrope’s uncritical idolizing of Ian Plimer’s climate change Denial discussed in Vancouver Sun: Perpetual Motion Works, Earth is Flat! has upset some of the Vancouver Sun‘s readers. So much so that a response seemed called for.

Unfortunately we do not get a thoughtful and honest reflection on the whys and wherefores of having published drivel. Far from it. The title “Opposing views draw scientists’ scorn” tells you exactly how Manthrope is going to try to spin it.

You see, the problem is not that the Plimer’s book is a load of unscientific nonsense, or that Manthrope was either incompetent or unethical (or both) as a journalist in his partisan and unabashed promotion of Plimer. Oh no, the problem is that scientists are intolerant of “opposing views.” We’re not talking about facts and science here, we’re talking about “views”, opinions, and tolerance.

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I love PR (public relations)BPSDB The headline may as well have read like that since the actual one was just as idiotic; “Global warming is the new religion of First World urban elites.” The article in question is allegedly reporting on the “science” of Ian Plimer, “an unremitting critic of “anthropogenic global warming”.”

The article by Jonathan Manthorpe is so fawning and gushing that it would be embarrassing as text for Plimer’s book jacket, never mind as an Opinion piece or book review. For breathless and brainless worship it’s about on a par with an adolescent’s Hannah Montana Myspace fan page. Yet according to the Vancouver Sun, this article was supposedly “News”?

In and of itself it’s just another piece of popular media climate change Denierism which has already been responded to by others. However, since the piece is so extreme in several senses I thought it might be a good example to use to look at the issue of climate science in the media generally.

Let’s begin with Plimer and his book. “Heavan and Earth” was published back in April and has been thoroughly reviewed by a number of reputable scientists (see ‘Plimer, a sampling’ below), including a point by point critique (38 page pdf). Real Climate’s summary pretty much covers the response by scientists:

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Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.

Friedrich von Schiller,

(Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain.)

BPSDB Apparently “ 60 prominent German scientists have publicly declared their dissent from man-made global warming…”,

at least according to Climate Despot and the Heartland Institute, so I was pretty sure that it was a load of rubbish, as indeed it turns out to be.

This particular scam just started popping up recently and may catch others unawares, as I was. However, on a hunch I popped over to Jules’ klimaatblog and sure enough, there it was: “The open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The letter has all of the standard elements of the climate change Denier letters, lists and  declarations (eg here, here and here):

  • little or no actual science, just uninformed opinion;
  • such alleged science as is referred to is easily shown to be misrepresented, if not outright fraud;
  • many of the alleged “scientists” are not actually scientists;
  • few, if any, of the ones who are scientists have anything remotely to do with “climate science;
  • none are active researchers on climate issues;
  • the source of the letter is an industry PR firm masquerading as a think tank or grassroots group.

“The rest of the letter are some hollow words and whining about the pseudo-religion climate science has become. Yes, they really use the word pseudo-religion. Sigh.”

The open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

I refer you to Jules’ blog for the full story.

In other words, the usual. It seems that lately we are getting a lot of letters demanding “review” of climate policy (eg here, here and  here), I wonder if it’s coincidence?

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Creepy at the EPA

BPSDB

The latest Climate Denial Crock of the Week is up with Sinclair taking on the EPA censorship hoax, discussed in detail in Carlin Lives! Funnier than ever

Added to: Climate Denial Crock of the Week and Carlin Lives! Funnier than ever

APS to blame humans, not God, for climate change

Commenter John Mashey noted that “Outpouring of Scientists Rejecting Man-Made Climate Fears!” was too long and really needed to be two posts. True enough, hence APS to blame humans, not God, for climate change. So if you read the former, you need not read the new post as it is merely a cut and paste with the sole addition of:

From the APS Executive minutes “…to adopt an agnostic stance on the scientific evidence…” is the rather thin, even lame justification for the title, but I simply could not resist :) .

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BPSDB

In “Outpouring of Scientists Rejecting Man-Made Climate Fears!” I discussed how the climate change Deniers spin the ignorance of a few cranks into fantasies of wide spread skepticism, censorship, and a demand for an institutional review. The “there’s a storm of protest, we need a review” tactic is naturally not limited to the American Chemical Society.

The fact that every National Academy of Sciences and important scientific institution and society on the planet naturally accepts and endorses the reality of the scientific facts is a sore point for the Deniers, so anything that can be done to undermine it is in their interest. As such creating the impression that there is a grassroots movement within these institutions and societies “demanding” a review is part of the strategy.

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BPSDB

I blame Bad Astronomy for this one, which is odd because for this sort of thing Frankbi is the usual culprit. Phil Plait is right though, this is too good not to share with a community plagued by the conspiracy nuts.

Needless to say, just as with Climate Denier Crackpot Index and Denier Conspiracy Theories: More Paranoid Than Thou the description fits perfectly, presumably because the inhabitants of Wingnuttia are more or less of a muchness …

From Cracked.com

Just The Facts

  1. The average conspiracy theorist will argue with NASA, Nobel-prize winners and every expert in the world despite having fewer qualifications than the average fry cook.
  2. Conspiracy theorists view logical argument as cheating.
  3. Like pissing fetishes and tentacle rape comics, conspiracy theories are a problem made much worse by the Internet.
  4. Never assume malice when incompetence will do.

and so on. Conspiracy Theories | Cracked.com

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Or so the headline at Climate Despot claimed. BPSDB

Dog bites Man

Win-win for the Goebbels wannabes

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The headline is referring to a non-story about some letters of protest that Chemical & Engineering News, the publication of the American Chemical Society, received regarding the June 22nd editorial “Climate-Change News“. The editorial in question is a quick review of some current events in climate science, and a description of the sleazy tactics being used by the climate change Deniers in an attempt to influence the political process.

The Deniers would like you to believe that there is a mass outpouring of rage from the ACS membership at the pro-science/reality  stance (that would not be their way of expressing it) of the CEN editor. Nope, not even close. Even so, the incident promises to be a win-win for the Denialosphere, hence their interest in making a fuss about it.

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