BPSDBThe last post looked at the presentation of the 2008 temperature records as “coolest in a decade” and sea levels as “shrinking” as truth being reported in such a way as to lead to false conclusions. Let’s continue with the “William Jefferson Clinton” Climate Denial Series, ie telling the truth in such a disingenuous and grossly misleading way as to be basically lying.
It could also be called the “Red Herring” series since the statements usually made are true, but irrelevant (also here for many examples). A far more detailed and subtle example of this Denier tactic is the Climate Change Quiz put out by “Smart Green Frontier”, actually the industry funded Frontier Centre for Public Policy.
Their online Quiz consists of 10 multiple choice questions accompanied by “facts” that supposedly help “educate you” about climate change.
Question 1: Climate change is real
a) True, b) False, or c) The question is meaningless
According to them the “correct” answer is ” The question is meaningless” because there has always been climate change, always will be climate change, it is perfectly natural, etc. This is trivially true because it misleads people into thinking that the current climate change is natural, which is nonsense of course
If you chose ‘True’ you are told “you have been misled by media and government hype if you think the statement is meaningful” followed by a similar “it’s all natural”
Of course scientists know about historical climate change (duh?) and it is part of the science; factored in and accounted for. The truth is that our current climate change is very much human caused as the science has demonstrated over and over.
It then tries to push the “global cooling” fable as part of your “education.”
Question 2: The ‘Greenhouse Effect’ is real.
a) True, b) False, or c) The question is deceptive
According to them the “correct” answer is “The question is deceptive” because “they do not behave like the solid ceiling of a greenhouse.” Maybe not like a solid barrier preventing convection, but do green house gases trap heat? Of course they do.
If you chose ‘True’ you are told that while there is some heat trapping the warming will stabilize soon, according to the ideas of Richard Lindzen that have been shown to be false. It’s “natural” stabilization is at a level that does not help us a bit.
Question 3: The main cause of climate change is:
According to them the “correct” answer is”b) orbital eccentricities of Earth and variations in the Sun’s output, although you certainly won’t hear it from Al Gore or governments.”
Also completely misleading while being strictly true. Historic climate cycles have been mainly driven by solar cycles (but see here), and we know with certainty that this is not true now; see here and here as well as yesterdays post.
Question 4: The so-called ‘Greenhouse Effect’ is caused primarily by:
a) water vapor, b) carbon dioxide (CO2), or c) aerosol sprays
According to them the “correct” answer is a) water vapor, which is strictly true of all atmospheric heat trapping, but the current warming trend (which is what matters) is being caused by human produced CO2 (and here).
They throw in a few more Red Herrings, including empahsizing that the human contribution to total CO2 is small, that the link between CO2 and climate has not been proven, and the CO2 lag meme.
Humans may contribute only a small fraction of the total CO2, but we are responsible for all of the excess which is causing the warming (see links for question 1).
“It has not been proven” because nothing in science is ever proven (see scientific method), not gravity, not the laws of thermodyanimics, not the speed of light, nothing.
As for the lag, they more or less admit that CO2 drives climate change by being very, very careful to quote Caillon et al. “This confirms that CO2 is not the forcing that initially drives the climatic system…” It drives it, just not “initially” (in the past).
Question 5: Which most accurately describes the effects of climate change in the United States over the last 100 years?
a) temperatures have risen > 5° C, b) temperatures have risen > 2° C,
c) temperatures have risen < 1° C
This one takes a bit more deconstruction. Why only the US? The answer for temperature is the same regardless. Ahhh, it says “effects of climate change”, not merely change in temperature. But our only options are in terms of temperature, so already we are being herded down the garden path.
According to them the “correct” answer is c) temperatures have risen < 1° C. Of course, that the right answer for the change in global temperature. Regardless of which answer you chose you get a little blurb about how modest the temperature changes have been and hustled along to the next question.
Two things that they are trying to avoid. First, the obvious fact that the concern about climate change is not the temperature change that has occurred, but the change that will occur. Somewhere around 2° to 3° C we tip into catastrophic climate change, maybe sooner.
Second, temperature is not the “effects of climate change”, but the cause. We are talking massive droughts, melting poles, famine, flooding, disease, and so on. Up until recently the US has been more sheltered from impacts that could be reasonably attributed to climate change, but that is changing.
Question 6: Carbon dioxide (CO2) comprises a significant percentage of Earth’s atmosphere today.
a) True or b) False
False of course, and we get a bunch of fluff about how historically CO2 levels have been much higher etc. Naturally no mention at all of what happens when CO2 rises suddenly, even slightly. You are supposed to believe it has no effect, which is nonsense of course.
Question 7: Carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plants damages forests.
a) True b) False
The correct answer is “False.” CO2 may not hurt them, but the climate change caused by the CO2 will damage them severely if not wipe them out entirely through droughts, fire, storms, disease and pests.
Naturally they have to throw in the “it’s good for plants” myth.” “Forests
absorb CO2 and so grow faster under higher CO2 conditions”, ignoring the consequences of climate change and pretending that the only difference will be higher CO2 levels.
Why only mention CO2 from coal-fired plants? why not all CO2? I suspect that this is an attempt to tell 2 lies with one quiz, ie to try to get you thinking that coal plants are supposed to threaten plant life with their CO2 production when it is all of the other pollutants that are causing damage directly.
Question 8: Which answer below provides the best explanation for the following temperature record [Image: graph of the Medieval Warm Period]
a) Industrial pollution from factories, power plants, and cars caused global warming, b) Natural variations in global temperatures may occur in roughly 300-years cycles actually closer to 500 years, or c) Global cooling occurred as a result of the Renaissance Period.
The correct answer is b) Natural variations in global temperatures may occur in roughly 300-years cycles actually closer to 500 years, and again you get a little blurb about how the Sun initiated climate change historically.
And just as with question #3 (see links there), it may have done so historically, but we know it is not doing so now. So once again true, but intended to get you to draw the wrong conclusion.
Question 9: Which of the following is not true about an increasing greenhouse effect?
a) the consensus of scientists is that the problem warrants drastic action, b) nighttime temperatures may increase, but daytime temperatures will not, or c) the coldest, driest regions of the planet will warm first
According to them the “correct” answer (ie the one that is not true) is a) the consensus of scientists is that the problem warrants drastic action, an out and out flagrant lie.
In a pathetic attempt to prop up the lie they cite:
i) a 20 year old petition from before the current consensus and hence completely irrelevant;
ii) a petition calling for adaptation rather than mitigation, which is still urgent action and hence irrelevant;
iii) the transparently bogus Oregon Petition which is a laughing stock at best;
v) A petition where 90% of the scientists were not climate scientists; since when was the claim made that the consensus was only climate scientists?
The scientific consensus is real, there are only a few dozen so-called “skeptics”, most of whom have never done any actual work on climate, many of whom work for industry funded front groups and who push ideas that have been exposed as nonsense.
Question 10: Which temperature measuring method most accurately measures global warming?
According to them the “correct” answer is b) orbiting weather satellites. They dismiss ground based measurements based on the Denier Urban Heat Island fable which is false. In saying it is satellites they add that the satellites show cooling, false in 2 ways.
The satellites can measure both tropospheric and stratospheric temperature. As less heat escapes the lower atmosphere gets warmer and the upper atmosphere get’s cooler … lumping them disguises the true changes in temperature.
Second, while the satellites once showed surface cooling that was because the decaying orbits of the satellites were not factored in. Once that error was corrected the true temperature picture became clear – warming, not cooling.
So why is this Quiz such an awful collection of lies, distortions, red herrings, and bad science? Well, it was “produced with the assistance of Dr. Tim Ball & Tom Harris.”
Ball claims to have been with the Dept of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg, a department that never existed. Further, that he has a degree in Climatology, a degree that St Mary’s College, University of London never offered (he is a geographer, not a climatologist).
So hopefully this quiz has been educational, at least with respect to the honesty and integrity of the Deniers, and what you can expect from them when they try to “educate” you.
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
Denier “Challenge” aka Deathwatch Update: Day 57 … still no evidence.